Links 6/14/2020

The American Press Is Destroying Itself Matt Taibbi. Important.

Matt Taibbi On Journalism’s Suicide American Conservative.

Narrative Control Operations Escalate As America Burns Caitlin Johnstone

Anna Wintour Isn’t Going To Cancel Herself Buzzfeed

Intermittent fasting works for many — not only for weight loss but also for heart health WaPo

Rare, Nearly Extinct Parasite May Have Resurfaced in Vietnam, Doctors Say Gizmodo

The Portuguese rediscovering their country’s Muslim past Al Jazeera


Closing up time Times Literary Supplement. Read this.

Coronavirus Advice Is Everywhere. It Was the Same With the Spanish Flu. WSJ

When Women Lead, The Virus Loses Mid-Day

The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’ Guardian

COVID-19 risks ranked: Grocery stores among least-likely places to contract virus NY Post

“The Stock Market Is Deluding Itself” Der Spiegel. An Interview with Nouriel Roubini, aka ‘Dr. Doom’.

Accountants were told to turn a blind eye to bank accounting failures in 2008 and it looks like it’s happening again. The result will be similar Tax Research UK (UserFriendly). Richard Murphy.

Houston weighs another lockdown as coronavirus cases surge CBS


The way the coronavirus messes with smell hints at how it affects the brain  Science News

Covid-19: France, Italy, Germany and Netherlands sign vaccine deal for Europe Frnace 24


‘Obsessed with staying alive’: Inmates describe a prison’s piecemeal response to a fatal Covid-19 outbreak Stat

A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons Marshall Project

Class Warfare

Emails Reveal Chaos as Meatpacking Companies Fought Health Agencies Over COVID-19 Outbreaks in Their Plants ProPublica

Research Shows ‘Linking Climate Policy to Social and Economic Justice Makes It More Popular’ Common Dreams

Sports Desk

COVID & Disaster Capitalism: Busting Unions in Baseball Payday Report

Why Copa America delay gifts Messi golden opportunity The World Game. Messi claims new La Liga record in Barcelona win Goal. There’s life in those aging legs yet!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Protests erupt and Atlanta police chief RESIGNS after white cops shot dead 27-year-old black man Rayshard Brooks – as new surveillance video ‘shows him pointing a stolen taser at officers as he fled’ Daily Mail

Prosecutors investigate irregularities in Texas police officer’s 2004 arrest of George Floyd The Hill

Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point The Atlantic

America Explodes London Review of Books

Is There Still Room for Debate? NY magazine. Andrew Sullivan

George Floyd’s Murder May Finally End the Army’s Fealty to Defeated Confederate Traitors The Intercept

A Statue Was Toppled. Can We Finally Talk About the British Empire? NYT

In London skirmishes, suspected far-right protester is rescued Reuters

Thousands rally in fresh Paris protest against racism and police brutality France 24

Waste Watch

How Europe’s “Trash Market” Offloads Pollution on Its Poorest Countries Jacobin


As Covid-19 changes chopstick habits, diners ponder how to keep family love and intimacy alive SCMP

US-Listed Chinese Companies Say “Bye Bye” To US Exchanges As Hong Kong Relisting Accelerates Jing Daily


Why India needs a new bad bank Economic Times

The worst is yet to come in Delhi and Mumbai, writes Barkha Dutt Hindustan Time

India’s Comfort Food Tells the Story of Its Pandemic The Arlantic

Hope and a prayer as reform rains down on India’s farms LiveMint

Assam gas leak and fire: Yet another case of procedural lapse Down to Earth

COVID’s Health and Labour Crisis Has Exposed Yet Another Challenge – Government Data The Wire

New Cold War

Russia aiming to realize Greater Eurasia Dream Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Trump Transition

How JFK Paved the Way for Donald Trump Politico

Democracy’s Red Line New York Review of Books. Hari Kunzru reviews Masha Gessen’s Surviving Autocracy and makes me want to read it. Must call my bookseller.


NYT Erases US Occupation’s Role in Prolonging Taliban Insurgency Fair

UKTV to reinstate Fawlty Towers episode The Germans Guardian. One of my favorite episodes, although I think I (marginally) prefer Basil the Rat. No clinkers in the oeuvre, however. All still make me double over with laughter, despite viewing each many, many times. And see Fawlty Towers: John Cleese attacks ‘cowardly’ BBC over episode’s removal.

Antidote du Jour. Oguk:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. cocomaan

    Universal masking is great and all but I don’t see how it could block 90% of the spread, given that East Asians have a mask culture and are still seeing frequent outbreaks.

    I’m totally open to being wrong but I feel like that needs an explanation.

    1. Yves Smith

      Did you bother looking at any numbers? South Korea went into overdrive when it found all of IIRC seven new cases. Seoul, a city of nine million people, had all of two Covid-19 deaths. NYC, with only 8 million people, has had over 20,000 deaths.

      Beijing, which has over 21 million residents, is freaked out over 40 cases yesterday and 57 today. By contrast, Alabama, which has 4.9 million people, had 888 new cases yesterday.

      More than an order of magnitude difference on a per capita basis.

      1. cocomaan

        I did not look at the numbers, no. Generally I’m a little wary of them given some of the hijinks involved with reimbursement. I have heard firsthand from a trusted person in healthcare that the coroners are inflating covid deaths. For what reason? Reimbursement, mostly.

        That said we clearly have more deaths than Asia, even if they’re inflated 50%. On the other hand we don’t have cell phone tracking and a stockpile of reagents from a previous coronavirus scare (S Korea) or compulsory isolation (China.)

        I can see how masks can reduce transmission but the 90% claims or the claims that we would not face any problems at all with masks is a little overblown, IMO

        1. Yves Smith

          The excess deaths numbers don’t support your claim that Covid-19 deaths are being exaggerated. Political and economic incentives at higher level lean strongly the other way.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > is a little overblown

          If the upside is avoiding a little facial discomfort, and the downside is ruin in the form of tens of thousands of deaths and (my pet theory) international ostracism, I’d go with masking. There’s no requirement to quantify the odds in a bet where ruin is the downside (if I understand my Taleb correctly. The properties of the bet, including ruin, are the key, not a faux scientific numerical calculation).

    2. Bill Smith

      Is there a link to where the 90% number comes from? Curious to see if there are estimates for other things.

      1. Yves Smith

        I’m putting up a post from Nassim Nicholas Taleb for Monday. The results are non-liner but even more strongly supportive of mask use.

    1. Ahimsa

      Important piece..

      Made me feel like I must be getting old (40) and out of touch because I agree wholeheartedly and thought it also just common sense.

      An old school teacher of mine said common sense was no longer so common.

      1. Fireship

        I feel the same way. In my forties here too. The recent Daniel Radcliff thing where he tweeted that cross-dressing men are women too springs to mind. I asked the females in my family for their opinions: My three sisters, my mom, my wife and daughter are unanimous that cross-dressing men are not women. Sharing this information on Twitter lead to great outrage.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Fireship’s next fuel-laden tweet on Twitter-

          “Men and women are different!” (ducks head).

          1. Billy

            Got Ovaries? If so, you are a woman.

            Got testicles? If so, you are a man.

            Everything else is fake.

              1. Billy

                You are correct, there are some humans who have both, although it’s very rare. Give every kindergartner a choice however…

                1. Riverboat Grambler

                  I don’t think there are any silver-bullet logical arguments that will convince you that transgender people are legitimate. Personally, when a whole community of people go to great lengths to change their dress, their social presentation and even surgically altering their bodies in order to bring themselves in line with who they feel they are inside (often at the risk of being ostrasized and/or murdered) then I am inclined to take them at their word that their identity is a real thing. Not long ago people didn’t believe gay people didn’t just “choose” to be that way either.

                  Re: men dressing as women, not all men who dress as women identify as women, though some do. I don’t think anybody in the trans community (of which I am not a member) would claim that a man simply putting on a woman’s clothing makes him a woman.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Certainly. But can we call them “identities” or “preferences” rather than “genders”. The gender label is based on science and is determined by chromosome pairings XX and XY. We’re already losing the battle for objective reality on so many fronts.

                    1. Massinissa

                      Hal, I’m afraid you’re getting two terms confused. ‘Sex’ and ‘Gender’ are not the same. Biological sex is determined by sex chromosomes. Gender is a social concept.

                      Here is the common definition of Gender:

                      “Identification as a man, a woman or something else, and association with a (social) role or set of behavioral and cultural traits, clothing, etc; a category to which a person belongs on this basis.”

                      You are correct, Sex is immutable, scientific, and can’t be biologically changed. Gender is something entirely social and thus can. That is why ‘Gender Identity’ is a concept at all. It has nothing to do with sexual biology.

                    2. Riverboat Grambler

                      My understanding is that “sex” is the biological term for the physical characteristics given at birth, while “gender” refers to the social construct of what we think of as “men” and “women”.

                      Even if you disagree with that, we’re talking about a level of nuance that was completely absent from the comment I originally replied to.

                  2. Lambert Strether

                    > Personally, when a whole community of people go to great lengths to change their dress, their social presentation and even surgically altering their bodies in order to bring themselves in line with who they feel they are inside (often at the risk of being ostrasized and/or murdered) then I am inclined to take them at their word that their identity is a real thing.

                    I’m not sure what logical fallacy is involved here, but it’s an Easter tradition in the Phillipines for people to crucify themselves, even to the extent of driving 4-inch nails into their palms. That persuades me of the depth of their faith. It doesn’t persuade me that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, that he rose from the dead, etc.

                2. Massinissa

                  They’re KINDERGARTNERS. WHat does that have to do with anything? We shouldn’t allow people to be outside of the gender binary because small children might be confused for a few minutes that their friend has a mom that used to be their dad, or their other friend has two dads? Usually when that happens they’re confused for a moment and then just accept it. If anything children accept this kind of thing faster than adults do.

            1. Massinissa

              F off. Among other things, there are people born with both. It isn’t so clear cut.

              1. martell

                I’m pretty sure this comment is in violation of site policy. Best stick to argument, and by that I mean bringing forth evidence in favor of a conclusion. Your second and third sentences do that. Unless I’m misinterpreting “F off,” your first doesn’t.

                1. Massinissa

                  Sorry, you’re right. I apologize, both to Billy and the site. Sorry, I got a bit heated, it won’t happen again.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          This is the huge problem with social media ‘arguments’, in particular word limits and the rapid-fire nature of responses. They favour gaslighting and extreme positions over nuance.

          I’m seeing the result here in Ireland. There are currently negotiations for a new government, and I follow quite a few Green and left wing politicians locally to see how things are going. There is a not very well disguised split between a younger, more radical left wing element of the Green party and the ‘older’ mild Green leadership over how sensible it is to go into coalition with the two main centre right parties. My politics puts me firmly on the side of the younger, more radical element.

          But I have to admit I’ve been absolutely repulsed by some of the things they’ve been doing online. The party leader inadvisedly used the ‘N’ word (while quoting MKL!) in Parliament, and there has been an online pile on, seeking to drive him out over this issue. The level or ‘debate’ is appalling, consisting of grandstanding, open insults, and blatant gaslighting, and the more sensible voices have been drowned out. It really is depressing. I find it all the more depressing that its people on my ideological side who are most guilty of it.

          1. QuarterBack


            Call me old fashioned, but a sentiment that I remember for ideal liberalism was the quote

            “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

            Truth is best revealed and enduring when it is allowed to rise above its opposing rabble on its own merit.

            1. JBird4049

              Some people think that the truth must be wrong if they don’t like it and disagreement means that the other people are not only wrong, but evil; nuance means deep thinking including self reflection, which can be hard work. Much easier to be an abusive, unthinking jackass filled with the righteousness of a thousand burning suns.

          2. flora

            “Social media ‘arguments'”: ‘arguments’ leaves out the reality of for-hire bot computerized responds, (can one have an ‘argument’ with a bot), available for commenting any opinion you like at fractional pennies per comment. In too many social media cases there’s Automated Gaslighting, imo, ‘correcting the record’ or some such in a digital astro-turf campaign. (Cheapest bandwagon effect ever.) ;)

        3. Phillip Allen

          @Fireship, if you reduce being a transexual to being a cross-dresser, you have learned nothing and understand nothing. Thank you so very much for erasing the reality of transpeople through of you lack of insight, understanding, empathy, or compassion, and I extend that gratitude to your house. May none of you ever confront such ignorance in your own lives.

          1. Fireship

            I apologize for my misuse of language and regret any hurt caused. Where are the reeducation camps when you need them, eh?

        4. ForFawkesSakes

          Cross dressing and Transwomen are not the same thing.

          Cross dressing is wearing the clothing of the opposite gender for pleasure.

          Trans persons are transitioning to the opposite gender through surgical and chemical means.

          Mr. Radcliffe did not say that men who cross dress as women are men. He had a very thoughtful response to a rather nasty tweet commenting about women menstruating. Given that i have a family member unable to conceive due to tumors in her youth, i appreciated his suggestion that medical doctors are better informed about this topic than a children’s book author.

          I imagine the Twitter outrage was due to misunderstanding the context of the conversation, at a bare minimum.

          1. meadows

            I am a 68 year old guy who 35 years ago in NYC when I was a student of dreams I entertained the idea that the difference between genders was only biological… but a dream convinced me otherwise. In the dream a woman is standing upright, I am above her and enter her body feet first through her head until I am entirely within her… the experience was cathartic, I awoke with the powerful sense that women are fundamentally different then men, not just biologically different.

          2. Carolinian

            Here’s the context

            How did we get here? Let’s begin at the beginning. In March last year, researcher Maya Forstater lost her job at a London-based think tank for having expressed the view that people cannot change their biological sex. When the case came to court in December, the judge upheld her dismissal and described her views on sex and gender as “absolutist” and “incompatible with human dignity and the fundamental rights of others.”

            It’s incredible that a woman can lose her livelihood simply for stating biological facts. Yet hardly anyone challenged this unprecedented attack on Forstater’s freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. J.K. Rowling was one of the few to speak out. The author tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.”

            The issue is not whether you agree with J.K. Rowling (whose books I don’t particularly like) but whether people should be fired for disagreeing with you.


            1. Massinissa

              This is taken out of context. Maya Forstater lost her job not for ‘having a belief’, but, because of that belief, she consistently refused to refer to trans people by their chosen pronouns, which was illegal under UK law and the court upheld that.

              1. Massinissa

                My bad, she didn’t even ‘lose her job’ over this: Her contract with the think tank Contract for Global Development expired and was not renewed (partially because of complaints of transphobia from other staff members), so she sued.

              2. Carolinian

                refused to refer to trans people by their chosen pronouns, which was illegal under UK law

                Oh well that makes a lot more sense then /s

          3. magnolia culdesac

            Actually, there are policies under consideration in the UK that allow “self-identification” without such surgical and pharmaceutical transition, meaning that men can identify as women to get in women’s only spaces without any serious commitment to transitioning. There are hundreds of examples of this, but you won’t read about it in any national mainstream media because it’s being silenced. Go to “Women are Human” or “Feminist Current” for links to many locally/regionally reported stories of men abusing these laws.

            And go to LGB Alliance for information about how some transactivist ideology is in fact very misogynistic and homophobic. Apparently many lesbians and gay men don’t appreciate being told they’re “transphobic” because they’re attracted to people of the same sex, and many young lesbians are being harassed via what’s called the “cotton ceiling” approach by transitioned young men who claim they’re “lesbians.”

            Ms. Rowling’s “tweet” was not nasty, and she’s written a very kind essay explaining her concerns about some of the transgender ideology. She also mentions how any researchers who attempt to question this, like Dr. Lisa Littman at Brown, face brigades of abusers who make death threats and try to get them fired. An anthropologist in the UK just lost her appointment because she said “biological sex is real.” This is Maoist Cultural Revolution brainwashing and I invite you to learn more before calling Ms. Rowling “nasty.”

