Links 1/28/2021

‘Platypus Fish’ Discovery Changes What We Know About One Type of Evolution Inverse

Christine Lagarde: Climate change and central banking (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

Beyond State Capacity: Bureaucratic Performance, Policy Implementation, and Reform (PDF) Martin J. Williams. From the Abstract: “To advance the study of state bureaucratic quality, researchers should seek to understand the implications of bureaucracies’ collective nature, engage with contextual specificity and contingency in policy implementation, and focus measurement and reform efforts on actual performance rather than hypothetical capacity.”

The Coronavirus Vaccine Fail and International Elites Center for Economic and Policy Research

#COVID19

How Monopolies Slowed the Vaccine Roll-Out, and Small Business Sped it Up Matt Stoller, BIG

Blue Shield of California tapped to run state vaccine system KCRA. “Kaiser did not respond to emailed inquiries for comment.” I’ll bet. Let’s hope they do better than Massachusetts:

Are vaccine providers selling your health data? There’s not much stopping them. Recode

* * *

Efficacy of Colchicine in Non-Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “Evidence suggests the role of an inflammatory storm in COVID-19 complications. Colchicine is an orally administered, anti-inflammatory medication beneficial in gout, pericarditis and coronary disease. We performed a randomized, double-blind trial involving non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19 diagnosed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing or clinical criteria…. Conclusion: Among non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19, colchicine reduces the composite rate of death or hospitalization.”

Coronasomnia: Pervasive Sleeplessness, Self-medicating Raise Concerns of Sleep Experts Medscape

More seasonal affective disorder this winter? ‘It’s obvious this year is different’ NBC

* * *

This breakthrough mask is a ‘smoke detector’ for COVID-19 Fast Company. Sadly, “the promising research is still being validated.” But the idea seems good.

How the CARES Act Forgot America’s Most Vulnerable Hospitals Pro Publica

China?

China reports a growing shortage of factory workers CNBC

Chinese New Year: Clamping down on going home for the holidays BBC

China’s Xi Champions Multilateralism at Davos, Again The Diplomat

China’s Xi Signals More Hong Kong Curbs With Call for ‘Patriots’ Bloomberg.

Jack Ma Can Call Ant Group Whatever He Wants, But Xi Jinping Is Gonna Call It A Bank Dealbreaker

Why Attempts to Build a New Anti-China Alliance Will Fail Foreign Policy

White House: ‘great concern’ over Covid origin ‘misinformation’ from China Guardian

As Bali attempts to forge a new era, we need to stop spinning fables about it and listen to Balinese Travelfish

Cambodia’s cash-strapped cyclo drivers treated to pedal-in movie Reuters

This is Asia’s top-performing economy in the Covid pandemic — it’s not China CNBC

Rumours and fear dog Philippine plan for coronavirus vaccine drive Reuters

India

Tractor rally: On the road despite disruption People’s Archive of Rural India. “Disruption” being the Red Fort seizure.

Indian police use facial recognition in search for farmer protesters FT

India Has Plenty of Coronavirus Vaccines But Few Takers Bloomberg

Syraqistan

Turkey enraged by Clintons’ TV show exalting Syrian Kurdish women fighters Al Monitor

UK/EU

A Time of Trial and My Sworn Evidence on the Sturgeon Affair Craig Murray

Exclusive: BoD and JLM given veto to exclude expert nominees from Labour’s ‘independent’ antisemitism ‘advisory board’ Skwawkbox

EU and AstraZeneca fail to resolve vaccine supply dispute FT

Sanofi confirms its will supply over 125 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses to the EU Reuters

New Cold War

Vladimir Putin warns of ‘dark anti-Utopia’ world in Davos speech South China Morning Post

How not to Help the Russian Opposition Irrussianality

The Truth Behind Russia’s Navalny Protests The National Interest

Where surveillance cameras work, but the justice system doesn’t Rest of World

Mexico’s pandemic policy: No police. No curfews. No fines. No regrets. WaPo

Biden Transition

Can President Joe Biden mend a torn America? Thomas Frank, Le Monde Diplomatique. A must read, full of good, clean fun. This splendid transition paragraph:

If we are truly dedicated to truth, as Biden calls on us to be, we must consider the entire sweep of the Trump era and in particular the sort of voters who, over the last few decades, have been shifting from the Republican to the Democratic Party. As it happens, these are Americans I know well: people of taste and education, for whom modern life is a succession of splendours and pleasantries. I mean the residents of the nation’s richest white-collar suburbs.

No wonder Frank doesn’t get invited to cocktail parties in Georgetown anymore.

Democratic Fascists Prepare to Drop the Hammer Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report. With typical extravagance….

* * *

Biden prioritizes climate change as national security concern, pauses oil drilling on public lands USA Today

Biden Freezes Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE Antiwar.com. The article body uses “pause,” not “freeze.”

* * *

Biden’s Pandemic Plan Might Just Work The New Yorker. Worth a read, if only — this being The New Yorker — to marvel at the logistical precision with which the blame cannons are already being deployed, one week after the adults were put back in charge.

Biden administration takes cautious approach as it touts using Defense Production Act CNN. “‘As much as the Biden administration talks about it, we sense that it’s going to be consultative, nuanced and strategic,’ in using the Defense Production Act, said one industry source.” Oxford comma issues aside, come on, man.

Senate rules could pose hurdles for vaccine funds STAT

They use cards for the miserably inadequate $600 stimulus?!

Global Speeds December 2020 Speedtest. Mobile: United States, #20. Broadband: United States, #10, good job.

GameStop

Discord bans server tied to Reddit stock surge page The Hill. Attaboy. Deplatform them!

Occupy Wall Street spirit returns as traders upset the elites FT. No.

How Trumpism explains the GameStop stock surge Chris Cilizza, CNN. Similarly:

Um, that’s GSE. No, I’m not bored at all:

The country is being buffeted by groups that couldn’t exist 30 years ago Philip Bump, WaPo

What happened with GameStop? Markets Weekly. “It’s not David vs Goliath. It’s Goliath vs. Goliath, with David as a fig leaf.”

How Redditors Beat Hedge Funds at Their Own Game(Stop) Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

Late Cycle Bubblicious? The Big Picture. If a basement-dwelling family member is speculating in stonks, this might be a good link to somehiw induce them to read.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Understanding Multiracial Whiteness And Trump Supporters NPR. “Multiracial whiteness.” See, the Hispanic Latinx voters who didn’t vote for Biden are… white. Musical interlude (lyrics).

The Logic of Eugenics Still Haunts Virginia Boston Review

California’s forgotten investor-backed genocide squads Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Imperial Collapse Watch

The ‘Humanitarian’ Left Still Ignores the Lessons of Iraq, Libya and Syria to Cheer on More War Counterpunch

Class Warfare

In a Six-Day Strike, Bronx Produce Workers Doubled Their Raise and Inspired New York Labor Notes

How to Shut Down ICE Detention in Your Community, a Detention Watch Network Guide Teen Vogue. Now do Amazon warehouses:

It’s time for a new, progressive supply-side economics The Center for Growth and Opportunity

You Are Witness to a Crime The Baffler. On ACT-UP, a social movement to learn from.

Antidote du jour (via PM):

Najin and Fatu.

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.

187 comments

  1. zagonostra

    >Democratic Fascists Prepare to Drop the Hammer Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

    Excellent, succinct article from Glen Ford, brings Hosea 8:7 to mind.

    “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up.”

    But counternarratives of the Right and Left have found deep traction in social and online media whose audiences often dwarf CNN viewership. Thus, the oligarchs, whose obscene wealth multiplies by the day, are unable to halt by normal means the public’s consumption of narratives that question the corporate order.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Thank you, Lambert!

    I’m generally not fully awake, even after 4 cups of coffee, until I have had a good deep ventilation belly laugh at your snark.

    NC links commentary is, IMO, a useful therapy for SAD.

    Again, thanks!

  3. fresno dan

    hen-wen, oracular pig
    @spindlypete
    another cute trick of this prepaid bank card $600 stimmy thing is that it’s actually $599.75 minus a 25 cent surcharge for something and you get one free ATM withdrawal but only in $20 increments and then have to pay $1 for your final $18.75
    ===============================================
    Credit where credit is due, but there was a NC commenter (dang – forgot their moniker) who said exactly the same thing 2, 3 or 4 days ago?

      1. BobW

        I got first direct deposited, neither check nor card nor DD for second. Maybe I should make a cardboard sign and sit at the local federal building.

        1. John Beech

          Lucky you. We never received the initial $1200. Yes, of course we’ll get it when we file this year (and thank God we weren’t up against it like some), but the system stinks. Do I understand correctly, the next $600 is a via a card with $20 withdrawal limit? Seriously? Yikes!

          Me? I’m thinking if this is true it bodes well for Republican control of both Senate and House come 2022 because it will totally enrage people. I can see the political adverts now . . . “Remember when XX (insert name of local pol) helped during the pandemic with $600 cards that had a $20 limit? Now’s your chance to show them your appreciation! Vote (YY some other local pol but of the opposing party). Hahaha!

