Links 5/5/2021

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100 year-old enormous fresh water fish caught in Detroit River Boing Boing (resilc) !!!!!

Scientists Are Relocating Nuisance Beavers to Help Salmon Smithsonian Magazine

Drones show California’s great white sharks are closer — and more common — than you think Los Angeles Times

This Unappealing Beer Offers a Taste of Climate Change TreeHugger

Bugging out: EU approves beetle larvae as food France 24 (resilc)

Siberia Is on Fire—and It’s Only May Gizmodo. But then again:

Pesticides Threaten the ‘Foundations of the Web of Life,’ New Soil Study Warns EcoWatch (David L)

Repairing the Soil Carbon Rift Monthly Review (Anthony L)

Global Vaccine Crisis Sends Ominous Signal for Fighting Climate Change New York Times. Resilc: “Fighting climate is PR BS. If we can’t agree on masks, how can we agree on anything? We will fight two things. 1. jack, 2 shit. Kids are kooked.”

Mathematics for gamblers Aeon (Anthony L)

Doctors investigate mystery brain disease in Canada BBC


COVID-19 Death Rates Are Impressively Low In Haiti NPR (David L)

Travel agents jittery over jab tours Bangkok Post (furzy)


Spike Protein Behavior Science Magazine (UserFriendly)

Venezuela to begin clinical trials of Cuba’s vaccine candidate Al Jazeera. Our KLG says that Cuba is eminently capable of developing a vaccine.

Pfizer is testing a pill that, if successful, could become first-ever home cure for COVID-19 Montreal Gazette. Lance N:

This article includes the phrase “keeping schtum” for “staying
close-mouthed”. Apparently this is a Yiddish-ism occasionally used in the UK. I’m fascinated that it would pop up in a Montreal newspaper.


India suspends exams for trainee doctors and nurses amid coronavirus surge (Kevin W)

Covid cases at Everest base camp raise fears of serious outbreak BBC

Covid: Japan town builds giant squid statue with relief money BBC (resilc)


Herd immunity: can the UK get there? The Conversation (Kevin W)


So Much For ‘Herd Immunity’ Heisenberg Report

Biden Gets U.S. Into Vaccine Diplomacy Race as Stockpiles Rise Bloomberg

US Air Force, Navy Extend 50% Work-From-Home Indefinitely Defense One. See also: Proposed Space National Guard Gathers Momentum Defense One. Resilc: “I plan on joining the National Guard Space Force work from home group.”

Biden’s new goal: get 70% of Americans vaccinated by Fourth of July Guardian (resilc)

Social Security Sees Slowdown in Retiree Rolls Amid Covid Deaths MSN. Resilc: “According to plan?”

Births in U.S. Drop to Levels Not Seen Since 1979 Wall Street Journal


Time for China to show the love Asia Times

How CBS’s Norah O’Donnell tried to out-hawk Antony Blinken on China Responsible Statecraft (Kevin W)

The Wider Ramifications Of A China-Aramco Deal OilPrice. 1% is not a strategic stake. It’s symbolic. But it does say that Chinese government interests are acceptable if MbS can’t find investors at prices it likes.


A wider war coming to Myanmar Asia Times

5 Years of Duterte: A Calamity Reaching Its Crescendo The Diplomat


France threatens to cut off power to Jersey in post-Brexit fishing row Guardian (Kevin W)

New Cold War

Kremlin: Russia is preparing to be disconnected from SWIFT


Report: US and Taliban in Talks Over Full Withdrawal By July Antiwar (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Biden Team May Partner With Private Firms To Monitor Extremist Chatter Online CNN

60% of School Apps Are Sharing Your Kids’ Data With Third Parties Gizmodo (Kevin W)

This Motorcycle Airbag Vest Will Stop Working If You Miss a Payment Vice (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Andrew Yang Promised to Create 100,000 Jobs. He Ended Up With 150. New York Times. From last week, still germane

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Derek Chauvin files motion for new trial in George Floyd case, alleging jury misconduct NBC. Experts expected a filing along these lines and did not anticipate it would succeed.

‘Curbside Karen’, 35, faces hate crime charge for dialing 911 on black Amazon delivery driver and calling him ‘the N-word’ in public rant after she claimed she saw him speeding Daily Mail. Lead story in US edition.

Woke Watch

Here Be Monsters… Rhyd Wildermuth (UserFriendly). OMG one of the best opening lines evah: “I once went on a date with a bat.”

CIA Embraces Left-Wing Ideology, Leftists Deny That This Is Happening Michael Tracey. Hate the conflation of academically oriented PMC promotion of intersectionality with the left.

Fried-Chicken Craze Is Causing U.S. to Run Low on Poultry Bloomberg (resilc)

Elizabeth Holmes back in court for first time in 15 months, putting Silicon Valley culture under scrutiny CNBC (Kevin W)

Another reason why Alex Oh was not tenable as chief of enforcement at the SEC:

Tech Giants Could Send Helium Prices Soaring as War For Supply Grows OilPrice (resilc)

Rent-to-Own Dogs Adam Levitin

Class Warfare

Government official working a shift as Meituan courier is featured in new Communist Party documentary South China Morning Post

Higher Ed 2.0 (What We Got Right/Wrong) No Mercy/No Malice (resilc)

Tim Cook, Apple, and Runaway Limitless Corporate Greed CounterPunch

Funny, one of our aides and her husband (before he died) operated a 3 bay garage in Connecticut, so as a side benefit she does car diagnosis and minor maintenance. From resilc:

I had an interesting interaction with an owner/operator of a small 2 bay garage in Clarksburg, MA yesterday. I drop my 2003 Tacoma with 90k miles to get its first brake job ever (why I buy Toyotas) and get a call to pick it up mid day. I get there and the shop is all open, tens of $dollar of tools all sitting there. A sign, “back soon”. Bob the owner drives up and says on a quick lunch break. I’m here all alone, have a p/t retired guy who wants to work 2 days, but I can’t find help. Kids from a pretty good tech high school are generally a very mixed lot. Hired one kid who was great, hoped to sell him the business in 10 years, but he left to join the Marines….we’ll be locked into dealers on everything soon. He said kids can’t afford the capital needed to buy or start-up something like his operation. And he said he’d be a plumber if he was younger. All you need is a van, a few tools and a cell phone/website.

Antidote du jour (Dr. Kevin):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Quanka

    Fantastic soil articles today – accessible enough to be passed to friends and family newer to the topic. In our diets we focus too much on fats/proteins/carbs. In soil we focus too much on N/P/K elements. Classic drunk under the street lights thinking.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Soil science is fascinating and its amazing how little we really know about it (especially what fungi get up to underground), considering how central it is to human existence. Even in science, soil scientists are often considered a bit of a fringe – famously, no soil scientist was invited onto the UK governments advisory body after Chernobyl, so none of the eminent physicists realised that cesium could bioconcentrate in acid soils.

      Modern agriculture seems almost designed to destroy soil. Its awful to witness soils that have taken millennia to build up destroyed casually through over application of biocides or overcompaction or any number of other bad practices. If we take care of the soils, the soils will take care of us. Its a simple lesson that seems to have bypassed most agriculture scientists.

      1. Tom Stone

        PK, when parts the Sacramento river delta was drained a Century or so ago it produced some of the finest farmland in the world, many thousands of acres of it, protected by levee’s.
        Soil level has dropped 30′ or more on most of these islands and the levee’s are rotten with Chinese snow crabs.
        There’s no money to fix them and when you look at the proximity of places like Skagg’s Island to the Roger’s creek fault…
        Weather patterns have changed and are continuing to change, California’s water system is predicated on the old patterns of weather, there will not be enough water to continue irrigating large parts of the Central Valley.
        California’s agricultural production is going to diminish significantly in the next 20 years and beyond, perhaps as much as half.
        Interesting times…

        1. tegnost

          I have begun to see our problem as a desire/need for stasis. The dams need to make the rivers less unpredictable/more static pesticides/fertilizers try to make the land once fertilized by floods viable in a constant, static manner. In doing so we’re basically killing everything, It’s interesting that we don’t really know how long north america was populated…5000 years? and the population concentrations, but in roughly 100 years we have dramatically altered the processes of nature and in hubris think that computers will fix it, genetic engineering will fix it, aliens will fix it…but no matter what the wealthy class requires stasis. It always goes back to that, and the world has never been static, it flows.
          I’ve said this before of course but nothing short of a massive economic collapse can stop the PTB. Control freaks don’t like change.

        2. Larry Y

          Or, the entire Central Valley could be flooded in a megastorm, wiping out farms and killing millions of livestock. Then, the soil afterwards will be contaminated with sewage, and industrial and agricultural waste.

          Losses? Hundreds of billions. Biggest natural disaster in US history.

      2. jhg

        I took a few soil science courses when I was studying for my degree in physical geography many years ago. My professor said that “soil was dirt that made good”

        A soil horizon may take 10,000 years to form and be destroyed completely in less than a decade. The result being a catastrophe like the dust bowl in the US in the 1930s.

        Interesting stuff…

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Ever since Charles Walters Junior founded the Acres USA paper, he hammered over and over and over again the point that petrochemical NPK agriculture is not modern. It is a false departure and always was.

        Modern agriculture is what was developed by the entire agricultural mainstream of its day right up until the very early 1950’s. The oil industry and its allied chemical industries and Haber-Bosch ammonia industries figured out how to give lavish grants to Land Grant Universities on the condition that they suppress and memory-hole all the decades of ag-research done up until that time.

        The fate of William Albrecht at University of Missouri was tellingly illustrative of that process. (I am going on memory now). In the early 1950s an oil company offered a vast grant to the University of Missouri on the condition that it fake-promote William Albrecht from Professor to Professor Emeritus and forbid him from ever teaching a single class ever again. The U of M memory-holed and cone-of-silenced all his research papers as best it could.

        Charles Walters made a point of reprinting paper after paper by Albrecht in the pages of Acres USA. Walters also printed papers by Rudolph Ozolins, Lee Fryer, Bargyla Rateaver and many others. Walters referred to this as “capturing the values”. Walters felt he was copying this knowledge to preserve it through the decades of the Petrochemical Dark Age he saw spreading over Working Agriculture and Land Grant Academic Agronomy and hoped it would still be alive for re-discovery, re-use and re-vival by new generations of new-emerging eco-bio clean-farm wannabes. It would seem that this is now happening.