            1. Massinissa

              This is taken out of context. Maya Forstater lost her job for refusing to refer to Trans persons by their chosen pronouns. She can have that ‘belief’ and still have the common decency to refer to people by their chosen pronouns, and the trans people in question had the required GRCs to be referred to as such. Her ‘belief’ would be fine if she held it privately and addressed trans people by their chosen pronouns. It isn’t hard.

              1. Massinissa

                I don’t know anything about Rowling or any of the other things Rowling has brought up, only about Maya Forstater. I believe Rowling is misinformed about the Forstater case, and I do not know enough about Rowling or her other statements to have an opinion on those.

              2. Acacia

                At that point, though, Humpty-Dumpty wins: words mean whatever a single person wants them to mean.

                1. Massinissa

                  Well, no, actually. Words mean what the law says it does. In the UK, people with a Gender Reassignment Certificate are legally women. Whether they’re biologically women is irrelevant, and they are entitled to be addressed with the proper pronouns as the law requires regardless of ‘biology’ or Maya Forstater’s beliefs on biology. Even if Forstater is correct and they ‘are not biologically women’, its irrelevant because under the law they are women whether they biologically are or not. Her unwillingness to address trans individuals as their legal gender at her workplace is her own problem.

                  1. witters

                    “Well, no, actually. Words mean what the law says it does.”

                    Is there a law that makes this a law? Is it made up of words?

              3. Lisa Mullin

                It’s more than that it was an attempt to eliminate ALL discrimination protection in UK workplaces.

                Forstater didn’t have her contract unrenewed because of her beliefs, it was because of her actions…and that she stated she would continue those actions in the workplace. Which were belittling, abusing, insulting, harassing, etc transgender people in the workplace.

                She tried to justify this by that the ideological basis for her behaviour should be classified as a ‘protected belief’ and thus exempt from the UK’s Equality Act.

                That position was rejected.

                But just imagine if she had won. Then the door would have been slammed open to others doing the exact thing to others, gay men, lesbians, women, Jews, Muslims….etc.

                After all what would have stopped a similar case based on a man’s ‘belief; that: women were inferior, should be at home and are harlots for working…based on their ‘biological role’? That it was ok for a man to belittle, abuse, insult, harass women in his workplace based on his ‘protected belief’.

                It is no surprise to anyone who has followed the use of such tactics in the US by right wing, religious right organisations that they are now attempting to do the same in the UK.

                A key thing to note that these attacks on transgender people (especially women) are being used as a ‘Trojan horse’ to drive through anti LGB…and anti women decisions and gut discrimination protections (as per Houston and its HERO referendum).

                The recent Supreme Court decision didn’t just protect LGBT people, but also strengthened Hopkins vs Price Waterhouse which protects all women from discrimination based on their appearance and behaviour. An examination of religious right (and Trump Govt) submissions showed clearly that overturning H v PW was a key goal of theirs.

                It’s a cynical tactic based more on the fact that trans people are so few (only 6 in every 1,000 people), suffer greater discrimination, are far poorer and have little representation in politics, than any ‘genuine beliefs’ they may have.

            2. Lisa Mullin

              LGB Alliance is well proven as religious right front group, with close links to organisations such as the Heritage Foundation,

              It’s stated ‘platform’ is:
              (1) The complete, final and worldwide elimination of transgender people.
              (2) Ending LGBT (called gay-straight alliance in the US) school clubs.
              (3) Ending any recognition or support of of gay, lesbian or bisexual teenagers
              (4) Ending any surrogacy (even between family members)
              (5) Continuing non-consensual surgery on intersex babies and infants (called IGM).

              It’s agenda and rhetoric are little different to religious right organisations such as the ADF, FRC, Hertitage, ACPeds, etc, even including the long debunked idea that LGB teenagers will ‘grow out of it’ and become heterosexual adults or that conversion therapy ‘will work’ on LGBT teenagers and adults.

          4. Fireship

            I admit to being ignorant. It is quite confusing as a friend of mine is a cross dresser. He wears women’s clothes for kicks but he also considers himself to be female. He is married with children. I don’t care what people do to their own bodies and will address anyone by any pronoun they prefer, but the thoughts in my head that tell me that a man who has removed his genitals and taken feminizing hormones is not quite the same thing as a woman, well those thoughts refuse to leave my head.

            1. Ignacio

              Just think they are persons and do not try to classify them as this or that in some rigid way. We make definitions and distinctions that do not fit the reality where you will always find examples that cross our arbitrarily settled lines. Let them be without trying to stay so canonical.

        5. Lambert Strether

          > The recent Daniel Radcliff thing where he tweeted

          Part of the problem with this thread is that it’s meta to a Twitter thread, which is itself meta (and on a platform not known for discussion at the level we would like to see in the NC commentariat).

      2. ScottW

        I am 63, a former attorney for the media, and someone who loves Taibbi’s reporting–especially about financial crimes. But this piece sadly commits the errors he accuses “the American Left” of committing. His intolerance of their intolerance floats in the same boat.

        “It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.” All of the American Left? This comment is in the same vein of those Taibi criticizes.

        Taibi concludes: “Today no one with a salary will stand up for colleagues like Lee Fang.” I wonder how Greenwald and Scahill would respond, considering they have publicly stated support for Fang?

        It’s fine to criticize those you feel are trying to muzzle expression of opinion, just be careful you don’t fall victim to the same vitriolic prose you are accusing them of exhibiting.

        1. Dan

          Yes, Glenn Greenwald and his big salary are trustworthy. We plebes can only hope old Glenn will decide to release the rest of the Snowden files. Apparently it’s too expensive and time-consuming for Glenn et al.

          Omidyar’s blog is better than Bezo’s blog?

          Vaunted civil liberties advocate and man of the people, Glenn Greenwald.

          What a joke. It’s clearly all intentional subterfuge.

          Oh wait, we do have a picture of Glenn “working with the Snowden files outside his house in Rio de Janeiro” so, I mean, everything’s obviously on the up and up:

              1. tegnost

                outside of GG being in your opinion well paid, and also having a garden, your comment left me completely uninformed. Maybe provide some examples of your explorations and how they led you to see what is obfuscated from those of us less questing than yourself.

            1. Dan

              The Snowden files should be public. It’s not Glenn Greenwald’s place to determine who gets to see what, when. If you don’t understand this basic premise, I don’t know what to tell you. Imagine all the people who would be happy to help Glenn go through everything, free of charge.

              The files have simply become privatized. Again, if you don’t see this obvious subterfuge, I don’t know what else to say.

            2. Dan

              The point is, who cares if Greenwald or Scahill express support for Fang? So what? Why do they need to be invoked?

              Appeal to authority, that’s why. And that’s by design.

              So, how did Glenn Greenwald come to be one’s authority in this matter?

              These are the questions to ask.

              1. flora

                Not appeal to authority, more a character reference. If you think those two have a journalistic ‘good character’ and they vouch for Taibbi then it’s a good character reference.

                1. flora

                  adding: I read Fang’s twitter thread that included Max’s videoed responses to Fang’s question. There were lot’s of other people interviewed and included in that thread. Lots of viewpoints.

                  The interesting part about Fang as reported by Taibbi is this: “Fang’s work in the area of campaign finance especially has led to concrete impact, including a record fine to a conservative Super PAC: few young reporters have done more to combat corruption.”

                  Wouldn’t Fang have made some serious political and economic ‘enemies’ with his reporting that had nothing whatever to do with race? And might they be happy to see him ousted or character impeached in journalism on whatever pretext?

                  I have no idea who Akela Lacy is or why she zeroed in on Max’s comments and ignored other interviewees’ comments, or why NYTimes reporter Astead Herndon cheered her on. I’ll go way out on a limb and say the ruling elite can find useful idiots in the press as easily now as anywhere else. (Not that I’m calling Lacy or Herndon useful idiots, mind you.) The ruling elite might like shutting down a reporter whose reporting
                  “in the area of campaign finance especially has led to concrete impact, including a record fine to a conservative Super PAC….”

                  My 2 cents.

                  1. John k

                    Worth more than .02.
                    Seems likely he stepped on toes. And maybe other toes are worried.
                    Follow the money explains much, especially things that seem illogical.
                    It’s all about the benjamins…

        2. Carolinian

          So we should tolerate intolerance because we don’t want to be intolerant? Aren’t you just playing with words? And if it’s “fine to criticize” then I believe that’s what he was doing. It’s not like Taibbi has the power to control what the press is doing (unlike the people he is criticizing).

          1. flora

            He said he’s a former atty for media, so maybe still advocating for media’s position. Just a guess.

        3. flora

          His intolerance of their intolerance floats in the same boat.

          So, he should accept media intolerance to show he’s tolerant ? riiight.

          As my mom used to say, “Be open minded, but not so open minded your brain falls out.” ;)

          1. Carla

            I’m gonna repeat that. I’m gonna say ” As flora’s mom used to say…” etc.

            Love it!

          2. fresno dan

            June 14, 2020 at 10:53 am

            “Be open minded, but not so open minded your brain falls out.” ;)
            +++ oh a zillion pluses!!!
            I’m a day late and a dollar short in getting here, but by gum that aphorism is now seared into my brain and I bet it is the best saying of the last 100 years

        4. Alex Cox

          As is so often the case with American journalists, Taibbi confuses leftists with liberals. Liberals bought the Russiagate story and kneel for the cameras wearing kente cloth. Leftists, not so much.

          Also, the Intercept and its reporters, Lee Fang included, have a habit of turning on their sources – remember Julian Assange. So I shall not be weeping for Pierre’s reporters just yet.

          1. a different chris

            Also this:

            Cotton did not call for “military force against protesters in American cities.” He spoke of a “show of force,” to rectify a situation a significant portion of the country saw as spiraling out of control.

            Well WTF is the point a “show of force” if there is no intent to use it against the people it is being shown to if necessary? “Hey guys, don’t worry we’re all out here with gunz like you’ve never seen pointed in your direction but no matter what you do, yell at us throw rocks at as even come up and punch us in the face we will never ever use them on you. Pinky swear!”.

            I want to say “Distinction without a difference” but that’s like saying the Universe is big. Really big. Unimaginably….

            1. John Zelnicker

              @a different chris
              June 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm

              The National Guard at Kent State on May 4, 1970, was there as a “show of force” and that didn’t work out so well.

              The young men at Kent State had something else in common with the National Guard units in Washington, D.C., in that many were just out of basic training. They had no experience in their main job of disaster aid, much less any training in riot control and law enforcement. That is NOT their job.

        5. Coldhearted Liberal

          Certainly his defense of Fang comes off wrong. Fang should have an awareness that his question would be seen as another variation of the “black-on-black crime” question that’s always used as a loaded question by BLM opponents.

        6. Basil Pesto

          “It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.” All of the American Left? This comment is in the same vein of those Taibi criticizes.

          Maybe a bit overly general, I think most people deduce that he’s referring to the mainstream
          ‘left’. I don’t set much store in the whole left/right dichotomy/bloodsport so I don’t particularly care if that’s the ‘true left’ or not – it doesn’t detract from Taibbi’s argument I don’t think, but I understand this is something people get hung up on. I think rhetorically it’s just a convenient generalisation to use as a springboard for the rest of his essay.

          Taibi concludes: “Today no one with a salary will stand up for colleagues like Lee Fang.” I wonder how Greenwald and Scahill would respond, considering they have publicly stated support for Fang?

          Greenwald and Taibbi are friendly, I would assume that Greenwald would understand that Taibbi was probably using hyperbole here. He might gently correct the record, but again whether hyperbole or carelessness, it doesn’t really detract from the thrust of Taibbi’s essay imo.

          It’s fine to criticize those you feel are trying to muzzle expression of opinion, just be careful you don’t fall victim to the same vitriolic prose you are accusing them of exhibiting.

          Well, these are two different issues, aren’t they? One is coercive censorship, the other is writing acerbically of a behaviour/group that one is contemptuous of. It’s presumably not impossible that one can engage in the former using very polite, punctilious language. Again, you might not like Taibbi’s style, fair enough, but I personally don‘t see how it detracts from his argument, unless I’m missing something?

    2. Mikel

      Just one thing…
      What is so clever about “what about black on black crime” cop out comment?
      If caught for murder, when a black person kills a black person…THEY GO TO JAIL.
      The big deal is that: time for the law to apply to cops.

      And when any person is killed…guess what?
      Guess what? Not only is it usually someone close to them, but they are of the same race.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Do they go to jail? I would argue the police are absolutely fine with “black in black” crime which is mostly just crime inside communities. The police send plenty of black people to prison for being black, but as far as solving crides, I’m not sure I would go that far.

        For the most part “black on black” strikes me as something that came out of a poll tested meeting to discourage “white flight republicans”….I mean “moderate suburban republicans” from wondering if policy changes could improve the world around them.

        1. Mikel

          You know what? That was in the back of mind “sarcastically”: Maybe I should have said when somebody black is murdered, somebody black will go to jail. (Depending on the amount of community pressure).

          Also, maybe if police were convicted more of their crimes, the country would actually get that long awaited prison reform.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I missed the obvious. The point of the whole “black on black” aspect was probably to keep the federales out of the business of local police and government as hate crime legislation was being passed or at least discussed. The recent “suicides” of two black men in California who decided to hang themselves from trees demands a federal investigation. The premise of “black on black” was meant to soothe the feathers of the “white moderate.”

            1. ddt

              A Trump voting friend brought up the argument that ” black on black crime happens all the time” and “there were 26 murders in Chicago during Memorial day weekend and the msm didn’t even mention it.” So this line of thinking has, as you say, soothed the feathers.

        2. mpalomar

          “the police are absolutely fine with “black on black” crime.”
          I suspect that historically black on black crime was largely ignored by law enforcement so whatever ‘justice’ means or represents it was served up differently than when applied to white on black crime which was ‘ignored’ in a different sense of the word, recalling in some skewed sense, perhaps inappropriately, Moynihan’s ‘Benign Neglect.’

      2. Billy

        Mikel, “THEY GO TO JAIL”
        Until activists demand they be released to avoid “disproportionate imprisonment of black males.”

          1. Billy

            Because “They” are “caught for murder, when a black person kills a black person, they go to Jail.”?

            After a trial, with witnesses, evidence etc.
            Perhaps you think that non-blacks are not prosecuted for murder?

            More circular logic than a merry-go-round.

            Massinissa, violent crime in “most” of America, not inner cities, is going down, hence imprisonment continues to grow from the remaining crimes. Plea bargains have a lot to do with this.

            1. JBird4049

              Most black communities are over-policed and underserved by the police and public services generally. Calling the police is likely to get innocent people abused by the police. Since there is no effective use of governmental justice, that leaves personal justice, which means not jails, but personal, often lethal violence.

              As the police increasingly become an occupying army and the justice system an abusive joke people are left with the old pre-king’s justice way of seeking justice.

            2. Mikel

              The police have damn near immunity when it comes to killing black people.
              The police. Focus on that.

            3. Mikel

              “After a trial, with witnesses, evidence etc.”

              You need check your stats on that too…
              Most defendants take pleas after charges are stacked. Facts.
              Money and/or a very good lawyer – like the ones the cops will get – just not happening alotm

              1. Procopius

                I believe the current rate is 93% of all cases are settled by plea agreements. A few years ago it was 86%. That means that almost everybody gives up their right to be heard.

        1. Massinissa

          Most of that is the War on (some) Drugs. Violent crime in most of America has been going down for decades now while imprisonment continues to grow.

    3. ThomG

      Throughout the Taibbi piece I was reminded of an essay from the late Mark Fisher “Exiting the Vampire Castle”, especially with respect to the Fang portion. I think the phenomena described in the latter essay goes a long way in explaining some themes in the former.

      “The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd.”

