Links 4/24/2021

This Cat in Japan Loves Taking Rainy Day Strolls With His Custom Cat-Sized Umbrella My Modern Met (David L)

New analysis finds Spotted Owls harmed by post-fire logging, not fire PhysOrg (resilc)

Wild animal suffering is the new frontier of animal welfare Vox

Stranded sailor allowed to leave abandoned ship after four years BBC

‘Forest gardens’ show how Native land stewardship can outdo nature National Geographic (David L)

Breakthrough Malaria Vaccine Is 77% Effective, Giving Hope Against One Of The World’s Biggest Killers Forbes

Mindfulness can make you selfish: A pioneering new study examines the social effects of mindfulness ScienceDaily (UserFriendly)

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation Brain Pickings (Chuck L)



Do Kids Really Need to Be Vaccinated for Covid? Yes. No. Maybe. Undark (Dr. Kevin)

Could a souped-up version of existing Covid-19 tests be our shortcut to tracking variants? STAT

A guideline to limit indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19 PNAS


India’s round-the-clock cremations show staggering COVID death toll Reuters

Japan declares third COVID-19 state of emergency, just three months before Olympics (Kevin W)


US vaccination sites are closing from California to Texas, Ohio to Mississippi as demand for Covid shots plummets across the country – despite less than 28% of the population being fully inoculated Daily Mail

Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine gets green light to resume distribution The Hill


China beating US by being more like America Asia Times (resilc)

Scandal in Ankara Wolfgang Streeck (Anthony L). “Sofagate”.

Green Candidate and Kingmaker: Annalena Baerbock Holds the Keys to Germany’s Next Election Der Spiegel (resilc)

Old Blighty

Convicted Post Office workers have names cleared BBC (resilc)

New Cold War

Putin & Biden summit will delight media, but it won’t change anything… relations between Russia & US are being slowly dismantled RT (Chuck L)


Top General Expresses ‘Concern’ Over Afghanistan Withdrawal Antiwar. Resilc: “The morons that come out of West Point and get stars are as bad as the morons in Congress.”

US lawmakers urge maintaining Israeli aid without preconditions Al Jazeera

Big caveats to US exit from Afghanistan Asia Times (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘Know your customer’ indeed! Banks deploy AI systems to monitor customers & employees alike RT (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Anonymous NatSec Officials: The Cuban Ray Guns Are in Syria Now, Just Trust Us on This Gizmodo (Kevin W). When you’ve lost Gizmodo…

Montana Becomes First State To Pass Resolution Against Unconstitutional Wars Antiwar

Trump Transition

Pompeo fuels 2024 speculation under shadow of Trump The Hill. I can’t stand yet to create a “2024” header. I will have to get over it.


Manchin floats breaking up Biden’s infrastructure proposal The Hill

The Heroic Congressional Fight to Save the Rich Matt Taibbi

Health Insurer Pressured Employees To Fight State Public Option Julia Rock, Daily Poster (Kevin C)

Missouri Republicans Knowingly Backed an Alleged Child Sex Abuser. There Should Be Accountability. Washington Monthly

Democrats won’t provide $1M bond to implement delay of Arizona Senate election audit after judge’s ruling AZCentral (Kevin W)


NY won’t say what it told Justice Department about nursing home outbreaks Associated Press (bob)

Police State Watch

Innocent man billed $4,000 for jail stay Boing Boing

Ghislaine Maxwell makes first US court appearance BBC

Our Famously Free Press

Shocking Omissions: ‘Capitalism’s Conscience – 200 Years Of The Guardian’ – John Pilger and Jonathan Cook Respond Media Lens (Chuck L)

‘A bunch of people will probably die’: Elon Musk gets candid on Mars tourism in barefoot interview Independent

Small Companies Rush To Buy Up Big Oil’s Assets OilPrice (Kevin W)

Of Usury, Preemption, and Fancy Stationary Bikes Credit Slips


American companies are struggling to hire workers, but BofA sees that fading by early 2022 Business Insider

The Grocery Price Shock Is Coming to a Store Near You Bloomberg

How to Become an Intellectual in Silicon Valley The Baffler (Anthony L). I thought that was an oxymoron…

The physics that drives periodic economic downturns ScienceDaily (UserFriendly). The stupid, it burns.

Why work lost its worth New Statesman (Anthony L)

Guillotine Watch

The Newest Status Symbol for High-Net Worth Homeowners: Trophy Trees Wall Street Journal (resilc)

Man sets off massive explosives for gender reveal party, triggering earthquake reports The Hill (UserFriendly)

Ultra-Rich To Prosperous Americans: We’ll Speak For You Heisenberger Report (resilc)

Class Warfare

Capitalism as a Suicide Cult CounterPunch (Thomas R)

Dems Somehow Pretend This Mostly Helps The Middle Class David Sirota and Andrew Perez. Surprised to think anyone labors under the delusion that SALT is anything other that a gimmie to the upper middle class. Trump capped SALT to whack blue metro area Dems but also managed to whack red area Rs with high value homes.

What if We Actually Taxed the Rich? Robert Reich

Washington state kicks off major tax fight with new capital gains levy The Hill (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Bob H):

And a bonus (Richard Smith). Click through to read the story:

A second bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Convicted Post Office workers have names cleared BBC

    This story really is unbelievable. Dozens of postmasters jailed and having their lives destroyed because of a crappy computer system. Make your own contrast with all the bankers who have gotten away with rampant criminality over the past few decades. Its hard not to think that much of this comes down to really bad lawyers – it seemed that nobody seemed to notice that the same time of crime was occurring all over the country, with the same ‘evidence’.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You know it’s going to happen again. When Boris said ‘Lessons should and will be learnt to ensure this never happens again’ that was just a stock phrase that meant nothing. How can I tell? Because ‘In December 2019, the Post Office settled a civil claim brought by 555 ex-employees for £57.75 million, but did not admit liability.’ and there it is right there. If you want to stop this sort of thing happening, force corporations to accept liability and then send to prison those that actually made the decisions. Until then, it is just relegated to a ‘cost of doing business’-

      1. Carla

        @The Rev Kev — I emphatically agree: prison time for corporate criminals is the only way to get off this train.

        Even better, let’s simultaneously stop criminalizing poverty. There are a lot more poor people than corporate criminals, so the overall incarcerated population will go down, and for once, the right people will be behind bars. Win-win!

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The CEO of the Post Office at the time of the scandal got a CBE, for services to industry and charity. Apparently, she’s an Anglican priest.

    2. RepubAnon

      This reminds me of the plot of an old B movie, whose name I don’t recall. The pretty woman bank teller was being pursued by her manager, but she was in love with one of the other bank tellers. One day, the bank manager found that the woman’s till was missing money. The manager was convinced the woman was stealing money, while the woman and her boyfriend were convinced that the bank manager was framing her out of spite.

      After many B movie hijinks, the movie’s climax arrives: the bank manager calls the police to have her arrested. As the police were leading her away, her boyfriend shouted: “She is innocent! It’s as simple as two (punched a 2 into her calculator) plus two (enter another 2) equals (looks at the calculator’s result) five! Wait, five?”

      Turned out the calculator she used was broken.

      Pity that people place such blind faith in computers…

  2. pjay

    – ‘Montana Becomes First State To Pass Resolution Against Unconstitutional Wars’ – Antiwar

    Libertarians in Montana overwhelmingly pass a resolution to get out. Liberals in Washington fight tooth and nail to stay in. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the good guys and bad guys straight these days.

    1. km

      Lord knows that there is plenty in libertarianism to find fault with – BUT – the antiwar and anti-military worship is worthy of praise.

      n.b. Dr. Ron Paul.

      1. Pavel

        My feelings precisely about Ron Paul and other libertarians e.g. Tom Woods and the great Scott Horton (host of the Antiwar Radio show). There is much to disagree with but they are generally first and foremost firm believers in non-aggression and are against all wars. Compare and contrast all the wars voted for by all the Dems and Repubs over the decades, and as pjay pointed out there was a bipartisan blocking of Trump’s attempt to bring the Afghan troups home.

        1. Anonapet

          but they are generally first and foremost firm believers in non-aggression

          Not so. They firmly believe in aggression to protect their “property” – however ludicrous their claim to that property is.

          1. BlakeFelix

            Well, it varies, but how many political philosophies are cool with being robbed? Some do go way too far down the taxes are theft rabbit hole, which sure, kinda, but we live in a society, and with no taxes we would have inflation or austerity or some nonsense I think. And lots of people don’t like/dodge taxes.

      2. Anonapet

        Because war is expensive? Their same objection to even government spending for the general welfare?

        I know the Austrian economists and if anything good comes from that gold-worshiping, deflation/misery loving bunch, it’s almost certainly an accident.

        1. pjay

          Perhaps. But I think there are very many people in places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, etc., etc. etc. who would take that kind of “misery loving” over the “humanitarian loving” interventionism championed by most liberals today.

          There are “libertarians” who oppose imperialistic war for principled reasons. I believe the Antiwar website was founded by one, actually. I’ve been criticizing libertarian economics my entire life. But at present, on foreign policy I’ll take Ron Paul over Adam Schiff, thank you. Unlimited expenditure for mass destruction and WWIII does not appeal to me.

          1. Anonapet

            Unlimited expenditure for mass destruction and WWIII does not appeal to me. pjay

            Nor me but Austrian economics, with no real basis in justice and, by design, misery inducing – to “purge the malinvestments” – could easily result in WWIII as they did the Great Depression and WWII.

            Anyway, beware Austrians bearing peace …

            1. urblintz

              and beware of neo-liberal/Straussian/faux-Keynesian/Chicago School of Economics liberals bearing democracy, justice and equality, never mind peace…

              ghen we can talk about “by design” and what that really means.

        2. km

          I don’t care whether libertarians oppose war out of a love of freedom or because they’re cheapskates, just as I don’t whether a corporate imperialist muppet votes for a war because campaign contributions or because they’re afraid to be called bad names.

          Their votes count the same, regardless of underlying motive.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe its better to focus on good goals and bad goals. There could be ever-shifting single-issue coalitions of single-issue convenience about one or another goal.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    The Newest Status Symbol for High-Net Worth Homeowners: Trophy Trees Wall Street Journal

    Nothing new in this – in the late 18th and 19th Centuries rich landowners in Britain and Ireland were absolutely obsessed with collecting high quality trophy trees for their demesnes. Its one reason why there are so many outstanding tree gardens around. Its hard to complain when not far from where I live there are some of the finest redwoods to be found outside California, along with a host of rare Asian trees that are in many cases nearly extinct in their home ranges. At least those trees will still be growing and giving pleasure long after those billionaires are dead.

