Links 6/12/2021

‘I was completely inside’: Lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off Provincetown Cape Cod Times

Why eating insects to combat climate change is inevitable South China Morning Post (Re Silc). Not for everybody.

Pennsylvania Pension Furor Widens With Push to Oust Leaders Bloomberg, Do better, California!

Deflation, Punctuated by Spasms of Inflation Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

Negotiating Ransoms: When to Play and When to Fold Zero Day

CBDCs beyond borders: results from a survey of central banks (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. Central Bank Digital Currency.

What actually happens to the clothes you donate depends on where you live Popular Science (Re Silc).


CDC to hold ‘emergency meeting’ over cases of heart inflammation following second Covid vaccine Independent

Does vaccinating adults stop kids from spreading COVID too? Nature


China, US diplomats clash over human rights, pandemic origin AP. If I wanted a clean shot at China, I’m not sure these would be the shots I’d take.

China Urges US and Russia to Reduce Their Nuclear Arsenals Flagged as “sensitive content” by Twitter.

China rushes through bill tightening ban on abiding by western sanctions FT

Congestion at south China ports worsens on anti-COVID-19 measures Hellenic Shipping News

China’s import appetite raises prospects in US farm belt FT

Weak consumption is a ‘major problem’ for China’s recovery, says analytics firm CNBC

Top Banking Watchdog Warns of China’s Growing Financial Risks Caixin (via Michael Pettis).

Male teens and boys using women’s bathrooms, change rooms outrage in China reveals lack of sex and gender education, experts say South China Morning Post


Myanmar’s Coming Revolution Foreign Affairs

‘Our revolution is starting’: Urban guerrillas prepare to step up killings, bombings Frontier Myanmar

US Sanctions on Myanmar Put International Banks in the Spotlight The Irrawaddy


Grenfell Tower survivor says ‘brushing it under the carpet and moving on is not an option’ on eve of fourth anniversary South London Press

Latin America

No ‘serious irregularities’ found in Peru’s disputed presidential election France24

Peru Offers a Taste of What Covid Can Do to Politics Bloomberg

Revealed: Secretive British anti-crime agency spent millions training Colombia’s repressive police Declassified UK

World leaders back Biden G7 call for more economic stimulus FT

What’s the Point of the G-7? Foreign Policy

Biden Administration

Attorney General Garland Says Investigating How ProPublica Obtained Billionaire Tax Data Is ‘At The Top Of My List’ Cracked

USDA To Strengthen Enforcement of Packers & Stockyards Act AgWeb

House lawmakers introduce five bipartisan bills to unwind tech monopolies The Verge

The Regulatory Capture Of The FDA The American Conservative

Biden administration will return $2 billion to military projects that had been set aside for border wall construction CNN. Friends, there’s good news tonight!

Embracing a Pandemic-Centered Foreign Policy Center for Strategic and International Studies

Our Famously Free Press

2021 Pulitzer Prizes The Pulitzer Prizes. Ed Yong is a mensch:

Thrilled BlackRock Announces Purchase Of 800,000th Dream Home The Onion

Pulitzer Board awards special citation to Darnella Frazier, who shot viral video of George Floyd’s death Star-Tribune

* * *

McCarthyite meltdown shows how Russiagate, Syria propaganda captured ‘left’ media Aaron Maté

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Wisconsin Judge Halts Federal Loan Forgiveness For Farmers Of Color WPR

What Do Conservatives Fear About Critical Race Theory? Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker

The misogyny at Moog Asheville Blade

Class Warfare

American workers are quitting at the highest rate in decades Quartz (Re Silc).

Meager Rewards for Workers, Exceptionally Rich Pay for C.E.O.s NYT

If vaccine apartheid exists, vaccine billionaires shouldn’t STAT

The controversy over Bill Gates becoming the largest private farmland owner in the US Recode

The Rent’s Too Damned High Cory Doctorow, Gen

The Man Who Put Out Fires with Music Culture Notes of an Honest Broker

Slow Blues The American Scholar (dk).

Antidote du jour:

What Has Four Legs, a Trunk and a Behavioral Database? NYT. Points to Elephant Voices, which includes the Elephant Ethogram, something like the Macauley Library, but for elephants (and without the citizen science). For example:


A Mother Protecting And Reassuring Her Calf

Qoral has a newborn male who is lagging behind, discovering the nature of soil. An allomother named Qaskasi tries to shepherd him along, but Qoral doesn’t like her intervention and comes back to see her off and retrieve him. She pulls him gently along with her trunk and gives a coo-rumble to him. Once he is moving in the correct direction she turns and walks on. The infant pauses again and his older brother, Qenkey, pushes him gently forward. This short video from Amboseli National Park, Kenya, is part of The Elephant Ethogram: A Library of African Elephant Behavior. Visit to learn more.

And a bonus video (ctlieee):


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Aaron Layman Properties

    Good piece by Doctorow, but sadly missing a critical piece to the current puzzle. Barack milk toast Obama deserves an honorable mention in the crapification of the U.S. housing market. A significant portion of the current housing shortage lies not in the absolute shortage of housing units, but in the hyper-financialized misallocation of housing in the U.S. This is no accident. We had 8 years of overt policy designed to foam the runway for Wall Street landlords at the expense of American families.

      1. Aaron Layman Properties

        Yes it does. Wall Street landlords are the worst, and yet amazingly they were encouraged by the Obama administration to grow even larger as a “solution” to the housing crash as millions of American families were bulldozed into foreclosure and fake relief efforts.

        1. LP5

          To an outsider, it looks like Obama and his fellow-travelers sold out the people to get that Wall Street Money. Thanks, Obama. Now go inflate your library some more.

          1. km

            Don’t you ever talk that way about a bona fide PMC certified saint, if not a actual God come to earth and walking among men.

            Look at what Obama (genuflects) so generously did for us! He even gave us *hope*!

            1. ambrit

              On the other hand, “Saint Pseudo Albus” has set back the cause of ‘Civil Rights’ by a generation, by which I mean the generation of Black homeowners he helped the, admittedly colour blind, hucksters of Wall Street fleece.
              He is a living example of the principle that, “Greed is equal opportunity.” (In fact, all of the sins are.)
              I wonder what circle of Dante’s Inferno the man will end up in.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Much of Black America considers Obama a certified saint with much more fervor than PMC America does.

          2. Darius

            It’s not about money for Obama. He’s a compulsive, incorrigible rear-end kisser. He’s not a ruler. He’s a courtier. Being president was cognitive dissonance. Most presidents want people to suck up to them. Obama was always looking for people he could suck up to.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Oh .. . . I suspect it was also about the money. At least a little teeny tiny bit.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Speaking of “fake relief efforts,” the hits just keep on comin’.

          The great state of california has a proposal that would allow buyers to purchase PART of a house since buying a WHOLE one is just getting too expensive. Hey, it works with watermelons.

