Links 11/16/2020

Revisiting “Seven Days in May” Counterpunch. I first read this book before I was a teenager. And I asked my uncle whether it was plausible. He was an Air Force pilot who flew missions in Vietnam, and retired as a full colonel, after finally serving as base commander at Hanscom Air Force Base near Boston. I was terrified by his response. Fascinated by the book then, but this TDS is getting overdone.

#COVID-19

Covid-19 Caused International Enrollments to Plummet This Fall. They Were Already Dropping. Chronicle of Higher Education

How Long Do I Need to Quarantine if I’m Exposed to Covid? WSJ

Damage to multiple organs recorded in ‘long Covid’ cases Guardian

Covid vaccine: Major new trial starts in UK BBC

Is it the end of the line for mass transit systems? FT

I’m seeing an industry disappear’: how lockdown is leaving hospitality workers homeless Guardian

It’s not too late to cancel Thanksgiving MIT Technology Review

A Small German Biotech Company Hopes to Make the Leap to Global Player Der Spiegel

U.S. COVID-19 cases cross 11 million as pandemic intensifies Reuters

Global stocks head for record high on recovery, vaccine hopes Reuters. I still don’t understand the reality that generates this and the previous headline on the same page.

HealthCare

Federal authorities issue strong warning to pharma over speaker programs and kickbacks Stat

Doctors Are Calling It Quits Under Stress of the Pandemic NYT

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Apple tracks iPhone users without consent, claims activist Max Schrems FT

2020

The Extremist At Dominion Voting Systems American Conservative

Trump, Trying to Cling to Power, Fans Unrest and Conspiracies NYT

Trump campaign jettisons major parts of its legal challenge against Pennsylvania’s election results WaPo

Trump refuses to concede US election after acknowledging Biden victory FT

An Unprecedented Election—and Its Bitter Aftermath—Seen from Across the Country Politico

Behind Trump’s Yearslong Effort to Turn Losing Into Winning NYT

Recount Day 3: DeKalb, Fulton finish counting; other counties closing in Atlanta Journal-Constitution (marym)

Barack Obama: One election won’t stop US ‘truth decay’ BBC I think it has begun to penetrate his notorious ego that although he may have been able to bamboozle many of his contemporaries, history will not treat his presidency well.

Women crucial to Biden’s win, even as gender gap held steady AP

Lawrence Tribe calls Ken Starr a liar to his face: ‘It’s nothing like Bush v. Gore’ Alternet

Trump Transition

Trump Allies Explored Buyout of Newsmax TV as Fox News Alternative WSJ

The Case for Political Exile for Donald Trump And I remind readers that to link is not necessarily to concur. See the argument in the American Conservative link above about the consequences of social media bans.

Trump tells DC cops to ‘do your job’ and deal with ‘Antifa scum’ at the Million MAGA March attended by few thousand as man is stabbed and 20 are arrested in brawls between his supporters and counter-protesters Daily Mail

Biden Transition

Europe is ready for Biden to get started WaPo

Biden faces new global health world order Politico

Biden’s transition team is filled with war profiteers, Beltway chickenhawks, and corporate consultants Gray Zone

Europe’s Biden bind: Stick with US or go it alone? Politico

Brexit

Boris Johnson news – live: PM ‘in good health’ as number of Tory MPs self-isolating after No 10 meeting grows Independent

Brexit: we’ll know it when we see itEUReferendum.com

Brazil

Our Famously Free Press

The Comeuppance of Jeffrey Toobin – But Where Is CNN? The Wrap


India

Read: Barack Obama’s Analysis of a Dinner With Manmohan Singh, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi The Wire

In BJP’s ‘divisive nationalism’, Barack Obama sees a precursor to America’s Donald Trump era Scroll

Asia’s Mega Free Trade Pact is Born Sans India, But Door Remains Open for New Delhi The Wire

Reader View: Virtual classes not feasible in many parts of India, children can lose a year The Print

China?

China scores victory as 15 Asian nations sign world’s biggest free-trade deal SCMP

RCEP set to supercharge the New Silk Roads Asia Times Pepe Escobar

For China, offering Biden a plastic olive branch would be worse than doing nothing SCMP

China looms as Biden’s biggest foreign policy challenge. Here’s where he stands CNN

France

“Religion is the President’s last resort” Qantara

Ethiopia

Alarm as Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict spreads to Eritrea Al Jazeera

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats look to sharpen message after Senate setback The Hill

Class Warfare

Across the World, Sports Stadiums and Arenas Are a Gigantic Swindle  Jacobin

“Campus Reform” Is Funneling Koch Money to Groom Right-Wing “Journalists” TruthOut

Julian Assange

Farcical Coverage of Julian Assange’s Farcical Hearing FAIR

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus Antidote: (David L) 

The Blue-footed Booby Dance Gets the Girl Every Time (David L). I once saw dancing blue-footed bobbies during a trip I took to the Galapagos.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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281 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Is it the end of the line for mass transit systems? FT

    I’d be much more optimistic than this article. First off, if existing metros go bankrupt, its not a disaster – because the existing infrastructure is in place. Bankruptcy will just mean an alternative funding model will be needed, its highly unlikely that lines would be boarded up. Mass transit is not mass transit companies, its physical infrastructure.

    One thing it does highlight is that funding metros from fares is not a good model. After all, we don’t fund roads by charging for every trip (maybe we should, but thats another story). It may well be far more efficient to either fund them by way of property taxes, or find a mix of other sources. Fares should be a way of ironing out demand over the daily peaks and troughs (i.e. to discourage peak journeys), not as a means of funding. Or put another way, we should fund metros the same way that roads are funded.

    A key point the article doesn’t mention is that the achilles heel of all public transport is the peak time problem. Most bus/metro/rail systems have to be able to deal with the morning and evening rush, and then find some way of not running empty for the rest of the day. Changing work patterns may well aid better investment decisions, not impede them. If people are working at home several days in the week, and only visiting the office when needed, this should (if encouraged), lead to ‘smoother’ travel patterns which could make public transport investments more, not less viable. It would allow for investments in existing rail lines (by, for example, putting smaller EV trains on existing heavy routes), which would be less capital intensive, but would provide full day coverage to match peoples real needs, not just cater for intensive peaks. It could actually be the saviour of older, long distance train or bus routes if it encourages people to move away from cities, but still want to be within 1-2 hours train commute to the office so they can visit the once or twice a week that is necessary.

    Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    RCEP set to supercharge the New Silk Roads Asia Times Pepe Escobar

    Escobar has lost the plot with this. As Michael Pettis has been pointing out, the RCEP is almost entirely made up of countries dedicated to trade surpluses. As such, it simply can’t operate meaningfully unless someone decides to play the role of net importer. All the signatories are hoping this is China, but quite clearly China is not prepared to do this. On the contrary, it is seeking to create more markets for its exports.

    The RCEP may have political significance, but it will have no impact whatever on overall trade volumes or directions unless China itself changes its internal economic policies, and there are no indications that it will do so.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      As such, it simply can’t operate meaningfully unless someone decides to play the role of net importer.

      Which is typically the US and a number of Southern European Countries. who become net importers on the backs of their skilled, and now unemployed, workers.

      I’m a little surprised. I never considered at the time that I would see the ’50s, ’60 and ’70s as a “Golden Era. I do remember the ’70s somewhat clearly. The previous decades not so clearly, more like patches of memory.

      Two items stick clearly in my memory, the hopelessness of upstate NY in the late ’70s, worse than Africa, and the poverty in rural North Carolina in the early ’80s.

      Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Growing up in upstate NY in the late 1970s, I distinctly remember thinking “If this is as good as it gets, kill me now.” Little did I know that that would apparently be the high point of my mortal existence. (People actually shared their weed with strangers back then!)

        Reply
            1. tegnost

              until we discovered that we could get labatts extra stock up in canada, 6.5% (mmm mmm that was good stuff) it was gennie whites only, we called the cream ale “the green death” for it’s laxative effects

              Reply
    2. Tim

      China’s goal is to become self sufficient on the demand side in 5 years. If I were one of those other countries I would be all in too, even if it does take a long time to materialize.

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If China can underprice anything made or done in one of the other Trade Deal countries, and the other Trade Deal countries are forbidden from doing anything about it, then China will underprice everything made or done in the other countries . . . except Raw Materials which China will import at Bottom Dollar prices.

      This is a recipe for Chinese extermination of every single productive industry throughout Australia, Korea, Japan, and any other Trade Pact member with higher costs than China. Eventually China and the poorest members of the area will race eachother to the bottom.

      Chinese companies will also use this Pact as cover to fake-label their product as being “from Korea” or “from Japan” etc. to trick countries from outside the Pact area from permitting it into their countries. The only way to prevent the systematic extermination of all economic production of every single thing in the “outside the Pact” area will be to forbid trade between the Pact area and the outside-the-Pact area. And the Corporate Globalonial Plantationists will try to prevent governments from outside-the-Pact area from protecting their countries’ mere existence in that manner.

      This is the One Ball One Chain all-for-China Co-Prosperity Sphere on steroids. With the Great Han Master Race as the economic black hole at the center of it.

      Reply
      1. Steve

        Three things to note: 1. China is no longer the lowest cost manufacturer of everything relative to other RCEP members such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia or Vietnam; 2. In some industries companies (including Chinese ones) are willing to pay the higher costs of doing business in other RCEP member countries because they provide better protection of their IPR; and 3. If governments like Japan are willing to pay for their companies to relocate production from China to back to Japan, RCEP will allow those products made in Japan to enter China duty free.

        Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “The Case for Political Exile for Donald Trump”

    I sometimes wish that I had a social media account somewhere. That way, come next January, I could post a story supplied by “an unidentified US official” that Donald Trump has arrived in Moscow via his private jet. And that it was revealed that he has the rank of honorary Major in the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and that he is being awarded by Putin personally the Hero of the Russian Federation Medal for all his services. You just know that a lot of people would believe this and freak out.

    Reply
    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      he is being awarded by Putin personally the Hero of the Russian Federation Medal

      Award him the Order of Lenin. Much more retro-cool and I’m not sure the Russian-gate types would notice anyway.

      Reply
    2. christofay

      You could wake up tomorrow and discover this is already media fact. It has been reported in future time that Trump….

      Reply
    3. flora

      The MSM is desperate to keep the “T stories” money machine running, imo. What happens to their business model in January when he’s again a private citizen? I see CNN is for sale.

      Reply
      1. foghorn longhorn

        “I see CNN is for sale.”

        So it was just a pump and dump scheme.
        Will be interesting to wake up 1.21.21 and see where they target the blame cannons.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        He will form a “Real Republicans in Exile” movement right here in America. And he will stay right here with it. Tens of millions of Americans will work to bring their beloved leader, el Don Juan TrumPeron’, back to power.

        And the CFP MSM will get to make their billions of dollars covering every single second of it between now and Election 2024.

        el Trumpo ain’t goin’ nowhere.

        Reply
    4. edmondo

      Why stop at exile? Why don’t we institute a system where the outgoing president – to atone for all the bad karma their administration has released unto the world – has to be a human sacrifice on January 21st, the day after their presidency ends.

      It’s probably the only way you could get me to vote for Mayo Pete.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        End term limits and apply this to all federal office holders. Make getting elected a real life and death struggle.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          I agree. Unfortunately, the very operation of hierarchy depends on us pretending that nobles are not material beings like you or me.

          Reply
        2. a different chris

          All we would get is a bunch of diseased oldsters (one foot in the grave other on a banana peel) to vote for who signed away everything to an organization that wants to actually run things. This at least will leave their offspring something in a world in which you won’t even be entitled to water.

          And they will vote accordingly, even if somebody has to physically lift their hand up.

          Actually I guess the Democratic Party has already implemented this.

          Reply
    5. jackiebass

      At one time I wold think this came from the Onion. Presently anything is possible with Trump. It wouldn’t surprise me if Trump abandoned the ship in the dark of the night before the inauguration. He will arrange to be pardoned from all federal crime so only state crimes are a threat to him. I don’t know much about extradition laws but it probably would be difficult and perhaps impossible for a state to bring Trump back to the US to face prosecution.

      Reply
          1. bassmule

            I recommend Brunei:

            “Brunei is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is not exactly a model country when it comes to human rights and constitutional values. More significantly, Brunei has no extradition treaty with the US.

            The Sultan of Brunei is especially well-known for his strong views on any other country meddling in the affairs of Brunei. That makes it difficult for the US or any other foreign country to pressurize Brunei into extraditing a suspect from the country.”

            The Best Non Extradition Countries

            Reply
    6. lyman alpha blob

      No kidding. So tired of hysterical headlines like “Trump, Trying to Cling to Power, Fans Unrest and Conspiracies”.

      He isn’t clinging to power. He’s a reality TV show heel who’s trolling the entire country to get clicks and our feckless media can’t stop feeding him. These reality shows are just so cheap to produce and get such good ratings – who cares if the public is accurately informed or not?

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        And wow has Sirota jumped on that bandwagon! I am a bit mystified and honestly it’s hard to keep track of the daily case count of TDS in this country.

        Also, is anyone else getting inundated with emails from him and GG on substack? Does GG ever sleep? All these closely written articles and mile-a-minute interviews! I don’t get near as many from Taibbi.

        Reply
      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        +100
        And part of me feels the TDS crowd needs this too. They didn’t get the coup they were promised, so what else is going to scratch that itch? And I think is a bit like the dog chasing the car finally catches it for that whole industry too. When Trump is gone, who do they blame for everything?

