Links 6/19/2021

Patient readers, Yves apologizes for the lack of a “Musical Interlude.” She’s going to catch up on her sleep instead. –lambert

Using Nuclear Bomb Detectors, Scientists Overhear the Secret Songs of a Never-Before-Seen Pygmy Blue Whale Population Smithsonian (Furzy Mouse).

All a boar-d! Wild pig takes Hong Kong subway journey Agence France Presse

Software Is Eating the Car Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture. “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One” doesn’t seem to be working for chips, these days.

How bad are global shipping snafus? Home Depot contracted its own container ship as a safeguard CNBC

‘Woke up sweating’: Some Texans shocked to find their smart thermostats were raised remotely KHAI


CDC panel meeting on COVID-19 vaccines, rare heart issues postponed in observance of Juneteenth Yahoo News! I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate a commitment to vaccine equity and honor People of Color than to postpone an emergency meeting. Well done.

* * *

Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word? (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, TK News

The mechanisms of action of Ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2: An evidence-based clinical review article The Journal of Antibiotics, Nature

* * *

Exposures associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in France: A nationwide online case-control study The Lancet. From the Discussion: “We found an increased risk of infection associated with having a larger household, having children attending school or other educational institutions in person (with the exception of primary schools), attending professional or private gatherings, frequenting bars and restaurants and practicing indoor sports activities. We found no increase in risk associated with frequenting shops, attending cultural or religious gatherings, or with transportation, except for carpooling. Risk of infection varied by profession, but both partial and complete teleworking were associated with a decreased risk of infection.”

In Oman, fungal infection detected in some COVID-19 patients Medical Express

* * *

British scientists develop ceiling-mounted ‘Covid alarm’ that can detect virus particles iNews

COVID wristbands: How they’ve worked in Hong Kong Cayman Compass

* * *

White House investing billions for COVID-19 antiviral medicines CNN

Only 21% of Americans worried about contracting COVID-19 CIDRAP. Let me know how that works out.


Weekend Long Read: 985 Issues With Finding a Spouse in China Caixin Global. Paywalled, but via Michael Pettis: “In an uncertain society in which social classes are becoming more rigid and expectations increasingly difficult to fulfill, it is challenging to move up the social ladder and devastating to slip down.” Doesn’t seem like what The Bearded One had in mind….

CIA is “scared sh—ss” of DIA’s Chinese defector. Sic Semper Tyrannis (ctlieee). Interesting: “This man, as Chinese counter-intelligence boss looked around the IC and decided that he was most likely to survive an internal leak if he defected to DIA. That means that in spite of the fact that DIA had an internal Chinese mole (recently arrested at DIA request by the FBI), the rest of the agencies are worse in the level in Chinese intelligence penetration not only of their analytic people but also of their operations staff.” Or he has nothing to fear because he’s a plant.


UN assembly condemns Myanmar coup, calls for arms embargo AP. The vote:

Blasts kill two near office of party backed by Myanmar army Reuters

Bukit Merah View COVID-19 cluster: Virus could have spread via long queues, surfaces in toilets, says MOH Channel News Asia. Worker dorms, Singapore. A heads-up on possible fomite transmission (“could”).

How changing a 26-word US internet law could impact online expression everywhere The Rappler. Section 230.


India says it hopes to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports Channel News Asia

India should brace for third COVID-19 wave by Oct, say health experts Reuters


Netanyahu refuses to leave prime minister’s official residence Middle East Monitor

Iran Will Elect a New Hardline President, We Have Only Ourselves to Blame Tikkun Olam

US pulls antimissile batteries from Middle East: Report Al Jazeera

“A dinner for two with Tony Blair”:


Notting Hill Carnival is CANCELLED for the second year because of the ‘risk and uncertainty’ of the pandemic as organisers promise to ‘refocus efforts’ for the August Bank Holiday weekend Daily Mail

French prosecutors seek 6-month jail term for Sarkozy France24

Germany disbands Stasi records agency but saves files Deutsche Welle

New Cold War

White Horses, Red Lines — Marshal Georgy Zhukov’s Guide to Surprising and Defeating Russia’s Enemy John Helmer

Putin Suddenly Looks Very Small Defense One

Argentine lab makes first half million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Reuters

Yucatán acquires German shepherds trained to sniff out Covid Mexico News Daily. Interesting detail on how a dog team is structured.

Biden Adminstration

Biden admin again flying migrants who cross border in one place to another place before expelling them NBC. Kamala, good job.

Spread The Blame Around Eschaton

DC inmate elected to public office The Hill. Novel strategy: Get the indictment out of the way first.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Seems legit:

Who wouldn’t be for corporate globalization?

How the FBI Is Trying to Break Encryption Without Actually Breaking Encryption Gizmodo

Our Famously Free Press

Questions About the FBI’s Role in 1/6 Are Mocked Because the FBI Shapes Liberal Corporate Media Glenn Greenwald. “And that’s why I’m turning you in.

‘That Is Actually Bollocks’: 20 Propaganda Horrors From 20 Years of Media Lens – Part 1 Media Lens (MA). Part 2.

Class Warfare

Not All Labor Actions Aid the Working Class Jacobin. Commentary:

Mapbox Faces Union Drive as Labor Organizers Extend Push in Tech Bloomberg. The Union achieved a supermajority, apparently.

‘You’re gonna die’: being a security guard in a pandemic FT

Young American Adults Are Dying — and Not Just From Covid Bloomberg

The Covid Housing Crisis Is Crushing the Service Industry Eoin Higgins, The Flashpoint (SW).

What If We’re Wrong? Areo

Long-term gene–culture coevolution and the human evolutionary transition Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “Culture appears to hold greater adaptive potential than genetic inheritance and is probably driving human evolution.” Important!

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Good kitties!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jur here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Tom Stone

    Siamese tend to be the most vocal cats I have encountered and they definitely used sound to communicate with their servants.

    1. John Siman

      I was raised by Siamese cats. Yes, they *seem* all cuddly and sociable, but it’s a front.

    2. Nikkikat

      Tuxedo cats also “talk” a lot. Mine walks around talking to herself. From what I understand their patterned coats are traced to Siamese ancestry.

    3. Robert Hahl

      Those cats look like littermates. They act like twins who made up their own language.

    4. JCC

      My cat talked to me all the time. I miss the conversations (she was not Siamese but like a lot of cats, had some of the gene pool embedded)

    1. MartyH

      For Yves the only thing is a full and successful recovery. We should forgive her for all else.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Me? I am wide awake and enjoying our community radio station’s musical tribute to Juneteenth. You can too. Just point your browser to KXCI and get on the livestream.

    2. griffen

      Agreed! Sleep well, and rest up. I’m sure the Calpers and others of the finance world will not rest lightly once Yves is back to it.

      Speaking of music, as a kid in the 1980s* always found summer much better than being in school. Shocking I know. Didn’t have much but my bike took me anywhere. Best pool was the neighbors pool.

      *As opposed to the 1880s

  2. zagonostra

    >What If We’re Wrong? Areo

    Science functions best when all hypotheses are on the table. Some will be easily dismissed. Others will prove recalcitrant to falsification, even if we eventually come to understand that they are not true. But what science needs, above all else, is the freedom to discuss the possibilities.

    Functions to what end? Freedom for what and for whom? Possibilities to plunder, extract, dehumanize? I think the author places too much faith in “Science” and the intellect and misprizes the “function” of the will and soul. On this “science” is silent. Before Descartes there was an holistic/encyclopedic view of the “human” and his relation the the world and it posited a belief and faith in the after life. Something is wrong with science but it’s not about this hypotheses being correct or wrong, it’s about the ends, the telos to which the service of science is placed that is most troubling.

    1. Jr

      This recalls that article about the headset designed to steal your dreams. That nutcase who is trying to put toll charges on your imagination. Forget oil, data, land, uranium, etc.: the real goal is to steal and harvest what makes you you by putting the brain “online” and therefore making it accessible to the profiteers, the killers, and the Grand Visions of the billionaires. I’m hoping the Galactic Federation will step up their hybrid breeding program; I’m doing my part by hereby offering them my considerable services. . .

    2. Carolinian

      The article is about censorship, not about forcing you personally to abandon belief in “will and soul.” It’s saying that you are free to have your belief but not to force others to share it. Think this is in the Constitution (somebody tell Youtube).

      1. Shonde

        I did not realize until reading a new article from Matt Taibbi that the Areo article was written by Heather Heying, of Darkhorse fame.

        Matt has a new article out that can be shared with the public. He is interviewing Bret Weinstein discussing the censoring of Darkhorse. Well worth readiing.“>

      2. zagonostra

        Ostensible the article is about censorship, but it also alludes to and rests on an understanding of what knowledge is, how it is acquired, and disseminated from the first person to have a novel idea/view to the wider public; so in that sense the article harkens all the way back to Plato’s “divided line.”

        1. skippy

          Sadly today one has to go way back to consider what – IS – Scientific Theory and how its established, lest it be confused with opinion established on some ex ante deduction looking for veracity to burnish its ***goal*** seeking …

            1. skippy

              It is not the fact that science occurs that gives the world a structure such that it can be known by men. Rather, it is the fact that the world has such a structure that makes science, whether or not it actually occurs, possible. That is to say, it is not the character of science that imposes a determinate pattern or order on the world; but the order of the world that, under certain determinate conditions, makes possible the cluster of activities we call ‘science’. It does not follow from the fact that the nature of the world can only be known from (a study of) science, that its nature is determined by (the structure of) science. Propositions in ontology, i.e. about being, can only be established by reference to science. But this does not mean that they are disguised, veiled or otherwise elliptical propositions about science … The ‘epistemic fallacy’ consists in assuming that, or arguing as if, they are. – Roy Bashkar


              I think the methodological matters — the development in epidemiology during the last two or three decades, contra the purely philosophical discussion of the orthodox [bad maths and physics aside] … in the pursuit of informative theory w/a ontological requirement.

