Links 7/11/2020

Hummingbirds Learn to Count to Find Their Favorite Flowers Smithsonian

Country diary: mighty oaks have sprung from the work of the lively jay Guardian

Famished NYC Rats Are Harassing Outdoor Diners Forbes

From payments to armaments: the double life of Wirecard’s Jan Marsalek FT (Richard Smith). Quite a lead: “It was early 2018 when Jan Marsalek, the young chief operating officer of German fintech champion Wirecard, held a meeting in his palatial home in Munich to talk about a new special project he was interested in: recruiting 15,000 Libyan militiamen.” Second paragraph: “Mr Marsalek has now vanished…” Richard Smith comments: “Wirecard just keeps on giving.”

Sovereign Creditors Must Not Rewrite the Rules During the Pandemic Project Syndicate

Most hedge funds to be allowed to keep equity holdings secret FT


CDC Whistleblower Identified the “Fatal Flaw” in Testing Years Ago POGO. Important.

A WHO-led mission may investigate the pandemic’s origin. Here are the key questions to ask Science

* * *

About One-Third of Public Comfortable Returning to ‘Normal Routine’ — Roughly the Same Figure Since May Morning Consult

Coronavirus, unemployment, uncertainty imperil Texas workers: ‘It trickles down’ Los Angeles Times

Dozens of Mississippi lawmakers have coronavirus after weeks of refusing to wear masks CNN. Experience is a hard school…

Vigilance Had a Three-Month Shelf Life The Atlantic

America Is Being Way Too Calm About Covid-19 Cathy O’Neil, Bloomberg

Case study:

* * *

BCG vaccine protection from severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) PNAS. From the abstract: “[E]very 10% increase in the BCG index, [an estimation of the degree of universal BCG vaccination deployment in a country,] was associated with a 10.4% reduction in COVID-19 mortality. Results fail to confirm the null hypothesis of no association between BCG vaccination and COVID-19 mortality, and suggest that BCG could have a protective effect. Nevertheless, the analyses are restricted to coarse-scale signals and should be considered with caution.”

COVID-19 and blood type: What’s the link? Los Angeles Times

HIV-1 did not contribute to the 2019-nCoV genome NLM

* * *

Studies Track Superspreading of COVID-19 WebMD

Air Conditioning May Be Spreading COVID WebMD (Furzy Mouse)

* * *

US bets on untested company to deliver COVID-19 vaccine AP

Personal Protective Pods are Here Core 77 (Re Silc).

Redesigning society after Covid-19 FT

Pandemic Threatens to Kill More From Hunger Than Infection Bloomberg


China lays claim to a wildlife sanctuary, making it the third border dispute with Bhutan Straits Times

Leninists in a Chinese Factory Made in China

Hong Kong police raid office of pro-democracy camp primary election co-organisers PORI Hong Kong Free Press

Indonesia seizes two Chinese boats after body of man found aboard South China Morning Post

Singapore election latest: How the night unfolded Nikkei Asian Review.

Empty offices growing in Tokyo as virus gives tenants pause Japan Times


Why India and Russia Are Going to Stay Friends Foreign Policy


British Gov. Will Pay 50% Of Restaurant, Pub Bills To Stimulate Recovery Forbes

Fines, jail for non-compliance with face coverings law RTE (PD).

Danish nod gives Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline fresh traction Deutsche Welle

The New Pirates of Ancient Albion VenezuelAnalysis


“Irreparable Harm”: How The Flynn Case Became A Dangerous Game Of Legal Improvisation Jonathan Turley

New documents show internal debate over whether to prosecute Flynn Politico

New Cold War

The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums Counterpunch

Trump Transition

Trump commutes Roger Stone’s sentence CNN

Neil Gorsuch Affirms That Treaties With Tribal Nations Are the Law The New Republic

US Coronavirus ‘Bailout’ Scam Is $6 Trillion Giveaway To Wall St (transcript) Michael Hudson, Moderate Rebels (GF). Part two.

AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B AP

Trends in the Internal Revenue Service’s Funding and Enforcement Congressional Budget Office


Broad disapproval for Trump’s handling of coronavirus, race relations: POLL ABC

An interview with President Trump: ‘The real hate is the hate from the other side’ WaPo

‘You get made fun of’: Trump campaign office shuns masks, social distancing Politico

Democrats in Disarray

Oh, Neera:

California, which is tracking Texas and Florida quite nicely, is apparently not a “blue state” and did not have “the thinking.”

Why Won’t Democrats Just Come Out for Legalizing Marijuana? The Nation

Failed State Watch

Why Is a Tech Executive Installing Security Cameras Around San Francisco? NYT

Black Injustice Tipping Point

‘This is a time bomb’—Leaked docs reveal homophobic, racist police instructors Daily Dot

Metro Council demands mayor send Breonna Taylor records or risk ‘decisive action’ Courier-Journal. A “Place-Based Investigations” squad…

Majority of Seattle council pledges to support Police Department defunding plan laid out by advocates Seattle Times

Class Warfare

Trump Would Like to See You Now Jamelle Bouie, NYT. “Workers are kept on edge — and willing to accept whatever wage is on offer — by the threat of immiseration. This, for politicians who back both big business and existing social relations, is a feature and not a bug of our economic system, since insecurity and desperation keep power in the hands of capital and its allies.” Oddly, or not, Bouie applies this insight only to Trump. For a Democrat version, see NC here.

British PM Boris Johnson to tell firms to order staff back to workplaces: Media Straits Times

­­ ­‘Anyone saying all their staff are on minimum wage in the garment industry is a fraud:’ ‘Sweatshop’ owner of Boohoo factory confesses he pays workers a shocking £4 AN HOUR Daily Mail (J-LS).

Joe Costello on democratic politics and the Civil Rights Movement Immigrants as a Weapon

If it’s Not “Cancel Culture,” What Kind of Culture is it? (excerpt) Matt Taibbi (GF). “The woke version of erotica is writing an article for the Guardian about how ‘ejaculating’ skyscrapers are symbols of cisnormative dominance. They make the Junior Anti-Sex League seem like Led Zeppelin.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

So how would cats react to pro-biotic durian beer?

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. JoeK

      Hong Kong or Taiwan? I give the nod to the HK variety’s power to induce an urge to retch. Not as hard on the palate as the nose however; copious amounts of chili sauce help.

    2. Sharron

      I lived in Singapore for 2 years. It took me a year to figure out the smell at the market near my home was not sewer gas, but durian. One of my Singaporean friends swore that durian ice cream was to die for. I never found out.

  1. jr


    “The question isn’t whether or not “cancel culture” exists. The question is, without canceling, what would this culture be?”

    This hit me right between the eyes. I think this critique goes way beyond the blue fascists and on to our broader society. What is our society without canceling, attacking, subverting, or exploiting something? Always feeding off of something instead of fostering it? Even violence for its own sake actually isn’t for its own sake, it’s a ritual that buttresses the status quo. It is in essence a patriotic act in American culture to smash windows or torture animals.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Taibbi way ahead of everyone as usual. I hope he gets a lot of support for his substance account, he deserves it.

      Incidentally, I was going to send that Guardian article as a potential link, but I just couldn’t bring myself to give it any clicks. I actually thought when I read it that it might be satire, but its awesome in its lack of self awareness. Apart of course, from the author showing a spectacular ignorance of architectural history and basic engineering principles.

      1. Burritonomics

        Agreed; I actually subscribed to Taibbi last week. That content is worth paying for. (Just like NC!)

        1. Montanamaven

          I subscribed last week too and really happy so far. NC, Dimitry Orlov, Caitlin Johnstone, Jimmie Dore, Matt and Joe Rogan are keeping me sane.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I’m not so sure about that Guardian article referred to PK. London’s The Gerkhin looks a bit dodgy to me. And don’t get me started how phallic and sexist trees are but fortunately we now have Apple’s HQ in Cupertino as a counter balance.

      3. Basil Pesto

        The lede on the graun piece is, of course, in the byline:

        Toxic masculinity is built into the fabric of our urban spaces, writes [the piece’s author], author of new book Feminist City.

        Everyone’s got something to sell, baby

        1. JTMcPhee

          What’s a “feminist city” going to look like? Structures modeled on the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe? And after all, isn’t a vagina an inside-out male organ, through some artists’ eyes?

          Re feminism, one small data point: Now women can go destabilize countries and work with terrorists at the retail level, joining Madeleine Albright, HRC and other women working the other end of the imperial game.

          Cancel culture: corporations are fostering it, along with the PMC. Keeping us mopes divided and clawing at each other, as Taibbi observes. Follow the money.

          Stupid effing humans…

            1. HotFlash

              Waaahaha!!! You could drive a truck right through it!!! (recovers self).

              Um, yes, yes, indeed, you may be correct. Although, as someone who watched the 1970’s bank tower skyline race in Toronto, many of us did wonder if there wasn’t some (over) compensating going on.

              Just thinking — architects trying to sell a **YUUUGE** building to 50+ CEO’s — what angle do you think would work? Consulting Mr Bernays…

        2. jr

          So are cultures with lots of domes more maternal, more feminine? Lots of high peaked arches…..?

          1. tegnost

            san onofre ftw…
            linked not for the story, but the attached photo…

            1. anon in so cal

              >San Onofre

              Sorry to drift off topic but speaking of wars….

              There’s been a 15+ year battle to prevent construction of a toll road through the historic Trestles area and the San Onofre State beach. It’s a beautiful stretch of coastline that was saved by the nuclear power plant.

              “For almost two decades, the Save San Onofre Coalition has tirelessly fought to stop construction of a toll road through San Onofre State Beach. One of California’s 6th most visited state parks, San Onofre State Beach protects the last remaining undeveloped watershed in southern California and is home to ten federally threatened or endangered species.

              Over the past 15 years, our coalition has won many victories to protect this world-class park. In 2008, thousands of activists showed up to the Coastal Commission hearing, defeating the toll road. In 2016, we successfully settled a lawsuit which secured an agreement that bans Toll Road Developers from building a road through the park.

              Now, San Onofre State Beach is again threatened. Two lawsuits have been filed to undo our historic settlement. The potential to undo park protections leave San Onofre State Beach vulnerable once again.

              But we are not standing idly by. We have sponsored a bill (AB 1426), which is currently working its way through the state legislature that would codify the judicial decree that currently protects San Onofre State Beach, the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy, and the San Mateo Watershed….”


                1. anon in so cal

                  “Tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage and toxic sludge spill every year into the Tijuana River on the Baja California side, and then drain into Southern California’s lower ground, eventually emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

                  In 2019, more than 2.3 billion gallons of wastewater and polluted runoff crossed the line, contaminating U.S. properties, beaches and wildlife habitats….”

                  And, not being addressed because “Baja California’s water agency alleges that former employees of the utility colluded with international corporations (FedEx, Coca Cola, WalMart) to defraud the (Baja state water agency) out of at least $49.4 million.”

                  Massive corruption, everywhere.

              1. Knot Galt

                Maybe the fight should also be about dismantling the TCA? Having grown up as a surfer in L.A. and later working in the Northeast U.S., the notion of a toll road always seemed foreign and un-Californian. But that was 30-40 years ago.

                Having lived in San Clemente and now Trabuco Canyon, I have lived both sides of the argument. AB1426, as well as the previous protests, demonstrate the predicament we face as a society. Continued growth in the form of sprawl versus Stewardship in the form of saving the Environment. Since the TCA represents the former, a new type of governance structure seems to be in order.

              2. Susan the other

                Nice to hear about your dedication. So is the San Onofre nuke plant within the State Beach protected area and have the problems associated with the fault line been addressed, etc? That particular danger, if it exists, could be one good way to keep people and toll roads away.

          2. furies

            I used to have a nursery business selling cactus and succulents.

            I noticed that men (in general) were attracted to the columnar types and women, the clumping ball types.

            Pretty consistently…

      4. Carolinian

        Well I hope he gets support but at the same time I think his current message is so important it’s a pity the paywall will inevitably limit its distribution. Apparently he moved to Substack because he felt he couldn’t say these sorts of things at Rolling Stone. And that’s a very big pity.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      That’s the rub, isn’t it?
      “Who are We?”
      It’s taken 40 or more years, but the deliberate destruction of The Commons…in it’s broadest sense…looks to be nearing completion.
      (one could easily extend this timeline a couple of centuries, and see this mess as the triumph of the Enclosures)
      What do I have in Common with my fellow humans?
      I’ve returned to this question again and again for 20 years in my feed store symposia…whether in the actual feed store, or on the tailgate in a pasture.
      Most of my interlocutors are conservatives(small-c), and christian…and those are the terms in which i appeal to them…for the latter, the idea of “Fellowship”, and Jesus hanging out with lepers and whores and tax collectors.
      I had my quiver full: for 15 or so years, I got the sermons of all our churches in my inbox, in furtherance of my long term study of the American Right. Nary a mention of all the Hippy Dippy Jesus, nor his admonitions…appeals to this lost part of their own sacred book, and to their inherent regard for “Community”(small town) was an obvious tack, and i had a lot of success with it over the years.
      the Tea Party atroturf was a setback…as was 9-11 before it….and now, Masks and Covid Trutherism threatens to undo all my efforts.
      because the cognitive training has been too successful…selfishness as morality, warrior christ…”who would jesus hate?”…”I got mine”.
      Of all our present, interlocking and enormous problems, this is the one that I find most depressing, and intractable.
      and given the perceived Team Sports nature of our “politics”, “the other side” has only it’s own forms of hyper-division on offer…often in the most ridiculous formulations(*)…the assumption of most of my Lean GOP(even if they don’t vote) subjects is that there are only these two “sides”…that if one rejects the GOP, one is necessarily a Democrat, aligned perfectly with Hillary Clinton, and therefore the communists and the devil. It’s almost a version of the Diamond Cutter Sutra when I say that I’m a Libertarian Socialist,lol….a Koan that shocks them out of their tropes and assumptions.
      I haven’t been able to talk about economics or evangelise for a New New Deal since all this crap began…so it looks like the Machine has won this round….perhaps the last round.
      all i’ve been able to do is lead by example(even though i’m largely absent, these days) and drop little flowers of thought in the path of random folks i encounter in my infrequent forays(like buying a bunch of garden seeds at the feed store, left over from spring…”why?”…” just in case I’m right, and it gets much worse…”)

      (* this, linked in the Tiaibbi bit:
      …is one of the stupidest things i’ve ever read. what’s it say about a person that they see cocks everywhere? Jeez.)

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “Who are we?”–

        It’s interesting that Taibbi looks back to the Sixties as a time when a different worldview made a much more attractive appeal to the young:

        I’ve come here to lose the smog.
        I feel like I’m a cog in something turning round and round.
        Well, maybe it’s the time of year or maybe it’s the Time of Man.
        I don’t know who I am, but life is for learning.

        And the answer, broad at the time in its mythic appeal, that combines an implicit love of humanity with the recognition that we’ve headed down the path to destruction:

        We are stardust (from billions year-old carbon).
        We are golden (just got caught up in some devil’s bargain).
        And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.

        Half a million kids, out in the open in stormy weather, knee deep in mud, short of food, water and just about everything else, and yet there was peace. Not at Altamont just months later, it’s true, but I still draw hope from those three days as I drew it 50 years ago.

        Our current masters stand in stark contrast to the group of “businessmen” that decided to build a stage rather than gates and fences. Those promoters were certainly no saints, but at that event, they demonstrated both some compassion and common sense. As Lang put it, they could either build the fences, try to make some money, and risk a riot because no one could perform. Or they could build the stage and go broke. Unlike this crop of bosses, those Woodstock guys didn’t consider just knocking off a large part of the crowd.

        (Joni sings it.)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          this is my favorite version:

          haunting, what could have been.
          I grew up around working class former not-quite-hippies in east Texas, north of Houston.(and to be fair, it was difficult to do the whole hippie thing in Texas. back then…)…as well as the freak show that grew up around the Texas Ren Faire. a mish mash of dope and paganism and earth momma, mixed in with ample 70’s era hangover and despair at where it all went wrong(and the Lizard Brain Drugs that accompanied that post-60’s malaise)
          They were a big influence on me, during my own Wild Years….which i considered, even then, as my own, personal 60’s.
          Mid-80’s to early 90’s. Most of those people I knew are dead, now…from liver failure, suicide, overdose and hopelessness.
          Interestingly,the ones that have survived the longest were the ones who were more readily assimilated into the whole Reagan Faux Xtian Greedism of the day….willfully turning their backs upon the idealism and willingness to dream outside the pen.
          coincident with Powell Memo and the rest of the then nascent CounterRevolution was the introduction of those Lizard Brain Drugs(CIA) and Disco(Machine’s first real attempt at horning in on that dangerous Popular Music…followed by all the hair band, boy band…now GAC…AI generated pablum…sugar water for the soul…)
          Machine resolved then to never allow a 1960’s to happen again…ever.
          Like Tiaibbi mentions, the Humanities swallowed by the Neoliberal Thought Virii of Gender, Race and Cultural Studies(which didn’t begin as such, but were taken over insidiously)…all of it and more constituting a quiet war on the Mind of America.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Will there ever be a Butlerian Jihad? Or maybe it’ll all just fail from the interlocking failure modes, one little breaker trips the entire Northeast power grid, some AI or smartass hacker type or maybe the Israelis with their STUXNET-Plus code, or maybe a bit of a twitch in the genome of something like a coronavirus or prion, by accident or design by the ReallySmart People who now have access to the tools to do such things? Some flop in the quantum computers that will be doing the “stock trading” in the Casino of the Future?

