Links 10/7/2020

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747 soars past the competition as Katmai’s new Fat Bear Week champion Anchorage Daily News

Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet Atlas Obscura (Furzy Mouse).

Covid-19 downturn not as bad as feared; crisis not over: IMF chief Agence France Presse

Infighting, ‘Busywork,’ Missed Warnings: How Uber Wasted $2.5 Billion on Self-Driving Cars The Information. NC early and right here as well.

Coronavirus: World leaders must urgently phase out factory farming to cut future pandemics risk, says report Independent

Memories of the Killing Floor – The Magic of East Texas BBQ David Metcalfe

#COVID19

Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Science. “There is overwhelming evidence that inhalation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a major transmission route for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” NC was early and right.

Scientific Brief: SARS-CoV-2 and Potential Airborne Transmission CDC. “Updated Oct. 5, 2020”. Perhaps I stan for aerosols too hard, but I read this as a political document straddling the aerosol/droplet divide. Nevertheless, if as guidance it leads to aerosol-appropriate measures being taken, I am a happy camper.

EVMS Critical Care COVID-19 Management Protocol (PDF) Paul Marik, MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School (anon). Skip to page 15, “Key Concepts of the EVMS Treatment Protocol.”

White House Agrees to FDA’s Guidelines for Vetting Covid-19 Vaccines WSJ. So, no possible colorable claim of a vaccine by Election Day.

Trends in COVID-19 Incidence After Implementation of Mitigation Measures — Arizona, January 22–August 7, 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Handy chart:

WHO: 10% of world’s people may have been infected with virus AP

COVID-19 cases keep rising in Capitol complex. Roll Call. “[C]ases among front-line workers on Capitol Hill continue to rise in the center of American government, which to this day lacks a comprehensive testing regimen for all workers.”

Ultra-Orthodox Community Members Gather to Protest New COVID Restrictions NBC

Evidence-Free ‘Lab Leak’ Speculation Boosts Trump’s Xenophobic Approach to Coronavirus FAIR

US medical supply chains failed, and COVID deaths followed AP

China?

China’s new economic ‘dual circulation’ strategy may not just be inward-looking, but also a pivot to Asia South China Morning Post

Chinese Citizens Are Already Receiving a Coronavirus Vaccine The New Yorker

Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries Pew Research

Southeast Asia Isn’t Interested In Joining A New Cold War The American Conservative

Pandemic prompts drive-through pet blessing in Philippines Reuters

India

How coastal areas, protests made Thiruvananthapuram epicentre of Kerala’s Covid resurgence The Print

India’s new paper Covid-19 test could be a ‘game changer’ BBC

Syraqistan

The war in Artsakh Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Kyrgyzstan on edge of chaos after opposition storms government buildings Reuters. Perhaps pertinent:

“London-listed miner Kaz Minerals KAZ.L said it had suspended production at its Bozymchak copper and gold mine and protesters showed up at smaller mines developed by Chinese and Turkish companies and demanded they halt operations, according to local news website Akipress. State-owned gold miner Kyrgyzaltyn said it had repelled an attempted attack on its office. Another group appeared to have broken into its gold refinery. Canada’s Centerra Gold CG.TO, which operates the country’s biggest gold deposit, said its operations were continuing uninterrupted.”

Oh.

The Campaign to “Kill” the BDS Movement Against Israel Extends Far and Wide Jacobin

Brexit

Brexit Talks Are Stuck on Fish, a Red Line for France’s Macron Bloomberg

Brexit Border in Ireland Could Lead to Violence, Spies Warn MPs Bloomberg

Brussels resists plan to safeguard post-Brexit share trading FT

UK/EU

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases The Register. Giving me the opportunity to present Malcolm Tucker in classic form:

RussiaGate

Texas U.S. Attorney John Bash, tapped to investigate Obama administration for “unmasking,” resigns Texas Tribune

Comey’s Amnesia Makes Senate Session an Unforgettable Hop, Skip & Jump to Fraud Ray McGovern, Consortium News

Venezuela gold: Maduro government wins in UK appeals court BBC

Trump Transition

House Democrats say Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple enjoy ‘monopoly power’ and recommend big changes CNBC

A tiny team of House staffers could change the future of Big Tech. This is their story. Protocol. Beat sweetener, but ok.

The IRS Is Being Investigated for Using Location Data Without a Warrant Vice

Some states overpaid unemployment benefits — and want the money back CBS

2020

Washington’s worst-kept secret Politico

Joe Biden Gettysburg Campaign Speech Transcript October 6 (transcript) Rev

October Surprise? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet Bloomberg

Public health must be a priority in the 2020 US election The Lancet. A little late.

Manipulative tactics are the norm in political emails (PDF) Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP), Princeton. “Manipulative political discourse undermines voters’ autonomy and thus threatens democracy. Using a newly assembled corpus of more than 100,000 political emails from over 2,800 political campaigns and organizations sent during the 2020 U.S. election cycle, we find that manipulative tactics are the norm, not the exception.” Shocking but true!

On the Rule of Capital, Climate Crisis & the Rise of Fascism in the Pig Empire Nina Illingworth

Health Care

The Medicine Nobel for Hep C Should Force Us to Think About Patents, Patients, Profits The Wire

Assange

The Unprecedented and Illegal Campaign to Eliminate Julian Assange The Intercept

Our Famously Free Press

“This Gravy Train Is Coming To An End”: News Media Begins to Contemplate a Post-Trump White House Vanity Fair

Facebook bans QAnon across its platforms NBC

Police State Watch

‘Gang-like’ deputy clique exerts ‘undue influence’ at East L.A. station, report says Los Angeles Times. LA Confidential was a documentary?

Imperial Collapse Watch

Years after they fought in Afghanistan, US troops watch as their children deploy to the same war Stars and Stripes

Afghan task force will deploy to monitor U.S. election Duffel Blog

Guillotine Watch

Dalton Parents Revolt Over Prep School’s $54,180 Online Classes Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Global Capital Is the Tail That Wags the U.S. Economic Dog Michael Pettis, Foreign Policy

When Market Logic Comes for the Family American Compass

Amazon Study of Workers’ Covid Is Faulted Over Lack of Key Data Bloomberg. “But three experts interviewed by Bloomberg said the data was… essentially useless for employees trying to assess whether it’s safe to show up for work.” That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

How to Potty Train Your Cat: A Handy Manual by Charles Mingus Open Culture. From 2011, still germane.

Black Hole Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Physics Scientific American. Very on-brand for 2020.

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.

248 comments

      1. Andrew Thomas

        Uh, no. The single greatest crime in American history? Genocide of native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow, Mexican War, Spanish-American War, presidential assassinations, legal lynching of labor activists and random African-Americans, anti-black riots, the US involvement in the entire history of Haiti. I could go on. And this doofus says an investigation of him, to which his only response was “no collusion”, and obfuscation and resistance to any transparency at all, was the greatest crime in the history of the country? Note that I barely got out of the 19th century with the above litany. And you agree with him? The whole Russia thing never took place at all. He could have said that, but his deranged egomania got in the way. How could anyone not prefer me to Hillary? What the US is doing to Julian Assange is a crime that dwarfs anything done to poor Donny. And the things that were open and shut impeachment grounds- massive violations of the emoluments clause- were hidden and viciously guarded by El Orange until finally, about 10 days ago, we finally got a look at the tax returns that are preliminary to documenting the charges.

        Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            That, and I’ll bet anybody here $5 that Trump never sees the inside of a jail cell. Tax returns are not records of criminal activity and it isn’t like the IRS didn’t already have access to them.

            But if TDS sufferers want to waste time trying to prosecute him to, well it wouldn’t be the first time the government wasted a lot of money on a useless cause.

            I still believe that the real reason PMC liberals hate Trump with such a passion is that, to use a currently apt metaphor, he has ripped the mask off what the presidency is really all about and shown them what they’re really voting for by casting ballots for the likes of a Bush, Clinton, Obama or Biden. He does the same stuff, just without the veneer of civility and decorum which the liberals like to hide behind to assuage their guilt about voting for the assassinations, fraud, theft, destruction and warmongering committed by the cleaner, more articulate presidents they prefer.

            Reply
            1. ArvidMartensen

              When was Obama ever going to allow having *His Office of President to be occupied by someone who wasn’t anointed by him? Never.

              Trump has been under siege since he won the ballot. Because he was elected by *folks* who have no legitimate right to decide questions of such moment – the deplorables, the not suave, not Harvard, boorish detritus of humanity.
              Which of course made Trump’s election illegitimate and fair game for overthrow by any means.

              Did nobody else ever see the quasi dictator Obama for who he really was? Using any means, illegal and partially legal, to take out (drone, harass, spy on, false-flag and prosecute) anyone he didn’t like? Including journalists. And a new President.
              If anybody thinks that the new Republican Obama/Biden Presidency is going to pardon Assange, then I have a bridge to sell you.

              Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Er, Andrew above says “The whole Russia thing never took place at all.

            So that’s the preferred conclusion. No, we didn’t have an outgoing president and party fabricate evidence with the help of the CIA and FBI to attempt to overturn the results of a presidential election.

            See how easy this politics stuff is?

            Kind of like the wire transfer of $3.5 million to the son of the VP from a Russian billionaire, for unknown purposes. It’s recorded on the books of the central bank of the United States, sender, recipient, and amount. But per the candidate, who admittedly has a long and storied and very troubled relationship with the truth, “it never happened”.

            I’ll quote someone from yesterday: “Republicans are sleazeballs in every possible way, but they’ve never attempted a coup”. But per Andrew our bad history in Haiti and some obscure emoluments BS are somehow worse than the attempted overthrow of the federal government.

            Q for Andrew: Is it green? (the color of the sky on your planet?).

            Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t imagine this will have an effect anywhere other than the Trump faithful absent the Durham Report, though I think it’s good the information is out there. Like that, more please. Should have been done earlier! Like two or three years earlier.

      Adding, at some point Trump is going to discover that the steering wheel has been mysteriously disconnected; this could be that moment. It’s not clear to me that intelligence community will obey the order; it’s also not clear to me that the press would cover the story if they did; see their behavior re: Assange. It’s also not clear to me how such material as is released would be authenticated; if I were the intelligence community, I’d be sure to salt the release with bad data, as with Guccifer 2.0.

      Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          And with biden’s “election,” the coup will finally have succeeded.

          So, by all means, get out and “vote” against Trump’s “fascism” like a good little american. Our “democracy” depends on it. Your “voice” must be “heard.” Disregarded, disrespected, ignored and secretly nullified, but “heard.”

