Links 9/19/2020

This Lovely Cat Feels And Acts Like He’s Not Any Different From His ‘Brothers’ (30 Pics) Bored Panda

Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra survives impeachment vote Al Jazeera

No Time But the Present Harper’s

Stanley Crouch, Towering Jazz Critic, Dead At 74 NPR

Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens and the long road to reaction New Statesman

After billion-dollar disasters, here’s what the US’ fall weather has in store Ars Technica

20 Minutes in Nature a Day Is Your Ticket to Feeling Better TreeHugger

‘Shocking’: wilderness the size of Mexico lost worldwide in just 13 years, study finds Guardian

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87 New York Times

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies, Shaking 2020 Race American Conservative

Mitch McConnell vows US Senate will push on with Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg Guardian

RBG Death Means Two-Headed Uniparty Will Threaten Americans With Removal Of Civil Rights Caitlin Johnstone

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and legal pioneer for gender equality, dies at 87 WaPo

What’s next in the Senate’s colossal Supreme Court fight Politico

Here’s who might succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court New York Post Republican wish-list, assuming that Trump successfully makes the appointment.


Coronavirus cases top 30 million worldwide as WHO warns of ‘alarming’ spread in Europe SCMP

Coronavirus: why aren’t death rates rising with case numbers? Conversation

Boris Johnson warns that a second wave of coronavirus is ‘inevitable’ – and UK could have ‘on-off’ restrictions until spring amid concerns people are flouting ‘rule of six’ Daily Mail

New UK lockdown likely sooner rather than later, ex-advisor warns Reuters

An expert’s take on what the U.S., U.K did wrong in Covid-19 communications — and what others did right Stat

Covid-19: Lockdown in parts of Madrid amid virus spike BBC

Donald Trump’s April vaccine forecast puts him at odds with experts FT

The pandemic paused the US school-to-prison pipeline: potential lessons learned The Lancet

CDC dramatically restores COVID-19 testing advice marred by political meddling Ars Technica

COVID-19: a stress test for trust in science The Lancet

Sports Desk

IPL 2020: The players who could become new cricket superstars BBC

Class Warfare

The Roots of American Misery Project Syndicate. James K. Galbraith. Today’s must-read.

The rich and the rest Times Literary Supplement

New Eviction Moratoriums ‘a Band-Aid,’ Say Housing Advocates Capital & Main

1,800 NC Nurses Win Biggest Union Drive in South in a Decade – 3,800 GE Workers Move to Strike in Louisville – Michigan Graduate Employees End Strike Payday Report. Mike Elk.

Crossing the Picket Line: What You Need to Know About Strikes Teen Vogue. Kim Kelly. From earlier this month yet still germane.

Yelp is Screwing Over Restaurants By Quietly Replacing Their Phone Numbers Vice

Julian Assange

West Coast Wildfires

Toxic Wildfire Haze Leaves Damage Long After It Clears TruthOut

Summer of U.S. Disasters Set Records, Left Trail of Ruin Bloomberg

Heart of fire Agence France-Presse

Oil Companies Are Profiting From Illegal Spills. And California Lets Them. ProPublica

Waste Watch

New Jersey governor signs landmark environmental justice bill with big permit implications Waste Dive

Refugee Watch

Merkel Losing Her Patience with Lack of EU Solidarity Der Spiegel


Beijing says firms on ‘unreliable entities list’ will be banned from trading with, investing in China SCMP


India swings like a pendulum between China and US Asia Times

50 years ago, I and five other Indian women scaled a virgin Himalayan peak. Not all of us came back Scroll


Another step towards Middle East ‘peace’ which is anything but – at least for the Palestinians Independent Robert Fisk


Boris Johnson is failing so badly because he still thinks like a newspaper columnist – a disastrous weakness during this crisis Independent. Patrick Cockburn.


Where Is Joe Biden’s Ground Game? Jacobin

Fiscal fizzle saps U.S. economic recovery, a possible boost to Biden Reuters


In America’s Blood London Review Of Books

Trump Transition

Coast Guard accused of boater suppression Duffelblog

White House Vows To Have Something To Stick Into Your Arm By October The Onion

Before Election, Trump Tries To Stack Prison-Sentencing Agency With Right Wing Allies Marshall Project

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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    1. The Rev Kev

      Obviously BadBunnytwitch has the memory of a goldfish. Yes, Obama tried to convince RBG to retire but she refused. But consider this. When you think about what sort of person Obama was and how he folded continuously to Republican demands, can you imagine the sort of judge that Obama would have nominated to the bench in RBG’s place? It would have been a hard-right judge who was extremely business friendly and that would have been completely acceptable to people like Mitch McConnell. Bonus points if that judge had problems with the Roe v. Wade decision too.

      1. KFritz

        I respecffully disagree. She didn’t retire because she was stubborn, vain, and felt “irreplaceable.” Now she’s headed to the same place as all the other “irreplaceables.” I’m using nearly the same language as I used while she was alive. May she rest in peace anyway.

                1. Basil Pesto

                  compulsory retirement? why? what if you’re not civically employed and you don’t want to retire? why 62?

          1. flora

            re: SC term limit.

            Then they’d be just like DC politicians with an eye out for their next job prospects. Better to leave it as a lifetime appointment.

            Many step down in old old age. Douglas famously did not. Brennan did. A few, like Goldberg, left the Court to accept ambassadorships.

            1. none

              Douglas stepped down but then tried to keep judging cases even after retirement, until they told hm to stuff it.

          2. chuck roast

            Nah, 18 years. Every Prez. appoints two. A re-elected Prez. gets to appoint four total plus for the guy who croaks or quits (to finish their term). Welcome to the return of judicial humility and stare decisis.

          3. Kurtismayfield

            Way too short.. they would be looking to become lobbyists or professors after they were done.

            18 years.. three times a senate term.. with a minimum age like the President… Maybe older.

        1. a different chris

          BadBunny’s feelings are mine exactly. “Obama”– yeah, not my favorite president but she crossed 80 freaking years old during his presidency.

          She should have retired 22 years ago, at 65 like most everybody else. They all need to, why are we run by cosseted/sheltered octogenarians and I don’t even know what the term is for people in their 90’s.

          1. Ping

            Yea, I’m mad at her too. Smacks of ego and should have retired in Obama’s mid term at that age with bouts of cancer. What a gamble assuming Hillary would win and appoint her replacement if that story is true. The Supremes should definitely have term limits. Now we have to endure another firestorm of controversy…..

      2. Spring Texan

        Exactly. Ginsberg said that if she left Obama would not appoint anyone NEARLY as good, and she was right.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Sotomayor and Kagan are clearly better than Ginsburg. Garland didn’t have the profile to make anyone care, but Ginsburg was picked to avoid Republicans being mean to him.

          1. edmondo

            Sotomayor and Kagan were picked because they loved the Imperial Presidency and that was Obama’s minimum requirement for a choice. RBG was a giant compared to those two bootlickers

            1. FluffytheObeseCat

              And her replacement will be a young middle aged ultrarightist who will mire this nation in oligarchy and oil for the next 4 decades. Because she died before Trump and McConnell did.

          2. none

            Ginberg was actually nominated by Orrin Hatch, if I remember right (Hatch gave Ginsberg’s name to Bill Clinton, saying the GOP would be willing to confirm her).

    2. Clive

      Here in the U.K. there was a time around the mid 1980’s (aided and abetted by the right wing popular press which leapt upon it, but there was an actual real hobbyhorse for it to leap on) when the left of politics did all, or a lot of, the right’s work for it. Labelled as the “looney left”, not a few on the contemporary left of politics at the time really should have kept their mouths shut and stayed a gazillion miles from politics. Everything they seemed to do set the cause back an entire political cycle.

      I’m getting the same sinking feeling about the left, or the of-the-left, now.

      1. Arizona Slim

        It isn’t just a U.K. thing, Clive. I’m seeing an increase in, shall we say, people who need to work on other issues before they get involved in politics.

        Got a long, rambling email from one of them yesterday. From what I could discern, this individual was quite upset about a recent Tucson City Council vote. What to do about it? Well, there was something in the email about organizing.

        Ummm, sir, when you talk about organizing, could you please start with organizing what you’re writing before hitting the “send” button? Pretty please?

        1. Eclair

          Someone, involved with labor organizing, I listened to last week on a podcast while painting said it: “organizing” is not “event-planning.”

          1. Oh

            I remember one community organizer who turned out to be a shill for big business. He helped rentiers remove people from public housing in Chicago so that the housing could be sold on the cheap.

            1. Eclair

              Oh, do cease from trying to blacken the entire concept of ‘organizing.’ One shilly organizer does not mean all organizers are shilly.

              1. hunkerdown

                How do you keep Chuck Rocha from abandoning the farm when your ability to deny them the fruits of predation is approximately nil and surrounded by daily reinforced taboos praising luxury and leisure and imploring us all to value them, not desecrate them?

                The point is one of control. A cadre that whatabouts the privileges and status of the middle class, that is, the (whip)crackers and guard labor, or other liberal values isn’t controlled and can’t be trusted. The left needs a facultative predator that they can control and who will not turn on them, ever, no matter what fitness-enhancing resources the system will dispense to them for turning, or who can be suitably neutralized when/if they do turn.

            2. km

              Didn’t said organizer then move on to bigger and better grifts?

              But he sure touted his experience as an organizer to convince some of his bona fides.

            3. fresno dan

              September 19, 2020 at 9:39 am

              Are you talking about Obama? Cause I kinda think your talking about Obama, and if your not talking about Obama, it could still fit…Obama

      2. David

        Yes, I remember that time well, although most of the “far-left” figures of the day would be regarded now as hopelessly un-woke and probably neo-fascists to boot. And although the right-wing media was certainly guilty of a lot, the Left was not obliged to provide them with free ammunition. One of Neil Kinnock’s many virtues was that he was able to rein in some of the excesses without compromising the basic radicalism of the Labour Party. He might well have won in 1987, had it not been for the Liberal Democrats splitting the anti-Tory vote.
        But more generally, leading with your chin in politics is simply stupid. I have finally decided that the “Left” (to the extent it deserves the name) no longer wants to win, as in take power and run the country. What’s new, you might say, because the Left has always been frightened of power. But the difference is that today you can ave a fine and prosperous political career without ever having to take hard decisions, so your behaviour is not addressed to the electorate at all, since you despise them, but is rather designed to further your political ambitions inside your own little cocoon. Elections, meanwhile, will be won by magic, by social media, and by the voters just doing what they are told.

        1. Person

          There are people in the Left who want to win, but nobody on the Left wants to lead except for grifters. The few who do want to lead (and who are capable of doing so) are immediately buried by the neoprogressive-corporate alliance.

          The Left needs a system to grow and protect real leadership.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          This ‘Leftist’ most certainly thinks about how to take power. And after being disillusioned by the in fighting over Idpol BS in these circles, Ive thought about it even more.

          Either we focus on local/state offices with Economic Populism or we control the Means of Production.