        So when you write in your comment that ” Modern agriculture seems almost designed to destroy soil.” Charles Walters overtly said, hundreds of times, over and over again, that there was no “almost seems” about it. Petrochemical NPK agronomy was designed on purpose with money-and-power-driven malice aforethought, quite specifically and exactly to destroy soil on purpose. Once soil could be totally destroyed thoroughly enough that precisely zero biological functionality remained in it, then the farmers on that chemo-sterilized ex-soil would be entirely and profitably dependent on aqua-soluble NPK fertilizers and the whole spectrum of petrochemical pesticides.

        On purpose. By design. No “almost seems to be” about it.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      We’re little boys so excited to disassemble our favorite toy until it’s time to put it back together. Then we don’t have a clue.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Us little boys seem to have only one tool for those toys — a hammer. Works great for disassembly. And Mommy and Daddy can always afford to buy a new toy, right?

    3. Dee

      Yes, it’s great to see the soil articles.

      For readers who want to do a quick deep dive into the topic, I found Elaine Ingham’s publications/videos and Jeff Lowenfels’ book “Teaming with Microbes” really enlightening.

    4. juno mas

      Yes, “Repairing the Soil Carbon Rift” was well written. Explains the evolution of agricultural soils thinking and the relations of soil structure, nutrients, moisture, and the source of plant carbon (atmospheric CO2) without being too technical. Explains clrearly how soil tillage not only destroys soil structure but also exposes organic matter (plant roots and soil organisms) to decomposition and returns carbon back to the atmoshpere.

      PK recognizes the dilemma of rapid soil loss/destruction of a resource that takes millennia to develop naturally. If only the Old World would have learned from the New World (native practice) before stealing the land.

    5. farmboy

      Destruction of soil worldwide began with the plow. All practices outside permaculture extol a cost or externalize impacts. It’s not organic v. pesticides, it’s civilization, it’s cities, it’s war, it’s the perversion of financialization. The conservative sentiment to “get back to the garden” is really a respect for what is lost. How do we get it back? Ironically, if that even exists anymore, it’s doing less with more, intensifying practices to feed the soil biota, afterall it’s a huge sink. The soil is our, humanities, unconscious, absorbing everything, yet still healing.

    1. dcblogger

      60% of School Apps Are Sharing Your Kids’ Data With Third Parties

      this is why it is important to vote in school board elections

      1. Laura in SoCal

        I’m not shocked by this at all. When my son was freshman (2.5 years ago), he wanted to try out for the Soccer team at his high school. You had to complete “Athletic Clearance” on line where you went thru all the liability waivers, input medical data, etc. At the very end was a questions, Is your child interesting in playing college sports? and had you “check” the boxes next to the sport they might be interested in. Within a week, my email box is filling up and I’m getting phone calls from “recruiting agencies”. These are people who “help’ you get recruited. Setting up a profile with them is “free” but I’m sure at some point there are fees (or maybe they just sell your data or get a cut from actual recruiters…I don’t know). At first, I was very polite and said that my kid was only a freshman and we weren’t interested. Then they called my 15 year old directly on his cell phone. At that point I called them and said if they didn’t stop contacting my kid on his phone, I would call the cops about grown men calling my minor child. They stopped. I still get emails…at least 3 a week.

        Now I’m getting “Jostens” emails since my kid is a Junior. I have to assume that they got my email from some school related app or site.

        1. Screwball

          It seems everyone is on board with wanting and using our personal data. I would be furious. I think it will only get worse.

          But what are we to do? As long as we are “online” in some fashion, we are a commodity. By hook or crook.

          Orwell is rolling over in his grave.

          1. Wukchumni

            I find it remarkable that just 30 years ago if you opted out of being listed in the telephone book, for all practical purposes you largely didn’t exist.

            We’ve come a long way…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I heard it quite a lot growing up in Dublin, if I recall correctly there was a writer on one local music mag who used it as his nom de plume back in the 1990’s. I don’t think it was considered a Jewish term, just a regular slang word. I’ve no idea where it came from, presumably from Dublin’s very small but influential Jewish community.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Interesting. Keep schtum was such a ubiquitous phrase when I was growing up that I just assumed all native English speakers used it or were familiar with it. No visible Jewish community at all in my part of Notts.

        1. Kouros

          Never heard it in Coronation Street, which my wife watches for over 30 years now…

      2. FriarTuck

        I picked up the phrase somewhere in my youth here around Chicagoland; maybe a Mel Brooks film?

        I still use it from time to time. Great color phrase.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Yiddish can now be learned on Duolingo.

          That is cool. Wonder if they’ll ever do Ladino.

      3. Pavel

        I first came across it in Le Carré’s excellent “The Tailor of Panama.” And yes, there is an old and thriving Jewish community in MTL! Cf the legendary Fairmount and St Viateur bagel shops in Mike End ;) Delicious.

          1. Pavel

            Or the 1974 version of Mordechai Richler’s “ The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” with a cocky young Richard Dreyfuss and Randy Quaid, taking place in 1950s Montreal.

      4. David

        A lot of Cockneys like my mother grew up with friends and neighbours who were first-generation immigrants from Eastern Europe and spoke Yiddish. Those communities were later dispersed all over London with slum clearance projects, so a lot of children grew up hearing bits of Yiddish vocabulary. Another term I remember from my youth is “to be in dead stuck” (probably “stück” in the original, meaning to be trapped in a difficult or embarrassing situation.”

        As for “schtum”, like a lot of East End slang it became associated with gangland – you may remember Luigi Vercotti in Monty Python’s Doug and Dinsdale Piranha sketch.

    2. wilroncanada

      Yes, Montreal has a sizable Jewish community, two of whose ultra-orthodox members just died in the Israeli “stampede”. A couple of notable poet/novelists out of that community: Mordecai Richler and Leonard Cohen. I just came upon the word in a British crime novel I’m reading. In my teens (eons ago)I spent a lot of time playing basketball at the Jewish Community Centre in Hamilton, ON, and never heard the word there..

      1. Pavel

        See my comments above. Is the “British crime novel” The Tailor of Panama by any chance? In any case, enjoy!

    3. HJR

      Lance N wrote:
      “This article includes the phrase “keeping schtum” for “staying
      close-mouthed”. Apparently this is a Yiddish-ism occasionally used in the UK. I’m fascinated that it would pop up in a Montreal newspaper.”

      It not written by a Montreal Gazette reporter, it is a reprint of an article by Paul Nuki from the UK’s The Telegraph.

  2. John Siman

    Thank you, Yves, for posting Aaron Maté’s tweet on Colombia! Here’s some more information from Aaron’s Grayzone colleague Anya Parampil, who emailed me: “There are protests in Colombia right now against the wave of murders of social leaders. The police are cracking down in a big way. My friend Zoe Alexandra [at Peoples Dispatch] has been tweeting about it some in English and sharing videos from Colombia.”

    1. km

      Could it be…..Putin? If the protests spread, you can bet on it. Lots of articles deploring Putin’s interference in Colombia’s Precious Democracy and claiming that the Russian intelligence services have these incredibly sophisticated memes that instantly turn Colombians into zombies, just by looking at them, ZOMG.

      “Russia” plays the role for today’s establishment that Jews once played not so long ago.

      No evidence needed. Because Jews.

    2. Biologist

      Thank you John for this link.

      There were videos on twitter of rounds being fired from helicopters into protestors on the ground, in Bogotá or Cali. Also reports of internet being blocked in parts of Cali, as well as censorship on Facebook, Twitter and Snapshat. These platforms are widely used by people posting evidence of violence perpetrated by ESMAD, the militarised security forces of the police.

      Many such reports can be found using the hashtag #nosestanmatando:
      (nos están matando = they are killing us)

  3. Basil Pesto

    Commentariat, I just saw a superb documentary at the cinema (my first time there since the Before Times, having been a regular visitor in the past, even though they’ve been open here for a while, so that was great) called Colectiv. It’s about the aftermath of the nightclub fire at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest in 2015 (as it happens, I visited Bucharest shortly before the fire, which made international news because of the fire itself and because it lead to the resignation of the Romanian government at the time).

    It touches on many NC-adjacent themes despite its specific Romanian setting including government and healthcare corruption. It starts following the journalists who broke the story of the corruption involved (and it’s been mentioned in comments here before that sports journalists would often do better investigative work than those on the political beat – in this case, a daily sports tabloid breaks the news). Then focus shifts to the health minister who replaces the one who resigned, who at first to look at him you think is a hopelessly young and ill-equipped technocrat (he’s an economist! – in point of fact, the government that replaced the one that resigned was comprised of politically unaffiliated technocrats) but he’s depicted as a decent man who, despite his governmental position, has a relatively tiny amount of power to implement necessary reform in the face of systemic corruption. Highly recommended.

      1. Basil Pesto

        It also ties in quite serendipitously with today’s cross-post which I just saw.

        It’s not giving anything away, but part of the controversy over the disaster was that many burn victims died in hospital in Romania of nosocomial infection. The reason for this is that the disinfectant in Romanian hospitals was diluted to the point of being ineffective. This is sort of the tip of the iceberg of the rot the film portrays in the health system there, though, and hospital administrators are implicated.

        You do at some point learn the Romanian word for ‘management’. Turns out it’s, uh, management.

  4. Fireship

    > CIA Embraces Left-Wing Ideology, Leftists Deny That This Is Happening Michael Tracey. Hate the conflation of academically oriented PMC promotion of intersectionality with the left.

    The problem is that, as Morris Berman writes, “In America, even the intelligent people are really stupid.” Michael Tracey is intelligent and well-educated, but he seems not to have the mental capacity to differentiate between liberalism and leftism, between social issues (wokism), and economic issues (socialism, i.e. “the Left”).

    This is the country where 90% of people supported the murder of Kent State students or were indifferent to their slaughter. The same percentages probably hold true for ongoing US murder campaigns.

    The US is clearly dying and this should be celebrated. These examples of woke buffoonery and journalists’ lack of knowledge of basic social and economic concepts are only to be expected in a society based on 400 years of hustling panting out its last gasps.

    1. Alfred

      Re “the US is clearly dying…” What you are celebrating is the sight of a bad parasite killing its hosts. What we need here is a super dose of “Ivermectin” and total lack of participation in this demise. But I don’t see that happening on a large enough scale.

      1. Astrid

        Think of a rabid animal. It’s a host that is particular susceptible to the mind controlling parasite and currently rampaging around the world, causing untold destruction. Since healing itself doesn’t appear to be in the cards, we should at least hope on a quick death to stop the rampage and hope to limit the parasite spread.