              All of which at best will only give direction of events which can be used to limit capital loss, rather than currant orthodox positivist prescriptive goal seeking trotted out as the proverbial village.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Freeman Dyson was a nuclear weapons scientist. When it comes to global warming, climatology, etc., he is just a layman like the rest of us.

              I found a couple of those Freeman Dyson quotes. Here is one.
              “The fundamental reason why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that there is so little of it. A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes. If the air were not constantly stirred by convection currents and winds, the corn would stop growing.”

              The other fundamental reason why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that it is such a successful and effective greenhouse gas. That means it can retain enough heat here at the surfacesphere that the surfacesphere stays warm enough for less-than-all the water to freeze up solid, and for life to function physically. Is Freeman Dyson too dumm to know that? Or is he too dishonest to admit that for the sake of his bogus argument? Which is it, Mr. Dyson? Dumm or dishonest?

              Here is another.
              “Unfortunately the global warming hysteria, as I see it, is driven by politics more than by science.”
              Do you see what he did there? By using the scare-word “hysteria”, he hopes to trick the reader into discussing “hysteria” rather than discussing whether the global is warming or not; and if it is warming, whether industrial civilization activity is warming it or not. He throws the word “hysteria” into the discussion as a bright shiny squirrel to trick people into chasing the word “hysteria”. It shows his fundamental bad faith, dishonesty and deceit on the subject.

              Another . . . “The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm.” He is attempting to imply that global warming is ” not a problem” without being exactly pin-downable with an outright quote to that effect. His basic deceit is again on display.

              “Vegetation is really controlling what happens…whereas the emphasis in the climate models has always been on the atmosphere.” How is vegetation controlling the warmup, ice-feature meltdown, increasing droughts and rising amounts and intensity of fire, etc.?

              “There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global.” No? So averaged thermal retention over the whole surfacesphere is not net-net increasing? Any evidence for that claim? What exactly is melting the ice-features? And where is the heat coming from?

              “The average ground temperature of the Earth is impossible to measure since most of the Earth is ocean…So this average ground temperature is a fiction”.
              Wait! Aren’t measurement-takers trying to measure all-over-within the atmosphere and also on and in the oceans to the best of their instrumentation?
              Dyson’s deceitful bad-faith claim that someone is invoking the “ground temperature of the Earth” is itself a deceit-based bad-faith fiction on Dyson’s part.

              And the rest of his relevant quotes are also deceit-based disrepresentations or falsehoods in the same vein.

              Dyson has often trumpeted his “working class background” as though this gives him some sort of moral credibility over and above ” middle-class background” scientists.

              The climatologists have made predictions about near-term climate changes and those predictions are coming true, based on their theories. Does Dyson know of a different theory which has predicted these same changes?

              Dyson likes to pose as the Great Contrarian. He is the Christopher Hitchens of science.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Putin small article.

    Ignores Trump’s actual policies and Germany telling the US to end opposition to Nordstream 2. US Pravda is weird.

    Also, is it safe to surmise the missile batteries are white elephants and the troops know?

    1. ambrit

      I got an immediate sense of “Propaganda” writ large while reading this article. I played the game of substuting the name Biden for Putin in the opening paragraphs of the piece, and it worked perfectly that way. I don’t know much about who the ‘backers’ of this ‘Defense One’ outlet are, but I would not be a bit surprised to learn that it is a Security Service house organ.

      1. John Emerson

        I looked up Defense One. Part of Atlantic Media (which includes the Atlantic magazine), a high-quality neoib /neocon organ.

        I could only read a paragraph or two. No substance, just trying to throw shade.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Indeed. Some of the most substance free blatant propaganda I’ve read, well, in all honesty since yesterday. There’s a lot going around these days…

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Got about halfway through. For some reason my mind kept wandering. What ever happened to Baghdad Bob anyway? Did he learn English, get a HS diploma and a new nom de plume?

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “…an immediate sense of “Propaganda” writ large…

        No kidding.

        I was listening to the Dark Horse podcast the other day, and Weinstein was talking about “anamorphic” sidewalk chalk drawings. He was making the point that the drawings are fantastic and amazing, but only when viewed from a certain angle. From any different angle they appear to be a distorted mess.

        He was talking about the vaccine / ivermectin issue, but it strikes me that this ridiculous take on biden’s “performance” attempts to put the reader at the only available angle from which biden doesn’t look like a sorry, debilitated old mess of a man “leading” a sorry, debilitated old mess of a country. And this article does a piss poor job of it.

      3. Carolinian

        With Trump out of office, the Russian leader has nobody else.

        Uh, China….over a billion people….hello….

    2. Kouros

      I was reading it myself an wondering what type of realities myself and the author inhabit, cause I watched Putin and red the transcript and didn’t look at all that way. However, I suspect there are more people that get digested articles rather than spend time on original sources…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “We have a solution to this crisis,” he said unequivocally. “There is a drug that is proving to have a miraculous impact.”

      Kory had been trying to make such a case, but complained to the Senate that public efforts had been stifled, because “every time we mention ivermectin, we get put in Facebook jail.”…

      As the supply of enthusiastic “early adopter” vaccine guinea pigs looks to be increasingly exhausted, and complications like myocarditis emerge that the cdc and fda must create less and less compelling justifications to ignore, can the reality of ivermectin continue to be kept from the public?

      Can zuckerberg et al. cancel Matt Taibbi for talking about it? What if Joe Rogan decides to weigh in?

      What if other countries, fed up with vaccine apartheid and unconstrained by rampant profiteering, successfully turn to Ivermectin? Without Trump to blame for “botching” management of the pandemic, would “media” really ignore any demonstrated results?

      Such are the perils of conducting a drug trial on such a massive scale, and using up all your censorship and information control bullets early on, I guess. Big pharma and the vaccine cheerleaders could really use a trusted media right now. Too bad they wasted it on Russiagate, impeachment and 1/6.

      1. IM Doc

        What if other countries, fed up with vaccine apartheid and unconstrained by rampant profiteering, successfully turn to Ivermectin? Without Trump to blame for “botching” management of the pandemic, would “media” really ignore any demonstrated results?

        I am not sure – but I believe the answer to the above question may be coming right on up. I sat through a 15 minute discussion on Zoom yesterday from a forum in one of our major medical centers about the Ivermectin usage in India…….

        As is the usual case, there are many confounding factors that must be dealt with by the epidemiologists – but I would say that the overall conclusion was that it had a rather positive affect on outcomes of mortality and morbidity. This is exactly my experience with the drug during our big surge this past year.

        And as the speaker said and I have heard so many times – the Declarations of Helsinki – our guiding force in medical ethics – really gives little wiggle room in whether or not to use it at this time with our limited information. We now have somewhat limited studies on efficacy – almost all of which are positive – but overwhelming evidence on safety. Our medical ethics history is screaming to us that this should be used – and right now.

        The fact that this is being openly discussed now in our major medical centers is a sign to me that the gyre is opening. Furthermore – a subsidiary of NATURE – one of the most important scientific journals in the world published yesterday a peer-reviewed evidence based paper detailing how the drug could actually work ( the link is in the above links today). This is paradigm shifting.

        The dam is beginning to break. Someday in the immediate near future – I cannot wait to see Zuckerberg and Dorsey squirming under the klieg lights about their company’s suppression of medical and scientific discourse. It is certainly one of the big scandals of our era.

        1. Screwball

          Great news, and thanks for the info IM Doc.

          The dam is beginning to break. Someday in the immediate near future – I cannot wait to see Zuckerberg and Dorsey squirming under the klieg lights about their company’s suppression of medical and scientific discourse. It is certainly one of the big scandals of our era.

          Let’s pretend this happens and those two scoundrels get hauled in front of congress. What can we expect?

          IMO, not much, other than a chances for sound bytes that can be shown on the next Ministry of Truth organ at 6. They might get their hands slapped, told to straighten up, and maybe a fine, and off they go. Back to the same old, same old.

          Congress, CDC, WHO, NIH, and the media have already proven death for profit IS a model.

          1. Lemmy Caution

            One way I’ve heard the Covid debacle described is that it involves the destruction of trillions of dollars of wealth in the pursuit of billions of dollars in profits by big Pharma.

            1. Carla

              It’s only the public’s wealth that’s being destroyed. Bezos, Buffett, Dimon, Gates, Musk, Zuckerberg, et-f*ing-cetera have made out like the bandits they in fact are, all at the expense of poor, working people. It literally makes me ill.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          On twitter I follow a few scientists who while they give good basic information on what is happening in their particular areas of expertise, also clearly see themselves as ‘enforcers’ of the mainstream view (inevitably most of them are young and starting their careers). I consider these types to be the weathervanes as they are the first to go quiet as soon as they realise to their horror that the overton window has changed (their next step is to hurridly delete old tweets).

          As of this week, they are still engaging in mockery of anyone who mentions Ivermectin, so I don’t think we are quite there yet.

          1. Isotope_C14

            It’s a huge problem Plutonium,

            Scientists with “titles” are usually very limited in scope of skill/scout brain. Scout brains don’t work well in the current academic paradigm.

            I call it “engineers with PhD’s” – and they currently infest science at every level.

            It makes sense in a capitalist framework. They get something “done” no matter how marginal or boring it is.

        3. steve

          If the Ivermectin blockade holds, then take pause and behold the power and wisdom of your masters, fueled by greed and filled with hubris.