            It’s not like the Butlerian Jihad ushered in the Age of Aquarius, at least in Herbert’s saga…

            I hope that the people I know who are trying to build back toward a Commons and resilience and comity can somehow survive. Interesting that humanity has not fallen off the cliff — yet — with all that’s in play. And with this part of our collective psyche:

            Who are we? I ask that question I’ve posed a number of times — ‘What kind of political economy do ‘we’ want?”

          2. Mr. House

            “Mid-80’s to early 90’s. Most of those people I knew are dead, now…from liver failure, suicide, overdose and hopelessness.”

            So the system works then, it kills off those who disagree with it

            1. Billy

              No, they kill themselves off with bad choices, instant gratification and a willingness to mock and ignore the slowly gained wisdom of their parents. That’s my take after growing up at Cole and Haight Streets in the 1960s.

              1. JBird4049

                Ah, but who like a dope pusher, hands out those tasty samples of “bad choices, instant gratification and a willingness to mock and ignore the slowly gained wisdom of their parents?”

                Further, who cuts off the avenues of escape, growth, and freedom that my parents had, but the succeeding generations do not have? Like good jobs and basically free education? Or just affordable places to live?

                1. ambrit

                  Agreed. I often quip that “There Once Was A Golden Age.” The older I get, the more I realize that this saying is literally true.
                  The one consolation for we “ordinary people” is that the Neos, of whatever sect, creed, or profession, are finding out that they have mounted the Tyger. They dare not get off, lest Instant Karma turn and devour them.
                  When a people buy into, or are fooled into, accepting the “War of All Against All” as their motivating philosophy, they soon discover that they are warring against themselves.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > No, they kill themselves off with bad choices

                And who structures the choices? (“Good subjects must feel guilty. The guilt begins as a feeling of failure. The good autocrat provides many opportunities for failure in the populace.” –Frank Herbert, Children of Dune

          3. juliania

            Amfortas, my humanities college was a wonderful place, but when I graduated in the early sixties I could already see it was far too close to Washington, DC. That didn’t seem so bad before the Kennedy assassinations; we were riding high in those days.
            But after that everything changed. Not all at once but bit by bit, as things do.

            Thank you for your posts – I always enjoy them. And if you have already seen this, apologies. I can think of you and this man sitting on your tailgate reminiscing about how you both got where you are. I like him, and I like you. Thanks again from a neighbor.


            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I was discouraged at every turn from pursuing Philosophy…school councilor, parents, practically everyone at the little state college i ended up at…
              I’m still kinda sore about this, some 30 years later…
              but I also look around at all this wokester puritanism and wonder if it wasn’t for the best.
              i was real excited to get accepted to Oberlin, with a GED and my ACT, alone…but grandad’s college fund had already been spent by my folks,lol.
              turns out, that’s where a great portion of the PC mess was birthed. would i now be one of these torquemadas pointing fingers of condemnation at everyone’s perfectly human failings and foibles?
              amor fati, and all.
              prolly got a better education on my own.

              1. jr

                I once hoped to pursue a graduate philosophy degree, this did not happen. A major disappointment. Years passed and I was helping a friend move, another friend of hers was helping as well. He told me he was in his final year of his PhD in philosophy. I admitted to him that I was envious, that I’d had similar hopes. He shook his head sadly and said he wished he had never done so. No jobs. Those departments are shuttering. I went from regretful to thankful in those few minutes. His future sounded, if not bleak, then nowhere near on track after years of work and piles of debt.

                1. JBird4049

                  I do not think that an education that teaches you how to think is also the one that you now cannot get a career, or even a job, from is a coincidence.

                2. Amfortas the hippie

                  aye. I’ve said it before, but it’s germane: from when i stumbled into Zarathustra when i was 8, i wanted to be a philosopher, wear robes and live on a mountain. Now, I wear a bathrobe most of the time(several working robes), and ride around in a golf cart next to what we call a mountain, and Think. No boss, no board, no tyrannical dean, and no pesky students(save what wanders in) with overlarge toes sticking out everywhere that one can’t help but trample upon.
                  Ergo, I’m a raging success, even though I’m near the poverty level. I doubt I’d be here, doing this, if i’d gotten a philosophy degree.:),
                  give me lemons any day, and i’ll squeeze them in my beer.

                  1. juliania

                    The most important thing philosophical studies did for me was teach me to think, which was a real task as I had been so used to simply absorbing what others told me. It took four years but it was worth it. And it wasn’t about what philosophers abstrusely in flights of fancy reasoned and debated that was important, it was asking questions, listening to alternative views, being creative. Sounds like you have been doing that.

                    Plus, the ones to admire were the ones like Socrates for whom it wasn’t about money! In my day the professors were students themselves – it doesn’t really ever end.

          4. Stephen V.

            Sadly, I never took LitCrit but Paris Review sent this out today. Maybe it speaks to the point?
            MR. LUNA AND HISTORY
            by Alberto Ríos
            Issue no. 116 (Fall 1990)

            There are many facts in the world.
            Most are passengers, but some
            Drive the car.
            The boy king Tutankhamen caused to be made
            For himself the first bed.
            In 1340, Thomas Blanket was said to have had
            A refinement.
            And in 1932, as schoolchildren know,
            Teodoro Luna, president of all that had come before,
            Invented the making of love.

            So went the old joke,
            Which was funny but not untrue.
            There was talk after his death of a statue,
            But the thought of it was enough,
            Pigeons landing not on his head or arms,
            But rather on his fame,
            Two dozen of them.

            Some mouths have the custom of food,
            Some of words. Most go with food.
            Mr.Luna’s mouth had the habit of women.

            In his later years his wife thought him
            Speaking in his sleep,
            But that was not it,
            His mouth moving sometimes like a yawn,
            Sometimes like a fish.

            It is said
            A perfect diamond is invisible in water.
            How Mr. Luna died is not known,
            Nor what happened to his body.
            It is said he gave some of himself each time,
            From the inside and the out,
            Awake but also in dream.
            It is said he became a thousand women.

          5. deplorado

            I feel this might be relevant regarding what happened with the humanities – I found her very insightful (it might have been linked once here a few weeks ago):

            Why Postmodernism Was a Huge Intellectual Step Back – talk with Catherine Liu, professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Irvine and author of American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I’d seen something along those lines somewhere in the last month or two…and i’ve had the same thoughts.
              i suspect(but don’t know) that post-modernism was hijacked in the same manner as intersectionality and a million other things have been…think cia funding avant gard art and such like.
              I never could get into Derrida….maybe it was translation issues, idk. But the few people i knew back then who threw him like a punch ,graduated into exactly the kind of scolds we’re lamenting today.
              I didn’t get to Foucault until i was well into adulthood, my Wild Years long behind me.
              I found him a useful, if somewhat hard to get used to , lens…but i’m hardly an expert. Still in process of thinking about all that.
              Otoh, Deleuze and Guattari was some of the hardest things i’ve ever read…again, unknown how much of that was translation issues.
              read them during nap times when the boys were little,lol.
              lots of very interesting concepts and lenses(I like Rhizomes), but again, still pondering it.
              I think the fanboys and girls of postmodernism are likely the real problem, here…essentialising everything, stamping their feet in a place of presumed Certainty, and abandoning the very idea of Discourse in search of Truth.
              a lot like Nietzsche’s sister, in fact.

              1. Watt4Bob

                But the few people i knew back then who threw him like a punch ,graduated into exactly the kind of scolds we’re lamenting today.

                My belief is that deconstruction’s highest/proper use is when it is focused on one’s own ideas. The things we ourselves write and speak are the things the tool is for.

                The scolds are mis-using the tool, a very sorry sort of behavior, and a waste.

                On a related note, Jay Gould may as well have said;

                “I can teach one half of the working class to cancel the other.”

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  “…deconstruction’s highest/proper use is when it is focused on one’s own ideas.”
                  amen to that…but I got it from the early Plato, when he was still channeling Socrates(“i know that i don’t know”).
                  by some miracle of autodidactism, i somehow took this to heart, and have more or less reflexively applied it since.
                  Found it again in Rawls(veil of ignorance), and a bunch of other places. Assume you don’t know shit,lol.

                  but yeah…weaponised for other purposes.

              2. periol

                Hmm… I have read Derrida, and I have found his ideas and logic very persuasive. The pop culture narratives about postmodernism obviously don’t do much justice to the actual meat there.

                For me, the big picture version of postmodernism is accepting that modernism was about trying to create frameworks that describe/control the world. And they don’t work, not in the long, long run. We are finding that out in all sort of ways these days.

                The whole thing is about epistemology – what can we really know? The author is dead. It’s great that I can write a book, put my thoughts down on paper, but once it’s done and in your hands I can’t control what you take from it. Derrida was right about that, and to think otherwise is simply authorial conceit. But where it goes from there is certainly challenging to some axioms that modernity took for granted.

                I have honestly believed for a long time that post-modernism (and if you want to go there post-post-modernism as well) are necessary to prepare the cultural soil for what comes next. Pseudo-Dionysius wrote not about what he knew of God, but rather used the negative to describe who God is not. I see post-modernism similarly – it is using negation to whittle away what isn’t there.

                We have reached the endpoint of classical modernity. It is imperative that we ditch the stuff that isn’t working before it destroys us and the planet.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  the Pseudo-Dionysius analogy is a good one!
                  re: my derrida experience…might have been translation(my french sucks to this day, and i’ve noted much the same phenomenon with Hugo and Balzac and even Dumas–cadence? idk), might have been the time and place of my life when i picked him up.
                  I couldn’t get into Proust, either,lol.
                  I agree with the graduation thesis, tho…I’ve been a Nietzschean since i was like 8…and that was one of his main things.
                  and while i haven’t paid much attention since college to what movement whomever i’m reading belonged to, as far as “post modernism” goes, i like Rorty, pretty much…and i really like Baudrillard…again with the Lenses. As i said, I’m still digesting Foucault, when i have time to ruminate on esoterica.
                  my philosophical education has been haphazard and almost entirely self directed, over about 40 years(Zarathustra when i was 8, because 2001 came on tv, and i pestered my folks to get the Strauss album, then pestered the librarian to get the book, because who is this Zarathustra, and why did he spake?lol)
                  so i managed to miss a lot of the judith butlers and whatnot that was more or less contemporary with me.
                  after Friedriech, i went to the beginning, and moved on from there.
                  if i’m penetrating the haze aright, i may have been living in the van when Derrida fell into my lap…which would have meant precariousness, to say the least…although i managed all of Aristotle and Aquinas under those conditions.
                  again, i reckon it’s likely those who took up all that french weirdness afterwards who made postmodernism into the mess it became…and i’m not certain that the perversions were all that accidental, given hindsight, and how they’ve been used since.
                  as somebody said above, “revenge of the bourgeoisie”, carving out a new calvinism from which to rule.
                  since that project appears to be rather successful…along with the even greater neoliberal project it’s embedded in…i think it’s safe to say that Narrative still Matters.
                  I think Nietzsche would be disappointed that we still so readily accept the Narratives handed down to us.

                  1. witters

                    I don’t like to recommend, but I think, Amfortis, you might find a similar mind in Bernard Williams. (If not, the differences would be fascinating.)

                    1. Amfortas the hippie

                      from the wiki treatment, i think i’d like him.
                      add it to the giant pile on the bed of books i’d like to read,lol…at this strange juncture when even i can’t seem to.
                      This, right here, is how i’ve encountered a lot of what i’ve read…bumped into it at random: bought a box of books for a dollar at a library sale,and end up with the collected works of Marx…or a book literally falls off the shelf before me in a half price(laval, et alia”new way of the world”, my intro to neoliberalism)…or see Yves, or you, talk about someone. i sometimes feel like i may have missed a lot by being all autodidactic and haphazard, but Amor Fati!…I would have never run across David Bohm,or Eugen Rosenstock-Huessey by doing this via the normal routes.
                      sometimes i don’t know i disagree with whomever (john Gray, straw dogs) until i’m well into it(I yell at books like other people yell at the tv)
                      any way, thanks for the rec. I’ll put him on the list.

              3. Lambert Strether Post author

                > Otoh, Deleuze and Guattari

                Your comment on skyscrapers (“what’s it say about a person that they see cocks everywhere? Jeez”) which I read before this comment, caused to me to dig out this quote, which I thought was from Anti-Oedipus, but turns out to be from “1914: One or Several Wolves“:

                I tried Deleuze and Guattari long, long ago but couldn’t get my head round them (thought the words “desiring machines” and “body without organs” are certainly appealing). Perhaps I should try again; perhaps their materialist psychology would be equal to the times, where our politics has made hatred into an asset class.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  very dense material. like osmium.
                  I’ve wanted to return to them in some mythical quiet period, but none have presented themselves.
                  the lingering sense, now after what? 15 years?…is that they could indeed be germane to our travails, today.

      2. jr

        “what’s it say about a person that they see cocks everywhere? Jeez.”

        Yes, exactly, it’s the idiotic, fumbling power of those who take everything literally even when they think they aren’t, whose “abstractions” are merely reductions of logic and imagination into safe, chewable, easily digestible squares. People whose “meta” is so low it looks up to see it’s own shoes. No doubt trains and airplanes are also symbols of toxic masculinity, perhaps we could make them, what? Curvier?

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that those sort of people would freak out if they went to visit Pompeii. You will see penises on buildings and roads everywhere as they seem to have been regarded as a a good luck symbol or something. Can you cancel Pompeii?

      3. JEHR

        The phallic symbol is found wherever a man is: in architecture, in novels, in art, in movies, and so on. It may be so because men were at these activities first and women have yet to catch up.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          it’s also physics.
          what’s the alternative to a telephone pole?
          we have a few out here that are rather curved…but i’ve had my eye on them for a while…surely they will be replaced soon,lol.(and i’ll take them and make a home for grasshopper-eating turkeys in the newer orchard)
          I hear they bury power lines and such in Europe, and that’s appealing to me…except for the ditch digging(most of my in between building wires are above ground for this reason)
          would this person see a dome as phallic, too?…of the short, chubby variety, perhaps? Hagia Sophia looks sort of chub-like, if viewed from the proper angle.
          Eiffel Tower remade as an oblong, egg shape?
          …and the Gherkin in london, mentioned above, looks more like certain insect or snake eggs, to me, than a schlong…but maybe i’m not as OCD about Phallii, lol.
          whatever…it just feels pretty silly, to me…like she’s looking for something to freak out about.
          There’s plenty to be freaked out about in the world right now, without needlessly adding to the list.
          and what’s the remedy to this almost universal micro-aggression?
          I’ve never been all that partial to tall buildings…or cities, in general…but are we really supposed to level them all and remake them into …what? bee skeps, or something? Ovoid Okeefian flower shapes?
          How about caves?…that’s the original womb-like dwelling, after all.
          That would fit right in with what i perceive as the unconscious end goal of some of this sort of thing.
          I don’t think this is what Riane Eisler had in mind.(which, aside from my mom and grandmothers, is from whence my feminism derives, btw)

          1. juliania

            When we are no longer flying, and the national parks have been given back to nature, they can be tourist destinations where one can experience the past enjoyments of looking down on everyone else. Each floor opened up and tastefully landscaped or supplied with all the art now being produced that brings back memories of vistas no longer accessible to man. Each building could be dedicated to a different spot on earth so that in one block many countries could be visited just by climbing a few stairs. (Think of the hiking experience that would be!)

            Of course, like anything, this would become too popular and inevitably feet would wear away the staircases, but it should last a century or so… and there’s always the question of how you get there from here, but I’m sure the elites will think of ways.

          2. mpalomar

            she’s looking for something to freak out about.
            Having often read your thoughtful comments I know you are aware that we do need to take a serious look at the nature of our built out and up cities, skyscrapers and the result of extreme high density living and working and the nonhuman scale of these buildings and the destructive, maxed-out, hyper valuated real estate intensity visited on urban dwellers and workers and society in general.

            The Guardian article raises questions about the destructive nature (one wonders whether masuculine/feminine issues are operative in that nature) of the economy that produces such structures and urban and suburban environments but lenses it from a particular (not the only) feminist perspective.

            I don’t find the authors somewhat annoying, superficial take as troubling as these actual urban environments and the carnage such structuring of our built environment visits on us. Additionally we may wonder how these buildings, reliant on elevators and HVAC will fare in covid19 world.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              skyscrapers and highrises without essentially free energy are not somewhere i’d want to be. But I’m a country hippie, and feel uncomfortable in any area denser than 3-4 per sq mile.
              so i’m biased, to say the least.
              I sometimes see a guy about a dog(wink) in an apartment in San Antone…nice, as near as i can tell. But you couldn’t pay me to live there…walking through the faux Hill Country landscaping i immediately see the contradictions and inefficiencies and absurdity of the whole thing…and(thanks to people like Mumford) the way the pathways, etc “nudge” you to some places, and away from others…ugh.
              same relations to nature, as a funeral parlour to death.

          1. HotFlash

            In a language that only women used at that time. Murisaki-sensei may have been the inventor of the novel, or perhaps the inventor of the Harlequin romance?

            1. ambrit

              I can see Murisaki as an ur-exemplar of “The Woman’s Novel.”
              Hollywood used to have a genre called “The Woman’s Picture.” Now supposedly morphed into “Soap Opera” and “Coming of Age” productions, it had a directness and emotional depth generally lacking in crime thrillers and other “flashy” male oriented “entertainments.”
              Shallowness and spectacle will not suffice to guide us through conflict and travail.
              (Me, I like “The Pillow Book.” An early version of “The Women.”)

