Links 10/17/2020

Could Schrödinger’s cat exist in real life? Our research may soon provide the answer The Conversation

Federal Reserve debates tougher regulation to prevent asset bubbles FT

Solar power could be ‘the new king’ as global electricity demand grows CNN

California’s Boom Collapses as Fires Add $1.1 Billion Toll Bloomberg

Court allows Exide to abandon a toxic site in Vernon. Taxpayers will fund the cleanup LA Times

Fiscal Monitor Database of Country Fiscal Measures in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic International Monetary Fund. Big variations:

#COVID19

An Era of Pandemics? What is Global and What is Planetary About COVID-19 In the Moment

Controlling the Pandemic Is the First Step Toward Rescuing a Failed System Atul Gawande, The New Yorker

Will SARS-CoV-2 become endemic? Science. From the Body: “Although reinfections can occur, the number of reinfection cases is not currently sufficient to generalize the duration of immunity at population scales or the severity of repeat infection. Whether reinfections will be commonplace, how often they will occur, how contagious reinfected individuals will be, and whether the risk of severe clinical outcomes changes with subsequent infection remain to be understood.”

* * *

What Does It Mean If a Vaccine Is ‘Successful’? Wired

Who Decides When Vaccine Studies Are Done? Internal Documents Show Fauci Plays a Key Role. Pro Publica

Emergency Use Authorization of Covid Vaccines — Safety and Efficacy Follow-up Considerations NEJM. From the Body: “Recognizing the gravity of the current public health emergency and the importance of making a vaccine available as soon as possible, we believe that a median 2-month follow-up after completion of the vaccine regimen will provide the necessary safety and effectiveness data to support distribution of an investigational vaccine under an EUA. Curtailment of this minimum follow-up could destroy the scientific credibility of the decision to authorize any vaccine for use under an EUA in the United States.”

Postlicensure Evaluation of COVID-19 Vaccines JAMA. From the Abstract: “The widespread morbidity, mortality, and societal ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have motivated the testing and development of vaccines at an unprecedented pace, with possible introduction in the population in the near future. More than 200 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines using multiple (some novel) platforms are being developed, and several candidates have entered phase 3 clinical trials. Vaccines are likely to be licensed as soon as safety and efficacy can be demonstrated. However, many unanswered questions will need postlicensure assessment, including the magnitude of protection across population subgroups defined by age, underlying conditions, and race/ethnicity; the duration of protection; comparative evaluations of vaccine types; assessments of 1 vs 2 doses of vaccination; and a more comprehensive understanding of safety, including rare complications.”

Pfizer won’t apply for Covid-19 vaccine authorization before mid-November, CEO confirms STAT

* * *

Decline of Humoral Responses against SARS-CoV-2 Spike in Convalescent Individuals American Society of Microbiology. From the Importance section: “While waiting for an efficient vaccine to protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection, alternative approaches to treat or prevent acute COVID-19 are urgently needed. Transfusion of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients is currently being explored; neutralizing activity in convalescent plasma is thought to play a central role in the efficacy of this treatment. Here, we observed that plasma neutralization activity decreased a few weeks after the onset of the symptoms. If neutralizing activity is required for the efficacy of convalescent plasma transfer, our results suggest that convalescent plasma should be recovered rapidly after the donor recovers from active infection.”

How the coronavirus’s genetic code can help control outbreaks WaPo. This sentence caught my eye: “While U.K. scientists, backed by their government, began work early to create a centralized tracking system that could benefit researchers around the country, the U.S. effort has remained more diffuse and disorganized.” Could that be — hear me out — because the U.K. has a national health service? (Hilariously, neither “National Health Service” nor “NHS” appear in the article.) This from a story that begins with a cute graphic that invites you to imagine “Scienceville”!

Blood Group O Linked to Decreased Risk for SARS-CoV-2 Infection MedScape. “Blood group O was associated with a decreased risk for contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the results of large retrospective analysis of the Danish population.”

Recovering coronavirus from large volumes of water (pre-proof) Science of The Total Environment. Too nerdy for me to extract. Centrifuge mavens speak up!

* * *

Supply shortages impacting COVID-19 and non-COVID testing American Society for Microbiology

COVID-19 Grips College Football As Players Battle Heart Problems Black Entertainment Network

White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info Associated Press

Open Letter by Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers — Past and Present — in Support of CDC Medium

The rise of revenge travel Nikkei Asian Review

Travel bubble: searches for Hong Kong-Singapore flights jump 400 per cent, as prices for advance tickets spike South China Morning Post

China?

As China calls, is writing on wall for US-Cambodia military ties? South China Morning Post

India

How Modi is Changing Laws to Help Imperialists Dominate India’s Agriculture Counterpunch

Election 2020 live: Jacinda Ardern claims a ‘mandate to accelerate’ in victory speech Stuff NZ

Syraqistan

Scoop: Israel and Bahrain to sign diplomatic relations deal on Sunday Axios

UK/EU

Revealed: ‘Failing’ Serco won another £57m COVID contract without competition OpenDemocracy and Coronavirus: Serco expects profits hike after test and trace contracts extended Sky

UK universities accused of keeping students at all costs until after fee deadline Guardian

Macron Is Paying the Price for France’s Bloody History in Africa Bloomberg

For the euro there is no shortcut to becoming a dominant currency Breugel

Will Bolivia’s Elections Usher in a New Wave of Socialism in Latin America? Foreign Policy

New Cold War

Nagorno-Karabakh and unrelenting, mounting US/EU pressure on the Kremlin Gilbert Doctorow

MOSCOW BLOG: Kremlin launches charm offensive ahead of looming Biden victory in US elections, end of the START missile treaty BNE Intellinews

Ramp up on Russia The Atlantic Council

Trump Transition

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon urges Congress to pass another stimulus deal as Americans ‘just need some help’ Business Insider

Politics class: Will America tear itself apart? FT

2020

Debate commission announces topics for final debate between Trump and Biden CNN

Three weeks before Election Day, Trump allies go after Hunter — and Joe — Biden WaPo (LR). “The report Wednesday did not markedly advance what is already known about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, other than to suggest that at one point he gave Vadym Pozharskyi, a Ukrainian business colleague, ‘an opportunity’ to meet his father. The Biden campaign said the vice president’s schedule indicated no such meeting.” So that’s alright then:

Text messages show raw and intimate exchange between Joe and Hunter Biden NY Post. This is the 5:00PM* Friday document dump? NOTE * “October 16, 2020 | 5:49pm.

Obama to campaign in Philadelphia for Biden next week as race enters final stretch ABC

Biden reiterates in Philadelphia town hall that he does not want to ban fracking USA Today

“There Are Mechanisms to Move Him Out”: Biden’s Campaign Is Prepping For Worst-Case Scenario: Trump Refusing to Concede” Vanity Fair. This from the deck caught me eye: “Though Biden’s polling lead has stayed constant, internal numbers showing a tight race have kept anxiety high.” First, are we saying, then, that pollsters are part of Thomas Frank’s “airtight consensus,” and does that mean that all polls are push polls? Second, if that’s true, a lot of the hysteria and angst about Trump’s post-Election Day actions is based on overly optimistic, shall we say, projections? What if the race is genuinely close, due to (say) a voting machine debacle, or a pallet of “lost votes” somewhere? Or a backhoe accidentally snags a cable, as in Virginia recently? Would these “mechanisms” be deployed in that case, Buttigieg-style?

California Eases Off Legal Threats Over GOP Unauthorized Ballot Drop Boxes NPR. “Padilla and Becerra reiterated that while ballot collection is allowed, state rules require that whoever assists with delivering a ballot sign the envelope to record a chain of custody. But they also said ballots without that signature would not be rejected either.”

Trump and Biden give your weekend safety brief Duffel Blog

Trump promises speedy vaccine in appeal to seniors The Hill

Now I can’t unsee this (Jason):

Scammers seize on US election, but it’s not votes they want AP

QAnon conference, Patriot Party scheduled for this weekend in Paradise Valley Arizona Central

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Good Governance Paper No. 4: Oversight of the Intelligence Community JustSecurity. As always, check the Board.

Canadian soldiers’ fight against disinformation ends up alarming residents Straits Times

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor The Intercept

How Mark Zuckerberg Learned Politics WSJ. These platforms: Why stop at breaking them up? Why not abolish them altogether? (Re: The dopamine loop: “Sure, heroin is terrible, but what do you replace it with?”)

Class Warfare

Who Elected Donald Trump? Counterpunch (JH). Very good.

Income Composition Inequality Marco Ranaldi, Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality

4 Democratic senators demand Jeff Bezos respond to allegations that Amazon spies on staff and undermines their right to unionize Business Insider (KW).

The Town That Went Feral The New Republic. In a totally “rights-respecting manner,” no doubt.

Antidote du jour (via):

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.

254 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Escaped lemur is found by 5 year old boy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECLLP6eE-DI

    Video at 35 seconds:
    reporter: what die the lemur look like?
    5 year old: like a lemur!
    ================================================
    Must restrain self from mocking reporter…by saying I thought lemurs looked like giraffes, or sometimes rhinoceroses, or rarely alligators….
    Well, success…Oh, wait

    Reply
    1. Ella

      My 7 year old is the only thing that has kept me (sort of) sane this past year. They are real, in the moment and make complete sense.

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Election 2020 live: Jacinda Ardern and Labour win in landslide”

    Newsflash: Kindness crushes Judith “Crusher” Collins. It will be interesting to note the elections in different countries and to see if the results correlate with that government’s handling of the pandemic like here.

    New Zealand also carried out two referendums tonight as well. The first is whether people backed euthanasia while the second is if people want recreational cannabis to be legalised as well. The don’t call New Zealand the Land of the Long White Cloud for nothing.

    Reply
    1. dcrane

      If Biden wins, then that will make two undeserving campaigns elected mainly due to covid. The Ardern Labour-led coalition’s record on almost everything they campaigned on in 2017 was near abysmal. But they called for a strong lockdown, and since NZ was isolated with comparatively little virus it was eliminated as a result, and the govt (well, Labour and the Greens anyway) has been rewarded for the relatively easy outcome there.

      (edit: and it’s also true that National put up a generally feeble opposition)

      Reply
      1. Milton

        Having no idea about Kiwi political matters, are you saying the Labour party has gone the way of other, supposed near left parties-fallen under the neoliberal spell?

        Reply
        1. dcrane

          To a degree yes, although overall their system isn’t as badly captured by wealthy interests as the American govt (it’s a small country). Labour had trouble getting policies past one of its smaller coalition partners (NZ First). And in other ways they just looked incompetent, as in their flagship “Kiwibuild” policy that was intended to increase home affordability/availability, and in their plan to bring light rail to Auckland (not even begun).

          Reply
        2. Greg

          The Labour party is basically neoliberal in financial matters, while trying to be socialist in social matters. As you can imagine, that means many well meaning and popular policies are sacrificed to “balanced budgets”, or dodgy contracting, or ridiculous PPP arrangements (not so many of those in NZ lately, I think sketchy NGOs might be the new version).
          The Labour government just ending was pulled a little more left than usual by its partnership with the Greens to form a majority; looks like the incoming Labour government won’t have that restraint.

          NZ as a whole hasn’t really recovered from its early lurch into neoliberalism in the 80s – it’s a popular spot for economists to tinker and try out their new theories on a “small” scale (personally I’d argue people’s lives are never small, but…)

          (Edited to remove unnecessary stuff)

          Reply
          1. skippy

            I think the issue is burned in systems can’t be removed or reformed in a typical election cycle. Per se Rudd could not undo all of Howard’s years and we saw what he got for trying, not to mention the same occurring in the LNP of which everything went further and faster to the economic right.

            Now we have Andrews in Victoria where the ability of the government to respond was white anted long ago and out sourced, so Dan enacted a policy and it was enacted as the system was designed – same problem with pink batts, building inspection, national power line maintenance, PPP toll roads, you get the idea.

            As noted long ago on this blog WRT Greece or any other large project it takes years to plan and as many too implement let alone debug. Worse yet as changes are made economic dislocations occur [rice bowls] and things can go sideways or down which gives ammo to the right to come back in and reestablish – forward its agenda.

            Personally I would like to see more cooperation between Labour and the Greens in NZ and Australia. Spoke to a Greens door knocker on Sat whilst at work on a house in the inner city ring here in Brisbane. Informed him of this blog and NEP/MMT and the need to understand the framework for presenting policy to the electorate due to operational potential outside the crafted neoliberal narrative.

