Links 9/28/2020

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Bolivia’s Socialist VP Candidate: “The Coup Against Evo Morales Was Driven by Multinationals and the Organization of American States” Jacobin

Ex-eBay employees to plead guilty in “bloody pig mask” cyberstalking case Ars Technica

Man Finds 9-Carat Diamond at Arkansas State Park TreeHugger

Gavin Newsom and Big Oil: It’s Complicated Capital & Main

Sheets of Fire and Leaping Flames London Review of Books

Armenia and Azerbaijan fight over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh BBC

Dream state: Jokowi struggles to build his vision for Indonesia Nikkei Asian Review

Sacha Baron Cohen Secretly Shot a Sequel to Borat The Firm Stage. Can’t wait to see this; let’s hope it’s more than a damp squib.

Africa’s fashion business is using new and traditional methods to reform as a sustainable industry Quartz

The Revolutionary Beethoven Dissent

Book of Revelation Lapham’s Quarterly


Does Boris Johnson take the population for idiots? His latest offering suggests so Independent. Robert Fisk.

Britain will seek coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ covertly or by default – thanks to the failure of lockdown Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

A Real Vaccine Before the Election? It’d Take a Miracle. ProPublica

The Case for Independent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Protecting Public Health from Politics Jama Network.

Exclusive: States plan to independently vet COVID-19 vaccine data Roll Call

Coronavirus: Half a million sharks ‘could be killed for vaccine’, experts warn Sky News


Covid normal is becoming the new normal. But should it? The Print

New York City Principals Union Calls On Mayor to Cede Control of Schools to State WSJ. The deck:”Union’s leaders unanimously pass a vote of no confidence in Mayor Bill de Blasio.”

‘Cops won’t be able to cope with cracking down on covid rule-breakers’: Police union chief calls on councils and health bosses to help enforce draconian new regulations Daily Mail

Class Warfare

Uber to get London licence as court rules it is ‘no longer a risk’ The Guardian

Concentrated power in Big Tech harms the US FT

Cheerleading, Monopolies and Sexual Predators Big Matt Stoller

Higher Ed Has a Silicon Valley Problem Chronicle of Higher Education

Amid COVID and Wildfires, Farmworkers Have Been Pushed to the Brink TruthOut

Pittsburgh NewsGuild Prez Resigns Following Payday Expose on Sexual Misconduct Payday Report

Waste Watch

Sri Lanka returns containers of illegal waste to Britain: Customs Al Jazeera


Leaked docs expose massive Syria propaganda operation waged by Western govt contractors and media Grayzone


Chinese investors, beware: EU vows to take aim at ‘golden visas’ programmes SCMP

TikTok Download Ban Is Blocked by Judge WSJ


Future of work: Welcome to the era of the 21st century artisans, says TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan Economic Times

How Bad is the Employee-Boss Wage Gap in Nifty 50 Companies? The Wire

Lancet says India putting ‘too positive spin’ on Covid data, warns against ‘false optimism’ The Print

COVID-19 in India: the dangers of false optimism The Lancet

India’s R value drops below 1 for the first time since Covid pandemic struck The Print

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Trump’s Supreme Court move deepens fears of an authoritarian power play WaPo

Re-Politicize The Supreme Court American Conservative

How Amy Coney Barrett’s Religious Group Helped Shape a City Politico

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Barrett would have final say on recusal calls Reuters


Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don’t lose The Hill

The Election That Could Break America Atlantic

Trump’s top 10 tricks: Here’s a useful guide to have on hand as the presidential debates get underway AlterNet

Trump readies thousands of attorneys for election fight Politico

Trump Transition

Republicans blasted Obama’s use of an obscure Medicare law. Now Trump’s using it on $200 drug coupons — and the GOP is silent Stat


18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records DNYUZ

TRUMP VS NYT Trump rips ‘totally fake news’ after New York Times bombshell report claimed he ‘only paid $750 federal taxes in 2017’ The Sun

Reminder: WikiLeaks Has Always Been Open To Publishing Leaks On Trump Caitlin Johnstone

Provocation on the High Seas: U.S. Naval Adventures Near the Shores of Russia, China and Iran Counterpunch

No penalty for Victoria despite ‘wanton destruction’ of trees vital to red-tailed black cockatoo Guardian


Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Noone from Nowheresville

    Something happened that stunned me… The real problem with that tweet thread is that somehow the Democratic party isn’t part of the problem he describes. I’m much more cynical than his son. Of course I’ve had more years to be cynical.

    ACB’s nomination / confirmation: It would be nice to see substantial issues discussed. But much like Kavanaugh, the “attack” will be on the personal (dopamine highs) rather than the legal framework (boring… sleepy now) from which ACB will rule. I’d rather like the so-called boring discussion but ratings do not equal fundraising and political circular spending / profits for me.

    1. jsn

      Right, had the kid become aware just two years earlier he could have watched the first black President destroy generations of black wealth, force thousands into bankruptcy and foreclosure and bail out fraudsters and other criminals who blew up the financial markets while legitimizing undeclared war, universal surveillance and torture.

      Now that’s what I call effective government. Of course by that standard you’d have to credit Trump with incredibly effective government this spring, the top billionaires have all doubled their wealth, or better.

      The propaganda is so thick, I despair of most people ever seeing through it. If the Democrats can’t muster an interest in preserving the “save Roe v Wade” rallying call, their only consistent message for the last 40 years, why do people still believe anything they say, that they ever intend to do ANYTHING but beg their donors for money?

      The digital addiction with social media has supercharged what used to be a TV phenomenon which superseded a radio one where people turn off their brains when the stimulus starts and never go back and check the new circuits the propagandist have wired in their brains.

      I guess it’s going to take an explosive crash and lots more death to wake Americans up from this hallucinatory waking nightmare. War, fire, floods, locusts we’ve got them all and still the trance holds.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You mentioned that the Democrat’s only consistent message is to beg their donors for money. So I was just thinking – and you would have to analyze the finances of the Democrats to confirm or deny it – but try this one on for size. Suppose that the Democrats get all the money that they need from their “donors” and that all the money that they get from the little people is only icing on the cake. So would that imply that the true purpose of always asking money from regular people is simply to ensure that they would have no money left to donate to other people instead? People like progressives? Drying up the well so to say.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          The MN DFL just tweeted about its “pop-up shops” where you can buy MERCH!

          I remember when one of the most important volunteer gigs was to ask people parking at an event if you could put a bumpersticker on their car. Even yardsigns were FREE and you could have extras if you knew someone who wanted one.

          The modern Democratic party cannot fathom life without donations. Poors do not exist for them and no, seriously, don’t make me call the cops — you have to PAY for that button!

        2. Brian (another one they call)

          The message is one thing, the payoff is another. Today’s stories all seem to demonstrate the money flows to those that don’t need it for their lives, but need it for leverage on their bets. The RD story is all about making people believe that their contribution can purchase that politician to do things that benefit the buyer.
          Doesn’t it seem a bit more like bribery as the national pastime? But the reality hides in plain sight. The contribution of a low life (I include myself in that bag) merely puts you on a suckers list for future mining. When someone needs something from the politician, and they have enough lolly, they contact them directly and make sure aforementioned poltico knows just what the money is purchasing.
          This ties up the national digestion thinking that democracy is for sale to the highest bidder even when 98% of us don’t have enough money to tip the scale. Yves’ private equity story this AM is a door into this void demonstrating extortion is the way everything works. 50X leverage on pure gambling knowing that the bet is good because you have forced the government into paying out when you lose, sorting the data to keep it hidden, influence peddling, protection from law enforcement and most assuredly endangering the financial system by guaranteeing it can be rigged to ones benefit if you play the right game.
          The statutes tell us many of these games are crimes. They appear to continue all the way forward into a future that guarantees a preciptious collapse.

          1. Wukchumni

            They appear to continue all the way forward into a future that guarantees a preciptious collapse.

            Perhaps the saddest part of the saga when it comes to the end, is the fervent object of their desire will be worth nothing and all the Major Major Major Majordomos hard work will have been for naught when the almighty buck isn’t worth diddily squat.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Good hypothesis. How to test it? ( Suppose all the “small donors” gave zero money to the Democratic Party for a few years. Would its fundraising amounts decrease measurably?)

          It may also be a trick to trick the “little people” into feeling “involved”.

      2. Procopius

        You forgot creating the right of a President to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, without reference to any court or review by any other authority. Oh, and also without any charge or any appeal. I’m really surprised Trump hasn’t taken advantage of that precedent. All he has to do is say he believes his victim is “associated” with terrorists. I suppose he couldn’t get away with bumping Biden and/or Harris off that way, but if he said he had incontrovertible evidence that Nancy Pilosi is “associated” with terrorists, do you suppose Bloody Gina Haspel would deny it? I’m teasing, of course, but some president in the future is going to make use of that precedent — you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

          1. Procopius

            I agree. It’s just that this one is particularly important to me. Thank you for bringing up the ones you did.

      3. Procopius

        I’m sorry, do you remember 2009, Obama’s first year, when the Dems had 58 Senators for only a month and a half, as “functioning government?” My memory is very different. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Republicans refused unanimous consent and conducted more filibusters than had been used in all previous history. 50 plus the vice president was not a majority any more. And then Ted Kennedy died and Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts and the Dems couldn’t make 60 even with the two Independents.

    2. crittermom

      My two cents worth:
      All of this news about Trumps tax avoidance is taking away from what I see as a MUCH larger problem.

      Apparently, Trump owes MILLIONS on loans he signed for, coming due during the next presidential term.

      THAT is a threat to our national security, & I believe should be a much bigger story than his taxes.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I believe Trump, like all ex-presidents, will be able to cash in very easily if he wants to. Among recent presidents, Carter didn’t want to, Reagan was too senile and had already been well paid by the powers that be for playing a politician on the TV, and the Bush’s are old money anyway, but Clinton and Obama sure took to the grifting, and Trump is a grifter’s grifter.

        I really don’t see Trump owing money as a threat to national security. One of the networks will give him another reality show (and I would not be surprised one bit if that’s what Trump’s been angling for over the last four years since he’s been playing reality show for his entire presidency) of Fox will make him a commentator, or he will monetize his social media, or he will get a job with the WWE, or all of the above and some more too.

        Everyone seems to have forgotten about the Bush ties to the Carlyle Group or Cheney’s ties to Halliburton, etc. but we never heard the Blob screaming from the rooftops about national security there, and these were actual defense contractors taking billions from the government.

        The actually illegal and reprehensible things Trump has done – assassinating Suleimani, fomenting coups in Bolivia and Venezuela – nobody seems to care about, especially not the Blob as they agree with those atrocities.

        1. Wukchumni

          Do you see any other neophyte book authors aside from recently retired Presidents being offered $20 million up front deals on their newest tomes? yeah me neither.

      2. MK


        Those loans are backed by his real estate holdings. They would be liquidated first before anything would become personally liable against Trump the man.

        Further, in the industry, those types of loans are rolled over all the time. The question is how much he’ll have to pay to refinance and the interest rate.

        It really does not seem like a national security threat at all. (If he owed money to uncle Vinnie or cousin Putin, that would be another story)

        1. Anonymous

          There is no national security threat.

          GS underwrites $400M bond.

          Trump pays off Putin.

          Warren’s boys rates it A+ or something.

          JP buys them all.

          End of hysteria.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’m always curious as to what they think Obama would have accomplished were it not for those dastardly Republicans. Based on the first two years of his administration when he didn’t have to worry about Republican sandbagging, I can only assume we would have had the same outcome after eight years, but with less rancor maybe? With Clinton, we know that, irony of ironies, we would have gotten privatized social security had it not been for the Republicans willingness to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

      1. Procopius

        I’d like to know where this false and pernicious memory of “he didn’t have to worry about Republican sandbagging” comes from. I’ve been seeing it a lot lately. I’ve even seen “a veto-proof majority,” which is 67 Senators and beyond the wildest dreams of every President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My memory is that the whole first two years was nothing but Republican obstruction, and things only got worse in 2010. I guess I need to stop objecting to it; I’m whistling in the wind.

