Links 7/4/2021

A happy or at least contented Fourth of July to all NC readers. –Lambert

A dry California creek bed looked like a wildfire risk. Then the beavers went to work Sacramento Bee. On beavers as ecosystem engineers, see NC here and here.

The hard truth about ransomware: we aren’t prepared, it’s a battle with new rules, and it hasn’t near reached peak impact. Double Pulsar. Kaseya.

Kaseya Case Update Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure (dk). dk: “The SaaS and ‘cloud’ industries are unprepared to take necessary steps in face of clear evidence of hazard. One has to be able to shut down for some limited period (a 2-7 days usually enough for in-house to secure and clean up, if caught before total compromise). But when further enterprises across the economy rely on these services/providers, the impacts will cascade. The psychology of computer use must change for the sake of safety and overall consistency/reliability. The awareness of the responsibility seems to be too much to grasp for self-centered business operators.”

Another Day, Another Hack Via a Private Equity Owned Software Firm Matt Stoller, BIG

UN confirms 18.3C record heat in Antarctica France24

Cleaner air has contributed one-fifth of U.S. maize and soybean yield gains since 1999 (accepted manuscript) Environmental Research Letters. Press release.

Iowa climate activist sentenced to eight years in federal prison for Dakota Access pipeline sabotage Des Moines Register


The CDC stopped tracking most COVID-19 cases in vaccinated people. That makes it hard to know how dangerous Delta really is. Business Insider. So when you see headlines like “Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated,” remember that the vaccinated are not being tracked, and so don’t appear in the numbers. Public health spokespersons in this country are not only drunks looking for their keys under the lamp-post, they’re patting themselves on the back for it, UPDATE after shooting out all the other lights on the block.

“Destroyer and Teacher”: Managing the Masses During the 1918–1919 Influenza Pandemic Public Health Reports. From 2010, still highly germane.

‘Wasting my breath’: Southern faith leaders wary of promoting vaccines Politico. Matthew 25:34-40.


How China became the big winner of the COVID era American Shipper

ByteDance starts selling TikTok’s AI to other companies FT

Jagged Sphere The Lowy Institute

It’s Getting More Likely The Japanese Would Fight For Taiwan Forbes


Rare Earths in Myanmar: Unobtanium? The Diplomat

Total and Chevron strike symbolic blow at Myanmar junta’s revenue Nikkei Asian Review

The Koreas

Kim Jong Un’s weight loss befuddles North Korea watchers FT

Why private foreign security companies are booming in Africa Deutsche Welle

After Sudden Defeat, Captured Ethiopian Soldiers Are Marched to Prison NYT


US withdrawal from strategic Afghan base involves ‘degree of humiliation’ France24 (Re Silc).

Peru’s government rejects Fujimori call for international audit for June 6 poll Reuters

Brazilians take to the streets to protest Bolsonaro’s handling of Covid-19 France24

Biden Administration

The Intellectual Foundations of the Biden Revolution Foreign Policy. Wut.

Pushing President Biden’s Full, Popular, and Bipartisan Build Back Better Agenda Forward (PDF) Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor Anita Dunn, Senior Advisor, The White House. This caught my eye:

Creating a first-of-its-kind Infrastructure Financing Authority that will leverage billions into clean transportation and clean energy, water, distributed energy resources, and retrofits of residential, commercial, and municipal buildings. The Infrastructure Financing Authority will provide low-cost capital to state, local, and private entities, including green banks and community financial institutions – seeking to address the most significant needs of our time through a broad toolkit of financial assistance.

No mention of “asset recycling.”

Biden lays out an unclear, but hopeful pathway for private capital Infrastructure Investor

The future is symmetrical Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. The Democrats’ horrid broadband bill. This isn’t building back better; it’s building back more of the bad, and locking us into the badness for another few decades.

Fighting coplighting with coplighting:

Democrats en Deshabille

The empire strikes back: Mainstream Dems try to crush the left in Buffalo and Cleveland Salon. Waiting for Obama to parachute into Nina Turner’s race, now that Clyburn has fired an initial barrage to soften up the terrain.

If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals Kevin Drum. Conflates left and liberal, and both with identity politics (“social issues”), but otherwise interesting.

Trump Legacy

Trump Organization Charges: A Probe of Hush Money Moved to Fringe Benefits WSJ. Interestingly: “Weisselberg has added a tax expert and former IRS senior official to his team. That’s not a move taken by someone who is planning to cooperate.”

Our Famously Free Press

The Horrifying Rise Of Total Mass Media Blackouts On Inconvenient News Stories Caitlin Johnstone

ACTION ALERT: NYT Ignores Two-Year House Arrest of Lawyer Who Took on Big Oil FAIR (Carla).

Hong Kong isn’t the only jurisdiction with a “national security law”:

Feral Hog Watch

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima’s exclusion zone The Register. Wake me when they evolve thumbs.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A Black Scientist’s Retrospective of His Life in Physical Chemistry The Journal of Physical Chemistry. Well worth a read.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Conspiracy Games and Counter Games | The Q in Qonspiracy: Narrative, Games and Other Conspiracies. An interview with Wu Ming 1 (podcast) Wu Ming Foundation (DG).

What we know about Rise of the Moors, group engaged with Massachusetts State Police in Interstate 95 shutdown Mass Live. From an account that tracks these groups, a thread:

Fascism and fajitas have the same etymological roots Boing Boing (Re Silc). Also “fascinate.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Inside the Tumultuous Years Before the Florida Condo Collapse NYT. The deck: “The condo board knew that Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., needed major repairs. It did not know the complex was in a race against time.” This is silly. Any physical plant is in a perpetual race against time, as any property owner knows. Dwellings “crack and sometimes break, under the burden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, will not stay still.”

Protestors clash in LA over transgender woman disrobing in spa The Hill

Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare The New Yorker

Class Warfare

Are Masks a New Signifier of Social Class? NYT

Those who are still wearing masks tend to be members of the service class — store clerks, waiters, janitors, manicurists, security guards, receptionists, hair stylists and drivers — while those without face coverings are often the well-to-do customers being wined and dined.

Jarring lack of parallelism between “service class” and (the class-less?) “well-to-do.” It’s a neat trick to take off and put on the mask of class simultaneously, but the Times is up to the challenge!

Most contactless service is awful. You can tell because the rich don’t do it. The Week

A $500,000 Home On The Northern Plains To Hide From The Future Defector

Stoicism and Mimetic Desire: 3 Keys To Living Intentionally Daily Stoic. “Mimetic desire,” interesting. “But Mom, all the other kids have one!”

The world’s longest-living people share this hobby—why studies say it can help add years to your life CNBC

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Carla

    Re: “So when you see headlines like “Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated,” remember that the unvaccinated are not being tracked, and so don’t appear in the numbers.”

    Lambert, I think you may mean the VACCINATED are not being tracked…

          1. Mantid

            Peerke, Loss of smell is not included in the revised symptoms of the Delta variant.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Lambert, I think you may mean the VACCINATED are not being tracked…

      Whoopsie, quite right, fixed, thanks. I added a little more venom de l’escalier while I was at it….

      1. clem

        >”The CDC stopped tracking most COVID-19 cases in vaccinated people. That makes it hard to know how dangerous Delta really is.”
        >”So when you see headlines like “Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated,” remember that the vaccinated are not being tracked, and so don’t appear in the numbers”
        in the first article:”Since May 1, the agency has only reported and investigated coronavirus infections among vaccinated people that resulted in hospitalization or death”

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        And another thing that is driving me nuts is all the talk about the goal of 70% receiving at least one dose of vaccine by July 4 not being met. We shouldn’t still be talking about one dose when one is drastically less effective than two at reducing symptomatic infections from the Delta variant. Why is that metric still being used?

        And another thing: what’s with this assurance that there will only be “regional” surges? Last I checked there are absolutely no travel restrictions within the continental US. Whatever percent of the population even in vaccinated areas that hasn’t been fully immunized is fertile ground for Delta.

        Where I am we are closing in on almost 70% fully vaccinated and more and more people are dispensing with masks indoors in public. But even here that means 30% of the population is at risk. Enough for a nice little conflagration.

        It’s amazing to see the magical thinking that goes on at all levels.

        1. Isotope_C14

          Hi ChiGal – Yeah, everyone in Germany has quit masking, even some at work (in Biology)

          Apparently they only read the headlines that “the vaccine works”.

          Watched this today, pretty neat. I wonder if that 70% is just adults or kids over 12? Quite a few munchkins that shouldn’t get the vaccine:

          1. sporble

            I beg to differ with “everyone in Germany has quit masking”.

            I’m here in Berlin – and I still see masks on everyone when inside stores, though a few (maybe 10%?) folks aren’t wearing them in the subways (where they’re also required).

            1. Isotope_C14

              Yeah, I do toss out the Generalizations some.

              My bad.

              Wedding no one is wearing masks, and it has been this way for some time.

              Perhaps in the more affluent parts of town they have figured out the Vaccines aren’t perfect.

        2. Eustachedesaintpierre

          The symptoms for Delta are different than the earlier strains, as now they are basically the same as those for the common cold, which as up until a day or so ago according to John Campbell that fact had not been updated on the CDC website, which probably won’t help matters if people are not aware of it & still relying on lack of smell & a fever to be their guide.

        3. kareninca

          Actually I am very glad that we are being told what percent have had one shot and what percent has had two shots. People who persist in not getting the second shot may have a reason – for instance, they may have had a bad reaction to the first shot. That is some info for us to work with.

      3. eg

        A patient in the long term care home where my brother-in-law is housed just died from COVID. Everyone in there is fully vaccinated.

  2. Tom Stone

    “The Intellectual Foundations of the Biden Revolution”.
    Graffitti on a toilet seat?

    I’ll be smiling at that headline all day, it’s up there with “Democracy Restored to Haiti”.

    1. pjay

      Yes, I did a double-take at that headline. Unfortunately, curiosity forced me to read the article. Aarrgh.

      It definitely would have been the funniest headline, but then I saw “Radioactive hybrid terror pigs…” so I’m torn.

    2. tegnost

      Well now I have a hint of what sausage making has been going on quietly behind the scenes.
      Everything important can be seen between the lines, unsurprising PR messaging.
      Lots of percentages, with dems always practically unanimous…where do they get these numbers?
      No question to me that there will be a student loan type program to get uber drivers into electric cars. Also cleaning up the messes of the oil and mining companies.
      How many times do I have to see good paying union jobs?
      Unions are all but dead.
      The devil will eventually show up in the details.

    3. Knifecatcher

      The words “intellectual” and “Biden” should really never be placed in the same sentence.

    4. VietnamVet

      Joe Biden is showing his age. There are also undercurrents that the media is ignoring.

      Kamala Harris office skills were skewered by Politico but she is not going anywhere unlike Spiro Agnew. California which is run by Democrats will not dig up any dirt on one of their own.

      The Washington Post is reporting on the horror of what is happening due to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan but will they and the CIA try to do another Watergate II during a pandemic and economic depression?

      The most under reported rumor is that Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have resolved the rush to war in Ukraine. The UK apparently didn’t get the message and the HMS Defender almost got in a firefight with Russia in the Black Sea last week.

      Along with upsetting the Imperialists, Joe Biden is following exactly Donald Trump’s policies on the Pandemic. No national public health programs to exterminate coronavirus. Rely solely on mRNA jabs. If there is a significant spike in Delta Variant hospitalizations and a lockdown next winter, Democrats will be dead men walking in the 2022 mid-term elections. Not the mention, if war with China the halts movement of goods from Asia or the blowup of the wildfires in the West cuts East West supply lines and shrouds the region in toxic air.

  3. John A

    Re masks as class signifiers
    while those without face coverings are often the well-to-do customers being wined and dined.

    You cannot dine or drink wine with a mask on. Just saying.

