Links 10/10/2020

Eco-friendly shark barrier invented in South Africa Getaway (David L)

Memristor Breakthrough: First Single Device To Act Like a Neuron IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L)

The Plastic Pandemic Reuters (Bob H)

Silent Rooftop Wind Turbines Could Generate Half of a Household’s Energy Needs TreeHugger (David L)

Vermont to legalize recreational marijuana The Hill

‘Rapid evolution’ means humans now being born without wisdom teeth Independent (Kevin W)

U.S. Crop Report Signals Worsening Global Food-Insecurity Crisis Bloomberg

Thinning forests no defence against fires PhysOrg (Robert M)


Witches Are Trying to Figure Out Whose Spell Gave Trump COVID-19 Vice (resilc)


Trump Feasts On Deep-Fried Fetus After Learning Antibody Treatment Derived From Stem Cells The Onion

Covax: Covid vaccine global effort gets China’s support Guardian

Pregnant women are likely to have mild covid-19 cases but suffer prolonged symptoms, study finds Washington Post

The association of treatment with hydroxychloroquine and hospital mortality in COVID-19 patients Internal and Emergency Medicine. Jury still out despite consensus in US press.

Three Quarters of People with SARS-CoV-2 Infection are Asymptomatic: Analysis of English Household Survey Data DovePress. Not reviewed but a large sample.

‘So frustrating’: Doctors and nurses battle virus skeptics Associated Press (furzy)


Britain is heading ‘into a long winter’ as Covid second wave strikes Financial Times


U.S. Caps Troubling Week With Deadly Rebound of Covid-19 Bloomberg

US should not approve vaccine based on UK trials, says Pelosi Financial Times

Coughing Trump suggests he may never even have had coronavirus in Fox News interview: ‘They found very little, if any’ Independent

Donald Trump Will Kill Us All New Republic


Trump fuels and frustrates COVID-19 relief talks The Hill. Wellie…Trump inserted himself when by all indications, there is no deal to be had, per McConnell.

White House Draws Up New $1.8 Trillion Virus-Relief Plan Wall Street Journal

‘Shameless Stunt’: Trump Reportedly Attempting to Raid Medicare Trust Fund to Pay for Drug Discount Cards With His Name on Them Common Dreams

Self-funding QAnon candidate gave own campaign $450,000 after getting PPP loan Salon

Fed Lending Saved Corporate America. It Could Do the Same for Cities and States. Intercept. Resilc: “My Vermont property taxes up 10% this year. Other state rev killed.”

Trump Is Killing the Economy Out of Spite The New York Times


Why America’s Economic War on China is Failing CounterPunch

Trump: China ‘Will Pay’ for Coronavirus Resilc: “Sort of like how Mexico will pay for the wall?”

Far-right combat sports: A dangerous training ground for violence Al Jazeera. Here we try to channel them into those American Ninja shows.


Armenia and Azerbaijan agree ceasefire Financial Times

Iran Is Building A Massive Energy Network To Boost Its Geopolitical Influence OilPrice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Treat Your Smartphone Like Hannibal Lecter American Conservative. By our Bill B!!!

Watchdog urges more action to protect planes from hackers PBS (David L)


Where Is My Final Assange Report? Craig Murray

George Monbiot’s Excuses For Not Speaking Out Loudly in Defense of Assange Simply Won’t Wash Counterpunch (Mike R)

Trump Transition

How Trump damaged science — and why it could take decades to recover Nature (Kevin C)

The Senate: Profoundly Undemocratic (JTM)

Pelosis Take a Big Stake in CrowdStrike, Democrat-Connected Linchpin of Russia Probe RealClearInvestigations (Kevin W)

Health Care

Workers With Health Insurance Face Rising Out-of-Pocket Costs New York Times (resilc)


Debate commission cancels Oct. 15 Trump-Biden debate The Hill

Twitter Slows Down Retweets Ahead of U.S. Election Wall Street Journal

Trump steel tariffs bring job losses to swing state Michigan Reuters

Suspended officials sue agency that runs Voice of America Associated Press (furzy)

Biden Camp Keeps Quiet on Record Cash Haul So Donors Keep Giving Bloomberg

The Surge: If Democrats don’t take the Senate, blame Cal Cunningham. Slate

Meet the Americans ‘standing by’ for possible election violence Reuters

Commerce Township inspector cut by razor-bordered Trump sign Detroit Free Press (resilc)

Biden moves to stave off surprise loss in Nevada Politico (Kevin W)

Whitmer conspiracy allegations tied to ‘boogaloo’ movement NBC (furzy)

Police State Watch

Dangerous use of crowd-control weapons against medics and protesters in Portland, OR The Lancet (furzy). IIRC, Portland wasn’t the only place the police targeted medics.

Police departments don’t really need excess military gear, Pentagon IG says Task & Purpose (BC)

What Elon Musk’s 42,000 Starlink satellites could do for — and to — planet Earth Business Insider (Kevin W)

IBM will spin off legacy business to focus on cloud and AI services The Verge (Kevin W)

AT&T plans thousands of layoffs at HBO, Warner Bros., rest of WarnerMedia ars technica (BC)

PG&E Equipment Might Have Ignited Northern California Fire Wall Street Journal

Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing The Correspondent (Erik S). Haha, this is what we said years ago, that this was a technology searching for an application, and money wasn’t it, and also pointed out there was very little real-world need for irrevocable transactions, which is what blockchain creates.

Class Warfare

Homeless and facing winter in Minneapolis NBC (Chuck L)

US will ‘become a renter nation,’ says real estate investor Yahoo (resilc)

Robots Are Stringing Together These Adidas Running Shoes Wired (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

“But Gramma, what big feet you have!”

I believe this is a Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard—the long toes apparently serve as snow-shoes in the sand.

And a bonus (Kevin W):

And from an overnight Twitter meme:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Witches Are Trying to Figure Out Whose Spell Gave Trump COVID-19”

    Soooo, I take it that right now it is a toss up between Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris?

    1. shtove

      The Dem coven boils up eye of newt and toe of frog to hex Trump with the COVID. Trump lifts the spell with a potion made from the blood of an infant. Come Halloween, the media vanishes in woodland while on a project to find out if the witches really exist, and a host of zombies rampages through the voting booths. On New Year’s Eve, Reagan’s demon transfers to a new, suicidal host, and America decides to spend the holiday at the Overlook Hotel: “Some well earned rest, a spot of dancing, followed by a dash through the charming maze.”

  2. Noone from Nowheresville

    Birds in Art: It’s Saturday a day to share my love of bird artists.

    Because we like owl art. This Netherlands artists uses blues, browns & grays to create horizon melting layered light-filled landscapes / skyscapes / waterscapes with bird & wildlife subjects. Larger pieces.

    He really does some outstanding owls in flight with abstract / impressionistic backgrounds. In general, I love the water / ice combinations. Quite enjoy western lake / stream. The oystercatchers strike me as funny for some reason. Lots of other birds and wildlife to see and fall into if you are so inclined.

    de Groot’s website is rather a heavy load for those with bandwidth concerns plus he likes Flash so here’s a duck-duck-go image link

    Ewoud de Groot website portfolio page available & archived artwork although I think it’s out of date. Again it’s a heavy page load for me. If you do tool around the website, some nice interviews & tidbits.

    and his instagram page. I think you can see 9 or so medium sized thumbnail images without having an account.

  3. zagonostra

    >Where Is My Final Assange Report? – Craig Murray

    When this period is covered by future historians there will be heroes and villains. And those future generations of folks who read history, should there be any left, will ponder why the people of countries who purportedly claimed they loved freedom and justice stood by and listened to the turgid, vacuous, rhetoric of politicians and the punditry class that do the bidding of their patrons while those who spoke the truth were jailed and tortured in plain for anyone who had eyes to see and ears to hear.

    They will look at the work of Craig Murray and find a hero. They will look at the work of the State and see the villain, a villain that cannot hide under the “panoply of Crown” or a suit and tie.

    …in that courtroom, you were in the presence of evil. With a civilised veneer, a pretence at process, and even displays of bonhommie, the entire destruction of a human being was in process. Julian was being destroyed as a person before my eyes. For the crime of publishing the truth.

    I encountered evil in Uzbekistan when the mother brought me the photos of her son tortured to death by immersion in boiling liquid. The US government was also implicated in that, through the CIA cooperation with the Uzbek Security Services; it happened just outside the US military base at Karshi-Khanabad. Here was that same evil paraded in the centre of London, under the panoply of Crown justice.

    1. LawnDart

      Assange’s treatment is truly horrifying, but that’s the point, isn’t it?

      State terrorism needs to be identified as such: “Those who harbor terrorists, or those who finance them, are going to pay a price. Every nation, in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”–Bush the Lessor

      I keep hoping Karma will make an appearance, but a giant, well-placed meteor will do.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The silence about Assange from both major political parties in Oz has been deafening over the years. And yet on the TV news tonight, they wanted to stir people up about the arrest of a Chinese-Australian journalist in China a coupla months ago. Here is an Honest Government Ad from a year ago which explains the situation- (language alert!)

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I found myself wondering what the world would be like if FDR had brought the state hammer down on Prescott Bush and the rest of the Business Plot as has been done to Assange. But, a blue ribbon committee was formed to investigate the matter with the usual results.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have often wondered if FDR made a deal behind the scenes regarding that blue ribbon committee. In return for not outing the Business Plot planners and sending them to Sing Sing, that they would not oppose some of the major pieces of legislation that FDR was wanting to pass as part of the New Deal. A quid pro quo, Washington style so to say.

          1. hunkerdown

            That theory doesn’t fit well with the timeline of the New Deal. FDR, whom we must not forget was a machine politician through and through, didn’t really want it in the first place, and his unforced errors show it. The worthwhile policy acts only lasted one or two Congresses before the machine went to work, got those insurgent anti-oligarchs out of Congress, gave right-wing Bourbon Democrats a veto over New Deal policy, and (in the time-honored tradition) started ginning up a war to distract the rabble. Oh, and how about that super-progressive reefer madness? If anything, Business Plot succeeded in bringing the New Deal to a halt.

            People who witness their rulers experiencing the same justice to which they are themselves subject, stop respecting class as a social organizing principle, and then the whole racket of civilization collapses. Plus, the license available to those higher in the social order is part of the reward of climbing it. People were already strongly opposed to the oligarchs. FDR simply wasn’t going to hang his own kind, certainly not his own mother who mostly funded his career.

