Links 10/11/2020

There have been multiple sightings of a hairy, venomous caterpillar in Virginia CNN (dk).

Monkey ‘Gang Wars’ Keep Killing People in India Vice. What is with the showrunners on this timeline? (Oh, deforestation is one cause.)

New England’s Forests Are Sick. They Need More Tree Doctors. NYT

CommonPass Covid Action Platform, World Economic Forum. Sounds innocuous enough….

Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing The Correspondent. Except prosecution futures, as Yves has pointed out.

The Core of the ECB’s New Strategy Project Syndicate

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva: ‘The fund needs to have a big bazooka’ FT

Contractors, scrap dealers selling border fence steel in Arizona and Mexico CBS5 (dk). Metal theft is always a sign of economic distress.


Steps for Reducing COVID Transmission (GoogleDoc) Cyrus Maher, UCSF. This is the must-read for the week. It’s not only a review of the literature, it’s packed with useful, pragmatic information, and very simply and clearly written. Slide 11: Aerosol FTW; slide 20: the “Swiss Cheese” model; plus a series of slides on preventing exposure, reducing exposure, and improving your odds if you are exposed starting at slide 24; see especially slide 48. (Caveat lector: There is a pitch to enroll in UCSF’s clinical trial.) Could some kind soul with a Google account download this document as a PDF and mail it to me? Address in Water Cooler beneath plant. Thanks! UPDATE Four kind souls did this within minute, so thanks for the thought, but you don’t need to!)

* * *

Science is popping:

How SARS-CoV-2 disables the human cellular alarm system “The Guttman lab discovered that SARS-CoV-2 proteins interfere with this whole process [of cellular protein production] at multiple stages. Some of the virus’s proteins prevent mRNA from being fully spliced and properly assembled. Others plug up the ribosome so that it cannot form new proteins. Still other SARS-CoV-2 proteins interfere with the signal recognition particle and block protein transport.” Includes a diagram of the three stages:

The above is the human-readable report. Below is the original from Cell. Important:

SARS-CoV-2 disrupts splicing, translation, and protein trafficking to suppress host defenses Cell. From the abstract: “Here, we comprehensively define the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 proteins and human RNAs… Disruption of each of these essential cellular functions acts to suppress the interferon response to viral infection. Our results uncover a multipronged strategy utilized by SARS-CoV-2 to antagonize essential cellular processes to suppress host defenses.”

Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Final Report NEJM. From the Conclusion: “Our data show that remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with Covid-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.” Somebody will have to translate the medicalese for me, but this doesn’t sound impressive (and there’s no impact on mortality).

The Coronavirus Unveiled NYT

* * *

Harvard-CU Boulder Portable Air Cleaner Calculator for Schools.v1.2 (GoogleDocs). GoogleDocs being what it is, there’s no author visible, but it comes attested.

COVID-19 and household energy implications: what are the main impacts on energy use? Heliyon

The Stress of Bayesian Medicine — Uncomfortable Uncertainty in the Face of Covid-19 NEJM

Can You Handle Herd Immunity? Ask These Philosophers Bloomberg

Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response JustSecurity. Caveat lector: a Democrat-adjacent lawfare blog.


COVID-19 Has Dimmed Xi’s Approval Ratings Abroad – But Not in China The Diplomat

Hong Kong’s many ‘white elephant’ money-pit projects are coming home to roost Hong Kong Free Press. Block that metaphor!

Coronavirus: death of Filipino domestic helper in Hong Kong underlines stark health care gap amid pandemic South China Morning Post. As in Singapore.

The rest is silence:

Indonesia protesters: Our welfare will ‘only get worse’ with Jokowi’s new law Straits Timess

Australia’s Antarctic Frontier: Our Unchecked Indo-Pacific Strategic Faultline – Part 1 Australian Army Research Centre. Part 2.


Understanding India’s ‘Federalism’, and 2020’s Fiscal Troubles Advait Moharir, Notes on the Crisis

The Himalayan invention powered by pine needles BBC

The Koreas

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un throws down gauntlet with huge new ICBM: Analysts Straits Times


Not RAF Luton:

Russia’s Siberian Waters See Record Ship Traffic as Ice Melt Accelerates WSJ

New Cold War

Armenia Azerbaijan: Reports of fresh shelling dent ceasefire hopes BBC

Why Russia Is Biding Its Time on Nagorno-Karabakh Carnegie Moscow Center

“I Am Russia” — Navalny Story Collapses in Self-Contradiction John Helmer. Surely the least we can ask of our catspaws is that they keep their stories straight?

Putin’s Got His Problems, Too Patrick Buchanan

Trump Transition

Senate Republicans rip new White House coronavirus proposal The Hill. Even if the bill is less than ideal, why not take the trillion now, and improve it later? Yang is correct:

That’s what liberal Democrats are always telling us on, say, health care, so why not pass a clean bill that relieves working class suffering? And improve it after you win the House and Senate?

Trump’s Case

Who infected President Trump? This genetics tool could easily pinpoint the source National Geographic


Biden says ‘chicanery’ at polls is the only way he could lose U.S. election Reuters

Fifth Circuit Panel (Three Trump Appointees) Temporarily Halts District Court Restoration of Texas Drop Boxes As Panel Considers What to Do Election Law Blog

Mail-In Ballot Rejection, Caucuses and an Incompetent Political Party Mike the Mad Biologist. “If Democrats were a competent political party (a boy can dream!), they would be spending a little less money on ads and more money on instructions and ensuring people have witnesses–I imagine the elderly could find it difficult to get a witness.” If the Democrats were a competent democratic political party, they would be doing all these things 24/7/365 as a core party function, for all citizens, and not going, hat-in-hand, to some squillionaire to fund an idpol-targeted vertical in a few random swing districts a few months out from the election, ffs.

* * *

Trump no longer Covid transmission risk, says his doctor FT

Nine people who attended Trump rally in Minnesota contracted coronavirus The Hill. As I’ve said, it’s OK to have it. It’s not OK to spread it (musical interlude).

‘There Is a Different Set of Rules for Someone Like Donald Trump’ FAIR. On the tax story.

Biden campaign mulls possible ‘climate czar’ position Politico. “One person familiar with the Biden team’s discussions said there was no firm list of candidates for such a role, but some of the names that have circulated include former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Bill Clinton adviser John Podesta” [sobs quietly].

Realignment and Legitimacy

It’s Time to Put Some Muscle Behind the 25th Amendment The Nation. Has it occurred to anyone else that the “Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office” might also install President Harris?

Progressive Groups Are Preparing to Thwart a Possible Trump-Led Coup. Here’s How. In These Times

America’s favorite ersatz Nobelist loses his mind:

One of the more likely and more unfortunate outcomes of election 2020 is that liberal Democrats will both believe and say they’ve defeated fascism — without having done any serious thinking about it. Brunch awaits!

Why Liberals Pretend They Have No Power The Atlantic

Trump’s America Remains Stuck in the Shadow of Reagan Boston Review

Our Consensus Reality Has Shattered The Atlantic. An “epistemological crisis,” as the Trillbillies say.

We Can’t Ignore Rural Voter Resentment Jacobin. Yes, we can.

Three Cheers for Socialism Commonweal. From February, still germane (especially after the Pope’s latest encyclical).

Police State Watch

Maine Spy Agency Pushed Absurd Claim That TikTok Teen Trained Terrorists Mainer. From August, still germane.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Five Eyes and Japan call for Facebook backdoor to monitor crime Nikkei Asian Review

Guillotine Watch

Social justice:

Class Warfare

Born with two strikes WaPo. On George Floyd.

On Feudal Exploitation Stumbling and Mumbling (AA).

Forcing you to buy the rope with which to hang yourself:

And again:

Inside the strange new world of being a deepfake actor MIT Technology Review

Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up CBC

The Island That Humans Can’t Conquer Haikai Magazine

Antidote du jour (AM):

AM writes: “I think these two (Penny and Emmett) are defective – neither one is on my laptop!!”

Bonus antidote. Normally, I avoid images of animals in zoos, but this is exceptional:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        October 11, 2020 at 8:14 am

        Now that is witty
        If I was ambitious, I would look up, IIRC, some disparaging remark made by the chimpanzees or gorillas about the orangutans.

      2. Clem

        Dan, It’s from

        Planet of the Apes, Charles Heston, 1973

        revealing that he, a captive of advanced apes on another planet, that actually turns out to be Earth can actually talk!

        1. fresno dan

          October 11, 2020 at 1:16 pm

          Yes, I know. I recall that in the movie there was a rivalry between gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans, with members from each group making snide comments about the other. I was responding to The Red Kev that not only did Charlton Heston think the Orangutans were “damn dirty apes” but so did the gorillas and chimpanzees on The Planet of the Apes.
          Of course, its been about 50 years since I’ve seen it, so I may be misremembering the antipathy between the ape species.

  1. FreeMarketApologist

    Steps for Reducing COVID Transmission GoogleDoc has been sent from my personal account.

      1. fresno dan

        Lambert Strether
        October 11, 2020 at 8:03 am

        Very good article (because I agree with everything in it)
        There is one thing that has just reached the point of annoyance that I can’t bear it anymore.
        Filtration works with regard to small particles NOT only by size exclusion, (sieving) but by electrostatic and other forces. Don’t worry, you don’t have to slide your feet across a wool carpet to get removal of particles by electrostatic forces. Particles get plenty of charge just by floating around.
        Yeah, its a trivial point..

        1. ambrit

          It may be a ‘trivial’ point, but it is close to the Zero Point, the Wholly Grail of the Green Era.

        2. Phacops

          Small particle electrostatic or Van der Waals forces (polarity of molecules) are not trivial, especially for depth materials used for melt blown filtration material.

          Practical knowledge in charge and electrostatic interactions run the gamut from common ion exchange resins to dispersion of bioweapons.

        3. John Mark Hodgson

          Steps for Reducing COVID Transmission
          they dismiss impact of surface transmission based on one letter to the editor, this is obviously not a peer reviewed paper and the methodology is questionable. For instance failure to have contaminated surfaces in an ICU is to be expected, patients are intubated and in induced coma.

          the recommendation to wash hands remains (Swiss cheese), hand washing is directly realted to surface contamination. Multiple studies have shown survival on surfaces for prolonged periods, multiple studies have shown transmission from surfaces to hands, multiple studies have shown that hand transmission to orifices’ causes infection. The statement that outdoors/indoors would be irrelevant does not take into account the impact of UV light on surface survival rates….

          None of the above excludes the possibility that aerosol transmission is occurring, based on everything that I have reviewed and been involved with I would suggest that all three modes of transmission are occurring. Indeed to deny any at this point would be foolhardy.

          1. Yves Smith

            You are making a big logical leap: just because Covid can survive a long time on surfaces does not means that it is even remotely a high enough concentration to cause an infection.

            Even though I spray things I am going to touch that are likely to have been handled when I am out and about, I am pretty sure it is overkill. There has yet to be a single documented case of transmission via contaminated surfaces.

            1. ChrisAtRU

              Not sure of the complete dataset here, but NZ seemed to have confirmed one during its second wave. A single spreader who rode and elevator and managed to spread via a button.

              Initial discovery via Twitter
              Backup story in press via NZ Herald

      2. Samuel Conner

        For possible future reference in similar circumstances, that Google Doc has (at least in my browser, Edge on Win 10, not logged in to a Google account) a file menu at upper left, with a download option with multiple downloadable formats, including pdf.