          # “Resistance”–in your dreams.

          Reply
          1. Phillip Cross

            It would be fallacious to asset that: because Biden is bad, Trump is good. That makes no sense at all. They are both horrible.

            A great many people genuinely hate Trump and the legions of right wing minions that do the dirty work below him. They represent an anathema to the way that many Americans see themselves and their place in the world. That has nothing to with a coup, and everything to with the sickening worldview espoused by the modern right and its members.

            When they both suck, as they objectively do, the choices are:

            a) Dont vote.
            b) Vote the bums out.
            c) Vote third party.

            Not:

            d) Vote to keep the bums in.

            Reply
            1. neo-realist

              e) Don’t vote for the presidency, but vote for all the down ticket true populists you can vote for. Vote for engines of potential true change for main street americans.

              Reply
                1. Katiebird

                  Yes. If I could sort out the down ticket candidates worth voting for. From the ads here in Ks 3rd Dist. Virtually all the Dem candidates are trying to convince me that they are really Republicans. Very Strange.

                  Reply
                2. edmondo

                  It should be a quick vote.

                  Besides the main card, I get to vote for/against a crazy Republican who is running against a “Democratic” opponent who was a registered Republican until 2018. I’m gonna pass.

                  Fortunately, our Congress person is in alcohol rehab (again – the third time is the charm) so we don’t hear much from her even when she’s sober. Her actual residence is 130 miles away from her district but she’s a loyal new Dem so she’s got campaign money up the wazoo.

                  I will vote to legalize marijuana and hope my Congress critter can ignore the “devil’s weed” long enough to vote for something that Nancy Pelosi really wants, like more bailouts for multi-billion dollar corporations..

                  Reply
            2. JTMcPhee

              Are you the same Philip Cross who makes a whole lot of editorial insertions and deletions in Wikipedia that all seem to push the Narrative a little harder and turn Wiki even further into being a tool of the Few to nail down their privileged status? By excising any real information on a variety of non-“mainstream” topics By, for example, claiming that they are just “conspiracy theories”? Like Jimmy Dore’s Wiki entry? https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jimmy_Dore&action=history And any entry pointing out that the supposed “chemical attacks” in Syria were complete bogus false-flag stuff, for one example?

              Reply
            3. Katniss Everdeen

              They are not equally “horrible,” and justifying a vote for biden on that basis is just bullshit.

              Despite the 4+ years of manufactured Trump hysteria, he has effectively been completely handcuffed. He has accomplished very little in the areas on which he campaigned–immigration, reshoring of manufacturing, ending forever wars–and for which he was legitimately elected.

              biden, whose only “campaign promise” is not being Trump, will not be similarly constrained, especially with the backing of a rogue “intelligence” community fresh off its insidious triumph, and an out-of-control media propaganda operation.

              joe biden has spent 47 years in the swamp creating the dismal conditions that Trump was elected to address, and maniacally sabotaged for 4 years to stop. The two of them are nowhere near equal in their horribleness. It’s just that simple.

              That biden will solve the problems that produced Trump is a pathetic joke. That he will return the country to the desperation he spent his life helping to create is not. That biden and Trump are “equally horrible” so we might as well go back to the place we tried to escape from four years ago is the power of propaganda.

              Reply
              1. Phillip Cross

                I never said they were equally horrible, but as i did say, they do both suck!

                As far as I am concerned, choosing between them would be like choosing between a firing squad or the electric chair. I don’t care which is theoretically worst of all, I choose “None of the above”.

                You have a point of view, clearly deeply influenced by the right wing propaganda, and that’s fine. A lot of people agree with you. Then again, a lot of people believe Elvis is alive too.

                It may surprise you, but not everyone shares your point of view. For tens of millions of Americans, a campaign promise of “not being Trump” is good enough.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  And, let me add, tens of millions of people willingly followed “der Fuhrer” off of a cliff.
                  (Godwin Rule violation, but, so what. American political discourse has lost any pretense to rigour or integrity.)

                  Reply
                2. JTMcPhee

                  If you are the Phillip Cross who stalks various Wiki pages “correcting the record” by editing out references that poke holes in the Narrative, like disproving the stories Spread by various state-security agencies about chemical attacks on Syrians, one might ask what you believe in. Speaking of the right wing propaganda.

                  Fear, uncertainty, doubt. A mantra to live by.

                  Reply
                3. Katniss Everdeen

                  Because “good enough” is exactly what’s called for in times like these.

                  Good little americans–keepin’ the farce going because it’s who “we” are and what “we” do. You can’t have a “democracy” without “elections,” and you can’t have an “election” without “candidates,” so “good enough” it is.

                  It’s how “consent of the governed” is established in an oligarchy pretending to be something it’s not.

                  Reply
                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Election? Who needs one of those silly things. If you don’t like the result just call the CIA and FBI, they’ll fix things right up for you.

                    Do Americans have any idea what they are acquiescing to here? Take the people and the personalities and the parties out of it for a moment. THAT is the form of government you seek?

                    To quote flora: “Like Watergate, only worse”.

                    Reply
                  2. Phillip Cross

                    You’ll get no arguments from me on that count.

                    I don’t know how you get from there to being a Trump cheerleader and apologist though. That makes no sense at all.

                    Just because I think raisins taste disgusting, that doesn’t effect or improve the taste of dried apricots. They can both be inedible.

                    Reply
                    1. Katniss Everdeen

                      ….Trump cheerleader and apologist….

                      Gimme a break. Four years of nothing versus 47 of decimation is a no-brainer.

                      When they show you who they are, believe them.

                    2. Phillip Cross

                      Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together could see Trump’s act was fraudulent the moment he picked Pence in 2016. It’s been all downhill since then.

                      Far from doing nothing, he has governed like any standard GOP sombitch with golden giveaways to connected cronies and cowardly sanctions devastating countless innocent lives around the world… Not to mention the damage to the environment he has cheered on etc

                      If that’s your thing, I guess keep in parroting their BS on here every day. Not that you’ll ever change a single mind in doing so. Whatever floats your boat.

              1. D. Fuller

                Check your State laws for voting. Your ENTIRE ballot may be invalidated if you do a write-in.

                States may restrict who you can or cannot write in on the ballot.

                Reply
            4. D. Fuller

              Perhaps you missed where over 50% of Biden voters do not like Biden.

              That over 50% of Trump voters do not like Trump.

              That it appears that over 50% of voters of all stripes can agree on is that both are unfit for office.

              Reply
              1. JTMcPhee

                Too bad more folks don’t agree that the “system” is broken as far as providing a sustainable, homeostatic living situation for all but a tiny Few, that voting largely makes no difference, and that it doesn’t matter a whit which figurehead squats behind that big desk in the Oval Office.

                Power and actual “agency” clearly reside elsewhere. Big question for us mopes is how to pry the Nazguls’ fingers off the levers of political and economic power.

                Just looked over at Twitter and it appears that a lot of people are now believing that another one of their hoped for saviors, AOC, is proving to have those inevitable Imperial Bubble feet of clay. Power corrupts and all that.

                Reply
                  1. John Anthony La Pietra

                    +1, and on the upstroke too. (Less messy and longer-lasting when you’re licking your finger to tally.)

                    Reply
            5. jefemt

              I keep waiting for a media talking head to ask their sample group of potential voters, the final question:

              And do you plan on voting in November?

              Reply
          2. anon in so cal

            +1000

            The actual “fascism” awaits.

            This has unfolded according to NeoCon / CIA regime change scripts…..first step is smearing the targeted rival

            (anyone remember Obama’s NDAA? exposes U.S. citizens to “indefinite military detention without charge or trial –potentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act)

            Reply
          3. Montanamaven

            I feel lonely except when I come here. Trump was and is a strange vehicle to try to take down the house that the Dulles brothers built. (Read Stephen Kitzer’s “The Brothers”). He gave it a good try and he may not go down with a whimper. But my liberals friends still can’t get past “Orange Man Icky” and so the coup will be completed. Populists like John Edwards were taken out the old-fashioned way i.e. a sex scandal. But that didn’t work with this Trump guy. So then it was Russia, Russia, Russia which both Fox anchors and MSDNC anchors still believe. By the way, I Fox is becoming more like CNN and MSNBC. Their viewers are starting to leave for Newsmax and the comments on certain sites are pretty angry about Chris Wallace and the hiring of a political operative and “cheater” Donna Brazile. Most of the news people are pretty moderate.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              “Most of the newspeople are pretty moderate.”
              I do not deny your point, fair enough of an observation, but I do ask myself; “More moderate than what?”
              I think that a distinction between ‘local’ and ‘national’ venues should be taken into account.

              Reply
      1. dcrane

        A friend of mine routinely defaults to “let’s see the fully redacted Muller report” when pressed to acknowledge that Russiagate was a nothingburger. So like you I want to see More, please, and quickly.

        Reply
        1. dcrane

          I’m half-expecting to have them move in and declare him incompetent on the grounds that a steroid high ruins his judgement. But if they can get away with just ignoring him, that will do.

          Reply
          1. Acacia

            I’ve already seen such noises in the Twittersphere, though obviously people are desperate to find something that might stick to Teflon® Trump. If Russia won’t do, why not Roid-Rage?

            Reply
          2. jackiebass

            I think your other half will win. The people surrounding Trump are gutless and will never move to remove Trump. If they had any guts, Trump would be long gone.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              That’s too dangerous a precedent to set.
              The 25th Amendment was put in place to remove obviously incompetent personnell. Whatever we might think about Trump, he does meet minimal standards of competence for a “Federal Job.” Removing him through the 25th Amendment would be seen by the general public, and rightly so, as a “coup.”
              That such a scenario has been floated ‘seriously’ is a sign of systemic dysfunction and rot, not just a ‘rogue’ President.
              Of more interest is the thought that the elites have not learned the lesson of Trump’s election in 2016; the general public, or at least a half of the voting public, voted against the policy of “business as usual.” That rage and fear is now stronger than ever, and has been, through all the anti-Trump propagandizing, enhanced.
              Trump may soon be gone, but the underlying forces that drove his election carry on, waiting for the anticipated “effective “reformer” to arrive.
              We will still be living in interesting times, no matter who is President.

              Reply
              1. J7915

                Competent for a Federal Job. Don’t demean employees of the federal government please, getting promoted past the level of competence or ability is the administrators fault; as well as the system’s.

                That is like using the term:” close enough for government work” in a disparaging manner, a more accurate understanding is: meets the requirements for the intended purpose, i.e. Russian T34 tanks were designed, assembled and maintained anticipating a limited survival time in combat. This from a family friend forced to work as a POW in a Soviet tank factory.

