Links 10/13/2020

New York’s Commercial Rents Are ‘Too Damn High’ NYT

How a suicide in Calcutta in 1800s sparked a debate on applying English laws in India Scroll

Apple’s T2 security chip has an unfixable flaw Ars Technica. Yet another reason to be wary of Apple devices.

When Black Lives Matter, Athletes Say “No More Games” Capital & Main

Shorebirds More Likely to Divorce After Successful Mating Treehugger

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences Is Awarded to U.S. Academics WSJ

Philosophy in the Shadow of Nazism New Yorker

Peru opens Machu Picchu for single tourist stranded by Covid BBC


What the Pandemic Has in Store for the World Der Spiegel

Post-COVID Capitalism Project Syndicate

Desperate Americans hit by pandemic beg Congress, Trump to pass economic relief bill Reuters

The dogs trained to sniff out Covid-19 BBC

Tempers flare over new Covid rules as PM warns: ‘We must act now’ Guardian

First confirmed US coronavirus reinfection worries health experts FT

Hospitalizations increase in New York amid second COVID-19 spike NYPost


Remdesivir study finally published – an expert in critical care medicine gives us his verdict Conversation

COVID-19 Crisis and WTO: Why India and South Africa’s Proposal on Intellectual Property is Important The Wire

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine study paused due to unexplained illness in participant Stat

Grim new analyses spotlight just how hard US is failing in pandemic Ars Technica

COVID-19 and Excess All-Cause Mortality in the US and 18 Comparison Countries JAMA

Excess Deaths From COVID-19 and Other Causes, March-July 2020 JAMA

West Coast Wildfires

Is wildfire preparedness reporting a waste of time? Columbia Journalism Review

Police State Watch

The City Where Someone Was Bitten by a Police Dog Every 5 Days Marshall Project A childhood dog bite – thankfully, a minor  one – has left me still somewhat leery of strange dogs. This tendency has been exacerbated by spending lots of time in countries that have endemic rabies. If one gets bitten, it’s obvious one should do rabies shots. But what if one just gets licked? Rabies IIRC can enter broken skin, and once one starts displaying symptoms, there is no cure. Hence I get quite annoyed when clueless tourists feed or otherwise encourage the local Fidos to come close.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

COMSEC Lessons From The Underworld American Conservative

Five Eyes group demands ‘backdoor’ access to WhatsApp and other encrypted apps SCMP

Class Warfare

Everything I Know About Elite America I Learned From ‘Fresh Prince’ and ‘West Wing’ NYT

The Working-Class Cinematic Legacy of Film Noir  Jacobin

Regulators Reportedly Mull Forced Google Chrome Sale Adweek. Incredible if true.


How Did Lindsey Graham End Up In Such A Close Race? FiveThirtyEight

Lindsey Graham’s Desperation Is Getting Deadly TheNation

Election result delays mean “the system is working,” says cybersecurity chief MIT Technology Review

Americans lose their appetite to travel during presidential elections. Here’s why The Print

Republicans have been accused of setting up fake ‘official’ ballot drop-off boxes in California which state officials say are illegal Daily Mail

More than 10 million early votes in U.S. presidential election: study Reuters

McConnell warns Democrats are ‘on fire’ as GOP falls behind on fundraising and polling CNN

Trump, Biden Campaign Travels Show Expanded Battleground Map WSJ


Kerala Covid surge not linked to ‘errors’, can’t stop spread — ‘rockstar’ minister Shailaja The Print

Mumbai Power Outage: CM Orders Probe as Train Services Start Resuming The Wire

Can sweeping changes in H-1B and green card programme guarantee a win for Trump? Economic Times

Will Durga Puja Send West Bengal To Overburdened Hospitals With COVID-19? The Wire. When travel begins again, you should visit Calcutta during Durga Puja. An extraordinary, unique, annual celebration. (Readers, please forgive my optimistic bias; the pandemic is otherwise soul-destroying.).

This year’s Nobel Prize in economics celebrates an idea that has failed India Economic Times


Breaking | China’s imports post biggest surge since before coronavirus pandemic, as trade recovery gathers head of steam SCMP

Chinese shoppers spend big during the Golden Week holidays — a sign consumption is on the mend CNBC

China’s Version Of ‘Recession Fashion’ Could Change Global Styles Jing Daily

White House moving forward on arms sales to Taiwan: Report Al Jazeera


Russia seeks Nagorno-Karabakh truce return as deaths rise: Live Al Jazeera

Our Famously Free Press

Not News But A Juicy Collection Of Narratives – How The New York Times Failed Its Readers Moon of Alabama

LEE CAMP: Two Massive New Leaks Show Dirty Underbelly of Empire Consortim News

Julian Assange

Julian Assange faces the ‘trial of the century’: 10 reasons why it threatens freedom of speech Grayzone

Trump Transition

Amy Coney Barrett papers over rift between Trump and GOP Politico

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has seven kids. And don’t you dare forget it. WaPo. As the eldest of five, I’ve long resented the use of the size of one’s family as a messaging device. Or as an excuse for someone to act on pre-conceived, inaccurate assumptions. I can’t tell you how often we showed up to find our hotel reservations cancelled when it became clear we were a family of seven. Even though we were an extremely well-behaved brood. I think that was one reason my parents started camping.

Barrett vows fair approach as justice, Democrats skeptical AP

Two Parties Offer Dueling Views of Barrett as Confirmation Fight Begins NYT

Antidote du Jour (via). One of my favorites, which I wrote about recently in my post about the still-raging Pantanal wildfires:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. zagonostra

    Philosophy in the Shadow of Nazism – New Yorker

    Just goes to show how the smartest man in the room can sometimes be wrong (Donald Rumsfeld?). I think those subjects, antinomies to use Kant’s term, is exactly where you want to struggle to speak and find a voice,and not be silent. Those interstices will be where the profundities of “being” are to be found. The failure and consequences of Bertrand Russel and Whitehead’s project is scarcely touched on.

    As Wittgenstein warned in the last sentence of the “Tractatus,” “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

    I think the author of this article shows his hand by intimating that the re-introduction of metaphysics as a legitimate area within philosophy is a negative development and that it eventually lead to atrocities such as Nazism.

    Metaphysics wasn’t just a ghost from the past to be exorcised; it was still on the march, with important consequences for both philosophy and politics…Carnap would have scoffed at this language; but as the Vienna Circle knew, and Germany and the world were about to find out, pseudo-statements can have very real consequences

    I was recently reading about the philosopher Pyrhho (360 – 270 B.C) and in an aside it mentioned that the city he resided exempted philosophers from paying taxes. Imagine that, a society who valued philosophers enough to give them tax exempt status. Maybe contemporary tax laws should provide tax exemptions for those entering as adults in society that elevate the humanities. Institutionalized charity and religion should not be the sole domains that are recognized as social goods worthy of special status. (So you want to give that smelly, bedraggled, dreadlock, disheveled drug abuser on the street of downtown Seattle special status you say? – oh well, it’s a thought).

    1. pjay

      Yes. The title of this piece, and its source, put me immediately on guard. I wasn’t disappointed.

      NC readers know well how neoclassical economics defined out of existence most of the crucial questions of political economy — and did so while pretending to be “science” and hiding behind mathematics (with a few exceptions). In many ways the Vienna School did the same thing for philosophy. Both were perfect models, in their respective disciplines, for the ideological project of neoliberalism to come.

      “Reality” is only what our brilliant “experts” can state in their mathematical formulae or through symbolic logic. Deplorables, or “non-scientific” pretenders to knowledge, engage in “metaphysics.”

      Oh, and metaphysics = Nazism. Perfect philosophical logic for the New Yorker in 2020.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        > metaphysics = Nazism

        Come on, now. It doesn’t say that. It does suggest that Wittgenstein and the Vienna group held that meta-physics* allows one to make stuff up, and if one is allowed to make stuff up, one can prove anything. And that leads inexorably to the irrational, whether Falwell or Hitler. Stating that the denial of the meta-physical leads to neoliberalism is a very broad leap, from a sandy shore, to make.

        Aside: I’ve read that Keynes was quite fond of Wittgenstein, although he may have just been an old horndog. Perhaps something about Wittgenstein’s fondness for wearing hiking shorts?