          If the blockade fails, it will be but a lost skirmish in a forever war. You may think you have gained the hill, only to find an island.

        4. Brooklin Bridge

          Given the iron curtain not only covering up any establishment acknowledgement of the Russia-gate fiasco as such, but actively doubling down on it as real not to mention an implied litmus test of one’s democrat patriotism when ever doubts arise publicly; by the stark reality of that gob-smacking phenomenon, I don’t see a Fauci moment explaining the Ivermectin black-out (and other inexpensive treatments ignored) in the light of noble lies, but rather and more likely it will result in ominous messages about what happens to people who let down their guard on the high standards of the Medical profession and ongoing studies that might falsely raise hopes, …, etc., etc., etc., or something along those lines.

          We’re entering a pure digital reality now. I think, therefore I am in the cloud, but that reality may change instantaneously to an entirely new one at any moment.

        5. QuicksilverMessenger

          IM Doc- If I may ask, did you get vaccinated? If so, which one and have you had any side effects or complications? I am starting to get slightly worried reading all of these comments about the “toxic” vaccines. What are we talking about here? Should I not have gotten the shot?

    2. Skip Intro

      The most compelling argument I’ve heard (here) is that lack of an effective treatment is a prerequisite for the Emergency Use Authorization allowing everyone to be vaccinated. There may actually be some Noble-Lie types like Fauci knowingly suppressing a cure not just to secure billions in profits to vaccine makers holding the world hostage, but to make sure people get vaccinated.

      1. chuck roast

        A noble for Fauci? What the hey! Stockholm has been Stage One for the Theatre of the Absurd since Kissinger’s peace prize. Besides, I’ve had a schadenfreude jones since Il Douchee exited stage right.

    3. Edward

      On the subject of present and future profits, how was the decision made to develop an MRNA-type COVID vaccine? Was this type of vaccine the one promising the most profits? I think I read somewhere that the MRNA technology has been in development for a while, large sums have been invested in this research, but it has been facing difficulties with approval– until COVID. Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor U., is developing a cheap, non-MRNA COVID vaccine. He could not secure government funding for this work; it was crowdsourced.

  4. Katiebird

    Wonderful links today!! I am particularly grateful for Aero Magazines, What if We’re Wrong. Not only is it a great discussion about the value of freedom of speech in the COVID-19 world and how it’s been stifled by the great social media networks — but it mentions a series of children’s books that sounds fascinating to me. And I’ve never heard of them:

    Here’s the description of the series, Value Tales

    We need freedom of expression because what we currently believe is true, just or moral may change. We might be wrong. In light of history, to imagine elsewise is the height of hubris.

    We used to know this at a societal level. In fact, we used to teach this to our children.

    I am reminded of a book that I had growing up, which I read to my own children when they were small. It was from a series called “Value Tales,” which told the stories of famous people so as to illustrate the particular values they personified. I had The Value of Determination, which was about Helen Keller, and The Value of Adventure, about Sacagawea, but the one that is pertinent to the present discussion is The Value of Believing in Yourself, about Louis Pasteur.

    In this children’s book, first published in 1975, we are told that Louis Pasteur, in the days before he was renowned, would walk in the park, pondering the nature of the “invisible enemy … the Rabies germs,” in order to find a way to kill them.

    It’s too late for me to share these books with my own children. But my kids have children of their own now and I think I’ll try to assemble a set (or two) for them.

  5. fresno dan

    Questions About the FBI’s Role in 1/6 Are Mocked Because the FBI Shapes Liberal Corporate Media Glenn Greenwald. “And that’s why I’m turning you in.”
    What would be shocking and strange is not if the FBI had embedded informants and other infiltrators in the groups planning the January 6 Capitol riot. What would be shocking and strange — bizarre and inexplicable — is if the FBI did not have those groups under tight control. And yet the suggestion that FBI informants may have played some role in the planning of the January 6 riot was instantly depicted as something akin to, say, 9/11 truth theories or questions about the CIA’s role in JFK’s assassination or, until a few weeks ago, the COVID lab-leak theory: as something that, from the perspective of Respectable Serious Circles, only a barely-sane, tin-foil-hat-wearing lunatic would even entertain.

    This reaction is particularly confounding given how often the FBI did exactly this during the first War on Terror, and how commonplace discussions of this tactic were in mainstream liberal circles.
    When you have the narrative, and employ FBI personnel fired for “lack of candor” – well, that is gonna lead to a rather simplistic and rationalizing justification for EVERYTHING the FBI happens to do.

    I have in my Netflix queue MLK/FBI a documentary about the FBI harassing and surveilling King. On the other hand, I am glad that the FBI infiltrated the KKK, but the fact that the FBI arrests real criminals and terrorists doesn’t mean that every single thing they do is beyond reproach or suspicion of their motives, and that the FBI can’t be critically examined. The FBI has done plenty of abysmal things.
    Is nuance reality that difficult? MUST all square pegs be crammed into round holes? And does no one in the media have a memory longer than a goldfish’s?

    1. John Emerson

      “Under tight control”? Come on. One of the reasons why the Jan. 6 event isn’t taken seriously as an insurrection is that it was a chaotic mess. It was a motley pickup mob invited from here there and everywhere by Trump and sent off by him to do something or another “wild”. I don’t doubt that there were FBI informants and maybe agents present, but they didn’t “control” it.

      Tucker and others are making a diligent effort to mislead people about what happened. Why Greenwald and others are playing along — I can’t think of a good reason

      Trump, Carlson Fox, et al, are making a determined attempt to discredit our imperfect election system and *make it far worse*. This is not something to be fair minded and thoughtful about.

      1. urblintz

        “Trump, Carlson Fox, et al, are making a determined attempt to discredit our imperfect election…”

        oops too late. The Dems already did that re Sanders… twice! I’m sure you’d disagree…

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          I don’t “disagree” and I wholly agree with John Emerson about the current push to represent the FBI as guiding, instigating, & controlling the January 6th riots. The push is coming from well funded propaganda outlets; they adopted this new spin as it became clear that the Antifa did it! smear was losing impact.

          As Fresno Dan says, anyone with sense knows there had to have been FBI personnel in that crowd, posing as participants. However, propagandists like Carlson are now energetically crafting a narrative in which the FBI is responsible for the entire clutters*ck. It’s a narrative that pleases the egos of all the jut-chested goons who thrive on hysterical threeper garbage. Their reaction provides Carlson and his network with click surges, a ratings surge and, therefore, more influence.

          It was a riot of stupid. No one controlled it, and it petered out swiftly. Because no one controlled it.

          1. juno mas

            Even when real, planned insurrections (coup in Myanmar) occur the outcome doesn’t always go as planned. Physical force eventually comes in to play. While the Jan.6th events were probably a real insurrection in the minds of many, without approval of the military it wasn’t going to actually accomplish much.

            1. BlakeFelix

              Well, they clearly had the support of the Commander and Chief of the military. He just called the mob into action and then went home and made some phone calls to congress and ate a cheeseburger or whatever. There wasn’t a real plan, but if you thought that Trump was a competent guy it would be reasonable to assume that he had a plan.

          2. Andrew Watts

            Ironically the original source for the Antifa claim was from the Capitol Police itself according to a joint congressional report. To be fair, the CP thought that they’d see similar clashes between Proud Boys and Antifa-types that have previously happened.

        2. spines

          “oops too late. The Dems already did that re Sanders… twice!”

          I see, libs do it so there’s no reason to call out the conservatives doing such awful, repugnant stuff. Because Rachel Maddow and MSNBC is so awful then Tucker Carlson and FOX News must be saints.

          Frankly, I think you’ve lost it.

      2. fresno dan

        John Emerson
        June 19, 2021 at 9:53 am
        You’ll get no disagreement from me that Jan 6 WAS NOT AN INSURRECTION. I think any honorable person of average intelligence could see that. I think Greenwald’s point (and mine) is that there is a MSM NARRATIVE, and that in advancing this “news” any inconvenient facts are ignored. The narrative Greenwald was refuting was that THE FBI NEVER INFILTRATES groups. That is preposterous. Most times it is good (e.g., KKK, organized crime) other times it is bad (e.g., Civil rights groups).

        I also think Trump lost the election fairly and objectively (any mass human endeavor is not going to be perfect). I don’t think Greenwald or I are playing along with that. Any mass media (e.g., FOX, MSNBC) now a days has got their own niche that they appeal to, and gives them financial incentive to ignore FACTS that would undermine their sermons (most MSM “news” facts leave out essentially all information that would undermine the narrative being advanced). I think BOTH media sides should be called out when they advance ridiculous and illogical notions.

        And “under tight control” is a phrase open to interpretation – there have been a lot of critiques that in infiltrating groups, the FBI foments as many terrorist or criminal acts as it prevents. I think a better phrase would have been “under tight surveillance.”

        1. marym

          Whatever the controversies among the liberals about his opinions through the years, at least Greenwald brings a history of civil liberties advocacy to a discussion about FBI infiltration and the “security” state. Tucker’s grievance – that people aggrieved at losing an election were provoked to mob action in part by a segment of the establishment with its own agenda – is at best ironic.

          GG’s credibility is undermined, not enhanced, imo, not so much in appearing in a forum for excuse-making and grievance peddling on the right – there’s an argument for getting attention to one’s views – but in claiming a common journalistic endeavor.

