Links 10/16/2020

How Humans Benefit From a Highway of Trails Created by African Forest Elephants Smithsonian

Tech Companies Are Destroying Democracy and the Free Press Matt Stoller, NYT

Billionaire Robert Brockman charged in $2bn tax evasion case FT

Kill Your Gas Stove The Atlantic

We Tested OpenPilot, the $1,199 Device That Adds Entry-Level Autonomy to Your Car The Drive. Level 2.

Why I’m Glad I Left America The Atlantic (J-LS).


Act now, wait for perfect evidence later, says ‘high priestess’ of U.K. COVID-19 masking campaign Science. Reader will recall we flagged Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh’s work back in July.

Efficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields for reducing the expulsion of simulated cough-generated aerosols medRxiv. From the Abstract: ” We used a cough aerosol simulator with a headform to propel small aerosol particles (0 to 7 μm) into different face coverings. An N95 respirator blocked 99% of the cough aerosol, a procedure mask blocked 59%, a 3-ply cloth face mask blocked 51%, and a polyester neck gaiter blocked 47% as a single layer and 60% when folded into a double layer. In contrast, the face shield blocked 2% of the cough aerosol. Our results suggest that face masks and neck gaiters are preferable to face shields as source control devices for cough aerosols.”

Synthesis and systematic review of reported neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections Nature. A metastudy, n=176. From the Discussion: ” Our findings confirm that SARS-CoV-2 can infect neonates and that the majority of these infections occur postnatally, although vertical transmission may be possible in ~30% of cases…. [T]ransplacental transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is indeed possible and this is corroborated by a consistent background of laboratory findings…. The choice between rooming-in or mother-infant separation is an important one and the synthesis of available cases shows that the avoidance of separation might be associated with a higher risk of late-onset neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections.”

Russia to Miss Covid-19 Vaccine Goal Amid Production Hurdles Bloomberg

Trump administration crackdown ‘couldn’t come at a worse time’ for hospitals HealthCare IT News. “Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that hospitals that were not in compliance with [Covid] reporting requirements from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could find their participation in the federal programs put at risk.” You can bet the hospitals aren’t having any problem at all coding for billing. It’s only when they have to start coding for health care that they start whinging.

When Covid-19 rules are flouted by ultra-Orthodox Jews, it isn’t anti-Semitism to call it out NBC

Sidelining Physicians Contributed to 200,000 U.S. Deaths MedPage Today. The article is useful, but “contributed to” is doing a lot of work. For example: “We should have learned about the benefit of masking in March, not July.” Wellie, Dr. Fauci is a phyician, correct? Fauci says he doesn’t regret telling Americans not to wear masks at the beginning of the pandemic. As The Week wrote: “The noble lie about masks and coronavirus should never have been told.” Can we please have some shreds of self-reflection?

New York coronavirus exodus fuels ‘gangbusters’ Maine real estate boom New York Post. Maine is not at all a romantic state, despite the scenery. Livin’ the dream may not pan out for all the out-of-staters moving in.

What has COVID-19 taught us about flattening the climate curve? World Economic Forum


Western Lockdown to Shut Down China Vineyard of the Saker

China’s Man In Washington The Intercept

Malaysian King urges politicians to show maturity in resolving political conflicts amid leadership uncertainty Straits Times

Thailand Seeks Travel Bubble Pact With China to Spur Tourism Caixin. And China earned it.


Britons alarmed by unpleasant border infrastructure they demanded Boing Boing (Re Silc).


Biden to end US support for Yemen war Middle East Monitor. Perhaps Biden will do better with Yemen than Obama did with Gitmo.

Mexico’s ex-defense minister detained in the U.S. at the request of DEA CNBC

Venezuela’s ‘Socialist Revolution’ Just Made a U-Turn Vice


Grenfell Tower landlord had ‘secret’ meeting on cost cutting, inquiry told Guardian (J-LS). Here’s hoping the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation has very deep pockets. NC coverage on Grenfell here, here, here, here, and here.

NHS Test and Trace: the journey so far The Health Foundation. From September, still germane.

Steve Keen – Spain’s Economic woes were a “Textbook” Example of the Perils of not just Textbook Economics, but the Euro as well Brave New Europe

NHS looks to the market for advice on one system to replace two separate, giant Oracle ERP and HR systems The Register

The Deutsche Bank whistleblower who gave up $8m is going broke FT

New Cold War

Russian-American Talks: No Arms Control Stability Valdai Discussion Club. Important. Russia hands will correct me, but I view Valdai as a cross between the Council on Foreign Relations and Davos. So the views expressed there are important.

Moscow signals it will make national security a priority in Arctic Council Barents Observer

Trump Transition

Trump Supreme Court pick heads toward Senate vote despite Democratic protests Reuters

Inside the Fall of the CDC Pro Publica. Very good; among other things, the first real explanation, nine months after the fact, of the CDC Covid testing debacle* (originally blamed on contractors, IIRC). My preference for coverage priorities would be: 1) Neoliberal hollowing out; 2) the testing debacle; and 3) political interference, because the first two corrode the clout of the CDC and lead to the third, and this article reverses that order, but it’s nevertheless very good. NOTE * Casting doubt on the ability of the PMC to regulate itself, exactly like the ObamaCare MarketPlace launch debacle. PMC professional associations also have this issue.


America’s split screen Axios

Trump refuses to disavow QAnon conspiracy theory FT

Six takeaways from Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls The Hill

Feds examining whether alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a foreign intel operation NBC. Sourcing: “Two people familiar with the matter.” The original post story was datelined October 14, 2020, 5:00am. This story is datelined Oct. 15, 2020, 8:42pm. It took one-and-a-half news cycles to redeploy the Russia card? Really?

Health Care

Here’s How We Prepare for the Next Pandemic IEEE Spectrum. From a Special Report, “The Next Pandemic.”

The Preemption Clause That Swallowed Health Care: How ERISA Litigation Threatens State Health Policy Efforts Health Affairs

Our Famously Free Press

Why Social Media Make Us More Polarized, and How to Fix It Scientific American

Twitter verified our medical expertise, but we are powerless to stop Covid-19 misinformation STAT

Police State Watch

Portland, Oakland sue Homeland Security, Justice Department alleging unconstitutional federal overreach The Oregonian

Imperial Collapse Watch

A National Security Reckoning Hillary Clinton, Foreign Affairs. “The COVID-19 crisis should be a big enough jolt to rouse the country from its sleep.” Yes, it was hard to sleep in the car, but I managed it.

America Has No Reason to Be So Powerful Stephen Wertheim, NYT

The Army Is Working on Augmented Reality Goggles for Military Dogs Defense One

Realignment and Legitimacy

All the elements are in place for American-style fascism, says Cornel West (interview) National Observer. Well worth a read.

Class Warfare

Exclusive: America’s true unemployment rate Felix Salmon, Axios

‘So Hard To Prove You Exist’: Flawed Fraud Protections Deny Unemployment To Millions NPR

Spending dropped, savings dwindled for U.S. unemployed after enhanced benefits expired: study Reuters

Enrollment at Community Colleges Usually Rises During Recessions. This Fall, It Plummeted Money (Re Silc).

English Faculty Vote to Change Name to ‘Department of Literatures in English’ Cornell Sun

What if a Pill Can Change Your Politics or Religious Beliefs? Scientific American

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. Parts II, III, and IVa.

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See yesterdays 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. Lee

    “Why I’m Glad I Left America The Atlantic (J-LS).”

    Nice for some. I’m still bitter about not being rich enough for Canada to want me. I’m looking forward to the day when the pro-immigration movement supports those trying to get out of the U.S. as well as those those trying to get in. It’s a growth opportunity for the open borders movement.

      1. Sam Adams

        That option is well Past the “Sell-by” date. That option date was sometime during the first Clinton Administration. It was fully rotten dumpster fare by Obama and FACTA.

        1. jake varghese

          By taxing the crap out of them and then they will try to scare us about them leaving. Then we say “Awesome, GTFO and don’t forget to pay your exit tax on the way out.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m genuinely curious as to why more Americans don’t do this – I know movement is easier for those with other passports but Europe is full of people who’ve moved to other countries because for one reason or another they don’t like the government/society of their own, or just because they prefer more sunshine or cheaper wine. Likewise in Asia its very common to meet young and old Koreas and Japanese and many others settling in other countries for similarly varied reasons. But proportionately, far fewer USasians seem to do it. I do know a few Americans in Europe who moved for reasons other than directly professional – many are non-white, which I find curious as I’ve never thought of Europe as less racist than the US.

      1. underlaborer

        Having lived a few years in the EU (Germany), it is unimaginably challenging to receive residence permits without nicely lined pockets or a very promising job offer from a company that is willing to sponsor one’s immigration. Even with a study position, one still must show 10,000€ annually in a special government bank account that gives you a monthly allowance of one’s own money. Not even a work contract is sufficient to receive extended residence in that case. I and many others I know continuously yearn for our lives in Europe which in many ways felt as though it was pulled out from under us as a result of difficult immigration policies. Nearly everyone I know in the US would prefer to live in the EU, but the reality of doing so is beyond frustrating.

        1. Pelham

          Much the same is true in Belgium. As an American there a number of years ago I tried to get a permanent work permit and was denied — even though I had a job. However, certain very large neighborhoods in Brussels were (and are) full of low-wage immigrants and many, many more with no employment. Maybe it’s a family reunification thing, although it appeared that some were very, very extended families.

          1. underlaborer

            It is quite different to migrate for asylum reasons and I would be wary of conflating Amerikan immigration experiences in the EU with “low-wage immigrants” and those with “no employment”.
            Each EU country has drastically different policies on asylum-seekers (and even just immigrants from developing nations) that are, for understandable reasons, somewhat more flexible than for their counterparts from the Global North. This includes family reunification which, at least in Germany, does include certain parts of one’s extended family.
            In line with some of the above sentiment, I am looking forward to the day that Amerikan transgressions are acknowledged (in policy) for what they are and similarly that the EU powers will be more open to our migration. I think it is only a waiting game at this point.

          2. underlaborer

            It is also a matter of being willing to live with one’s life at-stake and without many of the comforts that most people from the US are unwilling to live without. Even legal residence may not particularly matter for someone who needs or very badly wants to not be in their home country. I made a handful of friends who were not EU that were simply co-living with people under the radar, which was not something that I was in a position to do. So there are different options and certainly not everyone feels the need to follow the stringent EU immigration policies. For good reason.

      2. Janie

        First world countries require immigrants to have capital or to have needed work skills. There’s a lot of paperwork and a few thousand dollars for fees. Professional licenses may not be recognized. Sometimes it’s family; friends came back from Australia when her parents needed help and were not qualified to move there.

      3. Milton

        Because the US was willing to take citizens from wherever but Europe or Canada or Japan or Oz/NZ have pulled up their ladders or have never had them available. I don’t see any nation lining up awaiting our arrival. The reason we are not leaving is because we are trapped-now more than ever because of Covid!

