Links 10/11/2021

Happy Federal Holiday! –lambert

‘Extreme Numbers’ Of Large Invasive Spiders In Georgia May Be A Good Thing HuffPo

A taxonomy of sustainable finance taxonomies (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. Page 22: “The primary purpose of taxonomies is to provide a clear signal to investors.”

Starvation Diet Doomberg


Another Winter of COVID The New Yorker. Nobody understands anything but vax, vax, vax. A truly splendid example of the systematic erasure of aerosol transmission (and, at a higher level, layered strategies of prevention, including masking). Why in the name of all that is holy do these ultra-smart people think that transmission rates differ indoors and outdoors? Concluding: “We all walked into this pandemic together. But we’ll leave it at different speeds, and at different times.” Yes, we will, but no, we all very didn’t. Handy map:

The Hot New Back-to-School Accessory? An Air Quality Monitor. NYT. This is what parents have to do to protect their children from the negligence — or worse — of the CDC and the Biden Administration. Of course, you need to be able to afford the monitor, and you need to have the clout to get the school administration to listen to your findings.

Why Aren’t We Even Talking About Easing COVID Restrictions? Ross Barkan, The Atlantic. The deck: “Yes, it’s too soon to lift restrictions. But it’s odd that there are no clear benchmarks for getting there.” Or not.

A COVID Serenity Prayer The Atlantic. The softest sell on “Let ‘er rip” I’ve ever seen.

* * *

COVID-19 transmission dynamics underlying epidemic waves in Kenya Science. From the Abstract: “Three COVID-19 epidemic waves have been observed in Kenya. Using a mechanistic mathematical model, we explain the first two distinct waves by differences in contact rates in high and low social-economic groups, and the third wave by the introduction of higher-transmissibility variants. Reopening schools led to a minor increase in transmission between the second and third waves. Socio-economic and urban/rural population structure are critical determinants of viral transmission in Kenya.”

Symptoms and Health Outcomes Among Survivors of COVID-19 Infection 1 Year After Discharge From Hospitals in Wuhan, China JAMA. Findings: “In this cohort study of 2433 patients who had been hospitalized with COVID-19, the most common symptoms at 1 year after discharge were fatigue, sweating, chest tightness, anxiety, and myalgia. Patients with severe disease had more postinfection symptoms and higher chronic obstructive pulmonary disease assessment test scores.”

* * *

Vaccination-related employee departures at 25 hospitals, health systems Becker’s Hospital Review. An aggregation of anecdotes. The numbers on a percentage basis are not large. But what happens at the margin in a system with no slack?

Lateral flow tests: Health chiefs probe ‘high number’ of positive rapid Covid tests followed by negative PCRs iiNews

An end to isolation: can Asia-Pacific live with coronavirus? FT. Dudes, the headline. Via:

Fog in Channel. Continent Isolated.”


Chinese Builders Scramble for Ways to Avoid Bond Defaults Bloomberg

China’s coal futures hit record high as floods worsen energy crisis FT

Is there a dark side to China’s high-speed rail network? South China Morning Post

“Squid Game” has exploded globally, and the market value of the company behind it has soared by 120 billion! Why are Koreans the first to win the global audience? What China Reads


Unnamed Myanmar photographer wins Bayeux war reporting prize France24. See here.

European Parliament Throws Support Behind Myanmar’s Shadow Government The Irrawaddy

Covid-19: 2,909 new cases in Singapore; sharp rise in infections in migrant worker dormitories Today Online. From last week, still germane.


India made unreasonable demands, China says after border talks fail South China Morning Post


U.S. says Taliban talks in Doha were ‘candid and professional’ Reuters

Iraq’s elderly vote, the young boycott France24


Forget Russian intentions, fundamentals drove up Europe’s gas price Hellenic Shipping News

Six takeaways from the Czech Republic’s historic election EuroNews

EC head ‘deeply concerned’ by Polish constitutional court ruling The First News

We Finally Know How 43 Students on a Bus Vanished Into Thin Air Daily Beast

Biden Administration

US to resume enforcement of unlawful bird deaths by industry AP. Good!

Yellen confident U.S. Congress will pass minimum global corporate tax Reuters

Student loans: Education Department launches office of enforcement to ‘vigorously’ increase oversight Yahoo Finance

1 Billion TikTok Users Understand What Congress Doesn’t The Atlantic. If teens are your worry, Facebook is not the problem. Periodically, I run this video:

“My Mom’s on Facebook.”

Pity, Power, and Presence The Convivial Society

Heads Must Roll The Ad Contrarian. Facebook and the advertising industry.

Intelligence Community

*** Crickets ***

So the journamilists pushing this story are in fact helping intelligence community operatives defraud the government with false claims, all things work together for good, good job.

Democrats en Deshabille

Left warns of “double threat” Axios. Another consulting shop lays out its wares by the side of the road. Why is this ritual even a thing?

Our Famously Free Press

A Profession That Selects For Sociopaths Eschaton

Chinese ‘Disinformation’ and US Propaganda FAIR

“‘Government without newspapers.'” Patrick Lawrence, The Scrum

The Science Of Propaganda Is Still Being Developed And Advanced Caitlin Johnstone

Trump Legacy

Steven Mnuchin Stepped In To Prevent Ivanka Trump World Bank Appointment The Intercept

Sports Desk

Bag-Headed Sports Fans Who Love Awful Teams Bleacher Report

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Tesla ordered to pay $137M over racism in rare verdict NNY360. That’s a damn shame.

Man who helped ignite George Floyd riots identified as white supremacist: Police ABC

Southwest Airlines’ Widespread Cancellations Disrupt Weekend Travel NYT. For more on this story, and the extraordinary possibility of an “emergent strike,” see NC here.

Class Warfare

In a Surprise, John Deere Workers Get to See Contract Before Voting On It Labor Notes. Thumbs down from some:

Fifth Day Of Do-Or-Die IATSE Contract Talks Wrap; Will Resume Monday Deadline but IATSE leadership prepares betrayal of entertainment industry workers WSWS

Hayao Miyazaki, Union Man Animation Obsessive

D.C. Suspends Clearing Of NoMa Encampments After Unhoused Person Hit By Bulldozer Driver DCist

The Cross of Gold – populism, democratic iterations and the politics of money Adam Tooze, Chartboook

A global fight looms over Kratom, a possible opioid alternative Politico

Being alone with your thoughts is a skill you can practise Aeon

Home Country Harpers (Late Introvert),

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jourhere.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. farragut

    I’m sorry, but any situation involving the words–in any combination–‘extreme’, ‘numbers’, ‘large’, ‘invasive’, & ‘spiders’ is cause for alarm.

    1. Scott 2

      I had just forgotten about turning over a board in my shed Saturday and had four Brown Recluse (Reclusi? ) coming towards my feet.

      1. ambrit

        Yep, and the South has “Brown Widow” spiders. I remember the first time I encountered one webbing inside the door jamb space on the truck. Brown Widows are the slightly less toxic cousins of Black Widow spiders. They are expanding their range.
        I still flash on the scene from “The Incredible Shrinking Man” where our hero fights the “giant” spider.
        The Who, “Boris the Spider”:

      2. jo6pac

        Unlike a black widow they are very aggressive. If you get bit go to the DR. ASAP the bite very dangerous over a short period of time.

        1. Michael Mck

          And pack the bite with powdered charcoal on the way there.
          I don’t know that they are aggressive per se but they do go places they are not expected and can bite as they are accidentally squashed. Their range is larger than many sources state. They get transported places they may not normally breed and may get established indoors. The one I know of professionally identified in the SF bay area was an “Italian Recluse”.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The scientists sound weirdly complacent about the speed of its advance. When an introduced species (like feral hogs) advances at such speed, it means it is exploiting a very large unused niche in ecosystems. You have to question why this niche exists – (in the case of hogs, it might be hunting reducing the number of large predators). If those spiders can so radically out hunt native spiders and other insect hunters, there is something going on, and it may not be a healthy sign.

      1. Objective Ace

        I’m not sure I understand this.. are you saying, for example, Covid-19 is exploiting a niche in the ecosystem? I suppose depending on how you define “niche” that would be the case, but I dont think thats what most people would intuit.

        When different ecosystems (or mutations) are exposed to each other they can nock the system off equilibrium. That doesnt necessarily imply there was an unused niche prior.. at least to my understanding. I’d happily read up on the subject if you have any interesting resources.

    3. Hank Linderman

      Under “Related Stories” at the Georgia spider page was this: “Dinner Plate Sized Spider Drags Opossum Off For Furry Meal.”

      I don’t click.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Poor Tom Holland is having to resort to extreme measures to counter Disney/Sony/Marvel’s attempts to keep him looking like a weedy teenager.

    4. Raymond Sim

      Next we’ll hear they’re starting to cooperate, but in a good way, ridding us of even larger pests.

  2. Roger Blakely

    Hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people around the world will die of COVID-19 because the public health establishment won’t promote a simple idea: People in public indoor spaces need to be wearing respirators and goggles. Cloth face coverings and surgical masks will not prevent people from inhaling Delta variant and getting (or staying) sick.

    1. Glossolalia

      Masks work fine, especially N95s. Do what you need to do to feel safe but don’t expect many people to be wearing respirators and goggles.

      1. jr

        I still see bandanas and “neck-sleeves” with nothing underneath on the subway, that is when I am forced by necessity to take the subway.

      2. Val

        Having been fitted with a genuine respirator for a tuberculosis project years ago, I can attest to the claustrophobic/Darth Vader/gas mask experience, how strangely clammy one’s face can become, and how lovely it is to return to a fresh breeze. Even with breaks, rather experienced professionals would have unscheduled minor freakouts and need to re-center out in the fresh air. It does make one wonder about the effectiveness of some of those floppy nose bags out there. That said, the old timey TB research does indicate that in terms of infection rates among healthcare staff, masking TB patients was in general more beneficial than having the nurses wear masks. Those old reports still inform my current disease aerosols model. Defense-in-depth/every little bit helps even if only psychologically.

        1. jr

          Part of my Army basic training regimen involved donning a gas mask and wearing it inside a small room that was filled with CS gas. It was unpleasant to say the least. You would be amazed to see how much mucus can run out of your nose when required.

          That, along with having to wear it to qualify with the rifle, pretty much inured me to having my face masked up for long periods of time. I sometimes forget I have my double mask setup on when I get home from somewhere. My partner has to remind me to take the damn3d thing off.

    2. Annieb

      Everyone indoors should wear respirators and googles— that’s a hilarious image, like Twilight Zone. Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods, in Boulder county Colo, people are back to sitting in coffee houses w/o masks, everyone except a few oldsters. We don’t have many new cases , but next month when winter sets in? I am trying to be optimistic , but Fauci keeps putting it out.

      1. newcatty

        It is funny. Then the city of Boulder is in its own Twilght Zone. We lived there for less than a year, long enough to discern it. Can imagine the angst of many who sit in coffee houses relief and joy at the opening up of the city! An aquaintance , who knew the city well as a long time resident, as we got to know each other told us that there was “no other city in US that was more pretentious and precious than Boulder”. Ha! Also, there was an overlay of double agendas palpable. We skipped over to a small town and loved it for awhile. Of course no offense to the great people in the greater county.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Last I heard, he was on detached duty in Washington DC back in January wearing a ‘fat suit’ for a disguise.

