Links 11/6/2021

Walrus leaves Arctic comfort zone for snooze on Dutch submarine Guardian (J-LS)

Who could dogs become without humans in their lives? Aeon (Chuck L)

Elemental haiku Science (Chuck L). From 2017, but still very cool.

Artemis 1 is Launching in February Universe Today (furzy)

A 150-year-old note from Charles Darwin is inspiring a change in the way forests are planted The Conversation (Kevin W)

These portable factories are solving plastic pollution Inhabitat (David L)

Cognition Without Computation Just because a theory is old doesn’t mean it’s correct SpectrumIEEE (David L)


A deadly parasite that burrows into the body through bare feet could be multiplying in this US community Guardian. Resilc: “Texass, our domestic turd world.” Moi: First chagas, now this….”



From Micael T, uncensored Pfizer-EU contract:

Science summit warns of escalating pandemic disaster WSWS

Pfizer says its COVID-19 pill cuts hospital, death risk 90% Los Angeles Times (furzy). Scathing comments from our Covid experts. Will take too much space to hoist it all, but representative bits, first from KLG:

Results seem to be on a par with the drug whose name dare not be mentioned except to call people names, if IM Doc and thousands of other physicians across the world are to be believed?

And GM:

This will seriously exacerbate the societal divide regarding COVID.

You need to take this shortly after symptoms appear, but it is very expensive. So how many people are going to manage to jump through all the healthcare hoops to get started on it on time? We know which people are not going to have a problem with access…

In the same time, precisely because of that issue, there will be no selective pressure on the virus to evolve resistance, as most transmission will be happening with no protease inhibitor around.

So poor people who can’t afford to immediately run to get tested the moment they get a slight headache will keep getting sick, the rich and comfortable will have a stably effective treatment — with a cocktail of this, Merck’s molnupiavir, which has an orthogonal mechanism of action (although it might be mutagenic, time will tell) and monoclonals, you can be quite certain you will avoid bad outcomes. The poor working class schmucks on the other hand will not have access to that…

My reaction was that a “study” by a big super rich Pharma with only 775 participants looks highly sus. Pfizer could afford to have run 10 identical studies of that size and picked the one that had the best results.


‘Enough Is Enough’: Vermont Reports Record 487 New COVID-19 Cases NECN (resilc). 71.3% fully vaccinated.

Patients Went Into the Hospital for Care. After Testing Positive There for Covid, Some Never Came Out. Kaiser Health News


Travel stocks rally, stay-at-home companies plunge as pandemic wanes and tourism rebounds CNBC


Chinese intelligence officer convicted of stealing secrets from General Electric Financial Times

COP26/Climate Change

Greta Thunberg, at COP26, Says Talks Are Becoming a ‘Greenwash Campaign’ New York Times (David L). A feature, not a bug.

Energy Dilemma New Left Review (Anthony L)

These otherworldly photos convey climate change’s effects on Arctic regions NPR (David L)

Mining the Planet to Death: The Dirty Truth About Clean Technologies Der Spiegel (resilc)

As climate talks put focus on water crisis, the Colorado River provides a stark example Los Angeles Times (David L). From last week, still germane.

Europe’s Brutal and Illegal Approach to Migration: “Our Orders Are Clear. Nobody Gets Through” Der Spiegel

Rusty Charley Wolfgang Streck (Anthony L)

Sierra Leone explosion: Scores dead after Freetown oil tanker collision BBC :-(

New Cold War

CIA director dispatched to Moscow to warn Russia over troop buildup near Ukraine CNN. Kevin W: “Even the Ukrainians don’t see a threat.”


Saudis, Iranians circle in a cautious rapprochement Asia Times (Kevin W)

Saudi gets first major arms deal under Biden with air-to-air missiles Reuters (resilc)

From earlier this week. Chuck L points out the event could be from a month earlier:

Imperial Collapse Watch

State Dept. names new coordinator on ‘Havana Syndrome’ cases Politico

USS Connecticut Smashed Into A Seamount, May Have Ripped Off Sonar Dome The Drive (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Widespread Security Risk Identified in Phones and Bluetooth Devices SpectrumIEEE (David L)

A Drone Tried to Disrupt the Power Grid. It Won’t Be the Last Wired

A critical opportunity to ban killer robots – while we still can Amnesty International


January 6 timeline: How Trump tried to weaponize the Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election CNN (furzy)


Arrest illustrates how Steele dossier was political dirty trick by Hillary Clinton New York Post


Liberals, moderates strike deal on Biden agenda, clearing way for votes The Hill

Divided Democrats Lurch Toward Vote on $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill New York Times (Kevin W)

And it’s official:

Democrats’ Massive Tax Cut for the Wealthy TaxBytes

Not hard to see where this was going:

A Strong Jobs Report Gives Biden and the Democrats a Reason to Hope New Yorker (TF)

Exclusive: Baby handed to U.S. soldiers in chaos of Afghanistan airlift still missing Reuters

Glenn Youngkin and Ivy League populism The Economist

Of Course Joe Manchin Drives a Maserati Vice (resilc)

Health Care

PhRMA | Behind the 340B Drug Pricing Program Axios. Resilc: “Why isn’t there a scam.”

Our Famously Free Press

Rachel Maddow’s Shocking New Low Matt Taibbi

Facebook’s metaverse plans labelled as ‘dystopian’ and ‘a bad idea’ BBC

Woke Watch

Latinos graded by skin color in Covid discrimination poll RT. Kevin W: “Even the KKK would be too embarrassed to pull a stunt like this.”

Theranos bilked elite old-money investors of $400 million, say prosecutors BoingBoing (resilc)

Eric Adams vows to take first three paychecks as NYC mayor in Bitcoin Independent (resilc). Wowsers. Clueless as to what that will take operationally. Gonna cost way way way more than a full year of pay to implement this stunt. Does he want NYC’s treasury to be able to handle Bitcoin in anticipation of ransomware attacks? That’s the only possible public purpose.

September Trade Deficit Rises 11.2% to a Record High Angry Bear

Apple’s New Screen Repair Trap Could Change the Repair Industry Forever Fixit. Dan K: “Richest company in the world.”

Class Warfare

I’m Still Here Freddie deBoer (Anthony L). Today’s must read.

Americans Just Don’t Care Anymore Heisenberger Report (resilc). “Precarity is the great unifier in America.”

Food Processing: Where Did All of the Food & Beverage Workers Go? Food Processing (JS)

Antidote du jour (Timotheus):

And a bonus:

And a second bonus (Dr. Kevin):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    >Americans Just Don’t Care Anymore – Heisenberger Report

    But what I’d not-so-gently suggest is that, over time, Americans have lost interest. In the labor market, in their communities and in life in general. Americans just don’t care anymore.

    Briefly, it appeared the pandemic might finally lift the veil obscuring a simple reality: Precarity is the great unifier in America. Inequality of opportunity isn’t just about race or gender, but about a system that’s designed to perpetuate a social hierarchy and insulate those at the top.

    a·poc·a·lypse – Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’, from apo- ‘un-’ + kaluptein ‘to cover’.

    That “lifting of the veil” isn’t that people “have lost” interest in gainful employment. Indeed if you read Dostoevsky’s “The House of the Dead” you would know that at the core of every human being is the need for work, man would go insane without it. Lost interest in their “communities?” What community? Neighborhoods closed in by vehicular traffic and lacking communal space where people can aggregate and interact with others in the flesh rarely exist in the U.S.. Read Jane Jacobs.

    The “simply reality” isn’t all that simple. And putting a label on it like “precarity” is somewhat useful but doesn’t even begin to lift the veil to see what monsters are lurking behind it. Calling those monsters a “system” characterized by “social hierarchy” does very little to peel back the curtain. I remember reading Robert Pirsig’s “Lila” where he is sitting in a NYC hotel room waiting for Robert Redford to come talk to him about the movie rights to “Zen.” Looking out the window he speculates that what he was seeing was a “Giant”. Identifying this “lost interest” due to a “system” is not much more useful.

    1. anon y'mouse

      the article and the comments are FULL of PMC cultural assumptions that have nothing to do with much of anything except stereotypes and prejudice and ignorance about how the “other half live”. one commenter even says “work just isn’t as fun anymore”. uh, down in non-vacationer’s land, work has NEVER been “fun” and for a long time, it hasn’t even paid the true cost of living. instead some feel that people are sitting on cushions of savings and “gaming the child credit system into their stock portfolios”. these people are obvious dual HIGH income, no kids people rationalizing what they think about how others live, when they don’t know one thing about it.
      even as they try to dig out of their blind spot, the hole gets deeper.

      i have a solution: whomever is “funding” half of the people on substack—find some actual working class people who can tell you what living like that day in/day out for years and decades is like. stop assuming you know anything about it from people who appear to have made their substantial livings manipulating words, spreadsheets and so forth. stop pontificating from public statistics which merely give the illusion of “knowledge” when it is still merely “data”. then maybe we will all learn something.

      oh, and if you want to know why people haven’t returned to work, call some of them and start asking questions and being prepared to LISTEN to the answers.

      1. jsn

        Heisenberg has occasional insights. None in evidence here!

        Between Covid, Long Covid and having been off the treadmill long enough to feel the pain at the prospect of getting back on, yeah lots of Americans are taking a flyer on what “work” has become: might as well die at home as on the job.

        It really is amazing how many analysts can’t analyze anything that can’t be formatted for a Bloomberg terminal.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        “the article and the comments are FULL of PMC cultural assumptions that have nothing to do with much of anything except stereotypes and prejudice and ignorance about how the “other half live”

        Thank you. This article contained some of the most tiresome, “knowledge worker” class rot I’ve read in a long time. Like anyone works as gas station attendant because she’s wracked with the need to have meaning in her life. Good Lord.

        Betcha if one of these geniuses actually got off his highly credentialed butt and canvassed a few tens of thousands of former waitresses, 7-11 night shift cashiers, and stock clerks who “aren’t interested in going back to work”…. he’d find a lot of women who are working new gig jobs (that still suck) for GrubHub, Uber, or smaller businesses… on their own schedules. They suddenly don’t need the slight extra pittance they’d get if they went back to their former 3/4 time, variable-hour mall job at Claire’s, because they have enough control over their time to cook at home every night for the first time in a decade.

        It’s not just at the lowest end either. And you need to be deeply immersed in the pseudo-intelligentsia to be unaware of it.

        1. ProNewerDeal

          “he’d find a lot of women who are working new gig jobs (that still suck) for GrubHub, Uber, or smaller businesses… on their own schedules.”

          I grudgingly view that these DeliveryApps & Wonolo-type apps for shifts at warehouse/retail apps constitute a partial, neoliberal crapified 3rd rate Job Guarantee, at least perhaps in metro areas for those with a car & the cardio health to walk around for apartment deliveries, & perhaps for many woman for security concerns limited to daylight hours.

          Although this excludes many people, a huge fraction of the US Labor force is “eligible” for this Neoliberal crappy pseudo-Job Guarantee.

          The DeliveryApps in particular, the ability to turn on the app at a whim, at least say during daylight hours 7 days/week, without having to schedule a shift in advance, afaict is a new development in the US Labor market.

          1. ProNewerDeal

            Given this availability of Employee-on demand work sources, perhaps we could issue a challenge to the PMC, especially to the Power Elite of elected politrickians & CXOs, to work 1 8-hour shift per month. Donate the money to charity if you wish. The experience would keep the PMC Ivory Tower types somewhat tethered & knowlegable of the current Real Working World. Further bonus to the PMC types – this Employee-on demand work is likely to be a form of mild exercise (walking around apartments delivering food, on foot taping boxes at a warehouse, etc), whereas many PMC occupations are desk jobs to where the worker is at risk of obesity if they do not exercise off the job.

      3. BeliTsari

        Our poor other “half” is now around 90% and they don’t WANT to know about us. Their folks’ stereotypes still work just fine in screenplays. We’re sexy, scary and depressing all the way to the big chase and shoot-out at the end? Media, of, for, by and exclusively from the perspective of Creative Class™ freelance writers is just exactly like our carrying our algorithm boss around with us, outsourcing ourselves, minute-by-minute in a slave-market race to the bottom. I just love American Rust, where a hophead cop, in Cancer Valley, Frackistan doesn’t know what Fentanyl looks like. But it’s edgey, timely, woke and non-judgemental; because it’s patronizing MAGA hillbillies?

        TRY to imagine these folks training for a fifth career, at 70yrs due to chronic PASC, auto-immune disorders, etc? Imagine, PayCheck Loan & EZ Credit for any monoclonal antibody treatments as horse paste, fluvoxamine, NRPT & Quercetin, D3 & zinc disappear & the kids get PMIS?

