Links 9/21/2020

Mark Zuckerberg’s Pact with the Devil I, Cringely (chuck l)

Prince Charles warns the coming climate crisis will ‘dwarf’ the impact of coronavirus as he urges ‘immediate action’ to ‘reset’ the economy to be ‘sustainable and inclusive’ Daily Mail

California Takes a Big Step Toward Making Polluters Pay for Their Messes Capital & Main

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sen. Graham’s challenge: Fill a court seat and save his own AP

Trump bragged to Bob Woodward that he had broken ‘every record’ on appointing judges and only George Washington had appointed more Daily Mail

Justice Ginsburg’s Death And The Future Of The Supreme Court American Conservative

From elation to apprehension: The right wrangles over a Court litmus test Politico

McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight The Hill

Socialists Have Long Fought to Disempower the Supreme Court. That’s More Urgent Than Ever Now. Jacobin

David Sirota: Democrats Have Power To Play Hardball, Too David Sirota

Biden warns that a quick replacement of Ginsburg would “plunge us deeper into the abyss” WaPo

Biden to GOP senators: Don’t jam through Ginsburg nominee AP

‘I Could Show You Stuff You Wouldn’t Believe:’ Gravediggers Speak Out About Horrifying Conditions Motherboard

Woman spread coronavirus to 15 people on international flight NY Post

New CDC study highlights threat of coronavirus spread on lengthy flights Daily News

Artificial intelligence in COVID-19 drug repurposing The Lancet

Fighting the COVID Infodemic Project Syndicate

Actually, we’re in deep trouble: Work is changing profoundly, and NYC will not be able to adapt NY Daily News

As more local lockdowns begin, the hard truth is there’s no return to ‘normal’ Guardian

#COVID-19

Why COVID-19 is more deadly in people with obesity—even if they’re young Science (UserFriendly)

How Pinterest beat back vaccine misinformation — and what Facebook could learn from its approach Stat

With International Air Transport Association not expecting air travel to get back to pre-virus levels until 2024, this may be a feature of the market for some time to come. The Print

Doctor Doom: Chris Whitty will make TV address TODAY warning Britain is at ‘a critical point in pandemic’ with Boris Johnson considering SIX MONTHS of new curbs as public continues to flout social distancing rules despite rising infections Daily Mail

Lockdown worries knock European stocks, banks hit by reports of illicit money flows Reuters

Byron Miller’s Race Against Time Marshall Project

‘We May Be Surprised Again’: An Unpredictable Pandemic Takes a Terrible Toll NYT

The fall opening of colleges: Upheaval, pandemic weirdness and a fragile stability WaPo

Class Warfare

Why Do Americans Give Away So Much Control to Corporations? Counterpunch. Ralph Nader.

Banks moved alleged dirty money despite red flags: Reports Al Jazeera

2020

Liberals want blood. Joe Biden is sticking with bipartisanship. Politico

GOP set to release controversial Biden report The Hill

Julian Assange

LIVE UPDATES: ASSANGE HEARING DAY TEN—Court Is in Session Consortium News

Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 13 Craig Murray

China?

Chinese households lose their taste for Australian dairy products as souring relations hit sales SCMP

Our Famously Free Press

‘Confirmed’ Has Become A Meaningless Word In Mainstream News Reporting Caitlin Johnstone

Journalism’s New Propaganda Tool: Using “Confirmed” to Mean Its Opposite Intercept. Glenn Greenwald. From earlier this month; still germane. Not sure whether we linked to this before, nit it bears rereading.


Trump Transition

Jeff Zucker Helped Create Donald Trump. That Show May Be Ending. NYT

West Coast Wildfires

What the Photos of Wildfires and Smoke Don’t Show You ProPublica

Suppressing fires has failed. Here’s what California needs to do instead. MIT Technology Review

India

BJP Dodges Questions on Accountability of PM-CARES Fund in Lok Sabha The Wire

Interview: How should India regulate private healthcare to avoid pitfalls exposed by the pandemic? Scroll

India’s Nobel laureate fears upsurge in child labour as pandemic shrivels economy Reuters

Coronavirus latest: India, on brink of 100,000 daily cases, cuts back on testing FT

No crowds as Taj Mahal opens after longest shutdown BBC

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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119 comments

  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    What the Photos of Wildfires and Smoke Don’t Show You…. The West will need “good fire” — controlled, managed fire that balances the ecosystem — to stave off deadly, out-of-control fire.

    Ok, I’ll admit I haven’t been paying much attention to this, but; Didn’t we already come to this conclusion a while ago*? I thought that controlled burns had been standard practice. Did I miss something?

    * Like in the 50s

    Reply
    1. russell1200

      There was a link a few days ago (think I saw it here), where they noted that while they do control burns, it is politically much safer to limit/cancel them than to proceed with the actual amount of controlled burns needed.

      If a huge forest burns down a town, it’s nature (or the power company’s) fault. If you are a resource manager and your controlled burn wipes out somebodies barn, or a house, it is your fault.

      Reply
    2. dk

      Yes, but in 1995 new federal policy was written. It’s laden with rational perspective on fire then interlaced with commercial and administrative risk considerations.

      https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/migrated/pmb/owf/upload/1995-Federal-Fire-Policy.pdf

      The key section is the part that administrators and supervisors will turn to when making on the ground decisions, cutting past the rest of the elaborate document. This is also the section that developers will reference when making their wishes (and veiled treats of legal action) known to regional supervisors. Suddenly the language becomes specific and plain:

      (page 9) GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES

      (page 10) I. Standardization of policies and procedures among Federal agencies is an ongoing objective. Consistency of plans and operations provides the fundamental platform upon which Federal agencies can cooperate and integrate fire activities across agency boundaries and provide leadership for cooperation with State and local fire management organizations.

      Scroll down to Wildfires, page 12 (I have de-columnized the terrible formatting; emphasis mine):

      Federal: Wildfire

      Department of the Interior:
      Fires are classified as either wildfire or prescribed fire. All wildfires will be suppressed. Wildfire may not be used to accomplish land-use and resource-management objectives. Only prescribed fire may be used for this purpose.

