You bloody fool’: Australian talking duck proves birds can imitate speech Guardian
MCILVANNEY AND ME: IAN RANKIN REMEMBERS THE MAN WHO CREATED TARTAN NOIR Crime Reads
Turbulent Music, Turbulent Life New York Review of Books
Ida-Deluged NYC Drainage System All But Forgotten in Climate Battle The City
Bengal: 24 Tea Garden Workers Critically Injured in Lightning Strikes The Wire
Giant Anteaters Travel Farther to Find Cooling Forests Treehugger
Reuniting an Orphan Elephant and Her Mom, Perhaps, With DNA and Luck NYT
Train Travel in the U.S. Is Getting More Luxurious Conde Nast Traveler
What Bond villains tell us about the world we live in BBC
Strong quake rocks Mexico’s Acapulco, damaging airport and killing one Reuters
In the hunt for novel antibiotics, will new technology overtake underwater exploration? Stat
Coronavirus: Joe Biden to outline plan to curb Delta variant as cases grow South China Morning Post
Military doctors shore up exhausted health teams in US south amid Covid surgeth amid Covid surge Guardian
Cases of ‘Mu’ variant start to rise in US – with 2,300 cases appearing in 49 states – as experts fear it could be more contagious than Delta and RESISTANT to vaccines Daily Mail
Rutgers bars unvaccinated student from attending virtual classes NY Post
As experts debate boosters, vaccinated people are calling their own shots WaPo
Ohio judge reverses colleague’s decision on covid patient’s ivermectin treatment: ‘Judges are not doctors’ WaPo
V-Safe: How Everyday People Help the CDC Track Covid Vaccine Safety With Their Phones Kaiser Health News
Israel’s Covid Surge Shows the World What’s Coming Next Bloomberg
20 Months In, Gaps Persist In India’s Official Covid-19 Data India Spend
India ‘Prepares for the Worst’ Ahead of Possible COVID-19 Third Wave The Wire
Israel’s Covid Surge Shows the World What’s Coming Next Bloomberg
AAPS Letter to AMA Re: Ivermectin and COVID Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Moral Majority Media Strikes Again TK News. Matt Taibbi
L.A.’s Affordable Housing Programs Leave Low-Income Renters in the Dark Capital & Main
Dallas Fed’s Robert Kaplan Was Active Buyer and Seller of Stocks Last Year WSJ
Incoming Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin Owns Insider Stock in Firm That Arranges Sky-High Interest Loans The City
This is a call-your-Senators moment New York.
Hochul’s nomination of Harris is a bad idea and should not go through.
A Fintech Fox in the Regulatory Henhouse https://t.co/0o53rfTLHW
— Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) September 7, 2021
This is gonna end well (for Wall Street)https://t.co/jqDCNHK3SA
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) September 7, 2021
Sardinia Burning London Review of Books
As Himalayan nations deal with glacial floods, cooperation is the key to mitigate disasters Scroll
Will Fossil Fuel Giants Be Held Accountable? Daily Poster
Big Brother IS Watching You Watch
How Facebook Undermines Privacy Protections for Its 2 Billion WhatsApp Users ProPublica
Americans warier of US government surveillance: AP-NORC poll AP
Abbott signs Texas elections bill, Democrats file suit The Hill
Mexico Supreme Court says criminalising abortion unconstitutional Al Jazeera
Our Famously Free Press
Politico runs Lockheed Martin puff piece amid sponsorship questions Responsible Statecraft
In NYC after Ida, Biden calls climate ‘everybody’s crisis’ AP
Nicola Sturgeon starts work on a new push for Scottish independence Guardian
Boris Johnson plan to fund health and social care lifts UK tax burden to 70-year high FT
Boris Johnson’s big tax-and-spend gamble Politico
UK’s Boris Johnson to hike taxes to tackle Covid and social-care crises CNBC
Brussels ups the ante in rule-of-law dispute with Poland POLITICO
Paris 2015 attacks: Trial of 20 men begins Deutsche Welle
September 7th: the Greatest Crime Brasil Wire
American Failure: Washington’s Doomed New Way of Waging War Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn.
Afghanistan’s Money Exchangers Are the Economy’s Last Best Hope Foreign Policy
National Interests Sarah Chayes
US-built databases a potential tool of Taliban repression AP
Hundreds protest in Kabul against Pakistan involvement in Afghanistan Deutsche Press e-Agentur
Why Is Iran So Keen on Joining the SCO? The Diplomat
Neoliberals, anti-imperialists and the China question Asia Times
India restricts religious festivals over new Covid surge fears Agence France Presse
Antidote du Jour (via):
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.
And a bonus video (chuck l):
Release of injured bald eagle to nature after treatment. Freeeeeeeeedooooom!pic.twitter.com/FhvY5RmX6u
— Figen.. (@TheFigen) September 7, 2021
re: Train Travel in the U.S. Is Getting More Luxurious – Conde Nast Traveler
Infuriating puff piece that reads like it’s written by someone who has never ridden Amtrak. Maybe the title should be “Luxury trains for the right sort of people, coming soon!”
I like trains. I like riding trains. I don’t like smelly bathrooms, sitting on the sidelines for an hour waiting for a cargo train to go past, or six, seven, or thirty-six hours late trains, or crowded ‘2nd class’ seating, with stale plastic-wrapped overpriced food. Train service for the average citizen in the USA is a third-world experience. It’s an effing disgrace.
I can go anywhere in Europe and step onto a decent, clean, efficient train, at moderate cost. Maybe that’s possible in the US, but if so I haven’t seen it. The Conde Nast article makes me want to throw my laptop at the wall.
Completely agree. Wife and I rode the California Zephyr last month on a BOGO roomette deal. “Let’s not do that again,” was our reaction. Piss everywhere, porters refusing to do anything until a substantial tip is presented. Every Crew Change. Argh.
Denver to Grand Junction is great, though, but not enough to go through it again.
When I was much younger, I hopped freights to cross the country. The absolute best was riding from Grand Junction to Denver with a couple other guys, sitting in the door of the boxcar watching the gorgeous scenery roll by. Plus we didn’t have to eat the AMTRAK “food”.
> When I was much younger, I hopped freights to cross the country
There is a whole genre of train hopping YouTube videos:
I have traveled by train many times from the 1950’s. I have not traveled since about 1988 so I haven’t encountered your accounts of “pissy toilets”. The double-decked design of the cars puts me off. Nearly all the seats are 15 or 20 feet above the track and the car sways back and forth on the roadbed the entire time. This is not an enjoyable sensation, especially for hours on end. The country-side views from the tracks are unique however and I remember pulling into Seattle during rush hour and having all the traffic stop for us!.
Knew a guy years ago who worked for Conde Nasty, the staff bring a whole new level of meaning to the notion of the “NYC bubble”. Those people need a map to find lower Manhattan. They are, in my view, essentially lifestyle pornographers, like the adjective-addicted scribblers at Saveur. They strive to create a fantasy world, for themselves as much as the reader. They have no grasp of conditions on the ground around their office building, let alone the national stage.
lifestyle porn, indeed
conde nast copy is there to sell the ads
Trains in Europe are generally better than the ones in the US, but certain countries do it better than others. I enjoyed my train rides in Switzerland, not so much in France, Italy and the Eastern European countries. Punctuality can be a problem even in countries like Germany, and in Italy there were a couple of times when I would be stuck in a city because of strikes.
Anyway, no one does trains better than the Japanese. US Train Travel might be getting better but they are still 100 years behind the Japanese. Speaking of toilets, even the ones in huge Japanese train stations are super clean.
In Italy, the transport strikes are announced well in advance and the reduced service strike schedules are published on the carriers’ websites at the same time. The goal is to minimally inconvenience travelers while still making their point.
no one does trains better than the Japanese
I notice China has over eight times as many kilometres of high-speed rail as Japan, though it is a much vaster country, and the cleanliness and comfort may not be up to Japan’s standards.
I took a train from Beijing to Zhenjou in 2000 and it was clean enough, although I recall we hadn a second class ticket — I had heard that 3rd class coaches were very dirty.
If you don’t like stinky bathrooms I don’t recommend Thai railways… it’s a crap shoot whether or not you get a coach where the crew cares about keeping it clean.
I have loved rail travel since I was a child and wish the USA would make the experience more like it was pre-Amtrack.
Having traveled around Japan by train quite a bit, I disagree. I’ve had a last minute train cancellation in Japan (not delay, cancellation) in a small town in Hokkaido which doesn’t have public bus service, so I had to scramble to find alternative transportation (fortunately, small town people in Hokkaido are very willing to help out with this kind of problem, they arranged a car ride for me). I’ve had my own frustrating experiences with Amtrak, but never an outright train cancellation.
Furthermore, the Japanese train system is designed to price out working class people. Several times I talked to Japanese people who said they hardly visited their hometowns/their parents’ hometowns, and I asked ‘why don’t you take the train’ and they said ‘trains are too expensive.’ The Japanese rip out the older cheaper rural lines and replace them with shinkansen with much steeper fares (they don’t want the cheap old lines and the shinkansen to run in parallel because then almost everyone would choose the cheap service and the shinkansen would have almost no riders), which is financially lucrative for the construction companies but prices out lower-income Japanese people, and increases the divide between urban and rural Japanese. So many tourists are oblivious to this because they only visit Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima and use JR Passes, which can only be purchased by non-residents of Japan. Residents of Japan aren’t allowed to get such discounts on train fares.
I can name a number of places which have train systems which serve the locals much better than Japan.
yep. sans JR pass, air travel almost always is better in Japan for anything approaching long haul. Now if money is no object there are some really nice luxury options in Japan.
The JR Pass is indeed excellent value and without it, Shinkansen fares are higher than airfares (because the experience is nicer). But it is not true that the Skinkansen lines have led to the ripping out of rural lines.
