Links 7/9/2021

The Story of Songbirds Is a Story of Sugar The Atlantic

The Oncoming Ransomware Storm Stephen Diehl

The Robinhood Conundrum A Wealth of Common Sense

Brad Udall: Second-worst Powell inflows in more than half a century jfleck at inkstain (dk). Current and future state of the Colorado River.

The U.S. Gas Industry Is Headed for Hard Times The New Republic


Viral infection and transmission in a large well-traced outbreak caused by the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant (preprint) Virological. From the Summary: “We report the first local transmission of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant in mainland China. All 167 infections could be traced back to the first index case…. A potential higher viral replication rate of the Delta variant is proposed, which leads the viral loads in Delta infections to be ~1000 times higher than the 19A/19B strains infections on the day when the testing turns to be positive. This highlights more infectiousness of Delta variant during the early stage of infection is very likely, and the frequency of the population screening should be optimized for the intervention. The more infectiousness of the Delta variant infections in pre-symptomatic phase highlights the need of timely quarantine for the suspicious infection cases or closely contacts before the clinical onset or the PCR screening.” I’ve helpfully highlighted tasks that the United States does not have the operational capability to perform.

Top Fed official warns Delta variant poses threat to global recovery and BioNTech/Pfizer plan to trial Delta variant vaccine in August FT

Delta variant said to be far more widespread than federal estimates Politico

* * *

Dallas County reaches herd immunity even as new COVID cases continue to hold steady, experts say Dallas Morning News (antidlc). Natural immunity + vaccination.

* * *

Scientists identify long-sought marker for COVID vaccine success Science. From last week, still germane.

Efficacy of Portable Air Cleaners and Masking for Reducing Indoor Exposure to Simulated Exhaled SARS-CoV-2 Aerosols — United States, 2021 CDC. Say the secret word and a duck will come down and give you fifty dollars.


China vs. capitalism: Didi learns its lesson the hard way Felix Salmon, Axios

The China tech regulator taking on Didi: Five things to know Nikkei Asian Review

Was Xi Jinping’s choice of a gory and controversial idiom a message from Beijing? South China Morning Post

Excerpt from China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy by Peter Martin Sinocism

‘Who Are Our Enemies?’ China’s Bitter Youths Embrace Mao. NYT


Telenor quits Myanmar as regime pressures telco operators Nikkei Asian Review. “Fire sale.”

Stay-at-home orders in Myanmar’s Yangon as COVID-19 cases spike Channel News Asia

Head of Myanmar EAO’s Peace Negotiating Team Steps Down The Irrawaddy. “Peace negotiating” between the militias, it seems like. Clashes spread:

Delivery Drivers Are Using Grey Market Apps to Make Their Jobs Suck Less Vice. In Indonesia. Commentary:

Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators – Games minister Reuters


How the FBI played a role in the capture of Princess Latifa of Dubai USA Today


Government’s Mass Infection Plan Pushed by Great Barrington Declaration Lobbying Effort to End COVID Protections Byline Times

The young are pawns in Boris Johnson’s Covid experiment FT

New Cold War

Russian Federation Sitrep 8 July 2021 Russia Observer (KW).

Haiti police say 26 Colombians, two US-Haitians took part in Jovenel Moïse assassination Guardian. Commentary:

Biden Administration

Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Ashurst. Good summary. London-based multinational law firm.

Asset recycling could be the best fix to crumbling national infrastructure The Hill. From AEI in March. Still germane.

Can Infrastructure Spending Save Ogdensburg, New York? The New Yorker

Critics: Postal Service plans imperil community newspapers The Daily Progress (TD).

FDA’s expansive Alzheimer’s drug approval surprised even top agency officials STAT

Capitol Seizure

The Chilling Message of Trump’s Embrace of Ashli Babbitt Martyrdom New York Magazine. Personally, I think it represents real progress that the cops finally whacked the right sort of person.


Why is a Fusion GPS attorney risking sanctions? The Reactionary (ctlieee).


The Assange Case Isn’t About National Security, It’s About Narrative Control Caitlin Johnstone

Imperial Collapse Watch

Florida’s Condo Collapse Foreshadows a Concrete Crack-Up Wired

Subway Commuters Wade Through Waist-Deep Waters As Heavy Rainfall Triggers Flash Floods Gothamist

The Meaning Of The Native Graves The American Conservative. Hoo boy.

Guillotine Watch

Branson and Bezos in space: how their rocket ships compare FT

Class Warfare

Pandemics, plagues and innovation in history: the striking parallels between COVID-19 and the Black Death Marketplace

A Better Boom Foreign Affairs. The deck: “How to Capture the Pandemic’s Productivity Potential.”

Earnings Shocks and Stabilization During COVID-19 SSRN. From the Abstract: “While most workers experiencing large annual earnings declines do not receive unemployment insurance, over half of beneficiaries were made whole in 2020, as unemployment insurance replaced a median of 103 percent of their annual earnings declines. After incorporating unemployment insurance, the likelihood of large earnings declines among low-earning workers was not only smaller than during the Great Recession, but also smaller than in 2019.”

‘It’d be cheaper to get a black cab!’ Shortage of Uber drivers sees prices DOUBLE to £46 for a four mile journey – after workers quit for delivery jobs during lockdown Daily Mail

Chef David Burke: Our payroll is 25% to 30% higher because of labor shortage Yahoo Finance

Restaurant workers across North Carolina say there’s no labor shortage. It’s a ‘wage shortage.’ The Counter

The Rust Belt’s New Working Class Is Just as Exploited as the Old One Jacobin

Steve Wozniak Voices Strong Support for the Growing Right to Repair Movement Gizmodo

Antidote du Jour (via):

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. PlutoniumKun

    Florida’s Condo Collapse Foreshadows a Concrete Crack-Up Wired

    One of the key problems with concrete as a material is that you have to have a lot of trust in whoever is mixing and laying the material, especially when its going into foundations. Once its set its extremely difficult to find out if it was done properly. In a well functioning regulatory system of whatever type, this usually isn’t too big a problem, but… well, we know whats been happening to regulations. And climate change will make things far, far, worse, especially as it affects groundwater and soil moisture levels.

    Its not just a case of collapsing buildings. I can’t find it online, but about 10 years ago I read quite a detailed engineering assessment of the Chinese HSR system. The conclusion at the time was that a lot of corners had been cut with concrete specification, which would probably lead to the main lines having a useful life far less than originally intended. The lines won’t shut down early, they will just have speeds reduced year by year until they are no longer HSR, just regular lines. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in overall financial terms, it means that the economic payback of the original investment is significantly less than anticipated. This sort of thing can riipple through an economy in the form of bad debts (as the Japanese well know).

    1. Carolinian

      A different article I have read points out that Roman concrete has lasted for millennia because of the special ingredients used and despite the lack of rebar (or because of it). It says water penetrates and causes the rebar in current buildings to invisibly rust and then expand–destroying the concrete from within. Supposedly Roman concrete was waterproof which may also account for its longevity.

      Of course you engineers know all this already so is the current situation just about using inadequate ingredients?

    2. TimH

      Quote from my Dad, a civil engineer (unless you annoy him):
      It has been known for 50 years that while correctly mixed Portland cement concrete, mixed with salt free water gives 100% protection of steel reinforcement from rusting. Rapid hardening cement does not, and rust and spalling in damp places results after a few years in wet locations.

      Contractors like rapid hardening concrete as they can make faster progress with construction, but those checking work always had to prevent its use in wet situations. It appears that constructors in America, at least Florida were not so cautious. Spalled concrete is almost impossible to rectify.

