Links 4/28/2021

The Secret Mission To Unearth Part Of A 142-Year-Old Experiment NPR

Running Wells Fargo just got even more thankless Reuters

‘Insanely cheap energy’: how solar power continues to shock the world Guardian

Miscellaneous electric loads: Characterization and energy savings potential (preprint) Energy & Buildings. From the Abstract: “Over time, miscellaneous electric loads (MELs) are expected to increase both in magnitude and share of residential and commercial building energy consumption. This trend is most apparent in North America, but it is also occurring in Japan and Europe. However, the contribution of MELs to building energy use is not currently well understood, both because the products in this category are transforming rapidly and the definition and classification of MELs is ambiguous. This study estimated the national energy consumption of 36 MELs using bestavailable data and found them to comprise 12% of delivered electricity to the U.S. residential and commercial building sectors. If 26 of these MELs were replaced with the most energyefficient product models available on the market, their energy consumption could be halved to 6% of delivered electricity. National energy models will better account for building energy consumption by incorporating the MELs data collected and analyzed for this study, leading to improved policy decisions.” Handy charrt:

The destructive green fantasy of the bitcoin fanatics FT Alphaville

#COVID19

After a blistering start, Biden’s vaccine rollout faces new hurdles FT. We’re 100 days into the Biden administration, so Biden owns this. And “blistering” gives Biden far too much credit.

Contractor that ruined 15M doses of J&J vaccine is holding up vaccine to India Ars Technica

Vaccine IP v. manufacturing, a thread:

The poster is not a subject matter expert, but he makes a compelling argument. It is true that for elites, public relations campaigns are cheaper and easier than forcing capital re-allocation. That, they don’t like at all.

Soldiers are refusing the vaccine out of spite: ‘This is the first time I get to tell the Army no!’ Task & Purpose. Scold ’em. That”ll work.

Why Black And Latino People Still Lag On COVID Vaccines — And How To Fix It NPR

Children as young as 6 months old now in COVID-19 vaccine trials ABC

I’m an epidemiologist. Here’s what I got wrong about covid. WaPo. Worth a read.

So Anthony Fauci Isn’t Perfect. He’s Closer Than Most of Us. Frank Bruni, New York Times Magazine. Scold, scold, scold.

Good news:

China?

How Not to Win Allies and Influence Geopolitics Foreign Affairs

New immigration bill sparks fears of Hong Kong ‘exit ban’ Al Jazeera

‘Blind box’ craze grips China’s youth and mints toymakers a fortune Channel News Asia

Myanmar

Myanmar Junta Says ASEAN’s Views Will Be Considered After Stability Returns The Irrawaddy. Of course, of course.

Myanmar junta builds ‘walled garden’ of internet services Nikkei Asian Review

Opposition Karen forces capture military base in Myanmar EiuroNews

Japan approves world’s biggest free-trade deal after China’s call to boost Asian economy South China Morning Post

The Koreas

Both Seoul City And Paju City Confirm That BLACKPINK’s Jennie Did Not Break Any Social Distancing Regulations Koreaboo. The press covers a national champion.

India

Markets Are Insulated From India’s Agony, for Now John Authers, Bloomberg

Ten states account for over 78 per cent of new Covid-19 deaths in India Times of India

India Covid: Delhi builds makeshift funeral pyres as deaths climb BBC

Vaccine Hoarding May Backfire on Rich Nations as India Reels Bloomberg

COVID: Why is India censoring media during public health crisis? Deutsche Welle

How Cult Worship Drove Us Into Crisis The Wire

Daivas, dance and divine intervention People’s Archive of Rural India. For International Dance Day, April 29.

Relocate AFRICOM Headquarters To Africa, Buhari Tells US Govt Leadership (Re Silc).

If you want to get the West’s attention, talk about the Holocaust Africa is a Country

Syraqistan

US Navy Ship Fires Warning Shots After Run-in with Iranian Vessels Marine Link

A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid B’Tselem

UK/EU

MEPs brand Brexit a ‘historic mistake’ as they approve trade deal FT

In the court of King Boris, only one thing is certain: this will all end badly Guardian

The Dark Prince Returns Tribune. Peter Mandelson, ZOMG.

Like billionaire-controlled media, The Guardian misinforms its readers on the UK’s role in world Declassified UK

Arlene Foster’s leadership of DUP hangs in balance RTÉ (PD)

Self-driving cars could be allowed on UK motorways by the end of this year Sky News. Also unicorns!

Le Pen on Defensive as Retired French Generals Talk of Revolt Bloomberg. The story is better than the headline.

Germany’s Greens ahead of Merkel’s CDU/CSU in new poll Deutsche Welle

Biden Administration

What’s in Biden’s American Families Plan Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring

Scoop: Biden plans to ask Congress to pay for $1.8 trillion in new spending Axios

A new deal for the young: building better jobs FT

The Path to Higher, More Inclusive Economic Growth and Good Jobs Center for American Progress. “Inclusive,” “good.”

On Key Issues Like the Civilian Climate Corps, Joe Biden Is Still Thinking Far Too Small Jacobin. As he would, given that as of now elites are not responding to any material threat, so naturally their adjustments are underpowered with respect to the non-elites they hope to appease and divert, and to the scope of our situation globally (or rather planetarily, if that is a word). Their minds are not, as it were, concentrated.