  3. Wukchumni

    People discussed the present legal status of the silver dollar, the various laws affecting silver, the amount of production, the cost of production, etc., etc.

    The Cross of Gold – populism, democratic iterations and the politics of money Adam Tooze
    The Comstock Lode in particular greatly altered the Ag-Au standard which had held @ 16-1* since biblical times and was double that when Bryan made his impassioned speech in 1896.

    There was so much silver coming out of Virginia City and what to do with it all, the marketplace couldn’t absorb it, so the spot price kept drifting lower, and then in 1878 the Bland-Allison Act was signed which called for the striking of Morgan Dollars in great quantities compared to lesser denomination silver coins, and this was essentially a way for mining interests to get rid of their end product by monetizing it. These silver $’s weren’t meant for use in commerce and the vast majority of them languished in government vaults just sitting there doing nothing.

    To give you an idea of what was going on in a typical year, say 1881, there was just $10,000 face value of Dimes, Quarters and Halves in total minted that year, whereas $27,000,000 face value in Morgan Dollars were struck.

    As late as the early 1960’s, you could buy bags of 1,000 brand new Morgan Dollars from the 1870’s through 1900’s from the US Treasury office in Washington DC for face value, there were so many even after melting down 270 million of them to sell as silver bullion to India in 1921.

    Bryan wasn’t so much concerned about gold i’m thinking, he wanted to unlock the potential of all that silver sitting in dusty vaults languishing, i.e. ‘the free silver movement’.

    * currently nearly 80-1

    1. Dftbs

      I always wondered what Jennings Bryan would’ve thought about the accessibility and nature of credit in the present-day. Would George Bailey have been fighting for less bank lending? In 2021 being crucified on a cross of gold seems a better way to go than drowned in a sea of debt.

      1. saywhat?

        In 2021 being crucified on a cross of gold seems a better way to go than drowned in a sea of debt. Dftbs

        As if those are the only two options?

        Unlike expensive fiat, such as that made with or backed by gold or silver, inexpensive fiat allows all sorts of good things including an equal Citizens Dividend, just debt abolition (eg. Steve Keen’s “A Modern Jubilee”) and the elimination of privileges for private banks and the rich.

        Gold and silver are merely long obsolete (since the Tally Stick, at least) anti-counterfeiting measures that limit government spending for the general welfare in favor of private credit creation for usurers and the rich.

        1. Dftbs

          I do agree lots of other options. Albeit none that could be exercised within the confines of our epistemological boundaries in that thin sliver of humanity we call the “West.” And certainly none that we could take without paying some violent toll.

          I still do wonder what William Jennings Bryan, or even Frank Capra, would’ve made of the pickle we are in.

  4. ambrit

    The War Against Cash Dept. local report.
    A mini-series of comments erupted on the Nextdoor E-mail site about local Bigg Boxx Stores not giving small change back to cash paying customers around here. Seriously, the ‘average’ comment thread on that site is four or five comments long. This one has now gone on for over twenty comments. (Hit them where it hurts, their pocketbook.)
    Several commenters said that store management explained the process as stemming from a shortage of change. Several said that they had the cashiers return only paper cash, generally rounding down, without explanation. No consistant policy was observed, the issue being handled on an ad hoc basis.
    One person mentioned being charged by his bank for counting a jar full of change he had brought to the bank for deposit. Luckily, ‘our’ bank does not charge for using the coin counting machine. The Coinstar machine in local retail stores are money makers.
    Sorry to toss a spanner in the works so early, but, is this going national?

    1. Wukchumni

      If there is a war on cash, i’d be going to the ammo store, er the bank and buy as many pennies as you can, knapping them into ad hoc arrowheads with tin snips to place on the ends of #2 pencils you never use anymore. It ain’t much of a spear but you go with the money you have-not the money you want.

      Cash is about useless in battle, but if you burn enough of it in one go, it creates a momentary diversion. If you have any crisp brand new notes, never discount the potential of a paper cut taking down your adversary.

      1. cocomaan

        Ah, after the arrowhead comment, I see you have also read Earth Abides.

        I’ve been hoarding pennies for awhile in anticipation of the elimination of the penny as currency due to inflation or elimination of cash, at which point the copper might be valuable. However, you can see the copper content of the coinage go down over time. From a numismatic perspective, cultures where they start to eliminate precious metals from currency are in the decline.

        Whatever happens, I will have many pounds of pennies around, which seems like a win win to me.

        1. Wukchumni

          Bearer of bad news dept:

          Unless your Lincolns are dated 1981 or earlier they are 97.5% zinc with the rest copper-plating.


          1. Jeff W

            Oh, that’s why, for the longest time, I’ve thought pennies have felt a bit lightweight—because, well, they are:

            “Solid copper pennies weigh 3.11 grams (+/- 0.130 g.), whereas the copper[-]plated zinc pennies weigh only 2.5 grams (+/- 0.100 g.).”

            That’s an almost 20% difference! Even after four decades, the zinc ones still feel a bit chintzy to me.

          2. skippy

            Not an example of Gresham’s and the Egyptians recycled their metal not that many of the nations dramas came from endless military expenditures to control or own the sources of the stuff, same for Rome et al, so contra to the monetarist belief other events proceeded the one they focus on.

            Same goes for coin clipping e.g. human mind sets proceed any imaged controls an inanimate object might bestow upon its user. Yet in any case the administration of tokens to facilitate contracts and the distribution of its outcomes proceeds its form.

        2. Mildred Montana

          What?! The US still has a penny?! Canada scrapped it ten years ago. Though we Canadians have been left penniless, only the penny-pinchers are complaining.

          Since it costs approximately two cents to produce and ship a US penny and the Treasury loses millions of dollars every year producing them, why does it persist? Somebody—somewhere—must be making dollars on the cent.

    2. jr

      I mentioned recently that my Brooklynite bank is not giving out coins and when cashing a check with cents in the value they will credit the coinage to your account. They also asked their customers to bring in whatever change they had at home to “help” them during the shortage. Coinstar’s are great but they bring the homeless in droves, first thing in the morning, which is probably why a lot of banks don’t have them anymore.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Banks aren’t paying jack even on CDs now, yet they want help?

        Also, I read on the internet that banks can take our deposits if things get extra dicey for them. Is that right?

        1. Daniel LaRusso

          According to the Keiser report it definitely is. Legally speaking the money you have on deposit at the bank is theirs. And they “give it back to you” when the see fit. So for example there was talk of the “bail-in” for Cyprus and I remember being told no new legislation was needed, but it’s whether they had the stones to do it. Because you’d only get to do it the once and then people would be wise. I think the guest went on to say it’s something to do with the banking licence (in the uk).

          He’s had a few guests say something similar.

    3. griffen

      I continue to notice many locations such as the QT (QuikTrip) request exact change or paying in a non cash method. Broad enough to say there still seems the evil “coin shortage at the mint”…I’ll keep paying in cash where possible.

      This is in SC, upstate region and not far from Asheville.

      1. Milton

        About half of the CC/Debit terminals in my area have added the option to round up for some children’s charity. The retail clerks are adept at making one feel like sh!t if they opt against.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Didn’t have to click on that, or even recognise the url (like people do with Rickrolls) to know EXACTLY what it would show.

            The show has recently been renewed for another few more years apparently. Yay.

        1. ambrit

          Since we went on a “defined income” regime, I have developed an alligator’s skin for when fielding such “requests.”

          1. wilroncanada

            One doesn’t need an alligator skin to recognize a crock. I thought I was thin-skinned, easily embarrassed, but I have no embarrassment in turning down the begging bowls at the register. It almost makes one long for self checkout–no! no! NO! In many of those appeals, if not all, the business gets credit for the accumulated ‘donations’ coerced out of their customers. A little extra tax break for them, plus PR value. And what do you, the consumer get? Crickets!

            1. newcatty

              It reminds me of the stores who sell the American dream ( lottery tickets). I don’t have much info on it, but know they get some kind of grift. Does it make it all OK cause sales “support” the good legislation like public schools or anti-smoking public health “campaigns”? Nope. Its still promoting gambling. Its also disgusting when a convenience store sells a “big winning ticket”. All of the gullible flock for awhile to it to have some of that “luck” shine on them. If, for example, one is a low income person a couple dollars a week, or more, adds up.

              1. ambrit

                A convenience store owner in Louisiana once told me that the store that sells a big winning ticket also gets a “prize,” as in some serious change, plus an overall commission, expressed as a percentage of sales.
                We stopped buying lottery tickets a long time ago. The “rake off” is about one half in most jurisdictions. The odds are astronomical. You have a better chance of ‘winning’ something at the slot machines. (The bulk of a casino’s profits comes from the slot machines. The table games are usually there for “glam.”)
                Also, the claim that “gambling” supplies a big chunk of extra cash for the poor suffering Grunnion Fisheries Conservancy or the Macadamia Nut Research Institute is pure bunk. Over time, and a short period of time it usually is, the “extra” funds from gambling revenues are absorbed into the funding stream. The other revenues that usually took that place in the scheme of things are diverted to other, “worthier” uses, like Exceptional Executive’s Retention Bonuses, or the ever popular Golden Parachute Experimental Outcomes Modelling Department.

                1. hunkerdown

                  In Michigan, the seller of the golden ticket gets a few grand and a brag sign. Some convenience store franchisees don’t find their half of their normal 6% commission very good business, so tend to de-emphasize lottery products.

                  It’s all a tax on people who are bad at math.

  5. TroyIA

    It’s one thing for the company to not fully understand (or care) how fed up its workers are but how can the international union be so out of touch with its members that it would agree to an extension in order to present a contract that is rejected by over 90%? The first contract to be voted down in 35 years. If there is no agreement by midnight Wednesday 10,000 UAW workers will go on strike.

    UAW members overwhelmingly reject tentative John Deere contract

    The United Auto Workers (UAW) overwhelmingly rejected the tentative agreement set with John Deere. UAW Vice-President Chuck Browning says 90% of the membership voted against the contract on Sunday.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s very sad. When I think of the glory days of the American labor movement, I think of the UMW and the UAW, the two great CIO unions. The UAW’s effectiveness in mobilizing strikes was so daunting to the bosses that they changed where and how they built factories. Nelson Lichtenstein, who wrote a biography of Walter Reuther titled The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit, describes a neighborhood-wide battle fought during the 1938 Federal Screw strike in Detroit:

        The social ecology of the Federal Screw strike was characteristic of many industrial conflicts of the pre-World War II era. The strike had strong neighborhood support. Although the shock troops of the battle–the pickets who actually fought the police–were not workers at the Federal Screw plant, the closely packed Polish neighborhood offered them a friendly environment upon which to fall back. In at least one celebrated instance, a neighborhood woman poured boiling water on the police riders as they trotted up the narrow streets. Many of the women in the community around the plant were cigar workers who had been through their own bitter strikes the year before. They saw the police as an alien force and identified with the CIO.

        Liechtenstein, p. 100.

        I live in a Cleveland neighborhood built in the 1880s. There are multi-family residential areas intermixed with large factories and warehouses located along the main rail line through town. I lived in a similar neighborhood, though built more recently, in the near-west suburbs of Chicago. Manufacturing plants built during and after World War II are located far away from any residential areas and surrounded by huge parking lots. Workers are scattered around the metropolitan area.

        We’ve lost our sense of place, and with it, our sense of community and solidarity.

