Links 4/14/2021

Pet detective says stolen giant rabbit is ‘still hot’ and a smuggling risk Guardian (Re Silc).

Distinct Species of Adorable Weasels Have Been Hiding in Plain Sight Gizmodo

The new TV show ‘Unicorn Hunters’ will feature Steve Wozniak and allow viewers to invest in pre-IPO companies MarketWatch (Mikel).

There’s Nothing to Do Except Gamble New York Magazine. The deck: “Welcome to the non-fungible, memeified, cryptodenominated, degenerate future of finance.”

Bank of England says chief economist Haldane to quit Reuters

What if Working at Home Makes Us Drive More, Not Less? Slate


Governors question Biden decision on J&J, warn of potential hit to vaccine confidence ABC. Another public relations/messaging debacle:

The J&J Vaccine Is Safer Than the Birth Control Millions of Women Take Every Day Vice (Re Silc).

Pausing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is wildly irresponsible The Week

Trump criticizes FDA on Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause The Hill

Biden officials bracing for possibility of weekslong disruption to J&J vaccine supply Politico

* * *

Opinion: The CDC finally admits it was wrong about surface transmission of COVID-19 Denver Post. After a year.

Deep Cleaning Isn’t a Victimless Crime The Atlantic. This and the previous article imply that once formites are out of the picture as the main mode of tranmission, #CovidIsAirborne has won the day. Not so. Both CDC and WHO are still clinging desperately to droplets (ballistic, falling within a radius) and not aerosols (floating, filling a room).

* * *

One big problem with New York’s Excelsior Pass Chortle Chortle

Doctors Forgot to Warn People With Breasts That the Covid Vaccine Could Affect Their Next Mammogram Jezebel. To be fair, the “shots in arms” theory of our public health establishment implies proceeding directly to vaccination, without consulting a doctor (though to be even more fair, to many “talk to your doctor” is only a dream).


Secrecy and Abuse Claims Haunt China’s Solar Factories in Xinjiang Bloomberg

Philippines summons Chinese ambassador over reef dispute Philippines

Lawmaker urges more propaganda to boost poll turnout RTHK News


“Federal Army for Federal Democracy”: The Dawn of Myanmar’s New Politics FORSEA. Bank run:


Despite turmoil, POSCO sends Transocean deep-water rig to Myanmar Energy Voice. This is extremely ugly and bad. All POSCO’s contact points are by phone, sadly.

“Every Journalist’s Worst Nightmare”: CNN’s Myanmar Misadventure New Naratif

The Koreas

Asian-American as an identity, a thread:


India’s Covid-19 cases hit new record as crowds mass at Ganges for Hindu festival France24


Mossad Bombed Natanz Nuclear Facility in Campaign to Sabotage US Iran Policy and JCPOA Deal Tikun Olam

Israel Is Walking Straight Into an Iran Crisis With Eyes Wide Open Haaretz. Has Bibi cleared his moves with Biden?

US to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 AP. Showing once again that the United States is not agreement-capable:

The decision defies a May 1 deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year, but leaves no room for additional extensions. A senior administration official called the September date an absolute deadline that won’t be affected by security conditions in the country.

What Did the U.S. Get for $2 Trillion in Afghanistan? NYT

Erdogan’s Pact with the Ultra-Nationalists Der Spiegel (Re Silc).


Senior civil servant held Greensill role while still in government FT

How Blairism Failed the Working Class Tribune


Completely unserious:

Rich vs poor: Peru’s Castillo lays down socialist marker for election runoff Reuters

Biden Administration

Biden proposes summit with Putin as US-Russia tensions escalate FT

US pushes Japan to back Taiwan at Biden-Suga summit FT

Surging Virus Has Michigan’s Democratic Governor at Loggerheads With Biden NYT

Big Corporations Now Deploying Woke Ideology the Way Intelligence Agencies Do: As a Disguise Glenn Greenwald

Due Process Is Good, He Said Controversially Matt Taibbi, TK News

Democrats en Deshabille

Exclusive: Texas nonprofit got massive border contract after hiring Biden official Axios

Both Dems Running to Represent ‘Cancer Alley’ Take Fossil Fuel Donations After Promising Not To Sludge Report

Idaho lawmakers hear pitch to absorb three-fourths of Oregon The Oregonian

George Floyd

Chauvin Defense Expert Destroyed on the Stand Andrew McCarthy, National Review

Police State Watch

Brooklyn Center Police Chief and Officer Who Fatally Shot Daunte Wright Resign New York Magazine

A Portland Vigil for Daunte Wright Ends in the First Riot of 2021 Portland Mercury. Impressive:

Note the target.

Minnesota Police Say Officer Accidentally Discharged Weapon After Being Startled By Sight Of Gun In Own Hand The Onion

Health Care

Medicaid Estate Claims: Perpetuating Poverty & Inequality for a Minimal Return Justice in Aging. See NC here and here, in 2014, which would be 2021 – 2014 = seven years ago.

Microsoft Makes Big Bet on Health-Care AI Technology With Nuance Bloomberg (timotheus).

Groves of Academe

Harvard and its peers should be embarrassed about how few students they educate WaPo. The headline is a bit deceptive; it’s a call for more admissions, not more education.

Quitting QAnon: why it is so difficult to abandon a conspiracy theory FT

Class Warfare

The one-click civilization The.Ink

Foodcrime Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

Unemployed workers defect and debate their next moves, leaving restaurant owners to contend with a labor shortage The Counter. If only there were some mechanism to match demand and supply.

Katherine Gibson and the Community Economies Research Network Grassroots Economic Organizing

Why was the ancient city of Cahokia abandoned? New clues rule out one theory. National Geographic

A Theory of Thorstein Veblen The Baffler

The Death of Neoliberalism Is Greatly Exaggerated James Galbraith, Foreign Policy

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. zagonostra

    >There’s Nothing to Do Except Gamble – New York Magazine

    The article asks the question “what is money?” and posits:

    In the absence of a hegemonic answer to the question of what money is to us, strangeness reigns. Even as money has been injected with new political vitality, its actual life has become more baroque

    This answer/nonanswer is, in my view, that money is a “creation of law.” Money is what a “hegemonic” source, i.e., a government that has the “legitimate use of violence” over a geographical bound area, says it is. When the gov’t fails or chooses not to define/legislate what money is then “strangeness reigns” Now whether this “strangeness” is allowed to persist, I think is a function of the influence those who are profiting from this “baroque” system have over those who are in gov’t and have the power to legislate crypto currencies out of existence.

    (Beautiful blue bird, it’s almost iridescent)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Totally agree about that magnificent blue bird. I would never have suspected a bird with those colours being able to live in the wild but that image shows it as so.

      1. IM Doc

        A mountain bluebird I believe.
        Very common bird in the rural west in North America.
        They are indeed spectacular.

      2. JEHR

        That bird would be invisible against a clear blue-sky day. It’s hard to believe that such a beautiful creature evolved into our world!

            1. RMO

              I saw those birds for the very first time just last fall as my glider club was packing and closing up our hangar in the Fraser Valley for winter. They were finding something obviously very good to eat in the grass of the airfield. I’ve seen plenty of Stellar’s Jays over the years and Whiskeyjacks up in the mountains but I had never seen these extraordinarily beautiful birds before in my life.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It’s hard to believe that such a beautiful creature evolved into our world!

          I feel that way about lots of thing in Nature. Keeps me sane (I hope).

    2. Mikel

      It doesn’t matter what the money “is”.
      What matters is what you are told to value in the first place.
      And there is a difference between “currency” and “storing wealth.”

      And I whoever controls the servers controls crypto.