    3. remmer

      RBG should have retired under Obama. He would have replaced her with a milquetoast liberal like Merrick Garland, but did she really think Hillary would have made a better appointment? Does anyone now think that a President Biden would do better? Nixon turned the Court sharply to the right with his four appointments, Reagan turned it further to the right, and GWB and Trump have created the most conservative, pro-business Court since the Taft Court. RBG had to know that, and that a future Republican president would likely make a much worse appointment than Obama or Hillary would make. She should have retired under Obama.

      1. edmondo

        What makes you think that McConnell would have given that nominee a vote? Do you have amnesia about what happened after the Scalia vacancy?

          1. Procopius

            Yes, I do. There was a period of a little over a month, from the beginning of July to the middle of August, 2009, when they actually had 58 Senators. After Wossisname from Massachusets was elected to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, the Democrats only had 57 Senators plus the sometime support of two Independents. 59 is not enough to end debate. Since January, 2009, 60 Senators constitutes a working majority in the Senate. Now, you may argue that the two Independents voted with the Democratic Caucus, but Weepin’ Joe Lieberman was nursing a white-hot grudge against the Democratic party (remember he campaigned for McCain). The argument that the Democrats had a majority depends on a false memory that 50 + the Vice President is a majority. Not since 2009, it isn’t. Oh, and the filibuster was still in effect for Supreme Court nominees until 2017. The Republicans nuked it, so the Democrats can’t use it.

            1. edmondo

              BTW – the last time the dems had control of the senate was 2011. They lost the senate in the elections of 2010.

              1. marym

                112th 2011–2013 (D) 51 (R) 47) (I-caucus with D’s) 2
                113th 2013–2015 (D) 53 (R) 45) (I-caucus with D’s) 2

              2. Procopius

                The Democrats did not have control of the Senate after Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts in 2009. After that they only had 57 Senators. 57 is not enough to force cloture. Have you forgotten the filibuster? My memory is that there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth at the time. The Republicans used the filibuster more times in 2009 alone than it had been used in the entire history of the Republic.

                1. Phemfrog

                  They Dems repeatedly ignored calls to kill the filibuster at that time. They refused because of “civility” or some other norms BS. We all knew and raged openly that the Republicans would do it soon anyway, so we might as well use it to our advantage to pass some good legislation with material benefits for the people. But they refused. Stop excusing their inaction and see it for what it really is. They don’t WANT to pass laws that help the 99%.

        1. remmer

          Obama nominated Garland in March 2016, seven months before voters would elect a new president. McConnell’s BS argument for blocking Garland was entirely based on that fact. Could even the ruthlessly partisan McConnell have pulled off such an unprecedented move in 2015? 2014? By assuming he could have you’re not offering a good argument for RBG’s sound political judgment but an excuse for her selfishness.

          1. John k

            So we got to have her instead of some right winger acceptable to the reps for 5 years. IMO a good deal.
            Plus we’ll see what trump does with the election nigh… if he picks the Cuban Hispanic woman he elevated last year to the fed circuit, she might well be better than whoever Obama offered up… and remember how much he hated to fight with reps, always caved at the start. She would be overwhelmingly approved.

      2. anon in so cal

        Biden do better re: SCOTUS? Unlikely

        “We should also consider the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Biden was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee back in 1991, when his Senate committee was responsible for considering the sexual harassment allegations that Anita Hill levied at Thomas. Using his influence, Biden decided against allowing the committee to conduct a full investigation into Hill’s claims, instead opting for quicker hearings. He also refused to allow public testimony from witnesses who could support Hill’s accusations, and he made no attempt to shield Hill from the sexist attacks perpetuated by Republican members of the committee.

        Finally, Biden allowed Thomas to testify before and after Hill, whereby giving him the advantage of having the first and last words. Given how Biden has misogynistically treated other women, the way he conducted these hearings are not at all surprising.

        While Biden ultimately did not vote for Thomas, the hearings were a complete and utter disgrace and further highlights his terrible Supreme Court record. No amount of milquetoast apologies will undo the damage that his “leadership” did to the Supreme Court and for victims of sexual harassment….”

  1. Richard H Caldwell

    In re: Yelp substituting restaurant phone #s with those of middlemen —

    Can you say “class-action fraud lawsuit”? Why isn’t the National Restaurant Assoc. out front on this?

  2. Lee

    Talk about naked capitalism: an augmented conservative majority on the supreme court will further reveal the court’s bias in favor of economic and social inequality. Let the disrobing begin.

    I’m going over to “the worse things get, the better” crowd. Not out of principle, but because it seems to be the only game in town.

    1. rob

      the fork in the road is passed….we are going down the road of ” things will get worse”… and the eternal hope of “it will be for the better” for those who push on… can always have hope… that the light at the end of the tunnel ISN’T a train…. but hey even if it is…
      ‘ as those who have faith can say,” and this too shall pass”…
      and it shall… and the sun will return to our sky and the light will be…
      oh damn… another train.

        1. polecat

          What trains are those, one might ask? ….

          Why .. the Acela-Steamed Grift-engines, of course!

          “All NOT Aboaarrrdddd!”

          1. ambrit

            Under that particular banner is a not very widely advertised local news banner that says: “Neighbourhood Militia Sign-ups Saturday Mornings at the High School Gym.”
            Blast! I put it in the wrong place!
            Please, kill me with fire!

      1. lupe

        you forgot “we’re all in this together.” My very rich small suburb has had a banner with that over the main road for months and months and months…

        1. ambrit

          Under that banner is a not very widely advertised local news banner that says:
          “Neighbourhood Militia Sign-ups Saturday Mornings at the High School Gym.”

    2. Big River Bandido

      The Supreme Court has already had a conservative majority, since George W. Bush. That majority includes Clarence Thomas, who Biden put on the Court. So there’s that.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Yes, there’s “that.”

        With armies of lawyers amassing on both sides in anticipation of all kinds of legal challenges to whatever happens in this election, not to mention the exhortations for biden to never “concede,” a supreme court that’s down one “liberal” member will most likely get involved.

        It’s worth wondering whether clarence thomas will feel beholden to biden for humiliating Anita Hill and refusing to allow corroboration of thomas’ slime from the other witnesses who were prepared to confirm hill’s story, and making thomas look scummier than he already did.

        thomas owes biden a lot. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like if he decides to return the favor with a court that’s one “justice” light.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          I read this bizarre quote. Apparently “Just days before her death, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that her “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” according to a new report.

          Installed? Wha?

              1. ambrit

                “The Anchurian Candidate,” as related by “Creepy” Joe O’Biden.
                Thinking about this reference, I must admit that “speaking truth to power” has been a necessary and honourable pursuit for ever.
                OHenry wrote that book at about the time that Smedley Butler was active in the fight to keep the Caribbean “safe for corpocracy.” Just a list of the times American troops “intervened” in Central America tells the true story of the application of the Monroe Doctrine.

        2. Big River Bandido

          I truly do not think it will come to that. Trump is a weak candidate but he has a much stronger machine behind him. From the structural factors alone that will inhibit turnout, I anticipate a clear plurality for Trump.

      2. neo-realist

        If Thomas had not been confirmed, another noxious conservative would have been nominated and eventually confirmed by Bush I. It’s not all on Biden. Dems weren’t in the drivers seat to put enough of a stamp on the Supreme process to get a reasonable appointment.

        1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          Yes, let’s not oppose what’s wrong, because we’re not all-powerful. Or: we should vote to smash those pretending they are “opposition”, so actual opposition can arise. A completely faux “opposer” party, led by a man with a 47 year track record of right wing horribleness like his Anita Hill takedown, is worse than useless. The more we let them get away with the “where else are they going to go?” crap, all while moving further and further right, the further anything “progressive” will recede from view.

        2. Big River Bandido

          In 1991, Joe Biden was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had the power of approval or disapproval over the nominee. So yes, the Democrats were in fact “in the driver’s seat”. And in fact, no person besides George H.W. Bush had as much power over that nomination’s fate as Biden. The chairman’s gavel comes with almost unlimited power to control every aspect of the committee, and when that committee’s job is nominations, the gavel is exceptionally powerful. Biden could have stopped it from even coming to a vote on his own prerogatives. Thomas’ nomination wouldn’t even have been tenured without Biden’s prior approval — and no doubt having given it, Biden felt bound to deliver, even if it meant he had to lynch Anita Hill.

          That’s the guy liberals tell us will save the Supreme Court. Fat chance.

          1. neo-realist

            He could turned Thomas down and it would have been conservative after conservative put up until Bush I got his guy. He could have run out the clock theoretically but political pressure would not have allowed it. He also got the ok from some black misleadership types deluded into thinking Thomas might be Thurgood Marshall light. Biden isn’t gonna save it due to way too much damage by Republican Presidents stacking the district courts and the Supremes with hard core righties, but he certainly doesn’t make things worst.

        3. Big Tap

          Clarence Thomas should never of had a chance to be a Supreme Court Justice. If Thurgood Marshall didn’t resign and did what Ginsberg did stay till death it would of been a Bill Clinton pick. Thurgood Marshall did not die until January 24, 1993 in Clinton’s term.

  3. jr

    “ Iowa was hardest hit, with over 40 percent of its croplands damaged by winds”

    Good lord, 40%. Corn, soy, hay, and oats are the primary crops. I wonder what the fallout will be in the food supply chain.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If Iowa was smart, it should cancel any ethanol contracts that they have and reserve the surviving corn for food. I see that 53 percent (or 1.3 billion bushels) of Iowa corn goes to ethanol production and since oil is relatively cheap, that may be the way to go if they can.

      1. Oji

        Good bet much of the remaining corn is field corn, not sweet corn, so it cannot be reserve for food– not for humans anyway.

        1. Morlock

          Adding large quantities high fructose corn syrup and salt should markedly improve the gruel’s taste. Cheap and flavorful, perfect for the times. Get out your spoon and bowl, dinner is being served!

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          corn is also pretty low nutrient…see Pelagra(unless you soak it in lye, see: nixtamitalisation(or something to that effect))
          also pretty bad for one’s teeth, as a lot of the deer around here can attest to.
          on the other hand….there’s Moonshine!
          instead of government cheese, we could have government ‘Shine handed out to all the unemployed and homeless and otherwise useless eaters(a rapidly expanding demographic)…almost certain to ramp up the Deaths of Despair, Internecine Violence, incipient Hobbesian Civil War and exploding livers.
          Like a GOP Climate Change Mitigation Plan, wherein the numerous Sacrifice Zones are depopulated and allowed to Return to Nature.
          Something for everybody!
          ‘Shine is pretty flammable, too…for to burn down the now useless infrastructure in Flyover, coincident, Naturally, with the above enumerated violence and strife.

          ….whew!…after that un-looked-for ejaculation of hypercynicism, I think I’ll turn off the intertubes and go forth and do the necessary roof work, before Hurricane Beta’s perturbation of the gravity field necessitates bedrest and bingewatching Stargate SG-1(I’ve got a crush on Samantha Carter)

          1. Eclair

            I forgot all about ‘shine,’ in my corn comment, Amfortas.

            Alcohol is a great ‘value-added’ use of grain and carb crops. In 18th/19th century Sweden, the State issued licenses to farms, giving them the right to distill a certain amount of their (mostly) potato crop into alcohol. Aquavit! The amount one could produce was based on the size of the farm … land plus people, I would guess. The aquavit was highly valued, better at staving off the physical and spiritual discomforts of dark, cold, snow, constant poverty and the-always-immanent, for the contract farmworkers, threat of job-loss and eviction. Drunkenness was looked upon as a moral failing, instead of as a rather rational response to an unjust social and economic system. Gosh, all this is starting to sound astonishingly contemporary.