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Agreed ThomG, Fisher’s “Exiting the Vampire’s Castle” is absolutely apposite here. I say this as a kind of internal refugee from high-level academia (decided to teach at a community college rather than go for the elite career, for any number of reasons). The vibe I observe among various acquaintances and colleagues in the elite academic world is precisely the priestly — I believe Fisher uses the word “sacerdotal” — desire to excommunicate. I also refer to them as the Wokeistas.

        If you want to be a very functionalist thinker about it, that makes sense — priestly classes have been providing gate-keeping ideological justifications of the current order since the Neolithic (at least). It’s hard to be an actual radical, or anything approaching it; or even deviating from the Vampire’s Castle in any real way, if you want to get a job at Stanford Law School or Amherst or Northwestern.

        I have also seen the frankly bullying quality of the arguments put forth by the Wokeistas/Vampire’s Castle. Often times you get the sense of old scores being settled. A lot of it is based on a kind of snarky, jokey insiderness. The worst is when someone I know, say, from High School, who is in most ways a normal person, will stumble upon an (unannounced and assumed) ideological misstep/thoughtcrime, and you watch them be subsequently set upon like lambs before wolves. Because, after all, it’s not that the Wokeistas aren’t intelligent; they’re extremely intelligent. It’s that they tend to be personally cruel conformists and bullies. Cruelty is rewarded in the service of the “correct” cause.

        Another aspect is that they aren’t ever satisfied. Even the most self-abasing apology will not render one immune from becoming a non-person for some past linguistic slip. That this relies on gossip, innuendo, whisper campaigns, makes it doubly creepy and Kafkaesque.

        Why is this important? Because these people control the culture, which in old Marxist fashion I think of as superstructural to material reality. Watch some of the newer Netflix shows, say “Hollywood” or the Spanish “Cable Girls” (I saw 75% of the former, a very small piece of the latter). They are entertaining enough, but as an historian I have to say they are wildly ahistorical, almost fantastically so. Realization of one’s personality, self-actualization through reifying and embracing of ascriptive identitarian categories, becomes the main goal of characters in the 1940s and 1920s. This is deeply anachronistic, and it’s because the writers have been basting in the Wokeista ideology for so long that they cannot conceive of identitarian self-realization not being the end-all-be-all of the human experience.

        It’s deeply blinkered, but I worry that it will come out of this current revolutionary ferment as the guiding ideology of the oppositional forces in this country; and if it, rather than some broad-based universalist communitarianism, becomes the dominant flavor in the protests and opposition, it will either a) lose, and lose badly; or b) win, and create an ideological monoculture that is dystopian in its tolerance for actual difference, as they already have in many university environments.

        We shall see. Interesting times, as they say.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Great comment. I appreciate how you then say there will likely be two possible outcomes, one bad and one equally bad.

          When 0bama tore up habeus corpus/the Magna Carta I felt it was (and is) a very deep blow to the architecture of civilization that had been so carefully won after bloody trials and errors over many centuries. Gone.

          So now we get the complete dismantling of freedom of speech and thought, with the epicenter being college campuses. I find myself wondering where we would be today if the free thinkers and students in the Quartier Latin in the 15th century had not had the freedom to question reality as it was received by the Church. The Enlightenment? Maybe not so much. And this by what I used to think was “my side”.

          How lonely it is today to point out inconvenient facts or use the word “Trump” in a sentence that is not filled with vitriol and hatred. I feel I still have a “side” but the people who perhaps agree with me on that “side” are just waiting for the next sweep of the cancel scythe. It feels like there is very little ground left to stand on.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > the late Mark Fisher “Exiting the Vampire Castle”, especially with respect to the Fang portion. I think the phenomena described in the latter essay goes a long way in explaining some themes in the former.

          Let’s just hope Taibbi doesn’t commit suicide, as Fisher did. (Fisher’s essay is hard to find online, so kudos to Open Democracy for hosting it.)

        3. Musicismath

          Thank you for this excellent comment. As a fellow academic (though on the other side of the Atlantic), I can see exactly the same patterns of bullying, silencing, and thought-policing going on in my own discipline (though thankfully not among my actual departmental colleagues, yet).

          There seems to be what I think of as a kind of moral/linguistic inflation at work, whereby the particular purge/furious agreement binary on social media leads to the dominant messaging getting steadily more extreme and intolerant, yet (paradoxically) ever more garlanded in likes, favourites, shares, and retweets. I see a number of posters here are a bit leery of Taibbi’s latest, but I have to say, if I open up another tab and go to my Twitter newsfeed (composed very largely of academics’ tweets and retweets), I am faced with a series of statements of almost breathtaking extremity, couched in a tone of high moral seriousness. What Taibbi is observing is actually the dominant messaging right now among the global (or at least Anglosphere) upper middle class, and certainly the dominant set of ideas in journalism, academia, and (as you point out) the culture industry. And it’s a message stream of terrifying narrowness and conformity.

          I should also point out that this messaging has little or nothing to do with the left, as we have traditionally defined it. Of course, these academics would all define themselves as “left” (or at least liberal-left), but the ideas themselves are either right-libertarian-posing-as-anarchist in nature (tear down state functions and replace them with voluntary or informal ones) or straight-up racialist/identitarian (arguing for a fundamentally racial understanding of history and culture, in a way that seems more neo-Victorian than anything else). At this point, this discourse is explicitly anti-egalitarian and it quite deliberately rejects universalism or materialism (as, essentially, bad-faith stalking horses for white supremacy).

          It is, as you suggest, salutary to pay attention to mainstream cultural outputs and what they say about the reigning ideas among our dominant classes. In his latest, Sam Kriss points to Black Panther, which is an excellent example. One of the highest grossing films of all time; a film that (as Kriss points out) it is unacceptable in many “left”/academic circles to criticise even slightly; but one which nevertheless quite explicitly endorses a kind of techno-feudalism as utopia, one that (by the end of the movie) has become unashamedly supremacist and messianic in nature (to the point of sending out actual missionaries to educate the black residents of Oakland). This is what currently passes for a left ideology. Missionary work from a position of assumed moral and technical superiority.

          I’m reading Richard Seymour’s Twittering Machine right now (and trying to stay off Twitter itself). One of the points he makes is that, as our opinion formers and PMC retreat ever further into a self-reinforcing digital realm, they lose sight of where their ideas fit into the wider world. Then they are perpetually shocked when they lose electorally, when it turns out all those people they’ve cancelled and disavowed and discounted turn out to have votes and opinions too.

          1. Clive

            I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion much of the reactions you (correctly) describe are borne of increasing frustration at the demonstrable powerlessness over what the protagonists would claim is are the unfair, unscientific, illogical or just plain outpouring-of-mass-stupidity hits they’ve had to “endure” but what the rest of us simply think of as “politics”.

            The victory (rightly or wrongly) of Brexit. The election (rightly or wrongly) of Trump. The elections (rightly or wrongly) of the likes of Boris Johnson or Scott Morrison. The defenestration (rightly or wrongly) of Sanders. Say what you like about these events — and an awful lot has been said — in the second-to-last analysis they were democratic outcomes of a democratic process. The final analysis from those disavowing these results is that the democratic processes were somehow flawed, which is certainly arguable. But if that is a valid argument then that is the argument which could be used — although it’s not especially good grounds for advancing from, because the systems we have are the systems we have; attempting to change both the democratic processes and simultaneously campaign for whatever issue it is you’re campainging about is going to be an uphill struggle, like trying to push two boulders uphill at once. But at least it stands some chance of getting to where you want to go.

            What will not help any cause, anywhere, is blaming the opposing view merely for being the opposing view, putting up weak counter-arguments or engaging in ad hominem attacks such as calling the voters dumb.

            When these responses are attempted — and they almost universally are being widely attempted now — they have (and you’d have thought supposedly-clever people who employ them would realise this ) the effect of boomeranging support, sometimes reluctantly, back onto the targets of the illuminat’s ire. I certainly find myself doing that on occasions — I too end up like the Spectator described: not-best-pleased to be defending the likes of Boris Johnson but not left with much choice in the face of sheer drivel put about by, say, the New York Times.

            Opposition forces (whatever happens to be being opposed) which actually foster increased support for the things they purport to be opposing really do need to have a serious think about their strategy. Instead, though, they seem to find foot-stomping and whah-whah’ing a whole lot easier. Which, I suppose, it is.

            1. Musicismath

              Yes, I fully agree with this. It’s definitely a response to losing the electoral battle, repeatedly. For a certain millennial-aged class fraction brought up to believe it is entitled to self-actualization purely by virtue of its intelligence, education, and moral merit, losing (and especially losing to them) is intolerable. Add in the fantasy worlds of social media and Harry Potter, both of which draw a sharp line between the virtuous and the evil, and we end up with … this.

              I also think of this paragraph from the Nonsite roundtable, “N+1 and the PMC: A Debate about Moving On” (21 October 2019):

              The PMC have poured an astonishing degree of scorn on the principle of majoritarianism, and they simply cannot countenance the notion that they might be overruled by those they see as their social inferiors in a democratic vote. Their cosmopolitanism / anti-nationalism is the disguise for their hatred of mass democracy. I think they cling to the EU not only for crappy pay-offs like research grants, Erasmus schemes and such like, but also for cultural reasons—cultural superiority over their uncultured inferiors at home, and a sense of cross-border depth, so that they are not politically marooned in the confines of the nation with their own working classes.

              Personally, I’m a little more willing to see the benefits of EU membership than that (certainly in comparison to no-deal Brexit), but I do wonder how lockdown and the closure of the borders has helped inflame those kinds of “cosmopolitan/anti-nationalist” attitudes (which undeniably exist among the British PMC). Separated from face-to-face conversations with others; seeing the world even more so than usual via the distorting prism of the social media stream; unable to take the usual mini-breaks to the continent to “get away” from it all … and now here we are.

    1. cocomaan

      I’m not really impressed by the Taibbi piece. It doesn’t really do any self reflection.

      Why are newsrooms changing? What are journalism schools teaching? Why is journalism becoming activism and where/when did this thought process arise?

      Is this any different from any other period in history?

      I just feel like his article is a bunch of headlines without asking “why?”

      1. cocomaan

        My wife just let me know that his book Hate Inc. might go into some of the “why’s”.

        But reading reviews of it, I’m not really seeing that. It seems to me that journalism has an education and ethics problem.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          You should read Hate Inc. It’s excellent. Then read “The Divide.” Matt goes to the streets and talks to real people. It’s as eye opening as “Evicted” and “The New Jim Crow.”

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            I’ve read Hate Inc.and I concur. I should buy his Eric Garner book too. I think it’s called: I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street

            1. Stillfeelinthebern

              Also a great book. I should have mentioned it. On a different note, talking about books, I recommend “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War” by Mary Roach. All her books are exceptional.

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            The Divide is my favorite Matt Taibbi book. Highly Recommend if u wanna know what happened in NYC during their Broken Windows policy

        2. Dan

          Don’t you love being told you “should” do something. Always makes me eager to jump up and do it.

          I agree with you on Taibbi’s piece. One shouldn’t have to consult two of his previous books to see that he does in fact understand and care about the deeper dynamic at work. If he really feels that way it should be evident in his writing here and now.

          Taibbi can write whatever he wants, obviously. And though I agree with the general thrust of what he’s saying, this piece almost reads as if it’s gatekeeping for the establishment. It was very strange coming from Taibbi.

          1. jef

            If you follow Matts writing at all you would not be saying that …unless you are a left leaning Robespierre.

            1. Dan

              Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think I fit neatly into the “left leaning Robespierre” category, whatever that may be. I hope not.

              I’m not sure what qualifies as “following Matts writing” but I’ve read plenty of Matt Taibbi in my life, thank you.

              Perhaps you “follow him” a little too closely.

          2. Ahimsa

            The American Press Is Destroying Itself
            -A flurry of newsroom revolts has transformed the American press

            Reading Taibbi as gatekeeping for the establishment is ridiculous.

            As others have pointed out, his last book was a withering criticism of the MSM.

            In a previous book, he took on the Eric Garner story and laid bare policing practices and brutality that led to that tragedy.

            Many were introduced to his writing during the last fiinancial crisis when his pen took aim at Wall Street and helped explain their crooked dealings to the readers of Rolling Stone.

            A while back (at the time of his Eric Garner book?) attempts were made to ‘cancel’ him because of satirical writings from decades ago despite all involved parties, including alledged ‘victims’, defending his character.

            I read his latrst piece as a voice of sanity in the midst of a rush to dispense with inconvenient journalistic principles when it gets in the way of fevered ideology. As seen clearly in Trump Derangement Syndrome for the past 4 years.

            Taibbi was also one of the few to openly question the Russigate narrative and he has also received much pushback on this. He is not saying journalism was perfect in the past or that he always has the correct take on thing. He is warning that the press in a healthy democracy must provide an open forum for competing opinions. Cancel culture and safe spaces are threatening this.

            As I mentioned already, I see this as common sense but on twitter (and here?) he is getting alot of pushback.

            I grow old, I grow old,
            I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

            1. Detroit Dan

              Yup. In my opinion, Taibbi is right again and again. Commenters such as Dan here haven’t articulated any sound criticisms.

              I could be wrong, but criticisms such as “The Snowden Files Should be Public” leave me wondering as to Dan’s standards. Should we expect Greenwald or anyone to totally eschew self-interest?

              1. ChrisPacific

                Yeah, particularly since Snowden himself stipulated that he didn’t want full disclosure of everything (I can recall him explaining why at some length) and engaged Greenwald on those terms. So if Dan thinks the fundamental issue is that the files should be public, then his beef is really with Snowden himself for not going to Assange with them instead – not with Greenwald, who is just following the terms of his agreement.

                The odd thing is that there are legitimate and specific criticisms that can be levelled at Greenwald in particular, as Poitras has done for example, which are airbrushed out by the “files should be public” argument.

        3. mpalomar

          “It seems to me that journalism has an education and ethics problem.”
          Yes and all layered in complexity, including one of the blatant contradictions that Taibbi, whose work I appreciate, never gets to except in passing.
          In a business where the first job requirement was once the willingness to ask tough questions, we’ve become afraid to ask obvious ones.”
          – Problem #1, journalism is grafted to roots in business. A few mega corporations control most MSM outlets.

          Additionally the story focus, 330 million pop. nation state with global empire reach is too big for most to make out heads or tails, particularly when layered like a mille feuille with covert narratives from the secretive, domestically active, extended, proliferating intelligence community.

          Finally one has to consider that the human animal with its unique singular perspective is probably not fit for the task of objective reporting.

      2. nick

        Yeah I thought it was pretty silly too. It had some valid points about media failings back beyond just the last few weeks, but then a lot of others were overblown or really missed the mark, like about NYT featuring calls for violence and how all that was handled.

        I was surprised that he didn’t mention that Pittsburgh paper taking black reporters off of BLM/protest reporting. That story could be another way to get at contemporary media’s troubles. Overall the Taibbi piece seemed to me more motivated by his own personal relationships and politics and maybe that issue just didn’t fit the narrative.

        1. Victoria

          Yes, I was looking for that in his piece. Not so subtle efforts to make the protests look less “dangerous” involve tactics across a range of political messaging control, aka censorship.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Taibbi has written in detail on this topic in many forums elsewhere, not least his new book ‘Hate Inc.’

        1. cocomaan

          Thanks PK, what would you say his argument is? I intend to pick up the book from my library.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            In short, he argues that when the Cold War ended and the media lost its ‘us against the Russkies’ narrative, they floundered a while trying to replace it and discovered that the best way was to set up a series of false binaries, the logical end point being entire media networks devoted to being ‘against’ something. This has led to a generation of journalists who think their sole job is to find oppo against whoever it is their network/newspaper opposes.

            1. cocomaan

              Got it. I will have to read it to learn who instigated these changes, hopefully he identifies some specific subjects. Usually he’s very good at that.

