Links 9/20/2020

Magnitude 4.5 earthquake rattles Southern California, but no major damage reported LA Times

Tropical Storm Beta to spend days pounding Gulf Coast AccuWeather

12 Facts About the First Day of Fall TreeHugger

On Quitting Academia London Review of Books

Roger Angell Turns 100 American Conservative. I know I posted on this just days before he actually Attained the milestone. Now that he has, he deserves a second post. It’s not even day that some hits 100.

A patient has died after ransomware hackers hit a German hospital MIT Technology Review

The Indian queens who modelled for the world’s first vaccine BBC

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Will the Election Turn on R.B.G.? NYT MoDo

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feminist pioneer and progressive icon, dies at 87 Scotusblog

Trump says he will nominate woman to the Supreme Court next week WaPo

Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day The Hill

‘Nothing is off the table’: Supreme Court fight could reshape the Senate Politico

Op-Ed: Democrats have a secret weapon to thwart a rapid Ginsburg replacement. They should use it LATimes Erwin Chemerinsky

How Abraham Lincoln Fought the Supreme Court Jacobin

Alaska Senator Murkowski said Friday she would not vote for a justice ahead of Inauguration Day Alaska Public Media

Lindsey Graham Earlier Vowed a President in Their Last Year Shouldn’t Fill Supreme Court Vacancy: ‘Use My Words Against Me’ Newsweek

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Obama calls on Republicans to delay filling vacancy – as it happened Guardian


Boris Johnson unveils £10,000 fines for those breaking self-isolation rules while people on low incomes will be paid £500 to stay indoors in strict new restrictions – as infections soar and battle rages among Ministers over a second lockdown Daily Mail

Death, Miscarriage and COVID-19:  Inside ICE Air’s History of Medical Neglect Capital & Main

Time to try out some luxury PPE, now that Covid face masks are so last spring Guardian

Hong Kong records 23 new Covid-19 infections, mostly imported from India, Philippines, Nepal and Sweden SCMP

‘This is just slowing the clock on evictions’: Why the CDC’s moratorium on evictions won’t solve America’s looming $100 billion rental crisis MarketWatch

Australia reports lowest coronavirus cases in three months: Live Al Jazeera

Health Care

‘I Only Need To Stick Around 4 Or 5 More Years’: Doctor Shows How Horrific The US Healthcare System Is Bored Panda

New drug combination extends survival with advanced kidney cancer. It’s poised to enter a competitive treatment market Stat. Hope it works. My father died of kidney cancer.

New Cold War

Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War. Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Julian Asssange

Why is Amnesty Barred From Monitoring Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearings? | Opinion Newsweek


Empire’s Mask Slips at Julian Assange Trial Dissident Voice. Pepe Escobar.


Why Boris Johnson’s Britain Is Turning ‘Rogue State’ Over Brexit Bloomberg

Our Famously Free Press

Class Warfare

Every Single Person Has a Right to Housing Jacobin

West Coast Wildfires

Bobcat fire explodes to 93,842 acres, claims homes amid heavy winds; more evacuations ordered LA Times

Media Blame Gender Reveal Parties, Not Climate Change, for West Coast Fires FAIR


Biden’s polling lead nears magic number Politico

Joe Biden’s Court Vacancy Plan: More Talk of Health Care and the Pandemic NYT

2020 Election Could Decide Whether US Pursues Nuclear Escalation or Arms Control TruthOut

Declaring 2020’s Winner Could Well Hinge on How Quickly States Count Mail Ballots WSJ


In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable SCMP

Americans won’t be able to download TikTok or WeChat from Sunday MIT Technology Review


How can India get out of the low-growth trap? Sabyasachi Kar has an unconventional proposa Scroll

As Bengal Elections Approach, Digital Media Fills Up with Propaganda Camouflaged as News The Wire

The Clear Night Sky Over India and China’s Hostile Border New Yorker

Interview: India’s Low COVID-19 Mortality Not Unique, Rural Spread Is Worrying The Wire

Crowded rooms, shared phones but a will to learn — how Delhi’s street kids study in a pandemic The Print

India’s coronavirus infections surge to 5.4 million Reuters


“We sweep trauma under the carpet and carry on” Qantara

Trump Transition

Petitions of the week: A pair of cases on Trump and the emoluments clauses Scotusblog

Iran urges defiance of sanctions as US threatens ‘consequences’ Al Jazeera

Envelope Containing Ricin Intercepted in White House Mail WSJ

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    A pair of endangered Swift Parrots bathing, Don Reserve, Tasmania
    and I can’t resist: splish splash I was taking a bath…

    1. Susan the other

      red is iron; blue is oxygen; green is… chrome (?) – the 3 most basic colors of the universe. Green almost never translates into the animal kingdom.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Ha! I would say red is the color of oxidized iron, blue/green is the color of oxidized copper … but there are no doubt other metals that would give a better breakdown.

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Boris Johnson unveils £10,000 fines for those breaking self-isolation rules while people on low incomes will be paid £500 to stay indoors in strict new restrictions – as infections soar and battle rages among Ministers over a second lockdown

    Something I often ask people when they are facing some trouble or hard decisions is “Have you tried doing nothing?” I am often met with ridicule and shock for suggesting such a thing. In the U.S., we do not do “nothing”. Doing nothing is always useless. To me, this p is psychology is why the outbreak here never lets up. So I am glad Boris is paying people to do nothing because it places a tangible value on doing nothing. Money is the only thing westerners can understand and the only method they have of determining value.

    In traditional Chinese Medicine they have a fundamental thought on curing all illnesses; First you must reduce all excess, and only after that do you supplement deficiencies. And maybe this is why the Asian countries are having an easier time holding back the virus. When there is an illness, first start by doing less.

    1. Fireship

      The problem with doing nothing (which I am thoroughly in favor of), is that too many people have empty, meaningless existences. Usually they fill up their time being busy, striving for more productivity, efficiency, life-hacking, etc.

      Witness the rise in quarantine drinking and drugging. For many, the void that they are confronted with is horrifying. For modern society, built on hustling, doing nothing is anathema.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        there’s also a largely unconscious and kneejerk social stigma attached to doing nothing.
        sitting on a bench, reading a book in public will get you side eye every time in the places i go.
        (and that’s a bias, of course…and my dress and unkempt hoary visage prolly contributes as well,lol)

        as far as empty lives…we talk about this often, when the chisme flows: i usually reference a handful of waitresses i used to cook for, back when…always bringing Drama to work, causing much unecessary upset and strife…but anthropologist me, standing behind my grill watching, knew that this behaviour was to fill up their empty, meaningless existence.
        some folks fill it up with religion…leaping headlong into the blood of the lamb and “Blessings!”…
        some, with dramatic affairs and the consequences of those affairs…some with politics…generally a bunch of sound and fury, that means little in the grand sweep of existence.
        leave great masses of folks bereft of meaning and/or purpose, and they’ll fill that hole with something.
        one of the things i’ll be watching is how the new precariat bumps into the conventional prohibition on admitting their precarity…as i’ve talked about before, soccer moms at brunch, whom i know for a fact have a kid in jail, or a well known cheating husband, or a repossessed car…talking with their friends about their next vacation.
        our society is not ready for what’s happening.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘there’s also a largely unconscious and kneejerk social stigma attached to doing nothing.’

          Isn’t that the truth. The quiet thinker has no place when they are pushed aside by a brash, bombastic, self-promoter and introverts are denigrated for being so. Somebody playing games or taking selfies on their mobile is OK but that person on the bus reading a book – a thick book! – looks a bit suss.

          1. Wukchumni

            I retired @ 43, and for the past 15 years when I relate that i’ve been in that status, people always say, oh you’re too young to do that, etc.

            Goofing off when there isn’t any possibility of being paid for your actions is anathema to Americans and our way of life, but i’m sure getting good at it.

            1. Janie

              I retired early, too, and so many people have assumed I must get bored. Nope, never. Not as long as there’s a library, along with pencil and paper to draw on.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                yeah, I “retired” at 37…when my bones wouldn’t let be be a reliable cook any more,lol.
                I keep plenty busy, though…get more actual stuff done before noon than most people my age do in a week.
                Turns out that there are other motivations to Work than a paycheck.
                I get high in the morning and glide though chore after chore.
                A few repubs I know have nightmares about me.

                  1. Janie

                    Yea for you! Years ago, I asked an acquaintance about his overtime; he said he had given it up. He was working OT to pay for a big screen TV that he didn’t have time to watch because…working OT to pay for it.

            2. Temporarily Sane

              It’s kinda sad that many people equate retirement or disengaging from paid work with “being lazy” or “doing nothing.” It seems many folks can no longer picture themselves spending the bulk of their time doing activities that don’t involve making money. Neoliberal capitalists and their ilk glorify “work” even more than orthodox Marxists do.

            3. MichaelSF

              I’m another early (but not as early as some) retiree. When asked what do I DO all day, I usually reply “whatever I want” or “there’s always something to avoid doing”.

              One thing about retirement is you have to take responsibility for your own amusement. If a person needs someone to structure their daily life, then they should probably give serious thought to not retiring, as if they go to work someone will probably take the responsibility for “what will I do?” off their shoulders.

              1. Wukchumni

                I was never in it for the money, as in that wasn’t the end all be all to me, although I knew quite a few feverishly working towards large pile of money #7 to put on large pile of money #6, it’s how they kept score in what mattered.

                The object of my desire was seldom larger than 2 inches for many decades, but what I yearned for more of was to be immersed in wide vistas with towering views or even being on just the right part of the trail to glimpse over there at the left-what a fascinating formation with what look like gothic era granite era arches-what is up with that?, really pretty much the same things you see in Ansel Adams photos.

                I was well acquainted with the backcountry of Sequoia NP, and being so close to the action, expanded to visit most every area of the NP on foot.

                The pay is mostly self satisfaction, the benefits: being in the moment.

          2. Jack

            Oh yeah, it’s the curse of the B-schools’ teaching of a “Bias for Action” which permitted whole generations of industry “leaders” to reach their levels of incompetence.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          You reminded me of Bill Hicks ” Well looks like we got ourselves a reader “.

          Not much different here in the UK in regard to the type of lives you describe & on my daily morning walks along the beach, I have noticed that my sandals & bare feet within them ( If it’s not raining of course ) get quite a bit of attention.

          Am on Universal Credit which I believe means that I am once again at the bottom of the ladder so should get the 500 quid if it actually appears. The pandemic has actually done me a favour as in I have been able to care for my Ex in her now 5 month attempt to go cold turkey off the booze. I also lost about 36 grand in losing 2 commissions, but because of the above I would have lost them anyway, meaning the cash from UC has kept me afloat.

