Links 9/18/2020

Patient readers, owing to a mental lapse on my part followed by a cascade of logistical failures, we (by which I mean I) are late with links today. Please talk amongst yourselves while I prepare your daily complement. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Coffee Rust Is Going to Ruin Your Morning The Atlantic

An unexpected audience Science. The study of magic effects. In animals.

Senate tells coolants to cool it Grist

Gas Companies Are Abandoning Their Wells, Leaving Them to Leak Methane Forever Bloomberg

Businesses with ‘windfall’ pandemic profits are showering them on investors, study finds WaPo

TikTok to be banned from US app stores from Sunday Irish Times. Fast-moving story…

Scoop: How the Oracle-TikTok deal would work Axios

iOS 14 Bug Will Bork Your Default Mail and Browser Settings Gizmodo

Mobile App Stores and Crypto Fred Wilson, AVC. “In what world does it makes sense for two large and powerful companies to completely control software distribution on mobile phones? In no world does it make sense. It must stop.”


The Big Smoke NYRB

Electrical transmission tower C-hooks. Keep reading this thread until you come to “Camp Fire”:

DIY air filters can be safe, simple and inexpensive. Here’s how to make one Los Angeles Times


U.S. Stands on Verge of Dark New Milestone: 200,000 Virus Deaths Bloomberg

C.D.C. Testing Guidance Was Published Against Scientists’ Objections NYT

Who gets a COVID vaccine first? Access plans are taking shape Nature

Vaccine distribution isn’t as easy as Trump wants people to think Politico

The COVID Conundrum Facing Local and State Governments Mike the Mad Biologist. I don’t think putting the US economy into “a medically induced coma” for “as long as it takes” is on offer from either party. What would the donors think?


Covid crisis has accelerated big trends in China’s favour FT

Is China Escalating Tensions With Japan in the East China Sea? The Diplomat

America’s China Class Launches a New War Against Trump The Tablet

China’s university students escape online to rail against the nation’s growing inequality South China Morning Post

China biopharmaceutical leak infects thousands with bacterial disease in Lanzhou city Hong Kong Free Press

Japanese scientist and team win Ig Nobel for putting alligator on gas Japan Times


Doctors accuse New Delhi of concealing health workers’ deaths FT


North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire will go into lockdown from Tuesday amid fears ministers could extend autumn half-term by a week as part of a NATIONWIDE 14-day ‘circuit-breaker’ to stem spread of Covid Daily Mail

Bolivia’s interim leader Jeanine Áñez quits presidential race BBC

Trump Transition

Federal judge blocks controversial Postal Service changes that slowed mail CBS


The Election’s Biggest Threat Is No Longer the Postal Service The Atlantic

Donald Trump: President denies new assault allegation BBC

Twitter rolls out new security features to prevent Election Day chaos The Verge

Former Pence aide who helped organize White House coronavirus response backs Biden Reuters

Stool transplants: A way to bring gut bacteria back to health Deutsche Welle

Democrats in Disarrray

Democrats: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em Counterpunch

A Slate of Insurgents Is Taking on the “Delaware Way” [Updated With Results] The Intercept


Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 12 Craig Murry

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Facebook Accused of Watching Instagram Users Through Cameras Bloomberg

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is growing fast Bleeping Computer

How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, a New Book by Cory Doctorow OneZero

Health Care

Trials begin for a new weapon against Parkinson’s: light Science

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A Path Forward on Reparations? Democracy

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Endless Fantasy of American Power Andrew Bacevich, Foreign Affairs

The strange story of Mexico’s presidential plane lottery CNN

Why passenger jets could soon be flying in formation CNN

Travellers snap up airlines’ ‘flights to nowhere’ Straits Times

Class Warfare

Cleaning is a high-risk job. These Miami janitors say they haven’t been getting enough PPE Miami Herald

Long-Term Care Facilities Must Prioritize Immigrant Workers’ Needs To Contain COVID-19 Health Affairs

Housekeepers Face a Disaster Generations in the Making NYT

Biden allies demand help for gig workers Axios

Trump Labor Board Upends Special Status of Union Stewards Labor Notes

America’s Eviction Epidemic NYRB

Feeling Like an Outcast Foreign Policy

Microscopy illuminates charcoal’s sketchy origins Nature

Opinion: We have been in lockdown, but deforestation has not PNAS

The Death of Industrial Seattle The Stranger

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. Sam Adams

      Absolutely, I wait for your complication every day and appreciate all the comments and discussion that follows.

  1. CoryP

    In the absence of a dedicated Assange thread I will put this question here.
    I’ve been paying pretty close attention to the live-tweet threads and Craig Murray’s summaries of the extradition trial. I haven’t read the other summary articles or the original witness statements — I plan to get to those next week.

    Earlier in the week a lot of time was spent trying to establish that this was a political prosecution and hence ineligible for extradition. The comparison was made that Obama didn’t prosecute Assange, but Trump did. The prosecution obviously thought this was important because there were a few back-and-forth arguments of the sort: “Well, Obama didn’t say he WASN’T going to prosecute him” –> “Yes, but he never did”.

    If one accepts this line of reasoning, doesn’tit imply that Assange was free to leave the embassy during the Obama years? Obviously nobody believes that. I think the grand jury was empaneled during Obama, though I don’t actually understand the timeline of their decision vs the actual decision to indict (or how that works legally). It seems to me that the timing of snatching him was done more out of opportunity related to the change in Ecuador’s leadership/IMF loan etc.

    So what am I missing here? I assume there’s something I don’t understand about these indictments vs this being an obvious flaw in the defense’s logic.

    (Edit: Maybe the “Obama didn’t prosecute” only has to do with one of the 18 counts — the ‘prosecute all journalists’ idea? That would sort of make sense)

    (Also I hope someone is collating these 5 or 6 live-tweet reports since they’re fantastic. Check out the “JA Extradition Hearing” Twitter List created by Courage Foundation)

    1. sd

      I’ve been following coverage over at Automatic Earth. He maintains the machinations are linked to the Justice Dept attempting to undermine Trump. The timelines seem to fit.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the machinations are linked to the Justice Dept attempting to undermine Trump. The timelines seem to fit

        I would say that The Blob needs no reason to try to destroy Assange other than what they believe Assange did. If that hurts Trump, it’s icing on the cake.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      He was in the Ecuadorian embassy, wanted by UK authorities. Speculation was that if he left and was apprehended in UK, he would then face American extradition.

      1. CoryP

        I guess I meant that the arguments “Obama decided not to prosecute” and “he will be extradited if he left the embassy” seem to be contradictory. But I’m sure I’m missing some subtle element.

        1. CuriosityConcern

          Still waking up here, looks like i missed the gist of your original comment(wouldn’t be the first time).

        2. Procopius

          The indictment against him was secret, but widely believed to exist. And, as expected, as soon as the Brits got their hands on him the Americans revealed the indictment and demanded extradition. Obama would have loved to prosecute him, maybe even put him in Guantanamo. Remember how viciously Obama pursued whistleblowers. Actually, given the extent to which Trump has destroyed everything Obama, I’m surprised he hasn’t instructed AG Barr to drop the extradition request. The Brits, of course, have demonstrated that they have no regard for law in this case and are happy to pleast their American masters.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > given the extent to which Trump has destroyed everything Obama, I’m surprised he hasn’t instructed AG Barr to drop the extradition request.

            I would imagine Trump doesn’t want to poke the intelligence community in the eye with a sharp stick just now. He doesn’t need the retaliation in the form of another BountyGate.