          1. fresno dan

            June 19, 2021 at 1:10 pm
            I’m not following you – “but in claiming a common journalistic endeavor”
            What is the “common journalistic endeavor”? I assume this endeavor between FOX and Greenwald?
            It is my understanding that Greenwald is defacto banned from CNN and MSNBC. If the only TV where you can appear is FOX, and you want to make this point by FBI infiltration, your choice is FOX or nothing. Undoubtedly, more people will be exposed to Greenwalds ideas if he appears than if he doesn’t.
            What I got out of the article is that the MSM (except FOX) had a lockstep narrative that the FBI does not infiltrate groups – apparently because to acknowledge that could possibly give rise to theories that the FBI supported OR failed to take sufficient action to prevent the “insurrection.” Now, I think saying the FBI does not infiltrate groups is just nuts. And there is plenty of documentation that FBI infiltration has encouraged and entrapped individuals. So this whole characterization of FBI infiltration of the rioters (or insurrectionists if you prefer) is a conspiracy theory is to support reporting that the FBI was not infiltrating the proud boys et al simply to preclude any charges that the FBI might have encouraged them too much. I think the riot on Jan 6 was a spontaneous event and not an insurrection, so the FBI cannot be faulted for not predicting it in advance. The FBI didn’t know what Trump was gonna say.
            OF COURSE, if you have an agenda that the riot was planned in advance, you are faced with a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, many of your “consultants” are former FBI employees, and everybody know that are super honest and super competent. So how did they miss the conspiracy of insurrection??? Hmmmm….
            OR you say the FBI wasn’t infiltrating the proud boys, and that is that. EXCEPT, shouldn’t the FBI have been keeping an eye on the proud boys??? Again, doesn’t make the FBI look too bright.
            The thing of it is, once you go down the path of leaving facts out, and tailoring reports to fit an agenda, eventually one wraps oneself in so many contradictions that the whole edifice falls apart.
            There was a riot.
            The FBI had informants inside a number of Jan 5 organizations.
            CNN/MSNBC put forth the really silly proposition that the FBI did not have informants in these organizations. That actually is insulting to the FBI.

            1. marym

              I was referring to this:

              “Nobody is claiming to know the answers to those questions, including Revolver News, Carlson, or anyone else. Instead, they are doing the work of actual journalists — pointing out the gaping holes in the public record about what we do and do not know about an event that is being exploited to launch a new domestic War on Terror, prompt massive new police and security state spending, and empower and justify new domestic surveillance and censorship authorities. Anyone not asking these questions or, worse, trying to delegitmize them, is a propagandist and has no business calling themselves a journalist.”

              I don’t claim deep knowledge of GG’s or TC’s positions through the years, so maybe I’m wrong, but I do see GG as a long-time critic of the security state from a civil liberties perspective, not a partisan perspective. I don’t know of TC criticizing the reach or the budget of the security state in infiltrating, provocation, or suppression of dissent on the left.

              1. fresno dan

                June 19, 2021 at 4:11 pm
                I can’t see where we are disagreeing on anything. I just got the impression that Greenwald was in cahoots with Carlson to either make it appear that the rioters were ANTIFA or that the FBI was behind the riot (both of which I believe are absurd propositions). Maybe FOX wants to advance that agenda, but I sure don’t think Greenwald wants to.
                And I do think the big danger in these events is akin to the Patriot Act – more unaccountable police state power.

        2. John Emerson

          I can’t see any interpretation of “tight control” such that Jan 6 was under tight FBI control.

          To someone above: I supported Sanders both years, and don’t like the way the party treated him, but what the Trump people are doing is far worse. They’re trying to annul an election, and they’re preparing to do the same to future elections.

        3. chuck roast

          The narrative Greenwald was refuting was that THE FBI NEVER INFILTRATES groups… Most times it is good…

          You must be thinking of the time around 15 years ago that the FBI organized and armed an aimless group of disgruntled Black guys in Florida and provided them with bogus explosives before pointing them in the right direction and then arresting them all on conspiracy and terrorism charges. This after the FBI agents taught these clowns how to tie their shoes. But all other times it’s good…

          1. fresno dan

            chuck roast
            June 19, 2021 at 5:23 pm
            Nice straw man you got there. You think the infiltration of the KKK by the FBI was bad? Do you think the infiltration of organized crime was bad? I made it VERY obvious in my comments that the FBI has plenty of abysmal interventions in civil rights groups as well as other set ups.

    2. Carolinian

      Greenwald says, based on the “analysts” they hire, that CNN is more the FBI network whereas MSNBC the CIA network. Good to know all bases are covered. You could argue that both agencies have a busy history of creating conspiracies more often than solving them and he makes that point too. But at least it gives the cable blabbers something to talk about.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      There have been reports of the FBI entrapping people into “terrorist” plots for years. I remember reading a story years ago about the FBI trying to get one guy who wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box to use a pressure cooker bomb against some target or other, but the guy didn’t want to because he thought a bag of feces would do the trick better, and that plan fizzled out. That was the first I’d heard of a pressure cooker bomb, and wasn’t even sure it was a real thing. Not long after I read that article, we had the Boston Marathon bombing and the device used by the Tsarnaev brothers was a pressure cooker bomb. When the FBI went to question an associate of the Tsarnaev brothers, that guy wound up being killed by the FBI and that’s about all we ever heard about that. Perpetrators are dead or in prison, so case closed, and despite the FBI having been warned about the Tsarnaev’s by Russian authorities ahead of time there wll be no further questions about what the FBI knew and when they knew it.

      I’ve never been able to track down the original article I mentioned and it didn’t really register at the time because there were a lot of articles about FBI infiltration and entrapment ( Robert Mueller’s FBI made it a specialty of theirs). I wish I could find it again, because it does make you wonder…

        1. juno mas

          TAL is not an NPR production. It is produced in collaboration with station WBEZ in Chicago. Your local NPR radio affiliate likely purchases the radio show from the Public Radio Exchange (PRX).

    4. Andrew Watts

      The events of Jan 6th were being openly planned on thedonald site. It was a joke among left-wing social media figures and they never stopped laughing about it. (see Chapo Trap House) I don’t think anybody believed it would actually happen and that fact made it even more hilarious.

      Greenwald and company are barking up the wrong tree.

  6. a different chris

    Oh good that Yves is back!

    So, in news completely divorced (why didn’t he just get a divorce?) from the usual topics here, but actually right dead on to many of our worries (actually I don’t worry about it, I’ve just given up), read about how the police figured out this crime:

    The hobos said we were possessed by everything we own, but we probably didn’t expect it to form a Greek Chorus of guilt.

    1. Mildred Montana

      FACT SHEET: National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism


      The U.S. Government will also work to find ways to counter the polarization often fueled by disinformation, misinformation, and dangerous conspiracy theories online, supporting an information environment that fosters healthy democratic discourse.

      Oh-oh. Sounds suspiciously like censorship to me. I am impressed by the lengthy string of abstract nouns and adjectives, but then when a government is conducting a war against abstract nouns—terrorism and extremism—I suppose concrete words are in short supply.

      Here’s another abstract noun: defeatism. It may be coming to a court near you soon. Support the war on domestic terrorism unquestioningly or you may be labeled a contributor, a “defeatist”.

      “During the last year of war, the German people’s court executed many people accused of defeatist talks or acts and their names were announced weekly in a pink colored poster pasted on billboards around the country.” (Wiki)

  7. cocomaan

    Re: Chinese defector

    The DIA is the agency that was headed by Michael Flynn for a little while.

    1. The Rev Kev

      His name is Dong? Are they sure that this is not Chinese intelligence just pranking them?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        “Dong” is an English transliteration of a name that probably “looks” different in Chinese characters.

        During America’s Vietnam War period, one of the high government people of North Vietnam was named Pham Van Dong and this was never regarded as a prank, or even funny.

      2. Procopius

        It’s an artifact of the pinyin system of using the latin alphabet to try to write Chinese sounds. It used to be Tung, as in Mao Tse Tung, where the ‘T’ sounds more like a ‘D’.

    2. Economic Cannon Fodder

      But… but… isn’t the DHS screening everyone at all ports of entry??? (Snicker/snort)

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Putin Suddenly Looks Very Small”

    If the author of this article – Kevin Baron – ever tires of his job as a DC wonk, there is a great future awaiting him – as a member of the Biden press corps. The title of this article did remind me of a Robert A. Heinlein quote though-

    “Never frighten a little man. He’ll kill you.”

    1. Jr

      The article stood out as being GoodThink fluff in an age of fluffiness. The whole “small” thing is a stunningly immature attempt to publicly emasculate Putin for Baron’s audience’s political onanism. And only a deluded fool thinks anyone saw a rock solid Biden across from Putin. A revenant is more like it.

      1. Geo

        Same big brain stuff that inspired all the “tiny hands” Trump jokes. Nothing more “woke” than mocking a person for their size, right? Or, it could be they just don’t have any substantive issues that concern them so resort to juvenile name calling.

        Truth be told though, if a nuclear war is waged and humanity is wiped out over small d*** jokes it would be a fitting finale to our civilization. Something straight out of Dr. Strangelove or Monty Python, yet somehow more plausible than humanity ever maturing into an rational society.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Lots of human groups had rational mature societies. It takes a mature sentient society to terraform an Amazon basin.

          It is a mistake to confuse modern industrial civilization in particular with humanity in general.

  9. griffen

    The article from the Big Picture includes another link to an IEEE article on the design and implementation of millions of lines of code. The auto industry has found yet another way to extract money once the chip production gets back up to speed. As if they had missed something!