        2. D. Fuller

          Trees. Shafts with branches and leaves representing the fluid explosion of climax.

          They have to go, as a symbol of toxic masculinity.

          Yes, sarcasm.

          Instead of celebrating our differences, many seek to deny them. The end result of such denial being that our humanity and diversity would be reduced to that of clones from an assembly line.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Wonder what Gaia and the other Mother Goddesses think of all this, and us? “Should have left the first one exposed to the Elements”?

            Got to give the old Israelite patriarchs credit, for coming up with YHWH, speaking of phalluses…

            1. Mr. House

              Our differences are what make us beautiful, but we’ll be oh so ever easier to control if we only believe one thing, praise one thing, sing one thing.

              1. D. Fuller

                I like to joke that God wanted a lover in Adam, but Adam had other ideas. So, because God loved Adam so much, God created woman to take out his wrath on. Made worse because Adam did take a fancy to Eve.

            2. newcatty

              JT, from what I read Mother Mary was elevated by the Catholic church to replace the Celtic Goddesses. Shrines to her were placed on top of the sacred places and wells in the lands. It kind of backfired on the partriarchy though. Mother Mary is a Goddess, too. A wonderful manifestation close by: Our Lady of Guadalupe. Of course, in indigenous people’s spiritual knowledge, Mother Earth is known.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Well aware of the Cult of Mary.

                Old joke: Michelangelo is up on his back, painting away at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In comes an old grandmother, dark lace over her head, lights a candle, kneels down and begins to mumble her prayers. Mike thinks he’ll have some fun:

                “Hey, lady,” he says, in his best sepulchral tones reverberating in the great space. “This is God! What can i do for you?”

                No response.

                “This is your God speaking, lady – what do you want?”

                Again, no response.

                One more time: “Do you not attend when your God speaks to you?”

                Says the lady, “Shut up. I’m talking to your Mama.”

                And the patriarchs are the successful ones, at present – indigens dying by the thousands, planet being looted, good Catholics still tithing so their Church can pay the huge judgments and secret settlements from the predations of perverse priests and the Institution that they have built that hides them and lets them carry on…

                And over on the Old Testament side, where the Megachurches, TV Preachers and other Xtian gatherings get their scriptural sources and Hero stories, the Body of Christ, the Blessed Company of All Faithful People, lip-serving Jesus’ teachings, pony up billions to support their beloved patriarchs… So many good stories of deceit and slaughter to chose from, in just the first ten books of the O. T…

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah, it’s 104 on my front porch in the shade.
          i actually like it…finally no humidity!…and the high pressure dome means no weather pain. So long as i have a shady cowboy pool to get into periodically.
          hard on the garden, though.
          running the big overhead sprinklers intermittently all day for the next week.
          I’ll cut a bunch of bamboo in the morning to augment the shade cloth.
          just lay it across the trellises and fences and whatnot.

          1. ambrit

            Devil to new arrival Down Below: “But it’s a dry heat.”
            I’m looking at 95 in the shade on our front porch, (western exposure,) with a humidity of, (let me look,) fifty percent, (which is sort of low for here.) Looking up the Heat Index chart, that works out to 103. Not quite fricasseeing weather, but close.

            1. BobW

              When I lived in Phoenix, when people said “it’s a dry heat,” I said “so’s an oven.” But, yeah, humidity sucks. Better Phoenix than Florida in the summer.

              1. polecat

                It’s the kind of heat that one encounters when entering the DNC nether-reaches .. such as that atmospheric processing unit on LV426… You know, the one where the Pearly Queen and her retinue of slime-dripping bluish cancel-feinds reside ..

                Team Blue – ‘Building Awful Worlds’ …

      4. chuck roast

        Chatting it up down the feed store…good luck with that. When the material conditions of the ‘necks down the feed store diminish they might be a little more receptive to your pitch. And the local purveyors of the opiate of the people may begin demonstrating a bit of sympathy for the great unwashed.

        I recall back in the day when I tried to get my own feed store version of the ‘necks to cop to the Black Irish having more in common with the Black Americans then they thought possible. I was circulating copies of Soul on Ice to my shot ‘n a beer neighbors down at the local tap. They all thought that Eldridge was a scream…uppity in the extreme.

        Then when both they and their kids came back from Viet Nam, I was suddenly being recorded a great deal of respect. I was inundated with all their stories of leadership idiocy, malfeasance, malevolence, criminality and stupidity on an grand scale. By this time I was pretty worn out and wandered off to follow the sun and recuperate.

        See “Leninists in a Chinese Factory” above. Sometimes even crap material conditions aren’t enough for a 25watt epiphany. These guys finish their day, and they want a shot ‘n a beer. Explaining the internal contradictions may hurt their heads.

    3. False Solace

      I’m skeptical of the hysteria around “cancel culture” as a liberal or left phenomenon. The real issue is bullying. It’s bullying that causes social media to be such a hellish place. But it’s by no means unique to the idpol donut crowd. In the West, G*mer Gate was an early pioneer in over-the-top harassment and campaigns to get people fired. It was directed primarily against women journalists and it was explicitly anti-idpol. Therefore it’s farcical to say “cancelling” is unique to the left or to liberals. I’m especially skeptical because the people crying the loudest about cancel culture are the same ones who whined about “political correctness”, and the worst of them were mostly upset it was no longer socially acceptable to tell degrading jokes or use the n-word in public.

      South Korea provides some of the first examples of extreme cyber bullying — driving people out of their jobs and into suicide as punishment for various social infractions. Super-fast internet made it easy for men to post real-time hidden camera footage of public women’s bathrooms, etc. If you want to see where things are headed, check out South Korea. “Cancel culture” is weak stuff by comparison.

      My second point is that the practice of shunning has deep historical roots. It was an effective way for communities to impose conformity on their members. And it was primarily used in villages where everyone knew everyone else’s reputation and history. Social media is the return of the village. It seems that cultural elites are gobsmacked to find things they said or did decades ago are still “remembered” and they can be shamed and shunned for them. The village doesn’t forget, my pets. Your history no longer conveniently vanishes. Since privacy no longer exists I suggest we all just get used to it. We might be able to do something about the worst effects of bullying, but the rest isn’t going to change. Your past will follow you.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Your last paragraph sums it up.

        The fear is the current hysteria is this will come back to hit people who smeared Sanders or Corbyn. Look at the embrace of the Lincoln Project nutters. We know for centrists their republican friends are near and dear, but their association threatens their standing because they clearly don’t care about anything other than their or sonar greed but they pretend to. A few comedians past their prime add to the noise, and point to Mel Brooks and Blazin’ Saddles as not being able to be made ignoring Brooks knew he needed Pryor on the writing team as cover.

        Ole Neera is decrying cancel culture and ratting on people to their employers minutes apart, so we can safely assume the fears of cancel culture by the powerful are simply fears of accountability and nothing more.

        1. flora

          Neera, to herself, ‘Sanders’ coalition is multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-generational. Be a shame if something happened to it.’ /s ;)

      2. Carolinian

        I suggest we all just get used to it

        I suggest we don’t. Your notion that the “deep historical roots” make this ok is more than odd.Surely if liberalism means anything it is a desire to shed primitive “village” style social organizations and move toward a more civilized way of life. Lord of the Flies was written as a cautionary tale, not a guide book.

        As others have stated this current dispute is really about power and the need to dispose of pesky free speech notions that stand in the way of continued power for our upper crust. If the left hopes to survive they really must fight back.

        1. Laputan

          I fully expected something like, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, then what do you have to worry about?” to follow.

        2. Mr. House

          “As others have stated this current dispute is really about power”

          When isn’t it? Its been about that since 2008, its been about that since 2001 and so on and so on. By arguing amongst ourselves about who is woke enough we divert our “power” into a dead end, while the PTB rob the bank.

      3. Laputan

        I loathe cheerleaders for war crimes like From and Weiss as much as the next fellow traveller, but I don’t think they’re new to the phenomenon of harassment. Rather, they might be discomfited by the online hordes descending on David Shor or Emmanuel Cafferty that got both of them fired over nothing. Whatever their motivations might be (and I’m fully aware that at least Weiss has been on the other side of this debate), that doesn’t mean that this movement to run and tell your boss on you for voicing an unpopular opinion or misunderstanding an innocuous gesture isn’t something we should all be concerned about.

        You describe it as a return to the village but to me it sounds more like the corporatization of private life. And the truly scary part is that you don’t have to be a public figure or even have a social media presence to be the target.

        1. a different chris

          But if it’s the truth about them… and it isn’t really firing quality… and they get fired, whose fault is that?

          “Cancel Culture” doesn’t fire anybody. The bosses do.

          Stop defending them.

          1. jonboinAR

            “Cancel Culture” deliberately and maliciously attempts to intimidate bosses into firing people for minor infractions of the wrong sort. It delights in the malevolent exercise of power.

    4. Krystyn Podgajski

      Yes, what kind of culture is it? I will tell you.

      It is a culture that desires power above everything else.

      Power is solely expressed through violence and destruction. You are right on jr, smashing windows and torturing animals are both expressions of power.

      What all these sub-cultures want is to be on top, to be in control, to be the “cancelers in charge”, to write the history, to “take over” the streets.

      America is capitalists to the core and the only rule of capitalism person with the most capital has the most power.

      We do not need an economic or political revolution, that will not get rid of our desire for power. We need a spiritual revolution. Like St Francis of Assisi who chose God (commuity) over wealth. Like the Buddhists and Daoists who see the material as an illusion and impermanent.

      Those who try to control,
      who use force to protect their power,
      go against the direction of the Tao.
      They take from those who don’t have enough
      and give to those who have far too much.

      The Master can keep giving
      because there is no end to her wealth.
      She acts without expectation,
      succeeds without taking credit,
      and doesn’t think that she is better
      than anyone else.

      1. flora

        I think so, too. Here are some bits of a long, great article on the now taken-down blog SlateStarCodex. (Taken down by its owner/writer after a NYTimes interviewer was going to out the writer’s name, which the owner for reasons thought would be dangerous to him and his clients. Thanks, NYTimes. )

        I think this is right. In Taibbi’s longer article he writes about a linguistics tenured professor who was attacked by a for 5 tweets and one line in a book he wrote – out of a bibliography including several books and many essays he’s written – by other academic linguists. They sent a letter containing 500 academic prof, lecturer, and student signatures demanding the prof be denounced or cancelled from their professional society.

        Here’s a longer bit about the SlateStarCodex article from reddit. The writer reviewing the article has a point of view of course, but that’s not the important part. I’m linking this only for the quoted bits from the original article.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Heard about one guy that was cancelled over something that he had written thirty years ago. Who indeed is without sin?

          1. flora

            “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of…”
            “What are their names? Give us some names.”
            – Sen. Joe McCarthy

          2. JWP

            A lot of good and talented people will have careers, families, and lives ruined because of something they said in youthful ignorance. Consequences being people who have tried t be PC making decisions they aren’t nearly qualified enough to make. I would not want your average SJW social media person making a decision that effects any broad number of people, they simple do not have the critical thinking skills to do it.

            Lots of people on the left, especially young/woke people are sleep walking into a surveillance/police state that censors their speech by cancelling anyone who offends them or expresses a controversial opinion. It’s an easy way for an entire generation to focus on cancelling and ignore the bottom being taken out economically, leaving them with nothing but their smartphones to live on and through.

            1. polecat

              If Chaz/Chop was any indication .. they won’t make it !

              Survival mode? .. Hardly! Certainly not for a bunch of sniveling, bourgeoisie academic losers.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            A great deal of this is the direct result of no accountability. Of these letter signers, how many had their careers damaged as much as the band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks for their efforts in the 00’s?

            JFK’s point about peaceful change is happening. People will get hurt to a certain extent we need to be on guard, but at the same time…oh well.

            1. periol

              This is my take too. Something has changed, and folks who have been orbiting the circles of power are sensing that shift. Or they’re not sensing it fast enough, and getting called out. But the shift is making them unconfortable, at the very least, and they don’t like it.

              The Dixie Chicks are a great example of the reverse ‘cancel culture’ that’s been unnamed and unlabeled for a long, long time. They took a stand, and were pretty thoroughly cancelled. In the opposite vein, I’m really enjoying the issues that “Lady Antebellum” is facing trying to distance themselves from their previous identity.

              Much of the outcry over “cancel culture” imho is really about edge cases. These authors and letter-signers and twits are going back and forth about the boundaries of permissibility, but missing the fact that there has been a seismic shift underneath – the shift already happened, it’s just starting to become obvious now. Forest and trees.

            2. The Rev Kev

              ‘how many had their careers damaged as much as the band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks’

              The Dixie Chicks had to change their name to The Chicks before they got cancelled by the cancel culture because of the name Dixie.

              1. Big Tap

                Yet Koch Industries still market paper cups as Dixie Cups™. They’re not changing.

        2. newcatty

          What we need is a spiritual revolution…

          It is amazing, or not, but when a young woman in the early 70’s, I said to my friends those exact words. Still, a believer.

        3. chuck roast

          We can only hope that Neera doesn’t assemble a Little Red Book of wokeisms. If that happens we are toast.

      2. td

        There is a silver lining to all this. As media outlets, book writers, university departments, politicians and all other sources of “content” adhere to ever-narrower forms of style and substance, we can save a great deal of time and money by reading/watching/listening once and never again. Newspapers, for example, have trouble as it is generating revenue, and i personally have no need to get behind a paywall to find anodyne comments that offend no one. Cat and puppy videos are free and more informative.

        1. jr


          It has become easier to pick the chaff from the wheat, if you are paying attention at all. I know exactly where to send my money these days…

    5. Otto

      JR- Sorry but I find your statement to broad. There are many things going in our ‘culture’. Cancel culture, to me is as a reader of Jared Diamond, is a phenomenon that has been going on for at least the last ten thousand years. Take Henry the 8th, to simply say “I think the King is wrong” out loud did cause people to loose their heads”. The USA 1950’s go ahead say “Lenin was right” – don’t expect to find a job. Free speech is great until someone decides to leverage it against you. Humans have a vicious side and some can’t control it, or worse don’t want to.

      1. flora

        Free speech does not protect slander or liable speech. Lots of court awards connected to those last 2.

        1. juno mas

          Getting a slander or libel award from a court of law is harder than you believe. Often times one is not even aware of the defamatory comments until after “cancelling”.

      2. jr

        You are correct, I was firing broadsides there a bit, and your point about “many things” is well taken. These evils are not unique to Americans. But I think you will agree that we live in a time and place where such things are amplified, elevated, beyond any point before in history, and America is the out of control elevator with a squalling loudspeaker attached rocketing through the roof of history into…er…anyway, yes, so I think we are a special case, due to sheer historical circumstance.

        1. Mr. House

          The spanish inquisition maybe? Or the Salem witch trials? Its always been easier to burn those you disagree with then come up with an argument for why your way is right. Actually i think the Roman Civil war between Marius and Sulla is informative. After Sulla won the great proscription was announced

          1. Mr. House

            What does that say about us? Firemonkies on the savanna much? Its funny that we deny how unevolved we really are while carrying on acts of total jungle law and brutality

            1. hunkerdown

              Don’t treat the 3-5% of natural sociopaths as human. In older, saner societies, they would have been disposed of without regret or much comment. If we had done that earlier, capitalism might not have won.

              1. Mr. House

                Its not the 3-5% of sociopaths that are the problem actually, its the average person who still fights for team blue and team red. Its the average person who doesn’t think for themselves and buy the drivel we call journalism. So we who do get it fight for them, but do they really want us fighting for them? I am truly at a point where I believe there are too many malleable, frightened people all looking to be coddled because they are confused and hurting emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually to ever overcome the corruption. In short, I believe the system has won.

                For a historical example look to Nazi Germany.

                1. Krystyn Podgajski

                  I agree with this.

                  It frustrates me that my comment was about the desires for POWER and that nobody even is talking about it!

                  What is politics but one side trying to exert their power over another. I tell people that is why I do not vote.

                  And people will gravitate to the person who seems to have the most power because they want to be protected by that power. But it never turns out well. That is how many people took sides in Nazi Germany.

                  So look in your own heart and stop looking at the sociopaths. How do you want more power? Better job? Kids going to a better school? More land? More education? More money?

                  1. Mr. House

                    exactly, which is why i believe it was once said that only those who do not want power should have it.

                    1. hunkerdown

                      It would be better to disperse, diffuse, and distribute power in a durable fashion such as would be resistant to 3-5% sociopaths’ attempts at mutiny or seizure. It was also said that power corrupts; it follows that power exercised in the general public interest (in fact, not merely in name) can’t be corrupt by definition.

                      Ward council democracy seems about right.

                  2. CanCyn

                    “What is politics but one side trying to exert their power over another. I tell people that is why I do not vote.”
                    I think politics is about supporting and enabling the donors who are the ones who really have the power. Dems and Repugs both want the same thing, power in some form I suppose, but they’re second tier, doing the bidding and paving the way of/for their ‘betters.’ If any politician thinks he or she has real power, they’re kidding themselves. And it ain’t the voters they answer to, it is their donors. That’s why I don’t vote. At last not at the federal level anyhow.

                  3. Henry Moon Pie

                    And whence that desire for power? Did it afflict hunter-gatherer groups, or did it arise among humans that became settled agriculturalists?