      And crypto is riding that “scaricity as value” myth, but at the same time everybody is trying to get everybody else in on it…
      (Jusr marinate in that contradiction for a bit…)

      1. Alfred

        It makes me laugh that barter of goods is frowned upon and stamped out wherever it rears its ugly head. It’s between two people, and the middleman jumps up and down in frustration, and never mind the banks! And what about growing the economy and jerbs??? Like that’s where the gnomes of finance want to take us.

        There are places like BarterOnly, Freecycle, Trashbank, and a gazillion others.

      2. JEHR

        Money is credit; and credit is debt. Crypto: ditto.

        You can change the name to anything you like; it is still the same.

        1. Anonapet

          Well no, since technically common stock (shares in equity) is a money form that requires no debt (to deny this is to deny that liabilities and equity are separate accounting identities and thus to deny that Assets = Liabilities + Equity, the fundamental accounting equation).

          But who wants to share when they may instead use the public’s* credit but for private gain?

          Plus the only “debt” with fiat is that government must accept it back as taxes, if it cares to tax – some “debt” that.

          *Due to government privileges for private credit creation, i.e. for “the banks.”

          1. skippy

            Banks are just clearing houses for contracts, fees and incentives for loans is a separate matter and should be viewed in the neoliberal context that enabled certain activities, on top of all that one has to square Plaza and EMH Capital flows.

            As soundofthesuburbs points out its all ideologically driven and just a rehash of old ideas with a few modern twists. Trying to fat finger money for all the dramas lets the real agency off the hook and attempts to manipulate it for an A political solution to a political problem has been tried for decades and yet – here we are – still … tremendous amounts of money thrown at military adventurism and the top wealth bracket whilst everyone else is left to sink or swim in the market place[tm] E.g. its a distribution vector problem and not a money problem.

            Just to see people like Rothbard [empty warehouse receipt] banging on about the shadow sector is a sight to behold, after a lifetime of works which helped to enable so much of which many now ascribe to money – alone. You can’t make this stuff up.

    3. Jeff W

      “This answer/nonanswer is, in my view, that money is a ‘creation of law.’”

      I’d say, at least, that money is a contrived reinforcer [PDF] deployed by the state—with many of the problems associated with contrived reinforcers. Behavior that is governed by natural contingencies is more likely to be appropriate than behavior governed by contrived ones, such as the payment of money—e.g., it’s better to treat sick people based on the nature of their illness, rather than based on their ability to pay.

      1. zagonostra

        Ah! B. F. Skinner, I haven’t read him in a long time…although behaviorism has fallen into disfavor by academia there is still much that is valid to be found there.

        I think I’ll write my next imaginary novel and call it when B.F. Skinner met Elon Musk…

    4. Poopypants

      It could be argued that today’s ‘money’, and maybe all money ever, is simply a proxy for energy.

      When you understand that almost all, if not all, money that is spent is exchanged ultimately for calories you start to truly understand what ‘money’ is.

      Which leads to a predicament, if we can create ‘money’ out of thin air (or with digital 1’s and 0’s), do we have the energy to back up the newly created money? And if not, aren’t we simply playing a game of musical chairs with said ‘money’?

      We currently live with the belief that 3dollars in our pocket equals the future purchase of a gallon of gasoline. Only one of these items is actually energy, the other is simply a construct created to facilitate the convenient transfer of energy, and ultimately the transfer of calories. Which is why a ‘prepper’ has a basement full of calories and an empty bank account.

      1. JP

        There was money before there was law. However you can’t pay your taxes in watts or bitcoin. The energy to back loans is what bankers are for The musical chairs is roughly called inflation.

        1. skippy

          Yes … money is just the accounting symbol for exchange and governed by contracts, even before the advent of the state. Hence trying to force some arbitrary notion based on hard science, so humans respond in some preconceived idea about its use is the mindset of the monetarist.

          That money accrues to the top in a hard or soft currency system would seem to suggest the money in of itself is not the drama.

    5. Mikel

      “Asked if the money the Fed was injecting into banks in the wake of the global financial crisis was “taxpayer money,” Bernanke shook his head and grinned sheepishly. “To lend to a bank,” he said, “we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed.”

      Was the follow up question: Why does everybody scream about “the children of the future” having to pay this back?

    6. Boris

      The article asks the question “what is money?” and posits:

      That is precisely the question I typed into google some ten years ago, and that quickly brought me to MMT, which quickly brought me to NC. I still dont know what money is, I still feel like the issue “money” is like covered in oil so my mind always glides off of it. But the journey was worth it and I leared a lot of other interesting things here.

      1. RMO

        Money is a shared illusion. Grease and glue for reality. But it’s not reality. None of it, gold included. Try getting any society larger than a small hunter gatherer tribe to function without some form of it and you’ll soon see how necessary it is. Too bad that recently the various iterations of money have been getting stupider and stupider and being used more and more destructively (eg Bitcoin which manages both at once).

  2. divadab

    Re: Ermines – nothing like an ermine in the woodpile to keep mice and squirrels down.

    Mustelids are awesome!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      One of the mysteries of ecology to me is why the smaller weasels never became habituated to humans. They are amazing rat hunters and so you’d think they’d be a very welcome addition to urban life, they are vastly more efficient at killing rats than cats or dogs. But somehow, they’ve always kept their distance – the only exception I know of is ferrets.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        never became habituated to humans.

        they are vastly more efficient

        I wonder if you answered your own question. Domestication isn’t a given (see Zebras and the mere 14 mammals we have domesticated with one beings cats; 15 if you count us), but between our own desire to ice the rodents and the efficiency of the smaller weasels, they likely don’t stick around long enough to favor a population habituated to humans.

      2. divadab

        Well weasels will live in close proximity to humans – I wasn’t joking about an ermine in the woodpile – they do nest in woodpiles in woodsheds – as do skunks and I’d much rather have a weasel in the woodpile than a skunk! Weasels will also live in the attic of an old farmhouse as mice are attracted to come into the house, an easy source of prey!

    2. Jen

      Unless they go after your chickens. Lost a flock of 12 in one night. A few years later heard a late night ruckus and ran one off before it finished off another flock. They can squeeze through very small spaces. I thought I’d sealed off every possible point of entry, but the little bugger found one.

      1. petal

        Jen, we had poultry when I was a kid and weasels are the worst. They kill for fun and won’t stop until there’s nothing left. They’re the one animal I’d not hesitate to shoot, or stab with a fork. If we heard the geese at night we knew something bad was happening. You think you have every tiny hole sealed off but somehow they find their way in. Horrible beasties. I’m really sorry about your birds.

        1. sd

          A farmer friend calls them ‘natures sociopaths’ because they kill the chickens but don’t eat them.

    3. pasha

      the chipmunks hereabouts are a month late in appearing this year, and my abode usually has at least four families in the surrounding acre. i’m wondering if the mink, who situate downhill at a nearby pond, have gotten to them.

      1. divadab

        Yup that’s my story as well so I suspect there is a climatological reason for the shortage of rodents – both mice and squirrels – around my house this winter. Or a climatological reason for extra predators this season. Or perhaps a natural cycle which is synchronised over a wider area – are you in New England?

  3. Fireship

    Today, in the Journal of Decline:

    NFTs. “People with breasts”. 2 trillion down the toilet in Afghanistan.

    Did Romans experience the end of their Empire as grotesque, bufoonish and comically inept or is their something particularly futile and funny in US collapse?

