2:00PM Water Cooler 6/3/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

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#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching. All the charts are becoming dull — approaching nominal, if you accept the “new normal” of cases, for example.

Vaccination by region:

Well, scraping the bottom of those diminishing returns. Nevertheless…

WA: “Almost all new COVID cases in King Co. are from unvaccinated people, experts say” [KOMO]. “The good news: cases and hospitalizations are dramatically down since the peak of the 4th wave in late April. The bad news: 97% of the new Covid-19 cases—are coming from unvaccinated people.”

Case count by United States regions:

Continued good news, even a little dip in the cases

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

Continued good news.

Test positivity:

More good news.

Hospitalization (CDC):

More good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

More good news.

Covid cases worldwide:

India, assuming one trusts the numbers, falls below Latin America. Given that Miami is the capital of Latin America, that’s a region worth watching.

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Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Capitol Seizure

“Charges after US Capitol insurrection roil far-right groups” [Associated Press]. “‘I think something kind of like that is happening right now in the broader far-right movement, where the cohesive tissue that brought them all together — being the 2020 election — it’s kind of dissolved,’ said Jared Holt, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. ‘Like ‘Unite the Right,’ there is a huge disaster, a P.R. disaster, and now they’ve got the attention of the feds. And it’s even more intense now because they have the national security apparatus breathing down their necks,’ he added.” • As if the Atlantic Council wasn’t part of the national security apparatus.

Biden Administration

Alert reader Tegnost wrote:

My macro view of the biden reign is that they have worked really hard to starve the news flow. You can see it in links and water cooler at NC, there’s just not much food for thought as it were. They’re giving us precious little to talk about.

Since I live in the midst of a news flow, I can tell that it’s much, much shallower than it was under Trump. The current has no force, as it were. I think part of this is simply sheer laziness on the part of the press; they feel they can relax now. (I noted, and now cannot find, a New York Magazine article whose lead paragraph (!) said exactly this.) Another part is that there’s no reason to worry about anything going wrong, since our guy is in charge. A final part is that, at least in the Beltway, the big outlets are virtually propaganda organs, and the message the liberal Democrats, who dominate the national press, wish to convey is return to normalcy. (I have always compared the coverage of the Biden Administration to having an anesthesia mask slowly fitted over my face.) Newsroom cuts and reorganization may also play a role. Say what you will, Trump generated a ton of revenue, and for his enemies, too, and that revenue is now gone. Anyhow, it’s quiet. Too quiet. Readers?

* * *

“Parliamentarian: Democrats only get one more chance to sidestep GOP this year” [The Hill]. “Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has effectively ruled that only one more automatic budget reconciliation is permissible this year, dealing a blow to Democrats who previously thought they would have two more chances to sidestep Republicans in advancing President Biden’s agenda. MacDonough ruled that a revision to the 2021 budget resolution cannot be automatically discharged from the Senate Budget Committee, meaning Democrats would need at least one Republican on the 11-11 panel to vote with them. The bombshell ruling effectively means Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be able to use only one more reconciliation vehicle to pass Biden’s key legislative priorities this year. He will not be able to divide up the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, as well as Biden’s calls to expand Medicare and lower the price of prescription drugs, into multiple reconciliation packages, as was envisioned only a few weeks ago.” • We see this from liberal Democrats over and over again. We see it in Gore gaveling the Congressional Black Caucus into silence in 2001, when they wanted to address Bush’s election theft in Florida. We see it with Obama in 2009, with the excuse that “we didn’t have the votes,” when that’s only because they won’t change the rules of the filibuster. And we see it with Biden today, with Sinema/Manchin (today’s Joe Lieberman), the refusal to change the filibuster, the deference to the Parliamentarian (who the Republicans would simply fire). It’s almost as if they enjoy tying themselves up and then whining “we’re helpless.” A sort of jouissance, a sort of auto-kinbaku-bi. I do know there are institutional and financial issues too, but the psychology is very odd.

“White House unveils plan to donate 25 million vaccine doses abroad” [The Hill]. “On Monday, Biden said his administration would send at least 20 million doses of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries.” • This morning’s Reuters link said “The United States will announce in the next two weeks.” Now here we are. 100 million is a small amount. No doubt there will be more? And what about raw materials and manufacturing?

“Scoop: White House employees to return to fully in-person work in July” [Axios]. “In a memo sent to the White House Office and Office of the Vice President, employees are advised that they “will transition to full time on campus work during the window of July 6 to July 23,” according to a copy obtained by Axios…. The memo is the latest step in reopening the federal workplace, but it does not mean an end to work-from-home guidelines. Each agency will be required to develop its own plan on a phased return of employees, according to an administration official.”

Republican Funhouse

Hmm:

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “29 May 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improvement Continues” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 400 K to 710 K (consensus 400 K), and the Department of Labor reported 385,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 458,500 (reported last week as 458,750) to 428,000.”

Employment Situation: “May 2021 ADP Employment Grew 978,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth of 978,000 which was within expectations. A quote from the ADP authors: While goods producers grew at a steady pace, it is service providers that accounted for the lion’s share of the gains, far outpacing the monthly average in the last six months. Last month’s employment gain was revised downward. ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth.”

Employment Situation: “May 2021 Job Cuts Remain Low At The Start Of Summer” [Econintersect]. “Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers rose 7% in May to 24,586 from the 22,913 announced in April. Last month’s total is down 93.8% from May 2020, when employers announced 397,016 cuts…. [A]ccording to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage rose to $30.17 in April from $29.96 in March. Meanwhile, Amazon is offering $1,000 signing bonuses for new workers, while Tops Friendly Markets, a grocery chain in New York, is offering $2,000 signing bonuses for eligible positions.”

Productivity: “1Q2021 Final Headline Productivity Improves” [Econintersect]. “A simple summary of the headlines for this release is that labor costs growth grew on a quarter-over-quarter basis whilst productivity improved more. The overall view this quarter is that nonfarm productivity is up 4.1 % from the same quarter one year ago while unit costs are up 4.1 %. Please note my productivity analysis at the end of this post which is at odds with the headline view. Doing a productivity analysis during a major recession or recovery period is a waste of time as productivity is obscured by government interventions.”

* * *

Retail: “Riches from rags: Owners of second-hand clothes app Depop are set for huge windfall as US giant Etsy splashes out £1.2bn on their site” [Daily Mail]. “The wealthy owners of London-based second-hand fashion app Depop are set for a huge cash windfall after US giant Etsy announced it is buying the site for £1.2billion to tap into the growing Generation Z market. Depop, which was founded by Anglo-Italian entrepreneur Simon Beckerman in 2011 and has been run by Spanish businesswoman Maria Raga since 2016, saw sales more than double during the pandemic to £49million. Becoming the 10th most visited shopping site among Gen Z consumers in the US, it has caught the attention of Brooklyn-based Etsy, whose users’ average age is 39 and which is now seeking access to a younger generation. By comparison, more than 90 per cent of Depop’s 30 million users in almost 150 countries are under the age of 26.” • What a statement about where the 26-year-olds are economically…

Shipping: “Container shipping: Records keep falling as industry enjoys best markets ever” [Hellenic Shipping News]. “Driven by the pandemic and stimulus-induced consumer spending on retail goods, container shipping has been a great place to be for carriers and tonnage providers, while proving a headache for those with cargoes needing to be moved in a timely manner. The start of this year has been the busiest Q1 on record, with volumes reaching 42.9m twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), a 10.7% increase on Q1 2020 – and a 6.8% increase compared with Q1 2019 – though still a slowdown from Q4 2020 when 45.9m TEU were moved. Despite the quarter-on-quarter slowdown, monthly volumes in March were the highest on record globally with 15.5m TEU being loaded onto ships. This breaks the previous record, set in October last year, when volumes reached 15.4m TEU. Prior to 2020, the highest volumes had ever reached were 15.0m TEU in May 2019. BIMCO expects high volumes to continue into the upcoming peak season. However, once that has passed and we approach the post-pandemic world, demand looks set to slow as stimulus measures and restrictions are eased, leaving consumer spending patterns to find a new balance.”