      4. Ignacio

        From my point of view as a foreinger, it is quite shocking. This is not to say that journalism standards in Spain are any better and in some cases suffer the very same malaises possibly influenced by US standards.

        1. Frank

          A post by Ugo Bardi on his blog Cassandra’s legacy titled : You are What you Read: How to Manage your Personal Echo Chamber

          lists information sources ranked by Bardi for their trustworthiness .

          There’s also a list of quotes by historical figures about the reliability of various news sources.

          I liked this one especially:
          Mark Twain’s insight: If you don’t read the news you are uninformed; if you read the news you are misinformed. Things are seldom (if ever) what they seem on the surface.”

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘the ultra-communist site of Caitlin Johnstone’?

            I think that Ugo Bardi is mistakenly viewing her through his Italian upbringing here. In Australian life, there is still a strong streak of egalitarianism running through it and Caitlin’s views seemed to be shaped by this. Also she does not suffer fools gladly. Having an American husband gives her insight on American politics too but at heart she is a good Melbourne girl and not an ‘ultra-communist.’

            1. John

              Does anyone even know what a Communist is/was anymore? From the way the word is flung about, it seems not.

              1. The Rev Kev

                I know that you typically find them hiding under your bed. That is why I do not keep my money there anymore.

              2. Bugs Bunny

                I’m a communist. It means having the conviction that democratic control of the means of production (writ large) is an extremely important goal that we must work to achieve. There are some other accessory things attached to that that I also believe are important to achieve as well, or preserve, where they exist (liberal social rights) but the first point is very important.

          2. Dan

            I’ve always loved that quote.

            So, is it better to be uninformed or misinformed?

            This being America, we ought to be able to be both, and then some. In fact, we can be anything we want.

            Now leave us alone.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I would say uninformed. It’s like the two baseball players who are equals in on field ability but one with perfect for and one with terrible form. Only one can be fixed. The other has peaked. Cable news viewers. Can they be fixed? I would say no.

              At least with the uninformed, there is a chance they know it and are willing to learn.

          3. Montanamaven

            The Mark Twain quote is a favorite of mine too. My liberal friends parrot the conventional wisdom that conservatives are “low-information” voters. But when I ask them where they get their information, they invariably say, “the NY Times, NPR and The Guardian. My friends put articles on their Facebook page with no thought behind it other than it bashes Trump. When I give them a link to an article that has a different take, at least some of them thank me but most don’t care. So they are as low-information as the conservatives they denigrate. And are annoyed with me when I point out that there may be other news sources than Pravda on the Hudson.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I think the same pressures are at work, but as always with these things, the culture and history of different cultures ensures that identical pressures can produce different outcomes.

          Here in Ireland I’ve noticed that reduced budgets on newsrooms has resulted in a huge increase in those cheap random opinion pieces, that are more often not not just high level trolling for clicks – this, even from respectable outlets. I’ve also noticed an increase in what I’d describe as political gaslighting type articles, where political journalists are indulging less in cheerleading their own side (which has always happened) to more subtle trolling of other parties. This has been a major feature recently of mainstream media attacks on the Irish Green party. There have been a lot of deliberately misleading concern troll type articles from what were once considered very respectable journalists.

          There has also been an issue that the reduced number of foreign correspondents means that other countries narratives are taken on board without question. Irish journalists have simply adopted Russiagate without much question. But on the other hand, with our nearest neighbour, where most news outlets have experienced Irish journalists covering UK policies, the coverage is far better – I’d go as far to say that Irish media coverage of UK politics is better than any of the UK media, simply because Irish journalists don’t have to plug in to their owners established narrative.

      5. fhb

        Exhibit A: Publishing industry is overwhelmingly white and female, US study finds

        Exhibit B: Graduates of Elite Universities Dominate the New York Times and Wall Street Journal

        Exhibit C: How America’s top newsrooms recruit interns from a small circle of colleges

        Though some of what I’m about to suggest will invariably lead to accusations of misogyny (because I believe women are people and, like people, they have and share biases too). I’ll take the hit on whatever names people want to call me.

        I strongly believe that a great many of the individuals now in the American mainstream media outlets come from well-to-do families, who provided the necessary financial support for their children to intern at publishing houses and media outlets for a substantial length of time before ‘beginning’ their careers as writers and reporters. (See the books: “Intern Nation” (Ross Perlin) and Hate Inc (by Mr Taibbi !))

        As the links above demonstrate, a significant proportion of these individuals have all come of age in very similar educational circumstances. I have no doubt many also attended private schools before college. Not all of course, but I would bet it would be a proportion that significantly outweighs the averages for the general population. What this would suggest is that they adopted the mores and values transmitted to them by their educational and social environments; ‘group think’.

        I also believe that many of the women here are derived from the same elite, upper-class Ivy-League educated type that was formerly referred to as debutantes and like them, are devoted to changing and/or “saving the world” through involving themselves in progressive causes. These are the same class of women who (scandulously) lit up cigarettes during an Easter Sunday Parade in 1929, and were later referred to as their ‘torches of freedom’ by legendary PR hack Mr Edward Bernays. Ostensibly, these “torches of freedom” were in support of the suffragette movement, but conveniently also improved the fortunes of the American Tobacco Company, which had hired Mr Bernays in an effort to “get women to smoke”.
        See Adam Curtis’s wonderful “The Century of Self” or the Wikipedia article Torches of Freedom…

        Like those women, this current generation seeks influence, status and prestige, like their second tier, less credible friends who are busy going the Instagram Influencer route.
        I call them wokeutantes. It’s clumsy, sure, but does a good job describing their value systems and their historical presence.

        These are people who feel entitled to tell others how to live their lives. They are not historical anomalies.
        As Taibbi relates in his book, Hate Inc., the news gathering profession was once a place of incredible class diversity, but with the steady erosion of viable, good paying jobs, only those with the resources to stick it out will survive. The only people who can live off meager wages for several years are… rich kids.
        And rich kids don’t come from households with 7 kids.
        These people were raised knowing it was their (cough cough) “burden” to educate the unwashed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Interesting this. I have heard the same from a British reporter a few years ago complaining about the same happening for British reporters. That the newer generation of them were from elite schools and privileged backgrounds. Your comment reminded me of the acronym of WEIRD as in “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic” which came about when it was realized that most psychological studies were based on the results of using students who were by definition WEIRD. So it seems that these reporters are being recruited from a WEIRD cohort as well.

        2. Yves Smith

          The publishing industry is not the press.

          And having dealt with publishers, they are not dominated by Ivy League types. Your image is about 30 years out of date. Publishing has been too downwardly mobile to attract much in the way of new grads from good schools. For instance, no one I met at Palgrave, a supposed academic imprint, was from a top school, and to add insult to injury, my editor had a poor command of grammar.

        3. Lambert Strether

          > As Taibbi relates in his book, Hate Inc., the news gathering profession was once a place of incredible class diversity, but with the steady erosion of viable, good paying jobs, only those with the resources to stick it out will survive.

          One might wonder if Taibbi has supplied his detractors with a motive…

      6. John

        Self-reflection? Do you often read Taibbi’s work? He is not by nature a navel-gazer; he is a fine reporter. I though this piece admirably clear in its intent and its delivery.

      7. funemployed

        Newsrooms are changing because Google and Facebook stole most of their revenue, rich investors stole most of their capital and put MBA types in charge of their operations, reporters who got cozy with money and the MIC got promoted, and connections and degrees superceded journalistic talent and integrity as hiring qualifications.

        In these ways, it is different from the historical period immediately prior, in degree, at least, if not kind. Taibbi was on the front lines of all these changes, and this piece is a reflection on what he has witnessed.

        1. flora

          Yes. Business is bad. Taking the path of least resistance to social media’s cliquishness isn’t improving the newpapers’ reporting, however. It’s degrading the reporting, imo.

        2. John

          would you be speaking of the way in which private equity has sucked them dry? Does an MBA imply that you need only know about administration of a business and not its substance?

          I have friends who went to Journalism School and friends who did not, but they really learned about reporting the news by going out and doing it and paying attention to the veterans.

          The wise baby lieutenants who graduated from West Point Yesterday will learn their business by paying close attention to the senior NCOs who have forgotten more than the young officers think they know just as “cub” reporters do. There is much to be said for apprenticeship.

      8. GERMO

        Not loving Tibbi’s take in this piece either, though I usually really like his analysis and style. I think his mistake is in thinking that bigtime journalism is that much more influential than the local stuff which, diminished though it has become, still is a valuable stenographer of the police departments’ propaganda in situations like the present one. And thereby saturating reality in a pro-status quo viewpoint probably more influential on the masses than the handful of public-intellectual level commentary he’s looking at.

        I remember well that he equivocated pointlessly about the Occupy Wall Street protests for a couple months before finally changing his mind about the issue in November of that year. It was only quite a bit later that he got hot enough to come up with the Vampire Squid image for Goldman, for example. In other words he tends to get radical later, not right away. This article is more of that same equivocation, to me. He’s circling the block with a fairly unremarkable “OMG intolerant left” piece. Pick a parking spot and get out of the car, Matt, that’s what your readers are waiting for.

      9. YankeeFrank

        I think he points out the biggest reason early on: journalism is now run by upper class weaklings.

    2. Another Scott

      Reading Taibbi’s article, I couldn’t help but thinking of the contrast between the New York Times’ treatment of Bennet and the continued defense of the 1619 Project, which has been attacked by commentators on the left and right.

      The newspaper was certainly in its right to publish both the 1619 series and the Cotton op-ed; however, the similarities stop there. Cotton’s op-ed was correctly treated as opinion, while the slavery series was not. When challenged on the politics of the articles, Bennet was publicly rebuked and resigned, while nothing happened for the 1619 project. The editors continue to defend the series, with only a minor, inconsequential change despite some rather important factual errors.

      The difference I think is that article plays very well to the neo-liberal, PMC types who read and write for the newspaper while the other makes them uncomfortable.

    3. zagonostra

      In a business where the first job requirement was once the willingness to ask tough questions, we’ve become afraid to ask obvious ones…Today no one with a salary will stand up for colleagues like Lee Fang. Our brave truth-tellers make great shows of shaking fists at our parody president, but not one of them will talk honestly about the fear running through their own newsrooms

      This not only applies to the inside of journalism but all occupations. If you are lucky enough to have a position with a decent salary and benefits you self-censor. When the stakes are as high as whether your children will be able to visit a doctor or your wife receive a cancer treatment without bankrupting the family, you are going to self-censor.

      This is not a random development in the political social world we live in, it is by design. Fear is the only thing they have left, it is, as Frank Herbert of Dune fame stated, a “mind killer.” Fear taps right into that unthinking part of your reptilian brain and makes morality the province of saints, not the economically secure.

    4. montanamaven

      Taibbi says “Our duty is to report what we see, not what we think.” I would add also that many of these reporters who get their knickers in a bunch also are reporting not what they see but what they FEEL.” People who make decisions based on how they feel or how this effects others have a right to that perspective, but they should try to realize that it is just that. It is their perspective. But too often my friends who feel this way also feel that their perspective is morally superior. When I was growing up in a religious community, we called that attitude “Holier than thou.” I used to be annoyingly smug in my opinion when I was a Democrat and activist. Looking back, I was clearly misinformed and I now I strive to combat conventional wisdom and strive to understand different perspectives. Thank god I found NC. People here keep me informed and also humble.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d agree, this sort of thing is slipping into reportage everywhere. The irony is that many of the worst offenders would be the first to proclaim themselves atheists. The philosopher John Gray has written quite a bit on this subject.

    5. Raulb

      I have huge respect for Taibbi and his work on the 2008 banking crisis.

      This latest piece gave me a sinking feeling as I kept reading. And the effusive support from people complaining about ‘SJWs warriors’ in the comments section added a further element of strangeness to a Matt Taibbi piece. At no point in US history have the left had any power but yet there has always been a massive amount of scaremongering about the ‘left’ and the SJW hysteria follows the same pattern. Conflating liberals wedded to right wing economic policies to the left when there is nothing in common in the 2 groups merely shifts the conversation right as designed.

      Even more problematic is this idea of a free press. There is very little in this free press about Assange and Snowden. Let alone dissent and alternative voices, the press is infact complicit in cheering on endless warmongering and actively supporting trillion dollar bailout programs programs while gaslighting medicare, wage stagnation and other critical social programs. There is well known history now of people like Chomsky, Chris Hedges and others silenced and banned. So the idealization of a free press that does not exist is completely mystifying

      Black on black crime is always trotted up in response to each and every police atrocity, you can see the comment sections of every news and commentary online fill up with the exact same odious talking points from breitbart, daily caller and fox news whenever an incident happens. This serves to demonize an already demonized group and further dehumanizes them to perpetuate an environment where police abuse can continue unchecked. What is the argument here, that because there is black on black crime its ok for the police to terrorize and execute black people?

      This is even fed by mainstream media with people like Brett Stevens and Barry Weiss who carry on mainstreaming right wing narratives, positioning racists as intellectuals while demonizing minorities and casting aspersions on the their intelligence unhindered, and yet any response to this quackery fronting as science funded by well known right wing eugenics groups leads to hysteria about ‘free press’ and ‘censorship’.

      How many organizations in the world are dedicated to funding programs and ‘research’ that call into question the intelligence of entire groups of humans? Is it really free press to give a platform to such groups? Does free press mean that first principles must be re-litigated and the idea of advocating military suppression of civilian protest in the same newspaper where the same opinion in Venezuela or some other non western country by someone connected to government will be weaponized in multiple pages week after week to justify a war cry for invasion to protect democracy and human rights? This free press and censorship narrative is completely hollow and bogus.

      How is discussing black on black crime relevant in a discussion of systematic police brutality against black people in the midst of another barbaric outrage? These people are literally being executed senselessly in broad daylight with Floyd is just one in a line of many. And its not just the actual killings but then the systematic collusion of prosecutors and the justice system which allows killers to go free time after time. And when the there is outrage and protest the focus is shifted to ‘violence’, ‘looters’ and ‘free speech’. Is your free speech that is not under any threat outside of right wing propaganda more important than the lives of black people and their systemic persecution and terrorism on a day to day basis.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Black on black crime is always trotted up in response to each and every police atrocity, you can see the comment sections of every news and commentary online fill up with the exact same odious talking points from breitbart, daily caller and fox news whenever an incident happens. This serves to demonize an already demonized group and further dehumanizes them to perpetuate an environment where police abuse can continue unchecked. What is the argument here, that because there is black on black crime its ok for the police to terrorize and execute black people?

        No argument was advanced by Fang. That is the salient point. Fang included a black man opining on the issue, in context with numerous other vox pops. This is bog standard journalism.

        Max, the gentleman from the video, advanced an opinion. That opinion is then out in the open – to provoke further thought on the matter; to encourage a socratic discussion on the topic, perhaps let others advance some counterarguments to Max; or, yes, even to let some right-wing simpletons come out and say ‘ha! I told you so’. When that latter line of thinking appears, it can be suitably dismantled through subjection to rigorous analysis.

        Your last sentence above is a strawman. Neither Fang nor Max forwarded, or even hinted at such an argument. Nor did Matt Taibbi, who literally wrote the book on police violence against harmless black men, advance or defend such an argument.

        To reprimand, publicly and viciously, and threaten the employment of the journalist for the apparent crime of disseminating another person’s opinion, or, as I like to call it, doing a journalism, is twisted, which is probably putting it mildly.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > How is discussing black on black crime relevant in a discussion of systematic police brutality against black people in the midst of another barbaric outrage?

        Um, the (black) source quoted by Fang seemed to think it was. One might think that Fang’s real sin was suggesting that there might be a spectrum of opinion in “the Black community” (just as we forget that Biden’s crime bill was also supported by many established figures there, IIRC as a response to the crack “epidemic”).