          1. Wukchumni

            I take some modicum of pride in being an early adapter to the charge card of the light brigade, right in the forefront of the charge, using it a few times @ Grocery Outlet & WinCo supermarkets, and each time I flashed my rectangular 600 semollian gift-card to cashiers and asked if anybody had used them yet? {i’m ready for my debit debut, Mr DeMille, I thought silently} as both nodded in the negative, I am #1. (holds up oversized foam hand with one finger figuring in prominently)

            1. ambrit

              I assume that you are being coy about which finger is being given prominence in your ‘Hidden Hand’ Neo Impressionist maquette. (Once the design is finalized, we can all have one to go with our Pink P—- Hats.)

              1. Wukchumni

                I assume that you are being coy about which finger is being given prominence in your ‘Hidden Hand’ Neo Impressionist maquette.

                The pinky, being the least nominal of digits.

                1. ambrit

                  I’ll go with the forefinger and the thumb, touching in an orbital configuration. The appended appendage appears as zero, the de-nominal digit.
                  Pinky though has a nice ring to it.

          2. a different chris

            What’s this $20 limit? I seriously doubt that….more trouble than it’s worth and, actually what would it be worth? Nobody’s gonna buy a refrigerator with it given that.

            The previous stimulus came to us via the weird debit card, which I took to my bank and had the entirety deposited. There were no charges at all.

            Ah well I still have to figure out why I didn’t get to vote against Resthenschaler, now this weirdness. Third world country for sure.

            1. Expat2uruguay

              I don’t think they’re describing a $20 limit, what they’re saying is that you have to withdraw it in $20 increments. This is what leaves you with the $19.75 that you have to spend a dollar to them withdraw, because somebody imposed a $0.25 fee in the first place.

              Something like this recently happened to me, I was trying to wire money from my us account to my bank account here in Uruguay. I was starting with a test transfer to make sure that it went to my account, because I’ve had this same International transfer system put my money into another person’s account in the past. Anyway, I sent a test transfer first to verify the new account would work correctly using a very small amount. It was refused by the bank here in Uruguay as being a too small of amount, along with the message that there was $100 minimum. Okay, I did the transfer again, this time with $100. That one was also refused, once again restating the need for $100 minimum. The transfer was credited back to my account, minus a $20 fee. So I guess it’s the $20 fee made it below the $100 minimum. So you have to wonder why they told me there was $100 minimum in the first place, if it was actually higher due to the fee. Of course it cost me $40 from my us account every time I try to make this transfer

              1. ambrit

                I don’t know whether to describe my next comment as snark or not, but here goes.
                Back in the Go-Gos, there was an IRS deduction for bribes to foreign ‘officials’ on the premise that this was the norm in business in certain regions. I remember my Dad talking about it. He worked in the Carribbean Basin and South America on AID sponsored projects, mainly sugar mills and refineries.
                Today the subject is defined by the OECD rules concerning ‘bribes.’
                The basics of the act, by country. : https://www.oecd.org/tax/crime/41353070.pdf
                So, I wonder if you could complain to the appropriate authorities concerning an American bank’s extortionate demands? “They” have been trying to stamp out bribery for as long as there have been bureaucracies extant.

          3. flora

            That’s a method test-run in Kansas a few years ago for distributing state welfare benefits. The rationale was “poor people need to be protected from spending all their money at once (on bad things)”. Those ATM fees were a kickback to the national tbtf banks. Great system… for the banks. Ever tried to buy a weeks worth of groceries for $25 minus the $1 ATM fee? The DC pols feigned horror at the programs unfairness and stinginess toward the poor.

            From 2015:

            “We’re setting new lows here.”

            https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kansas-welfare-atm_n_7544946

            Now DC is following the Brownback approach to economic relief. What a swell bunch.

            1. Pat

              Many years ago, when NY first wanted to use cards for unemployment benefits, it found out a lot of very smart, very vocal, somewhat connected people who read terms of service were on unemployment. The best was when these people got enough of the press to notice that not only did Chase get a fee from the state for the cards but that the means of use almost guaranteed that there would be a small amount left on the majority of the cards that could not be accessed that Chase would be able to extract in fees when the card wasn’t used. There were also fees for atm use in some instances. Turned out that it was likely the unbanked recipients would lose less money using a check cashing service than the Chase cards.

              The cards had to be renegotiated, checks allowed and direct deposit all offered in a very short time from the start. But it was clear it was a business model the banks were not going to give up on, too much profit coming and going.

          4. tegnost

            bodes well for Republican control of both Senate and House come 2022 because it will totally enrage people.

            I think howard schultz could knock off patty murray without the citizens of washington noticing any difference…

          5. Katniss Everdeen

            Lucky you. We never received the initial $1200. Yes, of course we’ll get it when we file this year (and thank God we weren’t up against it like some), but the system stinks. Do I understand correctly, the next $600 is a via a card with $20 withdrawal limit? Seriously? Yikes!

            If I’m misremembering, I apologize profusely, but aren’t you the guy who, in comments about cars several months ago, said he drove a Mercedes G-wagon? (I tried searching comments and got nowhere fast.)

            How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Cost?

            Pricing for the entry-level Mercedes-Benz G 550 starts at $131,600. The Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63 rockets up to $156,650. Both totals are some of the priciest in the class. In fact, aside from the Land Rover Range Rover, the top trim of every rival costs thousands of dollars less than the G 550.

            https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/mercedes-benz/g-class

            You’re right that the system “stinks,” but not because Mercedes G Series drivers didn’t get a “stimulus” check. Maybe you should have your people call biden’s people and let them know that, at least in this instance, the system did work, since biden is using the fact that too many Mercedes G Series drivers got checks they didn’t “need” to justify delaying the promised $1400 (formerly known as $2000) for people who actually, desperately DO need it.

            As for your reference to “the next $600,” that was largely handed out weeks ago, but I’m sure all those on the bottom rungs are grateful for your “concern.”

        2. Grateful Dude

          same here, nada.

          My wife got a card. We filed taxes jointly, but now we live on SS so we don’t have to file.

          They sent her card to the address IRS has from the last time we filed three years ago: an old address. It’s been over a year since we moved, but hers was forwarded. Maybe mine wasn’t. So dysfunctional.

          So I have to file a tax return with the 1099 from SS that would normally be issued about now, but it’s delayed. And then get a tax credit. I have no tax liability, so does that mean I get paid? A card even?

      2. antidlc

        Last year we received a debit card which we deposited (without fees) into our checking account. I tried to find out why some people received checks and some people received debit cards. I couldn’t find any info.

        This time we got a check. Why?

        1. antidlc

          Here is what I found from the IRS website (May of 2020):
          https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-being-sent-by-prepaid-debit-cards-arrive-in-plain-envelope-irsgov-answers-frequently-asked-questions

          As Economic Impact Payments continue to be successfully delivered, the Internal Revenue Service today reminds taxpayers that some payments are being sent by prepaid debit card. The debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

          Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check. The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments.

          Those who receive their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card can do the following without any fees.

          Make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted
          Get cash from in-network ATMs
          Transfer funds to their personal bank account
          Check their card balance online, by mobile app or by phone

        2. WhoaMolly

          We got card this time. Only convenient way to avoid one of many fees was to download MN bank app, sign up for account, and transfer to my checking.

          It took 20 minutes of Internet searching to learn this was an option.

          The card is a rip-off.

          1. Wukchumni

            If the gift-card was kind of a rip-off, i’d like another helping guv, but now that it’s emptied out, i’m going to make (assumes best Martha Stewart pose) an ice scraper* out of it for my windshield.

            * don’t try this with direct deposit or a check

              1. ambrit

                Beat me to it!
                I wonder what the carbon footprint of a card made of plastic is. Since plastic comes from petroleum, well, you see where I’m headed.

            1. WhoaMolly

              I too love the 600, even minus fees. But I resent the long list of fees.

              A check or DD goes right in my account. This card gets anything from .25 to $2 a transaction.

              Adding insult to injury is the cheery PR letter with the card explaining how this card – instead of check- is for my benefit.

              1. Wukchumni

                I spent a good part of my newfound wealth on a pitchfork inlaid on the handle in mother of pearl.

                The rest I just wasted…

        3. Lex

          We received checks last year. My husband thought it had something to do with how we received our tax return. We opt for checks rather than direct deposit. Those who prefer direct deposit also got those monies much sooner than we did.

          This time we received $1200 card and stood there staring at, wondering why we’d received anything at all. Wasn’t there supposed to be an income limit on recipients, those under $75K annually?

          Not complaining, just confused.

          1. John Zelnicker

            @Lex
            January 28, 2021 at 11:17 am
            ——-

            The income limit is $75k for single folks and $150k for married couples.

            1. campbeln

              And it scales back from there at 5% for every dollar earned above the max, e.g. a couple earning $160k ($10k over * 5% = $500) gets $1200 – $500 = $700… gots to love them neolibs!. We got an odd amount due to our dual earnings.

              Of course, this is all based off last year’s tax returns with no consideration given if your earnings or circumstances have changed since.

          2. lamovr

            Here’s a puzzler: My wife and I file jointly. Last year we got one $2400 check for both of us. This time I got a $600 card and she got zip. When I file our 2020, we’ll get the other $600 as a credit.

