Links 9/7/2020

Drive-ins: A new way to watch live performances BBC

Researchers reveal true scale of megalodon shark for first time Guardian

8 Magnificent Facts About Mongooses TreeHugger

The paradox of Graham Greene – searching for peace in the world’s warzones Spectator

Kate Manne on the Costs of Male Entitlement New Yorker (furzy)

How the “success story” of genetically modified cotton in Burkina Faso fell apart Quart Africa (furzy)

Goat climbs into deputy’s car, chews papers in Georgia Fox

Sports Desk

The Milwaukee Bucks Strike Is Part of a Long Tradition of Athlete Resistance TruthOut


Ball Don’t Lie New York Review of Books

Damage Assessment WaPo

Vermont’s First Trans State Representative Is Fighting For Her Community Them (re Šilc)

No, the Pandemic Is Not Emptying Out America’s Cities Curbed (UserFriendly)

Reminder: The Rich Have Always Fled Cities in Epidemics TreeHugger

Abuse survivors call trusts ‘fraudulent’ Albuquerque Journal (Dan K)

Frenchman blows up part of house while chasing fly NY Post


Fauci warns that Labor Day celebrations could drive Covid-19 spikes Stat

America Doesn’t Have a Coherent Strategy for Asymptomatic Testing. It Needs One. ProPublica

RISK FACTOR What’s your risk of catching Covid… from opening your post to going to work or a bar? The Sun

Team behind the Russian vaccine publishes some details of early trials Ars Technica

Bolton and Manchester put on ‘red alert’ as infections reach five month high Metro UK


China’s post-Covid-19 travel industry sees green shoots with tourists embracing short trips, luxury stays in lessons for global operators SCMP


What Joe Biden’s presidency might mean for H-1B visas and Indian immigration to the US Scroll

As cases mount, India studying Russian proposal for Covid-19 vaccine Times of India

Delhi Metro resumes services after 169 days with strict safety measures, new timings The Print


Germany Debates Halting Contentious Russian Pipeline Project Der Spiegel


Belarus protesters continue pressure on Lukashenko with new march Al Jazeera

Julian Assange

WikiLeaks’ Assange to fight US extradition bid in UK court AP

EDITORIAL: A Trial Begins in London Consortium News

At A Time Of Rapidly Creeping Authoritarianism, Assange’s Freedom Is More Crucial Than Ever Caitlin Johnstone

If Trump Pardons Snowden, He Will Have My Vote American Conservative

Health Care

Georgia Governor Wants Out of Obamacare Health Exchange Pew Charitable Trusts (UserFriendly)


UK plan to undermine withdrawal treaty puts Brexit talks at risk FT. Take a gander at the comments.

Five weeks to seal Brexit… or we walk: Boris Johnson threatens to TEAR UP Withdrawal Agreement and remove Irish customs pledge as he insists No Deal would be ‘good outcome’ Daily Mail

Brexit back in crisis as UK threatens to undercut divorce pact Reuters

Class Warfare

The Labor Day Graph That Says It All David Sirota

Payday & Visu.News VideoJournalist Zach Roberts Shot by Rochester Police w/ Pepper Pellet Payday Report

US shareholder rule proposals blasted as ‘draconian’ FT

Disdain for the Less Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice NYT Michael Sandel.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

College newsrooms challenge an industry’s status quo Columbia Journalism Review


House Democrats Demand Climate Be a “Centerpiece” of the 2020 Presidential Debates Mother Jones (re Šilc)

Why Facebook’s political-ad ban is taking on the wrong problem MIT Technology Review

Ralph Nader lays out 7 things the Democratic Party must do to landslide Trump AlterNet

After Trump Loss, ‘Deplorables’ Will Be The Democrats’ First Target American Conservative

I need money, review of Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden, by Branko Marcetic, London Review of Books.

Rebuilding the Economy Will Require Joe Biden to Think Very Differently Than 2009 Intercept. James K. Galbraith. From earlier this week but I don’t believe we’ve linked to it yet.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Fireship

    Re JK Galbraith, rebuilding the economy

    Yeah, but no. That’s not gonna happen. James must be one of the few people left in America who still have a stash of hopium. The US is so over. The dog has been copulated to death. Notice the way the term “hustle” is now mainstream? Normal people, even economists, openly laud a word that used to mean something dishonest. Next stop, Brazil here we come. The first 1st world country to de-develop. Mainstream publications openly describing the country as a failed state and yet the egg-heads are coming up with fantasies to turn 400 years of plunder and hustling around. Give me a break.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Rev B (aka Dr. Betty Grove Eisner, early LSD researcher w/ Dr. Sidney Cohen) wrote the lyrics and Les McCann the music more than 40 years ago:

      I was lookin’ all over this whole wide world
      Tryin’ to find me some happiness.
      Everywhere I took a look
      The world was a terrible mess…

      I got to hustle to survive.
      Get goin’–anything to stay alive.

      “Hustle to Survive” (audio)

      1. DorothyT

        Les McCann. a jazz icon. Performed at a special event at LA County Museum of Art in 2018, some time after a stroke but still sounding great. Heard him in and around Los Angeles beginning in the late 50s, early 60s, in my fake ID’s days.

        Jazz was fabulous there as demonstrated by a look at the discography of Pacific Jazz Records Wiki.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Les McCann and Eddie Harris (written by Eugene McDaniels):

        I love the lie and lie the love
        A-Hangin’ on, we push and shove
        Possession is the motivation
        that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
        Looks like we always end up in a rut
        (everybody now!)
        Tryin’ to make it real, compared to what?
        C’mon baby!

        Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
        Twisted children killin’ frogs
        Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
        Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
        I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
        Try to make it real, compared to what? C’mon baby now!

        The President, he’s got his war
        Folks don’t know just what it’s for
        Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
        Half of one doubt, they call it treason
        We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut.
        God damn it!
        Tryin’ to make it real, compared to what? (Sock it to me)

        Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
        Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
        Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
        They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
        They really got to be some kind of nut
        (I can’t use it!)
        Tryin’ to make it real, compared to what?

        Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
        Where’s my God and where’s my money?
        Unreal values, crass distortion
        Unwed mothers need abortion
        Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut
        (He did it now)
        Tried to make it real, compared to what?!

        Montreux Jazz, 1969:

    2. carl

      Well, he did accurately describe the composition of the US economy and explain why conventional methods of rescuing it won’t work. But you’re correct, his prescriptions have about as much chance of happening as me flapping my wings and flying up to Heaven.

      1. Pelham


        What bugs me, though, is something he repeats from Stephanie Kelton’s “Deficit Myth,” about a job guarantee at a “modest wage.” Kelton sets that at $15 an hour plus benefits and calls it a livable wage. No, it’s not livable. As Tom Steyer noted in one of the Dem debates, if the minimum wage had only kept pace with inflation for the past 40 years, it would be $22 an hour. But even that is ridiculously low.

        Let’s take it a step further. During the recession I lost a job paying roughly $50 an hour that I had spent many years working up to. My entire profession was blown up, so I had no chance of ever finding that kind of highly specialized work again and I was too old to roll the dice on any kind of retraining (which usually fails anyway). Under MMT, why shouldn’t I be re-employed at $50 an hour under a job guarantee? Inflation is the only concern under MMT, not budget deficits, so the replacement of a private sector job at a high wage with a public sector job at the same wage is no problem — even if the public sector job is just digging ditches and filling them in. After all, money is like the points in a basketball game; the money issuer can no more run out of it than a scorekeeper can run out of points.

        If the job guarantee offers only a low wage, basically you’re telling everyone to never leave their parents’ basements in an economy in which we’re told to expect to change our careers five or six times over the course of a working life.

    3. Off The Street

      Never liked the term side hustle, and dislike that the underlying notion has become necessary for survival. Serfdom 2.0, or is it 3.0, who can tell anymore.

      1. jr

        That’s a good point. I’m a “gig” guy and I use that term frequently about myself. But it’s a kind of bravado in the face of uncertainty, really. It’s an attempt to make myself seem tougher and wiser, to get me some “street cred” in my own mind.

            1. mary jensen

              to jr

              The vimeo link is the BBC documentary, your youtube link is not the same thing at all. Please do watch the vimeo link, there is some very very good footage and some quite revealing information to be had.



    4. The Rev Kev

      There was a movie back in 1961 starring Jackie Gleason & Paul Newman called “The Hustler” and I think that there was no doubt as to what that word meant back then.

        1. ambrit

          Let us not forget that roguish Larry Flynt’s “deplorable” compendium of low taste and anti-everythingism, Hustler Magazine.

          1. mary jensen

            And lest we forget: “Do The Hustle”


            Ah, The Donald was some 31/32 years old when his girlfriends and friends were dancing around Studio 54 etc to this shit. The advent of the “Go-Go” ’80’s.

            He’s getting a second mandate if you don’t vote for Biden.

            Who was it who said “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink”? James Crumley:
            “Son, never trust a man who doesn’t drink because he’s probably a self-righteous sort, a man who thinks he knows right from wrong all the time. Some of them are good men, but in the name of goodness, they cause most of the suffering in the world. They’re the judges, the meddlers. And, son, never trust a man who drinks but refuses to get drunk. They’re usually afraid of something deep down inside, either that they’re a coward or a fool or mean and violent. You can’t trust a man who’s afraid of himself. But sometimes, son, you can trust a man who occasionally kneels before a toilet. The chances are that he is learning something about humility and his natural human foolishness, about how to survive himself. It’s damned hard for a man to take himself too seriously when he’s heaving his guts into a dirty toilet bowl.”

            Apparently The Donald and Humility are two distinct impossibilities. More’s the pity.

            The Donald doesn’t drink, he is a notorious teetotaler.

            1. JohnnySacks

              Well, trying to decide if Saint Obama is a similar teetotaler or the type who drinks but dares not to get the slightest bit tipsy. The job attracts control freaks.

      1. Mikel

        The word “hustle” has been reinvigorated these past couple of decades by rappers. So now they think it sounds hip.
        Just reminds me that I still need to check out this book:
        “Knocking The Hustle: Against The Neoliberal Turn In Black Politics”

          1. Mikel

            Lester K. Spence is the author of this particular book. But the title does sound like something Berman would write.

    5. Mikel

      They always give the “progressive” (for lack of a better word) programs lip service to make it seem to project the illusion of people within the system being concerned. Meanwhile, they hobknob with the very people that want to see your demise and insist these are “good faith” parnters in builing an inclusive communtity.

        1. mary jensen

          Do the Hustle: yeah it was a sort of Love Boat Black America Disco Thing “Do It!!!”

          The black leather well off professional white gay men in San Fran just loved this sort of shit (or schlock) after a Saturday evening of expensive High Opera … I was there, working in the coat check room of a notorious but now extinct South of Market St. watering hole. (remember) AIDS?!! All the best boys and girls are long dead now:
          Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
          A pocket full of posies,
          A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
          We all fall down.

          And then there was this (which people took seriously at the time for chrissakes!!!):

          Please Vote Biden, it can’t be worse than anything you’ve lived through before or after Disco and “AIDS”, but four more years of The Donald will absolutely kill your soul.

    6. Susan the other

      That was great Galbraith. I hope Congress reads the Intercept. Actually, I’m concerned that Congress is next to illiterate and even if they can read words they don’t really know what they mean. I also think Congress is legislatively illiterate in that they don’t know how to effectuate anything except taking bribes and ducking votes. That’s the only concern I have – and I think it’ll be close – a race to save the country and salvage a sustainable economy. But there isn’t a better blueprint for those jerks to follow than Galbraith’s.