      USDA Forest Service:
      Wildland fires are defined as either a wildfire or a prescribed fire. Respond to a fire burning on National Forest System land based on whether it is a wildfire or a prescribed fire; implement an appropriate suppression response to a wildfire.

      Revisions: (none)

      So there it is: wildfires to be suppressed because they’re wildfires, full stop. Many other sections explain that prescribed fires are very difficult to arrange with common agreement and that buy in from all interests is essential to forest management so let’s not be too hasty yadda yadda.

      I knew some forestry people at the time this came out, they were furious.

      Reply
      1. Wyoming

        Guiding principals and practices are often not the same. In reality many wildfires are allowed to burn. About 10% is the number I gathered from a very short google search. The issue is really how close the wildfire is to human infrastructure and therefore dangerous it is. With the wide spread-out of the population into rural mountainous regions it becomes very difficult to let most wildfires burn as if you do then you are sacrificing someone’s property.

        Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      I know a number of people that work on trail crew in Sequoia NP, and as jobs go it’s more of a early 20th century endeavor that is supplied by mule train and they camp in various locales (usually hidden away from view, but not far from the trail) for a few weeks to a month and then move onto the next place they’ll be for a spell. They’ve got sizable chainsaws and other modern tools of the trade, and many years after you’ve been at it awhile (they’re almost all seasonals working from April to October) they send you to blasting school to learn how to blow up offending boulders or trees to kingdom come.

      Their camps are nicely done with a large rain tarp strung over the kitchen and lounging area, bear-proof aluminum panniers contain the food the packer brought in, and tents are splayed out for the 5-7 working there.

      I’d like to see something similar, but devoted to getting areas ready for prescribed burns, small groups of workers that are pretty mobile and can accomplish a lot when left to their own devices, and what’s the one group of people that are the most used to working in a very diverse cross section of society?

      Here’s a story from 2011…

      SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — On the hillside above Evelyn Lake, deep in the southern Sierra Nevada, it was surprisingly easy to tell time: precisely at noon, a loud whoop echoed amid the black-flecked granite and dust, signaling lunch hour for the 17-person crew repairing the trail to the lake.

      “How much rock do you think we moved today?” Gregory Snyder asked his work partner, James Morin, over the metallic clang of rakes, shovels, mallets and pickaxes.

      “About five tons,” Mr. Morin guessed. Not bad for a morning’s work building wilderness paths with tools little different from the ones the Egyptians used to build the pyramids. Not bad at all.

      Fourteen miles from the nearest road and thousands of miles from the areas of conflict and tension where the two men served in the Army, Mr. Snyder (a former air traffic controller in Iraq) and Mr. Morin (a tank corpsman on the Korean Peninsula) and five other former military men are breaking a trail, figuratively and literally. They are part of a pilot program run by the California Conservation Corps, which gives veterans a chance to learn skills and perhaps pursue careers preserving public lands.

      The backcountry provides a respite from the very different demands of civilian life.

      “You’re out here in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Snyder, 26, who attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio. “It gives you time to reflect. You don’t have to deal with all the chaos in society. You have to deal with yourself and your community, and it’s a very small community. It’s easy to function.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/science/earth/01veterans.html

      Reply
      1. Alex Cox

        I read that this year all controlled burns in the Western states were cancelled due to air quality concerns – the dread coronavirus. It was shortsighted, since fires will happen anyway and controlled burns are an attempt at managing them, and how they spread.

        Forest management (not clear-cutting, real forest management) could create a lot of jobs…

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          This is not true. There were at least a dozen controlled burns in the mountains around where I live in AZ this year.

          I think what you are referring to is that there was a halt in March due to issues related to COVID and staffing of the fire crews needed to manage controlled burns. Calling the attempt to protect workers lives is …shortsighted??? What? In any case that ban was lifted in April – but still impacted by the situation. And then, of course, the fire season has been exceptional and when this happens it always slows down the controlled burns. Plus controlled burns are skewed schedule wise to the wetter and colder times of the year for obvious reasons. So the amount and the time of burns varies but there is no halting of them.

          Reply
    4. jef

      “And that was partially, like, wind driven and partially climate driven and also partially terrain driven because a lot of the terrain is a lot drier now than it used to be.”

      Nice try at muddying the waters. All of these “partially” conditions are Climate Change driven.

      With millions of trees dying every year, storms and winds increasing, drought increasing, 5000 lightning strikes in a day increasing it is not so much about “managing” forests and fires as it is managing human activities that are creating Climate Change. We are still stuck with placing a bandaid over the gaping chest wound.

      Reply
    5. Cas

      I had the same question since I recall US Forest Service use of prescribed fires in the 1980s. This article from Ars Technica (Jan. 2020) does a good job explaining the current situation in CA where the FS manages 20 million acres. The comments are good, too. The tl:dr conclusion is fire funding goes to fighting wildfires first and little is left for prescribed fires; coordination/approval with other agencies, particularly state air quality districts is hard to get since pollution from prescribed fire is subject to CA regulations while pollution from wildfire is not; many difficult areas that can’t safely be burned because of amount of fuel and steep terrain (e.g., canyons), should use manual fuel removal but ultra expensive.
      BTW, I believe the FS statement about “appropriate response” is govt-speak for the Fire Boss deciding if the wildfire can be allowed to burn. This used to be called by the oxymoron an “unprescribed prescribed fire.”
      https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?p=38570065

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        … but ultra expensive.

        Oh, yeah. I remember in the ’90s, as software companies were cutting back on in-house training, “If you think training is expensive, try incompetence for a while.” So, to update, “If you think manual fuel removal is expensive, try wildfires for a while.”

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          So, to update, “If you think manual fuel removal is expensive, try wildfires for a while.”