        1. anon in so cal

          >Covid19: Here’s another document that I think was posted on this site a week ago:

          “FAQs‌ ‌on‌ ‌Protecting‌ ‌Yourself‌ ‌from‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌Aerosol‌ ‌Transmission‌”

          It discusses the origins of the bias that has permeated epidemiological science since the 1910 which has caused the delay in acknowledging the role of aerosols in the transmission of Covid:

          “There is a huge bias embedded in the field of medical infectious diseases since around 1910. It is assumed that droplet infection is obvious and thus needs no strong evidence. For example, it was assumed to be major for SARS-CoV-2 despite a near complete lack of evidence, which continues to this day. On the other hand it is assumed that aerosol infection is extremely unlikely. Since “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” aerosol transmission continues to be downplayed or minimized despite overwhelming evidence that it is much more important than droplet transmission for SARS-CoV-2.

          The bias originated with the work of Dr. Charles Chapin, and in particular his seminal book in 1910, The sources and modes of infection. Chapin was a very influential public health researcher, and e.g. served as the president of the American Public Health Association in 1927. In his book he reviewed 50 years of accumulated evidence (since germ theory was demonstrated by Pasteur in the 1860s) about how germs were transmitted for various diseases, e.g through air, water, hands, food, soil, etc. He realized that respiratory diseases were transmitted most easily in close proximity, and that social distance reduced infection (he calls it “contact infection”, but often actual contact is not required, so we prefer to discuss it as “infection in close proximity”). That is an empirical observation, which is correct. It is the reason why we socially distance ourselves to avoid COVID-19 infection, and it has been shown to work very well against many respiratory diseases. Chapin was very successful in applying those principles in his new hospital in Providence, which helped increase his influence in the field of Public Health.”

          “FAQs on Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission”

          Shortcut to this page:
          Version: 1.78, 1-Oct-2020

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            In other news the WHO announced a global testing program for the equally deadly 2003 SARS virus. Its not yet clear what restrictions will be put on the estimated 50% of the world’s population infected with the virus.

            The WHO’S announcement last week based on all broad global seroprevalence studies that the Covid 19 virus has infected an estimated 10% of people upped the official number of infected people from 35 million to 780 million. Now that they understand that the virus is no more deadly than regular seasonal flu, it was not clear what if any changes would be implemented to lock down and avoidance rules, which have cost an estimated $1 trillion in lost economic activity.

            1. Cuibono

              I suspect you know better than to believe that this is no more deadly than the seasonal flu. If you don’t, you should read up a bit

            2. Aumua

              You’re going to just keep posting this every day, huh?

              OK then, as I keep trying to help you understand, using this factoid to say that COVID is no worse than the seasonal flu is a bogus interpretation of the stats, promulgated by non-scientists who most definitely have their own agendas they are pursuing, that has fooled you because it’s telling you something you want to believe.

              Whether you say the fatality rate is higher or the infection rate is higher, the number of deaths so far outpaces the number of annual flu deaths by 4-8 times. Which is what the experts have been saying for a while now, and that is with significant worldwide attempts to control the spread.

              Just because it is true that the establishment politicians are using this crisis to try and make Trump look bad at every turn does not mean the crisis isn’t real, or that economic damage would not have occurred regardless of any imposed controls. I mean this is bigger than the United States. Do you think all the other countries that implemented controls to try and slow this thing down were doing so because of Democrat agendas and/or Trump? Stop feeding your mind with biased and unscientific sophistry. Just a suggestion.

              1. flora

                I think the attack was on the WHO’s credibility with its ever-changing pronouncements and recommendations, and on the logical inference from it’s latest pronouncement, which doesn’t make a whole lot more sense than it’s earlier pronouncements: you don’t need masks, you do need masks, shutdowns are important, shutdowns are not important, etc., etc.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Thank you. By the WHO’s current best estimates 780 million are infected. They based this on all broad seroprevalence studies around the world. I don’t need “help understanding” that. That was reported by AP and is also reported on the WHO website. And we know global deaths are on the order of 1.2 million.

                  So, either:

                  1. All the seroprevalence studies around the world are wrong;
                  2. All the WHO’s tabulations and analyses of these studies are wrong; or
                  3. The virus is only 4.5% as deadly as previously thought (the difference between a death rate based on 35 million infections or the death rate based on 780 million infections).

                  You decide.

                  We can posit that the WHO’s best estimates are wrong by a factor of 10. This seems unlikely. But that still yields a result where the virus is less than half as deadly as previously thought.

                  1. Aumua

                    I still don’t think you understand what I’m saying. Say you have a room with 100 people in it and that 10% are going to get infected, and that one of them will die. The IFR in that case would be 0.1 Now say you have the same room of 100 people but half of them will be infected, and one will die. Your IFR for that case would be .02, much less than the first case but the same number of people out of 100 have died either way i.e. the disease is just as deadly either way. It’s 6 of one, or half-dozen of the other.

                    (sorry if this ends up being a double post)

                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      You are saying essentially that we should treat a disease the same way whether it kills one person in 10 or one person in 10 million. Yes, in both of your cases it killed one person, no argument there. But put your thinking cap back on and explain why we should treat those two cases the same way. No, the two are not just as deadly. You don’t count the number of deaths as the measure of an event’s “deadliness”. If that were true then you could make the case that falling meteorites were “just as deadly” as automobiles.

                    2. Aumua

                      I’m pretty sure that automobiles kill many more people than meteorites each year, so I’m not sure about that analogy. However I will concede that deadliness may not be the right word to use in my example. But the concern is really semantic. What I mean is that a less deadly disease that infects more people is just as serious, just as bad as a more deadly disease that infects fewer people.

                      You are saying essentially that we should treat a disease the same way whether it kills one person in 10 or one person in 10 million.

                      I am saying we should treat it the same way whether it kills one person in 10, or one person in 10. What I’m talking about is called mortality rate I guess, and I think it matters.

                2. VietnamVet

                  Absolutely true. What we are discussing here is the politicization and propagandization of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Steps for Reducing COVID Transmission” is the right way to convey up to date information to help stop the spread of the virus.

                  I was in the USA in 1968 and have no recollection of the flu pandemic that killed a 100,000 Americans. There have been twice as many as this year to date. But the real change is that there were county hospitals, an effective public health system, and hospitals hadn’t been privatized yet. No hospitals where reported to be overwhelmed with patients like in New York, Texas, Florida, Arizona, California and the latest Wisconsin, this year. In 1968 LBJ was not running for a second term. Media moguls were not out to get Dick Nixon nor supporting Hubert Humphry. TVs were black and white and the fairness doctrine in effect.

                  Although the Tet Offensive occurred January 1968, the US federal government did not fall apart and have a super spreader event at the White House.

  2. flora

    re: Biden and chicanery

    Biden has previously said that his single greatest concern was Trump trying to “steal” the victory. His campaign has recruited hundreds of lawyers and volunteers to prevent Election Day chaos.

    Oh, the irony.

    1. Katiebird

      Didn’t Kerry raise money (I think $30 million?) for the exact thing? Only to concede the very next morning?

        1. Katiebird

          I’ve always wondered about that. At the time, I made my largest political donation ever to that fund. I thought about asking for it back. But that never happened.

          1. edmondo

            He’s saving a couple million in case he wats to get an appointment to see his friend, Joe.

            Nothing gets the attention of the Dems like a 7-figure bank account.

            1. Katiebird

              I got a text from him (his campaign??) asking for a large contribution so he can continue campaigning for Biden. Maybe that $7 million already went toward that? I did not make a contribution!!

      1. flora

        Where did the $30 million go if it wasn’t used for said purpose? And an aside, in terms of ‘follow the money’ this is sort of an interesting read. I’d forgotten about Susan Rosenberg and her history. :

        Is Warren Buffett the Wallet Behind Black Lives Matter?

        What’s clear is that there is now a sophisticated and complex structure underneath what many assume to be an organic and spontaneous social movement, one with deep pockets and ambitious goals.

        1. s.n.

          thanks for that tablet link. I remember Susan Rosenberg –and the May 19th Communist Organization and the Brinks job — quite well.

        2. Watt4Bob

          From your link;

          But a worldly observer might notice synergies between IDEX’s entrenched footprint across Latin America and Warren Buffett’s interest in Liberty Latin America, the telecom operator that was rapidly expanding its services to hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged households across Chile, Panama, and the rest of the region that are poorly served by the existing telecommunications infrastructure.

          So we should be concerned about IDEX’s ‘entrenched‘ footprint, as opposed to say, the entrenched/permanent footprints left on the region’s neck by American corporate interests over the last 150 years?

          1. flora

            Buffett is deeply corporate. It’s where his fortune comes from. And Bezos hoisting a huge BLM banner over one of his properties (while underpaying his workers, subjecting them to dangerous working conditions, and crushing their POC unionizing efforts) isn’t a friend to count on.

            This para asks an important question about the deep pocket, corporate ties, imo.

            It is interesting to wonder whether NoVo’s involvement with Thousand Currents and the Black Lives Matter movement is intended to have a similar result, namely to channel the specificity of the Black Lives Matter movement into a larger civic universalism that grows increasingly distant from the movement’s initial concerns in favor of supporting a broad, neutralized political platform that may help the one party win elections and appease its own powerful interest groups, and focuses less on the grassroots problems faced by Black families trapped in declining and physically dangerous neighborhoods in cities like Minneapolis, Washington, or Baltimore.

    2. griffen

      I’m keeping my popcorn ready. And plenty of cold beers.

      Bound to be a s*!t show. Cumulative of course.

      1. Wukchumni

        Popcorn index shows incredible rates of inflation, you can confidently expect returns of close to 500% versus when purchased.

      2. foghorn longhorn

        So biden has declared the election is his to lose, that worked out so well for the last dem, didn’t it?

        On a positive note, did finally see a biden sign in Tyler last week, that does represent a 100% increase tho.

    1. Phillip Allen

      Thank you for the link, both to the film and the Archive! Remarkable site I learned about today at this many years old.

      1. Carolinian

        Unfortunately the tiny file sizes of the movies they offer often means vid quality is quite dubious. But you can find some obscure and interesting films there (and famous ones like Potemkin).

        1. Alex Cox

          For a very broad and fascinating selection of Russian Films – viewable in decent quality, for free, there is:

          Potemkin is there, and much else…

          1. rowlf

            May I ask for some help from those who have watched Russian films? Maybe 20 years ago I watched a fictional film about a remote laboratory in eastern Russia where scientists where trying to develop supermen, and the scientists fought against each other. I loved the imagery of the survivor stumbling away at the end, happy to be alive.

            Any suggestions on a title for the film I described?

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Yes, you nailed it, Krystyn. We, as Americans, should be embarrassed by the optics. Pay no attention to our actions. Ignore those sacrifice zones and their lambs. Nothing to see.

      Say what you will about Trump, ya’ gotta love how he lays that particular lie (of optics) bare. Brilliant short video.

    2. Yik Wong

      Yep, both are monsters, but one is the sexy monster. Wonder why Obama didn’t do a speech about the killing of 16 year old American Abdulrahman al-Awlaki at an outdoor restaurant by hellfire missile. Even Wikipedia edits out anyone trying to report the 23 other diners and workers killed or wounded during this attack. Trump feels no shame at the killing of his 8 year old sister by “special ops” – special indeed.

      I prefer my monsters ugly, though it probably makes no difference to most Americans if they can get gas 5¢ a gallon cheaper by shoving brown skin children into the pipeline to a Kock Brother’s refinery.

      If it was only no action, sigh!

    3. Watt4Bob

      But for too many of America’s leading liberal politicians, “realism” has become an identity unto itself, unmoored from any programmatic orientation toward the future or sustained effort to bring about significant change.