    1. Wukchumni

      The trophy tree of the 1900’s-1930’s in the CVBB is a dual row of palm trees lining the long driveway to your home in the middle of an orchard, maybe 30-40 mature trees now that are rarely trimmed, bearded wonders.

      Sometimes the palm trees look markedly better than the rest of the property.

      Transplanting 30 to 40 of them today would cost you a pretty penny so nobody does it now, i’m more of the most any fruit tree costs $25, kinda cultivator.

      There’s probably in excess of a few hundred Giant Sequoia trees in NZ, mostly in botanical gardens and planted from the 1860’s to 1900’s, and they grow way quicker there, and unlike here where you’ll never see a tree with the lowest branches less that 25 feet above the ground, i’ve seen many NZ Sequoias where the low branches sweep to the ground, as if it realized there was scant chance of it being in a wildfire.

      The 150 year olds there grow 2.5 to 3x bigger in trunk size than comparable Sequoias of the same age here, and it got me thinking that somebody ought to make a ‘treehenge’ in a giant circle of say a few dozen in some hidden away location, and if they keep up that quick growth rate, in a thousand years they might be bigger than the Sherman tree here.

    2. Dalepues

      The first thought that came to mind was of the nouveau riche buying authenticity,
      genuineness. There is hardly anything more genuine than a very old tree.

      I don’t understand how the tree could survive though, since the root system has to be
      dug up and moved intact. In my back yard here in Mobile there is a live oak that
      a local arborist guessed was more than two hundred years old. It’s root system extends
      into the back yards of five of my neighbors and its crown is nearly as expansive.
      Too big to move.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its very difficult to dig and transplant an established tree, but plenty of mature trees are grown in contained rootballs so they can be moved – sometimes more than once (its not unknot for such trees to be used for an official opening or event and then moved on later). They are very expensive, but plenty of people seem willing to pay rather than wait for nature to do its work.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          “They are very expensive, but plenty of people seem willing to pay rather than wait for nature to do its work.”

          I think that if suspended animation were properly framed/pitched/sold they would. Perhaps with a demonstration project. I can see it now, buy land, plant oaks (and sequoias, perhaps to induce a certain goldbug), invest their wealth in Swiss TIPS, and sleep for 200 years in a repurposed Minuteman silo, wake up, be rich in a beautiful landscape.

          Perhaps, a bundled deal, one cool billion (the process is very expensive).

          Plot twist: once all the billionaires are under, flood the silos.

          1. BlakeFelix

            There is a good old story “The Penultimate Trump”. It’s tight, you might like it, it’s about that kind of thing

      2. Tom Stone

        Nope, full size trees have been moved successfully for about 250 years.
        Draft horses and specially designed carts.
        And cheap labor.

      1. R

        It is one of the many rich, living parts of Irish English, in continuity with the Irish RM books.

        Along with other words that have dropped out of British English. I think fee, as in fee simple, still has currency. PK?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’d forgotten not many people still use the word demesne. Its interesting that despite its long use, it retains its french pronunciation, a relic of feudal normal settlers.

          Yes, fee simple is still used, I think its restricted to Common Law jurisdictions. Land law is so odd and complex in Common Law systems. Last week I was trying to explain to a Chinese friend who is interested in buying a rural house why it comes with the right to graze sheep and cut peat on a nearby hill. She was wondering if it meant that she had to own some sheep to buy the house.

    3. Tom Stone

      Tye Veitch family of Scotland ( Most top nurserymen and gardeners in the UK were from Scotland from the 18th until the early 20th Century) is probably responsible for a majority of the imported plants in those gardens, one order from a moderately wealthy client was for 10,000 Yew trees.

  4. flora

    From Ryan Grim at The Intercept:

    The Whistleblower Trying to Stop the Next Financial Crisis

    One insider says that big banks have been quietly engaging in the same behavior that precipitated the crisis of 2008.

    Here’s a shorter recap from The Hill:

    1. flora

      And one more Intercept article on the same topic from Grim:

      A longtime industry analyst has uncovered creative accounting on a startling scale in the commercial real estate market, in ways similar to the “liar loans” handed out during the mid-2000s for residential real estate, according to financial records examined by the analyst and reviewed by The Intercept. A recent, large-scale academic study backs up his conclusion, finding that banks such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have systematically reported erroneously inflated income data that compromises the integrity of the resulting securities.

      The big banks were bailed out last time so why not try the same play again, this time in the commercial real estate market?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t link to this or write about it because the idea that CMBS will cause the next financial crisis is utterly ridiculous.

      First, authors so clueless that they missed that CMBS crashed in 2008. Did anyone notice? No, because the risks are held by INVESTORS not banks.

      CMBS and even RMBS did not blow up the financial system. It was derivatives written on the riskiest tranches, estimated at 4-6x the real world value of those mortgage risks. Please see Chapter 9 of ECONNED.

      Second, if any had bothered looking at the Fed Flow of Funs (Table L 220), they could easily see bank on balance sheet commercial mortgage mortgage holding are nearly 4X CMBS values.

      The article is so off base I want to scream.

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘I can’t stand yet to create a “2024” header. I will have to get over it.’

    Not worth worrying about. People aren’t even running around with their hair on fire over the 2022 midterms yet so it can wait. Lot’s can happen between now and then. Perhaps there will be a joint session of Congress one day – and they will discover that it was a bad idea to skimp on building maintenance to put the money towards security instead.

    And by the way, Bob H’s foto of that dog in today’s Antidote du jour is hilarious.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I especially like the dog’s expression. The dog looks like quite the fun loving jokester.

  6. timbers

    Class Warfare

    When tax the rich ideas starting coming out in NY and Biden proposed taxes, articles appeared how awful and self defeating that would be, how for example NY would suffer it the rich moved out, how much we would all regret it, if that happened.

    I think they got it backwards, Getting the rich out of our cities, states, and nations would be a good thing, not bad. I think some are afraid that we might discover how wonderful it would for us, to tax the rich out of existence.

    And it’s not just that the rich take control of our government and ram it down our throat and rig it against us.

    Inner Boston today is extremely boring to visit. It’s shops are insanely priced and antiseptic…clearly targeting only those with too much money in their lives with no sense of economy or having to pay bills – a world not many of us live in. It’s inhabitants are quite wealthy. It didn’t used be that way. I remember the South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill Boston in the 1980’s before it become an enclave of the rich (well maybe that only applies the the South End). I remember London having visited decades ago. Street people intermingled with nice homes and shops being fixed up, minorities with white folk, different sexual persuasions.

    I’ve read how London isn’t the place it used to be, that once working folk could not just work but actually live there, too. It was certainly a fun interesting happening diverse place when I visited. And I know how much (for the worse) Boston has become as the decades passed.

    I know others can write much better than I, how London, New York City, and other places have changed for the worse as they become enclaves of the rich.

    I’m all for taxing the rich. How many hundreds of billions do they need? They’re never going to able to spend it their life times. What’s the point?

    1. Mr. Magoo

      Ditto. For whatever reasons Trump limited SALT deductions, in the end it was a good thing and needs to be kept. Taxing capital gains at rates similar to wages makes total sense.

      It would be nice to be able to find grass roots organizations in support of this that can make some noise such that the rest of us can be heard. If anybody knows of anything, please post.

      1. flora

        The link “Dems Somehow Pretend This Mostly Helps The Middle Class” is very good. Hard to pity the rich when millions are facing eviction or foreclosure once the rent/mortgage forbearance ends.

    2. Phil in KC

      Although the simplest argument for soaking the rich is because they have most of the money, there’s a more cogent argument that is a bit longer: The purpose of government is to protect people’s lives and property. We each have but one life, but some of us have more property to protect than others. Those with more property should pay more for government.

      1. rl

        “The purpose of government is to protect people’s lives and property. We each have but one life, but some of us have more property to protect than others. Those with more property should pay more for government.”

        A bit longer but particularly well-said, thank you.

      2. Skip Intro

        Good one Phil! Along those lines: Everyone benefits from infrastructure. A worked who drives to a factory benefits from the roads, the factory owner benefits from her drive and that of each worker and goods shipment. The higher the level the more underlings produce your income, the more benefit you derive from social and physical infrastructure.

    3. Carolinian

      The point is that our current version of capitalism runs on the greed that Michael Hudson described yesterday. The tycoons of the first Gilded Age were at least building a civilization. Now it is simply about self aggrandizement as we become ever less civilized.

      The country has always worshiped success but the aspirants were once people who at least knew what it was like to be poor. Affluenza is our disease and there’s no vaccine for it.


      1. Jason

        It’s not “our” disease, it’s their disease. And it only affects them, not the overwhelming majority of us who are naturally immune to it. There is no vaccine for it, and this particular disease makes both it and its host (them, the elite) stronger and thus more lethal to the rest of us. It is the most horrific of all diseases to ever affect humankind because of what it does to them – it makes them prey on us.

        The only answer would seem to be to entirely destroy both the disease and its host.

        1. Carolinian

          Roll out the tumbrils? Certainly that’s what they seem to fear from the “deplorables.”

    4. Charger01

      Sanitize for the wealthy. Michael Bloomberg stated his ideal city would be Singapore, with its Draconian codes and penalties. Naomi Prins covered this a few years ago.

    5. chuck roast

      You’ll love this: a decades old Dunkin’ Dognuts recently closed in my neighborhood (no drive-thru), and it was announced today that it will be replaced by a branch of Total Mortgage. And I thought that Dunkin’ Dognuts was the official state food!

    6. Carla

      @timbers: I guess most everybody in the U.S. would agree about NYC, and probably Boston, but I also strongly second what you said about London. Having visited London for at least a week each time in 1991, 1993, 2002 and 2004, and stayed in small Bloomsbury B&B hotels on each visit, I found how much the city changed just from that vantage point jarring. Sadly, I’ve no desire to return.

      … I would like to experience the Lake District someday. Perhaps it has not been too spoiled.

  7. Too Sexy for my Gender

    Gender reveal. I don’t get it why rushing this fact? The gender will be revealed when the baby pops out and it will stay like that for at least 18-20 years. By that time some may chose to change it. Otherwise you will have plenty of time to find out what gender your child have.8

    On the other side, given the woke times. It is an outrageous thing to ascribe gender based on sex only. Sex is the only information available in pre-natal state. This gender reveal parties must stop!!!! Young persons are ascribed identities without consent!!!! Who are these oppressive people?

