2:00PM Water Cooler 8/29/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I am finishing up a post on RussiaGate 2.0, and so this will be an open thread. I am also totally behind the eight-ball because my iPad, which is an essential part of my workflow when I am gathering material, seems to be possessed by a demon: Random windows opening, random clicking, random, furious typing. It’s impossible to use. My iPad is stock and not jailbroken. I know that viruses and malware are not supposed to happen on the iPad because all the apps go through the Apple store, but I don’t know of any other explanation. If any reader has experienced this and above all solved it, please explain in comments. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Vogelkop Bowerbird, Papua, Indonesia. The fluttering and whirring is really neat!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From CV:

CV writes: “A flower for Jerri-Lynn.” How kind! (I wish I had arrived at this point in the queue earlier!)

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Big River Bandido

    Lambert, is the iPad plugged in to a non-Apple charger cube? My phone did the same thing when it was plugged into cheap off-brand knockoffs.

    1. lambert strether

      Good point, but I am using an Apple-logo charger, and the behavior persists when it’s not plugged in.

      1. Greg Taylor

        Did you upgrade the OS to 15.6.1 last week? There was a major security hole in the prior version.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Don’t suppose that there is any chance of somehow reverting to that earlier version? Not sure if you could do it any case as the input-output part of your software sounds like it has all gone to hell.

    2. Joel McCarty

      I had a similar visitation of the iPad Pro which was eventually traced to a couch-based nexis of wireless keyboard, trackpad, and languid cat.

    1. curlydan

      I’ve already maxed out on my 3 orders. And the government website is fairly good at detecting any ways around it (at least that I’ve tried).

      I did order this Siemens test a couple of days ago… as of right now, it’s just $5 a test which beats anything I see in the drugstore duopoly. I know it works because it detected by son’s infection recently (sorry for the Amazon link!).


    1. lambert strether

      Thanks. I tried these before givimg up the unequal battle and deciding to reset. My Mac recognized the iPad, but unfortunately the iPad’s ghost typing, in combination with Apple’s fascistic security measures, made pairing the two impossible, since that requires typing in a temporary passphrase on the iPad

      The Apple Newton had an actual Reset button. Those were the days!

      1. LawnDart

        Well, the good news is that no hacker can jack your machine…

        Hopefully you rest easier knowing that no one else can use your machine… .. either.

  2. lyman alpha blob

    Lambert you mention Lovercraft and seeping petroleum on yesterday’s post on drought revelations, so here’s a psuedo-recommendation for you – Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials.

    Cyclonopedia is theoretical-fiction novel by Iranian philosopher and writer Reza Negarestani. Hailed by novelists, philosophers and cinematographers, Negarestani’s work is the first horror and science fiction book coming from and written on the Middle East.

    ‘The Middle East is a sentient entity—it is alive!’ concludes renegade Iranian archaeologist Dr. Hamid Parsani, before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. The disordered notes he leaves behind testify to an increasingly deranged preoccupation with oil as the ‘lubricant’ of historical and political narratives.

    In theory this was right up my alley – scifi, archaeology, geopolitics – what’s not to like? The reality was that I found it more than a little abstruse – a little too post-modern for my tastes and it got to the point that I felt the author was just trying to show off his erudition by creating a gallimaufry of largely meaningless jargon.

    Here’s the author explaining his philosophy, or maybe just tossing some word salad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg0lMebGt9I

    Anyway, I did read the whole thing years ago and didn’t feel particularly enlightened, but given the subject matter you might find it worth a skim.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Internal lexicon, but I did check the spelling. Learned the word years ago and it stuck with me since it sort of sounds like Dr. Who’s home planet, and I can’t remember how to spell either off the top of my head now. Yes, I probably watch and read too much scifi…

        1. ambrit

          I have also heard it called, in certain, shall we say, Sapphic Circles, as Gaulimuffry, or, a French Kiss with Nefarious Intent. Consider it a sort of Labial Limbo.

          1. LawnDart

            A French kiss WITHOUT nefarious intent? Is there such an animal? You get to the French kiss, it’s all but guaranteed that Pete Johnson will be sliding into home, or that a lawn dart will be penetrating the grass (god, am I old).

    1. none

      first horror and science fiction book coming from and written on the Middle East.

      Dunno about “written on” but there is an active science fiction scene in Israel, and several writers from there.

      1. Harry Haller

        There are also SF and horror writers from Egypt (e.g. Ahmed Khaled Towfik, who passed away a few years ago, is quite well known) and Iraq (e.g. Hassan Blasim).

        The science fiction scene in the Muslim Middle East is still relatively small but Negarestani is certainly not the region’s first SF writer. A very pretentious claim indeed.

