Links 9/22/2020

Humpback whale is free after swimming out of crocodile-infested river in Australia CNN

Scientists see signs of chimpanzees being able to adapt to climate change ABC

FinCEN Files Show Criminals Moved Billions As Banks Watched Buzzfeed (Carl).

Hundreds of US companies fight new rules on hedge fund disclosure FT

Why New York’s in a Depression and Texas Isn’t Bloomberg


SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Dynamics Should Inform Policy SSRN. Handy chart:

Lots of scope for variation here, at the national level all the way down to the individual neighborhood and even dwelling. That, I think, should be the takeaway, oft-misconceived, from the concept of “airborne”: Not that Covid is insanely infectious, but that it’s capricious. If the wearables crowd would stop focusing on magic glasses that augment reality with advertising, and help us visualize air currents instead, they would be doing a lot to help. Prove me wrong, techies!

Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2: Let’s Stick to Known Knowns (PDF) Journal of Immunology. From the Abstract: “In this article, which is part opinion piece and part review, we argue that the normal cadence by which we discuss science with our colleagues failed to properly convey likelihoods of the immune response to SARSCoV-2 to the public and the media. As a result, biologically implausible outcomes were given equal weight as the principles set by decades of viral immunology. Unsurprisingly, questionable results and alarmist news media articles have filled the void. We suggest an emphasis on setting expectations based on prior findings while avoiding the overused approach of assuming nothing. After reviewing Ab-mediated immunity after coronavirus and other acute viral infections, we posit that, with few exceptions, the development of protective humoral immunity of more than a year is the norm. Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is likely to follow the same pattern.”

Low genetic diversity may be an Achilles heel of SARS-CoV-2 (PDF) PNAS. “SARS-CoV-2 genetic diversity is remarkably low, almost entirely the product of genetic drift, and should not be expected to impede development of a broadly protective vaccine.”

A Covid-19 Vaccine for Children May Not Arrive Before Fall 2021 NYT

Why misinformation about COVID-19’s origins keeps going viral National Geographic

Frozen Meat Against COVID-19 Misinformation: An Analysis of Steak-Umm and Positive Expectancy Violations Journal of Business and Technical Communication (dk).

California’s Deadliest Spring in 20 Years Suggests COVID Undercount KHN

L.A. Mayor Unveils Push To End Homelessness By Sending Around Some Pretty Reasonable Zillow Listings The Onion

California’s troubled unemployment agency needs immediate overhaul, report says Los Angeles Times

NBC 7 Retracting Story on Gloria and 101 Ash Street Investigation NBC


Xi: No nation should act like boss of the world China Daily

Almost 40 Chinese warplanes breach Taiwan Strait median line; Taiwan President calls it a ‘threat of force’ CNN

‘You will be put into detention’: Former ABC bureau chief tells story of fleeing China for first time ABC Australia

Gangster capitalism and the American theft of Chinese innovation TechCrunch

Hong Kong domestic helper loses Court of Appeal challenge against ‘live-in’ rule South China Morning Post

China’s Epic Dash for PPE Left the World Short on Masks Bloomberg

Victoria premier’s department head ‘unaware’ who decided to use security guards in hotel quarantine Guardian

Rio Tinto expected to destroy 124 more Aboriginal sites Independent


Farm Bills and Labour Law Changes: Modi’s Big Gamble in the Middle of a Pandemic The Wire


Gorgeous thread (albeit from 2018).

Climate imperialism and the US elections Africa Is a Country

A sample brand check on Plastics found in Lake Victoria exposes companies that are ignoring to #EndPlasticPollution. Climate Watch


FinCEN Files: Deutsche Bank tops list of suspicious transactions Deutsche Welle

Combustible insulation used on Grenfell Tower was sold at a heavy discount to building company WSWS (JZ). See NC Grenfell coverage here, here, here, and here.

Broadband: Old TV caused village broadband outages for 18 months BBC

Facebook Says it Will Stop Operating in Europe If Regulators Don’t Back Down Vice. They’ll never miss it. I didn’t.


Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 14 Craig Murray

Julian Assange ‘should NOT be charged with revealing state secrets because 250,000 WikiLeaks files were already available online after Guardian journalist published the password in his book’, court hears Daily Mail

Release WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, say current and former world leaders NBC

Guide To Journalists And Organizations Covering Assange Extradition Trial Shadowproof

Silence reigns on the US-backed coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia Guardian

Evo Morales’ candidate rides high in polls ahead of Bolivia vote Buenos Aires Times

The U.S. Needs To Abandon Its Dead-End Venezuela Policy The American Conservative

Exclusive: Secret cables reveal Britain interfered with elections in Chile Daily Maverick

Trump Transition

Full funding required for planned 2024 moon landing, NASA chief says CBS


The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and covering the Republican push to replace her. Columbia Journalism Review

‘I want them to do it’: Donald Trump says he welcomes second impeachment over Supreme Court seat USA Today. They’ll let you know after brunch.

Facebook vows to restrict users if US election descends into chaos FT

Counting Presidential Dead Is a Distraction Foreign Policy

Health Care

Many Hospitals Charge More Than Twice What Medicare Pays for the Same Care NYT. “A public option, distinct from the more controversial ‘Medicare for all’ proposals that would do away with private insurance, has been embraced by Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee.” Proposals already walked back (albeit by “anonymous Democratic congressional sources”, but who’s the party leader?). The Times just gets worse and worse.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Companies can track your phone’s movements to target ads Ars Technica

Protests and Riots

DeSantis calls for tougher laws on Florida protesters: ‘We’ve seen disorder and tumult’ Tallahassee Democrat

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Cop Who Quit Instead of Helping to Gentrify Atlanta Mother Jones. Another form of law enforcement for profit.

LMPD cancels days off while waiting on AG Daniel Cameron’s decision in Breonna Taylor case Courier-Journal

“more than half the racial gap in individual stock ownership has disappeared essentially overnight.” The Reformed Broker

Look What Has Been Taken From Black Americans Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

Space Force deploys its first squadron outside of the U.S. CBS (Re Silc).

Boeing, Boeing…

Union for FAA’s safety engineers urges more changes to Boeing 737 MAX before it can fly again Seattle Times

Class Warfare

Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People Vice (pete).

Inspiring: Local Uber Driver Makes $100k a Year Driving 84 Hours a Week Vice (Hubert Horan). The deck: “You can’t, you won’t, please don’t.” Horan comments: “Exact same dishonest PR scam Uber tried to pull in 2014 when it claimed NYC Uber drivers earned 90K a year.” Don’t ever change, Uber. Don’t ever change.

A new era of hunger has hit the US FT. Everything’s going according to plan!

What Is the Sound of Thought? MIT Technology Review

Watch Contractors Hypnotically Build an Entire Wind Turbine Farm Popular Mechanics (Re Silc). It’s the watching that’s hypnotic, not the building.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for the correction, and the Planet of the Apes reference is apropos.

      Here’s what caught my eye:

      “There might be a great degree of promise for this species as we’re heading further into this era of the Anthropocene where we have climate change and other unprecedented changes to habitats,” she said.