  2. fresno dan

    The Chilling Message of Trump’s Embrace of Ashli Babbitt Martyrdom New York Magazine. Personally, I think it represents real progress that the cops finally whacked the right sort of person.
    It is revealing that Trump has only taken up Babbitt’s cause now, six months after the insurrection.
    This, of course, represents by Trump no true or honest critique of police use of violence. It is to me pretty obvious that Trump believes the ONLY restrain upon police should be preventing police action against the right white people…

    1. ambrit

      Also, there were a lot of “white” people whose heads were knocked together when Occupy was taken down.
      As the “martyrdom” of Horst Wessel by Goebbels shows, one must be very careful when dealing with “martyrs.” This is a very powerful symbol for any ‘movement.’ If I hear an “Ashli Babbitt Song” on the radio any time soon, then I’ll know to start worrying.
      The truth of the matter right now is that we are nowhere near the levels of street violence that held sway in Germany between the wars. For one thing, America has no organized Left wing movement capable of fielding a street brawling force, yet.

      1. Wukchumni

        For one thing, America has no organized Left wing movement capable of fielding a street brawling force, yet.

        I’ve heard that lefties have made overtures that way and have formed at least one such force, the Citizens Auxiliary Police.

        They are instantly identifiable by the uniform worn-the ensemble consisting of a white pith helmet, fly fishing shirt (with Sam Browne duty belt sans weaponry) bermuda shorts & brown wingtips.

        They’ve yet to get in their first brawl, but there’s hope they’ll acquit themselves, or more than likely quit and go get sushi which is the safest haven, as if righties appreciate raw deals you have to pay for-they’re used to getting them for free.

        1. ambrit

          There’s something fishy about that group. You’ll know how “in bed” with the status quo they are if the police treat them as a “catch and release” prey.

          1. Wukchumni

            They’re the kind of lefty types who are only religious when it comes to splitting the tab, see how equitable they are with every last supper even if somebody ordered the most expensive item on the menu.

        1. fresno dan

          Michael Ismoe
          July 9, 2021 at 9:43 am

          Looks like I have to join Spotify and buy the song.
          Do you, or does anyone, have the lyrics to the song?

      2. Bob

        Not so sure about this.

        Second hand somewhat reliable source seems to relate that folks sporting NeoNazi tattoos or other markers in Portland, OR can expect a forceful and prompt send off.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve found tattoos very useful in figuring the net worth of a young adult, it all inks out.

        2. ambrit

          So, now, to tell when the Right wingers are getting ‘organized,’ one would expect to see some well orchestrated marches through Portland by Neo groups. That’s how Goebbels and his fellow travellers did it.
          The secret for the Left in places like Portland is to get the local police on their side. Either through coercion, cooption, or subornation; any will do.

    2. The Rev Kev

      This is a major fail here with that shooting. With police training, there seems to be only two speeds – off and hearing the DOOM music kick in. Take that Palace Guard that panicked & shot Babbitt, thereby making a martyr of her. Supposing that he had better training and just stepped up and smacked her in the teeth with the butt-end of his pistol instead. She would have been then out of action. And we know from video taken at the time that police reinforcements arrived a few seconds later on the other side of that door who would have had her evacuated. Under this scenario, she would have been arrested and now facing trial along with about 400 others. She would also have had to undergo dental repair work but she might have been lucky to have conservatives do a GoFundMe to pay for it. But she would have still been alive. Now she is a martyr and her name is spreading among conservatives and all because when police pull their pistols, they are trained just to shoot to kill.

      1. Keith

        That would be a muzzle control issue. There are batons small enough for plainclothes to wear, but depending on policy, may not have been required. Further, could have been an older guy who has no desire for fisticuffs, so less intermediary weapons allows him to move up the force escalation ladder quickly.

        At the end of the day hindsight and being removed from the situation makes decision making easier. From his perspective, there was a mob trying to break thru the barriers to get to the protectees, so he had to act. Shooting her may have also been beneficial for deescalation as it gives a wake up call to those caught up in mob mentality and allows the to focus on something else, tending the casualty.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good idea that. So if they repeat the race riots again like they had last year they should definitely shoot one or two ‘pour encourager les autres’ as that always calms things down. And if you can shoot dead an unarmed woman, that shows that you really mean business. No way that that will ever backfire. And historically we have the example of the Boston massacre as a prime lesson in riot control.

          1. Keith

            As opposed to using a sidearm as a blunt instrument? Handgun 101 dictates you never let anyone come within reaching distance of your sidearm. That results in the very real likelihood of losing it.

            And two, regardless of how you feel about the riot, it was a good shoot. The fact that she became a martyr really is moot. Look at some of those characters that became martyrs for BLM. It has nothing to do with the shooting. It is all about the messaging and propaganda, much like the Boston massacre.

            1. The Rev Kev

              No it wasn’t a good shoot nor even a righteous one. She was half-stuck trying to get through a small window and so was vulnerable. He could have stepped up and king-hit her or given her a quick chop to the throat. Either way she would have been put out of action but still been alive and able to stand trial like she should have. Instead he panicked and fell back on his shoot-to-kill training. And if asked, he would have said that ‘he was in fear of his life’ which is part of Police Excuses 101. That day would have been easier to handle if those Capitol Police had not opened up the barriers for that crowd or after a short fight, not stood aside and let them enter into the building.

    3. Arby

      A human being was killed by an agent of the state and six months later the identity of the agent is unknown to the public. Six months later, no public process has occurred to assess the validity of that killing. Whatever Trump says about it and for whatever purpose, those facts about the state of the security and legal system unwilling or unable to examine a killing in the name of the state deserves to be held to public account.

      1. Carolinian

        From reading other sites it appears the officer’s name now is known or at least the Capitol police are not denying the reports. There is an ongoing lawsuit by the woman’s family.

        As for “had it coming,” that’s what they said at the time about Waco and that particular martyrdom led to lots of blowback. One should also say that many of the things we were told at the time about Waco turned out to be untrue.

        “Had it coming” is a very slippery slope. The press has avoided talking about the ways that George Floyd was not a nice person and rightfully so since extra judicial killing is not the way civilized societies are supposed to work.

        1. Nce

          Exactly. I don’t have a substack sub, so I can’t get a link, but I seem to remember Glen Greenwald pointed out that Babbitt voted for Obama and lost her pool cleaning business in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Frankly, I have more respect for her than any corporate dem that labels anticapitalists like me DVEs. BTW, l watched a Gore Vidal speech from 1991, which is even more prescient today:

          I didn’t have a TV or phone back then, and I’m ashamed to admit that it’s taken me this long to recognize the importance of what he was saying. I doubt Vidal would claim that a 5th amendment Constitutional Convention is a remedy today in the age of computer gerrymandered districts and the looming existential threats of global warming and AI. We don’t have time for that anymore.

          1. Pelham

            Thank you very much for the link. It just struck me that Vidal could quite possibly have been a magnificent president, the kind we could use right about now.

            1. Rainlover

              He certainly thought so. He could never understand why his political forays were rejected. Read any one of his memoirs. Great commentator and writer with ego enough for three or four.

          2. Procopius

            What’s a DVE? Digital Video Editor? Why would they call you that? Dee Van Enterprise? Distributed Visual Environment?

            Gore Vidal was great.

            1. John

              Vidal once ran for Congress in one of the Hudson Valley districts. He ran as a Democrat. He lost. I recall that at the time he was reputed to have said that every four years the Republicans in the district came out of the woodwork and voted for William McKinley. This may have contributed to his defeat. If so, it did nothing to deflate his ego.

              His historical novels beginning with Burr, then Lincoln, then 1876 are wonderful. There are more who titles I do not recall.

            2. ivoteno

              think of this like a puzzle that used to be on the comics page in an actual newspaper:


              you have six extra letters as hints, now fill in the blanks.

        2. lordkoos

          I recall reading stuff about Floyd that was not so good, like he was a drug user, prior arrests etc etc.

      2. fresno dan

        A human being was killed by an agent of the state and six months later the identity of the agent is unknown to the public.