        *intentionally hyphenated

        1. pjay

          The Vienna Circle held that anything outside a very narrowly defined analysis of language was “metaphysics.” Not only did this exclude much of human experience, it excluded much of philosophy (including much cross-cultural and historical analysis of human thought which, arguably, is crucial for understanding the human world). That, to me, is the central problem of the Vienna Circle. I believe Wittgenstein also had his doubts in later years (though perhaps not the same doubts as me). We are not talking about allowing people to “make stuff up.” We are talking about defining types of “scientific” statements and “facts” so narrowly as to toss much that is important (and *knowable*) into the same box as unverifiable religious belief.

          It is the author of this article that links this broad conception of “metaphysics” to Nazism. The whole framing of his morality tale so transparently reflects today’s debates that I really didn’t have to leap at all. Whether the author was conscious of this or not I can’t say.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            I, too, felt the whole Nazi twist was totally unnecessary and would have far preferred the author spend a bit more time on Wittgenstein’s later work, less Tractatus, more Blue/Brown/Philosophical Investigations, say.

            B. Russell far preferred the former. Of P.I., “if it is true, philosophy is, at best, a slight help to lexicographers, and at worst, an idle tea-table amusement.” Can’t have that.

            1. shtove

              Godel spoiled Russell’s party with his theorems of incompleteness, and Wittgenstein didn’t understand Godel.

              1. WobblyTelomeres

                Part 1. Yep, as I have stated before. Amfortas had something to say on that, I recall. However, as a teenager growing up in rural coal country hellfire Baptist Alabama (sent to church 5-6 times a week) I found his penny pamphlets (I think that is what he called his short essays, ex: “Why I am not a Christian”) most comforting. Some suggest they are to be ignored. Bah! FWIW, I had a graduate class in Husserl/Merleau-Ponty, the instructor of which got his Ph.D. from Harvard Divinity. To get his Ph.D., he had to have a talk with Russell who was there at the time. As reported to me, Russell told him his paper was “too damn Christian!”. I laughed, but probably not for the same reason to the instructor did.

                Part 2: if you can provide a link or name a text that discusses Wittgenstein not understanding Godel, I would be very appreciative.

                1. shtove

                  Cheers for the reply – it’s Wittgenstein’s “notorious paragraph”, where he seems to blow past the point Godel was making. But it’s tricky, with a continuing battle between critics of Wittgers and his apologists.

                  1. WobblyTelomeres

                    Whoa! That’s a sprawling debate. I have some reading to do. Thanks!

                    P.S. was never a philosophy major or minor. Took that M-P course as a sophomore compsci student because it looked interesting and I noticed that no one ever checked whether my advisor actually approved (wrote “Myself” in big looping and swooping letters on the appropriate line, no one cared). Note to kids: pay very close attention to the prerequisites before you try this. Very important.

      2. skippy

        Wellie its always fun to transfer metaphors from maths and physics to humans … especially when done by 2nd or worse level practitioners and call it Science.

        Can’t remember how many wonky econ sorts I’ve seen have B.A. credentials go on larks … oh yeah David Friedman comes to mind.

    2. David

      I agree that what I assumed would be the conclusion to the article – that this line of thinking eventually led Anglo-Saxon philosophy into a dead end – is strangely absent. That said, there remains something extremely bracing about Wittgenstein’s dismissal of many philosophical problems and concepts as essentially meaningless, and his suggestion, in the famous quote, that where nothing useful can actually be said, we would do better to keep our mouths shut. If only a few more people would heed that injunction.
      Although I don’t suppose the author has thought of this, it must be the case that Wittgenstein would have had enormous and probably terminal fun with our woke IdPol and SJW “thinkers”, so beloved of the PMC. And they themselves are, of course, deeply influenced by a (flawed) understanding of both “Continental” philosophy, and “French Theory.”

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        where nothing useful can actually be said, we would do better to keep our mouths shut

        Who knows doesn’t talk.
        Who talks doesn’t know.

        Tao te Ching #56 (U.K. Le Guin, trans.)

    3. Alternate Delegate

      Clicking on the article link pulls up a URL ( and shows what looks like an article, and then blanks the browser screen. Perhaps the New Yorker does not want me to see this article?

      And so they inadvertently furnish an example. Would you rather I follow Wittgenstein and be silent, or that I blather forth about something (to me) unknowable?

      But I choose to blather and say, yes, there are real boundaries to knowledge. And, yes, it can be destructive to pretend one knows things one doesn’t know. Metaphysics often can be counterproductive and harmful. Does it enable fascism? That I cannot say, and hope I am not doing so here.

      Well, I will contradict myself (showing my license from Goedel), and now be silent.

  2. juneau

    It seems to me those fake ballot boxes are a better way to dump legitimate republican ballots….but that is too complex I suppose. The ballot collectors know where the legitimate boxes are (I would hope!) Either way, if true, their system needs a serious overhaul. There are supposed to be checks and balances this is pretty ham handed.

    1. vlade

      If you do something like this, you may be getting a lever to delegitimise the elections.

      I don’t know enough about the US electoral law, but I do wonder whether even if some low-level Reps ended in jail for this (and IMO, they should be given substantial fines at the least, here’s hoping), it could be used as an execuse (especially with a friendly court) to throw the outcome in doubt.

      How does it work in the US when you get something like this? Do you count only the clearly valid votes? Or do you re-run? Or re-run if there’s more invalid votes than X? Or something else?

      To my knowledge, the US had never had to deal with efforts to delegitimise cast votes en masse (as opposed to voter suppresion, which technically is illegal I believe but no-one seems to care).

      1. edmondo

        Ballot harvesting is legal in California. The new law was passed by the DEMOCRATS. California expanded its ballot collection program in 2016 to allow any person — not just a relative or housemate — to collect an absentee ballot. Operatives can be paid for ballot harvesting in California but their compensation can’t be calculated based on the number of ballots they collect.

        1. JohnH

          Apparently a ballot box is not an operative and falls outside the law. Ballots can be forwarded by a designee. That is to make it easier for example for people in a nursing home to have their votes delivered by a designee. However, the law requires a signature and a statement indicating who the designee is. Apparently, what they’re doing is a felony and the State of California has notified the Republican party that it’s officials can be prosecuted if they persist.

          Here’s the relevant bit of law.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The target for the boxes would be urban areas plagued by too few or inadequate polling stations or places frequented by hourly workers who can’t miss half a day to vote. They aren’t putting these boxes outside of Margo Largo or golf courses.

      Republican voters tend to live in areas where the polling stations are ample and don’t move, making voting less of a difficulty. The early drop offs would only really appeal to republican snow birds, so the GOP operatives simply wouldn’t do this. Republican political operatives are by and large much better at this than their Team Blue counterparts, largely because they have to cheat to win anyway. Team Blue senior operatives are just brown nosers in seats Team Blue couldn’t lose under any circumstance. They never get thinned out.

      Covid aside, the GOP know own many anti-Trump voters will want to make a statement by performatively voting early. Take the 500 golf cart salute to Biden at the senior golf course in Florida. Disrupting early voting is a clear goal of the GOP.

    1. Pelham

      Exactly. I used to be a college football fan. But then I asked myself why. I managed to wean myself off the game, and now all college and professional sports appear ridiculous.

      Even when I was a fan I couldn’t understand why athletes’ personalities were so revered. Once one gets past Yogi Berra (an exception), the rule is that these are rather dim-witted people devoted to silly, pointless pursuits. Athletes are also often praised for their courage. Really? Why?

      I do make a few exceptions, however. Track and field and gymnastics remain interesting for their raw measure of human abilities and their beauty. Ice dancing, too, but that’s more of an entertainment than a sport. Even so, the athletes themselves tend to be boring. That’s unsurprising and fine, but spare us the interminable and weepy background stories on Olympics broadcasts.

      1. epynonymous

        I watched some of the NBA semifinals. The refs disgustingly had it in for the celtics. Straight corrupt.

        I remember ten years back when the knicks ownee, larry summers?, suspiciously drew the first draft pick. It took him an age to find it too.

        I hear the lottery is digital now… I guess people are noticing. It aint the BLM measaging I say. Its the corruption.

        1. Drake

          You’re the first person I’ve seen yet suggesting corruption as the reason NBA (and NFL) ratings are crashing this year to decade lows at a time when people are homebound. Hint, it’s BLM and other woke messaging.