        1. ambrit

          Just look around you Beli Tsari. You have just described the present state of play. Now imagine what you just described “Dialed Up To Eleven.”

          1. BeliTsari

            Leaving Manhattan, for red state mill towns was cool, well before COVID? Now, that our yuppie neighbors can’t simply cough, sneeze or kvetch virons at uppity essentials to flip serendipitously vacant rent stabilized apartments in Brooklyn & 1099 chronically PASC survivors, indentured into “disruptive” gig serfdom (even UWS delusional grandiosity & specious denial wore thin as Israeli studies SPOOKY findings trickled down?) But, I’m remembering LOTS of commenters at wishy-washy liberal, CommonDreams accurately predicted what’s ensued after DNC’s Nevada Primary and SuperSpreader Tuesday fiascos? (eg: GND, degraded to bailing our 94 fission reactors, carbon sequestration/ silly coal gasification, green-washing NYC slumlord superdelegates moving their carbon footprint 140 miles into Frackistan?) Time to GTFO?

      4. eg

        This won’t happen because they aren’t trying to “learn” anything — they’re just chattering amongst themselves. And they’ll go right on chattering over the precipice …

    2. Robert Gray

      > Indeed if you read Dostoevsky’s “The House of the Dead” you would know that at the core of every
      > human being is the need for work
      , man would go insane without it.

      I don’t think so. I’d say, rather, that some 20 years after ‘House’, Paul Larfargue put paid to all that neurosis with Le Droit à la paresse.

      1. zagonostra

        I remember Paul Larfargue from a class I took on the history of Socialism way back in college days. He was Karl Marx’s nephew or some such relation. He wrote that essay as a paean to “laziness” but I think you have to make a more clean distinction (and I don’t recall the essay well enough to know if he did). It’s not laziness per se that is he was singing the praise to. It’s leisure. “School” means “leisure” if you look up its etymology. I also remember where workman in the 19th century would pay some young lad or lasses to read out loud while they worked. Yes give me plenty of leisure to satisfy my mind and free my imagination, to get engaged in “community” that is a desiderata. For that you need a well paid job, if not a meaningful one, one that pays my healthcare, leaves me something for retirement and allows for some leisure. That was the message I got out of Lafarge and not “sloth”, something the Catholic Church list as one of the seven deadly sins.

        1. Robert Gray

          I agree with much of what you’re saying, but —

          > give me plenty of leisure to satisfy my mind and free my imagination, to get engaged in
          > “community” that is a desiderata.

          — is far from at the core of every human being is the need for work

          Speaking for myself, I have never felt any psychological compulsive need for work. As long as I have enough to eat, I can easily fill my mind with better things than ambition, or stress. In fact, I always liked the reaction of Maynard G. Krebs whenever anyone said the word ‘work’ in his presence.

    3. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Reminds me of a Bill Mitchell post from 2017 written in relation to a the Marienthal study conducted in Austria during the early 30’s, which is titled ” When Austrians ate Dogs ” examining the effects on a small town when the major source of employment closed down resulting in long term employment & the shadow of despair that follows it.

  2. griffen

    It’s shopping season. Get your loved one or nearly loved one a shiny new Peloton. Our bikes are on sale and so is our company’s shares! Ride your in-home bicycle uphill as we begin the climb anew in 2022.

    I remain unconvinced that this Pfizer pill is now the “savior drug”. Though I submit Dr. Gottlieb is more capable and smarter than I on any day ending “y”.

      1. griffen

        My grandparents in eastern TN had a basement, which as a kid I thought their mostly finished basement had a lot of weird and one off items. That machine was one of em!

        Always thought it was a strange contraption for exercises.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        My grandparents had one of those. Pretty sure nobody in the family ever lost any weight because of it, but we kids used to have a ball hooking ourselves up to it and seeing how much shaking we could take. Almost as much fun as spinning in circles until you fall down.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Good grief. I think that every kid growing up in the 60s would know at sight what one of those machines were, even if they had never seen one in real life.

    1. BeliTsari

      Can’t help thinking of a rich neighbor’s Peloton, delivered amidst the cacaphony of InstaPots, $320 Dutch coffee makers, 5K AMOLED monitors, Camorra Cartel Gelato freezers, Bezos & DoorDash deliveries; made by 1099 gig cyclists, in icy March rain; forced to work with acute COVID. Infecting loved-ones with caked, weeks old procedure masks… OK, back to our REAL supply-chain first world problems. Hey, y’all don’t think they’ll give poor kids out-of-date, or poorly stored, shipped & refrigerated doses, without testing of existing immunity as rich folks’ boosters and monoclonal antibody treatments… NEVERMIND!

  3. VT Digger

    I live up here and it feels like a twilight zone episode. 82% vaccinated and cases are higher than at any time during the pandemic, and rising. The vaccines don’t work against delta gamma epsilon. Full stop.

    Kids have never been at serious risk. This was loudly trumpeted for the first year, and then even more loudly once schools & daycares needed to reopen in order to protect rents save the children’s mental health. Totally safe, kids don’t get seriously ill.

    Now I (who has taken the vaccine!) am a racist anti-vaxer if I don’t give my 5 year old an experimental drug which I’ve been told for 2 years they do not need?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The issue is kids are a transmission vector to adults. Large scale studies in the UK (100,000 every 5-6 weeks) determined that elementary school age kids were 2x as likely to bring Covid into a household, and older kids, 7x.

      But the pitch again is being made dishonestly, as if to save kids, when the real issue is to stop infecting adults, the same logic as mandating vaccines in workplaces. But oh wait, the vaccines aren’t sterilizing and don’t prevent contagion.

      So it looks like it’s really about pre-positioning the blame cannons. If we have a winter Covid wave, it will be the fault of vaccine refusniks, not the fact that the vaccines don’t do much to stop the spread of Delta.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        Meanwhile the fact that the vaccinated can spread Covid remains on the Official Narrative mis-information censor list.

        1. Kouros

          Breakthrough cases have been acknowledged and they are dutifully reported. As well as the rate of hospitalization among those vaccinated against those not vaccinated. Your odds are much, much better with one of the groups only. Would you care to guess?

          1. drsteve0

            That’s not the point. The vaccine may well be more dangerous to otherwise healthy youngsters than the disease. ‘But, but, we gotta jab the kiddies to protect grandma and grandpa’, has thus become the rallying cry, which is BS as the vaccines are FAR from sterilizing; transmission will still occur. So to paraphrase Pink Floyd, leave the kids alone. Yes, adults should get the vaccine for the reasons you cite.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Kids have never been at serious risk. This was loudly trumpeted for the first year, and then even more loudly once schools & daycares needed to reopen in order to protect rents save the children’s mental health. Totally safe, kids don’t get seriously ill.

      I’m not sure this is any longer the case with Delta. Sources that I personally trust have argued the case that Covid can be quite serious for children (including, crucially, Long Covid). Relative rates of harm may be low, but I’m not sure if it’s a bet I’d like to take if I had kids (not that I’d necessarily be happy with the “covid or vaccine, put up or shut up” (false) dichotomy that we’re now presented with).

      This table I saw this week stood out to me. I’d be interested to know what the commentariat medicos think about it or if there’s some chicanery going on with it that I’ve missed.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        It is confusing to say the least but there does appear to be evidence that myocarditus is a relatively common adverse reaction to the vax for kids.

        “The risk benefit analysis shows you expose them to the toxicity of vaccines without any benefit. Our policy is you should not vaccinate healthy children.” A recent study by and a group at Johns Hopkins University looked at the records of 42,000 children hospitalized with covid, he said, “and there was no healthy child who died of covid. Healthy kids don’t die of the flu either. There’s no deaths and very little hospitalization of healthy kids.

        “And that’s just myocarditis. Never mind the adverse events. If you look at the Pfizer trial, a kid was paralyzed for life. Parents all over the place are trying to call attention to this. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. They’re killing people. Something like 12 to 20 teenagers have died from the vaccine.”

        That is an extract from an article from Michael Capuzzo in regard to a Covid summit in Florida, but be warned it features FLCCC rebels backed up by a NYC rabbinical court & California Mums who are also not best pleased – I would also be interested in a Docs opinion on the subject.

        1. Anonymous 2

          The adverse effects on children may be related to the decision not to aspirate when injecting. Given the nature of these new vaccines this seems a questionable decision.

          For those unfamiliar with the issue, the practice of aspirating an injection is intended to identify whether the needle has found a blood vessel rather than muscle. Injections into blood vessels of drugs intended for injection into muscle are known to carry health risks for the patient.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Yes, Dr. John Campbell has been talking about it for a long time & was recently backed up by a study. Kids tend to have small skinny deltoids so I imagine that there would be much less room for error that would result in an intravenous injection. I guess it still comes under a vaccine adverse reaction as hardly anybody appears to give a flying family blog about the aspiration issue.

            There is something else that has turned up on the radar which according to drbeen could be serious but needs more data for there to be a definitive judgement.

            Spike Protein Goes to Nucleus and Impairs DNA Repair (In-Vitro Study)


        2. Basil Pesto

          it sure is confusing. It would be interesting to see comparison in myocarditis/cardiac complication rates between children and adults, and controlled for needle aspiration as well.

          Two things stand out about that excerpt. First is “the toxicity of the vaccines” is an eyebrow raising statement that warrants unpacking. Toxic in what sense? More toxic than, say, paracetamol? It seems unduly alarmist.

          “healthy kids” is a fuzzy hedging, and untrustworthy semantic chicanery. How are they choosing to define healthy? What is the healthy kid to unhealthy kid ratio?

          To be clear, I don’t support vaccine mandates for children with these vaccines any more than I do for adults. But I would also like a clearer, au courant picture of how harmful covid actually is for children, because I’m not sure the dismissive shrugging is warranted (particularly when it comes from conservative Great Barringtonists such as those at the college fix). As I say, non-cretinous sources that I trust are quite concerned about the potential impact on children and don’t dick around with “healthy children” obfuscation.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          Dr Eric Rubin, Harvard Professor, Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and FDA panel member, voted to approve in an Emergency Use capacity stated he thinks the vaccine should be used SPARINGLY among kids 5-11 and only in cases where a child is especially at risk. He also states that we will not know exactly how safe this will be for children until we start administering it (this seems bizarre to me). Video below from the FDA panel meeting.

          But I guarantee you that the usual PMC/NPR suspects will be pushing a mandate for public school kids in the 5-11 range despite any contrary evidence. I was dropping my daughter off at school yesterday (she’s 8 and we are in Seattle) and I ran into one of her friend’s mom who is a doctor. The first thing she said, not ‘hi’, or ‘how’s it going’, was ‘I can’t wait to get my kids vaxxed asap”. I asked her a couple of questions: “what size is the dose compared to what we got?” She had no idea. Then I asked “How big was the study and how long was it?”. Again, no idea. From a doctor. Depressing

          I am in total agreement with what IM Doc wrote yesterday that the Democrats do not even begin to understand (or don’t care) the backlash that this will bring if they mandate this for 5-11 year olds. But guaranteed it will be a full court press to do so.

              1. BeliTsari

                Well, Pfizer needs to move old BNT162b2 stock, somehow? Wonder, just what the monoclonal antibody replacements will net, and how uninsured 1099 gig-serfs will manage to access them in time, without losing everything to usurious Pay-Check Loan, EZ Credit scams as these supplant ever less efficacious mRNA vaccines?




    3. Cas

      This week’s Grand Rounds by UCSF discussed boosters and vaccinating children. It’s an hour long, if you want to skip to the child discussion it’s by Dr. Rutherford during the last half. It’s all good, but if you don’t have time, I’d start around 38 minute mark to hear Dr. Offit on immunity–vaccine vs. natural immunity.

      1. Tvc15

        The recent UK study in the Lancet between Sept 13, 2020, and Sept 15, 2021 seems to support both VT Digger and Yves comments. “Our findings help to explain how and why the delta variant is being transmitted so effectively in populations with high vaccine coverage.” The study also cites work out of Singapore that says only 8% of covid cases among the unvaccinated have the delta variant yet nearly all covid cases among the vaccinated have the delta variant, isn’t that odd? I heard this comment on a DarkHorse podcast.

        1. converger

          Not odd at all. Without knowing anything about the current percentage mix of COVID variants in Singapore, that result makes perfect sense. The vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection from early variants, less so against Delta. If you are vaccinated and infected, you are more likely to be infected by Delta.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    A 150-year-old note from Charles Darwin is inspiring a change in the way forests are planted The Conversation

    It never ceases to surprise how many ‘new’ ideas turn out to have already been anticipated by anyone who has read Charles Darwin. Its a little like Keynes for economics.