U.S. to help Guatemala train its border protection force Politico. School of the Americans too wussy?

Some foreign students will be allowed back into U.S. this fall Axios

A meta-analysis of climate migration literature (PDF) Center for Economic Policy Analysis, University of Potsdam. From the Abstract: “We find that extremely high temperatures and drying conditions increase migration. We do not find a significant effect of sudden-onset events. Climate migration is most likely to emerge due to contemporaneous events, to originate in rural areas and to take place in middle-income countries, internally, to cities.”

Intelligence Community

SCOOP: Generals seek new ammo for ‘waging the truth‘ Politco. “The internal memo from nine regional military commanders last year, which was reviewed by POLITICO and not made public, implored spy agencies to provide more evidence to combat ‘pernicious conduct.'” Really? I would have sworn the majors already have bureaus embedded at Langley and Fort Meade*. Who’s not doing their job, here? NOTE * What an unfortunate use of a great Union general’s name.

Our Famously Free Press

America’s profit-driven media system promotes disinformation FLUX

Health Care

The vig:

So at 65-65, the vig is (1061. – 770) / 1061 = 27%? Is that fair?

Guillotine Watch

Burning Man 2021 is officially canceled. But 2022 reservations are on sale for $2,500 San Francisco Chronicle

Lexmark’s toxic printer-ink Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. Doctorow has been on fire lately; sometimes the tweet storms are more fun to read than their post versions.

Class Warfare

How the Federal Reserve Is Increasing Wealth Inequality ProPublica

Making the Top 1% Its Own Tax Class The Big Picture

Rich Americans Face Biden Tax Hike With Anger, Denial and Grief Bloomberg. And meetings with their accountants (if the family office isn’t already handling that).

Staten Island Amazon Workers Begin Union Drive, Drawing Lessons From Bessemer Truthout

Commentary: Saving City College Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon. “Public schools are at the center of the manufactured breakdown of the fabric of everyday life. They are under attack not because they are failing, but because they are public.” –Henry Giroux

The man who stole a hotel Capital Daily

The Gatekeeper Adam Tooze, LRB. On Paul Krugman

Antidote du jour (DK):

The owl of Minerva is upside down only in daylight.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

83 comments

  1. fresno dan

    https://www.npr.org/2021/04/28/991499650/man-dies-after-alameda-calif-police-pin-him-to-ground-for-several-minutes
    On Tuesday, the city of Alameda, Calif. released police body camera footage of an interaction with a 26-year-old man who died after police pinned him to the ground for at least five minutes.
    Mario Gonzalez, of Oakland, died April 19 after what police previously called a “scuffle” with officers. The Alameda Police Department said Gonzalez suffered some sort of “medical emergency” following an interaction with police.

    During the struggle with Gonzalez, officers can be seen placing arms and knees on his back to keep him restrained. The video shows Gonzalez unresponsive after police pin him to the ground for several minutes.
    ….
    The video begins with the 911 caller telling police dispatch that a man, later identified as Gonzalez, was standing near the caller’s home in a small park with no mask and talking to himself.
    =====================================================
    Police: if you think we’re giving up kneeling on people OR making them unresponsive* because of Floyd, your just insane.
    * many may quibble, preferring the unimaginative, inflammatory, and outdated term “dead.” I would remind you we are waaaaay beyond 1984, and certain words, in particular contexts, have become inoperative…

    Reply
    1. anon y'mouse

      clue: do not be FROM Oakland (of any color)and go to Alameda. or at least not beyond the stores that cluster near the bridges there, where your money is always welcome.

      i learned that as a very young youngun who grew up VERY close by.

      also, Piedmont.

      they are on patrol from people crossing the border. seen it with my own eyes. also, they have an insular mentality placing them above “those people”.

      Reply
      1. Tom Stone

        Piedmont now has ALPRS and cameras at every entry point to the City, monitored at the Police Station 24/7.
        I grew up there and to give you the flavorthere was a secret society in the High School modeled after Yale’s “Skull and Bones”.
        My next door neighbor who was a world class bully and later a prominent personal injury lawyer became the president of that club.
        He eventually drowned in a ditch, drunk.
        A fitting end.

        Reply
      2. JBird4049

        It is funny how the stereotypes of crooked and violent police or the corrupt city and county government is focused on the South and perhaps the Midwest/Plains whereas Blue States like California have had their own for just about forever.

        While the Bay Area doesn’t have police as bad as the Portland’s, Los Angeles Sheriff Department, Baltimore’s, New Orleans’, or Portand’s, with the exception of Vallejo and its death squad, that is not really saying anything positive. It is merely lesser evilisms.

        Reply
    2. fresno dan

      https://www.9news.com/article/news/investigations/loveland-police-officers-administrative-leave-karen-garner-arrest/73-aa93800c-aa54-4792-81a0-939c35714eca
      The officers’ initial report said Garner, who has dementia, was not injured. Her lawyer, Sarah Schielke, said the officers dislocated Garner’s shoulder, broke a bone in her arm and sprained her wrist.