        1. underlaborer

          It is currently possible, even with COVID restrictions, to immigrate to the EU with a valid reason. Those reasons are just challenging to fulfill. Studentship, highly-qualified workers, family emergency, asylum all still allow one to enter.

        2. campbeln

          Oz hasn’t pulled up it’s ladders; there’s a lot of ways for low income “vibrants” (a derogatorily term for them in Oz) to make it into the country. Student visas offer paths to perm residency and therefore citizenship, for example.

          There are MANY cases of cafes in Sydney (or otherwise) paying migrants under the table as they attend their Trump College-esque psudo-Universities. There’s also a lot of noise about Perm Residents bringing in their elderly parents under various schemes.

          Our oft-linked has details on this in their archives for those who are interested.

          I personally spent the naughties getting my Aussie citizenship via (at the time) a defacto with my now wife. Then we stupidly came back in 2016 :/ I figure America has 20 years of crap to trudge through before it’ll be “good” again :(

      4. Kurt Sperry

        To leave the US for the EU in practice takes massive wealth and/or a locked in career offer only available to the upper end of the PMC. The EU apparently doesn’t want USAsians, although they happily take large numbers of people with no money at all from the Third World. I assume this is motivated by a thirst for cheap, precarious, easily exploited labor under the fig leaf of humanitarian concern.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its not true at all to say there are more obstacles to US citizens in the EU – its the US that refuses the type of bilateral agreement that would make it easier to move. But there are still many options available to Americans – millions, like the author of that article, have rights to EU passports, others have skills that would allow it, still others could do it the student route (and it makes a lot of sense for Americans to study in Europe as its far cheaper). I know quite a few USasians who have taken all those routes (plus the marriage one) without any significant problem.

          I don’t know the figures, but proportionately far fewer Americans seem to do it compared to (for example) Canadians or Australians.

          1. Basil Pesto

            yes, we’re ubiquitous. Incidentally, in the Before Times at least, there were copious amounts of young Irish in Sydney and Melbourne, often working in nursing/healthcare.

        2. Oh

          I assume this is motivated by a thirst for cheap, precarious, easily exploited labor under the fig leaf of humanitarian concern.

          That’s the same reason we want immigrants to the US

      5. HotFlash

        Just 5 decades of observation here, not scientific at all. I left the US in 1969, for Canada. It was much easier then, as Canada was actively seeking immigrants and if you spoke one or t’other official language and had skills they were seeking, intended to open a business or agreed to move to a remote area to do needed work, you were in.

        Then there is the insularity. Most Americans are not only profoundly monolingual, but profoundly monocultural. Very few have traveled outside the US, other than to kill people, few know people from another country except ‘immigrants’ (a pejorative), and have no idea how a civilized country governs. When I told her I had moved to Canada, my grandmother said, with tears in her eyes, “Did they make you learn French?” She was serious. Americans don’t understand the reality of good medical care. When I broke a little bone in my foot (falling off a platform shoe, it was that long ago), my mother gasped, “Do you need money?” Puzzled, I replied, “What for?” these are not stupid people.

        And then there is the brainwashing. Americans have been told from birth and before that they live in the home of the brave, the land of the free, the cradle of democracy, the defender of truth and justice around the world, and have the best medical care on earth. They may not swallow that hook, line, and sinker (due, perhaps, to the evidence of their lying eyes), but they are afraid that things might only be worse in places that seem to them ‘too good to be real’.

        I leave for another commenter the penchant of Americans to chose a country to move to based on how far their American pension dollars will stretch in said country. I moved here at 20 with a full working life ahead of me, dunno how it would be to relocate at my age.

        1. juno mas

          For older Americans becoming an expat also includes giving up a percentage of Medicare benefits. Agreed that medical care in Canada is more affordable/available than in the US.

        2. campbeln

          This matches my experience as an American in Australia from 2003 (though I took the marriage route).

          The brainwashing is so disturbingly true. It was 18 months in Oz before one day I looked around and realized that I had equal or more freedoms, making more money than in Silicone Valley with zero fear of losing it all due to a medical bill.

          We came back in 2016, but that’s more and more looking like a mistake to rectify.

        3. Ook

          @Did they make you learn French?

          Ha ha, I’m Canadian and they did make me study French (3 years in elementary school), although I can’t say I actually learned it.

      6. STEPHEN

        Lots ofcommentors have already provided good insight into this, but I’ll throw in a good 2 cents anyway.

        Both my wife and I have lived and worked overseas. We actually met as strangers in Korea.

        Speaking anecdotally.

        Its really comes down to family and land. Our kids can see their grandparents every weekend, cousins 5-6 times per year. To give that up would be very challenging.

        We also live on a small farm that keeps us occupied throughout the year. Our small homesteading lifestyle creates immense purpose and meaning in our lives. We therefore suffer from less of the cultural ennui that seems to have afflicted a large part of American life. I’m not terribly keen on my day job, and I’m not sure committing entirely to a desk-job existence without the comfort of farm chores, even in a country with a higher standard of living, would do me much good.

        We have a good enough life. I think for a lot of Americans…good enough is good enough. We’re not going to upset the apple cart in search of better than good enough. In America, once you lose, you lose all. It’s straight to the bottom with little hope of recovery. Slow and steady at a suboptimal stasis is therefore preferable to big risky changes that contain high likelihood of utter destitution and ruin.

        Americans are profoundly small-c conservative people.

        1. Pelham

          I’ll largely agree with that. Having lived in Europe for a few years, I can appreciate the advantages. Especially the healthcare. I had a few reasons to use what these services, and the complete absence of medical bills was an enormous relief. Not only did it remove a possibly ruinous financial burden, it also made for a saner, more stress-free life all-round.

          Having said that, my wife and I have a small acreage in the US and two small flocks of guinea fowl and laying hens. We couldn’t leave them behind, of course, but we’d be sad to abandon this degree of rural freedom. All the Europeans I knew lived in tiny apartments. They used their living spaces ingeniously, but I had my fill of living stacked and packed next to neighbors long ago.

          1. Rtah100

            We have countryside! Rapidly depopulating tooo. You can pick up scruffy farms in Spain for thousands or Euros and in France for tens of thousands. You would miss having neighbours pretty quickly…,

      7. JCC

        There are very few countries that Americans can afford to move to without a job sponsorship. And getting a job in a Eurpoean country is not easy for most American Citizens. Besides fees and moving expenses, many countries, if you don’t have a job lined up, have a minimum income requirement along with work prohibitions for resident aliens while they complete their citizenship requirements.

        I know, I’ve been trying to figure this out for years and have checked multiple country requirements as well as emplyment opportunities (but once retired, I’m outa here and hopefully soon).

        The second problems is that Americans are well propagandized to believe that every country in the world is more dangerous than the US. Every time I talk about emigrating to Mexico, Nicaragua, Columbia or some other relatively affordable and reasonably safe city in a Southern Hemisphere country (I speak enough Spanish to get by) I’m told, “You must be crazy, that place is too dangerous!”. This from people that live in L.A. or Chicago.

        But that’s OK with me, the less these people want to leave, the safer the destination I end up choosing.

      8. Yves Smith

        Lordie. Have you ever tried doing it???? I have. Recall I went to Oz for 2 years.

        Unless you have an employer as a sponsor, or are under 30 and educated, most countries don’t want you. Period. I came back to the US. Not because I didn’t love Sydney, but because it was clear that even with a 4 year visa, I was not going to be able to build my business up to a level where I could get permanent residence.

    2. Clem

      Can’t understand why all those hundreds millions of people all over the world are so willing to try and risk their lives to get to and stay in this homophobic, transphobic, speciist, racist, xenophobic, unequitable, sexist, classist shithole?

    3. foobie2020

      My wife and I would seriously consider a move to Canada if it was an option, but as 40-somethings with moderate net worth there does not seem to be any option.

      Outside of Canada, there are few options. Family obligations keep us approximately in North America. Mexico, if it was a lot safer, would be ideal from a weather perspective, at least until climate change really sets in, but safety there is a genuine and real concern.

    4. EMtz

      I left the US before Trump was elected. What a relief! México is hardly perfect but it is welcoming, the requirements to live here are reasonable, the people are wonderful, and the culture is deep and rich. I now have a Permanent Resident visa and am working on my Spanish so I can pass the citizenship exam. Then I will renounce my US citizenship. In my years here, I haven’t even been back to the US to visit. Not once. It’s not my country any more and hasn’t been for a very long time.

      1. Pelham

        Hmm. Whereabouts do you live in Mexico, approximately?

        My daughter’s piano teacher and her husband took long vacations there every year, making it a familiar specialty that they appreciated greatly. They adored the place.

    5. Pelham

      A few years ago my wife and I looked into Canada as well and learned we weren’t rich enough, either.

      I doubt we would have really left, though. Materially, we’d be better off up there, no doubt. But there’s too much about home that I’d miss, though I have to strain my memory and filter out the toxicity of current events to foreground those reasons.

    6. Winston Smith

      Moving back to Canada definitely in the cards for me, though it will take a while to reach the threshold for action…My partner will take some convincing to leave family behind and embrace the more bracing weather

      1. lambert strether

        When I lived in Montreal, the show was heavier, the wind was stronger, and it was colder than the US, including Maine.

        But their systems for dealing with winter were better, too. Faster clean-up, better heating, etc. Things didn’t stop for winter.

        So I wouldn’t let that stop you, at least in a city

        1. Winston Smith

          You lived in Mtl? Good man. I was there from 89-96. Loved it. Particularly because it is such a bilingual city. Winter in the city sucks but I love it in more pastoral settings

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      In other words, you want to be able to force Canada to let you in. And since that wouldn’t apply to just you personally, you want to force Canada to let in thousands of Typhoid MAGAtard germ spreaders too, if they demand to move to Canada.

      Open Borders is an evil and immoral concept. It should be crushed, and its advocates should be exiled from public power and influence.

  2. ProNewerDeal

    I assume ConManD0n has recovered from COVID by today 1016Fri, with the possible exception of longhaul symptoms. Trump was hospitalized 1002Fri. It has been 14+ days since ConManD0n has been infected. I read that days 7-10 are critical time where cases often worsen & become a severe case, for instance requiring ICU treatment.

      1. WinstonSmith

        HIs chances of a FULL recovery are probably better than they were…but he is pushing himself for a man with his risk factors (male, obese and over 70 amongst others). COVID disease course is unpredictable and some have experienced devastating relapses after seeming to recover

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Exclusive: America’s true unemployment rate

    iIf you measure the unemployed as anybody over 16 years old who isn’t earning a living wage, the rate rises even further, to 54.6%.
    If I was going to use myself and my 2 brothers as a metric the rate would be %66 as I am the only one currently still employed.