    1. flora

      After 40 years of neoliberal dogma that the role of govt is only to work for The Market – The Market is the great decision maker, it is the greatest information processor ever known, politicians should defer to “market signals”, blah blah blah… Most of the national pols haven’t thought about actual governing for a very long time, imo. The billionaire donors’ money flows to the ‘agreeable’ pols.

      The pols we now have are largely unwilling or incapable of actual governing in the whole country’s interests, imo. Also, the “Greed is Good” mantra isn’t much of a governing philosophy.

      From yesterday’s Rising with Krystal and Saagar:

      Pelosi CAUGHT Buying Microsoft Stock BEFORE Giant Military Contract

      1. Mark Gisleson

        The Pelosi information (1000% consistent with her incredible increase of wealth while in office) is pretty much all you need to know about how corrupt US governance is.

        1. Screwball

          I totally agree. But the word “know” is the kicker. Many will never hear about this, and those who do, will make excuses because “tribe.”

          We are so screwed.

          1. Duke of Prunes

            About these excuses, I really don’t know what you’re talking about.

            When I hear of these things, I think “what can I do?”, and the answer I’ve learned repeatedly is “nothing”. I’ve voted to try to change things, but every politician I’ve ever “had faith in” has disappointed me greatly. Then there were huge protests against the middle east wars, but we’re still there. Then there was the huge effort to stop the billion dollar wall street bail-out. Regular people, all walks of life, calling their congress people, writing letters, massive participation, and what came of it? Nothing. The banksters got their billions and “we” got our homes “illegally” foreclosed. At that point, I kind of checked out and decided the best path forward is to do my best to limit my exposure to these “family blog”-ers.

            1. Screwball

              I have already read in many places people making excuses for Pelosi, or come up with some tale how this isn’t illegal at all, and isn’t even a bad look. You know, because tribe.

              But I agree with your entire point – hence my comment of – we are so screwed.

              I can’t get my head around how people will go to the end of the earth to defend this kind of thing. Or is it a natural reaction to hating the other side?

              Which is also how they vote, which may be why “all of the above” wins every time.

              Either way – it is not good nor healthy for the future of this country.

          2. Alfred

            You are so right. To criticize Pelose in come places (sites) is to being the wrath of fire upon your head, and I understand she herself does not tolerate criticism. I wonder how House leadership will get younger and less greedy when she and Hoyer, Nadler, et al. shuffle off.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Recent archaeological digs in Rome conducted while the Italians were digging underground railways have turned up more ancient scrolls to analyze. It was thought that the spread of Christianity in the later days of the Roman Empire actually weakened it but according to these texts, there was another movement also spreading that the text’s authors were railing against for destroying the Empire. Scholars have not fully translated the text because of the new words appearing in this text but the main one used to describe this new movement’s advocates was ‘Neoliberali.’ /sarc

      1. David

        Those were the early days of Empire, of course. I think the consensus among historians today is actually that Christianity turned out to be a strength for the Empire, after it settled down to an effective military dictatorship by the end of the third century. Christianity, once adopted, was a useful device for enforcing obedience and ensuring uniformity.

  4. allan

    Biden to cancel Trump’s pandemic food aid after high costs, delivery problems [Reuters]

    …The government hired hundreds of private companies last spring to buy food no longer needed by restaurants, schools and cruise ships and haul it to overwhelmed food banks. But the program faced spilled and spoiled food, high costs and uneven distribution nationwide, according to interviews with food banks and distributors, and an analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invoice data obtained through Freedom of Information requests.

    Some of the companies charged the government more than double the program average while delivery to food banks was sometimes late. When the government contracted new vendors, some food banks relying on the program stopped receiving food at all. At the same time, the contractors delivered to churches or daycare centers that lacked adequate refrigeration. …

    When the food box program was rolled out in May 2020, the Trump administration touted it as a way of getting food to hungry Americans quickly. But by late June, the program fell short of delivery targets, Reuters reported. The government provided little guidance to food pantries and sometimes inexperienced distributors, who were often left to connect with one another on their own. …

    Reuters’ analysis of USDA data showed the program struggled in particular to reach rural counties. While cities and well-populated counties received millions of boxes of food, 896 counties – or nearly a third – received none, according to USDA data. …

    Another major win for the back row kids.

    1. Karla

      “The USDA spent $4 billion on the food box program in 2020 – six times its normal emergency food budget.”
      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
      Some contractors billed the government way more? Let’s use that metric to examine Biden’s 750 “defense” budget.

      The problems were the nature of perishable food, not because of Trump.
      Now, Pepsico and Coke are rejoicing, because your tax dollars will now go to them, the left over food can be landfilled instead of eaten.

      1. allan

        “The problems were the nature of perishable food,”

        No, the problem was performative governance,
        which is a problem whether performed by a D or an R.

  5. zagonostra

    >Medicaid Estate Claims: Perpetuating Poverty & Inequality for a Minimal Return – Justice in Aging.

    You could take the conclusion of the article on Medicaid Estate Claim:

    Current estate recovery law conflicts with national efforts to promote affordable housing and repair equity and income disparities. Estate recovery offers a minimal benefit for state Medicaid budgets, while significantly harming low-income families and communities.

    as validation in > A Theory of Thorstein Veblen – The Baffler

    In Veblen’s view, modern capitalism, which congratulates itself on its high level of civilization, is in essence a highly organized system of barbaric plunder.

    1. Maritimer

      Plunder indeed. The Wealthy will always find an angle.

      Way back in the early 1990s I had to care for a relative in a nursing home and to interact with Medicare.

      I did my homework and, among other research, read a tome called “The Lawyers’ Guide to Medicare”. This was written by a Professor of Law at a Boston University. I could not believe the contents which basically advised readers to strip out all assets of the elderly relative years before going on Medicare. There were extensive techniques including jewelry. That way, the assets were beyond Government and the care home cost was a free ride.

      I would imagine today things are much worse. Just another way the Wealthy avoid their obligations assisted by Professors of Law no less.

    2. lambert strether

      > Estate recovery offers a minimal benefit for state Medicaid budgets, while significantly harming low-income families and communities

      You say that like it’s a bad thing

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Idaho lawmakers hear pitch to absorb three-fourths of Oregon”

    This one kinda surprised me but it did make me wonder. There are fictional stories based on a United States self-partitioning and which are mostly due to internal forces and conflicts. John Michael Greer’s novel “Retrotopia” is an example of this genre and within it you can find mention of a new Confederacy, a Republic of Texas, internecine warfare in California, etc. But this story brings up the possibility that if ever does happen, that you may have former States deciding to seize portions of other States for their resources rather than just have States just align themselves into a new political grouping. I could very easily see open fighting happen between the SE States over the matter of water for example but I would never have picked the States mentioned in this article. Personally if I lived in a region that broke down, I would hope that it evolved into a Lakeland Republic eventually-

    1. Beyond the rubicoN

      See the “state of Jefferson” in northern CA. I imagine annexation of most of Oregon by Idaho would include the north of CA as well.

    2. The Historian

      This isn’t new. This theme has been going on a long time here in this area, but of course, it is a pipe dream – it isn’t going to happen, even though I am sure Washington and Oregon would love to turn over their extreme right-wingers to Idaho.

      The people in the general area of Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon and most of Idaho have taken a decidedly right turn and have an ideology that is now more extreme than extreme libertarianism – it just keeps getting weirder every year. We can’t even past an education budget in this state because our ideologues in the legislature are just sure the teachers are going to use that money to teach ‘social justice’ and of course, we can’t have that in Idaho. There was some Covid money for pre-K education that was basically free for three years – the legislature rejected it because they were afraid it would be used to indoctrinate 2 year olds to become activists. Tell me, how do you indoctrinate a 2 year old to become an activist?