      1. RMO

        I’m a little puzzled by that piece – he says numerous times that Keynesian measures won’t work, but aren’t all his suggestions as to what will be needed exactly the sorts of things that Keynes actually recommended (many of them implemented in the New Deal) to end the great depression?

        1. rd

          You have to say things are not Keynesian so that the Keynesian things you propose get dressed up with a different name and become acceptable in polite society. Its one of the benefits of Modern Monetary Theory – it is clearly not related to Keynesian approaches because it is Monetary Theory with visions of Milton Friedman dancing in people’s heads.

  2. Boomka

    That Brexit move is a real head scratcher, can’t make sense of it at all.
    Perhaps BoJo thinks this is how politics is supposed to be done in Trump era…

    1. paul

      I think 8.3 billion pounds wagered by his constituents is a major factor.

      The britannia chained mob might have to wait for their desire to turn the UK into the second Puerto Rico, but that’ll happen soon enough.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Paul.

        Just to add that these firms, apart from JCB, which has just opened a factory in Germany, and Bristol Ports, are hedge funds based in Mayfair, not the square mile, but I know what you mean.

        Also, these firms either employ Tory lobbyists, e.g. Matthew Elliott at Shore Capital, or are part of networks that make the news and drive markets for profit. Elliott’s brother in law, Allister Heath was at the execrable City AM and is now at the Torygraph.

        Last summer, one of their circle, Juliet Samuel, told me over coffee by St Paul’s “how excited she was by the prospect of having Dominic Cummings in the government”. I played dumb and let her talk. Samuel started life at Guido Fawkes, migrated to City AM, the Torygraph and the Times.

        These people are plugged in and up the ante, drop some bombshells or amplify noise, all designed to create volatility and increase the opportunity to profit, for their paymasters. They tend to share the same views and are not cynical opportunists.

        Rest assured that even if Cummings goes, there are more like him in the wings.

        1. Ignacio

          Hi Col and Paul. These days I was thinking on how crony capitalism works and it must rest on a net or a few nets of individuals, such as those you mention, working in a you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ basis for helping these like-minded wealthy in their financial bets and probably for services requiring disbursements of hundreds of thousands of whatever currency to get telephones picked up on behalf of third parties.

          Billions in short positions, one thinks what strange times we live when political decisions look tied to the financial casinos to which nobody seems to pay attention. One article linked the other day about Wirecard said that the EU would miss London’s financial expertise. My thinking was the contrary. This is not to say that crony capitalism is not well and alive in the rest of the EU but it if would be OK if the expertise on this is second level outside the City.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Ignacio.

            That nonsense about the EU needing the City was from City AM. The paper is given free at transport hubs in London. It’s only good for the evening’s fish and chips.

            City AM combines neo liberalism and neo conservativism with little Englander attitudes.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Here’s a US-centric illustration of those nets for those not too sickened to examine more of the entrails:

            Interlocks And Interactions Among The Power Elite The Corporate Community, Think Tanks, Policy-Discussion Groups, And Government

            Posted August 2013: G. William Domhoff, Clifford Staples, & Adam Schneider write on Who Rules America:

            This document presents new findings about the American power structure based on the connections among 2,563 corporations, 6 business leadership and policy-discussion groups, 33 prominent think tanks, 82 major foundations, 47 private universities with large endowments, and 19 White House advisory committees for the years 2011-2012. In all, the database used for our study contains 2,750 separate organizations and 9,121 individuals….


            A little dated — very “BT,” as in “before Trump…”

            Put that together with what can be seen of the MIC and the state-security apparatus and of course Google, Amazon, Facebook and the rest, and the image of the cancer is pretty complete…

      2. c_heale

        Think it could be desperation on the part of Boris etc. They’ve realised they can’t get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves, and that the EU isn’t gonna to back down. Strikes me as a Blazing Saddles’ move holding the gun against themselves. Can’t see it working…

        1. JTMcPhee

          But BoJo and the rest will be able to retreat into wealth and impunity, so his breezy, cavalier seeming idiocy is very understandable. And is it 8 billion, or a lot more, wagered on a “successful” crashout of the British economy? “Pity the poor, for they have so little to lose…”

          Bears remembering that like Tony Hayward, these arrogant looters always get their lives back:

    2. Clive

      “… the Trump era”

      I’m always a little conflicted about the supposed demise of the Rules Based International Order. On the one hand, it’s a trifle sad to see the end of a comforting dream of internationalism made, apparently, so we liked to think, real.

      On the other hand, it was, to me (certainly in the last 10 to 15 years or so, definitely it pre-dated Trump) just a crock of bull where, like Californians (and I’m sorry to generalise about Californians, it’s very unfair I know but I’m in need of a handy catch-all metaphor) do, everyone (or every country) was all really nice and polite and decent and well-mannered and smooth-talking and cooperative to your face but then, in terms of what they did rather than what they said they were doing they were quite happy to pull a fast one, play the system, try to convince you black was white and generally steal the shirt off your back if they could and you let them get away with it.

      I like the new, somewhat ghastly, pigs-sliding-around-in the-mud grottiness in the same way I like ugly people: because they’re in touch with reality.

      1. Wukchumni

        Uh oh, Clive’s onto us, the false front of laid backism, while figuring out a way to finagle you out of your money, in particular in the City of Angles, where everybody has one.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        I’m a born and raised 3rd generation Californian and I approve this message.


      3. Kouros

        Patrick Porter – The False Promise of Liberal-Order Nostalgia, Delusion and the Rise of Trump

        The niceness you mention might have been due to the fact that US relies on gunboat diplomacy.

      4. caucus99percenter

        Hawaii residents supposedly love family-bloggin’ Las Vegas to the extent of the latter being marketed as “the Ninth Island.” One in 10 are said to regularly go there, where they stay at a “Hotel California” called the California Hotel…

        Viewed as a metaphor for Hawaii’s colonial relationship to imperial America — what Bob Marley called mental slavery — I find that singularly depressing.

        Note that the academics at the U of LV apparently do not observe the convention, common in Hawaii, of restricting the term “Hawaiians” to the original indigenous people of Polynesian extraction.

        1. Janie

          I’m told by those who should know that the cheapest way to Hawaii is to fly to Vegas and then on to Hawaii.

        2. ChrisPacific

          A good proxy for how popular a given destination is with tourists from Hawaii is the number of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue locations. Vegas looks to have around 10 of them.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If Boris goes ahead and scraps agreements already negotiated with the EU and Ireland, guess what happens next? The UK suddenly gets the moniker of being “agreement-incapable”. You get that sort of reputation and any country that wants to draw up, say, a trade treaty with you will suddenly be looking for the exits. If Boris and his buddies pushes the UK out the EU door without any agreements or deals in place, the UK will suddenly need as many friends as possible. And having people like Tony Abbott as a trade negotiator is certainly not going to help. The EU might just resign itself to going through the motions until the clock runs out as there is nothing more to be done with a Boris government. But all this will certainly leave Northern Ireland swinging in the wind.

      1. Mikel

        The EU should resign themselves to shoring up the post-Covid EU. In other words, one would think they have bigger fish to fry.
        After all that talk about how fine they would without the UK, they really are not acting like it.

      2. Clive

        Not so. The U.K. government is entirely within its rights to legislate where the Withdrawal Agreement is ambiguous (and it most certainly is ambiguous, hence the U.K. and the EU can and are interpreting it differently, if it wasn’t ambiguous then there would be no room for differing interpretations) and make policy as it sees fit in accordance with what it understands the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement to be. is a reasonably pithy overview.

        And lest we forget Germany — yes, that Germany, fine upstanding stalwart of propriety and all round good European egg — no less through its august and stolid Constitutional Court told the CJEU it was talking jurisprudential bollocks in one of the European Court’s rulings and said it was entirely within its international sovereign authority to ignore it. No one said that Germany “wasn’t deal capable” as a result. Rather, some even in the EU, applauded it for bringing a much-needed cutting down to size of the overbearingly activist CJEU.

        So there’s not a little U.K. Derangement Syndrome in some of the coverage here.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Wonder which state will be the next to break with the EU? As part of the breakup of what was a nice neoliberal notion, that post-nationalist communion of great nations…

          Comes down to that old question of what kind of political economy do “we” want, and can “we” maintain, anyway? In light of greed and the will to power?

        2. Anonymous 2

          There seems to be more to it than that, as a UK Minister has now confirmed that the UK Government’s proposal does break international law, so the Rev Kev appears to have a point.

    4. Anonymous 2

      It is probably thought to be a wizz PR move. Most of what the Johnson government does is motivated by such considerations. I always wonder when such things happen if it is an attempt to distract attention from something else. Scratching my head to identify what that might be at present but perhaps it will become clear in due course.

      I fear the UK is toast anyway. More and more the question seems to me to be who walks first: Northern Ireland or Scotland?

      Is this all being done on the orders of Murdoch ?

  3. eyebear

    Re the ‘Drive-ins: A new way to watch live performances’ from the BBC.

    The open-air cinema in Dortmund is closed now. After a few weeks the novelty lost the interest of the local audience. But the photo still remains looking good. Better than the reality.

    1. Wukchumni

      The 1st movie I can remember seeing was The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming at a drive-in. Although some may claim I was the first inflicted with TDS early on, the fact is a 5 year old had no say in the matter in regards to movie selection.

      The idea of reviving drive-ins is quaint in that 95% of them got turned into something else since then, and the lucky laggards made a living in SoCal by turning themselves into swap meets.

      Our neighbor has a fairly quiet generator, a computer projector and fold-up 9 foot screen and about 300 movies to choose from when watching them on their deck in the Sierra. We watched the aforementioned film a few years ago, and it holds up well for a period more given to paranoia than real peril.

    2. Pelham

      My dad had a drive-in back in the ’50s and on into the ’70s. It was a real money-maker, although the concession stand with the fragrance of popcorn, hot dogs, chili dogs and frying hamburgers wafting out over the ramps accounted for most of the take. It was a decent way to view movies, too, but only by comparison with TVs at the time.

      For drive-ins to possibly work today, I think they would need screens on a much larger scale and much brighter than even the massive screen at my dad’s place. Whether anything like this is possible or affordable, I have no idea. But I’d love to see a permanent comeback that offers a visual experience superior to even the best flat-screen TVs.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        In our generation, many of us had memorable drive-in experiences, but one of my most unique was watching “Red Dawn” at the drive-in where the drive-in scene was filmed.

        Other movies I saw at a drive-in were:

        “Ben Hur” (Hey, I also watched a movie at Pula’s arena, a very old-fashioned drive-in)
        “Harold and Maude”

        I must admit I usually took whatever I planned to consume with me.

        1. CitizenSissy

          I saw Humanoids from the Deep at the local drive-in while in high school; B-movies, IMHO, are the reason Drive-ins exist. The return of the Drive-in may be one of the few silver linings in this otherwise godawful year.