  3. Stephanie

    Milkweed growers:

    We had some milkweed pop up spontaneously near our peonies this summer: yay! They seem to have attracted every species of ant, fly, and wasp to them- everything except Monarchs. They haven’t developed sews pods, either. Local extension website suggested insecticidal soap, which does appear to get rid of the insects, but doesn’t appear to have done the plants any favors. Any suggestions?

    1. Samuel Conner

      I speculate that the ants are there for aphid honeydew. If there are aphids, you can control them by manual crushing — squish them onto the leaves or stems where you find them — or by washing them off with a spray of water. Insecticidal soap ought to work, too.
      Or, you could leave the aphids alone as they are food for Ladybugs, both for adults and larvae.

      The wasps may be coming for the nectar, and that doesn’t harm the plants; perhaps simply ignore them.

      The advice I have received is that if the insects aren’t obviously harming the plants (a really heavy aphid infestation could cause significant problems), it may be best — and is certainly easiest — to leave them alone. I get aphids every year, but also ladybugs, and as the latter are beneficial, I don’t want to eradicate the aphids.

      One pest that you might want to intervene to control, however, is the red and black milkweed beetles. These are relatively easy to pick and crush (wear impermeable gloves) and if you can control them early, they won’t get out of hand. If allowed to proliferate, they could do a lot of damage to seed pods that form.

      As to the paucity of Monarchs, I think that’s a widespread thing. I’ve seen a solitary Monarch on three or at most four occasions the entire Summer. Planting other butterfly nectar plants (in past, I’ve found Monarchs on Tithonia, for example) might help, since the adults need food for themselves as well as the milkweed for their larvae.

      1. ambrit

        We have a similar experience with our butterfly populations. The dragonflies are also much diminished in population compared to years gone by.
        Ominously, I saw my first hummingbird of the year last week. We usually see them starting in February. Either their ranges are shifting to the north of here, or their populations are crashing.
        One insect that is thriving here is the lowly and pestiferous mosquito. The main variety now biting in earnest locally is the Asian Tiger Mosquito. They know no fear and are relentless. I just hope that they pollinate as fiercely as they bite.

  4. Mildred Montana

    Open thread. OK. I’ll take the opportunity for a little ranting.

    I live in the socialist paradise of Canada, province of British Columbia to be exact. And here’s what’s happening at the moment:

    1. No reliable doctors. 25% of citizens have no family doctor.
    2. No reliable nurses, short-staffing in hospitals across the country.
    3. No reliable emergency rooms, temporary closures across the country. If they’re open, waits of 12 hours or so are not unheard of.
    4. No reliable ambulances. Short-staffing again. People have literally died waiting (hours) for one.
    5. No reliable ferries here in BC. Short-staffing again, along with breakdowns of the old fleet. Cancellations of runs are common.
    6. No inter-city bus service across the country ever since Greyhound left (three years ago) but billions upon billions in bailouts for Air Canada et al. Peasants who can’t afford to fly can only drive, walk, bike, or hitchhike if they want to get from one city to another.
    7. For those who can afford to fly, frequent flight cancellations, long line-ups for Covid and security, and no refunds for cancelled flights or lost luggage. The airlines refuse to pay for any claims. They have become corporate welfare bums, coddled by the government and beyond the reach of any sanctions.

    That’s a pretty extensive list which should disabuse anybody of the notion that Canada is some sort of socialist nirvana. I could mention more but I am running out of spleen. I’ll only say in closing, you are making a serious mistake if you think that the people in charge know what they’re doing.

    1. Randall Flagg

      The common items in your post appear to be, short staffing up there, which seems to be a very common theme in describing the labor markets in the US. across various sectors. Many reasons are listed except for one possibility rarely, if ever mentioned: Vaccine Mandates.
      IIRC, many people, especially those approaching retirement age early at the start of mandates, decided to throw in the towel and call it a day in their work career. Possibly the reason for such labor shortages in Canada?

        1. Randall Flagg

          I wouldn’t know anything about that but I do remember that at least back east in parts of Vt., NH., and Maine, there were businesses running help wanted ads stating no vaccine requirements in their workplaces. How that worked out? Unknown and I certainly don’t see/hear/read much investigation into it by any major media.
          But yes, low rates of pay combined with high costs of living certainly mutes interest.

        2. Mildred Montana

          Imho, pay has very little to do with it. One either likes one’s job or one doesn’t. If one likes one’s job, money is secondary. As far as I know, the only people who work for money and nothing else are Wall Street scum who sell their souls, reap their millions, and then disappear into mansions in Florida after a few years.

          Yeah, Vancouver is expensive. So are a lot of other places, especially the desirable ones. What’s the option for a medical professional? Turkey Neck, Saskatchewan? I can’t see many of them relocating to TNS just because a house or rent is cheap.

          Raising pay is not the answer. A questioning and revamping of a system built up over six decades is.