        1. Riverboat Grambler

          I remember the suggestion of Obama using the bully pulpit to accomplish good policy being painted as “Green Lantern-ism”, which was little more than an attempt to infantalize those who wanted Obama to actually wield his own power.

          And considering the ACA was essentially a Republican plan whose public option was nixed in backroom deals at the behest of conservative Dems like Joe Liebermann and Ben Nelson, I personally don’t think Obama’s biggest policy choices would have come out much differently with less obstruction. The blame for why we can’t have nice things would simply be transferred to conservative Dems in red districts, and Rahm Emmanuel would still have had far more influence with Obama than any group of “f—ing idiot” leftists.

          1. Procopius

            Gambler: I don’t disagree that the blame would be shifted, but claiming that Obama “had a huge majority in both houses,” which I have seen asserted several times, is simply false. And it doesn’t matter to me where the blame is shifted to. I think Obama did what he wanted to do, accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, and established the policies that he wanted. His appointment of the Bowles-Simpson Commission demonstrates that, as does his “Grand Bargain.”

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Probably the experience of the pernicious deceit which is the soul of Obama has prepared us all to accept this pernicious false memory.

          So what you raise here is helpful, and if no one can contradict it, should be perhaps the basis of a general memory re-adjustment.

          We can then get on with thinking about what we should have had a right to expect from Obama under those circumstances. I know if the President had been a left-wing Gingrich personality-type, he would have tried a lot harder, at least to make the Republican victories pyrrhic if nothing else.

        3. Pat

          Veto proof? Why would he need veto proof. More manure to support the idea that he and a super majority Congress were hog tied by Republicans. They couldn’t beat back Republican obstruction because they welcomed it. They could have eliminated or simply lowered the Senate filibuster. BUT no. And the power was not limited to laws. As has been shown in the last couple of years, much could have been done without actual legislation, using cabinet Regulatory control, and any attempt to block that could have been hog tied by the Senate majority leader not allowing any minority moves about it.

          Funny how none of that happened. Once again the “obstruction” was only allowed when it was popular populist policy. When it advanced any of our entrenched oligarchic interests, the super majority came through. By the midterms it was becoming too obvious that Democrats had no intention of pursuing the policies desired by their base. Their growing dissatisfaction helped Tim Kaine, head of the DNC, be very effective at his real job -losing Democratic control wherever possible.

          It was a lovely irony that he eventually “lost” his reward when the landslide turned into an electoral college loss.

  2. fresno dan

    I don’t have access to the NYT, so I am unable to comment specifically on the article.
    But IIRC, wasn’t there a democratic president with a democratic attorney general in the near past? And doesn’t that hold for New York State as well??? Though the article, at least in the headline, isn’t charging impropriety.
    Trump may be a chiseler, schemer, and grifter, but is he anymore so than many “businessmen?” It appears he has had such a career for more than 40 years with the blessing of the US tax code…
    AGAIN, making it about Trump instead of about the voter.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I posted the NYT link b/c the paper broke the story and I thought they deserved some credit for that. It’s been extensively covered elsewhere as well.

      Your comment is spot on.

      1. Michael Hudson

        What surprised me is the omission of depreciation. In his autobiography, Trump said, “I love depreciation.”
        In fact, the real estate sector AS A WHOLE pays no income tax — since about World War II — thanks to the combination of depreciation write-offs, interest deduction, and the fact that capital gains are not taxed if they are plowed back. (My books have charts on the statistics.)
        I guess the New York Times, as lobbyist for the real estate industry, doesn’t want to draw attention to its general tax-free privileges.

        1. Harold

          This. All over NYC there are tons of vacant storefronts and residential properties purposely being kept of the market to avoid exposing their true market value and thus lowering the inflated values of their owners’ portfolios when used as collateral for obtaining speculative bank loans. It is a huge contributor to our current affordable housing crisis: a political problem with a political solution. Trump may be more egregious, but I doubt he’s only one.

    2. vlade

      Of course all that Trump did was allowed under the code (well, bar the case he’s been running with the IRS for a decade now, maybe that wasn’t). And the code is dodgy (70k for “hairdressing”?).

      But the point re Trump is he claimed he wasn’t one of them. That he’s a sucessfull businessman – does it mean “successfull tax dodger” really?

      And, that with his empire, the banks – that he appoints the SEC to oversee – may be in a position where they have to decide on how to pursue his (personally guaranteed) loans if he’s a president. Which I can’t think of a precedent for.

      All those, especially the last one – are quite relevant to his presidency.

      1. CitizenSissy

        He’s the Potemkin Village of businessmen – all flash and no assets. He’s so (personally) indebted that he wouldn’t be able to get a security clearance anywhere, and I’m outraged that this has dragged on so long. It’s terrifying how compromised he could be, if not already. And yes, his personal corruption affects all of us.

        Anne Applebaum summed up in a 2017 tweet; “After this is all over, I never, ever want to hear again about how businessmen would run the government better than politicians.”

        1. ?

          Yes but politics and business are so entangled that it’s unclear who politicians are compared to business people.

      2. The Historian

        Agree wholeheartedly!

        And to those who want to give Trump a pass because “everyone else is doing it” – well, I never let my children get away with that defense and I am not willing to accept that defense from my President, either.

        1. Jesper

          Usually I don’t like the ‘everyone else is doing it so why can’t I?’ defence but there are situations where I’d have to reluctantly accept it. I’d say it is similar to Gresham’s law, if everybody else is doing it then the one not doing it is at a competitive disadvantage and being long-term at a competitive disadvantage is a guarantee to lose.
          Aiming to be purer than the competitors might come at the cost of losing the competition. If the competition is unimportant then that cost might be negligible and then being pure might be an easy choice, if the competition is for something important the the cost of being pure might be too high.

          If the behaviour is reprehensible but legal then change the law to make it illegal and enforce the law against everyone.
          If the law isn’t enforced equally against everyone and instead enforced selectively against the disliked then that might be worse than not enforcing the law at all.

          It seems that what he did might be legal so hopefully the people who think it is reprehensible will work to make it illegal.

          1. vlade

            The point, at least for me, isn’t whether it’s legal or not.

            The points are:
            – he claimed to be anti-elite, while using all the elite bits and pieces, so that he can have a lifestyle most Americans can only dream of – paid for by the self-same Americans. I will accept that this will have trivial, if any, impact on his voter’s base though.
            – he will be in a massive conflict of interest vis a vis banking sector in his next term. A conflict of interest, that will dwarf any former president’s one – literally, because he’d avoid bankruptcy and all that goes with it only because he’d be POTUS and able to threaten the banks with retributions they cannot ignore. Or, a deal they find too hard to resist (like sinking even more of anti-bank regulation).

            For me, it’s actually the second part that’s key. Basically, electing Trump will guarantee some special deal with the banks. And the only deal that makes sense long term is if both the parties (banks and Trump) benefit from it. So, if you thought Obama was in bed with banks, you’d expect to see Trump to do even more.

            1. Jesper

              I am not sure. Actual physical persons at the bank would have to make the decision to call in the loans where there are personal guarantees. Those persons would instantly be famous all over the world and not all people would want that kind of fame The CEO would go from being known in business circles to being known everywhere.
              It might be claimed that such a decision would be purely a business decision but I am not sure that such a claim would be believed. Some might believe the decision was based on other reasons.

              And if it were to happen then what? Would the world go back to how it was during the Obama years or would there be growth of populist movements in both parties of the duopoly to the extent that populists would take over both parties? Or maybe none of the above, plausible predictions are difficult to make.

        2. mike

          Doing what? There isn’t any accusation of wrong doing. The accusation is that he followed tax law but didn’t have as much taxable income as people expected. Oh, the horror!

          1. The Historian

            It isn’t a question of laws, it is a question of ethics. All sorts of bad laws can be passed to enable corruption. Does that mean we have to live with them forever? Ever read Thoreau or Emerson or Arendt?

            1. jsn

              Yes, but that makes Trump a symptom and not a cause. Which view I agree.

              Trump is a manifestation of across the board corruption. Removing him will not change that and Ham Sandwich Joe Biden has promised already that “nothing will fundamentally change.” The looters are all nice people when you get to know them, and they have such good taste.

              If enough people are starving by the middle of the Biden Admin, which I now expect, maybe we’ll find out if their taste is as good as their taste.

            1. meme

              Being under audit does not assume guilt.

              And I wouldn’t consider a misinterpretation of tax law by his lawyers and accountants to be wrongdoing.

              The issue with the $72M refund revolves around his using prior losses from his casinos to offset income in 2009, the year he gave up ownership on them, and whether or not he disclosed having kept a 5% interest.

              Making a mistake on tax law is generally considered an error, not fraud. The complexity of the tax code means sometimes things slip through the cracks, even for professionals. Its not even clear whether his returns disclosed that he continued to have a 5% interest.

          2. marym

            The personal debt, if accurately reported, and even if it’s not illegal, would be disqualifying in a position of trust, public or private. One doesn’t have to go all “russiagate…putin’s puppet” to think there’s a case that the public should know the details of that debt and potential conflicts of interest.

            Note: this is not a statement that other politicians don’t have conflicts of interest that the public should know.

            1. Mike

              nonsense. Are you saying we need to be “debt free” to run for office? should we have a positive wealth test? He is wealthier than any of the other president in history. He is the least likely to have a debt problem.

              1. vlade

                Sorry, what you’re saying is nonsense.

                He does not have few hundreds of millions in cash, to pay the debts his business has due, some of them personal guarantees.

                Which means he has to roll the debts, or liqiudate some assets, neither of which, in the current situation is exactly easy, especially for hospitality industry or what used to be “prime” real estate.

                If he’s POTUS, he’s in very much different situation vis a vis his banks than if he’d be “just a bloke off the street”. More than materially so.

                And no, it doesn’t mean you’d be debt-free to run for the office. But having a conflict of interest of this size, well, it’s not exactly what you’d hide.

        3. tegnost

          Agree wholeheartedly. After biden wins we will finally be through (well of course that’s total BS, what with but trump being essentially the only argument dems can come up with so why will they stop after the election, I mean you would chide your children for leaving the cupboard bare as well, no?) with the stifling argument that history began on nov. 3 2016 and al ills are of trump origin. Discourse, which is popular at nC, will certainly improve when two or more arguments can delve into details rather than off handedly condemning the operations of empire by yelling and pounding the table and yelling and screeching “BUT TRUMP”. I couldn’t wait for that to be over in 2016 and that hasn’t changed one bit
          Biden 2020- He’ll crash it faster!
          And we’ll get to consider more balanced (HA!)arguments about policy after the election….but you know and I know the “BUT TRUMP” argument closer will not go gentle into that good night
          It’s also good advice to your kids to say
          “Don’t follow the lemmings jumping off the cliff”

          1. Duck1

            Depending on whether the republicans control one or more house of congress there will be the mean republicans argument if Biden wins. Additionally, the fact that Trump was the president previously will be constantly brought up as an obstacle to any progress. And further, assuming the ACB appointment is seated, but the SCOTUS! can be a constant refrain in the DNC toolkit. All these will be mobilized for further fundraising. Of course, if the Democrats have majorities all around, Manchin will cleverly block anything that matters.

            1. jsn

              Even if the Democrats sweep, they have the Obama precedent to ensure the Republicans recover as quickly as possible: “nothing will fundamentally change” after THIS election, so the electorate will be doubly enthusiastic about change by the time of the next one!

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      I was able to get in via firefox reader view (F9). Note: It’s not always the same as the web view and it doesn’t always work.

      This circus twist should make for an interesting news cycle. Wonder if Biden will try to use it as an avenue of attack during the first debate. I agree that the issue should be the US tax code and the general grifting including but also beyond Trump.

    4. jackiebass

      What you say is true. That doesn’t mean it is acceptable. We as a society have a big problem when we try to justify such behavior. Unlike other businessmen he is the POTUS. To me that means he is held to a high standard. The only reason Trump didn’t want to release his returns is because they show the big fraud he is. For me I can’t support or vote for any candidate who has no moral or social values. Even before Trump was elected , I thought he was not fit to be POTUS and is a fraud. I’m not a Biden fan but at leas he has a some moral and social values. In all of my 79 years I haven’t seen such a blatant crook in the office of POTUS. Trump makes Nixon look good. The same is true of many of the other people in Trumps administration. The biggest thing that bothers me is many of the American public see nothing wrong with Trump and our entire political system. We have the best government money can buy.