      The evolutionary anthropologist is talking not about us but our cousins, the chimps. Sadly, we lost the ability for this kind of cultural evolution and adaptation when we left the wild and settled into agriculture. From then on, our go-to response to changes in our environment was technological beginning with huts and “progressing” to central air. If technology is unable to provide an answer to climate change that doesn’t destroy the Earth to save it, then it may turn out that calling this epoch the Anthropocene may prove quite ironic.

    2. Jules Dickson

      Fixed the link. Thanks. BTW, for readers who are interested in a deeper dive on the effects of climate change (and other factors) on chimps and other primates, you might check out a Coursera course that is live now: Primate conservation

  1. Basil Pesto

    Microsoft buying Bethesda and Zenimax for $7.5bn

    In a monumental acquisition that shakes up the gaming landscape, Microsoft has announced it will acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks and more, for $7.5bn.

    Analysis: Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda is all about Game Pass

    (the Game Pass is a monthly subscription service to download lots of games from Microsoft’s game library – they’re not the first game publisher to do this but it seems to me that they’re the first to use it as a big loss leader in order to sell hardware)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      2020 keeps getting worse. Though Microsoft’s game library was always suspect. I guess this means Elder Scrolls VI is closer to reality.

    2. jr

      I understand Bethesda, once mighty and proud, has fallen on tough times. Now they have fallen through the floor…

      1. D. Fuller

        Fallout 76 was a disaster much like Nvidia’s rollout of RTX 3080 was a scam by Nvidi.

        A lot of people were angry that Bethesda made a lot of marketing promises and then published a game repleat with bugs that had been solved by modders in prior games. Turns out, Bethesda did not even use the B-Team on a flagship title, only one of the most successful franchises in gaming history. The improvements in the graphics engine were practically non-existent.

        Fallout 76 is the equivalent of the 737 MAX.

        As for Nvidia? The 3080 launch was a paper launch with introductory teaser rates. Supply was practically non-existent. Bots bought up most of what few 3080’s existed with websites out of product in seconds. Ebay turned out to be the largest “seller”.

        Nvidia planned to use the excuse of “demand” to expire the teaser rates and charge higher prices while blaming 3rd party manufacturers for sharp rises in prices. Marketing wanted what few cards actually existed in the hands of consumers for a word of mouth marketing campaign.

        The bots destroyed that. Cards went up on Ebay within the hour.

        The backlash was swift and rather vocal against Nvidia.

        Now, limited orders of 3080s are be taken with delivery stretched out into late November. Expect further delays.

        Many are now vowing to buy AMD. AMD has a great marketing provided by Nvidia’s chicanery to seize market share.

        “Look, we have cards that exist for gamers to buy.”

        1. jr

          I moved on after Fallout:New Vegas but there was no excuse for 76 to not have the improvements modders made. Without mods, FO3 and Vegas were mostly empty maps. The mods brought those games to life! I was playing Vegas with the motorcycle mod and the maximum number of monsters I could generate. Driving through them with guns blazing, good times!

        2. Basil Pesto

          interesting about the 3080 – is there any reporting on this?

          I think hardware reviews play an important part in the system you describe: from what I’ve read, it’s an amazing card. So much so that I went to check the prices at the stockists here – unsurprisingly, they were sold out everywhere!

    3. fajensen

      Bethesda has a tradition for releasing hilariously buggy games so they are a good fit for Microsoft in that respect.

  2. cocomaan

    Wild prediction for this morning: I think McConnell will get the SCOTUS appointment to a vote and the vote will fail. Democrats will celebrate in the streets. Then, during the inevitable challenges, the deadlocked 4-4 Supreme Court have to hand down the decision to a lower court, where Trump/McConnell judges will decide in their favor.

    What drives me nuts about the Democrat reaction to this appointment debacle is this: why would they think that stacking the Supreme Court would work out in their favor long term? Because eliminating the filibuster did not.

    1. John

      Trump nominates a person for the Supreme Court on Friday. Monday the Senate Judiciary Committee votes its approval without hearings based on previous record. Tuesday McConnell, if he has the votes nailed down, calls the question and we have a newly minted justice. Entirely irregular and without precedent and I believe quite legal.

      Before or soon after the election there will be confirmation.

      Fantasy outcome: Defeated Republican Senators finally take the opportunity to stick it to McConnell and to Trump by defeating the nomination. That would be a delicious surprise.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Not irregular at all. Supreme Court appointments were rarely controversial until the 60s. President Lincoln’s nomination of Salmon Chase sailed through the Senate in one day.

        1. timbers

          Wow great historical comparison. Measure that vs passing ACA, the parameters of which probably solidified when Obama completed his secret meetings w/Big Pharma & Insurance Corps, yet it took 2 yrs that seemed like an eternity to actually pass it.

          1. a different chris

            A bunch of White Men in a country of 30-something million people. Everybody of importance had had dinner together at some point – ok, that maybe an exaggeration but not by much.

            “The past is a different country” is rarely so dead on as in this.

          2. Swamp Yankee

            Don’t forget that all the Southern members of the Senate being gone helped Lincoln achieve that very quick confirmation. Still, you’re right that this was not a thing really before Abe Fortas in the 1960s.

            I don’t understand why the Dems don’t just refuse unanimous consent like Sirota says to. Of course, assuming they _want_ to win, which — well, you know what they say about assumptions.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I don’t understand why the Dems don’t just refuse unanimous consent like Sirota says to.

              I like to use the term “Team Blue” not only because so much of politics has descended into team sports but because so many elected Democrats aren’t so much Democrats as local self funders with no real core values. They might complain about potholes, but it ends there. The idea of work to accomplish something that won’t directly benefit them doesn’t enter the equation. By and large, they are there for the pomp and circumstances. The idea of power politics, though they are at the epicenter of it, is something they simply have no interest in.

              They have no plan for the death of Ginsburg. Let that sink in. Obama encouraged her to resign because she had cancer. As bad as Ginsburg was, she was holding the line on the deranged GOP Justices on many cases. Team Blue simply has no plan for this.

              1. Pat

                The last few years have honed my cynicism to a fine point.

                Why should they, any thought ended with “It’s going to be a fund raising windfall!”

                I started a long winded diatribe response to a Ginsberg and Scalia post. But it also applies to this idea that Democrats should do more than complain or show boat about certain issues.

                IF the Democrats cared about the judiciary in the manner all this is supposed to indicate, they should have been slowing or blocking most of Trump’s nominees for the past few years. Yes the Supreme Court is important but so is every appeals and district court. But this is all for show. They agree with the Republicans on most subjects. Fair treatment, privacy, due process, for them but the rest of us can stamp our feet and make demands all we want. Their jobs aren’t going anywhere, they have health care, their kids have opportunities and don’t have to play a form of Russian roulette on the possibility of death or major damage by joining the military just to be able to possibly have a roof and food. No none of these decisions affect them except to keep the grift and “presents” coming in.
                Even for the judges it is all an intellectual exercise. Or battle for the better speaker “fees” quote.

                A plan would mean both work and annoying their owners, cannot have that. Pretending powerlessness is so much easier.

                1. Pookah Harvey

                  “Pretending powerlessness is so much easier.”
                  I hate to say it but that is the reason to get Biden in. The Democrats can no longer play the “Trump bad” card and once in power can be held responsible for their actions. No more excuses. The key is people willing to actively fight neo-liberalism. Democracy requires work, the powerful don’t give up power without a fight.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    How did that work out for the simple, obvious, wildly popular, timely, globally-accepted, and hugely beneficial policy Bernie, with his millions of dedicated supporters, brought to the table? They wouldn’t even consider mentioning it in the aspirational document known as “the party platform”, let alone consider pursuing it in any way. Your man said “I would veto it if it reached my desk…but it won’t reach my desk”. And that was *before* they were in power.

