Links 8/4/2020

Mother Cat Brings Her Ill Kitten To The Hospital, Medics Rush To Help Them Bored Panda (Phoebe)

Long Island goose rescued after being found strapped with explosives New York Post (J-LS)

Bill English: Computer mouse co-creator dies at 91 BBC (resilc)

Common crustacean turns microplastics into “nanoplastics” in days New Atlas (David L)

Wakaresaseya’: Private Agents Hired To End Relationships BBC

Statins may not slash the risk of dying from heart disease: Controversial study claims the cheap cholesterol-busting pills offer no ‘consistent benefit’ Daily Mail (J-LS). Not surprising. Statins are way overprescribed. Previous studies found they were beneficial only for people who had heart disease, not ones merely deemed at risk due to high LDL.

2+2 Never Equals 5 New Discourses. David: “Some wokeists are now arguing that 2+2 does not necessarily equal 4 because hegemonical discourse. This is not a joke.”

#COVID-19

Online Applications Open for New “Work from Bermuda” Residential Certificate Business Wire (UserFriendly). Note the only place I know up until now that provides for a self-employment visa is Mauritius.

Science/Medicine

WHO Chief Warns ‘There Might Never Be’ A Silver Bullet For Coronavirus NPR

FDA’s Shifting Standards for Chinese Face Masks Fuel Confusion Wall Street Journal

US

Why the Pandemic Is So Bad in America Atlantic (Dr. Kevin)

A woman who coughed on a brain tumour patient in a viral video has been charged with assault, police say Business Insider (Kevin W). Video here.

New rural hot spots are ICU bed deserts, study finds Politico (Chuck L)

California GOP Consultant Rues ‘Big Mistake’ That Led to Family’s COVID Infections Kaiser Health News. Former CalPERS board member….

Canadian Patrols Stop ‘Caravans of Americans’ From Crossing Border Rolling Stone (resilc)

Average Canadians Are Tracking U.S. Yachts Illegally Crossing The Border Jalopnik

UK/Europe

Germany debates curbing freedom of assembly after coronavirus protests DW

Reopening schools in September WILL lead to a catastrophic second wave of coronavirus unless NHS test and trace drastically improves, major study claims Daily Mail

China/Asia

Hong Kong turns Covid corner as new cases decline Asia Times (J-LS)

Hong Kong opens a makeshift hospital for Covid-19 patients at AsiaWorld-Expo South China Morning Post. J-LS:

HK’s response to its recent surge in cases: now up to 38 deaths, 3590 cases. Note that this facility is for those who have been discharged from hospital still showing mild infections and who are not yet ready to return home and frees up other hospital beds for more serious cases.

Japan Acted Like the Virus Had Gone. Now It’s Spread Everywhere. Bloomberg

Vietnam a victim of its own Covid-19 success Asia Times (J-LS)

Political Responses

Debate begins for who’s first in line for COVID-19 vaccine ABC3340 (Kevin W)

Finance/Economy

AstraZeneca Gets Protection from Future Product Liability Claims for COVID Vaccine Insurance Journal

Chart: How Americans Used Their Stimulus Checks Statista (resilc)

China?

Trump: U.S. should get ‘substantial portion’ of TikTok operations sale price Reuters

Chinese state media slams U.S. as a ‘rogue country’ for its planned ‘smash and grab’ of TikTok CNBC

Beyond TikTok: Who else might President Trump ban? BBC (resilc)

China’s Emerging Middle Eastern Kingdom Tablet

China Has an Unfair Advantage in the EU Market. What Can Be Done to Level the Playing Field? Bruegel

Beijing pushing New Delhi toward a hard choice Asia Times (Kevin W)

India

New Cold War

ATOMIC BOMBINGS AT 75: John Pilger — Another Hiroshima is Coming — Unless We Stop It Now Consortiumnews (J-LS)

Argentina Nears $65 Billion Restructuring Deal With Bondholders Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DHS Obtained Protesters’ Encrypted Messages, Used Them To Craft ‘Intelligence’ Reports TechDirt (DK)

Imperial Collapse Watch

I Was Wrong: Congress Isn’t Cowardly; It’s Evil! Antiwar.com (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Donald Trump bans H-1b visa technology workers on federal government contracts Economic Times (J-LS)

Trump Fires TVA Chair, Cites Hiring of Foreign Workers Associated Press. More H1-B visa war-making.

Many Americans Are Convinced Crime Is Rising In The U.S. They’re Wrong. FiveThirtyEight

We’re Tackling Questions on Rent, Jobs and Food Access at the Next Open Newsroom. Join Us The City. For NYC denizens. If readers know of similar resources in other areas, please pipe up in comments.

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

The Seduction of Virginia Giuffre Thomas Neuburger. Note how quickly Maxwell moved Giuffre to sex with Epstein compared to his NYC prep school targets. Another sign of how finely tuned this operation was.

2020

Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks The Hill

Ahem, this also makes clear Trump is out to lose all state and local government employees’ vote, but it’s a theory:

What a jerk but not a surprise: Obama omits AOC’s name while endorsing New York Democrats New York Post

Our Famously Free Press

Personal news: why I’m now leaving MSNBC Ariana N. Pekary (Geoff R, DK) blockquote>

The American West’s economy has a lot in common with Saudi Arabia Quartz (resilc)

Global Factories Increase Production but Overseas Demand Remains Soft Wall Street Journal

London Traders Hit $500 Million Jackpot When Oil Went Negative Bloomberg (vlade)

FAA Proposes Requiring Four Key Boeing 737 MAX Design Changes Aljazeera

Class Warfare

Elon Musk Says Another Relief Package Is Not in Americans’ ‘Best Interests’ PopCulture. Kevin W: “Because fuck him! And here is another story to say how we should always listen to his opinions: https://popculture.com/trending/news/stimulus-checks-elon-musk-relief-package-americans-best-interests/

I am not one of these people! I have enough trouble just getting my taxes done sort of on time:

Antidote du jour. Leroy R: “Wallingford Connecticut Bobcat”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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286 comments

  1. Martin Oline

    I was unable to read the article about the ineffectiveness of statins because of my ad-blocker, but am reassured nonetheless. I had a doctor prescribe some statin pill and developed muscle aches and weakness. The nurse on call told me to stop immediately and made a follow up appointment. The doctor chided me for stopping and said I had to “Man up and fight your way through the discomfort.” I never took the pills and never went back to him. It turns out he owned the practice.

    Reply
      1. Martin Oline

        I was unable to link to the article but I believe I found the source by searching for your quote. I also found this gem further down the results page on Statin-Myothopy.pdf at Bridgeport.edu: “Physicians were reportedly more likely to deny than affirm the possibility of a connection” Imagine that! Thanks.

        Reply
    1. Oh

      Read the book “The Great Cholesterol Myth”. The authors talk about the same kind of pain and other reactions. According to them, they have found no correlation between high LDL and heart attacks. They do recommend taking statins if one has heart disease..

      Reply
      1. howseth

        I’ve been taking various statins since 1997. Personal experience – they do not stop arterial plaque growth. I still take a bit – much lower dose than MD suggests – for it’s anti – inflammation effects. As far as heart disease is concerned – seems a crap shoot how your particular body interacts with the modern environment (which includes the ‘modern’ high carb diet. Diet changes may help (lower carbs)?
        Get a CAC (CT) heart scan – if you have no plaque – and you are 50+ years old, you certainly don’t need a statin.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, we’ve reported before that the total cholesterol level in women correlated with the lowest all factor mortality is 270. But some of us do have very high HDL!

          Reply
  2. jackiebasss

    The theory that Trump will lose all state and local government workers vote is bogus. I live is a strong republican part of NYS. No matter what Trump does people around here support him. You already see Trump 2020 signs in lawns. Many of the people I know are public employees and hard core republicans. They will always vote for republicans. In fact they don’t hide who they will vote for. It is any republican on the ballot.
    I agree with your comment about listening to what Musk says. He is almost as big a con artist as Trump. In fact I don’t care what a celebrity or wealthy person believes. To me they are just another person with an opinion.

    Reply
    1. Berto

      “Many of the people I know are public employees and hard core republicans.”

      Due to their overwhelmingly vocal support of “small government”, no doubt.

      Reply
    2. Carla

      “In fact I don’t care what a celebrity or wealthy person believes. To me they are just another person with an opinion.” To me, they are worse — because they are more likely to be invested (literally) in their opinions.

      And I hope Musk goes to Mars — soon — and takes Bezo with him!

      Reply
        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Republic of China (Taiwan) seems like a fairly attractive passport to hold these days. I’d live there in a heartbeat if I could.

          Our 52nd state; the 51st being at the Eastern end of the Med. The sun never sets!

          Reply
  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Donald Trump bans H-1b visa technology workers on federal government contracts

    This is not a bad thing.

    Reply
      1. John k

        I dunno. Isn’t the reason to create jobs for locals at the expense of temp imports? I see this as the right reason.
        Or maybe he’s doing it bc the election? Well, if the goad of elections isn’t to get pols to do the right thing, what good are they? Granted Biden doesn’t seem to be influenced in that way… but isn’t this the point?

        Reply
    1. GramSci

      A comment over at Automatic Earth says this is just PR. Because H-1b workers generally can’t get security clearances anyway, there are already relatively few H-1b workers on federal contracts. I can’t corroborate this, but it seems plausible.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        There are plenty of federal contracts that don’t require security clearances. Most are service contracts for computer services for these agencies.

        Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        >”Last week, The University of California fired IT workers, including a number of African Americans, in order to replace them with IT workers from India, charges members of the University Professional and Technical Employees-Communication Workers of America Local 9119 union.

        The UC college system recently partnered with HCL, a global contractor headquartered in India, which places workers in IT positions. UC signed a five-year contract to cut costs by outsourcing IT services and management….”

        https://www.blackenterprise.com/college-fires-diverse-american-staff-replaces-h-1b-holders/

        >Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements …www.nytimes.com › 2015/06/04 › last-task-after-layoff…

        Jun 4, 2015 – … sure millions of Walt Disney World ticket sales, store purchases and hotel … Many American companies use H-1B visas to bring in small numbers of … H-1B immigrants work for less than American tech workers…”

        Reply
    2. CloverBee

      The issue I have is that all of these changes are administrative. Why not just raise the minimum H-1B wage to $150k in legislation? These will all be rolled back by the next administration, Republican or Democrat.

      Reply
    3. Pelham

      I’ll join the chorus of agreement here.

      The problem with Trump is that he at least points in the right direction on a number of key issues and thus is arguably and mostly ineffectively right about 15% of the time. The problem with the blob (Dem and Repub) is that the 15% of issues Trump is right about (trade, China, work visas, securing borders, ending the many pointless foreign wars) are so lamentably important and the blob is so invariably on the wrong side.

      A return to Democratic and conventional Republican rule will be a return to managed, slightly cushioned national decline. An affirmation of Trump, however, probably means unmanaged and chaotic decline with the sole consolation being the chance to witness the spectacle of the Professional Managerial Class pulling the last of its hair out.

      I’m undecided. How should I vote in November?

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        “A return to Democratic and conventional Republican rule will be a return to managed, slightly cushioned national decline.”

        Plus, more worldwide mayhem. How many regime change wars did Obama initiate? 7?

        Reply
      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Try using the modified Debs principle: “I would rather vote for what I want and encourage others to do the same, so maybe we can get it, than vote again for what I don’t want and get more of it.”

        Reply
      3. Adam Eran

        First of all: How to vote. Answer: It only matters if you’re in a swing state. Florida aside, I’ve read it’s likelier you’ll be in a fatal auto accident on the way to the polls than that your vote will be a deciding difference in a presidential race.

        Second: “Secure borders?” WTF! We have been attacking our neighbors to the south for literally centuries. Between 1798 and 1994, the U.S. is responsible for 41 changes of government there. And never mind the military and political refugees, the economic ones are legion. Thanks to NAFTA shipping a bunch of subsidized Iowa corn down south, many Mexican corn farmers were bankrupted (the big ones were bailed out in the treaty). Sure, corn is only arguably the most important food crop in the world, and those little Mexican subsistence corn farmers were only keeping the disease resistance and diversity of the corn genome alive… But they weren’t making any money for Monsanto! So screw ’em!

        In the wake of NAFTA, Mexican median real income declined 34% (source: Ravi Batra’s Greenspan’s Fraud). One has to revisit the Great Depression to find a decline like that in the U.S. economy…and that prompted no great migration…Oh wait! the Okies!

        Anyway, those “secure borders” are only necessary because of the unremitting attacks by the predator state (the U.S.). I’d settle for the U.S. simply obeying international law….and for it to stop creating refugees.

        Reply
        1. Pelham

          You make good points. Mexico is entitled to secure borders, too. Number 1 task: ban US corn imports as the first step toward putting Mexico first. As for the rest of Latin America, we need to ditch the Monroe Doctrine.

          Reply
      4. neo-realist

        We haven’t gotten into additional foreign wars, but by tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran, Trump set the table for a potential military confrontation in a possible second term. The Iranians are got their nuclear program started all over again. While Trump knew that a war with Iran would be a poop show that would definitely cost him re-election, he decided to posture with tough talk and letting the MIC do their covert action thing. I read a piece in one of the Israeli newspapers where Netanyahu told some of his fellow ministers that Trump would not go to war with Iran before the 2020 elections. He could get a away with a poop show war if he doesn’t have to worry about re-election and I don’t think Sheldon Adelson paid for a mere break of the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

        He hasn’t gotten the troops out of Afghanistan either, but I suspect nobody on either side of the money party will do so either.

