The Washington Post keeps pouring it on!


Rachel keeps pouring it too: We've often noted a certain lack of curiosity in our major mainstream press organs. At issue are the low death rates from Covid in an array of Pacific nations.

The numbers from the Pacific are jaw-dropping. After adjusting for population, with three non-Pacific points of comparison, this is where some of the numbers currently stand:

Total deaths from Covid to date, per million population
United Kingdom: 1,840
United States: 1,641
European Union: roughly 1,250
Japan: 67
Australia: 35
South Korea: 32
New Zealand:  5
Taiwan: 0.4

You rarely see such statistics. Japan is the charnel house among the Pacific nations we've listed. But after adjusting for population, Japan's death rate is roughly one twenty-fifth of our own, and the other Pacific numbers plummet from there.

By now, it may be too late to matter, but what explains the low death rates among these (and other) Pacific nations? We've been amazed by the lack of curiosity about this question on the part of our major news organs.

This morning, the Washington Post gives the impression that it actually cares. An essay on its op-ed page starts by giving this explanation for New Zealand's low death rate:

MILNER AND NGAZA (3/13/21): Life in New Zealand is almost back to normal. While the United States has seen more than half a million deaths from covid-19—with a death rate of more than 160 per 100,000 of population—New Zealand has lost only 26 people at a rate of 0.53 per 100,000.

Two months ago, one of us, Richard, went to a New Year’s festival with more than 12,000 fellow revelers—something barely imaginable in the United States, where most concerts are online-only. Meanwhile, teachers, including Matthew’s parents, have been instructing in person since May without requiring masks or social distancing measures.

Why has New Zealand fared so much better? Many people argue that these differences stem from New Zealand’s geographic advantages, and there is no doubt that being an island nation has helped. But other island nations, including Britain, have had very different outcomes.

There is a deeper reason: Manaakitanga.

It helps that New Zealand is an island ntion, the two writers acknowledge. (It's also a small island nation.)

But there is a deeper reason for New Zealand's low death rate, these two writers say. The deeper reason is manaakitanga—or at least, so these experts say. 

What the heck is manaakitanga? As the writers continue, they explain, possibly putting a slightly rosy glow on a bit of a possible tale:

MILNER AND NGAZA (continuing directly): While New Zealand hasn’t always been great at recognizing or celebrating our indigenous Māori culture, campaigning by Māori advocates has helped to ensure that Māori culture is now well-incorporated into society. Manaakitanga is one of many customs of the Māori people that are now taught in New Zealand schools. It holds that others have importance equal to, and even greater than, one’s own.

Manaakitanga is about understanding the power of the collective. It derives from the Māori term “mana,” which is the spiritual life force and energy that every living thing possesses. When you honor the mana of others, your own mana will increase through the respect you have earned. When you acknowledge these connections, you understand that your freedom as an individual is only as strong as your place in the community.

It's all about Maori culture, these two experts explain. That one particular part of that culture explains, or helps explain, New Zealand's low death rate.

Given the prevailing culture in Our Town, this is a pleasing story. As the authors start to tell the story, they offer a possible understatement about the headwinds confronting Maori culture in this small island nation.

"New Zealand hasn’t always been great at recognizing or celebrating our indigenous Māori culture?" We'll guess that may be an understatement, perhaps of substantial degree. 

At other times, the Washington Post publishes essays like this essay from last year, essays which stress the widespread racism afflicting New Zealand culture. A cynic would say it's all about which pleasing tribal narrative the Post is selling us townies that day.

(Let's not forget the original pleasing explanation for New Zealand's success at fighting the virus. The nation had a young female president, one who was even a mother.)

Here in Our Town, we love our stories—and our newspapers tend to provide them. 

For ourselves, we don't have the slightest idea if there's any merit to this morning's essay. Neither does anyone else who read this morning's Post.

That said, we are left wondering why the death rates has been so low across so many Pacific nations, not just in New Zealand alone.

We've been amazed by the general lack of interest in that obvious question. Is this morning's essay a serious attempt at addressing that question on the part of the Washington Post? Or does it just represent the publication of the latest tribally pleasing tale?

We have no idea how to answer that question. That said, we'd still like to see a serious attempt at addressing the vast regional question.

Here in Our Town, it doesn't really work that way a great deal of the time. Our news orgs are strongly inclined to hand us the stories we like. 

A few malcontents may know what we need. Our profit-seeking major news organs seem to know what we want.

