Links 11/27/2020

Fish save energy by swimming in schools Physics World

Squirrel gets drunk after eating fermented pears outside Minnesota woman’s home FOX9

A billion people have no legal identity – but a new app plans to change that World Economic Forum

Cash in the time of Covid Bank of England

Google ordered to hand over emails in £453m divorce battle FT

German watchdog reports EY to prosecutors over Wirecard audit FT (Vlade).

U.S. Shale Bankruptcies Accelerate Despite Pandemic Protection (Re Silc).

Apple’s security chief indicted in Santa Clara County sheriff concealed-gun permit scandal Mercury-News. Third World stuff!

Thanksgiving Postgame Analysis

A Thanksgiving Myth Debunked: People Aren’t Fighting About Politics NYT

Our Rebel Thanksgiving The American Conservative

For the numerate:

I thought they meant lutefisk:

Can you stretch your stomach to eat more at Thanksgiving? STAT. Should have spotted this yesterday. But maybe for leftovers?


‘U.S. is going to see darkest days in modern medical history’: Doctor’s dire warning as 95% of country sees ‘uncontrollable COVID-19 spread’ and 50 MILLION travel for Thanksgiving – with 17% spike hitting California in just 24hrs Daily Mail

What 635 Epidemiologists Are Doing for Thanksgiving NYT. Handy chart:

I suppose “only with household” implies “not traveling,” but I’d be more comfortable with this “informal survey” if that question had been asked.

* * *

A Vaccine Won’t End the Pandemic in Rural America Foreign Affairs

From neglect to scolding to abandonment:

With Great Power Comes At Least Very Small Responsibilities Eschaton. Newsome, Cuomo (until shamed), now this guy…

* * *

Money Could Motivate Some People to Get a Covid-19 Vaccine, Survey Shows Bloomberg

Astra Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial as Questions Mount Bloomberg. Not “extra.” Another.

Why are the Free Traders All Protectionists? Vaccines and Sharing Knowledge (Fun for Thanksgiving) Dean Baker, CEPR

* * *

Justices lift New York’s COVID-related attendance limits on worship services SCOTUSblog. If I read this correctly, Cuomo’s law was poorly drafted: By function (gym, salon, church) rather than characteristics like size, ventilation, and average duration of stay, none of which would have raised “strict scrutiny” questions.

I wish we had a map like this for the US:

Was opening the colleges worse than Sturgis? I’m guessing yes.

Sweden’s population is losing confidence in the country’s strategy to combat COVID-19 MarketWatch


Covid Vaccine Rush in China Raises Fears of Booming Black Market Bloomberg

Dance off: the niche Hong Kong social scene behind city’s biggest Covid-19 cluster South China Morning Post. Contact tracing example.

I will never get to go to Hong Kong Noahpinion, Substack


Boris Johnson appoints Dan Rosenfield as No 10 chief of staff Guardian

Guardian censors Jeremy Corbyn cartoon Electronic Intifada

Boris Johnson facing big backbench revolt over Covid tier system FT

Government mocked for ‘brilliantly predictable’ blunder after coronavirus tier checker website crashes instantly Independent

‘This is levelling down’: Northern leaders react with fury and frustration to new tier system Independent


A portable cabin and Google Translate: Life on the Brexit haulage frontline Sky News

Trump Transition

Lawmakers clinch deal on decadelong fight against shell companies Politico

On This Day in 1791 — The First Cabinet Meeting in United States History Lindsay Chervinsky


Economics Not Culture Wars Drove Most Trump Voters – Thomas Ferguson The Analysis. Today’s must-read.

Class-Partisan Polarization Intensified in the 2020 Cycle Policy Tensor. Hoo boy.

Trump says he’ll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Hill. That is, in fact, the Constitutional procedure…

The Most Predictable Election Fraud Backlash Ever Michael Tracey

Biden Transition

Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts The Hill

Kissinger tells Biden to go easy on China The Hill

Brian Deese likely pick for top White House economic post Politico. Bill McKibbben runs interference. Thread:

Big Brother Is Watching You

Atlas of Surveillance: Documenting Police Tech in Our Communities EFF

Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft’s creepy Productivity Score The Register

Health Care

Patients of a Vermont Hospital Are Left ‘in the Dark’ After a Cyberattack NYT


Bjorn’s Corner: 737 MAX ungrounding, ANAC’s and EASA’s decisions Leeham News and Analysis. See here for “synthetic AOA sensor.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘Why now?’ Dismay as US considers troop pullout from Somalia AP

Class Warfare

Amazon Workers to Stage Coordinated Black Friday Protests in 15 Countries Vice

Deplorables, Or Expendables? The American Conservative

Broadening Place-Based Jobs Policies: How to Both Target Job Creation and Broaden its Reach (PDF) Timothy Bartik, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

‘When a Stranger Shall Sojourn with Thee’: The Impact of the Venezuelan Exodus on Colombian Labor Markets (PDF) Julieth Santamaria, „University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics

Dead minks infected with a mutated form of COVID-19 rise from graves after mass culling USA Today. Comment: “Ease up, 2020, you’re trying too hard.”

For the first time, scientists detect the ghostly signal that reveals the engine of the universe NBC News (Furzy Mouse) (original).

New Quantum Paradox Reveals Contradiction Between Widely Held Beliefs – “Something’s Gotta Give” SciTech Daily (Furzy Mouse) (original).

First ‘clear evidence’ of hallucinogens at cave art site found Independent

Get ready for the ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn Space

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. LaRuse

    Re: Zombie minks…
    I saw that headline last night and almost send it here to NC for consideration. I absolutely sent it to my husband and daughter and said “This is how the opening chapter of _World_War_Z actually should have opened.” It’s the 2020-iest headline I have seen in 2020 and it tops the whole “Murder Hornets Hive Vacuumed Out of Tree” by men in scary space suits moment.
    Time to review and repack the bug out bag? :-)
    Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

    1. Wukchumni

      I pardoned the flock of 30 wild turkeys that forced me @ snood-point to sign over my deed to the place awhile back, I don’t want any more trouble with their kind, especially now when by mimicking my actions on the laptop when watching through the window, they’ve been ordering stuff online and what do you do with 3 dozen turkey cardigan sweaters when they show up in a large cardboard box, with fowl play suspected?

      What mystifies me is all of the possible wi-fi hot spots have codes to get in, how’d they pull that off…

      We had ham for Thanksgiving and I know it isn’t kosher not to have a turkey, but so be it. Another peaceful day on just the other side of nowhere.

    2. ChrisPacific

      It reminded me of the classic xkcd What If question about a mole of moles, which can be found easily via Google. (Those familiar with xkcd will be unsurprised to know that he predicted this scenario).

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    First ‘clear evidence’ of hallucinogens at cave art site found

    Let me guess; a fossilized copy of Piper at the Gates of Dawn and some black lights?

    1. Shleep

      Ummagumma has “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict”

  3. Martin Oline

    Why did I read “Brain Disease likely pick for top White House economic post” instead of Brian Deese likely pick for top White House economic post? I did not realize I suffered from dyslexia, but I am enjoying it.

  4. timbers

    Covid / Don’t travel or gather / UK Tier System / ETC

    Just a heads ups, but I see indications holiday travel avoidance encouraged by public officials are becoming a divisive issue maybe even a Social Identity Land in the sense of becoming counter productive in the USA. Texts from my family/sisters and their friends mention the various public officials who order or encourage no traveling/avoiding Thanksgiving yet then proceed to go about their holiday travel and gatherings. Maybe it’s always been there or it’s Trump supporters and right wing media encouraging this and it was always there. There is no respect for public officials in many quarters on this subject in fact it’s contempt. Can’t blame them for thinking that way as do I on many an issue.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, I noticed an increase in planes flying into our local airport. I haven’t seen this much air traffic since early March, when COVID reality started biting.

      And I’m going to link right to one of the graphics in that Daily Mail story:

      Note how the case numbers really jump in late September. Which, in my mind, correlates with the re-openings of US colleges and universities. As Lambert suggests, this may not have been a good idea.

    2. Fraibert

      One of the fundamental rules of leadership (not that leadership skills are taught in the US much anymore) is leadership by example. If in a position of formal authority, this means the leader follows his or her own rules and must be willing to do what he or she orders others to do. If lacking formal authority but desiring to exhort others towards certain behaviors, the leader must live up to the convictions his or she claims to hold. Otherwise, the leader is simply full of hot air and people will act accordingly.

      I don’t think anyone expects perfection, but a leader has to make a good faith effort and some situations are not even a hard call (like Gavin Newson’s recent French Laundry visit flouting his own pandemic protocol).

      1. Stephen C.

        “(not that leadership skills are taught in the US much anymore)”

        Here in the SF Bay Area one is surrounded by “leadership trainings” led by leadership and life coaches. With corporate-Silicon valley gigs they can make really good money. It’s suburban Buddhism-lite mixed in with a plethora or Rumi quotes and the ability, whenever uncomfortable social issues come up, to retreat to woke-ism so as to quickly move on to the next Rumi quote. Going to one of their seminars is like being locked inside a Facebook-thread jail cell.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Going to one of their seminars is like being locked inside a Facebook-thread jail cell.

          Great description. I haven’t gone to any seminars lately being unemployed and all, but it does capture the vacuousness of much of corporate or business training. Just something to check off a list, much like those list of activities for college acceptance or aid.

        2. Josef K

          Sounds lovely. Especially since so much of American Buddhism is just guru worshop or ritual fetishism, and Coleman Barks’ Rumi translations exemplify the adage “traduttore, tradittore.”

      2. Socal Rhino

        Read an actually interesting leadership book about the practices of the Marines. Just one nugget – look at the fitness levels of older officers and compare with other branches. Marines, regardless of age or rank must pass the same physical fitness tests because they are expected to lead their marines into combat.

        1. Fraibert

          Rule #1 of the U.S. Marines is that every marine, whether the newest one just out of basic training or the Commandant, is a rifleman. Really makes it clear that no one is above doing the most basic of marine jobs.

          1. Josef K

            Now if we could just extend that rule to every adult male and female all the way through Congress to the C in C, voilà, Peace on Earth.

            1. Wukchumni

              Yes, lets turn Sub Zeroes (house members-not fridges) into riflemen who similar to Swiss soldiers, have to lug their machine guns all over Humordor.

          2. BobWhite

            My experience in Marine Corps basic training is before you get your training as a rifleman, you are trained as a janitor… always have to clean… everything, every day. We did not even touch a rifle for about 4 weeks or so. (I don’t remember exactly, has been a while)
            Turns out, janitor skills are much more useful for a much longer period of time…

    3. dcblogger

      Rupert Murdoch bears much of the blame for this. People who refuse to treat this seriously and comply with minimal actions such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding unnecessary travel are going to keep the rest of us indoors into next Christmas.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > People who refuse to treat this seriously and comply with minimal actions such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding unnecessary travel are going to keep the rest of us indoors into next Christmas.

        As William Gibson wrote:

        ‘”Fortunately,’ he said, ‘it isn’t about who’s an asshole. If it were, our work would never be done.’”

        Meaning, during the AIDS crisis, when the messaging on condoms didn’t work, new messages were tried. We don’t seem to have that capability any more. The goal is to have the message succeed, not confirm our views of the recipient’s morality. That’s why Slavitt ticked me off so much. “Let’s give up, they’re deplorables.” Holy Lord!

        1. dcblogger

          I take your point. Taiwan is back to normal except everyone has to wear a face mask. so it seems that having a single payer healthcare system and actual government leadership makes a difference. but I am still angry w/ people who will no make even minimal concessions to public health.

          1. ambrit

            I had an idea for a tee shirt themed to Covid.
            Simple bold faced type: “WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?”

        2. JohnnyGL

          Let’s not forget how much was done in terms of giving away condoms for free and providing for them to be as conveniently available as possible.

          But, today’s govt won’t dare to have the post office mail masks to every household.

          Today’s elite attitude is very much tinged with the genocidal thoughts of, ‘let’s just give up, we need to cull the herd, anyway’.

          1. JBird4049

            That was just fine. I got tired of reading the Sunday obituaries full of brief and sudden undescribed illnesses. Then there was the seeing of people dying as near skeletons walking about. The large bowls of condoms might have been embarrassing too, but also just fine with me.

            Comparing that with the current epidemic’s treatment by the government does make me angry.

            1. ambrit

              Not to be too censorious, but wasn’t Ronnie Reagan, he of the sulfurous smell, initially dismissing the seriousness of the AIDS disease as “Divine Punishment” for partaking in the sins of the Cities of the Plain?
              Indeed, this prompts me to observe that today’s politicos of the supposed Left are very much like Reagan Republicans.

              1. JBird4049

                Not censorious at all. The Sainted One and His entire cabinet blew off the crisis along with most of the Christian denominations especially those like the Southern Baptist.

                There was one highly placed administration official (whose name I can’t remember) who did spend the two terms yelling at an ever higher level about the loss of life and the need to deal with it in the same way as we are sort of doing with the hunt for the COVID treatments and vaccines. Interesting to hear recordings of his voicing responses to the room filled with snickering and chuckles when the “Gay Disease” or the “Gay Plague”’was brought up. IIRC, in a much later interview he talked about his frustrations and how Christians are supposed to help people regardless of what they do because they’re people. It supposedly being something that Jesus Christ would want us to do. I suppose. But too many Americans just thought that them gays were icky and that the disease would never have anything to do with them at all. Of course, they did.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Justices lift New York’s COVID-related attendance limits on worship services”

    Common man, those shrines aren’t going to lick themselves.