            Oh, corn and beans together provide, I believe, a completely nutritious diet.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              Yeah, beans and squash(as in Three Sisters). Squash is pretty much a superfood…easy to grow a lot of it, loaded up with nutrition, and many varieties store well.
              the “Indian Corn” is better for you, as far as it goes.
              for starch/carbs, i do mesquite bean flour(grasshoppers have prevented this for 4 years running) and various small grains that i use for cover crops….and taters, of course.
              only corn i grow is “Indian” popcorn…the earworms are too numerous and aggressive to bother otherwise.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  squashbugs are a PITA.
                  we get Harlequin Bugs more often, here…pretty much the same damage and intractibility.
                  Plant squash somewhere else next year…and try some winter wheat in the spot where the squash was this year….might also consider building a couple of campfires in that spot this winter, to get the eggs.
                  if we have a bad outbreak, I’ll generally till up(to expose the eggs) and burn the site multiple times during the winter…even move the Burnpile there for a time(deadfall, not paper trash)

                  the key is surveillance…right now, if the squash is still alive, you can find and squash(!) the eggs…sort of maroon, oval shaped, and in little groups on the underside of the leaves. smaller than a grain of white rice.Those eggs will fall to the ground and get buried by natural weathering…very shallow…a garden rake will easily expose them to yer fire.(i most often do this burning when the orchard is trying to bloom early, too…since i’m out there tending fires anyway when there’s a late freeze.)
                  i try to arrange things so that the chickens are let into the garden all winter, too. this helps everything:bugs, weeds, fertiliser.
                  next spring, when the squash is coming up(in a different spot, remember), keep a close eye on the base of the plants. the baby squash bugs look pretty much like the adults, but have softer carapaces. hit the base of the plant with diatomaceous earth at the first sign of them. the tiny razor shells in that stuff will rip them open and desiccate them before they can get busy.
                  Break the cycle, as with any bad bug.
                  and remember that healthy soil = more resilient plants.

          2. hoki haya

            First laugh of the day, and I’ve been up 20hrs ~ 2:20am in Armenia. Thanks, Amfortas; good to read you again.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          We are not at risk of any serious impact to the national corn reserves.

          1. The damaged corn is chopped and fed to livestock, so it’s not a total loss.
          2. The entire crop never comes in: the weather always takes its tithe.
          3. Crops are looking great everywhere else in the Midwest.
          4. Farmers lose crops. It happens. But they all also planted beans which were too low for the winds to damage.
          5. This year my farmer brother planted corn in the field I inherited so if prices do go up, I am not going to complain as they’re pretty low right now (barely above cost of planting).

      2. Eclair

        I have had corn on my mind, due to a cousin who is a farmer and all his talk about the state of his corn, both feed and sweet. And, trying to emulate the Seneca peoples who lived on the land I now farm, I planted the ‘three sisters’ (corn, squash and beans) this year.

        So, there’s sweet corn, that is, well, sweet, and tender and good for eating. Only 1% of corn grown in the US is sweet corn. I planted a variety called Nothstine Dent; the ‘dent’ indicates the little dimple in each kernel of corn when it ripens. This a type of field, or feed, corn. Rather tough to eat off the cob. The Native Americans dried it and ground it up into meal or flour. Think corn tortillas, cornmeal mush, or, if you are upwardly mobile (hah!), or Italian, polenta. I believe that ‘sweet corn’ is a relatively new product of plant breeders’ art.

        Field or feed corn, with the little ‘dent’ in the kernel is mostly used for silage to feed animals or for ethanol production. But a substantial percent is converted into food-like additives: corn sweeteners, corn starch, and some other unpronounceable stuff. And then there’s popcorn! But, humans can eat feed corn, it just needs to be thoroughly dried, de-kernaled, and ground, to be truly palatable and easy to cook.

        You can tell the difference between the two types, sweet and feed, by looking at the plants. Feed corn is usually taller and has broader leaves.

        1. jr

          Just looked up the “Three Sisters”, what a beautiful thing…and thanks for the revealing comments as always!

          1. Eclair

            Yes, jr, the peoples of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Five Nations, were not exactly the ‘savages’ that the european colonizers deemed them. Their political structures and their agricultural practices were sophisticated and elegant. They realized their interdependence with all their ‘relatives,’ both plant and animal.

            1. Kilgore Trout

              Charles Mann and other authors have noted what Europeans encountered and reported upon “first contact’ with the New World inhabitants: they were taller and sturdier than the Europeans. I think the term of art was “lustier”. Mann and others attribute this to diet, the discovery that corn and bean combined were nutritionally better–a complete protein. The inhabitants of S. and Central America/Mexico were plant breeders and early agronomists; there are sites in Peru’s highlands, for example, that are regarded as built micro-climates for plant experiments.

            2. jr

              Thank you, I’ve read a bit about the pre-European natives…I sometimes dream of living then, when Nature was so ripe and full. It must have been like paradise. Then I think about getting eaten alive by a bear and I snap back.

            3. Procopius

              In fact, the only reason the Massachusetts settlers were able to establish a foothold was because there had been a horrendous pandemic a couple years before they landed, which killed a large part of the populace. That left a lot of fields whose owners had died, and the survivors were demoralized and did not want to be bothered chasing the interlopers off. If those cleared fields had not been available, the Puritans could not have cleared enough land to support themselves in time and would have starved to death.

          2. 3.14e-9

            Lambert included an astounding article on Native corn-growing, with a focus on the Onondaga in upstate New York, in his 1/21/2019 links. The article addressed companion planting and the long history of selective cultivation. I was surprised at the time that it didn’t get any response from NC’s knowledgeable plant-based commentariat. Here it is:

            1. ambrit

              Don’t be coy. You’re from the “Golden West.”
              I imagine that Ronnie Reagan, ‘B’ movie Prince of Darkness, got his idea for the “trickle down” economic theory from watching the ‘golden flavouring’ being applied to the popcorn at all those movie premieres he attended when he graced the celluloid.

              1. Wukchumni

                I’m barely a native son of the golden west, and missed being a Coloradan by a year, but as if I had any say in the situation.

                Not that I ever answered in the affirmative when the house of ushers asked if I wanted any of that there popcorn elixir, but had always surmised that it was a mixture of sorghum and soylent green, with a dash of canola, no?

                1. ambrit

                  You mean that these are your ‘Silver Years?’
                  (I won’t even burden you with the obloquy of quips about Hot Springs and the Bare Republic.)
                  Thinking of “trickle down,” how about an ice cold bottle of Bear Whiz Beer?
                  [We all know what happened to “trickle down” economics. The requisite funds had to first be filtered through the digestive tracts of the donor class.]

            2. JustAnotherVolunteer

              Years ago I worked for a small art house cinema. We bought our popcorn flavoring in 5 galleon tubs – bright orange, salty, and mostly coconut oil. The brand name was Moon Cheese and if you got it on your clothes the color never came out. Always refuse the buttery topping!

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                I like just plain old butter on mine,lol.
                and sometimes a yellow flaky powdery substance called “Nutritional Yeast”.
                got my whole bunch hooked on it.

                1. jr

                  If you get an Annies Mac N Cheese and sprinkle the powder on your popcorn it makes great cheese corn. Add cumin or red pepper or whatever.

                  Also, if you pop your own, you can use flavored oils like garlic or pepper or whatever to impart flavor. If you hold the pot above the element you can pop almost all the kernels without burning them. Note that one bag of pop it yourself holds as much as 7 to 8 times as much as a back of Smartcorn or whatever for around 3$ +/-.

            3. Keith

              My girlfriend buys that stuff. Even hooks on phonics couldn’t help me figure it out. I stick to real butter and candy thrown in.

      3. Late Introvert

        That corn is field corn, not sweet corn. It’s used to make beef and soda. Iowa doesn’t grow anything that is good for you. My parents hate it when I say that.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “India swings like a pendulum between China and US”

    Modi is like that kid that insists in playing in the middle of the traffic, playing both lanes. But that is also a good way to get hit by traffic coming from both sides. Time may not be on Modi’s side here. In China, through enormous efforts, they have gotten the virus mostly under control. Whatever else you think about the Chinese, at least they did it. India on the other hand is seriously in the hurt locker. I see that they have over 5.3 million cases and it is spreading like wildfire. With a population of 1.4 billion people, that is a lot of potential for even more spread. It may end up weakening the country and who knows what effect it will have on India’ social structure or its economy. That virus is now official endemic to India now. And i can’t see the situation getting better for a very long time.

    1. Oh

      We all know that Modi is self serving but the Indian foreign policy cannot sway towards joining hands with the US, a failing power. Besides, the only reason for all these alliances with Japan et al in Asia is to sell more arms. No matter who the President, he turns out to be a Marketing man for the MIC. India’s caught between a rock and a hard place and Modi knows that.

    1. lcn

      Horrible optics for McConnell in light of what he did to the process of replacing Supreme Conservative Scalia.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is about power not optics. McConnell has the charisma of a pile of dog poo and has been a brazen hypocrite for decades.

        And GOP voters despite liberals. Mitch doesn’t care about optics and won’t be “shamed” this time. We have two 9/11’s a week, and Mitch is ready to dig up Bork.

        1. timbers

          Too boot, Mitch would require the oath of a Supreme Court judge be amended to include “I sware by Almighty God that Corporations ARE people, the whole people and nothing but the people.”

              1. neo-realist

                Team R cares about SoCon issue of abortion as a large ATM vote payoff from the evangelicals/catholics in the red states.

                Scalia was a hard on anti-abortion Catholic. He presumably wasn’t the only ideologue on that issue on the court.

        2. ChrisAtRU

          This is about power not optics. McConnell has the charisma of a pile of dog poo and has been a brazen hypocrite for decades.

          Straight into the veins of those unwitting supporters of the errant liberal edifice … the ones who believe in “compromise” and “bi-partisanship” … the poor souls, who unlike the feral GOP, believe in “optics”.

      2. Chris Smith

        Everybody knew McConnell was engaging in BS when he said that. Just as we all knew when the roles were reversed, the Dems would insist on delay until after the election and the Repubs would insist on moving nominees forward. I disagree that there are any “optics” here except to the extent that the Dems feign outrage and pretend that anyone cares.

        1. lcn

          Absent any hard and fast formalized rules on replacing dead Supremes, we can only proximate an appeal for fairness and decency on those who make arbitrary rules and I agree that McConnell has no fairness or decency in his bones, so there is that.

          In so doing, McConnell is speeding up the descent of America into a third world banana republic.

          If that’s not horrible optics, let’s just call it stinking decay.

            1. fresno dan

              Katniss Everdeen
              September 19, 2020 at 10:45 am

              so mitch wouldn’t have the votes despite his turtle bluster.
              Hmmm, for some reason Susan Collins strikes me as …unpredictable…

      3. km

        Both parties have shown themselves to be brazen power-obsessed hypocrites, in light of the aftermath of Scalia’s desth.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Nope … only one has the teeth to draw blood. The other embraces capitulation through compromise. The GOP has no problem wielding power. The Democrats believe in #BothSidesIsm as a virtue. Laughable by comparison.

