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Don midwest
Don midwest

Bruno Latour on NYT column on best year for humans which means the worst for the environmewnt

There was a long interview of Bruno in NYT a few weeks ago. The title included the words “post truth”

The other day there was a book review of Bruno’s new book and another book on Fake News

Bruno makes the point that “facts speak for themselves” is out of this world. What language do they speak? Where to they stand? How much do they weigh? How long do they live? In particular, facts require an institution for their existence and ongoing support. Which is why the distrust of almost all institutions is such a problem these days. Science held an exhaulted place for a few hundred years but the environment crisis has called them into question and they can no longer hide behind “facts speak for them selves.”

From the NYT review mentioned above

In “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime,” Latour argues that climate change is forcing all of us to confront truths that seem hard to reconcile but turn out to be two sides of the same thing: 1) reality exists, whether we like it or not; and 2) our attempts to apprehend it are contingent on our social context. Along with Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall’s “The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread,” Latour’s new book offers a way to think through the seemingly insurmountable impasse carved out by political polarization and fake news


Latour’s “Down to Earth” is a wilder, more playful book — even if, like “The Misinformation Age,” it covers big subjects like truth and the fate of the species. The election of Donald Trump, Latour says, was a clarifying event, not only for Americans but for the world. Here, finally, was a political figure whose brazen repudiations of reality laid bare what Latour has been saying all along — that a complacent faith in the ability of facts to speak for themselves was what rendered them vulnerable to Trumpian renunciation in the first place.

most of the review is on the other book, “The Misinformation Age” which is closer to one that can be used right now, Bruno often runs ahead of now

Latour’s talk about how facts derive their authority from trust might sound squishy and abstract, but he considers himself a realist. He says that climate change renders the old dichotomy of the global versus the local completely futile. Trump and the “obscurantist elites” who enable him are nurturing an “Out-of-This-World” fantasy by unleashing an aggressive despoliation of the earth that ultimately rejects the world they claim to inhabit. At the same time, Trump pacifies his base with panicky nationalism and border walls, delineating a “rump territory” that is “no more plausible, no more livable” than the globalized world they rail against.

“It is quite useless to become outraged on the pretext that Trump voters ‘don’t believe in facts,’” Latour writes. Rather than get tangled in shouting matches over fake news, Latour calls for an entirely new way of understanding the world. He says he wrote “Down to Earth” with a “deliberate bluntness.” He vests a surprising hope in Europe, whose colonial past — or “crimes,” as he puts it — he depicts as inextricable from the migrations it tries to keep out. “Europe has invaded all peoples; all peoples are coming to Europe in their turn,” he writes. “Give and take. There is no way out of this.”

Latour also describes migration as the human embodiment of our “new climatic regime.” Under the old way of thinking, exploited peoples and places were ignored, silenced and stripped of agency; now migrants and the earth itself are both setting out “to recover what belongs to them.”

No doubt some readers will find this to be too much, too philosophical and too French. But maybe it takes a brilliantly mind-bending book like Latour’s to show that so much reality can’t be denied.

Reminder when he says above that facts rely on trust, he is talking about institutions

Why Fighting Fake News With the Facts Might Not Be Enough

Don midwest
Don midwest

Where is the democratic party? When is the democratic party? Does the democratic party exist in the space and time of the earth?

What’s The Matter With the Democratic Party? Just Watch Pelosi and Schumer Respond to Trump’s Wall Speech.


Terrific read. Forwarded it to hubby. Thanks!!

Don midwest
Don midwest

Don midwest
Don midwest

Kamala Harris Tells Big Lie: That 2012 Mortgage Settlement Was a Good Deal for Homeowners

From Naked Capitalism which has links at the top of the story

Background: Why the National Mortgage Settlement Was a Bank Enrichment Scheme at the Expense of Homeowners and the General Public

In fact, as we and many others, like Dean Baker, Matt Stoller, David Dayen, Marcy Wheeler, Tom Adams, and Abigail Field recounted at the time, the settlement was a sellout to banks, a “get out of liability almost free” card. Due to widespread and probably pervasive corners-cutting during the mortgage securization process, it appeared that the overwhelming majority of mortgages that had been securitized since the refi boom of 2003 had not had the mortgages conveyed to the securitization trusts as stipulated in the pooling and servicing agreements that governed these deals. Because these deals were designed to be rigid, for the ~80% that elected New York law to govern the trust, there was no way to straighten out these securitizations after the fact. Georgetown law professor called these agreements “Frankenstein contracts” and argued that what had happened was “securitization fail,” that the securitizations had never been properly formed and thus the investors had bought what amounted to legal empty bags. Mind you, someone did have the right to collect the interest and principal from the mortgages, but that “someone” didn’t appear to be the servicers acting on behalf of the securitizations


If anyone sees down votes from me it’s because of clumsy fingers on a phone.


I had read that Kamala backed off on the mortgage companies after she had had a consult with Obama. Don’t know if being a “game player” is going to help her out if she runs for national office.

Regarding the passage by Yves Smith that DM cited here, I wonder if Yves has ever asked herself where “rights” come from? “Mind you, someone did have the right to collect the interest and principal from mortgages [. . . .]” Really? She seems to think that Capitalism and its concomitant basis in debt, repayment, interest, etc., is as natural as rain water (just needs to be tweaked–standard liberal attitude). It’s not. It’s made by humans and can be questioned and changed by human beings. The “rights” that Yves assumes accrue to lenders actually exist only because of the state and its laws, which are also human-made institutions. When banks violate those laws, as they did in multiple ways during and after the subprime mortgage debacle, then the banks forfeit their legal protection on the basis of “rights.” Having broken the law myriad times, lenders lost their claim on rights and therefore their claim to loan repayment based on law.

They had to result to (once again) buying the state and thereby to the use of coercion against homeowners via foreclosure–which is a violent act–rather than to any appeal to their “right to collect” on debts.

Something else that Yves seems not to see is that the same appeal to “rights” protects the borrowers from fraudulent practices by banks. Borrowers have a fundamental right to be dealing with lenders who respect the state and its laws. At base, laws governing acceptable lending practices are made by the state as a means of protecting the population against those money-lenders whose “natural” greed finds a model in mobsters.

I think that this was part of what David Dayen was showing in his book on the foreclosure fraud.

Greetings and thank you to PWer’s!

Back to NC, most of that site “wants” to protect capitalism, but “reform” it. If, though, the only way to protect capitalism is to curtail your thinking about it, than that itself is the best indictment against our current system of money!


I stopped visiting that site for similar reasons.


Speaking of harassment…

Don midwest
Don midwest

Russia! Russia! Russia!

Trump is part of the mafia and Russians been tied in for years, but need to be clear about what part of Russia story that people are pushing..

That sophisticated, specific Russian 2016 voter targeting effort doesn’t seem to exist

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