    1. Wukchumni

      For those about to congregate like it’s 1348, I salute you!

      Our Father, which art in heaven,
      Hallowed be thy Name;
      Thy kingdom come;
      Thy will be done
      in earth, as it is in heaven where the virus rages

      Give us this day our daily chance;
      And forgive us our contraction,
      As we forgive clergy that infect us;
      And lead us into temptation,
      But deliver us from secular evil;
      For thine is the kingdom,
      And the power, and the glory,
      For ever and ever.

      1. Phil in KC

        The bishop of my diocese granted a dispensation on attending Mass until such time as it is safe again to congregate normally. My church can seat 800 easily, but most Sundays its rarely more than 80-100 people. And there’s no singing, no hugging or shaking of hands, and there’s distancing and sanitizing and masks are mandatory. I imagine it to be like this in almost every Catholic parish in the country. My point being that merely because one is Catholic doesn’t make a religious zealot who casually dismisses public health concerns. Catholics can be moderate and open-minded.

        That said, I think our elected officials and medical folks have not given a cogent and succinct reason for restricting religious gatherings. When I go to Walmart, the Quick Stop, or the liquor store, I don’t share bread or wine others, sing out loud, or hug whoever is next to me. Why can’t they say that, and say it often?

  6. Bill Smith

    “U.S. Shale Bankruptcies Accelerate Despite Pandemic Protection”

    This has been pretty cyclical. About 2008 I met some people buying these things out of bankruptcy. This dramatically lowered the cost of production for them. The same thing will likely happen this time.

    1. KLG

      “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”
      – (the late) Mark Fisher in Captitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative, zer0 Books, 2009

      I am halfway through McCarraher’s book. Highly recommended, along with Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Human Economy by his colleague Mary L. Hirschfeld.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Hadn’t heard of that book so the review was much appreciated!

      It castigates capitalist economics and it’s almost 1,000 pages long? What’s not to like?

      And the review even quotes Run DMC. I’ll see your Run DMC and raise you a Sir Mix-a-Lot – I like big Books and I cannot lie* Heading to my local bookstore to order it right now.

      *Click the link for a Festivus gift for the book lover in your circle. Someone got a pair for me last year. And I do avoid Amazon at all costs, so hopefully Thriftbooks hasn’t been captured by them yet.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        And speaking of backlashes against capitalism, looks like not everyone appreciates the wholesome goodness Uncle Sugar is trying to spread to the rest of the world – Fists and pig guts fly in Taiwan parliament debate on U.S. pork

        We could use more pig guts and fistfights in the US Congress – probably wouldn’t make the bunch of feckless mediocrities more effective, but with Trump leaving politics it would bring in some needed entertainment.

          1. rowlf

            I’ve always been inspired by the French farmers that dump manure in front of government buildings during protests.

            I am also in favor of allowing congresscritters to drink in the chambers and engage in duels again.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Oh I wouldn’t worry about the US Congress. Plenty of pork is being thrown round there on a daily basis.

  7. Carla

    “No, the country hasn’t been willing to do that. We want to be rescued by science. Whereas, around the world, people understand that they as citizens can solve this for one another and save lives.”

    Wait. I thought that WAS the science.

    And as smart countries know, it still IS the science. The science is that we do what we can to protect each other so that the PhD’s have time to develop and responsibly test vaccines and treatments. As a “side effect,” we protect our economies and ways of life. What a deal.

    But it’s way too late for us to choose science.

  8. fresno dan

    Economics Not Culture Wars Drove Most Trump Voters – Thomas Ferguson The Analysis. Today’s must-read.
    But the bigger story is this: people here, just like in 2008, are all walking around saying, “Oh, it’s just terrible. The Republicans will control the Senate and nothing can be done.” That’s not really true. There were some efforts to push on Republicans, but Obama mainly didn’t do it. He was defending himself the other day. Well, you know, the truth is, they blew the first two years and they brought you to 2010. That really stuck gridlock in the system and brought you Trump. They did everything too little, too late.

    I mean, let’s repeat that: you got Trump because of the Obama administration failures in economic policy.

    1. timbers

      Just finished watching that. In my dreams, an MSM type or the dude on that show Obama was on, saying that to Obama’s face.

      Then sit back with popcorn and watch. A Tucker Carlson type wouldn’t let Obama off the hook with just one lame response, either.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > A Tucker Carlson type wouldn’t let Obama off the hook with just one lame response, either.

        Catch Obama going on Tucker Carlson. Or Joe Rogan, for that matter. (I was listening to Rogan interviewing a Yale professor about his book on Covid. Rogan was sharper than the professor.)

    2. The Rev Kev

      The day that they will be tearing strips off Obama for all the crap that he did in his eight years of President will be the same day that the media says what a great President that Trump was. The media is too far off into their own world to bother reporting stuff that is really going on or what happened in the past.

        1. Wyatt Powell

          Trumpista/Republican 2020 bailout, as corporate and mismanaged as it was, was still better than

          Obummer/Democrat 2008 Bailout

          So your wrong, not completely horrible. Kinda makes me wish Trump had been president and McConnel had the Senate with… idk someone besides Pelosi running the House in 2008-2010

          Country would probably be better off today if that had been the case…
          Kinda pokes holes in your “Trump Completely Horrible bs”

          1. neo-realist

            The little people did get subsized COBRA from the Obama bailout or as an addition. Nothing health-care related from Trump, unless the bleach vaccination recommendation counts.

          1. dcblogger

            worse than Obama. Trump took a bad economy and made it worse. He gave tax breaks to rich people. Trump increased the drone/assassination program. Trump ramped up the baby prisons. worst of all Trump actively incited violence against Americans. And that is putting aside his horrible Covid reponse that actively sabotaged PPE for healthcare workers and encouraged people to defy mask requirements. We would have lost thousands of people had Hillary been president, but we lost thousands more to Trump’s hubris.

            1. Pat

              The death of TPP alone destroys your assessment of Trump. Not taking the likely devastation of that into account about the economy for the majority of Americans is a very big flaw.

              And when you are talking tax cuts, well allowing the Bush cuts to become permanent has to be added to Obama’s lengthy list of destructive failures. In fact you could almost make the case that since there was even less in that for most Americans than in Trump’s.

              I do appreciate your acknowledgement that Trump was just following Obama’s President from Hell lead on things though.

              1. dcblogger

                Trump refuses to condemn Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse

                Trump referred to Heather Heyer’s murderers as “very fine people” how can you look the other way? Trump is horrible, and it is a very good thing that he is gone. it is possible to think that Biden is horrible and be relieved that Trump is gone.

                1. Pat

                  I never said Trump was good. I said he was better than Obama. And I believe he was. Ooh, not saying the right thing. Pretending to drink water in Ferguson sort of tops that. And that doesn’t even get to crossing off Constitutional rights and remotely executing an American without a trial.

                  And no I do not for a minute believe that Biden is going to be better. His entire history tells me that unless his puppet masters have had a come to Jesus moment we are screwed And that is on pretty much every front except the lessening of continued media hysteria.

                  1. Oh

                    You must be talking about Obama faking it like he drank Flint, MI water. DId he do the same thing in Ferguson? I know he watered down the protest.

                2. neo-realist

                  Trump, in a potential 2nd administration, would have been far worse for progressive political organizing in that he would have taken the gloves off and made such organizing virtually illegal through the use of RICO statutes to fine and imprison lefties, not to mention would have appointed more anti-civil rights, anti-voting rights and anti-abortions judges to the bench, which would have arguably made it more difficult to effect progressive political change.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      Trump given another term would have renamed Iowa after his fetching daughter, and the best thing about it is he’d only have to change the middle letters.

                  1. ambrit

                    And Biden is going to be any better with “Cancel culture” and “fake news elimination crowdsourced panels?”
                    Biden will be even more anti-progressive because he will hide behind the Democrat Party’s past “history” of progressivism. (I emphasize the modifier “past” in the last sentence.)
                    Biden is a Neo-liberal and a Corporatist, two reactionary ideologies.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Obama didn’t just “let” the Bush tax cuts become permanent. He actively conspired with McConnell to MAKE them become permanent. Other Catfood Democrats helped in the conspiracy, I’m sure.

            2. anon in so cal

              The data suggest the economy and ordinary Americans’ economic situation improved under Trump.

              (to say nothing of Obama presiding over a massive transfer of wealth to Wall Street, extending the Bush tax cuts, etc…..and to say nothing of Obama and Biden starting 5 new wars and escalating 2 others…)

              “Median household income was $68,703 in 2019, an increase of 6.8 percent from the 2018 median of $64,324 (Figure 1 and Table A-1)…..

              The 2019 real median incomes of family households and nonfamily households increased 7.3 percent and 6.2 percent from their respective 2018 estimates…

              The 2019 real median incomes of White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic households all increased from their 2018 medians (Figure 1 and Table A-1).”


              Further, black and hispanic employment levels rose to record highs under Trump, whereas those groups were decimated by Obama.


            3. mnm

              Yes, I agree this guy with dementia and the token vice chosen by Hillary and Wall Str will save us from orange bad man. They will put all the unemployed to work in the services by starting a ton of new wars. The sale of all those weapons and supplies will send stock numbers to the moon. USA will be friends with China again and health care workers will get all the cheap PPE we need boated over to us. I just can’t wait to see where Hillary ends up cause the Clinton Foundation needs more revenue!
              Maybe now that the color revolution is over antifa will stop destroying cities and taking out lone pedestrians.

          2. richard

            agreed. Obama ADDED more wars and deported far more people than trump. He bailed out the banks but not the homeowners. Not only did he not prosecute the crimes from the Bush era, he expanded on them and threw truth tellers in prison.
            Trump also has many crimes to his name, all of obama and bushes plus a few of his own. but he simply didn’t have the energy (his energy is all about SELF) or opportunity to commit NEW crimes the way bush-obama did. The tax cut and CARES transferred wealth upwards. Helping the saudi’s genocide the yemenis (though that started under obama, i believe). I just don’t count as much on Trump’s docket. Of course, all the trump derangement in the last 4 years isn’t helping anyone do math properly.

        2. The Rev Kev

          November 27, 2020 at 11:33 am

          Sure Trump was pretty a incompetent President but that is not the point. Because the media spent the past four years accusing him of being a “Russian spy”, an accusation which actually originated out of the Hillary campaign as a face-saving device, they were not able to take him on about his terrible decisions to do with the judiciary, the environment, etc.

          It was all the media could talk about and it was new. Suddenly it was virtually illegal for a sitting President to have talks with the one country in the world capable of turning the US to ash. Laws were rapidly made to stop Trump pulling out American troops from some dangerous overseas places as he was doing so “under Putin’s influence”. The media absolutely corrupted themselves over this.

          Think how much the media could have taken Trump apart for all the stuff he was doing domestically the past four years and then reflect that all that got pushed aside as the media concentrated on Russiagate instead and that idiotic Mueller investigation. They spent so much time shouting at Trump for peeing in the swimming pool that they forgot to report that the house was on fire.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      I mean, let’s repeat that: you got Trump because of the Obama administration failures in economic policy.

      Really? It’s been “the economy, Stupid” for decades, except not this time. This time, more people voted for someone else because he was not the guy who bettered their economic circumstances, or so we’re expected to believe.

      Soon we were listening to complaints from even some Republicans and a lot of businessmen: “Wages are rising. We can’t find workers.”
      But it’s obvious that people got the point that they were, in effect, finding jobs and their wages were rising for the first time and substantially in a long time and in a lot of places. And it was also true what Trump said, which was that blacks, Hispanics, all kinds of groups out of labor markets — they were all out there finding jobs. There were even theories that went to sociology, which I never advise or almost never, you got theories about why these people culturally didn’t want to work or something like that? They were all out there finding jobs. I’m not telling you they were great jobs. They were not. But you could get working hours for the first time in a long time. You could make some money and people did.

      Nah, it was Putin that gave us the fascist, narcissistic Trump. Plus the fact that we’re all racists and so was he. Personal economic circumstances had nothing to do with it. Nobody cares about that stuff anymore.

      1. flora

        Well heck. if the MSM finally starts reporting “it’s the economy” then all the authori*arian cen$orship effort is pointless, assuming accurate information is the goal of said cen$orship. Are the MSM more interested in examining real causes or promoting their own – or their owners’ – particular points of view? (Rhetorical question. )

      2. a different chris,sufficiency)%20and%20tariffs%20on%20imports.

        When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he introduced policies aimed at improving the economy. The changes included privatization of state industries, autarky (national economic self-sufficiency) and tariffs on imports. Weekly earnings increased by 19% in real terms from 1933 to 1939,[2] but this was largely due to employees working longer hours, while the hourly wage rates remained close to the lowest levels reached during the Great Depression.[3] In addition, reduced foreign trade meant rationing in consumer goods like poultry, fruit, and clothing for many Germans.[4]

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So, what’s your point–rising wages makes Trump like Hitler? Rising wages will lead to rationing of “poultry, fruit, and clothing” like with Hitler? Wages shouldn’t rise because it’s what Hitler did?

        2. flora

          These are facts with which you’re trying to make a point. So, make the point you’re trying to make. (I can see at least 2 opposite points possible from this set of facts.)

          1. a different chris

            I am saying a pure economic argument, even if you could absolutely prove it, is not the be-all and end-all of being President.

            Heck, a pure and completely inarguable military argument doesn’t keep you in power, either. See Churchill, Winston.

            Leadership is measured across many dimensions. Something we seem to forget since US leadership, including Trump, is now so bad in every one of them that we wind up grasping at something they maybe did sort of not horribly.