Shipping: “The Lloyd’s List Podcast: The big and challenging role for class societies in autonomous shipping” [Lloyd’s List]. They mean classes of ships. “Autonomous shipping is seen by many as an inevitable path towards a safer, smarter, and even cleaner maritime transport. It is an exciting yet long journey that requires innovative thinking as well as step-by-step efforts. As we remain at an early stage in the process today, classification societies are facing the necessity to help set up a new standards and safety regime required to frame and facilitate the development of technologies. It’s both a big role to play and a challenging task to fulfill. The safety requirements for autonomous ships must be strict enough to be effective but also, at the same time, flexible enough to be practical. How to establish that sense of balance requires careful orchestration of various factors, including understanding the difference between the approaches aimed at ‘human support’ and ‘human substitution'”

Tech: Founder and Chief Psycho:

Or perfectly in tune with the zeitgeist, who knows.

Tech: “Amazon Ring’s neighborhood watch app is making police requests public” [Reuters]. “Public safety agencies such as police and fire departments now must request material from their communities through a new, publicly viewable type of post on the Neighbors app, Ring said in a blog. Previously, Ring device owners would receive private messages from the app on behalf of police looking for videos. Ring is a smart security device company whose video doorbell product allows users to see and record people who approach their doorsteps, deterring theft and allowing them to monitor around their homes. It was bought by e-commerce giant Amazon in 2018.” • Ah, “smart.”

Labor Market: “Wage Growth Is Holding Up in Aftermath of the Economic Crash” [New York Times]. “Workers in retail, hospitality and other service industries bore the brunt of last year’s mass layoffs. But unlike low-wage workers in past recessions, whose earnings power eroded, many of those who held on to their jobs saw their wages rise even during the worst months of the pandemic. Now, as the economy bounces back and employers need to find staff, workers have the kind of leverage that is more typical of a prolonged boom than the aftermath of a devastating recession. Average earnings for non-managers in leisure and hospitality hit $15 an hour in February for the first time on record; in April, they rose to $15.70, a more than 4.5 percent raise in just two months. President Biden’s administration is embracing those gains and hoping they shift power away from employers and back toward workers. And Federal Reserve officials have indicated that they would like to see employment and pay rising, because those would be signs that they were making progress toward their goals of full employment and stable prices. The stage is set for an economic experiment, one that tests whether the economy can lift laborers steadily without igniting much-faster price increases that eat away at the gains.”

The Economy; “The Covid Trauma Has Changed Economics—Maybe Forever” [Bloomberg]. “The Great Recession that followed the crash of 2008 had already triggered a rethink. But the overall approach—the framework in place since President Ronald Reagan and Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker steered U.S. economic policy in the 1980s—emerged relatively intact. Roughly speaking, that approach placed a priority on curbing inflation and managing the pace of economic growth by adjusting the cost of private borrowing rather than by spending public money. The pandemic cast those conventions aside around the world. In the new economics, fiscal policy took over from monetary policy. Governments channeled cash directly to households and businesses and ran up record budget deficits. Central banks played a secondary and supportive role—buying up the ballooning government debt and other assets, keeping borrowing costs low, and insisting that this was no time to worry about inflation. Policymakers also started looking beyond aggregate metrics to data that show how income and jobs are distributed and who needs the most help. While the flight from orthodoxy was most pronounced in the world’s richest countries, versions of this shift played out in emerging markets, too. Even institutions like the International Monetary Fund, longtime enforcers of the old rules of fiscal prudence, preached the benefits of government stimulus.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 47 Neutral (previous close: 47 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 36 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 3 at 12:48pm.

Health Care

If you haven’t read this paper, you should:

Funny that of all the institutions that had their weaknesses revealed by Covid, Big Science was perhaps the least weak. An insurgent group fought for, and won, a battle for a new paradigm on aerosol transmission. In only a year. Contrast the sclerotic party system in the United States.

Our Famously Free Press

“Why was it so easy to fool the media on herd immunity?” [Lessons from the Crisis]. “UK planning at the start of the pandemic involved allowing the majority of the population to become infected with covid between April and September 2020, causing five thousand deaths a day and ending with enough cumulative infections for herd immunity, as shown on both the whiteboard photos from 10 Downing St, contemporary tweets from MPs, and the subsequently released SAGE papers…. Known inside the government as “single peak” and outside it as the “herd immunity plan”, this idea obviously wasn’t some evil plot to deliberately cause death and suffering- compared with an unmitigated pandemic it cut deaths in half, and must have looked pretty good if you were anchored at that 500k deaths mark…. So “shield the vulnerable, let it pass through the population and emerge in September to bury the dead” became the plan, until mid March 2020…. The original plan was all public at the time, endorsed and discussed at length by the relevant parties, and then further explained by the publication of SAGE minutes modelling it, but somehow a large part of the media have developed the view that it never happened, and that any references to ‘herd immunity’ refer only to vaccination, or that a ‘herd immunity plan’ means something different from the above and therefore Britain never had one.” • Hmm. What do our UK readers think?

Under the Influence

“‘The meeting that changed the world’: Inside the first days of the Kardashian empire” [Los Angeles Times]. • I read it all. This is the last paragraph: “And a lot of people say, ‘It’s not talent, what they do; they’re reality stars, they’re famous for nothing.’ But they’re really good at what they do. From the minute I met them, they were really good at being a reality TV family.”

Groves of Academe

“On Decolonisation and the University” [Textual Practice]. “Having inherited advantages deriving from dispossession and genocide, when faced with the challenge to decolonise, it is as though the postcolonial imaginary in the geopolitical West can envision nothing less than revenge exacted against itself in the same coin.” • Hmm.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Cultures of contagion” [The Lancet]. “Contrasting narratives are presented in CONTAGION: death, stigma, the movement of microbes, and the inner lives of viruses all feature. But there are also intriguing ideas that come from unexpected sources: a live stream of an ant colony in which its residents make chemicals that might help to tackle antimicrobial resistance; a museum in which computer malware transmits creative, rather than malicious, messages; and animations that make sense of the digital world as information and misinformation multiplies. By capturing the morbid alongside the playful, CONTAGION succeeds in what [Jahnavi Phalkey, the exhibition’s co-curator and Founding Director of Science Gallery Bengaluru’s] team set out to do. ‘A terrifying pandemic could be bracketed out, ignored, or engaged with’, she says. ‘We wanted to make the journey to understanding this phenomenon less terrifying, more engaging, and at times, interesting enough to provide some relief from the relentless suffering surrounding the global collective experience of the pandemic.'” • I like the idea of malware’s antithese, but what to call it? Euware?