        On the one hand, I am a big believer that police force should be used sparingly, examined critically after use, and police misconduct punisihed to the fullest extent possible, and the politics, race, sex, religion, tatoos, and hairstyle of the police vicitim is irrelevant.
        BUT, in this country, as a ROUTINE matter, prosecutors and police forces, cover up, obfuscate, and ignore police misconduct (against poor white people, as well as brown people). It is obvious to me, and I think anyone intellectually honest, that Trump really does NOT care about police power abuse. Indeed, Trump has advocated police misconduct (and please, when you put them in the paddy wagon, don’t be too gentile).
        On August 25, 2017, President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor. Arpaio had been convicted of the crime two months earlier for disobeying a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling in detaining “individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally”

        The investigation of people who die at the hands of the police should be handled consistently and seriously. I just wish all the thousands of poor people (many who were republicans) who died unjustly at the hands of the police got the attention of Ashli Babbit

        1. Aumua

          It should be blatently obvious that the hard right has no problem with abuse or overreach by the State or any other authority when it serves their purposes. It takes a lot of effort to separate the bits and pieces of truth in their words from the distortions, lies and b.s. that is liable to pop up anywhere along the way in their diatribes. We should try and always be cognizant of that when discussing these things. Consider the source, consider their motives.

          That said I unequivocally believe that they should not have killed Babbitt. There are ten different better ways that could have been handled.

      3. Hazel Down

        The shrill “she deserved it” remarks from Liberals and Democrats is a reminder that they are not in any way of the left.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      You can almost taste jonathan chait’s elation at finally emerging from the no-Trump-news desert, into the world where hyperventilating, click baity words like “chilling” and sentences like “Babbitt’s death, while tragic, occurred for a very good reason.” are considered “journalism” again.

      1. Questa Nota

        Birdcages everywhere are alive with song as new liners become available! Chait may play to an audience of one on occasion but how that one can sing. /s

      2. Wukchumni

        We seem to be in the Errorstroika end game where the old guard practices sleazy columnism tactics…

        They pretend to work and we pretend to pay attention to them.

    5. The Historian

      Do you really think Trump believes in anything, except himself? I see this as just Trump looking for a hook to gin up more anger and emotion within his followers in an attempt to bolster their slavish devotion to him, nothing more.

      I do agree with ambrit that the left is incapable of taking on Trump and his devotees in any way, shape or form. And I am sure the song will come.

        1. hunkerdown

          Well, all ideologies of inequity support bourgeois property rights, and the bourgeoisie therefore support all of them right back, however tacitly. The movements that diminish bourgeois rights, on the other hand, are regularly and professionally broken or misled before they can wield power. It will continue to be thus as long as people still think ruling classes are not irreparably and inherently corrupt and that asking them to do stupid ceremonies together will make them any less so. Sorry, civreps, you’re trying to preserve the real problem.

  3. fresno dan

    FDA’s expansive Alzheimer’s drug approval surprised even top agency officials STAT
    What laws FDA follows and what rules FDA makes are far, far different than what most Americans presume FDA does (I presume this is how th US government regulatory regime works in general – a simulacrum of protection of the US citizen while advancing business profits). First, a drug does not have to be better than any current treatment to be approved. That means drugs already on the market are often substantially more effective, better (i.e., fewer and less serious side effects) and cheaper than newly approved drugs.
    Second, once a drug is approved, it can be prescribed for anything your doctor wants. Where do doctors get their ideas about drug prescribing? Predominantly from detail men (or women) which in common vernacular would be called drug salesmen.
    Apparently, this manner of doing things will continue until any income or assets is totally strip mined from the American citizenry.

    1. doug

      It may have changed, but when I was in the pharmaceutical industry, Only Doctors could give off label prescribing information, reps had to stay on label. Thus Doctors were hired to be inhouse salesmen/information disseminators.
      The rep would get the Doctors together via phone. Landline even…May have changed. This did allow for rapid deployment in off label uses and sometimes this was a good thing.

    2. lordkoos

      “…once a drug is approved, it can be prescribed for anything your doctor wants.”

      Unless it’s Ivermectin.

      1. Yves Smith

        Stop spreading nonsense. My MD who isn’t terribly up on the research prescribed it (and she’s in very orthodox NYC) because she was persuaded that it can’t hurt.

  4. diptherio

    Re: The Meaning Of The Native Graves – The American Conservative

    So Declan Leary is quite obviously a sociopath, eh? Or a time traveler from 1870…

    Whatever natural good was present in the piety and community of the pagan past is an infinitesimal fraction of the grace rendered unto those pagans’ descendants who have been received into the Church of Christ.

    It’s easy to forget, living among many non-insane Christians as I do, that this type of thinking still exists, that people will still say this stuff out loud, in a public arena.

    Astoundingly, or not, Leary places the blame for poor conditions at residential schools on a lack of government funding. Apparently kidnapping the children from their parents was just fine (’cause bringing the savages Christianity), the only problem was the stingy government.

    Had the Canadian government, which in word endorsed the Christian mission of the residential schools, upheld that word in deed by providing the funding which Church authorities repeatedly said was necessary for adequate operation, living conditions could have been improved and a great many premature deaths avoided.

    There’s way too much retrograde cray-cray in this piece to point out all of it, but one astonishing sentence (and sentiment) I’ve got to highlight is this:

    The “mass graves” of public hysteria are, in fact, the ordered and intentional burial sites of people we always knew were dead, and who died of more or less natural causes.

    “More or less” natural? How does one write such a sentence without one’s head exploding?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina


      Whatever sacrifices were exacted in pursuit of that grace—the suffocation of a noble pagan culture; an increase in disease and bodily death due to government negligence; even the sundering of natural families—is worth it.

      The Madeline Albright school of thought.

    2. John Zelnicker

      July 9, 2021 at 8:07 am

      So, it’s all good because the graves were “ordered and intentional” instead of bodies being thrown in a huge ditch and covered up (pun intended).

      I still wonder how some of these folks sleep at night. Sociopath, indeed.

    3. The Historian

      Just reading that article made my head explode! My first response was WTF? I was just getting up on my soapbox when I read your post. I am so glad you took it on! Now I can cancel my rant!

    4. Cat Burglar

      The institutional parallels between the Canadian residential schools setup, where the Catholic church and the state shared power, and the orphanages, industrial schools, and Magdalen laundries in Ireland in the 20th century are striking. Whatever the intent, both produced cruel treatment, mass graves, and — as this article shows — a conveniently ambiguous divided liability.

      In each case, persons powerless because of age, ethnicity, class, or gender were dominated and crushed under authority justified by arguments just like Declan Leary’s. Clear claims of untrammeled power are very useful for recognizing the same motive when encountering the many disingenuous versions we are presented with.

    5. Soredemos

      “It’s easy to forget, living among many non-insane Christians as I do, that this type of thinking still exists, that people will still say this stuff out loud, in a public arena.”

      It’s called taking your religion seriously. If you actually believe the Bible to be the Divine Word of God™, or at least Divinely Inspired®, then you genuinely believe that what is at stake are people’s eternal souls. In comparison to an eternity of hellfire, nothing else even rates a mention.

      If you don’t agree with that, but still consider yourself Christian (or of any other religion for that matter) then you’re playing pick and choose with your holy text, and subordinating it to your present culturally induced morality, rather than treating the text itself as the ultimate source of moral teachings.

      I’m not saying that this type of fundamentalism is my stance, by the way. But I’m saying I absolutely understand where a fundamentalist is coming from. They take their religion very seriously and truly believe in it. They don’t just ignore the bits they might otherwise consider embarrassing anachronisms.

      1. wilroncanada

        Your explanation, Soredemos, doesn’t hold water. In the two places where you wrote about taking their religion seriously, you should have instead have used the word fundamentally. Fundamentalists, for the most part, neither believe all the Bible, nor do they act upon it’s principles, but instead follow their church’s culturally produced morality. Fundamentalists pick and choose, just like most others. They demand retention of life from conception, but abhor having to contribute to the maintenance of most others. They demand death for many crimes, but not those of usury, giving up of wealth, the worship of images ( as long as they look white enough), of boastfulness, of sexual promiscuity (rationalizing it through serial marriage)
        Blaming the government in no way absolves the churches of their shared culpability. Those church leaders really did believe that removing children from their homes, and abusing them in residential schools was to result in eventual disappearance of all indigenous culture, of which their religious practices was only a part, would be inevitable. They fully realized that stuffing children in closed environments with possible TB or measles in even one child would lead to a holocaust among the children. Maybe, in that sense, they WERE fundamentalists–you’ll be one of ours, or you’ll be nothing, just bones in an unmarked grave, since you’re only a number as it is. In residential schools, the children were just numbers.