          The state would serve as a “silent partner” to first-time owners, in exchange for up to 45% ownership of a house.

          Owners would still have to maintain the property, pay taxes and manage insurance.

          To fund the program, a “state-sponsored corporation” would make a one-time deposit using available dollars into a “new revolving fund.”

          The state would then sell shares to investors to generate new revenue. As home values increase, so would the fund’s value, the Democrats say.

          “So, Win-Win-Win,” the Democrats’ announcement reads. “Win #1 – homebuyers that can now afford a home and can thrive in the middle class and begin to build wealth; Win #2 – investors that get to protect and build their wealth by investing in California real estate; and Win #3 – California taxpayers and state budget that will face only minimal new costs.”

          1. ambrit

            Finally, a way to Privatize Public Housing.
            The “strings attached” will be the interesting part of the equation. Imagine, a State wide HOA! [Or, more properly, a Home Co-Owners Association; HCOA.]

            1. tegnost

              California, always plumbing new lows these days….
              We may need to consider some kind of containment structure, like a wall or something…I don’t know that there’s much hope of a vaccine for greed… :/

          2. Judith

            How simple it should be to just build decent affordable housing. (But then the rich would not get richer.)

          3. The Rev Kev

            Gee, maybe that “state-sponsored corporation” could be CalPERS. I’m sure that they would love to get involved and they would have the money to invest.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            If Cal Republicans were to offer a better saner plan than that, they could become politically competitive in California again.

            If they can’t, or won’t, then I imagine more and more people will give up and leave California in the years to come.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Another missing piece of Doctorow’s puzzle — a ‘mobile labor force’ — it is somewhat related to the decline of unions for some but not all of the workers in the mobile labor force. It is hard and expensive to own a home if you must move away from and sell that home every few years to remain employed. And local zoning and inspections add increasingly outrageous costs to house construction rising the cost to build.

  2. Dftbs

    I’ve seen a number of North American “leftists, and what we’d also call gusanos, attempt to attack Pedro Castillo from the left. They claim that his “family values” platform is conservative and therefore he and the political will of Peru’s people are not worthy of support. I figure I’d share this English translation of Peru Libres political platform.

    It really stands outs as one of the most precise modern examples of a socialist platform, learning from the experiences of Latin American and world socialism in the 21st century and adapting (much like Cuba and China did) Marxism for Peru’s present reality.

    One statement of character stood out to me:

    “Therefore to call ourselves the left when we do not recognize ourselves as Marxists, Leninists or Mariateguists is simply to act in favor of the right with decorum of the highest hypocrisy.

    Comparing these words to the identitarian pulp that comes out of the western “left” shows the vacuity of the the western political project.

    Peru libre may stand for what we see as conservative family values not from institutional antagonism to non-traditional lifestyles; but because in the endemic poverty that Peruvians find themselves, a family unit is for better or worse, a condition of material improvement. That may not be something that is clear to liberals, who think any action is apostasy, qué sé vayan al carajo los libérales.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said. I echo that as someone of African origin and Roman Catholic.

    2. JohnnyGL

      If you aren’t fighting over money and power, you aren’t serious about your politics.

      It’s a nice chance for ‘activists’ who are just trying to virtue signal and make themselves into minor celebs to reveal what they’re really all about.

        1. synoia

          Organizations get the Unions they diverse. The union member’s attitudes and actions, including electing aggressive leaders, is a reaction to Management’s Policies and Actions.

          I believe worker have more invested in an organization than investors, and shroud be an integral part of the organization’s ruling board, especially when defining pay for all employees.

          The Neo Liberalism practiced by Thatcher and Regan wad simply an assault on Unions, covered up with with psudo-eceonomic nonsense.

          After 40 years of this regime, the US has discovered that it lacks many “essential manufacturing” business on US soil, such as manufacturers for Nuts, Bolts and nails.

          And Countries still refuse to used tariffs to encourage and protect US businesses.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Of course we find out how relatively easy it is to corrupt and suborn the union leadership, which like the pigs in “Animal Farm” learn pretty quickly to stand on 2 legs not 4. The sea change needed to build political economy structures that can waist stand the seductions and blandishments of greed and privilege may be beyond the elastic limits of our species. At least at large scale — worker cooperatives occasionally show some success, as do worker-owned (actually owned, not just PR flackery window dressing) businesses.

            Good luck creating durable leftist unions that don’t end up being run by a Jimmy Hoffa or that murderous thug, Tony Boyle, The union bosses too often lock up with the corporate bosses to screw the rank and file.

            1. The Rev Kev

              A key measure with a union would be compulsory secret balloting with votes counted out in public straight afterwards. Too many times a strike has been called when the majority of members did not want it. Or conversely, we saw with the teachers union strikes a year or two ago when the teachers wanted to continue to strike while the co-opted union reps wanted to make nice with the State bosses. Or how the members in a federal election will want to align behind a Sanders but the union reps are saying that they will support a Hillary or a Biden.

              1. JTMcPhee

                My first wife’s father was a US Steel executive in the late 70s-early 80s (before moving to Hill&Knowlton and doing a stint as president of the Public Relations Society of America). He was involved in all the union negotiations in that time. He was honest enough to note that there was not much the unions ever asked for. There was a picture of him during one of those sessions where he is looking all jowly and intense and aggressive, but he acknowledged that there was not much adversity, because any benefits the union leaders got was mirrored in what executives at his level got — very generous health care, vacations, sick time, hours and the rest.

                He was proud of “successfully” managing the PR around US Steel’s defaulting on agreements that allowed US Steel (USX then) to keep operating their plants while they were to reduce and clean up pollution from the steel and coke operations at the south end of Lake Michigan. Screwed over the US EPA, the state of Illinois and the state of Michigan and all the mopes who lived in the death zones of Gary, Hammond, Whiting and South Chicago. The agreements also gave wage reductions as the unions’ contribution. The company closed most operations anyway.

                The joke at the time was that the CEO of USX died and got sent to He!! Shortly thereafter, Satan called God and said, “Look, I know rules are rules, and this guy deserves to be here. But you have to make an exception.” God says “And why should I do that?” Says Satan, “Because he is shutting down all my furnaces!”

              2. Oh

                Rev Key, you’re correct. Present day union leaders are as corrupt than the corporate leaders they go to bed with and betray their union membership. Whether or not a leftist supports unions is not necessarily a test of leftist’s creditials.

                1. MichaelSF

                  Perhaps it would be better to say that leftists should support the concept of unions, but not the flawed implementations of that concept?

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              How much of that was achieved by the Truman-McCarthy anti-communist movement purging all the left and semi-left leadership out of unions?

    3. km

      One might also note the Sandanista platform, which would give goodthink North American liberals the vapors on several different levels.

