Links 8/14/2021

Cute Experiment Reveals How Your Cat Probably Wants Its Meals Served Science Alert (Chuck L). I always made my cats sit up (as in stand on their hind legs briefly) to get dinner. But that’s a lot less work than doing a puzzle.

Texas Policeman Spots 2 Hungry Horses on Hurricane-Devastated Property, Decides to Step In Epoch Times (furzy)

NY woman, 29, is cuffed and thrown in cell after cops caught her walking her dogs without a leash and she couldn’t remember her new address Daily Mail. What is wrong with these Karens, um, people? This article takes up the NY Post spin, but reading between the lines, what got this woman in trouble was her making clear she intended to continue to defy the requirement to leash her dogs in the park. What do you think would happen if you were caught speeding and got all stroopy with the cops and told them you’d do it again? Then when the police went to ticket her, she tried to get out of it by saying she didn’t know her address (her offer to take them to her apt was playing the odds that they wouldn’t bother or couldn’t leave the park as park police).

A Mural-Making Spree Lifts Spirits in Buffalo Bloomberg (David L)

Instagram says sorry for removing Pedro Almodovar film poster BBC. One of my film buff friends points out, with some annoyance at the industry, that Almodovar is the only director to show frontal male nudity.

Fashion boom in recycled plastic comes with a price tag Financial Times. Including environmental.

July was world’s hottest month ever recorded, US scientists confirm Guardian (Kevin W)

A Sicilian Town Sends an Omen of a Much Hotter Future New York Times (furzy)

Amid Extreme Weather, a Shift Among Republicans on Climate Change New York Times. Just as they all become Keynesians when useful, as Richard Nixon pointed out.

Can AI Make a Better Fusion Reactor? Spectrum IEEE (David L)

Deleting unethical data sets isn’t good enough MIT Technology Review (David L)

THE NEW ERA OF EXTRACTIVISM — AND HOW TO DEFEAT IT Foreign Policy in Focus

Existential Matters Point Magazine (Anthony L)

Loners help society survive, say Princeton ecologists EurekaAlert (David L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Upgrade Your Face Mask: 5 Ways To Filter Out More Particles NPR (David L)

This is the sort of story that drives me crazy: Peru study finds Sinopharm COVID vaccine 50.4% effective against infections Reuters. First, this is pretty much what Sinopharm found in its clinical trails. Second, this is ALL INFECTIONS, not tracked by Pfizer and tracked but not reported by Moderna and Astra Zenaca. Third, buried is that the performance v. deaths is in line with some Western vaccines: “The vaccine, however, was 94% effective at preventing deaths after two doses.”

Wildfire smoke linked to thousands of coronavirus cases on West Coast SFChronicle

The World May Never Reach Herd Immunity Against Covid-19 Bloomberg. This is the lead story! The stupid, it burns (as in the perceived necessity to write this piece).

Asia

‘Warning of Covid ‘disaster’ in Japan as cases explode Guardian

In new documentary, WHO scientist says Chinese officials pressured investigation to drop lab-leak hypothesis Washington Post (David L)

US

The most vaccine-hesitant group of all? PhDs UnHerd (resilc). Circulate widely.

63 people in Martha’s Vineyard have tested positive for Covid since Obama’s 60th birthday bash Daily Mail (resilc)

27 vaccinated people test positive for COVID on Carnival ship ABC News

Face mask fights escalate in Texas and Florida as delta variant of COVID forces Louisiana to send ambulances to other states MarketWatch

Don’t Be a Schmuck. Put on a Mask. Atlantic (David L)

‘Has Never Happened In Our Community’: Amador County Parent Attacks Teacher Over School Mask Mandate CBS Sacramento

Finance/Economy

DELTA is Coming For Your Economic Recovery Big Picture. Um, as has been clear for a while to NC readers.

The value of space during a pandemic Economic Letters (resilc)

Federal judge rejects effort to block eviction moratorium The Hill

China?

New questions over China’s role in Leaving Cert exam RTE (PlutoniumKun)

Syraqistan

U.S. Embassy Shredding, Burning Documents in Case Taliban Wins Bloomberg. Resilc: “In case????????”

A Saigon moment looms in Kabul Asia Times (Kevin W)

‘It may never happen’: The $88 billion gamble on the Afghan army that’s going up in smoke Politico

From Dan K. Please read the whole thread:

Afghanistan’s Unraveling May Strike Another Blow to U.S. Credibility New York Times. Resilc: “I cannot stop laughing.”

Afghan war: Kabul’s young women plead for help as Taliban advance BBC

Water wars in the West Bank Modoweiss

Assange

US Wins Right to Appeal Health Grounds on Assange Extradition Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

One Bad Apple Hacker Factor. Important even if you aren’t an Apple person, since Apple is about to kick off a new race to the bottom. Paul R:

It describes in detailed but I think not too technical terms how the scheme works, what its failings are, and why Apple wants to do the scans on your phone instead of on its own servers (answer: they can’t access your files on their servers without a warrant, but somehow they *can* do it on your phone).

Using AI to Scale Spear Phishing Bruce Schneier (David L)

The Vanishing Legacy of Barack Obama Matt Taibbi

Cuomo Defenestration

Will Hillary Clinton run for NY governor? Expert weighs in amid Cuomo scandal WNCT (UserFriendly)

Anthony Weiner announces NY governor bid in wake of Cuomo resignation BeetPress (UserFriendly)

Nina Turner’s Defeat Wasn’t Only About the Onslaught of Big Money Smears Status Coup (UserFriendly)

Meet The Democratic Socialist Holding Barack Obama’s Old State Senate Seat Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Making Sense of the Census Sardonicky (UserFriendly)

Contra Hanania On Partisanship Scott Alexander (UserFriendly)

Police State Watch

Squirrel Leaps Could Help Scientists Create Flexible, Jumping Robots Daily Beast (David L). As in Parkour-using robot dogs the better to chase “suspects” which have included protestors.

‘Reservation Dogs’ Breaks Comedy TV Ground With Its Indigenous Cast And Writers NPR (David L)

Portland Looks Like Shit. Who’s to Blame? What Can be Done? Alex Beyman (furzy)

The end of Bretton Woods after fifty years Money Inside and Out (guurst)

Consumer sentiment measure falls to pandemic-era low, sees one of largest drops on record CNBC

Treasury yields slide as concerns over Delta virus knock US consumer sentiment Financial Times

Class Warfare

Zillow, Other Tech Firms Are in an ‘Arms Race’ To Buy Up American Homes Vice. Paul R:

I interviewed with Opendoor a few years ago and at the time they told me they were there to smooth out transactions for buyers; they weren’t there to flip houses or speculate. I guess that changed.

Amazon Installs Huge Lockers On A Chicago Park’s Sidewalk, Confusing And Frustrating Neighbors Block Club Chicago (Paul R). A new wrinkle on privatizing the commons.

Antidote du jour (Alan T):

And a bonus from AE90. That kitten is so calm!

@katiesquibb

My moms retriever and her new kitten that was rescued! #goldenretriever #kitten #dogsofttiktok #catsoftiktok

♬ original sound – Katie Squibb

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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404 comments

  1. Terry Flynn

    Re Apple and data. Although by no means an IT guru, I made sure I stayed ahead of (frankly terribly out of date) security protocols required by clinical trials and national regulatory bodies when I dealt with patient data. Here is an issue I came up against, and saw that plenty of others had asked the same question on encryption forums on the web, so I wasn’t being stupid.

    I used Truecrypt containers for all sensitive work data (in Windows). Once the container is locked, it was known to be very very robust*. However, I began to worry about what happened when you unencrypt the container, which then mounts as a separate windows drive, for you to work on a file inside it. We all know Windows is notorious for creating .tmp files and other files elsewhere that might stick around after you re-encrypt. How could I be sure this couldn’t happen. In short, I couldn’t, though I believe encrypting the whole hard drive is a partial/complete solution (but was impractical for me to do as I hadn’t done it “when PC was new” and so doing it with a used PC full of stuff already would be time-consuming and might compromise the PC’s functionality – it being a laptop).

    If Apple can similarly get access to files “being worked on” and decrypted on the handset more easily than when they’ve been encrypted and sent to the cloud then it might be another reason for them wanting phone access rather than cloud access? Not an Apple user so don’t know.

    *Security services people have stated they hated Truecrypt as it was hardest to break. There was a very suspicious end to Truecrypt at version 7.2 with users encouraged to move to a successor. The stated reason was a possible backdoor being used by big brother but on balance of probabilities I think it’s the opposite. It got too good and they didn’t like that.

    1. Carly

      For less than $100, one can buy a phone so good that NASA didn’t have anything as powerful a few missions ago.

      Abandon iDiotphones. Abandapple!

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Bad news, everybody: All security agencies have ways of getting at dumbphones unless you roll your own phone OS – that’s been true long before smartphones came in vogue. They don’t even need to access your phone – they can always go the carrier and demand records. The safest phone is one where you can remove the battery – but once you power it back up, its game over.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? I am tired of this “get with the program, you are screwed anyhow” talk. It’s inaccurate.

          They don’t have GPS. Triangulation is too inaccurate to be used in court, and in any event, the only triangulation data that the telcos retain is bases on when you make calls or texts, which is intermittent. They have to have a warrant to install software to make your phone ping the tower all the time and have the telco track that, but as again indicated, they can’t use that data in court.

          I don’t keep contacts in my phone so all they’d have is the most recent 10 calls made, received, and missed. And my stupid phone doesn’t even time and date stamp them.

          1. Howard Beale IV

            “Many phones manufactured after 2005 have GPS receivers built in. When the cellular phone detects that the user is placing an emergency call, it begins to transmit its location to a secure server, from which the PSAP can retrieve it. Cellphone manufacturers may program the phone to automatically enable GPS functionality (if disabled) when an emergency call is placed, so that it may transmit its location.”

            With the carriers retiring their 2G/3G/CDMA networks, you may not have a choice but to get a new phone eventually, which in all likelihood have GPS buried in it.

            How old is your phone?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Don’t assume I don’t know what I am talking about. I do not consider a phone with GPS to be a dumbphone. The phones with GPS chips typically had limited GPS features like mapping. Why have an extra chip and not offer features that allow for a higher price?

              My phone is a 2004 Nokia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_6010

              And as I have repeatedly told readers, you can get a 4G dumbphone that should be good for 10 years. I’ve already put in m pre-order. For the super paranoid (re the nasty “there’s a warrant on you and they are pinging your phone”) there is a switch to disconnect the battery and a switch to turn off the mike.

              https://skysedge.com/

          2. Daniel LaRusso

            Not sure about that. When I was in the police if we had a missing person we could apply for a direct surveillance order which forced the telcos to provide the data of location – that is not their exact location, but what tower they were connected to. There was no requirement that they had recently sent a text or used the phone to get their location. Even the deceased could be traced, some hadn’t sent hadn’t used there phone in a while

    2. TimH

      The Apple kiddie porn talk hasn’t addressed the fact that Apple suddenly want to act as police on YOUR equipment.

      Imagine if you ran a very red light in your Tesla, and it self parked and locked the door until the police arrived (ok, that’s kidnapping – but say your car uploaded all the details of your offence to de fuzz for prosecution). No one would accept that, so why is it ok for your phone seller to doing the same thing?

      There is something deeper behind this.

      1. John Beech

        Be that as it may, what choice have we? Do I like this? No. Can I do anything other than become a Luddite and greatly inconvenience my life to make a point? Again, no. You?

        1. cnchal

          Luddite doesn’t mean what you think it means.

          A modern day luddite doesn’t use Amazon, not because the technology is scary or difficult to use, but because the technology is used to maximize abuse of the workers delivering your crapola.

          1. Antagonist Muscles

            I strongly identify with the Luddite views espoused here regarding phones, and I am surprised nobody has mentioned the reason I avoid phones: a tablet or smartphone is an ergonomic nightmare. My neck, eyes, and hands all hurt after using a phone.

            When I typed the preceding paragraph, my neck was neutral – not tilted nor turned, not looking up or down. My wrists were neutral – not supinated nor pronated. My fingers were calmly curled – not fully extended nor curled into a fist.

            What fool decided that we should use two thumbs to type on a QWERTY keyboard? I have ten fingers! What do I do with the other eight? I understand the missionary position for smartphone texting is two thumbs on the screen and at least four fingers supporting the back (and a crooked neck). For the record, I am incompetent with typing on a phone, and I use one index finger. But my fingers are plenty dexterous. I can and do use all ten fingers for typing on my full sized keyboard.

            In addition, I did not have to look repeatedly back and forth from keyboard to screen when I typed this comment. What fool decided that typing on a phone means cutting my screen real estate in half with an OSD keyboard? Does anybody not notice how much eye strain is caused when I have to shift my focus up and down repeatedly to look at tiny OSD keyboard buttons and the input area?

            [family blog]! My eyes hurt. My neck hurts. I use my extended straight index finger to type on a phone, and I could live without the friction on my fingertip. What I really ought to do is extend my middle finger at Apple and Google.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I don’t have any Apple product. I never did. All I have to continue to do is to not have one.
          Very simple.

          Those who have Apple products can practice selective luddism. Ditch the Apple, keep safer things.

          As other things become Appled-up, ditch those things.

      2. Nce

        I called Apple and told them I will never buy another Apple product again, and that I’m afraid to use the iPad I have now (No, I don’t view any porn, but that’s not really what they’re searching for. We are all potential DVEs…)

        1. Howard Beale IV

          At least we’re not like Russia, China, Iran, and some of the *-stans, which have massive state-imposed censorship via their great firewall – and Russia passed legislation that all data that transits their Internet must be stored 100% – no exceptions. RFE reports that users who want Internet service must swear on the Koran not use VPN’s.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The reason for that Russian legislation was that they did not want the information of Russians stored in a place like California instead of on their own territory. It’s like they don’t trust Silicon Valley or something. And the Chinese yanked the IPs of Chinese companies in the US when it was realized that those Chinese companies would be handing over all the information of their Chinese companies to US entities.

            The internet these days is used to attack governments not liked by the west and we saw an example of this a few weeks ago with Cuba. After those hyped-up demonstrations, what was the first thing being demanded of old Joe? That he try and force internet delivery on Cuba. Did you not find that strange?

            1. Howard Beale IV

              Statecraft at its finest? Guess my late great great grandfather took Arthur Jensen at his word – and we all saw what happened afterward…

        2. Young

          Possibilities are endless:

          1. Identify the target.
          2. Scan the device.
          3. If “bad” found, go to step 6.
          4. Download “bad”
          5. Rescan the device.
          6. Report the target for possession of “bad”

          Good luck to us all.

    3. Hepativore

      Another problem is if Apple is allowed to continue with this plan of theirs to monitor their phone users, how long will it be before this sort of policy is used to look for material that might be considered to be politically subversive such as stances against corporate and governmental authoritarianism? I am sure that the NSA would very much be interested in looking for people that might possibly be planning to stage a protest like the “general strike” one supposedly coming up soon. Plus, how long will it be before other phone makers adopt similar tactics to Apple if this on its way to being normalized?

      I have an Android device, and while Google is also constantly snooping on its users with software built into the device operating system, one thing which you can do with a lot of Android devices is install a custom OS like Lineage OS which wipes the phone and replaces its preinstalled Google software with a much faster and more efficient software package and it also lets you get rid of Google’s preinstalled software entirely. As far as I know, you cannot do that with Apple devices.

        1. Howard Beale IV

          The only ‘safe’ Android system is stock Google Android without the bloatware Samsung and others add – and even with LineageOS, do you really think the spooks aren’t looking at the open source repositories searching for vulnerabilities they can exploit and not tell anyone about those they find?

          The only safe phone, like computers, is one you can’t physically usee – of course, if you use Facebook, Twitter, or any social media, your footprints are everywhere. And if you are near any event that’s newsworthy, chances are your face may probably get recorded without your knowledge.

          For grins I singed up for Facebook ONCE, and it had already built up a remarkable list of contacts of people I have worked with or used in the past – that’s why I deleted it tout suite, as well as my LinkedIn profile as well, for all the good it’ll do me, which probably isn’t much these days.

      1. Ian Perkins

        Perhaps the kiddie porn angle is coming soon to legitimise what’s already happening with subversives.

    4. Mantid

      Eschew convenience. If people weren’t so hoodwinked into getting the latest shiny object, there would be no problem. I have no cell phone, never did. But oh my, how will I book that plane flight for tomorrow? How will I know where the best eats are in town? google maps implied that this logging road was the way to grandma’s house.

      Don’t fly (you’re melting the planet), ask someone what’s their favorite resto, know where your grandma lives or look it up on a map.

      How much do you pay to have a tracking device around your ankle? People should (IMHO) realize the big picture. Too much sheit and having to have “it” is making life very difficult – except for Apple, Amazon, google, Zillow, etc. etc. etc. (King and I)

      Simplify, plan ahead via other means, use your brain more, eschew convenience ……. eggs in basket, something like that.

      1. PHLDenizen

        Fair point, but when the whole of civilization (in countries spanning from 1st to 3rd world) has restructured itself around a mobile device as the nexus for your participation in it, your choices lie somewhere on the spectrum between Kaczynski and Thoreau as an act of rejection and circumvention. Jettisoning your iPhone or iPad or Android under the notion that it’s liberation and recovering greater agency over your life is a delusion. The neoliberal command and control structure is built around denying agency to those who aren’t part of its priesthood. The most severe form of marginalization is to not be connected to the society they control. The tech industry serves as the gatekeeper.

        This “convenience” framing is facile and, IMHO, demonstrates the neoliberals’ remarkable success weaponizing Temple Grandin’s work on livestock handling against human beings. Eschewing “convenience” isn’t an escape from the serpentine ramp to to the slaughterhouse. I’m not suggesting capitulation or approval, but escaping it requires wealth enough to buy your freedom.

        The systematic erasure of customer service delivered by real people has made it impossible to do almost anything without a mobile phone if you live anywhere but truly rural areas. And if you need to interact with a larger entity? You’re doomed without delegating the consequences of opting out to someone else who has opted in.

        I’m of the vintage that I remember local maps being ubiquitous. Gas stations, book stores, etc. I can’t remember the last time I saw one. I also suspect that, aside from niche offerings, paper maps are extinct.

        Need to pay your utility bill or bank? Unless you’re lucky enough to be a high net worth individual with a banking concierge, you get an app or website. If you CAN talk to customer support, they’re wholly disempowered to do anything useful. Without millions, you’re a nuisance to them.

        Want to avoid flying? Out here on the east coast most interstates and water crossings are tolled. Virtually every toll booth operator has been replaced by an electronic system. Don’t want an EZ Pass? No problem. We’ll look up your address from your license plate and send you a bill. Didn’t get the bill? Well, everyone knows the USPS is unreliable and slow. It’s a shame your license got suspended for non-payment, but why didn’t you just use an electronic tag?

        And so on and so on.

        1. Licensed Templar

          Like Mantid, I also live without a mobile phone. Never had one… Knew it was a bad idea the first time I ever heard of it (which wasn’t that long ago; I-Phones have only existed since 2007). My life is gloriously rich with agency. :-)

          “Jettisoning your iPhone or iPad or Android under the notion that it’s liberation and recovering greater agency over your life is a delusion.”

          Really? When I’m out of the office, I’m =OUT=. Nobody bothers me with their petty emergencies while I’m out recreating (and mean ‘recreating’ in it’s strictest terms; allowing my mind and soul to be free of major responsibility for a measured period).