            He asked if my local candidate had been in touch with me and I informed I had not been, so information was exchanged, and I might pop in just to reconnoiter, and see how that goes.

            Anywho … I think the Peta Credlin episode on Vic PM Andrews highlights the forces availed against anyone bucking the system, especially in light of NSW PM Gladys Berejiklian treatment for what ICAC has shown. and we know what awaits in the Vic LNP wings.

            Reply
            1. ChrisPacific

              Well put. Labour in NZ have been making some progress I think. For one thing, they’ve taken the permitted exemption from austerity allowed by the fiscal responsibility law (no need to balance the budget in a crisis) and run with it. There has been plenty of intellectually dishonest hand-wringing from austerity advocates about how we’re damaging our children’s future by going into debt for things like the wage subsidy (not nearly as much as we’d have damaged it by not doing it, in my opinion) but little or none of it has come from Labour.

              As a major party, Labour necessarily needs to inhabit the Overton window, especially in the old three-party coalition arrangement with a right-leaning partner to keep on board. You can see this in some of their pronouncements, like Grant Robertson when he was asked about MMT (“We’re looking at it, but now is not the time to make major changes when we’re in crisis mode.”) MMT right now is first and foremost a battle for mindshare, and I don’t think it’s entered a space yet where a finance minister here is able to publicly endorse it (if he would even be inclined to do so, a point on which I’m still not sure). But a lot of the Labour policies in response to Covid are probably not that different from what MMT would have recommended anyway.

              Now that Labour is in a position to remove some of the brakes on their plans (most notably NZ First) I think we will see pretty soon how much of an appetite for reform they have, or whether they plan to continue on the same cautious centrist path. I personally voted Green as I think there is a need for more urgent action, but I’m not sure how much of the electorate agrees with me on that, so there will be public opinion barriers to faster change.

              Reply
              1. Greg

                All very good points. Agree especially that minister Robertson has been very open to new(er) ideas about how to fix some of the “burnt in” problems in our economy.
                I also feel the need for change is rather more urgent than the sedate generational-change movement we normally get. Frankly if we wait 30 more years of this nonsense there will be no hope of ever building a future for anyone younger than 30 now.
                I think a big part of the challenge is first getting people to understand that much of the economy as it operates now is new, and it hasn’t been this way for more than 40 years or so. It’s not permanent, it’s not natural, it’s a thing we chose, and we can choose something different. Robertson has definitely been making hints in that direction. But as you say, we’ll see if they turn their ideas into action or continue moderate and centrist.

                ETA: the “a crisis is not the time” line really gets my goat though. A crisis is *exactly* the time, we can implement things now that make life better for more people, faster, and we’ll get away with it because its a crisis. Disaster capitalism doesnt have to be all we get in a crises.

                Successfully implemented wage subsidy to UBI seems a short step in a time of crisis-level unemployment, for example.

                Reply
                1. ChrisPacific

                  Agreed, but messaging is everything. If you stood up in the middle of a Covid outbreak and announced “this is a great opportunity to break the hold of the corrupt neoliberal system on our society, time to burn it all down!” you’d be out on your ear before you could finish the sentence. People want safety and stability, especially in a crisis.

                  So there are good reasons why Robertson might say that (and then covertly do the opposite) even if he was a closet MMT fan – and as I said, I’m not convinced that he is, or I might have voted for his party. He can definitely do a very convincing neoliberal deficit hawk routine when he feels like it, and I’m unsure how much of it is an act, if indeed any of it is. But if he’s a neoliberal then he is at least one who is capable of considering opposing points of view, which sets him apart from the Chicago school for example, so I wouldn’t consider him a lost cause.

                  Reply
            2. HotFlash

              Had to look up “white anted”. So appropriate! I have felt many times that our society is being eaten by termites, but we can’t see the damage until something collapses. CDC, emergency supplies, FDA, IRS, FBI — didn’t they turn most/all their forensic accounting guys to anti-terrorism? — , education, building standards, you name it. I don’t feel that there is anywhere safe to put my feet anymore.

              Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        >Biden and Covid

        Didn’t watch either of the TownHalls, but, for anyone who thinks Biden would have handled the pandemic more “__________ whateverly,” there’s this account of his TownHall performance:

        “Biden speaks like a man who has just been hit on the head with a mallet. He looks dazed and angry, like a punch-drunk boxer. When Stephanopoulos asked him about mask-wearing, Biden free-associated aloud for a few minutes, then arrived at his conclusion with a look of stunned wonderment on his face.

        “We should be thinking about making it mandatory,” Biden announced.

        “How could you enforce that?,” Stephanopoulos asked.

        “You couldn’t. That’s the problem. You can’t enforce measles,” Biden said triumphantly. Stephanopoulos looked appalled.

        “It’s like you can’t mandate a mask,” Biden sailed on fearlessly. A few weeks ago, Biden said he’d mandate mask-wearing if he became President. Then someone explained to him that the President doesn’t have the powers to do it. Biden’s alternative, unveiled this evening, is to “get all the governors in a room”. If they wouldn’t mandate masks, Biden said he would “go to every mayor, to every councilman, every local official”. He stopped talking, and smiled like a triumphant simpleton.”

        https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/10/httpswwwtelegraphcoukpolitics20201016patronising-biden-failed-make-headway-against-pantomime-trump.html

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          Well IIRC the federal government got every state to raise the drinking age to 21 by threatening to cut off highway funds to those that didn’t, so I suspect it could do something similar with masks etc.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Biden’s alternative, unveiled this evening, is to “get all the governors in a room”

          Yes, that has always been the Biden mask mandate, it’s a function of Federalism, and I don’t see how it’s different from what Trump is doing in practical terms*. (Public relations is another matter.)

          Now, if Biden gets the (mostly Red State) governors in a room to threaten them with aid cut-offs, or some such thing, that might or might not work. Not much “unity,” though. Or maybe he can jawbone them to death with “the science.” (That said, I’m persuaded that rural areas are a special case, and need to be thought about as a good faith matter. But I suppose that will morph into a bad-faith “conscience clause,” which would undermine the mandate completely, but nevertheless….)

          NOTE * This is separate from the issue of Trump “modeling” mask-wearing behavior. Since, as an INTJ’s INTJ, I’m almost complete self-motivated, the idea that I might or might not wear as mask because a President did is just an alien way of thinking, so again I don’t see practical differences. Now, I could be an extreme outlier and hence wrong, and if so, perhaps there are numbers somewhere that show modeling is important.

          Reply
  3. Noone from Nowheresville

    BIrds by Artists It’s Saturday and here’s a fun break if you need one like I do.

    Terry Miller. I discovered this graphite artist at Birds in Art. Just exquisite. He never erases. I never miss the color. The detail of his scenes are a big wow from me. In 2013, he was named Master Artist for Birds in Art.

    Terry Miller’s website. He does most of his updates and runs his specials on his public facebook page.

    For the funnies. I discovered this bird & wildlife artist when I was tooling around online after Terry. Lucia Heffernan’s realism based work work is just plain ol fun. It’s cute, funny, clever. Filled with personality.

    Lucia’s website. She does most of her updates on Instragram. She’s also one of the artists in Rehs’ Taking Flight exhibit in NYC to benefit the American Bird Conservancy.

    Reply
  4. Lee

    That link for the tiger photo goes to a Twitter exchange about killing doves in Texas at a Trump fund raising event. The story behind the award winning tiger photo can be found (dare I even link to it these days?) at The Moscow Times.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Thanks! On seeing the photo my first thought was that the Tiger (Tigress, in fact) was snoozing in a semi-upright position, a kind of “asleep at the scratching post” deal. Article notes the marking-with-scent-and-claw-marks, so not too far off!

      Reply
  5. Larry

    Re: the Viral centrifuge/concentration story:

    It’s essentially exploring a few different methodologies for concentrating virus from a variety of water sources. This becomes necessary as there are things in natural water sources that inhibit molecular detection and because the virus may be quite dilute in any water source. So the idea is to concentrate and reliably detect COVID as an additional and perhaps early indicator of outbreak activity.

    One of the methods used is to spike in a co-precipitant (PEG, polyethylene glycol) that through hydrostatic interactions will help attach the virus. And then because PEG is massive compared to an individual virus, you can use relatively routine centrifuges or filtration methods to capture your desired sample.

    While it’s interesting, I’m not sure the entire purpose of the exercise given that at least there is more routine testing for individuals available in the US.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Yeah sounds like a centrifuge-salesman had a really good day.

      I wonder how quickly it will go away when the find a whole bunch of other, man-made poisons in the water as they apply that type of fine screening.

      Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      The science is sound, but “available in the US” is a fraught phrase under the best of conditions, the hypercompetitive, predatory ambient culture of the United States does not recognize a public interest or encourage all individuals to unify in public action (quite the opposite), and individual-driven action is an ineffective and invalid solution to (almost?) every question of collective interest.

      Put another way, you can lead a horse to COVID but you can’t make him test.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, that third paragraph is really helpful.

      I think the use case is testing water supplies, municipal and otherwise, which have been shown to give good early warning of Covid. Even if we don’t have routine testing, Covid detection in the water supply could still be used to ramp up other public health measures.

      Reply
  6. Sailor Bud

    “Town that went feral”

    This was the main topic of this week’s Chapo Trap House, where they have the author of the book as guest.

    It’s behind paywall, but r/BlackWolfFeed on reddit has it free. Just click the little c10 link in the very top post. I would try to link, but I can’t see how on this little pad.

    Reply
    1. RepubAnon

      Funny how libertarians never talk about the “free rider” problem discussed in Econ 101. That town was an excellent example of the consequences.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        I get the “free rider” problem, but the guy who wrote the article sounded more like an observer at a round-up of obsessive contrarians. Unfortunately, he had little to say about the original Live Free or Die townies. For a New Englander, that would have been the really funny part. The New Hampshire pols used to have an interesting fiscal strategy whereby they always looked for a way to fob-off their need for taxes on other people in NE. The defunct Seabrook Nuclear Power plant was the most infamous case. They eventually had people as far away as Long Island paying for their Frankenstein monster. After which they washed their hands of it. It’s hard to have sympathy for people who get bitten in the a$$ by a similarly ill trained dog.

        I once asked a Vermont Senator why people from New Hampshire and Vermont were so different. Two adjoining states that shared a common topography, river and early immigrant population. He gave an interesting explanation that I won’t elaborate on. Then he chuckled and said, “Well, New Hampshire is upside down.”

        Reply
  7. The Kev Rev

    ” “There Are Mechanisms to Move Him Out”: Biden’s Campaign Is Prepping for Worst-Case Scenario: Trump Refusing to Concede”

    At this point in time, I would be fairly certain that the Democrats have already arranged procedures with the security establishment for what to do if Trump refuses to concede defeat and stays in the White House. Biden may even call in a few markers to his buddies in China to help out-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuVGeyOASzc

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      Where is it written that a losing candidate has to concede?

      This fear of Trump refusing to hand the keys to the White House and Air Force One to the assumed new President Biden-Harris appears to be more of a “get out the vote” campaign by the Democrats than a real concern.

      It is not as if Trump has significant friends in the CIA/NSA/FBI/US military or media that will help him overstay his term.

      He, and his staff, must have observed the many establishment Republicans supporting Biden.

      As a prominent landlord, Trump should be aware of an impending eviction process, if he loses.

      I’m hoping the silver lining of the Trump-Biden election will be to demonstrate that the USA has no business going around the world obstensibly “promoting democracy” when USA has obvious problems effecting democracy at home.

      If so, Trump may have done an unintended public service to the world.

      Reply
      1. RepubAnon

        I disagree. With all the power of the federal government behind him, what happens if (or when) Trump simply declares that he won, and that the results showing otherwise were “fake votes”? Hopefully the results will be so decisive that confusion over who won the election will be minimal even if Trump refuses to admit defeat. (If Trump wins a clear victory, Biden can’t use the power of government to dispute the results.)

        The problem is if a “hanging chad” style dispute occurs in a swing state, whose electoral college votes swing victory to one candidate or another. Trump can order troops to “restore order” – Biden cannot.

        As to “promoting democracy”, I’ll quote a Tom Lehrer song from the early 1960s: “Send the Marines.”

        “For might makes right – until they’ve seen the light. They’ve got to be protected, all their rights respected, until somebody we LIKE can be elected!”