    1. farragut

      Is there any statistic produced by the Govt, which is accurate? The two most obvious examples of fraud in this dept seem to be a) the unemployment rate, and b) the rate of inflation, but I’m certain most–if not all–are heavily massaged (then messaged!).

      1. Toshiro_Mifune


        * Im sure some stats produced could be trusted. Maybe bear counts by the National Park Service

        1. MT_Bill

          Firm negative on the bear counts. There are one or more federal lawsuits pending involving the number of grizzly bears in the greater yellowstone and northern rockies ecosystem.

          It’s not the number of bears that count, it’s who counts the bears.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Grenfell Tower landlord had ‘secret’ meeting on cost cutting, inquiry told”

    As this story develops, it is sounding more and more like the plot from the 1974 film “The Towering Inferno.” A builder cutting corners, using ‘alternate’ building supplies, etc. which results in a whole tower in flames. Maybe they should have also checked the electrical system for Grenfell Tower during this inquiry-

    1. Rtah100

      The electrical system is under suspicion. Cowboy workmanship, mysterious power surges, potentially the cause of the original fridge fire….

      I loved Towering Inferno as a child. I was probably six or seven. The first disaster movie I saw. It would be interesting to know what other readers mark as their first. I spent days and days that summer drawing skyscraper floor plans. We just did not have buildings like that in the U.K., least of all in rural Devon!

      I wanted to be an architect and own a velvet jacket. One out of two ain’t bad.

  5. dcrane

    Silicon Valley stepping in to ban the new Hunter Biden stories is a stunning move. Censorship by the political establishment on behalf of one political candidate (since Big Tech is increasingly a department of the government/MIC). I’m glad it’s all more clearly out in the open now at least, and not just hurting characters like Assange, whom people find it easier to dismiss.

    Some NPR voice referred to the story as “unfounded” in one of their typically tendentious pieces yesterday evening (reporting on the censorship allegation). Then a minute later walked his language back a bit, sensing that he had gone over a line that was a bit too far even for him.

    1. Andrew Thomas

      This is only a problem for the Bidens because their behavior is judged by pre-Trumpian standards. Just tweet “fake news” and urinate publicly on the floor of a grocery store, put out a video of yourself dancing offensively to Walk Like an Egyptian, and by Sunday no one will remember the emails at all. Trump’s tax returns came out? When?

    2. hunkerdown

      I think this is the most salient difference between this case, which has gone especially poorly at an especially bad time for the social censors, and every other thing donut Twitter successfully got cancelled with impunity: namely, for the first time in living history, they have made an attempt to prevent the other Party’s media machine from doing business.

    3. tongorad

      Democrats positing themselves as the saviors of democracy, with social media, woke industrial complex, wall street, the military and intelligence community in their back pockets. What could go wrong?

  6. zagonostra

    >So Hard To Prove You Exist

    It’s not that UI fraud prevention isn’t catching “bad guys” or that the “wrong people” are being denied benefits that is the problem. That is not the way the system was designed, rather it was set-up to provide maximum bureaucratic obstructions and hurdles to discourage anyone from claiming benefits. And boy is it working.

    My brother, a chef whose restaurant went under in FL, has been unable to receive UI benefits because he was “flagged.” Apparently someone used his SS and now he can’t prove it wasn’t him. Sometimes you can’t prove that you are NOT who they think you are.

    Like almost all NPR story, there is always a hero and a feel good ending…we can always count on folks like Jennifer Pahlka to come in and set things right, or try to.

    They aren’t catching many bad guys filing false claims. And the wrong people are getting caught in the net — tangled up unnecessarily for months on end.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        A year ago we were triumphantly crowing from the rooftops about how the horrible totalitarian Chinese control their citizens, fast forward one year and we’re doing all of it. In other words, the frog boiling is going right according to plan.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    I came across the following piece that seemed quite relevant to current events: “I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There.” Here’s an excerpt:

    In the last three months America has lost more people than Sri Lanka lost in 30 years of civil war. If this isn’t collapse, then the word has no meaning. You probably still think of Sri Lanka as a shithole, though the war ended over a decade ago and we’re (relatively) fine. Then what does that make you?

    America has fallen. You need to look up, at the people you’re used to looking down on. We’re trying to tell you something. I have lived through collapse and you’re already there. Until you understand this, you only have further to fall.

    We already have our own gang war here in town. At 5 PM a few days ago, at an intersection two blocks away that is a major transportation point with trucks, buses, school buses and commuters traveling through, there was a gunfight that lasted over 30 seconds with automatic weapon fire on at least one side. This is about a mile down the street from a Federal Reserve Bank. My speculation is that these daily battles are not about drug territory but looting territory because break-ins at closed businesses–and there are many–are becoming rampant.

    We are already there.

    1. Medbh

      I like that article too. The last 6 months have felt surreal. Life goes on, while terrible things happen all around you. Each day a new line is crossed, but no one seems especially alarmed by any of it.

      My town too has had unprecedented gun violence, where people are shooting at each other from moving cars on main thoroughfares and into apartment buildings with multiple tenants. We have parks taken over with tents by homeless people. It’s something I’ve only seen before in movies.

      The disconnect between what I’m seeing and reading versus how people are reacting is unsettling. I keep asking friends and family “isn’t this crazy?!” as a reality check. Why is everyone acting so calm when everything is falling apart? I think some people stay in denial for as long as possible, some are just clueless, and a whole bunch of people recognize it’s all wrong, but can’t see any meaningful way to fix it.

      You can’t address a problem until you acknowledge that it exists. I’m glad someone is giving a name to it. We don’t need to just “return to normal”. We need a fundamental course correction.

      1. Carla

        I agree with Henry Moon Pie and Medbh, and I think Indi Samarajiva nails it with “I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There.”

        It IS surreal when disaster, tragedy and grief are all around yet our own lives seem unscathed for the time being. As far as remaining outwardly calm goes, I imagine for many of us it’s a fall-back position. Hysteria won’t help when we just have no idea what to do.

        It seems to me that all those who say we need to “return to normal” are those who just haven’t been personally hit by the chaos, violence and tragedy surrounding all of us.

        Many of us know we need a “fundamental course correction” or even something more radical, but we have no idea how to bring it about.

        Does anyone know of an organization or group that is tracking the unprecedented gun violence by location, nationally?

      2. jr

        You’ve captured my feelings as well. Living in the ritzy West Village is a trip; the groovy music from the bars and restaurants, the pretty people flittering about, and always somewhere in some corner a homeless person, pile of trash, or broken infrastructure peeks through. Friends look at me in amazement when I tell them a third wave is coming, they (like me until recently) were waiting for the second.

        1. Tom Bradford

          Waiting for the second coming?

          “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
          Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
          The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
          The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
          The best lack all conviction, while the worst
          Are full of passionate intensity.”

          – W.B. Yeates

          Wikipedia – “The poem is also connected to the 1918–1919 flu pandemic. In the weeks preceding Yeats’s writing of the poem, his pregnant wife Georgie Hyde-Lees caught the virus and was very close to death. The highest death rates of the pandemic were among pregnant women—in some areas, they had up to a 70 percent death rate. While his wife was convalescing, he wrote “The Second Coming”.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I don’t think I did other than as to gang membership. Around here, that is definitely not limited to any one race or ethnic group.

        And I’m pretty sure they weren’t defending themselves from an onslaught of wild hogs. There were a lot of bullets flying for a “domestic dispute.” It wasn’t some “honor killing” outside a bar. Cops were not involved. We didn’t even hear a siren for five minutes, and then only one.

        So there had to be something at stake.

    2. DJG

      Henry Moon Pie:

      See his more recent article, the second of his collapse trilogy: Collapse Take a Lifetime. You can click through at the end of his first article.

      Samarajiva on corruption and how it rules U.S. life. He doesn’t mince words. Yet he also is pulling those words out of a deep place in his own suffering:

      “No one here would funnel business to a hotel with their own name on it. Yet your President does. And that’s just the corruption you can see. However, your media does not call it this, because corruption is for brown or black people, not white. Instead Trump and his merry men ‘violate norms’ or have ‘conflicts of interest’ or whatever word salad the ‘enhanced interrogation’ guys at the NYTimes torture you with. You’re overcomplicating things to the point of lying.

      “We’ve all seen this before (though, honestly, not this bad). It’s just corruption.”

    3. hunkerdown

      Is that some popup magazine for sadistic #KHive yuppies to develop their ability to dispense petulant invective? Because, frankly, it sounds like the exact same bourgeois anti-racist discourse with “white people” changed to “America”, right down to the patronizing arrogance, and demanding yet more servitude to the Brahmin from the yokels.

      If they were not that, they would have told people to look around, rather than forcing the reader into a power play with them.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      If some of the closed businesses have already been looted by professional looters, perhaps the not-yet-looted closed businesses should have their valuable lootables quietly covered with a mixture of ricin and dimethylsulfoxide. For the looters to get all over their hands and go through their skin and get into their blood stream.

  8. timbers

    Class Warfare – Exclusive: America’s true unemployment rate Felix Salmon, Axios

    According to the geniuses at the Federal Reserve (the world’s ATM machine for interest free money and often just outright FREE money) for the super ultra rich and scam corporations like Uber who’ve never made or almost never made an annual profit in their entire existence – we have almost no inflation and unemployment is low (below 8%).

    So you see, we HAVE to keep giving free trillions to the super ultra rich. It’s the only thing we can do. Because all of our reports – every single one of them – prove to us that inflation just ins’t happening (pay no attention those record shattering asset prices happening almost daily). Surging healthcare isn’t inflation, it’s increased service. Rising housing we just take out of our reports be limiting them. Cars cost the same as they did 50 yrs ago because every time they add a new app you don’t use that increases your repair cost, you’re getting more and better car. See…no inflation.

    No matter how much free money the Fed throws at rich gigantic zombie corporations and the rich, it just can’t make inflation happen. In fact a Fed member just said she’d rather hand out free trillions to the ultra rich than not, for fear of harming the economy. She said she wouldn’t even think about thinking about that because the choice is so obvious to her.

    1. fresno dan

      October 16, 2020 at 8:30 am

      I agree entirely. Just the emphasis on NEW unemployment claims, like the people who remain unemployed are not worth thinking about is a contrived way of looking at unemployment.
      But the fact that it is universally reported in this matter, and let me adjust my bunny eared tinfoil hat, that this is just some co-inky-dinky (coincidence) among the MSM is astounding…
      And this is just a couple of weeks before a presidential election. It is scarcely believable.

      1. timbers

        And the Fed seems to have only sang and dance. At each new public meeting, they promise the rich that they will keep giving them greater amounts free money for longer and longer periods of time, more and longer than before at each new event.

        They might as well put a wax figure of Jerome Powell at the podium and run a recording going something like:

        “The Fed will keep using all the tools in it’s tool box to keep giving you ever more and larger amounts of free money for ever and ever and ever and ever…”

        Each time at a new speaking event, just keep adding more “for evers” into the recording.

