Links 8/1/2021

Most Invasive Marine Species Swim Under the Radar Hakai Magazine

Typos, tricks and misprints Aeon. English spelling.

‘Widening fault lines’ unbalance global recovery Hellenic Shipping News

Planetary ‘vital signs’ show extent of climate stress — and some hope FT

Who Will Pay To Protect Tech Giants From Rising Seas? NPR. Horrid “mobile-friendly” essay, but interesting.

What’s the true cost of shipping all your junk across the ocean? Grist

Amazon hit by record fine, slowing sales FT


FDA, under pressure, plans ‘sprint’ to accelerate review of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for full approval STAT

Vaccine Mandates Are as American as Apple Pie Portside. It would be helpful, at least from the moralizing perspective if the vaccines were not still regulated as “experimental.”

Long term evolution of SARS-CoV-2, 26 July 2021 Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). The PDF. Page 11:

There is a remarkable degree of convergent evolution evident amongst the variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have thus far emerged. In different combinations and using slightly different coding changes, all variants have mutations in the spike protein that appear to enhance the direct binding to ACE2 receptor, the presentation of the receptor binding domain and often the efficiency of entry via enhanced furin cleavage that primes for fusion. Variants also all harbour mutations in other part of the genome likely enhance polymerase activity (P323L in nsp12) or affect the virus’ ability to antagonize the host innate response (changes to ORF8, nsp6 deletions and changes in spectrum of viral gene expression). There are multiple insertions and deletions as well as SNPs, but so far, the virus has not acquired any whole new genes. Taken together, the constellations of mutations enhance the interaction of the virus with its new human host. As more information is uncovered about the way SARS-CoV-2 interacts with human cells, we might foresee some concerning possibilities for further evolution.

“Concerning” is a very bad word in government-ese. On this side of the pond, it translates to “My hair is on fire.”

* * *

Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gatherings — Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. Interesting because this study was one of those that drove whatever the CDC thought it was doing in its leaked “new kind of war” memo. The event was in fact in Provincetown (where masking was only reimposed four days ago). Starting on the Fourth of July Weekend. The presumably representative “gathering” was “bear week.” One can imagine Walensky, who hails from Massachusetts, going through this article and replacing every reference to “Provincetown” with “Barnstable County.” While P-town is portrayed as a “quirky community,” the blaming and fingerwagging for a similar event in Flyover was extensive:

(Since I’m an introvert, both events make me shudder. It’s the disparate treatment for crowded potential superspreader events that I’m remarking on). Meanwhile:

Come on, man.

Breakthrough Symptomatic COVID-19 Infections Leading to Long Covid: Report from Long Covid Facebook Group Poll (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “1,949 people who self-report being fully vaccinated have responded to date…. 44 reported a symptomatic breakthrough case and 24 of those reported that the case led to symptoms of Long Covid. 1 of these 24 cases was reported to have led to hospitalization in addition to Long Covid.”

CDC Scaled Back Hunt for Breakthrough Cases Just as the Delta Variant Grew​​​​​​ Bloomberg

* * *

No Mask Mandate For Mass. Schools, And State Suggests Vaccinated Students Shed Masks WBUR. Meanwhile, wastewater is our friend:

Cognitive assessment in asymptomatic COVID-19 subjects Virusdisease. From March, still germane: “Our study shows that even otherwise asymptomatic COVID-19 subjects have cognitive deficits in certain subdomains and suggests the need for a detailed psychometric assessment especially in the elderly population.” As they say, “more research needed.” Nevertheless.

FSMB: Spreading Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation May Put Medical License At Risk Federation of State Medical Boards. This reminds me of Protestant denominations pre-Civil War, who split over slavery (“Southern Baptist Convention” v. the “Triennial Convention,” 1845). Adding, boards at the state level make actual licensing decisions (and it’s generally very hard to take a doctor’s license away. Neverthess.


China Orders 25 Tech Giants to Fix Raft of Problems Bloomberg

China’s Sputnik Moment? Foreign Affairs

US top diplomat Blinken to court Southeast Asia in virtual meetings next week Channel News Asia


Commentary: Myanmar is turning into a super-spreader COVID-19 state Channel News Asia

Myanmar military ruler pledges elections, end of state of emergency by August 2023 Straits Times. Meanwhile up-country:

Worth noting that the motorcycles are significant investments for their riders.

Myanmar’s Spring Revolution ACLED. Super-unfortunate headline but a good review of the bidding, insofar as it can be known by those not at the table.

U.S. Sees “Threat” In The Golden Triangle Scoop


Ben & Jerry’s New York Times Treacle Tikkun Olam

From Afghan interpreter to US homeless – the long road to the American dream BBC (Re Silc).

Hardened US and Iranian positions question efficacy of parties’ negotiating tactics The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Russia’s ‘Great Game’ in Central Asia Amid the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan Modern Diplomacy


Germany Faces Dilemma on What To Do with Excess Vaccine Der Spiegel (Re Silc).

One state, one interest? How a historic shock to the balance of power of the Bundesbank and the German government laid the path for fiscal austerity Review of International Political Economy. “Existing scholarship ascribes trends in austerity to globalisation or the influence of a new economic paradigm. This paper develops a different approach by stressing the strategic intervention of central banks in governments’ fiscal decisions. It analyses archival documents from the German Federal Cabinet and the Bundesbank Council over more than two decades (1960–1981) and finds that the fiscal regime was shaped by changes in transnational institutions which the central bank used to strategically expand its institutional power within the larger macroeconomic framework.”

The Caribbean

Colombia’s Mercenary Industry is Behind the Haitian Coup Jacobin

Haiti police say former Supreme Court judge suspect in president’s killing Reuters

I Watched Cuba Crumble From the Inside The Atlantic

Cuba’s Elites Have Failed Their Country The New Republic

Venezuela to Receive Sinovac and Sinopharm Vaccines Through COVAX as Delta Variant Confirmed Venezuelanalysis

Union Hopes High as Chileans Rewrite Anti-Labor Constitution Labor Notes\

Biden Administration

Biden DOL Clinches Rollback of Trump-Era Joint Employer Rule (1) Bloomberg Law

Democrats en Deshabille

Take a break, Democrats. You’ve done great:

Frustration as Biden, Congress allow eviction ban to expire AP. Pelosi:

“Relentless.” Was there ice cream? Since Senator Bush once lived out of her car, I don’t view this as performance nonsense a la kente cloth:

short lease in a slick machine: a personal essay about apartments McMansion Hell

Our Famously Free Press

Craig Murray’s jailing is the latest move in a battle to snuff out independent journalism Jonathon Cook and Keeping Freedom Alive Craig Murray

Health Care

States with surging COVID-19 rates also tend to have higher rates of uninsured ABC

Sports Desk

Broken wrists, twisted necks and concussions: The brutal nature of Olympic diving Los Angeles Times

Speedo’s Ridiculously Expensive Swimsuit for Olympians Actually Made Me Swim Faster Gizmodo

Feral Hog Watch

Take a Minute to Consider How Hungry Wild Pigs Are Making Climate Change Much Worse Mother Jones (Re Silc).

Bacon may disappear in California as pig rules take effect ABC

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Conversation With Gore Vidal on the ‘E’ Word (interview) Gore Vidal, Consortium News

Class Warfare

Networks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission (not paywalled) Science:

“[I]n reality, risk factors concentrate among the relatively few who have disproportionately higher exposure and onward transmission risks …. In many countries, those working in low-paid and public-facing jobs had the highest risk of being infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)… There is also a clear intersection of COVID-19 risk and socioeconomic inequities, given the network effects of occupation, crowded housing, job insecurity, and poverty… Although some high-frequency contacts are driven by social gatherings, which are modifiable with education and enforcement, most high-risk exposures represent nonmodifiable risks due to living and working conditions. Therefore, risk factors that are nonmodifiable in the short term are likely to represent a much larger PAF than those modifiable by individual choices about social contact. Specifically, the onward transmission risks from someone who can work from home and has enough space for self-isolation, even if they are infected, may be minimal; but the [population attributable fraction (PAF)] will be higher for someone with a large network associated with working and living conditions (see the figure).”

For the umpteenth time (see, e.g., from 5/11/2020), if we had been willing to pay people to stay home, we would have licked this thing long ago. But the wage relation is sacrosanct, and we don’t want to give the working class ideas. Sadly, no mention of air travel as providing hub nodes from which variants emerge.

I, Token Altered States of Monetary Consciousness

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. timotheus

    Add to the NO list of Democrat achievements: NO closing of Guantanamo. Not that anyone even talks about that anymore. If only Trump had sent a few Dems there as terrorist suspects. . .

    1. timbers

      “If only Trump had sent a few Dems there as terrorist suspects. . .”

      I nominate sending Supremes and judges to Gitmo. The ones who don’t support or look at dear leader the wrong way. Because equal application of the law and such. Not to mention making judges LIVE under the law they approved of – if only by refusing to accept completely valid challenges to it (no standing!).

      Next, make every member of Congress and President live by the same laws we peasants live by: Same retirement (Social Security, 401K only), Same healthcare (Medicare only).

      Would love to see Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell have to sit down and figure out each year their Medicare coverage strategary selections. By the time Nancy succeeds in making sense of her options all her ice cream will have melted. What a mess just thinking about it!

      That would change things but quick.

      1. The S

        Hey, hey, hey, hold on there. Let’s be sober and reasonable about this.

        Guantanamo is Cuban and should be returned to Cuba.

        We can intern the Supreme Court in a homegrown blacksite like Homan Square instead.

      2. Pelham

        I’d support establishing a second District of Columbia in the middle of a wheat field at the geographic center of the country. A Walmart-like capitol building, barracks for congressmen’s living quarters and modest quonset huts for the president and VP would be provided as well as similarly spare accommodations for the Supremes, the Fed and all the other departments and offices of the federal government. The whole thing could be surrounded by razor wire and patrolled by citizen volunteers to bar paid lobbyists.

        Meanwhile, the original DC, now substantially uncongested, could be turned into a federal Disneyland — adding a few rides and animatronic attractions as the district is merged with the Virginia commonwealth, finally giving residents the voting rights they’ve been clamoring for.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Sorry, VA already got its piece of the District back after the Civil War.

          Why wouldn’t you retrocede to Maryland? Combining the DC and Baltimore metros would pretty much ensure large AA representation in statewide offices (barring skulduggery of course). Or else the Eastern Shore would join DE and the Western tail join WV….

          And whereas DC (and PUR) will get statehood over the GOP’s dead body, MD is seen as deep Blue territory anyway, and thus not affecting the All-Impotent Gridlock.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Maybe Ben and Jerry’s should stop selling their ice cream in San Francisco until Nancy passes Medicare for All?

  2. Samuel Conner

    > Come on, man.

    Perhaps this would be appropriate as a category heading for news items with the common feature of “incredibly bone-headed choices by individuals or groups”

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      “Kill me now” is the one that worries me. I think the CDC, not to mention the Federation of State Medical Boards, have responded, “Sure, no problem.”

      Biden should start carrying a syth.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Lalapalooza is one of those “vaccinated only / recent negative covid test required / unvaccinated must wear masks” back-to-normal events that the virtuous vaxxed have been demanding as a reward for their unquestioning participation in our current giant gene-editing experiment.

      This year’s festival will look very different than in the past. To gain entry, attendees will have to present their vaccination cards or a printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test that is no more than 72 hours old. That means that anyone with a four-day pass who isn’t vaccinated will have to get tested twice. Furthermore, anyone who isn’t vaccinated will have to wear a mask.

      Despite the recent spike in cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant, Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said this week that she feels comfortable with Lollapalooza going ahead as planned because of the precautions organizers are taking, saying they have gone “above and beyond.” In addition to the entry requirements, organizers have looked at air ventilation for any indoor spaces, made sure backstage workers are vaccinated, will make masks available and will test ticket-takers.

      The upside is that if it turns into a “superspreader event,” there will be no one on twitter or facebook to call it out, all of them having been previously censored and cancelled for “disinformation.” Following the recently established trend in current events “reporting,” if no one hears about it, it didn’t happen, so it should all be good in Chi Town.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Sees “Threat” In The Golden Triangle”

    Well of course they do. Now that the CIA/Pentagon is going to lose all access to those sweet, sweet poppy fields in Afghanistan, they had intended to move back to their old stompin’ grounds of the Golden Triangle again, just like in the good old days. But now they have discovered the Chinese dug in there now which will put a serious crimp in their new ‘agricultural’ projects there. Oh well, they will always have Colombia.

  4. Nikkikat

    We could get a few more on the NO list: NO difference between the Trump admin and Biden when it comes to covid. Telling people to take their mask off to me, is not much different than telling them not to put a mask on in the first place. Every place I go I see maskless seniors. I also see a lot of people that may become very sick and or die.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well to old Joe’s credit, he did promise that nothing would fundamentally change. So right now you still have a Trump in the White House – but without all those obnoxious tweets.

        1. John

          No one forced the MSM to report Trump’s tweets and all of his other attention seeking behavior. No one is forcing them to continue to give him more publicity than any other former president in my lifetime and that is from Truman forward. $$$

          1. cnchal

            Its a nasty fight for eyeballs. Without Trump the MSM has a gaping hole on the income statement. They are going to milk him for all he is worth. and take hush money from Bezos in the form of prime time “Amazon the Angel” advertising while the beatings and atrocious 150% (every eight months total turnover rate) churnover at the warehouses goes unexamined to make up for it.

            1. Pelham

              Exactly. And this supports my thesis that there is no market-based solution for responsible journalism, especially in the digital environment. If we want decent journalism — and that’s a big “if” — it has to be funded somehow by the currency issuer. And that’s a big “somehow.” But it’s necessary.

              1. Questa Nota

                Bringing back the Fairness Doctrine and applying antitrust to media ownership to bust them up would be two items to consider.

                However, those in Congress won’t receive enough donations from the right parties or enough serious blackmail threats to counter the ones under which they currently operate to make them put those on the agenda. I wish that wasn’t the case.

              2. Terry Flynn

                Yes! Nationalised industry is what I believe journalism should be a part of. I don’t doubt there are problems based on what UK govts did with them in the mid 20th century. However, I’d like to think that independent tribunals etc with real power could prevent such abuses.

                I am NOT a supporter of capital punishment generally. However, I’m open to it being used ONLY for SENIOR people in charge of key quasi-governmental or suchlike institutions. Don’t put poor people in the electric chair. Doesn’t do anything. Make SENIOR people scared by having them know it could happen to them if they mess us about as judged by an independent top court.

              3. drumlin woodchuckles

                If there are enough people who will pay a steady subscription price for ad-free responsible journalism to allow responsible journalism to make a good career-grade living, then those people will be the market for as much responsible journalism as they care to support with their money year in , decade out. Nothing stops them except their lack of imagination to believe such a thing could actually be possible.

                Stuff gots to be paid for. The responsible journalism that people don’t want to pay for is the responsible journalism that people don’t deserve to have.

    2. neo-realist

      I’d say Biden was less ineffective to say the least: Hell, Trump kept the virus under wraps to the general public when he first heard about, then proceeded to downplay the seriousness of it and even called it a hoax. At least Biden, in spite of his wrongheadedness on masking for the vaccinated, pushed and pushed for all to get vaccinated to protect Americans from the worst of the virus, if not outright protection from infection.

      1. tegnost

        After seeing that list I was wondering where my increment was, thanks for pointing it out for me, it’s kind of small, but what do you want from an increment?

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        You’re offering differences without distinction. Trump downplayed the virus. Biden has oversold the vaccine. What has Biden actually done to encourage people to get vaccinated? All I’ve seen is he’s basically said you can go back to normal with a shot, which simply isn’t true, and then pouted some because he missed his vaccination goals. We’re still seeing dangerous misinformation and downplaying of the situation from the top, it’s just coming from a different angle.