      2. John A

        If Assange had left the embassy, the British authorities would have arrested him for skipping bail (the charge on which he is currently being kept in custody). That is not usually a big deal, and at most a 6-month prison sentence (reduced to 3 months on good behaviour). He is being held because the judge states that there is a risk that Assange would again do a runner. He has already served well beyond the 6 months for skipping bail.
        While he was in custody for skipping bail, the US could seek extradition, which they indeed have done.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          I have read the dispatches from Murray and Consortium News. I would put this to my fellows in this search for why; What is the crime they are trying to try Assange for, and why is it clearly a violation of US law? The matter is purely political and involves no crime on our books. No one has ever been prosecuted for publishing. Lewis the US prosecutor appears to try desperately to convince the UK judge that what Assange did was a crime knowing that his own government and superiors have acknowledged that it was not against the law. Kromberg, an AG at some level, wrote a whole story about how what happened was a crime and was ignored except for Lewis using his statements as though law.
          Another way to see it is that Assange shared data with the Guardian, Welle and such and wanted the names to be redacted. Neither publisher thought that was important. It is not a crime to release names, but Julian tried to redact. But Guardian released the code to unscramble the files ignoring his wishes.
          The entire embroglio is absurd in many ways. They appear to be trying to charge Julian with laws that don’t exist but don’t want the court to know that. The admission of war crimes seems to throw the whole thing into “justifiable” category.
          If reality matters, the defence seems to have shown that no crime has occurred and political values don’t rise to the level of extradition to the US where there is no chance for a fair trial if there is no violation of law.
          but that is just an observation on the bizarre badgering of witnesses that is hard to fathom.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Their first angle was “he’s not a journalist”. That utterly failed. So now they’ve switched to “he’s a journalist but all journalists can be arrested under The Espionage Act of 1917”. That the WaPo, NYT, CNN etc are not even bothering to cover the trial signals to me: they never intend to publish anything their allies in the government would not want them to ever again, so as a result there is no risk to their business. For companies and people doing actual journalism this would of course be a terrifying and existential threat, as it is to those of us who think we have the right to know what our government is doing on our behalf and with our money.

            The silence of the Dems on this entire issue is initially puzzling. Trump is doing it, so why are they not automatically insisting how awful it is? I think the answer is two-fold: they want to keep the fabric of lies they tell continue to tell about Russia “hacking” the DNC servers intact; and they have merged with the FBI/CIA anyway and are completely dedicated to advancing the business of The Permanent State and its vassal corporations, and this is perfectly aligned with that mission statement.

      1. RWood

        Mr. Lauria expresses his understanding of the Espionage Act in his report of Day 6. He sees that it is as encompassing as the Brits’ OSA.
        Can’t easily find the link on youtube though…

    3. CoryP

      Thanks for the links everyone! I consider myself to be very familiar with the timeline.

      My original (badly articulated!) question was that the defense is making two points which seem to contradict each other.

      1) Trump prosecuted Assange, while Obama chose not to. Hence the prosecution is political.

      2) Assange would not leave the embassy for fear of Obama prosecuting him.

      My initial thought was that it seemed like kettle logic or disingenuous to try to argue both things.

      I have come to the tentative conclusion that the apparent contradiction has to do with differences in the particulars of the indictments under Obama vs Trump. (Eg. Obama would shy away from the “NYT problem”, whereas Trump is willing to set a precedent that criminalizes all journalism)

      1. Procopius

        While Assange was in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was widely believed that Obama’s Justice Department had secret indictments that would be brought out to demand extradition if he was in British hands. When the Brits arrested him, lo and behold, the secret indictments were unsealed and the U.S. demanded extradition. The fact is that the Obama administration did not prosecute him. The assumption is that the Obama administration would have prosecuted him if they could have gotten their hands on him. The interpretation the defense is presenting is an interpretation (spin) of the fact. Defense lawyers are required to interpret the facts in the way most favorable to their client. That’s what the adversarial system is about. Res ipsos loquitor (“the facts speak for themselves”) is not actually true, in most cases.

    4. Darthbobber

      It only “implies” that Assange was free to leave (without consequences) if one equates the Obama decision not to proceed as equivalent to an actual formal agreement not to do so. Just because they were willing to leave Assange rotting in the embassy for all eternity hardly meant that if they suddenly had access that would still apply. There also was the small matter of the Swedish request, which was a useful proxy for an American one, and which was still a real thing until more recently, regardless of the formal US posture.

        1. CoryP

          LOL. That in fact seems like the argument they and the (family blogs) at the Guardian have been making all these years.

  2. fresno dan

    movie review
    So I saw a documentary about Lego last night, A LEGO Brickumentary
    So, first, I did not know that Lego was a Danish company. And that the company burned down an inordinate number of times in its early history – I thought the Danish were more careful…
    And though it was presented in a cutesy way (the presenter was a Lego plastic person, who was actually the main character in one of the recent Lego movies), the movie actually showed some interesting economic points.
    First, although Lego was a remarkably successful toy company, it went astray in a portion of the 80’s and 90’s when it over emphasized the “set pieces” – these are the lego themes such as star wars where the box had pre cast pieces that were not the lego bricks, but pieces that were a particular thing, and could not be used to build other things, or that could not be modified at all by adding other lego pieces to them, or very limited modifications.
    Lego learned that the basic appeal and selling point of their product was the fact that it was a creativity machine – the basic lego brick was the core of the appeal of the product.
    Lego also learned that a good percentage of their sales was due to adults (AFOL – adult fans of lego, if I remember the acronym correctly).
    And finally, (well, not finally, but the last economic point I want to make) was that Lego discovered that Lego was being modified and added on to in ways Lego never imagined (it reminded me of the Microsoft versus Apple software philosophy). Lego had to make a decision about patent and trade mark issues, about Lego being a “closed garden” or if Lego should allow and even encourage modifications of the product by users (Lego went the later route). Now a days, a number of ideas for new Lego products come from Lego fan conventions and even some of their employees.
    A surprisingly interesting brickumentary

    1. ZacP

      Thank you sir, I will watch this. If people can actually connect with the culture instead of just consume it, it’s a much more affirming experience. So for decades now some popular PC games have been successful because they allow user modding, from simple graphic and artistic tweaking to changing core systems that fundamentally alter the experience. Some of the most rewarding online communities of which I have been a part of have centered around these games. This is in contrast to most of the DRM-protected untouchable software that you nowadays “license” instead of actually own. That’s so much like the free form lego sets and set pieces you describe.

    2. Nick

      Thanks this sounds interesting. I think they had a big deterioration in overall quality during the 90s. I loved them growing up but then as a teen couldn’t believe the cruddy legos my younger siblings had to play with!

    3. Lightningclap

      It should be noted that Legos are one of the few things I can think of that have not been “crapified”. The basic brick remains the same as in the past. Never disappointed with the quality.

    4. ShamanicFallout

      I agree about the whole set piece thing. They are still everywhere and it’s hard to find just the regulars for my daughter. Otherwise you get the branded Star Wars or Frozen or whatever and they come with elaborate pieces but more annoyingly, something like 20 pages of precise instructions in order to set it up. No! Let us create something ourselves

  3. Katiebird

    Thanks for giving us this adorable puppy while we wait!

    In news of the weird, I talked to my daughter in law yesterday and our youngest granddaughter (age 1.5 yrs) has strep throat. They are also waiting for results of COVID test.

    They’ve been hunkered down for months — We haven’t seen each other since before March. Both parents work from home and share parenting.

    They can’t figure out where the baby was exposed.

      1. Katiebird

        I’ll ask. If it was my other grand baby, that would be very possible. But I’ve never seen photos of this little one playing outside.

          1. Katiebird

            Well, her parents don’t post many photos of her. They are kind of privacy focused. And since the lockdown they are pretty busy so they may not be taking many.

            I HATE missing this toddler time with them (two siblings had baby girls within months of each other) But that’s how it is in COVIDville.

            1. The Historian

              I know exactlly how you feel. I have nine grandchildren and although I videochat with them often, it isn’t like being there with them in person or being able to give them hugs.

              We almost had Covid beat in Boise and I was so looking forward to spending time with my Boise grandchild – but then they opened the bars. And again, after shuttering the bars, the numbers in Boise were going down but then they decided to open the schools and more businesses-including bars, and yep, you got it, numbers are starting to go back up.

              Before they opened the schools, they had many public meetings, and I can remember one woman standing up and screaming “you are not listening to me” because she wanted the schools opened immediately. Well, she got her way, even though the majority of the people in Boise wanted the schools to stay closed for a while longer – and Covidville goes on and on.

          2. Billy

            Fireship, exactly. The child has never ingested bacteria, mold, viruses or other natural things that would innoculate and tune up her immune system.

            Children that play in the dirt seem to be far healthier. Short of eating a raccoon turd, there’s nothing in the outdoors that can’t benefit a child, from walking barefoot, to digging in the dirt, to learning physics and learning to see in natural settings.

            1. Katiebird

              Actually, I said I hadn’t seen photos of her playing outside. She’s a 4th Child of parents who are under a lot of pressure in this COVID world. So I don’t think it’s that unusual that I haven’t seen many photos of her.

              Her cousin, however is a 1st child and not only has tons of photos, her mom posts them.

              I should have been more clear about that.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Children that play in the dirt seem to be far healthier.