        You want a 25% cut in Social Security and 55% percent of the 2021 federal budget to go to military spending, Trump’s your guy.

        Reply
  4. timbers

    Trump Fires TVA Chair, Cites Hiring of Foreign Workers Associated Press. More H1-B visa war-making

    “The new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year,” said Trump, who lacks the authority to remove the CEO. “We want the TVA to take action on this immediately. … Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.'”

    Getting back to populism before the election. To bad is likely only that – another road show of the day. Or maybe just a road show of the split second.

    Of course there are more effective ways to give back American jobs to Americans. Destroying the H1-B legally by abolishing it, or if Congress won’t go along then strangling it administratively or with Presidential decrees if he can’t terminate it legally, is one way perhaps. You know – give it the Post Office treatment.

    Many large US firms that get lots and lots of taxpayer dollars – Johnson&Johnson, banks and investment firms gorging on Fed QE and endless market interventions (to name a few from personal experience) employ foreign workers that have taken American jobs. A broad based, thought out, coordinated campaign to have Americans get their American jobs back could be successful and widely popular among voters. But Trump is not thought out or very coordinated.

    So, if Trump can just take Tik Tok profits or make them sell, why can’t he drive a CEO of town…if Trump should want to do that, too?

    Full disclosure: I support terminating H1-B and related programs and restoring Americans to these American jobs. It would also be a good idea to focus on less skilled jobs by stopping foreigners from getting them and making them better paid. I’ve observed from a distance from past tenants how foreigners are brought into this country and get jobs that don’t go to Americans.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >“The new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year,”

      This is hilarious coming from a billionaire, or at least somebody that can be presented as a billionaire. I wonder when the 1->0.1% will start getting the idea that their wealth is as much, if not more in danger from world billionairism than say the 90-99th percentile.

      The 90-99th do actual work for the rich. But the lower rich are just prey. Many of us know or at least have heard of a company whose owner is great to the workers but horrible to his top level managers. It’s a weird dynamic.

      Reply
    2. Matthew Saroff

      I agree with you on H-1B.

      H-1B and L-1A visas primarily function as labor arbitrage, not for the recruiting of uniquely qualified people.

      If you want to fix this instead of abolishing it, I would suggest the following changes:
      * Make the cap monthly rather than annual, because small companies are less likely to know their needs a year in advance, as opposed to body shops like Tata Consultants, who know how many they will need in a given year.
      * Require that applications be bid on, which should make applications find their own (much more expensive) price point. This is one of the VERY few cases where a “Market Based Solution” works.
      * Create a bounty program for people who report bogus H-1B positions.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I, for one, am sick to death of creating more bureaucracy to “fix” existing bureaucracy that was created to be profitably gamed and abused in the first place.

        Abolish the “program.” There’s nothing to be afraid of. The country will adapt.

        Reply
        1. Matthew Saroff

          That would be my preferred option as well, but I was thinking about how to make a political minefield of it by sabotaging it.

          Kind of like what the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) does whenever there is a need for aid to regular folks.

          Reply
      2. Massinissa

        I have to agree with Katniss. It might be better to destroy the thing, see if that causes any problems, and if so, create something new and less complicated. Layering complexity atop more complexity to fix problems at least partially caused by complexity… Lets just not.

        Reply
      3. ChrisPacific

        Make them all or nothing. Expand and streamline the work category for permanent residency, abolish the H-1B category. Either they enjoy the same rights, privileges and protections as American workers or they don’t come at all.

        This would completely shut down the real use for most H-1Bs (power dynamics, captive employee relationships, and leverage against American workers) while removing the fig leaf cover story that it’s about gaining access to skills and experience not available domestically. Employers who need that can still get it via the residence path (in fact it would likely be easier than today). It’s just the ones who like the exploitative dynamics the H-1B program provides that would be shut down.

        Reply
      4. Procopius

        The H-1B visas already have a requirement that they can only be used to bring in workers when NO American can be found who can do the work required. When Americans are required to train their H-1B replacements, we need regulators to step in. This is not new. The regulators have been missing since 1990, when it was created.

        Reply
    3. Skip Intro

      Before abolishing H1-Bs, the country should rebuild an education system. Currently foreign governments pay to educate their students, essentially subsidizing US employers who don’t pay taxes to educate students in the US.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        When I first saw the headline, I thought DT has lost his mind for good. (In the electric industry, one can hardly get through a meeting, without hearing several speakers with heavily accented English (most often, Chinese and Indian, but also from other countries. A lot of this work requires heavy-duty modeling and quantitative analysis, and the perception was that there simply are not enough Americans with the necessary skills. All Independent System Operators (ISOs) hire foreigners.)
        But this news is different – at RT, it was stated simply, TVA was planning to replace 200 existing Am. workers with outsourced contractors. So it is not a matter of not being able to find the workers – in which case, I agree with DT.
        This is also ironic, because there’s been a push to strengthen cybersecurity of el. systems. Having a part of your IT system located in a foreign country would seem to defeat that.
        And as for that $8 million salary for the head of TVA – that is simply beyond belief.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Oh, and I forgot to say that i agree with you re the education system. First, build that up, and then prohibit foreign workers. Otherwise, it’s just a shot in the foot.
          DT forgot that the US was built by foreigners (incl. his own father). And who can forget all those PBS science documentaries, in which more than 50% of scientists were foreigners?
          In other words, lots of forgetting…

          Reply
        2. a different chris

          >with heavily accented English (most often, Chinese and Indian,

          OMG a long time ago, in the 80’s in fact, we had a Chinese engineer (really good) and an Indian one (not good at all, so obviously they promoted him to manager).

          They would get into insanely heated arguments during meetings. In English, but the thing that amused all of us was once they got really steamed we couldn’t figure out hardly a word but they seemed to understand each other perfectly.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            I’ve had that same experience (in my case they were Chinese and Mexican). I suspect some mispronunciations may be easier for non-native speakers to understand, especially if they relate to challenging features of the language.

            Reply
      2. TMoney

        The only shortage of trained Americans is “at the price your willing to pay”. Raise wages and see qualified candidates find their way to your business.

        Funny how capital hates markets that work for labor.

        Apple and big tech companies conspired to keep wages down. No one went to jail.

        Je me souviens

        Reply
      3. Pat

        AND require that special training be provided by the corporations themselves. Think of it as reviving the apprentice programs that were around until a bunch of tech companies figured out that they could claim American workers don’t have the skills they need even though the cheap foreign workers have to be integrated as well.

        So one time short term foreign worker(s) paid at American market rate plus 10%. They are there until the training program.is established and the first set of American workers make it through. After that say six months the visa(s) end and they are ineligible for any H1B1 vis But that’s as for seven years AND face a twenty percent penalty tax based on the profit in the annual report no exception if any jobs are moved out of America in that seven years for any departments where those visas applied.

        But that’s just me.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          Why not short circuit it, and make the H1B workers only job being to train the Americans? Once the Americans have “got it”, then they can go back… actually I wouldn’t mind keeping the good ones to train more people.

          I don’t in truth mind them individually at all, many are friends and more than a few have become citizens. It’s the wage suppression, which I can’t blame a good co-worker for. He/she didn’t make the rules, she/he just wanted a better job than they could get in India or wherever.

          Reply
      4. John Wright

        I suspect part of the lack of interest in rebuilding the USA education system is because educated workers can be found in other parts of the world and tapped by US corporations.

        Large corporations know how to outsource work overseas and how to in-source foreign workers, so the need to have home grown educated workers is less important than when workers were less fungible.

        Why would senior corporate executives be concerned about the US public school system that their children/grandchildren do not use?

        Small companies, those that are under considerable financial assault in this Covid-19 era, are not as able to use foreign workers, but these companies have enough problems to worry about before pushing for more public funding of a more educated workforce.

        Per https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/stem-employment.htm

        The estimated number of STEM jobs in the USA is expected to increase from about 9.7 million in 2018 to about 10.6 million in 2028 or approximately 1 million incremental jobs spread over a ten year period or about 100k net jobs/year.

        The H1-B visa cap is 65K/year, causing one to suspect only about net 35K STEM jobs/year will be filled by for American citizens if the BLS projections are correct.

        There will be some jobs provided by existing STEM worker retirements, so the net 35K new jobs/year should be higher.

        But a somewhat larger number won’t employ many new workers.

        Having an H1-B system in place helps keep the US education system in its current state.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Robert Cringley has written at length about how the contractors from Indian body shops are negative value added to their Silicon Valley users, but this has become a bad equilibrium like footbinding in China. No one believes they can stop even though the economics favor it because the investor prejudice in favor of this practice is high.

          Reply
    4. marym

      Full disclosure: I support immigration and a fair chance at citizenship for people already here, and tend to question almost any anti-immigration proposal.

      In this case I make the analogy with the ACA. The Medicaid expansion helped a lot of people. It didn’t solve the problem of the need for healthcare for all. The purpose of the expansion, and the ACA in general was to serve corporate interests. It made problems with for-profit healthcare worse or more deeply entrenched.

      Restricting H1B visas may help a lot of people. It doesn’t solve the problem of all the work that needs to be done in the US and all the people who need good jobs at every level of the economy. It’s purpose is white nationalism, the same purpose as that of restrictions Trump has proposed or imposed on illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, childhood arrivals, different forms of legal immigration and travel, temporary protected status, naturalized citizens, and birthright citizens.

      We need to be able to support a possible benefit but with a critical look at the agenda it serves.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        “It’s purpose is white nationalism…” Nationalism I can see. White nationalism? Of course not. America isn’t only white and the wage gains would benefit Americans of all race.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’ll leave marym’s comment about “white” alone, as timbers points out that is just silliness.

          But “nationalism”. Ah yes that despicable thing again. You know, where the government of a country concentrates on policies that benefit the people of that country?

          If one nation is hard working or smart or lucky with natural resources or strong enough with political institutions to raise the standard of living of its inhabitants….why that’s just not fair, is it. Must allow labor and capital to flow freely around the world so the standard of living is evened out.

          Q: will that mean that the U.S. standard of living will go up or down? Extra credit if you noticed that the standards of living in India and Mexico and Brazil and Nigeria and Indonesia are *much lower*.

          And precisely what action do we think that President Harris, the absolute queen of Silicon Valley pandering, will take on H-1Bs?

          Reply
        2. marym

          Yes, “wage gains would potentially benefit Americans of all races” just as the Medicaid expansion benefits Americans earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

          The Medicaid expansion is also an inadequate, means-tested, privatized program in keeping with the general neoliberal project, and can’t just be judged separately from harms done by that project.

          Eliminating H1B visas shouldn’t be judged separately from the general anti-immigration project, or other anti-worker, and anti-non-immigrant demographic policies.

          Reply
          1. timbers

            Eliminating HB1 is not anti immigrant. Unless your are suggesting HB1 is an immigration program? Good, because officially is is not.

            Eliminating HB1 is Pro worker. In this case, pro American worker, including those workers who have immigrated to America.

            Thus, eliminating HB1 is pro immigrant. If you are pro immigrant, I would assume you support eliminating HB1.

            Reply
            1. marym

              That’s a fair distinction. There’s an H1B-to-green card process, but I don’t know the extent to which H1B workers become long-term or permanent residents, or citizens. I should frame the argument as restrictions on H1B visas being tied to a broad set of policies of exclusion (Link) more than to any (if any) set of policies that support US workers.

              I’m opposed to employers using guest-workers to suppress wages and job opportunities for US workers. Trump is not (Link, Link).

              Reply
  5. fresno dan

    Mother Cat Brings Her Ill Kitten To The Hospital, Medics Rush To Help Them Bored Panda (Phoebe)

    Luckily, the Turkish people are known for their love and respect for stray animals and they provided the cats with the necessary help. The kitten is now fine and no CAT scans were required.
    ============================================
    C’mon man, even I wouldn’t have made that pun….OK, that is a lie. I would have made that pun, but I would have been very, very remorseful…well, that’s probably a lie too.

    Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Japan Acted Like the Virus Had Gone. Now It’s Spread Everywhere.”

    What probably did the Japanese in was the fact that the Olympics were scheduled this year. Right now in fact. So they decided to push the whole thing under the carpet and hope that they could hold the Olympics before it blew up. Tough luck for all those millions of visitors that would have come. Well now there is the devil to pay – and him out to lunch.

    By not taking active radical measures like Vietnam, they have lost the Olympics for this year and I cannot see them going ahead next year either. So they still have the pandemic running wild and no Olympics to give an economic boost. Epic fail on Abe’s part here. Maybe without the Olympics being scheduled this year Japan may have used a different strategy but now we will never know.

    Reply
  7. Watt4Bob

    WRT 2+2=5;

    I’m reminded of a episode in a book by Jesse Stewart, Taps for Private Tussie, wherein a rural teacher has problems convincing his students that arithmetic is useful.

    As the teacher and his students are outside their one-room schoolhouse, the local coal merchant stops to get a drink of water, and the teacher takes the opportunity to explain to his students how to compute the volume of coal that the merchant’s wagon holds.

    After measuring the dimensions of the wagon, they clearly understand it can hold 3 1/2 cubic yards of coal, at which point, one of the students pipes up;

    “How come you charge my Dad for 4?”

