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"Do you know where you find that kind of black-white thinking? In people who have major personality disorders. And psychopaths. Psychopaths and people with narcissistic personality disorder engage in black-white thinking. America right now is in this weird situation in which it’s a country that to the outside looks psychopathic or disordered."

This quote. Except that it looks that way from the inside too. I've lived in the deep south and in Brooklyn; never have I had such a difficult time talking about my views without the worry of wherever the "guilt by association" line is. There is no acceptable view of vaccines or covid protocols other than the approved one, and god help you if you've ever enjoyed an episode of JRE. What's interesting is this had started to happen when it came to nuanced views of gender and race a few years ago, after the Trump-Factor had dirtied these topics. Nothing compares to covid. It's as if every religious nutjob in the country converted to the church of Pfizer, led by the Fack-Checkers of Misinformation.

It went from "silence is violence" on racism, to, "if anything you say causes even one person to have a slightly less favorable view of the LIFE SAVING big pharma, you're a murderer". Fuck.

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This extreme polarization of "good people" vs "bad people", which seems to completely originate on the left, has to incorporate every issue of the day. Everything has to be reduced to their model of virtue. And any evidence on any aspect of any issue they have incorporated has to be used to instantly label anyone who isn't 100% aligned with the "correct narrative" as needing cancellation. "Oh, you trust your healthy immune system more than Pfizer? Then you're a racist."

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Oh come on. Do you seriously think that good versus bad simplicity is something which "seems to originate on the left"?

Both those on the D/R divide virtue signal themselves, using their supposed values as some sort of flag to rally around and highlight their superiority.

R's will tell you they're more patriotic, care more about the troops, fight the wars, pay the taxes, do the kind of blue collar jobs that keep the US running, and memorably on one post here by a lady months back, were the ones "in the heartland" who had their jobs outsourced by Dem politicians, dismissing the fact that PNTR for the PRC and NAFTA, had more votes from R's than D's in Congress, and as though only those like her had suffered from D.C.'s love affair with fattening their corporate masters profits regardless of how it impacted workers here.

There is no doubt that in recent times, the D's have done excellent imitations of Joe McCarthy regarding Trump and Russia or making wild and embarrassing claims about those who don't want the vaccine, or trying to cancel people, but the R's have also passed anti BDS laws that impinge on people's liberties, called anti war leftists as supporters of terrorists and perhaps you might remember The Dixie Chicks and their stand on Iraq.

American politics is an embarrassing display of tribal virtue, each side convinced of both its moral superiority and its exclusive victimhood, each side ready to drop its supposed principles when convenient and utterly unwilling to see that behind it all, their supposed political leaders on both sides, are using them as the rich and powerful always have done.

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Censorship, vaccine mandates, mandatory DEI trainings at work, you're born gay but gender and race are social constructs, calls at the state level to abolish single-family zoning, CRT and its offshoots taught in K-12, DOJ weaponized against parents who complain, sacrificing energy independence under the highly questionable conclusion that anthropogenic climate change requires it.-----all of this is coming from the Left, progressives, (il)liberals, the DNC, or whichever label you choose. The religion of the State.

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You made Michael's point for him: left AND right have a grab-bag of tribal grievances, ready to whip out at a moment's notice. Steve was arguing that only the left did such things, and he's wrong.

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I wasn't citing tribal grievances. I pointed out specific examples of coercion coming from the left, right now.

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I know you were. That was my point, that you provided the left-side coercions that counterbalanced Michael's right-side coercions. Meaning, our current tribal warfare comes from both right and left, not just the left as Steve argued.

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More grievance signaling from the right?

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No. Just citing some specific examples of coercion, none of which are coming from conservatives, Republicans. Pause and reflect, or troll on.

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"all of this is coming from the Left, progressives, (il)liberals, the DNC, or whichever label you choose"

A statement that shows that you think all of those designations reduce to the same label, and that label in turn can be defined by the cookie-cutter caricature of your imagination.

You're also ignoring the dissent by Left-leaning writers- not just by dour skeptics of the Democratic Party like Matt Taibbi (and Freddie DeBoer, Adolph Reed, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, etc.), but by comment writers more inclined to be sympathetic to the Democratic Party, like Ruy Texeira, who also publishes on Substack https://substack.com/profile/12224429-ruy-teixeira

And the reason you're doing this is because you have no interest in combining in a coalition of opposition to that strain of Democratic Party thought that indulges in scolding authoritarian excesses, but because you're out to put a patent the opposition as an action originating in the inherently virtuous nature of the political Right. Which is agitprop horseshit.

For someone out to make a comparison of the Democratic Party with Soviet tyranny, your padded-out list of accusations is pretty weak (numerals added):

"1)Censorship, 2)vaccine mandates, 3)mandatory DEI trainings at work, 4) you're born gay but gender and race are social constructs, 5) calls at the state level to abolish single-family zoning, 6) CRT and its offshoots taught in K-12, 7)DOJ weaponized against parents who complain, 8) sacrificing energy independence under the highly questionable conclusion that anthropogenic climate change requires it..."

Of the eight specifics on your laundry list, only one of them (2) has even been partially enacted as a Federal program; two of them (1, 3) are voluntary top-down owner/board of directors business decisions; two (4, 6) are recondite academic perspectives whose points have been vulgarized and twisted for political purposes both by axe-grinding special interests and by opponents who insist on partisan branding (see above); one (5) I know nothing about (your non-description doesn't help)- it may even be a good idea, and sounds more like a libertarian proposal than a statist over-regulation, but at any rate it sounds like Federal government influence is nil; one (8) is merely your partisan agitprop framing, which is not to be confused with established fact; and finally (7), which is a blatantly false and inflammatory charge couched in weasel language. The Department of Justice has been directed to investigate threats against school board members, teachers, and other employees in relation to the often threatening reaction over- but there's no "weaponization" about that, any more than the DoJ has been "weaponized" to investigate threats made against other government employees. The phone threats exist.

No one has ever been arrested at a school meeting for protesting CRT or school curriculum policies- at least not in my keyword search; the one guy, Scott Smith, arrested in Loudoun County, Virginia who called out AG Merrick Garland over the directive was being worked by the Right- Garland's directive wasn't referring to the man's arrest for his heated protest at a school board meeting (over his daughter's victimization as a result of negligent school policy, not connected to CRT or any controversy over course content) https://nypost.com/2021/10/13/dad-arrested-at-school-board-meeting-rips-ag-merrick-garland/

"A Virginia father who was arrested at a school board meeting has ripped Attorney General Merrick Garland for painting him as a domestic terrorist — saying he’d just been trying to raise the alarm about his daughter getting “sexually assaulted” in a school bathroom...." Then the Post uses a hyperlink in that passage to a different story about the Garland directive. Misleadingly. But attentive readers will note that neither Scott Smith or the incident that got him arrested are mentioned in that linked story. https://nypost.com/2021/10/07/schools-boards-persecute-dissident-parents/

To sum up: AG Garland's directive did not refer to Scott Smith by name; it made no reference to the specific incident that led to his arrest. But someone apparently convinced Smith that the directive was issued in reference to his own personal actions.

The people who are claiming (more like insinuating, as usual) that Merrick Garland issued that directive to victimize Scott Smith are dealing off the bottom of the deck. Here's Garland's memo, in full:

https://www.justice.gov/ag/page/file/1438986/download

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You're in denial. It's all coercion, and it's coming from the Blue side of the State. Most of the citizens want none of it.

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in other words, you got nothing to contradict me. Other than table-pounding, that is.

I agree with your statement that "most of the citizens want none of it". But that group includes people who identify on the Left, the Center, as Independents...the opposition is actually a big tent.