  9. zagonostra

    >What if a Pill Can Change Your Politics or Religious Beliefs? – Scientific American

    Didn’t Scientific American endorse Joe Biden? or was that Nature? Anywho, the claim that psilocybin “seems to make people more liberal” is hogwash. What it does is it demolishes the notion of liberal and conservative. Whether someone who self-identifies as “liberal” is more likely to experiment with mushrooms than someone who would consider herself “conservative” I can buy. But once you’ve had the experience conclusions like below are absolutely misleading.

    I wonder if the author ever took any mushroom or whether he looked at the work of Rupert Sheldrake, Terrance Mckenna, or even listened to a Joe Rogan podcast. It seems to be written from that disembodied viewpoint, the view from nowhere.

    But to generate a breadth of appeal, one challenge stands out: psilocybin seems to make people more liberal. Scientific reports associating psychedelic use and liberal values stretch back as far as 1971, and although these findings have been replicated more recently, a noncausal explanation is readily available. Those with conservative attitudes tend to look more disapprovingly on illicit drug use, making them less likely than liberals to try a psychedelic drug in the first place.

    1. bruce

      The shroom season is kicking off here in S coastal Oregon, a sunny stretch after significant rain means that Psilocybes semilanceata, the Liberty Cap, will be poking its little brown head up, particularly in pastures frequented by livestock. There’s a measure on the ballot to make it legal.

        1. ambrit

          I remember Scientific American magazine when I often needed reference books to understand some of the articles. You had to know maths to understand many of their maths based articles.
          It reminds me of the quote from Darwin as to his description of a book by Malthus’ as “light reading.”

    2. CarlH

      I know through my personal experiences with psychedelics that they definitely changed me for the better. They obliterated a lot of my preconceived notions about just about everything.

  10. Fireship

    > English Faculty Vote to Change Name to ‘Department of Literatures in English

    ??? I have to start using emojis because English, oops, the language of English™ fails me. According to Cornell, the dum-dums attending might not realize that English literature does not come exclusively from England. I defecate you not:

    The new proposed name — “the department of literatures in English” — would mark a distinct change in the department’s branding, helping to eliminate what Director of Undergraduate Studies Prof. Kate McCullough, English, said was the “conflation of English as a language and English as a nationality.”

    I imagine it will not be long until one can submit papers composed entirely of emoji. ?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It won’t stay the Department of Literatures in English for long. We live in an era of acronyms so in fairly short order it will be known as the DLE or the UDLU. The first ‘U’ will stand for the university of course so the whole acronym will probably be pronounced as the ‘Yoodloo’. As only those in the university scene will have a clue as to the meaning of that acronym, hardly anybody will be offended by that subject. Mission accomplished!

      1. bruce

        For the first several months after the word “Latinx” came out, I thought it rhymed with Minsk and Pinsk. Later I found out it rhymes with kleenex. You say tomato…

        1. Basil Pesto

          i thought it rhymed with minx, maybe with a short ‘i’, which was cumbersome enough, but latin-x? my god. it’s one thing to be woke, but woke and ugly?

          1. ambrit

            I’m playing with the idea of using the neologism “manx” in place of ‘man’ in terms like “The Ages of Man” etc. A gender neutral form of the noun “man.”
            My real heartbreak question is; is it “woke” enough? [These sorts of things tend to go out of control up to the final iteration, after which, silence.]

              1. Guild Navigator

                Speaking of which, the Mannix episodes I have seen were delightful, but also topically fitting for Armenian genocide 2.0: “During the series, Mannix is also revealed to have worked as a mercenary in Latin America.[22] Like the actor who plays him, Mannix is of Armenian descent, despite the surname being traditionally an Irish one. He speaks fluent Armenian from time to time during the series,[14][23][24][25] as well as conversational Spanish.[12]”

            1. bruce

              “Manx” isn’t a neologism. It refers to the people, culture, scenery and cats of the Isle of Man. I don’t think the Manx people would appreciate you genericizing their unique identifier.

              1. ambrit

                I’m a hybrid Brit/American. I know about the Isle of Man and things Manx. Do notice that I use the term with all lowercase letters. Insofar as language is often context driven, I doubt if someone reading “The Ages of Manx” will think that I am speaking about the variety of cat.
                There is also a strong taint of irony in many of my comments. YMMV

    2. paddlingwithoutboats

      Ha! A hundred years ago I worked as a photographer for a once very good community college that had begun the descent into neoliberalism: reorgs, transitions and a bloated top heavy administration.

      They had long ago changed their English Depatment to become the “Liberal Studies Division”. From a department to a ‘division, yes, but notice the acronym that results is LSD!

    3. John

      “conflation of English as a language and English as a nationality.” Who besides Professor McCullough is unable determine by the context? Universities are going quite mad. They have conjured priorities that we lesser folk simply do not comprehend. … and we are the better for it.

      1. rl

        A priestly friend has often remarked (in our context of the Eastern Orthodox Church) that a spiralling capacity to distinguish by context and a hardening imperviousness to metaphor are two of the most crippling symptoms of fanaticism.

    4. Off The Street

      Those faculty members sure don’t think much of their students, or critical thinking capacities, do they.
      When the navel-gazing and micro-trivialities overwhelm considerations of rational thought, just what use are said members, anyway?

      They might find that current and future students will be even more encouraged to ask why tuition for online courses is so high. During breaks, they can discover that Monty Python dysfunctional skits about committees are available easily with a few mouse clicks.

    5. Katy

      Note that the PMC can’t tell the difference between challenging structural forms of racism and renaming the English department.

    6. DJG

      Fireship: For the truly postmodern experience, the department should go by the name

      Roundtable of Literatures of Englishes

      Surely, in our multipolar world, where no one would dare to think of grammar as prescriptive, we must navigate pluralities.

    7. ewmayer

      I dunno, “Department of Literatures in English” strikes me as rather weak woke tea. How about “Department of Literatures in the Language of the Colonialist Oppressors, Most of Whom Were Horrid White People Who Self-Identified as Males and Were Probably Serial Rapists” (DOLIITLOTCOMOWWHWPWSIAMAWPSR, for short)? Really rolls off the tongue … oh wait, that choice of words probably constitutes a micro-aggression against Wym*n Who Like Wym*n, or something. I apologize unreservedly.

      1. ambrit

        Snark alert.
        I take exception to your degrading description of stature challenged physical coercers. Truly ‘woke’ people use the term “stature challenged” in place of the previous, paternalistic term, micro.
        I really did hear a neighbour who is going for her PhD laughingly reply to my description of Phyllis as “..the southern Belle I belong to..” with; “We are now told, seriously, that Southern Belle is a racist construct from the post Civil War era.” When I somewhat incredulously asked her how well that concept ‘flew’ in the Department, she replied that thay were expected to toe the line if they wanted to have any career chances in the institution.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Even “stature-challenged” may not be woke enough. “Differently statured” is woker.

          1. ambrit

            Hmmm… You have a point there.
            However, doesn’t that fall into the category of “A Difference without a distinction?”
            Ambiguity is the name of the game today. Diplomacy as applied to politics. What an idea!

        2. The Rev Kev

          Meanwhile, San Franciso is taking it up to a whole new level-

          They could just give up and number those schools but even there they might encounter problems. Any superstitious Chinese might take issue with a school with the number “4” in it and even a lot of westerners would have problem with sending their kids to a “Number 13” High School.

      1. Clem

        “Your property values will be lower” is what is appended to all electric homes. Gas is cheap. Electricity is expensive and will never get cheaper, thanks to nuclear power’s huge cost overruns.

        Talk to the millions of people in Caliifornia that suffer PG&E’s programmed shutoffs to make up for their lack of power line maintenance, plus blackouts by accident, or antiquated equipment, who cannot cook, make coffee, or warm their all electric home for days at a time. Meanwhile, their gas-line neighbors can.

        Cities like Berkeley, which banned all new residential gas lines in their quest to alter geomorphology, or San Francisco, would do more to prevent global warming and asthma by not requiring parents to drive their kids all over town to distant schools to meet hallucinatory social goals.

        1. Carla

          Well, to my knowledge, any gas furnace or boiler sold in at least the last 20 years requires electronic ignition. Also, modern gas hot water boilers require electrically operated water pumps to operate properly.

          But it’s true, I can light the pilot-less burners of my gas stove with a kitchen match during a power outage (or when the electronic pilot just quits).

          I LOVE my gas stove ;-(

            1. ambrit

              Thank Heaven that here in the NADS, we don’t usually need whole house forced air heating. We two, in central Mississippi, get bye with an electric heater in the bedroom, which we have experimented with doing without, [simulating an electrical blackout, {the strange things we will do,}] and an old, as in 1940s vintage stand alone gas heater in the living room. Other gas outlets that the heater could be moved to are in place. The gas heater alone will warm up the entire house if needed.
              For cooking, the old reliable Coleman camping stove does very well. It fits on the countertop easily and is simple and easy to use. Gas for it can be obtained at places like Feed Stores, WalMarts, even local gas stations.
              I still do not really understand the big push a half century ago for “All Electric Homes.”

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                It was a push by electric utilities to sell more electricity to more people. It was also a push by electric appliance makers to sell more electric appliances to more people. It is just that simple and easy to understand.

                When I was a child in Knoxville, Tennessee some decades ago, the KUB (Knoxville Utilities Board) would fix your eLECtric appliances for free, as long as you made sure those appliances were eLECtric. That way, the KUB could encourage more people to buy more electric appliances so it could sell more electricity to power those appliances. Such is my memory anyway.

                Ronald Reagan used to be a host for the General Electric Theatre. I believe he appeared on ads during it to tell all the viewers at home about Living Better Electrically.

        2. Adam Eran

          Yep, and now featured prominently in California Costco’s: gas-powered backup generators (!)…

          On the other hand, PG&E supplies gas, while (publicly-owned) SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) actually shut down its nuclear reactor, and still offers prices that are roughly 30% cheaper for electricity than (privately-owned) PG&E.

          …Oh yes, and recently PG&E management had to consult with criminal attorneys to deal with charges of negligent homicide in the fires their lack of maintenance caused.

          So…Socialism (SMUD) works! It’s cheaper and better managed!

          …suck on that neolibs!

          1. ambrit

            The problem with “socialism” working better is that such cuts into the “god given” profits of the neo-liberal class.
            It is going to take angry mobs with torches and pitchforks to cleanse us of the neo-liberal infestation. Nothing else, so far, has worked. I say this as someone who grew up believing in FDR New Dealism. The older I get, the more amazed I am that FDR managed to accomplish so much without resort to outright violence.

          1. Geof

            So is induction. I guess it’s not visible, but the digital temperature setting is so reliable I can just set it and walk away while soup simmers or what have you. My neighbour tells me he has had the same experience. We had regular electric before. I found cooking frustrating and always cooked the same things. The smart phone did not change my life. Induction did.