          1. km

            Funny, that Team R groupies say the opposite.

            Both sides claim that their particular preemptive strike was really self-defense.

    2. None from Nowheresville

      Wow. Apparently Ginsberg is / was a selfish selfish woman (as opposed to judge) who put herself first while Obama is / was some type of saint (as opposed to merely a president with his own agenda(s)). Although if a Garland style pick is your for-the-people (specifically bottom 81%) standard then I guess Ginsberg’s retirement would be fully in-line with so-called “resistance” standards within the uniparty. But it’s not a crisis, Ian, it’s a tragedy. A crisis requires the elite to feel the pain. Actually it’s not even a tragedy, it’s merely the beginning of the show’s ramping up for the mid-season cliffhanger. Although to be fair I suspect the cliffhanger will have a lot more episodes this year given the expanded seasonal arc.

      Guess I better restock my supply of butter & popcorn.

      ETA: @NotTimothyGeithner September 19, 2020 at 9:09 am- Agreed. Either you’re playing to win and push forth THE agenda at a moment’s notice or well you’re not.

      1. occasional anonymous

        I don’t know what motivated her, but she had the entire Obama presidency to retire, which plenty of people were saying she should. What’s happening now was an entirely predictable scenario; lots of people predicted it. Yes, Obama would have probably tried to replace her with some centrist or center-right mediocrity (not that Ginsburg was ever quite the progressive lion the weird cult that developed around her thinks she was). But that would still have been a damn sight better than whatever retrograde cro-magnon the GOP is likely to vomit up.

        Not retiring was simply a bad decision on her part.

    3. Carolinian

      Hey why not. Then the Republicans can get back in and pack it even more. We’ll need a larger Supreme Court building.

      FDR’s attempt was very unpopular with the public and did him political harm although it did intimidate the existing court into more cooperation.

      1. marym

        Thanks for the link. If she cared about the future of the court and country she would have retired during the early Obama administration and Dem Senate majority. I always thought she should have lost her eligibility for liberal fandom then, but didn’t know these equally disqualifying details of some of her terrible opinions.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Excellent article, particularly considering the barrage of hagiographies that will surely be coming our way in the weeks ahead.

        Written in early 2016, it has an interesting concluding paragraph:

        So one must adopt a somewhat cynical hypothesis as to why this middle-of-the-road Justice is the object of the cartoons, the hoodies, and this coffee table ode: the readers of Notorious RBG spend as little time thinking about the people abused in American prisons and jails as the Notorious RBG herself does. Elsewhere, people in America’s worst prisons, their families, and their advocates have to hope that either a Democrat will win the 2016 presidential election or that Justice Ginsburg will make it to 87 in good health. If neither come to pass, thousands of additional people may be assaulted, raped, or killed in American prisons and jails, and it’s likely that most of the people wearing “Notorious RBG” paraphernalia will never know their names.

        Oh well.

      3. fresno dan

        September 19, 2020 at 10:19 am
        from the link:
        But when you get down to it, the fundamental premise of the pop culture adulation for Ginsburg is that she is a headstrong liberal firebrand. Of course, much of the ordinary work of a Supreme Court justice consists of painstakingly adjudicating mundane interpretive questions, such as deciding what standard of review to apply in evaluating administrative determinations of the definition of “U.S. waters.” (see United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc.) But such matters leave little room for gutsy feminist ass-kicking, and elucidating the federal procedure controversies of the day does not earn one’s face on Amy Schumer’s tank top.

        Making an activist hero out of an administrative functionary like a Supreme Court Justice was therefore always going to require a bit of distortion.
        What that most reminds me of is many of the critiques of Obama from the left. A person who gets who CAN get nominated is not going to be radical, and pretty much just a functionary. In so many respects, Obama is just a mirror image (dare I say it – Obama a photographic negative OR is Trump a photographic negative of Obama?) of Trump – their most noticeable qualities is their “bots” the people who are mindless, fierce, reality denying acolytes in which fealty to the person is more important than knowing what their leaders position is on any particular policy, law, or subject.
        Do we now have to extend this to Supreme court justices?

        1. fresno dan

          fresno dan
          September 19, 2020 at 2:56 pm
          Yet the recent outpouring of ardor has celebrated not just this period, but her time the court as well, and Justice Ginsburg is a different story. Empirical measurements of ideology confirm the eye test: Ginsburg is a center-left Justice roughly in line with President Obama’s two appointees and Stephen Breyer. This gang is less liberal than the recently retired John Paul Stevens (appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford) and miles to the right of recent justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan. Of course, in today’s court, which contains four of the most conservative justices of the last century, that still makes them the left flank. But even measured against her decidedly non-radical judicial peers, Ginsburg is a cautious centrist. Thus while she might maintain broadly progressive sympathies, she is equally willing to allow the government to threaten the withdrawl of funding in order to punish universities that ban discriminatory job recruitment by the military (Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic & Institutional Rights, Inc.) or to rule against paying overtime to Amazon warehouse workers (as in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk).

          Ginsburg’s liberal supporters—whose raves fill Notorious RBG—portray her record differently. Forced to accept that her voting pattern is nothing like that of Thurgood Marshall or legendary radical William O. Douglas (who fashioned a constitutional right to birth control out of thin air, and famously argued that trees had the right to be represented in court), they treat her moderation as cunning. The law, after all, requires five votes to change, not one. What looks on an empiricist’s scatterplot like a fainthearted liberal, they argue, is instead a practical coalition builder. Ginsburg is merely being strategic.

    4. antidlc

      Please explain how “packing the court” would work if Biden wins.

      Can he do this via executive order? If not, how are they going to legislatively pass this?

      Assuming they pass the expansion of judges through Congress, wouldn’t there be a court case contesting the expansion? And wouldn’t this court case eventually end up in the Supreme Court? The “newly expanded” judges would get to vote on the expansion? There would be howls for their recusal from the case?

      I don’t get it. Please explain how this would work.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Back during the Garland farce, Obama had the recess option. He could have appointed Garland until the end of the Senate session. Obama could have appointed 1000 if he wanted to.

        Nothing in the Constitution says “nine.” Its up to the whims of the President and the Senate. Laws and rules can’t restrict Constitutional Authority. Any court case would have to go to the “packed court” or to an inferior court put into existence by Congress, and Congress can impeach. So the “court challenge” would be through Congress.

        The only real restriction on the size of the Supreme Court is that we require they are paid for life and would subsequently have lifetime terms as the Supreme Court is a permanent entity comparable to Congress or the Presidency. In the end Congress and the President don’t want to have to pay more than they have to. The increase to 9 was very much about case load.

        1. Big River Bandido

          This is not quite right. The Constitution delegates all questions of the composition of the judiciary to Congress and the President, as a matter of statute. Changing the composition of the Supreme Court would require, essentially, that Congress pass a law.

          That’s where Franklin Roosevelt got into trouble. As a judicial issue his “pack the Court” proposal was never dispositive, nor was it ever a problem with the public. The problem was purely over FDRs badly frayed relations with Congress. He failed to consult with Congress and badly miscalculated their response, which was to kill the entire New Deal. From the outset of his second term, there was never another piece of economic reform legislation in Roosevelt’s entire presidency.

      1. diptherio

        It’s all a waste: all the ink and air that’s been spilled by the anti-cancel culture crusaders and the cancel culture apologists alike. None of it has anything to do with what most of us are dealing with, i.e. no healthcare, no money, no future. People who don’t have to worry about that stuff can worry about cancel culture, pro or con. Most of us don’t care one way or the other.

        Who cares what Taibbi thinks? Who cares what Levine thinks? Why should I care? The world is burning down and people want to spend their time debating this meaningless crap. Smh.

        1. Wukchumni

          Damn straight, here we are trying to cancel order, and people are concerned about canceling bob’s your uncle?

        2. pjay

          Ok, I’ll bite. Why should you care? Let me suggest the very reason you say. We *should* be dealing with healthcare, no money, no future – problems that the majority are facing in the real world. Instead, we are distracted by Russiagate. People who *should* be allies on these crucial issues are divided and driven apart by ridiculous identity politics or ridiculously divisive rhetoric applied to what should be widespread public protest. If that’s what you are arguing then you agree with both Taibbi and Levine. Both of them have said exactly this many times. Yet Russiagate and divisive identity politics dominate the media and our political culture and influence those who do have some degree of power to shape policy. It will keep doing so if it is ignored. And we will keep ignoring these real problems.

          And this is not just a matter of competing “beliefs”. Beliefs have consequences. What we quaintly refer to as “identity politics” threatens to start a civil war — well maybe not, but at least a bunch of “culture war” battles while keeping us from addressing real issues. “Russiagate” has the potential to be even more serious, justifying polices with possibly disastrous consequences.

          That’s why some of us keep debating this “meaningless crap” and appreciate it when people like Taibbi and Levine say the same things.

          Having said all this in response to your comment, though, I do have to admit that Levine’s attack on Taibbi here is in my view an unnecessary distraction.

    1. pjay

      I hate to see this. There are so few voices who can effectively challenge the fake “left” today, and Levine and Taibbi are two of the best. On the one hand, Levine’s story rings true. I remember well the smears of Taibbi, and his rather groveling response early on. And although he was being smeared because of his Russiagate skepticism, his early doubts were actually pretty cautious and carefully stated. The liberal hate was so vicious because he was easily the most visible doubter, compared to much stronger but lesser known critics like Aaron Mate who could be more easily ignored. I’ve always thought that Matt held back for a time, trying to keep one foot in the “respectable” media, but finally said screw it and let loose against the liberal idiocracy — perhaps, as Levine suggests, because there was growing support and a growing audience for it.

      But on the other hand, why *now*, Yasha? Taibbi has in fact admitted to at least some of these character weaknesses in his recent books and articles. Perhaps he hasn’t adequately acknowledged throwing Ames under the bus. But the level of bitterness and the timing of Levine’s attack seem weird here. I do think Levine’s understanding of the political forces operating behind the scenes is deeper than Taibi’s. Matt is often knowledgeable, but his real talent, as he himself admits, is a certain type of biting criticism very useful in media cat-fights with self-righteous hypocrites. Nevertheless, it’s good to have someone like this around when there are so many hypocrites to skewer.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        I agree…Levine is right about Taibbi’s grovelling capitulation and throwing Ames under the bus when the cancel-culture warriors came for him, but that was several years ago and bringing it up now, in outraged J’accuse! style no less, has zero value and only serves to divide and weaken the already outnumbered and outgunned “sensible left.”

        Ok I get why Levine might be annoyed, pissed off even, given that he, Ames and Taibbi are part of the same social/professional circle. Taibbi could have mentioned his own cringeworthy run in with the cancel culture gang, acknowledging his cowardice at the time and his subsequent change of heart, in his substack anti-CC article or when he was on Weinstein’s podcast. It wouldn’t have harmed his credibility at all and it would have helped keep the peace with his former colleagues/acquaintances.