      2. ?‍♂️

        I found the beginning of the pandemic quite refreshing not having to hear about which sports team scored this many points because no sports were being played. Frees up some brain space.

      3. Laputan

        Seconded on the banality of athletes. Lebron, for instance, who is a savant when it comes to basketball, is a complete dullard on social issues.

        Although it’s already been forgotten, the China-HK imbroglio with the NBA last year was the perfect exemplar of neoliberal #activism. Forced to choose between the bottom line and human right’s, the NBA and all of its star athletes clearly sided with the former. They showed that they can threaten to pull up stakes on an All-Star game over a trans bathroom bill in North Carolina (even though they eventually did it anyway) because there’s no opposing vested interest or financial downside. But once there are, something fairly simple like HK’s right to self-determination becomes “complicated” and the athletes conveniently all adopt the same message that they “just don’t know enough about it to comment.”

        I’m not saying that much else should be expected of them, they’re typically dumb 20-somethings who have never been challenged intellectually. But let’s stop acting like these guys tweeting focus-grouped pablum from their media room in one of their several homes are the modern equivalents of Muhammad Ali or Jim Brown.

          1. John Wright

            Reading the first page may be very common.

            I remember the days of corporate management books displayed in cubical bookcases.

            Sometimes one could see book markers sticking above the books, and the markers were usually positioned near the front cover.

            A rising executive should have periodically moved the bookmarks to show some (fake) progress, but I don’t know if this ever happened.

        1. Lex

          Hmmm, speaking of Ali…. I would have thought that C.T.E. would have been enough to kill the NFL, boxing, and hockey, really any and all sports where the participants take innumerable brain-sloshing blows to the head, even with protective gear on, resulting in permanent brain damage and dementia.

          Instead it was a virus, 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt, and the threat that represented to all those self-preserving fans, who couldn’t risk catching it while watching other grown men literally and slowly beat the life out of each other for fame and blood money.

      4. Maritimer

        US professional sports are all socialized monopolies. There is not a US Senator or Gongresscreature who would criticize any of these rackets. Apparently, capitalism does not work in sports—Ayn Rand apologists please explain.

        Many of these sports owners are Bills who prey on tax gimmes and subsidies to make their rackets more profitable.

        Then the Labor Pool comes from drafts (meat markets) where the Labor is tied up for years in restrictive contracts. Imagine if US law firms could draft graduates of law schools who could only work for that firm for a number of years. No one seems to see any similarity to a slave auction or at least a form of indentured servitude.

        But the most annoying thing of all is the Limousine Liberals like Michael Moore who wear as advertisements on their mostly empty heads the logoed collectible gear of their favorite team. Another would be social filmmaker Spike Lee wearing NY Yankees hat to NY Knicks games. Spike is apparently unaware NY Yankees are the favored team of looting Wall Street who are doing no favors for the underclasses.

        Then there is the esteemed, well educated DaFauch proudly wearing Washington Nationals logoed face mask.

        Long live the socialist sports monopolies; may the sports Bills prosper.

    2. wadge22

      I love the unanimity around here of supporting these kinds of ad hominems.

      The linked article outlines specifics on how multiple stars have jeapordized their careers to take a stand about important social issues.
      NC commentariat takeaway:
      “All athletes are dumb dullard dimwits!”

      Seems that to many here, the only points that matter are the ones that can be scored at brunch by bragging about “I dont even own a TV.”

      Now back to calling out those classist, virtue signaling PMC types, right?

        1. wadge22

          And I might propose that discussion of not owning a TV is possibly not the highest level of discourse to be found here…

      1. Drake

        Professional athletes have absolutely nothing at risk. They are privileged rich people who play children’s games and expect to be able to use their employers’ resources to push an already ubiquitous social message down the throats of people who are sick of it.

        Furthermore, the message itself is a racist lie. Statistically, people of color are not victimized by police violence at a rate significantly different than non-POCs. That hardly anyone is aware of this is due to programming decisions by news media. “All lives matter” is in fact the correct answer to a racist agenda that has more to do with critical race theory, the 1619 project, reparations, etc than to anything having to do with “important social issues”.

        Finally, BLM has been co-opted like Metoo before it by affluent liberals for partisan political purposes, and is now circling the same turd-bowl in consequence. Good riddance.

        1. Oh

          Can you provide links of non-POCs getting shot in the back, strangled to death, kicked or otherwise brutally assauted by police?

          1. Drake

            I don’t feel like making a research project out of it but about 5 minutes of searching led me to the following morass of information: 1) many more whites die in police encounters than blacks on an absolute basis; 2) adjusted for population, blacks die at a rate of about 3 times the rate of whites; however 3) blacks have about 3.6 times more encounters with police than whites, so on an encounter basis whites die more often than blacks.

            However, this is only the beginning of the real argument, like whether the higher rate of encounters for blacks is itself due to prejudice (more aggressive policing of minorities, and a bias towards violent encounters for whites since they are confronted by police less frequently for lesser infractions) or legitimately due to higher crime rates, and well known phenomena like Simpson’s Paradox muddy the waters further (the large disparity in numbers of encounters with police for various ethnic groups makes direct comparison rather difficult). Also, there are many ways for discrimination in the criminal justice system to manifest besides violence/death.

            After all this, I take back my simplistic claim above. According to what seem to me the most level-headed discussions in my brief perusal, saying that there is or isn’t a clear pattern of racial discrimination in police killings is a hard one to make either way. What was fairly easy to agree on in most of what I read was that the disparity in police killings between America and other countries was vast for blacks or whites.

            1. Heraclitus


              Check out the Guardian’s ‘The Counted’ series. They provide a vignette explaining the circumstances of each person’s death at the hands of the police. I did not get the sense, on reading them, that the black folks who were killed were treated any differently than the whites. Some of the most egregious deaths, in my opinion, were whites, like the guy who ran naked down to the police station and threw rocks at it, or the woman who picked up a tree limb to hit a police officer, ‘by the lake where she went to marry Jesus.’ I’m not sure if those were in 2015 or 2016, or whether the Guardian has continued the series. However, if there is smoking gun evidence of racism here, I don’t see it.

              Here is the link to 2015.


                1. Heraclitus

                  The vast majority of people killed by the police are killed while shooting at the police or making some other threatening action, such as charging the police with a knife. I wasn’t thinking of those people, but of the rare instances where there is some ambiguity as to whether the police were justified in shooting, tasering, and so on. In those instances, there seems to be little difference regarding race and the likelihood that the police will shoot or taser. (A closer look may prove me wrong. Read ‘The Counted.’) I believe police may be too quick to shoot people holding knives but not moving aggressively, but am unsure about how to change that.

                  I don’t think we should dismiss the Fryer study, which found that, although police are more likely to use physical force against minorities, they are more likely to shoot whites. It took a lot of courage for Fryer to publish this. He was #metooed for his trouble.


      2. Laputan

        1. You might want to look up what ad hominem actually means.

        2. Where are all these specifics on athletes risking their careers? Outside of Kaepernick, no major sports figure has jeopardized their employment by jumping on the same bandwagon cosigned by their league owners.

        As someone who enjoys sports and admires athletes who did sacrifice years of (or their entire) careers to stand against the Vietnam War or for Civil Rights, I find stuff like:

        Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is joined by other football stars in releasing a video, “Stronger Together,” that calls on the league to issue a long overdue statement condemning racism and police brutality following Floyd’s death.

        …trivializing and silly, and it’s that way probably because it’s coming from a group of people who aren’t informed on public policy, history, or what’s happening outside of Brentwood. It’s all just hollow branding.

        1. wadge22

          1. ” they’re typically dumb 20-somethings who have never been challenged intellectually”
          “Lebron… is a complete dullard…”
          “these are rather dim-witted people devoted to silly, pointless pursuits”

          What am I missing? Those kinds of things fit my pants-seat definition of ad hominem, but I guess Im not sure whether it would be judged so by the forensics club. Still, doesnt seem like its quite NC quality commentary.
          I also dont really believe its true, about their intelligence. But then none of us likely have much more than anecdotal evidence there.