          Umm me thinks you need to spend a few months walking the forests of the Western US. The idea that there is enough money in the world to fund manual fuel remove is laughable. Just like you can determine that a piece of technology is non-viable when the training costs of it exceed its value it is straightforward to determine that clearing the fuel in wildforests (vice the city park) sufficiently to limit the spread of wildfires is well beyond the possible resources we might have have available as a society.

          There is not one idea in existence relating to dealing with wildfires and/or their prevention/suppression which is viable in practice. Not one. They all have huge holes in them that are unfillable due to resource limitations. The core problem is that people insist on living in places which we cannot defend for many reasons.

          And the problem is going to get much worse over time as the resources available to help deal with this situation will dwindle due to other higher priority demands. When we bought our place in AZ the number 1 criteria on our list for the realtor was how difficult it would be for our house to burn down in a wildfire. Many of the places he took us we never even got out of the car as we would look at it and just say ‘drive on’. But all of those houses which are going to burn down someday were purchased by someone who has overly high expectations.

          Reply
    6. Glen

      So I took a class in high school called Field Biology back about 1974. The class was excellent, but also, the class was an excuse by the instructor to go back packing, and his class went back packing with him every weekend (not all of the class, we signed up for trips).

      He had been backpacking in the Sierras since the fifties, and was a fascinating guy to talk to about the subject. Like when they backpacked in the White mountains, firewood was pretty scarce so they would just light one of those small bristlecone pines on fire for their camp fire, not realizing that they were burning the oldest trees in the world. In hindsight, he was rather horrified at what they had done relating the story, but he used it to emphasize the progress being made in the backpacking community to leave no trace.

      But he was also my introduction to ecology, and EVEN BACK THEN they knew that the ecology of California was going seriously out of whack because of a fire prevention doctrine that stopped all forest fires. It was rather hotly debated at the time, and he was jubilant when Yosemite did it’s first burns in Yosemite Valley since the Ahwahnechee lived there. This was the mid-seventies, and prescribed (controlled) burns were extremely unpopular with park visitors. But he noted that John Muir’s description of the forest (much more open, much less undergrowth) was vastly different that the forest we were walking through in the seventies, and that the valley meadows were beginning to disappear.

      Strange, but on both this subject, and global warming in general (and population growth – that was the other big problem discussed in the seventies, but totally off the radar now), I cannot help but feel that our country has gone backwards. I can remember discussions with researchers on global warming in the mid-nineties, and any serious debate on the subject was over in the scientific community – it was happening. The big debate among them was how to communicate to the people running the show that we needed to change course, and how to do it. I think we can conclude that they failed, not because the got the science wrong, just because they could not imagine that there were people more than willing to wreck the world so that they could get wealthy (i.e. the Koch brothers).

      I took an engineering class in college in the early eighties where we had a lecturer come up to UCD from Stanford for the day, and the subject was the Earth as a closed system, and the coming scarcity of resources and overpopulation. When some wisea$$ in the class (me), asked the lecturer what he foresaw when the Earth’s population reached it’s peak right as key resources ran out, he answered by paraphrasing that supposedly ancient Chinese curse – you will live in interesting times.

      Ah, if I only knew then what I know now…

      Reply
      1. coyotemint

        Lovely experiences you have had. I envy them.
        Interestingly, the latest science on earlier forest density doesn’t confirm Muir’s accounts for California forests overall. Forests may have been 7-17 times more dense than USFS descibed baseline, not at all the ‘open, park-like conditions’ often suggested.
        Denser forests may be more fire-resistant because they buffer wind and lower limbs are shaded out.

        There is good fire research by John Keely, Syphard and both (58′ is maximum cleared buffer that works to save homes, firebreaks not that useful (except by luck)).

        …also work by Chad Hanson Ph.d, linking Hanson youtube below, his slides are extensively referenced.

        Backcountry ‘thinning’, er, logging projects and post-fire logging are environmentally destructive logging by another name.

        Excellent material in the video on use of fire-killed trees by birds.

        Prescribed burning should only be done in forest, not chaparral or scrub communities (type conversion, ref. Chaparral Institute, CNPS Fire policy)

        Ecological Importance of Mixed Intensity Fires youtube

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JayXmCaKJ8s

        Reply
  2. zagonostra

    >Prince Charles/Environment

    I don’t think that Prince Charles, or the British Monarchy in general, has any moral capital after the revelations of the Paradise Papers, but then again, collective memory is so short it probably has been forgotten.

    The Paradise Papers reveal that the Duchy of Cornwall purchased shares worth $113,500 (£85,000) in Sustainable Forestry Management, an offshore company based in Bermuda, run by one of Prince Charles’s friends, Hugh van Cutsem. Documents show the company’s board of directors agreed that the Duchy’s shareholding would remain secret

    https://www.republic.org.uk/what-we-do/news-and-updates/what-paradise-papers-tell-us-about-queen-and-charles

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      Prince Charles constantly goes on about environmental issues but lives an extremely environmentally unfriendly lifestyle.

      Reply
  3. fresno dan

    Justice Ginsburg’s Death And The Future Of The Supreme Court American Conservative

    Ignoring Justice Jackson’s warnings about expanded federal criminal jurisdiction, and in defiance of the lessons of the 18th and 21st amendment, she upheld federal jurisdiction over marijuana possession offenses.

    Finally, in her last phase, she repeatedly offended judicial propriety, by appearing at advocacy group fundraisers, endorsing legislation from the bench, receiving the adulation of thousands in a football stadium, and disparaging a presidential candidate.
    ================================================
    Norms for thee but not for me.
    One of the most frustrating aspects of the modern media age is that every nuance is filed off and your shoved into either a square or round hole, i.e., red or blue, and automatically good or bad depending on which network is reporting.

    Reply
      1. grayslady

        Go ahead and pile on. IMO, he deserves it. Latest bit of Bernie cowardice: In the CN Live video today (Consortium News), one of the international lawyers responsible for asking politicians around the world to sign a new protest letter to the Brits, asking that Assange immediately be released, said Bernie was approached and refused to become involved. With Bernie, it’s increasingly a case of do what I say, not what I do. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn signed the letter.