    I’m not a die-hard car enthusiastic but I like my Accord very much still. 2008 seems like a good vintage to keep driving.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Was just thinking about this article myself. As far as I can see, every chip that goes into a car is an additional point of failure. And the trend is to cram yet more and more chips into every device imaginable and cars are a point here but I do not think that this can be kept up forever. Just through climate change alone the wheels are starting to slowly come off our civilization. So how would this work out long term for cars? I suspect that electronic chips will be a “layer” in devices in cars. But that they will be built to a fail-safe principal. What I mean by that is that every chip in the entire car can fail but your mechanics will still work allowing you to still use your car. The chips are only there to “enhance” the car’s performance. And this principle should operate right across the board. As it stands, you get a power failure and they can’t even use a simple cash-register these days.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        My machinist grandfather issued a similar edict or axiom in the early 1970s when motorized car windows, etc., began to be introduced, Rev Kev. He stated that “more motors mean more trouble,” i.e., each was a potential point of failure.

        I think it’s that much worse with the computerfication of automobiles.

        1. Screwball

          Your grandfather probably heard of what some of us in engineering would call the “KISS” theory; keep is simple stupid

      2. Carolinian

        Older electronic engine controls had this “failure mode” with reduced performance. I’m not sure about this with my current car but as everything is electronic including the accelerator pedal and power steering I suspect not.

        But I owned that previous car for a long time and the engine control computer never gave the slightest trouble even as various mechanical parts had to be replaced. One should add, as usual, that legal mileage and emissions mandates now make computer control mandatory, not optional–at least in the US.

        1. Glen

          Yes, electronics in cars is nothing new. EECs were common by the end of the 80’s, and these included failure modes (mostly to keep the engine running if sensors failed). And by the 2000’s most people did not realize that it was common for vehicles to have about 20 CPUs all networked together via CanBus.

          But what we’re dealing with here is more a failure of American company management. They made decisions to completely outsource the manufacturing of key components of their product. They made decisions to increase the complexity of their product when it was not required (unless they use it as justification for selling a [family blogging] pickup truck for $100K).

          But this management failure will be compounded by the actions of our government and the Fed which no longer allows the elite class or mega corporations to suffer from their lack of leadership. The companies will be bailed out and propped up. The people who made the crappy decisions will go on to make bigger and crappier decisions.

          And that is the real problem.

      3. Alfred

        Passing State inspection becomes a terrifying experience for people who don’t have budgets that stretch to non-safety issue repairs. I know a lot of people who had to junk their cars in 2017 because of the new rules and inspection system.

        Money isn’t Lutz’s only concern, however. He also worries the new system could take discretion away from mechanics and ultimately hurt those who can’t afford costly repairs every time a sensor goes awry.

        Lutz recently spoke with a colleague who tried, time and time again, to repair a malfunctioning safety sensor in an older car that was worth only about $2,000. Eventually, the mechanic ordered $2,000 in parts to try to repair the sensor before coming the conclusion the problem wasn’t with parts, but with the car’s computer.

        While the fact that the sensor light was on in itself isn’t a safety problem, the new inspection system will “put those cars off the road,” he said.

        Watson expressed similar worries. The tablet system asks garages for photographs taken during the inspection and is designed to better capture when there’s a problem, meaning the days of mechanics looking the other way on electronic malfunctions are over, even when the car might be mechanically safe.

        “You’ve got a senior citizen that is trying to make ends meet and this is their car to get to the grocery store and the post office, and now all of a sudden it won’t pass inspection,” Watson said. “You’re going to probably find 10 or 15 percent of the cars that are registered in Vermont (won’t pass inspection).”

        1. Carolinian

          Leave Vermont? When I lived in Atlanta they had annual inspections but because the city was flunking the EPA smog rating. As I recall older cars got a pass after you had spent a certain amount on repairs.

          SC had emissions inspections long ago but no more.

        2. chuck roast

          I’ve been thinking the same thing. Back in my care-free poverty stricken days, I always had a tool-box and a VW bug that would faithfully drag me around…one blew-up, one caught fire, but you could always find a cheap replacement. In the very near future people on the tail end of the curve will be well and truly screwed for cheap transpo. Imagine a car window brain having an aneurysm in the summer time and your broke. And all you really needed in the first place was a wind-up window.

        3. JCC

          Computerized cars and engines too often cause more problems than they are worth. I recently had to throw away a perfectly good and immaculate vehicle due to a very slightly worn hydraulic timing chain tensioner. When first started the pulses between the crank shaft and one of the cam shafts would be slightly out of sync until the hydraulic system came up to full pressure. This threw a “Check Engine” fault which here in CA automatically fails the smog check.

          I once cleared the fault and then drove 400 miles to Phoenix with zero faults. Started back, cleared the fault and drove back with no faults. In other words the fault only occurred during the first few minutes then cleared once the timing chain tightened up. It was an estimated minimum $2500.00 repair on a car that booked for $2000.00 with only 100,000 miles on it. The risk that it would be done correctly was too high, thus more garbage for the garbage dump and another expenditure on a “new” used car.

          What an expensive waste. And this example is all too common.

          1. cnchal

            My experience is that when it comes to motors, timing belt motors outlast timing chain motors by double or more. I had an 01 Honda Accord that was still running when I scrapped it with 300K miles, with the original clutch, starter, alternator, radiator, rad hoses, engine and transmission. Rust finally did it in. I liked it so much I found an identical clean low mileage 01 Accord to replace it.

            Customers were trying to get away from timing belt motors and the extra cost of maintaining them by going to timing chain motors. That worked for those keeping their car for a few years before getting a new one again, but when used car shoppers buy them, it is big trouble. Those that can least afford it are going to pay big money when it breaks, or the check engine light comes on.

            > What an expensive waste. And this example is all too common.

            Yes indeed. And, changing the motor for another used one doesn’t get you anywhere either, as the next one will have the same problem or worse. Sad that a check engine light coming on makes the scrap heap taller. Colossal waste built right into the regulations.

            Do you mind telling us what you were driving, so al least us readers can avoid that piece of crap?

            My cutoff year is 2006. Anything newer than that is not worth considering.

      4. Knifecatcher

        A couple of weeks ago I stopped by my friendly neighborhood fast food hamburger emporium for a bite and got the following message over the drive-through intercom:

        “Welcome to Wendy’s, I’m sorry, our computers are down so we’re not able to serve you right now”.

        Oh. All right then.

    2. Carolinian

      I was an electronics skeptic but I like my 2017 vintage Hyundai very much. There’s certainly a case to be made that electronic controls are a lot more reliable and consistent than vacuum hoses and carburetors. However electronics can be vulnerable to corrosion and humidity so perhaps reliability depends on where you live (the weather).

    3. Nikkikat

      One of the reasons I keep my 2004 Nissan Xterra. I really dislike these so called safety devices. I like driving without large flashing arrows telling me a vehicle is in my blind spot or I am too close to the line in the road etc. I find these safety additions to be more distracting than helpful. My husband and I have driven for many years without electronic help. It’s all an excuse to add a few thousand dollars to the cost of a car. We turn them off and never use them. I find using my mirrors and a quick look over my shoulder to work pretty good.

    4. TalkingCargo

      My last “basic” car was a 95 Saturn which I liked very much. When I
      traded it in for an 05 Prius, I had to have someone show me how to start
      the car. The Prius served me well, though when it got to 190K miles things
      started breaking (many of them computer-related). And when they broke,
      they were very expensive to fix.

      Sadly, Joseph Tainter’s idea of diminishing returns on complexity hasn’t
      caught on, because everyone seems to be making everything more complex.
      And there may be no end in sight since they will still be having this problem in
      the 23rd century:

      1. The Rev Kev

        John Michael Greer also talks about this idea of diminishing returns but for our technology. He reckons that we put more and more resources into our technology but we get less and less on our returns but we insist that it is a matter of “progress”. Technologically our lives have not changed that radically the past few decades nor have our lives really improved much. My grandfather saw the introduction of telephones, aircraft, electricity, cars while still a young man. Yeah, we have computers and the internet now but the basics of them were set up about forty years ago. How many equivalent changes have taken place since then that are not just refinements of existing technology? How many engineers get sidetracked into developing some new ephemeral app instead of doing real work? Here is an article going into this a bit more called “The End of Progress”-

    5. lordkoos

      Used pre-bluetooth/pre-wifi cars are definitely my bag, since autos built after 2010 or so have become insanely complex (not to mention the spyware factor). I have discovered that second-hand Lexus’ are a bargain, the only downside being that they have 6 cylinder engines so aren’t quite as good on gas, but if you do a lot of highway driving they are good. Scoring a car for $6500 that cost $32,000 new is a steal especially when the cars are known to extremely reliable. It’s not uncommon for well-maintained Toyotas/Lexus and Hondas/Accura to travel 300,000 miles.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is it the car industry figuring out a way to extract money? Or is it the chip industry figuring out a way to extract money from the car industry?

  10. allan

    Henrik Ibsen to the white courtesy phone:

    CDC can’t regulate cruises: judge [The Hill]

    A federal in Florida judge on Friday ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus-era sailing orders were an overreach of power, issuing a preliminary injunction temporarily barring the CDC from enforcing the guidelines.

    Judge Steven Merryday for the Middle District of Florida in his ruling sided with the Sunshine State in its argument that the “CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to CDC.”

    As a result, Merryday approved Florida’s motion for a preliminary injunction suspending the mandatory guidelines for cruise ships, writing that the CDC is “preliminary enjoined from enforcing against a cruise ship arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida the conditional sailing order and the later measures.” …

    DeSantis, who has long railed against coronavirus safety restrictions, praised the judge’s Friday ruling, writing … “The CDC and the Biden Administration concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry, hiding behind bureaucratic delay and lawsuits,” he continued. “Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach.” …

    Let a thousand floating Petri dishes bloom.

    1. Geo

      Years ago I got to spend some time in Greece and visited a little island whose name translated to “Quarantine Island” where sailors, tradesmen, and soldiers were long ago made to spend a few weeks before returning home to make sure they didn’t bring back some plague.