    1. John A

      When my kids were born, all in London in the 1990s, the hospital refused to reveal the gender (which we were happy not to know), on the grounds that certain groups had definite preferences for gender and often sought an abortion if it was the ‘wrong’ gender. The hospital did not wish to be sued for discrimination in revealing to certain parents and not others. Which makes sense. No idea why that has changed. Why spoil the suspense?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There is definitely a reluctance in Europe to give too much information on this as certain cultures are not adverse to abortions to have a son. But there is also a cultural thing whereby its not seen as a big thing.

        My mother used to tell the story of her very stoic and old school country uncle from the county of Kerry who was sitting by the fire with female relatives while his wife had her first baby in the next room, aided by the district nurse. After the baby was born the nurse came out and was be-seiged by the womenfolk demanding to know if it was a boy or a girl. They were shushed by her husband. ‘Is the mother ok?’ he asked. The nurse said yes. ‘Is the baby healthy?’ he then asked, and the nurse said it was. ‘Thats all we need to know for now, let the mother rest’ he said, and returned to his newspaper by the fire.

        1. John A

          Our first child was a very long and drawn out labour. Eventually, my wife was wheeled into theatre with a view to perhaps doing a C-section. Two gyneocologists argued about using forceps and if so, which way to turn the head. The senior one won the argument inserted the forceps and twisted, the baby came out all in a rush. I did not even look at the genitals. Then a midwife said it’s a girl, which when I looked was obvious. At the time I was just happy baby was out and mother was in one piece. That was all that mattered.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Gender reveal parties are just another way for people to extract more gifts. It’s just like weddings.

      Engagement party
      Bridal shower
      The Wedding

      All are gift extraction events for the same thing.

      1. Geo

        Exactly. This, and, one more event to be the center of attention. A day to have everyone focused on them. The events you listed all share the “Look at Me! I’m important!” Factor.

        Andy Warhol said “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” and this need to be adored and showered with gifts seems to be that impulse, and the marketing that perpetuates it, that he was referring to.

      2. crittermom

        I remember when there was only ONE engagement party, bridal shower and wedding for gifts.

        What I’m witnessing now is those are done for subsequent weddings as well, following divorces. Ka ching!

        Perfect example:
        A girlfriend sent me an invitation maybe 4 years back to her wedding. Elaborate invitation & list of where they were registered to buy them a gift. She’d told me all about the taste-testing for the cake, etc.
        Seven bridesmaids & groomsmen.

        It was her THIRD wedding.

        Since we’d been best friends as kids, through much of school, and I’d even played the organ at her first wedding, she really wanted to fly me in across the country for the occasion.

        I declined, and was so disgusted by her behavior I never even sent a congrats card. Or gift.
        Didn’t seem to bother her. The other 300 or so apparently did contribute.

        It was her third marriage and his second.

        Our friendship continued until political views ended it.
        She is a huge T**** supporter and every single conversation we were having always ended up with her saying she’d pray for me (she did, literally) because I’m a ‘socialist’ (Bernie supporter. Which to her was akin to me saying I was a Communist), and I needed to see the truth.
        I would desperately try to get her off the subject, telling her we needed to agree to disagree, but she was relentless in her zeal to ‘conform’ me.

        Hmm… thinking more about it now, is it only the Republicans who are racking in the loot celebrating those ‘subsequent’ marriages and other parties to celebrate them?

        And now we also have gender reveal parties? Are those a result of greed, the ‘instant gratification’ society we’ve become, or both?

        Sad. Very sad.

    3. Raymond Sim

      I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the time I don’t understand what people are talking about when they speak of their identity. I don’t mean I reject their assertions, I mean I it seems as if our subjective experiences of existence are apples and oranges.

      I’m guessing this would apply to the guys shooting at huge piles of blue-tinted tannerite as much as to anyone who might strike me as queer in some other way.

      My wife and I both declined to be told our sons’ sex before birth. The idea of naming an unborn child is actually rather appalling to us. We both worked on dairy farms in our youths, you see a lot of things go wrong.

      1. eg

        We explicitly requested not to know the sex of our unborn during the ultrasounds — there aren’t enough pleasant surprises in this life. We did, however, prepare two names in advance of the outcomes; Schrodinger’s babies?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “US vaccination sites are closing from California to Texas, Ohio to Mississippi as demand for Covid shots plummets across the country – despite less than 28% of the population being fully inoculated”

    And this is what happens in a low-trust society. A people may not believe their government on stuff like foreign affairs, the economy, etc. (like with the South Koreans with their government) but when you lose trust with your healthcare system, the results do not look good. The Biden regime might have started a clean slate when they got in as far as vaccinations and the like were concerned but when they kept Fauci – America’s Doctor – on, that was a signal that ‘nothing would change’ and you could expect yet more lies to come – to people’s cost.

    I saw a parallel to this story a little while ago. So there is this hospital in Houston, Texas that have told their staff that unless they get their vaccinations, that they will be fired and the clock is ticking until the deadline. They are getting some push-back over this but this may be a sign of things to come-

      1. ambrit

        The ‘game’ here seems to be that old stand by; Power.
        Instead of taking the staff’s worries seriously, the “Authorities” are doubling down on the top down management model. This brings up the observation that most “Authorities” consider ‘staff’ as expendable. Similarly, this translates on up to the national level. Just as with the mask disinformation campaign, the underlying message is that the “Authorities” determine who lives and who dies. That will quickly kill off in the general population any trust in and allegiance to the “Authorities” responsible.
        Alas, the ‘response’ to the vaccine hesitancy in the general population by the “Authorities” will probably be “more of the same.” The “social shaming” and “media disappearing” will continue until morale improves.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Don’t make shit up. No one has even APPLIED yet for a full review. Pfizer said it would happen in the first half of 2021.

          It will take years. You can’t short cut the steps for drug approval. The normal statistical review, which is only one phase, takes 6-9 months with a big team. Normal approval also requires validating full information, including medical history, of every single clinical trial participant.

          Federal law is very clear: employers can’t require workers to take vaccines subject to an EUA.

          Some prominent ant-vaxxers are in PE. They’ll fund litigation.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I am manically untrusting. I ran across this story about mRNA vaccines some time ago and again the other day:
        “The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race”
        The ‘money’ quote … and money is the watchword … :
        “Its [mRNA vaccine technology] prospects have swung billions of dollars on the stock market, made and imperiled scientific careers, and fueled hopes that it could be a breakthrough that allows society to return to normalcy after months living in fear.”

        Am I so much an outlier to wonder about the integrity of those tested in the crucibles of a wealth beyond that of Croesus riding on the success of the Corona vaccines? For our honorable Corporatacracy, the US Government guaranteed wealth, riding on the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines for the Corona virus, to say nothing of the blanket indemnities, might cancel my concerns … save for some lingering suspicions about the crucial efficacy reports and the remarkable lack of side-effects reported in Government controlled scientific literature.

        What is most concerning is how — to my estimation — the remarkable advances mRNA vaccines, and much more so, mRNA based treatments for disease have been and could be crippled by the rush to profits by the US Medical Industrial Complex and its foreign subsidiaries. The potential for mRNA treatments for numerous diseases is legion. Such a boon should not become the plaything of Intellectual Property or Corporate Moral Cretins and their unhappy or unwise offspring.

        The standard means for conferring official blessings to a vaccine or treatment appear extraordinarily explicit and extreme. The standard for official blessings for any treatment are kingly costly and extreme … shall we say a burden or impediment to any but the most deeply pocketed? Yet of a sudden — we have Corona Vaccines … of unquestionable, and unassailable efficacies. And all reports but those most favorable become lost in the wind.

        Treatments are become too much matters of profits and politics.

        As an ordinary citizen, inept, poorly educated, and deluded … how might I not fight for my place in line for the new vaccines. And what is most disturbing to me is that I will very probably get at least one vaccination — based on what I have learned, considered in my own confidence, and decided. But I have no faith in the US Public Health or World Health Organizations. What kind of ‘victory’ is that!? I do not believe that even qualifies as a Pyrric Victory.

    1. Wukchumni

      Had our family Zoom jam with our cousins from Calgary and my 65 year old cuz got her first shot of Pfizer last week and told us the second shot is 4 months from now…

      …meanwhile you can just walk into Walgreens here sans appointment and 20 minutes later-done

      It was a weird session, we Yanks acting all triumphant that the worst was behind us and how things were loosening up, while they regaled us with tales of almost out of control, the only thing open is pretty much grocery stores in Toronto they said, and still Covid spreads up over.

      1. eg

        Can confirm. Canadians must wait 4 months for a second dose in our attempt to administer as many first doses as quickly as possible. There have been supply issues/interruptions. I expected all along that it would take us until September to fully vaccinate the population, and I think we’re still on track with that.

        Failure to retain our own vaccine manufacturing capacity (Connaught Labs) has come back to bite. Thanks, neoliberals!

        1. The Rev Kev

          And the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories here in Australia which got privatised in the 90s. Thanks, neoliberals!

          1. RMO

            I got my first shot of Pfizer on Thursday (a few weeks ahead of when my 50 something age would qualify me for vaccination because I lost my spleen in a road accident in the early 90s) and my 80 something mum got hers back on March 22. My wife is younger and has a while to wait though they are making the Oxford vaccine available to younger people at some pharmacies, supplies permitting. They vaccinated everyone at Whistler after the big breakout there – because not enforcing quarantine on people arriving from places where the variants are out of control AND making the staff at a ski resort essential workers was a great idea apparently.

            Maybe the US could send the vaccines that Americans don’t want our way? There is a Canadian company with a vaccine in testing and they say they can produce 50 million doses this year but if the US has vaccines they don’t want…

            So far the Pfizer just gave me a bit of a sore arm for a few days. Same thing with my mum.

    2. IM Doc

      I will add my two cents about the above tweet. Having been informed by a patient experience I had this week.

      I think it is critical to note the huge number of nursing home workers that are young women under 40 – both nursing and support staff. I do not have exact numbers but just from experience over 3 decades – I would say that demographic is 50-75% of the employees in nursing homes and rehab centers.

      The NYTimes tweet above places the blame of the outbreak of COVID among vaccinated patients and staff at the doorstep of a young unvaccinated female worker. Of course – it is all the fault of the young rube making a disastrous decision. No one ever talks about the actual reasons why she is making that decision.