                    I think you may have it backwards.

                    Pol: Vote for me
                    Plebe: Why?
                    Pol: Because I won’t do anything for you. In fact, we will actively work against every one of your interests. But we’ll have nice brown people and women doing it.
                    Plebe: Oh, OK then

                    F. Douglas: “Power concedes nothing without a demand”. But the key is *when* the demand is made.

                    1. Pookah Harvey

                      I only wish the neoliberals had followed your agenda. Sit back and wait. Unfortunately after the Goldwater loss they became busy and set the table for the Reagan Revolution through actions such as setting up a plethora of think tanks and the Powell Memorandum. They didn’t wait for the “when”, they created it.

                  2. Pat

                    Obviously you have forgotten the last time Biden was in a Presidential administration. The Democrats were powerless while holding both houses of Congress and the Presidency.

              2. Henry Moon Pie

                I think even the Republicans’ plans may be changing. What will merely reversing Roe really do for them? Abortion has been made all but prohibited in the red states already.

                The one thing that would really accomplish their goals is an expansion of “person” in the Fifth Amendment. That’s impossible, of course. Who could imagine Strict Constructionists expanding such a fundamental concept? (sarc)

      2. The Rev Kev

        There is no tactical advantage with getting this done so soon. It drives from the media other stories that could be used to attack Trump such as the disastrous pandemic response. The more the Democrats rail against this happening, the more Republicans will be outraged and say that the law allows them to do this. For Trump, it might be better to spin this saga out to the middle of next month.

        1. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

          My thoughts exactly. Focus all media attention on the Supreme Court, because our press is only able to talk about one thing, and ignore Trump’s real liabilities. No senator has to go on record supporting a particular nominee. No senator loses their seat over a politically unpopular vote. Confirm during the lame duck session and no one will be held accountable. Of course, only fools make predictions nowadays, but that’s mine.

          1. John k

            IMO confirming before the election takes the wind out of dem sails. People stirring themselves to stop the appointment won’t stir to vote if it’s a done deal. But I agree the press, as usual, is distracted from harping on trumps poor Covid performance. So by all means deliberate, but they’ll get it done about two weeks before the election.
            It’s all theater, and trump controls the clock.

        2. Skip Intro

          Indeed, if Trump nominates cleverly, he will want to give the dems time to tear themselves apart. OTOH, it seems RBG also got that whiff of 2016 deja vu that was going around, and made a timely exit, giving her life to revive the dying Democratic enthusiasm, as it were.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I probably agree with most of RBGs decisions and she was definitely a titan for women.

            But SC justices should *not* talk about their work to the media and outside groups

    2. timbers

      Dems might repeat the good’ole days and bring back the filibuster if they win the Senate. And if Biden wins too, they could do another 2 to 8 years repeat of explaining they can’t pass anything meaningful because Republicans are mean and will filibuster.

      DailyKos could then cut/paste all their old Obama era posts, refresh dates/names, and say how mean Republicans are and that we need more and better Dems to replace them.

      Repeat every 12 years…at which point a new generation will be readers with no idea this all happened before.

    3. D. Fuller

      Republicans practice solidarity more so than Liberals do. Even at their own expense.

      Liberals vastly underestimate Republican solidarity. Liberals consistently fail to recognize that fact, ending up impaling themselves on Republican swords. Democratic Leadership lives in a dementia riddled Fantasyland that all they need to do is make the court case and the jury will agree with them.

      Not a surprise since the majority of Dem Leadership are lawyers. Their training and lifelong pursuit resulted in hidebound rituals that have Dem Leadership spouting pap such as “bipartisanship” & “pragmatism”. Dem Leadership suffers from groupthink and inability to recognize that times have changed.

      Reagan Republicanism which relied on Reagan Democrats? Is a thing of the past that Dem Leadership still pines for.

      Ridiculous. Now, Dem Leadership is praying that enough suburban Republicans vote for them, to win. Which means Dem Leadership will have to appease Republucan voters or be defeated next election.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Harry S. Truman: “Now the time has rolled around again when you folks have the problem of trying to pick and choose a candidate to support. You are not the only ones who have that problem, and I assure you I am fully aware that it can be a very perplexing problem indeed. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time”.

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    Bad news for neoliberals. Pretty much means caring about people is what helps predict COVID.

    BCG vaccination in infancy does not protect against COVID-19, Swedish data indicate

    The results were enlightening. The correlation between mandatory BCG vaccination and COVID-19 outcomes is very strong, and shows up even when controlling for a number of relevant factors, such as per-capita income. But the similar COVID-19 outcomes between those who received the vaccine in childhood and those who didn’t indicate that immunization can’t be the cause.

    “Our study shows that this correlation is probably not due to the BCG vaccination, but rather to some omitted variable,” explained Clément de Chaisemartin. “This raises the question as to what this omitted variable is, because if it is something that policymakers can act upon, then maybe we would have something actionable against COVID-19.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats really interesting, but having a look at the countries that do and don’t have mandatory BCG vaccination makes the alternative hypotheses look a bit questionable. There is so much about vaccination we don’t know (as discussed in the link yesterday about greatly reduced mortality in African children with vaccinations which can’t be explained by the direct impacts of the vaccine itself).

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        But what they are suggesting is that the link may no be the vaccine, but a vaccine is part of a larger aspect of greater social care. Like maybe better nutrition or education for example. This could be true in Africa. Even though it is poor their might be other social factors that have a link to what happened in Sweden.

          1. John k

            Maybe, check for sun exposure?
            IMO you don’t want to be low in either vit d or zinc when you catch the virus. The seniors might miss the former bc of hiding from the sun like me, and be low in the latter on account of diet… beef has zinc, but many seniors avoid eating much of that, either fearing cholesterol or affordability. And anyway, what was the cow eating? Some soils are depleted of zinc. Vegetarians are particularly at risk unless they take supplements.

    2. D. Fuller

      Interesting fact. Around 4.5% of the world’s population is immune to HIV. Concentrated in Africa and Scandinavia. They can be carriers though.

      Modern science has no way to account for genetic variables that help or hinder those infected by disease, other than after the fact.

      1. rd

        There may have been a bug that circulated in those areas a number of years that was similar enough to Covid-19 to give the immune system a running start, so that it is more like the common cold or flu than a novel virus. Epedimiologists think something like that happened with the 1918 flu where a flu circulated around 1880 that was similar enough that people over 60 had some immunity to the 1918 variant and didn’t get very sick and die.

        Also, there is evidence that viral load has a lot to do with severity of the disease and outcomes of it. So if people live and work in a way that exposure is low, instead of the high concentration for living and working indoors with poor ventialltion and high density, they may have much more ventilation (e.g. open windows instead of AC) and simply get exposed more. Similarly, if they are outside quite a bit, then exposure is lower and they will self-generate more Vitamin D. A younger population with less obesity would also likely have better outcomes.