        2. Tom Bradford

          In our generation, many of us had memorable drive-in experiences

          True, but in my case (and I’m sure many others) they involved the lady sharing the back seat with me rather than what might have been happening on a screen somewhere in the vicinity.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Ralph Nader lays out 7 things the Democratic Party must do to landslide Trump”

    Ralph Nader wrote this? Because it sounds kinda like a hostage letter when you read it. But at the end of the letter he recommends that you contact Tom Perez, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? To what end? To get yourself on a fund-raising list? OK, I have my own seven suggestions that might work out here-

    1. Mandatory retirement age of 65 for all leadership rolls in the Democratic party.
    2. Immediately promise M4A legislation on day one in power, legislation, ready to sign.
    3. Concentrate on enrolling as many of the tens of millions of people to vote as possible.
    4. Switch party financing to the Sanders model to reduce corporate influence.
    5. Stop ignoring Democrat voters as they are your base – not Republican voters.
    6. Promise to go back to paper ballots, hand-counted in public to stop hacking by ‘interests’.
    7. Stop obsessing over Trump and start fixing the system that brought him to power.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Start fixing the system“?!?

      Oh, how I wish. That’s been my greatest wish for at least 15 years now. For somebody to give up on the goal of being the “transformative” president and to simply focus on fixing what’s broken.

      Alas, I fear we’ll never see it. All the Republicans seem to do is cut taxes, and Democrats keep adding complexity and cruft to governmental functions that are already too complex.

    2. Off The Street

      Kind of a last gasp from Nader, trying to get people to buckle up in that party Corvair. Less-publicized during that long-ago period was the carbon monoxide pumped into the passenger compartment from GM’s innovative direct engine heat system.

    3. Rod

      Is it that obvious from down under?
      here’s that sentence you meant to start your list with:

      Here are some suggestions for the Democratic Party’s quivering leaders:

    4. The Historian

      I think Nader and others live way too much in the past where once upon a time, we voted for policy and issues. We don’t do that any more. Now we vote our emotions because policy and issues don’t matter to us any more – we have absolutely no control over them.

      It isn’t Biden or Trump who holds the power in this country – it is the 1% and we have no way of going after them. They choose the candidates – we don’t – the choose the judges, they choose the issues, they choose everything for us. And it is like Rome in the first few hundred years AD: those in power kept the trappings of the Republic so that people would think that their votes mattered, but in reality, they did not.

      We are over the tipping point now, and I can’t see us recovering from this no matter who gets elected. We are where many countries were at the ends of their empires, i.e., huge income inequalities, large militaries that needed to be supported, failing involvement of citizens with their government, extreme concentrations of power, etc., and we will suffer the same fate. Fast with Trump, slow with Biden – take your choice.

      Only Great Britain was able to save itself from the fate we are facing, but it is because when they came to their tipping points, those in power backed off to prevent a revolution, ie. Magna Carta, their Civil War, their fear of revolution after 1790. etc. I see no signs that our 1% is willing to back off an inch.

      1. Synoia

        Only Great Britain was able to save itself from the fate we are facing…

        How did you come to that conclusion? GB exists on “them and us.”

        1. The Historian

          Great Britain has existed in roughly the same form for over 800 years, which makes it one of the longest lived empires in history, and it has had some serious tipping points that could have destroyed their form of government, but never have. It is only because those in power moved their greed back a few notches, enough to calm the citizenry, that they were able to survive, like the times I mentioned. Their aristocracy has held power for a long time. but it has shifted and moved to accommodate changes, like giving up power to the House of Commons, like allowing their royals to become figureheads instead of policy makers, like giving up their empire after WWII, and like this last shift where power is being transferred from peers of the realm to the moneyed class. I’m wondering if that change will be the one that does Great Britain in finally.

          1. neo-realist

            I don’t see our elites moving their greed one notch back, certainly not the cabal backing Trump, but going full steam ahead, with the citizenry left to blame themselves or supposed enemies of the state, e.g., demonstrators, BLM, antifa, radical left, for our continued demise.

      2. cgregory

        We can control the 1% through campaign finance reform that nullifies their advantage in spending as much as they want: A Fairness Doctrine that says, “Whatever one vendor or donor supplies to one candidate must be supplied to all qualified candidates in statewide and national races.”

        Regulate the vendors and donors of goods and services rather than the candidates or the contributors, and suddenly raising millions more than the opponent doesn’t make a difference; nor does it obligate winners and incumbents to the likes of Sheldon Adelson, Charles Koch or Elon Musk.

        1. Robert Antonucci

          Or go to the root of the problem with a heavy wealth tax so that there are no more ultra rich. As long as they exist they will control everything.

        2. Aumua

          You mean we could theoretically do that, but can we actually do it? It doesn’t seem to be on the agenda, and I have no idea how to get it on the agenda. Do you?

        3. JTMcPhee

          Yeah, great, lots of people ponying up small amounts to fund the same kind of campaign that is de rigeur today based on smear, innuendo, Lobbyists appeals to the most base emotions and divisive. There’s a systemic problem, the corporate and extremely wealthy own the system and run it for their own gain. Changing the means of financing won’t change the processes that winnow out or co-opt the candidates that do come in mouthing or espousing the noises of populism. I kind of don’t see even a sharpie like AOC and the few in the nominal Squad resisting the blandishments of the Lobbyists and looters and the rest of the entrenched Entitled that have built the usual kinds of structures that surround the seat of power in an imperial setting.

    5. Oh

      1.1 Only one 5 year term for anyone in Congress, Supreme Court or in the administration.
      2.1 If they don’t pass M4A or Universal Healthcare, they lose their own healthcare and get a 50% cut in pay.

  5. Carla

    Here’s a coherent strategy for Covid-19 testing: Tests are self-administered and cost less than $1 each. Those testing positive quarantine for about 8 days following a positive test since they shed the most virus during that time. Source: Dr. Michael Mina, Harvard epidemiologist.

    Test everyone in the country, every third day, until you have enough vaccine to test everyone every other day, until you have enough vaccine to test everyone every day. Those generally housebound only need test after exposure to others. Tests provided at no cost to the entire population. Robust incentives for those who test positive to quarantine for 8 days following a positive test. Source: me.

    1. Rod

      +1–understandable, doable, and economical(in the long run)

      imo–Funding that Yale Antigen test trial and making/mandating it be open source(making your suggestion soooooo possible) should garner a Freedom Medal for the NBA Player’s Association in a better world.

    2. Cuibono

      heck this is America. So make the paper test cards lottery tickets. incentive to take the test is the chance to win.

    3. VietnamVet

      Dr. Michael Mina was on NewsHour 4 days ago. He discussed vaccines. But not a word about daily testing which can control the pandemic without needing a for-profit vaccine. This reminds me of Colonel W. Patrick Lang’s and Juan Cole’s appearances on NewsHour during the Iraq Invasion; then, they just stopped appearing. The truth isn’t in the corporate money-making scheme of things.

      Above, the discussion on the 7 ways to reform the system is applicable to the Coronavirus Pandemic as well. American WWII level of deaths is projected this year from the virus – 410,000. Yet nothing is done. The ruling class simply are not going allow the little people to test themselves, self-diagnosis and isolate themselves. This and a national public health system would end their profit-making healthcare scam. It is not going to happen. This a horrific tragedy. Only the dedication expressed in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to restore government by and for the people will save the Union in 2020. With the middle class decimated by disease, despair and war, next generations (if WWIII is avoided) will be living in a North American Brazil or India, divided into the ultra-rich and the very poor, Brahmins and Dalits.

  6. Mr. Magoo

    Re: What Joe Biden’s presidency might mean for H-1B visas and Indian immigration to the US Scroll

    I am not a Trump fan, but his policies on China and H-1B visas have been right as far as I am concerned. If you don’t work in the software field, you don’t see it, but H-1B’s are the first thing companies reach for when looking to fill new positions – young and cheap. Don’t get me started on H4 visas either – husband drags them over to the US and they will work for nothing to get out of the house and being stuck at home – we can thank Obama for that. Once established in a company, Indians will tend to hire only other Indians. Of course, only if they are in the right caste – witness the recent suit against Cisco for violating equal opportunity hiring laws.

    There is already a huge amount of layoffs within software now, and now not the time to re-open the flood gates.

    1. rhodium

      The Democrats have to be careful with this. So far their corporate influencers have found a supportive audience by using the argument “racism” against the opposition to the use of foreigners as wage suppression. I don’t blame the Indians for wanting to escape the sea of people in their country and marginally improve their lives, but Americans want to have the classic middle class lifestyle. It keeps getting harder for them though. The Democrats will implode just like the traditional Republican party if they keep pushing the status quo. There really are large swarths of Americans, R’s and D’s, who feel like it’s too hard to compete for the same reward and they’re mad about it and jealous of those who seem born into privilege.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There are two candidates on Nov. 7, one is a nationalist and the other is a globalist. One believes the tech mega-giant monopolies have too much power, the other has them on speed dial. One is the first president in 30 years not to start a war, the other never saw a war he didn’t like. So I guess if you want more H1-B workers, some great new wars, and Google and FB in charge of public debate by censoring any political opinions they don’t like, Biden is definitely your man.

        1. Aumua

          I can’t disagree about Biden, but I really don’t think Trump has been all that wonderful for the U.S. or planet Earth. Call me crazy. Call me TDS, I don’t care.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            No need for labels and no argument, we are talking about basically two flavours of the same neo-lib crap.

            War used to be my top-level issue and I believe the man who has not started any is better than the man who has.

            But now my top-level issue is the awesome terrifying power of SV. And there are two entirely different answers there.

            Thirdly I happen to think we have now seen the full flower of the awesome benefits of “globalism” to America. Remind me what a quick return to “China is awesome!” Joe will do.

    2. Rod

      Of course, only if they are in the right caste – witness the recent suit against Cisco for violating equal opportunity hiring laws.

      imo–based on some personal discussions with Indian Students–Maybe not the baggage they are toting through customs, but certainly is the baggage they have with them.

    3. km

      A former girlfriend (Tamil, but grew up in Malaysia, which has large Indian and Chinese populations) told me something very different.

      To boil a long explanation down to a few sentences, Chinese people are obligated to help other Chinese people. Invariably, your dog’s cousin comes from the same village as that guy’s great uncle, which means you are honor-bound to give him a job.

      With Indian people, she told me that nobody outside your immediate family will help you, and if they do help, there are some long strings attached. In fact, in her telling, Indian people will go out of their way to shaft each other.

      Mainly out of jealousy.

      She told me this without any rancor or bitterness, just the way things are in her opinion.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Personally I think this is just more empty rhetoric from Biden. Take his promise to end long wait times, for example. That would probably require changing the funding model. Has he said anything about that? Not that I could see. Absent anything on that topic, I expect he will periodically deplore it and announce that it must improve without taking any actual concrete steps that would accomplish that outcome.

      (Incidentally, the long wait times are for green card immigration, which is the level playing field option and removes a lot of the issues with H-1B. Needless to say H-1Bs get turned around a lot quicker).

  7. Carolinian

    Re CJR–perhaps we should feel sorry for these student “journalists” as their future on graduating can’t be very bright unless they find a way to get themselves on TV. This could be the reason they feel the need to reinvent their journalistic role as proselytizers rather than collectors of facts. They will be fully qualified for all those cable TV roundtables where reporters sit around and give their opinions. It also saves on shoe leather and the laborious work of getting a “scoop” which used to be what reporters lived for. Back then beating the competition was the goal. Now it’s just to not get fired. My local paper–never much to begin with–now seems to be down to one full time reporter. He seems to be hanging on.

    But we the public will be very poorly served by generation woke. If the 1619 Project is the template then it has already shown that facts don’t matter. Only the “truth”–the revealed truth apparently–is what they are shooting for.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, agree with what you say. You have a whole generation of so-called woke journalists who will be flying into tighter and tighter circles of definitions of wokeness until eventually they will fly up into their own fundamental orifice from which lofty perch they will look back with disdain at their own readers.