    Its hardly a surprise to anyone that mixing trees produces better results than mono cropping. Monocropping must be one of the worst ideas in all human history, yet somehow we still produce thousands of agriculture and forestry graduates every year who are convinced it is the most efficient way to grown anything. Monocropping trees is particularly stupid, the sole purpose is to make life easier for those who eventually cut the trees down. Enormous ecological damage has been done by people who supposedly love trees.

    1. gsinbe

      I, too, enjoyed the article and remain impressed by Darwin’s intellect – sociobiology, sexual selection, so many “new” ideas can be found in his work.

      One additional factor that the article omitted is the role of mycorrhizal fungi in forests. Recent work has demonstrated that the underground threads connect different species of trees and allow for nutrient and information exchange within a forest. Perhaps different tree species contribute different molecules for the common good.

      1. Michael McK

        And some trees in that network are connected so well that when they are cut down the stump gets enough nutrition to scab over and keep it’s roots alive for the good of the network. They live on for decades, I often park next to one that was cut down in the mid 50s. It is a bit over 2 feet across and near other, much larger, stumps that are in an advanced state of decay. All the firs had been harvested but there were hardwoods left. I suspect that if it had been clearcut the fungal networks would have been destroyed, inhibiting the forests regeneration.
        The abomination that is clearcutting has gotten a bad enough reputation that many forestry plans may leave a couple trees here and there and use euphemisms such as: Group selection, ‘seed tree’ removal, variable retention, stand re-initiation.
        California’s last manufactured energy crisis lumber mill’s boilers ran full tilt 24/7 selling ‘green energy’ to the grid and were paying so much for “green chip” (shredded forest) that a neighbor got approval for a Christmas tree farm conversion on a steep hillside to profit from clearing it but was just a hair too late so it stayed as is, industrially logged twice then a ‘10% dead and dying’ then an absurdly shaped ‘3 acre exemption’.
        Please support your local forest defenders.

    2. juno mas

      Yes, the diverse forest concept is not new. The only folks who promote single stand forests are the ones (as you say) who look to exploit trees for economic efficiency. This is known as silviculture, as practiced by the US Forest Service.

      It is important to recognize some constraints to planting trees for carbon capture, though. Trees take decades to mature (mature trees capture more carbon than juveniles), there is limited conducive soil types and climate parameters for growing healthy forests.

      The quickest way to reduce carbon in the atmosphere is to stop producing it prodigiously.

      1. Kouros

        Forestry and Silviculture in North America are a sham. I have a forestry degree from Romania and when coming in contact with the practicing of Forestry in Canada I was horrified. Most, if not of the activities and practices would have been considered criminal under the practices in Romania. They really believed in sustainability there and then…

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Who could dogs become without humans in their lives?”

    Of course if humans disappeared overnight, this would lead to a mass die-off of dogs within weeks. Think about all the dogs that live inside homes, apartments, dog-pens, etc. What happens to them when the food runs out? Most of them would not be able to escape and when food & water ran out, they would quickly die of thirst. Some would be able to escape perhaps by breaking out, jumping fences or digging their way out but too many would die in isolation.

    1. Wukchumni

      We were in Syracuse on a frosty morning about 25 years ago walking to the Ear of Dionysius and on the way saw a row of say 30 dogs of all types sleeping against one another in a burrow in a field a few hundred feet away, probably the best way for them to distribute mutual warmth, except for the not so hot dogs on either end.

      Dogs living in a pack was certainly new to me, and something i’ve never seen before or since.

      1. Lee

        Absent humans to bond with, I’m guessing their social instincts would cause them to bond with each other forming packs as do Dingoes.

        1. LifelongLib

          My understanding is that dogs are naturally pack animals, with humans taking the place of pack leaders for domesticated dogs.

    2. megrim

      Huskies would be fine. They are all Houdinis, if Houdini was adept at eating his way through particle board! I can just see them roaming the land, terrorizing the remaining feral cats.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    I’m Still Here Freddie deBoer

    Yes, very much a must-read. But it is sad that stating something so basic and obvious has somehow become controversial. Pair it with the RT link above (Latinos graded by skin color in Covid discrimination poll RT.) and you can see the hole the modern woke liberal left have dug themselves.

    1. anon y'mouse

      deBoer wants to have his cake and eat it to.
      he wants a big tent with all kinds of people in it, yet he also wants them to “do the work”. of what? reading tons of theorists and history. i am not saying that one shouldn’t do that nor that it isn’t helpful, but a big tent is going to have lots of people who haven’t the time nor inclination to do that. can they also not participate meaningfully in discussion on where we stand now and what we need to aim for?

      i agree that the jaded “knowingness” is a real problem. i experienced this repeatedly during my college experience: everyone knew everything already. no one wanted to engage even in the time-limited class discussions about things. everyone’s points were obvious from before they made it, and rolling eyes at anyone who spoke up in class because they were there to actually engage with the content. i may have mistakenly attributed this to the class status of my classmates being at variance with mine, because it is an attitude that i had encountered in the “advanced” classes with my supposed peers in HS 20 years before as well. and nearly all of those people in those advanced classes were from a few steps higher on the SES rung than i was.

      but if you want people to do the work before they pipe up, it’s just another version of that same kind of antipathy towards learning and towards the novice, disguised as something else.
      i mean, are we going to work on a “big tent” and then require everyone to join a study/reading group before they get to talk in it?

      1. Keith Newman

        Good point anon.
        Few grass-roots people are going to read the classics. They are going to act in their self-interest with others who share these interests over some issue (wages, working conditions, a highway built through their neighbourhood, etc., etc.)
        But where are the venues for people to do that? Unions have been a good venue where various people of what today we call “identity” groups could come together to defend their class interests. Unfortunately as unionisation has declined those spaces have declined as well.
        Political parties? Social groups? Many have been co-opted although I assume many worthwhile ones still remain locally.
        The sneering of the know-it-alls is the “arrogance of the ignorant”, ie those who in fact have never left their computer screens or, if they have done so it is to harass others without actually listening to what they have to say. Actually having to deal face-to-face with a coherent person who disagrees is a pretty quick way for the sneer to disappear. A situation to be avoided at all cost for inveterate sneerers.
        I also wonder how many of these online sneering “leftists” are real or simply one of the many thousands of trolls hired by the alphabet security agencies.

      2. Darthbobber

        His complaint doesn’t seem to be with people “not doing the work” in general, but specifically with those who proclaim themselves to be instant “experts”, or as my brother-in-law would say “Maser Chief Everythings” without being acually willing to study issues. Or theory. Or even confront opposing arguments with anything other than bare assertions.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Plutonium Kun. Yes, the article is definitely a must-read. I think that the most important points deBoer makes is that the left stands for universal benefits, civil rights and civil liberties, and a kind of tolerance of the messiness of politics of the left (when the left is gaining ground, not when there is in-fighting).

      Right now, in the U S of A, the left is being ground down by its own current internal tendencies to be puritanical. What happened to Make Love, Not War? That certainly won’t work with the current crowd of puritans.

      The article is a must-read for anyone making the offhand remark that no one knows what the left stands for. It stands for what deBoer is talking about, and those same principles animate the discussions and analyses of someone like Briahna Joy Gray.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Yes very good & bookmarked – the art of raising a few boats while sinking a multitude of others.

      2. Keith Newman

        Well, the first time I read the article I wished deBoer had given examples of who said what when. The article did resonate with me the second time I read it, at least to a point, as I have definitely had to deal with some of the things he referred to but overall it would have been much improved if he had provided examples.
        I also had trouble understanding what he meant by “left” and “liberal”.
        I also put in a response to anon y’mouse but it looks like it got caught up in moderation. Perhaps it will appear in due course…

      3. QuicksilverMessenger

        > “Right now, in the U S of A, the left is being ground down by its own current internal tendencies to be puritanical”
        There is an article an the SF Chronicle today about some dudes with a very long criminal record caught yet again in a bicycle stealing ring. And in the Twitter thread, there is a proposition suggested: should residents and leaders tolerate burglaries as part of city living and just barricade homes.
        As someone in the comments said ‘When we’ve gotten to the point where people are seriously asking whether we should tolerate burglaries then maybe it’s time to pack it in.”
        Seattle just had an election for city attorney where one was a Boudin-like candidate. She lost. To a Republican. In Seattle!
        It’s like a lot of these kinds of “progressive” policies are trying to provoke a rightward shift to more and more reactionary authoritarianism.

    3. NotThePilot

      It’s definitely a good article, and you can sense his frustration. I agree with all his specific criticisms too, about how weird, cultural imperatives have displaced basic principles for some of the Left today.

      It was interesting for me though because I’m not sure I agree with his principles. I’m pretty far left on almost everything, but I’ve come to realize I’m a weirdly aristocratic sort of leftist (and no, I am definitely not a part of any elite, nor will I likely ever be). It could just be I’ve been really disillusioned over the years, but I wonder if these commitments are partly what holds the Left back vs. the Right.

      All three of his principles still represent abstract absolutes, while the Right is free to lash out in the real world of particulars. For example, he describes Moral Universalism as believing everyone has equal dignity, but if everyone is truly accorded equal dignity, can you judge anyone or anything they do?

      What if, as nice as universal equality would be, the effective opposite of racism, sexism is to assert a better form of judgment. You could argue that’s the unspoken stance of the Democratic Inner Party (power to the credentialed), and I don’t think anyone here would argue they’ve failed to secure their goals & personal interests.

      And I don’t disagree with any of his points about mass politics, but he leaves something out: the masses qua masses can clearly be manipulated, at least in the short-term.

      Kudos to Freddie though; if I were actively part of the blogo-sphere, this is one of those articles I’d have to write a long-form response to.

    4. flora

      Yes. This is a must read. I enjoyed and bookmarked the article.

      One aside: He mentions once or twice that he saw the start of what he describes as being around a decade ago, or 10 years ago. That would be around the time of Occupy Wall Street. In an interesting coincidence, that exactly the first time the idea of wokeness started showing up in MSM articles. Wokeness didn’t address economics the way Occupy did. I often wonder if the beginnings of broadcast wokeness into the larger culture was organic, or if it was constructed as a counter to Occupy. I don’t know.

      Hillary Clinton’s 2016 question and the crowd’s response during her pres run seems emblematic of my question. As if it’s an either/or, either do this good thing or that good thing, but not both… Carefully steering the crowd away from the economic questions.

      “Clinton: ​“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow….would that end racism? Would that end sexism?” ​“No!” crowd yells out”

    5. flora

      Great article. It seems like there’s a near-mania in social media to banish any ideas that are out of the new-thought bounds. I haven’t decided how much of the social media “thought policing” (for lack of a better term) is organic or is constructed, similar to the correct-the-record group’s social media presence.

  7. farmboy

    “…modern agrarian economies are leapfrogging the manufacturing sector to directly develop their services sector through greater participation in AGVCs. This result runs counter to the conventional wisdom about structural transformation − a sequential development process by the agricultural, manufacturing, and services sector over time…” Kuznets and Murphy 1966 posited ag, then manufacturing, then services develop as a natural progression, not so according to
    As we watch supply chains get all kinked up what does that do to the back end of ag, the producer, fertilizer prices skyrocketing, usual chemicals getting hard to source and more expensive. Corn acres will bellweather trade volumes and price, La Nina in the southern plains for wheat will spotlight

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Beware of Kuznets. Kate Raworth does a nice job in Doughnut Economics of taking down the “Nobel” winner Kuznets on his inequality curve. He claimed that inequality would increase along with development until a point was reached where it began to decline, eventually reaching a very low point once “development” was complete. When the hypothesis was tested against a broader data set, it turned out to be wrong.

      Along came Grossman and Krueger who claimed that there was an Environmental Kuznets Curve. Again, pollution was supposed to rise for a time as development progressed, but then it would decline rapidly as development advanced. Wrong again.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    The Myth of Wilderness–

    Great article by these Aussie academics illustrating how the idea of turning from the Enlightenment is spreading around the planet as we recognize the cul de sac we’ve led ourselves into:

    But the Anthropocene has a problem: it is, at its core, a Eurocentric construct. More than that, it is the direct product of the inward-looking European project of Enlightenment, that prioritised the European notion of “reason” over all else in an attempt to “liberate” all of humankind from the tyranny of authoritative religious dogma.

    Rather than liberation, the Enlightenment, driven by the Scientific Revolution and its ideals of universality and objectivity have enslaved us all in a darkness so profound that it threatens our very survival on this planet.