                Reply
                1. The Historian

                  +100
                  Most people can’t seem to understand that the difference between most Federal employees and the Federal politicos is about the same as the difference between Amazon’s warehouse workers and Jeff Bezos.

                  I remember when I was a Fed under Obama. His attitude towards Federal employees was that we were just soldiers and should follow orders without question.

                  Reply
                2. ambrit

                  Au contraire friend. It may not be “typical” of the range, but the Federal construction jobs I worked on had a definite sub-text of creeping corruption, of both personnel and regulations. The civilian contractors were always trying to ‘figure the angles’ to cut corners and variously pad their pockets at the government’s expense. Even under the “Buy American” regulations then in force, we would always, and I do mean always, see materials that were plainly marked as being from foreign nation states. Those in control of the projects for the government, such as the Quality Control officer, could put a stop to said practices quickly, but often at the risk of being removed from their position by those higher in the governmental ‘chain of command.’
                  Consider, the execrable record of Administrations of the recent past concerning “whistleblowers.”
                  “The Fish Rots From The Head” is applicable to the government.
                  As for being promoted past one’s level of competence, well, I’ll throw in the Peter Principle. Seldom are those so promoted demoted.
                  Now, the T-34 anecdote might be apropos of a wartime economy, but what excuse does a civilian contractor in peacetime have for ‘sharp dealing’ in the provision of goods and services? Of more importance is a governmental system that not only enables such cheating, but actively discourages the exposure of such malfeasance.
                  It would be nice to blame the system entirely for the corruption instead of the people who comprise the system, but real people are being damaged and killed every day by the system. More importantly, killed and damaged by the people carrying out the system’s demands. A “system” does not have agency, people do.

                  Reply
                    1. ambrit

                      Both types of “employee” have one major thing in common; they are both paid by the government, either directly or indirectly. As in the “Golden Rule” so beloved of Oligarchs everywhere, he who pays the Gold sets the rules.
                      Secondly, “contract employees” must adhere to Federal guidelines as much as Federal Employees. No “Get Out of Jail Free” card comes with that 1099 form.
                      As J Fuller remarks just above, (thanks JF,) the important roles in any government funded endeavour are filled by direct Federal employees.

                    2. ambrit

                      Sorry to D. Fuller for the misnamed hat tip. I must have been thinking of the English military historian.

          3. christofay

            Then the roid will be pumped industrially into Biden to make him appear awake from the hours of 8 till noon.

            Reply
          4. Milton

            Trump would only be deranged and considered unfit for office only if he did something completely bonkers like say, declaring Medicare for All by exec. order.

            Reply
      2. km

        1. It is abundantly obvious to anyone even sort of objective and paying attention that the alphabet agencies set out, with active MSM assistance, to neuter Trump.

        2. It is also obvious that the MSM (and everyone else not already a Trump cultist) will respond to the declassification by jamming its proverbial fingers in its ears and howling “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

        Reply
      3. Andrew Thomas

        It was pretty clear to me that the steering wheel wasn’t in the White House when Obama’s order to close the Guantanamo concentration camp was somehow never carried out over his eight years. Of course, neither was Trump’s promise to fill it with dangerous Muslims or whoever.

        Reply
        1. km

          IIRC, Obama never gave that order. His cult members offered up excuse after excuse, for eight long and dreary years, why that particular order could never be given. Usually, these excuses started with the words “Mean Republicans….”

          Reply
    2. dcrane

      “Trump: “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russiagate Hoax. Likewise, the Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

      Is about-to-lose Trump, riding on a low-oxygen steroid high, finally actually threatening the Swamp?

      Reply
            1. ambrit

              At the Saenger, yes? It’s in the middle of the Real Swamp after all.
              Man. You couldn’t mean the old McAlister Auditorium at Tulane could you?
              How about Tad Gormley Stadium? It’s outside so as to minimize the depredations of the Dreaded Pathogen.

              Reply
        1. dcrane

          Hm, you may be onto it there. But it does mean that Pelosi is free to call for the release of the unredacted Muller Report. I’m not holding my breath of course.

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Trump is doing his Samson act here. By now he knows all the forces arrayed against him – the intelligence services, the State Department, the Pentagon, the media, sections of the Republican party, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. In other words this election will be a stacked deck. So why would he not release all this information of the four year campaign against him in order to show people afterwards what he was up against. It let’s him shape how his Presidency will be regarded. How will his supporters take all his? I have no idea but you can be sure that there will be consequences. What happens in the next four weeks? Your guess will be as good as mine but I will say that it will be totally unpredictable.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        I’ve been continually surprised for 3.5 years by Trumps inability to use the power at his disposal.

        I suspect that never having real operational responsibilities for anything, always shielded by wealth and the Roy Cohns it can buy, Trump just doesn’t know what the real levers look like.

        He thinks those around him have it when they can’t get to it without his prior exercise of power to forcibly remove obstructions, which requires more focus and memory than he’s willing to give the effort.

        Reply
      2. pjay

        The concluding paragraph by Thomas Neuburger in the article posted by Yves today:

        “Again, Trump is not the candidate of the oligarchy, of the small clutch of people who actually run the country. Biden is. In any close outcome, he has the edge. Biden will be the next president unless Trump wins by a significant margin — or dies and the rest of the country, including the Chamber, falls suddenly in love with Mike Pence.”

        The full truth behind Russiagate will never come out. I was certain of this the moment I heard (back in early 2019) that Bill Barr would be Trump’s new Attorney General. If you know anything about Barr’s history, you know that his career in government has been protecting “the small clutch of people who actually run the country.” The idea that he would be some kind of swamp-cleaning hero was just as absurd as the belief that Trump could be. The difference is that Barr is part of the Swamp, along with Gina Haspel and many others. Trump never was, and as Schumer expressed in his memorable “six-ways from Sunday” statement, he was always in over his head. Perhaps he is realizing that now, but even if he knew what to do he wouldn’t be able to do it.

        Reply
      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Rev, when you said: “all the forces arrayed against him – the intelligence services, the State Department, the Pentagon, the media, sections of the Republican party, the Chamber of Commerce”
        you just gave a perfect list of reasons to vote for the man to win: he has all the right enemies. Unless of course you are happy with the way those groups run things for us…in which case Biden is without a doubt your man.

        Reply
  1. fresno dan

    “This Gravy Train Is Coming To An End”: News Media Begins to Contemplate a Post-Trump White House Vanity Fair

    As television news anchors bemoaned last week’s ugly presidential debate, and feared that American political discourse might have sunk to a new low, Donald Trump found reason to celebrate. “HIGHEST CABLE TELEVISION RATINGS OF ALL TIME. SECOND HIGHEST OVERALL TELEVISION RATINGS OF ALL TIME,” he boasted Wednesday, along with a warning: “Some day these Fake Media Companies are going to miss me, very badly!!!
    ==========================================
    Wasn’t about 95 to 99% of Trump coverage superfluous? Seriously, what substantive thing other than tax cuts has Trump done? Did I miss the dedication of the Wall? Is new NAFTA really better than old NAFTA? Was Obamacare abolished? Space force – seems the ever increasing military industrial complex rolls on irrespective of party.
    I don’t know if I would call appointing judges an accomplishment – judges get appointed no matter who is president, and each president appoints ones that the party likes.
    It will be interesting if Trump is defeated – I find it hard to believe that Trump wants to fade away, and I find it hard to believe that the profit motive of cable news will allow Trump to fade away…

    And I mean interesting in a Chinese curse kinda way.

    Reply
    1. jr

      “I find it hard to believe that the profit motive of cable news will allow Trump to fade away…“

      +1, they will continue to squeeze the Tangelo Terror for “juice” until his desiccated rind turns to powder. While we will be forced to listen to the rambling outbursts of a declining “Pet-o-phile” Joe in one ear, along with Wokes-fuhrer Harris’s psycho pathologies, we will be assaulted in our other by Trump’s inevitable talk/reality show(s) in his arrogated role as elder statesmen.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        jr
        October 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

        Imagine that sad day, and by sad I mean SAD, when Trump passes away, and former president Kamala passes a juicy fruit to Ivanka, and the entire press corps laments if only we could return to the civility, decorum, and class of the Trump presidency…

        Reply
      2. Clem

        With Trump on the sidelines, and president pro-tem Biden spending more time with his family members that he recognizes, at least The Kameleon will have something to rant about from the UnWhite House.

        Imagine the horror to the Democrats were Trump to retire and keep quiet. They’s have to resolve the BIDEpression with no one but themselves to blame it on.

        Reply
    2. furies

      He did dismantle government agencies by appointing people ideologically opposed to their ‘mission’.

      There’s that.

      Reply
      1. bassmule

        Yes, he did. I do not understand the constant sniping about Biden. Let us stipulate: He’s been a lifelong shill for the banks, and beholden to for-profit medicine, and Big Money in general. But the coronavirus debacle lands squarely on Trump, as does the filling of the Cabinet with members whose job was to de-regulate everything they were supposed to regulate. And, just on general principles, he’s a freakin’ psychopath talking about 12 more years in office. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never heard that one from any U.S President, ever. Let us please get sleepy Joe in office, if only to quiet down the Proud Boys, etc. And just to be clear: I do not believe Progressives are somehow going to “hold Joe’s feet to the fire.” It is going to take the public equivalent of an acetylene torch–applied for a long time–to detach Biden from his commitments to the Billionaire/PMC crew. And that will take the election of representatives who are there (to invent a phrase) to give comfort to the afflicted rather than afflict the comfortable. And wow, if that doesn’t happen…I hope there’s a vaccine, because I’d like to be able to use my passport again.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          You and me both. I hate Biden, but I’d like to go to a restaurant again. And a bunch of other stuff. And I have to believe “Sleepy Joe” won’t spend his dozing days interfering with the virus hunters.

          It’s not much to expect, and I might get it.

          Reply
    3. John

      The media needs a “Trump” by whatever name to fill those moments when there is no genuine “news.” He could be the new Kardashians. He will not go away willingly.

      Reply
    4. Carolinian

      Wasn’t about 95 to 99% of Trump coverage superfluous?

      Yes. If i was as obsessed with Trump as cable and network news are I think I would go nuts. My brother, who watches them, may already be there. CNN’s Zucker–formerly of NBC (The Apprentice) and who secretly calls Trump “the boss”–must be getting desperate at this point. If Trump loses then CNN will be back to covering blondes in peril and babies down wells. Greenwald just wrote a column snarking about Maddow’s tender on air concern over Trump’s covid after four years of calling him a Putin secret agent and would be caudillo. Says Greenwald, if they really think Trump is Hitler shouldn’t they be wishing the opposite? I’d say Maddow’s concern is real. Don’t want to lose the cash cow.