There have been some closures or partial closure of very remote lines in the Japanese alps and some services have been withdrawn (for example, with the extension from Honshu to Hokkaido, some of the traditional line services through the tunnel are going to be withdrawn, and there have been some service changes on the west coast because of the new lines) but in general the shinkansen design philosophy is to create new express services to existing stations which can then distribute traffic on existing local routes.
I last travelled in China on the train in 2000. I had some amazing soft-class sleeper journeys (really comfortable, in a restrained way) between Yichang-Beijing, Beijing-Shenyang-Dalian and Harbin-Beijing and some amazing hard class (third class!) sleeper journeys in Manchuria around the North Korean border from Dalian via Mount Changbaishan to Harbin (three tier bunk beds down a carriage with only a curtain for privacy, instant noodles and spitting).
The train toilets were nowhere near as bad as the toilets in my rural destination and the instant noodles were much better than any food I ever ate on Amtrak!
Thats my experience too. The Japanese have kept nearly all their older lines. While the Shinkensen is expensive, normal local services are not. Its a joy to hop on the local town to town services in remote areas and people are super helpful as there is so little information available in English (I spent a long time at my first unmanned local station trying to work out how to pay for my ticket, it turned out that they were sold at a stall in a nearby market).
Its a long time since I’ve taken regular trains in China, they used to be quite an experience, but I’m sure they are a lot more orderly and clean now. While the high speed network in China is excellent, their local services are not great, a legacy of a very disjointed system built prior to WWII.
What do Japanese toilet-cleaners get paid? More than Indian untouchables, no doubt. Expect some Amtrak employees think of themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires,” such work is beneath them, and of course the US business model (more and more work from fewer and fewer workers for less and less pay with more and more micromanagement) likely ensures less than sterling service. Chatter on the subject: https://www.amtraktrains.com/threads/onboard-bathrooms.72073/
LOL. Japanese people are super clean. Students in Japan are expected to clean their own classrooms. https://www.good.is/articles/japan-children-clean-schools
WhoaMolly, totally agree with you. Thinking about riding the Lakeshore Limited again gives me the shakes. It was everything you listed. Have ridden trains in Australia and Switzerland, and when I rode those, I’d compare to Amtrak and Amtrak is infuriating and embarrassing. A national disgrace.
OMG, memories of the Lakeshore Limited! Awful! And, when I thought things could not get worse, the Border Patrol guys began to roam the coaches, asking where you were born, and hauling off people who didn’t have appropriate identification.
Eclair, I’d take it to get from Boston to Rochester and back, so I missed the border patrol guys. Awful nonetheless!
Amtrak? Blame the rural state Congresspeople that force Amtrak to service unprofitable routes to their barely populated hinterlands. The east coast, west coast, Great Lake routes are not subsidy hogs. If you want to live in the sticks I understand. If you want to live in the sticks but have 21st century amenities on other people’s dime ah…no. If the nearest Walmart is 40 miles away you need a car. If the nearest airport is 3 hrs away you need a car and money for long term parking. This is about the local RE owners being able to say “we have train service”. Those souls living in Al. with their sewage emptying out 30 yards away from the house are not who the politicians are working for
Amtrak is a national system. Because it is a federally funded program, it relies on congressional appropriations. There is no incentive from flyover senators and representatives to vote for funding for Acela corridor PMC riders if their states have no passenger rail service. Further, many cities and towns served by long distance Amtrak trains have no other commercial transportation and most riders travel between intermediate points.
Do not denigrate poor people living in flyover country. In the Acela corridor, look at any city including the endpoints for people living in squalor and food deserts. All these cities dump raw sewage when it rains.
“You need a car” is not a good solution for transportation or for the climate. There is nothing wrong with a national rail service that serves everyone as opposed to only those who live in cities, and rail travel is much better for the environment than cars or air travel.
Thank you for reading the Conde Nast piece, so I don’t have to. I love trains, my spouse loves trains. I almost commuted from LA to NYC via Amtrak for years. It just kept getting worse. My theory is that Amtrak hires CEO’s with a mandate to ‘kill it dead!’ They’re all so incompetent that they can only succeed in stabbing it in the extremities, relegating the entire system to slow bleed-out.
In 2015, we took a family trip, kids and grandkids, from Stockholm, to Copenhagen, to Berlin, to Prague, to Vienna, to Venice, by train. Some were better than others, but all were punctual, more or less, comfortable, clean and fast. Back in the ’90’s we trained across China, not as tourists, since our son was working there, but with the ‘locals.’ The accommodations varied, there were pit toilets, but hot water for tea was available for free and they were on time. And, there were lace curtains on the windows!
Shed a tear for us third-world inhabitants of Western Canada. Extremely limited rail service and NO inter-city buses. None. Greyhound left three years ago and no government, federal or provincial, can seem to find the money or the interest to replace it.
And yet five months ago, at the same time Greyhound left Eastern Canada and abandoned Canada entirely, billions and billions were available for airline bailouts (and executive compensation of course).
Now, the well-off and business-people and government officials on expense accounts continue to fly while the plebes drive (if they have a car) or shell out for an expensive plane ticket they might not be able to afford.. Otherwise, they might as well forget about travelling almost anywhere in Western Canada to see Grandma at Christmas.
Amtrak service would be considerably improved if the cargo haulers had to let passenger trains have priority. it’s one of those GOP-inflicted conditions designed, like Medicare Part D, to run public services into the ground.
As a kid in the UK, I had to take the train to school for a year or so, and I liked it. I could gaze out the window, read, do some homework, or stretch my legs with a stroll along the carriages. Later, I often travelled around the country by train, sometimes enjoying spectacular views, and could hop on one to the Peak District with my bicycle, all very affordably. Since then, it’s all been privatised, and while I don’t know about the comfort, the cost has skyrocketed, bicycles need to be booked in advance (not sure if there was an extra payment), and safety has become an issue, with several major crashes often attributed to lack of maintenance and so on..
When I was on trains in the UK in the 1980’s, you had to roll down the window of the door to open the handle outside to exit the choo-choo which was utterly ridiculous, while at the same time German trains had electronic push buttons that opened the door automatically…
It lead you to wonder who had won WW2?
I was told the idea was to make it harder for children to open the door when they shouldn’t, or for anyone else to open it accidentally.
I dunno…I don’t think US rail service is that bad. It’s definitely not up to the same standards as the European and Japanese systems but if you’re not in a rush traveling by train can be quite pleasant. Commuter rail services in larger cities are a mixed bag but, again, IMO they aren’t as bad as some people make them out to be.
The biggest issue with train service in the US is that there isn’t enough of it.
I agree on all counts, we need more of it.
Although I haven’t taken a train across country since the covid outbreak, I’ve never had a bad experience on AMTRAK when traveling from NYC to Chicago and back, Rochester NY to Miami and back or LA to Syracuse, NY and back. Multiple times.
(Even traveled on the Phoebe Snow multiple times “back in the day” as a kid, Buffalo to the Queen City – Elmira, NY)
My last trip in 2018, LA to Syracuse and back, I met an Irish couple who travel by train in the US, Canada, and all over Europe. They told me then they put AMTRAK at the top of their list… which surprised me considering all the great things I hear about European trains. They said, general comparisons, AMTRAK is better.
I’m with you. Other than a 1979 incident in London where 4 buses showed up at once, an hour late, I struggle to recall a bad mass transit experience in any country, including the USA. Even ‘Ridin’ the Dog’ from Dallas to Deetroit, or NYC subways at 2am in the 80s.
…. Which I definitely can’t say about air or car travel.
You keep your expectations reasonable, show some mild sociability to staff and others (within reason) and the rolling box gets you reliably from point A to point B. What more did you want again?
I think it important for a little context in the above linked letter from the AAPS (American Association of Physicians & Surgeons ) to the AMA.
First off, I am not yet a member of AAPS but have been trending in that direction and now after this letter and other recent statements will likely become one.
Furthermore, here we are in a national medical crisis. AAPS has been on the ball with repeated statements like this and all kinds of takes on COVID issues. By contrast, in the middle of a crisis which has taken the lives of 600k Americans, the AMA from what I can tell has spent much of its time this past year on “birthing people” nomenclature and other such inanities.
The AMA is what everyone think is America’s physicians lobbying and political arm. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the past 40 years, AMA has become a corrupt horrific influence on medicine. They are more interested in the interests of the power elite – hospitals, insurance companies, and Pharma. They certainly do not give a rats ass about patient care. They own the ICD coding system. So every time you are billed, their proprietary system gets a little cut. They rake in millions of dollars to fund their corruption every year this way.
AAPS is actually an ever growing physician group whose purpose is to represent the physicians, patients and the actual health of Americans. It was a fringe group of outliers. But rapidly gaining on the AMA in physician member numbers. Physicians are leaving the AMA in droves.
I am not surprised by this stand. The questions in the letter are important and the ossified AMA and other agencies cannot answer them without revealing their rank corruption.
This group is the group representing patients and physicians that most people think the AMA is. This letter shows that just like I have been telling you, there is a very large contingent of physicians across America who are just not eating the dog food anymore. Slowly but surely, the battle is being joined.
Doctor, the Wikipedia article about the AAPS states:
Are these assertions about AAPS accurate? And would you personally pledge not to work with Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies?
As I stated above, it has been in the past a largely fringe group. As the ama has become more and more corrupt, physicians have been joining that are not in that fringe.
That is indeed why I have not signed up in the past.
However, as more and more are seeing the absolute disaster that our organized medicine has become, these groups are becoming the only choice for true patient and doctor centered health care. The AMA and all the various boards and governing bodies could absolutely care less about patients. It really is unfortunately true.
The group has attracted a lot of concierge docs in the past – that is no longer the case.
I am not at all sure about the Medicare stance since every PCP I know that is in the group have practices larded with Medicare patients.