This practice keeps us happy and self-impressed, but also barefoot and clueless. For another example of what we mean, please consider this news report in this morning's Post.

The report seems to be basically accurate. It concerns the latest arrest in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. 

Below, you see the first two paragraphs of this news report. When they read that second paragraph, several of our analysts screamed:

HERMANN AND HSU (3/13/21): Authorities on Friday arrested a man accused of ripping the badge and radio from a D.C. police officer after rioters pulled him into a manic crowd and beat him unconscious during the Jan. 6. insurrection at the Capitol.

Thomas F. Sibick was taken into custody in his home city of Buffalo and later freed to home incarceration at his father’s residence following a hearing in federal court. Authorities said he buried the badge in his backyard.

The analysts screamed when they read that Sibick had been granted "home incarceration" (at his father’s house) in lieu of immediate jailing. 

They screamed because they'd watched Rachel Maddow go on and on about this matter last night. As part of her opening she devoted six minutes to the Sibbick case.

As always, she rambled on and on. In the course of her travels and musings, "home incarceration" never got mentioned. Instead, she darkly said that Sibick had been "released on his own recognizance," full stop. 

From there, she darkly suggested, as she constantly does, that this was the latest case in which These Federal Judges Today keep making peculiar decisions which favor the miscreants in the case of the Capitol riot.

"Some of these cases are just inexplicable in the way they're being handled," Maddow said last night, referring to the fact that Sibick hasn't been jailed. As viewers of her TV show will know, she offers these dark conspiratorial musings on a regular basis, never checking with legal specialists to se if her musings make sense.

Maddow isn't a legal expert or legal specialist, but she plays one on TV. She tends to ramble on and on, sprinkling in her fabulous comedy stylings, as she did last night in a wonderfully parody of what the federal judge was surely thinking when he let Sibick walk.

In such ways, this cable star lets us hear about the way These Federal Judges Today are refusing to imprison people before they've been tried and convicted of anything. We've never seen her ask a legal specialist—preferably two—if her dark accusations make sense.

(Last night, she said that Sibick is "charged with multiple violent felonies." As best we can tell from the official criminal complaint, that isn't exactly true. "Sibick is not accused of beating or tasing [Officer Michael] Fanone," CBS News explicitly says. We're not sure if that is perfectly accurate either.)

Based upon the facts in this case, it sounds like Sibick may not be the tightest corkscrew in the drawer. In our view, you had to be amazingly dumb (at the very least) to be part of that mob at all.

That said, was it darkly strange—actually, was it "inexplicable"—when a federal judge in Buffalo ordered Sibick to "home incarceration?" When he didn't just lock him up?

Maddow's opinion isn't worth the comedy-laced navel-gazing from which it's crafted. She was offering pleasing Storyline when she launched her familiar charge.

She offered her own pointless impression in lieu of the traditional journalistic practice in which she'd ask one or more legal specialists to explain how that federal judge's decision looks to them.

Maddow is deeply self-involved; massive wealth and monstrous fame will do that to many people. In a slightly more serious world, she would have been pulled off the air, then marched away for re-education, a good long while ago.

That said, Maddow is good at selling the car—and at delivering corporate profits. Perhaps for those reasons, she is allowed to blather along, offering dark conspiratorial musings concerning a topic on which she possesses zero expertise. 

That's why the analysts shrieked when the read the Post's news report. In fairness, her parody of that federal judge's thought process displayed top clowning skills.

We're sharing with you our first two reactions to this morning's Post. We were handed a  basically silly essay about New Zealand's low death rate—a slightly silly explanation which has the advantage of performing preferred Storyline.

Also, we were surprised by paragraph 2 of that news report. We were surprised because we'd watched a major cable star mug and clown, and spread her dark theories, at substantial length last night. She'd also massaged and selected her facts.

To our eye, Maddow has largely been devoured by massive wealth and fame. The Washington Post frequently peddles pleasurable tales which may bring us back for more..

This is life as it's lived in Our Town—though also, of course, Over There.

By normal standards, should Thomas Sibick be in jail this morning? Like you, we don't have the slightest idea.

Neither, of course, does Rachel Maddow. She's paid vast sums to entertain us and to make us feel morally pure. 

This is the way our brains are wired, top scholarly experts still claim.


  1. Let's hope his father isn't also a Right-winger (i.e. an ignorant, bigoted fuckhead).

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  2. "At issue are the low death rates from Covid in an array of Pacific nations."