  5. Brooklin Bridge

    FSMB: Spreading Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation May Put Medical License At Risk

    This sounds really frightening. Does this mean any one having a medical license that deviates from CDC corporate friendly profit oriented blather that changes every few weeks and costs lives, such as, “mission accomplished based on what we knew at the time about transmissiblity [… that the rest of the world had already proven false].”

    I’m not clear at all on what this draconian threat might mean, or even if it is indeed draconian. Would a doctor suggesting that air travel is bringing in new variants and we should either shut down such travel or at the very very very least err on the side caution regarding face masks and dense public gatherings, particularly indoors…, or a doctor suggesting that a particular inexpensive, totally safe, widely available drug that has been declared highly effective in many other countries is not getting a fair analysis, would such “misinformation” result in loss of his or her ability to practice?

    Is it possible?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m not clear at all on what this draconian threat might mean, or even if it is indeed draconian.

      I added clarifying language. Medical licensing decisions are made by boards at the state level, so this announcement is in no sense a diktat. But as a zeitgeist indicator — and an open invitation for dissenters to be hunted down — yech!!!!!!!

      1. Milton

        This definitely needs the reply of one IMDoc. I’m looking forward to what the doc has to say.

          1. Acacia

            > anonymous commenter

            You didn’t get the “misinformation may put medical license at risk” part, eh?

          2. The Rev Kev

            Because I am damn sure that Yves & Lambert has vetted who he is or else he would not be allowed to put out so much information but would be called on it. And I have just seen that he lists some of his qualifications in a comment below so that you can check him out yourself.

      2. Anon

        The velocity and vector clearly define the target. Pretending that TPTB are not aiming at what they’re continually hitting demands some pretty serious self delusion…

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Remember if you get cancer, it’s your fault for not praying to Biden because he cured it” -cdc director appointed by President Harris, February 2022.

    2. freebird

      Sure, it’s possible. More importantly, the fear factor will cause doctors, the few people who know enough about how the vaccines, meds, treatments, virus work, to stop feeling free to speak out about any of it. Sort of like making us all into employees who musn’t speak for the company, but run all questions through the executive suite attorney. Step #1149 along the road to making us all corporostate serfs.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      On-the-ground physicians see what’s really going on, and can put the lie to the official narrative as IM Doc repeatedly attests. “Lie” is not a word s/he shies away from.

      Most of them don’t have big time twitter accounts or youtube channels that can be blocked, so they can’t be Alex Berensen-ed or Bret Weinstein-ed to shut them up. This threat of pulling licenses was the logical next step, and should have been anticipated.

      As far as I’m concerned, real world practitioners are the only ones who can stop this runaway propaganda train. I hope this latest attempt at coercion will finally push them over the edge.

      PS. Does it really matter if a few licenses get pulled? I mean we have an oversupply of primary care docs in this country, so it doesn’t really matter if we axe a few who won’t get with the program. Amirite?

    4. IM Doc

      I am sorry – this response is going to be somewhat long. But I feel like what I have to say is becoming more and more important for folks to think about.

      I appreciate so much the tolerance that Yves and Lambert and the commenters on this blog have given me for my comments here.

      30 years ago, I walked across the stage to get a diploma. I stood up in a large group of classmates, raised my hand in the air and swore to God that for the rest of my life, the only professional priority for me would be the health and welfare of my patients and my community. That is the alpha and the omega. I did not take an oath to corporate medicine, to Dr. Fauci, or to Pfizer. I took an oath to every single one of my patients to do my very best for their interests. My fate was sealed from that day forward. I have been endeavoring to do this from day one, and I will not back down from those ideals embodied in that oath – nor will I ever.

      My professors of medicine taught me well. And I have done all I can do to return the favor to the next generation. I have been given more than a dozen teaching awards on faculties that have included Nobel Laureates and members of the National Academy of Science. I taught my students to think always with their patient’s interest at heart, to question everything, and to always follow the scientific method. But to always remember that we are dealing with human beings – sometimes at the very worst moments of their lives. I also taught them to live by a very important fact in their professional careers – no matter if they do clinical medicine, research or public health – truth is the very foundation of what we do. Without it, everything will come crashing down. I have literally thousands of former students, interns, and residents on forums that I keep up with often. They are some of the leaders of this profession. They are located in every corner of this country. It is through them that I have been able to keep a pulse on what is going on medically in this country. And it is through them that I realized early on in this pandemic that all was not as it was being presented. Fear mongering, lying, panic and hysteria were rapidly becoming the order of the day. Absolute mistruths were being told to the American people. Numbers and figures were being quoted completely out of context and historical perspective to scare people to death. More importantly, critical issues about the virus and the disease it causes were not being discussed at all. For example, as was true then and is true now, the overwhelming risk factors for bad outcomes are old age and poor health habits such as obesity, inactivity, and immunocompromised status. That was true at the beginning and is most certainly true now. But to this day, and especially since the vaccine push started, we hear ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about this from our officials. And I saw absolutely no one in the media lifting a finger to do a thing about it; rather, they were happy participants in the whole affair.

      I am not now nor have ever been an investigative journalist. But I am a foot soldier on the ground and I have been trained by the best to make observations, to think of possible hypotheses to explain them, to look for critical evidence to support or falsify hypotheses, and to act accordingly. That is the very essence of the scientific method. It was hammered into my brain as a young physician in the AIDS wards, when we literally had no idea what we were doing for years on end. We had to learn to let that method flow through our veins in order to do the best we could do for patients while our whole profession was trying to figure AIDS out. And that experience was critical for me when this whole thing started. I could see that my patients were getting a horribly warped view of the whole situation, so I decided all those months ago to start putting my observations on here as comments. I have then shared with everyone hypotheses that a rational scientist/medical doctor would come to, and how I was going about falsifying or supporting them. Some of the thoughts have been critically wrong, and I have endeavored always to make sure all know that. Many of them have stood up over time. Everything I have done or said in these comments has been in good faith. I view this group of commenters as my very own.

      But now, my friends, we have reached a critical juncture in this entire situation. As has always been the case in human endeavor, when you start down the road of lies, it will be no time before you have painted yourself into a corner. And that is where the medical establishment finds itself today. Along with the elite/political establishment that prodded, aided, and abetted every step of the way. This is all about to blow up in their face and they are acutely aware of that. They have two choices, admit their mistakes, ask for forgiveness and understanding, and begin the rectification process OR double down.

      It is very clear to me that the elite have decided to double down. The FSMB proclamation is just but one part of doubling down. I will bring your attention to a few other things this weekend that are emblematic of the current elite thinking –

      The Brooks & Dionne sequence from PBS Newshour on Friday night – We have two commenters – one ostensibly from the Right – and one from the Left. Both have clearly agreed that it is high time to get nasty on the deplorables refusing to get vaccinated. There is not a comment made about all the facts that have come to light this past week – as in all the breakthrough cases, as in all the vaccinated positive patients being just as likely to transmit as the unvaccinated. I am going to make an argument right now – GIVEN WHAT WE KNOW RIGHT NOW ABOUT THESE VACCINES, WHAT EXACT PURPOSE IS BEING SERVED IN A PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE OF FORCING THESE VACCINES ON EVERYONE? There is certainly no longer evidence that it is any safer to be in a crowded grocery store with vaccinated or unvaccinated patients. As for individual risk, I have been on my knees for months literally begging all of my high risk patients to get vaccinated. My contacts are telling me that the overwhelming vast majority of the ill in the hospitals are in these same high risk groups – OBESE DIABETIC and IMMUNOCOMPROMISED. 25 year old jocks are not in that high risk group. Outside of vaccinating every single soul that is high risk, given what we know now, what is the purpose of vaccinating every single human?

      FSMB or anyone else – that is a scientific argument, based on observations and facts – please I am all ears, tell me what is wrong with that argument? Please present your own observations and facts.

      Please look at the Bill Maher show on Friday when he had his roundtable. I cannot find a video of this. He had the US Rep from the Virgin Islands. And some guy who was the very essence of the elite PMC. They got around to vaccine hesitancy among blacks – and he blamed it on Tuskegee. The US Rep from the Virgin Islands was like – NOT SO FAST. THAT WAS GENERATIONS AGO. THAT IS NOT REALLY ALL THAT APPLICABLE HERE. THE PROBLEM IS THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY HAVE NO FAITH IN THE GOVERNMENT TO DO THE RIGHT THING. And I looked at my wife and said – PREACH IT SISTER. That is a woman who is in touch with her constituents and knows what she is talking about. I would add the following – the same exact thing is true of the majority of the Bubbas out there that are being denigrated all day by the press – THEY HAVE NO FAITH IN THE GOVERNMENT TO DO THE RIGHT THING – WHY WOULD THEY???? It has been my contention all along that Blacks and Working Class Whites have so much in common. Maybe the upcoming turmoil will make them all realize that. The best however was the PMC guy. Mr. Maher and I are obviously marinating in the same cultural stew. After going on for a while about Bubbas and Blacks, Maher made the point that another group of vaccine holdouts were the pristine body, man bun Bernie Bros. THE PMC guy did not even acknowledge the comment. Maher said it again. And again the PMC guy was literally dumbstruck. Never had entered his mind. Maher, seeing it was hopeless moved on. THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN MARINATING IN THEIR OWN NARRATIVE FOR SO LONG THEY HAVE NOT A CLUE WHAT IS REALITY. It is clear they have all convinced themselves that enforced vaccine mandates are such a great idea. Why, there will be no consequences, everyone will just buckle under. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FIRE THEY ARE PLAYING WITH. I have been hearing from multiple contacts all over the country that the mass resignations in health care are just beginning. It is not the RNs and MDs. Nope it is the CNAs the front desk people, the housekeeping. They are just walking off the job – going over to the Piggly Wiggly or Kroger and getting more money and less bull shit from the boss. It is happening among police, firemen, teachers and other workers as well. WHAT KIND OF MORONS WOULD DO THESE MANDATES IN THIS ECONOMY? THEY ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH. And again, the reason for mass vaccination for public health has literally fallen apart with the evidence coming out the past few days. WHAT PURPOSE DOES IT SERVE FROM A PUBLIC HEALTH STANDPOINT TO VACCINATE THE ENTIRE POPULATION WITH A NON-STERILIZING VACCINE?

      Again, FSMB and any others, that is an argument based on observation and evidence…. Please address the argument with your own observations and evidence and let’s talk. I am all ears.

      Thirdly – this little chestnut from Andrew Sullivan If you read his substack entries from early this year, several times he writes that very soon, as in this summer right now, we will be living in the Roaring 20s again. COVID will be over. All his elite friends were telling him that. Imagine his surprise when the event in the town he was in for the summer popped the lid off the narrative. Because of the incompetence of our press, there is no real reporting about how many “bears” were actually involved. I, however, have taken care of a lot of “bears” in my life. Obesity, glucose intolerance/diabetes, and sedentary lifestyles are very common in this group. As is fitting with the truth of this whole pandemic, those are all critical risk factors for bad COVID. What a perfect opportunity for the press or medical establishment to hammer this point home with this group of folks that have fallen ill. NOT A PEEP. Could that lifestyle choice be a reason why so many of them, vaccinated or not, fell ill? How many “bears” were actually involved in getting ill? And is so fitting of the whole elite attitude, Mr. Sullivan’s impulse is to blame the unvaccinated – and “let it rip”. He looks right through the habits of his friends and blames the unvaccinated for ruining his promised party summer. My favorite quote – “So the obviously correct public policy is to let mounting sickness and rising deaths concentrate the minds of the recalcitrant. Let reality persuade the delusional and deranged. It has a pretty solid record of doing just that.” Mr. Sullivan, do the delusional and deranged include the over 700 of these people who were actually vaccinated? Mr. Sullivan, are you listening to yourself? Delusional and deranged? What a perfect encapsulation of these people and how they think. He has pontificated so much in his life about all the indignities that happened in the AIDS crisis. I guess “let it rip” was actually the lesson he learned from that nightmare. I learned some lessons too. You tend to do that when you sign 8-10 death certificates every day of your intern year. All I can say is “I’ll do me. Mr. Sullivan, you can do you.”

      FMSB – or anyone else – please point out to me any misinformation in the above paragraph.

      I want to finally explain a very important concept that is going to become even more important the next few weeks. We clearly have a non-sterilizing vaccine. There is now continued and mounting evidence that the vaccine helps symptoms and keeps some people from becoming extremely ill. (That is why I am strongly encouraging everyone at risk in my practice to take it NOW). However, there is evidence now, the Provincetown affair being the best example, that these vaccines do nothing to stop transmission. The vaccinated and unvaccinated alike can share the wealth and harbor viruses in their bodies. Viruses do not just sit around. They replicate at literally a logarithmic rate. They are not bacteria who reproduce at a 1-2-4-8 pace. No indeed, they are replicating at a 1-1000-1000000-1000000000000 pace. Since mutations happen when replication occurs, when you have this logarithmic rate of replication you have much higher levels of mutation. You are much more likely to have viruses develop mutations that will allow them to be more transmissible, more toxic, and more vaccine evasive. And when you have a vaccine that does not clear the virus from the vaccinated but instead allows it to be replicated and spewed you have just logarithmically elevated your chances of having real problems occur. That is where we are with these vaccines folks. At least with the information we have now. I did not just make this up out of my head. These are things I read just this AM in textbooks of medicine. Latest editions. Textbooks are there not for latest research – they are the repositories of wisdom and knowledge acquired over generations. They are the foundation. This is not new knowledge. This was known during the polio pandemic. That is why there were 2 vaccines – one was nonsterilizing(Salk) and the other sterilizing(Sabin). Both were given to every patient because they understood the wisdom of not having vaccine escape viruses in the wild. This entire concept has been known for generations.

      There are two big differences now –

      First of all, polio viruses and their ability to mutate are like a dice roll. Coronaviruses are more like a Rubik’s Cube.

      Secondly, Jonas Salk was loud and proud about donating the polio vaccine to the world. He could have been minting gold. However, he hit one out of the park for the ages. Pfizer, Moderna, and their executives are indeed minting gold – how many new billionaires have been created by these vaccines? And oh by the way – the third world can just suck it – losers. And the elite wonder why “the delusional and deranged” as Mr Sullivan puts it, have a trust issue.

      FSMB – please point out any misinformation in the above paragraph. Since the discussion about viruses is directly from Mandell’s Infectious Disease – we may have problems if you believe that is misinformation.

      Folks, if you are high risk, obese, old, diabetic or immunocompromised – please go and get vaccinated right now. We all need to monitor our risk factors going forward – LOSE WEIGHT, GET YOUR BLOOD SUGAR DOWN, EXERCISE, GET SUNLIGHT – GET VIT D EVERY DAY. HUG YOUR KIDS AND YOUR SPOUSE. LAUGH ALL YOU CAN.

      And America – we are either going to do this together or not at all. Please act accordingly.

      Stay safe everyone – and God Bless.

      1. Brian Beijer

        Thank you IM Doc. I know this weekend must have been especially frustrating as you deal first-hand with patients suffering from this pandemic while watching the government, media and other “authorities” seemingly undermine your efforts to help others and hopefully put an end to this one day.
        I should only speak for myself, but I think I can safely say that most of us here share your anger and frustration. Even those of us who don’t live in the US are struggling with the very same forces of power who seem to be acting with the worst of intentions and continuing the death and suffering of countless people through their actions and policies. Sometimes the emotions become so strong that I rant here (or with my wife) because it’s so infuriating. Other times, I’m just speechless.

