Links 10/25/2020

Jellies Transfer a Significant Amount of Carbon to the Deep Ocean EOS

Mediocre SPAC Returns Shouldn’t Be a Surprise Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg. Special-Purpose Acquisition Vehicle. They call it a “vehicle” because it’s designed to drive off with your money.

#COVID19

Has Covid killed off the flu? Experts pose the intriguing question as influenza cases nosedive by 98% across the globe Daily Mail

Covid traces located in Samut Prakan Bangkok Post. “The Department of Disease Control (DDC) yesterday said health authorities found the Covid-19 virus on the surface of an exercise fitness machine at a gym room of a quarantine place in Samut Prakan where a French woman who contracted the disease stayed.” Not an iron-clad case of fomite transmission without DNA analysis. Nevertheless.

* * *

Host Immune Response Driving SARS-CoV-2 Evolution Viruses. From the abstract: “Llittle is known about SARS-CoV-2’s evolutionary characteristics and general trend. In this work, we present a comprehensive genotyping analysis of existing SARS-CoV-2 mutations. We reveal that host immune response via APOBEC and ADAR gene editing gives rise to near 65% of recorded mutations. Additionally, we show that children under age five and the elderly may be at high risk from COVID-19 because of their overreaction to the viral infection. Moreover, we uncover that populations of Oceania and Africa react significantly more intensively to SARS-CoV-2 infection than those of Europe and Asia, which may explain why African Americans were shown to be at increased risk of dying from COVID-19, in addition to their high risk of COVID-19 infection caused by systemic health and social inequities. ”

Comparative host-coronavirus protein interaction networks reveal pan-viral disease mechanisms Science. From the abstract: “Combining genetically-validated host factors with both COVID-19 patient genetic data and medical billing records identified important molecular mechanisms and potential drug treatments that merit further molecular and clinical study.” Billing records… Imagine if we were actually coding for, well, “the science”!

Neuropilin-1 facilitates SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and infectivity Science (MJL). From the abstract: “Pathological analysis of human COVID-19 autopsies revealed SARS-CoV-2 infected cells including olfactory neuronal cells facing the nasal cavity positive for [neuropilin-1 (NRP1)].”

Direct activation of the alternative complement pathway by SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins is blocked by factor D inhibition Blood. From the accompanying Johns Hopkins press release: “Brodsky and his colleagues hope that their work will encourage more study into the potential use against COVID-19 of complement-inhibiting drugs already in the pipeline for other diseases.”

Investigating Whether Blood Type Is Linked to COVID-19 Risk JAMA. The lead: “The notion that blood type might have prognostic value in COVID-19 is intriguing, but ‘we’re at the stage of trying to determine if this association is even real,’ Christopher Latz, MD, coauthor of one of the recent studies, cautioned in an interview.”

* * *

Paid leave is good first step across the abyss:

Paid leave is, by definition, post-symptomatic, and so won’t block the main transmission path. Even assuming it works, what Slavitt and his ilk need to show is that the residue of infection created by those unable to afford testing and treatment — never mind paid leave — is small enough so that the pandemic can be snuffed out even if such people are written off. I don’t believe it will be, especially since service industries, child-care, and eldercare are all often “essential” and ill-paid, and so are likely to create super-spreader events throughout the service economy, in daycare centers, and in nursing homes. It’s unlikely that testing and treatment will ever be free at the point of delivery, since that amounts to #MedicareForAll for this one disease, which a Biden administration would oppose on principle and because donors hate it. And we don’t want to give voters ideas. Obligatory caveat that I’d love to be wrong. (Slavitt, throughout this genuinely anguished thread, seems to assume everybody could get tested and treated if only they could take time off from work. That assumption is a little… blinkered.)

Amid pandemic, U.S. has seen 300,000 ‘excess deaths,’ with highest rates among people of color STAT

TEST AND FAKE Travellers using Photoshopped Covid test certificates to board flights as travel agents ‘sell negative results for £150′ The Sun (Re Silc).

China?

China is well on its way to becoming a powerful centre of finance – it just needs to loosen up more South China Morning Post

Return to normalcy:

Can Nigeria’s #EndSARS protests lead to police abolition? Al Jazeera

The Koreas

A New Framework for Assessing Sanctions is Vital for Any New US Strategy on North Korea 38 North

Indonesian unions vow mass protests if president signs jobs law Reuters

Syraqistan

Trump: Sudan to recognize Israel Politics

Israelis have Destroyed 1 mn Palestinian Olive Trees; this Month, they’re at it Again Informed Comment

Bonus: Will interviews Ollie Vargas about Bolivia (podcast) Chapo Trap House

Rail project through Brazilian Amazon questioned over impact on indigenous community Reuters

UK/EU

Italy Mulls Partial Lockdown as Cases, Hospitalizations Jump Bloomberg. The original headline: italy-mulls-curfew-virus-aid-as-naples-protest-turns-violent.

France teacher attack: Students ‘paid €300’ to identify Samuel Paty BBC

French startup Ynsect to build world’s biggest bug farm Reuters

The Liberal government is making a mockery of Canada’s parliamentary democracy Globe and Mail

Trump Transition

Trump’s Order Sets the Stage for Loyalty Tests for Thousands of Feds Government Executive

Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Tests Positive for Coronavirus Bloomberg

Wisconsin Republicans have been facing an outbreak among lawmakers and aides. But they don’t want to talk about it. Journal-Sentinel

2020

What’s at stake? A short text on US elections Branko Milanovic, globalinequality

The press keeps depicting long lines to vote as some sort of victory. It’s not:

Republicans crash Florida early vote, eating into Democrats’ lead Politico

* * *

In the homestretch, signs Trump’s hard-sell seniors pitch may be falling short NBC

Donald Trump Is No ‘Phony’ Populist The American Conservative. “[O]ne set of official figures that’s especially good at gauging the fortunes of Mr. Trump’s core supporters over time [is] the Labor Department’s quarterly County Employment and Wages series. The final 2019 figures are out, and reveal a striking pattern when matched with the list of counties that voted for Mr. Obama in both 2008 and 2012 and then flipped for Mr. Trump: Average annual private-sector pay in most of these flip counties rose faster during the first three years of the Trump administration than during the last three years of the Mr. Obama’s presidency.”

* * *

The Unspectacular Excellence of Joe Biden’s Slow and Steady Campaign Politico

Biden breaks all-time television spending record The Hill

Long-standing claims of Biden corruption all but confirmed with Hunter’s emails NY Post.

Biden pushes back on Trump: ‘Crass’ to go after political rival’s children The HIll

Pushing Biden left:

Obama didn’t stand up Biden to enact Sanders’ agenda, or any part of it.

* * *

Symposium: The particular perils of emergency election cases SCOTUSblog

Shares of gun makers gain as Biden’s lead grows Channel News Asia

The Debates

Debate: If this is the future of foreign policy, we’re in trouble Responsible Statecraft

Our Famously Free Press

With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story Matt Taibbi. For example:

Latin America (dk):

Latin America:

Feeling safe:

Facebook demands academics disable ad-targeting data tool AP

Intelligence Community

The code-breakers who led the rise of computing Nature. The headline is deceptive. The deck is better: “World wars, cold wars, cyberwars — marking a century of state surveillance at GCHQ.” The Five Eyes is mentioned only in the text.

Why the NSA Told Henry Kissinger to Drop Dead When He Tried to Cut Intel Links with Britain Daily Beast

Imperial Collapse Watch

Obama Couldn’t Fix the System. Biden Must. Sarada Peri, The Atlantic. I don’t know what the Obama’s former speechwriter is talking about; the system was totally fixed under Obama. I would like to believe that the Obama Alumni Association, together with its new allies from the Bush administration, will deliver the “hope and change” that Obama promised in a Biden administration, this time around. It would be nice if several enormous domestic gaslighting operations and incipient press censorship turned out to be needed only to get the liberal Democrats on base, and that they’ll round home with “Rooseveltian” reform. I have my doubts that a Biden administration will hit it out of the park; pop flies and damp squibs seem more likely than not. Self-reflection and learning from history seem not to command a premium in the liberal Democrat base, the professional managerial class. They have their minds on other, more important things.

Against Nostalgia Zeynep Tufekci, Insight

Sitcom Nation Morris Berman, Dark Ages America. Musical interlude.

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral Ed Yong, The Atlantic. Well worth a read.

The Groves of Academe

Online testing:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

We’re All Living In A Future Created By Slavery Hampton Institute

Class Warfare

Why the urban poor will be forced to leave big cities FT

Without a ‘Right to Garden’ Law, It May Be Illegal to Grow Your Own Food Civil Eats

Hold Your Lugnuts: A Right to Repair Automotive Opera in Seven Scenes Dig Boston. Right-to-repair is covered regularly at NC. See, e.g., here, here, here, and here.

Evolutionary Psychology: Predictively Powerful or Riddled with Just-So Stories? Areo

Should animals have legal personality? FT

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

282 comments

  1. Anonymous

    re Israelis have Destroyed 1 mn Palestinian Olive Trees; this Month, they’re at it Again :

    When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them? However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls. Deuteronomy 20:19-20 [bold added]

    Reply
      1. DJG

        Considering that the olive tree is useful in just about every respect–from leaves to fruit to its wood–and considering that the oil the tree gives is central to life, let alone the tasty olive fruit, I think we are talking murder. It isn’t just the goddess Athena who knew that the olive tree is sacred.

        And the report posted today is only one of many over the years.

        If the Israelis ever had any moral superiority, which is in doubt, the killing of olive trees has pretty much extinguished it, the many protestations to the contrary. So Israel is a “normal” country now, with a marauding class of religion-and-real-estate besotted looters. Congratulations.

        Reply
        1. Offtrail

          Israel has been a worse than normal country since it’s inception. Olive trees? They drove most of the human inhabitants out of the country when it was created.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Indeed. Sounds almost like the careful systematic extermination of the buffalo in order to starve the human inhabitants out of the plains and prairie country a growing United
            States wanted for itself.

            Reply
        1. poor_hidalgo

          It’s a shandah for the goyim. Jewish expression for disgrace, something v. shameful that leads non-Jews to the temptation of believing canards and stereotypes about Jews. Thusly causing double harm: to the party offended by the wayward Jew(s) and to the rest of the Jewish peoples as a whole

          Reply
    1. Lex

      Old Testament snap!

      ‘What can we learn from Deuteronomy?

      God did punish the people several times for their disobedience, but he always remained faithful to them. God restored the Israelites even though they continued to turn against him. God loves us even when we do things that go against his commands. It is important for us to understand that God’s love for us never ends.’

      Maybe God could be persuaded to get out his paddle and do a bit more smiting. Lately I’ve concluded that the Isrealites could use a spanking, starting with Netanyahu. The problem with such permissive parenting is naughty children take forgiveness for granted.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        The Russians discovered around WWII that the optimal control system for tank turrets/guns was full powered right/left until the aim was overshot followed by full left/right power, etc. until the error was acceptable. – a so-called “bang-bang control system”. Ironically, with it, the “crude” Russians were quicker to bring their guns to bear on German tanks than the more “sophisticated” Germans could on Russian tanks, iirc.

        Anyway, per the Bible, God is quite merciful (while warning and pleading through prophets) until His patience is finally exhausted and then He lowers the boom while sparing a few.

        So repent while the sun shines, is the lesson we should learn.

        Reply
      2. epynonymous

        Just read through the cliff notes of the book of Esther, hoping for some teachable wisdom, but came away disappointed. The Jews are almost unrightly extinguished, but instead murder their persecutors with kingly permission. My source says its the only book of the Torah (assuming I’m using that term properly) to omit the use of the word god.

        I got there by daring to research the bible’s opinion (as interpreted by the internet) on free speech. Ultimately, the elimination of free speech (yes, even the wide-spread hate speech) is the door to genocide. Now I’ve long been of the opinion that the ACLU might well be self sabotaging, but we’ve gone from the extremist position on the left to *nothing at all*

        People clutch their pearls when Trump says that its the Democrats who built those cages for those children crossing our border. And he is right to tell us so. Shame on him for encouraging the worst among us, but the greatest mistake Weimar Germany ever made was to ban Hitler from speaking publically…

        Remember Trump’s win in the 2016 election. Dozens of muppets, and look who emerges. The id, the ego. The Best Words. The more the elites shunned him, the stronger he became.

        May the left learn from this and emulate it, because I don’t see how else we’re going to make it. Pardon the doom trip.

        Reply
  2. Robert Gray

    Re: the election

    I’m retired and have the luxury of time. I’m also a news junkie so I check quite a variety of websites daily. There’s a right-wing aggregator that often has good links — but I have learned to never look at the comments. :-) Anyway, today one of their links is to a Washington Times story of which the lede is as follows:

    “A vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris is a vote for communism. There’s no other way to paint it.”

    The really tragic thing is how many (tens of) millions of Americans believe this shite. :-(

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      There was a story on the TV out from Arizona about the voters there last night. One woman was convinced that if Biden won, that voters like her would end up locked up in camps – and she was serious. And I don’t think that she was alone in this belief.

      Reply
      1. albrt

        Nah, much easier to simply drone them based on a profile of ethnicity and religious affiliation. Totally constitutional according to Eric Holder, as long as they have a committee meeting to address due process before they issue the order.