                    I’d suggest that this lust for power was born of the fear that humans felt toward their cosmos after they began sleeping in huts rather than under the stars or in the bowels of the Earth. No longer was our planet our home, replete with dangers for sure, but more fundamentally our sole source of sustenance. Once the world outside became a monsters-be-there place, we looked to power–power over the Earth and its creatures–to calm our fears. Of course, that power could also be used over other humans.

          2. jr

            Did the Spanish Inquisition and the Puritan Elders have decent Wi-Fi? Global media networks? An academic system bent over a rail? Otherwise, I don’t see how they could get their messages across with the same speed and level of saturation that the blue fascists can…unless I mistake your point.

            1. Mr. House

              I’m not exactly sure what your point is, and i believe you misunderstood me. My point is that its always the same. We haven’t changed, read your history and you’ll get that.

              1. jr

                Ah, thanks for clarifying your mistake. You’re confusing motives with means. People have always done bad things to people, as you so acutely note. However, the point I was making was that the means to do those things are very different from those available to our forebears. Sure, they had their forms of doxing and smearing and launching pogroms and what not, to take this tortured, misplaced comparison to it’s inevitable grave, what they lacked was a computer and the Internet to get that all done in around fifteen minutes.

                1. Mr. House

                  Time moves quicker due to toys of ours that increase the rate at which we can communicate. Nothing beyond that has changed, especially motives.

    6. Off The Street

      There is an element of Emperor’s New Clothes to cancel culture. A dispassionate look, from a distance so not influenced by hyperventilating media, allows one to laugh at the sheer lunacy of the ideas. Grauniad et al should have a little more thought put into their editorial decisions.

      In the meantime, real people are suffering from hysterical results of ridiculous ideas. As if they didn’t have enough challenges getting through the day with real issues like living, working, finding food, getting healthcare and loving. Or is that the underlying message?

      In math terms, look at the end points of the function to see what happens at extremes. Who is surviving, who is prevailing, who isn’t so impacted by cancel culture nonsense?

      1. anon in so cal

        In my discipline, there is a movement afoot, mostly on the part of students, to no longer read, study, or situate one’s own work within, the “canon.” Most of those who advocate this position subscribe to critical race theory. I wonder if this anti-canon movement falls under the rubric of “cancel culture”?

    7. David

      I value Taibbi’s writing very highly, but, like a lot of people who didn’t live through the 60s, he’s imbued a very partial view of it, seen from the perspective of the middle-class educated kids who went to rock festivals and fought the police. (The May 1968 riots were memorably described as “the sons of the middle class throwing stones at the sons of the working class.”) It wasn’t nearly as dramatic and exciting as that in the kind of working class and lower middle-class communities where I grew up. It was, in effect, an almost Freudian episode in which middle-class children revolted against the norms of their parents, helped by full employment, rising living standards and much wider access to free universities. It was in itself a form of cancel culture, trying to cancel the past, and destroy or damage whole series of allegedly repressive institutions – schools, parents, the family, the church – all of whom were stopping middle-class children having a good time. (Not for nothing was one of the seminal books of the era called “Play Power.”) And it was neither as universal, nor anything like as organised and theoretical, as we now imagine. The reference to “women at home”, for example, suggests that there was some kind of repressed subterranean desire for emancipation, which for most of the community was simply false. Upper middle-class women with university degrees wanted the same opportunities as their husbands. But most women of my mother’s generation, from ordinary backgrounds, were scandalised at the idea that when should abandon their families and children, as they saw it, and find personal fulfilment through working eight hours a day in a biscuit factory.
      I have very fond memories of the sixties, because they were a period of hope. In an expanding economy, with more jobs every year, there was nothing problematic about producing more graduates and plenty of room for everyone, including the middle-class female graduates who started to flood into the labour market in the seventies. This was expected to go on forever. Indeed, unless you lived through the sixties, it’s almost impossible to understand the despair of many people of my generation today at the pessimism and negativism of much of today’s culture. Taking its cue from Berardi’s End of the Future, it is simply about ruthless competition between groups and individuals over the wreckage of what remains.
      The problem, of course, is that the generation of the parents of the sixties, and their own children, now at university, took good care to make sure that their children didn’t have to revolt against anything. Thus, the essentially adolescent culture of recent protests. The desire to reject the past is as strong as ever, of course, but how? It’s unthinkable to reject all the wonderful social changes of their parents’ generation, in favour of return to a dystopian past disfigured by repression and the abuse of power. So all they can do is to reject the present: a nihilist exercise which essentially consists of smashing everything. Added to that, I think, is a strong element of insecurity and fear: a generation much less mature for their age than their predecessors, sheltered by anxious parents and schools, demanding now that they be kept safe from things that might make them uncomfortable – let’s cancel everything that might upset us.
      The liberty Taibbi celebrates (and yes, he’s broadly right) unfortunately turned out to have downsides over issues like sex. With liberty, people were horrified to earn, came responsibility, as well as all sorts of unwelcome and unexpected side effects from which that generation now demand to be protected. How long before the Junior Anti-Sex League makes its first appearance?

      1. farmboy

        David, it appears you missed or ignored shall we say the highlights of the sixties. First the Vietnam War was conscripting and killing minorities at a much higher rate than white kids. Muhammed Ali’s role in bringing awareness to white America of just how wrong the War was is underreported as they say. Drugs, in particular LSD, literally opened up a world of spirituality to a culture raised on WASP sterility. The recognition of repression of indigent, organic, ancient windows into the soul by Western theology and religious practice allowed for the environmental movement. And then there were the riots, the burned city blocks, Nat’l Guard shooting college kids at Jackson State and Kent State, and the recognition that real change is not electoral. All of this echoes into today with reverb, Delta blues infected every aspect of culture. WASP culture feared the rhythm of the beat, burn your rockn’roll records was a mantra by evangelist types. Sex became a celebration. Real questions about the survivability of nuclear capabilities lead to anti-nukes in public discussions, the Doomsday Clock ticked ominously close to midnight. For a brief moment we got to see how the world worked, the Church hearings on the CIA, Watergate, Kennedy assassinations, MLK, the Black Panthers, and the Weather Underground. Then the backlash hit, “hard hat” riots, George Wallace, and the birth of the southern strategy by republicans, those spoiled kids just wanted to party line that you regurgitated…

        1. David

          I wasn’t in the US at the time, actually. It was a bit different in England and just about everywhere else. Most of the things you mention, as I observed them, were middle class fetishes (l’m not saying they were necessarily wrong or uninteresting). Even the Vietnam war protests were essentially kids from wealthy families frightened of being conscripted. But the inner story of the sixties, in spite of all my pleasant memories, was still of middle class kids revolting against their parents.
          But that wasn’t my main point anyway – I was suggesting that the cancel culture nonsense is effectively the sixties re-done by the grandchildren and without the optimism and sense of community we had in those days.

          1. upstater

            ” the Vietnam war protests were essentially kids from wealthy families frightened of being conscripted.”

            You are profoundly wrong. That is as silly a statement as saying the 1960s civil rights demonstrators were a bunch of spoiled blacks that didn’t appreciate their overlords. Or the anti-nuclear demonstrators in the 1980s were spoiled by the plenty delivered by Reagan and Thatcher.

            It should also be noted that conscripted youth, mostly working class, began to actively oppose the war as service members. There were hundreds of fraggings of over enthusiastic officers in the field. They were losing control of the troops.

            Antiwar demonstrators of the 1960s and early 70s were far better informed about US Imperialism and history in general than any generation since. The abolition of the draft and the Vietnam syndrome kept the peace in subsequent years, until Iraq 1.

            The tragedy is the antiwar movement degenerated and militarism rehabilitated by all politicians and the media. Many have simply forgot. How else does on explain Biden dominating the over 65s.

            1. BobW

              Kids from wealthy families could stay in college forever, I do not think anyone with a 2S (student draft status) deferment was ever called. My Lutheran College gave everyone a 4D (cleric) deferment!

              1. Big Tap

                They also worked their way into the National Guard. For some reason even though the U.S. was at war LBJ rarely called up the Guard to go into active service in Vietnam like was commonly done for other prior wars. That’s the way John Bolton, George W. Bush, Bill Bradley, Dan Quayle, and many other people that had the right connections or were still in college avoided Vietnam. Then they were the deferments including the current president and vice president Dick Cheney.

          2. chuck roast

            An old professor of mine had this theory of inverse symmetry whereby the “other” has a reasonably accurate understanding of “we” because they see “us” objectively. Similarly, “we” may have a better understanding of the “other” because “we” see the “other” objectively. I don’t know where you were during the ’60’s, but if you have a “reasonably accurate understanding” of my objective reality, then I will have to do a major reassessment of what it means in the USA to be “a sixties person.”

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          Trivializing the rebellion of the Sixties seems especially off-key when considering where the materialistic, cog-in-a-machine culture has brought us, And the portrayal of today’s youth added to the Rod Dreher flavor.

        3. juno mas

          Yes, that is a more comprehensive replay of the 60’s, farmboy. (I watched Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald, live on network television.) The tension of the Civil Rights movement, the “riots” in black communities across the nation (LA, Detroit, etc.) and the brutality of police (before cellphone video) made for a very disorienting time.

          It is important to remember that the Civil Rights, anti-war, and sexual revolution did NOT have broad social support. The 1965 Civil Rights/Voting Act had little impact on American institutions; that’s why you see folks in the streets again. The Left had no broad political capital. Richard Nixon was elected President in 1968. Ronald Reagan was elected the governor of California in 1967 & 1971; before he became the US President in 1981. (And subsequently, Bubba Clinton was also a closet Republican.)

          It is the loss of educational and employment opportunity that is a partial driving force for political/social change. The middle-class is now the precariat and the young see a bleak and unsustainable future; unlike the 60’s their parents are now agreeing with them. Of course, the BLM coalition has immediate existential concerns.

          I’m excited to see the street demonstrations by many of the young. Awareness is a precursor to action. I hope reasonable solutions arrive. If not, it gets ugly.

        4. occasional anonymous

          “Drugs, in particular LSD, literally opened up a world of spirituality to a culture raised on WASP sterility. The recognition of repression of indigent, organic, ancient windows into the soul by Western theology and religious practice allowed for the environmental movement.”


          No, they got high, saw some pretty lights, then imported some bastardized version of Oriental Wisdom™ and convinced themselves that, like, we just need good vibrations man and that Rock & Roll would change the world. But the world mostly refused to change, and the LARPing revolution petered out to nothing, before fully ending with John Lennon getting shot a decade later.

          There were actual genuine revolutionary impulses in the 60s and early 70s, but they had little to do with the hippies.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            You mean Abbey Hoffman et al DIDNT lift the Pentagon with their minds??!!

          2. Leroy R

            No, they got high, saw some pretty lights, then imported some bastardized version of Oriental Wisdom™ and convinced themselves…”
            Are you really experienced? Good thing cocaine, the most addictive substance on Earth, flooded the drug world with its incomparable fun (and it made you real smart), so all the hippies who fell in love with it would go on to become yuppies to afford the habit. I don’t know the statistics, but I am guessing coke (and its cousin meth) won the drug popularity contest over psychedelics by a large margin. Always had to wonder how much some of the “lizard brain” drugs had to do with the tech revolution that made our computerized internet existence come about.

        5. Olga

          Thanks… too young and too far away at the time… but today, my understanding of the US sixties is about the same. Also, it seems that those 60s’ kids – poor or unpoor – had serious grievances: the war, assassinations, overt racism, in addition to out-dated parents and their ways. All this legitimately led to all sorts of existential angst.
          I don’t think it can really be compared to today’s ‘cancel culture.’ While today, there may be plenty of reasons for existential angst – the solutions reflect the narrowing of options for the young people. And also it seems like there is much less (critical) understanding of why the society today is the way it is.

        6. anon in so cal

          >”First the Vietnam War was conscripting and killing minorities at a much higher rate than white kids.”

          I think the situation was a bit more nuanced than that. Perhaps someone with more time right now can research this. I’m sensitive to this issue, as I had three cousins (two were college grads, one had dropped out) who were drafted and did tours there. Scholars who have studied the war divide it into phases and assess the rates and conditions for each phase.

          ” Vietnam War field reports in the late 1960s show a conscious policy effort to get
          black soldiers out of ‘harm’s way’ after 1968. Military integration depended
          heavily on deaths being proportionate to minority group representation in the larger
          population. While racial and ethnic groups shared losses during this war, not all
          groups shared losses equally throughout the course of the war. By the time the war
          ended, our sample shows that blacks accounted for 12.6 percent of American
          casualties, Hispanic losses were 6.2 percent, and majority whites accounted for 8 1 .2
          percent of the Vietnam War dead. These relative percentages are about what one
          would expect by examining U.S. demographics at the time.”

          Race, Gender & Class: Volume 21, Number 1-2, 2014 (195-210)
          Gender & Class Website:
          Social Stratification and Ethnic
          Mobilization: U.S. Military
          Deaths in Southeast Asia

          “African Americans—African Americans appeared to pay a higher price in
          terms of combat deaths in Vietnam during the early phases of American escalation
          compared to other groups. In 1965 and 1966 black soldiers accounted for
          more than 20 percent of combat casualties at a time when 13.5 percent of men
          in America between ages 19 and 25 were African Americans. There were reports
          that 40 to 50 percent of the personnel in some ground combat units were black.
          The U.S. Army and Marine Corps responded to the inherent inequities in these
          numbers, and by 1967 the African American casualty rate had dropped to 13.4
          percent and was below 10 percent thereafter….”

          The Vietnam War from A to Z
          Book Title: The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War
          Book Author(s): David L. Anderson
          Published by: Columbia University Press

          “The facts show otherwise. Between 1964 and 1973, volunteers outnumbered enlisted troops by nearly four to one. Nor did the military rely primarily on disadvantaged citizens or African Americans. According to the Report of the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force in February 1970, African Americans “constituted only 12.7 percent of nearly 1.7 million enlisted men serving voluntarily in 1969.” A higher proportion of African Americans were drafted in the early years of the war, but they were not more likely to die in combat than other soldiers. Seventy-nine percent of troops had at least a high school education (compared with 63 percent of Korean War veterans and 45 percent of World War II veterans). And according to VFW Magazine, 50 percent were from middle-income backgrounds, and 88 percent were white (representing 86 percent of the deaths).”

          1. Yves Smith

            Martin Luther King opposed the war in large measure because more blacks were serving and dying (which the text acknowledges in its backwards way: “A higher proportion of African Americans were drafted in the early years of the war, but they were not more likely to die in combat than other soldiers. “I wonder if his assassination contributed to the effort to reduce the cost of the war to blacks.

          2. juno mas

            “The facts show otherwise…” (This is more complicated than you think.)

            “Volunteers” outnumbered enlisted men during the period because the draft induced many men to volunteer for a military service of THEIR choice to avoid Vietnam combat! I have friends who chose the Navy , Air Force, Coast Guard (yes!), and the National Guard to improve their chances of NOT being selected into the Army or Marines.

            Those middle income draftees were quite different than the middle income of today. Even with the opportunity of a student deferment not that many men attended college. As ‘farmboy’ pointed out, jobs and a livable wage were readily available to white high school graduates. Many of those who survived military service then took advantage of the GI Bill to attend college. I lived with four of them. Only one graduated. (He ended up dying in a hail of bullets from a SWAT team after brandishing an M-16 during a PTSD moment outside his home. He was one of the survivors of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam.)

            The 60’s were more complicated than many imagine.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              In VA sponsored Rehab, i lived with a couple Black Vietnam Vets who couldnt quite shake Crack and Heroin. I had no idea how racist and fd up the Army/Marines were back then.

              Whether you make it out or not no one survived the Vietnam War.

        7. jonboinAR

          The “rhythm of the beat” (your words) was a deliberate attempt to turn the WASP culture, of which you seem to speak disdainfully, completely upside down. It was aggressive and hostile, somewhat passive-aggressive (“We’re not doing anything. We’re entirely peace loving. You’re merely fearful and reactionary. Your reaction proves our point.) The “WASPS” were completely correct to fear it as a threat to their culture. The current “rhythm” is an entirely hostile and violent, at least in terms of threat, attempt to complete the process.

      2. flora

        Great comment. My question is, as always: Who benefits? Who or what or which class benefits from this latest round of cancel culture?

        1. Fred N

          Who benefits? The ruling class, and their minions on the far right, as always.

          Squabbling about identity issues turns potential class allies against each other. People who might otherwise organize and correct the economic injustice perpetuated by those in charge.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the meat of the nut, right there.
            i’ve got more in common with the sheet wearing redneck, as well as the black people he torments, than i ever will with the silver spoon spawn of some gilded lizard person…no matter their pedigree.
            all of it…race, gender, sex, sports,right and left, dem/gop…and so much more…is specifically constructed to keep us fighting amongst ourselves, while our “betters” run off with all the pie.
            “cancel culture” is merely a sophisticated version of all of the above, designed to negate the utility of the Humanities even further.
            because those ideas contain within them the tools to dismantle Power.
            can’t have that loose in the world.
            that’s what happened in the 60’s after all…and They will never let it happen again.

          2. flora

            I think so. David’s comments describing the 60’s cultural protests as a phenomina of the ‘middle class kids mocking hard hats ‘ has something to this, imo. (Yes, there was *a lot* going on that needed addressing, even so…) The working class, aka ‘hard hats’, lost their cultural/political power in the country and Dem party by the mid-70s and the election of Carter. (Much to big business’s delight.) As if the labor movement didn’t set the economic floor or pivot point on wages and benefits for everyone, regardless of what one’s cultural/personal/religious interests were.