      In other words;

      “Come on man, get real here.”

      The expectation that we can stop the looting of our country, and provide a better life for the average person is just unrealistic.

      That’s why Joe’s shtik consists of only two statements;

      “I’ve been fighting for you my whole career.”


      “Come on man.”

  3. Wukchumni

    All I can say is thank goodness the revamped hotel in Humordor didn’t call it Female Awareness Theme.

    And RBG rendered out of 20,000 tampons is laying it on a bit thick, but the spice must flow.

    1. Clem

      The commercialization of performative feminism that does not address class issues, and does ignore women being the majority of college students, having wage increases v. males, for fun, profit and a safe release of pent up frustrations with zero changes.

    2. ewmayer

      College friend of mine, art major, once went to a Hallowe’en costume party bedecked in tampos dyed with blue food coloring … he said he was dressed up as Picasso’s Blue Period.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “This revamped D.C. hotel opened with a “female empowerment theme” that features:
    …a head chef who is male.”

    I don’t see what the problem is. Everybody knows that chefs are always men while women are only cooks. :) (ducks beneath desk)

    1. David

      I wonder whether I’m alone in finding the obsession of SJWs and IdPol Commissars with “power” deeply problematic. You don’t have to be an anarchist to accept that power is, by definition, something you exercise over people who are weaker than you. In the days of “power to the people” or “all power to the Soviets”, it was a coherent programme. “Power to the people”, like “Amandla!” in the days of apartheid, meant, in effect, “democracy.” By contrast, once “power” became detached from political class, and prefixed by qualifiers for skin colour, ethnic origin, genital organisation etc. it developed into a mechanism for pushing others around.
      Much of the problem derives, I think, from a linguistic misunderstanding; someone who once went to a lecture by someone who once went to a lecture about Foucault could have gone away with the idea that “pouvoir” (one of his recurrent interests) just means “power.” In fact, it’s root meaning is closer to “be able to do something.” But there are whole University departments in the US where nobody knows this.
      I’ve never wanted power over other people myself, and I would distrust anybody who did. “Who do you want power over?” is a good question to ask those who use this vocabulary. But get ready to duck.

      1. DJG

        David: Agreed. Further, in the United States, where “power” has always been corrupted by the need to have power over the actions of other people–the plantation overseer mentality–one finds pretty much only one way of wielding: Blunt / oppressive.

        The glitch that one sees in many organizations is that when the previously powerless gain a position of authority, the person wielding power simply emulates the traditional use of power in the U S of A. For that reason, many women in positions of power simply emulate Grandpa Jedediah, who certainly whipped the First Methodist Church on Main Street into shape. {I’ll drop the name of Carly Fiorina here as a caution and as a source of merriment!]

        Likewise, that is why Trump is a symptom and not a unique cause. Yet what we are already seeing in the Biden campaign is a deliberate plan by the disgraced U.S. business class, in all its glorious diversity, to pretend that all will be well when we return to the status quo ante.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          Sometimes I think to myself, ‘maybe I shouldn’t over think this’. This is after all the land of the Almighty American Dollar! The ‘business of America is business’ as they say! So whatever can make a buck, whatever we can cash in on, we will damn sure at least try.

          So maybe that’s what’s really happening here.

      2. Ander

        IDPol gives me a headache. And anyone without power would want it. Powerlessness is deeply uncomfortable, and abundant

        1. polecat

          It obviously gave someone at that Denver rally more than an ache ..
          Those leftist spaced invaders do like pushing sub mission .. dialing things up to 11 o’clock, knews style – a bit too much for my liking!

      3. a different chris

        I think you’re all missing the play here.

        The important thing to the type of women that go to places like this, is that they have money and can talk down to the staff.

        So if you don’t like your Gambas Al Ajillo and insist on “speaking to the chef” you can have a scantily-dressed man (make him wear shorts) to complain to.

        Man you guys just don’t get the customer base. :D

        1. ambrit

          Shorts? Try semi-transparent speedos.
          (I have actually seen such on people on the street here in the NADS. One needs must be in decent physical shape to pull this sartorial statement off. If I were to try it I would be arrested; arrested for either ‘false advertising’ or ‘creating a public nuisance.’)

          1. JBird4049

            Whuut? “Semi-transparent speedos?” WTF is that? Are we suggesting some dude essentially nekkid for the titillation of the tin-pot dictatorial “customer base?”

      4. Clem

        The commercialization of performative feminism for fun, profit and a safe release of pent up frustrations. Zero changes. It does not address class issues, and does ignore women being the majority of college students, having wage increases v. males,

      5. Basil Pesto

        This is an interesting point, and I’m going to do my best to remember to ask the “who do you want power over?” question if the opportunity presents itself, but I also think your analysis, while not necessarily or entirely invalid, stems from an overly narrow reading of the word.

        I think another plain meaning of the word ‘empowerment’ is in the form of self-actualisation.

        And in that context we can talk about various historical groups who have sought empowerment over the ages such as: Blacks in apartheid South Africa, Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, Palestinians in Israel/Gaza/West Bank, Irish republicans, etc. and so on. It does not necessarily follow that those seeking empowerment in the form of self-actualisation then want to exercise oppressive dominion over those who had been previously stopping them from attaining this self-actualisation.

        1. David

          Well, all the examples you quote are political in nature and, as I said, that seems to me a coherent use of the word “power”, even if we may not like the political projects of some groups seeking power (the Islamic State?) Even there though, the Irish Republicans were trying to get Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom, not to take power in the country. The ANC (which was multiracial of course) intended to take power to end the apartheid system, and would in theory, at least up to the end of the 80s, have established a one-party state. And they were not the only political force claiming to represent the black population: you may remember that Inkhata launched a bloody war against the ANC after Mandela’s release. Sometimes, revolutionary or liberation movements spend a good part of their time fighting each other for power (as in Angola). In Algeria, for example, the FLN wanted to take power for itself from the French, and wiped out all the competition. It even had a civil war at the time of independence, when the external wing slaughtered the internal one. So I doesn’t do to romanticise resistance or independence movements.
          But in any event, my concern was less about that, than about the creep of the “power” vocabulary into domestic politics, social and personal relationships and daily life. I do think that’s a problem.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    So last week, David Brooks threw in the towel for liberalism, especially its globalist and meritocratic aspects:

    We were naive about what the globalized economy would do to the working class, naive to think the internet would bring us together, naive to think the global mixing of people would breed harmony, naive to think the privileged wouldn’t pull up the ladders of opportunity behind them.

    This week, it’s paleo Jeremy Beer at The American Conservative sending up the white flag for the paleos:

    Ah, well. Even if, on the world’s terms, they failed, we ought to honor the conservative thinkers who preceded us. After all, as American conservatism reminds us, conservatives have always thought their task a nearly impossible one. Does that make them born losers, as some have maintained, or merely realists? It hardly matters. What matters is that we never got the culturally powerful conservative mythology we needed, and now we reap the whirlwind. God help us.

    Hold on there, Jeremy. You had your mythology–Christianity–but perhaps your sentence is a subtle admission that that particular mythology is not “culturally powerful” any longer.

    So this 50-year contest between two competing worldviews, the Technocrats vs. the Traditional, has resulted in the corruption and dissolution of both.

    1. DJG

      Henry Moon Pie:

      So this 50-year contest between two competing worldviews, the Technocrats vs. the Traditional, has resulted in the corruption and dissolution of both.

      Let’s not be wistful. It is good to see that the emperors have no clothes.

    2. GramSci

      For the record, David Brooks was never naive. He was simply uncaring. As in didn’t give a family-blog about the little people.

  6. Jos Oskam

    Re: Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up

    When reading the article it’s easy to get the impression that most- or even all items returned to Amazon are indiscriminately thrown onto the scrap heap.

    However, if you regularly read the buyers’ reviews on Amazon, you quite often encounter complaints and low-star ratings because people received articles that were obviously used. Like printers with half-empty ink cartridges, wrenches with oil and grease on them, USB drives containing recoverable data and so on. So obviously, at least some part of returns is being processed and efforts are being made to put returned articles back on the shelves to be sold again.

    Also, the margins on articles sold on Amazon are often razor-thin. Combine that with “…Kevin Lyons, an associate professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey who specializes in supply chain management and environmental policy, says that 30 to 40 per cent (!!!) of all online purchases are sent back…”. These two aspects just do not jibe with the idea that a large percentage of these returns simply ends up in the landfill. It would make too much of a dent in profits.

    I am not an Amazon apologist and I fully realize that many justified critiques can be aimed at them. But for me, this article tastes of Amazon-bashing.

    1. Carolinian

      There are the items that Amazon itself sells and the third party items that Amazon sells from their warehouses and takes the returns for (charging those third parties for the service). My impression from the article is that it is the latter items that are being tossed. Likely they are reselling things that were returned to Amazon itself.

    2. jsn

      Short version:
      Amazon isn’t selling you garbage.
      Amazon is providing a platform for selling you garbage.

      So I guess it isn’t Amazon’s fault people get garbage when they order on Amazon.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          I enjoyed the story about pine needles in an Indian forest saving a region and powering generators and revitalizing the medicinal plants. Awesome and made for the benefit of everything living there.
          I disliked the story about Amazon because it is sickening and does nothing but waste energy and useful products that could go to people that would surely pay the 85 cents to have the products rerouted to them so they can be distributed to people that can’t pay the 85 cents.
          Where can I sign up to help with this redistribution? I would do this for the rest of my days.

    3. Robert Hahl

      Last year I returned a large plastic item in perfect condition to the Home Depot where I bought it the day before. After refunding the money ($11), she turned around and put it in a dumpster directly behind the desk, where all returns seemed destined to go.

      1. Clem

        Why are you

        A. Buying large plastic items to begin with?

        B. Patronizing small business destroying, corrupt right wing oligarch owned Home Depot?

        “Well, prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz was there, along with fundamentalist preacher John Hagee and Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus. The “fancy VIP pre-dinner” also drew Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Bernstein Global Wealth Management’s Jeff Wiesenfeld, public relations guru Ronn Torossian”

        Are there no shopping alternatives where you live?

        1. notberlin

          There are a lot hell of a lot of communities with little or no alternatives. One could go online and buy from a ‘green’ source, but a lot of folks don’t have bank accounts (or dont have the luxury of time to wait for the needed item to arrive). All the small hardware stores in my former community were long ago bankrupted or quit before that happened. And if you need something the same day for a customer, it can be difficult to locate alternative sources. This is of course not a defense of big box retailers, but maybe better to address the structure and forces that created them?

    4. Louis Fyne

      journalistic anecdotes are not data.

      yes, there is stuff thrown away—food, consumables, and particularly for high-end fashion items.

      but very safe bet that the majority returns wind up at a bulk liquidator who auction off pallets to buyers pretty much sight unseen who flip anything of value on ebay or back on amazon’s 3rd party marketplace. whole cottage industry built up around it.

    5. JEHR

      Jos Oskam re: Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up CBC.

      I think the right response is to bash Amazon for all its worth.

      What kind of company is so large and so rich that it cannot afford to treat its returns properly? It is laziness on Bezos’ part because he has access and control over EVERYTHING he does. He is TBTF but should be broken up into tiny pieces (and put into landfill?) for not being able to distribute things properly and not being able to return things to the originator. I now realize how wasteful these ginormous companies can be.

      1. Duck1

        If you are mass producing stuff and there is a mistake it is easy to end up with a warehouse full of goods that you are unable to ship. Wrong weight filling cans is something I am familiar with. Even if the contents can be reworked (more valuable than the packaging) you end up with dumpster after dumpster of ruined cans. So even a rare error creates enormous waste even prior to the consumer marketplace.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      This comment warms my heart and that is NOT satirical.