      3. Synoia

        It’s not the Economy. Its the venal crews from both parties who manage the Economy, to favor their “investors” (large political contributors).

    4. Edward

      Actually, Clinton allies in the press promoted Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, because they thought Clinton would have an easy time beating him in the presidential race, which was almost true. The irony is that Trump managed to squeak through a victory because Clinton was unpopular.

    5. richard

      usually not a fan of the boldface (i overuse emphasis myself, so seeing others use it triggers my shadow :))
      But thanks very much for boldfacing that.

  9. anon

    “Still, why did so many people vote for a lying con man and a delusional megalomaniac?”

    Was today’s must read about Trump or Obama?

    1. Louis Fyne

      No, no you must be mistaken.

      Obama led us to the Promised Land….we were just not worthy enough to cross the river with him. /sarc

      1. Alex

        It’s worse than that. Obama tried to help but WE LET HIM DOWN. Now go think about what you did.

        Also, Clyburn is right, the cabinet needs more black hedge fund guys. Whatever happened to black Mitt Romney who kinda ran for president? Is he available?

        1. Clem

          Well, at the state level, Kamala Harris’ lover, Willie Brown, that jacked her career by appointing her to several state commissions has demanded that governor Newsom appoint a black female to replace her in the senate:

          ‘Harris began dating Willie Brown, then the speaker of the California Assembly and later a candidate for mayor of San Francisco — a relationship that brought her in contact with many of the city’s political and financial movers and shakers. He was still married, and in his early 60s; she had just turned 30.”

          “Early in 1994, Brown named her as his appointee to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a job that paid $97,088 a year. Six months later, he named her to the California Medical Assistance Commission, a post which paid $72,000 a year.” Surrounded by older M.D.s, she skipped most of the meetings.

          A long list of what she did to get her where she is now, ready to pounce.

        2. edmondo

          Whatever happened to black Mitt Romney

          The last I heard he and his wife bought a 30 acre estate out in Martha’s Vineyard.

  10. bob

    “Cuomo’s law was poorly drafted”

    Cuomo’s law was designed to look like it was ‘doing something’ but not to actually do anything. Strictly performative, like the godfather wannabe he is.

    1. bob

      The NYT showing the garage being “painted” was another great example of a performance. If you can’t afford to perform, you should stay home, turn on the TV and be scolded for the holiday

        1. polecat

          There’s still an need for auditional horse’s heads ..

          Any aspiring ‘kabukists’ in the offaling??

    2. Louis Fyne

      which is why i scratch my head….as drafted the order shows that Cuomo and Co. are dolts and/or have a big beef against religion.

      but not my fight. NYers can decide at the next election

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Centrists are lazy when it comes to policy details. Their whole philosophy reduces the place of policy outcomes to below PR concerns.

        There is a good deal of I’ve got mine attitude, but they really are lazy. It’s why Biden’s sweeping strategy for Covid amounts to more calls for mask wearing and largely the Trump strategy.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It’s why Biden’s sweeping strategy for Covid amounts to more calls for mask wearing and largely the Trump strategy.

          Not true. Biden is also calling for a 100,000 or so contact tracers. I don’t think that’s nearly enough, but Trump didn’t call for them. (Whether contact makes sense with community spread, or whether Americans will permit themselves to be traced, is another issue.) I’d have to reread the plan, but I also think that he’s got plans for PPE, maybe even the Defense Production Act.

          Of course, “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” I think the Biden administration will have a lot to figure out in a hurry, despite Trump’s gift to them of Operation Warp Speed and no new land wars.

      2. bob

        “Cuomo and Co. are dolts and/or have a big beef against religion”

        Taking the culture war and running with it. Cuomo and the god lobby are different sides to the same coin. You can’t really claim to be persecuted unless you are persecuted every once in a while. What’s jesus without the cross?

      3. a different chris

        >have a big beef against religion.

        A religious service is not like going to the mall. Once upon a time I would have found it amazing that I, an atheist, had to explain things like that. No longer.

        Now there’s revolution, but they don’t know what they’re fighting

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          For exposure and superspreading capacity most religious services make malls look like home isolation. Religious services in the U.S. involve standing side by side in densely packed numbers, singing and shouting praise, or slowly shuffling past one another to partake of the Eucharist. Often in older or repurposed buildings with inadequate airflow and ventilation.

          For all Cuomo’s vileness, he is not as aggressive about bringing on ‘Merkin Armageddon as the Catholic zealots who now rule the SCOTUS. It is unclear to me why the most active portion of the current NC commentariat is ultra focused on the sins of 1) a man who has not been President for 4 years now and 2) a couple of mere state governors. Note please, at the highest level we are still ruled by people who praise themselves incessantly for their ‘red-blooded’ all American Christian superiority, and who sneer at ‘losers’ and anyone who doesn’t suck up to them with zealous vigor.

          Trump, his SCOTUS, his party supporters in both houses of Congress, and his most petted and feted red state governors (i.e. Noem) make Cuomo look nearly okay. Which is a insane state of affairs, but rat faced Andy, despite his initial deadly decisions, is not currently as evil as the men and and women who continue to sneer at us while – de facto – increasing death and long term disability among their constituents.

          There is a difference between self-indulgence and active, vicious disregard for the well being of a people. That’s what we have to choose between now in the U.S.; smug twerps born to the elite like Cuomo and Newsom, who flout their own rules, or glaze eyed zealots like Noem, who condemn whole populations to death and disability in order to maintain their red blooded all-American stature for current praise and future advancement.

          The dominant trend in comments here in recent weeks has been one of acceptance of the Noems, and rancorous condemnation of the Newsoms of our nation. Apparently smug twerps are less offensive to you all than bloody handed zealots.

          I cannot agree.

          1. CitizenSissy

            +1000. The SC ruling is peformative Culture War grievance. My church, like many, streams services and zooms educational programs and meetings to protect vulnerable members and wider society. Religious “freedom” now supersedes public health.

          2. Reality Bites


            Many here are getting as bad as the TDS crowd. They have lost all ability to see any nuance

    3. Arthur Dent

      As somebody who lives in NYS, Andrew Cuomo has generally been a day late and a dollar short on the pandemic. He and DeBlasio were still cheerleading going to bars and restaurants well into March until it became obvious that it was disastrous. NYC is still struggling a lot to get a grip on how to control cases. I think government needs to be allowed a firm hand in these crises, but it needs to be done competently. I don’t fault the Supremes’ decision – Cuomo’s restrictions are cartoonish in being selectively restrictive without being particularly effective.

      Upstate NY (about 50/50 Republican BTW) has had much better leadership with much better and more targeted restrictions, even given the limitaitons imposed on them by Cuomo guidelines. it shows in the numbers that are some of the best in the country.

      People are making the difference. Very high compliance for masking in indoor commerical spaces and the counties have been doing effective testing and contact tracing programs. They are starting to be overwhelmed now, but are still doing far better than almost anywhere elese in the country. BTW – the differentiation shows up in universities as well. Here is Cornell’s Covid dashbaord – they took it seriously, put in firm but fair policies with resources available, and have had great success controlling Covid spread while still having things open. Other universities that were haphazard have suffered signfiicant caseloads.

  11. Skip

    Re: Economics Not Culture Wars Drove Most Trump Voters – Thomas Ferguson

    Good interview. The most disturbing takeaway for me was Ferguson’s skepticism over Modern Economic Theory, at least the idea we could spend whatever we want, and MMT’s potential for putting our currency at risk. Although he said we were nowhere’s near it now, he predicts a coming series of inflation scares.

    I hope he’s wildly overcautious, as I was pinning some hopes on MMT riding to untie us from the tracks. But if he’s correct then spending priorities become even more important than they should be now. And it’s an argument for bringing back Glass-Steagall so we’re not so on the hook for another bank fiasco when so many acute needs are mounting.

    1. Upwithfiat

      Redlining preceded the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

      Today, discrimination on the basis of race is illegal but discrimination on the basis of wealth is the very essence of government-privileged private credit creation.

      Nor do government run banks solve the problem of the use of what is, in essence, the PUBLIC’S CREDIT, but for private gain of the richer or politically favored at the expense of their neighbors.

      Ethical money creation is a narrow road indeed but simple in concept, e.g. eschew violating equal protection under the law when it comes to fiat creation and use; e.g. 100 private banks with 100% voluntary depositors.

      1. farragut

        “Ethical money creation” in a fiat monetary system? Those terms seem oxymoronic to me. By definition, someone closer to the creation of that new money is going to benefit more than I. But, that may be more an issue of equity, than ethics perhaps.
        Caveat: I don’t consider myself a gold bug, but I suppose I have several beliefs and behaviors in common with those who get plastered with that label.

        1. Upwithfiat

          “Ethical money creation” in a fiat monetary system? Those terms seem oxymoronic to me. farragut

          Inexpensive fiat is the ONLY ethical money form for government use; otherwise the taxation authority and power of government is misused to benefit private interests such as gold owners, fiat hoarders and private money creators (aka “the banks”).

          By definition, someone closer to the creation of that new money is going to benefit more than I. ibid

          That’s the Cantillon Effect and needlessly expensive fiat makes it inevitable while inexpensive fiat allows all fiat to be created for the general welfare only, including an equal Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation for private interests such as for the banks, the rich and asset owners.

          As for gold bugs, their shame is well deserved to think a scarce metal can substitute for ethics (c.f. Ezekiel 7:19).

          1. farragut

            A contest between gold and human ethics? One is eternally invariant, is largely incorruptible (with few exceptions), and has never disappointed me. The other? Not so much.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        I must ask why you consider the idea of “Ethical Money Creation”? There is no such thing in reality. Any money ever “created” was done to control wealth for those that created the money. Also, remember this is “fictional” money because that is the only kind that can be created. I had to lose my confusion over the distance that poor people are from rich people and why. It happened when we started “creating” money didn’t it? Before creation, we relied on money that was based upon a finite resource or two, so that no one entity could affect its value. This didn’t stop the attempts at trying to wrangle it all into their pockets but it was a restraint.
        That is the one thing about MMT that is obvious from start to end game. It is for rich people to get ever wealthier while removing all the resources on the planet for their personal gain. But most importanly it is to be able to affect the value by inflating the amount for them, but not for thee.
        Until governments are no longer able to inflate away their people into poverty by design, we will become more and more poor with no relief. One thing that governments could not do with the money used by people for dozens of centuries was to change its real value. If a government has control of money, we the people will lose because inflation of supply will continue until we are forced to revert to something that can’t be inflated just to save what little we have left.
        But that is history. in 2020, history is something to be written based on fiction.

        1. Upwithfiat

          You neglect the theft that comes from deflation when, for example, the money supply grows more slowly than the population.

          Also, gold and silver were not money, per se, but anti-counterfeiting measures that were obsolete no later than the invention of the Tally Stick.

          But if we, as a society, decide to worship scarce metals rather than justice then we literally don’t have a prayer when it comes to survival.

      3. Ford Prefect

        Redlining (and associated zoning restrictions) is one of the most successful public programs in history in achieving its objective, clearly demonstrating what can be done when the federal, state, and local governments are united and work together towards a common goal.

        Redlining is no longer necessary because the segregation of housing, along with locking in the wealth diffrerential between white and minority households, is firmly established and is unlikely to be eliminated soon in the absence of a similar focus by government to fix it. Most of the good jobs, along with the workers and households have been long relocated to the suburbs leaving impoverished inner cities. In areas that get gentrified, the poor minorities living in those areas get crowded out by expensive housing, so even if jobs return to the areas where they were living in poverty just a few years ago, they can’t work in them because they have been forced to move away from the area. Their former slumlords do quite well though redeveloping the former low-income housing into high-end housing.

    2. Person

      A silver lining that I took from this interview is that a Biden admin is going to be fighting enormous fires from day 1, which I was vaguely aware of but hadn’t yet taken into serious consideration. This could keep them distracted enough to limit foreign adventurism and awful trade deals; at the very least there is going to be a coordination problem. It may even force them into a few experiments with MMT if things get bad enough.

      On the other hand, the complexity of the situation may just result in delegation of all serious work without careful oversight, and we’ll suddenly end up with a muddle of 100 bad policies pushed through all at once. Where’s my crystal ball?

      1. fwe'theewell

        Huh? Fighting fires, distracting, delegation without careful oversight? Are you hopiuming to be the Plausible Deniability Czar for Biden? He’s got about a million of those; no need to apply.

    3. Carla

      I don’t understand Ferguson’s beef with MMT. Is he saying that spending doesn’t precede taxing and borrowing right now? Because if he is saying that, then he doesn’t understand how a sovereign fiat currency works, and I sincerely doubt that.

      A few key snippets from Stephanie Kelton’s “The Deficit Myth” —

      “[MMT] is, first and foremost, a description of how a modern fiat currency works.” p. 233

      “The problem we have today is that economic policy is often prescribed by people who, despite having advanced degrees in economics, possess no real understanding of how our monetary system works.” p. 234

      “As an analytical framework, MMT is about identifying the untapped potential in our economy, what we call our fiscal space.” p. 235

      “MMT urges us to demote monetary policy (at least in its current form) and elevate fiscal policy as the primary tool for macroeconomic stabilization.” p. 236

      “MMT doesn’t give Congress any new authority over our monetary system…Any amount of spending that is authorized by Congress will take place.” p. 237

      Chapter 2 of Kelton’s book is entitled “Think of Inflation” and for Ferguson to claim that MMT ignores inflationary threats is just irresponsible.