    Basic numeracy is the first line of defense in the war for economic justice, and for the wokeists to argue that mathematics shows evidence of cultural bias, or is involved in hegemonic oppression is to play into the hands of those who would, and do cheat and steal.

    Jamie Dimon doesn’t need their help.

    Reply
      1. vlade

        *SPOILER ALERT*
        The teacher in the video is clearly incompetent.

        She can’t even add 2,000 + 2,000, she says it’s 22,000, not 20,002,000 as it correctly should be! No wonder she’s fired.

        Reply
                1. WobblyTelomeres

                  Funny!

                  “This is the so-called ‘Milton’ gene (Friedman 1953), which goes dormant in other Humans as they pass through puberty.”

                  Reply
    1. savebyirony

      2+2=5
      Well, mathematicians welcome to the same world of intellectual manipulations were any male can say he is a woman (i.e. an adult FEMALE) or “feels female” (whatever that means in this slippery world) and poof it is so. Be for warned, it will not all stay strictly academic.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        Deep in the dark heart of mathematics resides Category Theory, which says that each member of a category, say, integers, has an identity function that basically returns the member itself. So, if the identity function of that 2 returns 3, you’re better off if you actually treat it like it was 3.

        That way world will be OK even in the realm of Arithmetic, since 2+3 indeed equals 5!

        Reply
        1. Ook

          @polar socialist
          I see you are a programmer :)

          But seriously, 2+2=10, because all sensible people count using a quaternary system.

          Reply
        1. ambrit

          Not many Americans get “poof.”
          Not many Americans I have encountered have watched Frankie Howerd either. Eddie Izzard though…..hmmmmm…

          Reply
      2. kevbot9000

        This is a set up for my favorite math joke: Two plus two equals five, for sufficiently large values of two.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I remember Isaac Asimov writing about how he astounded the Engineering students with his skill at mental math. He would announce, “1.99897 times 2.00013 is very close to 4.” They would whip out their slide rules (I’m dating myself) and verify his statement and stare in awe.

          Reply
    2. km

      1. Huey P. Long said something similar about basic literacy and numeracy when he established free night classes for adults. “We started them to school. They learned to read. They learned to work simple arithmetic problems. Now some of our plantation owners can’t figure the poor devils out of everything at the close of each year.”

      The Kingfish also commented that now that poor people could read, they surely would be able to find “Huey P. Long” on the ballot.

      Needless to say, the bosses and owners were not happy, especially as some of those (segregated) schools were for black folks, and had black teachers on the state payroll to boot.

      2. The whole “woke arithmetic” fiasco reminds me of the deconstruction wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. “OK, professor, if language is a coded tool of oppression and words have no intelligible meaning, you ever been to a McDonalds? Ever order there? Did you get what you ordered? Did you pay what you thought you were going to pay? Did they have different black people prices and white male prices?”

      Deconstructionists also enjoyed gross misunderstandings of physics, in particular Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and also Schroedinger’s Paradox, probably because neither requires much math to understand on an intuitive level.

      Fortunately, Alain Sokal (who actually understood math and physics, besides having impeccable lefty credentials) blew that apart.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        I bet, back in the day, he was known as a, a, a —POPULIST. wasn’t he??admit it now–confess your sympathies. ; )

        Reply
      2. Watt4Bob

        I remember the “deconstruction wars of the late 1980s“, my take has always been that deconstruction’s proper use is first, and foremost to critic one’s own work, and only secondarily the work of others.

        The “deconstruction wars” began when every second-rate thinker started believing that deconstruction was a magic key that allowed them to “win every argument“.

        So you ended up with messy thinkers never examining their own messed up ‘thinking’, but convinced that they could yell bullsh** with careless abandon because they had that magic key provided by Derrida, that could silence all resistance.

        As you point out, a gross misunderstanding.

        Reply
      3. periol

        “OK, professor, if language is a coded tool of oppression and words have no intelligible meaning, you ever been to a McDonalds? Ever order there? Did you get what you ordered? Did you pay what you thought you were going to pay? Did they have different black people prices and white male prices?”

        You know it’s possible for some words to be coded tools of oppression, and other words to simple tools for getting through life, right? Both are possible, at the same time.

        Did your prof really say that words have no “intelligible meaning” or is intelligible the word you came up with for it? Objective would be the word I would use, since words have no objective meaning outside of context, i.e. go place that McDonald’s order at Taco Bell and let me know how it goes.

        Reply
    3. Rod

      Trying to sell “woke” in america is, perhaps, a little different than selling it in, say, Pakistan, or Ghana, or Bolivia, or Laos, maybe.
      T Frank, in speaking of PMC capacities, alluded to this summation(from the article) last week:
      It is that postmodernism, particularly in the hands of the ideology of Critical Social Justice, is not at all interested in truth. It is only interested in power, which it will establish through its attempted revolution, which it in turn knows it can only achieve by turning otherwise intelligent, well-meaning people into “accomplices” by manipulating their good will, charity, fear of being disliked or ostracized, and, especially, unawareness of what is actually going on beneath the rhetorical tricks they’re being served up with intentionally limited context.

      I may have succumbed to Hegemony, but because I am busy trying to get through this life this moment, I am sticking with 2+2=4, and have made peace with myself about it.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        Yes, in most of the world you’ll have a hard time using your ‘subjective math‘ in the local markets.

        You want 5 potatoes, you pay for 5 potatoes, not 4.

        Reply
          1. Watt4Bob

            In that sense, I think one could argue that the advertising industry was the origin of fuzzy math.

            Which would embarrass the ‘critical social justice revolutionaries‘ if they weren’t actually ‘useful idiots’ as the author, James Lindsay suggests.

            My own take is that the bankers invented the trick;

            “Magic Math for you, Real Math for me”

            The advertising industry admired that and put a bunch of spin on it.

            Reply
            1. periol

              As one who studied both fuzzy math and fuzzy logic back in the day, I think it’s safe to say that both originated in nature. Life is fuzzy.

              Reply
        1. periol

          Most of the non-western world barters like there’s no tomorrow. It’s all subjective math out there lol. There are lots of places out there where, if you want 5 potatoes, after some arguing, you can get 5 after paying for 4.

          Reply
        2. Bruno

          In my young days (a few epochs ago), when I would buy a dozen cookies from the baker they always added up to thirteen.

          Reply
        3. ex-PFC Chuck

          Back when the woolly mammoths roamed North America a buddy and I were manning the Athletics Club’s snack booth at our high school’s basketball games. We charged a nickel for a pack of chewing gum but on a lark one night we started responding to the “How much?” question with “A nickel a pack or two for fifteen.” We were shocked how many people bought the twofer without thinking about. Only a few did a double take upon hearing our price quote.

          Reply
          1. WobblyTelomeres

            You were raising money for the kids. Having worked those booths (my boys played basketball, baseball, football, and futbol, of course I had my turns vending, washing cars, chaperoning, etc.), I know a lot of parents that would have knowingly bought two at the higher price.

            Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Or the young kid on the playground, the older kid would ask him if he would rather he gave him a dime or a quarter. The young kid always chose the dime.

            Older kid: “Look how stupid this young kid is!”

            Young kid’s friend: “why do you keep choosing the dime?”

            Young kid reply: “because otherwise he’d stop asking”

            Reply
      2. periol

        Postmodernism is interested in power because it is attacking the classical modern fabrications that claim truth but really consolidate power. Postmodernism at its core is a threat to the traditional power structure, so of course the traditional power structure fixates on the power it could lose.

        Reply
        1. David B Harrison

          Postmodernism is interested in privilege.Critical thinkers are interested in truth.P.S.This was posted as a reply to periol August 4,1:02 pm.

          Reply
          1. periol

            Postmodernism is interested in much more than privilege and power. Honestly, “interested” is the wrong word. Post-modernism is like whittling.

            I’d be happy to talk about “truth”, but first I’m interested to know what you think it is.

            Reply
            1. martell

              The word ‘true’ is used in a number of different ways. The following principle explains one of the most common uses: for any statement, p, it is true that p if and only if p. So, saying “it is true that 3 is a prime number’ amounts to saying ‘3 is a prime number.’ Here is another way in which the word ‘true’ is used: it is a synonym for ‘genuine,’ as in “a true friend.” So, that’s what truth “is” for the most part. Sadly, there is no mystery here. And nothing deep.

              A similar analysis could be provided for the terms ‘real’ and ‘reality,’ thereby answering philosophical (as opposed to scientific) questions like “What is real?” or “What is reality?” But that would spoil all the fun.

              Reply
        2. Swamp Yankee

          With respect, Periol, I disagree with this statement profoundly. I don’t think postmodernism is a threat to the power structure of late capitalist society any more than Aquinas-style Scholasticism (“How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”) was a threat to the power structure of late feudal society. Obsession with “naming” and ‘identity’ and subjectivity are almost entirely irrelevant to my working class, community college students who are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table. If you can be adopted by Harvard profs and major corporations, you are ipso facto not a threat to the traditional power structure — you have become it.

          For what it’s worth, the people I know from grad school who embraced the postmodern company ideology do very well for themselves; actual Marxists, not so much.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            Every large enterprise likes a clean, empty unit in which to set up shop. Bonus if they can move the cube walls literally anywhere they like.

            Reply
      3. caucus99percenter

        I agree with the quoted paragraph, but isn’t it from the “2+2=5” article by James Lindsay, and not Thomas Frank?

        Reply
      4. dk

        Lindsay points out, correctly if a bit uncertainly at times, that math like 2+2 summing to 4 is based on axioms which are derived directly from observations in the physical realm.

        These are not matters of opinion, and they unify us culturally because they are reproducible and regular observations. We don’t even need to have a language in common to use them. As many travelers may have observed, pointing and holding up quantities of fingers works, in part because the desire to transact is recognizable even if it’s not mutual.

        Epistemology sometimes calls these justified beliefs, but they don’t require credence, they aren’t subscriptive, they’re inevitable circumstance; they can’t be opinion, and they’re not there to satisfy us emotionally (although some like them and some don’t). Statements like 2+2=5 are insupportable in this context. But they appear to satisfy a desire to demonstrate rejection of social constraints, with the idea that constraints are bad.

        Constraints can be onerous and discouraging, and even deadly, but they are also prerequisites for any kind of order. We only exist because of stable conditions on the surface of a large but not too large planetary body whose atmosphere has a narrow pressure range and consistent composition. Those are all constraints, as is the tyrant gravity. Gravity is our good and loyal friend before and even while it’s our occasional foe.

        But one can go a long way these days without acknowledging, even to oneself, that these constraints are net benefits and cause our life.

        Belief, as a mechanism of reasoning, short-circuits evaluation and dynamic cognition. And education by rote relies on the belief that 2+2=4 is a human convention (the numeral notation is, the underlying meaning is not). Belief has been given credit and virtue in this culture that it doesn’t have. Political opinion is given credence separate from it operability. 2+2=5 is just a concise manifestation of this phenomenon.

        Reply
        1. Watt4Bob

          Belief has been given credit and virtue in this culture that it doesn’t have. Political opinion is given credence separate from it operability. 2+2=5 is just a concise manifestation of this phenomenon.

          Bravo!

          Reply
    4. dk

      Maybe Jamie Dimon already is one, always has been?

      Let’s use a commodity X for example. It takes $a in materials and $b in labor and $c in additional development, certification, storage, delivery, and logistic management costs to make an X available to an individual for purchase, and let’s say $a+$b+$c = $n. Yet we find that the price demanded for the X is $m, which is $p more than $n, an analogy to 2+2=5 where 5=4+1. We can find cases in our economy where $p is several time greater than $n (e.g., 2+2=38). $p is sometimes explained as the cost of the risk of investing in the production, and also that $p reflects demand for, and scarcity (real or contrived) of X. We can counter by asking how much the buyer is compensated for their own risk of time and effort to earning or accruing $n to buy an X, and that the demand for X is irrelevant to X’s real value and $p merely excludes buyers who can spend $n but not $m, to produce or maintain class divisions and privileges (by some arguments these are necessary for divine or philosophical virtue in a society).

      So it can be argued that 2+2=5 is already an existing proposition, and it is at least arguably oppressive and not liberating. And 2+2=4, while not addressing scarcity, is more self-evidently correct and honest. We might then further say that the $p could be applied to addressing scarcity, or the development of alternatives to X or X’s production and delivery factors. Those factors eventually include education.

      Reply
    5. anon in so cal

      > Don’t know if this was implemented:

      “A Seattle school district is planning to infuse all K-12 math classes with ethnic-studies questions that encourage students to explore how math has been “appropriated” by Western culture and used in systems of power and oppression, a controversial move that puts the district at the forefront of a movement to “rehumanize” math.

      The district’s proposed framework outlines strands of discussion that teachers should incorporate into their classes. One leads students into exploring math’s roots “in the ancient histories of people and empires of color.” Another asks how math and science have been used to oppress and marginalize people of color, and who holds power in a math classroom.

      If the frameworks are approved, teachers would be expected to incorporate those ideas and questions into the math they teach beginning next fall, Castro-Gill said. No districtwide—or mandated—math/ethnic studies curriculum is planned, but groups of teachers are working with representatives of local community organizations to write instructional units for teachers to use if they wish, she said.”

      https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/10/11/seattle-schools-lead-controversial-push-to-rehumanize.html

      Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Fascinating. So numbers going forward are required to have two new qualities: color and gender. Who knew?

          Sounds like we could have positioned the Mars Rover on the surface of the red planet even more precisely had we been using 1’s and 0’s that were brown and female. Noted.