            Now Taibbi writes:
            It [cancel culture] spends most of its time constructing an impenetrable vocabulary of oppression and seething at the lumpen proles who either don’t get it or don’t like it.

            1. flora

              adding: the kids from the working class were drafted and sent to VN in much greater numbers than middle class kids. But, when the draft began to hit middle class kids there was an effort by some quarters to paint the working class as pro war and the ‘enemy’ of the middle class. This was not true, of course. The majority of body bags contained working class sons. But some interested quarters managed to make hay on the story that the working class was pro war.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Hard hat revolt? Good grief – I actually remember that. A whole bunch of guys turning up wearing them and starting a riot. Not as flashy as the Zoot Suit riot but you go with what you got. And just now I am wondering if it was an organic movement or one that was ‘encouraged.’ Still part of Nixon’s quiet majority – that weren’t so quiet after all.

                  1. flora

                    Encouraged. The then Labor leaders got a bad scare during the 50’s McCarthy red scare trials. Unions were always suspected of unAmerican sympathies by the GOP. So union leaders in the AFL-CIO were still eager to prove their anti-red patriotism in 1970, whether or not the VN war was worth continuing by that point, imo.

                    (The McCarthy trials and public hysteria was cancel culture on steroids, and cast a very long shadow.)

      3. bwilli123

        Woke Culture is the revolt of the Bourgeoisie. It has nothing to do with the “Left”, or substantive change to our Society. This is because the ‘woke’ believe everything is about form and appearance and symbolism.
        It is Miss Manners writ large. Holding your fork in your left hand will instantly validate you to people already in the know. Minding your P’s and Q’s ( through any number of ever shifting methodologies) has historically drawn a clear, signalling line between the great unwashed at the bottom, and the aristocracy above, who already have enough wealth and privilege for it not to matter.

      4. Yves Smith

        I have to disagree with you big time about women. My mother and her friends were mainly college educated (state schools) but came from working class families. It was a sore point with many if not most that they had no hope of any sort of career. My mother’s best friend in college had been at the top of her class, studied foreign relations, had good language skills, and she could only get hired as a secretary. She later became a very successful real estate broker. My mother loved working as a lab tech (on textile research that was later used by NASA) but there was no career path and women like her were expected to get married. Another one of my mother’s friends had a PhD in math (and she was from a farm family in South Dakota) and the only career open to her was teaching math in junior high.

        Now that isn’t to say they would have become career women, but they all wanted the opportunity to work, to show they had skills and understand how that world works.

        1. David

          That’s my point exactly. My mother, and all her relatives of that generation, left school at fourteen, and, between growing up in the 20s and 30s and being conscripted into the war, didn’t have time to get any more education. The wives of some of our neighbours worked at mind-numbing jobs like packing biscuits in factories or cleaning offices, not because they found fulfilment in doing so, but to pay the rent. Those women, born between 1920 and 1925, were the mothers of the sixties . Women with any ambitions to be thought middle class stayed at home and looked after the children – they thought it was irresponsible to do anything else. (Practically all women worked before starting a family, of course) Later on, of course, the same working-class women became childminders to enable middle class women to have brilliant careers.
          I was very lucky to be born post-war, and I actually followed the career path of decent education, university, Ph D etc, as did many of my female contemporaries from equally modest backgrounds; My point was that Taibbi was actually conceding rather too much to the wokeists with his facile “women in the home” comment, as though that were an indictment of the sixties. It was just how things were, and for that matter how most women wanted things to be. One of the radical changes in the sixties and afters the belief that professional women could and should work, even if they had a family. In other words it’s a generational thing.

          1. Pelham

            Can’t recall where I read it recently, but there was a poll of young women that revealed two-thirds wanted to be stay-at-home wives and moms while one-third wanted to work part-time or full-time outside the home.

            What I wonder is whether the women’s movement that has helped that one-third achieve (or come closer to achieving) their career aspirations has also contributed to the documented decline in male incomes. And that in turn has forced the two-thirds of women who would prefer to be at home to instead enter the workforce to supplement male incomes — mainly in dreary, difficult, low-paying, dead-end jobs (or, in the current context, essential jobs upon which everyone else depends).

            The plight of the one-third of women who want to play a bigger role in the world is real. I don’t mean to be minimize that. But so is the plight of women who are essentially forced into grinding, menial labor outside the home with no hope of relief or advancement (as in Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed”). And, if the poll was correct, they far outnumber the careerist women but dwell in a class of working Americans that is openly dismissed and despised by the professional managerial elite.

  2. dcrane

    Love the cat video – to me durian smells somewhere between rotting cantaloupe and rotting raw chicken. Yet somehow the flesh inside is smooth and tasty.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats my favourite antidote in a long time – and yes, Durian is delicious once you get past the smell.

      1. Olga

        True, but how come our smart felines have not figured this out? “Yeah, I can throw up a bit, but after that, it’s really yummy! Mieow, mieow, trust me!”

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          The reason may be that cats, unlike omnivorous dogs (and primates), are obligate carnivores (yes, I know there are cats that enjoy bread, etc.). And since durian smell is basically that of decaying meat, it hence triggers the ‘Mr Yuck’ poison aversion reflex?

          I have photos of my dogs curiously sniffing a fresh cut durian (which also instantly attracted flies) as if to say: “yummmm, what died?” They wouldn’t eat it though.

          I don’t mind it myself, having tried it socially with Asian friends decades ago. (Otoh, Mme. Function insists that she be in a different country when I partake).

          Pro tip: pour a little water in the empty rind and use it as a finger bowl to ‘destink’ your fingers. Works quite well.

      2. newcatty

        I haven’t really lol in a long time. That cat video was just hilarious. My cat was lying next to me as I watched and laughed. She thought that was funny, too, and she rolled over on her back, pawed up at the sky and wiggled her whole body. Yes, my cat has mental telepathy with me. I showed it to husband and he had a good laugh, too. We are sending it to our relative who also has a cat. They garden and are going to ask them if they grow durian in that tropical paradise, Florida.

    2. Bandit

      Most westerner will tell you that the smell of durian is nauseating, notwithstanding the comparisons to rotting meat or fruit. However, even in the Philippines where durian is sold on the streets and is widely consumed, passengers on buses or public transportation are not allowed to travel with durian (not always enforced) so overwhelming is the stink. On a personal level, I had just one experience of boarding a van wherein one of the passengers had a stash of durian. One whiff and I departed.

      Like so many places taste is dictated by culture. For example Hákarl, Iceland’s buried, rotten, fermented & dried Greenland shark.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Adding Tlingit stink heads to the list of ‘so many places’ where tastes and smells can be a, well…a surprise. ;) Stink heads are a kind of fermented salmon head. Fermenting done in a hole on the beach, traditionally.

        k’ínk’ — aged fish head, used in a sentence:

        Yak’éi k’ínk’ ýoox’ ýáat yik.ádi — “…The fish guts are good in fermenting stink heads…”

        K’ínk’i tséegi ñúnáý yak’éi — “…Barbecued fermented salmon heads are very good…”

        (source: )

        I grew up in a family heavily influenced by PNW/Scandinavian salmon culture, gillnetted all through my youth. Salmon cheeks are indeed a delicacy. Oldsters in the clan loved fish head soup which I can sample OK and enjoy from time to time. But Tlingit fermented stink heads…..sorry, cannot do. Do not want. Leaves all on the table for others to enjoy…. :)

        1. newcatty

          Speaking of cross cultural influences in a context of history and geography. Food is an interesting barometer of it. Imagine our society without other socities’ influence. A pungent example of this is cheese. Do you like feta, blue, ricotta, swiss? I mean good quality, not some cheapened version as made in some American factories. Speaking of the first sentence’s context.

          A relative, who served as a soldier in WW2, spent much of his time in Germany. As an adult, when he stashed his favorite foods in the refrigerator, he loved to include stinky Limburger cheese. As a kid I found it gah! He also loved to make hot German potato salad. Now that was tasty. Lots of bacon and onions. He said fried hotdogs with sauercrout reminded him of the times he spent with a certain girl. He never talked about the war. Just romanticized the girl. One story: he hid under her bed when those ” Nazis” showed up at the girl’s house. Her mom, according to him, adored him. She and her daughter lied to and cajoled the Germans until they moved on.

      2. Cuibono

        Funny. i rather like it. Admittedly the first half dozen times i ate it I held my nose.
        Now, the smell is so closely associated with the taste and the environs that it is almost pleasant

    3. John k

      Plant has interesting defense mechanism… make the odor stink so bad animals leave it alone, ie available as a goof source for its offspring.
      Humans have a very poor sense of smell, so some of us can abide the smell to get to the sweet fruit.

  3. rob

    the democratic party not legalizing cannabis is another reason not to vote for them.
    Not legalizing now, when it is a “no brainer”…. is pathetic.
    In the US…
    in some places, people can go down to the local pot shop and get whatever they want, they can grow at home, they can start a business….
    in other places… they can get busted, go to jail, have their car taken away, their home… they can be subject to the vagaries of the racist/ fascist police state…..
    But we are all americans right?
    it is like the tale of two countries….
    And the democrats wonder why they can’t just “whip” a fool like trump “the chump”…
    Seriously…. WTF?

    1. Otto

      Seriously, I guess you need to vote for trump as he for sure will legalize cannabis. Just ignore that fact that among other things he has put forth a motion in front of the SCOTUS to cancel health insurance of 23 million people and ending the discrimination by insurance companies of pre-existing conditions.

        1. edmondo

          WTF else do they have? They tried to get you to believe that Joe Biden is the next FDR, and you can’t believe that. They tried to tell you that Joe Biden is vibrant, focused and roaring for the challenge to take on a pandemic, a depression and a natural disaster of epic proportions all at once, but no one believes that crap.

          And God knows, Trump destroyed all norms by commuting Roger Stone’s sentence and the Democrats would never ever grant a pardon for personal gain.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Hey Otto, unless your sarcasm is way over my pay grade, I think rob’s complaint about not legalizing is that it would be a great way to mobilize a demographic to vote Dem across the board in the Fall. I can’t see a heck of a lot of stoners voting Trump but I’m sure there’s a fraction that will.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        So we should validate the guy who, when presented with a plan to provide “healthcare” for EVERYBODY that has the support of 70% of the population says, “Nah, 23 million is good enough. I gave you “pre-conditions” so quit your bitchin’ or that’s gone too.”

      3. rob

        Sorry Otto,
        I don’t live in the dualistic universe that people are fooled into thinking exists…. in my world there are alternatives as to who to vote for. I will vote green party again…. I have not supported the “two-party” trap for the last three elections… and I feel better for it. No more living with the shame of having voted for one of the establishment choices.

        And there is no reason to think the chump will legalize weed…. that is a pipe dream… he is a law and order type…. and A member of the establishment. Trump is in no way ” outside the two party trap.

      4. hunkerdown

        Good. Then they can fight the Democrat Party for not giving them single payer, and actually defenestrate the woke capitalism you’re making excuses for.

        We all know where MSNBC and Fox are, should we desire to care about the thoughts of bourgeois liberals who believe themselves entitled to direct society and never reply to their critics.

    2. divadab

      Yup. No way will I vote for these authoritarian fools and cowards and sellouts. Biden is the literal exemplar of the Dem party – sclerotic, mired in the past, absent any new ideas, corrupt actor in a corrupt system, on the take, contemptuous of any who dare disagree…..I could go on but why?

      What a flipping disgrace. Utter failure of leadership and governance and basic common sense. Where fakery and lies are the default. I just can’t…..

      1. Mr. House

        but but but voting for anyone but Biden is a vote for Trump! How i loathe that statement.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its not just a statement, but an example of the limits of “liberal” imagination. They actually believe (I would never accuse them of thinking) that this is an argument people on the left haven’t already considered.

          1. newcatty

            It’s been said before: may be paraphrasing

            Biden: If you don’t vote for me. You ain’t black.

            Albright: There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t vote for Hillary.

            Many women didn’t fall that disgusting hypocrisy and don’t predict many black people will either.

        2. JWP

          “would you rather shoot someone or be shot?”
          “id rather do neither” (assuming you have this choice)
          “well if you don’t shoot someone you might as well be getting shot”
          Same logic applied, doesn’t work out too well

    3. JWP

      A stark contrast. Fascinating going frequently between states where it’s legal and illegal. One day you’re being lectured as to how its a serious crime and dangerous to the public. The next you’re deciding how strong you want your edibles for the night. Same country. Not legalizing it makes me wonder if the dems are intentionally trying to lose.

  4. False Solace

    Florida reported 11,433 new cases of Covid yesterday.

    Meanwhile, in Orlando: AAU volleyball championship expected to bring 17,000 to Orlando next week

    “We are really excited to have events in our facility and we are so appreciative of AAU Volleyball and all that they are going to be bringing to our community,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “The industry is starting to come back and there is pent up demand.”

    I don’t care how many people pretend they’re going to wear masks to this. 17,000 people should not be flying into an infectious disease disaster zone.

    People just DGAF and won’t learn. I feel like cranking “Highway to Hell”. I’m on my way to the promised land…

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is….breathtakingly reckless that. And they will be flying in and out? I don’t care if they have been awarded an Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR accreditation. Do people shout at a volleyball game? Will people bother to wear masks after they take their seats? I still remember that mobile data map of the US showing all the kids who went to Spring Break in Florida flying all over the eastern States of the country as they went home. This is crazy this.

    2. GramSci

      Speaking of which, this accidental Floridian is currently in exile in DC, waiting with morbidly bated breath for today’s news of the much-heralded Reopening of Disney World…

      1. philman

        I live in the Orlando Metro zone, and once they started opening back up (way to soon), people started acting like the crisis was over– eating out, going to bars, etc., and not wearing masks. No surprise covid spiked, but our politicians are basically treating this like it is over. They also announced this week that schools will be opening as normal in August.

        1. Daryl

          Here in Texas, schools are still “on track” to reope. The guidelines I have seen are brilliant, for example one ISD suggested that it will close down if 10% of students are confirmed positive with covid, a point at which probably most of the school would actually have it.

          Protective glass is being installed in the Texas legislature; Abbott and other GOP brain trust members were going to attend their big convention in Houston remotely rather than in person. The message is pretty straightforward: go forth and die for the economy, knaves.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yeah. Texas is a mess.
            Wife’s an ESL/Spanish Teacher…who happens to have cancer…so it’s understood by admin that she’s gonna be a video teacher this year.
            but we’re a small school in a tiny town in a sparsely populated county…and everyone knows each other.
            I can’t imagine what it would be like if she taught in Houston or somewhere.
            and the idiocy of expecting already overworked teachers to do dual person and on-line…and specifically forbidding live streaming the in-person class to those on-line, lest the homebound feel bad…is just more sugar on the turd.
            and expecting teenagers or kindergartners to wear masks, not fiddle with them, etc is even sillier.
            I understand that Abbott has that radio preacher and his ravening hordes yelling in his ear, and all, but man…grow a pair!
            the latter gang of troglodytes used to be totally against public school,lol…not that long ago, in fact.
            hated the very idea of it…”indoctrinating our children into satanism and communism”….now suddenly, we must reopen at all costs and damn the covid?
            I saw somewhere how a bunch of Texas county gop’s are “censoring” the governor…for ostensibly being a tyrant, or something.
            I’m sure glad i seceded from Texas, all those years ago….

            1. marym

              Illinois was one of the first states to shut down. Despite federal inaction and obstruction, the governor was proactive on many fronts, as much any state. We were doing ok – testing up, positivity and cases down. Now we’re reopening. Testing kind of leveled off but cases going up again. The IL GOP also keeps whining and filing lawsuits against the governor.

              Saw a comment on twitter yesterday pointing outthat back-to-school proposals for social distancing and open doors and windows for ventilation are incompatible with active-shooter drills.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                lol. Yes…here, there had been an ongoing crusade against hand sanitizer. it was forbidden in classrooms!
                because terrists!
                now, the schools are buying it by the truckload.
                it was also specifically spelled out in the dress code: thou shalt not wear masks!
                thankfully, the windows weren’t welded shut…but i’m almost certain that there’ll be a deputy on-scene if we actually open, due to the whole shooter-thing.(we’ve had a few moms who stopped taking their meds…and one kid who also stopped…and either called in threats, or showed up waving sticks and yelling…i was glad they had protocols, in those instances)

                sometimes…and not only about this stuff…or even this year… i feel like a part of some minority that somehow retained their memory function, when everybody else lost theirs for whatever reason, and falls from the truck anew every morning into a brand new world.
                i mean, it was only six months ago!

                1. periol

                  “sometimes…and not only about this stuff…or even this year… i feel like a part of some minority that somehow retained their memory function, when everybody else lost theirs for whatever reason, and falls from the truck anew every morning into a brand new world.”

                  Man, I really feel this one Amfortas. For me it’s been about 15 years, but I’ve had so many nights where I’ve wondered if everyone isn’t taking crazy pills. At least when I hung around with drugs and drink crowd I knew what to watch out for.

          2. newcatty

            Well, they do learn!!! Remember when baby Bush, the Rehabilitated told us , after 9/11:
            Go forth and shop!

    3. Winston Smith

      At least that Trump rally in NH was cancelled over pretense of bad weather…that would have surely busted the good work of the state wrt COVID

    4. jr

      “all that they are going to be bringing to our community”

      Jimmy Dore is right, this stuff writes itself…

  5. PlutoniumKun

    China lays claim to a wildlife sanctuary, making it the third border dispute with Bhutan Straits Times

    That area is super remote – almost impossible to access by anything but long distance trekking or perhaps a jeep. Its also an important source for water for Bhutans run-of-the-river hydro schemes, its main source of foreign income, along with tourism.