    Instead of providing an alternative, the Enlightenment was built on the very central and religious tenet that we humans are separate from the world around us.

    Joni and the authors of the second Genesis story (Garden of Eden) had some things right. We have been and can become again gardeners. As this article urges, those aboriginal peoples whose intimate knowledge of the ecology they inhabited we threw away as we were slaughtering them, are one important place to look for leadership and wisdom (and by “we” I mean those of us with European ancestry).

    Gabe Brown, tending his Dakota soils with little more than seed (native and not GMO) and cows’ hoofs, is an encouraging example of a European descendant adopting methods not only supported by The Science but also in line with aboriginal practices informed by centuries of observation and experience living in Nature’s midst. On NC, we read Wuk’s increasingly urgent recommendation that forest practices in the West return to those used by the first Californians whose methods preserved ecological diversity while preventing catastrophe.

    If we understand the process of evolution and natural selection as species fitting into an ecological niche where they are in reciprocal relationships with many other species, then it’s clear that humans have the capacity to find a niche where they can thrive without destroying the remarkable good luck of the stable Holocene (scroll down to see the graph).

    1. Wukchumni


      To watch us continually rush to the emergency room and pay any price to stop unchecked out of control wildfires coursing through the canopy capillaries, without giving any thought to the care of the patient beforehand is about all we can muster.

      It’s exiting fast paced work and quite profitable to some involved-although not the majority of the firefighters on the line making the same as you’d earn working the McFlurry machine.

      The 88k KNP Fire is now 75% contained and over except for the mopping up part, with a current cost of $94 million.

      It’s over a million $ per thousand acres to quell a raging conflagration, and instead you could still have the forest intact and thriving by supplying the same amount of money per acre in proactive work to stop a fire in it’s tracks by clearing out the duff on the ground and thinning out the forest for the trees and burning it on our terms, bringing the forests back to a condition similar to what they looked like before we intervened.

      Instead, we’re cool with a scorched earth policy where creepy groundcover dominates where eagles once used to dare.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the first test of the Atomic Bomb should mark the beginning of the Anthropocene. The fallout wastes make a nice marker for Humankind’s layer of the Earth’s history, which is neatly followed by the stick ends of so many of the exponential growth hockey sticks that really took off in the 1950s. While it is true that Humankind substantially modified the natural world to better suit Human needs, the same could be said of many other living things. The Atomic Age marks a point where Humankind became a force for changes exceeding those of many ‘natural’ processes — consider the amounts of Earth moved or the amounts of nitrogen fixed as Humankind squanders the vast stores of solar energy saved in fossil fuels through vast ages past. The American Century has been the harbinger and promoter of the Anthropocene.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Alleged attempt by US to confiscate Iranian crude in the Gulf of Oman — Iran’s state news agency IRIB’

    I have no idea why that video is of such poor quality. It looks like bad video from the 60s. There is a much better film on the page below. You can see Iranian forces storm that ship, warn off a US helicopter and have their speedboats interfere with the warships. And you can see how close in it all was- (with 3:34 min video clip)

      1. The Rev Kev

        After the US hijacked the oil from four Iranian tankers on their way to Venezuela last year, and sold that oil for profit, I do not think that ‘flags of convenience’ will worry the Iranians any more. And the legal justification used to seize those four tankers? It was from ‘a U.S. District Court’ so you know that it was totally legit and the seized assets were for the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund which again sounds totally legit-

  10. Carla

    Re: These portable factories are solving plastic pollution.

    I would argue that rather than solving plastic pollution, this is a solution to a problem that should not exist at all: single-use plastic bags.

    If we keep applying ourselves to working on simple problems that we never should have allowed to exist in the first place, how can humanity ever imagine solving the really big existential issues we face?

    C’mon. Ban the manufacture of single-use plastic bags. Yes, it would be good to find a way to responsibly recycle the trillions of the damned things that already exist, but this would be a problem with a hard limit.

    Perhaps I’m being too harsh: maybe the technology depicted in the Inhabit slide show can be further developed to handle recycling of the essential kinds of plastics that will have to continue to be made in the future. But this should be a more manageable issue once we stop flooding the planet with totally unnecessary, noxious items like single-use plastic bags.

    1. Ken Murphy

      At the retail store I manage I’ve trained my staff to ask every customer whether they would like a bag. When they decline we thank them for saving a plastic tree, and often note that Mama Nature appreciates it. We’ll then sometimes develop some empathy by noting that she’s choking on them right now, and every little bit helps.

      Does it save on my bottom line? Oh yeah, and I am laser-focused on making my store profitable. But social awareness is not necessarily incompatible with mercantilism.

      1. Carla

        Ken — Thank you so much for what you are doing. If only buying one or two things, I’m constantly telling retail clerks “I don’t need a bag.” If buying more, I try to always have my own re-usable bag(s) with me.

        For your store, does it make sense to switch to paper for those customers who do want their purchases bagged? I know paper bags are not an environmental freebie at all, but at they are biodegradable!

        1. Vandemonian

          Well done, Ken, way to go!

          Down here the state government has banned single use plastic bags. Many stores sell more robust re-usable bags; some types of customer (being classist here) seem to buy new ones every time they shop.

          One of our local dollar stores and a big box hardware place have cartons piled up against the wall next to the registers – help yourself to a box if you’ve bought too much to carry safely.

          The back of our car is a bit of a mess. It holds maybe 50 or so calico and cotton shopping bags. We rarely enter a supermarket without half a dozen of them. If they get soiled, they go through the wash. It’s not hard once it’s a habit. If we forget to take the bags, my SO has 3 or 4 reusable bags folded up in her handbag.

          In the before times, when we holidayed in Bali, the locals were very amused to see us whip out a cloth bag for our shopping – the Balinese use plastic bags for everything they sell. The plastic gets thrown away (not into a bin) and the stuff floats around everywhere. If it gets picked up; it’s usually burned.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      It’s possible to do – Maine just instituted a ban on single use plastic bags.

      That’s just banning the use – banning the manufacture needs to follow soon. We shouldn’t have to wait for “the market” to determine whether to use them or not.

      And as I’m typing the comment, it occurs to me that the take-out I got for lunch the other day did come in a plastic bag so clearly enforcement isn’t 100%. But everywhere else I can think of I’ve either gotten no bag or a paper one recently so compliance is pretty high.

  11. Nikkikat

    Dog standing at counter and walking away… hilarious!
    We had a miniature pincher. He was much larger than the typical minpin. Weighed about 25 pounds. He walked on his hind legs all the time. If the microwave went off, he walked to the kitchen he also did it on walks. People were always stopping their cars and laughing. They thought we taught him to do It.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘Die Europäischen Grünen (ohne deutsche MEPs) klagen vor dem EuGH auf Offenlegung der Impfstoffverträge. (VonderLeyen hat bisher nur 1 bis zur Unkenntlichkeit zensierte Version veröffentlicht.) Das hier kann ja kaum das Original sein, ist ja nix geschwärzt:’

    My German is very rusty but it seems that the German Greens got access to a version of the Pfizer contract that is in the clear. The embedded link is to an English language version-

    1. TheMog

      Rough translation is that they European Green Party (without support from the German Green MEPs) are suing at the ECJ for the release of the vaccine contracts after von der Leyen only released a heavily redacted version. The last sentence before the link states somewhat flippantly that the linked doc cannot be the original “as it hasn’t been redacted”.

  13. Michael Ismoe

    I was so happy to see The Squad go full kayfabe when they voted en masse to reject the “Elon Musk Trillionaire Act.” l loved how Nancy gave them permission to vote No when she had 15 GOP votes up her sleeve. God, will the showboating never end?

    1. marym

      So their voting choices were:
      yes (sellout)
      no (performative)
      present (both)

      There are 6 of them. They’re in a hostile institution on the inside, determined to see them fail; and there’s no coherent movement backing them up on the outside. But sure, punch left.Just like Pelosi.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        There are 6 of them because Nancy had 15 Republican votes. If she had zero GOP votes, then the Squad would have voted yes. Maybe AOC can wear another dress when she shows up in Congress. “I’m with her” – when she standing next to Pelosi – seems apt.

        1. Jody Knauss

          I’m with marym. The notion that AOC and the squad are the problem in DC is seriously delusional. Unless your politics are a lot different than mine.

      2. Huey Long

        no coherent movement backing them up on the outside

        Perhaps if they spent less time on performance art and more time organizing and building a movement they’d have the backup you speak of…

        …or find themselves dead in a general aviation plane crash, but I digress.

        1. marym

          They show up for their districts for constituent services, self-help projects, and picket lines. They ask well-prepared questions at committee hearings, not just grandstanding. AOC often uses her social media to educate people in detail about issues. They worked with Sanders and the other supposed “progressives” to identify requirements for a better bill that’s getting undermined in content and procedurally by corporate Dems and aforementioned “progressives,” while people trash them from the supposed left whether they vote yes, no, or present, or oh, my what if they’d flown home early for the week-end instead?

          They’re supposed to organize the outside movement too?

    2. Huey Long

      I’m more disappointed with Jayapal & her caucus for not holding the line. She had power, 100 votes worth in fact, and refused to wield it.

      Progressive = collaborator

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The Dems are playing to their base. The PMC (donors) got their rewards. Too bad about that $15 minimum wage tho. Hey there’s always 2025 after we all vote to defeat Trump LOL

        1. Huey Long

          Lucy and the football, always Lucy and the football with this party.

          Jefferson, Jackson, FDR, & LBJ are rolling in their graves. Say what you want about these men and their policies, at least they were able to get things done.

          Modern day dems? Buncha do-nothing grifters.

          1. Eureka Springs

            There are 95 members of the progressive caucus. Senator Sanders is one.

            Glancing at a few headlines last night among our famously free press NBC declared the infrastructure bill totaled 555 billion, Axios said 1.2 trillion. After so many months of FFP reporting focusing almost exclusively on the dollar amount and still being this far apart perhaps it’s a good thing they don’t try to tell us specifically what’s in the bill.

            At this rate ten years from now people like me will still not have health care (if still alive). My “unlimited” 1 mb download wifi internet which is now 160 a month could be between 400 and 600 a month. Used autos could commonly be over 40k. Oh wait!

            I’m done. I quit voting. In fact I’ve recently had myself removed from registration at the county clerks office in protest.

            The enemy is within.

          2. Pate

            Dem theme song: Woke up, got outta bed; dragged a comb across my head. Chorus: nothing is real. Nothing to get hung about. Strawberry Fields forever.

            Hanlon (of razor fame) would say it’s only great apes being great apes, but I’m convinced the cia is running one of its games. It’s what they do you know. As Annie Savoy said in Bull Durham “you can look it up”.

  14. timbers

    A 150-year-old note from Charles Darwin is inspiring a change in the way forests are planted The Conversation (Kevin W)………………………….. Kinda sorta stumbled upon this in the past 6 years while transforming the plant life in my yard. Took down almost weed like Norway maple trees and replaced them with Japanese maple, Magnolia, & Red Oak trees. Frustrated by the slow growth, added the currently fashionable fast growing River Birch interspersed among them. A year and a half later I feel dramatic progress has occurred. Shade is slowly taking hold in parts of the yard allowing plants/flowers/grasses/and trees like dogwoods that dislike full sun to improve. Can’t say for certain my Oak & Japanese are growing faster but tolerance for how they are performing his risen greatly.

    1. Carla

      This is so exciting! The report about your yard made me smile — and also think that your yard must be pretty big. I’m envious, but we all have to do what we can where we are.

      When I started gardening, I enthusiastically planted whatever looked pretty. Now I’m more aware of the importance of natives and try to choose my plants accordingly. Unfortunately, I still find it exceedingly difficult to grow edibles other than a few tomato plants and some herbs.

      1. timbers

        Yes, native plants helped me. I planted 2 store bought “Northern Red Oak” and also transplanted 2 Oak trees planted by squires in the yard. The squire planted Oaks seem to perform better and need less attention. They are smaller having started from acorns but are chugging along and catching up.

        If I had to do it over again, would only do squire planted Oak trees in the yard. I very much like the look of the Oaks in the neighborhood, too, so can’t go wrong on that.

      2. timbers

        For example…the native, squire planted Oak Trees go straighter with a single trunk. The store bought Oak Trees want to split as if a bush, so I have to spend time/effort “training” it into a single truck up to a certain height. But the native, squire planted Oaks are much more inclined towards a central trunk, and need less training to do so.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I’m very envious about your Norway maples. I have a row in my backyard however the trunks are just on the other side of the property line so I can’t take them down – all I can do is hack of the limbs hanging into my yard.