    1. fresno dan

      So I thought someone would remember the first poster about this. Of course, it was longer ago than I remembered. But NC commenter was first!

      a fax machine
      January 23, 2021 at 5:44 pm
      oh yes, I was going to make a post about my own experience with this. Having it ask for “only” the last six digits of my SSN was a huge pain in the ass.. why not all nine? It’s a weird trick question. Then going to an ATM to cash it only to discover that my bank charges .25 cents to view the balance. Because it is impossible to view the balance without withdrawing, by the time I figured out how to withdraw money from it I only had $599.75 on the card. Not a problem right? Well the ATM only dispenses $100s, $50s and $20s so the most I could withdraw was $580. The remaining $19.75 sat there until I physically walked into the bank on a day they were open (only four hours Tu-Fri now) and had the rest cashed. On the bright side the bank did immediately add the funds and did not put in a 3-business-day hold on them as is their normal policy (and is how all my paychecks are deposited).

      On top of this because the government used a cheap bank, Metabank, most ATMs charge $2 just to obtain the money. Horrible and something most non-American countries do not allow or have to deal with as their debit systems are built to be equivalent to cash and not prepaid credit cards.

      For what it’s worth the people I know who do Direct Deposit mostly did not have issues.. except for the one that did due to how he filed his taxes. The government simply won’t give him a check because as far as they are concerned the computer says no, no matter what documents he has as there is no way to debate check eligibility status. In my opinion, this is why I NEVER DD because even if I only ever miss one payment that’s money being stolen from me.

    2. William Hunter Duncan

      I got a card and still haven’t used it. It is also a scheme to ascertain my bank routing and account info (for future bail-ins?). I think it is also possible, maybe, to take out more money than you are given, thereby creating debt/Monies for Bank, as the info sent says I have a limit of $2,500 in POS/withdrawal/transfer each day, and a Money Network Check Limit of $9999.99 per day, whatever that means. That or somebodies be gettin’ a LOT more stimulus than this deplorable…

      When the EIPCard.com site said something about it being more convenient for the Treasury to pre-order cards and fill them than print checks, I figured it was an MBNA scheme to separate me from my money and turn me into a debt serf, and so that there would be more monies to prop up equities with.

      1. Cas

        I received a card this week. The transaction limits are based on the amount of the card, regardless of the thousands stated. BTW, I received the $1200 check first time and a card this time with $309 on it. I deposited the whole amount at the bank, not wanting to pay fees. The teller didn’t believe it only had $309 and tried to deposit $600. That transaction failed, but depositing $309 worked. We couldn’t figure out why I received the odd amount. I wasn’t in the $75K income group.

    3. jr

      In order to withdraw money in my unemployment debit card, I pay around 2.50$ a pop. It’s actually more expensive to withdraw it at my bank versus a store’s ATM. In order tomove a chunk of cash from it to my checking account, I pay 2.75$, take the cash, then feed it bqck into the same machine to credit my account. It can’t be that hard to set it up so I can transfer money in one operation. It forces me to pay BoA.

      On top of all this, BoA closed their local branch and one of two ATMs. I just walked to the remaining one and it’s filled with bicycle delivery guys escaping the cold. No masks, yelling and laughing. If I had to pay my rent today, it would cost me 8$ to get it from private ATMs.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps an illustration of W Edwards Deming’s opinion that in troubled enterprises, the line workers already know what’s wrong and have good ideas for how to fix it, if only the “suits” would listen to them.

    2. dbk

      Yeah, that was good. Reminded me of the Israeli nurse at the end of a vaccination shift who just went outside and called out “Hey pizza guy, wanna vaccine?”

    3. CatBoy

      Here’s the thing, these vaccines come in packs of 5 (at least for Moderna). Once you take them out of the freezer and they warm up, you cannot put them back. So if you only use 3 in a pack and you have no more appts for the day (which is how were doing this right now at least in Portland, OR), you have to find a way to use them or they go in the trash. This is why you have some random folks getting shots at the end of shifts, etc. I have worked in big COVID vaccine clinics and this is pretty standard.

    4. fajensen

      Do you have a vaccination registry? Because, it should be recorded who got what vaccine and when so the second booster shot will be applied correctly.

      These vaccines are *not* mix and match – like the UK seems to believe. Boffins to the end!

  4. Wukchumni

    We’re #96, alongside #97: Iran

    p.s. Loved, loved, loved that quote @ the bottom~

    Brazil’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been ranked the world’s worst, while New Zealand topped the class, according to research published by a leading Australian think tank on Thursday.

    Sydney’s Lowy Institute assessed almost 100 countries on six criteria, including confirmed cases, Covid-19 deaths and testing metrics.

    “Collectively, these indicators point to how well or poorly countries have managed the pandemic,” according to the report by the independent body.

    Aside from New Zealand – which has largely kept the virus at bay with border closures and “go early, go hard” lockdowns and testing regimes – Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka made the top 10 for their responses.

    In bottom place was Brazil, closely followed by Mexico, Colombia, Iran and the United States.

    “Some countries have managed the pandemic better than others — but most countries outcompeted each other only by degrees of underperformance,” the report said.

    https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20210128-study-ranks-new-zealand-covid-19-response-best-brazil-worst-us-in-bottom-five

    1. JCC

      Along the same lines: A few days ago a friend of mine started complaining that “Government” was completely inept at delivering vaccines and testing, and that it screwed up by not handing the entire system over to private industry..

      I mentioned that “Government” did a great job at funding and spurring vaccine development and that they did hand delivery over to private industry (monopoly corps) who have totally screwed it up due to their profit requirements. He told me I was nuts :-)

      I don’t know if this has been posted yet, but Matt Stoller covered it well

      https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/how-monopolies-slowed-the-vaccine

  5. The Rev Kev

    “‘Platypus fish’ discovery changes what we know about one type of evolution”

    ‘When poking around this digital skull, team discovered Brindabellaspis’ inner ear much more closely resembled those of humans and sharks than the tiny sacs of other placoderms. In fact, if held side by side, the authors write it would be challenging to tell the difference between a Brindabellaspis’ inner ear and a human’s own.’

    Interesting that bit. The implication is that with the evolution of an animal, that it may not be having all organs and parts evolving at the same pace. That some parts evolve at different rates. Of course that can mean that as another part evolves further, that the sum of those two parts working together may be much more powerful that each part by itself. It is like how the first effective breech-loading and repeating flintlock firearms were developed in the early 1600s but it was not until reliable cartridges were developed two centuries later that the rifle was able to prove itself so effective.

  6. Floyd

    re: hospitals

    Somewhat unspoken is that rural and poor areas don’t have enough resources to afford the US healthcare system. Period. Likely too many people on Medicaid, Medicare and the rest probably have awful “insurance”. They also can’t afford to properly process the endless paperwork to receive government funding so they get hosed there too. At least they have private health insurance! In a lot of different aspects the US is getting to be like that USSR line: “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work”. We pretend to have a private healthcare system that works…

  7. Carolinian

    BAR

    Although corporate media claim that Donald Trump’s antics in the White House have necessitated curtailment of free speech rights, it was clear to us at Black Agenda Report four years ago that the corporate Democrats were preparing to muzzle dissent. On November 30, 2016, after the Washington Post published a list of 200 web sites slandered as “Russian propaganda outlets and sympathizers,” including Black Agenda Report, I wrote: “Had Clinton won the election, she would have begun a campaign of repression against the Left along the same national security lines as the Washington Post article, with that paper probably leading the propaganda charge.” The BAR article was titled, “Fascism with a Democratic Party Face” – a fascism that grows out of the neoliberal corporate order in crisis.

    And it’s not just Hillary as now AOC is saying this free speech thing has gone too far. However I’d say Glen is too quick to assume desire equals results. Arguably the reason Facebook and Google rose to power was because of their tech libertarian, anything goes approach. Once these tech giants turn into yet another thought control operation like the MSM then new pathways will come to the fore. After all we’re reading one of them.

    1. John

      Nothing could be more shortsighted than to sacrifice the traditional values of our civilization to our fears rather than to defend these values with our faith.
      George F. Kennan 1954

      1. Wukchumni

        “Every man has a right to be heard; but no man has the right to strangle democracy with a single set of vocal cords.”

        “If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.”

        Adlai Stevenson

        1. nycTerrierist

          “A popular story is told about Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) when he was running for president in 1952 (or in 1956). Someone heard Stevenson’s impressive speech and said,

          “Every thinking person in America will be voting for you.”

          Stevenson replied, “I’m afraid that won’t do—I need a majority.”

          1. foghorn longhorn

            “I may not agree with what you say, but will fight to the death for your right to say it”

            “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”

            My dear mom

    2. Pat

      I have great admiration for Naked Capitalism and Black Agenda Report. Still in terms of reach they are like the table at public events vs. the ABC/CBS/NBC nightly news in the sixties. Not only are they small potatoes, but if the public event doesn’t happen… Soon after BAR and NC started raising awareness of how warped the propaganda accusations were smarter heads prevailed. The target became the networks not the small fry.

      My point is that in the four years we have seen the biggest platforms go from being we cannot police the speech to outright banning entire accounts and removing individual posts. The largest search engine in the world deliberately skews their search results. And this is without the coming legal restrictions that will be industry wise.

      And unlike the tables in public spaces, blogs like these may find the things they need to exist becoming rare or expensive or both. Server space, commenting programs, even the ability to produce links list could become even more difficult.