            But it is a lot more expensive and not well advertised. The place we bought it didn’t even offer the option until I explicitly requested it, and they only had three induction models compared to hundreds of regular electric. I suspect prices would come down if demand increased.

        1. MT_Bill

          That was our solution. And had it properly vented to the outside. But it was expensive, and only affordable because we did this prior to having children. No way we would have spent the money during the daycare second mortgage.

          Now a functioning government at the state or federal level might have the capacity to create some sort of program to help people. This would probably be cost-effective by reducing healthcare costs long-term.

          Unfortunately, as a Generation X American, I really don’t have any experience with a functioning state or federal government.

        2. wadge22

          As long as:

          -“Heavy duty” actually translates to moves a lot of air. Sometimes it only means a heavier dutier price tag, and maybe a nice stainless finish.

          -It is vented outside. Recirculating will help filter out grease, but probably wont save you from carbon monoxide.

          -There is makeup air to let it work properly. Add a high powered fan trying to suck air out of a well sealed house and you could end up rendering your new fan worthless, or worse still suck exhaust down the chimney from your furnace and water heater.

          -It is actually capturing most of the smoke/cooking exhaust. If the smoke goes into the air in the kitchen and disperses, and then the exhaust fan just steady draws some of that generally smoky air from your kitchen, you arent helping your health nearly as much as with a well designed system.
          Thats likely why cooking on the back burner is mentioned in the article. But they always put the big burner up front!

      1. Clive

        Yes, you are right. Commercial kitchens not only have commercial-grade hoods, their design and specification is regulated in the building codes (here’s California’s for example) which is amongst the toughest).

        Residential codes are much laxer, if they are even going to the trouble of specifying a hood in the first place. And there’s nothing to enforce subsequent homeowner use or maintenance. So comparing a commercial environment to a residential environment is apples to oranges.

        I ditched my gas stove for the reason in the article (plus environmental concerns — electricity here is much more decarbonised) but then I am the embodiment of the PMC — gas stoves are a heck of a lot cheaper than electric.

      2. Clem

        That’s exactly why restaurants that allow smoking outside have the smoke laden air sucked into the interior through doors and windows as it travels toward the kitchen and then up the duckwork. So much for “smoke free dining rooms” with smoking allowed outside.

        1. wadge22

          That may well be true in a lot of cases.
          As a blanket statement about any restaurant that has smokers anywhere near it, No.

          Properly designed kitchen ventilation systems have the makeup air accounted for in the plan, and shouldnt create huge amounts of suction from random places in the building.

          1. Clive

            Yes, correct — the building has an air balance problem if air is getting sucked in from outside (or it is impossible to open doors). Usually the Dedicated Outside Air Supply equipment isn’t working correctly, or the exhaust fans are running over speed.

  11. Phillip Allen

    Can we please have some shreds of self-reflection?

    Oh, by the many and several gods, no. The unexamined life is the comfortable life. As Granny Babs Bush said, “Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

  12. Carolinian

    re Huntergate/NBC–wow the word “alleged” has been restored to the MSM vocabulary. Perhaps they could revive another reporter tradition and simply ask Hunter whether the emails are real. Has anyone in the Biden campaign denied it? Could the “alleged” presence of pictures showing Hunter doing drugs and sex make that difficult?

    Although I’d say the key takeaway would be that Biden was lying about his activities in Ukraine up to the point of allowing the president to be impeached over the controversy. He and his many many media supporters may be suffering from ethical dementia as well.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a good twitter feed about reactions to this whole story by a guy called Drew Holden-

      One person there states that Hunter dropped the laptop off to that shop but then stiffed them for the repairs. Big mistake. What is more remarkable was Twitter’s ‘flexible’ policy where they will censor information acquired through so-called hacking. Get it? So the next Edward Snowden will be suppressed into oblivion. And the next Chelsea Manning. Hell, the next Pentagon Papers for that matter.

      1. fajensen

        What I find surprising is the rinky-dink-ness of the operation.

        These people are supposedly very rich and powerful, but, they obviously don’t have the IT-support that even a company with 1/20’th of their alleged “turnover” would have.

        And, In the better days, a young gentleman of Hunter Biden’s stature would have had a Valet – a servant who’s job it was to show young Sir around in the wold, keep him out of trouble, and clean up any messes.

    2. The Historian

      Why do we care? Isn’t this just another distraction, like Russiagate, to keep us away from thinking about needed economic reform? Rich and influential people’s kids have always used the family name to get more goodies for themselves – that is never going to change. I haven’t heard Biden say that Hunter would get a job at the White House yet.

      1. mike

        The difference between this and Russiagate is that it is likely true and not even denied. And of course Joe wouldn’t give hunter a job at the White House. It doesn’t pay nearly as well as selling US favors to foreigners.

          1. Carolinian

            Perhaps step one toward economic reform is having a president who’s not a crook. FDR showed that character does matter.

            I have no dog in this fight and don’t even plan to vote but the system is the problem and I’d say this story gets right to the heart of it. Obama and Biden chose to meddle in Ukraine even though that country has almost nothing to do with us and in retrospect private gain may have played a very big role. Trump’s motives on things like Nordstream or the Syrian oil are likely just as dubious, but he at least is under some kind of scrutiny, not lionized the way the media treat the Obamas or protected as they are doing with Biden.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            Because one is true and the other is not, the truth matters, and its not all OK if it’s your guy who’s doing it.

            The fact the people continue to write off this kind of behavior, claim “everyone’s doing it”, and continue to vote criminals into office anyway is why we are where we are.

            So if you truly don’t care, expect even more Trump’s in your future. And you’ll deserve them.

            1. The Historian

              I have no problem with crooks getting their ‘comeuppance’ – in fact I would like to see more of it!

              But you are again putting the cart before the horse, aren’t you? If Russiagate and the Trump impeachment process should have taught you anything, it is to be wary of political stories like this – and their supposed ‘evidence’. And you should remember that they are just distractions – away from what is really important in your lives, like the economy.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                Biden is on video bragging about having the prosecutor fired. That is evidence that isn’t just ‘supposed’. Now you can argue about the why of it all, but the fact is a US politician had an official of a foreign government sacked and then bragged about it, as if was his natural right to do so. The question that nobody is asking is what gives Joe Biden the right to do that at all, regardless of whether it benefited his son or not?

                If that isn’t one government interfering in another’s for its own purposes, the very thing the Russians supposedly did with Trump, then I don’t know what is.

                And of course, all of this is still completely leaving out the coup that the US, with Obama and Biden in charge, sponsored in the Ukraine to begin with. So they are meddling in the government that the US had installed for its own purposes in the first place.

                But best not to think of all that too much, and just put Biden in because Orange Man Bad and we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

                1. juno mas

                  Well, Hunter Biden wasn’t the President of the US. The Orange Man was when he attempted to extort favors from the Ukraine President.

                  They are both crooked. The biggest, most dangerous crook is Trump.
                  It will be a long road to “good government” in the US.

                  1. lyman alpha blob

                    Except Trump didn’t extort favors. He had a phone conversation with a fellow clown, didn’t get what he wanted, while the Ukrainians did get what they wanted. I read the phone transcript and didn’t see much there to even back up claims of attempted extortion.

                    Joe Biden, as vice president of the United States, presumably with the approval of the president and state department, clearly extorted the Ukrainians and openly bragged about it.

                    There’s plenty more here than just what the prodigal son may have done.

                    But yeah, a lot of crookedness to go around for sure, I won’t argue with you there.

          3. edmondo

            And my question to you is still: So what?

            If you have to ask why the appearance of corruption is troubling, it makes the rest of your statements here suspect.

            1. tegnost

              as for myself, I’m expecting a biden win and it feels like the abusive spouse is about to move back into the house and all the neighbors are saying “So what? Maybe you shouldn’t be so demanding and spouse will be nicer to you!”

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            No, you wouldn’t want to weigh in with the simple distinction between one that is false and one that is true. 200 lawyers 2 years and $40M dollars couldn’t find RussiaGate wrongdoing but a simple review of bank wire transfer records and you can remove the “Gate” from “BidenGate”.

            But carry on with the Alinsky whataboutism

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Oh, brother. By all means, go pour yourself another glass of koolaid and “think” about “needed economic reforms.”

      3. Carolinian

        So that whole ethical thing–not a problem? Let me suggest that if his opponent was anyone other than Donald Trump the press would be all over this story and Biden would be seriously crippled. Not only does it offer some evidence that Joe, not just Hunter, was involved in Ukrainian corruption (as well as dubious China doings) but it also says that he hasn’t been shy when outright lying about it. Presidential lying was the presumed basis of both Watergate and the Clinton impeachment back when the press seemed to care about such things. But because they are obsessed with getting rid of Trump–not to mention deflecting Sanders–they are more than willing to look the other way and promote this confused old man for president.

        So it’s not just about Biden but also about the way the press are manipulating and trying to control our democracy and they have been doing this for a long time. Even Trump is their creature given how much attention they pay to his every tweet or perhaps he is playing them.

        1. The Historian

          You say there is some ‘evidence’ that Joe Biden was involved with Hunter Biden’s nefarious business dealings. I think you need to present that ‘evidence’.

          I agree with you – MSM is not doing a good job on this story, but when have they ever done a good job covering any story lately?

          1. epynonymous

            Top google result, “hunter emails”


            “According to a 2015 email, then–vice president Joe Biden met with a top executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that paid Biden’s son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on its board. Earlier, the Burisma executive had asked Hunter to use his influence to quell Ukrainian government officials who were trying to extort the company. Months later, Vice President Biden coerced the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who says he was gearing up an investigation of Burisma.”

            The evidence of Biden admitting a quid pro quo is here

            top search result ‘biden fired prosecutor and boasted’


            *edit* the cover up is the story.

                1. flora

                  Which system: political-democracy or economic- neoliberalism? The wealthy libertarians like Kochs and Mont Pelerin Society fellow travelers are ready to throw democracy overboard to save neoliberalism.

                  1. flora

                    Adding, elite wealthy liberals weren’t too keen on what they called “too much democracy” either. From a 2018 Taibbi-Chomsky interview:

                    Chomsky: There’s a very important book, which came out 1975. It’s called the Crisis of Democracy. It’s the first publication of the Trilateral Commission, which is a group of liberal internationalists from Europe, United States, and Japan, three main centers of capitalist democracy.

                    What’s the “Crisis of Democracy”? The “Crisis of Democracy” is that in the 1960s, all kinds of sectors of the population that are supposed to be passive and apathetic begin to try to enter the political arena to press for their own interests and concerns, and that imposes too much of a burden on the state, which becomes ungovernable. So, what we need is “more moderation in democracy.” That’s their phrase. People should go back into their corners and leave it to us [the elites].


              1. hunkerdown

                All these “Biden is just an innocent pushover” stories seem to take special pains to forget about the apex predator one heartbeat away: the Truman, the LBJ, the GHWB, the Kamala.