    Reported death rates, dear Bob. Reported.

    Sometimes you insist on reported, and other times you take it as the gospel. Wtf?

    "Rachel Maddow"

    But you promised - you promised, dear Bob! - to stop watching this particular blue-anon dembot.

    Tsk. Bad, bad boy. No ice-cream for you.

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  3. "For ourselves, we don't have the slightest idea if there's any merit to this morning's essay. Neither does anyone else who read this morning's Post."

    This is patently untrue. Many people who read the Post understand the distinction between collectivist and individualist cultures, a dimension which likely explains the widespread compliance with public health mandates in Asian countries (and the Maoris) and also explains the lack of compliance in the US and Great Britain.

    This article applies that cultural dimension to covid precautions:

    This isn't rocket science for anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of anthropology. Somerby is only mystified because he doesn't know anything himself, but that doesn't mean all others are as ignorant as he is.

    Why isn't this discussed more by the press? Because the press understands that there is no way on Earth that the US will suddenly adopt the attitudes and behaviors of Asian nations. The politicization and the individualist refusal to wear masks and stay out of crowds is entirely predictable from US culture. It is unhelpful to surviving a pandemic, but rugged individualism is also the foundation of our country, even more so on the right than the left.

    Even Somerby has no affection for group endeavors and causes, the common good, self-sacrifice to ensure that others remain safe. It is why he is not a Democrat.

    To the extent they have been allowed to speak, our public health officials have told all of us how to fight the pandemic. We have lacked the public will to follow their instructions, more on the right than on the left. Our personal freedom, lack of obligation to family and others, our lack of interest in working together toward a common goal, have all undermined our covid effort (minimal as it was under Trump).

    Every reporter no doubt understands this, but why preach about our failings as a culture, the way in which we have been unsuited to combatting covid, when no one will listen and it will only provoke greater resistance to wearing masks and staying home?

    Somerby is being an ass. This isn't the fault of our newspapers. It is the fault of the right and jerks who put their own restaurant-going and bar-hopping ahead of granny's health. No one in an Asian nation would think of doing that, but it is the most natural response in the world for our nation's jackasses.

    1. You mean democratic countries like Australia, New Zeland and Japan? These are authoritarian? Splain

    2. Collective doesn't mean authoritarian. It means that people grow up emphasizing their connection to others, for example, their duty to family, respect for ancestors and elders, pride and affiliation with teams, school class, corporation that employs them. They think about the impact of their actions on these affiliations with others, worry about being loyal and not shaming those who care about them and who they care about. They see themselves as connected to others and to a whole, their country.

      I don't think this is as true of Australia (classified as an individualist culture) as it is of New Zealand. Japanese culture is very different from American culture. It is less true today, but the practice of suicide due to shame reflects the sense Japanese people have that their actions are connected to their family and reflect upon them, bringing honor or shame, not just upon themselves.

      Conformity is valued (the peg that sticks up will be hammered down). Adherence to social norms and to rules is valued because these are seen as maintaining a social order that is important to the well-being of all. Doing well in order to bring respect and honor to one's group is important in school and business.

      You should be able to see how those values would make someone more likely to obey mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines. You do not need an authority figure to tell you to do such things under those circumstances. In truly authoritarian countries such as China, you ALSO have authorities telling you what to do to protect everyone, but people there are more willing to obey those authorities because they see it as important to their own family, village and country. Many people resist that kind of authority in the US, even if it would be better if they followed public health rules to fight covid.

    3. I'm reminded of the David Hackett Fischer book on USA and New Zealand--prime value in US is freedom, in NZ us fairness. Don't remember how much credit he gave to the Maori influence.

    4. The difference is best described by the likelihood that when Biden was saying that perhaps we can have extended-family gathering on Independence Day, people were sealing the envelopes of their Easter celebration invitations and vaguely thinking, “Oh, that’s nice, Joe.”

    5. Yes, this is no doubt what conservatives were doing and thinking, but the saner people in our country were trying to get themselves registered somewhere for a shot and hoping they won't catch the virus before they can become immune.

      You seem to be assuming that the majority of our country is conservative. Actually, the largest group is Democrat and there are as many Independents as there are Republicans. MOST people are trying to be sensible but their efforts are undermined by those who behave irresponsibly, as you aptly describe.