      If there is such a thing as a vermin among trees, the Norway maple would be it.

      1. timbers

        Here’s a suggestion. If the situation is a section of your neighbors yard has basically gone wild and unattended – I think this can work.

        When I moved into my house 6 yrs ago, a mature Norway Maple was allowed to grow immediately next to the concrete that holds my fence in place, pressing against it. One of it’s roots had grown over the concrete base into my soil and in the process push my fence up a few inches. Additional growth would clearly come at the expense of fence over time.

        I drilled a hole into the tree and pumped it with RoundUp each morning and evening for several weeks. When it stopped absorbing it, I knew it was dead. This was in the fall.

        The following spring, it was was obviously dead. The neighbor eventually removed it at considerable expense. The owner at the time rented the house and had fenced most of the backyard, making it accessible only by climbing over 2 fences into basically an untended jungle. The strategy apparently was to reduce yard maintenance. But that came at my expense. Today, it has new owners who’ve cleaned it up.

        I know a few people who had similar tree issues. One use motor instead of RoundUp. When he told me his story, I was quite relieved what I’d done isn’t so uncommon when neighbors allow their trees to grow wild with no intervention, too close to other folks yards.

        But if the neighbor’s yard is not so neglected/ignored, this approach could cause a ruckus and you’d need to talk w/neighbor.

        1. Kfish

          Yes, people tend to get upset when you poison their trees for being “too close to other folks’ yards”. Especially if they then have to spend “considerable expense” to remove the tree that you killed.

    3. pasha

      the forest in which i live in western michigan was “cultivated” by Adawa tribes for centuries. every fall, sapplings were cut down that were not oak, beech, hickory, or walnut (all edible nuts; leftovers attracted deer and turkey in the winter). i try and continue their practice on my two acres, though i’ve also allowed a few dogwood and redbud and sugar maple to establish themselves. the trees seem to thrive on the diversity, and establish a natural spacing between trees.

      1. Pate

        Growing up in a neighborhood of older homes with large yards in the 1960’s, across from us those homes backed up to a creek that emptied into the Arkansas River. A very large directional tree sat gracefully in the front yard of one of those homes, somehow surviving as a reminder of the Osage who once inhabited northeastern Oklahoma. I don’t think it signaled a fork in the road, but if so, take it by all means.

          1. Pate

            Exactly. In these parts they are known as “ directional “ as opposed to his term “trail marker”. This tree was bent and tied down as a sapling similar to his example. Old. Huge. Wonderfully graceful and beautiful unlike his examples in the video that were – pardon the pun – truncated in a somewhat ugly manner.

  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    To be fair, I’m astonished Manchin drives a Maserati. He gives off needs to buy a luxury ark vibes to make him feel like a tough guy. He’s leaned into being Italian or whatever too much to wear a cowboy hat, but that’s where I see him coming from. Maybe the Maserati makes sense then, but they have suvs. Driving a sedan is easily the most likable thing about him, I stress most likeable.

    1. griffen

      He is a gift that just keeps getting better. Could be worse than an $80k vehicle. What if he drives a really good 4 door Range Rover instead?

      I’ve read elsewhere that a Maserati loses more value than most vehicles, once it is off the new dealer lot.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve never driven one, but I imagine most people driving them are driving for fun. And a quick search comparing it to higher end cameros is Maseratis aren’t fun. Handling is relatovely sluggish for its power. So I think if you are driving one for fun, it’s going to wear especially with its target market. Way too much car for people that age group. You can really drive fun cars for fun, but I’ve seen people drive. They are terrible and put wear and tear on the car.

        Losing value makes sense.

      2. Huey Long

        Pfffffft, he drives an import.

        I remember the days when a public figure driving an imported luxury car would have been a scandalous faux pas.

        I guess those days are over now :-(

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s a little effete for a pretend blue collar guy, but that’s part of the original twitter response. For all of the dunking on Paul Ryan, he went home permanently and found his reasonably old truck had become the victim of Marmot-Kong. Even as faux tough guys go, Manchin comes off a little European.

          1. Wukchumni

            he went home permanently and found his reasonably old truck had become the victim of Marmot-Kong. Even as faux tough guys go, Manchin comes off a little European.

            Its all too easy to blame a stuck pig in a parking lot on the Marmot Cong, but they only do their hit & waddle runs until around mid July, and Joe has had months to go find an old turn of the century pickup truck with roll up windows and hopefully painted white, so as to look as he might do something constructive.

      3. bob

        “really good 4 door Range Rover”


        Consumer Reports rated the 2021 Range Rover a 1.0 / 5.0 in their ‘predicted reliability’ index.

        According to J.D. Power’s Annual Dependability Study, a report that surveyed 2018 model vehicles over a 3-year period:

        The industry average is 121 problems reported per 100 vehicles by owners of a vehicle and brand
        Land Rover (Range Rover is a model within the brand) scored 244 problems per 100 vehicles, double the industry average

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          SUVs are really just bad vehicles. Its not even Range Rovers. Pollution and fuel usage aside, they are bad vehicles. I believe he meant like heated seats and video game systems for the kids among other perks. I mean who wants to touch a cold steering wheel in the morning. The odds of needing 4 wheel drive are infinitesimal. I’ve seen people even put the car into 4 wheel drive to drive around something on rural roads, and there was absolutely no reason. Really rural places with thick mud that can cover roads and snow are one thing where things stay open such as Vermont, but 4 wheel drive is just part of the artificial phallus so many Americans need.

          1. skippy

            Yeah but … how will everyone else on the freedom and liberty [tm] roads know you made it to the top … says my sister in-laws Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S, yes only one of two in Oz with its paint job. Was ordered from factory with everything by ex Oz race car driver that blinked at the last moment only to have brother in-law swoop on it [eyes and ears everywhere] and two weeks later dropped into dealer to find it gone …

            Brother in-law was driving a top end Nissan Navara, but when Benz ended manufacturing of its truck/ute he grabbed one of the last down from some dealer in Victoria – prices were 20%+ after the news ….

            LOL even my neighbor FIFO mechanic got one a few months ago through his wife’s salary sacrifice package. Then again you can’t do anything on them unless its OEM or risk both price and reliability e.g. big gambit to whack anything on that’s not OEM due to complexity and feed back failures.

            In other news finished 30’s art deco brick/stucco house and received a bottle of 12 year Nippon old single malt, home made bickies, and a thank you card for your hard work. Sadly the quick weekend job to paint ceilings for neighbors friends, before floor sanders came in, exploded to everything after mold issue turned into asbestos removal and furniture arrival. So a 10hr job has turned into a 60ish hour job with ridged dead lines …. lounge/kitchen, two hallways, bath/toilet, 3 bedrooms, laundry, and about 20 silky oak casement windows, done in 40hrs, thank goat for Graco, Devilbiss, and Festool and the doggies for keeping me sane[????] … thud …

        2. griffen

          It’s an imperfect analogy, but others may feel welcome to insert a different analogy. Maybe if he drove an F350 Ranch King that would be a better visual.

          I know nearly nothing about a RR, makes or the brand. What I know of the BMW vehicles are that any BMW, once purchased new, belongs to the dealer service department (as necessary) and all replacements are OEM.

      4. NotThePilot

        I’ve read elsewhere that a Maserati loses more value than most vehicles, once it is off the new dealer lot.

        I don’t know much about cars (never actually even had a car up to this point), but that doesn’t surprise me. Based on what little shopping around & reading I’ve done, Italian cars and scooters are simply less reliable. Still not enough to entirely quiet the siren’s call of a Fiat or a Piaggio though.

        As I understand it, it’s not the high-level design or the craftsmanship, but they under-engineer (?) things so the moving parts are temperamental and need lots of maintenance (and $$$). Sort of like Joe Manchin.

        The other funny thing is supposedly the Germans have the opposite problem of over-engineering everything. So a German car is rock-solid until something inevitably breaks by chance, and then it takes the equivalent of Prussian military planning (and $$$) just to replace the part. Sort of like the Democrats as a whole.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      These people are like cartoons.

      manchin is from West Virginia, fer chrissakes, one of the poorest states in the union. How in dog’s name does this guy keep getting “elected”?????

      Is there really no one to explain to him that his ostentatiousness is not only in incredibly poor taste, but is blowing everyone else’s money grubbing cover?

    3. bob

      Why is this the first time the plebes are hearing about the Maserati?

      You don’t drive a Maserati to blend in. It’s an aggressive and loud “look at me, I’m an asshole!”

      Was this one of those open secrets in DC? It’s not news, perse, but it should have been noted by *someone* before this. For instance, can you imagine the froth from the mouths of the fox and friends if Nancy showed up in that?

        1. ambrit

          I dunno MI. As poor old Murnau found out to his cost, driving and fellating donors does not provide a “happy ending.”
          Nancy probably has learned the lesson to keep her “fundraising” restricted to the back seat of the vehicle.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Liberals, moderates strike deal on Biden agenda, clearing way for votes”

    The Hill made a mistake here. It should read ‘clearing way for vote’ not ‘votes’, as there will only be one and they just had it. You know what this reminds me of? Remember the CARES Act of early last year. How the Senate and House let themselves be ‘convinced’ that they had to pass that multi-trillion dollar package to the wealthiest individuals and corporations in America before even considering a package for ordinary people – and thus giving up all leverage that they had at all for the later? And here we are 20 months later and they never learned a damn thing. On purpose I suspect. And is anybody surprised that it was Black Caucus leaders that came up with this idea?

    1. timbers

      Have noticed serval headlines like “Voters Punish Democrats For Moving Too Far Left” in West Virginia Gov election. At MSN and conservative sites. Hard to believe anyone can still fall for such analysis.

      1. Darthbobber

        To the extent it makes any sense to see Democrats as being punished for something beyond failing to campaign on state issues in state elections, I’d be inclined to say they were being punished for not moving at all on much of anything.

        Trying to rhyme “revolutionary and transformative” with “nothing will fundamentally change” was always going to wind up looking like a Philadelphia soft pretzel.

        1. timbers

          Yep just like under Obama first midterm election. Even some of my indoctrinated Blue friends commented “they didn’t do anything what did they expect?”

            1. Darthbobber

              And we can be sure the ginormous “defense” bill will swiftly move through with not one bit of drama or obstacles, and no “pay for it” foofraw.

    2. flora

      The Dem estab is a master of Nelsonian knowledge. /heh:

      “Nelsonian knowledge is the virtual forbidden knowledge, which betrays its possession through ones exacting efforts to avoid it in the first place. Nelsonian knowledge involves a keen prowess in knowing what to not-know, where to not-look and how not-to-look at it. As regards the poseur, intelligence cannot be derived from the reliable sources they choose to examine. Rather it is those sources which they conspicuously choose to avoid, which tend to offer the greatest probative potential.”

  17. Wukchumni

    ‘Fresno is becoming very popular’

    There isn’t enough data to determine how large a role migration from other parts of the state has played in Fresno’s housing prices, but it is believed to be significant. Fresno was the only one of California’s five largest cities to see a population gain last year, which could indicate an influx from more expensive parts of the state.

    “Fresno is becoming a very popular place,” said Karla Martinez, a policy advocate with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability who works with Fresno residents. “People see how cheap the housing market is here.” California’s high-speed rail project, which will connect Los Angeles to San Francisco via the Central Valley, is also a selling point, Martinez said.

    Fresno is the largest city in the agricultural Central Valley, and has historically been one of the most affordable places to live in California. But during the pandemic, rents began to spike dramatically, climbing by 26% over 12 months.

    Locals attribute the surge to people seeking to escape the high cost of living in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. But even as life returns to pre-pandemic norms, those who live here say the situation isn’t getting any better. Rents, which had been steadily climbing for years before the pandemic, are still rising and, coupled with a shortage of homes, that’s hitting low-income residents hardest.
    To be fair when i’m in the REI or Trader Joe’s there, it seems the same as any other of their establishments in Cali, nor do the planes leave any faster from it’s airport than other cities, even though it’s widely acknowledged that it’s the quickest way to flee Fresno.

    There must be some reason you can turn a million $ house in San Jose into the very same house in Fresno for about a fifth of the money, allowing you ample resources to drown your sorrows by taking the fifth in the drunkest city of size in the country.

  18. timotheus

    Re “CIA director dispatched to Moscow to warn Russia over troop buildup near Ukraine”

    Alexander Mercouris on YouTube has a different take, that the CIA guy is one of the cooler heads in the room and is looking for a way out of the Ukraine debacle, which will otherwise end badly for the U.S.

    It does seem rather odd that a spook is getting directly involved in diplomacy. Perhaps that’s because the official diplomats are so bad at it.