      2. lance ringquist

        when they endorsed nafta billy clinton for a second time, i knew the unions were doomed. and the lock stepped for the most part for the empty suit hollowman obama, nafta hillary clinton, and now nafta joe biden, the most progressive democrat since FDR, NOT!

  6. Jackiebass63

    From its beginning I decided to not get on Social Media. I didn’t want information about me used for profit. I can live without everyone knowing my every move.

    1. John

      I opened a Facebook account years ago and closed it within 24 hours; one of my better decisions. Constant attention to social media and the cell phone meet the definition of OCD, do they? What is the best collective description?

      1. Mikel

        I did the same, but opened the short lived account without using my name.
        1) the friends of the the friend I was friending were sus
        2) I saw right away that I was expected to be a content creator for FB without pay. I already had a job and better ways to spend my time. I have email addresses and phone numbers for my real friends and family…if they can’t communicate with me on a non-public forum, we won’t communicate. I don’t need a corporate mediator for my relationships.

      2. JEHR

        I started to open a Facebook account and then cancelled it. It was more difficult to cancel than open. I do not regret my choice.

    2. marieann

      I tried to join Facebook this year…..a birthday surprise for my sister’s 70th…big meet up on facebook.

      Not knowing anything about the place, my son was going to help me over the phone but he left me hanging, so I looked around to try and figure it out by myself, by the time he got back to me I had been banned :)
      most likely for searching profiles trying to find my sister. I was very amused and I am quite proud of my “banned” status.

  7. Wukchumni

    Bag-Headed Sports Fans Who Love Awful Teams Bleacher Report
    With much trepidation I scrolled down in anticipation of the Bills being brown bagged, but no. The love for team is unconditional.

    I suffered so much since the turn of the century with every stiff QB you can imagine-the talent pool being on the shallow side, watered down. I’ve managed to forget most of their names which is hard on me, as I tend to remember everything that is of interest…

    …but that was then and this is now with the rightpaw from Firebaugh

    1. griffen

      It appears that with the coaching staff, a stud QB they smartly have signed beyond his rookie deal and a very good defense Buffalo is asserting themselves over the rival Patriots. It helps that the Jets are scheduled twice!

      The lackluster Lions should be number one, arguably; ownership can never, ever pretend to run a shoestring operation. On the other hand it is the Ford’s.

    2. ambrit

      Oh ye of too much faith!
      Back in the Long Ago, the New Orleans Saints were once so bad, many fans began wearing the dreaded ‘Brown Bag’ to games. These headgears soon became fashion accessories. Colourfully decorated Crown Protectors began showing up.
      The fans so attired, and the team they parodied, soon became known as the New Orleans ‘Aints.
      Then the Netherworld became icebound.

    1. Mantid

      Nice link and interesting article. The headline “Anti-Vaccine Protest” is very American. The article itself is about anti-mandate protests. Many pro-vaccine people are against the mandates, and rightfully so in my opinion. However, lumping anti-vaxers and fascists together, as the article does, is a great way to keep them Bubbas the enemy of the general (science trusting) population.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I had to read this paragraph twice, thought I had the deja vus

      As a precaution, Italian security officials decided to usher Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. Speaker of the House, out of a nearby church where she had been attending Mass, her office said Sunday. Earlier Saturday, Pelosi had a private audience at the Vatican with Pope Francis.

      1. ambrit

        Knowing how assiduously Pelosi has been doing the “Bad Work” of the Adversary, her visit to the Pope was probably to inquire into the purchase of a bulk lot of Indulgences. “Can I get delivery of gelato “down there?” was probably her first question to the Holy Father.

          1. ambrit

            “It’ll be a cold day in the Vatican Archives when we release to the public Piri Reis’s source maps.”
            Yep. Never forget that the Vatican pretends to be both a spiritual as well as a political organization.

    3. Lee

      Interestingly, Covid passports are granted to those who have “recently recovered from the virus”. I believe this is also the UK policy and I assume elsewhere as well. Italy and other western European countries have considerably higher rates of vaccine uptake than does the U.S., so I assume a couple of things: antivax sentiment is considerably is less prevalent than in the U.S., and between those who have received the jab and those who have been naturally vaccinated, the instances of serious disease should remain relatively low at least for awhile.

      If you are up for a two hour video on the state of play from some European virologists with some mention of policy implications and their experiences at the beginning of the pandemic you can watch it on TWIV #813.

      In other news about the news, Dr. John Campbell artfully deconstructs a recent BBC article that purports to debunk the utility of an unmentionable drug. He includes a reference to a request to Merck by Kitasato University to run a clinical trial on the unmentionable drug, which Merck declined. One of those making the request was Satoshi Ōmura, Ph.D., a recipient of the Nobel Prize for development of the unmentionable drug.

      I should add that Dr. Campbell is pro-vaccine and as to the unmentionable, he is agnostic but very much wanting it to be properly studied.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        I looked into the BBC’s “group of independent scientists” that has “cast serious doubt” on all the Ivermectin studies that show its effectiveness.
        The lead author, Jack M. Lawrence, has no previous publications and Campbell states he is a student.
        As far as I can find only one author has any epidemiology or infectious disease background, Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz. He is a PhD candidate in epidemiology. He is also a member of American Council on Science and Health ( Ralph Nader said of the American Council on Science and Health, “ACSH is a consumer front organization for its business backers. It has seized the language and style of the existing consumer organizations, but its real purpose, you might say, is to glove the hand that feeds it.” Mother Jones magazine also did an exposé on them. (
        Here is a list of the authors and their credentials.

        Jack M. Lawrence, a student who has no other publications.

        Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiology student who belongs to a corporate sponsored pro-industry science group.

        James A. J. Heathers, Chief Scientific Officer for the company Cipher Skin. Specialization in the interface between physiological measurement and people, for wearable devices. (

        Nicholas J. L. Brown, a psychologist with published papers such as “The complex dynamics of wishful thinking: The critical positivity ratio.” (

        Kyle A. Sheldrick, Managing Director of Merunova (medical imaging start-up), medical doctor (with experience treating back pain patients). (

        Interesting that the BBC touts this paper while ignoring population studies from Mexico and India that show Ivemectin effectiveness.

      2. Mantid

        Yes, I am in accord with passports for those “recently recovered”. That makes a lot of sense. Had a discussion with someone this morning using the typical “we have stop signs”, “polio vaccines” argument for the necessity of mandates. At least my friend agreed that the current Covid vaccines are more of a treatment than a complete (sterilizing) vaccine. I used the slippery slope approach. U.S. Hospitals are refusing treatments (surgeries) for people unvaccinated. When will they refuse treating cancers if a person smokes, or did smoke, or smoked for 30 years, or 20 years, or smoked Camel straights instead of filtered ??? ……… So seeing that some countries are using passports that take into account a few variables is a good sign. not many good signs over here across the pond.

      3. zagonostra

        I was first exposed to Dr. John Campbell on Jimmy Dore of all places. I saw the article you linked to earlier in the day, I like his calm and low-tech delivery as well as his succinct reasoning that the normal lay person can follow.

  8. zagonostra


    Came across a doozy of a word in my reading of Ivan Illich, a figure I had heard about but that I am now only beginning to study and read in earnest (I had read “Guarding the eye in the age of show” and found it highly stimulating and thought provoking, especially since it was written in pre-smart phone era – PSPE).

    Iatrogenesis is the causation of a disease, a harmful complication, or other ill effect by any medical activity, including diagnosis, intervention, error, or negligence.[1][2][3] First used in this sense in 1924,[1] the term was introduced to sociology in 1976 by Ivan Illich, alleging that industrialized societies impair quality of life by overmedicalizing life.[4] Iatrogenesis may thus include mental suffering via medical beliefs or a practitioner’s statements.

    1. jr

      A few years ago, when I lived in the West Village, I secured my weekly weed from a lady nicknamed “Ace” who was a regular in the street-scene crowd. We became chums: I’d hook her up with left over booze and nibbles from private events I’d run and she helped to make sure none of the street kids messed with me or my partner when we were walking the dog at night.

      One night we were talking and she told me how worried she was about her mother. I asked why and she explained that her mom had been diagnosed with depression or something and was on meds but was apparently even more “depressed” than before. I asked her what meds she was on and she listed no less than >four< different ones.

      I told her that I was pretty sure that her mother's doctor was hosing her and that she needed to get away from him/her ASAP. She told her mother this and Mom followed my advice. A few weeks later, she was with a new doctor and down to one med. Ace told me her mother was able to get out of bed now and get around, for which she handed me a dime bag on the house and a big hug.

      And some wonder why black people are one of the least vaccinated groups in the US.

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    Starvation, phosphorus and overshoot–

    The Doomberg piece does a nice job of explaining how a shortage in one area metastasizes into shortages in others in our wound-tight, global socio-economic system. Who knew that phosphorus was in short supply? Who knew that a phosphorus shortage would bring sharp rises in food prices and maybe even shortages?

    That’s great as far as it goes. The world is going to hell in a handbasket. What else is new?

    The problem is that the article’s viewpoint is trapped inside the current paradigm. Consider this excerpt:

    To keep the chemistry lesson as simple as possible, you need natural gas to produce ammonia and energy from fossil fuels to mine for phosphate. You need ammonia and phosphate to make fertilizer. You need fertilizer to grow food at scale. You need food to keep the peace.

    First of all, the ammonia is used to produce nitrogen fertilizer like anhydrous ammonia or ammonium nitrate and phosphorus is used to produce phosphate fertilizer. The two are discrete products.

    Second, and much more importantly, Gabe Brown with his ranch up in North Dakota will not be sweating shortages of either nitrogen or phosphorus fertilizers. That’s because he’s broken the chain of soil degradation that goes back to the once-Fertile Crescent: Tilling the soil breaks down the organic matter (a process that releases CO2) and kills much of the bacterial and fungal life in the soil. The bacteria and fungi work with plant roots to make nutrients available in the mineral component of the soil to the plants. It’s a complex symbiotic relationship. Once that has been broken up by a plow or disc, plants growing in that soil have less available nutrients, and the modern solution is to add chemical fertilizers, primarily nitrogen and phosphate. These chemical fertilizers further damage the bacteria and fungal life remaining in the already-damaged soil, so more fertilizer is necessary to attain the same crop yields. This artificial and depleted soil environment produces less healthy plants that are more susceptible to plant predators and disease. Add to that the monocropping that makes fields so attractive to predators, and the only way you’ll grow a crop is add pesticides. This further weakens the plants so that they become susceptible to fungal “diseases” and fungicides are required. (See Gabe Brown, Dirt to Soil, p. 175)

    The end result is food loaded with toxic contaminants and with a small fraction of the nutritional value of foods grown in healthy soils.

    Hey, but if you’re a big enough operator with enough federal subsidies, you can make a profit right up until you turn your land into desert.

    If we want to turn off this road to Doomberg, we must mimic Nature rather than trying to poison her to death. Quit tilling and disturbing the soil chemically. Keep cover on the soil to protect the bacterial and fungal life. Plant wildly diverse cover crops, mimicking Nature’s natural diversity. Keep living roots in the soil year round as much as possible, and introduce carefully managed livestock to speed up the process of building organic matter. Brown figures that with a 1% increase in organic matter in the soil, a measurable stand-in for soil health, there will be the equivalent of $750/acre worth of nitrogen and phosphorus made newly available to the plants grown in that soil.