      I have no doubt that information will find a way. It may not, and if the powers that be have anything to say about it won’t be, the internet that provides the method for transmission.
      Ingenuity will be required to overcome the barriers.

      1. Carolinian

        A mere ten million people out of over 300 million watched Biden’s inauguration. Opinion spinning outfits like CNN get one or two million viewers per program. I’m not at all sure the MSM are “winning” the propaganda war.

        And while Facebook and Google have, somewhat recently, turned to censorship in order to appease the politicians who want to regulate them I’m sure they know there is a price to be paid. Facebook’s audience and revenue in the US are down. Turning away customers is not likely to be good for Twitter either.

        Guess we’ll see what happens.

      2. a different chris

        Yes I was nodding along with Carolinian’s post above and then had one of those funny/horrifying thoughts: what if his post, and the entire blog, ended like:

        the reason Facebook and Google rose to power was because of their tech libertarian, anything goes approach. Once these tech giants turn into yet another thought control operation like the MSM then new pathways will come to the fore. After all we’re reading one of th…

        With a maybe fun-loving Deep Stater tacking on a “Ttthaatt’ss alll, ffollkks!” jpeg.

      3. Yves Smith

        You don’t appear to understand that Google, which is vastly more important that Facebook for traffic, has greatly downgraded the position of NC and other sites in search. We took a massive hit in 2014 due to Google not liking our Links feature (as in quashing us as a competitor to Google News) and we took smaller losses when Google elevated “authoritative” sites over ones like the Intercept and WSWS.

        So the naive defense of Section 230 is appalling. You’ve basically been propagandized to side with Google and Facebook and Twitter over independent sites. They get a free pass on liability that we don’t

        The repeal of Section 230 would add absolutely nothing to the current ability of Faceborg et al to hurt smaller sites. It would somewhat level the playing field by making them liable for user comments, as NC is now.

        1. Pat

          I am sorry if my reference to Google skewing search results downplayed the effect that could have on sources of information like Naked Capitalism. Obviously if people cannot find it, it limits its reach. It is no glancing blow.

          And while I am not against the biggest gorillas in the internet world having to behave, I do find their current “moderation” to be at best capricious and more likely to be about censorship of unapproved dissent. Naked Capitalism is very clear regarding their standards, Twitter not so much.

        2. Robert S

          Another thing about Google and NC: I have typed “nakedcapitalism” countless times into my Google search bar, but – unlike every other search term I have typed – it never comes up as an autocomplete suggestion or past search.

        3. Carolinian

          While I used to defend Google around here I think they have become one of the bad guys by manipulating their search. The reason some of us were skeptical is that doing this seems so harmful for Google’s image and business model.

          Which is why I opined upthread that Google and Facebook are now setting themselves up for a fall. Could be wrong….

          1. campbeln

            I’ve switched to DuckDuckGo for 95% or more of my searches and haven’t really missed a beat. Only in niche or obscure searches, generally computer programming related and occasionally looking for misremembered neighboring terms (paramedic versus EMT, for example), teh Google does better there, currently.

            1. Carolinian

              I’ve switched to DuckDuckGo. Agree that for most searches there’s no difference.

              I also have a Chromebook which now dual boots as a Linux book and I never use the Chrome part. And on my Android phone I disabled all but a few of the apps and rarely use the ones that are left.

              Of course there’s still Youtube which some can’t seem to live without. But every little bit helps, privacy wise.

    3. km

      Back in The Good Old Days, publishing news was hard. For one thing, you needed a printing press, which was expensive and required specialized staff to operate it. Not only that, but a printing press cost money for every sheet of paper printed, and you had to spend more money on distribution.

      They say that “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one” but there’s more! Unless you were independently wealthy and planned to publish as an expensive and time-consuming hobby, you needed an income stream. You would get some money from subscriptions, but subscriptions are really a means to sell advertising. Dependence on advertising meant that there were some people the publisher had to keep happy, and others he could not afford to annoy.

      Anyone who knows anything about local news knows this. At best, it’s a tightrope walk between giving subscribers the news they want to know, and not infuriating your advertisers. The result was a sort of natural censorship. Publishers had to think long and hard before they published anything that would tork the bigwigs off. The fact that a publisher was tied to a physical location and physical assets also made libel suits much easier.

      The internet changed all that. Now, any anonymous toolio with a laptop and WiFi can go into the news publishing business by nightfall, and with worldwide distribution and advertising revenue, to boot. Marginal cost of readership is zero. Needless to say, this development has The People That Matter very concerned, and they are working hard to stuff that genie back into the bottle.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, you don’t even understand media economics. Half of newspaper revenues came from classified ads. The other sources were display ads, subscription, and “newstand”. Newstand was about 20%. Not exactly sure about the split between display ads and subscriptions, I suspect that varied a lot by paper.

        The internet first killed classified, thanks to Craigslist. It also really dented newsstand and subscription because a big reason for many upmarket readers to get a print paper was to see the stock price listings. When you could get those on the internet (first with a 20 minute delay, then close to real time), that reason for needing a paper fell away.

        Your quaint picture of “needing to cater to readers” does not comport with why they actually bought papers, as proven by what happened to readership due to the Internet. Although the much increased emphasis on fluffy lifestyle sections was an effort to hold on to readers and attract different advertisers. But those have absolutely nada to do with news.

        1. sj

          I miss the classified ads. Found my second best job via classified. And I absolutely loved the Personals. My favorite was a Personal that just said “Bungle in the Jungle” and had a phone number. If you called it, sure enough “Bungle in the Jungle” by Jethro Tull played and then the call was disconnected.

          Oh and there was one from one of the cigarette companies. Philip Morris maybe? I can’t remember the hook that got me to dial the number but it was a recorded message that was absolutely hysterical. The only part I remember is the end where the caller was assured that they loved you more than the other tobacco companies. “who hate you. And think you’re ugly”.

          No way can you get that sort of amusement from Craigslist. Just saying.

    4. Felix_47

      Am I the only one to have noticed that as AOC has become muted regarding anything like M4A or increased taxes or a myriad of other issues her clothing has taken on a new designer look? No more flats….we are seeing the heels. I heard her speaking fee is somewhere around 100K. I would love some reader here to confirm that. With fees like that it is pretty hard to remember what you were sent to Congress for, I guess.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “This is Asia’s top-performing economy in the Covid pandemic — it’s not China”

    This comes as no surprise that Vietnam is on top. So I was listening to the news about a report on how the different countries have been able to handle the pandemic. Top of the list was (drum-roll) New Zealand but the next one down is Vietnam. I won’t say where the US is on that list of 98 countries but at the following link, the scrollable chart showing them is near the bottom of the page-

    https://interactives.lowyinstitute.org/features/covid-performance/

    Anything coming from the Lowry Institute is always a bit suspect (I can’t see China on that list) but it does make interesting reading.

    1. bwilli123

      Instead of using something simple like deaths per million the Lowy Institute weighed all sorts of factors in unknown ways to get their preferred ranking. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, …”China was not included because all of its testing rates are not publicly available….”
      https://bit.ly/2MsjDCN
      Of those with more reliable figures Statista puts Vietnam top with .36 deaths per million followed by Thailand at 1.09, Taiwan (not included in Statista’s stats) at 2.94 and China at 3.44. NZ is 5.08 Australia is 35.8.
      USA is 145th of 152 nations at 1,301 deaths per million. The UK 150th at 1,521 and last is Belgium at 1,822.
      https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

      1. VietnamVet

        If there is a ranking of the effectiveness of government I have no doubt it would correlate exactly with this ranking i.e. Vietnam at top and at the bottom Belgium had no federal government for the most of 2020. Also, the degree of infestation of neo-liberals in government, think tanks and media would correlate with increasing deaths i.e. the USA and UK, birthplaces of Reagan/Thatcher (the founding saints of neoliberalism), are near the bottom.

      2. SteveW

        Not sure when the Taiwan figure of 2.94 comes from. There are 7 covid deaths in a population of 24 million. A rate of less than 0.3 per million. It is by far among the best places in the handling of the pandemic

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, obviously those countries are the obvious example to throw at anyone who complains that lockdowns and restrictions hurt the economy. The way to save any countries economy is the rid yourself of the virus as far as possible, by whatever means necessary. Its that simple.

      That said, Vietnam, having done incredibly well, is facing one of its biggest outbreaks right now. At a bad time too, just before Tet. But they will get it under control as they did before. They know how to do it.

      But overall, Vietnam has been the new miracle economy for the past few years now. Old Asian hands are saying its like China 25 years ago, there is a real feeling of lift-off, although all the negatives go with that too (horrible inequalities, even more horrible pollution).

      If I was footloose and young, thats the country I’d go to and maybe the language I’d try to learn (except that its a horribly difficult one). I’ve a Vietnamese friend trying to persuade me to retire there, teaching a few hours English a week will pay for a nice pad in any of the cities (unfortunately, my retirement is a long way away yet, she obviously thinks I’m looking a bit old). And the food culture there beats pretty much any country in the world hands down.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        How is Tet being handled this go around? It was a problem last time, and I thought if we had Easter brouhahas last year it would have been a much larger disaster. Fortunately, we were shut down weeks before Easter. A March 22nd Easter would have been a nightmare last year.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t know the details, but I read a couple of days ago (I can’t recall where) that they’ve put strict restrictions on moving between provinces. I doubt they’ll take the risk of a ‘normal’ tet.