      We could have stopped this in its tracks, as those other countries have done, if it were not for people like you describe, the ones who ignore Biden and do whatever they want, because why? I don't know why anyone behaves so stupidly -- why don't you tell us that too?

    6. So depending upon who is describing the mindset, we now have gone from being a country of individualists rather than of collectivists, to mostly being collectivists.

    7. Now, there is a difference between the culture and the people. Further, since collectivist thinking promotes survival, that may be the default setting for humans. Both the US and Australia were settled by convicts, outcasts, and religious extremists, hence the emphasis on individualism in our cultures. I'd say the mix is about 60-40 in the US with collectivists ahead, whereas it may be 80 or 90% in the Asian countries and their culture emphasizes collectivism.

      Corporations run on collectivism. We have lots of people happy to be cogs in the machines. But our ethos is that small businesses and ingenuity fuel our economy (despite most small businesses failing). In this situation, we have given permission to the individualists to run amok, Trump set a bad example and provided no leadership whatsoever, so we have had no chance to pull together and fight covid. Instead, denialism and political opportunism have used the situation to hurt those vulnerable to the virus, and our ideal of individualism have given cover to anti-social elements (such as Trump and his cronies, profiteering) and prevented us from acting together. If we were a collectivist society, those people would be prosecuted as criminals for their actions against the common good.

      We aren't all individualists, but our society values individualism over collectivism and gives individualists a lot of elbow room, something more collectivist countries do not allow (socially or legally). Even so, those who wear masks consider those who don't to be bad people. I feel visceral dislike of anyone with their stupid mask dangling beneath their nose like a badge of defiance while infecting everyone in the market. In a collectivist society, that person would be attacked by an angry mob of people within the store, for putting others in danger, if they weren't hauled up before their neighborhood committee and fined or jailed.

      Do you see the difference?

    8. I not only see the difference I articulated it in my example between individualists and Biden.

      You then responded reflexively.

      I get that and am not at all surprised.

    9. You are being simplistic and you are not getting the nuances at all. Your example was of people being selfish and inconsiderate, not individualist. The individualist part comes in when society tolerates people who behave that way and does not punish their failure to help fight covid.

    10. Selfish and inconsiderate is certainly individualistic in a way that collectivism is not.

      Most states have had varying degrees of pandemic restrictions. None have countenanced an angry mob attacking someone for not wearing a mask.

      It’s rather hard discussing collectivism with someone who thinks that response is a collectivist impulse.

    11. Selfish and self-reliant don't mean the same thing.

      Social cohesion results in peer pressure. Official restrictions are not the same thing as social norms.

      You don't have any idea what you are talking about.

    12. I didn’t say they meant the same thing,

      I said that if we are talking about selfishness and inconsiderateness, those traits would be closer to individualistic side of things than they would to collectivism.

      I’m glad you hold individualism in that sort of regard.

      I do too. It has it flaws and draw-backs, especially as regards a pandemic, but of the two, I think the individualist approach best serves us. And yes...., I know we are not strictly that.

    13. Not exactly, individualism may appear selfish to those holding a collectivist perspective, but individualism refers to independent self-sufficiency (not needing help from others) whereas collectivism refers to achieving with the help of and for the benefit of the group. Selfishness comes in when you place the welfare of yourself ahead of that of your family, friends, and the community. But collectivists believe that when the community prospers, so will individuals within it. And it values living and working in harmony with others.

      You seem to be equating individualism with Ayn Randian Libertarianism and that is not what it is. Even during our individualist pioneer days, we still held community barn-raisings and harvests and helped each other when in need, forming groups to fight off invaders. No one took an "every man for himself" attitude in those days. The nation, however, built into the constitution protections for the rights of the individual against the state (not each other).

    14. Triandis developed this theory and this is what he says about it:

      "Individualistic cultures emphasize the goals of the individual over group goals, whereas collectivistic cultures stress group goals over indi- vidual goals (Triandis, 1988). ... In collectivistic cultures, individuals tend to belong to in-groups that look after them in exchange for the individuals' loyalty."