          “The neoliberal command and control structure is built around denying agency to those who aren’t part of its priesthood.”

          Do you enjoy your fealty to the neoliberal command and control structure? I personally find it distasteful and am happy to avoid by simply unplugging from it.

          “…remarkable success weaponizing Temple Grandin’s work on livestock handling against human beings.”

          Well, you volunteered to be the ‘livestock’. I’ll not be joining you, no matter how hard you press me, to join in your obviously deep regret.

          “…but escaping it requires wealth enough to buy your freedom.”

          Really? I’m not wealthy. I am smart, though. I’ve never had any trouble accessing ‘society’ without a mobile phone. Sometimes it’ll require talking to a human being at the venue (yes.. face to face of all things!), but they’re always happy to accommodate since they have a keen interest in getting my payment for their goods or services.

          “The systematic erasure of customer service delivered by real people has made it impossible to do almost anything without a mobile phone if you live anywhere but truly rural areas.”

          That’s just flat-out wrong. There is always somebody ‘in charge’ and on-site at ANY business or venue. I’ve never seen any event, business or venue that didn’t have a human being present to handle situations that the ‘software’ could not. Ever.

          I’ve got a brand new Thomas Guide in my truck RIGHT NOW. It’s 100% current. I can get one for any locale in the USA I may desire. And get this… It’s made out of PAPER!! The batteries NEVER go dead on it, either! It’s amazing.

          “Need to pay your utility bill or bank? Unless you’re lucky enough to be a high net worth individual with a banking concierge, you get an app or website. If you CAN talk to customer support, they’re wholly disempowered to do anything useful. Without millions, you’re a nuisance to them.”

          What??? I mail them a check written against my checking account, and put in an envelope and mail it. Same way I’ve done it for the last 40 years. If you wait patiently (and keep your face out of you phone’s screen) you’ll notice USPS mail trucks still ply your streets with regularity.

          As for the toll roads, heck… don’t take ’em. Take the scenic route. You might enjoy it. Turn off the phone for maximum enjoyment.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              A lot of people depend on heroin to put food on the table.

              A lot of people depend on meth to put food on the table.

              A lot of people depend on cocaine/ crackaine to put food on the table.

              1. Mantid

                drumlin. Wonderful comment and I don’t get it, so that’s even better. Yea, phones. One student I had gave me his phone as he got a new one. I thought, OK, just for emergencies. Bought a couple hundred minutes. After a few months, I tried to use it and the minutes had expired. It confirmed my opinion that cell phones are a racket, a true quid black hole.
                And regarding PHLD’s comments. Thank you for responding, but I think you’ve been hoodwinked to believe a cell is required. They are not. I live in a city and pay all bills, have various credit union accounts, take short and long trips, engage with society more often than most people being a musician and educator, and I could go on and on as to what one can do sans cell phone. It may seem to take more effort, but it is a quality effort with side effects that are nearly all positive. It’s also free of cost.
                Another good example is the new fad of electric bicycles. Of course one can ascend a mountain much easier on an electric (though it’s harder on the environment). But, one won’t remember the mountain as well as if you use a manual bicycle. You won’t have any muscle memory of how high that mountain was nor the silence of the ascent. So many examples of why it’s nearly always best to eschew convenience.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I understood mrsyk to be saying that a lot of people make their livings in “tech” so if we don’t buy as much “tech”, we are taking away their jobs and taking the food off their tables. So since a lot of ( not all of) this “tech” is harmful and destructive, I mentioned some other harmful and destructive things which “put food on the table” if you are employed in those harmful/destructive businesses.

              2. PHLDenizen

                A lot of people depend on heroin to put food on the table.

                Yep. I know several people who suffer lifelong and debilitating injuries from accidents or disease who rely on opium derived drugs such as oxycodone and fentanyl to function to the degree where it is, in fact, possible to put food on the table. Doctors also rely on the availability of such drugs as an option to help with post-surgical pain. “Virtuous” NSAIDs are sometimes insufficient.

                A lot of people depend on meth to put food on the table.

                Yep. I know several people who take Adderall, Ritalin, etc. to manage narcolepsy or as treatment for ADHD symptoms. In both cases, the impairments are of sufficient magnitude that without pharmaceutical intervention, putting food on the table would be a challenge.

                There is an awful lot of moralizing and condescension in your reply. Is your argument that cell phones as a form of gatekeeping to social participation are of the same category as drug addiction? Or is your argument that tech, as a whole, is a gutter rife with trash as morally reprehensible as slinging dope? Because the first is a category error and the second is an insult to drug dealers everywhere. It’s an honest trade and serves a useful social function. Big tech almost never, ever does.

                1. mrsyk

                  I am merely saying that the multitudes that have been condemned to surviving by participating in the gig economy probably rely on their cell phones in that process.

        2. AE90

          It all boils down to discipline and being willing to explore alternatives. I don’t have a mobile phone, and the last time I did, about 16 years ago, the carrier bilked me of $300 I never was able to get back. I get along just fine without it, and it keeps the problem-solving area of my brain toned in my dotage. I don’t think you would like hanging around with me, though.

          1. Howard Beale IV

            In some pacles, like where I live, you can’t even get 2-wire POTS service – you either use the incumbent cable provider or you have a cellphone. The only exception that I found was that if you’re a business, then you can get one – but be prepared to pay through the nose for. If you still have a POTS line, Even emergency help pendants use wireless technology, as well as other medical device interfaces like pacemakers and even diabetes testing devices (Livongo), which are provided free by many major corporations as part of their benefits packages.

                1. AE90

                  Only to those who subscribe to it. There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Howard Beale IV, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

          1. lordkoos

            I’m looking at getting a “dumb” phone, but if they have GPS as most do now, they can still be tracked. If you’re really worried about tracking while you travel, keep your phone in a Faraday pouch.

            “Dumb” appliances, cars, etc are getting harder to find everyday.

            1. Howard Beale IV

              Try finding a 30-year old appliance of any kind that were built like tanks back in the day, like a Hobart-manufactured KitchenAid dishwasher (now just a re-badged Whirlpool) and try to get any part, let alone a service manual when it breaks.

              You can’t. Like CRT TVs, the writing is on the wall.

              Soon, you won’t own anything, and you’ll love it.

              1. Skunk

                Wait until you can’t get anything without Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant installed. That day is probably coming soon.

              1. Howard Beale IV

                Sadly, apps I need to use for work won’t be present on that device – and since I’m severely hearing impaired, my alarm/text alert vibrator that I use to wake up/respond to work alerts make it a non-starter.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  If you want a “device” you can’t have a dumb phone. I’m sorry you need to use the vibrator alert.

                  Justine the designer responded to my e-mails in a couple of days. She’s an engineer. She might have a work around.

                  1. Howard Beale IV

                    The Sky’s Edge rotary phone could actually work for me, but there’s no published users guide for me to tell.

                    Prototyping is easy – production is hard.

                    I’ve been on Kick starter projects in the past, and they delivered successfully. Best of luck to you on this one.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      She actually builds testing equipment for a living at one of the national labs (she is “an astronomy instrumentation engineer”). And she had shipment on an earlier version. And she’s selling them as kits. They are not final assembled units.

                      The kit includes a full paper manual because she hates the lack of manuals.

      2. eg

        I’ve been conditioned, I think, by over 20 years of the “electronic leash” issued by my employer. Now that I’m retired, I don’t think that I have the energy to completely reconfigure my habitus in the way that would be necessary to abandon my phone now.

    5. .Tom

      I believe the end-systems (handsets, desktops, laptops) will remain vulnerable because 1. you can’t understand encrypted information, 2. they are connected to the network. If you are using the information, it has to be in an unencrypted state, i.e. apps have to work with plaintext. Now if the the apps run on hardware that’s also connected to the network then the plaintext can be remotely observed.

    6. Apple

      True crypt and Veracrypt both allow you to encrypt your boot drive. This should take care of temp files.

      Make the prompt a generic hard drive error message.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Saw this in the Wikipedia page on VeraCrypt:

        The FAQ section of the VeraCrypt website[37] states that the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) cannot be relied upon for security, because if the attacker has physical or administrative access to a computer and it is used afterwards, the computer could have been modified by the attacker: e.g. a malicious component – such as a hardware keystroke logger – could have been used to capture the password or other sensitive information.

        Guess what – Windows 11 requires TPM 2.0 in order to install, many many legacy motherboards use TPM 1.2 – or worse, none at all. Physical device security is ALWAYS a problem – same with privlege escalation – that’s why its a major focus of security researchers and the software community in general.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Existential matters–

    While it’s great that Dugdale’s book was reviewed, the reviewer’s breadth of perspective is so narrow that its helpfulness is limited. A critical passage:

    Take Christianity, the most common American religion, which promises a post-death eternity lived in blissful communion with the all-loving creator of the universe. The consolations offered here are far different than those described by Aristotle. Bereaved Christians do not believe that the loss of death is permanent, but rather that the deceased now occupy a different and better form of life, and that eventual reunion is in the offing. It is true that dying as a faithful Christian still requires courage, but it would be difficult to overstate the difference between dying into annihilation and into glory. But of course, everything that holds together eventually falls apart. In 2020, for the first time, only a minority of Americans reported belonging to a religious congregation, a fall of twenty percentage points since the turn of the century.

    The reviewer (and perhaps Dugdale since I haven’t read it) limits the discussion to the Greeks, the Christians and the “moderns.” What about the East?

    Christianity and its child, the Enlightenment, view Death as an aberration, not as a natural thing that performs an important role in the cosmos. In the Jewish and Christian traditions, death was not part of the original universe, the creation that YHWH pronounced “tov”–good–at the end of the sixth day. It was introduced as a punishment for Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion against their Creator, mild as their infraction might seem to us. Christianity adopted this perception enthusiastically with Paul designating Death as the great enemy, vanquished by Christ in the Resurrection, and Jesus’s victory becomes ours through faith and our own resurrection on the Last Day. Viewed more broadly, Christianity’s treatment of Death fits well with that religion’s approach to the Cosmos: our response to the Cosmos is to try and escape it to a New Heaven and a New Earth, a Re-Creation of which Death is no longer a part.

    The Enlightenment adopts the same view toward Death as its parent, Christianity. Death is an enemy to be overcome, this time not by faith in a transcendent God, but by the power of Reason and human ingenuity. It has progressed to our current situation, well-described in the review, where our new faith in gadgets, pills and white coats drives us to the hospital emergency room to seek if not eternal life, at least a few more weeks or months or years.

    What if Death is a natural part of the Cosmos, the complement of Life, the completion of the cycle? What if it has nothing to do with punishment or failure or fault? What if living things are like solar flares that fly out from the sun full of energy and individuality but which must inevitably return by the forces of the universe to their original source? What if Death is our Return, an end to the awful responsibility and even loneliness of being a solitary individual in this vast Cosmos?

    I have been with more than a few Christians as they approached Death. Declaring Death an fearsome Enemy and a punishment for sin sets these folks up for a great test of often fragile human faith, and if faith falters, not just Death but the terrors of Hell add to the torment. The unreligious in our culture fare little better because they share that view of Death as an enemy to be fought and overcome, and when technology fails to prolong life, as it inevitably does, they are left feeling like losers in a battle.

    We need a new religion, one that empowers an embrace of the Cosmos and especially the Earth as our home, and as part of that, that understands Death as the Yin to Life’s Yang, a Return to the Source, a journey back home.

    1. JP

      We need a new religion like a new hole in the head. Religion is based on belief. Belief is a substitute for reality. When we believe, we no longer need to seek reality. We can become comfortable in our delusion.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        And what is “reality” then? Most of us are operating on what Alan Watts called the Automatic Model based on Newton’s calculus. Billiard balls bouncing around the universe. That’s proven a more useful conception than the “Potter’s Model” with a transcendent God creating the universe and establishing its laws, but it’s definitely not “reality” as we’ve learned in the centuries since. Instead, the more we’ve learned, the clearer it becomes that “reality” may be more complex, more subtle, than the human mind is capable of comprehending fully.

        And is it really possible to live without “believing” in something? Historian Juval Harari doesn’t think so. He tracks the history of myth through human history and finds that every culture is based on myths that most people in that culture believe. These days, it’s the Money Myth that drives much of human behavior around the world. Even accepting “the Science” is “believing” that the universe is not random but predictable if you just have the right hypothesis.

        Westerners get trapped in the box that “religion” means monotheism. It does not. Religion is just another way of talking about worldview, and everybody operates with a worldview. It’s what makes it possible for us to comprehend the world around us, organize our experience and feel as if we understand our role in what goes on around us. This is how Einstein came to understand “religion:”

        [R]eligion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be.

        What’s needed now is a religion/worldview that doesn’t separate us from Nature, one that doesn’t encourage us to believe it’s our right or destiny to control Nature. We need a worldview that includes the understanding that as beings evolved on this planet, we belong here and need to live in harmony with our home and fellow creatures.

        1. John Beech

          I rather believe (pun intended) that we each walk our own path of enlightenment. Expecting a 26 y/o gang banger and you (or me), to share a common world view borders on the fantastical . . . or alcohol was involved before authoring this position.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            That’s certainly contrary to Harari’s view of our history, which is that common myths serve as the foundation for common worldviews, and that’s what holds societies together.

            Of course, American society is coming apart at the seams right now, in large part, I’d argue, because we don’t share common myths and worldviews any more. On the other hand, I’m sure that 26 year-old does believe fervently in the Money Myth. In fact, I’d guess that the gang-banger’s worldview is not all that different from a gung-ho Goldman or McKinsey 26 year-old except for the extent of the permissibility of violence.

          2. PHLDenizen

            Dunno about that. Even if they can’t label it as “necessity for concrete, universal, material, non-means tested social programs to better the country”, gang bangers have a pretty acute understanding of neoliberal predation and class consciousness. The ideology of whiskey tango trailer park residents has a sizable overlap with the gang bangers you so easily dismiss.

            And those “gang bangers” have built shadow justice systems and economies that rival anything Bezos and Democrats have cobbled together. Drug distribution networks at scale are impressive in terms of logistics, particularly as they deal with what’s effectively an embargo on minorities. Since you can’t go to the police if your stash gets jacked by a rival gang, you create alternative dispute resolution institutions. You may not like the form they take, but it captures the spirit of things like mandatory arbitration. Collateral damage? Not any worse than DuPont or Purdue Pharma killing hundreds or thousands via pollution and opioids. It’s just a matter of who gets to apply the veneer of respectability.

            Gang bangers are free-market entrepreneurs. You’d think a libertarian would hand them some props and drink a cold 40 on the stoop in solidarity.

        2. Mantid

          Perhaps Henry is on to something. Nature should be that religion. Everyone’s “God” is nature. It’s the final arbiter. We don’t understand it and we never will, though the clues are interesting. Referencing my (rant) about cell phones, if we were more in tune with nature, instead of having to look it up, we’d be lots better off. Both the gang banger and the elderly woman would have the same point of reference, though from a different angle. Weather there is a heaven or hell, we do know that nature bats last.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            I recall my Dad musing on religion which he had little time for in relation to the Drake equation. His conclusion was that there must be millions of versions of Gods out there representing an impossible choice & if those aliens were as arrogant as us, very many of those deities would be created in their own image. The local Jehovah’s witnesses only knocked once as after clarifying that their God was male, he asked them to explain why God needed to have a dick.

            I saw him a couple of days before he died riddled with cancer which was only diagnosed about a month before, as he had somehow managed to keep it a secret while not visiting a doctor. In hospital he also refused any scans, chemo or radiotherapy & chose not to see a clergyman who he referred to as a crow – but having said all of that he also had no time for atheism because in his book the simple fact was that nobody knows, which I happen to agree with.

            I just believe that we should try & be the best caretakers of nature that we can, as after all we are part of it.

            1. Susan the other

              That’s funny. Your dad and my husband. Whenever the Mormons would pay us a little visit Bill would listen for the first break and then ask “just one question” – How big is god’s dick? They’d leave abruptly and not come back for at least a few years. I think it would have been a much longer farewell if we had engaged them in the basic tenets of science – that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed – and the fact that nobody has ever speculated that the universe is not eternal, we’d all have lost our train of thought.

              1. Eustachedesaintpierre

                My mother despaired while trying not to laugh – I just pretend I’m Polish so they give me a leaflet translation, then carry on their oh so certain way.

              2. Procopius

                Hinayana Buddhism asserts that the universe (samsara) has no beginning, so there is no need to believe in a creator god (you can if you want). The Buddha, who they say knew, simply refused to answer questions touching on metaphysics, saying such questions are without profit, since they do not lead to the end of suffering, which was all he taught.

        3. Soredemos

          “And is it really possible to live without “believing” in something?”

          Yes. Next question.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            So when you have a piece of trash that you want to throw away, do you carefully place it in the trash can, make sure your hand is above the trash can and drop it, or do you test your set shot?

          2. fajensen

            “Reality” is a belief too: Our brains / minds cannot experience the universe as it actually is, so instead our sensory inputs are used to make a model of it where we can function. The Matrix is inside our heads and maybe we can’t get just take a pill and get out of it.

            Much quantum weirdness and duality stuff happens because we build new senses, instruments, but our “software” doesn’t have a way of integrating them.

            1. Soredemos

              I really get so tired of these semantic games theists play. They lump all of ‘belief’ together, as if their weren’t gradients and degrees of it. There’s such a thing as justified belief. We all believe the sun will rise every morning. Yes we can explain the orbital mechanics to why this ‘must’ happen, but even here on some very basic, fundamental level, just because you’ve observed a physical interaction give the same results10,000 times doesn’t actually guarantee the result might not spontaneously be different the 10,0001 time. I think it was Hume who first pointed this out.

              But for all practical purposes, yes, we do actually understand orbital mechanics. ‘The sun will rise tomorrow’ is an example of a justified belief.

              (‘Reality is a belief’ has some truth to it. Reality is a set of filtered perceptions. The entire point of science is to be a system to try and ascertain the underlying reality beyond these biased senses. It often fails to achieve this, at least on shorter timescales, mostly because it is a human social activity with all the failings that come with that. But in the longer term ‘okay but this clearly isn’t lining up with reality; our model needs to change’ tends to win out.)

              What aren’t justified beliefs are, well, pick any supernatural religious claim at random. A zombie Jew who was his own father did not sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself for his own arbitrary wrath and then rise from the dead. This simply isn’t a thing that actually happened. Muhammad did not ride on a unicorn or cut the moon in half.

              Or, since there will be people reading this who fervently hold those beliefs and find my attack unwarranted, let’s roll the clock back to some older examples that no one seriously considers today. The sky in fact is not a giant naked goddess bending over the earth, the world was not created by a hairy giant who separated yin and yang with an axe, and so on.

              Further, for most religious claims, most people don’t actively believe them to be untrue. They simply don’t believe them to be true. Disbelief is not an act of belief. ‘Will I end up in jigoku because my karma is too bad’ isn’t a thing most people spend any time agonizing over (certainly not in the west, and few in Japan either). And mostly not because of any particular active disbelief in jigoku or karma.

              I’ll also add, by the way, that the Bible explicitly defines what it considers faith:

              “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

              It emphatically is not defined as an inference made based on evidence.

      1. .Tom

        Actually I more and more feel that I could use some church with a good sermon to lift my spirit, challenge my compaicency and give me courage, some good sing-along music, a community of supportive congregants, bake sales to raise money for the roof repair, volunteer services for the housebound, all that good stuff… Trouble is, as a died-in-the-wool materialist, Darwin-thumping atheist, easily irritated by any kinds of piety including secular, and a moral relativist who thinks any moral argument from authority is immoral, I’m not sure which church is right for me. I keep an eye open for Cornell West on youtube.