        That said, Levine could have contacted Taibbi privately to discuss his concerns instead of publicly writing a rather hysterical screed that just adds more fuel to their falling out while damaging the section of the left that the country needs most right now.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “…could have contacted Taibbi privately…”
          it’s not like they are subject to open meetings laws.
          there’s a fella in a town down the road, owns the full service.
          he puts people’s names on the billboard outside if they’re a little late on paying.
          too much like the Stocks, for me.
          he SHoulD have contacted Matt if he had a beef.

    2. barefoot charley

      A fascinating read, with background on neoliberalized Russia at least as interesting as Levine, Taibbi and Ames are. Funny thing: Yasha’s laying out everything he’s got on Matt so comprehensively that he gives you material to come to your own conclusions. He hasn’t changed my opinion of Taibbi but I’ve learned a lot in coming to disagree with Yasha. This is impressive, informative writing, Thanks!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that’s essentially where im at on this tempest in the teapot.
        did Yasha get a poloroid in the mail of his mom tied up in a basement?
        i re-read Matt’s FB thing and felt about the same way i felt when it came out: ok, well and good…now back to biting the necks of the powerful.
        reading through yasha’s whine(what it smelled like to me), and matt’s FB post, I kept thinking about the million faux pas and less than honorable things i have said and done in my time.
        almost as painful to remember as the cop-thing or the rednecks with bats things…but didn’t i need all of that to become me?
        amor fati, and all…people screw up…badly, sometimes.
        i’m more interested in what he’s up to, today…which is the most important work of his life, as far as i’m concerned.

        (and it’s also useful whenever the Clinton/Yeltsin rape of russia history is once again dragged out of the memory hole….before i abandoned all online activity besides NC, 2017, ignorance of that mess was one of my peeves about the russiax3!! BS. )

      2. Basil Pesto

        yes, the story of The eXile is an interesting one, as are the attempts by pseudo-muckrakers to paint Taibbi and Ames as something they plainly aren’t: archmisogynists. Levine lays this out well.

        But jesus man, get on with it!! I was astonished when, what seemed like several thousand words in, I was invited to subscribe to read the rest of the piece! Christ man, get to the point! If I suspected said point was salient in any way, I might have subscribed, but I don’t, so I didn’t.

        Meanwhile, the digs at Taibbi for ostensibly going normcore (“a drumkit!! framed Rolling Stone covers!! I think we know who the real Establishment Shill is here”) are just staggeringly lame. Who can be bothered with that shite?

      1. Basil Pesto

        I noticed this is what the chatterers on twitter seized upon. I have no idea about Bret Weinstein though. What’s the deal?

  5. bob

    Will the norms cops be out now? The norm before Obama was for the president to appoint a new justice. Obama defied the norm and passed to the next prez. Will Trump keep to the new norm, or go back to the old norm?

    All the norms are waiting….

    1. Pat


      I have no love for Obama and sure as hell didn’t want Gorsuch, but the person who defied the norms was McConnell. Not Obama but McConnell who has flat out said that the new rule, aka new norm, he introduced for Obama does not apply this time.

      Just like the old norm, aka rule, that the President cannot nominate a judge of a differing political and legal philosophy than the old one just a lesser version will not apply.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Actually, the LAW gives the ruling Party of the SENATE the right to convene confirmation hearings and call for a vote.

        Same rules apply ALWAYS.

        “Norms”are bullshit.

        Want to control the Supreme Court process?
        Win more damn elections.

        1. Pat

          I didn’t say they couldn’t. Of course they can. But when the SAME leader of the Senate refuses to give a Presidential nominee a hearing because elections one time and not another when there is less time before the election it is fair to call bull shit.

          And my objection to the previous post was making this a choice of Obama’s. As you accurately pointed out it was the decision of the leadership of the Senate. Obama did not try to pass the decision to the next President. He is a feckless useless POS, but this wasn’t him.

          BTW it isn’t just about winning elections. It is about winning elections AND being willing to wield the power you have. Even when the Democrats held the Senate they allowed the Republicans to hold the nominations process hostage because of “norms” you point out don’t exist.

          1. bob

            Who did Obama nominate?

            I don’t need anything other than a name. One name. The name of the person he nominated.

        2. bob

          Obama himself couldn’t stick to his sacrosanct norms. The norm before him was that the president nominated a person. Any person. Just put a name out there.

          I could take the more norm positive view that he actually did stick to the norm of dems abdicating, but certain people might find that too aggressive.

  6. Wukchumni

    Heart of fire Agence France-Presse
    This is now 1 month since the SQF fire started by lightning deep in the backcountry of the Golden Trout Wilderness…

    A spot fire (the blob to the left in the linked map) leaped a good 3 to 4 miles towards us from the maelstrom, and only about a mile from the Starship Captain’s ranch. They did a backfire (the yellow on the map) which seemed to help, and evacuation of the entire town seems likely, as the fire is now approaching residences.

    I’ve cleared out all downed wood larger than a #2 pencil on about 85% of my property and there is nothing aside from dry grass within 100 yards, so we’ll see what happens perhaps, as my plan to replicate the conditions the Native Americans had on the land before they burned late fall without fail every year, the acid test if you will.,-118.82572&z=14&b=mbt&a=modis_mp

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good luck Wuk. That map of your local area shows an awful amount of contour lines which does not look good. I take it that you have you car packed and ready to go if things turn dodgy. If you have to, don’t leave it too late and avoid the rush. Keep us posted on developments. Do people in your region use burlap bags soaked in water to deal with small fires old-timey style? Do you block up gutters and fill them up with water too? Again, good luck.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for all the kind replies, appreciate it~

        Haven’t been to our house in almost a week now, so the matter is up to the fire gawds to prosecute or let us off on our own recognizance, and we’ll accept whatever verdict comes down…

        We had prepared to vamoose, but when you get told you’ve got to leave-NOW, there’s a certain urgency to it.

    2. tegnost

      The only bright side I can come up with …
      Our favorite camp narrowly missed being toasted in the jolly mtn fire a few years back. It burned (or more likely was a back fire) down to (or up from, can’t say for sure) the other side of the creek. The first year after the fire was pretty bleak, but in the past 2 years it’s started to recover nicely. It was naturally a great season for morels in the first year. I hope the apple trees make it and the redwoods prove to be resilient as well…
      Take care and avoid unnecessary risks

      1. Wukchumni

        The nearly 90 fruit trees on the all cats and no cattle ranch ought to be just fine as they’re sequestered off by themselves far from any burnables…

        Damn near every Sequoia tree of size i’ve ever seen has fire scars, some where the flames went up 100 feet from the base, and the tree is still doing ok a hundred years later, they’re survivors~

    3. Glen

      One other suggestion is to contact the firefighters and let them know they can use your cabin for sleeping/showers/$hitting/etc. My friend found the firefighters were driving up to his cabin late at night, exhausted, so that they could sleep on his porch in the lounge chairs. He gave them the use of his cabin.

      There are blankets that are generally only available to the firefighters that they use to wrap structures to protect them. Again, we only found out these existed when the firefighters showed up and wrapped his cabin.

      Luck Wuk!

      1. Wukchumni

        That’s a great idea, but the cabins are all locked down, shutters up, fire force fields up (I wish) and not accessible.

        I’ve been inquiring about that foil they put around historic buildings in the National Park, it’d be great. Looks as if they cut it to order, and it seems to do the trick.

        1. Glen

          The firefighting crews in Washington state carried it around as large blankets, and would wrap structures and cabins when these were threatened, but they seemed to have a limited supply of the material or maybe it uses asbestos and was considered hazardous – we were never able to find any at any rate.

    4. fresno dan

      September 19, 2020 at 9:12 am

      You’re a pretty ingenious and knowledgeable guy with lots of moxie – if anyone can make it work, its you!!!
      All the best in you’re endeavors!

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks fresno dan~

        Out of my hands, the final outcome. But i’m casting positive thoughts towards the situation.

      1. Olga

        This is a very good interview – quintessential SFC… I have a comment down below about his importance. Another giant gone… we seem to be losing the best – and (almost) no one to replace them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Now that is a loss that. Such a shame as he had such extension knowledge and experience on Russia. An expert on Russia in an era where the newer Russian ‘experts’ couldn’t even order a cup of coffee in the middle of Moscow.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Thanks for pointing this out; I didn’t see that he had died. Sigh. An erudite and intelligent observer of Russia. He will be missed. It’s like a library burning down.

  7. jr

    Re: Yelp

    Had to deal with both Yelp and GrubHub for years. Yelp’s idiocies are well known but GrubHub’s are less public it seems. They are such a pain in the arse. An example:

    I worked at a restaurant in Brooklyn that offered Boylans colas for a while but then switched to Coke because it was cheaper. I contacted GrubHub to change the menu. For months afterwards, I received orders for Boylans and people calling because we had sent a Coke or cancelled that part of the order which involved a wasteful call to GrubHub.

    Everytime I called GrubHub to change the menu I was told it was our problem, that it was our computer not theirs. When I pointed out that it was an app they had made and that we made sandwiches, not apps, I was told there was nothing to be done.

    So I started telling complaining guests to call GrubHub. We kept that soda on their order, sent them nothing, then told them to call GrubHub to fix it because GrubHub ignored us. This was a white lie. People weren’t that shocked that it was a GrubHub problem, I think people around that time were starting to sour on foodie review apps and delivery services as being the problem free service they were touted as.

    So I get a call from a GrubHub manager type asking me why I telling people to call them. I explain my situation to her. Suddenly, it was fixed.

    The time I wasted, in the middle of a crazy dinner or lunch service, had to be in the hours over a years time…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’ve been “retired” from Cheffing for a good 14 years, now…so i haven’t a clue how “Grubhub”, et alia works(we don’t appear to have that sort of thing way out here…or maybe my Luddism merely prevents me from being aware of it)
      is there a way to stay off their radar?
      like maybe not having a website or facebook page?
      or, heaven forbid, opting out of their “services”?
      the thought of some amorphous tech company horning their way into my cafe without my knowledge or permission is horrifying.
      when i had my little cafe(9-11 killed it), i only reluctantly got the necessary machine to do credit cards(non-digital, the “Cachunk!” Device, likely disallowed, now)…and stood ready to jettison them and go cash only just as soon as Visa attempted to screw me.
      at the time, this town still had counter checks ( so it would have harmed me very little.
      It seems remarkable that a small cafe owner has no say in the matter of whether or not to accept such services.

      1. Mel

        Astonishing what’s out there. Impossible to just cook up an example name any more. Search for ‘noshgenie’ reveals an actual Nosh Genie, perhaps based in Japan. Unless Facebook is reacting to searches by instantly cooking up pages to match.
        Anyway, what I was going to say, I’m impressed by the brazenness of it all. If I discovered your off-line cafe, I would set up a Facebook page for it, list a phone-order number to my phone bank, then show up in a couple weeks to tell you that your cafe was getting a rotten reputation on Facebook for not delivering phone-in orders. Time you got with the program, and started paying me to send you those orders.

      2. cnchal

        > the thought of some amorphous tech company horning their way into my cafe without my knowledge or permission is horrifying.

        Yes, it is horrifying. Matt Stoller’s tweet leads to this.