        Reply
        1. edmondo

          Someone has been reading too much DNC election porn.

          What happens if Biden won’t concede? He could just make up some shyt about Russians and FaceBook and $100,000 in ads and blame it on them. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.

          Reply
        2. dcblogger

          With all the power of the federal government behind him,

          huh? he has that ONLY because he is president. If Biden gets a majority (and the polls have been showing an EC landslide for weeks) Trump will NOT have the federal government behind him. The Secret Service will evict him.

          Reply
        3. a different chris

          His term runs until Jan 20th.

          There will be a resolution to any disputes by then. In fact, I wonder – not a constitutional scholar – is the reason for the really long lag-time between Presidential elections and the transfer of power.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            The best opinion on the time delay I have read is that the delay between election and swearing in to office was tied up with the length of time it took to travel across the early United States. No railroads, nor paved highways. If you were in Georgia and wanted to get to the capital, you needed to sail up the Eastern Seaboard, and ride horse or coach, pulled by horse, to get from point a to point b on land. Swearing in was originally on March 4.

            Reply
      2. a different chris

        >Where is it written that a losing candidate has to concede?

        Yeah I never got where that came from. Heck, I always wondered what would happen if somebody “conceded” and thru some strange unexpected chance all the late-arriving votes were for them, pushing them over the top?

        Actually I don’t wonder, the “un-concession” would come really, really fast.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          >Where is it written that a losing candidate has to concede?

          I believe that’s what happened in Florida 2000; Gore conceded, then unconceded.

          Sounds like the Norms Fairy has been at work again.

          Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > At this point in time, I would be fairly certain that the Democrats have already arranged procedures with the security establishment for what to do if Trump refuses to concede defeat and stays in the White House.

      The Democrats war-gamed this out — I’m loving the name “Transition Integrity Project” — a fact that has been given much too little attention:

      But Mr. Podesta, playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College.

      In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr. Trump took office as planned. The House named Mr. Biden president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump. At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for cues, and waited to see what the military would do.

      I’m not sure if Podesta was sending a message, or whether this is a serious option in the Liberal Democrat hive mind. Certainly the history of the Democrat Party has been that “The Union” is less important than… other things.

      Reply
  8. timbers

    Court allows Exide to abandon a toxic site in Vernon. Taxpayers will fund the cleanup LA Times

    In his verbal ruling, Sontchi concluded it is not an imminent threat to the public.

    “The entire property is not sort of a seething, glowing toxic lead situation,” Sontchi said.

    “We have a very dangerous element that will cause long-term health effects” and takes time to accumulate, he said. “I don’t think any of that indicates there’s an imminent, immediate harm to the general public if this property is abandoned.”

    Sontchi’s words speak for themselves.

    Suppose Sontchi was an employee of an overnight cleaning crew of office buildings and his boss asked why him why he’s getting complaints that the bathrooms haven’t been properly cleaned? Sontchi might as well tell his boss:

    “The entire bathroom is not a sort of a seething, human excrement situation.”

    “We have the element of some very full commodes that are unpleasant to look at but it will take time and accumulation for any long term ill affects to happen. I don’t think any of that indicates there’s a systemic unpleasant aspect to the bathrooms or that there are no commodes available and so there is no indication that imminent, immediate harm to the users if any particular commode is full.”

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      On the other hand,

      California regulators let the facility in Vernon operate with only a temporary permit for more than three decades despite repeated violations of air pollution limits and hazardous waste rules.

      UCLA law professor Lynn LoPucki, who directs a database of big bankruptcy cases, said California lawmakers are ultimately to blame for the state having “basically no legal rights” to recoup funds for the cleanup through the bankruptcy.

      That’s because California law puts environmental obligations behind a host of secured creditors, he said. That’s in contrast to a growing number of states, including New York, New Jersey and Michigan, that have adopted laws that give first priority to environmental liens for the cleanup of hazardous waste.

      “If that were true here, then Exide would pay for the cleanup and the creditors would get what was left,” LoPucki said……

      Same old shit–“lawmakers” who refuse to “legislate” or regulate for fear of offending their big donors expecting judges to make it “right.” Same shifting of responsibility that was on full, weasely display by dems durng this week’s Barrett hearings.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        What happened to the old rule of “chain of title?” When I looked into buying an old site of a gas station my attorneys warned me that if there were any claims of toxic pollution from spills I could be held liable for the cleanup even though I had no part in causing the pollution. Needless to say I walked away.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          We’ve got a little corner site like that directly across the street from city hall that has been sitting vacant for decades. It would be a perfect location for any number of small businesses but it might as well be radioactive. Who knows, maybe it is.

          Reply
          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Sounds like a perfect location for a passel of lawyers. Maybe a clever realtor can write up a glowing description? Get it while it’s hot?

            Reply
      2. Clem

        Katniss,
        The sheeplelectorate will keep re-electing the same pro corporate, pro banking, identypoliticos, over and over again.

        The dangling lure of “creating jobs for poor communities of color,” is used to justify plants like this. Another larger example, the Formosa Plastics plant pollution expansion in Louisiana. Netflix’s great documentary series “Dirty Money” covers this beautifully.

        The problem was/is that there were/are no escrow or performance bond requiements; that is, corporations must, before licensing, build a concrete pad under the entire entire with isolated drainage to treat rainwater or spills, an air filter scrubbing system for dust, and post enough money in escrow, or buy future liability insurance to guarantee cleanup.

        Think cleaning up soil in backyards and parks from Exide is a problem?; imagine the Diablo Canyon reactors sitting on a series of earthquake faults, right next to the ocean, Fukushima style,melting down upwind of San Luis Obispo and most of California’s most productive cropland. its owner, PG&E has already declared bankruptcy, and the taxpayers are on the hook for unlimited liability.

        All electric cars only sold in California, mandated by Newsom, to take after he’s out of *that* office, means lots of battery recycling plants and a “green” promotion of nukes to power their overnight charging.

        Reply
    2. Eclair

      In the late ’80’s I did contract work for about a year at the headquarters of a grocery firm based in Vernon. Even then, the city was noted for having about 20 residences with a population of less than 100, amid scores of polluting industries, and … a duly elected mayor and city council, who were suspected of being in thrall to their corporate masters. “Industrial wasteland” was a kind descriptor of the city.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        Hmm…since shopping malls are passe due to Covid and were the basis of some of the most famous zombie movies, maybe Vernon can replace malls for that horror vehicle?

        Reply
      1. flora

        aka the Law and Economics Movement.

        And shorter from Wiki:
        Law and economics or economic analysis of law is the application of economic theory (specifically microeconomic theory) to the analysis of law that began mostly with scholars from the Chicago school of economics. Economic concepts are used to explain the effects of laws, to assess which legal rules are economically efficient, and to predict which legal rules will be promulgated.[1]

        There’s that Chicago school again.

        Reply
  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “An Era of Pandemics

    Excellent article and highly recommended. Highlights the fact that while humans are highly beneficial to the reproduction of the virus, we’re ultimately rather trivial.

    Microbial forms of life have persisted on this planet for 3.8 billion years. Homo sapiens have been around for 300,000 years. “This perspective, say Morens and Fauci, “has implications for how we think about and react to emerging infectious disease threats.”

    Reply
  10. SlayTheSmaugs

    I wonder if the blatant censorship of the Hunter Biden story by social media is a bid to prevent their break up under a Biden administration

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Well, it sure wouldn’t be the first time a “media” mega-corporation tried to protect a decrepit, corrupt politician in return for “future consideration.”

      But the bigger issue here would seem to be that the fbi has had the laptop since last December. A better read on the situation might be that twitter undid what the fbi was only three short weeks away from pulling off. The fbi. Again.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        The laptop story is highly mysterious including the question asked by Lambert yesterday–where’s our Friday dump of the real dirt? The next week should be interesting.

        But if what Guiliani claims is on that hard drive is really on there and proven to be authentic then it will be devastating, not only to Biden’s reputation (even if he wins), but also to that of the Democratic party for foisting such an unvetted person onto the nation. Biden has coasted through the entire primary season without much scrutiny from the media so they would have to almost be considered part of the big coverup. Given that the implications are this great I’d say the Hunter story should be taken seriously until proven otherwise–despite the chorus of pooh poohing.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          I don’t think it will damage Biden’s reputation much, just like the Access Hollywood didn’t ding Trump – we already know how corrupt and venal both of them are. Biden’s on video bragging about interfering with Ukrainian government and forcing out those the US doesn’t favor, so if there are no repercussions for that blatant admission, I doubt a few more added details will make a difference. Those who are going to vote for him are doing so because Orange Man Bad, not because of any love of Biden who was polling in about fifth place in his own party during the primaries before St. Obama put his fist on the scales.

          Let’s not forget that the presumptive actual President, Kamala Harris, didn’t even get one delegate on the primaries and tanked in her own state – not exactly a very popular figure either. Neither of the clowns the Democrat party is foisting on the public had much of a reputation to begin with.

          That being said, someone should go after Biden hard on this. Should, but probably won’t, because as I’ve mentioned before, both parties were eager Ukrainian coup supporters.

          Reply
            1. Carolinian

              That’s a good link from Larry Johnson who says he knows the repairman’s family. It says part of the delay in coming forward is that Hunter Biden personally dropped off the water damaged computer (and signed a repair order) and the shop owner had to wait 90 days before it was considered abandoned and the shop owner’s property (Biden never came back). It says it was not turned over to Guiliani until after impeachment but doesn’t say when–so likely still months ago.

              It says the FBI now has the computer and someone claiming to represent Hunter has asked for it back but too late.

              last Tuesday, October 13, 2020. A person claiming to be Hunter Biden’s lawyer called John Paul Mac Issac and asked for the computer to be returned

              Tuesday, the day before the Post story (and the Post undoubtedly had been asking the Bidens for comment).

              Sounds legit.

              Reply
              1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

                There are emails released today that definitively could only have been written by Hunter. But this nation has decided that it is OK to subvert the country’s foreign policy so long as you make some money doing it. We’ve also decided that Twitter and Facebook can censor the White House. Voting for Biden means that you think these are wise ideas.

                Reply
            2. upstater

              It is hard to take seriously somebody (Johnson) that acts like COVID is a DNC hoax. He’s way out there on such matters. Johnson thinks because the repairman’s dad was a helicopter gunner in Vietnam they are somehow “good people”.

              And if HB did take the computers to this guy for repair, why is the repairman spending time looking at personal information on the machines? Or why didn’t he call HB and get his CC# and ship them back when work was completed?

              The Biden family has the same moral character as the Clintons, Trumps, Bushes, etc, etc. We don’t need Rudy Giuliani providing us with truth.

              Reply
              1. Carolinian

                According to the story he was tasked with recovering the contents of a water damaged laptop. One would assume that would involve at least a cursory look at the contents to make sure undamaged. Repairmen may be also charged with notifying the authorities if illegal content found in such situations. Perhaps a lawyer could weigh in.

                I certainly agree that the NY Post is being way too coy about the provenance of this story given the implications. Are they just scattering some FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) or do they really have the goods.

                Reply
              2. The Rev Kev

                ‘why is the repairman spending time looking at personal information on the machines?’

                Isn’t there a requirement under US law that repairmen are entitled to look at the contents of a computer in case there is some, ahem, questionable material there? Can you imagine for example what was on Jeffrey Epstein’s computers?

                Reply
                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  In a brief survey, I can’t find any mention that technicans have a duty to examine client machines, but there may be a duty if they accidentally see something illegal (similar to the case where a photo processing lab reported child pr0n). The consensus is to avoid unpleasant accidents, and take everything compromising off your machine or encrypt it. So don’t be sloppy and dumb, which in this case whoever dropped off the laptop seems to have been.

                  (I’m still hung up on the phrase “liquid damage.” I don’t think the liquid was coffee.)

                  Reply
              3. ambrit

                I’ll accept the truth no matter where it comes from. I’m good and tired of a constant diet of half truths, untruths, and outright lies.

                Reply
        2. Katniss Everdeen

          I get what you’re saying, Carolinian, but it really is high comedy that this jerk can be referred to as “unvetted” in any sense of the word.

          The goddamn guy has been around for 47 years, on the wrong side of every issue that he now promises to “fix,” and grifting all the way. His miserable record tanked two previous presidential runs. He’s been hiding in his basement the entire “campaign” on the off chance that he’ll be asked to take “responsibility” for any of it, the same “responsibility” that he claims he will take in the future. If people just vote for him first.