          2. As I understood, the Milwaukee Bucks players themselves started the sit out that halted the NBA postseason for a few days. I don’t think that was done with the league owners involvement. Also I understood that the players were likely breaching their CBA or contracts. It was unlikely that it would come back on them and get them fired, particularly since they acted together and were then backed up by other players. Nevertheless, it doesnt seem like a risk free move. I doubt anyone called his agent and took their advice on how this would help their prospects for that max contract…

          I dont disagree that for the most part the protest became a co-opted wokewash. Im not comparing anyone to Ali. Doesnt change the fact that they were sticking their neck out to make as loud a statement as they felt they could.

          If teamsters, nurses, teachers, or utility workers were able to collectively act to make some statement (effective or not) about the ills of society, would we be here talking about how dumb they are?

          1. Laputan

            1. Ad hominem doesn’t mean calling someone names. Again, look it up.

            2. The moment with the Bucks was the one time anybody in the bubble seemed to be acting earnestly. I give them credit for wanting to do something but, let’s be honest with ourselves, it wasn’t a risk at all. The NBA was never going to go after them for any breach of contract over an issue that they made their hobby horse for months. They ended up making up those games and, if the league did experience any residual financial effects from them not playing, I didn’t read about it. In any case, good job, amidst all the sloganeering and plastering cringe like “Group Economics” on jerseys, you managed to find one genuine attempt to translate their frustration into political action. An attempt that went nowhere and is already largely forgotten.

            And, to your question about nurses, teachers, etc., those people are typically so much closer to the ills of society that when they do make a collective statement (and they do), it doesn’t come off so feckless and incoherent.

            1. wadge22

              1. Very well. I looked it up again. On wikipedia they call this kind of thing “abusive ad hominem” which links to the article “name calling.” Anyhow, if I misapplied the term, I apologize.

              Ill be more direct about the point I started off trying to make. I would say that the blanket statements about the dim wits of subgroups of the population are smug, elitist, and tacky. Now Ill throw in that so is pedantry.

              I like this website and really value the comment section. But Ill do my best to point out when ‘we’ are being jerks.

              2. Sounds like we mostly agree on all that. These athletes were not very effective in their seemingly genuine attempt to influence the situation. Any risk, any victory, was symbolic only.
              Still, why the reflexive name calling? What could they even have done better if they werent so dumb?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Scotty from Marketing in Australia was talking about the need for austerity a few months ago. This is lunacy this and I am sure that Mark Blyth would have a lot to say about the subject. This is like the IMF looking at the flames of the pandemic burning around the world and saying ‘You know, what we really need to do is to throw buckets of gasoline near and far to make things better. We know that it has never, ever worked before according in our own people but this time for sure.’

      The Arab Spring will be small beer compared to what will be coming down the pike.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        When Kevin Rudd (Labor) was PM the Liberal Party (Republican equivalent) went all hair on fire when he borrowed money for stimulus at the start of the GFC. I mean they were apoplectic, all about how it would destroy the economy etc etc. Turns out Australia sailed through the GFC without even a single quarter of economic contraction.

        Fast forward to a crisis on their watch and the manna spigot got turned on bigtime, somehow Scotty got Rupert et alia to sit down and shut up, and I consider this to be quite an accomplishment.

      2. lordkoos

        At least in the USA it appears that the security state is up for the challenge. If we can judge by the inaction of our politicians, the blob seems confident that they can handle the social unrest, which will surely come if there is no relief provided for people. An effective general strike would be much harder for the state to deal than people in the streets, but that would be much more difficult to organize compared to random demostrations. One can dream…

  3. fresno dan

    The Working-Class Cinematic Legacy of Film Noir Jacobin

    What with covid, I am seeing even more Netflix movies than usual. So with so much time on my hands, I just recently revisited The Big Sleep and the Asphalt Jungle. And one of the things that strikes me (other than suitcases were the size of today’s briefcases – people’s ENTIRE wardrobe could fit in them) is the much more cynical realistic portrayal of the police and the law. Corruption and ambition are frankly shown, and that innocent people can be chewed up and spit out and the system could not care less. It just strikes me that it was a more hard nosed era, unlike today with the vast majority of our Hollywood and TV simulacrum of crime stories, that are hopelessly naive and idealistic about how police and prosecutors behave.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Mike Davis covered this topic much more imaginatively thirty years ago in his masterpiece about LA, City of Quartz.

    1. Carolinian

      There are still lots of movies with police corruption themes or elements. Perhaps what did change is that the rise of television made the “police procedural” a staple of drama shows and the cops, by definition, good guys. Perhaps with Black Lives Matter the worm has yet again turned.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        After all, everything they investigate is a crime — and everyone the district attorneys prosecute is an offender. Or at least that’s their stories. (CLONK-THUD!

      2. lordkoos

        There is a lot of subtle (and some not-so-subtle) propaganda, both TV and film, that is pro-police, pro-military and pro-spy. I like to remind people that the CIA has an office solely dedicated to interfacing with the film and television industry.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I suspect there was plenty of reductive dross going around, and in lieu of any other significant merit (formalist, technical, thematic, whatever), this work has been forgotten in the fullness of time. It has pretty much always been like this in literature; so it will be with the laws & orders and CSIs, which are likely to be remembered for their commercial achievements, while the myriad shows, films, etc. that aren’t so simplistic (and there are plenty of them, whether you’re aware of them or not) are more likely to endure as texts.

      It sounds like you might enjoy David Simon’s shows. Not just The Wire, but the storyline in Treme with Melissa Leo (lawyer) and David Morse’s (policeman) characters across the show was excellent. Leo rendered possibly the finest, fullest performance of an American lawyer I’ve yet seen.

      1. newcatty

        Yes, Treme was an excellent show. Leo gave an amazing performance as a lawer and it was more complete as she portrayed her personal life as a wife and mother.

    3. JCC

      I agree. I’ve been a big fan of quality film noir and authors such as Hammett, Chandler, and MacDonald for many, many years (I regularly re-read the above during down-times).

      There is little doubt in my mind that it has helped to give me a totally different perspective on how power operates and the naivete of many when it comes to “law” enforcement.

      1. Stephen V.

        A question: I enjoyed the Perry Mason remake, it being NOT what I remember from the 50’s. The most refreshing thing, as you all say, was the straight up corrupt murderous filth of the LAPD!
        But, what are Police Unions for if they can’t influence their local tv & film industry to you know, put on a smiley face? I see they do on all the TV series I don’t watch but still…

  4. Terry Flynn

    Not from links but something ignacio and others may be interested in. Imperial College are leading a study to measure prevalence of covid-19 antibodies in the UK. How do I know? I have just been recruited. Though I notice they say I “may” get the home antibody kit…. I pay close attention to wording having “been on the other side” for 2 decades! Kits will begin to be sent out 26th October.

    Since the “official” first diagnosed case in the UK was at my local hospital I can’t imagine they wouldn’t send me the kit….. But fingers crossed I get a free antibody test. Whilst I don’t think (on balance) I’ve had it, a mysterious virus hit me and co-workers in first quarter. Wasn’t a run of the mill cold but not flu either. I am assuming (hoping) it was one of the “long established” 4 coronaviruses that can give nasty cold-type illnesses.

    1. vlade

      If it’s from Q1, you may not have antibodies anymore. I’ve read that a substantial number of mild cases develops little to no antibodies, and even not-mild-but-not-severe cases have their AB’s levels detoriate pretty quickly.

      I guess we’ll see.

      1. Ignacio

        Testing kits are not good enough to say one has run out of antibodies against Covid. Not enough sensitive.

      2. Terry Flynn

        Yeah I know. My illness was pretty bad though. I almost called 999 two nights running when I woke in respiratory distress. I only didn’t because I hate hospitals (as a patient anyway). But I still on balance think it wasn’t covid, even though medical doctor friends were gossiping about the weird virus that cropped up in ICUs in Nottingham and Derby. Unfortunately there were never enough cases to cause them to alert higher authorities so it remains anecdotal….

        1. Ignacio

          A good quantitative ELISA assay could tell whether you have neutralizing antibodies if you have access to that.

          1. Ignacio

            N-Protein antibodies wane much faster and deeper than S-protein antibodies according to some studies so beware of N-protein based Ab ELISA tests.

          2. Terry Flynn

            This study is just the home fingerprick test so it won’t be great at all. It is very obviously a quick and dirty study that is full of flaws: I instantly spotted that recall bias will plague it (no pun intended) since they’re only proposing to ask people about prior illness AFTER they have received (and thus taken and got result from) the test.