        Reply
    1. timbers

      IMO, the “repeatedly offend” part is a yawn. Good for colorful reading but am more interested in policy.

      I read some of the NC comments regarding Bader’s votes on cases before the Court. Some cases were long reads but one was not so long: Watters vs Wachovia. In this instance, the article is correct about her siding with Federal supremacy and on the side of rich gigantic corporations vs against the working folk.

      If this is in fact her legacy, she seems more a social identity icon than a Justice on the side of working folks.

      Would much rather see all this effort and fuss by Dems directed towards MedicareForAll, getting US troops of the 150+ nations we’re stationed in, abolishing NAFTA and taxing corporations and the rich properly.

      Reply
      1. jefemt

        Taxing the rich and corporations properly… there is another side to that coin: taxing the working poor at a lower rate, too?

        Reply
      2. Carolinian

        Progressive Except for Wachovia? Can’t claim to know much about RBG but I have read that her much touted liberalism dimmed a bit when it came to the economic questions we talk about around here.

        One might even argue that the Dems fixation on the Supreme court is yet another manifestation of their anti democratic tendencies. It is after all a life appointed royalist institution that makes public policy without restraint other than theoretical grounding in the Constitution and counter moves by the legislature. Bush v Gore might be the ultimate example when they even picked the president.

        And while this is all part of the system that we have always had, a preference for Supreme Court edicts rather than the hard work of winning in Congress seems to afflict both parties.

        Reply
        1. timbers

          FWI not EXCEPT Wachovia as that was one example of many. In case you misunderstood me or I wasn’t clear, that is the point I meant to make when you said….”I have read that her much touted liberalism dimmed a bit when it came to the economic questions we talk about around here.”

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Yes I get that and was following on your comment. I was rhetorically evoking that other well known tag, progressive except for Palestine–PEP.

            Reply
      3. JTMcPhee

        Hey, we are in mourning here — only hagiography at this stage of the process of grieving. We all have to agree that she was a liberal icon. Just like John McCain was a “maverick.” Anything less is stomping on the collective narrative, and will be punished by cancellation or worse.

        The articles to come, on “the real RBG,” will be by scholarly types, including the ones who write for the law journals, the people who claim to find consistent threads of worthy and honest applications of “the law,” all tied to vast, overarching Constitutional principles of general applicability, saving the Court as an exemplar of probity and honor. To be read by fellow travelers in the game of adding judicial gloss and whitewash to the behaviors of the ruling class.

        Truly honest and critical commentary, to the extent it surfaces, will not appear in media of general distribution..

        And you got to hand it to Trump, a master stroke: “I’m going to appoint a woman to fill RBG’s seat.” The pink hat contingent will be pleased, and lean on Congress to shove this appointment through to prove that the glass ceiling has been shattered.

        Is Phyllis Schlafly available? Or even better, how about Michelle Obama? Speaking of Fifth Columnists…

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          Haha that would keep her from running for Preznit and I’m sure Michelle would be a John Roberts clone, decision-wise.

          Trump is not that clever, and even if he was he doesn’t care about the future prospects of the Republican Party. He just wants what he can get for himself.

          I needed a laugh, in any case and this was felicitous.

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            Dr. John Carpenter
            September 21, 2020 at 1:07 pm

            I will see your Kamala and raise you one Hillary. Though a strategic thinker would nominate Chelsea….
            And to preempt any counter nominations, I say we pack the court with Hillary, Chelsea, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha.

            Reply
      4. jr

        “social identity icon”

        Literally. I’ve seen her on jackets and purses on the smart PMC fashionistas around the West Village. One or two window displays as well.

        Reply
    2. Billy

      “Ignoring Justice Jackson’s warnings about expanded federal criminal jurisdiction,”

      Like presiding over the Nuremberg show trials of vanquished Nazis?

      Reply
  4. fresno dan

    ‘Confirmed’ Has Become A Meaningless Word In Mainstream News Reporting Caitlin Johnstone

    Its an outrage inside of a travesty wrapped in a burlesque of a sham glued to a mockery of a distortion not to report that Russia is paying a bounty to Afghan Taliban to paintball our Great American ambassadors and some mediocre ones in garish and tasteless colors…like chartreuse.
    I am shocked, as well as shocked and appalled by this flagrant omission…

    Reply
  5. Mel

    Cringely? What color is the sky on his planet, where problems just go away? I’m with TechDirt on this: moderation at scale is “difficult”. Probably it’s impossible.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      +1

      Having Zuckerberg become the ultimate arbiter of what it true or not doesn’t sound like a world I want to live in. The piece reads like everything will go back to being hunky dory once someone appropriately moderates Trump’s social media output – just more Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      Reply
    2. FriarTuck

      Reddit does it, with varying levels of success. When the mods fail to keep things under control, they ban entire communities.

      Part of Faceborg’s problem is that they built something that is designed to hoover up everyone into a single, giant community, where Facebook can slice and dice individuals’ communities for profit.

      Facebook is the one that decides what communities that you belong to based on interests and connections, then proffers ads based on those interests or connections. There’s no organization within Facebook that would replicate the kinds of barriers that would keep moderation feasible.

      In meatspace, people are organized geographically; on Reddit it’s by specific sub-interest; on news websites (even like NC) it’s by groups of topics.

      Its a problem of their own making: the platform itself is the problem.

      Reply
        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          They didn’t; nor did the CDC. Until Friday the “how it spreads” said nothing about breathing or aerosols and did not use the word airborne: it was all droplets.

          https://web.archive.org/web/20200917013309/https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html

          I have been waiting for months to see the many articles and studies and yes the letter linked here reflected in the CDC. Such dereliction of duty.

          But by the same token, of course it matters that now they are giving sound advice.

          Reply
          1. DorothyT

            Dereliction of duty?

            It was all over the news late last week:

            Emails from a former top Trump health official and his science adviser show how the two refused to accept Centers for Disease Control and Prevention science and sought to silence the agency.