        1. Soredemos

          You’re missing my point, which is that if you actually believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, as this writer clearly does, then essentially anything is justified if the result is saved souls. Salvation through Christ is the theological core of Christianity; without it Jesus is just a really nice guy whom we should try to emulate.

      2. diptherio

        They take their religion seriously right up to the point where it praises communism (Acts) or tells them to murder their willful children (Leviticus). I’ve had plenty of conversations with fundamentalists, and I can tell you that it is not at all hard to quote scripture to them that they are completely unaware of. They’ve been going to Bible study their whole life and yet are astonished to read (drumroll please) the Sermon on the Mount. It’s not that they take the Bible in it’s entirety and seriously try to live their lives based on it…I mean, “judge not lest ye yourself be judged, for the measure you give will be the measure you receive” doesn’t exactly seem to have made an impression…it’s that they pick and choose (or have their pastor pick and choose for them) particular bits that they like, and ignore everything else. Which, to be fair, is what everybody does.

        We cherry pick the bits of religious teachings that bolster our pre-existing beliefs and values, and we discount the rest, either explicitly or implicitly. Literally everyone does this…and how could we not? The texts themselves are brimming with contradictions and debatable meanings. Each can find support for whatever argument they wish to make, and as the saying goes, “even the devil can quote scripture to his purpose.” This is just the way religion works in the real world: it’s not possible to say who’s taking it seriously because there is no agreement among believers as to what that means. Heck, the Talmud is entirely composed of alternative (and often contradictory) interpretations of verses of the Torah.

        But to give the most reactionary, bigoted version of a religion the credit of being what “taking the religion seriously” looks like – and implying that progressive Christians therefore do not take their religion seriously – is not only insulting to masses of Christians, but is a serious misunderstanding of how religious adherents and religious texts actually intersect and interact.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      Declan Leary is having a hard time handling the possibility that 2,000 years of Militant Christianism has indeed been all for nothing. Hence his determined effort to sanctify the Residential Re-Education Camps and sanctify the mass child-casualties achieved there.

      Declan Leary looks pretty young, from his photograph. He may live long enough to see a mass exodus of Indian People from the Christianist Churches back to the Spiritual Religions of their ancestors and nations.

    7. CloverBee

      My biggest issue is they act like this was the distant past. Residential schools closed in the 1970s (Canada) and 1960s (US). Many of the older reservation residents survived these schools. The anger is not misplaced.

  5. chris

    From the Hill article on “asset recycling”:

    The key is to use scarce federal dollars to incentivize state and local owners to take a fresh look at traditional ways of managing public infrastructure.

    That is one of the most depressing sentences I’ve read in a long time. Leaving aside the issue of “scarce federal dollars” (Paging Dr. Kelton!) the concept of needing to provide incentives for people at any level in our government to maintain infrastructure that will kill people if it fails catastrophically is insane. That is literally their job. It is the one thing we are supposed to be able to rely on government for. It is why we pay taxes. It is why we pay tolls. It is why there are inspection programs and Departments of Building Services and permits and zoning commissions and… what the hell is the point of all this if we’re not motivated to keep this stuff in good repair? And how stupid are the Tankie scum who think they have better ideas than taxes should be increased to support repairs or the structures should be demolished?

    We know what we need to do. We just don’t want to do it. I honestly have no idea why. I love construction. I love building new things. I love making old things safer and better. I love when everything works and people are safe. That is the goal of engineering. That is what our civilian leaders are supposed to be supporting. So let’s stop wasting time and hire and train and support projects to fix things. The longer we wait the worse it gets.

    1. Retaj

      Asset recycling sounds like a consultant focus group tested rebranding of public private partnerships. It sounds like a great opportunity for rent extraction, and skimming profits from the public.

      1. Skip Intro

        And Public Private Partnerships is the consultant focus group tested rebranding of Asset Stripping.

        1. Questa Nota

          I hear that Delaware, The Hamptons, The Vineyard et cetera are lovely this time of year. The consultants put on quite a spread for the season, otherwise known as the Congressional Recess.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Yes. I note the author is from the American Enterprise Institute.

        And yes, the current Democrats are desperate to get this Yeltsin Bidenbill passed. They will be a co-equal part of the “re-branding” conspiracy. They may even hire Frank Luntz to explain it to us to show their bi-partisanship.

        1. John

          Public-Private partnership is rentier capitalism in what is supposed to be a spiffy costume.

  6. Chas

    “The Meaning of Native Graves” story seemed to me to be a whitewash of the Jesuit treatment of native americans in Canada. The founder of Quebec and New France, Samuel Champlain, would be restless in his grave if he could read it. Champlain took a very different approach to the first nations people than did the British and Spanish explorers. He befriended the native people and treated them with respect. He didn’t murder them, give them smallpox blankets, make them slaves, or try to change their religion. He encouraged French men to live with the native people in their villages. Champlain, who had been brought up protestant, knew the Jesuits would cause big trouble for the first nations people and he fought hard to keep the black robes out of New France. He was successful at that for many years but the wealth and political connections of the Jesuits succeeded in the end. The graves of the children at the religious schools are the culmination of the Jesuit program. The first nations people are showing their outrage by desecrating churches and toppling statues of the oppressors, but I expect the statues of Samuel Champlain will be safe. A good biography of the founder of New France is “Champlain’s Dream” by David Fischer.

        1. Wukchumni

          Apparently not from his 12 year old wife!

          Back then, carnal relations with a 12 year old would get you 20, kids that is.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      There’s a nice song about Champlain from Quebecois folk band Le Vent du Nord that talks about his dream for a new and more equitable nation – Le Pays du Samuel

      I saw these guys live a couple years ago having never heard of them before and they were really good. I grew up near Champlain’s eponymous lake and always assumed he was your run of the mill European conqueror and it was only after picking up a CD after the show and reading the lyrics that I learned he had a more progressive outlook on things.

      Bonus: if you watch the video you will get to see an actual hurdy-gurdy man!

    2. bob

      The British monarchs are Jesuits? They were probably the ones who named it Victoria, British Columbia.

    3. Chris

      Declan Leary is a graduate of John Carroll University.

      John Carroll University is a private Jesuit university in University Heights, Ohio.

      In the words of Mandy Rice-Davies: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

  7. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Has anyone else noticed that the Mighty Wurlitzer is playing a suspiciously ominous tune, and an anti-Biden one in that, on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan that the MIC fought tooth and nail?

    Oh how they must pine for Hillary!

    1. chris

      Yes fellow Chris, I have noticed that. It’s astounding how much time and money and people we have to throw at an impossible problem that doesn’t help anyone living in our country if solved while at the same time we need to come up with “incentives” to help government officials maintain infrastructure at home :/

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sense is after 2012 there was an expectation Team Blue was a lock for the White House tempering the approach to centrist Democrats, but the msm has been a Bush family worshipping cult for a long time. Biden might not be Trump, but undoing a Bush family project is a mortal sin. Remember 90 thousand votes in three states is the big number.

      The msm has no problem going after Biden. I doubt they care about Hillary. She’s a non entity at this point.

      1. hunkerdown

        I think you’re right on this. Any nostalgia among the neocon MSM for Clinton World is contingent on the Albrights and Kissingers and other terrorist “scholars” having a home in it. Where does one stick an ice pick into a think tank and what path does one inscribe with it…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Bill had to settle for offices in Harlem due to not being able to raise money. He tried to make the most of it, but until Kerry bowed out and 2008 was open, no one gave a cent to Bill. Obama had to help them retire 2008 campaign debt. Obama winning in 2012 despite his performance changed assumptions. First Trump and the closeness of the 2020 election despite Covid are signs “The Emerging Democratic Majority” from 2002 isn’t an end game.