    The Bhutanese have wisely for many years refused entreaties by China to build a direct road connection into Tibet. They know exactly what happens to countries with direct road links to China. The border is mostly almost inaccessible mountains so its a pretty effective protection, although in reality Bhutans connections with India are so strong that they would depend on Indian military aid if required (as occurred in the Doklam dispute). This area was never claimed by China before – there is no ambiguity about its status, there is a village there which is a well known end point for trekking tourists going deep into the wildest parts of the country. Its a very aggressive move by China, clearly intended to ramp up pressure on India – controlling the rivers flowing through this area would directly impact on Indian and Bangladeshi power supplies.

    1. JWP

      Not the first time China has tried water trickery.

      They have been trying to tap the Brahmaputra for years as well as using cloud machines to increase snowfall on the Chinese side of the Himalayas to increase their “share” of runoff and glacial meltwater. China does not have enough water for its population and I suspect these skirmishes at the border can be traced back to these water disputes. Sad Bhutan has become a target for they want nothing to do with that crap.

    2. Oh

      It looks like China’s fomenting trouble on multiple fronts to keep India guessing. Any kind of conflict in the pristine area of Bhutan would destroy its beauty and the habitat for many rare species.

  6. JohnMc

    re: stop being so sanguine

    “I start to actually smell death.”

    wow, hardly the dispassionate language of a ‘data scientist’.

    for another perspective on ‘the data’, check out michael levitt’s recent pre-print below. he thinks the virus is burning itself out. just one scientist’s opinion, but in this case, one who is a noble prize laureate.

      1. Otto

        Depends on what you by mean mutations, but in yet another paper published today or put online, cd19 has by found to act like HIV in changing its outer coating, which makes it difficult for the immune system to bind to it. Giving the amount of clotting going on that may seem odd, but that is resolved by the fact the the immune system is not only attacking the virus but and viral parts and pieces as well.

    1. Otto

      Einstein said “god doesn’t play dice”, so there you go another bad man doing bad science, or not. The article was about a given take on cv19 data. I’m not sure what “burning out” means in a scientific sense, but a note about science, for something to considered scientific others have to agree with you. And you need to supply some data in general to convince others. Reading the monograph I was unconvinced. Who cares if he has a Nobel, that’s like saying god told me the power ball numbers.

      1. JohnMc

        i’ll agree that a Nobel is no guarantee of infallibility, look how linus pauling went off the rails with his vitamin C advocacy.

        but should we care at all? i’d suggest it deserves closer scrutiny than other self proclaimed ‘data scientists’ who are hyperventilating and talking of the smell of death.

        Levitt put the paper out as a pre-print with the stated purpose of soliciting criticism. i’m sure he was looking for something more tangible than ‘i am unconvinced.

        “for something to considered scientific others have to agree with you.”

        really?!! my bad, i forgot that part of the scientific method.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “America Is Being Way Too Calm About Covid-19”

    At this point with any vaccine a year or two away and this virus now endemic to the population of the United States, the way things are going is going to be the way things will be for a very long time. How will this play out with people’s attitudes over time? Hard to say, but the thought of a smiling person saying “Have a Nice Day!” is going to ring very hollow indeed. Whether that results in people still being optimistic, becoming more pessimistic, or hopefully becoming realists will be interesting to watch. And you have to remember that politics is downstream of people’s attitudes. If you doubt that last statement, then reflect how people becoming more conservative since the 80s has led to the rise of neoliberalism.

    1. Otto

      Well today’s argument by ‘those’ that claim to understand things better than any of us is well, we Americans just lack the will to do what is necessary to stop infecting people. Which I believe is yet another enabling statement for being lazy. Having had 3 children and spending about 9 years of life changing diapers (not constant but over the course of), I find wearing a mask, washing my hands and avoiding crowds trivial compared to that.

      1. bob

        “Which I believe is yet another enabling statement for being lazy”

        How is this different from the right claiming everyone is lazy because the unemployment rate is so high? You are one in the same. We’d all be much better off if you would all go live on an island and try to tyrannize each other with your constant testimony of personal sacrifice.

        “Having had 3 children and spending about 9 years of life changing diapers”

        Because everyone really should be happy to learn about your $hit handling. Sit down and be educated, Calvin.

        1. Otto

          Oh, I’m educated alright. 1.My point remains wearing a mask in case you are infected is not hard. 2. We do much harder things in life. 3. One doesn’t get a reward for doing what your supposed to in the first place. As to your anger, I’m very sorry you are upset.

          1. hunkerdown

            4. It is no mark of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
            5. Neoliberalism is still a dangerous and contagious mental disease that has killed orders of magnitude more people than COVID-19, and quarantines are critical in stopping the spread.

    2. Keith

      I would not put much faith in a vaccine. Even after approval, it will take a few years to gain traction. People will wait to see if there are any unknown side effects which can take a couple of years to manifest. Then there is whether it is effective. Case in point is the flu shot, guessing the right strain is a shot in the dark, making it useless except as a profit vehicle for big pharma. I think the reality is the disease burns itself out or the population builds up any immunity to the disease.

      1. Librarian Guy

        Agreed, hopes for a vaccine are pie-in-the-sky, just a palliative for anxiety from the political classes.

        I’m not a virologist but have read enough to know that the belief in such a quick and effective fix is Cargo Cult style thinking. People think any and everything can have a techno-fix– we can fire oxides into the atmosphere to “reverse” CO2 based global warming . . . self-driving cars will work!! after another 2, 5, 8 . . . x squared # of years. The Jetsons’ flying cars are coming!!

        Fauci is a hell of a lot smarter than Herr Drumpf, but his claims that a vaccine could come in “a year” are based entirely on political demands and not on verifiable data. Such a baseless, feel good lie at a time of crisis will not help defeat the problem, more likely it will do the reverse.

    3. Jen

      A friend of mine is an elementary school teacher in Georgia. She is absolutely terrified about returning to the classroom, which she is supposed to do by the end of the month, with the kids returning to class in mid August. Another friend teaches elementary school in the NYC suburbs. She is also terrified.

      What is quite clear from the posts both are making on facebook, is they know exactly the position their state and local governments area putting them in, and are mad as hell. These friends are not loudly political, in general. They post pictures of food, pets and kids for the most part, and they’re getting riled up.

      1. Mr. House

        Who is surprised? When the media has for five months announced over and over that this virus will kill you, your dog, your cat, your cats flee’s, with a small break for rioting and tearing down statues, and then back to how we’re all going to die, who wouldn’t be scared? Only those who stop believing the media as some arbiter of truth and justice!

        I for one think its a mixture of two things: Fear and most people $*%&$#* hate their jobs

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Teachers get sick. Teachers and the Presidency are the only jobs with full time substitutes.

          I think there are different levels, but part of the current backlash besides the rising case problem is simply being confronted with the reopening plans. Some of the plans being put out make absolutely no sense.

          1. Mr. House

            Bar in pittsburgh reopened, then closed again, and now are allowed to be open and sell you booze if you buy food, but you can only buy three drinks, have to be outside, and the bar closes at 11 PM.

            Makes total sense! What would you expect from the lifetime hacks we have at all levels of government?

  8. Zagonostra

    -Jimmy Dore, last man standing

    It seems that no one calls of the outrages of the political class like Jimmy Dore. He spares no one, especially Bernie and the Dems. While other left leaning sites have yielded to getting behind Biden and pivoted to focusing on Trump’s daily outrage, not Jimmy.

    Some see his tenacity as destructive, I see it as key. Attacking Trump and Republicans is a fools errand that leads nowhere except further division, which of course works in the political class’s benefit. Going for the Judases of the party that putatively represent people as opposed to capital is the only logical approach outside attacking from the outside, like a third Party.

    Good to see Jimmy back from vacation and not letting up…advisory, expletives abound.

    1. Oh

      Bernie and the Dems deserve critisism. Bernie for suddenly dropping out and leaving his supporters in the lurch when Biden was not yet the nominee. I feel that he should have gone to the convention. He let down his followers the last time too. As for the Dems they’re bought and paid for by the rich and will never do anything for the common folk. They theaten, cajole and outlaw any member of the party who goes against them. Look how Pelosi and Schumer have made AOC, Premila Jaypal and others toe the line.

      1. Mr. House

        They didn’t make them do anything. All those people you mentioned chose to toe the line. Not sure about Premila Jaypal’s background but i’m sure AOC likes government perks more then being a bartender in NYC. In fact she’d be unemployed right now. That is the point Jimmy Dore was making, nobody is forcing these people to toe the line. Hence why he calls them spineless. What is so hard to understand about that? Also i don’t mean any offense and if any is taken i apologize.

      2. chuck roast

        I am curious what Bernie’s electors are thinking. What are they going to do? Go to the convention and parade around when Bernie’s name is put into nomination? Wear silly hats and tell the media how just everybody supports M4A? Be good losers? Bunch of f&^%#$g chumps you ask me.

        They should go to the convention, walk out and start their own convention. Form a rump party with three or four policies (only three or four is good, we are Americans after all). Go home and organize for 2022, and run against every Dem in the neighborhood. And, no I haven’t been smoking dope, but I think I will go and smoke some dope.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Nah. They’re gonna go and be good boys and girls for Biden. They purged anyone with the potential to cause any trouble. (Seriously, this is what they did.)

      1. HotFlash

        By whom? I would make the case that they are both truly awful, but in different ways. In 2016 Trump was an unknown quantity, so one could hope. And he did promise to bring the troops home. In 2020, both candidates are Col Sanders.

        1. Otto

          Trump unknown? He was on PBS in the 1980s. then in news all the time usually for something invidious. And I can argue Biden is infinitely better then Trump. I suspect your voting record is republican.

          1. IMOR

            No. No you can’t, quite apart from the casual misuse but comprehensible ‘infinitely’. Unless you think Biden’s actual voluminous 40-year record is the product of his or a loved one’s being held hostage. Also, no one in a position of power within the Democratic party has been dramatically, let alone ‘infinitely’, different than Trump in twenty or 25 years. Lastly, and this is from sorrowful observation of parents and friends, no one in or past Biden’s level of cognitive and physical decline will ever again be ‘better’ than…anything.

          2. Pat

            Biden’s record is largely Republican as well. He either was behind or gleefully supported most of the worst policies of the last half century. AUMF, bankruptcy “reform”, cutting Social Security and Medicare, the Patriot Act, NAFTA, GrammLeachBliley, and so on…

            Biden is equally as hideous as Trump, just slightly more “couth”. oh and just as corrupt (see multiple deals for son and brother). Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t bothered actually checking and is buying pyrite but paying for 24K gold.

            1. Oh

              Any warm body in the Dim party would lead in the polls against the Orange Monster. Biden’s the worst of the worst and will follow most of the Republican policies and call it bipartisanship. People who vote for either one of these crooks will be responsible for what we will reap in the next several years and the billionaires will laugh all the way to the bank.

            2. Librarian Guy


              Out of a (maybe misplaced) sense of fairness I tried to think of ONE thing that Biden ever did that wasn’t authoritarian, corrupt, racist, reactionary . . . I did come up with one–

              He came out for gay marriage a couple of days before Obama (& couple of weeks before Hillary), just as the polling showed momentum to go to 50.1% of the public moving there. That’s your Democratic “leadership”, folks. Biden’s faux folksiness might’ve had a moment of real contact with recognizing the suffering of others? I don’t know.

              But that wouldn’t make me support or vote for someone whose record remains 99.8% nasty, reactionary, and sociopathic. And like the Dems’ last loser candidate, everything shows that Biden will (a) make sure there is never universal healthcare in the US, (b) continue with NAFTA-TPP type agreements that destroy US jobs and prosperity in a race to the bottom, (c) shovel Billion$$$ to the Military-Industrial complex and attempt to continue to dominate the rest of the world for the billionaire classes.

              On the Pres. level, 3rd party is the ONLY way I can vote in the 21st Century.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                I had already decided….like 3 years ago…to vote Green for Prez if Bernie got the shaft again. Sight unseen, so deep is my loathing of the two headed beast.
                with all the chaos in my life since the Obama Night of the Long Knives, I haven’t even thought to look and see who the Green candidate was….and it’s not like there’s been some kind of full court press on the matter,lol.
                Julianna provided this link:

                i feel better about him than i did about Jill.
                he probably once sat two tables over from some evildoer at a dinner party or something(film at 11), but I’ll vote for the guy.

                1. John Anthony La Pietra

                  True — the court press would never give an alternative candidate full (and fair) coverage. . . .

              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                I knock Biden, but he does have a greater sense of the moment than Obama.
                Obama’s support, couched in states’ rights terms, came after the Prop 1 debacle and his Administration’s continued defense of DADT.

            3. The Rev Kev

              Jimmy Dore once showed a video clip of Biden doing a talk. Biden was saying that when he started in politics, that he tried to sell out right away. But when he went to the players to do so, they told him to come back when he was 40 and Biden thought that this was funny and a great story to share. He has been selling out ever since. If he makes President, then I have no doubt that he will try to privatize Social Security to Wall Street. If Trump tried to do that, you would see massive crowds in the streets. If Biden tries that, then the DNC will have their people cancel all those who try to protest.

          3. pjay

            A comparison of what Trump has *actually* done with what the Biden campaign *proposes* to do is bogus. As others point out, Biden has a long record. Based on this record, I’m hard pressed to find much on which Biden is better, and several issues on which he has actually been worse (from my own lefty perspective, of course). What Biden or his handlers *say* he will do in the future is mostly irrelevant.

          4. NotTimothyGeithner

            And I can argue Biden is infinitely better then Trump.

            Astound us. Make the argument. You have an assertion, and we can forgive hyperbole of “infinitely better”. Please, make the argument.

            With Biden, many of the golden oldies of Team Blue have to be tossed out such as “BUT THE SUPREME COURT”.

    1. elissa3

      Missing from the policy list is the imperial project/war. How do you think they compare on that minor subject?

      1. John k

        Every pres since Reagan has started a war in his first term. Except trump.
        I expect Biden will start one in his. And the bush warmongers flocking in think so, too.

        1. JWP

          Why start one when someone else already started 3 for you to inherit? The Military industrial complex has enough wars and coups to keep a century of presidents occupied as being “wartime presidents.” There’s a good chance that war he will start will be domestic in some form.

        2. Big Tap

          I’m surprised Trump isn’t running on “I’ve not started any new wars”. Of course he has expanded all the wars the U.S. was currently in since Jan 20, 2017. I agree that the Bush, Clinton (both) and Obama neocons that will join his White House will at least start one new war in the Biden administration. Also expect Social Security and Medicare may be privatized. “Grand Bargain II”.

    1. Keith

      I was visiting in the hospital over the weekend. One thing I noticed, doctors and nurses didn’t mask while walking the halls with a beverage in hand. Albeit, not a lot, but I also did not spend much time in the hallways. Also, nurses in nurses station did not mask, as it was their space. Also, in the patient’s room, I did not need to mask as it was our space. Not sure about ventilation, so maybe that is why masking seemed lax.

      Oh, it also seemed masking was not required when walking and talking on the cell phone, although I only saw one of those.

    2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Here in the UK Bojo is now hinting that mask wearing could become mandatory in shops, which in the manner of his government is likely another reaction to data, as they appear to be unable to be proactive in any way in regards to Covid-19.

      I am in agreement as social distancing in shops is now from my experience a farce, as illustrated yesterday when I wandered into a Marks & Spencers food outlet for a few goodies, only to find that the aisles resembled that of a Middle Eastern bazaar filled mainly with unmasked hot & bothered looking females.

      My mask & I made a fast exit while my tummy grumbled & cursed the day. I am next Saturday finally moving into a smaller place being a renovated fisherman’s cottage in a village with a nice quiet beach. I was hoping to do it in style but Covid lost me 2 good commissions so it will be very tight, but from what I have seen of the behaviour of many, I think I might well have timed it right in relation to somewhere I can much less expensively hunker down before the next onslaught – cue sudden & massive rise in sea levels.

      1. Carolinian

        The passed such a law here recently and it did help but seems there are always a few who will be defiant even if it means breaking the law–or perhaps because it means breaking the law. They probably think they are sticking it to the man.

        In your case best to just go early before they show up?

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I usually do go early but I was late as the person I am caring for who is bedridden had their playstation do a goodbye cruel world, which left me having to go to Belfast for a refurbished replacement. A big deal as I have to spend a few days packing & sorting crap out at the old place, so she needs the distraction to help her from feeling ” Ronery ” as she puts it in a Team America style.

          I am 55 miles away at the moment, which will be reduced to 7 from Saturday, making things much easier.

          1. ambrit

            We here in the North American Deep South (NADS) were lucky in that the local City administration was proactive in mandating masks in public places and customer limits in retail establishments. The mask rules were never relaxed, and in town, masks are seen everywhere. Out of town, (the boonies,) masks are a hit or miss proposition.
            This “seaside paradise” on the Atlantic or Irish Sea side of the blob of land? I read somewhere that on the Atlantic coast, due to massive rogue waves and ex-tropical cyclones, etc., the actual villages were placed up some hillside to avoid flooding.
            We have the Dreaded Pathogen. Now there are rumours of a new, much more deadly flue being seen in Central Asia. Finally, the Three gorges Dam is suddenly an “item of interest” due to the unprecedented rainfall and water build up in the Yangtze River.
            I do not know the reliability of the source, but it is not the only outlet making the claim. Something is going on.
            Either way, good luck in ‘weathering’ the Time of Troubles.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


              The Ards Peninsular which lies between the Irish Sea & the beautiful Strangford Lough. Gonna live as cheap as possible in a house half the size. which won’t be hard as hard lessons have taught me that the things that make me happy don’t cost that much.