If they are for reforming our Medicare system, I am all for that. Especially the crime against humanity known as Medicare advantage plans. Furthermore, this group was 100 percent against Obamacare. I was actually an ardent supporter. Enough time has passed to make me realize that was likely one of the worst things to happen to patients in history. They were right, I was wrong. Having huge chunks of your practice paying astronomical premiums all the while with 10000 dedictibles leads to people not with health care but people with NO care. This group of “right wingers” as you point out they are referred to by wiki ( I never go there anymore for very good reason – the latest of which was the whole Philip Cross fun of last month on this very site and much of their entries on medical issues are just flat out wrong) predicted that was exactly what would happen with Obamacare and here we are. I am daily confronted with people with “insurance” as outlined by Obamacare who have desperate medical issues but have no way to pay their 10000 deductible. Amazingly cruel and yet every.single.day. Yesterday’s entry was a young man with seizures out of nowhere who cannot afford the 2100 for an mri. He has a 10000 deductible but he is “fully insured”. It is a true disaster every day but you will never hear that from the AMA but you will hear it from the right wingers as you call them.
I have learned as I am older that dealing with dogma and those who criticize others often have their own agenda which may even be worse. That is the sense I get when I hear wiki entries like the above.
Until we realize our health care system is a complete disaster for almost everyone, I refuse any longer to criticize or belittle anyone with ideas because of their politics. Our system is that bad.
The physicians across the country I have interacted with that have joined are not rabid right wingers. I have noted in the recent past that anyone who does not agree with the narrative is immediately branded a right winger. And pages like wiki are often the cudgel used to do so. Since I have been commenting on this site about Covid, that has been said about me personally in comments quite a few times. Anyone who knows me would find that statement LOL hilarious.
Their membership dues have been declining according to their 990 tax returns.
Doesn’t appear to be gaining membership at all.
This smacks of Dore and Greenwald being accused of being “right wingers” because they have been in invited onto Fox news shows.
our health care system is a complete disaster
I nearly always refer to the USA as having a ‘health’ system, with quotes, as health does not seem to be one of its prime objectives, even if many of those it employs would like it to be and try to make it so.
Unfortunately many fine, fine people have made the decision to be doctors and nurses and are now caught in a healthcare system that is designed and managed to maximize profit. These people are turned into cogs in the machine and will quite literally be worked to death.
It’s a rent extraction system that uses medical care as its toolkit. But it’s not momolithic.
Being a member of this group would greatly hurt your reputation and credibility:
They don’t just support a political agenda… they’re pushing quackery.
I will do some more research into this today –
However – I believe absolutely nothing that wikipedia has to say about any organization – left or right. When they can make up things out of whole-cloth on multiple medical history entires in the past I have encountered – I can not trust a thing they say. Anyone can make a mistake – but when a Medical History professor like myself can repeatedly email them and try to correct their severe misrepresentations – and get nothing but a laugh or scorn back or just complete blow off – I have no use for them. After those experiences – I trust literally nothing on their website to be accurate in any way.
Suggest you check out Physicians for a National Health Program. They are more about benefitting patients and not just encouraging docs to go all concierge.
Wikipedia is a terrible source if you expect to get a balanced view of anything having to do with health care. Their editors seem like an extension of the AMA (and perhaps they are). Wikipedia is virulently against any type of alternative medical practice, even ones that have been proven to be beneficial such as acupuncture, which is covered by most insurance policies as a health treatment.
Wikipedia on acupuncture: “Acupuncture is a pseudoscience, the theories and practices of TCM are not based on scientific knowledge, and it has been characterized as quackery.”
I had a similar experience to IM Doc when I attempted to edit a wiki page to defend an alternative practice that Wikipedia referred to as “quackery”. I had taken a 4 year training in this particular practice and had found great benefit in my own life from it. It was obvious to me that the person in charge of editing the page (a Dr David Gorski from Michigan, he’s on twitter) had zero direct experience with the practice in question, and no interest in finding what was true or looking at studies etc. At this point I have little trust in Wikipedia in general, and none at all when it comes to health care issues.
The founder of wikipedia himself now says he regards the site as “propaganda”:
In my neck of the woods there is a story about a battle between two factions in a government department slugging it out in wikipedia.
Every day each side would read the wikipedia entry of their particular obsession, and after lunch would update the entry to say the “right” thing.
On and on.
So learning that, I have zero faith in wikipedia. As a person who votes for what passes as the “left” in my country, I have absolutely no use for propaganda, left or right. And it seems that wikipedia is just another propaganda war.
Many you come across as ankle-biters. Are any of you doctors like IM Doc? As a doctor, can’t he decide what professional organizations to join? Doesn’t he know this better than you?
I’m surprised he keeps responding. Good people feel the need to justify themselves to bad-faith interrogators, but Jesus gave no response to the Sanhedrin.
can people hold a negative view of the AMA and the AAPS?
they both seem more focused on an agenda that isn’t concerned with my health.
F’ em all, use them if you can, but don’t let them use you…
IM Doc — Thank you for extremely thoughtful updates on a variety of topics, including the current focus of the AMA and AAPS organizations. It was also surreal to me that the AMA was going on about “birthing parents” in the middle of a pandemic where the horrors of our “greed is good” healthcare system were on full display.
Wikipedia is a highly politicized source and one should exercise caution when using it to understand any controversial topic. Many of the entries have an agenda, including smearing dissident journalists and anti-war activists as “conspiracy theorists”, etc. — to mention only a single example.
I have a very negative view of many powerful U.S. institutions (and the corporations that basically own and run them), including our “Healthcare System”. Often I try to convince myself that the problem is me, that I am far too negative, far too cynical, far too ignorant, and things cannot possibly be as bad as they appear.
Imagine how disturbing it is when a thoughtful professional says — “Not only are your negative impressions correct, the ‘system’ is far worse than you imagine.”
The truth will set you free. I guess.
Anyway, thank you again for your time and input on these important medical topics.
Strange times make for strange partnerships. Who’d have thought a libertarian dweeb like Rand Paul would be calling out Big Pharma’s champion grifter Fauci five years ago?
The Affordable Care Act was written to suit AMA and Pharma’s interest because O’bomba claimed he couldn’t pass anything less corporate friendly without a 90% majority in congress.
Also, Wikipedia has its own agendae. Which its editors pursue relentlessly.
Attacking the messenger without addressing the substance of their point is a classic logical fallacy.
I have just now looked at their membership application – correct me if I am wrong – but I see absolutely nothing on there about signing a pledge not to work with Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance companies.
What I do see on the top of the page is a Latin motto – which translated means – Everything for the patient. There is also a call to oppose government-run medicine. After the debacle that Medcare Advantage plans and Obamacare have become – I join them in their concern there. I would also add to that – the corporate run medicine we have – but this group is not really the corporate type. Mostly private practitioners running their own businesses.
Some of the things on their website I disagree with – but I can say the same if not more so about the AMA.
It appears you can fill out that application online and submit your fees – and you are a member – no pledge signing required.
I will ask my colleagues who have joined if they were asked to sign such a pledge. I have looked through the website at length – and noted no such verbiage anywhere. What I do see talked about quite a bit is their opposition to MOC (Maintenance of Certification). That is a very large issue in medicine these days – and is way beyond what I have time to discuss here. Let me just say – this physician who has seen the MOC system abused for decades for the financial benefits and corruption of the various Boards and the detriment to patient care – has nothing but praise for anyone standing up to expose the fraud that it is.
As you quoted the Washington Post above – long gone are the days of their glory with things like Watergate. I hold them, the NYT, and the WSJ about to the same expectations of journalistic excellence these days as the National Enquirer, Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson. The fact checkers constantly employed by the Washington Post have recently been producing one howler after the other. Our entire media landscape is slowly becoming a tragedy.
Just checked – 2 of the 5 friends I emailed this AM got back to me and have absolutely no idea what the Washington Post is talking about – they have never been asked to sign any kind of pledge like that. One of them has attended the national convention recently – and absolutely nothing like that was even mentioned.
And both of them have lots of Medicare and private insurance patients. If the other 3 have anything different to add – I will update. I am unable to have the time to find your reference to the Washington Post in 2017 – but according to my friends, they appear to be inaccurate in their reporting.
This appears to be the 2017 Washington Post piece in question. I’ve skimmed through it, and noticed no mention of any pledge, though it does imply the AAPS membership generally held some ‘right-wing’ views. But as you say, that was then, and now may be different.
A fun little story from the Arizona Slim file:
I worked on the University of Arizona campus for seven years. While I was there, I attended a health lecture in the student union.
Featured speaker was none other than Andrew Weil. Yes, that Andrew Weil. He was — and still is — part of the medical school faculty.
Any-hoo, Dr. Weil said something I’ll never forget. About the AMA, he said, “It’s a very ineffective organization. Whatever it opposes comes to pass.”
I followed a lot of in particular dietary advice from Dr. Weil back in 2004 during my wife’s terminal illness – although it does not prove anything, the 9-12 months death sentence she was given turned into 18 months, most of it including the whole of the 12 in which she was able to within the confines of her condition to make the very best of things.
I’m assuming the American Association of Physicians & Surgeons is not the same as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons?
from mr wiki:
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative non-profit association that promotes medical disinformation, such as HIV/AIDS denialism, the abortion-breast cancer hypothesis, vaccine and autism connections, and homosexuality reducing life expectancy. The association was founded in 1943 to oppose a government attempt to nationalize health care. The group has included notable members, including American Republican politicians Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Tom Price.
I do not understand the uproar over ivermectin. Doesn’t the 14th amendment provide the right to privacy in the context of the patient-physician relationship? Or does that right end at the uterus of a “birthing person?”
IM Doc, your contributions here have been invaluable to me as this pandemic has progresses and the public health response regresses.
With that said, I can tell you from first hand experience that the AAPS is a group of hard-right cranks who prioritize profits over people’s health, overtly.
I worked on the political side of the ACA fight many years ago and I remember this outfit well. They were on every Tea Party bus slamming the ACA, an already conservative bill that aimed to further subsidize the insurance industry, as some sort of death-panel care rationing grandma-killing nightmare.
They’re real pieces of shit, even if they might have made some good points about the overreaches and failures of the American public health system during this crisis.