      I have heard all these stories of the menstrual problems after the vaccine for weeks. Because I am an internist, that topic does not come up very often. However, I had my first patient encounter this week with a custodial staff member in a local nursing home. She has had a Mirena IUD in place for the past 12 months. She had minimal but appropriate menstrual flow with the device until late February. She had her 2nd Pfizer shot in late Feb – and then 1 day later began to have profound and severe menstrual flow. Way way worse than ever in her life. She has Obamacare – so she has a $10000 deductible – so she avoids doctor visits like the plague. Her husband finally dragged her in, tired of paying for literally boxes of pads every 2-3 days. She had bled her hemoglobin down to 6. My initial impression was the IUD had become somehow dislodged and damaged her. NOPE – No evidence of that found on exam by OBGYN. Perfect working order. No infections. No nothing – just a very profoundly hypertrophied endometrium. She is going to be fine and getting taken care of. Interestingly, I have NEVER not once seen this kind of thing with an IUD. I have no explanation why this or any other menstrual issues are happening with these vaccines.

      BUT she has shared this finding with all the other women at work – and informed me yesterday a not so small number of them had very strange menstrual issues after their shot. Including a 60 something who had her first period in 20 years starting 2 days after her Pfizer 2nd dose.

      I would make this point – there were enough women in the vaccine trials – to have noted this problem during the trials. And yet nothing was said. Was it noticed? Was it documented? I have learned from my OB GYN colleagues this week that indeed they have been seeing this issue – not in huge numbers – but definitely a phenomenon.

      So you have young women with a problem like this going on at enough frequency that the rumor mill is engaged in a big way. Many know personally women who have stories.

      And as usual – crickets chirping – from our federal officials. And they wonder why there is no trust.

      You see – as a PCP – I deal with human nature – the human condition. One of the fundamental issues of young people is having children – especially women. You start having this issue occur and no one in authority is even making an attempt to address it – and what do you think is going to happen?

      The older I get – the more I am beginning to believe that these elites are really not humans – they may be lizards in disguise after all.

      And even more importantly – these young women are critical in the vaccination effort because of their jobs – as documented in the tweet above.

      And unfortunately – one has not far to look to see how far the medical elites have their heads up their asses.

      Dr. Gawande – I know you live in an ivory tower – and love to make proclamations from on high. Those of us who work with real patients and real people know that if you keep talking like that – the staffs of the nursing homes are just going to walk. Indeed, it has already started – talk to the HR folks in any of them across this country. You pay them so well – that they could just as easily be working at Burger King.

      Keep it up – and we will have an even bigger problem than you can even possibly imagine.

      My God – a little bit of trust and credibility goes along way. My profession has learned this over decades – and the medical elite in charge have just shat all over that decades of hard work in no time.

      Rant off.

      1. Alfred

        “Including a 60 something who had her first period in 20 years starting 2 days after her Pfizer 2nd dose.”

        To me at 66 this is scary–where did that come from? It could not have been from uterus preparation by ovulation. Was the woman taking HRT? So many questions I have. And for many years drugs did not take into account a woman’s differing hormonal makeup anyway. Sounds like nothing has changed.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        My niece, a neurology resident, said that a very high percentage of female nursing staff and assistants here in Ireland have refused the vaccine. She said the blame was on communication – staff had been warned not to take it if they were pregnant, and somehow this had been understood as the possibility that it could make you infertile.

        I’m beginning to wonder now though if there are other reasons for the refusal. It would not surprise me if nurses are swapping stories amongst themselves and not letting doctors in on what they are discussing for fear of being patronised or blamed for spreading anti-vaxx rumours.

      3. Pavel

        Excellent rant, thank you.

        It can take years or decades to build up trust and reputation. They can be destroyed in weeks or days.

        It astonishes me that people put so much trust in Pfizer. They have one of the worst records in Big Pharma for fraudulent marketing, covering up trial results, and other forms of outright deceit.

        And IIRC Big Pharma is the biggest lobbying group in Washington, greasing palms in both parties. If not the biggest, certainly one of them.

      4. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

        I’m 57 with cerebral palsy and allergies. So, I had a consult with my GP to try and help me decide risk/reward in terms of the vaccine. Didn’t help much–I expected her to reel off CDC talking points and she did. Here’s some of the things giving me pause.

        Literature says don’t get the vaccine if you are Covid positive. However, they are not testing me prior to vaccination. They are doing temp checks and patient surveys at the vaccination site. Doesn’t this mean asymptomatic patients are at risk of receiving vaccines while actively positive? You would think they would test/confirm Covid status prior to vaccination to ensure safety, but nope.

        It sounds like you are on your own post-vaccine in terms of deciding if any side effects are severe/dangerous or not. I’m supposed to call her office post vaccine if I have “concerns,” but that only works if I have concerns during working hours. “Call us or 911” … “effects can occur weeks afterward” was basically the feedback I got.

        Also, for a while there, I could swear the MSM was saying one shot was sufficient. I’d like some straight talk on that issue too. Now, they are blaming one-shot-ers for spreading Covid due to irresponsible behavior.

        The fact that laypeople are poking around in VAERS to try and assess risk is sad. They’re doing that because all they get from officialdom is talking points. What I would really like is straight talk — “here’s what we know about the clotting issue” … “here’s what we are learning about people who experienced a problem after their vaccine” … etc. And if they don’t speak to the “women’s issues” and soon, the whole enterprise will collapse.

        I want to do the right thing, from a civic perspective, and on a personal level too, but don’t shine me on that there’s no risk. I’m signed up for my first vaccine next week, but it sorta feels like Russian roulette.

      5. petal

        I was in GYN research for 5 years at a top-rated hospital/research institution(yes, papers published). It was harder than normal getting funding. My boss used to say it’s because ovaries, uteri, and their problems “aren’t sexy”. No one wants to talk about “gross” things like ovarian or vulvar cancer, endometriosis, or the menstrual cycle. I am not surprised at all about how this is unfolding. It’s a woman’s problem, and it’s to be kept quiet in case it disrupts the narrative. Hush hush! We’re supposed to just shut up and get on with it. Thank you again, IM Doc, seriously.

        1. JBird4049

          So icky that establishment prefers to BS their way, hoping that the women (and friends, family, significant others, random acquaintances) will not talk and realize that they have been BS’d?

          Or be told that they are irresponsible children for paying attention to a unmentioned, maybe dangerous, just maybe, possibly lethal, and certainly frightening side effects? And do they believe either, or both, is going to encourage women to take those shots? Really?

          Do we have children running things or what?

          1. petal

            Last night after posting, I thought “Hysterical women at it again, right?” and sighed.

            Re children running things or what-I am so done with everything and all of them. I wish I could drop out and live in an isolated cabin somewhere. So tired of all the bs on every level.

      6. Raymond Sim

        I’ve spent my adult life thinking of myself as a cynic, even though every five or ten years I find out how naive I had been, up till then.

        Lizards you say? Tell me more.

        1. Alfred

          I would not say lizards. I call it the Big Parasite, and it is having a feeding frenzy right now. It is not a successful parasite in the long run, because it is killing its host. And keeping it weak–something must have put a big scare into it.

        2. IM Doc

          Not an expert here.

          More of an amused watcher of a few videos on YouTube.

          I think the big proponent of this is a man by the name of David Icke. Put that name and lizard into a YouTube search.


          1. Raymond Sim


            Icke announcing himself as son o’God didn’t put people off?

            I guess up till now I’ve been rather naive.

    3. lordkoos

      My mother just turned 94 and has round the clock caregivers in her home. Around 1/3 of the caregivers are refusing to be vaccinated. We don’t want to fire them as they are good people and are doing a good job with her. Initially I was angry about this but since reading some of these post-vaccine stories I’m having a better understanding of why someone would refuse it. My mother was vaccinated in February so I figure it’s probably OK.

      I had the Pfizer shots in early March, after the second one I went thru a series of odd symptoms in the following weeks, nothing too serious but it made me wonder…

      1. kareninca

        We are having caregivers into our own home to help my 96 y.o. father in law (who is vaccinated). I am not vaccinated, and my husband has only just gotten his first shot. I have made it clear to the agency that I have no expectations of the vaccination status of their employees. It is the business of the employees themselves whether they think it meets their health needs. I wear a mask to let them in, have an air filter going, and keep my distance. Yes, I do find it all pretty scary. But I hope that the employees make the choice that is best for their own health.

        I am not going to use my economic status to coerce them for my own benefit. In any case, it is not clear to me that their being vaccinated would help me at all. They can likely still catch and transmit the virus. Having been vaccinated may affect whether they do that with symptoms or not.

  9. R

    Some great links, just a shame I have run out of free views on some of the sites.

    I would really like to know what the New Statesman article on the worth of work says because it was written by the former Archbishop of Canterbury so it us practically Gods word on the matter! Joking aside, he is an academic theologian with a first class mind (and presumably soul) so it will be interesting to hear what he thinks of those who toil and toil not…. I hope there are some NC readers who comment.

    I’d also like to know what the article about physics and macroeconomic cycles says – again, paywalled by the military-industrial-librarian complex (flat shoes and F35s). I don’t see why the comment “the stupid, it burns” is justified from the abstract but I could not read the paper. Ultimately there has to be a macro link to energy dynamics: just as a thought experiment, if we adopted a definancialised MMT-founded economy of real resource claims, what would be left to describe business cycles except energy and mass etc? The idea that logistic functions may describe the behaviour is intriguing. We “know” that booms sow the seeds of their own busts but is there more to that than Calvinist moralising?

    Finally, the article on the ultra rich and the merely technically wealthy reminded of the definition I once read, that you are only by rule wealthy if you can live off the interest on your interest, i.e. your capital could be wiped out and you would still have independent means. Which, by reckoning, used to be £40m and with low rates now is probably higher….

    1. shinola

      “… I have run out of free views on some of the sites.”

      Have you tried clearing the cookies in your browser? Seems to work for me – I can read multiple articles from NYT, Bloomberg & WaPo every day (using Firefox).

    2. cfraenkel

      R: I ran into the same article limit. If you don’t want to clear your cookies (per shinola), right click on the link here and select “Save link to pocket” (in Firefox). Open the Pocket library and login and the text will be available without all the rest of the fluff and ads. Happy reading.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      Another thing you can try with the Firefox browser is click on the “Reader” view icon as soon as it pops up in the URL bar. This sometimes kills scripts running out of sight that are checkingon your usage, as well as doing other things.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Top General Expresses ‘Concern’ Over Afghanistan Withdrawal’

    As Trooper Hudson from the film “Aliens” said – “Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up with current events, but we just got our asses kicked pal!” I sometimes think of the US military in the same way that the British Army was thought of in the 19th century – as ‘Lions led by donkeys.’ The US officer corps is in need of some serious reforms to get the best people in charge, not the best a**-kissers. From what I have read by ex-officers, being selected for promotion is like a popularity contest in that you have to get your superior to really like you at each rank that you are in so that you get promoted to the next rank. Otherwise you are out as in out of the army. If you had asked that top General if the US could win – yes or no – and he said yes, then leave him and all like-minded officers in Afghanistan when it comes time to leave.