      Reply
    5. Patrick

      “I don’t know if I would call appointing judges an accomplishment – judges get appointed no matter who is president, and each president appoints ones that the party likes.”

      SCOTUS was the Framers‘ most important “barrier to power” (Thomas E.Patterson); the “last bulwark against change” (Charles A. Beard) aka democratic reform aka more democracy aka preserve the status quo aka protect property interests. Aside from Progressive Era appointees and FDR’s threat to “pack the Court”, all judges are economic conservatives (protect property interests) regardless of Party choice. As for the cultural realm, Democrats likely choose cultural liberals; Republicans cultural conservatives.

      Reply
      1. J7915

        They didn’t count on a charismatic seniority leader of the senate. Or is there deep state coersion involved, to have all repubs blindy to the line?

        Reply
    6. Acacia

      I’m not keen on Trump winning, but what bugs me about the possibility of him being defeated is that millions of good liberals will emit a giant, collective sigh of relief, tell us that “the nightmare is finally over!!”… Hundreds of newspaper articles and probably millions of social media blurts will rejoice. They‘all say “yes, we’ve got a lot of work to do after that nasty Schlitz Malt liquor bull crashed into our nice china shop, but mommy and daddy will help sort it out,” as they put on their sleepy time caps and nod off. Meanwhile, the looting and dysfunction will continue, and anytime we question this or otherwise dare to perturb their slumber, there will be a sleepy, annoyed reminder that we should thank our lucky stars that the Democrat party saved us from the fascist Orange Hitler and we should cut the Dems all a little slack as they aide and abet the looting.

      Reply
      1. km

        Not only will millions of goodthink liberals tell us that the nightmare is finally over, they will make excuse after excuse for Biden when he continues the nightmare.

        Fact is, there are two basic problems that America face today – the destruction of what is left of the middle class and the stupid wars, aka the Empire. The catch is that there is no way to fix these problems without dislodging several entrenched constituencies that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Those constituencies all have their congressmen (and bureaucrats in the regulatory agencies) on speed dial, and they aren’t afraid to fight dirty if they have to.

        This is why the fight of idpol becomes so vital to the continued viability of the current system.

        Reply
      2. Gc54

        Guaranteed.

        I hope that in his twilight before Jan 20 Trump will pardon Snowden, Assange, etc as a final F-you to the security state.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          If Trump ever wants those docs implicating the spooks to see the light of day, pardoning Assange would be a very smart move. Possibly the first one of his presidency.

          The fact that Trump needs to do a twitter rant in the hopes of them being released leads me to believe the fix is in. If Barr and Durham are even on Trump’s side in all this, and I wouldn’t be sure that they are, well I wouldn’t get on any small aircraft if I were them.

          It’s possible Durham’s investigation was intended for insider eyes only from the beginning. That way the Republicans can see which of the spooks they can trust while purging the disloyal, without actually having to reveal any of the criminal behavior or make any reforms at all. Because they’d like to use a similar playbook at some point in the near future, just with different players.

          The Republican politicos have no great love for Trump either, but they do like their party and the rice bowls that come with it. So they could use the Durham investigation for informational purposes, hang Trump out to dry, and then unleash holy hell on the Biden administration later. I wouldn’t expect the Republicans to let the Democrat party’s four year witch hunt go unanswered, and the obstructionism and leaks during a Biden presidency will make what they did during the Obama years look like a church picnic.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Speaking of rice bowls, such an interesting article yesterday (yes, on TheBurningPlatform).

            The upshot:

            Congressmen do not write laws: not a single solitary word. Corporations, usually through industry interest groups, do. Then they take them to K Street bribe payers lobbyists, whose job it is to recruit bribe recipients politicians to try to enact them.

            So policy is not set in the slightest by the government, it’s set by corporations.

            Trump broke this “feeder” system, that’s why in early 2017 Congress had no bills to try and advance. None. There weren’t any, because Trump wanted bills that reflected his government’s desired policies, but the sausage machine just does not work like that.

            THAT’s why there is such a coalescing of forces who want the man gone. Can’t have policies, like helping manufacturing or resisting China, get in the way of the flow of funds to corporations and lobbyists and lawyers.

            And THAT, my friends, is why we are completely screwed. If you don’t smash the feeder system you will NEVER get policy that is anything other than a wish list for corporations. For those rooting for NEVER, the choice of candidate is clear.

            https://www.theburningplatform.com/2020/10/04/there-are-trillions-at-stake/

            Reply
            1. Aumua

              Previous story: “The Most Expensive Healthcare System in the World. Is it the Best?” (spoilers: it’s nothing about universal healthcare or anything like that. It’s a plug for HCQ.)

              Next story: “Climate Science Collapses” (you can guess where that goes)

              I know that discarding information just because it comes from this or that source is reactionary and that I could miss some vital facts because of it. But if this is where you’re getting your info these days then it’s no wonder you seem to have “jumped the shark” and “drank the right wing cool-aid” lately. As a longtime regular commenter at NC you should care more about what you feed your mind, and what you broadcast to others your self. Everyone thinks they are immune to the brainwashing but this site (burningplatform) represents some hardcore rhetoric that will really get inside your head if you allow it to.

              Reply
            2. Acacia

              Saw that too. It was also at the Conservative Treehouse and ZH. I’d be interested to see a good NC thread on that article here.

              Lambert, any interest?

              Reply
        2. km

          Don’t kid yourself.
          1. Trump will not do any such thing.
          2. Even if he did, you can bet your mother’s life that the alphabet agencies will find a reason to ignore or override any pardon granted.

          Reply
  2. zagonostra

    >Biden Gettysburg Speech.

    I am reminded of a quote from Gustave LeBon after reading transcript of Biden’s recent speech at Gettysburg:

    “Many men easily do without truth but none is strong enough to do without illusions.”

    The possibility of prosperity, not just for the privileged few, but for the many, for all of us. Working people on their kids deserve an opportunity…

    We cannot and will not accept an economic equation that only favors those who have already got it made; everybody deserves a shot at prosperity

    This is our moment to answer this essential American question, for ourselves and for our time. And my answer is this, it cannot be that after all this country has been through, after all that America’s accomplished, after all the years, we have stood as a beacon of light to the world…

    You and I are part of a covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and hope renewed.

    https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/joe-biden-gettysburg-campaign-speech-transcript-october-6

    Reply
      1. ChrisAtRU

        UGH …

        Of all the batsh*t stuff Trump tweets, this one really, really upset me yesterday:

        “Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their…” (via Twitter, emphasis mine)

        “generous offer” … ???!!

        Are he and his administration not public servants??? This is a fundamental problem with the way politicians are treated. They’re not rock stars … they’re not celebrities … and to the degree that anyone understands that people’s votes provide employment to politicians, they are only overlords to the degree we allow it. Sadly we totally have. Imagine yourself hiring someone to do you any other job, and when you ask for the material benefits for which that person was employed to delivered, the hired turns around and says, “Please accept my generous offer to do substantially less that you requested!”

        This is a change in attitude necessary wherever elected governments exist. And just to be sure, a Harris-Biden administration needs to be treated with the same level of exigency. “Access to healthcare” is the equivalent of Trump’s horrible “generous offer”!

        Reply
    1. rl

      In other words, Biden has promised to revivify the shambling corpse of “representation politics”—whose magnificent powers of ensorcellment did, after all, successfully cripple and cannibalize every serious effort of the twentieth century to save this civilization from itself: from the social and economic emancipation of women, to the full enfranchisement of Black Americans, to gay liberation (to be clear: from slanders and secrecy; prison cells; medical wards; extermination camps; exile-from-everywhere, oikos and polis alike) … all could be and (so it might seem!) were metabolized to “upward mobility’s” glittering catalog of blind ambition.

      Once a Trump inevitably emerges, squeeze like a sponge; then, rinse and repeat.

      Biden promises to rinse and repeat.

      No, thank you.

      Reply
    2. flora

      And my answer is this, it cannot be that after all this country has been through, after all that America’s accomplished, after all the years, we have stood as a beacon of light to the world…

      Where have I heard something almost exactly like this before? Oh, right. Nixon’s 1968 convention acceptance speech. ;)

      https://youtu.be/K0xeX5sTOpE?t=31

      Reply
  3. Floyd

    re: supply chains

    I thought we had a private healthcare industry? Yes, the US government’s reaction was dismal, but why is it entirely the government’s responsibility to supply PPE? Certainly, highly paid hospital administrators are aware that most PPE comes from outside the US and the consequences that a pandemic might have on their supply? Were there any healthcare systems that stockpiled their own PPE? Or was the plan to blame the government if there was a crisis? Back in the day I spent a fair amount of time crafting disaster recovery plans (e.g. usually including inventory to bridge the gap with new a production source). Does anyone bother with that anymore?

    Reply
    1. JohnMinMN

      Richard Wolf covered this topic in an interview on Majority Report yesterday. The reason we weren’t prepared for a pandemic is because it’s not profitable to manufacture PPE and store in a warehouse for an undetermined amount of time until a pandemic hits. We weren’t prepared precisely because we have a private health care system.

      Reply
      1. Floyd

        Exactly! There shouldn’t be any handwringing over these deaths. There should be no mystery as to what’s happened here. The supply chain is working PRECISELY as designed. Privatize profits and socialize losses (costs).

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Much simpler to say that every problem associated with Covid is Orange, that way your billionaire friends in the health grift industry can plow full steam ahead.

          Reply
      2. Tom Bradford

        We weren’t prepared precisely because we have a private health care system. – JohnMinMN

        I don’t think that follows. Most public health care systems are on tight budgets at the best of times, as the politicians who dole out public money for it would rather spend it on their pet projects to buy votes, and stock-piling stuff against something that might never happen – during their time at the helm anyway – gets a pretty low priority.

        I think it’s generally known down here in NZ that a major driver for our early and hard lockdown was very much that we didn’t have much reserve PPE and what we had needed to be kept for use in hospitals and front-line medical folk.

        Reply
    2. Samuel Conner

      There’s an article on NC a number of weeks back that discussed the issue.

      IIRC, the problem is that disaster preparations are investments in spare capacity that produce no return during normal times. For-profit health-care providers competing with other for-profit health-care providers don’t have a strong motive to make these investments.

      I think it was Keynes who wrote that it is regarded, within the banking business, to be better to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally. Perhaps the principle is more broadly applicable.

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect that a huge problem is ‘use by’ dates. Its not enough just to stockpile, they have to be regularly replaced and destroyed, and no doubt administrators were reluctant to be seen to be sending boxes of PPE to incinerators regularly.