But, all you want to do is to mine the discontent for cheap partisan gain, by branding that opposition as an exclusive franchise of the Right Wing. A cheap, transparently phony tactic. Especially given that you're doing it on the Substack of Matt Taibbi, of all people.

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Feb 3, 2022·edited Feb 3, 2022

"Voting Preferences of Outpatients With Chronic Mental Illness in Germany" (Bullenkamp, 2004)

"The poll found that the outpatients were significantly more likely than the general population in Mannheim to prefer left-wing parties (78 percent

compared with 56 percent)."

People with diagnosed mental illness do not just lean leftwing they are overwhelmingly far leftwing. Contingent with almost all mental illnesses is a lack of a sense of self. This attracts the mentally ill to collectivist ideologies. Hard to be a rugged individualist right winger when you know fuck all about who you are.

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That you e. pierce?

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Masturbatory troll? You go on-anism, on-anism, on-anism.

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One poll in one city (in Germany) may perhaps be a bit of a stretch to apply to all people everywhere.

"Contingent with almost all mental illness is a lack of sense of self."

This would then seem to also include rightwing racists, who see their race as their identity, just as it would those who are left collectivist, or even right collectivist, such as the Nazis, or even those ultra nationalists of any country who view themselves as part of that collective as their primary identity.

As for "rugged right individualist right wingers", what an irony that among the states that take in more federal government spending than they pay in taxes, 15 of the top 25 are Repub(#1 is Dem New Mexico, so as not to be attempting to play fast and loose with facts in an effort to deceive).

People are individuals and that is how I take them, even though I'm definitely a lefty, (by no means a lib and certainly not a Dem), I have at least as many rightwing friends as libs and least of all people with my overall beliefs, which can be explained because there are far fewer of us

If you want to highlight the lib/some lefty cluster fuck thinking regarding Trump/Russia, or the pandemic, then I won't disagree it's been deranged, but then you could say the same about the Obama derangement syndrome, seeing this consummate corporate whore as some fire breathing socialist, or forecasting our doom because we finally withdrew from the war in Afghanistan, a war we lost over 19 years ago, because terrorists were sure to attack The Homeland, to hear some on the right.

I think we all bring our own individual nature and our life experiences to inform our beliefs. I'm left, but my first responsibility is for myself and my family, but for me, it doesn't end there, but extends to others, and while I believe in as little compulsion as possible, unfortunately sometimes that caring for others has to some degree be a societal imposition. I've known far too many people who are more than willing to let others do all the heavy lifting as they sit back and reap the benefits. Perhaps our current form of war fighting, where most go shopping and 1% endure all the hardships, would highlight that. In a perfect world, with perfect people, I'd be a left libertarian, but I've lived 74 years on this planet and I'm not holding my breath.

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Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022

To that bullshit about fiar share. I haven't worked all the numbers out but I did notice the little trick of "taxes" which of course ignores that many of those fly over red states are resource states where the feds get lots of royalties. The State of Alaska for example gives the feds about $2,000,000,000 is royalties on oil alone. That doesn't include royalties natural gas, timber, fish, mining etc.

But I get it. You are an elitist asshole! You want to believe some bullshit about you give more.

But hey look at the trucker strike in Canada right now. When we cut you off from all those actual resources you take from us I will be laughing as you choke eating your worthless paper money because you are starving with no heat, and no power.

Lets have a go at it. We will cut you off from resources and you can cut us off from ... well I guess "academic papers" facebook. We will see who caves first.

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You can look up the numbers and see I'm right. Red states tend to have lower wages, thus lower tax revenues, not to mention that California, which by itself is somewhere around the sixth or seventh largest economy in the world, pays oodles of taxes.

The red states tend to be moochers, if that's uncomfortable for you then huddle in your tribe and virtue signal each other like the libs do.

A nation of snowflake libs and bone spur cons, each sucking on their thumbs and crying about their victimhood, which they and they alone must bear.

Boohoo.

Not an elitist, but I could be an asshole, as perhaps you are, but not knowing you, I'll refrain from making that judgment.

Probably the only elite group I was a part of was the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, but we couldn't have been too elite, as we lost that war, too, something our nation has developed into a fine art since WWII.

Otherwise, I was a Licensed Land Surveyor in California until retiring 7 years ago, but maybe that makes me an elitist, too.

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"This would then seem to also include rightwing racists, who see their race as their identity, just as it would those who are left collectivist, or even right collectivist, such as the Nazis, or even those ultra nationalists of any country who view themselves as part of that collective as their primary identity."

Agreed as far as racism goes but as you see in studies of mental illness these are a far smaller minority.

Although I have never understood how ethnonationalist socialists white people are right wing and ethnonationalist socialists black people are left wing. Do know that the famed early black leader Marcus Garvey considered himself a fascist? And he isn't wrong FYI.

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Wm Taylor has it right. I've voted and been ideologically anti-war left most of my life, but the party I've aligned with prior to 2016 is unrecognizable to me now. The judgement and self-righteousness is something I've never seen before anywhere near to the extent that I now associate all self-identified Democrats with. OTOH, I also associate with lots of conservatives and see nothing judgemental in them other than a distain for the dems who are trying to control everybody's lives and trying to shame and censor everybody who disagrees with them, even a little.

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Haven't voted for any Dem for any office since 2008. Have never voted for any Repub, other than Obama in 2008, something I love to say to Libs just to get a reaction.

However, to say you see "nothing judgmental in them" re Repubs, is an overreach of magnificent proportions.

Back when cons were pro war, a position they would now like us to forget, now that some have embraced anti war postures, they routinely called anti war lefties as enemies of the US, siding with terrorists, cowards etc. I'll never forget one of them holding a sign during an anti war protest I was in that said, "So many hippies, so few hand grenades".

Cons are as self righteous as Libs, it's just that their virtue signaling involves things like being the true patriots, having better family values, being the ones who fight our wars, even as they vote for one Vietnam draft dodger after another, etc. while Libs tend to think of themselves as more refined, smarter or whatever. And to say it's jut Libs who try to control others' lives, maybe you've forgotten the rights' attempts to ban abortions, or their attempts to destroy the Dixie Chicks' career, or the anti BDS laws that Repubs have passed in states they control, which are a clear violation of our 1st Amendment rights, and which have cost people their jobs.

Presently, there's no doubt the Dems have been guilty of all you've stated, but to think that they have sole ownership of that quality is to deny history.

Sorry, your post is a perfect example of the binary, Manichean thinking that that permeates the childish political stances of so many in the US. Don't know about you, but I've been in more than a few bars and witnessed fights between two people, both of whom were total assholes.

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Feb 13, 2022·edited Feb 13, 2022

I sincerely hope that you didn't interpret my post as an endorsement of any Republicans or any of their agendas since Eisenhower. But the divisive attitudes, destructive policies that the Democrats have forced onto the country since 2016, and the misinformation that they've used to promote those is what is relevant to this discussion; not the glaring lack of morality of the Republicans going back in time to whenever.

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You Will Comply, Or Else is the Left's mission statement

Leave Me The F Alone is the Right's mission statement

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That insistence on Political Partisanship (whimsically conjured imaginary ideological templates, grafted on to all too real political forces and endowed with metaphysical character)- and sticking angel wings on one side ("the Right" of your example) and devil horns on the other ("the Left" of your example)- is exactly the black-and-white thinking that was being critiqued in the article!

same with this statement by Steve: "This extreme polarization of "good people" vs "bad people", which seems to completely originate on the left"

And you, Steve, and your defenders can't even see it! It's YOU! When you insist on that polarization, that insistence on You and Your Side being Moral King Of The Hill, you're THAT GUY, too!

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I don't know whether it's a straw man or a false premise, but the angel wings and devil horns are of *your* absolutist making.