  2. nvl

    Re that NY Post article, how can anyone believe a dentist’s office is not potentially very
    high risk? Walk in after the previous patient had the kind of procedure which released aerosols…
    First appointment of the day, it would be for me, and only if I am in pain.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Two successful dental procedures in last month, very positive experience. Also first dental work I’d had done in years, things have a way of falling apart at the worst times. Dentist had one of those cash discounts, so I gave the difference to the admin staff as a tip (you shouldn’t tip people with professional certificates, right?).

        Trying to give up Twitter as the dental trips were the result of clenching my teeth while reading the news. Actually surprised I made it this deep into the 21st Century before cracking two teeth.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      My roommate is an office manager for her father’s dental office. The procedures they go through are extensive and tiring. Hydroclorous acid sprayed everywhere, one patent at a time in the waiting room, $6000 viral killing air filters, aerosols from the patient sucked away with some device, masks and face shields everywhere and full PPE, full questionnaire and temps taken. No routine work at all. And it is the same at my friends orthodontics practice.

      I had to go into a university dental office to get a temporary cap on a cracked tooth. I was not concerned after seeing everything they did. Probably one of the safer places to be in my opinion.

      I am more afraid of worker burn out than anyone getting sick.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        Older dentists and patients will remember people’s fears about visiting dentists during the early years of the AIDS crisis. Good dentists improved already effective procedures for reducing the risk of cross infection (particularly since so little was known, and patient fears were unreasonably off the charts), and I think their experience then of how to provide service in a high-contact business gives them a head start in refining that experience for the current situation.

      2. Winston Smith

        My apologies as I don’t mean to be pedantic. You mean hypochlorous acid? HClO. Sorry I am a chemist

    2. TiPs

      The article the NY POst links to is better HERE.
      The original article “surveys” 4 health professionals (not much of a survey with N = 4) and it lists disagreements among them on many of the things listed. The NY Post article doesn’t acknowledge this.

      1. carl

        Yeah, I found the piece unusably shallow. No explanations given, just “four experts.” Stupid article for stupid people.

    3. montanamaven

      I went back to the dentist last week after Montana went into Phase 2. The office had been open for 3 weeks and they had all kinds of fancy new equipment. The hygienist was in face shield and heavy duty mask. They had an amazing machine inserted in my mouth that sucked everything right out of my teeth. I had to wait in the car and was escorted in when the route to the office was clear. Yes, one guy passed by me on the way to the next office and if he lied about not being in contact with anyone with Covid, then I was in danger. But the experience seemed safer than most of these strange post reopening experiences. Unfortunately Gallatin county saw a spike in cases and mostly young people. We are in fear of losing our status as one of the most virus free states. And the tourists have arrived, so everybody here is a little nervous.

      1. carl

        Five years spent in Gallatin County in my youth was what awakened my love of nature and the outdoors.

        1. montanamaven

          It is close to heaven here. “Big Sky Country”. I feel sometimes that I am at the top of the world. I grew up in the Midwest in the country close to Chicago and spent summers in Minnesota and Michigan. There are outdoors and then there are outdoors like Montana. Vastness with NO BUGS and no humidity!
          When my husband, a third generation Montana rancher, visited the Hudson Valley in NY, he thought it was nice but “too many trees.” “You can’t see anything until to get there.” But here you can see for 50 miles or more.
          Living here has taught me tolerance and not getting on my high horse. “I just don’t see it that way” was the best response to some odd idea to me that wasn’t at all odd to a Montanan.

          1. carl

            Well, the winters in the early 70s, at least, were harsh and unforgiving. It snowed in July once. I still remember the biting horseflies–slap one off your arm, it would fall to the ground, get up, and fly away.

            1. Montanamaven

              Yes, I avoid the horseflies. They are very large things and mean. It was 90º yesterday and 60º today and, yes, it snows almost every July and then the next day it’s hot. The winters are tough. Best to hunker down. But again, no wet damp winter weather like the Midwest and East. The snow is light and with the fierce winds blows away and ends up in North Dakota. Only danger here are whiteouts. You can lose you way back to the house if you aren’t careful. So again, just don’t go out. I got cabin fever after 20 years, so I spend part of the time now in the Hudson Valley. Too many trees but more people to talk to and with great snow removal, I can usually get out of the house.
              This was the better place to get thru the virus, so I took a train from Albany, NY to Malta, MT on April 4. I was the only passenger in the sleeper car. I wrote about it in 6 short essays. I called it “Corona Chronicles – Ghost Train”. The drive from Malta back to the ranch was 3 hours and 40 minutes and no cars on the highway. Just a few trucks. Montana completely shut itself down. But now the partying is way up and we fear that it was ill advised to keep the annual Rodeo which is 2 weeks from now.

              1. GF

                Here in Prescott we have an annual 4th of July rodeo that is billed as the longest running in the world having taken place every year since 1886 without a break. There was a concern this year that it could be cancelled; but our gov decided to start opening things up and the show will go on – somehow. No details on how it will be made safe. Same with the annual 4th of July fireworks with beer garden and water slide.

                I don’t know if you have read “Billionaire Wilderness” yet. Gallatin County may not have the same demographic as close by Teton County in WY so it may not apply directly. It is the first sociological study of the ultra rich and how they view the vast expanses of the west as places to go to recharge and save nature by buying it up and placing the lands in conservation trusts. It was written by a Yale sociology professor and WY native Justin Farrell, who, over many years, was able to interview the ultra wealthy living in Teton County. It is quite interesting.

                I haven’t quite finished it yet and the next part will be the results from interviewing the worker class who cater the the wealthy. The author states that the middle class has disappeared there due to high land values and associated property taxes.

                One item the author points out, which I hadn’t heard before, is that John D. Rockefeller’s son, atoning for his father’s sins, purchased the lands and donated them to the federal government which became Grand Teton National Park. The new crop of ultra rich view him as god-like and are doing their best to uphold his legacy by buying large tracks of private lands in the area and placing them into permanent trusts so they won’t be developed. Coincidentally, most of these lands are adjacent to their giant homesteads.

            2. DJW

              I live in Butte, Montana and we had a light snowfall here this morning. But the big and damaging snowfall was this past Monday when we had 7 inches of extremely heavy moisture-laden snow in the area where I live which is at about 5500 feet. Then on Friday the temperature reached 84 degrees.

    4. lordkoos

      I just had my teeth cleaned yesterday. The local dental clinic has strict procedures and they take a lot of time sterilizing the room in between patients. The the woman who worked on me and her assistant told me that dental hygienists have the #1 most dangerous job in terms of exposure to COVID-19 due to the aerosols released during the cleaning process. I believe them.

  3. ObjectiveFunction

    Sam Kriss’ latest weighs in colorfully on the latest Terror (although Comrade Sam still needs an editor):

    The rhetoric of privilege is a weapon, but it’s not pointed at actually (i.e., financially) privileged white people. We get off lightly. All we have to do is reflect on our privilege, chase our dreamy reflections through an endlessly mirrored habitus – and that was already our favourite game….

    I had a run-in with the police, you announce, and a black person might have died, but I’m fine, because I’m white. No – you’re fine because you’re white and rich. You’re fine because you look like someone who reviews cartoons online…. The white people who get gunned down by police don’t look like you. Their class position is stamped visibly on their face, and so is yours. And you’ve trained yourself to see any suffering they experience as nothing more than ugly Trump voters getting what they deserve….

    What happens when you present inequality in terms of privileges bestowed on white people, rather than rights and dignity denied to non-white people? The situation of the oppressed becomes a natural base-state. You end up thinking some very strange things….

    By the way, how did you feel about that phrase, racial humility? [DiAngelo] also wants us to ‘build our racial stamina’ and ‘attain racial knowledge.’ Now, maybe I’m [oversensitive], but I can’t encounter phrases like these and not hear others in the background. Racial spirit. Racial consciousness. Racial hygiene. And somewhere, not close but coming closer, the sound of goosestepping feet….

    Social media is a tool that possesses the man. Like the owner of property, but also like a possessing devil. It takes over your mouth and your hands, and it whispers right into your brain. It tells you that the people around you are enemies, that you might be an enemy; it sends you spiralling into the claustrophobia of yourself.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i thought it a fine rant for a sunday morning.
      and I noticed the Exposure as Cure for Racism Thing a long time ago, based on my own observations in Rural Texas.
      same method works for Homophobia, too.

      and I despise the Woke Robespierre(should definitely enter the lexicon!) weapon of “Privilege”…effectively short-circuiting any glimmers of solidarity.
      I sure didn’t feel all that privileged when the cops were beating me with sticks all those years ago…nor later, when they had guns to my head(they had been told that i was a criminal mastermind with violent tendencies, etc…long story)
      those cops were all white men, too…where was their racial solidarity,lol?

      “The man who seeks to arouse prejudice among workingmen is not their friend. He who advises the white wage-worker to look down upon the black wage-worker is the enemy of both.”_Debs

    2. Billy

      Abolish The Police!”

      Without police accompanying them routinely to calls for service, the following will abandon the call at the first sign of violence, firearms, mental illness or danger:

      Fire department
      Emergency Medical Services
      Mental Health Intervention
      Child Protective Services

      In addition, domestic violence, sexual assault and theft calls will go unanswered.

      Is this what demonstrators want?

      1. a different chris

        Maybe they just want the whole way things “work” re-examined? Because I really felt the need to put quotes around “work” because you know, things aren’t actually working anymore.

        Maybe you should quiet down and listen before broadcasting your not exactly unconventional opinion on everybody else?

        1. Billy

          Tell the survivors of the millions of Americans who died fighting to “protect our Freedoms from the censors, book burners and oppressors”, that they should quiet down so that young people who never did much of anything can monopolize the megaphone?

          No thanks.

      2. lordkoos

        Police accompanying these professionals is not the point, it’s what happens when the police alone are dealing with situations that they are not trained well enough to handle properly. Dealing with mentally ill people is a big one. Nurses and mental health professionals routinely deal with crazy, sometimes violent people, yet they somehow manage to do so with out killing or beating them.

      3. Aumua

        I think the idea is to transition away from police involvement in the kinds of things you mentioned, since they don’t really help in many of those cases and can actually hurt the situation in some. A transition to replacing whatever help the police did provide with other more appropriate resources is the goal here. Hope that clarifies things.

      4. False Solace

        Ha ha ha. As the daughter of a firefighter paramedic I know exactly what happens when the police don’t show up. What happens is people get help!

        The police are cowards who refuse to leave the squad car unless they’re surrounded by a pack of other cops. They couldn’t care less about the medic patching up victims in the street.

        We know who protects and serves the people. It ain’t cops.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Thank you for that link. The only social media I use is Instagram as well and it’s just been bizarre lately, to put it mildly. Glad to know I’m not alone in noticing it.

  4. AbyNormal

    Quote of the weekend…

    You don’t know the difference between what you can do and what you should do
    -Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Mayor

    1. RWood

      Yes, like Runaway Train.

      I nominate:

      I have been greatly abused, have been obliged to do more than my part in the war, been loaded with class rates, town rates, province rates, Continental rates, and all rates … been pulled and hauled by sheriffs, constables, and collectors, and had my cattle sold for less than they were worth … The great men are going to get all we have and I think it is time for us to rise and put a stop to it, and have no more courts, nor sheriffs, nor collectors nor lawyers.
       “Plough Jogger”

  5. Victoria

    I see what Taibbi describes but of course see it differently as I am not as focused on how the media operates. I see a narrative emerging that tries to portray the protests as less angry and radical than they are. The focus is on “healing” before the disease has even been named. And the warm embrace of white liberals is used to effectively whitewash the movement. There is a remarkable synergy between Dem leadership and the Mainstream media talking points, which should surprise no one.

    1. John

      Once a “narrative” emerges reporting is sure to go south shaped by the demands of that predetermined line. Give me the who? what? when? where? If I cannot figure out the why, shame on me.

      1. Mel

        Quite. The narrative doesn’t exactly “emerge”. Remember four years or so ago when we discovered that there had been a meeting in the New York Times boardroom to decide what the news was going to be for the coming year?

    2. Lee

      Kimberly Jones offers a bracing view on looting and protestor violence against property.

      I gotta say, I second her emotion. As to the longer term political ramifications of violent protest, I am uncertain. Perhaps just the right amount of it serves as counterpoint to the larger peaceful demonstrations, providing a salutary glimpse into the abyss that will result from maintaining the status quo.

      1. Billy

        Here’s an abyss for you:
        Assume status quo police are abolished.

        That means that the Second Amendment Citizen Vigilante Militias may be formed to protect neighborhoods, personal safety and property.

        You want a thousand George Zimmermans patrolling your city or suburb?

        I think the real goal of the people that try and manipulate the demonstrations is to create superficially black run, massive affirmative action ‘community based’ police departments, so that the usual puppet masters can directly control and loot the independent, and perhaps over funded public safety tax base, as they have controlled the city governments in San Francisco and L.A.

        Too many white people in public safety with high salaries, too much independence of thought, police unions and a rich pension base to not be looted, co-opted and or seized in order to grab some of the last civic wealth left in the nation.

        1. Lee

          Assume we abolish joblessness, lack of health care, lack of education and other race and class based social and economic inequities and see what effect that has on the nature and quality of policing. Not getting shot for no good reason by police or lynched by one’s fellow citizens is a necessary minimalist demand. The conditions that set the stage for such tragedies is what needs fixing.

          1. Billy

            Yes, class and economics.
            Suggest we start with replacing the private bank owned Federal Reserve and their disproportionate and plutocrat biased creation of debt money as an important first step in an ambitious program of social reform.

            All this talk about ‘white privilege’– Who exactly controls a disproportionate share of the nation’s wealth? Not the people getting payday loans in Appalachia, but rather the hedge fund managers in Manhattan.

            1. Massinissa

              I disagreed with you in some conversations above, but here, I am happy to say we are on absolute complete agreement. I do wish more people would come to this realization, it seems to be a foreign concept to most outside of niche places like NC.

            2. Aumua

              Yeah, the oppression that disproportionately affects minorities, especially poor minorities, is in fact the same oppression that is on us all. Therefore the fight to liberate the minorities from it is actually a fight to liberate all of us. So we’ll see you at the next protest action Billy boy.

      2. judy2shoes

        I was just as moved by Kimberly’s video as other commenters here, and then I noticed the pinned comment by CARJAM TV which included a plug for the Obama Foundation’s “support resources” for anyone who wishes for change. From the foundation page “Anguish and Action”:

        “We work to help leaders change their world—and the world needs changing. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the loss of far too many Black lives to list, have left our nation anguished and outraged. While now is a time for grief and anger, it is also a time for resolve. Find resources below to learn what you can do to create a more just and equitable world.”

        I am highly suspicious of anything and anyone the Obama Foundation supports, and I can’t help wondering if Kimberly Jones is being groomed to be one of the newest members of the Black Misleadership class.

    3. kgw

      “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”

      ― Malcolm X

      1. Billy

        And the calves die, there are no more cattle and everyone starves.

        We agree with Malcom, keep the cream and the coffee separate.

        Once you mix them together, you have neither.

        1. J.k

          Malcom was was a militant black nationalist at that time and believed liberal integration was a delusion that would ultimately keep black folks as a permanent underclass. Views he became less militant about in his later years after traveling the world. Then there were others who proposed revolutionary integration, ideas he was becoming more open to in in his final years before he was assassinated . Malcolm wasnt a good ol segregationist as you seem to come off as Billy. Find someone else to justify your segregationist nonsense.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, yeah, read it in a book once-

          A horse can’t go with a cow,
          A cow can’t go with a hog,
          And black can’t go with white.