              I worry that with the handwashing, staying indoors, and masks we are also leaving our immune systems untrained to cope with other viruses and microbes.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      From my limited understanding, streptococus is part of the normal flora. So it might be another immune challenge that has let the strep proliferate or the child might have acquired it from one one the parents.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yep. it, and many other “bugs”, are present in the environment.
        Out here, wasps drag their stingers in the mud when they’re getting a drink/collecting adobe…so on the rare occasion one of us gets stung, Staph or Strep often presents as a skin infection at the sting site.
        Youngest even got MRSA in this manner once(skin only) when we lived in town…took some super duper antibiotic to tackle it.
        My Dr says that oftentimes, the bacteria is present(harmlessly) on the surface of one’s skin, and the puncture(wasp/nail/etc) merely injects it into your insides, where it makes trouble.

      2. Procopius

        Yeah, there’s so much attention to COVID-19, I think people are forgetting we’re still catching the usual diseases. Flu season is coming up (get the shot!), and people are still catching cold. If we get an effective vaccine for SARS-Cov-9 people will still be dying from the usual things.

  4. The Rev Kev

    So I just finished watching the second part of a two-part doco on George Bush. Gawd. I had forgotten how bad he was. A man who right to the end would never admit to making a mistake. Considering how for the first years of his Presidency he was content to fob off the responsibilities of his Presidency – Bremer in Iraq and Brown in Katrina’s New Orleans for example – and back them to the hilt, I did wonder if that was why he was selected to run for the Presidency. The lack of curiosity, the willingness to let others take his responsibilities away from him, letting other institutions take the lead, etc. His second term push to privatize social security was a failure as nobody wanted to go with that ticking package but without Iraq blowing up on him, he might have had a better shot at it.

    Somebody pass him a lolly.

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      September 18, 2020 at 8:10 am

      what was the name of the documentary? I would have thought that I had seen it, but I don’t recall any 2 part documentaries I have seen for Bush. Do you happen to know if Netflix has it?

          1. juno mas

            Not like the Iraq journalist who threw one at him during a Bush press meeting in Bagdad!?

            (watched it Live!)

        1. Olga

          I do remember his awfulness, though time cures most hangovers.
          In trying to be logical, I ask friends to recall shrub and how bad he was – yet there was none of the hysteria that surrounds DT these days. Most don’t seem to be ready to see the double-standard and what may be behind it.

          1. Janie

            His personal life was not as vile, seemed to have a solid marriage to a nice woman, had no Epstein types in his life, didn’t cheat his subcontractors, seemed sincere in his religion.

            This is not to excuse him, and yes he should be in the dock also. I remember watching the run-up to Iraq with my husband and the two of us agreeing that the so-called justifications were over-the-top exxagerations. Seems like a lifetime ago…

          2. KevinD

            So true. As one idiot proceeds another, we become dull to previous idiots as what becomes acceptable and the bar of stupidity keeps rising.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > yet there was none of the hysteria that surrounds DT these days.

            I was blogging daily, indeed hourly — no Twitter, no Facebook — back in those days, and there was an enormous concerted effort to discredit the Bush administration, not that they didn’t deserve every bit of it.

            There was a lot of anger, and a measure of tribalism. (WikiPedia says the the Red State/Blue States trope began in 2000, from network TV color-coding of election results, but I believe it came from G. Webbs JesusLand map when Bush was re-elected in 2004. That map was not red and blue, but “the Internet” instantly applied Red and Blue to it). But today’s hysteria, today’s hatred, today’s level of fear did not exist in the mass of voters. To the extent that it did, it was trolls working themselves up.

            Happy, innocent days, when there was some hope of being able to think straight.

            1. fresno dan

              Lambert Strether
              September 19, 2020 at 3:07 am

              Those were the halcyon days when partisans were in reality enough to acknowledge that a bunch of democrats had voted for the Iraq war – that if voting for IRAQ was absolute evil, than a lot of liberals were going to have to be put in front of a firing squad…
              But today’s hysteria, today’s hatred, today’s level of fear did not exist in the mass of voters. To the extent that it did, it was trolls working themselves up.

              We live in a bubble of people who know and care about politics – I still think most people are bystanders to the tweeter wars. Most people I know have no idea of what Trump says that is so terrible – not that they agree with what Trump says, they literally never read Trump tweets, or ANY tweets or about tweets.

              Trump is so contradictory and vague he hardly means anything, and consequently can’t really lie about much. What is the big difference between Trump NAFTA versus original NAFTA for the average citizen?

          4. ChrisPacific

            That almost made it worse. The Iraq invasion was very clearly something out of a demented alternate reality (even before we learned that it had all been based on lies) and yet it had bipartisan approval and everybody just seemed to be OK with it. It was also really shocking how much of the justification for it was transparent propaganda (all the ‘imminent threat’ stuff, and the revisionist reformulations after the fact) and how willing people seemed to be to swallow it anyway, as well as how appeals to patriotism were used to silence dissent. It still makes my skin crawl to think about it.

            Trump at least doesn’t pretend to be something that he’s not. I was going to say his willingness to let hundreds of thousands of Americans die rather than rise to the occasion with Covid is the one respect in which he’s worse than Bush, but then I remembered Katrina and New Orleans.

        2. fresno dan

          The Rev Kev
          September 18, 2020 at 8:28 am

          So, I looked at the American Experience documentaries on Netflix, and they had one called Bush’s War, but it is not the one you are recommending. I haven’t seen Bush’s War, so I am sure it is elucidating, and I didn’t know about it so just going looking for it was a plus.
          And as much as I want to see the documentary you are talking about, it puts me in the ironic situation of having to buy it – and that just seems somehow like I am supporting the guy by doing that.

        1. farragut

          I’ve never heard of this, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least, given our recent sanctions against members of the ICC. It’s a wonder the rest of the world hasn’t grown tired of our hypocritical shenanigans.

          1. fresno dan

            September 18, 2020 at 9:10 am

            I thought it was a joke too!
            Of course, the US defines laws as Humpty Dumpty defines them:
            Humpty Dumpty Dick Cheney smiled contemptuously. … “When I use a word,” Dick Cheney said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.
            e.g., US prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding and defined water boarding as torture…until it didn’t.

            1. jr

              Sometimes, it’s not the greed or the degeneracy or the violence, it’s the smug stupidity that makes it so incredibly insane. Someone somewhere who I have long forgotten wrote that no one can account for the existence of absurdity…

            2. Mel

              Carroll’s follow-on line also nails it:

              ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that’s all.’

            1. Chris

              When we travelled Europe on a Eurailpass in 1978, we met a couple of Australian backpackers in a little pensione in Venice. Sue and Bruce had sewn Australia flag cloth badges onto their backpacks so the locals knew they weren’t American, and stopped giving them a hard time.

              1. The Rev Kev

                When I was going around Europe a few years later, I saw that Canadian backpackers took care to be sporting Canadian flags on their pack, no matter how large. Of course by then you had Ronnie in charge with his crew of laptop bombardiers.

        2. Billy

          Then that fool Trump goes and spoils the game:

          “While I’m president, America will remain the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. We will remain energy independent. It should be for many many years to come. The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East.”

          Trump made the comment during a rally in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 8, when he was bragging about America’s energy independence. (minute 47):

          1. Aumua

            Shouldn’t surprise anyone, coming from the “greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House” (Netanyahu’s words)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My read of Gallup’s polling which was fairly detailed and consistant at the time indicated Shrub’s senior base was upset by the SS move. Iraq hit the fan in the later summer. The whole Schaevo saga, the GOP national role, was to shore up votes with seniors worried about their own kids, and it worked.

      I knocked many doors that year for Team Blue, and I don’t think I ever heard Schaevo mentioned outside a Team Blue function or office once the saga was gone. I think SS reform was done early. For the kids, Terry Schaevo was turned into an episode of South Park which really failed to capture the insanity.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        But, citizen, we are told that it is urgent that we replace One Who Is Never Right with One Who Is Never Wrong.

        So Biden by definition was just Doing The Right Thing with Iraq, the Crime Bill, student debt bankruptcy, Obama”Care”, Libya, Honduras, Syria, The Ukraine, Hunter, NAFTA, China, TPP, and his 4 major attempts to slash Social Security. And of course he is not the absolute poster villain for #MeToo.