        Reply
    7. Rod

      I was thinking last night.
      I think DJT is a dead man walking and he knows it. Dead as in cold dead.
      Remember he got the Covid months ago.
      When he won the Big House he also got the closets and he has seen where many skeletons are buried and the how they got there debrief.
      He has a big mouth, and he is very upset and he has access to Billions of dollars, just to start with.
      I don’t think James Jeffery and his antics(and those of his ilk) preventing the end of Forever Wars(at the least) will go unaddressed very much longer.

      https://www.timesofisrael.com/outgoing-us-envoy-to-syria-says-he-hid-true-number-of-troops-from-officials/

      just thinking on it…

      Reply
            1. Rod

              Thanks.
              This still leaves a Big Mouth, with a Bad Attitude, feeling Chumped, and knowing where some of the Rot is hidden.
              imo, then Human Behavior comes into play…
              restraint is not a virtue DJT has nurtured.

              Reply
        1. nycTerrierist

          an astute friend claims Trump’s miraculously short bout with covid
          was the ultimate stunt – because he never had it!

          just think: a man his age, obese, doesn’t look well, etc. – even
          with the best care $$$$ can buy, how could he fake his miraculous recovery?
          and cui bono from faking it?
          a hail Mary to validate T’s superhuman self-image, ‘good genes’
          and his reckless botch of the pandemic
          ‘see? easy peasy, just like the flu’

          totally on-brand Trump/Barnum

          Reply
          1. Cuibono

            the thought had occurred to me . but too many people at bethesda would have needed to be in on it.unless his test result was faked, which would have only taken one other person

            Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    For China, offering Biden a plastic olive branch would be worse than doing nothing SCMP

    China looms as Biden’s biggest foreign policy challenge. Here’s where he stands CNN

    If rumours are correct, then Biden will appoint lots of old Obama hands like Susan Rice. They are very well known in Asia and have zero credibility with the Chinese, South Koreans and Japan (for varying reasons). Its so often overlooked by the fawning on Obama that the Asian government establishments were far less impressed with those 8 years. They saw his ‘pivot to Asia’ as crude and simplistic, and that he was weak and indecisive on key issues such as North Korea. In many ways, they preferred Trump (again, for varying reasons).

    Unless someone within Bidens team gets an attack of good sense and persuades him to put in fresh faces to his team dealing with Asia, then from day one nothing the new administration does will have any impact (from the US’s perspective) in the region. The ongoing process whereby China, South Korea, India, Japan, etc., all plan strategically for a post-US hegemony will continue, or accelerate.

    Reply
  5. rusti

    On the subject of Brexit, it seems that Amazon support on Twitter is ahead of the game:

    Thank you for that information. We apologize but upon reviewing your location you’re in Northern Ireland. Rugby Autumn Nations Cup coverage is exclusively available to Prime members based in the UK. We don’t have the rights to other territories. ^RS

    Some great replies on the thread:

    I ordered 32 counties for next day delivery and I it is coming up on 100 years of partition. Can I get a refund?

    To be fair “we don’t have the rights to other territories” never stopped the crown.

    Come out ye package fans

    Reply
    1. Clive

      Products marketed and sold with the dreaded small print “Not available in Northern Ireland” is already a long-standing PITA thing today — and the cause of much consternation to people in the province.

      Similarly “Offer Only Available in Mainland U.K.” (i.e. you’re out of luck, Scottish island dwellers; or the Channel Islands, Isle of Wight etc.).

      Reply
  6. zagonostra

    >Big Brother IS Watching You

    And so is Big Sister. My daughter just purchased a car and while signing up for insurance she received a 30% discount (supposedly) for allowing her driving behavior to be tracked. That tracking includes how many times she’s touched her phone, speed, hard breaking etc. I have no idea how this is done. She gets certain number of points and then gets a warning sent to her on her phone.

    So car insurance companies are track all your movements when you sign up to get a discount. It’s coming to the point, if we’re not there already, where all our movements, clicks, messages, purchases, likes, dislikes are being uploaded to some massive server.

    Well, I’m not signing up for any insurance discounts to be voluntarily tracked, thank you very much. You’ll have to track me the old fashioned way, without my knowledge or consent.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Your claim is denied. We projected your accident at 11:21:21 07 AM,based on our accelerometer in your vehicle, and cancelled your policy at 11:21:07 AM policy before your accident at 11:21:47 AM.

      Reply
      1. Glen

        Yep, I can see that coming.

        All cars since the late 80’s had the ability to record EEC (electronic engine controller) performance for about 100 key starts. It’s only grown since then with the ability for the vehicle to “phone home” via satellite link added in the early nineties (remember On-Star?). Since that time, hackers have demonstrated the ability to “take over” vehicles remotely:

        Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It
        https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/

        I haven’t kept up on this stuff (All my vehicles except for a tractor are over twenty years old). I do know that at least Tesla downloads complete operating system upgrades for their vehicles. I would assume other manufacturers are doing similar stuff. Plus selling your data – data is money.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Wait until we learn what voting software can do remotely. Six questions: 1. Why do U.S. voting results go over the wire to Dominion servers located in Germany? 2. What support for Antifa did CEO John Poulos express on social media? 3. What happened to the Dominion laptop and access keys that were stolen in Lackawanna County PA a month before the election and were those credentials used to log in to the system remotely and if so, what domain did they log in from? 4. What chain of custody procedures are used that ensure that a USB thumb drive removed from a machine is not simply switched on the spot? 5. What specific security concerns compelled Liz Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Ron Wyden to pen a letter to Dominion on Congressional letterhead in December 2019? 6. Why is the company named “Dominion”? (OK, that one I know is obvious…)

          Reply
          1. Glen

            I’m a controls engineer that being doing manufacturing automation for forty years, and I work on my vehicles. So controls in cars, sure I know a bit.

            But voting systems? Good luck with all that.

            Reply
    2. lordkoos

      The way it is done is that modern “smart” cars phone home and can also be remotely controlled. All “smart” appliances are data collection tools.

      Reply
    3. chuck roast

      When the genius insurance corporations get all the info on you including your library card number, ask them if you can pay your insurance based on vehicle miles traveled. Good luck with that.

      Reply
  7. Terry Flynn

    The “voting issues” are very pertinent given those of us who watch TV dramas (sorry I’ll go mad if I don’t have an outlet). The Crown is a great docudrama but the emphasis must be on drama – the shenanigans of the Royals are fun and not something I ever interested myself in (being a political junkie from age 11) during the first term of Thatcherism.

    People on social media have erupted in a storm because the show doesn’t “properly” display the neoliberalism of Thatcher and what it caused (miners’ strike etc) in the 1980s. I find myself telling them “chill, it’s a drama not a documentary”. If this generates interest in a more political drama then GREAT! But I do recognise that too many people knew stuff like the attempted Abduction of Princess Anne (I didn’t) but not the fact that Heath almost caused the country to collapse, and Labour, although making some awful mistakes (IMF loan that wasn’t needed – MMT shows this) added to the mayhem. But ultimately Labour were trying to clear up a Tory mess and would have succeeded if Callaghan had gone to the country in 1978 not 1979. Thatcher was NOT popular. I don’t often give details but “Margaret Roberts” was NOT the only “Roberts” in Grantham. My dad’s mum’s family were the “other Roberts family” in Grantham – my gran-aunt Veronica Roberts was next to “Thatcher” in classes and became a sort of friend. My Great Grandfather and my (VERY Tory grandmother) all HATED her-who-would-become-Thatcher. Not, because in the Netflix “small interviews” that she “worked hard” but for other reasons that I cannot possibly mention here.

    Suffice to say, residents of Grantham are NOT proud of a guy who was “alderman” etc for just a year. There is lots of “stuff”. THAT would really put Netflix up there…….I’m going to put the ALLEGEDLY word up here to ensure nothing I say is actionable. But residents of Grantham? Ask them. Just ask.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      OMG you are killing me.

      Must. Not. Care. About. Royals. Must. Not. Care. About. Thatcher. Must. Not. Care. About. Another. Country, we have plenty going wrong here.

      Sigh. Somehow it’s just more interesting when the Brits do it — we are just tawdry, they are tawdry but with fancy accents and beautiful settings.

      Reply
      1. Terry Flynn

        I never realised my family “rules” (don’t shop there without grand pa) were so well known! Suffice to say Grantham people are not proud of him.

        Reply
  8. jackiebass

    Your comment about the Obama presidency not being treated well by historians is probably accurate. I watched Obama as a senator. I concluded he was not going to work for the American people. Instead he was going to support the money grubbing establishment. Being a retired educator , Obamas record on education was horrible. He was also a friend of the military industrial complex. As a life long registered democrat, I didn’t vote for Obama either time. The ACA was simply a retweeting our present business model health care system. Once passed Obama did nothing to improve on a failed plan.Instead he stood by and watched republicans make the ACA even worse. On another note I wold love to be alive and see how historians treat Trump. At my age it’s unlikely this wish will happen.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Make sure you check out my First Amendment post that I am about to post. I think you’ll enjoy it.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Obama has always struck me as a book-smart fellow with nothing to back it up other than flowery prose which is all he was able to glean from reading.

      In any sort of business, you’d want to have him as a competitor because under the facade of having only read about things-rather than actual experience, he’d be like putty in pushing him around, and oh they did.

      Reply
      1. John Wright

        “he’d be like putty in pushing him around, and oh they did”

        This may be part of the Obama con.

        He may have known exactly where he wanted to go, but wanted some “push” money to go there ($60 million book deal).

        He had to know “most transparent administration, ever” and coming down on whistleblowers were incompatible.

        Shapeshifting Obama, not “like putty” Obama.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Ah, the old ex President book deal for seriously stupid money, the empire’s way of rewarding those who do as they’re told. The kicker being that Obama did it also before being elected.

          Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suspect Trump is closer to a short reigned Roman emperor. He has the same values as the end of dynasty emperors as Trump was a fairly normative Republican just like such monsters as John McCain, but he has no power base and came to power through timing. Biden is an attempt to dig up a distant relative in hopes of recapturing the old glory after Trump’s lack of personal relations upset the Equestrian class. Trump’s laziness is interesting, but his grifting wasn’t really different than the other grifts going on.

      The cults of personality (Trump, Obama, and Hillary), state of Team Blue, and election rules are far more interesting. Obama is interesting because despite the insistence of his “soaring rhetoric” his supporters rarely mention his presidency all that much.

      Reply
      1. Arby

        His supporters do mention his Presidency frequently and with great fondness. You are just not in those boardrooms often enough.

        Reply
      2. fresno dan

        NotTimothyGeithner
        November 16, 2020 at 8:45 am

        Good insight.
        Undoubtedly, the cult of personality is exacerbated by the “market” media, and the social media. It has simply supplanted any serious mass knowledge and discussion of actual policy and made all politics entertainment (no wonder Trump did so well)

        Reply
      3. tegnost

        That’s the cruel side of history. Yes history will pore over obamas reign and the decade or two after his term ended, connecting the ills of the nation to actions he took, essentially bailing out the worst of the worst and saying whattayagonnadoaboutit, huh? And there was nothing we could do about it, but time wounds all heels as they say, and the dow 30,000, massive homelessness, unaffordable health care in the midst of a pandemic (don’t give me any but trumps, he actually saved me a couple thousand bucks) and precarity in the midst of a record number of 100 billionaires who ostensibly can’t pay their labor without harming their own fragile existence is going to lead to bad things and imo biden is the perfect vehicle to drive it all into the ditch due to the class blindness and history won’t not see that. Trump on the other hand didn’t really achieve much other than muck raking compared to the colossal rip off that was O’s reign, and history will forget him or at most he’ll be a footnote, and the fashion of torn hair and rent garments will move on like the maxi skirt.

        Reply
    4. LibrarianGuy

      Smart, critical sources were onto Obama early– Harper’s did a story less than a year into (as far as I recall) his admin comparing his Financial bailouts of Wall St. to Herbert Hoover’s policies. Tony Judt (who died in 2010) also immediately noticed his desire to “compromise”/ surrender to Republican elites to win them over to his “reasonable” side (supposedly), and that he would give away most of the game before even bargaining.

      I admit among my few regrets that I was so sickened by ReThuglicans that I voted for both Clinton and OBomber during their first runs. I have wised up and stopped voting for any major duopoly party presidential candidate since 2012, at least.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        LibrarianGuy: The “desire to ‘compromise’ ” goes back to the founders of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1983. They decided to go for the big money, and realized to get it they would have to throw Labor under the bus. They believed the New Deal was outmoded and to get rich donors they would have to help them destroy it. See Al From’s book, The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power. Bill Clinton was Chairman of the DLC before his election and implemented their policies.

        Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Revisiting “Seven Days in May” Counterpunch.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Everything points towards an attack on Iran, and not a conventional one as our armed forces are tired out and Persia is a big player which would require oh so many boots on the ground, not a big nothing as our adversaries have tended to be since 9/11.

    The only overt bit of military action during the past 4 years was the assassination of Major General Soleimani in January. All other military forays have been mostly us keeping operations static, or leaving with our tails between our legs, or suddenly dropping an ally such as the Kurds.

    It made no sense to dispatch Soleimani other than possibly proximity (it happened in ‘neutral’ Baghdad) and marching orders must’ve come from somewhere a bit higher placed than the President.

    Adelson ponied up $75 million for Trump’s campaign about a month ago in a losing cause, and it makes you wonder what a nuclear strike would be worth to an outgoing President who looks to be a Bizarro World Billionaire, as in he owes that much?