      But the key problem so far as I’m aware has been just in time logistics. Hospitals are now used to ‘efficient’ supply chains which means any large scale storage is seen as ‘waste’. I know at least one hospital that used to publicly boast about its empty supply warehouse (it symbolised the efficiency of its ordering system). Its the MBA mentality, and you can find that in the public sector almost as much as the private sector.

      Reply
      1. Paradan

        Actually what they do is send the expired stuff off to Africa. The exp. dates are usually a conservative estimate since the manufacturer doesn’t want to be liable. So donating the stuff to NGO’s, which is a tax write-off, isn’t all that bad.*

        *Unless it’s blood that may have been from HIV+ donors. That was f’d up.

        Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        ….”use by dates”…..

        When we “entered” WWII, we didn’t have a “stockpile” of tanks or planes sitting around in warehouses waiting for an “emergency.”

        What we did have were factories that could be retooled and a workforce skilled in manufacturing and production that could respond to a need. It was reportedly what Japan feared most about conflict with the u.s.

        Since we have become a nation of peddlers because maintaining our own production capacity is just too “expensive,” when pressing a function key to “order more” comes up empty, we got nuthin’.

        Not that this is a problem for the wealthy peddlers–they just hunkered down, preached to the masses and got wealthier. So let’s just get all exercised about “supply chains” and warehouses because those manufacturing jobs “are never coming back.” And neither is our ability to respond to emergencies without a lot of help from our “friends.”

        Reply
        1. J7915

          Maintainig production is also icky, dirty etc. Plus as these MBAers generally can’t grasp the concept of lefty loosie righty tighty, they are positive that the grease-under- fingernail crowd is incompetent, and the work be delegated out.

          As for shelf life, there or no creativity. While an N95 may not be recommended for Covid protection, the local wood worker is more than safe with it. Just push the resources down stream.

          Reply
  4. fresno dan

    Global Capital Is the Tail That Wags the U.S. Economic Dog Michael Pettis, Foreign Policy
    And it is the unfettered flow of capital that abets these imbalances. Countries like Germany and China that have been the most successful in raising exports and running large trade surpluses are able to do so not because they are more efficient, but because of policies that promote manufacturing at the expense of household income. They do this either directly, by putting downward pressure on wages, or indirectly, through currency depreciation, manufacturing subsidies, environmental degradation, weakening social safety nets, and so on. These arrangements effectively transfer income from middle-class households, workers, and farmers—who are most likely to spend their income—and deliver it to large businesses, governments, and the rich—who are most likely to save it………
    ==============================================
    A rising tide doesn’t lift the boats that the law assiduously, surreptitiously, and corruptly drills holes in.
    Its been decades now – its pretty obvious that the rich getting richer is making everybody else poorer…

    Reply
    1. Eelok

      Anyone who liked this article should check out Pettis and Klein’s Trade Wars are Class Wars, which is a book-length treatment of the same core idea. The case-study chapters on Germany, China, and the US do a good job of illustrating the nuts and bolts of how we got here with respect to international trade. What strikes me is how this makes the point that these arrangements are distinct political choices motivated by a desire to create this specific outcome, rather than the result of the political class optimizing for some “natural” laws of global markets. And likewise, capital isn’t free to roam the world because of any miracles of technology. Whether billions of dollars can move around the world in a few seconds or a few days is irrelevant compared to the question of whether the legal and political structures have been set up to allow it to do so.

      Quinn Slobodian’s history of neoliberalism would be excellent companion reading on that note as well.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Eelok
        October 7, 2020 at 10:43 am

        What strikes me is how this makes the point that these arrangements are distinct political choices motivated by a desire to create this specific outcome, rather than the result of the political class optimizing for some “natural” laws of global markets.

        I agree a zillion percent – I have been saying it for quite a while. Political choices strengthened unions and political choices undermined unions, and consequently the middle class.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          The only reason for trade is for profits from labor arbitrage. Every country can manufacture the things they need. Some natural resources need to be imported but those must now be rationed. International trade for manufactured goods should be a thing of the past. It’s not just nonsense profiteering – the planet can no longer afford it.

          Reply
  5. oliverks

    Speaking of grapefruit, I find it is really good for a sore throat. Does anyone else find that too?

    I had no idea it interacted with so many medications.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      What was really unexpected is when I hear “reacted” I always think of two things

      1) Somehow makes a third, poisonous compound
      2) Simply masks off the effect of the medication

      But to actually multiply the drugs effect, that’s pretty shocking.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      That article reminded me that for a few decades my father would (under doctors advice) have a grapefruit every morning along with all his heart medications. As he lived to be 92, it didn’t seem to do too much harm, although possibly the interactions were positive as he also mixed a bottle of Powers Whiskey in as well.

      Reply
    3. Katiebird

      I did. But not how it worked. Also had never known the history of citrus fruits. Even though my grandfather grafted lemons onto an orange tree for us. Which was a lot of fun.

      Reply
      1. Brunches with Cats

        I did, too. Remember Seldane? The article lists Allegra as a drug potentially affected by grapefruit juice, so I’m surprised there’s no mention of its notorious predecessor. Hailed as the “breakthrough” prescription allergy drug that didn’t cause drowsiness, Seldane was pulled from the market after a guy died taking it with two glasses of grapefruit juice. The manufacturer replaced it with Allegra.

        Reply
        1. Katiebird

          Wow. That is interesting and scary. Anyone in my family could have done that. My parents raised us on grapefruits and grapefruit juice.

          This must be the event that made me aware of it though.

          Reply
    4. Wyoming

      I was on a several heart medications some years ago and the Dr. was very forceful to me and my wife that if I ate a grapefruit it would kill me. Sobering as I am one of those people who love grapefruit…never had one since.

      Reply
    5. lordkoos

      Grapefruit and honey is a good combo for the throat. There is also a grapefruit concentrate marketed by alternative health outfits, but I have not found the latter to be that helpful.

      Reply
    6. mpalomar

      “I had no idea it interacted with so many medications.”
      – It may possibly explain why it was the good doctor Hunter Thompson’s preferred breakfast fruit.

      Reply
  6. ProNewerDeal

    Youtuber social democratic pundits like Kyle Kulinki/Jimmy Dore/Convo Couch often state Biden is offering the 99% nothing. A news report had JoeTheBiden telling campaign donors “nothing will fundamentally change”.

    I skimmed the 2020 Democratic platform table of contents https://democrats.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/08/2020-Democratic-Party-Platform.pdf .

    If I suspend cynicism momentarily, imagine that Biden earnestly sold & actually implemented these crumbs for the 99% that are in the 2020 D Platform, which are far short of what is required (does not impact Climate Change for instance) but if implemented would be Concrete Material Benefits (c) Lambert that would tangibly improve the lives of many USians:

    1 Public option health insurance available to everyone
    2 Medicare eligibility lowered from age 65 to 60
    3 $15 minimum wage, note that empirical economic data shows this boosts the entire labor market, over time boosting wages of those already making over $15/hr

    Social democrats like Sanders/DSA/Unions/other Left people/organizations could earnestly advocate for this & have 1 bit of hope.

    Instead afaict Biden & Harris are talking typical Corporate D cliches & vague platitudes (eg Tom Perez-style “good things are good, bad things are bad!”), & of course OrangeManBad!, instead of these 3 actually useful policies.

    Perhaps a few Million of the 92 Million eligible 2016 nonvoters would vote if inspired by these policies, but Biden is not selling them to the nonvoters. Biden does not even seem to want to get nonvoters to vote, despite the nonvoters having minority overrepresentation, contradicting Corporate D IdPol cliches.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      Your first mistake is taking the platform as a binding document. Second, taking Biden/Democrats as anything other than liars, thieves and murderers.

      It’s what I call – negotiation in errorism.

      Reply
    2. zagonostra

      “but Biden is not selling them to the nonvoters”

      Because he doesn’t believe them nor will he fight for them. They were inserted to assuage Progressives. Being 59 years of age it would be nice if Medicare was dropped to 60, but I don’t believe it will be. In fact I don’t believe a damn thing Biden proposes in the way of progressive policies. He is a bought and paid for tool of the ruling elites. He will bend which ever way they tell him to…

      Don’t suspend your “cynicism” it is the only link to reality you have…

      Reply
    3. Yik Wong

      1 Public option health insurance available to everyone
      2 Medicare eligibility lowered from age 65 to 60

      The second one tells you the first one will be no bargain by the time Joe’s Insurance Industry team members get through with it. An offer of a public option with no pricing guidelines and no coverage limits published is no public option at all. The later is something the Insurance Industry wants already, so that can’t be good.

      Reply
    4. Anthony G Stegman

      Why do we need health insurance of any kind? Insurers are nothing more than middlemen. A health insurer can’t perform lifesaving surgery, assist in childbirth, treat cancer, set broken limbs. Let’s aim to get rid of health insurers entirely.

      Reply
  7. timbers

    Years after they fought in Afghanistan, US troops watch as their children deploy to the same war Stars and Stripes

    “Nineteen years ago on Wednesday, a generation of Americans deployed to Afghanistan to root out the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, believing that by fighting in the country more than 7,400 miles away, they would spare their children the need to do so too.

    But as the U.S. war in Afghanistan begins its 20th year, some of those same service members have watched as their sons and daughters have deployed to continue the fight.”

    Maybe President Biden will do a Troop Surge to fix it all. After all it’s time to think outside the box since History officially starts 2020. He should get accolades from the talking heads for having the courage and Presidential Timber for doing so.

    Reply
    1. STEPHEN

      At some point in the next 2 years or so, an American soldier will be killed in a war that started before he/she was born.

      American history has no such precedent. If history is just, that person will become a national symbol.

      More likely, national media will never notice nor think to inquire; no one cares about our forever wars anymore.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Michael Kreuger fought in the Pech Valley in 2010 and sometimes asked himself why he did. Eight years later, his son Trenton deployed to Afghanistan — like his father, with the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

      The elder Kreuger, who left the Army as a sergeant, now hopes his grandson won’t also deploy to Afghanistan to fight the same battles “for the same reason.”

      henry kissinger reportedly once referred to american soldiers as “dumb animals” and foreign policiy “pawns.” There was a time when I was offended on the soldiers’ behalves. Now I’m not so sure.

      In the 60’s there was a saying, ‘What if they gave a war and nobody came?” It is increasingly liikely that that question will never be answered.

      Thank you for your servitude.

      Reply
  8. christofay

    On the morning of a Biden win I think the way to celebrate will be laying back down with an open bottle of Jack.