We on the Right don't insist on political partisanship; it's been IMPOSED upon us, by the Left. We let Susan Molinari (pro-choice) not only speak at our nominating convention, but she gave the KEYNOTE address. You wouldn't even let (pro-life) PA Gov. Robert Casey (the elder) speak at your convention. So please, don't trot out the "both sides" canard. The Left is FAR more guilty of the partisanship crap than is the Right.

Long before this example, but this is a great example: the Colorado caterer. The Leftist assholes who tried to destroy his business TARGETED him. They bypassed several dozen closer caterers, drove something like 60 miles out of their way for the EXPRESS purpose of destroying him.

While there are exceptions to every rule - so no, we're NOT guilty of the Black/White dichotomy, some on the Left are not this way (Taibbi, Weiss, Greenwald, even Berenson, are on the Left) - it IS axiomatic that the Left's overwhelming view is substantively "everything not banned is mandatory" and "do what we say or we'll destroy you" and that the Right's overwhelming view is substantively "leave us the F alone".

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"We on the Right don't insist on political partisanship"

Of course not. Why, No True Rightist would insist on political partisanship! Because you're Angels. You have a couple of anecdotes to prove it! And, look at those Devil Horns on the Other Side!

So, what's a RINO, anyway? I can supply some anecdotes of my own that indicate the severe implications of what the polite euphemism indicates, to those most fond of using the acronym.

Speaking personally, I just can't get the wisdom of attributing a fixed political identity to myself. I mean, I used to. Before I examined my assumptions.

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Feb 2, 2022·edited Feb 3, 2022

Am enjoying the debate you two have going. My observation is the far right used to be more close-minded and binary than the far left, but since Trump was elected the far left has "upped its game" to the point it surpasses (with vengeance) the far right on issues such as censorship, book burning, and essential failure to understand and appreciate the First Amendment, pluralism, and large parts of the Enlightenment.

Not that the far right doesn't have more than its share of kooks, Andrew, many of whom seem to congregate in high numbers on comment boards, though thankfully not this one. As I remarked to a colleague last year. Diehard conservatives anger me, but diehard "progressives" genuinely frighten me about the future of this country.

Either way, have enjoyed your debate.

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Are you telling me that you CANNOT tell the White Hats from the Black Hats in this?? https://bit.ly/3rm4bKl

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Taibbi, Weiss, Greenwald, Berenson are unequivocally NOT on the left.

Fix your compass, son.

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Fix your dosage, ma'am.

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I don't identify with the right, except to the extent that I criticize the anti-liberalism of the left. The primary benefit of the right is that it isn't trying to cancel the opposition, censor everything that doesn't uphold approved narratives, and use supposedly "progressive" ideology to push our society straight into the abyss. There are very few republican politicians I respect. The shameless corruption in Washington engulfs everyone there. The place is FUBAR. We need to repeal Citizens United and deeply reform campaign financing rules, enforce a lifetime maximum of 2 terms in office, and move towards a robust multi-party system. The goal is to restore our democracy to health, because it's currently got stage 4 cancer.

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Left? How about the John Birch Society, Nixon/Hoover/McCarthy, Banned in Boston and censor anti slavery mail from reaching the south crowds? Right wingers all.

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I'm guessing most of what you think you know about McCarthy is wrong, or in the word of the day, misinformation. For example, what you think you know about the "Sir, have you no shame?!" episode is likely the exact opposite of what actually happened.

If you're truly interested in the actual facts about McCarthy, I recommend you read this book:

"Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies"

https://www.amazon.com/Blacklisted-History-Senator-McCarthy-Americas/dp/1400081068

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Feb 2, 2022·edited Feb 2, 2022

Thank you for pointing to this book. It is the best reference on Senator McCarthy's actual career, and his efforts to reduce Communist influence on (and even control of) key parts of the U.S. government. I have read it. It is very detailed (600 pages of text in small print, plus 30 pages of references to published sources).

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I read it, too. I have it on my bookshelf. Not impressed, but Joe McCarthy's a footnote, anyway. The significance of the book's "revelations" about Communist influence in the US government was paltry. I mean, like, what's the implicit thesis? That gallant patriot Joe McCarthy was framed, blacklisted, and silenced, thereby enabling a Communist takeover of the State Department in the 1950s? You think the US "lost China", because of Commies in the US government who wouldn't let us invade? How does the success of anti-Joe McCarthy forces explain the resulting national security policy and foreign policy of the Eisenhower administration?

If you want to look at Soviet influence in the US government, first consider that CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton was completely taken in by Kim Philby in the 1940s (as was MI6, who employed Philby and promoted him.) Then, later, have a look at the Walker spy ring. And Aldrich Ames. And Robert Hanssen. Shit. The KGB ran rings around us. Good thing the Cold War wasn't won on the basis of the success of the spy services involved.

(And the perspicacity of US intelligence services doesn't appear to have improved much in that regard- if anything, it's gotten worse. I mean WTF https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2022-02-01/drone-company-dji-obscured-ties-to-chinese-state-funding-4487194.html Cluebat: it isn't about the Fulda Gap any more, dudes. It's about the Air Gap. Also, doesn't it seem like there are a few more gadgets and military goods that we need to build for ourselves, from soup to nuts?)

The most enduring force of repression in the US is the War On Drugs. Historically a bipartisan project, as if that redeems it somehow. I could probably support an argument that one party has been worse than the other about that in past historical terms, but that would merely shift the topic from the Drug War to the same old finger-pointing games that I want to avoid- and that some other folks wish so fervently to return to, because it's apparently much more comfortable for them to go in circles. Which is what happens whenever someone insists on turning in only one direction.

Both major US political parties have a lot to answer for, as far as dragging the US- and the world- into the quagmire of Punitive Moralist Mass Criminalization ordained by the War on Drugs. Let's leave it at that.

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Because of the crickets in response, I'm putting this above the fold:

The most enduring force of repression in the US is the War On Drugs. Historically a bipartisan project, as if that redeems it somehow. I could probably support an argument that one party has been worse than the other about that in past historical terms, but that would merely shift the topic from the Drug War to the same old finger-pointing games that I want to avoid- and that some other folks wish so fervently to return to, because it's apparently much more comfortable for them to go in circles. Which is what happens whenever someone insists on turning in only one direction.

Both major US political parties have a lot to answer for, as far as dragging the US- and the world- into the quagmire of Punitive Moralist Mass Criminalization ordained by the War on Drugs. Let's leave it at that.

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I also read it, hardcover, and then bought the audiobook to "read" it a second time while running, driving, flying, etc. It's a keeper.

In fact, here's an offer to Thom Prentice:

Thom, if you're interested in knowing the truth about McCarthy (note: it's not a whitewash of his life and career, it's an honest, full account), I will send you the book, or, I will send you the Audiobook. I think in Audible.com I can share one for free.

So I'll share the Audiobook file, if you want to listen to the book, or, I'll mail you the hardcover copy.

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McCarthy? If you mean Senator Joseph McCarthy, he is not a part of this group, or ideology. He focused on Communist infiltration of the Federal government, and was 90% correct in whom he identified, as shown in the Venona papers, published finally by Yale University press in the 1990s. Also, he was at the left-wing edge of the Republican Party, coming from Wisconsin and supporting policies favoring the people.

"Censor Anti-slavery mail"? Only the Democrats did that. The farther to the right the Republicans were the more they opposed slavery.

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just stop. you're disgracing yourself. The Republican party of the1860s, of Abraham Lincoln and William Seward, bears no resemblance in its attitude toward civil rights to the Republican Party of the 1990s, when the "far right" was represented by Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond.