      Finally, as Kelton explains, “MMT is not a religion, and it’s not looking for disciples to follow some screed. What it offers is a realistic description of how a modern fiat currency works, along with some prescriptive ideas about how to transform that understanding into better public policy. By helping us to see more clearly what the obstacles are (e.g., inflation) and aren’t (e.g., running out of money) MMT opens the door to a new way of thinking about how we could run our economy. In almost all cases, it show us that we have allowed myths and misunderstandings about money, debt, and taxes to hold us back.” p 232-233

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          So looking at real resources as opposed to saying “How you gonna pay for it?” except never asking that for the military or the banks is a cargo cult? Do tell.

          1. bronco

            cargo cult is trying to create a replacement for the system that worked with little bits and pieces .

            We could go back to sound money , but the wars won’t be possible at all , and a lot of people are going to need to get their hands dirty.

            I think a gold backed money is perfect for this end times we are in. No more bullshit because it has to be paid for. Pay the troops every week or they quit , the phony industries all dry up and blow away , because of the actual no bullshit rule.

          2. bronco

            i replied but it got lost I guess . I want gold backing my money and I want everything bought to be actually paid for. So essentially 95% of the fluff has to go away that includes the military and the banks . All the bullshit that fiat enables has to go, the entire industrial complex (military , finance , higher ed , medical …. everything , local government too) poof gone.

            Be productive in real money terms or go die I guess . It will be a big adjustment but 2020 proves we can adjust to about anything.

            We are at the end of the road here , in about 20 different ways

            1. Yves Smith

              Gold backing is a hard-money policy that favors the rich over workers. It also restricts economic growth, witness the “long depression” of the later 19th century under the gold standard.

            2. Upwithfiat

              So essentially 95% of the fluff has to go away that includes the military and the banks. bronco

              Actually, inexpensive fiat, besides being an ethical necessity, is a key component of deprivileging the banks by allowing all citizens (at least) to use it instead of private bank deposits.

              So to be anti-inexpensive fiat is to be pro-private banks.

      1. Susan the other

        He also seems to lack an understanding of how the Fed works: Ferguson has an archaic idea of what the Fed can do – he implied it could “do anything” but it could not show a loss by buying up bad assets or spending too much money without a “cushion” coming from Treasury – which goes against Nathan Tankus yesterday saying it’s all just a shell game. The greatest contradiction lies at the heart of Ferguson’s political analysis if he fails to understand money yet blabbers on about the economy and inequality. He just sounded like another windbag to me.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          AA has a great saying: “Take what you like and leave the rest.”

          I think Ferguson’s perceptions of politics and his scholarly work on campaign finance are stellar (and that’s part of the reason he’s a friend of the blog). I don’t agree with his views on MMT, but… see above.

        2. Yves Smith

          Yes, a central bank most assuredly can show losses, and even operate on negative equity. That’s not even an issue unless the negative equity gets to be so large that it won’t eventually be restored to zero by seignorage profits.

          The reason central bankers don’t like negative equity is they’d have to ‘splain themselves, when it suits them better to be oracular.

      2. Glen

        I read it as – there are limits to MMT, and then cites Wiemar Germany’s hyperinflation.

        I think we have a long way to go before we test those limits. Germany had just lost WW1 and was on the losing end of a very punitive treaty. And nobody else was going to help.

        The US is nowhere near that.

      3. Basil Pesto

        What’s more, Economics as a profession lacks a coherent and successfully tested theory of inflation. MMT scholars, particularly Mitchell, have, for 25 years, studied inflation diligently, and arguably more than any other group of economists. Mitchell makes this point occasionally, and also the point that MMT is and always has been highly concerned with price stability (I have tried to find the entry on his blog where he makes this exact point, having read it last week, but can’t find it. Nevertheless, a cursory examination of his blog, let alone a search for the word, will give the lie to the idea that MMT is unconcerned with inflation). Claiming MMT doesn’t have a theory of inflation, or any appreciation of it, is intellectual dishonesty.

    4. Louis Fyne

      MMT is useful but only to a point.

      Ideally MMT would work in conjunction with fiscal, tax and regulatory changes (change capital gains taxes, allow no bank to hold more than $500b in assets, etc).

      But I’m not holding my breath

      MMT can’t be expected to fix everything by itself. In my opinion.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > MMT can’t be expected to fix everything by itself. In my opinion.

        It is necessary but not sufficient. But if you want to put money creation under democratic control, it’s the way forward.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Isolating Ferguson’s response from the beginning here:

          “You can, in fact, put your currency at risk. Now, we’re a long way from that. We’re not anywhere near that right now. But in the next few years, you’re going to see one inflation scare after another. You’re going to see all of these funny things, flight to gold, which you saw somewhat earlier, all this stuff. My sense is that the macroeconomics and the Covid responses are, frankly, a little behind best practice. And progressives sort of need to get their act together.”

          … always boils down to the largely unfounded fear of hyperinflation, which is confirmed in the next exchange:

          Paul Jay
          You’re talking about hyperinflation. There’s no certainly no sign of any inflation right now.

          Tom Ferguson
          Yeah, except in food. Look at food. You will see that food prices have risen, and rather fast, actually.

          Paul Jay
          As have grocery store profits.

          Good push back by Paul as well, in correctly identifying that prices have risen to protect/expand profits. Our captains of industry are the most basic and economics-illiterate bunch, and Ferguson would do better than try to excuse them here. They are the architects of their own demise, for seeking to infect the very labor pool they require, while funding all manner of austerian policy on the backend which takes income away. They’re happy (and dumb) enough to raise prices to cover, but the tipping point will come as a certain critical mass of people are simply not able to consume. I have always said, that if these numpties were smart, they’d be pushing for massive relief, because it’s all going to end up in their pockets. Sadly, they can’t see the forest for the trees and would rather protect their massive “stores of value” and “shareholder value” from the hyperinflation dragon. We continue to be led by the very worst … a kakistocracy with no end in sight.

          1. Wukchumni

            There hasn’t been any hyperinflationary episodes under the aegis of digital currency, so what replaces the mechanism, and how?

          2. Yves Smith

            Help me. Hyperinflation? Ferguson needs to wash his mouth out.

            As we’ve explained repeatedly since the outset of this site, it takes specific conditions to create hyperinflation, namely the destruction of a lot of productive capacity.

  12. Lee

    Blue state blues.

    Child Dragged From House As California Highway Patrol Evicts Families From Vacant Homes (Newsweek)

    “California Highway Patrol officers have forcefully removed people who had occupied vacant state-owned homes in Los Angeles, according to videos posted on social media….

    A California Highway Patrol spokesperson told Newsweek: “At the request of the California Department of Transportation, the CHP has removed trespassers on state property.”

    Includes video of the event.

    1. TsWkr

      Wow, doing a little reading on the corridor, the homes were bought in the 50s and 60s? I wonder how long they were lawfully occupied by tenants since being acquired by the state.

  13. Wukchumni

    I’m dreaming of a Black Friday
    Just like the ones I used to know
    Where the herd has risen
    And a 66 inch HD TV for $199 won’t go missing
    To herd shoppers to other wares, Yo!

    Said, I’m dreaming of a new Black Friday
    With every online sale the fingers say
    May your days, may your days, may your days
    Be merry and bright & without lack
    And may all your Fridays be Black

  14. Louis Fyne

    I am Click-Bait-Headline exhausted.

    Maybe it’s cuz of the need to get attention around the holidays, but headlines seem to be laying it on thick today.

    I will not be baited.

    just venting. safe holidays to all

  15. Carolinian

    The usual good stuff from Michael Tracey

    The overtly farcical nature of this Trump post-election legal effort–call it Rudy Giulani’s Magical Mystery Tour–is just the latest manifestation of Trump’s chronic inability to wield the machinery of state and public opinion to consolidate power. You’d think, given his routine classification as an unrelenting “fascist,” he could occasionally figure out how to marshal the resources of the presidency to achieve his political goals. But over and over again, this has proven unfeasible.

    Trump’s post-election denialism doesn’t constitute anything close to a “fascist coup,” as had been so frantically predicted by media commentators in the lead-up to the election. But it’s nonetheless noteworthily novel in a few other key respects. His blithe willingness to denounce the entire United States electoral system as hopelessly rigged, corrupt, and riven by systematic fraud springs from Trump’s lack of allegiance to any traditional notion of “American exceptionalism” dogma–the dogma which had once bound together so much of the bipartisan political class in the pre-Trump days. His departure from this mode of thinking is a primary reason why he has generated so many waves of unceasing elite panic

    However the notion that a “legitimacy crisis” seen in the last two elections is something new is probably mistaken. After all the Republicans viewed Clinton in ’92 as illegitimate and arguably Watergate kicked the whole thing off with a president recently elected by landslide given the boot. Of course Nixon deserved to be given the boot but if he did then surely all those previous and subsequent presidents who have done secret and illegal things deserved the same. Nixon got the boot because the elites despised him and so the real legitimacy crisis is of an upper class that increasingly sees itself at odds with the great unwashed. Populist gestures, however insincere, must be crushed and the lowers need to learn their place.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Jerry Falwell’s father owned an oil drilling outfit where like so many Republicans (Mittens, Huckleberry) he has an awful story about treatment of animals.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Trump hasn’t shied away from his jet setting lifestyle and never felt the need to craft a “regular person” image. He was a boarding school guy too. Socks was dumped on a staffer, and Buddy was left in the yard full time until he was hit by a car (those Clintons…) when the Clintons weren’t on tv all the time.

          I can’t imagine Trump feeding a dog or a cat.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Dude (I think). Do you understand what something Trump would, in your imagination, do, is not comparable to, say, killing a dog or using a surgical stapler on puppies?

              1. Drake

                It was intended as nothing but light-hearted snark, in general agreement with the statement “I can’t imagine Trump feeding a dog or a cat”. I wasn’t trying to compare it to anything. I had skipped over most of the preceding discussion.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I can’t imagine Trump feeding a dog or a cat.

            Category errors abound. Can we accept that acts of omission are not acts of commission? Examples listed in the post:

            President George W. Bush (R), as a child, “put firecrackers in frogs” and blew them up.*

            Fred Malek (R), McCain’s 2008 national finance co-chair and now a Romney advisor, looked on and did nothing while a dog was killed, then barbecued, when drunk in college.

            George Allen (R), the once and future Senator of Virginia, shoved a severed deer’s head into a black family’s mail box.

            Bill Frist (R), former Senate Majority Leader, while a medical student, stole cats from the pound, treated them as pets, and only then dissected them.

            Trump is not a nice person at all. However, “not feeding” a dog or a cat is simply not comparable to putting a firecracker “in” it, and blowing it up. Come on.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Jimmy Dore made the joke a day or two ago that the sort of people coming into the Biden cabinet were the sort whose parents never let them have pets as kids as they were afraid of what they would do to them.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: the mayor of Denver

    I expect the Obama years where all he protected the centrists from criticism followed by the focus on Trump means we are in for a cavalcade of stories about politicians openly behaving poorly and being astonished they might be called on it.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Democrats don’t like to “govern”if it can be avoided. It can get complicated. Instead, they’re more comfortable in the position of criticizing someone else’s “governing.”

      When the history of the Trump presidency is finally written, his “failure” to “lead” on covid will be summed up as not providing specific orders that could be picked apart by rival politicians. Instead, he forced them to make and enforce their own rules, which turned out to be a little trickier than they had anticipated, having had so little practice. Turns out bad-mouthing has its limitations as a political skill set when the chips are down.

  17. Ignacio

    I think that Slavitt’s comment doesn’t reflect any kind of American exceptionalism and what he says is possibly shared by a lot of people in any country with a long history of more or less good health care (private, public or mixed). This is: we are not socially/individually responsible for our state of health and very much as our car goes to the garage for repair or inspection we send our bodies to the physician for repair/inspection while the rest of time we don’t bother about how we are mistreating it.

    1. Count Zero

      It’s not always easy to tell when people are being ironic here. But does anybody really think that provision of good health care means that people choose to neglect their health and mistreat their bodies? Presumably, therefore, providing no health care at all will make people really look after their own health? Therefore, the best system of health provision is to provide no health care at all. Genius!

  18. Stephen Cavaliere

    How much does a headline editor make at Newsweek. I mean, think of how he/she/they must have torn their hair out while asking themselves:

    How can a home be described as vacant when a family is living in it?

    How is a vacant home not just a vacant house?

    Is a condemned structure slated to be torn down to make a highway even a house?

    How can I make this as click-baity as possible without distorting the English language beyond recognition?

    Why did I pay big bucks to go to journalism school when I could write at this level when I was a teenager?

      1. Clem

        I watched a different version on Telemundo from Mexico. The homes were “unsafe” per the state. There was no heat, no water and sometimes gas had been turned on by the squatters who were mostly Hispanic families, often undocumented, among whom the word has spread about the boarded homes. It was the rent paying or homeowning neighbors who had originally called the cops because of the crowds in the homes. Highway patrol was used because of the state ownership of the properties.

  19. KLG

    Michael Moore is, well, himself the hellraiser. But after Bill McKibben was caught on camera not being able to forthrightly say/admit who funds in Planet of the Humans, why would anyone really believe a word that comes out of his mouth? And I say this as a longtime McKibben admirer and reader, with I think every one of his books on my shelf, going back to The End of Nature (1989).

  20. flora

    re: I thought they meant lutefisk:

    Lutefisk!?! Lambert, you’re a Norski? Or you grew up in Lake Wobegone? / :)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Tuna casserole.

          That’s brilliant.

          I felt that the first Lake Wobegone, when Keillor was a bitter middle-aged man, was much, much better than the second, after he married and (I imagine) found happiness. The humor was never too sweet; there was always an edge to it.