        Reading the comments on NC, and especially yours, helps me to get a better grip on this Alice in Wonderland horror show and helps me to understand that I’m not alone in my perspective about all this.
        I can only imagine how much more intense it must feel for someone like you who has dedicated your life to saving others. Just know, that you’re not alone.

      2. Lois

        Thank you for this, so informative and grounding honestly. I have been feeling “through the looking glass” this weekend, seeing so many people braying for vaccine mandates and blaming the unvaccinated for *everything* about Delta. The vaccines are non-sterilizing?! They won’t end the pandemic singlehandedly!

      3. Acacia

        I’m really learning a lot from your comments, IM Doc, for which I am deeply appreciative. Can’t debate any points that you make. I’m wondering about how the practices of shaming have changed in the US. “The great un-vaxxed” have become the new object of shame. There has been a public, outlier discussion of vax deniers for many years, often framing them as low IQ voters, home-schooling nutters, etc. — at least, this has been my impression from some distance (I am not, nor have I been anti-vax). In the face of this epidemic, that has really been ramped up and is now front and center. Based upon this discourse, policies are being put into place everywhere. Passports, certificates, tests, apps, etc. all based on… what, exactly?

        I feel like something has changed in the way people are being publicly shamed in the US, like it’s coming from a morphed, liberal version of the old “moral majority”, wrapping itself in a cloak of virtue (to borrow a nice turn of phrase from fellow commenter Carolinian), and that this is now driving the discussion, not actual science or research. Is it not possible to talk about the medical risk factors because that might sound like (shudder) fat shaming, which has become impolitic, or that we might have to have frank discussion about dietary habits in the US, and the corporations that profit from it? I am just speculating here, groping really, but it feels like something else is at play.

      4. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        “Can we predict the limits of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their phenotypic consequences?”

        The above is posted in the ‘links’ and seems to coincide with at least some your [IM Doc] concerns.

        I am interested in narratives, the facts, the interpretation of those same facts, the telling and retelling of the narratives as the availability of the facts and information changes and their interrelated long term outcomes. In this case we observe the interplay in real time as the narratives change with the further addition of new facts and information. Fascinating to be sure, if one can remain intellectually and emotionally detached from the negative personal outcomes, that is, death, or compromised long term function for at east some individuals. “The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.”– Yvon Chouinard Has the adventure started yet?

        So, the public has ben recently told that, “CDC warns that delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may make people sicker than original Covid”

        “CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed the authenticity of the document, telling CNN: “I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious. It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this—they’re all up there.”

        That being the current CDC case, then it is assumed and understood according to the following, that, “For highly transmissible pathogens, such as those causing measles or pertussis, around 95% of the population must be vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks, but for less transmissible organisms a lower percentage of vaccine coverage may be sufficient to have a substantial impact on disease (for example, for polio, rubella, mumps or diphtheria, vaccine coverage can be ≤86%).” Does this same line of reasoning then apply directly to the delta variant? Why or why not? Does it even matter?

        “A guide to vaccinology: from basic principles to new developments”

        Regarding the virtue(s), or lack thereof of a non-sterilizing vaccine and/or sterilizing immunity
        in this instance, some individuals believe it is neither of great concern, nor even realistically possible [at this point in time]. See for example,

        “Michael Mina, an infectious diseases epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, thinks achieving sterilizing immunity with a vaccine will not be possible for Covid-19. Experience with human coronaviruses — and with multiple pathogens that cause colds — shows immunity that develops after infection with respiratory tract infections is not lifelong. In some cases, the duration is measured in months, not years. If [infection with] natural coronaviruses doesn’t do it, I don’t think that we should necessarily expect or have the anticipation that we’ll be able to get there with the vaccine,” said Mina, who is also associate medical director of clinical microbiology at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Munster agreed trying to develop vaccines that confer sterilizing immunity would be a heavy lift with this coronavirus.”

        “Vaccines Need Not Completely Stop COVID Transmission to Curb the Pandemic”

        1. IM Doc

          What I will say or add to your discussion.

          From what I have heard in multiple conference discussion this past week or so is that exactly how non-sterilizing the vaccines are is now critical. If it is really true that their sterilizing activity is equal to unvaccinated status – then we have issues. If it is just allowing 5% of the viral load of a non-vaccinated patient that is a completely different story. The flu shots to some degree are non-sterilizing each and every year, but my understanding is they are nowhere close to parity.

          When that article came out from the CDCs own MMWR this week that the viral load in Provincetown was the exact same as the unvaccinated, it sent chills down my spine. That is most definitely not a good finding. They need to be looking at this aggressively to confirm or not. Also, as I alluded to above – was there something unusual about that cohort of patients? If it truly was a “bear” convention – they are older, more obese and much more likely to be diabetic. Did those pre-disposing conditions possibly factor into the parity with viral loads? Furthermore, it is critical that actual virologic counting be done on the samples. cT is very suggestive but not expositive.

          But the point that it is apparently so close in parity to unvaccinated status is profoundly disturbing. This was completely unexpected and concerning to every one I have talked to this week.

          I am awaiting further data – assuming they will be forthcoming with it. It has the potential to be a very interesting week.

          And per your quote above, “If infection with natural coronaviruses doesn’t do it, I don’t think we should necessarily expect or have the anticipation that we’ll be able to get there with the vaccine.”

          I have been hearing those sentiments all this past week from many people I know and respect. Basically – we are going to have to learn to live with this virus. How are the American people going to take that?

          I have multiple overarching concerns right now ——

          1). There is absolute signal that this is a completely non-sterilizing vaccine. If so, there is precedent but not certainty that this could make this whole thing worse. In a normal world, I would have expected a pause and reflect moment. Instead, we are doubling down on vaccinating everyone. Is that a wise course?

          2). There is all kinds of talk in the air about boosters right now. I have not spoken to a single patient – not one – many of whom lined up willingly in December – who are remotely interested in this at this time. A direct quote from my old lady neighbor from less than an hour ago – “I got vaccinated once – and I did that for my country. I will never let this clown car brigade get near me with another one. They cannot keep their lies straight.” And she is a loyal Dem – Biden signs all over her yard last year. All these people like Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity towing the line of the official narrative never get near an actual citizen. I do so every day all day – and I am telling you that is just not going to fly.

          3). The idea of mandating vaccination in this unsure environment is really a sign of the medical establishment not realizing the position they are in. I just got off the phone with the nurse taking care of my patients in the hospital. One of the CNAs told the charge nurse she would not be back tomorrow. She quit. The stress is already overwhelming and now this. My hospital has already had its little mandate attempt – and it ended in disaster for the administration. So they tried the humiliation and loss of privileges approach – and people are quitting in the droves. I am sorry to say – this could literally cripple some of our hospitals far better than a crush of COVID patients. And at this juncture, unless more evidence comes to the fore, universal enforced vaccination does not make much sense medically.

          4) When we have these things going on with the vaccines, other measures are going to become much more important. Let’s talk about masking. That was when the first lie happened – and the first domino dropped. Fauci lied. He then admitted it. It was a noble lie. But a lie nonetheless. Done by a government official in the middle of an establishment orgy of lies starting with the Mueller investigation. How much better it would have been to say something like this – “Yes we all need masks. But right now, we do not have enough for our HCW. Americans, stay home. If you do have to get out, use towels, whatever. We will get masks soon enough. I am going to ask Pres Trump today to do an emergency authorization to make billions of masks ASAP.” He may have taken flack yes – but when the lie was told and then revealed later – in the environment in which it was told – it led to half the country believing masking was right up there with faked moon landings.

          And on so many things this year – one lie leads to another and before long you are in looney land.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            When I first saw the news of the P-Town outbreak several days ago, I made a sarcastic comment about blaming it on the “bears” but didn’t think people would actually do so. My family was in P-Town in early July and while this is anecdotal evidence to be sure, I didn’t find the crowd to be older or obese in general. I would guess most people on the streets were 30-55 in age and pretty vigorous. Lots of time at the gym. While there are always exceptions, many in the “bear” community look like they could snap you in half. I’ve never been to Sturgis (which was another outdoor summer event blamed justifiably or not for spreading the virus), but my guess would be your average bear is a lot healthier than your average Harley fan.

      5. Acacia

        If I may add another comment, Matt Ford’s article “Vaccine Mandates Are as American as Apple Pie” in today’s links offers an interesting juridico-historical perspective, beginning in 1777 with an order from George Washington to inoculate soldiers against smallpox in the battle for independence. In this way, Ford neatly links “freedom” with the vaccine, and later in the article “civilization” with vaccination. Now, I’m no expert here, but a quick search suggests that the history of the smallpox vaccine is said to begin in 1796, with the work of the British doctor Edward Jenner. So what was being given to soldiers of the American revolution in the 1770s? It seems that it was an earlier treatment called variolation, which is not quite the same as vaccination. The difficult part (which Ford doesn’t address) is that insofar as the current Covid vaccines are non-sterilizing, it doesn’t really work to compare them to the smallpox vaccine or, assuming it conferred lasting and sterilizing immunity, the earlier techniques of variolation. Again, non-expert here, so by all means correct any mistakes.

        1. IM Doc

          This was an article written by someone who has no concept of medical history.

          As is so usual in today’s world, we tell things that are somewhat true, without any context whatsoever.

          You are correct, in the 1770s, the process would most definitely have been variolation. This was a widespread practice in England, Scotland, France and the American colonies. It did work but it had two big drawbacks. If not done correctly, it actually produced a smallpox outbreak. AND it had a very uncomfortably high fatality rate.

          It did work for the most part, but true records like we keep today were absolutely not done at the time.

          It is also important to note that Washington’s order came during a time of war and was strictly for the military men. It was never dreamed to be forced on civilians. That is a markedly different situation in which we find ourselves today – again there is ZERO context in some of these opinion writers.

          As my great uncle who survived kamikaze raids in Okinawa wrote in his memoirs – “There were over a thousand of us on that ship. Every one of us had already come to the realization we had given our lives to our country. It is only a twist of fate that any one of us arrived home intact.”

          Military matters in a time of war is much different than we find ourselves today. As Alfred Lord Tennyson said about the enlisted – “Ours is not to wonder why….Ours is just to do or die.”

          By the time the Vermont case came up that he described – the actual smallpox vaccination had many years of safety information behind it. It is absolutely farcical to compare that to our current situation. First of all the mortality of smallpox is astronomically higher than COVID. And secondly, the safety of the vaccination process was very well established – something that has not even been close to being done with the COVID vaccines.

          Another absolutely ridiculous article written by someone who has little to no understanding of medical history. Twisting facts to make a point that does not exist. I have gotten very used to the sight of these kinds of things this year. As someone who taught Medical History for decades, I find the whole thing very very discouraging.

          1. Skunk

            IM Doc, thank you for your integrity and informed comments. Smallpox was also only eradicated because humans were the only natural host. SARS-CoV-2 has already moved into wild deer populations, mink escaped to the wild from farms, and probably into feral cats. Because of these newly-established wild reservoirs, SARS-CoV-2 would be very difficult to eradicate in human populations. Even in the unlikely event that a sterilizing vaccine were administered to all humans, the establishment of the virus in wild animal populations means that the virus would likely persist in wild animal populations, and in all likelihood would mutate in those hosts.

      6. Tom Stone

        Doc thank you.
        I can not overemphasize the danger of the loss of trust in America’s institutions.
        The price will be very high and the weak and the vulnerable will pay it.
        Along these lines I have noticed something interesting in regard to the entrapment allegations made by the defendants in the Whitmer “Kidnapping” plot.
        It’s class issue I can not clearly define, but the people commenting on this case are very different indeed than the Trumpsters who cried foul about the election and who alleged voter fraud.
        These are serious people and quite a few of them have served multiple tours of duty in the ‘stans.
        They are quoting Glenn Greenwald (!) among others.
        Let that sink in for a few minutes.
        This is a sea change among a group that has traditionally trusted Authority and that trust is gone.
        It is a hell of a big deal in my opinion.

        1. Cuibono

          “the danger of the loss of trust in America’s institutions”: to be certain there are those who have worked hard at precisely this outcome for 40 years now. “Drown them in the bathtub” comes to mind.

      7. Cuibono

        one slight correction as I understand things:
        We used sequential schedule IPV/OPV mainly in order eliminate the risk of VAPP among OPV vaccine recipients

      8. Tinky

        Many thanks Doc, as always.

        Here is some hard evidence supporting some of your basic concerns. It is from Dane County (Wisconsin, I believe), and was collected from July 12-25th. The Viral Load in Breakthrough Cases section is of particular interest. Here’s the key excerpt (bold emphasis mine), followed by a link to the full pdf of the data collected and conclusions.

        We can see that there are far more samples from the unvaccinated group— this is expected because unvaccinated people are more at risk of getting COVID. We can also see that the gray and yellow dots are distributed similarly. This is evidence that fully vaccinated people have viral loads similar to that of unvaccinated people, and may be more capable of spreading COVID than was previously known. This is a very recent discovery that is also being supported by recent research done by the CDC, but more research is still needed.

        1. IM Doc

          I know nothing about this county. But this is exactly the kind of data that will need to be really evaluated.

          I would like to point out something very important though. They report the collection time was from JUL 12-25.

          If this county is anything like my own, the reason there are so many more unvaccinated samples in the cohort is not because “they are more at risk of getting COVID”. That may be the case – but we can not know that in my county because no one was even acknowledging these breakthrough cases at all. That did not even begin in earnest until about JULY 25th or so.

          Since that time, there has been a marked change in that process. Every single positive, vaccinated or not, is now being thoroughly evaluated. The datasets in huge swaths of this country are completely worthless for case counting from mid May until about last week because of this.

          I do not know if that is the case for your county. They may have not been following guidance from the CDC and actually counting the cases.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thank you. Proper stats in context of wider world….. i.e. Lots we don’t know yet.After hearing Sky News oz is banned for a week from YouTube my mother still shouts crap from sky across the house.

            Then asks why I’m quiet. I’d love to shout “because 95 percent of stuff you shout out is familyblogged.” but I have to care for her…. My first PhD student found this as v key factor in wellbeing of carers. I really get it now.

          2. Left in Wisconsin

            Not sure if you, or anyone, is coming back to this thread but Dane County, from whence I recently moved, is where Madison is – state capital, home of main UW campus and teaching hospital, and PMC central for the state. Among the highest vaccination rates in the state but with a growing very poor, mostly minority, population. City and county have the most competent public workforce I have ever experienced (perhaps a low bar) – for example, massive effort at early testing and vaccine distribution at convention center – but definitely likely to be following official guidance.

      9. Dave in Austin

        Wow. A bit of truth. We are accidentally encouraging mutations; fat people are not helpless victims and the ones that lose weight should be applauded.

        Is there a true (sterilizing) vaccine on the horizon. And if not where are Bill Gates, his ex-wife and the Boroughs-Welcome Trust when we need them?

  6. Dftbs

    Two articles on Cuba today and both exhibit that wonderfully effective liberal framework and philosophy that has guided America to its present historical height.

    The Atlantic piece is dramatically narcissistic, positing the author’s irreparably broken childhood toy for the collapse of Cuban society. I’m sure the author can’t trust his lying eyes as he watches American society actually crumble from his post in San Antonio; and further more can’t trust his lying eyes when the people of Cuba stood up for their revolution in shorter time than it took his Israeli prison guard editor publish his piece. IMO I think it likelier that the Cuban government will exist in its present form for longer than the current American regime.