          1. John

            I may be dense, but I have read NotTimothyGeithner’s comment three times and cannot deduce what it is saying.

    3. Darthbobber

      The only reason we’ve still been there for many years is that no politician wanted to bite the bullet, give the speech Biden gave last night, and admit the glaringly obvious. (Trump, like Nixon, was willing to do the actual thing, but not to take the public hit.) Rather like the final half-decade plus of the Vietnam debacle.

      Those now hyperventilating (rather like the Syria and other warmongers) hope it evades the public that they are completely incapable of formulating any plausible “plan” that might cause a withdrawal to go any differently 5 years, ten years, fifteen years hence. But it doesn’t evade the general public, which had overwhelmingly reached the conclusion by 2014 at the latest that Biden is willing to arrive at now.

      The proponents of staying can’t say it for obvious reasons but the only logical endpoint of doing it their way would be permanent colonial occupation.

      BTW, the way this is shaking out at the moment makes me think a lot of understandings have already been reached between the key players in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.

      1. David

        This is a point that more people need to understand. One of the most basic rules of politics is to never be found holding the parcel when the music stops. Better to continue an already failed policy that you know can never succeed, rather than stop it and suffer the political fall-out. The US never had a coherent plan for Afghanistan, other than chasing the Taliban away, and never developed one. They became embroiled in the collective international fantasy of creating a model liberal state in the country, which was never remotely possible even to start with. In short, there was no realistic objective, even from the beginning, which is pretty much a definition of futility. At some point, in all such crises, a political leader has to take responsibility for pulling the plug.

        As a side-note, the Taliban (not the same organisation as it was twenty years ago) seems to be adopting a very intelligent, and largely political, strategy for control of the country, nibbling away here and there, and entering towns and villages without fighting. For this reason, it’s unlikely that there will be many epic battles with the opportunity to use drones and aircraft. Don’t forget that when Saigon fell in 1975, it was after a major conventional battle between the NVA and the government troops. It’s not going to be like that this time: I suspect the Taliban will take over almost by stealth.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thats the question nobody seems to be asking – exactly what is the Taliban now? A few years ago I read an argument that the Taliban had ceased to be a meaningful movement or organisation and was now more of a banner of convenience for a number of groups, ranging from rural reactionaries to drug dealers.

          But the speed at which they’ve advanced certainly makes it look like they are very co-ordinated and focused. I guess we’ll only really find out what they are when they take over.

          1. fumo

            There are 14 major ethnicities In Afghanistan cited in the Constitution, plus another 11 or so that are not. Can the Taliban achieve and maintain the necessary delicate balancing between Pushtu, and Tadjik, and Hazara, and Turkmen, Nuristani and all the others to rule in the absence of the unifying effect of a common enemy? The last leader that arguably could was King Zahir Shah who was deposed in 1973. I consider it unlikely.

        2. Darthbobber

          20 years is definitely a loooong time in politics or ideology. In China it would take the CCP from mid-point of the cultural revolution to well into the “enrich yourselves” stage. In the USSR it could encompass the last 5 years of Stalinism, the entirety of the Khruschev era, and the first half-dozen years of Brezhnev-Kosygin stasis.

          Judging by what’s happening in those former Northern Alliance strongholds along the Tajikistan border, and the neutrality or cooperation of regional militias, the present entity known as the Taliban no longer draws it’s support almost exclusively from Pashtuns. Nor do they seem to be at cross-purposes with the Shia anywhere as far as I can see.

          A lot of players have had a lot of time to message/discuss what they want to happen in the wake of the western withdrawal (which has long been seen as virtually inevitable, with only the time in question.) And the regional powers with an interest in the matter have had plenty of leisure to do the same.

    4. fumo

      NBC Evening News went so far as to dredge up John Bolton to pull out the Fear Stop on the Wurlitzer. They must be desperate.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Fumo thanks for that anecdote. A great example of how the media will turn on a dime when it suits their purposes. Back during the Bush administration, Bolton was considered persona non-grata; deplorable, and a mad war hawk who would lead us into global nuclear armageddon.

        Now they’re trotting him out like some sort of sinner who just found Jesus, a shining example of newly found virtue and chastity.

        They must really think we’re stupid …

        Back to Biden – we must give him credit for facing down the warmongers. Ending 20 years of nation-building that failed (Operation FailyMcFailFace?) should if not be celebrated, at least be greeted by the media with a sense of relief. No more American soldiers coming home missing limbs or in body bags.

        Isn’t that a good thing?

    5. fresno dan

      A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.
      Our military is led by liars. Our civilian leadership for the past 20 years? Liars. Close to one trillion dollars, down the rat hole. Over 2,300 dead American soldiers, and 20,000 wounded US troops. For what? So Afghanis can loot our abandoned bases, and the Taliban, whom we could no more defeat than the Soviets could defeat their fathers, can have nice new weapons?
      Did anybody really think we would “prevail” in Afghanistan? Ever? You know, if you still believe you’re parents when they tell you Santa Claus is real when your 20, the problem isn’t your parents lying, its you believing in fairy tales…
      We can waste trillion(s) in Afghanistan, and no one cares. But spending a portion of that on health care for the poor would be a disaster…
      Interesting priorities you got there America

      1. chuck roast

        Standard con/lib hogwash. This is the same lying, corrupt, self-aggrandizing crappola they did in Vietnam. Is it not? Didn’t we just have a 50th anny. of the Pentagon Papers? How much does this guy get paid to wash and dry this dirty laundry yet again? Oh, and he ends up with this nugget; “…Reaganism could no longer explain the world we were in. Everything that has happened since 2008 — Obama, Trump, wokeness — has emerged from the shattering of that worldview.”..his only mention of our first colored saint.

        Dreher should understand that the institutional dynamic of the American Empire is that anyone in power, and anyone who wants power must adopt the lying, cheating and stealing ethic. If that is simply too much for your parochial soul then bitch and moan on a blog, because aside from direct action, that is the only avenue that will ever be open to you.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘…and the Taliban, whom we could no more defeat than the Soviets could defeat their fathers’

        Who remembers the film “Rambo III” where the Mujahideen were the good guys and how that film was dedicated “to the gallant people of Afghanistan.”

  8. chris

    From the older Hill article on “asset recycling”:

    The key is to use scarce federal dollars to incentivize state and local owners to take a fresh look at traditional ways of managing public infrastructure.

    My longer comment got eaten by SkyNet but I want to say that quote above is one of the most depressing sentences I’ve read in a long time.

    Even if you don’t agree with Dr. Stephanie Kelton, what is the point of government if we have to incentivize it to do the job we created it to do? The point of government is to manage infrastructure. If the government we have doesn’t want to do it then let’s close up shop now before more people die from catastrophic failures :(

    1. RMO

      “Scarce federal dollars” huh? I believe the plan to “modernize” the US nuclear weapons arsenal is currently at a projected $1.7 trillion budget (up just a tad from the round trillion at the tail end of the Obama administration) but federal dollars are scarce?

      Like the old joke about the man who is approached by a ragged, destitute looking fellow on the strip. The homeless guy pleads “I’ve been on the streets for weeks, my clothes are tattered, my shoes falling apart… I haven’t had a meal in days now. Can you spare some money?” “If I give you money how do I know you won’t just blow it gambling?” “Oh I GOT gamblin’ money!”

      Funny how we always got killin’ money but money for living is perennially in short supply.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “How the FBI played a role in the capture of Princess Latifa of Dubai”

    It sounds like the FBI did this whole op off the books in order to bank a few favours with Dubai. The same way that the Indians did which they were repaid for by getting their hands on a wanted British fugitive from Dubai a coupla months later. Her confidant that helped her to escape – Hervé Jaubert – may bear some of the blame for her capture. He is an ex-DGSE secret agent so should have seized any mobiles that Latifa had and given them to merchant marine sailors heading for another part of the ocean. And because she could not stay off social media, she lost it all. I should be more fair to Jaubert here. He may not have had a choice as royalty wants to operate under their own rules. An example here is the Princess Di car crash where the only survivor was mysteriously the only one wearing their seat belt. If Princes Di had worn her seat belt she may have been still alive and if Latifa had chucked her mobile she may have been still free.