      2. kareninca

        “People are done with religion.”

        I was raised by over-educated atheist parents and later in life I have become an over-educated devout Christian. My tiny denomination is gaining many more members now that it has in many years (partly thanks to zoom, but spiritual desperation is also a factor). The absolute numbers are small, but if we are representative, Christianity is reviving, not dying. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is also true of Buddhism and Islam.

      3. Procopius

        Bret Deveraux, at A Compilation of Unmitigated Pedantry, has a series of essays on Practical Polytheism that points out people in antiquity believed (really) in their religions because they worked. It was obvious. They had performed these rituals, large and small, for generations, and their tribes/societies had survived. There were other tribes who had not performed these rituals and they no longer existed. Granted, there were other tribes who had not performed these rituals and still existed so it is not prudent to say other gods do not exist, but these are the rituals our tribe follows, and if you get the formula right and offer the correct sacrifice, the gods will grant your prayers. Maybe. So bring the statue of the Lar to the table at meal time.

    2. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      Thank you for this. Personally, I believe we do the do-si-do on Earth multiple times in many guises while the benevolent Great Spirit smiles upon us and hopes we learn a bit while here. In my better moments I try to remember that death is just a door we walk through and have done many times before.

    3. Nikkikat

      It is unfortunate that few Christians actually believe and practice actual faith. Very few have actually studied the Bible and really do not practice faith. Churches have turned into social centers and the way to lord it over others. Jesus said to pray in the closet.
      He spoke of developing a personal relation with him. No one need go any where to practice faith. I am not fearful of death, I do not know what heaven is or what if anything I might find there. I have tried to be kind and to treat others well. I do not know if I have succeeded but, I fear not what may be revealed.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        While I’m arguing that the content of Christianity is problematic for several reasons from the perspective of a useful myth for these times, it is also the case that the maturity of the worldview has a great impact on behavior. Many Christians, like many non-Christians, are operating with what James Fowler called a mythic-literal faith. It’s basically quid pro quo: if I’m a good boy, God will give me what I want. The Health and Wealth Gospel churches actually promote this idea. This is obviously a very poor fit for what we experience in our own lives and what we observe in others’ lives.

        At the higher levels of worldview maturity, ideas like exclusive paths to “salvation” fall away, the paradoxes of life are discerned and appreciated as are the mysteries that surround us.

        1. JP

          Religion is problematic because it requires and fosters belief. We don’t have to define reality or believe in it. The path is the pursuit of reality. We pursue reality by building models against it and paying attention. At some point we realize it is just happening. The act of creation is not history. That reality has already happened and is fact. Reality happens right in front of us in the moment and defies any definition. Myth, Memes, faith, cultural indoctrination, politics and god are all simple stories we tell ourselves to dispel the dark when we can’t see eternal time is now. The light is now.

          Life after death besides being a contradiction in terms is a greedy belief. Like the man who had the meal of his life but insisted on taking home the dishes. We exist. What more do you need. Other then that the universe seems to be evolving. Possibly the counter flow to entropy. Humans are evolving and humans drag a very long tail. I really can’t tell by looking at my neighbor’s appalling behavior (speaking of a long tail) and I don’t have to believe in evolution for it to be real but it seems to be an essential aspect of reality. I don’t begrudge my neighbors belief systems but they are in ho hurry to change and are not really interested in my worldview. You can grow yourself and help your neighbor but you can’t grow your neighbor without his interest. I probably don’t want you trying to grow my neighbor because you will just be competing with the Baptists down the road.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Now see how that worked? When I read your few lines above, I misjudged you as some smug Logical Positivist. Now I see much better where you’re coming from.

            And I get your concern. To tell you the truth, I’ve thought about some lines of a prophet of mine, Grace Slick, from “Greasy Heart:”

            Don’t ever change people,
            even if you can.
            Don’t ever change people,
            your face will hit the fan.

            That was in the context of the ad agencies–in the time Grace wrote that, it was TV, now smart phones–twisting people into mindless consumers. But what are we to do if those poor, twisted, unhappy consumers created by manipulation are now busily making the planet a lot less livable for billions of poor humans and what we have not already destroyed of the planet’s formerly abundant complex life?

            Forswearing violence–and I am now a firm believer that the means must reflect the ends–what options are there other than resignation turning to cynicism turning to despair?

            1. AE90

              what options are there other than resignation turning to cynicism turning to despair?

              I recommend Inner Silence.

          2. QuicksilverMessenger

            “We exist”. Of course this is exactly where you are wrong. This is the illusion that your so-called simple stories (real myth) has been telling us since time immemorial. Gilgamesh asks Utnapishtim for the secrets of life, of immortality. Utnapishtim says he will grant this if Gilgamesh can “stay awake” for 6 nights and seven days. Gilgamesh says ‘of course. This is easy.’ He sits down on the shore and immediately “falls asleep”.
            Utnapishtim tells his wife that men are liars and will deny that he has fallen asleep. The wife then bakes a loaf of bread for each night he is asleep and places it next to him. Utnapishtim wakes him after the seven days and shows him the loaves, yet Gilgamesh thinks he has just dozed off.
            This is our condition and we do not realize it. The Buddha literally means ‘one who is awake’. Christ says ‘they are not dead but only sleeping’. This is the basis of ‘religion’, walking hand in hand with compassion and love of ones neighbor. This is the whole of mythology- it comes from a very high place, beckoning us to life

            1. JP

              So you don’t exist when you are asleep? Real myth? (another contradiction in terms) or you don’t exist when you are dead?

              I have always want to just wake the f**k up along with wishing to be born to richer, smarter parents. And here I always thought the basis of religion was the need for narrative but the practical purpose was population control. You are way ahead of me on this but we should discuss this in depth after a couple of Jamesons.

              1. QuicksilverMessenger

                Suntori and we’re on!
                We live in a constant state of inner capture. But the attention can be liberated. This is the great possibility- to go beyond ‘thingness’. We could adapt the line slightly from Me and Bobby McGee: Freedom is just another word for no-thing left to lose

        2. Adam Eran

          The practice you’re citing is heretical according to orthodox Christian denominations. It’s “salvation by works.” In other words: If I’m a good boy, I’ll get good things.

          What is orthodox? Salvation by grace (grace is “charis,” or gifts, as in charisma). Salvation is a gift. The prodigal son does not earn the fatted calf and a celebration when he returns home–just the opposite.

          Certainly there are plenty of heretical denominations who disagree with salvation by grace, but the orthodox Christians still have a point. We didn’t deserve to be born in the country, state of health, economy, etc. in which we find ourselves. Having the humility to acknowledge that is certainly worth something.

    4. John Zelnicker

      @Henry Moon Pie
      August 14, 2021 at 7:51 am
      ——-

      Thank you, Henry. That is a great essay.

      Especially this: ““What if Death is a natural part of the Cosmos, the complement of Life, the completion of the cycle?:

      It is indeed a natural part of the Cosmos as well as “the Yin to Life’s Yang, a Return to the Source, a journey back home.”

      My reaching this understanding was facilitated by some excellent psychedelics 50 years ago. Among other things, I learned that death is not something to fear, but simply the next step in the cosmic or universal journey of all life.

      I read a good post recently (can’t remember whose, maybe Thomas Frank) that posited that people have an existential fear of death, and this fear is manipulated and exploited by the narrative managers of the various political and ideological factions in society. E.g., the pervasive fear of some folks that immigrants and minorities are going to “destroy the American Way of Life (TM)”.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Each worth a celebration of remembrance. And not from the standpoint of, “Ain’t we smart for figuring that one out? We got big brains.” Instead, from the perspective of awe of these process, whose genesis we can only guess at vaguely in their entirety, all are part of us as well or necessary to our survival or attendant to it.

        We’re pretty silly creatures having gotten ourselves in this situation. Maybe it’s time to slow way down on the techno craze and concentrate for a while on assimilation and deepening our wisdom about some big questions of identity and purpose.

    5. Bob White

      “…religion, one that empowers an embrace of the Cosmos and especially the Earth as our home, and as part of that, that understands Death as the Yin to Life’s Yang, a Return to the Source, a journey back home.”

      Sounds a lot like Zen Buddhism… no need for a new one…

      1. JP

        I don’t think Zen Buddhism is a religion or belief system. It seeks the path to reality. It has models and conjectures.

        Main stream Buddhism is not a religion although many adherents treat it as such. That is to say believers.

    6. Soredemos

      “Christianity and its child, the Enlightenment, view Death as an aberration, not as a natural thing that performs an important role in the cosmos.”

      The ‘Eastern religions’, to speak very broadly, don’t actually view it much more positively either. They may rhetorically accept it as part of the natural order, but then try and come up with metaphysical outs to lesson its finality, ie reincarnation. The entire point of Buddhism boils down to escaping the cycle of death and rebirth, even if only for a limited time. This is as much a cope as Christianity claiming a magical afterlife where everyone is happy forever.

      The closest to genuine acceptance would be something like Stoicism, which treats death as “yeah it sucks, but you won’t care: you’ll be dead”. We’re born to die, existence is a nightmare that ends in tragedy, and all of philosophy and religion ultimately amount to trying to psychologically cope with that inevitability.

    7. Ian Perkins

      For the millions in a prison,
      That wealth has set apart
      For the Christ who has not risen,
      From the caverns of the heart
      For the innermost decision,
      That we cannot but obey
      For what’s left of our religion,
      I lift my voice and pray
      May the lights in The Land of Plenty
      Shine on the truth some day.
      Leonard Cohen, The Land of Plenty

    8. Tom Stone

      Henry, I am lucky enough to have been raised in Vedanta, taught that souls have bodies rather than the other way around.

      And I have met three saints, Hindu, Buddhist and Wiccan.
      I asked each for their blessing and recieved it.
      I do not fear death because I have directly experienced the integrity of the Universe.
      Twice.
      Once from Ecstasy ( The music of the spheres is lovely indeed) and once from transcendent pain.
      There are things I do fear, I am Human.
      Death is not among them, if I end up walking the plank I plan to do a backflip and leave laughing.

      1. Ian Perkins

        I’ve always had trouble with a separate soul, mind, or body, not just conceptually, but experientially. We live, we die. All this cogito ergo sum and eschatology’s beyond me; it ties my head in knots. We are here.

    9. Anon

      About 20 years ago, I was in a hospital far from my home and family. I was dying. My hospital roommate was from Jamaica. One evening, the choir from her church came to see her. They could tell how sick I was so they asked if they could pray for me. I said yes and they began to sing and dance right there in our room. I’m sure the entire ward could hear them. It was beautiful. I believe it is a big reason why I’m still alive today. Their particular beliefs were not my beliefs but the power that was in that room transcended any religious differences. I could feel it.

      1. AE90

        Thanks, that is beautiful. We need something to feed our Spirit. Music and dance do that, and when I was in contact with Tibetan Lamas, they also had access to a power to bring me what I needed at the time. Your Jamaican visitors understood that too. Namaste.

    10. juliania

      Death is not a punishment. Even many Christians do not believe that it is. Your definitions are way too narrow.

      1. tongorad

        My father suffered horribly from cancer, an ordeal that included amputation and ferocious pain. His death was a blessing.
        At his funeral, one of his friends confided to me that “It ain’t death that I fear – but getting there’s another story.”

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Do you then disregard Paul in one of the most quoted passages at Christian funerals, ! Cor. 15:53-57:

        Where, O Death, is your victory?
        Where, O Death, is your sting?

        (Paul’s quoting the Little Apocalypse from Isaiah 25 here, which itself has a sarcastic reference to Mot, one of the main characters in Ugaritic myth.)

        The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

        And what do you do about another pretty fundamental text, Genesis 3:17-19:

        Cursed–

        By the sweat of your brow
        you will eat your food
        until you return to the ground,
        since from it you were taken;
        for dust you are
        and to dust you will return.

        You can hear the venom in YHWH’s voice, and it’s basically the Hebrew Bible’s explanation for how things generally got so f’-ed up circa mid 5th century
        BCE. Humans disobeyed God who created them.

        I’m not saying your beliefs are wrong. To the contrary, I agree. I’m just trying to figure out what you’re associating the historical Christian tradition.

        1. Daniel LaRusso

          thats if I believe the bible is an accurate reflection of anything. I can still be a devout christian and take the bible with a pinch of salt.

  3. Tom Stone

    It strikes me that employers mandating that their workers take an experimental vaccine or be terminated are opening themselves up to lawsuits, big time.

    And the news that HRC might run for Governor of NY State brought a smile to my face, I hope she goes for it.
    The volume on the Shitshow the USA has become is only at 9, let’s turn it up to 11!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Hillary is defending enabling her own sex pest, the party elders won’t be questioned as she will such oxygen out of the room. Also, they certainly don’t trust anyone who called for Cuomo’s resignation months ago, and with “Time’s Up” time being up, they don’t have a ready organization to protect the Cuomos of the world.

    2. farragut

      In general, I think it’s bad form to wallow in Schadenfreude, but I admit to having a Clinton clause which gets exercised every time she or Bill get sh!t upon. I do hope she enters the race and, like a twisted, hate-filled Tantalus, gets to experience the utter frustration of another
      very.
      public.
      humiliation.

    1. Synoia

      Our leaders are Ignoring the lessons of History on epidemics or pandemics.

      The Flu returned for 2 or 3 years after the 1957 epidemic.

      But politics…..

      1. IM Doc

        The Great Russian Flu of the 1890s almost assuredly was a coronavirus and is the most applicable historical model to what we face now.

        It came in 5-7 waves over 12-15 years.

        What is happening right now is Wave #2 of this one.

        1. Mikel

          Yes, researchers are looking at that Russian Flu as a coronavirus.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-2RHzDwxKU/

          “The 1889 pandemic that spread across Russia and most of Europe is thought to be caused by Influenza virus, but it is also possible it might have been caused by a Coronavirus. When you do not have sample tissues, it is hard to conclusively determine what the causative agent is. I discuss some studies which support OC43 (a seasonal CoV) as the causative agent for the Russian Flu.”

        2. CuriosityConcern

          Spitballing: the duration was probably a function of travel speed and interconnectedness, both are increased these days but I don’t know what kind of effect that might have if any.
          5-7 waves, hopefully that’s the median or a high mark. Again, I don’t have a clue but we will be getting more data. Anyone know of papers addressing how many times a corona virus can evolve to escape immune response?

      2. Vandemonian

        Our leaders are Ignoring the lessons of History on epidemics or pandemics.

        Leaders? What leaders? I don’t see no leaders.

    2. Soredemos

      I see that today New South Wales, bastion of Liberal Freedom™, has imposed an enforced total lockdown, complete with $5,000 dollars fines for violators. So after months of her and her subservient media pretending everything was fine, Gladys “Plague Ship” Berejiklian is at last forced to confront reality.

      1. The Rev Kev

        So I guess that they are not going to ease all restrictions like she said she would a few days ago. Imagine my surprise.

    3. Glen

      If the elites got rich under World Pandemic Version 1.0, then do they actually have a financial incentive to have World Pandemic Version 2.0?

      How can they be discussing gloom when the stock market keeps going up?

    4. eg

      I don’t understand how any sentient being can fail to make the obvious connection between a healthy populace and a functioning economy.

      Even the Victorians figured it out eventually when they caught on that proper waterworks are non-negotiably necessary for sustainable urban populations.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Instagram says sorry for removing Pedro Almodovar film poster BBC. One of my film buff friends points out, with some annoyance at the industry, that Almodovar is the only director to show frontal male nudity.

    Not quite true I’d suggest – off the top of my head, Alfonso Cuoron, Gasper Noe, Leo Carax and Steve McQueen have done so. Perhaps its more accurate to say that US directors don’t like it (or aren’t allowed do it).

    1. Geo

      Very true. It’s an American taboo (Abel Ferrera’s Bad Lieutenant being a rare exception that springs to mind) but also with the move to streaming there’s been a serious crackdown on all mature themes – except violence of course.

      Was having dinner with my distributors last night and they talked again about how many films they have that are “age gated” due to subject matter which means they’re basically demonetized on AVOD platforms (ad supported such as Tubi, Vudu, IMDbTV, etc). And most others like Apple and Amazon will reject any film with nudity no matter how brief and artistic. Bad words, drugs & alcohol, and other morally unsound things are also grounds for rejection.

      They all want “family friendly” “content” that is friendly to advertisers and censorious foreign territories. Suffice to say may latest film has been a nightmare to distribute. Of course, the numerous graphic bloody murders aren’t the problem. It’s the bad words, drugs/vices, and brief nudity – and the fact is a weird genre-less film so hard to categorize/market – that have hindered sales of it.

      Basically, platforms all want to be Disney+. Netflix is the only one that seems to be open to adult themes and imagery. But, they pay indies garbage. Know a filmmaker who was offered an exclusive 3-year deal with Netflix for $35K total. The film cost ten times that to make and can generate more than that on Tubi in a year. So, basically, making movies for grown ups is a non-profit venture now days. :)

      1. Robert Hahl

        “I think I essentially made a mistake in staying in movies but it’s a mistake I can’t regret because it’s like saying I shouldn’t have stayed married to that woman but I did because I love her. I would have been more successful if I hadn’t been married to her, you know. I would have been more successful if I’d left movies immediately, stayed in the theatre, gone into politics, written, anything. I’ve wasted a greater part of my life looking for money and trying to get along, trying to make my work from this terribly expensive paintbox which is a movie. And I’ve spent too much energy on things that have nothing to do with making a movie. It’s about two percent movie-making and ninety-eight percent hustling. It’s no way to spend a life.”

        — Orson Welles

    2. Joe Well

      Has Cuarón since Y Tu Mamá?

      The thing with Almodóvar is that his films are absolutely mainstream in Spain, not arthouse. I don’t know how common this is in mainstream films in other countries.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        My occasionally better half loves his films as do I to a lesser extent – the full frontals make her giggle & perhaps she is disappointed that she has only viewed the Banderos rear end.

        Perhaps not so much these days but in the UK, anything with sub-titles or labelled Foreign Language would largely be considered as Arthouse. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any Brit films that would be mainstream popular in the UK that could be described as such.

    3. Ian Perkins

      The UK Labour Party hasn’t said sorry for removing Ken Loach – a wonderful filmmaker, for those Americans who perhaps haven’t heard of him (I, Daniel Blake; The Wind that Shakes the Barley; Land and Freedom; Sorry We Missed You; …).
      https://twitter.com/KenLoachSixteen/status/1426478743225315331
      ‘Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled. Well…’ KL
      ‘I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge. There is indeed a witch hunt….’ KL

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Nina Turner’s Defeat Wasn’t Only About the Onslaught of Big Money Smears Status Coup

    I can’t comment on the details of this analysis, but the key point made I think needs to be repeated over and over to political activists on the left:

    You do not win elections by appealing to your base only. No base is big enough. If you don’t extend your appeal to people who you don’t particularly like or agree with you will not win elections. It really is that simple.

    1. AE90

      If you don’t extend your appeal to people who you don’t particularly like or agree with you will not win elections. It really is that simple.

      I seriously wonder, then why bother? The people who hate “the Left” will just insist things be done their way anyway. Perhaps with the illusion of “incrementalism” if they are feeling generous.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Nina Turner’s Defeat

      I think this is the key paragraph:

      Progressives can’t win without a MASSIVE ground-game that starts BEFORE the heart of an election campaign and has laser-focused messaging to voters on LOCAL issues that also breaks down down how progressive policies would materially improve their wallets and lives.

