The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

CDC Jumps the Shark & Experts Die Another Death

So, days after American Airlines asked for a reduction in quarantine length, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reduced recommended quarantine length to five days.


The CDC, the WHO, and many other health organizations have repeatedly disgraced themselves. At the start, they advised against masks. Masks clearly do help, and because, at the time, they thought that Covid was spread by droplets, masks were completely indicated. The CDC took too long to admit that Covid was airborne, recommended children go back to school, and so on.

In general, health authorities in too many countries have not recognized that airborne spread requires improved ventilation and filtering. School boards have forced teachers to keep windows closed. Vaccine approvals have been political — Sputnik V was an excellent vaccine pre-Omicron, but it was Russian, so, not approved in most Western countries.

Health authorities in many countries have not tracked and traced, have not quarantined properly, and so on.

All of this has broken trust with public health organizations and with experts in general.

People want scientists in organizations like the WHO and CDC to be non-political, to say what the best science says, and they haven’t and now trust is broken.

In general, the idea of expertise has been broken over the last few decades, because experts acted badly or weren’t experts.

This requires a bit of unpacking and “expert” is a bad word. Economists are experts, but they are not scientists, they’re ideologues. They study how the world should be and try and force the world to be like that.

Economists are moral philosophers, in effect — or theologians. If they presented themselves like, “We believe in markets and utility maximization and utility is a metaphysical concept for us, and we think this is the best way to organize society,” that’d at least be honest.

If they were honest, you could sort of trust them. “Oh, so macro-economists are like Christian preachers who say that society should be based on their beliefs of what an ideal society is like!!” That’s not at all the same sort of “expert” as a biologist or physicist.

Over 99 percent of economists didn’t predict the financial collapse. They didn’t realize there was a housing bubble. When economists, and other fake scientists, presented themselves as scientific experts (whose advice, when followed, was CRAP), they discredited the very idea of expertise.

Then actual scientists let themselves be politically compromised and now, they have completed the job.

I read a lot of people who say, “Trust the experts.” Shut up.

The experts disgraced themselves. The economists, the psychologists, the biologists, etc, etc. Too many of them have either presented themselves as something they’re not (scientists) or are actual scientists whom have fudged the science.


This even goes down to hedging things that are well agreed upon. Climate change, for example.

The consensus forecasts have almost been universally too optimistic, for decades, because scientists were playing political games and trying to be palatable.

Actual scientists need insulation from politics. People who are playing politics need to not be insulated from politics. Central bankers and economists are not scientists, they are political actors whose actions hurt some people & help others.

Central banks should be under direct control of elected officials. Scientists in the CDC and WHO should be heavily insulated from political power. Climate scientists need insulation as well.

Expertise has to be politically disinterested. For example, with the initial mask guidance, honest communication would have been:

The best science is that masks help protect us from Covid. Surgical and N95 masks are currently in short supply, so please use cloth masks right now. Here’s how to make them yourselves.

That’s honest, and it doesn’t break trust.

And that, along with not allowing people like economists, psychologists, and even psychiatrists, to pretend to be scientists is how you avoid loss of trust in experts.

Once you lose trust, you’re screwed. Real experts, who can be trusted, are now tarred with the same brush as those who have betrayed trust, and a plurality of the population has decided they don’t have to believe what the “experts” say, because in the past they’ve lied, been wrong, or perverted the science for political or business reasons.



Fundraising Update: Last Tier Reached


Audio Recordings of “Political Concepts” to Chapter 3


  1. NR

    The CDC has done a lot of dumb stuff throughout the pandemic, but at this point the situation is FAR outside the CDCs ability to solve. For us to deal with this pandemic adequately, we would have needed a robust public health care system and social safety nets for unemployment support, food distribution, etc. At this point, I believe the CDC is trying to thread the needle on the horrible situation we’re in. It’s fashionable to blame the CDC for everything, but the people really at fault are corporate Democrats and Republicans (including Trump, he was and is a corporate Republican in every way that matters) who have gutted our public infrastructure to enrich elites for the last 40+ years. That is the root of the problem.

  2. VietnamVet

    Joe Biden admitted that the US federal government is incapable of managing the Omicron surge. Instead it is up to the 50 state governments who have no authority or will to close their state borders to enforce quarantines.

    The CDC complies with airline request to lower quarantine requirements to five days and allows reentry into the work force without a negative antigen test. All that matters is corporate profits; not the workers and their families who will be infected.

    Plague is one of the four horsemen along with war. Unless Americans are extremely lucky, the privatized healthcare system collapses next month. Government has already failed. The Karen punching out an old white man on a Delta flight is an Apocalypse harbinger. Everyone is on their own in a war of viral Russian roulette except China, Taiwan and Japan where government still works. There is no invisible hand. Either there is a second western reformation to acknowledge reality and restore a working public health system and mitigate climate change or the world goes to hell.

  3. Keith in Modesto

    All the “important” people, the thought leaders, here in the U.S. are counting on the Omicron variant causing only mild or no symptoms. I don’t trust them an inch and it’s a dangerous and foolish gamble. But for us riffraff, Omicron actually turning out to be mild (and not causing long-COVID) is about the only sliver of hope right now.
    Where I work (~60 people in basically one large room for several hours at a time), we have a mask mandate in place, regardless of vaccination status (as it should be). But many ignore it and enforcement is very lax. Even the supervisors often don’t wear them or wear them incorrectly. If everyone would just wear quality N95 masks (which should be manufactured and distributed by the government if necessary) that have been properly fitted, that would stop the spread almost like flipping a switch. But people here just won’t do it. It’s like some cliched slasher movie where the teenager heads out alone in the dark to check out something, right into the waiting knife of the killer. It’s hard not to conclude that we deserve what’s coming to us.

  4. bruce wilder

    One move in this drama is:
    Power decides expertise is unnecessary.
    Unpack that a bit: the powerful — those in roles with access to the levers of social, economic and political control that move the bureaucratic apparatus of government and great business enterprise — regard expertise as superfluous or incidental to the accomplishment of their goals in exercising power. Expert opinion can be disregarded or shaped on command to serve the interests of power without first informing the strategic choices being made by power.
    A second move (not necessarily the second in sequence) is that expertise becomes merely ceremonial, a ritual servant to the exercise of political power, empty of any technical capacity to control a productive process.
    A third move is to question whether the loss of expert credibility harms the claims of the powerful to legitimacy.
    The third move bypasses the question of why the powerful do not need genuine expertise in order to be effective in the exercise of power. It implies that expertise is only valuable to the powerful as credibility-enhancement. Which certainly may become true as expertise is hollowed out of content and progresses thru a vestigial application of expertise as credibility-enhancement to an end-point where Power is not much concerned with credibility, as narrative control does not suffer much from criticism or informed skepticism.
    And, that brings us to a fourth move: the disinformation effect of having nutcases as critics and skeptics. Here’s the thing: the hollowing out of expertise produces a lot of noise and disinformation and charismatic ignoramuses and cracked reasoning among the hoi polloi. I suppose the gatekeepers of expertise accomplish the hollowing out of expertise by their sorting and ranking, and a by-product of a corrupted process of annoiting the incompetent will be a chaotic heterodoxy. Expertise is not coincident with a discipline’s hierarchy of prestige and values, but the hierarchy’s filters produce the complacency that covers the rot.