      People buying “new stuff” from Amazon and getting poorly disguised re-cycles and leavings are getting just exactly what they deserve. And I hope they keep getting it as long as they keep buying from Amazon.

      Of course that hope does not extend to the truly helpless prisoners of Amazon. It only applies to those who still have a choice, and choose to choose Amazon. Let them receive the junk to match their morals.

  7. Noone from Nowheresville

    If the Democrats were a competent democratic political party…

    we would be very scared indeed. Tammany Hall is dead. Labor with it. It was a long haul but the threat has been neutralized and the Democrats have returned to being the party of business. So much for those know-it-all Roosevelts (Teddy, Franklin, Eleanor, etc) and their so-called Progressivism.

    The Dems social club has Reagan’s year 0 and Trump’s year 00 to celebrate no matter what happens next. And competence is simply a matter of perspective. My perspective says they are be very very competent indeed in terms of objectives for their own social club(s).

  8. zagonostra

    >Why Liberals Pretend They Have No Power – The Atlantic

    No, no, no, wrong. Is the author really a staff writer for Jacobin? Those “structural constraints” are embedded in the political system to achieve results that are beneficial to the class interest of the ruling elites. Why stick your toe in the water in to see if it’s warm, jump, in you are supposed to be articulating ideas from the “left.” Why introduce the notion of “realism” which automatically invokes the medieval debate with nominalism. Come on man, gives an analysis that focuses on those “structural” components of capitalism which dismantle any notion that it leads to the best possible allocation of resources, etc…is it because this is “The Atlantic” that the author treads so lightly?

    It’s all well and good to recognize the structural constraints imposed by America’s political system, and the difficulty of passing major reforms in the face of organized opposition. But for too many of America’s leading liberal politicians, “realism” has become an identity unto itself, unmoored from any programmatic orientation toward the future or sustained effort to bring about significant change.

    A quote from Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks is in order: “The great industrialists utilize all the existing parties turn by turn, but they do no have their own party. This does no mean that they are ‘agonstic’ or ‘apolitical’. Their interest is in a determinate balance of forces, which they obtain precisely by using their resources to reinforce on party or another in turn …” pg154

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      I see my problem now. It’s not The Resistance I want, it’s The Opposition. Been cheering for the “wrong” team. Although the article clearly shows before that bit that The Opposition is basically just a different version of same.

      The sky is falling. The sky is falling. And The Hypocrisy – our hands are tied – which follows.

      Krystyn nailed it earlier today: Nothing more than optics.

      Questions not asked by the author: What are the Great Houses within the US social clubs? Perhaps: Finance, Tech, HealthCare, Military, Religion, Logistics All intimately intertwined.

      Where are the actual fissures between and within the Great Houses? Are there any which might be exploited by those who don’t count to get the outcomes (structural change / reforms) they want? How does that change if we push out to a global worldview?

      A more article centric question

      A sitting president openly flouting the rules of democracy represents a serious enough threat on its own

      I’m curious which hard & fast no referee required “rules” of democracy has Trump openly flouted?

      followed by

      While FDR forged a lasting political settlement around welfarism and an activist state against the wishes of much of America’s corporate establishment

      Did FDR forge a political settlement because he became a Democrat or because he was FDR: a Roosevelt with a public family progressive reputation as well as an American aristocratic legacy to live up to.

      Yes, he found a way (with a loyal team of “believers” plus converts) to drag pieces of the Democratic & Republican social clubs kicking and screaming with him. Workers too. A momentary “golden” era for “activist” for the people government. Well, at least for more of the people than before. I’m sure FDR had his reasons beyond “for the people.”

      So Democrats get to run on the memory of what FDR meant to past generations without the requirement to live up to FDR’s actual legacy to ensure the stability of The Machine. Yeah, you knew I’d go there. I like FDR’s more efficient and effective subroutines better than today’s poorly patched code.

      My takeway is the Jacobin staffer writing this Atlantic article is very good at optics. Ultimately this article promotes: TINA, the epitome of neoliberalism.

      I’m with ya’, zagonostra

  9. timbers

    Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up

    From the article:

    “Marketplace journalists posing as potential new clients went undercover for a tour at a Toronto e-waste recycling and product destruction facility with hidden cameras. CBC News is concealing her identity because both this company and others that help Amazon dispose of or resell its online returns are afraid they’ll lose their contracts if they speak publicly.”

    Heh, there’s a proceeding going on in England that deals with journalist crimes like this, Maybe we can round up these journalists and include them in that proceeding and save some public tax dollars? After all, when they start doing this regarding things like wars or what important people are doing…Mnuchin or somebody with control over a lot of tax dollars being distributed. That would undermine public trust, because the journalists would be undermining official private classified government actions and policy and also among other things acting as Putin’s useful idiots.

    On the subject of using Facebook – or hidden cameras – why not turn that around and use that not on citizens but government officials and prominent public folk like Zuckerburg, Jerome Powell, Bezos, Boeing officials, Banks, Nancy, Schumer, Mitch? Or for example Presidential meetings – like the ones Obama did with drug and insurance companies while he was constructing ACA? If only so they can experience what it’s like for common folk.

    1. JEHR

      I’m sorry but the crime is Amazon’s. Thank goodness we have journalists who look at things like egregious amounts of unnecessary waste in our landfills. The journalists do have their cameras on Bezos. Did you even read the article or watch the videos?

      1. ambrit

        I remember ‘salvaging’ stuff from the Town Dump. Now doing that is a crime, one that is enforced in many places. (One ‘helpful’ private security guard at one dump recently told me, straight faced, that all the “waste” in the refuse stream was the property of the company that had contracted the task from the municipality. “Salvaging” it was, therefore, theft.)
        Being poor is a crime in America.

      2. timbers

        You missed my sarcasm. Have you even followed the Julian Assange case? Likewise the crime of reporting is not his, but those he reported about..

  10. fresno dan

    Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Final Report NEJM. From the Conclusion: “Our data show that remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with Covid-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.” Somebody will have to translate the medicalese for me, but this doesn’t sound impressive (and there’s no impact on mortality).
    So I didn’t do medical reviews when I worked at FDA, but I attended enough clinical meetings that I learned something that I don’t think the average bear understands about how clinical (medical) data about drugs is typically presented.
    There is a profound difference between relative versus absolute efficaciousness. I think this link does a good job of explaining it.
    In particular, in the article “Bisphosphonates: Safety and Efficacy in the Treatment and Prevention of Osteoporosis,”4 the following statements were made:

    1. The use of alendronate over three years… [produced] a 50 percent decrease in the risk of new vertebral, hip and wrist fractures in women with at least one preexisting vertebral fracture at baseline.”

    While these numbers are correct, physicians need to realize that the absolute reduction in new vertebral fractures was 7 percent, hip fracture was 1.1 percent and wrist fracture was 1.9 percent over the three-year period.
    And man, what a small world. My friend is taking biphosphonates for vertebral fractures.

      1. Harold

        Consumer Reports suggests that bisphosphonates only help people who have had previous fractures.

        Side effects are not trivial — erosion of the esophagus, necrosis of the jaw, horizontal fractures of the femur. So yes, I’d say these are examples of bones weakening.

        On the other hand, having one’s vertebrae collapse is no fun. The collapsed bones protrude painfully into the nerves of the spine ….

        I also read somewhere that the elastic components of bones is what prevents them from breaking, whereas bisphosphonates increase rigidity (hardness) and not elasticity.

        I read the linked article and didn’t quite understand the statistics. I also read the reply in which a doctor said what amounted to he didn’t explain things to his patients because he didn’t want to bother their pretty heads.

        The thing is — there seems to be nowhere to turn for reliable information — on that and on statins, another widely prescribed medicine. Is “borderline high cholesterol” a sufficient reason to prescribe them?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The way I remember reading about how that worked is this: bisphosphonates slow the work of osteoclasts ( aged bone dismantlers and re-sorbers) and speed up the work of osteoblasts ( layers-down of new bone). For some reason, this ends up suppressing the formation of new protein-based flex-elastic connective micro-tissue around which minerals would be laid into place. It also ends up accelerating the laying-down of straight mineral deposits without any of that missing protein micro-fiber re-inforcing network. The result is the replacement of “bone” with “crumble-junk plaster-bone” in the bones.

        After more than 3 years of being on bisphosphonates, the bones have become biased enough to crumble-junk plaster-bone that spontaneous fractures begin to occur. Clean-break hip fractures under the weight of standing, etc.

        Also, since the jawbone is a site of very fast bone deconstruction-recontruction to cope with all the stress it is under, the jawbone transforms into crumble-junk plaster-bone very fast, relatively speaking. Or so I have read.

        But crumble-junk plaster-bone will stop X-rays, thereby looking nice and dense on the radiologists’ images.

  11. Jesper

    About the: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva: ‘The fund needs to have a big bazooka’ FT, a bazooka is a tool of destruction…. Wouldn’t it be better to find more positive words for the tools available to the IMF?

    The article itself included things like:

    I ask Georgieva to be absolutely clear: is the fund willing to tolerate deficits, if they’re spent on the right things? “Absolutely,” she answers. “Yes. Yeah.”

    which does seem nice but as money is fungible then I am not sure if the answer says much.

    And this little bit:

    Georgieva’s job is perfectly, maddeningly, political.

    Of course the resource allocation is political, anything else would be authoritarian, totalitarian. The dream of the enlightened monarch supported by enlightened aristocracy (the modern term is probably the technocratic experts) is apparently alive and well….

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Ms. Georgieva’s use of the term “Big Bazooka” is no accident IMO. As used by a former US Treasury Secretary during the early days of the GFC in autumn 2008, and again by the Fed on April 9 of this year, it’s another term for a central bank or government bailout. In the case of the IMF, it would be an oblique bailout of creditors of debtor nations and banks whose capacity to repay debt has been reduced by the economic effects of the pandemic and shortages of the currency in which their debts are denominated. The questions in my mind are Who will provide the requisite money to the IMF to load their bazooka and in what amounts?

  12. timbers

    Regarding Nancy Pelosi take this deal! Put politics aside people are hurting.

    Wonder how many have noticed that passing Medicare4all would not just be an obvious common sense response to a medical problem, but would also be a way to give considerable aid to state and local governments by potentially zeroing out their considerable employee health insurance expenses?

    Funny Nancy and establishment liberals never mentions that or considers M4A a policy option. I bring it up all the time, especially in the context of places that believe government spending is too high and needs reductions and federal deficits are coming for us in our sleep. Because M4A would bring savings to government spending, maybe especially at state and local level, if I’m not mistaken.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s likely Pelosi knows she mucked up the first stimulus from an appearance perspective as Speaker of the House. Now she’s trying to show some kind of fight to make it look like she had a plan or something.

      She’s a dolt who thought “Obamacare” would be her grand achievement, never mind the name or the promises to fix it later.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Pelosi is looking us square in the eyes and flippin us the double birds, whilst screeching, “what ya gonna do about it, punk”?

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      I assume that having medicare for all would collapse our already sclerotic economy. (excuse)
      I assume that having medicare for all would collapse 10 million bribes and put people serving the insurance system to lose 10 million useless extractive jobs. (reason)

      1. Rory

        Not exactly a reply, but as good a place as any to throw in my thought. My longstanding sole practice GP retired a couple of years ago, not because of age but because he was able to and was tired of having to deal with insurance paperwork. Since then, I have gone to a large local medical conglomerate for the little care I have needed. The contrast to my eyes couldn’t be starker.