          1. Mikel

            Consider this: Alot people did go into healthcare because that is where the job growth has been.
            I think many may have liked it ok, but the pandemic put on a whole new thing on their minds about what it means to be a health care worker.
            There have to be other fits with a career besides training and interest to keep someone in it for the long haul.

          2. Fiery Hunt

            Sorry MM but I would hazard to guess most don’t like their jobs. Lots of us stay for the money or more common stay for the health insurance benefits. At a certain point, you can’t just switch careers without taking a huge paycut. And the kids who have to commit to, and spend money on credetials for the jobs you referenced just ain’t doing it.

            Some Millennials and most of Gen Z would rather not have a “career” of 60 hour weeks… they’d rather have “life/work balance”.

            It’ll be REAL interesting when corporations demand the return to the office and are met with “I’d prefer not to.” *

            *Hat tip my man, Herman

          3. mrsyk

            Maybe they work for health insurance? Maybe to feed their kids? I’d hazard a guess that many people would quit their job if they could.

            1. Mildred Montana

              >”Maybe they work for health insurance?”

              I am aware that’s a big consideration for employees in the US. In Canada it’s not because of our single-payer healthcare system.

              But, as I enumerated above, our free healthcare with all its doctors, nurses, emergency rooms, and ambulances seems to be in trouble.

              1. Harry Haller

                The Canadian healthcare system has been (deliberately) underfunded and understaffed for decades. COVID broke its back and the “solution” on offer is….more privatization. This was the plan all along; it’s straight out of the neoliberal playbook. Similar thing is happening to Britain’s NHS.

              2. CoryP

                I would beg to differ. Forgive me if its much different in BC, but in Ontario “ancillary” services are covered mainly by private employer insurance. I would guess that dental, drugs and psychotherapy are the most costly.

                I’m only qualified to speak on drugs, but if you have autoimmune disorders requiring biologics, diabetes requiring state of the art care, or something like HIV… I can definitely see insurance tethering one to a job they dislike. Public coverage for high drug costs only kicks in once they take up a significant chunk of your income.

                And increasingly a lot of drug plans have annual caps that seem high until you realize how expensive these drugs are. (Even tho they might be 1/10th of US list price)

                So overall I’m confirming your point. In this socialist Paradise healthcare ain’t free.

          4. jonboinAR

            Most of us may not work solely for money, but we absolutely work for money first. Holey, moley! Why do you think we work?!

          5. CanCyn

            I gotta take issue with your opinion MM … surely you don‘ believe that people doing multiple precarious jobs just to eat and pay rent “like their work”? Come on man. The silver lining of Covid that I hope for is that all the underpaid mopes absolutely refuse to play ball anymore and that a decent living wage for most is an end result.
            And yes, if Mikel is saying that money/secure work was the draw for many healthcare workers, then indeed, Covid has been a big flag that perhaps many of them bit off more than they could chew. Having encountered (in Ontario) many capable but more or less uncaring doctors and nurses in the last years of my father’s life (he died in 2016 but spent most of his last 4 yrs in and out of hospital after a stroke and many complications) I sometime wonder how many of them left when Covid made their work much more difficult.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”IIRC, many people, especially those approaching retirement age early at the start of mandates, decided to throw in the towel and call it a day in their work career. Possibly the reason for such labor shortages in Canada?”

        Yeah, I’m sure that’s part of it (demographics are no doubt at work) but I also think that Covid has played its part. By that I mean that many of the occupations I mentioned get paid sick days. Therefore, “Got the sniffles? Must be Covid. Don’t come in for a while.”

        I have nothing against paid sick leave. But for two or three days only? Shouldn’t sick leave pay be reserved for those who are off for weeks or months? Like workmen’s compensation or unemployment insurance?

        My suspicion is that too many employees have begun to abuse their sick-leave benefits and, as my brother suspects, taken Friday and/or Mondays off (with pay) as a way to extend their weekends.

        1. nippersmom

          The point of taking sick leave for short-term illness is two-fold:
          1. Get well, so your short-term illness doesn’t become a long-term illness
          2. Avoid getting your colleagues (and potentially customers) sick

          Canada may very well be different in this respect, but in the US, very few people have months or even weeks of paid sick leave. If they are going to be out of work for an extended period, the best they can hope for is that they will still have a job to return to. They certainly aren’t going to be paid for taking months off to recover from illness or surgery.

        2. C.O.

          If I may, also being a resident of the same country and province as you MM, I feel obligated to point out that sick leave doesn’t work the way you are suggesting, although I appreciate why people would lean towards your suspicion. It can be hard not to suspect such things when the details of what is going on are not transparent. Employers have the option to demand a doctor certified note that you are ill if it appears you are abusing your sick days in the manner suggested, and you may rest assured in our neoliberal paradise they have no hesitation at all to do that. With no doctors available, if this happens, an employee whose bluff is called who is up to this is screwed.