              Ironically if the 2 commissions had come to pass I would have been wealthy by comparison, but there are other possibilities which if I net a couple of I will treat as bonuses but maybe splash out on a lens for pied flycatchers on the lough, while honouring my Covid destroyed promise to donate towards this hallowed place of truth & wisdom.

              1. ambrit

                Aye. It looks like a good spot to contemplate “The Good Life.” Plus, you’ll be within rowing distance of The Isle of Man and sanctuary.
                The hurricane Katrina taught us the futility of desiring material things for themselves. It is not a kensho experience, but more of a Twelve Step process.
                If ‘things’ get a bit dull, you can always start “seeing” lough monsters in Strangford. A lively cottage industry in mystery and adventure is always possible with the “impossible.”
                Good luck with it all.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          I’m in Washington State and I feel better doing my shopping runs now that masks are mandatory by law. I’ve yet to see anyone unmasked since the law came into effect in the stores. I really don’t want to shop at any store that lets people inside not wearing a mask.

    3. Foy

      In Melbourne Australia we have started realising the error of our ways and are now strongly urged to wear masks when shopping, on public transport etc by the Premier… Urging might get greater enforcement soon if the numbers keep heading the way they are

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good luck down there. Looks like Victoria will once again have to do the hard yards. I can only think of one good thing to come out of your outbreak there and it is this. Before, some were saying how we could open up the country completely and just deal with any outbreaks and should just accept them. Since the outbreak in Victoria has needed to have medical teams flying in from around the country and a dump truck load of resources, maybe some are realizing that dealing with outbreaks is not like dealing with a spot fires but more like major bushfires. So that maybe they will realize that eradication of this virus is the only way to go like they did in New Zealand and not just play footsy with it. Hopefully.

        1. Foy

          Agreed Rev. In the beginning Morrison said expect to have strong restrictions until Sept Oct. If only we have stuck with this idea instead of opening up ASAP (and Premier Andrews had of used proper guards with proper procedures), and had some more patience, with sufficient govt support for those affected, we might have had the whole country free (or at least very manageable) and be functioning normally internally with some travel to NZ.

          But we are now looking right down the barrel here in Vic and I don’t see how it doesn’t spread again to the rest of the country. I just found out a relative flew out on the very last plane from Melbourne with her 3 kids to Darwin last Wednesday before flights stopped, and is self – quarantining (not sure if I believe that knowing her) at her parents house in Northern Territory, as there is more freedom there, leaving the husband here to work. How many more like that? And she announced the fact on Facebook. It’s just nuts!

          And now the govt is also charging a family of 4 who can finally return from overseas $5000 for privilege of staying in quarantine hotel accommodation on arrival. I bet there is lots of people who have struggled to get back so far. I’m sure many of these will have money problems as it is.

          When sufficient support isn’t put in place everything starts to break down which is only helping virus spread. I’m sure using those private security guards for quarantine was a cost saving measure for the Vic govt, compared to using Military or Police, that has now cost a bomb. All those temporary non residents in Australia who don’t qualify for the COVID19 govt support and can’t get home are almost left with no choice to break the rules to survive. Ridiculous…

          I hope those medical teams are not required back in their home state any time soon, as they will then have to go thru 14 days quarantine themselves.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It was with disbelief that my wife and I heard on TV this morning that the Victorian government was going to send Year 11 & 12 kids back to school along with special needs kids. Are they serious? Or is that just areas outside Melbourne?

            From what I can see, there are three ways that you can deal with this virus since its going to be endemic to the world for years to come. You can fight it to extinction like the Kiwis did, you can open up early and try to deal with outbreaks as they appear (Scotty from Marketing’s approach) or you can do a Trump, throw your hands up in the air and say ‘What can you do?’

            Would you believe that NSW was pressuring to have 30,000 foreign students brought into the country at the rate of about 450 students a day? If we had shut everything down and just opened up one State at a time after they had cleared it of the virus, we could have been sweet. Instead, we listened to the business owners and now we have this outbreak to thump down. Maybe that will wake those business people up to the fact that eradication is the only way that they can go back to having ‘normal’ business again.

            Here is something I saw a long time ago – a timeline of the pandemic in Oz. Remember that useless Dr. Brendan Murphy – the chief medical officer for Oz? In March he was saying a two to four week shutdown called for by many commentators “does not achieve anything.” Damn fool-


            Hey, you keep safe down there, OK? Time to mask up in public and maybe go the disposal gloves routine. Good luck.

            1. Foy

              Thanks Rev!

              Yep they are sending the Year 11 & 12s back to school in the Melbourne. I’m not sure what the logic is other than the fear it will affect the Year 11 & 12s education standard this year if they don’t – Also some Year 11s do a Year 12 VCE subject and sit the exam for it at the end of the year 11 so they get 6 subjects done overall at end of Year 12.

              But I read the other day that at 18yos they tend to get and spread viral loads like adults. I think it will end badly with individual schools being closed down like a wack a mole game and teachers getting exposed.

              I wonder how much pressure Dr Murphy got from Morrison and co not to do anything and keep things open as long as possible. That 4 week shutdown at the time back then could have been gold. Morrison keeps trying to open things up, he was gung ho on keeping schools open when Andrews closed them, only for one day later infections to be found in some Melbourne schools. Same again on opening borders before Vic got out of control. And now it seems that Sydney pub has a cluster breakout, combined with poor logging of attendees in a register by the pub.

              I really feel Morrison was proudly following Trumps example early on eg saying he was going to the rugby on Saturday before shutting down on the Monday. I wonder if/when the conscience for Morrison and Murphy kicks in.

              It’s really surprising how few in power understand the ramifications and how early intervention makes HUGE differences…

      2. Basil Pesto

        I scoffed when this was announced this week. No mention of masks with the new lockdown order, which I found astonishing. Then a few days later comes the mask advisory, citing “new scientific evidence”. wankers.

        1. Foy

          Yep I couldn’t believe either that masks weren’t included in the new lockdown rules initially. Especially when they were locking down whole apartment blocks and keeping people in their apartments. If it’s that bad (which it obviously was) then masks were a no brainer. And the new lockdown was 2 weeks too late, the numbers were doubling two weeks beforehand giving an indication of what was too come. Behind the curve…

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Danish nod gives Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline fresh traction”

    I do not know who this Anna Mikulska from Rice University in Texas is but when she said: “The question is if it is worth creating another spat between the EU and the US — especially given that both have not seen eye to eye in recent years.” I think that she is nuts. The US is in the middle of writing a law that will specifically apply to the European Union in Europe itself called the ‘Protect European Energy Security Act’. You can imagine what Trump would say if the EU passed a law that applied in the US called the ‘Protect American Energy Security Act’. This may be why Denmark came in. That Brussels realized that Washington had stepped over the line and that if the EU did not make a stand, then the EU just may as well have economic and foreign policies written for them by Washington itself for the EU to pass.

    1. fajensen

      Denmark finally figured that it’s a better strategy to befriend the next-door neighbours rather than that rich, but crazy, uncle living way out in the swamp somewhere. :).

      But. I wonder what is going on.

      In the old days the USA would quietly get in touch with some of their CIA assets in the Danish central administration and/or in the government and let a word slip on what kind of policy they want to see. Like, for example, if the USA wants more “presense” on Greenland or something, it could be finessed.

      But not with Donald Trump insisting on buying the place in public or building an “embassy” there that nobody actually asked for. Not even the CIA assets are going to sign off on that!

    2. Olga

      When will the Europeans finally realise that no matter how many concessions they make to the hegemon, he/it will always ask for more… until there is no more of discernible Europe left?

    3. Oh

      It’s disgusting to see the US act like the bully it is by imposing sanctions if it doesn’t get its way or should I say if the Big Business interests don’t get their way. I hope these actions speed up other countries into alternatives to the US dollar in their trade.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The US is in the middle of writing a law that will specifically apply to the European Union in Europe itself called the ‘Protect European Energy Security Act’.

      How are we supposed to enforce laws like that if American passports don’t work because we’re quarantined? Serious question.

  10. George Phillies

    Sad case of 17-year-old who died….look at the list of co-morbidities. ‘morbidly obese’ in a 17-year-old did not happen overnight. American parents need to start taking more responsibility for raising their children properly.

    1. CoryP

      The kid had some sort of HPA-axis dysfunction. I took that to be the primary cause of obesity. It’s not specifically described, but some of those hormonal conditions overdetermine your body type.

      Not that other people aren’t fat. Or that choices don’t matter. Or that if you really want to blame the parents you could point to the social gathering and mask use…

      But reading that I didn’t feel like blaming anyone at all. Just seems tragic and the parents were pretty attentive, unlike some ignorant blurb I had read earlier of “religious crazies let their daughter die at a church meeting”—- or something like that. (Which had made it sound much more gut wrenching like those situations where certain kinds of fundamentalists refuse “obviously” necessary medical care)

  11. Billy

    Lovely description of the British Jay. Highly recommend Benedict Cumberbatch reading Keats Ode To a Nightingale.

    You think NYC rats are a problem with outdoor dining? In San Francisco, any bayside dining brings in the seagulls, which are large enough to carry off a half a hero sandwich, and which knowingly lay out streamerss of guano. Worse yet, a feces covered bum hovering over your sidewalk table asking you “to help him out” along with a threat of incipant violence.

    1. Winston Smith

      English poetry readings: also recommend Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare sonnets (his twitter account)

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Stewart does a great job with received pronunciation, but studies into OP ( Original pronunciation ) reveal that just about everybody now in the once British colonies & those with Irish, Welsh, Scottish & working class English accents would sound much more like they would have done in Shakespeare’s time, than those using RP which was largely a Victorian invention.

        Some of the dialogue in the plays including dirty jokes makes no sense at all in RP, but comes alive when OP is used.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              Thank you.

              All of the above must be very annoying to the Oxfordian snobs, who prefer the dilettante Edward De Vere whose known writing is shite, as the correct class for genius even if he died before WS had finished writing.

              The Bard with the accent of a yokel or a a pirate, heaven forfend – must be difficult to look down one’s nose in order to look up.

  12. drfrank

    Re the Stiglitz et al missive on CAC clauses in sovereign debt restructures and Argentina does not smell quite right. These clauses are intended to protect sovereign debtors from vulture funds, but it appears that Argentina is currently threatening to use the particular language of its contracts to defeat the rationale for such clauses and open a pathway to force creditors into future concessions against without their consent: the so called Pac-Man strategy. It is noteworthy that the statements of creditor groups led by Blackrock and others have mentioned the issue no only in connection with the current negotiations but also in connection with future lending to Argentina. Stiglitz is correct that what happens re Argentina will have repercussions in the world of sovereign junk bonds. There has been plenty of reporting on this, including:

    1. sam

      Thanks much for this interesting background. NC is always a good read but the best info is often found in the comments. We all owe a huge debt to Yves and her helpers for creating and nurturing this community.

    2. Susan the other

      I don’t think anyone should be allowed to the kind of venal tyrant that Paul Singer has been. But on a more optimistic note, I noticed in the margin to this Project Syndicate link an ad for Mariana Mazzucato’s new book: Toward a New Fiscal Constitution. Sounds good, if anyone wants to give us a quick book review. And the blurb under the title: “…after 4 decades of sacrificing state capacity on the altar of the market, Western countries are facing another large-scale crisis that has revealed the flaws of that approach.” How nice.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Irreparable Harm”: How The Flynn Case Became A Dangerous Game Of Legal Improvisation

    I have been reading snippets of this case for some time now, mostly to do with the shenanigans of Judge Sullivan. I think that whether this Judge likes it or not, the discussion of what he did will now become staple fare at all law schools in America for decades to come. Every maneuver that he did and every call that he made will be scrutinized by thousands of students annually and compared to what the law actually states should have happened. Who knows? Maybe future judges will say that they made a few bad calls in court that day but at least they didn’t do a Sullivan. :)

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      July 11, 2020 at 11:02 am

      Is there any other profession, where such obvious bias and numbskullery is so ignored???
      (I will leave out the original Epstein judge example cause that would give me a stroke).
      The job is judgement – yet such, such poor judgement. No wonder we can’t have police reform – when the police screw the people in the other tribe, its all good.

  14. Amfortas the hippie

    the LA Times thing on refinery communities around Galveston Bay.

    My Dad lives just south of there, in Clear Lake.
    From the 610 Loop to a little to his north…where this story is…smells like a cesspool, from the refineries and chemical plants lining the freeway.
    The article labels them “Working Class Neighborhoods”..ignoring their skin tone for once, notably…because they certainly are Working Class, in all their various hues(it stood out to me, because we talk about this all the time…this mainstream distinction between “working class”=”white”/deplorable vs everyone else).
    they also have some of the highest incidence of cancer and other assorted strange diseases in Texas.
    the water from the tap stinks, too…from unknown horribleness in the water…and one doesn’t eat the fish from certain spots in the Bay(TBF, this part improved from late 80’s to just recently).

    1. Tvc15

      Pasadena TX aka Stinkadina because of the refineries. Urban Cowboy. I grew up in Clear Lake.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        there was a DJ in Houston, long ago…Moby, I think…97 Rock(had to literally squeeze my head to make that item ooze out)…called it Pasagetdowndena all the time.
        I’ve called it that ever since.
        smells like the inside of some dead thing.
        folks i knew who lived there couldn’t smell it any more.
        still got weird cancers any way.
        Clear Lake was cool in the 80’s, i suppose, before it got so crowded.
        It’s better on a boat.

          1. Tvc15

            I remember Moby and his Pasagetdowndena. Clear Lake, Seabrook and Kemah were a lot of fun in the 80’s. Family blog Tilman Fertitta for ruining Kemah. Used to be many great distinct fresh gulf coast seafood restaurants and fun beer joints on the water. Reminiscing now…

            1. ambrit

              The Mississippi Gulf Coast was the same way. Then the [family blogging] casinos moved in and financialized us all to H—!
              We used to go eat at small, family owned and run seafood restaurants in Long Beach, Biloxi, Gulfport, and numerous other forgotten places. Some of the best Vietnamese food we ever had was in a hole in the wall place at Pass Christian, Mis’sip. We never were much for boozing, but there were plenty of small ‘joints’ to chose from. Now, the Coast looks like a cut rate copy of Las Vegas.
              Since the BP rig blow out, even the seafood isn’t as good as it once was. Lingering chains of carcinogens in the sealife.

  15. anon in so cal

    > Russia doping scandal (a little off-topic but in case anyone missed this)

    “Evidence Casts New Doubts on Russian Doping Whistleblower”

    “For five years, the sporting world has been gripped by Russian manipulation of the anti-doping system. Now new evidence suggests the whistleblower who went into a witness protection program during the scandal may not have been entirely truthful.

    ….On the surface, the proceedings seem like just another chapter in the endless Russian doping scandal that has gripped the sporting world for more than five years now. But the credibility of the most important key witness to the mass fraud is on the line, and if the court sides with the Russian athletes, it could trigger a domino effect, given that other cases are still pending. The three biathletes also filed a $30-million (27-million-euro) lawsuit in New York against Russia’s former anti-doping laboratory director, who lives in hiding in the United States. In their suit, they claim they are the victims of defamation and that their names, victories and honors have been vilified for no reason.

    Several pieces of evidence in the files from the Swiss proceedings that DER SPIEGEL has viewed in recent weeks seem not only to substantiate Zaitseva’s claims of innocence, they also appear to raise questions about the overall credibility of the investigation into the Sochi conspiracy and whether too much faith was placed in the account provided by the whistleblower in the scandal…..”

  16. jef

    “Pandemic Threatens to Kill More From Hunger Than Infection”

    SO we need a vaccine for that too?

    1. David in Santa Cruz

      Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak might have been “legit” if they were on behalf of the incoming U.S. government — but Flynn was acting as the agent of a foreign government, the State of Israel, in regard to a UN resolution regarding the illegal occupation and settlement of Palestine.

      Flynn lied about this to the FBI and admitted doing so under penalty of perjury before Judge Sullivan. Why? Because he was acting as the unregistered agent of a foreign government. The Flynn matter is about undue influence by a foreign power alright, but it’s not Russia! Russia! Russia! — it’s about the State of Israel’s improper and undue influence on U.S. officials.

      This affair isn’t quite over…

  17. Kurt Sperry

    Why Won’t Democrats Just Come Out for Legalizing Marijuana?
    The real reason is simple and it’s the same reason Trump and others their age cannot make that clearly rational political policy step. And the reason is one that won’t be popular here. The Biden/Trump generation grew up utterly bombarded with crazypants anti-cannabis propaganda and before there were any counter arguments publicly expressed. This propaganda was extremely effective among the dimmer minds and the cognitive impairment caused by the constant barrage of anti-cannabis propaganda was so profound that it stubbornly persists and likely in most cases leaves the victim in a perpetually irrational state of mind. Meaning the damage is likely to be permanent and irreversible.

    I know generational generalizations aren’t popular here, but this is a subject, like perceptions of racism or socialism, where generations were so damaged by the propaganda they were relentlessly subjected to that a majority can probably never again think remotely rationally or objectively about those topics. I’m talking permanent cognitive damage of a significant part of generations.