    Reply
  10. timbers

    Global stocks head for record high on recovery, vaccine hopes Reuters. I still don’t understand the reality that generates this and the previous headline on the same page.

    The very wealthy old men (and women) who run the Federal Reserve many of whom have considerable investment assets and friends who also do, are giving investors and rich folk about $120 billion per month in free money that the Fed prints (digitally creates). This is called quantitative easing (QE). After printing (digitally creating) this extra money out of thin air, the Fed purchases financial assets. This drives up the price of financial assets (INFLATION).That additional free money the Fed created and used to buy assets – $120 billion per month – has to go somewhere and because the Fed chooses to inject it using channels that benefit the rich, the rich take the $120 billion/month they got from the Fed buying their assets, and put it right back into assets like stocks, bonds, real estate.

    Inflation is for the rich, and is allowed to affect only the assets they hold. Although I have noticed cheese recently went up quite a bit and broccoli and tomatoes seem to be finding a new higher plateau but the produce does bounce around a bit.

    As an aside, this is why there will not be – probably never in the near future – the eternally predicted burst in the real estate bubble until the Fed stops doing this and allows stocks and financial markets to fall to there natural level (meaning the level they would be at without this now eternally increasing Fed subsidy).

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks for this comment. I of course also realize this is going on. But I still find it amazing to read the juxtaposition of these two headlines.

      Reply
    2. Roquentin

      I don’t really think there is such a thing as a “natural level” in housing prices or any other kind of pricing. The market was always and forever political, it’s neoliberal to the core to think of the market as an extension of the natural world instead of a carefully constructed and finely tuned political machine. Letting the housing market crash isn’t going to help ordinary people either. It sure as hell didn’t in 2008.

      I am a believer in MMT and Keynesian economics. The real problem is that stimulus is going to investors rather than ordinary people so it never actually touches the real economy. There should have been several more $1200 payments and some kind of rent/mortgage reimbursement for people who fell on hard times.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Nothing makes any sense, take Las Vegas (please!) for instance. Their financial model is based on punters coming in out of the 103 degree heat into pretty perfect conditions for Covid-air conditioned with plenty of humans traipsing around in the viral lair. So many jobs have gone away there never to come back, so why would you want to buy a house there now?

        When Mikey McNulty was house hunting a few months back, he learned of a place in Las Vegas that had everything he wanted. It was the right size, had a pool and a three-car garage and was in great shape.

        The freelance photographer and videographer moved fast, making an offer within 12 hours of it getting listed — as did 10 other would-be buyers, he recalled.

        The whole experience, he said, was “chaotic.”

        Allyson Johnson, a Las Vegas attorney, recently got married and wanted a bigger place, so she put her house up for sale. She received two offers within days — and made her own offer on a house the day after she toured it.

        The market, she says, reminded her of Las Vegas’ frenzied mid-2000s bubble.

        “I had no idea there was that kind of competition out there for residential real estate,” she said.

        Las Vegas’ housing market is defying logic. It has heated up with fast sales and a monthslong streak of record prices despite the bleak economy, raising the question locals often ask: Is the market in a bubble?”

        https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/housing/las-vegas-housing-market-streak-makes-no-sense-are-we-in-a-bubble-2184069/

        Reply
      2. timbers

        Like so many you’re blinding yourself by attaching to your own literal definition of words “natural level” and using it differently than I. I defined what I meant by that, and that is undeniably accurate. And saying the Fed “let” housing crash in 2008 is your subjective (wrong) interpretation. The Fed inflated not crashed housing before the Fed “let it crash”. Finally what the Fed did or didn’t do in 2008 isn’t the same as what it’s doing now, which is basically eternal asset inflation without ryme or reason but to benefit themselves and the rich.

        Reply
        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Aye. And the decision of the Fed to keep interest rates below the inflation rates of the assets makes things even worse. You want to make extra money? Borrow some money, buy some assets, wait for them to appreciate (i.e., inflate), sell them, pay off the loan, keep the surplus as profit.

          Who can borrow the most money at the lowest rates to maximize their profits and rate of return? The wealthy. Those who are poor (or have poor credit ratings) can’t borrow money to play this game at all. The gap between rich and poor grows ever wider.

          And the inflation of housing prices has been an utter travesty. For some reason the media celebrates it, but all I can see is a housing affordability crisis getting even worse. Yet another fine example of policy favoring those who already own property (the haves) vs. those who don’t (the have nots). And now that investors are buying properties to play the asset inflation game… Hoo boy.

          Reply
          1. fajensen

            Borrow some money, buy some assets, wait for them to appreciate (i.e., inflate), sell them, pay off the loan, keep the surplus as profit.

            Way Too Complicated! Instead, borrow some money, buy some assets, wait 2 weeks for them to appreciate, then borrow more, buy more assets …. flash your assets and attract entrepreneurial-spirited young things, who believes that there is a surplus, for them.

            The profit is the nubile young things and the NIRP- rates so generously bestowed by the grace of central bank stupidity.

            Reply
        2. Roquentin

          I suppose it was nitpicking at the language a little bit, but any time I hear talk involving he markets being natural. I also agree that the Fed had actively been involved in inflating the housing market and there came a point where neither they nor anyone else was able to keep doing so. That’s a better description for sure, but I’m still taken aback by you or anyone else suggesting letting the house market crash this time around would be in any way beneficial. The Fed certainly could have done more for homeowners in the aftermath, which they didn’t. I think we both agree their actions benefitted the rich almost exclusively. Where we differ is that you seem to think the market, if left to its own “natural” devices won’t produce the same benefit for the rich. Or that such a “natural” equilibrium ever existed in the first place. It was always already a political endeavor from the start. That isn’t to say that there aren’t limits on what government policy can accomplish, just that it was always involved from day 1.

          I think we both at least agree that current housing prices aren’t sustainable. The real question is, how do we handle it now? Simply letting thousands upon thousands of people get evicted and removed from their homes due to foreclosure while sitting on your hands and saying “well, it’s just the market returning to its natural state” is no better than the Fed’s present actions, at least as far as anyone except for the very wealthy are concerned.

          edit: Actually, I think saying “how do we handle it now” isn’t accurate either because neither you nor I will have any say in how the rapidly approaching housing crisis is solved. The best question is “how will the Fed and Biden Administration decide to handle.” Their opinions are, sadly, the only ones which matter on the subject.

          Reply
          1. Lost in OR

            The nitpicking is the focus on a single market (housing) and a single entity (the Fed). The insanity of surging prices across all asset categories is the work of both monetary and fiscal policy. It’s the work of the political and elite classes as well as the buy-in (again) by the proles. It’s the faith that “progress” moves in only one direction and benefits us all.

            What this pandemic and this election has shown is that we’ve lost the faith. We are all feeling unsustainable because we are. Even the political and elite classes are feeling this. Biden ran on “nothing will change”. Good luck with that.

            Reply
            1. skippy

              RE goes back to Friedman’s prose for the developer lobby, monetary goes to the neoclassical new Keynesian synergy, whilst the political class fighting for lifeboats abdicated fiscal distribution* a long time ago E.g. its not their job … its the markets …

              Reply
    3. skippy

      All are conditioned by DSGE and now path dependent via social and financial architecture.

      Then again due to assembly line tertiary certification[tm] some are completely ignorant of what occurred in 1934 and its ramifications in the long run.

      FF to 34 minutes for the relevant historical timeline of events and how this relates to the maths which underpin such models.

      https://larspsyll.wordpress.com/2020/11/02/ergodicity-wonkish/

      This bleeds into pools of thought behind events such as Plaza et al IMO and is extenuated upon, increasingly requiring more extreme policies to service the near fatalistic devotion to the underlining perspective. That it works for financial elites is just proof of pudding and a bad case of self reinforcing dynamics.

      If there is an axiom to Lambert’s “self licking ice cream cone” this would be my pick.

      PS. its McCrazzypants that AET now completely rejects models [climate included] yet ignore the fundamental cornerstone of it … its so DEVO – we will repeat … political camps distinctions non withstanding … who boy

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “The Blue-footed Booby Dance Gets the Girl Every Time”

    Could it be that female Blue-footed Boobys believe the legend, that like humans, big feet signifies …..

    Reply
    1. gsinbe

      Interesting theory, however, pity the poor birds. From Wikipedia: “Although birds reproduce through internal fertilization, 97% of males completely lack a functional intromittent organ.” The “intromittent organ” is the “unit” under discussion…

      Reply
      1. edmondo

        That’s probably why their feet are blue. so you won’t notice that they are one of the 97% It’s cheaper than a sportscar.

        Reply
        1. Jeff W

          To be clear, that’s 97% of all birds, not just the blue-footed boobys. Ducks, geese and swans, ostriches and emus are in the 3% that have managed to, um, hold on to theirs. (And the loss of that “intromittent organ” occurred on four separate occasions, evolutionarily-speaking—“once,” Scientific American observes, “might be regarded as misfortune…”)

          Reply
          1. Janie

            Ya learn something every day on this site. TIL about birds. If we in the commentariat leave long enough, not only will we be well informed on economics but we will also be veritable founts of useless knowledge. Thanks to all!

            Reply
        1. Jeff W

          No, that’s not what the statistic means.

          Three percent of bird species are endowed; 97% of the species are not endowed and, within those species, none of the males (and, obviously, none of the females) are. In those species fertilization occurs when the male and female engage in a “cloacal kiss.”

          No one’s sure exactly why the loss of that “intromittent organ” has occurred. This SciShow video (which I happened to watch about two days ago, the reason that I know all this) goes through the seven explanations that have been proposed.

          Reply
      2. ewmayer

        Could I see that word used in a sentence, please?

        “Our nature documentary about birds will continue after a brief intromission – consider refilling your oversized soda and popcorn at our snack bar.”

        While we’re on the subject of titillating bird names and facts, I recall a BBC Wildfacts page years ago which had this description – I’m guessing at the number of breeding pairs – of the Great Tit: “Great Tits are not considered threatened. There are over 500,000 pairs in the UK.”

        More seriously, alas, even the not-threatened bit is no longer true:
        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8921173/Great-tits-face-extinction-threat-climate-change-impacting-food-source.html

        Reply
  12. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit

    Boris Johnson news – live: PM ‘in good health’ as number of Tory MPs self-isolating after No 10 meeting grows Independent

    Brexit: we’ll know it when we see itEUReferendum.com

    Its hard to put into words just how farcical this whole thing has become. The UK government is rapidly turning into a laughing stock.

    Nobody seems to know what is happening – the broad outline is that there is open warfare behind closed doors of No.10 – not between ideological factions – but between ego’s (including the fiancé of Johnson himself), about who can be the last person in the room to sit with him – as the only predictable thing about Johnson is that he always agrees with the last person he talks to. Cummings seems to have jumped as much as having been forced out – probably because he saw chaos coming and doesn’t want to have his hands dirty when the manure finally hits the fan. What is remarkable is that nobody, even insiders, seems to have any idea what all this chaos means for Brexit, or any other policy for that matter. Its all about wielding power behind the scenes.

    As for the deal – nobody seems to know what Johnson wants, but I think the best guess is that he knows a deal is necessary, but is deluded enough to think that if he can hold out until the last possible moment, the EU will concede some important point that he can sell as a victory. And then he’ll work out later what to do. Maybe.

    The EU seems to have given up negotiating with the UK – they are just putting something together based on the existing state of negotiations as more or less a take it or leave it offer (with maybe a few goodies kept on hand if they feel the need to offer a face saving concession to the UK). They don’t seem to have any good idea what London is up to, so they see further concessions as a waste of time and political capital.

    While everyone is focusing on the Thursday EU meeting, the ‘real’ deadline appears to be around 10 days after that. Any longer, and it would be impossible for the EU to go through the hoops necessary to ratify it.

    It should be pointed out that everything doesn’t halt even if the deal can’t be signed. There may be efforts to put in place a deal that could be ratified by next Spring – business will just have to deal with ‘no deal’ for the first few months of 2021. So this thing could run and run.

    The most ominous sign though for the UK is that there were a few interviews on the Sunday political shows with government ministers that indicated what seemed to various observers to be a shocking ignorance among senior Tories about what a no-deal means. One minister said that a no-deal was no problem for the dairy industry, as the UK would simply substitute imported dairy with domestic sources. As if somehow you could overnight just create millions of dairy cows and all the processing that goes with it. This strongly indicates I think that whatever Johnson wants, the cabinet will be behind him in the event of a no-deal. This seems to make it far more likely.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous 2

      Thank you PK. Interesting thoughts as always.

      I think the cabinet were required to commit that they would not resist no-deal before they were appointed so they would have difficulty resisting now (and would probably be instantly dismissed and become eternal pariahs to at least one faction of the Tory party).

      But I agree that it is extremely difficult to tell what happens next. My guess FWIW is that even Johnson may not know. One sign which could be cited to support the view that he will do a deal is the appointment of Lister to a key post. Reportedly he played an important role in getting the Withdrawal Agreement settled.

      My own reading for what it is worth is that Johnson is under pressure from various puppeteers, who will of course include Murdoch, who may be pulling in opposite directions. He will of course put off making any decision until the last possible moment (or even too late if his handling of Covid is anything to go by) because when he does he is going to antagonise one or other important set of supporters and probably some of the puppeteers. Having promised that the UK was going to be able to have the cake of a FTA with the EU and eat it without having any conditions limiting the UK’s ability to rid itself of any commitments on environmental, employee and consumer protection, he will finally be revealed as having misled the electorate in order to obtain power..

      In my idle moments of fantasy I muse as to whether there is a tug of war going on between Murdoch on the one hand and Putin on the other (readers should read Catherine Belton if they wonder why Russia might be involved).