          As for doing nothing that only happens when I am asleep – if that actually counts as nothing. I imagine that the definition of doing nothing for Boris & his like, is not working your bollocks off. I have applied for further commissions in Belfast so will hopefully get back to some official work, although in this part of the World if the politicians get involved then the only thing that could happen is a long & bitter slanging match.

          1. ilpalazzo

            AFAIK it is not advised to try go cold turkey on booze, it may be dangerous on one’s health for a hard drinker. Instead I recommend asking a psychiatrist for a prescription drug Clomethiazol. Don’t ask how I know.

            1. furies

              I had a neighbor who was an alcoholic; he didn’t tell anyone and went cold turkey one day. Kept me up all night thrashing, moaning — he got caught up in his exercise equipment, located right next to my bedroom wall, hitting the wall at odd intervals.

              I knocked on his door at 4am trying to rouse him. All I got were grunts and moans. He wasn’t aware of his surroundings. The cops wouldn’t break down his door when I called them next. It took a neighbor climbing thru the kitchen window to open the door for the ambulance the next morning.

              60 years old–after being nagged by his elder sister for years, took her advice and tried to do it on his own and almost died.

              (no his sobriety didn’t last…)

              I hope Eustache de Saint Pierre’s exwife is being more careful.

              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                Well, thanks for the concern.

                Herself is doing pretty well considering the damage she did until a very bad dose of sickness & diarrhea led to her as they say over here – copping onto herself.

                She decided to do the cold turkey thing & for about 6 weeks went through hell with splitting headaches, nausea, diarrhea which as they diminished were replaced by bed sores due to her having lost a lot of weight because she had for sometime hardly ate anything – I was well aware of this as due to lockdown I was doing her shopping.

                She also had to put up with Neuropathy in her feet & to a lesser extent in her hands. All consultations with her GP were done over the phone, in which she was prescribed thiamine, Vit B6 I think, while I got her on Vit D. Blood test were done at the practice leading her to being prescribed folic acid, with another test to be done to check her sodium levels. She actually got to see a doctor after developing an infection in her little toe, which set her back for a few weeks.

                She is now of the very strong opinion that if she goes back to how she was it will be a form of committing suicide. She is not too bad now & for my part it is nice to have only one version of her that is now actually wanting to do stuff, but is frustrated that the Neuropathy limits that.

                I don’t know whether despite this she might go back to black as we call it, but I don’t think so as she had an almighty shock. I knew where she was heading but being as she is as stubborn as a mule I knew that there was no point in me lecturing her & that she had to decide for herself. I spent a lot of time being very scared as I witnessed her slow trek to the brink.

                I love her with all of my heart & soul & she has given me both the best & worst of times.

                The main reason that I moved house was to cut down the distance to her from 55 miles to 7, while getting myself a much smaller & cheaper to run place.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  I knew i liked you,lol.
                  I hope she appreciates you.
                  I’m a binge drunk,myself…once a week…once every two weeks(in “normal” times)
                  cops and rednecks taught me this method of handling stress.
                  which is both ironic and unfortunate.
                  I’m better, now, than i’ve been since i was 13….mostly thanks to my wife.

                  1. ambrit

                    One of the great characteristics of good people is selflessness. It’s considered a ‘saintly’ attribute because it is not easy to do nor that common.
                    Helping a loved one through any situation where death is a very real possibility certainly concentrates one’s attention.
                    I’ve learned more about myself, psychologically, helping Phyllis with the cancer and now the amputation than in my entire former lifetime. When I present with a bad attitude, she will say to me; “Go away and come back when you are in a better mood.”
                    I also do some binge drinking, but suffer horrendous hangovers as a result. I once got to sit in and see and hear the writer William Burroughs at Loyola of New Orleans. When asked what his favourite drug was, he replied immediately, alcohol. “It lets you know the next day that you have done something wrong.”
                    My Dad was a “functional alcoholic,” and thus I, all unknowing, experienced a crash course in Alk 101. Mom must have learned from my travails because she took both of my younger sisters to al-anon meetings for years when they were young. To this day, both sisters are fiercely protective of Mom. Woe betide me if I make any “joke” at Mom’s expanse. (I get pounded.)
                    One difference between his situation and what most Americans would encounter is the “Universal Credit.” How that is apportioned I know not, but I do know that here in America, one must basically grovel and debase oneself to get much assistance from the State. The poor are punished for being poor. Classic circular logic.

                2. Janie

                  E de SP, I had a relative like that, and he was able to beat it and live many more years. It took a lot of sacrifice by his family, as you are doing.

        3. Eclair

          “She/he was a hard worker,” is an epitaph (probably literally, if our planet is not rescued) that was the ultimate mark of approval on American’s gravestones. For our cousin, the farmer, dead at age 58, god rest his soul, that phrase, was his highest mark of approval. You worked 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset. He was the product of Swedish and German immigrants who farmed potatoes, corn (both kinds), oats and hay. Oh, and strawberries …. a great cash crop but the source of endless heartache and sleepless nights during the late frosts of Pennsylvania’s spring.

          He approved mightily of his Amish friends and neighbors and employees. But he could never understand their ability to simply drop all work and, for god’s sake, socialize. Hop in a rented van and drive to Ohio or Kentucky or Colorado … in the middle of the week …. for a family wedding or funeral. And, while he observed the ‘never on Sundays’ rule at his farm stand, he really resented their ‘no work on Sundays’ culture, especially if they were working for him. A whole day, spent traveling to a neighbor’s house by buggy, praying and singing all morning, eating lunch together, and then …. when you could have spent the afternoon cutting hay …. sitting around socializing, drinking gallons of coffee and eating homemade cakes and cookies.

          But, for the Amish, those are the times when they are performing the most difficult, the most important work of all: carefully constructing and maintaining their web of social support. We ‘English’ might take a lesson from the them in this regard. ‘Socializing’ is work. As is silence and reflection; the work of repairing our souls.

              1. Janie

                I gather that’s the point if the movie, Cuties. A while back, i was out with a friend and her 13 year old granddaughter. The child paid no attention to her surroundings, posted many pictures, countef her “likes” and announced that she was among the most popular at school because she had so many “friends”. Made me sad.

          1. a different chris

            >He was the product of Swedish and German immigrants …He approved mightily of his Amish friends … But he could never understand their ability to simply drop all work

            A product of Swedish and Germans… but from Wikipedia:

            >The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German and Alsatian Anabaptist origins.

            He was probably not-so-distantly related!

          2. Anonymous

            You worked 7 days a week, …

            Not according to the Bible (e.g. Jeremiah 17:27). And dying at 58 is not exactly an endorsement of his “wisdom” either (Proverbs 3:13-16).

            Such ignorance of the Bible and it’s no wonder we’re victimized by injustice…

        4. tegnost

          our society is not ready for what’s happening.

          I’ve been marveling for a few months now that most of the political class is kicking the C19 blowback into the winter, the worst time to be put out on the street, which is where a lot of people are going to wind up.

        5. Billy

          “great masses of folks bereft of meaning and/or purpose, and they’ll fill that hole with something”. i.e.

          rich white girls chanting BLACK LIVES MATTER!

          1. hunkerdown

            Bourgeois girls come in all colors. White = bourgeois, always has, and the equivalence flows both ways.

            Besides, the purpose of a bourgeoisie is to “improve society” by arranging it to their (inherently superior) personal tastes. Again, always has been in a liberal society. Are you really complaining about the so-called “middle class” doing what society pays them for? Keeping the poor busy and away from dangerous sources of energy so they don’t use it to end the rich and destroy your ability to feel superior to others? For once I’d like to see you post something other than whatever you last heard on Fox News.

            1. Billy

              Fox news is for morons. I comment on what I observe with my own two eyes, or read here.

              Your comment doesn’t speak well to your own independence of thought, assuming that anything you disagree with is a script from Fox.

              1. Wukchumni

                Is it really fair & balanced to describe an ungodly amount of GOP followers as morons?

                The ones I know that have Fox news on 24/7 are all in their 60’s and 70’s, and 20 years ago could give a fig about politics, but now they’re experts.

                  1. neo-realist

                    Make that “Fox news as the source of news that produces reactionary dogmatic dullards?”

                    And I’m guessing plenty of commercials re gold investment, denture cleaning products, and ed prevention medications?

              2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

                Most important debate of our time, Matt Taibbi of course is paying attention. Fox gets tarred with the “biased” brush while CNN and the NYT still get a free pass (Russiagate much?).


                Luckily we have sober and august politicians keeping political leaders in line. Nancy P bravely said the impeachment option is on the table if Trump names a RBG replacement. Biden’s picks of course must remain obscure.

                1. a different chris

                  >Biden’s picks of course must remain obscure.

                  But if he wins the election they will tell him then. :D

          2. polecat

            rich & spoiled white girls who hold goats! .. chanting BLACK LIVES MATTER!

            ‘ pmc Mom .. academic Dad … could either one of you please toss me another BRICK alonspray paint! can of spraypaint!

          3. diptherio

            And what of the Black people who started the protests, the chants, the demands? What of us poor people who agree with the demands, who want them too? None of us matter to you, do we? No, because a rich white girl has joined in, everybody else gets erased. That’s a neat trick.

            1. Billy

              Cool. Finally a responsible party.

              All of you matter to me, but no one is special or gets extra protection and respect because of their perceived mistreatment.

              You last two sentences are akin to “Are you still beating your wife?”

              What exactly do you BLM protesters want to achieve?

              What is it that you actually want to happen?

              Demands for things not to happen, i.e. militaristic cops killing black and white people, is not a plan nor a blueprint.

              Do you not believe that you are helping to reelect Trump by looting and vigilante reparations?

        6. anon in so cal

          Garfinkel’s “doing nothing in public” breaching experiment….there were even “no loitering” signs proscribing it

        7. lcn


          Love this thread started by Krystyn about Boris J and evolving towards discussion about individual meaning and purpose (or lack thereof).

          Kind of interested with the teleology of human existence because this question’s been asked for centuries and, as of this writing, there’s really no clear answer. I happen to believe that this lack of definitive answer to meaning and purpose is the source of our collective malaise (society, species, civilization) and that formulating a coherent one could, maybe, solve many of our problems – among which is our continuing division or atomization.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            From something I read 45 years ago (so it is probably in error):

            True love is the creation of a religion whose God is false. – Paul Valery.

            He may have been referring to Robespierre.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            somebody said “if you don’t believe in anything, you’ll believe anything”.
            or something to that effect.
            systematically kill off the Humanities, to ensure that something chaotic like the 60’s can’t happen again, because the youth don’t have the mind tools for it.
            boil down “Philosophy” to Analytics for the Masters, and utter pablum for the masses.(my PMC brother gave my eldest a copy of Stephen Covey for his birthday. brother reads and rereads it when he’s having doubts)
            abscond with the Jewish protosocialist carpenter, and take him to Makeup, then trot him out as a late night tv junk bond salesman…and misplace “Morality” and “Ethics” as being overly concerned what other people are doing in bed, back seats, or at the river after dark.