        Instead of competing for restaurant partners to grow its marketplaces, DoorDash and Postmates used deceptive practices and industrial scale menu plagiarism to simulate the appearance of official partnerships, filling its marketplaces with the offerings of restaurants whose owners had no idea the apps even existed. When orders came through, call center employees hired by the apps would order the food manually and couriers would pick it up under strict orders to not identify themselves. When the restaurants caught on, invariably because the deception had resulted in angry phone calls from customers — most frequently because the menu listed on the platform was out of date and the dishes ordered were no longer available, or because the chef had prepared the food for trip up an elevator and not a 45 minute bike ride — the restaurant management would contact the offending app attempting to get their menu removed from or updated on the platform, and a salesperson would claim to be powerless to do anything about it unless they signed on to an official partnership.

        These practices are deceptive, predatory and in many cases reliant on intellectual property theft, as a Santa Fe restaurant owner detailed in a recent open letter to a delivery app CEO:

        “If we don’t sign up for this ‘partnership’ you pirate our menus off our website and take orders from customers anyway. The pre-charged payment cards sometimes don’t work and everything we made languishes, unpaid for. We field angry calls from customers who think it’s our fault they didn’t get the food they ordered. When my manager called customer service to tell you how unfair it is that we are paying for your mistakes, he was told ‘Well, none of this would happen if you would just sign up with us.’ Which sounds a lot like what the mob boss says after they burn down your house.

        The first key to this criminality!.

        From Amazon Prime to Uber and Lyft to DoorDash and Grubhub, deep-pocketed Wall Street and Silicon Valley-backed corporations have been subsidizing free and cheap “last mile” transportation services with the intent of driving out rivals and amassing market power. Until the 1980s, this business model was commonly understood to constitute “predatory pricing,” which violates statutes against anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior, because the number of companies that can afford to run losses for a sustained period of time is inherently limited. But predatory pricing doctrine has been substantially defanged by a series of narrow Supreme Court interpretations that force victims to meet onerously high burdens of proof, allowing predatory pricing to become an increasingly ubiquitous tactic among cash burning venture-backed startups from Lyft to WeWork.

        The second key to this criminality!

        Tax “law”, specifically carry forward losses. There used to be a time limit, so that losses incurred beyond a certain year were no longer able to offset taxable profits. For example, Uber has about $20 billion in losses to date in their quest to become the Amazon of transportation and with the change to an unlimited amount of time to use those losses, will never pay a penny of income tax even if they are nomilnaly profitable sometime in the future. In this way, losses become an asset to Uber and they can continue their mass predation on the rest of society with impunity and cement their monopoly power into place.

        Were there a limit of five years to these losses it is highly unlikely Uber would ever have gotten of the ground. Amazon and the rest of tech wasteland too. But here we are, ruled by the worst of the worst. As their predation and power keeps growing, venal and corrupt politicians are backed in elections to prevent and stifle any sort of reform. Billions are spent on elections so trillions can go to the .01 % and at the same time the mass of humanity can labor as gig workers or Amazon warehouse workers for peanuts and a broken back.

        Amazon is hiring. The qualifications needed is to be able to fog a mirror and absorb the whipping.

        Slavery 2.0

      3. jr

        It’s voluntary to sign up for but small businesses do it because people, who don’t necessarily trust the review, use it to find stuff. It’s kind of a search engine for restaurants. If you aren’t on Yelp you disappear besides your website and perhaps a Google search. Like all the other “convenience” tech, like this Citizen on my phone or pretty much anything, it’s a Faustian bargain thats harder and harder to avoid.

  8. Tom Stone

    bad air again here in Sonoma County, not as bad as last week thankfully.
    The smoke was so thick last week that a breatharian I know went on a diet.

    1. fresno dan

      Tom Stone
      September 19, 2020 at 9:59 am

      I was shocked (but not appalled) to learn that air quality in Fresno this morning was….wait for it….good!
      You could have knocked me over with a feather.
      Wow!!! still good at about 12:30 pm Such good news can’t be good….we always have bad air in Fresno – somehow, something is all f*cked up anomalous…

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s always ‘Ash’ Saturday or ‘Ash’ Thursday and definitely ‘Ash’ Wednesday in Fresno, the place can’t help it.

  9. Chris

    I was discussing matters in the world with my wife while walking the pups and we both came to the conclusion that all the $hit will hit the fan in the US around Thanksgiving.

    That’ll be when too many small landlords are looking at winter repairs and winter heating bills with no income. Because, if people aren’t paying rent, why would they pay for utilities? And if you’re not heating your property, you’re exposing it to the risk of expensive repairs when it freezes. What will they do? Will they take the doors and windows off their no longer profitable properties to force the non paying tenants out like they did last time? Or will they take more drastic measures?

    Thanksgiving will be when hordes of poor and newly unemployed will be realizing there will be no community charity meal, or even the usual amount of meager supplies, because the store rooms are bare. So many people who go without even in good times will be told they have to ration.

    Thanksgivings will be when we reckon with whoever won this sordid election and the people who don’t agree with the results figure out what they want to do about it.

    Thanksgiving will be when people start getting their first insurance company denials for claims made during the past storm season. That will be when a few more people realize the folly of filling ethanol contracts after the summer derecho decimated corn storage. That will be when we’ve been inside due to colder weather long enough for COVID to really pick up again. And when we might have to deal with another recommended lock down. Schools and other organizations will seize on that timing to initiate another break just like they used Spring Break to do it last spring. That will be when all these supply chain issues coalesce and we find out what the world is like when ships and trucks don’t move and even if they did there’s not enough healthy warehouse workers to handle normal times, let alone the holiday rush.

    Thanksgiving will be when we all have to accept holidays where out of love for our families and their health we can’t be with family. So depression will become a much wider spread challenge than it already is. And that will be long enough for anyone who enjoyed rioting this summer to become tired of being cooped up and cold. I think the unfortunate timing of Justice Ginsberg’s death just adds to all this simmering mess. If Reza Aslan’s sentiment is widespread it might be the event that really sets all this in motion.

    I think we maybe could have skated by with “only” increases in domestic terrorism over the next year or two if we hadn’t thrown a potential constitutional crisis into the mix. But all bets are off now. I’ll be happily surprised if we don’t see open civil war in the US soon. It doesn’t seem like we’ll get any relief from all these challenges in time to relieve the pressure that has relentlessly been building in our society over the past two years.

    If people in the Commentariat disagree I’d love to get examples showing that I’m being hyperbolic. But everything I wrote above seems reasonable to me right now. Happy to hear why I’m biased and unrealistic with that assessment though…

    1. Lost in OR

      Thanksgiving will be the time when the botched election flows into legal challenges and street battles. Go long on bear spray and respirators.

        1. newcatty

          We have noticed that organic squash lasts a very long time refrigerated. If we all have power, that will complete the wise native people’s Three Sisters diet. And, if a freezer is available in refrigerator, or larger, then cook up some and freeze. I especially like squash cooked like Mexican calabacitas.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            spaghettis and kushaws and pumpkins and some hubbards and butternut all store pretty well, so long as you pick them after the vine has died(or Know Yer Farmer), and then dry them and stick em in a dark, cool and dry place.
            we usually eat the last of it all about the time the new vines are coming right along….april, around here.

          2. HotFlash

            organic squash lasts a very long time refrigerated

            Doesn’t need to be refrigerated. We have kept squash and pumpkin happily until May here in Toronto, sitting on our radiator. Ferments keep well too, temp not a biggie either way, salt keeps much (‘kraut, kimchi, etc.) from freezing.

    2. jef

      Don’t underestimate the govs ability to hand out just enough crumbs to keep folks hoping. They also need to do that so as to keep the hate from being focused on them and focused on the “other” instead.

      I don’t believe that there is enough hate stirred up yet for civil war. Not enough of an obvious division which then runs the risk of the two sides coming together against the common enemy, the gov.

      I do agree that things are going to get bad, really bad but that will be the time for a nice big distraction that will take everyone’s mind off their own problems and that is what really frightens me.

      1. tegnost

        Not enough of an obvious division which then runs the risk of the two sides coming together against the common enemy, the gov.
        This is the real risk and what was most dangerous about sanders, however I would replace .gov with ruling elite

        1. jef

          “…what was most dangerous about sanders”. WRONG!

          Sanders represented the last chance we will probably get to bring the country, indeed the world, together again. Not because he would have taken the wheel of the bus and drove us through to the promised land, but because “we the people” could have stepped up and made it happen with him as the president of the free world. But alas we the people dropped the ball and now we get what we deserve.

          Also it was when it became clear that we would not be allowed to have a Bernie Sanders presidency that the hate went exponential.

      2. John k

        I dunno. I think the election is what has provided all impetus to get the next help bill for workers. Biden talks big, but his mgr said the quiet bit out loud, the cupboard is bare, no doubt echoing the donors. I’ll be surprised to see many crumbs after the nov. 3. Or moratorium extensions, either. Every lawmaker has buddies renting properties.
        Maybe extend gov guaranteed mortgages a bit more? Maybe.

    3. ShamanicFallout

      idk. I suppose we will check back at the end of November and see if you are correct. I think it’s sometimes difficult to see what’s “real” in the world, what one sees in the world, and what is simply one’s own projections

      1. chris

        This is true!

        I try to set up personal predictions of this sort so that I’m praying for the best and planning for the worst. I would love to check back in late November and see that I was being a ridiculous worry wort.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Can you keep the deep water still and clear,
        so it reflects without blurring?

        Tao te Ching, # 10 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

        Not so easy, is it, especially when there’s a howling wind stirring up our own depths?

        1. ShamanicFallout

          Beautiful. That passage usually references a ‘mirror’ or ‘mind’, but I really like this. It invites something

    4. fresno dan

      September 19, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Interesting and well reasoned analysis. Pretty pessimistic and unfortunately, that is how I tend…

      1. Chris

        Thanks. Unfortunately, there’s no prize for being right about this kind of thing. People will hate you if you mention this stuff before it happens. And they’ll hate you after it happens if you didn’t warn them enough. If it doesn’t happen, you have to make sure you keep yourself stable and not worrying about it. So I tend to write down the thoughts, set plans in motion in case I’m right and be thankful if I’m wrong. Helps me sleep better at night :)

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Agree with your analysis — but I am less sure about the time-line. Thanksgivings seems likely beginning for bad times. I think February may be worse. I suspect the Government will do very little to help until after the transfer of assets from private landlords, and small and medium businesses to Big Money fat with CARES Act money. The suffering of Populace while that transfer is underway is unfortunate collateral damage. I believe Big Money is confident any problems that arise can be handled by the Police.

  10. Billy

    Or, Chris, president pro-tem Biden gets elected and everything suddenly is OK, the virus is something we can live with, the markets recover, corporations step in and scoop up the distressed properties to becom rentiers, a new war to liberate girls and women is launched and shared sacrifice and austerity allow *some* people’s life to resume, just like in 2008.

    Trump gets reelected and we sink into a pandepression and an unthinkable morass of hopelessness. Nothing changes but the who gets elected. See how it works?

    1. hunkerdown

      Yes, I see how grievance rhetoric is the recourse of all self-entitled bourgeoisie role-playing as the useless aristocrats they are, no matter what party they call home.

    2. Alan

      You’re probably right. Nothing fundamentally will change apart from the cast and crew, and the reporting of their actions.