        I’d think he and the many Dem coup conspirators down the line would be wanting him to be president, because after all:

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just the other day I saw a coupla vets call Biden out for his part in the Iraqi debacle in a Jimmy Dore Video. Biden turns around and pretends that they are trying to insult his son who was in Iraq and then turns his back on them while his supporter try to shout the guy down with a ‘Joe! Joe! Joe!’ chant. That vet is having none of it and got them to shut up. Worth watching in the clip is about from 4:30 to 6:30 (some swearing)-

    3. RMO

      Kev: But remember, he gave Michelle Obama a cough drop so he’s a good president again. He only came to power through Supreme Court meddling, was asleep at the switch and failed to prevent a horrible mass-murder on 9/11, comprehensively failed to apprehend and bring to justice anyone behind 9/11, attacked one country and turned many of it’s citizens to pink mist because the group behind 9/11 was partly resident there even though the government indicated willingness to turn them over if provided with evidence, attacked another country that had nothing at all to do with 9/11 and lied about them having a WMD program to do so, pretty much destroyed that country and released ISISetc. across the Middle East, made it national policy to abduct on slim to no evidence people all over the world and torture them, frequently to death, shredded the Constitution and Bill of Rights with warrantless surveillance… all apparently mere trifles and forgivable.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hi Procopius. Paul Bremer was sent in May of 2003 to be the “Viceroy” of Iraq so was in his first term. ‘Heckofajob’ Brownie came in with Bush when he was elected and Bush made him FEMA Director in 2003 so both men belonged to his first term. The problem is that Bush would back whatever they did no matter how catastrophic. So Bush backed Bremer when he dissolve the Iraqi armed forces which led to Iraq blowing up during the occupation. Brown screwed up big time in New Orleans but Bush had to be forced to replace him only a week after that heckofajob comment. Incompetency right across the board.

  5. fresno dan

    So when I got up at 3:30am and looked at Fresno, CA air quality, it was in the unhealthful range.
    And when I looked at the map, I was surprised to see that south fresno was in the moderate range.
    And now a couple of hours later, the whole city has improved…Whoo Hu

    Sorry for you people on the east coast who got all our smoke. Just as soon as the fire stops I’m gonna take my rake and start cleaning up those pesky forests….

    1. Katiebird

      I am so glad to hear this! I have family all up the coast and have been getting photos and updates from the air quality site for over a week.

      One of my brothers, in Portland, woke up chocking last week sometime. He could barely breath. Luckily the family is friends with another family who has a hospital grade air filtration system in their house. So they shifted there (maybe home by now??) ….

      What an horrific experience!

      1. fresno dan

        September 18, 2020 at 8:27 am
        Whatever happened to Oregon being so damp and wet that they don’t have fires?

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          As one who lives here; our weather in Sept. is usually dry. We typically start getting rain in October. We get our rain from October to March/April. (Rogue Valley, specifically. There are dozens of microclimates througout the state)
          Air quality was 250 last night and has improved to 60 at 8:20 AM Pacific. All during spring and summer this year our Air quality was the best I have ever seen. We had dozens of days where it was less than 10, dozens under 20. Likely due to the lockdown of the minor plague.
          Now I await the news on whether it put any of the fires around us out. Also waiting to see if our government will give the forest care to people that know how to do it, as opposed to the Forest Service. Half of our land is US government land and they don’t give a crap about helping unless it is to relieve our environment of its trees for toilet paper. They don’t have enough agents or clout to help when they want to and we don’t hold them at fault. Our native peoples know and at last they are being listened to about forest management.
          Oh, and to my senators; Where in the hell are our helicopters and fire fighting planes? And to Mr. Walden our congresscum, good riddance and don’t try to help now that you are a lame duck. You never did anyway.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      The homeless camps along the freeways grow in size and complexity, bigger than GFC times. Wish the policy makers would put two and two together and expand/duplicate CCC to help those homeless get jobs(preferably living wage) managing our currently unmanaged forests.
      Maybe I should write a project proposal with terms such as “leveraging our core strengths”, “synergy”, and “vertical integration”.
      Come to think of it, it may be a good time to start building sea walls as well. Roman concrete seems like a good idea to me(uses volcanic ash and is strengthened with exposure to water).

      1. Rod

        The homeless camps along the freeways grow in size and complexity, bigger than GFC times. Wish the policy makers would put two and two together and expand/duplicate CCC to help those homeless get jobs(preferably living wage) managing our currently unmanaged forests.

        another solution tumbles out of the commons bleachers–so good it obviously couldn’t work…
        because TINA

        1. Wukchumni

          A few homeless would make the transition from doing nothing to hard physical labor, but that’s not the group of people you want for the task of clearing out our forests, it’s veterans who were fit fairly recently-got used to living rough on their tours of duty, and can take orders.

          Pay them the same salary they earned in the military along with all benefits, including a pension.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I’m envisaging a story about a bunch of suburban houses in impeccable condition, all empty, and a community of people all living in camps by the freeways who get up every day and go to work maintaining them. Like There Will Come Soft Rains, but with people.

  6. Krystyn Podgajski

    Let’s get trippy while we wait:

    A scientific first: How psychedelics bind to key brain cell receptor

    So basically they are thinking they can make a drug that will help with mood disorders but not make you hallucinate. I do not believe this is possible however because I do not think it is possible to excite the HTR2A receptor and not have hallucinations.

    “When activated, the receptors cause neurons to fire in an asynchronous and disorganized fashion, putting noise into the brain’s system,”

    That noise is important since it breaks the “certainty” we have we are depressed. When our brain experiences this noise it tries to put a vision of the world together as best as it can. Think about trying to make sense of a scrambled video transmission.

    Depression, in my experience, is a prediction of the future based on the certainty of the past. And anxiety is being unable to predict the future based on an uncertain past. The psychedelic experience destroys our certainty about our reality.

    Changes in the HTR2A gene are linked to suicide and schizophrenia, so your mileage may vary.

    But just like all the other drugs that affect these receptors, the effect will not last, but still I am hopeful for acute cases and this will probably help people from dying by suicide in the short term.

    1. GramSci

      “Depression, in my experience, is a prediction of the future based on the certainty of the past. And anxiety is being unable to predict the future based on an uncertain past. The psychedelic experience destroys our certainty about our reality.”

      Very well said!

    2. KevinD

      But just like all the other drugs that affect these receptors, the effect will not last,

      Does it end up dulling those same receptors to the bodies natural response once one goes off the drug? (I wonder)

      1. RMO

        Depression in my experience has been a debilitating black cloud of hopelessness and despair that has come out of nowhere several times with no relation to good or bad life circumstances. It is completely and utterly different from what I’ve been through when it came to things such as watching my father die of cancer.

    1. jef

      “U.S. regulators don’t have enough money to properly check the tech giants who have skipped out on paying billions in taxes”

      There, fixed it.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    busy again, today…ere the latest tropical thing in the Gulf lays me low…
    busy, plus “avoid all news” is again the order of the day…but i can’t help myself, sometimes.
    riffing off of these folks:

    and under the growing cloud of this sort of nonsense:

    meanwhile, local demparty chair sent my eldest(almost 19) a half-rubberstamp letter, regarding a nebulous and unexplained existential risk all around, and the need to vote for on Joe Herrera for Texas State Rep.
    Zero about policy, zero reason to spend his first vote on this guy, save he ain’t Trump…it was literally a mimeograph, with a blank space for some almost illegible “personal appeal” in the middle.
    Trump and Maga signs sprouting like fairy rings all over the place(at known GOP True Believers’ abodes and bidnesses and other properties), and 2(two) biden signs in the whole county that we’ve seen…both appear specially made, which fits in with the last 20or so years of Texas Demparty behaviour out here in the wilderness(I made my own Obama sign in 08, painted a Bernie bumpersticker on my tailgate; no store fronts, no local working phones, etc)
    Only live dems i’ve encountered out here are my mom and stepdad and my wife,lol.
    so, again…I’ll vote in person, at 7am on voting day, and if there’s no Green at the top of the ballot, I’ll rip my ballot up and stuff it in the box….and count that as “My Vote”…an expression(thus Protected Speech) of my Displeasure.
    New New Deal, or you haven’t Earned my Vote.
    Otherwise, I’ll continue my preparations for the Burning Times. I think my Warlord Name will be Ghan Buri Ghan….but all that’s still up in the air.