            Reply
            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              Right and it happened again just today. The guidance has reverted and there is a disclaimer now (h/t Lambert):
              A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.

              Reply
              1. DorothyT

                Re: CDC and airborne transmission of Covid-19

                Dr. Vin Gupta, University of Washington, stated that the Trump administration is backing down now (today’s news) on the airborne transmission facts because there are not enough F95 masks available, which are the most effective deterrent.

                Calling this “updated language” is criminal, imho.

                Reply
            2. anon in so cal

              If so, they are on the same page as the WHO…..

              After meeting with the WHO, Biden’s science and health advisor, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, said on February 20 (late in the game) that,

              “Something I think is important for people to be aware of is that the people who have done badly with coronavirus are usually older or have comorbidities, things like diabetes, emphysema, congestive heart failure. Healthy young people do not seem to be at very high risk; if they get it, they typically get a mild case. That’s not to say there have been cases of people who are relatively young dying, like Li Wenliang, the doctor who originally reported on it. But that’s an unusual case.

              In that regard it sort of behaves like the flu. A lot of us get the flu, but serious cases that cause mortality tend to be focused on the elderly and those with other chronic diseases.”

              https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/reality-check-coronavirus

              Reply
              1. DorothyT

                What we are learning since February re: Covid-19.

                Suggest reading Science Magazine (Sept. 8, 2020) about the Bradykinin Hypothesis:

                There’s a new paper that a lot of people are talking about recently that presents a rather large unifying hypothesis about the effects of the coronavirus (and suggests some new modes of treatment as well). This is the “bradykinin hypothesis”, and before digging into it, it might be worth a paragraph to talk about what bradykinin is.

                The symptoms and potential underlying conditions that put people at high risk are more complex than age related implies.

                Reply
  6. cnchal

    > Prince Charles warns the coming climate crisis will ‘dwarf’ the impact of coronavirus as he urges ‘immediate action’ to ‘reset’ the economy to be ‘sustainable and inclusive’ Daily Mail

    You go first Charlie. Give up your gluttonous lifestyle for the good of the planet.
    ——————————-
    Two tax rule changes that would slow the pace of destruction.

    Advertising expenses become a non tax dedutible expense for corporations. This would cut off or seriously reduce the flow of Bernays sauce imploring people that to have a full life you must consume moar stuff till dead.

    Limit carry forward losses to five years. It’s obvious that would stop the tech wasteland insanity of deliberately losing billions to attempt to acheive a monopoly. At some point Google can buy Uber just for those carry forward losses, so it can offset what little tax it already pays.

    Reply
    1. Billy

      Let’s add one to help restore the American economy;

      Employee wages and benefits are only tax deductible
      if employee is vetted with E-Verify.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Absolutely! I expect that E-Verify would be administered by First Nations people, including ethnic Mexicans, of course.

        Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        > E-VERIFY

        You’re just trying to hurt the American gentry by depriving them of their wage slaves. Why do you hate capitalism so much? ;)

        Seriously. What’s so unimaginable about putting the gentry in jail that we can hardly even talk about it, let alone actually destroying their little fiefdoms? It costs them a lot more than it costs us. And, as the Wyman essay about the American gentry shows, even the small oligarchies need to be disciplined. Wealth is a trust, not a reward.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      That was my thought on Charlie’s warning – feel free to give up a bit of your riches to help the cause. Otherwise, just stfu.

      Reply
    3. HotFlash

      I would also add a *stiff* inheritance tax on large estates. Starting at 25% for anything over a million (the price of a very average house here in Toronto), up to 100% for anything over a billion. I just do not believe that being in the right place at the right time (even the lucky sperm contest) is an inheritable trait.

      Reply
  7. bassmule

    Words I never imagined reading in the NY Times:

    “a revival was cut short by public backlash to a stunt in which competing sets of identical twins drank donkey semen.”

    Clearly, I have led a very sheltered life.

    Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Why Do Americans Give Away So Much Control to Corporations?”

    Is it so hard to work out? ‘They don’t get to choose!’ Because in too many countries, the wealthy gamed the system so that the politicians only worked to keep them happy in return for campaign contributions and well-paying jobs. The wishes of voters are ignored and only granted when they align with what the wealthy want. A Harvard study proved this. This form of government is known as an oligarchy and ex-President Jimmy Carter confirmed this as being so. Eventually the wealthy control the two main parties in a country so that whoever gets into power, they always win.

    And both parties work glove in hand to destroy any smaller parties arising so that they are never challenged for power. With the general population watching their living standards drop each and every year while more of the wealth accumulates to the 1% a general dissatisfaction grows but is not allowed to be expressed by the wealthy or either of the two parties – which are really one. So when an opportunity presents itself to give the bird to the political establishment that fights so hard against the people, that is when you get a Trump.

    Reply
    1. farragut

      Princeton, actually. Other than that minor edit, you are 100% correct, Rev.

      Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

      https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/testing-theories-of-american-politics-elites-interest-groups-and-average-citizens/62327F513959D0A304D4893B382B992B

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Money equals power… more money equals more power. Unfortunately, the rich are only acting logically when – with ever growing pot of money – they grab more and more power. They’d be stupid not to take advantage of the “opportunities” that present themselves.
        Reversing this trend is nay impossible… until it isn’t.
        But then we’d be staring down a barrel of a revolution. Not likely any time soon… (I’d be remiss not to mention that – in spite of decades of conditioning that the Russian revolution was “bad” – one has to appreciate just what a feat it was for ordinary people to overturn 500 years of entrenched rule by a self-indulgent gentry and czars).
        Today, maybe the climate change will do it for us.