          For those of us who have time that accrues as sick leave, it only builds up if you work the requisite number of hours. You don’t work the time, you don’t get the leave, full stop. To take longer blocks of sick leave, you must have a doctor’s certification, and a committed schedule for return to work. In many union contracts, the sick leave you don’t use is eaten by the employer should you quit or retire, there is neither an apportioned payout or a rollover formula to your pension. I don’t work for the province or in transportation, but understand that this is a common union sick leave arrangement.

          There are two longterm management practices clashing badly right now with staff in the middle. One is constantly cutting staff, cutting staff, cutting staff, refusing to hire new full timers, and trying to get away with spot contracting to cover gaps at short notice. Another is driving the remaining staff to work sick and work overtime. That was not a notable issue to the public before the pandemic, but it appears that it has spiralled out of control since. End result, there are no people available committed or rested enough to cover when people are sick or too exhausted to go back to the job right away. The result is a horrible feedback loop.

          And of course, in transportation, medicine, and education, staff are visible, so they get the blame regardless of whether they contributed to the problem, which is now systemic.

          Did you see the article on this past fiscal which announced this year’s profits at BC Ferries? I should add a link, here it is:


          B.C. Ferries posts $34M profit, thanks to pandemic relief funding

          It’s a terrible situation all round. Easy for me to say, but it seems saner to stop dumping money down the airline money pit and get the trains back to work and throw on a bus service to actually replace Greyhound, as a matter of national policy that will actually support the workers who do real work rather than playing in the FIRE sector.

          1. CanCyn

            “B.C. Ferries posts $34M profit, thanks to pandemic relief funding“!!!
            And yet, I have friends who complain bitterly about individuals getting more than they should or scamming the pandemic relief fund for a few hundred or thousand bucks. When I point out that it will likely be fixed at tax time for individuals and that there are corporations scamming millions, I just get blank stares. People do not want to come out of their bubble. Even dragged kicking and screaming, I’m guessing many of them will just ask if there is wifi.

        3. CanCyn

          I know I am chiming in belatedly here but in catching up before Links was posted this AM, I couldn’t help but add my 2 cents all over this thread. It pushed my buttons.

          Again, I object MM! Your attitude is exactly the management attitude that made it very easy for me to retire early and leave some pension on the table. The suspicion, dislike and disrespect between management and workers was just too much to bear. What if people are really fed up and tired? If they’re lucky enough to have some sick days, why not use them for recovery? If people are getting their WFH jobs done in 3 days (because no pointless meetings or open office irrelevant interruptions) and getting longer weekends, why not? Most workplaces have a limited bank of sick days, they can’t give themselves long weekends indefinitely. The pandemic has been a living hell for many. I have former colleagues who have not exactly thrived on WFH. Sure they can do their laundry midday but many of them feel they have put in more hours than ever because there is no separation of work and home. Workplaces did not provide everyone with computers and cell phones so most people are using their personal IT, they see their work email and projects even when they are not ‘at work’. I know some who are happy to mask up and head back to the office.

      2. JBird4049

        I managed to delete a longer response, but let me say that “Even small cities like Terrace are like miniature ‘Friscoes–what sophistication!” is an interesting comparison to my hometown. I have to say also that the entire San Francisco Bay Area has been slowly mummifying as the various agriculture, manufacturing, and shipping has been destroyed either by paving over the former Santa Clara County with its orchards, farms, and cattle ranches, shutting down most of the Port of San Francisco and all the attendant industries, the light manufacturing or just gentrifying the whole place and forcing the poor, working class and even much of the middle class.

        All this and pretending that the glory days of the 40s-70s are still here aside from the tourist attractions. Well, the homeless and the empty storefronts are hard to miss (but the tourist board doesn’t talk about that.) It is like something akin to the Cold War’s neutron bomb; the views are still marvelous, but everything else that made it a great place are gone. Except for the money, but that is all hoarded in the wealthy enclaves and it’s still spreading. Like a terminal fungus infection. We still have that great façade. Just don’t look down.

        Don’t think that this is localized to just the Bay Area either. Just drive north up highway 101. Damn oligarchy.

    2. bdy

      Correct me if I’m wrong from South of the border, but hasn’t Canada neo-liberalized it’s welfare state in the foot since Trudeau: Just-in-time stock replenishing, streamlining the work force, yammering about federal budgets and so on?

      The devil is in the details when shortages hit. And it’s been hammered on NC how COVID has contributed to shortages at seemingly every choke point in every supply chain for every last service or good that markets have to deliver.

      And of course, demand for medicine is up. Not a Bible guy, me, but “lay by in store” makes a whole lot of sense even for Pagans and Atheists. Never too late to swap out a paradigm (until it is).