      The State of Idaho has to keep a pot of money on hand to defend the legislature when it passes unconstitutional laws, as it does every single time it meets. Apparently, they’ve already passed several this legislature already. I am grateful that our legislature is only part time – I can’t imagine what they would do if they were a full time legislature!

      We used to have a referendum system where if you could get signatures from 6% of the voters you could use the referendum system to overturn some of the craziness of our legislature, – that is how the state got enhanced medicaid when the legislature tried to outlaw it – but this session, they passed a bill that said you have to get signatures from 6% of the voters in every county – so now one county can stop everything. That bill is now on the governor’s desk awaiting signature – and I am pretty sure he will sign it.

      I do think there is something in the water in this region that keeps minds from fully developing so that ideology means more to people than common sense.

      1. polar donkey

        I always thought Memphis should leave Tennessee and join Mississippi. The rest of Tennessee hates Memphis. The city has much more in common with Mississippi. Tennessee would probably be happy to see us go. The powers that be in Mississippi wouldn’t take us. We’re a place no one really wants.

          1. ambrit

            I’ve often thought that that region, including parts of East Arkansas, North Mississippi, Northwest Alabama, and Southwest Tennessee should be spun off into a separate state. I like to call it ‘The State of Elvis.’

      2. Karla

        So you think “social justice” merits automatic, unquestioned inclusion in the curricula, but the “ten commandments” does not?

        Both are shibboleths based on personal values, narcissism and a religious intolerance of differing behavior. In my opinion, social justice grievance hustling will lead to lots of deaths if the elite can convince enough people to promote this hucksterism.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thanks, that January thread is really interesting.

          “Greater Idaho” does have a nice ring to it. Really, the whole proposal is just “Big Sort” carried to its logical conclusion….

      3. Ed Miller

        As an Idaho native born and raised in Boise, no longer living there, I am shocked by your comments. I never knew that people have gotten that crazy. Is this a Trump effect or a long term trend?

        However, since the oligarchy is clearly operating on the divide and conquer plan, it’s all good.

        Everything is going according to plan. Now where have I heard that before???

    3. Keith

      There is a big rift in the PacNW that is divided by the Cascades. Population centers of Portland and Seattle dominate their states, similar to the way NYC and Chicago do their states. Then you have the disdain one side has for the other, as can be evidenced in the replies.

      America was founded on succession and federalism. If it is to remain functional, it will need to embrace that concept again and opt for a live and let live mentality. Sadly, politics is about consolidating national power and ramming your worldview down everyone’s throats, hence why the riots or peaceful arson or insurrections are more commonplace.

      Either way, buy some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle of the useful idiots battle it out on the streets.

    4. Andrew Watts

      Greer’s books were probably his way of coping with the collapse of the US. It’s an increasingly popular setting or theme for authors regardless. The podcast host and Bellingcat writer Robert Evans has a similar book coming out sometime in the future. This book will probably just be a re-telling of the Syrian Civil War that takes place in North America. His story even involves military advisors from the Syrian Democratic Forces coming over to North America to help train progressive forces against Christian fundamentalists.

      I think that the western states would probably band together in any post-United States scenario. I can easily imagine a politician and/or veteran of the US military from the American West proclaiming to a crowd of people that even though the United States has died that the idea of America lives on.

      Byzantium marched for the Senate and People of Rome for a millennium after Rome fell after all.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Bellingcat writer Robert Evans has a similar book coming out sometime in the future. This book will probably just be a re-telling of the Syrian Civil War

        No doubt he’ll be able to bill The Atlantic Council for some of the writing. Perhaps NATO will buy a lot of copies before they hit the remainder bins!

        Seriously, why are you treating this dude as anything more than a cut-out for whatever Blob factions want war with Russia?

    5. Rod

      The first book of the year for me was a third re-read of Callenbach’s

      It is focused on this area of the country and has much food for thought presented very simplisticly, on purpose. Lot of looking between the lines. But it is very dated.

      What really popped on me this time was that it was not a ‘all together now Kumb-bye-yahw’ society at all.
      Segregation and Intergration/ Profit and Non-Profit/ Militancy and Pacifism are all made strange bedfellows by their Common Nemisis–their former countrymen to the East:

      The citizens of Ecotopia share a common aim: a balance between themselves and nature. They were “literally sick of bad air, chemicalized food, and lunatic advertising. They turned to politics because it was finally the only route to self-preservation.”[8] In the mid-20th century as “firms grew in size and complexity citizens needed to know the market would still serve the interests of those for whom it claimed to exist.”[9] Callenbach’s Ecotopia targets the fact that many people did not feel that the market or the government were serving them in the way they wanted them to. This book could be interpreted as “a protest against consumerism and materialism, among other aspects of American life.”[9]

      What United all of Ecotopia was their collective belief in the above and their Militancy to defend against that.

  7. bassmule

    Well, I missed the anniversary by a day. One of the events that was never taught in my American History Class: “All told, approximately 150 African Americans were killed, including 48 who were murdered after the battle. Only three whites were killed, and few were injured in the largely one-sided battle of Colfax.”

    The Colfax Massacre

  8. Miami Mitch

    “No, Dr. Fauci, We Are Not ‘Ruled by the Science’”

    It’s a matter of judgment, of tradeoffs, of consideration. One might as well say that one has come to the correct scientific conclusion as to what the speed limit should be. There is no such thing.

    I have to keep reminding myself that I cannot, and do not, know everything, and that only Gods have the complete data set to do “science”. And when we give people authority to make these decisions, we, in a sense, turn them into Gods.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      I keep meaning to ask — is this the Miami Mitch who introduced a certain Francis Xavier Cross to American cinema? Feel free not to say, but I’ve been curious.

  9. John Siman

    As I read the title “Doctors Forgot to Warn *People With Breasts* That the Covid Vaccine Could Affect Their Next Mammogram” (from Jezebel), I wonder how many other readers vehemently object to the woke, critical-gender-theory locution “people with breasts” as an officially sanctioned replacement for the word “woman.” The ghastly underlying theory here is that any woman who demands, for whatever narcissistic or sociopathic reasons, that all people whom she encounters, under pain of censure and punishment, call her a man, *is* in fact (according to some woke reverse ontology) a man, her breasts and genitalia and trillions of chromosomes notwithstanding. I would argue that allowing such morally and intellectually destructive locutions to be imported and reprinted without comment or emendation is the equivalent of reprinting Hitlerian or Stalinist or Maoist locutions in a manner that passes over or obscures their underlying monstrosity.

    1. MK

      Most trans-women have breasts too! It’s not actually limiting the discussion to people born with a vagina, which is really what the wokesters should be calling what we used to refer to as ‘women’.

      I suspect the term is used because even trans-women with breasts (either through hormone therapy or implants, or both) also now need to be worried about breast cancer.

      1. crittermom

        I’m also of the mind they should have phrased it differently–but to include both sexes, as men get breast cancer, too. According to the CDC, 1 in every 100 diagnosed is male.

        Maybe something more like, “Doctors failed to warn all those getting a mammogram that the Covid vaccine could have an affect on the results.”?

    2. Carolinian

      Maybe not vehement but it is terminology that doesn’t exactly conquer ambiguity. Or, as Groucho said about Victor Mature and Hedy Lamar in Samson and Delilah, “his knockers are bigger than hers.” Men can even have breast cancer, so I’m told.

      We are in Woke world silly season for sure.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Men, and by that I mean the XY kind, get breast cancer too, although not in the significant numbers that women–actual XX women–do.

      “Regular” mammograms are a long-established part of the XX “healthcare” program. They are not generally recommended for XY’s who have not had the disease.