    The New Republic piece exhibits the same liberal tactic of ignoring what’s right in front of your nose and accuses Cuba’s elites of failure. I suppose Diaz Canel would’ve been successful had he allowed nearly a million of his countrymen to die from Covid as our elites did? Then the author adds a contemporary American mixer to its crap cocktail by talking about race, as if American racial politics are universal? And inventing some racial connotations around a word: “vulgar”, perhaps betraying her own racialized world view when she does so. As a matter of experience, in the South American nation I was raised in before moving to gringoland, vulgar was a term applied to American cultural innovations and those who gravitates to them, not Indian or Afro-Latinos. Of course she forgets that it was Cuba that was perhaps the largest strategic contributor to the end of actual apartheid. The author even exhibits the sort of indignation at the term “gusano” that some exhibited towards the term “Karen” some months back. I suppose the Cubans will stop calling the gusanos as such, once the gusanos stop trying to kill them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Two articles on Cuba today and both exhibit that wonderfully effective liberal framework and philosophy that has guided America to its present historical height.

      Yes, a “Dracula has risen from his grave” moment indeed.

    2. jo6pac

      My thought also and I’m really sorry I even read them. They’re following Amerikan govt. propaganda machine.

      1. John

        Sanctions, boycott, whatever it is. I get it. Some do not like Cuba’s government. Some do not like the USA’s government. Other than the fact that Florida is a crucial swing state is there any reason, not wish, not desire, but reason to treat the people, island, and nation as persona non grata?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          No good reason, but orientalism and the American inferiority complex are reasons. If we can’t push around brown people who are so close, what has happened to America?

          1. Pat

            I’ve been thinking about the how outsize the supposed Cuban refugee influence is. I say supposed in that many of faces of AntiCastro Cuba supporters and protestors have never been in Cuba. Their parents and grandparents were but they weren’t. Why what is, if history and human nature holds, a diminishing cohort so politically powerful?

            I have come to the conclusion that they aren’t. The success of Castro’s Cuba, however, is powerful. American power centers can not acknowledge that no matter how not perfect, today’s Cuba is far more equitable and free than Baptista’s ever was. Our corporate overlords are battling ideas that grew in Cuba in multiple South American states. I mean the next thing you know Venezuelans, Argentinians, Brazilians, etc might think they get to elect or follow leaders who do not pillage their countries but do so giving the appropriate percentages to the right Americans.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              These excuses: Cubans, Iranians, now Afghanistan translators, etc are really just cover from the ugly mask that is people who weren’t disgusted by Hillary’s line about Gaddafi, given what we know what was going on.

              Libya is a mess, but the great liberators never cared. They just wanted an excuse to blow up brown people. It’s like the kids in cages. Team Blue and the Bush family were just upset it wasn’t them and that Trump stole their thunder.

              1. Pat

                Not saying that blowing up brown/yellow/red people doesn’t have an appeal, we all know it does. Yet our patriarchal heavy thumb is not limited to just brown people, consider our meddling in Europe as well. Sure that could be about the Russians, but is it really just Cold War memories. Coups, sanctions and military actions have all happened in recalcitrant not so brown countries.

                We seem to want one of limited number of things from other countries. From those with some status we want either a compliant poodle or at least a willingness to appear that way. From those with materials or labor, we want a compliant trading partner, as in a willingness to either give a cut to or service to one of mega multinationals that are supposedly American and prime purchasers of our political class. From those with neither we wish lip service to our supposed ideals, a government willing to punish anyone rebelling on behave of public good, and sometimes some cannon fodder.

                Outside of that, or being a weak country that annoys either a poodle or top trading partner, you can expect dastardly tricks, coups, sanctions, drones and so on to outright bombings.

              2. Dftbs

                I know it seems to be some strident rhetoric, but I do believe that the Cuban Revolution will outlive the present American system.

                America is a place with plenty of dollars but no capital. You can get a big screen teevee but no medical care. We can float a nuclear powered target for Russian and Chinese missiles but we can’t pay the rent.

                And Cuba will go on, defended by what Fidel once called his “chaleco moral”.

                1. Brian Beijer

                  I do believe that the Cuban Revolution will outlive the present American system.

                  One can only hope.

        2. Geo

          “ reason to treat the people, island, and nation as persona non grata?“

          My theory: They don’t want any other islands/nations getting any ideas.

          Due to my work I’ve been fortunate to spend some time in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and The Bahamas. If I was rich I would want to live in any of those places except Cuba. If I was poor the only one I’d want to live in is Cuba.

          From what I was able to see and learn from meeting locals, life in Cuba is not great but the basic needs are met. If you work you get a little more than those who don’t and if you work for the gov you get a little more than the rest. But everyone gets “enough” (provided the country has enough to give which it sometimes doesn’t).

          Walking around Cuba at night felt pretty safe. Some hustlers but never felt dangerous. The other places I’ve visited? There’s a desperation there that can be unnerving. Kingston, San Juan and Managua are frightening compared to Havana. Heck, Havana felt safer and friendlier than parts of most American cities I’ve walked around at night.

          So, to me, that is why. They don’t want the idea of Cuba to spread. That idea being that poor people should be able to live without fear of starvation.

          1. Pate

            Your analysis is exactly in line with Chomsky – undermine it because people would see that it works. Think how well it would work if not subject to undermining :)

          2. saywhat?

            That idea being that poor people should be able to live without fear of starvation. Geo

            That’s not new; the Old Testament established rights for the poor such as gleaning, return of family farms every 49 years (if not redeemed earlier), and tithes specifically collected for the poor.

            However, in 1788 gleaning was made illegal in England (Steel v Houfgton) and one reason given was ‘granting a right to glean would “raise the insolence of the poor” ‘.

            1. saywhat?

              Another reason given was “the law should not turn acts of charity into legal obligations”.

              But in the Old Testament, the allowance of gleaning is NOT a voluntary act of charity but a command of the Mosaic Law. Nor was the land, according to the OT, even the property of the so-called human owner per ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine [the Lord speaking]; for you are only strangers and residents with Me. Leviticus 25:23

          3. Acacia

            Thanks for this comment. I have often wondered why, if the “American model” is so clearly superior, that our elites deem it necessary to kneecap all others. Your observations about Central America help make the reasons more concrete.

            1. Geo

              Thanks. I’m definitely no expert but that was just my personal experience. Also, had an emergency room visit while in Cuba and was a better than any emergency hospital experience I’ve ever had in the US (and barely cost anything!).

              My favorite observation in Cuba was seeing people hanging out on their front steps listening to music, talking, laughing, and being a community. Many don’t have work but they have their rations so they spend their time enjoying their neighbors instead of desperately trying to find ways to survive. And this seemed to build a general sense of sharing within the community. Sharing of drink, music, conversation, food, smokes, etc. People were not constantly trying to sell you stuff. I had a bad toothache (the reason for the later hospital visit) and local people just gave me painkillers. Literally handed me a box of them like it was a tissue. And, I was a white American on a job doing a fashion video so not exactly a charity case.

              Had a woman take me on a tour through the streets, met her family, showed me Che Guevara’s home (now a memorial), and some other cool local spots of interest. Didn’t ask for anything but I gave her a few dollars as thanks when we parted.

              Only other place I’d experienced this was when visiting an Indigenous island in Nicaragua where they still live communally and don’t “own” things. A family gave us a boat ride to their island and when we asked them what they wanted for it they just shrugged and said, “We’re going home so can take you.” When we insisted they just asked for Fresca. After three days with them we bought their family a lunch and ice cream upon returning to the mainland.

              They used to have tons of land but settlers pushed them back until now they just have one small island.

              I feel very fortunate to have seen how other ways are possible and imagine that is why our overlords don’t want to let any of those systems flourish. Once you’ve seen how people can live in harmony it’s hard to see our system as anything other than destructive and primitive. We might have shinier toys but they have much more contentment.

              1. Pate

                Thank you for this Geo. It confirms my understanding. Your experiences have enriched you … and us.

          4. caucus99percenter

            The U.S. empire “granted statehood” to Hawai‘i in 1959, the same year as the Cuban revolution.

            Hawai‘i is the number one place and Hawaiians the number one people the empire didn’t (and still doesn’t) want to risk getting any funny ideas from the Cuban example.

  7. bwilli123

    Craig Murray had a big red target on his back ever since he took the ‘russia-gate’ USB back to Julian Assange. If it wasn’t this then they would’ve found something else eventually, ‘pour encourager les autres.’

    …”Craig Murray goes to prison without the benefit of a jury, having been denied the basic right to an appeal, and most remarkably of all, not knowing who he allegedly identified and how. In an extraordinary circumstance more befitting of a Franz Kafka novel, at no point has he been told specifically who he “jigsaw identified” or how, nor why he is the only person being held responsible for the construction of what is apparently and oxymoronically a one-piece “jigsaw”. Only in serious terrorism cases are the most elementary principles of law and justice normally cast aside with such abandon…”

    1. John

      Mr. Murrray had the temerity to expose the utter bankruptcy of the US government’s “legal case” against Julian Assange. He did the same in the Alex Salmond case in Scotland. The powers that be will have their revenge. They will put these upstart journalists in their place law and rights be damned. New(?) rule: Thou shalt not embarrass or expose the wrongs of the humorless.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Eight years ago when the Scottish independence referendum failed, I thought it a shame even though they may have found life tougher by themselves under the EU. But the more and more I hear about people in the Scottish government like Sturgeon and here Scottish justice, I sometimes think that the Scottish people may have lucked out. Can you imagine what life would have been like for them under such corrupt, unjust people? At the least, it would be life under a very woke government-

      And not long ago, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party (SNP) wanted to bring up a bill where you could be prosecuted for what you said in the privacy of your own home, I kid you not-

      Yes, the Scots may be very lucky not to have had independence passed.

      1. paul

        Yes, we are spectacularly ill served by this SNP government.

        The SNP are now a hollowed out shell, totally skint and reliant on short money (payments from Westminster). The first minister has revealed herself as a lazy, vindictive dullard.

        A canny UK prime minister would allow a referendum, as the current leadership wouldn’t even try to win it.

        I certainly didn’t see any SNP badges today as Craig turned himself in.
        He got a rousing send off of ‘auld lang syne’ though and put on a very brave face.

          1. Michaelmas

            paul: we just want to be a normal country rather than a colony.

            Very understandable. And yet the reality is that the month after Scottish independence passed, were it to do so, not only would you lose the payments from Westminster that in normal times let Scotland run 6-8 percent annual deficits — yes, yes, I know, the “deficit myth” and all that, but look at this


            — but also the reality is that the UK — England — has sterling as its sovereign currency and you do not, and 60 percent of Scotland’s trade is with England and the UK; thus, the big money would funnel in from England and the City of London, and begin buying up Scotland for cents on the dollar, or rather pennies on the pound. Scotland would be stripped and raped by private finance from down South.

            The reality is, too, that even if you magically entered the EU immediately upon independence, the EU would still not let you run deficits of more than 3 percent. Indeed, the EU is capable of being a lot nastier than the UK, based on Greece’s experience. Here’s the LANCET study of mortality rates resulting from EU-imposed austerity in Greece —
            ‘The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016’

            Interestingly, the reality is, too, that in with the current mood of English nationalism south of the border they’re asking questions about why they want Scotland as a colony and why they should subsidize it. You might get the’ independence’ you desire.

    3. Kouros

      Watching and listening to Lady Dorrians made me think immediately at individuals, usually female, working in HR departments. Not very bright, not even bright, but bright enough. She is an absolute tool of the system, a tool that has committed violence towards Craig Murray.

      This is not Franz Kafka but more like Brasil. Truckloads of very fresh pig manure as well as cat and dog refuse should be hauled to her front porch every single day of the duration of Mr. Murray’s imprisonment. Otherwise a beating to keep her 8 months in hospital, conscientious, but tub fed and drained of refuse with help…

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        PayPal is also shutting off funding directed toward PanQuake, the crowd-funded social media/messaging platform project spearheaded by Suzie Dawson. AFIK Visa, et al, are still passing through payments. Check it out. It’s a worthy endeavor.

      2. Mr Booby Buyer

        They’ve been making life painful for sex industry workers as well, particularly erotic artists who suddenly have their accounts closed by paypal for drawing boobies, with no hope of appeal and sometimes not even explanation.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Germany Faces Dilemma on What To Do with Excess Vaccine”

    Starting to hear more and more stories like this. If there are so many unused doses in Germany, just shove them into a refrigerated container, load it aboard one of those converted Airbus Air Force transport planes, and fly it to the nearest hotspot that can be found. It is not rocket science but Logistics 101. It is not right to destroy any vaccines while countries go begging for them. I see Israel is also set to destroy 80,000 expired Pfizer vaccine doses because they could not think of a place that they could send it where it could possibly be needed. I would not be surprised to learn down the track that a coupla million doses were wasted and thrown out around the world in just this year alone-

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the clinic in the town 20 miles to my north, where wife and youngest got their shots, is doing this…due to “lack of demand”.
      of course, as i’ve said, they only give covid vax on fridays, and only by appointment, which can only be arranged by third party app.
      walmart in that same town has a sign by the door saying walk-ins for covid vax welcome, but de facto require an appointment, arranged by another 3rd party app.

      and…in this town(been there twice this week), only nurse-types and old people are wearing masks.

      something apparently broke down between “get a shot, you moron” and actual implementation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe due to a third party wanting to insert their way between people and vaccinations for their own fun & profit?

    2. The Rev Kev

      When I said that I would not be surprised to learn that a coupla million doses of vaccines would be thrown out unused, I was thinking over the next few years. Just heard now on TV that New York alone has already thrown out a million doses.

    1. jefemt

      I havent been to a large venue concert in decades. Do they still play a recorded batch of music ahead of the show, and between acts?
      (Last BIG show… Denver’s Mile-High stadium, Jessie Colin Young, Beach Boys, and CSNY. WOW)
      I am old.

      I suggest a conga playlist, . Then, let them dance in the Lemming Conga Line!

      Malthus, Darwin, and Von Humboldt must be enjoying the show, from an observationalist’s standpoint, it is AMAZING!

      1. polar donkey

        Last night I had to run concession stands of rodeo in a basketball arena. 4,000 people maybe 10 masks. I didn’t really freak out until the show ended, and I got stuck in a hallway with 2,000 tightly packed people walking by. Covid is up 1000% in Memphis over the course of July. All I kept thinking was we’re 18 months into this pandemic and it is still f-ing nuts.

  9. Verifyfirst

    About the impending bacon crisis in CA–this sentence from the article got my attention:

    “California’s restaurants and groceries use about 255 million pounds of pork a month”.

    CA has about 40 million people, so each average person eats about 6 and a half pounds of bacon per month?

    Just thinking about the environmental consequences of this one item, in one state, in one month…..humans have no chance of surviving in their current configurations…..

  10. Verifyfirst

    Regarding Lollapalooza in Chicago, they are following the CDC guidance in effect….a week ago? i.e., requiring proof of vaccination or recent negative Covid test. Remember, until yesterday, per CDC, you cannot spread Covid if you are vaccinated.

    As of today, they are requiring masks indoors at Lollapalooza venues…not sure there are indoor venues there, but whatever. Just following the new guidance…..

  11. griffen

    Hands off my plate of bacon and eggs. Looks like an altruistic effort to improve the lives of our pigs, but unfortunately carries a high price. CA may lead the country in many & varied ways; not sure there’ll be takers on this one.

    I don’t know where (eastern and southeastern) NC ranks lately on the states that host industrial hog farms. But the smell in July to August, in particular, was always not welcome or refreshing. Much different smell than the tobacco curing in large barns.

    1. fresno dan

      August 1, 2021 at 9:29 am
      They can have my bacon when they pry it out of my cold, dead, greasy, fingers….Actually, its so slippery that no prying is necessary – just a gentle tug and the bacon will slide right out.