        Many, many variables need to be considered in a non-political context. The CDC used to be able to do that, but not anymore.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I remember the HIV lockdowns, boy they were severe. Good thing they didn’t open up until there was a vaccine

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Excellent point. But mankind is subjected to a continuous onslaught of new viruses and has been for tens of thousands of years. I just find the fixation on this particular pathogen, and the decision to absolutely destroy the economy trying to mitigate it, to be curious. Why not the 4,500 daily deaths from TB? With *2* companies working on a vaccine, not 102? Could the main reason be mostly related to money? Or politics?

            1. HippoDave

              TB is predictable. “Novel” isn’t in this virus’ name just for kicks.

              And for tens of thousands of years one way some cultures dealt with new viruses was for 90% of their populace to die. Not sure why you seem to pine for those times… oh, “the economy”. “money”. “politics”. What’s a possible near-extinction event like a new virus, or climate change, or an asteroid compared to those more important things.

  4. Kevin C. Smith

    re: FINCEN
    It is a sure thing that those big banks work hand-in-glove with the security and espionage services of their countries — always have, always will.
    So … most likely the banks were acting with the permission and/or under the orders of those entities. I expect that this was profitable for the banks, and the sources of the money might have been fully aware of all of this, and managed to take advantage of it.

    1. diptherio

      Yup. Gotta fund those black-ops, donchaknow? I found this response from the Feds pretty telling:

      After the Treasury Department received detailed questions about the FinCEN Files investigation, the agency released a statement saying that it was “aware that various media outlets intend to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).” It continued, “the unauthorized disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States, compromise law enforcement investigations, and threaten the safety and security of the institutions and individuals who file such reports.” The agency announced that it was referring the matter to the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General.

      Reporting on crimes being covered up is a crime.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I am the acting AML officer for my company and it doesn’t work like that. If we detect any “suspicious activity” we are required to file a Suspicious Matter Report. Believe me, all companies err on the side of caution, so file these at the drop of a hat. Then: it is against the law for us to reveal the filing of the SAR to the subject. That is so The Keystone Cops the regulators can attempt to catch them.

        Following the printed SAR guidelines can be fun. “Does the subject appear sweaty or fidgety?” (we’re a 100% online company).

        Banks and especially those in World Money Laundering Capitol London are a cesspit of ML violations. But the mere existence of SARs, and the fact they are not disclosed, does not prove much.

    2. D. Fuller

      Probably goes back to Operation Paperclip and using the mafia to establish order in Italy in 1944 and keep Communist subversives in check after the war. A marriage of conveniences between intelligence services and the criminal underworld.

      In Capitalism, the criminals become the Capitalists. If anyone thinks the mob does not control Las Vegas still? They are out of their gord. They went corporate and still control the criminal activities there. The US Govt wanted the mob to pay sufficient taxes. After that? Back to business.

    1. The Rev Kev

      In other news, Jimmy Dore is discovered to be actually Vladimir Putin but with a pair of glasses on. VVP is quoted as saying that ‘Hey, it worked for Clark Kent!’ This explains all those videos railing against Joe Biden on ‘Dore’s’ channel with which he hoped to tilt the election. Only afterwards is it remembered that Jimmy Dore and Vladimir Putin are never seen to be in the same room together at the same time which the DNC calls proof positive-

      1. wilroncanada

        How can he be Vlad Putin? I’m Valdimir Putin! I only want that idiot Trump to fill in until I have a little time on my schedule to rule the US pr, the same properly, the same as I do Russia.
        And, by the way, I’m neither US-ite, nor USSR-ite. But I was, at one time, a Paris-ite.

    2. jo6pac

      Yep, a secret assessment by an unnamed source said there is probably a chance of Russia is again playing in the election in Amerika.

      The Amerikan propaganda machine stops;-)

        1. ambrit

          Yeah. The cover can be a Smokey Mirror, like the time Time named all of us as “Creature of the Year” and used a regular mirror as the cover.

    3. montanamaven

      And we have “The Comey Rule” airing Sunday night starring Jeff Daniels as Jim Comey.
      Ent Weeklyreview
      And WaPo WaPo Review
      I read a story in “The Wrap” about how the director did extensive research and it was sooooo clear that those pesky Russians were up to no good. So Mr. Higher Loyalty had to do something.
      Is there nothing we can do to stop this stupidity? Jimmy Dore, Matt Taibbi, Kyle Kulinski and Aaron Mate. just can’t get the airtime to debunk this stuff. Tucker Carlson has had Jimmy Dore on a couple times and the late Stephen Cohen, but Dems don’t watch the show. Sad.

  5. John

    Impeachment as a tactic to delay confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice is one of the most brain dead ideas from either party in recent years. What was the Speaker thinking? Was the Speaker thinking?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Just when you think our politics can’t get any stupider, right? The Senate would need to approve any court nominee and would also need to vote to remove Trump. Does Pelosi even remember which house of Congress she presides over?

      But the impeachment that went nowhere was just so much fun the first time, why not do a reboot? It’s not like our economy is tanking and people are out of work and out of money, so why not put on another dog and pony show while people suffer?

      We are truly governed by idiots on all sides. DC is the place competence goes to die.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I consider new articles of impeachment to be a really bad idea, but it seems plausible to me that in principle these could interfere with the scheduling of Senate business and impact the timing of the next SC justice hearings/confirmation vote.

        Assuming that the Rs in the Senate prefer that DJT not be tried again, and if tried, not tried in a D-controlled chamber that would examine more evidence, they would be motivated to give priority to promptly dealing with new articles of impeachment. It is a not-unreasonable possibility that DJT is re-elected but the Ds gain control of the Senate. Protecting the president (and by “protecting”, I mean “avoiding or limiting the presentation of evidence”; conviction is impossible under any conceivable circumstances) might be a higher priority than confirming his SC nominee.

        Of course, I suspect that they could find ways to do both. They are in a situation in which “you can do whatever you want.”

        D employment of delaying tactics such as MM would surely employ were roles reversed, such as withdrawal of unanimous consent, looks much more sensible.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Impeachment worked precisely as planned for the Dems, it created the illusion that they were opposing Trump and his policies. Nancy and Chuck solemnly marched the document along the hallowed halls, then later that day cast their votes to give Trump $132 billion more than he asked for the Pentagon.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Especially considering there’s a clear means of leverage–increasing the debt limit–that its at Pelosi’s fingertips, but she decided days ago to sacrifice unilaterally that advantage–something that could have been used to get some help for us plebes as well as block a quickie confirmation.

    3. Ford Prefect

      And there is this budget thingie that is leading to a government shutdown……and a stimulus thingie…..

      The US government has completely collapsed. McConnell and the GOP can only function to approve judges and have given up on all other government functions other than voter suppresion. The Democrats don’t take advantage of opportunities when they have them and then position things that make it difficult for the GOP to rationally negotate, which they are nearly incapable of anyway. Meanwhile Trump makes it impossible for Congress to do deals because he won’t actually make a real commitment to anything and can be swayed on a multi-week negotiation outcome by the latest burblings of a FoxNews host.

    4. Glen

      She was thinking that she had plenty of ice cream in the freezer so all is good.

      Shut’er down and go eat ice cream for a while!

    5. Big River Bandido

      She might be right, if only from a Robert’s Rules perspective. If the House were to impeach, that becomes a privileged motion which the Senate would have to take up before other business (presumably pushing a nomination until later).