        2. Lee

          Here on the left coast of the USA a member of my household and I were similarly afflicted in January. While the worst of it lasted a couple of days, less severe symptoms persisted for weeks. In March I tested negative for Covid-19 antibodies. It was a blood draw test that was part of Stanford’s screening for possible plasma donors, so I assume it produced a reliable result. However, the result came with a bit of hedging:

          Study Result

          This test has not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. Negative result does not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection. Follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic test should be considered to rule out infection. This antibody test result should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Positive result may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC43, or 229E.

          This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by the Stanford Clinical Laboratory. The laboratory is regulated under CLIA as qualified to perform high-complexity testing. This test is used for clinical purposes. It should not be regarded as investigational or for research.

        3. Count Zero

          There was a weird virus in SW London in February, before we knew anything about covid19. I had it and it was like nothing I have ever had in 70 years. I ended up going to the Dr feeling very bad —with persistent urination (almost hourly), an exceptionally sore throat for days, a bad headache, exhaustion, high temperature and abdominal pains. The Dr decided I had a bad cold AND gastritis and dismissed any connection between the symptoms. I subsequently got a dry cough that lasted for a few weeks. I know several people in this part of London who said they had a strange bug in February and all mentioned high temperature and dry cough. I have sometimes wondered if we did have covid19 but I think it was probably something else.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There seems to have been a very nasty virus circulating at or before Covid hit – I’ve heard many anecdotes about it. Just this week a Polish friend was telling me that in January/February his family in a small town in Poland was hit with a very nasty illness, and the hospital doctors told everyone they were baffled by it, and some suspected it was Covid itself, but at that time could not be certain as supposedly it hadn’t reached Poland yet. He caught it around February after a trip back and he describes it as being the worst flu-like illness he’s ever had, and assumes (but can’t prove) that it was Covid.

      I also have Chinese friends (not from the Wuhan area) who are convinced they suffered from Covid or something related as early as December. A Chinese friend who has a shop in Dublin airport said that her entire staff were out with a very nasty illness just before New Year and she is convinced it was Covid, brought over by one of her Chinese staff.

      Whether all these anecdotes indicate that Covid was around earlier than assumed, or that there was another nasty virus (maybe even a coronavirus?) circulating earlier, I really have no idea. There is so much about this we don’t know.

      1. Janie

        An acquaintance had a lingering flu/pneumonia infection in January and February; he is a funeral director.

      2. km

        In early January, a Ukrainian family living in the US that I know was monkeyhammered by a flu-like bug. About two weeks of fever and a horrible hacking dry cough.

        Influenza tests came back negative for all family members.

  5. timbers

    From…COVID-19 and Excess All-Cause Mortality in the US and 18 Comparison Countries JAMA

    “The US has experienced more deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than any other country and has one of the highest cumulative per capita death rates.”

    Don’t tell that to Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton is busy working to protect us, writing Op-Eds about how we need to expend our view of national security to things like media, regulating fake news, and the internet – it’s not just about bombs missiles and terrorists anymore. Probably what she means is, we need less military jobs for working folk so we can spend more on surveillance of those little folk from companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google that the National Security complex can give us. Much higher profits in the info tech side, too, and it also has less to create waste needing recycling. Maybe we need new reasons to explain to the little folk why the can’t have jobs but the DOD still needs endlessly bigger budgets so we can re-direct more tax dollars towards them and keeping the safe – just not for jobs. After all, it’s not like we can just drone bomb the trouble makers posing such huge threats to our security, like Julian Assange. Hillary knows that from experience, for sure. She’s the Most Experienced, Ever.

    Also meanwhile, Joe Biden promises to veto giving healthcare to America’s record number who don’t have it. And he finds various ways of telling why we can’t have healthcare when facing a medical crisis.

    It’s Our Democracy, after all. It’s that right, Joe? Hillary?

    1. nycTerrierist

      After a recent Howard Zinn binge on youTube…I fantasized ‘re-conditioning’
      Hillary a la A Clockwork Orange with a marathon of Zinn lectures
      until her authoritarian urges are completely neutralized

  6. vlade

    I dont think this comment on ACB was linked yet. It’s looking at few of the cases she did, and while it’s certainly a “pick what you can”, it’s not a nice reading, as the cases picked would show she’s a stickler to the letter of the law (as she sees it), not the spirit. It’s long, and I’m not going to do a summary because it’d not do it justice.

    Something like these are what Dems should really use (even though it would not stop it) in the confirmation.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I believe it was linked last week but yes, it’s pretty bleak.

      I’m not sure why Robinson is so dismissive of her religious background. It shouldn’t be the decisive factor in arguing against her appointment, but it surely is a factor. It seems rather, uh, quirky and it seems plausible that the belief system it has inculcated within her has a bearing on her jurisprudence and ratiocination, however much she denies it.

      1. vlade

        I think it’s because if you say “she’s a catholic and … “, it makes you open to (justified or not) “you hate religion” attacks immediately.

        If you’d go for “these are her judgements, and there fore her future judgements are going to be similar”, it IMO leads tot he same conclusion, but avoids the idpol trap.

        It also beats her defense of “I’ll judge by law, not my personal preferences”, as these are existing judgements (which, by definition show her preference), so you can judge her by those (pun intended). Or, if you really want to stick it in: “By their fruits you will know them.”

        1. Tom Bradford

          “I’ll judge by law, not personal preferences.”

          Who’s law?

          “The aim and end of the [Catholic] Church is the worship of God and the salvation of souls. Any action or omission, therefore, on the part of her members, which hinders her from carrying out her mission or reaching her end, and, consequently, whatever contravenes the regulations made by her concerning the worship of God and the sanctification of her children, is punishable by her. For God, having given her a mission, also gave her the means or the power to fulfill it. Hence she can establish, in fact has established, laws, and regulations, obligatory on her members. If the members violate those laws, they not only sin against God, but they offend also against the order, discipline, laws, or regulations established by the Church.

    2. edmondo

      Do you really think that Merrick Garland’s history is much different? The corporate whorishness is a prerequisite for the job.

      1. vlade

        And the relevance of that is? Is he being confirmed to SC?

        We might as well discuss why HRC is not fit to be a president. Except she’s not running (what a shame), so it’s a bit pointless.

        1. edmondo

          There is no difference between the two parties, that is the point. While ACB and Merrick Garland were “total opposites” they happen to believe the same things. Why one is unacceptable while the other isn’t is just red-blue programming. Why don’t we discuss that instead of Hillary?

          1. vlade

            Where did I say MG was acceptable?

            If he was up for confirmation, I’d want him to be treated exactly the same. Look at his judgements, and use that.

        2. hunkerdown

          Was nominated, not long ago. It’s worth understanding the “revealed preferences” of SCOTUS nominees so that one isn’t restricted to taking marketing statements of no necessary relevance at face value. In particular, it’s an error to assume that the Democrat establishment don’t want her when they have, through commission and omission, allowed her career to proceed at due pace.

          1. vlade

            I’m not disputing that Dem establishment would want corp friendly judges.

            But that should not stop us from asking _any_ (no matter whether GOP or Dem, or any level) judges on their actual judgements records, as opposed handwaving about their morals (or lack of), religion, preferences or whatever else.

            Not that I expect any politicians, and even less the press, to do so.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Meantime, Joe now tells us he is “not a fan” of packing the court.

              Very telling.

              Joe is not on the field, he’s in the stands. Policy gets created, the team actually on the field makes the plays, and Joe’s job is to either cheer or boo.

              I’m actually kind of comforted by that, I wouldn’t want addled Grandpa to be the one calling the plays, and please don’t let him anywhere near the nuclear football. I would like to know who the people calling and executing the plays are, maybe we can set up a process and call it an “election”, where we get to select who those people are based on what they believe in? This business of electing empty shells who believe in nothing is very nerve-wracking.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Desperate Americans hit by pandemic beg Congress, Trump to pass economic relief bill”

    Congress to desperate Americans hit by pandemic. “That’s us you see going out the doors to go on holidays.” Remember when Jake Tapper asked Nancy Pelosi about her failure to get relief funding in the latest bailout bill – and she told him to ‘Calm down.’ And that was way back in April and no relief to ordinary people have come through since then? Good times.