      We should bring this idea back for these cruise ships.

      1. ambrit

        An island in the Aegean where “sailors, tradesmen, and soldiers…spend a few weeks” all locked up together. Mikanos?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Wise people will avoid cruise ships and the coastal areas they leave from and come back to.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    Human evolution–

    Important indeed:

    Furthermore, while genetic variation is largely random, cultural variation can be ‘guided’ by intentional innovation, and the accumulation of cultural variation may be more rapid. Thus, culture provides a non-genetic system of adaptive inheritance that is fundamentally distinct from genetic inheritance at a structural level (figure 1).

    Put another way, change the culture/worldview/myths, change behavior of a large number of humans with some rapidity. That’s exactly what we must do in order to adapt as quickly as possible to the ecological crisis.

    This article, “The Blackfoot Wisdom that Inspired Maslow’s Hierarchy,” provides an example of a healthier culture/worldview and contrasts it to our own. It turns out that Maslow studied the Blackfoot tribe when he was exploring self-actualization on his way to establishing his hierarchy of needs. He was quite surprised by what he found:

    He intended to test the universality of his theory that social hierarchies are maintained by dominance of some people over others. However, he did not see the quest for dominance in Blackfoot society. Instead, he discovered astounding levels of cooperation, minimal inequality, restorative justice, full bellies, and high levels of life satisfaction. He estimated that “80–90% of the Blackfoot tribe had a quality of self-esteem that was only found in 5–10% of his own population” (video 7 out of 15, minutes 13:45–14:15). As Ryan Heavy Head shared with me on the phone, “Maslow saw a place where what he would later call self-actualization was the norm.”

    The article is written by current members of the Blackfoot Nation whose examination of their own culture/worldview highlighted this contrast with dominant white culture:

    Maslow appeared to ask, “how do we become self-actualized?”. Many First Nation communities, though they would not have used the same word, might be more likely to believe that we arrive on the planet self-actualized. Ryan Heavy Head explained the difference through the analogy of earning a college degree. In Western culture, you earn a degree after paying tuition, attending classes, and proving sufficient mastery of your area of study. In Blackfoot culture, “it’s like you’re credentialed at the start. You’re treated with dignity for that reason, but you spend your life living up to that.” While Maslow saw self-actualization as something to earn, the Blackfoot see it as innate. Relating to people as inherently wise involves trusting them and granting them space to express who they are (as perhaps manifested by the permissiveness with which the Siksika raise their children) rather than making them the best they can be. For many First Nations, therefore, self-actualization is not achieved; it is drawn out of an inherently sacred being who is imbued with a spark of divinity. Education, prayer, rituals, ceremonies, individual experiences, and vision quests can help invite the expression of this sacred self into the world.

    Recognizing that we are born self-actualized is the same point made over and over again in the Tao te Ching that we are most truly ourselves and in harmony with the cosmos when we are “uncut wood” or more directly:

    Ignorant of the intercourse
    of man and woman,
    yet the baby penis is erect.
    True and perfect energy!
    All day long screaming and crying,
    but never getting hoarse.
    True and perfect harmony!

    Tao te Ching #55 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    If we want to have some hope of responding to the ecological crisis in an effective way, the most important thing is not politics or economics or even the science of ecology. The critical need is for rapid cultural change that re-orients us to a new relationship with Nature. As the studies summarized in the human evolution article demonstrate, such deep and rapid changes in human behavior are possible through the cultural change route.

    Finally, one more data point. Linked in Caitlyn Johnstone’s recent piece about partisanship as a propaganda lubricant was a link to another piece of hers entitled, “The Humans Are Waking Up:”

    If our future depends on us finding a way out of this ecocidal, omnicidal status quo that the propagandists and manipulators can’t anticipate and slam the door on, it’s going to have to come from an unexpected and mysterious direction. Something does appear to be stirring deep within our species, and for me that’s enough reason to hold out hope and keep pushing for real change. Maybe this shift isn’t what it appears to be from my point of view, and even if it is that doesn’t mean it will necessarily start happening quickly enough, but it’s enough to take a stand on. I believe we’ll either transcend our old self-destructive patterns or perish, so we might as well say “Damn the torpedoes” and sprint toward that transcendence at full speed.

    1. Carolinian

      Some of us would argue that your cultural evolution is at war with the genetic variety and that’s the root of the problem. It’s not so simple as “teach your children well” (although that is important).

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think the point is that this culture we’re imposing on ourselves is at war against our genetically evolved selves as evidenced in part by the fact we’re polluting our rivers and streams with anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds–and that’s an affliction of the affluent well up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Those more concerned about basic requirements, constantly inundated by enticements to consume more, are certainly no more content.

        This is not an effort to strain against genetic predispositions but instead to replace a culture that’s distorted what’s “human” almost beyond the point of recognition.

        1. Alfred

          I often wonder how things would improve if everyone got off the “what me worry” meds and were able to think again about how they were being manipulated constantly into needing meds to numb the fear generated by horrendous (what have become) cultural “norms”. Not being able to participate in their own demise would be transforming.

        2. Societal Illusions

          Nature works. period. When we subvert nature, or try to outthink it. is when we seem to go wrong.

          Be it Germ vs Terrain theory, privatized gains and public losses, land ownership ignoring the impacts to everyone when spoiled, etc. we think we either know or can do better.

          And there are so many who feel the discomfort, notice the cognitive dissonance, wonder at how the common needs remain so unmet, that how can there not be hope? hope that there will be union or convergence of those who want peace and harmony and abundance and reality we can all experience. Or maybe I’m just a romantic…

  12. Mikel

    RE: “Software Is Eating the Car” Barry Ritholtz

    The glitchy, crapification of most digital things is becoming dangerous as well as annoying.

    There are enough distractions on the road without car systems constantly annoying you about updates or features.
    Automatic updates? Hardley seamless even on home computers/phones.
    Something like a breaking system in a car tied to this type of annoying crapification and disruption of the driving process is a disaster

    It’s getting so you can’t concentrate when working while using a computer that is online. Do this, do that. Update happens and then things are moved around on desktop or toolbar so now you have find features you were using again instead of being able to just do your work.
    This endless BS of SillyCon Valley trying to not show how redundant they actually are.

    1. Nikkikat

      Reminds me of my Parents on a trip in their new Lexis a few years ago. They were lost and stopped for directions. The person asked them how they could get lost since their car has a navigation system. My Dad replied, “Yes, it has a navigation system that’s why I’m asking you for directions.”

      1. Mikel

        During a big fire, a year or two ago and during the heavy commute time, near one of the freeways in LA, there were reports of people using navigation systems to try to find routes around the madness and the navigation systems were leading some drivers toward the fires.

    2. fresno dan

      June 19, 2021 at 10:27 am
      You know what gets me? Those dang electric windows in cars that go ALL the way down when you touch them. I don’t want the dang window ALL the way down. Than I hit the up button, and the dang window goes all the way up. Who thought keeping your finger on the down button for 2 SECONDS was some great inconvenience???

      1. Nikkikat

        Fresno Dan, this is a major tick off for me too. I just want it down a little bit not shooting down at the speed of light. Why would they even have it work like that anyway!

      2. Jonhoops

        A 2 second trip to your car’s manual or Youtube will show you how to use and program your car windows.

        But people would rather bitch about things than actually take the time to learn how to do something new.

        The default setting is usually a short press will raise or lower all the way. Keep the button pressed to lower or raise to your desired location, when you let go it will stop.

        1. Basil Pesto

          yeah, this. I thought this was a commonly understood part of how power windows function since about 2000, the idea behind the single-touch function for the windows to go fully down being that your hand doesn’t have to be off the steering wheel any longer than necessary. Power windows are good, actually.

    3. lordkoos

      Ditch Windows and try Linux Mint. It’s a little quirky but if you have some half-decent computer skills it’s great, and there is a large support community. The only time I use Windows now is for audio recording, as Linux doesn’t perform well for that application. But otherwise for typical internet use, spreadsheets & databases, documents, photography etc it’s great, at least for my purposes. And none of that invasive Microsoft BS.

      1. Glen

        Second lordkoos recommendation.

        At work, I design, program, and maintain extremely custom Windows based systems used for manufacturing. At home, I’ve used nothing but Linux for over twenty years. (Well, I have a couple Windows VMs for testing various things.)

        Linux is much more stable, easier to install, and maintain.

  13. griffen

    It’s near summer in TX. Texas is the dang hottest place I ever lived. And you let them decide when to crimp your energy use? No thank you.

    North Texas was somewhat cooler, and less humid than Houston. Back in 2011 it made zero difference once it hit 105+.

    1. curlydan

      My mother in TX sets her thermostat to 72 in the summer. When I go there, I’m practically freezing. Up here in the Midwest, my thermostat is set at 79 on the hottest days. So if the electric company cranked it up to 80, I probably would wake up a little sweaty. I also probably would be angry that they cranked up my thermostat a degree. Of course, I don’t have a “smart” thermostat, so you can’t control us dumb folks!

      1. Katiebird

        We’ve had a note attached to our thermostat for 30 years — “67 Winter / 80 Summer” the only time we adjust it is when the furnace goes on in the winter and the AC in the summer. We do have fans everywhere. We don’t need or want anyone messing with our settings.

      2. Nikkikat

        We refuse to have anything in our house that it is “Smarter”than us. Except the cats.

        1. Skip Intro

          And remember the wisdom from Harry Potter: ‘Never trust anything if you can’t see where it keeps its brain’.

      3. griffen

        I failed to footnote that I’m no longer in TX. Not that it matters much.

        Back in the Carolinas the humidity is notably worse. A little less if the mountains or Asheville are visited.