Class Warfare

“Union considers strike at meat plant that was virus hotspot” [ABC]. “Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan has aggressively defended how the company handled the virus outbreak. Local union leaders have said that after the meatpacking plant shut down for several weeks last year amid the outbreak, the company implemented most of the measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it has maintained that workers are still at risk to the virus as they work shoulder-to-shoulder on butchering lines.” • “Most”?!

“VOICES: Lessons from the union busting at No Evil Foods” [Facing South]. This has a lot of good detail. For example: “Workers also encounter classic union-busting strategies during organizing drives at small companies like No Evil Foods, where management made what I believe to be their first move against the union in early 2020. That’s when they broke up the workers into random, rotating groups and gave us a space to ‘air our grievances’ about anything and everything. At the time, this seemed benign enough, even commendable. But as I later learned from [Martin J. Levitt], the owners may have had an ulterior motive. In his book, Levitt called the approach the ‘Employee Roundtable.’ It’s a strategy ‘purportedly designed to give workers a way to air their grievances and influence company policy’ as he observed, but functions as ‘management’s tap into the worker grapevine and its repressive thumb on the informal worker power structure. The regular group meetings provided management with a system for planting information, as well as for identifying and controlling the leaders among the employees.’ ‘By continually changing the makeup of the employee committee,’ he explained, ‘management could keep abreast of complaints and rumors circulating in the various departments without creating a bond among the participants or inadvertently developing leaders.'” • If the Romanovs had had management consultants instead of the Ohkrana, they might be in power today!

“The Anti-Bigness Ideology” [Matt Bruenig]. “It is hard to imagine any economic arrangements based on our current level of technology that does not involve the vast majority of people working inside some kind of larger organization rather than being the owner-operator of a single-member firm. Even if anti-bigness advocates were extremely successful to the point where they managed to quadruple the number of firms in the country and spread production out across those firms, the vast majority of working people would be employees not owners. Anti-bigness advocates sometimes acknowledge this and then try to claim that these workers would nonetheless be benefited by this new world in which they work for a smaller firm, but this is pretty clearly not true, and also does not address the point that, by their own reasoning, those workers are experiencing unfreedom. Finally, when you think about the governing mechanics that would be used to achieve anti-bigness, you see that it inevitably relies upon collective democratic institutions — namely the state — to dig in and basically micromanage the economy in order to make sure everything stays small. The charm of decentralization and rule of none/self-rule is thus an artifice being built on top of an iron-fisted centralized state that must constantly quash things on behalf of the small proprietors. This is not a problem in and of itself, but at the point at which you are relying upon a democratic central state to impose your system, you are relying upon the very collectivism — namely the support of the electorate — that anti-bigness is supposed to provide refuge from, relative to socialism.” • Hmm.

I think the Black Socialists in America are very lucid. The whole thread is worth a read:

Bourgeois feminism:

“To have the autonomy of your body taken away from you” is, exactly, what wage labor is; you sell the autonomy of your body for a period of time. A vulgar Marxist would say that bourgeois feminists don’t see that because, at a minimum, they don’t perform wage labor, or worse, they facilitate it.

News of the Wired

Everything I was wired about seems to have ended up in some other bucket.

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “This is one of our Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi succulents.”

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About Lambert Strether

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

117 comments

  1. Alfred

    OMFG. My family would have been happy to have an easy way to capitalize on controlling my life for their gain. They would not have wanted to share, however. Or be open about what they were doing.

    Reply
  2. SE

    I’ve seen the analogy between labor and rape made before as if they are they same, I don’t buy it. There is particular trauma involved in rape that I am not saying is better or worse but it is not analogous to labor, and it feels particularly irksome to see men in particular trying to make this comparison by way of minimizing rape’s psychological impact. One is violent assault, the other isn’t. I know you are trying to say, ‘well that is bad and so is this! Why are you so bourgeois you can’t see that?’ But that is a kind of minimization.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      That kind of jumped out at me too. If a woman is forced to give birth to the child of a rape, there is more than a temporary loss of bodily autonomy: there will be emotional, familial, wider social, educational, occupational, and economic impacts for the rest of her life.

      Further, this likely privileged young woman speaking out benefits precisely the laboring class. The bourgeoisie can afford to travel for an abortion; the poor cannot. My own mother went to England in 1968 to get one, I learned years after the fact (I was only 11 at the time).

      Reply
      1. Carla

        My late husband was born during the Depression. A couple of years later, his mother experienced an unplanned pregnancy. She and her husband agreed there was no way they could afford to bring another child into the world. They were determined to take care of the child they already had. She explained the situation to her doctor, who understood perfectly and performed an abortion. She told my husband it was basically uncontroversial. I wonder how many such matter-of-fact abortions took place during the Depression. (And I also wonder if young, unmarried women experienced the same kind of compassion from their physicians.) A few years later, when the family’s finances were a little more robust, my husband’s beloved little brother was born.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          The answer to your question, Carla, is quite a few.

          My mother often told the story of how her mother saved a neighbor’s life. The neighbor and her husband couldn’t afford to have any more children, but she was pregnant.

          This happened in Buffalo, New York, where that famous Depression-era photo was taken. You’ve probably seen it. It shows a bread line that stretches way back into the distance — and the line went well beyond that point.

          Back to Mom’s story. The neighbor had a back-alley abortion, and there were complications. Since abortion was very illegal back then, the neighbor couldn’t go to the hospital and get help.

          The help came from my grandmother, who nursed this neighbor back to health. Suffice it to say that this lifesaving act made a strong impression on my mother, who was very pro-choice until she died in 2019.

          Reply
          1. Carla

            I understand, and one of my closest friends had an illegal abortion in 1967. But what I meant was, I wonder how many practicing physicians quietly performed abortions for their patients as a matter of simple, practical, doctoring during the Depression, when they knew perfectly well the women asking for them just could not possibly support another child.

            Reply
            1. John Zelnicker

              Again, Carla, I would expect it’s quite a large number.

              Up until Roe v. Wade, a lot of doctors, for their patients (and daughters) who had been with them for a while, would perform a D&C, dilation and curretage. I had heard of them by the time I was about 15 in 1965 as a young woman or two that I knew had the procedure; my mother explained what they were.

              Reply
    2. hemeantwell

      I think we’re facing a terrible dilemma here, and this woman’s “I am terrified that ….if I’m raped then my hopes and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant.” brings it out well.

      Arguments over specific analogies aside, they can be tremendously useful in allowing people who experience rape to delimit the crime’s impact. However, it appears increasingly that, in order for rape to be consistently criminalized, its impact needs to be maximized, in ways that leave rape survivors with little room for interpretation to their benefit.