      All it goes to show that: 1) people don’t always have the values we may wish them to have; and 2) current USA concepts of “left” vs “right” don’t have much meaning, outside the context of contemporary USA politics.

    4. wilroncanada

      I expect that Ms Fujimori will have a sympathetic ear in the US-run OAS. There will be calls for investigations into her claim of fraud. The US has a lot of extra ballots in Arizona they can cross out the header of and substitute Peru. The OAS will certainly soon claim that the election was unfair in some fashion without specifying how, where or when. Both parties in the US have had lots of practice at this. They likely already have lots of underground support from their own paid, contractors. a few thousand dead Peruvians will tilt the scale in favour of the favoured candidate.

    5. Judith

      Gusanos seems like a good word to remember. Lots of nuance (as I understand it at a basic level).

  3. Theodore

    Slow Blues The American Scholar is worth a slow read.

    “Nervous awe and apprehension are born out of proximity and attention,” the poet Mary Ruefle writes in her essay “On Fear.” She quotes Barry Lopez: “On a day-to-day basis [Inuit people] have more fear. Not of being dumped into cold water from an umiak, not a debilitating fear. They are afraid because they accept fully what is violent and tragic in nature.” She adds, “The industrial world destroys nature not because it doesn’t love it but because it is not afraid of it.”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That was a good read, but I disagree with the Lopez quote about the attitude of the industrial world. When I read about the plans of Bill Gates to grow Frankenfood with robot tractors, that strikes me as a man who has a deep fear of Nature. The need for control arises out of fear, and to desire the level of control Gates seeks is to reveal a very deep fear inside of him.

      The industrial/technological attack on Nature is a product of a fear different from that of the Inuits described in the article. Rather than a humble and necessary fear of those in intimate contact with the Earth, the Gates fear is the fear of someone who has lost contact with the world that formed him. It is a fear that, as George Hanson explained to Billy and Wyatt, makes humans dangerous to the Earth and its creatures.

      1. Theodore

        I agree with the concern about fear that drives into energy to conquer. Mary Ruefle, in the essay from which the quote is taken says “We do not know the etymology of the word fear. That is, the makers of dictionaries are unsure of it. But there is a good chance that it is related to the word fare in its oldest sense, which is to pass through, to go through, as in, How did you fare at the dentist’s? or Fare-thee-well or, He fared in this life like one whose name was writ in water.”

        Whether she is right about the origin of the word fear I don’t know. The energy of fear is, as you point out, a source for horrible ideas, and certainly must be taken seriously.

      2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        Your comment is about the best analysis of this phenomenon I’ve seen. And who gets the farm? Bill or Melinda?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Maybe import some Chavista notions and just nationalize all that land and decree that only sustainable soil-growing practices will be allowed on it — another “40 acres and a mule” kind of thing, with renewed agricultural colleges and county extension services not in lockstep with BayerMonsantoDow… yah, like that is going to happen.

      3. c_heale

        I’ve noticed that many horror films (maybe less these days due to horror films being more based around a fear of AI) have as an underlying theme a fear of nature… maybe that’s a subconscious reason I don’t like them…

  4. griffen

    The article at the Asheville blade is worth reading. Key takeaway, sounds like an organization run by wolves. And perhaps even worse.

    Unless there are additional, counter factual claims, the company will be out a significant settlement.

    1. hunkerdown

      The Blade is a woke baby-PMC blog. Everything woke baby-PMC say should be considered an exercise in increasing their personal power over others, and therefore absolutely opposed until ALL receipts are in as a simple political matter. To do otherwise is to grant the woke PMC the power to exploit tragedy for their class interest.

      I’m not very interested in considering woke PMC victims precious or tragic. They must never be allowed to complain about anything they, as a class, create conditions for. They are the perps unless they can show ALL receipts to the contrary.

      If Ms. Green were an assembler, my take would be entirely different.

    2. Carolinian

      The article is a strictly one sided account from an advocacy site. A quick web search reveals no mention of the suit in the city’s newspaper, The Citizen-Times. Of course that doesn’t necessarily prove anything either in this era of skimpy local reporting. But I’d say you can conclude very little from the article.

      1. griffen

        Good point. Which is why I put that comment thusly to read or to say unless or until there are counter claims.

        It’s also local to myself as well. Otherwise might not have read it.

      1. Fred1

        I was surprised to see a link to the Asheville Blade in NC.
        It’s rather obscure.

        My children have lived in Asheville for about 10 years and their mother and I have visited frequently. I have taken to following a number of Asheville and Western Carolina Twitter accounts to keep up on what’s going on there, including the Asheville Blade. I have no opinion one way or the other as to the comments upthread about it’s politics or usefulness. From what I can tell, Asheville’s history and local politics are very complicated and defy simple categorization.

        I do recommend for southern history in general and Appalachian history in particular.

    3. Geof

      I stopped reading here:

      “There were so many inappropriate jokes,” Green said. “There was a joke about golden showers, they used to make dick jokes constantly.” Jokes like that rarely just stay jokes. Work cultures like this always build towards something truly terrifying.

      “Always.” Having worked with a couple of hilariously politically incorrect guys (and their wives), it’s a claim that I know is false. Journalists who can’t resist hyperbolic editorializing cannot be trusted. Is the company culture toxic? Could be. But activist journalists “always” reach the same conclusion regardless of the facts. (Presumably it’s not always. But how am I to know that this time is different?)

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Negotiating Ransoms: When to Play and When to Fold”

    There are companies that negotiates ransomware payments for victims? That would only come to pass if ransomware is far more common than you hear about in the news. And if you can get insurance for being a victim of ransomware, then you are talking about an ecosystem of such criminality. Of course the question ask itself. Do some of these “smart” businessmen look at the price of ransomware insurance versus the cost of actually beefing up their IT security – and just opt for the cheaper insurance instead?

    1. Yves Smith

      Negotiating with people seeking ransoms is a long-established business. They’re applying their skills to the rapidly growing ransomware market.

    2. David

      There have been companies devoted to “managing risks” for decades now, and part of their work is negotiating ransoms with hostage takers. If you go to certain countries where kidnapping for-profit is endemic (Yemen, Somalia for example) you will generally get a briefing first on how to behave if you are kidnapped. Since kidnapping is a purely commercial activity, the perpetrators won’t want to hurt you, and won’t do so unless you give them a reason to. You’ll be asked for what are called “proof of life” details, usually personal details that nobody else could know, and often some special message or trick question. Then, when the hostage takers make the approach, they can be asked for “proof of life” data (there was actually a film of this name starring Mel Gibson, which did make an effort to be authentic). Otherwise they don’t get paid. This industry exists because it’s ultimately impossible to ensure the safety of everyone in dangerous environments, where ransom is one of the few ways of earning money. It’s for this reason that large organisations have special insurance to cover such situations. I would imagine that all we are seeing here is a logical extension of the same thing, subject to much the same rules.