    1. Bill Smith

      Maybe it’s about the Havana Syndrome? Or apologizing for slandering to Russians for Russiagate? :)

      1. Soredemos

        Man, the head scenario writer really needs to cool it with this Havana Syndrome plotline already. It’s just embarrassing at this point.

        1. Late Introvert

          It must be working somehow. Not against NC types, but PMC types? It does seem odd how hard they are beating that dead horse again and again.

  19. solarjay

    A comment on the mining and wind. The article states without notation 67 tons of copper per wind machine. This is crazy wrong much closer to 4-5 tons at most. Yes copper is needed in the windings of the motors but most other wires are aluminum because they are lighter and cheaper. Powerlines are all aluminum wires for example.
    Here are two articles that give some insight and actual data on the amount of copper in a wind turbine.

    The circle just continues:
    We can’t mine for wind and solar because mining is bad
    We don’t have enough energy so we mine fossil fuels
    CO2 goes up
    COP 35 says we have to reduce fossil fuel consumption to reduce GHG’s.
    We can’t mine for wind and solar because mining is bad

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Democrats’ Massive Tax Cut for the Wealthy TaxBytes

    But it’s even more amazing than that. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB), by no means a conservative organization, the SALT cap repeal is the LARGEST single line item in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill. Bigger than health care, bigger than childcare, bigger than paid family leave, and bigger than climate initiatives. The biggest line item in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill is a massive tax cut for the wealthy.

    What this tells us is that, contrary to their “working class” rhetoric, the Democrats really are transforming into the party of the wealthy elites. They will spend $15 billion for the working poor, $130 billion on health care, but a whopping $475 billion on a tax cut for the wealthy.

    (The SALT tax cap was put in place during the TRUMP administration.)

    Subsidizing the coastal elites may seem like a high price to pay for electing democrats, but at least we can take comfort in knowing that illegal immigrants can pour over the border and be made millionaires by the taxpayers, and biological boys can win sports trophies competing against the girls.

    Let’s go Brandon.

    1. converger

      Waiting for the other shoe to drop: CBO scoring shows that the SALT tax repeal increases the deficit. Since the SALT tax repeal is part of BBB, the entire package suddenly increases the deficit by the amount of the SALT tax repeal. Manchima votes against BBB because it increases the deficit. Progressives get the blame. Problem solved!

    2. pasha

      blue state governments traditionally provide a myriad of services unavailable in red states. these services must be paid for, usually by property tax. with home prices at record levels — especially in good school districts — even families of moderate means can run up more than $10,000 in property taxes. the SALT deduction allows us to put more resources into state and local government, rather than to the feds — a fair choice, in my opinion.

      if red states prefer lower taxes and reduced education and health care, that is their choice. don’t try and impose that choice on us

      1. djrichard

        This wouldn’t be an issue if the Dems would embrace that the federal gov deficit doesn’t matter. But the Dems like that trick handcuff as it helps to explain why people can’t have nice things.

        Hence “pay fors” and CBO scoring for the win. What’s that you say? Lifting the SALT cap is going to make the CBO score worse? Darn, guess that means we’re going to have to reduce spending.

      2. Randall Flagg

        Though why should we ALL nationwide, subsidize the spending habits of the Blue States when the Blue State residents have full deductibility of SALT payments ( I know, I know, everyone is forced to subsidize programs they don’t like when they pay their Federal income taxes)? If a State wants to spend their money that way that is fine, don’t ask us all to kick in. But a someone pointed out below, this is a massive tax cut for the rich in the Blue States. Brought to you by Democrats, not Republicans.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      My memory is that the idea to cap the SALT deductibility came from Republicans like Karl Rove and Grover Norquist to begin with. The purpose of repealing it was to make high or high-ish state taxes on the upper-middle and upper classes of the high tax high standards blue states so painful that the upper-middle and upper classes of these states would secure the lowering of their state and local taxes down to the level of the low tax low standards states. It was both to raise the level of support for Republicans in these states and also to destroy the social conditions of these states down to the meanest Red State levels, so that there would be no “blue states” left to serve as “better examples” to point to.

      And now “leftists” want to be the people to re-institute the Rove-Norquist limit or abolition of SALT deductibility from Federal Taxes? Interesting. And if the “leftists” succeed, will they be surprised when they achieve the Rove-Norquist results throughout the not-blue-anymore states?

      If “leftists” want to restore the missing taxes against the upper classes, why don’t they just work on publicising what tax-rates were during the Eisenhower Administration period and make a point of restoring the Eisenhower Taxes?

      1. Buckeye

        Yes, exactly. All this whining about Blue states tax cuts is disgusting. This SALT cap was an attack on the working class citizens of those Blue states, those who owned property (many more than rich property owners) and those who use public services (namely EVERYBODY!)

        All the Trump-lovers around here should look up the massive TAX INCREASE in four stages passed by the Republicans and enthusiastically proposed by Trump. People earning less than $60,000 will have their taxes raised FOUR TIMES over the next eight years. First increase begins in 2022.

  21. Alex

    Re the Spiegel immigration article

    Their success story is two middle-class Christian girls from Damascus who were resettled in Germany with the help of some local volunteers and apparently have integrated well into the German society. Duh!

    Could they have found something even less representative of the average migrant/refugee? It’s the mirror image of finding an asylum seeker who murdered someone and arguing that this proves that all such migrants are criminals.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Of course if the EU did not help destroy or impoverish the countries that these people came from, then perhaps they would have never had a reason to leave but would have stayed home. of course the EU actually benefits from all this as they get a source of cheap labour. As the walls are going up now, I guess that they have enough labour at the moment. Before the troubles in the Ukraine in 2014, one guy in the city of London said that he was looking forward to all the cheap labour that would be flowing from that country.

      And often it is qualified people who have fled their countries so new countries get to pick and choose. Years ago, Turkey was assessing all the refugees that fled from Syria to there. If they had good qualifications, they had a choice. Take up Turkish citizenship or be thrown back to the Jihadists in Syria. When you get down to it, it is a racket for Turkey and the EU.

      1. Andy


        All sides of the immigration debate, whether in the EU or here in the US, rarely talk about why migrants are coming north in the first place.

        I get why pro-empire neoliberals aren’t eager to discuss the root causes of migration waves but even immigrant rights advocates who are far to the left of the mainstream, and overwhelmingly opposed to war and empire, seem blind to the link between imperialism and migrants fleeing war-torn and economically exploited global south countries.

        Even more boneheaded, and cruel, is the anti-immigrant right directing its bile at migrants and refugees instead of holding their leaders to account for continuing to prop up the low wage economy that is at the root of working class hardship.

        I am afraid we are approaching a perfect storm situation and if things are left to fester and those in power do nothing to improve the lives of the disaffected masses, there will be a very unpleasant reckoning that none of us will escape unscathed.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          My spouse was watching a video picturing desperate people trying to get north in our continent, and she said it reminded her of the frightened people trying to clamber up the deck to the stern as the bow went under. Of course, everybody gets wet anyway except those fortunate enough to have a seat in a lifeboat.

          Our wars and colonial exploitation have caused waves for all my life, but the effects of the ecological collapse are only just beginning.

      2. Anonymous 2

        ‘Of course if the EU did not help destroy or impoverish the countries that these people came from,’

        I am not really clear who you are talking about here – the EU institutions or some of the member states? I have my doubts, for example, whether Finland or Slovenia have done much to destroy or impoverish Syria (assuming that is one of the countries you have in mind). The UK, when an EU member, is of course another story.

  22. Carolinian

    Re Taibbi’s takedown of Maddow–Taibbi here decides to scold Maddow as a “journalist” (does she even have any background as a reporter?) but I wonder if the people who watch her show care that she continually makes shit up. Her program is clearly infotainment and therefore her role more like that of Cybill the Soothsayer on the 70s movie Network than Walter Cronkite. Or perhaps a more relevant comparison would be to Fox News as Maddow has said she got her TV tips from Ailes.

    The people who should be scolded are the genuine reporters who take MSNBC seriously (while looking down their nose at Fox) and go on its programs. News performers like Maddow should be judged on whether their periodic crying jags are convincing with a best acting Emmy the reward for a successful performance.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Her (Maddow’s ) program is clearly infotainment…”

      I’d like to suggest we use the term dis-infotainment, since it (satirist Paul Krassner used it in his fun, free-wheeling and grossly indiscreet autobiography) captures the dual essence of what she and mainstream media in general are about.

    2. pjay

      The cover of Taibbi’s book Hate Inc., which paired blue-Maddow with red-Hannity, was quite apt. As Taibbi accurately noted, Maddow’s function is identical to Hannity’s – keep the tribes outraged and hating each other. Neither have anything to do with journalism.

      Your Network reference is perfect. Theater to keep us (dis)infotained and “mad as hell.” I can’t think of a more prescient film.

    3. Martin Oline

      I thought that Maddow’s credibility had reached rock bottom. It seems there is a basement in rock bottom.

  23. Roger Blakely

    World Socialist Web Site, Science summit warns of escalating pandemic disaster

    “Multiple sessions at the summit highlighted the science of the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, with speakers emphasizing the need to educate the population on this science, require the universal use of high-quality masks, improve ventilation in all schools and workplaces, and implement other measures.”

    Respirators, respirators, respirators. If employers want to bring employees back into office buildings, they are going to need to put them in respirators (N95s or elastomeric cartridge respirators) and chemical splash goggles (for visits to the restroom). Otherwise employees are going to get sick and stay sick. One out of every thirteen of them will end up out of the workforce with long COVID.

  24. anon y'mouse

    another article on the false model of the brain as a computer:

    it’s one thing to use metaphors and analogies to come to grips with new knowledge that one is unfamiliar with (schemas in knowledge acquisition) and a totally different thing to presume that these abstractions & reasonings represent reality and make it manipulable in the same way as the thing one used to make the metaphor/analogy with.

    1. Ranger Rick

      One of the first things you’re taught in cognitive science is that the metaphor for how the brain operates tracks the dominant industrial technology of the time. It began as mechanisms, moved on to circuits and then became computerized some time in the 70s.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I regard cognitive science as a response to behaviorism as an explanation of mind. As I recall, cognitive science began taking off as behaviorism gradually lost its glamour. [The Skinner box understanding of a rat just does not correspond to the experiences of anyone who has kept a pet rat.] Study of perception offered low hanging fruit for cognitive science to work on. How could an approach that relies upon demonstrations of theory through construction and simulation of that capability not come to rely upon the dominant industrial technology of the time? Cognitive science is inherently mechanistic, but what theories of perception do not postulate mechanisms? As the dominant industrial technologies provided more and more powerful mechanisms, cognitive science could push the idea that theory is great but put your computations where your mouth is.

        The great project of automatic voice recognition threw a wrench into the hoped for simplifications that grammar theories and computation suggested might be possible. In my view the working voice recognition systems demonstrate more brute force than elegance. Efforts at artificial intelligence — essentially pattern recognition using various optimization techniques — demonstrate inelegance, with less compelling successes than voice recognition systems accomplished.

        I am dissatisfied with the form of some of the knowledge computation offers. Consider the computed proof of the four-color conjecture through thousands of brute force computations, or the mysterious pattern recognition algorithms embedded in neural net pattern recognition systems.

      2. synoia

        Human (and life based) processes appear to be all analogue. Any comparison to digital technology is very probably unfounded.

        For example, I’m told, the optic nerve from the eye to the brain consists of one nerve fiber for each retinal cell in the eye. (A dedicated circuit)

        A digital sight system would have apply headers and trailers for visual processing (In-band signalling).

        This was the response in a conversation with an ophthalmic specialist

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      What is the operation of the brain if not a form of computation? — allbeit, a very complex computation. The link makes cute use of the argument: “But over the course of human history, lots of theories have been widely but wrongly held, sometimes for decades.” I believe that argument boils down to a much simpler suggestion the notion that “intelligence, thought, cognition—whatever you want to call it—is a product of computation” might be wrong, or then-again, it might be right. From there the link seems to propose: “Maybe instead these conscious experiences come from some kind of self-organization.” That idea of self-organization sounds very similar to some of the ideas suggesting how Kurzweil’s singularity could spontaneously occur. The formula near the end of this short thought sketch: “The computation we associate with these sensations[conscious experiences] could be simply an invention of our own to explain the mechanism of sentience, not the primary cause of it.”
      — seems imprecise. An explanation of mechanism is not the same as a primary cause — ‘how’ is not the same as ‘why’.