      Simple. Not easy, but simple.

      1. Keith Newman

        Re Lambert @ 12:21
        Agree. Political organising for any significant change always requires this. It’s politics 101.
        It’s sad the people organising Ms. Turner’s campaign were seemingly unaware of it.

      2. John k

        Yes, that’s how aoc ran her successful campaign, granted she was thought to have zero chance, didn’t face the pac offensive until too late. Now the establishment knows they can lose.
        But not attacking dem party establishment heroes resonates to me. I’ve found my arguments for progressive policies blunted by disparaging those heroes.
        I agree best to stay focused on the real material benefits that progressive policies offer voters… and maybe be less threatening by talking incremental change, such as lowering eligibility age as Hillary (i think 10 years) and Biden (5) proposed, and include proven money saving prenatal care (which even reps might support) and add dental/glasses etc… IMO the latter especially important bc then 65+ see benefits for them.
        Maybe incremental change would get the camels nose under the tent… full bore not working.

      3. AE90

        AOC took them by surprise–they are not about to let that go on. Aren’t they talking about abolishing the mayoralship in Buffalo because a Socialist won? It seems that when you run as a Progressive Democrat you are running against the Party now. It has been for many years almost impossible to get a Primary run without the blessing of Steny Hoyer, who is an avowed corporate Dem. How to run as a Progressive Democrat and beat the machine when they and the Republicans will bring all their money and forces to bear to defeat you?

        1. Howard Beale IV

          Lets see if The Squad puts up a fight now that the Senate has done their thing on bills – or will The Squad become The Squib….

      4. Howard Beale IV

        Yeah, but local issues like local services (think police, etc.) has to be done at the local government level first, then up the chain to state, then federal. Sure, a police budget gets doubled, but BIPOC people still get harassed at protests while looting happens blocks away….

    3. timbers

      I get the point of the article, that said Ohio district loves them their Establishment Dems. Seen that many times. But doesn’t that just boil down to tribalism?

      When still on FB, a friend prominently displayed her support for Hillary. I posted a comment asking her why she didn’t support a Dem who was actually progressive – like Liz Warren (at the time I thought she was more than now) or Bernie Sanders, with a YouTube link of Hillary doubling down on her support of the Iraq War. She removed the comment and eventually unfriended me.

      These types of Dems are not fact, issue, or policy based. Reality is irrelevant to them because they are tribalists (sound like some Republicans? Is there a difference?). In this case, Hillary was her Tribal Leader and anything The Leader did was awesome so long as she was part of the same tribe.

      Also, with Clintons there is cult worship to some extent.

    4. Stillfeelinthebern

      You are absolutely correct. No better evidence that what happened in 2016. The HRC people shunned the Bernie people and made no effort to reach out and bring them in. In fact, in my area, they blamed them for making her look bad.

  6. QuarterBack

    Re the MIT Technology Review article, I understand the sentiment, but I’m sorry, but I can’t see how the US and (western) global regulatory machinery could accomplish anything beyond codifying monopoly for the usual suspect tech giants. The competitive and cost reduction benefits of proprietary AI can be extreme, so there is no way the giants’ lobbyists will close that door.

    What they will do, as they do in any regulatory capture situation, is add in prohibitive cost of entry for any new venture along with industry appointed certification panels as emergency gates to stop any viable solutions that emerge, which do not also agree to play ball and give the giants their fair share of the spoils. In a monopoly, expensive and complex regulation is a blessing, not a curse. Costs are just passed on to consumers, and the regulations serve as a rampart against any approaching competition.

    The regulatory regimes and oversight bodies will not only benefit the monopoly by constraining producers, it will also include the ability to restrict who will be able to consume AI as well, under some “ethical use” cover. The result will be that society will be more and more controlled by giants and their hand picked partners with AI that we won’t even know exist because of the proprietary walls of silence.

  7. Basil Pesto

    The study on PhDs and vaccine reluctance is pretty amusing, and raises another point related to my discussion of Australia’s Doherty report, wherein an advisory body recommends reaching 70 then 80% immunity: just how likely is that target? When you’ve lost the PhDs…

    I mean, they’re not a representational section of society obviously, but you don’t need a PhD to read the news and see that the vaccines have real limitations based on other countries’ experiences – people are going to exercise a bit of circumspection regardless of how many guardianistas are bleating at them on social media. At the moment, our distance from that target is thought to derive from the federal government’s inability to procure supply, and the libs like to have a go at the Libs (justifiably; they’re shit). But what happens when the supply is bulked up and we don’t get anywhere near those figures? Incidentally, if there were a low risk sterilising [intra-nasal] vaccine on the other hand (which, as it happens, the report doesn’t rule out), I’m sure we’d reach that threshold very quickly if the supply was there.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Well, folks with PhD’s have usually had a chance to work with a “Fauci” type before. He and his ilk are the source of institutional rot that makes science funding and publication largely a joke.

      Depending on the individual level of trust in the system, and ability to critically think, these are also factors here.

      Most of the PhD’s in Germany that I know were happy as a clam to take the experimental shot, including MD/PhD’s. You’d think they would know better, seeing as almost certainly they had natural antibodies due to working on the front lines in 2020. (These are all quite young, low-risk people I’m speaking of, all of them younger than me)

      I guess after the election here when the new government forms, you’ll need a smart-phone to get groceries, go shopping, and to have a job, so they were going to be mandated here with it anyways.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Reading the news is pretty common among those with masters as terminal degrees as well, so I don’t think PhDs’ superior reading habits have much to do with vaccine hesitancy. The letters to the original article included 2 that intimated that PhDs were somehow smarter or wiser because they knew more about the intellectual and scientific elite, and were closer to them or more equal to them in some ways. One of the articles even went on about the arrogance of the “elite”, while suggesting PhDs as a group knew about this trait and discounted the value of vaccines because of it.

      Which is self-admiring baloney at its worst. STEM PhDs are commonly either a part of that scientific elite, hope to be soon, or are embittered losers in the entry game. Their contempt for vaccines is a function of their own arrogance and over-regard for their own wits…. because they are most commonly just like the particular elite that these letter writers despise.

      I say this as someone who received a STEM doctorate in 2018: Do not worship the personality quirks of the over-educated. My PhD studies tell me nothing about medical science, little about epidemiology, and nothing about the specifics of vaccine function or production. What the results of that survey tell me, mainly, is that the arrogance of the medical science elite is characteristic of the broader group from whom they derive. Over-trained twerps who think too highly of their own cognitive powers.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. Pretty much what I said below but I probably over-condensed to avoid moderation.

        I used a complex mixture of knowledge from NC, observational and published evidence regarding non-vaccination for previous conditions and my own high risk of death given comorbitities to decide on vaccination as the least risky approach.

        If it turns out I was wrong? So be it. I had cardiac ablation which probably didn’t work, putting me in the “unfortunate 1%” – I mention this only because another person here has had issues this week with it. Would I do it again if I rewind to 2005? Probably. Medicine has few certainties and it would be a better world if medical doctors and PhDs quit thinking that “you can get something for nothing” or “we know better”. In my experience that is NEVER true. Lots of medics hate me for being difficult. Fine. I’d rather be difficult than an arrogant wanker.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Reading the news is pretty common among those with masters as terminal degrees as well, so I don’t think PhDs’ superior reading habits have much to do with vaccine hesitancy.

        Yes, sorry, I didn’t mean to convey that was the case. I guess the point I’m getting at re: vaccine uptake, to simplify, is “it’s complicated” (which, incidentally, could be argued to be the story of the mRNA vaccines themselves), but that doesn’t generate clicks in a Hate Inc media landscape.

        Thanks to you and Mr Flynn for your insights!

    3. Tom Doak

      Anecdotally, I have gotten the impression that another group that is more hesitant to take the vaccine is health care workers — some, perhaps, because they feel they’ve already been exposed and developed immunity; others because they don’t trust the vaccine’s experimental status; and of course some who just have strong feelings about forcing anyone to take anything.

      Funny, I have yet to hear of hospitals demanding that their entire staff be vaccinated or face dismissal. I guess they can’t afford to lose a significant % of their staff right now.

      1. Even keel

        Oregon. We have a state statute that prohibits mandatory vaccinations for health care workers. Major hospitals just ignored it. Then, the governor says: they have to get vaccinated or weekly tested.

        But. Is it a material shortage at hospitals, or a labor shortage? One data point on labor: the Oregon governor has called up 500 national guard to work in hospitals. Not to buy more equipment, or pitch tents, just to staff them. Strikebreakers??

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        https://www.wpr.org/more-wisconsin-hospitals-mandate-covid-19-vaccine-employees.

        Hottest issue in Wisconsin this week. Actual protests at my local non-profit hospital, which was bought several years ago and is now controlled out of St Louis, so the very conservative local management had no choice but to toe the line. Years ago they were one of the first organizations in the state to bring in anti-unionizing consultant’s when the nurses attempted organizing.

  8. zagonostra

    >From Dan K. Please read the whole thread:

    2. So, the Taliban knows who the ANA Kandak commanders are. Everyone’s got a cousin in the Taliban and a cousin in the ANA/ANP/ABP/CTPT whatever

    5. Plus, the US concentrated on developing combat forces in their own image, supplying the ANA with surplus 🇺🇸 arms, vehicles, uniforms &

    The thread makes clear that the lack of understanding of what some philosophers refer to as the “Transcendentals” is at the heart of the U.S.’s failure in Afghanistan. #2 is about love of “family.” Who would not sacrifice their life for their family? I guess, some would. But apparently the Afghan people would not allow the “delisting” of loved ones on the “List.” #5 is the Sin of Pride, to make someone else in one’s own self-image is the domain of God.

    If you don’t understand the “Transcendentals” , Love, Beauty, Dignity, Honor, etc…, how can you try and govern a country? But it wasn’t governing the the U.S. sought, but control.

    Maybe Empedocles was right, everything is a mixture of Strife and Love and the U.S. can’t help but play the part of the latter.

    1. fresno dan

      zagonostra
      August 14, 2021 at 9:24 am

      TheHuntForTomClancy
      @HuntClancy

      13h
      5. Plus, the US concentrated on developing combat forces in their own image, supplying the ANA with surplus Flag of United States arms, vehicles, uniforms & commo gear. The US spent thousands upon thousands of dollars training and equipping each ANA Askar, but forgot something: they didn’t issueEyeglasses
      =============================================
      You know, I always thought it was mainly due to the the lack of glasses…I wear glasses, and you don’t got your glasses, you don’t got sh*t…

      I didn’t see anything in the thread about “Transcendentals” but what strikes me about Afghanistan is how similar it is to Vietnam. How bad communism was. Yet with all the US money, training, technology, best and brightest, somehow, SOMEHOW, guys in black pajamas were able to bring down South Vietnam, that was fighting for FREEDOM. Somehow, SOMEHOW, they just weren’t able to muster enough freedom loving fighters to keep South Vietman free….
      And as I get senile in my old decrepitude, weren’t the Taliban our allies once???
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkFHV0SA3jk
      Ah, if only we had left Afghanistan to the commies…

      1. Ian Perkins

        The similarities with Cambodia strike me. I wonder if the Taliban might at least partially empty the cities, dispersing potential spies, saboteurs, and plotters to the countryside to work under the mullahs’ supervision, at the same time avoiding the headache of supplying food and everything else to four million in Kabul.

        1. Jessica

          Cambodia is agriculturally lush. Afghanistan is very much not.
          In Cambodia, when provincial capitals fell, the US bombed them intensely. Many of those in Phnom Pen were refugees from those provincial attacks. Sending them back home and away from the anticipated destruction of Phnom Pen by the US made sense, even though the rough way it was carried out was a warning of the genocide to come.
          In Afghanistan, millions of refugees fled during the reign of the US-backed government.

      2. Louis Fyne

        it ain’t quantum physics…..don’t prop up corrupt local elites, even if they speak exceptional English and send their kids to Harvard

        At best you get a Pinochet.

        sidenote: the average Afghan probably has much better eyesight than the average Westerner…as lack of sunlight and too much blue light (screens, fluorescent lighting) are hypothesized to increase nearsightedness in developed countries.

      3. The Rev Kev

        ‘fresno dan
        August 14, 2021 at 12:05 pm’

        I’ll see your video clip and raise you one of my own-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=577l7aAlnTg (1:42 mins)

        And that kid you see in that clip? He is probably a Taliban commander now. And there is an urban legend that the original dedication was changed from ‘This film is dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan’ to ‘This film is dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan.’ It would be funny if it was true.

    2. EGrise

      I don’t know about all that, but I do know that the observation that we often use around here about politics:

      You can’t beat something with nothing.

      …was very much true in Afghanistan. The US-backed government was corrupt and offered nothing whatsoever to the citizens (not even governance, good, bad, or otherwise), the ANP were brutal and universally hated, outside of Kabul there just wasn’t anything for the average Afghan to justify dying for. As the thread author points out, neither they nor the US gave enough of a *family blog* to give their soldiers eyeglasses.

      I don’t know why anyone’s surprised by all this, it was entirely predictable, the only remarkable thing is the speed with which it’s happening. It clearly caught the US military and “intelligence” community off-guard as well – you don’t put 3000 Marines on rapid-deploy alert just to help your diplomats pack their bags.

  9. Blue Duck

    How does one prepare for stagflation? We have a stocked deep pantry and egg producing hens. I’ve converted some of our investments into precious metals. Is there anything else I can do to mitigate pain for our family?

        1. Objective Ace

          Just buy big corporation’s stock, preferably in consumer essentials. They have the market power to adjust their prices with inflation and then pass on the continued profits to you. Might not be as profitable, but at least your money is still working for you unlike PMs

    1. Louis Fyne

      (imo) not really different than at other times….live beneath your means, try learning how to fix things, get to know your neighbors-community (whether like-minded or not), keep calm and carry on

      1. JohnnyGL

        This is good. Building on it, just be prepared for random things to go wrong. Things you don’t expect. Not necessarily emergencies, but there will be those, too.

        Be adaptable, change when you make a mistake, and just have humility and admit limits to what you can do.

    2. freebird

      Pull forward major purchases, and buy used. Take your time, be a careful shopper, don’t get rushed into paying full price. Be flexible, eat what’s fresh and in season. Stock up on meats for the freezer ONLY when they are on sale. Keep an eye on where the money is going and adjust your budget whenever you need to. Keep or increase your earning power however you can.

      1. Louis Fyne

        (imo) i am not sold on the idea of a freezer stockpile. I live in an area where all the local cables are buried and power still goes out once in a while..car hitting poles, animals in transformwrs, etc.

        ymmv.. just saying

      1. Louis Fyne

        i am billed “real time” electricity rates as it fits our consumption pattern…versus the common fixed-rate.

        Since Jan. 1, on average, national and local real-time electricity rates have skyrocketed, 25%+. Largely on the back of higher nat. gas prices, summer heat domes that quelched wind production, (forcing a shift to nat. gas), and (in my area) fission plant closures.

        Much higher electricity prices ARE coming nationwide when your local regulators review your utility’s current contract.

        Now is a great time to thing about new windows or insulation or upgrading an old HVAC unit.

        1. GF

          Here in AZ the regulators (AZ Corporation Commission), being 3 – 2 Republican with the chair being Republican, have put together an electric cost increase estimate when renewables are phased-in going forward incrementally 40 years (100% renewable energy). It appears the average price of electricity for the typical electricity user will increase by about $63 a month (worst case scenario for the largest utility in AZ) in 40 years time over what that amount would have been if the electric utilities just kept on the current path of mostly fossil fuels used for electric generation. The author of this newsletter explaining it is the Republican chairwoman of the AZ Corp. Commission.

          “…the economic benefits of achieving a zero-emission energy mix would come in the form of additional jobs, higher wages, new business enterprises and technological innovation, and increased state and local revenues for public goods and services such as schools and roads.
          It would also come in the form of direct capital investments to Arizona’s economy and future savings on energy bills due to long-term reductions in the cost of fuels.
          The societal benefits include cleaner air and water for Arizona, reduced water consumption and pollution, and improved overall health and environmental quality for the state.”

          Sounds like a good deal to me.

          https://www.azcc.gov/lmarquezpeterson/news/2021/08/12/here-is-what-it-will-cost-you-to-achieve-100-clean-energy

          1. Louis Fyne

            my quality of life won’t change with a dramatic rise in electricity prices. I am fortunate as literally the majority of the country would need to shuffle bills with an explicit $700 annual rise in electricity costs.

            Nevermind the additional inflation passed on by grocers, UPS, mega-lo marts, food processors, etc.

            Environmentalists are their own worst enemy as their smugness over “it’s only $63/month” will bite their arses at future ballot boxes

            imo. just being honest. and wake me up when Greta or Joe Biden lobbies for a 100% excise tax on jets with less than 30 seats.

    3. Phil in KC

      As a young adult who lived through the great inflation of 1975-1981, The best hedges against inflation were classic cars, oriental rugs, rare coins, and fine art. They all held their value or gained. The spike in gold and silver prices was mainly a result of decoupling gold prices from a fixed rate of exchange for dollars. That happened under Nixon. Took a few years, but yes, gold creeped, then leaped, from $35.00 to $1300.00/once.

      1. Louis Fyne

        as a fond watcher of Antique Roadshow (UK) reruns…..be wary of the collectible market.

        the collectible market accessible to the bottom 99% is fickle and are prone to boom-bust. And most likely what is hot today will be like beanie babies in ten years.

        Antique Roadshow episodes are full of people with beautiful antiques like Chinese vases that have declined in real terms over the past 10-30 years. And that is before the expensive transaction fees.

  10. John Beech

    Woman is free to walk her dog sans leash, cops are free to toss her ass in jail. Strikes me as a good balance. Too bad we can’t do it with vaccine refusniks. What’s next, free to shoot your gun in crowds because it’s your right to bear arms? Want to drive your car on the sidewalk, too? Anyway, the whole civil disobedience thing has gone a step too far. That, or folks don’t grok responsibility is the flip side of the coin of freedom. Sigh.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Cops don’t ticket lady, Twitter cries ‘white privilege.’ Cops ticket the lady, Twitter cries ‘excessive policing.’ (then of course,this is before lady escalates situation for no sensible reason)

      Cops only enforce the law. Don’t like the enforcement, have the state get the law off the books (expired plates, curfew, broken tail lights, etc)

      1. PHLDenizen

        Overlooked, yet important:

        But the dog owner says she was unable to remember the exact details of where she lived, because she only moved to Manhattan from San Francisco [emphasis mine] on July 28.

        Couple of thoughts:

        1) Is SF a Karen factory? If yes, why are they being exported to cause misery out here? Maybe the park police were protesting the arrival of unwanted refugees.

        2) Are urban East Cities (like NYC) so culturally dissimilar that non-natives who have not assimilated should have simply known better? SF is much more permissive in terms of letting go unpunished truly acting like a narcissistic @sshole, whereas the “@ssholes” out here have no time or patience for actual @assholes. They’re diametrically opposite. SF’ers have a veneer of niceness that hides their childish selfishness and entitlement. NYC’ers have a gruff, cantankerous, impatient temperament, yet these are people who will see you struggle lugging a suitcase up the stairs from a train or subway station, only to wordlessly grab it, haul it up for you, and then go on about their day. YMMV, but that’s been my experience.