    3. KFritz

      This article finally gave some context to phenomenon of ransomware attacks. Reading the mainstream and other coverage has been a bit like reading the box score of a baseball game. It nearly beggars belief that Colonial Pipeline had ransomware insurance, but had NO plan in the event of an attack. Evidently at least some EU firms have such plans in place and better systems of backup. IMO, many Americans who (?)rise(?) to positions of leadership view IT as if it were a talisman that makes their businesses more efficient and profitable without any attendant potential problems or defensive requirements. Hence Colonial and JBS.

  6. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    The VC would blow up financial bridges to nowhere during the day, and we’d clan destinely build them back up in the overnight markets while on patrol in the green felt jungle.

    The bridges were never used for pedestrian or vehicular traffic, these were trading bridges, supporting the rickety structure of virtual is its own reward.

  7. pjay

    – ‘McCarthyite meltdown shows how Russiagate, Syria propaganda captured ‘left’ media’ – Aaron Maté


    When I first saw this title I was a little disappointed. The TYT crew so destroyed what little credibility they had left by their juvenile smear that I thought Aaron should stay above the fray and not dignify it with any more commentary. But this article goes way beyond the TYT tantrum. It is a tour de force on the compatible (contemptible) left’s “coverage” of Syria, Russia, Trump, and related issues. It expresses the feelings of many of us in the strongest possible way. Thank you Aaron. Highly recommended.

    1. rowlf

      I like the article too, but then I came in with the same viewpoint as Aaron Maté on how events played out. I doubt we could get any of the political Flat-Earthers who believe in Russiagate or their opposite cult members who believe in the WWE image of Donald Trump to get very far into reading it.

    2. Aumua

      I like the TYT up until 2016, when they utterly failed to endorse Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. After that I had little use for them. It’s not surprising to see their little outburst of modern liberalism here.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The controversy over Bill Gates becoming the largest private farmland owner in the US”

    Fun fact. If you have had some McDonald’s fries lately, they may have been grown on Bill’s rural holdings-

    Frankly this whole deal about all these wealthy people buying up rural land in fly-over America is starting to remind me of 19th century Ireland. In 1870, about 97% of the land in Ireland was owned by men who did not farm themselves but rented it out to tenant farmers instead. The rents were high enough to keep the Irish in poverty and if a person worked hard to improve their land, then likely their rent would go up to reflect this increased value. Worse yet, maybe half the owners were absentee owners who might live in England itself. For certain, the billionaire class are cashed up and are ready to buy up homes, properties, business and all else connected with land that people are losing as a consequence of the pandemic. I would not be surprised to see the same happen to rural America as part of this trend to bring into being Rentier America-

    1. CuriosityConcern

      I confess I haven’t read the articles, but the historical parallel you point out took instant root in my mind. One of the first thoughts – why is there not legislation that limits the amount of land an individual and their various corps and ngos can own? There should be discussion on how much land is enough.
      Came to the swift conclusion is that reason why is that it’s the same reason Go-Gettem Garland is hot on the case of the leaker and not the stunning, sickening examples of tax avoidance revealed by the leaks. What a waste, great job on justice yet again.

    2. km

      North Dakota has a strict anti-corporate farming law. You’d better be farming yourself if you want to own or lease farm or ranch land.

      Big Ag has been lobbying for its repeal for decades. A few years ago, they got some loosening of restrictions, but a citizens’ initiative quickly reversed that.

  9. Wukchumni

    I’ve often related to how money has been cheapened in both metallic & paper forms, from as far back as the Roman empire in the 3rd century, to the last time paper was devalued being Zimbabwe…

    We’re in a new paradigm of devaluation, but how exactly does it transpire in a world where electronic financial transactions dominate the playing field?

    Or does the devaluation come more via the availability of a given product and its scarcity, not all items being equal.

    When i’ve bought new cars in the past in order to run them into the ground hopefully (157k and going strong on my 11 year old jalopy) i’ve always been able to pay way under sticker (MSRP was $32k, I paid @28.5k) price pretty easily armed with info of their ‘cost’.

    From what i’ve been reading, new car lots have been raptured. Establishments that had 800 new rides on the lot now have 50, and the chip crisis has legs. They’d laugh me off the lot if I wanted to buy a new car under the old aegis of negotiating from strength, they’ve got the strength now, and might we see panic buying of new cars @ tens of thousands over sticker?

    1. glossy paper

      I can confirm that, at least in Texas but it’s sounding like the entire country, the new car situation is getting dire for consumers. I’ve been hearing from dealers (my line of work allows me to work with the owners) that the first half of this year has been one of the best they’ve had in a decade, but they expect the overall volume of gross receipts for the second half of the year to drop quite a bit. They expect to weather it alright through substantial mark-ups, and are confident that they will be able to sell at those prices.

      I definitely think that the temporary chip shortage will panic some folks with more money than sense into paying grossly over cost. Feels like a great time to peruse the used car market.

        1. Wukchumni

          A friend parked his older Tacoma @ the rail station in Hanford, and took a choo-choo to Oakland to help give out vaccine shots (he’s an EMT) and upon returning to Hanford, all he had left of the truck was the keys.

          I’m taking rudimentary efforts to make my ride seem less tempting, i’ve got one of those locking steering wheel-brake pedal clubs (yeah I know anybody that really wants to can break it off) and when I get the time, i’ll have a kill switch installed.

          It’s one thing having your car stolen, but it sounds awfully headache’y trying to replace them now.

      1. Glen

        I know nothing indicates anything other then that these “temporary” shortages are just that, but I cannot help but feel that America better get used to long term “temporary” shortages of consumer goods from now on out.

        I’ve watched American manufacturers outsource and implement just-in-time for over twenty years. If anybody thinks we are “returning to normal” rather than experiencing the new normal, well, it will return to normal if you are wealthy and can ignore the shortages by paying more for what is available. For the rest of us – it’s going to get a bit sucky.

        1. rowlf

          I’ll take a swing with an old Soviet joke:

          This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “What is the most permanent feature of our socialist economy?”

          We’re answering: “Temporary shortages.”

      2. Oh

        Used 2 year old toyota pickup trucks are going for the list price of new pickups. Go figure!

        1. The Rev Kev

          You think that they could get back all those Toyota pickup trucks that they sent to Syria and re-condition them back into working order again?

    1. fumo

      I think the only western country you see fewer bike helmets being worn than Denmark is in the NL.