          Reply
  8. fresno dan

    President Trump says he’ll stop evictions: “I’ll do it myself if I have to.”

    Uh, how many times has Trump said he will replace Obamacare with a big, beautiful health plan*?
    Actually, never. But Trump has said he will replace Obamacare with a less expensive health care plan for everyone.
    Now, I don’t know about you, but since the Trump health care plan has gone into effect, my sex life has improved dramatically….
    believing what you wish would happen… so much better than reality….

    *Trump really said he will replace Obamacare with a big, beautiful health plan – tomorrow

    Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I mean, he could always send BORTAC out to kick people out of their apartments, giving them some mellow ‘normal beatings/SWAT tactics’ usage after their somewhat-stressful stint in Portland beating up/gassing Moms, Dads, Vets, and Hippies.

        Of course, a percentage of that sweet sweet overtime pay they get will need to be skimmed off the top and deposited into a Trump 2020 campaign fund, natch.

        Reply
      2. Phillip Allen

        I agree mass evictions are likely his gut instinct, but he’s opportunist enough and clever enough to outflank the Dems from the left and win on the strength of it. Whatever he pulls out of his sleeve, it doesn’t have to last long – just past the election.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Trump has had ample opportunities to outflank Team Blue from the left without upsetting Goering. He hasn’t and isn’t likely to.

          Reply
        2. neo-realist

          Wishful thinking by some on NC. He tells you he’s going to do something populist then he does the opposite, e.g., ambitious infrastructure program was, in reality, a private sector initiative that nobody picked up the ball on. Just accept the fact that he’s three card monte dealing right wing conservative crony capitalist.

          Reply
          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Believing Trump clever is the exact same mistake as believing Obama played eleventy dimensional chess.

            Reply
      3. David Carl Grimes

        Is it true that homeless people cannot vote because they have no Home address? If they can’t vote, then millions of newly homeless people will be disenfranchised. Advantage Republicans. But the homeless might start a revolution.

        Reply
        1. Rod

          Can’t get the State ID without a physical address–no PO Box.
          Most Homeless shelters/organizations will let you use their address initially.
          But those addresses are well known to local Law Enforcement and Social Agencies.

          Reply
        2. Michael McK

          In California ‘homeless’ people can register to vote with a description of the place they consider their primary camp site/residence.

          Reply
    1. Quentin

      Goed Joke on us from Trump. First he has to clear this with his apartment- renting, slum landlord Excellency Jared Kushner, husband of the Manhattan Princess Yvanka Trump-Kushner. ‘All in the family’, might be Trump’s reelection slogan.

      Reply
      1. rob

        That is a fact.
        kushner and family seem to have plenty of exposure in the residential family market in multiple states….. I doubt for a second the kushner family has any intention of not moving forward with evictions, claiming the tax write offs and for giggles … suing everyone for something..

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      jeezus h. christ.

      Trump fires board members for replacing highly paid american workers with H1-B foreigners, says he’ll stop evictions single-handedly if necessary, wants to kill obamacare, or get out of Afghanistan and nato–all of which absolutely MUST be done by the way–and all he gets is knee-jerk TDS-fomented snark and derision for his trouble.

      If anyone wonders “why we can’t have nice things,” this bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you-because-it’s-Trump bs is why.

      Why the hell can’t anyone just say “thank you” or “finally?”

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        August 4, 2020 at 10:12 am

        Are you telling me you actually believe Trump even attempts to do the things he says? Trump fully understands that talking a good game Trumps doing a good game.
        Other than tax cuts skewed to the wealthy, and restoring big game hunting, Trump has done nothing, and INTENDED to do nothing.

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Having failed to convince enough voters in the rust belt that their troubles were actually their fault and not the result of decades of complete betrayal by the democrat party, the decision was made to nullify the presidency of the candidate they elected in the hope that an outsider would bring them some relief.

          It was always going to come down to this. The heavily invested permanent bureaucracy in the “intelligence” community, federal law enforcement, the department of “justice” and the corporate media threw their entire weight against the guy for four and a half years in an attempt to straitjacket him and it worked, and now he’s being accused of doing “nothing” and “intending” to do nothing.

          I have no idea what he “intended” when he became president and nobody else does either, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t “intend” for things to turn out the way they have. After the american people, who have been relentlessly propagandized and denied the opportunity to fairly judge him, he is the biggest loser here, having lost a reputation, whatever you thought of it, that he worked a lifetime to cultivate and, until four years ago, had stood him in good stead.

          I am sorry to see you and other commenters here jump on this bandwagon, fresno. This is not about Trump. This is a warning to voters never to step out of line again because if you do, we will crush you and the political horse you thought you rode in on. We do elections for only one reason–so we can call ourselves a democracy. Don’t get any other big ideas–you’ll get what you’re given and no more.

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            Katniss Everdeen
            August 4, 2020 at 5:01 pm
            The heavily invested permanent bureaucracy in the “intelligence” community, federal law enforcement, the department of “justice” and the corporate media threw their entire weight against the guy for four and a half years in an attempt to straitjacket him and it worked, and now he’s being accused of doing “nothing” and “intending” to do nothing.
            Sound just like an Obamabot, but for Trump…outside forces prevented Trump from acting…

            We do elections for only one reason–so we can call ourselves a democracy. Don’t get any other big ideas–you’ll get what you’re given and no more.
            Gore and Clinton both won the popular vote indisputably. I have never believed in the silly electoral college.

            I have a long record of NOT believing any of the bull about Trump being in cahoots with the Ruskies.
            If your going to say you don’t know what Trump intentions are, how is it that you seem to know Biden’s intentions? Maybe by what he says and than does???
            Trump stated in his 2016 campaign no cuts to social security and medicare. The advantage Trump had was his bald faced lying even exceeded all the other republicans, who refused to say unequivocally that they would NOT cut social security and medicare. Remarkable, all the other republican candidates were more truthful than Trump.
            I will give one reference, but there are about a zillion.
            https://www.fool.com/retirement/2020/02/21/trump-calls-for-social-security-cuts-for-the-4th-c.aspx

            Reply
      2. km

        “Why the hell can’t anyone just say “thank you” or “finally?””

        Because talk is cheap.

        Trump has had almost four years as president, and has has done none of these things. He only talks about them now, because he is clearly on the ropes, and trying to buy support with some unenforceable promises that can only be fulfilled after the election, after he has gotten what he wants up front.

        “They are offering us a post-dated check on a bank that is obviously crashing.” M.K. Gandhi.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          If only those big bad Democrats would let him alone rather than investigate for bull piles made up about Russia and obstruct him. I mean Obama’s excuses apply.

          Truth is I agree with you that he was never going to do this. But shouldn’t Pelosi and Schumer be saying “Thank You” and requesting immediate meetings with President to do everything in their power to make these things happen? I mean their voters want them. Oh…wait… Nancy and Chuck lie about what they want to do all the time … nevermind.

          Reply
      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        YUUUUUUUUP

        Have to admit that clip of Trump talking makes complete sense to me. Cities HAVE looted their local treasuries at the expense of poor residents who used to rely on the newly privatized public services. Like seriously. I try to never listen to any of his bluster, but…thats a winning Electoral Strategy, so…Props to Trump. Fn Demagogues. Cant live with them and cant live without them, AMIRITE?!

        I say Marxists and Tea Parties ought to take the Cities back in a Grand Alliance against The Empire.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Something along the lines of Paris in 1848 or 1871, or even 1968. It did work to a degree. The after effects lasted down to today.

          Reply
      4. Pookah Harvey

        Headline: Donald Trump bans H-1B tech workers from federal government contracts
        Trump’s decision to ban workers on H-1B visas comes after the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) said that it will outsource 20 percent of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries. Around 200 American workers were to lose their jobs over the next five years, said the order.

        Headline: Trump dismisses virus aid for cities

        Without federal aid to state and local governments, 5.3 million workers will likely lose their jobs by the end of 2021

        That’s why not to thank Trump. It is all for show. As Trump said himself:
        “When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in, they say it’s going to cost $75 million. I say it’s going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job.”

        Reply
          1. Pookah Harvey

            The House passed a bill giving relief to states and cities, it is the Republican Senate (supposedly Trump controlled) that has taken a walk.

            Reply
    3. Lark

      I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s not just his empty promises about Obamacare, it’s his empty promises about factories and jobs. All he’s thinking of is the next couple of days, believing either that the news cycle will move on (a bit difficult) or that he’ll just keep making empty announcements until the election.

      If there’s anything at all resembling a popular vote, Trump is going to lose because there will have been another three months of absolute economic, health and daily life disaster by the election. Things are probably in such a pass that he couldn’t fix them even if he wanted to – I guess if he announced a national shut-down and stay-at-home pay this week, that might work, but we’re basically out of time.

      And what’s more, I think he’s losing/going to lose enough of the wealthy GOP that it will prove almost impossible to win. People like Bezos, who are just accumulating more planetary wealth, will stick with him because national disaster doesn’t affect them. People who need to travel to maintain their business, people who are part of supply chains that are collapsing, people who are not benefiting from the Amazon/platform/impoverishment set-up, those people are going to want to ditch Trump, and Biden is a great candidate for them. If he can get a lid on the pandemic without too much change to the underlying structure of the economy, they’ll be happy.

      Reply
      1. Mr. House

        “If he can get a lid on the pandemic”

        If this was as bad as it was advertised to be, i think most of us would have personal exp. with it by now and would know the symptoms by heart. Instead i know as much now as i knew in march, and thats besides the fact that its all some of people talk about 24/7/365. So you’re contending this is out of control? When most of the population doesn’t know it “exists” in the real world? When this started back in march, other posters said give it a month or two, then you’ll see. We’re now five or six months in and i’m still waiting for godot. What this really feels like, is the ending of the movie clockwork orange. My eyelids are forced open, i’m strapped to a chair and i have to watch videos of covid 19 info every day for months on end.

        Reply
        1. nippersmom

          I don’t know who the “most of us” is you are referring to, but I know people who have/have had Covid, as do most of the people I know. I have acquaintances who have lost friends and family members to the disease. If you “know as much now as you did in March”, that’s betraying a level of ignorance I’m not sure I’d boast about.

          Does it not occur to you that the reason things aren’t worse than they are is that many people are taking reasonable precautions and limiting interactions? But I guess realizing that potential for cause and effect would require knowing more than you did in March.

          Reply
          1. Mr. House

            That is regretful nippersmom. I still do not know anyone, thankfully. A world population of 7 billion and a total world death count of 697,289. Does that justify the hysteria? I don’t have a horse in this race, but i do notice once again we’ve given up alot but i’m not sure what we are accomplishing.

            “Does it not occur to you that the reason things aren’t worse than they are is that many people are taking reasonable precautions and limiting interactions?”

            Why are you making me out to be a villain? Your comment has the feel like i’ve personally insulted you. I just stated what i’ve seen and what i know. You don’t know, i don’t know. Your personal exp. is different then mine. But according to the stats, it seems the majority will have had the same personal exp. as me. Yes the masks we all wear now, and the mistrust we show towards our fellowman prob have saved us all from worse outcomes. But what i asked in the original comment was, is this out of control? Do you think it is?

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              You forget that previous pandemics took several years to work themselves out. We are barely ten months into this pandemic. There is a lot of pain and suffering yet to come. Considering the truly novel nature of this virus, I wouldn’t even take previous experiences with pathogenic pandemics as a hard and fast guide.
              More knowledgeable persons correct me please, but I most closely equate this virus with Polio. (I worked with a man who was in one of the last cohorts of polio sufferers. He had the classic signs of affliction and had had to adapt his style of life to the physical effects. He was a plumber who pushed himself all of the time.)

              Reply
              1. Mr. House

                When did the media ever say this? Did they tell us is well reasoned tones that this may be here for a while and we really need to make some choices on how we want to handle it? Or did they scream and run around with their hair on fire telling us we’re all going to die? Its a felony to yell fire in a movie theater.

                Reply
                1. nippersmom

                  I don’t follow the MSM, but the news sources I do follow did not scream and run around with their hair on fire.

                  Reply
                  1. Mr. House

                    Ah but what do the majority of people look to for information? Even the alternative sites have questioned very little about all of this. I’m willing to listen, but the burden of proof and convincing isn’t on me. After five months i’m not convinced, just like i’ll never buy the mainstream explanation for 2008. I’m not messing anyones lives up. I wear a mask when i go to the store. Has anyone at naked capitalism ever explained what was going on in the REPO market from last year right up until the virus hit and massive QE dwarfing 08 was implemented? Does anyone even talk about that anymore?

                    Reply
                    1. Mr. House

                      If the viewpoints of those who post on NC were so important, we wouldn’t have many of the problems we have would we? You and I and the rest here, we’re just a small outlier. We aren’t who the MSM is trying to convince.

                    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      I have the same spidey sense feeling about Covid that I had when Obama was elected in 2008. That it was a setup.

                      I’m afraid if cooler heads are allowed to prevail then we will look back and discover that the lockdown killed more people than the virus.

                      As far as repo goes, the Fed discovered that absent a rising US stock market the U.S. Treasury market ceases to function. It took them exactly 11 trading days to recruit the US taxpayer to monetize the debt by entirely reconfiguring the relationship between banks and the state.

          2. Mr. House

            “But I guess realizing that potential for cause and effect would require knowing more than you did in March.”

            What is your problem? Why are you making this a personal attack?