    Now, off to the races…$hit to do…too much $hit…and the storm nears the Texas coast. (sunsets have been remarkable, however…so thanks to all y’all out west)

    1. Darthbobber

      On a couple fbook pages here in Philly, the spin machine was out in full force on the ratf**ing of the Greens. The “Republican funded” green party. Its “Republican overlords”. Nader caused Bush. Jill Stein, RT, PutinPutin Putin.

      Counterproductive, I suspect, since up until this point probably a majority of the Green constituency here was inclined to go with Biden for president, and then Green on the state offices. Not sure that still applies to the same extent.

      Much more to the point to actually run something like a real campaign.
      But from the use they are making of their money so far they seem interested only in generating white noise.

    2. Oso_in_Oakland

      ++++ Amfortas missed your wisdom mi amigo pelirojo, that ncri false equivalence will resonate with most nc readers. your perspective is so valuable here. you know US history and understand race is always a factor, not solely class. voting green here as well. be safe from the storm. odd how horror like the fires can bring a small bit of beauty like the sunsets. bendiciones.

    3. Vichy Chicago

      Here in Chicago we’re hearing constant appeals to work as election judges on Nov 3.

      I applied to be an election judge on August 31, after having not worked as one for about 10 years.
      To date I have heard… nothing.

      I’ll apply to be an election judge in Cook County. Hopefully they’ll be a little quicker on getting back with a thumbs up or thumbs down.

    4. Procopius

      I saw a claim somewhere that the Trump campaign sells their signs for $10, while the Biden/Harris campaign demands $25 for theirs.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        dems have a sliding scale, based on last year’s tax return and a demonstrable willingness to seek work.

  8. crittermom

    I turned in my request for an absentee ballot yesterday since I’ve moved back to Colorado.
    (This is one of the states that automatically sends a ballot to each registered voter).

    When I inquired as to when ballots would be mailed out (thinking it would be any day now), I was told Oct 9. She said they can only mail ’em out on certain days. Huh?

    So, just over 3 weeks before election, they will be mailed out.
    That sounds ridiculous to me.

    I will not be mailing it back, instead dropping it into one of the two ballot collection boxes that will be placed at the courthouse in this small town.
    I will then be tracking it through a system this state has now set up, enabling us to do that.

    (Lately, by the time we get the local paper in our PO box, the inserted grocery ads have already expired!)

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I don’t get this. The other day I referenced a federal law from 2009 that seems to require November ballots to go out 45 days before election day. Here in Wisconsin, this completely upended our former primary schedule – were in Sept, now in dog days of August. And the recent dust-up between Dems and Greens here was “resolved” by the state Supreme Court punting on the issue because there was allegedly no time to revise the ballot.

      I will say that there is a very strong sense of “playing by the rules” here and it could easily be that this law is a paper tiger easily ignored. But that late date just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Here’s hoping it sinks. Still trying to figure out why Musk feels it’s his right to pollute the sky for every single astronomer on earth.

      But if he doesn’t have to get permission to launch the satellites, why should anyone else need to get permission before sending up satellites designed to shoot Musk’s down?

      Just planting seeds…

  9. The Rev Kev

    Just to show you that every country has their quota of idiots, a recent story. So the police in Victoria in Australia pull over a women because she has her mobile mounted on the windscreen which is illegal here. The whole saga went on for ten minutes but she refused to give her identity in the form of her name or address, refuses to come out of the car but taking care that it is all filmed. She says that she is concerned because they are armed which most police kinda are. In the end they have to drag her out the car and she starts getting hysterical. No, she is not a kid. She is 29 years old-

    1. skippy

      In other Oz news I was informed today by an ex Dbl B driver that one of the reasons some international drivers are being used is due to the points not accumulating on their drivers licenses, in turn this speaks of the way such commercial licenses are gained in some countries. Per se 20 at a time on one vehicle [all in the back] which are given turns and then the whole bunch gains a license.

      Story goes this driver was ordered with 12 other drivers to park in company yard after covid lock down and all camped out for a few days. A few days later all are lined up in front of their respective vehicles and then ordered to hand over keys to new drivers. He is now delivering paint out of an old Toyota van after 20 years of heavy haulage experience.

      Would someone please stop this Wh!te on Wh!te economic violence by proxy ….

      In addition I see deputy pm “the bruz” is taking a mental health break, lots of that going around it seems ….

  10. marym

    Hand marked paper ballots
    “BuzzFeed News identified at least 11 cases where the Trump campaign has asked judges for permission to intervene to defend state and local policies that voting rights advocates argue will make it harder for people to safely vote during the pandemic. That’s in addition to more than half a dozen lawsuits the campaign has filed with the Republican National Committee contesting efforts by Democratic governors and other state and local officials to expand mail-in voting.

    Trump and the RNC have committed $20 million to fund election-related litigation. Trump told Politico in July that the “biggest risk” to his reelection was failing to successfully fight plans that would make it easier for voters to remotely receive and return ballots.”

    Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Navajo Nation, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Trump bad, he so bad! He’s trying to steal the election! It’s the end of democracy as we know it!

      Pay no attention to the Transition Integrity Project, its co-chair Rosa Brooks who works for the Soros “Open Society Foundation” that foments “color revolution” coups around the world, or to the *600 lawyers* working under former Obama Attorney General Eric “Place” Holder, best known for refusing to prosecute *any* bank wrongdoing in the GFC, as they prepare not to concede the election under “any” circumstances. To quote: Any.

      (Sorry if I popped any bubbles, it’s so much easier to just swallow the simple “Trump Is Hitler!” line and go about your day).

      Some of us still remember elections when the loser conceded, appeared on the night to congratulate the winner, promised to work with them for the better of the country, and went back to the drawing board to do better next time…instead of plotting with the FBI to take down the winner, and then spending four years lying about why they lost. Silly me.

  11. tegnost

    The counter punch title should be…”In defense of incrementalism while the tech giants steal everything in their move fast and break things manner because omg trump and lets not forget the electoral college which stifles the ability of the tech giants to steal everything faster”
    Re: the stranger…obviously inner city pittsburg/detroit were success stories and our “elite” plan to spread those hellscapes over the entire nation because they’re concerned about equality. Everyone should be atomized enough that they can all have sufficient pain applied to them otherwise they wouldn’t go to work the lazy racist slobs.

    1. CoryP

      Andrew Levine and the counterpunch regulars all kind of have that same mushy taste since around 2017 or so. Paragraphs upon paragraphs of agonizing prose only to tell you you must vote for the lesser evil.

      At least it’s not Nathan Robinson going into hysterics on Twitter.

      I haven’t read the article yet.. but I will. But where once I eagerly devoured every word in counterpunch on the Friday edition.. now I pick at it when I’m bored and mostly skim.

      1. pjay

        “Paragraphs upon paragraphs of agonizing prose only to tell you you must vote for the lesser evil.”

        No need for you to read it. You’ve summed it up perfectly right here. There will be time enough to debate the future of the Democratic Party *later*; but for now we have to concentrate on getting rid of the horrible Orange One. And there are definitely *many* paragraphs of agonizing prose!

        2017? I’ve been reading this BS for decades.

        1. Alex Cox

          Counterpunch took a turn for the worse after the PropOrNot fiasco. For some reason they took the made-up accusations very seriously and started pushing the RussiaRussiaRussia nonsense. It’s hard for me to read their articles now because there is often a little piece of “Trump the Russian puppet” or “lesser evil” thrown in to satisfy whoever they are afraid of…

          But they still run good pieces about nuclear weapons — today there’s one about German resistance to the (Obama-mandated) replacement of their loan-out nukes with new ones:

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        One incrementalist gaffe Levine makes this time is claiming that the Rs folks “are not ‘established’ parties in the way that, say, the Church of England is an established religion; they have no official role in the political regime.”

        Find your state’s compiled laws and its regulations, and it won’t be hard to find lots of official roles that are explicitly either reserved for duopolists or appointed by leaders of duopolists. And then there are the ways states reserve places in the publicly funded primaries for duopolists, or otherwise work to keep the two golden wings securely folded up on top of the political nest.

        (One of the irks I have from the otherwise understandable People’s Party effort is their apparent underestimation of the mad caucus race the Green Party has had to run continuously for the past 20 years or more, trying not only to stay where we are but actually to move forward. I think it would be more efficient and effective to build on the Green foundation — but maybe I am inclined to say so after 20 years of effort.)

  12. Agamemnon

    “ministers could extend autumn half-term by a week as part of a NATIONWIDE 14-day ‘circuit-breaker’ to stem spread of Covid “

    How’s that going to work? After all, we have been told time and again by the government’s paid experts that kids don’t transmit, are basically immune, and that their studies showed that there was no risk of infection at school.