            Hardly anyone you run in to will have a clue what Eudaimonia, or Arete or Phronesis are…but you can run an informal survey any way:
            ask the guy/gal next to you in the elevator, the park bench, the busstop, the starbucks…what “The Good Life” is.
            9 out of 10…no matter their perceived demographic…it will be something about Money, and the ostentatious display thereof.
            The ability to even think about things in non-market terms has been taken away….and many of us are fixin to be forcibly trained to Interrogate our Privilege…but not to Interrogate what it means to be a Human, free on the Earth…nor what is Really Important.
            The Mindfuck worked like a charm…and we’ve allowed ourselves to become a very narrow and shallow shadow of what we were.*
            “Free your Mind, and the rest will follow”

            functional illiteracy—including that which flows from disinterest and incuriousness about the world around us, and that which flows from the dopamine generators in everyone’s hands—plus a general malaise and default acceptance that “this is how it is”…adding the general prohibition on talking to people…even people you know(especially them)…about how frelling hard it is to get by(because it’s all your fault that you’re not at the top)…
            as well as the well oiled pavlovian triggers shot through our mediated environment, ready to set us off on myriad Tangents that distract and dismay and make us ineffectual at doing anything about the whole mess….
            and all of this…every bit of it…no matter how deleterious it appears to us unhappy few in fora like this…is still in the interests of Power, and will continue and get worse because it is in their interests.
            Change for the Better is headed off and nipped in the bud as soon as it shows any signs of having legs.
            I am not at all sanguine about what a general collapse will be like…it angers me greatly that “They” have left no other option…but i sincerely think that that’s where our greatest hope lies. the Machine must break down, and the resulting Burning Times must be endured…and the Machine must be prevented from rebooting itself afterwards**. That’s a hard row, indeed…but my hoe is sharp, and the handle is good and oiled.
            I see no other way, because our Dominant Elite(see: Toynbee’s taxonomy) simply will not give up their power.

            (*look at literacy rates, going back to the Founding, for instance…and what they read…my kids read more than any of their peers, but nothing like my peers growing up(i was anomalous in this, too, but still))

            (** a story earlier this year sometime, when the Powerful were running off to their tony bunkers and well appointed missile silos…and twitter erupted with calls for cement to lock them all down there! we’ve gleaned some insights into the mindscape of that tippy top class…that many of them expect to emerge from the Bunkers/Islands/Space Station…after the dust settles and us’n’s have done our duty and thinned the Herd to a more manageable and ecosustainable level, and benevolently Rule Us…and that we survivors will of course welcome their rule, because we cannot rule ourselves(obviously,lol–see Th. Frank)
            This eventuality must be guarded against all through the Burning…and the seeds of Mental and, yes, Spiritual Resistance and Capability for taking care of each other must be planted right frelling now….as in my feedstore symposia and encouraging my teenagers to do their inevitable drinking beer with their friends out here, so i can monitor their intake, and prevent driving drunk, bu also so i can emerge out of the underbrush in a bathrobe with a gandalf pipe and go all Socratic Method on them around the campfire , and engender the Habit of Thought and Discourse among them.(this has worked wonders, btw, and i’ve influenced maybe an hundred or so youth directly, and who knows how many more indirectly.)
            the real war is for your Mind(see: Greater Jihad-waves to NSA)
            and very few of us are even aware that that war has been ongoing for 50+ years.

            1. fwe'zy

              Stephen Covey lmfao
              D. Fuller had a comment about voters on both sides needing to take responsibility. While I agree with his views, I just don't see how we can expect so much of people when they have been so long subjected to this Covey- (sorry, typed "Covet" at first lol) and Filipovic-type bullying. The corpse class is demonic.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i gave my brother…who is not as dumb as he continues to insist he is…a copy of boethius,”consolations of philosophy”…Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra”…and Marcus Aurelius’, “Meditations”…some years ago, when he was having yet another existential crisis.
                all three of these are easy reads, as far as i’m concerned…although Zarathustra requires a little more thought than the others.
                But he came back months later and said he couldn’t do it.
                that he was too dumb.
                the very Idea of reading Great Literature or Philosophy or the works of Antiquity is put out of reach by preconceptions drilled into their heads by the operating system of the society at large(Matrix).
                and then internalised by the Subjects.
                no further enforcement is necessary.
                “I won’t read anything outside of Approved Texts because I am not capable of understanding such things”.
                Neoliberalism/Neoconservatism is the AntiEnlightenment, come to bloom.
                “Market!=Holy Holy”….subject grovels in the dust with uncanny pride.
                Fleur de Mal.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  That “if you don’t believe in anything, you’ll believe anything” quote. It is one that struck me for its basic truth and comes from the film “Sucker Punch” where a character say-

                  ‘If You Don’t Stand For Something, You’ll Fall For Anything.’

                  Your excellent main comment I will have to slowly unpick later.

            2. a different chris

              >ask the guy/gal next to you in the elevator, the park bench, the busstop, the starbucks…what “The Good Life” is.
              9 out of 10…no matter their perceived demographic…it will be something about Money, and the ostentatious display thereof.

              I strongly disagree with the second part… only a very few of us care about the “ostentatious display” part. Those of course climb over the rest any way they can get a purchase.. Most people, who if they somehow got the money they wanted, would happily disappear from working society.

              In America especially it seems there is no way to be “free” without some ridiculous amount of cash (once you have kids you are way screwed unless you are the worlds most selfish person) so I can’t blame people for that obsession.

        8. Cuibono

          The Red Wheel Barrow
          by William Carlos Williams

          so much depends

          a red wheel

          glazed with rain
          beside the white

          1. CitizenSissy

            Ogden Nash!

            One-L Lama is a priest
            Two-L Llama is a beast
            I’d bet a pair of silk pajamas
            you’ve never seen a three-L LLLama

      2. jr

        “Doing Something!” also keeps peoples noses jammed in the machine. When everyone is just screaming “Do Something!” people tend to do what they know and what they are comfortable with. Like vote for Biden because Trump. It ultimately maintains the status quo, constantly doing something is a living in a constant state of disruption. It’s also a convenient kind of “moral banking“ one can engage in with oneself. I did X and therefore I can commit sin Y. Or ignore sin Z in others because “Hey I did my part.” I see it around me in the PMCs who decry the rape of the environment and join this or that online cause but who continue to fly, build, eat, and drive the world to death. “Hey, at least I’m doing something!” How many times have you heard it?

        It’s one of the reasons doing nothing is so frowned upon in the US, I believe. Even meditation, as popularly defined, is almost always proposed as a way to recover from or prep for more work, stress, exploitation. I rarely see it presented as a good in it’s own right.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      You can guess what I’ll quote: ;)

      The more restrictions and prohibitions in the world,
      the poorer people get.
      The more experts a country has,
      the more of a mess it’s in.
      The more ingenious the skillful are,
      the more monstrous their inventions.
      The louder the call for law and order,
      the more the thieves and con men multiply.

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

      On a somewhat related point, Octavia Butler’s Parable series is becoming more and more of a thing with a new opera, several related podcasts and a climb up the best seller charts. From Slate of all places. A little teaser:

      Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents contain many plot elements that seem to have “predicted” our current circumstances. But because Olamina’s story is also the story of a prophet—and because Butler is interested in how people might retain their humanity and direction through conditions of extreme chaos and change—the Earthseed books are instructional in a way that other apocalypse fictions are not. They are not prepper fiction, though reading them will teach you a thing or two about go bags and the importance of posting a night watch. According to people who love the books, myself included, they offer something beyond practical preparations: a blueprint for adjusting to uncertainty.

      The search continues to broaden for a new glue to replace the old one that has dissolved and left our society coming apart at the seams. This is one of several approaches beings pursued.

        1. zagonostra

          I always wondered why he didn’t make it 4:32 since that’s the frequency that the universe is mathematicaly and musically built on.

    3. Susan the other

      A sentiment I love; my favorite piece of advice is to learn to enjoy doing nothing which I found on a Mexican tile depicting a burro snoozing under a tree: “How wonderful it is to do nothing and then to rest afterward.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Sitting Quietly, Just To Sit” is one of many Pearls i took away from Vol IV of Campbell’s Masks of God, when i was early teens and found it in mom’s studio.
        another that sticks close to me is “Wherefrom words turn back, together with the mind, not having attained”—which is in reference to the Ineffable…the Thing Behind Things that no words can describe.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Echoing Pascal:
          “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

          1. nycTerrierist

            and Kafka:

            “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. “

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”-Khalil Gibran


              “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
              ― Rumi

              “silence is the language of god,
              all else is poor translation.” -also Rumi

              1. rowlf

                I have heard Forest monks reference Kafka stories during Dhamma talks to explain their point to modern listeners.

                (I’ve also had a senior monk entertain my young sons (at the time) by doing a Curly Howard impression. “Hey Moe!”)

  3. notabanker

    I already have my own little special place in Hell. It’s called the American Midwest. The land abandoned by Clinton, Obama, Bush, Pelosi et al… in favor of “free trade”. But I guess if you write books in NY to make other people from NY feel special, you wouldn’t understand that.

    I hope Trump wins just to see these heads explode.

    1. John Merryman

      Or that Biden wins, the wheels keep coming off the train and they can’t blame it on Trump and the Russians.
      Personally I’m writing in Assange/Manning. They looked the Beast in the eyes and didn’t blink.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I think the narrative from the Obama years disproves the idea that the Dems will ever acknowledge their responsibility in the rot. They’re already trial ballooning the excuses for the failings of a Harris/Biden administration.

        1. a different chris

          But nor will the Republicans.

          That’s politics, unfortunately. To be fair, what would that get them?

          I don’t even care about “acknowledge” or whatever, just family blogging fix something for the first time in a long time.

          In fact the more I think about it, it would frankly irritate me to hear some sort of mewly mea culpa….

    2. D. Fuller

      Reagan. That Hell? Reagan. Sure, it may have been Hell before? But it was Hell with a little ‘h’. Then Reagan came along. Along with The Moral Majority run by a Nazi disciple named Paul Weyrich who recruited Lazlo Pasztor, of the former Hungarian Arrow Party.

      Paul Weyrich and Lazlo Pasztor also co-founded The Heritage Foundation.

      Remember the destruction of family farms under Reagan? Most do not. NAFTA? Began with Reagan. Most ignore that to. The Reagan Admin flooded America with cocaine to fund their terrorist army to fight in Nicaragua. Covid-19 spreading unchecked? Meet The Moral Majority-backed Reagan and AIDS that spread like wildfire until a rich person died. And Rock Hudson. Religious Conservatives rejoiced that God sent AIDS to destroy homosexuals. That is, until they started dying to.