  9. Wukchumni

    An Orange County woman has filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against a former employer she claims wrongly fired her for attending the Jan. 6 protests that culminated in a riot at the U.S. Capitol.

    Attorneys representing Leah Snyder, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, contend Snyder didn’t enter the Capitol building or take part in violence, but allege her employer, Alight Solutions, “adopted a version of the events” that were “advanced” by an unnamed “cancel culture media outlet.”

    https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2021/01/28/orange-county-woman-sues-former-employer-for-firing-her-after-riots-at-u-s-capitol/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

    ‘CCMO’ did me in, wah wah wah.

    1. Mk

      Wait, what? If she attended a rally and didn’t do anything illegal, you are in favor of retribution because you don’t agree with her speech?

      Talk about facist

        1. ambrit

          Asymptotically alluring amoral aristocrats aver; allegedly adverse adverts align along allotropic alignments at Americas amiable asset assignat associations.

              1. Wukchumni

                Really stuck the ending on that one…

                When I was a kid, gas stations were always giving away with a fill-up: glass tumblers, cutlery, and the letter A Funk & Wagnals encyclopedia*.

                Letters B-Z were like $4.99 a volume and didn’t exactly sell like hotcakes, so if the proles of my era were ever going to sharp in one area, an awesome achievement award.

                * a vastly inferior encyclopedia compared to my 1966 World Book set

                1. ambrit

                  It’s funny what people will throw away. When the kids were growing up, we had an old Oxford Unabridged dictionary, from the early 1950s if I remember correctly. Phyl spotted it at a garage sale and got it for five dollars. It’s hiding out somewhere in the shadows now. Even the kids understood the superiority of that weighty tome.
                  Give aways to draw in customers! I remember opening my first bank account when I was twelve. The ‘prize’ was five Morgan silver dollars. If I kept above a minimum amount in the account for a year, five more Morgans. I made sure to keep that balance up there. One of my sisters ended up with the silver and, I believe, still has it.
                  One of the less salubrious aspects of being the ‘Big Brother’ was the ‘nudging’ from the parents to “gift” items to the younger siblings. “You’re too old now to be playing with those.” No one asked me if I wanted to be “grown up” concerning toys and bric a brac. It was assumed.

      1. Wukchumni

        p.s.

        Lets say this woman has a $50k a year job, and here she is demanding 200 years worth of salaries in her lawsuit.

        This trend towards high amount lawsuits really got going with Devin Nunes (just had a quarter of a billion $ thrown out against the WaPo) suing everybody for incredible figures calculated that all you hear is the amount and it is for so much dough re mi that you notice. They all get quietly dropped as the pesky opening salvo was their whole game.

        Not to be outdistanced in the big numbers lawsuit game, Rudy Giuliani just got sued for $1.3 Billion by Dominion.

    2. Pat

      I suppose every protester known to be at a BLM protest that subsequently led to lootings and burning buildings should be fired as well.

      Pretty sure there was trespassing involved there.

    3. Laura in So Cal

      She might have a case against her employer. According to my recent harassment training, political affiliations and activities (outside your work) is a protected class in California. Assuming she didn’t do anything illegal, her political activities and affiliations outside of work can’t be used to discriminate in hiring, employment, or housing decisions.

  10. QuarterBack

    Re the GameStop short. I highly recommend Glenn Greenwald’s blog today. He has a video post going into a comprehensive discussion of the political sentiment winds swirling together around this event.

    I also recommend subscribing to his channel if you believe he is bringing the kind of analysis and dialog that media desperately needs. — and don’t forget NakedCapitalism’s critical role in this same fight. Support our heroes of the freedom of speech.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3ZLFDQ36tI&feature=youtu.be

    1. Wukchumni

      Who would’ve ever thought a video game* provider could contribute to the downfall of Wall*Street possibly…

      Can’t the powers that be turn loose HFT terminal # 164 against the hooligans, and restore orders?

      * FD: I haven’t played a video game since they required 2 bits to play, and while I was no whiz, I could handle multiple threats to the well being of the planet, playing Missile Command

    2. Dirk77

      It would be nice if Yves weighed in on this. Robinhood traders destroy Melvin who gets bailed out by Citadel who buys Robinhood trade data to frontrun the traders in the first place? At the very least it seems that in a rational world (hah!), the Robinhood business model should be illegal?

      1. Yves Smith

        This is awfully close to an assignment. Please read our Policies on assignments.

        I frankly could care less about the stock market. It is a systemically unimportant casino.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Seems to me that the market is pretty important. Exec compensation based on market performance, metrics also based on screwing the public and workers and buying “influence” in the government. Driving policy, as legislators have pecuniary interests that can be leveraged by inside knowledge. The “wealth” booked in stock holdings translates to even more potent social divisions and financial inequity.

          But I have only the tiniest shallow understanding of money and wealth and the rackets I read about here and in other places. So there’s that caveat.

        2. LilD

          Eh, it’s probably for me but I am lazy

          Full disclosure
          I know plotkin well. I ran a desk trading 30-40 million shares/day for Steve.
          Gabe is the single best fundamental portfolio manager I’ve ever seen
          He’s right on valuation

          This has nothing to do with fundamentals. Supply / demand imbalances, limited inventory, asymmetric ability to apply a view. Just manipulated in a variety of ways.
          This incident is hugely different from the day trading of the tech bubble. Swarms forming… the short squeeze is not a value play, just a means to exert power on a pain point.

          JMK paraphrasing… can you remain solvent until the rationality returns…?

        3. occasional anonymous

          This is disingenuous. You’re a finance blog. And it’s pertinent if for no other reason than that it involves class warfare and hedge funds (which are literally a specific category here, with 467 articles at last count).

      2. Stephen

        And then the kicker…Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers, and other brokerages for which Citadel makes markets suspend further purchases of heavily shorted target stocks. Not just Gamestop, but also Nokia, BB, etc. This is why prices are cratering today, because the brokerages are allowing only one side of the trade on the retail side…selling. And who is the counterparty if retail investors are locked out of the buy side by discount brokerages? The institutional traders who are still scrambling to cover their shorts!

        The whole game is rigged for wealthy interests. If anyone didn’t believe that before, I honestly cannot see how this doesn’t make it patently obvious.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Trillion-dollar training wheels for the casino. It used to be amazing, how the racket works. Now most of us are inured to it, learned helplessness reinforced by constant ladling of Bernays Sauce ™ onto the roasted public mind…

        2. jimmyb

          This is the money quote:

          Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers, and other brokerages for which Citadel makes markets suspend further purchases of heavily shorted target stocks. Not just Gamestop, but also Nokia, BB, etc. This is why prices are cratering today, because the brokerages are allowing only one side of the trade on the retail side…selling. And who is the counterparty if retail investors are locked out of the buy side by discount brokerages? The institutional traders who are still scrambling to cover their shorts!

          Long knives are out. Retail traders getting the bust out by the big institutionals (who run the 3 card monty table). Vanguard & TDA are claiming it’s issues from high volumes but too coincidental?

        3. Deschain

          I know this will be an unpopular opinion but I suspect RH and the others had to do this or face certain BK.

          I read today somewhere that 50% of RH’s customer base is long GME. That’s very plausible because one of the ways they drive trading is showing customers a list of ‘popular stocks’ that other traders on the platform are buying, drive that dopamine rush, etc. There is a study out there showing that RH has driven gang tackle behavior that does affect stock prices (though not like what you’re seeing in GME, that is really all about 1 group of institutions ripping the face off another group that got caught offsides, and using RH as a fig leaf, put into hyper drive by HFT).

          So if you’re RH you have half your customer base long the same stock. Not only that but they are margined . . . and every time the stock goes up, they are probably using the new ‘equity’ that got created to buy more. So essentially pyramiding their position using leverage as the stock goes higher.

          If a customer owes you $100, they have a problem. If half of your customer base owes you millions of dollars, collateralized by an asset that everyone (even the owners!) agrees is worth a fraction of where it is trading . . . you have a VERY VERY big problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if RH runs into serious financial trouble even after doing this, they may have hit the panic button too late.

  11. dcblogger

    I had very low expectations of Biden, but wow, he is worse than I thought he would be.

    Also the milquetoast response to the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol is just too depressing. Not even a regard for their skin is sufficient to motivate Democrats.

    I have never been so despairing about our country.

    1. MK

      You were pretty despairing about out country when Trump was in office as your prior posts demonstrate. Are you more despairing now that your puppet is in office instead of the other side’s puppet? LOL

      1. dcblogger

        I am glad Trump no longer has a platform to whip up violence. I am relieved. I never thought that Biden would bring good government, but I did think we would use the Natl. Defense Production Act to make more vaccine and PPE.

        1. Wukchumni

          You really have to Andropov it to Joe, he’s no good at improv.

          Kind of funny, we’re going backwards in Soviet Premiers from Gorbachev being Trump in Bizarro World style. (openness vs closedness)

        2. JTMcPhee

          So sad that the Narrative is so pernicious and seductive. Fear, uncertainty and doubt whispered and shouted from all corners. See earlier comments and links about real political and social economic violence by the sort of people Trump supposedly whips up. That DC thing was not even a carbuncle on the behind of the body politic, but We Must Be Very Afraid Of Maddow-Defined Fascism!