      1. JohnA

        Try dry cure bacon, where the liquid that is released during the curing process is drained away regularly. Beautiful, tasty and very definitely not as slippery as supermarket bacon, where water is added ‘to enhance the flavour’ as the idiotic marketing has it.

    2. Tex

      How about we send California all these trapped wild hogs. Just let them go. The populate pretty quickly. Soon you’ll have all the pork you could want. What could be better than virtue signaling free range pigs.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i don’t know…i fear we may need that free range pork, if things keep deteriorating apace.
        the smaller wild pigs(20-40#) are some of the best pork i’ve ever had.
        i’ve only eaten them directly from the wild, but a friend of mine traps them, fattens them and butchers them and gives them to the poor(legally, somehow), and he says that’s even better.
        the bigger specimens get wormy and gross the older and bigger they get….and the momma sows and boars are not to be taken lightly: quite dangerous, in fact.
        I always carry my hand cannon when i go a-roaming on the mountain.

      2. heresy101

        California already has wild boars.

        Thirty-five years ago, my boss and purchasing agent would go wild boar hunting somewhere south of Redding. They would take plenty of beer and spend days with bow and arrows hunting the boars. They didn’t get very many; probably because of the beer.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      from the article on hogs:
      –At one typical hog farm in Iowa, sows are kept in open-air crates measuring 14-square-feet ( 2×7 foot) when they join a herd and then for a week as part of the insemination process before moving to larger, roughly 20-square foot group pens (less than 3×7 foot) with other hogs. Both are less than the 24 square feet (less than 4×7 foot) required by the California law to give breeding pigs enough room to turn around and to extend their limbs. Other operations keep sows in the crates nearly all of the time so also wouldn’t be in compliance.–

      A breeding sow weighs 500 lbs. There is reluctance in this society in giving this animal more than 3×7 foot enclosures to live in.

      Is it only me or does anyone else feel we have become Mordor with a population of Orcs unquestioningly perpetuating cruelty?

      1. Anthony Stegman

        Yes, how can anyone eat bacon knowing full well the extreme cruelty that goes into making it. Most humans are POS in my view.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’m maybe a week away…barring further layered chaostime…from having the infrastructure in place to be food independent, as far as poultry goes.
          Left to do is the rest of the roof on the fattening shed, as well as several more fattening pens(so the meat doesn’t toughen from all the running around…they’ll still get grass and bugs galore)…and the third chicken house, across the road(for to rotate the flock, as part of a broader rotation plan)

          my plan includes feral hog butchering, at some point, too(and deer, of course, and barbado sheep)…but i ain’t near there, yet
          (bacon and sausage and ham are might near staples around here).
          smokehouse is ready, but the abattoir is pretty primitive right now…and the kitchen where big animal meat will be processed, sausage made, etc needs at least two weeks of focused work.
          maybe this winter i can finally get to that.

          and all of this, while primarily driven by a desire for autarky, is also driven by far too much knowledge regarding what happens to our meat before it gets to the supermarket.

          eventual pastured pigs might happen, one day…if i can find a way to get a torch to the metal pile at the dump….the feedlots in town just cut out and remove and pile up in a tangle all their heavy stock panel and steel pipe pens every other year or so.

          …and i’m aware that just about none of what i’m shooting for out here scales.

          1. HotFlash

            My dear amfortas, the solutions we find will be small and fitted to our unique situations, they will not and cannot scale and that is why they will be so strong.

  12. The Rev Kev

    So even here in Oz they have news stories like those on those pool parties in the Ozarks and of course there are the stories of overweight, conservative Bubbas who refused to take the vaccine and our now dying and they regret not taking it and they die and leave a wife and little kids behind. So tragic. Very moralistic messaging too though some would call it propaganda. So I am suggesting that perhaps it is time to coin a new word – “Bubbaganda”. By that I mean obvious propaganda stories centered around irresponsible, vaccine refuseniks who are probably Trump voters who deserve everything that they get. Ones who are holding the whole country going back to normal through their ignorance and conservative ways when of course they should STFU and get with the program as determined by their betters like America’s Doctor. Do I need to put in a sarc tag?

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      August 1, 2021 at 9:32 am
      What I am curious about is the distinction or demarcations in media outlets points of view. For example, there are any number of posts on this site about MSM vaccination shaming and the implication that that is a bad thing (FYI – there are quite a few postings on FOX about how relatively few people actually die of covid – is that noteworthy?)
      But what I want to know, does no shaming also apply to face mask refusniks? Why are there no stories if someone doesn’t wear a facemask and dies (cause and effect too tenuous)? Is dying due to not wearing a facemask a newsworthy event? Why or why not? And it begs the question, is wearing a face mask important or not? If facemasking is unimportant, than are govenors mandating no mandatory facemask wearing regulations not worthy of coverage?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        as far as vaxxed vs not-vaxxed, that’s an easy correlation.
        masking, not so much…at the individual level,at least… because there’s so many variables: did that individual who now has covid 1. regularly go into crowded places and lick every doorknob they saw? or 2. slip up that one time when they ran out of the house for a gallon of milk and only realised that they had forgotten their mask when they got there?
        and with both extremes, without rigorous contact tracing(likely impossible in america at this point), there’s simply no way to tell where either of these individuals actually contracted the virus.

        i’ve been into a specialty hospital in san antonio twice in the last week(dealing with stepdad’s care)…and double masked, went right to the ubiquitous hand san every time i touched anything(including stepdad’s hand to offer encouragement), and washed my face with soap and water in the parking lot after i left the building. I even slathered my walking stick with handsan…just in case.
        but tuesday and wednesday, i entered a house with a recently shut off sewage geyser…same precautions, and much less time spent inside(just to look/bear witness/take pics)
        if i come down with something(covid, mrsa, C Diff, anything really)…where did it come from?

      2. Pookah Harvey

        Masks serve two purposes
        –Block exhaled emission of virus-laden respiratory particles (source control)
        –Reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer (personal protection)
        It seems difficult to experimentally isolate the effectiveness of each of the two protections. I have read somewhere that source control is thought to have 70% of the overall effectiveness of masks in slowing infections. If true then I’m wearing a mask to protect you and you are wearing a mask to protect me.
        If this can be proven can we use stand your ground laws in protecting ourselves from the unmasked? Just a thought.

        1. fresno dan

          Pookah Harvey
          August 1, 2021 at 3:25 pm
          I went to Walmart yesterday (at 6 am) and Walmart had reinstituted wearing masks. As I walked about, I estimate about 20% of the employees were wearing masks below their noses. About 10% of the customers were doing the same thing, with a few pulling the mask below their mouths as well. Right before I left there was a public address anouncement that employees were to wear their masks correctly.

    2. TomDority

      Not to bring down the conversation a bit but — all those people in the pool, drinking at all those tables in the pool, … I would expect a line at the bathrooms and people getting in and out of the pool continuously.
      Well I suppose if they scoff at masks and refuse vaccines (the only reason I can figure is they are scared) ….I guess they don’t mind a little extra in the water.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i only swim in wholesome pee….like that of fish and crawdads and whales,lol.
        related…at that “specialty hospital” where stepdad is…mom and i rode up the elevator with 4 employees…all masked, and all…us, double…but still: hard to maintain social distance in a 5×5 metal box.
        once on the 3rd floor and in his room, with 5 different people coming and going, doing things(or appearing to)…as well as the “family liason officer”, or whateverthehell(“the Lawyer Lady”)…who gave us a lecture on covid protocols.(!)
        this is a private hospital for micu=> rehab…like learning to breathe again…that the VA apparently contracts with.
        I was not impressed, and wanted to jump in a lake afterwards.

    3. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      August 1, 2021 at 9:32 am

      conservative Bubbas who refused to take the vaccine and our now dying and they regret not taking it and they die and leave a wife and little kids behind.
      AND one other thing I noticed, to reiterate my point that so much that is reported is filtered by a specific ideological narrative. One of the least vaccinated demographs is black people. Have there been ANY stores of non-vaccinated black people regretting not taking the vaccine who have died? WHY is that?
      As they say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. So much reporting must fit the preconceived notions of the reporting organization. Too bad we no longer have Dragnet news – just the facts.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, I noticed that as well. And the media will not go into the question of why so many black people refuse vaccinations as they may be afraid of what the answer will be. Tuskegee. In a comment by the IM Doc above, he talks about this and how people in the PMC are unable to process this idea. It does not compute and causes their brains to stall out.

      2. IMOR

        Yes, in the sense that two different PSAs on California tv and radio feature Af-Am people saying exactly that. Doesn’t necessarily invalidate your larger point, but may point more to a separation of the pipeline feeding your news outlet (state certified propaganda) from that feeding the PSAproducers (some remnants of true public health concern / civic posture).

  13. Anon

    “The event was in fact in Provincetown (where masking was only reimposed four days ago). Starting on the Fourth of July Weekend. The presumably representative “gathering” was “bear week.” One can imagine Walensky, who hails from Massachusetts, going through this article and replacing every reference to “Provincetown” with “Barnstable County.” While P-town is portrayed as a “quirky community,” the blaming and fingerwagging for a similar event in Flyover was extensive:”

    There are your ‘Bubbas’ right there.

    IF they were hetero they would have been mercilessly doxxed and shamed.

    So, WHY aren’t they all being treated like ‘Bubbas’ for being ‘Bubbas’??

    1. Donald

      From what I just read in the NYT, I wouldn’t equate Provincetown with the Lake in the Ozarks. The difference is stark. The Provincetown people thought the vaccine protected them,found out that with the Delta variant they could still catch it and so they are going back to masking. This is a very different attitude from what I read about in Missouri. If one wants to blame liberals here, the proper target would be the Biden Administration itself, which was too quick to declare victory. The Provincetown people seem to be reacting rationally to events.

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Cori Bush

    Her life story aside, it’s a clear and direct call as opposed to the fraudulent kneel in for expanding and justifying the no fly list, dishonestly called gun control. There isn’t any confusion on the matter. Daou forgot gun control. Team Blue doesn’t seem to care very much about it.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Why astounding? These sh!tes have been telling us mopes, in no uncertain or unclear terms, to go F ourselves, while they put their pig feet and snouts in the corporate/MMT, trough while their hind paws do cute little performative dances…

        Wonder when and/or if “enough” will ever be “enough.”

        And folks, don’t even think about doing sit-ins or protesting outside the many homes where these tapeworms live. The State will likely see to it you get “Murrayed” if you do…

        1. tegnost

          I thought i’d get an increment.
          Little did I know that the increment would be an allegedly better personality

  15. fresno dan

    Anti vaxination
    So I went to a bar/restaurant (Yosemite Falls Cafe) yesterday (imagine Cheers, but not below ground with all the staff being Latino and 90% of the customers). So Carol comes in and joins me – just one of numerous denizens of the place I occasionally chat with, and just for demographic background she is white, I would guess 70 plus, and works for the City or County of Fresno in some administrative position (not a clerk or receptionist). I imagine she could retire if she wanted. She has traveled throughout CA recently to see family and is flying to – North or South Carolina for two weeks come September to see a niece.
    Anyway, she was telling me that the government entity for which she works was gonna make her get the vaccine (I believe if you get tested once per week you can get out of being vaccinated). And she did not like the idea of mandated vaccination at all. I have to say I was gobsmacked – I never expected an older woman, who seems pretty intelligent to me (she always brings a book to the bar that she is reading if nobody is there that she knows) to be so vehmeintly opposed to being vaccinated. Now her first book I noticed was about 18 century textile mills, but later books were by Christian writers. Her latest book is from the author whose book was made into the movie Not Without my Daughter so I think it gives some insight into her point of view.
    Although I am vaccinated, my experience is that few people can be moved by logic or rationality, so I didn’t attempt it.
    The Boxer
    I am just a poor boy
    Though my story’s seldom told
    I have squandered my resistance
    For a pocketful of mumbles
    Such are promises
    All lies and jest
    Still, a man (or woman!) hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest

    1. Mantid

      Dan, Many people who are choosing to avoid the vaccines have been moved by logic and rationality to do so, refuse. There are many examples out there about the negatives of the various vaccines. An example: a quote from Assessment report on
      COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna posted on 11 March, 2021
      “Low levels of mRNA could be detected in all examined tissues except the kidney. This included heart, lung, testis and also brain tissues, indicating that the mRNA/LNP platform crossed the blood/brain barrier, although to very low levels (2-4% of the plasma level).” Basically the vaccine’s spike protein, which is supposed to stay in muscle tissue, travels all over the body via blood, settling in many places including the brain. Ouch!

      Your 70 year old friend may have good reason to avoid the vaccine. IM Doc suggests it for people with obesity and other problems, understandably. But if reasonably healthy, many people avoid them for good reasons – especially since Ivermectin is much more effective and much more safe.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Speedo’s Ridiculously Expensive Swimsuit for Olympians Actually Made Me Swim Faster”

    After reading this article, I think that I see the secret of those high tech “budgie-smugglers.” They are in fact women’s swimmers. And that means that the grip around the crotch is so tight on them, that it makes you try to finish the race as fast as possible so that you can go get out of them.

    1. Daryl

      It occurs to me that $400 is a lot of money to reduce drag from clothing when there is a free and low tech way to do that. And didn’t the original Olympics involve quite a bit of nudity anyway?

    2. Terry Flynn

      IIRC the Olympic Committee banned a particular material constructed by (I assume) Speedo years ago. The reduction in drag coefficient in the water was so much that it would unfairly penalise poor nations. This might just be a new attempt to circumvent the rules with a “cheaper” material. Two observations: (1) homos like me like it because it ain’t pron but leaves NOTHING to the imagination; (2) Why not just totally eradicate any benefit and return to the “traditional” principles and make em swim nude? They can shave bods if hairy but then nobody has unfair advantage.

      Of course (2) hurts revenue and that is why the Japan Olympics is happening in the first place… BFF has lived there for decades and is as integrated as is possible. He told me Fukushima is the canary in the mine – ALL the nuclear plants are in prefectures that had little “power” under the LDP and the nuclear stations are less than 50cm above sea-level meaning our present “worst case scenario” means Japan is family-blogged in less than 70 years, not 200 as was originally planned for. BTW West-Coast Americas also in trouble…..the radioactivity will quickly traverse the Pacific. All because of a monolithic party in a so-called democratic country. Ring bells?

      1. Divadab

        My Mom referred to speedos as ‘nuts and bolts suits’ ……there are no secrets on a swim team!

      2. Acacia

        Indeed, it could easily be argued that the ruling LDP is the greatest danger to Japan. I’m not sure about the claim that all the nuclear stations are “less than 50cm above sea-level”, though. I’d be curious to see a source, if you’ve got one. The Fukushima No. 1 site was 10m above sea level, though the tragedy is that the land was originally much higher, and the emergency diesel generators were actually below sea level. Following the Fukushima disaster, the Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka was protected by a giant wall to guard against future tsunami. AFAICT, the Hamaoka site itself is 6–8 m above sea level, so rising sea levels should not be an issue soon-ish.

        FWIW, also, the Hamaoka plant and many others remain shut down. My understanding is that only about 30% of electricity in Japan was sourced from nuclear power before the 3/11 disaster, 46 of the 50 plants were shut down after 3/11, and by 2019 the nuclear share was down to 7.5% with only nine plants still operating. The lawyer Kawai Hiroyuki has argued successfully against the nuclear lobby to keep some of these plants closed. In his documentary films, Kawai mades a persuasive case that the nuclear policy in Japan has failed and cannot be recovered. The Monju reactor never worked as intended, and the whole system of reprocessing fuel has failed. Of course, this hasn’t stopped the LDP from trying to prop up the nuclear lobby, but it seems unlikely that there will be any “nuclear renaissance” as was predicted before the 3/11 disaster. For me, the most compelling metaphor was offered by the sociologist Oguma Eiji, who described the nuclear lobby as dinosaurs, still strong but inexorably dying.