      “It’s a really important thing for everyone to know that this is now a criminal investigation,” said Hacker. “It’s one that LPD asked for and the DA is taking it on Fort Collins Police, both working on this [investigation] and we hope that this investigation goes as expeditiously as possible and that we learn of the outcome very soon.”
      ==================================
      of course it (the officer’s report) did (say Garner was not injured)

      Reply
    3. Captain Obious

      Surprisingly (or not) we don’t see much about drug use among the police. Drug tests may not be infallible, and legal (and/or illegal), prescribed (or not) substances may be easily available… think steroids, adderall or dexedrine, and/or xanax and the like.

      Reply
  2. John Siman

    Adam Tooze’s essay on Paul Krugman contains this very revelatory passage: “The more imperfections there are in a model, the less easy it is confidently to characterise the equilibrium that supposedly approximates the running of the actual economy. The result is liberating in its overturning of a simplistic faith in the self-regulating perfection of free trade or flexible markets, but it also creates an opportunity for heterodox economists and disreputable policy entrepreneurs. Upholding the rigour and status of proper economics thus requires vigilant policing. Summers, for example, can take startlingly radical positions on such issues as secular stagnation and the need to increase the bargaining power of organised labour, while at the same time feuding with the left over wealth taxes and stimulus cheques. Similarly, William Nordhaus, the Nobel Prize-winning climate economist, has spent much of his career since the 1970s policing the boundary between climate alarmism and what his work suggests is reasonable policy: his models acknowledge the climate crisis, but characterise it in such anodyne terms as to cast doubt on whether it’s worth doing anything about it.”

    Two worrisome questions arise:
    1. Are “centrist” economists like Krugman better described not as “gatekeepers” but as the bishops and inquisitionors of a parasitic hierarchy?

    2. As the *heterodox* economist Steve Keen writes, don’t Nordhaus’s pollyannish views on Climate Change constitute an outright danger to civilization?

    Reply
    1. none

      The gatekeeper article looks good (I’ve only started reading it, and won’t be able to finish til later today). But, I believe the current cool-kids take on economics is that there is no equilibrium and an economy is a chaotic system like the weather. I haven’t read this article yet either, but it’s by one of the early researchers in that idea, and it looks promising:

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s42254-020-00273-3

      Reply
      1. russell1200

        Thanks, that looks interesting. I have seen a lot of talk along these lines, but this is more up-to-date.

        Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Which is precisely why the neoliberals ignored his work and tried to make them unfashionable in economic circles

        Reply
      2. WobblyTelomeres

        Gulf Coast interpretation of Minski:

        The economy is like a fishing boat that takes all the fat drunk sunburned tourists in their one dollar tourist t- shirts a mile offshore from Panama City to fish for tumor-riddled red snapper. One moron shouts, “Fish! I see fish!” and everyone waddles and shoves to that side of the boat. Sometimes, they capsize.

        Reply
    2. Grant

      There are so many problems with neoclassical economics that I don’t really know how someone can hold onto the faith and think in those terms. I mean, Krugman still uses IS-LM and the loanable funds model. Reality simply doesn’t operate that way. The Cambridge capital controversy, Sraffa, Robinson and the like showed the massive problems with the neoclassical theory of capital and production functions (Keen has done amazing work on that himself). Look at the absurd assumptions in the models, what is needed for the models or even things like market demand and supply curves to appear as they do. Then there is the environmental crisis, where neoclassical economists pretend that they can model things as if the science of the matter is trivial, assuming we have far more time than we do, and permitting things that would lead to outright ecological collapse. Then there are the writings of some of the neoclassical faith on resources, where they basically argue that man made capital is a perfect substitute for natural capital, that when one resource runs out you can just run to another one, and based on that they deny that there are resource shortages and limits to growth. I take it then that if we run out of water, we can instead survive on juice? Are things made of water perfect substitutes for water? Then look at how Krugman acted towards Galbraith and his arguments in regards to trade. I have read Ricardo a lot. I have to conclude that Krugman is knowingly twisting what Ricardo said, in particular not being honest about the assumptions Ricardo (and Smith before him) had. Like, they did assume that capital wasn’t mobile when arguing in favor of free trade. It was the “home bias” that would keep capital in its home country and from that home bias the invisible hand would create positive externalities that would benefit others even though that wasn’t the intention of capital. I can’t stand Krugman and anyone like him. He was taught a particular way of analyzing the economy, it is beyond problematic, and he spends tons of time defending that and what he teaches students more than anything, it seems, because of how much he has invested in that way of thinking. He quoted Kalecki a few times though. Good for him.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        …that and what he teaches students more than anything,

        IMO krugman crossed the line in ’08 in the infamous stiglitz krugman obama get together, krugman walked out of that meeting in agreement with obama that violence to the social order mustn’t happen, indeed it wouldn’t surprise me if one of obamas arguments in favor of his bailout plans was to ask the professors about the likely impact of more radical policies on their students. There is no question that those guys are/were shepherding the genius class into the ruling class. Krugman lost me completely on that day.

        https://collegegazette.com/what-are-the-ivy-league-schools-list-ranking-acceptance-rates/

        Princeton has been the #1 National University according to U.S. News since 2010. The report cites the school’s small class sizes, top-tier research and faculty, and almost perfect graduation rate.

        In 2011, Travel+Leisure called Princeton one of the most beautiful campuses in the U.S. Like Cornell, Princeton is surrounded by natural beauty, making it an ideal spot to learn and think critically.