              2. fwe'zy

                Ted Rall, a favorite of mine: I had to click. Disappointing and reminded me of how, due to Hollywood and biased schoolbooks in my education: pretty much until 2015 Facebook memes, I thought that the USA saved the world from Nazis, as opposed to Stalin and the Soviet Army.

                1. fwe'zy

                  Edit: as opposed to the fact that Stalin and Soviets saved the world from Nazis. The liberals’ reforms were their usual access pie: crumbs for public goods, fast-track for private interests.

            1. tegnost

              Right. This is old news and I’ve democrat friends who have exclaimed “debunked! That’s been debunked.” as an conversation ender. Yeah sure, youbetcha.

            2. The Historian

              Do you even realize how much of this sounds just like what Trump was accused of during his impeachment trial?

        2. John

          It is hard to see anything clearly amid the blizzard of mud and poo flying around.

          The media build candidates up and then to keep the ratings, reads, or clicks high they suddenly announce that said candidate has feet and knees of clay and must be cut down to size. It is a wearying cycle that once detected, an easy task as they lack guile, is best noted and then ignored.

          The essential elements of this Biden thing have been lying around for five years. Old Joe has been a candidate for a year, two years, and two weeks before the election it becomes news? C’mon Man.

          1. The Historian

            I agree – this story has been around for a long time. There is no doubt why it has become “big news” on some websites now.

            But I wonder: Are people really going to forget what both candidates have done to them over the years and vote based on the behavior of Hunter Biden? That sounds like the most self-defeating thing a voter could possibly do. There are rational reasons why someone might want to vote for Trump or Biden, but this latest dust-up isn’t one of them.

            1. The Rev Kev

              It wasn’t Hunter’s behaviour but the fact that the only reason that he got all that cash from the Ukraine & China was because who his daddy was. On both occasions, Hunter flew in on Air Force Two which kinda made it official. And when a Ukrainian prosecutor questioned these arrangements, old Joe threatened to withhold billions from that country unless that prosecutor was fired that day. Biden boasted about this while being recorded and you can take that video to a court of law as evidence. It’s like behaviour that you would read about in the old Ottoman Empire.

              1. Off The Street

                Selling out one’s country, so casually. Not much thought about impacts on friends and neighbors, once family obligations have been met. Not sure how much agency to ascribe to such behavior, but probably less than one would hope for.
                Thanks, Obama, Hillary, Biden.

            2. tegnost

              “Are people really going to forget what both candidates have done to them over the years ”
              The list of things opposed to my own interests is much longer for biden than trump….not saying trump can’t catch up but it’ll take time…
              Biden is the embodiment of our corrupt system (just look at the people who are howling in despair about trump. Primarily the privileged…people who think disrupt the system and rework it to your advantage through wealth and government control, a deregulation reregulation doomloop that ever and always benefits them over others)
              Clearly the hoi polloi are hopelessly screwed either way.
              Ask your biden supporter friends what they think about bernie. Very likely they hate him. Ask then what they think about trump? They hate him too. And I mean hate, real venomous hate. People who actively hate more than half of the electorate are about to be in charge again. What kind of change do you believe will happen?

              1. Phillip Cross

                “The list of things opposed to my own interests is much longer for biden than trump”

                Maybe true, but I’m more concerned with what Trump’s despicable colleagues in the G.O.P. have done, and have got planned. So far he has enacted the exact same legislation I would have expected from a Jeb Bush or even Ted Cruz administration.

        3. Dr. John Carpenter


          For one thing, the whole Democratic sales pitch for this election is that Biden isn’t Trump and is supposedly better, but, if true, this affair points out that he isn’t. Yes, “everybody does it.” That’s exactly the point, and the blatant attempts of the media and their corporate owners to bury this via censorship because Biden is their guy (today, anyway) should be really concerning to anyone not among the 1%.

          Also, does anyone honestly think if the names were Trump and Trump Jr. this would be handled the same way?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The particulars of the scandal besides the corruption involve colonialism, gross resource extraction, and climate denialism. It’s odious.

          2. Pookah Harvey

            Maybe not Trump Jr but Ivanka is a different story. How much have you heard about Ivanka’s multiple trademark approvals being fast-tracked in China and Japan after her visits (as an official government representative) to those countries?
            This whole discussion is inane. Grifters gotta grift, blue or red.
            Is it possible that the elite are supporting Biden because they are living on this planet and realize that there are three main concerns:

            1) Nuclear War- Trump (“if we have nukes why can’t we use them”) has left every non-proliferation treaty in existence. He continued and accelerated the nuclear arms race. Currently is saber-rattling against nuclear armed China and continued the military challenges to nuclear-armed Russia. There is a reason the Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight under the Trump administration then at any previous moment.

            2) Climate change- Trump’s explanation of “it’s a Chinese hoax” is accelerating the problem. Biden’s answer of carbon capture certainly isn’t the best, but at least it is something.

            3) Biden is not advocating the violent division of the country.

        4. Glen

          So as far as I can tell – THEY ALL DO IT. It’s best to assume that all of the kids of our leaders are out running scams related to access unless we see specific examples such as Sanders NOT endorsing a relative (his son I think).

          This is the fundamental basis behind the PMC. It starts as the prestige of the school or credential, but it ends up being WHO is on speed dial, who you are related to, and who you give money to (bribed) or took money from (corporate sponsored by). It’s a big club, but we ain’t in it – this is THEIR country to loot and burn to the ground:

          George Carlin – It’s A Big Club And You Ain’t In It!

          That link is NSFW!

          And quite frankly seeing how people from Harvard and other elite schools have run our country into the ground, that whole “elite schools make the best” is way, way overblown.

          1. hunkerdown

            Without elite schools, you can’t produce an elite at all. They need to have their class mysteries and secrets and camaraderie and tricks so they can externalize and capture whatever they wish, regardless of resistance, into or out of us. At the very least they need to have a place where they can form themselves as a class of special people, set apart from the residue and protected from contamination. If we wanted them to keep existing as a class system, I mean.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Some have speculated that the material could have been hacked from Hunter Biden’s accounts and put on the laptop as a cover story to offer a plausible explanation of how the material became public.

      If there are less credible sources of “information” than cia “collaborator” ken dilanian and the nbc “news” organization, I don’t know who they’d be. Maybe judy miller and the nyt or the super hack-hunting “cybersecurity” firm crowdstrike.

      (Come to think of it, I don’t know why crowdstrike is letting twitter and facebook steal it’s thunder. They should have “confirmed” the hacking explanation hours ago.)

      As for asking hunter, there is no need. Last night Tucker Carlson played a clip of Jamal Brown, National Press Secretary for the “joe biden for president” campaign who cleared it up once and for all:

      Well, look, um, I think twitter’s response to the actual uh, uh, article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and they’re not true, uh, and, uh, glad to see, ya know, social media companies like twitter takin’ responsibility to limit misinformation.”

      So, twitter said none of it’s true. They’re takin’ “responsibility” just like uncle joe said he would do if elected.

      About dilanian:


      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        The Psych-out is reaching higher levels o sophistication but still in service of obvious, ham-handed agendae. The internet was probably opened up in order to boost commerce. Instead it’s got a bit out of hand. Hence all the hand-wringing about ‘disinformation’.
        Related, the FT bit about “Q Conspiracy Theory”. Anyone who takes a 2-minute crawl through the various gnomic posts can see it’s nothing but a lot of innuendo and cheerleading for Trump. My guess is that it’s a product of someone associated with Erik Prince.
        The fact that most libs don’t want to grapple with (because it does involve some Deep State) is that Trump, probably through his association with Roy Cohn, was early immersed in a shadowy milieu of private intelligence companies, honeytrap operations, and other forms of political blackmail. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the media which supposedly hates Trump so much, never even notices these ties. It opens up questions they don’t want their audience to dwell too long upon.

        1. hunkerdown

          That Citigroup IT dweeb and his quick crisis-management financial media blitz was enough of a back azimuth for me. As far as I can tell, Wall Street was trying to gin up popular support for right-wing death squad activity and got caught out.

          Then again, it’s far from the first time in history that a pandering yarn became a fact source well beyond its competency to deliver.

  13. WobblyTelomeres

    Hunter is secretly working with Trump, Putin, and Mueller to expose a secret, very powerful, Ukrainian/Russian organized crime pedophile ring. The emails are just one part of a very clever sting operation. I can’t really say anymore about this.

    1. DJG

      WT: Don’t forget that we meet tonight at the PizzaQ + RussiaRussia Pub to get the next portion of our briefings from Comrade Boris Badenov.

      Give the code word, Rachel Maddow’s Sanity, to Comrade Natasha Fatal, who will be sitting at the bar with a smoking gargleblaster (double olives).

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: New York coronavirus exodus fuels ‘gangbusters’ Maine real estate boom

    This Mainer is not a fan of the trend. Not only does it drive up the price of real estate so that it’s unaffordable for the people who grew up and work here and might like to own a house someday, but this is inevitable –

    One taciturn Mainer told The Post his opinion on the subject, if not his name. “We’re fine with people moving up here,” the long-time local drawled. “It’s just when they want to change everything that we could have a problem.”

    Portland is basically run for developers and tourists these days. Granted, it did need some fixing up back in the late 80s-90s but it’s been gentrified way too much and gotten too precious for its own good. But hey, if you want to subsist on artisanal locally sourced fungi and delicately flavored seltzers, maybe it’s the town for you.

    To quote the immortal Wicked Good Band in their song People From Away –

    We’re going to bring those hicks some cultchah is what they always say.
    But the only one’s they’re bring it to is other people from away.

    But hey, winter is coming. Here’s betting that those timid NY transplants suddenly realize why the population of Maine has been so historically small.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Oh I wish the Maine winter will have an effect on them, but they will never leave their houses. They will get everything from food delivery or Amazon, ride their Peletons, and you won’t see them for 7 months. Maybe if they are skiers you might see them packed Ng up their SUV before they head out to Sugarloaf.

      This is why the exodus is occurring. With delivery services they can move anywhere they want and it has little changes to the day to day lifestyles.

        1. newcatty

          King could set it in AZ or other desert south west states. Up would be down. The 7 months switched to summer. With excursions to escape north or the West coast…for those with means.

    2. EMtz

      I lived in Maine during 9-11. Same thing happened then. Half of NY, NJ, MA and PA moved North. Totally ruined the State south of Brunswick. Property values on the ocean side of Route 1 got so high that people whose families had been there since the 1600’s had to sell out. I finally left because it wasn’t Maine any more and I had zero desire to live in the weather way up in The County.

    3. Glen

      It would be interesting to see how much PE is behind this trend. When the Fed hands out TRILLIONS, and real returns on Wall St are flat, then the billionaires are gonna figure out how to suck more blood out of real Americans. And the whole “middle class life style” is one more place to leach.

      I know in my area that as much of 30 % of the single family real estate is being bought up by PE. Just another example of how Fed policy has (family blogged) America.