          I’m struggling to understand Flyover, as should anybody who wants there not to be a permanent reservoir of Covid infection (and would also not like to see the United States become an international pariah*). Thinking about “Lake Wobegone, my home town,” imagine that all the small businesses — The Sidetrack Tap, Bunsen Motors, The Herald Star, Skoeglin’s 5 and Dime — had been destroyed, all the Norwegian bachelor farmers had been forced to sell their land to agricultural conglomerates, and the Powdermilk Biscuit factory was taken over by private equity and then gutted. Lake Wobegon Lutheran couldn’t fix its roof, and Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility was engulfed by a choirboy scandal. The only business in town that’s doing really well is Pharma John’s, a pill mill. And of course the meth labs.

          And then some doctors on the TV tell you to start worrying…

          NOTE * I think the United States as a “walled garden” would create many more problems for ourselves and others even than what we have now. It doesn’t matter whether “we earned it.”

        2. KB

          Ah, thank you for that!…This 99 percent Norski LOVES lutefisk and could you not?…also, love me some early Garrison Keillor…..
          Nostalgia for the good old days….
          Anything you want to ask me about “flyover” country, Lambert go ahead…
          I left for the Los Angeles coast after growing up in MN for 20 years (in the good ol days 70’s and 80’s) but returned to my roots…
          Things are not going well.

    1. rowlf

      I always liked the Legalize Lutefisk bumper stickers the squareheads had on their toolboxes at work in Minneapolis in the 1980s.

  21. Kurt Sperry

    “A Vaccine Won’t End the Pandemic in Rural America”— I can’t read the paywalled content and I doubt more than a scant few NCers who might have FA subscriptions can, but the teaser raises a very interesting question- what do we do once everyone wanting a vaccine has one and they prove effective and safe? At that point there will be a lot of anti-vaxxers and a very few people who couldn’t take the vaccine for medical reasons and we will I’m sure be asked to continue to wear masks and socially distance to protect those groups. Speaking for myself, I’m not going to be even slightly amenable to a message like that. I don’t believe that vaccination should be mandatory, but it should be mandatory for participation in a broad variety of non-socially distant activities like schools, international (if not all public transport) travel (precedent already there for those), employment, and any public institutions and private businesses that make that choice to facilitate a return to some semblance of pre-Covid normality.

    I feel for those who cannot be vaccinated for legit medical reasons, but them not being vaccinated wouldn’t be an issue if not for the anti-vaxxers keeping the pandemic alive and ongoing by choice. If everyone who was medically able were vaccinated, the pandemic wouldn’t last even months and nobody would be at risk.

    Allow—even encourage—businesses and public institutions to require robust proof of vaccination and bar access to all those without a legit medical exemption from entry/participation, then have non-essential businesses that don’t want to have that requirement for the anti-vaxxers. Businesses we can then avoid like the plague.

    1. a different chris

      I plan to continue to wear a mask because I did not miss having a head cold, let alone the flu and the constant nagging wonder about what else in this weird modern semi-post industrial society I was inhaling. And even a “cure for Covid-19” doesn’t mean Covid-22 isn’t gonna show up.

      However, yes the thought of breathing in an anti-vaxxers face is making me reconsider somewhat.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I plan to keep wearing my mask too both for the reasons you cited and to frustrate face recognition programs.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ……a very interesting question- what do we do once everyone wanting a vaccine has one and they prove effective and safe? At that point there will be a lot of anti-vaxxers and a very few people who couldn’t take the vaccine for medical reasons and we will I’m sure be asked to continue to wear masks and socially distance to protect those groups. Speaking for myself, I’m not going to be even slightly amenable to a message like that.

      Why don’t we just cross that bridge when we come to it? And I do mean actually come to it, not just “as reported” by anonymous insiders in the nyt or by big pharma or some shady three-letter agency trying to stay relevant.

      PS. This tendency toward hysterical, preemptive outrage is getting awfully long-in-the-tooth and seems suspiciously manipulative. (As an example, Trump will be leaving the white house at the end of his term without military intervention. All that pre-election shouting and derangement was wasted energy, as many people less heavily invested in the status quo knew it would be.)

      There are plenty of things to be upset about right now without having to make stuff up. Try lengthening bread lines vs. bezos’ $70 billion covid windfall, or Lee’s “CHP evicts homeless from vacant state owned housing” link above, for instance, if you’re looking for something to justifiably hyperventilate about. Otherwise, just calm down and stop borrowing trouble.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > robust proof of vaccination

      Papers please.

      There seems to be a general notion going around (I see it on the liberal side of the world because that’s where I’m from, but I’m sure that this true for conservatives as well) that the clean can somehow be separated from the unclean (the politics of disgust, one might say). This operates at a high level with those who encourage Civil War (I am the only one who thinks this, but I see “Sanctuary Cities” as John C. Calhoun’s doctrine of nullification) and at a lower level with remarks like “those people,” or “businesses we can then avoid like the plague,” or those weepy editors who were upset Jordan Peterson got a book deal.

      Society is too deeply intertwingled for that to work. It’s like the logical endpoint of the Big Sort. In reality, the clean cannot be separated from the unclean, even within ourselves.

      1. Clem

        You can bet your boots that there will be massive profit taking in vaccines. Not just the shots, billed to Medicare, or private ‘insurance’ with prices raised to include it, but for example, want to fly? Buy an Amtrak ticket? Ride a bus, drive into a state or a city?

        You too will need to go to to a private vendor to get your proof of vaccination. Lockeed Martin does that with transportation workers who have to reup their fancy magnetic stripe, QR code, chipped and soon to be facial recognition I.D. cards.

        Am still getting occasional Cloudfare error messages.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think it is more about the politics of return-hatred and revenge. Loud conservative voices have been preaching Civil War and praying for it. Militant anti-maskers proudly sneer at the danger they pose to others. So attempting to avoid the Typhoid MAGAtard corona spreaders is more about holding up our end of the Civil War they want and are trying to cause.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Loud conservative voices have been preaching Civil War and praying for it.

          Liberal Democrats, too. Not so loudly, because liberal Democrats don’t do loud (see here, here, and here). We might also remember this from the hilariously named “Transition Integrity Project,” quoted in Water Cooler:

          “How the Media Could Get the Election Story Wrong” [New York Times]. “[A] group of former top government officials called the Transition Integrity Project actually gamed four possible scenarios, including one that doesn’t look that different from 2016: a big popular win for Mr. Biden, and a narrow electoral defeat, presumably reached after weeks of counting the votes in Pennsylvania. For their war game, they cast John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, in the role of Mr. Biden. They expected him, when the votes came in, to concede, just as Mrs. Clinton had. But Mr. Podesta, playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College. In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr. Trump took office as planned. The House named Mr. Biden president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump. At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for cues, and waited to see what the military would do.” • Oh. The name “Transition Integrity Project” reminds me forcibly of Nelson Algren’s advice: “Never eat at a place called Mom’s.”

          So, even if secession is not top-of-mind for Democrat elites, it is clearly and explicitly an option. And treating 72 million American voters as not merely “deplorables” but as disgusting and taboo-level contaminated, certainly helps pave the way for that (“his party wouldn’t let him concede”).

    4. TroyIA

      We should probably pump the brakes on a vaccine being a cure-all for the pandemic. They may slow the spread of COVID-19 but as yet there isn’t any evidence that infection and transmission is completely prevented.

      Moderna chief medical officer: Vaccinated adults could still infect the unvaccinated with COVID-19

      We’ve gotten three incredibly good pieces of news in as many weeks when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the last three weeks saw the announcement that another SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has shown promising results and is waiting on regulatory approval so distribution can begin. For some, like front-line healthcare workers, the vaccine could be delivered as early as December. But for most, it’ll be late spring to summer before the mass rollout of vaccinations begins. Yet even then, things may not “get back to normal” as quickly as we’re all hoping it would once a vaccine became available.

      That’s the sobering warning from Moderna’s chief medical officer Tal Zaks. Moderna was the second firm to announce their vaccine has shown an almost 95% efficacy rate, which means that almost 95 of every 100 people who receive the vaccine will be protected against COVID-19.

      The problem is, it is yet unknown if any of the three vaccines—including Moderna’s—will make the transmission of the virus from a vaccinated person to an unvaccinated person impossible. Or, to put it another way, it’s possible that even vaccinated people will be able to still infect unvaccinated people with COVID-19.

      As Zaks told Axios, while Moderna’s and other’s vaccines do appear to prevent people from getting “severely sick” from COVID-19, “[t]hey do not show that they prevent you from potentially carrying this virus . . . and infecting others.”

      1. Kurt Sperry

        It might be possible for vaccinated people to spread Covid, but what are the odds vs. people who haven’t been vaccinated? If it’s rare, which is overwhelmingly likely, that’s not really a big problem, just as a vaccine doesn’t need to be anywhere near perfectly 100% effective to be sufficient to kill the pandemic if enough people are inoculated. Just as a very small percentage of people who have become reinfected after a bout of Covid doesn’t constitute a significant pandemic risk. And there’s a very simple answer to the problem of vaccinated people spreading the virus to the unvaccinated but I’ll leave you to figure out what that might be. Aside from the tiny percentage of people who shouldn’t receive a Covid for specific medical reasons, at the point everyone willing to get vaccinated has had the opportunity to be I’m frankly not too concerned about the risks to people who freely choose not a get a vaccine. You cannot ever perfectly protect people from their own lack of good sense.

        If a widely-used vaccine gets and keeps the r0 down well below 1 as it almost certainly will, the pandemic will inevitably and quickly wind down to almost nothing. That’s just math, it’s irrefutable.

    5. Daryl

      > At that point there will be a lot of anti-vaxxers and a very few people who couldn’t take the vaccine for medical reasons and we will I’m sure be asked to continue to wear masks

      I personally hope that wearing a mask continues to be socially acceptable. Good way to stop other bugs, and facial recognition.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I think people wearing masks if they want to is great, it even feels nice and warm in the Winter chill, I’m wearing one outside just to keep my face warm as well as to be polite. Probably won’t be come Summer though if vaccines pan out and the numbers plummet.

    6. VietnamVet

      I am not sure that I have my half century old yellow vaccine card. To make it profitable, the new vaccine certificate will likely be a RF card or your Apple iPhone. What is astonishing is the complete lack of planning for a likely failure of the vaccines to eradicate the virus unlike public health programs that can. A bipolar world where virus is endemic in the West and Third World and the rest, East Asia and the South Pacific nations, are in a constant battle to test and trace and quarantine newly imported coronavirus infections.

      The US Supreme Court has ruled that religions are free hold super-spreader crowed, confined, ceremonies with singing and praying. They now have the freedom to infect themselves, return to the population, sicken and kill other Americans. Pastors, Imams, and Rabbis have now joined corporate CEOs in being able to kill ordinary Americans without legal punishment.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      Anti-vaxxers and mRNA-vaccine sceptics are two different sets of people, though they may overlap some.

      So are you talking about the never-before-tried-in-humans mRNA vaccines? Or are you talking about the more classical forms of simlar-virus/ attenuated virus/parts-of-virus vaccines?

  22. Kurt Sperry

    “A fascinating graph, showing the dynamics of the second wave in France.
    Things were fine in July, but the 20-29 year olds starting relaxing.”

    How much of that is people 20-29 “relaxing” and how much is people in that age group forced to risk themselves working service jobs by economic necessity?

    Any pandemic measures that don’t include paying people to stay home and distance aren’t serious.

    1. Ignacio

      I think most of it was relaxing. Very much the same ocured in Spain. This is a cohort age that account many students or just started working but still living at their parents house but they feel a strong need to escape Daddy’s and Mommy’s as much as they can with their fellows. Hugging and kissing is a must.

    2. Yves Smith

      I don’t see why you assume service jobs skew disproportionately young, particularly in France which has better employment protection than here and so those jobs are not horribly underpaid. I’ve admittedly only been in the bigger cities a bit, but the people working in retail stores and in restaurants looked early 20s to mid 50s. Only seniors seemed to be underrepresented.

  23. Wukchumni

    First ‘clear evidence’ of hallucinogens at cave art site found Independent
    The Chumash tribe responsible for said cave art were kind of the bankers to inland tribes as far the shell game went where it was a trade intermediary, or in the parlance of the time perhaps: ‘sea-notes’.

    I’ve seen lots of different variants of Native American wall art, and you can usually infer as to what they trying to impart, but the Chumash art is really trippy, as it was always suspected datura was a big influence, and it’s considered such a nasty drug that the couple hundred plants I see alongside the road never ever get harvested, and this in an age when people willingly pay money for Fentanyl. You could have the datura you want for free.

    Much of the Chumash wall art requires long walks and excellent route finding. a great starter panel is only about 20 minutes east of Santa Barbara on SR 154

    A 1965 doc film

    1. Watt4Bob

      While visiting a friend who had been experimenting with datura back in the mid 70s, he had a sudden ‘episode‘, ran around the room, upsetting a large plastic garbage can full of future beer, then stood up on the couch did a rather perfect swan-dive into the very shallow puddle of raw beer that resulted, and then ‘swam‘ around the room, very convincingly, doing the breast-stoke.

      It had been some days since he had gone on his datura ‘excursion’ and according to his room-mate, this sort of recurrence had been happening every once in a while, with no warning.

      That experience was enough to temper any curiosity I may have had about the plant.

      1. Wukchumni

        I know of 3 datura dosing disasters that have befallen friends, each of whom vowed never to ever get near the stuff again and in each case it was many decades ago.