          That the biden family “pee tapes” and emails are electorally dispositive is a joke. All they do is confirm what everyone already knows, but relentless propaganda has, if you believe the “polls,” convinced them to ignore. And anyone who thinks that this is all there is in the biden family closet is certifiably and, more importantly, deliberately delusional.

          PS. Every time I see one of those selfies of preening, 50-year-old, crack addict hunter, I can’t help thinking of uncle joe’s “advice” to black parents to turn on the “record player” more so their kids turn out better. Thanks for the valuable parenting tip, grandpa.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            I don’t get Fox but apparently Guiliani has said there are emails to indicate that Joe himself and other family members were receiving money through Hunter which, if provably true, does take it to another level.

            And yes it would mean Biden was unvetted if Dem insiders, who would have had to have known at least some of the truth, looked the other way.

            We aren’t supposed to do CT around here so such a thing would very much need proof. If the Post has it they should get with it.

            Reply
              1. Carolinian

                Some additional details in your Daily Mail link including that Giuliani got the hard drive last May and that Bannon told the NY Post about it in September.

                Then it says Giuliani gave it to the Post on October 11 meaning they had hardly any time to prepare their story and there may be lots more to come.

                Reply
                1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

                  LOL maybe they’ll even look into what the Clinton family did with the cool $100M they raised through the “foundation” to build relief houses in Haiti, after they built a total of 19 very modest houses. LOL the Clinton crime family. LOL the Biden crime family. Coming back to a White House near you. No wonder they are so desperate to seize power by any means, the RICO Act could see them clawing back all of the bribes they took.

                  Reply
        3. albrt

          I think the Hunter Biden scandal will get a full public airing because Kamala Harris will take whatever steps are necessary to get Joe Biden out of the way, as soon after the election as possible. And I think she will be supported in this by the party leadership. The democrat leadership never really liked or respected Joe. He is more of a party mascot representing the compliant back row kids needed to secure a majority, not really a PMC guy.

          Reply
          1. dcblogger

            Hunter’s misconduct is not a reason to remove his father from office. the only way Harris can push Biden aside is the 25th amendment.

            Reply
            1. edmondo

              Or if there are receipts. Joe Biden’s brother has been eating ziti for 50 years. Irish-Catholic families are close. Joe has a million dollar compound in Bethany Beach.

              See the dots?

              Reply
              1. Phillip Cross

                Joe could be on camera getting brown paper bags full of cash directly from a Ukrainian crime lord, and he would still be preferable to Trump and his hated GOP colleagues for 50% of likely voters.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  And, uh, per Jay Gould, from the original Robber Baron age, which section of the duopoly will hire which half to kill the other half?
                  I like your appropriation of Truman’s Rule.

                  Reply
                  1. Phillip Cross

                    “why?”

                    Because, quite understandably, they hate the GOP and everything they stand for, so they would never cast a vote for them under any circumstances.

                    Reply
              2. albrt

                OK, I hate Joe Biden, but I have to respond in his favor to this beach “compound” thing. Joe Biden’s beach house is right down the block from the little place my grandmother used to rent on E. Indian Street. A million bucks doesn’t get you much in that area now that the DC folks have moved in.

                But Joe Biden seriously sucks as a human and as a politician, and I think the democrat bosses were hoping to save this Hunter Biden thing until after the election when they could demonstrate their virtue by expressing discomfort and eventually persuading Sleepy-Creepy Joe to step down for health reasons.

                Even though this came out prematurely, I don’t think Sleep-Creepy Joe will last a year.

                Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I think the Hunter Biden scandal will get a full public airing because Kamala Harris will take whatever steps are necessary to get Joe Biden out of the way

            That’s impressively paranoid. Still, with the recent trashings of both Feinstein and Pelosi, the Democrat hive mind may, at last, be preparing to purge the gerontocracy (which would include Biden*). Perhaps some of the younger team dogs are tired of always having the same view….

            NOTE * That might be harder than people think. I would speculate that Biden would really believe he’s a President — and not simply a figurehead for the Obama Alumni Association and a gaggle of Bush Republicans — and that he finally achieved his life-long goal through his own efforts and great personal merit, and that he actually plans to govern. He might not go quietly; as we’ve seen, like Obama, Biden is arrogant, thin-skinned, and irascible. Unlike Obama, he’s not “cool” and doesn’t do irony. So we’ll see how that goes. And how the younger dogs handle it.

            Reply
            1. albrt

              I agree the Bushbama alumni association has not told Sleepy-Creepy Joe that he’s expendable. That’s why they wanted to keep the Hunter scandal in their back pocket until after the election. Who knows what else they’ve got. A fall from an upper story window at the White House would probably do the trick, if it comes to that.

              Reply
        4. John Beech

          I tend to vote Republican and intend to vote for Trump but Biden’s son isn’t the reason because I pretty much expect his kind of behavior. And anybody who says they don’t understand it hasn’t had much life experience in my opinion. Parents protect children, some kids (men in the case of Hunter), are fucks ups of the first water, but to expect Joe to throw him under the bus is to lack understanding of human nature. Joe gets a pass from me on this.

          Things will be different ‘if’ it’s proven Hunter was knowingly dispatched as the collection agent for the family. Horse. Color.

          Reply
      2. edmondo

        I don’t understand the drama over Hunter Biden. Joe promised a Restoration and you are getting one. THIS is how it works. Enjoy you new, improved presidency, America.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Newspaper editors have political and editorial slants or preferences. That’s not unusual. But back in the day every town of almost any size had at least one newpaper, and other towns’ newpapers were available in sidewalk vending machines.
          So, lots of independent, competing distribution platforms.

          Now? Newpapers are shrunk in numbers and in size. FB and Twitter are distribution platform monopolies for all intents and purposes. That’s a big problem.

          Reply
          1. albrt

            Before WWII any town of more than about 10,000 probably had two or more newspapers. It was basically a sideline for every local print shop, subsidized by a political party and/or the large local merchants.

            Facebook and twitter are monopolies only because of the herding tendencies of the folks who use them. It’s easy to find an outlet if you want to talk about local issues. If you want to go from nobody to national “influencer” then prepare to pay the toll to the gatekeepers, aka the current equivalent of Harvey Weinstein.

            Reply
        2. fresno dan

          flora
          October 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm

          While papers like the Times denounce the true Podesta emails as “misinformation,” and Facebook says the New York Post story must be kept out of sight until verified, the standard for, say, the Steele dossier was and is opposite. In that case, we were told “raw intelligence” should be published so that “Americans can make up their own minds” about information that, while “salacious and unverified,” may still be freely read on Twitter and Facebook, reported on in the New York Times and Washington Post, and talked about on NBC, so long as it has not been completely “disproven.”
          =============================================
          Well, using that standard, I am reporting that I am going to have a grand time with the Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleaders within a week…or two. Maybe a month…
          I have two anonymous sources that such an event is probably potentially possibly perhaps plausibly presumably not impossible. I got two liters of chardonnay and a half dozen scented candles and 2 gallows of baby oil – not inconsiderable expenses for me, based on this reporting…
          BREAKING, HISTORIC NEWS – it could happen
          now all I have to do is wait.

          Reply
            1. flora

              And from the longer article:

              The crimes of the oligarchical regime of overthrown president Viktor Yanukovich were so bad, in other words, that they necessitated revolution and mass loss of life.

              On the other hand, when his son Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month by those exact same criminals, pundits have repeatedly told us this was no big deal, just “poor judgment” and “nepotism,” no different from what Rand Paul, Ronna Romney McDaniel, Meghan McCain, or any other child of privilege has done. As Vox put it, “the kid who trades on family connections to make money is much more a case of business as usual than an extraordinary scandal.”

              /heh

              Reply
              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > As Vox put it, “the kid who trades on family connections to make money is much more a case of business as usual than an extraordinary scandal.”

                Here’s the link. Vox is famous for its explainers, but that one is…. wonderfully clarifying.

                Reply
            2. ambrit

              You’d be surprised how strongly Cheerleaders go for Pink Bunny Slippers!
              (And, no, Hef is not a cut out for Fearless Leader.)

              Reply
      3. km

        I recall that around eight years or so ago, John Hempton of Bronte Capital had detailed some of the sleazy doings of Joe Biden and his ne’er-do-well offspring.

        FWIW, Hempton is far from the Australian equivalent of a Team R zealot. Somewhat unusual in the hedge fund world, he is a socialist.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Hempton of Bronte Capital had detailed some of the sleazy doings of Joe Biden and his ne’er-do-well offspring.

          Alleged fraudulent hedge fund associated with the Vice President’s family harasses blogger April 28, 2009

          The first post I did not make on Ponta Negra and its link to the Bidens April 29, 2009

          A dark privatised social security story: Astarra, the missing money and how examining a fund manager owned by Joe Biden’s family led to substantial regulatory action in Australia January 2, 2010

          Comments on Bronte from CJR, Sydney Morning Herald, and CBS.

          Down the ol’ memory hole!

          * * *

          I confess I don’t remember this. But in 2009-2010 we had a lot else going on. So far as I can tell, and Google does suck, we did not link to or cover this story. Readers did track Bronte.

          Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      If so it’s not very bright. They may not be broken up by playing along with the neoliberals, but they’ll lose half their audience. If this keeps up, how long will it be before there’s a separate conservative twitter, just like we have with TV news networks?

      Reply
      1. Phillip Cross

        There’s something called Parler that the ones who get kicked off end up at.

        Imagine how much better Twitter would be if all the repulsive “conservative” halfwits left and went there instead!

        Reply
        1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          And the repulsive “liberal” halfwits can go too! LOL when your side does it its a laugh, when the other side does it its repulsive LOL.

          Reply
          1. Phillip Cross

            I don’t have a side, i am against the whole charade.

            However, I do find folks, that have created an online identity exclusively revolving around Trump apologia, always come across as particularly repulsive half-wits.

            Reply
            1. tegnost

              repulsive “conservative” halfwits

              yeah you sound totally neutral to me

              here’s another netural comment by you upthread

              “October 17, 2020 at 6:48 pm
              Joe could be on camera getting brown paper bags full of cash directly from a Ukrainian crime lord, and he would still be preferable to Trump and his hated GOP colleagues for 50% of likely voters.”

              Reply
              1. Phillip Cross

                I certainly stand by both comments. From my neutral perch, I find all US political teams absolutely repellent, although in my experience it is the devout right wingers that really take the cake when it comes to bad takes, antisocial behavior and low reasoning skills.

                Reply
    3. Tomonthebeach

      Were I Biden, and given the very fishy custody trail – not to mention inconsistencies in the repair-guy’s testimony, I would pull a Trump and call it FAKE NEWS – maybe even Russian mischief.

      How hard is it to write fake loveletters to add credibility to the smear stuff? There is no proof the PC was ever in Hunter’s custody – got fingerprints? Nope. Any copies of emails from other recipient PCs that match? Nope. Any connection between the scandalous “evidence” and Trump hitman-scumbag, Russian spy-compromised Giuliani? Well absolutely Yes. Is NY Post a respected tabloid – Hahaha.

      Reply
      1. albrt

        As I understand it, the case for the defense is that the emails are legit, but they were unfairly hacked and planted on the laptop so they would eventually be found.

        That’s a defense?

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      That article said ‘Voters fled the Democratic party during Barack Obama’s first term to become Independents.’ Was this what happened or was it more that in its ratchet-move to the right, that the Democratic party left real Democratic voters behind high and dry?

      Reply
        1. Clem

          Very important to install as your top law enforcement officer,

          Eric “Place” Holder. But of color, so that’s ok.

          Next up, “Kamelon” Harris, replace holder of color.

          Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Lets try a dose of reality; “There has never been a successful corona virus vaccine”
        If anyone can show that this is a false statement, please chime in as it would be important to differentiate between “Everything will be alright” and “Tis only a flesh wound”
        Hope is wonderful and stupefying. Reality is stupefying and wonderful.
        We should all understand that after the arrival of Covid 19, thousands of people smelled a way to make fast money. These sapiens feed on hope and deny reality. Their first act was to promise to make a virus and the bribe thousands of other influencers to start advertising for them.
        As a species, we really haven’t learned enough yet to call ourselves sentient. Lets wait until another species tells us that before we begin celebrating our brilliance.