      Since the article is concerned with the implications of the vaccine for mammography, and mammography is concerned with breasts, your “equivalent of reprinting Hitlerian or Stalinist or Maoist locutions in a manner that passes over or obscures their underlying monstrosity” is a “bit” of an “overreaction.”

      I mean “Hitlerian or Stalinist or Maoist locutions”????? jeezus h. christ

      1. Mme Generalist

        From your comments it appears that you are unaware of the corners from which the demands for these usages emerge.

        The Critical Theory/Woke mob are openly pushing for an institution-by-institution march (ala Gramsci) through our culture toward a top-down, planned, compliance-based society. So, while it may or may not be true that concerns about this effort are as yet overblown, the references to H/S/M are indeed apt.

        As for your science-based comments, of course you’re correct. However, it is precisely because both men and women have breasts that “people” rather than “people with breasts” would be the normal, unindoctrinated locution.

      2. Irrational

        What a great answer.
        Can we start putting XX or XY in our passports to simplify things?

        1. Jeotsu

          You’ll need more chromosome choices than that. And you’ll also need some universal testing before labelling, as some people are not what they think they are.

    4. Mme Generalist

      Yes. And yet I thought “trans women are women” was the phrase in woke parlance (which I have dubbed utopic tantrumeter).

      They unironically and unabashedly demand that we comply with contradictory demands. It’s infuriating and deeply, deeply troubling to see the extent to which institutions and media are willing to take up these nonsensical locutions.


      1. Pelham

        Oh man, I love that “utopic tantrumeter”! Thank you. I need to start keeping a list of great phrasings I find here. The last was “Reichstag fire extinguisher” in reference to the Jan. 6 kerfuffle in Washington.

    5. CoryP

      This is so bad. 1) Everybody has breast tissue. 2) You can write about mammograms while referring to neither “women” nor “breast-havers” if you really want to avoid upsetting anybody. If you’re that committed to being inoffensive, use some creative sentence structure! (Of course that isn’t the goal).

      Aside: I remain amused that the term for man-boobs is gynecomastia when it obviously should be andromastia. I’d get behind that change in language.

      1. John Siman

        The logic of your preference for andromastica (man + breast) in place of gynecomastia (woman + breast) is sensible but not impeccable. For in Homer the word mazós/mastós refers to the breast of a woman but is nicely translated as the nipple of a man — e.g., he took a spear right through the nipple — the image being that a Homeric hero would have been endowed with godlike pecs but little to no breast tissue. So at least by that literally epic standard, breast tissue on a man would indeed be womanly, — hence the superior logic of the term gynecomastia.

    6. Pelham

      I’m so behind the curve that I took that headline to be a joke. But then I realized it wasn’t intended that way. So I adjusted my attitude until I reflected a bit more and decided it is a joke, regardless of intention.

      The woke world, it turns out, is a mirthful world.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Not a joke, exactly, more tongue-in-cheek, as I took it. Since all “people” have breasts, just an unfortunate, click-batey, 2021 way of saying “everybody.”

        Certainly nothing that called for going all “hitlerian” postal on. Many, many worse things have been written. It’s called having a sense of humor.

    1. Carla

      Flora, thank you so much for this. I hope someone sends the Pharmacy article to Governor Whitmer in Michigan. That state desperately needs Ivermectin. For any Michiganders reading this, here’s a link to the list of physicians who are currently prescribing Ivermectin in the United States:


      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe MI also needs budesonide?

        But then the Empire is on the vaccine train, not so much considering treatment. Because where is the profit in that?

    2. Screwball

      Thanks for this link. I’ve read everything on this site about this, and everywhere else I find information. It all sounds so promising – while people are dying.

      Why in the (family blog) didn’t/doesn’t someone look into this – and like right now?

      I don’t get it.


      The only conclusion I can come up with.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “US to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11”

    He’s not going to do it. You know he’s not. There are “officially” 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan. Then there are 1,000 Special Forces running around doing their stuff. But in Afghanistan there are about seven contractors to every one soldier so who are they? There are trainers, technicians, elements from other agencies like the DEA, the State Department, the FBI and god know who else. Apparently there are ’54 different defense companies are right now advertising job openings in Afghanistan, looking for technicians to do everything from intelligence analysis and terrorist targeting to air conditioning repair.’

    But that is just the US contingent and you have to remember that there are about 7,500 troops from 36 other NATO nations and partners stationed in Afghanistan to “help” them. You would figure that if they were going to withdraw, that you would have the smaller contingents just board a bus to the nearest airport and fly home. Nope. Biden has already said that as NATO went into Afghanistan together, then they must leave Afghanistan together as well. And what that means is that if old Joe changes his mind in September, ALL those troops are still there with no reduction being made at all.

    I think that it is a gambit. Biden is playing for time while he tries to bring in countries like India so that in the end, the US spook contingent remains to coordinate operations against China and Russia while having a large contingent of Special Forces as well as a drone base to keep on hitting who they want when they want. The Taliban will never, ever allow that so the war will go on. It is times like this I think about the last Russian commander of their forces in Afghanistan who tried to warn the American what they would be facing and what it would be like but they totally blew him off as “this time it will be different.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      A senior administration official called the September date an absolute deadline that won’t be affected by security conditions in the country.

      If that’s truly the case, what’s the matter with the May 1 deadline? What’s the matter with tomorrow?

      The president’s decision, however, risks retaliation by the Taliban on U.S. and Afghan forces, possibly escalating the 20-year war…

      All this delay does is give neocons and military brass more time to make their case that this war had some purpose in the first place, and must continue. And if, by some miniscule chance, biden actually does end this disaster as he claims he will, every death and maiming and every dollar wasted during the extra four, gratuitous months is squarely on him.

      But I’m sure his thoughts and prayers will go out and his heart will be heavy….

    2. Pelham

      Darn it, you’re probably right. If we had any remaining journalism, there would be a routine accounting for these mega-bucks contractors in Afghanistan so Americans could have a rough idea of what we’re paying for.

  11. Mikel

    RE: “There’s Nothing to Do Except Gamble” New York Magazine.

    I’ll come back to this article later, but kind of a proto-type of crypto was “the checkbook”.
    I think of a town or neighborhood in past where, back in the day, before ATMs, you could see checks endorsed and re-endorsed and passed around like currency.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Asian-American as an identity, a thread:

    I’m very glad for this explanation of Soju. I never understood how it is that a nation that has such an amazing and subtle food culture can produce such awful alcoholic drinks. Korean beer is seriously terrible too. And its not just a case of Koreans just knowing Korean food, unlike other Asian countries, when Koreans cook other nations national dishes, they do an outstanding job at it, indicating I think that a pretty good palate is normal in the country. It is in fascinating how it is that sometimes cultures can end up worshiping a dish or drink that is by any standards pretty gross.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      In my circle of Korean friends we know exactly what green bottle soju is and isn’t. It better be cheap, it better be plentiful, it better be consumed endlessly, it better be combined with enough chicken beef fish and sides to flatten the table….and (if we are playing it right) the youngest at the table better get busy pouring.

      Like, now please.

      I mean that tweet thread makes it seem like it is dirtwater but it aint that bad. heh. After an hour drinking, honestly…its pretty good.

      Some of my fondest memories were fueled by green bottle soju and, darnit…if only i could remember them now. lol

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Thoughts? well… “In vino veritas, und auch in Makgeolli etwas!!”

        Heehee…one of my ex-GFs liked to make it on the side, she called it ‘The Juice’, but in Korean, and turned up her nose at any commercially-bottled versions as ‘not real Makgeolli’.