    1. David

      The General was being asked a professional question: would the Afghan National Army be able to withstand the Taliban after the US left? His response was that they wouldn’t, not least because they would be unable to maintain the equipment the US was leaving them. This response will surprise exactly no-one with any knowledge of the country, because it’s self-evidently true, and any other reply would have been actively misleading. I’m not sure what else he was supposed to say.

      1. The Rev Kev

        A truthful officer would have said that when the Coalition had 140,000 troops in Afghanistan they were not able to win so certainly they cannot do it with 3,500 troops – and that 18,000 spooks, mercs and drone operators will not make a difference either to help out the Afghan National Army. He would have also said that the US is crap at training & equipping foreign troops as the priority is always long-term contracts rather than an effective fighting force. But you don’t get to be a General by telling the truth so here we are-

        1. David

          The whole story is based around questions on a specific subject on a specific occasion. The General was asked about the ability of the ANA to fight the Taliban, and said he didn’t think they could manage without the troops and contractors who keep the ANA’s equipment running. If this is the answer of a “moron” then I would really like to know what answer an intelligent person would have given, since his answer was self-evidently true.

          In any event, and much as it might have been satisfying if he had delivered a diatribe of the sort that you have previewed, that’s not the job of a government servant in a democracy. The rules are absolutely clear: statements of policy, and evaluations of policy, are for political leaders to do, not government officials whether military or otherwise. Political systems where the military are allowed to sound off with their personal views on what the leadership should do, or whether policies are working or should be changed, or whatever, are those where the military has, or wants, too much political influence. That’s why, for example, the apparent sabotage of Trump’s plans for withdrawal from Syria by some of the military, and the public support of it, was such a worrying episode. This is an extremely basic principle of democratic politics and civil-military relations.

          Afghanistan is not a country I know well, and I have no desire to know it better. I have seen the ANA, and I have had a number of interactions with senior officers from that organisation. In my very limited view, the General was perfectly right in what he said, and if that makes me a moron too, in the eyes of the author of that little article, then so be it.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Horse feathers to that bit about “government employees” following “hard and fast rules” about not speaking or lobbying on matters of “policy.”

            That statement, ” The rules are absolutely clear: statements of policy, and evaluations of policy, are for political leaders to do, not government officials whether military or otherwise. Political systems where the military are allowed to sound off with their personal views on what the leadership should do, or whether policies are working or should be changed, or whatever, are those where the military has, or wants, too much political influence. lays out exactly what the Imperial military class does in this and pretty much every other situation: stick their grubby self-aggrandizing mitts into “policy.” Vietnam and Notagainistan being two prime examples, along with sales of military equipment to other countries and police departments, the budget wars in Congress and the Pentagram, and pretty much every other aspect of internal and external “muscular policy” of the Empire.

            And of course that baleful influence goes on, as the general officer class and all those non-retained colonels go on to positions as media talking heads and in “think tanks” and universities and of course as lobbyist-executives in the MIC.

            I take your explication of what you understood the general to be saying and what he hoped to achieve by voicing that opinion (that the corrupt and incompetent ANA could not carry on the racket of conflict in Notagainistan as practiced to date with “coalition” involvement, so implicitly the Empire ought to continue more of the same) as a long stretch. And that general is hardly alone in fighting a “policy” rear-guard action, hoping to keep the profitable-to-a-few churn going there, along with the supply-chain tendrils and cash flows extending back into the Homeland.

            That rule you state is not honored at all, let alone being honored in the breach.

            1. David

              I think you’re falling into the elementary logical error of supposing that a principle that is not always honoured therefore needs to be abandoned as a principle, rather than enforced. It’s equivalent to arguing that people shouldn’t pay taxes because some of them don’t, that the police shouldn’t respect the rights of suspects because some of them don’t, or that we shouldn’t use elections to decide who governs because they are sometimes imperfect. The difference, in other words, between is and ought, or the difference between principle and practice. One of the principles in a democracy is the difference between the position of a transient political figure and the position of a permanent employee of government. (I agree that in the US these distinctions can get unhelpfully blurred). There’s no argument about that, if you want a democracy. You can, of course, go for something else, like the Algerian example, where the military is a separate political power-base and can and does overrule the political leadership, because they believe they have the right to. But that’s not the kind of country I would want to live in.
              I have no idea what this particular General thinks about the future of Afghanistan or the arguments for keeping US troops there longer. Neither does the author of the article, as far as I can see, who is just engaging in a bit of knee-jerk crowd-pleasing anti-militarism to please his subscribers. The actual key questions surrounding the future of Afghanistan are, I suspect, beyond the author’s competence to deal with. But as we all know, the media is often like that.

          2. The Rev Kev

            David. Yeah, I shouldn’t have snapped at you last night. The past coupla days the whole Afghan situation is really starting to remind me of what it was like as the war in Vietnam was coming to a close back in the 70s and not in a good way. I took a personal interest in this as I was a teenager at the time and it was an open question for me if the war would end or I would get old enough to be drafted for that war. It was only a change in government here that finally shut down the second option.

            Everybody knew that the war was lost and the worse of it was that that country would – gasp! – go back to being owned by the people that actually lived there. No soldier wanted to be the last one to be killed in that war. And the parallels of the senior officers at the time and the present senior officers is getting kind of ugly. The Afghan National Army will not be able to win and that is the truth of it as the numbers are against them. They may fight bravely like the South Vietnamese Army did in the end days but they will still lose.

            The only differences are that at least the media was willing to actually show the truth back then and that you did not have some say that after US forces pulled out, that it would really be a great idea to keep the war running by leaving behind a few bases full of spooks, mercs and assorted odds and ends.

    2. Tom Stone

      Rev, having “Too much Combat Time” can be a real problem if you want to reach flag rank these days.
      It even effects promotion to Colonel, don’t play the game and you won’t make it past Major..
      It’s that bad.
      And it is a result of many decades of a flawed ( If you want to win battles) officer selection system that rewards sycophancy and dishonesty.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I wonder how long it will take the GOP to call it “reparations”? I’m guessing 15 minutes. 2022 is gonna be a disaster for the Dems.

      1. Duck1

        I really don’t see how the Democrats move many of their proposals through the Senate unless they can put them in a reconciliation package, where many of the proposals like DC statehood or Supreme Court expansion don’t seem to fit. Or the filibuster is eliminated, which they apparently don’t have the votes to do. Somebody illuminate me if they don’t think that staking out a DC statehood proposal, as an example, is simply making a faux populist proposal that will never reach Biden’s desk. 2022 will indeed be interesting, even Pelosi has an incredibly slim majority now. Seems to me Biden is in an incredibly weak position in terms of passing legislation, and the burgeoning FDR mythology is just blowing smoke. Issues that will pass are military budgets, selected foreign aid, and naming post offices, the true bipartisanship of DC. How many judges has Biden appointed?

  11. 430MLK

    Thanks for the Forest Gardens article in Nat Geo. One of the many many reasons why NC is a go-to read for me every morning and weekday afternoons: a historically aware merging of human and natural systems. The article reminded me of a book that was linked or referenced in NC some months back, which I ended up buying and reading about 2/3 of: American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873. The book’s lengthy opening chapter gives a great description of this forest gardening in practice across the California landscape pre-gringo contact. Truly awe-inspiring.

    Sorry for one more plug. One of the spinoffs of permaculture, in some ways a late-twentieth century return to older forms of food production, has been a focus on forest gardening. For anyone interested and with an acre or so or more, I loved this book when I bought it, and hope to instill some of these concepts on some Rockcastle River acreage in KY some friends and I bought a couple years ago: Farming the Woods, an integrated approach to growing food and medicinals in a temperate forest.

    A few cities have begun to incorporate some of these old ideas into city parks, though I haven’t looked at them too closely to see if these are (as my city’s have been) small-scale ‘demonstration’ ideas that are mainly used to spur the arrival of upscaling residents in low-income neighborhoods…people like me.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is quite a good article that and I like the idea of rehabilitating some old forest gardens so that modern people can experience them. I wonder if this is how agriculture got its start a coupla thousand years ago. With people planting their own gardens for where they were which eventually grew into the idea of crops.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Best example I’m aware of in forest gardening was covered by Lambert awhile back in the book “1491” by Charles Mann.

      Basically, best guess now from the archeological research involving soil analysis is that almost the entire Amazonian rainforest was cultivated and managed to a large extent.

      One of the more intriguing and otherwise inexplicable discoveries is that close to 10% of all the trees that you find across the region produce some kind of food or other product that is useful to humans. That is way in excess of most large forests around the world where barely 1% of all the trees produce something useful for humans.

      The other big one is that there’s tons of charcoal buried in the soil and mixed with compost so it will retain lots of nutrients and improve soil quality. That doesn’t occur naturally, the only way that gets there is from humans conducting controlled, low level burns.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I saw a doco on that Amazon civilization and it was amazing. The people basically built all the topsoil for all those plants which was a feat in itself. And it took a while to realize how many towns there were and the roads that linked them all together. The Amazon is definitely not what we assumed it to be and has secrets galore of anther history.

        1. BlakeFelix

          And also that practice, in my opinion, is time tested carbon sequestration. Unlike that pumping CO2 underground nonsense.

    3. Sub-Boreal

      It’s worth checking out the original (open-access) article by Dr. Armstrong on which the Nat Geo piece is based: Figure 1 looks like a drone’s-eye view of one of her sites and shows beautifully how distinct it is from the surrounding coniferous coastal rainforest:

      Almost four years ago, I spent a couple of days visiting that site with Dr. Armstrong, and it certainly was one of the magical experiences of my life. The gnarly old hazelnuts and other food-producing trees were heavily encrusted with moss and lichens, after probably a century without active tending. And the site is immediately beside a major salmon river, so it was obvious that this was an incredibly productive landscape, well able to support a significant human population from its animal and plant resources.

  12. CuriosityConcern

    Eric Topol – inset tweet – largest study of post COVID sequale

    The chart of signs/symptoms reminds me very much of the screening criteria used to identify active COVID infection, especially the subset with high reporting of the post infection condition. Maybe strong indicator of lingering infection?

  13. km

    For Team D,.the “rich” are “anyone who makes a dollar more than me!” but the “middle class” means “anyone who has a dollar less than Jeff Bezos!”