        Reply
  9. Mikel

    RE: “The fall opening of colleges: Upheaval, pandemic weirdness and a fragile stability” WaPo

    Reports from a family friend with a daughter in college: some students are getting sick and being sent home at her college. The school is trying to keep it as quiet as possible. So big wave outside of schools….here we come. Fault of greedy administrators.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      When is see reports about dorm waste water having Covid at my Alma mater, I think about my first year dorm and think, wow, I can’t believe they are having so much luck. Then there are all the changes such as diet and exercise. College is an unhealthy place normally we really only tolerate because young adults are very healthy to start with.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        College/university attendance also has the salutary effect of keeping a large number of people who are unemployed out of the statistics — enrollment is about 20 million people, and yes, many of them also have full or part-time time jobs but a large percentage are “on the dole.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/183995/us-college-enrollment-and-projections-in-public-and-private-institutions/ If those approximately 18-22 year olds were included in the unemployed numbers, they come close to doublIng the U3 unemployment rate. And they need housing and food and clothing and (cough cough) medical care. “How are we going to pay for all this?” (Hint, issue more dollars direct to citizens of the mope type, not corporate entities…) The Bank of Mom and Dad is about tapped out: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlieporterfield/2020/09/04/more-young-people-living-with-their-parents-than-in-the-great-depression-report-says/#2f143a2f51a3

        Add that to the pile of grenades with the pins pulled… I wonder what brave public-spirited soldier is going to jump on the grenades to save his or her buddies…

        Reply
    2. The Historian

      Our local university posts a weekly dashboard showing the cases since they opened up for classes this year and the numbers show how fast Covid can spread even when the school is taking every precaution possible. Boise State is doing everything it can to limit the spread, including opening up their own isolation unit, but you can see for yourself that it isn’t working.
      Week 1 8 new cases
      Week 2 8 new cases
      Week 3 32 new cases
      Week 4 42 new cases
      Week 5 77 new cases
      Grand total: 167 cases in about a month.

      No talk of shutting down though!

      I would assume it is the same at most universities.

      https://www.boisestate.edu/coronavirus-response/dashboard/

      Reply
      1. TroyIA

        167 cases? Talk about amateurs. This is how it’s done.


        University of Iowa coronavirus cases top 1,900

        IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s campus coronavirus case total topped 1,900 on Friday with the addition of 44 cases since Wednesday, bringing its total to 1,912 — among the highest across American higher education.

        The 44 additional UI cases include 43 students, which account for the vast majority of total UI cases — at 1,879, compared with 33 employee cases since Aug. 18.

        The University of Northern Iowa on Friday also updated its COVID-19 data dashboard with another 12 cases identified through its Student Health Center, for a total of 147 since Aug. 17. UNI is reporting 63 self-reported cases identified through off-site testing since Sept. 1. Although UNI warned some of those cases could be duplicated in its on-campus reporting, the tally could be up to 210.

        Iowa State University, which updates its numbers on Mondays, is reporting a total of 1,553 as of Sept. 14.

        All three of Iowa’s public universities — like many nationally — have held open residence hall space for students needing to isolate, if positive, or quarantine, if they’ve been in contact with a positive case.

        UI on Friday reported 21 residence hall students are in isolation and none are in quarantine.

        UNI on Friday reported six students are in residence hall isolation and 26 are in quarantine.

        And Iowa State, as of Monday, was reporting 38 were in on-campus isolation and 49 were in campus quarantine.

        The UI COVID-19 total nearing 2,000 is among the highest in the country — topped by the likes of University of Georgia, University of Alabama, and University of South Carolina, which are reporting more than 3,000, more than 2,300, and about 2,200, respectively.

        Reply
      2. judy2shoes

        Across the border from you in Pullman, WA (home of Washington State University), there are skyrocketing cases relative to population:

        “Last week, the National Guard recognized Pullman as one of Washington’s most dire coronavirus hot spots, moving in to conduct mass testing at rotating sites near the Washington State University campus there.

        “Pullman, home to WSU’s main campus, ranked third on The New York Times’ list of U.S. cities with the most new cases relative to population Friday. On Monday, Pullman ranked first.”

        https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/pullmans-party-problem-skyrocketing-covid-19-cases-could-bring-reckoning-for-wsu-culture/

        Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      my eldest was the only one of his recently graduated peers to begin college from home.
      everyone else went ahead and got the apartment or dorm room and ran off to college like it was a normal year.
      most of them have been back for weeks,now, because colleges canceled when the outbreaks began.
      it was stupid when everybody first started talking about college as usual, and it’s stupid now…”send your darlins to us, it’ll be fine”…then, when the pandemic does what pandemics do..”here, take your sick kids(who knows? tests? what tests? not our responsibility)”.
      my boy at least got a refund on the apartment deposit and a partial refund on tuition.

      exceptional idiocy.
      amurca!

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        We simply are not emotionally up to seeing it. So we are sending our children into harm’s way as reassurance that the worst is over even though the worst may be just over the horizon.

        Why am I reminded of the US reaction to Viet Nam back in the 60’s?

        Reply
    4. Tomonthebeach

      Aside from the predicted and now imminent 2nd Wave, Americans seem to be creating a 2nd counterwave of denial but without Obiwan Kenobi to tell us “There’s nothing to see here. Move along.” much less a similar admonition from NIH. We simply are not emotionally up to seeing it. So we are sending our children into harm’s way as reassurance that the worst is over even though the worst may be just over the horizon.

      Back in late January, I pulled out of the market almost entirely and planned to re-enter after the November dust settled. The past several weeks I was sorely tempted to dive back in to increase my holdings. Then I started to see a disturbing trend on most medical fronts (I scan about 40 articles a day and read half a dozen or so with something new to add). There really is no evidence that an effective vaccine will save the day before Christmas, nor is there much evidence that children are immune from COVID-19 – just more resistant. But “herd mentality” [sic] seems to be weakening that resistance as our children irresponsibly return to the proverbial playground.

      Reply
        1. The Historian

          I think that is called “fun with numbers”. Anyone can throw a set of numbers out and they are meaningless unless the relationship between the numbers is understood.

          For instance, have you ever seen children in a bubble where they are only surrounded by other children – where other children feed them and teach them and take care of them? Children are always surrounded by older people, including their caregivers and teachers. So maybe children don’t die at the same rate their parents and grandparents do, but they certainly can be a vector to transmit it to their parents and grandparents, can’t they? We won’t even talk about the diseases like MIS-C that children get after they’ve had Covid.