        Reply
  3. AnonyMouse

    Love that line on SPACs. I was reading Graeber’s “Debt” and it had that classic apocryphal anecdote from the South Sea Bubble in 1720.

    When someone got rich selling shares in “a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is”.

    I thought to myself… these days we call that a SPAC!

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Great ideas take time! We’re thinking real hard here. Your returns will be so great you can’t spend your new fortune living in 1 locale !

      I got paywalled from finishing his article, so maybe I’ll dredge it up later.

      Reply
  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Interfluidity on the Predatory Precariat–

    In a stratified, liberal capitalist society, the ability to command market power, to charge a margin sufficiently above the cost of inputs to cover the purchase of positional goods, becomes the definition of caste. When goods like health, comfort, safety, and ones children’s life prospects are effectively price-rationed, individuals will lever themselves to the hilt to purchase their place. The result is a strange precariot, objectively wealthy, educated and in a certain sense well-intended, who justify as a matter of defensive necessity participation in arrangements whose ugliness they cannot quite not see. In aggregate, they are predators, but individually they are also prey, and they feel embattled. So long as the intensity of stratification endures, they will feel like they have little choice but to participate in, even to collude to entrench, the institutions that secure their market power and their relatively decent place.

    An alternative:

    Nobody can protect
    a house full of jade and gold.
    To do good, work well, and lie low
    is the way of blessing.

    Tao te Ching # 9 (U.K. Le Guin, trans.)

    Is it against PMC culture to “lie low?”

    Reply
    1. fwe'zy

      I love to lie low. Things are so intense now that it’s positively suicidal to keep doing it. Martyrdom is vain.

      Reply
  5. Krystyn Podjaski

    RE: Host Immune Response Driving SARS-CoV-2 Evolution

    That APOBEC gene. What does it do? It helps protect humans from viral infection. Maybe if that is not working well because of some genetic drift in a population, or maybe because we are low in zinc (yes, zinc is the cofactor for this enzyme), that we have poorer outcomes? Maybe?

    ADAR is also a zinc binding enzyme so…

    If you are a Caucasian it is very rare to have changes in this gene, even heterozygous changes. This is the opposite for the Yoruba people who make up about 47 million West Africans.

    But I am just piling on now. I know it is not fair but what can you do. I just hope there is a research scientist here how will steal my idea and take credit for it so we can get on with our live.

    Reply
    1. Dagan68

      One thing I really do not understand about this whole line of reasoning.

      The point is made in this article about maybe this being the reason that African Americans are getting the worst of this virus.

      That may be true here. Please correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me that the African continent itself has been the least affected by this. Way lower than the early fears.

      I am a scientist at heart. Divergence like that should be questioned and investigated. This is often where answers are to be found.

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        Jerri-Lynn had an excellent article a few days ago that posed a few theories why the African continent has not been hit as hard by Covid:
        https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/10/what-developing-countries-can-teach-rich-countries-about-how-to-respond-to-a-pandemic.html

        One that struck me is that those countries have lower longevity rates so that may be other things are killing their people before Covid has a chance since Covid is more deadly the older you get.

        But those are not the conditions people of African ancestry in this country face when dealing with Covid. I think you have to consider other reasons for instance, accessibility to medical care, what jobs most of them do, how crowded their homes are, etc.

        There may be something genetic involved also that just doesn’t show up in Africa because the people don’t live long enough for it to be expressed with respect to Covid.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          10 years ago when my mother was in her final illness, I got a taxi to the hospital for an emergency call – the chatty and charming young driver introduced himself as a refugee from Angola and was very open about asking why I was going to the hospital and wasn’t particularly phased when I told him my mother was hours from death (she was in her late 80’s, and had been in the hospital for 2 years following a severe stroke). He said ‘why is it old folks live so long here after they get sick? At home they just die!’.

          I think he had a point – in Ireland pneumonia used to be called ‘the old man’s friend’ as it cut short many an old folks suffering, and I many time heard stories from my country relatives about how ‘in the old days’ the elderly were often, shall we say, not encouraged to hang on too long. But now a combination of modern technology and the traditional catholic approach that life should be prolonged even if it causes suffering seems to have extended the number of people just clinging on. I do think that an element – not the sole one, but one aspect of what is happening – is simply that people who are old or ailing from other conditions are simply not kept alive for months and years, and so are not around to get walloped by Covid.

          Reply
          1. Lee

            When the time came, I exercised my power of attorney to terminate treatment for both my mother and stepfather per their advance directives. It was a very hard thing to do but it was the right thing. I expect my son to do the same difficult deed for me.

            Here’s an interesting Catholic position applicable to terminal patients in pain:

            According to a Church spokeswoman, “You can have whatever level of morphine you need to control the pain, even if that level of treatment hastens death.” Palliative care is “legitimate,” even when it risks “shortening life,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley explains — so long as “the intent is not to hasten death, but only to ease the pain of a dying patient.” The Atlantic

            Reply
            1. drexciya

              I’m reminded of a very recently diseased uncle (not of Covid by the way); when they asked him, whether he wanted to be treated in the hospital, he said: I’ve just had my 80th birthday, I’ve had a good life.

              My mother also had some choice words about potential cancer treatments, after seeing what happened to another deceased uncle up and close.

              Palliative care is something that should not be frowned upon. Medical science can do a lot of things nowadays, but we have to keep human dignity, and unnecessary suffering, in mind as well.

              Reply
              1. Procopius

                I remember an opinion piece many years ago that pointed out the reluctance of children to end extraordinary efforts to prolong their lives creates enormous suffering among the elderly so prolonged. When my late wife was in the ICU she begged to be allowed to return home to die. She was denied on the grounds that if the ventilator was removed she would die in minutes. Three or four days later she died, as expected.

                Reply
              2. eg

                Your uncle went like my father. When diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 81 he chose palliative care. As he taught me to live, so he taught me to die, should I be so fortunate.

                Reply
          2. jef

            I have read that around a quarter of all healthcare spending, thats hundreds of billions, goes to end of life care. That might provide a clue.

            My mother has inoperable cancer and she said she absolutely would not spend what time she has left in a hospital. The doctors keep telling her they need to do some more tests for noe reason or another and she has now spent several months in and out of hospitals.

            Reply
          3. km

            I have been told that, unless you practice medicine, you will never imagine how many people will ask if grandma can maybe be given something to encourage her to die relatively sooner.

            Reply
      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        It is always nature and nurture. Not one or the other. Genetics can override environment and environment can override genetics.

        It’s the understanding of how those to work together what they will find the answers to the variability of outcome.

        Reply
  6. Kaligula

    Re: “Has Covid killed off the flu? Experts pose the intriguing question as influenza cases nosedive by 98% across the globe

    Or maybe the little bit (or more) of social distancing, hand-washing, and masking practiced by world population is sufficient to quash the flu virus? This may be a great demonstration of what can actually be accomplished with this low-tech, simple means – if dutifully deployed.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      Back in February-March, a subjective lifetime ago, when frequent thorough hand-washing was being mooted as the needed pandemic adaptation, it was mentioned that in Hong Kong the changes in personal habits, including hand-washing, that were adopted in the context of the original SARS epidemic, were highly protective against ‘flu. It was asserted that these habits persisted in that population after SARS and resulted in a milder annual ‘flu epidemic.

      A spot of good news.

      Of course, treating ‘flu is profitable for some segments of the economy, so perhaps one ought not to break out the champagne prematurely.

      Hmm, given that low-tech prevention is so much less profitable than treatment and for-profit vaccine-based prevention, the thought occurs that there might be an industry profit incentive to preserve the anti-vax and anti-mask sentiments that are present in segments of the US populace. I suggest this only half in jest.

      It’s important to keep the glaziers busy, even if the only thing they do is repair windows broken by the worsening weather.

      Reply
    2. Keith

      Perhaps people are avoiding the doctor and avoiding reporting any symptoms. There is overlap between the two, and more and more, reporting a sniffle can get you blacklisted from daycare, school, work, etc.

      From anecdotes, our housekeeper tells her children not to report anything at their daycare, otherwise they have to go home. For me, reporting a symptom a prescribed medication was causing prevented me from going to my doctor’s appointment. Lessons learned. I think you will see more of this as overreactions without a little common sense application are affecting people’s lives.

      Reply
      1. ShamanicFallout

        This is so true. It’s like wanting your child to always tell you the truth, but when they actually do tell you, you punish them. Well, they won’t be telling you the truth for very long!

        Reply
    3. Clem

      98% nosedive of flu, so, why in the hell would anyone get a flu shot?

      – If you get sick or screwed up from the shot, vaccine makers are immune from prosecution, thanks to congress’s knuckling under to PHarma$.

      -Something like only 40% efficacy?

      -Only covers last year’s flu virus, not new mutated ones.

      Reply
      1. Maritimer

        In that article the experts admit they really do not know what is going on and that there is “viral interference”. They really do not know the consequences of that interference.

        In addition, “Common colds probably shore up our defences against other viruses.” So, if you are masked, will you be shoring up your defences against Covid? Any studies I have seen of masks have totally ignored the benefits of being exposed to pathogens which are normally in the air.

        Also, I have seen articles suggesting that prior exposure by vaccine to the flu may weaken Covid defense.

        So, despite the above, in my jurisdiction, the Flu Vaccine Push is on for all members of the Herd to get the flu vaccine despite your age or various medical conditions a person may have.

        This all seems like terrible advice from the experts. Sorry,Doc, but I am not joining the Vaccine Stampede.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          Please provide links to your assertion re the flu vaccine. The evidence over decades is that getting the flu vaccine reduces the severity of other winter respiratory infections. I am saying this as someone not bothering to get the flu vaccine because it has very low effectiveness in my age cohort.

          Reply
          1. Cuibono

            to my knowledge there is only one decent RCT of this and it was in kids and showed that flu vaccine increases the chance of other respiratory ailments. Happy to be wrong here!

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              As indicated, that seems to be an isolated effect:

              The study was conducted over four flu seasons from 2012 to 2015 and found that flu vaccination prevented severe disease:

              Flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to the hospital with flu and placed in a general ward bed by 37 percent.
              Flu vaccination was even more effective in preventing the most severe forms of flu and reduced the risk of being admitted to an ICU with flu by 82 percent.

              https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/2017-2018/vaccine-reduces-risk-severe-illness.htm

              The flu vaccine reduces heart attack and stroke risk among high risk populations:

              https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/27/health/flu-vaccine-lowers-heart-attack-stroke-risk-wellness/index.html

              Reply
          2. ewmayer

            I’ve posted links on negative interference in repeated flu vaccinations on several occasions – here’s a post in 10/5/16 Links with multiple links and accompanying commentary:

            https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/10/links-10516.html#comment-2680360

            And from 3/18/20 Links – here just the link I posted there:

            https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vaccine-paradox-adds-to-public-health-debate-1.2912790

            And more recently, a link-to/excerpt-from a Scientific American article in 9/25/20 Links – Ignacio replied to that one, so even if you don’t believe me, believe him:

            https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/09/links-9-25-2020.html#comment-3435587

            Again, the above relate to repeated flu shots and their effect on immune response to flu, nothing about flu/covid.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              As I said, I am not getting the vaccine due to low efficacy in my age group as well as not great efficacy of the flu vaccine most of the time. But these papers all assume annual vaccinations. Fewer than half the Americans > 6 months got vaccine last year. I can’t find data on how many are religious about getting it every year. Only 37.1% of the adults got it the year before and 43.3% the year before that.

              And I recall that the recommendation based on the finding was that maybe people should only get the flu vaccine every other or every third year.

              Reply
            1. Katiebird

              Hmmm. I gave credit to my lack of bronchitis this whole last year to my allergy medications. But maybe it’s the flu shot I got last fall!! I guess I should make an appt. to get one.

              Reply
              1. adrena

                I had a severe and prolonged case of pneumonia 2 years ago. Last year I decided to take the flu shot. I did get a cold but the symptoms were mild and short-lived.

                Reply
              2. epynonymous

                @martimer Haven’t seen a ‘vaccine stampede’ so its odd to hear it referenced.

                @katiebird I hear that allergies are a sign of an overactive immune system. Now, the same has been said of many covid symptoms (like from the vaccines causing transverse myalitis) Pardon the spelling. I’m not here to hide my lack of knowledge on that particular issue. However, my allergies keep my white blood cell count nice and high according to the people I’m selling my white blood cells to.

                I get 300 bucks for the basis for that half a million dollar treatment Trump got. And Tom Hanks seems to have got. And… Joe Biden thinks I can make COBRA payments on that…

                BTW, blood sales count at a 1099 for taxes, so I guess I’m real estate…

                Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Truman did it, big time, when I was just a wee tyke:

      President Harry S. Truman signed United States Executive Order 9835, sometimes known as the “Loyalty Order”, on March 21, 1947.[1] The order established the first general loyalty program in the United States, designed to root out communist influence in the U.S. federal government. Truman aimed to rally public opinion behind his Cold War policies with investigations conducted under its authority. He also hoped to quiet right-wing critics who accused Democrats of being soft on communism. At the same time, he advised the Loyalty Review Board to limit the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to avoid a witch hunt.[2] The program investigated over 3 million government employees, just over 300 of whom were dismissed as security risks.[3]

      The Loyalty Order was part of the prelude to the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin. It was mostly the result of increasing U.S.–Soviet tensions and political maneuvering by the president and Congress.[4] The order established a wide area for the departmental loyalty boards to conduct loyalty screenings of federal employees and job applicants. It allowed the FBI to run initial name checks on federal employees and authorized further field investigations if the initial inquiry uncovered information that cast someone in a negative light. Executive Order 9835 also was the main impetus for the creation of the Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9835

      The Security State, off to a running start…

      Reply
    1. George Phillies

      Democratic Governor. Democrats finally in control of the legislature. Democratic city council. Incompetence seems more likely.