    4. Robert Gray

      > But hey, winter is coming. Here’s betting that those timid NY transplants
      > suddenly realize why the population of Maine has been so historically small.

      Some years ago in North Dakota I saw a great bumpersticker on the back of a pickup:

      “40 below keeps the riff-raff out”

      1. pasha

        a pin with that phrase was popular in minnesota when i lived there in the seventies. really did experience forty below for about a minute, running to retrieve something i’d left in the car. if you failed to plug in your engine the oil would freeze and you had to wait til spring to drive it

    5. Maritimer

      I live in a rural coastal area. What scares the bejasus outa me is to see any kind of Five Star Infrastructure, tony restaurants, artisanal bakeries, posh “farmers’ markets”, etc. You see those and it is “There goes the goddam neighborhood.” More hot dogs and pool halls please.

  15. jcmcdonal

    “Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It?”

    Great to see the acoup blog here! Lots of fascinating insights. Of particular relevance here is probably his very long series on Sparta, and how the elite hollowed out society. Each crisis led to more consolidation until the elite were unable to effectively govern.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: English Faculty Vote to Change Name to ‘Department of Literatures in English’

    I wonder if the PMC administrator who came up with that Newspeakian turn of phrase brings in a six figure salary or seven?

    Reminds me of my kid’s school where quizzes and tests have become ‘formatives’ and ‘summatives’, whatever the [family blog] that’s supposed to mean, while the math scores continue to plummet. Our local geniuses get six figures, so I’m guessing it’s at least seven for Ivy League level foolishness. Nice work if you can get it.

  17. wadge22

    Kill Your Gas Stove

    Reality not as clear cut as headline. The article does a pretty good job of explaining the tradeoffs, but goes out of its way to paint induc in its best light.

    “Home chefs” will probably still brag if they can cook over gas. An old (or some new high end) gas stove with powerful burners, under a copper or aluminum pan with only a thin liner of stainless, is the tops for sauteing at its best. Some methods (woks, searing, grill pans) will never get the same heat levels with induction, and you essentially cant cook the way you would with that higher heat. You can, of course, still cook your dish, but it wont be the same (much like making pizza in a home oven at 500).

    Of course, that might all be akin to saying “car exhaust pollution is ok because I love endurance racing so much!”

    Also like the electric vs ICE car, you are just moving where the emissions take place. And “they do consume more total energy than gas stoves.” Still, if youre trying to prevent asthma in a resident of your house, that seems like a good tradeoff.

    Article also notes “In Singer’s eyes, the first priority is to get effective venting range hoods, which transport cooking and burner pollutants outdoors, installed in as many existing homes as possible, and to require them in all new homes.”
    This is the big point in my mind. Commercial kitchens have high powered gas burners and high powered exhausting ventilation. At home you can get the former, but basically cant get the latter without very special consideration.
    Even a solar powered induction burner, used without real ventilation, can fill your whole house with smoke if you try to grill a fatty steak. Or mace your family with a peppery mist from your spicy “stir fry” in your warm, flatbottomed wok.
    We should probably all have better ventilation in our homes, regardless of what other choices we make. If your stove doesnt make that point, maybe covid does.

    Bottom line, gas will continue to be the choice for many “artists” who are willing to take on some additional risk to do what they love. But if you arent a gourmet, or if you have children or people with breathing difficulty, electric is probably the way to go.

    A couple more quick points:

    -Electric ovens are better. Even to snobby home chefs. Its only up on the rangetop that gas shines.

    -If youre worried about this, do not, under any circumstances, get a “ventless” gas fireplace insert in your home.

  18. taunger

    So shrooms make you a more open minded, less authoritarian person, meaning obviously we can’t subsidize that treatment in any way. I can’t believe these articles don’t end with,”I know we’re the baddies.”

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    “…Prepare for the Next Pandemic”
    Gosh! This is link is remarkably optimistic. I must be missing something. The Corona flu is not the same as the Spanish flu of 1918. Comparing the mortallity figures between the two does not convince me of how much more effective our modern technological countermeasures have proven. Unless I am missing something, those Asian countries that handled the Corona flu well did so using technological countermeasures very like those used in 1918, and all the cool technological countermeasures of today make no dent in the remarkable failure of the Western governments of today to wisely and competently respond to the Corona pandemic. In the case of the U.S. — this becomes especially remarkable after comparing some of the findings in flu related literature from the aught 20’s and the slow painful rediscovery of that information in the 2020s.

  20. carl

    RE: Spending dropped, savings dwindled for U.S. unemployed after enhanced benefits expired: study

    In other news, the sun came up today and the sky is still blue. Hard to believe people get paid to produce “research” like this. Clearly, I missed my calling.

  21. fresno dan

    A federal appeals court will reconsider whether prosecutors broke the law in 2008 when they concealed from Jeffrey Epstein’s victims a lenient non-prosecution agreement with the registered sex offender, deciding Thursday to set aside a ruling by one of its panels so the full court can take up the matter.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit wrote that a majority of its judges had voted to rehear the case “en banc” — or in front of the full court — and vacated the divided opinion of a three-judge panel that said prosecutors had not violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

    Wild alleged that she and others Epstein victimized were illegally kept in the dark. Last year, a federal district court judge sided with her, ruling that prosecutors had violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. But at the same time, he declared the case moot, a move that undercut efforts to invalidate the non-prosecution agreement.
    I didn’t know that a 3 judge panel had invalidated the ruling that Acosta, the Epstein prosecutor, had violated the crime victims bill of right with regard to being informed about the case.
    So supposedly Acosta is being investigated by the DoJ Office of Professional Responsibility, which according to other articles is a rather toothless organization.
    I just find it curious, in a culture where one cannot turn on the TV without seeing a crime show dealing with sex trafficking, that when there is an actual case of it, there is no desire for a congressional investigation.
    And when one looks at the ruling by the 3 judge panel that Acosta had not committed a crime by not informing the victims of what was going on because Epstein was not actually being prosecuted by Federal authority, it begs the question: If the Federal government had not indicted Epstein, why was Acosta so, SO involved in the plea deal???
    And finally, with regard to this “investigation” of Acosta, all the material to be reviewed should be in writing. Yet somehow, as far as I can determine, this DoJ office has come to no written conclusion with regard to what Acosta did. Curious.

    1. zagonostra

      Curious indeed, there is something rotten in the State of Denmark that’s for sure. I have to jumble up many Shakespearean allusions when I think about the Epstein cover-up.

      “Fair is foul, and foul is fair / Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

      “Here’s the smell of blood. / All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Nice Shakespearean allusions! and fitting to more than the Epstein conspiracies — yes Virginia there are conspiracies.

    2. ewmayer

      Yes, who’da thunk that prosecutors and courts basically playing for the same team might lead to the former being held to rather more lax legal standards than the hoi polloi?

      Re. Acosta, he famously received the proverbial shoulder tap that “Epstein belonged to Intelligence“, so that may explain both his ‘curious’ lack of prosecutorial zeal and procedural rigor as well as the lack of interest in seeing justice done on the part of Congress. From the linked article:

      The report says that Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. attorney in Miami, told interviewers in the Trump transition team that he was told to back off of Epstein at the time because Epstein “belonged to intelligence.” The Daily Beast reports:

      “Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It would be interesting to know in detail the exact name and title/ job position of the actual individual or individuals who told Acosta that Epstein was intelligence and to leave it alone. Though maybe they also warned Acosta that they would kill him or his family or both if he ever mentioned who it was who told him that Epstein was intelligence and leave it alone.

  22. CanChemist

    “Blood type O may mean lower risk of COVID-19 infection and severe illness, new studies suggest”

    Two new studies published,

    ” A Danish study found that among 473,654 people who were tested for COVID-19, only 38.4% with blood type O tested positive — even though, among a group of 2.2 million people who were not tested, that blood type made up 41.7% of the population.

    In the other study, researchers in Canada found that among 95 patients critically ill with COVID-19, a higher proportion with blood type A or AB — 84% — required mechanical ventilation compared with patients with blood group O or B, which was 61%.

    The Canadian study also found those with blood type A or AB had a longer stay in the intensive care unit, a median of 13.5 days, compared with those with blood group O or B, who had a median of nine days.”

  23. PlutoniumKun

    Western Lockdown to Shut Down China Vineyard of the Saker

    It’s worth looking at the author of this article before wasting your time reading it – he is an follower of the Lyndon LaRouche. I really would wonder why Saker would publish such meandering nonsense.

    1. jsn

      It read like “Delirious New York”, the “paranoid critical method” applied to political economy where structural forces are anthropomorphized and associated with whatever archetypically villainous group springs to mind!

      The Saker, Orolov, everyone outside the collapsing techno sphere of Anglo/America is letting their imagination run rampant across the now unfenced plains of narrative fallacy!

      Ok, maybe not everyone, probably not you!

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Because it supports the Sakers’s own long-standing theory about the Anglo-Zionist Empire. And also the Saker hopes that a Global Chinese hegemony can provide some kind of nemesis to the DC FedRegime’s hubris.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Six takeaways from Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls”

    Only saw snippets of those two dueling banjos but from what I saw, Trump had to field a few hard questions whereas Joe was never asked about the one thing that an actual journalist should be asking about – his business dealings and the involvement with his son Hunter. If Biden wins, guaranteed that the whole Hunter business will be dropped down a memory hole and all those so-called liberals will never raise the subject ever, ever again.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Yup. That’s the other reason why what’s happening with the current version of the Hunter story is so galling. We’re getting a realtime prevue of the media if Biden is selected. Any outing of the administration’s wrongdoings, and there will be many, will be labeled as dangerous thoughcrime by the gatekeepers and the reporters involved will be canceled.

      On a side note, it’s been kind of stunning to see Pelosi asked actual questions in two interviews recently, one with Wolf Blitzer, for cripes sake! The word salad and blaming she vomited out in response was downright Palin-esque. This is someone not only unable to answer the kind of question a real journalist should be asking, but was obviously appalled someone would trouble her beautiful mind with such things. As we saw from the campaign trail, Biden handles himself about as well. At lease Pelosi didn’t challenge Wolf to a pushup contest.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Anyone who thinks that Joe B. will have a road to Damascus conversion where he finally realizes the error of his 47 years in public office and decides to do a 180 degree turnabout and fight for any policy that does not favor megacorporations and billionaires against the interests of the 99% has been consuming waaay to much of the mycological mind-altering substances discussed above.

        We already have one Republican Party. What we need is an opposition party, you know, that opposes. Rewarding the completely fake opposition party for pretending to serve the interests of the 99% simply means they will keep doing what they do. If you are a scientist and perform the exact same experiment 47 times and get the exact same result, you would draw an obvious conclusion.

        1. jsn

          “The United States too is a one party state, but with typical American extravagance it has two of them” Julius Nyerere in the 50s.

          “America has two propertarian parties” Gore Vidal in the 70s.