    1. Dan S

      Here in Central Pennsyltucky I can tell you that pretty much everyone outside of a medical facility has dropped the mask. I’d say about 1/2 of the food service workers are unmasked as well. Our family keeps ours on indoors, following the precautionary principle after being vaxed and we still avoid prolonged indoor dining. It has nothing to do with class or even politics at this point. I think everyone was just sick of wearing a mask and most folks in PA are vaxed. The economy in Southcentral PA is humming along pretty good as we’re in a military industrial/state govt/fed govt/medical center economic bubble. So, even though the politics are kinda trash around here, (think Trumpkin elected officials without the humor), the residents are not the stereotypical racist, poor, Trump-loving rubes that coastal elites like to project upon fly-over country. I posit most voted for Trump around here for lower taxes and to own the libs.

      1. Aumua

        Well, “owning the libs” isn’t exactly a great example of a thoughtful, high-brow reason for voting. But I do get your point.

    2. CanCyn

      Right you are, so follow the logic … if it is safe enough to eat and drink in a restaurant why isn’t it safe enough to wait on folks while mask-less? Hmm, let me ponder aloud in full /s mode … could it be because the diners are better folks than the the wait staff? PMC /elites vs. the great unwashed, those deplorables. Can’t have those germs types breathing on their betters now can we? /s off
      Come on man, the evolving masked vs. unmasked saga is pretty easy to see for what it is and where it will end up.

      1. JEHR

        The answer to your question is that the masked person is preventing others from getting infected while the unmasked person could be spreading infection (even when fully vaccinated).

        1. ambrit

          Yes, but I think that you are missing the element of “noblesse oblige” in this dynamic.
          From my observations “in the wild.” Several people who were not wearing masks told me, when querried, that they were vaccinated. Full stop. No further explanation offered, as if the implications of that status were self-evident. This often accompanied obvious “upper status” signifiers, such as: new automobile, high worth automobile, expensive clothing (even when ostensibly ‘lower status’ in style and cut,) highly curated personal grooming, etc.
          I detect a need to reinforce one’s personal sense of entitlement lurking behind many of the performative behaviours observed recently.

      2. ambrit

        Do you mean like the “culottes” and the “sans-culottes” of the French Revolution? Hmmm… History may not repeat but….

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I suppose the official answer would be that each tablefull of diners is 6 feet or more from the next tablefull of diners. Whereas the hospitality-and-foodservice staff are often closer to eachother than 6 feet, so masking might slow spread of virus.

        Also, wannabe-diners are supposed to wear masks and keep them on until seated, and put them back on for going to restroom, etc.

      4. John Beech

        Hmmm, in response to your likely rhetorical question, for me and mine, no it is not safe enough to go to restaurants. Haven’t been inside one in a year-and-a-half. Don’t anticipate ever going to one again until the idiots wise up. The huge percentage of Republicans who say they will never take the vaccine essentially explaining my discomfort with the idea of returning any time soon to our ~$1000/month spending on eating out. Too bad.

      5. Yves Smith

        Michigan had a rule that diners wore masks until beverages and/or food arrived, and were to put them on once they’d finished their meal and libations.

    3. Keith

      To a point. I think ones political identity is a factor, as well. Well, at least anecdotally from where I live in the conservative part of the state and when I travel to Seattle.

      Forced masking is more related to class, imho.

    4. flora

      adding: wait staff and counter staff are in the restaurant space 4 -8 -9 hours at a time. Individual diners presumably are in the restaurant space on average 1 hour or less. And as far as we know at this point, none of the vax confer sterilizing immunity. I know a few counter people who are vaxed and continue wearing masks at work. Seems like a reasonable decision, imo.

    5. JP

      Just got back from the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. In order to get there I had to prove I was vaccinated and get tested before I could re-enter the US and also buy a health plan from the Bahamas heath authority. So all of the guests at the resort were more or less safe from each other and most don’t wear a mask after a few days. On the other hand vaccine skepticism is huge there so it is safe to say, none of the staff were vaccinated.

      It’s a water park / resort so all the guests were either eating, drinking or in the water. I was working with staff and not masked about half the time.but also mostly outside. The staff were all masked all the time.

  4. bassmule

    re: Contactless service

    Recently, a friend and I had lunch at La Barra, part of the “Little Spain” operation at Hudson Yards in NYC. Shown to our table, at it’s center was a QR code. Scanning it, we discovered that we are not only going to make choices from the menu, we are going to take our own orders, using the phone, and pay in advance, using the phone. Our tapas arrived pretty quickly. One order was wrong. Who do we address this problem to? We quickly figure out that we ask the server nearest us. This was the sole moment of actual conversation with a member of the waitstaff. We never saw the same server twice. I understand why they did this–“contactless service”–but it still creeped me out. I don’t really want to be my own waiter. PS: This is a José Andrés operation. The famously philanthropic chef. I wonder if he knows how off-putting this place is.

    1. Questa Nota

      How long until you are asked to bus and wash your dishes?

      Awaiting news of QR hacks that serve malware along with foodware. If you really want that dessert, send bitcoin to the specified account.

      1. Robert Gray

        > How long until you are asked to bus and wash your dishes?

        Indeed. By the same token, never clear your table when you’re leaving, even in a fast-food place or a cafeteria. If everybody did that, the person whose job it is would be out of work.

      2. fumo

        Some of my favorite restaurants have the customers self-bus their tables. Keeps the entitled posh nobs away and it’s almost no trouble at all to do—if you’re not doing it all day for others.

    2. Mikel

      Getting people even more used to dumbed down communitcation that “AI” can understand.

    3. Chris Hargens

      Like self-checkout at Target, CVS, et al, contactless service translates into savings on labor.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Now that there’s no one at check out lines, it’s generally faster to self-checkout.

        Although I have noticed this: In the south, to be defined as North Carolina in my case, self-checkout at any grocery store I’ve been to freaks out if I put my cloth bag on the “paid for” scale with my groceries and simultaneously bag while scanning. Apparently, I’m trying to steal groceries. This necessitates waiting for an attendant while my station flashes like I’m a crook. (This was at Ingles, Publix, Food Lion, Harris Teater, ect, ect, so, all.)

        In New England, defined as Boston here, I did this all the time and none of the automated self-scanning stations ever thought I was a thief for putting my cloth bag on the “paid for” kiosk and then putting my groceries inside as I scanned. I can only conclude the anti-theft weight feature is a southern(?) thing.

        Anyway, how irritating. You’d think for doing the store’s job, you’d be given a bit more latitude and common courtesy.

        (This is solved by dropped your cloth bag on the floor or where ever, finishing scanning, paying, then bagging after you’ve paid so the anti-theft isn’t confounded and you aren’t singled out as a potential criminal.)

        1. saywhat?

          At Walmart, the first thing I do is select “Own bag” on the screen and then place my bag on the scale.

          The only time I need assistance is when I buy alcohol.

          However, I usually prefer a human checker – to help preserve their jobs.

          Btw, the Publix I go to has NO self-checkouts and I love that.

          1. Jason Boxman

            Interesting — I haven’t noticed that option, and in truth no one should need to reverse engineer how these UIs work to be able to give a company your money.

            Same applies to these contactless nonsense. I never go out to eat, so I haven’t really noticed; the only place here I’ve seen QR codes also has servers come around and take orders, although there’s no “menu” without using your phone on the code.

        2. eg

          My solution is to hold the bag in my hand, scan the first item, then put it in the bag and set the bag on the “paid for” scale. Subsequent items go into the bag which is now on the scale.

      2. juno mas

        …and fewer service employees. (I stand in line for a clerk at the grocery store; solidarity.)

        1. Sawdust

          Same. If you use the self-checkout, you’re just helping the corporation externalize its labor costs onto the public. What most “convenience” these days really amounts to.

      3. Ohnoyoucantdothat

        Had interesting interaction at McDonalds in Albuquerque last month. Walked there as I was without car. Went into order area and was told that I could only order at drivethru. So went outside, got in car line and placed order that way. It was surreal. This at a time when most restaurants in town had reopened at near full capacity. First time that ever happened at McD even at height of lockdown.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      i’ve only seen that at Chuy’s in san antone.
      (only sit down rest. dinner wife and i have had in a year and a half)
      waitress sez they don’t even have menus any more(did they throw them away?)
      i knew what i wanted anyway…and waitress took the order.
      next time, i’ll assert that i don’t have a cell phone.
      similarly to never using “self-checkout”, i’ll not partake in this mess.
      i am averse to 1. forcing the adoption of high tech to do a simple transaction and 2. being lumped in with various crazy righties for believing in slippery slopes and having read my share of dystopian literature(on old fashioned, paper books).
      i foresee not only a cashless world, but one where one’s car keys are in one’s phone…necessarily the newest thousand dollar model.
      i hereby opt out of all of that.
      ASPCA can call it “secession” if it wants to.

      and as to the related Doctorow thing:
      we’re near the end of one of those 70 year old copper wires(party lines out here until late 80’s-early 90’s when my mom moved here). There’s Fiber down at the highway, a mile distant, but i have no idea if we’re hooked into that.
      works well enough for 6 of us watching separate movies…but not well enough for when my brother comes up and tries to “work from home” from way out here(his cell fone won’t work here, either)…ergo 80/20 download/upload discrepancy.
      only five houses on this road, so i doubt they’ll change it any time soon.

      i’ll likely never need or really appreciate whatever difference it makes when they do, but Cory makes a pretty good case any way.

      and this bit of delicious snark:
      “In America, millions are stuck with copper infrastructure literally consisting of century-old wires wrapped in newspaper, dipped in tar, and draped over tree-banches.” describes the Beer Joint Mode of the sound system on my part of the place perfectly…except add randomly acquired and weatherised speakers in the trees…including old broken down guitar amps.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That last bit stung. We were switched to fiber and now whenever we lose our power, we lose the phone as well because it goes through the internet. And all for no net benefit in speed. Progress!

      2. Procopius

        See Larry Niven’s Known Space series for that development of phone/credit card. Also, transplantation of organs is so good that they are harvested from executed criminals, so you can be given the death penalty for changing lanes without using your turn signal.

    5. Darnell

      Nothing like breaking up the “setup”, the napkin, silverware and place settings in a restaurant, then discovering they want to pull this bullshit on you.

      Time to walk out and tell the manager or cashier why.

      We did this once or twice pre-pandemic when a restaurant allowed some screaming brat to disturb the peace. Hand the waiter a dollar for whatever bread was touched.

      “Fascism and fajitas have the same etymological roots” So does faggot, which is a bundle of sticks in Olde England. A fag is a cigarette, or a homosexual, many of whom were burned for their proclivities.

  5. Quentin

    Julian Assange spent his 50th birthday yesterday in Belmarsh prison. The powerful in Great Britain, USA and Sweden who are directly responsible for his miserable lot, just to mention his chief persecutors, are unconsionable, to put it mildly.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘The Hill
    .@PressSec: “The president ran on and won the most votes of any candidate in history on the platform of boosting funding for law enforcement, after Republicans spent decades trying to cut the cops program.” ‘

    In translating this Psakibabble, I am seeing two things come up. One is that not only do you have Kamala the Cop but now you also have Joe the Cop. The second is that she seems to be saying that “Defund the Police” is actually a Republican slogan. Umm, yeah.

    Have a happy 4th of July, guys, and hope you have a good break.

  7. oliverks

    Regarding the withdrawal from Afghanistan the article states “there’s nothing positive to be taken away from any of this”. Perhaps if our leaders were to re-watch the Princess Bride, they would realize to never get involved in a land war in Asia.

    1. Tex

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ― Upton Sinclair,

    2. JTMcPhee

      And what will the name of the last Imperial Trooper to die in Not-Again?istan be? And what will the monument sure to be erected by “patriots” memorializing the Imperial dead and disabled look like? Maybe they can save a design fee and just re-use the long black wall, the one with some of my friends’ names on it?

      “Learned nothing and forgotten nothing”? Nope. They sh!ts who rule us with such impunity, especially the ones that sit at home and start and operate these war rackets with the sad acquiescence of too many mopes, know just what fills and swells their obscene rice bowls.

      Yeah, Happy First Commercial Holiday in July, everyone! May you all be healthy and happy.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia’

      Maybe also ‘never invade Russia in wintertime.’

        1. steelyman

          Field Marshal Montgomery’s Rules Of Warfare:
          Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: “Do not go fighting with your land armies in China”. It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives.