      It reminds me of that article today called ‘Kate Manne on the Costs of Male Entitlement” which talks about the mee-two movement which sounded great – until they refused to criticize such people as Bill Clinton because they were politically useful or something. Some women and girls were supposed lay back and to ‘take one’ for the cause.

      1. Billy

        “You have this concept called “himpathy,”

        I will counter that with “gynosteria.”

        Yet another risible attempt at dividing Americans from the geniuses in academia who have disgraced theselves by giving voice to Wokels like her.

        The Other Gender Gap [Inside Higher Ed]. “Today, women earn 57.4 percent of Bachelor degrees,
        58.4 percent of Master’s degrees,
        52,8 percent of Doctoral degrees.
        Taking Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate’s together, women women have earned 13 million more degrees than men since 1982. Consequences of this gender attainment gap might well include a dwindling pool of marriageable men and mounting anger and alienation among the growing number of young men who feel cut off from the opportunities to achieve a middle-class standard of living.”

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Lucky for us, television news is losing ground. Anyone that cuts the cord to cable TV can get an antenna to receive it, but I wonder how many do? I thought about it when we had the change from analog to digital, but I thought about what I would be getting and gave it a pass.
      I haven’t checked in a long time, but the law used to require broadcast companies to relate true information, no so on cable news. There are no restrictions and it has become THE news. Ted Turner created CNN and we had a national news that was far more in depth than TV generally. But that went to hell with Time Warner.
      So will a college graduate journalism student opt for TV or go direct to one of the current standard bearers online? If they go TV, they are limited to passing the company line, a disaster for anything except cartoons and weather. If they work for themself, they can take the story wherever it leads.
      Much like politicians that don’t understand that service means being serviced, who would choose bogus? A. “the bogus”
      When 60 minutes and 20/20 were shown to be full of whimsy, what remained of the big 3?

      1. Carolinian

        All true and likely a result of changes in technology as much as anything else. We once had a Big Three due to limited broadcast spectrum–even latecomer ABC’s often provided poor reception because they had to take the higher channels–and newspapers were important as the primary source of news. TV is still very important but cable cutting in favor streaming could change that in a big way and give more power to Youtube and web sources. In other words these realities make prospects for J school graduates even more grim. They will likely end up as spokespeople for politicians or working for think tanks or in Mom’s basement. 52 percent of millenials are living with their parents, just announced.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think you have to consider total immersion before you cite the effects of people cutting cable off.

          Waiting in line at the 7-11: with the chyron, images, and content blaring at you from the corner a complete fabric of fabricated lies (RussiaGate, unprosecuted CIA coup attempters talking themselves out of jail, hydroxy kills you, et alia ad nauseam).

          Off to the laundromat: same. At the gym: same. Waiting at the airport. At the supermarket. Riding in a taxi. In an elevator. Even if you “don’t trust mainstream media” the total immersion does its work.

          Methinks it’s over, CNN, FB, and Google are selecting our leaders for us.

    1. Wukchumni

      Its becoming obvious that mark of Zoroastrians are the clear winners in the Sun of all our fears in regards to the virus.

      I like how the study compares Israelis & Arabs and their respective ways of exposure, with the latter pretty much all covered up and suffering more from Covid-19, with severe vitamin D deficiency in Arab women, as they’re always covered up when going outside.

      1. Carla

        Orthodox Jews stay pretty well covered also, although not, it is true, their faces.

        Furthermore, the Arab population of Israel is more likely to live in the overcrowded conditions of poverty, and to suffer inadequate and intermittent supplies of fresh water.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Hard to get ahead when somebody is cutting your water supply, killing your crops, diverting their sewerage to your land and bombing your coronavirus clinics.

    2. allan

      Interesting, and raising a possible red flag – this stood out:

      When studying
      separately individual vitamin D formulations available in CHS pharmacies, we were surprised to
      observe diverging results, with acquisition of some vitamin D formulations associated with
      significantly decreased risk for SARS-CoV-2, while others were associated to significantly increased
      risk. Interestingly, the common feature of the vitamin D formulations which were associated with
      decreased risk were that they were provided as drops, so we grouped acquisition of vitamin D drops
      these under one variable, tablet-form being the second most common other form, we grouped their
      acquisition as another variable. After controlling for ethnic group and baseline vitamin D levels,
      acquisition of vitamin D drops was associated with a significant decrease in risk OR=0.905 (95% CI
      0.848-0.967), and acquisition of vitamin D tablets was associated with a significant increase in risk
      OR=1.248 (95% CI 1.152-1.352).

      So, vitamin D drops good; tablets (the most common OTC form in the US) bad. ???

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The study authors address this on page 8 and 9. Where the Vitamin D is absorbed, handling of the supplements, and the likelihood people getting tablets instead of drops in Israel likely had sever deficiencies seem to be the explanations. I guess the drops are tracked and prescribed by the health system from how this reads.

        1. Pelham

          I think D3 is what you want. What’s billed as simply Vitamin D may be D2, which is not absorbed as well as D3.

        2. Carla

          Wonder if D3 capsules or gel caps are better absorbed than tablets. Both capsules and gel caps are readily and cheaply available on this side of the pond.

          1. Pelham

            I just read the relevant pages that the commenter above pointed out, and the answer is no. The key appears to be the fact that the drops when swallowed tend to coat the throat, where Covid may get its first traction in the body. Also, when administered through an eyedropper, the user isn’t touching the drops and possibly transferring virus to what he’s ingesting

            Tablets and capsules, however, may do no harm if the user hasn’t touched anything covered in the virus before touching the tablet/capsule. That’s a relief for our home as we’ve been taking the tablets. Now we’re switching over to drops — as well as trying to absorb a little sunshine.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Vitamin D in drop forms is likely mostly absorbed by the mucous membranes of the oropharynx, and the vitamin D concentration there is likely to be elevated following drops intake. Conversely, vitamin D tablets are absorbed further in the gastrointestinal track, and vitamin D concentration reaching back the oropharynx might not provide adequate protection

            The vitamin D hypothesis also provides attractive explanations for many of the observations that were made so far regarding the epidemiology of Covid-19. We14, like others, have found a significantly decreased infection rate among smokers.

            Their concern is whether Vitamin D can be concentrated in the mouth/sinus regions. Smokers seem to be winning on this one, and at least in Israel, they have to smoke outside.

            some policies might deserve reevaluation, such as confinement of individuals in closed buildings, and wearing outdoors a facemask that prevents sunlight from reaching the face and oropharynx area

            At the beginning of this, there were pictures of field hospitals with wonderful recovery rates that were outside with patients housed in tents from the Spanish Flu. Getting outside is the best bet now especially as the Sun gets weaker in the Northern hemisphere and avoiding being in situations where you are stuck with a person or persons shedding the virus.

            1. epynonymous

              The classifications could also be stand-ins for social class or self-identification for risk-tolerance for the individuals.

              Or money. Or occupation.

      2. Unfinished

        Vitamin D3 is fat soluble and should be taken with some fat for proper absorption; many people using the tablets might not realize they should take them with a meal or drink that contains fat. The vitamin D in both drops and gels already contains oil, eliminating the need for additional fat.

        1. Arthur Dent

          I take a Vitamin D gel capsule supplement and I make sure to always take it at a meal time so that it is just added in with all the rest of the food for digestion and absorption. I don’t believe that vitamin or mineral supplements (e.g. Vitamin D, iron, Omega 3 oils) just taken as a standalone tablet or capsule between meals are anywhere near as effective as augmenting your regular meal. Most milk has Vitamin D added to it and milk contains both protein and fat, so you are getting food augmented with Vitamin D in milk..

  8. Livius Drusus

    Re: Disdain for the Less Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice.

    Good article. People should read Michael Young’s book The Rise of the Meritocracy. The society described in Young’s book was a perfect meritocracy and also a horrible dystopia. Those at the top knew they deserved their status not through the luck bestowed on people through nepotism but through their own innate superiority. Those on the bottom knew they were innately worth less than the meritocratic elite. I agree with Young that a meritocratic elite is even worse than a nepotistic one.

    I think that our belief in meritocracy is a huge stumbling block when it comes to making life better for the working class. I cannot count the times I have read or heard people saying that low-paid service workers don’t deserve to unionize or have a higher minimum wage because it would reward people who didn’t do well in school and so people would have no incentive to better themselves.

    What people don’t understand is that these service jobs are the jobs of the future. There are only so many jobs in the professional/managerial, STEM and skilled trade fields. So what do we do with the majority of people who will be working in the low-wage, low-benefit service sector? Tell them that they are losers who deserve to live a miserable life because they did poorly in school?

    The only way out of this conundrum is by destroying the idea of meritocracy and the obsession with upward mobility. Instead, the emphasis should be on rebuilding a prosperous working class. People tend to forget that the heyday of the working class after World War II was largely due to things like high rates of unionization and labor shortages that increased labor’s bargaining power, not because Americans were particularly well-educated. Many of the “good jobs” in fields like manufacturing used to be terrible jobs before they were unionized. Meatpacking has gone from being a bad job to being a good job when it was unionized to being a bad job again.

    I am also convinced that most conservatives and liberals believe that working class people should be remade in their image. Conservatives want workers to be entrepreneurs and liberals want workers to become professionals. My own reading and life experience tells me that most working-class people want to be more prosperous within their own milieu. They don’t necessarily want to transform themselves into whatever ideologues want them to be.

    Sure, some workers aspire to join a different milieu and that is fine and should be encouraged with opportunity but not to the detriment of the majority of people who will likely stay within the same class milieu as their parents. A decent life should not be a luxury for the aspirational and talented only. Even ordinary people should have a decent life.

    1. MT_Bill

      A lot of it also depends on what you consider working class. Go to a lake here in Montana, and the guy with the new F-350 Super Duty, the travel trailer, and wakesetter boat isn’t a manager at a software firm, he’s an electrician, plumber, or some other skilled industrial Tradesman.

        1. Rod

          well if your full time is coming up short on that F350 pymt, there’s another 12k available for a little Public Service in the MANG(5 openings now):
          Clean, running water and heat are necessities of life, and as a Plumber for the Army National Guard, you’ll train for a career that will always be in demand. In this role, you will work on pipe …
          and who in Mt doesnt need good wheels from Aug–April
 and cheaper than here on the East Coast

        2. MT_Bill

          Admittedly small sample size, but the few I know paid for at least the trailer and boat in cash.

          Entering the workforce at 18, and not paying for or losing income while in college makes a huge difference.

          Assuming 4 years in school at 15k per year vs. 4 years at 40k per year is a differential of 220k. That pays for a house in non-bozeman parts of the state and the SuperDuty right there. Gets larger if you factor in grad school.

          But I’m sure some are just over leveraged.

          1. MT_Bill

            Actually I take it all back. It’s horrible here, everything’s expensive, and no one can afford housing. Even if you’re in a skilled trade that would normally pay good money expect having to go to food banks if you move to Montana. If you don’t believe me, look at Bozeman and Whitefish for the average cost of housing. It just gets worse from there.

            On top of that we have 10 months of winter, two months of fires, and bears that act funny.

            1. The Historian

              LOL. You forgot all the rich people buying up all the good land. And having to walk uphill both ways to go to school. And months of 20 below temperatures.

              But a lot of what you say is true! I went to look up the price of housing in some of my favorite areas and what shocked me was the price of housing in Butte of all places!

              I lived in Montana for over 40 years. What finally drove me out was when I realized that I was never going to be able to retire – without food stamps – if I stayed there. What has kept me from going back now that I am retired is their winters.