    I think that there is a hidden message in Jerri-Lynn Scofield’s antidote du Jour today. The year 2020 sucks so bad that even the birds have the blues.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      And another shining example of why Americans love Film Noir. They know inherently that the rot of corruption is the driving force of its society, government and business. Not “only in Chinatown Jake”
      I propose that it was Film Noir that caused some of the good movies of the sixties. For a short time there was some freedom of thought allowed in this nation. Now the motivation of the masses is considered thought crime.

      1. Phillip Cross

        We get it. Biden is horrible, in a horrible party, surrounded by horrible advisors. Trump is in the exact same boat with his detestable G.O.P. colleagues. None of this is news, so you can probably give the incessant posting of G.O.P. talking points a rest, because you’re not changing any minds.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Precisely right, the policy that emerges will be identical.

          That’s why I’m voting on process. No, I don’t happen to like the process whereby the mainstream media, the CIA, and Google get to be the ones deciding who our leaders can and can’t be.

    1. Lee

      I stopped using Omeprazole because tests indicated it was crashing my B12 levels, which in turn affected my mental processes. I switched to Sulcralfate for a brief period but whatever it was that was causing my stomach distress resolved itself over time and now I only rarely have need of Tums. Cognitive testing has indicated that I’m at least as on the ball as several U.S. presidents that have held office in my lifetime—admittedly, a low bar.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      There is good evidence they destroy the flora and impair our digestive systems as well. Our better understanding is now pointing to this as a serious risk for other infections. I was prescribed one and asked the right questions first. Doctors treat symptoms regardless of whether that is helpful.

    3. Sn0wman

      Discovering, after my “heartburn” led to a peptic ulcer, was life saving literally and figuratively. After the eradication protocol completed, I never took a PPI, again; prior, I was having to take a PPI every few days to get by. H. pylori was not discovered until 1982 and it doesn’t seem to get much attention – discuss with your physician.

  8. Ella

    Interesting to me that this supreme court nomination has a message of “rushing” because if the ACA vote shortly after the election.

    Sure,that’s true.

    But what’s also true, and I haven’t seen covered in MSM, is that Trump will not lose. He’ll pit the election to thev supreme court who will then declare him president, despite the results.

    Our right to vote is a farce, more so now than ever before. People don’t see this?

    1. voteforno6

      How will Trump be able to steal this election? Maybe if it’s close, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be close. Besides, the Supreme Court doesn’t have the final say – Congress does.

      1. marym

        Trump continues making claims about “voter fraud” without evidence, and recently said he wants 9 justices in case the Supreme Court must decide 2020 election.

        On a related note, per tweets about today’s Barrett hearing:

        Barrett was asked if federal law allows a president to postpone an election. She said she’s not a legal pundit and would need to do some research.

        Dems say they plan to ask her if she’ll recuse on cases involving the election.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Dems say they plan to ask her if she’ll recuse on cases involving the election.

          On what basis could they possibly expect her to recuse herself?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            On the same basis as they grilled her yesterday about the ACA. They seem to believe that the Supreme Court makes policy.

            For those needing a Civics 101 refresher, the Supreme Court does one thing and one thing only: they rule on whether a law is Constitutional.

            And there is no law before the court challenging the Constitutionality of the ACA.

            So while the Dems are engaged in hypotheticals, maybe they can also ask her what she thinks RBG meant when she said “because a President is in his last year, that does not mean he is no longer President”?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              James Madison et alia knew what they were doing. From a discussion of Madison:

              The very purpose of the U.S. Constitution, balancing power among populism in
              the House, aristocracy in the Senate, and monarchy in the presidency, was to temper the caprice of the rabble, the rapacity of oligarchy, and the malice of dictatorship. The Supreme Court and states’ rights were further guards against power concentrating in any one faction.

              But “the divine right to rule” crowd know better. Power should be theirs, to do with what they will, according to the wisdom of their faction. Pack the court, establish a 25th amendment “Commission”, corral the length and breadth of the airwaves and the social and the techno sphere, use the intelligence agencies when they don’t like how the plebes have spoken.


              Saagar and Krystal on the 25th “Commission”:

              Yes, Dems, “our democracy is at stake”. For precisely the opposite reason you say it is.

          1. marym

            This would happen when people move or die without filing an address or voter registration change, not uncommon and not unexpected by election boards. It would be a problem if the recipient is a criminal who opens the mail, submits the ballot, and falsifies the signature and other identifying and tracking information required by the state, all of which are crimes. Recipients should mark the mail “RTS” and place it in a mail collection box.

            If Trump is concerned, maybe he should talk to his buddy in charge of the USPS who may be too busy disassembling mail sorters to process address changes, as happened in August.


            None of the five states that hold their elections primarily by mail has had any voter fraud scandals since making that change. As the New York Times editorial board notes, “states that use vote-by-mail have encountered essentially zero fraud: Oregon, the pioneer in this area, has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented only about a dozen cases of proven fraud.” That’s 0.00001 percent of all votes cast.*** An exhaustive investigative journalism analysis of all known voter fraud cases identified only 491 cases of absentee ballot fraud from 2000 to 2012.


      2. Ella

        He has many lawyers (and illegal means) ready to find a way to win. No way will Biden take office.

        I hope I’m wrong!

        1. Lee

          Being of an ever darker turn of mind than usual these days, I’m not sure it matters who wins, as all hell is going to break loose no matter what the outcome of the election. Either the Republicans are going to tighten the screws on the millions of already screwed or the Democrats are going to stumble, mumble, and fumble their way deeper into the mire of ineffectual irrelevance. In either event, I’m hoping that people will be so pissed off they start monkey-wrenching this infernal machinery of the night. There, I’ve said it. I feel better now.

          1. Carla

            Maybe I will feel better when the monkey-wrenches start to be thrown.

            Or not.

            But I share your feeling of foreboding.

      3. Lee

        In the event that Congress is called upon to determine the result of the Presidential election then each state delegation has but one vote. I believe that 26 of the 50 Congressional delegations have Republican majorities.

        Contingent Elections from Wikipedia:

        “As a consequence of the state delegation voting method, the party that holds the majority in the House could still lose the contingent election if the minority party holds the majority of state delegations.[5] The District of Columbia, which is not a state, does not receive a vote (the 23rd Amendment, which granted the district electoral votes, did not also give it a vote in contingent elections).”

        1. edmondo

          If the election goes to the House – about as much chance as as having a major pandemic hit your country in an election year – it is the NEW Congress that selects the president, not the old one. If the Democrats were smart – I know, I have a sick sense of humor – they’d be kicking butt trying to move some of these little states to D or neutralizing the state’s vote by trying to elect a congressman in Idaho (they’ve done it before) and let the two opposing votes nullify Idaho’s vote for president. But Democrats never think past Election Day.

          1. voteforno6

            Also, I think that the Senate chooses the Vice President. If the Democrats take back the Senate…

          2. Synoia

            But Democrats never think past Election Day.

            I beg to differ. They clearly see past election day when grafting for donations.

            1. hunkerdown

              However, they would rather we did not worry our pretty little heads after Election Day, and leave the big thinking to the self-styled grownups.

              (Compare to the current campaign posture of whining like spoiled teenagers late to see their friends when in urgent need of a pep talk.)

  9. marym

    “In a ruling issued late Monday night [after an informal stay on Saturday], a federal appeals court upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that limited counties to one mail-in ballot drop-off location.

    A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, all appointed by President Donald Trump, rejected arguments from civil and voting rights groups that claimed Abbott’s order suppressed voting rights by making it harder to cast a ballot, particularly for elderly and disabled voters who are the most likely to use mail-in balloting.”

    “HOUSTON: Early voting kicks off today in TX and with just one ballot box per county, colleague and early-riser @PriscillaWT reports people showed up as early as 5AM at Houston’s NRG arena site which doesn’t even open til 7.”
    Oct 13, 2020

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: David Sirota: Millions of dollars are boosting Barrett’s nomination – that money is flooding in because she has consistently been a corporate rubber stamp.

    jeezus h. christ. A judge is supposed to rule on the constitutionality of “laws” as they are written, not “legislate” from the bench.

    The ACA, which democrats are so desperate to defend, was written by medical insurance industry corporations for industry benefit. The most “anti-corporate” thing ANY judge could do is strike it down, something that democrats and their apologists are desperate to prevent.