      1. The Historian

        None of this is acceptable. Trump may be the stench but his tax records do point out the rot in our system, don’t they?

        1. Sailor Bud

          Especially given his quality of life, the fact that Trump paid less in taxes than someone on a $10,000 income and smashed by the ACA mandate for the ignominy of not buying health insurance, yeah, I’d say the rot is pretty clear.

          He seems to be the real world embodiment of all the fantastic benefits accrued in Twain’s £1,000,000 bank note story.

          1. edmondo

            I think that the laws that Trump followed were voted on by Joe Biden during his 50 years in office. Which one has the lower moral standards?

            1. Sailor Bud

              Barking up the wrong tree. I’m not doing the Biden-Trump “winner of the worseathon” bit with my comment.

              1. Harold

                It’s not the wrong tree by any means. Our oligarchs have bought and paid for our legislators to write the laws in their favor. Biden is as bad or worse.

                1. Sailor Bud

                  The point is that the tree in the proverb is me, and my comment includes the horrors of biden (by mentioning the ACA at all) without having to be, or include, some sort of “which is worse” equation.

                  To me, they’re turds of a feather. Moreover, I’m under zero compulsion to make such a comparison and won’t be dragged into the folly of it. Best, etc…

        2. jackiebass

          Unfortunately it is acceptable to a rather large percentage of society.Too many Americans live by the belief nothing matters if my candidate is the bad guy. Go to a neighborhood Bar and sit back and listen to the conversations. You will learn what many working class people believe and think.

      2. mike

        you haven’t sighted any wrongdoing. Just your contempt for Trump. “I haven’t seen such a blatant crook in office of POTUS”. I don’t think you have looked very hard.

        1. edmondo

          We like our crooks subtle, not blatant. See: Obama, Barack and the magical Martha’s Vineyard mansion.

          So Trump took his cut BEFORE he came into office instead of collecting afterwards. Is the big issue here timing?

      3. STEPHEN

        “If the people are led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given to them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.

        If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given to them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”

        1. jsn

          On the other hand, “For no society of men whatever can persevere its unity and continue to exist, if the criminal element is not punished, since, if the diseased member does not receive proper treatment, it causes all the rest, even as our own physical bodies, to share in its affliction … because when the wrong-doers have power they become more daring, and corrupt the excellent also by causing them to grow dejected and to believe that they will obtain no benefit from right behavior.

          For wherever the insolent element has the advantage there inevitably the decent element has the worst of it; and wherever wrong-doing is unpunished, there self-restraing also goes unrewarded. For it is not by any characteristic of birth that what is friendly is distinguished from what is hostile, but it is determined by men’s habits and actions, which, if they are good can make that which is alien like unto itself, but if bad can alienate everything, even that which is alien.”

      4. Katniss Everdeen

        I’m not a Biden fan but at leas he has a some moral and social values.

        Right. And Trump got himself impeached for trying to get the details of all those “moral and social values” as demonstrated by the former vp in Ukraine.

        Apparently discovering all that virtue as applied to Burisma struck a “whistleblower” as “treason.”

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            At this juncture, this whole discussion is just pointless and exhausting.

            It’s only bad, “amoral,” treasonous, seditious, dishonest, scandalous, existentially threatening to our sacred “democracy,” “fascist,” authoritarian, anti-american, unpatriotic, unprecedented, blah, blah, blah if Trump does it, or “probably” did it, or will “probably” do it, or…..

            How anyone does not recognize this four-year-long propaganda onslaught as the last desperate gasp of a failing overclass frantically trying to regain control is beyond me.

            1. Carolinian

              Yves already talked about how depreciation is one of those great real estate tax avoidance schemes and Michael Hudson does again above. Therefore Trump’s business losses claims were entirely predictable.

              But since all we care about are the political angles at this point I can’t imagine Trump supporters will be fazed. They know who he is and what he is for which is to send a message about their discontent to TPTB. He’s therefore a messenger, not a doer or moral exemplar. Sad and pathetic that this is the only way they can send a message to the duopoly (which has responded with the predictable hysteria).

    5. timbers


      That could be said of Uber, Lyft, Tesla/Elon Musk, Boeing now maybe to name but a few. Exclude chronic losses so just tax avoidance:

      Facebook, Google, Amazon, iPhone, just about every major corporation located in Ireland and such…Let’s make it easy and just the “The Rich.”

      1. cnchal

        Deliberate tax losses are a strategy, well beyond a tactic, since they can be used from here to eternity to offset future profits.

        For example Uber could be a nice fat takeover target for a cash rich company like Apple which could buy them just for the carry forward losses, which they could then apply to their profits to reduce taxes owed.

        If the losses from moar than ten years ago were disallowed for example, all the tech wasteland spy on the peasant crapola we see now would not exist.

        The best tax code money can buy, brought to you by the criminals of Wall Street.

        Disclaimer – I am not an accountant with a bullshit jawb and this isn’t advice. Just observation.

    6. Follow the Money

      Exactly, he is no more that than others so called business men. Also, within the framework of the upcoming elections, I am not sure it will hurt him that much. In comparison with Biden, he can at least argue that he tried to drive some business. Being a poor businessman, throwing good after bad and failing isn’t a crime. Biden, on the other hand, has recieved god knows many millions of dollars in pure bribes from all corners of the world. What has he done with that?

      Millionaire bum-fight.

      The US-elections are truly embarrassing for everybody involved.

    7. The Rev Kev

      This sounds like as big a flop as when Rachel Maddow came out with Trump’s tax records back in 2017. Trump pays minimal taxes? Not to put too fine a point on it, Trump is just one boofhead that follows ‘the rules’ in order to do this. You may be only talking about millions that ethically should have been paid in taxes. This is chicken feed for the Federal government. So can we get real now? How about in 2018 when 91 Fortune 500 companies paid no taxes as in zip-

      Isn’t that the bigger problem? Trump’s tax records is just yet one more gimmick to swing the election to ‘Honest Joe’ by the New York Times. But you will never see the New York Times make Trump’s tax records as part of a bigger story of how the elite and their corporations are the real professionals at this.

      1. The Historian

        I wish we could have all seen these records before Trump was elected, but that didn’t happen. But I am not going to blame the NYT for getting them out now, whatever their reason was. Sorry, but I’m not in the mood to blame the messenger. This was information we should have known before we elected him as President – particularly since he was selling himself as a great businessman and a great deal maker.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Are you actually surprised? Do you really think these tax records would have changed anyone’s mind in 2016? Wake me up when the investigation into the Clinton Foundation is over and in the meantime, if the Democrat party is so concerned about Trump, run better candidates.

          But as we well know, the democrat party would rather lose to Trump than win with someone like Sanders.

          1. The Historian

            The NYT for whatever reason, and no, I don’t think their reason was for concern for the voter, exposed some of the rot in our system. Should we ignore that rot because of, you know, politics? Of COURSE, the Clinton Foundation should have been investigated thoroughly, but it wasn’t. Shame on us. So since we didn’t investigate the Clintons, all the other rot gets to be overlooked too?

            We have to start somewhere and we have to start soon, or are you OK with this sort of corruption continuing forever?

            BTW, this is exactly the same thing I said when some of the Clinton Foundation shenanigans came out. I hope this time that people will look at the rot more seriously, but since there are too many people, like in the Clinton Era, who want to sweep everything under the rug because of politics, I have my doubts.

            1. Pat

              I would be with you IF I thought the rot that was exposed will lead to any corrections in the system. Do we think Joe “Bankers Best Friend and Head Corporate Cheerleader” Biden will take this opportunity to declare war on the tax code that allows for this?

              Other than p*ssing and moanoi about how America should have been told and how despicable this is, and deep silence on how it is ALL legal and usual for our the taxes of business people what is going to happen.

              1. The Historian

                No, the current batch of politicians we have now are not going to fix this. Right now, it is in their best interest not to. Do we always have to wait for a politician to fix things for us? Have we no agency? Don’t you think that we can convince politicians to reconsider what is in their best interests? Do you think FDR did what he did out of the goodness of his heart?

              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                I know Biden is the Senator from Delaware, but I suspect a member of the Gang of Eight who has promised to get the returns if Biden is elected has an interest in this. She’s probably on the phone with the NYT publishers now.

              3. vlade

                No, Biden is not going to make any difference.

                But Trump will not either. And Biden, realistically can’t hope to get that much from the banks (for himself, anyways, his son is different), while Trump has an obvious incentive to deal with the banks. Or rather, banks have an incentive to deal with Trump.

                And yes, it would have been better if the US had a different system it has etc. etc. But it doesn’t. Short of revolution the system will not change overnight, and I’d not bet that a revolution would go the way you’d like it to either – revolutions very very, if ever, seldomly do.

                So really, your (and all US voter) choices are:
                – go with the system as is;
                – throw your hands up, say the system is rigged and will remain so, and leave it at that, refusing to participate in politics (as if that wasn’t a choice, and somehow avoided responsibility for the outcome);
                – try to run an extremely uncertain revolution, with who knows who will came on the top;
                – or try to change the system, accepting it will take time. You know, the way that right did – they planned it for years and expected it to take decades, and now, half a century later, are reaping the benefits.

                1. The Historian

                  “– or try to change the system, accepting it will take time.”

                  Exactly! My greatest fear is that we will fall over the cliff before we have time to make the necessary changes. And those countries who fall over cliffs always end up in a worse place than they were before. My only reason for voting for Biden is that he will slow the movement towards the cliff a little – hopefully for long enough that we can get more actual progressives elected.

                  1. ambrit

                    America’s recent record concerning political ‘progressives’ does not give heart to those who look closely at the nation’s development.
                    I’m with “The Wrecking Crew.”
                    Revolutions generally only happen when there are no other possibilities available. We aren’t there yet, but we are coming up on the tipping point post haste.
                    Let us hope for an economic catastrophe before the climate one happens.

                    1. vlade

                      If there’s an economic catastrophe before climate one, then there will be a climate one too. Because people will do anything to try to get back to pre-economic catastrophe, f-k the climate.

                      Short of global war, any other global catastrophe will be almost invariably followed by a climate one. An american revolution would be, most likely, followed by a climate catastrophe too.

                      We run out of the time to be able to afford any other distractions, and we’re running out of time to be able to do anything.

                    2. Wukchumni

                      I’m glad I slept in and missed out on the who’s more evil of the lessers that would lead us discussion.

                      Until the country veers* into the ditch, nothing whatsoever will happen.

                      * ever notice anytime a car leaves the roadbed in Hollywood films, they inexplicably blow up?

                    3. ambrit

                      Wukchumni, I was “driving” an automobile that ended up in a ditch, on it’s side, and did indeed think that I was going to blow up and die a horrible fiery death.
                      (That incident cured me of the habit of drinking anywhere else but safely at home.)

                  2. Katniss Everdeen

                    ……– hopefully for long enough that we can get more actual progressives elected.

                    I don’t know how you missed it, but the biden cohort is not remotely interested in electing “progressives.” In fact, they throw as many roadblocks as they can think of in front of those candidates.

                    It sounds like you’ve convinced yourself that Dr. Seuss’s “Waiting Place” is the principled, reasonable place to be:

                    THE WAITING PLACE

                    by Dr. Seuss

                    Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
                    or a plane to go or the mail to come,
                    or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
                    or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
                    or waiting for their hair to grow.

                    Everyone is just waiting.

                    Waiting for the fish to bite
                    or waiting for wind to fly a kite
                    or waiting around for Friday night

                    or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
                    or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
                    or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
                    or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

                    Everyone is just waiting.


                    Excerpt from Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

                    Needless to say, the good Dr. does not recommend that “strategy”:

                    That’s not for you!

                    Somehow you’ ll escape
                    all that waiting and staying.

                    You’ll find the bright places
                    wher Boom Bands are playing.

                    Just sayin’.

            2. lyman alpha blob

              Sure but in this case, ‘starting somewhere’ means replacing Trump, a blatantly corrupt government official, with one who paved the way for Trump’s type of blatant corruption with decades of their own. To me, that’s just going backwards.