      America and the destruction of American manufacturing? Reagan. There was even a movie made after 1981 that portrayed American steelworkers fighting to save their steel mill. It did not end well. Today, the very man who sold off Betlehem Steel to foreign competition for over a billion dollars? Is Trump’s Secretary of Commerce. Name of Wilbur Ross.

      What about The Clinton’s? Meet The DLC. Founded, in part, by The Koch Brothers and their money. The Koch Brothers, patron Saints of The Party. The Clinton’s are not your typical religious Conservatives, being more Business Conservatives. They bent The Democratic Party to business Conservative will. Ol’ Billy Clinton was a Republican Wet Dream of a Presidency. Criminalizing, even further, being Black in America with the help of Joe Biden. Tore down Social assistance programs with “reforms”. Adhered to The Mantra of “free trade” by signing NAFTA. Republicans hated Clinton. Newton Gingrich tried his impeachment coup and failed.

      Back to NAFTA. NAFTA which impoverished many while producing paper profits for Wall Street. Began by Reagan, completed and symbolically signed by one GHW Bush. All Clinton had to do was sign it. Which he did on behalf of The Koch Brothers and Wall Street. There are those God-fearing arch-Conservative Tea Party loving Koch Brothers again. Along with arch-Conservative think tanks, The American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation.

      Then came GW Bush. Laszlo Pasztor, Nazi loving sympathizer, last was invited to The White House by GW. GW’s Administration and Alan Greenspan – head of The Federal Reserve put their Reagan, who has never once been right about anything regarding economics. Both inflated The Housing Bubble. With predictable consequences.

      Obama? See Clinton. Rescued the banks. Screwed Main Street. Started some wars, continued Bush’s Wars. The rich got richer faster under Obama than under Bush.

      Trump? Remember Wilbur Ross who sold off Bethlehem Steel? That is Trump, being MAGA. There is your real MAGA morality. As represented by Wilbur Ross. Why, Trump took NAFTA, rearranged the text, changed some words, added some minor provisions from TPP; then called it USMCA. MAGA Trumpers rejoiced! All for Trump making minor changes to NAFTA and calling it something new. They think Trump will shower gold down on them as if from Heaven. The rich are even richer, faster under Trump than they ever were with Obama. Trump impeachment? Revenge by Democrats and that horrid Hillary Clinton for when Newt Gingrich and Republicans attempting their coup and Hillary losing. Why Democratic Leadership simply took the Republican Playbook, Whitewater Chapter, and used it.

      Meanwhile, the Trump-happy voters high on Trump, despairing? Bush voters, the majority of them, who claim they never voted for Bush. The same people who hated Obama. Many who voted for Iranian Arms dealer, Ronald Mullah Reagan. The same people who hated Clinton for being a better Republican.

      Those people? MAGA espousing former Bushies with some new adherents? The voted for their own destruction and despair. Much like the Clinton Democrats did on their side.

      For decades, they have voted routinely destruction. Every problem they helped create? They blame on Obama, Clinton, Democrats, and Liberals.

      Those Conservatives in pursuit of God, Guns, and Gays? Wishing for Civil War 2.0 so they can get their murder on?

      They are responsible for their own Hell. They helped create, foster, nurture; their own Hell. Reagan was their catapult to delusion. For those Conservatives to admit the truth to their own complicity in and of their own destruction? Would be to destroy their id and egos. They can’t handle the truth.

      Conservatives, at least the ones I know? Are shameless in their complete lack of responsibility for their own actions. Much like Clinton Democrats who fail to realize that Hillary Clinton and her cohort are solely responsible for their own defeat.

      Instead, those Clinton Democrats put forth the bankrupt conspiracy theory of RISSIA!RUSSIA!RUSSIA! Following in the fine tradition of Conservatives who believe in MAGA, Jade Helm 15, Satanic Ritual abuse, QAnon, chain letters detailing corporate funding of Satanism in America, and hundreds – if not thousands – of other insane conspiracies.

      We are left with deindustrialized wasteland of The United States.

      That suffering people voted for. Who deny they ever did. Much like Clinton Democrats can’t admit their own culpability in bringing forth the wasteland of America.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Or: all of the peasants toiling in the fields in the H. Bosch painting could lift their heads up. They could stop for just a second and realize that there are 1 of them and 99 of us. That even The Lords of the Manor have to react when the peasantry passes the breaking point. So instead we get Red versus Blue. Black versus white. Straight versus gay. Old versus young. Religious versus Not. Coast versus Heartland. Until we recognize that it’s 99 against 1, and anyone suggesting other divisions is an enemy of the revolution who must be shamed and shouted down, we’ll get the same reward: nothing.

      1. neo-realist

        Paul Weyrich, the republican conservative sage who said ” I don’t want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” And the GOP has put that into practice with a vengeance in the past 20-25 years or so, including this November.

    3. Darryl Fuller

      If you ever read my lengthy post, in moderation right now? I mention a movie.

      The Heart of Steel. 1983. TV movie. The destruction of a steel mill and the workers. Why was that movie made in 1983? A taste of Reaganism (neoliberal economics) that began the destruction of America.

      Wilbur Ross could have starred in a remake of that movie. Being the Trump Administration official who sold off Bethelehem Steel to foreign competition. If you voted Trump? Wilbur Ross, a fine example of MAGA in action. The real MAGA and not the pap that MAGA believers have been served by Trump.

      Farmers? Reagan began their destruction to.

      Voters on both sides have voted for politicians who have betrayed them. Many of those voters simply will not admit to their own culpability in bringing about today’s America.

      Clintonism is the Liberal (not Progressive) Democratic version of MAGA. Both are cults, in my opinion.

      I know why many people voted Trump. I can’t blame them. On some small level, they are right. They rejected the status quo. The problem is? What they voted for is simply just as destructive, even more so.

      The lack of ability to take responsibility, on both sides, is a disease of theirs. Most notable on The Democratic side with RUSSIA!RUSSIA!RUSSIA. On The Right, MAGA and QAnon conspiracy.

      Fine examples of avoiding responsibility.

      1. TroyIA

        One quibble with who began the destruction of farmers. Paul Volcker and the Federal Reserve’s desire to crush inflation in 1979 was the starting point. Then President Carter embargoed the USSR causing commodity prices to collapse.

        When Reagan became President he adopted the Earl Butz mantra of get big or get out and used the farm crisis to consolidate small farms into larger farms.

        1. fwe'zy

          Oct 18, 1979 WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — Paul A. Volcker, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, asserted today that Americans must accept a reduction in their living standards, if inflation is to be reduced.

          NOT for the planet, but for capital.
          Eco organizers couldn’t possibly have been paid to implement that agenda, oh gosh no. /yes I have voted Green for 20 years except when I was guilted by Dems into voting Kerry, for pro-choice. Quite a lever, that.

      2. anon in so cal

        ” What they voted for is simply just as destructive, even more so”

        Except for one major difference: Trump has not started any new wars. This is arguably why the entire CIA Dem and GOP NeoCon Establishment wants him out.

        Obama and Biden, on the other hand = 7 regime change wars in 8 years, with over 2 million lives lost, not including Ukraine.

        Biden wants a bigger military budget, more weapons to Ukraine, NATO moved eastward (Ukraine and Georgia?), escalated regime change in Syria…..

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Trump really could have saved himself a max ration of heartburn if he’d just gone along with the program.

        2. judy2shoes

          Serious question. What are the 7 regime-change wars started during Obama’s reign of terror? I count Syria, Egypt, Libya, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Somalia. You said you didn’t include Ukraine, but I don’t know why because it definitely falls under Obama’s administration. Which war/wars am I missing?


            1. judy2shoes

              Thanks, fwe’zy. I looked it up, and Hillary “The Cackle” Clinton, as Sec of State, was involved in trying to legitimize (and maybe helped to orchestrate) the coup in which the elected president was kidnapped by the military and transported out of the country. Not sure if this is one of the seven wars anon in so cal was referencing, but it certainly led to the deaths of many Hondurans who cried foul. And the Hillary cackles on.

        3. D. Fuller

          Obama had Honduras.

          Trump has Bolivia.

          And we are still in all the places we shouldn’t be. While Trump has not started any new ones? He has not ended any old ones. Trump still pursues regime change, most notably in Iran. The Israeli “peace” deal with UAE, etc? Is a DEFENSE PACT against Iran.

          Regime change is still on the menu.

      3. furies

        OK I have to pause it here…I’m seeing *over and over* folks using ‘to’ to mean “too”. It catches my eye and offends it! I’m offended a lot reading anything these days…

        Spellcheck is adding to the erosion of the culture– if we want change is that a good thing??

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          not just spellcheck(which doesn’t understand Nietzsche, at all, btw), but the tiny, virtual “keyboards”.
          I cut major slack on grammar and spelling because of those two phenomena.

        2. caucus99percenter

          Same here. I also daily observe what I think of as the death of the word its without an apostrophe (the possessive of it).

          More and more people seem to be going over to the practice of always using it’s, with an apostrophe, for both cases—properly, as the contraction of it is, and improperly, as a substitute for its.

      4. Phil in KC

        I wonder if those who vote against their own economic interests (as described by Thos. Frank et al) have given up all hope and expect to get screwed by whoever is in power. The PTB don’t seem to care much one way or another about cultural issues, except to use them to whip up portions of the populace. You want gay marriage? OK. You want no restrictions on the 2nd Amendment? OK. You want union card check and a $15,00 minimum wage? Uh, No! You can get movement on cultural issues, but not much on the economics.

    4. Pelham

      With a Midwestern/Western background, I share that sentiment. But I fear the country will erupt with more than just supercilious heads exploding. On the upside, however, a Trump re-election might finally hammer some sense into those craniums once the neoliberal brain debris is cleared away.

      1. CitizenSissy

        Yes, but at what cost? In less than a week, we’ve been treated to Trump’s blaming the insufficiently loyal Blue States for the coronavirus and the Bat (family blog) paranoid HHS Spox censoring Covid-related information that didn’t jibe with the President’s political program. He wants to be king, but is rather an empty-shell Potemkin village of a leader and a human being.

        He’s made abundantly clear that body counts be damned if it interferes with the election.

  4. zagonostra

    >‘I Only Need To Stick Around 4 Or 5 More Years’: Doctor Shows How Horrific The US Healthcare System Is Bored Panda

    “It ain’t that people don’t know [doc],It’s just that nobody cares. Nobody gives enough of a damn to change anything”.

    The patient is correct, people do know. But he is wrong that people don’t care. I care. The same situation and dynamics could be applied to many areas of life in the U.S. People know what’s happening to Assange, the environment, education, etc…and they do care.