      I think computation as an explanation of “intelligence, thought, cognition” is weakened by the simplicity and breadth of application of the concept of computation. What cannot be encompassed within the broad reaches of computation? It has proven useful as an approach to better understanding perception — vision, hearing, and to a lesser degree taste and feel. I believe that simulating a perception by computation better explains and demonstrates theories of perception than other approaches. The limited successes at simulating “intelligence, thought, cognition” suggest to me that such processes are more complex than perception. I believe the current theories are woefully inadequate as a starting point for constructing computations. I believe in principle that “intelligence, thought, cognition” could be simulated and explained in terms of computations. But the idea that they are computable offers very little guidance for how such computations might be modeled and simulated. Quantum computations might extend a notion of computation beyond what is computable on a Turing machine. I do not know enough to say whether that is the case or whether it would mean a significant change to what it means to say something is computable — a change with metaphysical implications.

  25. Ghost in the Machine

    Pfizer could afford to have run 10 identical studies of that size and picked the one that had the best results.

    I read about this tactic in a good but infuriating book, Bad Pharma by Goldacre. SSRIs were pushed through using this dishonesty. The medical literature is highly contaminated by this cherry picking. Many things thought to be significant may not be. The book talks about a push (the book was written around 2012 I think) to force the registration of clinical trails so trails could not be hidden but I do not know the state of that reform. Absolutely disgusting.

    1. urblintz

      Goldacre was denied his excellent column at and disappeared from The Guardian years ago for revealing – with facts – that big pharma cooks all the drug trial books. It’s astounding that anyone believes the data they offer as proof of anything regarding these wholly compromised and mostly ineffectual mrna vaccines. But science, corrupted by so many fine scientists, is now a religion and the pro-vaxxers are its presiding cult: ya just gotta believe.

  26. fresno dan
    Uh, so why do people who think big pharma and Bill Gates are putting microchips in their vaccines won’t put microchips in their pills???
    Why is government and big pharma untrustworthy with regard to vaccines, but their data is gold when it comes to pills?
    Well, as I have noted before, vaccine resistent began with the first vaccine…and has continued.
    But before I explain all that, it’s also worth noting that vaccination resistance is nothing new. Popular doubts about vaccines and suspicions about the motives behind their use are as old as vaccines themselves. The very first vaccine, which protected against smallpox, was developed in England in the late eighteenth century; it consisted of pus taken from a cowpox blister, which was inserted into a small cut in the skin. As word of the new procedure spread, it was met with enthusiasm but also dread. While many patients and physicians were eager to fend off one of that era’s most feared diseases, many others balked at the prospect of contaminating their healthy bodies with disease matter from an animal.
    Of course, we never really examine how many people refrain from going to doctors or even getting medical treatment once diagnosed beyond only vaccines. We assume it is due to cost, but there may be more people not getting treatment due to spiritual reasons, e.g., Christian science

    1. Carla

      Some people don’t get medical treatment because American “medical care” can often be worse than the disease. Adding (sometimes fatal) insult to the injury of bankruptcy…

      1. Maritimer

        Particulary, since all three Injectors (PFI,AZ,JJ) are criminal organizations. Here is Pfizer’s Rap Sheet:
        I have yet to hear any of the Injection Apologists address this fact. Or the fact that the US Government contracts with criminal organizations to deliver “health” to its mandated citizens.

        One is reminded of the old mob movie where the Neighborhood is run by the Godfather and everyone loves Him. Turkeys at Christmas, ballparks for the kids, no street crime, etc. “Godfather is a wonderful guy!”

        Now apparently, BigPharma and supporting Company are the Godfather and the Neighborhood is the Globe.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Christian Science is way down. Penicilin did them in. The estimated number is 25,000 these days. They dont really evangelize in the traditional sense and dont raise the kids in the faith so to speak. Prior to that, well, keeping people away from doctors was a better move. If you add prayer, it might seem like prayer, but it was staying out of morgues, called hospitals, and avoiding people who were on the cutting edge of skull measuring called doctors.

      Its cost and no reliable relationships. You’ve shared your medical misadventures, and imagine that while being black. I have no doubt Obama simply wanted to jump in line, but really, he should blast his booster. Drag the Black Misleadership class out.

      Do you mean the early 18th century? The death rate was pretty bad. Didn’t Abigail Adams acknowledge she or one of her kids was certain to die when she did inoculations? It had jack to do with animals, and the Christian Right had not cooked up all their phony arguments about abortion yet.

  27. Wukchumni

    Eric Adams vows to take first three paychecks as NYC mayor in Bitcoin Independent
    There’s been this push of people in authority such as name brand professional sports stars scriptically saying ‘I’m in’ on tv commercials for FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange, followed by judges draped in black sporting 2 FTX badges on their uniforms along with support from occasional FTX banner ads behind the plate and the newest selling angle, from the right end of the back of the mound.

    Now the mayor of Gotham City is in cahoots, holy waste of energy, boy wonder.

    Why the push for mainstream now, versus the usual coinspiracy numismatrix theory kooks?

    And keep in mind that the average age of an NFL fan is 53, with those in the MLB averaging out @ 58, so they aren’t targeting youngins’

  28. TimH

    Rant time.

    “These portable factories are solving plastic pollution”

    No, perhaps mitigating slightly.

    Charity pitches: “Help end world hunger”.


  29. TimH

    “Of Course Joe Manchin Drives a Maserati”

    Talking to someone who owns a couple of 8 to 15 yr old Ferraris, he said that owning a contemporary high-end Maserati gets you the same headaches and costs of owning a Ferrari, but without the resale value…

  30. CG

    Re: Eric Adams

    Is it not a plausible alternative that the man who said in an interview he wanted to retire to the Golan Heights is either a) simply not that bright or, more likely b) an inveterate panderer who thinks that taking his salary in Bitcoin panders some group/demographic whose support he believes could advantage him?

    1. Darthbobber

      Or C) has received certain considerations from Bitcoin, or
      D) Has Bitcoin holdings and is looking to help goose the value briefly.

  31. Mildred Montana

    Lovely bird antidote, the way the gray of the bird in the foreground blends with the branch it’s perched on and the red crest of that in the background with the berries. Beautiful!

  32. Jason Boxman

    My parents’ septic system finally collapsed in on itself. It’s a huge 10 foot whole in the ground now. It’s going to cost thousands of dollars to replace with a modern one. I can’t imagine any working class family could easily afford the necessary repairs for an aging septic system. Unfortunately this is “own responsibility” in this country.

    More than 20% of Americans have these septic systems, as they are known, including the very richest, such as those who live in the Hamptons area of Long Island. In lower-income areas they can present a challenge: they occasionally need to be pumped out, and otherwise maintained, shifting the burden for an essential service on to a financially stretched resident. The soil in Rancho Vista is mostly not considered compatible with septic systems in the first place, because it is not permeable enough and can cause the systems to clog.

    1. Late Introvert

      Any chance that money could be channeled into composting toilets? It’s not that cheap and can be upsetting to people, and I have not done it myself. But in your situation I would at least look into it.

      Good luck.

  33. vlade

    Re covid vs CDC. The data from the current wave here:
    – data on positivity are irrelevant (biases to testing)
    – on hospitalization, vaccine (Pfizer being most common here) helps, reducing it by about a third compared to unvaccinated cases. previous covid infection reduces it super-dramatically, and a vaccine here reduces it further yet
    – on intensive care. Again, vaccine help, looks like about 60% improvement or therabouts. Again, pales against previous covid infection, and previous covid + vaccine had all of 1 case.

    So vaccine is a plus, but surviving covid in the first place is much better. One datapoint missing here is how serious the previous covid infection was.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      not sure if this is a reference to the Brownstone Institute article, but its conclusions are stunning:

      Concerning the Covid recovered, there are two key public health issues. 1. Would the Covid recovered benefit from also being vaccinated? 2. Should there be vaccine passports and mandates that require them to be vaccinated in order to work and participate in society?

      The CDC study did not address the first question, while the Israeli study showed a small but not statistically significant benefit in reducing symptomatic Covid disease. Future studies will hopefully shed more light on this issue.

      Based on the solid evidence from the Israeli study, the Covid recovered have stronger and longer-lasting immunity against Covid disease than the vaccinated. Hence, there is no reason to prevent them from activities that are permitted to the vaccinated. In fact, it is discriminatory.

      Many of the Covid recovered were exposed to the virus as essential workers during the height of the pandemic before vaccines were available. They kept the rest of society afloat, processing food, delivering goods, unloading ships, picking up garbage, policing the streets, maintaining the electricity network, putting out fires, and caring for the old and sick, to name a few.

      They are now being fired and excluded despite having stronger immunity than the vaccinated work-from-home administrators that are firing them.

      I fear this laudable concern for the common worker masks another agenda. This publication states it was founded in order to oppose public health measures that restrict freedoms, such as lockdowns, mandates, and other restrictions. Most of the half-dozen bios on the website are of economists, of the dubious persuasion (for example, George Gilder: “His 1981 international bestseller, Wealth and Poverty, advanced a case for supply-side economics and capitalism during the early months of the Reagan administration.”)

      Not in this article but in one that is a takedown of Fauci they assert that in addition to prioritizing vaccination over natural immunity he got it wrong in five more ways:

      2. Protecting the elderly. While anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in mortality risk between the old and the young. After more than 700,000 reported COVID deaths in America, we now know that lockdowns failed to protect high-risk older people. When confronted with the idea of focused protection of the vulnerable, Dr. Fauci admitted he had no idea how to accomplish it, arguing that it would be impossible. That may be understandable for a lab scientist, but public health scientists have presented many concrete suggestions that would have helped, had Fauci and other officials not ignored them.

      What can we do now to minimize COVID mortality? Current vaccination efforts should focus on reaching people over 60 who are neither COVID-recovered nor vaccinated, including hard-to-reach, less-affluent people in rural areas and inner cities. Instead, Dr. Fauci has pushed vaccine mandates for children, students and working-age adults who are already immune—all low-risk populations—causing tremendous disruption to labor markets and hampering the operation of many hospitals.

      3. School closures. Schools are major transmission points for influenza, but not for COVID. While children do get infected, their risk for COVID death is minuscule, lower than their already low risk of dying from the flu. Throughout the 2020 spring wave, Sweden kept daycare and schools open for all its 1.8 million children ages 1 to 15, with no masks, testing or social distancing. The result? Zero COVID deaths among children and a COVID risk to teachers lower than the average of other professions. In fall 2020, most European countries followed suit, with similar results. Considering the devastating effects of school closures on children, Dr. Fauci’s advocacy for school closures may be the single biggest mistake of his career.

      4. Masks. The gold standard of medical research is randomized trials, and there have now been two on COVID masks for adults. For children, there is no solid scientific evidence that masks work. A Danish study found no statistically significant difference between masking and not masking when it came to coronavirus infection. In a study in Bangladesh, the 95 percent confidence interval showed that masks reduced transmission between 0 percent and 18 percent. Hence, masks are either of zero or limited benefit. There are many more critical pandemic measures that Dr. Fauci could have emphasized, such as better ventilation in schools and hiring nursing home staff with natural immunity.

      5. Contact tracing. For some infectious diseases, such as Ebola and syphilis, contact tracing is critically important. For a commonly circulating viral infection such as COVID, it was a hopeless waste of valuable public health resources that did not stop the disease.

      6. Collateral public health damage. A fundamental public health principle is that health is multidimensional; the control of a single infectious disease is not synonymous with health. As an immunologist, Dr. Fauci failed to properly consider and weigh the disastrous effects lockdowns would have on cancer detection and treatment, cardiovascular disease outcomes, diabetes care, childhood vaccination rates, mental health and opioid overdoses, to name a few. Americans will live with—and die from—this collateral damage for many years to come.

      wolves in sheep’s clothing…?

  34. Ignacio

    The walrus napping on the submarine qualifies as among the most important news today, and along the year. It inspires me all possible compassion on animals in general and has lots of symbolic power.

    It made the day for me.

  35. Ignacio

    RE: Europe’s Brutal and Illegal Approach to Migration: “Our Orders Are Clear. Nobody Gets Through” Der Spiegel

    This goes well beyond embarrassing to totally inhuman behaviour. Trump’s wall would be a silky hand compared to what is happening in Mediterranean waters and beyond.

    1. ambrit

      Given Europe’s history over the last century, such an outcome would be a “reversion to the mean.”

  36. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Patients Went Into the Hospital for Care. After Testing Positive There for Covid, Some Never Came Out. Kaiser Health News

    For this data, whether to deem a covid case hospital-acquired lies with medical coders who review doctors’ notes and discharge summaries and ask doctors questions if the status is unclear, said Sue Bowman, senior director of coding policy and compliance at American Health Information Management Association.