I don't have a problem granting that the Republican Party of 2022 is not identical to the same party it was in the 1990s. In some ways, it isn't as bad; in some ways, it's worse. Same with the Democrats, in my opinion.

Please, can we have ranked-choice voting, so that these discussions don't continually default to the false two valued choice of D vs. R, and the related color wars attribution that emerged out of nowhere in the 1990s? Once the conversation gets stuck there, everyone involved has a way of sounding like second-graders.

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Ranked-choice voting. Alas, we agree on something!

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I'm all about the issue coalition. I think the most effective thing the marginalized political parties could do would be to drop every other item in their agendas to for a unified campaign for ranked-choice voting. Because without that practical opening at the ballot box, none of the outsider proposals could ever be anything but fantasies, regardless of superior merit- and what kind of politics is that?

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You got anything more recent? 'cuz Steve is talking contemporaneously.

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I blame a lot of the insanity on the countermeasures to Covid, as well as fear of the disease itself. The combination of fear and isolation is deeply poisonous to human beings. And the social breakdown has a real death rate: suicides, murders, drug overdoses, and so on. It greatly inflates the "excess deaths" measure.

It think we're all subject to Covid Madness.

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Trump Derangement Syndrome was the alpha variant of Covid Derangement Syndrome. Current observations suggest Russia Derangement Syndrome may be the delta variant.

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I blame the corporate media outlets and big tech for supporting these lies. No one would ever have locked down their businesses or donned the silly masks without the constant barrage of implausible "facts" delivered by the likes of Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer in grave, solemn tones every night. Meanwhile those who get their news online instead of television were herded along by a sophisticated social media campaign of mutual reinforcement supporting the narrative, and censorship and ostracism for anyone questioning it.

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Oregon Charles--I didn't have fear, but a lot of uncertainty. My usual go to sources were Mercola and others. Chris Martenson at Peak Prosperity, Bret Wienstein were interviewing people and providing good data analysis and where the media, FDA, CDC, Fauci, BBC, Pfizer were just plain wrong.

What kept me sane more or less was getting out and playing pickle ball (what pandemic) with other people who did not let fear dominate their day to day living. I'm talking about dozens of people getting together outside. It was people being social, friendly with a lot of laughter.

I live in Oregon and the OHA and the governor are intent on keeping the madness in place.

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That's the part I'm quoting when I share this column.

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Glad you posted this as a reminder! It also reminds me of the addiction (black and white thinking) of capital fixing real life problems with more neoliberalism or public relations - whichever is most profitable! Cheers Kate S!

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Exactly. I've been thinking about the "psychopath...narcissistic personality disorder" aspect of the American psyche for a while. Now add the megalomania that allows the political/financial elite to slurp tax dollars out of the D.C. hog trough while denying their culpability in the destruction of American culture and civil society.

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"political/financial elite"

You make it sound as if there's only one grand unified political/financial elite that's doing the slurping. And also implying that this one grand unified elite is culpable for "destroying American culture and civil society."

That's a tall order- while also leaving a host of other questions unaddressed, such as why there's so much plastic in the oceans nowadays:

"...Back in 1950, at the dawn of the plastics era, the world made just two million metric tons of the stuff per year. By the seventies, we were up to 50 million metric tons a year, and by the nineties, 150 million metric tons. Then production exploded as the Asian economies took off: 213 million metric tons in 2000, then 313 million metric tons in 2010, and now more than 400 million metric tons per year..."

The Government didn't do that; the petrochemical industry did, following standard operating procedures within the inertial paradigm of Unregulated Capitalism. The only way that someone can hang that problem on "the DC hog trough" is by accusing it of neglect.

https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/environment/ocean-plastic-pollution-soulbuffalo/?itm_source=parsely-api

That's the interesting thing about the postmodern American Right: if the Government does address a problem, they're Wrong. and if they don't address it, they're also Wrong. i.e., the EPA is Corrupt- or anyway, they make Mistakes! So the answer is to Abolish the EPA! A position very close to the mainstream of GOP thought, nowadays.

The extreme Left has its own problems in that regard, of course ("Abolish the ICE- what could go wrong?") But that's at least less phony than the "Abolish the entire government" rhetoric of the American Right ("It's just a hog trough!") meanwhile not only endorsing the mission of the ICE but seeking to expand it.

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deletedFeb 2, 2022·edited Feb 3, 2022
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Consumers do have their own share of responsibility for some of the plastics problem. And there are definitely ways for most of us to cut down on excessive plastics consumption.

But to a great extent, we're all jumped into the game without our consent. In much the same way that many of us directly consume gasoline in our vehicles, and practically all of us indirectly rely on gasoline or diesel for transports to provide basic goods like groceries, etc. There are a great many categories of newly manufactured goods that come in sealed single-use disposable plastic containers, and there's no way around it.

I just read a very sobering book on the subject, entitled Garbageland, by Elizabeth Royte. As part of the author's research, she did a quantitative assessment of her household garbage, by category, for a year- all that time striving to minimize nonrecyclables, toxic goods (like most batteries), etc. Let's just say that while her family made substantial progress, they did not succeed in reducing their nonrecyclable waste output to zero.

There are many other things to be learned from that book- it's very heavy on metrics and hard data. It's very well-written, too. Extremely valuable knowledge resource, on par with other comprehensive overviews of the challenges presented to the natural world by the impact of its still-growing population. On par with some other classic works on the vast scope of man-made ecological change in recent times, for example the books Cadillac Desert and Bottomfeeders.

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That's the same paragraph I cut out...and I'll bet most everyone else did too.

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Sociopaths kind of fits there as well…..

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Perfect

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Haha. Yes, that quote. I've saved it to use in my comment-wars on social media. And I'll be mainly using it against (my people) the liberals.

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My thought exactly. The populace is barraged with an avalanche of information packaged to create alternate realities.

As a whole, our population *is* disordered.

Censorship isn't the solution, but we're long past the good old days when the disagreements were about what to do, curated by a relative handful of media outlets with their own editors and legal departments.

Now the question is "what is real?", and there's no commonly accepted authority.

Thus the seeming psychosis.

There are arguably some good reasons to have outraged mobs disturbing the peace, but it seems like we will have inchoate anger blow up over something that may or may not even be true.

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Oh there was a study done by the BBC about journalists. The conclusion was that the majority of journalist studied had diminished executive functions, which while the BBC didn't say it is just a polite way of saying that they had a personality disorder. The BBC explained this away by saying that the study also found that they had a high instance of substance abuse which explained the diminished executive functions. But the BBC got it backwards. They didn't have diminished executive functions because they abused drugs. They abused drugs because they had diminished executive functions. They are self-medicating their personality disorder.

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Did you you notify the BBC and present them with your conclusions? How could the BBC botch this so egregiously?

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It's true---I was born a Marxist and then in my late 30's I chose to have an "ideology change operation" that the surgeon botched. Instead of emerging as the aggressive freedom-loving, money-grubbing Randian individualistic libertarian the specialist and I had designed, I've become a lugubrious, middle-of-the-road republican with a spotty voting history but who's front lawn is loaded with Party signage 6 months out from the election.

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What you (and the authors) slyly omit is that the genetic mutation that predisposes the "left" to mental illness routinely manifests in early middle age (40-50), and with the onset of mental illness subjects then characteristically begin to display behavioral and cognitive traits associated exclusively with raving far-right lunatics.

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Feb 3, 2022·edited Feb 3, 2022

Yep almost all mental illnesses, especially personality disorders involve a lack of a sense of self. They don't really know who they are. When you see these people who jump from job to job, relationship to relationship, those are usually people with mental illness. They are trying to find an identity. When we view the left v. the right as collectivist vs. individualist of course the mentally ill congregate on the left. No one who knows fuck all about who they are will identify as an individualist right winger.