        Makes you wonder what the Native Americans did differently in terms of ingestion~

  24. Person

    Re: “A billion people have no legal identity – but a new app plans to change that”

    > Thompson’s app uses blockchain to preserve the user’s digital identity from interference

    Blockchain… what won’t it solve?

    “This app intends to end world hunger through the power of blockchain” (I feel like I’ve already seen this one tbh)

      1. epynonymous

        Mass hysteria is a defining feature of society.

        It was never about the tulips. Maybe the colonialism, but once you have the foreign land, ruling it is a bother. Ufos, witchcraft, dancing crazes, its part fashion and part identity.

        I can’t wait to hear reporters flip their scripts for pres BidenHarrisInc.

  25. Stephanie

    Lambert, you seriously posted pickle roll up pics without a recipe?!??!!

    I’ve seen people mix it up and use jalapeño cream cheese but if you’re going that route I’d say pickle your cukes with a jalapeño and avoid unnecessary chunkiness later.

    1. ambrit

      Jalapenyo cream cheese, ouch! That sounds like something a Chinese Torturer would use to extract a confession with.

  26. juno mas

    RE: Economics not Culture Wars

    The headline is, of course, misleading. Economics (stupid!) is always a real political issue. But culture issues are in the mix, too! That is why Trump used racial dog whistles, Law and Order phrasing, demonizing immigrants (including asylum seekers), and entreaties to Boogalosers, along with taking credit for an economy that he actually has little control over, to try and create a narrow electoral victory (non-majoritarian) in a few key states so he could continue his reign. Didn’t happen.

    There is no getting around Trumps failure to lead a national program to handle the pandemic. There is no getting around four years of leadership failure. There is no getting around his corrupting the Justice Dept. There is no getting around the fact that the US will be shackled by his four years of give-aways to the Rich. To the environmental damage of his policies. To the divisive rhetoric and attempts to subvert democracy.

    Who cares if they’re better off next month if their children will inherit a scorched earth? 74 million Americans, that’s who.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I fully expect your 2nd paragraph to summarize the Biden / Harris regime… although I suppose we can take comfort (as in the Obama years) that the media will whisper sweet nothings into our ears and let us know everything is ok because the “adults are in charge “

    2. D. Fuller

      Price of milk, 2017: $3.19
      Price of milk, 2018: $3.39
      Price of milk, 2019: $4.11
      Price of milk, 2020: $4.85 (high of $5.15)

      At least in my area. Please note that in any given year, that US dairy corporations dump 100 million gallons of milk due to over-production. Also note that the 5 largest dairy corporations see up to 70% of combined profits are provided by taxpayer guarantees such as taxpayer handouts.

      I am wondering what BLS officials will say about inflation, next.

      1. Louis Fyne

        my neck of the woods.

        Organic milk 1 gal. $6.09 (often 2 for $10)
        Standard milk 1 gal. $2.29 to $2.89

        I absolutely don’t doubt your numbers.

        just to give perspective as I live near lots of dairy cows and my metro area has healthy competition between the Mega-Lo Marts, legacy grocery chains, successful local independents, and ethnic grocers.

        unlike much of the US where one’s choices are Walmart and Kroger (or Albertsons). and if you’re unlikely—just WalMart

        1. carl

          In my area: raw milk directly from the farmer has remained about $7.50/gallon for about the last 5-8 year, best recollection.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Gaaak. I worked on a dairy farm for a summer. No way in hell I would ever consider drinking unpasteurized milk. None. It took me years before I could drink pasteurized milk after that. Up at 4am to wash 100 udders in the milk house, again in the evening. Big udders. Udders that get dragged through fields, fields rife with fresh manure. And please don’t ask about mastitis.

            1. Brunches with Cats

              So, Wobbly, your firsthand (“lived”) experience from one summer working on a dairy farm told you everything anyone would ever need to know about raw milk?

              I grew up on a dairy farm, from a long line of dairy farmers on both sides, going all the way back to France before Champlain founded Quebec. They arrived in “New France” in the successive waves following his death. OK, so it wasn’t the Mayflower, and anyway, they were peasant farmers in an extension of the French feudal system in “New France.” The seigneurial system later was abolished, but the family remained tenant farmers right up to my father’s generation.

              Yep, cows get dirty being outdoors. I used to walk them to the pasture down the road with my mother, my bare toes squishing in warm, fresh droppings. I played in and around the barn (lots of cats!). However, my father ran a sanitary operation — one of those things you learn when you’re from a long line of dairy farmers. Everything was washed down with lime. Before attaching the milking machines, the cows’ “bags,” as we called them, were cleaned with some kind of chemical (don’t remember what it was). The milk house was as close to sterile as you could get in that low-tech era.

              My entire family drank raw milk. Of course, having a fresh supply daily meant there was never a need for pasteurization.

              My mother being an overworked farm wife, she’d often have to send me to neighbors for daycare until I was old enough to run around on my own. According to the family lore, I got sick on store-bought milk, so she would send a bottle of raw milk with me. Then came kindergarten, those nickel cartons of milk, and the “science” that traumatized me for life. TBC …

              1. WobblyTelomeres

                So, your family’s dairy experience predates the luckiest scientist in history, Louis Pasteur? So does mine! That farm was my uncle’s, and before him, my maternal grandfather’s, and so on back to when they got kicked out of emigrated from Freisland for being assholes Calvinists and settled in the rich farmland near Holland, Michigan. I have the documentation, even.

                So, I’m curious as to why you put science in quotes? Was Pasteur insufficiently spiritual? Is the germ theory of disease something only city fools believe in?

                1. Brunches with Cats

                  So you spent one summer on a farm, but being a documented descendant of Calvinists who settled “rich” Michigan farmlands makes you more of an authority on raw milk than a descendant of French peasant farmers who actually grew up on a farm and drank raw milk every day? Classist much?

                  Please show me where I wrote anything like the preposterous presumptions in your last paragraph. In fact, I wrote that pasteurization wasn’t necessary for the milk we drank, because it was fresh daily. As long as you’re reading into statements, try reading into the connection between “pasteurization” and “fresh daily.”

                  By “science,” I was referring to the prevailing nutritional “science” of the day that milk was the perfect food for growing bodies. You wouldn’t know that, because I hadn’t yet written Part II of the comment, and it got so late that I didn’t think anyone would see it anyway, so I skipped it. But just for you, since you brought it up, here it is, below:

                  1. Brunches with Cats

                    When I was in kindergarten (full day back then), I carried my sandwich in a paper bag, with a nickel for a carton of milk, as my mother had long since stopped sending raw milk with me anywhere I went and probably forgot all about it, given the myriad other worries and demands on her time. Whether packaged milk was the problem, or whether due to one or more of several other factors, I came home every day with a splitting headache. Since milk had been deemed ‘the perfect food,” with knowledge of its damaging health effects still a couple of decades away — and since I lived in a dairy farming community that wouldn’t have believed it anyway — no one ever suspected that milk was the problem.

                    By that time, I’d also started finding milk disgusting and fought drinking it. With a child’s communication skills, all I could say in objection was that it was “yucky,” which, as you can imagine, wasn’t an admissible defense.

                    The teacher — the appropriately named Mrs. King — tolerated no disobedience. I had to sit alone in the dark lunch area until I finished my milk, which got warm and even yuckier, while the other children made playhouses with giant blocks and had fun with other toys a farm family (five kids by then) couldn’t afford. The hour bus ride home was excruciating. While the others kids laughed, sang, and shouted — the latter especially painful — I sat with my head pressed against the cold glass window. I remember one day in particular being so weak when I got home that my mother had to carry me upstairs to bed.

                    And for all that, Mrs. King sent home a note to my mother that I had “an authority problem” — gaslit decades before gaslighting was a thing.

                    1. Brunches with Cats

                      Sorry, I apparently offended the Great & Mighty algo. Will wait patiently and meanwhile try a third and final installment:

                    2. Brunches with Cats

                      In my early 20s, the headaches turned to violent migraines. Mainstream medical science hadn’t yet endorsed the concept of food allergies, but I started putting two and two together, did an elimination diet, and found a clear pattern between milk and migraines, although genetics and hormones also likely had a role. The headaches tapered off in my mid-30s, but I still get them from time to time after eating certain dairy products.

                      The effects of enforced self-abuse likely will follow me out of this incarnation.

                      The harmful effects of milk on some children and many adults finally began getting mainstream attention in the 1980s. More-recent works have attributed resistance to giving up milk to creation myth, mommy issues, racism. I’m out of that loop now, but remain interested in how markets, profit motives, ingrained cultural beliefs, etc., continue to drive “science” — which is, after several hundred words, answers your question about why I write “science.”

                      There’s the obvious parallel to COVID science. Many comments on NC, as well as an entire article by Lambert, have addressed the lack of trust in science, resistance to expert” recommendations, etc. My milk experience definitely informs my thoughts and beliefs — adding that, in practice, I follow the basics: social distancing, obsessive hand-washing, and wearing a mask. In fact, I was wearing face coverings even before our Award-Winning* governor mandated them, and have been experimenting with my own mask designs, the latter informed by many great links found by Lambert and by NC discussion threads.

                      * /s

                  2. Basil Pesto

                    if I may, you’ve strawmanned Wobbly twice:

                    So, Wobbly, your firsthand (“lived”) experience from one summer working on a dairy farm told you everything anyone would ever need to know about raw milk?

                    He never made any claim of the sort you attribute to
                    him; and:

                    So you spent one summer on a farm, but being a documented descendant of Calvinists who settled “rich” Michigan farmlands makes you more of an authority on raw milk than a descendant of French peasant farmers who actually grew up on a farm and drank raw milk every day?

                    He never claimed to be a higher authority on the subject of raw milk. He had a personal ‘sausage factory’ experience on a dairy farm and that was enough to put him off milk (pasteurised for a while, unpasteurised to this day). You may claim ‘not all dairy farms’ and I’m sure you’re right, but Wobbly didn’t work on all dairy farms; he worked on one. I don’t understand the defensiveness.

          2. ambrit

            Woah! You must live in an “enlightened” locale. Mississippi, where we live, does not allow the sale of raw cows milk for human consumption.
            Phyl’s family grew up on a working dairy farm. After the Grandfather sold the dairy, Phyl’s Dad ‘kept’ a few milk cows for as long as he had the space and energy to tend to them. Well do I remember the fresh Cream Cheese Phyl would occasionally bring home from a visit to her folks place. That stuff was so rich, my cholesterol levels went up just from anticipating the heavenly stuff seducing my taste buds.
            I was often dragooned into helping with the milking of those cows. One big “orange” Jersey cow was so sweet. Washing the ‘bags’ before milking was mandatory. So were warm hands. (I found out the hard way that cows can kick sideways, due to having a cold pair of hands one morning.)
            As I have aged, I find that my ‘tolerance’ of milk has fallen off. Ice cream is likewise now a problem for me to digest. Cheese now, no discernable problem. Go figure!

    3. Duke of Prunes

      Also, I see this “74 million horrible people” troupe a lot lately.

      If you find yourself shaking your head, tsk tsking and having a difficult time understanding how in the world there can be 74 million racist, misogynistic deplorables… check your assumptions. Maybe, just maybe, the wild opinions of the few don’t represent the many regardless of how hard the great Wurlitzer tries to make it so.

      1. juno mas

        Where did you read that quote?

        My comment is about the issues that seem to resonate with the electorate: each person chooses what vibrates them.

        The last sentence is a question: “Who cares if they’re better off next month if their children will inherit a scorched earth? 74 million Americans, that’s who.”

        Seemingly, it really is” the Economy, stupid!”

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > There is no getting around four years of leadership failure.

      I would be happier considering this as an indictment of personal failure on Trump’s part if we had examples of Democrat leaders stepping up and presenting, through their state and local level policies — which is where the legal power to fight pandemics resides — a better example. Instead, we got Cuomo (late response, nursing home deaths) and Newsome (French laundry), not to mention enormous failure at executive level in universities (but what would one expect).

      And it is true that we do not have a parliamentary system, so it’s not like there’s a shadow government. That said, it would have been helpful if the Democrat Party could have bestirred itself to present a united front and consistent policy starting in March (as soon as Sanders was out of the way, of course; I grant that was more important than anything). Instead all we got was yammering.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      The 74 million American who voted for Trump consider ” their children will inherit a scorched earth” to be a Liberal Hoax. It will be an interesting challenge convincing them otherwise. Runaway global warming could help in that process.

      As to the other things, well . . . . they are what led me to vote for Biden. But assuming Biden wins, I will still be very bitter. Because Team Joemala will replace the Trump Decay with a whole new round of Joemala Decay of their very own.

      I expect Joemala and the two Houses of Congress to come together in a Grand Catfood Shakedown.
      They will give us another round of Covid Relief if we agree to give them all our Social Security money.

      ” Hand over that Social Security or the Covid Relief gets it, see?”

  27. Geo

    “Money Could Motivate Some People to Get a Covid-19 Vaccine, Survey Shows”

    Have the survey takers heard of money and it’s uses before? Seems like an obvious result – like saying “Money could motivate some people to do degrading jobs”. It tends to be an effective motivator in our money-based economy. Especially in a nation where millions have no money and can’t make rent payments or buy groceries.

  28. timbers

    Economics Not Culture Wars Drove Most Trump Voters – Thomas Ferguson

    Ferguson mentions there has been basically no inflation except maybe some recent food inflation (which I have noticed too just look the price of cheese as an example).

    That there is no inflation is the official position of the Fed and it is 100% wrong. I see lots and lots of inflation.