        1. Jeff W

          “The East Coast is kind but not nice, the West Coast is nice but not kind.”
          —Jordan Green on Twitter, from the Water Cooler here

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          If you read the entire article, she made clear to the cops that she knew the NYC leasing law and chose to bring the dogs in unleashed. She made clear AGAIN to the reports that she fully intended to defy the law. This is not about ignorance. This is about her belief that she’s above the rules

    2. Lupana

      I don’t think walking a dog off leash quite compares to shooting a gun in a crowd or driving a car on a sidewalk. Having a small reactive dog, I don’t necessarily like it when an off leash dog comes running up but jail seems a bit much..

      1. Louis Fyne

        until it’s a 3 y.o. who gets mauled or bitten and has to get stitches.

        animals are animals. even the best animal may act unexpectedly.

        woman was being selfish and irrationally escalated the situation
        imo.

        1. Lupana

          Absolutely if there are children anywhere in the vicinity a dog should be on leash. Dogs are unpredictable and so are kids. I guess I just feel like too much that should be just handled between people gets delegated to the police and jail should be only as a last resort or for genuinely dangerous behavior not for idiots or people who are just irritating.

      2. WhoaMolly

        Dogs can snap at exposed tendons of walkers and runners. Even a ‘good dog’ is a danger. Maybe 5% chance — but risk of surgery and lengthy recuperating means I carry bear spray.

        Full disclosure: 95% of dogs I meet lick my hands and want to come home with me.

      3. Objective Ace

        Its not about walking the dog off the leash. Its about refusing to abide by the cop’s legal and appropriate request. I suppose they could just issue a fine (which it sounds like they may have been trying to except that the offender didnt have a licence/home address). But at the end of the day, if there’s no repercussions theres no sense to even have the law in the first place

        Even if your pulled over for running a stop sign–if you dont have a license, the police can take you to jail until you’re able to prove your identity

    3. Randal

      John Beech How could you possibly read all the material on this site and still come away feeling that vaccine refuseniks should be jailed? You havent realized the vaccines arent the silver bullet they’re purported to be?? Your desire to be angry at SOMEONE overrides rational thinking? Dont play the medias game…

      1. Mantid

        Spot on Randal. So many people are just reading the headlines and don’t either understand or haven’t been exposed to the subtleties and problems inherent in the vaccines. Perhaps PHDs are more reluctant because they (theoretically) can read between the (head) lines and see the problems of the vaccines.

        I also loved the comment about PHDs having dealt with more of the Faucci’s of the world than undergrads or masters students. A few of my professors and committee members, Oy Yoy.

    4. fresno dan

      John Beech
      August 14, 2021 at 9:38 am
      I know sometimes I have gotten into outrage mode about police behavior because I do think police do get a pass on some pretty excreble behavior. AND then I have read the article in deepth or other information and found out that the people involved were pretty absymal. So much “news” is click bait designed for emotion and not for elucidation.
      I mean really, person breaking a civil ordinace is newsworthy?

    5. zagonostra

      Robert Heinlein must be turning over in his grave. Vaccine refusniks? Where is the gov’t’s responsibility in providing a functional healthcare system like other civilized countries? How about, responsibility to provide the truth about potential dangers of the CV vaccine and how you are not being immunized to variants? How about responsibility not to shame people or impose draconian measures in light of a virus whose recovery rate is ~95% or more and whose origins is probably the result of BCW research leak? How about responsibility to examine prophylactics like Ivermectin, etc…

      Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed – to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science and it means as little to us as color does to a blind man.[4][5]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok#Descriptions_of_grok_in_Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Republican politicians treat their voters like they’re temper-prone toddlers who can’t be told no. Democrat politicians treat their voters like they’re unruly adolescents who need to be set straight.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have heard it said that Republicans are afraid of their voter base whereas Democrats hate theirs.

    6. Jfreon

      Re: John BeechAugust 14, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Woman is free to walk her dog sans leash, cops are free to toss her ass in jail. Strikes me as a good balance. Too bad we can’t do it with vaccine refusniks.

      ***

      It would be more effective/efficient to barcode the foreheads of the fully vaxxed, everyone can tell their status whether they are wearing a mask or not.

      Can you NOT ZEE the benefits and reduced costs?

      1. Maritimer

        These refuseniks should also be given separate drinking fountains and separate sections to ride in at the back of the bus.

  11. kramshaw

    “Nina Turner’s Defeat Wasn’t Only About the Onslaught of Big Money Smears”

    In a nutshell, the argument goes: many voters agree with progressive goals/policies but like and feel loyal to the Democratic Party. Trying to convince them of the corruption of the mainstream Democrats isn’t working and isn’t likely to work. A better strategy would include better (earlier) ground game and focusing on local issues.

    This leaves me thinking, though. Many people seem to believe that mainstream dems, e.g. HRC, actually want Medicare for All, etc. but it simply can’t be done either practically or politically. “We’re trying; lower your expectations!” is basically the Democrat brand. So while I appreciate the wisdom that directly attacking people’s loyalties isn’t helpful, I really don’t see a winning play.

    Forgive me my (intermittent) hopelessness.

    1. Carla

      In his/her substack, Jordan Chariton says “Fudge—a fairly standard, establishment Democrat—SUPPORTED Medicare For All and half-heartedly supported the Green New Deal.”

      The writer equates signing on to co-sponsor a bill with “support.” That’s bullsh*t and a savvy political writer should know it.

      HR 1384, the National Health Care Act popularly known as Medicare For All, had 118 co-sponsors in the 116th Congress. At least 100 of those would have declined to co-sponsor if there were the faintest chance of the Act ever seeing passage. All their owners know it, too.

      They sign on because voters badger them until they do, and they may pick up some votes here and there, but they know Pelosi and Biden are keeping democracy safe for the medical-industrial complex and will never, ever permit universal health care to threaten that revenue stream.

      Chariton’s piece on Nina Turner’s loss of the OH-11 congressional district race made some good points about the need to appeal to voters beyond one’s base, but backed them up with flimsy arguments lacking credibility, of which the above is but one example. Sorry, very weak tea.

      1. fresno dan

        Carla
        August 14, 2021 at 10:36 am
        You know, sometimes I wonder why I spend any time on reading about politics or public policy.
        I mean, isn’t the plain truth that lying, prevaricating, dissembling, misleading and about a zillion other words discribe how people in the polictical class operate? Even if I was smart enough (and I don’t think I am – see covid results when they stuck a swab in my head and found nothing) to figure out a politicians true view of an issue, how many other people could?
        I despair of it changing…

        1. Carla

          Yeah, I know. Me, too. Let me join the chorus in wishing you well with your current health challenges, fresno dan. Please keep us posted.

        1. Carla

          I tried to state part of my theory here shortly after the election. The comment went into moderation and disappeared. Actually emailed you about it this morning.

          Reread the Chariton piece again and maybe I was too hard on the writer. I was ticked that he/she blamed Bernie’s losses entirely on Bernie without mentioning Clyburn, Obama and the night of the long knives… and that there was no mention of the influence of the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC on a specific demographic.

          I actually agree with the emphases on a better, earlier ground game, not intentionally provoking centrist Dems, and not spending your money too early.

      2. JohnnyGL

        I understand Fudge’s support to be lukewarm, just like most dems. She wasn’t ready to go to war to get M4A, but wasn’t likely to cynically flip and oppose it like, say, kamala harris.

      3. Riverboat Grambler

        In my opinion many Democratic primary voters will claim to support lefty policies like universal healthcare and a living wage, but only in a theoretical “wouldn’t-it-be-nice” sort of way. They don’t actually believe it could happen in this country, they don’t believe in risking anything on actually pursuing it, and most importantly, they think this attitude makes them pragmatic and politically savvy. This unwillingness to spend any real political capital on policy that would uplift the working class is a badge of honor for Dems. They believe that to try and fail would set the movement for such policies back moreso than simply waiting for “the right time”, which is always in some hazy undertermined Future Date that never comes. This attitude is highly encouraged by Dem leadership.

        M4A has something like 80% support among Dems but go to any Dem website or blog and make the case that pushing for M4A should be a top Dem priority and the pushback will be immediate and strong. You’ll get lots of pseudo-pragmatic “progress comes slowly” pablum from Dems who have no interest in actually bringing about progress as well as plenty of straight-up right-wing and health insurance company talking points. And these are the people that vote in the primaries.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          After spending much of 2017 and 2018 doing deep listening canvassing with well over 2000 voters, I will say this is exactly how the majority of Dem leaning voters feel.

          I will add, my state group, Our Wisconsin Revolution, is disintegrating over this issue. A new group of people (in Dane county, the bluest place in this big red state) came in last year and they are single issue M4A at all cost, including humiliating and badgering the very progressive Congressman who was a strong supporter of the group. The Ex Director and most of the organizers quit last month.

          It’s very sad because my chapter was functioning extremely well. We focused on local elections (and won some big victories) and environment issues we could push at the local level. Also doing monthly food drives. We were making spectacular progress. Our little group started with about 4 a year ago and we had grown to about 15.

    2. Geo

      Agreed. I know so many people who want what progressives offer but think actual progressives are scary radicals trying to turn us into communists.

      When Dem voters are scared of Bernie, AOC, and Ilhan Omar, all people who seem to go out of their way to make the moderates comfortable (to the point were much of the online left calls them frauds), it’s pretty dispiriting.

      1. JohnnyGL

        And since we don’t have nice, clear examples of what the pushback to dem leadership SHOULD look like (because squad and bernie won’t do much of it) then we have nothing concrete to counter with.

        The whole lefty discourse is way too much about pushing edgy talk that sounds crazy to normal people and then backing it up with nothing.

        We really need less talk and more action, it’s become a real problem.

      2. Mikel

        “I know so many people who want what progressives offer but think actual progressives are scary radicals trying to turn us into communists….”

        And they stare at you blankly when you try to explain fascism because they think it requires having obvious death camps spread around the country.

    3. JohnnyGL

      It was a solid write up from jordan chariton, one of his best analyses that i’ve seen. A cold, sober look from a guy who hasn’t been treated all that well by lefty/prog world.

      There are a ton of people, on both team R and team D, that just don’t think their team is that bad, and generally remain loyal. All of their own sides’ sins get papered over or explained away.

      Part of it is just that people don’t want to confront the idea that the people in charge are that corrupt, depraved, including their team. It’s too disheartening and despair-inducing.

      The somewhat more historical and i’d say even optimistic take is that we’ve had morons and maniacs in charge for thousands of years and we’ve still made it this far. Plus, this bunch isn’t nearly as horrid as, say, the bunch of world leaders that took us into WWI, for example.

      1. Tom Doak

        But I don’t really see how this “solid” analysis helps in any way. If Nina Turner sounded less radical, and willing to work with Team Dem, she would still have been viciously opposed by corporate Dems. They are extremely protective of their “centrist” corporate agenda, and they will be as long as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Congressional Black Caucus still have their thumbs on the scale.

    4. Soredemos

      At a certain point I just throw up my hands. Some people it seems are just going to keep voting to get punched in the face. If there’s any hope in electoral politics, it’s going to lie in motivating the ~50% of eligible voters who don’t bother to vote at all to show up and cast ballots for your candidates. Trying to appeal to the better angels of many Democrats natures simply isn’t working, because when push comes to shove they don’t have any such angels. Or they do but are ludicrously easily swayed by incredibly nonsense DNC propaganda (“Nina Turner doesn’t support Medicare for All” was a talking point trotted out at one point. And Republicans are supposed to be the ‘low information voters’? Holy crap, how are you supposed to combat that level of willful stupidity? Yes, I am blaming the voters here. If you have a right to vote, surely there’s also some degree of responsibility that goes with that right. I’m not suggesting the right to vote be restricted to the ‘worthy’, but I’m saying there is basically no cultural or social expectation to be a responsible citizen in the United States).

      Personally I’m essentially done with electoral politics. I’ll vote for non-garbage candidates if they come along (and I’m still registered Democrat so I can participate in my state’s anti-democratic closed ‘Democratic’ primaries, for what little that’s worth). But I have zero hope that route will lead to anything. We need to bypass bourgeoisie electoral politics entirely and engage in more direct forms of democracy that TPTB simply can’t ignore. Yes, I’m talking soviet workers councils. But as far as I can see that’s not even on anyone’s radar as a potential option. Everyone is so beholden to electoral politics that their energies are being dumped into attempts at third parties. Meanwhile most DSA chapters are still agonizing over pronoun protocols.

      General strike in a couple months, but it doesn’t seem to be part of any larger strategy, so even if lots of people show up for it…

  12. TomDority

    Zillow, Other Tech Firms Are in an ‘Arms Race’ To Buy Up American Homes

    Ya wanna buy a home – you got to go thru us – you wanna sell – ya gotta go thru us.
    Welcome to the new company store – same as the old company store…except we got new owners now…comply or die.
    Good thing Glass-Stegal was killed off in the Clinton days.

    Thomas Jefferson Quote “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

    Since this stuff is global – the TJ quote needs to sub property and continent with Planet

    1. Carla

      I have a wonderful quote to share:

      “The movement to abolish the ‘citizenship’ status held by corporations is one of the unheralded battles of our historical moment. Under the guise of freedom of speech and the protections of the 14th Amendment, corporations have slowly expanded their control over not just the economic life of the nation but its political life as well… It is a cruel irony of history that the amendment to the constitution which guaranteed freedom, justice and democratic participation to 4 million former slaves turned citizens, would become the foundation for the degradation of freedom, justice and democratic participation for every US citizen. As both a private citizen and public official, I support a constitutional amendment that abolishes citizenship rights for corporations. As the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizen’s United v. FEC demonstrates, this issue will determine whether government of the people, by the people and for the people, will endure.”

      – Charles Peterson, Associate Professor of Black Studies, College of Wooster
      Councilperson, City of Oberlin…and now Professor at Oberlin College

      Of course, as you point out, TomDority, and all NC-ers know, the problem is global.

      Nevertheless, as Americans, we have to try to address it here (while also ensuring our misleadership class doesn’t sneak us back into the TPP with its toxic Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions).

      The Constitutional Amendment that Professor Peterson endorses is here:

      https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48

      If your Congress critter has not already signed on, please start lobbying them to do so.

      1. fresno dan

        Carla
        August 14, 2021 at 11:35 am
        Thanks for that – truly profound.
        I was despairing above about our political system, but I see that and some politicians actually challening Facebook and Google, and …maybe foolishly…it gives me some hope.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I wonder if these companies are going to handle titling correctly? Or that might be too low-tech for them?

      Zillow CFO Allen Parker said as much in the company’s most recent earnings call, noting that the company was selling homes for around 13% more than they had acquired them for recently—a percentage the company expects to go down with time. A July analysis of OpenDoor by the News & Observer found that the company had become the top purchaser of single-family homes in Wake County, North Carolina, and that it typically resold them for about $14,000 more than it paid.

      I had a family member trying to buy in Wake county to live there in the community, and the market was insane. So I’ve seen first hand the emotional toll involved in this flipping scheme by Big Money. Everything went over asking, dozens of offers, properties selling before being listed.

      1. cnchal

        Hmmm. I wonder, with tech buying up houses, Pirate Equity buying up houses, other sharkey pools of money buying up houses, all paying over so they can make big profits renting to the newly evicted that have no money, how that will work out? When everyone is overpaying the gig is up.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Big Tech is just flipping; But they want to be a vast marketplace for inventory, so that everyone has to pay the toll. Sort of like if there was only a single real estate agent, and all roads lead through that person. But why not flip inventory in the meanwhile?

          Meanwhile there goes local knowledge.

        2. jsn

          Yes, but in our system these companies will be allowed to declare bankruptcy where they depend on financial markets and write down the debt, or where it’s all private cash deals just lower the rent to whatever new normal comes along.

          Heads they win, tails we lose.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Embassy Shredding, Burning Documents in Case Taliban Wins”

    I understand that the US has about 4,000 Embassy staff in Kabul and that 1,400 of them are, ahem, diplomats. You think that with all that diplomatic firepower, that they would have been able to negotiate an agreement with the Taliban by now.

    1. Louis Fyne

      When every CIA plant and contractor, er diplomat, believes that the US is the bestest, awesomest force for human rights ever, you believe that victory is inevitable…and of course you won’t negotiate away anything

      1. saywhat?

        believes that the US is the bestest, awesomest force for human rights ever, you believe that victory is inevitable

        Per the Bible, the US doesn’t have a proper definition* of human rights so we can hardly expect God’s help in spreading the system we have. Nor can we count on being the least ugly in a beauty contest, it seems.

        Hopefully, we’ll learn from our failures and humiliations.

        *eg government privileges for usurers, eg. no limits to the concentration of land ownership.

        1. Ian Perkins

          By still not ratifying the the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which it signed nearly fifty years ago, as it doesn’t really see them as rights, the US has a kind of implicit definition of human rights.

      2. Synoia

        Identify and Blame the decision makers, those who make the policy.

        Who, I suspect infest DC, and not outside the DC shadow.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        Nicole Wallace, MSNBC afternoon host, was aghast yesterday at the advance of the Taliban. She looked to one of her panelists, a leading Democratic light, and said that if Biden wanted the theme of his Presidency to continue to be empathy, then he could not, absolutely could not, just pull the troops out like this, i.e. end the war. Right up there with destroying the village to save it. Wallace is still very much a Bushie.

    2. Vandemonian

      They did negotiate an agreement with the Taliban, in Doha, on 29 Feb 2020. To quote verbatim from the Doha Agreement:

      “The United States is committed to withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel within fourteen (14) months following announcement of this agreement…”

      The 14 months was up at the start of May. They don’t seem to be agreement capable.

  14. Karen

    “What is wrong with these Karens, um, people?”

    Can we please stop the trite abuse of so-called Karens? Remembering that there are many thousands of us who do not fulfil the stereotype. Who are definitely people, and in very many cases, good people?

    Let’s move on to discussions that inspire greater depth and meaning.

    Karen

      1. Raymond Sim

        “Try being a white male for the last forty years.”

        If it’s been forty years and you’re still trying you’re doing something wrong.

        1. newcatty

          In the silly spirit of the “War between the sexes ” :

          Males: Children until they leave mother’s home.
          Childhood ends when they approach 30 years old.

          Males: Adolescence ends as they approach 45 years old.

          Males: Middle Age lasts until they approach 65 years old.

          Males: Old age approaches and ends at death.

          Many exceptions to these observed anecdotal experiences. This is a protrait of many men who grew up in America in the last decades. Childhood’s end now means a different world for young people. Just kidding?

          1. Raymond Sim

            In some new world monkey species (certain marmosets and tamanins I think?) where males participate extensively in caring for the offspring, it’s been observed that males engage in play with juveniles more extensively than females do, which is something I’ve noticed among humans as well.

            Perhaps this aspect of men that women seem to have complained about time out of mind is a form of neoteny, with adaptive value? You might think it’s setting the bar low, but as apes go, human males are very helpful around the house.

    1. Brian Beijer

      I am making an assumption here, but I suspect that Basil Pesto and wol are just kidding. I know I laughed at their comments. They weren’t meant to be critical or disparaging of your situation. I can only imagine how annoying it must be to have your name become a popular insult.

        1. newcatty

          Have known two women who were named Karen. One was a young friend of my daughter, who married a young man and moved away. One was a wonderful friend and welcomed us into her established neighborhood social group. She was a foster mom to a constant stream of kittens, who needed fostering. I often cared for the cats when foster mom was away. We moved away and I appreciate knowing Karen.