    2. fresno dan

      June 19, 2021 at 10:38 am
      I keep my thermostat 10 degrees cooler than outside. I can’t tell you how much money I have saved frying eggs…

  14. Carolinian

    Middle East Monitor:

    “Netanyahu is still using the PM’s residence on Balfour Street as if he hasn’t been voted out of office, exploiting the lack of clear rules of transition,” reported diplomatic correspondent Tal Schneider. “He is doing more than sleeping and eating at the residence; he is hosting prominent guests.” She cited the reception of former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee.

    The Israeli journalist noted that Haley tweeted a photo from the meeting inside the residence referring to Netanyahu by his former title.

    That’s our Nikki. Someone should tell her that she’s out of office too.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they should wait until Netanyahu leaves the PM’s residence and when he does, change the locks. Even Trump never pulled a stunt like this or demand that he stay on. If they are not careful in Israel, Netanyahu may announce that he is now formally a “settler” and has taken over and occupied the PM’s residence as part of an ‘illegal occupation’.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        He wouldn’t call it an “illegal occupation”. He would call it a “fact on the ground”.

  15. Doug

    Biden admin again flying migrants who cross border in one place to another place before expelling them …

    That’s only if they show up for their promised court date.
    Peter Santenello’s brilliant series of youtube videos shot at the border processing area in McAllen is worth watching,

    as is the trip down the Rio Bravo waving at the coyotes, the interviews with ranchers whose backyards are the border etc.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Warning: She has been known to drop in on this site. And make comments too. So, best behavior, everyone!

  16. Louis

    With respect to the Flashpoint article on the housing crisis in Mountain West, and other tourist oriented towns, the handwriting has been on the wall for years, sometimes even well over a decade.

    Housing reaching crisis levels and employers struggling to find employees due to lack of housing within a reasonable commuting distance was on track to happen anyway in a lot these towns–it was merely compressed into a matter of months instead of years.

    1. Massinissa

      I agree with you, and I wonder what the possible solutions are. And as that housing ‘bubble’ article made the point a few days ago, things are only going to get worse. You can only replace rental units with AirBnBs, like happened to Krystyn, for so long without driving up rental unit prices for blue collar ‘low wage’ workers. How does this end?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        You see this out in the Hamptons. The supermarkets bus in the employees for the day from an hour away. People drive from out on the island in to work .

        1. Louis

          You see a similar phenomenon in the West with ski towns like Aspen or Telluride and that was true well before the pandemic.

          However, the economic forces reshaping towns have made it even harder to find workers–some of the ski areas do provide employee housing but for everyone else outside of the ski areas, they’re on their own.

          It’s hard to see how this can go on forever–at some point these towns are going to devolve into gated communities that consist of very expensive real estate but not a whole lot in the way of recognizable town.

      2. Objective Ace

        Solution is pretty simple. Raise wages and prices to support those wages. If service providers need to make 100k to make ends meet, and the rich need to pay 20 or 30 dollars a beer to pay that, so be it. . The rich aren’t entiltled to cheap services.

        And a by-product If the services industry shrinks because of less demand then the city becomes less desireable and house values may finally come down a bit

    2. a fax machine

      The answer is mass transit, something which is long overdue in America. The mountain west states are particularly ready for it, considering their existing investments in “core” systems. It is worth noting that the last privately operated passenger train in America was between Salt Lake City and Denver, largely due to the weather and difficult terrain. Meanwhile, declining interest in roadways due to poor maintence lowering permissible tonnage and a lack of suitable cars (Teslas can’t hack such roads in winter) will force a larger adoption towards alternatives. Suppose most ICE cars are off the road by 2030; the decimination of the highway trust fund will end freeways as we’ve known them and force Amtrak as the primary alternative. Not that the rich will care, by then it’s likely some sort of “uber for charter flights” will exist vis-a-vis Boeing’s new BBJs. I get ads for them all the time as it is.

      Of course, this will only buy time. Eventually the large investment companies, HOA and karen/soccermom oligarchy will have to come down. But when it does come down, it will be their own neighbors, their own uber drivers, and their own children leading the revolution. The decimation of intergenerational wealth will heavily force this.

      1. Procopius

        @a fax machine – Just so. I think it was Milton Friedman who said, in effect, who uses a resource is the person who should pay for it in reference to public transit, as they were raising fares. This overlooks the benefit employers get from their employees being able to get to work affordably. The real estate lobby has always been able to prevent efficient public transport, too.

        1. a fax machine

          With the way the world is falling apart, company-provided transportation can only grow. It started with Google buses, then Genetech buses, now every major employer in Silicon Valley has a bus. Even the local rail line, Caltrain, has an extensive bus shuttle network (a benefit of Caltrain being governed by a local bus agency, Samtrans, who wants to get into taxi services badly). At the end of this, we will come full circle: each Amtrak station will have a big line of sponsored ubers, vanpools and buses ready to get people to work. Individual car ownership will become unnecessary for the gentry, and an expensive burden for the poor. Airports will have entire terminals dedicated for company buses and chauffeurs, much like it is in the third world. Interstate freeways gradually fall apart as the Federal government logjams on funding, and trucks suddenly get a lot bigger to compensate. Companies like Amazon, Swift, Fedex etc buy their own rest stops and their own fuel/power depots as government rest stops turn into homeless camps. Gas stations (the ones that remain) will improve drastically, due to the lower demand forcing greater service.

          It’ll resemble 1930 in many regards. Not in a good way.

  17. Mikel


    “Small businesses in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, are far more likely to say they are requiring workers to get their shots compared to the national average, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Requiring proof for in-person work is something 20.9% of small businesses in Puerto Rico said they did in the last week, compared to the 4.5% national average, according to survey data collected from early to mid-June.

    Puerto Rico’s far-and-away lead on the topic can be attributed to caution and especially high stakes if a COVID-19 outbreak hits a business, observers say. …”

    In the Water Cooler updates about Covid, it would be interesting to start including a graph specifically about Puerto Rico. I don’t seem to notice it, in any particular way, in regional breakdowns of cases, etc.

    1. Robert Gray

      > … it would be interesting to start including a graph specifically about Puerto Rico. I don’t
      > seem to notice it, in any particular way, in regional breakdowns of cases, etc.

      Comprehensive corona information for Puerto Rico is available on 91-divoc.

  18. TimH

    On the Texas remote thermostat control… the big print states”By participating in the Program, you agree to allow EnergyHub, Inc. and your thermostat provider to remotely access your thermostat to make brief, limited adjustments to your thermostat temperature setting at times of peak electricity demand in the summer.”

    This is reasonable: it’s the program.

    However, the T&Cs state “Devices may automatically download and install software, firmware and other updates. By registering, you agree to receive such updates.”

    Sorry, not reasonable.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you don’t control it, it’s not really yours – even if you are the one paying for it.

  19. Josef K

    A quick perusal of a map will show that the land-locked country west of Vietnam and north of Cambodia is named Laos. Not “Lao.” The name “Laos” was chosen (yes, by the French) to represent the various Lao peoples, or the plurality of former kingdoms, depending on who’s talking; in any case, it’s plural.

    Starting in the 2010’s, with cheapo air-fare to SE Asia, the travellers tended towards partiers and short-time tourists. Neither, apparently, could be bothered to learn the country’s name, never mind a word or two of the language. No doubt they heard “Pathet Lao” or “Muang Lao” and couldn’t put down their Beer Lao long enough to learn what the “other word” means. But once back in Thailand, generous reports about all they’d done in “Lao:” drunk the cheap beer, smoked the cheaper ditch-weed, droped the bogus Molly; the “Lao” traveller’s trifecta. And grabbed a Beer Lao singlet to wear on all ocassions afterward.

    Not too surprising I guess that Twitter would pick that up.

  20. fresno dan
    Lee’s colleague Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has gone even further, introducing aggressive antitrust bills in recent months that would effectively ditch the consumer-welfare standard and replace it with something more closely approximating a “big is bad” standard, redolent of the pre-Bork antitrust scholarship of those such as Justice Louis Brandeis. Notably, Biden’s controversial FTC nominee Lina Khan, a 32-year-old progressive darling and leading “neo-Brandeisian” antitrust proponent, just attained a whopping 69 Senate confirmation votes — including 21 Republicans, nearly half the Senate GOP caucus.

    In the House, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), erstwhile Tea Party stalwart-turned-scathing Big Tech critic, has led the way in introducing a package of five bills that would strengthen America’s antitrust laws, with a specific focus on Big Tech. The Buck-led House effort is thoroughly bipartisan, and there is every reason to believe that Biden may ultimately sign some of the bills into law. Given the magnitude of the Big Tech threat — that is, a putatively sovereign citizenry outsourcing its most cherished self-governing norms about speech and information access to unaccountable corporate wokesters — conservative Big Tech critic Rachel Bovard is correct to phrase the Buck package as a “‘put up or shut up’ moment for Republicans.”
    So – bipartisan consensus? Now, my mere opinion is that this isn’t covered much (I can’t say AT ALL because I did find out about it by reading a newspaper article on the innertubes) because it just doesn’t fit the FOX or MSNBC/CNN narrative. The FOX view that any anti trust is bad, bad, BAD and no real American would believe in curtailing any large, wonderful, successful American company, and its also a commie pinko idea. As well as start breaking up big tech, and maybe somebody might suggest breaking up big media monopolies….and that would just be crazy, al least to Murdoch. And of course, the MSNBC bunch that ANYTHING a republican could vote for is evil, evil, EVIL. did I mention EVIL?
    Of course, I expect shortly a public relations Zukerbergian counter offensive that restraining Facebook is racist. or anti free speech. or a conspiracy by climate change denialists….