            Ian Welsh speaks well of this book, which illuminates the man and his personal relationships, and serves as a great corrective for the messianic narrative that has grown up around him.

            1. Pelham

              Thanks for the link to Ian Welsh’s review of the FDR book. Like Ian, I’ve had it on the shelf for a while but haven’t read it. I will now.

              What’s striking about FDR — and 180 degrees different from today’s progressives — is that he genuinely liked and respected just about everyone, notably including working people. And he didn’t look down on them. I think this is enormously telling.

              This past week NakedCapitalism linked to a very fine, international progressive program proposed by Yanis Varoufakis. But as I ground down through the plan, it occurred to me that it just doesn’t have a snowball’s chance (a similar thought occurred to Yves). The plan is fine, but it lacks a champion, and this is essential. That champion would have to be someone who’s enormously upbeat, never resorts to scolding, really values everyone and is willing to take bold chances and regroup if necessary.

              There’s no one remotely like that among progressives, near as I can see. AOC, for instance, is immensely appealing in some ways but horrid in others and too prone to weepy harangues. Sanders is famously grouchy. Where is anything like the endlessly sunny FDR disposition to be found? Actually, a few Republicans come a bit closer — and regrettably they include Donald Trump, when he’s not being bombastically frightening.

              1. rowlf

                What’s striking about FDR — and 180 degrees different from today’s progressives — is that he genuinely liked and respected just about everyone, notably including working people. And he didn’t look down on them. I think this is enormously telling.

                The Little White House museum is close to where I live and I like to go there every few years. Too funny that one of the museum staff mentioned that he was a tea party type person and working at the museum made him appreciate and like FDR.

                There are lots of pictures and memorabilia of FDR going around the area, talking with people and coming up with programs to help them. His modified car is interesting to study.

            2. Alfred

              I’ve been looking to read a book on the New Deal, so thank you for the reference to the Smith biography of FDR. Is your first paragraph derived from that book? If not, could you (or anyone here) recommend another book or two on the politics of the politics surrounding the New Deal?

              1. hunkerdown

                For the history of machine politics, I’ve largely referred to Walter Karp’s Indispensable Enemies: The Politics of Misrule in America, published 1973 but still very much germane. It covers the bipartisan nature and operation of machine politics from McKinley to McGovern, and “FDR Packs In the New Deal” is one of the case studies, pointing out several unforced “errors” that all lean one way.

                One of the legitimizing strategies of the two-party scam is making unforced “errors” appear forced for long enough to establish facts on the ground. The other party’s cooperation is needed for this.

                1. grain

                  “One of the legitimizing strategies of the two-party scam is making unforced “errors” appear forced for long enough to establish facts on the ground. The other party’s cooperation is needed for this.”

                  Thank you hunkerdown. I have to say that is one succinct, profound statement there.

              2. grain

                Ian Welsh, FDR: “spent a lot of time with his father (about 30 years older than his mother) learning the approved skills of the gentleman farmer of his period”

                And, “First: FDR changes the Democratic party from the party of business to a progressive party.”

                PLANNING DEMOCRACY, Agrarian Intellectuals and the Intended New Deal By Jess Gilbert

                The New Deal’s farm policy meets local politics. Central planning and local initiatives are not incompatible. The goal is participatory democracy.

                If only Henry Wallace . . .

              3. Procopius

                If you want to learn about the New Deal I think you need to read Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s three volume The Age of Roosevelt. I was lucky to be able to get them used at a low price, but if you live near a library you should be able to get them there. Since I was born at the end of the depression, many of the names were familiar from my childhood.

        2. Pelham

          On a tangent here, but I wonder what would’ve happened if JFK had exposed the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their false-flag proposal to carry out terrorist attacks on US assets and blame them on Cuba. Maybe there’s a long history of all sorts of loony US plots that were quietly nipped in the bud but never exposed, leading to the formulation of even loonier plots.

        3. Rod

          Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, again an American Hero–in War and Peace.

          Whatever he witnessed in his Conversion, made him a believer.

          1. zagonostra

            But when will we ever see the kind of “conversion” that Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, had writ large to the whole citizenry, if their is a functioning one?

          2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            Smedley could show up at the White House today and we’d tell him “sorry sir, we no longer prosecute attempts to overthrow the government. Our intelligence agencies tell us who our leader can be, and we obey”.

      3. curlydan

        and everyone should read Murray’s article to the end where he asks for a few pounds via Paypal to help keep his tough work going.

  4. USDisVet

    The latest conspiracy theory (or fact):

    Pelosi is suggesting a “Commission” to ascertain or establish the criteria for the removal of a sitting President. Most think that it is just the latest stab at impeaching Trump or, at the least, questioning his fitness for office. But the latest theory is that this gambit is aimed at Biden. If Biden wins it will be discovered. according to the criteria, that he is unfit for office. Then Harris is attacked for not being eligible for President because she is not a natural born citizen. The majority of constitutional scholars state that at least one parent of a candidate must be a US citizen at the time of the candidate’s birth. Neither of Harris’ parents were citizens when she was born in Oakland. The issue then gets taken to SCOTUS where Harris is ruled ineligible by a 5/4 vote. Guess who’s next in line.

    1. Carolinian

      Good one! A conspiracy theory worthy of Nancy herself.

      Here’s suggesting that all our politicians get psychiatric exams and thereby we will finally get new ones.

      1. edmondo

        Yes, the youthful figure of Nancy Pelosi , sitting in the Oval Office ripping up speeches, will be a big change from the gerontocracy we are currently saddled with.

    2. Pat

      Only if Nancy is still Speaker. Personally I am hoping for a coup where she is replaced. Unrealistic I know. Just like it is unlikely the voters in her district will vote for the person they should have voted for in the primary in the general. But a girl can dream.

      BTW, Unless she was born in an embassy or somewhere Harris qualifies so all of this is pointless. Well maybe having to push Biden out before he would want, but otherwise no basis in reality.

      This bill is troubling but the impossible President Nancy is not the reason.

      1. Wukchumni

        Casablanca, revisited

        Round up the usual suspect and welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win. When it comes to women, you’re a true democrat. Here’s looking at you, kid

      2. Paradan

        Anyone can be speaker of the house, you don’t have to be a member of congress. It could be anyone, say an ex-president….(OMG the screams and wails would be awesome.)

      3. The Historian

        Both parties have abused the impeachment process over the last 30 years. Can you imagine what they would do with this?

        Perhaps Nancy does need to have her own “fitness” reviewed.

    3. edmondo

      My mom will be shocked to learn that she isn’t a citizen, having been born of immigrant parents in a small town called New York City..

      Did you add any other amendments to the constitution last night?

    4. The Historian

      I’m not sure where you get that the “majority of constitutional scholars state that one parent of a candidate must be a US citizen at the time of the candidate’s birth”. The 14th Amendment clearly states in its first sentence: “”All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

      Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution clearly states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

      I think that any “constitutional scholar” would have a hard time saying a natural born citizen of the US is not eligible to become President based on their parent’s origin.

      I agree that there are many ways that this “Commission” could backfire, but not for the reason you state. What exactly does “fitness for office” really mean? Can it be used at any time a President decides to do something that is unpopular with Congress? Would FDR have ever been considered “fit for office”, not only given his health, but some of the famous battles he had with the Southern Democrats?

    5. DJG

      US Dis Vet: Nope. Birthright citizenship depends on where the child is born (the U.S.A.) not the parents’ status:

      From Snopes: “Nonetheless, even in the highly racialized political environment of the late 19th century, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed an expansive view of birthright citizenship – the idea that people born in a country are automatically citizens of that nation. In an 1898 ruling, the court decreed that the children of immigrants were citizens, regardless of their parents’ ancestry.”

      Author Nackenhoff is referring to the Wong Kim Ark case.

    6. pasha

      a conspiracy theory worthy of michigan’s “wolverine watchmen.” bravo!

      occam’s razor would suggest a more obvious target

  5. arkansasangie

    Re — Fed Lending Saved Corporate America. It Could Do the Same for Cities and States

    My position is … if “they” are going to “create” money from debt perpetually, then … I want “them” to go ahead and add a little more to that debt and provide me with the tax money they want to collect from me.

  6. PhilK

    Putin trolls the Democrats.

    “The Democratic Party is traditionally closer to the so-called liberal values, closer to social democratic ideas,” Putin said. “And it was from the social democratic environment that the Communist Party evolved.”

    “After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years” Putin added. “I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party’s ideas. I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values.”

    “Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless. In other words, this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative.”

    Putin Says He Wants to Work With Biden, Claims ‘Shared Values’ Between Democrats and Communism

      1. edmondo

        but they have that totalitarian thing down pretty good. Vlad should start calling Biden a “father figure” just for laughs.

        1. rowlf

          (Vlad)“… and I hope Biden is the next president” should loop everything together.

          A reverse Russiagate by a judo master?

    1. ewmayer

      I liked what that other nasty EvilDoer, Syria’s al-Assad, had to say re. US presidential elections:

      Question 9: You definitely follow the presidential campaign in the United States. And do you hope that the new US President, regardless of the name of the winner, will review sanctions policies towards Syria?

      President Assad: We don’t usually expect presidents in the American elections, we only expect CEOs; because you have a board, this board is made of the lobbies and the big corporates like banks and armaments and oil, etc. So, what you have is a CEO, and this CEO doesn’t have the right or the authority to review; he has to implement. And that’s what happened to Trump when he became president after the elections –

      Journalist: He used to be CEO for many years before.

      President Assad: Exactly! And he is a CEO anyway. He wanted to follow or pursue his own policy, and he was about to pay the price – you remember the impeachment issue. He had to swallow every word he said before the elections. So, that’s why I said you don’t expect a president, you only expect a CEO. If you want to talk about changing the policy, you have one board – the same board will not change its policy. The CEO will change but the board is still the same, so don’t expect anything.

      Question 10: Who are this board? Who are these people?

      President Assad: As I said, this board is made up of the lobbies, so they implement whatever they want, and they control the Congress and the others, and the media, etc. So, there’s an alliance between those different self-vested interest corporations in the US.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Putin really said that, and this is not a hoax. then the question is why?

      Putin must know that his endorsement would be a “kiss of bad health” to whomever he gave it to. He must want Trump re-elected. The question is why? Why? I have my own ideas.