    Color me shocked! I thought *they* usually reserve the child sacrifices to Mammon for their outward bound weekends at Bohemian Grove. /s

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      speaking of Mammon…
      was on myphone in the truck…rummaging the intertubes…and (speaking of Nathan Robinson) ran across several articles on Current Affairs by their resident Catholic Socialist guy…one about this:

      so i frelling ordered it,lol.
      looks just about as enticing as the review made it out to be, but I’m still…after 8 months…slogging through EP Thompson*.
      Economics, not as Science, but as Religion…that’s something i’ve been worrying over like a bad tooth for a long while. My first sort of lay academic obsession was Comparative Religion, thanks to Campbell’s Masks of God laying around the house, somehow, when i was a kid….so I’m primed to see the Thought Schema that rules our lives that way. I mean, an actual Golden Bull, right there on Wall St., for instance,lol.
      Or Money as the Holy Cracker, created, ex nihilo, by your friendly Banker/Priest back in the Inner Sanctum, by mumbling(typing) some magical words, and performing the appropriate rituals(credit checks)…Created, at will…and yet “WE” never seem to have enough of it for important things.

      (*and on that note, any further info on “not being able to read an actual book” as a covid symptom? one book a year is crazy, for me…30-50 is more usual, even after discovering the interwebs)

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Travellers snap up airlines’ ‘flights to nowhere'”

    Hard to see this taking off in the United States which is a shame as there are so many places that would be great to visit from the air such as the Grand Canyon. But if it wasn’t the thought of bending over and grabbing your ankles for a TSA inspection at the airport, then the idea of sharing a long cabin with scores of strangers that may or may not be infected with the virus would be unsettling. In your seat you may be relatively safe but what if you had to use the bathroom?

  14. Carolinian

    Interesting LA Times about the DIY box fan air filter although some of us tried this idea years ago–not exactly rocket science. Good to see some research, though, to indicate the idea actually works.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      Ian Welsh mentioned a similar method(if not the same), and also mentioned placing open containers of water around the area that needs de-particulating(as many as you can).

    2. rd

      It will filter out both smoke and Covid-carrying aerosols. So improves air in two ways.

      For a Covid patient at home, you can also jury-rig a negative pressure room by turning on the bathroom fan in a bathroom connected to the bedroom or pointing a small fan out of an open window. This will make it safer for caregivers. Running a DIY filter fan or commercial air purifier in the bedroom will also help knock down aerosols that could sicken caregivers. It may not prevent someone from getting sick, but should at least significantly lower viral load so that the disease may not be as bad.

    3. KMD

      That type of filter will help reduce particulates but does nothing for gasses such as formaldehyde which is another by-product of the smoke. We live in the foothills below the Bobcat fire and have had the house sealed for over a week. Recently obtained an air quality meter and discovered that the particulates were well under control but formaldehyde was way up. We had an onshore breeze yesterday afternoon and was able to open up some windows. Gasses went way down and the headaches too. I’m looking for a source for granulated active carbon. I’m making a filter that will fit in the return AC duct.

    4. jef

      As I mentioned in some of the mask threads, filtration is allllll about surface area. Most fan motors will not like having restricted air flow and can fail. Rather than covering the face or back of the fan get a box big enough to cut out and fit the fan face to and seal it as best you can. Then cut out and put filter media on several sides of the box. Keep in mind as any filter traps particulate it becomes clogged and flow is reduced. The more surface area the longer you can effectively filter air.

  15. chuck roast

    Speaking of magic effects in animals…what magic must one perform to get one’s cat to eat his pill once per day on an empty stomach?

    One can try the magic of inserting the pill into the mouth of the feline. The magic is easily exposed when the critter claws one’s finger. Perhaps cutting the the pill in half and inserting the halfs in bits of chicken. The aura of this magic may last for a couple of days before the cat cops to the con. One could try crushing up a few kibbies and packing the dreaded morsel into a tidy little package. Forget it! Score a package of Magic Pill Packets at the pet store and fold the half-pills into little salmon treats. Fool me once…shame on you…fool me twice…shame on me.

    Prior to shipping the recalcitrant little buggah’ back to the pound, try this sleight of hand. While the fur-bag sits below you on the kitchen floor demanding his due, drop a couple of kibbies on the floor. This must be the routine during all dining periods. The hungry little squirt will vanish the kibs before you can say Yanis Varoufakis. (Unbeknown to the victim, you have prepared two Magic Pill Packets and coated them his favorite wet food) Casually drop the Magic Packets on the kitchen floor…they fall for this magic effect every time!

    I think I’ll put together a small tract on this magic trick complete handy illustrations and try to sell it at Tannen’s Magic Shop.

    1. Alex Cox

      With dogs, just give ’em some butter. They won’t think twice about the pill secreted within. I would guess that cats like butter, too.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      our cat (Bob) never fell for any of it, nor tolerated any manhandling…so he got his wish and is on his own as far as healthcare(he’s maybe 12, now)
      wiggly dog(Osa) gets into more things, and therefore gets sick and/or infected, so many things have been tried…but I think Bob has let the cat out of the bag, as it were…
      pill wrapped in ham: worked twice.
      Pill contents wrapped in ham: worked for longer, but now she won’t eat ham at all.
      so it was finger down the throat(my Eldest’s dog, so he got that job)…not fun.
      so off to the feed store I go, and obtain a contraption that looks like a gun that is sold for pushing a pill down a sheep’s throat.
      Boy holds wiggly dog, other boy hold’s wiggly dog’s head, and I pry the mouth open and slip the pill past the tongue.
      not ideal, at all…but saves our fingers and she gets her meds.
      If she could learn to avoid the cactus and such, it would be better.
      Tongue-lolling idiocy is why I’m a cat person.

    3. harrybothered

      I personally believe the pill popper is the greatest invention since sliced bread. My newest child is an extremely skittish little girl who has earned the nickname “Spooky.” Your method might work better with her. Thanks!

    4. km

      My cats are not fooled by the “dropped wet food” trick.

      One can be taken by pill pockets. Another will not (she will eat them, but only if they are empty). She also will not eat “liver-flavored” cat medicine, nor will she eat her food if it is tainted by medicine. She will steal other cats’ food, however.

      My youngest is a pistol.

  16. diptherio

    I haven’t been able to access DuckDuckGo for the last two days. It times out every time I try. I’m not having any other web problems, so I’m guessing this is something on DDG’s end. Anybody else having this problem?

    1. Carolinian

      Works for me just now and I use it practically every day. Rarely turn to Google any more. You might try clearing your cookies.

    2. Milton

      No problem here as well using desktop and mobile platforms. One thing that doesn’t work, though, are my .js rss feed compilers. My website, which is strictly a dump of personal-curated sources, shows nothing but blank columns. This is after working sucessfully for almost 15 years.

    3. BillC

      I had a problem for ca. 5 min. yesterday or the day before accessing DDG from Italy, then back to normal. Been fine since. Looking at Milton’s note above, I wonder if Akamai(?) or some such content propagator had a hiccup.

    1. Oh

      From the article:

      The Adams County charges filed Thursday stem from another event held outside of a north Aurora police station July 3, during which hundreds of demonstrators encircled the building for some 10 hours, preventing officers from leaving the building. The group effectively held 18 officers captive by barricading exits with ropes, boards and sandbags, prosecutors have alleged.

      “(Investigators) learned from reports completed by the 18 officers who were imprisoned inside District One that the environment inside was tense and concerning,” according court documents. “The anxiety and stress of the officers inside were extremely high. These officers were caught completely off guard when the protesters surrounded the station and did not have time to escape.”

      Ahhh. Poor babies. Now do you family bloggers understand the stress of families victims that you shoot without cause?