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve wondered what Murdochs views are now, I avoid his media. But I assume he is making is views known through the usual channels.

        What I found curious about all the press reports I read about the shenanigans in no.10, I didn’t see any quote from a ‘friend of the PM’ – everyone seems to be fighting around him, but he himself has become isolated. Even his fiance seems to be the leader of just one of several factions.

        If I was to make a guess, I don’t think he or any of the other senior Tories really knows what they want (apart from the small number of pragmatists who realise a deal is vital). He is really just hoping that something turns up to allow him to either claim victory (an EU concession), or an EU crisis meaning that he can blame them for a no-deal.

        But as you suggest, I think its quite likely that various donors are having a much stronger influence than most outsiders suspect. All those people who paid hard cash to support Johnson personally are no doubt in regular contact – I’m assuming most of those are hard core Brexiters, or people who believe they can profit from it.

        I don’t think it can have escaped notice worldwide that the UK is essentially without a functioning decision making apparatus at the highest level, and has a seriously weakened one at a lower level. One can only wonder at the various plots going on to take advantage.

        Reply
    2. Fireship

      The UK has been a clown country for a couple of years now. It saw all the people laughing at Brazil, Turkmenistan and America and like a drunken buffoon decided it wanted some of the fun. Irish freedom fighter/terrorist, Bobby Sands once said, “the laughter of our children shall be our revenge.” Now I realize that he meant it literally.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Jonson want to remain Prime Minister.
        The Tories want to remain in Power.

        A rational Brexit is impossible, because of the “Irish Question'”

        Every time the English believe they have ab answer to the Irish Question, the Question Changes.

        Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to Deceive.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        As others have observed, the once justly admired UK political/administrative system has been systematically undermined and/or sold off since the 1980’s at least. As so often happens when complex systems are allowed to decay or taken for granted, they can function for a surprisingly long time until suddenly a crisis becomes a stress test that causes everything to fail at once. I think we are now seeing the UK system come to a breaking point. Its anyones guess what happens if it does fundamentaly break down.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Foment a civil war in Ireland as a distraction? Fund a “New and Improved Privatized Black and Tans” to do the dirty work. Let the Royal Navy prove itself by sinking all those EU troop ships moving ‘peacekeepers’ to the Emerald Isle. Etc. The Tories have shown themselves to be bloody minded enough to try something along those lines.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            In all honesty, I doubt they have the competence to organise something like that, although I don’t doubt that some have thought about suitable ‘distractions’.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Thanks for that dose of sanity. It’s quite ironic that incompetence in office could be a positive quality in a governing elite.

              Reply
    3. David

      I think the problem is that before you can have objectives and preferences, you have to have, first a minimal basic understanding of the problems, second, come basic capability for analysis, and thirdly some idea of how you might conceivably get what you want. I think we’ve reached the point where the government has none of these things , or at least not enough of any of them to make a difference. This is the problem when you are all presentation and no substance. After a while you have no substance to present.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its becoming clear that this is the fundamental problem with the entire Brexit project. It might actually be good news for the UK to find out that there is an evil plan lurking behind the whole thing.

        Unfortunately, its become all too clear that nobody (or at least, nobody within government) actually knew what Brexit meant, had any idea what a non-Brexit UK would look like, and even if they did, have no idea how to go about achieving it. I don’t watch much TV, but I did catch a few interviews recently with government ministers and its become all to clear that really, yes, they are that clueless. They aren’t hiding anything, they literally know nothing of any use whatever. And since presumably they’ve been briefed before going to the media, it seems that they are surrounded by similar levels of obliviousness.

        Reply
        1. Phillip Cross

          “Everyone thinks there’s some moment, like in a James Bond movie, where you open the door and that’s where the really good people are, but there is no door.”

          Reply
        2. ChrisPacific

          I think this is why I’ve largely stopped following, even though it’s coming down to what should in theory be the most critical few weeks of all. There’s simply nobody at the wheel any more. Back when May, Johnson and all the representatives of the multiple factions in multiple parties were all fighting for control, and there still seemed to be some possibility that the UK might attempt to grapple with reality even if it meant giving up its unicorns, it made for high drama, but there’s none of that now.

          I expect things will get interesting again very quickly in about six weeks, but until then there doesn’t seem much to be gained from staring at security camera footage of the empty helm.

          Reply
        3. Halcyon (formerly AnonyMouse)

          Quite, PK – and this was always the subtext in Sir Ivan Rogers’ remarks after his resignation. You get the sense there was a guy here who was actually across a lot of the details of what EU membership entailed, understood leaving the EU as a tradeoff in which some sovereignty is exchanged for some economic co-operation, and was then baffled when those in charge of the Brexit project seemed to have no conception of what it was that they actually wanted to happen.

          And these details are relevant, because it’s effectively negotiating a trade deal in reverse. “We want a bit more access to market X so remove regulation Y, please… Okay, we’ll do that in exchange for concessions on Z” Except now, it’s; “We want a bit less access to market X so we have the right to create our own regulations in Y.”

          You actually need some conception of what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it to have these negotiations.

          Theresa May was obviously no true believer in Brexit. Her aim, especially after the 2017 General Election, was simply to negotiate the divisions within the Tory party, and she governed accordingly. Boris only ever viewed Brexit as the greasy pole he could use to climb into Number Ten and, beyond vague patriotic waffle and a US fetish, has not articulated anything about it.

          Reply
  13. pjay

    Re: ‘Revisiting “Seven Days in May’

    I don’t even think this is a case of TDS. As a veteran “CIA analyst,” Goodman certainly knows how ridiculous the “Seven Days” scenario is with regard to Trump. The very fact that Trump has to rely on these low-level “loyalists” illustrates that he has *no* supporters among the real powers that be. And will people please quit insulting our intelligence about Barr? His role, as always, is to keep a lid on things, not overthrow the Blob.

    This isn’t TDS. This is pure propaganda for “leftists.” Thanks again, Counterpunch.

    Reply
  14. lovevt

    Trump refuses to concede US election after acknowledging Biden victory. Probably negotiating to have his debts rescinded and criminal activities Non-Indictable

    Reply
      1. The Historian

        All he has to do is convince a few billionaires that what he wants is actually in their best interests too- gotta keep the grift under wraps because they are all involved – and Biden and Pelosi will go along with it.

        Reply
        1. flora

          He didn’t start any new wars. He tried to stop the war in Afghanistan. That means he’ll forever be an outcast to the blob. ;)

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Well, the forever war in Africa is bigger. The only reason Trump didn’t start a new war is the low hanging fruit is off the table. It’s why Obama backed off of Syria. He learned the US military could be retaliated against and didn’t want to have bunch of dead sailors happen on his watch. It’s the same with Trump. Many people in the blob won’t have to deal with consequences so they don’t care, but even Obama and Trump could see the PR problems.

            Reply
          2. The Historian

            “He didn’t start any new wars.”
            But it wasn’t for lack of trying, was it? He was just not competent.

            Remember all that nonsense about NK? But Kim Jong-Un outsmarted him, didn’t he. He figured out the way to handle Trump was to flatter him, and then there was no more talk about NK getting rid of its nukes or its missiles.

            And Iran showed remarkable restraint in all the times Trump has taunted them, haven’t they? Especially when Trump droned Soleimani.

            Reply
            1. tegnost

              So NK is supposed to make policy choices regarding her nukes and missiles because there will be some kind of enforcement mechanism guided by the president who could have a more muscular response that would escalate confrontations in order to allow the might makes right crowd, the r2p’s among us, to employ the US military to cow them into submission? tell me more! I can’t imagine why NK wouldn’t trust the US, I mean we are the exceptional ones who make and enforce all the rules. Funny how Obama thought we needed to bring a new round of nuclear weapons, but everybody else has to get rid of theirs . Flattering trump seems like a decent way to deescalate.

              Reply
            2. Eclair

              Good points, Historian. And don’t forget the newly-created 7th branch of the US Military …… tah dah …… Space Force! Why mess with puny terrestrial wars when we can overrun and colonize Space: The Final Frontier?

              Reply
          3. a different chris

            >He didn’t start any new wars.

            He couldn’t. The military is stretched as thin as a volunteer military can be and maybe then some.

            >He tried to stop the war in Afghanistan.

            Really? Too bad he wasn’t CinC for the last 4 years, then man he would show them what a decisive peace-maker he is!

            Reply
            1. Lambert Strether

              > >He tried to stop the war in Afghanistan.

              > Really? Too bad he wasn’t CinC for the last 4 years, then man he would show them what a decisive peace-maker he is!

              You did see the story where the military lied to him about the troop counts, so they could remain in-country? I reject the Deep State as a model because it’s too monolithic, but if I did not, I’d certainly have my priors confirmed.

              Reply
              1. a different chris

                Yes I did read it but “stop the war” means “troop counts == zero” so not sure how him accepting an adjustment of a non-zero number gives him any credit?

                >I reject the Deep State as a model because it’s too monolithic,

                Agreed I tried to say a similar thing below, it’s basically the usual bureaucratic mess but they occasionally align and “war all the time as long as they don’t send me” makes them all pretty happy.

                Reply
              2. Darthbobber

                During the transition from Truman to Eisenhower, Truman said:
                “Poor Ike. He thinks it’ll be like the army. He’ll come in and say “Do this” and “do that” and nothing will happen.”

                Reply
              3. Big Tap

                Lambert, Trump couldn’t even pull troops out of Afghanistan and Germany. Congress stopped him back in the summer. Congress agrees on nothing but war, military budgets, and keeping foreign troops forever around the world at great expense. About time their families go to foreign countries and experience war. They don’t mind seeing other people’s family members killed or maimed.

                https://theintercept.com/2020/07/02/house-democrats-working-with-liz-cheney-restrict-trumps-planned-withdrawal-of-troops-from-afghanistan-and-germany/

                Reply
        2. neo-realist

          The billionaires got a four year sample and don’t believe he is a responsible front man for empire (screwing up relations with allies, stirring up domestic discord, irresponsible management of the pandemic), and believe Biden is a safer choice.

          Reply
        1. ambrit

          Perhaps, but, even No6 had to deal with a very efficient “blob” during his “Extended Vacation.”
          Alas, back then, hope truly did spring eternal. To defeat the Computer, all No6 had to do was to ask it “Why?” Today, the Computer programmers have adapted. When asked that question now, “Why?”, the Computer answers, “Because.” Then cue the ‘Infinite Regression.’

          Reply
    1. edmondo

      It’s much more likely that he is negotiating another book deal. Elites don’t go to prison and when they do, they Epstein themselves by performing contortions that would put Olympic gymnasts to shame.

      Reply
      1. Procopus

        That reminds me, apparently Ghislaine Maxwell hasn’t been suicided yet, but I don’t know that because she’s simply been blacked out from the news for three or four months.

        Reply
  15. Krystyn Podgajski

    From my anecdotal experience, COVID cases will be well beyond any predictions out right now.

    I would not have stopped in Crowley, Louisiana, but unfortunately my van kind of broke down (looks like it might be my water pump or a pulley, my heat stopped working and my engine temperature was up a little.). But I had to go into a Walmart to look for some coolant and literally nobody was wearing a mask. Well, I did see one other person besides me wearing an n95 mask. But only the workers were wearing masks.

    I don’t feel sad anymore because who should I feel sad for or angry? I definitely feel more sadness towards the workers and couldn’t care about the shoppers not wearing masks.

    But I hate the mental virus that’s infected these towns and I just can’t wait to get my car fixed and get out of here even though I’ll probably have a little money left.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      That’s interesting, Wal*Marts in the CVBB here have a sign at the entrance stating mandatory mask wearing in order to enter-with a bouncer to ‘enforce’ things, and in my last half dozen visits I have not seen one person not wearing one, be it customers or employees.

      The other bible belt back east seems like a different world, in terms of mask compliance.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          It’s also a jobs program!
          Around here, the “bouncers” are either uniformed City or County coppers on ‘side gigs,’ or uniformed “Rent-A-Cops.”
          Thank you for your masked service!

          Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      yup. Hardly anybody in our little town is wearing a mask….and people still glare at me for doing so,lol.
      same with the town to the north.
      bars and restaurants and shops and football games and parties are all full…just believe real hard that all is well, and we’re all immune, somehow…chinese commie hoax, and all.
      meanwhile, the homehealth nurses that come out here every day for stepdad are tripping…both say that it’s much worse than the official numbers…somehow, the Poz are not getting counted.
      same with our regular doctor…wife had a video chat with him late last week(“chemo brazilian” rarely comes up in cancer support sites)…and he’s definitely freaking(we’ve known him for 20+ years). he’s in fredericksburg, texas, to our south…says it’s everywhere down there.
      learned that he also lost one of his nurses to covid last month.
      trauma in the healthcare world, even way out here…where, if i didn’t know better, looks pretty normal. he says that the hospital clan down there is exhausted and beside themselves with worry(regional healthcare hub. it’s where we go for xrays on up)
      sent the boys and everyone else the atlantic article from the other day, something close to “lock yourself down now!”. I thought it was a good and effective mixture of hope and “get with the damned program, already!”

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I mean do people make a choice of what they want to believe?

        So all I can do is blame neoliberalism and the people that keep following it. Those are people who are supposed to be smart, but they are not, they are just greedy.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          A formerly decent restaurant in town was sold to somebody of the far right persuasion and they don’t believe in masks to protect both their employees & guests, here’s the latest of around 20x 1-star reviews in the past 5 months:

          “Servers here do not wear masks, which is a clear violation of California policy. That means they are breathing on your food while they are preparing and handling it. While I would expect diners to not be wearing masks, this is the first time I’ve seen servers not wear masks.”