        1. Alfred

          The parasite is already everywhere, too late for that. And it quickly works to co-opt any large movement to engender awareness of itself. When it gets frightened, it turns up the heat. It’s in a feeding frenzy right now–it’s not very smart, but over centuries has conquered with existential fear and it takes being totally fed up to the point of not caring about threatened destruction to break free. It’s the “bi-partisan” delaying BS that keeps it alive. I once had a guy tell me, “You think you’re too good for me,” when I wouldn’t date him. I knew he was bad news, but that was the technique to break me down. Lucy pulling the football after Charlie Brown continually trusts her is another. It’s not bad to not put up with destructive behavior by withdrawing, but it does not serve the parasite’s feeding purposes, it stops the flow. So we are taught not to “hurt” people by not letting them continually abuse us. I wish us luck, but so far, so bad.

        2. Alfred

          “we should at least hope on a quick death…and hope to limit the parasite spread”

          Comparing some humans to rabid animals because they have been duped from birth by the parasite?

          1. Astrid

            You’re right. It’s unfair to compare USians to rabid animals with no control over their situation and have a limited range of destruction. Unlike USians, the rabid animal really is not responsible for their actions.

            1. Alfred

              That’s clearer. Now how would you hold someone responsible for their actions when they’ve been indoctrinated to be “useful,” in a certain way and are severely punished when they try to expand their consciousness? Would you think allowing them to die off to contain their damage would be the way to go?
              BTW, Liz Cheney per CNN today “Liz Cheney chooses truth over power — a lonely path in Trump’s GOP”
              It’s not just a “lonely path in Trumps GOP” it’s something that plays itself every day in everyone’s life–those choices that “threaten.” What’s needed is support for turning our backs on “being useful.”

              1. Pelham

                I’ll second those thoughts.

                It’s evidence of sloppy thinking when anyone equates a nation’s actions on the world stage with its people. We see this with Russia as well with the commentariat continuing to cast aspersions on “Russians” and alleging various “Russian” shenanigans.

                Not that any nation’s people are universally angelic bystanders. But having had a lifetime of interactions with these creatures in various countries, I find that by and large they’re pretty nice, even here in the US.

              2. km

                Sounds like the “good Germans” excuse. Although, as I have said elsewhere, I have more sympathy for the Germans. It’s not as if reading NC will get you sent on a trip to Dachau.

                1. Alfred

                  Oh, for heavens sake. What’s with “the Germans” all the time? Never mind.

                  1. km

                    Nazi Germany is useful as a shorthand for evil that pretty much anyone and everyone agrees is a particularly monstrous and egregious form of evil.

                    That is the real reason underlying Godwin’s Law.

                    1. flora

                      The “monstrous evil” is the belief that “the ends justify the means”. imo.

              3. Astrid

                Coulda woulda shoulda. A rabid animal is innocent too, more innocent than humans who could choose better than their conditioning and didn’t, it still gets put down because what it had is incurable and it’s dangerous to others in its current state. It’s no more or less than that.

                I know it’s a hard thing to do as an American (and I am one, shamefully so), but not everything that happens in the world is about *you* and particularly your feelings and life struggles. Sometimes it is just restating the hard facts of the situation, to demonstrate understating of how others can reasonably think differently than *you*.

          1. Astrid

            Yes I am. I’m not doing much useful these days. Just exercising demons in what looks to be a hopeless situation.
            A situation substantially enabled by a bunch of liberals who had good intentions, damn the facts.

    2. rl

      Fireship . . . you are an American.

      Unless the first-person plural personal pronouns that have slipped into some few of your past comments were to be understood some other way?

      I share your relief at the accelerated decline of the U.S.-policed world order, but not your apparent relish at the fire and desolation, both material and psychological, that the empire in its death throes is poised to turn on “the American people” itself/themselves, the majority of whom do not even know about, let alone understand, what their government and its international accomplices really have done to the world. What good does all of this contempt and rage do you, or anyone?

      1. Alfred

        Fireship wants to burn it all down. Fireship may not be intending to go down with it, but USA,USA,USA is what’s burning. When your a** is on fire, and you sniff the air and say, “smells good, whatever that is cooking.”

          1. Alfred

            Yeah, too bad they made that guy look like a crazy trenchcoat street corner evangelist.

      2. km

        Frankly, if Americans are willfully ignorant, if they refused to consider alternatives, that is on some level their own fault.

        I have more sympathy for Germans in 1933 than I do for Americans today.

        1. rl

          But that’s nothing special: history is the fault of human beings. If the historically U.S.-aligned or U.S.-compliant world at large has taken this long to see that it should not have made this Faustian bargain, neither for “prosperity” (infinite exploitation) and “the pleasures of life” (mass-consumption), nor for “peace and safety” (metastasized terrorism and a globe riddled top to bottom with bombshells and forever-wars), the empire’s survival is also on some level all of those nations’ “fault.”

          Everyone at this point is an enabler, if not an accomplice, of everyone else. Who is not tainted?

          1. km

            We as Americans weren’t forced to choose the least bad choice, forced to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea when we chose empire.

            I for one certainly am tainted.

            1. Alfred

              There is a big difference between being forced and being supported. When we stop blaming “people” we can see how support for empire was created, with lies. The space for dissent was certainly targeted for elimination. Dupe someone, then call them a willing participant. PR genius.

            2. rl


              I think of the Americans I’ve met on sidewalks or in homeless shelters, church basements, mental health crisis wards, homebound/shut-in ministries; I think of the 66 y.o. grocery store clerk who works 60-65 hour weeks to make rent, and of the semi-illiterate hospital custodian who comes to the public library where I work for help filing for food stamps. And there are too many others.

              Are these Americans “We”? Does Fireship look forward to reading, at some future date, the headlines from his home in Ireland about how these “Americans” now go hungry, now sleep in the cold, now drink themselves to death, now bury a second or third child who has overdosed? Will this be justice done? Can true justice even be done for what the great machine of capitalism, perfected in and steered from the United States of America, has done to the world? No? Then why the near-daily litany of violent delights in the comments section?

              No, those people aren’t innocent; they too are fed and watered by evil. But in this sense there is not even one innocent person on the face of the earth. And no, certainly not the sanctimonious b*****d typing this comment.

              1. km

                And the people who suffer and die at our hands have even less than our poor and afflicted, and all too often, they have even fewer choices.

                And if we go, if the United States were to sink today into the sea, most of the rest of the world would rejoice to see us go, to see the people who willfully and willingly inflicted such suffering upon people who never harmed them in any way get a small taste of their own medicine.

                I don’t blame them.

                1. Alfred

                  what will survive are the forces that perpetrated the infliction of suffering. their tools will perish, and they will find new ones. Why is it when I went abroad, I made friends of the inhabitants, and when I meet people from other countries in the U.S., we become friends? That is, unless some outside force interferes telling us we are supposed to hate each other. If Jeff Bezos sank into the sea, would you be happy? Or would you wonder how you will get all your stuff?

                  1. lyman alpha blob

                    I’d be happier if he were fired into the sun, and with his inclination toward space travel, maybe he would too. I’d settle for the sea drop though. Don’t need any stuff from him.

                    The US oligarchy is a great evil on the only planet humanity has. Capitalism is a cancer. At this point, I’m getting less and less picky in regards to who might make it go away and how.

                    1. TERRY V COCHRAN

                      the cancer we have is the socialists, capitalism has one major flaw it doesn’t reward lazy and stupid.

                    2. lyman alpha blob

                      Capitalism doesn’t reward lazy and stupid?!?!

                      Then please explain the presidency of George W Bush.

              2. JTMcPhee

                Don’t forget to give the capitalists and financiers in Britain, past and present, a lot of credit for how things came to this pass. The industrial empire juggernaut kind of got under way there, as I recall. Along with the notion of building up an ignorant underclass, heads full of manufactured consent, to be exploited,

                1. rl

                  You are right, of course.

                  Efforts to set the historical record straight as to who(se economic grand strategy) brought us to this state often (not always) strike me as vanity or distraction, since the underlying thought is often (not always) that when history collects on the accumulated debts, this will somehow put things right or at least make them better. “Justice.” But it won’t. If history has come to judge us (take your pick from among the crises that already menace the world), we will be hard-pressed to find any government, nation, or even individual not implicated in the crimes, which are many and grave. Maybe the as-yet uncontacted peoples of the deepest rainforests, the most remote islands, and other free places. But none of us can without hypocrisy claim to be clean.

              3. JEHR

                I watched the news when the Syrian people began to protest the life they lived under Bashar al-Assad and I hoped that the protests would help change the leadership. I watched as children were imprisoned and tortured and then the bodies sent home to the parents as a sign of what would happen if the protests continued. I watched as the military split into two factions for a civil war that did not succeed. The Syrian people deserved to be freed from their chains but it never happened and the people were not to blame. The country was almost destroyed and the winners remain the same “old” leaders. I would not wish any such struggle to take place in any other country because it is the innocents that pay the highest price and, just maybe, that price is too high.

                1. pjay

                  The Syrian people certainly do not deserve what has been done to them.

                  But I have to say that your depiction of their plight is a little distorted, to say the least. Whose “news” were you watching? That question, indeed, is a central part of the problem when we discuss the complicity of “average Americans” in the crimes of our leaders.

                2. ObjectiveFunction

                  The Syrian conflict, like so many others, is mainly demographics, with a dollop of climate change. Economics, religion and the Great Game are all subordinate to that.

                  1. The Baathist Assaad regime was clannish (Alawite) and thuggish, but its ruling classes included all major religious and ethnic groups (Muslim and nonMuslim), and provided continuity to the country’s ancient commercial traditions.

                  2. While it has little oil, Syria is rich in most of the necessities of daily life; it is one of the cradles of human civilization (also an early victim of climate change). As in Greece and Lebanon, one can live quite well there on a modest income, in peacetime, at least outside the (growing) desert areas.

                  The Ottomans (and French) also left a reasonably well staffed state administration. This formed the basis for a middle class, drawn heavily from the mercantile sects. Syria was thus fertile ground for 1950s Arab nationalism (Baathism), including the fatuous ‘United Arab Republic’. This also naturally inclined them toward the Socialist / ‘nonaligned’ bloc, all the more so to obtain arms for the ongoing wars with Israel.

                  3. By the 1980s the Baathist social welfare state was coming under strain, from an exploding population of young Sunni Arabs flocking from the countryside to find a better life. The regime tried; it built huge blocks of ugly high rises to house them, expanded education, all the welfare state tools.