          Sounded stupid when the kluxers said it and still sounds even more stupid in 2020.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’ Guardian

    The messenger isn’t exactly the greatest, as the Lancet has made more than its share of contributions to bad science over the years, from MMR to the recent chloroquine research, but I think this is a very important point. The coronavirus has exposed huge problems in the public health science establishment, going to the very fundamentals of its epistemology. The blank refusal of the medical establishment to give clear and coherent advice on simple, straightforward matters such as mask use or the use of nutrients to boost immune systems so far has been appalling.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    As Covid-19 changes chopstick habits, diners ponder how to keep family love and intimacy alive SCMP

    On my first visit to the remoter backwaters of northern China, back in 1998, I was warned repeatedly to carry my own chopsticks with me when eating in restaurants – the shared chopsticks at the time were repeatedly reused (to the extent that many were visibly worn down by bite marks) – and were considered a significant source of meningitis and possibly other diseases. Even local Chinese had warned me of this. I still have my little foldable set and use them when travelling. But even with that, I’m told (I’ve heard contradictory accounts of this), that some Chinese consider it a bit of an insult if you have your own utensils.

    So given these concerns have long predated Covid, I doubt if it will make fundamental changes to behaviour. One thing though I hope it won’t do is give the Chinese the Japanese habit of using disposable chopsticks for every meal. The damage to forests is bad enough already.

    1. Billy

      How about the habit of everyone dipping their chopsticks into the common serving bowl of liquid to pull out a morsel? ( 分配 )

      1. Yves Smith

        The way the Japanese deal with that is to flip the chopsticks around and use the non-eating end for grabbing portions of shared dishes.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m embarrassed to say that I saw people do that in Japan and didn’t realise why they were doing it, I thought they had just picked them up the wrong way. Japanese etiquette really is a minefield, I’m so glad they usually make allowances for stupid gaijin.

    2. vlade

      It’s my ignorance, but I thought most of the reusable chopsticks were from the fast-growing bamboo, so relatively little damage to forests per se?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Don’t mention the war!”

    Gunna show my age here but I grew up in an age where the shadow of World War Two carried into our lives and expressed itself in films, books, TV shows, games, etc., even as far away as Oz. It took a long time to move away from it but when “Fawlty Towers” was filmed in the 1970s, this thing about putting the boot into the Germans for the war was still a thing because the survivors were still alive. When I traveled the Germany and go to know the people I got my own wake-up call but I met plenty of Brits for whom it was still alive.

    Met one Brit soldier who told me about a combined mess of German Bundeswehr and British Army of the Rhine officers one night. The Brits were ragging the Germans about the war and all the rest of it when one young German officer said loudly “My father died in Dachau!” The British officers were very much embarrassed and were looking for a hole that they could crawl into. The German officer then said: “Yes, he got drunk one night and fell out of the watch tower!” Things eased off after that.

      1. newcatty

        The only thing that ever appeared to me as it first appeared were my babies, as I first laid eyes on them. It did not matter the journey ahead of us, as mother and child. It was love at first sight. That love was developed as the pregnancies progressed to the births. It later was extended to our grandchildren. I could include my cats, as kittens. I could include the first time I saw the mountains breathe and the first glimpse of the light shinning on the Pacific ocean. All of these things changed. But, an underlying perception is that love is real. Beauty is real. In the eye of the beholder? Maybe it is in the tie that binds us on the planet.

    1. Wukchumni

      It was kind of the opposite in my family, we all enjoyed Hogan’s Heroes which featured wisecracking Allied POW’s who always pulled one over on the Nazis, what’s not to like for a 9 year old?

      At some point in the half hour of yuk-yuks my dad would walk into the living room and say something such as “they weren’t so dumb, you know” or one of half a dozen similar ripostes, and then he was out of the room quicker than a speeding e-mail, as he’d endured the full game, set & match of the 3rd Reich’s extended stay in Prague, and it sickened him mentally to watch the high jinks. I don’t think he ever watched an episode in full.

      1. LifelongLib

        IIRC both Werner Klemperer (Klink) and John Banner (Schultz) had to flee the Nazis, so Hogan’s Heroes must have been a weird experience for them too…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Fun fact – both Banner and Klemperer were in the US Army in WW2 Banner but had the higher rank as a sergeant. Banner was so good looking back then that he posed for a recruiting poster.

      2. Katiebird

        Similar to my Dad, “Kids — There’s nothing funny about Nazis” …. And I don’t think he ever watched a whole episode either.

    2. mpalomar

      “….and fell out of the watch tower!”
      Thus putting the lie to at least one of the ‘Fawlty Towers’ sketch jokes, i.e. the one about Germans not having a sense of humour.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    How Europe’s “Trash Market” Offloads Pollution on Its Poorest Countries Jacobin

    The raw facts in this article are correct, but I think its trying to blame the wrong policies. First off, while its true that Europe exported vast amounts of ‘recyclable’ waste to China, there is nothing in principle wrong with this if you accept the principle that China should be the manufacturer for the world. Sending material back for reprocessing to the source of most of your basic products is actually quite sensible if you accept the initial premise of open world trade.

    The issue of internal EU trade is another quite complicated issue. The original aim of EU policy was to encourage local closed cycles for products. But this contradicted overall policy for having a single market across Europe, and created particular problems for small countries that did not have the economies of scale for some types of recycling or reprocessing. Initially, most waste went, not to Eastern Europe, but countries like Sweden or Belgium, which had more advanced processing industries. For a long time of course, Italy, with its localised corruption, was a major end point for a lot of northern Europes problems (as shown brilliantly in the film Gomorrah).

    The specific problem with Bulgaria seems to be an issue of where generally well meaning EU level regulation hits a complete lack of local enforcement. This is a very fundamental problem with the EU, whereby attempts at unified regulation hits very different national and regional led regulatory systems. There is a vast bureaucratic apparatus built up around trying to deal with this, but its clumsy and continually hits up against politics.

    Untimately, the problem comes down to an economic system which is all about producing ‘things’, and then leaving the mess as an afterthought. Until we have regulations that insist on products having long lives and appropriate reuses, this will get worse and worse. And while its easy to blame the EU, regulations of this kind can only come at the supranational level, due to the scaling issues involved. Ironically, Brexit may be good for this, as the UK was a long time opponent of any sensible EU product lifespan/disposal regulation.

  10. Floyd

    I am beginning to see a common thing in most of these cop-caused deaths. Resisting arrest. I wonder if Raychard Brooks will get a state funeral too.?

    1. MT_Bill

      Don’t forget various forms of intoxication.

      If we had a complete dataset on the individuals shot by police and could run the appropriate regression analysis on what influences who gets shot, my suspicion is that factors such as alcohol intoxication and the use of other drugs like meth would weight out higher than race as leading variables.

      Not that it always justifies the police response.

        1. jef

          So they have the guys info, his car is parked in a parking spot, they know where he lives, works, most likely have his phone # too but they can’t let him get away so they shoot him in the back and kill him?

          This whole thing could have been handled very differently.

          1. Michael

            Cop is walking up to car………….car in asleep is Citizen.
            Windows up or down???
            Friendly greeting?

          2. Kurtismayfield

            That is because he resisted and embarrassed the cops. Resistance must be snuffed out in the police officers mind. They cannot feel that anyone will be a threat.

        2. Wukchumni

          The saga goes from the soon to be deceased describing to the police officer, that he had been visiting his mother’s grave, and sorry on missing out on his daughter’s birthday-which was yesterday, to all of the sudden having no more tomorrows.

          These black lives don’t matter snuff films keep playing to wide audiences, including all members of the screen guild.

      1. Floyd

        True that cops can be real jerks. I remember the one in Tennessee(?) who shot the family dog that was coming up to him for petting. But I view cops as being soldiers, constantly in a combat situation. Do they sometimes overreact? Certainly. That is the nature of war, and the price of under-reaction to potential danger is that you do not come home alive.

        1. HotFlash

          Yeah, they should paint that on the patrol cars: “To serve and protect come home at the end of my shift”.

          1. Oh

            They serve up murders on people, especially black and brown ones and protect only their own. There was no need for these bastards to arrest the guy. They could’ve taken his car keys and written him a ticket. These two morons couldn’t handle one guy who’s not even bigger than them. Jail the one who shot the civilian and fire the other and fire the black cop who said “We’ll take care of you, brother”.

              1. JWP

                Seems unions are only to be protected if they are politically convenient. Defend unions protecting paramilitaries and not those protecting average workers. It’s nearly impossible to find policy without hypocrisy.

              2. marym

                From the NPR link:

                When you look at the number of police shootings in relation to the population, you find that people of color are shot and killed more often than white people.

                That’s the focus of the current movement, and the need for fundamental changes to policing and criminal justice, not cop diversity.

              3. km

                Adolph Reed, who is clearly a fascist cleverly passing himself as a socialist, recently wrote something similar.

              4. Massinissa

                Er, no offense but, what part of “Jail the one who shot the civilian and fire the other and fire the black cop who said “We’ll take care of you, brother”” makes it unclear that Oh thinks the problem is cops rather than white cops?

              5. Aumua

                The systemic racism is deeper than the skin color of the cop who pulled the trigger, and the institutional issues with the police are more than just the unions. It’s the ‘code of silence’. It’s the militarization of the police. It’s the rampant steroid use among cops and the secret gangs within some police departments. Maybe you should listen a little more, and talk a little less if these concepts are new to you.

                Offense intended.

              6. Oh

                I see no reason for cops to have a union and setup road blocks to their being fired for killing people.

        2. MT_Bill

          I’m willing to go further and say a tiny percentage are probably flat-out sadistic and get off on the power. Probably people who joined the military to “get some”, and then didn’t have the ASVAB scores to do anything but wash dishes. They then used their military service to get a career in law enforcement, because there is a shortage of people who want the job.

          Probably hasn’t occured to many of the protesters that they could be the change they want to see in policing by becoming a police officer.

        3. The S

          If cops are soldiers, then the populace is an occupied enemy that should resist its occupation by any means necessary. Why tolerate enemy soldiers in your midst?

        4. JCC

          Maybe they might lighten up on those feelings if every town didn’t have a fully militarized SWAT Team and they weren’t issued military gear that looks better than what I was issued when I was in the Army.

          It also would not hurt if Police Depts. banned the use of the term civilians (relative to the police) when talking about their neighbors.

        5. urblintz

          Frankly, cops should die before civilians everytime…. it’s part of the job and if they don’t want to risk their lives they can find one that doesn’t include carrying lethal weapons with which they can “over-react” supported by a systemic mentality that does not call it murder when they do just that.

          NWA got it right – FTP!

          soldiers? war?

          Oy f&^%ing vey!

          1. polar donkey

            You have a higher chance of dying at work being a garbage man than being a police officer.

        6. occasional anonymous

          The fact that you view them as soldiers in a war is a big part of the problem. They’re civilians, and should be accountable to their communities. They are not soldiers in an occupation.

          1. Floyd

            No, I think in parts of the country they are truly soldiers in occupation. They have to deal with a black civilian population, of whom a large number are virulently anti-cop. Anti-cop to the point of violently resisting arrest quite a bit, and being downright dangerous. But do not take my word for it. Simply drive through a predominantly black neighborhood in some of our major cities, and look at all the iron security bars on the doors and windows and businesses. Ask yourself who is it they are attempting to keep out? Zombies, the KKK, White Republican Youth Gangs? No, they are trying to keep out their black neighbors. We all talk about “building trust”, in a community where the “community” doesn’t even trust each other. And yet people expect the police to go into those neighborhoods like Sunday School Teachers? Full of warm, fuzzy feelings? Sorry, but I do not see that as very realistic.

            1. Aumua

              I think what you’re really saying here is that black people, especially inner city black people are just inherently more violent, and so that explains why they get into it with the cops more often. Just look at the bars on their windows. They’re practically like monkeys in the zoo as it is, right? Can the police really be blamed if they see themselves as soldiers in a hostile territory? Look at the way those people act, like animals for God’s sake. It’s the cops who are beset upon, and who are the real victims here.

          2. Massinissa

            In most cases, they think they are soldiers in an occupation, because they have been trained as such. The problem is structural and organizational, rather than being a problem of ‘bad apples’. Getting rid of a few ‘bad cops’ without changing how police are trained and even equipped will change nothing because the institution producing this type of cop and this type of policing stays the same.

            Also, ‘should be’ accountable to their communities does alot of work considering they usually are not, at least not as things are currently.

        7. lordkoos

          A “war”? I don’t think so, even though many police no doubt view it as such, which IMO is part of the problem. The dangers of police work are inflated in most people’s minds.

          There are many jobs that are more dangerous than being a cop, the top ones being:

          #1 logging
          #2 commercial fishing
          #3 aircraft pilots and flight engineers
          #4 roofing
          #5garbage and recycling workers
          #6 farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
          #7 structural iron and steel workers
          #8 supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers
          #9 supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (mining)
          #10 supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Careful, citizen! The Committee For Public Safety will not tolerate this kind of dangerous TruthSpeak!


        8. c_heale

          The police are not soldiers. And they are not continuously in a combat situation. Plenty of other people do dangerous jobs from which they may not come home alive, one of the most obvious being firefighters.

          1. hunkerdown

            That’s easy. They’re soldiers in the class war and they fight on the side of the “owners”. They are, in that light, an occupying force.

      2. Yves Smith

        Brooks was sleeping in his car, not driving. How exactly was this a DUI? That was the basis for the arrest attempt.

        And why didn’t the Wendy’s staff just tap on his window and ask him to move? Calling the cops was ridiculous unless they’d tried and failed. I’m the pushy sort that if I had been a customer, I would have rapped on his window.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that the basis of him being arrested was the fact that he fell asleep while waiting in the driveway of that Wendy’s and in the body cam video he admitted to drinking. I do not know about Georgia but I believe that in some countries that if you are in a car and drunk, if there are car keys in that car, then that is enough to convict you of DUI.

          If they had not attempted to arrest him and then later he had gotten into a car accident, then the police would have been deemed to have been at fault. But lots of unanswered questions. Why did Brooks run when his car was there? Why did that cop fire three shots and not one? Why did they not check his pulse for so long? After the fight started, everything turned into a s***show.

    2. a different chris

      Dontcha think the commonality might have a root cause? (Probably Godwinning it here, but don’t care) If a Jew ran away from the police during Hitler’s reign – and he really did something “wrong”, like stealing a loaf of bread – you would criticize him too?

      Brooks was drunk in public. Any encounter with the cops will at best, for a black man, result in a Kafkaesqe encounter with the criminal* “justice” system. If I did the same thing I’m probably white and wealthy enough to afford a lawyer that would point out that there was no “witness” that I had actually been driving, and maybe somebody else was and hey go pound salt. The cops know that and would probably just have me call somebody to come get me.

      *funny seems the name assumes you are a criminal right off the bat, I never noticed that. Hmmm.

    3. marym

      Is the “common thing in most of these cop-caused deaths” that you’re seeing from body-cam or bystander video or from cop reports of why they used deadly force? (2015)
      Within policing, too-frequent charges of “resisting arrest” by cops is a red flag for excessive force. The logic is that an abusive officer will be more likely to cover up excessive force with the excuse that a suspect resisted arrest. But WNYC found that just five percent of officers who’ve made arrests since 2009 accounted for 40 percent of the charges of resisting arrest. They even discovered one active officer to have made more than 50 charges. (2015)
      Nearly half the 184 Georgians shot and killed by police since 2010 were unarmed or shot in the back, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation has found.

        1. Briny

          It is far past time to weed our law books judiciously. The Law should neither be a source of revenues nor the common response of politicians that “Something must be done.”

    4. lordkoos

      The guy was pointing a taser at the police. According to the police, tasers do not qualify as deadly force. If that is so then why did they respond to that by shooting to kill? The cops can’t have it both ways.

      1. newcatty

        A thought came to me re the fact that many cops are military veterans. And, I do not have any information about whether the military vets, who are higher officers, actually join police forces as new recruits. If it is a fact that it is the lower ranks of the many vets, who go into law enforcement, then it could be enlightening to consider that the men and women vets are coming from the very “warrior” culture and indoctrination of the military. Do vets get preference for new hires at law enforcement agencies? Do many law enforcement departments actually prefer vets, as hires? Then, Like mentioned, dress them up as military-like “warriors “, supply them with military hardware, vehicles and lethal weapons and this may explain some of why cops have a problem with seeing any resistance to their “authority” as resistance. Also, this leads to a perceived insult to their feeling they are entitled to respect.