              This dog isn’t eating that dogfood.

        2. T

          As an office holder, aren’t certain aspects of Trump’s finances under review by some dusty office in the basement? This is true for congresspeople and senators.

          1. marym

            Hah! Just after I saw your comment I also saw this tweet:

            “Trump’s entire argument is that he has been undermined by a federal government full of deep state libs on a witch hunt and yet here are these these IRS and Congressional civil servants with integrity enough to keep his scandalous tax details secret all these years.”

            with what I think is a screen shot (so I can’t cut and paste) from the NYT article saying that “at least some of the records” are held by Congressional staff who don’t release taxpayers information.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              LOL now a failed coup by the outgoing Obama administration using the intelligence agencies fabricating evidence to attempt to destroy the elected president is recast as a “witch hunt” by “deep state libs”.

              Let me give you a different opinion to ponder:

              Like Watergate, only worse

              Refutation coming in 3,2,1…oh, look, never.

      2. rob

        Wouldn’t it be nice if the “propaganda parade” , that is the meat and potatoes of most peoples daily informational access, drummed on about tycoons, paying no income taxes,or..
        multi-nationals making billions in profit paying no income taxes… or how certain states like delaware, is a haven for international tax avoidance of the first order…. and how a senator from that state who has been “in business” for over three decades… must be a part of the machine that enables this “legal loophole”… making a crime …not a crime…. but “good for business”.

        and then the other side of the coin is just sleazy business families like the trumps…. taking every advantage, legal and not…. to make more money… for at least seven decades.
        and expose every corner of the elites “business” acumen… for all to see…
        What would people think then?

      3. lambert strether

        > . Trump pays minimal taxes? Not to put too fine a point on it, Trump is just one boofhead that follows ‘the rules’ in order to do this

        “That makes me smart.”

        1. Winston Smith

          I think one of the points of the NYT piece that is not getting the attention it deserves is the incredible debt owned by Trump personally that is coming due, to the tune of 300 million$+….of course it is not yet possible to get this info.
          Also of note is that Trump has about 500 LLCs so it is not inconceivable that any money from a foreign govt would be well concealed.

          1. MK

            Those loans are backed by his real estate holdings. They would be liquidated first before anything would become personally liable against Trump the man.

            Further, in the industry, those types of loans are rolled over all the time. The question is how much he’ll have to pay to refinance and the interest rate.

    8. km

      The headline “revelations” in the NYT article were underwhelming to me.

      *Wealth is not the same as income.
      *Tax accounting is not the same as financial accounting.
      *Existing tax laws privilege wealthy property and business owners.
      *Water is still wet. ZOMG.

      What I thought was interesting was the following:

      *What appears to be Ivanka’s “consulting” side hustle.
      *The Russiagate fantasy that Trump’s tax returns would finally give them some evidence was shown false. On to the next fallback position.
      *Trump isn’t nearly as shrewd a real estate investor as some may have thought, but he is a skilled self-promoter.
      *Publishing information obtained illegally is Very Very Bad when WikiLeaks does it, but doing the same thing is praiseworthy when the NYT publishes information that embarrasses people who have been designated as Official Public Enemies.

      More may follow.

      1. shtove

        *The Russiagate fantasy that Trump’s tax returns would finally give them some evidence was shown false. On to the next fallback position.

        The island in Nancy Pelosi’s kitchen: “Fellas, break out the ice cream! We have a multiple tub situation.”

    9. lambert strether

      I’m shocked to see that a Manhattan real estate developer stands accused of financial improprieties. O tempores, o mores.

        1. a different chris

          Only on NC can we get a quick diversion from the excitement of the moment into using correct Latin. ROTFLMAO.

        2. Conrad

          Thanks for the context. I suspect those on the far end of the Trump Derangement Syndrome spectrum would probably adopt the whole sentence unironically. And yet he lives.

    10. DJG

      fresno dan:

      It’s a non-surprise. We have discovered what many of us on the left suspected–and more than one commenter here at Naked Capitalism has already point this out. Trump isn’t worth much money–which certainly embarrasses his ego. [The fantasy of the Democrats has been that there is a line in the tax returns that says, “Bribe from Vlad,” just above the line, “Money for Prostitutes.”]

      Yet the tax avoidance and dodgy deals are not unusual. This is how the U S of A is being run into the ground. You do remember Mitt Romney? What do you think he does for a living? Dianne Feinstein’s husband? “Lean-In” Sheryl Sandberg? There are a million of these jamokes, sitting in their wreckage. What’s Amazon but a system of tax avoidance?

      As CitizenSissy notes in this thread, the idea that “businesspeople” should be running the United States when they can’t even run their own companies should now be retired forever.

      As always, though, Trump is a symptom and not unique: Let the indictments and prison terms fall like rain. I want to see hundreds and hundreds of them. [I just won’t hold my breath that the thoroughly captured legal system will exert itself.]

    11. diptherio

      The NYT allows you to read a certain number of articles for free before they throw up the paywall. You can overcome this by the simple expedient of deleting their cookies from your browser.

      On Firefox, you do this by going to Preferences -> Privacy & Security -> Cookies and Site Data -> Manage Data. In the “manage data” dialogue box, type “nytimes” into the search box, select anything that comes up and click the “remove selected” button and then the “save changes” button to confirm. Then you’ll have reset your free articles and can continue reading undisturbed. The process should be pretty similar in other browsers. I have to do this regularly for NYT and Bloomberg.

    12. Larry Y

      This is the point I make about Obama all the time. If his AG and Dept. of Justice did their job and prosecute white collar criminals – everything from control fraud, mortgage fraud, title fraud, money laundering, education fraud, tax fraud… clean up FIRE, would Trump be president today? Could President Trump even had run?

    13. Billy

      You will note that Biden pulled the same kind of thing. The tax code is cofified corruption for the wealthy elite of any party or persuasion.

      “The Wall Street Journal reported that Joe and Jill Biden took advantage of the “S corporation” payroll tax loophole that the Obama-Biden administration unsuccessfully attempted to close. According to the report, the Bidens routed income from book sales and speeches through S corporations – avoiding the 3.8% self-employment tax they would have paid if they had been compensated directly, and avoiding as much as $500,000 in taxes.”

      “There’s no reason for these to be in an S corp—none, other than to save on self-employment tax,” accountant Tony Nitti told the WSJ at the time.And as the Journal’s Chris Jacobs wrote last month, “According to the Urban Institute, a couple featuring one high earner and one average earner, retiring this year, will have paid a total of $209,000 in Medicare taxes during their working lives….”

    14. John k

      If dems were really outraged with trumps low tax payments they wold rise up and propose fundamental change to the tax laws that allow it. Certainly the ‘independent’ nyt would propose such. Such a silly thought, dems take money from real estate developers, so off limits.
      Whining, a dem specialty, is always ok.

  3. Noone from Nowheresville

    Apologies if this got linked to before. Found this piece via Mark Blyth’s twitter feed. I got in free. I do wish more writers treated the word populist like Thomas Frank but I think we have to accept that it’s a political word with its own meaning now regardless of historical context.

    Why loneliness fuels populism (Financial Times)
    As curbs on socialising return, we need to examine the link between isolation and the politics of intolerance

    But it’s not just their emphasis on nearly tribal experiences that explains why today’s rightwing populists have proven so successful at appealing to those for whom the traditional bonds of the workplace, religious institutions and the wider community have broken down.

    Their success also lies in this: an appeal to the feeling of exclusion and marginalisation that many citizens have come to experience in recent years, a sense of being ignored, even abandoned, by those who hold political and economic power. Think of Trump’s rallying cry that “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer” or Marine Le Pen’s oath to serve “a forgotten France, a France abandoned by the self-appointed elite”. It’s an appeal that lands strongest with those who feel newly forgotten and abandoned.

    The article reminds me of Front Row v. Back Row kids and how the back row kids’s communities have been gutted by those front row kids, who will never take responsibility for their actions and will most likely claim that they “pay for” the back row kids’ communities via transfers and such.

  4. zagonostra

    >The Election That Could Break America – Atlantic

    A proper despot would not risk the inconvenience of losing an election. He would fix his victory in advance, avoiding the need to overturn an incorrect outcome. Trump cannot do that.

    Maybe Trump cannot do it, but the political operatives who represent the ruling elites sure can and have. Bernie was not going to be allowed to win the Dem nomination, Trump was propelled into power by massive media manipulation that procured disproportionate coverage. No, the game is fixed, and it’s fixed just as George Carlin described.

    It’s almost humorous to witness the hand-wringing over an upcoming election where the outcome has already been decided, and decided as any clear-eyed witness can see, in favor of the status-quo and continued dominance by the corporations and the monied-interest that own this country.

    Broken hands on broken ploughs

    .Broken treaties, broken vows

    Broken pipes, broken tools

    People bending broken rules

    Hound dog howling, bullfrog croaking

    Everything is broken.

    1. Betty

      Suggest that NC develop best practice to require authors be given credit, or at least their names be mentioned. Version one of this song, Everything is Broken, is by Bob Dylan, version two by Cheryl Crow. Respect artists!

      1. zagonostra

        My apologies I thought readers would know it was Dylan or google. I’m a musician myself and would never disrespect one by not giving due credit (Cheryl Crow is doing Dylan’s song) or taking credit myself…I’ll remember to give proper credit in the future, thx.

    2. Lee

      The R.L. Burnside rendition of Everything is Broken is on one of my favorite soundtracks.

      As for mending what’s broken, I’m afraid things are going to have to get even worse before there’s any hope of them getting better. The good and bad news is that they probably will in pretty short order.

  5. Henry Moon Pie


    Interesting conclusion:

    As we step into a new work order, we are not only looking back at older models but also supercharging them with greater efficiency. We are stepping into the era of the 21st century artisan – and the opportunities for those that hone the right culture and skills will be limitless.

    This connected for me on the one hand with the plethora of ads on televised sporting events for training or education that makes one “marketable” and on the other hand, good old Mario, who noted that the UC system had a board, a president (Kerr) and workers (primarily the faculty). And guess who the products were (video)?

    So our “artisan” author is a little confused. Humans are actually being demoted in this system from being true artisans who craft things for human use into becoming mere products themselves. What Gopinathan is really excited about is tech’s increasing ability to supervise you while you’re working from home:

    The vision of this new world is the creation of a global and equitable talent cloud which provides equal opportunities and recognition of talent and human ingenuity. Once collaboration with co-workers, supervisory responsibility, technology enablement and soft ‘cultural’ interactions are liberated from the need for physical proximity, many workers who have been unable to commit extended hours to the physical office location will be allowed to participate more effectively.

    Sounds like fun if you read just a little between the lines: longer hours; employer watches you at home; and none of that messy meat interaction among humans. Brave New World for all!

    If this CEO really cared about letting humans be artisans again, he’d quit trying to sell us so hard on the wonders of turning your home into a supervised workplace and yield, along with his fellow elites, so that everyone could be made secure in human essentials.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      And remember.. you don’t own anything.

      You don’t own what you produce.

      You don’t own any opportunities ( because they all come from the same multinational conglomerates.

      You don’t even have ownership of your time.

      And when they don’t need you, iyou don’t own any security.

  6. fresno dan

    September 28, 2020 at 7:46 am

    And the code is dodgy (70k for “hairdressing”?)
    Man, for the haircuts he’s getting, and the price he is paying, I hope that is the lifetime cost…

      1. anon

        They used “tax avoidance” in the headline to make something that everyone who pays taxes does look sinister and illegal. Trump just does it better than most. If we don’t like it, we should blame those who created the tax code (like Joe Biden) rather than those who took advantage of it.

        1. CitizenSissy

          Are you equally upset about the level of personally-guaranteed debt POTUS has until now hidden, and the possible financial exposures to foreign adversaries? This should have been released long ago.

          1. The Rev Kev

            You mean how if Biden is elected President, that he would be vulnerable to all those dodgy deals he and his son Hunter did in the Ukraine and China a few short years ago? Will Joe publish the details of those deals so that he is not vulnerable to foreign actors? Has Nancy Pelolsi published the financial dealing that her son did in the Ukraine as well?