        2. Raymond Sim

          I made a Joe Pesci themed joke about you laughing at Pesto, I guess it got spiked. I thought I was being a funny guy.

      1. johnnyme

        Well, people named John have had to live with their names being used to refer to toilets, mules and those that solicit prostitutes their entire lives, far longer than this recent Karen fad.

        If your name is Karen and you get worked up about this, just remember, it could be worse, so chill.

    2. Louis Fyne

      to be serious…..my genuine hypothesis is i wonder if some/many of these people were literally off their meds, or prescribed psych meds when they really shouldn’t be and had bad side effects—given the ubiquity of psych medication today, particularly among middle-aged women.

      just wondering aloud.

    3. kareninca

      My name is Karen and I am amused by the “Karen” thing. It doesn’t bother me at all. It is not actually about a name.

      Karen

  15. Louis

    The article on PH.d’s being the largest demographic of vaccine hesistency reminds me of the old line I heard when I was working on my Master’s : Bachelor’s is when you think you know everything, Master’s is when you realize you don’t know anything, and Ph.d is when you realize no one else knows anything.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Hehe not heard that one before. Having all three, I’d suggest a slight amendment based on my experience (which encompasses both my own foibles and those I see a LOT in others):

      Bachelor’s is when you think you know everything, Master’s is when you realize you don’t know anything but learn how to use the tools of research to gain a reasonable knowledge of wide number of topics, and Ph.D is when you realize no one else knows anything about a given topic, but your 100% knowledge on that will often cause you to think you know most stuff about most topics.

      My PhD was (as it should be) an original contribution to knowledge in its day. Now it’s a very effective doorstop. Not enough of us are honest enough to admit that having a Ph.D is quite dangerous to your level of arrogance. My most cited journal article has an error in it which SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPOTTED – thankfully it’s not critical error and certainly not enough to withdraw it but there should be a queue of people pointing out the error. My (very quickly published, open source, thankfully) follow-up correcting this should get the citations. The fact so many former peers of mine don’t cite it says a lot about them and their intellectual laziness.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “Ph.D is when you realize no one else knows anything about a given topic, but your 100% knowledge on that will often cause you to think you know most stuff about most topics.”

        Thank you!! You said it more kindly than I did above.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Ironic that you complimented me for being kindly whilst I simultaneously complimented you for saying it like it is! :-)

      2. AE90

        having a Ph.D is quite dangerous to your level of arrogance

        This is indicated when the person corrects you from Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. to DR. It did make me laugh a bit when there was all that flap about our current First Lady. I thought it was mostly to poke a stick in the eye of the previous First Lady and the Trumpists.
        It makes others feel more comfortable with you in some places, and it just irritates the hell out of everyone else.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Never had heard that one before; thanks, wrote it down and will try to remember it. Reminded me of the difference between students in high school, college, and graduate school:

      High school: teacher arrives and says “good morning”, students politely reply “good morning.”

      College: professor arrives and says “good morning”, students silently scribble down “good morning” in their notebooks.

      Grad school: professor arrives and says “good morning”, student immediately raises hand and asks “why do you assume it’s good?”

      1. chuck roast

        I read this blog to remember all the things that I scribbled in all the notebooks that I ever had and have since forgotten. This gives me the richly unparalleled opportunity to forget everything twice!

    3. Glen

      I only have a B.S. so perhaps the version I heard was a bit more “earthy”:

      BS Bull [family blog]
      MS More [family blog]
      PHD Piled higher and deeper

      The last time I worked around mostly PHD types was quite a while ago, but it was a very interesting experience. They were mostly PHD Physicists specializing in “high energy nuclear physics” at a national lab. They all had a rather absent minded professor quality which was somewhat disconcerting given what we worked with on a daily basis.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Hi Glen, and all the other readers of NC.

        There was a very, very funny “Sci-Fi” called Lexx. Season 4 is incredible if you are an USAian, and can find a source for it. The prior 3 seasons are just really weird – I enjoy those as well, but it’s not as funny. Season 4 is a mockumentary of the good ‘ole USA.

        If you’ve never seen it, it’s the best.

        There’s a ton of hidden things in the individual episodes, and many references to the “Powers that be” and you can derive any subtle meaning out of that that you like.

        The Physicist in this series has an interesting experience, and I don’t think that’s a spoiler.

    1. Shonde

      I read Taibbi’s piece yesterday since I am a subscriber. However, I noted the piece was not open to the public and did not link it in a comment yesterday at NC which also said I hoped he would open it to the public.

      I was overjoyed to see it in Links today. The comments are also priceless.

      1. KLG

        Also a subscriber and was very happy to see it here this morning! Sent the link to several PMC peeps who worship the firm of Clinton Obama Pelosi Schumer & Biden LLC. As such the Trump Derangement Syndrome is strong in them. Heads will explode before they ever make the obvious connection from Obama to Trump.

          1. fresno dan

            Carla
            August 14, 2021 at 11:42 am
            There is a place, a dark, forbidding, and evil realm, where lies the knowledge you seek. To link to it in these pages is to die – or to be put in moderation. (seriously, you can’t link to it here – really)
            Its name consists of two words. It is that of which we cannot speak.
            The first part of the name is less than one. A whole number, denoting naught.
            The second part of the name is a word that can be used to describe a bush, trimmed and used as a fence, called a …..
            The word is also used to described financial funds, used to lessen risk. used to ….. risk.
            I wish you all the blessing of this life on this journey. It is a fraught and periolous trip you begin. You will see things you can never unsee once seen and and know of evil that is unimaginable.
            If your quest is holy, and your heart true, you may suceed. God speed…
            BTW, once you get there, you have to scroll down, but its there.

            1. fresno dan

              It’s all about you
              Girl tonight it’s about you…
              Fuck it up if it’s your birthday bitch!

              There’s a glorious moment in the life of a certain kind of politician, when either because their careers are over, or because they’re so untouchable politically that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they finally get to remove the public mask, no pun intended. This Covid bash was Barack Obama’s “Fuck it!” moment.

              He extended middle fingers in all directions: to his Vineyard neighbors, the rest of America, Biden, the hanger-on ex-staffers who’d stacked years of hundred-hour work weeks to build his ballyhooed career, the not quite A-listers bounced at the last minute for being not famous enough (sorry, Larry David and Conan O’Brien!), and so on. It’d be hard not to laugh imagining Axelrod reading that even “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Kim Fields got on the party list over him, except that Obama giving the shove-off to his most devoted (if also scummy and greedy) aides is also such a perfect metaphor for the way he slammed the door in the faces of the millions of ordinary voters who once so desperately believed in him.
              =====================================
              Always remember, many Bothans died to bring you this ….

    2. Carly

      Nope. The price of a subscription behind a paywall.

      Why aren’t all paywalled articles flagged on N.C. with a dollar sign following the title?

      1. Lambert Strether

        First, because we don’t take work assignments, express or implied. Second, we’re not going to be maintaining a publications list of paywall/non-paywall, given the enormous amount of reading we do. Third, most paywalls can be circumvented in the browser, using a variety of techniques so often explained I’m not going to explain them again. For example, I try never to link to an article I have not personally opened, although I occasionally do make a mistake. (The only exception is if I link to a journal article where the abstract alone is informative enough.)

        So if I can, you can.

        1. freebird

          Wow. That sounded a bit like “nyah-nyah”.

          Some of us are not coders or bloggers and do not know these techniques.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes it is.

            We provide you with 55 links a day and you whine if you can’t open some, don’t read comments enough to have seen the MANY MANY times we’ve described how to get around them, and haven’t bothered using a search engine to figure out how on your own? It does not take rarified skill to do this, just basic attentiveness and/or search skills.

      2. KLG

        Taibbi is $5 per month or $50 per year. Yes, I am aware that many cannot afford that, and I have been in that position many times in my life and might be there again one day. But for what you get, Taibbi, Greenwald, and Sirota are more than worth the nominal cost. Johnstone, too. And in this world, writers deserve to get paid. Especially independent journalists, without whom where would we be? Still scanning the NYT, WP, and listening to the NicePoliteRepublican network on the radio. Watching the legacy networks on “free” TV since I cut the cable cord years ago and cannot tune into MSDNC or CNN. Or FOX. No, thanks.

      3. Stillfeelinthebern

        Reminder: Taibbi articles are only behind the paywall when first released, in a short time they are open to all.

    3. Mikel

      “the Fat Elvis of neoliberalism…”

      What a sub-header! I’m dead from laughing.

      Will have to find another link to this locked article. But it dawned on me breifly that BO may have been feeling this disappearing legacy and friends and/or family thought of this big bash to cheer him up.

    4. Nce

      I wish I could read it. I only realized last week after looking into a blogger’s statement that Obama, as well as his parents and possibly grandparents, worked for the CIA. Although I voted for him and I’m ashamed to admit it now, I would’ve never done so if I had known more about his history. How many people are still on the dark about him/his family’s likely CIA ties? How many people would feel angrier than we do about his presidency if we knew for sure? It would explain a lot.

      1. Mikel

        Especially from Bush I onwards, it’s hard to deny that hasn’t become a resume requirement for the office.

        And when I think of Trump, I think of that move “The Departed”. Featuring Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, & Leonardo DiCaprio.
        It was all about a fight against an organized crime group through the work of an undercover officer and that crime group trying to find out who the big snitch was. Spoiler alert: Turned out the head honcho, “the don” played by Jack, was the biggest snitch of them all.

  16. Fred

    Joe Biden has voted for every war, and “defense” budget increase, in the last 50 years while he was in the senate, starting in 1972, as vice president and president.

    George Bush Jr., Obama, Trump, Biden.
    No one goes to prison or is ashamed to walk down the street.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Actually, he voted against the Persian Gulf War. I note expectations about the war not being a sweeping victory were in play.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Portland Looks Like Shit. Who’s to Blame? What Can be Done?”

    Let’s see. He says that the homeless in Portland got their start with mentally ill people being dumped on the streets by Reagan. And the homeless are either druggies or crims. And that they are that way because it is all their fault for being homeless in the first place. And most of them want to stay on the streets, even if offered a place to stay. As well, he says that it is ‘very hard to intervene and stop people from making terrible life choices that kill them and harm their surrounding community’ and does not know what to do about them. You know what? If this guy lived in California instead of Portland, I bet that he would be voting for Caitlyn Jenner right now-

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/caitlyn-jenner-slams-la-homeless-encampments-names-it-pandemic-2021-8

    1. Phil in KC

      The idea of integrating the mentally ill back into society (while being treated for their illness on an outpatient basis) originated in the 1960’s. Replacing state hospitals and asylums with community mental health centers and group homes evolved during the 1970’s. While I’m no fan of Reagan’s social welfare policies and views, it is unfair and inaccurate to place the blame on Reagan alone.

      The unhoused populace is a visible manifestation of a public mental health crisis. Trauma, drug use, and criminal behavior are interconnected behaviors. A lot of these folks bounce from the streets to the police to jails with some having brief stays in mental health facilities where they are observed for a few days and then released as outpatients. It is an endlessly repeating cycle that does no one any good and chews up public health and safety resources.

      Jenner’s solution to ship ’em all out to the desert is a callous and absurd reaction to a complex problem. But what the Portland experience tells me is that the social experiment of the last six decades has proven a failure and has produced exactly the opposite of what was intended. We may have to look at an asylum model for the worst cases, but this is complicated by decades of case law dealing with the rights of patients.

    2. martell

      I can confirm that the city looks bad. There are homeless camps scattered all over the downtown area, panhandlers at every freeway on-ramp or exit, human feces on the streets and sidewalks, boarded up windows, and lots of new graffiti. Of the many things I’ve seen on recent trips to the city center, two stand out: a homeless guy, clearly in some kind of distress, waving his genitals at the security guard for a nearby building; and another homeless fellow, aged, legless, covered in filth and naked to the waist, screaming at invisible tormentors.
      But there are several faults with the article, one of which is that it fails to note other aspects of the present ugliness. For one, Portland is increasingly violent, with last year having been one of worst in this respect in recent years. And we are now experiencing a number of long-predicted consequences of climate change: this year’s heat dome and the smoke from wildfires last year that nearly blotted out the sun. The author is also unduly fixated on mental illness and addiction in particular as causes of homelessness. He fails to even mention (to the best of my recollection) that there is a housing crisis. Could homelessness be in any way connected to lack of affordable housing? I wonder. I wonder too if rates of mental illness and addiction are natural constants (like the speed of light) or if they vary with factors like access to health care, quality of local schools, and opportunities for gainful employment, all of which are, in principle, under our collective control.

    3. Still Above Water

      I live in Portland. The pictures don’t capture how bad it is. Most encampments look like a garbage truck dumped its load on them. I often bicycle at night, and when my headlight points at tents, I usually see numerous rats scurrying in its beam. When the city clears a camp, it often takes a crew up to 2 weeks to clean up the trash and excrement. My personal belief is that homeless camping should be treated as the public health hazard it is.

      But, as the article points out, the mayor and city council were elected to be soft on the homeless. The DA doesn’t prosecute most property crime involving the homeless, to the point that people are now waking up to the sound of their home being broken into. Catalytic converter theft is rampant. My neighbor 2 doors down spotted his stolen yellow Hummer in a homeless camp. The police told him to report it to his insurance company. He told them the vehicle was irreplaceable. Police said their hands were tied. He told them he and a buddy had gun permits, were going to get it back, and the police could either come watch or pick up the pieces after. The police showed up, but did nothing. My neighbor said it was a full-blown chop shop, complete with a list of popular models and bounties paid, just like Grand Theft Auto. But no arrests were made. He towed what was left of his vehicle, and it’s been in the shop several months as they try to find replacement parts. I’m not sure I would have believed this story if it didn’t come from my neighbor of 25 years.

      I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

      1. Soredemos

        Okay, enough. Let’s just cut to the chase: legalize killing them.

        Oh, what’s that, you recoil from that proposal? Why? Since no one wants to actually do what’s needed to resolve this problem, the solutions for which are not actually particularly complicated but would require Americans to stop being thugs and to stop means testing the ‘undeserving poor’, our policy is effectively to just kill them slowly.

        1. Give them housing, no strings attached. Worst case they crap and shoot up in doors. Out of sight, out of mind, which is what all this hand-wringing about the poor actually boils down to. The fact the author name-drops Laurelhurst and the Springwater Corridor bike trail in the article are huge redflags that show what he’s actually concerned about. Springwater in particular starts in a truly godawful upper-middle class neighborhood where each of the houses has to be pushing a million dollars at this point. You know exactly what this neighborhood is: large, perfectly manicured pristine grass yards, some with overpriced pretentious art pieces in some of them. That’s what this supposed concern for the homeless is really about: the filthy poors are ruining the scenery and property values.

        2. Give them meaningful drug treatment, not lament no longer simply being able to throw them in jail (weird how paying for jail is okay for achieving out of sight, out of mind, but not simply giving them housing with no means testing.

        3. Jobs guarantee. You want people to work and put their lives back together? Then give them work.

        4. Bring back the state mental institutions to take care of those who have some incurable mental problem.

        1. Still Above Water

          It’s hard to think about property values when you’re worried about leaving the windows of your unairconditioned house open at night because someone jacked up on meth tried to break into your neighbor’s house.

          Your 4 proposed solutions sound reasonable, but they have to be implemented on a nationwide basis. The city of Portland can’t figure out why the more they spend on the homeless, the more homeless we have, when it should be obvious that the word has gotten out that the bennies are better here than most places, to the point that other jurisdictions are giving their homeless one-way bus tickets to come here. Eventually the people paying the ever-increasing property taxes are going to move elsewhere, and then what?

    4. Glen

      It’s not just happening in Portland, it’s happening in every major US city. And we are going to be putting tens of millions more on the street.

      In the past, we called these Hoovervilles:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooverville

      American elites are denial about the true state of our economy, or more alarmingly, just live in a completely different economy – one endlessly propped up by the Fed and the US Treasury.

    5. Acacia

      Does mental illness beget homelessness, or does homelessness beget mental illness?

      Being outside all the time and seeing the cruelty and injustice of our society from the outside, I think I’d begin to feel pretty crazy myself.

      1. newcatty

        We are just letting the multiple crises dump loads of suffering and desperation pile up in our cities and towns. All Homeless people are not a stereotyped modern version of drug addicts and severely mentally ill. Imagine being a single mom or dad, evicted from a domicle with your young children? Not all of these people have friends or family to provide any housing, if so, its temporary. Many of these “street people” are victims of crime. The story about the crime, like the stolen car and chop shop, should not surprise us. The city of Portland is now becoming an example of the “Wild West ” era of “law enforcement and justice”. Divide and conquer is an important chapter of the playbook. Its horrible that homeless camps exist at an increasingly higher level. Its horrible that thieves are egregiously stealing property and contribute to violence. Please take care.

    6. Soredemos

      That article author is an insufferable dipstick upset that his property values are being impacted. He doesn’t care about the homeless, he cares that they’re now ruining the nice neighborhoods and trails.

      I particularly like this choice bit:

      “It’s hard to know how to feel about this. We’re witnessing extreme human tragedy. But many of these people intentionally started using hard drugs, on top of all their other problems. If they didn’t become homeless because of their drug habit, it’s an even more incomprehensibly poor decision which more than anything else keeps them on the street.”

      Yes, why on earth would someone whose life has fallen apart choose to seek refuge in temporary oblivion. Truly this is a great mystery.

    7. The Rev Kev

      Guys, I should have extended my comment to the obvious. Have you ever thought of where all these homeless people would have been about two or three generations ago? Seriously think about it for a minute. I am going to say that most of them would be working at jobs. Maybe renting or saving up for a home and establishing a life. They would have been your friends and neighbours.

      They would be probably partnered and thinking about raising kids. They would also be paying taxes and have hobbies and interests. Yes, some of them would still be homeless or maybe crims and druggies but I bet most of them would not. So what changed over the past forty odd years? I’ll let you work that out yourselves. Hint. It starts with ‘neo’ and ends with ‘liberalism’.

      If you dislike the homeless I will not blame you. But this is like having massive heat waves, red skies, massive more frequent hurricanes, flooding in areas never seen before and saying that you hate living through them all but never taking the next step and understanding what is causing all this. Those people that are homeless and living on the streets? They are the collateral damage of our present economic system. So you either just accept all that suffering or you start to ask yourself whether our economic system is actually not fit for purpose.

    1. Carly

      Every hour, taxpayers in the United States are paying
      $2.28 million for Care for War on Terror Veterans since 2001.

      $354,449,305,601 (figure from moving counter)

      Homeland Security Costs of War Since 2001

      Every hour, taxpayers in the United States are paying
      $7.99 million for Homeland Security Costs of War Since 2001.

      $1,054,072,569,605 (As of a few minutes ago, it’s a moving counter.)

      https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/

      Remember this when someone tells you that M4A is “too expensive”

    2. Ian Perkins

      In the interests of fairness and objectivity, it is important to point out that they say more than $83 billion, which is true, rather than only $83 billion, which is your libellous distortion of their words.

      1. Brian Beijer

        I wouldn’t say Michael Ismoe was being libellous or distorting the intention of the New York Times by pointing out the incredulousness of the 83 billion as the amount. Even though it is true that they wrote “more than”, the implication is that the exact amount is somewhere close to 83 billion. By your logic the NYT could have written “despite the United States having poured more than $1 in weapons”. It would also techincally be true but somewhat suspicious. By choosing the number 83 billion, my take is that they want the reader to believe that “around” 83 billion is the actual amount.