    1. edmondo

      No. Krystal is just filling up air time. We’ve had contested elections for a long time. The sun will rise on November 3rd.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Yep, Krystal made clear there is nothing to worry about because ” Trump is too lazy to be dictator”. Wow I was worried there for a second.
        Wikipedia list of all the unions endorsing Trump:

        Amtrak Fraternal Order of Police, representing 452[307]
        Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, representing 14,086[308]
        Colorado State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, representing 8,000[309]
        Delaware Fraternal Order of Police, representing 847[310]
        Florida Police Benevolent Association, representing 30,000[311]
        Fraternal Order of Police, representing 355,000[312]
        International Union of Police Associations, representing 19,200[313]
        Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, representing 14,000[314]
        Milwaukee Police Association, representing 1,868[315]
        National Association of Police Organizations, representing 362,000[316]
        National Border Patrol Council, representing 18,000[317]
        New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police, representing 5,000[318]
        New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, representing 33,000[319]
        New York City Police Benevolent Association, representing 24,000[320]
        New York State Police Investigators Association, representing 1,200[321]
        New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, representing 6,000[322]
        Police Officers Association of Michigan, representing 10,000[323]
        Public Safety Alliance of Nevada, representing 10,000[324]
        Retired Police Association of New York, representing 5,000[325]
        Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, representing 2,349[326]
        Texas Municipal Police Association, representing 30,000[327]
        Tucson Police Officer’s Association, representing 807[328]
        West Allis Professional Police Association, representing 115[329]

        Anyone notice a trend here?

        1. pjay

          Wow. Police unions supporting the right-wing “law and order” candidate! The world’s turned upside down!

          Yes, there are a lot of racist, sadistic cops. For many reasons the job selects for this. And yes, those who head various PBA’s or FOP’s tend to be even more right wing than the rank-and-file. But do you honestly think that cops, overall, are *more* racist, sadistic, or corrupt than they were in, say, the 1960s?? Do you think Trump’s boy’s are doing anything different than what Nixon’s did? Or Mayor Daley’s? Are the instances of police murder and brutality under Trump somehow worse than those under Obama?

          We are *aware* of it more now, thanks to cell phones and social media. That is a good thing, in my view, as are the protests (that had *widespread* public support — early on). But urban police forces have many more minority cops today, including at the top. The structural problems are still with us — since police forces exist first of all to *preserve* the existing order. But as bad as things still are, I can’t believe anyone who knows anything of the history of policing in LA, Chicago, NY, or elsewhere could argue that cops are *more* racist, sadistic, or fascist than they were 50 years ago.

          Here is the trend I’ve noticed. Police forces are more *militarized* today. They are more integrated with state and federal agencies. “Fusion” centers connect police forces with the FBI and other national security and “counter-intelligence” operations as well as a massive surveillance apparatus. Yeah, Trump can use this repressive infrastructure to some extent. But he doesn’t control it, certainly not at the top, and he didn’t construct it.

          Trump is a racist demagogue. All right-wing politicians are, whatever their political party. Demagogues scapegoat the powerless. Nothing new. Krystal is right, however, about Trump; he’s too lazy and incompetent to be a dictator, and, FFS, he is *opposed* by most of the real powers that be.

          My worry is that when the next Dick Chaney gets elected president he’ll be supported by these people and know how to use this power.

          1. Pookah Harvey

            What will the “real powers” do when Trump shows his first election wasn’t a fluke and he has the power to hang on to the presidency with force. Trump has given the oligarchs everything they could imagine, any opposition is only because he embarrasses them. If they really opposed him would the Impeachment have been so inept?

            I’m not saying anything is inevitable. But just listen to Trump and the people that are supporting him. Again, for the umpteenth time, the odds for a fascist take-over are slim, but then again there is an 83.3% chance of having nothing to worry about when playing Russian Roulette. That is not a good reason to play the game.

            In January what odds did everyone give that a novel coronavirus would shut down the world economically? Risk management doesn’t just look at the odds of a worst case scenario, but the seriousness of that case.

            I have a hard time worrying about a Dick Cheney smarter wolf roaming somewhere out in the forest when I have a dumb wolf trying to break in the front door right now.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “this electrical transmission tower has a little problem. can you spot it? ”

    Fascinating series of tweets here. I wonder if they could use drones carrying cameras with telescopic lenses to do inspections for those old towers. The company seems to have gamed the system about who is to blame unless…unless California brings out a law that all gross profits from that company must by law go into inspection and repair work and that until it is complete, no executive can receive a bonus or extra payment beyond what is reasonable for an executive to receive. Probably would never happen though. That would be too dangerous a precedent that.

    1. ewmayer

      Drones would seem an obvious thing to try, but the Tweet series in question makes clear that even when PG&E’s regimen of helicopter-based inspections uncovered problems, they cheaped out on the needed repairs – I’ve combined text from several tweets:

      …and yes, PG&E is legally required to inspect these towers periodically. we don’t know exactly when, because (you guessed it) no records from before the year 2000.

      …the investigating team interviewed troublemen (inspectors for PG&E) to find out exactly how they did the inspections. they were done mostly from helicopters. and despite having official procedures, here’s what they did ✅is the tower still standing?

      …just to pile it on a little more, here’s another tower nearby. at some point, the jumper conductor broke, but to fix it, they just pulled it tight and spliced it. think: someone looked at this, with the taught [sic] conductor and the insulator pulled up sideways, and said “good enough”.

      …there’s even documented evidence that PG&E knew about the problem with the C hooks and hangers and yet did nothing.

      Century-old cast-iron C hooks should’ve been mandated to be replaced by steel ones on a rolling basis over, say, the last 50 years, whether they showed obvious wear or not. But even when they found obvious problems, they used jury-rigged ‘fixes’ to save money. It’s crookery all the way down … and LOL at the laughable $4 million fine they got in the wake of the camp fire. So much for governor I’m-too-sexy-for-my-shirt Newsom “holding PG&E to account.” But I’m sure PG&E having been one of Newsom’s biggest campaign contributors had nothing to do with that. /s

    2. upstater

      I recently read that of the 10 largest drone manufacturers in the world, 2 are grid systems in China. Surprise: none are in the US. A few US systems are using drones for inspection.

      But the MQ9 Reapers fly out of our local commercial airport and fly lazy loops over Syracuse. One went down in Lake Ontario a few years back, cause unknown and never recovered. Waiting for it to happen over a subdivision.

  18. pjay

    Re: ‘A Path Forward on Reparations?’ – Democracy

    When I first saw the title I immediately thought the worst, but this is actually a good article. To begin with, the advocates being discussed are two African American scholars who do good historical work, and not some white, Ivy-educated, clueless Id-pol “liberal.” But more important, the article’s author discusses the many problems with reparations — practical, political, and ethical. And he also says this:

    “One idea would be to merge Darity and Mullen’s ideas about supporting wealth accumulation with a principle enunciated in the 1960s by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: that reparations should be extended to underprivileged people of all races, all of whom are hurting, through a broad, racially inclusive, Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged.”

    “King offered three valuable insights.”

    “First, precisely because of America’s terrible history of slavery and segregation, a Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged would disproportionately benefit Black people…”

    “Second, King saw that while racial discrimination is a central source of inequality in American society, it is not the exclusive one. Deprivation matters too…”

    “Third, King knew that class-based programs have the potential to unite working-class people across racial lines, where race-based programs divide the very political constituencies that make up the progressive coalition…”

    “Today, there is an additional concern, which is that reparations could become a political weapon that Donald Trump—or his successors—would surely exploit.”

    Wise words. Let’s not add “reparations” to “white fragility” and a “defense of looting” to our “anti-Trump” platform. MLK understood, as does this author, how divide-and-rule works, and how it is overcome.

  19. Pelham

    Re reparations: I suggest a simple line in federal tax returns that allows payers to designate a certain percentage of their taxes for reparations. Since taxes don’t fund federal spending, there would be no cost to the government.

    And while we’re at it, we could also add a line that allows taxpayers to designate what percentage of federal spending should be directed to defense and intelligence services and what percentage should go to all other purposes.

  20. Wukchumni

    The Big Smoke NYRB
    Sydney will always be the Big Smoke, not that we aren’t trying.

    Both Sequoia & Yosemite NP’s have closed down due to the awfulness of what’s lurking (550 AQI in Giant Forest yesterday) in the air. I’m resigned to hanging out in the great indoors, contemplating an offer from our brother in law in Colorado to escape, and in the process torture 5 cats for around 1,100 miles of driving, I can hear their plaintive wails now somewhere around Barstow, pleading to be let off in a meth mecca, oh the humanity!

    1. crittermom

      Here in southern Colorado we’ve been getting some smoke, despite the fact the fires are far away. Nearby mountain range disappears some days.

      Not sure what part of the state your brother-in-law lives? We’ve had our share of fires here too, this year, including the largest on record (beating out the Hayman Fire that came too close to my former home).

      Not sure you can escape the smoke, but I suspect it would be an improvement over your neck of the woods.