                  Syria has no oil wealth though, and Soviet subsidies were by now mostly weapons. The proxy wars in Lebanon were also becoming a drain on the regime, and spilling over into Syria. The first externally visible warning sign was the 1982 Sunni Islamist movement in Hama, which was savagely crushed by the army.

                  4. With the end of the Cold War and the false hopes of Israel-Arab peace, Syria reverted to a backwater. But the Sunni poor kept outbreeding the Levantines’. Remember, most of these folks have little in common culturally with the Levantines, and so threatened the power balance, as well as the economic privileges, of the ancient “mosaic” that the Assaad clan had sustained. It didn’t help either that Sunni petrosheikhs were funding militant Sunni preachers here, as elsewhere.

                  5. By 2010, the unmet expectations of a second generation of Sunni young adults born into urban squalor began boiling over, as part of the ‘Arab Spring’. And the Assaads, with at first lukewarm support from the other Levantines, reacted with the only effective tool they had left: brutal armed force from a Soviet tank-heavy but infantry poor army.

                  TL DR: Absent enforcing a ‘one child’ policy (good luck with that!), this catastrophe was bound to happen; the Levantines are now a minority in their own homeland, so they will defend the status quo, violently. The war weary Syrians may eventually submit, but none of the underlying trends have changed; that pot will boil over again, and again.

                  … Sorry if that all sounds a bit cold, but it’s a pretty standard pattern all over the world. Demography is indeed destiny over generational timelines, until people have fewer babies.

              4. Jonathan Holland Becnel


                Howard Zinn writes about ordinary people in his History of the US and it taught me that the elites use ordinary people and sow discord among us in a divide and conquer strategy. Politics ain’t taught anymore in schools and 75percent of Americans have no idea that we aren’t a shining city on a hill.

                WE must NEVER blame ordinary workers for the way that they act or feel. WE must blame the system.

                Blaming regular Americans is useless and leads to hate and anger and the dark side.

                Like Bernie, all we do on here is talk and comment which in the grand scheme of things is useless without boots on the ground and actively seeking change ourselves.

                I understand Fireships comments, but I’m just so optimistic about our future that I’m not even upset!

                OMINA FAUSTA CANO :)

      3. FluffytheObeseCat

        They indicated one of their primary tongues is German in a comment above, so I’m not sure why you characterize them as American. The virulent hatred of Americans exhibited in most of their comment here – and the common lack of informative content within them – do not indicate they are familiar with most of the U.S. They seem to be an archetypical member of the Western or Central European intellectual/PMC sub-elite. Florid, outsized, and self-exonerating displays of distaste for America are common in that class, and almost de rigueur in some circles. Of course ‘creative class’ Americans ape some of these behavior patterns, so you may be right.

        Among this class however, stagey displays of contempt for us are designed to move critical eyes away from their own histories…….. and the present day wealth extraction practices of their own preferred societies and large businesses. The ongoing depredation of the global South is all – and always – someone else’s fault you see, and someone else’s vulgar lust for power.

        1. Wukchumni

          Haven’t seen much of them lately, but the predominantly European foreigners I talk to are enthralled with what they see, true wilderness with none of the kitsch that comes with the territory in the old country, where in lieu of hiking in the Alps-an aerial gondola will whisk you away to your destination, perhaps a restaurant in the back of beyond?

          Nothing is for sale and you are on your own in our National Parks once you leave the frontcountry…

        2. rl

          “They indicated their primary tongue is German in a comment above, so I’m not sure why you characterize them as American.”

          I see, I must have missed that comment. My question re. interpretation wasn’t rhetorical, but was raised by a comparatively marginal number of past comments where “we” seemed (at least to my reading) to take “Americans” as its antecedent. If you are correct, Fluffy, I apologize for my mistake.

          The remainder of my comment stands as-is.

      4. hunkerdown

        The hallmark of Morris Berman’s WAFers is a peculiar toffee-nosed contempt for the mass, in relation to whom they have styled themselves separate and distinguished.

    3. pjay

      Tracey definitely has the “mental capacity” to differentiate between social and economic issues; his primary concern is that what he calls “the left” has been using the former in a way that completely mystifies the latter. But you are right that he uses “the left” in a way similar to right-wingers – which is one reason why “the left” (Tracey’s “left”) accuses him of being a right-winger.

      Though I tend to agree with you on terminology, there is a rationale for Tracey’s usage. The CIA has a long history of ideological manipulation, and even recruitment, of the educated “non-communist left” in the postwar US. The current complete break between “new left” and “old (socialist) left” also has a long (and not unrelated) history going back to the sixties. The latter pretty much disappeared; the remnants of the former were domesticated, laundered through our elite educational institutions, and have become our cultural leaders whose job it is to mystify class issues. Thus Tracey’s contempt.

      In a way it has become an efficient system. Working class Trumpsters become cannon-fodder for the Army; Ivy League wokesters become recruits for the CIA and State Department. The rest of us watch TV, order from Amazon, and learn to hate each other. So you are right about that. Still, I believe the majority of people everywhere have the capacity to be decent under the right conditions. I’m not sure even the average American deserves what’s coming.

      1. tegnost

        I’m not sure even the average American deserves what’s coming

        while I agree with your post generally, I don’t think looking the other way absolves one.

        1. rl

          “Noticing that the house is burning does not raise you above the others: on the contrary, they are those with whom you will have to share one last look when the flames are closing in. What can you say to justify your claims of conscience to these men who are so unaware that they seem almost innocent? . . . Today man disappears, like a face of sand erased on the shore. But what takes his place no longer has a world, only a naked, silent life, without history, at the mercy of the calculations of power and science. It may be, however, that it is only starting from this wasteland that something else may one day, slowly or suddenly, appear — not a god, of course, but not even another man — a new animal, perhaps, an otherwise living soul . . .” (x)

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        While there’s some danger in Tracey conflating Wokeness with the Left (whatever that is), my experience is that even (or, perhaps, especially) ostensibly Marxist groups (ISO Trotskyists, in my case) are quick to use weaponized IdPol and wokeness as political cudgels against internal adversaries in unrelated matters. It’s an incredibly useful tactic for shutting down debate, and works superbly to mask internal power plays.

        It’s an all-purpose misdirection and elicitor of political narcissism.

        1. Alex Cox

          The American Conservative has a good article on the same subject with links to the CIA recruitment videos. One of the Agency employees profiled is a cisgender latinx with self-diagnosed mental health issues.

          As the article observes, this may be good news – if the ‘intelligence community’ prioritizes the hiring of self-pitying idpol millenials, its capacity to function may be seriously diminished.

      3. Randy G

        pjay — I was going to come to the defense of sir Michael Tracey (as a mere stunted American mental pygmy) — but you beat me to it, and undoubtedly offered him a better defense in front of the hanging judge.

        He uses the term “left” because these deliriums from Wokestan are coming from people who largely consider themselves super duper “leftists”. Tracey certainly does understand the difference between leftist political views that focus on improving the material lives of people — such as challenging plutocracy, reversing massive wealth inequality, and ending the endless wars of the Empire — and performative Wokester virtue signaling in CIA videos.

        If Wokestan blather and performance art are so easily coopted by the CIA, the Democratic Party, and Goldman Sachs — then it’s not threatening to their power and in fact will be useful to neuter real challenges and enhance their dominance.

        Which is why Tracey — and ‘allies’ such as Glenn Greenwald, Lee Fang, and Shant Mesrobian, for instance, have criticized faux ‘culture war’ leftism as toothless.

        Amusingly, Tracey is now generally condemned as ‘alt-right’ (or worse) by the Wokestan crowd for mocking the culture wars, and for taking positions similar to some of Glenn Greenwald’s heresies — on the phony Biden Administration, the January 6th ‘insurrection’, our Tech Overlords, and the infantilization of American journalism.

        As to America — can’t summon up much of a defense or any optimism — and you’ve described it quite cogently. In truth, there’s no ‘left’ left in America — at least in terms of institutional power. We have some inspired voices — groups such as CodePink & the Grayzone come to mind– but what an intellectual and moral wasteland from sea to warming sea.

    4. Max "Toast the Ghosts" Stirner

      >The US is clearly dying and this should be celebrated.

      This is a brainlet take from someone that has no idea of either the historical decline of empires or the horrors that are already springing from the death throws of the epicenter of global capitalism.

    5. Mme Generalist

      What a strangely constructed argument.

      How is Tracey’s conflation of the woke with the left connected to your unsupported claim that 90% of people supported the murder of Kent State students or were indifferent to their slaughter? How does his conflation show that the US is “clearly dying?” Why is this unsupported claim to be celebrated? Because a journalist got it wrong?

      If the US is dying, it’s because of callow, hollow, poorly thought out arguments/attitudes such as yours. Hilarious, though, that you offer your comment as a supposed take-down of Tracey’s lack of mental capacity and basic conceptual knowledge. Lol.

      1. Rod

        Because it was 51 years ago yesterday and I remember the whole week much too well and heard what my neighbors said
        and I still have copies of the Ravenna Record Carrier filled with hateful vitriol:

        Both authors note that the public overwhelmingly blamed the shootings on student protesters. A Gallup poll the following week revealed nearly 60 percent placed total blame on the students, while only 10 percent blamed the guardsmen (30 percent had no opinion). Means cites multiple uses of the phrase “They should have shot more of them [students]” and similar sentiments.


        1. Mme Generalist

          I was 10 years old and living in Houston, Texas at the time. Houston was hardly a liberal bastion, yet this was the front page of the Houston Chronicle:

          I remember the conversations among the adults around us as very mixed in terms of opinion, but notably little that I would describe as hateful or vitriolic. The criticisms of the students I heard were mostly those of dismay at the lack of respect for authority, “kids these days” sort of talk.

          I also can’t find the original source for the claim being made about the Gallup poll, which is not to say that it’s false. I just want to see the evidence for such claims and the quote from your link isn’t footnoted.

        2. Mme Generalist

          And, although sixty plus thirty does indeed equal ninety, you’re attributing meaning to the thirty percent that is not found in the article from which you quote. Those were very different times. I would say that it’s as likely as not that those were people who simply understood that they didn’t actually have enough information to have an opinion. Those were the days.

        3. Margrave

          Tin soldiers and Nixon coming
          We’re finally on our own
          This summer I hear the drumming
          Four dead in Ohio

          Gotta get down to it
          Soldiers are cutting us down
          Should have been done long ago
          What if you knew her
          And found her dead on the ground
          How can you run when you know?