    American society does not demand much of its powerful leaders, political or in finance and business. It is convenient to the powerful to construe this as a loss of faith in experts. When did the people generally lose their ability to discern expertise or demand performance from political leaders?

  5. NR

    There is a bit of good news at least. Evidence collected on Eric Topol’s Twitter shows that Omicron:

    1. Has a more difficult time infecting lungs
    2. T-cells from vaccines respond to it at the same level as the other variants
    3. Boosting at least in the short term reduces omicron transmissibility v. 2-shot and no shot regimens.

  6. GlassHammer

    You have to trade autonomy and your own goals for organizational resources not just when you enter the organization but the entire time you remain within it. Any moderately intelligent engineer, scientist, manager, etc… will tell you this. If your in the private sector you call these tradeoffs “office politics” and if you in the public sector you just call it “politics”.

    No one should be surprised that “politics” happens at the CDC.

    No one should be surprised that business interest trump the states interest.

    No one should be surprised that you can only rely on organizations (public or private) up to a point.

    No one should be surprised that business interest are endangering their long term viability in favor of short term interest.

    It really feels like folks are complaining because they occasionally confront the nation and culture they live within.

  7. Astrid


    You were the one who was all in on the vaccinate vaccinate vaccinate strategy, and accusing anyone pointing out that evidence showed a leaky and more deadlier than disclosed vaccine that was highly unlikely to provide durable protection, of being crazy and evil. You repeated the vaccinations line as though it would prevent spread and mutation, when it likely facilitated spread by giving people an excuse to go unmasked and increase asymptomatic spread. Your omission of your past positions sounds…expert.

    The wider system is responsible but the experts at CDC and NIH are far more responsible than most. They told us to trust them and lied again and again. Even now, the capability to fight Omicron exists and the cost would be far lower than this perpetual Covid purgatory. A sharp 21 days lock down followed while the governments source N95 masks, first for the essential workers and then everyone else. Going forward, put in 21 day custodial quarantine at the border for any country that doesn’t surprise for elimination and for any exposure events. Pay the wages of people exposed (plus a bounty for accurate reporting of anyone knowingly resisting quarantine). Draconian for those exposed? Yes, but as this article makes clear, China had about the same number of people in quarantine since April 2020 as have died in the US of Covid. I think death gasping for air or suffering months/years of long COVID is pretty draconian. Ditto losing your job because you don’t trust improperly tested vaccines, suffered horrific effects from prior vaccinations and don’t want another, and the federal mandate doesn’t allow strict adherence to N95 masks as an alternative.

    Mask could have fixed this, for less money and less discomfort (more than half of the people I personally were sick for several days after their second shot and boosters, which seems a lot worse than wearing a 3M Aura in public). Not doing so is madness.

  8. Ché Pasa

    As has been pointed out, there’s always been and always will be tension between public health needs and requirements and political and economic interests. For example, in the city where I lived for many years, public health was such a low priority that there was no proper sewage treatment facility until the 1920s; untreated sewage flowed directly into the river above the intakes for drinking water. Consequently, unless you had your own well far from the river or you paid for bottled water drawn from such a well, you were shit out of luck. Sewage and water borne diseases ran rampant every year, public officials knew why, and they did nothing about it despite the pleas of public health authorities, and hundreds or thousands of people sickened and died year after year after year because of bad water. It wasn’t a problem for the rich, right? So why should they care?

    It only changed when the leaders of the city (which weren’t necessarily the politicians) recognized that every city that had proper sewage treatment and clean drinking water was growing while this one and other cities like it were not. The pleas of public health authorities only mattered to the extent they were “economically feasible,” and the provisions they wanted “paid for themselves.” That point apparently came around 1925, and not before. So they authorized a bond issue to pay for a sewage treatment plant and drinking water treatment for river water. The annual die-off stopped. Population grew for the first time in a generation or more. The rich got richer.

    But it took nearly a century for this to happen. Public health was not the most important concern in the interim.

    Now it should be clear to most of us that the public health authorities, such as they are, are utterly hamstrung by a political and economic ideology of “everyone for themselves; you’re on your own, suckers” — and if you’re not rich enough, it’s too damn bad for you.

    The confusion, incoherence, and gross error from the CDC and other national health authorities grows directly out of that ideological foundation. Even the best of them cannot overcome it — and they know it. There’s nothing they can do without the cooperation of the political and economic overlords. And they don’t have that.

    They certainly didn’t during the Trump regime, and… they still don’t. They (mostly) know what to do from a public health standpoint to control and eliminate the threat to public health from the virus, but they do not have the support and cooperation they need to get it done. It’s been true from the outset of the pandemic.

    We can blamecast all we want, but the problem runs much deeper than individuals.

  9. bruce wilder

    It really feels like folks are complaining because they occasionally confront the nation and culture they live within.

    Water is wet and we are the rare fish to notice — that’s your point?

    I think everyone should be “surprised” that the CDC with a $7 billion plus budget is technically incapable at every level of fulfilling its nominal function of supplying technical expertise to support public health interventions. They could not produce a test kit. They could not devise a sensible test protocol. Quarantine procedures, no. They could not marshal the informatics to track the pandemic. They could not figure out the primary means of transmission — an epidemiolgical fail of the first order. It has been like this all along and just got worse in the transition from Trump to Biden.

    This should not sink into the “normal” Democratic partisans became so enamored of when a retarded reality show host proved no worse than Obama. Yeah, sure, boiling frogs that we are, we did not blink when a President took us to war on false pretences and laughed about it. That was “normal” — far from unprecedented. We did not tire when the vast military power on which hundreds of billions are uselessly squandered could not “win” or even end a war. We accepted our fate when financial crisis ended in domination by a few huge banks run as criminal organizations. When a great health care reform produced a giveaway to for-profit insurance companies, and after four years, a poorly designed website, we counted it an accomplishment. And, when a senile shell of a corrupt pol was sent in late in the game to rescue us from incipient fascism, we, on cue, celebrated the “most progressive President since FDR”.

    Most won’t complain or will complain about those who complain in the wrong accent. We will predictably blame opposing ideologues who have had nothing to do with any of it. Corrupt “moderates” will blame the quixotic idealists of the powerless left who believe in magic unicorns and the would-be socialists will blame libertarians for the failures of big government.

    We fish are addicted to our foul water and rather than deny and blame and complain, we might consider just admitting we are powerless and the water is foul. Stop pretending.