    2. fresno dan

      June 12, 2021 at 9:45 am
      SPOILER ALERT (don’t read unless you have seen the video)
      I have to say, I don’t laugh out loud much, but when he is riding and hits his head on that cross beam, I laughed out loud

  10. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Man Who Put Out Fires with Music

    Great link – never heard of that phenomenon before and it’s hard to believe it’s real. The article brought to mind a scene from Fitzcarraldo, one of my favorite scenes from any movie –

    I wonder if Kellogg’s singing voice sounded like Caruso? ;)

  11. a fax machine

    re: Putin, Russia summit 2021

    ” CARBIS BAY, England (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a solo news conference after meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week, denying the former KGB spy an elevated international platform to castigate the West and sow discord. Talking about the summit alone will also spare Biden, 78, from open jousting with Putin, 68, before the world’s media after what is certain to be a combative encounter. ”

    Probably one of the most slanted articles I’ve read in a while, or at least the most obvious.

    Regardless, if the stated nature is true and Biden doesn’t want to give Putin a platform (like he inadvertently gave China in his last summit) it’s just going to fall flat anyway. It will either fall apart behind closed doors (the likely expectation) or Putin will make some comment and Biden will make an uninformed, lame response that annoys Europeans.

    1. km

      No, the MSM will amplify whatever asininity Biden utters, and act as if an angel had just spoken. Wall to wall coverage for a little while.

      The question is, to paraphrase the old Soviet joke, how much longer can Biden and the MSM pretend that the train is still moving

      1. a fax machine

        Reality will break in whenever Nord Steam 2 gas starts flowing. Regardless of our opinions on NS2, it is America’s loss and Russia’s gain. There is absolutely no way to reframe or rationalize it once Russia starts exporting gas and making lots of money off it. Already we can see this in the MSM trying it’s best to ignore NS2 – the few times it’s mentioned it’s always in generic terms and in regards to how Biden needs to “define” a policy on it. That they even have to go that far shows how deep the Russophobia is, as even now the MSM is unwilling to pull a hard 180 on Russian gas.

        There’s a point where the buck stops, and that’s when Putin and Merkel are able to hold hands and talk about Russian economic integration with Europe. There is no way people can ignore that, and it will be Merkel crushing Biden. Democrats blindly beilive the German Greens will somehow usurp her, rather than join a big useless coalition that diverts their attention into banning nuclear and coal power instead.

        Alternatively, Biden could subvert my expectations and reissue NS2 sanctions anyway. This would be sufficient and would easily roll into a larger economic warfare program. No idea if Washington is ready for the consequences, though.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Successful up-and-running Nordstream II would only be a “loss” for those American operators who dream of big money selling LNG into Europe. It would be a gain for America otherwise.

          How? It would keep America’s NatGas supply lasting longer because less of it would be sold off overseas. And it might even help to exterminate the power-plant coal sector in this country by keeping the price of NatGas for power plants long enough low enough that thermal coal will die too dead to ever revive. That last one would certainly be a good outcome for America of Nordstream II in Europe.

    2. Pelham

      Nice summation. The knee-jerk media characterization of Putin is just one additional bit of now abundant evidence confirming that the mainstream cannot be trusted. I’m grateful for places like NakedCapitalism and the scattering of journalists and voices with integrity we can all still access, but I worry how long even this situation will last. How long can the perimeter hold?

    3. John A

      Interestingly, in the British MSM today, Putin is quoted as calling Trump ‘extraordinarily talented’. But I then watched clips of the interview with CNN, and Putin actually said ‘Trump is extraordinary’, and later said ‘he is talented’ and talked about Trump being a non politician who managed to get elected (which was extraordinary and showed he had a talent), compared to Biden who is a career politician.
      Extraordinarily talented is not the same as extraordinary and talented. But the British media attempted to give the impression that Putin favours Trump. In actual fact, the Russians think US will adopt the same policies and approaches against Russia so it does not matter who is elected. IE nothing will fundamentally change.

      1. rowlf

        The over-the-air NBC national news had excerpts from the Keir Simmons Putin interview with “extraordinarily talented” present. I’m looking forward to watching the entire interview Monday as watching Lavrov and Putin play with western interviewers is like watching a cat play with a bug. The downside is the cringe worthy deluded interviewer questions the interviewee has to respond to.

        NBC News’ Keir Simmons Lands Interview With Russian President Vladimir Putin

        Any chance President Biden will do a 90 minute interview with a Russian journalist? I’ll also be on the search for the full transcript. Usually the Russians make these available for some reason.

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      The puppeteers can’t allow a joint press conference because they can’t control it. Russian and other non-US stooge countries’ reporters would be there and god only knows what President Biden might ad lib unrehearsed.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “What Do Conservatives Fear About Critical Race Theory?”

    ‘a bill in Texas, tries to cleave off students from any feeling of historical responsibility—as if, with each generation, America were re-created, blameless and anew.’

    Yeah, I am going to have to agree with this idea. This idea that you are responsible for what your ancestors did sounds too much like that old Catholic Church doctrine of Infant Damnation. A least that could be cleared with infant baptism (which had its own problems) but to make amends as demanded by a ‘woke’ society is something that is constantly evolving and never-ending and it does not seem to apply to the ‘right’ people. That is why that me too movement flamed out. Some people were getting a free pass (cough*Biden*cough). People are only responsible for what they do or do not do. If people have been wronged in the past and are still surviving – such as the Japanese internees of WW2 – you make amends and make damn sure that the same mistakes are not repeated as in ever. But if some people are responsible for what their ancestors did when they were alive, then people like Kamala Harris have some explaining to do.

    1. flora

      The US Constitut,ion and many other countries’ ruling legal frameworks, prohibits formal bills of attainder. Some of the claims I hear made in CRT or social justice movement amount to, imo, a sort of defacto extra-legal bill of attainder in action, complete with suggested “punishments” of one sort or another. My 2 cents.

    2. Pelham

      I’ll mostly second that sentiment. I suppose it’s possible that innocent children can financially benefit from the crimes of their forebears, so some adjustments should be made for that (with inheritance taxes, for instance). But basically what you express is valid. If it weren’t, where’s the cutoff? I could point to injustices committed (maybe, who knows?) against my ancestors more than 1,000 years ago in Scandinavia. Reparations are WAY overdue!

    3. Adam Eran

      I’d suggest the real motive here is to discredit systemic problems, making all problems devolve to personal responsibility. This means the wealthy actually “earned” their wealth by their virtuous behavior, and it’s OK to persecute the poor because they’ve been bad, somehow.

      The truth is that we’re all embedded in a longstanding narrative called “history.” Reparations, making things right, and systemic revisions are absolutely necessary if we’re ever to improve the human condition.

      Worrying about whether people “deserve” what they have is the half-truth the political right uses to discredit any potential, systemic social equity.

      1. pjay

        This issue of “critical race theory” came up the other day in the discussion of that ridiculous “woke” psychoanalysis abstract. I agree with Rev Kev’s sentiment regarding the imputation of “historical responsibility” in students, if this means forcing them to acknowledge their own racist guilt. Especially if this is framed in a way that their individual “whiteness” condemns them to such guilt no matter what they learn, do, or intend. While the 1619 Project is not quite that bad, its distortions and obfuscations of history, and its practical effect of dividing groups who should be allies, leads me to strongly oppose it as an educational model.