    15. When someone refuses to wear a mask because a public health official has mandated it, they are not only placing their own goals ahead of group goals, but they are also exhibiting a distrust and dislike for the group (government) even while professing loyalty and respect for our country. This is what confuses people about the mask-resisters. They say they love the country but then don't support it when it asks for sacrifice for the greater good (as in fighting covid). It isn't as if they benefit by not wearing a mask, since they place themselves and their families at risk, so it looks like a politically motivated act against those in authority (Republican and Democrat). That has little to do with individualism, in my opinion, and reflects the distortion of behavior caused by misinformation (spread for political and financial reasons by Trump et al. and health-grifters). That makes these the actions of sociopaths for personal gain, not people acting on the individualist-collectivst axis to achieve concrete goals. Unless you think that creating mayhem is a goal held by anyone except loonies.

    16. Here, Anonymouse 2:43pm. Enjoy.

    17. Why would anyone enjoy watching people be beat up by police?

    18. "Russell once thought the coronavirus wasn’t a real threat. He didn’t believe in masks. All that has changed. “Before I came down with the virus, I was one of those jackasses who thought the virus would disappear the day after the election. I was one of those conspiracy theorists,” he said. Instead, he was in the hospital with COVID-19 a week after the election. “All these people that are saying that it’s fake, blah blah blah, they’re lying to themselves,” he said."

      Democratic Underground

    19. Those Dutch protesters are opposed to covid restrictions at a time when another wave is sweeping Europe. That is very foolish and has nothing to do with individualism but a lot to do with stupidity.

  4. "In a slightly more serious world, she would have been pulled off the air, then marched away for re-education, a good long while ago."

    This is ridiculous. The world is serious and no one in the USA is going to suggest, much less do, this to Maddow or anyone else. Rush Limbaugh has been much worse than Maddow and never had this kind of consequence.

    Why even say this?

  5. As of 3/12 (yesterday) CNN reported:

    "A federal judge in New York released Sibick from custody on Friday after an initial hearing. The Justice Department has appealed that decision and said in court filings that Sibick should be jailed because he had "participated in a violent riot and robbed an officer" and is a danger to the public."

    Apparently, the DOJ agrees with Maddow that Sibick's treatment by the local judge was inappropriate given his crimes.

    Several participants in the insurrection have received excessively lenient treatment by conservative judges. This has been corrected in other states and cities nationwide, as the federal government investigates what happened.

    Somerby portrays this as Maddow's bloodlust and pretends that no legal expert would support, but obviously that is untrue.

    Somerby accuses the media of pushing narrative, but today he is the one pushing his tired old narrative about Maddow, facts be damned. It wasn't hard to Google this information about Sibick.

  6. "By normal standards, should Thomas Sibick be in jail this morning? Like you, we don't have the slightest idea."

    Ask yourself, if Sibick had been a Portland BLM protester, would he be in jail for stealing an officer's badge and radio while others were beating him senseless, then lying to officials about what he did and where the badge was?

    If Somerby has no idea about this, he belongs in a treatment facility because he has lost touch with reality. #DementiaSomerby should be trending.

  7. "She's paid vast sums to entertain us and to make us feel morally pure."

    This is actually what Tucker Carlson is paid to do, along with provoking moral outrage. Maddow is paid to show us social problems that we can address using activism and our vote. But we only feel morally pure when we ourselves take action and do the right thing. If we just watched Maddow and were entertained, we would feel guilty. That is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats. Not being one, Somerby wouldn't know that.

  8. "Manaakitanga" is a funny sounding word that Somerby has never heard of, so of course it is made up to pleasure us liberals, Somerby says.

    If you Google it, you will find a large number of sources that talk about it, besides the Washington Post. So many that it is impossible they made it up just for this story, so many that even Somerby might learn something about it.

    Among the facts is this one -- the ideas of Manaakitanga are being taught to all children in New Zealand schools. They are not limited to Maoris but incorporated into the larger society in New Zealand. And those ideas do promote concern for others. So, how is this something the Post has made up?

    Somerby has decided that all he need do is say "no one knows" and that excuses him from all research, any attempt to learn what is true and what is not on any subject. And he tells us daily that we are equally ignorant. I think he stands alone on this one, proud in his know-nothingism.

  9. Somerby's obsession with Maddow continues. Somerby has attacked Maddow for years, maybe 10 ? Of course, Somerby praises Tucker Carlson.

    Somerby's main problem with Maddow seems to be that she does not spend her time defending Roy Moore, Ron Johnson, Devin Nunes, Brock Turner etc. Nor does she spend her time attacking liberals, or saying all Dem primary candidates are terrible.

    In short, she's not a hard core, malevolent, lying Trumptard like Somerby. Somerby wants liberals to lose so he can bitch about it for the rest of his miserable life.