  10. Wukchumni

    Brad Udall: Second-worst Powell inflows in more than half a century jfleck at inkstain (dk). Current and future state of the Colorado River.
    Our cabin community situation is on the verge of dire in a place where water is born, it looks as if it’ll be ‘account overdrawn’ by the middle of August, chapter 86 of bankruptcy proceedings.

    In discussions with other cabin owners with deep roots from the 20’s & 30’s, this has never happened before as we have relied upon an everlasting gobstopper in the guise of a spring fed creek without fail, until this our summer of the Big Dry where it now resembles a pee-pee creek and it isn’t as if you can create a Niagara by plying the water with Viagra, performance issues be damned.

    Its not the end of the world, we’ll rely upon stored water in the cabin (about 100 gallons) use paper plates, bowls & plates, portable toilets with wag bags, and solar showers.

    Being a longtime backpacker helps, as one seldom uses more than a few gallons of water per diem in the back of beyond, i’m used to less.

    Its a completely different situation with the Colorado River in terms of size of their shortcomings & how many people rely upon the largess, if there was a way to short Vegas i’d be all over it, but I don’t think the sports books in the neon gulch are taking action yet.

    1. Charger01

      The book, Cadillac Desert, did a great job of describing this back in 1986. Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over.

      1. Nce

        Heh, jFleck wrote an entire book (Water is Worth Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West) that tried to counter what he described as Marc Reisner’s claim that the west is unsustainably overbuilt. Fleck calls himself a journalist, but did NOT mention the Walton Family Foundation at all in spite of cheerleading for their interests favoring water markets. If you want a good laugh at asinine neoliberal water management, read his book (with a critical eye out for doublespeak jargon and reading between the lines. I thought journalists were supposed to write clearly.) It’s funny, one of my committee members asked me why I chose to critique such a “marginal” book for my pro-paper, rather than by someone who has more weight in academia, like Karen Bakker, etc. It’s because Fleck is quoted places like here at NC, but the authors she preferred that I use are ignored in the general population. Besides, I wouldn’t have graduated if I hadnt challenged Fleck successfully (how did someone with only a bachelor’s end up as director of a grad program, anyway?)
        Hey, and Fleck removed the link under the image of a suburban 60’s housewife. It emphatically claimed that she was a woman who had her shit together. Hah, Fleck soooo wants to be of the PMC and he’s sooo close, but…
        He unintentionally radicalized me more than anyone.

        1. Wukchumni

          Eauminent Domain will be the new rules in play, better be among the first in line though, you’d hate to be SoCal relying on sloppy seventeenths from the Colorado, when St George Utah decides they’ll take what they need in order to keep on keeping on.

          1. Nce

            Imperial Valley “farmers” have more seniority over anyone in UT (IVID has paper rights to 1/5th of the total flow of the CO, as determined in the CO R Compact.) The Law of the River would have to fail dramatically before upstream interests trump more senior Cali rights-holders.

            1. Wukchumni

              Survival supersedes seniority, and we’ve already seen the Bundy’s at it in Oregon, agitating for spoken for aqua.

  11. Watt4Bob

    WRT the “cyber weather“;

    Our entire field is bad at what we do and if you rely on us to fix this, we’re doomed.

    I’m going to skip to the point here. The neoliberal consensus with its religion of cost-cutting, de-skilling and anti regulation ideology is responsible for our “cyber weather”

    Across the pond we’ve seen the entire NHS hospital service shutdown because hackers will indiscriminately target the weakest and most vulnerable IT targets regardless of the human cost. Hospitals, schools, charities … everyone is an indiscriminate target in this brave new world.

    The privatization of the commons is an extractive process that impoverishes every system leaving no budgets for even basic necessities, let alone vital features like cyber security that cost a lot. Think of teachers having to buy paper and crayons for their students out of their own pockets.

    Go to your local bank branch and try to wire transfer $200,000 to an anonymous stranger in Russia and see how that works out. Modern ransomware could not exist without Bitcoin, it has poured gasoline on a fire we may not be able to put out.

    “Go to your local bank…” Jesus, I could stop right there, what a laugh. Our banking system is at the apex of the organized looting that now includes cyber crime, and in fact are some of the principle innovators in the field.

    NC readers aren’t surprised to learn block chain based crime is rampant, Yves has described crypto currencies as “litigations futures” for years IIRC, and with governmental capture allowing a criminogenic culture to become endemic, there are hardly any surprises left as to what sort of bad behavior is “perfectly legal“.

    Imagine a hundred new Stuxnet-level exploits every day, for every piece of a equipment in public works and health care. Where every day your check your phone for the level of ransomware in the wild just like you do the weather. Entire cities randomly have their metro systems, water, power grids and internet shut off and on like a sudden onset of bad cybersecurity “weather”.

    I’d have you recall that the Stuxnet tool was developed by western intelligence to attack a foreign country, with, as usual, little consideration for the possibility of blow-back. And now they talk about that inevitable blow-back as if it was like “weather”, a force of nature?

    Imagine a world in which every other month you’re forced to bid for your personal data back from hackers who continuously rob you. And a world where all of this is is so commonplace there are automated darknet marketplaces where others can bid on your data, and every detail of your personal life is up for sale to the highest bidder.

    You mean the world that currently exists because our bought and paid-for government has allowed the tech giants to become lawless criminal enterprises?

    So, once again;

    Our entire field is bad at what we do and if you rely on us to fix this, we’re doomed.

    Since there is no money or interest for that matter in paying for tech to improve the lives of the common people, what is left for the tech sector to focus its collective intelligence and efforts on, is working in the interests of the “perfectly legal” FIRE sector criminals, and the independent criminal enterprises that are now taking advantage of the lousy conditions they have created.

    The ““entire field” is bad at what they do because what they do is almost entirely bad up-front.

    1. cnchal

      Tech is an eponemtially growing wasteland which one is powerless to stop. Moar devices are on a growing back order list as evidenced by the chip shortage and the indiscriminate collection of data on anything connected or what anybody does digitally, drives the power sucking data center builds, in a never ending loop of MOAR

      The chipstorm is upon us.

      I wonder how long before a ransomware notice pops up on the dashboard in a modern car, demanding a hundred bucks of bitcoin or the car crawls to a stop on the shoulder? I mean how much would it take to hack the system already there to deliver the ransom note for when a payment is missed?

      1. chuck roast

        The only solution is to drive a car with roll-up windows. Now, where did I put my rotary phone?

  12. Pedro

    ‘Dallas County reaches herd immunity even as new COVID cases continue to hold steady, experts say”

    This tittle makes no sense. Herd immunity has become a number instead of a verifiable concept.
    There is no evidence there will ever be herd immunity for this virus and yet noone seems to care about the evidence and everyone keeps abusing the notion.
    If people can be reinfected, if they can get infected after vaccinations, not even 100% vaccination will create herd immunity.
    Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Because the solutions involve masking and telling big pharma to stuff it. Both activities the elites don’t want to do. Herd immunity removes the onus of responsibility on both the individual and government. All of a sudden we become livestock or animals unaware of the larger world. It’s the easy answer, not a correct answer.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators – Games minister”

    Who here is surprised by this announcement. The signs were there a month ago.

    1. Wukchumni

      This will be the 15th straight Olympics I haven’t attended, makes it easy to not go this summer similar to yours truly not being in Moscow back in the day.

      Ideally i’d like to keep the streak alive and if they were to consider not going an Olympic event, I could have been a contender.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m still working on my own non-attendance streak but for the Commonwealth Games and am up to 16 already. I see that the next one is in Birmingham, England next year but with Boris letting this virus run rampant, who would want to go there?

        1. Wukchumni

          Suggested measures for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

          Its all about the inside events, thats where your danger is, who knew gymnastics could have such nasty side effects aside from watching pixy-ish legs & arms akimbo, aerosols wafting among athletes and all that.