      But as a political tactic it’s brain-dead stupid. Not to mention pointless, empty, and performative, since the conservatives gained their outright Supreme Court majority *years* ago, and as readers have pointed out, Democrats have fast-tracked and green-lighted all of Trump’s judicial appointments to the lower courts from which Supreme Court nominees come.

  6. noonespecial

    Re: App Gig Work for Evicting People Vice

    The link for the Craigslist job description lists this detail related to the job of junk hauler and eviction agent: “True Flexible Schedule: Choose your own days to work- no caps or scheduled hours.”

    Pardon the ignorance, but does not this civil matter of forcing people out carries with it the burden that a court has approved an order of eviction, and then the sheriff’s office makes a round to the site to be vacated and notice is delivered? If indeed these are “process servers” as the job description posits, then the company’s lawyers have to ensure that HR’s orientation to the gig workers make them aware that it ain’t just about showing up somewhere and hauling junk just because a landlord has deemed it so without judicial sanction.

    The “no scheduled hours” bit, though, makes me wonder if some seedy-rent-a-bounty-hunter proxy sheriff isn’t thinking of getting his rocks off and arriving to a property at 3:00 a.m.

    So pass the popcorn and tune in to another episode of the “Let the poor fight among themselves”.

    1. cocomaan

      then the company’s lawyers have to ensure that HR’s orientation to the gig workers make them aware that it ain’t just about showing up somewhere and hauling junk just because a landlord has deemed it so without judicial sanction.

      Do they, though? If the company is getting paid by the landlord, pays the workers pennies, and then says, “We’re not the authorities and we just did what the landlord hired us to do,” are they liable? Im not a lawyer, but we can probably dispense with the idea that we actually have a functioning justice system for non asset holders at this point, hah!

    2. Billy

      It’s a scam to sell $35 application kits to suckers.
      The article is the usual poorly written crap that never gets around to describing the legal process, but repeats itself, so there’s space for lots of online ads.
      If the sucker actually gets “work” and violates Trump’s eviction moratorium, they run the risk of getting the shit beat out of them by the outraged tenant without the sheriff being present.

      It’s another MLM scam,
      “Misery Level Marketing.”

  7. John

    Reading Craig Murray’s accounts of the tactics used against Julian Assange by the US government causes me to cringe in shame. The complicity of the British government in this travesty of a trial is a blot on the reputation of justice in the UK.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Imagine if he was treated like that in Russia? I wonder if MSM would even then regard Assange as champion of opposing the powers that be…

      What really irks me is that he’s kept in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison for breaching bail. Which he did because he believed UK judicial system would not treat him fairly and would extradite him to USA. What a silly thought…

    2. Stephen V.

      This horrific man-in-a-glass-box image puts me in mind of public hangings, beheadings & etc. of days of yore. The only thing missing is a fawning U.S. media. Could they, in their smug “access” to the halls of power, suspect that they are next?

        1. hunkerdown

          Exactly. Don’t wreck the narrative they spent billions to build and trillions to implement, and everything’s jake and they can use their right to call people’s managers for all time.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Since when is there or has there been “justice” in the UK? Hasn’t been for a long time, if ever, much less than in the US.

    4. Darthbobber

      After a few days of reading the extradition hearing coverage from Murray and Consortium News, I foolishly wandered over to Emptywheel, which would once upon a time have been a source of useful information about such a thing.
      Oh my God. Her coverage of everything Assange or Snowden related is just one hit piece and smear after another. With copious use of innuendo and what-if beyond the Maddow/Blitzer level. Russigate has turned Emptywheel into a near-opposite of 5 or 6 years ago.

      There’s nothing there I’d recommend for information, but her “expose” on Credico is worth reading for its window into her methodology and psychology. Because she posts screenshots of her whole twitter exchange with Credico in the course of her “investigation” and seems to believe it makes her point (it doesn’t) and that she has the better of it. (not so)

      Pathetic hackery.

      1. vidimi

        indeed. she is going after aaron maté on twitter in her delusion. needless to say, it is not going well for her. but just like any conspiracy theory, like glenn greenwald says, any setback is used to just reinforce the conspiracy theory. it’s a shame when once good commentators lose the plot like she did.

      2. TroyIA

        It is stunning just how drastic the change at Emptywheel has been. What was once an informative site now gives the impression of being the rantings of a poorly medicated person suffering from paranoia/schizophrenia.

  8. allan

    While Louisville is waiting for the news about whether anyone will be prosecuted for Breonna Taylor’s murder, something to chew on:

    Breonna Taylor Deal Promises Reform LMPD Said They Did Years Ago [WFPL]

    As part of its historic, $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, Louisville has agreed to implement several major police reforms, including creating an early warning system to identify officer behavioral trends to prevent misconduct.

    This is not the first time the city has made such a promise. In the wake of police shootings and as a response to critical audits, the Louisville Metro Police Department has frequently asserted that it already has such a system, or is on the cusp of implementing one.

    The current LMPD policy manual says it is actively using such a system. But it’s not, a joint investigation by Newsy and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has found. …

    LMPD sounds like one of those unfixable, out of control government programs small government types
    are always warning us about.

    1. Ford Prefect

      This was the big revelation to me this year that came out of BLM. All of these cities and states kept saying they had solved the problems that led to the Ferguson era protests. This year proved that they had not and they were all just lying or so incompetent that they simply didn’t understand that they had not fixed anything.I think this is one reason why white people were getting engaged this year, essentially to try to force government to do what they said they did 5 years ago. The institutionalization of qualified immunity, police union rules, arbitration boards that leave a dysfunctional police system intact became the highlight issue instead of just some rogue cops thumping on people.

      The ongoing late night protests and burning things down are going to cause this realization to lose ground and get drowned out by the law and order rantings.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > All of these cities and states kept saying they had solved the problems that led to the Ferguson era protests

        Follow the money. Ferguson was law enforcement for profit through fines. Breonna was law enforcement for profit through gentrification (as was a similar case I just linked to… whose location I cannot recall).

        None of these cities are any better off financially now then they were then.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Humpback whale is free after swimming out of crocodile-infested river in Australia”

    This is a good news story. In other news that is not so good, a pod of some 270 whales have stranded themselves on sandbars in Tasmania. A team is already down there to free them but a few dozen have already died. Fortunately it is raining there which will help the whales survive-

    1. a different chris

      That is good news. Sad about the stranded pod, will we ever figure out why they do it?

      BTW, I must mention yet again that a small fleet of salt-water crocodiles would cause a humpback whale to barely raise an eyebrow….but I guess it’s good clickbait.

  10. Chris Smith

    I’ve noticed humorous/sarcastic references to ‘brunch’ (see above “get to it after brunch”) and ‘missing brunch’ on this site. What is the reference?

      1. Arizona Slim

        That photo reminds me of something. Hmmm, what could it be?

        Oh, I know. I haven’t seen one of those pink [family blog] hats in a while.

      1. jr

        It’s a big class marker in NYC and also a ritualized drinking bought where PMC’s finally take a stand and get drunk before noon after driving a virtual desk all week and then those darned emails on Saturday. On the other side of the counter are the kitchen staff who heartily hate brunch.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Why do kitchen staff heartily hate brunch? What makes brunch more uniquely hateful in particular for kitchen staff than “working in a kitchen” in general?