    Big Ag is Easter Island on steroids phosphorus. Don’t forget the Business As Usual graphs of food production in the Limits to Growth scenario. We are already seeing serious disruptions in the supply of resources required to keep Business As Usual going, but we are not doomed unless we keep doubling down on short-sighted and increasingly desperate technology to keep living a silly Dream.

    1. Wukchumni

      Was driving home from Fresno on the backroads and it was a sea of citrus orchards as far as the eye could see, every tree watered exclusively from a well & vibrant green in lush lines of perfect formations splayed out on either side of the road, all sucking from the same milkshake.

      Most only get a feel for the food forest from Hwy 5 or Hwy 99, and when you drive around the CVBB a bit it dawns on you just how much there is, it just keeps going, everything growing where it shouldn’t.

      We’re in an age of weather extremes and overdue for a 1861-62 epic rainfall/snowfall winter which pretty much flooded out the entire Central Valley, meaning every last orchard would have to start over and have a lag time of 6-7 years to have new trees supply fruit but not so many nuts as before.

      That’s an eternity when up against hunger.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      Phosphorus levels are regulated in wastewater. Municipalities face standards that keep lowering the allowed levels. One option is mining the phosphorus from the waste stream. Director of Public Works in my community has talked about this. Expensive for sure. Phosphorus in our surface waters lead to many quality problems. Better agriculture methods like no till and cover crops are a major step forward. Getting the giant corporate farms to change – hard work. Will rising prices make that happen?

      PS: Point source is highly regulated (municipalities) Non-point (farms) not at all – their lobby protects them greatly from responsibility for the elements they let go into surface waters.

      1. John

        Nah, we don’t need to mine the waste stream. We can wait a couple million years and mine the old deltas of every major river. See, problem solved.

    3. CuriosityConcern

      Hi Henry, this is not a challenge to your post, which I’d say I agree with…
      I think I heard a soil scientist, Don Huber(don’t hold him to it as I may misremember), discussing findings on ag studies, and he said a study found that tilling every 5 years maintained fertility. He also stressed that rotation was important. My takeaway was, rotate tubers into your rotation every 5 years…

  10. jr

    “ All of this suggests that most of us do not have an intuitive sense of how and what to focus on in order to derive the most pleasure from our thinking experience.”

    I submit that your average 16 year old nerd with some, erm, time on his or her hands does not struggle with the “how” and “what” of pleasurable thinking..

  11. PlutoniumKun

    “Squid Game” has exploded globally, and the market value of the company behind it has soared by 120 billion! Why are Koreans the first to win the global audience? What China Reads

    Hayao Miyazaki, Union Man Animation Obsessive

    Its maybe a tenuous link, but I’ve always been interested as to why Japanese cinema, with the exception of some very occasional outliers like Miyazaki, has declined so much since its 1950’s Golden Age, while South Korea has for years now been producing outstanding cinema, and now increasingly TV.

    A key reason seems to be very simple – government support vs. markets. Even going back to the authoritarian right wing south Korean governments they saw the value of a vibrant cinema and music sector for soft power and actively supported the development of talent (similar to countries like Denmark and France in Europe, and once upon a time, the UK). While in Japan it was always a solely free market activity. When there was a vibrant cinema scene, as up to the late 1960’s, this operated fine, and Japan produced Kurosawa and Ozu and many other great directors and technical people. But since there there has been a general decline, and Japanese TV is very poor quality. Anime is of course a bright spot, but as the article notes, it involved notoriously abusive labour practices (most animators are freelance). Studio Ghibli, along with Kyoto Animation, stood out as two of the only companies that set out their stall based on treating their animators well, and notably produced some of the very best anime of the past few decades. But sadly, even Ghibli looks like it can’t continue on, its very vulnerable to just one or two flops.

    I think its hard to underestimate just how important it is to a small to medium sized country to have a vibrant popular culture – South Korea has raised its profile very significantly worldwide to to its films and TV and Kpop. Soft power matters, even if it involves bad music (no offence to K-Pop fans). With South Korea’s hugely talented film industry, I would guess Squid Game will be the first of many hits, as its capable of producing much better TV than this. It seems to have been a bit of a freak that it was a hit (the very similar Japanese Netflix show Alice in Borderland is almost as good).

    1. Acacia

      Yep. Japan never had a “United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.” type of anti-monopoly trial, so even today the film industry remains dominated by Toho and a few other big companies. The #1 film studio owns all the largest theaters and can engage in anti-competitive business practices, just like Hollywood in the bad old days. The Japanese government never stepped in to break up the film cartel, carried on with the “free market” hokum, and then the spread of TV wiped out the smaller studios in the early 70s. Over the past few decades, Japan has given up on soft power through popular culture (except anime). Note that cinema was never part of “Cool Japan”. Perhaps no surprise, as the govt is run by a gerontocracy of idiots obsessed with historical revisionism, whitewashing the Japanese Empire, patriotism, etc. Meanwhile, South Korea copied the French model (CNC) of a state policy on cinema, and the govt supported the Busan Film Festival. Result: South Korean films are sophisticated, stylish, have an overseas market, and Busan is today the largest film market in Asia.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Both of you have interesting comments, worthy of more thought.

        I got into SK shows from one of my ex-GF’s (Korean, now US citizen) at a time when US errm….downloads…were being cracked down on by TPTB and i got out of torrenting and such. She pointed me to a series of SK & China-based sharing sites and the stuff being grabbed didnt match the digital signatures (I assume) of USian files and thus it was open season.

        Gots lots of content w/ENG subtitles of 2000-2010 we watched together. Then I was hooked, and have been consuming Netflix Korean show catalog unmercifully ever since.

        Part of my reason for sticking with consumption is that I have watched soooooo much US/UK stuff that the ‘thrill was gone’, didnt want to watch some random old favorite show for the umpteenth time, and SK content is all new, all fresh, even stuff from 2 decades ago I have never seen so its like an old candy aficionado finding a brand new confectioner whose store has a bazillion new treats….as good or better then the old shop.

        Doesn’t explain why I never did the same thing with any other culture’s content though: I guess that is still explained by having a GF to guide down one particular avenue or another.

        And what you folks pointed out! :)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          There is definitely a freshness of watching films from another culture – its only then that you realise how many English language films follow a very predictable template. And sometimes its just fun getting a look into the side of a culture you don’t normally see, especially with very niche films. Back when I had time, I used to like just wandering into random non English language films in film festivals. Even the boring arty ones would usually have something interesting.

          Korean film makers in particular seem to be particularly skilled at switching genre and tone while creating coherent stories – Parasite being an outstanding example (also, the same directors ‘Memories of Murder’ and ‘The Host’. It has to be said though that only a few countries seem capable of producing a consistent stream of high quality film/drama. If you don’t have a very big native audience, then you need long term government funding and commitment.

          One thing I’ll give Netflix credit for – when they fund international films, they seem happy to let them make something very local and niche. Plenty of other companies would insist on inserting random ‘name’ US actors to make them more ‘relatable’ or whatever. I’m glad its paid off for them with some of their successes.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            “…switching genre and tone ..”

            YEAH! I’ve had the experience of watching a lot of shows where the first episode seems to make it out to be a comedy, but then later it turns dark – sometimes *very* dark – then further episodes introduce some romance and back to comedy yet still dark in places.

            Kind of adds to the thrill ride, and in many cases i find that it is a pretty good addition. One might think the genre-switching would be off-putting, but done right it maybe does a better job reflecting the reality of the diversity of emotions in day-to-day life.

            That, and no laugh track — and a liberal sprinkling of ghosts. Along with zombies, they do ghosts and spirits *really* well!

        2. Soredemos

          You do you I guess, but I’ve found SK TV to be almost uniformly terrible. I have a nephew who watches huge numbers of Kdramas, and about 95% of the time they’re highly repetitive, extremely broad ‘comedies’ about wacky romantic hijinks. They’re unsubtly written, and badly acted (or at least they’re that same type of ludicrously exaggerated stage-style acting that the Japanese also insist on doing). All of the above applies to Japanese live-action TV as well.

          The intelligence and craftsmanship that exists in SK film is mostly absent from their television offerings. East Asian countries basically don’t do prestige drama (with a few rare exceptions); their television output is still mostly at about 1960s network television level.

    2. Larry Y

      I don’t know how much of a freak hit it is. The path had been trodden before, with the aforementioned Alice in Borderland, but also the anime Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (also on Netflix in the US).

      Squid Game is the first hit that’s broken through Western audiences. Korean dramas have, for at least the last half decade, been successful in other East Asian countries, and in Southeast Asia.

      In addition to government support vs. markets, South Korea has thrown off most censorship – either government or self-censorship.Sex and/or violence sells. It may even better if there’s an underlying theme being explored – class, cut-throat capitalism, etc.

      1. MonkeyBusiness

        “Korean dramas have, for at least the last half decade, been successful in other East Asian countries, and in Southeast Asia.”

        Totally true. Also back when the Hong Kong movie industry was still in ascendance, movies like A Better Tomorrow were really popular in East Asian and South East Asian countries as well.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        And, ironically, the US studios are engaging in more censorship, either due to government pressure or the desire to sell their wares in China. We may get to a point where films dealing with anything deeper than archetypal good vs. evil stories are all imported.

      3. Soredemos

        Frankly that’s because truly quality television mostly doesn’t exist in East Asia. Audiences will guzzle down whatever trash their cheap TV industries crap out because no one has any standards.

    3. MonkeyBusiness

      The thing is it’s the Japanese that started the whole genre with Battle Royale back in the days. Also as someone who is studying Japanese and therefore has had to watch quite a bit of Japanese content, I’ve found that the Japanese really excel in making slice of life dramas like Midnight Kitchen (also available on Netflix). Films by Takashi Miike are also worth watching.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m in the same situation, trying to absorb as much natural Japanese as possible in the name of ‘studying’. I just started ‘Followers’ which seems enjoyably trashy although I’m told it loses momentum later on. Naked Director is also trashy fun, although the characters began to grate on me and I stopped watching. I like some of the Midnight Diner stories, although the neatly packaged up endings always seem to be a let down to me.

          I recently discovered Makoto Shinkai – his anime ‘Your Name’ is absolutely gorgeous, the sort of film that gives YA film making a good name and imo as beautiful as anything Ghibli has produced. I pretend I watch all of Demon Slayer for the language, but it really is just pure fun. I’ve introduced my friends pre-teen daughters to it, I’ll probably get in trouble for that.

          If and when I get to a level of Japanese that I’m happy with, Korean is next for me, although the Koreans I know are oddly disparaging about it. I was told before I visited ‘don’t bother learning any, everyone knows some English’, which is very much not true, at least outside Seoul.

          1. MonkeyBusiness

            I don’t know if you knew this already, but if you are using Netflix, there’s this add on called “Language Learning through Netflix”. Try it out. It has helped me quite a bit. I think sometimes they get the on’yomi/kun’yomi reading wrong, but hei the base program is free, so I really have no right to complain.

            I’ve watched Your Name, but I actually liked Weathering with You better. Not to say Your Name wasn’t great, because I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I preferred the later. It’s from the same director Makoto Shinkai. But maybe I just like sentimental movies/programs in general.

            What you said about South Korea is totally true. I mean you might get by with just English if you go to touristy places like Seoul and Jeju Island. You know what, I’ve been to Seoul once, and it’s not true that everyone knows some English. A lot of the more traditional dining places are owned by older people, and to my recollection many of them weren’t able to speak English. If you hang out at Itaewon and Hongdae then the story is different, but Seoul is a lot bigger than those two districts.