    I’m sure younger generations—all generations, really— too have their similar impairments drilled into them by propaganda that will leave many of them damaged and immune to reason or rational persuasion about certain topics.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I disagree with this. Its about power, not propaganda. Biden loves his prisons, but he needs an excuse to arrest people.

      Marijuana legalization subsequently has to deal with 3 strikes laws, the currently imprisoned, the police state, Big Pharma, and so forth.

      1. JWP

        Furthermore, there are no big business interests domestically in the cannabis industry so no profiteering can be had immediately. The largest companies like Tilray and Aurora are in Canada, and most growers and shops are small operations. Until the big companies swoop in, the industry would be largely dominated by local operations which has no appeal to either parties leadership. With no pushback from the industry, Biden is free to let his private prison and law enforcement interests lead the way of policy.

        1. John k

          Marijuana competes with both pharma and large distilleries, beer and wine. Money talks, congress and pres listen very carefully.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          I agree with both these observations, those are factors as well, but whatever the nefarious higher-level motives for cannabis prohibition being in place, the political consent was manufactured by spreading deliberate misinformation in the form of anti-cannabis propaganda which the vast majority of people of a certain age who were relentlessly exposed to it took onboard. I doubt that Trump or Biden are consciously shilling for big-business or the prison industrial complex in their staunch support for cannabis prohibition. Like the majority of people their age, they truly believe that cannabis is a dangerous gateway drug leading people down the path to ruin, a story they heard countless times in their formative years and sincerely hold as true.

          1. JWP

            I would take that a step further and say Biden/Trump/ old politicians use that “dangerous gateway” mentality to justify the policies supporting private prisons and big para/tobacco/alcohol. In their eyes by helping those lobbyists they are doing good. Would they support keeping it illegal without the brainwashing of years past? I would say yes. Corruption is a way of life and having an upbringing against weed is an added bonus in justifying corruption to themselves.

          2. ) Post author

            > the vast majority of people of a certain age

            Whatever that means. Let’s look at the link from Pew. For the population at large:

            Majorities of Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Members of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) continue to be the least supportive of legalization: Only 35% favor legalizing marijuana, while 64% are opposed.

            I’m sure the same sort of divides existed for gay marriage (now mostly legal). So a couple of problems for generational analysis stans: (1) opinions are dynamic, not static, and they change, (2) often under the impact of propaganda campaigns. Further, an account is needed not why the received opinions of one’s youth tend to dominate in age, but why they do not always do so. A generational analyst is like a virologist who can’t talk about immunity and mutation.

            When we start slicing generations up into smaller categories:

            The generational divide in views of marijuana legalization exists within both party coalitions. Large majorities of Boomer (81%), Gen X (76%) and Millennial Democrats (78%) say the use of marijuana should be made legal, compared with 53% of Silent Generation Democrats who say this.

            Trump was born in 1946 (hence, by definition, not in the “Silent Generation,” therefore a Boomer, where a majority favor legalization). Biden was born in 1942, but it’s not clear why he’s not in the 53% of Silent Generation partisans who oppose legalization; as I said, generational analysis can’t give an account of either man’s position on the issue.

            Like all paradigms derived from marketing, generational analysis is useful when you want to get individuals to buy something (including goods and services bundled into a lifestyle). It’s not so useful when you want to construct a collectivity with a coherent set of believes, that can act on those beliefs. (There is no Youth Union, for example, exactly in the same way, and for the same reason, that there is no Boomer House on K Street.) For that, more powerful tools are needed — as the debacle of the 1960s showed (a debacle at least with respect to disempowering capital, no matter the achievements culturally).

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Yes, I remember some of us here being hopeful that Trump, with no strong convictions other than feeding his own brand and ego, might ram through some surprising populist measures on the ‘Only Nixon could go to China’ theory.

        For example, score points with the Black electorate by mass pardoning nonviolent pot offenders.

        But Trump has instead chosen the status quo Repub ‘Law and Order’ (fear of the Other, compassion fatigue throw away the key) positions, and the riots have now locked him into that. And unfortunatley, releasing a pile of former felons back into a crippled economy won’t help or please anybody. The time for that was 2017. But RussiaRussiaRussia.

        …And as we know, the nonstop shriek from the entire Etats Generaux has made implementing any kind of radical measure extremely risky, as it will be automatically condemned, stalled and undermined, a la the Wall. Orange Man Baaaaaad!!!!!

        That cacophony also deprives him of the approbation he craves, beyond his existing base of roofing contractors and I-got-mine Reagan evangelicals. He does not in fact ‘welcome their hatred’.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This propaganda was extremely effective among the dimmer minds

      What is done with propaganda can be undone with propaganda. Bush left office in 2009. I would never have imagined that in a mere decade, the Democrats would have been able to rehabilitate him. But they have.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Said the reason is one that won’t be popular here. The Biden/Trump generation grew up utterly bombarded with crazypants anti-cannabis propaganda and before there were any counter arguments publicly expressed. This propaganda was extremely effective among the dimmer minds and the cognitive impairment caused by the constant barrage of anti-cannabis propaganda was so profound that it stubbornly persists and likely in most cases leaves the victim in a perpetually irrational state of mind. Meaning the damage is likely to be permanent and irreversible.

      It’s amusing to see how often the pose of brave truthteller is undermined by data. Morning Consult, “Most Voters Back Legal Weed, Say It’s Less Harmful Than Alcohol.” Here are the age breakdowns:

      Younger voters voiced a stronger preference for legalization: 64 percent of voters aged 18-29 and 69 percent of voters aged 30-44 said it should be legal. But there was substantial support for legalization among older groups as well. Almost 6 in 10 (58 percent) voters aged 45-64 said it should be legal, and voters aged 65 or older were split, with 45 percent in favor of legal weed and 44 percent against it.

      The reason generational analysis isn’t popular? It’s crap, that’s why.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Age-based* analysis is as crap or non-crap as the data say it is in answering any particular question where it might be applied. Humans being involved, there’s obviously a lot of age-based analysis that is poorly thought-out, lazy and shallow stereotyping or “crap”. Where the data so strongly support age-correlating differences however, like the cannabis question, it cannot be blithely dismissed. I don’t think any non-age-based or age blind analysis will be up to explaining the stark differences in attitudes correlating to age shown in my Pew link.

        *I don’t think people fall into distinct “generations”. People are born every year, not naturally lumped into discrete “generations”. The concept of these discrete, invented “generations” is mostly crap.

  18. Tomonthebeach

    It is a bit scary to observe, as I have the past 15 years,that the FDA and CDC (both created to protect the public health) have become so politicized and political that they can no longer be trusted. The only health institution that still asserts independence are the NIH. How that happened remains a political mystery, but peer review still rules throughout the institutes where I used to work before retirement.

    One clue is that the NIH does not make or enforce regulations. Big Pharma and Monopolized Health Service delivery (and insurance) are doubtless the key leverage points behind this catastrophic failure. they are the only industry (other than defense) that can legally extort its customers – pay me or die.

    Sadly, we are in a situation that screams for disease control and effective medications. Neither institution is delivering and people are sick and dying as a consequence. While we can justly pin this failure on Trump, the erosion started (as best I can recall) with the Bush administration and has slid off mission linearly since.

    1. John k

      Maybe beside corruption they’ve become turf protecting bureaucracies.
      Never forget to give incompetence it’s due.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      A good article but with the following pivot:

      Every advanced capitalist country has its own variety of Sanders. In Great Britain there is Corbynism, in Greece there is the experience of Syriza, and in Spain, Podemos.

      Good comparison, but here we go:

      The attitude of the SEP toward the Sanders campaign, and its cousins around the world, is based on a scientific, historically grounded Marxist analysis, which proceeds not from what political tendencies or individuals say about themselves, but from their history and program and the class interests they represent.

      Scientific? I like the rigor of a lot of Marxist analysis — Wall Street likes it to, for the same reason — but scientific? Really?

  19. jr

    Something just occurred to me. If one attempts to cancel cancel culture, isn’t one then taking part in cancel culture too? I mean, how do you escape it? You can’t cancel the cancellation, that’s cancel culture as well. Everywhere you look, cancel culture is canceling and even when it is in turn canceled, well, it’s thriving.


    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Personally, I have found the only useful strategy when facing a witch hunter’s accusation of wrongthink is the crisp Nassim Taleb response:
      ‘F@%& off.’

      Concede nothing, terminate all further discussion. Unfortunately, any politer form of evasion merely causes them to conclude that you ‘know’ you’re guilty.

      If that ends my relationship with that person, there really wasn’t much there to start with.

  20. John k

    A large group, 60-80, suddenly showed up at north beach, San Clemente ca… no masks I could see. We’ve had several Blm marches that started here – large train station parking lot – but we noticed a confederate flag, probably not. Seems to be a baptism ceremony that involves dipping/walking into the ocean… hugging, very close, did I mention no masks…
    Darwin never sleeps.

    1. ewmayer

      I was going to comment “cf. Marc Rich”, but edmondo beat me to it with link above.

      But of course Bill Clinton wasn’t the Most Dangerous President Ever, so his pardons-of-crooked-buddies were no problem.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the former Sanders team:


      Stone’s real problem is that he was wearing the wrong jersey.

      1. Off The Street

        Finance Curse still beats Politics Curse when it comes to avoiding even a possibility of jail.

  21. GF

    The New Pirates of Ancient Albion

    Great photo of the queen salivating over the stolen gold. Good article too

    1. Carolinian

      I believe when it hits 120 they close the airport (Sky Harbor)–too hot for the planes to take off.

      Which is to say the heat isn’t new alhough the full morgues may be. But wasn’t there another place that had much fuller morgues?….

    2. Foy

      “Moseley said the county morgue is currently at 96% capacity but reiterated that only a small amount of people who die of COVID-19 end up in the county morgue. ”

      So if deaths are up and the morgue 96% full, but they are not COVID19 deaths, what are they I wonder? Methinks unofficial COVID19 deaths…

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > …above-normal temperatures … expected to reach 116 over the weekend

      But it’s a dry heat.

      It’s easy to imagine another 1995 Chicago Heat Wave, with abandoned elders dying in their homes. I was about to say Chicago had no air conditioning, but I wonder how many Arizonans have turned off the AC to save money.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        People go to escape the heat in libraries or McDonald’s all the time, not just when the local governments have “cooling centers.”

  22. TB

    If I were J Edgar Hoover I couldn’t think of a better way to stop what looked like some actual progress of the anti-police movement than by bringing up, apropos of nothing, “cancel culture” for people to fight over. It’s the sort of cultural issue guaranteed to split the left right when everyone is basically on the same page. Why now?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’ve been asking why now? for a while, now.
      first we have covid…bosses think it’s no big deal, since they’ve been hitting the Masters Of the Universe Hookah pretty hard.
      then it’s a big deal, and panic sets in…above and below…so quick! close everything down!
      but that also shuts down the velocity/circulation of $$$, which hurts the Bottom Line/Stock Price(holy, holy)…and also puts a lot of the peasants into a bad way…so out come the MMT Big Guns(for bosses) and the MMT bb guns (for the peasantry)…soon, top 3 twitter words are “rent strike”, “debt strike” and “general strike”.
      within days, there’s that horrible execution video, and suddenly everyone cares about a black guy getting killed(why now? why him? what’s different?)…so get out in the streets like there’s no pandemic…then the peasants start burning cop shops, and eyeing the banks…suddenly, everyone rushes away from the cop shops and banks and tiffany’s to pull down statues, like this is iraq or something(why now? who led the first charge?)…so the peasants are mollified, and the bosses don’t care about statues(doesn’t challenge power relations)…meanwhile we’re opening back up, because the bottom line(holy, holy) must be served…but here comes the covid again…and the rent’s due, and the super UI is running low, and everyone saw the dumptruck of trillions down on wall st…and look! there’s several more dumptrucks down on wall!
      so here comes Cancel Culture(also not a new thing–why now?)…and trump dons a mask, and mumbles something at proper social distance about supporting Daca and here we are.

      I’ve felt both gaslighted and vindicated the whole time.
      I’ve seen a lot of strange and marvelous things in my 50 much so that my boys’ buddies think my life story is either a movie, or can’t possibly be true.
      but this, by far is the craziest six months of my life.

      this is also one of the best NC Commentariat Days ever.
      y’all keep safe out there.
      I’m off to medicate and hit the sack…excessive heat means Amfortas gets up even earlier than usual.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          adding to the dissonance: Davos Man comes down from the Mountain to issue a reversal of 40 years of Dogma, sounding like someone from the Bernie Campaign…that now we shall have democratic socialism and environmentalism that isn’t just greenwashing, and redistribution of wealth, and so on…
          like i said, strangest year.

    1. Daryl

      Well, they seem like nice people to live nearby.

      And of course it’s all very relatable, suing someone because the Maserati you bought from them doesn’t come with enough parts…

    2. The Rev Kev

      That birthday card saga was unbelievable. The only possible way that that article could have been more complete if it came out that when McCloskey was in law school, that he sued his law professor for not giving him a higher pass mark. A bully that is a lawyer – your neighbour from hell.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      That link contains the paragraph:

      Mark McCloskey said his sister had spread rumors that he had held their mother hostage on Portland Place, denied her medical care, made her sleep on an iron cot soaked in urine, and plied her with alcohol until she died. He also said she claimed he was connected to organized crime, had tried to arrange for a contract killing of his sister, and had stolen 42 pounds of gold from his father.

      Thank you. Thank you.

  23. VietnamVet

    Fifty years ago, is not really comparable today. It wasn’t until after Tet Offensive in 1968 that the realization that the war was unwinnable became accepted when Walter Cronkite said so on TV. The US Army then was very much middle class. Now it is mercenaries. Nearly 4000 contractors died in Afghanistan compared to 2354 service members in twenty years. It took a decade to kill 58,220 young Americans in Vietnam. In six months more than twice as many Americans (mostly unprotected elderly) have died in the 2020 pandemic. When New York’s hospitals nearly overflowed it was clear that the US response was an unmitigated disaster.

    LBJ did not run for a second term. Donald Trump and Joe Biden both cannot combat the pandemic, the greatest depression and civil unrest all at the same time. They and their staff are corrupt incompetents. The USA is sure to fall apart unless a bipartisan emperor is selected by the Praetorian Guard to restore the Republic.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The USA is sure to fall apart unless a bipartisan emperor is selected by the Praetorian Guard to restore the Republic.

      That would be Biden. I doubt very much that he’s up to the job. I also doubt that the Praetorian Guard, in the persons of the intelligence community, is up to the job. And I doubt that the imperial administration, whether domestic (Obama Alumni Association) or foreign (Bush administration) is up to the jobs.

      Concretely, suppose we ask ourselves what the Biden administration would do to get the rest of the world to lift their quarantine and make our passports work globally again. Can anyone imagine them doing the needful? Even with Biden’s “leadership”? I’m finding it difficult.

      1. Jessica

        Go to all the world leaders who would love to see Trump gone and get them to promise to keep USA quarantined until after the inauguration (probably not a hard sell) but ease up once Biden is in office (the harder sell).

        1. HotFlash

          Well, President Obama seems to be very persuasive. Maybe he can make a few phone calls.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Agreement incapable” has already happened. Despite all the “bad news” for Trump, we aren’t hearing stories about foreign leaders waiting for the next President or the “adults to return to the room”. Either they know what Biden is or have serious doubts about the general state of America’s bipartisan elites.

  24. Mareko

    I also want to commend the high quality of today’s comments, even better than usual!
    Regarding the piece on the Wirecard COO: From payments to armaments: the double life of Wirecard’s Jan Marsalek
    This is a quite fascinating, exploring Marsalek’s involvement in the murky world of Libyan politics, and a purported plan to establish a mercenary border force in southern Libya to control the flow of immigrants into Europe. I had to restrain the automatic eyeroll that arises whenever I see the letters GRU, but the indications of secret service activity and connections to Russian interests are certainly suggestive, given Russia, and the Wagner Group’s, well documented activities in Libya. Unfortunately the authors are so intent on pushing the Russia Russia Russia narrative that they are maybe missing a more nuanced and complicated picture: the company apparently at the heart of the plan is owned in part by Marsalek, but also by Saudi and UAE investors. In other words, the company might be a mechanism for covert cooperation between the Gulf states and Russia. It’s very interesting to ponder why any of these parties would want to be able to control the flow of migrants from Africa into Europe. Erdogan has perhaps started a trend!
    Marsalek himself is rather mysterious. His wiki page has very little information other than him being 40 year old Austrian software whiz:
    The FT article says he didn’t have contacts in the high society he moved in, without wondering how someone who has been at the top (COO) of a gigantic fintech company for 20 years wouldn’t have contacts. His great weakness apparently is a compulsion to impress, which is odd in itself for someone so successful (I would have thought), and this is where the writers find the most damning evidence of Russian perfidy. He was seen waving around leaked reports from the OPCW and those reports included the precise Soviet formulation for Novichock! Gasp! As everybody knows, the formula for Novichock is completely secret and “Leaks from the OPCW, one of the world’s most secure international organisations, are unheard of.” He could only have obtained them from a GRU hack!
    In perhaps a new record, the OPCW whistleblower scandal, which culminated in a briefing to the UNSC on 20 January 2020, has vanished down the memory hole in a mere 5 months! I don’t think we need to go into the “secret” quality of a substance which numerous people have successfully produced, including the Iranians IIRC. And in case you are wondering what the man himself is saying, according to Business Insider he has now disappeared!

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