  21. allan

    More covid hilarity from DeSantistan:

    Masks won’t be required when Manatee County building reopens after deadly COVID outbreak

    Masks and other safety protocols will not be required for employees and others in the Manatee County administration building when it reopens Monday, despite the COVID-19 deaths of two county staffers and the sickening of three others, County Administrator Scott Hopes said Saturday.

    Hopes had said on Friday that mandatory safety protocols would be re-implemented after the outbreak, but he reversed course on Saturday.

    Hopes said an internal examination of the outbreak in the county’s IT department affected only non-vaccinated employees. Those employees who had been vaccinated, did not contract the coronavirus, Hopes said.

    “Individual employees in the IT Department who were known to be fully vaccinated and who were in close proximity of those who were infected did not contract COVID-19,” Hopes said in a message to employees on Saturday.

    Hopes said the decision made by county commissioners on May 11 to no longer require masks would stand, and that any member of the public who has not been vaccinated should still practice safety measures such as wearing a mask voluntarily and practicing social distancing.

    Hopes, who holds a degree in epidemiology, said Friday the commission’s decision to remove mandatory COVID-19 precautions was cause for concern.

    “It wasn’t my decision, but I was quite concerned. These protocols work. These protocols prevent illness and they help to minimize death,” he said when asked whether he believed the county acting prematurely when lifting the restrictions. …

    Of course, as with any other public space where masking is on an honor system,
    when the county office building reopens there will be no way to know whether unmasked individuals
    are fully vaccinated or just expressing their rugged individualism.

    Meanwhile, WSJ editorial page: Why Shutdowns and Masks Suit the Elite [refuse to link]

  22. Darthbobber

    That Chinese defector story. I suspect that this turns out to be largely a hoax. Look at that list of neoconservative wet dreams items he supposedly brought the goods on. All fits the conventions of drama pretty well, but makes no sense in terms of how intelligence and counterintelligence operations work.

    1. Skip Intro

      Perhaps the next Curveball is being groomed to generate more good propaganda stories to drive the war narrative for a post-summer ‘product launch’.

  23. BoyDownTheLane

    Speaking of restful sleep, I pledge $100 to the kitty if someone puts together a meaningful, truthful look at the mystical phenomena being touted as “med beds”. I just re-upped for a new “sleep suite” of brain-wave music and the next level of Holosync; thus far, it’s the only thing that works short of the NASA power nap found on YouTube. An entire book has been written about the scientific phenomenon at work; it is called “Thresholds of the Mind”.

    1. Alfred

      Laws a mercy! I looked up “med beds” and they sound horrifying. This is the kind of thing energy healers (Reiki, Acupuncture, etc) are trained to do and will not scramble your frequencies, unless you get a fraud practitioner. I can’t imagine letting some software programmer tickle my cell processes in that way.

      30 years ago or so I had subliminal tapes for various pruposes, like quitting smoking, overcoming procrastination and fears of various sorts, under the sounds of ocean waves and water. They were quite soothing. Has anyone here ever heard of the Monroe Institute? I had a group session with someone from that place that was pretty wild. I think I will stick to Mozart.

  24. jr

    Birding note: Bird feeding experiment

    So my hardware store has no decent bird seed for the sparrows, finches, and mourning doves that frequent my bird pool. I tried sunflower seeds but the squirrels ate some and nothing else did. What to do?

    Give Mother Nature a helping hand! I put a tiny blob of sunflower butter in a clay tray near the bath. It’s already got a few ants in it and no doubt more to follow. The birds can pluck them up with no time or effort. Now I have a bird pool, a pile of nest building materials, and a snack bar!

  25. Tom Stone

    I’ll relate this because I find it amazing.
    Charles Greer just set two world records at 1,000 yards using an NBRSA Heavy Rifle.
    A perfect score of 100 10X ( Ten out of ten in the X ring) and smallest group, ten shots measured at 2.6566″ center to center.

    1. rowlf

      To add, what is the difference between Bench Rest rifle and just using a barrel testing fixture and watching the wind flags?

      1. ambrit

        Doing as a past Olympic Gold Medallist in shooting did. He could stop his heartbeat for a second while he shot. No pulse equals no physical vibration in the hands holding the firearm while shooting.

  26. The Rev Kev


    Yeah, things are never so simple as they seem, even with this being declared a public holiday. Would you believe that Trump called for this to be declared a public holiday several months ago?

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden didn’t even know what Juneteenth was about the same time- (11 secs)

  27. ambrit

    Mini Zeitgeist Report.
    Just finished a visit from both sisters, their ‘partners,’ offspring and Mum.
    The PMC adjacent crowd. Actually a fun day. All had taken both jabs. Phyl and I stayed pretty much mum on that subject the entire day. All the relatives acted as if vaccination was a “done deal’ nation wide. Skepticism about the “official narrative” concerning vaccination was met with “vigorous” push back.
    One husband works in a classic 10%er job. His bosses required either two Covid tests a week, or the vaccine. As a sweetner, the company paid the employees $1000 USD to each vaccinated employee. Talk about inducements! His wife and offspring followed suit. (Inner family cohesiveness and all that.)
    The other husband is a “First Responder,” and so was at the head of the line early on. He saw it as a calculated gamble and rolled the dice. His wife, my sister, works at a big national outfit. They are “strongly encouraging” employees to get vaccinated. It’s not mandatory yet, but she says that scuttlebut says that a mandate looms on the horizon. No where is there a discussion of what an EUA really entails.
    Oh well. I guess I’ll have to “follow the science,” straight to h—.
    I tell you three times. Stay safe! Stay safe! Stay safe!

    1. The Rev Kev

      This whole rush to unproven vaccines is starting to remind me of the story of the man who started a rumour that there was gold to be found in Hell. There was an initial rush of people to go to Hell to stake their gold claim and more and more people followed so as not to miss out. Pretty soon every man and his dog were all rushing to go to Hell as it became a general rush. Soon there came a point when everybody had gone to Hell leaving the man who started the first rumour behind. Rubbing his chin and seeing how everybody had gone to Hell, he thought that that, you know, there might just be something in it after all. And he rushed down to Hell as well.

      1. ambrit

        It sounds like something by Twain or Bierce.
        The analogy of Today with the Age of the Robber Barons is too close for comfort.

        1. The Rev Kev

          When I read your report, I was wondering how you were making it through these times. You and Phyllis that is. Somebody said the other day in a comment how people can still be infected by this virus after being fully vaccinated makes them like a modern-day Typhoid Mary and all these family visits going on do make me wonder. I can see why you both kept a low profile on his topic though. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that about 18 months ago you were giving them all a heads-up on what was coming our way based on what you read and all your family said ‘Nah! It’ll be fine.’

          1. ambrit

            Right on the nose Rev Kev.
            There was a palpable feeling of “we’re on the right side of history in this and no questioning of the ‘facts’ by you will change our minds.” Any ‘questioning of “the Narrative” was subtly portrayed as Conspiracy Theory Syndrome in action.
            As the experiences related to us by the family showed, the ‘society’ in general, or the elites who pretend to be that ‘society,’ are using fair means or foul to impose conformity. I’d consider the choice between $1000 USD or twice weekly inner nasal swabs as an example of the ‘carrot and stick’ tactic at work, literally ‘at work’ in this case.
            I consider the entire ‘experience’ today as an object lesson of a massive ‘Appeal to Authority’ argument in practice.
            On a more meta level, the experience today was also an example of ‘Basic American Calvinist Theology’ as it plays out. My relatives are, as I have said elsewhere, roughly 10%ers; nice houses, yearly vacations, new vehicles, good kids doing well in college, even their dogs are well behaved. One group flew to DC for the ‘Pink P—y Hat Demonstrations’ several years ago. (Where were the Capitol Police then?) I digress; they can argue that they are ‘blessed by the gods’ because they have material wealth. Being ‘blessed by the gods’ confers certain social and political benefits. Benefits like: never being wrong, always being worthy of emulation, eternal certainty in their status, etc. etc.
            Much as I love them to bits, they can be a pain. [Let us agree not to look too closely at my own biases here. I have Demons cut from the same cloth hiding in my closets.] As you said, learning when to keep quiet is a dificult skill to deploy. I have become averse to the taste of foot.
            Well, stay safe X 3!

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              ” Where were the capital police then? ” . . .

              Did anyone really think some Pink Pussy Hat 10 per centers and their adjacent Woke Allies were going to be a violent-invasion threat to the capitol building? Clearly not. And events proved them right to not think so.

              1. ambrit

                Hmmm… That could be “a friendly invasion promise.”
                What might have “fooled” the Capitol Police was the similarity between the two groups. The Jan 6 crowd wasn’t exactly an avatar of the Bonus Army.

  28. a fax machine

    “the strange death of liberal russophobia” – NY Times [paywall]

    One wonders what the long term effects on our democracy will be when Democrats hype up Russia as the big bad and then drop it hard because their guy won. Apparently, what Russia does or doesn’t do is irrelevant now that Biden is President and therefore any potential threats Russia poses no longer exists. This includes the colonial pipeline hack, amongst others.

    Already I can see it now: Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ron DeSantis accuses Biden of being soft on Russia, shortly before a razor thin victory based on broken voting machines in Texas. Democrats marginally loose, and move to blame Putin only to find that President DeSantis already has and will begin removal of Russian-friendly elements using all the new powers given to Biden to fight domestic insurrectionism.

  29. Procopius

    Now that’s challenging. I read somewhere that back in the early 1900s the Marine Corps only awarded the Expert Marksman badge to marines who could hit the X ring at 1,000 yards. If you’ve never thought about it, that’s more than half a mile. Lots of us can’t even see the target that far away.

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