          Wrestling-Greco or otherwise looks like a pandemic pusher possibility and get me started on judo or synchronized swimming, although platform diving seems safe for now.

          Best hopes for all participants in the pandemicathon, yes although weary from a recent bout of Covid, they persevere.

          What makes the Olympics perfect is the idea that it lasts exactly the suggested quarantine length…

      2. Keith

        To me, the Olympics seems to be comprised of sports played in high school that I had no interest, as did most people unless you were actually involved. It is interesting how the flag waving nature of them does seem to fire people up.

    2. Acacia

      No surprise.

      But Japanese otakus can’t whip up some CGI virtual audiences? Super Mario and Hatsune Miku as extra mascots? Then again, at that point they might as well CGI all the athletes as well.

    3. Carolinian

      A bit off topic but worth mentioning–there’s a great 4k transfer of Kon Ichikawa’s 1965 Tokyo Olympiad now available on DVD. This is a super cinematic account of the 1964 Tokyo games which were also, I believe, the first Asian games. The movie is visually stunning.

      1. Acacia

        It seems that Kurosawa Akira was the first choice to make this film, but when he demanded total control over the entire opening ceremony, the Olympic committee balked and rescinded their offer.

        Ichikawa was then approached and he agreed, but although the film is today considered a masterwork, the Japanese Imperial family was very disappointed at the time, and there was pressure to re-edit or rework the film. In response, Ichikawa said something to the effect of “I’d like to accommodate you but all of my actors have gone back home.” When pressed for what, exactly, the imperial family found objectionable about Ichikawa’s film, their spokesman apparently said that a “proper” film about the Olympics had been expected, and offered Leni Riefenstahl’s film about the 1936 Berlin games as an example, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it had been commissioned by the Nazis.

        1. Carolinian

          Going by the Supps on the disc they were disappointed because it didn’t give more time to the Japanese athletes and wasn’t sufficiently “promotional.” The Emperor is in the movie, BTW, opening the games despite his sacredness.

          It’s a great movie. I believe I saw it long ago but I was floored by this modern transfer from Criterion.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Thats interesting, I didn’t know Kurosawa had been asked – if he had been given his free hand, it would have been amazing to see. He was very much at the peak of his powers then, although perhaps his souring view over Japanese society made the authorities a little wary of what he’d come up with.

      2. Wukchumni

        Hear, here

        Yes, 2 thumbs up.

        The Olympics back then had an innocence to them in a similar fashion that Worlds Fairs played, exotic lands and people doing their thing, with nary any commercialism.

        A wrecked city from war just a generation before, added to the allure.

  14. Wukchumni

    There’s a reservoir in place since 1962 here that covers up a Wukchumni village and spreads quite aways as you can imagine.

    The US Army Corp of Engineers overseas the potable seize and a friend was working there a few years ago when about 30 buried bodies in what must’ve been a cemetery became exposed on the reservoirs shore. In this instance the Tule reservation was contacted, the bones unearthed and reburied on the res.

    History of the dam & before, flora & fauna:

    1. Pat

      I don’t think I would close my eyes on that Maine coon. I am pretty sure “plotting revenge” is the correct description.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Haiti police say 26 Colombians, two US-Haitians took part in Jovenel Moïse assassination”

    A full platoon of mercs, six vehicles, a boat-load of equipment like assault rifles, machetes, walkie-talkies, bolt cutters and hammers. Just to take out one guy. If they got into gun battles with the police, then obviously they failed to pay attention to the part of their plan about escaping from the country. Preferably by a waiting aircraft as Haiti hardly has an air force. At the moment they don’t even really have an army or navy. But getting back to this massive attack, was it supposed to be some sort of statement to someone. Was this guy involved in drug deals gone wrong? I wonder who the paymasters were? And why such a massive attack? A sniper could have done the same job with a far smaller profile.

    1. Watt4Bob

      The people who supply mercs for political operations are paid by the head-count.

      If you hire a private security firm to do dirty work, they have an incentive to provide a larger group than necessary to increase profits.

      Maybe a more sophisticated customer would hire a more sophisticated operator, but being a poor country, the actors are probably ‘bargain’ minded.

      This platoon probably cost less than an expert sniper team.

    2. Keith

      I find the escape plan of hiding in residential bushes to be the best part of the plan. Makes you wonder if these are just people who don’t belong that were rounded up.

      It really does not make sense to have this many loose ends lying about after such an operation.

  16. a fax machine

    re: race to the bottom, economics

    “West Virginia is Trading Trump for Tech Workers”

    To summarize the article it’s how WV wants to replace it’s low value blue collar workforce with a modern, genteel, and diverse white collar workforce by being a tax haven for people escaping Northern Virginia and Maryland. For the most part it does not consider how those coal workers are still human, and treats them as disposable slop that will eventually move on to a real job when the real economy based on data science and data engineering and data marketing replaces them. It’s dismissive of their problems and the state they’ve built, which is admittedly not much but it is something.

    I really, truly do not like articles such as this one because it doesn’t even talk about other Americans as human but as economic machines that can be replaced for better ones. Even when the better ones are diversity-flavored, it does not change the fact that they are encouraging the worst form of economic and cultural self-destruction. And the same for urban black communities who are subject to the same process within DC and other large cities themselves.

    What to do about the new Smart Middle Class™ that seems to be everywhere and the basis of all economic decisions now despite representing a minority of the overall population?

    1. hunkerdown

      The political class is absolutely counter-necessary to everyone except themselves and the value system that elevates them. What do we do about this “creditors have a right to exist” nonsense, other than negate it with every fiber of our beings?

    2. Pelham

      Suggestion: A political party that bars people with 4-year college degrees or more. The party platform would be determined by the vote of all members. I sense great potential here and would be fascinated to see what they come up with policywise — although I couldn’t be part of the action.

  17. Mildred Montana

    “The Meaning of the Native Graves” The American Conservative

    “Hoo boy” is right. “Christian mission”, “Evangelizing purpose”, “Salvation of their souls”, the article is filled with apologies like this for cruelties committed in the name of God.

    History shows us well what has happened to the many over the centuries who were resistant to the mission, to the evangelizing: The Church saved their souls by allowing them to die or putting them to death.

    Brief (hopefully illuminating) anecdote: When I was eleven years old I spent two weeks in a Catholic hospital. I do not remember the nuns with fondness.

    1. Wukchumni

      Every kid in Cali schools went through the drill of making a mission statement with penne pasta filling in for a tiled roof, sugar cubes becoming lode bearing walls, white candy canes with a Hershey’s kiss attached representing the el Camino Real road market & bell.

      As far as I can remember nothing much was said about the slave-like conditions of the unfortunates within such structures, nor were we ever encouraged again to do anything ever in terms of learning architecture.

    2. jumping worms

      The Meaning Of The Native Graves

      For a more detailed history of the Hurons and the Jesuits, check out the excellent History of Canada series in the book section of

      If you’ve never visited archive,org, go. The have over 8 million movies titles, all free. Want to see a Charlie Chapman movie or a grade B scifi flick, this is the place.

      1. Chris

        Charlie Chapman! What a blast from the past. Wasn’t his brother Graeme one of the Monty Python team?

      2. witters

        I have found something interesting (and useful). No neoliberal (however self-deceived and hypocritical) likes Charlie Chaplin and his wonderful films.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Why is a Fusion GPS attorney risking sanctions?

    Thanks for that link – I hadn’t realized Alfa Bank was taking Fusion GPS to court. I guess Rachel Maddow didn’t feel it was newsworthy but it sure does sound like the Clinton campaign-sponsored Fusion has something they don’t want becoming public. First one to spill the beans better watch their backs!

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Pandemics, plagues and innovation in history: the striking parallels between COVID-19 and the Black Death”

    Yeah I am not so sure about some of his historical interpretations such as the Black death being responsible for pilgrimages. One point that he was correct on was how with one third of people dying during the years of the Black death, that the peasants could get more wages – or run away to another Lord who would do so and not tell the former Lord where his wayward peasant was.