As I stated above – I was an ardent supporter of Obamacare. ARDENT.
It has proven to be a disaster in almost every way. These “cranks” were right – and I get to live the tragedy of it all with my patients on a daily basis.
At the same time as the advent of Obamacare – came the advent of all the GoFundMe pages, bake sales, carnivals, etc for communities to support “insured” patients who cannot afford their cancer and other care. If that is success – I hate to see what failure is.
The Tea Partiers absolutely were “pieces of shit” – I hate people who turn our discourses into this kind of stuff. BUT they happened to absolutely correct in their predictions of how bad this is turning out for so many people.
As for it being a “conservative” bill – I am always very interested in having people who proclaim that explain something to me –
That bill was made law with Barack “Mr. Progressive” Obama as President, the House under absolutely dominating Dem control – and the Senate with a filibuster proof majority. How did that confluence of absolute Dem control pass a “conservative” law? – It is like the Dems now see what a disaster it is – and like to call it conservative – but that is not the way it went down. Please tell me – I am all ears – how did that happen?
Had they done something that was really for the people – I would have been elated – M4All – etc – but that is not what was done with that complete Dem lock on the government – instead we have this nightmare.
This “working class” Dem for one will never forgive them for it.
I hear ya, Doc. Don’t let ’em get ya down,,,
I don’t care what political strip people are…on any specific issue, I’m with whomever is looking out for the working/middle class. For example…with Dems re:abortion rights and with Republicans re: ACA.
Anyone who still supports ACA and private insurance is absolutely NOT on the side of working/middle class people/patients.
The most important part of health care is done by Firemen paramedics. If you are not alive when you get to the ER Obamacare is not going to save you. These caregivers are on salary. Firemen in California where I am are well paid. They are paid while they are training. They get a good pension and benefits. At the upper levels they make as much or more than primary care doctors. They do not get extra pay for putting in two IVs in the field or intubating when it is not necessary. There is no solution or plan other than having doctors in the same scheme. Fee for service buys you nothing but fee for service. Pay for arthroscopy of the shoulder and you will get tons of it even if the outcomes are questionable. Pay for lap chole and you will get plenty of it. Putting doctors on salary and paying for their schooling would vastly decrease our medical costs because up to half of what is done is unnecessary. And on salary and divorced from what patient’s demand would allow doctors to tell the truth which many patients and lawyers do not want to hear. There is simply no other solution. The US could adopt the British system and fund it better and still save trillions and one would have to combine it with tort reform. By doing that at least we could avoid the mistakes they made over the years and perhaps improve it. I don’t see it happening. We are headed to a Brazil medical and economic model unless we can get real campaign finance reform which really cannot happen with either party.
Health care is not just emergency health care.
“How did that confluence of absolute Dem control pass a “conservative” law.”
It seemed that between Barack Obama and a couple of Blue Dog or DINO senators, they got it done. But it also seems to me that “government health care” is extremely successful in many countries. That is, it seems to be quite cost effective relative to our system, much more fair to all, as well, but I don’t know much.
Interesting points. Thanks for addressing them at length. I share your sentiments, mostly.
To answer your question, Obamacare was a conservative bill, in my opinion and experience working to pass it. The legislation was modeled explicitly after Mitt Romney’s health care reform efforts he put in place while governor of Massachusetts, which he lifted from a policy proposal by, I believe, the conservative Cato Institute (perhaps Hudson?) published explicitly as a free-market alternative to single-payer.
Obamacare/ACA was a conservative/moderate/pragmatic/whatever alternative to single-payer and/or the public option. Obama was never a leftist or progressive as we all know here at MC. And no matter how many Democrats were in Congress at the time, there was never going to be any leftist policy coming out of that body because conservatives chaired most every committee and spearheaded most every large-scale project. Such was the case with then-Senator Max Baucus of Montana shepherding the ACA along with his Health Care industry lobbyist chief of staff.
And yet still, Mitt Romney’s health care policy, designed by industry lobbyists, was STILL treated as impending socialist doom by the GOP, TP, and associated right wing orgs including that very association of physicians. Maybe they’ve changed. Maybe not. The AMA has certainly changed (and wasn’t very good to begin with). I don’t know. I’m not telling you what to do, just my experience and opinion. Thanks again for your efforts here on this site.
I should let this pass, but you seem to have fallen into the misunderstanding that the Republicans and some “centrist” Democrats push, that the Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in 2009. That is only true if you ignore that ‘Weepin’ Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders are Independents, not Democrats, and that Al Frankin was not seated until the 1st of July, and that Ted Kennedy did not die. If there were no rebels, like Manchin and Synema now, the Democrats could overcome a filibuster during a period of about six weeks, and Obamacare did not come to a vote until the following year. Max Baucus spent ten months “bargaining” with Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe, and Obama approved it while they ate up precious time. I reluctantly concede it might be possible that the Democrats didn’t actually grasp that the Republicans were intentionally obstructing them, although McConnell said it publicly. Obama claimed, at the time, to believe he needed some Republican votes, but I’ve since come to believe he was satisfied with what he was getting. Just look at the Catfood Commission he appointed, after all, or the Grand Bargain.
They were and are right. You were bamboozled. You just haven’t realized it yet.
I knew ACA was a loser. I looked at Switzerland and found that every control they had in their system to enforce insurance company compliance and increase care for the insuranced in the most expensive universal system in Europe had been stripped or eliminated from the ACA.
I knew the ACA was a loser. I looked at Massachusetts. There was already evidence that it was yes shifting the curve, but not for healthcare, but for insurance company profitability. One of the great claims made was that ACA would eliminate medical bankruptcy. Even after several years over 50% of all bankruptcies in Massachusetts were medically based. As in Massachusetts Insurance profits have gone up, medical bankruptcies are still the majority of all bankruptcies. And several studies out of Kaiser have shown that Americans are actually more dependent on emergency care, they receive less actual ongoing care than before the ACA was passed. Oh and the numbers get worse every time they check.
And none of this addresses the very real crapification of previously adequate employer based coverage. They offer less coverage and more of the costs, premiums and care, have been passed to employees.
Everyone who said this was a bad idea was right.
In truth The ACA could be considered our domestic version of the ponzi scheme that was Afghanistan only difference is more than half of the stolen monies are coming directly from the public, although government subsidies and make goods have risen.
The real bamboozle is claiming that we have anything that provides health care “insurance.” We don’t insure health care; we finance it. “Insurance” is for unknown risk. In any given year, property & casualty insurers cannot know what the expected costs will be for house fires, tornadoes, car thefts, etc. on a population level.
But for healthcare, we CAN know that. I used to do financial projections for major corporate health plans in order to place excess risk insurance, and I could be quite accurate year-over-year with a population as small as 10,000. For a population of 350,000,000 it’s not hard at all (barring mass casualty events.)
The argument isn’t over how to insure health, it’s how to finance it. And right now, for no reason at all that I can see, we let insurance companies take 10-15 cents on every healthcare dollar. Actually, I know the reason: back when I was working, the estimated time between a claim occurred and a claim paid was 90 days. It’s longer now. The insurance companies don’t profit from the spread between premiums in-claims out. They profit from the time value of money in financial arbitrage.
All we do when we supposedly insure “our health” is keep insurance execs in chips at the casino.
(Aside, anyone involved in designing health care plans and their financing could see that the ACA did nothing to solve the adverse selection problem, ie the death-spiral. Insurance companies could and did withdraw from locations where the selection was adverse. The public option won’t solve this either; it’ll become the dumping ground for the costly, and then we’ll hear all about how govt. programs can’t work, just as we do with the P.O.)
Adding: Medicare is also the dumping ground for the costly. We don’t Medicare because the feds were benevolent. We have it because there was no way insurance companies wanted that risk. If it’s privatized, insurance companies will enter the death-spiral so fast it’ll feel like a cyclone. And what will happen is exactly what is now happening with the ACA: government subsidizing it through the back door.
So why don’t we just finance all heath care through the front door and cut out the middleman?
Something I regard as sinister is now taking place in my mother’s assisted living facility. United Health has a booth in the communal living room and is marketing to the residents a Medicare Advantage-type plan in which they will be assigned a nurse employed by United Health to provide them healthcare and shepherd them to other care providers should the nurse decide they need it.
No doubt United Health is paying the facility some sort of fee for their ability to have that booth and do that marketing inside the room where residents gather for social interaction, ie not to be captive recipients of marketing schemes.
For the record, I was deeply involved in discussions of my union’s health plan aka the insurance policy for its members. We had two of those catastrophic events in a decade (not only did we get hit with AIDS we had a breast cancer cluster). I might not have any actuarial skill, but I got very familiar with many of the processes used to determine community and ratings.
When I say that the US jettisoned everything from the Swiss plan that curbed insurance greed or limit those chips at the casino, I am not kidding. The Swiss actively made their communities as large as possible. We allowed the insurance companies to ‘help’ determine the regions aka community. The Swiss require Insurance companies to be on the market place, you aren’t on it you do not sell any kind of insurance to anyone in that region. We let them drop out. The Swiss has a much smaller equivalent to the MLR and they are stricter on what is considered medical. They also have limits on the deductibles.
Those are just the start of the controls.
I’m not a fan of the Swiss system, it allows too much to go to a third party, but they at least demanded that third party not pillage the community and then make getting any health care difficult to impossible. We haven’t even gotten into the whole delay payment grift you refer to, and that fight to get reimbursed or get your doctor/hospital reimbursed also deters people from getting health care unless they cannot avoid it (another win for the insurance companies).
Our system is so corrupt it isn’t really a system anymore. It is a crap shoot. Can you find a doctor, woohoo you got a roll. Will your insurance company eventually pay that doctor woohoo you got seven…Got to get something more than ordinary health procedure…whoops crapped out… Or your insulin is only paid for second quarter (after you paid for the first) good luck making it through the rest of the year…but keep those premiums coming in.
I don’t know anything about the AAPS, but I have been following the issue of healthcare and the ACA for a long time. I agree with your portrayal of the conservative position on the ACA.