    The ruling elite minority know how to keep the majority fighting against each other to maintain and continue their privileged position, extracting every bit of profit off the misery of the latter. No people know and people care. But to break the dynamic which has persisted for longer than I’ve been alive will take a fundamental rejiggering of more than the ever changing ephemera of political machinations that are projected on the cave’s wall/tvs/iphones/computers.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s gonna take Representatives living in total fear, is what i reckon.
      Ideally, IMO, that would be easier if there were more of them(see: Article the First), and we had smaller districts, to where we could know them, and they could know us…at least enough to say hi.
      I’ll flog the Ideal represented by my bank president, here, again….literally everybody in town knows the guy, his family, his wife’s family, their kids, their kids’ problems, where they live, where he’s likely to be on a sunday afternoon(in the HS Gym, being the Adult at the usual pick up basketball games).
      all this is a major check on his professional behaviour…and he knows it: during the 08-09 bank crisis, i ran into him buying beer, and asked him if his bank(my bank) was tangled up in all that. He went on for a bit about being “conservative” with their investments, and as we approached my truck, he said “everybody knows where i live…if i oversaw anything at all that was shady or reckless, my house would burn down…”
      let him who has ears…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The German model of community banking served extremely well for +/- 200 years. To this day 70% of banking is non-profit, locally owned and controlled.

        Charles Hugh-Smith often covers the same ground, but he nailed it with this article:

        “Production is for losers. Financial engineering is for winners. Simply put, capital has no interest in gambling on building factories and training employees. Not only is that risky, it’s a low margin endeavor, which makes it of zero interest to capital.”

      2. a different chris

        >IMO, that would be easier if there were more of them

        Yes! There is some liberal columnist in the Pgh Post-Gazette that over and over again recycles his column about how Pennsylvania has “too many” state representatives.

        And I just roll my eyes. Yeah OK we have a small city (Harrisburg) full of idiots but reducing the number of idiots still leaves you with…idiots. At least you can call your idiot and they pay some attention because they don’t have that many of us voters to just mail it in. Even with gerrymandering.

        Sure if you call an R and rail on about Black Lives Matter or call a D and rail on about how we need more Fundamental Christians they will ignore you, but mention a bad traffic intersection to either and stuff will get done.

  5. timbers

    Re: In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable SCMP

    This: “The US military budget last year was US$686 billion.”


    Needless to say, this does not include the secret, classified war spending and national security spending. Things like spying on you and me and regime changing half of Planet Earth on any given day. Since they won’t tell us how much that is, I have no inhibitions asserting it’s probably at least 400 billion/year. For all we know, it could be $800 or 1,000 billion/year. If they disagree, declassify the information and prove it. We have a right to know as it is.

    When I asked a friend (Trump voter, retired Raytheon employee) what he thought about the many trillions the Pentagon admitted it could not account for, his response was almost instantaneous:

    “I’ll tell you where that money went. It went towards all those countries we overthrow.”

        1. fwe'zy

          I doubt Blumenthal and Camp were problematic. The mods probably had a lot of comments to deal with, on a weekend. :)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that all those countries in the Pacific are worried that the US will get them into a military fight with China – and then leave them in the lurch. It may be that the US will want those nations to use up their military forces against China before sending in their own. It is not only Trump that is behind this problem here. It is the US political system that throws up people like Trump, Biden, Clinton, Obama, etc. as President so that you could have a reckless American President repeat the same mistake of 1941.

      So in 2028, President Mike Pompeo goes on the air and states that China is now the biggest economy in the world with the biggest navy and the US is being pushed to finally accept living in a multipolar world. This being intolerable, he is therefore instructing the US Navy to cut ALL oil supplies going to China until it accepts a list of 12 demands that the US has to bring back a ‘stable world order.’ The worst thing about this scenario? A President Mike Pompeo could actually be tempted to do such a thing.

      1. Yik Wong

        So Pompeo will attack Russian/Sino pipelines? China buys from Saudi Arabia, Australia, etc. to influence these nations, and to not be solely depending on one supplier. This is all performative actions for domestic politics, unless a Pompeo type in Whitehouse finds the white heifer has arrived in Jerusalem, Religious nutcases more likely to launch nukes to bring about the 2nd coming, not cut oil lines.

        “This maybe the year [1972] when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

        –Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

        Thompson should have said “Southern Baptist used car salesmen” and “killing anyone who tries to stop us from claiming our just rewards in heaven.”

        Wonder if this will post.

        1. zagonostra

          Religious zeal, prophecy, Millenarianism, isn’t the problem, it’s those who use those beliefs to promote demonic ends, how ever you may define them, that is the problem.

      2. jo6pac

        US Navy to cut ALL oil supplies going to China until it accepts a list of 12 demands that the US has to bring back a ‘stable world order.’

        One of the main reasons for China to go to pipe lines and rail across land to suppliers. Natural gas and oil from Russia and soon Iran.

        1. LawnDart

          Gazprom recently increased shipments to China by 10%. I’m hoping that Germany doesn’t knuckle under USA pressure on Nord Stream 2– I have a pretty good bet that between Western Europe and China GZPY might payoff.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I see that Mr. Navalny is recovering nicely after ingesting the most toxic poison in the world. That poison that, you know, was not present in the certified blood samples taken from him while he was still back in Russia and provided to authorities in Germany. But Angela saw fit to say that as a direct result of Mr. Navalny’s “poisoning” by Russia, Germany must rethink its stance vis a vis Nord 2.

            Q: if this “truth” stuff is getting easier and easier to manufacture, why is it never deployed to the benefit of 99% of humanity?

      3. Roger

        China already took the steps necessary to sit out an oil blockade, with large-scale electrified transport (powered by coal power stations currently at only 50% capacity utilization), coal-based oil replacement (e.g. methanol), increasing numbers of EVs (especially high use buses and taxis), an ever increasing strategic oil reserve, and increased delivery through pipelines from Russia and Central Asia. Currently it could probably last up to 2 years at least, how long could Saudi last with oil prices sub $10s? Australia without exports to China? Let alone the knock-on financial and trade impacts on the OECD. With respect to natural gas, they are already pretty much in a position to cut off all imports not coming from Russia and Central Asia. They are self-sufficient in coal if needed (actually increasing local coal production).

        By 2028 with all those extra EVs, the threat of an oil embargo would be more an annoyance than a threat. The US waited too long, thank God, before turning their wrath on the Chinese. Short of a hot war, a multi-polar world is upon us. The US idiots, like Pompeo, just need to realize that they cannot bully the schoolyard with impunity.

    2. hamstak

      Here is a graphic (now dated, from 2014) which visually demonstrates U.S. federal spending:

      A couple of things to notice:

      1) Atomic Energy Defense Activities is not under the Pentagon budget, but the DoE

      2) Dept. of Veteran Affairs is distinct from DoD, and had a budget at the time near $64 billion

      3) National security could arguably be rolled into “defense”; with the graphic stating NatSec spending as 56% of that total budget, which puts the “defense” total against the entire $1.156 trillion 2014 budget at
      about $648 billion — I doubt 2) above is considered NatSec.

      4) Under Dept. of State, almost $6B was allocated to “Foreign Military Financing Program” — is that considered NatSec? (I also wonder if that is the channel through which around $4B flows to a certain Mediterranean country that shall not be named.)

      There are probably other little “defense” nuggets spread around non-DoD departments.

      It would be interesting to see an updated edition of this graphic.

  6. fresno dan

    Will the Election Turn on R.B.G.? NYT MoDo
    With Democrats still smarting over Republicans’ refusal to consider Barack Obama’s pick of Merrick Garland for the court, this will push them over the edge, and maybe to the polls, especially women. And Trump’s base could race to vote, because the president has talked about nominating Tom Cotton or Ted Cruz, aiming to have a court that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Mitch McConnell said Friday that Trump’s nominee — hopefully not Jeanine Pirro — will get a floor vote.
    Will there be a great increase in turnout, especially women, because of abortion? Although I am pro choice, I do not believe from the polls I have seen that it gives democrats some insurmountable advantage. This really reminds me of the assertion that women overwhelmingly reject Trump, and while it is true of black women, it is not true of white women.
    Dowd seems perilously close to paraphrasing Pauline Kael, ‘I don’t know a single woman who voted for Trump’*
    * I know its apocryphal. My point is that if dems believe all/most women vote for them when they (women) do not, dems will have a tough time winning elections…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t think there’s a set of balls big enough or brass enough to make abortion “illegal” in this country at this point in history. This Roe v. Wade controversy is trotted out every time there’s a court vacancy to demonstrate how “high the stakes” are on a branch of government whose real purpose is to declare corporations “people,” money “speech,” habeas corpus moot, and “privacy” in the age of technology a relic of days gone by. Which, btw, BOTH parties favor.

      It doesn’t matter how many ivy-league-educated brood mares or their sanctimonious studs are “elevated” to “the highest court in the land.” Sure, they will all burnish their “conservative” bona fides persecuting and denying relief to dirt poor rural Mississippians, but as long as a sperm can meet an egg “inconveniently,” access to safe, legal abortions for “suburban women” of all stripes will remain the law of the land.

      I, for one, am sick and damn tired of getting periodically jerked around by the very same people who, when they have the power to deal with this issue once and for all, renew the Hyde Amendment and then move on to saving bank executives, military contractors and medical insurance company ceos.

      PS. How quaint is it that, not all that long ago, JFK had to assure the nation that if he was elected, the country would not be ruled by the vatican. Good times.

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        September 20, 2020 at 3:33 pm
        The Supremes may not make abortion “illegal” de jure, they will just make it so difficult that it is de facto impossible to get (for the less affluent – the rich always get anything they want)

        fresno dan
        September 19, 2020 at 7:35 pm
        September 19, 2020 at 1:11 pm
        Thank you for being a clinic escort.
        I don’t know if some dems are thinking that if they lose, and Roe versus Wade is overturned, this will FINALLY be the bridge too far and republicans will suffer for it and democrats prosper.
        I have my doubts. The richer will continue to have access to abortion, despite their physical location (i.e., red versus blue state). There is no evidence that the richer have any concern for the poorer, e.g., health care, income inequality, etcetera. Blue states will continue to have legal abortion and red states won’t. This is America – and if you have money the laws do very little to constrain you, and if you don’t have money, the laws do very little to help you.

      2. a different chris

        >but as long as a sperm can meet an egg “inconveniently,” access to safe, legal abortions for “suburban women” of all stripes will remain the law of the land.

        I wonder if the sudden immobility of those suburban women due to Covid (and I’m sure this will repeat every 5 years or sooner as Mother Nature has suddenly outstripped* our ability to fight back) will be a hidden factor in the election. No more flying Buffy to Canada on a moment’s notice…

        *I liked that phrasing so I left it in, but Mother Nature always has the upper hand it just depends on when she gets around to using it…nothing sudden about it. Inevitable, actually.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      they seem to think that all black people and hispanic people vote for them too, just as a matter of course…in fact, it’s expected.
      same with gay people, btw.
      it’s expected, and never earned.
      it’s like they think that they’re owed our votes or something….simply for being Not-Republicans.
      That last part is what i really have a problem with,lol…the “Mainstream” of the demparty, since Clinton, have been the Moderate Wing of the Republican Party.
      everybody in MSM wonders where the more sane gop went…and here they are! right in front of us! the lost tribe, found at last!…send them back “Across the Aisle” to where they belong, I say…the GOP needs them desperately.