            1. MonkeyBusiness

              I should probably say that the last time I was in Seoul is 5 years ago. Maybe the older people have picked up some English since then, but I doubt it.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              Thanks for the recommendation, I’d heard of it, but I think its for Chrome only?

              As for Korea, yes, I was there in 2019. In shops and restaurants, usually anyone under 30 could manage English in Seoul or Busan, but outside the cities, little to no English at all, young or old. But the google translate app works very well for Korean – much better than for Japanese.

              1. MonkeyBusiness

                Yeah it’s for Chrome only unfortunately, but then I only use Chrome for Netflix.

                By the way, I’d also like to wholeheartedly recommend Attack On Titan. It’s anime but at the same time it’s really a great piece of art.

                1. Soredemos

                  The qualifier was unnecessary there. Being anime and being art are far from mutually exclusive.

                  Anyway, AOT has a lot of problems. A lot of them: the characters and character development are absolutely terrible, the world building is often slapdash, the attempts at injecting humor inept and tone deaf (conversely the attempts at drama are often inadvertently hilarious; Isayama’s attempts at scary/dramatic faces are extremely hit or miss. When they don’t work the result is comedy gold).

                  What saves it, and makes up for the many defects, is at first the shocking and sudden violence. The feeling that anyone can die. Eventually this mostly wears off as you come to realize the characters are basically divided into three categories: 1. a plot armored core set that won’t die, 2. a collection of minimally developed secondary characters who might occasionally die, and 3. a neverending stream of named but entirely one-note ‘characters’ (remember ‘guy who always bites his own tongue’? Gee, what a memorable individual that dude was!) whose only function is to suddenly and horrifically die in service of the pretense that this is a gritty, dangerous world.

                  After the violence what drives the plot forward is the mystery of the setting. Eventually we do get answers (they’re pretty terrible and unsatisfying, but then again the answers to mysteries seldom live up to expectations). And finally after that what drives the plot forward towards its conclusion is the actual point of the whole affair, which is an exploration of the basic need of all life to sacrifice some so that others may survive. “Surrender and die, or fight and live”.

                  Some have called it fascist, which it isn’t. Yeah it’s the woke thing these days to call everything fascist, but it’s not completely off base in regards to AOT. Because it is dealing with existential concepts that fascism also attempts to deal with. If there is fascism in Attack on Titan, it’s that the character who starts as the protagonist arrives at a form of fascism as his solution to the problems of the world, at which point he becomes the villain that all the other characters work together to stop.

                  I know that from the above it doesn’t sound like I do, but I actually quite like Attack on Titan. At its best it can be extremely compelling; the horse column and female titan story arc is one of my favorite sections of any action manga or anime. It very deftly plays with writing conventions and genuinely subverts your expectations. The cliche is that if a plan is explained to the audience, it fails, while unexpected plans are sprung and succeed. AOT subverts this by having a secret plan that nonetheless fails.

                  AOT has very high highs, and also very clumsy lows. I applaud the creator for making a long running boys action comic that was actually about something, and an exploration of some fairly deep concepts. He didn’t always succeed, but he was actually trying to make a story that had themes and was truly about something. Which is a lot more than can be said for most of the fair in that genre.

          2. Soredemos

            Shinkai’s newest movie, Weathering With You, is pure reactionary trash though. Shinkai basically has just the one gimmick: a sensitive, idealized (and essentially sexless) portrayal of young love. Weathering With You makes the mistake of having that come into conflict with broader concerns, and I simply couldn’t get on board with what the movie wanted me to think. When your idiot teenage protagonist sacrifices the most populated metropolitan area in the world to flooding so he can save his girlfriend, that is a bad choice and I lose all affection for the characters.

            Demon Slayer is actually kind of brilliant. There’s a finesse and depth to the character development that is almost entirely absent from other shonen action series. The main character (who is almost a dual protagonist with his sister, which is also highly unusual for the genre) is almost maternal in his characterization. He doesn’t actually want to be killing demons. Even each of the villains gets some degree of backstory and context provided when they’re killed (which is portrayed as in a way freeing them).

            Vinland Saga is another manga/anime that appears at first to be standard shonen action story, but the bulk of the original comic is essentially an ode to non-violence. I’m curious how any future seasons of the anime will work, because what they’ve adapted so far was all the flashback content from when the story actually is about action and fighting. The rest of the story isn’t like that.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I haven’t seen Weathering With You, annoyingly it was removed from my Netflix region just before I was gonig to watch it. I’ve heard lots of good things about Vinland Saga. As you say, the unusual strength (for a Shonen) of Demon Slayer is that its core characters are actually very subtle and intelligently written.

        2. JacobiteInTraining

          I second that thumbs up for Midnight Diner – one of the few Japanese shows I’ve watched, but really good. You grow really attached to the ‘regulars’ as their quirks, weaknesses, loves, strengths, and dreams play out. And the random new customers for each episode – sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry, sometimes both.

          +1000 would recommend to all too!!!

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        Some years back a friend of mine loaned me a copy of his Masters of Horror DVD collection and told me to watch Imprint, by Takashi Miike. I wasn’t familiar with the director at the time. It was a pretty wild horror movie about a Victorian-era English reporter who goes to Japan to find a lover he promised to rescue from prostitution years back, and it goes… Poorly. Very twisted, extremely dark themes, moments that are legitimately shocking, but quite well-executed and memorable if you’re a horror fan.

        Afterward I found out that Imprint was the only film from the Masters of Horror collection that wasn’t aired on U.S. television and was only available on the DVD, which after watching it didn’t surprise me at all!

        1. MonkeyBusiness

          You like horror movies? Then may I recommend Na Hong Jin’s The Wailing. I think at one time it was available on Amazon Prime for free.

          1. Riverboat Grambler

            I’ve vaguely heard of that one, thank you, I will put that on the list. It’s funny, my friend and I often joke that the movies he picks to watch often inexplicably have a scene involving poop, while the movies I pick often have male nudity and/or people wailing in grief. And now I’ll tell him that my next pick is a movie called The Wailing, it’s perfect.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Miikes movies are wild. He churns out films at staggering rate, and his work ranges from quite awful to something close to genius. He has the merit that he doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of him and his work, he just does as he pleases.

    4. Mikel

      An entertaining account of Japan’s big move into the film industry:

      “Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride In Hollywood”
      By Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters

      Hit and Run tells the improbable and often hilarious story of how two Hollywood film packagers went on a campaign to reinvent themselves as studio executives — at Sony’s expense. Veteran reporters Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters chronicle the rise of Jon Peters, a former hairdresser, seventh-grade dropout, and juvenile delinquent, and his soulless soul mate, Peter Guber — and all the sex, drugs, and fistfights along the way. It is the story of the ultimate Hollywood con job and the standard by which every subsequent business blunder has been measured. Hit and Run delivers rock-solid business reporting liberally laced with inside gossip and outrageous scandal — plus a new afterword bringing us up to date on the latest fallout from the Guber-Peters legacy.

    5. Riverboat Grambler

      A good friend of mine has long claimed that the South Koreans make great thrillers and after we watched I Saw The Devil I could not disagree. Right before Squid Game blew up he recommended the Netflix series Giri/Haji, a crime/detective thriller about a Tokyo detective sent to London to find his missing brother, a Yakuza hitman. It’s pretty good! Solid dialogue and performances, good plot hooks, a dry sense of humor scattered throughout. Not alot of bombastic action or endless musical montages, just good writing, which seems to be the strength of alot of Asian TV/movies. He also liked Squid Game but said Giri/Haji edged it out in overall quality.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Another Winter of COVID”

    Once people find that the protection of their vaccinations wanes rapidly requiring booster shots bi-annually for the next coupla decades while the government announces that they are abandoning any more support for people as the Pandemic is over, do not be surprised that this winter turns into a winter of discontent.

    Meanwhile in the State of New South Wales in Oz, it is Freedom Day because they reached 70% double vaccination and everything is opening up. In three weeks they want to open up flights to overseas there to solve the labour shortage. I guess that they will shortly need a steady supply of ‘replacements’- (13:58 mins)

    God, I do not know who I hate more. The Federal government, the media or the major medical authorities for their part in this developing cluster****.

    1. antidlc

      Australia’s biggest city is starting to live with Covid. Asia will be watching

      For more than 18 months, Australia has shut itself off from the world, closing borders and imposing strict lockdowns to stamp out Covid-19 outbreaks in an attempt to eliminate the virus.

      Now, Australia is emerging from its so-called “cave” and trying to live with it.
      From Monday, fully vaccinated Sydneysiders, who make up more than 70% of the city’s adults, can return to restaurants, bars and gyms — and many like McTighe are now able to reunite with loved ones in aged care after months apart.

      But all that hard-earned freedom will come at a cost — national modeling suggests Sydney will see thousands of new infections and inevitable deathsI’m.

      Hey, what’s a few thousand new infections and inevitable deaths?

      I’m with you, Rev Kev. I just want to scream.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Since operationally, “live with Covid” means “die with Covid,” the propagation of the phrase — accompanied by words like “freedom” and “normal” — is especially excellent. I don’t know who coined the phrase, but they earned their money.

        1. Mantid

          Here Here. Like “climate change” as opposed to “global warming”. Such nice change in the climate now that (the north) is entering fall. Oh, the beautiful colors in the trees.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since the phrase ” living with Covid” has been injected into the public mass mind, there will be no way to remove it or erase it. But maybe there can be a way to inject an add-on to that phrase which will enter the mass-mind and spread as far as the original phrase has. And reverse the meaning of the original phrase and reverse the work of the people who invented “living with Covid”.

          My suggestion will sound clunky and clumsy, but could it work?

          Living with Dying of Covid.

      2. Vandemonian

        Now, Australia New South Wales is emerging from its so-called “cave” and trying to live with it.

        There, fixed it for ya. New South Wales’ new premier Perrotet may have adopted Little Scotty’s ‘business friendly’ gung ho approach to the pandemic (aka “Let ‘er rip”), but the rest of the country is not so sure.

        Here in Australia’s South Island we look like being cautious about incomers for a little while longer.

    2. Skip Intro

      I’m somewhat surprised by the muted response to the admission by Pfizer that the protection against infection is down to 50% after 4-5 months. Down from a max of <90%, it seems to offer comparable protection to a good mask, at the beginning. Assuming the boosters don't loose potency each round, we would be getting 3 jabs / year, with a population whose vaccine-induced immunity will average around 70% at best. What is R0 for Delta again? How long will the 'first hit is free' offer hold, I wonder?

      1. Arty Ziff

        >How long will the ‘first hit is free’ offer hold, I wonder?

        With their “patience wearing thin,” watch them try to coerce people into getting the vaccine by saying if you don’t get a government sponsored series of jabs, you have to pay full price for them yourself.

        And then wonder why vaccination rates still don’t go up.

      2. jr

        Also assuming the boosters don’t potently tank one’s immune system, perhaps more severely each time. What fun it would be to get “boosted” and then die of some commonplace infection…

        1. JP

          Where are you getting the idea that boosters would tank one’s immune system? It goes counter to my limited understanding that an immune titer is maximized about 6 weeks after exposure. An allergic reaction can happen if an allergen is not experienced often enough. To my thinking a strong reaction is an indication the immune system is working or over working. How would a booster “tank” the immune system? Is there a reference?