              1. anon

                Joe is from Delaware which is known as a corporate tax haven and has taken millions from billionaires who likely expect something in return.

            1. CitizenSissy

              Great idea for Presidential family financial disclosures. Let’s start with Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Jared.

                1. fresno dan

                  The Rev Kev
                  September 28, 2020 at 9:26 am

                  You know, you guys are really forgetting about the haircuts.
                  LOOK AT HIS HAIR
                  Man, that is just sad

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    fresno dan
                    September 28, 2020 at 9:35 am

                    I tried to look at his hair but got flash-burn of the eyes. To soothe them, I had to go look at Boris’s moptop instead.

                1. ambrit

                  “Look forward, not back.”
                  That sounds very much like “The End of History” as proclaimed by Fukuyama back in 1992.
                  Delusional thinking used to be the province of religion. Perhaps it still is, and the definition of ‘religion’ has changed.

            2. km

              No. Publishing *that* information would be illegal, as it would be embarrassing to people that are not to be embarrassed.

              Just ask WikiLeaks.

            3. Billy

              See the video
              Riding The Dragon for Hunter’s outstanding investment adventure in China.


              “In December 2013, Hunter traveled to Beijing aboard Air Force Two with his dad, VP Joe Biden coincidently (if you believe in coincidences) ten days later, “Hunter’s company, Rosemont Seneca, became a partner in a new investment company backed by the state-owned Bank of China.” They called the new company Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). Among others, BHR Partnered with the Chinese military.”

              “Peter Schweizer added in the NY Post:
              Representatives of the Biden family have denied any connection between the vice president’s visit and Hunter’s business. However, a BHR representative told The New Yorker earlier this year that Hunter used the opportunity to introduce his father to Chinese private equity executive Jonathan Li, who became CEO of BHR after the deal’s conclusion.”

          2. hunkerdown

            I’m more worried about ACTUAL financial exposures to foreign “FRIENDLIES” which are perfectly normal and legal, and ACTUALLY destructive to the ability of the citizens of the USA to manage and discipline their own officials.

            Don’t argue imperialist capitalist oligarch talking points unless you’re advocating for those people.

          3. km

            Ever met a real estate developer who didn’t have a raft of personally guaranteed debt?

            I’ve mat a lot of them, and they all do. No lender will lend on anything resembling competitive terms without a guarantee.

            1. mike

              Not to mention a tech tycoon. Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have debt. Wealthy people use debt for cash management, tax strategy etc… it doesn’t make you beholden to a lender

    1. flora

      The kicker is, the tax reveal was supposed to prove illegal ruskie links. The Mueller Report was gonna prove ruskie collusion or something. fizzle. The tax reveal will prove,( really, now they got him), T’s secret ruskie corruption and money laundering. fizzle. That’s the funniest part of this whole build up. The NYT has become Geraldo . (What’s in Donald Trump’s safe? Watch as we open it live on TV!) The $750 tax bill outrage is just a quick redirection of attention away from their “bombshell” flop. /heh

      1. pjay


        Am I “outraged” at such news about rich folks and taxes? Well, yes, in the sense that I have been outraged at this aspect of our economic system for my entire adult life. It (the “outrage”) is always there in the background of my psyche, like the Big Bang afterglow. But anyone who is the least bit surprised by such a “revelation” has not been paying much attention — to Trump’s business career, or to reality.

        At this moment in our political history, I’m more concerned with the fake “bombshells” that are constantly pushed in the media, and the real ones that aren’t.

        1. flora

          Yes. From last year:

          And who can forget MSNBC’s breathless claims?

          President Trump is a Russian asset who has laundered money for Vladimir Putin for decades in order to save his struggling casinos, MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch claimed Thursday.

          “This is all about failed casinos,” the New York City advertising executive said on “Morning Joe.” “[Trump] is owned by Putin because he’s been laundering money, Russian money, for the last 20, 30 years. He’s owned by them.”

          Click-bait, all of it, and vewy vewy pwofitable (as Elmer Fudd would say) for the MSM. ;)

          1. hunkerdown

            In what world is a NYC advertising executive’s or other equivalent IC weasel’s speech… something anyone not trying to wheedle money out of him should care about?

  7. Pat

    I object to the notion that Obama had a functioning Presidency. Putting aside the clearly archaic notion that the President serves the will of the people, which Obama ignored repeatedy. The administration lurched from disaster to disaster. It certainly wasn’t covered as breathlessly and hysterically as Trump is, but with few exceptions, and those being largely protection of their donors, the Obama administration was ham handed, ineffectual and a bloody nightmare for group after group. (And no I do not accept the bad Republicans excuse.)

    Let’s see, just off the top of my head. Financial crash, Hamp, mortgage fraud, Flint, Puerto Rico, Libya, ACA, ACA roll out, Eric Garner…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Let’s not forget the assassination of US citizens by drone. I was talking with a TDS sufferer yesterday who couldn’t get over Trump’s supposed refusal to say there would be a peaceful transition if he loses, a story that is 100% media creation. It’s all in the way these issues are covered – we hear about every little whiff of flatulence from Trump over and over again, but I pointed out that the media sort of stopped covering Obama after a while, and he was portrayed as some sort of Mr. Cool who passed the ACA during his 1st term and now was above it all. There were lots of political stories, especially during his 2nd term, where Obama was more of a bit player. The media barely covered the drone assassination story, and when they did they glossed over the gross illegality of it all. “We droned some folks” was an hilarious punchline.

      And the coverage of the Syria situation was where he was really relegated to a minor role, likely because he took a similar position as Trump in opposition to the Blob. But Obama wasn’t excoriated for it as some sort of Russia lover, and managed to keep some of the worst of the crazies at bay behind the scenes. Perhaps that was because he greenlighted Clinton to torch Libya to keep the neocons happy, but even there it was Clinton who was the focus moreso than Obama.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well since you asked the question and I cannot resist the urge…

      The other day Jimmy Dore came out with a video. This was in response to something that Michelle Obama said about how she and Barack “could’ve never gotten away with” what the Trump White House does. So then Dore goes into fine detail about exactly what the Obama White House got away with. And I note that to this day there is still a hypersensitivity to criticisms of Obama- (13:30 min video with some swearing)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        DADT demonstrated Obama was open to criticism and would back down. If a fraction of the energy spent to the groupie phenomenon was spent on just calling electeds, Obama might have wound up with a record beyond “Republicans were mean, now let’s rely on those same Republicans to fight Trump. Resist!”

        His edifice to the destruction of public spaces might have something to put in it.

      2. Billy

        A few nuggests from his show:

        The Barack Obama administration and Joe Biden’s record:
        “-People in Flint stills don’t have water
        -Dropped more bombs than George W. Bush
        -They committed a genocide in yemen the administration and joe biden
        -They tried to throw over assad in syria at the behest of the military-industrial complex
        -Illegally they funded ISIS
        -Sponsored the Honduras coup
        -Deported Honduran children as warning to other potential refugees
        -Suspended Habeus corpus with the NDAA
        -Prosecuted journalist using the 1917 Espionage Act
        -Declared war on government whistleblowers
        –Militarized the police by authorizing surplus military equipment to the cops
        -Kicked 5.1 million americans out of their house
        -Made the banks bigger
        -Tortured chelsea manning,
        -Handed poor Americans to the insurance cartels instead of giving us Pandemic defeating Medicare For All
        -Authorized Artic drilling

        etc, etc, etc,…”

    3. Darthbobber

      “Putting aside the clearly archaic notion that the President serves the will of the people”
      More archaic than one might think. Ever since Hamilton’s maunderings about ensuring that when the people’s inclinations differ from their (according to somebody) interests, the latter prevails, the theory has always been widely held that it is our wise leaders who know what’s best for us.

      My memory of the dismal state of political “science” in my undergraduacy long ago is that ALL the schools of thought, whether pluralist, competing elitist, circulating elitist, etc., were at pains to disclaim any notion that “the will of the people” was either ascertainable or particularly relevant.

      1. hunkerdown

        Well, that’s what bourgeois politics is for: to “improve” society, by which they mean setting up audacious, capricious, ridiculous goals for the commoners and punishing them for not measuring up, and to earn rewards (by which they mean claiming a greater share of the loot from the commons) for their dubious service.

        The bourgeoisie won’t care to sit still to learn how to perform a politics that does not benefit and reproduce that system of elitism, in which the professional political “scientist”‘s special role comes with exclusive privileges and a high priority of access to the loot.

        Personally, I think they should stop gaslighting and call it political engineering, but gaslighting is a big part of political engineering so naturally they wouldn’t.

        1. Darthbobber

          Basically, what they see as a desirable state of affairs is fundamentally the same set of processes that Chomsky, et al see as undesirable and “expose”.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Some of the things you cite were not ham-handed ineffectiveness. For example, Obama’s conspiracy with McConnell and the Republicans in general to turn the set-to-Sunset Bush Tax Cuts into permanent-until-overtly-repealed Obama tax cuts. Deliberately and on purpose. And that’s just one example.

      Hamp is another, given the fact that Hamp was engineered on purpose to do what it did to people, on purpose.

      His immunization and impunification of financial criminals was designed to make financial outlawry functionally “legaloid”. Again, on purpose.

      And on and on.

  8. Ignacio

    A Real Vaccine Before the Election? It’d Take a Miracle. ProPublica

    How crazed are the expectations on vaccines, with the article mentioning analysts from investment companies with dubious models and not a clue on vaccine safety. Would anyone at the FDI , in their right mind, give a nod to a vaccine only after 32 PCR positive results, as the article suggests, for massive immunization? Apparently not as per the article:

    The FDA is reportedly close to announcing new standards to include at least two months of monitoring the health of trial participants after they receive their second shot. That could end up being the biggest hurdle to authorizing a vaccine before the election. {and this is for emergency authorization}.

    And it is not just that, if only one of the 32 positives belongs to the vaccinated group, the development of the disease has to be closely monitored until clearing to make sure disease development is not worsened by the vaccine. One case wouldn’t be enough to eliminate that burden and more time would be needed to ensure that outcome would be fairly uncommon or rare.

    According to Pfizer, by the end of this month, 19.000 volunteers have received the second dose. Hopefully, the protocols of the trial include the monitoring of the immune response not just once but during the full-lenght of the trial, and it will be seen that average peak Ab titres are reached some days after the boost and thereafter probably go down steadily for some time and might reach some basal level weeks after the boost. This should be the time when it would be important to start recording the numbers of new Covid cases to check whether the vaccine works when Ab titres reach their basal levels.

    I guess that the advisory committees should look and ask for such kind of evidences and wouldn’t be satisfied with some early 32 PCR results. This crazyness is IMO driven only by elections as in the EU nobody is paying so close attention to early results, except if there are bad news. As I said before this only reflects a somehow desperate Trump Team trying to bring something positive before election day.

    1. TroyIA

      Making a decision about a vaccine after 2 months is a valid criticism but as I pointed out yesterday the FDA didn’t pull the trial design out of thin air. In June 2020 the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Agencies met to agree on preclinical and clinical data required to support proceeding to Phase 3 clinical trials as well as considerations for study design for Phase 3 clinical trials.

      So the FDA is running the Pfizer vaccine trial in accordance to the agreed upon standards set by the ICMRA which includes interim analyses. Since the Pfizer vaccine is a joint venture with BioNTech when Pfizer applies for approval BioNTech will apply for approval in Europe.

      I know I will be hesitant to take a vaccine approved by the FDA but if the European Medicines Agency says the same vaccine is safe then I may be willing to get vaccinated.

      1. Ignacio

        I don’t see in that document any compromise by the FDA to approve anything in Phase III trial. The FDA shouldn’t go the way the FAA went and I don’t think they have a single motive to do it. Pfizer is not Boeing and Boeing is not Pfizer. The document you posted doesn’t deal with the process of review and approval and doesn’t give a clue on how the FDA will proceed, but it is almost certain they will not go with Trump’s play-book, and they do not pay attention to JP Morgan analysts and the like.