      2. Synoia

        One needs to be careful about the definition of “Decline and Fall” of an empire.

        Gibbon tried this and the Roman Empire survives his definition of the “Fall ” of Rome to the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans.

        Perhaps so. But other views could be that the “Fall of Rome” was followed by a spectacular conversion of Europe to the leading dogma from Rome, Christianity, and the Empire based on Constantinople (or Istanbul) either with different mores survived until World War 1, or shrank to Turkey, and is attempting a comeback.

        China has passed through multiple Dynasties (or Empires), and is now appears to be growing again into a possible empire.

    6. Wukchumni

      Lets say you get your wish and the USA crashes & burns, total collapse and all that. Do you seriously think your life in Ireland wouldn’t be greatly impacted, or will other capitalistic developed nations just get a pass?

      p.s. …know anybody other than Morris?

    7. Anone

      There is a name for where there’s a difference between “leftism and social issues:” National Socialism.

  5. allan

    A reminder that today is Kevin Hassett Day, the yearly celebration of the May 5, 2020, prediction by
    the co-author of DOW 36,000, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
    and noted epidemiologist that the daily COVID death count would go to zero on May 15, 2020.

    Friends don’t let friends use built-in Excel functions to make public policy.

    1. GF

      It’s also Cinco de Mayo. Dow over 34,000 right now so prediction seems to be coming true, although a little later than originally envisioned.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Covid cases at Everest base camp raise fears of serious outbreak”

    Why is this a thing? Seriously. Have they got brain freeze or something? Is it wise for a mountain climber to try to tackle a mountain while suffering from Coronavirus? It is basically a respiratory illness and they want to go up a mountain where the air is thinner? So what happens if an asymptomatic person suffering from this virus starts their climb and then gets hit? Does the rest of the climbing team get to play medical evacuation team? Or do they leave them behind as one of those dead bodies that already adorn Everest? Yeah, they will have their own oxygen bottles which is something but not as good as being in say, a medical ward. What they should do is slam the doors shut on this mass Darwin Awards event and confiscate all those oxygen bottles to be sent to hospitals in Nepal where they are coming under the hammer from the pandemic and are suffering a lack of medical equipment. The Onion should really rewrite this article and make it one of their own.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The narcissm of some people is unbelievable. Did it not occur to them that they could bring the virus to remote communities where people don’t have access to good treatments? Not to mention the risk they would put locals at if they fell very sick and had to be transported down off the mountain.

      As so often, the Nepal and Bhutan are great contrasts and a lesson in how political systems matter. Nepal is a mess and has undoubtedy allowed this to happen for desperately needed hard currency. Bhutan has already vaccinated most of its populatoin and has banned any tourism until July at least. Bhutan has also banned all high altitude climbing – it insists visitors must trek only and only use local guides and use local homestays.

    2. Alfred

      Totally agree with you. Everest is already practically choked with the bodies of self-absorbed idiots. Will someone please think of the Sherpas?

      1. Tom Doak

        But the Sherpas want the work. If they didn’t, they could shut the whole thing down pretty fast, because nobody is climbing Everest without them.

        I’m not saying it’s the right decision for Nepal. But maybe the rest of Nepal should think about that.

          1. wilroncanada

            I can hear the echoes of “Climb Every Mountain” from here (between mountain and ocean on the British Columbia coast.

        1. Alfred

          Sherpa doctors are going to get slammed. The Sherpas want the work–yeah putting people between COVID and starvation, what a choice, eh? Maybe a little more of this?

          “But Kiwi mountain guide Guy Cotter decided months ago it would be irresponsible for his company, Adventure Consultants, to take an expedition to Everest this year.

          “For us, it is not a good move to actually be over there with the potential of spreading the virus into these vulnerable communities,” he says.

          Instead, they raised $70,000 and sent it directly to the Sherpas they would have been working with. But he knows just how desperate the Sherpas are for mountaineering to continue.

          “Very much a catch-22 and that’s why I’m reluctant to place judgement on why they might be operating and inviting tourists in.”(CNN Asia)

          Think of the Sherpas not having a death/death choice.

  7. John Beech

    Fireship say in part . . . The US is clearly dying and this should be celebrated. Seriously? Where are you moving? When? Please advise so I may have a celebratory beer. Good riddance. USA, USA, USA!

    The Rev Kev . . . in part re: mountain climbing and the possibility of being sick. Good riddance to them, also. Darwin at work. Note, I agree with you. Climbing whilst sick into thinner air with a lung issue strikes me as beyond ludicrous. And no, I’m not kidding re: good riddance. Some folks are too stupid to be alive.

    New word of the day, from the Yiddish . . . schtum. Love new words.

    1. Fireship

      I live in Ireland. Sláinte. I believe Green Day had you in mind when they wrote “American Idiot”:

      One of the two explicitly political songs on the album (the other being fellow single “Holiday”) “American Idiot” contends that mass media has orchestrated paranoia and idiocy among the public. Citing cable news coverage of the Iraq War, Billie Joe Armstrong recalled, “They had all these Geraldo-like journalists in the tanks with the soldiers, getting the play-by-play.” He felt with that, American news crossed the line from journalism to reality television, showcasing violent footage intercut with advertisements. Armstrong went on to write the song after hearing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “That’s How I Like It” on his car radio. “It was like, ‘I’m proud to be a redneck’ and I was like, ‘oh my God, why would you be proud of something like that?’ This is exactly what I’m against.”[citation needed] Songwriter Mike Dirnt felt many people would be insulted by the track until they realized that, rather than it being a finger-pointing song of anger, it could be viewed as a “call for individuality.” – Wikipedia

    2. ambrit

      The USA is not the centre of the known universe.
      USA! USA! USA! Get over it.
      It is very much analogous to SPQR! SPQR! SPQR! (We all know how that turned out.)

      1. Synoia

        Yeah, into the Catholic Church and the Inquisition.
        Run by kind and merciful monks.

    3. Basil Pesto

      And no, I’m not kidding re: good riddance.

      yes, you’ve certainly made that clear in the past month

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not a reliable story here but here goes. About a decade or so ago I read an article that talked about how helium was far too valuable a resource to waste on party balloons as it had so many industrial applications. The author said that if helium was sold for what it should be priced at, then a balloon full of helium should be priced at about $300 a pop. But this article then said that this being the case, instead of conserving the sources of helium that the US had, that they basically opened it up to be sold off as fast as possible.

      1. CanChemist

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear… We’re well aware of the helium situation, what I’m not understanding is the event in Sept that supposedly going to affect supply again. In the article I linked to, and the info we currently have, is that supply pressures will be partially relieved in the coming year or so with new sources coming online.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Here’s Joe Biden in 2020 explicitly promising that he would waive vaccine patents as President.’

    Yeah, well old Joe said a lot of things last year. Somebody put together a video clip of him promising a $15 minimum wage nearly two dozen times and that never happened. Neither did those $2,000 cheques that were going to go right out the door but which he reneged on almost on Day One. If somebody says that Joe promised something and then broke that promise and called him a sob for doing so I can respect that. But if somebody tries to justify why one of his promises never happened or rationalizes that he kinda did fulfill that promise if you look at it from a certain viewpoint, then that person is a lost cause as far as I am concerned.

    1. ambrit

      “Creepy” Joe is now officially the poster child for the essential dysfunction that is “Wokeness.” What he says is only and provisionally what he means it to be, at any particular moment.
      The “Biden as Messiah” public relations campaign is so obviously ‘faux’ that I’m beginning to think that the Marxists were right all along; Capitalism will destroy itself, from within.
      Let us not delve deeper into the question as to what exactly the Neo-liberal Dispensation means by the word ‘Capitalism.’

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The performative worship of Biden as Marx because he said some things not as heinous as Obama is weird given Joe’s reputation as a liar. I can understand the emotional appeal as Biden’s drivel is more coherent than the last two Team Blue presidents, but people have to know this will come back.

    2. Procopius

      Dr. Fauci is saying he’s “agnostic” on suspending patents on covid vaccines, but then he says it’s a bad idea because “those” countries don’t have the technology to quickly manufacture the medicines. I do not believe he is ignorant of the fact that India is a huge manufacturer of generic versions of patent-protected expensive medicines. They are the primary supplier of the global south. And very often their “generic” versions are simply reverse-engineered copies of the patented versions, but Pharma has given up trying to fight the Indian government in the courts. And yeah, Old Joe still owes me $600.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Our KLG (who is a microbiologist and can make the vaccines in his uni lab, although not at scale) has said:

        It is complete and utter bullshit that, off the top of my head, India, Indonesia, possibly Singapore, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, New Zealand, Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Cuba cannot manufacture these vaccines. There are undoubtedly other countries that can do it, too. This is routine molecular biology and pharmaceutical manufacture, albeit on a large scale, not the biological equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. All any of these people need are the instructions and help with components. Would it take a serious effort on their part? No more than here and Europe. that pretty much everyone the Global South

  9. Fry me with an h-bomb!

    How CBS’s Norah O’Donnell tried to out-hawk Antony Blinken on China

    Maybe CBS wants to see a global war break out? Think of the ratings and profits that would generate! Go for it, CBS!

    1. Nikkikat

      I think you are correct on CBS rooting for a big hellacious war to get those advertising dollars with higher ratings. Here on the west coast the local CBS station delivers nightly war mongering on a level surpassing NBC! The absolute worst is their Sunday morning face the nation program. The moderator is extremely rude and delivers right talking points. Her treatment of anyone to the left of Dick Cheney is pure open distain. CBS was a huge promoter of Trump….according to their last CEO he was great for ratings.

    2. junez

      China’s gdp surpassed that of the US as early as 2017, measured in ppp terms, the correct method, rather than the international value of the yuan in $. I assume this is a strategic decision, to avoid generating hysteria.

      “China’s gross domestic product is expected to surpass the United States as early as 2028,” she said.

      “Well, it’s a large country, it’s got a lotta people,” Blinken responded dryly.
      O’Donnell then shot back: “If China becomes the wealthiest country in the world, doesn’t that also make it the most powerful?”

  10. .Tom

    This is another article (So Much For ‘Herd Immunity’) that appears to make assumptions about the effects of vaccination on the spread of corona virus. I’m still very confused about this. Recently in Links we had a Twitter expert thread that presented a bunch of herd-immunity math that implicitly assumed that someone vaccinated doesn’t spread the virus. Today’s article seems similar.