          These numbers aren’t new – I see them from everyone who wants schools opened or bars opened or for whatever reason. And I also see that when people just rattle off these numbers without understanding what they mean, the Covid rates in their areas go up. Just look at the Covid rise in colleges these days.

          Reply
  10. anon in so cal

    >RBG Biden says a quick appointment to SCOTUS would “plunge us further into the abyss”

    Nah…..it’s Biden getting elected that would plunge us further into the abyss.

    Otherwise, here’s a tweet with a clip of Biden:

    “Majority Leader McConnell made up a rule based on the fiction that I somehow believed there should be no nomination to the court in an election year — that’s ridiculous.”

    https://twitter.com/thehill/status/1308043554443333635?s=20

    imho, he’s got to be made to accept the joe rogan challenge

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      donkey semen chugging contests to replace those canned and boring “debates”!
      i was in Acuna, Mexico…long ago…and walked past a place that advertised “donkey show”. this was long before the internet, and i had no idea what that was supposed to mean, so i continued on.
      it feels like the perfect metaphor for what we’ve become.
      WWE + Donkey Show…with the War Machine still chugging along and the Harvest of the wealth upwards continuing with zero shame.
      and yet so many people in my part of the world still waving flags…and the easiest way to get yer a$$ kicked is to suggest that we’re NOT the greatest country evah.

      Reply
      1. fwe'zy

        Some neoliberal advice to go with our Great Culling:

        Shake it like a dollar, 5, or 10
        But what would you do for a twenty twen?
        Get on the stage shake that a**, then
        Get on the pole do a backbend
        I like that! Do it again!
        Here’s another 10 b**ch, do it again
        Work it like a game that you playing to win

        Reply
      1. Oh

        That would make Barry insanely jealous and piss him off to no end that he’d hide in Martha’s Vineyard and only come out at night!

        Reply
    2. Aumua

      Well there’s one thing we can be certain of: there will be no more talk of stimulus as long as the BIG SUPREME COURT BATTLE is going on. That is clearly more important than anything else, from now until the election.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Socialists Have Long Fought to Disempower the Supreme Court. That’s More Urgent Than Ever Now.”

    What is that saying again? Be careful for what you wish for – you just might get it. So suppose that these so-called socialists get their wish. That leaves only the House, Senate and the Prez. What happens if you get an election year where say the Republicans pick up all three? Can you imagine what that would be like? It would be just as bad if the Democrats get the House, Senate and the Prez. Look, the Supreme Court is suppose to be part of a system of checks and balances but some parts of it have not been doing their job. For example, it is supposed to be the Senate I believe that votes on going to war but they have been MIA from this job for decades.

    Having said this, I do admit that the Supreme Court has been wonky for a long time. I was reading that some of the Justices have fan clubs of all things. Seriously? Have people nothing better to do with their time? Do Justices have their own groupies as well? But something more disturbing was when I read some time ago of a conservative justice going to give a speech as some society, I forget which – possibly the Federalist Society. The point is, if you are selected for this post, you should give up all such things political. Yeah, if you want to keep attending your Philatelic Club then fine. But anything political is begging for trouble. Anything less than Caesar’s wife and it is not cool. Otherwise you would have to wonder if they also have investments in corporations that appear before them to be judged.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      The problem is of course the lifetime appointments. Don’t know what the Founders were thinking…oh that’s right, they were not exactly populists were they?

      Some weird period like 17 years would make sense. Also – why if they are supposed to be lifetime impartial arbiters of justice does the Senate and President get to pick them? Seems like a kind of small, easily influenced club to me.

      I would be more than happy to throw the whole Constitution out at this point. That’s what our betters basically do whenever it collides with their desires. But it rarely does as said betters are, like the people who wrote it, at societies apex.

      Reply
      1. JWP

        Jefferson had the right critique. Called the supreme court for what it is, despotic. Ironic that the least democratic of all the institutions has the most power.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          They actually didn’t have that power to begin with. It’s not in the Constitution. Chief Justice John Marshall simply asserted it in Marbury vs. Madison, and his reasoning was so compelling everybody has accepted it since.

          Reply
      2. fresno dan

        a different chris
        September 21, 2020 at 11:15 am
        I agree
        Well, talk about screwy ideas – the electoral college. Twice in twenty years we have had presidents that lost the popular vote.
        It takes something like the 27 smallest states to equal the population of California, so they have 53…or is it 55 senators…well, whatever the number, it certainly lays to rest the BS of one man one vote.
        Everyday, in every way, thousands upon thousands of lobbyists are paid to influence laws for the rich to make them richer – its not merit, its not hard work, its not creativity, its not “entrepreneurship” its not evolution, its not a law of physics. Its like the house rules at a casino – its designed so if your in the game (and you HAVE TO BE IN THE GAME), they win. Yet Americans are not only fine with this, they think its great!

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          It means they get to play a game! Which, to a populace that by and large has been infantilized and prevented from finding tranquility almost continuously from birth by its ruling class, is better than chores.

          Reply
  12. Carolinian

    Re Lindsey–while my state is seeing some increasingly blue pockets–I may be living in one with Trump signs scarce on the ground–I wouldn’t count on him losing here. In fact a Supreme Court fight would seem to play right into his hands as it’s just the sort of “values” fight that the Repubs have used to keep SC loyal. Undoubtedly that’s why he hasn’t hesitated to support a Trump appointment. The resultant cries of hypocrisy and opportunism likely won’t accomplish much as similar honesty charges just seem to bounce off Trump–at least among his supprters. Perhaps voters feel politicians who campaign on rectitude are in Onion territory these days.

    On the other hand if it should be a Dem wave election Graham might go down. Should be interesting.

    Reply
  13. Poopypants

    Today we have another fine example of that ambigous entity known as ‘Banks’.

    Apparently these ‘banks’ moved large sums of money around in a questionable manner, not the human beings within the banks, but only the ‘banks’ themselves.