              1. MT_Bill

                I haven’t been through Butte recently but I’m not surprised.

                We live near another traditionally less desirable City in Montana, and I couldn’t believe the number of U-Haul trucks coming into town over the last 7 months. We have an abandoned shopping center on the outskirts of town that is currently being used as overflow parking for U-Haul trailers and trucks. I have never seen that in the decade I’ve been here.

                The housing market was really hot at the beginning of the summer, with Buyers putting in cash bids after doing a zoom walkthrough with a realtor.

            2. diptherio

              Not only is this all true, it’s even worse than what Bill is saying. He didn’t mention that when it isn’t unbearably cold the whole state is on fire, practically everyone is a crazed Trump supporter, you’ll be lucky to find a job that pays $1000/month (before taxes) and most of the water is polluted from 100+ years of mining activity. Montana sucks, tell all your friends. I hear Wyoming is nice though.

              1. MT_Bill

                Here’s hoping today’s weather put some of the fires out. I was looking forward to the overtime though, would pay for gas during hunting season :)

                1. diptherio

                  Sometime we should do an MT NC meetup. Me, you and montanamaven, at least. Might even be a couple more of us kicking around.

                  And the weather today is great. Cold and rainy, what a relief.

                  1. David Wing

                    I am a longtime NC reader but don’t comment. I live in the aforementioned Butte which I have found to be a perfectly acceptable place to live during my seven decades. I like the idea of a MT NC meetup if possible. Hope to be invited.

                    1. Yves Smith

                      I was in Butte once as a kid when my parents included a road trip on a move from Oregon to Ohio.

                      There are many places we want to go when travel is a bit less dicey. Thanks for asking!

                2. rd

                  One of the things people should do if they want to avoid living in wildfire areas is to look to see if predominant plants species are classified as “fire dependent”. In the western part of Montana, Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia) is a dominant plant species. They are fire dependent.

                  The pine cones are “serotinous” which means they are closed and resin-covered. The pines cones sit on the forest floor until a fire comes through burning the superstory, heats up the cones, melts the resins, and then the seeds pop out of the suddenly opened cone. So the fireweed and lodgepole pine are quick to re-establish after a fire which is supposed to happen on about a 30 year cycle. Preventing forest fires just means more fuel builds up, the fires get hotter, and the pines cones may get destroyed instead of opened, disrupting the cycle.

                  The shore pines along the Pacific Northwest coast are another subspecies that do not have the serotinous cones, because they are not dependent on fire. However, California does have a shore pine subspecies with serotinous cones because that area is fire dependent for its ecology. Mother Nature knows what it is doing. People have been messing with it for the past century thinking they know better. The consequences are now hitting home.

                  The addition of non-native blowtorch species, like eucalyptus in California, are also making the fires worse. Many plant oils are made by the plants to coat their leaves to prevent water loss in arid climates. So if the plant you are looking to put in your garden is something you can buy an oil for cosmetic etc. purposes and the oil comes from the leaves or bark, assume you are installing a future blowtorch that could destroy your home.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Here in AUS I’ve witnessed a fire taking a grove of eucalypts with their volatile oils. You can get the same effect at home with these simple ingredients:

                    1 cup
                    Some gasoline
                    A match

                    The trees don’t burn so much as explode. The volatiles hang in the air like a blue mist

                    1. rd

                      At least they are native to Australia and are supposed to be there, even acting as food for the koalas as an integral part of the ecosystem.

                      Planting them in California is like putting in plastic plants covered with gasoline as an equivalent ecological benefit.

      1. Carolinian

        Or a “lawn care specialist”–a job my brother used to do as a teenager with a beat up gas mower and hand clippers. Apparently the F-350 is the ticket to being considered a professional. My neighborhood is clogged with the things along with their trailers stacked with “zero radius turn” riding mowers.

        1. The Historian

          My ‘lawn care specialist’ makes $40/hr for cutting lawns, mine and my neighbors. He has a F-250 for pulling his trailer with his mowers, but it is far from new. I would say it is about 20 years old. That seems to be the norm for this area.

        2. Off The Street

          Friends in South Carolina talk about how you can tell off-duty cops and firemen. They drive pickups with trailers hauling lawn care equipment. Weekend, and evening, warriors of a different type. They said it was the way to make ends meet and put food on the table, as in the case of that small town officer starting at a whopping 22K. His wife worked at a local dollar store, no benefits but at least a check, and the cost of living was low. Plenty of opportunities to earn that sweat equity.

          That same story has echoes all over the country, Montana, less-glamorous parts of California, and in those panhandles of sorts.

        3. eg

          Like my father, I’ve never understood paying someone to mow my lawn, as long as I remain physically able to do so.

      1. newcatty

        Here in a southwestern city, I knew a lot of teachers and staff at local public schools and staff at the college and university in our city. All of the teachers and staff, who did not have a spouse or partner who had jobs that paid well for the city, worked in the summers and/or weekends. The most interesting summer gig for one guy was being a fire look-out in the mountains every summer. He said adios to his family, though they visited often via camping nearby lookout. He spent most of time reading. Always with one eye roaming the forest for the trees. He lived cheap in the look-out, no rent and utilities paid. It was a great fit for him. He was an intelligent and quiet man, who loved his family. He was married to a woman of color, that even in more modern times was looked at as distasteful by many in his cohort at work. He was a dedicated teacher with students who respected him. His colleagues knew it and many were jealous. He never had disciplinary “problems”, as did many in the school. I talked to him in a job I had for the local university for outreach environmental program. He made something like 22,000 a year. His wife was happy to be a mom at home with kids.

    2. .Tom

      It was disappointing that Biden committed himself to meritocracy in his acceptance speech. Krystal Ball’s take down of that was particularly good. It incorporated Rahm Emanuel’s declaration of class war.

      > I am also convinced that most conservatives and liberals believe that working class people should be remade in their image.

      Maybe some do, to a degree, sorta believe the “give a hand up” story. Or maybe they just deploy it ad hoc without it being substantial in their ideology. Mostly I think they prefer to pay no attention to the issue. And I suspect many enjoy their superiority, although I’ve seldom heard people saying so.

      1. Acacia

        Why “disappointing”? The mask is dropping lower, and the virus-infected breath of the rotten to the core Democrat party is becoming more and more stank.

        1. .Tom

          Fair point. In fact I often argue the value of The New Transparency. But I can still be disappointed.

          For instance, the monstrous corruption of CARES manages somehow to simultaneously be astonishing, normal, disappointing, and logical. For me, anyway.

          While it’s got to get worse before it can get better, how much more worse can we and the rest of the planet take?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Even ordinary people should have a decent life.

      Hear, hear! Why should working as a grocery checkout clerk for example preclude a person from owning a house or going on a nice vacation? And even if everyone were equally talented and equally educated, not everyone can run the company and someone still needs to clean the bathroom. The people who make these meritocracy type arguments seem to be not very good at simple arithmetic, which makes one wonder whether they really earned their position or not.

    4. Ignacio

      I see a confusion in terms. Skilled is a term that can be applied to all ranks in an organization and it is associated to tasks, not to classes. You can be a skilled bus driver, a skilled designer, photographer or manager but the society cannot be divided in skilled or unskilled in a top down basis IMO. Then ‘well educated’ is also a brute distinction that sees education in the most utilitarian concept as a tool to social success, enrichment or whatever. I think it is sometimes confused with well connected.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        Sadly, the college grads (including every president since Carter) have hyped that success under neolib capitalism depends on earning a college diploma. Some of the smartest people I have met did not have even a BA. Some made a lot of money – most were just content with a life absent striving. As an employer, degrees and grades are a big help in determining which entry-level job applicant is diligent and can learn on the job, but that is about it. After all, few jobs require a specific major except in the professions and tech fields. As a bonus, one does often make useful contacts for future employment. Is that worth starting life 4 years older and $30K in debt?

        Roughly 66% of the adult population has no interest in education beyond high school (required by law). Most would be happy if somebody gave them big houses and snazzy cars, but they value their off-the-clock time more highly than they do the stress and strain of upward mobility. It is arrogance to assume that everybody wants – or needs – college.

        1. fwe’zy

          Colleges that include vocational/ trades as well as continuing education can be very good community hubs, without putting on any airs.

    5. Toshiro_Mifune

      So what do we do with the majority of people who will be working in the low-wage, low-benefit service sector? Tell them that they are losers who deserve to live a miserable life because they did poorly in school?

      You already know what becomes of them. We all do. Deaths from despair. Copy and paste onto their succeeding generations and eventually the excess labor supply is driven from the market.

    6. Pelham

      “Conservatives want workers to be entrepreneurs and liberals want workers to become professionals. My own reading and life experience tells me that most working-class people want to be more prosperous within their own milieu. They don’t necessarily want to transform themselves into whatever ideologues want them to be.”

      Great observation! Thank you.

    7. Maxwell Johnston

      “The heyday of the working class after WW2” was a blip, an outlier (assuming you are referring to the USA). It was only possible because of the USA’s uniquely strong position in 1945. It pretty much ended around 1973, with the spike in oil prices and the almost simultaneous completion of Europe & Japan finishing their post-WW2 retooling (with superior factories) and the emergence of the Asian tigers (SK, HK, Taiwan, Singapore). The world is a tough competitive place, even more so since the collapse of communism and the emergence of BRICs and pretty much everyone else onto the global markets. I just don’t see why a USA worker should be earning more than a comparable worker in China or Russia or India.

      1. JBird4049

        No, not quite. That story is a pretty fantasy, but it is an ideological libertarian or neoliberal cop-out to blame the poor, the working class, or even the middle class for their deliberate destruction by the wealthy and powerful. It is blaming the victim of a robbery for their poverty instead of the robber.

        The ruling American elites decided to maintain and increase their wealth and power by a process of economic pillaging, instead of economic creation, enabled by the creation of massive political corruption. By 1973, the ruling class here in America decided to bust the unions, ship all the industries, manufacturing, clothing, cars, furniture, electrical, tool making, or whatever with their jobs and skills overseas, created the War on Some Drugs, the Police State, as well as unaffordable housing, higher education, and medical care.

        I particularly don’t agree with now see children living on the street after an increasing population of homeless people during the past forty years. The cost of everything needed just to live always goes up, but the increase in wages never rises enough to match. Sometimes they even go in reverse. Yet somehow, the top 10% and especially for oligarchic top 1% make an increasingly obscene amount of money and wealth all while children are now living on the streets with their families.

        This cannot stand. It will not stand. I do not know what is going to happen; however, while I am here choking on the smoke from the California wildfires, I think of other kinds of wildfires, and I am afraid.

        1. Wyoming

          This. Is it exactly.

          My now long departed brother was head of North American operations for a Fortune 500 company back in the days the poster you are replying to was speaking of. He and I used to have intense arguments about the exact plan you just described as he told me explicitly that was what he and those in similar positions were planning on doing. As we had both been raised in a deep working class neighborhood I was utterly opposed due to the obvious effects this would have on the people we had been raised with. He could not have cared less.

          To him it was all about labor arbitrage as he called it then. I asked him what about America and the effect it will have on our country. He just looked at me and said the shareholders own this company and they are from all over the world. We are not an American company we are an international company he said. And the implication was clear that he had no obligations … other than to who owned the company.

          This is your libertarian anarchist future looking you in the face. I hope you all enjoy it….while you can.

      2. Efmo

        Maybe because their cost of living is higher? I just don’t see why a doctor or lawyer should earn more than a comparable worker in China or Russia or India. Or why a property owner should get higher rents.