          You’d think all those shitty reviews would be quite the persuasion in making masks mandatory, but as mentioned, it’s more of a political bent and to kowtow to the libtards must be avoided at all costs.

          Reply
      2. Grant

        When I was a kid, I remember reading about the Soviet propaganda system. It was so pervasive, so distorted people’s perceptions of reality. Sorry, but it is the minor leagues compared to the propaganda system in this country. The propaganda system here, from the far right to CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times and the like, has completely ruined the capacity of people to make sense of the world they live in, and it also is a huge reason why the left growing is so slow. People live in bubbles and do no agree to a common set of facts (say, long-term macroeconomic trends, and some basic understanding of who has or hasn’t benefited from economic policy in recent decades). As a result, there is no objective reality at all, and there certainly is no way for people to place themselves in society in a way that is logical. Is a working person in an economic class? What to do about power differentials? It is also hard to get people to even be open to actual alternatives, because all they have ever known is an increasingly failing system and they have been told that nothing else is possible. So, you can have a great set of policies, institutions, or explanations of why things are as they are, or where we are headed. What is difficult is getting people to entertain such things if they deviate too much from the present. Given how utterly rotten and unsustainable the system is, I cannot imagine a worse situation. Look at how people respond to MMT, for example. Whether or not it is true is sometimes irrelevant. It deviates wildly from everything they have been told, so some (especially older people that have been subjected to the propaganda for a longer period of time) won’t even consider it.

        However, those with power have used their education and knowledge to benefit themselves and various powerful interests. This has always been the case, but it is in fact a rare exception to have someone in power actually care about society or those less fortunate. Chomsky wrote decades ago about the responsibility of intellectuals, but the only responsibility that remains is personal enrichment. Because of this, every dominant institution in society is thoroughly corrupt and has failed people. Why do people question things, often in irrational ways? Because all everyone with power does is lie to them. Them questioning science or basic facts, say on economic or environmental issues, is ultimately irrational and destructive. Some of that is ignorance, or stupidity, but a lot of it is manufactured. And, as I said, a contributing factor is the utter failure of the dominant institutions in our society.

        Because of this, it seems to me that many people subconsciously just want society to burn down. Whatever their perception of reality is, they know things aren’t right, and that powerful people are harming them. They are just struggling to connect the dots, because the propaganda system here is so good and effective at diverting attention away from the capitalists harming working people, the poor, our democracy and the environment. People like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are also so off-putting that they don’t often want to join them in anything.

        Reply
        1. Rod

          Because of this, it seems to me that many people subconsciously just want society to burn down. Whatever their perception of reality is, they know things aren’t right, and that powerful people are harming them.

          I hear this, and variations, too frequently.

          Reply
        2. JP

          Maybe in a few hundred years, history will consider this as the end of a 200 year period of self governance experiment that failed before things returned to normal.

          Reply
        3. Procopius

          If you like history, I recommend Bret Deveraux’s A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. It’s also a good escape from TDS and Russiagate. Anyway, the reason I bring him up is he had a nice article on how common this was in the ancient Romano-Hellenic world. Many of the ancient scholars (at least those whose works, some of them, have survived) discussed the problem. He points out that there were lots of states with more or less “democratic” political systems, and none of them lasted very long, but they kept going back to that form. He points out that Athens just about went over the cliff (the “Thirty Tyrants,” about the time of Plato) but managed to reform their institutions and find compromises. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet, and most of them had to live through a few centuries of tyranny or oligarchy before they instituted republics again.

          Reply
    3. ambrit

      Is this “Covid Fatigue” a generally Southern phenomenon? (NADS Southern.)
      Here in the half horse town, I see more masks than other commenters do in their environs, but technique is lacking. I see a lot of masks being worn with the nose exposed; “Performative masking?” The ‘Metropolis’ never dropped the mask mandate in public emporia, and it is halfway adhered to. Mask usage drops off as you leave the urban tracts and enter the suburban and rural zones.
      Somehow, I get the feeling that the mask usage rate mirrors the ‘communities’ sense of insularity.

      Reply
      1. furies

        O no. I’m in California (the red part, obviously) and no one wears masks in my county.

        Well, me and 1 other person. And yes, the hostility is breathtaking.

        The health department and the sheriff–they don’t care~

        It’s a hoax, you see. Very tribal.

        only exaggerating a little–there’s a small number starting to make noises about ‘code enforcement’ but I have my doubts about real change here until there’s lots of deaths

        Reply
        1. JacobiteInTraining

          I guess we commies, marxists, antifa, and other ne’er’do’wells in Washington State have been well-indoctrinated. Mask usage in Snohomish County is incredibly ubiquitous. Only one or 2 people in *months* that i recall not being masked up in retail shops like grocery stores.

          I’ve seen a couple of nose-maskers, but even that is pretty rare. In Mason County – completely rural area that voted for Trump (but barely) I see basically the same…pretty much everyone I’ve seen in shops is masked up. In neither county have I witnessed any big blowups about ‘muh freedoms!!’…though I am sure they happen from time to time. Not enough for me to see one, anyway.

          The only time I dont see peeps masked up is when walking, say…at the apt complex when they are walking dogs. Even then, there is a pretty ubiquitous/ostentatious ‘walk the long way around’ whenever unmasked peeps pass, insuring 6′ or usually more between.

          I guess we are ripe for Pol Pot-level extinction events, since noone here apparently takes ‘but muh freedoms!!’ seriously. (/sarc)

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            The only time I dont see peeps masked up is when walking, say…at the apt complex when they are walking dogs. Even then, there is a pretty ubiquitous/ostentatious ‘walk the long way around’ whenever unmasked peeps pass, insuring 6′ or usually more between.

            That’s how it was in New Zealand during our lockdown. This was before masks were part of the standard public health response, but you arguably don’t need them outdoors if you are scrupulous about distancing (though that’s hard to accomplish on your own without the cooperation of society). Crossing the street to avoid passing a pedestrian on the same side moved from “borderline offensive” to “just good manners” in a matter of days.

            Reply
        2. ambrit

          I can understand how this event engenders so many conspiracy theories. It appears to have been bungled from, and perhaps even before, the start.
          The bit about “…lots more deaths…” is spot on. The system we suffer under is famous for reacting to problems, not anticipating problems.
          One of my Dad’s biggest problems when he took the job running just a segment of the county HUD housing repairs was the incredible backlog of work orders. He mentioned to me early on that he was facing a triage situation.
          “We’ve got over three years of backlogged repair requests. I don’t know if we will ever get to proper preventive maintenance. First up is eliminating those problems that the tenants have fixed themselves. Then on to which ones are critical, and which ones are bearable annoyances.” [Not his exact words, but the gist of his thinking.]
          As is true today, Dad’s biggest problems came from City Hall. He, being a pretty wily amateur politico by then, played them for fools several times. This happened in a locale where the brother of a major politico was caught red handed “in the vicinity” of several tons of import grade cannabis and was never jailed, if I remember correctly. Someone has ‘sanitized’ the wiki entries on that family.

          Reply
        3. barefoot charley

          I’m in coastal hippie Northern California where compliance is pretty general unless you’ve been here for generations. But it’s definitely slipping. In San Francisco the other day I was startled at more than a few chin-guard stylings that liberated the mouth as well as nose. Freeing the nose wasn’t uncommon. I think people are so sick and tired they’re more game to get sick and tireder.

          And the city’s on the verge of lockdown after succeeding in postponing the real pain till now. Makes you wonder if there’s a solution.

          Reply
      2. Grant

        The “Covid fatigue” stuff is understandable to an extent, but life is like that, isn’t it? I mean, someone once said that people can make history, but not in the conditions of their own choosing, right? Seems to point to an obvious truism, which is that people exist in a society that is a given, and even if they would like things to be different, they can’t make them so. COVID is not fun to deal with, but what choice do we have? Beyond that, the environmental crisis is with us and is going to get progressively worse. Will be people have “fatigue” with that? Probably, but again, if we don’t radically change things, what is the point of whining about it or fretting about it, any more than a person can have “fatigue” about the realization that they are mortal. It is what it is, and instead of responding to the objective reality by being selfish and irresponsible, they should make sense of it inside their own heads, come to terms with the situation, and try to act responsibly. However, it is also a fact that the “fatigue” would almost certainly not be as much of an issue if the government wasn’t so worthless and did more to help us get through this. Part of the fatigue is the result of worthless, corrupt people in power doing nothing for workers, small businesses, state and local governments.

        Reply
        1. Phillip Cross

          Solving this type of big problem in a democracy is not difficult because of worthless, corrupt people in power. It is because a majority of “The People” will always vote for, “Do as thou wilt” vs. “Make personal sacrifices”. My 10 year old, when asked for a preference, will take chocolate over cabbage in the same way.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            A gross over-simplification of a long-standing and complex subject.

            Much research and not a little naval-gazing has gone into trying to frame and resolve this issue.

            At the very heart of medicine, there is uncertainty. This is why, when your doctor has examined you or you’ve had a test or similar, if there’s a treatment, the clinician will say it is “indicated”. Note the wording. Not “required” or “guaranteed” or any such.

            Few seem to be willing or able to grasp that not only what they think or believe isn’t necessarily 100% verifiable and proven, even medical science doesn’t deal in such nice, easy, gift-wrapped certainties.

            But no-one in our culture apparently wants to hear that.

            Reply
            1. marym

              People aren’t being asked to donate a kidney, or take an experimental medicine.* There are difficult and rightfully controversial issues about closing schools and businesses, and governments not providing economic support.

              However, most people ought to be able to follow the basic request (in the US it’s mostly not a legal mandate) to try wearing a simple face mask and to avoid indoor social gatherings for a few months, because it’s likely to help.

              * though they may expect to benefit from vaccines made possible by people who did this on their behalf voluntarily

              Reply
              1. Clive

                If you’re making a genuine request of someone, “no” is not only a valid answer, it’s a complete sentence.

                In defining public health policy, to quote from the report I linked to earlier:

                Communication should not be to persuade or coerce, but to help inform decisions.

                You’ve, presumably, verified this theory of engagement with public opinion on health issues yourself. You’ve either communicated to other people information on public health policy choices — or you’ve supported other agencies in doing that. Where these communications have been of the “persuasion” or “coercive” type, they have wholly or partly failed to achieve either the persuasion or the coercion.

                In other words, you’re perfectly entitled to inform debate. You don’t, however, get to dictate outcomes of that debate.

                You can of course try to do those persuasion or coercion activities, or encourage others to do so on your behalf. But given both a theoretical basis for, and empirical evidence of, an almost-certain failure to achieve those aims, why the surprise or dissatisfaction? Decades of research and reams of publications will tell you you were never going to be successful in that endeavour. Public health policy doesn’t work like that.

                If you’re going to ignore both the theoretical principles of how to design and implement effective public health policies and either your own or others’ observational evidence of what happens when you proceed differently from what those theoretical principles state as being effective (or, worse, actively pursue an approach which those theories state will be ineffective) then to blame your own and others’ failures is like blaming gravitational theory for your foot hurting if you drop a heavy object on it from a height of several feet.

                Reply
                1. marym

                  In the absence of a vaccine or robust treatment, and in an environment of imperfectly and sometimes corruptly designed and communicated public policy, people have been asked to do something relatively simple that may be helpful.

                  Some said yes, despite the flaws in the system, and our distrust of public officials, we’ll try this for a while in the hope that it will help slow the spread of the disease. Others said no, trying slow the spread of a disease isn’t important to us.

                  Reply
    4. Maya

      You need belt dressing, it’s like rosin to create more friction. Ever think of tightening the belt?
      A. Loosen nut on alternator which is usually the third leg of belt between crank pulley and water pump pulley,
      B. Use lever to extend distance between water pump and alternator taking slack out of belt, tighten nut.
      C. Thank your lucky stars that you have an older simpler vehicle where you can do this.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Good idea. A loose belt will really ‘mess things up’ in an engine.
        [I don’t know Krystyn’s level of comfort in doing work on his vehicle. That varies wildly across the population. I have even encountered people who didn’t want to fool with adding water to their radiators!]

        Reply
        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Yeah, I can’t handle most of that work, plus I don’t have the tools. But it’s definitely the water pump and the pulley might be bad as well. Mechanics looking at it now. There was definitely some coolant around the water pump so that’s a pretty big tell.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Ah. Coolant around the water pump is a strong sign of pump failure. If the pump is easily visible, we used to start the engine and look for the leak spot. The general point of failure in the water pump is the seal around the shaft from the pulley through the body of the pump to the impeller assembly inside.
            If I may, what year and type of van do you have? That would tell me a lot about the possible degree of difficulty in replacing the unit. [If I am not intruding too much.]
            Either way, stay calm and keep on truckin’.

            Reply
    5. ambrit

      I work on my own automobiles and make the suggestion that you ask the mechanic who looks at your engine to check the thermostat first. That is the most common failure point in the cooling system. Any good mechanic will check that part first. It keeps your water in the engine block from circulating until it had built up enough ‘heat’ to be efficient in it’s heat exchanging duty. It’s a small and reasonably cheap part that is designed to be replaced. They do wear out more often than most other engine parts.
      Good luck, and demand to see the old parts you are charged with having replaced. That will keep the mechanics a little bit more honest.
      Safe travels!