    She said medical coders are aware that the data is used for hospital quality measures and would be careful to review the contract tracing or other information in the medical record.

    So, the “system” was to let the coders determine whether a covid infection was acquired in the hospital or not????

    It would seem like that is an important piece of information for medical professionals to scrupulously monitor on an ongoing basis in order to assess the hospital’s infection control protocols and modify if necessary during a “pandemic” of a highly communicable disease.

    1. Maritimer

      Speaking of coding and databases, it should be very easy to monitor vaccine efficacy, side effects, etc. by massaging these large databases. The codes are there and so are massive amounts of data. It is hard to imagine that this is not being done. I would suggest that the major corporate Injectors are doing this by agreement with health organizations having large databases. Of course, the results are hush-hush.

  37. Wukchumni

    FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted hospitals across the Central Valley in waves, but Kaweah Health Visalia is currently hit the hardest.

    Wednesday, they called its second internal disaster, known as a Code Triage.

    “Every single bed in the acute medical center was occupied,” says CEO Gary Herbst.

    As of Thursday, 369 patients are being cared for in the downtown medical center with no bed space available.

    111 of them are admitted for COVID-19, making them the hospital with the highest amount of covid hospitalizations in the state.
    That news blurb features my buddy, who is the go to guy in the ICU ward @ the hospital.

  38. BondsOfSteel

    RE: ‘Enough Is Enough’: Vermont Reports Record 487 New COVID-19 Cases NECN (resilc). 71.3% fully vaccinated.

    I must be missing something… I didn’t see the 71.3% number. From the linked article:

    “Unvaccinated Vermonters account for 70%-85% of hospitalizations and intensive care unit stays, and are directly contributing to the strain on Vermont’s hospital capacity, Scott said.”

    1. BeliTsari

      To reiterate: at least FIVE of us (three now banned for our posting substantiating, pertinent, authenticated links) all foretold pretty damn accurately on CommonDreams, in between Harris being set loose on Biden, then Tulsi on her. Then Tio Thomas’ feeding loyal, lifelong Democratic voters to a exponentially spreading virus, shuffling for hours in icy rain, from DNC’s Super-Spreader Tuesday feeding frenzy. This is what Debbie testified to, under oath, after 2016 & Biden promises his puppet-master oilgarchs. None of us felt ANY of our predictions were prescient in the least (unless you were named Charlie Brown, or a delusional liberal?) They’ve used Andy Jackson’s schtick, this long?

  39. griffen

    Fun with Theranos. I like playing this game, wherein the antagonists (primarily Holmes and her partner) deprive the wealthy of large sums of investment dollars. If you invest $1 to $100 million with our organization today, I assure you in 10 years it will be worth more or less. Okay a lot, lot less.

    You wanted, or maybe even expected, the next Google. The next Paypal. What you get is the next sock puppet mascot outfit. for the win.

    1. Darthbobber

      Back in the waning days of the .com bubble (my wife worked for one of many “startups” that persisted for a decade or more without ever reaching breakout velocity.) I had the impression that a great many investors would take a punt on 10 or more unicorns, knowing that many probably wouldn’t pan out but hoping that the 1 or 2 winners would more than make up for the losses on the others. And none of them were gambling the rent money.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Holmes made the classic Bernie Madoff mistake. If she had preyed on poor shlubs and their savings & pensions, then likely she would be safe & free on a beach somewhere considering her next financial gimmick. But preying on rich, influential people and making them look like suckers? You can ask Bernie Madoff what happens then.

  40. Susan the other

    Thanks for Wolfgang Streeck. Rusty Charley. He is so blunt about the EU I was surprised. He as much as calls it a racket complete with bribes and extortion. One that avoids politics at all costs and simply imposes unilateral contracts, calling them “treaties” to establish what Merkel always referred to as “shared sovereignty.” Which is an oxymoron. Streeck objects openly to the concept of “integration by law” instead of by politics. And sounds like a fan of Poland at this point. Imo, it is as ironic for the EU to avoid traditional European law in favor of new interpretations favorable to the EU as it is for the United States to avoid individual rights in favor of wokeness. Maybe not as blatantly silly but just as ironic. Does anybody know where we are going?

  41. Mikel

    “Apple’s New Screen Repair Trap Could Change the Repair Industry Forever” Fixit

    Do people that buy the new iphones have to use face ID? If it’s the difference between having a quick, cheap fix to a common problem, does using face ID benefit the user?

    1. Basil Pesto

      Do people that buy the new iphones have to use face ID?

      Nope. I’ve never bothered with it. I just use a passcode

  42. Rainlover

    Supply chain report: Went to Kroger with paper clips on my list. The office supply section was mostly bare. The only paper clips available were packaged in giant collections of other types of fasteners and there were only one or two of those. Across the street at Rite Aid about a third of the store was empty shelving. Stocked up on aspirin and Tums. Seriously, paper clips? We don’t make those anymore?

    1. albrt

      We still make paperclips in the US, but our methods are getting to be a little behind the curve. Here is a recent report by Wally Ballou about the Great Lakes Paperclip Company in Napoleon, Ohio.

      “We have a very low wage structure.”

  43. John

    Things I have difficulty believing: the “latest” about COVID; the latest pill or nasal spray breakthrough; the latest words from Big Pharma including ‘a’ , ‘an’ and ‘the’; that Congress is serious about anything with the exception of their Donors. (I have other words for the relationship between Congress and its donors,but it will put me in moderation.)

  44. adrena

    Notice that Israel is creating a lot of turbulence in the Middle East yet it accepts zero refugees. The Dutch are exceedingly becoming frustrated with the continued wave of political refugees from the Middle East. Add to that, the influx of economic refugees from Africa. Where are they expected to house all these people when there already is a housing shortage? Tempers are rising on the talk shows.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Unfortunately countries like the Netherlands and Australia undertook military actions in places like Iraq and Afghanistan so we bear moral responsibility for alleviating some of the damage that we did which includes helping refugees from those countries. Imagine where Europe would be now if they had never destroyed Libya. Think that that would have made a difference to migratory patterns?

      1. Late Introvert

        Americans have even more culpability for creating the need for refugees in South and Cental America. Nobody wants to move away from their homes with only the clothing on their backs and a few posessions. I guess it’s hard for the Adrenas and Karens of the world to put themselves in that spot, but I can’t stop thinking about it.

      2. ambrit

        States do not have “moral responsibilities,” they have economic interests. (I stole that from some old white dude from the Dinosaur Ages.)
        Look at how the Dutch East India Company treated the natives “out East” for an example of the “morality” of States.

    2. ProudWappie

      Tempers are rising for obvious reasons. They’re NOT political or “real” refugees most of the time. The majority of these people are looking for better economic perspectives, and they pay a lot of money to smugglers to get to Europe. Which is why they are specifically shopping for a country, which offers the most benefits and easiest application procedure. That is a problem.

      The support for accepting real refugees is still there, but people are getting tired of having to accept people who are free riders. Also, there have been lots of issues with people abusing the refugee application process, that are coming from “safe countries” (Morocco, Algeria). A recent high mark was a bus driver, who was beaten up by a group of these people. And the problems around the Ter Apel location have been going on for years.

      Politicians should be honest, and do something about this, since this will completely destroy any support for actual refugees. But no, you’re not allowed to discuss this topic in mainstream media at all. Anyone pointing out the actual problem is put away as far-right. There’s a reason that the PVV (political party with strong anti-immigration stance in The Netherlands) has gathered a lot of support from people who should be the target audience for progressive parties. That even includes people with a migration background (!).

  45. drumlin woodchuckles

    Every now and then, an article offers some more detail about just what coal-related entities “Maserati Joe” owns, and how they relate to the utility business. So now most recently I read that Maserati Joe’s coal company sells its coal to one particular coal plant in West Virginia. Where does that coal plant send its electricity? Perhaps we could call that its “powerprint”.

    What if everyone who disliked Coaly Joe’s approach to things and who lived within that coal plant’s powerprint were to strangle back their electricity use as hard as they could? What if they had help to do that from genuine doers of actual good? Could such a movement degrade that coal plant’s revenue streams enough to degrade Coaly Joe’s revenue streams from his company which supplies that plant?

  46. Jason Boxman

    So this is actually masterful.

    Another showdown day over President Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda dawned Friday full of optimism, even after the drubbing that Democrats took in the off-year elections on Tuesday. But by afternoon, lawmakers again seemed stuck when leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus entered Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

    Seeking to bridge the gap between a resolute clutch of balking Democratic moderates and a much larger group of liberals demanding that the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan only pass concurrently with his $1.85 trillion social welfare and climate change bill, the Black lawmakers proposed a plan that initially seemed far too timid and convoluted: pass the infrastructure bill immediately, then hold a good-faith procedural vote on the larger bill that would have to suffice before its final vote in mid-November.

    (emphasis mine)

    So in the end, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, such as it is, can claim they stood with the Congress Black Caucus to get vital infrastructure into oppressed communities (identity politics!) and simply had to vote for the bill.

    And when we finally get to the “Biden agenda”, it’ll essentially be filled with air cover to pass what is really desired by liberal Democrats: SALT cap repeal for donors.

    And the Biden agenda will be heralded as the most transformative legislation since FDR, which admittedly other than Civil Rights and Medicare probably is, but that’s an inditement of liberal Democrats, not praise.

    Impressive, really. And it isn’t particularly relevant what happens in 2022. After all, liberal Democrats seem to prefer being out of power, so they can more easily grift without having to actually govern.

    At least Republicans are honest about their intentions; If the Democrat pitch was vote for us, we’re going to repeal the SALT cap, how many votes would they garner, exactly? The midterms are gonna be fun, no doubt about it.

    1. Late Introvert

      I wanted to reply to the poster above who was asserting that residents of high tax states deserved not to pay taxes over $10,000 as some sort of basic right, and I was stymied. So thanks for stating it much more succintly.

      Pay for it or don’t, or vote it out, but don’t make the rest of us pay for it.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That was exactly the argument which Norquist and Rove invented to sell repealing SALT deductibility to begin with. Their end goal being to pressure the SALT payers in the high SALTax blue states to lower their tax rates to those of the low SALTax red states and lower social standards, health standards, etc. right along with those lowering taxes.

        If SALT is re-repealed, that is what will happen, just the way Rove and Norquist planned it.

  47. CH

    RE: I’m still here. There’s a lot to agree with here. However, the notion that Taibbi is writing out of some high-minded commitment to moral principles is just laughable. He’s a contrarian provocateur, nothing more, nothing less–a troll in common parlance. He’s no different than Ben Shapiro or Andy Ngo. Why do people give this guy such a pass? Why is he regarded some kind of pargon of honest journalism? I don’t understand. Is it the vampire squid thing? Is that his get out of jail free card forever?

    The debate is over whether billion-dollar corporations have an unmitigated right to use the public’s airways to knowingly spread 100 percent false claims and agitprop (including undermining the very peaceful transfer of power on which this nation’s political stability rests) while facing no accountability for their actions whatsoever. Somehow that’s equated with “free speech” Come on! In the not-too-distant past (including the post-war era) American broadcasting licenses were only granted to entities that promised to serve the public interest. Yet today’s free speech warriors would consider that now-defunct arrangement as “government censorship” tantamount to straight-up Fascism. Surely there’s a more intelligent debate about this issue to be had.

    It seems like these writers get their caricature of leftists straight from FOX News or Twitter randos. In order to make it fit, you’ve got to deny that there are plenty of leftists who don’t fit that stereotype, from Chris Hedges to Michael Moore. But they are handwaved away as not real leftists, I suppose (we need to invent a new term ‘liberal’ in order to describe the people we disagree with). Meanwhile the political right are portrayed a philosophically unified block whose own intolerant extremists always magically disappear. For example, “If you don’t believe me, and your Twitter account occupies any kind of progressive space, go on there and tweet ‘I think Democrats and the left should work to improve conditions for poor white people as well. Their suffering matters.’ This is a testable hypothesis. Why doesn’t the author bother testing it? Perhaps then I would be more convinced.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Contrarian because you disagree with him?

      I actually have similar reservations about the apparent “all freedom/no responsibility” formulations of American civil libertarians. The fact that I might happen to disagree with them, though, does not form a sound basis for a compelling argument that they are bad faith trolls.

      RE: de Boer’s testable hypothesis that you quoted at the end. The rhetorical technique he’s using suggests that obviously, on twitter, in 2021, such remarks are going to be met with harangues to the extent that testing the hypothesis would be a waste of time. You may or may not agree with that, but then there’s this.

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