        1. Ian Perkins

          Politically motivated sophistry. By your logic, “Bezos is worth more than me” implies he’s just scraping by, or I’m a multi-billionaire. I expect a bee or an ant could see that eighty-three billion, let alone two or three trillion, is more than one, but far from only one. You just want the reader to believe the New York Times is not a venerable institution printing all the news that’s fit to print.

          1. Brian Beijer

            Politically motivated sophistry

            That made me laugh out loud! I live in Sweden. I truly don’t have a dog in this fight. To question the logic that the U.S. only spent “approximately” 83 billion dollars in the Afghan war over the past 20 years has nothing to do with politics. It is simply questioning a very dubious claim. And yes, by citing a specific amount the NYT do imply that the actual amount is close to 83 billion. If they had an actual number of 150 billion dollars and just wrote “more than 83 billion”; it would be what the MSM calls “misinformation”. Did the NYT give a source for this figure? Do you have a source that subtantiates their claim?

            You just want the reader to believe the New York Times is not a venerable institution printing all the news that’s fit to print.

            Dang. Now, I’m wondering if we’re just being punk’d.

            1. Ian Perkins

              I’m glad I made you laugh! I never expected anyone would take my “In the interests of fairness and objectivity” seriously. Many apologies for any mental pain, trigger issues, or incredulousnessosis I may have caused.

              1. tegnost

                In the interests of fairness and objectivity, it is important to point out that they say more than $83 billion, which is true, rather than only $83 billion, which is your libellous distortion of their words.

                Honestly, that does not sound like you were kidding.

                  1. tegnost

                    The point is that if someone just takes the top search result from google you probably should discount that persons claims.

      2. RMO

        Ian Perkins: Gotta use the /s, ;-) or :-)

        :-)

        I would mostly single out “despite” as being the problematical word in that headline. One incompetent and corrupt entity pours money into another incompetent and corrupt entity. The more money, the worse it gets. I would say it’s more like “because of the Untied States having poured more than $83 billion…”

    3. David

      The reasons for this collapse – which should not have come as a surprise – are more fundamental than these stories suggest, and can be traced ultimately to a concept of the military and its function which is very American, and which is shared as much by the NYT and liberal elites, as by the most gung-ho militarist.

      Consider: the traditional US distrust of the standing army, the inherited liberal disdain for the military in general, and more recent fear of the Military Industrial Complex have produced a concept of the military which grudgingly accepts the requirement for territorial defence, but nothing else. The American military has been brought up to defend the homeland and undertake wars abroad. It hates doing anything else – the US Army had to be dragged kicking and screaming into Bosnia after the war, and was forever trying to get out again. The political and intellectual classes in the US strongly share this view. There’s a entire branch of US Political Sciences – Civil-Military Relations – dedicated to going around the world telling off militaries for being too involved in internal affairs, and trying to “re-orient” and “re-professionalise” them towards conventional combat in defence of frontiers. American security officials and intellectuals are almost incapable, in my experience, of understanding that the most basic task of any military is to ensure the monopoly of legitimate force and defend the political system in place.

      Now that may be OK for the US, with its very special history. But of course it means that the US seeks to impose this concept of the military on other states as well. In Afghanistan, the US was not the only actor with the military, but it was the principal one, and the planning documents called explicitly for the creation, over time, of an Army which resembled the US at a smaller scale, with the same type of equipment and doctrine. The war was thus lost from the beginning, because the Army the US was trying to create was just unsuited to the war that was being fought. The assumption behind the reconstruction of the Army, as with the Police, the Civil Service, the Diplomatic Service and just about every other part of the state was that the war against the Taliban was won, or soon would be, and the business of creating a liberal state with liberal state organs could now begin.
      The epitaph on twenty years of trying to do the wrong thing.

      1. Michaelmas

        the planning documents called explicitly for the creation, over time, of an Army which resembled the US at a smaller scale, with the same type of equipment and doctrine.

        So: you make good, relevant points, but the US effort was unrealistic in a deeper way than you suggest.

        The reality is that in Muslim societies that are primarily a compound of competing tribes, each with their own heirarchy and demands for recompense and privilege, with only a thin overlay of a Western-type nation-state imposed from above, these problems are endemic to national militaries. Even someone like Saddam Hussein, for instance, had similar problems building a competent national military in the far more structured context of Iraqi.

        There are Islamic nations that are conspicuous exceptions to this — Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Iran (but Iran is Shiite and was/is Persia, a long-standing civilization-state). But given that not even Saddam Hussein in the far-more structured context of Iraq could beat these problems, it was always absolutely hopeless to expect it to be doable in Afghanistan which has never been any kind of nation-state.

        1. David

          My point is that, even if it was doable, it was the wrong thing to do. The only thing that might have stood a chance of success was a counter-insurgency army, but the US simply did not know how to build one, and built armoured brigades instead.

          1. Michaelmas

            David: The only thing that might have stood a chance of success was a counter-insurgency army, but the US simply did not know how to build one

            Then there was no chance of success because I don’t think anybody knows how to build and field a counter-insurgency army today, except arguably the Russians in the Second Chechen War — and the Russians were typically heavy-handed and also existentially motivated since Chechnya borders Russia and they’d had types like Shamil Basayev spread radioactive materials in Izmailovo Park in Moscow and take hundreds of Russians hostage.

            Besides the recent example of the Russians, the only successful counter-insurgency operation in the last seventy-five years I can recall was the British effort in the so-called ‘Malayan Emergency’ in 1957 using 35,000 troops to put down the communist insurgency there.

            To be brief (and thus superficial), the British success was due to:-

            (a) expanding and augmenting very surgical colonial policing techniques to cut the guerrillas off from the mass of Malayans physically, via the Briggs Plan (if you can call forcibly resettling 50,000 villagers in ‘new villages/strategic hamlets’ surgical, which was one part of it);

            (b) psychologically separating the guerrillas from the population with General Templer’s “hearts and minds campaign” which gave out medical and food aid to Malays and indigenous tribes, and used British knowledge of the local cultures;

            (b) and, not least, fielding troops from all over the still-existing British empire, including Gurkhas and African regiments, who were trained to go into the jungle and fight the insurgents there on a one-on-one basis that was this hardcore —

            “Decapitation of suspected insurgents by British forces was also common practice as a way to identify dead guerrillas when it was not possible to bring their corpses in from the jungle. A photograph of a Royal Marine commando holding two insurgents’ heads caused a public outcry in April 1952.”
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayan_Emergency#Decapitations_and_mutilation

            Surgical but routinely in violation of the Geneva Convention, which you wouldn’t get away with in the connected world of 2021 (except by ignoring the rest of the world, as the Russians did in Chechnya). The British also had the advantage of most of the communist insurgents being ethnic Han and thus separable from the general Malayan population to some extent on that basis, while their colonial government was not seen as corrupt and they retained the loyalty of the local police.

            None of this was replicable ten years later in Vietnam by the Americans who used Malaya as a model but failed to understand the first thing about the motivations and the culture that they tried to subdue (see forex MacNamara’s contemptible admission of that in Errol Morris’s The Fog of War ) and ended up, essentially, just trying to bomb the country flat.

            I don’t think it would have been replicable in Afghanistan by anybody. Note that the only two counter-insurgency operations that have succeeded in the last eighty years were carried out by the Russians and the British, and nevertheless both those nations have historically failed in Afghanistan.

            1. David

              To be fair, I would add the French in Algeria (they defeated the FLN militarily) and the Portuguese in Mozambique and Angola, where they were winning, or at least not losing, in 1974. In each case, the financial and political costs were what defeated them, rather than the enemy as such. But in each of these cases, the Armies were reconfigured totally away from the WW2 model, and it is the refusal to even contemplate that, rather than the details, that was the basis of the US failure.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              I think the key point that you mention is that the rebels in Malaysia were mostly ethnic Chinese. This made it comparatively easy for the British to malign them as ‘outsiders’ and exploit Malay resentment at what were perceived to be incomers. This also happened of course a decade later in Indonesia and in reverse in Cambodia.

              The core strategy of all successful imperial and colonial states from at least the time of the Romans was to exploit local ethnic/political/cultural differences to ensure that rebels could be marginalised, and preferably eliminated by local counter insurgency forces.

          2. VietnamVet

            I knew that Afghanistan War was lost when ABC News broadcast, before the invasion of Iraq, a Pentagon propaganda clip about two (what are now called) Operatives going through a walled village looking to grab and interrogate the local Haji.

            To use the “Red Dawn” movie analogy, it is no different than the Cuban Airborne going through Las Vegas NM and rounding up Baptist Rotarians. The real and the fictional wars didn’t end well for the invaders. “Wolverines!”
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REKLC3s30Mw

    4. Lambert Strether

      > This implosion comes despite

      That’s a typo. Not “despite.” Because.

      A significant portion of the liberal intelligentsia is actually bashing Biden for the Afghanistan withdrawal, when Biden had the stones to actually bite the bullet and recognize failure (proving once again that Biden is a better President than Obama, though I grant this is a very low bar).

      So maybe we’ll have a harder time invading other countries now. Boo hoo.

      S

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I think it is semi-hilarious (because vomiting is the other option) that the people most concerned about “the safety of the women of Afghanistan” are the same politicians who vote to make abortion illegal and defund Planned Parenthood in their own country.

        1. Tom Doak

          I don’t think that is true. There are plenty of liberal voters [basically all of Hillary Clinton’s base] who think we should be in Afghanistan to defend women there. The difference is that when war profiteering is a side benefit, there are also lots of Republicans on board.

          1. Michaelmas

            I know this is the United States of Amnesia, but let’s put all these worthy Americans concerned about “the safety of the women of Afghanistan” in their historical context.

            To whit: back during the Carter administration, one of the principal means that Zbigniew Brzezinski directed be used in order to incite the then-Mujahidin/now-Taliban to rise against the then-Soviet-sponsored government in Kabul was promotion of the fact that the government was — quel horreur! — educating Afghan women.

            1. Ian Perkins

              The BBC’s Yelda Hakim was born in Kabul, though admittedly grew up in Australia. Her article gives the impression that elementary rights and freedoms for Afghan women arrived with the US invasion:
              “They all say the same thing – we stepped out on a limb because we were encouraged by the Americans and their allies to do so. For 20 years the West has inspired, financed and sheltered this new generation of Afghans. They have grown up with freedoms and opportunities that they fully embraced.”
              Even a simple Google image search for “afghan women 1970s” would at the very least indicate Afghan women in those days were not all confined to the home and the burka.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, this is getting repeated so often its become received wisdom. The Irish travel writer Dervla Murphy wrote a great travelogue about her time in Afghanistan in the early 1960’s. One thing she noted was that often parents discouraged their daughters from studying not because they didn’t want them educated, but they feared that a city education would raise their expectations to a level that couldn’t be sustained, leaving them with a life of bitterness.

                At the time, Afghanistan was surprisingly open and liberal (at least in terms of how we perceive it now). If it hadn’t been for the great powers playing games on Afghanistan soil, it could well be a very different country now.

    5. Paradan

      Its 83 billion spent on the ANA. Total spent on Afghanistan since 2001 is around 2 trillion, this includes around 500 billion in interest, and 250 billion on veterans.

    6. Louis Fyne

      a bit off topic, but Afghanistan should be a good allegory/parable to smug urban elites that it is the “deplorables” in the hinterlands (food,water, power, logistics) who ultimately control the fate of cities. (poli sci 101: you can’t govern without the consent of the governed)

      Opposing force controlling the hinterlands and leisurely besieging urban elites has been played out countless times, see Paris Commune. hope that never plays out here.

  18. fresno dan

    Cute Experiment Reveals How Your Cat Probably Wants Its Meals Served Science Alert (Chuck L). I always made my cats sit up (as in stand on their hind legs briefly) to get dinner. But that’s a lot less work than doing a puzzle.

    I’m a lazy cat….oh, nothing to do with the article, I’m just a lazy cat…

  19. Carly

    What we would do if Amazon illegally installed lockers in our park:

    Epoxy all the locks then paint it over and convert the locker into a community billboard.

    We did the same with sidewalk level billboards.

    Go with the flow, don’t fight it.

    1. Skunk

      You can probably thank Lewis No-Joy for these lockers. Amazon may foresee problems with the Post Office costs/delivery times. Maybe you’ll have to pick stuff near your home?

  20. Tom Pfotzer

    Exiting the Climate Change Doom-Loop
    ========================

    We are despondent because we clearly see environmental disaster looming, and we can’t turn the ship we’re on.

    There are many of us, but:

    a. We are diffused; we have no strong shared image about core problems and remedies, so
    b. We can’t make a plan, so
    c. We can’t marshal resources, and so
    d. We can’t change anything

    I vote for exiting this doom-loop.

    I want to restore Agency – the power to act – to the aware-motivated-capable people of the world. People like you.

    I have some ideas about how to break out of the doom-loop. No doubt you do, too.

    Is it time to dedicate a thread to this subject?

    1. AE90

      I know a lot of people around me who are using their agency to make a difference in my locality. They also are not trying to attract “investors” to “grow” it into a big money makers. The opposite, in fact. They don’t recognize a doom-loop, they carry on through successes and failures. I think what is needed is for more people not to wait for permission to have “Agency.” I certainly don’t any more. We all need to learn to go around obstacles created by gatekeepers of doom and we will find each other naturally, with the less fanfare, the better.

      1. Tom Pfotzer

        AE90:

        I’m glad you didn’t and don’t wait for “agency”. And I agree that we musn’t wait for permission. I’m glad you made that point.

        I have read a few recent threads here @NC expressing deep frustration because effective-enough steps to address climate change and biosphere impairment don’t seem to be happening.

        I am definitely feeling doom-loop frustration. I see it in commentary many places.

        I also recognize that my own “agency” – acted out over my adult life – isn’t making a lot of headway .vs. the scale and velocity of the problem.

        I have decided that it’s time to change tactics, and I’m trying to find out if others see it the same way.

        1. AE90

          In my 60+ years of experience, individuals building community independence is the only way to non-participation in destruction for profit.

          1. Tom Pfotzer

            Ae90: Is that 60+ yrs of lifespan, or adult / actively-engaged-with-problem experience?

            Not being smarty-pants. I’m interested.

            ======= separately…

            I’m very attuned to the idea of “community independence”.

            My locale is more in the “let’s recycle plastic bags” end of the continuum as contrasted with the “let’s construct a viable local economy that fixes the planet as we make a living” end.

            If you’ve been clever enough to build/seek/move to that latter of the engagement spectrum, well, here’s a tip-o-the-hat.

            :)

            1. AE90

              I fail to understand how we are not actively engaged with “problems” from birth–I think you would benefit from speaking with children of all ages, I do.
              And “clever” has nothing to do with my present situation. IMO, cleverness is what gets us into trouble. I kept my eyes open and had specific goals in mind. Getting rich was not one of them. Thx for the H/T.

              1. Tom Pfotzer

                It seems I have somehow offended you. I apologize.

                I do deal with children of all ages. Most of them are adults.

                If you take issue with the common definition of “clever”, may I substitute “wise”.

                1. Tom Pfotzer

                  @AE90:

                  :)

                  I’ve not heard that term “neurodivergent” before.

                  Boy, do we need neurodivergents. I have a pet theory about the value of outsiders, and how major change comes from that pool outside-in, and rarely inside-out.

                  Have you read much by Joseph Campbell? He talks a lot about myths, and how “heroes” are responsible for obtaining new ideas from the wild and propagating them into the mainstream. And getting roundly punished for their efforts.

                  :)

                  I thought about your response to the Doom Loop assertion. May I offer up a little more detail.

                  I understand that:

                  * “Doom” talk is not a great sales sales strategy. Rotten bananas are not great sellers @ groc store.

                  * Local resilience/communities are decidedly valuable as adaptation mechanisms

                  The thing that finally tipped me over the edge into doom-talk was the realization that velocity and scope of human biosphere degradation has so vastly outstripped both the recharge-rate of the environment and the adaptation-rate of we humans.

                  The current level – aggregate level , not pockets-of-brilliance level – of take-up of adaptive behavior can be likened to digging a mountain with a teaspoon.

                  The scale of problem .vs. response is so wildly out whack as to be past ridiculous.

                  Many people – maybe not you, but still quite a number, accept my assertion.

                  I’m 64. I spent a good bit of the last 30 years re-positioning me w/r/t the “problem”. “Fix me first” was the notion. Probably you did this, as well. Lots of us did.

                  But if – and I said “if” – my assessment of problem-scale .vs. response-scale is right, all my “fix me first” goes to naught. Still get run over by the steam-roller.

                  That realization encourages one to ask “is there a way to change the scale mis-match?”

                  I hope that helps explain and maybe even justify the doom-talk.

                  I’ll leave you with this, and it’s good for a laugh. Have you heard about “Mount Stupid” yet? I just came across this notion a few days ago, and here’s a link:


                  Picture of Mount Stupid

                  I have my lawn-chair set up somewhere on the top of Mount Stupid, and I’m trying to navigate a bit more to the “better” part of the curve.

                  There’s no ignominy about Mount Stupid. For any given issue, most of us visit it. The question is “how long do I camp there?”

                  And that’s why I think it’s so worthwhile to devote a thread to the Doom-Loop. Either it’s real, or not.

                  A lot of emotion and effort is being allocated to the subject, and I think we should blow off the fog, assess it accurately, and either do something about it, or stop talking about it.

                  The commotion and diffusion caused by the uncertainty is expensive.

  21. Jeff W

    63 people in Martha’s Vineyard have tested positive for Covid since Obama’s 60th birthday bash Daily Mail

    Many of the guests flew in by private jet and stayed in Edgartown, the center of the island’s COVID resurgence.

    But [despite the requirement that party attendees take tests and submit their results to gain entry to the compound] some of the island’s residents scoffed at the measures to create a COVID-free zone, given that partygoers were circulating between various events and locations, in a town raging with a Delta strain that spreads quickly.

      1. Mantid

        And hastened the death of our civilization by flying. But hey, if you’re rich enough to attend this party, when the flood comes, you’ll just fly where the drought is.

  22. 1UknownSubject

    Taibbi says: “Obama was set up to be the greatest of American heroes, but proved to be a common swindler and one of the great political liars of all time — he fooled us all.”

    Didn’t fool us all – as he didn’t fool me – I saw through him immediately – have been patiently waiting for more of you to see it as well.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        It was this fantastic Family Blog that pulled yours truly out of the haze via Adolph Reed’s 1996 assessment of Obama:

        “In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program — the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.”

        Thank you, yet again, #NC.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      We could start here:

      Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil.

      1. tegnost

        Fossil fuels…Aren’t you a kidder.
        They’ll take it out of food stamps so those lazy serfs get to work.

        A tax cut and cheap labor for the win!

  23. Mikel

    “The New Era of Extractivism…”

    “… “investor-state clause,” under which corporations can sue governments over public interest laws, such as environmental or worker safety and health provisions, that could potentially lower their profits…”

    This type of fascism is what makes concepts like the neoliberal idea that every individual can be responsible for their own health such a lie.
    There is nowhere for you to go in the world with death traps such as “investor-state clauses” in existence.

    This is the kind of activism book that deserves a read. The people in this part of El Salvador knew they couldn’t give in. After assasinations of some activitists, it probably was obvious to any doubters left in the community that this was pure evil that would eventually kill you too.
    If you don’t fight this type of human garbage, it’s your life.