      I remember during the Bush v Kerry election, that Putin publicly endorsed Bush. I figured that he felt Bush was more able to destroy America down to a level of weakness where it could not endanger Russia, and that he therefor wanted Bush to be (re?)elected to accomplish that destruction.

      If Putin wants Trump re-elected, it is probably for that same reason . . . to weaken America down some more.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Not all countries operate like USA. Most of them try to collaborate rather than conquer. Nor do the leaders of other countries say things thinking of US public, but their own,and sometimes the international community.

        Russia still has a (diminishing) group of “pro-west” politicians and journalists, and this was mainly aimed for them. Putin showed willingness to collaborate with whoever becomes the POTUS. By being proactive Putin builds expectations in that group and when the Russia-US relations under Biden will inevitably get worse, it’s not because he didn’t make the effort.

  7. sporble

    “Rapid evolution means humans now being born without wisdom teeth” – hmm.
    I don’t know anyone who was born with any kind of teeth.
    Should this change, one can only hope that mothers’ breasts’ will anticipate it & evolve in advance.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      It’s actually quite easy to train a teething infant to breastfeed without biting. Mothers have these things called fingers that can be gently inserted into the side of the baby’s mouth until it stops clamping down. My kid took less that a day to get the idea.

      1. flora

        I could almost accept evolution for wisdom teeth vanishing, almost (but we’re only talking about 2-3 generations here), but not for ambulatory bones whose existence was evolution generated over eons by the needs to compensate for gravity. That sound more like chemically caused malformities or birth defects in kids. “Thalidomide” or “Roundup” anyone? My 2 cents.

    2. pasha

      i feared having my wisdom teeth removed, having heard horror stories from friends. at 27 i got a job with dental insurance, so bit the bullet and asked the dentist to remove them. he said i was born without them! much relief

  8. Mr. Magoo

    Re: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

    I was in the back of the room during an AI meetup here in the valley. Started chatting with who turned out to be a VC analyst sitting next to me. Blockchain came up and my opinion was asked. Response was basically – I didn’t get it. Blockchain wouldn’t work for micro-transactions (the original target) due to costs, and for most other proposed applications, standard databases worked just as well.

    In the end though, I am not sure who understood what was going on. The end of the article points this out – you only need to learn how to sell magic.

    1. Susan the other

      IT was a super-great article. When all is lost ‘fess up? Well just thank you Mr. Magoo – I was freaking out because I couldn’t understand how blockchain, let alone bitcoin, could be held accountable – and now I see that neither one can be un-accountable. But now I have an even bigger misgiving – why didn’t our watchdogs catch this? I’m not taking, “Gee duh, we didn’t know” for an answer. What could have been the goal? To replace sovereign currency? To undermine it until it had not value? To high grade it periodically to keep it from “inflating” – what on earth were they thinking? I’m thinking Quantum analysis has another dimension – Value. It can neither be created nor destroyed. And It can be tracked. So if this whole crypto crap can be “tracked” – we can track the siphoning of “value” to the highest levels of “prosperity” – and it can be reimbursed on a minute-by-minute scale? So the only next question is – Why aren’t we doing this?

    2. ewmayer

      I stopped reading Mike Shedlock’s blog back when Bitcoin/blockchain were being touted by the Silicon Valley snake-oil salescreeps as the Next Big Thing and the hype was approaching its peak. Mish went on a binge where for something on the order of a full year – maybe more, I steeped away after that – he was writing multiple posts per week, sometimes per day, hyping blockchain’s “this will disrupt™ everything” inevitability. It was always clear Mish was a major techno-fetishist, but, coupled with his elitist bottom-90% bashing, which he justified under the banner of Austrian economics, it all became too much.

      1. RMO

        My favorite part was the quote from the guy who developed the children’s aid app – which doesn’t really need or use the blockchain:

        “Look, before we could fly, things also didn’t always work out either,” Velthuijs says. “Have a look on YouTube, there’s a man who just jumps off the Eiffel Tower with a home-made parachute! Yeah, he fell to his death of course. But we need those people, too.”

        He’s referring to a guy who plunged to his death in 1912. When we had already learned to fly pretty well. And many, many years after multiple designs existed for functional, proven parachutes. And who decided to test his invention not with a dummy weight, but his own life.

      2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        Crypto enthusiasts have mistaken governance and market structure problems for computer sciences problems, their Rube Goldberg gyrations solve nothing that couldn’t be solved by regular computing, much faster and much more securely

    3. Basil Pesto

      Yes, thanks for the link

      The Australian Stock Exchange is trying to do some blockchainy upgrade to its settlement platform (CHESS). My Dad’s made some attempts to read up on Blockchain to try and understand it and what the ASX is doing, and he’a told me CHESS is due an upgrade irrespective of the blockchain factor. From what I’ve read, it’s been a bit of a boondoggle, but it’s been getting the kid-glove treatment as a blockchain development as one of those “blockchain might actually work for this” initiatives, even from blockchain sceptics iirc.

      And perhaps it might – the Correspondent piece doesn’t have anything to say about this specifically. But it does have this little gem at the very end that may very well be germane:

      The smartest thing about blockchain, Matt Levine wrote, is that the rest of the world was forced to “pay attention to those back-office technology upgrades, and to think that they might be revolutionary”.

  9. Wind guy

    These type of wind machines just don’t work, Like all the rest of the vertical wind family turbines.

    The only metric of a wind machine is it’s electrical output vs wind speed. Usually projected via a graph.

    They did a 7 minute video, including wind tunnel testing and not a single piece of performance data. Which means it doesn’t work or they would have been highlighting that info.

    3 blade Horizontal axis machines are what you see because they work with high efficiency and reliability

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I’m not a wind guy, but have tinkered with small/inefficient homemade wind turbines at my mountain retreat. I pretty much agree that if it was a crazy badass breakthrough that is something (wattage outputs/graphs) they would have stuck in and focused on early.

      I like innovation, gee-whiz design beauty, efficiency breakthroughs and all that but….when I am going to spend actual large bricks of $$ on something – I need to see how much wattage its gonna give me at a given average wind speed.

      Said somewhat less cynically: *some* places have great windspeed averages sustained through the year, or at least during grey/stormy periods when solar inputs are at their lowest. great, if I lived on the WA coast range, facing west with an unimpeded view of the incoming storm winds – I would probably be able to justify getting a generic turbine of the least-expensive variety to supplement. But I dont, and most people wont either, so wind is mostly a costly accessory (or vanity project) for any given offgrid/alternative power setup.

      At least in my experience, at my site. I can’t even really cost-effectively use microhydro (though I have tried, damn i have tried) because its too far, too deep a canyon, and the flow rate just can’t be rejiggered to do it right without me….trying to reengineer the creek w/concrete penstocks and such. Which the State of WA would take a really dim view of…and which the winter floods would probably tear out every 4 or 5 years anyway. :)

      Still though – thats a pretty wind turbine, to be sure! :)

      1. barefoot charley

        My wind turbine was the most fun science experiment I’ve ever conducted, but I’ve had my fun. Getting blasts of energy during winter storms is no substitute for reliable power when you need it, and maintenance of this occasional power source standing in the wind is no joke. Location location location, as Jacobite says. OTOH my winter micro-hydro is great, simple with no construction and pretty much just works, justifying the non-negligible hike to change nozzles as rainfall comes and goes. It’s a good (not quite great) compliment to solar power (except in fall when clouds are building but the rains don’t quite come).

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          “…winter micro-hydro is great, simple with no construction and pretty much just works, ..”

          Heehee….I see comments like this and it *always* motivates me to go back, figure out what my last frustrating sticking point was about my previous config…and research some solution to get my sorry butt to try try again! There must be *some* way i can do it!!! :)

          1. rtah100

            Could you start higher up your canyon and lead some of the flow off in a pipe or a mill leat for an overshot wheel?

            Or, could you use a ram pump to move water up to a pool above the canyon…?

          2. barefoot charley

            Assuming your ravine’s in the mountains where fish aren’t, you can kinda block some creekflow and punch a water line through the blockage, so you’re never taking the lion’s share of winter water, or you can buy a six-inch wide screened springbox online that you just set in creekflow. I got mine from

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              Combined response:

              to rtah100 – one of the first things we did was a ram pump, for water supply, and damned if that was not one of the coolest things since sliced bread. It burped little slurps of water all the way up the slope (~100′ up, as the slug climbs) but the drawback was the sounds – clickety-clickety-CLACK, clickety-clickety CLACK – at all hours of the day and night. Though not a heavily populated area we do have 2 neighbors upstream and downstream, so since it echoed up and around and we felt like we shouldn’t leave it going always so we disabled it. (since then, moved to rain water harvesting to a 500 gallon tank by cabin, and a generator + electric pump to occasionally pump water from creek to another 500 gallon tank for drip irrigation)

              The difficulty of clambering up and down slope w/out twisting ankles to enable/disable it (and just generally getting down for other purposes is a big general drawback of the area…..but regarding the pipe/hose idea, I may need to dust that off again. (I had some old canvas firefighting hose for that kind of a thing but it rotted…maybe I can finally buy some skookum 2-3″ plastic/nylon type hose and try again???

              To barefoot charley – thanks for that gizmo link. I had come to the conclusion that I would have to get *some* kind of AC unit to allow the power cable to run…well, I think we are talking about 6 or 700 yards total? (to the batteries/main solar power station shed, maybe this is the droid I am looking for! :)

              I’ll add that to my research – the ravine, though deep into the slope, at its bottom doesn’t have a *huge* rise-over-run drop like you might think. Thats one of the other reasons my initial attempts with the more garden variety stuff failed (without damning activities)

              There are no fish – just salamanders, frogs, and such so maybe if I do a little modest dam kind of thing,…get some long-lasting hose/piping, and (one last drawback) work like a demon to cut some small safe steps into the ravine slope so I can get down there without coming a cropper such that in flood stages I am able to quickly get the expensive stuff up out of the flood waters and to high ground when needed…..

              In any case, thanks all for motivation! I must try this project yet again!!! :)

        2. barefoot charley

          Translated from rational measures to kings’ feet and thumbs, the new design perks up at windspeeds of about 11 miles per hour. So did my moldy oldy one. Few places blow that hard reliably, and where they do you already see giant windmills. Wind guy’s right, this gizmo’s innovation is silence, not efficiency.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Iran Is Building A Massive Energy Network To Boost Its Geopolitical Influence”

    ‘the U.S. had been pushing Iraq towards committing to reducing these imports from its neighbour prior to the visit of Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, to Washington.’