        The fact that there are some many other candidates implies that nobody depends on Pfizer, if except Trump for his October surprise. In fact this is a reason to give pause and wait until you can compare various candidates. Very importantly, I would wait to see the results of vaccines that have shown differences in immune response and immunogenicity. I think I wouldn’t approve Pfizer or Moderna until I see Novavax or AstraZeneca results, not particularly If I don’t have strong evidence on vaccine safety, and that requires time.

  9. Pat

    I do understand the Principals union leaders frustration with DeBlasio and Carranza, even if I also know there is more to the story than their press release.

    I would just like to point out to them this may be a case of jumping from frying pan into fire. Besides not recognizing how much of this was predicated on the state’s determination to open schools it also ignores the state’s historic, legally proved, underfunding of NYC schools and Cuomo’s massive push for charters. Perhaps I have watched too many successful Shock doctrine uses of disasters not to know this move is going to cut their noses off to spite their faces.

  10. Clive

    Re: “Britain will seek coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ covertly or by default – thanks to the failure of lockdown”

    Nice attempt to reframe the necessity of winding necks back in, but you can’t have a “failure of lockdown” to eradicate COVID-19 any more than you can have a “failure of cake” to eradicate, say, food poverty in the UK. If the cake couldn’t be implemented with sufficient coverage because of other unavoidable constraints or else even the malnourished wouldn’t eat the cake (maybe because it tasted so foul) or they ate it but it wasn’t of sufficient nutritional value to resolve their dietary issues then what you’d have is a failure of a strategy, not a failure of cake.

    There is no such thing as “eliminate the virus”, given the characteristics of it: a large amount (80% is usually given as a figure) of asymptomatic infection, a highly infectious virus and tests which yield false positive results. Rather, there is “perpetual ongoing elimination of the virus”. There is no difference between living with the virus and trying to perpetually eliminate the virus. If your “eliminate the virus” has no end date or exit strategy (and the only one I’m aware of is a safe and effective vaccine, if there’s another way out then I’m all ears) then the only difference between “eliminate the virus” and “live with the virus” is in the way of thinking about it. Or, put another way, those who are “eliminating the virus” absent a vaccine are, in reality, living with the virus. They’ve just not admitted it to themselves yet.

    It isn’t then, a “failure of lockdown”. It is a failure of an “eliminate the virus” strategy to deliver results in a manner which society is willing to accept. What those proposing when they offer perpetual lockdowns as part of a perpetual elimination of the virus exhibits precisely the same flaws as Mao’s “perpetual revolution”. It simply becomes everyday life so loses the very characteristic it claims to possess and champion.

    I know no-one welcomes anyone coming along, as I am here, trying to wean them off the emotional crutch of a particularly cherished fantasy. But a fantasy is what “eliminate the virus” is, unless anyone can show me when — in terms of a specific timeframe — we will have a safe and effective vaccine. And I do understand the notion that, especially with so much already committed to it, having “just one more push” seems so alluring. And, conversely, the biggest threat to those wedded to that ideal are unbelievers. It must seem like, while advocates of “eliminate the virus” are offering the rocky road to salvation, here am I offering the freeway to Hell.

    But it really is over.

    1. drexciya

      It’s refreshing to see another view on the Covid-19 thing. Given it’s high infection rate, it’s indeed nearly impossible to stamp it out completely, without a vaccine (and high compliance). Given the current resistance against the measures in place (which is increasing), mainly because most governments failed in one or multiple ways, with creating support, the measures that would be required, would be completely unacceptable.

      In my opinion we should change the focus from scaremongering to a mix of positive news, and general health related aspects. Use a carrot, instead of a stick. With the current, much better, first-line (HCQ+, Ivermectin+) and second-line treatments (MATH+ protocol), the case fatality rate has gone down a lot, compared to the initial 5-10%, which was an embarrassment.

      As Krystyn mentioned multiple times in the comments, vitamin D deficiency and zinc are important pointers as well, which has recently been shown in a trial as well (it’s a part of the MATH+ protocol), and educating people on improving their eating habits, or using proper supplements, might make a significant difference as well.

      I was rather disturbed when back in spring in The Netherlands, not only toilet paper was sold out, but the shelves containing potato chips, and so on, were empty as well. We can gain a lot when it comes to health, when we can nudge people, even a little bit, towards better nutritional habits. Also, recent news in The Netherlands noted that people have been consuming more alcohol compared to last year. The current approach really has some potential nasty side-effects, and I cannot help but think that it, effectively speaking, is making things just worse, especially long-term.

      1. Clive

        Yes, you’ve captured the essence of what I was driving at. It’s only when obstreperous attempts at clinging on to ineffective measures are looked at critically that any opportunity exists for other, potentially more successful, approaches to get a look in.

        For example, it’s been known since March that obesity is probably the leading comorbidity for severe COVID-19. Six months is plenty long enough to achieve a significant weight loss — let’s say 4-6 lbs per month, a realistic weight loss goal which is achievable at a healthy rate of decline. This will move many obese people into being merely overweight or perhaps into a normal BMI. This requires both active participation on the part of people who may need to lose weight and also publicity and assistance (supportive programmes are better than trying to go-it-alone when it comes to weightless) from government. This has been completely overlooked. Why such a reliance on passive measures? Given that fear is used as a nudge technique quite willingly, why the coyness in government public health policies to tell people they need to improve their chances not only for coping with COVID-19, but also in general for other health issues?

        Similarly substance abuse. And alcohol consumption. Smoking is another obvious quick-win.

        To broaden out the mass psychology which might be at work here, it’s possible the governments are colluding in a co-dependent relationship with their populations. They (both governments and people) know that quite a few aspects of what societies do to themselves voluntarily are harmful to public health. For COVID-19, governments have a responsibility to improve public health outcomes. This *should* mean levelling with people and calling out how their behaviours are impeding both their own and others’ health. But rather than confront some underlying unhealthy behaviours, governments, for fear of an adverse popular reaction (not to mention resistance to attempts at curtailment) hide away from their responsibilities.

        So, in a classic co-dependency, governments avoid the real issues and focus on peripheral or only tangentially-related matters. While governments may appear to be taking a hard-line attitude, they either know full well that their public health policy measures will be ignored or, conversely, they’re in denial about the degree to which such measures (e.g. lockdowns) will be undermined because the alternatives — such as confronting generally poor population health behaviours — will be even more subjected to pushback because people prefer staying sick, or living unhealthily, at least to some degree.

        Shorter: we’ll pretend to lock you down and you’ll pretend to be locked down.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It’s late here and I am logging off soon but I will make one observation to your comments. The UK was never serious about tackling the virus and from day one the idea was to go with herd immunity. Of course if the antibodies do not last, then there is no such thing as herd immunity which means that over 40,000 people died in the UK for nothing.

          The shutdown was only partial and people were still coming and going from the continent which is not how a quarantine is supposed to work. If you are going to do a full or mostly full lockdown you need the trust of the people and people in the UK trust their government in the same way that people in the US trust their government. Of course if you do a half-***** lockdown and it does not work for some reason, then of course people are going to resist a second lockdown.

          So what I am saying is that the UK under a Boris government screwed the whole thing up while hoping for a herd immunity solution so that all the serfs could go back to work and save the economy. Now that this has blown up in their faces they are saying ‘See, fighting the virus does not work so we have to go with herd immunity’ in order to dodge their responsibility. As PK has stated, this virus is a stress test for government everywhere and Boris’s government is one that has failed.

          1. Clive

            If it were just the UK which was playing lockdown footsie (“oh, I really like lockdowns, we should get a little more acquainted…” then… “oh, no, I never made advances to lockdowns, I just accidentally brushed you…”) this critique would have some mileage.

            But to focus on the UK yet all the while ignore Spain and France (which have very similar histories) is to indulge in UK Derangement Syndrome. It’s a matter for debate the world overand nothing to do with Boris Johnson (so why drag him into it?) and if someone doesn’t want to debate it, the debate will still happen, but without them.

            And the main thrust of my argument still stands — and it’s a matter of fact, not opinion: if you’re engaged in a perpetual elimination of the virus (i.e. there’s no viable exit strategy apart from a possibility of a currently-vapourware vaccine) then you are demonstrably not eliminating the virus, you’re living with it. How you decide you can live with it is still an open question. But living with it you undeniably are. Perpetual rolling lockdowns is certainly one way of living with it (and you can even rebrand it “eradicating the virus” if that gives a warm fuzzy feeling and better optics), but it is not, self-evidently, eradicating the virus. If it was eliminating the virus, then you’d have eliminated it by now. After all, it’s been six months, already. How long is it before the towel has to be thrown in? A year? Two years? Five years?

            1. a different chris

              I think you are pushing this a bit hard here.

              I hear strong echoes of those “Saddam Hussein must be confronted” arguments.

              Hunkering down and waiting things out is not always the best plan, but it is a serious plan. And it often is the best plan. Debate it on it’s merits, “How long is it before the towel has to be thrown in?” is not a serious debate question.

              1. Clive

                It may not be a serious debate question but it can easily be rephrased into something more specific.

                Let’s take Israel. No-one can doubt the evangelism which Israel has applied to lockdowns. After an initial lockdown (then eased) it not only implemented a, as per most accounts, draconian lockdown during the second spike it had in cases, it wasn’t reticent to throw the full force of the security state apparatus (well-honed on its normal duties of keeping Palestinians in order) into enforcement. No-one can say it wasn’t trying.

                Inevitably the lockdown had to end and, when it did, cases rose. So, now Israel is in the middle of imposing yet another Max Strength lockdown — its third attempt.

                Perhaps this time around, when the lockdown is eased, the virus will be eliminated properly (as in, cases will drop to zero or very low levels and stay there). But if not? Is a fourth equally onerous lockdown the answer? If so, why would it succeed when previously attempted lockdowns didn’t eliminate the virus? How viable is exhorting “must try harder” to a population who need more than faith-based encouragements?

                It is perfectly valid to propose that, yes, lockdowns should be repeated as many times as required to eliminate the virus. But with each application, the claim that the virus is being eliminated grows more hollow.

                It is equally valid to propose more targeted interventions.

                It is a societal question what is deemed to be the most appropriate public health policy. But simply calling for more, or continuing, lockdowns in the face of multiple demonstrable failures of lockdowns the world over to eliminate the virus isn’t going to wash. Nor is dog whistling fAr riGhT at any attempt to review the track record of what’s been done so far and revisit narratives which were created months ago when the world was a very different place in terms of understanding COVID-19, what public health policies were available and how effective — or otherwise — they might be.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Governments insisting we will live under police state restrictions until the virus is “eliminated” is perfect, because it lets them keep the power they have seized indefinitely.

                  Luckily fragments of the virus in question can be detected in people who are not even capable of transmitting it to others, so the daily “case count” can continue to inspire hysteria. Herd, whether you want to or not, but with a veneer of “we’re doing something, so stay in your homes you dirty plebes!”

                  I recall only one virus that was eliminated: smallpox. Read up sometime on what that actually took, and over how many decades. But try saying “we have to learn how to live with it” to somebody and prepare for the onslaught (you’re for Trump, you don’t care about people dying, you are against science blah blah blah).

        2. cnchal

          I have been reading your comments on this and though my instincts say that we should aim for eradication, I am slowly coming around to your point of view, which is deal with it like it’s going to be here forever, which it is, because collectively we are too stupid to eradicate it.

          Want to get an eyeroll from somebody? Try telling a Coke drinker they are drinking a low level poison, while shoving another buck into Captain Greed’s pocket.

          In Ontario the government is running ads asking people to think about the 800 calorie happy meal they are about to chow down on and that , perhaps not having it is a better idea, so the tiniest bit of pushback is starting to happen.

          1. drexciya

            On a Dutch crowd-founded reporting site (, there have been multiple articles that showed that corporate lobbies blocked the introduction of a soda-tax in the Netherlands. Especially now, given additional evidence that obesity is a big problem (excuse the pun), this is really a bad thing.

            1. Wukchumni

              Like what i’ve been yammering on about the homeless in California with incredibly deep tans, that aren’t being felled by the virus all that much.

            2. flora

              adding from the original Mail article THE quotes:

              Mayo Clinic experts recommend getting at least 600 IU of vitamin D a day, whether via sunshine or supplements. It’s generally considered safe to take up to 2,000 IU a day, but anyone with or at risk of kidney disease should not do so, as an overload can harm kidneys, causing stones and other problems.