  10. Astrid

    Lambert made a good point in his news links post today:

    ” If the Obama administration believed that everything could be solved with public relations, the Biden administration believes that everything can be solved with semantics. Symbol manipulators gotta symbol manipulate!”

    Trust the experts, don’t question authority. Isn’t that the definition of authoritarianism?

  11. Astrid


    Some office politics and political systems are healthier than others. Good ones are open to feedback and course correct when they are wrong. They have transparent rules that are strictly followed by everyone and honest posthoc appraisal systems. They test out hypotheses and go with the best ones. They proceed to the unknown with caution and alertness. They don’t overwhelming punish well intentioned wrong guesses or folks on the losing side.

    It doesn’t have to be the way we are, choices were made by people who should have known better.

  12. Dan Lynch

    Re: experts. I am definitely not an expert on medical issues, but since the pandemic began I have been following numerous medical experts on twitter (which seems to be the best place for it these days).

    — the experts often disagree with each other. To anyone familiar with solving hard technical problems, that should not come as a surprise. I view the differences of opinion as normal and healthy.
    — so I follow these experts who disagree with each other and I imagine how the pandemic will play out if each of these experts is right. In other words, I try to consider the full gamut of possible outcomes.
    — since I don’t know which expert is correct, I “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” I’m triple vax’d, wear an N95 in public, and mostly stay the hell away from people, even family and friends.
    — eventually we are all going to catch covid at least once, but it is better to delay catching it as long as possible because the vaccines and the treatments are improving as time goes by.

    If I were in a position of power I would take the same approach that I have outlined here — instead of listening to any one expert, I would listen to many of them, and prepare to deal with the worst case scenario. Mind you, I don’t approach every single problem in life that way, but here we are talking about a pandemic that has killed 5.4 million people and there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel. That warrants extreme caution.

  13. different clue

    Remarkable indeed.

    Remarkable how the CDC baldly served as Delta Airlines’s willing butler right in open view.

    About CDC being ” too slow to admit” the coronavid is airborne, so was the WHO. And I don’t think they were ” too slow to admit”. I think they were doing their best to suppress the “airborne” spread knowledge and keep it secret and away from people for as long as possible, in order to spread the coronavid virus to as many people as possible, deliberately on purpose. Of course they and their spokesmen will lie about that now. But that was their real mission. To spread the disease.

    Different people can theorize as to why they set themselves that mission ( or assigned that mission by powerful people).

  14. Willy

    So are we back to who it is who usually wins power games, at the end of the day? And then, how these games eventually collapse whatever their structure along with all the powerless experts?

  15. bruce wilder

    I followed a link to an official source of COVID data and here is what I found:

    The Community Profile Report (CPR) is generated by the Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup in the Joint Coordination Cell, under the White House COVID-19 Team. It is managed by an interagency team with representatives from multiple agencies and offices (including the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Indian Health Service).

    An interagency team!

  16. different clue

    ” It really feels like folks are complaining because they occasionally confront the nation and culture they live within.”

    DECEMBER 30, 2021

    If that is so, then the complaining is a good sign. It is a sign that people are confronting, or being forced to confront a situation which is putting itself right up in their face. Allll up in their face.

    As William S. Burroughs said about the title for his book Naked Lunch, ” It is a frozen moment where everyone is forced to see what is on the tip of every fork.”

  17. Eric F

    “confront the nation and culture they live within” – GlassHammer

    Yes, this exactly.
    But it sounded to me as if you were talking about such complaining in a disparaging tone (I could be wrong).

    For the record, I complain about the nation and culture I live within quite often.
    What else am I to do? I have no real power as an individual, and neither does anyone I know, including the few low-level elected officials.

    But as you imply, the real root problem is the narrative (ethos) underlying the values of our society. It is a story we all tell, and interestingly, the vast majority of us are all telling the same story, we just mix up who the villains and heroes are.

    How much energy and effort and expense are involved with telling a different story? Thoughts have almost zero mass and can be changed in a moment. How hard can this be?

    Of course, it turns out to be really hard, because there are many, many strongly held thoughts to change. Oh well.

    So call it complaining if you wish, but I prefer to think of the ineffectual yammering that I do as lobbying for a new social narrative.

  18. CH

    @NR, well said. The worst is Naked Capitalism with their daily Two Minutes Hate against Emmanual Goldstein–er, I mean, Anthony Fauci. The level of discourse has plummeted and groupthink has taken over. A lot of the Progressives I used to admire have become political nihilists–angry monkeys flinging shit from the sidelines.

    Certainly criticism is an important–even essential–part of citizenship. But so much discourse on the so-called Progressive Left seem to be unwittingly buying in to the FOX News view of the world, haplessly led around by lavishly paid pied pipers (Taibbi, Greenwald, et. al). Certain topics have became bizarre, all-consuming obsessions like the 1619 Project, “woke” college campuses and the “Russiagate hoax.” There are valid criticisms of these things of course, but they’re really such peripheral issues in the big picture. I’m so sick of hearing about them. I might as well watch Tucker Carlson or Ben Shapiro as read a lot of “Progressive” commentary nowadays.

    Meanwhile the crypto-fascist Right keeps gaining strength and average Americans are becoming ever more radicalized. I saw a car not too long ago with a bumper sticker proclaiming that all “Liberals” must be killed. That’s not my interpretation–that’s literally what it said verbatim.

  19. Mark Pontin

    GlassHammer’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows.”

    “It really feels like folks are complaining because they occasionally confront the nation and culture they live within.”

    Well, true enough. But the nation and culture these folks live within is in fact crap to live in, doomed in its present form — and not in some “in the long run we are all dead” fashion, but in a USSR-analogous collapse of the functioning US state at least in part and within the coming two decades (or probably less).

  20. Ian Welsh

    The whole “it is inevitable/twas ever thus” stuff is all very lovely and cynical, but remember: there are health organizations in entire countries that did a lot better than the CDC and WHO.

    Some politics may be inevitable, that it leads to the levels of immorality and dysfunction seen in the CDC is not because it didn’t happen everywhere.

  21. NR


    My past positions are completely consistent. Your… shall we say, inaccurate description of them is the problem, not my positions.

    For the record, I have consistently said that vaccines are an important part of the fight against COVID but they are not the end-all be-all. And I have called out anti-vaxxers for posting false claims about vaccines. Just because vaccines are not perfect and must be combined with other public health measures does not make the claims about them by anti-vaxxers true, nor does it make Facebook a good source of information on which to base medical decisions.

  22. NR

    The whole “it is inevitable/twas ever thus” stuff is all very lovely and cynical, but remember: there are health organizations in entire countries that did a lot better than the CDC and WHO.

    True, but most of those countries have not had 1.5 major political parties dedicate four decades to destroying public health institutions and social safety nets.