    When “laws” are written by corporate lobbyists, corporate funded “think tanks” and corporate front groups like ALEC, and riddled with corporate-favoring loopholes in return for campaign “contributions,” how can judicial rulings on those “laws” not be “corporate rubber stamps?”

    If you want fewer corporate friendly judicial opinions, stop supporting and excusing corporate-owned legislators who “write” corporate-fellating laws.

    Lookin’ at you biden LOTE voters. This guy’s been pullin’ this shit for 47 years.

    1. bassmule

      And thus there will be no discussion of her fealty to corporate interests, because every single Senator approves of this. There is only one party, The Money Party.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “COMSEC Lessons from the Underworld”

    You get a military variation of this as well among lateral thinkers. Back in 2002 there was a major wargame called Millennium Challenge 2002 whose purpose was to test transformative methods, network-centric warfare, blah, blah, blah. Their big mistake was putting a retired marine in charge of the “Red” side named Van Riper who was a combat vet from Vietnam days. Knowing that all his comms would be monitored, he used motorcycle messengers, light signals, etc. to give his orders and caught the “Blue” side flatfooted leading to the “deaths” of 20,000 US soldiers and “sinking” one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. Because there was nothing showing up in signal traffic, they never saw the attacks coming nor the fact that some were distinctly low-tech that led to such massive losses-

    1. Parker Dooley

      “At this point, the exercise was suspended, Blue’s ships were “re-floated”, and the rules of engagement were changed; this was later justified by General Peter Pace as follows: “You kill me in the first day and I sit there for the next 13 days doing nothing, or you put me back to life and you get 13 more days’ worth of experiment out of me. Which is a better way to do it?”[1] After the reset, both sides were ordered to follow predetermined plans of action.” (Wiki)

    2. David

      There’s some evidence that certain jihadist groups like the Islamic State do take communications security fairly seriously, but experience shows that it’s very hard to internalise such ideas unless you’re a professional (which of course the criminals in the original story are). Likewise, the IS did have some success with unconventional tactics (bulldozers used in suicide attacks was a favourite) but as soon as they met a serious professional force they were cut to pieces (same in the Sahel).
      That’s why you have to treat stories like the Millennium Challenge exercise with a bit of circumspection. I remember the episode, and it spawned a host of stories saying that the invasion of Iraq would be a disaster for the US because look asymmetric warfare. But in reality the Iraqis did absolutely none of these things, because their training and leadership was poor, and their ethos was one of blind obedience to orders or otherwise do nothing. Paradoxically, asymmetric warfare at anything above the tactical level requires a level of training and organisation which very few states in the world actually possess, and those are precisely the states which fear it being used against them.

  12. Off The Street

    The MoA story provides an interesting intersection of journalism and economics.

    In the modern world well past the onslaught of just-in-time, revenue maximizing, expense shifting, re-engineered out of existence daily operations, consumer surplus consumption, and producer surplus maximization, or attempts thereat, how is a company like the New York Times to make ends meet?

    Here is how. They cut corners. Editorial oversight, gone. Source verification, gone. Fact-checking, gone. Reputation, gone.

    When they must rely upon massive infusions of capital to keep going, they need to sell that vision, or something, to an investor like Carlos Slim, for example. Compare and contrast with the Los Angeles Times. Historians will look back in admiration at, and HBS students will read cases referencing, the wisdom of the Chandler family in selling Times-Mirror late last millennium, especially in the clever crafting of tax-reduction and estate preservation.

    The latter may well be the very last old media success story, if counted using sales price (way up) and subsequent company transactions (way down, recall that baleful Tribune evisceration interlude (what fresh Zell is this?), and eventual rescue by another billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong) and performance. Curious that Slim and S-S made fortunes in other disruptive industries like telecoms and pharma. Some customers will tell you that the disruptions were to their pocketbooks and equanimity.

    1. Off The Street

      Timely tweet by Catherine Herridge of CBS about some media and Bureau shenanigans, with source documentation. When some of the news has become media reports on FBI reports of media reports then what is left that is fit to print?

      NC, Matt Stoller and so many others, keep fighting for truth and justice.

  13. chuck roast

    Without reproducing yesterday’s extensive strum und drang, what I’m getting from the summaries of the Excess All-Cause Covid-19 U.S. Mortalities is that the “probable” Covid associated deaths may be one-half again as high as officially documented. Is this the correct take?

    It is a given that the pols in every state are screwing with the numbers…no health department that I am aware of is allowed to release the numbers of Covid related deaths without political clearance. Therefore the only way we can possibly get a handle on the “probable” Covid-related deaths is through excess mortality. This takes time. I imagine you want to smooth all deaths for say a 10 year period and then compare 2020 (when this dreadful year is finally done) to the average. No?

    1. HotFlash

      From the JAMA article by A. Bilinski and E. Emmanuel, the disclosure:

      Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Emanuel reported receiving personal fees and nonfinancial support from Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, Bergen University, United Health Group, Futures Without Violence, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Washington State Hospital Association, the Association of Academic Health Centers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Lumeris, Roivant Sciences, Medical Specialties Distributors, Vizient University Health System Consortium, the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Genentech Oncology, the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Montefiore Physician Leadership Academy, Medical Home Network, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, Ecumenical Center–UT Health, the American Academy of Optometry, the Associação Nacional de Hospitais Privados, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, Optum Labs, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, the District of Columbia Hospital Association, Washington University, Optum, Brown University, McKay Lab, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the Association of American Medical Colleges, America’s Essential Hospitals, Johns Hopkins University, the National Resident Matching Program, Shore Memorial Health System, Tulane University, Oregon Health and Science University, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the Center for Global Development, as well as nonfinancial support from the Delaware Healthcare Spending Benchmark Summit, Geisinger Health System, RAND Corporation, Goldman Sachs, The Atlantic, Village MD, and Oncology Analytics. Dr Emanuel is also a venture partner at Oak HC/FT, and a partner at Embedded Healthcare LLC and COVID-19 Recovery Consulting. Ms Bilinski reported no disclosures.

      It’s good to be well-connected. Now, to read the article.

      1. hunkerdown

        They really need to start counting conflict of interest disclosures against word limits. Then we wouldn’t have to hear much from Zeke Emanuel, at all.

      2. Maritimer

        Thanks. That says it all. What a fraud all this science is. Even Harry Markopolos of Madoff fame would have a hard time unraveling all that.

        Also love at the end: “Ms Bilinski reported no disclosures.” So, Ms Bilinski had no disclosures or she is stiffing JAMA?

        Love to see the ONION write up one of these disclosures.

    2. jef

      Problem with that will be that in the first few months of the pandemic there were lots of stories of lockdown reducing historic mortality like traffic accidents, stress related death, air pollution, and more. With everyone staying home, gardening, cooking good food, watching movies it seems people were not dying so much for some reason. Huh?

  14. fresno dan

    In other words, Powell is telling you a story. And although economists have historically wanted their field to be associated with the so-called hard sciences — a conjuring act exemplified by the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences — I’ve come to see it as having a lot more in common with literature, especially novels, than physics or chemistry.
    The notion that economics shares a lot with fiction may seem counterintuitive. That feeling is not incidental.
    I would say economics shares a lot with advertising and its trying to sell a lot of hogwash.
    But that is not cynical enough. IMHO it actually is propaganda that is indoctrinating the population to a particular form of political economy. If economics is a novel, than today practically the only novel written (it is an irony of the free market that it supplies such limited viewpoints) only has as a protagonist white Christian males working in capitalist countries…

    Still, I am grateful for this lonely article challenging the “science” that supports how we arrange our political economy.

  15. semiconscious

    re: What the Pandemic Has in Store for the World Der Spiegel

    Meanwhile, the dying continues. Medical statisticians at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington expect that we will (officially) surpass 2 million deaths from the virus by mid-December.

    New Year’s Eve will make the anniversary of the first time that China informed the regional office of the World Health Organization about cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause. The current model from the IHME researchers in Seattle predicts that more than 2.5 million people worldwide will have died by that anniversary.

    so: an additional half million deaths in 2 weeks? is the author even hearing what he’s saying here?…

  16. BobW

    Antidote. In the words of Far Side’s Gary Larson – “Birds: a look at the animals that stir our sense of beauty, wonder, and freedom. And gave us pillows.”