      I once lived with a woman who had been raped and for her it was, as she put, “like I would imagine it would be like for you to be really badly beaten up.” In that phrasing there was a tilt away from assuming that some kind of damage to the core of my humanity would have occurred. I might, for personal reasons, experience being beaten up as a kind of decisive defeat, a social psychological castration of the sort that’s a routine part of machismo. But it might also be less than that, e.g. a case of being beat up by someone bigger than me without larger implications. To her, the idea of having her hopes and dreams stolen by the rapist would have been unfathomable, she didn’t give him that power. But I fear that trying to bring these considerations up has come to be equated with minimization.

      Reply
      1. marym

        The forced-birthist legislators would probably concur that the real problem is failure on the part of those who are raped or fear being raped to “interpret it to their benefit.” They and the people who vote for them are the ones giving the power to alter women’s lives to the rapists

        Reply
        1. hemeantwell

          Your comment illustrates what I mean about the dilemma.

          Isn’t it possible to have it both ways on this? To raise another analogy: if someone is financially secure it may not matter much if someone else steals $1000 from them, but it is still regarded as a crime and the perp can go to jail. The victim needn’t demonstrate how damaged they were by the theft.

          Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      “To have the autonomy of your body taken away from you” is, exactly, what wage labor is; you sell the autonomy of your body for a period of time. A vulgar Marxist would say that bourgeois feminists don’t see that because, at a minimum, they don’t perform wage labor, or worse, they facilitate it.

      Where is the analogy between labor and rape? The student above is accusing the new law of potentially restricting her bodily autonomy. Rape was one of a list of causes for falling into precarity under this law. Lambert is then riffing on bodily autonomy and labor.

      Me personally on labor, I’ve got a pretty good job and the system still works hard to make it suck.

      Reply
    4. Objective Ace

      The analogy isn’t between labor and being raped. The analogy is between labor and pro-life laws.

      Molly doesnt seem overly worried about rape. She’s worried about her “hopes and efforts and dreams” being taken away from her. Presumably due to giving up a career to raising a child.

      Reply
  3. Sam Adams

    OH noooooo not on Nakedcapitalism; not the Kardashians! My eyes…. My mind. I come to be enlightened by the articles and the comments,, not depressed.

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      There have been people who were famous only for being famous before. Paris Hilton comes to mind, and then there are the British royals. Nothing wrong with that is there?

      BTW, I think American blacks should seek reparations from the British royal family. They owned the slave ships after all.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Does that mean that Meghan and Harry’s children will literally belong to the Royal Family? Talk about “old fashioned family values!” Very old fashioned. But, then, that’s what an aristocracy is, a very, very, old system of social organization.
          It’s as if the Enlightenment never happened.

          Reply
        2. synoia

          Your are referring to the time from Elizabeth I to the end of the 4 Georges, I believe.

          The whole world practiced slavered up until Victoria.

          Or to be more accurate: On 13th March 1787 during a dinner involving several important figures amongst the Clapham Sect community, Wilberforce agreed to bring the issue to parliament.

          Dates matter.

          Reply
          1. R

            One needs to distinguish between the Crown, granting monopolies like the US Federal government, and the Royal Family personally. The latter may have had investments in early slaving business (the Royal African company was chaired by the King’s brother in 17thC) but it is not clear that the current family of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has gathered any more direct benefit from the slave trade than any other aristocratic family.

            Reply
          2. Robert Hahl

            I don’t see why it matters what the rest of the world was doing. Ill gotten gains are ill gotten gains.

            Reply
            1. alfred

              You have to agree to be “Ill gotten gains” dontcha think?

              IMNSHO, that’s the whole problem here, too many people agree to sh!t that is bullsh!t.

              Reply
  4. Laura in So Cal

    On this:
    “WA: “Almost all new COVID cases in King Co. are from unvaccinated people, experts say” [KOMO]. “The good news: cases and hospitalizations are dramatically down since the peak of the 4th wave in late April. The bad news: 97% of the new Covid-19 cases—are coming from unvaccinated people.””

    I’m not sure you can trust this kind of data anymore with the updated guidance from the CDC as of May 1st.

    From the CDC website:

    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/health-departments/breakthrough-cases.html

    “As of May 1, 2021, CDC transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause. This shift will help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance.”

    So if someone is vaccinated and tests positive, they aren’t counted as a COVID case unless they are hospitalized or die. You will only have 2 kinds of COVID cases. 1. Any positive test from an unvaccinated person or 2. A vaccinated person who is hospitalized or dies which should be unusual if the vaccines work as advertised.

    Reply
    1. Lemmy Caution

      Right — the CDC is leaving it up to the states to decide whether or not they test and track vaccinated people who come down with mild or asymptomatic Covid. And the KOMO article never defines what constitutes a new case among unvaccinated people. Is it just people that are hospitalized or die, or does it also include asymptomatic and mild cases? Are we comparing apples to apples or what? Another fine example of at best, sloppy reporting. At the worst? Fitting the facts around a desired narrative.

      Reply
    2. t

      Thank you for pointing this out. The US insistence of redefining “pandemic” at every turn…. that’s the one weird trick that really did us in.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Not just the US. Last year when the Coronavirus was starting to rage, not only did the WHO refuse to call it a pandemic, but they actually removed the word ‘pandemic’ from their official lexicon that they used. Several weeks later they re-instated it and then came out and called it a pandemic but that was nothing short of criminal behaviour that. Totally unforgivable.

        Reply
    3. Lemmy Caution

      The article never comes out and says what the actual number of new cases is either.

      Looking at the King County Covid Dashboard, yesterday, June 2, there were no new hospitalizations and no new deaths.

      The 7-day averages of both hospitalizations and deaths are also rapidly falling: Hospitalizations dropping from 9 or 10 per day on 5/27 to zero yesterday and the 7-day average for deaths at about .6.

      Not to say new cases aren’t worrisome, but the article leaves out a lot of facts.

      Reply
    4. IM Doc

      I am also always on the lookout for manipulation when any statistical information in presented as a percentage. (a 97% drop, etc). That is how statistics can be easily manipulated.

      Please note – this article and many others does exactly that. I would feel much better if just plain raw numbers were reported.

      Look through the ads of any Big Pharma marketing campaign. You will note instantly that everything is reported in %. There is a reason for that.

      Reply
  5. fresno dan

    Alert reader Tegnost wrote:

    My macro view of the biden reign is that they have worked really hard to starve the news flow. You can see it in links and water cooler at NC, there’s just not much food for thought as it were. They’re giving us precious little to talk about.

    Since I live in the midst of a news flow, I can tell that it’s much, much shallower than it was under Trump. The current has no force, as it were…. Say what you will, Trump generated a ton of revenue, and for his enemies, too, and that revenue is now gone. Anyhow, it’s quiet. Too quiet. Readers?
    =================================================
    There was outrage, moralizing, outrage, high dudgeon, indignation and about 30 other synonyms for being peeved.
    News? I think very, very little in actuality. Entertainment, or more accurately, pseudo entertainment, plenty.
    Things aren’t gonna change, because there are 52 republicans in the senate (yeah, yeah, I know, your gonna say that a couple of those republicans are nominally democrats)
    AND Joe Biden: Fundamentally, nothing will change.
    And California, that has about the population of 26 states, has 2 senators. The US isn’t designed to do what the majority wants, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t get it.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The correct word is infotainment. Think Faye Dunaway (Network) in charge of the news or at least the cable networks.