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Fascinating insight!

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"The dark triad comprises narcissism (entitled self-importance), Machiavellianism (strategic exploitation and duplicity) and psychopathy (callousness and cynicism). People with dark triad traits can be seductive."

"They argue that “contemporary Western democracies have become particularly hospitable environments for victim signalers to execute a strategy of nonreciprocal resource extraction.”

"Regardless of personal characteristics, those who scored higher on dark triad traits were more likely to be victim signalers. And may be more likely to deceive others for material gain."

How'd you deduce that I'm a professional dominatrix? Though I'm open to softening my current "strategy of nonreciprocal resource extraction." I'm willing and able but also flexible.

People with dark triad traits can be seductive. But then, you already know this.

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Black Magic.

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hmm. mirrors within mirrors

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“You just reported a fucking press release as a news story”. Great line.

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Been doing it forever for the Pentagon, CIA, all the nodes of real power in the US. "Stenographers of the Empire" - title of Matt's next book on the media.

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NYT has been guilty of that a lot lately.

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They always have. Judith Miller? There is no news just press releases and misinformation accusations.

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founding

But they bought Wordle so no one cares.

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Is today’s wordle DICKS ? 😇

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Actually it’s THOSE, which is a perfect fit.

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Lately?

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CBS News headline reads; “Pfizer asks FDA to allow Covid-19 vaccine for kids under 5.”

An anonymous non certified fact-checking firm headquartered in my skull labels this as “misinformation”. The word “asks” was improperly substituted for “demands”.

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applies to most everything the mass media feeds us...

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I saw Thacker speak some years ago at a meeting of a group focused on bad research. He's an impressive guy.

BMJ is a fantastic publication. They are fearless and promote clear eyed takes on controversial subjects.

What's going on with the "fact checkers" is a national disgrace.

The best money I spend these days is support for Taibbi and others like him.

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I give all my donations now to small independent operators like Taibbi and Greenwald.

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Feb 2, 2022·edited Feb 2, 2022

Ditto. In the last five years I have unsubscribed from WSJ, FT, WAPO, New Yorker, and NYT. Cannot kill the beast if you feed the beast. Subscribe to about five Substacks at last count along with some Patreons and various others. Money, meet mouth.

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You are not alone. I am subscribed to a number of substacks. Matt and Greenwald are two obvious ones but also a couple that would be described as right of center. It is almost impossible to get anything balanced or neutral from a mainstream source these days. I don't claim to be the most well informed person but I think I have a better sense of the truth than I did 3 years ago.

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You do. The MSM is pure corporate and security state propaganda; getting away from that is most of the battle.

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The "like heart" isn't working, so I like this.

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Money, meet the back of a moving train.

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Or a horses ass….

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Only if the horse is galloping, otherwise...

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More logrolling...

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64 likes for obvious and embarrassing logrolling.

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Logrolling inplies quid quo pro. What possible quid pro quo could my comment generate?

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Only you can answer that affirmatively. I'd only be guessing.

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You say it's obvious, then can't think of an example. What is your point?

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Every time I try to "follow the money" with respect to who funds the various fact-checking groups, I always find that it's tied to the DNC and some heavyweight donor/financing network. For example, look into Media Matters and its ties to left-wing consulting company Arabella Advisors. (I actually just wrote an article about this:

https://colinsims.substack.com/p/the-unseen-forces-behind-supreme )

Dark Money is all over the place financing all kinds of supposedly neutral sites.

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When I read Sharyl Attkisson's 'The Smear' about five years ago, the scales fell away from my eyes on how the media really works. The money, the behind the scene weavers of the narrative ... all of that stuff. You can reliably trust that any story that appears in the MSM is being coordinated by moneyed parties behind the scenes.

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This is the point of postmodernist education. To make everything subjective so that it doesn’t seem wrong to lie. There is no truth, so what does it matter?

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As in, why does anything matter? I don't know...

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I guess my point is that they have lowered the moral worth of telling the truth and replaced it with telling a narrative that serves the “greater good.”

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The noble lie, as Fauci might claim.

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Sorry, but going to have to kill you to save someone else. It's for the common good.

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"We had to destroy the village in order to save it". Like that.

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I am going to quote you. Thanks.

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Nice article. Its content falls in that ever-growing category of “shocking but not at all surprising”.

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I'd love to see Matt focus on the DNC. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but it seems shrouded in mystery. Who are these incredibly powerful people, and what are they up to? Matt's the guy who can open this up for all to see. If someone has already done this, please give me a reference.

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As of 2020, the DNC is now fully populated with Third Way politicians, corporate executives, and lobbyists. You may recall there was a push to bar those last two categories that was handily squashed by the Clinton faction.

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From https://marketbusinessnews.com/financial-glossary/third-way-definition-meaning/:

The Third Way is a political-economic approach that is neither left nor right wing – it is neither capitalism nor socialism, but something in between, or a combination of both. The Third Way is a centrist economic philosophy which emerged and grew in the 1990s in the United States and United Kingdom, Europe, and then the rest of the world.

The Third Way attempts to reconcile left-wing and right-wing politics by advocating a combination of left-wing and right-wing policies.

Bill Clinton, who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, and Tony Blair who served as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, both built the New Democrats and New Labour respectively by promoting the Third Way.

Developed in the UK by Professor Anthony Gidden, Director of the London School of Economics, the approach claimed that the traditional class-based divisions of the left and right had become redundant.

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"Third Way" is archaic Clintonian 90's doublespeak that characteristically provided new smoke and new mirrors for the acceleration of the neoliberal economic and neocon foreign policy agendas of the American uni-party and American financial elites.

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I'm thinking you and I outta scare up a third party and commence redefining "dark triad." What say you?

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Third Way neoliberalism isn't that sinister, per se. Theoretically, on paper. The problem is that it looks good on paper, but it thinks inside the box so much that it only accomplishes the easy stuff. Governments making trade agreements to enable global capital mobility and international access is easy; adding a common set of antipollution provisions and a mechanism to enforce them globally is hard.

I think Alf Hornborg is right; we need more than one kind of money, in terms of how and where it's to be spent. So that everything on the planet isn't assigned a "common dollar value" to be fed into the sausage maker of Fungibility and out the other end transformed into capital accumulation at the fastest possible rate.

"Excessively precise economic analysis can lead to assessing everything in terms of its easily measurable melt value - the value that thieves get from stealing copper wiring from isolated houses, that vandals got from tearing down Greek temples for the lead joints holding the marble blocks together, that shortsighted timber companies get from liquidating their forests. The standard to insist on is live value. What is something worth when it's working?" Stewart Brand

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It is not a job without its dangers. Seth Rich (likely) and Julian Assange (definitely) being two examples. The world is a darker place than most would like to think; one has to be very careful.

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Somehow I find it both soothing and charming that someone on 21st social media has the focus and wherewithal to repetitively gaslight and troll Tom Pendergast posthumously. Truly. Sincerely.

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there's a global network of smaller networks that all SEO-handie each other's BS to "legitimize" it despite being devoid of value or logic and it's all propped up by the same globalist-banker-WEF-war-debt-death-spy-tech cult.

whew. I feel better

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Totally agree. In my article though, I try to show that the dark money-fueled media campaign against Breyer wasn't meant to sway public opinion, but sway Breyer personally. In essence, it was a direct warning saying, "Retire now or this will get ugly."

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Great article; what we need now is an expose blowing the lid off the entire "fact checking" industry.

Who funds it, directs it, sells it, uses it, and for each question, "WHY."

There is a lot of digging to be done here.

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Lead Stories "fact checked" a viral article I wrote about the 2020 election issues in Atlanta.