        Having said that, what conservatives in Texas want to do is simply whitewash history, as you say. For them, ‘critical race theory’ is anything they don’t like, which includes much real history and the real effects (and they *are* real) of institutional racism. To repeat my own earlier comment, the problem with criticizing idiotic liberal “wokeism” is that in doing so we risk giving aid and comfort to rightwing ideologues. So I’d argue it is very important to distinguish valid critical history and social analysis from invalid liberal guilt-mongering — somehow!

        And to reverse course one more time – regarding “reparations”: however just and deserving the idea might be in the abstract, any real effort along these lines would be a political and ideological disaster for progressives, in my opinion.

      2. Carla

        I try to restrict my worrying about whether people “deserve” what they have to people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, a whole s*itload of rich bankers and politicians — you know, people like that…

    4. marym

      We need to be able to distinguish among:

      – Critical race theory as an academic theory about institutional, not individual, racism
      – Anti-racism as a theory or as culturally woke-aspiring signaling about “checking privilege,” inherited guilt, or personal guilt
      – Critical race theory as a buzzword for anything the radical right doesn’t want to discuss about slavery and past or present racial issues

      Given the actual history of scholarship, textbooks, and cultural memory concerning slavery and race in the US we need to be at least as skeptical of the goals and “fears” and potential outcomes of the radical right in regulating educational content as of those of the wokesters.

      1. Aumua

        I think the word “responsibility” needs to be clarified, and there are a couple different shades of meaning of it flying around this discussion. There is a sense of the word “responsible” and of the idea of being responsible for something that implies guilt, and even sin of a kind. It’s like in a legal sense when you say someone was responsible for the death of another person and so they are guilty of a crime and have to pay a price. Most people would say this meaning has a negative connotation connected to it, and this is the sense of the word that is most commonly associated with this discussion of system racism, critical theory, woke ideology etc. and I think this association is perpetuated by both opponents and proponents of those ideas.

        Then on the other hand there is being responsible in the sense of taking responsibility, as in being a responsible person. Instead of guilt and shame this shade of meaning implies self awareness, clarity, willingness and effort. Most people would say these are very positive qualities, and this is how I feel responsibility should be understood in the context of systemic or institutionalized racism and other bigotries, and it is how I do understand it.

        Because our nation and our society were in fact built on a foundation of colonization and racial oppression in the form of slavery and subsequent injustices and inequalities, these power structures of white supremacy (and also patriarchy) persist and continue to echo in myriad ways throughout society, and they are distilled down and are implanted into each individual in that society. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors unconsciously or subconsciously tend to perpetuate these power structures, which are also intimately tied up with class warfare, btw. So becoming aware of those things and taking whatever responsibility we can for the behaviors at least, especially as members of various groups who have benefited the most from those power structures is the real woke shit in my opinion. And it is a long term, maybe even lifelong proposition to really unpack and undo all of that conditioning. It’s not like I decide I’m enlightened now and then I can tell you what to do. I consider myself barely aware in fact.

        1. Yves Smith

          I’m not fond of mono-causal explanations. There were no slaves on the Mayflower. There were quite a few indentured servants. From the Library of Congress:

          African Americans had been enslaved in what became the United States since early in the 17th century. Even so, by the time of the American Revolution and eventual adoption of the new Constitution in 1787, slavery was actually a dying institution. As part of the compromises that allowed the Constitution to be written and adopted, the founders agreed to end the importation of slaves into the United States by 1808.

          What changed that trajectory was the cotton gin.

          1. Aumua

            I wasn’t trying to claim that colonization and racial oppression explain everything there is to know about the origin of the Unites States, just that those things were foundational. If you would like to know more about the similarities and differences of indentured servitude vs chattel slavery, and the history of how and why the latter came to be imposed on black people exclusively, then as always I recommend The Invention of the White Race, both Volume I: Racial Oppression and Social Control, and Volume II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America by Theodore Allen. I can’t recommend these books enough.

    5. Henry Moon Pie

      “This idea that you are responsible for what your ancestors did”

      The extent of responsibility for sin is one of the more interesting debates that take place within the Hebrew Bible. In the Ten Commandments in the 20th chapter of Exodus, it reads:

      You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

      On the other hand, the prophet Ezekiel, living as an exile in Babylon, writes in the 18th chapter of Ezekiel:

      The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

      Those who affirm an inerrant or infallible Bible that seemlessly presents YHWH’s message to humans have twisted themselves in knots trying to reconcile this one. Making it even more challenging is the strong possibility that Exodus 20 in its current form was written down AFTER Ezekiel 18.

      It makes things a whole lot simpler if we just recognize these writings as the expressions of (mostly male) people from a time period of nearly 1,000 years, many of whom disagreed vehemently with one another over who YWHW is and what he expected from humans.

    6. a fax machine

      Being angry over past crimes becomes irrelevant after a point; the most classic examples are how people whine about immigrants and vice versa how native americans/first nations people whine about anglo canadians, americans and mexicans.

      What matters is in the present, and what matters is capital and labor. A bill that empowers one racial group over another does not advance labor vs a bill that empowers workers to the labor value they are rightfully owed. This matters in big places, like municipal power&telecom, to small places like allowing uber drivers to collectively bargain. On that point, look at all the pride-colored logos and ask yourself how many of them exploit colored uber labor for instant delivery. Amazon in particular is trying to expand it to truckers and (eventually) all transportation workers who are predominately not white. None of those people benefit from affirmative action or reparations or sorry day, they benefit from collective bargaining and a Union.

    7. Vicky


      If people are responsible for their ancestors, then people like Harris are to blame for black crime and the chaos caused by school busing in our city that she praises so much.

  13. Bill Smith

    The “The Rent’s Too Damned High” makes this claim:

    “The trillions that the Trump stimulus pumped into the financial markets, which are now being used to buy up every single-family dwelling that hits the market,..”

    The article itself offers no support to that argument. The linked article (from 2008!) offers no support to that argument.

    I am sure it is happening to some degree, anyone seen anything in regard to a real percentage of single family homes?

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      The Wall Street Journal reports that 24% of home purchases in Houston are going to investors:

      That’s a pretty large percentage. But Doctorow is wrong to assign so much blame to Trump. The large scale purchasing of homes by investment firms started shortly after Obama took office, when the Federal Reserve started shoving dollars into financial markets with QE and bond purchases. Some of that money landed in the housing market, and a lot of ordinary home buyers (merely looking for a place to live) simply got outbid. It’s been happening since 2009.