            Reply
            1. furies

              Because some of us are also tired battling the anti-mask bs??

              I do agree with your observation, which is *yours*.

              In my rural county, no one believes it either.

              Yet. It’s just a slo-mo wave…that picks up momentum as it goes.

              Reply
              1. Mr. House

                “Because some of us are also tired battling the anti-mask bs??”

                Who is battling? For ever video you show me of someone arguing about a mask i can show you a video of someone being maced for not wearing a mask outside or another of a women in a walmart wishing death on a young family because they aren’t wearing masks.

                Crazy on both sides. I’m not on any side, but i am suspicious, is that so wrong?

                Reply
                1. Mr. House

                  “Yet. It’s just a slo-mo wave…that picks up momentum as it goes.”

                  That has been the generally response since march. Hence waiting for godot.

                  Reply
                  1. Tom Bradford

                    Who’re ya gonna believe? Most of the world’s pandemic experts, the Public Health bodies in most of the world’s nations, the exhausted, overstretched doctors and nurses in thousands of hospitals, and the undertakers in uncountable towns and cities, or your own lyin’ eyes?

                    Reply
        2. Wukchumni

          Talked to the mother-in-law of a friend who is a ICU nurse in the CVBB, and over 90% of those in hospital in Visalia on intubation are Hispanics.

          To me, that is a huge change in the way we view the virus. For whatever reason it has singled them out in terms of punishment, oddly not all that different than the 1868-69 Measles epidemic that killed close to 90% of the various Yokuts indian tribes in the same locale.

          Reply
          1. anon in so cal

            Mostly economics: Hispanics are more likely to be “essential” workers, forced to interact with the public in crowded spaces, forced to work side-by-side in meat “processing” plants, agriculture, etc. Also forced to live more people per square foot in dwellings, due to high housing costs and low wages. The tendency toward multiple generations under one roof is also cultural. Case reports often involve multiple cases in family units.

            “In Ventura County, households with multiple positive cases have ranged from two to 16 people living in the same household, including one home with 16 people sharing the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home”

            https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/2020/07/03/overcrowded-housing-contributing-rise-county-s-covid-19-cases/3278476001/

            Reply
        3. CarlH

          I personally know of several people who have gotten it, a couple of them severely. Are you saying nothing is real until it affects you personally? This attitude is a great summation of why we are in the situation we are in today as a country.

          Reply
        4. pasha

          my 79-year old next door neighbor died of covid-19 in may. two nurses i know got it, were out of work for six weeks or so, and are now back at their respective hospitals. we are only in the early days of this pandemic

          Reply
        5. Yves Smith Post author

          This is a textbook example agnotology, a violation of our written site Policies. I’d rip out everything you posted except the readers did a good job of taking you on. Take your toxic faux reasonableness elsewhere.

          Goodbye.

          Reply
      2. tegnost

        “People like Bezos, who are just accumulating more planetary wealth, will stick with him because national disaster doesn’t affect them.”
        You may correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure bezos is a democrat, although I can see how that might be inconvenient, as truths go.

        Reply
        1. Lark

          Yep, he’s a democrat – I was just thinking about how someone as rich as he was could in fact take steps to influence the election if he really cared about electing a democrat. I don’t think he does. I think he makes some small, phony gestures because it’s easy for rich people to be social-liberals-for-rich-people (ie, gay people, Black people, trans people, etc are all welcome if they’re rich and there aren’t too many of them in any given room, and if they don’t have any alliance to poor gays, Blacks, trans people, etc – any gay multi-millionaire is welcome if he doesn’t try to advocate for poor gay people facing actual discrimination, for example.)

          If Bezos were really a democrat in the democrats-should-not-be-basically-republicans sense, he’d want to get the world back to “normal” again. He could twist a lot of arms behind the scenes to make this happen, but he doesn’t. And that’s because he’s basically okay with Trump, as are all the other nominally democratic wealthy. I mean, Bezos is rich enough that he could practically single-handedly pay people to stay home if he wanted to end the pandemic. If the richest men in the world wanted to take extra-state measures to suppress the virus, they have the money. We could get back to the old, shitty “normal” if they wanted it, but they don’t.

          Functionally they are Trumpists; they just don’t want uncouth bigots making their dinner parties uncomfortable. They don’t care if the rest of us get shot by neo-Nazis any more than they care if we get evicted.

          Reply
        2. edmondo

          I’m pretty sure bezos is a democrat

          Well that certainly makes him more attractive…… (not). In case you haven’t heard, the Democratic Party doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about you either.

          Reply
          1. tegnost

            In case you haven’t heard, the Democratic Party doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about you either.
            I’m shocked,… shocked to hear this….
            The original poster was claiming bezos supports trump. I clarified that bezos is a dem.

            Reply
      3. John Anthony La Pietra

        I have a hard time believing anyone sees Biden as a great candidate — except those whose livelihoods depend on their believing it, or acting like they believe it.

        (Oh, yes, and some corporate persons residing in drawers in Delaware. And they can’t vote. At least not directly. And not yet.)

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          See, if Antifa were anything but a Democrat canvassing organization, they’d start on the lawyers’ offices in Delaware. How many other places in the country can you murder a million imaginary friends without a real life lost?

          Reply
    4. Mel

      “But Trump has said he will replace Obamacare with a less expensive health care plan for everyone.”

      And (except that the insurance companies would fight it all the way,) it wouldn’t be hard to replace Obamacare with a less expensive plan.
      The trick would be a plan that provided medical treatment to people when they needed it. We could really use a plan like that.

      Reply
    5. SubjectivObject

      Here Trump, do this:
      Stop small landlords [?</=20 units] having to make mortgage payments (or interest only payments) while they are unable to collect rent while tenants are unable to remain working.
      Banks are already covered; no worries there, right?.
      Capture a much larger electorate with that.

      Reply
  9. Anon4This

    Sorry but I have serious issues with the article on Epstein. The author clearly doesn’t have the background to have informed opinions on this.

    The title already gives a big preview. “Seduction”? No. I’m sorry. Try, “The sophisticated sexual exploitation of a vulnerable minor by two experienced serial pedophile predators”. The continued use of language in the media about child abuse that trivializes it, or worse, implies consent, is part of the problem. He uses this word repeatedly.

    Later he says, “This tale could have been taken from a Victorian novel, but I don’t think the non-rape method of wealthy men seducing girls — her poverty, their money and false promises — has changed at all since then. I don’t think it has changed at all in millennia.”. Really? For starters Giuffre was in fact raped, both legally and technically. I guess because they didn’t hold a gun to her head they can’t understand this? And yes, rich men have sexually exploited women forever, but this isn’t even gray area stuff here. It’s straight up sexual assault of a vulnerable girl.

    Predator pedophiles deliberately seek out vulnerable children, in this case from unstable homes, the foster system etc, because they know how much easier it is to get away with it. Also, children from these backgrounds are additionally more likely to have already been abused, making them “primed” to be manipulated again. This blog post offers nothing insightful.

    Reply
    1. Oso

      Anon4this
      thank you for pointing out the truth of what “Seduction” really meant in this article, as well as that it was in fact rape.
      Nothing i can add to your words other than they are insightful.

      Reply
    2. urblintz

      In no way do I excuse Epstein from his criminal sleazebag behavior, but with an interest for accuracy his predilection is properly named “ephebophilia”, not “pedophilia.”

      https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ephebophilia

      “A sexual attraction to a teenaged girl or boy who is not at the legal age of consent. Differs from Pedophilia in that said girl or boy has already reached and/or gone through puberty.”

      Reply
      1. Anon4This

        No, he’s still a pedophile, as well as an ephebophile, if you want to split hairs that closely. Among his victims were 12 year old girls subjected to rape, who haven’t even passed through puberty yet. Also, children from backgrounds of abuse tend to be emotionally behind their physical age. When you start using language that invokes “not at the legal age of consent” you’re starting to dance around whether being too young to consent was the issue. I’m sorry but these people were raping vulnerable people who were often physically children and certainly still were emotionally. Period.

        Reply
      2. Massinissa

        Theres a difference between Ephebophilia and Paedophilia in psychology, but legally Ephebophilia is also Paedophilia and thus treated the same.

        Reply
      3. CoryP

        LOL. I agree with you that this distinction should be more widely prevalent and also left unaddressed is the reasonably common male predilection for younger partners as seen in “trophy wives” and the top rated things on naughty picture sites.

        But nobody wants to be “But actually” Guy who brings this point up. Or comment approvingly, but I enjoy being gauche.

        As others said it doesn’t fully apply to Epstein. At least some of his heinous behaviour would still be criminal in jurisdictions with other ages of consent.

        Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      But which intelligence agency was running the rape operation, and why aren’t we talking more about that, which is the REAL important part?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        hunkerdown
        August 4, 2020 at 12:54 pm
        Because the rape intelligence operation was bipartisan. The congress knew, or should have known, but it is all plausible (or with competent media, implausible) deniability.
        Why aren’t we talking about water boarding Alexander Acosta about why he gave a sweetheart deal to Epstein – because that might give real answers. But showing that the government ran a sex trafficking operation, when there is an incessant yammering by the government about how bad sex trafficking is, would undermine their authority.

        Reply
    4. David B Harrison

      Why was a 15 year old working as a bathroom attendant?I thought that you had to be at least 16 to work public jobs.

      Reply
  10. a different chris

    >2+2 never equals 5

    Um, laugh away but go to your cabinet and get two cups of isopropanol alcohol..

    Add it to two cups of water. Did you get four cups? Um, no.

    This is probably why mathematicians are disappointing the guy. He is trying to make a point about something else, but he seems to have unknowingly strayed way out of his safe zone.

    PS: he does seem rather impressed with his own importance, doesn’t he?

    Reply
    1. flora

      I thought it was a pretty good article. I’ve seen way too much of this sort of argumentative cleverness-disguised-as-deep-thought on my campus, especially in the last 10 years.

      ( I guess some academics are desperate to find any edgy distinction that will elevate them in the eyes of hiring committees from the teaming crowd of other academics trying to get a tenured position. )

      Reply
    2. Laputan

      He has a PhD in mathematics and clearly addresses your conundrum here:

      You cannot add an apple to an orange without reclassifying them both in the same terms, like as fruit. This is important in physical applications, say like describing the acceleration of an object, because acceleration only means anything in terms of how the rate of change of position changes in time (i.e., say, how does the speed in {meters per second} change per second). You can’t directly add an acceleration (with those units) to a velocity (with other units) because it doesn’t mean anything. Thus, addition requires similarity of units.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          s/ Stop trying to fool us Wuk. In Colorado, “Orange Apple” is code for a cross graft of cannabis root stock with hops vine. It stems, (pun intended,) from Burgess’s “Clockwork Orange.” /s
          Disclaimer: All facts used in the comment are fictitious. Any resemblance between the comment ‘facts’ and any real facts is accidental.

          Reply
      1. a different chris

        Ok, change my post to “other mathematicians”.

        And I don’t by that point have any idea what he is going on about. I mean, he started with something he thought was cutesy “hey 2+2 = 4 but these guys deny it!” and then… omg I don’t even know what he was doing or who actually he was addressing.

        I think he needs to chop that thing down by 1/3. He must be the most left-brained person in the entire world.

        PS: the word “conundrum”, I do not think it means what you think it means. And I think my example was way better than his 100 plus words about apples and velocity you quoted.

        Reply
        1. Laputan

          conundrum – a confusing and difficult problem or question.

          I take it you didn’t actually read the article. I 100% agree that it’s too long and pedantic but it’s pretty clear what he’s talking about.

          Reply
      2. witters

        Thanks for that Laputan. Whence the urge to deny 2+2=4, let alone make it =5? I suspect it a claim for special (ultimately ‘spiritual’) insight ‘deeper’ than any mere mathematical truth. Perhaps that makes it religious.

        Reply
    3. Chris Hargens

      Although I agree that he does seem to be rather impressed with his own importance, I think he addresses this issue, at least indirectly, in his discussion of adding apples to oranges. As he elaborates further on, the confusion and, hence willful misrepresentation, stems from a kind of linguistic sleight-of-hand — in this case, mixing and adding mixed to together. BTW, adding/mixing two cups of poppy seeds to two cups of whole walnuts doesn’t get you four cups either — the space between. But if I were to place two cups of something on an empty table and then add two cups of something else next to them, I would assuredly have four cups of something on that table.

      Reply
    4. Mel

      The larger point about hegemony has legs. If somebody is asking you about the truth value of “2+2=4”,
      1) Who are they?
      2) Why are you obliged to answer?
      3) Who judges the validity of your answer?

      The same goes for “Does 2+2=5?”, or “Is 2+2=6 an instrument of hegemony?”
      In any of these instances, what is the game going on here?

      Reply
        1. Mel

          Maybe it’s a maths test, and maybe it isn’t. Examining the game is the way to tell.

          There’s a pre-civil-rights-movement joke about a guy, not in China, who registers to vote, and has to pass a literacy test. They give him a Chinese newspaper, “Can you read that? Can you say what that means?” “Sure can,” the guy says. “It means there’s [a guy here] who won’t get to vote.”

          Reply
  11. allan

    Re: “What a jerk but not a surprise: Obama omits AOC’s name while endorsing New York Democrats New York Post”

    1. Yes, jerky.

    but:

    2. This *is* Murdoch’s NY Post, which has given AOC the full Corbyn ever since it dawned on them that she isn’t just another pretty face, and runs at least one (often more) hit piece on her per day..