          1. jr

            The reason I became concerned about it all was that about a month or so after my second jab, my white blood cell count was “borderline” according to my gastro-doctor. She was unable to find anything else to account for it as all my other indicators were solid. I am actually in the best health of my adult life as far as I know, having quit booze almost two years back now, recently pot, and having somewhat improved my diet. My energy levels are good as is my appetite and my mental faculties. I have lost a lot of weight over the pandemic but that’s easily attributable to the gallons of beer and whiskey I am no longer consuming weekly.

            I guess it got better because after a second blood test I never got a note from her to take more tests. I’m frankly a little scared to ask for certain although I am talking to my GP tomorrow. I probably should inquire.

            I heard about spike protein cytotoxicity on a Brett Weinstein podcast with one of the inventors of the mRNA technique. (I just searched for it but was unable to find it, no idea why.) I don’t necessarily follow whatever comes out of Weinstein’s mouth, in fact I’ve heard a lot of none-sense from him, but I certainly gave it a listen. I reasoned it was possible that I had been effected thusly, although to be clear I’ve never claimed to be certain of this. My concerns about the boosters are that they would provide minimal benefit, the %’s seem to drop sharply from what I’ve gleaned, and theoretically could cause more harm.

      3. cocomaan

        I think that the powers-that-be just don’t care anymore: new billionaires got theirs, various disgusting government officials got to get off on enforcing draconian orders at the expense of the poor and the benefit of the rich, and a lot of people at CDC, FDA, etc got to keep their sinecures instead of being fired for their immense stupidity.

        Game over, the bad guys won!

        1. Mantid

          Of course they don’t care. Dr. Pierre Kory recently said that hundreds of congress people and their staffs have been using the FLCCC’s Math + protocol contra Covid. The protocol includes Ivermectin. Let them eat cake. Soon they’ll mandate cake.

        2. antidlc

          “I think that the powers-that-be just don’t care anymore..”

          George Carlin: “They just don’t care about you. At all. At all. AT ALL.”
          “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”

          I’d post a link to a YOUTUBE video, but his language wouldn’t be considered appropriate for a family blog.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Perhaps one could post the link with a warning that it contains family-unfriendly language. But don’t quote the language in the comment. That keeps the comment itself family-blog friendly.

            Would our hosts consider that acceptable or too-cute-by-half?

    3. JEHR

      Here is our small province of NB we are having a peak of the virus right now. We have a conservative premier who keeps talking about balancing the health of the citizens with the opening up of the economy. Consequently, we are going through the worse wave of cases for now with hospitals becoming full, operations postponed and deaths higher per day. It would seem to me that the people must be protected first and the virus contained before the economy can successfully be fully opened.

      1. antidlc

        “It would seem to me that the people must be protected first and the virus contained before the economy can successfully be fully opened.”

        We can just ignore it and it will go away. Just think happy thoughts and all will be well.

        We just have to learn to live with it.

        (Sorry, I am really *&(#@ off today.)

        It makes me so angry that we just have to accept all these deaths and all of these long-term health consequences. I do not find this acceptable. AT ALL.

  13. griffen

    Ivanka Trump nearly became the proposed World Bank leader, during Trump administration. For once and I can’t believe that I’m stating it, but Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was correct in his judgement.

    Just…a thousand times no that would not have gone over well.

    1. Acacia

      Would it really have mattered? Robert McNamara was also President of the World Bank. As Michael Hudson put it:

      the World Bank and the IMF have always been probably the most viciously pro-rentier, anti-progressive institutions in the world. And as such, they’re guided by essentially America’s deep state, as an arm of subjugating other countries, preventing their self-sufficiency.

      Just as the Donald helped to rip the mask off the American Empire, perhaps Ivanka would have helped attract attention to what the World Bank is actually doing.

        1. Pat

          And frustrating as I am pretty sure our “opposition” leaders would miss the systemic problems revealed in their outrage over Ivanka being there at all.

    2. diptherio

      Come on, are you saying that wouldn’t have been hilarious? I’m a little upset that Munchkin had to step in and spoil the absurdist fun.

      1. JBird4049

        Ivanka freaking Trump being head of the World Bank as absurdist? That’s a start, but I would have labeled it as a kind of nihilistic Dadaism or would that be dadaistic Nihilism? It would have been fabulously clarifying though.

      1. JBird4049

        I get why someone would put friends or family into a sinecure especially a perpetual screw-up needing a job, but this habit of promoting them to ever higher levels of responsibility is nuts. If Ivanka needed or wanted a job, she could have been the forth personal assistant to the deputy assistant to the President of the World Bank or something.

        Also, that I am not surprised that Ivanka Trump was almost nominated is disturbing.

    3. Nikkikat

      I wonder how exactly Steve Mnuchin managed to tank the Ivanka nomination. Didn’t George W Bush put the moronic and evil Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            No, I’m saying that “credentials and a resume” can get an evil moron onto the World Bank.

            Since Ivanka lacked credentials and a resume, her moronitude was easy to see without the protective camouflage layer of credentials and a resume to keep it hidden.

    4. Mikel

      I’m almost ready to lay a bet Ivanka will be his VP running mate.
      He’s old…it’s also about legacy for him.

      He spent more time with her at the White House than Pence. Didn’t she have an office near the President’s office?

  14. pjay

    Re: “‘Government without newspapers.’” Patrick Lawrence, The Scrum

    For those who might have read the earlier version of this article, note the introduction:

    “This column was published in Consortium News and appears here courtesy of Consortium. We have inserted new material concerning the funding the U.S. covertly provides Rappler, the faux-independent publication whose cofounder, Maria Ressa, just received the Nobel Peace Prize.”

    Well worth reading, or re-reading.

  15. mrnhrd

    Re: Another Winter of Covid

    Why in the name of all that is holy do these ultra-smart people think that transmission rates differ indoors and outdoors?

    I personally would expect that to be the case because outside spaces have strong natural air circulation (i.e. wind, facilitated by the usually much more open pathways for air to move in the outdoors) and generally much bigger volumes of air available per person, both leading to vastly lower aerosol saturation for a given cubic meter of air.
    Imagine two pairs of people spending 30 minutes in different locations, one pair is indoor and the other is outdoor. Both exhale a certain constant amount of aerosols. Unless the outside pair was positioned in a fashion that one person directly stood in the other person’s windstream, I’d expect a much more intense sharing of exhaled air for the pair inside as their aerosols were dispersed across a much smaller volume.
    I guess a person standing outside is gonna disperse their aerosols over a much wider area, but at much lower concentrations (orders of magnitude I’d expect), the implication being that at those lower concentration the amount of transmission of microbes into other people’s bodies is too low to lead to a full/permanent contagion.

    1. aletheia33

      this is how i think of it also. hope someone will clear this up here. (have not read below yet.)

    2. Basil Pesto

      I was a bit confused by this too, although I was unable to read the New Yorker article for context. I say this as someone who made the point in comments last week that masks are not useless outdoors, as infection is still possible, but the risk is much lower (and therefore transmission rates will be lower, even if the viral load is the same outdoors as indoors). So I wear masks outdoors in crowded areas. But transmission rates should be lower outdoors for the same reason that they’re lower in well ventilated buildings; it doesn’t get much more ventilated than outdoors.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The key point is that aerosols diffuse into and fill up an entire poorly ventilated space. That is why a single person can infect many people, some distant. That is why the superspreaders we have tracked come from indoor spaces. (You could say, for example, that “Sturgis” was a superspreading event, but it was so not because of riding bikes around outside, but because of bars and restaurants, indoor spaces).

        1. Basil Pesto

          Indeed, so I don’t see why it’s wrong to say that transmission rates differ between indoors and outdoors. Transmission rates will be higher indoors because of aerosol spread in a confined space. Am I missing something/being stupid?

          1. aletheia33

            same question–what am i missing here.
            while a poorly ventilated space may have lower risk than a well ventilated space, it still seems to me that the outdoors must have lower risk than either.
            cannot read the new yorker article w/o a subscription.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Forget Russian intentions, fundamentals drove up Europe’s gas price’

    I happen to come across an article earlier today about Russia and the gas shortages. Russia’s EU envoy was blaming the EU’s gas policies for this happening. He said that Russia preferred to have long-term contracts which creates predictability and stabilizes prices. The EU apparently decided to force energy companies to supply gas to the freely-traded spot market thus making it vulnerable to the ups and downs of the markets. I guess that somebody was missing all those juicy fees trading gas and so got the EU to bring this practice in-

    1. Anonymous 2

      I have read that the UK was particularly influential in formulating EU policy in this area. Ironic?

  17. Frank Little

    The Havana Syndrome phenomenon really has been a remarkable example of how eagerly the nominally independent media work with intelligence along with plenty of help from pliable academics.

    A recent book about the supposed “syndrome’ makes clear that mass psychogenic illness is the only plausible explanation. The authors take pains to point out that these people are not “faking it” like I did to get out of school, but rather genuinely believe they are being afflicted, although this new bill certainly gives them more incentive to do so now.

    After lots of vague statements from the State Dept., Rex Tillerson was the first to describe it as an attack, reaching this conclusion because it seemed to only affect members of the US diplomatic corps and those of its allies. In fact this is one of the clearest signs that it is a psychogenic illness, as they often spread through social and professional circles rather than an actual biological pathogen or toxin which, of course, do not care what government a human body works for.

    Instead of following this line of investigation, there was a concerted effort within the government effort to focus on fantastical plots by traditional US enemies requiring both technology and operational capability that defies all logic and rules of physics, all the while feeding eye-catching tidbits to the media designed to manufacture this into an apparent national security crisis.

    The book quotes lots of coverage featuring quotes from US diplomats and their families upon the release of the ‘studies’ in support of this weapon hypothesis who are incensed at the idea that this is “all in their heads” even though these kind of ‘outbreaks’ arise out of stress conditions. Contrary to popular belief, they have nothing to do with one’s mental toughness, intelligence, or any other meritocratic traits that are the lifeblood of the Acela corridor. I believe this ‘syndrome’ took this particular form because of the ideology underpinning US foreign policy, but even someone not inclined to distrust the US foreign policy apparatus would see upon even cursory examination that this is the only plausible explanation. Nevertheless, financial support for the victims of this “attack” passed unanimously even while more pressing needs in this country continue to be ignored.

    This kind of lockstep deference to the US state is maybe not surprising, but it is a remarkable example of how logic, reason, and science can be bent to serve whatever narrative is convenient to the US state and its interests.

    1. MRLost

      My read on this whole episode has been that “our guys”, the agency and individuals responsible for overseeing members of diplomatic corp and protecting them in their embassy offices overseas, have been running either aggressive snooping on their wards or are testing methods of snooping they intend to use on foreign targets. It is beyond physics to create any sort of “energy” – be that energy either sonic or electromagnetic in nature – that cannot be detected. The only way to not detect an emission is by not looking for it. Or just lying about it. Are members of the embassy staff allowed to bring their own, personal detection equipment to work and see if they can register a signal? I doubt it. Fox guarding the henhouse seems more likely. By creating a fund to compensate these “test subjects”, the agency responsible for the injuries is ensuring those members of its own staff who are harmed have no reason to blow the whistle on the self-imposed injuries.

      1. Frank Little

        Yeah I get where you’re coming from, but honestly the sheer variety of symptoms reported and the time and places in which they are reported make it difficult to believe even some kind of covert US project could produce this result. One of the problems with describing this as a “syndrome” is that by definition there should be some consistency in the symptoms across people but we see the exact opposite in this case.