        I have owned my law practice for 48 years. My retired doctor owned his practice. Even the specialty groups he would refer me to were owned by the practicing physicians. It appears to me that any professional provides better care and is happier as an owner of his or her practice rather than an employee.

        I think that one benefit of government run single payer medical care would be to remove many of the current disincentives to physicians owning their own practices, which I think would improve medical care and create happier doctors. Does anyone know of any data suggesting whether I am right or wrong in thinking this?

        1. km

          In the UK, there are lots of small medical practices, quaintly called “surgeries”. In England, at least. Scotland or NI may be different, I don’t know.

          As a young Team R zealot, I was shocked, the first time I needed medical care in that country.

          1. Janie

            km @ 1.42, you’ve named a big problem in gaining acceptance for medical care for all: lack of foreign experience by so many Americans. I am not casting aspersions; we’re a geographically big country with so much to see right here (and travel abroad takes time and money). I’ve been lucky in being able to travel and being willing to stay in hostels.

            It’s an eye-opener to buy asthma inhalers costing $75 plus a scrip here for $8 to $15 over the counter elsewhere, as a personal example.

          2. rtah100

            GP’s are private practitioners but if they accept NHS patients, they get paid a capitation fee (per patient registered) and then various fees based on fashion, e.g. getting patients onto statins! These marginal fees are often substantial and drive a lot of bad practice. The NHS fee model has reduced consultations to ten minutes, often not examining patients at all.

            There is a small number of private GPs, mostly in London, where you get what you for.

            It is hard to see how the current underfunded GP model will survive

            The GP partners have to pay for their staff, building, IT systems etc. Retirement age partners are leaving in droves. So are younger ones because the economics are against them, e.g. gold plated requirements for facilities when medicine requires good listening and poor writing! Plus many women choose the GP route as more family friendly than a consultant specialty but then discover that it requires just as long hours to make any money. A lot of GPs only do a couple of days per week or locum work because they have no desire to be a partner and share in uncertain profits for much longer hours and ultimate responsibility. .

        2. Tom Bradford

          Here in NZ my specialist at our local hospital is American. She told me she came here because she wanted to practise medicine rather than clerk for insurance companies.

          Of course that might have been a joke.

    3. Glen

      Well, don’t forget the roles that our political parties play in America. As the Democratic party leader Nancy’s job is to ensure good things for real Americans CANNOT HAPPEN, and Trump as leader of the Republican party’s job is to ensure that bad things DO HAPPEN to real Americans.

      Most of the elites got REALLY WORRIED that Trump might not have played his proper role, but he largely came through for them with massive tax cuts, but those China tariffs and mostly talk about getting the troops home worried them. But don’t worry, jobs keep flowing to China, and the troops did not come home.

      But the repeated calls from Trump about stopping “socialism” have been heart warming for the Democrats. It’s enlightening what BOTH political parties CAN AGREE on – pretty much ANYTHING that helps real Americans can now be called socialism and beat with a large stick.

  13. Basil Pesto

    Is it too late to halt football’s final descent into a dystopian digital circus?

    So profound is the direction of travel it is tempting to wonder if this will become a more lasting change. Following a football team is an act of faith, loyalty and great expense. How many will come back? How strong is that bond? How many fans will come back?

    Nothing lasts for ever. Things fall apart. In the shadow of all this women’s football, a growth industry but not profitable enough right now, continues to fight for air. Even the international game looks as if it may start to run up against the cold, hard economic dictatorship of elite club football.

    This is the second element under threat. It is no secret that clubs in the lower leagues are skirting close to collapse. At the same time it has become a truism to state that elite football will not survive without the grand old Victorian pyramid, and that the cavalry must, of necessity, come to the rescue.

    In reality the top clubs have no interest in this process. Where does your best version of the immediate future lie? With Sunderland, Gillingham and those cobwebbed ancestral bonds? Or with SoftBank, Saudi, venture capitalism and the new leisure economy overclass?

    1. anon in so cal

      >Different set of tax rules for Trump (the link is not working for me….here’s another link

      Also a different set for Biden:

      “The former vice president and his wife reported close to $10 million in income in 2017 from their two S-corporations, CelticCapri and Giacoppa. The entities reported $3.2 million in income in 2018.
      S-corp employee shareholders can collect a salary — which is subject to payroll taxes. They can also receive a distribution, which is deemed a tax-free reduction of basis….

      …In 2017, the two companies paid the couple a combined $245,833 in wages. This increased to $500,000 in 2018.

      That mean any amounts the Bidens received as a distribution wasn’t subject to the 15.3% combined Social Security and Medicare tax….” [italics added]

      Business owners are subject to a self-employment tax of 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare.

  14. Wukchumni

    Interesting how it went from Antifa/BLM protester shoots & kills an ammolitia dude that pepper sprayed him, to being a security guard for a local tv station who pulled the trigger, which makes the milieu even murkier.

    You sense the country has their collective index fingers on the safety, ready to disengage…

  15. crittermom

    >Bonus Antidote

    Agree. It is exceptional. Wow!

    I see a ‘leader’ focused on teaching the others to solve a common problem affecting them all, while the others are obviously engaged in learning.

    Too bad none are on the ballot…

    1. Wukchumni

      Baboons won the primate word poker contest, so we’re stuck with them as leaders cushioned on their ischial callosities.

    2. edmondo

      One of them would have been, but the damn orangutan wasn’t a “real Democrat” so they just substituted an senile old ape. So far, it seems to be working but the senile old ape hasn’t been asked any policy questions even though it’s three weeks to the election.

      Stupid monkeys.

        1. newcatty

          I don’t know for sure, but doesn’t the WH have at least one bunker? The senile or ape could use it as a substitute. Maybe turn into a retreat from pressure, pressure. And, of course “security threats”. Jill will be happy to help reallocate and appoint needed “facilities “.

    3. Susan the other

      I loved the body language of the audience watching her crack the coconut. They are us. No?

  16. carl

    Re: Steps for Reducing COVID transmission.
    I find it infuriating that at this late date, our august public health institutions are resisting acknowledging the aerosol method of transmission, and the slide show does an excellent job of debunking the droplets method and its accompanying implications (the now ubiquitous plexiglass shields, for example).

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      +100. These maroons believe plexiglass is preventing air/aerosol transmission of a virus. Or are they just bulletproof panels for protection against guillotines?

    2. WhoaMolly

      Re: Steps for reducing Covid transmission

      As a high risk person, I was especially interested in the slide, ‘What to do if infected’. The recommendations?

      Exercise, sleep, and vitamin D.

      I find sleep the hardest of the three to improve. The best program I found for better sleep is one developed at Harvard Medical School: Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg D Jacobs

      1. Michael

        I use Terra 5mg cannabis infused coffee beans coated with dark chocolate.
        Even 6 hours is enuf as I sleep deeper and awaken feeling ready to go.

  17. Wukchumni

    Contractors, scrap dealers selling border fence steel in Arizona and Mexico CBS5 (dk). Metal theft is always a sign of economic distress.
    Scrap metal prices have fallen quite a bit off their highs of last decade, and the steel posts have concrete inside, making it much more laborious to process, giving you an idea of the distress.

    30 years ago a different kind of scrap metal was flowing north in the guise of brass & copper-nickel Mexican coins from the era before hyperinflation started in the 1980’s.

    In Mexico @ the time you’d see signs outside of places occasionally, looking to purchase old base metal coinage, and the price offered-which was many multiples of face value.

  18. Red

    As in Singapore?? Isn’t the government providing free treatment to all those there on a long term pass?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ill-paid hard-worked gasterbeiters and their living and working conditions is the common thread, not medical treatment. (I can’t say whether Singapore gives long-term treatment or not, or to whom).

  19. Carolinian

    Re Why Liberals Pretend They Have No Power–wait, wait I know. It’s because they aren’t liberals. The author could have saved lots of ink/pixels by clearing this up.

    Reportedly torture advocate and colonialism apologist Alan Dershowitz became quite upset when someone suggested he wasn’t a liberal. Which is to say the label means more to people like him and Pelosi than any sort of follow through. After all, who’s going to object? Surely not anyone who matters.

    1. fresno dan

      October 11, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Your 1,000% right – maybe even a zillion percent. You know, I used to wonder why do these people insist on calling themselves liberals when they are not – why take all the grief of being called a liberal (and all the usual straw man portrayals of what liberals supposedly believe when your not a liberal by any intellectually honest definition?)
      And I realized its just marketing – the label, the marketing gets you something. Just the advertising get you the benefit – you don’t ACTUALLY have to do anything…
      But to be fair, are there really any conservatives over on FOX?
      We are in a total non reality bubble all the time from every direction.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that you have it Carolinian. You hear the word liberals and you think leftists but liberals these days are more akin to their namesake – neoliberals. That is why they have no problem with supporting war, military strikes & interventions abroad and police crackdowns at home.

        1. Eureka Springs

          I wish lefties and even semi-left progs would really get this.

          It’s probably pure folly until we set up systems which favor democratic process based on specific issues rather than all this substance free misdirection we have now.

          1. newcatty


            Regarding their “dirty allleys”…brings to mind Dershowitz , Clinton and “friends” who hung out with depraved Epstein and company.

            1. polecat

              All these ‘people’, who are supposed to represent ‘us’, do nothing if not make damned sure to keep Their God Given Rice Bowls full to brimming, and .. at all costs – certainly our’s – Unbroken!

              I feel, to an ever greater degree, the Hate within the forced!

        2. Procopius

          When William F. Buckley, Jr. started National Review he declared himself a liberal. A “classical liberal,” to be sure, but a liberal nonetheless. My memory of the time is that all the people joining the Conservative Movement called themselves liberals. I suffered a lot from cognitive dissonance in those days.

    3. RMO

      If Biden wins I’ll be looking forward to the millions of words in punditsplaining articles telling us that the Presidency has no real power or ability to set policy – just like when O was in power – as the reason why the US can’t have “nice” (read essential for the welfare of 90% of the population) things.

  20. fresno dan

    Fifth Circuit Panel (Three Trump Appointees) Temporarily Halts District Court Restoration of Texas Drop Boxes As Panel Considers What to Do Election Law Blog

    What was that TOTAL bullsh*t I was taught indoctrinated as to how the US legal system works?
    Oh yeah:
    A nation of laws, not men.
    Well, looks like the men ruling on the laws aren’t automans, and bring their own prejudices, biases, preconceived notions, and mindsets to how they rule.

  21. Stillfeelinthebern

    We’ve never been able to get the Wis Democratic Party interested in registering voters. They are focused on one thing, raising money.

    Another bit of info to add to the picture.
    This came out on Friday:

    “Over the past year, nearly twice as many new voter registrations have been added in the 60 Wisconsin counties Donald Trump won in 2016 compared to the dozen where Hillary Clinton was victorious.

    Wisconsin doesn’t track voter registration by partisan affiliation, so the look at county registration numbers provides only a partial view of where campaigns have recruited voters in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

    Overall, there are 264,875 more voters registered as of Oct. 1 compared to Sept. 1, 2019, an increase of 7.9 percent. Of the new registrations, 172,585 are from the 60 counties Trump won.

    “Trump Victory spokeswoman Anna Kelly said the operation launched an “unprecedented” voter registration effort in Wisconsin.

    The jump in registered voters was higher for this election than in 2016, when there was a gain of 181,010. And it was higher than in 2012, which experienced an addition of 131,631.

    “We have already surpassed our voter registration goal by 17 times to expand the electorate and run up the score for the President and Republicans up and down the ticket,” Kelly said in an email.