        Going forward, I think Japan will survive the slow death of the nuclear lobby and its fleet of (mostly-closed) stations. Rising sea levels will pose many other serious problems, though, and the heavy use of LNG won’t help Japan reach carbon neutrality. One particularly interesting and underreported story concerns the use of solar power on the southern island of Kyushu, home to around 10% of Japanese. Imagine four nuclear plants worth of power, all sourced by solar and going unused, due to pressure from the nuclear village. Some lessons to be learned from what’s happening in Kyushu, I feel.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Unfortunately this is anecdotal. Albeit from a uni friend who has spent virtually all of the 27 years since graduation in Japan, is a Dean at a Tokyo uni and translated his own (English) PhD into Japanese and got published there.

          He probably has some mistakes in his research on power (since that’s not his area of expertise). I should have made clearer that his expertise is more “how NIMBYs in the LDP ensured there are virtually no nuclear power plants on high ground where they should be but are frequently on lower ground where the powerful factions in the LDP could get them sited despite obvious risks from any sea level change”. I totally accept your official stats and apologise for overgeneralising. But the “nuclear location” issue is generally real and why my friend now desperately fears for his half-Japanese son.

          1. Acacia

            Okay, more data needed. I can also say anecdotally that quite a few of the Japanese nuclear stations are close to the ocean, I.e not exactly high ground. I guess the question is the status and location of the ones that are active or may be restarted. There are stricter standards now, including some anti-terrorism measures, and a number of the stations have been deemed too costly to upgrade. They will be dismantled. Personally, I would be more concerned about earthquakes and tsunami than rising sea levels (though they do interact). The situation at Fukushima was a known hazard, but… well… shrug.

  17. Pat

    In a properly educated society, Pelosi trying to take the high ground on the eviction moratorium and pass the buck to the Republicans would be treated with derision it deserves.
    Unfortunately, not only have few Americans be taught to think logically they also haven’t been briefed in the basics of how Congress functions. So a whole lot of our supposedly well educated professional non deplorable good Americans will just go “Damn those Republicans and the jerks who vote for them”. They won’t even realize that Cori Bush wasn’t just talking about those awful right wing Conservatives.

    Funny how little foresight, power and time management skills Nancy Pelosi has…at least when something isn’t important to her.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The infuriating part is that, starting way back in the Trump administration and continuing in the biden administration, some $50 billion was allocated to address this problem. In 6 months, roughly only 10% of that money has been disbursed.

      According to several links from yesterday, requirements for actually getting the money were confusing, onerous and constantly changing. No one bothered to pay attention, let alone rectify the situation to prevent this inflection point from being reached. The money was THERE fer chrissakes. It still is, I guess.

      My biggest problem with Cori Bush, given her street cred derived from being previously “unhoused,” is that she wasn’t all over this like stink on shit starting last December. According to what I found on duck duck go, she has 838,000 twitter followers, and the campout tweet has 85,000 likes. (I guess that’s what a heart is.) Make some goddamn noise. If you’re going to claim some special level of “authority” on a subject due to previous experience, you’re going to be expected to make it count.

    2. Mildred Montana

      In the 2007 conversation with Gore Vidal (linked above) he says, “I like Pelosi.” He must have had his reasons for liking her at the time but doesn’t give them. For someone as knowledgeable about US politics as he was, I thought his opinion of her was strange.

      In fact, I found reading the comment to be as jarring as seeing a facelift on an octogenarian.

      1. Geo

        I need to read the interview (for context (love Vidal so excited to dive in) but assuming that by 2007 standards Pelosi actually was one of the more “progressive” reps. Who else was there at the time? Sanders, Ellison and Kucinich? Was Grayson’s brief time there during 2007? Back then Howard Dean and John Edwards were considered lefties!

        For all the hostility the “squad” gets its clear with some historical perspective that we’ve got better reps on the left now then at anytime in decades. Still nowhere near enough but at least we have a few.

    3. Louis

      So a whole lot of our supposedly well educated professional non deplorable good Americans will just go “Damn those Republicans and the jerks who vote for them”

      This sums up the majority–sometimes even 90%, depending on the exact situation–of comments in the New York Times on anything remotely related to politics or COVID-19.

      “Orange man bad” isn’t terribly original, especiall considering that he’s no longer in office, or is “Republicans bad.” I imagine many of these people think they’re so much smarter than everyone else, particularly those they disagree with, when in reality they’re just as dumb as the people they deride.

  18. Carolinian

    Interesting Chris Hedges

    Perhaps most disturbing is King’s apparent indifference to the truth, even once the text was unmasked as a forgery. She told Sabar she was “not particularly” interested in what he had uncovered, and that she did not realize that an object’s past could be studied.

    “How could a historian, one at Harvard no less, have failed to see provenance as a subject to investigation?” Sabar asks. “Provenance, after all, was nothing more than history — King’s own scholarly discipline.”

    King, like many academics, is infected with the disease of postmodernism. To them, there is no discernable, objective truth. Truth is a language game. It is determined by those who tell the best story. History is, they argue, a form of fiction. Facts, along with linear time, do not matter as long as the story told feels true and relevant.

    History, King writes, “is not about truth but about power relations.” She argues that historians must abandon “the association between truth and chronology.” She calls for “reconceptualizing the Western construction of time” and sees history as “discontinuous and unpatterned.”

    Hedges isn’t explicitly making the connection to his former colleagues at the NYT but the implication is clear. They learned their Postmodern chops at the Ivies, not from coming up through the ranks in Peoria. And they are even seeding this current approach back into academia where Nikole Hannah-Jones will soon be teaching eager minds about the subjectivity of truth.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am trying to imagine the viability of a culture where facts and knowledge are merely negotiable artifacts. Hmmm – not good. I have been reading for years how American law has become of a bit of a backwater through their refusal to acknowledge international precedents and laws with the government insisting that an American law (even if a State law) must be by definition obeyed by the rest of the world and sanctions are an example of this. But if this keeps up, American education and scholarship may be headed on the same trajectory. And yet in the past Americans were noted for their ability to take a no nonsense view of the world and act accordingly such as the famed Yankee traders. And people like Nikole Hannah-Jones would have gotten short shrift back then. It is an ill wind that blows when you screw with education.

      1. Carolinian

        I think all this is only a phase. The powers that be wouldn’t be acting like this if they were really secure. You could point to the 2008 bailout as the point when things really jumped the shark for the upper classes and now they are just waiting for the pitchforks. It’s all a big stall before reality intrudes.

  19. marym

    AOC today

    During the 2000’s I watched a lot of cable news including the Sunday morning shows. Even when Dems in Congress had a marginally less evil position on something, they rarely appeared, and if they did they didn’t make coherent arguments, just blah blah.

    I know there’s criticism here of AOC others in the small group of would-be progressives, as to whether they’re doing enough. I don’t know, but if electoral politics and the mostly evil Congress are going to make any contribution toward change for the better, an articulate spokesperson is a good thing. She presents the issues, doesn’t just blame Republicans, and calls out Dems in the House and Senate, and the WH.

    eviction moratorium:
    infrastructure deal:
    voting rights/gerrymandering/election administration:

    1. Vlad "The Mad Lad" Lenin

      > I don’t know, but if electoral politics and the mostly evil Congress are going to make any contribution toward change for the better

      They’re not.

    2. Jason

      Her words must be accompanied by persistent actions consistent with her rhetoric, such as putting holds on bills when it’s enormously unpopular, even among her alleged “progressive” allies in congress. The point going in was that the “justice dems” would vote as a bloc, but they obviously never intended to do that. Is she – or are any of them – even trying to get the others “back” on the same page?

      She has to support the same grassroots efforts she herself said were necessary to build momentum. It would be one thing if she just shied away from this as so many pols do – that’s to be expected. But she has gone so far as to use her power to actively sabotage grassroots efforts.*

      It’s really this simple if you’re a “progressive” politician: Instead of closing up shop and hiding when a M4A action is planned outside your office, instead go to work that day, meet the people who thought you cared about the issue, and with a giant smile say:


      *Of course, there is the reverse of this, whereby a politician will go through the “activist” motions, but then verbally admit, without a trace of irony, that they don’t in fact support the policies that the grassroots are fighting for. I believe it was Cori Bush who did this with M4A the other day – showing up for appearances’ sake, and then stating unequivocally that she doesn’t support the actual polices. I suppose she knows donors are always watching and listening.

      Bush has been getting some positive press because she slept outside to protest the end of the eviction moratorium. And of course, she was homeless at one time too. Fascinatingly (or not), she has exhibited none of the attributes as a politician that she surely would have used regularly as a homeless person raising her kids: forethought, toughness in the face of adversity (her adversity now is standing up to the people she works with in order to enact policies that will benefit everyday Americans – she’s not doing anything in the face of that).

      I mean, it was known the homeless evictions were coming. This last-minute performative stunt is all she can do? It’s amazing she ever survived on the street. It hasn’t taken her long at all to forget where she came from.

      1. marym

        Do you have a link for the story about Cori Bush and the M4A rally? All I found when I read about it yesterday were some random tweets that seemed to say the organizers berated her about Force the Vote, and that was the source of the contention. I don’t know if there’s more to the story. Also don’t know if that would have been a good or bad tactic to berate her on this topic at that point, if that’s what happened.

        I give up on this argument. I have no idea what 6 or so first and second term Congresspeople can or can’t do as far as blocking votes or defeating bills, and wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what the result would be. Maybe the people continually criticizing them have a better idea about how this would work.

      2. Yves Smith

        You have zero basis for criticizing AOC when you make clear in your first sentence that you have no idea what you are talking about.

        Only the Senate allows members to put a hold on a bill or a nomination.

        AOC is not in the Senate.

        And how much power do you think one rep out of 435 has? What are you smoking?

    3. Michael Ismoe

      Yeah. Did you notice all your sources were Twitter feeds? The rest of us did. It’s show business.

      1. marym

        Yes, I’ve always expected that the NC community is fully able to evaluate sources. Cable news is media where large numbers of people look for what they hope is useful information. Having an articulate spokesperson with some decent ideas about policy and a rational critique of establishment Dems is a good thing.

      2. LaEspada

        Any A.I. censored media is not to be trusted.

        Read both the Socialist and White Nationalist websites to glimmer kernels of truth that you use to come to your own conclusions.

    4. neo-realist

      Electing more progressives, as difficult as it is, would help quite a bit. Progressives are doing just about as much as they can given their small numbers against the majority of bought and paid for people on both sides of the aisle (even though the criticism here tends to be only against the dem side) Growing the squad into an army not just a noisy, yet small and relatively powerless exception to the ways of doing things would be a big help to effecting change.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        You guys really are just running through the Obama era excuses, aren’t you?

        Did DailyKos give you permission to bring back the “more and better Democrats” line?

        1. marym

          Don’t people who think “more and better Democrats” is the solution kind of hate AOC, etc. for having unrealistic ideas? As opposed to those who kind of hate her for doing too little?

          IF (big IF) there’s ever a possible inside/outside strategy for change, then having people on the inside, having them use their platform to inform, and having more of them would seem to be a good idea.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i agree with your stance on this, Marym….even when folks like AOC are caught smiling(shudder) with the reptiles that run things.
            analogous to me dealing with Mother in Law’s shitgeyser…i didn’t talk to a single democrat in local positions of power…because there are none out here….zero…not even one.
            I even gave the city management the benefit of the doubt(limited time to get the gears moving), and credit where due(the long term efforts to upgrade the medieval infrastructure).
            but on twitter, that would prolly make me a traitor, of some kind.

            1. Geo

              It makes me wonder if those who criticize have much experience with trying to do good in a corrupted system and how hard it is. How much you have to compromise your values to just make small changes.

              I can only speak to my world of advertising and film but – for a small and seemingly insignificant example – I’ve been fired from a big job for making a female model look “too powerful” (actual words used) in a menswear ad. Was told not to the first time, fired the second time.

              That was just me trying to shift gender messaging in an ad campaign slightly by showing a female in a dynamic instead of a passive role. Not exactly world changing stuff. And I got axed for it.

              I could go into more extreme stories but some of those ended up as legal issues (NDA’s) and also don’t want to write a novel in the comment thread.

              The point is: when you’re one person (or a few) in a corrupt institution it’s hard to make change. And, if you go rogue as I did they will get rid of you (or marginalize you at the least).

              Heck, even if people haven’t ever tried to change a system from the inside, have they ever played a team sport? Have a great new rookie outfielder doesn’t make your team suddenly win the World Series if the rest of the team is useless and/or being paid to lose.

              Truly don’t understand why the squad gets so much hate when there’s about 430 other Congress critters to go after.

              1. freebird

                They had a moment when they could have replaced Pelosi with someone decent. They deliberately knuckled under without winning even 1 tiny concession or reward for their ‘loyal’ votes. Lots of us don’t have another generation to wait for progress or reform. They refuse to use what little power they have. The despised Tea Party small group at least made some use of their power. The squad hides and tweets.

                1. marym

                  Ah yes, that scrappy little band of 48-60 pushing Republicans in a direction favorable to its donor class.

                  1. Geo

                    Exactly! The Squad just needs to embrace the policies of the donor class as the Tea Party did and then they’ll be able to take over the party easily!

                    Seriously, the Tea Party was able to do armed marches and police escorted them like a parade. Lefties try to feed the homeless and get pepper sprayed and arrested. The Tea Party had the backing of billionaires and Fox News. Lefties are on MSM less than UFO’s.

                    Also, what did the Tea Party accomplish with their takeover? Lower taxes for billionaires and more weapons to Saudi Arabia? A pro-business judiciary and deregulation of ecological protections? Really revolutionary stuff!

                    As you said, all their goals were pro-establishment. John McCain even chose Sarah Palin as his VP.

                    Using the Tea Party as a case study is naive.

                    1. freebird

                      Yep, Trump bad, Tea Party bad, herp derp. You can hate them but admit they were superior strategists, while the squad refuses to do anything to upset the DNC status quo, after getting elected by pledging to do so. You can keep spouting Team Blue excuses all day long, perhaps you’re on salary to do so. It doesn’t change the reality.

            2. Pookah Harvey

              The only thing progressives in the House can do is stop legislation. There is always a crumb to the masses in every bill. The Establishment is just waiting for the progressives to stop a bill. They can then point out how the progressives were responsible for you (the public) not getting (name the crumb). Using that as an excuse the Establishment will then diligently work at primarying every progressive out of office.

              1. Dr. John Carpenter

                Yes, but the establishment is going to do that anyway. The squad have to get beyond that fear. Once upon a time, Ocasio-Cortez said she didn’t mind being a one termer if she could get some things done. So where’s that person now?

                1. Pookah Harvey

                  The only thing they can do is stop legislation until there are more progressives in Congress. They can’t pass anything. Going back over Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, I could find no suggestion that handing your enemy ammunition is a good strategy for victory.

        2. neo-realist

          You got me wrong, or deliberately wanted to get me wrong: The Obama era solution would be elect more corporate centrist types who don’t upset the apple cart (Nina Turner’s opponent). It’s really about electing more progressive dems (more Jeff Merkley’s, more Pramila Jayapals, not just more democrats period. Penetrating the inside of power and effecting change.

          1. tegnost

            It certainly can’t hurt. I continue to be bothered by the performativeness of some of it, has a “the horses have left the barn so we really, really need to close the barn door”, but it is what it is, they are who they are and etc…I’m still gonna vote, and i’m still gonna undervote, because that’s all I get, but I expect the ratchets to the right will continue to outpace the increments to the left

          2. Tim W

            Exactly. Here in OR we are lucky to have Sen Merkley but my House rep is Schrader. Makes me shudder they’re both in the same party.