        Once these reports began to surface the State Dept. briefed diplomats in Cuba, China, Russia, and other official enemies of this vague risk and encouraged them to report any strange or anomalous health issues, which is practically inviting people to begin attributing all kinds of mundane things as being the result of this strange new “weapon” even though most of these symptoms (anxiety, headaches, difficulty concentrating, etc.) would probably appear in any sufficiently large population of people.

        I’m open to a more sinister interpretation, but more plausible (imo) is a combination people who think they are too smart and mentally tough to do this to themselves working inside a government that is happy to blame its official enemies for all threats no matter how absurd in order to keep certain narratives going within the US reading public.

    2. Riverboat Grambler

      Yes, I was enjoying watching the DOD ghouls reveal to the world that they are not immune to mass hysterics, but watching that legislation sail through Congress while anything that would help ordinary people is hopelessly gridlocked took alot of the fun out.

      1. Frank Little

        Maybe, but this article mostly statements from senators and DoD officials with no underlying clinical or scientific evidence. Rubio has been particularly hawkish and unreliable on this issue as the authors of the book make clear. Fellow Republican Jeff Flake was on the same intel committee before he left the senate and made much more cautious statements based on the same classified evidence presented to him along with Rubio, even going so far as to say the Cubans were right to be upset that these were being described as attacks based on what he’d seen.

        Of course it’s possible these senators and DoD officials have evidence that hasn’t been released, but there’s none of that here and so I think psychogenic illness is still the most plausible explanation.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Note that “increasingly confident” does not actually mean confident. Mass hysteria seems like Occam’s choice to me, simply because susceptibility to their own propaganda is a job qualification for national security goons.

        Susan Collins says that the pro-directed energy faction has “brain imaging,” but after Iraq WMDs I’d trust the testing on that as far as I could throw a grand piano. A concert grand piano. Does the death ray technology rely on aluminum tubes? Yellowcake uranium? Nothing with such enormous policy stakes is trustworthy.

        It looks from the outside like some sort of proxy war internal to the national security establishment to which we are not privy. No doubt when the directed-energy goons win, the source of the “death rays” will be revealed, establishing our new set of enemies for the next few decades, setting budgetary and policy priorities, yadda yadda yadda. It’s beautiful in its own way.

  18. Tom Stone

    One thing I love about the USA is the names, L’jarius Sneed, Margarine and Glycerin Smith, people have fun with names here.

    1. MRLost

      I once worked, briefly, for the IT department of a large urban school district. The student name that won our prize was Ashole, presumably to be pronounced Ah-sho-la rather than the more immediate Ass-hole. I’ve long wondered what happened to that child.

      1. newcatty

        I thought that when a certain power couple named their daughter “Apple” that it was just off somehow. If I were to name my kid after a delicious fruit maybe it would be Tomato. They are fruits, as most here would know. But, are we mature enough not to have her called ” a juicy tomato”? Hey, Orange aren’t you glad to see me? Hey, you are Pear shaped! Grape is something bothering you? Lime have you any salt with you? Will quit. Any contributions are encouraged.

  19. The Rev kev

    “Being alone with your thoughts is a skill you can practise”

    There was a link some time ago about how so many of the younger generation were unable to deal with being by themselves. If they had to study, they would go to a friend’s place. No doubt they would have trouble with being in the middle of a silent desert. And here, it does not seem to be a matter of introverts vs extroverts. Maybe this is the result of training generations of people to be consumers of ‘entertainment’ like games, movies, mobiles, celebrities, etc. because when you get down to it, if you have some guy or girl alone with their thoughts, where is the profit to be made from that? Note too that when people were even only partially forced to be alone with their thoughts, that a result was the Great Resignation as people actually had time to think about the treadmill that they were on. I suppose that if people are fed and entertained, that they will be a more docile population than one that is denied one or the other. Bread & Circuses anyone?

    1. jr

      I recall reading of an experiment conducted by some professor at some school where students were invited to come to the auditorium and just sit, silently, for as long as they could. I don’t remember the exact numbers but suffice it to say the vast majority were gone within like 15 minutes or so.

    2. jr

      Someone recently commented here about how the Nazi’s, upon receiving trainloads of unsuspecting victims slated for the camps, kept them rushed and running in order to stave off any attempts at resistance. Essentially keeping them preoccupied so that they couldn’t see what was unfolding before their very eyes. Seems to me this sort of drain on the public’s attention serves a similar role, intentionally or not.

      1. JBird4049

        If you look at TV shows, the further back one goes the slower they are. For example, for some college paper, I looked at Sesame Street episodes from the 70s onward. IIRC, the 90s shows were manic in comparison to the earliest. How does one learn, never mind think and reflect?

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        Just as psychopathic bosses will keep subordinates perpetually occupied, pre-occupied and off balance. For a comic take, think James Spader in The Office.

        Though it seemed to be part of his creative process, Miles Davis was notorious for this sort of thing. John McGloughlin said in an interview that when he asked Miles how he wanted something played during the session that produced “In A Silent Way,” he was told, “Play the guitar like you don’t know how to play the guitar.” Dave Liebman reported that, after a live gig in which Miles had given him the death stare all night, Miles came up to him immediately afterward and asked, “What do you think about my shoes?”

    3. JP

      In my youth I remember thinking a lot about how in the sequel to Ring World, one of the fully mature humans spent a million years or so alone in a star ship on his mission to earth. At the time I thought it improbable that one could stay sane . Years later, practicing zazen seemed very much about becoming comfortable with the passage of any amount of perceived time and just being. If the self isn’t being fed, or constantly fed, then time just don’t matter. So yeah, keep that entertainment going.

    4. Foy

      “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” – Blaise Pascal

  20. Expat2Uruguay

    I saw this headline and thought: wait, what? Were they had by the bulldozer driver or the bulldozer?:

    D.C. Suspends Clearing Of NoMa Encampments After Unhoused Person Hit By Bulldozer Driver

    The unhoused person was hit by a bulldozer, not a bulldozer driver.

  21. Wukchumni

    D.C. Suspends Clearing Of NoMa Encampments After Unhoused Person Hit By Bulldozer Driver DCist
    I always felt that calling unfortunates who have drifted into living rough by the moniker of homeless, was a tall order… why not ‘apartmentless’ ?

    Unhoused is maybe softer although it conjures up unclean and untouchable in my mind, the latter being our caste-aways.

    Fresno the other day more resembled a do it yourself campground with Colemans sprouting everywhere, they’re much more numerous than in Visalia.

    1. ambrit

      I would almost dare to suggest that the homeless in the Central Valley are being shunted off to Invisalia.

  22. Raymond Sim

    From ‘The Sunday Times’:

    Students with false Covid positives from lateral flows doubles in a week.

    Hmmmm ….

    1. Raymond Sim

      So, these ‘false positives’ include clinically diagnosed cases with apparent community spread. They’re false only in the sense that subsequent pcr tests came up negative.

      My wife’s a plant virologist, and is quite familiar with rPCR and ELISA (lateral flow equivalent). Her response when I asked her about the reports was “Don’t you remember all the trouble I went through?”

      I can’t believe I forgot. Suffice it to say, if human diagnostic expertise and ELISA are aligned, then it’s probably the PCR that’s missing something, but good luck convincing people.

      Whether it’s SARS-CoV-2 the lateral flow is detecting, or perhaps some other coronavirus remains to be seen. I hate to wish faulty PCR on the people of Britain, but that kind of looks like the best-case here.

      Oh, and I might be wishing it on the people of India too. Clinicians there are also reporting PCR-negative people with what looks to the doctors like Covid.

  23. Brooklin Bridge


    Something seems to be wrong with the above link, titled: “We Finally Know How 43 Students on a Bus Vanished Into Thin Air” When I go to the link, the title flashes and then the page goes blank. I’ve tried multiple times with the same result. Moreover, when I go to Daily Beast, I can’t find any post with that title or subject. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have, or I can’t find, a search box.

    Doing a web search on “ayotzinapa” brings up links to other articles on the subject (pretty grim/horrific) such as:

  24. allan

    France moves to end free Covid tests to promote vaccination campaign [RFI]

    France is to end subsidised Covid testing from mid-October in a bid to encourage the country’s vaccination drive. However people who have already been vaccinated will still be allowed to get tested free of charge. …

    Followed by an insanely complicated laundry list of exemptions and special cases,
    sounding like it was cooked up by a French equivalent of Third Way or PPI.
    This will surely end well.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Oh good grief. I’m guessing they’ve been passing off ‘frequent’ testing as an alternative to things that actually work? Or, not to be foily or anything, perhaps they’ve been experiencing test discrepancies too?

    2. David

      The story gives a slightly misleading impression: as of today (checks phone) just over 85% of the eligible (over-18) population have been double-vaccinated, and the number is still increasing. This measure is essentially aimed at those abusing the system, who could easily get vaccinated, but for one reason or another can’t be bothered. In my local square, for example, there are young people who queue up on a Friday or a Saturday evening for a free test (well, not free because it costs money in staff and resources) wait fifteen minutes for the result and then go off for an evening’s drinking, armed with a negative test, which you can present instead of a vaccination certificate to get into bars, discos etc. And the next evening they’re back again. And probably the next … It’s not clear why an overworked health service should have to do daily tests on kids who can’t be bothered to make an appointment to be vaccinated (not that that’s very complicated, and it’s also free).

      1. mary jensen

        @ David

        Same story here in CH; small trailers and tents all over town free testing mostly young people who want access to bars, cafés etc. It’s over now though. The whip came down on Monday October 11th. Tests cost some CHF 50 out of your pocket which makes ‘a night out’ in an already expensive country quite a bit more onerous for most.

        The proposed CHF 50 ‘bonus/bounty’ to anyone who sponsors an unvaccinated person to become vaccinated was roundly derided. Berset will try anything to get the vaccination rate up, CH has one of the lowest rates in Continental Europe. Weird. There are anti vax / anti vax pass demonstrations all over: Bern (capital), Basel, Geneva.

  25. jr

    re: Societal Illich

    “By reducing relationship to interface you invite us to equate systems, be they “born of woman” or designed by a cyber-freak.”

    Brings to mind Feurbach’s and Debord’s critiques of mass illusion/delusion in that the facade is the fact, as it were:

    Also, that fu(king rubber-faced robot that everyone is exclaiming is sentient because it has a particularly complex list of pre-programmed responses and the functionality to mix and match them to an extent. Here Jimmy Kimmel, that mighty thinker, exclaims that it’s “alive” to the eager agreement of the robot’s handler:

    The “snake-bot” featured prior to the mannequin is eminently terrifying, one can see a crowd of protesters being entangled by a swarm of them cut loose.

    And “cyber-freak” is spot on, there is something decidedly >wrong< with a lot of the wanna-be cyborgs who work in tech. I think it is related to the billionaires who can't stop buying stuff even though they already own everything: a fear of one's humanity rooted in a fear of one's mortality in a world that demeans both at every turn.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > robot that everyone is exclaiming is sentient because it has a particularly complex list of pre-programmed responses

      I think that robots are the elite strategy for coping with the Jackpot when for obvious reasons the labor force will be severely diminished. This is insane, of course, because robots don’t work. They’ve been sold a bill of goods by Silicon Valley fraudsters.