      Reply
    2. fresno dan

      “‘The meeting that changed the world’: Inside the first days of the Kardashian empire” [Los Angeles Times]. • I read it all. This is the last paragraph: “And a lot of people say, ‘It’s not talent, what they do; they’re reality stars, they’re famous for nothing.’ But they’re really good at what they do. From the minute I met them, they were really good at being a reality TV family.”
      ===========================================
      I never saw “The Kardashians” and I didn’t even read the article – but I can’t help equating the success of that “reality” show with the success of Trump – a natural flow of etherealness. Form over substance, appearance is everything. Not EVEN actual entertainment – singing, dancing, acting. Just being rich and self absorbed is enough…

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Then there was the famous old Hollywood agent who used to characterize most of the studio public relations stunts as “non-events.”
        It looks like the ‘economy’ today is a non-event for the vast majority of the working public.

        Reply
    3. tegnost

      a majority of californians voted for prop 22 so it’s a stretch to claim a majority of americans want things that are best for everyone…
      He said nothing will change but behind the scenes right now biden and his handlers are trying to figure the message on the infra plan that is going to heap favors on malignant groups like uber and boeing….the talking points from before the election are gone. There is currently no main topic in the media.

      Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Tegnost nailed it! But it would be unfair to blame the few — the be-happy- or-leave-now! — few, who remain in newsrooms. They are not lazy. They must exert considerable effort crafting reformatted quilts and headlines using the news feed presented to them. They have no time for idle reporting of the news. As Tegnost intimates it is the source of the news feeds that has so polluted and dulled the flows of news. The flows at NC only appear to starve because NC does such a tremendous job filtering out the pollution and the murky flows with their bad smells. All that is left is thin gruel.

      “Biden Sir — Please Sir, I want some more.”

      Reply
  6. Carolinian

    Re news flow-well it is summer (almost)….always slow then. May not be a plan.

    Although of course Biden has been keeping a low profile since well before he was elected. Perhaps we are back to the quiet figurehead presidents as opposed to the noisy one.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      Any guesses whats in the infrastructure bill? Because all you can do is guess…it’s dead air…
      other than that it’s making a carnival out of talking people into vaxxing, and a huge number of people won’t

      Reply
        1. tegnost

          if you google 6/3/2017 you get the above results
          if you google 6/3 2013 you get the above results…there’s content

          google 6/3/2021 and see what you get..
          .nothing.

          Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        Oh don’t worry, it will be just stuffed full of those “public/private” partnerships that Washington loves so much. You know the kind that have us giving Bezos, Elon Musk and Wall Street hedge funders the keys to the Treasury. I doubt they will fix one bridge or road, but all of this theater will give the press something to do.

        Reply
    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      “Just because forces are against the same thing does not mean that they are for the same thing.

      And just because forces claim different labels does not mean that their methods or values differ all that much.”

      Bingo.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        cui bono. I have in fact had people tell me, when I partook of certain benefits, that they were “not for me.” I had no idea at the time they were created and preserved by and for certain others. What a kick in the head that was.

        Reply
    2. Aumua

      I was actually thinking of submitting that as a link. The twitter thread is well worth reading through, as well the libcom article linked to at the end: An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left, a sprawling history of red-brown alliances and how the phenomenon fits in to modern times. I think this stuff is more relevant than ever. I’m looking at you Jimmy Dore, and yeah I’m looking at you Greenwald, and Taibbi also.

      Reply
  7. Otis B Driftwood

    I am old enough to remember Nixon, have followed US politics as close as most average Americans, and this is the first time in my long (supposedly well informed) life that I have heard about the Parlementarian.

    Reply
    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Esteemed Driftwood, survivor of Nixon (as am I, although Nixon looks positively competent these days):

      Suddenly the Democrats find another impediment. I’m so old I recall when Obama was inviting Susan Collins to the White House for lunch and bloviation about health-insurance reform. Now we have another (rather convenient) woman who is an impediment, which means that we must not impair the power of women either. I hesitate to point out that the position of parliamentarian is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

      Article I, section 5. This is all I get: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

      The parliamentarian is just one more excuse.

      Meanwhile, orthodox liberals on my FBk page are gleeful that Biden is negotiating with Republicans over corporate tax rates–as if corporate tax rates in the U S of A weren’t already a scandal, even to the most dunderheaded liberal. And an extra special reason? Because this means that Biden is ignoring the Left.

      And meanwhile, in three weeks, the Republicans plus Manchin plus Synema will have paralyzed Biden’s legislative program. Has anyone mention the PRO Act lately? The override of “right to work” laws?

      As to kinbaku, erotic rope tying, somehow I would not apply kinbaku to the careers and tactics of Joe Manchin and Joe Lieberman, two guys whose oozing eroticism I am somehow not perceiving.

      As we say: Lucy, line up the footballs! The adults are back in charge!

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        It’s almost as if the parliamentarian was conjured out of thin air. Better check the Constitution for any recent writing in blue ballpoint pen ink. Or maybe a sticky-note on the Constitution.

        (Pardon my Douglas Adams moment)

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          You are not too far off the mark. The “sticky note” would be an allonge. Dodgy allonges were accepted in state “Rocket Docket” courts to facilitate the theft of houses and property from private individuals by banks and other financially aligned entities during the 2008 economic crisis. I hope that, when the suspect piece of paper added to the Constitution is found that the spelling is authentickal.

          Reply
          1. rowlf

            There is an old joke that the Constitution is locked away and surrounded by armed guards so it can’t interfere with our modern government.

            Will Rogers was right that this stuff writes itself.

            Reply
    2. Pelham

      I’m of similar vintage and, like you, I hadn’t heard of this character either until she surfaced a few weeks ago as a previous Dem excuse for doing nothing over something else.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I remember the Parliamentarian was in the news in 2017 because she had told Mitch McConnell he couldn’t do something. She was fired, and her replacement said of course Mitch could do whatever it was, IIRC.

        Reply
  8. zagonostra

    A link with Jimmy Dore in NC…wow, definitely something is amiss.

    For someone who lives in the “news flow” your comment is very instructive.

    “…there’s no reason to worry about anything going wrong, since our guy is in charge. A final part is that, at least in the Beltway, the big outlets are virtually propaganda organs, and the message the liberal Democrats, who dominate the national press, wish to convey is return to normalcy.”

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Actually Dore is quite right. You don’t get a movement together by seeing if any potential allies tick all your tick-boxes on a whole plethora of issues. You get a movement together on coming together on the things that you agree on. The opposition to the billionaire class has been fractured by having people concentrate on race, LGBQ, wokeness, past social media history, etc. which is why you see so little opposition to a Bezos these days. And why a Brennan is seen as a respectable source for news.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        The BSA thread specifically addresses revolutionary Leftists. Reformist Leftists have their different theory of change. Reformists won’t get much out of that discussion other than to watch out for a certain type of entryist.

        Reply
      2. Geo

        Yep, the BSA is yet another group pushing ideology this and ideology that, trying to prove their superior way of thinking. It’s just purity-testing, labeling, and fracturing.