Like he said: it was total amateur hour.

They either "debunked" statements I never made or relied on statements by county employees as Gospel truth... Even when other County employees were on record saying the opposite.

https://nationalfile.com/fact-check-fail-top-investigator-falsely-claims-unlawful-secret-vote-counting-is-normal-after-ruby-freeman-goes-viral/

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Read that...what a pile of sh!t. And people wonder why half the country thinks there's a problem. A former special forces guy I knew used to call that, "hiding out in the open" - just deny everything, even basic facts; counter every argument with an alternative scenario and pretty soon it just turns into a he said/she said dumpster fire. The facts are simple, someone told everyone to go home...and they kept counting. The rest is just b.s. But if you mention that, you're a conspiracy theorist. The facts are simple. Here's another fact...the percentage of rejected ballots went from 5-6% to nearly zero. There's your margin of error in a very tight election. One party (the large D) was just simply smarter at "counting"

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Source on rejected ballots?

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Good question, came from the actual article itself. Have also seen those percentages from the various secretaries of state. We've either gotten way better at filling out ballots or the various state secs of states followed different rules in 2020 than say in 2016 or 2012.

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Sure, but you do realize how this logic applies to what you just said too?

“The facts are simple: they counted the votes and Biden had enough in the right swing states to win him the election. The rest is just b.s. But if you mention that, you’re a shill for ‘them’”.

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#2000Mules

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Start with Wikipedia editing.

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That's a lost cause. The big boys have control of that one.

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Disclaimer: I worked as a pharmacologist/ toxicologist in academia, goverment, Pharma and a startup for almost 50 years before retiring. Science seems destroyed in the US, our Covid death rate is #18 from the bottom of >200 countries. Hopefully it's due to incompetence, not intentional, but you have to wonder.

This whistleblower case is likely just the tip of the iceberg of such trangressions during the pandemic. At one time Pharma supervised and controlled their own clinical trials, although there was an obvious incentive to misbehave. They now outsource much of that work, as to this clinical trial vendor, to shield themselves from direct involvement and to scapegoat failures, if caught. For these fly-by-night clinical trial vendors, there is a different incentive: making the product look as good as possible to get ever more contracts (and it's also true about manufacturing. Less and less research and development is done by Pharma themselves, who look increasingly like venture capitalists or bankers). Pharma's merger (essentially) with government regulators means they are the only ones who have the money to run those gold standard double blinded clinical trials which will always be only on novel expensive drugs (no matter how good repurposed drugs might be). The FDA, the CDC, and NIH (particularly the NIAID) has failed spectacularly, yet somehow is still patting themselves on the back as successful.

Who would have ever thought that science would be politicized so remorselessly?

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"our Covid death rate is #18 from the bottom of >200 countries. Hopefully it's due to incompetence, not intentional, but you have to wonder. "

Well, since you ask, it's down to two things:

1. Comorbidities (especially obesity). For all the eye-watering cost of our health care, Americans really aren't very healthy people, relatively speaking.

2. The 20% bounty the CARES Act pays to healthcare providers treating Medicare patients with COVID. With that kind of incentive, it's easy to find COVID under every mattress.

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Obesity is only about a 3-fold risk factor for Covid death (often associated with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, so your unhealthy American point is well taken.

An 80 year old has a 1000 to 3000 times higher risk than an 8 year old child. Most Covid deaths globally are in people over age 80. Median age in the US is a relatively young 38.1 years; in Japan 47.3 years, in Germany 47.1 years. Both are doing much better than the US despite aged populations.

While comorbidities may contribute, it is clear that the US is badly under-performing in medical care. Let's not shame the patients.

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2 things:

Africa is a young continent, not a lot of obesity and not so many old people.

They've been using the horse dewormer for decades.

But no, they obviously don't have better health care.

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That's precisely my point. Most of the American Covid victims wouldn't even be alive in Africa. Expensive American health care was keeping them alive before Covid got them.

As for the fact that millions of Africans (and Indians) take Ivermectin as a general prophylactic, I'm shocked -- SHOCKED! -- at your suggestion that could contribute to better outcomes for those populations. Tsk tsk tsk.

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Figured that was your point. As to your shock, I say round up the usual suspects! That covers about 98% of official Washington.

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No they'd be alive...just thinner. And with plenty of horse dewormer and worthless HCQ...you see, they don't have reporters telling them to stop eating horse paste and dangerous malaria meds.

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Also, Hydroxychloroquine is widely used in many of those countries as a means of preventing malaria. The people take it continuously, so COVID is already under treatment when it begins an infection.

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It's not a damned "horse dewormer". It's a reliable and highly effective anti-parasitic that's been used globally to fight epidemic infections for decades, and for which there was clear evidence it was highly effective in preventing severe COVID infections. That it happens to be equally effective cross-species is irrelevant, and had the FDA and CDC not deliberately banned its use and fulminated a smear campaign by focusing on its use in said other species as an excuse to ban its use, who knows how many lives might have been saved.

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I know. I was being sardonic.

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VERY good point!

Thanks for making it! I fear too often people on both sides try to make COVID into a morality tale rather than a scientific exploration. It unnerves me even when people I agree with indulge in it.

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Japan is older and unhealthy AF. They work all the time, smoke, and eat a lot of fried foods. Yet their COVID death per capita is 50% of the western world.

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Living in the deep south, I can go about my day's business (grocery, hardware, drug store visits) without seeing more than a handful of people not obviously overweight. With that, especially among the minority population comes hypertension and diabetes. And...there you have it.

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Compared to those with a healthy BMI, the obese (those with a BMI greater than 30) are about twice as likely to end up in the ICU, and are about 20% more likely to die: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(21)00089-9/fulltext

Apparently, this can be reversed by losing weight: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/2787613

Western governments refuse to make this simple point, because where's the money in it? And anyway, overweight people vote too.

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The CDC definition of "obese" is a BMI >30. Thanks for the link. Per figure 1 the "hazard ratio" at 30 BMI is 1.0. A BMI of 16 has a "hazard ratio" of 2.0. It is not until BMIs of >40 that the "hazard ratio" exceeds 2.0.

So the headline should actually be very low BMI and very high BMI are more at risk, all things equal (although given the number of confounders I am sure there are all sorts of problems with this). Instead the narrative is that it is only the obese that are at greater risk which is demonstrably false.

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Well, you left out early treatment (yes, I am talking about those old devils ivermectin and HCQ). The countries that have adopted them (Mexico, India, Japan, many countries in Africa, etc.) have done a lot better than us.

And, of course, there is the fact that we actively kill Covid patients once they get in the hospital by putting them on ventilators (in fairness, we don't do it nearly as much these days) and by giving them remdesivir (the official 'standard of care' for Covid), which by the NIH's own admission has no effect on mortality but does have a tendency to fry your organs over time, particularly the kidneys. See "The Real Anthony Fauci" for more details.

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founding

Covid bounty. That is a story that would have been investigated in the old days. Before whateverthehell took over reporting.

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Well, the bounty itself is part of the legislation and there was nothing secret about it.

What's bizarre is how no one seems to accept how such a windfall might render US Covid statistics unreliable, if not ridiculous

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founding

If there was nothing secret about it, then it should be well known and covered by the media, but is it? Not likely.

The Covid statistics have been used to control us, elections, and on and on.

That is why if a story was published, "Covid Bounties Paid To Your Local Hospital," --- To quote the E-Trade baby, "Whoa." People might get angry.

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There was this article back in 2020: https://www.denverpost.com/2020/05/20/coronavirus-covid-medicare-payments-hospitals/

Of course, the most important point of the article is that while, yes, the bounty is being paid, IT'S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH!