      Reply
  7. .Tom

    > Paid leave is, by definition, post-symptomatic, and so won’t block the main tranmission path.

    Slavit was talking about transferring to other contexts the BU example of mandatory weekly testing in which case the mandatory isolation is not by definition post-symptomatic.

    Like you, I find it hard to see this regimen becoming widespread. I’m just responding to the “by definition post-symptomatic” part.

    Reply
    1. albrt

      A friend recently reported that he may have been exposed to a Covid positive individual. My exposure to my friend seemed pretty low risk, but I decided to see whether I could get a test to confirm.

      I went to an urgent care clinic that allegedly has the rapid tests in stock. I told them my situation and said money was not an issue, I could pay for the test if necessary. They said their policy, based on CDC guidance, was that nobody gets tested until 7 days after exposure.

      Since day 5 is supposed to be the maximum probability of pre-symptomatic transmission, it appears that the policy is designed to maximize pre-symptomatic transmission.

      This is Phoenix, Arizona. My friend went a different testing route and tested negative.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “We’re All Living In A Future Created By Slavery”

    Not buying this at all. In fact, you start to think along those lines and you can find yourself boxed in as far as your options are concerned. If the author of this article could meet his African ancestor, what would he have in common? Not a lot I would say. I happen to have three ancestors that were transported out from the UK to ‘the far corners of the world’, namely Oz. They too were prisoners that were used as temporary indentured servants. But I am not them. I share some of their DNA but that is about it. I am not responsible for their actions during their lifetimes nor have they determined how I live mine. Well, not if you don’t include the one that was a political prisoner that is. :) If you were to have a more accurate title, it would be ‘We’re All Living In A Future Created By Exploitation.’ It would accurately describe what was happening then and it would accurately describe what is happening now. And it would be something that you could actually fight against rather than re-fighting the emancipation battles of the 19th century.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      On the one hand, it is important to remember history and in the US we most definitely have not gotten over the legacy of our country’s slavery. The disgusting Breonna Taylor verdict comes to mind.

      On the other hand, it is important to remember history, and this sentence from the article could use an editor –

      We live in a time created by the original mass incarceration — the transatlantic slave trade.

      As I said above, we certainly do still live with the legacy of slavery in the US, but there was nothing original about it. Slavery has existed since the dawn of agriculture, if not before, and you look at pretty much any ethnic group and their ancestors were somebody’s slave at one time or another.

      So let’s not forget history but remember all of it, including the very recent history of slave markets popping up in Libya after Obama and Clinton saw fit to turn that nation into rubble. The 1% have always exploited the other 99%, whether by slavery, feudalism, indentured servitude or gig economy work, and now more than ever we need to remember that.

      We’re all in this together. Solidarity.

      Reply
    2. JKennedy

      The perspective you articulate regarding your ancestors (and a perspective I share) is very much in keeping with what Joseph Henrich describes in his book, The WEIRDest People in the World.

      Henrich asserts that we who are cultural products of the West have been strangely liberated from the ancestor-worshipping clan-ruled kinship-driven societies from which all humans have descended.

      And yes, being lucky to be W.E.I.R.D. has not included being lucky to be free from exploitation, fully agreed. His solution hasn’t proven particularly workable over the past 175 years, but Marx sure got that right.

      Reply
      1. DJG

        Really? I find the WEIRD argument naive, glib, and “strange” indeed.

        Have you noticed that originalists on the U.S. Supreme Court are worshipping the ancestors and clans that framed the supposedly unchanging documents?

        Have you noticed the deleterious effects of the Ku Klux Klan (as in “clan”) and the way it defined American identity?

        Have you noticed the deleterious effects on U.S. society of insisting the the Bible is inerrant, even though much of it is more ethnological (don’t eat shrimp) than theological? As in “clan” religion.

        Have you noticed the phenomenon of nepotism in U.S. society–as in the Adams family, the current Clinton ownership of the Democratic Party, and the Trump gang?

        And somehow we WEIRDS are liberated from being Japanese?

        Reply
    3. Phillip Cross

      “nor have they determined how I live mine”

      They certainly did. Your sex, location, race, socioeconomic class (growing up) and even your health and temperament were set in stone before you were born by your parents, and they theirs. They gave a limited menu of “options” to experience on your life’s journey. Change those seeding variables and there can be no doubt that the journey is going to be a different one. Were the choices you made on that journey really ‘just you’, or were they an result of how your ‘wiring’ responded to programming by society. Was it possible for you to choose differently?.

      Reply
      1. Clem

        Meaning that American, Caribbean and Brazilian black people now are controlled by their ancester’s explotation, malnutrition, lack of education, breeding like livestock etc.?

        That gives credence to the segregationists who want nothing to do with them.

        Reply
        1. fwe'zy

          I hear what you’re saying, Clem, that this is potentially “racialist.” I think it’s more akin to “food deserts.” There might even be a role for lead paint in this story. It’s definitely not about inherent traits or qualities of people.

          Re “breeding like livestock”: a gross way of saying “displacement, disenfranchisement, lack of bodily autonomy, commodification of human beings, and families torn apart,” I presume.

          Reply
      2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        It’s so useful to have One God King Cross around to keep us all on track, yesterday he informed us that “all normal people hate conservative ideology” and today helpfully tells us that people may only live their lives by selecting from a list of options prepared for them in advance by their parents. It’s so good to have someone interpret this complicated “reality” stuff for us and tell us what our thoughts and lived experiences actually are. Never have so few done so little to impugn so many, congratulations!

        Reply
        1. Phillip Cross

          Are you in the Rachel Dolezal camp then? That is very surprising!

          Last time I checked I wasn’t able to choose my parents genetic make up, race, bank balance, social network, era or location. Nor were they, although all evidence points to these variables are the most important things in how our lives turn out.

          Reply
          1. griffen

            So to extrapolate where you begin in this life determines where you find yourself currently positioned in 2020? Good to know.

            I smell something. Rhymes with hit. Maybe its hinted at but you’re filled up.

            Reply
            1. Phillip Cross

              You are telling me that if you were born with leukemia to illiterate parents in a slum on the outskirts of Rio; a little spunk and your genius decisions could get you to be *exactly* the same person you are today? Pull the other one!

              Reply
                1. kareninca

                  That sort of grossly insulting response, that doesn’t contain a counterargument, really isn’t suited to this site. It’s very odd to find it here.

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    Agreed, griffen is accumulating troll points. I don’t see how it is not possible to understand that advantage and disadvantage are significantly inherited (and what combo of nature and nurture doesn’t matter much for the purposes of this topic), and poverty in particular in the US skews along racial lines. The zip code in which one grew up has a lot to do with later success.

                    And in his refusal to even deal with evidence not in his favor, he’s getting abusive.

                    Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Your argument was not that “these variables are the most important thing”, your argument was that they are the only thing. No doubt, set in stone, not possible to choose differently.

            I’m prone to it too but it turns out hyperbole is not a clever way to make an argument

            Reply
            1. Phillip Cross

              I honestly don’t understand what your contention with what i wrote is, but I am interested to try to get my head around it.

              Are you saying that you are able to choose the conditions such as health, socioeconomic class, race, sex, date and location etc before you are born, or are you saying that those things do not affect your options in life?

              Reply
    4. Mark Gisleson

      You’re ignoring Jim Crow and the Civil Rights struggle. Both of which were unique to the United States. Other slave-owning nations got over it, but not us.

      None of your ancestors are now distinguishable from other Australians. The descendants of African slaves in the United States are distinguishable. An average American no matter how uneducated can, at a glance, tell the difference between an African immigrant and an ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves).

      The Identitarians have successfully pushed immigrants ahead of ADOS in the employment lines. In Minnesota, the people of color doing customer service at Target are mostly East African refugees. Target loves to hire them. ADOS? Not so much. Like Native Americans, many ADOS are broken by our racist society and they disproportionately (even w/poverty factored in) fill our jails and prisons.

      Kamala Harris is not ADOS. Neither is most of The Squad. And increasingly, ADOS are noticing that they’re still at the end of the line, and a whole bunch of people who speak funny English are now in front of them.

      This isn’t the UK or Brazil. Everything was different here which is why even the slaveowners referred to US style slavery as “our peculiar institution.” That oppression never stopped, never let up.

      ADOS are still not Americans. Just as aborigines still aren’t “Australians” but that’s a different story.

      Reply
      1. fwe'zy

        I don’t like to step in on this topic and am with Lyman alpha bob as to solidarity, BUT this is so very important to highlight. See also Obama’s impact on that demographic’s economic well-being (mega dispossession).

        On the other hand, recognition of this inequity must go hand in hand with solutions that go to the root of our political economy. I’m not saying reparations aren’t called for. I’m saying that even after reparations, there will be structural issues that never went away “because markets” etc.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’m all for reparations! My people are Huguenots, who were slaughtered by Catholics. Tens of thousands of them murdered in cold blood. When do I get my check from The Vatican?

          (Just trying to illustrate what a crazy can of worms is opened with the “reparations” subject, makes student loan forgiveness look easy).

          Reply
          1. fwe'zy

            Oh totally, but :
            In 1838, France agreed to reduce the debt to 90 million francs to be paid over a period of 30 years to compensate former plantation owners who had lost their property. The modern equivalent of $21 billion was paid from Haiti to France.
            Wikipedia

            Reply
    5. farmboy

      “When I first got the blues
      They brought me over on a ship
      Men were standing over me
      And a lot more with a whip
      And everybody wanna know
      Why I sing the blues
      Well, I’ve been around a long time
      Mm, I’ve really paid my dues”
      BBKing why I have the Blues
      Suffering defines existence, yearning brings hope, desire births tomorrow, yesterday is never far behind

      Reply
    6. marym

      US history and on-going practices of policing, sentencing, incarceration, segregation, vigilantism, and disenfranchisement since the formal end of slavery would be factors in any comparison with the heritage of other forms of forced labor and exploitation. It would be helpful in redirecting concerns toward a broader working class analysis if courts, legislatures, governors, and executives weren’t continually “re-fighting” the battles of the post-Civil War era.

      Reply
      1. flora

        +1.

        an aside: I’ve listened to Michael Hudson talk about debt and debt forgiveness in the ancient near east world as a means to keep balance in their societies. One thing that strikes me is the relative scarcity of labor then in the near east.

        Introducing slavery was a method of getting near limitless numbers of cheap labor, (as are offshoring factory work and “porous borders” in the US today). To your point about courts, legislatures, governors,why would the elite worry about debt bondage or worry about the working class at all if you can supply yourself at will with near endless cheap labor ?

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          flora:

          … why would the elite worry about debt bondage or worry about the working class at all if you can supply yourself at will with near endless cheap labor ?

          Well, as Adam Smith pointed out,

          The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of slaves to that of freemen.

          The owners enjoy inflicting pain. That’s why we have the comment about neoliberal policies, “The cruelty is the point.”

          Reply
          1. flora

            Thanks,. It’s interesting the neoliberalistas always overlook the human will to power when quoting Smith, who himself well understood the problems of unfettered human will to power.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              I’m ashamed that I still have not read the whole book. I suspect he’s said to have reached conclusions that he really didn’t. Certainly the “invisible hand” thing is willfully misinterpreted.

              Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          And it is interesting how the Social Justice WokeLeft supports porous borders. I wonder why that is. It is almost as if Black Jobs Don’t Matter to the Social Justice WokeLeft.

          Reply
    7. dcblogger

      There is zero comparison between prison transport and chattel slavery. The children of prison transportees were free, they could not be sold from their parents. There was no version of Jim Crow where the descendants of prison transport were concerned. You simply cannot compare the two institutions.

      Reply
    8. diptherio

      With all due respect, Kev, your view from Oz doesn’t give you much useful perspective on the situation in the US.

      Perhaps you’ve heard about the mass incarceration problem we have here. Maybe you’ve heard about the immense disparity in the racial makeup of those subjected to said incarceration (I mean, heck, it’s detailed in the article). I don’t think you have a comparable situation in your country.

      Given that mass incarceration is such a salient feature of contemporary life in the US for young Black men, and given that the same constitutional amendment that ended slavery also set the stage for the current carceral state*, the thesis of the article is quite correct, and your critique is pretty off-base. Saying that the present day US is still being effected by the legacy (evolution, even) of slavery is not saying that no other forms of exploitation are relevant, as you seem to think. To quote Utah Phillips (who was probably quoting someone else), “the past didn’t go anywhere.”

      *“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      Reply
      1. eg

        The equivalent in Oz might be the Aboriginal population — I have never heard more ferocious racism than that expressed towards them by white Australians I met in Canada during the early 80s

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          Yes, the abos are a much smaller % of the total Oz population than Afro Americans, and much more marginalized. My impression is a significant portion are still on reservations….and those are as mean as American reservations (and no casinos as a late stage offset of sorts). Striking that the Australians are laid back about gays but not about their native people.

          Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            Unintended I’m sure (or perhaps intended to scorn Australian racism) but ‘abo’ is considered a racial epithet here.

            There’s also significant overlap between LGBT proponents and pro-indigenous… not activism I don’t think, because concrete material benefits are thin on the ground, but pro-indigenous thought. The move to abolish the Australia Day holiday (which the aborigines mark as ‘invasion day’) grows from year to year, and there’s a strong overlap with LGBT people. This tends to be among les Bobos, though, and might not reflect the laidbackness of the general population.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Dunno how much sensitivity has increased since I was in Oz (I left in 2004) but in the Eastern Suburbs, which I took as pretty PC by Australian standards, I did hear that term used by young-ish people who were definitely left wing.

              Reply
              1. Basil Pesto

                Interesting! I remember when I was a kid circa 2000 saying it to my Dad and sister (neither especially PC) in the car (copying the language I’d heard in the schoolyard, which definitely would’ve been racist) and being roundly told off.

                Reply
              2. Basil Pesto

                adding, I don’t have an Australian dictionary at home but my Webster’s app does give the definition as ‘disparaging + offensive’

                Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  Just used the term yesterday. We were telling my daughter’s boyfriend – who is abo – how the neighbours said that did we know that she was dating one and he was getting a good laugh about that story. I turned to him and said “You lying b****** – you told me that you just had a deep suntan!”

                  So it’s all about context.

                  Reply
          2. Janie

            “Rabbit-proof Fence”, about three aboriginal girls taken from their homes, is a true story and an excellent movie.

            Reply
    9. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree with the Rev Kev’s title ‘We’re All Living In A Future Created By Exploitation.’ Slavery is among the worst forms of exploitation. But I believe partitioning the class of those who are exploited into categories based on various measures of past harm done works to the advantage of those interested in continuing their exploitation.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Yeah, that’s the truth. I distrust the idea of reparations because I distrust and fear the implementation. Free education including higher *for all*, free health care *for all*, free child care *for all*, living wage *for all*. This is not hard to understand, and would be pretty simple to do.

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, fixed. Some readers complained about the load the donkey was carrying (as opposed to the bear), but the tweet was from Eritrea (famine in 1986, 2000, 2011, and 2017) and the message was: “Donkey dear, don’t worry when the harvest is done you will eat more hay.”

      Reply
      1. Lee

        By volume, uncompressed hay weighs considerably less than mechanically baled hay. The Donkey Fact Sheet tells us the average donkey can handle 50kg.

        Why Get a Donkey?

        Donkeys are full of character (Fig. 1) and are fantastic fun to get to know and care for.
        Donkeys are versatile animals and can have many uses including for children to ride, for
        driving and showing, light draught work, a companion animal or simply as pets.

        Reply
      1. Lee

        Thanks for the link.

        I was surprised at the anti-MMT stance at WSWS. My admittedly basic understanding is that in our current financialized economy the commanding heights of the economy are occupied by the a relatively few private owners and manipulators of finance capital. If MMT is applied for the benefit of the working class, exercising its democratic control of the government, then it can at the very least be directionally consistent with the material aims of socialism.

        Reply
        1. Basil Pesto

          Just to add, I believe the “only applies to the US bc reserve currency, anywhere else would lead to inflation” argument they advance has been countered, although I am not knowledgeable enough to counter it myself (apart from perhaps a one-word answer that starts with a ‘j’ and ends in ‘apan’)

          Certainly Mitchell would be somewhat miffed to discover his life’s work doesn’t apply to his own country. It is true that Kelton’s book doesn’t go into any detail about other countries, though, which I think is unfortunate.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          Unfortunately, this proves what Mark Ames pointed out a while ago: the left has long sworn off any interest in finance. The corollary seems to be that they are suspicious of anything that strikes them as too technical.

          Reply
          1. flora

            A “left” uninterested in finance is an “idpol left”, a neutered “left”, a cocktail party “left”, a “left” that Wall St. can love. It’s a left that will never challenge economic corruption even in the so-called “left” programs. Mau-mauing the flack catchers. Undermining its claimed position. imo.

            Reply
          2. Basil Pesto

            Could it also be partly that their technical analysis doesn’t care to go beyond one deified neoclassical economist living ~150 years ago, many (not all!) of whose ideas will necessarily be outmoded by supervening developments in that time?

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              I don’t think its that – very few left wingers I’ve met have actually read any Marx (its hard going). Anyway, Marx himself barely touched on how a socialist or communist society would work, which was arguably his greatest intellectual failure.

              I think the core problem is that many left wingers aren’t actually interested in power – they are interested in waving their own virtue and victimhood. Its easy and satisfying to yell about the injustices of capitalism or racism or sexism or whatever. What takes hard work is to set out concrete and viable alternative proposals that would actually work in the real world. MMT is not necessarily ‘the answer’, but it is a very important step to take for anyone serious about describing how you would make an economy fairer without destroying the monetary or industrial base while doing it.

              This isn’t unique to the left of course – in many ways the worship of the free market (or ‘free choice’) is the right wing alternative to actually thinking about how power works. This makes them suckers for people who see an advantage in destroying structures for personal gain. I also see this in the Green movement, where what passes for purity is actually a refusal to engage with the technical and political issues.

              Reply
              1. Basil Pesto

                I don’t think its that – very few left wingers I’ve met have actually read any Marx (its hard going). Anyway, Marx himself barely touched on how a socialist or communist society would work, which was arguably his greatest intellectual failure.

                Note in my post I didn’t say that they had to have actually read Marx in whole or part ;)

                Indeed Tankus makes this exact point in the above podcast. But he doesn’t have to be read to be invoked. That said, if anyone was going to have actually read Marx I would assume, after serious heterodox economists, it would be the WSWS’ writers. Whether they read him well or not, I’m not at all equipped to say.

                But yes, I’m inclined to agree with you. Reading the WSWS’ ‘about us’ page, all that seriousness strikes one as fundamentally unserious.Though they’ve been excellent at rebutting the 1619 Project, which is a much smaller scale undertaking.

                Reply
    1. John Steinbach

      WSWS often gets things wrong, but here it is on track, arguing the MMT ignores the reality of class struggle & is essentially reformist without challenging class dynamics. Waiting for part 2

      Reply
      1. skippy

        MMT is a description of monetary accounting and not a ideological world view of anything, that is, an administrative dilemma.

        Reply
        1. Upwithfiat

          Except you’ll pry a Job Guarantee from their cold, dead fingers.

          Also, Warren Mosler is for increased privileges for the banks.

          So MMT is not merely a description of monetary accounting.

          True, they offer some advantages over the current system since they would close the output gap with “Spend and tax (if necessary)” which is superior to “Tax, spend and borrow (if necessary)” but their proposals fall far short of justice, being indifferent to it.

          So yeah, let’s have part 2.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            Sorry, the Job Guarantee is not MMT. It is a policy recommendation that most MMT prominent MMT backers support. They argue setting the price of labor is a better way to achieve broad social aims than setting the price of money.

            And I have no idea what you are talking about with Mosler.

            Reply
            1. Upwithfiat

              … than setting the price of money.

              Mosler argues* that the natural rate of interest in fiat** is zero percent but just in case it always isn’t (as during a banking crisis) he’d have the Central Bank make unlimited, unsecured loans to banks at zero percent interest. I call that setting the price of fiat.

              The insights of MMT COULD be used to finally de-privilege the banks but I’ve found no MMT advocates willing to let the non-bank private sector use fiat in account form. Instead, Mosler would also remove limits on government guarantees of private deposits to make the current system more stable – ignoring the inherent injustice of providing the PUBLIC’S credit but for private gain.

              So yes, we need a part 2 if we are concerned about justice and not just a temporary increase in stability.

              That said, Warren Mosler’s writings on banking are wonderfully clarifying and I recommend everyone read them. But they are not the last word if we are concerned with economic justice.

              * e.g. Proposals for the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the Banking System

              **Ignoring that only banks may use fiat in account form; thus drastically lowering the demand for it except during bank crisis.

              Reply
          2. eg

            I’m with skippy — many criticisms of MMT (including the WSWS one and Upwithfiat) have nothing to do with the descriptive macroeconomics and fiat monetary operations, and everything to do with the political preferences of the MMT scholars.

            A distinction between the logic and the politics is crucial.

            Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Biden-Harris are promising paid medical leave.”

    Sure they are. But I bet that after the election that Biden & Harris will say that that only applies to those who are currently employed. Tough luck if you are one of the 40 million plus people that have lost their jobs during this pandemic. Colour me cynical but I am having a hard time thinking of something that either one of them has done for people instead of against people.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      The paid leave is only for themselves and their cronies.

      Nov 3 2020 will be a sad day in history no matter who gets “elected”.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        I imagine things will become quite lively, and not necessarily in a good way. If the election results are contested, and it seems likely they will be, I expect the denizens of D.C. to become even more detached from the increasingly dire material circumstances of the lower orders than they already are as their attention becomes even more narrowly focused on the battle for partisan power. And then there’s the possibility of things in the streets really kicking off to consider.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          “I imagine things will become quite lively, and not necessarily in a good way”

          The disruptors may disagree with this reasoning…
          The whole pie is for I,
          incrementalism is for thou

          Reply
        2. Brunches with Cats

          No “possibility” about it, Lee, and it’s going to be far worse than we imagine. The powerful forces you allude to have been at work right under our noses to make sure it happens. The same people who have spent the past four years attempting to remove a legally elected president from office — by any other name, a coup — are in the final stages of an elaborate plan to make sure they don’t fail this time, and they don’t care how many peaceful protesters get killed. They are committed to carrying out their plans even if by some miracle (or deliberate tampering), Biden were to win in a landslide on Election Day with enough of the vote counted to ensure that Trump couldn’t catch up (unlikely).

          I’ve provided some details in a few long comments over the past week, but since I typically work into the wee hours and sleep late, and I’m moving very slowly these days, my posts typically don’t show up until after everyone’s long gone. Rather than spending all afternoon writing another tome, I’ll try to break down the main points in some shorter posts below this one, and of course I’ll include the links. Stay tuned…

          Reply
          1. Brunches with Cats

            My entry down this rabbit hole was through a 22-page white paper that, for me at least, has been rough going — first, because it’s long, and second, because it takes doublespeak to a whole new level — doublespeak squared or cubed. Fortunately, translating doublespeak is a strength among the NC commentariat, so at least I won’t have to feel like a raving conspiracy theorist who just escaped in mental ward scrubs (although I might end up there if I don’t get some sleep; massive sleep deprivation from dread of what’s coming.)

            The white paper was a “project” of a group of Third Way/NewAmerica/CFR/etc. members calling themselves the Transition Integrity Project. They commissioned a specially designed election “war game” and conducted exercises in June with a “bipartisan group of over 100 current and former senior government and campaign leaders and other experts.” The results were published in August in the white paper, “Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition.” You don’t have to read much to fill in the missing subtitle, “Hillary’s Revenge.”

            But so what? It’s just another biased report passing itself off as bipartisan, and so what if it’s parroted 30 or 50 or 100 times by TDS-afflicted journalists, pundits, bloggers, etc.? How does that change anything, and why waste time reading a 22-page report on Bad Orange Mussolini? The scary part is that it was used as the foundation for a hyper-organized operation to fuel mass demonstrations across the country — all peaceful, of course; the highly coordinated training materials include instructions for remaining non-violent, what to do when Trump supporters try to bait your group into aggression or if an outside agitator shows up in your midst and starts throwing rocks, which Trump will then use to justify sending in the military.

            Anyway, I spent the past seven hours (sorry it took me so long) looking for a better indication of what’s actually happening on the ground — or what appears to be happening on the ground, how it’s being portrayed in the media, how the foot soldiers view their role — and trying to make it makes sense without having to read the white paper. The important thing to remember is that the articles, press releases on websites, training materials, etc., all originated from a tightly coordinated effort to control the narrative established in the TIP white paper.

            Nowhere in the TIP report or in any of the training materials is violence expressly condoned. However, how can the perpetrators of this scheme not know that they’re setting up a horrific tragedy? Sending thousands of angry protesters into the streets, fanning the flames with a narrative that obliterates any shred of reason they might have left, knowing they’ll come face to face with white supremacists, racists, and toxic males armed to the teeth (authentic or planted), is beyond criminal.

            IMO, one of the most sinister elements of the operation is presenting the mass demonstrations as a progressive grassroots effort. The sad truth is that after Bernie was passed under the yoke, many groups that supported him did immediately get behind Biden. However, a couple of lines in the white paper give away the authors’ intent: use them to “anchor” the mobilization, but since Bernie supporters can’t be counted on to flood the streets for Joe in the numbers they envision, use professional organizers to recruit new SJWs. As I mentioned in a long post early this a.m., a cursory look at some of the bios shows past work experience or funding from USAID/State Dept., Open Society, Freedom House — you get the picture.