    I suspect the U.S. response to COVID would have looked very different were that not the case, even with no changes at the CDC.

  23. Ian Welsh

    Let’s attack positions rather than people we believe (accurately or not, I haven’t kept track) we feel hold the positions.

  24. Trinity

    What we are being forced to live in is a carefully constructed fantasy world of carefully constructed “absolutes” with little to no basis in reality, let alone acknowledgement of reality’s complex and interconnected nature. Power was used to construct this fantasy world, and power is used to maintain the fantasy because doing so benefits power. This is why a major part of this fantasy world and it’s power players requires that alternative views be suppressed and ridiculed.

    There is no narrative that can’t be controlled now. That fact alone would suggest a very strong need for alternative views. Yet alternative views (alternative to the “approved” narrative) are continually attacked and debased, just as the doctor who helped develop the mRNA tech got banned from twitter for arguing against mRNA vaccines for children.

    Luckily, there is increasing recognition that wisdom does not reside in individuals (“experts”) but rather resides in the “wisdom of the crowd”. And there is no better example of that than right here. As Dan Lynch illustrated beautifully, accepting this is really the best way to get on the road toward the truth of anything. Science is and always has been, first and foremost, an ongoing conversation. Good scientists will never speak (as economists do) in absolutes because there are myriad stories of previously held scientific hypotheses, ridiculed by many, that later turned out to be true.

    The problems begin specifically in those areas where science is wielded as a weapon (economics especially), or simply bought outright in order to serve power, meaning the conversation is deliberately halted, misdirected, or otherwise controlled instead of being allowed to continue as a conversation where all voices are at least heard and where wisdom becomes possible.

    This to me is the biggest crisis of our time, both the active suppression of alternative narratives and the suppression or outright dismissal of other (reasonable) points of view.

  25. Soredemos


    Fauci actually is a mass murdering monster though. I’m sorry that people constantly drawing attention to his epic malpractice upsets you.

    Rather than complaining that people like Taibbi and Greenwald make appearances on Fox, why not actually listen to their critiques and consider why Fox is the only major media outlet that will feature them. Just because the right gives something a microphone does not automatically make it untrue. The GOP gives them a voice because it finds it politically convenient to do so. But that fact has no bearing on the validity of what they have to say. Fox is a dumpster fire. So is MSNBC.

    The 1619 Project is a politically motivated exercise in historical fabrication. The appropriate counter to a set of fraudulent portrayals of history is not a different fraudulent portrayal from the opposite direction.

    Universities are actually fast eating themselves alive.

    Russiagate was actually literally a hoax.

    Historical myth-making, the disintegration of genuine intellectual inquiry and debate, and the collusion between a major political party and the intelligence agencies to overturn an election are not ‘peripheral issues’.

    Oh, and yes. I’m all for purging liberals as a meaningful political power. And I’m saying that from the actual left.

  26. Soredemos


    “Just because vaccines are not perfect”

    They were literally sold to the public as perfect. No nuance was ever communicated to the general public that ‘immune didn’t actually mean immune’. No distinction between ‘immunity’ and ‘sterilizing immunity’ was ever made. And no, it’s not enough to say that nurses and doctors understood this all along (I’m convinced many of them didn’t anyway. Plenty of them also understood the vaccines to give true immunity), because that was never communicated to normal people. Biden, Fauci , and Walensky have all repeatedly come out and said the vaccinated could take off their mask and similar. Not two weeks ago Fauci was putting out a cutesy thing for the kiddies about how he vaccinated Santa Claus so Santa was safe to travel. This isn’t just something abstract like institutional rot; this is straight up lying by specific individuals (not that there isn’t also plenty of institutional rot).

    “and must be combined with other public health measures”

    This was never done. Certainly not with meaningful health measures. Handwashing and plexiglass barriers do nothing against an airborne virus. Our health approach was focused on vaccines, which should have been the last line of defense.

    “does not make the claims about them by anti-vaxxers true, nor does it make Facebook a good source of information on which to base medical decisions.”

    Strawman. Idiot Karens on Facebook certainly exist, but they’re not at all where people who have an informed critique of the utter, murderous malpractice that has been the covid response are getting their information. I can’t stress enough how many actual doctors and medical scientists have been ruthless about the ‘Follow the Science™’ crowd, who in fact have never listened to the science and instead always subordinated it to business interests. The aerosol specialists especially have been screaming their heads off for nearly two years now.

  27. bruce wilder

    I would like to second what Trinity wrote about the suppression and dismissal of reasonable points of view being at the core of the crisis of our time.

    In the conversation that is science, the participants are at least theoretically committed to checking the facts, where facts are established by application of critical method to objective measure. Scientists, to be sure, can be passionately committed as individuals or factions (if that is the right term) to pov and associated priors, but ultimately reference has to reach beyond idiosyncratic, subjective impressions and values to common reference to observable, shared “objective” facts and analytically clarified and logically validated mechanisms.

    The emergence of that peculiar creature of late-capitalist journamalism, “the fact-checker” was a subtle acknowledgment that ordinary journalists and commentators were no longer expected to get their facts right, and mostly they do not even try. They latch onto a narrative and select or filter their “facts” accordingly.

    Our social media overlords flirted with “fact-checking” but now simply seek to marginalize the “radical” and amplify the disinformative noise at the margin at the same time. When official institutions of science no longer model or respect the standards of science in their public reasoning, this disinformative unmooring follows.

  28. Astrid


    I don’t recall you having such nuanced arguments for a multi-prong approach but perhaps my memory is faulty. I would appreciate it if you would point me to those arguments.

    I do see you now making excuses for the CDC – no resources, bad system. To which I say bullshit, yes the system is bad but they’re a party of it. Other countries have done better, some much better, with less resources. The CDC absolutely botched everything they came close to and they still don’t say aerosol or recommend aerosol appropriate protection on their Covid FAQ. How much resource do you need to type aerosol on a website?

    This is a pattern I see and not just with Covid. Nominally criticize the failing institutions but then say there is no alternative. Then focus on why critics of that system is unrealistic or worse and start projecting the worst of your imagination onto them, this ensuring that no productive conversation can every happen.

  29. Ché Pasa

    I think a lot of observers and commentators have got things pretty much backward. It’s not the suppression of alternative viewpoints that is the source of our difficulty and malaise, it is the overwhelming explosion of alternatives, primarily via social media, that has become the source, cause, and constant reinforcement of The Problem — which is far more pervasive that the relatively simple public health problem.

    Twitter is the problem, Facebook is the problem. I suppose one could say that this and other blogs like it are the problem — though without a mass audience, the problem they cause or reinforce is limited.

    Major mass media is also the problem. Very, very much so.

    But none of this happens in a vacuum. None of these Problem Causers is operating entirely on its own, independently of all the rest of the Problem Causers and reinforcers.

    It’s a system.