  8. The Historian

    As a person who is (maybe was) looking for a condo to buy, that article under Imperial Collapse Watch was a real eye opener. When you buy a condo, you aren’t buying just an apartment, you are buying all the problems of the whole building. I wonder how many people were told by their real estate agents how serious the problems of that building were before they bought? What I’ve seen firsthand is that you get told NOTHING about the building’s condition. So buyer beware and hire a building inspector – and it will be pricey – before you buy.

    I’m older and I no longer can do yardwork or snow removal so I thought a condo was the way to go. I’m rethinking that…..maybe I’ll just use the money I was going to pay for a condo for rent instead.

    1. Gareth

      If you like where you live now, it might be as cost-effective to install a Japanese-style rock & juniper garden along with a sidewalk and driveway heating system.

      1. The Historian

        If I had all the money in the world, I might consider a sidewalk and driveway heating system. But tell me, how well do those systems work when it gets 20 below for weeks? And how well do they work with drifting snow? I am looking for housing in North Dakota.

        1. Gareth

          They work pretty well in NY state, but you would need to talk to the engineers that make them to see if it would be suited for a winter extreme like North Dakota. The main issue is paying for the energy to run them. If you want to stay in North Dakota, you might pay less for a snow removal service than you would for condo fees. Last time I did a PV for fees for a condo in my area, the cost was 1.5x more than the listed price of the unit, which was already priced higher than a home with the same number of bedrooms and baths. Of course, you could also become a snow bird or an RV enthusiast for the winter.

        2. Polar Socialist

          I have no experience in operating sidewalk heating, but our city’s shopping street has one – and the issue seems to be the snowfall, not the temperature (assuming you’re using Fahrenheit, we’ve got ~3 months of below 20 each year).

          If the snow keeps on coming, the slosh will neither melt or drain quickly enough, and the sidewalks turn into a mishmash of ankle-deep slosh and ice-cold puddles that everyone tries to avoid visiting.

    2. Katiebird

      Who owns the land that holds those Condo Buildings? Does buying a condo give the owners a percentage of that land value? Or is that a separate ownership?

      1. The Historian

        I don’t know. I wasn’t smart enough to ask. Just another thing I didn’t think about when looking for condos.

        1. Katiebird

          For the people stuck with condos in these unmaintained and collapsed buildings, owning some of the land could offset their financial losses.

          1. ambrit

            In Florida, that would depend on the State permitting rebuilding on the site. For various reasons, thay might not allow rebuilding.
            Also, insuring the site and the project might be impractical (as in much too expensive.)

      2. Oh

        You won’t get to own the land when you buy a condo, at least in a city where I live. That’s what a bank loan officer told me when I asked him about a loan on a condo.

        1. Franco

          That’s right, you own the airspace between the walls, plus all the debts, obligations and liability. Tower condos are for suckers. San Francisco has thousands of them, in building that may collapse and people are staying away in droves.

      3. SteveW

        In most jurisdiction, the land and the structure are owned by the condo Corp (unit owners being the shareholders). Unit owners own the spaces inside the unit walls. Theoretically, they can rebuild with the insurance payout (if the insurance Co pays, big if). In essence, joint ownership is the issue when individual unit owners do not want to pay out bigger monthly fee to build up the reserves or to contribute to major repair. A can of worms.

        1. chuck roast

          After the GFC many condo owners in Flah abandoned ship, and the monthly fees went into arrears. Just as many residential structures had their necessary repairs pushed into the future only to compound. I’m guessing that these Condo Boards of Directors are now getting as nervous and shaky as their buildings.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I’m on the management committee of my apartment complex, and its a minefield. I have a lot of sympathy for any company that that decides its best not to ask awkward questions about things like structural integrity. Ask the wrong question and you could end up with an answer that costs the leaseholders a fortune. They will not thank you for asking the question.

      One of our owners thought he was quite smart when he bought his penthouse to negotiate with the builder the lease to the roof around his apartment, so he could expand if he wanted. Turns out, he paid a five figure sum to the builder to purchase a liability. We are very grateful to him.

    4. fresno dan

      The Historian
      July 4, 2021 at 9:05 am
      I have a friend who lives in Washington DC in a condo, and a few years ago, his had a huge special assessment to fix plumbling problems, that because ignored for so long, led to structural problems.
      It is amazing to me that it appears most condos don’t have problems, when you consider the people ultimately responsible for maintenace decisions (and remember, not a house, but a massive structure) are just a board elected by the residents. But when there are problems, they are big problems.

      1. Franco

        Image the special assessment after a big earthquake racks the frame of the building and the elevators can’t squeeze through the distorted shaft.

    5. Pat

      While a number of things can be hidden in both minutes and financials, combing them can still be enlightening. And at least in NY you would have access to both before buying. And you can ask questions about them.

      I am not sure they have townhome type communities in the area of North Dakota you are considering, but herein the East they might answer some of your issues. The HOA fees they come with provide many of the services you need, but it would be a limited space for a building inspection. Just a thought.

    6. Carolinian

      That NYT story tells you exactly what you might expect–that hundreds of elderly or absentee owners are not the best stewards of a large, expensive to maintain structure. My question would be about the banks. Clearly these units were constantly turning over and needing new mortgages. Don’t those making the loans have to make some effort to make sure the properties won’t collapse into rubble?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        My purely layman’s understanding is that, no. If they sell all the loans they originate, the survival of the building is not the banks’s problem anymore.

    7. Katniss Everdeen

      Before you buy into any “shared living” community, which, by the way, increasingly includes single family home planned communities, you need to familiarize yourself with the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) as well as the HOA’s financials, with particular emphasis on “Reserves.”

      CC&R’s are the “rules” for the community, and detail all manner of requirements home”owners” must follow, including under what circumstances the HOA can actually foreclose on you. From

      Most of the time, the rules make sense and are easy to accept; it’s pretty easy to agree with a covenant that requires you to mow your lawn and keep it weed-free. But other rules might interfere with your plans or seem downright unreasonable to you. Perhaps you want to park your car in the street and turn your garage into a home office. The HOA might require you to park your car in the garage or restrict what you can do with the garage space. Or, maybe you’re planning to add a fence around your yard to contain your dog. But after reading the CC&Rs, you find out that the community doesn’t allow fences. Likewise, if you’re planning a big project later on down the line—say painting your house a new color—you’ll probably need to check with the CC&Rs to ensure that the paint color you have chosen isn’t prohibited.

      With respect to “reserves,” from the linked article:

      In a series of slide show presentations, the board bluntly laid out the reality. “We should have started saving at least five years ago,” said one from May 28, 2020.

      Those “savings” are “reserves,” which come from a portion of the monthly fees that are set aside for anticipated future repairs as part of any structure’s routine maintenance. If there are no or inadequate reserves for things like re-roofing or exterior painting, you should expect a hefty “special assessment” when those things are needed. You should probably also suspect that the “board” is not doing their job.

      1. Darva

        CC&Rs expire in California 20 years after they are implemented when the subdivision first opens. The only way to extend them is with a unanimous vote of all the residents. Not going to, doesn’t happen.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        In Illinois, the law requires condo associations to have a reserve for capital improvements maintained in a separate bank account. Ours is a lovely vintage six flat built in 1908, and our self-appointed-for-life treasurer is quite the politician and has successfully prevented us from establishing a reserve account appropriate to the age of the building because he is a penny pincher and thinks if there’s $ in the account we will spend it (there really isn’t a distinction except on paper between the Board and the owners given there’s only six of us).

        We have in the 25 years I’ve lived there managed to do some significant repairs (masonry work totalling about $40k that we spread out over three years in order to raise the $ through a series of special assessments as the building hit 100), but I dread the day when we are told our ancient plumbing needs to be redone. With typically less than $10k in the bank I doubt anyone would give us a loan.

        Since I left town our marble stairs required replacing and a majority agreed to composite quartz because it would only cost $5k and we had nothing in the bank. Of course we had known for five years the steps were beginning to crumble.

        When I saw the them on a summer visit they looked cheesy and out of place, not at all in keeping with the rest of the entryway which has its original marble walls and tiled floors.

        We are a self-managed association and now my former comrades at arms, the other owners who fought for the needed expenditures to preserve the value of the building, have left.

        We did get a formal assessment from a structural engineer and the building was rated a “B” but it galls me that our bossy treasurer can get away with flouting the law.

        And yes, it amazes me that buyers are now paying three times what I did despite having access to the financials and minutes that ought to make them question how things are done.

        It’s all about location: very close to the University of Chicago campus.

        1. eg

          Has anything good ever emanated from the University of Chicago? Certainly its influence on political economy has been baleful.

        2. DJG, Reality Czar

          ChiGal of Hyde Park: Your story is typical of what I hear in Chicago. State law and the model condo bylaws do indeed require associations to have a reserve, yet many buildings (I gather that condo-ized three-flats in particular have this issue) have no reserve.

          Luckily, my building has had boards that were sticklers for reserves, although we have had to have two special assessments. Roofs! The bane of Chicago. At every board meeting, the board members point out how much we keep adding to the reserve and what improvement it will fund. I’m in a building with thirteen units (typical Chicago three-story red-brick place with the typical magically strange “garden apartment”), so costs are high for repairs.

          But you live near the glorious Friedman-Becker Seminary! Surely the benefits of free-market economics shine on your humble abode!

    8. CanCyn

      For less than what you would pay in condo fees, you can probably hire folks to do yard work and driveway snow maintenance for you. Why go to the trouble of installing a driveway heating system? It is almost always cheaper to stay put and pay for some help than go to a condo or retirement home, at last that is my finding in Ontario. YMMV. And even if you can only manage some of it, gardening and yard work are very healthy activities for aging bodies.
      We lived in a townhouse condo complex for a very short time and very quickly realized that it was not what we thought it would be. Without going in to a lot of tedious detail, it seemed to us that the condo board (made up of a group of owners) had fallen into letting their property management contractor make a lot of improvement/maintenance decisions for them and it seemed like most of those decisions were putting money into the property management company’s pockets. We sold before we could get to the bottom of what was really going on.

    9. lordkoos

      There are many good reasons to not buy a condo — for one, you aren’t buying real estate, you are buying some walls. I’ve heard horror stories about building repair and maintenance costs.

    10. ambrit

      A townhouse style of dwelling might be an idea to consider. Miniscule front and back yards and added thermal mass from the units on either side. Some, such as the one our middle daughter bought last year, do not have HOAs. From what I have observed in working on townhouse, (or rowhouse,) projects, the basic ‘services’ are separate for each unit: electric service, water, sewer, even primary load bearing walls etc. Look into that if you can stand a higher population density in your close in environs.
      [Twenty below for weeks? Can you also hunt Mastodons during the Winter Hunting Season?]

      1. CanCyn

        In Ontario, we call townhouses that aren’t shared ownership/maintenance/insurance situations freehold. In a freehold complex you are responsible for outdoor maintenance as you are with a stand alone house. Less to do for sure, so it really depends on what level or physical work you want to do or are capable of.
        Being a northerner myself, I remind the Historian that the shorter the driveway, the less room you have to pile your shovelled snow – small things like that can be a major pain with townhouse living.
        Our plan is to stay in our home as long as possible and if the day comes when we can’t hire adequate help when we need it, we’d look at renting. I have come to believe that the spectrum of home ownership from starter home, to ‘forever home’ to retirement living is nothing but a real estate industry scam. And I say this as someone who has wasted money on real estate fees and lawyers moving more than I should have for jobs or other less legitimate reasons. We really do plan to stay put now.

        1. John Beech

          Reflecting on a new development being built across the street from my 40 y/o home. They’re starter homes with granite countertops, 3500-4000 square feet, some two stories ranging from $350k and up into the high 500s. Starter homes! Good grief, small wonder people starting out have difficulties buying when a 1200 square foot ranch is no longer good enough.

          Anyway, as long as w have plenty of immigration this won’t become a problem like it is in Japan where they give away houses in some places. Ditto some parts of Italy – both as the population grays and dies in places hip youngsters don’t want to live.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Is it that 1200 square foot ranches are not good enough? Or is it that they are no longer made? And that all the existing ones are falling into the hands of all the Black Rocks of the world?