      I learned, through an offhand comment by my youngest…that my eldest is planning on voting Green.
      The latter has never spoken of this to me directly.
      I encourage him to vote quite often,now that he’s of age, and have been holding forth forever……all the while inviting rebuttal….my views are very well known around here….but i have also attempted to inject into both of them the Right to Challenge even me. “Go For It!”,lol
      I “win” these exchanges, with reason that engulfs them, more often than not, despite being a luddite and more or less disconnected from the various Teen Codebooks(“Blue!”). I figger it’s good practice to engage them thus.

  7. stefan

    If congressional Democrats initiate a new impeachment proceeding (e.g. quid pro quo on Assange testimony, emoluments, etc., etc,.), then consideration of Supreme Court nominee must wait. It ain’t beanbag.

      1. Samuel Conner

        The R-controlled Senate might prefer to dispose of a new impeachment pronto, rather than risk it being tried by a D-controlled Senate in 2021 (assuming that DJT is re-elected), in which there would be fuller airing of evidence than occurred in the 2020 trial.

        This strikes me as a super-high-risk strategy on the part of House Ds, however, since it would probably further energize the R base.

    1. Chris Smith

      IMO, the Senate Republicans will say the Impeachment is a partisan misuse of the impeachment process to derail a Supreme Court nominee and press on. What are the Dems going to do? Pray to the norms fairy for a miracle?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Maybe impeachment of executive branch officials, but Team Blue let Adam Schiff run a clown show accusing Trump of treason. There are 2 9/11’s a week. No one cares about emoluments at this moment.

  8. WobblyTelomeres

    On court packing.

    Isn’t another option for a Dem House/Senate/White House to best a far right Supreme Court to REDUCE the number of justices, say to three (or 1)? Essentially fire 6 justices, then reexpand back to nine the next day? The Constitution doesn’t mandate a number.

    Further, they could do the same thing with the inferior courts as well. Of course, this would lead to complete chaos everytime the White House changed hands. Shrug.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The constitution makes these lifetime jobs. So now. They could impeach and effectively not fund the position going forward, but the money has already been appropriated for 9 for the near future. Trump could pack the Court himself through the session. I’m not sure extra justices can get paid, but once you are on, you are on until one dies or resigns. The right to resign from top jobs is inherent, so its beyond even the Constitution.

      But I don’t think Congress can shrink the Court until the next Congress.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        NTG: But I don’t think Congress can shrink the Court until the next Congress.

        I think that is what I said with Dems controlling Congress and the WH. The inferior courts are creatures of Congress, right (like the Federal Reserve)? So, Congress can do with them as they please.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The can abolish any old small c US court they want. They cant abolish Supremes in existence. Since the relative appropriations have been made, I suspect this would indicate the President has the authority to recess appoint a justice. The Supreme Court security wouldn’t be allowed to bar that person from entering.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              That’s why you have to fix the SC first. So you have to pack it before you shrink it. 9->15->3->9. I think.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Australia reports lowest coronavirus cases in three months: Live”

    Misleading this sentence. It should be the State of Victoria in Australia reports lowest coronavirus cases in three months. Australia’s death toll had stabilized to about 107 for a long time Then through incompetence, Victoria let the virus get out of control where it raged like the wildfire from Game of Thrones. The present death toll stands at about 850 and virtually all that difference comes from Victoria which has paid a very heavy price. The infections that States like New South Wales, Queensland, etc. have been chasing down the past few months all stem from Victorians who snuck out of their own State to get into other States for their own reasons. It is this mini history that convinced me that you cannot ‘live with the virus.’ That Victorian infection stemmed from a family of four in a so-called quarantine hotel. So a virus is not like a fire where you have little spot fires that you go in and suppress. It is more like a spot fire that burns and spreads rapidly for a week or two before you even realize it is even there. And by then you have a full fire front.

    1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

      OMG 850 deaths, in a nation of 26 million. Quick! Shut down the nation’s economy! Destroy the last remaining civil liberties! Can’t let this get as bad as, say, last year’s flu season.

      Look, I know it’s not just another flu. Q: how many years did it take to get back to normal unemployment rates after the nation’s last recession 27 years ago? A: 14 years. No, not “worth it”.

      1. The Rev Kev

        In other news today, as California is getting on top of their forest fires, it has been decided to reduce the firefighting force by 60% and abolish most truck units as no longer needed and what could possibly go wrong. From your comment I know that you are a smart person so you must understand that through these efforts, Australia never became another America, India or Brazil with the virus endemic to the population. Then you would have seen the deaths in the tens of thousands with people shrugging their shoulders and say, ‘Eh, what can you do?’

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The most cogent analysis I’ve read is from Louis Gave at Gavekal investment. With no particular political dog in the fight. Yes, at Zerohedge, but well worth a read:

          We were always told that a lockdown would and could not reduce the total number of deaths, it could just spread them over a longer time period so health systems were not overwhelmed. Remember “Flatten the curve”? THAT is the context to decide public policy around this, not the uniformly wrong models, from Imperial College Oxford, among many others. We could lower automobile deaths to zero by outlawing driving…but we don’t do that, do we?

          1. Yves Smith

            Sorry, but this has the causality wrong. People were cutting way back on social activities and driving before the lockdowns. It is the disease that is leading people to curtail activities. Look at NYC. No one wants to commute in or ride on elevators even though there is nada in the way of legal restrictions.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Mohammed el-Erian had a good analysis, he cited three main effects: Medical, Economic, and Psychological. With the third being very under-appreciated.

              So: was the media reaction, that made people so fearful in the first place, on a level that was justified by the risk actually entailed? And government lockdowns, reacting to the media coverage, pressured to “do something” (versus almost all prior years and viruses), did that stoke greater fear than was justified? And were they based on a system-wide cost/benefit and risk/reward analysis? Did they try to predict how many deaths there would be by “effects” (lockdowns and fear) versus deaths by “cause” (Covid)? Remember that the “answer” put 30 million people on unemployment and led to the permanent closure of tens of thousands of Mom and Pop businesses. I would argue that it was fear of the disease, not the actual risk from the disease itself, that did/is doing the most damage. So let’s see where this Existential Satan Bug shows up on the chart of excess seasonal flu deaths in 2018, 2017, 2016, etc. My guess is it will definitely be higher (Switzerland notwithstanding)…but then you would need to add all those other deaths for the year (despair, suicide, missed cancer screenings etc etc etc etc etc etc) before announcing some kind of a public health triumph. Versus yet another dreary multi-trillion $$$ government own goal on par with the Iraq War.

  10. John Beech

    It’s on the President to nominate a replacement for RBG. If the Senate were controlled by Democrats we’d await the results of the next election but since it’s not, we’re going to have confirmation hearings. Why the angst about something so straightforward?

    1. a different chris

      Uh, did you sleep thru the whole Merrick Garland thing?

      He didn’t get hearings. They said he couldn’t because “an election was near”. But now we are in the exact same situation with the parties reversed.

      Much as I loath the Democrats, they are on the right side of this one. I mean almost nothing that happens in DC is simple, but this is the one exception.

      1. HippoDave

        Disagree. If Obama and the Dems really wanted to ram Garland through, they would have. Just because they’re too weak-spined or full of hubris [expecting Clinton to win] doesn’t mean the GOP has to match them on that.

        What people say is meaningless. Hypocrisy is meaningless. Either the process allows for a pick to go through or it doesn’t. If the Dems choose not to wield power when they have it, that’s their problem. Hubris cost them Garland. Now RBG’s hubris cost them this one. It’s their fault, not the GOP’s.

  11. Ep3

    Yves, they begin laying out the crimes then abruptly end before there’s a chance for you the reader to ask any questions. And nothing here mentions any of the accounting/stock fraud. Maybe those “rumors” about musk calling news reporters’ bosses & making threats are true.
    I’m not sure which fraud is worse, full self driving or Solar City. One results in hundreds of deaths, while the other was lies and bait & switch.

  12. Wukchumni

    Media Blame Gender Reveal Parties, Not Climate Change, for West Coast Fires FAIR
    Every fire there’s usually the arsonist scapegoat the media focuses on, and to be fair nobody really knows the gender of a lightning bolt or it’s priors, so when a gender reveal party goes askew they’re all over it like kids making s’mores over a campfire.

    Earthquakes are better in that regard, everybody knows how hard it is for somebody to start one, and by the way that was the first sizable temblor in some time in LA, maybe a training session for the 7.77 Jackpot?

  13. CuriosityConcern

    Enjoyed the Jacobin piece and the assertion that housing is a right. Just yesterday i posted that homeless people in CA should be put to work and then granted housing because i didn’t realize that TIAA(there is an alternative). Especially during COVID times, there should be an alternative.
    If we seriously consider this though, it’s my opinion that we should work out the nitty gritty(which probably is worked out, I’m probably just ignorant). If the details are worked out, it would give less room for opponents to fill with bogeymen(or bogeypeople if you prefer).
    1. Where do people have a right to live? Should it be birthtown, or wherever they want?
    2. How much space to be accorded?
    3. How to re-allocate space when a family changes size? Should children have to share a room? How about different gender children? How long should the re-allocation take?
    4. Should occupants of a living space have responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of the space? The exterior and grounds? All or part? Sliding scale based on age and level of ability?
    5. Who makes decisions?
    6. How do we proceed?
    I remember reading an analysis by Dmitri Orlov and one observation described how the old Soviet apartment blocks had central heating boilers that serviced multiple blocks. This strikes as efficiency that would be welcome in our climate change affected modern day, both cost and environmentally efficient.

    1. Billy

      Interesting. Plenty of room to build the apartment blocks in the Nevada desert. Space for hundreds of thousands of them, thus no loss of valuable farmland, nor damaged ecosystems caused by water withdrawals from aquafers.

      A family that choses to grow would have to accomodate with bunkbeds and shared space. Strictly limiting the tax or welfare advantages for more than two children would help reduce overpopulation.

      Medicare for All with delivery of therapy to get people off drugs and alcohol, the cause of most of the homeless around here, would change things for the better.

      How much room are you offering in your garage, living room, or other living space to shelter the recently arrived refugees, immigrants, or people leaving their hometowns and heading to high rent greener pastures?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “How much room are you offering in your garage, living room, or other living space to shelter the recently arrived refugees, immigrants, or people leaving their hometowns and heading to high rent greener pastures?”

        that’s always been a part of the Plan…make room for a Village…populated by refugees, whether extended familia from down houston-way, or a handful of my boys’ buddies who have shaky family support and are well into Precarity at 18-19.
        “Rent”= “help me out on the Farm” and “pull together”.