    Various real estate sites say the value of my house is rising about 2% per month. That’s about 24% yearly. And I think that’s about right based on the sales in my area that I’ve followed. Split level ranch homes about 1,500 to 2,000 sq ft were selling just over $300,000 4.5 yrs ago in my neighborhood now easily sell over $400,000 and rising and go into agreement at light speed. My water, real estate, electric and gas bills are all going up too. And asset markets are at all time highs almost daily, pounding home increasing inequality.

    There’s lots and lots of inflation in the world I live in yet the Fed never drops it’s official line that there is no inflation, because it’s real agenda is to keep funding this type of inflation it ignores by giving more and more free money to the rich, Wall Street, and asset holders – under the pretext that it sees no inflation.

    1. D. Fuller

      Damn. I posted to soon further up in comments about price of milk in my area over the last few years.

      Price of milk, 2017: $3.19
      Price of milk, 2018: $3.39
      Price of milk, 2019: $4.11
      Price of milk, 2020: $4.85 (high of $5.15)

      No inflation indeed.

      1. timbers

        Couple weeks ago the 2 lb store brand cheese I get went up $1 and produce like tomatoes no longer hit .99 cents a pound but stat at 1.50. Ditto pattern for broccoli.

      2. skippy

        Mistaking the price of some good going up relative to PPP in a currency without unpacking the mechanisms behind it is sloppy methodology.

        At best its a case of post hoc propter hoc without even attempting a forensic examination of underlining fundamentals. Just from the stand point of wages and productivity diverging with the decades long fight against inflation, during a deflationary period and then call it victory makes references to the price of milk relative to the rest a bit narrow.

      3. JTMcPhee

        Re: milk price “inflation:” Is price gouging and rent-looting to be considered “inflation?” Does not seem to meet the notion as understood by hard-currency mavens in the neighborhood. Especially the case with fundamentals like milk, where as noted prices are driven up by dumping and looting of government “price supports.”

        It’s a travesty that milk production works the way it does, driving small dairy farmers out of business or into thrall to supranational corporations. One of many elements of the fu@@ed “economy of markets” in this best of all possible worlds…

      4. Wukchumni

        You occasionally see bumper stickers on the rear echelon of vehicles here in CAFO-ville that say:

        ‘Dairying Is Not A Crime’

        My friend-a trucker, is still picking up milk powder from big operations (think 6,000 head) to drive down to San Pedro en route to China, and a gallon of regular that didn’t make it to the middle kingdom is $4.50 here.

        It isn’t the foodstuff i’d yammer on about from an inflation angle because of price controls, etc, There are heaps of other edibles i’ve noticed that have gone up 20-30% since Covid came calling.

    2. skippy

      Like with hard money optics some forget prices are administered and bare little semblance to classical notions of supply and demand price mechanics. Everything is driven by balance sheet flows and equity prices hence with dropping demand for various items of consumption those flows of funds has to be sourced by other means.

      Sorta like the conundrum here in Oz where Gov subsidized rooftop solar shrank the power companies consumer base and with it the financial flows which required them to increase prices so they could service their debt weighing E.g. a downward debt spiral where immediate financial demands necessitate actions which drive even more people to solar too offset their financial situation, which in turn acerbates the original problem for suppliers.

      Point being just looking at the price of something and the money that it costs you is superficial and ignores a whole bunch of complex factors which can be quite counter intuitive. Having said that does not mean I agree with the dynamics which create such a dilemma. Personally I side with those in MMT which support putting a floor price on labour and abandon the whole failed sound money approach with a side of structural un-under-employment.

      Then again if some are want to delve a bit deeper than some narrow fixation on money, with its attendant time and space issues, I strongly recommend taking the time to consider what those like Lars P. Syll have to offer. Mainly because money is more a reflection of or afterthought to deeper economic concerns, which fiddling around with money forms, especially from an A political setting, never addresses the core issues.

      1. a different chris

        I always think all this fro-fraw over “money” is like discussing Formula 1 engines with 98% of said discussion focusing on the oil they use.

        Because that’s all it is. A lubricant.

    3. JBird4049

      Social Security, SSI, and SSDI, yearly COLA (cost of living) increases are all based on the official inflation numbers. So while many commenters, both in this thread and in others, talk about high inflation truly is, Social Security’s recent COLAs are just 1-3% per year with 2021 being 1.3%. Nice.

  29. Wukchumni

    Apple’s global security chief has been indicted on allegations he worked with the Santa Clara County undersheriff to gift 200 iPads to hasten the approval of concealed-gun permits for the tech titan’s security officers, the latest eye-grabbing development in a corruption probe engulfing the office of Sheriff Laurie Smith.
    Any old perforationist wanting to hide the object of their desire in Tulare Co. can do it for $191 which covers the application fee and 2 years of a CCW license. Its the same gig in most of the CVBB.

    1. JBird4049

      I should thank Lambert for posting this. I think know that much of the liberalism in the California is merely feel-goodism or political theater at best and cover for seriously corrupt stuff at worse. Doesn’t matter what one’s opinion is on something like gun control. Using it for monetary gain or only being able to get a permit with the right connections (like Sean Penn) as in Marin (at least in the past. I have not check for a few years. It might have changed.) or with bribes as in much of the state is not right.

      It is just an example of both the politicization and the corruption of an increasing amount of society.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s one thing to for Silicon Valley oligarchs to form a cartel to keep wages low. That’s expected, at their level.

        It’s quite another thing for them to induce corruption at the level of the local police departments, because if the police departments are corrupt in that one thing, the corruption will seep into everything else*. Third World stuff:

        “Mr. Cook draws a lot of water in this town.”

        NOTE * Everything is like CalPERS.

  30. Dermot M O Connor

    You should change the link from

    “Guardian censors Jeremy Corbyn cartoon”


    “Guardian censors Steve Bell’s Corbyn cartoon”.

    Bell is the greatest cartoonist alive, there is nobody in his class. That the G has seen fit to censor him is a sign of how degenerate they’ve become.

  31. Pat

    Cuomo’s law being badly drafted is par for the course as far as his entire Covid response. Looks like he is doing something, but when you get down in the weeds you discover everything is not well thought out and the plans are problematic and erratic.

    *Although during a rather amazing conversation with an acquaintance I did discover that some attribute him with even greater nefarious plans than I do. That is he deliberately sent I’ll people to nursing homes to kill off the elderly and raise the number of deaths.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I live way out here in Michigan. But when I heard that Cuomo did that, my first assumption was that he diddit on purpose in order to kill as many old people as he could and make it look like an accident.

      Why would I assume that? Because he is pretty smart. He is smart enough to get elected and re-elected governor. So he is smart enough to know that sending covid-infected people into dense-packed low-immune-function nursing homes would sicken and kill many of the residents.

      So I think that ” he diddit on purpose” is a very fair first assumption.

      Change my mind.

      1. Pat

        I can’t, especially since I can certainly believe him to be sure it would never come out that he did demand it. I guess I just don’t see the actual benefit to doing it. Even the thrill from being go to guy in an emergency has to take a hit from the patricide times 100 unless you are a sociopath. As for any shock doctrine benefits, the smart guy would have to be able to see that big numbers = extended shut down = destroyed economy and huge budget deficits which his current legislature will demand higher taxes on his donors more than cuts. Not really all that Cuomo beneficial.

        But maybe you see a benefit I don’t.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        BoJo seems to have done something similar in the UK. From the New Statesman:

        In his first speech last year as Prime Minister on 24 July 2019, Johnson said, “I am announcing now – on the steps of Downing Street – that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”

        This “clear plan” did not materialise in the Conservative manifesto in November 2019. Three months later, this clear lack of a plan became even clearer in Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s letter to MPs on 6 March 2020, signalling cross-party talks on the matter and inviting them to submit their “proposed solutions”.

        A green paper to review the policy, announced by former chancellor Philip Hammond in March 2017 for the end of that year, became a grim running joke in the sector – it was delayed more than five times and never materialised.

        So yes, Johnson is correct that social care is poorly organised and in need of overdue reform – but that is because his government, in common with its predecessors, promised change and failed to deliver.

        “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have, but we’re learning lessons the whole time.”

        Again, this is a remarkable sleight of hand from the PM. Firstly, because “the procedures” he refers to were misjudged by the government.

        Until 13 March, amid footage of care homes ravaged by coronavirus in Spain and Italy and a rising proportion of Covid-19 deaths in care homes in England and Wales, government guidance still stated that: “It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected.”

        On 19 March, hospitals were told by NHS and government guidance to discharge all patients who didn’t need hospital beds – many of whom were moved to care homes, with no testing. It was another four weeks until the government decided that all patients discharged from hospital should be tested for Covid-19.

        And it was only on 2 April, over a week after the UK’s official lockdown, that the Department of Health and Social Care finally told relatives and friends not to visit care homes except in “exceptional” situations.

        A lack of testing and shortages of personal protective equipment meant that care home staff were unable to isolate suspected cases. Care workers – on low pay, agency contracts, and either ineligible for statutory sick pay or unable to live on it – could not afford to self-isolate if they contracted symptoms.

        (Many links in the original.)

        So, I don’t know if Cuomo or BoJo decided, affirmatively, to whack elders by herding them in to a lethal environment. Similar outcomes from the two most viciously neoliberal economies in the world make me think “It’s not personal…. It’s strictly business.” It seems more likely to me that, under Rule #2 of neoliberalism, this is what happens to many elders, simply because those are the incentives, and also, or course, our vaunted “norms.”

  32. ewmayer

    Happy (day after) Thanksgiving, all, and happy birthday to Yves’ mother. Comments were off for yesterday’s Links, so I’m soliciting fellow NCers who read both articles to please weigh in on the contrasting messages of:

    1. “Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Cheaper than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s and Doesn’t Require Supercold Temperature” – posted by Yves on the 25th, and

    2. “The AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine Data Isn’t Up to Snuff” – Hilda Bastian’s Wired piece, linked to by Lambert in 11/25’s 2pm Water Cooler, but not commented on by any readers there.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The messages don’t contrast at all. They are orthogonal. Oxford/AZ is indeed cheaper than Pfizer’s and doesn’t require extra-ordinary refrigeration measures; and Oxford/AZ does indeed look like it’s trying to treat a meta-study of two studies as one study (unlike Pfizer), per Bastian That’s not on, so they’re going to run another trial.

      Horse-race coverage is not warranted here (and leads to absurdities like averaging the two Oxford/AZ studies.

      1. ewmayer

        No, orthogonal implies the 2 articles address nonoverlapping issues about the vaccine in question, when in fact the huge red flags about the study design – and I use the term very loosely – raised by Bastian call into question any optimism about the “cheaper and more practical for distribution” aspect. What’s the point of a cheaper and easy-to-distribute vaccine which is ineffective?

        It literally sounds like research-study malfeasance on the part of the O-AZ group, even by the standards of public-private-partnerships and the science-via-press-release those so often lead to.

        Let’s hope the upcoming Phase 3 trial finally settles the question. One more reason having multiple candidates in the pipeline is a good thing. Moderna’s vaccine, at least, seems to mitigate the ultracold-storage problem of Pfizer’s.

  33. Ella

    Where I live, organic half gallon ranges from $4.99 to $5.79. HALF gallon.

    I tried changing to non organic and both my daughter and I had issues with our stomachs on the non organic.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I find that milk at night helps me sleep, so I don’t want to give it up.

      That said, there’s something to be said for water. Depending on your local supply, of course…..

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    I tried submitting a comment and got an Error 524 message. Are those also wanted screen-shots of?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Anything that is not 522 or 524 we would be interested to see.

      We have seen enough 522s and 524s to last a lifetime, thank you very much.

      Fortunately, a refresh seems to bring the page back up right away, which is a relief.

  35. drumlin woodchuckles

    Do people here believe a dairy farmer should get paid less money for the milk he sells than the money he spent on all the various inputs and throughputs and careputs he had to buy and pay for in order to produce the milk?

    If people here don’t believe a dairy farmer should get paid LESS money for the milk than what he spends to produce the milk, do people here believe that he should only be permitted to break exactly even between milk production expenses and milk sale receipts? And that he should work in town to actually make any money?

    If people here believe a dairy farmer should get paid MORE money for the milk than what he spends to produce the milk, how much more? As little more as possible? A “fair price” more?

    What do people here really think about that question?

    1. anon y'mouse

      what he deserves, and what people can continue to afford to pay for, are two separate but related questions.

      for one, i don’t know what anyone “deserves”. for two, it isn’t just the milk that has gone up, but the cheese, the meat, the fruit and veg and anything resembling a real foodstuff.

      simultaneously, the landlord is allowed to raise the rent 10% come January (or renewal). both this year and every year.

      simultaneously, the boss offered a raise of 21cents/hr while cutting hours down to 16 per week. but even if this had not happened, worker still can not afford more for everything on those wages.

      yes, the technical “definition” of Inflation is general rising in prices all around.

      but the common experience of “inflation” is that worker can afford less and less as time goes on.

      i think economicists need to reckon with that, instead of telling us to read the fine print again.

      let us not even begin with the “inflation index” which counts almost nothing that a real living person must find money to pay for.

    2. Ford Prefect

      There is a fundamental question here about how much “free market” should be in play. Why should dairy farmers be guaranteed anything at all? That is a fundamental question.

      If the goal is to ensure that their is stable production capacity in a highly regulated supply market with price supports etc., then everybody engaged needs to understand that they are now participating in this government-controlled, socialist system.