    8. CitizenSissy

      Disagreed with the article’s premise. It’s not education, but credentialism, that’s the hallmark of the American elite. AI notwithstanding, cars still need to get fixed, and plumbing always has issues.

      My maternal grandmother left school in the eighth grade to sew in a garment factory, and was the best-educated person I’d ever met: read everything, and had a boundless curiosity about a wide range of subjects.

      A Labor Day aside: In 2011, I attended the 100th anniversary march of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in her honor; she told stories of the young women garment workers who came before her, and whose horrible deaths from unsafe working conditions led to reform of labor laws. Until 9/11 TSF was NYC’s worst fire event.

  9. Wukchumni

    Rotisserie League Notes:

    121 in Woodland Hills yesterday, and some summer soon it’ll be 125, rivaling Death Valley for the high heat.

    Without air conditioning misnomers such as Woodland Hills (there’s scant woodland there, lemme tellya) aren’t long for their population base, as few homes are surrounded by large shady trees, or made of thick adobe walls, and basements in SoCal?

    I’m sure there’s a dozen or more…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw some coverage of the fires in California earlier on the news tonight and they look just as bad as the ones that we had in Oz at the beginning of the year. Trying to fight those fires in that heat must be unbearable.

      1. Off The Street

        One brilliant couple started a big fire this weekend east of LA by San Bernardino when they let their Gender Reveal Display get out of control. They must’ve wanted to share the Darwin Award.

    2. Lost in OR

      “Water, water, water… There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount…unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
      ― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

      The quote I was looking for was something like “it is inevitable that the American southwest will return to desert it once was”.

      I think it’s time to pull an Abbey book (or two) out of storage. My melancholy misses him.

      1. Wukchumni

        There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.


        1. Still Above Water

          Wuk, as a city dweller, I’ve had a different experience. I’d say walking has made my world richer and more detailed, but not bigger. To cope with my business being closed due to the panicdemic, I’ve spent a lot of time this spring and summer walking my neighborhood. I’ve had a wonderful time admiring the architecture (it’s a national historic district), waving to people sitting in their yards, saying hello to cats, and feeding crows (who are starting to recognize me as “that guy with the peanuts“). But I already had a blurry conception of these streets being part of my world, thanks to seeing them from a car window.

          About a month ago the ebike I ordered in May arrived, so I’ve taken to riding instead of walking. The contrasts are significant. My world has become much bigger, expanded from a 1 1/4 mile radius to ~6 miles (I usually exercise for an hour). I’ve been down streets I’ve never traveled, been to parks I’ve never been to, and seen things I didn’t know were there, like a golf course flanked by a freeway and low-income housing project on one side and a high ridge on the other.

          I see more, but take in less. Much of my bandwidth is consumed by looking for potholes, cars, and other threats. Though it’s amazing how little traffic I see. I’ve yet to have a close call with a vehicle. I did almost run over a spaniel that was off leash (why are dog owners so indignant when they’re in the wrong?).

          A car makes the world bigger still, but I see almost nothing when driving, as all of my bandwidth is required for threat assessment. As a passenger, there’s little time to take in the rush of scenery. And cars tend to stay on major roads and highways, avoiding the byways, leaving large voids in the mental map.

          Anyway, I’ve had a wonderful time riding around in the cool evening air, listening to 60s jazz classics. It’s often dreamlike, like I’m flying. The selectable level of power assist and the boost button have made it seem as if I have bionic legs. I can commute to work downtown in 11 minutes, which is less time than it would take to drive & park. It takes a couple of minutes longer to ride home, but it’s all uphill, which is the reason why I never wanted to commute with a regular bike – it would take 2 or 3 times as long, and a lot more exertion. I’m curious to see how much I enjoy it when the rain & cold sets in, but for now, I am enjoying being able to ride up and back down the riverside, to the top of the nearby extinct volcano, or circumnavigate downtown without wearing my 57 year old body out.

          Of course, if I spent as much time walking in bike and car inaccessible places as you, I’d probably sing a different tune. ;)

          1. Wukchumni

            Slowing down always allows for fresh introspection and in some regards a car can be a better platform for wildlife, although the timing is really critical…

            Saw a brown mama black bear with charcoal & brown cubs on the road yesterday for a grand total of 2 seconds, just long enough for them to register in my mind and not much more. If i’d been 5 seconds earlier or later @ 25 mph I would’ve seen nothing.

            The Sierra mostly just repeats itself in foliage and fauna, and if anything i’m subconsciously looking for things that don’t fit the scheme, as they stand out like so many sore thumbs, and I scan around a great deal when i’m on trail, as it’s kind of the equivalent of being on a hiking highway and doesn’t demand your attention like being off-trail does, where you have to think about every step to some extent.

            One thing you can embrace walking in a city setting that I always rely on, is how things look differently depending on what direction you are approaching them from, a coming and a going if you will, and granted my canvas stretches out to infinity often, the same holds true.

    3. crittermom

      High nineties here in Colorado. Most 90+ days on record this year. (Eastern plains have been in the 100’s, but they’re always much hotter)

      By tomorrow morning winter will make an appearance with temps dropping into the twenties with a wet snow, for two days, then back into warmer temps. Extremes.

      HIgh winds will precede the front, of course. Not good.
      With already large fires (including the largest on record) raging through half of the state, any moisture is most welcome–in addition to cooler temperatures.

      My heart goes out to any residents in states experiencing the horrific fires.

      And especially to those battling them, no matter how high the pay.
      They’re earning it.

    4. periol

      120 in San Luis Obispo yesterday. If that record high verifies, it would be the highest temperature recorded next to the ocean anywhere in the Americas!

        1. td

          That place in Siberia had a major unseasonable snowstorm a couple of weeks after the 100 degrees, so things are getting steadily more complicated.

      1. Paradan

        LOL it was only 116 here in Paso Robles, that’s gotta be the first time I’ve ever seen SLO be hotter. Been living in the area off and on for almost 40 years.

    5. kareninca

      I just looked and houses in Woodland Hills cost $1.5 million for a regular house. Why can’t people there afford to remodel to have more insulation (or even rebuild), and shade plant trees, and dig basements?

  10. Tom Stone

    109 degrees in Sebastopol yesterday, 105 predicted for today, 116 degrees in Sonoma…
    High winds are expected, starting this evening through Wednsday AM.
    I’m off to get gas and will be fully packed and ready to run by 9 AM.
    Live and learn, then die and forget it all….

    1. The Historian

      Trump is nothing if not unpredictable. He may decide to punish what he considers the deep state by pardoning Snowden.

  11. KFritz

    Re: Michael Sandel on Acceptable Prejudice

    Kudos for this article. Many self-identified philosophers write in abstruse, difficult to read through language–not so Mr. Sandel. The article is straightforward prose, and its point is well taken. Put bluntly, Biden’s apparent folksiness may be a good counter to Trump’s “mass appeal.” Let’s hope so.

    1. anon y'mouse

      OBiden’s “folksiness” is weaponized identitarian nonsense (omitting race) directed towards pillaging the votes of those who buy it, and signals nothing like an attitude change by the Dems for their former base, and definitely nothing like policies meant to help “those people”.

      It’s like when they pull out a woman defense lawyer for a bigtime rapist.

      It’s similar to Obama’s “folks” but with slightly less pretense.

      Fall for it, and I guess you’ll fall for any salesperson’s shpiel.

  12. km

    The folks at TAC never fail to amaze with their gullibility; Trump cultists efforts to convince themselves that the Trump that they voted for in 2016 is going to show up rivals that of Obama groupies.

    Trump is not going to pardon Snowden or Assange. He had three years to do so and all this time, he has only escalated the attacks on these men.

    1. Dirk77

      The article states that a federal judge has ruled that the NSA surveillance was indeed illegal. It seems then that Snowden now has a better case than did Ellsberg. So if not Trump, then the US Supreme Court, who exonerated Ellsberg.

      1. km

        Since when did Trump make such decisions with an eye to the courts?

        The man couldn’t even read a court decision, not that I would be in favor of torturing him so.

        1. Dirk77

          Political strategy is not my expertise, but I gather that one purpose of the TAC article would be to provide arguments for a pardon, should the Trump admin pursue it. There must be somebody home in his cabinet.

  13. .Tom

    > Stoller’s “Rumors Spread on Social Media…”

    It’s certainly interesting to see that the Justice Department is preparing to take on Google. But even assuming hypothetically that all the public institutions involved acted perfectly in duty to public interest, what’s the best possible outcome from law enforcement (including trust busting) v. big tech?

    Idk, but … 1) Excited and angry people will still be the most profitable. 2) Moving the boundaries of acceptable speech is a quantitative tweak that might help in some cases but can’t actually fix anything (while creating its own new problems). 3) With lots of smaller tech firms competing to optimize the system that emerges from new regulation, things could get worse as some of them innovate beyond what the giants of today could manage. 4) The power of big data comes from its size and should be used to benefit people. Limiting the size of any particular database can defeat the good as well as the bad.

    Astra Taylor’s 2014 “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age” convinced me a critical part of the problem is that advertising is the revenue for (much of what we refer to as) the internet.

    And I think big data about us and our lives needs to be our property, not that of profit-seeking corporations. This belief thanks to Evgeny Morozov and Shoshana Zuboff, despite their differences.

    I also don’t know how to fix those issues but I think it’s at least helpful to understand them while we consider how far enforcing current law can help us.

    1. JTMcPhee

      There may be “show trials,” but the DoJ and state attorneys general are configured only to put up a complaint or indictment, garner some press that leaves the mopes thinking’s “Thank God, there is still some justice in the world,” and then comes the settlement without admission of liability or guilt. Sometimes trumpeted as “the biggest settlement/fine EVAH!” but really just a cost of doing business. And the “business” rolls on, getting bigger and more concentrated, because it is organized and driven by greed and the drive to power that so patently infects everything human. Bezos was going to call his corporate juggernaut “Relentless,” and Tim Cook and Zuck and Musk and Dimon and the rest have not an eleemosynary bone between them.

      Learn to get small and cooperate to feed yourself and your close circle.

      “ for the world, which seems
      To lie before us like a land of dreams,
      So various, so beautiful, so new,
      Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
      Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
      And we are here as on a darkling plain
      Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
      Where ignorant armies clash by night.

      Seems to me like the processes of collapse are accelerating, but then I’m just an old guy at the end stages. And young fools hate me and my age cohort, we’re “boomers” that ought to die and get out of their way on their way “up…”

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Germany Debates Halting Contentious Russian Pipeline Project”

    Not surprising that it is the Spiegel pushing this idea as that is what German Alantasists are wanting to happen as well. If this happened, Russia would just turn around and sell the gas to China instead. But here is the thing. Remember when the Russians were having the French build two Mistral-class ships for them and Obama ordered the French to stop, which they did. Because of contractual obligations, the French then had to send the Russian a literal boat load of cash in compensation. I think I read an article today which said that the same thing would be in play. That the Germans would have to compensate the Russians for sunk costs which would amount to several boat loads of cash. And Germany would miss out on that cheap gas which would hinder their economy as they try to recover from the shutdowns. And then they would have to buy much more expensive American which would only arrive in limited amounts – subject to any storms hitting the Gulf of course.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Considering that the US fracking industry infrastructure consists mainly of smoke and mirrors, the Germans are going to be in for a very cold winter if they were so foolish as to scrap the deal with Russia.