  11. 430 MLK

    NBC 7 Retracting Story on Gloria and 101 Ash Street Investigation NBC:
    The story of purchase of the 101 Ash Street Building, which appears after the official retraction, was fascinating. A $60 million dollar building needing remediation gets pawned off to city taxpayers for $120 mill.

    My city also tried to purchase a new downtown city hall during this time-frame and, like San Diego, ultimately ended up at an overpriced rent-to-own deal, before some FBI agents came around last-second sniffing into illegal campaign donations and squelched the deal. I wonder how much property inflation has occurred across the US when General Fund-rich city governments overpay private urban landowners for civic buildings? Does anyone know how much of a cut the financial institutions generally get on these deals? Managing a $120 million rent-to-own deal for 20 years can’t come cheap, nor does going the other route–bond sales.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “‘You will be put into detention’: Former ABC bureau chief tells story of fleeing China for first time” ABC Australia

    OK, a brief note. The ABC is a commercial company in the US but the ABC in Oz is a government funded media organization ‘but is expressly independent of government and partisan politics.’ Yeah, right. This article makes for very dramatic reading and leaves the reader asking why the Chinese do stuff like this. But what is left unsaid is the fact that in Australia ASIO – our spook organization – raided the homes of Chinese journalists here and seized laptops, cellphones, and a child’s toy tablet. And then the journalists were told to shut up about the whole thing-

    Said it before that yes, China is an authoritarian government but this sort of bs propaganda stories serve no one’s interests. Except spook organizations wanting a bigger budget that is. It will all end in tears.

    1. Basil Pesto

      but what does that have to do with the experience Carney relates? You say it’s left unsaid, but why on earth would Carney mention it in his piece when he is relating his own lived experience? And what about the ASIO raid makes Carney’s report ‘bs propaganda’?

      I don’t know know that it serves my interests, but I was interested to read it, and glad to be able to.

      1. Yik Wong

        If the Chinese wanted him arrested, then he’d be locked up. I find the “threat” with time to flee to Embassy, unwatched and unhidered by the usually 24/7 watchers of the PSB odd to say the least, and a reporter who by his very employment is likely a paid NED paid agent has every incentive to lie.

      2. Roger

        What Rev Kev is saying is that the Australian ABC news organization is just as state controlled as the Chinese one is, and therefore the Chinese actions are the equivalent of the Australian police actions. If the same press had reported a first person account from one of the Chinese journalists who were raided I would respect them. Otherwise the story serves as propaganda by omission, a modus operandi used many times. Like reporting on Xianjiang and Hong King (which is highly questionable anyway) while not reporting on Australia’s treatment of the aboriginal population, its lack of support for its own citizen (Assange), or its disgusting actions with respect to East Timor. “The Chinese are acting just like us” doesn’t quite work as war mongering propaganda.

        1. Yik Wong

          Perhaps to at least two nations with great faith in the divine right of white privilege“The Chinese are acting just like us.” might be THE casus belli.

          Uppity Chinks(I can say that according to one theory on racial epitaphs) fits right in with Uppity N*, Uppity Ab*/Dar*ie, and Uppity Sp*cks. None fit to enter the kingdom of Southern Baptist or Mormon after life, though their money is always clean enough for the later.

        2. Basil Pesto

          I understand the hypocrisy charge, but that doesn’t ipso facto negate or invalidate Carney’s report, to my mind. Maybe I’m not cynical enough but I can’t just assume that he’s lying right off the bat, though it’s hardly implausible. (I also think the argument that the ABC is just as state controlled as Chinese media is debatable. there are differences of degree in these things). Not to mention it would be a bit… incongruous for Carney to write “that’s when the official mentioned that my 14 year old daughter could be imprisoned as an adult under Chinese law and by the way, don’t you think it’s terrible how Australia has systematically abused its indigenous population?”

          I also think it’s a bit naïve to expect the ABC to publish a first person report of a Chinese journalist who doesn’t work for them, whether they should or not. I’m not sure government supported/state media has ever worked like that, and I’m not sure anyone expects it to. Again, does that warrant dismissing a story like Carney’s out of hand? I’m not convinced

          Propaganda by omission, I mean, I guess? But I can read that piece and understand that our government behaves lamentably in many respects without necessarily having to
          prejudicially dismiss Carney’s report out of hand. I understand that not all readers approach the news in a critical way, but what’s the alternative? To not write about or publish these experiences? What’s the ol cui bono? calculus on that one?

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I see that the Great Han Lebensraum CommuNazi ChinaGov Regime’s little hasbarists in the field are alert and active.

  13. Tom Doak

    Maybe instead of having Facebook censor political content in the face of a contested election, we could just shut it down entirely for a month or three until the situation resolved.

    Throw in Twitter and then we’re really talking!

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Apparently all ten of the the top ten links (most shared) on FB right now are pro-Trump. Interesting strategy by Biden, no rallies, no events, no door knocking, and apparently no trying to win FB. Like Lambert I am also undecided whether this is pure genius or pure idiocy. Given the candidate and his inability to speak, think, or read numbers I believe it is probably the former.

  14. WobblyTelomeres

    Re Old TV takes out village broadband

    Sounds like an aging flyback transformer. On a related note, just about every rural city, town, village, crossroads in the US has electricity delivered over power lines. Rural broadband internet could be provided over these existing power lines (Broadband over Power Lines, or BoPL) but for one wee problem. The thick uninsulated lines make great radiators, trampling all over the frequency spectrum used by amateur radio. Notching the spectrum (dropping the signal level over a given frequency range) didn’t help much in trials in rural Tennessee. Also, HAM radio guys don’t hesitate to voice their displeasure!

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I agree that fiber is better.

        Here’s an article that discusses the issues:

        The guys at [one of the companies named in the article] were engineers here in Huntsville, had worked with them through the years at various telecom companies. Helped set up one of their incubator demos to a possible investor using a pair of run-of-the-mill Motorola cable modems over a 6 foot strand of cable mounted on a plywood and 2×4 affair. PITA, an overnight effort fueled by cheap coffee, but i got a video signal reliably across in time for the 9am show. I didn’t think at the time that the data rates would be high enough to sell as broadband, but argued that power companies would find it as a good way to monitor remote facilities, hence the video demo. Gots to sell one before you can sell a thousand or millions. They ended up going after bigger fish. Shrug.

  15. Wukchumni

    Collectibles & cars in particular have a long way to fall in price across the board, if you value them more than the monetary value-keep on keeping on-as I ogle your ride slowing it down a bit to enjoy the fleeting moment, but the likely owners of such classics are next to go on unemployment, and the same with all other collectibles, which would be the first thing to go, resulting in a rush to the exits for manual transmission labor, et al.