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Excellent! And a belated happy b’day to YOU. Had a tranny fail in Kalamazoo, on the way to Madison WI — never good when your faithful steed fails, but $40 — that’s dinner for two at Mickey D’s! Bon voyage.

        Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Revisiting “Seven Days in May”’

    Should have been forewarned when the guy stated that he was an ex-CIA spook. He is gaslighting readers here and putting his own twist on the past four years. Trying to make out that Trump is a threat to America or something. No mention by him of the Russiagate saga which originated as a bs story out of the DNC. No word on how the military and intelligence community were undercutting a sitting President for the past four years. No mention of the media undertaking a constant smear campaign to the point where they decided that a US President should not be allowed to talk to the one country in the world capable of turning the US to ash. No word on how his own government was undermining his wanting to bring back US troops out of harm’s way to the point of passing laws that forbid him from doing so. I would suggest sending this article on to the Columbia School of Journalism to critique it but they would probably want to turn it into a template for their own future stories.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Whenever I see a floral arrangement, for example, I expect there to be a corpse nearby.

      It’s so comforting that someone with such a pleasant view of flowers is helping to craft u.s. foreign policy. It’s like the Addams Family is in charge–minus the funny.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Amazing that Counterpunch–which if nothing else has always been a staunch opponent of the CIA–would publish this dreck. Of course those of use who don’t live in Opposite World know that the real parallels to Seven Days in May lie in the deep state opposition to Trump himself. People like Mattis and Jeffries now boast of their efforts to thwart Trump’s somewhat feeble peacenik gestures.

      For those who haven’t seen the movie this is the essence of the plot. The Burt Lancaster Joint Chiefs character is secretly staging a military coup against an unpopular president who is seen as weak on communism. Now that Trump is on his way out the door the Brennan forces have cooked up one last wackadoo conspiracy theory. Or perhaps it’s just the dunderhead author of this article. He doesn’t even seem to have seen the movie.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          I imagine that some iteration of ECOMCON, (found at ECOMCON.com?,) has been around since the Dulles days. Heavens, even Smedley Butler wrote about a proto-ECOMCON entity back in the 1930s.
          The American Founding Fathers were extremely suspicious of a standing army and it’s potential as a political actor back in the late 1700s. They did not have the examples of the Military Industrial Complex and the Security State then, or they would have added them into their warnings.

          Reply
    3. Phillip Cross

      The picture you paint is of a very ineffective leader. One who’s grating personality, and incuriousness, made it difficult to form functional alliances in .gov. He surrounded himself with sycophants, which suggests he didn’t have a clue what was really going on. If only his leadership and wisdom had rivaled his rabble rousing skills and self-regard, he might have been one of the better iterations of Commander in Chief, instead of an embarrassment to half the country.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Yes Trump is supposedly so right on what he tried to do but he was “helpless” against the “Deep State”.

        Meanwhile Obama was ineffective in the stimulus because “that’s who he was”.

        I actually believe in the Deep State’ish construct, although it is far less organized than the fear-mongers have it as. I also think the House for better or worse should be the power hub of the country. But nobody cares what I think, and thus Trump and Obama were the most powerful men in the world, both on the bully pulpit and behind the scenes. So I don’t give either a pass on their crap Presidencies.

        They could have done real things. Nobody stopped them but their own (vastly different) personal weaknesses.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          I think the “deep state” is real, but view it more as disparate factions than an organized effort as you mention. These factions can have common interests.

          Reply
        2. chuck roast

          C. Wright Mills described it best. He called it The Power Elite. Way more descriptive than “The Blob” or “The Deep State,” and until recently I would think, these people were entirely un-selfconscious. They belong to the same clubs, go to the same schools, vacation in the same places, marry within the same circles. If their forbearers possessed a bit of noblesse oblige and saw their roles as public servants, or at the very least, keepers of order, they have long since abandoned those roles. These days they seem to celebrate predatory behavior and the biggest grifters are the most celebrated.

          I once spent a winter in Mrs. Astor’s Beechwood in Newport. She built the first mansion there and the “400” (families) that she saw in control followed shortly thereafter. Even as a hanger-on the place grew on me and I got proprietary…not a good thing. The place is memorable because a rat the size of a small dog scampered across my spacious living room one afternoon and lodged behind the marble fireplace. I couldn’t get it out with a hockey stick. The biggest rat I ever saw. I scored a finely carved bookcase when I left. It was said that Mrs. Astor hated books, and consigned all the book cases to the attic.

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        Trump is a boob without a doubt but I believe you underestimate the power of the forces arrayed against any reform. Any gestures in that direction–at least when it comes to foreign policy or the military– would have his own party against him and not just the Dems.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Even the anti-war initiatives Trump did try were held against him by the Republican Establishment. One good outcome of the Trump presidency was the clear delineation between the Establishment Republican Party and the Popular Republican Party. Someone ‘down the line’ will use that information to their benefit, if not ours.

          Reply
        1. a different chris

          haha we both hit on the same thing per my comment slightly above… Trump and Obama will be wrapped around each other’s necks throughout history and couldn’t happen to two nicer people.

          Reply
        2. Phillip Cross

          Actually it’s par for the course. The business of “the people picking.a president” is just a ridiculous pantomime, put on by the people that own this country, as a way to placate their herd. Gullible fools get sucked in every time, and end up wasting their time and emotional energy hoping the system will allow itself to be fixed. Give up rooting for one of the mandated teams, and root against the whole edifice, lock stock and barrel.

          Reply
    4. Oh

      Rev, I enjoy your comments but I dont think that Trumpie’s posturing to bring back troops was disingenous. And the CONgress passing those laws to prevent that was another sham designed to fool the public.

      Reply
    5. Glen

      Re: “Seven Days in May” I liked the novel and love the movie.

      But here’s a real coup attempt in the good old relatively modern USA:

      Business Plot

      “The Business Plot (aka The White House Putsch)[1] was an alleged political conspiracy in 1933 in the United States. Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler asserted that wealthy businessmen were plotting to create a fascist veterans’ organization with Butler as its leader and use it in a coup d’état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, Butler testified before the United States House of Representatives Special Committee on Un-American Activities (the “McCormack–Dickstein Committee”) on these revelations.[2] No one was prosecuted.”

      “At the time of the incidents, most major news media dismissed the plot, with a New York Times editorial characterizing it as a “”gigantic hoax”.” [3] Most agree that some sort of plot was discussed by General Butler; they disparage his contacts as unreliable.”

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

      Do I think it was real? I believe Smedley Butler. The man is an American hero:

      Smedley Butler
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

      And “War is a Racket” should be required reading in high school.

      And do I think Trump is trying something like this? No, I don’t.

      Reply
    6. Procopius

      +1. I’ve always suspected the decision to go with the Russiagate story came from John Brennan. About a year ago, there was a brief spate of stories about a Russian defector, living now in a mansion in Florida, which was purchased in his own name. The story, supposedly leaked from the CIA, was that, although he was a low level clerk, he had persuaded Brennan that he actually worked closely with Putin. One version of the story I saw was that Brennan was persuaded of the defector’s authenticity because the story came by way of the Latvian intelligence service. Anyway, this was the source that Brennan referred to in January, 2017, when he “burned his source” by announcing publicly that he had evidence that Putin was personally involved in the plot to “interfere with the election,” “spread division,” and “destroy our faith in the electoral process.” Seems to me the Democrats and Republicans have done all that much more effectively than the FSA.

      Reply
  17. Olivier

    Re. Guardian article on the homeless hospitality worker, so once again mayhem is blamed on those dastardly lockdowns instead of the pandemic. This is getting tiresome and has been debunked may times here. What was this link included?

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      Links at NC are not considered affirmations. If you want to only hear your own side of the story maybe go with PBS or one of the cable giants. Critical thinking is what is attempted here, and so your granular opinion of the article gets you into the reading group essence of the site. Mayhem in the current framework has many sources. I would put forth that the pandemic and the lockdowns combine into one story, without the pandemic there would be no lockdowns. The pandemic and lockdowns exposed the weaknesses in our system which was carefully crafted by a multitude of interested parties over 4 decades. It’s the effect that leads one to look for a cause.

      Reply
      1. Keith Newman

        I too appreciate that Naked Capitalism links to selected posts that are not consistent with my usual opinions. I like to know what others are saying without having to read through dozens of posts to find out.

        Reply
    2. ShamanicFallout

      I ask this in all honesty- do lockdowns “work” as intended? And where have they either worked or failed? I have done a a quick web search and for some reason am not trusting the results DDG is kicking back. A lot of links to stuff like the Barrington thing, and other doctors and researchers who have been debated/debunked here.

      Are there good studies that we can trust that say something about the efficacy of lockdowns? Have all countries and regions who have imposed them “succeeded”? Are there countries and regions who have NOT done lockdowns, but that have low cases/ mortality?

      I am not trusting the web right now

      Reply
      1. JP

        Maybe lockdowns are like abortions, a last ditch effort to address what could have been avoided with sensible precautions. The pandemic is a learning process. If nothing else lockdowns buy a little time but your millage may vary. In some places people are responsible in other places defiant.

        Reply
      2. Tom Bradford

        There are too many variables to say if ‘lockdowns’ work as intended. They appear to have ‘worked’ in Wuhan itself and – from personal experience – in New Zealand where life has pretty much returned to normal with the virus eradicated from the community. But in both cases the lockdowns were early and hard. Being early, before the virus was widespread, meant that essential workers weren’t infected to continue to spread it while being hard – closing schools, practically all retail, all entertainment and gatherings – nipped it in the bud.

        For most places now, though, it’s too late for lockdowns to do anything more than slow the spread – people who have to work such as grocery-store clerks, medical folk, police, are themselves a reservoir spreading it among themselves and those they service while attempts to ‘soften’ the impact socially and economically, – like keeping schools open, letting people in from outside and/or compromising for special economic interests like professional sport or entertainment, or allowing ‘limited’ gatherings – blows a hole in the purpose and effect of a lockdown.

        Too, a lockdown will only work well if either the population as a whole accepts the need for it, which can come down to good leadership and communication from the top (NZ) or a government with coercive clout, ie China. Countries with ‘bolshier’ populations (the US) will be less successful. Again being early helps as people haven’t already suffered economically, and hopelessness and apathy haven’t set in.

        Reply
      3. Foy

        Lockdowns – I think you have to go early, go hard and then you can lift earlier. One day late on putting the lockdown in place appears to result in at least a week+ further lockdown on the other side. Everyone leaves the lockdown too late. Here in Melbourne we left our latest lockdown 2 weeks to late after having cluster outbreaks from poor measures at quarantine, and I believe that cost us 2 months extra lockdown. They saw the increases but did not react – business told them not to. But now we have had 18 days zero new cases, cafes and restaurants opening up again, local sports being played. Western Australia, which closed its borders very quickly to the rest of the country is doing great, especially since most Western Australians used to holiday overseas or outside the state, now they have to do it locally.

        Reply
        1. Cuibono

          oops you beat me to it. Australia an example of doing it mostly well but not hard enough.
          Wuhan showed the way.

          its not mostly about the lockdown. it is about the quarantine and isolation IMO

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          There is currently an outbreak of this virus in South Australia that originated in a quarantine hotel so they are coming down hard on it. The other States are closing their borders with South Australia until they get it under control. Meanwhile, Scotty from Marketing is fretting over the borders going up again and saying that they have to come down as soon as possible. Worse was the Premier from N.S.W. who in typical form demanded that all the borders must stay open and that we just have to learn to “live with the virus.” I am really starting to detest that woman-

          https://www.smh.com.au/national/south-australian-hotel-guests-moved-as-covid-19-cluster-grows-to-20-cases-20201117-p56f6i.html

          As Foy said, the key is to go in early and to go in hard before it overwhelms you.

          Reply
          1. ShamanicFallout

            What are the support services from Gov like? Are they paying people to stay home? Moratorium on bills, rent etc?

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Not bad overall as the government used a shotgun to blast out money to all and sundry to stop the country going belly up. Both major parties work on (neoliberal) stuff together but throwing 25 million people to the wolves would have led to political oblivion to a sitting government as the other party would have offered this aid if elected-

              https://www.hlb.global/a-brief-overview-of-australias-economic-response-to-covid-19/

              https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

              Reply
  18. flora

    re:The Extremist at Dominion Voting Systems

    Twitter bans, site removals, and wiping of bios from websites are only going to make Trump’s hardcore supporters think Dominion has something to hide.

    It’s not just T’s supporters who think there’s something wrong with the current consolidated and computerized voting machine setup; many people who did not vote for T doubt this system that has the structural risks listed in the article.

    Whether or not the company’s machines were misused, it poses structural risks, ….

    Thanks for the link.

    Reply
    1. Maya

      The Democratic Party is where real economic and political reform goes to die.

      The dead rat at the bottom of the elevator shaft smell grows stronger post election.

      Maybe, just maybe, we would be better off pushing reform through the GOP?

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        They are, as Trump proved, The Stupid Party so yeah the R’s are definitely more easy to change.

        The problem is, if you’ve even become a leader because everybody else is stupid, your great ideas get to the forefront but they then die on sheer incompetence given you actually need them to do the work.

        So you get a camel when you described Secretariat.

        Reply
  19. philnc

    In both the book and the movie “Seven Days in May” the coup fails, spectacularly albeit secretly. The story echos the real life attempt to overthrow FDR by big business leaders, famously exposed by Smedley Butler. While we haven’t had a character like Butler in a long time, neither have we had a Curtis LeMay, thinly disguised as Air Force General Scott in the story. Even if we did, I think the likely result would mirror the fictional story: abject failure, because I’m convinced that (a) our 300 million people would successfully resist and (b) they would soon thereafter end the institutional existence of the present US military. When a certain member of the Japanese military staff in 1941 referred to the US as a “sleeping giant”, he wasn’t talking about our military: he was talking about our people.