    Before the Coalition invasion, Iraq had a fairly good electricity supply as nobody wanted to explain to the Mustache why there was none. In the years that followed, I followed one attempt after another to get a full time electricity supply running again and over $30 billion has been spent in the effort. There was difficulty as the US had destroyed the Iraqi grid so that they could get the contracts afterwards for rebuilding it again but c’mon man. They have had nearly twenty years of contracts to rebuild the electricity supply. If the occupation forces had made that a priority, it could have helped spread stability through the country and avoided a lot of the resulting riots but as electricity was for the little people, it was just seen as an opportunity to rob Iraq while concentrating on what was more important – grabbing Iraq’s oil, errr, patrimony.

    1. Vladimir "Shooting Tsars" Lenin

      The US can’t even build reliable power in California, the sixth largest economy in the world. How the hell are they going to do it in a country they keep bombing to gravel?

  11. flora

    And in news from Aaron Mate`…

    New from me: Financial disclosure forms show that Nancy and Paul Pelosi have invested between $500,000 to $1 million in Crowdstrike, the firm that first accused Russia of hacking the DNC.
    Pelosis Take a Big Stake in CrowdStrike

    She must have big new plans for CrowdStrike stock value going up. /heh

        1. hunkerdown

          Oh, alright, services yet to be rendered but for no legal purposes a declaration of intent. ;)

          (Finally finished that Graeber essay laying out a general theory of hierarchy. Relevant here, it is through the writing of dear departed anarchists that I learn what the point of “horse trading” was. He posited that it serves to *repair* violations of a personal taboo, by performing an exchange transaction and reestablishing the proper distinction. Plenty more than that to chew on.)

  12. Wukchumni

    Treat Your Smartphone Like Hannibal Lecter American Conservative. By our Bill B!!!

    That was a fun romp…

    My better half and I are sans Smarts and i’ve never sent a text, little good will it do me if my handler in Big Eavesdrop, Ut is watching my every move online, in a bishop takes pawn, oh i’ve said too much already.

    There’s no connectivity in the back of beyond (your beyond may vary) unless you bring a sat phone, so if you don’t lug one of those things that looks remarkably like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey when in the wilderness, its really about the last place you can be not under surveillance.

    1. flora

      hmmmm…. haven’t heard about fresno dan’s pink bunny slippers’ rabbit ears for a while. Have Boris and Natasha sent him a Smartsky phone?

      1. fresno dan

        October 10, 2020 at 12:05 pm

        I’m sorry to report that technology has passed by my analog hammer and sickle emblazoned pink rabbit earned bunny slippers radio with frequency directly to Vladimir – there’s no more use for the likes of me, dweller in mom’s basement, by crafting clever witticisms and posting on Facebook, utterly demolishing the Clinton candidacy. No, now Putin special operation command writes all of the twitter postings attributed to Donald J. Trump (I mean, you don’t honestly believe Trump is smart enough to come up with all that stuff himself???). I have been relegated to gumming up the US postal service by responding to all the solicitations of Miracle Water that I receive
        No longer in the inner loop, so I only have two confirmed anonymous sources, it is my understanding the nefarious Russian plot is the most dastardly scheme ever devised.
        That by screwing up the election, the compromise will be a co-presidency. But not between Trump and Biden, but with Pense and Harris becoming King and Queen (Harris will be king because she obviously is more masculine). They will birth a child to assure an orderly succession, so that the realm can return to monarchy and unit the various dukes and duchies (e.g., Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft).

        1. ambrit

          Comrade Fresno! You are falling into the error of KR!
          Be stalwart in your striving! VVP, aka, Fearless Leader will not abandon us. He has stood by Assad, and that action requires actual military and financial investment. Us, we are the Proto Bolsheviki of America. We all know about Wikileaks. Consider all the good that organization has accomplished. Few, if any, know about Bolshileaks. That is our strength.
          Look forward, not back Comrade. Together together, yes we can! There will soon be a thousand points of light to illuminate the New Dawn in America.

            1. ambrit

              Very good point Janie. As long as we can find it in us to laugh at our common situation, then all is not lost. When we stop laughing, then it is time to start really worrying.
              Be safe!

    2. RMO

      This is one of the two main reasons my next camera won’t be an iPhone – something that came up in the comments a little while back. No matter how good the pictures it might take I want to have as little to do with “smart” tech as possible. The other main reason is that I find the ergonomics of a smart phone to be generally awful, especially when using them as cameras. The shape of a more traditional camera I find easier to hold, the controls easier to manipulate and quite often I find an optical viewfinder essential. Every smart phone I’ve used as a camera (including quite new and expensive iPhones and Android handed to me by a friend to take a picture) seem sluggish too – the time it takes to get them up and ready to take a picture and the time it takes for the picture to be taken after hitting the button I find irritating and much of my own camera use requires something that can responds quickly.

    3. Mummichog

      It is anti-social media. Much of science and technology are anti-human, engaged in exploiting humans and human consciousness for profit. As more and more science and technology are controlled by sociopathic and psychopathic humans and organizations, human consciousness evaporates.

    4. griffen

      There is a comment to drop here about ordering online for fava beans and a nice Chianti. But alas a census taker hasn’t tried to test me.

  13. KLG

    That Nature editorial disguised as a “News Feature” is typical PMC bullshit that Trump is unique among American (and other) politicians…Yes, he is a dunce, but “Science” has been neoliberalized to death during my working life in biomedical science that began in 1975. An ever expanding scientific workforce fights at the table over ever diminishing scraps, as Program Officers and their minions on review panels (very) happily pick the “winners” of the grant lottery ex ante. The winners remain happy, so all is good from their perspective. The opportunity costs, however, are both invisible to our “leaders,” political and otherwise, and incalculable.

    1. neo-realist

      At the very least, he is unique in that he has enabled and supported more overt bigotry than recent Presidents–attacks on BLM, latino immigrants, racial sensitivity training, support for vigilantes.

    2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

      In the NC headlines today I learned that Trump is “killing science”, “killing the economy”, and “killing us all”.

      No wonder The Uniparty wants him gone: he’s omnipotent!

  14. s.n.

    from NBC’s Whitmer conspiracy allegations tied to ‘boogaloo’ movement :

    In 2016, while he was living in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Croft pushed pro-Trump conspiracy theories that absolved Russia of meddling in the 2016 election


    1. Wukchumni

      I’m happy to report that no members of Cuck Dynasty equipped with only brickbats. have been implicated in any potential kidnappings of governors,

    2. polecat

      So, is SOP that All boogies have tacked up, a backdrop of an Anarchist Flag??

      …. especially when twitting?

      But hey, BIG MEDIA said … X, so believe it!

  15. Livius Drusus

    Re: Donald Trump Will Kill Us All.

    This hyperbole is getting tiresome. As someone who recently lost a close family member not to COVID-19 but to heart problems that couldn’t be treated properly due to lockdowns and related hospital backlogs I really have to say that I am closer to Trump’s position on the virus now even though I supported harder measures earlier. Frankly, I was sickened watching people outright hoping that Trump would die from COVID in order to make him look worse and “prove” how incompetent he is. Now it looks like an elderly, obese man is going to make a full recovery so who looks bad now?

    I am not a COVID denier and I believe in protecting the vulnerable, especially in care homes, but it is clear that this virus is not as dangerous as originally thought and especially not to the part of the population that isn’t elderly or stricken with preexisting conditions. Supporting the vulnerable and allowing everyone else to get on with life should have been our policy from the beginning. Instead, thanks to media scaremongering we have trashed the economy (which will increase America’s already bad “deaths of despair” problem), ruined other aspects of our health and accelerated our slide into cyberpunk dystopia as Silicon Valley takes over more and more of the economy and our lives. Say goodbye to what remains of our civil liberties as surveillance becomes even more normalized, this time in the name of public health instead of crime and terrorism.

    Also, I am not sure what it is exactly that Trump could have done to have made things better other than earlier and harder lockdowns which might not have worked given that even countries like Spain and Italy, with hard lockdowns, have also done poorly with this virus. There has been little rational debate on this issue as people took sides based on political tribalism. I really started to think that something was fishy when BLM protests were given a pass while anti-lockdown protesters were attacked as granny killers. From a health standpoint, it doesn’t make a difference whether you are gathering to protest lockdowns or racism, unless this virus happens to have political opinions that I am not aware of and will only target protesters of certain ideologies.

    Like I said, I was originally a hard lockdown supporter but have changed my mind and I think Trump has received too much blame on the COVID issue. There are better reasons for people to oppose Trump, like his judicial nominees, but that is a different topic. That being said, it looks like Trump, as the incumbent, will be badly hurt by the perception that he botched the response to COVID, even though I don’t think a Democratic president would have done much better.

    1. hunkerdown

      > Supporting the vulnerable and allowing everyone else to get on with life should have been our policy from the beginning.

      I call invidious neoliberal “Barrington Declaration” bullshit. The correct answer is supporting EVERYONE (and paying PMC means-testers to stand down).

      1. Phillip Cross

        I am old enough to remember when some of the people clamoring to “reopen the economy” said that vulnerable people would be able to stay at home if they were scared and didn’t want to participate. The State then said people would lose their benefits if they did not return to their old job, if it was offered, vulnerable or not.

        Getting our heads together and making a good faith attempt to protect the vulnerable sounds great, it’s certainly a noble aim. Does anyone know who is vulnerable, and how to properly protect them, short of huge sterile internment camps? We are certainly talking about a vulnerable population that is many 10s of millions in number.

        I expect it’s one of those goals that would quickly morph into ‘the vulnerable need to protect themselves’, so we can get on with our lives.

    2. nick

      If you believe “it is clear that this virus is not as dangerous as originally thought and especially not to the part of the population that isn’t elderly or stricken with preexisting conditions” then you are not giving sufficient consideration to the growing body of evidence around the long term legacy of COVID post-infection, which is alarming and by definition not yet fully knowable.

      You are in effect a COVID-denier and none of your opinions register as worth paying any attention too.

        1. dcrane

          That essay begins with this:

          Most people who have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recover completely within a few weeks. But some people — even those who had mild versions of the disease — continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery.