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founding

When someone finally writes the honest Covid bounty story, they will include your reference in their footnotes. So the Denver hospital got to be paid based on who they "believed to likely have" Covid. Yeah, that's right.

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It's almost as if sales people aren't motivated by...sales incentives. Hmm...I guess everyone just "DOES THE RIGHT THING" without incentives.

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What I don't understand is who is paying the bills for those folks who are in the hospital and on ventilators for weeks. Are the COVID bounties applied to their bills? You would think we'd be hearing stories about people who have million dollar hospital bills because of their hospitalization -- particularly if the person is unvaccinated -- but it's been crickets. Can someone please explain?

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Medicare normally only pays a portion of the treatment costs. Hospitals recover the difference through higher charges for non-medicare patients. The COVID "bounty" made it desirable to label as many cases as possible as "COVID".

This by the way is the fatal flaw in "Medicare for All". A substantial number of hospitals (possibly 25%) would go out of business as they would lose money on every case.

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As Kennedy documents in The Real Anthony Fauci, since The Rockefeller foundation take over of public health care, the focus changed from lifestyle: nutrition, exercise, healthy food and natural health approaches like homeopathy to pills, anything that could be manufactured and easily distributed. Since then lifespans have decreased and chronic diseases increased.

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Obesity has surprisingly little to do with health. Look up life expectancy bucketed by BMI. The extreme ends have the lowest and the middle have the highest. A high but not extreme BMI is much healthier than an extremely low BMI.

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Extremely low BMI is rare in wealthy countries, and usually means severe malnutrition, which is definitely going to have serious health consequences. Obesity is very common, and it definitely has massive negative effects on not only longevity, but also overall quality of life. Obesity correlates with a large number of serious chronic health conditions.

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Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022

This. (My “like” button is not working.)

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It has everything "to do with health" when it comes to Covid. The obese have "triple the risk of severe illness and hospitalization," as per the CDC.

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I will add that although I have not seen the data I would bet any amount of money that the highest IFR is associated with those with the lowest BMI.

Despite the hoopla a 90 y.o. that is skin and bones is a much higher risk than a 60 year old with a 30 BMI.

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You have seen the data? What is the r2 between IFR and BMI? Does it change at different levels of BMI? How does this look when adjusted for confounding factors such as age and gender? etc etc

Because if you look at life expectancy relative to BMI in any other circumstance there really is not much of a relationship.

"CDC sez" does not really pack the punch that it once did......

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You know that a 6 foot man that weighs 185-190 lbs has a "high" BMI? That man, btw, works out regularly and has muscle mass and hasn't been sick in 7 years. Muscle weighs more than fat. BMI can become a completely meaningless statistic without context. That same 6 foot man that weighs 185-190 could also be quite "fat" and have hyper tension.

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This means the phrase "obese" as a health metric is even sillier than I realized since BMI is how it is measured. CDC: "Being "fat" is unhealthy except when you are healthy in which case being "fat" is in fact healthy.

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BMI isn't a great metric. It's just easy to compute. Measuring muscle mass accurately isn't.

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Hey, if you want to champion for obesity, have at it.

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The data is the data. You confuse a clear eyed understanding of the data with "championing obesity."

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No 18? Is that ‘of’ Covid or ‘with’ Covid?

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It's likely what each country tracksas cause of death on their death certificate. And as Mitch Barie above notes, there is an incentive for Covid to be on the certificate.

Still, as the richest country in the world with by far the highest health care "investment", one would think that we would be near the top in handling Covid.

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The only reason the US MSM will shift away from wanting as much death as possible is if it becomes a liability to Democrats. It was there way to win a big election, after all. And by equating all non-vaxxed with Trump voters, they have a perfect way to continue to pound on a large segment of society.

See, e.g., the situation in Canada. Castro Jr's response is to scream all protestors are racists. Of course they are Justin.

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According to the much-despised RFK Jr., intentionally killing people to advance a new vaccine and/or treatment is nothing new in the Fauci kingdom, and that he has the studies and investigative articles to prove it goes a long way toward supporting his contention. The most glaring case in point was the deliberate denigration of both HCQ and IVM as successful early treatments for the virus to the point of literally having their use banned in the US and other countries under US influence despite the evidence.

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Galileo?

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Feb 1, 2022·edited Feb 1, 2022

Great article, thank you.

Although it's nice to see credentialed people exposing specifics and tactics behind the partisan "fact checking" I don't believe an appeal to authority was ever really necessary.

Very early in the "fact checking" trend, I noticed that virtually every "check" I read was itself slanted, obfuscated, spun and at times, outright untruthful. And FAR too frequently, the only things "checked" were those uttered by Republicans (most notably Trump) and rarely those by Democrats.

It only took a modicum of critical thought to tell me that was piss on my leg, not rain.

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Good for you and probably most of the subscribers to TK News; we've long been on to this fact checking BS. Bad for the country though because I am pretty sure most Americans are not critical thinkers and if the fact checker says it's rain, it is.

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founding

"Fact" is such a powerful word. So many of us fall for it...it's so seductive, that word. Needed this dive into the backstory.

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Exactly. That is the problem with a corrupt media. Most people have a pretty full life keeping the boss happy, the spouse mollified, and the kids under control. They come home exhausted and turn on CNN for some quiet time and that is their reality.

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CNN is the lowest rate "news" org these days. More and more get their "news" from inconvenient outlets like Joe Rogan or Substack. The media world has turned upside down...it will never be the same. The current narrative shock is accelerating the disintegration. It's deleveraging as fast as newspapers. Remember when we used to get our news from the morning paper? Then came the internet...and now, the disintermediation of "traditional" news into splintered orgs. By the time MSNBC, FOX and CNN notice it, it's too late. Same goes for FB, Google, etc. The acceleration of web 3.0 and alternatives is already under way. "The gatekeepers" have lost control. Audience is leaving every quarter after quarter, year after year. The "majority" will become the minority. Facebook and Google are simply ad platforms and "small" players are eating into their pie already. It will take time...but it is happening. Their best hope is regulatory delay via "bans" of alternative media. And that will change at the mid terms. Just a guess here.

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Let's hope the trend continues but only time will tell. There is still a lot of life in the MSM yet, I think.

But actually it is not the traditional MSM that is the larger threat these days: it is Big Tech. When you say "Facebook and Google are simply ad platforms" you are vastly understating their power. They have the ability to surveil you and to shape the narrative to a far greater degree than most people imagine. In fact, in going after the MSM most people like us are fighting the last war.

It is impossible to give you a sense of the dimensions of the problem in a comment post, so my recommendation is to watch Rogan's recent conversation with Dr. Robert Epstein. Epstein has made it his life's work to patrol Big Tech abuses, particularly Google. It is an eye opener.

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Agreed. When I said they are just ad platforms I meant, that is the only purpose they serve. They accumulated vast #s of users and RESELL THE USERS OWN data in exchange for advertising revenue from those needing ad exposure. They are not creating life saving medicines, advances in clean power (e.g. nuclear fusion) or saving lives. No, a fireman, EMT or police officer with basic education does that. They make $ from advertising. That's it. Nothing special in the grand scheme of things. Doesn't advance human civilization AT ALL. But it does make your cellphone super powerful, so powerful in fact that you will walk into traffic or into an uncovered manhole and die, while staring at your phone to read the latest tweet/FB post or Google notification. So we got that going for us.