        Princeton offers undergrad and graduate degrees in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. The university also manages the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a research and development lab for fusion power under the U.S. Department of Energy.

        Prominent alumni include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, former first lady Michelle Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

        Early Action Acceptance Rate: 13.9%

        Regular Action Acceptance Rate: 5.8%

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I don’t see how a model that isn’t a reflection of how things actually work did that, but I am open minded, or try to be at least. Could you flesh out the argument?

          Reply
    3. Roger

      Nordhaus IS NOT a Nobel Prize winner, he is the winner of the prize given by the Swedish Central Bank “in memory of Alfred Nobel”. This was put in place because the economists were hurt that Nobel did not consider them worthy of his prize. Says a lot about mainstream economists. Whenever the economics “Nobel” is mentioned it should be with conditional adjectives such as “fake”, “bullshit”, “ersatz”, “pathetic losers fake bullshit” etc.

      Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    Miscellaneous electric loads: Characterization and energy savings potential (preprint) Energy & Buildings.

    This highlights one of the perennial problems with reducing energy use in commercial buildings. Quite simply, the people paying the bills rarely have the faintest idea what they are paying for. Its very rare for clients to have a detailed say in the design of services, and when in place, there is often a series of contractors between the occupant and whoever is responsible for minimizing energy use. Very often, the service contractors themselves don’t have much of a clue, all they are interested in is fulfilling minimum contract requirements and getting paid. I’ve repeatedly seen over the years management that would devote hours so squeezing every last cent saving out of their employees or suppliers, simply signing off huge bills for the energy use of their office without a single question.

    This is closely related to the Covid safety issue on air circulation within buildings. Trying to get the right questions asked and answered from service contractors is like getting your teeth extracted. All they will say is ‘its in accordance with the contract/regulations’, and thats it. Its no wonder most individuals and companies simply throw their hands up in despair and just sign the checks.

    The only straightforward solution that I can see is very strict energy labelling with attached liability. Its only if a senior manager sees his office is D rated for energy use that he’ll say ‘well, maybe we should be demanding better….’.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Yes, I have had trouble when in past years I did some counselling to tenants in commercial buildings on energy saving. These are the guys that pay the bills and have some incentive, apart from moral or ethical, to increase their energy efficiency but the owners, which are the ones that can invest in some of the measures that could be taken have 0 interest and don’t want to assume any ‘complication’ in their easy life of getting their rents paid. Many of these buildings would benefit a lot, for instance, by installing roof-top solar panels since their peak demand coincides very much with solar production and have a benefit of scale compared with households. The result is that if you don’t mandate by law to install renewables, most will never do it. A lot of the demand comes from expenses that are common for the building: elevators, lighting, heating, cooling and air conditioning in common zones, parking lots etc, but this doesn’t bother the owners as long as these expenses are included in the rents so nobody has an interest on this. Besides there are measures that only work, or work much better when applied to the whole building rather than in individual commercial/office spaces.

      Reply
      1. russell1200

        Some of the MELs, I don’t understand why they are so classified: Kitchen Ventilators?

        But it really looks like bigger TV/Monitors/Computers are driving a lot of this. With business migrating to homes, this is likely to get a lot bigger in residential. The big problem with a lot of these loads is the harmonics messing up your nice AC sine wave.

        One out is more individual metering of circuiting to know where your loads are coming from. A plus to all the electronics is that this metering is a lot less expensive. In the US, you just need metering next to the gear, and a conduit to the BAS (Building Automation System – in the US this is usually set up by the HVAC contractor). I don’t know what magic the HVAC guys do with it, but I am sure they have apps/modules they use. I am with the electricians, so I am just putting in the metering and the conduit for the tie-in.

        Reply
        1. Ignacio

          In some sense Covid and more home work can decrease the energy efficiency in commercial buildings in terms of kwh spent per worker or per area unit.

          Reply
        2. heresy101

          Maybe some computers are driving the load, but large LED TVs are not contributing to large energy usage.

          Back in the early 2000’s, my co-worker did the electric load forecast and always hit it dead on until about 2008 when he started over-forecasting. Until then, new flat screen TVs were plasma technology that used almost as much energy as a small refrigerator. LCD and then LED TVs were coming to market then and used a lot less energy which undercut my co-worker’s forecast.

          A quick look at a non-EnergyStar Samsung 65″ LED TV shows that it uses about 14.4 KWh per YEAR. Multiple LED TVs add to the load but individually are not great.

          Reply
  4. GramSci

    In re COVID vaccine patents, here’s Medecins sans frontieres in October:

    To truly make an impact and help curb the spread of COVID-19, pharmaceutical companies must agree to not enforce any intellectual property (IP) on COVID-19 tools at any point—not just patents—since know-how, technology, and other components of vaccine development and manufacturing can still be protected under IP rules. These components are also barriers for alternative manufacturers that want to make more affordable versions of Moderna’s vaccine and, if they remain in place, will likely keep vaccines out of the hands of people all over the world.