        Meanwhile, nothing gets done.

        I think if Trump had pushed for national healthcare, there are many on the so-called Left who would have fought against him– likely accusing anyone supporting his proposal a fascist-sympathizer or enabler.’

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          “Nothing” gets done because the liberal theory of change is designed to engender order and property, not serve the people’s interests as they conceive them. I have to wonder why people still believe this fairy tale that the systems that dominate them are intended to serve them, or worse, why they propagate it as some kind of norm.

          Reply
  9. Nce

    I can’t read the BSA thread in full. I tried, but nobody I know of speaks or cares about stuff like this. I live in a small rural town where Rs always determine our state and federal (house) reps, but a minority of NPPs and D’s went for Bernie in ’16 and ’20. I’ve had problems with authoritarianism my entire life (which is largely why I’m poor and living in a rural area to begin with…) without identifying in any of the ways described in the thread (anarchist, radical, libertarian or whatever.) This post just pisses me off because it seems to be of the divisive, “I don’t care about convincing you of anything, I just need to assert the superiority of my opinion.” Dore is often cringe, but I’d rather tune into his show than read BSA junk, partly because he’s funky-ass human and doesn’t hide it. I don’t follow parties, celebrities, or politicians, and this has allowed me to discuss politics with people who vote R that don’t end up in arguments. Bottom line: respect people for being funky/divine (yes, we often forget this) humans and maybe then we’ll be able to communicate. Speak down to me and I’ll only feel contempt. BTW, some indigenous peoples have come the closest to creating egalitarian societies, long before Marx existed (that’s no criticism of Marx, but of these endless academic hair-splitting critiques of whatever the “left” is today in the US.) Nobody cares, so speak to me about the possibilities of more human ways to live together. It’s that simple.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      “I’ve had problems with authoritarianism my entire life (which is largely why I’m poor and living in a rural area to begin with…)”

      Hello.

      Reply
      1. Nce

        So, explain to me what “hello” means?
        There’s no shame to question, if not single-finger salute authoritarians. The US would be a far better nation if more people did.

        Reply
  10. Jason Boxman

    I’m gonna call it; There will be no further worthwhile legislation for the (sadly long) remainder of the Biden presidency. Republicans would already have cut taxes, again, by now. Given the sheer size of the executive, some good will no doubt come from the Biden administration, as is virtually inevitable. But absent any serious action on, for example, climate, we’re all screwed regardless.

    Reply
  11. dcblogger

    “To have the autonomy of your body taken away from you” is, exactly, what wage labor is; you sell the autonomy of your body for a period of time. A vulgar Marxist would say that bourgeois feminists don’t see that because, at a minimum, they don’t perform wage labor, or worse, they facilitate it.

    you cannot compare being forced to carry a pregnancy to term against your will to low wage labor. a badly timed pregnancy can indeed wreck your life. this is not bourgeois feminism, this is the right to control your own body. I think she spoke very well.

    Reply
    1. Even keel

      It’s odd though. Put aside rape, which is the outlier and emotional case. Then, control over her body starts with her right? I mean, absent rape, she’s not gonna have a baby if she doesn’t get funky. Right? The control is in herself. Literally. Obviously, there’s something more here, somewhere, unsaid. But the purpose of the speaking is to say it.

      It seems to be an anti-environmental position she is taking. She wants to do something with her body, without taking the natural consequence, and then claim that not being able to do that means losing her bodily autonomy. She literally says her “bodily autonomy” depends on her being able to be autonomous from her body.

      Analogies to pesticides and chemical ag: Ireally want to mono crop my field repeatedly, but that requires a lot of chemical inputs and use of technology that has negative effects. I should be liberated from the consequences of mono cropping my field.

      I get it. People like to have the sex. They like to eat the burgers too. And to consume water that comes in single serve plastic bottles. And a lot of things.

      But I’m not arguing against her position, necessarily. Her rhetoric is the subject. It simply does not make sense. She ought to make her case plainly, rather than coming at it in some backwards way.

      How about: I like sex, people have to have sex to be fully human, but children and pregnancy are a negative effect, a legacy from our biological past. It used to make sense for the propagation of the species, to tie these two things together: social good (children) and personal good (sexual fulfillment). But now the biology is out of whack. Children are a social detriment, not a social good.

      Or something? What’s actually the best argument here? I’d be interested to know, because the rhetoric about “bodily autonomy” seems simplistic and, frankly, not well thought out.

      Our enlighten me and explain what I’m missing.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        This is one of the most uninformed comments about pregnancy I have ever read.

        No birth control method is 100% effective, aside from hysterectomies. Tubal ligations are only about as effective at the pill. Condoms tear. Men sometimes deliberately tear them or artfully remove them right before insertion.

        Lower income and hourly wage women are de facto denied abortion in many states, due to the dearth of free clinics (as in multiple hour drive each way) and required cooling off periods (being made to watch material designed to make the woman feel guilty and then having to wait till the next day) which result in the loss of 2 working days and necessitate a hotel stay overnight.

        And that’s before getting to probable fathers bullying the woman to keep “his” baby.

        Reply
        1. Even keel

          I don’t think so. I know this is a hot button topic, but the effectiveness (or not) or other anti-pregnancy measures was not the point.

          The point is that any discussion of “bodily autonomy” grounded in “don’t make me have a baby” make last no sense. There is a 100% effective way to not have a baby that is 100% within the control of the woman: don’t have sex.

          Losing control of your body is a serious thing. For example, soldiers in the army submit each movement of theirs to a command structure, literally ceding bodily autonomy. Similarly, the employee gives up control over his body during working hours.

          Becoming pregnant after sexual inter course is not the loss of bodily autonomy. It is the natural consequence of sexual intercourse.

          To me, the real argument for abortion requires the exposition of some argument for “liberation” of the act of sexual inter course from the natural consequence of babies. Why is sexual intercourse so important and fundamental? Why should it be decoupled by technology from the standard biological consequence? The argument should make those points clear, but this one does not. It relies instead on what I regard as illogical “bodily autonomy”’language.

          I think that’s both a more honest argument and one more likely to persuade the unconverted to her cause.

          Perhaps, though, she was not arguing, merely performing virtue.

          Thank you for allowing me to explain my position, and I hope to learn more.

          Reply
  12. pjay

    Re the Black Socialists in America thread:

    I agree that the thread is informative, and also that the Dore/Hampton Leftist clip was not that good (all the yelling and cursing by Dore undermines his message). But it is also the case that the two are talking about much different things, which does not seem to be acknowledged by the Black Socialists. Part of the problem is the old “what do we mean by the ‘left'” issue that has been discussed here many times. But they are referring to different “Red/Brown alliances” as well. The Black Socialists are discussing a real one, with some very important historical consequences. The Dore/Hampton Leftist clip is referring to a fake one (in my opinion anyway), used by liberals and some progressives to smear the anti-imperialist left (the *real* left – in my opinion anyway) today. This would include, for example, the recent smear of Aaron Mate by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian on The Young Turks. As a Putin puppet and Assad apologist, Mate is no better than Trumpian brownshirts, etc.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It is funny talking about Dore yelling and cursing as he has a lot to yell at and curse. But the fact of the matter is that we are trained up from birth to listen how a message is delivered rather than what is being said. Take the Gettysburg Address. You read it and it is short, sharp & sweet. So then you listen to it as delivered by a good speaker and it is still good. Now listen to it as delivered by say, somebody with a heavy southern ‘cracker’ accent or somebody from the Appalachians or inner city black. Do we still appreciate the words or have we knocked off a big chunk of the value of that speech because we do not like how the message is done?