        Reply
          1. mnm

            Pet vaccines. My indoor cat had her check up and vaccine, a week later high fever and limp. Turns out possibly hemolytic anemia, which as it turns out is caused by vaccines. After reading tons of free full txt studies at pub med, learning that are groups of vets that feel we are over vaccinating pets, I am sick. Her blood cell count is going up slowly, but what will happen once we start the steroid taper. Money dictates care, as an old time nurse once told me- if you don’t want to get sick, then don’t go to the doctor.

            Reply
            1. Pat

              Oh no. All my sympathy for you and the cat suffering this. And all my good thoughts for a recovery, even without steroids.

              Reply
              1. Harold

                My cat had to have his leg amputated because of a very aggressive tumor that the vet told me was caused by the rabies vaccine. The surgery accorded him almost a year more of life before the cancer returned.

                I noticed that with my subsequent cats they avoided recommending the rabies vaccines if I would promise to keep it indoors.

                Reply
        1. Pavel

          There was a story yesterday (sorry, forget the source but it was reputable) that being even a bit overweight dramatically increases one’s risk of needing ICU care after COVID infection.

          Imagine if along with the trillions thrown to Big Pharma (and Wall St et al), a trillion was spent on holistic health research, drastically reducing the obesity rate (USA and UK among the very worst globally) and encouraging people to boost their immune systems by diet, exercise, and other means?

          A boy can dream…

          Reply
        2. LawnDart

          There has never been a successful corona virus vaccine

          Not disputing that, but I am suggesting that travel probably will open up more over time– when, where and with what conditions or restrictions I know not.

          The article is obviously pre-pandemic, but I found that it did provide good information for consideration for a person who might be interested in legally emigrating from the USA, such as myself.

          I’ve had the chance to travel to over 40 countries, but have been stuck stateside since 2001: it’s like suffocating in a coffin.

          Reply
            1. Brian (another one they call)

              There are other CV’s than just the cold but until now, perhaps there wasn’t a profit in creating one? Perhaps it is the ability to mutate like other flu’s that prevent vaccines from actually vaccinating?
              Has the always advertised annual flue shot actually prevented the flu? Or is it for profit only, damn the efficacy?
              Why are we so distrustful of modern medicine? Is it because we have personal experience that doesn’t match their claims?
              Has anyone noticed how many adverts for drugs are running on the boob since Covid? So many of them appear to have side effects worse than the condition they are alleged to treat. again
              Why are we so distrustful of modern medicine? Statins? Anyone else have the o so rare continuous side effects like me?

              Reply
    2. Carolinian

      That’s an excellent article and even a bit surprising given that Counterpunch these days often seems to be TDS central. The nut is that Trump was elected due to voter disgust with our political system in general and not, as the Dems would have it, due to racism.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        But woke multi-culti PMCs *are* society. If you don’t like that concept because their manifestations reliably behave like French aristocrats (or princesses), then it’s really because you rayciss.

        Reply
      2. Geof

        Some of the best bits:

        once it was known that people of color partially boycotted the 2016 election, the obvious marketing strategy became to create racial appeals that boosted the Democrat’s ‘brand’ (forgive me) and diminished their competitor’s. In fact, leading Democratic strategists who had spent storied careers crafting cynical dog whistle campaigns, began shouting racist! to shut down any challenge to their campaign.

        by election eve 2016, Clinton campaign officials had decided on the ‘Russia stole the election’ storyline. Additionally, Democratic strategists were most certainly aware that blacks stayed home en masse in 2016. This made Donald Trump, with his nativist chatter and typical Republican deference to repressive authority, the perfect foil to retroactively portray the election as about race and foreign intrigue. When the Democratic-leaning press began (falsely) reporting on rising hate and racial backlash, and the CEOs of large banks and tech companies began stating publicly that white supremacy is the only problem in need of solving, the havoc that neoliberal policies have wrought quickly disappeared as a topic of polite conversation.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          It’s working. There was a lot of talking about a minimum wage and healthcare for all a few months ago but you don’t read about it hardly anymore. Funny how that works out.

          Reply
      1. Pat

        Voter suppression was not addressed in the eight years of Democrats holding the presidency. Nor when they held one or both Houses of Congress.

        Long standing problem, in fact Palast has a better case in the 2000 election.

        It is not a theft if you essentially put a big sign on something and say won’t really care if you take this but I will use your doing so as an excuse for not doing my homework…

        Reply
  11. David

    Readers, especially those in Europe, may have got wind of a particularly gruesome murder that took place in France yesterday. if you just want the bare facts this BBC story is reasonable enough. If you want to know why it has shaken the whole nation, and has ramifications for the whole of Europe, read on. (The following goes on a bit, I’m afraid, but it’s still the simplified version).

    Yesterday evening, a 47-year old teacher of History and Geography (taught together in France) was attacked outside his school, his body mutilated and his head cut off. The presumed killer, an 18-year old Chechen born in Moscow, was subsequently shot dead by police. The killer (who was not a pupil at the school) was apparently motivated by anger within the local Chechen community about a lesson given by the teacher a few weeks before on the principle of tolerance and freedom of expression. He referred to the famous cartoons of Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, though he did say that any Muslim children who were likely to offended were welcome to leave the classroom. Although all this was part of the syllabus, it provoked a storm of reaction, with tweets demanding that the teacher should be punished for violating the strictures of Islamic law against any depiction of Mohammed, no matter how favourable. The teacher was summoned to the local police station to explain himself. Threats against his life were made. Just after the murder, the presumed killer sent a tweet addressed to Macron “the leader of the infidels … I have executed one of your dogs of hell who dared to denigrate Mohammed, and you’d better stop others doing that, or it will be the worse for you.” There has been condemnation from all parts of the political spectrum. Macron was on site last night, there will be a ceremony of homage to the victim, and the President of the European Commission Von Der Leyen has tweeted her shock and support. Why all the fuss?

    For a start, this is a murder that has nothing to do with immigration from the Maghreb, unemployment, discrimination, neo-colonialism or anything similar. The assailant was white, and came from a refugee family that had been settled in France, looked after and educated. The town where it happened, Conflans Sainte-Honorine, is a quiet, dull, middle-class community about thirty-five kilometres west of Paris at the end of the high-speed Metro. (I passed through there once: it was closed). “Nothing ever happens here” said one shocked resident this morning. The killer was not a native of the town, but travelled there to do the killing. Moreover, this is one of a series of murders since 2015 – the body count is nearly 300 – carried out for explicitly political and religious reasons by radicalised young men, who believe, as do a significant proportion of French Muslims, that the Koran takes precedence over any secular laws. Thus, laws conflicting with Islam must not be obeyed, but equally it is the responsibility of all Muslims to punish anyone who violates the injunctions of the Koran. hence the present killing. This would be problematic in any modern state, but especially so in France, with its history of bitter struggle against the Church to establish a secular republic.

    The problem has been building in schools for decades now, but has been ignored by successive governments, worried about upsetting the professional anti-racist lobby. Teachers have been threatened and physically attacked for giving lessons on secularism, for teaching the theory of Evolution or discussing non-Islamic religions. Militant parents, egged-on by fundamentalist Imams mostly sent from Qatar, have pressured schools to stop serving pork, or to excuse their daughters from mixed swimming classes or class photographs where non-muslim pupils are not veiled. Little by little, such tactics have undermined the educational system, as local mayors, always in search of votes, have made accommodations with local religious leaders. (Ironically, French schools only went co-educational in 1969, after generations of bitter opposition from the Church). This horrific incident at last seems to have brought home to French elites that uncontrolled immigration has produced communities in the country which do not believe that they have to obey the law, and consider themselves justified in using violence to enforce their religious principles. Macron seemed genuinely shocked when he spoke yesterday . Of course doing something about it is another matter.

    Finally, the fact that the victim was a teacher doing his job has stunned people. Partly this is because so many French people are parents of school-age children or have a teacher in the family. But partly also the teacher is a traditional mythic figure of Republican Virtue, a kind of secular priest promoting the virtues of equality and secularism. Not for nothing were teachers known as “the hussars of the Republic”, and the bitter opposition between the local priest and the schoolteacher was a feature of French life until quite recently. As a number of politicians have said, to strike at a teacher is to strike at the very foundation of secular and republican French values. Unlike many countries who witter on about “values” the French do actually have them written down and seek to adhere to them: hence the shock and dismay.

    Now back to our usual programming.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >that uncontrolled immigration

      France has “uncontrolled” immigration? Really? Um, asking for a friend…

      “Imagine no religion/It’s easy if you try”

      Reply
      1. David

        France is part of the Schengen Zone where there are no passport controls. Once you arrive in the Zone (usually from the East) you are free to travel anywhere and most migrants keep moving West, towards the more prosperous EU states. France is a favourite destination, since even illegal immigrants are given free health care and their children are educated. Once you have legal status (and there are many associations and NGOs that help with this) you can bring your family, under the procedure known as regroupment familial. Illegal immigrants (literally “those without papers”) can be deported, and sometimes are, but it’s difficult. Most illegals simply disappear into existing communities in the suburbs of major cities In addition, the “no borders” lobby is very strong in the media and the political/NGO world, and deportation always involves a lot of bad publicity. Finally, if you can plausibly claim to be a political refugee (ie you come from an area of current or recent conflict) then you will almost always be allowed to stay, and again there are a lot of NGO-type resources devoted to making that happen. It’s fair to say that France has always had a proud tradition of accepting exiles and refugees, and perhaps the two outstanding Prime Ministers of the twentieth century, Léon Blum and Pierre Mendès-France, were children of immigrants. But until the last generation or so, there was at least a loose cultural similarity to aid assimilation. All of this, of course, is quite different from the standard process of applying for, and being granted, resident status, which is much more demanding. As an aside, that’s why opposition to illegal immigration is especially strong among immigrant communities whose members have played by the rules and gone through all the bureaucracy to be accepted.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          The perpetrator, apparently, is a Chechen, born in Moscow (how long before someone accuses VVP of weaponising immigrants?).
          It is a sad story, but given everything, I still cannot understand some Europeans’ obsession with useless anti-muslim cartoons. What is the point?

          Reply
          1. Pelham

            The point is that you should be able to publish things that some people regard as pointless and not be decapitated.

            Reply
              1. albrt

                Perhaps the majority of French citizens would feel it was not ‘pointless’ to respond by sending all the Chechen asylees back to Chechnya and see how they like spending the rest of their lives under the less liberal system they fled from.

                I am an attorney who has spent many years fighting for refugee rights. But there comes a point when the destination country has simply been pushed too far.

                Reply
        2. Clem

          “France is a favourite destination, since even illegal immigrants are given free health care and their children are educated.”

          For god’s sake, don’t tell them about California. All they have to do is get to Tijuana, then walk across the border into the sanctuary state, claim refugee status, and get a hug from Gavin Newsom’s sheltering arms where 6% of our population are illegals.

          They can even get cash assistance for Covid relief, let’s see France beat that!

          “The assistance is directed to an estimated 150,000 undocumented Californians who do not qualify for unemployment benefits or assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security Act. The aid, funded by the state, provides $500 per individual, with a maximum of $1,000 per household.
          The assistance for undocumented immigrants comes as the state budget faces a $54 billion deficit due to the pandemic.”

          https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article243380136.html

          Taxpayers leave while tax consumers arrive. What could go wrong?

          Reply
          1. Pelham

            Good points. Given the apparent cultural momentum in France, the US and elsewhere for such horrid policies, one wonders why the “resistance” to this isn’t more demanding and forceful.

            Reply
      1. Pelham

        Yes, I’ll heartily second that thanks. It’s amazing how our mighty and famously free press fall so short on such matters. Repeatedly. The context in this case and many others is indispensable, and for that I’m genuinely grateful to David.

        Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        All authority is a sort of religion, isn’t it? Some are just more artful, subtle, or encompassing in their forms of domination than others.

        I mean, from Moscow. How utterly convenient. One dead French teacher is no great price to pay to stop Nord Stream 2, is it, but we couldn’t possibly send all these “refugees” (from literally what) home, can we? Just watch…

        Reply
    2. Mikel

      “…this is a murder that has nothing to do with immigration from the Maghreb, unemployment, discrimination, neo-colonialism or anything similar. The assailant was white, and came from a refugee family…”

      Because refugees are just getting out and about for a change of scenery?

      At any rate, I continued reading. I didn’t realize the high status of teachers in French culture.