          The real face of the Lesser Evil — the nascent apotheosis of the military-corpokleptocratic-“security” state.

          And is it not so nice that we are allowed (so far) to make our feckless observations and trade insights into the origins, progress and consequences of the various disease states that plague us mopes?

          1. Un chien Andalou

            Well guys Biden is the girl that brung ya..
            Nice not to have the limiting exhortations of one Donald ‘limitless hangout’ J
            Really brings it all home. Narrative for a perception potentially shared by (the vast, natch) most of the people I met on the way to writing this.
            Them on TV had all the fun, should be interesting to see which candidates soc media vetting and triage will spew forth, the players wont stand themselves and most of the early adopters, seem, objectionable though whatsapp (of the going thermonuclear on the competition ‘fame’) had a chance till he sold ‘dangly’ A/WS out to the Saudis, but Washington is big enough for both to avoid, and influence, bigly.

            JT don’t you know there’s a pandemic on!? Pernicious only equals seduction in an abusive relationship, we can talk about who we get in to throw the scoundrals out, they’d like that.

        3. Katniss Everdeen

          …. but I did think we would use the Natl. Defense Production Act to make more vaccine and PPE.

          And what did you think “we” would be using for factories?

    2. Pat

      Oh I think they are doing only what would be expected by anyone paying attention to their methods in response to the events of January 6. Putting on a show, further isolating themselves, choosing unconstitutional actions and legislation to protect their flank, they just pulled out their usual bag of tricks. The last resort for Democrats is always doing what is best for the American people and Democracy and they are not any where near there yet.

      And for the record, I would bet most of them were confused and then exhilarated on January 6, not terrified. Oh sure a few left in the Chamber were probably scared, but those who got out through the tunnels…

        1. a different chris

          Me too. Not to generalize (ok really to generalize) there are mostly two types of people now in our hallowed halls “representing” us and they have nothing to do with the Party affilations– Ivy Leaguers, most of them quite rich and isolated and ex-military people who couldn’t figure out what else to do with themselves.

          The first type were scared as (dcblogger said it) because they are the type the cross the street when a peasant is on the other side. They have “people” on top of “people” between them and the real world and when those people aren’t there and the real world is…

          The other type are just as scared but for a totally different reason: they are well aware how fast you can become dead in a situation like that. That is, their reasons come from legit experience.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Those ex-mil and spook types: how many of them have teal, actual combat training AND EXPERIENCE, something more than Msyo Pete’s fright moment driving a vehicle “outside the wire?” As opposed to desk jockeys and REMFs (Rear Echelon MotherFokkers,) which are the large bulk of the US military?

            And will the hype about the VAST INSURRECTION THREATENING THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR HOLY DEMOCRACY AND OUR SACRED TEMPLES ever get a little more real? The oligarchs are maybe a little nervous, but it sure looks like the control rods have been slammed home in the slightly potentially runaway reactor of public sentiment… no tumbrils or pitchforks or guillotines appearing in the streets, let alone manned (and/or womaned) barricades…

              1. JTMcPhee

                Typo of course, should be “real.”

                Getting too old and tired, proofreading skills atrophying like everything else…

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree. I just found out I probably won’t get the vaccine in time to feel safer about my move back to chicago because NC has done such a poor job of rolling it out (only administered 25% of what we received—40th of all the states) that the federal govt is drastically reducing how much they are shipping us. At this rate they won’t be done with the over 65s for months so I won’t qualify for it until after that—I may not get it until I am back in IL. 

      And last night on CNN both the new CDC head and Fauci responded disingenuously to a viewer question about better masks: no need for N95s for the plebes, as long as they’re masked and 6 ft apart. Not indoors, a**holes!

      And now I read an anodyne piece in the Guardian about how Joe is creating a special enrollment period so people can get insurance through the ACA, like if they lose their jobs.
      No mention of the fact that for people without jobs it is the UnACA.

      1. a different chris

        >because NC has done such a poor job of rolling it out

        What? It’s been assigned to us??? I gotta check my porch, they might be sitting out there. Apologies. Man talking about pushing problems downstream.. :D

    4. occasional anonymous

      I keep seeing this sentiment around, that the Dems aren’t responding to the Capitol incident sufficiently. I genuinely wonder if I’m in an alternate universe and seeing things through a portal. Because in the universe I’m in they’re charging hundreds of people, are having DC permanently militarized for months, are pushing hard for a Patriot Act 2.0 against ‘domestic terrorism’, are impeaching Trump on made up nonsense (just read the transcript of what he actually said; he didn’t call for a riot or attack on the Capitol, in coded terms or otherwise. Social media then suppressed him when he told everyone to go home) and are openly waging war on dissenting views on the internet. How is all of that ‘milquetoast’?

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Jack Ma Can Call Ant Group Whatever He Wants, But Xi Jinping Is Gonna Call It A Bank”

    ‘Regulators have laid out five demands for Ant, telling it to return to its payment roots, safeguard personal data in its credit business, set up a financial holding company, improve corporate governance and exercise more disciplines in its securities and asset-management businesses. Putting all of Ant’s businesses under a financial holding company would give regulators oversight of all its activities, and eliminate the potential for regulatory arbitrage, according to one of the people familiar with the plan.’

    This is heresy this. Blasphemy even. I was wrong about China. I call for a Holy Jihad and for China to be destroyed and its land to be salted.

  13. a different chris

    >The article body uses “pause,” not “freeze.”

    Um, they really do mean almost the same thing. The word you want is “ends” and you won’t ever see that, I am sure.

    And in fact, by “almost” I claim there is an (unimportant) difference between the two, and pause is actually better than freeze. “Pause” means to not do whatever for some determined or undetermined amount of time. “Freeze” can simply mean not changing, so if we are selling 1 billion dollars/month we will continue selling 1 billion dollars/month neither more nor less.

  14. JCC

    After reading this (long) article/survey on recognizing accurate information vs. “fake news” I realized how good NakedCapitalism and the group that runs it (and the comment section) truly is.

    Apologies if this is also a link that may have been posted earlier – I have been off-line for a few days:

    https://www.rand-rand.com/misinformation-guide

  15. The Rev Kev

    “How not to help the Russian opposition”

    Have western money flow to dissidents in Russia perhaps? Have the US Embassy in Moscow publish route marches for the recent protests like they did the other day. Make clear that it is not a local movement but a puppet opposition. Punish Russia for not supporting Navalny. Anything else?

    I like the bit about how the UK should seize the wealth of Russians in the UK so as to punish Russia. Those are Russian oligarchs who looted Russia and escaped to London with their ill-gotten gain. Putin would laugh at that. In fact, in recent years some of those oligarchs have made their peace with Russia and returned there with their loot.

    But the idea mooted about having diplomats accompanying marchers? Just like diplomas marched with Greedo in Venezuela as a sort of bodyguard? That was a good look that with most Venezuelans. I am sure that it would work in Russia though. This time for sure.

    1. Alex

      I agree with the core message of your post and the Irrussianality are 100% right there. It baffles me that this is not self-evident.

      I think you might be mistaken about rich Russians in London. Sure, the first batch consisted of “oligarchs who looted Russia and escaped to London with their ill-gotten gain,” however Putin has been in power for 20 years already and *now* most of them are Putin-era rich who continued looting Russia and buying up properties in London. It might not hurt Putin much if their wealth were confiscated but I would definitely be happy if it happens – though I’m not holding my breath

  16. TomDority

    “It’s time for a new, progressive supply-side economics” “The Center for Growth and Opportunity”
    It is astounding and absurd – this ‘progressive supply-side economics’ in it’s defense of tax cuts for the top end through slieght of word – It essentially says that tax cuts for the top does not work but- lets not go there – lets concentrate on what productivity enhancements (the ones promised by supply side and tax cuts garbage) would help to lower costs of those essential goods to help lower income folks get by.
    Then they use an example to (dress a turd in a suit) improve productivity of home building to lower the cost of housing by using a lego like building approach. – My first impession was that the industry already has this ability thru the building of cardboard boxes…. maybe they should supply more cardboard boxes to the poor. With the same design house and the same topography to build on – it costs (just speculating) 1 million to build in SanFran and 50,000 to build in Flynt Mich. – A cardboard box $5 delivered both places – absurd.
    But seriously, the asset class called housing has been asset inflated to the moon. How? by the big banks (gambling institutions) and lenders who get taxed at long term capital gains rates and rake big fees throughout the property ladder and securitization paths found least taxed (shareholder and asset income maximization). So, I think it would be better to tax in a manner that discourages asset inflation and encourages efficiency in the built and natural environment – believe it or not – when millions are homeless and millions of homes stand empty – something is surely wrong with our tax system.
    Imagine if the depreciation expense were eliminated as a tax write-off, and instead, only actual maintainence, repair and upgrade were allowed. Imagine if the capital gains rate were moved up over time and income taxes lowered. How about taxing preditory and unearned income at a far higher rate and earned income lower. How about universal healthcare or medicare for all – at a fraction of what we spend/lose on helping those poor besoden rich folks hide, stash, avoid in taxes and dodge, defraud and abuse the privlages legislated to them via revolving doors and explicit bribery enabled legislation.
    There is a tremendous amount of good science and advances that benifit mankind and planet earth that are being smothered and priced out of implementation due to chicken-little leadership inculcated by deceptive and injust ‘free-market’ weaponization of magical financial capitalism – Taxation is the most powerfull tool a government has – it has enabled this new financial capitalism – it is still a republic and a democracy – it still has a chance – – – Money and taxation are treated like some non-existant entity with near zero interaction with the free-market -absurd
    Rant done

    1. freebird

      Very well ranted. There are solutions out there, but there is no problem-solving being done, only influence-selling and career-building by those with any power.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Discord bans server tied to Reddit stock surge page”

    But Discord swears that it was a mere coincidence that they pulled the rug from under them when they did without any notice and there was nothing suspicious about the whole thing.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would be worried insider information was being disseminated on platforms if I was running these kinds of sites especially if a fleecing became public.