    1. ambrit

      The Southern Baptist Convention may be the “core” of Evangelicalism, but it is in no manner the totality of it. Some of the more radical exponents of Christian Evangelical Exceptionalism are on the ‘fringes’ of the American religious ‘universe.’ One big factor to consider about Terran human religion is it’s tendency to splinter and fall into factions.
      One thing I like to emphasize is that all the “Christian” cults supposedly started out as ‘following’ the teachings of a “single” individual.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The opening sentence is fantasy. Southern Baptists split because the national Baptist organization refused to praise slavery. It’s always been a cartoon cattle call if evil and ignorance.

    3. Gareth

      Do you have any personal familiarity with Evangelicalism, or do you just read about it in bumpkin-safari articles like this one? Rick Warren and Beth Moore are doing just fine according to the article, and if that is the case, then Evangelicalism has nothing to worry about.

      1. Darius

        I liked the characterization of the ultra reactionaries as a pagan cult worshiping their leader Trump. A commenter lamented that the ultra reactionaries make Jesus subordinate to their political agenda. I have evangelical relatives whom I was surprised to see leave their churches over Trump. I disagree with them on what is morality but at least they were consistent.

  14. Louis

    The The Rent’s Too Damned High piece made some valid points; however, it ommitted another key factor: many localites have adopted a “no one else can live here” mentality and actively try to pull of up the drawbridge on new housing developments and even more strongly opposemultifamily or apartment developments, leading to housing shortages.

    This is a problem throughout the country and not limited to one political party.

    1. newcatty

      Another factor leading to housing shortages: single family homes bought for the specific purpose of being used as ABnBs or vacation rentals in communities. Literally, the house next to us was sold at a high price to a couple from out of state ( common, so not surprising). In a couple of weeks it became an ABnB. They mentioned none of this situation to us, or far as we know, to any other neighbor’s. One day my spouse just happened to say hi to a guy coming out of that house’s driveway… funny, he looked like the owner. The guy said, Oh I’m not ×, I am staying at the AirBnB (nodding toward the house). A year later the owners flipped it and made out like bandits. The house was specifically marketed as a perfect ABnB. It sold quickly and , yes, so it is today. We have neighbor’s who are not at all happy with the situation. One said: But this is a single family neighborhood. It’s been either owners or long term rentals for many years. As my spouse said: That doesn’t matter.

      This is In a pretty town already pushing tourism as it’s economic source of wealth. Not only are rents too ” damned high”, it’s very hard to even find a long-term rental. This is not the only town or city in the state where “emprenuers” are allowed to do the same things. It’s most egregious in any nice town, or neighborhood in desirable neighborhoods in cities. It’s not nice to wake up and “see” that we have “neighbors”! We are lucky, there is some screening with trees. It’s hot summer in the city, so our next door neighbor (ABnB) will be booked up. Stay cool and safe.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “McCarthyite meltdown shows how Russiagate, Syria propaganda captured ‘left’ media”

    I do now wonder of the timing of this attack out of nowhere. As Aaron is in Syria doing, you know, reporting, it may be an attempt to bring his work in disrepute. Talk about your blowback. One Thanksgiving a coupla years ago, the Washington Post came out with their infamous PropOrNot list on their front page of who was basically a Russian agent and NC made the list. Personally I suspect that the Atlantic Council was behind this but whatever..

    So maybe it is time to repurpose that list and make it a true PropOrNot list. So who would be on it? Well looking at some of the names in just this article alone – Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, The Young Turks, the OPCW, the Democratic Party elite, Gilbert Achcar, Democracy Now!, The Intercept and Mother Jones. I would call that a good start to such a list.

    1. ambrit

      The basic problem with such lists is that, as history has shown numerous times, this Pseudo Prop-Or-Not list will quickly become an arrest list.
      “Sargeant. Arrest the usual suspects.”
      “But Captain, who’s on the list this week?”
      “I don’t know Sargeant. We’d better call the New York Times on that.”
      “Yes sir.”

    2. GF

      I would not put Democracy Now! on the list. Aaron was just mentioning a couple of topics that they don’t cover extensively and/or were duped like the rest of us by false information.

      Here’s a segment from June 11 with Julian Assange’s father and brother on their “Free Julian” USA tour. There is a transcript and closed captioning (I think DN has the best in the industry). There are many things said in the interview that the MSM has never brought up about the enormous contributions to democracy that have resulted from WikiLeaks disclosures over the years. Well worth a watch/read.

  16. tegnost

    Merrick Garland to the american people…
    “Let me be clear. In Our Great Country if you do something malign or untoward, or unseemly! to a billionaire we will turn over every stone, peel back every mossy covering, dredge the cesspits, and scour the floors [not sure what he meant there…] to claw back the dignity of the poorest of the poor, that calumniated billionaire. Justice starts right here, and today!”

    Oh by the way, were trumps and putins returns in there? You know that is where the smoking gun can be found, You know.

    1. Bill Smith

      To me, the leak of the tax returns is just another step in the “weaponization” of whatever someone is unhappy with.

      It will be interesting to see how that was done given the alleged lock down of tax returns to IRS staff. Maybe it was the Russians! :)

  17. Wukchumni

    Why eating insects to combat climate change is inevitable South China Morning Post (Re Silc)
    I’ve driven more in the last month, versus the previous 16 months…

    If I had to depend on ‘windshield kill’ for sustenance, i’d be starving.

    Either the winged ones figured out how to avoid us, or they just aren’t there.

    1. fresno dan

      June 12, 2021 at 12:58 pm
      Seems to me when I was a child the back yard was abuzz with flying insects and crawling critters. I still do a lot of gardening, and it is almost a rare event for me to see a bug. For example, where are all the ants?

    2. jr

      I’ve noticed that driving through suburban NJ as well. I remember as a kind in the mountains of Pennsylvania the enormous numbers of moths and night bugs etc. that gathered around the back porch light. I haven’t seen a pile of bugs like that in a long time although I am a city dweller now. Wait, roaches and mosquitos, we got those . . .

    3. Keith

      I have about that issue elsewhere, as well. The bug population being drastically down from a couple of decades ago by the windshield test. Not sure how accurate it is, though.

  18. jr

    re: Conservatives and Race Theory

    Something jumped out at me as I was reading the article:

    “This notion—that a generation can arise purely in the context of its own experience rather than that of its parents or generations before them—recurs often in American politics, and especially right now.”

    Is this not a form of solipsism, the notion that a generation starts with a blank slate, that it knows only itself? Which reminds me of an article from Hypatia that I cannot find which discussed the solipsism implied by identity politics, the patently absurd notion that a social identity can really only know itself. (This is an intuition I had myself about IDpol.) Is it possible to claim that right/left identity politics, at least the polarized versions that make claims of privileged knowledge, are all founded on solipsisms?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I just saw that online, quite shocking. I’m sorry to say my first thought was IMDocs long post yesterday about heart issues in athletes.

      I really hope its nothing serious and its not connected with either Covid or the vaccines.