            1. Yves Smith

              There are a lot of little houses in Birmingham, including ones in not at all bad hoods. GI Bill era that were well maintained. But this is a poor state.

        2. chuck roast

          I’ve been renting for decades and have been stress-free. No more painting, patching, sanding, connecting, removing, replacing, shoveling, upgrading…what did I forget? Home-ownership…the American nightmare.

          1. Robert Gray

            > Home-ownership…the American nightmare.

            And for the most part it’s all just propaganda anyway; pure Bernaysian feel-goodism. I mean, you may sign on the dotted line and ‘close’ the deal — but there is not the slightest doubt in the bank’s mind that they, not you, own that ‘home’ for the next 30 years.

            ‘Home’ is actually another trick. A friend of mine is a recovering real estate broker and she clued us in on some of the ploys. #1: when talking to the rubes, you never refer to the house they are interested in as a house; always and only a home. Warms the cockles, don’t you know …

    11. Tom Stone

      Historian, Condo’s can be a nightmare.
      You can’t always get a copy of the Condo HOA without paying an exorbitant price for it.
      And buying a condo without carefully reading what rights and obligations you have under that agreement is unwise.
      And the assessments for deferred maintenace can be crippling.
      Yes, Condo’s can be a good choice for someone older or who doesn’t have the time and inclination to deal with a yard.
      However it’s a lot more common to be hosed if you choose a condo over an SFH because it is much more difficult to do due diligence.

  9. jr

    Jen Pan on Jacobin discussing the book “White Supremacy Culture”. In the first five minutes of the show her and her guest demonstrate it’s a-historicity, it’s ludicrous claims about culture and politics, and even how it loops back upon itself to cast people of color as being less inclined to literacy and rational thinking. This is the first I’ve heard of this text but apparently it’s everywhere now.

    A bit later in the show, the guest brings up a great point as well: all of the academics of color whose work hasn’t been through the mental food processor of IDpol are dismissed by these loonies. Implicitly and probably explicitly. We know they’ve gone after Adolph Reed but it had never occurred to me to think of the countless other thinkers whose works are sidelined, not to mention the students who are turned away from their work by these cultists.

    Why is the bottom line with this stuff always taking away agency and opportunity for people of color? To deny them what is theirs by virtue of being human, by recategorizing them as another kind of human? Watch the video to the part where the teachers are discussing how black people are “contextual” and just not ready to “dissect” everything. I think the IDpol “thought-leaders” are what we used to call “poverty pimps”, the professional hustlers and confidence men of the non-profits and local politics in Philadelphia who hold down the poor with one hand and offer them free donuts and bad coffee when they come knocking for your vote or if you’ll come by their GED program open house and sign the clipboard. I cannot remember the exact phrase but it’s more “validate and divert”, yes I think that’s it.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I’ve heard of the “poverty pimps” also being referred to as “poverticians”.

  10. Watt4Bob

    WRT cyber security.

    Something I noticed years ago. The tactics commonly in use by the people up at the top of the managerial class to cover their asses as concerns decision making are not the tactics that result in secure systems.

    IMO securing networks and data requires having an actual plan, and having a plan implies responsibility and avoiding the taking responsibility for dangerous decisions is part of the big-guy tool kit.

    So, rather than take charge and decide on a course of action, the big guys choose to advise putting vendors in charge of difficult stuff, so that when things go wrong, they can avoid blame and rather than being fired, simply advise changing vendors.

    This is also part of the perennial scheme to avoid high-priced, skilled employees.

    Cyber security costs money, and in the corporate world, costs are things you chase down and strangle, or eliminate.

    Analysing cyber security vulnerabilities and plugging the holes is costly, and in my experience management doesn’t act on the advice, good or bad anyway.

    One of my principal security advisors tells the story of a non-profit whose network was hacked and bank account drained of over $500K.

    They called him in to ask that he testify on their behalf in asking the bank to cover their losses.

    He had to explain that they hadn’t taken his advice seriously, and had not done anything to adopt the plan and policies he had given them, so no, he could not at this point help them blame their bank.

    The guys at the top don’t allow the development of in-house expertise because that means skilled, expensive employees. They choose instead from a list of vendors, often opting for the lowest cost and then they hope for the best.

    When networks with flimsy security get hacked, when ransomeware attacks begin, management’s actions often begin with trying to fight it themselves rather than calling in qualified help.

    In the most recent case I know of, a large company was thoroughly infiltrated for years before the ransomeware was sprung on them. They reacted by shutting down their servers, which tripped a dead-man style switch employed by their hackers which destroyed all their back-ups, and encrypted all the hard drives in their 22 international offices.

    All this before calling their security vendor for help.

    A competent vendor would have bought time to assess the situation and the danger, would have found them to be in an truly indefensible position and counseled paying a negotiated ransom in the interest of a quick recovery.

    The destruction of back-ups would have been avoided as would the time consuming decryption of all those hard drives. We’re talking weeks here.

    Mean while, the guys at the top, well insulated from responsibility for the mess, are standing around asking “When’s it going to be back-up?”

    Cyber security is just too important an issue to be subject to the usual, CYA, and cut costs, consensus inherently enforced by our corporate masters.

    And consider now, that this is the style of management that is in charge of vital infrastructure like most of our water supply, electrical production, and distribution grid.

    1. Mike Allen

      You just described the hierarchy at our wastewater treatment plant. Lowest bidder, untrained hires and CYA.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not looking good from your description of current workplaces. It would be good if the government got together with Silicon Valley to put together a solid, secure operating system for general use but that will never happen. Silicon Valley will never do anything to give people an alternative operating system to the ecosystems that they have spent decades building up. And in any case, the government will always insist on back-doors so that they can access that system whenever they want and so weakening that system from the get-go.

      1. Procopius

        It would be good if the government got together with Silicon Valley…

        Public/Private Partnerships always go badly for the public. I don’t see how the Silicon Valley plutocrats benefit from helping other companies harden their networks. Everybody has forgotten that in the 1980s, Congress appropriated billions of dollars, which were given to the telecoms companies to install high speed internet. In the 1980s! The telecom companies, of course, took the money and never upgraded their networks.

    3. David

      I think the reality is that the modern world depends for its very functioning on billions of people with effectively no training knowing how to make use of very sophisticated hardware and software correctly, and hundreds of millions, perhaps more, using software and hardware correctly to do their jobs and keep the planet working, but with as little training as the organisations they work for can get away with. All this in a context of cyber-crime and sheer vandalism for which the Web was never designed, as well as all the normal problems that affect complex systems.

      When I first sat down in front of a computer forty years ago they were, to be fair, spectacularly unfriendly to use, and limited to quite specific tasks. To do my job I had to buckle down and learn. But as time passed, in government (and no doubt elsewhere as well), the computer became largely seen as a promising way of cutting staff, disbanding whole departments like typing and reprography, and getting people to be their own secretaries as well as doing their jobs. As for training, well, a few hours familiarisation with Office should be enough and you could always ask, couldn’t you? Not much has changed, except that even the simplest tasks now require a computer to do them. Yet for most people using a computer at work is just an added burden, especially when things go wrong. They aren’t interested in how computers work and don’t want to learn, they just want to master a few specific routines to get them through the working day. They don’t care what the difference is between a virus and a trojan. They resent the constant and ever-changing requirements to do this and that in the name of some amorphous concept of “computer security,” wrapped up in incomprehensible Powerpoint presentations and for the benefit of distant managers who hate them. If there’s a data leak, why should they bother? It used to be thought that the problem would resolve itself with education and the entry of younger people into the workforce. It didn’t. I worked for a while at an NGO absolutely stuffed with brilliant PhD types, and the IT manager told me one day that I was one of only two people who actually understood what he was talking about. Most of the others were younger than me. They just weren’t interested.

      Likewise at the level of everyday life. Most people don’t actually want or need a computer, even the cheap little Android phone in their pocket. They use computers because they are obliged to – to deal with any large organisation, to keep in touch with their school, to buy things, and even, increasingly to post a letter or a parcel. Most people aren’t interested in the technology, and find it frustrating, intrusive and difficult to use. Most people don’t have the interest or enthusiasm to find out about and implement computer security measures, and act as unpaid Beta-testers for companies who can’t be bothered to get it right to begin with.

      In short, the world now depends on systems designed long ago, for other purposes, which the vast majority of its users are simply not interested it, but which nonetheless requires a high level of engagement if it is to work properly.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        For as many people rag about how we’re stuck because of the still prevalent COBOL, your average business person could actually read and understand what a typical program does due to it being written in the english language. Good luck with today’s modern languages like Java and its offspring. And with many large enterprises are trying to move off of Java and onto Java using automated tools, good luck as decades of business rules code in COBOL get buried into languages that require even more people who fail to comprehend what the business does.

        1. JEHR

          I have found out that I can do without Facebook, Google (almost), Twitter and a cell phone. I do not want to depend on any of these “platforms.”

          1. ambrit

            The problem is with ‘enforced compliance’ with these “upgrades.”
            I found out the hard way that the American Social Secutity administration relys on the credit history companies, such as Equifax, to verify one’s identity. If, as happened to me, one’s ‘file’ is locked for any reason, and I discovered that such locks do not have to come from you, nor make sense to an ‘average’ person, then Social Security will not deal with you online. You then have to physically go to the local Social Security office and “interact” with a live person. What happens when, say, all satellite offices of Social Security are closed down? Will ‘non-compliant’ luddites like us be required to travel a day’s drive away to deal with the bureaucracy?
            I guess that my basic observation here is that the old “carrot and stick” social influencing tactics are trending towards “all sticks” force multipliers.
            As we found out when we homeschooled our children, one might go “off grid” for various reasons, but the ‘authorities’ do not recognize that ‘freedom’ as legitimate. It all comes down to power, and many people wield power for selfish reasons.
            Good luck up in the “Land of Ice and Snow.”

            1. IMOR

              Same SSN barrier happened to my sister, Ambrit, after she and her husband had i.d. theft issues. And one of the big three bureaus is still putting out fraud blocks/info six months after notified situation resolved / all accounts closed.

              1. ambrit

                They do indeed have my condolences. That scenario can be as stressful as a death in the family. The analogy is apt because the Social Security has told you that, as far as they are concerned, you don’t exist electronically.
                Now, for a primer on Electronic Dysfunction, one need go no farther than the credit reporting agencies. They do not just ‘suck.’ They ‘suck’ at a professional level.

            2. Procopius

              I have a stateside “home of record” address I can use to request an absentee ballot every year, but I have no stateside credit history so I can’t deal with Social Security online. I learned that you can deal with them by mail. Snail mail, that is. Actually, the only thing I need to deal with are changes of address and the annual verification that I’m still alive.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Those who live in a detached house in a suburb or semi-burb with a big enough lot to where they can do their own self-feeding brute-survival gardening and roofwater harvesting and etc. might be in a better brute-survival situation than the several billion people who depend on all these hyper-digital grids working seamlessly because they will die within hours or days if these hyper-digitized grids go down.

        1. brook trout

          As one who is doing as much “self-feeding brute-survival gardening and roofwater harvesting and etc.” as possible, I am under no illusion that if and when the breakdown comes I will be immune from its consequences. I’m a short hour’s drive from the fringes of my nearest major metropolitan area, and there are plenty of people between here and there who would be in similar dire straits and seek relief if they truly have days or hours to go. Unless they all have to walk to get here (and even then) my main hope of survival is in my local community. As much as I feed myself and mrs. brook trout (so named not so much because she is married to me but because she is easy to get a rise out of)–this week has included venison and pea pods as well as homemade pasta with the season’s first pesto, all accompanied by large salads with the last of the greens alongside by now cukes, carrots, and sugar snaps–I am under no illusion that I can do it myself (I’m not growing my own semolina wheat, for example). Where I am better off is in the interim, where I reap all the benefits of garden exercise and a healthy diet, and since I’m our main cook, a continuous stream of quality ingredients for my kitchen.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If your community has a viable plan to either handle or divert the flood of urban refugees, you-all will still be potentially better off than the refugees themselves.