      1. freebird

        Yes. So perhaps we should shut down all Wall Street watering holes because the big boys discuss their trades there. And those pesky telephones—prime ways for insider information to travel, better get rid of those. You sure you’re not really Tim Geithner? ;-)

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I mean all for shutting them down, but the Discord (I don’t know who it is) is interesting. Are they using it to get around problems that normally cause insider trading issues? People did get prosecuted before Obama especially when the knew better. Proving thicboi69 and noobkiller47 know each other is considerably more difficult behind otherwise anonymous aliases, but they have to deal with the different level of mods too.

          Robinhood has its own set of issues.

          1. Kurtismayfield

            The hysterical part is that they think Discord is anonymous. Their ToS state that they are data vaccumns that sell to anyone they wish.

  18. More

    Let’s not forget Nygard, when it comes to large scale abusers like Epstein –

    “Secret Nygard videos show former fashion mogul charged with sex trafficking travelling with teenage girl”
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/peter-nygard-videos-1.5884704

    “Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg in December on an extradition warrant. U.S. authorities accuse him of racketeering, sex trafficking and sexual assault involving “dozens” of victims.

    More than 80 women accuse Nygard of rape or sexual assault going back four decades. Fifty-seven are part of a separate class-action lawsuit launched in New York in February 2020.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “China reports a growing shortage of factory workers”

    How about china increases the wages in those factories? Or offer shorter working hours? I’m sure that if they did that, then those jobs will be filled in a short order of time.

    About to log off for the night but I can recommend the article “Why Attempts to Build a New Anti-China Alliance Will Fail” in today’s Links. It gives a great assessment of the situation with very few axes to grind.

    1. a different chris

      >How about china increases the wages in those factories?

      I sort of believe that too.. however aren’t there (apocryphal perhaps) stories of the Chinese getting factory jobs, saving as Chinese will do, and once they hit some number scurrying back to their beloved countryside?

      Paying them more would, if that was hard fact, just increase turnover, says my inner Scrooge. It’s funny because at the end of my career here I actually could put a number on “money in the bank” at which I would happily clean out my desk.

      But the “cool” thing – sarcasm here – the modern world has changed from fixed pensions to the oh-so-magical 401k — I can’t even predict within 30% of where it will be in say 5 years, let alone a 20year retirement.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve not heard those stories about workers returning home, but there are huge populations of poorly paid workers who lack the hukou papers to live in the cities they work in – in most cases I think they would move home once they save a little, as their living conditions are often unbearable.

  20. farmboy

    “We wonder how long it will be before a number of
    hedge fund ‘bodies’ begin to pop to the surface in some kind of replay
    of LTCM’s ill-fated plan to short Treasuries and buy the Russian bond
    market back in 1998…”Kevin Klombies

    1. Deschain

      It’s already happening. I’m more interested to see who was on the right side of the trade. Some folks made their years this week.

  21. Tom Stone

    I wonder how soon Warnock will see a recall campaign in Georgia, I’d LOVE to be his opponent next time around.
    Just replay those campaign ads featuring a pic of a $2K check…

  22. Pat

    In case anyone has missed out, AMC is now showing a dramatic 3 part program that originally was shown on the BBC about the Skripal poisonings in Salisbury. One reviewer called it restrained. I have no idea whether it is or not, but I have sincere doubts that the program will let people know that Britain was producing their own supplies of Novichok nearby.

    The Salisbury Poisonings

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw it here in Oz a coupla months ago and it is trash. Anything that is controversial or does not fit the “narrative” of the program simply does not get mentioned. They must have used Bellingcat as a technical advisor.

      1. fringe element

        okay, it worked this time

        and yes, as good as Frank is, you can be certain I was going to fight to read it

        always good to meet someone else who appreciates him

      2. Wyoming

        PK

        You are one of the posters here who I regard.

        So I have to ask you why you think this Frank piece is superb. Admittedly the quality of the writing is very high as always, but just like a debate winner often arguing a patently absurd viewpoint but winning based upon their articulateness, I find huge issues with much of what is in this article. I just did not think it worth posting about it I guess. But now I kind of do. I read it through several times to make sure what I thought about it.

        But let me get to the main issue I have with his article. It is seriously superficial and constantly wanders around in peripheral issues and irrelevant history in an attempt to claim “I am an expert.” so listen to me. Just like he complains others are doing. The fundamental issue in America has nothing – zero, nada, zip – to do with conservative vs liberal culture wars. It is a class war between those who are very wealthy, the giant financial institutions, the banks, and those who’s ‘bourgeois’ status leaves them with no option but to go all in with their masters.

        America is in decline across pretty much the entire spectrum of what one would count to determine that. This puts tremendous strain on those as the bottom of the totem pole and it is working its way up. The writing is on the wall that prospects are not going to improve given the strain of the climate change train which will exponentially increase in severity over the next couple of decades; a rapidly growing global population; declining global carrying capacity; and the struggle to control the essentials which support national level civilizations. Americas problems are reflected pretty much everywhere in one form or another. The stress which this decline has put on society is primarily responsible for the rise of the political extremes. And the driver for those who hold power resorting to increasing censorship and control – and there is nothing more bipartisan in our politics than exerting more control – unless it be fanning the flames of a false culture war in order to help justify more control perhaps. The danger to those who rule (and who have deliberately created the inequalities/inequities in the US) is that the extremes of the two parties decide to come together and take over and they will fight that at all costs and in any way they can think of.

        Note: I had a lot more here specifically picking holes in the article. But decided it was too long and detracted from the above. Any way…what do you think?

          1. Wyoming

            3 times. as I said. I disagree as I pointed out. Did you read my post or just respond off the top of your head?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Did you read my post

              From internal evidence, yes, obviously, since you mention class only in paragraph three.

              And speaking of three, you didn’t say “3 times.” You said “several times.” Do you read your own comments, or just respond off the top of your head?

  23. ella

    Curious what the folks on here are thinking about the new Covid variants. Gamechanger? Will it make 2021 worse than 2020 (from perspective of schools remaining closed, death toll, etc.)?

    This site was valuable to me in the early days of this pandemic (last Jan) when no one around me believed this was going to be a whopper (but in my gut, I felt it). I’m feeling the same about these variants, but not sure if I can trust that feeling because, quite frankly, I’m so exhausted from this past year that it’s hard to think straight!

    I understand this isn’t a value add comment, so I hope I’m not going against new posting rules. If I am, preemptive apologies. But I’m very keen to hear what the smart people on here think of this.

    1. ambrit

      Caveat: I am not one of the smart people when it comes to immunology and epidemiology. Ignacio and IMDoc would be the ones I can think of “off the top of my head.”
      However, if the coronavirus follows the line of development that applies to the ‘common cold’ and ‘flu’ varieties of coronavirus, quick mutations and an eventual stable state of pandemicism will result.

      1. Cuibono

        Corona Viruses are NOT the flu. tehy do not shift rapidly like the flu. They DO shift. And we have provided fertile breeding grounds so to speak for such shifts with out of control tranmission in many places combined with the likely impact of people with immune and monoclonal pressures.

        Add to that single dose vaccine strategies and you have yourself the recipe for select mutations to take hold.

        only time will tell how this works out.

          1. RMO

            Coronaviruses are estimated as being involved in around 15% of common cold cases from what I’ve read. Rhinoviruses are considered to be responsible for the majority of them. Of course we don’t usually take cultures and ID the virus present when someone gets a cold so I doubt we can get exact figures. The figure I’ve read is that “a cold” can involve any one of, or a combination of a couple hundred viruses.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think its early days yet, but from the scientists I follow on twitter, there is real genuine worry about these new variants, the extra infectivity could make things even worse in 2021 than 2020 and could significantly prolong the pandemic, especially if they can re-infect those who already had the virus. The key question is whether the existing vaccines work against them. The initial tests seem positive, but its far too early to be sure.

      1. RMO

        The health ministry here in BC is pretty worried about the next couple of months because of the new variants. We’re holding at 500 cases a day at the moment but they think it could blow up if the new ones start spreading. The vaccines are still a hope for the future for most people here. I might be able to get one sometime in August if all goes well, and it doesn’t look like it will right now.