    Reply
  5. zagonostra

    >‘Blind box’ craze grips China’s youth and mints toymakers a fortune – Channel News Asia

    Her favourites are modelled after a cherubic, doe-eyed character called Molly

    I always think of studies conducted by Nikolaas Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz in the 50’s when seeing figurines like the ones featured in this article. The appeal to hyper-stylized features, like large “doe-eyes” or shapes that are in grotesque proportions to normal humans has, I think an instinctual component. I vaguely remember an experiment that T&K conducted on male fish. They identified that it was a thin red stripe that triggered the female fish to mate. So they developed a series of lures that had larger and larger red strips until the lure wasn’t even recognizable as a fish, at the end it was just a red spoon.

    I think these strange cartoons I used to see children watch on t.v. on Nickelodeon with big eyes and exaggerated features were the product of psychologist experiments on small children. I would see kids just riveted watching these cartoons like they were on drugs – and I guess they were, an electronic visual hallucinogen.

    I think advertisements/propaganda use similar devices, not only in the realms of the visual but all the senses.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolaas_Tinbergen

    Reply
    1. bassmule

      Making things look cute:

      “This new design trend can be seen all over design magazines and felt through different design fairs over the last few years. Through child-like forms and softer structures, visual and physical comfort has seemed to take over angularity and rigidity.”

      What is Neotenic Design?

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        >What is Neotenic Design.

        From article:

        Neotenic Design was coined by designer Justin Donnelly who co-founded Jumbo, along with architect Monling Lee. Neoteny is a scientific term used to describe the retention of juvenile features in adults… Neotenic design exhibits evolutionary traits characterized by curiosity, playfulness, creativity, and adaptability, seemingly reflective to the virtues of childhood and youth. Think of Disney characters, we find large heads, short limbs, and wide eyes cute and appealing…

        From Bible KJV:

        When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things

        Social Forces (ambiguous I know) are conspiring to infantilize citizens into a state of total dependency and more easily amenable to manipulation and control – or so it seems.

        Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    How Not to Win Allies and Influence Geopolitics Foreign Affairs

    Given the source, this is a pretty good and fair minded article. As a few commentators have noticed, the failure of China to take the opportunity to use Chloe Zhao’s Oscar as a way of demonstrating its soft power ‘Look! It took a Chinese person to show how terrible it is to be poor in America!’ demonstrates pretty clearly that China isn’t actually very good at dealing with other countries. What stands out historically about China is its aggressive pragmatism – unlike the US/Europe or the old Soviet Union, it is not trying to sell its version of what humanity should look like. It is simply dealing in raw power and utilitarianism. This has its advantages, but its not gone unnoticed in many countries along the Belt and Road that the funding has invariably been opaque and has enriched already very corrupt elites, while often landing the debts on ordinary folks. China’s highly aggressive approach to a variety of foreign policy issues has raised serious hackles from South Korea to Norway. China doesn’t seem to have realized that the short term gain in overtly bullying weak countries for no particular good reason can have very negative consequences further down the road.

    You could put it down to growing pains and clumsiness, but I think it points to a deeper flaw in the Chinese model of foreign policy. You don’t get to a senior position in Beijing by showing an ability to deal with other cultures (for all its faults, the State Department in Washington still uses very skillful diplomats who often have amazing language skills). You can’t take a very narrow utilitarianist approach to your neighbours and not expect them to be suspicious of your motives.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Re “aggressive pragmatism”

      The United States used to be like that and “avoided foreign entanglements” but such a stance would now be denounced as isolationism. Somehow it became our fault that Europe’s empires tried to destroy each other in the last century.

      One suspects the American public would gladly return to the old view but our deteriorating democratic system gives the general public ever less control. China’s journey may not end any better than ours but at the moment their government seems less clueless than our “skilled” diplomats. It’s a tossup whether State or Defense should go first.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Just to add to the flip side of this, the economist Yanis Varoufakis had a few interesting things to say about China which amounted to ‘don’t worry about them’. The link below has three short videos on him talking about this point-

      https://twitter.com/wyattreed13/status/1386010553341169674

      He may have a point. Twenty years ago the US was having difficulty in basing themselves in African countries and now US bases, troops and drones are scattered around the whole continent to the point that Nigeria is actually asking for AFRICOM headquarters to move out of Europe and into Africa itslef.

      Reply
      1. Roger

        The problem for the US with bases in Africa was Libya, which kept bribing/pressuring other African states not to have US bases. In 2011 they fixed that and hay presto, lots of bases in Africa. Hard power, enabled by extensive propaganda, was the fix. This Guardian article below actually details well why the US/NATO had to take out Gaddafi to stop the Pan-African movement and establish their bases on the continent.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/14/africom-imperial-agenda-marches-on

        I think that the article on Chinese power overstates its case, usual with US elites and their rags that believe their own propaganda, with the Chinese learning quickly how to get things right. The CCP is very safe at home (opinion polls run by US universities attest to its popularity) and its lack of interest in regime change takes it a long way. Zambia is a good case in point, where the second language is rapidly becoming Mandarin for the young. The US has continuously underestimated China and continues to do so.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          The US has continuously underestimated China and continues to do so.

          I think that’s because after 1949 the Birchers and McCarthyites panicked the State Department into getting rid of every person who knew anything about China. I think things have changed some since Nixon, but not enough. The top policy makers are still purposefully ignorant about Chinese history and culture. Then, of course, there’s the problem that they believe our own propaganda, which has been a nationwide problem since John Foster Dulles.