    The info sheet I got with my shot says: The purpose of COVID-19 vaccination is to reduce the risk of becoming sick from the virus that causes Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). That’s consistent with my understanding so far. And I recall from discussion of the evidence in support of the emergency approval of Pfizer’s vaccine that testing was focused on this purpose and there was no evidence on the extent to which vaccination impedes spread of the virus.

    The virus can spread via people who have no symptoms. Seems fair to wonder if it can spread via vaccinated people? So I’m concerned by articles and discussions that assume that it cannot. Should I be? Or is it a safe assumption?

    1. Anonymous 2

      I do not have the necessary link but believe that there has been some research done which suggests vaccination halves the likelihood of the vaccinated infecting others. Better than nothing, I guess.

      1. Jeotsu

        I guess the next question is what is the baseline R0 value of the new variants in the absence of non-pharmacological controls (masks, distancing, etc)? If vaccination drops the R0 from 3.0 to 1.5, we’re still looking at continued exponential growth of the pandemic.
        The danger is really great for successive waves continuing, and thus continued selection pressure for better and better immune-escape variants to pop up.
        Speaking to my elderly parents in the US, they seem to be moving to the ‘we’re vaccinated, back to life as normal’ mode.
        Not good.

    2. Romancing The Loan

      The messaging around this has been terrible, but my understanding is that the initial cautious statements were made simply because they hadn’t designed the studies that they used for emergency approval to find that out. Now that there’s some real data (via months of use in several large populations) the understanding is that the vaccines make transmission either to or from vaccinated people far less likely – if you’re vaccinated you need to get a much larger dose of the virus in you for it to start replicating and even if it does manage to get a foothold, you emit a much smaller load of the virus yourself (I think somewhere I saw it estimated as tenfold each way). So I think at this point it’s a safe assumption.

        1. Jeff W

          Dr Monica Gandhi (Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at UCSF / San Francisco General Hospital) refers to that study in her appearance on KALW’s Your Call from earlier today (which you can hear in its entirety here). She says additionally (at 10:10)

          The CDC’s been documenting this and there hasn’t been a single case of you, after having been vaccinated, transmitting to someone else. And that’s consistent with about 10 studies now that show that if you swab people regularly after vaccination the rate of asymptomatic infection—or your ability to transmit without knowing—massively reduces up to about 95 to 100%. So at this point we haven’t seen breakthroughs that can transmit, which means that you have a very low viral load, like, within your nose. So these are success stories.

          [my transcript, emphasis added]

          Dr Gandhi, unfortunately, does not cite the 10 or so studies to which she refers.

          She’s also optimistic on the need for boosters—she thinks we won’t need them (and gives seven reasons why)—and on the danger posed by variants—even if the variants can escape antibodies, we still have the protection afforded by T-cells. The whole interview is worth listening to.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Here is the story about the Kentucky nursing home that had an outbreak that originated from an unvaccinated worker there a couple of weeks ago. They break out the numbers of infected, hospitalized, deaths etc. Overall from this example, it seems to add protection (and might just keep you alive) but it is clearly not going to make one immune: “Of the 26 residents who tested positive, 18 had been fully vaccinated, the report said. Four of the 20 health care workers who tested positive were also fully vaccinated.”

      2. Cuibono

        sounds like an unsafe assumption. Safe would be the precautionary principle : we still do not know as the specific studies to look at this question have not yet been completed

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Proposed Space National Guard Gathers Momentum”

    ‘There are now about 2,000 members of the National Guard working on space missions in eight states: California, Florida, Colorado, New York, Ohio, Wyoming, and Arizona.’

    So how exactly would a Space National Guard work? Would there be a US Space National Guard or would each of those States have their own Space National Guard? It would make a great pickup line in a bar that – ‘Hey, babe. I’m in the Arizona Space National Guard. Come with me and I will take you to the moon!’ Of course a lot of people are recognizing that the Space Guard will be an ever growing trough of government money and contracts so everybody wants in at the ground floor. Look at the US Department of Homeland Security. Twenty years ago it did not exist and now they have 240,000 employees and an annual budget of over $50 billion.

    1. jsn

      So, our missile interceptors will turn around like the highway patrol at state borders.

  12. Mildred Montana

    “Unappealing Beer”

    “When you take a sip of Torched Earth Ale, made by New Belgium Brewing Co., you may be tempted to spit it out in disgust. The limited-edition ale was created for Earth Day this year to illustrate what beer will taste like in a world that has undergone severe climate change.”

    Couldn’t possibly be worse than Budweiser (I speak from personal drinking experience). Budweiser, the proud brewer of six of the fifty worst beers in the world, according to:

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thing is, this thing about the unappealing beer only really talks to most guys. What they should also do is to make a burnt-tasting foul chocolate and tell the ladies that under climate change, that this is the only sort of chocolate that you will be able to get. I heard something like that once as a slogan –
      ‘Save The Planet. It’s The Only One With Chocolate On It!’

      1. km

        Some sociopath with a sick sense of humor could write a Dune parody, except instead of “spice” the universe depends on chocolate for its underpinning, and darn it, the stuff only really grows right on one planet.

        1. Hepativore

          Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven sort of did when they wrote A Mote In God’s Eye about first contact with a race of aliens called the moties. While the moties were unimpressed with much of what humanity had to offer in terms of goods, they were very enamored with chocolate and humans would frequently use it as a diplomatic gesture when negotiating with motie ambassadors.

      2. diptherio

        Stereotype much, Kev? I mean, maybe if there was a joke in there somewhere I’d let it slide…but there isn’t. Boys drink beer and girls eat chocolate, eh? Never known a woman who drinks beer (come to Montana, we’ve got ’em everywhere) or a man who enjoys chocolate (anyone who doesn’t, raise your hand)? Really? If this is an attempt at humor it is a poor one, and in the future you might want to lean a little less on anachronistic stereotypes when you try to tickle the old funny bone. It ain’t 1950 any more, you know?

        [Edit: Mildred’s comment wasn’t there when I was composing mine. Our opposite takes is, to my mind, funnier than the “joke” we’re responding to. Great minds do not, obviously, always think alike.]

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m a male who admits to preferring milk chocolate to dark chocolate, a cocoa nut. If you were going to surprise me with a 1 pound box of See’s, please make it milk chocolate Nuts & Chews, ok?

        2. Alfred

          Kev is a victim of a lifetime of targeted advertising–that’s my take. This Bud’s for you, you dirty sweaty construction man, and Valentine chocolates in a heart for the ladies.

          I myself have an unseemly unladylike appetite for excellent craft brews in VT, and also great chocolate. I don’t care who knows it.

          1. wilroncanada

            If Kev wanted an equivalence for the ladies,he could at least made it a white wine whine.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Hey guys, every stereotype has a kernel of truth in it. That is why it is a stereotype. As an example against this, I am an Aussie, but who would prefer a good coffee to a beer. But who will always drink beer over a cocktail. And that is why the following Heineken beer ad falls flat-

   (48 secs)

            1. Foy

              I smiled when I saw your first comment Rev, thinking about all those Victoria Bitter ads over the years and its classic tune. And how my Dad likes VB, and also dark chocolate. And picturing his face if he was tasting burnt beer and burnt chocolate! I wouldn’t have smiled without your comment. Can’t please all the people all the time. Thanks!

              1. skippy

                VB tastes like they forgot to wash the cans after Mfg and popped the brew in anyway.

                    1. Foy

                      Hehe sorry BP, that was how I explained the Marlon Brando’s rougher taste to people who hadn’t tried it. Said it had to filter through the sand and rocks in the bottom VB VAT. Was all I drank during the Uni days.

    2. grayslady

      I can attest from personal experience in my former garden that slugs love Bud Light. That should tell you something right there.

      1. Mildred Montana


        Your former garden with its FORMER slugs I”m guessin’. I only tried Bud a few times. Not enough to kill me.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I had a Coors beer once, many years ago. If you want something, but you aren’t sure whether you want a Club Soda or a beer, Coors was a very nice compromise.

  13. dcblogger

    Biden Team May Partner With Private Firms To Monitor Extremist Chatter Online

    What do you want to bet that Amazon wins a contract for AWS to monitor union organizers as “online extremists?”

  14. griffen

    My reaction on the posted antidote ….Bruce !

    You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

    1. Smedley DeFunko

      Isn’t that a shark’s mug photoshopped onto a killer whale? Made the rounds a while back if I recall.

  15. Basil Pesto

    > Drones show California’s great white sharks are closer — and more common — than you think Los Angeles Times

    By coincidence, I was watching this guy’s videos on YouTube just last week. Brilliant footage. I was obsessed with sharks as a kid, and had all manner of shark documentary VHSs (and not crappy gussied-up Shark Week style nonsense). What’s great about the proliferation of GoPro and the like, as well as drones, and waterproof videographic equipment, is that there’s sooo much footage of sharks in the wild now compared to the 90s (or the 70s, when Ron and Valerie Taylor went diving off the South Australian coast to get actual-shark B-roll for Jaws), and you can lose a lot of time watching various videos on YouTube. Also, great whites are cute, there I said it.

  16. DJG, Reality Czar

    The 100-year-old fish in the Detroit River.

    Yes, it has to be a sturgeon.

    How do I know? I did see one even larger years ago, pulled from a lake in Wisconsin.

    But I will recommend a book instead: Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, by Louise Erdrich.

    She talks about sturgeon and how they are sacred among the Ojibwe. Much interesting information on how the Ojibwe are trying to be good stewards for the fish. (Also, much fascinating information about preservation and revival of the Ojibwe language–a worthy endeavor.)

    These wonderful, primeval creatures are all over the Great Lakes States. They just avoid appearing in public. Which isn’t such a bad way to live and thrive.

    1. Alfred

      I wonder why people need to kill things just to prove they exist. I love Gary Larsen, he has just the right touch:

      I remember in the movie Harold and Maude, Harold made Maude a necklace charm at the carnival declaring his love and gave it to her as they sat by the water. She immediately threw it in the water, and he looked shocked. She said, “now I’ll always know just where it is.”

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Love the cartoon.

        Was on my way home during a motorcycle trip to parts North, when I stopped at a scenic vista in Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming to stretch and have a smoke. An older couple with Utah plates rolled up, driver rolled down his window, and asked if I’d seen any [bighorn sheep].

        Deadpanned, “Nah, Chaney shot `em all.”

        He looked disappointed driving away.