        I think that her snobbishness has more to do with the fact that fresh/short-aged Makgeolli really does taste better…it ages, it gets bottled, or (gasp!) pasteurized…it changes in taste, but not for the better.

        She liked hers ‘just so’…just like granddad used to make.

        I would say that to do it right (much as in zymurgy) that you should really grab a recipe for it and make it yourself for a few batches, rather then try and buy commercial. The FRESH stuff…week or 2 max…is best, per Hyo, and I don’t disagree.

        Of course, disagreeing w/Hyo has some pretty serious consequences…so lets just say that ‘we are all entitled to her opinion’, so have some fun making it….and then drink up the week-after-brewed stuff and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! :)

        1. skippy


          I preferred the small village batch shared near the DMZ with locals out of a milk jug.

          Jinro is for getting smashed on overnight leave and enjoy the the next days morning PT, only time I ever fell out of a run, but the then had to chase me to the gate.

          Bokbunja ju and Maesil-ju were nice with an evenings pheasant.

          Although at the end of a 12mi road march, afternoon paddle down the river, and 20mi road march to base a nice lady in a tour bus crossing the freedom bridge, handed me, out the window, a small ginseng drink …. POW …. my brain, everything, did not know up or down but just kept moving …

    2. wol

      A Korean friend in Seoul recommended Soju. If you like Ouzo you’ll love Soju. But nothing compares in gdawfulness to Retsina from a vending machine.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Keir Starmer says the monarchy is “the one institution for which the faith of the British people has never faltered.”

    Not to worry as the political establishment in the UK has their finger firmly on the pulse of the British. And after the 127,000 deaths during the pandemic, the economic dislocations, the restructuring of British society under Boris & co., the near collapse of the NHS, what they have decide that what the UK really needs is – a new Royal Yacht costing £190 million (US$262 million) and to be named the ‘HMY The Duke of Edinburgh’

    1. John A

      In the meantime disgraced second son and Epstein chum, the Duke of York, is stamping his foot and insisting on being allowed to wear an admiral’s uniform out of the Buckingham Palace dressing up box to his father’s funeral.

  14. Randy

    “Harvard and its peers should be embarrassed about how few students they educate WaPo. The headline is a bit deceptive; it’s a call for more admissions, not more education”

    Ha! For a second I thought this was referring to the brainless, interchangeable “technocrats” they churn out whose primary talents are sniffing out the failed policies they must support to advance their careers. No, the problem is they aren’t churning out enough and the ones they are churning out aren’t “diverse” enough. Can’t wait for the next generation of Harvard-educated technocrats who all have the same class opinions but at least slightly better mirror US demographics.

    1. Pelham

      If we had multiple political parties in this country, surely one by this late stage would have campaigned on a pledge to impose a blanket ban on all graduates of Ivy League and other “selective” schools from appointment to any significant positions in the federal government.

      Just for a change to achieve some genuine diversity.

    2. RMO

      Randy: That was my thought too – that is was an arch comment on how few students graduate with a genuine education. I was thinking of WWI era Churchill (as far as I can recall anyways) describing a man as “partially educated in Britain” by which he could have course simply meant that part of his education took place in Britain… but phrased in such a way that you couldn’t be sure he didn’t intend it to be taken the other way.

  15. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Counter: Unemployed workers “defect” and don’t want to return to:
    –Jobs paying $2.13 an hour / base.
    –Customers who want the staff to jump through hoops for tips.
    –Sidework (not even mentioned in the article, but widely resented among workers at eateries)
    –No health benefits. (You’d think that these oh-so-concerned restaurateurs could at least arrange a day of vaccinations for the staff.)
    –Competing with people who don’t have status to work in the USA, which means competing with a cowed and docile workforce that is considered disposable.
    –The idea that people should work for precarious tips (rather than simply adding a service charge to the bill) as a way of “motivating them to do good work.”
    –Being disposable and knowing that the slogan Essential Worker is just as slogan.

    This reminds me of the endless arguments about firearms (and the use of AK multiple-shot blunderbusses): The status quo does not work. Yet here in the Exceptional Nation we are now in love with our exceptional collective failure.

    1. freebird

      A few other reasons to shun this work:

      1. You have a higher chance of dying:

      2. You get to stand on your feet for hours working hard for iffy bad money, PLUS you get to be the hall monitor and remind people to wear masks, distance, etc.

      I went in a good local burger joint this week and I’ve never seen a more demoralized group of people in my life. Going through motions, clearly aching for the day to end. Am I supporting local employment or am I prolonging misery?

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Good comments. Appreciated Lambert’s tongue-in-cheek comment regarding the need for a mechanism to balance supply and demand for labor. Friend told us that their son, who is head chef at a well-regarded regional restaurant chain, is trying to find staff. She said the responses to employment ads he ran last week have been disappointing for him, as only two people responded. One of the two was a recently released prisoner and the other had just been fired by their previous employer. Post-covid “normalcy” could be interesting in so many ways.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Biden proposes summit with Putin as US-Russia tensions escalate”

    Both Austria and Finland have already offered to host this summit but I think maybe it would be better to have that meeting someplace safer – such as Yalta where FDR met Stalin and Churchill. I do wonder here. For years no matter the provocation, Putin has always referred to the US as their ‘Partner’ but now I am starting to hear the word ‘Adversary’ used instead. That is not a good development that. So here is the thing. The Russians say that you have to deal with one of the two Sergeis. That if you do not talk to Sergei Lavrov then you will have to deal with Sergei Shoigu – their Defence Minister. And I am seeing his face more and more now.

    But there will be other considerations as well. Will Biden be accused of treason for meeting Putin as Trump was when he met Putin in Helsinki back in 2018? Will Congress demand that Russia make a major concession to the US before this meeting goes ahead – such as handing the Crimea over to the Ukraine? What if Biden has an off-day and starts to go into ga-ga land when he meets Putin? Who will old Joe’s minders be? Will the Russian trust any agreements that they make with Biden once he gets back home? Or is this just so Biden can say that he tried to knock sense into the Russians but they wouldn’t be in on it?

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Russia will wait until we devolve into something worse than we are now. They have positioned themselves as a peaceful nation that would prefer to just get along with everyone. But some of the diplomatic channels have been fouled with sludge yet business as usual goes on with the background noise of politics filtered out. Russia knows we have moved past the expiration date on reality and will soon enter old Walt Disney’s magic kingdom with no exit. Magic as a policy doesn’t last.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        that would prefer to just get along with everyone.

        China still needs to be managed from the Moscow perspective. Getting along with neighbors is a pre-requisite. The Syria situation was a result of needing to keep one’s word especially as the “adults in the room” were bombing whatever they felt like. My guess was Obama told Moscow he would do what he wanted and tried to explain axing Assad wouldn’t make a bit of a difference. Whether Moscow believed Obama or not is irrelevant because its about Moscow holding up its alliance commitments. I don’t think Obama could understand the idea of countries acting as anything other than vassals of the US, hence Lavrov’s point about the US having enemies and vassals with no room for junior partners. Moscow was clearly open to rationale US leadership.

    2. hamstak

      Or is this just so Biden can say that he tried to knock sense into the Russians but they wouldn’t be in on it?

      I’d put my money on this option, or perhaps a variant of it: propose a summit that the Kremlin deems as pointless and therefore politely decline, and then criticize them for being undiplomatic and unprofessional.

    3. jrkrideau

      Will the Russian trust any agreements that they make with Biden once he gets back home?
      The Russian language seems to have invented a new word недоговороспособны literally “not-agreement-capable” or “unable to make and then abide by an agreement” in honour of the USA.