            Perhaps you-all can have a huge ” greetings refugees” community cookout and feedathon for them and when they are all so stuffed they can’t eat another bite, give them all maps and directions to the next places along the refugee trail.

            And in the meantime, your survivalizing certainly seems to be its own reward so far, and even perhaps a little bit fun and interesting.

            1. ambrit

              This really reminds me of the pictures of the billboards outside of Depression Era towns that said, “Don’t even think of stopping here. Move on.”

        2. Kouros

          Not going to work if you don’t have a well with clean, unpolluted water. One can live without electricity. one cannot without water.

      3. urblintz

        I would add… our jurisprudence still depends on law not written for the digital age and the uninformed user, adapted only to the efficiency of tech, is yet more vulnerable to malign intent.

      4. eg

        Excellent description of how we got here, David. I would add only that today’s ever-growing connectivity is acting as a conduit and force multiplier of witlessness in a way never experienced before when the foolish were mostly “air-gapped” from one another in various ways.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      This clicks 100% with my experience in similar work. I am working somewhere now which seems to take things a little more seriously, but they’re an exception in my resume. Also I have been working on transitioning out of anything to do with cyber security because I am tired of fighting those internal battles to do what needs to be done (and being expected to clean up the mess when the enviable happens.)

    5. Michael

      Years/decades ago I used to take a suitcase full of magnetic tapes to the bank every morning that held the backup of the company business thru midnight of the previous day. Into the the vault, into the sd box, first retrieving the previous day’s tapes to return to accounting. Good times.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Our parent organization requested I help one of our sister companies with a small network task. When I walked into their server closet I found their back-up tapes in a pile sitting in the upturned cardboard top of a banker’s box.

        Their back up routine consisted of choosing a tape from the pile, loading in the tape drive, and throwing last night’s tape on the pile.

        I knew the cabling contractor who cabled their building, he did all my stuff too. He was very good a labeling all his terminations so I was surprised to find that non of the Cat5 connections were labeled properly. When I asked about it, the folks there told me that one of the top dog IT guys from our parent organization had visited, along with owners son in tow. They had removed the labels under all the desks. Why? Nobody knows.

        The same two guys had once instructed me in no uncertain terms to rename all the computers on our networks to reflect the organizational charts of the three companies I supported. IOW, each computer would be named for the Sales manager, Cashier, Comptroller and so on. I never did this, thinking why give a hacker who had gained access to the network, a map of prime targets?

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Smart businesses still do something like this. We do tape backups where I work. The place I left didn’t and that always made me nervous.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Gosh! That is comforting. It was and is also taken very seriously by the U.S. DoD. I am still angry the DoD was hacked not once but twice exposing the personal data disclosed in security clearance paperwork by thousands of cleared Government and Contract personnel. I am still angry about the little security problems at Equifax. At least big financial companies take cybersecurity seriously. But there is a difference between taking things seriously and effectively protecting a network.

        1. Max "Toast the Most Ghosts" Stirner

          World’s tiniest violin for DoD goons getting exposed.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Since I neither sought nor needed your sympathy I am fine. But in case you missed the point of my comment I was trying to suggest that even those serious about security have proven vulnerable.

      2. Watt4Bob

        Banks are hacked all the time, they just don’t talk about it.

        One of the issues we’re not talking about is human engineering, the following is from an answer my guy gave me when I asked him to verify my understanding the strength of my organizations defenses;

        “You’re protected at a hardware and network level (layers 1 through 7)where there is potential for an attack vector is through social engineering of the employees themselves. Most organizations trip up is at layer 8 (the end user/employee).

        The NSA ran a test several years ago where they took a bunch or removable media (mix of USB drives, CDs, and DVDs), some with official logos, some without, and they dropped them at contractor sites and offices all over the US and around embassies.

        This planted media had a dial home auto run program that would report the username, system name, department, and IP address of the host that it was run on to a remote command and control server. The results were staggering, people who were regularly trained in operations security (OPSEC) and should know better than to insert some foreign device into a controlled network, were running these devices on NSA hardware.

        Anything with an official logo was installed at something ridiculous like 80%, devices without logos was much lower at 50%. The overall results was you could have the best security in the world and be defeated by your users who should know better being stupid.

        If ‘they‘ can hack the NSA with such trivial tactics, ‘they‘ can hack any organization.

        Big financial organizations often out-source parts of their operations, say ‘Notifications’ to third party companies that specialize in this sort of stuff.

        So, when you’re on your banks web-site, you get a pop-up that asks if you want to allow notifications from this site?

        If you click yes, you might actually be allowing notifications from their third party vendor. That vendor gets hacked by a group that makes ransom ware attacks, and they insert their own ‘notifications’ into the system that notifies bank customers.

        The next notification that pops-up on your screen says;

        “You Have been infected with Trojan XYZ Click here to remove this infection.”

        Who do you blame?

        The bank? They will politely explain it didn’t come from them.

        The bank will get with their vendor, the vendor will explain that they have already found the hackers code and the threat is gone.

        Neither organization is going to admit any of this publicly.

        One of our employees fell victim to this method a few days ago, he didn’t touch the pop-up, he called me and I showed him how to use the Task Manager to clear the pop-up.

        I hadn’t seen this particular avenue of attack before so I needed to investigate a bit before I understood the exact process.

        Once I learned the way it worked, I called the user back and showed him how to go into Chrome’s settings to turn off notifications from third party vendor that provided notifications for/from one of our ‘Trusted Vendors’.

        1. eg

          There’s a hoary old acronym that generally still applies:


          Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      There is one issue related to security I have not seen mentioned so far. I believe there are far too many systems connected to the Internet that really should not be connected to the Internet. I believe there are far too many functions accomplished via the Internet that really should not be connected to the Internet. Computer and network security always negotiates a tradeoff between convenience and security. Far too much security has been sacrificed for convenience, and for supposed cost savings.

      As for the Cloud and some other recent innovations like the Internet of Things — it were as if we are asking to be hacked.

      1. lordkoos

        The internet of things is extremely useful for surveillance and data gathering purposes. If I understand this correctly, we have a situation where the need to surveil the population conflicts with the need to secure crucial systems?

        1. JBird4049

          Let me go over this just to truly see the short sighted incompetence and stupidity of it all.

          If the crucial systems aren’t secure, eventually there will not be any (functioning) crucial systems.

          So the need, desire really, to ever more easily surveil, and therefore ever more greatly control, the population is likely to cause the death of both the surveilled and the surveilled because of an unanticipated, unplanned for system’s collapse caused by the weaknesses created by this surveillance regime.

          A population that was already under the surveillance and control of, and for, the Powers That Be for generations.

          I could be wrong, but I am seeing a dichotomy here.

          Somedays, I just want to a whole bottle of Robin Williams’ Fukitol pills. Really, I do.

      2. Anders K

        Remember, the ‘S’ in IoT stands for security.

        Security is seen as another feature, something that you can add later, like adding support for printing to a PDF or whatnot. Security isn’t that easy to add – much like quality, or respect, if it’s not part of the whole at the start, it’s not going to be added in later.

        You can make good money in being a security or quality vendor, though. Don’t forget to send out the mandatory 70 page advisories that your customers people will ignore, that way you get to avoid responsibility along with the people who hired you at their company! Win-win!

    7. orlbucfan

      “This is also part of the perennial scheme to avoid high-priced, skilled employees.”
      Great definition of corporate greed-caused stupidity. Many grateful thanks, Watt4Bob, for your terrific, (sadly) educational comment.

  11. Donald

    I think Johnstone’s claim is slightly overstated. In the pre Web era the press would ignore stories for years, like the US supported East Timor genocide. Chomsky wrote a lot about that. The expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948 was told as the Palestinians leaving of their own free will.

    Sometimes the MSM would report a story as debunked and in the pre Web days there was no easy way to debunk the debunking in a way that would reach very many people. CIA involvement in Suharto’s massacres came out in the early 90’s and was then falsely debunked. The same thing happened to Gary Webb’s stories about contra drug smuggling and CIA complicity.

    What might be different now is that with the Web, people can easily access alternate sources that debunk the MSM stories, so in some cases the press may decide it is easier to ignore the issue altogether. The average NYT reader won’t even know and if they hear about a story they can dismiss it.

    But that would happen to me decades ago when I told friends about US complicity in genocide in East Timor. The ones who trusted the press thought I was a nut.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There was a stark contrast between European papers and US papers in the 90’s, but starting with the 2000 election, the US press just went nutters. It was bad enough when Gingrich was Speaker. Going back to the 00’s, The Daily Show was really the only outlet that would show clips demonstrating anything other than what the Bush Administration said. It was crazy, but the msm abhorred blogs, worried everyone would be taken in by fake news.

      1. Max "Toast the Most Ghosts" Stirner

        >worried everyone would be taken in by fake news.

        No, they were worried everyone would stop believing their fake news.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          It is hard to believe their fake news. Their fake news is often self contradictory across different channels. I think you might have to be an artist. As F. Scott Fitzgerald quipped: “An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.”

      2. John k

        I would have said msm did and does hate blogs bc they worry their own fake news will be exposed.

      3. chuck roast

        When I first went to DC in the early ‘aughts, I attended an anti-World Bank demonstration on The Mall. There were probably 100K people there. I started talking to a photographer. He was from some European paper. I asked him if there was any difference in how US news photographers frame things vs. Euro photographers. He told me that the Euro’s try to frame the big picture while the Ami’s frame is much more personal. The WaPo reported on the demonstration the next day. The accompanying photo showed a close-up of a geezer and what appeared to be his grand-daughter walking hand-in-hand in the march. It was soo special!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The 90’s were thirty years ago. That the “media” now openly and unapologetically colludes to keep important information from the public, and even justifies it to protect increasingly concentrated power, should scare the shit out of everyone.

      And it doesn’t stop there. As with the recent Tucker Carlson / nsa spying allegation, the absence of “coverage” can be implied to be “evidence” that the entire story is bullshit, if it somehow manages to get out. From an article linked here earlier in the week:

      A search of Fox’s transcripts did not reveal any coverage on Tuesday morning. Even “Fox & Friends,” the right-wing morning show on Fox News that has latched on to several of Trump’s conspiracy theories, passed on the story. And the Fox News website also did not appear to carry coverage of Carlson’s claim.

      Fox’s top executives, such as chief executive Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace, had also not released statements condemning the NSA’s supposed behavior by Tuesday afternoon…

      Carlson, Fox’s highest rated host, has a history of peddling conspiracy theories as fact to his viewers…

    3. Darthbobber

      I’m reminded of the “secret” war in Cambodia. Not secret to the Vietnamese or Cambodians, obviously. Also not secret to readers of Le Monde, almost any German newspaper, or even the London Times. Secret only to the American public, and only because the American press uniformly declined to cover the matter.

      Examples could of course be multiplied throughout the post-WW2 era. Richard Barnett included a couple of detailed chapters on this in Roots of War, published in the early 70s. Rereading that work, and some old anthologies of I.F. Stone’s remarkable journalism, I’m depressingly aware of how little has changed.

  12. Blue Duck

    Vaccinated/Unvaccinated statistics

    The Sonoma county public health officer is tracking the stats for covid infection among both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. The delta variant is on the rise here so it is a good case study.

    just two new cases per day per 100,000 residents were reported June 23 for vaccinated people compared to 12 per 100,000 residents for the unvaccinated on the same date.

    1. kareninca

      Well, per the article, they are not comparing the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, as such. They are instead collecting data on the vaccinated who have symptoms bad enough to be noticed by the health department, versus the unvaccinated who have symptoms bad enough to be noticed by the health department. So it could actually be that there as many (or even more) covid cases among the vaccinated than among the non vaccinated – but the symptoms are so mild that they are ignored. In other words, it is possible that the vaccines are causing ADE, and thus causing people to be more likely to catch the virus.

      So – I am NOT saying that is happening. What I am saying is that it could be but given what data are collected, we really don’t know. As an example, I have an acquaintance who has the symptoms of Delta. She didn’t even realize that until I told her. She had no plan to see a doctor.