  26. lordkoos

    Regarding the Czech elections, this part struck me in the face:

    The culture war campaign seems to have damaged the centre-left Pirates, who were on the receiving end of most of Babis’ tirades and from the numerous media outlets the incumbent prime minister owns, said Hanley.

    Don’t see how this can be allowed in a supposed democracy.

  27. jr

    Jimmy Dore recently ran an interview with Dr. Ram Yogendra discussing the surge in “breakthrough” infections in Israel. Some important points that he made that were news to me:

    -boosters don’t deal with Delta, let alone the newer variants

    -the second Pfizer/Moderna shot actually was a booster and should have been delayed

    -“targeted” mRNA shots do not provide a broad, robust immune benefit (something discussed here a day back or so)

    -there are over 100 different companies, including Novavax, that are using alternative platforms to the mRNA tech

    – those alternatives are receiving little to no attention in the media

    – Dr. Yogendra believes that a lot of the vaccine hesitant would come around if offered an alternative to the mRNA shots

    Apologies if this is old news. I know I for one will be waiting for a new platform to become available.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Offer me a prophylactic kit with that drug whose name is often abbreviated as IVM. Y’know, the one that is covered extensively on the FLCCC’s weekly updates.

      1. jr

        Ooo, I think I feel my daily, low dosage headache coming on:

        “In summary, the early use of aspirin in covid-19 patients….is expected to reduce the incidence of severe and critical patients, shorten the length of hospital duration and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular complications.”

        COVID-19 progression is due to inflammation, coagulopathy and endotheliopathy…..Low-dose aspirin may be associated with reduced risk of intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation and mortality in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.”

        “But Magen’s group found that people who’d already been taking low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk of heart disease had a 29% lower risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to those who didn’t take aspirin, and that rates of aspirin use were much lower among COVID-19 patients than among those who didn’t get infected.”

        “Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were taking a daily low-dose aspirin to protect against cardiovascular disease had a significantly lower risk of complications and death compared to those who were not taking aspirin, according to a new study.”

    2. Raymond Sim

      I haven’t seen the interview, but I would flag that three of the bullet points indicate a misunderstanding of the immunology.

      Firstly, boosters vs delta isn’t looking as good as boosters vs CovidClassic, and that was certainly hasn’t turned out as well as promised. But that’s not the same as useless. What alternatives are we comparing?

      Second, “actually was a booster” is false, or at best nonsensical. It was a two-dose protocol, which isn’t exactly unheard of.

      Finally, adjectives like ‘strong’ and ‘broad’ as used in pop-immunology are often inappropriate, and frequently very misleading. A ‘broad’ response can be a garbage response.

      1. jr

        The interviewee at 5:38 states that the boosters exclude Delta entirely and that a colleague of his who was involved with the Pfizer study at NYU confirmed this. I don’t think anyone used the word “useless” but they definitely don’t seem as useful given that Delta is a lot more slippery than Alpha. And to my knowledge, no one has been coming along and saying “Hey, in all honesty, the boosters don’t really work well against Delta!” My personal impression has been that the boosters are supposed to catch us up, so to speak. More of a problem of what’s not being said as opposed to what has been said, I guess.

        At 4:38, Dr. Yogendra specifically calls the 2nd jab a “booster” and asks why it wasn’t reserved for months later, not weeks, as the first jab provided 90+% protection. Why he says this, I am not qualified to say.

        The “strong” and “broad” language was my paraphrasing but at 7:01 Dr. Yogendra notes that the mRNA technology specifically addresses the spike protein aspect of the virus and proposes at 7:45 that using a dead/weakened virus technology vaccine might produce a more “robust” immune response. He says that he is looking forward to seeing the most recent data from the use of Sinovac, which he says uses the older tech. He does mention that the mRNA is a lot faster to produce as opposed to the older tech but seems to think that the mRNA is getting all the attention to the detriment of alternative vaccine production processes.

        1. Raymond Sim

          Sorry, for responding so late, I somehow missed this at the time.

          Yogendra calliing the second dose of a two-dose protocol a ‘booster’ is frankly just ridiculous, but anybody can misspeak.

          The prospect of whole virus vaccines imbuing recipients with an immune response that is superior to, and somehow avoids the shortcomings of spike-based approaches is a weak reed to lean on. Thus far it’s actually gone the other way.

          I understand the intuitive appeal of a “whole” vaccine, I had my own hopes up too. But intuition is frequently a very bad guide for phenomena that occur on a very different scale from day-to-day life. Early on in the pandemic I noticed there’s often quite an opinion gap between bona fide immunologists and ‘experts’ from other categories. Dr. Yogendra doesn’t strike me as any sort of quack, but as compared with, for instance, Bruce Patterson, who I believe he is associated with, he seems to speak somewhat carelessly.

  28. even keel

    Re: Vaccine Departures

    I have no confidence in these numbers. Most policies I have seen in detail call for an initial suspension period, followed later by termination. The dates certain in the anectdata, combined with the hospital incentive to make departures look minimal, give a large incentive to exclude any staff on suspension from the ultimate “termination” or “departure” numbers.

  29. Josef K

    The ad model of web business seems to be a major factor in crapyfying the WWW. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that every third website I go to has a small field of text in the middle surrounded by ads, ads that move, videos that start playing without being clicked on, popups, the list goes on.

    Second, websites that purport to provide information, but are just ad delivery tools. I research the gear I buy (audio for example), and the top few results–in DDG–often provide one or more sites that are obviously just ad-wagons–the English is a little off and nothing of real substance is being said, just meandering around the subject so you scroll down and see every ad possible.

    On another note, yesterday I was famished and the only choice of non-prepped food was an Amazon Fresh store, so I walked in. There are gates for the indoctrinated to scan their smartphones or whatever, then a gate with “traditional shoppers” on it, which gave me a chuckle. Because I pay with some other method, I’m a traditional shopper, but doing the exact same thing–aside from payment option–as every other shopper.

    The store itself was like a low-rent Whole Foods meets any old small grocery store. Wandering through the narrow and not-well-lit ailes I found my coveted DeCecco pasta for $1.97 a box, this is exactly a Walmart price. So I’m guessing that the only real draw of these stores is Amazon’s buying power getting some more premium brands like DeCecco at Walmart prices, , and the chance to no long be a “traditional shopper.” How, um, innovative.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Probably part of the draw is for religiously committed Amazombie cultists to be able to enter their local Shrine of the Bezos and make offerings.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the narrow and not-well-lit aisles

      That’s an interesting detail. I assume all “Amazon Fresh” (lol, what a contradiction in terms) stores have the same design handed down from corporate, so it looks like somebody doesn’t understand retail.

      Or do they expect you, ultimately, to be led to your purchase by your phone?

  30. Greg

    The Hot New Back-to-School Accessory? An Air Quality Monitor. NYT. This is what parents have to do to protect their children from the negligence

    Does it come in a tactical kevlar edition with GPS beacon and phone-home? Combining school-kid mitigation tech is going to be a game changer /sarc

  31. Maritimer

    The Science Of Propaganda Is Still Being Developed And Advanced Caitlin Johnstone
    AKA: Behavioural Science and the War On Humanity
    Human consciousness decreases day by day.
    Please note: this is where Science leads if you follow it.

  32. Mikel

    Who knows? The declines in Covid cases in some instances may be because people are having so much trouble getting flights…

  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    “Man who helped ignite George Floyd riots identified as white supremacist: Police”

    I remember thinking that a lot of the riot-starters were probably Trumpanons in antifa disguise, hoping to get riots started so Trump could have ” good TV ” to campaign on. I suppose a White Supremacist may ( or may not) be different than a Trumpanon. I doubt he was alone, even if he thought he was. There were probably many lone wolves there.

  34. allan

    The impact of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning design features on the transmission of viruses,
    including the 2019 novel coronavirus: a systematic review of ventilation and coronavirus
    [medRxiv preprint]

    … The results from 32 relevant studies showed that: increased ventilation rate was associated with decreased transmission, transmission probability/risk, infection probability/risk, droplet persistence, virus concentration, and increased virus removal and virus particle removal efficiency; increased ventilation rate decreased risk at longer exposure times; some ventilation was better than no ventilation; airflow patterns affected transmission; ventilation feature (e.g., supply/exhaust, fans) placement influenced particle distribution. … Adapting HVAC ventilation systems to mitigate virus transmission is not a one-solution-fits-all approach but instead requires consideration of factors such as ventilation rate, airflow patterns, air balancing, occupancy, and feature placement.

    But how does it poll? And what’s the CBO score?

  35. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” US to resume enforcement of unlawful bird deaths by industry “.

    This, along with restoring the size of the 3 National Monuments, is an example of the small things that a Democratic Administration does which are better than what the next Republican Administration will do, including re-shrinking or abolishing the 3 National Monuments, and re-restoring “right to kill birds with poison pit ponds” for industry.

    Tiny things like that are all we will get from any Clintobamazoid Democratic Administration. If one wants big new things, one needs a big new party without DLC contaminants allowed into it.

    Meanwhile, every election going forward is going to be a Hobson’s Pastry Tray choice.

  36. drumlin woodchuckles

    Business Insider just ran another story about Facebook. I have reached my free-viewing limit but maybe others haven’t.

    The title is . . .”Facebook permanently banned a developer after he made an app to let users delete their news feed”

    Link . . .

    Shows Facebook’s “prime directive” level commitment to brain-chemistry manipulation to create user constant-use addiction.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is AOC responding to a recent Manchin demand.

    If the DemProg Caucus does not get the Senate to pass the original 3.5 trillion dollar Reconciliation Bill, the DemProg Caucus should announce ( and mean it) that it will keep killing both bills until Manchin is no longer Senator from West Virginia. Hold West Virginia hostage to its decide to elect this person. And make them live out the meaning of their decision to elect this person.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > And make them live out the meaning of their decision to elect this person.

      Voters don’t determine who goes on the ballot; the Democrat Party does, and the DSCC has a lot to do with keeping Machin installed there. (That said, his clobbered rival, Swearingen, didn’t react to defeat in such a fashion that a rematch seems likely.)

  38. Jack Parsons

    The European Continent may be referred to merely as ‘the Continent’ by Europeans, or ‘the Peninsula’ by Asians.

  39. topcat

    “The goal, public-health experts say, is reaching the point where hospitals are never overwhelmed with coronavirus patients again.”

    This is a sensible goal. The statistics show that German hospitals were never even remotely overwhelmed, there wan’t even a noticeable increase in ICU bed occupancy.So what does that mean?
    For those interested here are the OFFICIAL statistics (only German language).

    1. Yves Smith

      Agnotology is a violation of our written site Policies. From GM:

      Germany has huge hospital capacity, plus they took it relatively seriously in terms of containment. So it never got to the point of collapse. But the claim that there was never pressure on hospitals is just absurd. They had ~900 people dying daily in January 2021, i.e. more than 10 DPM/d, which is somewhat of a mark of excellence in failing to deal with the pandemic.

      1. topcat

        Hi Yves,
        Germany does not have a huge capacity – it has been run down for the last 20 years as in the UK and USA. The statistics cleary show that there was no increase in bed useage at all anywhere in Germany over the whole period, so no COVID effect observable. Politicians in Germany have been claiming that the health system is on the point of collapse for 2 years now when in fact this is not true.
        Regarding the deaths, if you refer to other mortality statistics – also absolutely valid govt. statistics – you will see that there has also been no excess mortality in Germany.
        I can only point you to the statistics and ask you to think about it.

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