      1. Harry Haller

        It was a neoliberal welfare state long before Trudeau Jr. showed up. He’s just really annoying and easy to ridicule. But Canadian right wingers like to pretend that Stephen Harper’s conservatives were just grrreat even though after a decade of CPC mismanagement and corruption scandals Trudeau’s Liberal Party beat them in a landslide and almost shut them out of parliament. They’ve learned from American conservatives to ceaselessly blame everything on “liberals.”

      2. CoryP

        It’s been steadily neoliberalising ever since I was born in the 80s (probably longer). I wouldn’t blame it on Trudeau other than the fact that he picked up where his Conservative predecessor left off and did basically nothing to stanch the bleeding.

        (Haha. Harry beat me to it)

        1. CanCyn

          Adding to Harry and Cory – it was actual under Chretian’s Liberal government, in which he and Finance minister Paul Martin reduced government debt by offloading costs to provinces and municipalities, that the neoliberal ball really got rolling. Harper just made it worse. And here in Ontario, the Conservatives under Mike Harris did tons of damage to the public sphere that the majority Liberals who followed him never even tried to undo. Mike Harris is a board member of one of the big private long term care operators FFS. Never believe that we are not under the same one party system as exists in the US. Our social healthcare system has kept more people afloat here in Canada but it, as someone here has already pointed out, is in its dying days.

    3. Roland

      8. Widespread and persistent homelessness and beggary, juxtaposed with opulence. This used to be mostly a Vancouver-area problem, but today, there is no urban community in the province without its share of dismal squalor. Even small cities like Terrace are like miniature ‘Friscoes–what sophistication!

      The “grift” is also blatant. e.g. towns receive big grants to deal with homelessness, but spend most of it on hiring more PMC, who in turn spend most of their time gaming the metrics to get more grants. Public housing developments are being built, but each of them has such specific residency criteria that it demands intensive management. Thus the petty bourgeois professionals, like the big bourgeois financiers, insert themselves into everything, and claim their percentage.

      The social inefficiency is staggering. It’s cheaper to run a universal welfare state than this overmanaged, underachieving, pseudo-market mess.

      Yeah, I know, that’s the story of the whole neoliberal West. It’s the Capitalism. If you got Capital, it’s all right, and you learn the selective blindnesses that you need to live happily. If you don’t have Capital, there are Opiates, whether real or virtual.

      And who knows? Maybe the day will come when proletarians realize that progress does not consist in class mobility, but in class mobilization. The problems of the proletariat cannot be solved by proletarians becoming bourgeois. The solution is for the proletarians to become the dominant class, and run society in such a way that being a worker is the best way to live.

      1. LifelongLib

        Or we could stop being “proletarians” and “bourgeois” and just be “people”. Not all doing the same things, but in the same boat, none with undue power over others. Neither class mobility or class mobilization, but class destruction.

        1. Roland

          If the proletariat were the dominant class, at least it would be about as inclusive as a dominant class can get–anyone willing to trade their labour can join. Other dominant classes in history have typically been exclusive.

          One reason I don’t talk about a “classless” society is that I think that some of the members of other classes would still long eschew the proletariat, even if we became the political and cultural leaders of society. e.g. when the bourgeoisie became dominant, some aristos were willing to be co-opted by the new ruling class, but others preferred to retain their old social estate, even when it lay in tatters.

          Bear in mind, too, that members of some other “lower” classes may have no desire to become proletarians. I am personally acquainted with some lumpenproletarians who are more openly scornful of people who sell labour than any bourgeois that I’ve heard. The fact that these lumpenproles are poorer than proles, and repeatedly in jail besides, apparently has no effect on their own sense of superiority.

          Also, I find that people who live in close contact with the land, such as small farmers, or the remnants of gatherer-hunters, such as some First Nations people here in Canada, no more entertain a proletarian outlook, than they do that of the bourgeoisie. They often regard both these historically modern classes with equal distaste.

          As for notion of making a society “classless” by getting rid of other classes, those experiments have been made, and have proven to be evil, both in process and in result.

          To save the world, and ourselves, proletarians need to take over from the bourgeoisie. I don’t know if we got what it takes, but with things as they are, it may have become our duty to try. But perhaps the best thing about having the proles in charge would be that humanity might, for once, be led by a class of persons who have learned how to get over themselves.

          That’s the last reason I don’t talk about a “classless” society. I’m a proletarian, and it’s not for me to pronounce which other classes should exist in society.

          The bourgeoisie, in their endless quests for total capital ownership and total personal satisfaction, have liquidated many other classes. Should the proletariat imitate that kind of performance? I say, “let the loose ends abound.”

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Lovely articulation.

        One quibble: Never use Frisco.
        We here who have to deal with the City hate that nickname.
        Same with San Fran.

        If you’re gonna snark at San Francisco (and please fire away!), use what our Beloved Herb Cain used….

        It’s Baghdad by the Bay.