  21. Duck1

    For those who have reached “a plague on both your houses” level of interparty political insight, the latest Kunstler column might be humorous:

    “Okay, it being the case that Princeton officially claims to be a “racist” institution, the DOE has opened an investigation into Title VI violations under US Civil Rights law so as to recover the $75-million in federal funding Princeton has received since Mr. Eisgruber became president of the institution in 2013. “

  22. Laputan

    RE: Feeling Like an Outcast

    Or when a white working-class voter is willing to suffer from an inflamed liver rather than vote for the Affordable Care Act, he is acting in the interests of the collective superiority of his dominant white male caste that rebukes any shared solidarity with those lower than him on the caste order.

    And what about the undoubtedly numerous under-insured who recently cast their vote for Biden instead of a functioning first-world healthcare system? Funny how this logic only cuts one way.

  23. Wukchumni

    Out, damned spot fire! Out, I say!—One, two. (with apologies to Billy)

    A backfire and southerly winds turned the main westerly flame back onto itself and it mostly starved to death for lack of forest to forage, but the advance guard is not so easily vanquished with half a dozen spot fires a few miles lower towards the South Fork of the Kaweah, and the largest of them is 4 miles from the fire’s edge, almost akin to an old army fort, as its burning @ South Fork Crossing where the trail crosses the river. We spent a night there in late May, before descending into the Garfield Grove on the morrow.

    Wildfires are nature’s way of us learning where remote places are on the map, and its getting more intimate as i’ve trod upon many a trail and near everything named, so as to know the lay of the land like the back of my hand (it’s a bad comparison that one-as if anybody could tell the back of their hand when presented with a dozen different in which to differentiate) and to compare the aloft waffe now in familiar turf to Stukas early in WW2 might be apt.

  24. Rod

    thanks for the work around–

    Oil-industry lobbyists have been fighting state and federal efforts to increase the bonding, arguing it would hurt jobs and economic growth during an already tough time for the industry.

    States and the federal government have many sources of funding available to reclaim and plug abandoned wells,” said Reid Porter, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, the country’s largest oil and gas trade group.

    The API spent $1.44 million in the first quarter of 2020 lobbying on Capitol Hill, with oil well bonding legislation one of the target issues, lobbying disclosures show.

    I believe Reid Porter is all for Privatized Profits and Socialized Costs

    the bold I highlighted for “sources of funding” does not include the Bonded Money

    I was looking for the ‘actual’ mechanical process involves and came across this

    But a solution??–lots of Graphics made the point on employment

    My Interest?? Our Ohio Homeplace has a 38 yr old well adjacent that was swabed last winter and now pumps for 4 hrs a day–after the swab an oil sheen appeared in a low area of our century orchard and stayed visible for over a month

  25. Tom Denman

    Facebook Accused of Watching Instagram Users Through Cameras Bloomberg (in links)

    If you insist on keeping an uncovered cell phone camera or a live mic (e.g. Alexa, smart television) in your home, don’t complain if you get spied upon by Big Tech, the NSA or the creepy guy who lives down the street.

  26. jr

    I’m sitting here attempting to channel Bob Marley through my one-hitter and a thought-event occurred. Years ago while working in a non-profit school I overhead a young African American woman exclaim “It’s a culture of poverty!” regarding a recalcitrant Adult Ed student. It stuck with me because it was a progressive woman of color referring to a theory that was quite conservative in origin, to my understanding.

    But this was before I encountered, perhaps before it had even coagulated into an ideology actually, the Woke.

    So now if the notion of a “culture of poverty” is widespread in Woke culture, which I don’t know that it is to be clear, then the Woke’s disdain for white poverty and their ready handed exploitation of POC poverty while offering nothing in return makes a lot of sense. It’s more through the looking glass othering and alienation: the poor have their own distinct “culture” that has to be respected as a symbol of oppression (and a source of elite self mortification) but which cannot be bridged by actual economic action. Kind of a twist-a-roo on the conservative version I heard years ago.

    But I don’t know that that idea, reflectively or not, has any purchase in Woke culture.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me.

  27. km

    The Predatory State, a brief experience:

    I live in a nice neighborhood. Among my vehicles is an older minivan that I don’t drive all that much. I got a “tow notice” a couple days ago – that car has to be moved or it will be towed as an abandoned vehicle within 48 hours. I moved the car. Just like I was asked to.

    Well, the minivan got towed anyway. So I called the police, determined that it had been towed, and spoke with the duty officer. I was told to move the minivan, I moved it. So why was it towed?

    I was told that my minivan had previously sat for a 48 hour period at various times before I received the tow notice, so the police were entitled to tow it.

    No, that’s not how it works. You can’t give me a speeding ticket because I may have been speeding in the past, if I am driving the speed limit at the time when you have the radar gun pointed at me. If I let a car sit for 48 hours at any time in the past and then move it, that doesn’t give you the right foreverafter to tow it.

    The cop then reminded me that he has the “legitimate right” to tow any auto, any time, anywhere, for any reason. By this point, I was expecting him to tell me that I needed to respect his authoritah.

    I asked the officer in question what my rights are of appeal. Of course, there are none. He was honestly shocked that anyone would ask for such a thing.

    After I made some phone calls, I got a sheepish call back from said cop, telling me that the fine and fees were waived.

    I still have to get the car. So I go to the impound lot, documentation in hand. Needless to say that the impound office is on the other side of town from the lot. So I have to go to the office and get a piece of paper to get my car from the lot. If there were a fee, that would be cash, exact change only.

    The office is not marked anywhere and cannot be seen from the street. In fact, it is in the back of a building. Needless to say, all this is entirely intentional.

    So I find the office, get the piece of paper and head to the lot itself, then wait another half hour for someone to show up, then go find my car. An employee shadowed me the entire time to make sure I didn’t steal anything.

    One of the tires was damaged. I had to leave and fix that. Came back to the lot, had to wait again. I was lucky in that I arrived early, before everything closed for the evening. (Which would mean another day’s storage fees, for most people.)

    Finally got my old minivan out of jail and gave it to a local charity that teaches excons to repair cars and gives donated autos to people in need.

    TL:DR – I am lucky. I have a job that I can make calls from work, I can take take a half a day off with no notice or repercussions, so that I can spend my time arguing with law enforcement and quasi-law enforcement employees. I also have enough pull that I can insist on my rights, even though that wasn’t why the local Franco wannabe backed off. If I had to, I have the resources to appeal. Finally, it’s not as if I needed this minivan to get to work for my shift.

    Once I finally got back to the office, I called my father (redneck combat veteran and former inner city cop, brother of another redneck combat veteran inner city cop) and told my Dad that I really don’t like cops. I mean, I should like cops. I’m the sort of person that they are here to protect and to serve. I own property and business, I’m generally not a criminal, except in the “three felonies a day” sense. In fact, when I was a kid, I used to be a big of cops.

    So what happened? Was it I that had changed or was it the cops had changed?

    My father told me that it was the cops that had changed.

    I thought to myself that maybe I’d feel differently if I were just robbed, but that feeling has been with me for a long time now.

    1. ocop

      I know it’s not likely to get read at this point, but thank you for this. I’ve had a similarly nagging concern about “what’s changed”. I will pose a similar question to a somewhat disillusioned former combat veteran and (current) inner city cop acquaintance. He won’t have the historical perspective, but is the type of person who would loath having a random minivan towed.

  28. Left in Wisconsin

    Thanks for that Baffler piece on Seattle. My guess is he has it right: consolidation, when it comes, will be in South Carolina.

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    About ” Housekeepers face a disaster generations in the making” . . .

    At the moral-ethical level, some of the housekeeper-hirers may be too sick and weak to clean and keep their own houses. But one suspects that most of them are strong and healthy enough to clean and keep their own houses. For that ” most of them”, hiring a housekeeper shows their lack of any character whatsoever.

    The “most of them” bad-actor house-owners in particular deserve to lose their houses and deserve to live out their lives sleeping under Bill Clinton’s ” bridge to the twenty-first century”.

  30. RMO

    “Why passenger jets could soon be seen flying in formation” – Well, as long as we’re only talking about a few of them doing this as an experiment then, yeah I suppose we might be seeing this though rarely. As far as this being used in the real world the idea is awe-inspiringly impractical on a vast number of levels.

    If they really want to reduce fuel burn maybe they could revive the unducted-fan engine projects from the 90s. Cabin noise was still a problem with them but the main reason they were dropped was a decline in fuel prices at the time.

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