  17. fresno dan

    The ACA prohibited insurers from discriminating against people based on their health condition. They could charge different premiums by age, but they couldn’t turn anyone down because of their health, and they had to charge everyone the same rate. This means that a 60-year-old with three heart attacks would pay the same premium as a 60-year-old who is a serious marathon runner.

    Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to get rid of the ACA and is currently pushing a case before the Supreme Court that would end it if he wins. While he says that he wants to preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions, he has introduced no legislation that would have this effect or even outlined a plan for protecting people with health problems
    Insubstantial tweets are endlessly covered – because rating.
    The boring question of if you actually eliminate Obamacare, how will you in fact assure that preexisting conditions are covered by health insurance is not paid any attention to.
    Of course, maybe the truth is that Trump only tells his most rabid supporters what they want to hear and has no intention of actually repealing Obamacare.

    1. marym

      TRUMP: Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.

      HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.

      TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.

      He’s probably learned a lot since then. Reporters should ask him if his plan provides for guaranteed issue and community rating.

      1. fresno dan

        October 13, 2020 at 1:32 pm

        Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the NYT. But I suspect that if I could access the whole interview, it would be as incomprehensible as the sippet you have posted. Is Trump saying that he (Trump) Cannot, Will not, or doesn’t want to take away protection for people with pre existing conditions?? When Trump says “tougher,” what is he referring to? Does Trump mean taking away protection for pre existing conditions, or maintaining protection for pre existing conditions is tougher
        I know I can find Trump statements that Trump wants pre existing coverage – I can’t find how he aCTUALLY proposed to do it.
        And what the heck is “…$12 a year for insurance…” – who pays 12$ a year for insurance? Its a nonsense statement, akin to saying we are protected from intercontinental missile attack from North Korea by our fine American grown asparagus. WTF??? Its shows the speaker isn’t familiar with reality if Trump seriously asserts someone pays 12$ A YEAR FOR HEALTH INSURANCE!!! (I am about to have a stroke)
        What was Trump’s point?
        And I’m not sure what Haberman is getting at either. “…you can’t take it back.” I think it could be taken back, not only de facto but de jure.

        I think if Trump is talking about his own health plan its DOA at Congress – it may be a diversion anyway. But it shows how our media and politics operate. If you don’t like Obama care, and you get rid of Obama care, how are you IN FACT gonna ensure that people will be covered for pre existing conditions? Magic? MAGA? I believe the repubs just want to abolish Obama care and if we return to no coverage for pre existing conditions, repubs think that is fine and that they will not suffer electorily for it.
        So this is what I can find about “Trumpcare”
        First and foremost, short term health insurance is not insurance coverage that is similar to ACA / Obamacare plans. In fact, short term health plans offer less coverage than ACA plans by default. For example, short term plans do not offer unlimited coverage caps like ACA plans do.

        There are not enough pixels in the universe to post all the deficiencies THAT THE SITE ITSELF ACKNOWLEDGES. It simply a Potemkin village of heath care so that Obamacare can be replaced – not a serious attempt to assure real affordable health care for the vast majority of US citizens.

        1. marym

          I was surprised to have access when I clicked on the NYT link in another post – mysterious are the ways of the internet. There wasn’t much more there. I doubt Trump knew what it meant at the time, and just deflected to the $12 topic. I read that this is how door-to-door insurance life insurance was sold in the olden days, and may or may not have been a scam.

          He’s never published any plan as far as I know. During 2016 his website said the usual Republican talking points like buying insurance across state lines. The website in your link seems to refer to the repeal-and-replace bill Republicans didn’t pass in 2017. You can find comparisons if you search something like “Obamacare Trumpcare compare.” Replace Medicaid expansion with block grants, higher costs for older people, fewer protections for people with pre-existing conditions, no mandate but a fee for buying in after some time without coverage were some of the features I saw noted in the comparisons.

  18. flora

    From the tech world:

    This study seems to reveal that IT people are being driven demented by the fact that they have no idea what sort of Internet of Things devices are being connected to their corporate networks.

    Yes, yes, and… yes. It’s especially fun when someone decides to plug in a wireless ‘hotspot’ device to see how it works, without first checking with the net and sys admins to see if that might (*might*!) cause a problem.

    1. fajensen

      Coming from an IT background, I’d of course say that if it doesn’t support the local system management framework (Puppet, CFEngine, Authentication and so on), it is not only causing a problem but it is a dire piece of shit too, which will eventually rub off upon me when I have to clean it up.

      Thus there is no point in asking, basically. They get that part right, I’d say :)

      Realistically, even someone in IT wants an easier life, so separating the networks into ‘serious’ (accessible only with VPN and two-factor authentification, with auditing) and ‘standard’ (accessing with a centralised login, minimally audited) networks, will go some way in keeping ‘The Morons’ happily occupied with their latest tech-toys and the business IT-services relatively secure.

      The main problem for IT often being not technical, but, that ‘The Morons’ holds Authority, often at board-level, while IT is merely a cost-centre, a pricier version of janitorial services.

      Those folks didn’t make a career just so that some jumped-up cleaners can tell them, using long and boring words, that they can’t take the new Smart Cup their grandkid got them from to work! IT has got to be flexible (or find another career).

  19. Carolinian

    Re West Wing, Fresh Prince/NYT–this is good stuff. The author talks about how constant television watching has taught him–poor and from an orphanage–about the needed class markers to join the elite.

    It turns out, as the show’s creator, Aaron Sorkin, has explained, if I didn’t like the show, that’s in part because I wasn’t really meant to. The pilot episode didn’t test well with people like me. But, according to Mr. Sorkin, it tested “extremely well” with certain audience segments. Among them: households that earned more than $75,000 a year, households with at least one college graduate and households that subscribed to The New York Times.[…]

    When in 2014 I read a column in The New Yorker in which Emily Nussbaum observed that the characters in the Showtime series “The Affair” are the kind of people who would watch “The Affair,” I knew I had to watch. (You know when the main characters on a show went to Williams College it’s intended for a niche audience — if it had been intended for the mainstream, they would have gone to Princeton or Harvard.)

    The Affair takes place in Brooklyn and Long Island and while it’s ostensibly an examination of the very subject of class interaction, it’s quite clear from which location–Brooklyn or Montauk–the magnifying glass is being pointed. Some of us out here in audience land do wish our entertainment mirror would more often reflect a different world than one set in Brooklyn or Santa Monica and in which the characters aren’t always materially comfortable, often with no visible means of support. I think one reason Breaking Bad was so popular was that it does just that.

    But then “write what you know” is the mantra of those Creative Writing students at Williams or Harvard and it’s a safe bet that very few of them know any Baptists and if they did would be reluctant to admit it. Should that change a journey through the poors could be a refreshing change of pace.

    1. RMO

      I noticed this line in particular: “What I’ve come to appreciate in the years since is that the stories portrayed were not exactly value neutral.” As understatement that is right up there with “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.”

  20. Procopius

    Rev Kev re: Millenium Challenge 2002

    I have to quibble with you over the “purpose” of Millenium Challenge 2002. Its purpose was not to “test innovative methods,” its purpose was to sell them. The Department of Defense gets billions of dollars a year off-budget from selling arms, training, and services. It was unacceptable for the Red team to win because it would demonstrate those weapon systems and concepts were not worth the price being charged for them, so they changed the rules to prevent Team Red from winning and basically rendering the whole project worthless. War games involving Iran have been highly, highly classified since then, and from unclassified, publicly available information, I don’t think the U.S. could successfully invade. Sorry I don’t have a link. I once had a long article that quoted (by name) a number of the officers in charge of the game who tried to explain and justify what happened, but apparently I didn’t bookmark it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Actually I agree with what you say here. Hard to sell all these new weapons and systems if they get “killed” at the beginning of a war game. There were far too many contracts at stake for them to be allowed to fail. Too Lucrative To Fail maybe? And I too have heard about the war games that were done for invading Iran but the cost was always too exorbitant. Millennium Challenge 2002 may have been a reminder to a lot of people what an actual invasion would have looked like. My own guess is that in case of an invasion, that five minutes later the Saudi oil fields would be turned to ash resulting in World Depression 2.0 which is kinda off-putting.

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