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      I think LeMay was the inspiration for a character in Dr Strangelove, the general who keeps talking about “precious bodily fluids”.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        The story I get is that Kissinger was the prototype for Strangelove. LeMay seems more like the General Buck Turgidson character.

        Reply
  20. fresno dan

    https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/the-cultural-consequences-of-very

    In fact, as Eastern Illinois University’s Ryan Burge notes, if you really drill down into white Evangelical political preferences, immigration explains their support for Trump more than abortion. Here’s how Burge outlines white Evangelical politics:

    The answer is simply that this group of voters are Republicans first, white people second, and evangelicals third. As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s simply not true to think of white evangelicals as an uneasy type of Republican—one that’s not sold on the GOP’s economic policy but votes with them because of gay marriage and abortion. The reality is this: the overwhelming majority of white evangelicals are Republicans, through and through.
    …..
    In 2015 and 2016, my faith didn’t change, my commitment to life and liberty didn’t shift, but I left the GOP because of its embrace of Donald Trump. And suddenly the garment wasn’t seamless. Outside of my relationship with my closest friends, I suddenly went from the in-group to the out-group. To go back to the chart above, my line diverged from the red line.

    The backlash was so intense that I remember telling my wife that it was easier being a Republican Christian in Cambridge, Massachusetts than being an independent Christian in Columbia, Tennessee. In my entire life, I had not experienced direct and personal hatred and intolerance like I experienced from other Christians, including Christians who’d known me for decades.
    ….
    This unity of church and party imbues all political disputes with an intensity far beyond their true eternal weight, and it does so on issues up and down the Republican platform, including on matters far beyond the classic culture war issues that allegedly define and motivate Evangelical political involvement.
    ====================================================
    I would make one point – people can call themselves secularists, but that does not make it so. Secularists can have beliefs as fiercely, illogically, and religiously held as any theist.
    . Outside of my relationship with my closest friends, I suddenly went from the in-group to the out-group.
    One of the things about the modern social media world, all of a sudden beliefs on every topic are expected to be displayed to all – but the problem is that such views are expected to conform to the tribal beliefs. The belief is more important than the person. I once read about a knitting on line group that disintegrated because of political disagreements. No matter how conservative or socialist a knitter is, it in no way affects how warm the sweater is…but the credo is more important than the deed.
    I enjoy and am interested in political discussions. But I would never share with most of my “liberal” friends my belief that Trump is not a Russian dupe – to them, that would be akin to saying I support putting kittens in blenders. And it goes without saying, my few conservative friends would think should I say that I despise Trump it is because I am too stupid to see the anti Trump bias of the media. And that is OK that I don’t because, despite the sturm und drang of the media age, who my friends are affects me more than who the president is.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      GK Chesterton was the south bound end of a north bound horse. This quote, so idiotically repeated by the “too much Heaven on their minds” types all across the religious spectrum, will be looked at in slack-jawed amazement in only a couple more generations:

      “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.”

      Huh? Say what?? There is no proof of God existing. Everybody has a camera nowadays, you got a picture? God is the nothing that people believe in. And that’s the short jump to believing in anything, not atheism.

      But we always get criticized for not being appreciative of “their” point of view when what we mostly do is try to stay out of the crossfire as they literally kill masses (pun not intended) of each other and then heartily breed up more.

      -Also-

      From your link I found something better. This (leave yourself a minute to laugh about the poor woman working for Mitt Romney) is really, really good from the same site.

      https://sweep.thedispatch.com/p/the-sweep-dont-trust-the-exits-do

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        a different chris
        November 16, 2020 at 10:42 am

        First, I have already chastised David French for relying on exit polls, but it’s important to explain why even raccoons turn down this hot garbage.
        =======================================
        I hope the racoons were exit polled for their thoughts on hot garbage….
        What I got most out of the French article:
        The backlash was so intense that I remember telling my wife that it was easier being a Republican Christian in Cambridge, Massachusetts than being an independent Christian in Columbia, Tennessee.
        Professed beliefs and practices professed beliefs are not one and the same…

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Raccoons are pretty tough, and, IIRC, can synthesize botulinase, an enzyme which breaks down botulin. The only other scavenger, as far as I know, that can do this is the vulture. So if raccoons won’t take it, it’s really, really bad.

          Reply
      1. edmondo

        That Hispanics will vote for a strong gringo rather than a weak one? Joe Biden and machismo don’t usually end up in the same sentence.

        Reply
      2. a different chris

        Catholicism > Hispanicism.

        And why wouldn’t the Catholics, you know the people in arguably the most authoritarian religion on the plant, be authoritarians? Please show me the defence of democracy in the Catholic Bible.

        Reply
  21. Drake

    Democrats look to sharpen message after Senate setback The Hill

    Democrats still desperately searching for that elusive “message” that wins every election by the smallest possible margin, doesn’t commit them to do anything, doesn’t alienate their donor class, and doesn’t give their opponents anything to attack them with. Hard to believe they haven’t found it yet, but those pesky socialists keep muddying the message.

    Obviously the template is the guy who barely campaigned at all and stumbled at most of his ill-fated attempts to read off a giant teleprompter:

    “We should be paying attention to what Joe Biden did, Joe Biden’s message won in the kind of states we need to win in order to capture the Senate, so we should sort of be looking at the issues that Biden focused on … and think of that as a template,” Murphy said.

    But when you find the right message, you’re even allowed to talk to Fox News about it:

    “When you’re talking about, basically, Green New Deal and all this socialism, that’s not who we are as a Democratic Party,” Manchin said during an interview with Fox News. “If you have a D by your name, you must be for all the crazy stuff, and I’m not.”

    Message received. Over and out.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘We should be paying attention to what Joe Biden did?’ Umm, hide out in his basement and wander out from time to time to say that he demands fracking continue? And that he is not Trump? This sort of thing has infected the progressives and saw a JD video talking about this. So old Joe looks to have chosen Ron Klain as his chief of staff. Who is he you ask? Why, here is an introduction-

      https://www.aei.org/op-eds/like-fannie-mae-and-asbestos-youll-love-joe-bidens-revolving-door-chief-of-staff-ron-klain/

      So then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez goes onto Twitter and tweets-

      ‘Good news and an encouraging choice’ with no sarc tag in sight.

      https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1326703751701389312

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama by this time announced Rahm and stopped the Dem Senate caucus from kicking out Lieberman and made sure Lieberman kept the chairmanship of the DHS committee. Biden has actually raised the bar.

        Reply
    2. Hutch

      Very insightful sentence, Drake. Outstanding.

      “Democrats still desperately searching for that elusive ‘message’ that wins every election by the smallest possible margin, doesn’t commit them to do anything, doesn’t alienate their donor class, and doesn’t give their opponents anything to attack them with.”

      Reply
        1. edmondo

          My newly elected senator won his race by promising to “always do what’s right for Arizona”. How could I vote against someone with principles like that?

          Reply
          1. jr

            It could be a politician’s slogan, a state’s rights slogan, a local militia’s slogan, the Concerned Mothers of Arizona’s slogan…….

            Reply
          2. Arizona Slim

            Would that be Mark Kelly? Who, ISTR, was a registered Republican until 2018?

            BTW, I left that part of my ballot blank. Because I didn’t think that Martha McSally or Mark Kelly deserved a Senate seat.

            And I’m very curious to know about undervoting during this year’s election. I’m betting that there was a substantial amount of it.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              My to the right of right of right brother in law and my sister held a dinner @ their house in Tucson for McSally a couple years ago, and did I ever have a field day on our family Zoom session when McSally pleaded that people send her money for her campaign in lieu of using it to buy food, I had to ask if they really served her dinner, or just wrote a check for what it would’ve cost and called it good?

              Needless to say he was quite grumpy after she got a shellacking, and the idea that Arizona turned blue-which I was only too happy to point out, only added to his political agita, ha ha

              Reply
    3. a different chris

      >that wins every election by the smallest possible margin,

      And to repeat myself, the “smallest possible margin” was also Rove’s plan but he instead used it in the complete opposite manner, to get things done with the minimum mouths to feed.

      it’s not that hard. The ACA, unfortunate as it is, proves it. In fact the ACA being such crap and yet still survives shows what you can do when you have the opportunity. They, well *we*, could have had a great health care initiative and it would have been unsinkable but no we had to deal with the “across the aisle” types and whoever that Manchin-like Democrat the screwed up everything was.

      Reply
    4. coloradoblue

      Clearly “messaging” is more important to the Dems than “governing.” In other words, “Have you been enjoying the shit sandwich we’ve been serving you for the last 50 years?”

      “No!”

      “To bad, here comes another serving.”

      I fully expect little more than tinkering around the edges from Biden, and someone truly evil, and competent, in 2024 (admittedly, I’m a cynic).

      Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    Across the World, Sports Stadiums and Arenas Are a Gigantic Swindle Jacobin
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Stadiums costing billions of Dollars in LA & Las Vegas were finished just in time to not have any fans show up for the 8 football games a year hosted there.

    Can you think of anything else that expensive used only a little over 2% of the year, other than our vaunted military?

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Another interesting juxtaposition of 2 headlines, the first with comment by J-LS:

      #1: Global stocks head for record high on recovery, vaccine hopes | Reuters. [JLS:] I still don’t understand the reality that generates this and the previous headline on the same page.

      #2: Across the World, Sports Stadiums and Arenas Are a Gigantic Swindle | Jacobin

      Yah, OK, stadiums are a huge taxpayer ripoff, but by way of devil’s-advocacy, let’s crunch some numbers in the context of the first headline: So when stocks threatened to engage in some actual scary free-market-style “price discovery” back in March’s pandemic-related shutdown of just about everything, and while Congress+POTUS were engaging in a drawn-out debate about a big debt-funded stimulus on the order of $1Trillion, most of which ended up not-in-the-hands-of-the-people-needing-it-most (but to be fair at least *some* did, that ‘some’ should’ve become a monthly payment, but here we are), The Mighty Fed quietly conjured up $3 TRILLION (ooh, but that didn’t increase the national debt, it simply got added to the Fed’s “balance sheet”, which is, like, a big national savings account, or something – don’t sweat the details, don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, a bigger balance is good, m’kay?) to throw at the degenerate gamblers on Wall Street and make Jerome P’s hedge-fund buddies whole, and whatnot. Uncle Feddie has not yet needed to engage in further such largesse, but has been continually ‘messaging’ that they will do whatever it takes to keep this bubble inflated, because to the Fedsters, the stock market *IS* the economy.

      So with this backdrop, now to headline #2 — The Oakland Las Vegas Raiders NFL team is the latest example – they just moved into a brand-new $2 billion enormo-dome out in the desert. Alas, due to Covid-19 it’s been mostly populated by cardboard cutouts, but at some point will presumably be filled at game time by raucous crowds. Not to defend the waste of taxpayer dollars, but my point is that hoi polloi will get at least *some* value for its money, in form of entertainment and tourism-boosting photos of the spectacular-looking facility. For the more-than-1-thousand-times-larger debt-expansion the Fed engaged in earlier this year, what will hoi polloi be getting in return?

      Flame away! :)

      Reply
  23. freebird

    Well said, by both you and Mr. Burge. We really need to start putting quote marks around “Christians” when speaking of people whose primary driving force is tribal loyalty and hatred towards others. I often want to tell my right-wing religious relatives they need to hedge their bets because when they get to the Pearly Gates they are going to discover Jesus is a bleeding heart liberal. But I don’t, because their minds are closed tightly, just as the neoliberals are convinced they are in the right about everything. With them, if I don’t agree that Obama was a savior, I must be an evil idiot who needs to see the light.

    In lieu of calling the evangelical right “Christians”, perhaps we should come out and admit this ‘movement’ is nothing but a revival of the Know-Nothings.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Careers have been ruined for noticing that Evangelicalism no longer considers the New Testament senior to the Old Testament.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        To the contrary, the economic commands of the OT are considered defunct by modern day Christians.

        Otherwise, we’d have land reform and no privileges for usurers.

        To be sure though, sexual sins are overemphasized the better to ignore economic sins …

        Reply
    2. jr

      +100

      I’ve met a lot of self described Christians in my life, I was haphazardly raised Roman Catholic in the north and I lived in Florida for many years of my life around lots of Baptists and Evangelical types. Few seemed to meet even the most basic criteria. For example, the men on my father’s side of the family, by and large inveterate brawlers and drunkards, were always quick to proclaim their Catholicism despite spotty church attendance and dedicated visits to the county clink. (Now in their 60’s and having more time in front of them than behind, many suddenly found the time for Sunday Mass on the regular.) This could be replicated across at least three states. A lot of the Southerners who identified as such were much the same although they did seem a bit quicker to throw it in one’s face.

      I would hazard to guess that the vast majority of self described Christians rarely if ever read the Bible, even just small bits of it. When I was an atheist, I always inquired carefully about their knowledge of the Good Book and it’s sparse at best. A much, much smaller percentage had read some or all of it but either didn’t apply it to their lives or “cherry picked” what they wanted to to suit the situation, often a mish-mash of the Old Testament and New Testament. A very tiny percentage actually attempted to apply it to their lives, of those some used it to buttress their pathologies and hatreds and a handful actually tried to live according to the teachings of Christ. Given my spiritual leanings I despise fundamentalism in any form but at least they read their literature!