        The greater society and, msm, have glorified the brave men and women who serve our country. Too many examples to count. One obvious one: the spectacle of the national anthem sang, military bands, military fly overs, etc. At almost all major sports events. If IRC, it has filters down to high school games. Remember the hot discussion, not so long ago, of the school to prison pipeline for poor, and mostly young men of color? Some of the poor, and colored, young people choose joining the military as a “way out” or are attracted to a possible way to serve and get higher education as a reward. No doubt, works for some. But, now it is apparent we have a military to police force pipeline. And, consider how many vets ,themselves, state that they are ignored when they come “home”. How many have PTSD? Why is it not pointed out that just boot training and being asked to be willing to kill others in any land is actually not psychologically normal for the human being to function in society? Why are so many vets among the homeless? War is a racket and the police in most cities and hamlets are a part of that racket.

    5. Massinissa

      Resisting arrest without immediately endangering officers shouldn’t he handled by shooting to kill. Even Joe Biden’s “Why don’t they just shoot them in the leg?” suggestion would be an improvement.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Anna Wintour Isn’t Going To Cancel Herself ”

    Wintour’s attitude may actually be old-fashioned classism. If you look at her Wikipedia entry, you discover that she was born in London and is a member of a landed gentry family with illustrious ancestors. And here she is in New York working with plebs. And sight unseen, I took a guess at her politics and lo and behold found the following-

    ‘Wintour has been a supporter of the Democratic Party since Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate run and John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run and serving Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential runs as a “bundler” of contributions. In 2008 and 2012, she co-hosted fundraisers with Sarah Jessica Parker, the latter being a 50-person, $40,000-per-person dinner at Parker’s West Village town house with Meryl Streep, Michael Kors, and Trey Laird, an advertising executive, among the attendees. She has also teamed with Calvin Klein and Harvey Weinstein on fundraisers during Obama’s first term and Donna Karan has been among the attendees.’

    So more at home with people like Hillary Clinton rather than using her position to push forward a generation of trained, professional women in her industry. She came from the English gentry and made her home in the American gentry. Considering that Sarah Jessica Parker/Carrie Bradshaw’s had an affection for Vogue in “Sex in the City”, that might have just been a free magazine plug that.

    1. griffen

      She sounds a classic type A who is an utterly extreme “A” hole to work for. And it only gets worse if you’re black or brown working there.

      30 years is a long time to finally get it.

      1. Billy

        Sympathetic, but, that affects the employees who work there voluntarily.
        How about thousands of people who have a slumlord in control of their homes?

        Jared Kushner’s slum empire.

        “But the Kushners’ empire, like Trump’s, was underwritten by years of dealing in much more modestly ambitioned properties. Jared’s grandfather Joseph Kushner, a Holocaust survivor from Belarus, over his lifetime built a small construction company in New Jersey into a real estate venture that owned and managed some 4,000 low-rise units concentrated in the suburbs of Newark. After taking..”

    2. Maritimer

      Rare, Nearly Extinct Parasite May Have Resurfaced in Vietnam, Doctors Say Gizmodo

      Saw this story just below and thought Wintour had made a quick relocation to Vietnam, where many of those cheap, cheaper “fashion” factories are located.

      “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” ― Oscar Wilde

      1. Massinissa

        That’s odd, how did 80s style last almost a decade when it was basically the ugliest fashion sense ever created by mankind? /s

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it. So well-written I didn’t hazard a comment, as I knew any words I might say couldn’t do the piece justice. I limited myself merely to saying you should read this.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That was a wonder piece of writing that. Didn’t expect her to be hit by the virus so soon but in reading this, you are reminded that our lives are just not us alone but have links with other people. That we are a link in a chain that Rozalind Dineen reflected on in her own ancestors and sees in her own young children. Maybe in a generation or two, her story of fighting off the Coronavirus will become part of her family lore. Maybe in a hundred years time a grandchild will walk along the row of Victorian terraces in Peckham Rye and reflect that her place was where her grandmother fought down that virus in the same way that Rozalind looked up her own ancestor’s homes.

  12. Watt4Bob

    I’m thinking that what Taibbi is describing is the result of the PMC’s discomfort at being identified as a major part of our nation’s problems instead of the level-headed heroes they think themselves.

    Newsrooms of the nation long ago replaced journalists with overpaid corporate-friendly gatekeepers expected to self-censor in order to assure those bloated paychecks.

    My guess is that the increasing discomfort that results in all those sharp elbows in the scrum is rooted in the looming threat of financial ruin out there on the horizon.

    The furious virtue-signaling and gate polishing is an effort to assure ones place at the trough as the empire crumbles and even the PMC is seeing the jobs dry up and the uber rich pulling up the ladders behind them.

    And imagine the embarrassment of having to compete for the honor of reporting on the coming election?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’ ”

    ‘Richard Horton…He’s charming, open, self-critical and full of easy laughter.’ It’s a puff piece. So now the Guardian is giving him cover on his total stuff up with allowing the Surgisphere study to be published.

    1. Ignacio

      I found the commentary inside the article about The Lancet plus Elsevier’s business model and interactions with Big Pharma represented by Astra Zeneca quite enligthening.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yea, I had forgotten to mention that bit about Elsevier. We have seen their name mentioned on NC several times now. And never in a good way.

    2. Skip Intro

      And somehow The Lancet editor missed the runaway destructive cascades arising from human-caused climate chaos… Maybe that is outside the realm of policy? TINA…

  14. Mikel

    Re: Matt Stoller
    “It’s been evident since March that universal masking not lockdowns were the key to having an economy and blocking the coronavirus.”

    What should be more evident since March is that “the key to having an economy” is having an actual public health care system, one that isn’t more interested in squeezing every cent out of people than saving lives.

    1. m sam

      My two cents is that is is just empty musings. It seems to me that health insurance is only affordable to 99% of us because our employers foot a portion of the bill, and this is probably among the reasons why employer-based insurance has been so stable.

      In order for insurance to be tied to (an individual’s) existence, insurance would need to be affordable for the individual. And tell me how that’s gonna happen? It won’t (throwing new markets at ones already captured and ruthlessly ruled over will not lower costs), and the most sensible solution is to dump the private insurance racket and do medicare for all. And Andy Slavitt would never support that.

    2. Massinissa

      “payments should be to doctors not insurance companies”… Does this count as Single Payer, or no? I can’t tell. I guess not considering the following:

      “-health insurance should be tied to existence not employment” Ewwww, no. Health’care’ should be tied to existence and not employment. But I guess its still closer than I expected him to get?

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        How about changing one letter?

        Not “health Insurance”,
        but “health Ensurance”. . . .

  15. Susan the other

    Richard Murphy. RM has advocated forbearance by the banks and for the banks but in this piece he disagrees with the underlying (face saving) pretense that we will all have a V-shaped recovery and be able to recoup all the temporary losses. The truth is that we will not. And he says so. In 2008 the bank accounting “failures” led to the mass destruction of the banking industry. Requiring massive bailouts. Leaving very little of the old system in tact. But RM is implying now that it was the failure of regulators to find the risks and correct them; that it could have been done except that the entire banking industry was a willing parade of fools. He’s right about the denial, of course – but I don’t think that his criticism today travels well because, today, the “banking industry” is just a euphemism for the direct distribution of money and credit. To keep the “economy” (another euphemism) going. It is not a bank regulator’s job to do fiscal planning and spending – all they can do is regulate finance. When finance has been so neglected by the governments who actually have the authority to do fiscal planning that it requires endless “bailouts” it’s simply too late. The best thing – in fact the only thing – bank regulators and central banks can do is maintain liquidity. Keep the money flowing no matter how incorrect it looks, and how irrelevant it makes “accounting” look. And that is what is happening. It’s that or a complete collapse of the entire system. Simply because we did not create the social structures that were critical to maintaining the economy we pretended to have. Last minute confessions of monetary failure at this point? They aren’t gonna help anything. imo.

    1. Wukchumni

      The financial edifice is that of a no limit poker game where there are no losers…

      That doesn’t work in real life, by the way.

    2. Susan the other

      And also too, the Der Spiegel – Roubini interview. I don’t see Roubini as the boy who cried wolf. Even though he has been saying these things regularly. Let’s not call him “Dr. Doom”. Let’s call him Mister Honest. There’s a question trying to form itself in my blob of a brain and it has to do with just how do you slam the breaks on an ideology that was run by pure unleashed mindless greed when it starts to destroy your fucking planet?

      1. Susan the other

        Well, maybe sorry about the “fucking planet” but otherwise just the short, polite version of what I’d like to say.

        1. newcatty

          Susan the Other, no apology needed. Sometimes the use of “fucking” is an adjective that is in the lexicon to be used to express the passion for one’s subject. I try to save it for when I am really passionate about something. Like “Hell no! We don’t want no fucking war!!! I just have my own opinion that when it’s the only adjective in some people’s vocabulary it is tiresome. Oh, and when I hit my shin or see a puppy kicked or?

    3. barefoot charley

      Thank you for that clear summary–all ‘regulators’ can do is maintain liquidity, no matter how it looks, or what it causes.

      1. ewmayer

        “all ‘regulators’ can do is maintain liquidity” — really? How about shuttering/breaking-up the most toxic of the Wall Street fraud cartels, clawing back the last few years’ worth of executive bonuses as “fraudulent transfers” and actually puting some of the crooks in jail?

        And @SusanTheOther: “Leaving very little of the old system intact” — Huh? In the wake of the 2008 bailouts and de facto legal immunization from our misregulators and Injustice Department leaders, the biggest of the aforementioned fraud cartels got even bigger and TBTFer, i.e. the old system remains as formly in place as ever, just with even more consolidation, and now in the full knowledge that their ongoing crimes will be unprosecuted, and their bad bets made good by the fellow-crook-run Federal Reserve. And you guys throw up your hands and shout “TINA!” Sheesh.

        1. Yves Smith

          Yes, Benjamin Laswky of the New York Department of Financial Services, a mere secondary regulator, produced a lot of exploding heads in the Beltway when he told the CEO of Standard Chartered, a serial money laundering abuser that had previously been sanctioned, to show up in his office in six days and explain why he should not have his bank’s license revoked. Lawsky was able to force “resignations” of some senior execs.

        2. Susan the other

          When I refer to the “old system” it’s the really old system I’m thinking about – the system that seemed to function OK until the mid 60s. But I do realize that it was rigged as well. It was, briefly however, a system that worked after the war; expanding the economy; the GI Bill; a remarkable optimism… Now, in the aftermath of it all, I’m in complete agreement with Stephanie Kelton when she advises (yesterday’s links I think) that Congress should do fiscal planning and spending and send their proposals to the Budget Office to see just what effect they will have on the balance of the economy, specifically: will it cause price inflation, etc. So, I’m actually all for the new system if it is the one she describes.

  16. Robert Hahl

    How JFK TV Paved the Way for Donald Trump Politico

    There was no real need for political machines once politicians could appeal directly to voters.

    1. Mikel

      I stopped reading that article that was built around a bizzarre premise that JFK was some kind of “outsider.” From many things written, his religion was the one “outsider” theme of the debates about him.

      Other than that, he was as financially, socially, and politically connected as they come.
      Only politico would be interested in the minute political ciliques that are never as powerful as the monied interest they serve.

  17. farmboy

    UW model calling for a 2nd round of C19 infections beginning mid-Sept.
    Dr.Doom-Roubini, calling for inflation. Looks more like stagflation to me.
    On Matt Taibbi’s twitter feed he fields a lot of criticism. As enumerated here for years, media biased toward the state, norms, history very standard.
    Politico highlighting smoke filled room deal making for nominations a tripwire on trump. Republicans honored the process at least, looking democratic. A few informal farmer polls show widespread support for the prez, still. Anne Helen Petersen with a breath of fresh air

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Lots of people thinking the orgy of money printing must result in inflation, or even just stagflation.

      In the past, probably so. The excess money would have had nowhere else to go.

      But now we have central bankers with super powers! They can make lots of money, but once it has circulated *once* around “the economy” (note the cliff dive of velocity in recent years) it is simply rounded up, quarantined, and quietly euthanized. On their “balance sheets”. (In parentheses because a “balance sheet” is a term used for the accounting of an entity that lives or dies on profits AND losses).

      With the net effect being like a power lifter who has taken steroids. Much more can flow through his addled body than before. If you are close enough to the spigot you will be in a manna waterfall; the rest of us, not so much.

  18. TroyIA

    Some experts consider endothelium cells to be specialized epithelium cells. If true then this is further proof that Covid-19 is a blood disease. But it’s “just the flu.”

    The way the coronavirus messes with smell hints at how it affects the brain

    Recent studies have begun to identify the cells in the olfactory epithelium, a slender sheet of tissue that lines part of the nasal cavity, that seem vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Smell-supporting cells called sustentacular cells are likely targets, scientists report in two new papers, one in ACS Chemical Neuroscience and the other posted at, a repository for research that hasn’t been peer-reviewed by other scientists.

    Coronavirus May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything

    “If you start to put all of the data together that’s emerging, it turns out that this virus is probably a vasculotropic virus, meaning that it affects the [blood vessels],” says Mandeep Mehra, MD, medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center.
    In a paper published in April in the scientific journal The Lancet, Mehra and a team of scientists discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can infect the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels. Endothelial cells protect the cardiovascular system, and they release proteins that influence everything from blood clotting to the immune response. In the paper, the scientists showed damage to endothelial cells in the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and intestines in people with Covid-19.
    “The concept that’s emerging is that this is not a respiratory illness alone, this is a respiratory illness to start with, but it is actually a vascular illness that kills people through its involvement of the vasculature,” says Mehra.

  19. Mikel

    Re:”The Stock Market Is Deluding Itself”

    Here in the USA, I’ve been getting vibes that the “everyman” is being set up to take blame for the disaster in waiting.
    Anybody noticed all these articles appearing about young “Robinhood” traders? Apparently, according to the narrative, an army of people with $1200 stimulus checks are reeking havoc on the stock market.
    Can’t help but remember the financial crises housing bubble and the attempts to lay that disaster ALL at the feet of working class people taking big loans.

    1. Wukchumni

      Did anybody talk about defunding the police until it became painfully clear that cities, counties and states couldn’t afford them anymore, on account of the crash that totaled the economy?

      1. Mikel

        That appears to mean something different every it is uttered. Just have to see what “defund the police” means to people.

        But nothing new about people not wanting to pay taxes.
        I think it has its roots in that as much as activism, hence the confusion.

  20. Wukchumni

    Gilded Cage report:

    My mom is allowed to walk the halls and hang outside in the courtyard for an hour a day @ her assisted living place, and she relates that nobody is really keeping track of her, so it isn’t quite like Alcatraz yet-but unlike prison, no outside visitors are allowed into the building, and her mail isn’t being censored so I sent her a cherry pie with a Sawzall hidden in it.

  21. farmboy

    Dr Eric Fiegl-Ding shows hard partying superspreaders 20-29yrs old for C9 @DrEricDing. calling Garth

  22. tongorad

    Taibi briefly hinted at the religious-like, orgiastic character of ritual/performative anti-racism – which, as I understand it, has nothing to do with the Left (if Left = working class). I wish he would have expanded on this aspect of his essay instead of painting the Left with a very broad brush while using Marx as a scareword.
    Another off note was his genuflecting to Journalism’s golden era of Watergate. If Watergate is the sincerity benchmark it sure didn’t last long. I guess Taibi missed the part where Bob Woodward became the official hagiographer of Bush II.