    The high end art market is really the bubbliest of them all, the captains of the high seize all duking it out to be in on a sure winner (who’d disagree, something by the right artist that brought $250k in the 40’s now might fetch $100 million) and gain prestige by holding it hostage for a spell, a Certificate of Dukedom.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      being a sort of UrLuddite(in the a-historical, anti-high tech sense), and averse to driving a vehicle that : 1. can be bricked from space, 2. phones home overmuch, 3. talks to me when i’m driving , 4. attempts to take the wheel at random moments or 5. cannot be repaired by me, or anyone within 100 miles…I hang on to vehicles for as long as i can.
      one day, my 2004 dodge ram pickup will cease to function…and i dread that day.
      so i’ve entertained getting a 30’s or 40’s or even 50’s era pickup(like Lou Diamond Phillips in Longmire(×315/3e/38/21/3e38212c34e96f5d7ec2eb6a8321b042.jpg ))…and maybe even a store of parts to keep in the barn…but damned if they ain’t high dollar!
      I found the shell of one in a pasture for $1k, but it would cost a fortune to get it road ready….and that’s if i do all the work.
      does this story mean that such things will become cheaper?
      otherwise, my next vehicle is a buckboard and a mule.(except for taking wife to chemo, 250 miles round trip, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for me)

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Look What Has Been Taken From Black Americans”

    In any honest teaching of history, the material in this article should be mentioned. The trouble starts when you start editing your own history to remove the ugly bits. It is not only black history that gets edited but poor people’s history and worker’s history. I see the same with the history taught in Oz. With such gaps in the history that is taught in school, that is how you get a 1619 Project to fill the gaps which is an even worse solution. Having mentioned that sorry project, I note that the New York Times has now dropped its claim that US history began with slavery which was a central claim and some people are not happy-

    1. Big River Bandido

      I think the biggest editing job in that article is the passive voice in the headline. It merely says “what has been taken”, no agency at all. So…who took it?

      Bloomberg wouldn’t want to even ask that question, much less answer it.

  17. Jomo

    Thank you for only having a few articles this morning about the 2020 election, it’s a pleasant change. Now if only the commentators could follow suit. Must reading is Article about the Florida governor’s Plan for protestors: No bond or bail, it’s ok to drive a car through a protest crowd if you feel threatened (a la “stand your ground”), and more. Horrific stuff, potentially deadly and seemingly unconstitutional. He wants to pass a law legalizing this.

  18. farmboy

    Oregon and Washington wildfires originating not a result of AGW. “this summer was not one of significant drought or very unusual. Until the September 7-8 fire initiation by the strong winds, the area encompassing fire was below normal in both Oregon and Washington.
    Thus, considering observations and modeling, both strongly supporting each other, the major fire/smoke outbreak this month was the result of very, very unusually strong easterly winds, NOT global warming or climate change.”
    Cliff Mass does this science better than anyone, with advanced modeling and deep experience with PNW weather and climate.

    1. allan

      “this summer was not one of significant drought or very unusual”

      That’s simply not true:

      And one of the most direct consequences of climate change is drought — a condition emerging as part of Oregon’s “new normal” and a stage-setter for the recent wildfire event.

      When the fires hit Oregon, about a quarter of the state was experiencing “extreme drought,” with much of the state west of the Cascades under those conditions. More than 80% of the state was under “moderate drought” or worse.

      1. farmboy

        from the post “Clearly, precipitation in this region does not appear to be changing much with global warming. Climate models suggests a small decline in summer precipitation (and an increase in overall precipitation) by the end of the century if we continue burning fossil fuels with abandon.” charts, history all in the extensive blog

        1. a different chris

          >>>this month was the result of very, very unusually strong easterly winds,

          Well why was that? The word unusually leads me to think it was….

          >NOT global warming or climate change.”

          Oh, ok then. Silly me expecting to put two plus two together.

        2. JWP

          The growing theory about melting arctic ice causing jet stream irregularities which lead to more high wind events, more drought and floods in areas like Oregon has been mentioned as a larger scale cause. This suggests the wind event and similar ones are global warming influenced.

          Also, his analysis mentions :normal” climate conditions in the Western Cascade slopes. However, the fire danger was from sever-extreme for almost 80% of the state, including that area.

          1. Wukchumni

            The now nearly 300k and only 30% contained Creek Fire started on a Friday, and on Saturday I hiked to White Chief Canyon in Mineral King-about 100 miles away, and had to hitch up the chin strap on my headgear, lest it end up hundreds of feet away.

            I’m no stranger to strong winds, but what made this circumstance different was the schizo nature of them, coming from all directions, as if going through the numbers on a clock in my 30 minutes exposed to its whims.

            A fire would go hog crazy under those conditions, and did.

    2. hunkerdown

      Okay, let’s call them rich people fires. The ones we couldn’t set small and controllable because of the fetishism of property and the decadence of the ruling class.

    3. Synoia

      outbreak this month was the result of very, very unusually strong easterly winds, NOT global warming or climate change

      1. It was a summer where many temperature records were broken.
      2. Unusually strong easterly winds.

      How does one come to a conclusion, with proof, that Global Warming is not a factor?

      Breaking Temperature records provides an Indication that it was Global Warming.

    4. HotFlash

      Lemme get this straight. “(v)ery, very unusually strong easterly winds” have nothing to do with climate change?

        1. furies

          I second the cry of “that’s not true”.

          My area of far northern California used to get more than 80″ a year of precipitation per year.

          Over the last 10-15 years, we were lucky to get 60.

          The rains start later (sometimes months later) and the season starts earlier, by as much as a month but on average 2 weeks. (Fruit trees/lilacs etc)
          The plants have changed…the days of clear sky have markedly increase. I watched in person live the plant species march down the hill toward the creek looking for moisture–and being replaced by more drought tolerant natives.

          farmerboy has an agenda perhaps

          1. Wukchumni

            My friend is the dean of the backcountry, worked on Sequoia NP trail crew from the early 70’s to retirement in 2013. He knows everything about the surroundings, ask him anything and a story will emerge that eventually leads to another, in a nice sort of way, you just have to get him wound up and out the vignettes of half a century flow, as you try and remember the details of that one spot he spoke so highly of in such a locale.

            I asked him a few years ago what he’d seen in climate change in the Sierra Nevada, and he pondered it for 30 seconds, and said: “Meadows. high country meadows used to stay wet until August, now they’re dry by July, sometimes June.”

            That’s a big change in just 50 years…

    5. rd

      I think the key linkages are that high temperatures and drought are becoming more common with climate change. Long-term suppression of wildfires means that fuel builds up that would have burned in other, less dry years. the combination of more frequent and longer droughts with fuel build-up due to unnatural fire suppression sets up an ecosystem ready to explode. In the absence of frequent past wildfires, people built lots of structures in potential wildfire areas, so the consequences go up dramatically.

      the latter is what Florida learned during Hurricane Andrew. The isurance companies were caught totally flat-footed because they had not added up the value of new construction in hurricane prone areas and had completely under-priced risk. The same thing is going on in wildfire areas today.

    6. CarlH

      As if previous drought conditions didn’t factor in? I suspect anything this declarative, especially concerning Global Warming. Also, are you qualified to know whether his/her analysis is up to snuff?

  19. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Epic Dash for PPE Left the World Short on Masks”

    Old news this really. At the time these people were running around trying to grab as much PPE as possible, China was being crushed by the virus. Sending all that PPE there was vital to putting a lid on it and which as a consequence, gave the rest of the countries in the world at least several weeks notice to get ready for when the virus hit their own shores. To be fair, it is not China’s fault that most countries blew off all these warnings and ignored the implications of what they saw happening in China. People saw what was happening in northern Italy and still ignored the fact that it was out of control, and heading our way.