    We know that. Casting blame on one element or personality while ignoring the rest of the system accomplishes nothing in the end, for elements and personalities are highly replaceable. When we focus our rage entirely on a particular mass murderer, for example, leaving the others for later or not at all, the other basically have free rein to do as they wish. And guess what? They take full advantage of that freedom.

    It’s much easier to focus on individuals than to take on the systemic problem(s) that give rise to the individuals and sustain the processes that immiserate the millions.

    1619 Project is an imperfect example of an effort to take on a big chunk of that system — ie, the racism necessary to and inherent from the US’s colonial origins to right now — just as The People’s History of the United States tried to do more than a generation ago. Our collective myth, after all, is riddled with lies. Sorting through them to come up with something better takes much more energy than most of us have to offer. Clearly we are very far from “something better” — and we aren’t getting much closer day by day.

    I told a simple story of an ongoing system failure that was only corrected when the people who could do something about it were convinced a hundred years ago that they could profit from doing so. Until that point was reached, nothing was done — despite the pleas of public health officials.

    Now we’re in a more complicated situation in that profit is central — and assured by the way — but the overall policy is not to solve but to perpetuate the public health problem and crisis for the masses while assuring that the Overclass is as protected as possible. That’s the policy in operation. It’s not the CDC’s fault or WHO’s. They know what needs to be done to curb the pandemic. They have been thwarted at every turn by leaders who follow the interests and goals of a global elite which simply isn’t interested in ending or even particularly controlling this pandemic. They like it fine. They get way richer and the lower orders are being conditioned to a) fight among themselves (yay!), b) accept less and ever less as their due; c) die off in great numbers earlier and more agonizingly than just a few years ago. What’s not to like if you’re a Master of the Universe?

    I’ll say it again: public health officials know what to do to bring the current pandemic under control. It has been done and is being done in a number of places (China, New Zealand among others) where pandemic protocols are in place and operational. The problem is that none of these places are really all that isolated, and as long as the virus is running rampant elsewhere, even the places where it has been relatively well controlled will eventually succumb. It’s policy.

  30. GlassHammer

    To clarify, what I am attacking is this absurd “act of disavowal” that people express when what they believe about the public and private sectors is confirmed for them.

    The “act of disavowal” goes something like: “I know very well that the public sector operates under a neoliberal framework but none the less I act as if I did not know this even when reality shows it to be true.”

    And I can’t see the “act of disavowal” as anything other than a person confirming that they don’t have strongly held beliefs.

  31. Trinity

    “It’s not the suppression of alternative viewpoints that is the source of our difficulty and malaise, it is the overwhelming explosion of alternatives, primarily via social media, that has become the source, cause, and constant reinforcement of The Problem”

    There is an ongoing campaign to suppress truth (relative or absolute), alongside a separate but just as successful campaign to spread misinformation. I consider the former to be a much, much worse problem than the latter. Why? Because the former does much more damage before it’s reversed (if ever).

    Over time, the purveyors of fake news will eventually become less important over time (and newly sanctioned outlets will start up so the cycle can continue) but the deliberate suppression of “truth” can and will affect humans (and other living things) well into the future. And as noted, that is the plan.

    Or to put it as an example, it’s the difference between jailing someone who revealed a nation’s crimes against humanity, and Russiagate. The former effectively changed the journalism landscape for decades into the future, and the latter is fodder for late night tv talk show jokes.

    The only counter example I can think of is the “drink bleach” advice from the bleach’ed “one who shall not be named”. There may have been a few who died as a result of that experiment (I hope not), and if so the bleach’ed one should be charged but never will be, in part from the successful suppression of inconvenient truths.

  32. CH

    @Sordemos, thank you for proving my point. A subset of the Progressive Left has clearly lost it’s mind.

    For the record, I have read Taibbi/Greenwald and remain unimpressed. Do they make good points on occasion? Sure, as do even Shapiro/Carlson etc.

    But those same points are made much better by good-faith actors whose operational view of the world is much more accurate than these grifters. I tried to give Taibbi/Greenwald the benefit of the doubt for the longest time until I just couldn’t anymore. Clearly they’re in the business of tossing red meat to a certain kind of audience. I just don’t buy their “brave truth tellers censored by the mainstream media” schtick, especially when pulling in seven figures on Sub$tack. Check out their Twitter feeds and who they’re paired with. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s easier to just accept that it’s probably a duck than constantly trying to rationalize how it’s “really” something else and “you just don’t get it.”

  33. bruce wilder

    I find myself agreeing in vague outline and disagreeing in particular with every point Che Pasa makes.

    There are two aspects to the proliferation of views on mass media / social media that make that emergent “system” of propaganda problematic: one is the use of outrage and other emotional triggers to increase “engagement” and not incidentally to motivate alignment of personal identity with devisive tribal meta-narratives.

    The second aspect is the erosion of the ethics of factual verification and related to that the destruction of institutional support for critical investigation and knowledge-building. This second problem has a much longer history than social media and was acute for advertising-supported journalism from its beginnings as well as for scholarly disciplines including science: research to establish new knowledge can be insanely expensive, requiring a significant investment of resources.

    Altruistic punishment of those who get it wrong, in science or journalism, is part of the expense associated with sorting out what is at least arguably true from the false, deceptive or merely idle speculation. Rightly or wrongly, we used brand management to aid this sorting: the New York Times husbanded its reputation vis a vis the National Enquirer and the latter got to print entertaining stories of alien abduction while the former published the Pentagon Papers. As newspapers lost classified advertising as a non-controlling revenue base and the narrative-centered feature story style replaced just-the-facts event reporting, factual verification lost out and punishment for getting it wrong — never strong — ceased to be short of a lost libel suit. Brand management now requires delivering a narrative pleasing or predictably stimulating to a self-selected audience and such narratives actually require routinely shading and omitting facts.

    The point her critics have tried to make about Hannah Nicole-Jones and the 1619 Project is not, as Che Pasa would have it, that she has made an imperfect attempt to tell an important truth, but rather that in service to a chosen narrative, she has disregarded and contradicted the factual truth. Her project is not like Howard Zinn’s effort to insert omitted stories into the national narrative. The 1619 Project seeks to obscure and falsify, to eject from a messy history things that actually happened.

    The narrative trope that the CDC and WHO “know what needs to be done” deliberately overlooks the now abundant evidence that these institutions no longer have the capacity to develop or apply such knowledge. What part of “could not produce a test kit” as applied to the CDC did you not understand? And, stubbornly overlooking aerosol transmission — which was pretty obvious from the earliest cruise ship quarantine experience — in their advice is far from “knowing what needs to be done”. The incapacity for investigating effective treatment options is glaring. In the latest episode, the one that prompted this post, the dispositive tell of pig ignorance is not shortening the precautionary isolation period but omitting an end-of-period test. (No one in business even asked to omit the test!)

    I have a pretty strong belief that it is well past time to flush the neoliberal complacency / carnage out of our political systems.