  23. Jason Boxman

    The concern by the meatpackers for a pandemic in animals, but not in their workers, demonstrates what’s valued. Such clarity. It’s all quite clarifying regarding who and what our degenerate capitalists value. Always profits, never people.

  24. Ignacio

    RE: Why Copa America delay gifts Messi golden opportunity The World Game. Messi claims new La Liga record in Barcelona win Goal. There’s life in those aging legs yet!

    I am not fan of Barcelona FC but Messi is, like it or not, best football (soccer) player ever IMO and he will have football-istic life in his legs until he dies.

    1. curlydan

      But Argentina still won’t win Copa America next year. No good defense, no good central mid (because Messi won’t play there apparently) to connect the defense to the forwards, and the rest of the team sits around waiting for Messi to do something.

      I agree that he’s likely best ever, but he’s played in 3 huge finals (2 Copa America, 1 World Cup) and not scored for 360 minutes–all 3 games went 120 minutes.

    2. Winston Smith

      Great news. I am a Messi fan (not Barcelona though) and don’t understand why people think Ronal-Dxldo is “better”. Now if LFC can get their two wins, I will at last have that party.

    3. ShamanicFallout

      Of course the ‘best ever’ in football can be endlessly debated (it’s actually kind of fun) and the usual suspects always appear. I spent some of my quarantine time (slightly embarrassed by this) watching full matches from the 60s and 70s! You can find them on the web and some have actually pretty decent picture quality. This was before my time as a fan, but I have come away with a huge appreciation for this era of football and its players and teams. Players and teams I’ve always heard about occupying the pantheon but had never actually watched entire matches- Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Pele, DiStefano, Eusebio, Best, Ajax, Bayern, 1970 Brazil. Awesome stuff. It was a different game and certainly the era and atmospheres much different. Pretty rough too. I kind of wish the game was still like that, but alas.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Franz Beckenbauer was a monster!
        All time favorite. ..totally styled my game after him.

        (Played for 15 years state level).

  25. jr

    I think I may have identified a super-spreader site: morning coffee spots. There was a small crowd at mine yesterday morning, mostly without masks, laughing and chatting away. Zero distancing protocols. The night before had been a wild one, as had last night. I suspect booze and hang-overs BOTH lend themselves to poor decision making.

    Within this super-site, I discovered a smaller, super-er site. It was an extremely cute puppy around which people were gathering and cooing. It’s large, limpid brown eyes belied its insidious nature as a pandemic catalyzing agent…

  26. Daryl

    Houston weighs another lockdown as coronavirus cases surge CBS

    Houston cannot do anything as the governors orders supercede all local ones. According to him, things are still fine. Houston has about 230 ICU beds left.

  27. Alex V

    Most interesting thing about the review of the Gessen book is that it never includes the word “Democrats”. Excluding them from the narrative of what gave us Trump is a revealing omission in my opinion.

    1. furies

      Masha Gessen is the reason I unsubscribed from the NYRB.

      Her and Tim Snyder’s pieces on the coup in the Ukraine in 2014 were horrible lies and propaganda.

      Her hatred of Russia is so overwhelming it makes her, in my mind anyways, unreliable.


  28. m sam

    That Taibbi piece. I can’t escape the thought that he is vastly overstating the case.

    I mean, I must admit that I didn’t particularly care that the NY Times editor lost his job for publishing the Tom Cotton editorial. It’s just that people lose their jobs all the time because they have done something politically or socially egregious in the eyes of a particular group (or groups). The only thing I see outstanding about this case is that it was protest-supporting staff that got him axed, and not the other way around (the vastly more common scenario, and is widely seen as legitimate).

    So in the end I can only see that this article is merely fodder for right wing “the PC police are running amok” rhetoric, and not very helpful.

    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      I totally agree. There is definitely a problem with “cancel” culture, junk science used to justify feelings over intellectual engagement, and liberal intolerance, but he didn’t add anything useful to that particular debate.

      The professor who got in trouble at UCLA? Taibbi badly misrepresented that story. That prof didn’t just read an MLK speech; he showed violent, racist images to students who told him they didn’t want to see disturbing images. Any teacher who’s been in a classroom in the last ten years knows you don’t deliberately antagonize students over race.

      And making a weak semantic argument about the Tom Cotton editorial because he only implicitly threatened violence rather than making his threats explicit? Taibbi comes off as hysterical and oblivious. I actually lost quite a bit of respect for his judgement after reading that article.

  29. JWP

    Taibbi’s identification with and criticism of the left got me thinking about new avenues to project the progressive platform through. Seeing as much of the “left’s” media destroys the reputation of progressives who want nothing to do with left identifying places such as Vox, DeBlasio, Obama-esque politicians, etc, there must be room for change elsewhere. Progressive policies have incredibly broad appeal and high approval ratings across the political spectrum and I can see some room in red states for progressives to run on trade, jobs, and healthcare on the republican ticket as well as the dem. If mainstream politicians and media orgs are going to discredit a legitimate movement for profit and political correctness, its high time progressives use their policies to gain office from both sides of the isle and possibly even through forming a third party. Bernie set a strong example showing how popular his policies were while on Fox News and a vast majority of democrats already support such policies.

  30. Eclair

    I’m jumping in here, because this is one of the messiest free-for-alls I have read on NC. And I have been a faithful reader and supporter since, when, 2007 or thereabouts.

    I read Taibbi’s piece the other day, since I am a subscriber. I admire him, think his reporting is great …. enough so I sent him money. But, I have to admit, I was left with an uneasy feeling after reading it. I can’t put my finger on it. Some of it feels like the ‘pearl-clutching’ of my liberal friends. Who are all for ‘equal-rights’ but let’s do it peacefully, and enough with this ‘violence.’ More devoted to ‘order’ than to ‘justice.’ And, ignoring the fact that non-violent protests are designed to provoke violent resistance, the ‘tension’ to which King refers. They force to the surface, issues which have been deliberately glossed over, buried, ignored. Because keeping them buried makes life easier, richer and more tolerable for a lot of people. Add to this, the the simmering anger over generations of injustices, insults and murders, that must erupt, volcanically, when people have been denied justice, and even the most basic humanity.

    What’s up for grabs in all this noise and confusion and shouting, is the weaving of a new narrative. Who will control this? The people who have been in control for decades? The mainstream media.. The universities The two political parties. The corporations. Somewhere in these riots and autonomous zones and topplings of editors and statues, is the new story, waiting to be birthed. It’s a mess. We have to deal with it. Like all births, it’s painful, prolonged, messy, lacking in dignity …. and once it’s started, you can’t stop it.

    Taibbi wants everything to be reported: the 74 stolen cars from an auto dealership, to balance out people being gassed by police. The seven people NOT shot by cops; to what, even out the hundreds gunned down, lynched, suffocated, locked into solitary confinement. But we have been reporting on those events for decades, if not for centuries. Reporting has always been skewed. Read ‘Manufacturing Consent,’ for an indictment of the NYT’s report of the Viet Nam War. We simply have to keep a few things in mind: justice and kindness. In that order.

    1. Massinissa

      I don’t have really anything to add your excellent prose here, but I do feel the same, and it makes me uneasy. I’m not worried by the protests, rather I support them, but it does seem that on some level the narrative of the MSM is beginning to change, and I’m not sure its a positive one. Reading mainstream sources has always been rather annoying, but recently it seems the noise-to-facts ratio has been increasing, and that began even before George Floyd’s murder, so I don’t think its directly related. I don’t know, its just that I feel that since the beginning of the coronavirus, the mainstream narratives have gotten even more confused and disjointed than they used to be and I for the life of me can’t put a finger on an exact reason.

      1. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

        Well, for one thing, it’s been increasingly difficult to suss out actual facts for a long time now. I feel the same unease; not necessarily for the fact that the MSM is now eating it’s own, but more for the fact that “who, what, when, where, why” is no longer a reporting standard anymore.

        One of the things that’s been driving me nuts about any major news story these days is that editorializing is 90 percent or more of any given article, with a few factoids sprinkled in here and there. Case in point: the WaPo recently reorganized its website so that opinion is the “above the fold” content option. Well, dammit, I don’t want some pundits opinion, I want “who, what, when, where, why,” preferably in the first paragraph, and you just cannot get that anymore, anywhere.

        This to me is the primary issue: the degradation of reporting standards, period.

        1. rowlf

          I was blown away a few weeks ago when I listened on the radio to the governor of the state I live in giving a press conference and while looking for news coverage of it to share with some friends, I found a smaller television news channel in my state had a story on the press conference AND the transcription of it. After so much interpretation of what the high mucky-mucks say by gate keeper media it was like Martin Luther came back for a visit. It was so refreshing to see a glimpse of journalism in the wild.

          (A slight aside, why are media websites so stingy on a story? Is there a fee for how many lines of text display digitally? Is the an ad space/click-bait ratio to displayed area that has to be met?)

          Try this and see if your mortal being can survive full quotes of elected officials:
          Kemp lays out June reopening plans, loosens gathering limits, renews State of Emergency

          1. Lambert Strether

            > a smaller television news channel in my state had a story on the press conference AND the transcription of it.

            Small TV channels seem to have taken on the burden of actual news reporting that local papers (however flawed etc. etc.) used to carry.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Well, for one thing, it’s been increasingly difficult to suss out actual facts for a long time now. I feel the same unease; not necessarily for the fact that the MSM is now eating it’s own, but more for the fact that “who, what, when, where, why” is no longer a reporting standard anymore.

          Re the staff uprisings, Taibbi points out, correctly:

          After the 2016 election, we began to see staff uprisings. In one case, publishers at the Nation faced a revolt – from the Editor on down – after articles by Aaron Mate and Patrick Lawrence questioning the evidentiary basis for Russiagate claims was run. Subsequent events, including the recent declassification of congressional testimony, revealed that Mate especially was right to point out that officials had no evidence for a Trump-Russia collusion case. It’s precisely because such unpopular views often turn out to be valid that we stress publishing and debating them in the press.

          The institutional implications of this are quite troubling. And you can’t deliver justice, no matter how partial, with broken institutions.

  31. Sy Krass

    Per the Kennedy Trump article, I know I am oversimplifying but blaming JFK for the rise of Trump is like blaming God for the rise of the devil….

  32. Chris

    For all the comments on Taibbi’s article it’s clear he hit a nerve. Many replies on that article from voices I haven’t seen posting here before.

    Everyone seems to be asking why didn’t Matt say what could be done to fix it or that his analysis left them wanting… the point of the article was to clearly document how the gatekeepers have no clothes and are now busy devouring their own in a way that resembles a priesthood excommunicating it’s less zealous members.

    If he accomplishes nothing else but getting people to talk about that then that’s all the article needs to do.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “The way the coronavirus messes with smell hints at how it affects the brain”

    Incomplete this. Why would they do such an analysis without also considering the loss of taste as well as the loss of smell? Both have a direct path to the brain so why not consider them together?

    1. Chris

      Probably because it’s a lot easier to study olfaction than it is gustation.

      I agree that we should test for them both in this context. Especially since I read a paper the other day suggesting that some people who lose their sense of smell and/or taste due to COVID-19 may find the loss is permanent!

      1. YetAnotherChris

        Taste and smell aren’t really discrete sensations but more of a Venn diagram. Any chef or sommelier knows that much of what you taste is dependent upon what you smell. It makes sense that a neurological issue would disrupt them in concert. I could understand focusing on one as a proxy for both.

        1. Fried

          I once lost my sense of taste for 3 or 4 days after eating a whole lot of raw rhubarb. It is very different from losing your sense of smell. Basically, everything ‘tasted’ disgusting, even if it smelled good.

  34. rowlf

    Pesky foreign press agencies, no understanding of the nuances of motion without action:

    “What has happened [in the US] is the manifestation of some deep domestic crises,” the head of state said, noting that this crisis had been observed for a long time since US President Donald Trump assumed office. “When he won, and his victory was absolutely obvious and democratic, the defeated party invented all sort of bogus stories just to call into question his legitimacy,” Putin explained.

    The Russian leader noted that he usually tries to “comment carefully or not to comment at all what is happening in other countries.”

    Putin also said that the key problem of the US political system is the fact that parties place their interests above those of people.

    “It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests in this case are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,” the Russian leader said commenting on the events in the United States.

    TASS: Putin says riots following George Floyd killing symptom of deep-rooted crisis in America

  35. Lisa Mullin

    Re US Supreme LGBTI Court Decision

    Note carefully that the decision also significantly strengthens women’s rights and affirms the 1982 Hopkins decision, protecting women against discrimiantion based on appearance and behaviour.

    This is a lot of misunderstanding about the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’.
    In much of society, and especially in legislation, the terms are interchangeable, for example I am a trans woman and my legal sex is female.

    However the term ‘gender’ can be used in a broader manner than just ‘sex’, and this analysis came from feminism. Culminating in things like the US decision for Hopkins vs Price Waterhouse, where it was determined the Anne Hopkins has been discriminated against not because she was born with female genitals, but because of how she presented and acted: “her lack of promotion came after pressure to walk, talk, dress, and act more “femininely.”

    In this definition ‘gender’ encompasses multiple factors, not only what genitals you were born with (or have now) or any other (and now known to be very complex) biological factors*, but also how others may expect you to look and behave.

    This was a core argument by feminists when the 1st anti sex discrimination laws were introduced in many place, that it was not enough to prevent discrimination based upon presumed (and unseen) genitals when (mostly) women were still being discriminated against based on a host of factors such as presumed reproductive capacity (or role or choices), appearance (and yes there are links to racism in that), behaviour (expectations to behave ‘femininely’**) and so on.

    Steadily this broader concept has been accepted, albeit not in extremely religious and/or patriarchal states, to the betterment of women. After all it did little good to women if they had discrimination protections based on their guessed at genitals, if they were still being discriminated against because they didn’t wear a skirt and were not ‘feminine’.

    Naturally conservatives, especially males, hate this because policing women based on appearance and/or behaviour is a key plank in maintaining patriarchy. If ‘masculinity’ is based on characteristics such as ‘aggression’, ‘success’, ‘power’ then by definition ‘femininity’ is the opposite to that and opens the door to discriminating against women … just for being successful (see the LNP as a classic example of that happening). The 2nd part of their hatred is based on their defining of women as first, and above all, mothers and that their reproductive role is their primary role in society (and there is a horrible nexus with white supremacy in this).

    Feminists have long noted how presumed reproductive capacity and role has long been used to discriminate against women, often (and always totally cynically) based on ‘protecting them’ as mothers.

    It should then be no surprise that the exact same arguments have long been weaponised against LGBTI people (and note the long ignored ‘I’ for Intersex): based on appearance, behavour, presumed genitals and reproductive capacity. The concept of ‘biological sexuality’ (which means heterosexuality and procreating) has long been used as a rod to bash LGB people, as has presumed genitals/reproductive capacity/role against trans and also intersex people. Note especially the long used attacks on gay men based on them supposed to have a woman’s sexual role and also the sexually based attacks on trans women versus the attacks on trans men as merely ‘poor deluded’ women.

    So the US Supreme Court decision is a welcome antidote to the conservative views on sexuality and gender … and also a clear debunking of the idea that cis/heterosexual women’s primary role in society is to be ‘feminine’ and mothers.

    Note carefully that the decision significantly strengthens the Hopkins decision.

    * We now know that biological ‘sex’ is ..very .. complex and that there are a lot of people where strict binary assumption do not apply. Over and above intersex people we now know that complex genetic and fetal hormone factors cause measurable brain differences in trans people, that match their stated gender identity.

    ** Despite considerable progress that has been made ‘femininity’ is still seen far too often as inferior to ‘masculinity’ being: ‘weaker’, ‘sexually attractive’, ‘submissive’, ‘motherly’ and so on. The recent experience of Covid where (a) women have been disproportionately on the front line and in harms ways and (b) countries with women leaders have nearly all done far better dealing with Covid, should finally disabuse that idea.

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