      I suspect no country really expects the USA to honour agreements if it sees the slightest advantage in not doing so.

    1. freebird

      Good background. If you or anyone would care to summarize the NG article, it would be great. Somehow this morning I wasn’t in the mood to grant the Disney Corporation surveillance rights over me in perpetuity in exchange for reading one article.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In short, the structures don’t show evidence of flooding caused by upriver deforestation. The decline was over a long stretch. 1000 years ago there were 45,000 people in the metro area with 15,000 in the site itself, and by 1400 AD it was abandoned. I don’t know York’s metro area, but in 900 AD, there were 2000 people in York. 15,000 people is a big deal. It may not be as big as backwater like Jerusalem in the Classical age, but still a big deal.

        The complexity is the mystery in the absence of other connected sites. To me, the question isn’t the Cahokia Mounds but what else disappeared and left no trace, smaller sites. My guess is they stopped functioning and the Cahokia Mounds city stopped being supported. Trade with cultures in central america and mexico probably provided the expertise to jump start the city.

        1. Rod

          but what else disappeared and left no trace, smaller sites.

          Having visited there(crazy long view from the top of the larger than anticipated Platform Mound), and traveled about in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys (where similar things existed), a lot of it was ‘Disappeared’ as free fill.
          Signage at Cahokia describes this practice in detail– citing locations in St Louis proper.

          I think one would need a different of geo-spatial skills to recognize some of the smaller more elaborate mounds scattered throughout the various flood plains feeding those two river systems.
          And, of course, maybe recognize that a Culture and Society existed before yours.

          1. Rod

            I got out of the house a couple of weeks ago and just rode around for a week camping.
            I travelled up to the Confluence of the Rivers below Cairo where the Wickliffe Mounds are: (south of Mounds and N Mounds, Illinois)


            but I didn’t go for the Mounds, but to Thebes Courthouse for a reflection:

            Dred Scott was held in the Thebes Courthouse for one night


            and while the Customs House in Cairo is holding its own, the rest of the town just continues withering…

    2. Martin Oline

      A good resource for more information is the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann which was published in 2005. The scope of the book is much greater than Cahokia which has a section about the city 2/3 of the way through. It seems to be reasonably balanced between the different factions in archaeology and academia, but of course the WikiPedia article has links that attack it. It brings together much information and I highly recommend it.

      1. GF

        Another very interesting read is Graham Hancock’s 2019 work “America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization”. Discusses the Americas and how the different societies existed world wide and interacted with a big section on Cahokia and the Miss. civilizations.

    3. Wukchumni

      “Why was the ancient city of Cahokia abandoned? New clues rule out one theory.”

      They had a pandemic that everybody thought would be over in a year, and it ended up lasting 6 years and as a result all retail stores went out of business, and then the clan moved to Parsippany…

      On a more serious note, I was in St Louis in the late 70’s for a coin show, and took a taxi to Cahokia Downs, a racetrack that went out of business about a year after my visit. It was perhaps the lowest level of horse racing i’ve ever been to, with $1,000 claiming races.

      40 years after it closed, there is not much evidence it ever existed-being abandoned, historically fitting considering where it was at!

      Cahokia Downs may not have been the safest place to visit in it’s day. It was said you had a good day at the track if you came out and found your hubcaps gone and not the whole car. Then there was the night two bartenders left the track and were blown to bits when they started their car. The next night the track announcer who always cautioned patrons about their ride home said “and be careful starting your cars”.

      It’s been over twenty five years since the six furlong oval with the long one and one eight mile chute that was tilted at a fifteen degree angle has held a horse race. The only indication that a track ever existed at the Cahokia site are two streets one named Racehorse Drive the other Harness Lane!

  17. Carolinian

    Another great Taibbi, and it brings to mind this new post by Alastair Crooke.

    This meant, in Bannon’s view, that the Trump campaign, and politics generally, henceforth must be centred around mobilisation politics, rather than persuasion.

    Bannon never claimed this as a new insight (tagging its initial appearance to 2008 with the Democrats), but his contribution lay with the notion of reverse engineering the Big Tech model for political ends. The particular salience of this insight however, lay with a concomitant development that was then materialising:

    Christopher Lasch’s prescient 1994 The Revolt of the Élites, was distilling into reality. Lasch had predicted a social revolution that would be pushed forward by the radical children of the bourgeoisie. Their demands would be centred on utopian ideals – diversity and racial justice. One of Lasch’s key insights was how future young American Marxisants would substitute culture war for class war. This culture war would become the Big Divide.

    And for Bannon (as for Trump), “A culture war – is war”, as he told the Times. “And, there are casualties in war”.

    Taibbi and Greenwald puzzle over this new form of woke liberalism that is so different from the old humanist liberalism that some of us remember. But perhaps our reporter class are now in the main “the radical children of the bourgeoisie” who are willing to feel guilty about anything but their own economic status and need a cast of imaginary villains.

    Which is to say once we defeat Covid perhaps we can do something about all the affluenza.

    1. Mme Generalist

      Interesting. Fingers crossed!

      Also, funny that you quote Crooke. I just sent this excellent piece of his on a new “global resistance economy” to NC for consideration in Links.


      1. barefoot charley

        Sound, refreshing perspective! Good old Sun Tzu. I hope to see it’s made the cut tomorrow.

    2. Alfred

      Being a child of the 50s/60s, I wonder if anyone would give a hoot about this “wokeness” if white males had not made themselves the iron gatekeepers of everything constituting the idea of “success” in America. Growing up, you needed a white male “sponsor” for everything. And it was regional–unfortunately for me, my ethnic group was not favored, male or female.
      I see “power” writhing around, always trying to turn itself into the current “thing” just to survive. I may be all wet.

      1. Carolinian

        Oh I’d say there was plenty of awareness about race in the 60s and even the 50s but there was also an awareness that poverty isn’t just for one race.

        I think what Crooke is talking about–and perhaps Taibbi as well–is a generation that thinks all our problems are about race and none about the economic system of which they have been the beneficiaries. Some of us, on the other hand, had parents who lived through the real Depression. Like WW2 it was a thing that was forever after on their minds.

        1. Alfred

          Yes, there was honest awareness about race back then, and the expectation that certain races would be and remain poor. I remember everybody asking “what are you” of each other if the last name didn’t give the clue. People insulted each other all the time in ethnic terms. They banded together in neighborhoods and churches. I just can’t get mad when someone calls me a name, but when they use ethnicity to place obstacles to my wellbeing for their own benefit, something they think is part of life, that’s not stopping with “PC” behavior, it’s continuing to screw you over politely. I recall MLK’s letter to the white liberal about how long they said he would have to wait patiently for equality…and he certainly was not buying it.

  18. Alfred

    re: Neoliberalism blob

    The complete failure of mainstream economists to foresee the crisis—indeed their denial that it could have been foreseen—was embarrassing. The fact that so many were on the payroll of the perpetrators was even worse.

    I started hearing scare rumors about 2007-2008 in 2001. A lot of people were talking, but they were on sites like Democracy Now and Common Dreams, and the Wall Street Journal, while the journalists and the editorial staff were still independent of each other. Nobody I talked to about it in my life believed me. I was in tinfoil hat territory about everything–climate change, economy, etc. It’s just not true that no one saw this coming, IMO it was driven by deregulation at the end of Clinton’s term, and Dubya’s term fanned the flames, and those on the payroll were there to make their killing, so why would they say anything.

    apropos from the NYMAG article about nothing to do except gamble:

    If you were going to choose a moment when money became unstuck in the popular imagination — when it stopped being entirely serious and started being, at least a little, funny — you could do worse than an interview that then–Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke gave to 60 Minutes in 2009. Asked if the money the Fed was injecting into banks in the wake of the global financial crisis was “taxpayer money,” Bernanke shook his head and grinned sheepishly. “To lend to a bank,” he said, “we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed.”