            3. Jean Sea

              Among the common causes of vitamin D deficiency are obesity and a whole host of diseases effecting the digestive system. Giving these people a vitamin D supplement may not help, because they have trouble absorbing it. That’s why they are deficient in the first place.

              Aren’t these results just confirming what we already know; Fat and sick people, who are likely to be vitamin D deficient, are more likely to die of Covid-19 than fit, healthy people.

              1. Procopius

                Fat and sick people, who are likely to be vitamin D deficient, are more likely to die of Covid-19 than fit, healthy people.

                While the statement is probably true, I hate seeing it framed that way because of the (I think right-wing) activists who claim young, fit, healthy people (the young invincibles?) are immune to COVID-19, which is definitely not true. Maybe it should be, “When they get it, young, fit, healthy people, who have housing and good diets, are likely to suffer fewer serious complications and die than people who are less well off.” I’m partly influenced by the fact that poverty-stricken people are more likely to be overweight or obese than more prosperous folk, because unhealthy calories are a lot cheaper than healthy calories.

        3. marym

          Somewhere short of “lockdowns,” an effective vaccine, and solving the obesity problem there are precautions that most people and businesses can take in the interim. They should do so as best they can, and governments should provide guidance, healthcare, income support, and social services to minimize the damage. In the US we have, among the powerful and the powerless, people not only unwilling to do most of that, but actively opposing it.

          Anecdotally on twitter, obesity is used to blame the victims and question pandemic metrics. There may be some overlap with those who would see, and have protested, other government programs or recommendations to promote healthier living as an infringement on freedom.

          It’s very discouraging. Any solutions or mitigations that would seem to be helpful would need both trust in government and concern for the common good.

          1. a different chris

            Interesting, although I don’t think (a) will actually hold, is that

            a) Obesity is being proclaimed as a cause of the worst COVID afflictions up to and including death

            b) The biggest sufferers from the lockdown are restaurants.

            So we have to open up to save what on strong proximate cause closed us down in the first place?

            Now I know that the worst of those establishments are still happily shoveling crap at us thru drive-thru windows, and like I said I’m skeptical of (a) anyway. But the whole thing is, um, food for thought.

    2. Tom Bradford

      “There is no such thing as “eliminate the virus”

      Might I point out that New Zealand has managed to do it twice? Where it came from the second time is still not known from sure but as it had been eliminated in the community for 100 straight days, the second outbreak can only have been through an escape from quarantine, brought in from outside, so it’s the failure of the rest of the world to do what’s necessary to eliminate it that’s the problem.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Armenia and Azerbaijan fight over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh”

    This is sounding a lot like Georgia and its fight to seize control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Nagorno-Karabakh is mostly Armenian and wants unification with Armenia proper and has fought for over thirty years not to be under control of Azerbaijan. From what I understand, Armenia is a christian county while Azerbaijan is a muslim nation which creates even more friction. Every coupla years you have fighting start up and this bout is the latest of a continuous on again, off again low-key war. Both the US and Russia have called for peace and Iran has offered to mediate between the two. Meanwhile, Turkey has been shouting ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ from the sidelines and has apparently transported some 2,000 Syrian ‘moderate’ fighters to Azerbaijan so that they can take part in attacks. Even if this dies down I suspect that we will hear more about this dispute over the coming years.

    1. timbers

      Turkey carves out and takes land/resources any which way on the fly and we hear comparative crickets from US establishment and elites.

      Russia legally re-unites with mostly Russian peoples and it’s a crime of the highest order.

    2. km

      Armenia is a largely Christian country, as well as a Russian ally.

      Azerbaijan is a largely Shia Muslim country, although it has traditionally adhered to the US/Israeli orbit and has had poor relations with Shia Iran.

    3. Polar Socialist

      One would think all the countries that gained independence when Soviet Union dissolved (like Azerbaijan, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine etc) would not put much weight on the Soviet era geopolitical artefacts like Nagorno-Karabakh or Crimea…

      1. km

        When they do it, that is bad. Very Very Bad.

        When we do it, such as in Kosovo or Bosnia or Macedonia or Montenegro, then that makes it okay!

    1. trhys

      “he is a colleague of Arron Mate which should say something about this Pythonesque video”

      Perhaps some detail on what is implied about Aaron Mate and his reporting?

      1. drexciya

        He has won a prize for his reporting, and has been a vocal critic of the whole Russiagate scam.
        He also has appeared quite a lot on Jimmy Dore’s shows. They’re both not afraid to go against the official mainstream consensus.

  12. jr

    Re: The Atlantic article about Trump leaving office

    Of course the article ignores any Democratic culpability but the link to the “Brooks Brothers” riot got my attention. While reading it I was reminded of a friend from Philadelphia whose father had been a teacher there in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. His father had been a union rep and wasn’t afraid to take on a fight.

    The school administrators started to go back to their neighborhoods and recruit old gang members to help break up strikes. So my buddy’s dad does the same thing. Old school Philly gangs like the Sultans and names like that.

    The Dems today seem to do nothing. Every time I read about some kind of thuggery in politics, it’s always the Republicans. I mean other than anti-progressive thuggery:

    The Florida Democrats should have been ready for anything. They are never ready for anything. But of course they aren’t really interested in opposing anyone in power. I cannot understand how anyone thinks “Rope a Dope” Joe and Wokes-fuhrer Harris are going to do anything but apply a thin coating of makeup to the liquifying corpse of this nation. Perhaps an argument could be made that it is immoral to join this festival of degeneracy and corruption. Is it immoral to vote in these times?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I voted yes on the State-Legalization-For-Marijuana question in Michigan. I view my vote as a highly moral thing to have done.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder has recruited more than 800 attorneys for The Election Fight under the Soros-funded Transition Integrity Project. Debunk that why doncha.

      And there is one team that has *actually* refused to lose. Their candidate refused to concede on election night. Their party used the intelligence agencies to try and undo the outcome. To this day their candidate states “I could beat him again” and insists it was Russian skulduggery that tipped the result. Team Blue, lol

      Just more tiresome Alinsky crap, accuse the other side of what you are guilty of, that way when it comes out you were doing it you can claim “but they were too!”.

      So we had to stomach 4 years of complete lies about Russian influence peddling, while the son and family of their candidate *actually received multi-million dollar wire transfers from Moscow*. This went from CT to CF this week: the fact of these fund transfers is not in question. The chance that this fact gets exposed on our public airwaves? Zero.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Matt Taibbi: ‘The clear strategy for Democrats should be to hammer ACB’s record on substantive issues like workers’ rights, but she’s already being caricatured as a religious nut. Trump won’t believe his luck if the main line of attack is the personal life of a religious Midwestern woman.’

    I was looking at that attached GIF image from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and the idea occurred to me that the Democrats could attack ACB on the grounds that her belief system would push America towards that dystopian future. But then I realized that the Democrats might be accused of attacking a pseudo-feministic icon by doing so which means that they would wimp out on that idea.

    1. a different chris

      I don’t actually agree with Tabbi in this case.

      >Democrats could attack ACB on the grounds that her belief system would push America towards that dystopian future.


      If they were smart… oh, man makes me feel like not even finishing this comment, sigh… but if they were smart they would thread the two together. Draw a picture… she’s the one that seems to have said her convictions are who she is but somehow won’t influence her jurisprudence, if you can’t both hammer and knife her with that basic incompatible set of assertions then you need to watch more Perry Mason.

      It allows you to start innocuously enough by making a big show of trying to make sense of her tiny(2017?!?) history of jurisprudence, then start edging in asides to her personal beliefs and see if she can wrap herself around her own axle.

      1. edmondo

        If they were smart, the Democrats wouldn’t have lost 13 senate seats in 10 years. Funny how no one brings that up.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      The Democrats DID do Handmaid’s Tale protests with women wearing red outfits. It was possibly the worst protest vehicle I’ve ever seen. Their creative leadership bubble is so small, they’ve all read the same books/watched the same movies. They are clueless as to basic facts about pop culture and electioneering:

      1. No one has read your favorite book. Hardly anyone reads, get over it.
      2. The total audience for any premium TV show is much smaller than you think.
      3. If everyone in YOUR group knows about something, but no one else does, that something needs to be explained, not used for virtue signaling. And while you’re explaining, you’re not campaigning so that’s a dead-end.
      4. Using The Handmaid’s Tale to convert conservatives is like handing out copies of Ayn Rand to liberals.

      If you want to reach Trump supporters, you’re not going to do it with science-fiction novels. Or cleverness in general.

      To kill time I’ve been watching the Arrowverse on Netflix: Green Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, etc. I think I knew this in real time, but seeing Supergirl episodes from 2015 reminded me that either Clinton borrowed “stronger together” OR it was used on a TV show filled with Clinton supporters over a year before the elections. Now that is using media as stealthily and as cleverly as is humanly possible.

      So how many people did that reach? Peak Supergirl viewership was about 13 million viewers. Slightly less than a million viewers is more typical for that show. Now subtract all the viewers under voting age.

      Cleverness only gets you so far.

      Bernie had excellent strategies that didn’t rely on pop culture’s myriad appendixes. Which is why the media put a cone of silence over his campaign (and if you got that joke, you’re too old to influence anyone’s vote again ever).


      1. Alex Cox

        You can reach Trump supporters through science fiction novels, sure. They just have to be the right novels – Starship Troopers, The Weapon Shops of Isher, Ender’s Game.

        Science fiction is a big church!

      2. Carolinian

        If you want to reach Trump supporters, you’re not going to do it with science-fiction novels. Or cleverness in general.

        What, you think they are trying to reach Trump supporters? Snide is in. Call it “IQ signaling.”

    3. chuck roast

      The “substantive issue of workers’ rights” has been religiously (couldn’t resist) ignored by the Dems for 30 years. What’s Taibbi smoking?

    4. ShamanicFallout

      Saw this quote from Nick Gillespie at Reason:

      “Just imagine how far Amy Coney Barrett might have gone if she didn’t belong to a cult that keeps women down.”

  14. a different chris

    And the Idiocracy marches on – and this women is undeniably bright and talented, but…. lordy:

    “I think it’s really important for everybody to vote, and if we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground too,” Rubins told AP.

    “If I can do it from space” like she just fixed up an old rocket in the back yard and took off without telling anybody.

    1. Carolinian

      Did you read your own link? She’s going up to the Space Station and will vote from there (via absentee ballot). What are you beefing about with your “idiocracy?”

  15. Off The Street

    Beethoven had a way of grabbing one’s attention, whether with the famous opening notes of the Fifth that everyone knows even before they have heard it, to the sublime Ninth, the Eroïca, the Pastorale and others.

    One conductor’s introductory presentation of the Fifth to really young audiences was to present it as the story of courage in the face of unknowns. He said to start with the phrase “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid”, and then see how that theme would be varied through the symphony as the courageous listeners continue their journey along with that little adventuresome one.

    Call me biased, I am, as I believe that Beethoven has something for everyone, whether playing or listening.

    1. a different chris

      Pointless aside but Charles Schultz’s favorite composer was not Beethoven, can’t remember who it was (Brahms maybe?), he just picked him because he thought -correctly- that it was a funny name.

      Ok apologies for wasting everybody’s time. :D

      1. michael hudson

        Apart from Heinrich Schenker’s analysis (auf deutsch), the best analysis I’ve heard was PDQ Bach. They viewed the symphony like a football game — and the funniest line was where the oboist seemed to be running away with the theme. “He thins it’s an oboe concerto.”
        Then, passing the theme back and forth — and finally, the ending that wouldn’t end.

    2. hunkerdown

      If the Ninth is sublime, it’s because all that is solid melts into air. Beethoven is Why Mommy Is a Democrat in musical form. ;)

      Slightly less provocatively, it’s worth considering whether the sort of personal aggrandization and blunt, arrogant assertions of significance evoked by Beethoven are remotely healthy in a society configured to regeneratively amplify and reward narcissism quite well enough already.