          The devil is in the details. How many is “some”? I haven’t seen good reporting on this yet, and I resist assuming that many people suffer serious long term ill effects.

          1. LawnDart

            52% with persistent fatigue 10-weeks after illness.

            87% still showing at least one symptom 60-days after falling ill.

            Give it another six or so months and most of us will have a better idea of what “some” means in more tangible terms, as well the diseases more common long-term effects (neurological, damaged organs, etc.).


            1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

              Yes let’s pay no attention to the special session of the world’s top health organization, where they declared that the infection death rate, based on all known serology reports from around the world, is 0.14%.

              So the new rule is “Listen to the scientists! (so long as their conclusions cannot vindicate the current White House occupant in any way). Got it.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  “The WHO’s top brass held a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board on Monday October 5th. At the session, Dr Michael Ryan, the WHO’s Head of Emergencies revealed that they believe roughly 10% of the world has been infected with Sars-Cov-2. This is their “best estimate”, and a huge increase over the number of officially recognised cases (around 35 million).

                  Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, later confirmed the figure, stating it was based on the average results of all the broad seroprevalence studies done around the world.

                  7.8 billion people.

                  So per WHO, 780 million have been infected with Covid.

                  Total global deaths from Covid: 1,016,589.

                  Infection Death Rate (IFR) = 0.14%. In line with regular seasonal influenza.

                  This should be the best possible news but it’s memory-holed because Orange Man Bad.

                  Written up at OffGuardian, also on the WHO website. The AP headlines and WHO article state “10% have been infected! That means 90% at risk!”.

                  But oops they apparently didn’t think through the implications of 780 million infected with 1.1M deaths. Maybe they’ll get around to reminding people that 50% of Earth’s population tests positive for the 2003 SARS antibodies, too?

                  (Cue the abuse from the Uniparty faithful, who on alternate days say “we must trust the scientists!”)


                  1. dcrane

                    Although it won’t massively change the figure, it’s worth keeping in mind that since deaths lag cases by several weeks, this IFR number is an underestimate.

                  2. Aumua

                    Yeah the one thing that is constant though in this equation is the number of deaths: over a million and counting worldwide, mostly in the last 8 months. So, whether you say the fatality rate is higher or the infection rate is higher, it’s 6 of one and half dozen of the other.

                    In other words, question the mainstream narratives of course but don’t just lap up the alt-stream narratives telling you that COVID is no big deal. There’s just as much smoke and mirrors going on there too, if not more. I suggest trusting the science of epidemiology and the scientists who have dedicated their lives to understanding it here.

                    1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

                      “A million deaths and counting” against an infected population of 780 million is a regular flu season death rate. I do trust the figures assembled and analysed by the world’s top global public health institution.

                    2. Aumua

                      You’re still not hearing what I am saying. You’re being fooled by a statistical slight of hand, because it’s telling you what you want to believe.

                      A million deaths is already significantly greater than annual flu deaths. A lower IFR doesn’t matter as much if the infection rate is so much higher than the flu.

                2. LawnDart

                  Dunno if he’s referring to the WHO, but this article refers to a fatality rate of .60, admittedly based on incomplete data (2nd-3rd inning of the game, and already trying to post the final score? Jeeze…).

                  My math might not be right, but .60 translates to about 46-million dead worldwide if everyone caught the virus just once.

                  I am willing to be wrong, but yeah, a link would be helpful: who is this “top world health organization” and how do they arrive at their numbers?


                  (Edit: thanks Hal, you posted while I was posting this comment!)

    3. marym

      “…I am not sure what it is exactly that Trump could have done to have made things better..”

      Not turn the quest for PPE into a competition among states; do more to speed up domestic production; encourage behavior helpful to reducing the spreading of the disease instead of promoting and flaunting the opposite; support testing; push Congress (R and D) for legislation to help ordinary people and small businesses, and provide bad healthcare.

      If a Democrat of the Obama/HRC/Biden type were president, systemic rot and their own neoliberal policy preferences would also have resulted in bad public health and economic outcomes. Their fans may also have said there wasn’t much the administration should have done to make things better, but I would likely disagree with them as well.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      What per cent of BLM protesters wore masks? What average distance were BLM protesters and marchers maintaining from eachother during the course of their protesting?

      Now, what per cent of anti-masker and anti-lockdown protesters wore masks? what average distance were the anti-lockdown anti-masker protesters maintaining between eachother?

      If the answer is the same for both groups, then a legitimate question may be asked why the two groups’ protests would be viewed differently. If the answer is different for the different groups, then what is that difference?

    5. run75441


      I do not live on or in the country called “Globe” with a population of 7.8 billion, I live in a microcosm of global population, also a segment of a nation which is a portion of that global population. In my portion of the global population, if you contract Covid you have a 1 in 21 chance of dying from it. This has greatly improved from the 1 in 12 chance initially experienced early on; but by no means is the global dart throw at a Global IFR reflected in our 96 million square miles of IFR.

      trump did botch the Covid response. Indeed, he openly admitted he lied to the public rather than present the truth and trust the people of this nation. You conflate political tribalism with mistruths and deflections which is a trademark of this president’s leadership. Both he and the Repubs own Covid.

      You also conflate out right well practiced racism and protesting against it in this nation with anti-lockdown protesting. Has one of you been shot lately by authorities, had the police kneel precisely on your air passageway, been gassed, or been targeted with bean bags and rubber bullets ? I do not think so. The nature of the protest and the color of the protestor does matter the same as the lives of the people for which the protests are made.

      To wit, hospitals and other healthcare places have set aside areas to handle heart issues or other issues requiring urgent care besides Covid and away from the Covid. The overwhelming contraction of Covid and the lack of a knowledgeable response to it early on made it difficult to care for all adequately and in light of a careless attitude to Covid.

      We still have not learned even as today starts.

  16. km

    Re: Minneapolis.

    There are a surprising number of homeless and semi-homeless in Fargo, North Dakota.

    Now, *that* is a hardy breed of homeless.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      Yup, the homeless tend to live here in the woods on the shores of the Gulf of Maine — a pretty rough place to spend the winter (though probably not as bad as Fargo).

      What a country.

      1. Wukchumni

        One thing i’ve read about Native Americans was they had a tremendous ability to withstand cold temperatures. They had a long time to acclimate to their situation.

        Interesting how it has come full circle with the homeless in neo-tipis in ‘Slideberia’, who are wintering over.

      2. wilroncanada

        In Canada, you know, that northern country with perpetual snow, where everyone skis in July, we have homeless too. there are homeless in Halifax ( been there, seen that), in Montreal ( been there, seen that), in Toronto (been there, seen that), in Winnipeg (been there, seen that) in Edmonton (have to depend on hearsay), in Vancouver (been there, seen that), and in Victoria (been there, seen that), although some Victorians claim that all the homeless here on Vancouver Island have migrated her because its warmer and we provide better social services.
        Most people who become homeless stay where they are, even in cold climates, because it’s where they know. One fairly isolated small city on Vancouver Island surveyed their homeless because of the myth of “invasion” only to find that more than 85% had lived there for years. Indeed many had been born there, or grew up there.
        Homelessness is everywhere.

    2. pasha

      a homeless man froze in the foyer of my apartment bloc in the -40 degree minneapolis winter of 1985. It took that to make me aware of homelessness, as prior to the eighties and the reagan administration there were relatively few homeless. then in the nineties we started to have homeless students in our school, a previously unheard-of phenomenon.

      the homeless in the eighties were predominantly single men. now, many families are homeless. here in michigan, fully a third of the urban homeless had jobs, pre-covid, but could not save enough to afford the first month-last month-damage deposit required by most landlords. another third are those who used to be institutionalized in state hospitals, that were shut down with the intent to provide (less expensive) alternative housing in half-way houses (that were never built because of NIMBY). locally, many churches opened to homeless during the shutdown, but reopening the churches has put many of them back on the street.

      the shelters here in western michigan are swamped. this winter is going to be tragic

  17. The Rev Kev

    “US should not approve vaccine based on UK trials, says Pelosi”

    I’m sure that she is not saying this as a successfull vaccine from the UK might give Trump a boost in the polls. Well, pretty sure. Would you believe not sure at all? The only other takeaway from that would be that Nancy is OK with Americans dying in order to improve the Democrats political position during the elections. But that can’t be right that. Such a person would not bother with supporting her fellow citizens financially during a world-wide pandemic and…oh!

    1. Synoia


      Was approved for pregnant women in the UK
      Was not approved in the US due to recognition of a side effect.


    2. Clive

      Pelosi is talking out of her behind. But then, sure, why not, everyone else is at it, so, ah-hem, go with the herd.

      More sensibly, the U.K. is still following all EU rules and medical approvals are an exclusive EU competency, at least until the end of the year. Even beyond that, the U.K. historically was where much if not a majority of EU drug testing and verification was done anyway. It was and will remain a centre of excellence for medical research — one area where there is no divergence mooted even beyond the end of the Transition Period.

      Now, I’ve got a few gripes about the EU’s regulatory effectiveness for certain medical devices (too much influence from manufacturers and sometimes an element of outright pay-to-play) but by-and-large even I will concede this is one area the EU do particularly well.

      Pelosi is therefore effectively criticising the EU’s medicines regularly regime in seeking to pour scorn on the U.K.’s. This can be said with absolute certainty for any approval given before the end of the year and almost certainty even beyond that. But Pelosi is such a clueless fraud, she can’t even tell lies that don’t fall apart like a paper bag in a rainstorm.

    1. Rod

      from the end of above, and speaks for itself:


      Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo have struggled for decades to increase the share of recycled plastic in their packaging.

      In 1990, PepsiCo introduced a new plastic bottle with 25% recycled content. By the end of that decade the company said its bottles no longer contained any recycled content.

      Coca-Cola began making plastic bottles in the United States with 25% recycled plastic. It phased them out in 1994 due to high costs, officials said then.

      Coke and Pepsi declined to comment on these past targets.

      In 2008, Nestle, the company behind Nescafe coffee and Pure Life water, set a U.S.-wide goal to make water bottles out of 60% recycled plastic within a decade.

      That’s a goal the company says was never met. Nestle told Reuters it was an ambitious target that didn’t get the groundswell of industry and policy-maker support it needed.

      Coke and Nestle said it is hard to get the plastic they need from recycled sources; Nestle said it often pays a premium for recycled material.