    1. Somerby praises Tucker Carlson? Are you reading the same blog? TDH routinely mentions his brain-dead rabble-rousing.

      As for Maddow, it seems to me he considers her a sell-out that gives ammo to neocons through her overwrought virtue signaling.

    2. Why would Somerby watch Tucker Carlson regularly if Somerby were actually a liberal? Most of us cannot stomach 5 minutes of Carlson's show.

      Maddow is not a sell-out. She has always been what she is, a political pundit and entertainer. She never had any pretensions about that. Somerby has been attacking her ever since she went from radio (Air America) to TV. I suspect he is jealous of her success, but it could also just be that he doesn't like any woman who succeeds at something he might like to be doing himself.

    3. He spoke approvingly of Carlson's show a few times.

      His obsession with Maddow and her 'salary' is mostly that she does not do what Somerby does - concern troll, bash liberals etc.

      Somerby spent 4 years defending Trump, Roy Moore and others trying to get liberals to lose, trying to be a useless idiot for Trump. Fortunately, his biases are so obvious that its easy for most people to realize he's a not yet cured Trumptad.

    4. I think sour grapes is what animates Anonymices.

      None of you could run a blog, let alone a blog significant enough to be considered such a threat as to be targeted by a coven of trolling Anonymices.

      Much less any of you Anonymices ever having had a prayer of getting into Harvard.

    5. Don't be an idiot. Blogs are free at Blogspot.

    6. Go get one and see if YOU can find anyone who would bother to read it and pull their hair out over it on a daily basis.

    7. Most of the trolls here are defending Somerby, not attacking him.

      What can you possibly know about the resumes of anyone commenting here?

      You cannot even spell anonymous properly, so that let's you out.

    8. Cecelia, Somerby doesn't put any effort into his blog, much less pulling his hair out.

      Promoting a blog isn't the same as writing one.

      Some of us have written books, published articles that were well-cited by others, have a captive audience in the classroom (which we take care not to abuse). We don't need to spew nonsense online.

      Somerby has had audiences too, but apparently not ones that want to hear the kind of stuff he writes here. One mention of Aristotle and he would be heckled off the stage.

      This is a vanity blog. It is no sin to be less vain than Somerby.

      Meanwhile, YOU are here, pulling your hair out over the stuff we commenters are writing. That is satisfaction enough, for me anyway.

    9. Oh, I’m willing to believe you as to the loftiness of Somerby’s detractors.

      Think about it, Einstein.

    10. Anonymouse 11:13am, oh,highly important and accomplished Anonymices are here daily issuing personal attacks and then saying how unworthy it all is.

      Not highly important or accomplished enough...

      Sour grapes.

    11. Scattershot personal attacks on commenters is one way to get attention, kind of like the way Boebert and Taylor Greene behave. Did you hear that Sarah Palin is trying to make a come back too? They are your sisters, Cecelia.

      Getting attention is easy. Just put some paint on your face and storm the Capitol.

    12. Cecelia hasn't figured out yet that getting positive attention is much harder than getting negative attention.

    13. Or just write The Daily Howler, Anonymouse 11:35am.

    14. No one would care what Somerby was writing if he did not portray himself as liberal while continually attacking liberals.

    15. That is a piddly excuse of a reason for the blogger to get this sort of attention and acrimony from Anonymices on a daily basis.

      If what he wrote wasn’t compelling, persuasive, and challenging, you wouldn’t give a flying ten paragraphs of speciousness.

    16. Part of it is also that he doesn't use Disquis or one of the other annoying systems for comments. Also, there are few enough comments here to actually have a conversation with someone, unlike blogs with hundreds or thousands of trivial comments that you have to wade through to find an interesting idea.

      Somerby is an asshole but some of the people in comments (excluding you) are not. That was more true before some of the old commenters left (mm, gyrfalcon, hardindr). The more Somerby exposes his conservative views, the more right-wing nut jobs appear in comments. That started around the time he defended George Zimmerman. If he posts anti-Hillary, then we get Hieronymous and the men's rights crowd.

      And now we have you, Cecelia, in addition to David, Mao, Leroy and drive-by trolls. A healthy immune system can fight off opportunistic infections, but the larger number of wing-nut trolls suggests Somerby may be getting worse.

      You don't belong here because you never have anything to contribute and you just attack other people and make jokes that are perhaps hilarious to conservatives but are a real downer to anyone with empathy. And now you are "policing" the comments as if you were part of this community. You should just go away quietly.