        1. Jonathan King

          In my Berkeley oblast it’s either “SF” or “the city,” the latter pointedly lower-case. .

          1. ambrit

            Then, of course, there is that infamous appendage to “The Peninsula,” the Stanford Sanitarium, upon which the “fictional” Arkham Asylum is loosely based.

          2. JBird4049

            No, man. It’s the town of Berkeley, or more usually Oakland, while San Francisco is the City. As in I am going to the Town (of Oakland) or the City (of San Francisco). At least, that is how it used to be. The usage has been slowly going away for decades.

            But I have always preferred Baghdad by the Bay for San Francisco and Berzerkeley for Berkeley. Back when that was actually true. (Insert sad tear here)

            1. ddt

              Arrived in Berkeley 2006. It was hanging onto its weirdness but barely. First night saw a couple dressed in fuzzy pink suits riding a tandem bike lit up like a xmas tree. My wife, Berkeley born and raised, claimed “this is normal here.” Well it was the last I saw. Witnessed the gentrification and homelessness explode in tandem. Left last year due to familial health issues. Kids miss it but I doubt they ever really lived the real thing. They’re building People’s Park fer Pete’s sake…

        2. Roland

          I shouldn’t have dragged your city into my complaints about things where I live. Sorry about that.

    4. wilroncanada

      Hi Mildred
      I concur with all the points in your rant, except the opening sentence. I will add a couple more:
      8. The massive homelessness crisis, while cities and towns continue to try to bury the crisis, labeling the homeless as undesirables in one way or other, and while even more become homeless as both senior levels of government (provincial, federal) try to ignore it, while helping to finance Ukraine, especially the war-fighting part.
      9. The environment crisis, which has led to removal of millions of hectares of forest through infestations of beetles migrating from formerly warmer climes, and potable water shortages, especially for already deprived native communities.
      My disagreement is of your, probably tongue-in-cheek labeling Canada as “socialist paradise.” Canada, especially British Columbia, is neoliberal light. Unfortunately, like northern Europe, the label is read as reality by too many U.S,-ites, in order to celebrate their own hyper-individualism.

  5. Maya

    “5. No reliable ferries here in BC. Short-staffing again, along with breakdowns of the old fleet. Cancellations of runs are common.”

    “Unvaccinated BC Ferries workers are being allowed back on the job, raising hopes they could help alleviate the staffing issues that have forced a number of recent sailing cancellations. Company spokesperson Deborah Marshall confirmed BC Ferries’ vaccination requirement was suspended Monday.”


    Here in California, the Newsom dictatorship is still foundering after his autocratic obedience to big pharma, covidhysterisis and the opportunity to ram bills through and cancel public meetings where policy is discussed.


    Oh joy, he just declared a new monkeypox state of emergency…

    1. JBird4049

      If Governor Hair Gel had actually pushed through the state’s single payer healthcare or dealt with the homeless crisis, he would have been considered a god, and I would even say that being president would have been likely, but no, more money for the Four Families and their friends.

  6. griffen

    For those of a musical bent or general interest in the history of a genre and early days in Seattle, here is a round table discussion with the Nirvana bassist and the Soundgarden guitarist. Funny anecdotes thus far, I am halfway through. It is a decently long video.


    1. lyman alpha blob

      Novoselic is a dork. I wonder if he remembers the anecdote of hitting on my female acquaintance while I was right there at the Crocodile, circa 1993? Nirvana had opened for Mudhoney and was done playing, and I had just left the floor where Kurt Cobain had done a stage dive and nobody caught him causing him to smack the concrete hard right at my feet, and when I got back to the bar there was Novoselic chatting up my date. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have interrupted them – it would have saved me a lot of trouble later!

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Would have been late 92. The three of them together only played once at the Croc (under the name Pen Cap Chew). They had played Bellingham the night before as an unannounced opening band as well. They were the biggest band since The Beatles so no way they could have booked under ‘Nirvana’.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Yes it was one of those super secret shows where you had to be in the know on who the band really was. Luckily we had friends in other lesser known bands who were in the know on this type of thing.

  7. Jason Boxman

    As Rome Burns (or at Least Its Garbage), a Mayor Dares to Dream

    Mr. Gualtieri, himself a Roman, acknowledged that his city bred unique character traits. Romans tended to have “behaviors that we find that are not good,” he said, when it came to throwing out the garbage.

    Restaurants often loaded up bins reserved for the public. The public had a tendency to respond to the packed bins by balancing trash bags on top of them, like a vile Jenga game, or throwing garbage at their sides, forming archipelagos of uncollected trash that attracted all sorts of interesting fauna.

    What if we simply consumed less, and produced less trash? The story doesn’t mention that, but instead is about the political intrigue and possible arson.