There has always been criticism of the ACA and Medicare Advantage from both the left and the right because both are privatized for-profit insurance, with some legal constraints on coverage-denial and profitability. In simplified terms, one “side” wants publicly financed, publicly administered, not-for-profit, comprehensive, universal health care. The other “side” wants to eliminate constraints on the for-profit insurance system.
It would be a mistake to consider that agreement that ACA/MA are bad implies agreement on objectives.
They seem to be 2 thieves fighting over the process used to rob us.
the only thing we should be concerned with is how to exploit it, not act like one group is our friend.
Thank you for your strong statement. I believe the AMA has also been a significant factor in blocking an American national health system such as most country’s have (or in some cases had?). When this has been debated here previously some doctors have come on to say only minority percentage are members of the AMA but it still gets to present itself as speaking for all.
This looks like a good place to leave this:
Phil Ochs was criticizing the AMA from a left-wing perspective.
His view of the Democratic Party can be found in his song “Love me, I’m a Liberal”
Thanks, another one of my favorites. That song has some of his best political lines.
It’s important to keep an open mind – and also to investigate. With quick look at the AAPS website, I see a defense of a doctor:
and includes a link to RenewAmerica, an obviously extreme right wing group.
Just to be clear, unprotected sexual contact causes STIs, not “homosexual behavior”. In point of fact, many homosexual behaviors are much less risky than many heterosexual behaviors.
It’s common for extreme organizations cloak their nature, buyer beware.
I notice this in the AAPS letter to the AMA:
“AMA does not specify any recommended early treatments, but simply urges face masks, distancing, and vaccination.”
Is that true, in that it doesn’t also recommend ventilation?
Working link for “Military doctors shore up exhausted health teams in US south amid Covid surge” article at-
Thanks Rev – fixed it.
That letter from the AAPS to the AMA is very much to the point.
It’s a relief to see that at least one medical society still takes their oath seriously,and it will be interesting to see how the MSM reports on this.
It has been discouraging to see the AMA and FDA act like cringing curs in their efforts to please big Pharma.
It is life or death for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions and the rank cowardice of those entrusted with America’s health is despicable.
RE: Nicola Sturgeon starts work on a new push for Scottish independence Guardian.
That headline puts it way too strongly.
Her address in holyrood contained the word ‘independence’ twice and only in the vaguest of terms.
As most of her current advisors on the subject were staunch supporters of the UK and that her party (proposed changes to its constitution will remove any membership input) has done nothing on the subject in 7 years, I think the union is more than safe in her hands.
There are some attractive projects touted but you have to bear in mind that the mediocrities she favours are absolutely terrible at legislation and rarely troubled by delivery.
Her clear priorities is a new gender recognition act, which will allow men who profess to be women free access to female safe spaces and a hate crime bill which curiously exempts misogyny and sectarianism.
Sturgeon and her coterie were also instrumental in the attempted stitching up of Salmond, thwarted by a jury, and the subsequent gaoling of staunch independence supporter Craig Murray on ludicrous charges related to the Salmond case, without trial by jury. The presence/absence of a jury was a likely factor in the outcome of both trials.
The address to parliament mentioned legal ‘reforms’ and they,while not specified, include the removal of jury trials in certain cases.
Nothing about legal aid,crooked lawyers or anything remotely useful.
This advice is being offered by lady dorrian (whose salmond and murray infamy argues strongly against juryless trials), who covets the top job in scottish legal circles.
An appointment in the gift of the first minister.
Craig is having to spend 22 hours a day locked up in his cell. Letters and postcards cheer him up immensely:
157095 C Murray
G3/34 HM Prison Edinburgh
33 Stenhouse Road
The also took his oximeter off him, so he has no way of predicting when he might faint and fall due to one of his many conditions.
As a radically minded teenager I read avidly magazines and books from the leftist republicanism I generally favoured, all of which emphasised the perfidy of Albion. But even with this background I’ve still been left pretty much speechless at the treatment of Craig Murray. And the deafening silence from the supposedly liberal media in the UK on this speaks volumes. Even Irish Republicans got a fairer judicial hearing than he did (usually).
As for the SNP, I can only admire the efficiency with which the Scottish establishment has been firmly re-embedded within the UK. Salmond has been silenced and a puppet regime is now in power.
Thanks for the address…I will rustle something up.
” Such a parcel of rogues in a nation ” from Rabbie Burns comes to mind.
Thank you, Paul. I will send him a card.
I’m pretty sure that if independence actually came within reach of Nicola Surgeon, then the Scottish Parliamentarian would put a nix on the whole project. She fights for Scottish Independence in the same way that American Democrats fight for healthcare for all.
“What Bond villains tell us about the world we live in”
Forget the villains in this article. The real villain that we got now is a Dr. Evil lookalike. All he needs now is a Nehru suit and a pet cat named “Mr. Bigglesworth” and the picture would be complete. Where is a real Ernst Stavro Blofeld when you need one?
Working link for the antibiotics article from stat:
Currently links to the WaPo article about boosters.
Fixed it – thanks!
Great looking bird in today’s Antidote du Jour but beware all ‘twitchers’. Due to climate change, some birds are ‘are shapeshifting and getting larger beaks, legs, and ears to better regulate their body temperatures as the planet gets hotter.’ Bird ID books may have to be eventually updated accordingly-
RE: Ohio judge reverses colleague’s decision on covid patient’s ivermectin treatment: ‘Judges are not doctors’ WaPo
Judges may not be “doctors,” but it would seem that some “doctors” are not “doctors” either. There is plenty of “evidence” for at least trying Ivermectin, especially when the alternative is NOTHING.
I’m sure I have no idea what the motivation for this steadfast institutional obstinacy is, or why the judiciary has even allowed itself to become involved, but the implications for the handling of this “pandemic” in particular and american “healthcare” in general are, quite simply, beyond alarming.
And they called Donald Trump “authoritarian.”
One possibility frequently discussed is that existing COVID vaccines were authorized under an EULA, which requires that no other effective treatments be available. The acknowledgement of an effective treatment would put billions of dollars at risk.
Another possibility is simply that Ivermectin is a low-cost drug in the public domain, will not provide any intellectual property rights to anyone (including Merck, the orignal inventor) if it becomes an accepted treatment, and may undercut the sales of proprietary drugs now in the development pipeline.
I hasten to say I have no personal insight here beyond a lifetime of observing the US pharmaceutical industry at work, but I am also puzzled and amazed at the widespread establishment hatred for a plausible-sounding treatment at a time when millions are dying.
Perhaps they just want a clean ‘control’ group, so as not to muck up the stats for hospitalizations and deaths avoided by getting vaccinated. Please, keep your experimentation confined to a clinical trial – and we won’t give you any details on how to sign up for that.
The whole Ivermectin story highlights how scarily easy it is to brainwash most of the population, and obviously a university education does nothing to stop it.
There have been books written on how effective propaganda is, like the books by Jacques Ellul which I get bogged down in. Also McLuhan’s Medium is the Message.
So from where I sit, most of the population, egged on by the media, have joined some sort of weird cult where journalists and politicians and drug manufacturers are now the medical experts, and doctors dealing with the Covid sick and dying every day, and doing their own research into treatments for their dying patients, are tarred as immoral, redneck, moron, losers who have no right to exist in “civilised” society, and should lose their jobs.
It looks to me like the Climate Change playbook all over again. Demonise the climate scientists (“elites, “scammers” etc) and put the glossy brochures from coal companies into schools as “education”.
I have had both vaccinations and no longer feel safe in the community, while being subjected to a wall of propaganda about how the vaccines will set us free to live like it’s 2019. I imagine the troll farms being paid to stomp on science and spread all of this fear, uncertainty, and hatred are making a killing, so to speak. And they are still getting money from the coal/oil/gas industries to do likewise on warming. Where do I buy shares?
We are now in the Anthropocene and have also entered Pharmageddon. Two suicide missions for the price of one.
I still call Trump an American facist. What would you call him?
Trump won the 2016 american presidential election, and claims to have been cheated out of winning four years later, and not a few people believe him, and many republican, er, facist, state legislatures are doing their ‘best’ to grease his way in the next election, and so yeah, he’s incompetent.
From Taibbi’s article about our new “moral majority” media;
“News has become a corporatized version of the “Two Minutes Hate,” in which the goal of every broadcast is an anxiety-ridden audience provoked to the point of fury by the un-policed infamy of whatever wreckers are said to be threatening civilization this week: the unvaccinated, insurrectionists, Assadists, Greens, Bernie Bros, Jill Stein, Russians, the promoters of “white supremacy culture,” etc. Mistakes are inevitable because this brand of media business isn’t about accuracy, but rallying audiences to addictive disgust. As a result, most press people now shrug off the odd error or six, so long as they feel stories are directionally right, i.e. aimed at deserving targets.
“I never thought this could happen, but people like Maddow, Reid, and the editors of the New York Times opinion page have taken over the role once occupied by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. As a kid I tilted blue in my politics in significant part because I couldn’t stand (or understand) crusading moralists like Falwell, whose entire raison d’être was driving millions of followers to hate and fear people they not only seemed to know nothing about, but claimed they hoped never to meet: gays and lesbians, punk and rock musicians, rappers, comics who used naughty words, fantasy gamers, and scariest of all, goth teens who drew pentagrams on their Trapper-Keepers. …”
Meh, they’re only trying to play catch-up with conservative media. They’ve been doing this for decades, and have extended their reach into different forms of media, with the effect that it all reinforces each other. I don’t think this leads to a healthy society, but it has proven to be a dependable business strategy.
They caught up.
Big time, maybe even surpassed conservative media seeing the influence and power of the ‘liberal/PMC’ cabal (exemplified in my view by HRC, to bring up a withering eminence grise).
Jerry Falwell or Jerry Springer? Or both.