  19. zagonostra

    >Dollar’s Purchasing Power Drops Sharply to Record Low, But It’s a Lot Worse than CPI Shows – Wolf Street

    (gleaned from Wolf Street comments)

    >78% of the dollars in the world were made in the last 12 months. This will not end well.

    >Investors have put more money into stocks in the last 5 months than the previous 12 years combined

  20. Matthew G. Saroff

    That Slate article suggesting that working from home may increase miles driven is classic Slate contrarian bullsh%$.

    The thesis is: If I can come up with a scenario where you drive more not being at work, (You no longer go to the company gym, you go to meetings all over town, etc.) then you could be driving more.

    The article is complete pants.

    1. Mikel

      Commericial real estate is a powerful industry. Wouldn’t be surprised what kind of media blitz that industry in parts or as a whole could be in….

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        ah, but commercial realty is nearing the stage of being a thing beaten down by reality. VC bankrupts it to get a better deal at the auction. Which I feel is great considering they are still buying a decaying edifice that they are unlikely to sell to a greater fool. Perhaps they will erase themselves by believing their own superiority. When I last went to a mall it was to visit one business there. I did not loiter. That was many years ago.
        But if I am wrong, then someone must be bailing them out on their idiotic purchase. Oh the vogonity.

    2. Anthony Stegman

      I would not be at all surprised that at least some people are driving more while working from home. I am one of those folks. My office commute is 6.5 miles each way. That is 65 miles per five day workweek. While working from home I have been driving more than that – for errands, for recreation, for various appointments. While working in the office I was often able to combine trips to or from the daily commute. In addition, driving is a skill that requires regular practice, so it is necessary to drive some where, even if not to an office place.

  21. flora

    from WolfStreet:

    A Fraudster is Impersonating “Wolf Richter” via Email to Rip People Off: If You Get that Email, Do NOT Reply to it. It’s a Scam

    I’ve Arrived. My name is finally big enough in finance to be used by a fraudster. But the brain-dead garbage in the email is funny and obviously fake to those who’ve been reading my stuff.

  22. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    ‘A Theory of Thorstein Veblen’

    The observations and the ideas themselves were and continue to be perfunctorily reviewed and then promptly ignored by the aristocrats, wealthy ruling class interests, and the academic PR men/women who advocate for ruling class interests, yet the critique remains as relevant today as when it was written. Perhaps that is why it is still largely ignored by all those interested in maintaining the status quo, at any cost and as central bank policies continue to favor the wealthy few over the impoverished many.

    “In all his many writings, Veblen distinguished between the industrial, which is about making useful things and providing useful services, and the pecuniary, which is about trying to get something for nothing. It is the pecuniary, he argued, that has become the dominant mode of the modern American economy . . . .For Veblen, it was not the fittest—that is, the most productive—who were surviving and prospering. On the contrary, the winners were a “leisure class” of unproductive parasites devoted to what he called “conspicuous consumption.”

    Gambling on the price of risk assets has become the dominant enterprise in this culture, along with the many spinoff activities that produce little if anything of tangible or lasting value. Productive work is more and more seen and understood as something that is either for suckers, or migrant laborers. The results, characterized as negative spillovers, are already evident, everywhere in this ‘brave new world’.

  23. John Emerson

    On Veblen: The author of the new bio notes that the Veblens had an advantage over other Minnesota pioneer families because in Norway they had picked up the skills needed for a self-sufficient household — besides farming, also spinning wool, weaving clothes, building houses, etc.

    This sounds archaic, bit in “The Invention of Capitalism” Michael Perelman reports that this kind of versatile self-sufficiency was the norm in Britain until the late 18th and early 19th century, when government took steps (Poor Laws, Corn Laws, Game Laws) that had the effect of driving independent farmers off the land to become landless wage laborers — for Perelman the key transition in the making of capitalism.

  24. Susan the other

    Jamie Galbraith. Sorta diplomatic. Calling for an end to zombie neoliberalism and neoliberals. How nice. And proclaiming a new era which demands “practical” economic thinking. Requiring “pragmatic people with pragmatic knowledge of the real world.” I think he could have been far more critical, but he was nice. It’s just that the godzilla of neoliberal self justification is shape shifting into all sortsa things – like non fungible tokens and exchangeable currencies based on cryptoledgers – and other oxymorons that have nothing to do with economics whatsoever. But would if they could.

  25. Maritimer

    Lawmaker urges more propaganda to boost poll turnout RTHK News
    Lawmaker urges more propaganda to boost vaccine turnout

  26. newcatty


    When I was in high school (class of ’69), so yes, many moons ago in a very small town in south west America; I was “tracked” into the college prep cohort. As I looked back at that fact, I realized the class divide was not just promoted, but meant to propagandize and control the young people into their respective economic classes. My spouse said the same educational model was used in his Catholic high school in a larger city.
    Racial discrimination, for most, was just taken as the way the world is…The determinate of future class was being molded in our educational institutions.
    In my honors ( or whatever the name was then) English class the divide between the “smart” kids and everyone else was stark. I later realized that it was only the college prep kids were actually taught anything of worth. We read American classics . We read Hemingway, Steinbeck, Lewis, Poe, Whitman and other poetry. With a nod to English writer’s like Maugham ( of course, Shakespeare ). We were encouraged to read almost any thing of interest. We did Greek classic class readings of Antigone and farces like “The Mouse that Roared”. It was fun and sometimes exhilarating to show up for class. The other cohort? They read something else. I am sure they read from ” English high school literature books”. The best of selections being Twain.
    But, the most salient lessons taught to us smart kids: logic. And, the first introduction to how propaganda and mass media advertising was used to influence our ability to think for ourselves and as a teacher said: not be fooled. Those other kids read the reader’s selections and they played vocabulary bingo on Fridays. I knew this, cause I had a sibling in that cohort.
    The interesting thing was that there was clear economic classes, too. I was a “poor”, so never was in the it class of kids. My out later, was that I was able to go to college on a scholarship.
    That long ago and the fact the ” dumb” kids had no teaching of logic and propaganda was unconscionable. My sibling and her classmates were destined to be more unware of their world beyond the confines of their box in the social order. Some did well in the trades later. A few were jocks and some did well in colleges that cared less about academic prowess. Some embraced their family life and raised big families. Yes, it is true that race and cultural divides are entrenched in America. But, so is this divide between the basic, rigorous education and the kids without it. Granted many people are very well self-educated, as individuals. This is not to excuse the fact that our nation’s education model, as it exists, is one of the main reasons that our people often live in their , often, asigned box. A truly educated populace would mean a populace way beyond any “wokeness” or group ID. Imagine.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > A truly educated populace would mean a populace way beyond any “wokeness” or group ID. Imagine.

      Yep. I was college track all the way until I actually got to college and found I had no reason to be there (except to reproduce “the college track,” already in retrospect disintegrating).

      Everybody should have been taught the college track. And “shop” should have been twice as large and college track kids taught that, too.

      Who invented “college track,” I wonder? It seemed so obvious, then….

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    CDC and WHO are deliberately on purpose trying to turn the Coronavid pandemic into a Coronavid endemic lasting for decades . . . . they hope.

    By now, that should be very clear to anyone who is not a witless dupe of the CDC and the WHO.

    The only question now is why they are doing this on purpose and who they are doing this on purpose for.

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