      Reply
      1. pjay

        I get your point, and in general I agree. But I don’t think that is my issue here. I watch Dore regularly and I’m used to his style. Sometimes yelling and cursing is warranted (lord knows my wife has to listen to me cursing at the TV enough). But in this particular case, it seemed (to me) to undermine his message – a message with which I also agree. It seemed a little performative – and again, I’m familiar with Dore.

        My main point, though, is that I don’t think the Black Socialists in America are really addressing the issue discussed in the Dore clip, which is the fake “Red/Brown” issue used to smear lefty anti-imperialists.

        Reply
      2. Michael Fiorillo

        Bill Labov, a renowned socio-linguist, did a great deal of research on the interplay between dialects and status. Fascinating stuff…

        And the quip I remember from grad school is apropos: a language is a dialect with an army and navy.

        Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It is funny talking about Dore yelling and cursing as he has a lot to yell at and curse.

        I don’t mean to be tiresome with historical takes, but back in the day, cussing in the blogosphere was considered freeing: “We say f*ck!” And I certainly contributed my fair share!

        Fast forward, and here we are again with the same issue in a different medium. I concluded long ago that cussing was at best useless; basically, an infantile transgression. In any case, it’s not a question whether there is or is not plenty to cuss about; of course there is. The question is what cussing accomplishes. I don’t think it accomplishes anything.

        I don’t think it’s because cussing is offputting to the pious and the sensitive plants; I think it’s that sentences constructed around the desire to shock through reference to bodily functions are not sentences that can explain or help to dismantle systems; there just aren’t enough tools in the toolbox, as it were.* So why are we making useless statements? Performativity? Audience share?

        Adding, on accents, that’s one reason I enjoy the Trillbillies so much. I’m not slumming; their accents are really a pleasure to hear. (Sometimes the irony cuts like a knife in those Kentucky* accents, and I don’t think a Yankee like me could to the same in my accent.)

        NOTE * Slavery is a Bad Thing. I don’t recall any cussing in Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech, the speech that made him the Republican candidate. Apparently, it was the tight reasoning that had the audience stomoing and cheering. Go figure.

        ** I don’t say “Southern” because I’m sure the regions difference

        Reply
        1. eg

          I think it’s a function of knowing your audience and modulating accordingly. Obviously this works best in person and in the context of relationship, so much more difficult to apply to either writing or recordings.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          The Gettysburg Address is remarkable by comparison. The speaker before him went on for a typical two-hour speech. God they could talk. Lincoln, in turn got up and made his speech in about two minutes and sat down before the photographer could even focus his camera. But what a speech-

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCXUbQ4JjXI (5:53 mins)

          Reply
        3. hunkerdown

          > sentences constructed around the desire to shock through reference to bodily functions are not sentences that can explain or help to dismantle systems

          I believe you posted Graeber’s “Manners, Deference, and Private Property” many moons ago, which usefully analogized elites, or people in avoidance relations, as being made of “property” as opposed to the common, familiar person made of substances. I also believe you introduced me to the Papal Belvedere as political speech. Perhaps bodily functions cannot help explain systems, but by symbolically negating that symbolic avoidance, they help demystify and desecrate elite-ness which is good.

          Reply
  13. Lee

    “Groves of Academe

    “On Decolonisation and the University” [Textual Practice]. “Having inherited advantages deriving from dispossession and genocide, when faced with the challenge to decolonise, it is as though the postcolonial imaginary in the geopolitical West can envision nothing less than revenge exacted against itself in the same coin.” • Hmm.”

    Speaking of seeking equality as opposed to seeking revenge, I am reminded of the Kimberly Latrice Jones video, particularly her final sentence.

    Reply
    1. enoughisenough

      yes. In my field, the “decolonialization” stuff is tearing up the process of scholarship itself. I personally think it is quite wrong-headed a lot of times, and will probably result in more humanities depts getting shuttered.

      In cases like this:
      https://everydayorientalism.wordpress.com/2021/05/26/doing-classics-on-indigenous-land/?fbclid=IwAR1B0iVh0X3kSKl0ubw47i6OCf_TRHflE46mC8kk1zVu3UeYYrWbRcpW-_Y

      the pedagogy sounds even abusive, and I have a lot of critiques of all this from the left, as well.
      Playing down humanity and humanism in a time of refugee crises and massive displacement of peoples?

      It seems this focuses on historical issues, and projects them forward to today, when we can study all this while also being grounded in the present, and recognizing the myriad of problems that face us immediately. Forcing students to admit guilt for the sins of their fathers is ironically learning the exact wrong thing from some of those Greek myths.

      Also, she states that she’s not committed to the discipline of Classics. Then don’t tell us how to teach Classics!!! Some of us are still trying to teach the actual material, which can be done in a non-exceptionalist way without all this divisiveness.

      The anti-solidarity message is also very depressing and discouraging. When we don’t have solidarity we are easy pickings for the neoliberal vultures.

      Reply
      1. enoughisenough

        Classics doesn’t have to be a punishing, shaming affair.

        I recommend this episode of Chris Hedges, featuring Prof. Emily Allen-Hornblower and her work teaching Greek tragedy to those caught in the carceral gulag here. It’s a good example of teaching with the present in mind, for the good of the students, to expand minds, not punish or blame.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1AmlxnweFE

        Reply
  14. Geo

    “Now here we are. 100 million is a small amount. No doubt there will be more? And what about raw materials and manufacturing?”

    My assumption: A donation is from the government and Pharma still gets paid. Raw materials and manufacturing takes profit generation sources away from corporations. So, donations are acceptable (charity versus systemic restructuring). They’d rather give a man a fish and keep him dependent than teach him to fish and allow him autonomy.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They’d rather give a man a fish and keep him dependent than teach him to fish and allow him autonomy.

      Which doesn’t scale, although I grant scaling isn’t the point (to them).

      Reply
  15. enoughisenough

    “I like the idea of malware’s antithese, but what to call it? Euware?”

    mal is Latin, eu is Greek.

    Maybe “bonumware”? To stay in Latin?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Wellware would be purer

      Niceware, kindware, sweetware….

      Back in the day when my email account was a unix shell, there was a cute little program called Fortune, that would display a random quotation at log-in. That might be an example of “Niceware.” It was a small but positive thing that took no effort on my part.

      Reply
  16. Mark Gisleson

    The “Employee Roundtable” sounds exactly like the Quality Control Circles that companies tried to foist off on workers in the 1970s and 1980s. The union objections then were the same as they are now: the companies used the circles/roundtables to spy on workers, taking note of who the ‘troublemakers’ were.