    17. “If what he wrote wasn’t compelling, persuasive, and challenging, you wouldn’t give a flying ten paragraphs of speciousness.”

      Hey, Cecelia. You think that’s a convincing argument? Try this:

      If what Rachel Maddow said wasn’t compelling, persuasive, and challenging, you wouldn’t get a flying ten years of almost daily anti-Rachel hair-tearing speciousness from Bob Somerby.

      If what liberals claim about the intersections of race with crime and punishment wasn’t compelling, persuasive, and challenging, you wouldn’t get a flying daily dose of specious pushback from Somerby.

      I could go on.

    18. mh, I’m supposed to have difficulty with the concept that Somerby’s issues with Maddow are made more acute by the scope of her audience?

    19. Anonymouse 12:39pm, it’s you who must be new. I’ve been here longer than the Zimmerman case.

      However, thanks for letting know that the blog format is not conducive toward a liberal chat room.

      That would be one less reason for you to bother.
      Other than Somerby being a threat.

    20. I've been here since the beginning. I'm not going anywhere.

      "mh, I’m supposed to have difficulty with the concept that Somerby’s issues with Maddow are made more acute by the scope of her audience?"

      This is why you are annoying. Either mh's point went soaring over your head, or you are being deliberately obtuse. You may be snickering into your hankie over responses you imagine to be clever, but this is why no one wants to discuss anything with you. And, it is antisocial -- remember trolls all have that dark triad of personality traits: Machiavellianism, sociopathy and narcissism. They all seem to prevent you from making contact with other people's ideas.

      You can take a hike and no one will miss you.

    21. Anonymouse, if you and mh are arguing that you’re here because Somerby is compelling in the way that Maddow or intersectionality is compelling (or incendiary) in a way some find for good and others not so much...I’m glad to see you finally admit it.

      You’re saying that a blogger on a “blog no one reads” is a threat and that’s why you’re here.


    22. Cecelia, mh was saying that your idea was stupid because it wouldn't make any sense to say the same thing about Somerby vis a vis Maddow.

      And I said that I was here because I like the comments. The fun of any blog is in the exchange of ideas.

      You deprive me of some of that fun by saying something sour or something that reminds me that deplorables are truly deplorable.

    23. Then it’s a good thing I never compared Maddow and Somerby in the first place.

      What mh was really doing is making the point that Somerby finds Maddow to be and persuasive and compelling.

      Well, duh. He certainly does and it certainly makes more sense for Somerby to tackle Maddow, who has a tv audience, for what he thinks are her misplaced priorities and opinions that he finds hindering to the Democratic body politic, than it does for you and mh to daily do that with him.

      Whether for good or for ill (which depends upon your POV) Maddow and Somerby are compelling.

      It’s why you’re here on his blog and it’s an extraordinary ode to Somerby considering the difference in reach between the two.

    24. Except Somerby is not compelling -- he is an idiot and an asshole.

      And I just told you why I am here, so there is no reason for you to make up false motives for me.

      And here is yet another example of why you are so annoying. You put words in other people's mouths that are incorrect but serve your own purposes. That's dishonest.

    25. No, Anonymouse 3:02pm, your problem is the words that you put in your mouth.

      They come from the faulty reasoning in your head.

    26. See, and this is why you cannot talk to Trump supporters.

    27. I have never understood why “anonymous” entries are reviled. As if the word Cecelia connotes a specific verifiable individual. For all we know, and based upon the full throated endorsements issued above, Cecelia and Somerby could occupy the same space on this planet. Not making any claims to that effect, mind you. In fact, I think it would be a good thing for Somerby to defend himself against his detractors in one form or another, whether in his own name or that of a fictitious identity, like, for example Cecelia. Those bloggers that engage in dialogues with their readers allow themselves to be better understood and don’t allow themselves to serve as punching bags for the irate. So, at least in the context of this thread, Cecelia’s defense of Somerby is a welcome substitute for Somerby’s own defense if indeed these are two different individuals. Not that I am making that claim.

    28. Unamused, that is a wildly flattering and wonderfully amusing conjecture.


    29. 'None of you could run a blog, let alone a blog significant enough to be considered such a threat '

      Oh, dear me. You mean trying to be a useful idiot for Trump, and trying to get Moore elected and Trump reelected but being unable to do so - and this ending up as a useless idiot.