      1. Olga

        This is pretty insane. Fake a poisoning so that you may cut your nose off to spite your face. What happened to the ‘rational’ Germany? And the cold in winter would be the least of their problems… Not having reliable source of energy has the potential seriously to dent G’s growth. I guess a small price to pay for obedience to a greater (and occupying) power.

        1. Annus Horribilis

          Navalny, and Lukashenko playing both sides against the middle in Belarus. Of all the post-soviet republics, the patinated iron curtain still seemed sturdiest in Belarus. Historically, after being peeled off the Polish kingdom and the Lithuanian Duchy, Moscow only has only needed to dispatch Cossacks to kill the occasional Jesuit in Belarus, leaving this once cosmopolitan region to its own devices. – Lukashenko has been President since 1994, a little dim, but a reliable chekist. But then running up the August election, the wives of his imprisoned opponents really hit a nerve with the Belarussian people. To avoid being the next Yanukovych, paranoid about green men pouring over his border, out of the blue, Lukashenko made overtures to join NATO, if only to preserve his rule.

          The Belarussian wobble shook Moscow to its core, a major intel failure, in the near-abroad, no less. Then this summer’s unrest in Siberia. The security services needed to prove how valuable they are to Putin. Taking it up a notch, maiming Navalny puts everyone on notice where Russia stands on Presidential term-limits. Navalny’s now the living-dead, a reminder, in and out of the news for the near future, until this thing blows over. – As for NordStream, Germany can keep getting gas via the Druzhba pipeline through Belarus and Ukraine. In fact, energy-for-federation talks between Minsk and Moscow collapsed, and Lushenko threatened to take Druzhba oil off the top. NordStream, as a way for Moscow to bypass all this Ruritanian intrigue, means way more to Russia then to the rest of Europe.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Why would Russia used Novichok to down Navalny, a guy who only polls about 2% during elections, especially after that bogus Salisbury attack. That would be like the airliner that he was on also having to dodge Buk missiles and when Navalny reached Germany, it was also found that he was radioactive from Polonium.

            Yeah, gas can still go through the Ukraine but that country has a habit of swiping gas for free that is meant for Europe and the infrastructure is getting very old which the Ukrainians do not have the money to pay to upgrade it. The problem for Lukashenko is that when you try to play both sides, that you can be hit from both sides.

            1. Ganja man

              Can’t you hold 2 thoughts in your head at the same time? Those being, the Democrats exaggerated Russias role in the 2016 election, and Putin is a murderous thug who poisons his perceived enemies. Or, because the Democrats always complain about Russia, does that make Putin an innocent Saint?

              1. Yves Smith

                You look to be new here. This is not a chat board and getting gratuitously nasty is not on, even more so when you are on shaky footing.

                We don’t labor under the delusion that Putin is nice. However, the evidence that Russia was behind the poisoning of the Skripals is comically bad, and the same is shaping up with the “poisoning” of Navalny, which was walked all the way back before it was revived. And that’s before you get to cui bono: Putin had ample opportunity to knock off Skripal in Russia but didn’t, and Navalny’s death or incapacitation is not to his benefit either.

            2. vidimi

              navalny is russia’s most prominent investigative journalist, setting aside his political role. he has plenty of enemies who would want to off him.

              the russian state’s lack of interest in investigating his poisoning is not a good look, though.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Unless of course the Russians have blood samples from Navalny that show no Novichok at all. The Russians have asked for samples from the Germans of Navalny’s blood but the Germans are stalling and saying that the procedure is complicated to do so. I do wonder what happened on that NGO-chartered plane that took him from Russia to Germany then if the two samples are different.

  15. Liquid Amber

    My ode to Labor Day – Uber/Lyft versus the gig workers – Proposition 22 in California – Part I

    Proposition 22 Summary, mostly the facts and some observations.:
    I have divided this into 3 parts – ASK, GIVE and MISC. The GIVE section got a little long, but the details matter. I also have tried to break it up into bite sized chunks.

    ASK 1: The primary ASK by the ride-share companies (RSC in the rest of the document) is for us to vote in favor of their position that gig-workers should not fall under AB5, which would make them W2 employees.

    ASK 2: This Proposition will prohibit local jurisdictions in CA from overriding it.
    The Proposition overrides any local laws/regulations.

    ASK 3: There is also a paragraph about special restrictions on any kind of labor organizing by the drivers.

    ASK 4: It says that the CA legislature may pass amendments to this only if seven-eighths of the membership of both houses vote for it. This is a higher bar than needed to overcome a filibuster and a Presidential veto. Propositions once passed it are VERY VERY hard to amend. This is it!

    In return, there are a few “Gives,” offering some benefits to the gig-workers.

    The term engaged is used many times in the Proposition. Here is the definition:
    Engaged is defined as the time time between accepting a service and completing it.
    It specifically excludes the time between gigs when you are waiting for the next ride.

    Give 1. A minimum earnings of 120% the minimum wage in the area per “engaged” time,
    plus 30 cents a mile per “engaged” mile.

    Which means that if
    a driver is “engaged” for an hour and
    is in-between rides, waiting for the next ride for just 12 minutes,
    and still does not reach the minimum earnings,
    he will be paid 120% of minimum wage for the hour and no wages for the 12 minutes.
    If you average that over the engaged and wait time, he will make minimum wage.
    If his wait time is longer than 12 minutes he makes less that the minimum wage if you include the wait time.

    Also I am not sure how you can fall below minimum wage for “engaged” time, unless
    you accept a ride where the customer is far away,
    drive a long way/time for the pick up and
    the ride turns out to be a short one.

    And oh, by the way, wages are calculated per pay period, which could be at most 2 weeks.
    So if you have a bad day where you earnings were below the minimum
    and then the next day you have a good day,
    the extra you earned on the good day makes up for the bad and
    the company does not up your earnings for the bad day to meet the minimum.
    The driver makes up for the bad day from his own good day.
    Affects the RSCs bottom line only when a driver has a really bad week or two weeks (pay period)
    that he averages BELOW the minimum promised for the entire pay period.

    Also, the 30c a mile is better than the current amount (nothing)
    but is lower than the IRS 2020 mileage rate of 57.5c.

    Self-employed workers also pay 15.3% in social security and Medicare taxes on every dollar of net income, while W2 people only pay 7.65% (half the amount). This needs to be taken into account as well.

    Give 2. Requires companies to provide 82% of the Obamacare Bronze Premium for just the driver,
    no family members are included.
    Only if the driver averages 25 “engaged” hours per week for a quarter
    (which implies many more hours on the app, waiting for rides).
    Payment is made AFTER the quarter is over.

    A lower percent if you average between 15 and 25 “engaged” hours.

    Forces a worker to stick with one app. Other parts of the Proposition is all about “flexibility” to be on multiple apps.

    If a gig-worker does not need medical insurance, for example, if the spouse is employed, this benefit is useless.
    If it was structured more flexibly more workers may be able to take advantage of it.

    If someone falls sick during the quarter and
    is not able to meet the average 25 hours of “engaged” per week
    they may fall into the lower level medical insurance payment.
    If they fall really sick and cannot meet the 15 hours
    they lose the medical insurance payment for the entire quarter, may be just when they need it most.
    Strong incentive to keep working even if you are sick, not a good idea if you happen to be a passenger in the car of such a driver.
    There is no mention of what happens if Obamacare is struck down by the Supreme Court. This is important. Worst case coverage will cease if that happens.

    Give 3. Provides or “makes available” a couple of types of insurance:
    accident medical coverage, disability payments, death benefits.
    “Make available” is not defined, however, it likely means the drivers will have to pay for coverage.
    Again the insurance mostly only applies when engaged and NOT when on the app. waiting for a ride.

    The RSC shall maintain liability insurance of 1 million dollars per occurrence if a driver hits and injures or kills someone.
    May include passengers getting injured or killed.
    It also says “where the automobile is not otherwise covered,” not sure what happens if the automobile is covered but for a lower amount.
    This is not a “Make available” but a “Shall” the company pays for the insurance.


    It also gives a few more things about Safety etc. Here is a summary copied from a public webpage which summarizes it:
    “Proposition 22 would also require the companies to: develop anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies; develop training programs for drivers related to driving, traffic, accident avoidance, and recognizing and reporting sexual assault and misconduct; have zero-tolerance policies for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and require criminal background checks for drivers. The ballot initiative would criminalize false impersonation of an app-based driver as a misdemeanor.”

  16. Liquid Amber

    My ode to Labor Day – Uber/Lyft versus the gig workers – Proposition 22 in California – Part II

    OK, what do I think of all this?
    1. Uber/Lyft are very useful and convenient. Pre COVID I used them fairly regularly for rides for my father.
    2. They play a valuable role by providing mobility to senior citizens and reducing driving under the influence of alcohol.
    3. People are avoiding public transportation now-a-days and relying even more on Uber/Lyft.
    4. I am also very much in favor of preserving flexible gig work for the casual worker.

    How does this Proposition fit into this:
    1. This Proposition does preserve gig work. And the ability to work on multiple platforms.
    2. It gives some additional benefits to the workers. The benefits are few, narrow, rigid, very tightly defined for reasons I have listed in Part 2.
    3. It gives broad powers to the gig companies overriding local regulations and prohibiting the workers from organizing. These seems opportunistic add ons, not related or relevant to the stated purpose of the Proposition.
    4. Most importantly, it puts an impossible hurdle to improve/fix/change/update/modify this in the future.
    5. There is still a wide chasm between the benefits promised here and those provided to W2 workers – including short changing the state of unemployment taxes which are used to fund unemployment insurance (see the KQED article below).

    What happens if the Proposition passes?
    Almost certain that this is ALL the workers EVER get. Period.
    And the victory will make it unnecessary for the companies to ever change their treatment of workers. The citizens of California have given them the green light. The same model will then be pushed on to other states.

    The question then is, what happens if the Proposition loses? Is the gig-worker doomed?
    I highly doubt it. My belief is that there will be some messy drama between the companies, the courts and the government.
    Then everyone will calm down and come to a settlement. California cannot/will not allow so many workers to be out-of-work, especially in the current COVID environment. We can hope that the workers get a better deal and retain some flexibility to change/improve as the circumstances/conditions change.
    We can even actively help this happen by calling our state rep., senator etc.

    Even the CEO of Uber says gig workers deserve better. He describes some nice, flexible ways forward that are missing from the Proposition:

    Here is the KQED article mentioned earlier about not paying unemployment insurance taxes.

    I will end with one worker’s perspective:

  17. Wukchumni

    I’ve mentioned previously our little town’s evang militia church that hightailed it to the Potato state (now known as the Lordship Church), and Idaho’s gain is our gain, but it gets you thinking with the various right wing militias in vogue now, do we really deserve nutjobs like this calling the shots?

    From 8 years ago, while they were still a menace to our community…

    A California church with longstanding ties to far-right extremists and a militia of its own is preparing for war.

    In a 22-acre compound at the southern edge of Sequoia National Park in California, a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists is preparing for war. One of the men helping train the flock in the art of combat, a former Marine named Steve Klein, believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can.”

    “I know I’m getting prepared to shoot back,” Klein says.

    At the head of the Church at Kaweah is Pastor Warren Mark Campbell, who sees yet another enemy on the horizon: the “New World Order,” that chimera of the conspiracists who populate the resurgent, antigovernment “Patriot” movement.