            Well, I said I wasn’t going to write another long post, and now look what I’ve done. My body feels like I’ve been run over by a Mack truck, need to take a break. Below are links to a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the building momentum there, and a commentary by Jeremy Brecher (I’m sure that name will ring a bell for many). In the first half, he fleshes out TIP talking points on Trump’s planned coup and how brave protestors around the world have united against tyrants (oddly, no mention of Euromaidan); the second half is a report on mobilization as of early October. I’ll add links to the TIP report and a few others in an hour or so.

            How Philadelphia activists are planning ‘mass action’ for the days following election
            https://fusion.inquirer.com/politics/election/philadelphia-election-progressive-activists-working-families-party-philly-we-rise-20201022.html

            Social Self-Defense Against the Impending Trump Coup
            https://systemchangenotclimatechange.org/article/social-self-defense-against-impending-trump-coup

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              In the old days the “How To Run a Coup” manuals by the CIA always had Step 1: seize the radio and TV stations. Check.

              The attempt that started in 2016 was a skullduggery affair with lots of moving parts, foreign nations, and even some theater along the way, prostitutes peeing on the leader, Nancy and Adam Schiff solemnly walking the impeachment docs over to the Senate. Not quite microfilms being discovered in pumpkin patches but almost.

              I expect this time around to be Hobbesian: nasty, brutish, and short.

              Good thing the American people were able to express their views about the new leader Generalissima Kamala through the primary process. Oh, wait…

              Reply
              1. Brunches with Cats

                Yeah, but who’s couping who, OTPBDH? We’re reading all this “caterwauling about coups and violence” in the leftish media, blogs, social media, etc., because, as I wrote earlier, there has been a sustained top-down media campaign, with breathtaking doublespeak in playing the victim of a tyrant, while “resisting” with a strategy intended to deprive Trump of office if he wins by a contestable margin. “We’re going to steal the election from you, and if your supporters get violent, it will prove us right that you’re a murderous, human-rights-violating fascist.”

                Reply
            2. Brunches with Cats

              More links:

              Transition Integrity Project white paper, “Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election
              https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7016245-Preventing-a-Disrupted-Presidential-Election-and.html

              Protect the Results, professional “coalition builders”
              https://holdthelineguide.com

              Map on homepage shows 339 scheduled events as of midnight, mostly in Chicago, LA, Seattle, NYC/Acela. A link to resources in the top menu bar takes you to a “toolkit” for event organizers.

              Per webpage:

              “Donald Trump routinely ignores democratic norms, lies about mail-in voting, or falsely calls the election ‘rigged.’ That’s why we’re building a grassroots network of millions of Americans ready to take to the streets to protect our democracy.”

              Scroll down for a link to a complete list of nearly 140 partners, including high-profile orgs such as MoveOn, Public Citizen, and Demos Action, a spin-off of “progressive” billionaires club the Democracy Alliance (incl. Soros & Steyer). Plus some well-established smaller groups (e.g. Daily Kos) and others you’ve probably never heard of, maybe because they didn’t exist before August?

              Last but not least, scroll to the bottom of the homepage for links to articles in the media. I haven’t had a chance to check out all the links, but the few I read did an impressive job of conveying talking points from the TIP propaganda sheet, without sounding like a press release rewrite.

              Reply
        3. flora

          Serious comment: beware of anyone suggesting violence at the polls or afterward. We don’t need no cia-backed regime change here. /heh This is a general comment.

          Reply
              1. jr

                There is a video series up on Youtube in which this guy makes food and stuff from the Colonial era. I can’t find the precise video but the host was complaining to his audience that he posted another video “Orange Fool” ( a dessert) and the comments section was bombarded with pro/con Trump comments…

                Reply
          1. DJG

            flora: Agreed.

            On the right, threats of violence come because the right is always righteous, and violence from the right is not punished–which is why the police are in such trouble.

            From liberals, the current caterwauling about coups and violence is melodrama. I’d call it violence porn, but I don’t want to give pornography a bad name. This kind of panicky coup-desire is all over Facebk these days.

            I note that the left, being more skeptical than the broad nihilist-lite right and liberals, is keeping mum. Good. There may be an opportunity here for the left to seize.

            Reply
            1. Brunches with Cats

              I note that the left, being more skeptical than the broad nihilist-lite right and liberals, is keeping mum. Good. There may be an opportunity here for the left to seize.

              I guess it depends on where you draw the line. Several progressive left (as opposed to the liberals who call themselves progressive to the avoid the negative connotations of “liberal”) have joined “Protect the Results.” The list is on their website. There’s also a map with an an auto-updating event count — 340 scheduled as of 3 a.m.

              As for the “caterwauling about coups,” it’s being inflamed by the upper echelons. To repeat an earlier comment, massive anti-Trump protests have been organized right under our noses. And remember that there’s a good chance that violence on either side will be perpetrated by agents provocateurs.

              Reply
    2. timbers

      I’d rather they instead use the funding for paid leave to do M4A. Oh wait…M4A does not require long term funding as it costs abt 60% of the crap care we have now.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        No good. Joe has already said that as President, that if M4A crossed his desk, that he would automatically veto it. I do wonder now. Joe has come out and said that there is no way that he will ever ban fracking. He is all for it. You would expect that from him but what you would not expect is that after the debates, that Democratic backing for a fracking ban would drop from 65% down to 49%. So if Joe is so against M4A, will we eventually see Democratic support for that also suffer a major drop?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Expect more iterations of a “The Night of the Long Knives” strategy. The nomenklatura has never really worked for “the People” since the Nineteen Sixties. The “Party Elders” have a track record of intervening in favour of their particular interests, no matter what “the People” desire. Shifts in polls seem to be one tool in their arsenal.
          Find us some disinterested third parties to run elections, do polling, manage the debates etc. and we’ll have a fighting chance. Otherwise, welcome to the Sideshow!

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Fair enough comment.
              Ah, but, to refer to the original “Night of the Long Knives,” it worked very well until some foreign ‘actors’ conquered and devastated the Homeland. [This is a situation where one could almost assert that history is linear.] (I most certainly wouldn’t put up the Department of Homeland Security troops against the 1945 Fourth Guards Tank Army, much less the entire Russian compliment just at the Fall of Berlin.)
              See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_for_the_battle_in_Berlin
              It is a shame to see American Democracy devolve into an Imperium.

              Reply
    3. petal

      Access to paid medical leave! ha. What they’ll do is say after the election “Oh, sorry, can’t do that due to the difficult financial situation.”

      Reply
          1. Clem

            “Pay As You Go”: Meaning like Obamacare, your estate, or whatever you own, will be clawed back from your relatives, who might even be saddled with paying all your medical “debts”?

            “… States also have the option to take a more expansive approach and seek recovery of costs for other covered services, not just LTSS, provided to beneficiaries age 55 and older. California has chosen this option and seeks recovery of Medi-Cal costs for all covered services provided to beneficiaries age 55 and over,”

            http://insuremekevin.com/download/medi-cal/EstateRecoveryMediCal_CHCF.pdf

            Reply
    4. tegnost

      I caught that one too from slavitt…If you’re not working then you don’t matter, and what about all those gig contract workers what about your gardener, housekeeper? Who’s going to pay that bill?
      Whichever loser wins it will be pain city for a large number of people. If you’re exploitable you’ll get a few crumbs to get you on the job, if you’re not, then go die. They’ll do things for themselves as you say, and they’ll do things against me.

      Reply
  10. Carolinian

    The ending of the Taibbi is paywalled but the article is definitely worth a read.

    As has been hinted at by several prominent journalists, controversies erupted within newsrooms across New York and Washington in the last week. Editors have been telling charges that any effort to determine whether or not the Biden laptop material is true, or to ask the Biden campaign to confirm or deny the story, will either not be allowed or put through heightened fact-checking procedures.

    On the other hand, if you want to assert without any evidence at all that the New York Post story is Russian interference, you can essentially go straight into print.

    It’s probably obvious to everyone at this point that the press and big tech are in the tank for Biden. But it’s really just a question of degree rather than difference from past campaigns since they were in the tank for Obama and Bush Jr and “on bended knee” for Reagan (although Sam Donaldson played the gadfly). They definitely didn’t like Bill Clinton but made up for it by being mostly in the tank for Hillary. You can fret about this or just ignore the MSM who by self shrinking their potential audience will be increasingly talking to each other–on Twitter no doubt.

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      You know, I’m not responding to your point, which I agree with, and it’s not your fault, because you’re quoting, but wondering what the sentence, “Editors have been telling charges that .. ” means. I get the idea, they’re telling everybody who works in the newsroom that they (possibly at the orders of the publisher, but that kind of thing doesn’t really have to be said) will not publish any of the (many?) Hunter Biden stories unless you bring a 155mm howitzer that’s still smoking. I just can’t stop fretting over what word “charges” might stand in for. I see a lot of sentences like that these days.

      Reply
      1. albrt

        Perhaps “charges” means the early 20-something interns and other naive foundlings who are writing most of the news these days.

        That is what I think Dickens would have meant if he used the word “charges” in this context.

        Reply
  11. griffen

    Since I’m not running for office of any kind, I can take aim at any politician who endeavors to pretend there is nothing to see there. Regarding the fortunate outcomes ones children just work harder for (!)

    Clintons, Chelsea had a nice gig on NBC
    Bidens, well thats quite apparent isn’t it
    Trumps, same old but he is reviled on so many fronts.

    The political and consulting classes of this country always find their ways to 3rd base believing they’ve hit a triple in real life. Utterly large bull turds.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/10/joe-bidenthe-art-of-the-steal-and-china-deal-by-larry-c-johnson.html#more

      He offers up this quote from the alleged (but certainly not denied) emails.

      I love all of you. But I don’t receive any respect and thats fine I guess -works for you apparently. I Hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family Fro 30 years, It’s really hard. But don’t worry unlike Pop I won’t make you give me half your salary.”

      So if true it may be the child supporting the parent rather than the usual vice versa. Of course the Clintons have their own family business with the foundation, Trump took a stab at that idea before being elected and afterwards his status surely helps Jared’s real estate deals, LBJ if memory serves also became suspiciously rich while in office while the Obamas have been showered with money after leaving office. And the revolving door means that a substantial portion of DC is in on the same grift. No wonder they dont want to talk about it.

      Reply
    2. The Historian

      There is one difference: The Clintons, the Bidens, the Obamas didn’t put their children to work in the White House. I wonder who has done more damage to this country: Hunter Biden or Jared Kushner.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Jared Kushner is not one of Donald Trump’s children, but why let a technicality get in the way of some mindless venom?

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          Jared Kushner only has the job he has because he is married to Trump’s daughter.

          Besides, I consider all my sons and daughters in law as my children too.

          Venom?

          Reply
      2. John Beech

        Sheesh, lame is as lame says. Or are you certain Kushner’s efforts vice peace in the Middle East are wasted efforts, which Hunter will be able to put right? Good grief!

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          What efforts for peace in the Middle East? Are you talking about his brokering a ‘peace’ deal between Israel and UAE? Well, they weren’t all that much enemies in the first place, were they? They were already heading for economic, i.e., ‘peace’, negotiations when Kushner stepped in. And what about his involvement in the sale of billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia? Was that for peace?

          And then there is his handling of the Covid fiasco.

          I sincerely doubt that Hunter Biden will EVER be allowed a serious job in the White House.

          Reply
          1. Nakatomi Plaza

            I don’t understand it either, H. The Trump children can’t even pass a security clearance, but they’re given a pass to help run our government; somehow, Hunter Biden is a bigger problem for some people. Very odd.

            Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            LOL Hunter already had a job reporting to the White House, his job was to make protection racket bribes looks like “investment opportunities” and “consulting fees”. Mission accomplished.

            Hunter in Kazakhstan Poland Mexico China Ukraine: “Nice little country you got here, would be a shame if anything bad happened to it. But no problem, just make a bribe kickback investment with The Big Guy The Godfather and you’ll get the policy you want. And we’ve got a special going right now, we took in $100M to build new houses in Haiti through The SecState’s Foundation, we built a total of 19 houses wink wink nudge nudge doncha know so there’s plenty of money to be made so long as the right people get their cut”.

            LOL Jared

            But fear not, the next president has told us that he quote “never ever ever ever” (I believe it was 3 evers but it could have been 4) discussed any of Hunter’s business dealings with him LOLOLOLOL

            Reply
        1. tegnost

          Just as a for instance, which tech platform is going to censor anti trump stories regardless of whether or not they are true or false? Why is this one sidd censorship in any way a good thing?

          Reply
          1. griffen

            They aren’t to be clear. But clearly there is multi-faceted methods to successfully grift, such that the proles may only wonder at the largesse bestowed among our elites.

            It’s hard to draw a true distinction. And others have chimed in with their own inputs.

            Reply
          2. Biph

            Because one grifting scoundrel wears a mask and doesn’t hold super spreader events and the other mocks mask wearing and holds super spreader events, and that’s about it and why I voted Biden and not none of the above.

            Reply
            1. The Historian

              Pretty much my vote too. There are no clean hands in this election and I find it mindblowing to hear one candidate call the other candidate corrupt when there is plenty of evidence for corruption on both sides.

              Reply
            2. lyman alpha blob

              I’m so old I remember all the way back to this spring when the CDC recommended no gatherings of more than 50 people but Biden, not having sewn up the nomination yet, encouraged people to get out there and vote in person.

              Cynical people might conclude he only starting caring once it became convenient for him to do so.