  24. Pat

    The Hillary Clinton running for Governor article is a trial balloon. Reportedly state party officials are approaching her, she hasn’t expressed any interest. The article ends with a list of possible candidates that is essentially a laundry list of every Democratic office holder who has been in the news outside of anyone who pushed for the impeachment before it became about bad management style.

    Okay call me wild and crazy but there is little there there. I may not buy that Hillary’s sticky fingers aren’t helping to produce such speculation, but that is all it is. (When one of two people that Hochul talked to in the 24 hours following Cuomo’s resignation is Hillary she is still very clearly keeping her hand in.)

    1. Michael Ismoe

      There’s a vacancy in the Lieutenant Governor’s office that needs to be filled. The call of duty has always been strong in the Clinton household.

  25. Michael

    I know anything that seems like eye poking China is a source of irritation for you Yves, but the Reuters piece is interesting on several fronts.

    Not least of these being the study took place in an environment where the Lambda variant was widely circulating, and the severe outcomes were still low – in this case using an inactivated-type vaccine.

    However, this was not “all infections” any more than any other vaccine trial tracked “all infections”:

    While the Peru study included asymptomatic infections, Solari cautioned that they didn’t conduct real-time testing to identify infections rigorously.

    “The vast majority of tests took place because health workers developed symptoms,” Solari said. “Some got tested because they suspected infection, but the vast majority was because they had symptoms.”

    It is also notable, in a strange way, to find the Chinese political class themselves do not seem as discomfited by the very same news.

  26. Mikel

    Re: “Covid study: How to avoid catching virus in a shared car”

    Almost 2 years into the pandemic and now the aerosol spread is being addressed as it should be!

    This is worth a read by every company trying to pile people back into office buildings and shared bathrooms.
    Why isn’t there a study like this being done and on office air filtration?

    And beyond Covid, imagine how many airborne viruses can be avoided with these types of precautions.

    1. Ian Perkins

      I think while the same basic idea goes for offices, schools, hospitals and buildings generally – in a word, ventilation – cars are rather easier to model as they’re roughly similar in size, shape and layout. I’ve read several articles saying ‘Well, it’s very hard to generalise, each room is different, when it comes to the details it all depends.”

      I found this recent article interesting – the author modelled the Diamond Princess, helping to prod the WHO and CDC into grudgingly acknowledging aerosols:
      https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/scientist-says-cleaning-indoor-air-could-make-us-healthier-and-smarter

      WHEN THE FIRST REPORTS of the new coronavirus emerged from Wuhan, China, in January 2020, Allen realized his years researching air quality and disease transmission in indoor environments had new relevance. “Even though the virus was novel, there are elements in all this that feel quite familiar,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a radiological hazard, biological hazard, or chemical hazard. We know how to assess the risk and put in appropriate controls.”

      “One of our biggest frustrations over the past year is that we knew enough to act early on,” Allen says. “Even by late January 2020 we knew that airborne transmission of aerosols was not only likely, but probable.” Waiting for proof made no sense. “This was a pandemic, an all-in moment, so why wouldn’t we have immediately deployed every strategy that could have helped?” Those strategies, Allen knew from his research, include bringing more outside air into chronically underventilated buildings and using higher efficiency filters in ventilation units.

    2. Skunk

      If you have no choice but to use a public toilet, try to use one that has a lid. Put the lid down before flushing to reduce the delightful aerosols that will ensue. Toilet plumes may be something to really avoid if at all possible.

  27. Mikel

    “Consumer sentiment measure falls to pandemic-era low, sees one of largest drops on record” CNBC

    You know that old phrase “the market can stay irrational, longer than you can stay solvent”?

    How about “people can stop buying a lot of high-priced crap longer than you can stay solvent”?

  28. Mantid

    Thanks NC readers and staff. Off to play in the garden. Nearing the end of canning many many jars of fruit juices and now the greens and veggies are on every counter top. Life is good, enjoy this specific day.

  29. Soredemos

    >Texas Policeman Spots 2 Hungry Horses on Hurricane-Devastated Property, Decides to Step In Epoch Times

    Weird copaganda puff piece. The degree to which Officer John Cena there is jacked is pretty worrying as well.

    Epoch Times is the rag put out by the Falun Gong cult. I get free ones in the mail every few months, and I keep and treasure them. They’re pure comedy gold.

  30. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    Carrots didn’t work, sticks didn’t work. Olivia Rodrigo didn’t work. But maybe learning that Ben Franklin didn’t vaccinate his kid against smallpox 200 years ago, maybe that will do it. This could be the thing that tips the U.S. up to 51.1.9 percent Covid safe!

  31. Ian Perkins

    The World May Never Reach Herd Immunity Against Covid-19

    It may be able to do better! If we survive our first infection or we’re vaccinated (safer), our next infection will be milder – and serve as a natural and powerful booster shot. Well, that’s the idea more or less, and infections are beginning to look unavoidable in the long run, bar some magic bullet appearing.

    Breakthrough Infection: Is It A Boon In Disguise In The Fight Against Covid-19? – Outlook India

    Health experts say that on one hand, it is a cause for concern that vaccinated people can be a spreader of the virus, on the other, it is a matter of great satisfaction that breakthrough infection is not severe and it gives the benefit of natural immunity to a vaccinated individual without putting his or her life at risk.

    “Natural infection gives immunity which is far superior to vaccine-acquired immunity provided a person survives the natural infection.” – Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, core member, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization

    1. newcatty

      …Natural infection gives immunity which is far superior to vaccine-acquired immunity provided a person survives the natural infection. Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil

      This reminds me of the old saying:
      The operation was a success, but ( unfortunately) the patient died.

      Not to be cynical. There is just so much not known about the virus and vaccines. Or, the other fact that there still is so much known, but not stated.

      1. Ian Perkins

        It says vaccines are the safest way for our immune systems to be introduced to this virus, and it is going to be, sooner or later. If you’ve been infected, you’ll likely get it mild next time; if you ain’t been infected, get vaxxed before you are.

        Could be seen as just an excuse for not trying to eradicate SARS-CoV-2, but like them, I’m seeing that as an increasingly remote possibility.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          There is zero evidence that reinfections are milder and there are documented cases of repeat infections being worse, including a triple infection case where the third was fatal.

          I cannot stand these fabrications to justify having let the contagion becoming widespread and still deploying vaccines as the only remedy.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the mRNA vaccines proved to make all people sterile after five years. And that meant that the future population of the United States would essentially be derived from Trump voters, bubbas and poor black & Hispanic people (and some PHDs). The PMC would be both appalled and horrified.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” ‘Has Never Happened In Our Community’: Amador County Parent Attacks Teacher Over School Mask Mandate”

    I hope that parent was savagely beaten down by police, as it deserves.

    These are not the “unvaccinated-through-no-fault-of-their-own” social class victims. These are vicious evil germ-spreading pro-plague scum. They deserve long-tail covid for life. They deserve no sympathy, none. What kind of self-hating liberal fools believe scum like this deserve any positive consideration given the efforts they are evil-ly and maliciously making to spread disease everywhere.

    God dam the “no mask freedom” rebels. God damn them each. God damn them all. God damn them, every one.

  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    So . . . “Afghan war: Kabul’s young women plead for help as Taliban advance” Really? Really?

    Give them each an AK47 and an RPG launcher. Give them each a few thousand AK rounds and a few hundred launchable grenades. And wish them the best. Their future is up to them, now.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They have done that in places like Russia in the past and with the present Kurds. Apparently there is a bit of a horror for a Jihadists to be killed by a woman as it messes with their martyrdom.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    In all seriousness and with no sarcasm at all, here is the suggestion I would have offered a “concerned world” if anyone had bothered to ask me in time.

    Let all the countries of the world agree to take in a percent of those Afghans who would find life under the Taliban to be unpleasant. Bring them all out of Afghanistan and distribute them in handle-able proportions all over the world. Drain every brain capable of civilization out of Afghanistan.

    So the ISI and its Pakistan want themselves a “strategic depth rear area” in their ongoing jihadi war against India? So the ISI and its Pakistan want a 13th century government in Afghanistan? Let the ISI and its Pakistan have themselves a 13th century population in a 13th century Afghanistan, then. Let the ISI and its Pakistan deal with that burden and expression of their own ISI morality.

    That’s what I would have suggested, in all seriousness. Nobody asks my advice, though.

    If the Taliban become a problem, maybe China will discipline them with the dispassionate brutality they deserve.

  35. Soredemos

    >Afghan war: Kabul’s young women plead for help as Taliban advance BBC

    We should never have been in Afghanistan to begin with (in 2001 or in 1979). And it’s ultimately a good thing, for the peace of the country as a whole, that we’re leaving, however belatedly. That said, we’ve gone about it in a horrible manner. If I had been Biden (or Trump, for that matter, had he shown any inclination to actually commit to his supposed anti-imperialist inclinations), I would have tried to work out an explicit deal with the Taliban. Something like:

    “Give us six months of no major actions on your part, and we’ll do an orderly withdrawal. We’ll also offer every collaborator and university student the chance to emigrate outside Afghanistan. We know you’re going to round up and kill a bunch of these people when you get the chance, and we don’t want that. Assuming you just want them gone, not necessarily dead, we’ll endeavor to take them with us.”

    Of course, this may very well have been politically infeasible for both sides. For the US it obviously carries at least the implication that we would be assuming the government we spent 20 years ‘building’ had no future (which clearly it doesn’t), and for the Taliban they’d be wise to assume any expats would be a potential tool for the US to use later to try and undermine the Taliban. So my idea was probably always a pipe dream.

    Simply put it sucks, to put it mildly, for the educated women of Afghanistan. They put their trust, probably ill-advisedly, in a US project that was almost certainly doomed from the outset. It’s probable many of them are going to end up dead, and many more will have their futures destroyed by being stuffed back into a sharia straitjacket. Likely their only hope is how much the Taliban will feel like trying to enforce strict rules in the cities. They may prefer to ideologically dominate in the rural majority of the country, while leaving the cities relatively liberal havens. I’m guessing all the women in any position of real authority, like the judges, that’s all going to go away however.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Someone should help them all emigrate, if there is still time. All the thousands of women who want to retain freedom and all the million or so girls who would like to keep going to school. Move them all into countries where they could do so legally.

      1. Brian Beijer

        Lol. So someone should help all 38 million people emigrate? Because that is what would happen. No one wants to live there. Not even the Taliban would choose to live in Aghanistan if they had some place better to go. I know. I’ve worked with many Aghan young adults who fled Aghanistan in 2015 to come to Europe. Some of them were wealthy (by Afghan standards), most of them were dirt poor, some of them probably were Taliban and some were probably “anti-Taliban”. Few of them wanted to talk about the politcal problems in the country, and they all got along pretty well with one another regardless of their past differences. The vast majority were completely uninterested in religion or politics of any sort. What they all talked about, except for the few “wealthy” ones, was how f**king poor they were and hard it was to survive. I will never forget how one of the guys was amazed that I spit out my chewing gum after only a couple of hours. He said that when he was lucky to be given a piece of chewing gum, he would stick it to his wall at night so that he could continue chewing it the next day.
        The U.S. f*cked this country’s chance of being a decent place to live over 50 years ago. Since then, they’ve insured that the country was bombed into the stone ages decade after decade. If you allow an emigration policy for all who want to leave; there will be no one left. I’m not in any way condoning a policy of not allowing emigration. I just think one shouldn’t be naive when opening that pandora’s box. My two cents is that the U.S. absolutely should allow any Afghan to immigrate to the U.S who wants to leave. “If you break it; you buy it” is a good rule for the U.S. to start living by.

  36. none

    Anthony Weiner announces NY governor bid in wake of Cuomo resignation BeetPress (UserFriendly)

    I didn’t spot right away that this is satire.

    1. fresno dan

      none
      August 14, 2021 at 3:58 pm
      When I first glanced, I thought it said, BeefPress
      I think people who know me can imagine what I was …er, imagining

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If any other Democrats try running against Weiner, Sanders should support them. That would probably get Hillary Clinton to come out and support Weiner. And her millions of pink pussy hat followers would then vote for Weiner.

      And that would be pretty funny.

  37. Jason Boxman

    Oh, campaign season, how I’ve missed you. And our liberal Democrats are ready to FIGHT! For access!

    Terry McAuliffe is running to fight for your access to health care. Will you pitch in $10 or more to help him win this November?

    I love me some fundraising emails, no?

    This list is being run through NGP VAN. This is what I get from donating to a Democrat aligned NGO once a year and a half ago. (Or someone ‘rediscovered’ my email from the early 2000s when I’d donate to liberal Democrats before I knew better and now it’s back in the system.)

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      The email lists belong/are run/maintained by the candidates and organizations.

      Candidates/organizations are all walled off in the VAN. They pay for access to the VAN via the state party, but this is mostly voting and some survey data. When the campaign is over, they stop paying and lose access to the info they put into their VAN.

      Candidates/organizations also can pay for NGP VAN which is software that runs the completion and sending of the emails.

      It’s a complicated grift.

  38. Maritimer

    A Sicilian Town Sends an Omen of a Much Hotter Future New York Times (furzy)
    ******
    Paywalled for me. Those interested in things Sicilian might want to check out the Italian series, Montelbano. Watch out Metooers as the Boss’s sidekick is a womanizer and Montelbano himself indulges a bit. Also, M drives a Tipo, a small step up from a Lada. Each episode so far has had some very amusing twists. Must have filmed the series in the winter as no one ever sweats.

    See your local torrent dealer.

    1. oliverks

      Montelbano is actually film right around the little town in Sicily (Florida). The area gets hot, but that heat must be unbearable, because even the bigger towns like Siracusa are not overflowing with air conditioning.

      There is one episode where they are all suffering from a bad heat wave, and they look it.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Love the series and by coincidence have just ordered the latest and last of the DVD in the series. The series had a problem with its own success. When they first started filming the series, it was easy to empty the streets for production but it achieved so much success, that before the pandemic it brought swarms of tourist to come visit the places shown in the series making it harder to film.

  39. drumlin woodchuckles

    Huge Amazon lockers in a Chicago park, eh?

    It would probably be illegal to put superglue in the locks. I heard that if you mix and/or sprinkle with baking soda the superglue before it is hardened ( you have to move fast), that it sets up even more hard and rocklike.

    It would probably be illegal to put poison ivy oil all over those parts of the Amazon locker which someone would touch if they were using the Amazon locker.

    It would probably be illegal to make a whizzed up mixture of fish emulsion, rottable shrimp, gingko berries if you can get any, some urine, etc. and use a very thin hollow plastic tube on the end of a syringe to get your mixture inside the Amazon locker so it could fester in the outdoor heat.

    And I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to break any laws.

    So don’t do those things, or any other thing those things might inspire you to think of.

    1. RMO

      Took me a minute to realize that the page defaults to February 28, 2020 when I opened it. I wondered how the U.S. was listed as having zero cases! I’m surprised by Canada being so low relatively speaking. Things have sure shot up here in BC since the government decided to lift the mask mandates and other measures that were working well. Deaths rates are staying very low relative to earlier this year at least. We’re still more than triple that of Australia which is (rightly) going about lockdowns and other countermeasures.

  40. AE90

    ‘Listen, I’m no different than any other family,’ Murphy said during a coronavirus briefing Monday. ‘After this past 17 months, just having a few days together is something that I think all of us want to do with our family, and I’m looking forward to that.’

    NJ Gov. Phil Murphy as he repairs to his 7 mil dollar villa, Molino di Parrano, in Italy. Goldman Sachs money.

    I wish you a lovely evening, everyone.

  41. Tom Stone

    Anecdata, I took a walk along the Russian River this afternoon and ran into another old fart doing the same.
    Had a nice talk about the drought, and then Covid 19.
    His daughter is also 20 and she came down with the Delta Variant, caught it from her boss lady (She’s a nanny, small bubble) who was fully vaccinated.
    He was feeling very relieved, his daughter was having a very rough time with the bug until he called the Family Doctor who is also a friend of many years and asked if anything could be done
    “He broke the law and provided us with (Redacted) and my daughter was much better within a day”
    She actually texted him while we talked, she had an appetite for the first time in more than a week.
    Yup, the drug that can not be named.
    Just how corrupt is our society when a safe and efficacious treatment for a deadly disease can not be publicly discussed because it might affect the profits of big pharma?
    The USA is a failed state.

  42. sfp

    Fewer than 2% of people have a PhD. If ~25% of those people are vaccine *hesitant*, then that’s (at most) 0.5% of vaccine hesitant people. People who hold a PhD are a diverse group, and the situations in which people come to obtain a PhD are diverse, as well. It seems unclear that having a PhD is the most predictive factor even among that group of 0.5% of people. Either way, not that interesting.

      1. sfp

        A very interesting link, but that isn’t what it says. The “4.5” you’re referring to is the number of people in the US with a PhD in 2018 in millions. Dividing 4.5 million by the number of people in the US (331 million) gives about 1.2%. So, an even lower figured than what I said. I pulled some number that might have been a global percent, but can’t remember where I got it. Thanks for strengthening my argument. ;-)

        There are plenty of PhDs that you can get that don’t necessarily put someone in a better position to evaluate vaccination guidelines. A person with a PhD in microbiology will have been exposed to a wide range of topics in the sciences by the time they have their doctorate in hand. On the other hand, someone with a PhD in a history (a very useful and important thing to study!) won’t necessarily be equally equipped. In American universities, the quality of undergraduate education can be VERY poor, which means History PhD might not know much about statistics, biology, or chemistry. This is especially true in private colleges and universities where grade inflation is an issue.

        On the other hand, my own bit of anecdata: I have a STEM PhD, and know loads of other PhDs, mainly STEM. I have encountered no significant vaccine hesitancy among any of the PhD holders that I know, STEM or otherwise.

        A lot of the other comments responding to this article seem to… reflect a bit of personal bias, let’s say. There are certainly people with PhDs who believe they “know better” about most things, who have huge egos and a jaundiced view of science and society because of their own embittering experiences and failures, are maladjusted and neurotic, etc, etc. This is an entertaining trope, but doesn’t generalize very well. There are plenty of happy and functional PhDs who are perfectly capable of getting their shots.

  43. VietnamVet

    There has to be strategic axiom for Imperialists not to so lose sight of reality that you end up sending in 5,000 troops in the Hindu Kush mountains to evacuate the left-behinds. Not that the Greeks, British or the Soviets were any wiser. Only one British soldier made it back in 1842.

    The western corporate state has gotten itself into such deep mess by believing its own propaganda. “Profits over lives” is biting back. Plan A, mRNA vaccines, do not prevent virus transmission. There is no working public health system. Half of all Americans are participants in unmonitored phase III vaccine trials. West Coast towns are burning down. China is closing its ports. Containers are stuck at US ports and railroad yards.

    There is a certain but unknown individual risk for employees from getting the mandated two jabs and showing up at the workplace. Economies go bust in uncertain times; i.e., losing wars, plagues, missing workers, supply shortages, cities filling with the homeless, and/or wide spread destruction.

  44. drumlin woodchuckles

    About simmering employee-class rebellion, here is an “I Quit” letter from someone who quit. And let Reddit see it and know it.

    https://i.redd.it/b5tbboaiweh71.jpg

    I don’t know who this person is, of course. Or who the hotel chief is, or what hotel it is. But just on general principals, I hope this ” I Quit” person has enough friends and relatives to keep her safe, alive and confortable long enough for the hotel to fail without her presence and for the hotel to shut down and go into liquidation, if there is a potential for that to happen. Visible loss is the only learnable lesson.

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