    The tiny church has been well outside the mainstream since the early 1990s, when founding pastor Warren Lee Campbell (father of the current pastor) bought into the notion that churches should shun all government regulation and answer solely to God. Since then, the church has become increasingly radical, ramping up its paramilitary activities and forging alliances with an array of figures revered on the radical right — among them, militia and Patriot leaders, white supremacists, neo-Confederates, border vigilantes and Christian Reconstructionists, whose goal is to turn America into a theocracy based on the Old Testament. In the meantime, the church’s militia has gone from patrolling the banks of the Kaweah River to conducting joint exercises with Minuteman groups along the Mexican border.

    1. furies

      So how’s AlAnon (this has got to be wrong…what was their name? Headquarters in Santa Monica) doing these days? Remember the story of the rattlesnake placed in their mailbox?

      What was their name? They rehab-ed drug addicts…

    2. Mikel

      “a former Marine named Steve Klein, believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can.”

      These are the same types that say they won’t let govt brainwash them with a plandemic. That they are “free-thinking” people that don’t buy media hype.

      Then they’ll say some laughable crap like this that makes you want to shout: Fool, they don’t need a virus to control you. You are already mind@#$%&*.

  18. The Rev Kev

    Man, that owl in today’s Antidote du Jour has some great camo going on. Took me a few seconds to realize what I was looking at.

  19. Wukchumni

    Damage Assessment WaPo
    Interesting article on confirming whether a living person has CTE, and its hard to imagine but the NFL season opens this week, the most popular pro sport in the land, with the closest contact.

    What could go awry?

    Prediction: Bills face a team to be named later in the Super Bowl, become 5 time losers of said contest.

    1. ewmayer

      My sister & her family recently returned from a 2-week road trip which ended with a week in the resort town of Ketchum, Idaho, famous for being one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunts (the southern ones being Key West and his beloved Finca Vigia ranch in pre-Castro Cuba – descendants of the “Hemingway cats” he kept at the Finca still live at the carefully preserved Key West home & museum. Ketchum is where he retired to and later blew his brains out … sis sent pics of the lovely streamside Hemingway memorial erected by the locals in his honor.

      Anyhow, I e-mailed her to the effect that I believe Hemingway may well have been an unrecognized victim of CTE, long before the condition was known. The famous Carlos Baker biography vividly desribes the author walking away from several small-plane crashes that occurred while on safari in Africa, and appear to have inflicted serious head trauma – Baker even describes a skull fracture so severe that meningeal fluid was oozing down H’s face. Wikipedia describes the serious aftereffects, but does not mention the possibility of CTE: “He almost died in 1954 after plane crashes on successive days; injuries left him in pain and ill health for much of the rest of his life.” The resulting chronic pain caused him to drink even more heavily than his longstanding normal-heavy-imbibement, which of course compounded his health problems.

      And the symptoms that afflicted H in the years leading up to his suicide sound very much like those of CTE – inability to focus which prevented Hemingway from doing productive writing, leading to profound depression and eventual suicide. Aha … I see Wikipedia indeed mentions the possibility of CTE in the final sad Idaho and Suicide section of its bio. It is too bad that the coroner saved no samples of brain tissue – it would’ve been very interesting to examine using modern pathological techniques.

  20. ChrisAtRU

    Happy Labour Day to the our awesome site team and the best commentariat on Al Gore’s internet! ;-)

    8 Magnificent Facts About Mongooses

    “The Plural Is ‘Mongooses,’ But It’s OK to Say ‘Mongeese'”

    This was my first question! LOL … glad it got cleared up right away! Great read!

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Rebuilding the Economy Will Require Joe Biden to Think Very Differently Than 2009

      So much good to unpack here … it probably deserves its own post. This excerpt from Galbraith’s summary is noteworthy for they way it indicts our current crop of kleptocrats:

      ” … there are a few moments in American history when the country rallied to do what was necessary, overcoming the odds, the powers, the old ideas, and the bad actors who stood in the way. It did so in 1861, in 1933, and in 1942. And here we are again.”

      [Emphasis mine]

      Not oddly, 2007/2008 was also such a moment, but one which arguably fell prey to old ideas and bad actors. Larry Summers swooping in to dampen Obama’s stimulus constitutes the perfect, horrid nexus of both old ideas and bad actors. The tragedy of our current situation is not just the virus, as much as it is the fact that the country has no way to effectively overcome the old ideas and bad actors. We have Joe Biden threatening to veto #M4A over its ‘price tag’ at a time when Stephanie Kelton’s ‘Deficit Myth’ is a national bestseller. We also have Biden’s economic advisor telegraphing austerity early with ‘the pantry is bare’ trope. These perfectly encapsulate the primacy of old ideas. Those in power are not interested in doing what is necessary, but are instead choosing to stand in the way. I cannot see Joe Biden, shepherded by a vast entourage of Obama alums, and potentially paired in power with someone like Nancy Pelosi, doing anything remotely near what the country need to be in terms of doing what’s absolutely needed.

      1. neo-realist

        My (semiunrealistic) hope is that the progressive block of the democratic party, e.g., Jaypal, Bush, AOC, and the like, which wasn’t around at the beginning of the Obama administration, warns the Biden administration that if you do austerity as per usual on top of an economic crash that is worst than the one in 2008, you will be punished at the ballot box in 2024 with one term. Keynesian spending on infrastructure and full coverage of unemployment benefits is your best shot for Kamala taking the oath in 2024, lest another faux populist republican beats you due to the usual tin ear and contempt toward the left.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          … but who is going to listen?

          This is the conundrum that a Biden win would create: the powers that be would in their hubris conclude that they were able to win without conceding to left demands, and would summarily continue to execute on a neo-[con|liberal] agenda. So what folks on the left have been saying is that the best bet is to vote for left candidates down ballot wherever possible. Change comes best from the bottom up. It’s not going to happen over one or two cycles, unless we get an electoral sea change. It would also help if people like Pelosi and Schumer got booted. Schumer’s in till 2022, but I bet he’d take the left more seriously if Pelosi got booted in November. Odds on she’ll win, but if we’re in the realm of unrealistic hopes, then my penny in the fountain goes to seeing Pelosi out.

  21. Wukchumni

    Reminder: The Rich Have Always Fled Cities in Epidemics TreeHugger
    Entry level homes here got bought up by the AirBnB/VRBO crowd years ago, while anything over $400k languished, but now the more expensive homes are selling to those from the Big Smokes, looking to get small.

    It’d be interesting if the vacation rentals start getting sold to escapees, all there has to be is more money in it to make it so number won.

  22. Skip Intro

    I didn’t see this posted here, but it was so amusing that it deserves a replay. Perhaps file it under Dems trying to lose:
    DNC Debate: duplicated audience members

    To save you the clicks, the zoom ‘audience’ for Kamala’s speech had like 3 women duplicated in different spots. They only had to find 30 Kamala fans…

    And in case you think it is an admirable fake:

    DNC Debate, YouTube

    Skip to 2:18:48

    1. crittermom

      A great photo of a single owl.

      Having finally been able to capture photos of owls this year, I can attest to the fact they blend in really well.

  23. will nadauld

    The ” when Trump loses,dems will attack his base” article got me thinking. When in the recent past has his base of working class or middle wage earners not been under attack from both parties?

    1. allan

      To answer your question, working class or middle wage earners have been under attack from both parties
      for decades, although in different ways.

      But the premise of the article is false. From 2016:

      …Hillary Clinton won by 12 points among voters making less than $30,000 a year—53% to Trump’s 41% —and by 9 points among people making between $30,000 and $49,999. Trump’s support was the inverse. He won every group making $50,000 or more—albeit by smaller margins.

      This is consistent with analysis of exit polls from the primary, which found that the median household income of Trump voters—about $72,000—was significantly higher than the median household income of the country as a whole—about $56,000. It was also higher than that of the average Clinton and Sanders voters—about $61,000 each. …

      Trump’s base is not working class or middle wage earners.
      It’s the ultra rich, many of the only merely rich, and the Church of the Holy `I’ve got mine, Jack’.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Brock and Seaver in the course of a week. Sigh. Makes me feel old. But they were both very very good at what they did. Good guys, intelligent, and strong personalities too. They wanted to win, and they did. RIP.

  24. JustAnotherVolunteer

    World Turned Upside Down

    In 1649
    To St George’s Hill
    A ragged band they called the Diggers
    Came to show the people’s will
    They defied the landlords
    They defied the laws
    They were the dispossessed
    Reclaiming what was theirs

    ‘We come in peace’ they said
    ‘To dig and sow
    We come to work the land in common
    And to make the waste land grow
    This earth divided
    We will make whole
    So it can be
    A common treasury for all

    ‘The sin of property
    We do disdain
    No one has any right to buy and sell
    The earth for private gain
    By theft and murder
    They took the land
    Now everywhere the walls
    Rise up at their command

    ‘They make the laws
    To chain us well
    The clergy dazzle us with heaven
    Or they damn us into hell
    We will not worship
    The God they serve
    The God of greed who feeds the rich
    While poor men starve

    ‘We work, we eat together
    We need no swords
    We will not bow to masters
    Or pay rent to the lords
    We are free men
    Though we are poor’
    You Diggers all stand up for glory
    Stand up now

    From the men of property
    The orders came
    They sent the hired men and troopers
    To wipe out the Diggers claim
    Tear down their cottages
    Destroy their corn
    They were dispersed –
    Only the vision lingers on

    ‘You poor take courage
    You rich take care
    The earth was made a common treasury
    For everyone to share
    All things in common
    All people one
    We come in peace’-
    The order came to cut them down

    Leon Rosselson

    Happy Labor Day All

    1. Peerke

      I recommend the version sung by Dick Gaughn on “Handful of Earth”. “Worker’s song” on that album is also a good labour day listen.

  25. Wukchumni

    I heard when Pence becomes President in 2024, Labor Day will be a festive event where mothers that come through with the goods on that given Monday will have all their maternity expenses covered by the government.

    The timing of course will be tricky in the opening moments, imagine the disappointment for your kid’s coming out party to commence @ 12:02 am on the Tuesday following?

  26. semiconscious

    My real name is Rósa Arianna McGowan. I have lived a double life. Being a radical has been my only way out of being controlled by three letters that start with C. It’s nice to meet you all. Go to my IG for more. #CulturalReset

    — Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) September 5, 2020

    so, this & a few dollars gets me a cup of coffee? news i can use?…

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      What are the three letters? CCC? CDE? And what is the significance? Feeling a bit obtuse. (Yeah, yeah, I know)

      1. Sailor Bud

        CIA seems to be the keyed-upon entity in the tweets. Her whole post was a little chilling to read, though vague. Since it poses a question about *our* happiness, apparently CIA would sound about right, or some other suitably national C-thing that could affect me and you and everyone else. She does implicate “Hollywood” too. Dunno. Will wait and see.

    2. ewmayer

      “three letters that start with C” is nonsensical … the only “letter that starts with C” is, well, C. Perhaps she meant “a three-letter initialism that starts with C”? We need a dozens-of-posts tweetstorm to clear things up…

  27. Pelham

    Re the item on college newspapers: One upside of the collapse of journalism is that most of these bizarrely misguided students will never be able to make a living in the profession.

  28. fresno dan

    so I’m minding my own business perusing the comments, and all of a sudden my cell phone starts screeching a sound I have never heard before. I almost jumped out of my skin. I didn’t even know my phone could make that sound. I’m not sure if I should open it (I confess – it is a flip phone) and there is a message from the Fresno sheriff mandating evacuation of Auberry.
    So I’m just passing on the message to anyone in Auberry who doesn’t have a phone, but has a computer…or laptop…
    yeah, seems unlikely.

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