      All three companies made new pledges in 2018:

      Coca-Cola set a target to hit 50% recycled content in all packaging by 2030. Currently, it’s at 20%, and about half that rate for PET plastic, it told Reuters.

      PepsiCo said it would use 25% recycled content in packaging by 2025. It told Reuters in September it had reached 4% as of 2019.

      Nestle said it aims to use 15% recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025. The company told Reuters this is at 3% currently, up from 2% when it made the pledge.

      slowly going back to the 1990s–

      1. polecat

        If people would just stop buying Coke, Pepsi, and Big water for Chocolate et al, then the problem will, to a large degree, solve itself.

        Also, one would think that reverting back to depositable glass bottles would be a killer green pr branding idea!

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          People just won’t stop buying Coke, Pepsi or any other bottled beverage because of “bottle disposability” concerns.

          Returning the “deposit bottle and/or can” idea could work if the deposit were so high that it became painful to not save and return the bottles for deposit back.

          Start with 1 dollar deposit per bottle and raise it to $5.00 deposit per bottle to see if that works.
          At $5.00 deposit per bottle, if people would still rather throw the bottle down on the sidewalk to watch it break, then deposit will be disproved as a useful idea.

          1. apleb

            We have a mandatory 0,25€ deposit for plastic bottles and alu cans in Germany. Especially all coke, pepsi and other sodas.
            There are still some bottles thrown away, but don’t fear! Old poor pensioners are collecting them even from trash bins to return. The market always works obviously.

            1. Basil Pesto

              I always thought the Pfand was implemented excellently in Germany, insofar as you take your empties to the supermarket, put them in a reverse-vending machine, and get a voucher for the rebate to put towards your supermarket shop or to get cash from the cashier.

              In Australia, my home state (and no others, thanks to industry lobbying), have a $0.10 bottle and can deposit. But the recycling depots are so few and far between that for most people, a car trip would be required. To make the rebate worthwhile for most people would require the stockpiling of a vast and unsightly amount of bottles and cans.

              The phenomenon you describe of poor people scavenging for empties is more common than I found it to be in Berlin, alas. I don’t think this makes the rebate bad policy in and of itself; it depends on how it’s implemented, and on other gov’t policies that are so inadequate that some see such scavenging as a necessity.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    Still listening to Mike Duncan’s History of Rome podcasts and enjoyed yesterday’s Water Cooler discussion and comparisons between modern day politicians and those of the late Roman republic. History may not repeat itself exactly, but it does often rhyme and after listening to Duncan’s take on the Flavian dynasty, I’m going to throw one more out there. People often like to make comparisons to the more famous figures – Julius Caeser, Augustus, Cicero, Marc Antony, Nero, Caligula, etc but I don’t think any of those fit the current situation.

    First of all, I’d argue that our modern day republic is already gone and we’re at the empire stage now. Much like the Roman Senate, the US Congress handed over much of its power to the executive and has by and large acted as a rubber stamp for at least a generation now and arguably a lot longer. So if we’re comparing to emperors at this point, after listening to Mike Duncan’s take, I would argue that Trump is the modern day Domitian to Joe Biden’s Nerva. Yeah, I know, not as exciting as a NERO comparison, but I think it’s very apt.

    Domitian was almost universally reviled by the historians of his day, and those historians were upper class Senators or Senate-adjacent, the PMC of the day. His father and brother preceded him as emperor, but the family had risen through military ranks and was not old money. He was portrayed as some kind of murderous monster, but in actuality the death toll on his watch wasn’t all that out of the ordinary. Domitian felt slighted during his earlier career, and donned the purple with a YUGE chip on his shoulder, looking to stick it to those he felt hadn’t afforded him the proper respect. He had no personal military background, but curried favor with the legions by giving them a very large pay raise, and he was also very popular with the people of Rome. He appealed to the deplorables of his day. But the Senate continued to hate him, and the feeling was mutual. After 15 years as emperor, he was eventually murdered after the Senate just couldn’t take any more of his disparagement.

    On the very day of his murder, the Senate appointed his successor. Different factions all had their champions, but disastrous civil war was also a very recent memory and they didn’t want to drag things out, so they didn’t choose some prominent patrician, or some war hero, or some dashing young popular figure. Instead, they picked an older, childless, long time public servant, someone not seen as at all threatening. Someone they could more or less agree on for the short term at least. Someone who would die soon without an heir. They appointed the fairly undistinguished Nerva as a placeholder to buy time until they could get someone better.

    For those who’d like to hear more, here’s Duncan’s take.

    Side note – the podcast series was done from 2007-2012, well before Trump came on the scene.

    1. DJG

      alpha lyman blob: I’m not sure that I’ll give you Domitian and Nerva. First, the Wikipedia entry for Domitian notes that his favorite deity was Minerva. Somehow, Minerva strikes me as among the least Trumpian of religious figures.

      Second, Domitian is odd in that the Flavians (all three of them) were a family operation. He followed his father, Vespasian, and his older brother, Titus. In a sense, Domitian reflects the flaws of someone like Ted Kennedy, who lacked the self-discipline to succeed politically. (Kennedy’s position in the Senate was guaranteed.)

      Further, I suspect that Domitian was a bit of a puritan, which was certainly unusual in imperial Rome, although Augustus himself had a puritan side. Like Augustus, Domitian was an “orthodox” follower or Roman religion. He may have had a whiff of Cato the Elder and his cabbages.

      Again, pulling from Wikipedia, I note these two paragraphs. I’d say that Domitian just didn’t have the temperament. He seems to have been rigid and uncommunicative.

      –Historian Brian Jones concludes in The Emperor Domitian that assessing the true nature of Domitian’s personality is inherently complicated by the bias of the surviving sources.[25] Common threads nonetheless emerge from the available evidence. He appears to have lacked the natural charisma of his brother and father. He was prone to suspicion, displayed an odd, sometimes self-deprecating sense of humour,[26][27] and often communicated in cryptic ways.
      –This ambiguity of character was further exacerbated by his remoteness, and as he grew older, he increasingly displayed a preference for solitude, which may have stemmed from his isolated upbringing.[15] Indeed, by the age of eighteen nearly all of his closest relatives had died by war or disease. Having spent the greater part of his early life in the twilight of Nero’s reign, his formative years would have been strongly influenced by the political turmoil of the 60s, culminating with the civil war of 69, which brought his family to power.[28]

      I am reminded of how the oh-so-wise Marcus Aurelius also was temperamentally unsuited to running the state and left us with Commodus, his son, as heir and failure. Contrariwise, I am reminded of Antoninus Pius, who was remarkably successful–and had a kind of charisma.

      Nerva? I’ll have to think that one through. Biden seems like someone who has been passed over too many times, someone whose talents are middling, someone with fairly good timing: Oddly, someone like Tiberius.

    2. The Historian

      Have we forgotten about Marius and Sulla? That’s when the Roman Republic really started falling apart. Seems to me today’s politicians are more alike them than they are Julius Caesar or Domitian or Nero or any of the others that followed.

    3. albrt

      Jesse at Cafe Americain used to run a graphic with recent American presidents as emperors after the fall of the Republic. I think it is certainly fair to say that the Republic has fallen, the question is when?

      Jesse had Reagan as the first imperial president:

      Reagan was Julius
      Bush 1 was Augustus
      Clinton was Tiberius
      Bush II was Caligula
      Obama was Claudius
      Trump was Nero

      If that is correct then Biden is Galba, which means we may be due for some rapid turnover and the next stable regime is Vespasian a couple of years from now.

  19. Alex

    The ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan doesn’t seem to hold sadly. Maybe Aliyev still thinks he can utilise the momentum and get hold of more strategically important pastures and villages, to be able to declare himself a winner.

    In some ways the situation in Karabakh is similar to another conflict which I won’t name – you’ll have to guess it. Quite a lot of Azeris fled/were expelled from Karabakh itself and the lands adjacent to it during the early 90s war there. The Armenians strongly believe that these lands are historically Armenian and should belong to Armenians. I’ve met a guy who moved from Moscow to a village from which even going to the capital of Karabakh takes a few hours, and I’ve heard about people from California settling there. Of course quite a lot of Armenians fled/were expelled from Azerbaijan proper as well (less than the other way around but still hundreds of thousands) and have neither ability nor desire to go back.

    Unlike the other conflict, the world gives approximately zero f*cks about the Karabakh conflict.

    1. Schmoe

      On your last sentence, there was a large protest outside of ABC’s headquarters on Columbus in NYC from local Armenian diaspora and many signs criticized media silence. I am guessing that if Germany sent weapons to a country that attacked Israel and killed 500 Israelis, they would get a bit more criticism from the media and Congress than Turkey has for supply weapons to the Azeris.

      1. Alex

        I agree, it absolutely works both ways. Just as Azeri refugees get very little attention, Turkey’s support of Azerbaijan’s attack on Armenia only produces toothless rebukes, in spite of the best efforts of the Armenian diaspora.

  20. Randy G

    Great so see that Tracie H added a lizard photo among all those fat cats!

    The lizard in the photo is actually the zebra-tail lizard — Callisaurus draconoides.

    The Mohave fringe-toed lizard — Uma scoparia — has observable fringes on its back toes.

    The Zebra-tail has the habit of wagging its banded tail when it senses a potential predator; this is a small energy waster but studies suggests it signals potential predators that the lizards are on red-alert and pursuit will be futile. (They are fast: in short sprints they can reach speeds of 16 to 21 mph!) If the tail-wagging discourages predator pursuit, it would ultimately be a big energy saver.

    Both species have long toes, which have evolved for picking and eating grapes.

    (Just joking.)

    Both species run efficiently on granular surfaces although the zebra-tail lizard is more of a generalist while the Mohave fringe-toed has evolved fringes as a specialist for sand-running on dunes. As a specialist, it has a more limited habitat range than the zebra-tail.

    (Seems that adding extra links can consign comments to limbo so I’ll add photo links in a second comment for any lizard die-hard out there.)

    1. Tracie Hall

      Thanks Randy G.!!!
      I did figure that out, after submitting this picture. I sent a new email with the correction but of course Susan, Yves, and company can’t wallow through all the emails on the off chance that Tracie (TH) has sent a follow up, re-identifying some critter. But I didn’t know all this, even after reading what I could find on both types. I do hope I eventually see a Fringe-toed lizard if it’s toes are even longer than this!