  20. dday

    In terms of Biden’s promises, I would also include the lack of reinstating the Iran deal on nuclear activities. It was actually a very simple action to come back to the accord that we had unilaterally left.

  21. jr

    Youtube weirdness

    So I was trying to view a video on the Zimbabwe Ariel School UFO incident on Youtube. I’m on my notebook so I’m not signed into it. Now I’ve watched this video a million times before but this time Youtube demanded that I sign in because “This video may be inappropriate for some viewers.”

    This is weird, there isn’t anything bad or inappropriate in the video at all, despite what you might think of the subject matter. Either the Overlords are cracking down or Youtube is becoming a real nanny…what could be their reasoning? I guess it’s scary for kids?

    To test that, I searched for “serial killers” and up pops the charming tale of Roy DeMeo, the Butcher of the Gemini Lounge, without a hitch. So do a million other videos about serial killers. Plenty of cannibalism videos to boot. This is kind of odd, I think, but given Youtube’s censorship culture not that surprising…..but still odd.

    1. Phillip Cross

      “Now I’ve watched this video a million times before but this time Youtube demanded that I sign in because “This video may be inappropriate for some viewers.””

      Perhaps they are trying to protect people with addictive personalities, who might while away the rest of their lives watching it a million times?

    2. Acacia

      My guess would be that video was flagged by some algo. Some call it AI, but there’s no intelligence or consciousness there. Very crude tech, really, but being presented nowadays with many ooohs and ahhs. Cheaper than humans, too. It may have been “trained” by human censors, but that doesn’t mean it will function as a human censor does. Random misfires are to be expected, the effect being that content can just get “flagged” for no good reason at all. Moreover, YouTube probably doesn’t want to be too transparent about their methods or criteria, as that would signal ways to get around the algo-driven censorship.

  22. dcblogger

    are there any good English language histories of Chile from 1970 to now? I am beginning to think that what happened in Chile has a lot to teach us about what is about to happen in the US.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Unfortunately I have no official sources. Just anecdotes since my half-brother married a woman who is daughter to a woman who was one of the biggest names in the fight against Pinochet (who was tortured etc).

      The stories are horrific. Akin to what the nahzees (deliberate mis-spelling) did to their victims. The “glorify the nation” stuff did run rampant (which I suspect is what you’re interested in). What makes it ironic is that the “younger generation” (now ex-wife of my half-bro) and her ilk, have generally emigrated to USA and are rapid Republicans, anti-vaxxers, supporters of anything that restricts free speech etc. My family go “what?!” The only “honest one” – a Chilean member of the resistance who escaped, married my mum’s cousin and now lives happily here in UK – knows and recognises all this and simply decided “I’m out”. I should follow him more often when things get heated on here.

    2. EGrise

      Out of curiosity: in what aspect? Are you expecting a Pinochet, followed after many years of blood and misery by a return to something like sanity? Or something else?

      1. dcblogger

        don’t know what to expect, except that South America seems a likely model for what might happen here, after all the people who over threw Allende passed on their methods to the people who currently run American politics. So in terms of parallels, it seems more to the purpose to study Latin America rather than Nazi Germany. So I would be interested in learning about the events that led up to Allende’s election, his overthrow, resistance to the dictatorship, its eventual over throw, and the events leading up to the current effort to rewrite its constitution.

        1. Pate

          “after all the people who over threw Allende passed on their methods to the people who currently run American politics“

          I think it was the opposite. The “Chicago Boys” provided the (free market) ideology; the “Company” provided methods and logistical support.

          You might find Naomi Klein’s “Disaster Capitalism” interesting.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember National Lampoon Magazine’s “news of the day” headline from the Allende Overthrow.

            ” Allende shoots self 47 times in head, pausing only twice to reload”.

            1. JBird4049

              I am really more worried about who follows after the original reforms, if done under the current political system, or revolution, if not. That there will be unrest, even revolution or civil war is a given, I think. Just what kind of people who ultimately get power will influence, even determine, just how violent everything will be.

              An example is the Russian Empire with its incompetent oppressive government and the Okhrana being overthrown by the Russian Revolution. Whether we get an Alexander Kerensky or a Vladimir Lenin ultimately in charge is the question. Actually, who follows them (the original leadership) is the important question. Allende followed by Pinochet, or Kerensky by Lenin then Stalin.

              The original reformers or revolutionaries are often fine, or at least not total monsters, but successors like Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong successors are; people who are far more concerned with gaining and keeping their power using any means. Joseph Stalin’s Holodomor, then the Great Purge, and the creation of the Gulag or Mao’s Great Famine, Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are examples.

              While their predecessors were also happy to use violence and repression, the extent was less, and more towards a goal of reform, not of egoistical power grabbing. Both the Russian and Chinese historical arcs are very similar or a good example of history rhyming.

              The United States has been very lucking in both its revolutionary and reforming politicians and their successors. George Washington refused any attempt to get him into some king-in-name position or of using his army to control the political situation. His successors John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were all law abiding presidents who set the pattern of the lawful transfer of power and of political control albeit with a nice dose of corruption. No armed coups or large scale, violent, political repression.

              Working within the system, or at least using the system,the laws, the courts aka the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, without coups except for a handful of state and municipal ones has worked for centuries. One might used the American Civil War as the exception, but it did generally follow the customs and the laws of the day, aside from the Southern states succeeding from the Union using military force.

              So far, we have avoided the excesses of the French Revolution, the horrors of the Russian and Chinese ones, any country level violent coups, and most, but not all, of the violent tactics used in most repressive countries. No Jakarta Method, no (federal level) Gulag Archipelago, few municipal black sites, relatively few political assassinations even including those like Fred Hampton and Martin Luther King, Jr. or “suicides” like Jeff Epstein

              But the pot, to use the cliche, is boiling, and our ruling class, being foolish, will be very happy to ramp up whatever COINTELPRO operation exists, or will be willing to bring in the Pinkertons, with their goon squads and assassins, in again; there are also groups of people placing themselves where they can seize power, if the situation becomes chaotic enough, for example the uncertainties that would exist, if a true reform movement legal does take power. The Dominionists are one possibility especially, if you use their slow infiltration of the military.

              We have avoided having the second or third leader in a new regime going Stalinist, or even Pinochetian. So far.

              It is going to be “interesting” to see what happens.

          2. jrkrideau

            “after all the people who over threw Allende passed on their methods to the people who currently run American politics“

            I expert a lot of the Chilean military were graduates of the School of the Americas but I am too lazy to check.

        2. chuck roast

          Here’s a method…Allende was elected during my Uni days. On Sunday evening I would head back to school and pass by US facility that had what was known then as a “strategic stockpile” of raw materials. There were literally big piles of copper bars along with what appeared to be zinc and other metals. Right after Allende’s election the copper disappeared from the facility. I was shocked…shocked I tell you…to find out that a short time later the bottom fell out of the world copper market. The bottom also fell out of Chile’s balance of international payments along with Chile’s socialist government.

  23. Susan the other

    I, Token. The Untold Story of Bitcoin’s Heart. Brett Scott in Altered States of Monetary Consciousness. Not bad. Kind of a long scroll for the very short final concluding paragraph which was almost sublime. But good satire takes time. Could Lolita have ever been edited down? Can’t really edit the meta out of some things. Of course the whole analysis managed to leave out the “sovereign v. private” thing, which, imo, is the actual tangible hole at the heart of Btc. And the fragility of such fleeting things as electronic tokens was not really opened up for discussion – like how to protect these quasi-realities from magnetic storms. It seems preferable to cruise on with an underlying assumption that electronic money is an eternal thing unto itself because it will emerge forever in an ever-expanding universe. The value of Btc. will never be determined by its fungibility because it is a medium of exchange only in a countertrade (still not mentioning the word “sovereign” except to allude to the pointless politics of El Salvador…) – so don’t worry about it. It’s only meta money. Maybe. But, imo, it’s a meta phenomenon that isn’t money at all and dangerous to conflate with money. Crazy, in fact.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Yes, IMHO this is a must read for anyone whose eyes otherwise glaze over regarding crypto. It reads long, but like Jason Alexander (SlateStarCodex) it brings great clarity when you persist.

  24. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Colombia’s Mercenary Industry is Behind the Haitian Coup–JACOBIN–Oliver Dodd

    “Mercenary paramilitaries have even been sponsored by multinationals, including Chiquita (formerly the United Fruit Company), Drummond, and Coca-Cola. Today, mercenaries are involved in protecting capitalist accumulation across the entire country, especially for oil, gas, and coal multinationals. It is a matter of public record that Colombian state officials maintain strong relations with paramilitary mercenary groups.”

    it has been stated, some time ago, that, “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.” Further, the use of mercenaries and mercenary armies is hardly unique, as the practice has a long historical pedigree.

    In the modern age, such ‘contracting out’ is deliberately entangled with themes of plausible deniability, covert action, ambiguous/hybrid/non-linear warfare, along with the standard operation of protecting the wealthy and what is often the theft by the wealthy of state resources, and/or the plundering of the commons by elite actors. It is one defining variable for corruption as the agreed upon economic steady state; where, state power, state institutions, and individual state actors serve to legitimize and normalize corruption as a preferred economic steady state, both globally and locally. For example,

    “But organized crime also presented the elites with an opportunity. They could be left behind in the new world created by narco-money, or they could throw their lot in with the new narco-elites and hitch a ride to power on the national scale as senators, governors, or party leaders. “When the regional political class obtains financing from an inexhaustible source of capital, and when it receives the armed support of private armies that regulate a significant portion of the social order, then they achieve a level of political influence never before seen in the country’s center,” Gustavo Duncan argues. These (bureaucratic) elites draw their power from their government posts, controlling key resources often through their state-held positions. They are also, as we will see, a critical node that criminal groups need in order to function. In some cases, bureaucratic elites and criminal interests can use each other to expand their power in quixotic ways.”

  25. Terry Flynn

    re: spelling in English. Interesting article on the history of English in the British Isles. One thing us Brits find funny is text-to-speech. It is used a LOT in a bunch of YouTube accounts whose sole purpose seems to be “getting odd reddit threads onto the platform”.

    Yes, it’s fun listening to odd sex stories. However, though your voice in many ways sounds natural with the right inflections, it fails the moment you have to pronounce a UK place name. Leicester. Pronounced “Lester”. Bicester. Pronounced “Bisster”. You clearly went to lot of trouble to program inflections etc. Could you not list the top 100 cities/towns in UK and get pronunciation right?

    I click away when you can’t make the effort. And judging by the “thumbs up to thumbs down ratio” others do too. Lazy. You did work. Then messed up at final hurdle which would would have been trivial workload compared to what you had already done. WHY?!

    1. Vandemonian

      Puts me in mind of an old Goon Show episode, with Peter Sellers in a bad German accent intoning “You vill be dropped near Lie-sester”…

      1. maria gostrey

        some yrs ago, my son & i went to a russian movie production of “king lear”. we were thrilled to see that gloucester was spelled “глострь” (“gloster”).

        1. Vandemonian

          “Left hand down a bit!”

          Very reminiscent of the RN’s current deployment to the Far East…

    2. lambert strether

      As a former typesetter, I’m tickled that my ancestors in the trade helped make English spelling what it is today.

  26. PHLDenizen

    Krystal Ball recently managed to secure an interview with Sanders and it rendered me simultaneously depressed and apoplectic. Briahna Joy Gray — his ex press secretary — had a few thoughts:

    Bernie’s enabling tendencies are on full display. I thought Gray’s point about information asymmetry was cogent. He and AOC are unctuous and condescending, simultaneously demanding we “push” Biden left and “bring the ruckus” while also being cagey with information that would maximize the efficacy of both strategies.

    The “when we’re dealing with Democracy…majority should rule” retort was a WTF moment. The vast majority of US citizens are on board with minimum wage increases, single payer, cheap or free college, child care, banning mandatory arbitration, and so on. There is absolutely nothing Democratic with how the senate or house work. So Bernie is, quite frankly, full of shit with that sentiment. Abandoning his own strategies as outlined in his campaign certainly doesn’t help. He can’t go raise hell in WV about Manchin because he doesn’t want to get into “personalities”?

    He just squirms and deflects. I don’t care what his rationale is. I don’t care what he thinks. What’s clear is that marketing a progressive brand is enough to satisfy voters. What does or doesn’t get done is immaterial. AOC’s Twitter-slation is just more proof. Tweeting and live-streaming aren’t legislation. In response to Sarandon and company bringing the ruckus to her office in NYC, AOC went full coward and closed it for the day.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’m not surprised. He’s been dead to me since he lost the primary over a year ago. Maybe he’ll get some incremental changes into some bills in the next few years, as he’s done historically. Beyond that I don’t expect much.

      1. Yves Smith

        Did you think politics is checkers? Did you miss that the Dems stole Iowa from Sanders, which would have given him front-runner status and a big fundraising push, and then threw the Dem machine against him in the “Southern firewall” states, which overwhelmingly would never go Dem in the general election? Sanders wasn’t just running for President. He was attempting a hostile takeover of the Democratic party. His ambitions were greater than that of the other contenders, who merely wanted to win and not effect change.

        1. Chris

          Nah no one missed it, but we realized the Democratic Party won’t allow change from the inside which is what he (and the squad) are stuck on trying to do, so we withdrew our support. See the parties reaction to Nevada.

          1. Geo

            So, what’s the best path forward?

            Third Party? I’ve voted for them many times over the years and supported them and they’ve been totally useless on a national level. Still support them but with the same hope for success I’d have for a lotto ticket.

            General Strike? We can’t even get oppressed factory workers to join unions while their boss is taking joyrides into space.

            Revolution? If you think the people with no elected representational power, no systemic infrastructure, and lead by a few moderately popular podcasters and youtubers will fare any better than the 1/6 revolutionaries did you’re dreaming.

            Seriously, what is the way forward? Being mad at the only elected reps who actually listen to us and try to do good in a corrupt system seems like nothing more than performative outrage.

            Maybe things will change at some point but acting like Bernie Sanders is the bad guy makes no sense. It’s like watching Star Wars and coming away thinking Yoda was the villlain for not taking down the Empire by himself.

          2. Aumua

            That is true about the fact that they are Democrats, which severely limits their efficacy. It’s just a bad situation all around. However an underlying animosity toward Sanders et. al that I think goes beyond legitimate criticism is often betrayed by the comments here.

    2. Geo

      There are 533 other elected Reps other than Bernie and AOC and yet these are the two getting the majority of the ire in so many comments and threads. Maybe “bring some ruckus” to those other ones?

      Maybe Bernie just doesn’t care to fight anymore since after a lifetime of doing it he got cut down by the Dems and now a part of his base is calling him a cuck and a fraud? Maybe he’s just focusing on whatever small things he can do while he’s on this mortal coil and hopes the rest of us will put in one one-hundredth the effort to make our society better than he has over the decades?

      Just guessing. I’m not in his mind and I don’t know but I do know that the distain that many have for him and the few new reps who have gotten elected due to the inspiration of his leadership seems misplaced. That so much anger and energy is directed at tearing them down instead of at the 500+ other elected reps who are openly hostile to progressive causes seems like impotent rage. I get it. I have my own nihilistic “let it all burn” issues to work through. But, I still cannot understand what all the Bernie/Squad haters expect them to do to overcome a systemically corrupt legislative body that’s every mechanism is designed to keep radical change from happening.

      Ever tended a garden? Do you get mad at your flowers when the garden is overrun with weeds and pests? Or mad at the flower because it’s not growing even though it’s soil and sunlight are being choked by those weeks and pests? Or, do you pull more weeds, get rid of the pests and plant more flowers?