              Reply
              1. Biph

                That may be the case but at least he started caring Trump has yet to do so. Having a mother susceptible to pneumonia due to late stage M.S. and Trump bringing one of his events to my city had a way of clarifying the issue for me.

                Reply
            3. Aumua

              I may or may not be voting for Biden only because I want to see that smug grin get wiped off Donald Trump’s face. I mean it’s the bed he made, and he can lie in it. I wouldn’t feel bad for him.

              Otherwise I have nothing positive to say about Biden.

              Reply
            4. drumlin woodchuckles

              One could make a case that 4 more years of the Trumpublican approach to de-regulation, which amounts to pure permissivism for polluters, will finish the “deconstruction of the Administrative State” long sought by mainstream Republicans.

              If that is achieved, then the Black Hat Bizniss Community will be free to fill the air with cancer gas, fill the water with cancer juice, and pour their cancer gravy all over the food supply.

              If one thinks a Joemalabama Administration would halt that “deconstruction of the Administrative State” and maybe even restore some mundane-level regulatory ability to it, then one might consider voting for Joemalabama as a cancer-prevention action.

              Reply
      3. anon in so cal

        Hillary Clinton essentially sold the U.S. State Department to donors to the CF and implemented policies beneficial to them.

        The Hunter Biden fraud is in the same vein: selling access.

        In Ukraine, it was facilitated by the illegal 2014 Obama Biden Nuland putsch that ousted Ukraine’s democratically-elected president because he accepted a loan guarantee from Russia.

        Ordinary Ukrainians could not afford heating as Hunter Biden raked in $83,000 per month.

        I’d like to see the receipts for the IMF funds to Ukraine, too….

        Reply
        1. John Wright

          One of the great accomplishments of the Clinton Foundation has been to highlight that sometimes influence/access money is paid well in advance.

          https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/11/clinton-foundation-cash-flow-drop/

          “Each of the two years since Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election has seen the organization’s revenue drop to record lows, raising less than any fiscal year in more than a decade — a sharp contrast to the $249 million raised during Clinton’s first year as secretary of state.”

          To me,this is direct evidence that the Clinton Foundation was viewed by many of its donors, not as a “do good” foundation, but as a way to buy political influence.

          Those donors who wanted to fund worthy humanitarian efforts by the Clinton Foundation should have been willing to give even more after HRC lost, because she and Bill would have more free time to devote to their “humanitarian efforts” after Nov 2016.

          Sadly, “following the money” seems to indicate that the Clinton Foundation was closer to an access selling effort.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Always likely to be the case with pass-through middleman charities run by the powerful.

            Given that the great bulk of causes the Clinton and similar prominent people foundations give to can easily be donated to directly, what is the purpose of routing donations through them and incurring a second layer of “administrative expenses?

            To ask is almost to answer.

            Reply
            1. Pat

              Chelsea needed a six figure salary after her husband failed at being a hedge fund manager.

              And you never know when HRC might need money for another run.

              Reply
        2. montanamaven

          Chelsea is better at laundry than Hunter. The Bidens are pretty clunky when it comes to thievery. The libertarian Kennedy on Fox said that Hunter was more like the Hamburglar with a big sack running around making people stuff money into it. Not as smooth as the CF grifters. But then, nobody seems to care anymore who is stealing what from whom. What a world!

          Reply
        3. John Anthony La Pietra

          A new thought (for me, at least): is this why the elite think they can pass off access to health care as the real thing? Because they deal in access constantly, and in their circles it is valuable? (Or even more cynically, maybe it’s so they can say: “Well, if you won’t admit access to health care is valuable, you can’t complain about our giving big donors and lobbyists access to us!”)

          Reply
      4. Alex Cox

        Bill Clinton put his wife in charge of crafting the country’s health care policy. She entirely failed.

        That was just as harmful and stupid as anything Trump’s kids have done.

        Reply
      5. ambrit

        More d—ingly, these worthies put the White House to work for their children. It’s known among the deplorables as influence peddling.

        Reply
    3. Bern Unit 101

      They came first for the Daily Stormer, and I said nothing, because I am a progressive hypocrite, the product of decades of social conditioning, who is actually terrified of being cancelled by the people I thought were on my side.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “…the people I thopught were on my side.”
        You structured that backwards. These ‘people’ think of us as being “on their side.”

        Reply
  12. timbers

    China on becoming a financial center…..Could be a good thing if used for its domestic benefit, and maybe shuns reserve currency status. Good in that it will counter US even as she fails to grasp her days of uncontested hegemony are over, and side stepping reserve currency status might reduce financial sector hegemony of its own economy?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’d be very sceptical about that article, I think the writer is talking up his book. I don’t think China is particularly interested in being a major international financial market, because that would constrain its own power in terms of maintaining control over capital flows and its currencies, and its control over internal investment flows. As the regular links from the China Law Blog show, China is unambiguously prioritising internal security and control over investment from foreign companies. The recent inflow from foreign banks is more to do with the perception that the Yuan is undervalued and that there may be opportunities as China appears to be recovering more quickly post Covid (although some dispute this).

      There is also of course, the HK issue – China is trying to ‘mainland’ many of HK’s financial functions, although in reality most of international relevance are flowing to Singapore instead. There is a contradiction here as China has long used HK as a sort of backdoor for money movements which have proven useful for Chinese people who are well connected but don’t want to follow the rules. It remains to be seen what options will remain for them, but interestingly, China has recently been relaxing foreign currency rules, so there has been a significant outflow.

      But it has little to do with the conflict between the US and China. This is all to do with China’s attempt to rebalance its economy. If anyone is threatened, it will be Singapore and/or Tokyo/Seoul. There is a very pronounced move within all of Asia for countries to reshore both industry and their financial markets. They may dream of becoming international financial centres, but in reality the only gains are from those who are feeding on the carcass of Hong Kong.

      Reply
        1. workingclashero

          Factions within chinese society are keenly interested in going full neo-lib at the expense of their country’s national sovereignty.that is the great game being played by the west against the prc.notice all the chinese students being “educated” in free financial markets in american universitys.

          Reply
      1. timbers

        Agreed, and I was skeptical. Mainly of neoliberalism being in the article, like the implication that becoming a “financial center” = GOOD THING no matter what.

        But if China being a financial center means USA loses it’s current power of sanctions via shutting down other nations from doing business because USD hegemony, that’s a good thing.

        Reply
        1. John Wright

          If China did for finance what they have done for manufacturing, it could be a worthwhile goal for them.

          It isn’t a stretch to assert a large, costly and inefficient financial industry can hobble a country.

          If China pursues a bare-bones, lower operating cost financial industry for the world’s use, China could have a similar effect on the US financial industry as they did for US manufacturing.

          If this were to happen, many in the US financial industry might be channeling Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” Kurtz as he said, “The Horror, The horror.”

          Reply
  13. PlutoniumKun

    Why the urban poor will be forced to leave big cities FT

    A slightly confusing article that is something self-contradictory. It’s not always the case that bad times forces the poor out of cities, it can do the opposite. When the economy of Dublin collapsed after the 1820’s there was a huge influx of poor people vainly seeking some sort of future in the city – they inhabited (at enormous densities) the big houses built during boom times for the rich. Something similar happened in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Harlem in New York.

    What can happen is a sort of ‘flip’ of population, whereby the poor and fairly well off native denizens of a city leave, with the spare accommodation taken up by even poorer outsiders – hence influxes of immigrants to fading industrial cities. It can make more sense for a dirt poor immigrant to shove into a tiny apartment in a run down city than go to the outer suburbs of a more prosperous place, there are more support structures in place and potentially more opportunities.

    Of course, the big move has already happened in NY. A few years ago on a visit I was talking to a distant relative who worked as a book keeper for a range of independent restaurants in Manhattan. He’d mentioned the standard ‘double book’ system in NY whereby a second set of books was kept to deal with payments to illegal immigrants. Someone asked where all the people who worked to keep those restaurants ticking over lived. He took out his phone to point out areas in the outer boroughs where, he said, they would often live 15 to 20 to an apartment in some distant outer suburb, maybe 2 hours bus ride from Manhattan. Mostly these were places that native New Yorkers couldn’t even point out on a map, let alone having visited. It does occur to me now that if NY went into decline, there would be spare capacity for many of those people to move back into the city – whether this would exacerbate problems or create new opportunities, I really don’t know.

    Kuper does make the point that cities with multiple forms of wealth creation nearly always survive – the cities that historically have died are usually those entirely dependant on a single industry. However, he seems to not have noticed that increasingly some big world cities, like New York, London or Hong Kong, have increasingly lose the dense network of factories and other small businesses that underlaid the more glamorous employers in finance or head office operations. This may have made them far more vulnerable than any time in their recent histories.

    Reply
  14. Pat

    Older gentleman I know escorted a friend to early voting. The woman has documentation, is elderly with medical issues. Told at door, yes you have this, but we don’t have any way to accommodate this so you’ll have to wait on the blocks long line. They both left. His response, “America has gone crazy. I can’t believe anyone is standing in line to vote for either of these two clowns.”

    Also hitting my black humor button, the big heavy multicolor post card telling me to “Vote for Biden on the Working Families line to keep him on the progressive track.” It then lists Green New Deal, Medicare For All, Black Lives Matter. And on the back multiple “Vote to demand change” pushes.

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

    Reply
  15. eyebear

    Here in Germany “paid sick leave” is a part of our social fabric, which helps us in these pandemic times. It was a political goal, established in 1969 during the government of Willy Brandt, after long strikes in the 1950ies, that made the paid sick leave a part of the local collective agreements in the industry.
    Nowadays it helps to buy time – you phone in on your local GP and he tells you what to do – visit him, stay at home or go to the next covid-19 test center. This might be your local GP too, but it depends on whether you live in the country side or a town.

    Most important is the personal responsibility, which is strenghened by this procedure. The first three days are without any visit of a doctor possible to be taken. This is one of those small bricks, which form the wall of law against the virus, here in Germany.

    Reply
    1. John Beech

      We’re presently enjoying via Netflix a program titled Dogs of Berlin because of its look at some aspects of life within a major German population center. Our preference is to hear German and read English subtitles, which interesting, Netflix now applies to any foreign program we click on (before this, we had the lame English voice actors). Anyway, if you like crime television, this is recommended. Does it play on German television, or is it solely via Netflix for Europe also? Anyway, I’m of the opinion there is value in seeing how the other half lives and it’s through gritty television where the underbelly of society is most exposed. May not be pretty but the more I watch the more I come to believe humans are humans everywhere regardless of language, culture, or color. Not an especially nice creature and God’s critters go, either.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        You can watch subtitled German and other European productions on the streaming service https://watch.mhzchoice.com/. It’s relatively inexpensive. Spiral (Engrenages) is a French production much in the same vein as Dogs of Berlin. The seventh season is coming out soon and I liked the series so much I’m rewatching the first six in preparation. On Netflix I’ve also watched Babylon Berlin and Black Spot twice. I’m a mystery addict and I watch very little in the way of American TV any more.

        Reply
        1. montanamaven

          “Borgen ” kind of “Scandal Goes to Denmark” about a Danish female PM. (Subtitled on Netflix.) But it’s well done and, yes, I love watching a political intrigue show that is not set in the USA. Copenhagen is gorgeous. It is fun to see that the Evening News Star lives in a studio apartment. And the PM does her own hair before going to the Opera. Not glamorous. Babylon Berlin is cool. I will check out Dogs and Spiral.

          Reply
    2. WhoaMolly

      > Most important is the personal responsibility

      I too was struck by German sense of personal responsibility while visiting.

      A few years ago I was on a walking tour of Southern Germany. I paused momentarily on a hillside to enjoy the view of Medieval buildings and forest beyond. Suddenly a German granny stepped out of her house and started yelling at me. She pointed at the ground. I was standing next to a foil candy bar wrapper. She thought I’d littered and took it on herself to “fix” the problem.

      Reply
      1. Glen

        One of my father’s favorite stories from Germany was visiting the in-laws in Hamberg and taking the dog out for a walk. When he returned from the walk, his father in law asked if the dog had, well, pooped. When my dad said yes, he yelled in horror, asked where, and ran off to collect it.

        Only then did my Dad learn that there was a 1000 DM fine for letting your doggie take a poop in public.

        Reply
        1. WhoaMolly

          Similar fines (not sure how much) for not putting recyclables in proper bin. And there are apparently officials whose job is to check the bins…

          Reply
  16. h2odragon

    Should twitter be blocking all posts where “pressure” and “Biden” appear, or just those from the wrong people? In other words, is this an issue of free speech, or have they merely squelched the wrong parties in this instance and are correct about all the other things they’re desperately trying to silence?

    Run this fantasy out to its end. Biden wins, the “Truth and Reconciliation” commissions are running, mandatory lockdowns, full body condoms, and federal permission slips for fluid exchange. How long is it going to take to eliminate the deplorables and re-educate the ones who can be saved? Yall think we’re gonna line up quiet for these treatments?

    Run the other side’s fantasies out to the end. Its really hard to argue the FBI isn’t a corrupt, criminal organization that needs addressing; and our society has been severely harmed by government over-reach at all levels. Lawsuits against over-stepping county officials all the way up to people at the federal level would be a legal means of redress; is there any faith that such a tactic would work? Any patience to invest the time to do things “the right way”?