      In response you could say – “So what? Who cares about such low-symptom cases?” And the answer would be, well, the next mutation will be here soon.

      The other thing is that people who are vaccinated in CA, and those who aren’t, are very different demographics. The vaccinated are still mostly able and willing to stay away from hazardous situations, like working in meat packing plants. They unvaccinated are other stuck with risk through work or living situation, or just don’t care about risk (people who want to party). It would be interesting to see how the infection rates compared if you held those things constant.

    1. Geo

      Exactly. That is the problem with the metrics used in that article. When Drum writes: “It is not conservatives who have turned American politics into a culture war battle. It is liberals.” He is ignoring the fact that until relatively recently the “culture war” was very much a conservative dominated war. Only recently have marginalized groups been able to assert some kind of power in this “war”.

      When this type goes of talk comes up I hear the words of Nina Simone in my head:

      Is there some ridiculousness on the left with IdPol and culture wars? Yes, definitely. But, it’s nowhere near as bad as the dominionist religious theocrats on the right, the southern strategy of racial division, the sovereign citizen libertarian militias, etc.

      That the right hasn’t become radically more extreme is not saying much considering where they have been on cultural issues.

      Anyone suffering from the “Backlash Blues” in our current culture war could due with listening to the words of Nina Simone and really hearing what she was saying. And maybe consider the asymmetrical cultural warfare waged by conservatives upon marginalized groups for so long is more of a problem than liberals over-correcting in various (often trivial virtue signaling) ways.

      I say this as a white hetero guy who lives in liberal bastions and has openly been told in job interviews they’re looking to hire more diversity, and have lost other career opportunities because of my identity. Is it fair? Not really. But, in war there is collateral damage, friendly fire, etc. I’d rather deal with these personal setbacks than cede ground to the conservatives on culture wars.

      1. marym

        There’s much to criticize about left and liberal identity politics, but not by treating the identity politics of the radical right as if it’s some sort of “center” that must be accommodated. Thank you for the link for Nina Simone.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Kim Jong Un’s weight loss befuddles North Korea watchers”

    Maybe this is not as surprising as it seems. I mean that the guy is approaching 40 years of age and so must know that he now has more years behind him than in front of him. And the way that he was packing on the beef, there would not be that many years ahead. Certainly not the 70 years that his father had and the article does say that the Kim family has a history of diabetes and heart disease. Who knows what triggered the change. Maybe he woke up to himself. Maybe he found himself getting out of breath after just tying up his shoe-laces. Maybe he just realized that he had not seen it for years. In any case, the children that he does have are far too young to take over from him for many years so maybe the guy decided to take measures to stick around and see his children grow to adulthood and succeed him.

    1. Jeff W

      Or maybe his doctors advised Kim to drop some kilos (to the extent they can tell him anything) and he did. After his accession to power, Kim’s excess weight was typically seen by North Korea watchers (and, probably, lots of other people) as a potential health issue. How “befuddling” is it that Kim would get in better shape, relatively speaking?

  14. Wukchumni

    A dry California creek bed looked like a wildfire risk. Then the beavers went to work Sacramento Bee.
    Jedediah Smith was the first American to see the rivers of the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada in the late 1820’s and pronounced them to be the best watercourses for beavers that he’d ever seen, and his band of mountain men were of course in search of said beasties, so European men of the era could look stylish wearing top hats. The large rodents were all soon extirpated.

    Why they haven’t been reintroduced to their natural habitat is one heck of a mystery…

  15. Wukchumni

    UN confirms 18.3C record heat in Antarctica France24

    A $500,000 Home On The Northern Plains To Hide From The Future Defector

    Prolonged big heat will be showing up in the fourth wave this young summer next week, and living in a place where the 100 days of 100 degrees have always pretty much been a given from July to October has me thinking i’m in precisely the wrong place, as locales such as the PNW and BC have been sporting temps way beyond their ‘normal’ range, a glimpse of the future.

    Could the 666 million nut & fruit trees in the Central Valley Bible Belt survive temps in the high 120’s, for unlike human beans they can’t just up and leave if Hades hangs out for a spell?

  16. Howard Beale IV

    Re: Stoller’s tweet:

    At one corporation, they rapidly deployed ServiceNow (a SaaS for ITIL management) and have extended its use well beyond its intended purposes. Not too long ago, their ServiceNow instance decided to die – and within minutes, many critical functions ported to ServiceNow well out of what it was originally used for stopped working, causing an enterprise-wide Severity One incident – which, ironically, could not use ServiceNow to manage the incident, which was it’s primary reason for use to begin with.

    With the wholesale migration by corporations and businesses to cloud-based ho may not truly understand what the business actually does, cloud services now risk forcing critical enterprise systems into a artificially-based monoculture, regardless of whether it’s Google Cloud, Amazon AWS/EC2, Microsoft’s Azure, or any of the second-tier cloud services (hence the rise of Hybrid Clouds, where you now have private clouds hosted by the enterprise combined with public clouds), where security is more often that not constructed where security is not a core requirement in their design. The history lessons of past attempts to build systems where security was a primary requirement (i.e., Multics) appears to has been lost. Combine that with the original design of the Internet, where resiliency was a core requirement but never had security as a core requirement, now we’re seeing the results of these decisions. Today’s IT security practitioners are now stuck having to keep these things systems running, which each component having its own individual security requirements and attributes, along with their own inherent deficiencies (i.e, BGP – which in a case a few years ago, the core backbone of Visa and Mastercard had their network routes hijacked into Russia for a small, but significant, period of time.)

    Open Source software, by its own nature, led to the promise that with many eyes looking for potential holes, allows both good and bad actors being able to exploit the very same security issues.

    And it will only get worse.

  17. dcblogger

    If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals Kevin Drum. Conflates left and liberal, and both with identity politics (“social issues”), but otherwise interesting.

    I blame Pat Buchanan, he called for a culture war in his speech to the Republican National Convention in 1992, and it has been culture wars ever since. Also, culture wars are the business model of the entire News Corp empire.

    1. Geo

      Well said. And prior to Buchanan there were those groups with white pointy hats and gowns that burned crosses, police fire hoses and attack dogs on peaceful marches. The few Left victories in the culture like the Scopes Trial, Roe V. Wade, Voting Rights, etc would all be called social justice warrior IdPol now days.

      Marginalized groups being criticized for a culture war is like the poor being criticized for class war. The wars were already being waged, they’re just fighting back now. Wars are messy and bring out the worst in people which explains a lot of the IdPol zealotry but I’d rather that than letting conservatives dominate the culture wars as they have for most of history.

  18. TimH

    The world’s longest-living people share this hobby—why studies say it can help add years to your life

    Clickbait title… must be on instead!

  19. Wukchumni

    Today, we head into the Sierra foothills.

    In today’s episode it’s April and we’ve made our way into the blue oak woodlands in Sequoia National Park in California. These woodlands are found nowhere else in the world except for the foothills surrounding the Central Valley. The wet season has transformed these normally golden and dry hills into a blanket of green with pockets of short-lived wetlands.
    I live surrounded by a oak savanna of predominantly blue oaks, and they’re really stressed from the drought, so much so that instead of dropping their leaves in the fall as is their custom, many trees are starting to go yellow and jettisoning them, I couldn’t believe how many i’ve raked up in the past fortnight.

    One oddity in regards to blue oaks is there are NO young ones here, only aged trees hundreds of years old.

    Live oaks & manzanita trees were the first to succumb to the 2012-16 drought as both species don’t go dormant as is the custom with other trees never watered by the hand of man, such as buckeyes & blue oaks. As the drought progressed we started losing blue oaks & mature buckeyes in relatively small numbers, and it wasn’t as if the trees hadn’t experienced a number of similar droughts throughout their long lived careers, why did they go toes up this round?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Are there any trees in your neck of the woods that are coping with the changed conditions or will something have to be introduced? Something that is more heat tolerant (and no, definitely not eucalyptus trees). But before then, if all those trees start to actually die off, they will be a helluva fire hazard.

      1. Duck1

        Have to note that in the PDX area there is extensive needle browning on Douglas Firs from the heatwave particularly where exposed to the south and west and relatively isolated from other trees. Some of the cedars look absolutely destroyed, we shall see. Tree damage bigly it seems.

    2. michael99

      Wuk, which trees, shrubs or other flora seem to be doing the best?

      I saw some leaf-drop by manzanitas and wild lilacs this spring and wondered if it was connected to two episodes of unseasonable, hot, dry, northerly winds (following the dry winter).

      1. Wukchumni

        Wuk, which trees, shrubs or other flora seem to be doing the best?

        The only young trees in the foothills are buckeyes and they seem unaffected by the drought, everything else is majorly stressed. Our flora dies back every year as summer approaches, so it seems somewhat ‘normal’ as is its custom.

        130 million pine trees died in the 2012-16 drought in the Sierra from 3,000 to 7,000 feet, and here in Mineral King there’s a new die-off of primarily incense cedars (which look like Sequoias somewhat) from 7,300 to 9,000, while there aren’t many newlydeads below that zone. In our mountain community @ 7k we had 200 or so trees within range of cabins die in the aforementioned drought that needed to be taken down, and presently the forest looks quite green in comparison to just a few hundred feet more in altitude.

  20. Henry Moon Pie


    Tables of duties and virtues are found in most religions, and what is most striking about them is how similar they are across belief systems:

    Marcus Aurelius (per article): justice, prudence, self-control, and courage;

    Paul of Tarsus (Gal 5:23): love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control;

    Confucius (Confucianism Wiki): benevolence, justice, proper rite, integrity, knowledge

    And then there’s Lao-Tzu who’s ready to ditch the whole Table of Virtues project:

    Stop being holy, forget being prudent,
    It’ll be a hundred times better for everyone.
    Stop being altruistic, forget being righteous,
    people will remember what family feeling is.
    Stop planning, forget making a profit,
    There won’t be any thieves and robbers.

    Tao te Ching #19 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    The difference lies in the anthropology of these philosophers/theologians. For Aurelius and Paul, there is a war going on inside human beings, a conflict that is a product of the dualistic thinking dominant in both Christian and Stoic anthropologies. Paul wrote to the Romans (7:15):

    I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.

    Epictetus uses a war metaphor:

    Don’t you know life is like a military campaign? One must serve on watch, another in reconnaissance, another on the front line. . . . So it is for us—each person’s life is a kind of battle, and a long and varied one too. You must keep watch like a soldier and do everything commanded. . . . You have been stationed in a key post, not some lowly place, and not for a short time but for life.

    Epictetus, Discourses, 3.24.31–36

    For Paul, the weapon deployed in this internal struggle is the Holy Spirit who resides within him through faith in Christ. For Stoics, the weapon is reason.

    Now Lao-Tzu is concerned about desires as well, but reason is the last place he would look for a way to control them. He sees “reason” as a product of culture and therefore not to be trusted. Instead, he relies upon “knowing without knowing,” what I would call intuition. This intuition is the aspect of us most in tune with the Cosmos and the Tao. It can be relied upon to move us into harmony with the world around us. The trick is to keep the intellect and the senses out of it:

    Can you keep the deep water still and clear,
    so it reflects without blurring?

    Tao te Ching #10.

    So our understanding of anthropology and psychology is what is really key here.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima’s exclusion zone”

    Not sure if they are such a worry. Last reports indicate that they have learned to stand & walk on two legs, are dressing in the clothes of the former inhabitants, and have taken to calling out something that sounds like “Four legs good, two legs better.”

    1. griffen

      There are all sort of tangential possibilities to take this one. I’ll stick to the script, suggesting that radioactive pigs by their altered nature are, indeed now a superior breed to most US large ag farm bred pigs.

      There is an offshoot story for the taking however. Maybe later.

      1. Oh

        Pork, ham and other parts of these pigs are a rare delicacy for the 1% if they’re marked up high enough. Have at it biillionaires!

        1. griffen

          The cross selling opportunity for an Amazon like warehouse model are endless! Hmm, this bacon tastes a little funny lately.

          I get my radioactive bacon from Whole foods where else?