    Reply
    1. jr

      Keep it on your nightstand, that way you won’t even have to get out of bed. I’m going to be stoned like a Babylonian chicken thief circa 800 BCE…

      Reply
      1. Yik Wong

        I guess the two of you are planning for a 4 year hangover, it’s probably a more functional than going back to sleep walking through life so you can ignore Joe continuing the great American tradition of shoving brown skill people into the oil pipeline at Koch so you can fill up your gas tank 5¢ a gallon cheaper.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          “Brown skill.” Now that is a very interesting formulation, because it works! Thanks for a new linguistic tool.

          Reply
          1. Yik Wong

            Your welcome. I learned a very interesting linguistic trick from the British, everyone speaks English if you shout at them loud enough. I guess it’s better than the American method of bomb them if they don’t speak “English”.

            Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Back when *anything* was allowed to be funny. The worst part about the upcoming imposition of the Kamala/Dem Beautiful BrownThink religion is how dreary and humorless life will be. Believers in Dangerous RegularThink will need to meet in secret, where they can exchange “jokes” and recall times when the country had freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of religion.

                Maybe somebody can make an app that notifies you when another fatwa comes down: “Brand X Coffee is forbidden because they do not have a female CEO!”. As we all become less, and less, and less free. What a bummer.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  Yep. Look at the hosts and musical groups they had on in the first five years or so.
                  (John Belushi as the pervert pirate captain of the “Raging Queen. “I’m the manliest man on this ship!”) The Adventures of Niles Cowperthwaite 9/12/79.
                  Remember that this was on network television! No cable niches to hide behind back then!
                  Yes Boys and Girls. There was a Golden Age!

                  Reply
  9. cnchal

    > Amazon Study of Workers’ Covid Is Faulted Over Lack of Key Data Bloomberg.

    . . . Many warehouse workers can’t afford to stay home, and the laws protecting them during the pandemic are weak, so keeping them safe is a question for consumers as well, said Susan Schurman, a labor studies professor at Rutgers University.

    “Whenever I order something on Amazon, someone somewhere has to fulfill that order,” she said. “We as consumers have to ask ourselves, ‘Who are we putting at risk and is this worth it?’”

    Amazon is a lifeline for all the sadistic whip cracking super skilled work from home shopperz.

    Let’s see if I have this straight. Amazon, which treats the world as a sickly gazzelle, has spyware in millions of homes that clownsumers happily paid for, claims to be the smartest and cruelest employer possible, routinely lies to anybody that asks a serious question, facilitates money laundering, steals whatever it wants from any small business idiotically selling on it’s platform, sells fake products flown and floated over from China, and then deliberately puts out worthless data about covid infections among those tied to the whipping post in it’s warehouses / torture chambers. Unbeleivable.

    No wonder Bezos is the richest man in the world. Crime and carry forward losses from here to eternity, pay.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Amazon is a mirror reflection of the American way of treating workers in most industries. It is most certainly the most cruel and exploitative, but consider how many workers in all of the low paid jobs are treated by their employers. They are treated with Little regard, difficult working conditions (if not darn right hazardous), often only given part-time hours just under the amount needed for any benefits ( or, if given benifts such as health insurance it’s is an awful policy with huge deductibles and co-pays), forced to work, if sick to pay basic needs, mostly surveiled by managers so work like automatons, often the receiving end of their immediate surpervisors’ own resentment or discontent, often tied to living in a place because of family structures ( like in child custody arrangements or elderly parents to care for), so just move isn’t a viable choice. Recall Wal-Mart workers blatantly encouraged to apply for SNAP and Medicaid. Lists can go on… The big “employer ” the military should be included…isn’t it a feature that young people are, many times, convinced that to have any employment with “dignity” and benefits TINA? Some may join for other reasons…like being given a license to do harm. It is class war and until people stop conflating it with only race ID, then divide and conquer strategy works. A few civil rights and justice leaders try to point out that a poor person of any color or ethnicity is a poor person.

      Reply
  10. Vidur

    Weirdly, contrary to what the article says, when I was prescribed Zoloft it had a big warning on the bottle about grapefruit. That was about 3 years ago.

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      Three years ago, yes but back when the likes of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil et al were first introduced those labels did not appear.

      Reply
  11. Henry Moon Pie

    Illingworth’s Pig Empire–

    Fun and interesting read. This reminded me of a few things:

    [W]ealth in a capitalist “liberal democracy” means having the money to buy power to protect and increase your wealth, which in turn increases your power and influence. In other words, under capitalism (even in a democracy) wealth and power are parts of what amounts to a political perpetual motion machine that works to advance the rich, typically at the expense of the poor or otherwise marginalized.

    Hard to argue against that. Einstein basically said the same in the Monthly Review more than 70 years ago.

    Even further back, Lao-Tzu had the wealth thing pegged around 2,500 years ago:

    Such is the Way of heaven,
    taking from people who have,
    giving to people who have not.
    Not so the human way:
    it takes from those who have not
    to fill up those who have.

    Tao te Ching #77 (U.K. Le Guin, trans.)

    That’s a pretty remarkable assertion: the Way’s/Cosmos’s natural tendency is to equalize, but human interference hijacks and reverses the process. For those inclined to think that rules and regulations are our saviors against capitalism, remember that it is on the deed, the patent, the copyright and the contract, backed by the power of the State, that capitalists base their power.

    Reply
    1. Lex

      Enjoyed this article very much. In a nutshell all the same questions and answers that have been building up in my noggin since high school. I’ll be following her blog.

      I still say we should eat the rich. Let’s start with their children. They’re young, easily tenderized, and will need only a light seasoning.

      Reply
  12. Ignacio

    Chinese Citizens Are Already Receiving a Coronavirus Vaccine. The New Yorker

    In a voluntary basis and IMO not for good reason if the epidemic is controlled in China, except, may be, for people travelling abroad. The article makes a good argument about why China shouldn’t want to depend on US developed vaccines but the same could be true for Russia or for India, and possibly many even most other countries in the world might be thinking likewise to be sure. Living in China I wouldn’t rush for a vaccine shot and it would make more sense in, for instance, India depending on how at risk one feels.

    Then the article engages on a baseless comparison on vaccine development standards between China and Russia without any proof provided except that Russia!Russia!Russia! which,it seems, is good enough for the New Yorker as a justification. It is a constant, Russia will always be in the worse side of any comparison in American media.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      and no discussion as these Chinese/Russian vaccines are attenuated virus, not mRNA. They have come to market much faster… and there has been no info on the test runs – whereas the mRNA stuff is making people very ill for about 24 hours and there is no discussion whatsoever about what the significance this extreme reaction might portend, genetically… It’s just reported and ignored.

      Reply
  13. Eduardo

    Re: Faceborg bans QAnon.
    If they can do that, can’t they use the same rationale to ban …. well, anyone, any group?
    Anyone that does not believe the Truth ™ per Faceborg?

    I’ll will admit to not following QAnon very closely, so maybe I’m missing something that makes it appropriate to ban them?

    If the charge is spreading disinformation, well, the same charge could be made for both major political parties, many newspapers, religious groups, government agencies, think tanks, etc. Also, people affiliated with “certain websites.”

    Reply
      1. km

        Alex Jones was a perfect precedent, precisely because he is the sort of person that few people outside the nut fringe would be willing to defend.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I used to occasionally watch Alex Jones in the forlorn hope that i’d get to see him spontaneously combust from being wound tighter than a 2 bit pocketwatch, but he’s got staying power, and I gave up the quest.

            Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yes they could ban any group. I wholeheartedly encourage them to do so. The fewer participants Fleecebook has, the quicker they will cease to exist.

      It’s a big internet out there and there are plenty of other spots for groups to get together. And maybe in a place where they aren’t blatantly obvious to the authorities, like they would be on your typical corporate social media. If the real left for example is ever going to get organized, it isn’t going to happen through Facebook.

      The revolution, if it ever happens, will not be televised.

      Reply
    2. lordkoos

      A better deal would be banning Facebook. I watched The Social Dilemma documentary a couple of weeks ago. I knew there were a lot of problems with social media but the implications of the film shocked me.

      Reply
  14. Clive

    Re: What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases

    This is sadly illustrative of the mess which governments (business too, but apart from Too Big To Fail entities, that’s entirely their own affair) find themselves in. There are simply too few people who really understand IT on a big-picture basis.

    For managers (including the c-suite or government equivalent of it) — and politicians too — who haven’t a background in IT, they of course have no idea at all how it all works. From my experience, it tends to be either overly-simplistic (“can’t you just download something from the App Store?”, “we can get X to do it” — where X is one of the usual suspect big consulting shops) including, as here, “I just need a spreadsheet or something”. If it’s not that, then it’s the other extreme — they think it’s all big scary data centres full of mysterious gubbins that they don’t have a clue about and don’t want to know either, nor do they want to learn about it and they certainly don’t want to show their cluelessness so it’s usually head-in-sand reactions you get out of this lot.

    Worse, though, are the IT staffers who’ve climbed the greasy pole and got to leadership positions or perhaps politicians who do have some genuine experience of tech. Because they’ve inevitably — if they’ve got to the top or near to it — been rocket-propelled through the ranks, they tend to be the sorts that arrive on the scene of a project making a lot of noise, make a lot of grand gestures, schmooze the head honchos and are generally on the look out only for their next, hopefully higher paying and better status, gig. This lot can’t help but perpetuate their glib, shoddy and hackneyed big’ing-up of tech, which they’re able to do because they’ve never had to concern themselves with the far trickier problems of getting it all to work properly.

    As for root cause analysis — how a country of nearly 70 million people ended up managing COVID-19 testing in Excel — well, I can almost guarantee it’s one of those situations where what was supposed to be a temporary, ad-hoc, spin-it-up-quickly cheap-and-cheerful “solution” was started, probably back in March. It was never designed to scale. So it didn’t. And everyone just kept on applying more duct tape and bailing wire to it as the months went on, no-one started looking at a more strategic solutions or, if they did, it didn’t get prioritised because the existing crappy sort-of solution “worked”.

    If I had a £ for every time I’d seen that happen…

    Reply
      1. Clive

        All too true!

        I know of at least one multi-billion $/£/€ set of trades which is run from Excel. No-one is quite sure exactly how it does what it does and are scared witless to touch it.

        Reply
        1. rtah100

          I seem to remember a BoE report into the Great Financial Crisis ™ that discovered that one of the UK clearing banks had been so penny pinching that, upon decimalisation, it had merely deployed an overlay on the core mainframe-hosted bank transaction and account ledgers, to convert on the fly from new pence into LSD. All the underlying info was still LSD. Quite possibly still is. The bank was never named but my florins are on RBS or one of its unhappy acquisitions.