        Of course I might wonder why, what with all the travel restrictions in place, we were still letting people travel here from the UK and South Africa without mandating – and enforcing – a strict two week quarantine. But what do I know?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I think its early days yet, but from the scientists I follow on twitter, there is real genuine worry

        FWIW, since I am an amateur, policy in the West (EU/UK and the US), which combines half-assed lockdowns with half-assed non-pharmaceutical interventions (masking, etc.) has created an ideal environment for variants to evolve and display adaptability. (Long covid also helps here, I am guessing, as variants evolve in the body.) As a riposte and at a minimum, we should crank vaccination (can we?) and crank non-pharmaceutical interventions (can we?). Will that be enough? I don’t know.

        There’s a lot of stuff we can’t do, like actually track strains (maybe sewage can help here). We also can’t track superspreaders.

        I also think the initial framing by, well, the scientists (or the scientific establishment) did a ton of damage. Here again I speak only as an amateur: Turns out that wiping down surfaces isn’t the key to preventing transmission, it’s avoiding inhaling aerosols, whether through masking or through managing one’s way through the built environment (i.e., don’t sit downwind from a ventilator in a restaurant). It’s also important to manage one’s throat and nasal passages where the virus can lodge (though sprays, gargling, etc.) Even to this day, CDC is still promoting the “six feet apart” rule, when aerosols travel farther than that. You have to be careful and imaginative about the space you are in and what you are breathing, and that message doesn’t seem to be being communicated by anybody.

        I think the anti-maskers are largely driven by ideology (“Don’t live in fear”) but it’s also important to realize that they are totally following what the scientific establishment forcefully communicated early in the pandemic: That masks are not important, and that the most important thing is wiping down surfaces. So if all that is true, why not go to a bar? Or church?

        I do think one missing piece from the Biden administration is a single point of contact for the public, a human who speaks every day. Cuomo is a psycho, but that part he did well. Not Fauci, he’s used up (and Biden was right to shuffle him off to WHO). That person would need to be calm, authoritative, and avoid the whole shaming thing liberals do so well. That person also needs to be able to speak to the whole country. Call me crazy, but I think Arnold Schwarzenegger would be ideal. But they’ll probably pick some scientist from Harvard or Yale (ideally with a side gig in the national security establishment).

        1. skippy

          “I think the anti-maskers are largely driven by ideology (“Don’t live in fear”)”

          I would proffer the idea of surrendering to a higher power that removes the offending so people can live the “good life” and let the chips fall where they may …

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > this isn’t a value add comment

      I think a well-worked expression of genuine perplexity followed by a request for clarification is a value add. It’s like a “Queries” section.

  24. 🤦‍♂️

    Thomas Frank gets everything right except he says that Donald Trump is (was) twitter’s best customer but as we all know Twitter doesn’t have customers, they have products.

    1. Pelham

      Also re the insightful Frank piece: He mentions that Biden won US counties that produce 71% of the nation’s wealth, leaving counties producing only 29% for Trump.

      But what exactly do these Biden counties produce? Hedge funds? Private equity outfits? Corporate paper pushers? Hideously gameable “markets” in options, stocks and futures? Banks?

      Meanwhile, Trump counties are predominantly home to manufacturing, agriculture, mining and drilling. Of course, these red counties consume more in federal benefits than they pay in taxes. But that appears to be only after the blue counties through the private sector have extracted the greatest share of the real wealth produced by the red counties.

      If we’re going to draw dollar distinctions as Frank and others have done, let’s also specify what those dollars produce or buy.

  25. chuck roast

    The Corona Virus Vaccine Fail…

    Dean Baker hitting on all cylinders here. He uses the Reinhart/Rogoff national debt paper epic fail as a metaphor on how elites suffer no consequences for the pain they cause the hoi polloi. Prolly a bit of academic warfare here, but who can say that Reinhart and Rogoff don’t deserve a regular Red Army stonk. Keep pounding that rock Dean!

  26. flora

    re: Vladimir Putin warns of ‘dark anti-Utopia’ world in Davos speech – South China Morning Post

    Putin’s reported remarks aren’t wrong. But, of course, he’s fishing in muddy waters, just as the US does in reverse.

  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    Just a note about the colchicine study: Colchicine is an extremely potent toxin at the cellular level.

    An overdose can kill you.

    In a hospital setting, it’s probably OK, but at home, it’s risky. (Took it for gout for a while)

    If you are taking it at home, and you get diarrhea, STOP IMMEDIATELY, because this is the first sign of toxicity, and if you continue, you could die.

    1. Wellstone's Ghost

      Thanks for the information.

      I have taken colchicine for gout as well.

      The dose is two pills, followed by one pill an hour later.

      No grapefruit to be consumed during treatment.

      I had best results when taking at first sign of gout pain.

      It works for me(and my Dad who is a retired pediatrician).

      Some people have more success with other medications, alopurinol for example.

      I was unaware of its lethality.

  28. Cuibono

    Did anyone see the CNN townhall with Fauci and TheNew Boss at CDC?
    They said that high quality masks like n95s for the general public would be a bad idea.
    People would not wear them, mask availability is not the issue, etc etc
    almost makes you wonder…

    1. ambrit

      I’m with you on this. It seems to be a case where Conspiracy Theory becomes Conspiracy Hypothesis. Digging up uncorrupted evidence is the hard part.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Did anyone see the CNN townhall with Fauci and TheNew Boss at CDC?
      They said that high quality masks like n95s for the general public would be a bad idea.

      We just can’t stop making the same mistakes over and over again, can we?

      As for “people won’t wear them,” we’ve got marketing departments than can make people drink “Lite Beer.” And we can’t market masks? GTFO

  29. PlutoniumKun

    A Time of Trial and My Sworn Evidence on the Sturgeon Affair Craig Murray

    If you think the US media is bad…. this story is quite astonishing. Murray openly (with evidence) accuses the the most senior politician in Scotland of having orchestrated a fake series of sexual assault allegations against her predecessor. And it appears to have been met with almost complete silence in the Scottish and UK media.

    I’ve seen it speculated that there may be a ‘D’ Notice in effect, which would certainly be very telling, although its more likely that the media is simply colluding for its own reasons to keep the story under wraps.

  30. Wukchumni

    Young men & sex:

    I grew up in the midst of the sexual revolution where it was assumed you were getting some, everything was seemingly geared towards it, tv commercials sold sex, print ads, tv & movies gushed about everything but the act. It wasn’t a good time to be an awkward teenager.

    Everything seems the opposite now to me, celebrate (experts agree that it is virtually impossible to procreate when playing video games) celibacy!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Back then it was called the ‘New Morality’. One old boy from Texas, when asked, said that he was not a fan. He said ‘I am a’gin it for three reasons. It’s against the Laws of God. It’s against the Laws of Man. And I ain’t gettin’ any of it.’

  31. flora

    Great Tom Frank article.

    Reading about privileged young law school students claiming “too much” free speech (and how much is too much, and who decides ?) is incompatible with social justice for idPol groups was startling. The Constitutional guaranteed scope of rights has been expanding for everyone, slowly, through legal cases. The law students talk like it’s still 1955… or 1895. In this new, neoliberal age, the wealth gap outdoes the gilded age in extremes of wealth concentration, hurting everyone in the 90%. My 2 cents.

  32. Lee Too

    “Oxford comma issues”. My own theory of grammatical change: If it doesn’t make a difference, it doesn’t make a difference.

  33. occasional anonymous

    >Late Cycle Bubblicious? The Big Picture. If a basement-dwelling family member is speculating in stonks, this might be a good link to somehiw induce them to read.

    Am I the only one that gets that everyone involved knows this is a bubble? That that is literally part of the point? It’s explicitly a way to hurt hedge funds, and maybe make some cash as well before it bursts. No one pushing this actually thinks GameStop (or BlackBerry, AMC, etc) stocks are going to remain permanently inflated. The point was to engineer a scenario in which hedge funds were forced to send good money after bad.

  34. JohnB

    I’d be curious to see NC make a post about ethical investing, and whether that is even possible at all.

    I’ve gleaned over time that perhaps Yves sensibly has investments aimed at retirement and such (a private matter, I’m not interested in that, only in the topic of ethical investments), and other people like Warren Mosler would have invested a lot in the past and would have a more capitalist take on MMT – and of course quite a lot of people here do invest and work in finance even and such.

    When I read Michael Hudson and the ethical issues involved with “money making money” in principal, I don’t understand how I can invest in anything ethically. Nevermind the dificulty in navigating investments and changes in stock markets and the macroeconomy intelligently and in an informed way, so that I’m not throwing money away – I can’t even navigate the first hurdle (which most people ignore) in how to invest ethically in the first place.

    Even supposed ‘ethical investment’ funds, only require downloading the PDF of the companies invested in, and a bit of Googling, to see that those companies are chock full of ethically questionable practices – and there is the general principle/semi-accurate-generalization, that companies don’t generally amass significant wealth without engaging in serious ethically questionable practices in the first place.

    I don’t believe I’ve seen this addressed on NC before. It might conflict inherently with many writers with NC and the userbase (hell, how many people haven’t been mandatorily forced to put money into pension funds that are ethically questionable? That particular buy-in is almost forced by law in many countries, now…). Is it possible to invest ethically at all? How does this square with e.g. the writings of Michael Hudson and e.g. money making money? How do I navigate this issue if it may turn out to be a personal necessity for retirement savings etc.? Do any NC writers/posters feel ethically conflicted themselves, about any of this – and trapped with this dilemma at all?

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