    Kenosha County saw the second-largest jump on a percentage basis — 11.4 percent. The county has traditionally voted Dem in presidential elections, and Trump took it by just 238 votes in 2016. The area was thrust into the national spotlight following the late August police shooting of Jacob Blake and the ensuing violent protests. Of the 9,800 additional registrations over the past year, 4,166 came in September.”

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      I wonder what Wisconsites could’ve been thinking?

      From the numbers I’d say Trump didn’t win Wisconsin. Clinton lost it. And the blame goes to… voters.

      Except of course The Machine doesn’t really differentiate or care about the social club outcomes. Clinton’s loss (as opposed to failure) was good for The Machine. A supposed “bad” outcome turned into an extremely lucrative “good” one.

      Look at how much has been accomplished, how much chaos and division has been seeded with no end in sight. Plus little to no real resistance. Not even to the greatest transfer of wealth by the two-faced political coin. Which is saying a lot considering what came before.

      Dawg bless The Machine. The Machine knows best.

      2016: Trump: 1,405,284 Clinton: 1,382,536
      2012: Romney: 1,407,966 Obama: 1,620,985
      2008: McCain: 1,262,393 Obama: 1,677,211
      2004: Bush: 1,478,120 Kerry: 1,489,504
      2000: Bush: 1,237,279 Gore: 1,242,987

  22. pjay

    “Trump’s America Remains Stuck in the Shadow of Reagan’ – Boston Review

    Yes, those dastardly Republicans!

    The conservative/corporate political mobilization depicted here is all true, of course, but it is only half the story. There’s “Reaganism” — and there’s “Clintonism.” For the latter, I’d suggest reading Franks’ Listen Liberal alongside Perlstein.

    But also, “supply-side” tax cuts (capital gains), major deregulation, and Paul Volker all began under Carter. Reagan just turbocharged and put a happy face on what a Democratic administration had already begun — which, after all, is the role of a Republican administration in our duopoly.

    1. Glen

      I have to admit every time I see Make America Great Again, and ask people when that was – they always say the 50’s. Obvious problems aside (racism, sexism, etc) that is yearning for FDR’s New Deal America. Don’t people understand that we live in Reagan’s America? Don’t they understand that Reaganism and Clintonism was a forty year effort to DESTROY FDR’s America?

      Funny thing is, I think they do. People sense that things are not going right in America. Most cannot tell you why, but they live it. They have seen good blue collar jobs disappear, they have seen inexpensive homes and healthcare disappear. They have been electing people since at least Obama to change the country’s course, and keep getting betrayed.

      1. montanamaven

        And then FDR was not all he was cracked up to be. “Staying Alive” is a great book. Can’t remember author. Cowles? Actually “People” can sense things. They are the deplorables. They are the silent ones. They are smarter than all those college educated PMC people. They have been betrayed for a hundred years.

  23. The Historian

    Best line from the Atlantic article on our consensus:
    “Donald Trump may or may not leave office in January 2021, but Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey will almost certainly remain.”

    I’d like to rephrase that sentence to say:
    “Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and many other politicians may or may not leave office, but Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and many others will almost certainly remain.”

    1. Carolinian

      That’s a lame article summarized by this

      But our deteriorating consensus reality didn’t start with Trump. The president is as much its product as its author.

      The rise of the internet, and especially social media, had already created a volatile and unwelcoming environment for the idea of objective truth.

      Apparently the learned author never heard of Bernays, Goebbels, Joseph McCarthy, the Gulf of Tonkin incident or the famous sixties “credibiltiy gap” (once depicted on a magazine cover by stuffing the words in Lyndon Johnson’s mouth). The blame it on the internet excuse has long been standard among establishment journalists who themselves have lost all truth bearings and are doing their best to create the confusion that the article complains about. Indeed some of us would contend that the rise of the web as news source is precisely because of this deterioration in sources such as NPR and the national newspapers. Chicken meet egg.

    2. edmondo

      Regarding that Energy Czar that Biden wants. Biden also wants carbon credits traded on multiple exchanges as part of his environmental policy. It will require someone with a vast knowledge of our financial markets to initiate this policy – someone like Jamie Dimon maybe? If there’s a possibility to financialize it, let’s do it. Because as we all know, everything’s better when Wall Street is involved.

      Jamie gets a special bonus for his “service to America.” He can defer all his capital gains tax indefinitely for joining the administration and selling off all his JPM stash.

      America is a great place – if you are a billionaire.

      1. montanamaven

        Haven’t regular people caught on to the whole “commission” scam? Hence Trump. But the poor liberals suckers still think that carbon exchanges are really cool and help the environmental cuz Al Gore?
        If Biden said he was putting in charge his plumber, then maybe people might believe him that he actually understood the problem as opposed to just doing the same old same old Political thing. But then he was never an original thinker. Or much of a thinker. Mediocre.
        This is way too late tonight for profundity. I better pack it in.

    3. Drake

      “Early concerns about the politicization of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention matured into justifiable panic as the Trump administration actively undermined the work of government scientists in the middle of the crisis. Even less irresponsible figures contributed to the uncertainty—for instance, by telling Americans that masks would not help contain the virus, only to later reverse that advice.”

      Our dangerous liars uncertainty contributors are “less irresponsible” than your dangerous liars because, er, they have degrees and stuff. And because Trump. And they have good hearts and intentions. And, and, just because.

      1. rowlf

        You left out “… and because we say so.”

        I am starting to wonder when do we get to the point that all media and political information is BS and BS entropy sets in. The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. It makes you appreciate the efforts of this website for having to wade through the muck.

        1. Drake

          “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

          Ugh, you just gave me some nasty flashbacks to French translation exercises. “Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe”. I think that was held up as the French equivalent of “all bark and no bite”, but matching up idiomatic expressions from different languages makes me pull my hair out.

  24. Wukchumni

    Watched a bit of college football yesterday, and it was a different world yesterday on the outskirts of South Bend…

    The stands were full of masked fans all sitting way too close together, like in the old days. The only thing missing was cheerleaders.

    The NFL has been issuing $100k fines for coaches sans mask, and practically the entire time I watched, the FSU coach had his down under his chin, barking out orders.

    1. Carolinian

      High school football is back where I live. Priorities. Apparently people are lining up for the covid reduced stadium seating.

      But no reports of any outbreaks among our high schoolers or lower grades—just a few individual cases.

      1. Wukchumni

        I think the tv $’s dominate NFL thinking, the gate being small potatoes in the scheme of things and certainly missed, and not completely discouraged-some teams allowing 10-15k, others hardly any.

        Watched Heaven Can Wait from 1978 and it holds up well, and I wondered what an NFL team sold for in the era, and in 1972 the Baltimore Colts sold for $19 million.

        What are the Colts worth today, $2 billion?

        Some bubble there @ 100x

    2. griffen

      To be fair, the FSU coach has a lot of barking to do from the ACC basement. How the mighty have fallen from ol’ Bobby.

      The bread and circus fest must go on. All those Bud Light commercials too.

  25. vlade

    “Metal theft is always a sign of economic distress.”

    Maybe in the US, I don’t know, but definitely not in the Europe. When the copper prices were high, it was a major problem for a lot of churches in the UK and also for the railways. When it wasn’t really distressed players stealing, but gangs and opportunists.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Bunch of idiots. They could not help themselves but literally push it over the border to Mexico for cheap scrap in an illegal move. Did it not occur to them to ask themselves the question ‘How many MAGA types would be willing to pay good money for a genuine metal post from Trump’s Wall?’ I would be willing to bet that there would be a lot who would jump at the chance to grab themselves at owning a piece of ‘history’.

    2. Carolinian

      I think a lot of it went to China until they stopped taking our scrap metal. A few years back it was more of a problem here with air conditioners and even underground copper cables being targets.

      1. newcatty

        Those gangsters and desperate thieves and opportunists had better keep their dirty paws off air conditioners. As spring, winter(some places), and fall have increasingly warmer temps those ACs will be needed(wanted) more then ever by anyone who can have one in their abode (and afford to run them). Taking a person’s AC would like taking the car out of the garage or street. Or like taking the refrigerator out of the kitchen. Or the tv and computers…Or? Another thing to think about if the warlords get more organized and the scrounged folks get more disposssed. Of course the gated community and those, like in CA that have private security and fire protection, won’t worry about that…for a while.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the homedweller isn’t there when the air conditioner thief comes to call, what is the homedweller supposed to have done about that?

          Eventually homedwellers will try such things as wiring up the air conditioner to electrocute any thief who touches it. Or coat it with ricin or poison ivy oil or some such thing.

          If it were common knowledge that touching a piece of copper which was not yours would get you electrocuted in the act of touching it, copper theft would eventually decrease . . . if only because all of Darwin’s Discards would keep winning Darwin Awards till there were no copper-touchers left to win Darwin Awards.

        2. doug

          In rural NC, church AC’s have been targeted for their copper many times. These buildings are often unoccupied, and are easy targets for thieves.

  26. Wukchumni

    Mussolini was widely considered the epitome of a modern leader up until the mid 30’s, with his crowning achievement having a squadron of planes flying from Italy to Chicago for the 1933 Worlds Fair.

    The teetotalitarian we have suffered through is more of a cautionary tale for other countries.

      1. Alex Cox

        He also had a plan for a huge stainless-steel arch to span Rome. It ended up being built in the US instead (St Louis), where it’s called The Gateway to the West.

        1. Katiebird

          Do you have a citation or link for this? The St. Louis Arch is one of our favorite things and I’d like to have that information.

          1. Wukchumni

            The story I heard was a St. Louis croquet company was also planning on adding a ball and mallet near the so called arch, but popularity in the sport waned.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Our Consensus Reality Has Shattered”

    Putting on my imaginary dog-collar here, I have a theory about this article and what it is pushing. If you had a people that developed their inner moral compass, then a lot of what happens in this article would never have been a problem. But instead, for answers we are encouraged to look for others for our moral direction. That is why the position of ‘media influencer’ is a real thing. It is also why some people seek out how to live their lives by following people like Kim Kardashian. It is why ‘celebrities’ are so revered in our society, many of who we could never stand sharing an elevator with in real life. Yes we need feedback from other people but we also need a solid center within ourselves to filter out what is true and what is wrong.

    1. Carolinian

      But I think this has always been true. In his satire of the American middle class Sinclair Lewis made fun of businessmen who would get all of their ideas from newspaper editorials.

      1. newcatty

        Agree… an inner moral compass is the key to a kind and compassionate life. I don’t think people are born without it. I think the innate good hearts of children are, in most cases, crushed by society. There are exceptions, especially if the parent or caregiver is decent and mature. But, now we have generations of crushed individuals having children. OK, sounds like “sins of the fathers” …not fair… BTW, I don’t watch any football. Did they bring back the MIC war machine propaganda show before the games? Our heroic military servants in parade and the stars and stripes call belted out by, usually, some singer trying to hit the right notes? Any fly overs in the land of the brave and “free”?

        1. montanamaven

          Interesting. That’s where Jung comes in. If you embrace who you are- your innate hardware-your psychological type, then, as the original psychiatrist said, “To Thine Own Self Be True”. (Easier said than done.) Then when you know who you are, Jung says you can then try to get in other people’s shoes. He called this process of becoming a full human being “individuation”. It’s funny that I only figured this out when I moved to Montana from NYC. Rancher husband doesn’t read papers. Doesn’t really care what people think. Does care if the cows are annoyed aka hungry/thirsty. So he has his own compass. Not that this is true for all rural folk. “Holier than thou” is in the city and in the country. Meanness is in the city and country.