      1. curlydan

        that’s exactly what I thought which is totally speculative on my part, but it is indeed what I thought

      2. Lee

        Something rotten in Denmark and everywhere else, perhaps?

        Three guys discuss Covid-19 vaccines:

        Evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein, Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA Vaccine technology, and Mr. Steve Kirsch, a serial entrepreneur who has been researching adverse reactions to COVID vaccines.

        Make a whole pot of coffee and pack a lunch, this video is over 3 hours long.

          1. Lee

            From YouTube’s official policy on banning content:

            “Content that recommends use of Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19

            Claims that Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments for COVID-19”

            So far, Weinstein and Heying, who have been discussing Ivermectin’s plausible utility in treating Covid-19 and its proven safety for months, and are taking it themselves, have so far not been bumped by YouTube. 226K views so far and counting. Impressive.

    2. c_heale

      There’s a whole Wikipedia page on soccer players dying while playing. Apart from collisions and death due to things like gangrene (more common in early matches), the majority are due to heart problems. This is especially pronounced in more recent decades.

  19. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    What actually happens to the clothes you donate depends on where you live
    “It depends on where you live, but many thrift stores and other donation programs can divert even the most tattered items from the landfill.”

    There is a big difference between “can” and “will”; whereas, ““can” is a statement of capability, of having the knowledge or ability needed to do something”; while, ““will” is a statement of commitment and action.”

    The feverish madness of 1st world overconsumption [“consumerism is a belief system and culture that promotes consuming as the path to self- and social improvement”] is the flawed core of the current economic model, along with the seemingly inevitable waste and the calculated destruction that occurs in response to the “epidemic of overproduction” and the inefficiencies of capitalism. Such as,

    “Destruction of packages sent back to e-commerce giants is just one part of a poorly researched problem. An estimated €7 billion worth of goods are destroyed each year in Germany alone.”

    Further, the retail markups of 500%, 800%, [where markup is understood as, sales price minus unit cost/unit cost x 100] and upwards are prevalent even in the so-called “thrift” shops; where, the unsold items end up in the trash heap. Even “thrift” shops have a duty to maintain floor prices in the capitalist economy. Apparently. As long as the consumer class remains engorged, happy, and contented with the scam as it is, the fleecing will continue and vast quantities of consumer items both greedily accumulated and/or left unsold will continue to end up in the trash heap. Because, “consumer confidence” must be maintained at artificially high levels at any cost. Meaning that, all of the unpleasant details are best left unexplored, or at best superficially acknowledged, even as the elephant(s) in the room become harder to ignore.

    “For example, a necktie that Value Village might pay a nickel to buy from a charity sold for $4.99, Investigate West’s reporting showed. A vintage women’s top that cost Value Village a dime was priced at $9.99. A graphic circulated on social media by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office reveals that the fancy piece of furniture you gave to Value Village’s donation center could be worth as little as 2 cents to charity.”

    “It’s also a good way for American consumers to rid themselves of their unwanted goods,” Rogoff said.

    The sarcasm in the above statement should be obvious, but maybe not, as the true actualized awareness of the average 1st world consumer concerning this current constructed iteration of reality, continues to remain virtually nonexistent.

    1. The Rev Kev

      About thirty years ago in Oz there was a well-known charity for used clothing and they had their coloured bins everywhere. People thought that all their clothes would be going to the needy. It came out eventually that what happened to all these clothes was that they were shipped to an industrial company where they were all turned into industrial rags for cleaning. The company would then kick back about 1% of their profits to the charity which squared that particular circle. It is this sort of thing happening that makes people reluctant to donate to charities.

      1. skippy

        In some cases this is also facilitated by running a front group for disability or impaired for labour and all the state/federal beanies that it affords …. cough … near Yeronga train station …

  20. dcblogger

    I was just thinking last night what a great job lambert does of covering the vapor voting machines. Other than a handful of activists, Bev Harris, Jennifer Cohn, Greg Palast, Thom Hartman, and a handful of others, there is been a collective failure on the left to confront the most serious failure in our electoral system.

  21. Maritimer

    ‘I was completely inside’: Lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off Provincetown Cape Cod Times
    I could myself swallow a whale before that Jonah Whale Tale. Love the part that Jonah only had “soft tissue” damage. A kindler, gentler Moby DIck! And in the bars of Provincetown, the frosties go down more enjoyably as they ridicule the ever gullible media. The same media that trumpets fact checking and “science”.

    1. Yves Smith

      I also never heard of a lobster diver. Lobstermen use traps. You do dive for sea urchins but it’s really rough and not usually Americans who do it.

    2. Aumua

      I like how the story asks the question in bold letters: A man was swallowed by a whale: How do we know it is true? … and then completely fails to answer that question.

      “Well, his sister said that one of the crewman said that he saw some kind of commotion or another. And then the whale spit him out.”

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Biden administration will return $2 billion to military projects that had been set aside for border wall construction”

    ‘In one of his first actions in office, President Joe Biden ordered a pause on wall construction and called for a review of projects and funds.’

    Well that’s a CNN lie that. It is documented that construction of the wall has been ongoing since old Joe became President and in fact one family had land taken from them in court earlier this year so that they could keep on building this wall. Do they plan on giving that land back again?

  23. Jason Boxman

    So this just occurred to me, as I see the great masses of people all over Maggie Valley, as if the pandemic ended in this country.

    Maybe I missed it, but what’s our get to zero strategy? I haven’t heard anyone in a position of authority forcefully argue for how we’re actually getting to zero. This doesn’t seem to be even national policy. We’re just gonna let it ride. Get vaccinated and you’re free! Otherwise, sad for you.

    You’d think with a vaccine, a serious elimination strategy would be viable and that we’d be pushing hard for it to save lives.

    Or is this a policy goal and I’ve just not see it espoused anywhere?

    In any case, this would be consistent with my longstanding belief that the political establishment is leaving everyone to die. (As is the Biden administration’s call on mandatory workplace safety rules, or lack thereof.)

    1. c_heale

      I’m also surprised by the lack of political leaders dying – especially since the majority seem far from physically (and mentally in many cases) healthy.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Pulitzer Board awards special citation to Darnella Frazier, who shot viral video of George Floyd’s death”

    This is a well deserved award as she showed bravery in filming this killing in spite of the presence of so may police. But – and you know that there was going to be a but – if that had been a CNN or an MSNBC film crew that was taking his footage, would we have ever seen it?

  25. The Rev Kev

    “What’s the Point of the G-7?”

    The G-7 is what it is. A small grouping of rich countries that can be used on the world stage when you can’t get the numbers in the more relevant G-20 or even the UN. Frankly it has been MIA in recent years. And look at who is in it – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. All bar one of them are members of NATO and the seventh – Japan – is as good a member of NATO already-

    1. Oh

      The purpose of the G-7 summit is to explore how much more leverage they can use to screw the economies of other nations.

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