      Back to original programming.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      tolerance and freedom of expression

      And yet France has laws and judges that will put you in jail for “hate speech” (the state gets to decide what that is). So does that reverence for “freedom of expression” depend on whose ox is being gored?

      Of course those hate speech laws have their roots in a time not so many decades ago when some French authorities helped Nazis to round up Jews for extermination. But should we at least admit that this “tradition” of tolerance is not all that traditional depending on which way the political and military conflict winds are blowing? The incident you describe is of course terrible. However one does get the impression as in the Hebdo incident that there is an intention by some to provoke and not just stand up for principles unevenly applied.

      Reply
    4. John Beech

      Right-wingers come from somewhere other than thin air. There’s at least a germ of truth in their beliefs. Fortunately, the rest of their beliefs are so abhorrent they’re dismissed out of hand. Nevertheless, I believe the day of another European holocaust, ethnic cleansing in the parlance of the day, has moved a step closer with this display of barbarism. I am so sad.

      Reply
  12. Mikel

    RE: An Era of Pandemics

    “…A recent (2017) report from the Brookings Institution informs us that:

    It was only around 1985 that the middle class [with capacity for purchasing consumer gadgets] reached 1 billion people, about 150 years after the start of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. It then took 21 years, until 2006, for the middle class to add a second billion; much of this reflects the extraordinary growth of China. The third billion was added to the global middle class in nine years. Today we are on pace to add another billion in seven years and a fifth billion in six more years, by 2028.[16]”

    Is this that global “middle class” defined as $2 / hour?

    The main thing interesting about this propaganda is the sliver of truth: “much of this reflects the extraordinary growth of China.”

    Reply
    1. John Beech

      There’s truth when the money men say televisions are cheaper than ever before. So are clothes. While the tool is used to repress automatic wage hikes, it doesn’t negate the facts. $2/hour will be just fine if you can buy a new car occasionally and own a home, and unacceptable if you can’t.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        yeah but one used to buy a tv then watch network channels. Now it’s $100 a month for reruns of those same shows. That would imply that the “tv experience” has added some unrecognized inflation.

        Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Politics class: Will America tear itself apart?”
    ‘TIP: A good approach to this question would be to examine a number of features of the US Constitution, such as elections, the Supreme Court, the separation of powers, federalism and the Electoral College, in each case assessing whether or not they are fit for purpose.’

    Wrong slant here. Is it the institutions that are failing or the politicians themselves? An example. The Senate is suppose to OK wars but they have been missing in duty for decades with this so is the Senate as an institution at fault or the Senators? Obama ignored laws and was allowed to get away with it. Most US politicians I suspect have never read the constitution itself.

    Here is a thought experiment. Suppose that all the members of both the Senate and the House were given the boot. In their place, a random draw from all registered voters in the US was used to replace them with. I suspect that for a while at least that you would get a better gathering of politicians. The ancient Athenians used a lottery device to pick people to fill political posts which seemed to work.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      The ancient Athenians used a lottery….

      So do we. We select whichever millionaire spends the most money and buys the most commercials.

      Reply
    2. David J.

      The ancient Athenians used a lottery device to pick people to fill political posts which seemed to work.

      Unless you were Socrates or Phocion or any number of other “swimmers against the tide.”

      Reply
      1. witters

        Well, sometimes (like any and all such systems) it saw decisions we might (rightly) regret or repudiate, without thereby being taken as condemning itself, even by those at the rough end of such ‘justice.’ Consider Socrates’ reflections – in just such (extreme) circumstances – on Athenian Law and Justice in Crito.

        Reply
    3. Terry Flynn

      The principle of “non-politicians” has come up a lot recently, typically in terms of bodies called “citizens’ assemblies” or similar terms. The “citizens’ jury” (typically comprising 30ish individuals deliberately sampled to give maximum coverage of the population on key and suspected sociodemographic factors) has been used to “inform key NHS debates” in the UK on several contentious topics.

      The interesting finding (sorry my old links are gone/paywalled and inaccessible given I’ve left the field) is the “before vs after comparison when the CJ gets presentations from epidemiologists, public health physicians and other experts. We nearly always see what happens with the question “should smokers be discriminated against by the NHS on account of knowingly causing harm to themselves?” Initial view was (IIRC) a strong minority saying “yes”. After seeing how smoking is influenced by socioeconomic factors which clearly affect an individual’s discount rate etc, virtually nobody agreed to discriminate. Which gave me hope. But sadly such procedures remain a niche part of the field….. maybe because they upset the status quo too much.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        What a darling name for focus groups… “citizen’s assemblies” indeed.

        I don’t object to paywalled links. The willingness of the institution of the academy or whatever guild within it to cover several tens of dollars worth of paper with the assertion and their reputation, and dare their colleagues to prove them wrong, is one meaningful vote of confidence that standards of basic coherence and salience appear satisficed, and citations are admissible in formal argument in a way that “some bloke down the pub yesterevening” isn’t (unless you’re Thomas Friedman).

        One of the underemployed eager beavers among the commentariat might help out with the librarian/clerical end of it, finding the text leaked somewhere or using their own access to liberate or excerpt it… if it personally strikes them to do so. It’s probabilistic but it’s defensible, and at least it’s not homework.

        Reply
        1. Terry Flynn

          Since the citizens’ assembly is well established as a NOT focus group (as obvious from the simplest search) I’ll ignore you as troll.

          For those of us who did decades of proper research, please don’t make stuff up.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            We all get reflexively cynical from time to time. Please don’t mistake my ambient cynicism for trolling, especially followed as it was by a tentative offer to help get some text of those old links and restore their value. It’s just part of what keeps us sane on the big side of the pond.

            Reply
        1. fwe'zy

          About this part:
          The interesting finding (sorry my old links are gone/paywalled and inaccessible given I’ve left the field) is the “before vs after comparison when the CJ gets presentations from epidemiologists, public health physicians and other experts. We nearly always see what happens with the question “should smokers be discriminated against by the NHS on account of knowingly causing harm to themselves?” Initial view was (IIRC) a strong minority saying “yes”. After seeing how smoking is influenced by socioeconomic factors which clearly affect an individual’s discount rate etc, virtually nobody agreed to discriminate. Which gave me hope.

          Reply
    4. hunkerdown

      The Constitution is a charter for, of, and by oligarchs. You are aware that the American System was explicitly designed to keep the commoners away from power so that the rich could live opulently?

      So yes, it is the right slant. Politicians aren’t failing. They’re succeeding at preserving the order of society where the most unproductive parasites control the economy, a 5000 year tradition which they proudly enforce. There are no facts, no relations, no taboos, no policies to support any conceit that governments are meant to serve us or our interests. (If anything, it’s a cookbook!)

      The problem is a system that allows them to write their own rules and determine their own order for their own conduct, without any confirmation from the people. This is so obviously blatant and unaccountable that it would be perverse to endorse it as fit for public purpose.

      The fantasy that, if only we can send our stoutest of heart to battle the dragon, we can have a happy everafter, is a tar-baby that serves the establishment. It has been coldly disproven by the slightest look beneath the self-flattery of their aspirations, only to see an entirely different machine underneath, running on an entirely different logic.

      Reply
      1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        Yes that horrible Constitution. That and 62 million voters.

        The Constitution tries to counterbalance the hysteria of the rabble (Congress) against the power of the aristocracy (Senate) and against the monarchy (Executive).

        Pity that none of these safeguards are protecting the nation from a crime family holding the highest office in the land. James Biden receiving tens of millions for housing in Iraq. Sue Biden. Frank Biden. Hunter’s multiple multi-year gifts. John Kerry’s son. With Godfather Joe selling the country to the highest bidder. Adios, America

        Reply
      2. WobblyTelomeres

        Thanks for that link. I had mistakenly quit bashing my head against the wall. Time for something more productive (backslider’s wine).

        Reply
        1. judy2shoes

          WobblyTelomeres
          October 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm

          Thanks WT. Your comment has just given me my first good chuckle for the day :-)

          Reply
  14. Mikel

    RE: Emergency Use Authorization of Covid Vaccines — Safety and Efficacy Follow-up Considerations NEJM.”

    From the Body: “Recognizing the gravity of the current public health emergency and the importance of making a vaccine available as soon as possible, we believe that a median 2-month follow-up after completion of the vaccine regimen will provide the necessary safety and effectiveness data to support distribution of an investigational vaccine under an EUA..”

    2 months. We may be lucky if this only a failure, because a tragedy is more than likely.

    Reply
    1. Chris

      Please calm yourself.

      The reason we have so many vaccine candidates right now is because they’re all using existing tech and reliable production techniques. There’s very little mad science to be had here. This is not going to give us mutants or horribly sick people in enormous numbers. This isn’t going to magnify the virus anymore than the flu vaccine or chickenpox vaccine does. We’re going through the development cycle faster because we know more, the science is better, the early testing is better, and we have sustained interest. We also have the benefit of this being the 3rd pandemic coronavirus in the last 20 years. We learned a lot from SARS and MERS.

      The likely worst case scenario is we end up with a vaccine that is neither a very good prophylactic nor a good cure. It’s just false hope. The other worst case scenario is that we end up with a vaccine that works really well but can’t be produced in large numbers. I’m sure you can imagine how that would play out in our society today. Of course, another worst case scenario is we get a perfectly decent vaccine that no one will take because no one trusts it.

      Reply
      1. drexciya

        To put things in perspective; my mother got a message about the availability of the new flu vaccine (in The Netherlands). The text noted that the efficacy of the vaccine was about 40%. That’s really encouraging. This seems to be in line with the average efficacy of the flu vaccine.

        It’s better than nothing I guess, but I would recommend Krystyn’s approach; get yourself some vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D. Much cheaper, and proven to work much better, and much broader.

        One thing that I’m getting from all of this, is that we should focus more on the holistic approach. Don’t rely on medicines, unless necessary, and try to get your act together first. Unfortunately, with the current measures, the authorities seem to active wanting to make people sick.

        Reply
      2. notabanker

        Oh.
        So there’s zero chance the vaccine could have long (or short) term side effects that are worse than contracting the virus. Good to know. Also, can I borrow your time machine? I’d like to see what 2023 is going to be like.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          Nice. Thanks for adding support to my third scenario.

          Just to be clear, what you’re assuming with your comment is that we will mass produce an approved vaccine that goes through all preliminary testing, and passes all FDA required trials, and will no doubt be released to some fanfare, but something in it will still go horribly wrong despite us using established techniques and production modes to make it. Is that right?

          Did you know that the incidence of severe side effects for vaccines like flu or varicella is on the order of 1 or 2 cases per million doses? So you think we’re going to go through the same process and get approval for something that gives you a markedly worse result?

          I think the burden of proof is on you for that kind of claim.

          Especially since some of the vaccines being developed with the “new mRNA” technology don’t even have virus in them, alive or dead, to cause a reaction. And that’s new in quotes because we haven’t used it in humans before but we have used it.

          I think we’re all going to be disappointed here. The vaccine won’t do as much as we’d hoped and it won’t be exciting. No zombie plagues. No mutant powers. No hyperevolved super virus. Just a small bang and then more whimpering as we realize there is no silver bullet to kill this virus.

          Reply
          1. tegnost

            despite us using established techniques and production modes to make it.

            Pretty sure that’s not what is going on here. First grifter past the post is a new thing, or at the least recent

            Reply
            1. tegnost

              adding…
              “I think the burden of proof is on you for that kind of claim.

              Especially since some of the vaccines being developed with the “new mRNA” technology don’t even have virus in them, alive or dead, to cause a reaction. And that’s new in quotes because we haven’t used it in humans before but we have used it.”

              The burden of proof is on the maker of the vaccine. Full stop. And that’s new in quotes because we (what do you mean we, kemo sabe”) haven’t
              used it in humans

              but yeah the burden of proof is on me.

              Reply
          2. albrt

            I’m sorry, but we already know for a fact that the guy with the final approval authority will tell a “noble lie” if it protects him and his doctor buddies.

            So if the vaccine kills 90% of the people who get it but it thereby prevents doctors from getting sick, Fauci will recommend it to non-doctors as 100% safe.

            Yeah, I’m exaggerating slightly, but I will stick with vitamin D, at least until a non-corrupt authority (if there is one) approves a vaccine.

            Reply
  15. LawnDart

    Reverand,

    I was working as a… “researcher” … for a political campaign in the Great Lakes region (as a favor to a long-time friend). In such a role, I was able to have frank conversations between union leadership persons and rank-and-file workers represented by union leadership.