    1. Late Introvert

      Actual sign on the back of a truck on I-80:

      If you don’t like so many trucks
      stop buying so much sh*t

      1. Louis Fyne

        I’ll take my chances following the life philosophy of a trucker than a media pundit anytime. I believe that was first written by Henry Thoreau

    1. Jason Boxman

      So here’s an idea. Perhaps we should make immigrating from China very appealing, so we have enough healthy people to work. I wonder if we’d get any takers? How long until immigration in general requires evidence of not having long COVID?

  8. Louis Fyne

    anyone following what is going on in Baghdad right now? Looks like the current govt is at the event horizon of collapse


    Mainstream media not on top of it, prob. cuz they don’t have a local correspondent and waiting for the narrative spin from DC.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Just checked a few of the majors and nothing but Trump in the headlines and no mention of this yet.


      From the above –

      “Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has ordered an “urgent investigation” into Monday’s events and stressed that the use of live ammunition by security forces against protesters is “strictly prohibited”, Iraq’s state news agency INA reported.

      Al-Kadhimi also called on citizens to “abide by the security instructions and the curfew decision”, according to INA.”

      Reports are saying shelling in the Green Zone but not clear who was responsible.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Shades of Caddyshack – the most recent post as of 22:44 GMT at the above link shows protestors jumping into the government swimming pool.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Iraq hasn’t been able to form a government for almost a year. The current government In Baghdad is acting in a caretaker capacity. The obvious solution to the problem is to allow al-Sadr, or anybody else, to form a majority government which would enable Iraq to stabilize itself through the normal conduct of a government.

      The US and Iran probably doesn’t like this idea, but they’re going to like the alternative scenarios even less. The fact of the matter is that technocratic governance in Iraq has failed and the present constitution might not be enough to remedy the situation. It practically guaranteed a political earthquake at some point assuming that certain parties wouldn’t sign onto forming a government for their own reasons.

      The last thing Iraq needs right now is external actors, particularly Americans, telling them what to do.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      Sure seems like the good ol’ USA is losing influence (and face) all round this big ol’ world.
      Next up, US picks a country to go to war with…and loses 10 years later.

      Let’s just hope it ain’t America itself.

  9. Roger Blakely

    On YouTube Dr. John Campbell was discussing a study pointing to 10% increase in excess deaths over the COVID years. The implication is that there are more deaths than would be expected from COVID alone.

    My guess is that SARS-CoV-2 is knocking around people’s bodies and causing more damage than is being picked up by whatever surveillance is available. My guess is that organs are failing due to SARS-CoV-2 but that it isn’t being blamed on SARS-CoV-2.

    Here is an example. I wore my respirator into the grocery store on Saturday. Only one other person, an employee, was wearing a respirator. The prevalence of BA.5 is high in California. I feel awful today. My guess is that just the SARS-CoV-2 that landed on my eyeballs was enough to make me feel awful today. My guess is that most people feel miserable from COVID all of the time. It’s just that they have gotten used to it.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I’ll bet that at least some of those “excess deaths” are due to other conditions that people have been delaying treatment for because of COVID.

    2. CoryP

      I haven’t listened to the video you refer to but from my Twitter travels, I’m becoming increasingly alarmed by the potential number of cardio/neurovascular deaths that occur post-Covid, and wouldn’t be included in the official death toll.

      The more I read about this disease the more worried I get. My trajectory has been the opposite of the officialdom.

      (And yeah delayed treatment can’t be helping either)

  10. Carolinian

    If open thread any thoughts on House of Dragons? NC has always been a George R R kind of place.

    1. Carolinian

      Ok I’ll start. I thought the first episode was not bad although the show will never match the sweep of the Game of Thrones books where Martin’s imagination was running at full throttle. I’m not that big a fan of Matt Smith who is cast, appropriately, as the villain. But not bad.

    2. CarlH

      I was lukewarm to episode one, but the second episode was much, much better and gave me some hope. Admittedly, two episodes is not much to go by.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I’m gonna wait a few years and see how it plays out. My favorite shows always get canceled. Firefly, Farscape, Angel, or have bad endings.

  11. The Rev Kev

    Open thread? How about a little factoid from history then. It turns out that students in the most elite US schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Smith, Wellesley College and Brown University from the 1940s through to the 1970s were required to strip down for full nude photo shoots. It seems that it was only when they started to require the same for female freshmen students in the 70s that people woke up to what they were doing and said ‘Aw hell, no!’-


    1. Henry Moon Pie

      LOL. Well, in 1971, they did require us to swim 50 yards, but we were allowed to retain our bathing suits.

      The swimming requirement was added to Harvard’s graduation requirements because of the Wideners, who gave the money for the main university library and lost a son, a Harvard alum, in the sinking of the Titanic.