    The one union response I remember and liked best was “why don’t you open your suggestion boxes once in a while and try reading what’s in them?”

    Reply
  17. marym

    From the AZ Secretary of State:

    Observers on behalf of the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office continued to note problematic practices, changing policies, and security threats that have plagued this exercise from the start…Please find a summary of both new and ongoing incidents noted by observers during the “audit” at the Coliseum beginning on May 24, 2021.

    https://azsos.gov/about-office/media-center/documents/coliseum-observer-notes-2021

    Two brief videos of the recount process – not actually a “hand” count

    https://twitter.com/Ali_Vetnar/status/1400155212686401539
    https://twitter.com/FahlOutBerg/status/1400496081218129922

    Meanwhile, legislators supporting this “audit” are moving ahead with legislation to make it more difficult to to vote and easier to overturn the results with the claim that they and their constituents are supposedly so worried about election security.

    Reply
  18. Cuibono

    The Case Counts continue to fall along with deaths.
    Are we out of the woods seems to be the biggest question.
    It is important to reflect upon the fact hat there is simply no way to know that.
    Yes we have what appear to be effective immunizations.
    Yes a high percentof the population appear to be either immunized or natually immune now

    And yet we do not know

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Europe looked like it was in great shape until it wasn’t. The Czech Republic in particular went from impressively low #s for quite a while to needing a lockdown. Thailand looked like it was the poster child of not being an island yet containing Covid, and now things are looking bad.

      The official propensity has been hubris: declare victory too early and suffer the consequences.

      Reply
  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    and the message the liberal Democrats, who dominate the national press,

    I’m not quite sure this is accurate. Perhaps the alliance of centrists and Bush-family aligned Republicans who dominate the national press? After all, programs like Meet the Press go weeks without a single member of Team Blue. MSNBC features the talent of Nicole Wallace, Joe Scarborough, and Andrea Mitchell, a regular who’s who of people left in the cold by Trump but would have had all kinds of access under say a Romney pursuing every Trump policy.

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      Yeah, this is a problem with the changing character of the Democrats. To me, the DLC/New Democrats were/are conservatives, but they call themselves centrists and/or liberals. MSNBC is definitely a right-of-center organization but also the propaganda arm of the Democratic party (often referred to as MSDNC). I don’t know what the solution is, but I want to scream every time I see Joe Manchin referred to as a Moderate Democrat.

      Reply
  20. upstater

    Great News! The government is declaring a Global War on Ransomware, GWOR for short. I’m looking forward to being protected.

    Exclusive-U.S. to give ransomware hacks similar priority as terrorism, official says

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice is elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack and mounting damage caused by cyber criminals, a senior department official told Reuters.

    Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    “Why was it so easy to fool the media on herd immunity?”

    This is what happens when you have a tame media recruited from the professional class. Boris actually came out on TV and said that herd immunity was the strategy. Just get it over and done with so that the economy could be quickly reset. He probably never thought that he himself would get it and nearly die from it. And from what I have heard, he never learned a damn thing from his near-death experience with it either-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQDXmipIYF8 (1:10 mins)

    Reply
  22. freebird

    Beautiful kalanchoe plant. Perhaps someone who knows for sure could tell us all if we should say “kalancha”, or kal-ann-coe-ee.?

    Reply
    1. Tracie Hall

      I had the same discussion with friends on Facebook which prompted me to hunt for the pronunciation. I found this British lady who tells us she *thinks* she is saying it right, but was the only incident I could find of the pronunciation of both words. Her pronunciation is Ka luhn koe’ ee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvsk4iDevW4
      So, then I looked for confirmation and found a couple like this one, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4sKXuye9uQ , that repeat her pronunciation for American English and add that it is pronounced differently by British, Kal’ en choe (so, actually, I guess she pronounced it wrong for her version of English). :-)

      Reply
  23. B flat

    Compelling a woman to bear a child is nothing like wage slavery. There is not even a pretence that it is voluntary or that she has control over her own body. in contrast, I think surrogacy is wage slavery though – 24/7 job, all the risks, none of the benefits except pay. Prostitution falls into this category as well…Two exploitive “careers” eagerly supported by twitterati and redditors anyway…

    Reply
      1. B flat

        Ah, but compelled birth still isn’t the same as wage slavery! What do you think of surrogacy and prostitution?

        Reply
        1. B flat

          (I gather neoliberal feminism endorses both as career choices, going by my admittedly limited polling of people in their 20s.)

          Reply
  24. ObjectiveFunction

    In case you’ve forgotten what an actual Free Press© looks like, with actual investigative journalism, fearlessly naming names and speaking Truth to Power? Well, it’s alive and well, right over there…..

    In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

    …Yeah, that’s right, those godless squat-in-the-bush commie ants who were on the receiving end of so much of Uncle Sam’s chemical and metals output for a couple of decades. Leaving them with a land where to this day they still need to sweep for explosives before putting a shovel in the ground, or else….

    Since April, the dull-sounding “Vietnam Agriculture News” (Nong Nghiep) has been running a hard hitting series of exposes on rapacious wind power development in the Central Highlands, with pull no punches details on the who, what, where, when and why. Like, you know, Journalism. On the side of [shudder!] the Little Guy.

    The articles are in Vietnamese, but it’s well worth spending a little time on Google translate. The series has now gotten attention at the very highest levels in Hanoi. It’s also got mixed up with Vietnam’s current Covid crisis, which is being blamed in part on Chinese wind power technicians sneaking in via Cambodia and Laos (yup, the old Ho Chi Minh trail). Chinese contractors simply don’t hire local people for anything more complex than digging ditches (Beijing insists they employ Chinese, it’s part of the package).

    All of which the locals resent. And as history teaches us, Vietnamese peasants don’t lie down and meekly take that kind of abuse. Nor can Saigon-based magnates (literally, “Giants”) simply pay off their leaders or police chiefs and expect them to make the noise go away. Vietnamese don’t roll that way.

    … So as of May, a bunch of these projects have now been suspended for various violations. This is utterly lethal to their economics, as EVN’s generous Feed In Tariff runs out for any wind turbines that aren’t turning by this Halloween. (That actually suits certain political players just fine btw, but that’s a story for another post)

    Suffice it to say, even 2 generations after The War, the Vietnamese communitarian spirit of dau tranh (struggle) remains very much alive.

    But setting aside the Leftie-Rightie stuff, it seems that when your home is a unit of production, not consumption, you tend to care deeply about the environment you live in and depend upon, and to act collectively. And you don’t sheepishly follow your misleadership class, who can be bribed to betray you.

    …. because inside every Yank, there’s a Vietnamese, waiting to get out!

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you for this report. At a high level, it’s clear that Vietnamese don’t cr*p around. America being very provincial, we sometimes forget this map:

      It is no wonder that, as Arrighi shows, the as-it-were center of gravity for finance capital has continually moved East and is now heading toward Asia: IIRC, Genoa -> Amsterdam -> London -> Manhattan… and now or soon East Asia. As Willie Sutton did not quite say, that’s where the people (to be exploited) are. So it will be interesting to see what the CCP does at the end of this round of accumulation.

      Reports like these from the globe’s center of gravity are very welcome to me!

      Reply

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