          It’s getting harder to hide.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Seventh takeaway (or maybe a giveaway?): even with both Biden and Trump out of a scheduled debate, neither the bi-partisan CPD nor the equally corporate media will listen to the big audience that doesn’t identify itself with either Rs or Ds, and wants to have other voices to consider.

  25. Pat

    Just a thought on the late deployment of the Russia! meme to stop the fallout of the Hunter Biden story in the NY Post. It was Plan B, since Plan A to ban its distribution by social media failed so spectacularly.

    Sad because it was sort of nice not to see the fingers being pointed at Boris and Natasha immediately.

    I have spent almost four years waiting for the all the holes in the Russia did it to us narrative become so obvious that even Maddow has to hang her head in shame. Common sense and logic have been jettisoned on a regular basis, so much so I am giving up hope that this will ever be treated with the derision it deserves.

  26. ambrit

    The hawk video is wonderful.
    Yesterday, while taking the kitchen compost out to the pile at the rear of the back yard, a similar sized hawk swooped down and “grabbed” a small furry creature from out of the neighbour’s back yard. It was about twenty feet away from me. Some rustling of wings, a squeak, and the avian raptor and lunch flew off to a big branch above me to dine.
    Nature is grand.
    PS The local Parliament of Owls is back in session.

    1. tegnost

      Barred owls are daytime hunters

      Macaulay Library ML247990981 but I didn’t get the link right so it’s a cut and paste

    2. Tim

      We don’t care for our local Hawks. They spend all their time screeching like angels of death, and eating the cute small bird that we like to feed.

    3. rowlf

      A few years ago, while walking with my sons, we came up on a Red Shouldered hawk in a neighbor’s yard that had a freshly killed squirrel. The hawk saw us and decided to take its meal somewhere else. Unfortunately, the hawk was above Max Take-Off Weight and couldn’t gain any altitude when trying to fly off with the squirrel, and after about fifteen yards had to swerve to avoid a bush. I got my sons out of the area quickly so the hawk could calm down. It was too funny watching the hawk with meal never getting more than six inches off the ground for the whole aborted take-off run.

  27. John C.

    Re: Brockman tax swindle — the scale of this (dollars-wise) is truly breathtaking, seems to me. And Robert Smith doesn’t come out smelling much like a rose, either. Such a vivid illustration of how rigged everything is against everyone who didn’t learn how to cook books in business school. I live in a whole different reality from those people…..

    1. Duck1

      What kind of tax accountants did he have if he had to evade billions in taxes? Seems like the rest of them just contribute a dollar or two here or there, while they drop huge political contributions at will and try to control aspects of world health care through their foundations?

  28. Off The Street

    Stoller’s article themes can lead one to review how many pieces of software may be attempting to extract information from the reader, or buyer, or customer. Some websites are more extractive than others since, as Jaron Lanier and others have noted, free access has a type of price of admission. Websites of PE-owned firms selling things tend toward the upper end. After all, gotta earn out, dividend out and get out.

  29. Kurt Sperry

    Western Lockdown to Shut Down China Vineyard of the Saker— this is (yet another) strange piece from this source. It implies, without either coming right out and saying it directly or providing any actual supporting evidence, that Covid lockdowns are a plot by the West to weaken China. I can see the value of citing a broad diversity of sources to paint an accurate picture, but this particular source often comes across to me as flat-out crazypants and misinformed. I’m left wondering how it repeatedly makes the cut here for inclusion in the news feed. Has this source scored important journalistic triumphs in the past I’m unaware of to offset its frequent flakiness?

  30. JWP

    Re Fed suit by Portland and Oakland:

    This’ll be a good one to see just how strong the positive feedback loop of government giving itself more power is. Been seeing “Federal protection Police” cars driving around town for a few months since the major protests. They do nothing but exist and people just cuss as them or look the other way. Who knows what psyops thing they have going here, but they weren’t ever needed, but that paramilitary has to start somewhere!

  31. meadows

    Regarding gas stoves; I love ours and it vents well. My wife used to have asthma but has cured herself somehow and said goodbye to inhalers. We also have a gas hot water heater, a (vented) heater in the living room, a gas (vented) dryer and a gas (vented) furnace. Key word: “vented.”

    We also have a very old home that is about as airtight as a colander is watertight.

    When electricity becomes affordable enough to replace every one of these appliances w/electric ones I will happily comply…. except for the gas stove!

    1. fresno dan

      October 16, 2020 at 11:33 am

      I had an electric stove and had it replaced with gas. I am a terrible cook, but electric cooking makes me so bad that I am a war criminal cook.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      It doesn’t hurt to have a backup for when the electric power fails … although I believe you might need to do something about supplying electric power to your gas meter.

      1. wadge22

        I dont think that is actually an issue. I certainly can remember the family cooking on the gas grill during power outages as a child. Looking quickly at my own gas meter, I see no wires. I believe even newer “smart” meters run on a small long lasting battery.

    3. Susan the other

      Just this about our “modern” technology: It isn’t. The piece at the end of the Links about how did they make iron? is a case in point. Here we are some 4000 years later…. doing the same damn thing. That is, we are still burning fuel utterly wastefully to make “new” things. Too much fuel. Smelting. So here again I’m thinking I shoulda thought. Plastics. Because plastics are so easy to change. They like to melt. Some require high heat; others not so much. And if we need things – from car parts to rooftops, plastic would be a good choice in terms of life span, effectiveness, durability, adjustability,ease of design, and blahblabla. Recycle the plastic into something else and save half the natgas, or forest or whatever you might burn to “smelt” other stuff from scratch. Just think Recycling. And therefore: dredging the oceans or wherever plastics have accumulated as “garbage” will be a good investment. A very good investment. Somebody please tell CalPERS. Think to the future.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Priorities. It’s all about deciding what matters and what doesn’t. Great clip; thanks for posting.

    2. jen

      Only if you’re an amateur with only one bottle in the fridge. You got another toddler in the fridge? Wait, never mind, don’t answer that.

  32. Tim

    Thanks for the Cornel West article:
    “And for me, class exploitation is as evil as white supremacy, which is as evil as male supremacy, is as evil as homophobia and transphobia, is as evil as anti-Jewish hatred or anti-Muslim hatred or anti-Arab hatred.”
    – Cornel West

  33. Mikel

    Something interesting here. Maybe better for the 2pm Water Cooler where there is loads of election coverage, but here it is:

    While Biden may make a strong showing in the election and the polls are in his favor, he is by no means assured to win. And the “lesser evil” meme of past elections my be running out of steam (finally).
    I think that this is sensed in the establishment. But whatever comes of the launching of the new political parties, the more that are launched or grown, the more chaotic the establishment will make elections to sour people on political change.

    2024 just called.
    It said, “You haven’t seen nothing yet.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      2024 just called.
      It said, “You haven’t seen nothing yet.” :
      I am very afraid your prognostication is pregnant in many directions.

  34. Maritimer

    Billionaire Robert Brockman charged in $2bn tax evasion case FT
    I am not an FT subscriber and therefore could not read the story.

    So, whose important **** did this billionaire step on? That is the real story but no one will write it.

    The only Bill I know of who has been whacked by a Prosecutor in the last ten years is Conrad Black ( that is Baron Black of Crossharbour to the Snooty World). Apparently, Black expanded his CDN newpaper biz into Chicago and stepped on some big local toes. Not recommended.

    Anyway, there is no Edward Snowden in the US Department of inJustice. Not even a rogue prosecutor who would risk telling how the Big Sham really works.

  35. John Beech

    I don’t give a damn what you say, you’ll prize my cherished gas stove out of my hands when I’m dead.

  36. jr

    Induction elements/ranges suck, at least the one’s I’ve used. They have settings like 1 to 10 but cannot get any finer, no 1.5 for example, whereas you can visually gauge flames. Electric is okay but I’d take a crappy electric stove over an induction range any day of the week. The dangers the author describes sound as if they could be effectively dealt with by opening a window and turning on a fan.

    1. hunkerdown

      “have to be on Shopify first”… When your business depends on a platform… but I want to give them mad props for trying.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    I live in a 640 square foot co-op townhouse dwelling unit. I have forced-air gas heat, gas water heater, gas stove.

    Kill my gas stove? Gas is bad?

    In winter when gas heat is needed, my gas-use per day is 200 to 300 cubic feet per day. In summer when no gas heat is needed, my gas-use per day is 10 cubic feet. That’s what my bill says. When I first moved in years ago, the insulation was so good it was like living inside a thermos. The insulation has been settling and is now so bad it is like living in a colander, thermally speaking. Rumor has it the units may get re-insulated.

    Gas hot water heating inefficient? Wasteful? I have mine turned “off” to where only the pilot light is on.
    And just from the pilot light, I have enough warm-enough water to take two warm showers per day, if I want two. In summer, the water is almost hot. This makes me think that if I could super-insulate all aspects of the hot water heater system, I might get water hot enough to shave with from just the pilot light.
    As it is, for shaving I heat just enough water in a teakettle to fill the sink and shave with.

    Finally, about gas for cooking itself, how does burning natgas generate nitrogen oxides? I thought you had to combust gas under high pressure inside a cylinder to force nitrogen to oxidise. Can an open-air gas flame really do that under no extra pressure at all? Carbon monoxide? When the gas flame gets good air exposure and burns blue with no orange or yellow flame tips at all? Has this been proven?

    How much carbon was burned to produce a hundred million gas stoves to begin with? If we throw them all away ( ” Kill your gas stove!”) all those carbon emissions will have been for nothing. And how much new carbon must we burn into emissions to make a hundred million new electric or induction stoves to replace the hundred million gas stoves we just killed? Someone really isn’t thinking about the carbon emissions burden posed by this purely performative look-good policy recommendation.

    How much more energy ANTI-efficient is cooking with electricity or inductionism compared to cooking with the gas flame burning right at the pot-bottom point of contact? How much more carbon emissions would this purely performative advice cause if carried out?

    How much pro-efficiency control does gas let you exert as against electricity? If you are really trying?
    Let us say you want to hard-cook some eggs. The common phrase is “hard boil” them. That phrase itself prevents genuine thinking. Because you can hard-steam them at a tiny fraction of the gas use as against literally hard boiling them. ” Hard steam” them? Yes. Put the targeted eggs in the pot. Put 1/8th inch of water in the bottom of the pot. Heat at fairly high flame until steam just begins to come out of the lidded pot. Then lower the flame to barely-on in order to keep the water jusssssst-steaming INside the pot. The rising steam will dump its heat-of-vaporisation into the eggs it surrounds as it condenses on the eggs’ surface and drip-flows back into the 1/8th inch of water in the bottom of the pot.
    And you thereby hard STEAM the eggs at a tiny fraction of the energy you would need if you were to hard BOIL them with enough water to totally cover the eggs.

    Could you do that as easily with electricity?

    If you object to natgas because “fracking”, ban the “fracking”. Limit yourself to conventional deep-deposit frack-free natgas.

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