        One of those buddies is a welding savant…his mom is in terrible health, so when he gets back from the Seabees(!, which i suggested when he started yammering about joining the service), he’ll have no Homestead to return to.
        so he plans to come here, build a cabin and a welding shop.
        so there’s the Village Blacksmith,lol.

        I take it as a given that a giant reordering is, and has been, underway.
        we should plan for it…a “New World” won’t just happen on it’s own, it will have to be created.
        we can try to have a hand in that creative process, or just leave it to the Violent Parasitical Elite to handle.

        1. Billy

          I need a good welder. Is he available yet?

          He will be more in demand and probably wealthier than some private equity parasite once the covidepression really gets going.

    2. a different chris

      Wasn’t just the Soviets… we had the same. The tunnels generally still exist. I don’t know if it was efficient or not, tbh.

  14. JTMcPhee

    “Every single person has a right to housing”?

    No. Time to recognize that for the vast majority of persons there are NO rights. “Rights” only exist if there’s a mechanism to enforce them, and to the extent that there is any ‘rule of law’ in the Empire, it exists only for Rentiers. Landlords, large corporations and the very wealthy get what they want. The mechanisms of government don’t do squat, except in a few special cases, for delivering “rights” to ordinary people.

    A claim of a right, an assertion that is or ought to be a right, an appeal to “we” to recognize a right, is just a bunch of chin movement, absent the money to “make it so.”

    Homeless people, now to be called “the unhoused” because PC, have no agency. Until and unless they occupy vacant buildings and ally with people who care and have the wherewithal to force the issue. And it will be a while before there’s a critical mass of dispossessed with the chops to TAKE what’s needed to meet minimal bits of the elements of the base of Maslow’s pyramid.

    Here’s a nice example of the reality of nugatory “rights,” brought to us by “Constitutional scholar” Obama:

    Medicaid promises many things to beneficiaries, including an adequate network of doctors, hospitals and other providers. As states continued to reduce Medicaid reimbursement, more providers left the system. Advocates for the poor have filed numerous suits over the years alleging that Medicaid wasn’t delivering the package specified in federal law. Some federal courts acknowledged the private right, while others disagreed. In 2010, the Supreme Court accepted cert on a group of these cases, now consolidated in Maxwell-Jolly v. Independent Living Center of Southern California (SCOTUS blog here).

    A decade ago, the Supreme Court decided in Alexander v. Sandoval that individuals didn’t have the implied private right to enforce the disparate impact anti-discrimination regulations under Title VI. Given the composition of the Court, the decision last spring to grant cert was generally thought to spell the end of private rights of action in Medicaid.

    The surprise on May 26, 2011 was that the Obama Administration agreed with the conservatives on the Court. Obama sided with the states and against every left-of-center health care advocacy group in the country….

    1. Susan the other

      Why doesn’t anybody realize how vulnerable and powerless capitalism really is? Today’s analysis of the Julian Assange Kangacourt is instructive. Pepe Escobar is more poet than journalist. He relies on Craig Murray who is morally dedicated to this mess: “The mask of empire fell.” Classified info is a non-starter. Because, newsflash, it’s only good old capitalism/imperialism. If it’s “classified” you know it’s just greed. Nobody can come right out and say what is going on because it threatens the entire house of cards. Nobody can say that we are in Afghanistan because their southern mountains are filled with rare earth minerals. But we glibly talk about sending missions to the moon to mine for the same thing. Are you kidding me?? It’s such a simple fact. It would be equally simple to state it and put capitalism on the stand. Instead we are out to kill Julian Assange? Obfuscating the real, petty and shameful reasons, all the way to our own demise. We’re already dead. We just don’t know it.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        To debunk the “Afghanistan has billions in rare earths!” myth. No. To mine something you need both water and roads. Afghanistan has neither.

        The mineral being mined in Afghanistan goes by multiple names: Simoleons. Moola. Benjamins. All of which arrive in the bank accounts of America’s largest companies, no water or roads required.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Magnitude 4.5 earthquake rattles Southern California, but no major damage reported”

    In other news, California continues to do its best imitation of Mordor that it can. Man, they just cannot catch a break, can they?

      1. Geof

        Do you know of The Last Ringbearer? Wikipedia:

        Eskov bases his novel on the premise that the Tolkien account is a “history written by the victors”. Eskov’s version of the story describes Mordor as a peaceful constitutional monarchy on the verge of an industrial revolution, that poses a threat to the war-mongering and imperialistic faction represented by Gandalf (whose attitude has been described by Saruman as “crafting the Final Solution to the Mordorian problem”) and the racist elves.

        1. shtove

          No, I hadn’t – cheers. Must see if the central bankers are elected.

          “For non-commercial distribution only” – Tolkien’s copyright lasts until 2043.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          being a lifelong tolkien nut(yelling at my kids in Quendi), I’ve wanted to read that since i learned about it.
          just to be thorough, and all.
          but to my knowledge, you still can’t get a hard copy in english.

          …and, speaking of upending the assumptions around the moral universe in fiction….which oligarch or warlord or court jester was it that got caught in an interview or something saying out loud that we are the Empire in Star Wars, not the Rebel Alliance, and then embracing the Dark Side?

          and, to be clear where i stand on the matter, i have an 8 foot Rebel Alliance symbol(the eagle/starship logo) on the side of my shop.
          I enjoy it when people ask what it is.
          only 2 people besides my boys have ever recognised it on their own, so devoid of cultural awareness are we all.

        3. Fritzi

          Of course industrialising constitutional kingdoms with a deeply held faith in rationalism and irresistable progress tended to be ruthless imperialists and quite genocidal in real life history.

          Britain, Belgium, Imperial Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all fit that bill, arguably Imperial Japan when it first started to expand too, at least to a degree, before they went all fascist Tennoism.

  16. semiconscious

    re: Time to try out some luxury PPE, now that Covid face masks are so last spring Guardian

    as the fetishizing of (& profiteering from) ‘the pandemic’ continues. god help us all…

  17. BobW

    Scrolling down Taibbi’s Twitter, read Peter Daou comment:

    “If you’re waiting for Dems to vigorously fight #McConnell, I have some uncomfortable news for you:
    20 years in politics and I’ve only seen the Democratic Party play true hardball once: To crush the left.”

  18. jef

    So it would seem that from now on when we read some leaked documents exposed in the media and the journalists are not arrested we can assume that they were leaked on purpose.

    Empire just lost one of their main tools for manufactured consent.

  19. edmondo

    Jill Flipovic, aged 37, is from the Seattle area, Filipovic earned a BA degree with majors in Journalism and Politics and a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies from New York University (NYU)[6] and a JD degree from the New York University School of Law.

    Jill Nicole Filipovic and Ty Lohrer McCormick were married Jan. 29 at the Talisman restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya. Diane Lucas, an assistant attorney general for the State of New York and a friend of the couple who became a Universal Life Minister for the occasion, officiated.

    She is a daughter of Mary Judith Filipovic and Michael Filipovic, both of Seattle. The bride’s father, who works in Seattle, is the federal public defender for Western Washington. Her mother is a nurse manager at Northwest Hospital, also in Seattle.

    The groom, who is 30 and also works in Nairobi, is the Africa editor of Foreign Policy magazine. He graduated with distinction from Stanford and received a master’s degree from Oxford. He also received a second master’s from the Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.

    He is a son of Eva Barbara Lohrer and Dr. Robert Keith McCormick, both of Amherst, Mass. The groom’s mother is a certified public accountant there. His father is a chiropractic physician, also in Amherst.

    The couple met in December 2013 on a press trip to Malawi organized by the United Nations Foundation, where the groom impressed the bride by changing a blown-out tire on the way to interview then-president Joyce Banda.

    Isn’t this the “base” of the Democratic Party now? Why is it that no one will listen to the front row kids anymore? Maybe she could ask her maid why Trump won? Then she might get it.

    1. Billy

      Don’t be silly, that’s not the base of the Democratic Party, that’s the upper levels of the pyramid. How many flights did they take, including wedding guests? What was their effect on climate change?

      “the groom impressed the bride by changing a blown-out tire on the way to interview then-president Joyce Banda…”
      Wow, a real Renaissance man!
      If that’s so, you can tell what kind of useless eaters and true deplorables that she’s been associating with at NYU and the shatteringly empty contributions to society she and he will make, but still get paid very well.

      It brings a smile to my lips thinking of how many tens of thousands of people like these the Covidepression is going to reduce to competing for real jobs and living the nightmare of reality that they have avoided so far as their degrees prove usless chafe.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’ve come to really hate september.
        I’m currently up at midnight due to TS Beta coming within range of my skeletal barometer, picking me up and throwing me against the wall.

        just after lunch, wife called hysterical…wreck!…no actionable information, so clothes on and in mom’s car racing to town…and her and youngest are OK(sore as all getout, they’ll be black and blue by morning)
        40 mph, semi behind them, and a 90 yo couple does a uturn in the middle of the 4 lane highway right in front of them…oncoming traffic to the left, bunch of oaks to the right, semi behind…and our 14 yo is driving, practice for getting his hardship lic.(!!)
        he slams on breaks, and having nowhere to go, plows right into the old couple’s car. our car is totaled(02 buick, most reliable car we’ve ever had)….car thus smashed, and him tossed into momma’s lap(wearing seatbelt), he recovers enough to steer the inertial car off the roadway…
        due to luck and circumstance, nobody knows he was driving.
        so he gets momma out of car, and checks on the old people(wife’s known them all her life)…they’re shook up, but ok.
        his phone is somewhere in the mangled car, so wife calls it in after calling me, and he directs traffic around the old couple.
        all agree it was old man’s fault…no question about that.

        one of only 3 times in my life that a cop treated me with anything like respect,lol.
        both of them have awoken once since midnight…groaning.
        wife needed my help to get up.
        by their description, and to provide context, i assure them that i feel just like that every single day.
        it could have been much, much worse.
        and i get to hold forth with both boys about how driving is not something to be complacent about, ever.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Glad to hear that all your family is safe, Amf. That was a close call for your wife and son though. Bullet dodges like that nobody needs.

  20. LilD

    Special place in hell…

    It’s not that we said there would be no difference

    It’s that we didn’t want either sh*t sandwich on the menu.
    One gives the runs, the other is toxic… either one is bad

    I ordered the all-greens but the restaurant was out

  21. Jomo

    Looking over Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees reminds me that there is a “No Religious Test” clause in Article VI of the Constitution. We really need for the next Judge to not be Catholic or nominated because they are Catholic. A nonaffiliated judge would be best, since 20% of the USA is not religiously affiliated and completely unrepresented in any way. Following the Constitution in this matter would be a big change for the better. With the current makeup, the Court is losing its legitimacy. The Constitution was framed to prevent the USA from being ruled by a religious minority.