    No wonder everyone’s buying ammunition with borrowed money.

    Reply
  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Unspectacular Excellence of Joe Biden’s Slow and Steady Campaign Politico

    I was going to comment that if you search the phrase “damning with faint praise” this article would be Exhibit One, but then I realized I couldn’t find any “praise.” Anywhere.

    The author remembers a biden speech in 2018 when he was stumping for candidates:

    ….Some 30 minutes into his remarks, with the keynote speaker no closer to finding an organizing theme, people began to get up to leave. First a few, then a larger trickle, and before long, streams of them, young and old, black and white, heading for the exits. Of those who felt obliged to stay, there were exchanged looks of bewilderment and wristwatches checked and cellphones fiddled with.

    and concludes that this is just what the moment calls for:

    Biden is slow. He is steady. He is unspectacular. In other words, he is what much of the electorate seems to want.

    “Unspectacular excellence“–two words that could only be used together in 21st century america. The only “excellence” I can see is in the gaslighting.

    Reply
    1. albrt

      It’s more than just the gaslighting. Somehow over the past 20 years, the democrat party and especially Barack Obama have taught the democrat-inclined masses that it is greedy and unbecoming to want anything better than a bucket of lukewarm sh*t. That is the gaslighting part.

      But the extent to which Joe Biden perfectly embodies a bucket of luke-warm sh*t is also genius, and should be recognized.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “A New Framework for Assessing Sanctions is Vital for Any New US Strategy on North Korea”

    Sanctions are too problematical. For North Korea, better to learn to bypass sanctions than to give up their nukes only to become Libya East a short time later. And North Korea has had agreements with the US but the US reneged on their side of the agreements. Also another problem is that sanctions can be imposed at will whereas if North Korea gives up a program or infrastructure, it may take years to build back if it is even possible. And just because the US lifts sanctions after an agreement does not mean that they will shortly impose a whole raft of new sanction. Iran signed the nuclear deal and Obama kicked in new sanctions in short order. Even some western nations do not want to get aboard the sanction train. If against leaders that is one thing but to impose it against the people and causing tens of thousands of deaths for no real reason is another. The author of this article spent 12 years in Korea but it seems that he is not really writing what he knows to be true

    Reply
  19. PlutoniumKun

    French startup Ynsect to build world’s biggest bug farm Reuters

    Its a very promising concept (especially for producing fish farm feed), but I can’t help noticing that there is no mention of where the food for the insects comes from. I know some companies are using organic waste, but Yinsect are quiet on this, even on their website.

    For many years I’ve been a strong advocate for composting and vermiculture for a wide range of organic wastes, but unfortunately the evidence is building up that its problematic in many ways, especially due to plastic contamination. So it could be that controlled use of organic wastes (whether its from home collections, from municipal garden collections, or from commercial/agriculture sources) as insect food could be a better solution than direct use as compost. But without more solid research, its hard to be sure that we aren’t just making the problem worse. Ultimately, the problem keeps coming back to our inability to keep ‘waste’ streams clean and uncontaminated. Until we can do so, there is no acceptable form of waste treatment that isn’t storing up further problems.

    Reply
  20. Duck1

    Notice the long early election line in Brooklyn, lack of machines for the number of potential voters. Typical republican trick to suppress the minority vote, am I right?
    Oh wait, NYC blue administration, NY state blue government . . .

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Line at MSG and the one in my neighborhood Both wrapped around the block. I wonder how many people subconsciously noted the inordinate amount of ballots that got tossed in the primary and then decided to vote early.

      Considering the longest the line has ever been at my polling place was to the corner, I have to admit I am shocked. Glad they are all getting it done, so I have no line.

      Reply
  21. jr

    Request: I’m shopping for a new computer and I was curious about the Raspberry Pi. I don’t need a lot of power, I just need to word process, surf, email, and use Zoom for large groups 20 or so. Any advice etc. would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      Yes you can make a Pi into a Zoom box.. it has to run off the web browser. All of the other uses can be run off the browser as well.

      I would not expect good video quality with 20 people.

      Reply
      1. Mel

        Can’t read PCWorld’s review, because nothing stays on the screen long enough. What a mess.
        But, I’ve been using Raspberry Pi 4B 8GB for Word Processing, Surfing, and Email for most of a year now, and it’s been working quite acceptably, for a $300 computer.
        That would break down:
        Raspberry Pi, power supply, case: $100
        128GB SD card for storage: $40
        HDMI monitor: $150
        Keyboard, mouse: $5 at thrift shop.
        (So take $300 with a grain of salt — might be odds & ends I forgot)

        But it will not do Zoom. AFAIK, Zoom isn’t released for ARM processors.

        Next up, running the Guitarix guitar amp / effects program on one of the old PI3s. I have hopes.

        Reply
        1. Alex Cox

          jr can buy a used MacBook Air online for less than $400 (with a warranty and a 64Gb SSD). This is a good deal for a very portable little laptop with no cobbling hardware together.

          If jr wants to get creative they can install various flavours of Linux on the box. But whatever Mac OS comes with it will probably serve their needs.

          (I’d propose this rather than buying a brand new Raspberry Pi. Old stuff is still good stuff and will last a long time.)

          Reply
          1. Clem

            Don’t forget Open Office or Libreoffice,
            free alternatives to Microsoft Office, which spies on you by shuttling your work to the Cloud if you are not careful about configuring your paid software from them.

            Reply
    2. Fastball

      I have a raspberry pi and quite like it. I bought it to experiment with cheap devices as part of an electronics hobby which I have sadly abandoned and need to restart someday. I think it came installed with Debian Linux which I had to upgrade, which was fairly easy to do over the internet. One thing is, Linux won’t help you as much with configuration as Apple or Windows boxes will; a fair amount of tinkering may be necessary to get the Pi to work with your other hardware.

      A very good source for information and options is Adafruit.com .

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      Another low cost option is a Chromebook converted to Linux if you feel up for that. There’s a version of Linux that runs inside Chrome (you still have to sign into Google) and one called GalliumOs that ignores Chrome altogether. On some Chromebooks you can remove Chrome and run pure Linux or even Windows although you have to take off the back and remove the write protect screw. There are instructions for all this on the web.

      Reply
    4. Glen

      It looks like there is a work around for installing Zoom on the Raspberry Pi:

      How to Use Zoom Meeting on Raspberry Pi? (Video Conference)
      https://raspberrytips.com/install-zoom-raspberry-pi/

      The web page with the instructions is missing some of the graphics WITH the instructions so these may be difficult to follow.

      Judging by the commands used in the article, they are using Debian or a Debian derivative as the OS on the Raspberry Pi.

      I haven’t messed around much with the Raspberry Pis. I would suggest you check into NUCs. These are available now with Intel (Intel started NUCs about ten years ago) and AMD Ryzen processors:

      Asus unveils a NUC competitor with AMD Ryzen and Radeon hardware inside
      https://www.pcgamer.com/asus-unveils-a-nuc-competitor-with-amd-ryzen-and-radeon-hardware-inside/

      NUCs tend to be a bit more expensive, but at present NUCs are quite a bit more horsepower than a Raspberry Pi.

      Reply
  22. jr

    Re: partisan views on freedom of speech

    No surprises here and I have to say I trend towards the Repug point of view. I’ve had this argument with a couple of liberals and it always comes down to “protecting” marginalized groups and “safe spaces”. Never a position on the squashing of rights, never a word on the damage censorship causes. No sense of history of the damage censorship causes.

    It really boils down to a sense of entitlement. The PMC’s with their IDpol ideology consider themselves the enlightened ones. It’s their place to lecture and infantilize. Which is why it is so damned satisfying to back them into corners and watch the smooth veneer crack and the leering smile appear that tells you they are about to drop the pretense of having a clue and start to ignore/other you.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Once you know in your very soul that your point of view is the only correct one you then construct a program so that all may receive only the fruits of your received wisdom. Team Blue’s determination to destroy The First Amendment is the lynchpin, because without that one you can’t get to any of the others and thereby be enfranchised with any views or policies except the correct ones. So it becomes mission critical to enshrine a filter between the plebes and the information they used to access in order to foster a pluralistic society, because the very idea of pluralism posits that the many segments of society have differing needs and views, and this of course is heresy of the highest order. Dangerous OtherThink is a child that must be strangled in its cradle before it can grow into something that threatens TOTW (The One True Way).

      I’d think that before voting for TOTW and hermetically sealing off the possibility of any arguments to the contrary that people would need to make sure they are 100% on board with every aspect of the TOTW canon. As detailed in public statements by their highest priests I believe it goes something like this:

      1. No actions by TOTW are against the law of the land. These include attempts to overthrow the government using the intelligence agencies when the people in error have selected the wrong leader at the ballot box.
      2. The leader of the nation may receive funds in return for advancing the interests of other nations while in highest office.
      3. Related to #2, the leader of the nation must not attempt to pursue the interests of the citizens of the nation as their top priority (the pernicious so-called “nationalism” and “America First” ideologies). Before decisions regarding the interests and standard of living of the citizens of the nation can be implemented (for better or worse), it must be determined that the interests and standards of living of all other nations would not be impacted.
      4. The country’s culture can only be understood as a manifestation of the abiding racism of the country’s white founders. Interpretations other that this, or attempts to understand the past in ways that acknowledge the differing thought patterns and norms of the day will not be tolerated.

      I for one would prefer the free-for-all of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, but I’m not desperate to get money and power. Just freedom.

      Reply
  23. a different chris

    >these years worth of county data clash loudly with the Trump-as-phony-populist charge, and the common companion depiction of the last Democratic administration as a working- and middle-class champion

    Again, correlation but no causation. Need one, freaking simply one thing Trump did that can be shown to have helped this.

    And no, I don’t think Obama planted some sort of seed either. Funny saying from a long time ago, which really applies to the US pseudo-economy nowadays, when US Steel was fading in the 70’s:

    “Grant Street (their world headquarters in Pittsburgh) is like a log floating down the Ohio with 600 ants on it, and every one thinks they’re steering”.

    Give people universal no-cost healthcare for chrissakes, and enough to feed and house themselves in retirement, and let the rest of it do what it’s gonna do.

    This whole thing, I don’t care which side is doing it, is a childlike need for a Father figure to make it all better. Give me a break.

    Reply
  24. anon in so cal

    >Biden

    If he were to win, this could further de-stabilize the Balkans…..in addition to his plans to escalate in Syria, more NATO farther eastward, make Russia “pay a heavier price,” remove Maduro, consider nuclear war with North Korea:

    “Biden Appeals to Bosnian Muslim and Albanian Voters Reveal Democrats’ Plans in the Balkans

    Biden’s Victory May Further Destabilize the Balkans

    Paul Antonopoulos Posted onOctober 23, 2020

    “….To empower US positioning in the Balkans, Biden wants to resurrect policies from the 1990’s that resulted in poverty, ethnic cleansing and war in the region……

    It is clear from his addresses to the Bosnian Muslim and Albanian Diaspora communities in the US that a Biden administration will play a more active role in the Balkans to contain Russian influence in the region by pressurizing Serbia.

    If Biden defeats Trump, new pressure will be created against the Serbian dominated entity, the Republika Srpska. The Republika Srpska is one of the two entities comprising of BiH, with the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina which comprises mostly of Bosnian Muslims and Croats. Biden’s policies indicate that the Serbs will be pressured into accepting NATO and into accepting Sarajevo as the centralized political center for BiH, thus taking away even more liberties and autonomy from the Republika Srpska. Effectively, if Biden is successful in the upcoming elections, what the Bosnian Muslims want could be achieved – the complete integration of BiH into the Euro-Atlantic agenda by being absorbed into NATO and the EU, thus eliminating most of Russia’s influence in the region.

    The fact that nearly 25 years has passed since the signing of the Dayton Agreement, which formulated the two-entity system of BiH, without settling deep seeded problems in the untenable system, is a testament to the failure of the US experiment in the Balkans…..”

    https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2020/10/23/biden-appeals-to-bosnian-muslim-and-albanian-voters-reveal-democrats-plans-in-the-balkans/

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Biden is a big time imperialist and exceptionalist. Trump just plays along (true of everything?). Almost makes me want to vote.

      Reply
    2. Annus Horribilis

      The Serbian diaspora in the US is 700,000 strong, and a number them refugees not pleased that the Serbian army decided to lay siege to Sarajevo using conscripts either. NATO did not “dismantle” Yugoslavia, a nation with the most commercial ties to the West of all the Warsaw Pact countries. Serbian nationalists were unhappy that the historical Serbian region was underdeveloped when compared to the other regions and wanted sovereignty over the urban industrial centers of the former Yugoslavia. Serbo-Slovene, Josip Broz Tito, who was from Croatia, was a Federalist first, then a Communist. Tito kept a tight lid on ethnic hate, albeit with an extremely repressive regime.

      Questionable source in my opinion. Turkic Muslims are a particular target. For being a feature of anti-war.org, Antonopoulos sure is keen on Russia opening more war fronts against Turkey. Also, suspiciously keen to support Assad’s rule, Antonopoulos posting on white nationalist forums, and all. Almost as if he’s being paid to run pre-packaged articles across multiple disparate contexts.