    The Al Jazeera article notes ‘confidential documents’ were used to determine that this money had been transferred, but apparently these ‘documents’ contained no human names on them, only names of ‘banks’.

    And how interesting we see the same players HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, ‘banks’ that seem to continually flout the banking laws with seemingly no consequences, and certainly no human being consequences, except for a small token monetary fine.

    Here’s a little background:
    ‘HSBC Holdings’ (NYSE:HBC) agreement to pay a $1.9 billion fine to regulators and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement points to lack of adequate control processes in compliance and anti-money laundering. Given the bank’s size, it appears that it and some of its peers are too big to jail because they are too big to fail. The agreement constitutes a warning to the bank to clean up its act and avoids revocation of its charter to operate in the United States.’

    Well I guess they didn’t ‘clean up their act’ after all, oh boy, I bet they’re in for it now.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Banks for the memory
      Of things I can’t forget, cartel cash laundry journeys on a jet
      Your wondrous ability to corporal-tize crime time served debt
      How lucky you were to remedy

      And thanks for the memory
      Of bankers but not sleaze, they’re important men, you see
      Had a deal going with HSBC doing what they please
      How cozy it was

      Reply
    2. JEHR

      Some Canadian banks were part of the scam too.

      The whole world is becoming a cesspool for money laundering as far as I can tell. I quit using HSBC when it laundered drug money some time ago. Why are they still allowed to be in Canada?

      Reply
  14. Carolinian

    Good Ralph Nader returning to his anti corporate roots and asking the key question–in a supposed democracy why do the few so totally dominate the many? Since the Supreme Court is the current topic A, one might point out that it was they who made corporations into people and then gave them first amendment rights including money as speech. The rest all followed from that.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Answer to the question – because it ain’t democracy! It is just a pretty word to mask what the real power is – i.e., oligarchy or plutocracy (or, a combination thereof). The issue is ‘how to get a majority of the people to see this.’
      Not an easy task, given the different people’s differing stake in the system.

      Reply
  15. flora

    In other news:

    Imagine what a pres Joe (and his neocon handlers) would do with an “opportunity” like this.
    https://twitter.com/BBCWorld/status/1307184657381953538

    Sanders and Gillibrand offer Postal Banking Act
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/17/provide-public-alternative-predatory-wall-street-banks-sanders-and-gillibrand-unveil

    Some vaccines are doubly beneficial in ways scientists still don’t understand. This is pretty amazing.
    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200915-the-mystery-of-why-some-vaccines-are-doubly-beneficial

    Reply
  16. AnonyMouse

    Gotta have some story on the FinCEN files coming soon, surely.

    It’s so taken for granted now that these stories barely even remain in the news for 1 day.

    My associate who works in the City of London wasn’t even aware of it. BAU

    Reply
  17. SKM

    re the paper on COVID outcomes and obesity, showing large increases of risk for both infection and for poor outcomes and seems to confirm what people already saw. Then recently there was a great paper – an Israeli population study using really BIG numbers. They had recent plasma D levels and full medical records so it was really robust for an observational study – results confirmed the findings of the above study and others re vit D and COVID. BUT this study had data on co-morbidities and were able to analyse impacts. They found that obesity was not an independentrisk factor for COVID. This was new to me. Then it struck me – obesity leads systematically to low D levels. Yes, obesity also leads to other co-morbitities involved in COVID but vit D insufficiency is the most universal (eg not all obese have metabolic syndrome).
    Just one more clue that we should be telling everyone to supplement and especially BAME and the overweight.
    The figures are just screaming at us – this disease might be a lot milder for most if all had optimal D levels. (I know there are other important things…. zinc, glucose control, etc)
    This is gross neglect by health authorities everywhere. Cheap, safe, easy to implement…… “sigh” doesn`t say it!

    Reply
  18. km

    For those who care, today I saw my first Biden sign, in an upscale neighborhood.

    During my adventure Friday at the city impound lot, I saw lots of Trump bumper stickers on impounded vehicles.

    Reply
    1. JWP

      Albeit Portland, the number of Biden signs (and shirts now) has about tripled in the neighborhoods around me. The trump campaign sends out free flags to anyone who signs up for the updates/newsletter/app. Basically a flag for data trade. Seems the goal is to either scare or outmuscle everyone else. Might be wrong on this, but if Biden wins its because people overestimate the magnitude of enthusiasm relative to the number of people. Trump voters treat him and his schtick like a sports team, dedicated massive amounts of time and energy to support and anger. Might they be forgetting those who do not show support? I see the election being who has more voters-in-hiding. 2016 was trump, 2020???

      Reply
      1. km

        I often hear about “shy Trump voters”.

        At least where I live, Trump voters appear to be anything but shy. If anything, around here I suspect that Biden voters are the ones who keep their preferences under wraps.

        Reply
  19. FreeMarketApologist

    How’s that office reopening going for you, JP Morgan? Not so well, you say?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-15/jpmorgan-sends-some-traders-home-after-worker-contracts-covid-19

    JPMorgan Chase & Co. sent some of its Manhattan workers home this week after an employee in equities trading tested positive for Covid-19, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

    News of the infection, on the fifth floor of the company’s 383 Madison Ave. building, was communicated to employees on Sept. 13, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing information that isn’t public. That was less than a week after more workers began returning to offices following the Labor Day holiday, and just days after the biggest U.S. bank told senior traders they’d be required to return by Sept. 21.

    I do give them credit for partially shutting it down, though.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      HRC for all of her flaws she isn’t Obama. I suspect she would recess appoint a justice, so we would have a 2018 set of Senate races around appointing a Justice. Admittedly she would be so godawful the election would be very different on top.

      Reply
  20. fresno dan

    Came across this quote from John Kenneth Galbraith, which I think explains a lot:
    People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

    Reply
  21. Maritimer

    “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”

    Maybe that is the best explanation for the carnage around us. Squeeze every last buck out of the system until it is destroyed. So, replace MMT with GGT, Golden Goose Theory.

    Reply

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