      1. Bruno

        The “sublimity” of the Ninth lies in its first three movements. As Hector Berlioz noted in his critique, what started out as the very greatest of symphonies was ruined by the last movement–its intentionally ugly start, its platitudinous words and melody, its frequently unsingable melisma. It was in part Beethoven’s failure that inspired Berlioz to write a fully realized choral symphonic masterpiece: his “dramatic symphony” *Roméo et Juliette*.

      2. Bruno

        That the Ninth is “sublime” is true only of its first three movements. In his critique of the Beethoven Symphonies, Hector Berlioz wrote that it began as the greatest of all symphonies but that Beethoven ruined it with his last movement: its intentionally hideous beginning, its platitudinous text and melody, its frequently unsingable melisma. In part, Beethoven’s failure was inspiration for Berlioz’s own choral symphonic masterwork: his “dramatic symphony” *Roméo et Juliette*.

    3. ChrisAtRU

      #Concur … even a non-music-educated #n00b like yours truly could learn to play “Moonlight Sonata” on a small Casio keyboard… ;-) It’s slow enough, and even without knowing how to sight read, one could look at a music sheet and decipher the notes over time. I also found out when learning this while in college eons ago that what is commonly referred to as “Moonlight Sonata” is just the first of three movements. I never did learn the 2nd movement all the way through, and the third movement is essentially Beethoven just showing off digital dexterity. Little known fact: parts of the 3rd movement are used in Smurf cartoons as background music, especially when the Smurfs are being chased!

    4. Bruno

      Beethoven’s political “radicalism” is very much overstated. He wrote potboilers in praise of extreme reactionaries–Emperor Leopold II and the duke of Wellington, for example. His opera *Fidelio*’s finale gives fulsome praise to the King of Spain (“the best of kings”). And Napoleon–putting on the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which rightfully belonged to his own king, the Emperor of Austria, caused Beethoven to tear up his dedication, which had been made despite the fact that Bonaparte had already staged a coup d’état overthrowing what was left of the Republic and installing his own dictatorship (as “First Consul”).

      1. Late Introvert

        And I’m going to just double down, again apologies. To each his own. But I always think of the fancy rooms in the castles where the royalty would gather for a Mozart or Beethoven performance. They would all be sitting there in their finery while the room filled with their BO and the perfumes and colognes of the day. Old farts, in both meanings of the word.

  16. Polar Donkey

    I was a couple years behind ACB at Rhodes College in Memphis. I didn’t know her. The Rhodes Alumni Association Facebook page went open warfare when ACB got nominated. The anti-ACBers won. Her college roommate said ACB isn’t the same person she knew. ACB’s college English professor said she was smart but aside from that, no one else really remembers anything about her. Rhodes is a small school and back in early 1990’s, had about 1,200 students and for few people to remember you is kind of strange. Aside from going to class, I spent zero time on campus because I was from Memphis and hung out with people going to other local colleges. Still, there are plenty of people who remember me just from having class together. There was a mention of person that knew ACB and was similar. That person’s dad was Shell Oil lawyer too, which makes this even more bizarre. ACB’s nomination has not been a positive for Rhodes College so far. Maybe 20 years from now, when all of this is forgotten. The best part of all this for Rhodes is it happened during covid and no students are on campus to protest.

  17. Lex


    ‘Outside religious contexts, come to Jesus refers to a meeting or moment where one undergoes a difficult but positive and powerful realization or change in character or behavior.’

    I had a hairdresser’s appointment and my hairdresser, his wife, and another very attractive, well-dressed couple were outside in the parking lot chatting, and next to them, parked against the building, were their expensive european sports cars. I thought ‘these must be the “beautiful people” I’ve heard about’. And then some illogical follow-up about ‘beautiful’ equally rich and successful. I walked by waving a hello and went into the building to wait for my hairdresser to catch up.

    Later, after his wife caught him with his pants down in the back room and she filed for divorce and custody of their only child, we would learn how heavily leveraged their appearances and lifestyle really were. We found this out because we’d sold him a piece of property he hadn’t been making payments on, and in filing for bankruptcy we were privy to a list of their legal assets and liabilities. They owned very little outright and were in debt up to their eyeballs.

    That was my ‘come to Jesus’ moment where I flashed back to the tableau outside in the parking lot and had thought — Do hairdressers really make that much money? Does beautiful equal successful? The market sells a lot of products to convince the buying public, that if they’re pretty enough, rich enough, well-connected enough, success will follow.

    I think some the people who support Trump bought his act because it’s the one they’re also selling. His con is their con. If they’re not quite as successful, it’s because they haven’t figured out how to game the system. Gaming includes heavily rationalized cheating. ‘Everyone’s doing it; it’s the only way to get ahead’, they tell themselves. If they don’t get caught, was there really a crime committed? Yes? – then the burden of proof is on others. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The truly rich can tie up a case in court forever. They’re not suffering an excess of conscience; resolving those sticky moral issues are what attorneys and priests are for. Who in the social circles of the rich would be in a position to cast stones? Certainly not the other beautiful couple in the parking lot.

    1. ambrit

      To this untutored savage, the tell about the ‘real’ status of those “beautiful people” was the fact that they were in the parking lot at all. Real ‘wealth’ has ‘people’ to park their cars and they enter the building from their vehicle on the street at the front door. Think the doorman at the Ritz.
      The above reminds me of a very good silent German interwar film, “The Last Laugh,” which treats with this dynamic:
      Somehow, this plot resonates strongly today.

    2. km

      1. Assets are not the same as income.
      2. The tax code permits business and property owners to engage in large-scale tax avoidance, and this is perfectly legal.

      The interesting allegations in the NYT article aren’t the ZOMG headline stuff.

  18. antidlc

    RE: How Amy Coney Barrett’s Religious Group Helped Shape a City
    A couple of questions about this article:


    On Sundays, the parking lot here fills up with 12-passenger vans, as People of Praise families are typically large, according to the former member, whose parents were involved for nearly 20 years, before leaving when, despite their best efforts, they could not advance from the underway classification to full covenanted status. Her parents’ spiritual guides in the group urged the family to not save for college, she said, but instead pay for Trinity, because it would pay off with a college scholarship.

    A college scholarship to WHERE? Is the implication to Notre Dame? It would be interesting to see where Trinity graduates are getting scholarships.

    “The People of Praise isn’t well-understood by outsiders, but its influence — and social conservatism — run deeply through this Indiana city.”

    If People of Praise is anti-LGBTQ, then how much influence in the city did they really have, considering Buttigieg was elected mayor?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Did Buttigieg ran as an LGBTQ candidate for his first term? He ran for President as a very committed Catholic.

      A real man of mystery.

  19. antidlc

    Follow up to yesterday’s post…

    Yesterday I posted:

    DeSantis’ appointee to Florida Supreme Court belongs to Christian group using law to ‘spread the Gospel’

    Both times Grosshans applied to the state’s high court, she left out some details on her application: specifically her membership in the Alliance Defending Freedom, her work as a Blackstone Fellow, a prestigious but secretive national award that trains rising star lawyers in the conservative teachings of the Alliance Defending Freedom, and her 2011 work with Orlando attorney John Stemberger to prevent a young woman from having an abortion.

    The article also states that Alliance Defending Freedom::

    It trains lawyers and funds cases on abortion, religion, tuition tax credits, and LGBTQ issues. Notably, the group represented the petitioner in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case where a Colorado baker refused to serve a gay couple, and the petitioner in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the birth control mandate in employee-funded health plans was unconstitutional.

    It would be interesting to know how many current judges were Blackstone Fellows or members of Alliance Defending Freedom.

  20. ShamanicFallout

    Re: Eichenwald Twitter thread. I always think of this Elvis Costello line in his song “New Lace Sleeves”:

    ‘and you never see the lies
    that you believe’

    People are so easily subsumed by their own Narrative that we truly don’t see. The ‘story’ that, in this case Mr Eichenwald, literally identifies with is more powerful than the long list of Obama’s failures and letdowns. Eichenwald’s ‘story’ is really Eichenwald himself. He can never be shaken by this. Just try it with someone like Mr Eichenwald as an experiment. Argue with, challenge, or criticize what he’s saying and he will take it as if you are attacking him personally. People are deeply identified with their lies.

    And the problem is, we do not see it. I think that’s why NC is valuable. Most of the contributors are not afraid to look at themselves, and by looking at themselves, we can look more honestly at the world

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And I think we’re also seeing people whose Narrative is in the process of breaking down, failing to order and interpret the world for them because the lack of fit is just too undeniable.

      1. newcatty

        As narratives continue to be slowly, or abruptly, erased in people’s view of their world cognitive dissonance becomes more fearful and “undeniable “. Lies are relative like morality. If everybody’s right, then nobody’s wrong. Everyone has some undeniable defense mechanisms to survive in their own stories. The more one can honestly see your threads throughout your narrative, the more peace of mind. I like St. Francis of Assisi’s “A Simple Prayer”

        Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace:
        Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
        Where there is injury, pardon;
        Where there is discord, union;
        Where there is doubt, faith;
        Where there is despair, hope;
        Where there is darkness, light!

        These words are not just for a Christian. No more were Martin Luther King’s. These words are still guidance in our world.

  21. Wukchumni

    Man Finds 9-Carat Diamond at Arkansas State Park TreeHugger
    I wore a lot of hats dealing in ‘smalls’ (anything of value you can hold in your hand-essentially, expensive timepieces-old sterling silver flatware, etc) and am a GIA certified gemologist amongst my laurels, and while not competitive against a pro in the sparkly glass business, I could buy most anything @ 50% of what it was worth on a wholesale basis (somebody with keen skills can buy @ 95% of what they’ll sell it for) and I grew to despise diamonds because they always seemed to come attached with a tale of woe or worse, and truth be said most of them aren’t worth bupkis (that’s why the ‘cocktail ring’ or ‘tennis bracelet’ was invented, as a method to get rid of 1.57 carats of small goods) despite the owner of said carbon based trinkets fervent hopes, yuck!

    Now that they can fake diamonds to the point where they pass muster, why anybody would want them is a mystery probably tied in with matrimony, but I wouldn’t touch em with a 20x power loupe.

    It’d be tantamount to an alchemist finally coming through with transmutation transportation in the form of all that glitters, making the genuine article redundant.

  22. Laura in So Cal

    I spent a day at that park when I was 11. We were on a vacation driving a big loop from California where we went to multiple national parks and visited relatives in Texas. The Arkansas State Park was 1/2 way between the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Missouri and my Great Grandmother’s house in Texas. A day of digging in the mud dreaming of finding a diamond was an awesome fun-filled day. I still remember it over 40 years later.

    1. Carolinian

      Newton was made director of the Royal MInt so perhaps it was considered a job for eggheads. One of his tasks was identifying counterfeiters so they could be hung.

      But re Lapham–there was a great show on the history of writing last week on PBS Nova and this Wednesday they will be talking about the process of making parchment. If NC will indulge I’ll offer this bit from the linked Lapham article

      In an Anglo-Saxon riddle from the tenth-century Exeter Book (so called because it was given to that cathedral by its first bishop, Leofric), a voice speaks from beyond death (here, in Richard Hamer’s translation):

      Some enemy deprived me of my life
      And took away my worldly strength, then wet me,
      Dipped me in water, took me out again,
      Set me in sunshine, where I quickly lost
      The hairs I had. Later the knife’s hard edge
      Cut me with all impurities ground off.
      Then fingers folded me; the bird’s fine raiment
      Traced often over me with useful drops
      Across my brown domain, swallowed the tree-dye
      Mixed up with water, stepped on me again
      Leaving dark tracks. The hero clothed me then
      With boards to guard me, stretched hide over me,
      Decked me with gold…

      Pixels sound a lot easier.

      1. Wukchumni

        Counterfeiting* wasn’t so much the issue in his era, but clipping was because coins weren’t struck in a collar and uniform in shape, they were more like a pizza not quite round with an extra 12% lapping over the edge, the perfect set-up for larceny.

        * what would you substitute for silver and gold anyway, perhaps lead which would look awful and not fool anybody on silver and forget about it on gold, there wasn’t a suitable ersatz metal until platinum came along after Newton was long gone, and counterfeits could be made and then gilt, as the specific gravity (heft) was very similar.

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