    2. QuicksilverMessenger

      My grandparents, when we were kids doing the summer trip thing, used to take us to the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, Oregon side. They had big pools with the giant river sturgeons and they must have been 15 feet long (could be that I was so small and they seemed so huge so maybe they weren’t quite that long). But I was in thrall. They were prehistoric to me. I don’t know if they still have the ponds there

  17. Keith

    Interesting article from the Atlantic discussing how COVID paranoia has affected members on the Left. Interesting because of the source,

    Couple of tidbits …

    ““everyone wants to be actively anti-racist. Everyone believes Black lives matter. Everyone wants the Green New Deal,” Elizabeth Pinsky, a child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told me. “No one wants to talk about … how to actually get kindergartners onto the carpet of their teachers.” ”

    “And so as the rest of vaccinated America begins its summer of bacchanalia, rescheduling long-awaited dinner parties and medium-size weddings, the most hard-core pandemic progressives are left, Cassandra-like, to preach their peers’ folly. ”

    “It’s people needing to feel safe,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re eliminating any risk of transmission from person to person in schools and carrying that risk over to the community.”” [Must have missed memo that risk is inherent in life]

    1. Alfred

      “Must have missed memo that risk is inherent in life”

      No, I did not miss that memo, and it prompts me to stay away from people who don’t care about putting me at risk.

  18. jsn

    “So much for herd immunity”
    The Medical IC identifies the mother of all business development opportunities.

    As long as “access to” remains a euphemism for “denial” of care for those who don’t have the time, mobility or money to provide profits for the MIC, Covid mutitions will be a cash cow as they bubble up across class lines to re and reinfect those who are profitable.

    Yes, let’s hope the next pandemic isn’t something like hemoragic fever… How long can the Democrats keep the lid on M4A?

  19. ChrisFromGeorgia

    I don’t know if this has been covered in a water cooler or other daily links, but is anyone following the situation in Colombia?

    It seems that the combination of being unable to print money like the US/Europe can, COVID and a deep recession has the potential to see Latin America boil over. Also note that austerity is failing – the government had to back down on the tax bill which would have increased taxes on the middle classes. A similar situation in Ecuador in 2019 led to the government their backing down on a petrol price hike (it is heavily subsidized in the Andean nation.)

    The IMF cannot be happy.

    1. jsn

      The whole State Department / IMF debt ratchet is breaking down.

      It’s like the joke my grandfather told me about the farmer who fed his horse just a little less every day: just when he had the horse living on nothing, it died.

      And Russia is out there publicly preparing to bow out of SWIFT. “Les autres” might not be getting the message intended by the banks or the US. It increasingly appears our propagand is only working domestically but starting to sputter even here.

    2. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Sorry I missed the comment above on Yves posting a tweet about it. I should have put this comment in a reply to that one. And a better phrasing would have been “Also note that the attempts to impose austerity are failing.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘The ‘trials’ being carried out in the UK on thousands of people entering crowded indoor venues without masks & social distancing are unethical. Don’t just listen to me- listen to Prof Monks- the study lead, who himself accepts people are ‘guinea pigs”

    Those are young people at those indoor venues and whom I would assume to be adapt at using social media and would quickly learn who gets sick or maybe even dies. But professor Monks is perfectly fine with this so long as he gets his data. And it is not just one event but is several events so would be involving thousands of young people. And just to make sure that the good professor gets ‘clean’ data, he is disallowing things like masks & social distancing. So where am I going with this? It is this. These trials are being done by scientists, regardless as to the cost to young people. You think that those very same young people, when told ‘to trust the science’ in future would be willing to listen anymore? And any other people that hears of this Tuskegee experiment and how it was done? Trust the science, may a**.

    1. flora

      It’s almost like some people want to keep the pandemic going for some unknown reason. Where’s the profit in keeping it going? /;)

      1. flora

        adding: I started re-reading Thomas Frank’s book “The People, NO” yesterday just to refresh my understanding of the first populism wave in the US. The book was published last spring, before the c19 became a pandemic and lockdowns and closing small shops and stores were instituted as the way to combat the disease. The introduction chapter of the book is titled, (and by accidental coincidence),
        The Cure for the Common Man. Re-reading the introduction chapter in light of the past year’s restrictions on movement and assembly and worship and FB post takedowns, the anti-populists, (where populist is used in it’s original meaning), are making full political use of what should be a purely medical and health question, imo.

    2. Maritimer

      Just more anti-human science. One of the biggest offenders are behavioural scientists looking for more and better ways to invade and control human consciousness if not eliminate it entirely. And all that science is readily available to the billsionaires many of whom are sociopaths and some psychopaths.

      Living better scientifically. Trust it.

  21. flora

    re: Biden Team May Partner With Private Firms To Monitor Extremist Chatter Online – CNN

    Exactly what is “extremist online chatter” ? Who defines it? How can “it” be stopped? Maybe Germany’s new ideas will “help”. From Consent Factory:

    The Criminalization of Dissent

    FB started with edge voices and now goes after anyone posting even mild questions about the official narrative, for example.

    1. David

      I can’t speak for Germany, though that country is extremely sensitive to certain things, given its past.
      But in France, the last two killings by Islamic extremists have both had a very strong connection with online chatter which is “extreme” in the literal and uncontroversial meaning of the term, which is to say that it takes extreme positions relative to some other more moderate ones. Both Abdoullakh Anzorov, who decapitated the teacher Samuel Paty last year, and Jamel Gorchane, who stabbed Stéphanie Monfermé a a police functionary to death last month, were highly active on social media, and posted and shared a lot of extremist material. In Anzorov’s case, in particular, the whole murder was conceived on social media, with various hard-line preachers calling for unspecified sanctions against Paty and telling people where to find him. Gorchane seems to have been radicalised and incited to violence by what he read on social media. This dimension has passed pretty much unreported, especially in the Anglo-Saxon media, because it doesn’t fit into the dominant narrative about the unproblematic nature of free expression on the Internet. Indeed, I checked regularly with techno-libertarian sites like Techdirt to see if they could find a way of covering it without disrupting their usual pose of supercilious sarcasm directed against anyone who argued that unregulated online speech can occasionally be dangerous. Not a word.

      After both murders, there were the inevitable complaints that the authorities should have known about the perpetrators beforehand, and stopped them. But the only way that could have happened is if the state had an army of investigators using advanced techniques to search through millions of social media accounts. Given that posts on social media are effectively public, it’s hard to argue that this would have been morally wrong, or that anyone’s privacy would violated. If you make or share posts advocating violence against named individuals, or arguing that the State in France is sinful and need not be obeyed because it does not defer to Islam, then I think most people would agree that (1) these are extreme opinions and (2) people who express them deserve to be watched.

      1. flora

        No doubt. I question the US’s history of mission creep wrt well meant and supposedly narrowly focus laws which expand and expand by modifying the original definitions used. See FISA court warrants, for example.

      2. Kouros

        Yes, instead the French gov went after Marie Le Pen for posting bodies of people killed by ISIS as evidence of islamophobia. After several years of court battles she apparently won…

      3. hunkerdown

        > dominant narrative about the unproblematic nature of free expression on the Internet

        Is that really the dominant narrative where you are? Over here, the dominant narrative is very much that popuations need to be moderated and given “correct” propaganda, for their protection. Perhaps it remains unreported because the purpose of the problem is not to be solved.

        1. David

          I meant the dominant Silicon Valley/PMC narrative – I was interested to see how techno-libertarian sites, and technology-related sites in general would deal with those two stories. They just ignored them.

  22. Mildred Montana


    Love your “Woke Watch”! More please! It has inspired me to send a donation ASAP.

    Examples abound. I used to enjoy listening to CBC Radio. Now it has become so Woke that I often have to put my computer to Sleep.

  23. Expat2Uruguay

    A literal debate featuring Matt Taibbi arguing FOR “mainstream media is dying and that’s okay”

    Matt: “In April, I joined in a debate with Ben Bradlee, Jr., the estimable onetime senior editor at my hometown Boston Globe and former overseer of the prestigious Spotlight team.”

  24. fresno dan
    At issue is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking, among other things, a Justice Department memo that Barr said helped guide his decision to declare that the evidence described in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Trump did not support a charge of obstruction, even leaving aside the policy against indicting a sitting president.
    In so doing, she called Barr’s credibility into question, and criticized the process under which he quickly issued a summary of the Mueller report that plaintiffs said appeared designed to “create a narrative to counter the special counsel’s findings and cast the President in the most positive light possible.”
    In a ruling issued this week, U.S. District for the District of Columbia Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the memo should be released because it did not fit the exemption for “deliberative” documents under the law.
    Jackson, a Democratic appointee who presided over criminal trials of Trump associates Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, described a process under which Barr and other top Justice Department officials quickly decided what conclusions they wanted to reach about the report Mueller, which was given to them before it was released to the public.
    Is there any one in public office now, who could judge the accusations against Trump/Biden objectively, dispassionately, without an ax to grind?

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    > “Spike Protein Behavior” —
    I appreciated reading the detailed explanation in this link. It brought me much closer to deciding to get one of the mRNA vaccines.

    I suppose discovering damage done to vascular tissues through the binding of virus spicules is the kind of finding that justified the lengthy vaccine approval process that had once been standard.

  26. Wukchumni

    Spent a few days with my mom @ her assisted living place and she’ll turn 96 in a few weeks, and not having seen her in person for 17 months it was quite a treat. None of the residents got Covid, but a number of them left the cruise ship that never goes anywhere for less pricey digs elsewhere, and mom says there are 7 vacancies now, whereas there was a waiting list in the 4 years before the pandemic hit. She also related how they can’t seem to find new staff to work there that easily, part of the stigma of all the bad ju ju that happened @ nursing homes with Covid, she thinks.

    I’m kind of a 1/10th scale Rip van Winkle as far as seeing SoCal in the flesh, and judging by traffic encountered on the freeway (note to self: there’s a reason nobody in the Big Smokes has a manual transmission, as I got one hell of a workout with all the stop & go slowness) it was as if it was pre-pandemic and i’d missed out on everything.

    I thought I was going to see a lot more homeless than I did, although the 101 was sporting quite a few ‘freeway favelas’ which i’d never seen before.

    There are slopes on either side of the freeway, and the homeless eke out a living at the top where its flat for about 10 feet in tents & tarps.

  27. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thanks to Yves Smith and UserFriendly. I read the “Monsters” post when Rhyd Wildermuth put it up on FcBk yesterday. Yes, romancing a bat. Let’s just say that it may not have been consummated.

    But Wildermuth is a Marxist, gay, pagan, now expatriated to Luxembourg, and the post has plenty to say about identity, misidentity, the perils of a rigid identity, and our disastrous separation from the natural world.