          1. newcatty

            Not caring what people think is a fully realized human being. Jung made it clear that isn’t the same as not having empathy for others. Jung defined psychological type, as being a blueprint for who you are when born. There is little doubt that children have distinct psychological types. Whether this is from whatever source can be another discussion. Accepting that you are, the most discussed type for example: introvert or extrovert is common pop psych. There is a type, but shades of expression in a person’s personality. It really has a lot to do with cultural and social context. An introverted child could be seen as shy, quiet and, if intelligent , as a mouse or a nerd. The extrovert could be seen as charismatic, attractive, and if athletic, as a leader and strong. It was fun to see the popularity of tv show”Glee” make the out crowd cool. Now, nerds of course are cool if joining the PMC. Being true to ourselves is a long learning curve for most. Your insight that narcissism and meanness is in every society is right on. The divisiveness of American idolatry of individualism and it’s version of class divides is colliding with the abandonment of the people’s needs. The serious use of propaganda has been to conflate any person with a moral compass, who doesn’t let themself be influenced by it, as being someone who isn’t playing by the rules. This is not accepting anyone who sees it is authentic to be cruel or violent; that is actually the opposite of a full human being.

        2. Gaianne

          Once you accept the prevaricating phrase “moral compass” you are already lost.

          There are no deep or subtle philosophical issues here, and you do not need some refined instrument to discern them.

          Just simple fraud, simple theft, simple predation, simple murder.

          “Moral compass” is the special pleading of the defense lawyer with no case by which to defend. With facts and law solidly against his client, he is pounding the table, hoping to distract.


  28. edmondo

    Here’s the latest polls: Does this look like a “landslide” to you? Chicanery? More like Malarkey.

    From Baldwin Wallace University:
    MICHIGAN: Biden 50%, Trump 43%
    OHIO: Trump 47%, Biden 45%
    PENNSYLVANIA: Biden 50%, Trump 45%
    WISCONSIN: Biden 49%, Trump 43%

    From Public Policy Polling:
    TEXAS: Biden 47%, Trump 46%

    CBS News:
    MICHIGAN: Biden 52%, Trump 46%
    NEVADA: Biden 52%, Trump 46%
    IOWA: Biden 49%, Trump 49%

    1. Drake

      I’m finding it very difficult to believe that polls are presenting an accurate picture of anything. They’re basically clickbait and narrative management. No particular outcome from Biden landslide at one end of the spectrum to Trump landslide at the other would surprise me at this point, and if polls are anywhere close to capturing what happens it will be little more than an accident. That said, I think Trump is going to win comfortably, and I’d much prefer his ersatz Andrew Jackson schtick to Biden’s spot-on William Henry Harrison impression.

    2. Drake

      Come to think of it, the Democrat slogan this year should be “Tippecanoe and Kamala too”. Has a ring of authenticity to it.

  29. Maxwell Johnston

    Re “Putin’s Got His Problems, Too”: I always enjoy reading Pat B’s articles, but I think he goes a bit too far this time. I don’t see anything on Russia’s periphery spinning out of control anytime soon, certainly not to the extent that it would affect Russia’s internal stability. VVP will be around for awhile longer. As will Russia.

    1. jo6pac

      Yes, Russia and it’s citizens will move up by doing the work that they use to buy from others. Amerika on the other hand can no longer afford the work of others and corp. Amerika will never bring jobs back.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Does the existence of a category called “Republicans for Biden” cause any concern for those whose political beliefs are “Democratic”?

      What, pray tell, do these Republicans see in the Biden policy program that they like so much?

      And if Dems want a Republican-friendly policy agenda, maybe they should vote for, I dunno, a Republican?

      (We heard the answer of course at the debate last week when Kamala Harris proudly boasted that she and Joe were “very proud” to have 7 Bush-era cabinet appointees in their “coalition”. There are *none* from the Bernie camp. In case people were worried that Kamala and Joe would be offering Democratic policies, they can put those fears to bed).

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        You’ve asked the question that is never asked. See also The Lincoln Center, the rehabbing of W. Bush, Saint John McCain, etc. It all boils down to one thing and one thing only: Orange Man Bad. That is really all that matters. Assuming Trump loses, it will be amusing, yet predictable, to see Democrats who have rallied around “never Trump” Republicans sputtering and confused when they go right back to being how they were before they wrote Trump off.

        It’s been so interesting to me to see how compartmented Dems can keep this. On one hand, there’s still this rah rah tribal identity that the Republicans are the bad ones. But then they can celebrate unapologetic Republicans being on Team Biden without recanting their Republicanism. Maybe it’s an extension of the “first let’s beat Trump, then we’ll figure out the rest” philosophy I’ve seen many progressives offer as a reason to vote blue. It seems obvious to me it the ratchet effect in its most naked form, but as in the past, people who don’t already know that, don’t want to hear it either.

  30. chuck roast

    The Stumbling and Mumbling link On Feudal Exploitation was food for thought in a period when the idea of “post-capitalism” is penetrating even the conventional wisdom. I can see the argument that the relentless Thatcher/Regan neo-liberal capitalist revolution was in fact a feudalist counter-revolution. The flip-side of the same coin. The real road to serfdom.

    Historians may argue over what Feudalism actually was, but it probably can be generally agreed that the great bulk of the populace in Feudal Europe “owed.” They owed crops, time, military service all measured in rental units. What are privatization, decriminalization and deregulation: the three pillars of neo-liberalism if not provisional rental units for the ruling elite? Only small segments of American society actually “produce” anything tangible anymore. Everyone wants to rent out something…even the renters.

    Pardon me, but among my friends I’m known as a notorious generalizer. When I explain rentier-capitalism to people they typically draw a blank. When I respond with a short explanation, they quickly get it. Here is a generalization: let’s begin considering and conceptualizing the near future in terms of neo-feudalism rather then post-capitalism.

  31. Oh

    Several years ago we sent in a registration fee for a small business symposium organized by one of the Congressmen. He canceled the symposium but there was not a word about returning the fee. We requested that it be returned and I could tell the Congressman’s office was ticked off but they eventually did.

  32. ShamanicFallout

    “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”

    The WHO is now saying ‘no’ to lockdowns. Precisely what some of us have been asking all along: what is the true and full measure of Public Health? What is the measure of the total risk?

    And so now they say something?

    1. Donald

      That was too vague to be useful. I read the Jacobin interview with Kulldorff recently and got nothing out of it.

      1. Michael

        Too vague? Or do you just disagree?

        “We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Dr Nabarro told The Spectator.

        “The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

        “And so, we really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method. Develop better systems for doing it. Work together and learn from each other.”

        1. Tom Bradford

          Uh-ha. And one of the very few countries in the world to eliminate community transmission of the virus – twice – was New Zealand, which did it with lockdowns.

          Presently the only way to “control this virus” is to stop transmission of the virus between people by keeping people apart, and we’ve seen that relying on people to do it voluntarily doesn’t work.

          If the WHO doesn’t advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus, what does it advocate as a primary means?

    2. Mummichog

      “…what is the true and full measure of Public Health? What is the measure of the total risk?”

      Exactly. Why is it that we always hear just from Epidemiologists? Where are the Public Health Experts who are supposed to deal with and give us the Total Picture. Not to be heard or seen. I have seen a number of articles in Alternative Media discussing the Total Picture but none in the MSM—WHO, CDC, NIH, Big Pharma Propaganda Machine.

      One example: in all the promotion and pushing of a Vaccine Solution, I have yet to see any calculations by any of these experts as to what it is going to cost in terms of human lives/damage/harm, and in $$$$ to vaccinate people over and over again as it now appears will be necessary since that is the only solution they propose. Never even a peep regarding these obvious issues. Just one of numerous expert unmentionables.

      These health experts just continue to disgrace and contradict themselve day after fear-mongering day. More and more sounds like Iraq WMD and many of the other Con Jobs in American History.

    3. skippy

      As I said elsewhere is this the same WHO that was accused of China influence and funding incentives not but weeks ago … but now is vindicated by some once it issues something that forwards its agenda – ?????

  33. Eclair

    Re: We Can’t Ignore Rural Voter Resentment.

    This piece could have been written about our neighboring NW Pennsylvania county, Warren. Lot’s of ‘old money’ still there in the city itself, from early extractive endeavors of timber and oil. And there are the dismal small towns built up around long-deserted furniture factories that took advantage of the old growth forests. The one still-flourishing industry (apart from the refineries) the former National Forge, produces “hard target penetrator bombs, artillery components, power generation rotors, naval propulsion shafting, oil and gas drilling components and other heavy industrial products.” So, the few fortunate employees are not going to be supportive of renewable energy or reduction in military spending.

    It’s not a great area for farming; the steep slopes and narrow valleys of the northernmost Appalachians leave little flat land. But, early German and Swedish immigrants were entranced by the prospects of buying, cheap, two or three hundred acres of land. My spouse’s family settled here in the 1860’s. His branch fled farming for the bright city lights, but he has first cousins and their kids and grandkids who are still working the land.

    A few weeks ago we stopped in at his cousin’s dairy farm, at evening milking. We were there to replenish our maple syrup supply; they have an enviable ‘sugar bush’ that has produced syrup for generations. We travelled down a couple of miles of gravel roads, dotted with the plain white farmhouses of Amish families, as well as with the often run-down places owned by the English. Most of the latter sported Trump signs, banners, flags, hand-painted billboards. There were maybe two Biden signs. In front of his cousin’s farm was a “Trump: Drain the Swamp!” sign.

    His cousin’s dairy farm is small, milking just under one hundred cows. He is a small, wiry man, soft-spoken with a wry sense of humor. One of his cows could crush him. Unlike a couple of the neighboring farms, they have not gone into debt ($1 to $2 million) to robotisize the operation and double or triple the herd size. Milking is still done by attaching the milking machine to a cow, waiting while it pumps out, then detaching and moving to the next. Again, unlike the big operations, all the cows have names. And, unlike the big operations where the cows are penned indoors, they get to enjoy the pasture in the summer. (And, anyone who thinks that cows don’t ‘enjoy’ being free to roam a lush pasture have never stood in the cow barn door when is opened to let them out in the spring!) Three generations, men and women, turn out twice a day, 365 days a year for this operation.

    They will vote for Trump. For all the reasons enumerated in the study. Government (with the exception of county extension services) doesn’t exist for them and government workers have it easy. Harrisburg might as well be on another planet. The cities are hotbeds of crime and protesters. (Who has the time or energy to protest when 90 cows need to be milked twice daily!) They don’t get subsidies … well, lower property taxes for being farmland. Then they are told that you have to go big or die. Go into debt to buy robots that milk the cows on demand and clean up their manure, build bigger cow sheds so the herd doesn’t have to go outside. Look at each cow as a unit of production. Why, they ask. Can’t small work too?

    They identify with the Trump slogans: No More Bullshit! (especially when you shovel it everyday.) Drain the Swamp! (Because well-drained soil is essential for growing hay and feed corn, and for prime pasture.)

    It infuriates me that the corporate Dems ignore small farmers. They are our neighbors. They produce our food! We all have to eat. Nurturing and supporting them should be a national security priority.

      1. Pelham

        I’ll second that thanks. Also, I’m beginning to think that we need a second economy to serve people who do the physical work that all the rest of us depend on. Then we could set free the paper pushers, professionals, managers and protesters to fend for themselves, something they would gladly welcome as they could all become billionaires untethered from the takers — the farmers, miners and factory workers who are holding them back from full self-realization.