Arguably of course the demonization and sensationalizing were originally Fox News tactics that the national papers once sniffed at. Maddow has reportedly said that Roger Ailes once gave her key advice on how to be a broadcaster. So perhaps the main diff these days between Fox and MSNBC is that Fox has a much bigger audience share.
Not that that should comfort rightwingers because for them Fox is pretty much it.
“I never thought this could happen, but people like Maddow, Reid, and the editors of the New York Times opinion page have taken over the role once occupied by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority…”
It’s worse than that. They haven’t taken over the role. That Jerry Farwell Moral Majority role is still going strong along with what ils being desrcribed. It didn’t go away, be cowed, or be less rabid either.
The *role* in society. Falwell ain’t driving the bus anymore. Phil Griffin is.
Back many years ago, before the term ‘woke’ had been invented, I spent time in my college library when I should have been studying reading a variety of feminist books in the hope of understanding things a little more (and hoping to impress a particular girl, but let that pass for the moment).
One thing that struck me was that a very significant chunk of then very fashionable feminist thought seemed to have absolutely no problem allying on some issues with conservative religious moralists. As someone who grew up loathing the authoritarian catholicism that surrounded me, I found that disturbing. I thought then, and I still think, that this was a sign of a deeply authoritarian mindset among some feminists which could only lead to trouble. What I didn’t expect was that this authoritarian mindset would bleed out from feminism much more widely into general ‘liberal’ and leftist thinking (or perhaps it was always there, it just needed a cause).
I’ve long thought that we over emphasise the left/right dichotomy and under emphasise the authoritarian/libertarian axis in general belief. It may be time for everyone to look much more clearly at who our real allies are.
Postmodernism and power. For at least the past 20 years, Postmodernism is the big idea on campuses, to which one branch of feminism welded itself.
Perhaps it is just a case of avoiding true believers of any ideology, who it appears to me can be extremely intelligent until they strap the equivalent of a strait jacket to their brain, that appears to remove any flexibility from their thought & emotional processes.
Marx, being wedded to industrialism and mass political action, had a strategic attachment to authoritarianism. Scientific management informed Leninism and the PMC. Bernays and Lippmann developed the liberal wing of PMC hegemony, while Lenin developed the communist wing of it.
I agree 100% with your last paragraph. The pressure of authority must be lessened for any left-right, collective vs. individual, general vs. specific reconciliation of values to occur freely. I suspect that’s exactly why there has been an authoritarian shift recently.
It’s worth pointing out that student Marxist groups in the 60s and 70s (and heaven knows there were enough of them) were very much Leninist vanguard movements, led by elites who made policy and enforced rigid discipline within their ranks. They went on demonstrations (the contemporary equivalent of Twitter, I suppose) but seldom if ever met an actual proletarian. Come the Revolution, they would be in command, telling the proletariat what to do, and by the way to get over that false consciousness thing. Oh and they hated each others guts.
Feminism was one of the sub-Marxist ideologies that came out of the need to reconcile the struggle of disciplined Leninist groups against oppression on behalf of the proletariat with the need to get a good job, have a good career, buy a nice house and car and go on foreign holidays, all (or most) of which being at the expense of the said proletariat. The answer, as Brecht more or less prophesied, was to change the proletariat, which now became women, homosexuals, ethnic minorities, or anything else you liked, but which was still in need of a vanguard movement of middle-class intellectuals to tell them what to do and what to think. And as with the Leninists, the ultimate aim was always power.
The passing years have a way of smoothing over ill-will. For this member of the proletariat Marx had the singular good grace to provide me with something resembling a way to view and make some sense of the past and current chaos and expose all of the superior unclothed. It ain’t much, but it’s a pretty good ‘splainer. Yanis puts it best when he calls himself “an erratic Marxist.”
Regarding the vanguard movements, here’s an excerpt from a cafe conversation between a friend and a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party in San Francisco, circa 1988:
Many working class women I’ve known, especially those in or around prostitution and pornography, had little but contempt for what they usually termed middle-class feminists, or often just feminists. I think they saw the issue not as related to some authoritarian/libertarian axis, but as middle class women imagining their experience to be that of all women. At any rate, the word class always came up when (at first) I wondered why they were so opposed to what they called feminism, when many seemed thoroughly feminist themselves in so many ways, acutely aware of what pigs half the men they knew were, even if they didn’t employ fancy words like patriarchy..
“Woke” seems like a rebranding of “Politically Correct,” a term later shortened to “PC.” When I first encountered it during my university days in the 70s, it was used as a joke — as in, “uh oh, I ate a politically incorrect chocolate bar.” Everybody knew there was a set of issues (in this case, maintaining a boycott on Nestle products in response to their infant formula marketing campaign that discouraged mothers in poor nations from nursing their babies with their own milk) that well-intentioned people on the left should act upon.
Pretty soon, by people on the left (the right only used the term ten or fifteen years later), PC became a descriptor for a particularly dogmatic form of response, kind of a crude sociology and politics: the oppressed are always revolutionary; a policy or position sought by any group or individual that was held to be oppressed was always revolutionary, and therefore right. It was very effective at shutting people up during my university days, because half the population was male, and it was mainly white — so any political group could be taken over, and opponents of any policy would be judged on the basis of their race, class,or gender, and not on their arguments. Where it brought forward people and ideas of real value, it was unquestionably a success. When opportunists or conservatives advanced on it, it was pretty bad, and nobody could call them out — and opportunists seemed to accumulate. I would love to meet some people from back then, and find out how revolutionary (nowadays “progressive” is used) they think leaders of the oppressed like Margaret Thatcher or Bank Bailout Barry are!
The idea of a politically correct line comes down to us from marxist-leninist scientism, and the idea that a scientifically informed party central committee in touch with the material reality of the proletariat could formulate the only correct revolutionary policy to bring about the ultimate creation of communism. But it is worth remembering that the term was originated during factional fights to crush and delegitimize groups and policies the leaders did not like. From there, it became part of the non-leninist student feminist and left groups as a tactic of moralism, and spread through universities everywhere in the States.
Woke seems to be exactly the same divide and rule tactic, repackaged. Remember, during the campaign against Sanders (a white male!), “Medicare For All won’t end racism?” I guess Medicare For All must be racist, then, and, therefore, not Woke, and therefore reactionary! I recall Adolph Reed, jr.’s response: “Oh, so that’s how they’re going to play this.” He had seen it before.
One friend of mine did develop a counter tactic. He said that in a university environment, almost nobody scores high PC points in every category of oppression. “So if they hit you with Race and Gender, you hit ’em with Class. If they hit you with Race and Class, you hit them with Gender, etc, etc.” The important thing, he said, was not to laugh — look concerned.
PC became a descriptor for a particularly dogmatic form of response, kind of a crude sociology and politics: the oppressed are always revolutionary; a policy or position sought by any group or individual that was held to be oppressed was always revolutionary, and therefore right.
You may be right about its use as a response, what the PC crowd said, but I noticed they often disdained the oppressed, supposedly for using terms that weren’t PC, but I always suspected because they still saw themselves, the future PMC, as the rightful leaders and managers of society. It used to be about an ‘educated’ accent; it became a question of ‘correct’ vocabulary.
Wokism and PC politics are forms of moralism, where disciplined maintenance of the code supersedes the stated reasons for having the code in the first place, because the real reason is maintaining the present disposition of power. So I completely agree with you.
And the present disposition of power — speaking from the point of view of the States — is pretty shaky. On both the right and left are big groups that oppose more wars and global power projection by the US — a novel development in my lifetime. People on both the left and right, albeit for different reasons, are open to something like a national industrial policy. The crisis and bank bailout rankles with many people of every political category. The early BLM protests met with wide support. Both the major party leaderships and their consultants are looking for ways to keep their herds fenced in, to prevent them from looking for better places.
The Dems are having the hardest time controlling their constituents, and Wokism is a multipurpose tactic to do it. It promises everything to people of color, except doing something. It allows the progressive wing of the PMC to feel they are being listened to, gives an appropriate virtuous facade to hide crimes behind, and helps you sort out the recycling as nothing is being done to stop environmental destruction. While Wokism seems hegemonic right now, it looks desperate to me — as if the consultants really couldn’t come up with anything else.
The Dems are having the hardest time controlling their constituents
Oh, I don’t believe Mitch McConnell and the main cluster of Republican pols were too happy about Trump taking over the Republican base.
They just couldn’t stop it as (a) the mechanisms of the Republican party ironically did more to allow actual democracy during the primaries than those of the Dem party and (b) the big money from Charles Koch was pumping up and directing the Tea Party types and Koch doesn’t give a damn about the Republican party, because he’s not one.
What Charles Koch cares about is re-engineering the US to his libertarian-neoliberal agenda: back in the late 1960s he was one of the first members of the Mont Pelerin Society in America and sponsored von Hayek to come over here. Trump himself was too stupid to figure this out, but by the time he lurched into view anybody competent in the Republican party was a product of the Koch machine.
So that’s who filled the Trump administration. Nobody’s paid any attention to it, but from Pence, Pompeo, and Kellyanne Conway on down to the rank and file, 80-90 percent of the Trump administration were Koch people. Whenever one of the old-school Repugs like Tillerson, Mattis, Kelly, or McMasters lost it with Trump, they simply moved another Koch person in to replace them. Very slick.
Taibbi lately uses puerile both-sidesism to stoke fears of a new puritanism mainly because he thinks his immense renown is vulnerable. For me this adds up to anti-left hippie-punching from a guy whose style and history are firmly rooted in a kind of Hunter Thompson-inflected anti-hipness and who probably fears getting #MeToo’d somehow every morning he wakes up. I assume he fears that his career might be slightly attenuated by the changing times, and sure, maybe it will. He assumes a sympathetic ear from the masses of us who can only imagine ever having anything you could call a “career” to begin with, much less fans, fame, tv appearances all the time etc., all the stuff that goes along with having yet to be “deplatformed.”