  22. KLG

    Regarding Kevin Drum, I see Calpundit is back where he began (best wishes for your continued good health, Kevin). Reminds me of that scene in Crocodile Dundee in which Mick Dundee his own self looks at the silent console in his suite in the Plaza and says he saw TV once. Turns it own and a rerun of I Love Lucy is beginning. “Yep, that’s what I saw,” says he as he turns it off. Sorry for the snark, but life is way to short to deal with such nonsense on a Sunday morning, conflating Left with Liberal among other errors. Read Leon Wieseltier’s new quarterly Liberties instead. High Liberalism delivered well in high dudgeon, reminding us of who the enemy really is. Let us hope they fail in their efforts to derail Nina Turner in Cleveland. Which reminds me, time to send her some money.

  23. Pelham

    Re transgender women in women’s locker rooms: Wouldn’t a truly transgender woman no longer have male genitalia?

  24. LawyerCat

    Re masks as class-signifiers:

    At least for restaurants, I’ve always found American-style service overbearing. I don’t need to be checked on every 5 minutes. I don’t really like the overly chatty style of many waiters, partly because I think the underlying motivation is to keep selling you things and to pressure you out of the table as fast as possible when you’re done ordering drinks.

    My experience in Latin America and Europe has been with waiters who only come when you need something and call them over and I much prefer that.

    And I think that having a large wait staff is itself a class-signifier; the rich seem to like having more waiters than diners attending to a table as perhaps it inflates their feeling of self-importance. Whenever I’ve been to restaurants like that, I find myself unable to relax and converse comfortably.

    1. Mantid

      In Europe, though it is quite diverse, many wait staff are paid handsomely and therefore don’t have a need to suck up to the customer. They can be more business like and direct. Many Americans think waiters in Paris, Rome, etc. are rude because they aren’t “friendly”.

      Wait staff in the US are paid $2.13 (Federal minimum wage) per hour AND their tips are taxed. No wonder they want to be your best friend within seconds. “How’s it tasting?”

      1. Jeff W

        “How’s it tasting?”

        The phrase I could really do without is “Are you still working on that?” I don’t “work on” my food. It’s not the railroad. (I don’t work on that either, in fact.)

    2. ambrit

      I remember back in the 1970s working at resteraunts in the French Quarter. As can be imagined, many were tourist traps. The management would constantly push the wait staff to hurry the diners along. Table turnover was the sure fire way to riches for that cadre.
      Another, seldom mentioned aspect of the waiting game is the ‘exploitative’ manner in which some customers would treat you. I remember several instances of being told that I would ‘meet’ certain customers for “fun and games” at some local declasse watering hole ‘after work.’
      He: “I’ll be there! Don’t be late!”
      Me: “But sir, I don’t swing that way.”
      He: “Oh no! You’re just being coy. Don’t try and fool this old cockhound!”
      Me: “Alas, I’m not available for private parties sir. Sorry.”
      He: “You will be sorry if you don’t show up! I know people in this town!”
      At which point I would shut up. Any further argument would bring the dining room Captain over. He always sided with the customers. Even, one memorable evening when a notorious French Quarter chickenhawk grabbed me by my reproductive functionality. As I was serving him, he reached behind and explored the territory. When I remonstrated with him concerning this, in a whisper nonetheless, the Captain came over and told me to stop propositioning the customers and get back to work.He was dead serious about it. No sense of humour at all in that one.
      It was an interesting time that I am glad I experienced, once. Once was enough.

        1. ambrit

          Oh yes. Then there was the time I was propositioned by the professional football player.
          My biggest mystery was a weekend that I remember nothing about. For weeks after I would be greeted by complete strangers on the street around the French Quarter and told what a wonderful time I had shown everyone at “the party.” [Some things are best forgot.]

  25. Nikkikat

    Regarding the Moors, these people are probably in more danger from the Feds than they are to us. I’m guessing here but had these people been White three percenters or oath keepers or some other militia group. They would have helped them gas their vehicles and sent them on their way. The history of armed black and Native American groups who thought they could arm themselves and not be killed or spend the rest of their lives in prison is not good.

    1. Max "Toast the Most Ghosts" Stirner

      Unless the Moors upset property relations or dispell racist ideology they’re as safe (and useful to the feds) as the New Black Panther Party.

    2. Keith

      Folks who were at the Branch Davidian compound, Ruby Ridge and the Rainbow Fram may disagree. In terms of brutalizing any perceived threat to their power, no matter how insignificant, feds can be quite color blind.

  26. Mikel

    Re: The Future Is Symmetrical

    Screw cost. Backup alternatives to Fiber and wireless need to be maintained to some extent because no system is fail proof. Systems that can work using various skill sets is not a step backwards. Not being prepared for a collapse of any system, no matter how temporary, can be a matter of life and death for many.

    And related:
    The Internet of Things is running into a collision course with the need for fresh water by billions of humans. We can’t drink microprocessing chips, but they sure are thirsty.
    But they are going to point to the “climate” as being to blame for water shortages.
    Talk me down if you will, but there…I said it.

  27. fresno dan
    Manchin’s recent voting-rights proposal, for instance, was a substantive, and very interesting, alternative to the sweeping voting-rights bill that Democrats had passed in the House. And it got some media attention — for a couple of days. But since there was never any real chance of 10 Republicans allowing Manchin’s bill to come to a vote, people have spent a lot more time since Manchin unveiled his proposal talking about whether the filibuster should be abolished, or perhaps reformed, than they have talking about Manchin’s ideas.
    The reason for this is simple: the Senate is already, by virtue of the way its seats are allocated, anti-democratic, or at least anti-majoritarian. Every state, regardless of size, gets two Senate seats. That means that voters in Wyoming (population around 600,000) have exactly the same collective influence over what the Senate does as voters in California (population around 40 million) do. Or, in other words, a voter in Wyoming has roughly 66 times as much say as a voter in California does.
    Think of it this way. There are 41 Republican senators who together represent around 67 million voters. That’s roughly 20% of the US population. The filibuster gives them the collective power to stop the Senate from voting on any non-budget bill they want. So senators representing a mere one-fifth of the American population (a one-fifth that also happens to be much whiter and more rural than the rest of the country) can basically block legislation that most of the country wants.
    People talk about the tyranny of the majority. What do you call tyranny of the minority?

  28. Mikel

    Re: “The condo board knew that Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., needed major repairs. It did not know the complex was in a race against time.” This is silly. Any physical plant is in a perpetual race against time, as any property owner knows. Dwellings “crack and sometimes break, under the burden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, will not stay still.”

    Reading between the lines, and maybe not the NYTimes intent, but they are showing the silliness and willful blindess of those in charge.

    1. Soredemos

      The condo absolutely needed repairs, but from what I’ve watched and read the root cause of the collapse was that the pool deck simply wasn’t built properly in the first place. It wasn’t a degradation problem that needed maintenance; instead it was fundamentally built badly to begin with. The blueprints called for a sloped deck so water had a way to run off, but it was built flat. So water pooled, and soaked into the concrete, and then the rebar. The rebar expanded into concrete it had no way to expand into, until eventually the whole structure simply snapped itself to pieces. If you look at the post-collapse pictures the rebar cleanly broke off of all the support columns (which are all noticeably smaller in the parts of the condo that collapsed, by the way, than they are in the parts that survived, which actually is something the blueprints specify, for some strange reason. A baffling design decision). The rebar simply stopped doing its job of transferring the weight of the building to the columns, basically.

      The specifics of this case have nothing to do with climate change, but indirectly this is a preview of what’s going to happen to lots of concrete buildings in Florida as they start to get flooded with rising seawater. The water is going to soak through to the rebar.

  29. Lee

    “Dwellings “crack and sometimes break, under the burden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, will not stay still.”

    Remodeling old houses here in earthquake country, where out-of-level and out-of-square are the norm, is truly an art form.

  30. Michael Ismoe

    The empire strikes back: Mainstream Dems try to crush the left in Buffalo and Cleveland

    Why don’t they just wait for them to get elected and just assimilate them into the “real democratic Party?” Then they will never be heard from again. Look what they did to the “fighting leftists” known as The Squad. The only place you can find them is on Twitter.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      My guess is these two don’t looks as easy to be assimilated, especially since people are taking notice of what happened to the Squad. Talk is cheap and all that, but why risk it? There’s been no real consequences for the Dems kneecapping the left (see Sanders, Bernie) and this has to be the path of least resistance.

    2. Geo

      Or, maybe they know that more progressives will mean that the current ones will actually have a bit more power?

      Considering there are only a few currently in a congress going up against 400+ Corporate funded, MSM supported, and establishment embedded congresspersons, is it possible that they Squad hasn’t been assimilated as much as they are just severely outnumbered and overpowered?

      Even Yul Brynner had more allies in The Magnificent Seven, and that was a movie.

      Not saying the Squad is perfect nor are they even doing all they can, but I just think all this #fraudsquad stuff ignores the very real forces against change, within the party and from external forces like the media and corporate powers, that stop them from being effective. The more of them there are the better chance we have of any progress.

      It’s funny, the only people I know who have more hate for the Squad than CNN liberals and Fox conservatives, are disillusioned lefties. Personally, I think knowing that the Dems and multi-millionaire conservative real estate developers are trying to crush them is a pretty clear sign they’re on the side of good. Not the perfect, but the good.

  31. rowlf

    What would restrict Ivermectin from being marketed as a dietary supplement?

    Another impish question is I wonder, after seeing several Atlanta TV news stories on using Covid sniffing dogs at a foot race this weekend, how long before some CDC spokesperson denounces the practice?

    I find local news fun to watch as little chunks of reality pop up from time to time that you rarely see in national broadcasts, such as a local interview about four months ago with a person from the CDC about local Covid cases and the CDC person recommended people take vitamin D3. I wonder if the spokesperson had to do penance afterwards?

  32. Carla

    Re: The empire strikes back: mainstream Dems — walking around my neighborhood, I can pretty accurately predict who will have Shontel Brown and who will have Nina Turner signs in their yards. Until recently, many more of Nina’s than of Shontel’s… Brown is the chair of the Cuyahoga County Dems — a sorrier, more corrupt gang of politicians than probably exists anywhere else in this sorry, corrupt country.

    1. Geo

      “The Empire Strikes Back” is an apt title for the article.

      But, if the movie reflected our reality the rebels would turn on Luke for not killing Vader in the first movie; Youtubers would call Yoda a “cuck” because he’s just hiding in his cave and not fighting the empire anymore; lefties would cancel Han Solo for having been friends with Lando; and banish Leia from the movement because of her princess privilege.

      And all the while Vader and Palpatine would be laughing while watching the rebels fight amongst themselves.

  33. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    re: Q/Conspiracy Games: Wu Ming Collective is onto somethintg there. “Conspiracy Narratives that defend the systrm”
    James Corbett, who is like Chris Hedges only even more darkly cynical, has done some similar good reporting/theorizing about this “Hopium” on YouTube.

    Noam Chomsky: “Necessary Illusions and Emotionally potent oversimplificaation,”

    Also look into CCRU, hyperstition, Bill Casey: “When our work is done, nothing the American people believe will be true.” and “We create realities and you in the press will report them, judiciously as you may….”
    Draw the obvious conclusions. Stop believing what you see on CNMSNBC &c.

    In the old days, we relied on what Chomsky called the “Internal record”. Since 9/11, this record is assiduously hidden away- on a ‘need to know basis’. When things leak out (Assange/Manning) the state weaves a dialectic on multiple levels to defuse and redirect the public.

    My contention is that the webs of fictions and lies have become so tangled and impenetrable that the oligarchs and competing intelligence bureaucracies don’t know what’s atually true anymore. Other than the latest spin they’re working.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      hence the Ontological Crises that has overtaken the various existential and teleological crises.
      mom’s had a bunch of plumbers out since the big ice storm…one bunch to redo her septic, another to redo the burst pipes.
      had several bid on each job…and all of them were caught codeswitching, from right to centerleft, when it came out that mom is a clintondem.
      the assumption, of course, that potential customers out here are righty leaning, if not full on Q….but these guys switched seamlessly to the Big Middle talking points.
      strange phenomenon.