      Bernie is like an old tree that has somehow managed to survive pests and droughts and bared a little fruit in an uninhabitable environment and his base just wants to chop him down now. When we do that all we’ll have are weeds and pests in our garden.

      1. fresno dan

        August 1, 2021 at 3:17 pm
        It seems to me that at LEAST 50% of our politics is what you are against, rather than what you are for.
        I have mentioned it before, but my Trump loving friend argument for Trump is ONLY that the democrats are bad, bad, and bad. Oh, I do think he likes Trump tax cuts.

        1. Geo

          Good point. That does seem to be a major factor motivating much of political discourse. Doesn’t help that fear/outrage are strong motivators of loyalty (and primal tribal alliance) which is exploited by “news” media to keep audiences engaged.

          A while back o was reading a bunch of small town newspapers from the 1840’s-1860’s. Was fascinating on many levels but the rise of the Know Nothing party was really fun to read about in these communities. So much of the discourse had little to do with policies and was written more as attacks on character (on all sides). Honestly had no idea what their policies were (or even purpose for existing was) within the context of their editorials and campaign sloganeering – and their infighting was harsh too. Know a bit about them from reading history but the discourse at the time has little to offer of substance. Of course, as a party their goals were awful so glad they failed… but still an interesting exploration of the times.

          So, not a new phenomenon I guess. Just frustrating that third party politics is so often trampled almost as much by internal fighting and poor messaging due to petty personal differences, as it is due to the overwhelming systemic forces that stomp out challengers to entrenched power.

          Just wish more of the messaging could be directed at the obstructions to our problems and not those who are doing what they can (whether doing enough or doing it right is debatable, of course) to take on those obstructions.

          As it stands, our leftie third parties have as much hope of effecting real change as the 1/6 protestors did of overturning the election. It feels more like a grievance fest than a real effort for change. Just being angry and directing that anger at the easiest targets: the few elected reps who actually listen and care.

          1. fresno dan

            August 1, 2021 at 8:03 pm
            I agree. There is just so much money and advantage to be made by distracting people, and getting them riled up. I fancy myself a logical, dispassionate surveryor of the facts – but I know I get duped all the time by stuff on the internet designed to distract and outrage me. :(
            Just like potato chips, it is so hard to resist those confirmations of my confirmation biases. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t read just one…

    3. voteforno6

      What should they do differently?

      It seems that, more than anything, the political establishment respects power. What power do Sanders and AOC have, and how do you propose they use it?

      1. Kfish

        The Squad had the opportunity to take away Speaker of the House from Nancy Pelosi, when she was up for re-election with a margin of one. AOC had the chance then to extract punishment for Pelosi’s previous actions in taking away her House Committee appointments. They didn’t vote against her, so they didn’t use the power they had, so Pelosi has correctly assessed that they’re not a threat.

        1. Yves Smith

          The Squad is a media creation. They never campaigned together, never agreed on a platform. The media shows its bigotry in demanding that women of color act in lockstep, and you endorse that too?

          They are beholden to completely different constituencies. Their voters come first.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have to get to work in a few minutes. I haven’t read the Myanmar as covid superspreader article. In my virgin ignorance, I will venture the guess and the prediction that the Tatmadaw will support the super spreading of coronavid among the non-Tatmadaw population of Myanmar as a way to reduce the civilian population and weaken the survivors. That will make them easier to dominate. If I am right about Tatmadaw preference, desires and motives; then we should see the Tatmadaw continue to do “this” and avoid “that” in order to speed the spread and raise the death toll and the permanent resistance-undercutting weakening of the long-term coviditis population.

    The only way that Myanmar could ever go free is if the NUGies can somehow achieve the systematic, comprehensive and complete extermination of every single member of the Tatmadaw, every single officer and every member of every Tatmadaw family, and every Tatmadaw-adjacent person and every rich elite person in Myanmar. And the CommuNazi ChinaGov PartyState will never allow that to happen.

    So I predict that the Tatmadaw Government will continue using coronavid to reduce and weaken the Myanmar population down to a level at which the Tatmadaw Government is confident that they can regain full control.

    1. lambert strether

      Meaning that the civilians have nothing to lose….

      And you can bet that every tinhorn wannabe dictator around the world is watching how the Tatamadaw handles its legitimacy crisis with great interest. It’s a wonderful natural experiment in the limits of Gene Sharp’s ideas when confronted with a genocidal elite.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘So I predict that the Tatmadaw Government will continue using coronavid to reduce and weaken the Myanmar population’

      Now where did they ever get an idea like that? How about when Washington has done the same to countries like Iran, Cuba & Venezuela, stopping medical equipment and vaccines from going to those countries. By using sanctions to stop other countries sending vaccines by threatening any bank that would process any payments involved. And the UK stealing Venezuela’s gold so that they do not have the ability to pay for medical needs. And Israel denying any vaccines to the Palestinians and throwing away tens of thousands of vaccines rather than giving it to them. By bombing Gaza’s sole Coronavirus clinic and killing their Coronavirus expert.

      The Tatmadaw Government are just copying what the west is doing.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the Tatmadaw is “copying the West”, that is the Tatmadaw’s own freely chosen free choice. The West isn’t going over there and making the Tatmadaw copy the West. The West has no power there.

        So what you just wrote may be correct. It is also irrelevant.

  28. Wukchumni

    Joe has been training for years for this penultimate day in Tokyo and it all comes down to the spelunking semi-finals now for him to be assured of standing on the medal podium, the elevated one hopefully. There isn’t much to beat, a tyrannical troglodyte from the 3rd world, and another aspirant with underworld connections.

    He has proven to be one heck of a competitor, as he’ll cave on anything, all talk, and what action he has been involved in was detrimental to our citizenry, but let bygones be bygones, and the whole country is pulling for him…


  29. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Russia’s ‘Great Game’ in Central Asia Amid the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan Modern Diplomacy”

    I suppose an individual could be satisfied with reading air quotes [‘Great Game’] and wondering what all the historical and geo-political regional fuss is about, or one could could curl up and read a worthwhile book on the subject by a superlative, knowledgeable, and engaging story teller. That is,

    “The great game : the struggle for empire in Central Asia” by Peter Hopkirk

    Where “The Great Game, [is represented and defined as] a deadly struggle in the last century between secret agents of the two superpowers–Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia–has once again become ominously topical, as a new power struggle begins in Central Asia.”

    From ‘Wiki’, During his national service, he was commissioned in the Royal Hampshire Regiment in January 1950 and served as a subaltern in the King’s African Rifles in the same battalion as Lance-Corporal Idi Amin.

    “Before turning full-time author, Peter Hopkirk was an ITN reporter and newscaster for two years, the New York City correspondent of Lord Beaverbrook’s The Sunday Express, and then worked for nearly twenty years on The Times; five as its chief reporter, and latterly as a Middle East and Far East specialist. In the 1950s, he edited the West African news magazine Drum, sister paper to the South African Drum.
    Hopkirk travelled widely over many years in the regions where his six books are set – Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and eastern Turkey.”

    The continuance and importance of the ‘Great Game’ in the modern era, from the Western perspective, has been discussed in detail by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives”.

    Where for example, “How America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      I believe that even at the time, the ‘Great Game’ was a wry journalistic reference to the fact that beyond tough mercenary soldiers (Gurkhas) the Himalayan frontier zones held no resources that made them ‘must have’ possessions for imperialists. Hence, the ‘game’ of simply boxing the other team (Russia) out, mostly by arming the locals to the teeth:

      A scrimmage in a Border Station
      A canter down some dark defile
      Two thousand pounds of education drops
      To a ten rupee jazail

      And in spite of CT mumbles about ‘titanium in them thar hills’ and cockamamie OBOR rail and pipeline routes to ‘warm water ports’, it’s not much different today.

      A SpecOps friend of mine (retired), a PhD linguist who spent time ‘left of the Khyber’ in the 80s responded when I asked what there was of economic value in Afghanistan:

      “Wide-assed goats”

      (Mind you, his assessment of Serbia in the 90s was much the same)

  30. Carolinian

    Two things related

    Instagram censoring actual history

    And D.W. Griffith canceled, not by protestors but by real estate developers

    Re that latter–nobody who has seen it could forget this huge piece of kitsch (i have a picture somewhere) which reproduces elements from the Babylon set of Intolerance. Since 99 percent of the visitors to this shopping center probably don’t even know who Griffith was, the pieces are arguably a tribute to a Hollywood past of over the top dream making rather than an homage to the Birth of a Nation director. Ironically Intolerance was Griffith’s apology for Birth–now no longer accepted if 100s of millions of real estate dollars are at stake. Griffith was an important figure in the history of movies but down the memory hole with him. It will be harder to get rid of Adolf.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m not a big silent movie person but hard to overstate how important Griffith was in his day. The attitudes in Birth of a Nation were par for the course back then and indeed Gone With the Wind has the same Klan rescue scenario if disguised. Griffith’s movie is really about the Civil War–the birth of the united nation, not some Jim Crow Southern nation. That final bit was from a novel that was the source.

        His fellow Southerner Woodrow Wilson thought the movie was just great.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve seen “Birth of a Nation” and I know what it is. Since Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the civil services, I am sure that he would have loved the message of that film as well. That scene where the Klansmen force blacks back into their huts instead of going out to vote is echoed in Amfortas’s recent story of how years earlier the local sheriff would go around telling some locals that they will not be voting in the local elections. The birth of the nation that Griffith wanted to really see was already dead. It died at Appomattox.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I believe I remember hearing that Wilson had Birth of a Nation screened in the White House for a private audience of some few hand picked people.

            Over time I think Wilson will come to be recognized as America’s most evil Twentieth Century President, for many reasons.

            1. The Rev Kev

              You remember correctly. “Birth of a Nation” was the first film actually screened within the White House itself-


              And I agree with your assessment of Wilson as well. I call him America’s first neocon President because of what he did at home as much of what he did abroad.

              Obama did Wilson one better. Before “Hamilton” premiered on stage, members of the cast would visit the White House and would sing for him what they had done and I do wonder if he made suggestions to that play.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I would rather call Wilson ” Wilsonian”. He was a liberal do-gooder imperialist. I think his drives and urges were different than the neocon ones.

                And today’s neo wilsonians pride themselves on being “liberalish” and not neocon. So if we call Wilson ” the first Wilsonian”, we can perhaps discredit Wilsonianism itself and destroy the neo-wilsonian establishment as a whole separate standalone tower of sewage.

          2. Carolinian

            I’m not defending the racism in the film but merely saying that racism was not its goal. It’s likely that Griffith had absorbed the lost cause victim mentality of the South at an early age and didn’t even think he was offending. Intolerance was his attempt to atone–meaning that he did have regrets despite the huge praise Birth received at the time.

            And finally if you want to erase the racism out of Hollywood’s past by taking down reminders you will have your work cut out for you. History is just a thing, and trying to punish the dead won’t change what they did. Hate the sin, understand the sinner because we are probably not so different as we’d like to pretend.

  31. kareninca

    Coronavirus morbidity in Israel is “not slowing down”: (“As of Sunday, there were 212 patients in serious condition in Israel, an increase of almost 60 patients in three days”)

    People posting in the comment section are pointing out the striking fact that the article does not say what percentage of these very sick people have been vaccinated (or not). One poster, however, asserts that “the Ministry of Health data shows that 93% of the deaths are age 60+. It also shows 93% of the cases in the 60+ group are vaccinated. “

  32. EGrise

    Regarding the whole Delta variant mess I confess I have only the most basic understanding of what’s happening, but I was disappointed to learn that some of the people I like on the Dirtbag Left (including some of the Chapo hosts) are vehemently against a return to masking, and one of the items of supporting evidence is this report from Axios:

    Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

    A quote:

    Why it matters: While “breakthrough cases” have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.

    Not sure what to make of this. Did Axios read the same articles about the CDC Massachusetts study I did, or am I missing something?

  33. Glen

    Pelosi said she would take care of the eviction moratorium. I guess she did, or didn’t, who knows?

    Only her stock portfolio knows for sure.

    All I know is that the trend since she has been in charge for the last twenty years has been steadily downwards for average Americans.

  34. a fax machine

    re: tech giants and rising seas

    The article mentions Facebook extensively, and as a homeowner nearby who knows homeowners in East Palo Alto and Redwood City I might be able to break the costs down in a more practical way. The primary payers will be the County, Water District and Army Corps of Engineers ie local taxpayers. If they don’t pay, then we go back to the old (pre-levee) system of buying Flood Insurance to cover the increased danger. Many new homeowners in the area forget that everything east of the train tracks used to flood badly each wet season. Foster City has already been through this, being a newer city built upon landfills. Two years ago insurance companies made it clear that homeowners would have to buy new insurance within the next decade if the city didn’t act. The city did act, and construction crews are now building a new, taller levee around the entire city. The views of the water are gone, but this is considered a small price to pay. The inland canals (including home piers) lack gates but one bad flood will change this. EPA is likely to obtain one at some point as well, if only because if the city floods then the local salvage lot will literally poison everything.

    The aforementioned train tracks are a relevant component to this, as they will not flood or wash out. Even now, with the destroyed bridges the tracks still do not wash out despite their decrepit state. If the tracks are rebuilt, and especially if the tracks are rebuilt a few meters up (say to permit easier grade separations, a local want) then it’ll create a new protective barrier. This still leaves Facebook exposed but with the huge amounts of money Zuck will make from Zuckerberg Landing’s train station, mall and condo complex he will well afford it. The only remaining properties without protection is Oracle HQ and Redwood Shores (both a part of Redwood City, as Belmont and San Carlos never wanted the then-filthy waterfront), but eventually they too will buckle when their insurance companies knock. Nearby San Mateo has already spent several million dollars rebuilding their sewage system just to permit correct, safe drainage during flood conditions.

    1. Acacia

      Thanks for your very knowledgeable take on this. On the one hand, it conjures (okay, getting a bit fanciful here) a future Facebook citadel, elevated and surrounded by elaborate flood control barriers, plus a satellite citadel in Palo Alto to protect chez Zuck, while everything else east of 101 is often under water, a kind of Silicon Valley version of Mont St. Michel, while OTOH, I imagine FB bails entirely on East Palo Alto, leaving Gehry’s open office “masterpiece” to the tides, in pursuit of higher ground for its cult activities lofty mission.

      1. a fax machine

        Foster City was already that 50 years ago vs nearby (eastern) San Mateo, the latter of which would regularly flood. Levees constructed in the 1990s stopped the flooding, and now Foster City must now also build them to avoid the new insurance prices. Zuckerberg Landing will be much larger than a fortress, the whole place is a landfill and zoned as one. Zuck can have as much cheap dirt brought in for infill, and the County might even put up some money towards it depending on how they want to fix the train tracks – a long, niche and technical subject in it’s own right as ownership of those tracks by the County exists because San Francisco never paid the County back for buying out the passenger train service in 1982. Also, this is where it collides with the high-speed rail project as the tracks in question were considered for HSR use, and still are depending on who you talk to.

        He’s a very smart, clever person because of this. Even if Facebook dies completely, a reality that will eventually come to pass, Zuck can literally build his own Disneyland as Z.L. is unincorperated, and the state would happily let him have his own special district for things like power plants (which overlook all this from the eastern side of the Bay). Larry Ellison, of Oracle, underwent a similar deal when he bought Sun Microsystems and cut a deal with Marine World’s owner to build Oracle HQ – although Oracle HQ sits in a place called Redwood Shores that does not allow scary industrial things on their side of the water (a small ditch separates homes/office parks from the row of industrial warehouses and clinics adjacent the freeway).

        I seriously beilive he will be the next Trump because of this. He cannot fail.

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