      “In a real war no one knew which side he was on, and there were no flags or commentators or winners. In a real war there were no enemies.” — from Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard

      Reply
  25. Mikel

    RE:”Why the urban poor will be forced to leave big cities” FT

    I had to look up this paywalled FT article and found myself reading it on a site called Boxden.com
    Not familiar with this site and really just clicked on the first site available that had the article. So glad that I did.

    Read the comments section there and discovered the views of the actual “urban” people the article is discussing.

    Reply
  26. Basil Pesto

    Been a bit of an uproar in the UK this week over child hunger.

    A campaign spearheaded by English footballer Marcus Rashford to keep free meals for schoolchildren going during lockdowns and school holidays in the summer was implemented by BoJo at the time. The policy was due for renewal but the tories have tried to bin it in the runup to the next lot of school holidays, though the need has not diminished. People are unhappy

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-24/marcus-rashford-free-school-meals-boris-johnson/12809794

    Reply
  27. Lex

    ‘Without a ‘Right to Garden’ Law, It May Be Illegal to Grow Your Own Food’

    We do most of our vegetable gardening in the side yard (that often useless space between the houses) and the backyard where the neighbors can’t see what we’re up to, unless they’d like to climb atop our six foot shadowbox-style fence. By late May, those dedicated beds were full…

    …but then I decided to pick up two cute little plants (they’re like puppies!) and take them home — one a watermelon and the other cantaloupe. And we were out of room in the back, so we planted them at the corner of the house where our many strolling trolling “neighbors” could get an eyeful. Then we puckered our loins and waited to see what would happen with the plants, and the possible complaints. We had learned a harsh lesson over the off-leash law. Some of our more liberatarian residents could give a rat’s ass about other people’s safety and we took offense. Deep, deep offense.

    We installed 23 solar panels on our roof. Repainted. Re-roofed. Redesigned and re-fenced to a full six feet. Erected a Mrs. Peg’s clothesline for days when I wanted to dry the sheets outside. Hired a crew to put in new sidewalks. Bought a small trailer and (only) parked it out front while we loaded and unloaded. Didn’t put in a single ‘Mother-May-I’ request for permission from the HOA.

    Puckerpuckerpuckerpucker… you get the idea. We put an attorney on retainer, just in case.

    The neighbors complained about some of this to the property management company hired by the HOA, who in turn issued a letter notifying us of the anonymous complaints. States may pass statutes, cities may pass ordinances, and HOA’s may steadfastly refuse to get those memos and update their covenants. HOA board members ’round these parts tend to be autocratic, when they bother to meet up at all.

    I have a dream. In the dream I’m walking through this neighborhood and all the dogs are on leash and every yard is a Garden of Eatin’. Our roofs are just big solar sponges converting the sun into all the power we need. We drive electric cars and use public transportation, and we never again hear the roar of combustion engines from a block away, exceeding the 25 mph speed limit up the hill and becoming airborne over the golf cart crosswalks, while throwing their empty beer bottles out their windows and yelling out ‘Fuck you!’ into the night air and into the open windows of bedrooms where we were innocently snoozing until so rudely awoken. And if a bottle gets broken a neighbor who bears no blame for the broken glass, nevertheless accept the responsibility and picks up a broom and dustpan, because for that neighbor it really is all about community and community, matters.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Nice! But to escape Neighbor Hood Associations’ obsession with their property “values”, it’s the country or desert for me where I can do as I please (mostly) – ala Amfortus (sp?).

      Of course I need high speed internet too …

      Reply
  28. John Anthony La Pietra

    Trump’s Order Sets the Stage for Loyalty Tests for Thousands of Feds Government Executive

    About five hours ago, I thought I’d find a link to the Executive Order in question, and share it in case someone wanted to (try to) read it:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-creating-schedule-f-excepted-service/

    Haven’t seen hide nor hair of it yet, so let me try once more. And this time I’ll try to add some value I’d been reserving for after the post went up. . . .

    Does this strike anybody else as yet another thing to which the (R)esistance wing of the duopoly won’t put up more than token (r)esistance because they’d enjoy abusing the power themselves if/when it’s their turn? And if so, could it signal a (further) breaking point between politicians and managers?

    (And considering that senior executives would get some of the discretion to put the staff in their departments into the new Schedule F category, could it lead to a US version of “Yes, Minister”?)

    Reply
      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        That is the article, linked above, which is based on the issuance of the Executive Order for which I found the direct link I posted.

        Reply
  29. dcblogger

    I have been listening to Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel. It has brought back many memories of my human rights activism in the 1980’s. Also all the samizdat I used to read back then. Mostly it is about the importance of living in truth. Havel tells a story about a brewery where he worked where is supervisor cared passionately about making quality beer. The supervisor wrote a letter about all the inefficiency and corruption at the brewery. The plant manager, who was well connected in the communist party, had the supervisor reassigned to a low paying job. What struck me is that similar stories could be told about plants taken over by private equity. You really can’t compare contemporary America to the old communist bloc, but there are disturbing parallels.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwid1H1sEWTp-7DBFnX-_-zmEchKQDTxc

    Reply
  30. Tomonthebeach

    Registered Republicans finally voting? So what? First, many Lincoln Republicans are voting Biden. Second, many of us registered independents voted Biden. Third, I do not know any Dems who said they were voting Trump. The only thing we have to fear is Bob Woodwards book-sale scenario (in the Guardian) of Trump trying to start WWIII to take us all down with him.

    Reply
  31. JWP

    Re: Online testing

    Yeah, looks about right. Most of my time is spent emailing teachers about instructions and technical difficulties. I’ve given up on learning the material and just go for the grade. Reading my books and websites (such as NC) to get my information has provided me with a much better education this semester along with working a few jobs.

    I think the relentless pursuit of schools meeting grade quotas and testing during the pandemic, with no help for students, is going to further push people away from higher education. Most people’s view has shifted to “get me out of this place and into a job.” I and many of my friends have definitely been pushed to not wanting to go to grad school and just work a job because of how pointless college has become.

    Here’s hoping these schools go out of existence!

    Reply
    1. JWP

      The inability to communicate and interact with professors has meant all the students see, like the example posted, is the asinine departmental codes and directions through the professors. But it ends up being just the result they want, a bunch of people who are really good at following directions.
      Go long on IKEA!

      Reply
  32. ewmayer

    Friend of mine who should know better sent me a link to the following Guardian story:

    Kleptopia review: power, theft and Trump as leader in Putin’s own image | US news | The Guardian

    My reply:

    Oh, brother, my “Atlanticist propaganda radar” was on high alert right at the opening photo – “see the 2 vile dictators responsible for all the world’s problems!” – and sentence, “In a year dominated by a US presidential election between a kleptocrat and a democrat”. Anyone who thinks Joe Biden is anything but a career-long DC mega-grifter is either a deluded fool or a liar.

    More counterfactual nonsense: the orgy of oligarchic grift the author describes in post-Soviet Russia? That wasn’t under Putin, it was under the West-beloved Yeltsin, who was loved and feted by the West precisely because he allowed the looting, much of it by U.S. & European Big Capital, to go unimpeded, while the Russian people starved and saw their life expectancy plunge. Bill Clinton, then-US president, loved Yeltsin so much in terms of being a U.S. poodle, he meddled in the 1996 Russian election to help Boris get re-elected – note this comes straight from former Clinton top aide Dick Morris, and has been subsequently verified by multiple independent sources.

    The title “Kleptopia” isn’t even remotely original – Matt Taibbi’s 2010 book on the 2008-9 financial crisis and the elite-looter class which caused it was titled Griftopia.

    Taibbi’s latest article, BTW, fits the theme perfectly:

    With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story: Unprecedented efforts to squelch information about a New York Post story may prove to be more dangerous corruption than whatever Hunter Biden did with a crooked Ukrainian energy company

    Jesus, were you buying any of the Guardian piece’s propagandistic garbage? This is the same rag which proudly employs “reporters” like serial liar-for-Empire Luke Harding, after all – the fellow who’s been doing his utmost to help ensure that embarrasser-of-the-Empire-via-release-of-factual-material Julian Assange spends the rest of his life in a deep, dark hole. Go wash your brain out with soap, young man! :)

    Reply
  33. fresno dan

    So I’m going through my mountains of election literature that we have in CA. I am voting in person – maybe – if I can only figure out WHERE I can vote. So after navigating the county of Fresno website, I eventually stumble upon the county board of elections. So to find where you can actually vote, like they did when dinosaurs ruled the earth, apparently much more democratically than now, they have set up a little map, and a pointer, and you click.
    OF COURSE, it is one of the maps that the minute you touch your mouse (computer mouse) the map is frozen and the “highlighted” area actually darkens so much it is hard to see the name of the streets, as well as not being anywhere near my neighborhood.
    Suffice to say, after much map wrangling, I eventually figure out – maybe – where I can actually vote. What building I can vote in is a different question, as half the time the site tells me Girl Scouts of America, and the other half Valley Business Bank.
    Are these merely businesses in the same vicinity as the polls? They have an actual printed document of the location of the ballot drop boxes, but they don’t do the same for the voting centers – bizarre. And I don’t know why they keep changing the locations where you can vote in person…
    I have 4 days I can vote – the temperature is in the mid 70’s with no chance of rain, and its only about half a mile walk in a tree lined neighborhood to the area of the polling place – I figure if I walk around I should find the polling place…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Based on other stories, just look for the building that has a line of people three blocks long outside of it.

      Reply
  34. Matthew G. Saroff

    If you want to a long tweet storm in a window, I might suggest the following:

    * Reply to the first post of the thread with @Threadreaderapp unroll.

    This creates the thread as a single page.

    You will get a reply that says something like this on Twitter:

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/###################.html

    Since Threader no longer directly provides an embed function, you have to do it yourself:
    <iframe allowfullscreen=”” src=”https://threadreaderapp.com/embed/###################.html” type=”text/html” width=”800 px” height=”1000 px” frameborder=”0″></iframe>

    This will embed the entire tweet thread in an 800 x1000 pixel window.

    Threadreader App is now suggesting the use of a microblogging site to do this, but that is a PITA.

    Reply
  35. Glen

    Regarding: “The code-breakers who led the rise of computing”

    Code breaking and SIGINT are one of the big drivers of supercomputers. The other big driver was designing bombs. The NSA, LLNL and LANL are still all supercomputer users. NSA always specialized in systems that could handle massive amounts of data while the Nuclear Labs went in for pure number crunching power.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_7030_Stretch
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_7950_Harvest
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDC_6600
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDC_7600
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-1

    Way back in the day, it was popular where I worked to go across the street to LLNL and sit on the benches of the Cray-1 which had just been installed.

    Now a desktop PC can run rings around something like a Cray-1.

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      So can most phones… I get confused looks when I tell people that they have a supercomputer in their pocket.

      Reply
  36. drumlin woodchuckles

    If those long lines of would-be voters waiting for hours in Brooklyn is voter suppression, then lets remember that it is Democratic Party voter suppression. Because the Democrats are in charge in Brooklyn.

    I thought of a new acronym in case anyone wants it. PKKK Democrats. PKKK? Pink Kitty Kap Klintonites. There is still a lot of legacy Clinton sewage and maggots and hidden left-behinds all over the DemParty streams and ponds and wells and aquifers.

    Though of course as the JoemalaBama candidacy should alert us, there is a whole new layer of Obama sewage and maggots and left-behinds all over, under and inside the Democratic Party as well.

    Reply
  37. The Rev Kev

    Just came across this now in a tweet by Michael Tracey-

    Michael Tracey
    @mtracey
    Oct 25
    Tried to get into Biden’s “drive-in” event with Bon Jovi this afternoon in Dallas, PA and was told attendance is limited to “party officials and donors.” Registration is not open to the general public. Kinda weird how these campaign rallies have effectively become private affairs

    https://twitter.com/mtracey/status/1320056138096926723

    Reply
  38. adrena

    “The Liberal government is making a mockery of Canada’s parliamentary democracy” by Andrew Coyne

    Andrew Coyne is a conservative swine of the first order. I can’t believe Naked Capitalism posted his vicious diatribe against the Liberal government whose handling of the current Covid crisis has been outstanding.

    Reply
    1. eg

      In fairness to NC, it’s unlikely for many Americans to have much familiarity with the “inside baseball” (inside hockey?) of Canadian politics, let alone that Coyne holds a deeply personal animus towards Trudeau and his family.

      Reply
  39. Mikel

    RE: “Obama Couldn’t Fix the System. Biden Must”

    He’s been in office since the early 70s and watched it get progressively worse. Pipe dreams and delusions like this get sold to people and people wonder where all the anger comes from.

    Reply
    1. albrt

      “He’s been in office since the early 70s and watched it get did everything he could to make it progressively worse.”

      FIFY

      Reply
  40. Mikel

    RE:”The press keeps depicting long lines to vote as some sort of victory. It’s not…”
    It is for their corporate owners.

    Reply
  41. Mikel

    From CNN News:
    “California wildfires: 361,000 will be without power.

    With the strongest Diablo winds and fire weather of the season predicted for Sunday, Pacific Gas & Electric says it will shut off power for roughly 361,000 customers in Northern California.”

    I wonder how electric vehicle mandates and evacuation plans will work together in the future for these scenarios. Ha!

    Reply

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