      The question I would ask myself, if I were you, is: “Why do I bother to get behind either team? Especially to the extent of going online and parroting their latest talking points.”

      It seems like you’re 99% of the way there now, but you’re fumbling it on the 1 yard line.

      1. Billy

        My thesis: The best hope for a truly Democratic polity is if Trump gets reelected and the fake Democrats go the way of the Whig Party. It’s a duopoly. It’s still worthwhile to highlight the hypocrisy and illusion of a two party system while pointing out the absolute mind control of the so called “opposition.”

        1. Chris

          I don’t think who is elected in November will fundamentally change anything im concerned about. I think all that will change if Biden is elected or Trump is re-elected will be the timing involved with some of the events to come.

          If anything, Biden getting elected may make things worse, but delay when stuff happens slightly. As opposed to Trump being re-elected, which could light the fuse right away.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i agree with that. biden is slower collapse than trump, and with much more gaslighting filling our mediated reality(“everything’s fine”)
            but it’s still gonna collapse.
            It was gonna collapse even without the hyperpartisan hatefest, too…that’s all just the Machine trying to hang on for a little whle longer.
            for a long time after i became a self described Doomer(circa 2002)…after a lifetime of being a sort of naturally occurring doomer(from 3rd grade, on)…I tried mightily to falsify my sense of dread about what was coming down the pike…from Peak Oil, to Peak Climate to Peak Economics and on and on…
            but i found that i couldn’t falsify any of it…especially given the multiple tons of manure purposefully dumped into the water we all swim in.
            so i accepted Doom as the most likely outcome, around the time i finally got a hip(2013), and started building us a doomstead out here on the farm.
            I recommend finding Acceptance,lol…it makes years like this one a lot easier to handle, and you can focus on doing what needs to be done, while everyone around you is still flailing around in Denial, Anger, Bargaining, etc.
            (of course, i do have my days…and end up drunk in a field somewhere…what confronts us is enormous and scary, after all)

            all that is to say that my Prophet Beard itches such to indicate that you’re assessment is prolly correct…November will be the cruellest month yet.
            that’s why i’m not even trying to finish anything right now…just collecting materials for the next “lockdown”…which will likely coincide with Hunker Down and avoid the gangland style civil strife and general state of Freaking Out that is sure to ensue.
            Good Luck, y’all.

          2. JWP

            If trump gets reelected it’ll be a race to see how the country collapses. Will it be from upset rioters after a preventable loss, or because his policies are accelerating economic and ecological collapse? Those are some betting lines I want to see. My money is on the latter.

        2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          This revolutionary change stuff is hard, you have to think about the maximum effect you can have towards a long term objective. Trump is a ridiculous president. And what’s required is an “Opposition”. We have one party masquerading as an opposition, and until that lie is exposed an actual opposition cannot emerge. So the chess move is to vote to defeat the fake opposition, especially given the unbelievably horrible candidates they have put up and the methods they used to install them. Anything that replaces it must be more amenable to the needs of the 99%. Which it will be. The public had four solid years of lying about why the Dems lost, I do not believe they will stand for another four year lie while their needs are absolutely ignored. Kill it with fire. And then get ready for springtime.

          Reply ↓

          1. None from Nowheresville

            Unfortunately certain portions of the public are now addicted to their dopamine fixes and breaking into the reality bubbles of the comfortable with anything over than current worldview will be difficult. Look at the different narratives and conspiracy theories floating around corporate news channels as well the dark corners of the internet. “We” tend to find our comfort zones, cocoon ourselves inside them and wait until reality meets our expectations. (do any seek to make it a reality?)

            Or perhaps we’ll just wait for a brand new dopamine fix to take its place.

            The powder in this country is real. The grievances are real. The sacrifice zones are there for all who open their eyes to see. Too many blame themselves for their circumstances rather than The Machine. If we use those zones as our lampposts then the coming reality will be brutal even if the elites never feel the pain aka it’s only a tragedy and not a crisis.

            Should we be asking ourselves how many narratives of those who remain comfortable default to better to let the “unworthy” die quicker deaths of despair where they won’t be seen or heard rather than take on The Machine; if they even acknowledge the machine. How many will be shocked in those reality bubbles if the tragedy makes it’s way to their doorsteps? Yes, I knew it would happen but NOT HERE!!!!!! This is a nice neighborhood. We all play by the rules!

            More importantly, how will the “elites” react if it becomes an actual crisis and they are forced to share the pain? If 2020 is our guide so far (throw in Occupy, water protectors, etc.) and I’d say that they’d crush any real challenge that made them feel pain.

            Still it’s an interesting show. Soon more of us will feel The Burn. Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind for some reason. Been ages since I read that story.

    3. tegnost

      if only it were that simple…
      What’s sad is that the two choices, biden wins/trump wins don’t fill out the realm of possible outcomes…an overly dynamic situation

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Boris Johnson warns that a second wave of coronavirus is ‘inevitable’ – and UK could have ‘on-off’ restrictions until spring amid concerns people are flouting ‘rule of six'”

    It just occurred to me tonight that if you do not adopt an eradication program against Coronavirus, then of course you will have a second wave of this virus as you attempt to ‘mitigate’ the virus and ‘learn to live with it’ as you work towards ‘herd immunity.’ But then there will be a third wave and a fourth wave and so on as your businesses open and close and open and close as the numbers go up and then back down. So maybe eradication is cheaper and saves more lives in the long run?

    1. hunkerdown

      Not that I disagree with the likely effects, but I think it’s a bridge too far for the British public, to call for eradicating Boris Johnson.

    2. Clive

      No Zero COVID proposal I’ve ever seen is able to get out of the false positive test trap.

      And while I’ll look at any country which is adopting an eradication strategy and review their success (or otherwise) no country is seriously progressing eradication (even New Zealand isn’t really being New Zealand any longer, not going to a Level 4 lockdown while there’s ongoing persistent community transmission). Peru attempted it but even though they put the country under what amounted to house arrest for months, it failed miserably to achieve anything like eradication.

      As for the U.K. it is correct that adherence to public health measures has been very hit and miss. So it’s hard to separate whether the failure is in the public health policy to provide a solution which controls the virus or just Brits being their usual arsey selves and not following it which is to blame. But then when you look at countries which are very similar in most areas, like France and Spain, where the same policies have been applied, the cases are much higher than the U.K.’s are at the moment. Residents in those countries can hopefully shed light on why that is.

      But there’s really only three possibilities:

      1) the public health policies are sound in terms of medical science, but population won’t adhere to them; thus you have a failed public health policy which isn’t going to work due to lack of public support

      2) the population is adhering to the public health policy, but the policy isn’t medically sound; thus you have an incorrect public health policy which isn’t going to work

      Leaving the most depressing ‘til last:

      3) the policy isn’t scientifically sound and the population isn’t following it anyway; thus you have an incorrect public health policy and incipient mistrust in the ability of government to define one

      I suppose just for the sake of completeness on 1) and 3) I should cover that old bugaboo “moar or betta enforceyments”. I guess we could try even more authoritarian approaches to get the population to comply. But for 1) and 3) there are limits to public tolerance and it’s a pretty thin argument that we had no choice to use baton rounds and tear gas on the people for the benefit of their health, 3) of course has the added chuckle factor that, it might be in vain anyway, if the medical science is bogus and there isn’t any practical way of achieving zero COVID outside of a safe and effective vaccine.


      The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.”

      Albert Camus

  12. Wukchumni

    A Fresno organization that offers food boxes to the hungry in Fresno’s Tower District is raising a controversy with its requirement that recipients first remove face masks.

    H. Stuart Barrett, of the Joint Military Assistance Command, freely admits that the requirement is a way of making a point about wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic: There is no obligation to wear facial coverings for those not in a building, he said.

    The group was in a parking lot at North Maroa and East Olive avenues Friday morning, where several members of the organization were passing out boxes containing oranges, apples and other items to drivers who did not appear to have any issues with the requirement.

    I wonder if you get fancy pre-rolled indica ‘veggies’ when you go maskless to the ‘Joint Military Assistance Command’ ?

    1. fresno dan

      September 19, 2020 at 11:23 am

      OK, that confirms it – I’ve suspected it for a long time – people are nuttier than squirrels.

  13. anon in so cal

    RIP, Professor Stephen F. Cohen

    Prof Stephen Cohen’s passing is a profound loss to world peace. Prof Cohen was despised by CIA Democrats and GOP NeoCons for exposing their baseless anti-Russia aggression and propaganda. He was particularly criticized for exposing the 2014 Obama Biden Nuland coup in Ukraine and for exposing the travesty of Russiagate:

    “the heads of America’s intelligence agencies under President Obama, especially John Brennan of the CIA and James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, felt themselves entitled to try to undermine an American presidential candidacy and subsequent presidency, that of Donald Trump. Early on, I termed this operation “Intelgate,” and it has since been well documented by other writers, including Lee Smith in his new book. Intel officials did so in tacit alliance with certain leading, and equally Russophobic, members of the Democratic Party, which had once opposed such transgressions. This may be the most alarming revelation of the Trump years: Trump will leave power, but these self-aggrandizing intelligence agencies will remain.”

    1. Olga

      I just learnt about his death…

      Used to wait for his conversations at the John Bachelor show with great anticipation.
      I always thought that if I’d met him, I would tell him jut how very important he was to the evolution of my worldview and the views on the USSR and the entire cold war, and how grateful I was (am) for his contribution.
      He – and his articles – almost single-handedly cured me of my acquired anti-USSR worldview.
      He is/was irreplaceable.
      He was one of the very few people/scholars, who – rather than knee-jerkily condemning the USSR and the socialist world – really made it a point to understand… understand the history, the people, the political context. He viewed and assessed the country within its own historical context and avoided projecting the west’s “values” (or whatever it was the west tried to project – so as always to have a reason to hate and confront the USSR and now – sadly – Russia).
      I first started to read his articles in the Nation in late 1970s. Back then – and quite soon after coming to the US – my go to sources became The Nation, The Village Voice, and the Manchester Guardian. Already then, most of the US press spewed endless propaganda (remember, “Russians are coming, Russians are coming! … to eat your children, presumably).
      (That a country, which lost many millions in a horrible war just 30 yrs prior, would want to embark on a war of choice against a much stronger adversary seemed so utterly absurd to me that I had to get to the bottom of such claims. They did not comport with an opinion (in fact, they shattered it) my friends and I had that the western press was oh-so-honest, almost as if channeling the G’s word. Oh well, I learned – and am still learning – the hard way!)
      In the quest for a more realistic understanding, Prof. Cohen became indispensable.
      He possessed incredible knowledge of many things Russian …and will be tremendously missed.
      May in rest in peace – or as Russians say – let земля ему пухом (let the earth be his (softest) feather).