    1. fresno dan

      Randy G
      October 10, 2020 at 11:52 am

      Moderation. Don’t take it personal – I have been posting for years, and the most innocent of links get moderated, but my double entendres sail right through.
      fresno dan
      October 9, 2020 at 5:50 pm
      “Harvard University says men should ejaculate 21 times a month to reduce risk of prostate cancer” [Independent]. • It’s good to have goals!

      I thought it was a day. Well, that will really alleviate the carpal tunnel syndrome…

  21. Lex

    ‘Dangerous use of crowd control weapons against medics and protesters in Portland, OR’

    ‘Misuse?’ ‘In improper and potentially deadly ways’?! I nearly swallowed my tongue reading the tut-tut, tsk-tsk tone of this piece from The Lancet.

    No, I think the police are taking full creative license in using the tools they’re allowed, to do as much harm as possible, just short of pulling their guns and dropping as many bodies as they can, before the crowd scatters. Police are huntin’ dogs by nature, so they will give chase.

    Which ever hothead on either side brings their guns to a knife fight first and escalates the battle to fully armed warfare wins that day, but loses in the war of public opinion. It’s the police, not the protesters, that are on thin ice right now, but that can change. Both sides know this. It’s just a matter of time before one side or the other loses patience and draws their weapons.

    My bet is on the white supremacists acting as mercenaries. Any takers?

    1. hunkerdown

      In the attempt on Whitmer recently, the police sent a message of solidarity under the system. Having been caught out so shamelessly as collaborators *against* the public order of property they were deputized to serve, I don’t think their brand has a lot of room to be caught assisting such things before they fall into a real credibility trap among a broad part of the minor property owners who mostly pay for and benefit from the institution — which could get interesting if the tradesmen and the shopkeepers have a rift.

      1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        Oops, the Whitmer outrage story is falling apart, the crim turns out to have been a BLM supporter. But let’s not let that get in the way of the Uniparty installation.

        It took me a while but I’m at peace with it now, I plan to have an absolute ball laughing my head off and relentlessly mocking those who insisted that Uniparty rule would be “better”. The hermetic seal walling off the plebes from the government will be complete, and the hapless eaters and taxpayers will get the rulers the CIA and Google decide. 1776 to 2020, a pretty good run!

        1. Phillip Cross

          Were they serving double strength Kool Aid today?

          Which of the 13 charged is the “crim” are you referring to?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            No Kool-Aid required.

            On Friday the Washington Post profiled several members of the group. Notably absent were accusations of ‘white supremacy’ – perhaps after acknowledging:

            “One of alleged plotters, 23-year-old Daniel Harris, attended a Black Lives Matter protest in June, telling the Oakland County Times he was upset about the killing of George Floyd and police violence.”

            Another alleged plotter, Brandon Caserta, called President Trump a ‘tyrant’ – adding ‘Trump is not your friend, dude.’ Caserta notably has an anarchist flag behind him in several videos he’s recorded.

            Handy link to the press outlet of the CIA owned by the world’s largest monopolist that venerable and impartial institution known as The Washington Post, best known for their incisive and relentless pursuit of the truth behind the plot by the Kremlin to control The White House through Donald Trump.


    2. JWP

      I’ll take that action. White supremacist miltias are not too far away from going crazy and shooting up protests, but my money is on some covert order to national guard or ICE to start killing people they see as a threat at one of these events, then release a bunch of material about how bad they are and anarchistic and try and get the public to think it’s ok to kill civilians if they “had it coming.” If Trump wins, I’ll even up my bet.

      1. ambrit

        If Biden wins and appoints Harris to head the Commission to Preserve Public Safety, then all bets are off.

        1. RMO

          I’ll make a prediction here – if Biden wins the BLM protests will wither and the media coverage of those that still happen will wither too. They’ll be back to about the same frequency and size as they were during the Obama administration. The police will still be maiming an killing just as much as they are now but there won’t be as much attention paid to it.

          I would be willing to bet money on an increase in right wing protests including armed “militia” if Biden wins though.

          1. Aumua

            I’d say that media coverage of protests has withered. I mean they mention it as little as possible, at the least for the big news outlets. They talk about violence and spectacle when it happens.

  22. rowlf

    Last night while killing time I ran across a interesting youtube video for both the story and due to my son and his friend recently seeing what looked like a small Klan rally while driving through the next county to us.

    On January 18th, 1958, the Ku Klux Klan got more than it was looking for in the guise of hundreds of armed Lumbee tribe members.

    I like the part where members of the tribe help the minister’s wife and kid.

    KKK vs Lumbee Tribe – The Battle of Hayes Pond

  23. fresno dan

    So I had an amusing experience at my HICAP (health insurance counseling and advocacy program) job for medicare beneficiaries. So because of covid, we don’t meet in person like we used to, so it is even MORE confusing to explain medicare to people over the phone…

    So at I had this client who managed to misunderstand everything I told him – it was comical, but actually elucidating for me, because although I readily concede medicare is confusing, its interesting to get some new insight on how confusing it is when your looking at it fresh…
    But really, the client wasn’t dumb or anything – just someone not particularly versed in health and government jargon, and the rather bizarre way medicare is actually set up. It is easy to misunderstand because MEDICARE IS CONFUSING and ILLOGICAL.

    For example, he was confused about the “cost” of “original” medicare (and what medicare “advantage” is was ANOTHER bucket of worms). So Part A is free versus Part B but you need Part B too and it costs (this year) 144.60 (for most people) and when medicare pays 80% and when you have to pay 20% (Part A or Part B or BOTH?). As a counselor, I am just so used to saying that Part A is free (exceptions apply) except of course, when you REALLY think about, you still have to pay the 20% of the cost of the medical service. So you have to get medigap… And what is medigap? What if you just get Part A, can you get medigap – is it still free?
    Every question was reasonable and pretty logical – it just exposed to me in new and novel ways how screwy the whole thing (how health care is paid for) is.
    It may not seem like it would be a good experience, but I actually had a very good time with this client. I am actually looking forward to ANOTHER appointment I have with him to explain how to pick a prescription drug plan – I am sure that will be a barrel of monkeys…

    1. Oh

      The “Medicare and You” booklet they send every year is full of general information but nothing useful. I’ve been trying find out what the difference is between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage and I still don’t know. All I know is that Medicare Part A only pays 80% but you can go to any doctor and no primary physician is required but MA corrals you into their network and extracts money from you at each step and pays a limited amount for your drugs. But then why should one have to pay a monthly premium for Original Medicare if you want Part B when it covers less? In addition, one has to shell out additional $ premium for a drug plan. Otherwise you’ll be charged a penalty should you want it later. It looks to me like everything’s set up to favor the private insurance crooks.

      Can someone provide me a link to a true comparison between Original Medicare and MA where both include Parts A and B? Thanks!

      1. grayslady

        I don’t know of any publication that specifically addresses what you’re looking for–primarily because each MA program is so different, both in cost and in what is covered–and, also, because everyone’s situation is unique. Do you have special doctors you want to maintain a relationship with? What doctors and hospitals do you have to choose from in your area? How often do you need medical care in any given year? How many medications do you take and how expensive are they? Just know that any MA program is going to bill Part A or Part B first and then may or may not pay the difference between what Medicare covers v. the total bill.

        Also, remember that each year you can reevaluate your decision. At age 65 you may be in relatively good health, in which case basic Medicare A and B plus an adequate Part D will suffice. However, three years later let’s say you run into major, ongoing issues–skin cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes–you can always change to a plan that better suits your needs (assuming you can afford it, of course).

      2. fresno dan

        October 10, 2020 at 1:16 pm

        I attempted to answer your questions succinctly, and after about 5 pages I realized that it is impossible. My post above was a summation – I talked to the guy for about 2 hours. Unfortunately, probably to advance special interests, the health care insurance system is complex and not at all designed to benefit the beneficiaries of the program.

        I will say this: Each state has a SHIP (state health insurance assistance program) that helps people understand their health insurance options. Unfortunately, each state comes up with their own clever name for what these organizations are called, e.g., Oregon calls their’s SHIBA (state health insurance benefits) and Florida calls their’s SHINE (state health insurance needs of elders).
        HOWEVER, usually doing a search for (your state) STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM will get you the equivalent of the HICAP program for you state, where typically volunteers will explain the nuances of health insurance.

        1. flora

          I will say this: Each state has a SHIP (state health insurance assistance program) that helps people understand their health insurance options.

          Yes. Just want to flag this as an important point.

      3. Cyrano

        Medicare Advantage is an HMO.
        Medicare allows you to use any doctor that accepts Medicare.
        With Medicare you are not limited to location. Medicare Advantage is linked to specific providers in limited areas.

        1. flora

          +1. With traditional Medicare (not Advantage) there’s even a foreign country coverage up to, I think (check this), $50k if you need medical care and/or medicines while traveling out of the US. (Do you go to Canada for fishing every summer?)

          People are being pushed to join Advantage plans by advertising . Check carefully your particular needs, US travel habits, and likely out of US travel plans before joining an Advantage plan. Check carefully what the Advantage plans cover in catastrophic medical care needs. If it doesn’t say it covers ‘it’, assume it doesn’t. Advantage plans work well for some, not so well ( or even badly) for others.

          1. Stillfeelinthebern

            I’ve been told you may have trouble going back to a regular Medicare plan if you have been on an advantage plan.

          2. ambrit

            From family experience I know that Advantage Plans also are not generally effective in states other than the ones they originate in. Mom had to go to the ER out of state when something happened while she was visiting one of the sisters. Her Advantage Plan, from Florida, would not cover expenses in the other state. Sister found it much cheaper to fly Mom back to Florida, physically damaged, than to try and have her treated in sister’s home state.
            The only rational answer, if one cared about the health of the general public, is National Health.
            Private Medical Insurance should be destroyed, it’s offices burned, and it’s upper management “liquidated.”

        1. Oh

          Thanks everyone for the helpful answers. I came to the realization that it is specific to each person. I check out the info in Medicare for Dummies. I like the fact that Original Medicare allows me to use any doctor in the US and is not an HMO like MA and it’s nice that Original Medicare will allow for expenses upto $ 50 K if I need health care if I travel abroad. I’m not fond of any of the MA insurance companies and at least right now I’m not taking any drug and (hopefully) can avoid taking any. Fresno dan, I’ll check out what SHIP we have in my state. Currently, I’m not using any doctors or sppecialists and will be researching ones that may be compatible with my needs.