  14. Michael Ismoe

    “… that it’s actually impossible to leave the backseat of a tesla in an emergency even on a regular road,”

    So child molesters can trade in their old white vans and get a Tesla? Can’t wait for the ad campaign featuring a hologram of Jeffrey Epstein. How is Elon Musk not in the cell next to Martin Shkreli?

    1. The Rev Kev

      This is not a good development this. A coupla months ago I was watching a video complied of Russian car-cams. One was of this car burning and this guy jumped up atop the bonnet and started to stomp the car’s windshield with his boots. It took him a few tries and when he succeeded, he pulled this guy out that was on fire. I have no idea if he lived or not but if you were in a crashed Tesla and you knew it would not be long before the batteries started going off, how would you get out of that fire if you cannot break the laminated glass?

      Further down that twitter stream is one from a guy called Tesla Raj that said – ‘No wonder Teslas are so safe. What other car gives you this much data in a single glance! Thanks @elonmusk @Tesla.’ Yes that display panel was giving lots of info but I hope that he occasionally remembers to look out the windshield once in a while.

      1. Alfred

        Also, I used to live on an island in the Chesapeake, and everyone carried those little window breakers on their keychains-lots of bridges to fall off of. I actually got shoved into a roadside pond in an accident. I am wondering how people will get out if they can’t break the windows with those little thingies.

        1. Lee

          I don’t know from experience, but I was once told that as a car becomes submerged and as long as the cabin contains air, the external water pressure prevents one from opening the doors. One way to equalize the pressure safely so as to open the door and escape was to gradually crank the window down. Window cranks: remember those? I think technology is driving human evolution toward our descendants having tiny T-Rex forelimbs. And given some of the ideas coming from our tech billionaires, tiny T-Rex brains might also be on the evolutionary horizon.

          1. Alfred

            Yes–hand cranks. Used to have those in my old pickup, but then was forced to have all electric everything. Which shorts out. Needed the thingie and to be able to swim. It also had one end to cut the seat belt.

            1. km

              I much prefer manual windows and locks on my cars.
              No power steering or brakes,. stick shift with mechanical linkage.

              Pity such cars are hard to find these days.

              1. Glen

                The base Ford F-150 which is set up for business use is still hand crank windows, and manual key locks. The drive train is a V6 with a six speed automatic which has a reputation for being bullet proof for 60-100K miles.

                Unfortunately, manual transmissions are now pricey options. A shame, since these are less complex than the automatics. The electronic locks turn out to be very easy to duplicate and crime rings which steal electronic codes, and then your vehicle are out there.

                It would be nice if we had a similar alternative with an EV drive train. EVs are extremely low maintenance compared to any ICE alternative. We are heading into a new age of scarcity for all of us, a low tech, easy to maintain EV will be popular.

                1. cnchal

                  > The drive train is a V6 with a six speed automatic which has a reputation for being bullet proof for 60-100K miles.

                  Pathetic. Then what? Throw it away because any parts off it are garbage.

                  > We are heading into a new age of scarcity for all of us, a low tech, easy to maintain EV will be popular.

                  You are delusional. Simplicity is the enemy of profits. They are not even a gleam in the manufacturer’s eyes. Saw my first Ford mach ees or whatever the name is the marketing department came up with. Simplicity is no where to be found.

            2. chuck roast

              Yeah, roll-up windows. I loved digital technology! Nuck, nuck, nuck, nuck…ooowwwww!

            3. The Rev Kev

              Wife and daughter were once out in town when the daughter went into shop to get a cake (taking her keys for some reason) leaving the wife in the car who suddenly discovered that the doors had self-locked and she could not open a window for air. It was a hot day, that car was all electronic so there was no way to wind down the windows and the daughter had left her mobile in the car so the wife could not ring her to tell her to open the doors. Wife said she was getting hot and panicky before the daughter finally came out of the shop. I really hate the daughter’s car as some doors will lock while other will not and they will lock themselves too.

      2. Duck1

        Maybe they are so safe because everyone else is giving them a wide berth because of the battery fires in a collision and the possibility that the idiot in the thing is not driving it.

      3. RMO

        Rev: The windshields of cars have been laminated glass almost exclusively for quite some time now. Laminated glass for the other windows is increasingly being used in cars though most are still tempered safety glass. Tempered glass is hard to break too without the right tool (which can actually consist of a chip of porcelain spark plug insulator believe it or not) – I tired once and accomplished nothing. Less than one percent of accidents end up with being trapped in the car a problem. I carry a glass breaker/belt cutter in my car (which has tempered glass side and rear windows) just in case but it’s pretty far down on my (long) list of worries.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Putin & Biden summit will delight media, but it won’t change anything… relations between Russia & US are being slowly dismantled”

    ‘When the Russian foreign minister recommends that the US ambassador go back voluntarily and hold consultations in Washington, we can assume that there is deep displeasure, and the ambassador is considered persona non grata at this point.’

    Yeah, this bit should be expanded upon. The US Ambassador – John Sullivan – was actually one of Trump’s people. You would think that if Trump was really in league with the Russians, then they would have sacked Sullivan but Biden rehired him instead. When the Russians said that he should go home to have extensive consultations with his government, Sullivan said if Russian President Vladimir Putin wants him to leave, then he’ll have to force him out. Yeah, he really said that. From that alone you can tell that he was a Trump appointee. A day later he was saying ‘I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia. Also, I have not seen my family in well over a year, and that is another important reason for me to return home for a visit.’ Somebody must have made a phone call.

  16. Mikel

    Re: “US vaccination sites are closing…” Daily Mail

    Why are they closing? Soon enough there may be official and not emergency approval that may get some of the “not nows”. And it’s just about time for all the people who ran out and got the first generation shot to get another shot. People are acting like the Pfizer exec and others haven’t said the vaccine protection is temporary. It’s been said over and over again…and not nearly addressed enough.
    And there haven”t been completed studies about the effects of taking the new kind of vaccines yearly…over and over again. They’re still studying the effects of the first shots and people act like the experiments and research are not ongoing.
    So why are they closing vax sites?


    Re: “An unvaccinated health care worker at a Kentucky nursing home set off a Covid-19 outbreak among many staff and residents who were already vaccinated, according to a new study.”

    The virus spread from vaccinated people to vacinated people as well…the vaccine does not stop the spread. A vaccinated person could also spread it to a non-vaccinated person.

    I’m still taking precautions not to spread. Still mask wearing and not hanging out indoors in public places.

    And don’t plan to be “a sacrifice” for this economic system.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      The study is disconcerting. If it hadn’t been that nurse it could have come from anyone’s children who are incubating in school, right?

      The closing sites is probably somebody’s dumb idea of a ‘nudge’. -Hurry, time’s limited! I have yet to see headlines like ‘Sites running smoothly and plenty of slots available.’ Most people avoid Black Friday.

      1. grayslady

        What it tells me is that health departments are forgetting some of the key elements that real people have to deal with in getting these shots. My county just opened up a huge vaccine facility in an area that has a high rate of Covid–many Latino families. Intelligently, the facility will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. However, nowhere is there mention of community groups letting residents know about the facility or arranging transportation.

        I only found out about it because I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune online. How many of those people can even read, much less read the Trib? (Many of the employees in a company I used to work in were Latino, and the average education level was below second grade.) I’m sure many of those residents would love to receive the vaccine, especially since my county and state have made it clear that no one is going to ask about whether or not you are a citizen or have a green card. But first they have to know what is available and, then, someone needs to make the same efforts that would be made with the elderly or disabled. I haven’t seen that.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Do not spread disinformation. The regular drug approvals will take YEARS. I’ve explained why. The normal statistical review by the FDA (ONLY ONE PHASE) takes a big team 6-9 months.

      I see no evidence that anyone has even filed for full approval. Pfizer was “planning to” in the first half of this year, per a statement in November 2020.

  17. Carolinian

    That’s an interesting Asia Times.

    Many Americans reading this might be shocked to learn that China is not just the land of sweatshops and cheap knockoffs – any more than the United States of previous centuries was only the home of chattel slavery and King Cotton. China, like America, is a dynamic nation of economic activity and technological progress.

    I read a book about Samuel Colt and how he brought his famous revolver to the Crystal Palace exposition in Hyde Park. At first the snobby English made fun of the American section of the exposition and said it showed how backwards Americans were. But interest in the American exhibits and particularly Colt’s gun grew and attitudes changed. It’s exactly the process described in Asia Times and while there are undoubtedly big differences between China and 19th cent America–a country built on consensus versus our famous individualism–one can’t help but suspect that all the flapping about China are the squawks of a ruling class on the way out versus one on the rise.

    1. curlydan

      I was a bit dismayed, though, about the prescription for our ills in that article: “Americans must look at effective education as a national-security imperative. If we are living in a global, knowledge-based economy, then it stands to reason Americans will need greater knowledge to thrive. Therefore, cultivating human capital will be essential if America rather than China is to be the base of the next industrial revolution. Besides, smart bombs are useless without smart people.”

      Honestly, I think we have enough smart people, but we have no industrial policy or investment in decent infrastructure. Or our industrial policy is something along the lines of… smart people start companies that extract money from poor people, then use profits on stock buybacks that further enrich themselves. Smarts don’t mean [bleep] if you incentivize the wrong behaviors.

      1. Carolinian

        I defer to all the China hands around here but from reading do know something about it. It may be very hard to return to our industrial heyday because the country has changed. And our population–all of us, not just the rich–have lost some of those aspirations that the Chinese now have as a country on the way up. These days we seem to spend all our energies trying to hold onto our position rather than attain it.

        Which is to say I think Americans in general don’t appreciate how truly well off we are, even as some of us live in Nomadland. IMHO

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I disagree. The US population has not lost its ambitions or aspirations … its ambitions and aspirations have been immolated by our Elites. The young are not trying to hold on to their positions any more than the old … they are just trying to hold on to a job, or several jobs … just trying to hold on to pay the rent, utilities, and eat. I really do not appreciate how well-off we are, and hope you are joking. I am not suggesting we are not well-off compared with the most abused and destitute of this dying and beaten planet, its vast majority … the preponderance of Humankind … but that we are worse off than last year, four years ago, and the years before and far far worse off than the ambitions, aspirations, and hopes carried in the hearts of my generation and the generations that followed me. Our hopes have been crushed by non-compete and intellectual property agreements we are compelled to sign if we hope to be employed … which is to say if we hope to have food, clothing, and shelter … medical care has been an extravagant luxury too long to add to a list of basic human needs. So … I am not ready to appreciate how well-off we are when I know how well-off we should and could be. The ambitions of our young are stillborn or suffocated in their newborn cradles. And this is also true of so many billions less well-off than we … how many Ramanujans. in how many sciences and technologies, have slipped through notice?