      1. ambrit

        When I was a waiter in New Orleans, Chameleons did the best. Adapting to one’s customer’s perceived biases is an art form closely related to the strength of the income stream.
        On a related note, I believe I read one of the American Puritan Divines denounce acting specifically, and dissembling of all sorts as sinful and degrading. [Cotton Mather in the “Magnalia?” Magnalia Christi Americana.]

      2. rowlf

        Normal stuff for military brats. Gotta work with the local tribal people. After a while you can mimic local dialects quickly.

  34. Mildred Montana

    Another take on beavers:

    According to the article, a young grad student conducted an experiment in a shallow stream. His conclusion? Beavers build dams because they hate the sound of rushing water.

    This confirms what I saw on a nature show several years ago. Apparently, the sound of running water to a beaver is like the beeping of a smoke detector or the ringing of a fire alarm to us: Time to get busy! Now!

  35. Jeremy Grimm

    [The Biden Plan to build back better sounds great the way it is described in the White House Memorandum. I wonder how it will look as a bill. If the bill comes out differently and accomplishes as much as other recent U.S. Government initiatives have accomplished … perhaps the State governments might approach China to see if they can get onboard the Chinese infrastructure push described in the report Jagged Sphere from the Lowy Institute — outsource building back better. Here is a quote from a Chinese Government source, quoted in the Lowy report: “[We should] continue to enhance our advantages in the entire industrial chains of high-speed rail, electrical power equipment, new energy, communication equipment and other fields…increase the dependence of international industrial chains on our country, and form a powerful countermeasure and deterrence ability for foreign parties who cut our supply.”] /s

  36. Wukchumni

    Count Formaldehyde is in fine form, nobody dooms it better!

    In April, I warned that today’s extremely loose monetary and fiscal policies, when combined with a number of negative supply shocks, could result in 1970s-style stagflation (high inflation alongside a recession). In fact, the risk today is even bigger than it was then.

    After all, debt ratios in advanced economies and most emerging markets were much lower in the 1970s, which is why stagflation has not been associated with debt crises historically. If anything, unexpected inflation in the 1970s wiped out the real value of nominal debts at fixed rates, thus reducing many advanced economies’ public-debt burdens.

    Conversely, during the 2007-08 financial crisis, high debt ratios (private and public) caused a severe debt crisis – as housing bubbles burst – but the ensuing recession led to low inflation, if not outright deflation. Owing to the credit crunch, there was a macro shock to aggregate demand, whereas the risks today are on the supply side.

    We are thus left with the worst of both the stagflationary 1970s and the 2007-10 period. Debt ratios are much higher than in the 1970s, and a mix of loose economic policies and negative supply shocks threatens to fuel inflation rather than deflation, setting the stage for the mother of stagflationary debt crises over the next few years.

  37. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “The hard truth about ransomware: we aren’t prepared, it’s a battle with new rules, and it hasn’t near reached peak impact.”

    Is it not a result of the democratization of knowledge combined with an all encompassing philosophy of self interest concerned only with wealth accumulation [Where the ends justify any means necessary, i.e., “get rich or die trying”.] that transcends any larger social interests, that is order as opposed to disorder, bellum omnium contra omnes? Where, “With ransomware gangs running around with multi-million dollar budgets, it gives them the ability to buy exploits and tools from exploit brokers at a scale normally reserved for states and nation states.”

    The event horizon of the next emerging threat and the descent into an abyss of nightmares is already upon us: the threat of bioterrorism using engineered pathogens. The idea that unemployed university graduates, with no prospect of employment, will be designing and selling the next generation of bioterror ‘exploits and tools’ to anyone with money available for purchase, is hardly improbable. The ethical and moral constraints vanished long ago, along with the ‘death of god’ and the atomization/deification of the individual.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s not until halfway through that article that you spot the word “Linux” and it’s in the context of maybe you need some Linux add ons for security.

      The author worked for Microsoft but isn’t willing to “go there” to the obvious answer–If you are running a critical system get rid of Windows. The days when ATM machines all had Windows XP inside are surely over. It’s an ancient operating system in tech terms and first designed when the Internet was barely a thing.

      On my Linux computer I don’t even have a firewall (although you can add one). Linux does regularly put out security updates but when it comes to malware it’s more likely the hackers are running Linux than the victims.

      1. RMO

        The fact that Linux has a market share of about 2% versus 76% for Windows might have a little to do with that too. I’m just in the process of switching my laptop over to Linux myself but it first came out in 1991, two years earlier than NT which is the core of the current Windows 10 OS/spyware so it’s pretty old at heart too.

  38. drumlin woodchuckles

    I see in the Jagged Sphere article that . . . ” China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar are in some cases dissolving borders and in others carving out Chinese-controlled enclaves, all increasing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) presence and influence.”

    China has a Special Economic Zone in Myanmar? Really? I did not know that.

    If the NUGs want to make the upcoming China-Russia-Tatmadaw victory in Myanmar into a Pyrrhic Victory, they will exterminate all signs of economic function in China’s SEZ and destroy beyond all hope of repair any and every present and future possible transit route and access point at, into or out of China’s SEZ in Myanmar. The NUGs will all be killed in the end. How much utter and total pain can they inflict on their enemies before they all die?

  39. Keith Newman

    Started to read Kevin Drum’s article. Gave up after two paragraphs when the Democrats were termed “left”. The Democratic Party is a right wing pro-Wall Street, pro military industrial-etc, pro-Big Health party. It is not in any way at all a “left” party. In any country other than the US it would be called a conservative party. The “Dems” are strongly in favour of identity issues because it is a useful tactic to divide people who might otherwise act together in common cause for Medicare for all, higher minimum wage, public childcare, etc, etc.

    1. urblintz

      Indeed. Drum uses all the familiar social metrics to demonstrate movement to the left, all of which were purposely undermined by a lock-step move, much earlier, to economic neo-liberalism – austerity – which is shared by both parties. He wrote an article at Mother Jones defending means testing ( and attributes a doubling of the incomes of the poor to it.

      Call me a vulgar Marxist, whatever… there is no social justice without economic justice.

      The argument that “conservative ” democrats voted for Trump because of idpol is far less than half the story.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Some of them at least voted for Trump because of their opposition to Free Trade.

        1. The Rev Kev

          More likely they voted against Free Trade because they knew exactly who would lose out if another NAFTA-style treaty was signed.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well . . . yes. They voted against Clinton because of her membership in the International Free Trade Conspiracy. And the only way to defeat her was to vote for Trump by enough to get Trump elected instead of Clinton.

            So, yes. Opposition to Free Trade led to voting for the Candidate who voiced opposition to Free Trade.

  40. Carolinian

    Re Doctorow’s ode to fiber–I have a fiber line behind my house owned by–wait for it–ATT. If the theme of his post is making the web more democratic then it’s hard to see how fiber is going to help with that. Installing these lines either on poles or in the ground is capital intensive and not something many communities are likely to undertake. Nor are commercial outfits like ATT likely to install in poor neighborhoods where many fewer are going to subscribe to their high fees. In fact versions of broadcast internet–the thing that Doctorow derides–are much more doable by underserved towns in states where the cable lobby hasn’t squashed the idea.

    Speaking of which, Doctorow acts like the use of cable companies to deliver internet in the US was an odd “decision” whereas it was merely due to the fact that all those copper lines already existed. And in the early days of the internet laying new lines under or over the ground would have found no investors.

    Here’s suggesting what the country really needs is not so much more broadband but more and cheaper access to the limited existing infrastructure. Also good would be more govt regulation of those Silicon Valley and Cable company sharks who take such advantage of those existing limits.

  41. drumlin woodchuckles

    Florida real estate and Miami condos . . .

    Here is that little Groucho Marx auction scene from The Cocoanuts . . . ” oh, how you can get stucco” . .

    We really need to help every single man made global warming denier in America move to Florida.

  42. deplorado

    >> This isn’t building back better; it’s building back more of the bad

    It really should be *build bad better*

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Or ” build better bad”. Or ” build better badder”.

      Lots of fun to be had with this phrase.

      ” Build backer betterer.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If a doctor denies care for any non-medical reason, is a doctor violating the Hippocratic Oath?

      And if so, is that grounds for challenging that doctor’s license to practice medicine?

      Is care-refusal in-general grounds for challenging a doctor’s license? Despite what the governor signed?
      If so, is it worth a try? Over and over and over again?

      If this doctor withholding care for this reason is part of a larger practice, can that practice be boycotted into firing that doctor? If so, then doing that enough times should get the homohating doctors to put survival before conscience, if enough of them see their fellow homohating doctors’ licenses and practices and lives destroyed.

      Same for nurses and pharmacists too, of course.

      If its war, then treat it that way.

  43. Carolinian

    From Pat Lang, this is interesting: what happened to the 56 signers of the Declaration.

    Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the revolutionary war.


  44. flora

    An interview with Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies, New York University June 10, 2021 Dumbo, New York.

    This is a good companion piece to Caitlin Johnstone’s article in today’s Famously Free Press section links, imo.

    utube, ~30 minutes.

    1. urblintz

      wow… pulling no punches, going out on a dangerous limb. I hope he has tenure.

      Last interview of him I saw was with Steven Cohen. They were both shaking their heads in disbelief, concurrrently expressing they’d “never seen anything like it” regarding the propaganda behind Russiagate.

    2. Keith Newman

      Professor Miller points out ways in which Covid propaganda is similar to past war propaganda and makes interesting points. However that does not mean that what the prof. asserts re Covid as an illness is correct. For instance toward the end of the video he says that children don’t get Covid and don’t transmit it. This is untrue. I know personally a 5 year old child who got Covid and transmitted it to his 40 year old father who became quite sick.

  45. none

    The world’s longest-living people share this hobby—why studies say it can help add years to your life CNBC

    Saving you a click: it’s gardening.

    1. Yves Smith

      But correlation is not causation. People who garden usually squat, which is very good for the hips, and get up and off the ground. One of the things that makes old people much more vulnerable to falls is not being able to get off the ground. So people who garden have to be in at least OK orthopedic shape, which is better than most people.

      My father and my maternal grandmother both gardened. Neither was particularly long-lived. By contrast, my couch potato, fried food and butter loving mother is 93.

  46. The Rev Kev

    “Peru’s government rejects Fujimori call for international audit for June 6 poll ”

    Even Greedo from Venezuela is not taking her calls at all either.

  47. The Rev Kev

    “‘Wasting my breath’: Southern faith leaders wary of promoting vaccines”

    Dare I say it? Southern faith leaders have little problem in believing in God as a matter of faith. Believing in this newer generation of vaccines as a matter of faith may be a step too far. And if ANY problems are encountered by that faith leader’s flock, it will not be the bureaucrat that encouraged that faith leader to promote vaccines that they will be asking help and answers from but that faith leader instead. And since even doctors cannot get the answers to some of those questions, what is a faith leader suppose to say to their community?

  48. Matthew G. Saroff

    I disagree on your comment on Kevin Drum’s essay.
    It’s not interesting, and he has been writing this essay for over 20 years.

    His basic thesis is that the Democrats are too left, and moving too far left, based on culture war issues, where the Republicans have been losing for years, particularly same sex marriage.

    When you talk about more meaningful issues, i.e. the ones that Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) eschew in favor of culture war issues and identity politics, things like healthcare for all, reining in Wall Street, taxing the rich, etc., there is broad and deep support for the progressive side of these issues.

  49. Jason Boxman

    “We now have our choice in terms of how we acquire that immunity,” Dr. Gottlieb said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “You can acquire it through vaccination or you’re going to end up acquiring it through natural infection.”

    What the fk even is that? Go die. Said in more words. Wow. This is other worldly. This is our nation’s elite class.

  50. Jon Cloke

    Speaking of lessons not learned, why does the PHR article keep referring to the 1918-19 outbreak as ‘Spanish Flu’, given that we now know it originated in the US?

    Surely it should be referred to either as ‘the 1918-19 flu outbreak’, or ‘the US Flu’?

    You see, you *can* learn something from Donald Trump…

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