  34. Ché Pasa


    I’m curious. What truth is being suppressed and where would it be found if it weren’t being suppressed?

  35. bruce wilder

    . . . those same points are made much better by good-faith actors whose operational view of the world is much more accurate than these grifters.

    Could you name some of these prominant paragons of virtue and insight so we can compare and contrast?

  36. bruce wilder

    One of the problems with wrestling with the messy, doubtful factual truth of reality is that one seldom has the comfort of certainty.

    I just ran across a simple chart that called into question what I presumed about who knew what they were doing vis a vis COVID-19.

    The chart ranks European countries by estimated cumulative excess deaths per 100,000 population in 2021. Of course it may not be particularly accurate — seems a bit early to be doing vital statistics for a year not quite complete.

    The result puts Sweden on top with the smallest rate — 24 excess deaths per 100,000. Sweden with its dissenting policy.

    There is a lot of critical thinking that would be required to digest these statistics, even accepting them as accurate. But, that is how thinking goes, no?

  37. different clue

    I am not Trinity. But here is an example of an actual factual truth which the WHO, CDC and their allies and servants tried suppressing as long and hard as they could.

    And that truth is . . . that Coronavid is airborne and air-spread. And the place you could see that truth expressed was on various social media platforms trying to be heard among all the different flavors of screaming. And also it was expressed specifically on Naked Capitalism for at least a year.

    Whereas even now the CDC and WHO are trying to stealth-soft-suppress it by drawing as little attention to it as they can . . . . by hinting at it on the very bottom of all their releases, after the loud blasts and blatts about ” hand-washing” and “fomites” and so forth. They figure as long as they keep putting their spotlight on “handwashing” and “surfaces”, they can trick the majority of people from ever turning their individual perception cameras towards “aerial airborne spread”. And the reason the CDC and WHO keep doing this is because they deliberately on purpose want to spread the virus to every single person on earth . . . . in my personal tinfoil opinion.

  38. Ché Pasa

    I happened to pull out my July 1917 copy of National Geographic yesterday (one of the benefits of having parents born in the first decade of the 20th century). The feature article is “Russia’s Man of the Hour” — speeches and proclamations of Alexander Kerensky, the Justice Minister of the Provisional Government that replaced the Tsar. They’re not that interesting except for the rough and ready rhetoric he employed when speaking with the Workers and Soldiers Council, sounding almost like a Bolshevik, my my. But that phase of the Revolution would be over by October/November — which Nat Geo couldn’t have known in early 1917.

    The lead article, however, is about the infestation of and efforts at eradicating rats, particularly in New Orleans where an outbreak of bubonic plague was underway in 1914 and continued for years. It’s quite amazing from our distance to read reports of the whole city pulling together to get rid of rats whose fleas were spreading the plague. All levels of government cooperated with the public and business interests to combat the rats and control the plague outbreak, but it was a long term project. It couldn’t be done in a day or a week or a month. The campaign went on for years. Buildings were fumigated; some were demolished if it was deemed necessary to protect the public health. New building codes were instituted to keep rats out of buildings. Rat trapping and poisoning went on everywhere. There were contests! Public engagement was key.

    Such a coordinated long term public health program literally couldn’t happen today in the United States and much of the West because of so many different views all contending with one another for public attention and being promoted by various interests, each antithetical to the other. Agreement on what to do in a public health emergency? Ha! Not this year. No way.

    Everyone’s a super scientist, everyone knows better than the officials in charge, everyone is ready to fight for their preferred methods — or no methods — to control or let rip the plague, and everyone is at everyone else’s throats over it.

    And some are profiting handsomely in the chaos. Perfect.

  39. Stirling Newberry

    I have a simple solution: fix things. Let me take only one example: dinosaurs are not reptiles yet go to any source and that is that they are: dinosaurs are reptiles. They do this because for over 100 years they were misclassified as reptiles. Do one email a day to one outlet on one subject.

  40. anon

    I knew that we could not trust our experts from the very start of this pandemic. Any doctor or public health expert who publicly stated that masks were unnecessary should be fired or forced to step down. I’m not a doctor and had the sense to buy any N95 masks I could find in February 2020. I saw other people like me at Home Depot and Lowe’s. Also, any expert or leader who told us this pandemic would be over within a few months to a year or soon should not be trusted. I was listening to actual experts who did not have an agenda state in early 2020 that the pandemic would last at least 2-3 years. That may have been accurate if we had competent leaders who handled this well from the start, but now my guess is that this pandemic will last indefinitely. Don’t believe anyone who should know better tell you otherwise about basic science and what any of us with good instincts and common sense figured out without a MD or MPH.

  41. Ché Pasa

    Thanks DC. As you point out and NC might acknowledge one day — or not — the Truth (so far as is known) about Covid spread is not actually suppressed at all; it’s not featured in CDC and/or WHO literature, however, and if these fine agencies aren’t promoting one factor in the spread of Covid, they’re clearly trying to kill us all. Oh wait, they are. But at the same time, The Truth Is Out There and it doesn’t take heavy artillery to blast it out of hiding. You know about airborne spread, so do I, so do those fine agencies. Masking works. Even poor masks are better than no masks. Better ventilation works. This is not controversial and it’s widely known — and spotty efforts are being made to improve ventilation.

    We’re left on our own, however, to acquire and use filtration masks and somehow achieve better ventilation (I love the box fan, duct tape, and HEPA filter DYI solutions). We’re left on our own to individually quarantine when we’re ill or test positive — if we can even get a test. We’re on our own to get — or not get — vaccinated as we choose. “Mandates” still leave it up to the individual. There is little or no community coordination as there was in the rat eradication programs I referred to earlier. It’s individuals only doing — or not doing — individual things to mitigate the virus, and it’s been that way from the beginning. And, surprise, surprise, that means of control is ultimately no control at all. That is policy.

    There’s never been a real lockdown* in this country, for example, despite all the keening and rending of garments — and armed threats — over it. It was obvious from the beginning that there wouldn’t be one, either. No provision was ever made to ensure that large numbers of people could stay at home and receive needed supplies and food and medicine and all of that for the two weeks or so necessary to control the virus. Just couldn’t do it. There was no adequate testing, tracing or tracking. Nothing like that ever happened. By policy.

    *Except for congregate living facilities like assisted living, nursing homes, jails, prisons and such where unbelievably but actually sick people were packed in to spread the virus and die. By official policy.

    CDC and WHO know how to control this pandemic. But the policy is not to control it — or rather only control to some extent who gets sick and for how long. CDC and WHO are not in charge of what’s done or not done, and they have no power or authority to enforce the protocols they know will work (but which don’t work on an individual only level). They need the cooperation of political and Overlord spheres, and serious public cooperation, and they don’t have it. In most places, they have been actively thwarted.