          Reply
    1. David

      Well, you’re expecting taxpayers’ money to be spent on decent software and for people to be properly trained to use it. But historically, investing in IT was only acceptable as a way of cutting staff, and, once that justification dried up, the brakes came on. After all (the Treasury would have argued) the chances of actually needing that amount of data to be consolidated are remote enough that the expenditure can’t be justified. Anyway, everybody these days knows how to use Excel …don’t they?
      To quote one of the Treasury Apocrypha:
      “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing as cheaply as possible.”

      Reply
    2. Ignacio

      It could well be that computers associated to some Q-PCR machines are good old hospital appliances working in old windows versions with their corresponding excel antiques. Typical in research institutions possibly in some NHS hospitals. Might be good enough for normal time data management but not enough for large scale testing and reporting in Covid times. Also, the Good Practices Manual hidden in some forgotten shelf was not dusted off during the fear and alarm.

      Just possibilities that come to mind.

      Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      What you describe sounds very familiar. Lots of upper management who don’t do the day-to-day work and don’t understand the IT, but they’ve taken an MBA course that says moar tech will always solve everything and be cheaper than humans (it doesn’t and it isn’t), so they lard the company up with software, don’t adequately train anybody on it, and then expect the skeleton crew IT department they hired on the cheap fresh out of coding boot camp to integrate a half dozen complex systems so they all talk to each other and run smoothly.

      I sometimes think it would be easier to do my job on an abacus

      Reply
      1. Laura in So Cal

        Totally 100% this!!!!! Our latest initiative in my corporate finance/accounting dept. is about automating data extraction etc. from our ERP system with I’m sure the end goal of fewer people. In 10 years, we gone from 16 people to about 8 at my site. Apparently report writers are going to solve all our problems. Of course, the current report writers being used keep having issues with changes being made without telling everyone so you can’t use your set-ups anymore or stuff not being updated on a regular basis. And they wonder why stuff gets missed…no one actually has to look at the data any more…just run a report.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          That also sounds very familiar. Everybody wants a magic button to get whatever figure they need immediately at their fingertips. But try to tell management that we already have enough reporting, and that if anyone asks, we can produce something using what we already have by throwing some data into excel in about 5 minutes with a little cutting and pasting. And I can also eyeball the report to make sure that what’s in it is actually correct.

          But no, it must be completely automated, even if that means the end result is worthless and wrong.

          Reply
        2. Anthony G Stegman

          What this means to me is the reports are BS and those who write them have BS jobs. Many companies prepare multitudes of reports that few (if any) ever read in detail. Lots of jobs have to do with preparing reports of various kinds that actually provide very little value to the enterprise. Some honcho wants to look important and thinks that happens when lots of reports are prepared. Who is kidding who?

          Reply
    4. Maritimer

      Let’s take this to a higher level.

      As we move on and up the tech/science curve our existence and all that supports it becomes more and more complex. There are expert commentators who believe that Complexity alone will do Humanity in. Biotech, nanotech, GI, AI, etc. all contain the seeds of our destruction. All these are moving onward and upward, faster and faster.

      One example of this destructive complexity is a Digital Currency. Because it is technically possible, there is now a big push to go digital money. Eliminate the backup cash system and just wait for cyberattack, solar storms, EMP attack or other event to take out the whole of part of the digital system and kaput, back to the Stone Age. But who cares someone made a lot of loot implementing it.

      And, even if it existed, the Senate Committee on Destructive Science/Technology would be overwhelmed by the Complexity of the subject. Even human Mark Zuckerberg, Master of the Tubes, can efffortlessly blow them off.

      Reply
  15. shtove

    After all these years, how strange that an Antidote on NC should prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. McCallum, fetch my pipe and fire up the Bentley – we have some enquiries to make.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Put the Bently back in the garage Jeeves.
      That is the well known, (down here anyways,) Lake Capy Creature. They might not be endemic here in the NADS yet, but their cousins, the Nutria are.

      Reply
      1. ChrisPacific

        Note the well-developed ‘facial’ features on the humps. These are designed to deceive prey into thinking the Lake Capy Creature is actually several smaller creatures swimming in a line, thereby underestimating the threat.

        Reply
  16. Ignacio

    747 soars past the competition as Katmai’s new Fat Bear Week champion Anchorage Daily News

    At first I thought this was about Boeing winning something. Instead, it is about a Boing Boing 747 bear that might be around 1500 pounds or so.

    Reply
  17. Carla

    “The Medicine Nobel for Hep C Should Force Us to Think” reminded me once again: this is the ROT.

    The kinds of institutions and politicians it vomits up are merely the STENCH.

    (Yes, stolen from another NC commenter in the last couple of days re: Trump. But I think it applies equally well to our criminally financialized economy and the kind of governance it has purchased and imposed upon We The People of the world.)

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Not to mention the Nobel for Roger Penrose. For his work in “understanding” black holes. I’m not as enthralled with Roger since I read Leonard Susskind on Roger’s big mistake of claiming that information is destroyed in a black hole and lost forever. Susskind has relentlessly proven him to simply be wrong, and Roger won’t admit it. That has been a very interesting argument. As much as Penrose is a wonderful thinker (one of his recent YouTube interviews has him saying he really doesn’t think the universe is expanding, instead he thinks mass is shrinking! – who doesn’t get fascinated by somebody who comes up with that stuff?) – all that notwithstanding, I’m more in favor of Leonard Susskind getting the Nobel for clearing up all Penrose’s misdirection on black holes and thus making much better sense of the whole cosmological thing. Leonard Susskind should get the honors for promoting “understanding.” It all leaves me wondering if gravity – the biggest mystery of all, isn’t just another dimension. Whatever that is.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        “Susskind has relentlessly proven him to simply be wrong” — Susskind has proven nothing of the kind. Yes, there is lots of interesting work and lively debates going on about Black Hole informatics, but nothing definitive has been proven on either side, except perhaps in the “if the assumptions that underlie this mathematical model of black holes are correct, then…”. Here is Susskind’s fallacious assumption in a nutshell:

        “Susskind [argues] that Hawking’s conclusions violated one of the most basic scientific laws of the universe, the conservation of information.”

        There is no evidence *whatever* of the “most basic scientific law” claim – in fact it stands in direct contradiction to that old relic, the second law of thermodynamics. You know, the one about entropy always tending to increase and natural systems always tending toward a state of equilibrium, in the sense of maximal disorderedness? Entropy in the sense of the 2nd LOT is directly correlated with information content – information content implies a degree of ordering. In other words, and I’m gonna resort to shouting in form of all-caps because this is absolutely crucial to understand, INCREASING ENTROPY IMPLIES IRREVOCABLE INFORMATION LOSS.

        And the Nobel was not for Penrose’s later work re. the informatics of Black Holes a.k.a. the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis, but for his “discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity,” i.e. that black holes were not some exotic non-physically-realizable pathology in the mathematics of GR, but in fact should be quite common in the universe, and that we should start a serious observational program to look for them. The ensuing 50+ years have led to a rich haul and a new understanding of star and galaxy formation. As in, observable new physics, something Susskind and all the other string theorists have yet to come up with, despite a similar half-century of mathematical masturbation and popular books leading to hagiographical NOVA miniseries like Brian Greene’s “the elegant universe”, no less, which neglected to start each installment with a loud disclaimer to the effect that “any resemblance to actual physics is purely speculative”.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          Whoa! The argument as I understood it was not so much in defining some fatal level of information disorganization and therefore calling information “destroyed” but in acknowledging that, yes entropy does disorganize information but the building blocks of information are effectively eternal and cannot be destroyed. It doesn’t take a black hole to “destroy information” – we do it everyday by just forgetting where we put our car keys. But we find them. I can see how there can be a certain level of irrevocable information loss, I think Susskind used the Library of Alexandria burning up as an example, but the building blocks of information at the most basic level of physics remain and regroup. Once again we have some spectacular libraries. Hawking himself conceded this aspect – so there probably needs to be a better definition of “information”. It is an acknowledged fact, by Penrose himself, that he doesn’t think quantum analysis is particularly valid. But it’s hard to read through one of his books without thinking his own math digs down to the tiniest level of analysis. What’s the diff? If he is willing to go to the most infinitesimal level of analysis why does he fault quantum analysis? He seems to hate string theory with a passion.

          Reply
          1. ewmayer

            o Yes, you may have found your car keys again, but it required *effort*, a.k.a. energy expenditure.

            o Susskind et al are using highly speculative quantum-foo arguments to argue that information can never be degraded beyond retrievability. In essence they claim that even a system in complete thermal equilibrium – maximum entropy – all the information that was once there can still be retrieved, perfectly. This contradicts both the 2nd LOT and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It is eminently clear from e.g. the science of signal progagation and data storage that the more degraded the information, the more energy must be expened to recover it in a readable manner. Even if the info is still ‘there’ in some sense but is so close to thermalized that it would require infinite energy to retrieve, then for all practical purposes the information is irretrievable, yes?

            o It is in fact not clear whether matter crossing the event horizon of BH suffers any kind of entropy jump and the attendant information-destroying thermalization. It may be academic, again in the “practically irretrievable” sense. No one has ever provided a plausible mechanism for retrieving information from a BH. Note that the Hawking radiation mechanism – also as-yet-unobserved, but plausible on proven-physics grounds – does not violate the 2LOT because said radiation is of the maximally-thermalized blackbody variety, which conveys just a single datum: the temperature of the emitter. For a BH said temperature is a direct function of BH area (the surface area of the Schwarzschild sphere) and thus of BH mass. We can also infer BH mass from the orbits of objects orbiting the BH – it is one of the 3 parameters [mass, charge, angular momentum] which per the “no hair” theorem completely characterize a BH, thus is not subject to vanishing beyond the event horizon.

            o Just because Hawking prematurely settled the bet does not mean the debate is closed. Bet-settling does not constitute scientific evidence, and there simply is 0 evidence of any of the quantum holographers’ wild claims regarding information preservation and retrieval.

            Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    I thought that today’s Antidote du jour was proof positive of the Loch Ness monster until I realized that I was looking at a line of Capybaras. D’oh!

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        And then Harris will lock them up when their kids skip school. That’s about as low as you can go. However, I imagine that a Biden/Harris, or Harris/Biden Administration will plumb new depths of malfeasance.
        I was trying to come up with a “stripper/poll” joke but got too ‘depressed’ by how close to the present state of “reality” such jokes were that fail to function wittily.
        Be safe!