      Which is an important point: broadly speaking US culture is not only not very literate, it actively hates literacy. It’s considered by some a challenge to their identity and world view. As I mentioned the other day, a friend was almost assaulted for reading on the bus in Philly. By a group of >middle schoolers<. I was picked on as a kid for always having a book in hand. I’ve had people tell me with pride that the last book they read was in high school and I’ve had others tell me that coming up with your own answers to things is preferable to getting anything out of a book. “Faith!” seems to be the throwaway answer to any questions of their beliefs: you just have to believe and you’ve done your part. Anecdotal points for sure, but given my other experiences I would bet it holds on a larger scale.

      Reply
    3. Anonymous

      they are going to discover Jesus is a bleeding heart liberal.

      Having read the entire Bible and finding it consistent, God is neither a socialist nor a fascist, imnsho.

      But who would know that since the Old Testament is widely ignored or explained away? The better to allow the rich to loot the poor? Or to allow non-believers to use Christ for their own ends? Such as promoting a socialist agenda that’s not in the Bible?

      Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Take it easy; the non-socialism of the OT commands roughly equal land ownership with provisions in the Law to keep it that way (e.g. Leviticus 25).

          It also forbids usury from fellow countrymen (Deuteronomy 23:19-23).

          So why should people want to be subservient to government when they can be roughly equally prosperous and free?

          And it’s no change in policy that the NT recommends personal generosity since the OT recommends the same.

          Reply
        2. Anonymous

          But good link; thanks.

          But let’s not extrapolate from those commands and recommendations to a dictatorship of a PMC, when the OT clearly excludes that in favor of roughly equal asset ownership.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            For the insiders only, who have license to collect rents from those outside the tribe and to keep slaves/workers (same thing) under particular conditions, both of which are required for the internal equality to be materially obtained.

            Reply
          2. a different chris

            We can agree on that.

            So why should people want to be subservient to government when they can be roughly equally prosperous and free?

            I do think you are confusing socialism (aka the NHS) with communism. All definitions are fluid as Lewis Carroll pointed out, but generally socialism can be broken into chunks and communism can’t. Conflating them is not helpful.

            Example: Somebody with cancer is not as “prosperous and free” in the US as somebody without. And it’s not their fault. And we can, via government, insist that everybody takes a share of the cost of their treatment.

            But if you want a Lexus sedan it’s available however paying for it is on you. See how that works? Same country, different sectors, different approaches.

            Reply
    4. marym

      Re: “In lieu of calling the evangelical right “Christians”, perhaps we should come out and admit this ‘movement’ is nothing but a revival of the Know-Nothings.”

      In the political sphere, white evangelical christianism is a movement to enforce an authoritarian, theocratic, patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic, exclusionist agenda, leveraging the constitutional protections, tax exempt status, and social deference afforded to religion.

      As a political movement and a force in secular matters it should be subject to the same critiques on class, solidarity, justice, and the common good as those directed at any other brand of politics.

      Reply
  24. Managemen by Inaction

    Anecdotes from the German soil:
    I have now tried to Covid-test myself at the airport as well as my kids just to check if we are asymptomatic or have had Covid. Requests have been rejected = I bet a banana on the current numbers being too low.

    Reply
  25. Carolinian

    Re Dominion and the TAC article

    One need only imagine if it was Joe Biden contesting the election results, and the Director for Strategy & Security at a major voting machine provider turned out to be a Proud Boy with decades of involvement in extremist, even violent, right wing political groups. Democrats would rightly point out that this person endorses engaging in illegal behavior to achieve political goals.

    Exactly. It’s a bit much for the Dems to accuse Trump of a wild CT about the voting machines when they have been engaging in just that sort of speculation aimed at him for the last four years. People have joked that our elections now need international observers like any other third world country. Perhaps it’s not so funny. Who trusts either of these duopoly duelists?

    Reply
  26. tegnost

    My sidebar ad lately has been “start an amazon delivery biz!” and it shows a snappy sprinter van and a young person in street clothes ie, not uniformed, so gig!) This goes along with personal observations of uber drivers in newish, clearly expensive cars. My theory has it’s roots in my long lost youth as a kirby vacuum cleaner sales person. The gambit then was, right after graduation in early summer kirby would hire any warm body, figuring that each one of those grads could sell one or two machines to family as they would be naturally inclined to help the kid get ahead. Most people lasted 2 weeks or so then would be bailing but kirby would get a decent number of machines sold, pumping the franchises numbers. I see these ads from amazon targeting the same people. The established family can buy a sprinter van for kid who can then be Successful! in our warped economy. Same goes with Uber. Buy your kid a car and they’ll be part of the new economy when really it’s a 50,000 dollar gift to bezos, who doesn’t need the money but just wants to disrupt and rejigger the economy to his/their greedy ends.

    Reply
      1. tegnost

        Yes I agree, but they are in it together. On the sports radio they were touting a sprinter lease program for potential drive /owners and in the speedy blurb at the end of the commercial were noted mileage restrictions that didn’t seem very high, like if you drove a lot, which a delivery person might do, you would definitely go over on miles, so ka ching. These corps all seem to need a meat sack to facilitate their handing money back and forth. The simplest example is medicaid expansion, get a poor person to walk into a hospital and the gov sends cash to the big pharma, meat sack gets pills that may or may not work as advertised. Uber needs a meatsack to buy a car so uber can get money from a passenger and then throw a tiny bit of it back at the driver who doesn’t see their depreciation as a cost. There’s likely many more examples.

        Reply
  27. Carolinian

    Re Grayzone and Biden’s upcoming, retro national security staff add one more name–Hillary Clinton who is rumored as a possible pick for UN ambassador. Sounds like a true Bourbon restoration. Better get back to work on that bomb shelter.

    Reply
  28. antidlc

    From the NY Times article on doctors calling it quits:

    But, depending on the future course of the pandemic, Dr. Lisa Bielamowicz, a co-founder of Gist Healthcare, a consulting firm, predicts “another wave of financial stress hitting practices.” Many doctors’ groups will seek a buyer, whether a hospital, an insurance company or a private equity firm that plans to roll up practices into a larger business.

    Oh, joy.

    Reply
    1. TMoney

      Employee doctors are wage slaves and will therefore be more likely to support Medicare for All, especially once private equity finishes with them, as opposed to Small Business Owners who benefit from the current system.

      It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.

      Reply
    2. Glen

      Many small clinics also went under when ObamaCare was implemented. It was difficult for them to cope with all the new requirements imposed by the law.

      And as I’ve related before, when the Fransicans swooped in and bought up all the local hospitals, they forced the staff to sign pledges which many found objectionable so many retired or moved on then too.

      Reply
  29. flora

    A bit more on the electronic voting machines and unusual disparities.

    The large disparity of gains between the two candidates “was something I had never witnessed before in my years of election monitoring,” said Favorito, a career IT professional who has been a leading advocate for election integrity in the state over the past two decades. He says he is not a Republican or Trump supporter.

    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/11/13/pro-biden_bug_also_suspected_in_georgias_vote-counting_software__125995.html

    So, to repeat: handmarked ballots, hand counted, in public.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      And I again repeat: how do you know the “handmarked ballots, hand counted, in public” are the same ballots that We The People actually marked?

      The only thing that would work unquestionably is if we all got into a line and, as we voted, a huge sign above our head registered it. And we could look up at it and, along with everybody else, see that it was correct. So you wanna publically vote for Biden in my district? You wanna publically vote for Trump in downtown Philly?

      Dictatorship, here we come. Not from the people that don’t want us to vote, but from the people that question the “validity” every time we do it.

      I do hope the country splits up into more manageable (and thus less powerful) districts before that. Any hope beyond that has been completely killed by you “count the votes! oh, not the result I expected! Fraud!!” people.

      Reply
      1. flora

        sigh… I’m an IT professional of several decades. These BlackBoxes are private company, proprietary software, with no public validation of the software. Computer software can do wondrous things if the if-then-else tree triggers this or that subroutine depending. ;) As long as the software is opaque and unaccountable to the public, that’s a problem for me. Not just for this election; for all elections.

        See Bev Harris and Fractional Voting.

        Reply
      2. Tom Bradford

        how do you know the “handmarked ballots, hand counted, in public” are the same ballots that We The People actually marked?

        I was involved in two General Election counts in the UK, pondered this very question and concluded that election fraud – rather than voter fraud – would be very, very difficult to pull off and would require both a lot of work and the connivance of a number of people agreeing to work together.

        As the ballot boxes are opened, emptied and counted in public the only way to successfully ‘cheat’ would be to substitute pre-filled boxes for the real ones during the transit from the polling station to the count. The real boxes are sealed before voting starts and checked before they are opened for the count, so you’d need to be able to duplicate both the box and the seal beforehand.

        Every elector is given a numbered voting paper torn from a book leaving a stub with the same number, so the number of voting papers in the box is known and must tally when counted making box-stuffing by elector or official impossible. And the books of ballot papers are only issued to the polling station on the day, so substituted stuffed ballot boxes would still have to bear the right numbering for the polling station, which can’t be known beforehand so the bogus books of ballot papers would have to printed on the day of the election and also substituted along with the sealed fake boxes in transit. And that’s per polling station.

        So yeah, ballot rigging wouldn’t be impossible but on a scale actually need to affect the outcome of a election would need a pretty sophisticated organisation, the active connivance of a lot of people – usually people drawn from local government or the community for the day on an ad-hoc basis – and a pretty wide conspiracy of silence to be effective.

        Reply
    2. Synoia

      Anecdotal comments are not proof.

      Voting machines are is not hard to test.

      Make known samples
      Analyze the results after every run
      Run them repetitively

      Easy to do on one or many machines,which created a date set, and the aggregation server.

      Where are the vendor’s and District or County’s test results?

      What controls on the system are available, and where is the log of “Control” commands?

      If the devices were deliberately built to enable dishonesty, where are the whistle-blowers?

      Reply
    3. vlade

      You can make machine that counts properly (you can burn the results into PROMS as they come in, with SW being open-sourced (so checked and auditable), burned into ROM and checksummed (so verifiable against the source).

      But, the problem still remains – the machine counts only what it gets, and there’s no good evidence of what it gets. I.e. the human-machine interface will always be source of problems, and that will pretty much always be a problem (short of some SF-like technology, sometime in the future).

      With paper ballots, the interface still exists, i.e. you don’t know whether it’s a valid voter who market the ballot and that a voter marked a ballot at most once. But the beauty of the paper ballot is that to do fraud on a large scale, you have to mark tons of ballots, and get away with it, which is _hard_ (to avoid detection of).

      Basically, technology makes things easier, but the problem with it is that it also makes fraud easier. Some areas – like voting, but also banking security etc. – you don’t want to make easy, as that defeats the purpose of the security. And no-one figured out yet, how to make things easy while not also making the fraud easy (and it may be impossible in principle).

      Reply
  30. a different chris

    So might as well put the money on Loeffler, even her toxic personality can’t keep the Dems, especially the Southern Dems, from mealy mishmashes of incomprehensibly mushy Centrism. She has healthcare bullet points (not that they would ever happen) and he has.. .I don’t even know. Something about “access” and “dignity”.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/in-georgia-senate-runoff-loeffler-and-warnock-battle-over-health-care/ar-BB1b3H7Q?ocid=msedgntp

    Reply
  31. Lee

    “A Small German Biotech Company Hopes to Make the Leap to Global Player” Der Spiegel

    Laboring in obscurity: In COVID-19 vaccine race, Hungarian village firm takes global role Reuters

    The COVID breakthrough and other RNA uses may necessitate more use of Lukacs’s antibodies as well, but they do not anticipate much of a boon.

    “We would be happy to sell more of it,” said Johanna Symmons, her daughter and the small company’s chief executive. “We probably will too. But it’s not like we’ll get silly rich.”

    Being part of the solution reaps its own rewards.

    Reply
  32. Phacops

    Dems look at messaging? I think talking about this is deranged when there is no there, there.

    As a precinct delegate I went through an exercise with the local party after the profound 2016 failures. Despite my insistence there was no discussion of the economy when 30% of households in my county do not earn a sufficient income to afford life’s necessities (ALICE Project) or businesses serving tourists using H2b visas to destroy wages. No discussion of the failing ACA was allowed, nor was the fact that Dems refused to fight for workers part of the discussion. The only thing coming out of that meeting was the assertion that Dems needed to be better at messaging.

    That led to my walking away from those stumblebums.

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  33. diptherio

    Re: The Extremist at Dominion Voting Systems

    Cooper starts the article by stating that he attempted to fact check DJT’s all caps tweet about changed/deleted votes on Dominion machines, gets sidetracked by the (possible) fact of a leftist skinhead working at Dominion and…never gets around to fact checking DJT’s claims. As he writes at the beginning of the article, “It is hard to overstate the irresponsibility of broadcasting such a serious accusation without proof.” Yet how is this anything other than broadcasting the claims while failing to provide any proof of them? Seems to me that’s exactly what he does with this article. He could have easily written about this Coomer guy without repeating “irresponsible” unsubstantiated claims at the head of the article.

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  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have thought of a new nickname for Obama. Barackula. Or maybe Barackulobama.
    It’s a play on Dracula. Dracula – – Barackula. Get it? Maybe re-spell it as . . Baracula. Baraculobama.

    If anyone wants to try playing with it, feel free.

    Reply
  35. eg

    We lived in Bedford in the mid-60s when my father was still in the RCAF (communications engineer) and briefly stationed at what they called “Hanscom Field.” A brother was born there, and so has dual citizenship.

    Reply

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