          Reply
    3. fajensen

      the State Department in Washington still uses very skillful diplomats who often have amazing language skills).

      True. The USA “can do” when it wants to! Obama’s ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, is still very much loved and highly appreciated in Denmark. He really understood the place.

      The contrast to Carla Sands (and unguided wrecking ball Mike Pompeo) was very remarkable, they basically managed to alienate everyone within a few months.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Germany’s Greens ahead of Merkel’s CDU/CSU in new poll”

    You would think that a Green party winning so much power would be a good thing but not so fast. The German greens were infiltrated and taken over by neocons years ago and so their rhetoric is a lot like you would have heard from Trump. Or Biden for that matter. So their leader – Annalena Baerbock – wants to block Chinese goods, limit technology sharing, signed on for the ‘authoritarian powers versus liberal democracies’ CIA talking point, force Russia to enforce the Minsk accords which the Ukraine has made illegal, shut down the Nord Stream 2 project (and pay the massive fine for doing so), invest more in NATO than the current 2% rate, back military deployments abroad, wants the Ukraine in NATO and wants U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in Europe. All that doesn’t sound very Green to me-

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/german-contender-wants-tougher-stance-on-china-russia/ar-BB1g2hlb

    Reply
    1. SOMK

      The Greens have a track record in power that is nothing less than dismal. I recall seeing current leader of the Green Party in Ireland Eamon Ryan at anti war rallies circa 2003 saying many fine words about the use of Shannon airport to support the Iraq war and saying not a peep about it when in power four years later. With a tendency to be wealthy and urban based it has has been noticed by even right wing parties in Ireland with the Greens you here a lot from the greens about tackling “cheap flights” and even “cheap alcohol” (a policy with fig leaf health concerns that is really a cover for the Vinter’s association lobbying as they deeply resent the notion of people consuming alcohol in private as opposed to public houses), and nothing about “long haul” or “frequent flyers”, it seems they have something of an issue with poor people who evidently do not swell their ranks, prioritising the environment is something you can afford to do when you don’t have to prioritise your own income or standard of living, the tag “Tories on bicycles” dates from their days on councils in the UK cooperating with anti union/strike breaking policy of the Conservatives and nothing they have done in power speaks against that.

      Reply
      1. Laughingsong

        The Irish Greens have apparently been keeping on their downhill slope then, ever since Trevor Sargent resigned and was replaced by Gormless. Sigh.

        Reply
        1. SOMK

          Had a lot of time for Trevor Sargent, voted for them every election up to then, never voted for them since.

          Reply
    2. Alternate Delegate

      As I commented yesterday:

      The 40-year saga of the German Green party, from the 1980’s battles between fundis and realos, to coalition government participation in 11 of the 16 States, feels to me like a long journey from somewhere to nowhere.

      They were even in a federal coalition government from 1998 to 2005, where they ended up supporting military action in Kosovo and Afghanistan (!) – and then they had their flagship issue, shutting down the nuclear plants, swiped from them by Angela Merkel after Fukushima. There is plenty of woke BS, but where is the organic vegan meat substitute?

      Colorless, is how I would describe them now. And yet – coming from a soft 9% position in parliament – they’re currently polling ahead of Merkel’s CDU, and might possibly furnish the next Chancellor.

      How can this be? Because, frankly, everybody else in German politics is actually even worse. It’s not just US politics where your choices are – not choices.

      Reply
    1. Phillip Cross

      Is it just media hype, or is the Covid-19 situation in India worse than the peak in the U.S., when adjusted for their 4x larger population?

      Reply
      1. curlydan

        According to published stats, the situation is not worse in India now than in the U.S. at its worst.

        The U.S. peaked at 76.2 average new confirmed cases per 100K residents per day 109 days ago (i.e. about 1 in every 200 residents was getting COVID in that week).

        India’s current peak occurring now using the same metric is 25.

        It is important to realize that India may have less testing and is a huge country like the U.S. with likely large regional differences in infection rates. it is a very dangerous situation in India in my opinion with regional hot spots like Dehli. Hopefully, it can peak soon, but many deaths are likely to follow.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Would you believe that there are several Australian cricketers over in India playing in the Indian Premier League but now they are stuck as flights have been cancelled between India and Australia? They were chasing the big bucks but because it is a private group, get no special treatment to get out of India. So right now they are reduced to wearing big blue baggy suits as they travel around India-

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-27/covid-19-no-special-treatment-for-australian-cricketers-in-india/100098482

          Reply
      2. skippy

        Mitchell Tsai
        ·
        Sun
        Virus researcher at Harvard Medical School in 1980s

        “It’s a complete massacre of data,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan. “From all the modeling we’ve done, we believe the true number of deaths is two to five times what is being reported.”

        Reply
  8. pjay

    – ‘America’s profit-driven media system promotes disinformation’ – FLUX

    This was, for me, a very disturbing article – because not too many years ago I would have thought it excellent. It is basically a comprehensive analysis of what’s wrong with our media from a liberal academic perspective. There is a lot of good historical information, e.g. on early media concentration, gutting the Fairness Doctrine, the rise of talk radio, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, etc. But from my vantage point today, the blind spots and suggested “solutions” are extremely dangerous.