    Leadership was put on notice by higher leadership, in no uncertain terms, that they must support the Democrat candidate, whom the rank-and-file absolutely detested (NAFTA, TPP amongst their grievances). These local leaders felt quite cornered and miserable, trying to figure out how much support they needed to show to keep from being ousted from above while not showing too much support and thus be ousted by the rank-and-file.

    It’s not so much the rank-and-file has left the Democrat party, it’s the party that has proven time and time again that it has left the rank-and-file.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      We saw the same with the teacher’s strikes not long ago where the teachers not only had to fight the State Governments but also their own union leadership that was intent on selling them out in a backroom deal.

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      The trick is things are supposed to quid-pro-quo, but then the “leadership” group starts getting a different payoff for a politician’s election than the rank-and-file does.

      This is a fact of life. The trick is to get people to recognize it is time for change early enough, which is almost impossible as the calcification itself is part of the power.

      Reply
      1. Geof

        The trick is things are supposed to quid-pro-quo, but then the “leadership” group starts getting a different payoff for a politician’s election than the rank-and-file does.

        On The Dictator’s Handbook (apparently based on scholarly work that I have not read):

        Bueno de Mesquita and Smith argue that politicians, regardless of whether they are in authoritarian dictatorships or in democracies, must stay in power by pleasing a core inner circle of power brokers, and that politicians must engage in self-interested behavior in order to stay in power. They argued that the motives of politicians are “To come to power, to stay in power and, to the extent that they can, to keep control over money.” The main difference between the scenarios of democratic and authoritarian politicians is that democratic politicians have to please a large number of power brokers and/or the public at large while authoritarian ones please relatively small circles.

        Leaders have to reward the coalitions that put them in power. When the coalitions are large, the cheapest way to do this is with public goods that do not discriminate. When the coalitoins are small, individual payoffs are cheaper.

        The character of the leader is beside the point. To do anything at all – including doing good – a leader must achieve and maintain power. To do that, he must secure the support of a winning coalition. The logic is inexorable. Good man or bad, this is how it is likely to go.

        What you want, therefore, is a political and economic structure that makes it impossible for leaders to win with a small coalition. The more power is concentrated in fewer hands, the easier it becomes to substitute private goods for public ones.

        As an aside, it suddenly occurs to me that there may be a very bad use for information technology. We already have automated micro-targeting of campaign ads on social media. What if we had micro-targeting of payoffs? Maybe we already do.

        Reply
  16. Oh

    Controlling the Pandemic Is the First Step Toward Rescuing a Failed System Atul Gawande, The New Yorker

    A company-sponsored insurance plan for a family adds an average of fifteen thousand dollars to the annual cost of employing a worker—effectively levying a fifty-per-cent tax on a fifteen-dollar-an-hour position.

    If this is true I wonder why the money hungry companies oppose universal health care paid for by the government.

    Reply
    1. Chris

      I’ve always wondered that too. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the corporate class is very unified and they find the threat of nationalizing a profitable business like that a threat to everyone in their class. It could also be that a lot of people in those positions don’t understand what it’s like to not have employer supported benefits. There’s also the chance that any attack on making the US a worse place for workers would eat into their rational for relocating to China? I mean, if we have better education and the government is paying for the benefits then what’s the rationale for moving the factory to China?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Chris
        October 17, 2020 at 11:28 am

        https://khn.org/news/health-care-costs-employer-survey-workers-at-lower-wage-firms-may-have-higher-costs/#:~:text=Overall%2C%2057%25%20of%20companies%20offer,firms%2C%20according%20to%20the%20survey.
        Fewer workers at companies with large numbers of lower-wage workers were eligible for coverage in the first place, the survey found. Overall, 57% of companies offer health insurance to their workers. But only two-thirds of workers at lower-wage firms that offered coverage were eligible for it, compared with 81% of workers at other firms, according to the survey. Companies may restrict coverage for workers who are part-time, temporary or newly employed, for example.

        Workers allowed to sign up for a lower-wage firm’s plan may find it takes a relatively bigger bite out of their paychecks than workers at other companies.

        While the total premium for coverage at these companies is less on average than premiums at companies who have few low-wage earners, workers must pay a bigger share of the cost. For family coverage, workers are on the hook for 41% of the full cost, or $7,047, compared with a 30% share for workers at other firms, or $5,968. (Workers’ share of the premium for single coverage is much less varied: 18%, or $1,245, at companies with few low-wage workers versus 19%, or $1,168, at companies with many low-wage workers.)
        ================================
        So, health care cost isn’t that big a deal to higher earning people…
        Also, general theories of political power show that concentrated and focused interest always beats diffused interest. Most companies and most industries don’t have the lobbying power doctors, hospitals, and drug manufacturers have.
        Finally, years and years of propaganda – Rah Rah Rah USA USA – its INCONCEIVABLE that any system could be better than the Freedom USA majestic system of health care… where any rich person is free to crawl under a bridge and die of a lack of care…

        Reply
        1. chris

          Interesting. Confirms some of what I’ve thought.

          So, a good summary might be, the people who would benefit most from universal Healthcare don’t know about it and the people who wouldn’t benefit as much also don’t believe that the suffer too much under the current system. Does that sound right?

          Reply
      2. Cat Burglar

        That fifteen thousand dollars, along with all the other premiums, is a revenue stream headed someplace. Find the destination of the stream, and there you’ll find the reasons we do not have single-payer. If it flows into financial markets, then right there you would have an unbreakable front opposing single-payer.

        Reply
      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Employer provided medical insurance is a good deal for a company since no taxes are paid on the expense, and a good deal for the employee since it is a valuable, tax-free benefit.

        Private insurance is the gold standard for “access” to “healthcare” in the american system since it pays more than Medicare and certainly more than Medicaid. “Providers” compete for these coveted patients.

        I don’t think that the corporate decision-makers want to give up the expensive, privileged “access” their employer-provided private insurance affords them in favor of a system in which everybody gets an equal shot, they just want to limit the number of people included in their exclusive club.

        They’re taking care of that “conundrum” by either outsourcing or switching the lower life forms to gig / contract status, which has the extra added benefit of alleviating the need to support social security as well.

        Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      It’s alright to wonder, but you won’t even take a guess? It’s part of the critical thinking course that is NC, at least give it a try…

      The question came up in conversation with a managing partner of an accounting firm about ten years ago. His point of view was wanting something special to offer his employees, presumably to give them something more to think about in case they were thinking of leaving. In other words, American society has invested in him the *right* to control others’ access to fitness-enhancing resources, and has elected to bear the costs of his personal interest in distinction. I don’t recall saying anything particularly spicy like that in response, but I stopped getting invited over for dinner not long afterward.

      Interpreted a little, the general idea is to discourage “masterless men” as the Puritans put it, and to cleave the slaves harder to their master. That really is the goal of bourgeois liberalism.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        I know some reasons but I didn’t want to speculate. I read in a book that some group health care plans actually make money for the company providing the health care. A company where I worked provided “free” health care for the employee but charged a fairly tidy sum for each dependent. The scuttlebutt was that the company used the extra $$ from dependent premiums to pay for the health care for all employees. I do know that most companies (at least the large ones) go to the insurance underwriter with a fixed sum of money and request a benefit package to fit the sum.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          In about half of the professional “40+ hour” workplaces I’ve seen, parents of minor children pretty reliably get 40 hour weeks and the rest swallow the + or get lost. The problem is, for me, N=2, and the other, quite decent shop just didn’t attract many… well, come to think of it, only one of the early-hired engineers had minor children and he was pulling about the same 45 hours a week as the rest of us.

          In that light I wouldn’t have even considered that such familybloggery with dependent premia would be even possible in a society that has any significant pro-natalist voting bloc, but if the scuttlebutt were a true reflection of the company’s motives, the arrangement would be stunning, and a little impressive in its audacity.

          So you just helped de-generalize a false generalization on workplace culture I had carried for years. “See what happens, Ludwig? Do you see what happens when you unsettle a stranger in his priors?” This one, at least, thanks you for the ruminable data points. :)

          Reply
    3. Eric Patton

      The number one priority of managers, executives, and the ruling class generally isn’t money or profitability — it’s control. Medicare for all represents a diminishment of that control. The more safety net you have, the more workers can talk back.

      If you bring a gun to a gunfight and your opponent brings a knife, you do not give him a gun. Medicare for all would represent the ruling class giving workers — who presently don’t even have a knife — a gun.

      Medicare for all will never and can never be won in the United States until the left figures out how to threaten ruling-class control. Any efforts to win Medicare for all based on its economic superiority or morality are doomed to fail, because the ruling class doesn’t care about these things. Their number one priority is maintaining their control.

      Winning Medicare for all requires that the ruling class feels a genuine threat to their control. When that happens, the ruling class will “give ground” on Medicare for all, fearing the even greater (from their perspective) loss of the entire system. From a strategic perspective, the only conversations that make any sense for the left to be having are ones that entail the left figuring out what needs to be done to genuinely threaten capitalist control, or make the capitalists feel such a threat.

      Every other approach will fail.

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “How the coronavirus’s genetic code can help control outbreaks”

    After reading this article, I had a thought. When the present pandemic is finally, finally behind us, there could be a very interesting history to be written. It would be a history of this Pandemic but not through news stories or people’s reminiscences but following the genetic history of the Coronavirus as it wound its way around the world. How New York was hit not from China in the west but from Europe in the east. The mutations could be followed and you would see how super-spreaders at Spring Break spread it through the eastern half of the United States for example. How rich people skiing in Europe went back home to South America and spread it there. That could make a very interesting history that the more I think about it and I would buy it. But I bet that it would be very controversial as people refused to believe what the genetic history was saying.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      I think an author would have trouble establishing a long enough unbroken chain of vectors willing to tell that tale without material omissions. “Based On a True Story” is as close as one would be likely to get.

      It certainly is a fun idea, in the same spirit as JM Greer’s inversion of HP Lovecraft’s universe. I want David Fincher to direct the screen adaptation, but not familyblog up the ending like he and Palahniuk did to Fight Club. As for the contact tracer who himself falls ill, that role can be properly filled by only one man in the world: Kevin Bacon.

      Reply
  18. flora

    re: UK universities accused of keeping students at all costs until after fee deadline – Guardian

    Something very similar happening here. My uni is determined to keep as many students on campus and the fb and bb sports programs in full swing, understating the numbers of covid. This is a campus and admin deeply invested in wokeness as a affectation virtue… except where money is concerned.

    Reply
  19. Mikel

    Re: Vanity Fair. This from the deck caught me eye: “Though Biden’s polling lead has stayed constant, internal numbers showing a tight race have kept anxiety high.” First, are we saying, then, that pollsters are part of Thomas Frank’s “airtight consensus,” and does that mean that all polls are push polls? Second, if that’s true, a lot of the hysteria and angst about Trump’s post-Election Day actions is based on overly optimistic, shall we say, projections?”

    Here is another musing…just something that crossed mind:

    What better way to crack down on “the left” than by painting Biden as “left” and setting people up to feel that his loss was an injustice. Protest or other agitation that the establishment will have then have to crack down on?
    And it could work the other way because of the set up on the Trump supporter side?

    Reply
      1. Olga

        Meant to post it… yes, about the best description of what is going on in these US today. Most of it just a big show – though some may be short on bread, there’s no lack of circuses.

        Reply
      2. Pavel

        I agree with Olga. Pepe was pretty cynical (as is his wont) but his realpolitik makes more sense than what I see in the MSM. Thanks for posting the link, LD.

        Reply
  20. Phacops

    Re: Antidote du jour

    Checked out the pics from the Natural History Museum (London). Actually it is hard to pick a favorite, though the Pallas Cats come close.

    What is exceptional is seeing the representation by young and amateur photographers, demonstrating that everyday observation is very important. We all miss things . . . just the other day I was hiking a trail that I frequently visit and noticed for the first time the Wintergreen covering the forest floor.

    At home, with sandy soil on a glacial moraine, I take delight in some of the small things, Monarch caterpillars on the Swamp Milkweed by the pond, parasitoid wasps patrolling the garden, mean looking but harmless to humans Cicada Killers, or most eerie, going out at night and shining a light at a low angle to see the eyes of innumerable hunting spiders reflecting back.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      There were some great pics but I was disgusted to see so many chained monkeys and bears and dolphins, elephants, tigers forced to do tricks.