    A Lord or a member of the Church would tell the surviving peasants that they will have to work harder as with so few survivors, too much land would lie fallow. But no more for wages of course and less days off. At that point the peasants would say. ‘Yeah, we’re going to have to stop you right there. That’s not really going to happen that. If we are responsible for more land we want more money and if you don’t pay it, do not be surprised to wake up to find your work force gone.’

    Nowadays? I have read far, far too many accounts how in low-wage jobs that the workers are being treated with cruelty because the managers can get away with it. But now that may not be true like in the decades after the Black Death. Some workers have died or gotten seriously ill. Some have moved on to different industries. Some people have realized that life is to short. Some people have even had time to rethink their lives. So if those businesses want their workers back again, they may have to act like real humans again and not only raise their wages but stop abusing their workers too.

    1. Wukchumni

      Keep in mind that climate change of less than a few degrees cooler was a prime factor in the Black Plague occurring in the opening innings of the Little Ice Age.

      We’re of course headed off in the other direction, and the glaciers here in the Sierra Nevada formed during the LIA will be completely melted away by the Big Heat, not that they haven’t already been in retreat, most are 1/3rd the size they were in 1900.

  20. Carla

    “Chef David Burke: Our payroll is 25% to 30% higher because of labor shortage Yahoo Finance”

    Just give the 19,000 unaccompanied ‘minorgrants’ a work permit, that’ll hammer wages down to the proper profitable peon platform levels again.

  21. flora

    file under “class warfare” section:

    Taibbi’s latest, (linked by commentator yesterday)in yesterday’s WC:

    Is Critical Race Theory the Wrong Term?

    Wesley Yang: There’s an administrative entrepreneurial activity to people who have educations in this stuff, where they have to have something to do, and one of the things they do is they just dream up new things to abolish, and then they dream up new ways to alter the language, in pursuit of progress.

    After reading that bit and the fuller explanations about Successor Theory in the longer article I saw a similar business model between Successor/Woke/Whatever and the intel community: find more and more things bad things or bad guys to oppose in order to increase budgets and jobs and influence.

    1. flora

      adding, re: The Chilling Message of Trump’s Embrace of Ashli Babbitt Martyrdom – New York Magazine. Personally, I think it represents real progress that the cops finally whacked the right sort of person.

      L, I think you forgot the snark tag. /;)

  22. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Haiti police say 26 Colombians, two US-Haitians took part in Jovenel Moïse assassination Guardian.”

    “It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.” Or, more appropriately, only the approved players, the “good guys”, are allowed to send ‘a message’. Or, maybe, it is about both, the money and sending a message. When the wrong players send a message that is considered a threat to stability and the rule of law [Of which, Haiti had none]; although, the gangsterism and thieving corruption of self interest was rampant. Perhaps that is ‘the rule of law’ that is being talked about. Besides, maybe it was not an assassination, maybe it was a “targeted killing”, or an “extrajudicial killing”. The narrative and the associated language must always be carefully controlled and disseminated, so in this case it was a “heinous assassination”.

    1. “Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, and the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. When ye fight with a wolf of the pack ye must fight him alone and afar, lest others take part in the quarrel and the pack is diminished by war.”

    2. “If Haitian leaders are clear on one thing, it is that their terms can be expected to last as long as it takes the US to give them the thumbs down.”

    3. “Beyond Moïse’s use of state violence to suppress opposition, anti-Moïse protesters before his killing pointed out another similarity with the Duvalier era: the United States’ support.”


    “The CIA has a long history of helping to kill leaders around the world”

    5. “We condemn this heinous attack and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moise’s recovery,” Biden said in a statement. “The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”

    6. ” A Pact with the Devil? The United States and the Fate of Modern Haiti”

    “As the Cold War set in after World War II, the most devastating impact of U.S. interference in Haiti was the government’s ongoing support of the Duvalier regime, which ruled Haiti from 1957 to 1986. Fearful that Haiti would fall to communism, the U.S. government concluded that it would offer full support to the Duvalier government.”


  23. Wukchumni


    Here at the all cats & no cattle ranch it seems customary for the overlords to lick me, but usually only the forehead of this faux feline.

    What does it mean, like i’m an honorary short haired breed?

    1. ambrit

      I believe that grooming you is their way of establishing a dominance position. So, feline is saying; “You belong me!”
      It would help if you learned how to purr.

  24. DJG, Reality Czar

    I come not to praise the Great Barrington Declaration but to put a stake through its heart.

    I seem to recall that when the Great Barrington Declaration was first bruited about, there were some here who thought it a legitimate “voice” in the “marketplace of ideas,” to use some of the clichés of the AngloAmerican world.

    Pulling from Byline Times article about English Government’s Mass Infection “Plan” (to use another cliché):
    “The GBD’s proposed strategy of letting the virus run to achieve herd immunity by natural infection has been widely criticised by more than 7,000 public health scientists. The declaration was sponsored by a right-wing libertarian think tank plugged into the Koch-backed climate science denial network, with a history of spreading misinformation on behalf of private health and tobacco lobbies. Most of the GBD’s supposed medical scientific signatories remain unverified and unvetted.

    “Another key signatory of the open letter was Carl Heneghan – who sits alongside the three main GBD founders, Professor Sunetra Gupta, Professor Martin Kulldorf and Professor Jay Bhattacharya, on the scientific advisory board of ‘Collateral Global’. This is an anti-lockdown venture set-up by Prof Gupta’s partner, Alexander Caccia.”

    It seems to me that English history of the last three hundred years consists of undermining the U S of A (I’m still bitter about the Civil War), then undermining the EU (with the pretext that Brusssels wanted to interfere in the sacred banger-n-mash recipe), and now this–the English engaged in mutual manslaughter through negligence. Should I care?, I ask rhetorically.

    1. Pelham

      I wonder whether the GBD advocates at the time of the declaration had considered the implications of long covid. By that I mean severe and quite possibly permanent physical impairments suffered by a rather large fraction (20% to 30%) of people experiencing even very mild cases of the virus.

      Any journalist with even a particle of integrity and a morsel of knowledge about the disease at this point should immediately and insistently hammer any opponent of vaccines, lockdown, masks or any other precautionary measures with questions about long covid.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        I’ve seen the 10% to 30% number for those suffering from the rather large group of symptoms called long covid so the estimates are very wide. I have no doubt that some kind of post infection syndrome exists just like it does for influenza, strep, lyme disease etc. However, I believe that those percentages are based on the currently reported cases. The NIH announcement posted in the Links on 7/2/2021 seems to state that the total number of cases is probably close to 5X the reported cases which increases the denominator of the calculation substantially. This would indicate that the actual percentages of long covid are much lower and more in the neighborhood of 2% to 6%.

        1. Pelham

          Thanks for this. I always welcome reason to be less alarmed. About anything, actually.

  25. juno mas

    RE: Concrete Break Up

    There are probably civil engineers who read this article and sighed. Concrete is not just sand and rock with cement added. That might work for a walkway out to your garage, but it doesn’t work for commercial and municipal projects. Especially if it is used to support any significant weight at all.

    The shape and quality of the aggregate must be tested for strength properties and the proportion of sharp sand, jagged-edge, incompressible rock, and the appropriate amount of cement and water is essential for strength. It is also known that concrete with micro bubbles created by adding a certain amount of common detergent will make the composite more durable (reduce water transmission into the concrete).

    This recipe is not easily replicated properly (even in the US) and most municipal projects require on-site testing during and after placement. Structural concrete is even more complex in its design and placement.

    That Haiti would attempt multi-story concrete structures to house people without close inspection is nuts.

  26. Anthony K Wikrent

    The Oncoming Ransomware Storm Stephen Diehl: “This battle cannot and will not be won on the technology side alone. The tech industry can’t solve this. It requires legislation and intervention in the financial system at only the level nation states can act.”

    This must be excruciatingly painful for the ideologues at the Reason Foundation to admit.

    1. ambrit

      It also makes the warfare aspect of modern information technology plain to see.
      Something this ‘large’ has to be, at the least, ‘approved’ from above somewhere. If the local nation state can shut your criminal activities down but choses not to….

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