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Or David Bromberg’s song, “Sharon.” Let’s all do the ‘Main Street Moan.’
            (I’ve linked to this before, but, oldies and goodies never die.)
            The conceit of the American political scene being a carnival side show is irresistible.

            Reply
      1. KevinD

        true Jen, the first go-around in 2008, not so much the second.

        Why Wall Street hates Obama
        Excerpt”\:
        In fact, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has received more than three times what Obama has generated from Wall Street professionals, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a sharp turnaround from 2008, when Obama generated nearly double the Wall Street contributions of his then rival John McCain.

        Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Infighting, ‘Busywork,’ Missed Warnings: How Uber Wasted $2.5 Billion on Self-Driving Cars”

    I can understand their logic. With self-driving cars they could sack all those troublesome drivers who insist on calling themselves employees and not contractors. It would have been marvelous. You want to know what Uber’s biggest mistake was? They actually believed all those Silicon Valley vaporware promises. Suckers! If you doubt this, just ask yourself who now has that $2.5 Billion and who is out of pocket.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      It’s a gigantic carry forward losses money pit that’s going to be taken over by someone with a huge tax liability that can then use those losses to offset their tax liability. All unicorns are based on that business model, as far as I can tell.

      Uber is moar idiot than sucker. Never explained was how owningl self driving cars, and the costs associated with them such as fuel, maintenance and insurance that are at present absorbed by desperate financial illiterates driving their own vehicles was going to be less unprofitable that what they are now.

      Reply
      1. apleb

        An actual self driving car would be a money printing machine: all the car manufacturers would literally pay you billions for it.
        Just that the likelihood of creating such a thing is about as improbable as a unicorn sighting.

        Reply
    2. deleter

      Yes. The thing I’ve never understood though, is who’s going to buy all the self-driving cars?
      Currently their contractors supply their own capital equipment.

      Reply
  20. Tinky

    Speaking of Grapefruits, which I’ve always had an affinity for, dig into what Grapefruit seed extract can do. Among other thing, studies have shown it to be Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Antimicrobial.

    Reply
  21. Ignacio

    Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Science. “There is overwhelming evidence that inhalation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a major transmission route for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” NC was early and right.

    Yesterday night at a Spanish public TV news room they were talking about airborne transmission (a good explanatory job indeed) and a Virologist was asked why the institutions were not forcefully insisting in this possibility. The answer was ‘Because, you know, because of implications. For instance we might be closing/forbidding bars or cafes where people remove their masks to sip, drink, eat and chat’. I totally agree.

    Reply
      1. Ignacio

        I think that restrictions for bars and the like have not been working very well when people started feel confident again. Giving the people good advice on the risks of gathering in closed spaces (fear the air you breath!) as those would have been the sensible thing to do even if this results in rests, cafes etc loosing lots of clients. I very much dislike that public institutions retain info on fear to ‘excessive’ public reactions like putative ‘bar runs’ or ‘airplane runs’. They must think that the public at large and each individual in particular must be stupid ignorants unable to take their decisions on the basis of good info and their own judgement.

        They are so used to manipulative information (by hiding facts for instance) that they cannot change course even when providing with good info would be the correct thing. One of the lessons I’m learning about this epidemic is that fast and good flow of info and timely alarm rise (infection rates, positivity of tests etc) have much better effect containing Covid spread than forcing restrictive measures. Public response to alarm is quite fast while restrictive measures usually come too late.

        Reply
  22. ChiGal in Carolina

    The Science article makes the CDC update look mealy-mouthed in comparison. Sad since the “draft” update that was pulled did unequivocally state that aerosol is the primary means of transmission.

    But at least without mentioning the verboten “aerosol” word the CDC is acknowledging airborne as one means of transmission, and the recommendations for addressing it are the same: gather outdoors, when inside attend to ventilation and filtration.

    I wonder what Jimenez thinks of the update. His google doc linked here several days ago was a must read on aerosol transmission with lots of useful advice.

    Reply
  23. km

    IIRC, the Mingus essay on cat training is way older than 2011. Mingus died in the late 1970s.

    The boxer Alexis Arguello also wrote articles on cat training and other cat-related subjects.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      It was *that* Mingus? The jazz great?

      I couldn’t read the article as I was blocked, disappointed now.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        Much to my surprise, yes it was that Mingus. The genius with the notoriously apocalyptic temper was apparently so smitten with his cat that he had the patience to take several weeks teaching it to use the toilet!

        Reply
  24. flora

    Great thread from Stoller on the cong. committee’s monopoly-in-big-tech findings.
    Long thread.
    Here’s the starting tweet:

    The threats Facebook and Google made to Australia after that country attempted to regulate them come up in the Cicilline Report on big tech. Apparently @davidcicilline
    is unhappy when big tech monopolies threaten sovereign nations.
    3:57 PM · Oct 6, 2020·Twitter Web App

    https://twitter.com/matthewstoller/status/1313584129334816769

    Reply
  25. The Rev Kev

    “Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries”

    This article was like how during the Bush years, that they would plant stories in Wapo or the NYT and then claimed that those articles were proof of what they were alleging about Iraq. There is a reason that so many peoples views are becoming unfavorable on China and it is because of an international, coordinated campaign to do so with the cooperation of the media. As an example, it say ‘Negative views of China increased most in Australia, where 81% now say see the country unfavorably’ which may or may not be true.

    But what I will say is that for the past few year there has been an aggressive campaign against China that is constantly in the news here to form people’s views. I recognize the same sort of stuff when they were demonizing Russia before that. So this article in fact may be a part of that attempt to downgrade people’s opinions of China by saying ‘See! everybody else is saying the same.’ Sometimes when watching one of those stories ion the TV, you can see how the story is put together and what is true and what is bs. if the stakes weren’t so high it would be boring.

    Reply
    1. Bruno

      What need for invented stories when the bare text of their “National Security Laws” is in itself obvious proof of how abominable the Chinese Stalino-Maoist nomenklatura (“China” in media-speak) really is?

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Let’s say some superpower were to gather up a bunch of poor Texas youth, indoctrinate them into efficient death squads, have them play shooting gallery around Venezuela for a while taking out a few hundred thousand people until they lose, then send the retreating killers right back to Texas, fully programmed to destroy the Republic.

        Go on, complain about the NSL in that context. You won’t because, as your little seizure reveals, you’re a neoliberal and you just got checkmated.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      Yes, very sad this… Even people who absolutely should know better fall for the relentless ‘China-bad’ propaganda. And we’re just at the beginning.

      Reply
  26. zagonostra

    >The CIA’s plot to poison Assange.

    Why pretend that that our government is legitimate? The press, as an independent institution that provides essential information on what the government does, is completely captured by the same forces that have captured the Dem Party, Higher Education, Unions, and some would include the Church (Hedges, “Death of the Liberal Class”.) It seems that it takes a jester like and Jimmy Dore to bring us the truth about what the gov’t is really up to.

    These past 4 yrs of Russiagate, Syria, COVID and non-stop daily Trump headlines has shattered any illusions that the political class has any ability to reform and provide the necessary leadership to improve the well being of the majority of its population.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjjXc8Hj1xQ&ab_channel=TheJimmyDoreShow

    Reply
  27. anon in so cal

    >Russiagate, etc.

    Anyone remember how Gina Haspel (working with the NYT) tricked Trump into expelling Russian diplomats and thereby further ratcheting tensions? She showed him the photos of the dead ducks allegedly poisoned by Novichok. (The Independent and MoA discussed this; not sure if we are allowed to link to MoA?)

    So, unsurprisingly, she’s apparently inherently involved in Russiagate: (from AE)

    “Haspel (while serving as London Chief of Station from 2014 to early 2017) was an active, knowledgeable party to the efforts to target candidate Trump with an FBI-instigated foreign counterintelligence operation.”

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/16601/haspel-britain-trump-coup

    Reply
  28. a different chris

    So I have to do my usual out-of-left-field comment on this news story:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/slaughter-infectious-disease-icon-asks-223137063.html

    Fine, all fine, and I get to the end and as usual realize that I don’t live in a country of people like me:

    Foege wrote in closing. “I can’t tell you what to do except to revisit your religious beliefs and ask yourself what is right.”

    Religious beliefs. Huh. Redford is quite a “Christian”, apparently one of the ones that missed the part about not showing your faith in public, but never mind.

    More to the point, he is a doctor, filtered thru I am sure (ok I’m not but for discussions sake) the highest gauntlets to not only become such but then to rise up to the top of the CDC.

    Yet he needs to be advised to consult some invisible Being to know what the right thing to do is?

    This country is so family blogged.

    Reply
  29. kareninca

    Okay, so if a drug is very costly, and I can only afford to take part of my prescription, perhaps consuming grapefruit with it will enable me to eke out what I can get. If I don’t kill myself off thereby. That is helpful to know.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Careful! Don’t forget the obligatory disclaimer!
      “Information contained in any posts or comments by this “Person” is not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your Medical Industrial Representative before embarking on any low cost regimen of therapy.”
      Remember that under IIDS rules (Investor Individual Dispute Settlement,) elements of the Medical Industrial Complex can sue for lost ‘potential profits!’

      Reply
    2. CuriosityConcern

      I posted the same idea above, 20 minutes after you. I really don’t think this can be done safely though, because you would have to figure out absorption rates for each compound vs. amount and timing of grapefruit ingestion vs amount and timing of other food ingestion. But if that is worked out and an individual can work out their regimen and stick to it, what a boon.

      Reply
      1. kareninca

        Well, yes, there is the “if I don’t kill myself off” consideration. But still, a ninety percent discount! My favorite book of poetry is Chris Semansky’s “Death, But at a Good Price.” I’ve owned it for years and years without opening it; the title is enough.

        Reply
  30. allan

    Re:

    RussiaGate: Texas U.S. Attorney John Bash, tapped to investigate Obama administration for “unmasking,” resigns Texas Tribune

    No. As predicted, this is all about voter suppression, in Texas and elsewhere:

    DOJ Frees Federal Prosecutors to Take Steps That Could Interfere With Elections, Weakening Long-standing Policy [ProPublica]

    … Avoiding election interference is the overarching principle of DOJ policy on voting-related crimes. In place since at least 1980, the policy generally bars prosecutors not only from making any announcement about ongoing investigations close to an election but also from taking public steps — such as an arrest or a raid — before a vote is finalized because the publicity could tip the balance of a race.

    But according to an email sent Friday by an official in the Public Integrity Section in Washington, now if a U.S. attorney’s office suspects election fraud that involves postal workers or military employees, federal investigators will be allowed to take public investigative steps before the polls close, even if those actions risk affecting the outcome of the election. …

    Buckle up. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

    Reply

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