      I think most of us could manage that, but not sure we're care to become Trumptards like TDH.

  10. My friend Sherman lives half time here and half time in Japan. Here's his explanation for the lower death rate in Japan.

    Several reasons:
    > Japan's homogeneous population where the citizenry follow common social rules of behavior.
    > Respect for science and adherence to advice from science and medicine.
    > Mask wearing as a common courtesy whenever someone even has a cold. During COVID, everyone wears a mask outside. Not to do so would be socially unacceptable.
    As has been reported, the US political leadership did not take COVID seriously in the early months when the rapid spread of infections could have been curtailed. Also, many Americans felt (still feel) that mask wearing and social distancing are infringements on their freedom. What??
    That's my take and the reason why Yoko and I remain in Japan for now.
    Best, Sherman

    1. It comes as no surprise that Republicans ( vs Democrats) seem to have the most trouble getting behind the idea of being vaccinated, despite the fact that their leader, exiled in Florida, has done so. Makes perfect sense. Let everybody else do the heavy lifting. Science qualifies as political theater for them.

  11. Fascist pricks elect incompetent corrupt degenerate imbecile president and then wonder why he fucked up and let hundreds of thousands die needlessly.

    Lessons learned: be even stupider!

    Fucking fascist right wing losers.

  12. “It's all about Maori culture, these two experts explain.”

    It is an opinion piece, after all.

    But the writers do a bit more than Somerby claims here. They mention specific, concrete things New Zealand did as part of a coordinated nationwide response:

    “Last March, when New Zealand went into full lockdown, people were not permitted to see others outside their “bubble” (such as a household); only one person from each bubble could leave at any given time, and not travel farther than five miles from the house.

    This strict lockdown lasted six long weeks, and while there was political pushback, the “team of 5 million,” as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls New Zealanders, stayed home and stamped out the virus.

    New Zealanders were willing to give up many of their individual freedoms and face personal hardship for the benefit of the community. People lost income and jobs, and the closed borders separated families (and still does).”

    That contrasts with the US, where no similar national response existed.

  13. Awhile back, Somerby implied that a NY Times piece about violence against Asian Americans was just another pleasing narrative. Since then, stories about attacks on Asian people in the US have continued appearing, including this one today:

    "Authorities in White Plains, N.Y., arrested a man they say spit on and punched an 83-year-old Korean American woman on a busy street in the New York City suburb this week, marking the latest high-profile case in a spate of violence targeting Asian Americans nationwide.

    The victim was walking alone near a shopping center Tuesday evening when police say Glenmore Nembhard, 40, attacked her without provocation, striking her so hard that she hit her head on the ground and blacked out. When she regained consciousness, the man was gone, according to police.

    It wasn’t immediately clear how investigators identified Nembhard as her assailant, but police said they arrested him early Thursday morning in the vicinity of the attack. He was charged with second-degree assault on a person 65 or older, a felony that carries up to seven years in prison. Police described him as homeless, and court records show he has been arrested by White Plains officers on at least four other occasions in the past year.

    Officials have not commented on what role race may have played in the attack, but Westchester District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah said her office was investigating whether the beating constituted a hate crime."

    Even in his latest message, in which he tried to take credit for vaccines, Trump referred to covid as the "China virus", giving implicit encouragement to this kind of hostility. So does Somerby, when he refuses to acknowledge what is happening and suggests that these are made up stories by Asian women seeking attention.

    Essentially, we cannot work together with a president who divides us. New Zealand and the Asian nations may be more fortunate in their leaders, people who seek to unite instead of pit white people against Asian scapegoats.

    To some extent, when Somerby wonders how the Asian countries have done comparatively well, scoffs at a piece about New Zealand community, and refuses to acknowledge attacks against Asian people in our country, he is encouraging racism against Asians. I believe that is the hidden agenda in Saturday's "report."

    1. This is interesting:

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    Kinda looking good on the criticism of Western privilege and dismissiveness.

  16. Somerby says that reports of attacks on Asian Americans are being exaggerated, but here is another of these almost daily occurrences in the news:

    "A man was caught on camera recently going off on a racist tirade against an Asian gas station owner, who was hospitalized after the man hit him with pepper spray.

    Local news station ABC News 7 reports that a gas station owner in Oakland was subjected to a racist tirade last week by a customer who tried to pay for gas by dropping piles of quarters onto the cashier's counter."

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