    3. Endorsement lists, especially at this late date, are vanity projects that are more about the endorser buffing his/her image than anything else. And that is where O’s list gets interesting:

    4. Along with terrible centrists like Jason Crow (CO-06), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Max Rose (NY-11),
    Joe Cunningham (SC-01) and Elaine Luria (VA-02),
    and performative endorsements of progressives who (like AOC) are in totally safe districts and don’t need his help, like Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) and Mondaire Jones (NY-17), there are some actual progressives in tight races,
    like Kara Eastman (NE-02) and Dana Balter (NY-24), for whom an endorsement from O might help.

    5. And some non-endorsements stick out, like super centrist member of the Problem Solvers Caucus,
    Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), who you would think would be O’s type.

    Reply
  12. Terry Flynn

    re 2+2 doesn’t equal 5. Whilst my best friend (working in academia in Japan looking at historical narratives etc) does have a point that post-modernism has SOME role in societal discourse, even he would nod and a laugh at the premise.

    In base 10 (And various other bases) it is simply TRUE BY DEFINITION THAT 2+2=4 (etc). This is like the MMT “balance sheets must balance” idea as well as their more complex concepts that the “public debt = the non-public surplus”. True by definition. The mathematical identity relationship – much stronger than “science – even your 6 sigma ideas – holds no matter what. Attempts to attack ideas by “moving the goalposts” (in terms of their definition) drive me mad and seem like regression to pre-Aristotleiam ideas and the like.

    Reply
  13. tomk

    I tried reading the James Lindsay piece (2+2 never equals 5) and found it to be a long-winded and confused. There are honest arguments and discussions to be had on social justice, postmodernism, and critical theory, but this seemed to consist of mostly of cherry picking and willful misunderstanding.

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      I think you’re pushing up against the nature of postmodernism, which is an isn’t, not an is–to be postmodern for a moment. It negates, decontexualizes, unmakes meanings. The awful thing about the movement is that it started out purposefully disguised. Michel Foucault I think was a brilliant campus revolutionary, stripping language from the cruel class assumptions invisible within institutions of control–prisons, mental wards. His deconstructions were unanswerable–we’d never seen that root-rot before.

      His epigones are as Lindsay says mere punsters playing word-games to the same unanswerable effect, without Foucault’s (largely unstated Marxist) understanding of causation. I remember when French Structuralism swept campuses in the 70s, the career hoodwink was already clear: Profs would bafflegab students with notions not yet translated from the French, and students would be baffle-dazzled until they had to acquire enough French to read it themselves for grad school. The French enjoy word games. We Americans are still baffled undergrads. The end result is, as we read last week, that anyone can now assert their right to make you wrong, and if you disagree, you’re a candidate for canceling. The strangest thing about all this foolishness is that it’s very, very serious.

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      Thanks, this is a much better summation than my snotty off-the-cuff reply above.

      Everybody hates postmodernists, they are kind of an easy target.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Shrek the sheep ran away into a cave to avoid getting sheared, 6 years later he was found”

    Shrek the sheep is actually smarter than the average bear. If you look behind him you will see some very mountainous territory. If Shrek falls off one, all that wool will act like airbags and will save his life and prevent broken bones. Shrek the sheep may as well be wrapped up in bubble-wrap.

    Reply
  15. a different chris

    And, here are the Dems failing again:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/poll-shows-mitch-mcconnell-large-111452939.html

    Now I don’t mean “failing” as in losing the election, I mean failing by standing up* a candidate that has no charisma, that has nothing that seeds the ground for the next contest. Booker was charismatic, he would have lost too but he would have made a splash.

    But, no. The Kentucky Dems get somebody that nobody will remember by Christmas.

    *yeah “the people” voted but we know where the money went… and the just behind the scenes handwringing about Booker no doubt to push the undecideds…

    Reply
    1. Terry Flynn

      Whilst I agree with you, I think the example given was just sloppy writing and there was another much more fundamental point being given (which I refer to in a comment if it ever exits moderation)….I do love it when a writer unversed in maths makes an analogy to addition in bases which is obviously incomplete or downright wrong ;-)

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        haha I overloaded the + sign in C++ once and people are still confused when they come across code using it… I used it to add a member to a set.

        Hey if you see something “added” to a class, you should darn well know it’s not straight addition. But sigh, apparently that was too hard. I promised myself I would never overload an operator again.

        note: yes I also provided a function to do that for people who apparently just couldn’t imagine it any other way to use…

        Reply
  16. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Here’s a serious question: How do we resolve the contradiction of the argument presented in “2+2 Never Equals 5” by James Lindsay that there is a stable objective truth and the argument that experts have their own agendas and must be treated with caution or skepticism as presented by Thomas Frank in his new book and various interviews and articles published here at Naked Capitalism? I’m not trying to go down some epistemological rabbit hole, but this does seem like a problem to me. Am I missing something? Is the contradiction only apparent?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      2+2 not equaling 5 is different than 2+2 equaling 4. Given everyone has their own biases and limited information, we have to accept the best we can do is through cooperation and genuine compromise, not the mythical technocrats dressing up right wing drivel.

      With experts, someone is usually paying them to be experts. Expertise needs to be seen as expertise not divine right.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i am not a math guy, by any measure, but i found that post disturbing…and i at first thought it was some onion-esque satire of the ongoing perversion of French postmodernist philosophy in the service of the hyper-extension of “There is no society, only Individuals”.
        But no…it looks like what that guy(who does seem like an a$$,fwiw) is talking about is real enough:
        https://twitter.com/hashtag/takebackmath?src=hashtag_click
        https://twitter.com/RG1gal

        rummaging around for a bit in all those threads made me want to move to another planet.
        I’ll ask wife’s cousin, who is actually in the field of academic mathematics. In Seattle, no less….so if this is, indeed a “real movement” in mathworld, she’d know.

        Reply
        1. periol

          From an esoteric perspective, it’s very interesting to read someone so sure of objective reality. The author says postmodern thinkers want a revolution “via a distinctly postmodern approach that deliberately removes any sense of stable meaning to anything”. That’s a very classical modern complaint, since classical modernity has been all about applying rules, stable meaning, and control to everything. This “stable meaning” supposedly being attacked is a fallacy anyways.

          Humans came up with math to help make sense of being in the world. Within the rules for math that we created, there is logical consistency. Things work. It’s a big puzzle with rules, and everything works, and it’s very much our creation. God did not create math on the 8th day after resting.

          Math is not objective, or even objectively true. It is true within the subjective frameworks of our current understanding. Just like all our other forms of communication, math points to something else. At the moment, we have a few physical senses. We are able to perceive a few dimensions, but we know there are others out there beyond our range of perception.

          It’s pretty ballsy for any human to say there is objective truth, pulled up somewhere from their own subjective musings. The closest I come to objective truth is that if there are objective truths, my subjective knowing won’t be able to determine if they are, indeed, objective.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            we could Appeal to the Stone, here(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_the_stone), but that will get us nowhere.
            this question about whether or not reality is real is as old as philosophy, itself.
            It’s fun around the campfire with beer, but is of little use when constructing a turkeyhouse from found materials.
            at the risk of getting all utilitarian, we have to agree on certain things for there to be a society.
            like up is up, water is wet, when you don’t pay people enough to live on, they become poor, and so on.
            none of that is contingent upon whether i can Prove that nothing exists.
            the important point in all this, is that i was wrong to dismiss the proto-woke nonsense i observed almost 30 years ago.
            Those people graduated from college, and entered the workforce. their perhaps well-meaning sociopathy(!!) has led many of them into positions of influence over such mundane things as HR departments(which i never liked the idea of any way, but that’s another philosophical tangent).
            I had a boss like that, once…mid-90’s.
            talking about where i learned to cook like a cajun, i attributed some of it to my coonass forebears.
            she almost fired me for this infraction right there, so indignant was she.
            I couldn’t understand it…since I’m 1/4 coonass…and that part of my extended family refers to themselves that way(which is where i learned and embraced it any way)
            similarly, “Bohunk”= Bohemian…which is another 1/4 of my cultural/ethnic providence.
            I wouldn’t presume to call a stranger either of those things…but that’s just being polite.
            now it seems that politeness has been weaponised into absurdity.
            tracing this phenomenon back to it’s beginnings, i’ve settled on the hypothesis that someone within the machinery of riding herd on humans introduced a corrupted reading of a bad translation from the french, sometime back in the 70’s, as part of the program of killing the Humanities as a potential(and historical) threat against the rapine and plunder set.
            It ain’t “Left”, though.
            It’s a tool against the Left…making Class Analysis all but impossible.

            Reply
            1. periol

              I just think it’s bigger than what you are saying. Modernism and post-modernism are very much at loggerheads. Post-modernism isn’t a concept of positive ideas, it is very much attacking modernity, and all the hidden conceits buried within it.

              I firmly believe post-modernism is literally a demolition crew, here to take down the old modern edifices so we will have room to build new ideas that make better subjective sense of our current knowledge and situation.

              Demolitions aren’t neat and tidy, and don’t always go according to plan. But they are still necessary sometimes, in order to build something new and better. I’m getting ready to demo my kitchen and build a new one. I’m doing as much as I can in advance, but there’s still going to be a few days where I’ll be destroying everything in the old kitchen, and then left with nothing. At which point I’ll start bringing in the new pipes, the cabinets and frames I built, and put it back together as quick as possible. The new kitchen will be awesome, with lots of new counter space, lots of bright colors, and a good workflow. But for a few days we’ll be living on microwaved food.

              I think what we call post-modernism is just the name we came up with for the brutal period in between the old and the new. Unlike my kitchen, humanity didn’t get to plan ahead for this transition, so it’s longer and more painful than we would like.

              Reply
              1. barefoot charley

                I don’t share your faith that anything can or will replace consensual reality. Emerging from destruction’s toxic sheetrock-clouds I see self-righteous rage in flower, and we don’t need French sledgehammers to make it. We will never consense that the angriest wins, not for long. They’ve tried that.

                Reply
                1. periol

                  I agree with you that nothing will replace reality, but I do think we will come up with new ways to describe and share reality together.

                  Classical modernism tries to force it’s ideology onto reality – it is inherently prescriptive. Post-modernism is attacking that. I think after the structure is gone, over a long period of time, we will come up with new ways of describing and sharing reality that work better for those of us living in reality. Maybe that’s just hope, but it has happened before, many times, most recently in the development of classical modernism.

                  Reply
                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    the original bunch of postmodernists, yeah…i can see that…
                    chipping away at the assumption barnacles.
                    This, more recent and american phenomena, oth…no.
                    like someone below said, it’s the “blue fascism” trying to insert itself into Power.
                    I’m reminded of a conversation in 2004 or so…regarding the “Goal” of the Iraq war.
                    I had an on the spot epiphany right there in my truck in the beer store parking lot where i had been waylaid for my opinion on this matter: the Chaos was, itself, the Goal of the entire mideast theater of operations.
                    For decades after our adventure there, Iraq’s oil would be safely sequestered beneath a depleted uranium dusted hellscape of poverty and warlordism and Hobbes on acid…and no one but the USA! would be able to ever extract it.

                    that’s what i think about when i see things like this….it’s opening up space, alright…but not for a true reckoning with history, or anything so high minded.
                    it’s instead , opening up space for a new version of the Inquisition to obtain power.
                    and like the Inquisition, they’ll be entirely sincere about making the world “better”.
                    This, right here, is how you prevent anything like Bernie ever happening again…can’t have Mass Politics/Mass Movements if you can’t get the Masses on the same page as to what’s wrong and needs fixing.
                    see the recent “cancelling” of Adolph Reed.

                    and in addition to the threat this represents in it’s own right(at best, an Ontological Crisis), it hands the Right all the ammo it needs to salvage itself after the trumpocalypse.
                    “they’re saying 2+2=4 is racist”—the ad copy writes itself.

                    Reply
          2. Laputan

            I’m surprised at the lack of mathematical literacy in these responses. What Lindsay refers to in objectivity is objectivity defined within the formal system of mathematics and the system is founded upon basic observations. Now, the underpinnings of those observations do become a little wobbly once you consider Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem but they haven’t been proven to be as inconsistent as to allow for 2+2=5.

            BTW, what do you think we used to prove there are other dimensions?

            Reply
            1. periol

              “What Lindsay refers to in objectivity is objectivity defined within the formal system of mathematics and the system is founded upon basic observations.”

              By definition, that is subjective objectivity. It is objective, within the formal system developed.

              Anyways, I’m uninterested in the math. He’s using math to make a larger point, and I disagree with what he is trying to say.

              Here’s Lindsay’s larger point, so you don’t have to go back and look for it:

              “there’s a point to take away from all this. It is that postmodernism, particularly in the hands of the ideology of Critical Social Justice, is not at all interested in truth. It is only interested in power”

              Those are weasel words. Post-modernism is attacking power by attacking language and systems of control. Those who have power are very concerned about it.

              Reply
              1. Laputan

                By definition, that is subjective objectivity. It is objective, within the formal system developed.

                I’m not sure this is a meaningful distinction. To put it simply, math is objective according to a set of rules. One of those rules has been used to illustrate that the system is incomplete, others have proven it’s paradoxical. There’s also the Wittgensteinian approach that there are no propositions (or rules). But there haven’t been inconsistencies proven enough to imply subjectivity (that one statement could have different subjective meanings).