    I have no love for Fauci or Birx or any of the public health spokes who’ve been featured throughout this mess. Sometimes they’re lying; always they are obfuscating. But I’ll tell you this, if you or any of us were in their positions dealing with what they’ve been dealing with, you or I would be doing essentially the same thing. A system that relies on the absent cooperation of key interests to curb a pandemic doesn’t allow for anything else.

    Overthrow the system. Kerensky and the Provisional Government didn’t last very long in Petrograd but they did overthrow a rotten and murderous system. Ponder it.

  42. Willy

    Cherrypicking Swedens covid “success” is cherrypicking apples from oranges. Like trying to compare the economy of the USA with Cuba, instead of Haiti with Cuba as seems more realistic.

    I’d think it’d be smarter to compare Swedish covid results with those of its Scandinavian neighbors. And then, another variable little discussed here is the volume of international air travel seen within a given covid hot spot. Heathrow, Schiphol and Istanbul Airports are massive compared to their Scandinavian counterparts.

    As for comparing states, the lack of international travel to North Dakota should present ideas for other variables impacting the prevalence of covid in that state, tops per capita in the USA.

  43. Astrid


    In Fauci or Birx’s shoes, I would have quit and blew the whistle as hard as I can, even knowing the personal costs inflicted on whistleblowers. So would anyone with a conscience and many of them did and paid for it in various ways.

    That the system selected for psychopaths who would lie and lie and lie to send millions to miserable early graves is an indictment of the system, but does not excuse the psychopaths themselves.

  44. Ché Pasa


    So glad you’re ready to throw your own body on the gears of the machine.

    Seems like no one who hasn’t been assassinated or thrown in jail or… since Mario Savio has been prepared to do it.

    (cf: speech on the steps of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley, December 2, 1964 )

    Let’s see, he ultimately wound up teaching math in the belly of the beast at UC Sonoma, but oh well.

    He did what he could.

  45. jrs

    Weren’t mainstream (not at all radical – but unless radicalism is actually from the left I have little use for it either) publications like The Atlantic discussing airborne way back when? Yep.

    But very early on in 2020, it did seem highly scientifically contested whether it was airborne depending on the definition of airborne that was being used, so there did some to be some sincere scientific debate going on. But that would have only meant people should take precautions just to be on the safe side. I think better informed people were doing so, even if they read almost exclusively mainstream media, but those ONLY getting their guidance from the CDC and WHO maybe not. Which yes means there was a failure to adequately communicate by public health agencies. But it doesn’t mean the truth wasn’t available, but it should have been widely communicated, to all, not just the best informed.

  46. Ché Pasa

    The woulda, coulda, shouldas are numberless. Without the active support of the Overclass, the political class and the public, however, none of it amounts to much, and we’re in situation wherein significant elements of all three are in active opposition to what should be and must be done to control/end the pandemic. It’s not terribly unlike the situation at the outset of the AIDs epidemic (hello, Fauci). Powerful interests didn’t care whether the disease spread, some actively wanted it to. And even now, it’s not under control among certain unfortunate populations.

    Individuals cannot control a pandemic on their own.

  47. Trinity

    We don’t know what we don’t know.

    That’s the real danger, imho.

  48. bruce wilder

    I know this is a dead thread, but I feel obligated to push back on Ché Pasa’s argument: his key move is to assert, against plentiful evidence to the contrary, that “CDC and WHO know how to control this pandemic.” This leads, logically, to blaming the victims — the People, who by and large, did seem initially willing to cooperate and dutifully followed such guidelines as they were given. Again the evidence on this mass willingness to trust and obey is plentiful. Even Ché Pasa’s hateful “Overclass” seemed initially willing to go along with unprecedented (albeit ultimately inadequate) measures — a vaccine distributed free and various measures of economic support, including some “free” cash.

    Again, on the evidence, the People were mostly cooperative and the Overclass modestly permissive at the outset.

    The point of critical and proximate failure was not an absence of “support” from below and above. The CDC has a budget in the billions of dollars and before it trashed its considerable reputation and great moral authority as the leaders and expert scientific support for the public health establishment in the States (which until very recently had vast and unchallenged legal authority, inherited from the storied challenges and triumphs of the Progressive Era in advancing public health).

    I am not saying the erosion of the CDC’s expertise does not have a history — it most certainly does. The failure in the Obama Administration to short-cut the opiate epidemic or respond to the declines in life expectancy (and height!) shows the history of impotence (and supports Che Pasa’s argument indirectly by demonstrating long-standing Overclass malevolence aided and abetted by the political classes.) That Anthony Fauci, at 80 years of age, presides over a key institution of the NIH, is a clue to the rot; a key indication that critical career paths have been cut off, probably by the same neoliberal rot induced by soaring dispersion of professional incomes that draws real scientific expertise away into servitude to financial speculation in new forms of pharmaceutical addiction and IP manipulation. That we can “explain” why the WHO/CDC establishment is near-brain-dead with the mechanism of neoliberalism, aka soaring income inequality driven by financialization that draws talent and technical expertise into essentially parasitical economic activity, while inducing uncontrolled growth of unproductive bureaucratic administration intent on unproductive make-work schemes that destroy the public purposes of public institutions (including the non-profits and NGOs), does not excuse Ché Pasa’s formulation.

    Ché Pasa formulation is that the WHO/CDC lack support from above and below. We could slip into an argument of regress, saying that the lack of “support” has been a long time building, hollowing out the CDC over a period of time. And, it is factually true, on the evidence again, that the CDC has been hollowed out over a long period of time. But, that wasn’t Ché Pasa’s argument: he argued that WHO/CDC had the answers and only lacked support in real time.

    Ché Pasa’s peroration, as is his habit, is to call for overthrowing the System, without, of course, specifying very clearly what constitutes the System now or what might reasonably substitute as a System in some future revolutionary reform. There’s a psychological futility at the core of Ché Pasa’s political worldview, but I am going to try to let that go, to endorse his call for revolution and “overthrow of the System”.

    The U.S. is pretty far along on a toboggan run from what was once a high-trust, high-solidarity polity to a low-trust polity and, quite possibly, failed state.

    Ché Pasa’s “it was always thus” metaphysics can lead to futile pining for an absence of system as the only “meaningful” political change. I say, rubbish. Public institutions are not built into high-functioning and powerful bureaucracies by magic let alone by mere assumption; they have to be able to sustain themselves in the ecology of the political economy, that is to say, in the context of the overall System, which is characterized by its mechanisms.