  12. Tom Stone

    I gave a little thought to how I’d describe America under Biden…
    Say you are in your early 30’s with a degree that isn’t absorbent enough to have any use and $50K in Student loans.
    You are working two part time 28 hour a week jobs with no benefits and sharing a 1 Bedroom Apartment with two other people.
    You are on your way to the second job of the day after catching a one hour nap and your car starts to overheat. You call AAA first because you still have free towing (Yay), then you call your boss who tells you not to bother coming in if you can’t make it on time.
    Except to pick up your final check…
    You get a tow to your mechanic who tells you it’s the radiator and a replacement will be about $500.
    Which will max out the one credit card you haven’t maxed out, yet.
    You think about Uber or Lyft, but without that second job it’s going to be a mighty thin few weeks at best.
    It’s a warm day, low 90’s and humid and it’s almost 5 miles home but you start hoofing it.
    A little more than halfway home you see a flashing neon sign
    You don’t really believe it, but it’s hot and why not be cool for a few minutes?
    You walk in, hit instantly by a wall of icy air and when your eyes adjust you see that you are alone except for the Bar Man.

    “Is that sign right? FREE BEER?”

    “It sure is, Brother, let me draw you a pint”
    He pulls a frosty glass mug from the chiller and starts drawing a pint.
    It looks a little flat, but hey, it’s BEER, and it’s, FREE and it’s cold.

    He slides it across the bar and you bring it almost to your mouth when the smell hits,WHEW.
    Some slops over your wrist as you put the mug down and you flick it off.
    “WTF, that isn’t beer!”
    The Barman replies “It sure as hell IS beer, I drank it the first time myself”.

    1. Sardonia

      Side note – back in the 80’s San Francisco had vibrant Punk Rock scene, with some VERY creative band names (my favorite being “Uncle Bob Touched Me”). One band called themselves Free Beer – and anytime their name appeared in an ad or on the marquee, the place would draw a lot of bro’s expecting…well…yeah – free beer.

      It was usually a surly crowd….

  13. jr

    Ross Coulthart and Bryce Zabel’s “Need to Know” Documentary on UAPs/UFOs:


    Acclaimed immunologist and UFO experiencer Gary Nolan is interviewed about half way in. He finally said it: we aren’t alone. Whatever they are, they aren’t under human control.

  14. Raymond Sim

    Davis now has wastewater signal for monkeypox:


    Positive Wed 8/24 thru Sat 8/27 (the most recent date reported), and quite a steep-looking increase. My guess is this represents the annual influx of new people to UC Davis. UCD hasn’t updated their SCAN data since Mon 8/22. (They have their own wastewater system, and have been posting some high Covid numbers. Delays in reporting just when you most want up-to-date info are typical from UCD.) so for now I can’t use the obvious resource by which I might hope to check that hypothesis.

    Classes don’t begin at UCD till Sep 21. Davis Joint Unified School District’s classes just began though, and new arrivals at UCD in the past week are probably disproportionately parents of kids enrolled in DJUSD schools. Thus I think we’re quite likely to start having monkeypox cases in our schools in 8 to 10 days, if not sooner.

    If anyone were able to disabuse me of my notions about airborne transmission of monkeypox, this would be a welcome time for it.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Huh. Just checked SCAN this evening (Wed 8/30) and the data for UCD after 8/22 is no longer displayed, meaning that the monkeypox signal I wrote about yesterday is no longer shown.

      This does not inspire confidence. I guess I should start taking screenshots.

      Meanwhile, our local paper’s spin on the story is that Covid is decreasing but monkeypox is increasing, as if we’ve been living with monkeypox all along. Our first wastewater signal was a week ago tomorrow.

  15. chris

    Since it’s an open thread, perhaps others will be interested in listening to TWIV episode #929? I recommend this episode not for the science, but to listen to Andy Slavitt opine at length about the pandemic and the state of health case in the USA.

    Slavitt is an interesting character. He’s one of the people you could point to who keep strangling single payer healthcare before it can exist in a form anyone can vote on. He’s now someone very good and smart people listen to on his podcast, “In the bubble.”

    And the TWIV people and Mr. Slavitt are certainly existing in bubbles! Listening to them talk about the pandemic was gut wrenching. To realize none of these people should have any influence over policy. The TWIV guys are scientists and they admit to being sheltered in this episode. They still push back on some of the things Slavitt says though. Which was good to hear. But Slavitt… Wow. He says in a high minded way we shouldn’t mock people for wearing masks. Or not wearing masks. We have to accept people where they are. Which includes talking to the stupid mouth breathers who doubt science and are dying early. We need to encourage people to believe in science by letting them question everyone about medicine. How are we to do this? With empathy. Specifically empathyology. That’s how we’ll help others advocate for the best care experiences too.

    This episode was like listening to the distilled id of DC being poured out so overly credentialed fools could get drunk on it. I found it illuminating. This is what healthcare reform is up against. Listen to it if you want to hear all that and get some unintentionally dark humor in.

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