      4. run75441


        Medicare and Medicare Advantage are different. The former is a government plan and the latter is a commercial plan similar to healthcare plans people buy or get from companies.

        If you go with government sponsored Medicare, there is Part A and B. B is not 100 percent and you will have a unending 20% gap to pay for by yourself. To cover this 20% gap, you can pay for get a commercial supplemental (Medigap) plan of varying coverage. You may also consider a Prescription Drug (Part D) plan as Medicare does not cover prescriptions outside of the hospital.

        Medicare Advantage is a 100% commercial plan which mimics Medicare and can provide for Supplemental coverage for Part B and for Prescription Drugs (Part D) all in one package.

        That is pretty much the difference in GENERAL. Keep in mind, if your leave Medicare for Medicare Advantage and need to come back to Medicare, you may be considered for pre-existing conditions requirements to obtain a Supplemental (Medigap) plan to cover Part B 20% and potentially denied or have a larger payment than if you stuck with Medicare.

          1. Another Thought

            I agree – I think a lot of people, especially seniors on Medicare, assumed it was an expansion of the existing program rather than a major enhancement. It may account for the tepid reception by older Americans, who stood to gain a drug, dental and vision benefits along with the elimination of deductibles and copays. We never expected the MSM to explain the M4A, but I think the Sanders campaign did a poor job of comparing current Medicare to M4A-things like this is what a visit to the doctor would look like – you show a card and that’s it. Oh, and by the way your monthly social security payment just went up $130 or more and you don’t need supplemental insurance anymore.

          2. marym

            The original name (2003) was: United States National Health Insurance Act (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act). I think the choice for the name was based on Medicare being popular and trusted, and the new system would build on that.

  24. Alex Cox

    I’m not sure that article from physics org re. forest thinning is reliable. It flies in the face of what firefighters believe, is only nine paragraphs long, and when you click on ‘scientific evidence’ the article links to itself.

    1. Wukchumni

      Not allowing a forest to be thinned is tantamount to planting a gross amount of carrots in a space where there’s only room for a dozen to thrive.

      You end up with a plumage of ready to burn low down trees laden with needle marks on their appendages, lowlifes is putting it nicely.

      Somebody on horse in the 19th century in the Sierra Nevada needn’t ever get off their mount on account of trees getting in the way en route is how it went down back then, and there really wasn’t any fire suppression of any sort anyhow, we being no different than the Native Americans in that regard.

      Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests: A Photographic Interpretation of Ecological Change Since 1849

      Is a telltale glimpse of then and now. The author sought out the same spots historic photos were taken, and shot the same location in the 1990’s. The difference is stark in spacing, and how much the forest has grown in over time.

  25. Wukchumni

    Ah, the Great Indoors…

    The look outside is that of any old day in the life of an Angeleno before catalytic converters were made mandatory in cars, and smog greatly reduced over time in spite of many more drivers than in the 60’s & 70’s.

    Can’t see more than a mile and then it does a fade away into the smoky mist in our 7 week round bout so far with mother nature’s formidable forces, a flyweight.on it’s way to 200k acres burned in unanimous decision, a knockout.

    We have lots of firefighters in the vicinity, with the Dalton Hotshots and Fulton Hotshot crews out in force, and found a little profile for the latter and here it is:

  26. bruce

    Looking at the cat photo antidote, I thought “Now I know what Musty the five-legged mutant cat from Stephen King’s “Wizard and Glass” looks like.

  27. Clem

    ‘Shameless Stunt’: Trump Reportedly Attempting to Raid Medicare Trust Fund to Pay for Drug Discount Cards
    Yes, it’s a reelection stunt.

    However when alleged progressives rely on language about the vulnerability of the “Medicare Trust Fund”, they are hugging a neoliberal strawman; “You see it’s running out of money, soon to be broke, can’t meet its obligations, let’s eliminate it, privatize it, etc.”

    If the Federal Reserve can create trillions of dollars to rescue billionaire corporations, then the Federal Reserve can create whatever is needed to continue the contractual obligations of Medicare and Social Security to the American people.

    BTW, does the Pentagon have a “trust fund?” How “efficient” are the dollars we spend on defense? What is the GDP, Gross Defense Product of the Pentagon?

    How many military invasions and occupations have we won for our tax money? Who voted for them in congress? What is our rate of return? Are those diverted, wasted and stranded tax dollars worth the lack of infrastructure investment in say “defending” bridges, or our health care system, from collapse in the U.S.?

    1. vlade

      It’s actually more complex than that.

      In principle, you’re right.

      In practice, raiding the Trust provides ammunition both to Dems and Reps about how it’s not feasible anymore, and “something must be done”. Where the something could be dropping Medicare entirely.

      So unless you educate people that the Trust doesn’t have to be there to start with, that it’s not a purse to be looked at (althought that can also serve a purpose, which is ringfencing spending), it’s tricky.

        1. vlade

          Yes, unfortunately. It’d take a few decades to get rid of this thoroughly IMO, and that’s even with things like Bank of England explicitly saying “commercial banks create money, not us”.

          1. Synoia

            Well fiat money is new, it was created by Nixon leaving the gold standard.

            The Ideas have to percolate through the academics, (One generation), and then the politicians (a second generation), so 50 years from Nixon is somewhat of a realistic time frame for a new thought to be accepted. /s

    1. John k

      Right. First they gotta lose the elections… like this one. They don’t want to win with progressives, but maybe they’ll get tired of losing without them. Frankly, progressives in swings should vote trump.

  28. Maritimer

    Vermont to legalize recreational marijuana The Hill
    A good start but I would have preferred the legalization of laborious marijuana.

  29. Stillfeelinthebern

    I’m in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin. We have climbing rates of Covid cases and the hospitals are full. The governor is opening an overflow facility. This week, many school districts flipped from partial virtual to full virtual.

    Yet our elected Republican are still busy fighting the Governor’s mask order, his newest order that went into effect on the 8th is riddled with exceptions for religious organizations, schools, it’s just a hot steaming mess. Local governments are trying to deal with it but the right wing people, well “freedom” and they are showing up at county board meetings and trolling county health departments on Facebook. Our Republican controlled legislature refuses to meet.

    It’s so out of control, I can’t begin to even describe the bizarre behavior. The main Republic business group, Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce came out this week in favor of the Mask mandate, yet WILL, the legal arm of the Right, sued the Governor over the mask mandate. The former Republican AG, who was immediately rewarded with a judgeship when he lost the election in 2018, was banned from his own courtroom by the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court because he wasn’t wearing a mask. I will remind you, she is a conservative.

    Today came this, a bar owner With Covid (the tavern league is one of THE most powerful lobbying groups in the state) doing videos on YouTube from his hospital bed.

    And the week has seen protesting, curfew and teargas in Wauwatosa, a Milwaukee suburb over the refusal of the Democratic DA in Milwaukee County to charge a police officer who shot and killed an African American earlier this year. It was the 3rd person the officer had killed in his 5 yrs on the force (and he is African American). In April Milwaukee county elected a young African American man as their County Executive (the position that Walker held before he was Governor).

    The protestors not only damaged businesses, they went after private residences. I can tell you, THAT is a development that many are talking about. That city is where former Gov Walker lived when he started his political career. It was Republican until 2018, When a Democrat won that seat with a very narrow margin. She is in a tough re-election bid. One of the top targeted seats in the state assembly.

    Red, red Waukesha County is right next door.

    Everyone is on edge.

    1. Clem

      “The protestors not only damaged businesses, they went after private residences.”

      CREEP thanks them for the videos.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      As noted, some of those “protesters” going after people in their own homes could well be false-flag black-advance Republican ratfukkers. The answer would be to shoot each and every such “protester”. That way, if any of them were secret CREEPers, the home-defenders would be sure of killing the secret CREEPers along with the useful idiots whom the secret CREEPers inspired.

      Kill them all. Nixon’s Ghost will know his own.

  30. dcblogger

    new podcast about the Epstein case, highly recommended
    BROKEN: Seeking Justice
    Investigative Reporter Julie K. Brown exposed Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes to the world. Now his survivors are fighting for the truth. This season, host Tara Palmeri follows the women who are making their own justice.

  31. kareninca

    So the Pentagon is starting to have second thoughts about spreading its military weaponry around the country where it is stored unguarded in vacant lots and back rooms. Ready to hand for people other than the police who might want to use it, or by police who might have non-police uses for it. Gee, what could go wrong. I wonder how much of it is missing already.

  32. Jeremy Grimm

    “Police departments don’t really need excess military gear, Pentagon IG says Task & Purpose (BC)”

    There are many ways Army equipment and mission plans might benefit Law Enforcement — assuming the Law Enforcement missions include some disaster relief missions and assuming certain equipment is included in the Pentagon Law Enforcement Support (LESO) program. [At least on paper disaster relief had been an important mission for the Army’s SOUTHCOM. I don’t know whether it is still one of their missions.]

    The military electric power generators and water purification vehicles are the first pieces of military equipment useful for disaster relief that come to mind. I suppose the military medical systems and mission planning might be useful for handling any disaster that included a lot of major injuries. The MC4 family of systems are designed for casualty care and not designed for insurance and billing. From what I’ve read they are very effective. At a county level the army Petroleum, Oil, & Lubricants [POL] vehicles could help keep generators and vehicles running.

    The 391 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, 2,885 Humvees, 1,105 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, and more than 75,000 firearms passed to federal and state police forces across the country do little for law enforcement. The Humvees and MRAP vehicles consume fuel at a high rate and I believe they have reputation for needing a lot of maintenance and repairs. I’ve read that many of the MRAP vehicles are top heavy, and besides what kind of threat are the police expecting to protect us from that would be burying IEDs in our roads? The fixed-wing air might be handy for police spy planes. Police helicopters have been around for a while. The 75,000 firearms seem both unnecessary and a risk in light of the lax monitoring done on the final disposition of equipment. I suspect more than a few firearms might get lost somewhere before in the Army logistics channel or in the transit from Army to the police or before the weapons are added to the police inventory or mysteriously lost from the police inventory.

    The link describes several ways the law enforcement agencies mistreat and misuse the equipment; LESO program keeps sloppy records; and law enforcement receives poor choices of equipment.

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