    1. hunkerdown

      Aristocracy has always been the US state religion under the name “republicanism”, Article 4, Guarantee Clause. Yes, republicanism and aristocracy are effectively the same thing. They both create ruling classes and serve their class interests.

      The Constitution was framed to ensure the USA is ruled by aristocrats. Their absolute and only concern was keeping their stolen property and their superior class positions. Religious movements were just one of the more effective threats to their supremacy that they neutralized with PR.

      Following the Constitution only strengthens the bourgeois aristocracy and separates them from accountability to the population. That is, it strengthens the Problem. To whom, exactly, is that a help? Not me.

    2. Billy

      How about a Protestant Justice? 43% of America is that.
      Zero Protestant justices on the supreme court.

      Jews are 2.3% of the U.S. population, 3 justices, make that 2 now.

      6 justices are Catholic, or converted to Catholicism.

      The court’s rulings disproportionately affects majorities.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and i note a dearth of both pagans and poor people.
          something must be done.
          I’ll volunteer if i don’t have to leave the farm, and we can do it with zoom or something.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        How about some non-lawyers?

        If non-lawyers are expected to expected to “obey” the laws, maybe we need some non-lawyers to make sure everyone can understand them.

        Kind of like putting labor representation on corporate boards.

    3. Wukchumni

      If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.


      Why not get a Pantheist in the Supreme Court to even out the religious whackadoodles?

        1. Wukchumni

          Lincoln was a Pantheist, although i’d not hold any hope that a fellow GOP’ist currently would be the same.

        2. Daryl

          > So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes – fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.

          – William O. Douglas

  22. Montanamaven

    Oh dear. First David Graeber and now Stephen Cohen. I’m sad. These great thinkers and people of peace have had far more influence on my life and thoughts than what happens in that elite club, the Supreme Court.

  23. fresno dan

    In refreshing contrast, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, wife-and-husband economists at Princeton, offer a careful, deep, and troubling look at the America that lies beyond the Ivy League. In a study organized around the grim recent decline of life expectancy among white males and the equally grim rise of deaths from suicide, alcohol, and opioids, they demonstrate a broad range of knowledge, analytical nuance, and open-mindedness. They do not start with some certainty that will be hammered home, nor do they try to explain everything with a single trademark concept, as Putnam does with individualism and Sandel with meritocracy.
    But if not income losses, poverty, or inequality, then what? Case and Deaton describe “a long-term and slowly unfolding loss of a way of life for the white, less-educated, working class.” While unemployment rates rise and fall, and poverty can cause real pain, the decline of community that follows the loss of a major employer – reflected in small-business closures, decaying schools, and declining local services – cuts deep. Case and Deaton argue that the insecurity, precarity, and despair accompanying life in such communities are much harder to deal with than mere loss of personal income.
    Wonder where else such instability and “precariousness” is a daily occurrence…
    When I was young and a couple of years away from graduating from high school, my step father skedaddled. He only earned minimum wage, but Fresno was a pretty low cost place to live.
    But unless you have lived through something like that, of being concerned every day if you will have enough money for rent and food and utilities, how it preys on your mind.
    To this very day, I can harken back to my youth as the reason for my obsession with finance and money.

    1. Rod

      yea, imo/ ime, it does stick with you and give you nuanced behaviors.
      However, I reject the concept of “Inherited Trauma” and the said permanent, life disabling effects that embodies–being of the ‘Is what it is’ and ‘Life has no Guarantees other than Death’ attitude.

      Of course, in what I think as a corollary to the ‘instability’ and ‘precariousness’, I am Optimistic about most things most of the time.

    2. Fritzi

      That’s the same Angus Deaton who threw a hissy fit and refused to appear on the same stage as Michael Hudson and David Graeber, because he could not stand sharing a space with someone “not believing in capitalism”, right?

  24. Wukchumni

    The battle lines in the SQF Wildfire firefight is a series of backburns just beyond William Shatner’s ranch on the South Fork in Three Rivers, or as Scotty might say, ‘Cap’n the shields are up!’

  25. Wukchumni

    Mark Twain, arsonist.

    From Roughing It

    By and by our provisions began to run short, and we went back to the old camp and laid in a new supply. We were gone all day, and reached home again about night-fall, pretty tired and hungry. While Johnny was carrying the main bulk of the provisions up to our “house” for future use, I took the loaf of bread, some slices of bacon, and the coffee-pot, ashore, set them down by a tree, lit a fire, and went back to the boat to get the frying-pan.

    While I was at this, I heard a shout from Johnny, and looking up I saw that my fire was galloping all over the premises! Johnny was on the other side of it. He had to run through the flames to get to the lake shore, and then we stood helpless and watched the devastation.

    The ground was deeply carpeted with dry pine-needles, and the fire touched them off as if they were gunpowder. It was wonderful to see with what fierce speed the tall sheet of flame traveled! My coffee-pot was gone, and everything with it. In a minute and a half the fire seized upon a dense growth of dry manzanita chapparal six or eight feet high, and then the roaring and popping and crackling was something terrific. We were driven to the boat by the intense heat, and there we remained, spell-bound.

    Within half an hour all before us was a tossing, blinding tempest of flame! It went surging up adjacent ridges—surmounted them and disappeared in the canons beyond—burst into view upon higher and farther ridges, presently—shed a grander illumination abroad, and dove again—flamed out again, directly, higher and still higher up the mountain-side- -threw out skirmishing parties of fire here and there, and sent them trailing their crimson spirals away among remote ramparts and ribs and gorges, till as far as the eye could reach the lofty mountain-fronts were webbed as it were with a tangled network of red lava streams. Away across the water the crags and domes were lit with a ruddy glare, and the firmament above was a reflected hell!

    Every feature of the spectacle was repeated in the glowing mirror of the lake! We sat absorbed and motionless through four long hours. We never thought of supper, and never felt fatigue. But at eleven o’clock the conflagration had traveled beyond our range of vision, and then darkness stole down upon the landscape again.

  26. zagonostra

    I am not so sure that rights only exist if they can be enforced as your beginning premise. Rights exist in their breach all the time. I can have a right to a speedy trial but I can, and people do all the time, languish in jail and prisons for years.

    It is the fair and equitable honoring of those rights that makes a regime just legitimate or unjust and illegitimate.

  27. Pat

    There’s a special place in hell for people who are so ambitious, so arrogant and so entitled that when faced with a populace where nearly half hate or dislike them, they still pull every lever and every manipulation possible to be the nominee rather than retiring gracefully. And when they lose they whine and play victim and blame everyone and everything they can.
    And that hell also is available for their clueless and nasty supporters who don’t recognize that their candidate was TOXIC and if they had dropped out that we wouldn’t be facing this new hell they are whining about.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      +1,000!!! Great comment, Pat. I dealt with these types a lot when I was in undergrad and grad school. They’re truly unbearable and utterly un-self-aware. They recognize none of the damage they have caused — and I don’t just mean material — the psychic element of derision is a real one and one that people pick up readily. Humans are intelligent social animals; they aren’t idiots, for the most part, despite what the PMC think. They pick up social cues and respond to them in kind. So if you spend decades either quietly or openly deriding whole regions of the country and ways of life, it will be returned in kind.

      It’s notable that Jefferson’s motivations for acquiring New Orleans were manifold, but near the top was his fear that if the Federal Government didn’t obtain, the new states over the Appalachians that relied on New Orleans as an entrepot for trade with the world, an outlet for their crops, would simply secede and take it on their own. Our earliest civil wars as a new nation, Shays’ Rebellion in Western Massachusetts and the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania, were backcountry vs. coastal region (and piedmont, to be fair) rebellions.

      This is a long-standing pattern in our history, East vs. West (cf. also 1896 and William Jennings Bryan, Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia in 1675-6) is a pattern that underlies and runs across the more familiar North vs. South cultural-political isotherm.

  28. jo6pac

    I watch todays 9er game suffer through players going down left and right. I watch the same joe biden on health care:-( then all the other ads with no one were a face mask except a pizza ad. WTF

    1. Wukchumni

      Add in a canned audience track that responds just how you’d like depending on the play despite the crowd being raptured, and I believe you’ve just witnessed ‘The American Dream’.


      Bills looked good today, Allen has poise, accuracy and stagger, with a compliment of receivers to gather in the spoils.

  29. Fritzi

    I do enjoy revisionist interpretations of popular stories, but I feel they work the better the less the original canon is fundamentally changed.

    There are all kinds of ways the Tolkien canon can be reinterpreted without changing the most basic facts as the old man intended them, with the designated good guys still looking very much morally questionable.

    The original elves of middle earth were certainly racist and elitist and pretty reactionary, but they were never empire builders, never practiced slavery, and were less warlike than most historical human civilisations (use the Numenorians and Gondorians as villains instead, they really practiced all this niceties).

    As far as Mordor is concerned, Eskov portrays it as a kind of Utopia society that never existed in reality.

    What did constitutional kingdoms in the verge of or fully experiencing industrial revolution, with a strong ideology of modernism and progress usually do in real life?

    Why, practicing imperialism and slavery, of course.

    The kind of philosophy of progressive rationalism that Eskov espouse was historically far from innocent, and perfectly compatible with all the horrors he ascribes to the elves.

    Over the years, I have grown a lot more understanding, towards Tolkien’s scepticism towards industry and technology, the belief in unbriddled progress, of triumphant control over nature, that he literally demonized as the Forces of Mordor.

    Tolkien was no economist, and obviously economic systems are not his focus, but I’d say the spirit of Mordor fits quite well with modern capitalism.

    The elves would have zero chance in our world, the wouldn’t even be able to deal psychologically with the state the world is in (seriously, it would destroy them, and Tolkien probably would have them all fade away into nothing or die of broken hearts if he was writing today), while Sauron would thrive.

  30. ewmayer

    Laurence Tribe tweet – Tribe’s raging TDS on full display. Translation: “While I’m engaging in dubious hypotheticals, let me insert a McCarthyite RussiaRussiaRussia smear.” I have lost all remaining respect for this hysterical twit over the past 4 years. And the fact that this puts me in the position of defending odious hypocrite Mitch McConnell tells you just how unhinged the liberal chattering classes have been since Orange Satan so rudely interrupted HRH HRC’s well-greased path to her expected coronation.

  31. BobW

    Not a big US football fan anyway, but I tried to watch the game on tv tonight. Fake crowd noise overwhelmed the announcers, and was too constant. Very annoying. Lasted less than five minutes before I turned off the tv (almost said tube, but it’s a flat-screen). Re-reading a book now.

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