      If the goal is to be free of government intervention and socialism, then the farmers are free to regulate their own supply in response to demand. They can save money in the good times to support themselves in the bad times. A bunch will go bankrupt periodically. If you firmly believe in self-reliance and vote for politicians on the basis that you don’t want socialism in the country, then this is clearly the route to take.

      I am getting very tired of industries that get substantial price supports, tax breaks, and market interventions, then complain about socialism and safety nets for the urban poor.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If dairy farmers shouldn’t be guaranteed anything at all, you shouldn’t be guaranteed anything at all.

        If dairy farmers should not be guaranteed a living price for milk, then you should not be guaranteed a living existence of milk.

        If farmers in general should not be guaranteed a living price for food, then you should not be guaranteed any food.

        That’s what parity and the agricultural price and production regulation system brought in during the New Deal was about. That’s what the non-farm-oriented DC FedRegime set out to destroy, beginning under Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, with his clever sliding parity concept.
        The trick was to slide parity price support down slowly enough that several million farmers would be farmer-cleansed out of the countryside without understanding that this was governmental Rural Depopulation Engineering.

        Charles Walters wrote some books about this. Amfortas the Hippie has referred to this material from time to time.

  36. Wukchumni

    Due to a flipflop it is now Day 24 of the ‘I Ran Hostage Crisis’.

    Sure the President is conceited, but concede?


    The nuclear architect getting assassinated in Tehran today, sure heightens the risk of WW3 getting going in the midst of lame duckery, but what he worry, this is the perfect kind of vengeance for him, a neo-Princip of tides.

  37. richard

    Please indulge my day late Thanksgiving toast:
    Thanks so much to Yves and Lambert and Jerri-Lynn and everyone NC for everything. Always. Seriously, it’s hard to overrate how important your sanity and clarity is now, or that i can depend on you being here AND all the wonderful commenters I’ve read so often that you feel like friends.
    And thanks for opening up the comments section today! Much love and cat nuzzles to you all.

    1. a different chris

      I hate to revive the old “ditto-head” (anybody old enough to remember when Rush’s followers were called that? Hmmm, maybe they still are)… but


  38. The Rev Kev

    Looks like Israel is still trying to startup a war with Iran so that they can be bailed out. The head scientist for Iran’s nuclear program has been murdered in public and there is a report that one of the group that did it has been arrested. Even John Brennan – Brennan! – thinks that this was an idiotic act and is asking Iran not to retaliate until old Joe is president-

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Israel? Or Trump himself, personally?

      Trump appears to know he will be leaving office. Trump was insanely jealous of Obama for Obama’s one few achievement, the Iran Agreement. It seems reasonable to me that Trump would order or greenlight this assassination at this late date in order to prevent Biden and the other partners from reviving the agreement. Thereby making sure that this agreement will never be part of Obama’s permanent legacy.

      Die, Suckuh!

      1. skippy

        Trump has made it public knowledge what he considers the U.S. function is for Israel in the ME. Add on his embrace of some questionable sell side people of faith in Florida and it starts making of mockery of old Ron Sr. affiliation with Gary North.

        This is why for the life of me I can’t understand why many here on NC giving the guy some shred of doing anything well based on some notion that Hillary&Co would have made things even worse.

        Oh and the TTP thingy was just a post facto work around to all the damage done by so many U.S. C-corps stampeding over each other to China, massive untapped market, reminiscent of the wild west, with $$$$ sign in their eyes, yet completely ignored due diligence with regard to the fact that China had – ZERO – legal commerce architecture to protect their rights … not that in some cases they gave IP rights away for a quick buck for the senior stock holders E.g. all self inflicted aka Americans did this to Americans.

        If anything Trump quashing the TTP was just a ploy to force U.S. based C-Corps to consider deploying Capital back home without making it some Gov mandate.

        How about Trump is just another form of bad with different targeted branding, too a more susceptible and gullible pool of low information voters, which regardless of a second term or not affords him and his some political leverage in the long run.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > If anything Trump quashing the TTP was just a ploy to force U.S. based C-Corps to consider deploying Capital back home without making it some Gov mandate.

          Motives are irrelevant. What matters is that we didn’t surrender our national sovereignty to the ISDS so-called “court” system, so that States can’t be sued for, say, regulating air quality or not giving permits to mining operations. And bringing capital back “home” (not that capital has a home) is bad why? At least on the spectrum of acceptable politics?

          As for war and peace, look out your window. See any mushroom clouds? Any fallout? Good. That’s a result of not doing something demented in the Black Sea (Nuland) or setting up a no-fly zone in Syria (Clinton). Now, it would be very Trumpian of Trump to piss all over one of the few good things he did (or bad things he managed to avoid) at the very last minute, by letting Bibi inveigle him into a shooting war with Iran, but so far, it hasn’t happened.

          1. skippy

            I stand by the factors which proceeded the need or desire for the TTP and don’t think for a moment that it was designed to be deployed at U.S. concerns. I could reasonably argue it was a legalistic device with connotations to other devices which are used to ring fence national political – economic opponents abroad E.g. those that write and administrate the laws for everyone else. Shades of past events like withholding U.N. dues because some did not see the value [tm] in paying them unless the outcomes [profit] were worth it.

            Trump now as a far far right wing advocate be it heart felt or just chimera being anti TTP is a completely different matter because during his administration anyone not in the top income strata has gained anything, quite the opposite.

            A quick EPI search would sort that out.

            Furthermore I would point out that he has energized the most anti science and anti social good segment of U.S. society. More importantly, for whatever its worth, he’s put a taint on the office and the nations international standing E.g. runs the place like a slum lord business man. Just the circles I run in are unified in the opinion the man and his administration are worse than inept and will have long term ramifications. The only few I know of that are pro Trump have been the fundamentalist business sorts that drank the neoliberal kool-aid long ago and profited during that period.

            Just to put not to fine a point on it I’m competently unmoved with any short term wage factor when long term employment factors are abysmal with a side of increased pay as you go extraction.

            That said he is a symptom and not the disease and that almost half the U.S. population voting for him is more a sign of desperation to return the romanticism of the past due to emotional needs. For some reason I have thoughts about an old NC post on Philippine slums being bulldozed to ring in progress …..

            1. flora

              an aside:
              …desire for the TTP and don’t think for a moment that it was designed to be deployed at U.S. concerns.

              It was designed, however, to be deployed by US concerns, even against US state govts, for example. Prior to the 2016 election there was a major push by fossil fuel company lobbyists to get states to roll back any pro-environmentally friendly laws they had on the books, roll back any rules about expanding, say, renewable energy sources or fining water polluters. Why the big push to roll back these things before the expected TPP passage? Because once TPP passed the states wouldn’t be able to legislate laws that “harmed” US companies “income”. State laws would be stuck where they were at the time of TPP passage wrt things like environmental law, for example unless they risked going to court against some of the richest companies in the US.

              So, the TPP might not be deployed at US concerns (businesses), but it would certainly be deployed by US concerns against US states where profitable.

              1. tegnost

                yep. Uber, Monsanto, (strangely or not now an arm of…)Big Pharma, all structured in globalizing intellectual property through patents, logging, contamination of water….the list goes on and on. The TPP was the most worst legislation (ISDS) I’ve ever seen. Worse even than the patriot act.

      2. Ford Prefect

        I doubt Trump was involved. Too much effort required to plan it. The Israelis probably didn’t run it by him because they wouldn’t ahve wnted him announcing it on Twitter before they did it.

        The Middle East solution is still to focus on green energy and make oil irrelevant. As the money dries up, they will be focused on more basic things like clean water within their borders instead of cross-border conflicts. If the rest of the world doesn’t need their oil, the world’s interest in the region drops dramatically except for safe passage through the Suez Canal and Red Sea.

        You don’t need to be focused on climate change to justify dramatically reducing oil and gas usage. Just getting rid of concerns about conflicts in the Middle East, South China Sea, and ex-Soviet Union region due to oil and gas is reason enough.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          True that.

          The Green New Deal or at least a Greenish New Deal could get us partway there. But there won’t be any Green New Deal. Not with nearly half the population bitterly opposed to anything that any party called “Democratic” might support.

          So what might there be? Could there be? Well . . . there could be some Little Green MiniDeals in some States and InterState Groupings and also some multi-county regions. And there could be some Tiny Green MicroDeals in some Deeply Green Cities and their outlying metroplex regions. So Green-minded people should focus on getting Little and Tiny Mini and Micro Green Deals in places where they are a commanding majority of the inhabitants.

          It is there chance to show onlookers that Green Living can be an Okay Lifestyle for Ordinary People. It would be their Opportunity to Excel.

          Here is an article showing how easy Deep Conservation of liquid fuel resources would be according to the most basic and established principles of science and engineering withIN the confines of the social structure and the technostructure we already have.

          The article is entitled: The Age Of Speed:How to Reduce Global Fuel Consumption by 75%.

          That is something the Green Zones could do within their own territory even if no one else wants to do the same just yet. And perhaps it could be sold to the people of the Gulf Coast as a way to Get Revenge on British Petroleum and all its Oil Company Comrades.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Brennan was part of the Obama Team. So it seems reasonable that Brennan would be invested in the Iran Deal’s success, and opposed to something designed to make its failure permanent.

  39. JTMcPhee

    Probably a lot of people here think there are dairy farmers and then there are DAIRY FARMERS. There’s some few yeoman farmers in the mix, but then conglomeration in the best American tradition has happened. So who are we talking about when asking what the “market” price for milk ought to be? And your question ought to be applied to everything, maybe — like eyeglasses and contacts (though the “market” has to a small extent corrected the looting) and hearing aids, and Christmas trees, and all kinds of stuff (iPhones). I’d vote for a “fair” price. Enough to trend toward stable sustainable pricing of everything. But that is anathema in the world the way it is.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > he literally wants to write a new book every four years

      I read the Preface. I think Obama’s cool irony, or whatever his schtick is, is much better in small doses. As Dorothy Parker wrote of Katherine Hepburn: “[He] runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.” 700 pages of Barry One Note. My gawd.

      To be fair, I might not read a more, oh, heartfelt book by Obama either. Sincerity simply isn’t a virtue. “Sharing” is highly over-rated. Maybe there’s a 100 page book on Obama’s views on statecraft buried in there — that I would read, or possibly hate-read — but it won’t be easy to find.

      Working post title: “Come for the irony, stay for the lying…”

  40. Expat2uruguay

    Uruguay is finally experiencing exponential growth in covid case counts. The government is providing this advisory:

    The request of the health authorities to reduce “the circles of social contact and the time of the meetings” was included again, in addition to the “permanent use of face masks, physical distancing, ventilation and hygiene”.

    Finally, the report insisted that “without using restrictive measures in social mobility, personal prevention is the only tool to reduce the increase in infections.”

    I really liked that last part, it’s so reasonably stated. And the government is also responding by increasing testing and tracing capabilities and access, while keeping schools, businesses, and offices open. For now

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Uruguay is finally experiencing exponential growth in covid case counts

      How is masking? Is contact tracing still possible?

      I guess it’s no longer winter, so can people keep their windows open?

  41. jr

    Quantum Qonundrums:

    “The first assumption is that when a measurement is made, the observed outcome is a real, single event in the world. This assumption rules out, for example, the idea that the universe can split, with different outcomes being observed in different parallel universes.”

    This bit rang a bell vis a vis Kastrup’s reading of Schopenhauer, specifically the idea that that universe “splits” into parallel universes. Consider this passage from “Decoding Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics”:

    “…in compliance with Relational Quantum Mechanics, each alter has it’s own physical world as a part of itself. Yet, these different physical worlds can be similar to and consistent with one another-just as multiple cars of the same make and model can be practically indistinguishable from one another-for all alters are immersed in the will at large and, as such, inhabit the same experiential environment.” pg.74

    Different observers do inhabit different worlds, “parallel universes“, in the sense that each individual consciousness collapses the quantum field into the world each one experiences. However, all such experiencers are “immersed” in the will-at-large, the same experiential environment. So, I type with the trembling hands of uncertainty, we can say that yes, the universe splinters? into individual worlds upon observation but that it remains coherent, unitary, in that the same field of potentiality, the quantum membrane, big “C” consciousness, holds for all such observers. There are as many universes, “localized differentiations” in Kastrup’s language, as there are conscious observers but only one Universe which contains all such observers/observations. (Which avoids solipsism.)

    “The second assumption is that experimental settings can be freely chosen, allowing us to perform randomized trials.”

    I think this notion has already been addressed by Idealism. Truly randomized experiments are impossible because they must all be observed at some point, there is no peeking around the corners of one’s individual collapsing of the quantum membrane. This is why Kastrup writes there are no measurements prior to observation:

    “Consequently, as far as we can know, before it is represented-through conscious perception-the world consists of a unitary superposition of potentialities or tendencies. This superposition-indivisible, as quantum entanglement prevents elements of the superposition from being describable separately from one another-is incompatible with the existence of individual, separate objects or events with definite properties.” pg. 53

    My understanding is that if we cannot know the Universe prior to observation, and if observation collapses the quantum superposition into an individual, small “u” universe, we cannot ever know if we are truly drawing random samples from it. We may randomize within our sphere of observation and those observations may seem to correlate to those of other observers but we cannot assume any privileged point of observation that could definitively nail down randomness or the lack thereof.

    “And the third assumption is that once such a free choice is made, its influence cannot spread out into the universe faster than light,” he said.”

    A choice, knowledge, could travel faster than light because as swift as it is light is an artifact? of the observable universe whereas consciousness has an instant impact upon the quantum membrane which is precedent and antecedent to time. That’s a sort of a joke but I think it makes the point.

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