                Lindsay might over-extrapolating, sure, but he’s not doing so as it relates to math.

                And I disagree with your representation of postmodernism (“attacking power by attacking language and systems of control”), a more thorough definition would be that it reinforces power by using language and its own systems of control. This movement doesn’t challenge the structure of power, it’s too preoccupied with shallow navel gazing like “2+2=4 is a byproduct of colonialism”. Notice how none of the old guard is really changing, they’re just adapting to facile demands like introducing themselves with their pronouns and tweeting blackouts.

                Reply
              2. mpalomar

                Postmodernism served a useful purpose, beyond confusing academics and undergraduates everywhere with it’s needlesly arcane language, which is one of the most annoying attributes of some French intellectuals.

                It attacked the metanarrative which had been useful to modernism and many philosophers of all stripes in their teleological dreams of eschatological man, civilisation and human progress. Questioned a lot of assumptions such as the metanarrative about capitalism and democracy wandering off hand-in-hand-in-pocket into the glorious corona sunset of history.

                As far as 2+2, B Russel worried G Frege about this hence Russell’s paradox about set theory. Frege was quite anxious about even relying on set theory for a foundational truth to numbers.

                My 2+2 sense = foregone conclusions

                Reply
        2. furies

          But he’s not talking about math, per se…

          He’s using it as an illustration.

          But surely that’s obvious?

          at least, that’s how I took it &

          I found it insightful

          Reply
    2. Laputan

      How about one doesn’t have to be an expert to understand an axiomatic truth like 2 + 2 =/= 5? I haven’t read it yet, but nothing else I’ve ever come across by Frank suggests that we should be critical of experts in an empirical discipline like math simply because of their credentials. Frank instead is dubious about the pundits’ and the media class’ so-called expertise because, for one, they’ve empirically proven to be wrong countless times. And, secondly, that certain bedrock beliefts by the media establishment are fallacious but never questioned since that could be existentially inconvenient for the power structure they serve So, yes, the contradiction is only apparent and a bit of a stretch.

      I’m not even sure why Lindsay went as far as to offer a lengthy write-up. The responses he cites are just intellectually masturbatory and the whole debate seems like a profound waste of time.

      Reply
      1. flora

        I got the impression he was trying to warn off young math academics from being used as useful idiots (oh, look, a fun new intellectual puzzle to play with, I’ll give it try…) by the serious woke deconstructionists, who are possibly using young math academics to crowdsource answers for the simplest woke arguments in support of larger power claims. my 2 cents.

        Reply
        1. Laputan

          Just did a little more digging and found that he’s addressing a debate not within the math community itself but within Math Education, a sub discipline of education and not math…which I guess is a bit of a relief since these post grad education degrees are essentially ponzi schemes that churn out graduates whose only use is to teach at the post grad level within their microscopic niche that nobody else cares about.

          No wonder higher ed embraces this woke nonsense with such open arms; it’s a cash cow. All they have to do is saddle these credulous kids with debt who are banking on a tenured faculty position after graduation (about as likely these days as winning the lottery), and they get to laugh all the way to the bank. Absolutely no regard for leaving 99% of these people with no prospects for employment that could possibly pay off their tuition. We’ll be talking about how there should have been criminal charges after the bubble finally bursts.

          Reply
            1. flora

              I’ll take a wild step away from this particular topic and note higher ed Ed. Schools and HR departments are populated with mostly female students/teachers/employees.

              And then note the great old movie “Gaslight” was about a woman being taught to doubt her own sanity by her greedy, abusive husband.

              Now, irony of ironies, it’s mostly women gaslighting other women and men with woke nonsense. Why? To increase profits for higher ed?

              Reply
              1. savebyirony

                I do not know the numbers now but back when I was in Grad school all but 2 of my Profs were men, and neither of the two women were postmodernists. One taught a statistics in education class and the other a terrific course in teaching writing. I did have one male Prof who was admit in teaching that kids when being taught how to read supplied themselves the meaning of the text’s words. A vocabulary test to him was utterly taboo.

                In the world at present I certainly find both males and females practicing and empowered in and by gaslighting.

                Reply
                1. flora

                  “I did have one male Prof who was admit in teaching that kids when being taught how to read supplied themselves the meaning of the text’s words. A vocabulary test to him was utterly taboo.”

                  Wow. He just assumed kids will figure out words’ meaning on their own? Sounds like the equivalent of economist’s “assume a can opener”.

                  Thanks.

                  Reply
                1. Lambert Strether

                  And then there’s this:

                  Reply
          1. savebyirony

            I saw a great deal of this back in the early 90’s in graduate education classes dealing with teaching reading and reading comprehension k-12.

            Reply
          2. a different chris

            >whose only use is to teach at the post grad level within their microscopic niche that nobody else cares about

            haha “more and more about less and less until we know everything about nothing at all” is my favorite observation about it.

            Reply
          3. ChrisPacific

            Right, thank you. I guess there was some kind of a point to it after all. I tried to read it but gave up about a third of the way through because I couldn’t figure out exactly what he was railing against (he never succinctly stated the problem, just assumed everybody knew what he was talking about). Yes, all of mathematics is deductive and relies on definitions and axioms, and you can change those to make statements mean anything you want. Big deal. Any undergraduate learns that. He keeps harping on about 2+2=4 and all the responses to his stupid ‘too on the nose’ meme. So what?

            And then we get fingernails-on-the-blackboard statements like this: “What happened next is what led us to the present moment in the course of human history.” Ugh. He may be up in arms about Wokeness but he’s clearly fluent in Clickbait.

            The whole thing reminds me of how clueless academics can be about fields outside their own. He may well be a fine mathematician but he could really benefit from taking an English class or two. As far as I can tell, the thesis is: “Some people on the Internet claim that 2 plus 2 does not have to equal 4, and this is a threat to civilization.” The first point seems self-evident (the argument is even technically true, if uninteresting) but I don’t see how the conclusion follows and nothing in his screed enlightened me (perhaps it was buried somewhere in the last two-thirds, but if so it just illustrates my point about English). In fact the whole thing rang alarm bells for me. He is clearly Very Upset about something, and I am by no means convinced it’s mathematics, despite all his arguments to the contrary. I am no fan of wokeness taken to extremes, especially if it means throwing out all of human scientific accomplishment, but ‘defenses’ of the scientific order like this do more harm than good in my opinion.

            Reply
            1. ChrisPacific

              I skimmed a bit further and he does actually make a pretty coherent and readable defense of mathematics as deductive reasoning later on. (If he’d led with that it would have been a lot more readable). But then he goes right back to railing against ‘Critical Social Justice’ and predicting the downfall of civilization.

              If his problem is that people are peddling a useless and overly contextual version of mathematics and abusing the good faith of students, I wish he’d offer supporting evidence, so we can assess for ourselves how much of a problem it is and whether he’s right to fear for civilization – is it just People on the Internet, who will say anything, or is it impacting higher education? If so, how much? Right now it reads like a good old-fashioned moral panic to me.

              Reply
              1. Dirk77

                Thank you. I gave up 1/4 in. In an age where we must assume that everything we read is not the whole truth, it’s very important to spend effort in writing concisely.

                Reply
    3. genezip

      Lindsay’s issue isn’t with the justifications themselves, but with the idea that the mathematicians themselves are somehow the lapdogs of the woke ruling class or whatever. That allows him to conflate everyone together – random teenagers and math PhDs alike are all “post-modernists” and can be dismissed as a group. Then he can cherry-pick the dumbest Twitter counterarguments and use it as a cudgel against everyone who disagrees with him.

      Picking on Twitter crazies is always an easy way to get people on your side, as a way of positioning yourself as the sane one in some kind of intellectual struggle. But I don’t see anything that suggests Lindsay is interested in free/critical inquiry, and I don’t think he should be trusted as a good faith actor.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. Lindsey looks like sort of a prick, to me…and i have no idea who he is or where he comes from.
        i dug around for the names he mentions, though…and there is , indeed, a whole pocket universe of the kind of nonsense he’s worrying about.
        as someone pointed out, above, it’s in Math Ed…not Math, itself.
        i reckon that’s an important distinction.
        when my youngest was in Kinder, the principal of the elementary had a big public meeting about adopting the “Leader in Me” program…had a missionary of sorts come talk to us and everything.
        I won the door prize(Covey’s book) for asking difficult questions and quoting everyone from Aristotle to St Mark to Karl Popper.
        then i went home and read the book.
        utter pablum, of course…corporate religion(L.’to bind’) about positive thought, meant to kill actual critical thinking(sad, i mean the original meaning of critical thinking,lol)
        My 2 subsequent letters to the editor helped to kill spending any public money on that rot.
        —but some local anonymous rich person bought it and donated it to the school.
        I’ve spent a lot of time since attempting to undo the damage to my boy that this curriculum did, as far as using his brain effectively.
        all this is to say that these sorts of things matter…even when they look silly or inconsequential.
        there’s precious little thinking going on out there as it is.

        I don’t expect this New Dispensation to penetrate where i live, of course…the people wouldn’t stand for it…but i can see it penetrating positions of power elsewhere…media, schools elsewhere, and even government.
        I think it’s a sort of corpdem answer to the tea party…a way to shore up their perceived legitimacy and relevance without having to actually change their policies or methods.
        it’ll likely backfire even more horribly than the gop tea party did.
        meanwhile, we have a pandemic and an economic collapse underway, and we’re arguing about whether 2+2=5 and about a-history overtaking History as a discipline and how me being both a racist and a misogynist by virtue of being born white and male.

        —-
        ” Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.
        ‘What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ thus asks the last man, and blinks.
        The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.
        ‘We have invented happiness,’say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth…
        One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.
        No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.
        ‘Formerly, all the world was mad,’ say the most refined, and they blink…
        One has one’s little pleasure for the day and one’s little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.
        ‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink.””

        Reply
    4. periol

      Personally, I start by questioning that there is a stable objective truth. No contradictions after that.

      Maybe there is a stable objective truth, but my subjective “knowing” can never “know” that for sure.

      Reply
    5. Bruno

      The stable objective truth is that so-called “experts” should always be presumed to be bullshitting should they natter about anything outside the very limited area of their own *demonstrated* real expertise.

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “FDA’s Shifting Standards for Chinese Face Masks Fuel Confusion”

    In Oz mask-wearing has been mandated for the people of Melbourne and have been recommended for those in Sydney dealing with their own outbreaks. This is in spite of the federal government saying that they were no good and maybe even that they are dangerous. The website of the Australian Health Department says the same would you believe. But now even Scotty from Marketing is wearing a mask. Trouble is that all those past messages now have to be countered and whenever they talk about masks on the TV they still get into a debate. I do note that whenever you see street scenes from Melbourne or Sydney, usually it is the Asians wearing them because they know better. They could not have just said that ‘Look, masks are in short supply so the government will buy them up for healthcare workers before they hit the market so people should either make their own masks or equivalent.’ No, they did a Fauci instead.

    Reply
  18. tegnost

    I was struggling to get the the atlantic article on bad pandemic but it was a typically warped storyline…
    It opens with an “expert” saying it was worse than she could have predicted…
    “The U.S. fundamentally failed in ways that were worse than I ever could have imagined,” Julia Marcus, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, told me.
    followed by…
    But the COVID‑19 debacle has also touched—and implicated—nearly every other facet of American society: its shortsighted leadership, its disregard for expertise, its racial inequities, its social-media culture, and its fealty to a dangerous strain of individualism.
    We didn’t listen to the expert who couldn’t see what was happening…Huh?
    The deporables I hang around with were pretty clearly aware of how screwed we are, the smart people (otherwise known as wealthy) all were sure of a vaccine/quick fix.
    My point is that the experts have their blinders on just like all the rest of the power set.
    but then I got to this and just threw in the towel…no mention the insurance company gatekeepers or patent protections driving up costs…
    Compared with the average wealthy nation, America spends nearly twice as much of its national wealth on health care, about a quarter of which is wasted on inefficient care, unnecessary treatments, and administrative chicanery. The U.S. gets little bang for its exorbitant buck.
    Surely on it’s face that statement is made up of accurate truths, it’s leaving out the most culpable truths, for the most part once again proving that Updike saying
    ” ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’ and it’s true no matter how expert they happen to be…

    Reply
  19. jr

    Re: 2+2= 400 years of repression

    I can imagine the dozens of gallons of coffee snorting through countless nose’s this morning as members of the STEM community read that article. Fully justified snorts in light of the bungling idiocies described and then handily damned by the author.

    I would like to take a different angle. I am the antithesis of a STEM person. Seeing numbers literally raises my blood pressure. I received a “C” in the single “Fun with Numbers!” level class I took for my undergrad requirement. The professor told me he had never seen anyone try to hard and make almost no progress; he gave me the “C” for effort and said to avoid math in the future. He was right.

    More to the point, I am an irrationalist. I do not believe the Universe necessarily has to make sense. I have personally had experiences that defy “rational” explanation, and yes I mean paranormal experiences. Weird and wonderful stuff. Not glimpses or hints, actual “WTF!?” moments.

    I find meaning in sunsets. I have felt the agony of ecstatic joy coiling and writhing in my head like Python. I don’t write poetry, I am a conduit through which poetry manifests.

    Having established my credentials as a weirdo, as someone who makes it a daily task to not take reality at face value, as a champion-errant of the skepticism of McKenna, I now state emphatically, unequivocally, that the ideology of the 2+2=5 dolts is not irrational. It is actually something far worse. It is a sort of pseudo-rationality, I think. It proposes that all standards, all rules, are constructs and are therefore open to criticism. This is an attempt at rational system of thought, it makes certain fundamental claims and then builds an edifice of arguments upon those claims. It argues it’s conclusions are rational.