          The heart of my disagreement lies in my belief that Humankind has lost no impulse toward ambition or aspiration … acquired no incapacity to dream … but that Humankind’s ambitions and aspirations have been crushed in the iron and steel vices of Neoliberal Political Economics.

          1. Carolinian

            Years ago some of us took a driving trip to Mexico and there was a whole field of people living in cardboard boxes. Meanwhile my town, which is hardly some tony DC bedroom community, just laid out for a billion dollar high school. Yes things here are going downhill but I’d say we are still well off by world standards or my parents’ mid 20th century standards. In my view this accounts for our politics and much else.

            I’m not being callous about our homeless or those who are suffering but this is not the 1930s.

            1. tegnost

              This is the same distibution problem with who’s going to wind up with the homeless money. Who got the money for the billion dollar high school? The PMC generally with some union sop, which also means the construction mega corp who runs the show makes moar. Why does a high school cost a billion? We know how it costs a billion, through bond deals, who gets that money? I don’t even have to say. It sounds like you live in a place where the parents know that if their kids don’t get a leg up on the hoi polloi that they won’t won’t be a part of the wonderfui segment of america where the rich have never been this rich.

  18. Alfred

    Thanks for links, inspiring to outweigh the depressing.
    I had a cat that led two lives, I suspected, but I actually accidentally met the man who was “sharing” her–we were both surprised. He thought she was his cat. LOL!

    Re: “Grocery Price Shock”

    Retailers and manufacturers often use various techniques to soften the blow for consumers, including cutting the depth of promotions or reducing the size of products while keeping prices unchanged.

    Do Bloomberg writers take special in-house writing classes?

    1. JTMcPhee

      How about that “half gallon” of Tropicana orange juice that now contains 52.5 ounces instead of 64, with an intermediate stop at 59 ounces a couple of years ago? Or the “six-ounce can of tuna” called for in my mother’s recipe for tuna casserole which allegedly now contains only 4 ounces net, but if you go to the trouble of draining it and weighing it with the kitchen digital scale that has proven spot on for other items, only weighs in at 2.73 ounces? And the prices, of course, have stayed the same and increased as the amount of product per ounce of packaging (plastic jugs and plastic-lined steel cans) shrank.

      On the orange juice: I first noticed the shrunken volume about 6 years ago in my local Publix, as I stood in front of the display of actual half-gallons and gallons from other vendors, and kind of fulminated under my breath, then turned to a guy next to me and pointed out the ripoff to him, expecting that he would be a incensed as I was. Surprise — instead of taking consumer offense too, he just said “No big deal. It’s just marketing.” So I had to ask him what business he was in, and he responded, “Marketing.”

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      “reducing the size of products while keeping prices unchanged.”

      aka “shrinkflation.”

      1. Alfred

        What gets me is how is cost “soften the blow” happening unless you are eating less, because otherwise you have to buy 2 packages to be eating the same and are spending twice as much. Which they know you are going to do. This is demonically machiavellian.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “US lawmakers urge maintaining Israeli aid without preconditions”

    Next year’s headline-

    “US lawmakers urge maintaining sending Israel blank checks without preconditions”

    1. ambrit

      How about this; United Nations approves swap of populations between People’s Republics of Donbass and Lugansk and Israel. Surrounding nations of both cheer.
      In related move, United Nations declares Jerusalem as “International City” and establishes mandate to be administered by United Nations.

      1. Carolinian

        Albert Brooks once comically suggested that Israel and America’s Georgia switch places and peace would ensue. Reportedly the original Zionists thought a state carved out of Argentina would be a good idea.

          1. ambrit

            Sorry, I don’t think so. From my first hand and second hand observations, Evangelicals have an insane need to ‘convert’ the world to their “brand” of christianity. I’ll not try to delve deeper into the psychological swamps that inform most people’s decision making processes, (my own included.)
            I was going to cite the film “At Play in the Fields of the Lord” to buttress my case, but demurred. Instead, I think the French film, “Le Vallee” or “Obscured By Clouds” would be a better example of the jarring clash of cultures that can occur between “civilized” and “primitive” societies.
            At Play..:

        1. ambrit

          One somewhat related story about religious extremists and South America has the Dutch Reformed Church sending a ‘fact finding’ expedition to South America to see if somewhere there would do for a migration of the Blanke Volk before the demise of apartheid. The report is said to have endorsed the idea. The natives there were said to “know their place.”
          I will observe that the underlying philosophies of most of the sects derived from the Abrahamic Dispensation are based on solidly absolutist doctrines.
          We’re not in the First Century AD any more.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Georgia? I once idly wondered what would have happened if Israel had been set up in Oklahoma instead of Palestine back in ’47. By now, Oklahoma would have occupied Kansas and northern Texas while launching occasion air & missile strikes on Albuquerque and Memphis while claiming that they are always under attack. It would make a good novel that idea.

  20. fumo

    The entire US houseless population could be housed for less than the price of one aircraft carrier

    Nice sentiment but this is just a facile bumper sticker slogan without being fleshed out with specifics.

    1. ambrit

      First one has to establish a “movement” towards the desired policy goal.
      One ‘fleshing out;’ seize all third and following homes belonging to individuals nationwide, and be nice and give exemptions for units actively being rented out, and run them as “transitional housing” for the ‘unhoused.’
      There is already a situation where an individual can “rent” out a dwelling to function as a residential halfway house or treatment centre and reap a tax reward for so doing. (You’d be surprised at how steep the property taxes on rentals can be.) One could also do something similar for ‘unhoused housing.’ Throw in some grants for maintenance and you’d be half the way “home.”
      All it takes is the political will.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe it might be most instructive to see just where funds to house the homeless go. My sister works as a social worker dealing with state welfare including housing. I am amazed by how much the state where she works pays to house the homeless. The quality of housing provided does not explain costs to the state anymore than the actual costs of providing that relatively poor housing — 3rd tier hotels and motels most often with microwave ovens and mini-frigs as the sole kitchens for homeless families. Someone is raking in a lot of dough, and it isn’t the homeless.

        If only we lived in a world where crime did not pay so well — there might be investigations, indictments, and long-term incarcerations … housed with general populations … in our commodious Prison-Industrial Complex for a few of the housing profiteers.

        1. Sardonia

          San Francisco is drawing circles on streets and parking lots, 6 feet apart, for homeless folks to pitch their tent there. Each circle is costing the city over $5,000 PER MONTH to oversee, somehow.

          Rents are down in SF – you can get a nice 1 bedroom for $1,900 a month now.

  21. Noone from Nowheresville

    My issue with Sirota and Taibbi’s “tax” articles is that they continue the cost the federal government revenue arguments aka federal taxes “pay for” federal spending (which I’m seeing a lot of at the local news level these days).

    As long as taxing “justice” is framed this way without showing how that same federal government creates and maintains the wealth sometimes out of thin air as well as creating the billionaire & millionaire winners (real individuals and/or corporations as individuals) … well, the whole thing is lie covered with a little dose of distracting truth.

    How much should the wealthy “pay for” civilization?

    Well how much does civilization annually pay them either through real resource extraction, labor extraction or the abundance found in the money grows on keyboard, leverage and usury forests? How much does civilization pay to create the Bureaucracy and Helper classes to further streamline and enable said extraction? A single person can’t accumulate “wealth.” The only way to do it is to create a civilization and an enforcement mechanism which lives to serve that wealth creation.

    1. Skip Intro

      I suspect furthering this anti-MMT narrative is also a goal of the surprising Cap. Gains Tax ‘plans’. Once they are inevitably shot down, infrastructure investment will be considered out of reach.

  22. Carla

    Double thumbs-up to Rob Urie for “Capitalism As a Suicide Cult” and thanks to Yves for featuring it in Links. Truly excellent. If you didn’t click on the list of FDR’s New Deal programs and agencies toward the end of the article, be sure to go back and do so.

  23. Kimmy

    On Low Skill workers…

    Many of these jobs do lead to better ones and help create the ability to do things well.
    The lack of jobs for teenagers who are willing and may need to work is telling.

    Our community has decided to no longer support any business that will not hire our children, or those of our neighbors, in favor of some imported adult who chose to travel here.

    1. Alfred

      You know, I understand. I lived on Md’s Eastern Shore (Kent Island) for 20 years. I only left because of the 2007-8 blowup I saw coming. High school, Jr. High kids used to get jobs at the car wash and other small places, then I saw that they were frozen out. I could moonlight at the grocery store and pizza delivery, etc., (as I was forced to by family circumstances), and then I couldn’t. There was an air of “get out of the way” that I wondered was tied to some kind of subsidization. Mind you, this is pure speculation, but I have worked with people in the past who got the jobs by govt. subsidies to the employer. I felt bad for the local kids, personally–I thought they were getting valuable experience on just working at a job with other people. I felt bad for me–I was getting older, no one would hire me full time because, ya know, health benefits, so I had 2-3 jobs like everyone else I knew. This is what it took for one person to pay a mortgage. I have not been there for 16 years now, so I have no current knowledge of how this turned out.

  24. GF

    Please read the AZCentral (Phoenix main newspaper) vote recount article above in Maricopa County (AZ largest county including Phoenix and suburbs) in links above:

    It epitomizes AZ politics. When you have a vote audit done by a conspiracy spreader who backed/promoted the “Stop the Steal” campaign and have the audit funded by Trump and his supporters because the Republican State Senate only allocated $150,000 of taxpayer money (state spending in AZ is taxpayer money unlike the US gov spending) one cannot find greater stupidity. This will be the third full audit of the election.

    1. allan

      Just like you should never eat at a place called Mom’s,
      you should never trust a recount firm called Cyber Ninjas.

    2. marym

      Not a lot of transparency here (from the link):

      “Unlike at county election offices, where reporters are invited inside to observe and film the proceedings, the press was not allowed to view the recount itself.

      Reporters can only go inside if they sign up to work six-hour shifts as observers. And observers can’t have cameras or notepads of their own.”

  25. Mikel

    Re: “Capitalism as a Suicide Cult” CounterPunch

    At the end:

    “…The ability to leverage the economy that makes things is finite— the greater the leverage, the greater the risk of calamity. Imagine a circumstance where some fair portion of PMC jobs go poof and there is nothing to replace them with. This is partly why Barack Obama chose to save Wall Street…”

    Not only was Obama also the “Private Health Insuarance Salesman-In-Chief”, I remember just after the 2008 crash that Obama made a plea in an online post imploring people to invest more in the stock market. The drop had scared alot of people about risk in the system. But there was ‘Bama…now “Stockbroker-In-Chief”… coming to the rescue of the financial sector PMC.