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It’s even subtler than that. Big Tech is not a shadowy cabal of overlords who sit around and try to figure out what ‘narrative’ to push. (though they may sit around and do other things) The narratives people are fed on Facebook, Twitter, etc. are shaped by algorithms designed to maximize ad revenues; algorithms determine what articles, blog posts, or other bits of information appear in a person’s newsfeed. And those algorithms are designed to do one thing—maximize clicks, to maximize ad revenues. And what kind of information is more likely to generate clicks? Things that make you angry, paranoid, etc. Not stuff that engages higher-order thinking. So people end up getting wrapped up in these paranoid, custom-made universes, and lose the ability to agree on a common set of facts about reality. The bigger problem is not Big Tech per se, but the business model they are built on, I.e. “Here’s our platform for free, we’ll make our money selling your data to advertisers”

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You are certainly right that algorithms maximized for involvement have a tendency to drive people into their own information silos. This is inherently divisive and it is certainly a big part of the problem.

But the 'its the algorithms' explanation lets Big Tech off the hook way too easily. These companies actively massage the algorithms to point people in certain directions. In the Rogan interview Epstein spends a lot of time explaining the very active way in which this is done and gives specific examples. I recommend it highly.

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The WSJ reported this morning that the NYT just topped 10M subscribers.

I'm not so sure "the gatekeepers" have lost control.

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10M is a low number for a single Rogan podcast.

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Yeah, I canceled my NYT subscription after many years...just couldn't take it anymore. But it is the documentarian for the Democratic party. That's 30%+ of the USA, give or take.

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"rated" not rate...as in ratings/audience.

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The sad part is, according to statistics, more and more people in America don't have a boss, a spouse, and/or children. I myself don't have ANY of those three things.

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I almost think that I am going to have to stop reading Matt's articles. Because there's nothing I can do about the issues he describes, and they depress me terribly. The world evidently has moved on from truth and the ability to face it honestly. What can we do about that? Nothing whatsoever. I'm not one to say that I despair of it, but people who have lives that will extend longer into what is being built are going to have to deal with it.

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It’s tough for sure, but having a little fun with it brings a little glimmer of hope. Which is why the writing is so good here. Enough Irish gallows humor to keep going in the hope that these crapheads’ chickens come home to roost and we can live to tell (and laugh) about it.

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As long as I've got some health and cognition I'm going to do what I can. The "what" differs for everyone but I feel a responsibility to the herd to try while I've still got the spark.

Support truth-tellers and the persecuted, raise hell, help the needy, vote third parties (to disrupt the dempublicans stranglehold), lead by example with kindness and integrity, reject purity test group think pressure, on and on. Take care of yourself first. I dunno. Hang in there.

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Feb 2, 2022·edited Feb 5, 2022

"I asked Duke if he believes who reads or retweets an article bears upon its factuality. “Who does or does not retweet or read something has no bearing on the factuality,” he conceded. “But it can reveal important clues about how it is received or understood.”"

Leaving aside the question of the extent to which we can reliably infer how information might be 'received' and/or 'understood' in craniums other than our own, how could this ever be a legitimate concern of fact-checkers? I have no input into a fact-checker's approach to cognizing data; why would he or she seek to have any control over mine?

The major, undeclared premise here seems to be that fact-checkers, or at least some of them, consider their responsibilities to include substituting their judgment for mine and that of other viewers and readers. Not only do they have no right to arrogate this responsibility to themselves on others' behalf, it would be unethical for anyone to accept such an invitation if it were explicitly offered. Each individual is responsible for forming his/her own 'understanding'... this isn't a task that can be delegated; yet, fact-checkers are apparently trying to usurp it. It's hard to think of an impulse simultaneously more authoritarian and more contemptuous of the most fundamental of human rights than this. How does one go about acquiring such incredible conceit, such grotesquely over-developed sense of self-entitlement? Please... just give us the facts, and allow us the same opportunity to determine their significance you take for granted your own right and competence to explore.

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I made the point to them that it’s actually unethical to consider potential audience response in advance, but - no answer on that. Obviously we all can guess how articles might be received, but we’re not supposed to care.

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For a journalist to willfully suppress proper context by omitting key facts and elements that would better explain the story and properly frame the roles of the actors is unethical. Or else it's an instance of gratuitous incompetence and a hit piece on Big Pharma---a vampirish monolith in need of a Tarbellish takedown, not a sloppy gun-for-hire hit piece. And frankly, who gives a shit about the "fact checkers"? The fact checkers inherited a piece of junk journalism. Why fault them for doing junk work on it? Junk augmenting junk. Rather neatly describes American journalism, ca. 2022.

"Obviously we all can guess how articles might be received, but we’re not supposed to care." Unless you're trafficking propaganda--then reaction is all.

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Feb 2, 2022·edited Feb 2, 2022

"For a journalist to willfully suppress proper context by omitting key facts and elements that would better explain the story and properly frame the roles of the actors is unethical."

Fortunately that didn't happen in any of the examples Matt cited.

And that self-described "fact-checkers" say it happened does not mean it did.

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You call an "Entrist Service" at the last minute and they discreetly arrange a date with an "Entrist" and this is how you treat her? By the way dinner was terrible, the restaurant third-rate you cheap bastard. Pig.

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"How does one go about acquiring such incredible conceit, such grotesquely over-developed sense of self-entitlement?"

This is your brain on religious/ideological fundamentalism, the absolutely adamantine certitude that your sect and its dogma, your mastery of the texts or at least mastery at parroting them, has made you one of the Elect chosen by God or History to lead the world to some utopian paradise.

The Christians were like this, the Marxists/Communists too, as well as every kooky cult from the Manson Fam to the Scientologists.

Our Woke (or Woke-adjacent) elite share the same thought habits as all prior fundamentalists: a highly reductive and oversimplified view of humanity, human needs and human conflict; a dogmatic belief in their inherent moral and intellectual superiority (they went to all the right schools and hold all the right beliefs!); and an obsession with rooting out ideological impurity and suppressing dissent.

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This is postmodernism.

There is no objective truth, therefore the only thing that matters is power.

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Ok, I can’t let that slander on Christians pass. Not sure if you personally know much about Christians, but having been one most of my life, you can’t possibly imagine a more disputatious, truly diverse crowd. The fundamentalists that you refer to are a very minor part of the expression of faith. Most Christians, of whatever persuasion, share a belief in the reality of transcendence and the existence of God. Otherwise, we disagree on almost everything. Communism and Marxism are godless, cruel, murderous,and wholly evil. Shame on you for lumping Christians in with them. Do a little research on the profoundly massive amount of good that Christians do in the world helping others.

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Hey Viscount Asshole---you come off as a crazy person pedant troll with all these links and excerpts that aren't germane to any discussion around here, save perhaps the clamorous shouting match being staged between the misfiring neurons in your befogged cerebellum.

Let's try and stay current. OK? Or else it's back to the Bran Castle Donjon with you. How 'bout them mothertruckers!

Chew on this, nutcake:

https://twitter.com/search?q=dave%20troy&src=typed_query

https://jimstewartson.substack.com/p/q-was-mike-flynns-alter-ego?utm_source=substack&utm_campaign=post_embed&utm_medium=web

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/magazine/michael-flynn-2020-election.html

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Hey now, I went to the right school and I object!

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Feb 2, 2022·edited Feb 2, 2022

Yes... I too can classify the phenomenon. But to classify is not to explain. It's a bit like wondering aloud how animals know how to do things, often very complex things, without ever having been taught, and having someone come along and announce, "It's instinct." Swell! That clears that up! Now I know how to use the word 'instinct' properly in an English sentence, but in terms of understanding the phenomenon I'm no wiser than I was before. 'Instinct' simply functions as a placeholder for a certain subset of my ignorance, a classification or 'label' where an explanation ideally should be. I recognize what you're describing, but I don't pretend to understand it.

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I think it was Richard Feynman who heaped scorn on the notion that by naming something you have educated a person (especially a child).

I miss him. My god we could sure use him right now.

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