    Whenever I see a title like this, I immediately ask: how does the author define “disinformation”? And how does the author propose to deal with it? Regarding the first question, the article starts with the “violent incursion on the Capitol” on Jan. 6, and makes clear throughout the long piece that the ultimate culmination of corporate “laissez-faire” media is *right-wing* conservative craziness. Further, since profit-driven media conglomerates have used First Amendment arguments to kill any sort of reasonable regulation, we need to reconsider the sanctity of such arguments for a Higher Good — increased media control and regulation. But that begs a whole series of questions. Control how? By whom? And for what?

    This is where it gets scary. There is no indication that the author is aware of the biases of the liberal mainstream media. In fact he seems quite taken with the suggestions of Emily Bazelon of the NY Times for regulating “free speech” today. Here is Bazelon being interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air:

    https://www.npr.org/2020/10/20/925755387/unfettered-free-speech-is-a-threat-to-democracy-journalist-says

    When the interviewer notes that she is mainly criticizing conservative sources she says this:

    “…yes, I’m sure it will strike some of your listeners as partisan. And I wish it wasn’t true. It would be much better for our democracy if we didn’t have this asymmetry where we had disinformation being propagated in the right wing media and not in the mainstream and liberal media because then we could address it all together. But this is this reality that research has really shown and confirmed – that we have these two different modes of operation. And so I feel as a journalist, like, I have to report those facts that are accurate, even though they are politically inconvenient.”

    She goes on to discuss the “Russian hack” of the DNC as established fact — and as an example of why censorship is needed. Read the whole interview if you want an immersion into liberal obliviousness. Murillo’s article is not as blatant, but it suffers from the same fatal flaws. “Tribalism” is only recognized for the Other side. Propaganda is only promulgated by right-wing crazies and their outlets. The Adults in the Room must do something!

    People like Glenn Greenwald who are warning about this are now lumped with the crazies. Cognitive dissonance is reduced for readers of liberal academics and the NY Times as they swallow CIA talking-points. Very frustrating.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s because of people like Emily Bazelon that people are giving up on the main stream media. The ratings for the main channels have plunged off a cliff, newspaper subscriptions are down and now people are more and more listening to a Joe Rogan or Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi or other independent journalists. Having a Bazelon have the audacity to say that the First Amendment is too inconvenient for her liking and that it should be taken away merely confirms most people’s suspicions about present day journalism. People hate being told that they are stupid or have the wrong opinion and being told that they have to adopt the ‘correct’ attitudes which are more ‘enlightened’. A recent example of this was the Academy Awards, sorry, the “Oscars” which had less than 10 million people tune in because too many people are tired of being lectured by out of touch millionaires.

      Personally, if I want to be lectured to about why I am so wrong about something, I have a wife for that.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Big Film Geek Here…

        For the first time in my adult life I didnt watch the Oscars. I can’t stand the woke narratives being forced on us. I loved it when Parasite won last year, but with Coronavirus shutting down my beloved movie theaters…Its been tough trying to get in the mood. I legitimately think ill love Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, and others. Idk whats wrong with me. My family always prints ballots and we use my Moms old Horse Showing Trophy from the 80s as our Ultimate Prize. This year, nary a phone call. Seems we are all on the same page. Boring, generic stories with a Moralistic IDPOL twist seem to be order of the day from Hollywood. I cant even think of the last movie I saw. Sorry, im starting to ramble. Anyways, yall have a great day, NC!!!

        Reply
        1. Pelham

          You’re not alone. Same here. Not only can I not remember the last movie I saw in a theater, I can’t imagine Hollywood at this stage producing anything I might want to see in the future.

          But I’m not bereft. I’m spending more time judiciously scouting TCM for good selections, and there are many. With a big-screen TV, all that’s missing is the audience. I understand and sympathize with those for whom the audience experience is important, but for me it’s no big deal.

          Reply
      2. JWP

        What will the difference be between those at the Oscars and the Joe Rogan types in 2,5,10 years? The money and influence and platform lead to the same results, except this time they will run for office once they have enough of a following. Joe Rogan is absolutely worshipped by young people and they feed off of his macho-like charism, especially college-age men. While better than oligrachical media companies, the independent journalist when monetized and with a brand can become just as dangerous because we are more likely to believe that one person than a publication or company.

        I’ll stick to my collection of blogs and independent journalists and stay away from celebrity journalists. Greenwald over the next few years will be fun to watch as he grows in popularity. Hopefully his integrity won’t shatter.

        Reply
    2. lambert strether

      “our democracy” is such a tell. As I keep saying, when liberal Democrats say “our democracy,” they really do mean their democracy. Think back to Pete Buttigieg on Iowa 2020 if you’re looking for an operational definition.

      Reply
      1. km

        The other telling phrase is “our intelligence agencies”, as if the perjurers, torturers and entrapment artists of the NSA, CIA and FBI were a national treasure.

        Reply
    3. km

      If it makes you feel better, people calling for censorship are not acting from confidence.

      Rather, people such as Bazelon call for dissenting voices to be silenced because they fear that they are losing control of the narrative to the dissenters.

      Reply
    4. Randy G

      Superb analysis and summary PJAY. Thank you for that.