    The rationalist says 2+2=4. The (reflective) irrationalist says sure but a lot of the claims based upon that logic over reach, that the Universe is bigger and stranger than even the most comprehensive mapping out of all the implications of 2+2=4 could propose. And it always will be.

    The pseudo rationalists wants their cake and eat it too. They want to claim that 2+2=4 doesn’t necessarily equal four, that it’s a construction mired in racist, sexist ideologies. They do this by making, to their lights, rational claims. But rationality has no real basis, it’s all mental sand castle construction by their own rules. What claim can they make to any rules, since they too are constructs? Unless they propose they are above such quandaries, that the circle of “constant criticism” is readily squared into the notion that the terminus of such criticism has been reached. A sort of “End if History” argument for argumentation.

    The irrationalist is the true critic in that all systems of thought are open to question at some level. Even our own. We willingly inhabit an intellectual Limbo because we fear missing both the forest for the trees and the unicorn grazing in it’s sun lit groves. “Believe nothing, entertain all ideas. If Science is King, the irrationalist is the Court Jester. The pseudo rationalist is the Courtier, plotting the King’s demise by imagining it wields the Jester’s sharp dagger. Instead, it merely falls on it’s own sword.

    I should add that I suspect the Neo-Marxist notion of “constant criticism” is a stunted mock up of what Marx and Engels proposed. I’m sure both of them could hold the concept of constant analysis AND the truth of 2+2=4 in their heads simultaneously.

    Also, this is “blue fascism” making a power grab but that’s another story…

    Reply
    1. CanChemist

      Just wanted to say as a scientist that I think you nailed it.

      “The rationalist says 2+2=4. The (reflective) irrationalist says sure but a lot of the claims based upon that logic over reach, that the Universe is bigger and stranger than even the most comprehensive mapping out of all the implications of 2+2=4 could propose. And it always will be.” Also, what a lot of external people don’t realize is that the hard part about science is actually keeping both these ideas in your head simultaneously. We are always, always looking at a subset of reality and hoping that we’ve captured the most important factors of the system being studied. And when it turns out we didn’t, and we keep an open mind, we can find amazing new things in the process.

      The whole “everything is subjective” thing, in practice, never seems to result in the same thing as meaningful critique and questioning assumptions.

      Reply
      1. Jeotsu

        There are certainly a set of scientists who are strict rationalists, and it is important to their self image. Back when I was working on problems of protein folding, I proposed that maybe the problem is just too big, too messy, too overwhelming for the human mind to even engage. Some of my fellows got downright upset at this prospect, as to them the human mind was supreme.

        Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        Well put. Even pure mathematicians, who try to opt out of that particular challenge by staying entirely in the realm of the deductive, sometimes can’t avoid it. Who would have expected that Cantor set theory, about as intuitively obvious a theory as you can get in mathematics, was logically inconsistent? Or that it’s not mathematically possible (in fact, provably impossible) to determine the cardinality of the real numbers?

        Sometimes I think people who claim that mathematics is all about order and certainty haven’t studied very much of it.

        Reply
    2. periol

      I agree with you that the math stuff is nonsense. 2+2=4 in our system, no point arguing it really.

      Pseudo rationalist is a good descriptive, but I think it misses an aspect of the what’s behind arguments like this. Irrationalism (the reflective kind) is a very difficult road to walk down. People have routines they develop, structures they cling to, habits they build. The people who fall into the pseudo rationalist camp realize that something isn’t quite right about the rationalism, but they don’t know exactly what’s wrong, and they’re not quite ready to cope with irrationalism.

      What I see now is lots of ideas and assumptions coming under attack, as our old ways of thinking no longer quite work, like children outgrowing their clothes. Of course people who are used to relying on certain structures to buttress their beliefs are casting about looking for new structures, not realizing that it’s turtles all the way down.

      I like your way of thinking. Irrationalism for the win!

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Yes! Also, the part of CanChemist’s comments

        The (reflective) irrationalist says sure but a lot of claims built upon [rationalist says 2+2=4] that logic over reach, that the Universe is bigger and stranger than even the most comprehensive mapping out of all the implications of 2+2=4 could propose.

        The crucial point is that the scientist, or “external” person, is reflective. To not be so, is to be close minded and to not be open to those “amazing new things” to be discovered.

        Reply
        1. Tom Bradford

          Well, I didn’t read the article as I suspected it would just be, as Hamlet observed, “Words, words, words”.

          And having ploughed through all the comments above I’m still bemused. Four is the result of adding two to two because four is what we call the outcome of adding two to two, just as green is what we call the outcome of adding blue to yellow. I don’t know if you ‘see’ green’ the way I do, and you can call it vert, grun or 青 but we all know it isn’t what we all see as ‘red’, so suggesting that adding ‘blue’ to ‘yellow’ produces anything other than green is nonsense. Whatever blue added to green produces, it is green.

          ‘Four’ is not a quantity. It is a definition.

          Or perhaps I’m wrong.

          Reply
          1. savebyirony

            In postmodernism there are no commonly held definitions, unless you are the postmodernist yielding the biggest stick and most power then oddly enough what you say defines (or at your convenience negates) all. For a group who supposedly strives to subvert power structures, they love having and using it. And often, truth be damned.

            Reply
    3. jr

      Thank you all for your comments. NC gives back so much, it’s an education unto itself.

      @canchemist: I appreciate your description of the creative process of science; true explorers. The subjectivist locks on to one argument then claims the universe whirls around it. There is no exploration, only recapitulation. I called them Courtiers but that’s too generous, they are mere intellectual Bureaucrats…

      @jeostu: What amazing arrogance! And what ahistorical thinking, although I suppose if they believe in the inevitability of their ideology they force fit history into that mold so that wouldn’t occur to them. Why bother to examine history when you can do clearly see it’s endpoint? It’s a kind of fundamentalism, I think, a gross reduction of an extremely nuanced idea set to a core, inviolable pile of dictates and just so stories. Similar to the subjectivists, methinks.

      @periol Yes, it is a tough path, I was fortunate in the sense that my bipolar condition as well as a rough upbringing set me on an elliptical orbit from an early age. I’ve always lived in a sort of mental Limbo. This is too much for some to take and they cling to supposed certainties. Not that there aren’t certainties, like 2+2=4, but theories like subjectivism are always riddled with uncertainties. It’s like writing a novel: some parts are going to suck no matter how good other parts are. Except for “A Confederacy of Dunces”, that’s different.

      I too think we are in the midst of a tumult in people’s beliefs and dreams. In times of trouble, it’s been said, all the crazies come out of the woodwork. The need to believe something, anything. No doubt there is some truth to this but that charge is just as easily turned back on the fundamentalist who can’t let go.

      @newcatty Yes, reflective and specifically reflective of one’s reflections. It’s a process filled with tensions between beliefs, observations, theory, and, not to be underestimated, intuition. The subjectivist short circuits reflection by damning all reflections as being flawed, of course except their own. It’s true they are flawed, as is any work in progress.

      Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “Canadian Patrols Stop ‘Caravans of Americans’ From Crossing Border”

    There hasn’t been this many Americans going to Canada since the Vietnam war. Back then nearly 60,000 young men made like the geese and flew north.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Will Canada, under pressure from America, enact a “Fugitive Debtor Act?”
        I can see a great network of “safe houses” funneling runaway debtors North; a new Underground Monorail.

        Reply
    1. td

      During the same period, about 250,000 Canadians went south and served in the US military, though not all went to Vietnam. Just proof that the border has been historically porous for all kinds of reasons.

      Reply
  21. Dr. John Carpenter

    From the “Who could have anticipated…” file: https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/08/we-have-made-mistakes-norwegian-cruises-halted-after-covid-19-outbreak/

    My mom, sister and niece were supposed to go on a cruise in May. I wasn’t thrilled about that in the first place as my mother is in poor health and I predicted in February it wouldn’t be happening. At the time, I was afraid she’d have gone if the opportunity was there as she kept telling me all the precautions the cruise company taking, even though it was clear to me it was just theater. Finally, they did cancel the cruise. Fast forward to now and she gets all kinds of offers from the cruise line to rebook her trip, but thankfully she’s decided that ship has sailed, so to speak. She keeps me updated on all the deals they’re offering and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’s avoiding that temptation.

    Reply
  22. tegnost

    Re US yachts, I’ve been in friday harbor looking at the marina containing some very expensive yachts thinking some of those people are doing a border shuffle to get to vancouver airport. The rich are different, as they say…never had confirmation til this article, though.

    Reply
  23. allan

    After Talking “All Day Long” To Rich New Yorkers In The Hamptons, Cuomo Says He Can’t Raise Their Taxes [Gothamist]

    Governor Andrew Cuomo still refuses to support taxes on the ultra-wealthy, because rich people already have one foot out of New York City, and he fears they’ll leave for good if their taxes go up.

    “I literally talk to people all day long who are in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, ‘You gotta come back, when are you coming back?'” Cuomo said during a press conference on Monday, when asked if he’d support a slate of tax hike proposals on the wealthy. …

    New York is home to 119 billionaires, according to the group Americans for Tax Fairness. Forty-three of those billionaire families have donated more than $8 million to Cuomo’s campaigns over the years, according to a recent report in The Guardian. Cuomo’s office told the site that the suggestion that his campaign donations are related to his opposition to raising taxes on billionaires is “stupid and insulting.” …

    I love the smell of lack of self awareness in the morning.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Ok so

      1) we can’t tax billionaires because they will leave
      2) we don’t have enough tax revenue to support our society

      Well what use are the billionaires, exactly then? What changes if they leave? The society that isn’t being supported will, um, not be supported?

      Got it.

      Seriously, whatever tax they do pay I can tell you that it’s higher in New York than a lot of other places in the US, let alone the world. But there we find 119 (jesus christ) of them. Cuomo is the southern end of a north bound donkey, isn’t he?

      Reply
    1. bob

      First thought on this is an industrial accident/indecent. Damage is too widespread, area effected is too large for other explanations such as military, etc….

      Reply
        1. Milton

          Man, that 2nd link video is so close. I wonder if the capture was immediately published to the cloud as I can’t imaging the person surviving that. No more videos for me. Too tragic.

          Reply
      1. ChrisPacific

        It makes me think of the descriptions of the Halifax explosion in 1917, which was caused by a collision between ships carrying explosives.

        Reply
  24. Pelham

    Re the Atlantic article on why the pandemic is so bad here: I believe it makes a good case not for single-payer but for a fully nationalized healthcare system that — in a vital exception to the NHS’ situation in the UK — would absolutely ban ANY form of private care. Such a system would more likely be adequately funded since the billionaires and other mucky-mucks who own the federal government would have to stand in line like the rest of us.

    Reply
    1. Jeotsu

      My comment would be that this is a great article for observing the selective application of agency. Is the problem a Trump mistake? Then name him repeatedly! Was it due to Democrat action? Then just bemoan the ‘shredded social safety net” (or whatever) as if it just happened by an unaccountable force of nature.

      I also note how the coming of vaccine is a given, with no discussion of what would be required if no vaccine proves effective. Wishful thinking, or at least an avoidance of disquieting possibilities.

      Reply
  25. Plague Species

    The question is, if Biden is elected in November, will he extradite Trump or will he do as Obama did with Bush and effectively pardon him by saying we must look forward and not back?

    From a recent Mother Jones article I’d link to but if I did my comment would be moderated.

    If business was lackluster before, it’s dismal now that the coronavirus pandemic has all but halted the Scottish golf season, at least as far as international travelers are concerned. To make matters worse, as Trump’s hospitality empire grapples with the fallout of COVID-19, it also faces a series of maturing debts, loans amounting to nearly a half-billion dollars, which need to be paid down or refinanced over the next four years.

    Recently, a new—and perhaps bigger—threat to Trump has emerged in Scotland. Scottish lawmakers are pushing to peer into Trump’s finances using an anti-money-­laundering statute typically employed against kleptocrats, oligarchs, and crime kingpins. Their question: Where did the hundreds of millions Trump poured into his Scottish courses actually come from?

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      From what I read, NY State’s prosecution is the one Trump fears most. Biden is unlikely to pardon Trump, and NY prosecutors are eager to jail him. Motivation to stay president!

      Reply
  26. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Atomic Bombings at 75
    A description of the “shadow on the steps” introduces this link [The famous photo of that shadow is at the top of Pilgar’s website at http://johnpilger.com/ ]. That image haunts me. The more I learn about the US development and use of atomic weapons the more I am deeply saddened and disgusted by the Government and Rulers of the US. The lies and their echoes in the Media, the genuinely evil actions of the US Government grasping for Imperial rule while wantonly destroying human lives to ‘send a message’, or perform ‘experiments’ are all truly unconscionable.

    The remarkable levels of Government incompetence, bigotry, mendacity, greed, and plain stupidity revealed by the Corona pandemic greatly enhance my fears for what might result from the “Pivot to the East” crafted by Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when coupled with Obama’s massive $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program. Both of these initiatives continue live and well under this Trump administration and most certainly will continue live and well whether Trump or Biden heads the next Government. I cannot imagine worse caretakers for our nuclear arsenal.

    It grows difficult to keep track of all the apocalyptic threats.

    Reply

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