We’re supposed to be alarmed some new censorship-crazed “left” and about things like Rachel Maddow. Well, I intuit that Maddow’s influence is not that huge and I looked up some numbers just now — her show got 3.604 million viewers average in 2021; by contrast Cronkite back in the day would get 27 – 29 million. Something to keep in mind when assuming Rachel Maddow’s feverish imagination really has all that much impact beyond a relatively insignificant circle of people for whom her stuff is so entertaining.
Surely you are aware that the media landscape has changed since Maddow’s day?
Uncle Walter’s day?
“…a relatively insignificant circle of people for whom her stuff is so entertaining.” That would include everyone who believes what they hear from Pelosi Schumer Clinton Obama & Biden LLC, which is a rather consequential group…Headquarters on K Street, hindquarters spread all over the land (apologies to the late, great Cactus Ed Abbey).
According to Breaking Points Maddow’s new contract may have her leaving her show after next Spring and only do specials and election coverage. Don’t know if this is true or not.
I notice the same non-argument of weighing incommensurables via facile statistical proxies is the go-to second motion of the Gamergate sect. Curious, are you a neoliberal like them?
I’m bored and this is too rich. I couldn’t get to the article so I’ll have to rely on the internal inconsistencies and inaccuracies of your comment:
How does “both-siderism” protect his “immense renown”? The people who read Taibbi, from my experience here and from his comments section, are generally quite conscious of the “Coke v. Pepsi” political system we groan under. Not a lot of pearl clutching going on there. Are they suddenly fleeing him in droves, sparking such a hysterical, gratuitous reaction on his part? Please share! If not, then who is threatening his renown? He already isn’t getting any love from the Republicrats and their MSM catamites, that’s for sure. Where’s the percentage in both-siderism?
Forget binary political frameworks like right/left or blue/red. Forget those X,Y political position maps. Anyone who thinks exposing hustlers like Maddow, Reid, and similar bottom feeders is “anti-left hippie punching” needs a tesseract to map their political identity coordinate system. Are you serious?
Taibbi fears being “Me-Too’ed”!?! He has never flinched from exposing phony elite feminism, as far as I know. Suddenly he’s losing sleep over it? That horse left the barn, stole a car, and headed out on a road trip worthy of Hunter S. himself. Years ago.
Fans? Fame? TV? Yes, the lavish lifestyle of a marginalized lefty writer who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power. Truly the stuff of Hollywood tabloids. Call me when they find him with an AK-47, a kay of blow, and a prostitute’s corpse. Then, I may start to question Taibbi’s integrity.
It’s not the fact that Maddow holds sway over the multitudes, she only holds sway over the morons her bosses hired her to hold sway over. But those are some very influential morons and the danger of Maddow’s braying is of course that it forms a particularly onerous echo chamber in which PMC elite snowflakes can tumble and whirl in a fact free cloud of self referential happy-think. Images of being trapped in rush hour traffic with a flatulent dog come to mind. The Blob: this is the danger, that such a small confederacy of dunces have such a huge appetite for their own scat and then make decisions based on that.
One upside to Maddow’s crap: it provided an example of why I should never watch Reid.
Oh I forgot the inconsistency part: what makes you think that Maddow and Co. aren’t doing the very same thing you accuse Taibbi of? The stakes are higher, for one, those professional liars actually have the Walk of Fame careers you seem to be trying to airbrush Taibbi with. Secondly, the Powers That Be actually do destroy the careers of their minions who step out of line, Phil Donahue comes to mind. I’m not implying you are defending them, perhaps you hate them too, I’m just wondering why in a room full of media arch-scumbags Taibbi leaps out at you.
Man, you don’t need to toke! This is great. (Not quite ready myself to follow your example, but closer.)
This link, unlike the one provided above, goes to an excerpt of the subscriber-only post.
How come there is almost never any articles on cryptos and nfts on here? This bubbles evolution is interesting and especially now with the madness in El Salvador.
The same reason there are few articles on tulips and beanie babies.
^ Or perhaps because this is the level of discourse.
From an 8-page PDF and few hundred lines of computer code, humbly submitted to a cryptography mailing list, to a trillion dollar monetary asset with actual nation state adoption, yet no serious consideration or discussion here, a website meant for fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power.
It’s unfortunate because I see other long-time critics slowly changing their minds on bitcoin. Izabela Kaminska (FT Alphaville), for example, whose many anti-bitcoin articles made their way to the Links pages over the years!
Truth be told, the only articles ever linked to or discussed here are the highly critical ones; any high quality rebuttals, or indeed any positive articles, are seemingly ignored. It rather sets the tone; no critical thinking required, it’s probably nothing, just dismiss it all out of hand as “tulips and beanie babies”.
In fairness to tulips & beanie babies, they actually existed.
Cryptocurrency is more akin to John Law’s Mississippi bubble, one of the tenets of which was the scarcity theory of value (limited edition) and also demand based on performance with a high rate of return (shares in the Mississippi Company went from 500 to 15,000 Livres before becoming worthless) that is eerily similar although Bitcoin’s performance has gone from more like $5 to $60,000, making a mockery (I fought John Law and John Law didn’t win) of the Mississippi Company in comparison.
Nobody would care about Bitcoin if it was worth $100, right?
The lesser known bubble going on at exactly the same time as the Mississippi Bubble was the South Sea Bubble, and the reason hardly anybody knows of it, was its performance, going from £128 to £1,050, a nice earner but only going up 8x in value before collapsing, no biggie.
Coins were struck with ‘SSC’ on them in the UK in 1723, from silver garnered from the South Sea Company venture.
I don’t know how you price bitcoin, but given the trend, including the periodic market blow offs, it doesn’t seem to fit the bubble narrative. It looks more like price discovery, which for a monetary asset with such grand ambitions, which started at zero, is understandably chaotic. I think the distinction here is utility; clearly people value bitcoin for its utility as well as its scarcity.
Bitcoin was $100 as recently as mid 2013. People cared enough that we’re here posting about it today!
I’m interested in any “high-quality rebuttals” – for the laughs, tbh.
Give me your favorite criticism – ESG, tax avoidance, criminals, ponzi scheme, whatever – and I will dig out a high quality rebuttal for you.
it still fails as money on the unit of account principle.
been a nice investment tho.
It seems to be a fabulous success at speculation and extortion. A bitch to write 1,000 words on the social and economic benefits speculation and extortion.
Here’s 181 words on social benefits of Bitcoin…
This is one of the most nausea-inducing renderings of “black is white” I have ever seen.
The utter gall of comparing one of the most destructive activities to the planet as somehow evocative of natural beauty. Sitting at your screen, using ginormous amounts of energy, for the SOLE purpose of personal enrichment. Oh, and typically enabling tax evasion and extortion too. Seriously?
This is utterly vile and confirms why I hate crypto. The perps are greedy and remarkably good at rationalizing their socially destructive conduct.
Just want to note about my initial comment that I to am highly sceptical about cryptos. I think its a dangerous cult like bubble. Which is why I would excpect to see more articles on it here. Has been really interesting to follow NNTs battle against the bit coin fanatics on twitter for example. NFTs is almost even madder. Since NC is my main news exposure I feel a bit out of the loop on these issues though. I think systemic issues could arise soon as this grows more.
the funny thing is, if NNT engaged with MMT in anything like the spirit of open intellectual inquiry which he seems to cherish, instead of ringing the (cracked) hyperinflation bell, every single one of the academic MMTers would have told him, many years ago, and absolutely correctly, that the whole cryptocurrency thing is inane nonsense.
pre-coiners! definitely not a cult
You having a degrading word for people outside your cult doesnt make it any less cultish. Personally I’m more of a post-coiner though.
From the start that article is disgusting. If you care about all these positive things you are automatically excpected to be in favour of bitcoin? As is the bitcoin boom is not driven by greed, fear and awe? 99.9% of people who bought in wants to get rich quick, lots of them are extremely paranoid and all of them are awed by a new technology that most of them dont understand.
With the greatest of respect, your view of bitcoin and bitcoiners seems to be extremely narrow. Might I suggest you read about the people who benefit most from this extraordinary technology? It is not a get rich quick scheme for them; it is a tool for personal financial sovereignty and saving, where access to the types of services you and I take for granted simply isn’t there. Bitcoin is changes lives in El Salvador and around the world. Browse the articles here for stories of real world use:
Alex works for the Human Rights Foundation. They take this seriously.
Yes, and exactly the same things were said of microfinance, and many respected organizations jumped on board.
South Africa provided access to the unbanked with no fee debit cards before 1997. They could be reloaded by employers. Bitcoin does not provide any unique value, has as its main use crime and tax evasion, and is environmentally destructive. El Salvador and Alex could bother learning from other countries rather than jumping on a bad bandwagon.
I am aware of all this. First of all these people surely represent a minority volume wise? Bitcoin is already concentrated in the hands of a few and they will obviously be able to use this advantage agains nations trying to get sovereignty by this means. Almost makes you go conspiracy minded and thinking this is precisely what it was created for. How easy for blackrock or some stronger state to dump the price of bitcoin to crush disrupt a weeker partys economy suddenly. I dont see how anyone can see it as a good idea. Even without malice the enormous price swings will make it unworkable.
i always thought it was just a way to separate libertarians from their money….
A noble cause indeed.
> From an 8-page PDF and few hundred lines of computer code, humbly submitted to a cryptography mailing list, to a trillion dollar monetary asset with actual nation state adoption
Fixed it for ya.
> How come there is almost never any articles on cryptos and nfts on here?
I’ve seen a dozen or so articles on cryptos here on NC. Try a search.
A dozen is very little on a subject like that hence the word almost in my post. In my opinion the phenomenon should warrant its own topic in Links.
> In my opinion the phenomenon should warrant its own topic in Links.
We don’t have a topic for Ponzi Schemes, Fraud, Societal Collapse, or Sociopathy, so why Crypto?
Because its getting big and is relevant to the bigger picture of the financial situation right now.