  14. fresno dan

    Social Security
    I was walking out the door this morning to do some gardening when the phone rang. It was social security.  I posted a few days ago that I had applied for social security.
    So the woman was confirming my application, and she told me the difference in starting social security benefit today and sticking with January 2021.  Its about 58$ a month. But what was really interesting – social security was required to tell me that, BECAUSE it will cost me about 9K in benefits by forgoing the 4 months it will take 13 years to make losing 4 months of monthly income for 58$.  
    I actually know all about the starting benefits soon and getting more checks of a lesser amount than fewer checks but of a higher amount. I had found out at a retirement seminar that starting social security at 62 versus my FRA (full retirement age of 66 and 2 months) would take about 18 years to make up. That is, the amount of money in 4 years and 2 months foregone would take 18 years of receiving the higher amount if I started collecting at 66 and 2 months. With my health, there is no way I am living another 18 years after I turn 66, so I decided to start collecting at 65. Logically, I should have started as soon as possible….
     Rationally, I probably should have started today, but postponing present consumption for future benefit is just part of my DNA.
      Well, if I am dead before making up for taking it later, it will be the only time in my life that I won’t have any regrets, BECAUSE I WILL BE DEAD. 

    1. Wukchumni

      Down to about 1,111 days, 5 hours, 36 minutes and 11 seconds until I can get some of the money I put into a forced annuity that i’m pretty sure won’t be there for me.

        1. Wukchumni

          I tried JG Wentworth again, telling them that it was my money and I wanted it now! calling it an annuity-but dancing around what sort it was, and they seemed interested enough until I lowered the boom, and then…click…dial tone

          1. ambrit

            Oh my stars! Talk about “pennies on the dollar!”
            JGW is up there in Grifter’s Heaven with all the “personal injury attorneys” who cheat you out of your full purse by “fronting” you money to live on, [in exchange for the later judgement amount.]. (Always read the fine print!)
            I wonder if Trump could manage a reverse mortgage on the White House?

  15. Wukchumni

    Billionaires, here’s your chance to acquire 800 foot long yachts, each with a compliment of buffets serving the cheapest, most filling food imaginable, don’t miss out on this!

    In the market for an abandoned cruise ship? Carnival Corp. — the parent company of nine cruise brands, including Princess, Costa, and Carnival — announced in a third-quarter earnings filing that it plans to sell 18 cruise ships in 2020, which amounts to 17 percent of the company’s ships.

    1. ambrit

      I say we buy it for an ‘End of the World’ cult! Talk about sailing off into the sunset!
      Really now, couldn’t the government buy them at cost to turn them into Covid floating hospitals? Make it part of the DoD budget and no one will notice.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: No Time But the Present

    I wholeheartedly 2nd the article’s recommendation of reading old books as a cure for modern malaise.

    My personal recommendation is Herodutus’ Histories, with the Tom Holland translation from a few years ago being a particularly good one.

    It is filled with political machinations, backstabbing, murder, deceit, skullduggery and even a little bestiality thrown in for good measure (some suspect foreigners are accused of publicly fornicating with goats). And not all that long after the 5th century BC ink was dry, the Father of History was already being accused by his competitors of spreading fake news.

    Herodotus puts a lot happening today into perspective where everything old is new again. A very entertaining read and you might even learn something too.

    1. verifyfirst

      My favorite antidote is the Laphams Quarterly publications, conveniently organized around themes (Medicine, Memory, Time, Water, Scandal and so forth–even an issue titled Fake News–so yes, none of today’s world is novel whatsoever).

      However, what is new is our technologies, which are now able to destroy the entire world, rather than merely a civilization here or there….

      And there is your problem…..

      1. furies

        Yeah I loved Herodotus and the histories–and take comfort that what is happening now has happened before.

        But this time round we’re looking at extinction~

  17. Billy

    In America’s Blood London Review of Books

    Written from a country where people are afraid to use local parks because of “gangs of youth” carrying knives terrorize locals and based on athletic strength, speed and crimininality, can do what they want, when they want, including home invasions–with no fear of self defense nor physical harm from a disarmed population. But the criminals do have guns.

    “TOURISTS are frightened of coming to Lawless London as the murder rate rockets and knife crime blights the city every day. Visitors are becoming more scared of venturing to Britain’s capital amid constant reports of violent bloodshed, TripAdvisor forums reveal.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Yeah, what are those Brits thinking anyhow, as if you can make a hero out of a zero with a flathead screwdriver which has been sharpened into an ad hoc stiletto responsible for a couple murders?

      Free Kyle! (raises right to bear right arm)

      1. rowlf

        Free Kyle! (raises right to bear right arm)

        Don’t the white supremacists always like to raise their right arms and loudly ask “Seen Kyle?”

        1. RMO

          Uh, yeah… it’s like a blend of The Road Warrior, Escape From New York and A Clockwork Orange there in the U.K. /s

    2. Basil Pesto

      If you’re going to paint the UK as a violent, lawless hellhole, you might want to bring some better data than… the comments on TripAdvisor.

  18. Wukchumni

    Caught a snippet on the radio of glorious leader explaining how people such as Howard Zinn were poisoning our children with his take on propaganda, er history, in the classroom, and it struck me that no school i’m aware of uses his book for classes, and I wonder who told him to attack the Zinn-fidel, as you know he’s never opened a book in his life?

    1. Pookah Harvey

      According to ex-wife Ivana, Trump does read. From Vanity Fair story on the Trumps in 1990:
      “Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.”

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    In this time of Covid, unhealthy haze from massive wildfires blanketing an entire region here in the West, and awareness of the reality of our own mortality, thank you for sharing the link to the article from Scroll by Sudopta Sengupta about the expedition by several young women to climb a Himalayan peak many years ago. Her account of a journey by those who stretch perceptions of limits is both moving and inspirational. I was reminded of Nanda Devi, climbers Willi and Jolene Unsoeld’s daughter, a climber who died on the beautiful Himalayan peak for which she was named… “We live so fragilely,” —Willi Unsoeld

    1. ewmayer

      “10 things you need to know to stop a coup”: Here’s the top item from my own version of such a list, does it differ from yours?

      #1. Beware reports by anonymous intelligence officials about Deplorable Rooskies hacking our precious democracy and bodily fluids.

      LOL, a “robust election process” featuring primaries rigged by a pair of private clubs unaccountable to anyone…

      Having heard the term “inverted totalitarianism” used frequently hereabouts, I recently finally got round to reading the corresponding Wikipedia entry – Wolin et al. totally nail the sick democracy-in-name-only system operative in this country. I highly recommend it to anyone with only passing familiarity with the term.

      For the 2 corrupt major parties running the show in DC, only candidates who are ‘on board’ with the program are ever allowed anywhere near the nomination. A vote for either major-party ticket is a vote strictly for style of governance, not substance. From the article: “Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies” … and dutifully hammered home 24/7/365 by the corporate media, including supposedly ‘independent’ outlets like NPR.

      Trump 2016 may have been an anomaly in that he successfully mounted a hostile takeover of the R party, but except for occasional deviations from the Permawar and Elite Looting program in form of sporadic ‘dangerous’ noises about pulling US troops out of one country or another where they’re killing foreigners to enrich the Big War lobby and maybe setting aside some tiny fraction of the pandemic-related Wall Street bailout largess to the plebs, he has more or less faithfully carried out the program. (And of course on each occasion where he has made peace-threatening noises said lobby, along with the warmongers in the Intelligence/Surveillance complex and the MSM have instantly trotted another iteration of their patently absurd but oh-so-effective propaganda meme in the above #1 entry, in order to quickly put an end to that kind of war-ending nonsense.)

      We now return you to your regularly scheduled mix of voter apathy and partisan virtue-signaling.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        I saw the phrase “managed democracy” in this post — and then, suddenly, it hit me (OOF!):

        Maybe that’s what the Rs and Ds are . . . DMOs . . . democracy maintenance organizations!

  20. JWP

    Neat photo-essay about some people in the fires who aren’t firefighters staying back to help fight the fires and clear brush.
    What strikes me as odd here, is why did 1200 people need to stay back for this? seeing as our state’s firefighting helicopters are now transporting cash around Afghanistan, and there is no real national firefighting strategy besides prison labor, the labor is now residents literally fighting for their lives. Can anyone with more knowledge comment on how the federal or state governments have dropped the ball or crapified the firefighting strategy?

    1. Tom Stone

      JWP, Because markets.
      Note that it looks like Afghanistan will be harvesting its biggest opium crop EVAH!
      Those crops are being protected by US Forces, Military and “Civilian”
      I still have my first edition of Alfred McCoy’s “The politics of Heroin in S.E. Asia” which I bought at Shakespeare & Co used books in Berkeley CA in early 1973.
      I highly recommend it, and Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” as well, it covers Reagan/Bush period of covert involvement in the drugs trade quite well.
      The US Intelligence agencies have been involved with organized crime on a cooperative basis at least since they made their deal with Lucky Luciano during WW2.
      It’s always nice to have a little anonymous cash if you are trying to do anything covert…

    2. Glen

      I think you will see more of this because the Federal government has made it clear – they will not help.

      Wall St and the billionaires got bailed out with $3T. (But the Fed has actually given them over $30T since 2008, excluding the $14T for the 2008 bailouts. Want to know why Wall St is “surging”? Duh!)

      But the rest of us got peanuts and now, we are on our own.

  21. Glen

    White House Vows To Have Something To Stick Into Your Arm By October

    Well, that’s about as honest a news story as one can expect. The Onion has remain fairly consistent in providing quality news coverage over the years. After all, who can forget this one from the 2000 election:

    Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

    That turned out to be a VERY ACCURATE prediction.

    1. Maritimer

      For 3.5 years, any non-MAGA person who agreed with Trump on anything was shunned and ridiculed. “How could you?” was the ridiculing, shaming refrain.

      Rather ironic that now General Bone Spurs has millions of new adherents hungry for a yet to be determined, unknown, shortcut-maybe-tested vaccine. “Just give it to me!” they exclaim.

      Onions do indeed make your cry.

      1. RMO

        Well, the large opium poppy crops in Afghanistan suggest to me what they could give people to stick in their arms by October – a national morphine ration could be just the thing.

  22. fwe'zy

    All we need to do is amass several million cultural heroes who recognize each other by their non-disposable straws and forks that they carry in a cute global south woven handicraft pouch. They will save us all, in our no-height-restricted slums, while our domestic landlords frolic in the pristine Mt. Triumph-of-the-Will.

    1. fwe'zy

      edit: They will save us all, “installing” us in our no-height-restricted slums, while our domestic landlords frolic in the pristine Mt. Triumph-of-the-Will

  23. JWP

    Another chapter in the saga of diversity not equalling change:

    The massively controversial highway expansion project through downtown Portland had an advisory board of community members who were raising serious objection. ODOT has dissolved the board in favor of a hand picked board they say is aimed at giving black voices a say in the project. The previous committee was raising questions about why the city should improve vehicle access to an already congested area as well as why 800 million should go a project that is not necessarily needed. Now this new “diverse” group will have no local opposition holding them up.

  24. Wukchumni

    20 Minutes in Nature a Day Is Your Ticket to Feeling Better TreeHugger
    I’ve been stuck in the great indoors and not getting my recommended does of nature, although I did see a couple deer on the road the other day.

    For me, I require many hours per day of communing with nature, hopefully in a cathedral setting with arching granite flying buttresses and the like amidst the pews.

  25. RMO

    “Stanley Crouch, towering jazz critic”? Fer familyblog’s sake he was the Les Nessman of jazz criticism… but without any of the endearing and redeeming qualities of that character.

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