    And, remedial Reform, revolutionary or otherwise, also has to come from somewhere, from Power in Hannah Arendt’s sense, that is from concerted, sustained political organization. Whether that will come from dissent and division among the few, really rich, or from dissident factions of the professional and managerial classes, from political entrepreneurs willing to ride populist dissatisfaction as demagogues, or (hoping against hope) some stirring of rebellion from what used to be called “the working classes”, I do not predict. Rebellion or not, I expect the neoliberal System to break down, triggered by challenges to the international order. The U.S. has been in a legitimacy/constitutional crisis for over 20 years now and a realignment is underway. The Republican right has gone faux-populist; the Democratic liberals have become genuine authoritarians. I still hold that Obama trashed the chances for orderly reform short of at least a partial collapse or an authoritarian imposition, imho, but 2022 will be an interesting year for a System that should have been drowned in a bathtub more that 15 years ago.

  49. Ché Pasa

    In fact, public health agencies are almost unanimous in the steps needed to control pandemics. That includes CDC and WHO. The Problem is the System, which I’ve tried to make clear.

    That System prevents the CDC and WHO and all the other public health agencies from enforcing their own rules for pandemic control. They must have — and don’t have — the active, willing and wholehearted support and effective enforcement power of the Overclass and their political handmaidens.

    The System says “No” in other words. Protect the ultra-well off as well as can be and let the rest fend for themselves. Don’t worry about the losses. They’d be dead anyway eventually. The long term sick can just deal with it. Their problem.

    This is where we’ve been throughout the pandemic, and really most of us are used to it by now. Some are eagerly defending the individual responsibility mantra.

    But this is a global-community problem that won’t be solved at the individual level. In fact, relying almost entirely on individuals to do the right thing when there is so much conflicting opinion about what “the right thing is” among so many other conflicts assures that the pandemic will continue without let up for the foreseeable future. Your overlords are fine with that.

    I don’t really think Bruce is presenting a counter-argument; he’s seeing the situation through a different lens. Highlighting different factors, but coming to essentially the same conclusion.

    So I would ask, should the CDC and WHO and other public health agencies have overriding authorities and enforcement mechanisms in pandemic situations when the elites and the politicians the elites employ are determined on another, contrary course?


  50. bruce wilder

    “In fact, public health agencies are almost unanimous in the steps needed to control pandemics. That includes CDC and WHO. ”

    With due respect, that is a narrative trope not an accurate factual description.

    The “messaging” has been confused — which is partially attributable to “interference” from their political masters concerned about other considerations. Quite apart from the way those political dramas have played out, the CDC and WHO have openly displayed scientific and technical incompetence in a series of instances/incidents/processes. I will not repeat my incomplete list of examples. They do not know what they are doing to any reasonable standard and insisting on a narrative premised on such competence is deceptive and misleading.

  51. Willy

    Robert Reich’s general theme in his videos seems to be that whatever self-balancing mechanisms which a successful common good society should have, have been strategically captured by the wealthy/powerful. No real news there.

    Does he throw the CDC/WHO in with the wealthy/powerful as part of their scheme to dominate the world soley for their own behalf? Maybe. But I’m having trouble finding that video.

    Does he have another video where he describes that the top weapon of the wealthy/powerful, is the cultivation of a confused cynicism so deep that the 99% don’t care to cohesively organize anymore? Yes, because I’ve seen it. Now if I just had the time to find that video.

  52. different clue


    The One Per Cent versus the Ninety Nine Per Cent was an easy phrase to grasp and began to align thinking.

    Some people might be ready to move forward to a more fine-grained division, namely the top One Per Cent, the Next Nine Per Cent, and then the Lower Ninety Per Cent at the Bottom.

    Those among the Lower Ninety at the Bottom who are prepared to THINK of themselves as BEING at the Bottom might be ready to co-operate with eachother on some things in their mutual self-interest. Those who are ready to do so should go ahead and do so in various ways. The rest of the Lower Ninety at the Bottom can either join the Active Lowers or not.

    People should pick the battlespace they feel best in and fight in that battlespace. One hopes that people of different chosen battlespaces will not try to raid eachothers’ battlespaces for volunteers out of the sectarian spite and childish egotism so typical of reform and/or revolution efforts. But of course some will. One hopes those battlers at the Bottom who are smarter than the sectarian recruiters and missionaries will work out ways to repel them with successful methods of passive rejection and shunning requiring the absolute minimum of scarce and precious attention and energy.

    If people try to form new political parties, I hope they would give them non-cute, non-dramatic truth-in-labelling names like New Deal Revival Party or Lower Class Majority Party or some such.

  53. different clue

    Here is a specimen of the WHO’s most current up to the minute real-time now advice for people to use in dealing with Covid.

    I share Lambert Strether’s opinion ( which I will copy-paste below) that the WHO’s advice remains precisely and exactly worthless. I will go further than Lambert Strether in that I will say that this re-inforces my ongoing belief that WHO remains part of the international Overclass conspiracy to spread covid to every person on earth deliberately and on purpose.

    First, the Lambert Strether material . . .

    “You will pry fomites and hygiene theatre from WHO’s cold, dead hands. I mean, separate dishes? Really?” …and …

    “For whatever reason, the world’s leading “public health” organizations have decided they can fight a pandemic with no coherent theory of transmission. This means that, despite all the handwaving about personal responsibility, many will be unable to protect themselves, either from lack of knowlege, or misplaced trust. Especially depraved because the messaging is aimed at families, by definition including families with children. Oh, and — hold onto your hats, here, folks — nothing about HEPA filters or Corsi boxes (which would be useful for wildfires, too). They don’t even suggest putting a fan in the window. Let alone respirators.”

    Now, where Lambert Strether says . . . ” For whatever the reason” . . . I myself say . . . “Playing its role in the international Overclass conspiracy to spread covid on purpose” . . .

    and now the link to the WHO advice-blatt, and the twitter thread therefrom . . .

  54. Ché Pasa

    “Lambert” is about as far from expert in these fields as you can get, but your insight is worth pondering… is the WHO part of the Overclass conspiracy to do us all in?

    You decide.

  55. different clue

    Lambert is a layman doing the best he can, as are most of us. This post was about the deceit and treachery and mile-a-minute lying by the experts. So saying “Lambert is about as far from expert in these fields as you can get” . . . is not the discredit you still obsoletely think it is.

    Yes. The WHO has conspired to suppress knowledge about the airborne nature of covid for as long as it could, so it advances the Overclass mass democide agenda. Is it a knowing participant? A witless dupe?

    You decide.

  56. Ché Pasa

    Given what we’ve seen and know — which is nowhere near “everything” — we can rest assured that the WHO and CDC and much of the remaining, tattered public health infrastructure is not fully on the side of the people in part because the political class and Overclass is not on the side of the people and generally doesn’t care what happens to the rabble.

    Bruce and “Lambert” and others like to operate from the premise that public health agencies have an independent existence and authority and are not subject to the demands of political and economic interests. It should be obvious that they don’t have that independence and authority. My question is: should they have it?

    Based on what we’ve seen and know of — let’s say — their incompetence, I say “no!”

    To me, it’s like “raising taxes on the rich” — when we know any additional government revenue will go to war, surveillance, police, and undermining oppositional institutions.

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