Name another ponzi scheme running right now that includes trillions of dollars, is causing intrastate disruotion and is being used to take IT systems of big organisations hostage and used for extortion, murder and drugs and is highly connected to climate destruction, energy, debate among both establishment and heterodox thinkers and has Black Rock, Goldman Sachs and more praising it as the new gold (to scam people surelly), and being adopted by some poor nations as a pseudo-official currency?
If you can id say that it would warrant a topic of its own. But its just my opinion. I respect the editors desicions. Just curious if there is a reason for them not finding it interesting to read and post about?
Missed that it was Lamberth. Sorry! Thought I was responding to a comment by Acacia. Genuinly appologise. Then I know. Viewed as just another ponzi scheme. You are probably right.
No harm, no foul.
Barry Ritholtz’s recommended response to demands like yours is GYFOB, as in Get Your Own Fucking Blog.
> especially now with the madness in El Salvador
Ahem. See yesterday’s Links.
This is an assignment. That’s a violation of our written site Policies.
I’m not interested in promoting socially destructive activity and life is too short to waste arguing with the touts. And you can find plenty of crypto content elsewhere
Saw this last night, and thought it was a nice little non-drama-inducing sentiment about nurses and healthcare providers in general, in the context of the ‘vaxxed vs unvaxxed in the hospital!!!’ debate.:
Keep treating them. Nice.
One of my favorite authors (Rankin) completing an unfinished novel by one of my other favorites ( McIlvanney- often called the Father of Tartan Noir). What could be better! Can’t wait to read it.
I adore book collaborations, even when they’re done post mortem. Sometimes due to the voice of the finishing differ from the original author. For instance Sanderson finishing Jordans books was a godsend, breathing new life in the last books and giving the series a fitting end (though probably shorter than if Jordan had written them).
Ian Rankin getting to write the last McIlvanney and earning high praise from his widow seems to have been a great experience for him, too. A delightful article!
“Why Is Iran So Keen on Joining the SCO?”
Maybe because they have given up on the west as being incapable of negotiating an understanding with. They had a treaty with the west but the US pulled out of it and the EU went along with the US, even though it was against their best interests to do so. Now Washington wants Iran to negotiate a new treaty where Iran basically disarms and has a hissy fit when this is not happening. Meanwhile the EU is blaming Iran for the entire holdup when it was not Iran that pulled out of the deal.
So what does the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation have to offer? Quite a lot and the members comprise basically the Eurasian landmass with billions of people making up the SCO. The markets available alone will be well worth Iran joining up for. Rather than talk more about it, take a quick look at their Wikipedia page-
With Afghanistan no longer under Western occupation and control, the SCO looks set to strengthen even further. China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Iran are all members or observer states, and Afghanistan was an obstacle in the geographic middle.
How QR codes are made.
Love it! Thanks.
as a capable Tetris player, this video makes me uncomfortable
“The primary victims of the crashes are, of course, the deceased, their families and their loved ones,” Zurn wrote, adding that Boeing shareholders had also undergone losses.
“While it may seem callous in the face of their losses, corporate law recognises another set of victims: Boeing as an enterprise and its stockholders. The crashes caused the company and its investors to lose billions of dollars in value.”
In a lengthy ruling summarising the shareholders’ case, Zurn wrote that Boeing’s board “publicly lied about if and how it monitored the 737 Max’s safety”.
Boeing directors to face investor lawsuit over 737 Max fatal crashes (Guardian)
I wonder if corporate law recognises the Sacklers as the true victims of Oxycontin.
Check out air disasters at
or find complete series at your local torrent dealer.
Shows on 737 disasters are incredible. And, if you can read between the lines, looks like a lot of coverups by regulators. Get your critical thinking cap on!
If you fly frequently, DO NOT WATCH!
These shows would be fantastic if there was a followup show on the nitty gritty of the resulting lawsuits. I would suppose a lot are settled on an NDA basis.
“WATCH: When A RUTHERFORD COUNTY STUDENT tells the board his grandmother, a former
@rucoschools teacher, DIED OF COVID because someone wasn’t wearing a mask… anti-maskers behind him LAUGH and INTERRUPT HIM.”
Again, this isn’t about hesitancy or economic anxiety or what-have-you. This is pure nihilism, loving death for death’s sake, because it affects the outgroup more.
> loving death for death’s sake, because it affects the outgroup more.
As for example.
Yes, there are always reasons for the actions of people and we would do better to understand those reasons than to make quick (and bad) judgements.
They are disdainful because the child is being used as a political cudgel to blame those who do not believe the lies of the PMC ( CDC, Fauci, Biden, Walensky, etc. ) concerning vaxxinations -or anything else ( masking )…
They don’t care how callous it comes off precisely because they already know they are being unfairly villainized and lied to and have lost all respect for the bullsh*tters..
Even at a tactical level, laughing at a child’s death should be deprecated.
it was a grandmother, not a child. A Teacher.
I wonder when teachers start leaving in droves.
I was responding to PEM, who mentioned a child. Bad assumption on my part.
That said, I did look at the video. By comparison with other public meetings I’ve been at, this was pretty mild. When the young speaker heard muttering behind him, he turned and was silent. The meeting chair then reinforced him and he went on without incident. I certainly thought I would hear cascades of mocking laughter; no such thing.
The printed signage is interesting: “Let our kids smile.” People can smile with their eyes, for pity’s sake. In fact, you can fake smiling with your mouth a lot more easily than you can fake smiling with your eyes.
I haven’t read the three articles in today’s Links on Boris Johnson’s plans to reform social care, but I saw somewhere – The Canary, I think – that plans to reduce Universal Credit (UK welfare payments) will severely affect many currently working in the field. The gist, as I recall, was that they are so underpaid they rely on UC ‘top-ups’ for a viable income, and without it may well just quit.
It is gonna be a hard Winter here for many even without Covid as the £20.00 per week UC top up ends in October & here in Northern Ireland now that the various suppliers have the gas installed in very many houses based on earlier cheap rates – announcements have been issued that prices will rise up to 35%, due to a shortage largely it seems caused by Brexit. Also here in the province the Assembly has ruled that landlords have to give 12 weeks notice of eviction, which I imagine is just postponing the inevitable.
UC concentrates on getting the rent paid & without the top up leaves a single person after the rent goes out receiving about £ 40.00 a week to live on. As you probably know when Cameron was PM about 90 Tory MP’s voted against a bill to ensure reasonable standards of accommodation, so I suppose it is not surprising that they & others like them get first dibs.
I just got a major reality check. The New York Times has a quiz to determine If America Had Six Parties, Which Would You Belong To?. I ended up getting the New Liberal Party. That sounded OK until I read their description of it:
I feel so dirty now.
Well, you got me to click through.
“The Progressive Party is focused on equity and racial justice, with a strong vision of inclusive social democracy. Its strongest support comes from politically engaged, highly educated younger people, especially women.
Its potential leaders include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren or Julián Castro. Based on data from the Democracy Fund’s VOTER survey, this party would be the best fit for about 14 percent of the electorate.”
I’d say at least two of those names belong in your New Liberal Party (and the other is all hat and no cattle.)
It told me the Progressive Party was the one for me, but they look like the least worst of the lot, at best.
I don’t feel dirty, exactly. More like the questions force me to wear clothes that don’t fit well.
Feels like a more subtle erasure than the only-two-parties version.
> … percent of the electorate.
I have the feeling the progressive percentage is so low because a lot of them are no longer part of the electorate. I mean, am I really supposed to get worked up about a choice between Elizabeth Warren (“progressive”) and Cory Booker (“new liberal”).
CALPERS: Just want to let people know that there’s a candidate forum for the two positions on the CAPERS board. It’s being hosted by the League of Women Voters, yay! It starts at 1 p.m. this afternoon West Coast time and is being live-streamed. The video should be available afterwards.
Also, many thanks to Yves for covering this issue so well. Otherwise I wouldn’t even know how to vote. My ex-husband even emailed me asking for my opinion because I have sent him NC articles in the past!
Is that really still up for debate? Hasn’t that been known since, like, the 5th century BCE?
I’ve read that hunter-gatherers often learn to successfully mimic various animals and birds, and NC’s Jerri-Lynn once told of ‘conversations’ she’s had with geckos in Laos.
’Tis true. When I mimicked the call of a Laotian gecko, it responded. Alas, I was just repeating what I heard and I had no idea what the gecko was ’saying’ – it was most likely a mating call. This wasn’t a one-off thing. I ‘conversed’ with various geckos during the couple of weeks I spent in Laos.
I’ve tried this with geckos in other countries- e.g., India – to no avail.
When I’ve been in Calcutta during the winter, I sometimes leave a light on overnight so that the (cold-blooded) geckos have a warm place to hang out. Geckos eat mosquitoes so I like having them around.
Commenting to plug this New Yorker article making the rounds, a recounting of the past decades of life in rural Afghanistan from the perspective of the women who live there:
Very discursive, but that helps it provide a well-rounded historical and current-day portrait. This quote makes a good summary, but it’s well worth a cup-of-coffee read:
About the ” you bloody fool” talking duck, in case anyone else hasn’t already mentioned this, I will.
Take a close look at the head-neck assembly as it moves back and forth on the body of the “talking duck”.
It is not moving in a natural manner. It is merely moving back and forth as a single unit at a single hingepoint at the base of the neck.
And when they have the duck image pointed the “other way”, the head-neck unit still moves back and forth on the same single hingepoint in the same way.
The video looks like a cheap low-grade hoax to me, just seeing who it can fool. About the article itself I cannot comment.
I took a second look at the ” you bloody fool” duck video. The head-neck assembly is still just unbendingly rocking on a fixed pivot point.
But now I also notice that the duck is not really floating in the water. It is just an image of a duck being moved up and down a little against a backdrop of water. Notice that no trace of any little wavelet is moving along/against the duck’s body. The “line” between the duck’s body and the water it is supposed to be floating in is totally unchanging.
This video is obviously a fake just trolling people to see if anyone at all will actually believe it. And so, I don’t know what to say about the article. Can a fake video have a true article?