      Reply
    2. JP

      For sure, It works best with a head lamp. The light needs to be within a few degrees of eyesight. The spiders look towards the light and you can see the reflection of their eyes. These are tiny spiders but there are hundreds of them per square meter. This is not on glacial moraine but western sierra.

      Reply
  21. lyman alpha blob

    Here’s an update on the group who was arrested for trying to kidnap the MI governor- https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/17/videos-photos-whitmer-kidnapping-plot-exhibits/3686218001/

    My question on this story has been was this a real plot or was this another entrapment by the FBI. This article has the first admission I’ve seen of FBI involvement. From the caption on the 3rd photo –

    This photo, taken by an FBI confidential informant who was posing as a member of the group…

    So now the question is did the FBI infiltrate this group after learning of their plot to take down the criminals before any violence occurred, which would be good, solid police work? Or did the FBI find a bunch of young men with an axe to grind and egg them on until they had enough evidence to arrest them as ‘terrorists’? Since the FBI has made a habit of entrapping young men for 20 years now and later regaling the public with evidence of all the ‘terrorist’ plots they’ve stopped, I would not be at all surprised to find out it is the latter.

    We can see what happens when a bunch of libertarian leaning, gun toting, freedom loving men are left to their own devices in today’s The Town That Went Feral link. TLDR version: they can’t organize a two person Charlton Heston memorial picnic, much less a complex plot to kidnap a governor.

    So while not all libertarian leaning gun toting freedom lovers are created equal, if I had to put money on it my guess would be that these MI loonies had a little assistance from Uncle Sugar on this one.

    Reply
    1. Geof

      I have the same question since I saw mention:

      Court documents say the FBI planted a confidential informant to travel to Dublin, Ohio, on June 6 for a meeting with Croft, Fox and about 13 others. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions … Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” according to the complaint. At one point during the meeting, the group discussed increasing their members and Fox reached out to a “Michigan-based militia group,” according to the complaint. By June 14, a second confidential informant confirmed that Fox was introduced to the leader of the group and they met in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The informant audio-recorded conversations with Fox in which he allegedly said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to the criminal complaint.

      I suspect a common reaction is that these people are crazy and/or dangerous and should be locked up regardless. A friend of mine responded this way. I think entrapment violates a core principle of justice that people are punished for what they do, not what they think or who they are. It results in selective justice, which is not justice at all. And it obviously has political implications, e.g. for ratcheting up fear as a means of control. Still, I don’t know whether this was a set-up. That’s a definite possibility, but without positive evidence, who knows.

      Reply
  22. Susan the other

    About the collapse of the wave function. I don’t follow how there can be a universal source of heat we do not yet know about which disrupts the wave function when a certain level of mass is achieved thus preventing its being in two places at once – but the wave function is impervious to this “heat” at quantum scales? Or are they saying that the wave function collapses constantly at any scale but that we do not notice because we perceive things at the classical scale? Schroedinger’s little experiment was just his way of saying that it seems odd that we large things don’t notice our quantum components. For all we know this is what life, growth, aging and dying are driven by. It just shows how oblivious we are.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      It made me feel like we were all Wile E Coyote trying to catch the Roadkitten using an ACME box. The composition of the box is determinative here. So, the question to me is, at what level of “existence” are the rules of “creation” determined? [Note that “existence” and “creation” are interchangeable.] The question also suggests that the “rules” can be different in different situations.
      I was hoping that I would not have to resort to phenomenology.

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        I think Schroedinger himself wrote a book called “What is Life?” which I am going to find or find a review of. I betcha he says that we are big goofy things with less than fine-tuned senses but there’s no way we can avoid the collapse of the wave function. We just attribute those things to fate and stuff – speaking of Wile E Coyote.

        Reply
          1. Susan the other

            Thank you WT. I can only wonder what Schroedinger would have made of the scientific advances from 1944 on. I like that he takes a stand for quantum physics. Interesting (counterintuitive) explanation of entropy and the critical mass required for stability when a large group of molecules goes from high density to low density, always maintaining some level of structure. He seemed to firmly believe that classical descriptions could not express the actual physical phenomenon going on at the human level. I wish he had lived to see the modern accumulation of evidence for Lamarckian evolution. That is, Lamarck’s idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics needs a little more time to become recorded as heritable

            Reply
  23. ShamanicFallout

    I predicted this a long time ago, and definitely others here have been saying this as well, that effectively, if Biden wins, watch the corona crisis basically go away as far as the MSM, and the country at large, is concerned. I have been telling my friends (and they think I am joking) that if Biden wins, schools will be open by Inauguration Day.

    And here now is the first major introduction via Chris Hayes, a big time anchor on MSNBC. If he’s saying this you can bet this is the direction they are going. “Every public school must be prepared to open next semester…”

    https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/1317180795849707522

    Told ya

    Reply
  24. jr

    “Hundreds” of protestors marching on Broadway here in NYC according to the Citizen app. There is a short bit of video but I cannot read the signs, I’ll report back when I learn more.

    Reply
    1. petal

      I drove through downtown Hanover, NH this morning on my way to work and there was a protest getting ready on the green. All women. One held a sign that said “ACA, USPS, DACA” and some other abbreviations. I couldn’t read the other signs because the printing was too small for my aged eyes. The crowd was made up of brunchers. Might have been ~30 of them?

      Reply
      1. marym

        So… a list of issues on which Obama and the Democrats failed to deliver what the people needed when they had a chance.

        Reply
        1. petal

          Exactly, but you know, now it’s all Orange Man Bad’s fault. “We’re fighting!” If I hadn’t been on my way to work I’d have found a parking spot and taken down what more signs said because I like to observe. The whole thing was so…Hanover.

          Reply
  25. JacobiteInTraining

    This is a link to an old late-80’s Oregon State University mini-documentary ‘Work Is Our Joy’, about gillnet fishing on the Columbia River in Oregon. Not necessarily relevant to anything in particular today – just hard work and good people….many if not most peeps interviewed in it being immigrants. (not the topic of the docu but, it is worth saying – immigrants who had to deal with the much the same scorn at times as others do to this day.)

    Anyway, just wanted to throw it out there in memoriam to someone I lost yesterday at 3:30pm Pacific Time, after sitting with them in hospice care most of the last week.

    Sisu, good vibes, smoked sturgeon, and maybe even some fish-head stew for y’all. (if you promise to leave some of the salmon cheeks for me, eh? :)

    https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_7ko9zesq

    Reply
  26. Winston Smith

    As an added antidote, I recommend the doc “My octopus teacher”. One of it’s virtues is that it is only 1hr long

    Reply
  27. Ignacio

    Recovering coronavirus from large volumes of water (pre-proof) Science of The Total Environment. Too nerdy for me to extract. Centrifuge mavens speak up!

    Since they start with too large volumes of water (several litres) they do a first concentration step by ultrafiltration pumping the water trough a column that contains a filter retaining viral particles.

    With the ‘concentrate’ retained in the column you could further concentrate virus particles with various methods.

    One is ultracentrifugation (high speed, > 20,000g) but they don’t use it. If you do this you will obtain a pellet that contain virus plush a lot of rubbish present in the water. So after centrifugation you need to resuspend the pellet and clear the rubbish tipically by low speed centrifugation (and probably repeat high-speed low-speed cycles. Ultracentrifugation is a preparative method that allow concentrate virus very much (too much for PCR).

    Instead they use two alternatives:

    1) Chemical precipitation with polyethylen glycol (PEG). Viral particles and other biomaterial bind to PEG at certain concentration and you recover this by low speed centrifugation of the large complexes. It is usually quite a clean method. This method worked better for PEDV.

    2) Centrifugal filtration is done in tubes that fit in centrifuge rotors and which are equipped with a filter. In this case centrifugation at low speed is used to provide the force that will make water pass through the filter (instead of gravitational force in the column). The filter will retain virus particles in the upper part of the tube. This method worked better for Mengovirus. This can be problematic when virus bind to the filter.

    In both cases the problem is that in the concentration process, you might be also concentrating other stuff that is inhibitory in the PCR reaction.

    Reply
  28. JWP

    facebook and twitter:”why not just abolish them”
    Amen! A big step in people reclaiming their time and online agency from algorithms and companies is getting rid of the nuisance social media companies. It seems such a policy would gain bipartisan support as the censoring of basic reporting shows these platforms are no supporter or platform to express free speech. They are just like a giant comments section with awful moderators.

    Reply
  29. ewmayer

    “Federal Reserve debates tougher regulation to prevent asset bubbles | FT” — That gets my vote as the LOL-headline of the day. You mean, like the FedHeads looking in the mirror and admitting they have been the chief sponsor of asset bubbles and financial-market perverse incentives since at least the Reagan era, and deciding to get ‘tough’ and regulate themselves out of business in favor of a new “money only for the people” central bank, one whose charter explicitly disallows it from speculating in the financial markets and whose lender-of-last-resort functionality in same is severely constrained by explicit language re. the accompanying interest rates on distress loans and requirements that the government get suitably heavy equity stakes in addition?

    Yah, somehow I just don’t see that happening…

    Reply
    1. JP

      Don’t forget the fed is also responsible for recessions. Also because then congress doesn’t have to enact any fiscal policy it’s all their fault. Dang that fed.

      Reply
  30. Mikel

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/squash-lacrosse-niche-sports-ivy-league-admissions/616474/

    In part of this article, it is described how a man attempts to get smaller mid-western schools to adopt water polo as a school sport:

    “…Will the swanky water-polo families, who may be holding out hope for Harvard, Stanford, USC, go along with any of this?

    “Parents need to open their minds,” Sharadin said. “They’re not likely to be as excited about Millersville University or Bloomsburg as Penn or Columbia. I get that. But that’s something that these families will have to come to grips with.”

    “Sorry, but there’s no way in hell,” said the water-polo mom from Stamford. “What parent wants to have a child who’s going to be playing for a bottom-tier school with bottom-tier academics in the armpit of the United States? I want to be polite. But there’s no way in hell.”

    I can’t help but think, these are the same type of people always selling college as a way up and/or out. But most don’t think the majority of colleges aren’t worth spit and anyone that goes to them…well…

    It even starts out with one of these moms being dismissive of a school like Ohio State.
    The digs don’t stop there at anything not Ivy League.

    And with the cost of college, but this belief about the majority of them from the college pushers, you see how students became customers.

    Just pointing that out.

    Reply
    1. fwe'zy

      I think that the non-“elite” schools produce more bread-and-butter power in the heartland. So-called “elite” schools seem to feed the global brain drain into finance and the PMC scheme of things?

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Just finished reading this and it was…remarkable. So this is what life is like for the elites and their kids in the US right now? Those kids I suspect will be seriously messed up and I wonder how much empathy they will have for others. They will say to themselves that I gave up my teen years for success so if you peons were also not willing to make the same sacrifices, why should I care about you? If you were trying to train up someone to be susceptible to the tenets of Social Darwinism, this would be a good way to do it.

      Reply
      1. fwe'zy

        Sports is a very effective and obvious grooming ground for our authoritarian society’s hierarchy. The “groove” of things.

        Reply
      2. albrt

        Sorry to inform you, but this is not the future, it is the past 40 years. This is who is running the United States.

        Reply
  31. fwe'zy

    Seen some talk/ sentiments around “the alms class” lately. By this we mean Uber/Lyft, Tesla, the airlines, whoever got the multitrillion infyooosion lately, eh.

    Reply
  32. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19 Grips College Football As Players Battle Heart Problems”

    In reading this, I wondered about the real professionals – those athletes that take part in the Olympics, summer and winter. With so many of them, they must be aware that even a mild infection by this virus could spell the end of their sports career, their Olympic hopes and their years of training. It would be harder if you were a teen athlete such as a professional swimmer. Whenever the next Olympics is held – and I doubt that it will be next year – there will be hushed talk about those faces that will not be there.

    Reply
  33. JBird4049

    For the horrible crime of using pun ditry I sentenced to listening to a podcast of You and Me Both with Hilary Clinton, the Witch-Queen of Agmar

    Reply
  34. Mark H.

    Glenn Greenwald falls victim to the “maximizing shareholder value” myth. From his story Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor:

    Tech giants, like all corporations, are required by law to have one overriding objective: maximizing shareholder value.

    Greenwald is smart and usually right about the big stories. It just goes to show how embedded this destructive right-wing myth has become embedded as accepted wisdom.

    Reply

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