    1. HotFlash

      Yup, letting stockpiles of PPE fall or expire, offshoring production, defunding public health services, politicizing government health and science agencies .. . who could have foreseen?

  20. ex-PFC Chuck

    Thank you, Lambert, for the “What Is the Sound of Thought?” link to the MIT Tech Review. Fascinating!

  21. allan

    Rural Hospitals Teeter On Financial Cliff As COVID-19 Medicare Loans Come Due [NPR]

    … The money lent from the federal government is meant to help hospitals and other health care providers weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet some hospital administrators have called it a payday loan program that is now brutally due for repayment at a time when the institutions still need help. …

    A full repayment of a hospital’s loan is technically due 120 days after it was received. If it is not paid, Medicare will stop reimbursing claims until it recoups the money it is owed — a point spelled out in the program’s rules. Medicare reimburses nearly $60 billion in payments to health care providers nationwide under Medicare’s Part A program, which makes payments to hospitals.

    More than 65% of the nation’s small, rural hospitals — many of which were operating at a deficit before the pandemic — jumped at the Medicare loans when the pandemic hit because they were the first funds available …

    Weaponizing Medicare to push back-row kid hospitals into the arms of large chains, PE or oblivion.
    People tell me, sir, no one’s ever seen anything like it.

    1. Olga

      Saw some of the most colourful trucks in Pakistan, too. Safety may be secondary, but hey… as long as we have lots of colour!

  22. Ignacio

    Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2: Let’s Stick to Known Knowns (PDF) Journal of Immunology.

    This is very good. I don’t know about potential copyright issues but the graph that illustrates the humoral responses (Antibody production, Ab) and the potential and most probable scenarios after infection is very good and it would be good to post the graph at NC. Yes, Ab levels wane and after several months and frequently below detection levels by some of the antibody assays commonly used but this does not mean Ab absence. In case of new infection (or vaccination) Ab levels will rise much more rapidly than after the primary infection for yet an undetermined period that could be around 2 years.

  23. Pelham

    Can someone remind me why NASA insists on dragging us back to the moon? Or why anyone wants to go to Mars? Have these people no imagination, no spirit?

    There’s nothing much in this solar system worth exploring. What we should be doing, I humbly suggest, is building a cosmic telescope using the sun’s gravitational bending of light as a lens, allowing us to view in minute detail genuinely Earth-like planets many light years distant. This is now feasible.

    Then we should ditch rockets and start looking into the science and tech that could take us to the most promising star systems in realistic time frames. This isn’t feasible yet, but mounting evidence indicates it could be. And while we’re waiting for that, we could be entertained by the view of mountains, oceans and perhaps cities and the activities of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy.

    We might even learn something more than we can with ever more minute inspections of dead rocks in this solar system.

    1. jr

      I think the prospects of life in the solar system provide a pretty good reason to explore it, no? And I think establishing a moon colony would be a good step towards some kind of interstellar project. I read somewhere it would be easier and ultimately cheaper to build and launch large payloads from the moon than Earth. Also, the theorized existence of enormous lava tubes there would be a boon to colonization as they would provide shelter from the radiation above. Some of those tubes could hold whole cities. Mars is a pipe dream for children.

      Hawking wasn’t wrong, we do have to get off the planet and fast. We are going to get obliterated sooner or later by some kind of impact. The Big Reset. We are overdue and we can’t count on the Others to step in.

      Although that would be epic.

      1. hunkerdown

        No, they don’t, especially when they are simply an excuse to not only avoid fixing conditions on Earth, but to continue to exacerbate them.

        Colonization is the problem, not the solution. It’s a disease that needs to be quarantined, not broadcast.

        1. jr

          I agree it would only be a horror show of some kind but I was speaking a bit more generally, as in “In a better world…” I think discovering life in the solar system would be a wonderful thing…in a better world. I think new pharmaceutical development is a wonderful thing…in a better world. There are lots of things that should be and seeking knowledge for it’s own sake is one of them…in a better world.

          But interestingly you didn’t mention the whole “planet being turned into a magma ocean” scenario I alluded to. Does that not count as exacerbating conditions? What does the astro-ethicist do in such a situation? Is it better to not try to colonize the dead moon than stoically face annihilation? And as hideous as we are towards the life on the planet, and that is something I feel very poignantly, we are also the only things capable of saving it. As in taking it with us.

          Because something will, for certain, no doubt about it, smash into the Earth at some point in the relatively near future. We are long overdue. So we need to try to be able to spot them early on and destroy or deflect them. And try to establish an off world colony, a chance to begin again. This would be easier from the moon. There are no alternatives. The conditions you noted are exactly why I don’t think this will happen.

          1. BlakeFelix

            Mars and Venus are bigger and more hospitable than the moon, although farther. I’m not very opposed to a moon base, but I think the other planets are more promising. And the colonization being bad generally is a result of harm to indigenous life, I acknowledge no value in the natural state of dead rocks in space. A thriving colony on a previously dead planet is solid progress, unless you just hate life in general, which is fair, maybe, but I like life and people. Interstellar travel and colonization is a good goal in my opinion, but colonization of the rest of the solar system is a step towards it, rather than a distraction from it in my opinion. Building interstellar airships in the Venetian atmosphere would be my dream.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If we did as you suggest and built ships to travel to new star systems, those ships would be much easier to build and launch outside of earth’s gravity well. The moon has a fraction of earth’s gravity, so it would be much easier to build and launch a ship from the moon, especially if the raw materials were found there too or brought in from an asteroid.

      Of course it would be even easier to launch from a space station with hardly any gravity at all than from the moon.

      Regarding Mars, I read a good book about scrapping plans for Mars missions mainly because we haven’t found much of interest there (at least nothing that can be easily exploited for profit), and sending missions to Saturn’s moon Titan instead. Titan is strongly suspected to have oceans of liquid methane, among other useful hydrocarbons.

      1. Pelham

        I think you’re assuming rockets. I’m assuming something like anti-gravity, so it wouldn’t matter where we set out from.

        As for retrieving hydrocarbons or other useful things from the moon or beyond, how cost effective would that be? I’m guessing not very.

    3. Oh

      It’s a total waste of money and it’s a way for funelling $$$$$$$$ to the MIC and private industry. Spend the money on the people.

      1. fajensen

        Money is an infinite resource, costing nothing to produce, it cannot ever be wasted. It’s “slave thinking” to believe things like that Money can “run out” or that a lump of Money somehow represent a limited slice of a fixed pie. If elites want something to happen, it will happen. If they don’t, they pretend that Money is limited and encourage their slaves to fight for a sliver of it, which is both entertaining and passes the time.

    4. Anonymous

      and the activities of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy.

      Using the Sun as a huge lens is a great idea but I read it’ll take 25-30 years for an observatory to reach a focal point.

      But my bet is that we are alone in the Universe as far as intelligent life is concerned. The reasoning is theological but so far backed up by the evidence and by non-theological reasoning too (the book “Rare Earth”).

      But yeah, let’s find out as much as we can. Not that I expect I’ll have to change my mind but it’d be good if people could abandon false hope so they can focus on real hope.

  24. Ep3

    Question, why can’t the banks loan all these retiree burdened state local govts the money they need to fund their pensions with balloon loans that balloon when all these savings magically appear from cutting all future workers from the pension & retiree health care programs? It’s not like the govts are going to default & disappear.

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