        So a second economy would have to begin with a second currency and an investment bank as well as capital controls. Scottish nationalists, for instance, are considering a separate currency to be introduced conditionally sometime shortly after Scotland secedes from the UK. Here, perhaps the vast swaths of the country deliberately demolished by our oligarchs and their lackeys over the past half century wouldn’t need to secede. A more moderate course would start a regional currency for internal development confined to flyover country. Call it the Flyover Dollar.

    1. Wukchumni

      A fine tale told well of the great divide…

      We’d been in NZ for a couple months and its all grass fed bessies there-with the milk being much richer than the stuff with the same name here, and driving home on Hwy 99 after the trip it dawned on me our dairies are all CAFO operations all on dirt and sometimes having a grass apron about 20 feet away from the fences in a kind of Arbeit Macht Milch statement.

      A good many of them would have been located around Chino in SoCal back in the day, but the real estate became worth more with houses on it instead, and here they came.

      We were hiking locally and met a family from Hanford with 6,000 milk cows in their operation, ye gads!

    2. neo-realist

      Yes, we rural people get nothing from Trump insofar as economic benefits, but he hates the same people we hate (urbanites, blm, intellectuals), so he’s our main man.

      Cultural resentment goes a long way with middle americans in the absence of material benefits.

  34. jef

    The pine needle story or something like it seems to come out at regular intervals. There is so much wrong with this concept.

    The only reason it works at all is because the pine needles are collected by hand.
    People have to toil all day, every day, and collecting needles is brutal work, just to make $100 dollars a year.
    Those pine trees require the needle bed in order to exist so soon they will start dying.
    All in gasifiers are just barley net positive to begin with.
    The ash has most of the BTU potential striped out during gasification.
    The ash is toxic unless processed which takes more energy.
    Even after burning the pressed ash log you will end up with almost as much ash as you started with.
    Unless spread out very thinly over a very large area the soil will ph will become too high for most plants.

    They would probably be better off giving everyone a stationary bike/generator that feeds into the community grid and pay them per watt. And pay them to go around and remove the invasive pine trees and plant indigenous plants.

    1. bob

      Well now how can you sell anything with that attitude!? Everyone needs a gasifier, it’ll save the world. If you can’t afford it, you don’t have anything to offer the consumer led green revolution anyway. Why do you hate Earth?

  35. DJG

    David Bentley Hart: His diagnosis is accurate: Why, it’s almost as if Americans will believe anything.

    An enormous number of Americans have been persuaded to believe that they are freer in the abstract than, say, Germans or Danes precisely because they possess far fewer freedoms in the concrete. They are far more vulnerable to medical and financial crisis, far more likely to receive inadequate health coverage, far more prone to irreparable insolvency, far more unprotected against predatory creditors, far more subject to income inequality, and so forth, while effectively paying more in tax (when one figures in federal, state, local, and sales taxes, and then compounds those by all the expenditures that in this country, as almost nowhere else, their taxes do not cover).

    1. fresno dan

      October 11, 2020 at 12:53 pm
      I think that is a great insight. Although I think most of those “abstract” freedoms are a crock as well….

  36. Basil Pesto

    Only skimmed so far but the AARC’s paper on Antarctica is fascinating.

    Particularly to me because a few months ago I had the idea for a fictional scenario wherein there is a rush to settle and colonise Antarctica in the medium-term future as it begins to thaw and become inhabitable. Probably the best depiction of that scenario to my mind would be through a 4X strategy game. Antarctica fascinates me because it’s this massive continent and it’s such an afterthought. The moon, essentially a lifeless and uninteresting lump, captures the public imagination more than the seventh continent.

    Now here’s the army essentially telling me “yep, good point”, so that’s nice, I guess? Maybe not in our lifetimes but Antarctica is surely going to be an absolute geopolitical shitshow at some point in the future.

    Anyway, for Australia’s more genteel involvement in Antarctica, I heartily recommend this twitter account:

    features animal, bird and (usually underwater) plant content, inter alia

  37. DJG

    And our occasional swerve into the classics. This morning, Plutarch’s life of Timoleon came to mind, in part for this high moral tone, in part for the religious mysticism. (Besides his brilliant writing, Plutarch was a priest of the Oracle at Delphi.)

    As he begins: “I began the writing of my “Lives” for the sake of others, but I find that I am continuing the work and delighting in it now for my own sake also, using history as a mirror and endeavouring in a manner to fashion and adorn my life in conformity with the virtues therein depicted. For the result is like nothing else than daily living and associating together, when I receive and welcome each subject of my history in turn as my guest, so to speak, and observe carefully “how large he was and of what mien,” and select from his career what is most important and most beautiful to know.”

    And there’s this: “When the fleet was ready, and the soldiers provided with what they needed, the priestesses of Persephone fancied they saw in their dream that goddess and her mother making ready for a journey, p279 and heard them say that they were going to sail with Timoleon to Sicily. Therefore the Corinthians equipped a sacred trireme besides, and named it after the two goddesses. Furthermore, Timoleon himself journeyed to Delphi and sacrificed to the god, and as he descended into the place of the oracle, he received the following sign. 3 From the votive offerings suspended there a fillet which had crowns and figures of Victory embroidered upon it slipped away and fell directly upon the head of Timoleon, so that it appeared as if he were being crowned by the god and thus sent forth upon his undertaking.”

    The past may be a different country, but too many of the characteristics are familiar.

    I wonder if Hillary Clinton has thought yet about using a sacred trireme for fund-raising and “outreach”?

    1. Brunches with Cats

      Plutarch’s life of Timolean came to mind … in part for the religious mysticism.

      Hmmm, reminds me of a recent Joe Rogan podcast discussing the use of psychedelics in ancient religious rituals. The main guest, Brian Muraresku, just wrote a book on the topic, The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name. I haven’t read it and confess that I didn’t listen to the whole interview; I bookmarked it for later and made a mental note to send the link to Lambert (which immediately got buried in the mounting pile of mental notes). So I don’t know if they talk about the Oracle, but they do go deeply into Eleusinian Mysteries and the likelihood that the rites included some sort of mind-altering substance, possibly ergot derived from barley in the ritual drink.

      I got a kick out of a comment by the second guest, Rogan regular Graham Hancock, that anyone seeking high office — president, prime minister, etc. — should be required to have “at least a dozen sessions with a powerful psychedelic” (starting at 19:02). In fact, I found this interview while searching for something else and clicked on it out of curiosity, having read some of Hancock’s work and thinking him a strange interview choice. Obviously, I didn’t know Rogan. I’d listened to him only twice: when he interviewed Bernie and when he had Tulsi on. Might have to start listening more often.

      Speaking of Hillary: When I searched for Muraresku’s bio, a first-page hit linked to his resume in, of all places, the Wikileaks Podesta emails. Podesta was one of his professors, and he was using the connection to forage for work on the HRC campaign.

  38. hairy venomous caterpillar

    I love kitties too. Please leave me alone, I mean you no harm, and in six months I will turn into the most beautiful, non-venomous butterfly you ever saw. Meanwhile…


    “Artisanal Blockchain in the Cloud Doing Everything For Good!” and finally…


  39. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the launch of the Fantasy Bootfall League

    Scoring is based upon performance:

    Antifa/BLM protester arrested and spirited away by clandestine cops = 100 points

    White Supremacist protester arrested and spirited away by clandestine cops = 500 points

  40. Jeremy Grimm

    “Monkey ‘Gang Wars’ Keep Killing People in India”
    We live with many other intelligent species on our beautiful blue planet. Although Humankind is culpable for their harm and the pressures they feel — I believe it is not too late to enlist their help. They may rightly grudge what Humankind has done, but they also must respect what we can do and the value of working with those of Humankind who can see the future threats and present dangers — and work to make better what Humankind has ruined for all.

    We look to the stars for signs of intelligence when alien intelligence native to this world surrounds us.

  41. YPG

    “Has it occurred to anyone else that the “Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office” might also install President Harris?”

    I commented to this effect the other day. I actually think that if the Dems are seriously considering this, then it’s with an eye toward a Harris presidency more than it is from a desire to remove Trump. I don’t think it’s written in stone- more of a contingency plan than anything- but I think it’s getting the bases covered early on using the guise of “tough on Trump” posturing.

  42. anon in so cal

    Here we go: on top of Biden’s dangerously bellicose statements about Russia to the Council on Foreign Relations, there’s this nonsensical statement by Biden:

    “A bizarre statement on #NagornoKarabakh by Joe Biden, which pokes at Russia for “cynically providing arms to both sides”) while saying nothing about Turkey (a NATO ally). Expectedly, doesn’t even acknowledge Moscow’s central role in ceasefire negotiations.”

    “Biden’s Russia “experts” are dangerously ignorant imbeciles, fueled by centrist dogma that assumes Russian foreign policy has only one goal: to spread chaos everywhere. This is a matter of faith in DC, and if you don’t accept it you’re not “credible”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did Biden also mention that great ally Israel supplying illegal cluster munitions to Azerbaijan which they put to use hitting cities with?

      1. Duck1

        Did the only democracy in the middle east manufacture the munitions or are they a product of the exceptional nation with it’s rules based international order?

      1. Phillip Cross

        It seems to me like there’s plenty of Trump related derangement on all sides of this electorate.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That first photo labelled ‘How it Started.’ Wasn’t that the George Bush Christmas tree in the White House?

  43. dcblogger

    Maryland Takes Over Hundreds Of Purple Line Contracts After Public-Private Partnership Fallout
    The Maryland Transit Administration has taken over hundreds of contracts for the Purple Line light rail construction, following a months-long battle with the private-partner consortium working on the $5.6 billion project.

    State officials announced the news Friday, according to the Washington Post, potentially upending one of the largest public-private partnerships in the country.

  44. Wukchumni

    After weeks of increased violence on the Las Vegas Strip, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is implementing several new security features beginning Friday evening.

    Every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The Cosmopolitan will restrict entry to only those with reservations within the hotel or at a restaurant, or rewards members, and all guests will be checked with metal detection wands, according to a statement from the hotel-casino.

    Specific doors have been designated for entry and exit, and the property will have Metropolitan Police Department officers at the doors. All bags will be checked, and “oversized alcoholic beverages or glass products” will not be allowed on property.

    The Strip has seen a recent string of violent crimes, including a stabbing in the shadow of The Cosmopolitan and a shooting across the street.

  45. George Phillies

    “the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet or the Vice President and a majority of ‘such other body as Congress may by law provide’”

    Ummh, that’s OR not AND

    “the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet or the Vice President OR a majority of ‘such other body as Congress may by law provide’”

    Let us now note why this effort will mostly be an epic fail.

    First, the Vice President must agree. Will Pence ask to replace Trump? Well, it’s a way to inflate his pension, done the day before Trump leaves office. Otherwise, no. Will Harris ask to replace Biden? Interesting possibility.

    But it will not work, probably. First, Biden must agree. Of course, if he agreed, he could just resign (unless he is comatose or brain-dead, which I do not wish on him). Therefore he will not agree, and he will so notify Congress. A 2/3 vote of each house of Congress is now required to remove him. Republicans: This is the same Joe Biden the voters just elected. We stand with the people and vote against removing Joe. Coup against Biden fails.

  46. George Phillies

    Can we ignore rural voters? It depends what you mean by ‘rural’. Sean Trende did an analysis of 2016–_conclusions_132846.html

    splitting places into rural, small town, large town, small city (0.5-1 million people), large city (1-5 million people) and megalopolis (>5 million). Aggregated, Clinton only carried the large cities and the megalopoli.

    18 states have no large or larger cities. That’s 36 Senate seats. That’s hard to ignore. There are <10 megalopoli.

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