    Worth your time.

  28. Gulag

    In August of 2020, didn’t cacasus linked to the New York chapter of DSA succeed in canceling a speech by Adolph Reed Jr. because of his supposedly “reactionary and class reductionist form of politics.”

    What are the political assumptions behind such a cancelation?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for the link. It was helpful, and when it talked about the pseudo-Left IdPolers, it reminded me of this movie clip where the problem was a pseudo-insurrectionary sectarian:

        The Mao Tse Tung Hour Contract Negotiations

        I sure hope this caricature of Angela Davis wasn’t too close to the truth.

  29. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Mathematics for gamblers

    It’s really even simpler than the article states. The odds of rolling double sixes is 1in36. Does the house pay out $36 on a $1 bet if you hit it? If the answer is ‘no’, and the answer is always ‘no’, then you will lose in the long run. The house never pays out corresponding to the mathematical odds – it’s always slightly less.

    The last casino I went to was on a cruise ship, which was very educational. Casinos aren’t subject to many rules at all in international waters and the odds on a boat are just vicious. Don’t even think about playing slots on a boat. Blackjack tables offered side bets, and one I remember was on getting two kings, two black kings, and two kings of spades (it was a multi deck shoe dealt, so more than one of each card). There was a guy playing with a huge stack of chips with a big crowd around him, and he would play the side bet every hand, and I watched him hit it a couple times. I can’t remember exactly what the payout was, but it was big. But it was still much smaller than what it should have been once you did the math and calculated the odds – the definition of a sucker bet, just like betting on boxcars or snake eyes in craps. Just don’t do it. Stopped by the casino the next day and that guy with the huge stack the night before was hitting the ATM.

    The casino had a slot tourney where a bunch of people competed against each other, and the winner got a $500 payout for a $10 entry fee, so someone was guaranteed to make money. My mom has never gambled and was very reluctant to waste money, but I put up the entry fee for her to convince her to give it a try since I could tell she was interested. She won the $500 bucks on her first foray into gambling and just abut jumped off the boat she was so happy. She is also smart – it was not only her first, but her last foray into gambling.

  30. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept: Three Sisters Falls

    Was down in San Diego for my sister’s all-important 56th birthday (something i’d normally only do on birthdays with round numbers ending in zeroes-but Covid gave it gravitas) and in the land of little water, we went in search of.

    This hike struck me as one of the most dangerous trail destinations i’ve ever come across for a couple reasons in that its backwards hiking like what you do in the Grand Canyon, so you drop 1,000 feet in a little over 2 miles which isn’t that difficult for anybody to do no matter what shape they’re in, but you have to gain it all back to get to your car and there’s no shade, so if its hot you bake. Poison oak is all along the trail as an added bonus.

    The second reason is the high potential for slipping on wet granite or slippery slopes in accessing the 3 falls, and in our hour there I watched 2 people nearly take a 100 foot ride down rock to a 3 foot pool below.

    That said, what a beautiful waterfall and something you just don’t expect in Tijuana-adjacent, worth a walk.

  31. bob

    Chicken has been short for a while now. A month at least. Higher prices, if you can find it for sale. It is being rationed by distributors.

    Beef is headed that way now too. It’s earlier in the shortage phase, but seems to be headed in the same direction. Prices are already going very high.

  32. jr

    “Here Be Monsters”

    This was a fascinating read.

    “It felt like it was all a creative way to obscure some deeper desire for meaning, playing “make-believe” in order to kill off the desire to actually believe.”

    I think the writer is on to something profound here. A lack of meaning, a hunger for authenticity, a ravenous need for an identity in a world that lacks all three. A fear to engage with the truly profound clichés such as “What does it all mean?” Fear and more: a philosophically ideology, materialism, that beats a constant drum telling us that these collections of things known as the “material world” are all that there is, that we know what those things are because we measured and named them, that we are in the process of polishing it up and tying the bow. Your dreams are just “noise”. Your thoughts are an afterthought. The pulse of joy I felt yesterday while watching a sparrow on my deck who suddenly turned to sing to me is a set of chemical reactions. Nothing that is you is you, it’s just this or that thing. Here is one upshot of that point of view:

    The errors of logic and intuition in this article are truly off the scale but the intended take away is that the future of writing is allowing an algorithm to spit out words and sentences that sound like some preset of conditions such as the style of Wilde or so. (In my opinion, the writer is signing his own career death warrant as that is exactly his job.) Then the “writer”, as if constructing a collage, will select the best suggested words and phrases with which to writer the story. Why? Why is this step necessary? Why dehumanize the intimately human experience of writing? Because the human is considered secondary. Eventually to be sloughed off.

    I think IDpol offers, as the writer says, the authenticity of victimhood, the hero-myth, founded upon real world discrimination, repression, and suffering so it offers the proper savor but now offered for sale at universities around the Western world and for free on your closest mobile device to any who wish to drape the +3 Cloak of the Oppressed across their shoulders. Yet again, the suffering of others is distilled and repackaged for public consumption.

    “I no longer suspect any politics can accommodate such a truth, let alone tolerate it. ”

    Agreed. And then people will start looking for something else and I don’t just mean a third party. Political belief systems aren’t the only things in flux at the moment. If you think the coming political tumult is going to be a bumper car ride in H3!!, wait until until the spiritual revolution comes. One probably no doubt fueled by an increasingly angry and punitive Mother Earth. Hang on Hannah.

    “Blaming unseen forces, -ism after -ism, for all that went poorly in my life, for all the happiness I never seemed to find. ”

    Well, there are plenty of bad “isms” out there. There is such a thing as too much personal responsibility. But he is right to point out that those ideas are commonly used as justifications with which to construct an unreflective narrative of victimhood.

    A digression:

    “Mountains higher than the tallest imagining of humans can easily crush all our fantasies, seas vaster than all the wars humans have ever fought can deftly drown out our delusions of self-importance.”

    Here I think is the difference between a Magician and a druid. When I see a mountain or a vast sea, I see myself in it. Not the egoic me, the everyday me, but rather the divine me, the intersection of world of matter and the world of spirit. The mountain is of the divine, I am of the divine, the mountain and I are siblings in a sense. I am here to experience that mountain; I’m no less important than it. Neither are you. We three all form a circuit from the mundane to the mortal to the One.

    And fantasy is a road to Divinity if properly situated in one’s mind. Not the ingrown, curdled, commodified fantasy of the “Cloudelves” or what-not. Fantasy wielded as a tool, as a Theatre of the Mind with which to break through the veils, to drive one’s consciousness to new places.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Political belief systems aren’t the only things in flux at the moment. If you think the coming political tumult is going to be a bumper car ride in H3!!, wait until until the spiritual revolution comes. One probably no doubt fueled by an increasingly angry and punitive Mother Earth. Hang on Hannah.”


    2. rl

      Beautifully said, jr.

      Your last sentence reminded me of St. Paul’s 1 Corinthians 4:9: “We [apostles, ambassadors of the messianic word] have become a theater [θέατρον] to the cosmos, to angels and to human beings”.

      And of the Aphorisms of Shiva: “The Self (Atman) is a dancer,” and the awakened are “performers in the theater of the world,” for whom “the interior self is a stage” and “the senses are the spectators” (x).

    3. QuicksilverMessenger

      An example of this from the world of music, where AI has “created” a new Kurt Cobain ‘song’. I listened to it is was vaguely reminiscent and hinted at his song craft but there was something very wrong with it. And I realized that with great musical artists (and probably artists in general) is that their creations are usually filled with strange ‘unexpected-nesses’ (if I may use a made up word). A prime example is the Beatles of course. The AI Nirvana song was close, but predictable. Cobain’s actual songs are odd and well, full of unexpected-nesses, musically and lyrically, probably a direct result of his psychic and emotional sensitivities. I cannot see AI ever coming close to this. Maybe about the time we have flying cars…

      The song is here:

      1. jr

        All this AI “writing” and “composing” and what have you lacks intentionality. There is no one experiencing the drive to create, at best you get a “write by the numbers” algorithm that cramps the creative process. But as I said, the writer cannot see this because he is the wetware version of the algorithm, just as carefully programmed to say X and Y but never Z.

      2. ProudWappie

        I remember Rick Beato (excellent YouTube channel by the way, check his “what makes this song great” series) going through a Nirvana song, and pointing out some really interesting chords and other elements of the song, which made them stand out. Although I’m not into rock, I really liked his analysis (also picking out individual instruments), as well as him showing that the song had way more going on, than you would think at first.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          I love Rick’s stuff! He’s always having to take down stuff from his site, or only allude to certain songs and artists, due to the dread ‘copyright’ situation. Some are more aggressive than others

  33. Dalepues

    NYTimes: Andrew Yang Promised to Create 100,000 jobs. He Ended Up With 150.

    I read the article looking for the Promise. I couldn’t find it. What I did find was this:

    “Our stated goal is to generate 100,000 U.S. jobs by 2025,” he wrote.

    1. ambrit

      Yang can honestly say what Hillary once said with self pity and an eye out for the political benefits of perceived “victimhood.” “I am the victim of a vast right wing conspiracy.” The evidence is there for all to see. The scary part is that the “conspirators” aren’t even trying to hide their malignant machinations any more.

  34. Anone

    “Hate the conflation of academically oriented PMC promotion of intersectionality with the left.”

    Confirmation? What does Michael Tracey ever confirm except for his distaste, if not hatred, for black protesters? Sorry, I think the only thing Tracey can really confirm is the conservative outrage du jour, and the up to the minute talking point.

  35. Kengferno

    100 Year Old Fish –
    I grew up on the Detroit River right where it was caught. I cannot believe anything could live in those waters for any length of time. It had to be lost from it’s regular home in Lake Huron. That area where it was caught (and where I grew up) is known as the Black Lagoon and was an epa Super fund waste site with the highest levels of zinc and mercury.—detroit-river-aoc.html

  36. Jon Cloke

    US birth levels – Like I always say to the Overpopulationists: overpopulation is bullshit.

    The problem is massive, accelerating overproduction of garbage for minority wealthier populations causing the destruction of resources and the environment that goes with global population inequality…

    Wait until 2060-2100 and the mass shrinking of the global population.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    I took the two soil-article links and copy-pasted them into a “here-they-are” comment in the thread relative to the very-most-recent-at-this-moment post under the “Permaculture” category.

    So if anyone vaguely remembering them wants to find them again, there is a semi-simple way to do it. Look in the threads of the “Permaculture” posts starting with the very most recent at the time one is looking.

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