    Wish I could find it…..

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It may be a good time to buy canned salmon . . . beFORE Japan releases all that radioactive water into the Pacific for the ocean currents to carry it right straight into the growing salmons’ feeding grounds.

        Of course, its always a good time to buy canned food in general. And other semi-durable storable food of kinds you know you like to eat over time.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The people who first invented that phrase said it with a straight face and no /s at all.

            And the proper response would have been: biological ( trophic level) magnification is the negation of dilution.

            1. juno mas

              . . .”magnification” = re-concentration by top trophic level predators.

              Slightly radioactive anchovies make for righteously radioactive tuna.

    1. Geo

      He was always willing to tell the pawns it’s safe to drink the water. He’s been rewarded handsomely for his service to the elite.

  26. flora

    Adam Tooze essay in the LBR on Paul Krugman’s new book ‘Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics and the Fight for a Better Future ‘.

    Their name notwithstanding, what the New Keynesians are policing is in fact the boundary of actually existing neoliberalism. The familiar story that America’s late 20th-century market revolution originated in Chicago with the likes of Milton Friedman holds true, if at all, for the 1970s and 1980s. But in the last thirty years that story has come to serve more and more as an alibi. In the 1990s the brains behind Clinton and Blair and the Washington consensus were far more likely to be trained at places like MIT and Princeton. Meanwhile, historical neoliberalism – German ordoliberalism, Austrian economics, the Mont Pelerin Society – had been consigned to the fringes. The resilience of neoliberalism isn’t down to the persistent influence of a right-wing Midwestern sect with a foreign accent, but to the weaving of New Keynesianism into the fabric of the coastal elites. New Keynesianism is, indeed, the lingua franca of the West Wing.

    What sets Krugman apart within this cohort is the way he has, since the 1990s, stopped being a gatekeeper of the status quo and instead become its critic. In this respect his closest analogue is Joseph Stiglitz, also once of MIT,….

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Krugman is an odd character, I can’t quite work him out. Sometimes he is right on point, other times he seems determined to defend the citadel of new Keynesianism, especially when it comes to trade policy. He was very good in the immediate aftermath of the last crash, but then retreated to orthodox thinking. I haven’t read him in years so I don’t really know which line he’s taking now.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        He’ll take whichever line pays the most and whichever line keeps getting him invited to all the best Limousine Liberal parties with all the best wine and all the best cheese.

        That’s why he opposed Bush on this and that . . . . instinctive attunement to the Limousine Liberals.

        1. skippy

          I thought the defense of the IS-LM, regardless of the information leveled against it, especially after Blacks unpacking and subsequent historical footnotes brought to light was all one needed to square where Krugman is coming from.

          I’ve had the same difficulty here in Australia with pro Krugmanites, promoting his trade bona fides as some mixed up gravitas on monetary functions. Strangely or not these same people used to forward M. Friedman views without attribution.

          Imagine having a new/neo Keynesian pronounce that you had to be a Keynesian – like them – or you were not Keynesian at all. The Economic Ontology is on par with rusted on Austrians … how absurd.

    1. fresno dan

      Police said the teen was arrested and detained for about an hour before he was cited and released to his stepmother. The officer, who has not been identified, was unaware that the teen has special needs, the department said in its release.
      Hmmmm…I would be very interested in knowing if the youth in question was obviously autistic. Not that it is a valid excuse for the police conduct if the youth was not obviously autistic, but if the youth was obviously autistic, First, what a despicable cop, and Second, shouldn’t the legal presumption be that without video evidence, every thing a police officer says is a lie? I mean, how many examples do you need.

      1. juno mas

        Because the police will just “make stuff up”, it’s always in your best interest to invoke your “right to remain silent”. Do not talk to them, even casually. They have the right to detain you on any “reasonable” pretext. Their reports are rarely challenged by the DA.

  27. petal

    At work today, I walked through the vaccination clinic. Spoke to a staff member out of curiosity. They said they had 1300 people signed up for today, and the difference in what I had seen before was due to a state web site glitch, and that now a better job is being done spacing people out.

  28. lobelia

    Re: Taibbi and Sirota on the Dem’s SALT cap hypocrisy

    Thanks for those links, some more tidbits regarding the issue:

    Of course California Governor Gavin Newsom was one of those 7 democratic governors who signed, Cuomo’s letter, along with the governors of Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon. The letter, dated 04/02/02 can be found on Cuomo’s website.

    This is an ‘interesting’ (for its omissions, weasel words, and additions) Los Angeles Times piece not linked to in Taibbi or Sirotas’ commentary: 04/16/21 By Sarah D. Wire | Staff Writer California lawmakers taking a softer tone on restoring a tax break Californians lost under Trump (emphasis mine):

    Democratic Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, whose Menlo Park-area district was the top beneficiary of the deduction before it was capped, said removing it remains a priority, but she doesn’t see drawing a red line as the best strategy.

    “It’s not my style. There is a solid case that can be made. It can stand on its own,” Eshoo said [see [1] below – lobelia].

    Further down:

    Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) said he’s confident that House leaders will find a way to include removing the cap in the final bill.

    “We have a secret weapon. We have Nancy Pelosi. We don’t have to draw the lines in the sand. We can have conversations with her,” Khanna said. “She knows it is an issue, she believes it is an issue, and we have trust in her judgment that she’s gonna push for this as hard as she can. There’s a level of trust in her that allows us to say, you know, we trust her judgment.”

    Forty-one California Democrats have signed a letter written by Democratic Reps. Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano and Katie Porter of Irvine that urges Biden to include a repeal of the SALT cap in his infrastructure bill, but does not say they will oppose the overall package without it.

    “The removal of this arbitrary cap is necessary and prudent as we seek remedies to help the American people during this time of recovery,” the letter states. [see [2] below – lobelia].

    My take is that California House Members are taking a softer [backdoor] approach™ because California has the most shameful record of unsheltered homeless, poverty and inequality (at least a third on Medi-Cal [California’s Medicaid] for over a decade) in the Nation, and the world knows it. For 2020, a single California resident who rents would have to have made around a 140K minimum in California adjusted gross Income in order to have a possible Federally deductible California Income Tax of 10,000 (the 10K cap applies equally to singles, head of household, and married filing jointly filers; 5K if married filing separately).

    [1] Oddly the piece didn’t mention, that Anna Eshoo is a member of the SALT Caucus (now numbering 33 members, with only 7-8 Republican members) it was announced on her website on April 15th, along with the note that her district had a whopping pre cap average SALT deduction of 63K (even when diluted by those (mostly renters) whose SALT deductions weren’t even close to 10,000), and that 200k households claimed the deduction, pre-cap. What she does not note is how many of those 200k SALT deductions took even close to a 10k deduction, or how many were then capped by Trump, outside of herself and the other high earners, millionaires and billionaires with residences in her district, along with their undiluted average SALT Deduction. No doubt, that staff writer may have been too intimidated to ask, or her editor edited it out.

    [2] There are 42 Democratic House members in California, all members signed the letter, except Nancy Pelosi. The letter, which oddly wasn’t linked, has been posted on Rep. Mike Levin’s website as of April 16, 2021. The letter notes more than 3 million families took the pre-cap deduction; and again, like Eshoo’s weasel words on her website, it does not note how many of those households took even close to a 10K deduction, or how many ended up capped by Trump.

    gotta run

  29. R

    Thank you for all the tips. I am not keen to clear my cookies, too many half-remembered logins.

    I am usually browsing in Edge but I will try the Firefox wheeze.

    Apologies, this comment was a misfire and when I went back on the browser, the comment box had jumped to the end of the comments rather than in reply to all the kind paywall tips.

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that ” China beating US by being more like America” article . . . the author gives his special Free-Trade Hasbara agenda away with this paragraph . . .

    “America must simply make itself more attractive than China is to talent and capital. It must create a regulatory and tax system that is more competitive than China’s. Then Washington must seriously invest in federal R&D programs as well as dynamic infrastructure to support those programs.”

    and also this one . . .

    “As one chief executive of a Fortune 500 company told me in 2018, “If we don’t do business in China, our competitors will.” ”

    ” Regulatory and tax system that is more competitive than China’s” is dogwhistle . . . or should I say doghorn foghorn . . . for lower pay than China, less worker safety than in China, more pro-pollution than China, lower taxes on Oligarchs and Rising Plutons and Kleptons than China, less worker safety than China, lower food safety than China, more melamine in the milk than in China, more lead paint in the toys than in China, more arsenic and antibiiotics in the honey than in China, etc.

    That’s the Free Trade way.

    The protectionist way is to ban imports from countries with lower wages, standards, more pollution, etc. than what America has . . . . including China.

    Under a Free Trade Abolition regime all over the earth, would that mean that countries with even higher cost standards than America could ban imports from America into their socially superior countries? Of course it would. That is how we abolish Free Trade’s March to the Bottom and replace it with Mandatory Fair Trade Protectionism’s Forced March to the Top.

  31. The Rev Kev

    Something for the end of the day. So Kamala Harris is supposed to be the Border Czar, right? Even though she seems to be MIA here. But, every kid that arrives on the border to be sent into those cages gets issued a basic pack of gear which includes a copy of the book “Superheroes Are Everywhere” which was written by Kamala herself. It is supposedly Amazon’s No. 1 seller at the moment but were those issued books donated or were they paid for by a government contract? And if the later, at what price? I know that in terms of money it is small beer but the implied corruption isn’t-

    1. Jean

      If that nauseating fraud becomes president, I think I and many people will renounce their U.S. citizenship.

  32. chris

    Contributing some mRNA vaccine anec-data for the commentariat…

    My wife, myself (both in our 40s) and our oldest daughter (17) all received our second doses of the COVID vaccines this past Wednesday. Other than two days of feeling kind of achy and drowsy and really sore arms, no side effects. Coffee and 8hr release Tylenol did wonders. The nurse who gave us the shots said to drink lots of water and eat chocolate. Not sure if there was any science behind that but it did help me feel better.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Chocolate? Does that mean there’s a connection between vaccines and dementors?

  33. Savita

    On the alleged nasal vax.
    Are you aware the AstraZeneca vax contains GMO material. The OGTR – Office of Gene Technology Regulator in Australia also referred to in the Guardian article about tthe alleged nasal vax – fielded submissions before it approved Astra Zeneca vax in Australia. In response to submissions querying GMO’s in Astra Zeneca, the OGTR demonstrated an incapacity to respond let alone justify how useful or safe it was to be injecting untested GMO’s into humans – this is my 2nd hand experience, plus someone collated responses in the following article

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