      When I started reading the article I actually thought it might be a parody of ‘liberal’ thinking on how best to silence the “deplorables” and chloroform uncouth thinking. It isn’t satire, and I got a terrible sinking feeling as I wandered deeper into the article and the ‘solutions’ fell into clear focus.

      Yes, let’s hand the keys to the First Amendment to Emily Bazelon and the professional war propagandists at the NYTs and all will be fine again. CIA talking points and Democratic Party pablum — but with restaurant reviews and a fashion page to boot. (Excuse me, ‘Style Magazine.’) Eat your heart out QAnon troglodytes!

      Reply
    5. Pelham

      Allow me to suggest a possible remedy. I start from the premise that it would be possible to produce a thoroughly respectable, fact-based journalism from a center-right or possibly even a far-right perspective.

      With that in mind, I propose the following: One of the chief gripes of conservatives is the public funding that goes into NPR and PBS. Valid point. These are mildly and consistently biased outfits that — unavoidably due to the preponderance of people entering public journalism — lean to the left. What I propose is that these organizations publicly acknowledge their bias and, at the same time, launch publicly funded center-right and far-right alternatives.

      Conservatives may howl over public funding for any kind of media. But there’s a compelling case for public sponsorship as an antidote to the marketplace which, for many years now, also tends to produce at least slightly left-leaning news coverage sympathetic to identity politics and worse. In response, the political right deserves its own tax-funded voices, albeit ones that uphold basic ethical standards.

      If we had such voices (and I would include publicly funded print newspapers with openly acknowledged left- and right-leaning biases), I think it would do much to deprive the existing toxic media of the outrage oxygen on which they thrive.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        It’s passé to say that liberals aren’t left and never were, but progressives aren’t left and never were, either. May I suggest Barbara and John Ehrenreich’s essays in Radical America theorizing the professional-managerial class, and how “progressive” has consistently referred to a social order of scientific management under PMC domination from the birth of the term.

        IMHO, the very last thing anyone should do is validate the corporate parties as anything but criminal rackets or actual terrorist organizations (they fit the legal definition about half the time). Effort would far better be spent ruining the work and the framing of the mainstream and its political parties, Caitlin Johnstone-style, as almost happened before COVID drove everyone back into their respective partisan-colored veal pens. Few things concentrate the mind like watching one’s life’s work, the weapons which one uses to eat off the backs of the working class, being crushed before their eyes. May the entire political industry enjoy this eminently healthful Ozymandian experience.

        Reply
  9. km

    I have said it before: Le Pen is an considered categorically unacceptable to the people who matter in France and Europe.

    Therefore, Macron, the generals, whoever, will be allowed to do whatever it takes to keep her out, and if that fails, to do to her what the alphabet agencies did to neuter Trump.

    Reply
  10. Alfred

    About the Fed interest rates. Back in the late 70s I was earning 8+ % on a savings account at SECU in MD. I think 6% on checking. In 1992 we got Joe Dominguez’s book “Your Money or Your Life” which recommended 30 year T-Bond investment and examining your living style to accumulate enough to invest to live off the interest. In 1992, the Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates were just under 7.5%, now they are about 2.3%.

    https://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/why-is-the-federal-reserve-paying-banks-interest.htm

    More broadly, as the Federal Reserve increases rates, banks will also have to pay higher rates on their sources of funding–that includes paying more to depositors. And that process will help to boost incomes for savers, many of whom have experienced low returns for quite a few years.

    hmmm

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      The answer to the question that the fed posed in that article is: the Fed is a college of banks, and protects its own!

      The fact that savers have gotten fleeced is sad. Only way to stay above inflation is to gamble, which is a terrible solution.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        But the Fed has guaranteed its college attendees no real gambling penalties, along with paternal enabling. Oh yeah, we told them to pass on the interest earnings…

        Reply
  11. JohnB

    On the article about the fed increasing wealth inequality:
    MMT’ers support parking the interest rate at zero, so am I right that the wealth inequality issue is due to the types of assets purchased by the QE program?

    QE purchasing government bonds is fine (that’s basically enabling MMT, but while still keeping the facade of central bank independence), but is it not the other types of asset purchases that QE does (including corporate stocks etc.) which is the main thing stoking wealth inequality?

    My impression, is that if governments get serious about using QE-backed zero/low-interest bonds for public spending – and if the QE program is restricted to only government bond purchases – then this would solve the problem, no?

    Of course, if you go that far you might as well just cut out the middleman and officially start printing money at the Treasury – but before we get to that point, maybe we’ll see something like the above, first.

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      A government value still honored is ‘plausible deniability.’ The Fed plausibly denies printing money, by buying government bonds with its infinite computer-cash rather than paying government bills directly. No real difference–except the rich carrying charges for bankers. There’s no such deniability when they just transfer 16 trillion dollars to bankrupt banks around the world; so for that they have to lie. The GAO Fed audit was Bernie’s greatest achievement.

      Reply
  12. Darthbobber

    Africom: I noticed that Buhari’s suggestion that AFRICOM HQ be relocated from Stuttgart to Africa does NOT include any suggestion that Nigeria would be willing to host it. Nor has any other African country been willing, as far as I recall. Thus, Stuttgart.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      For his part, the Secretary of State Blinken said he was pleased to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” noting that Nigeria and the United States of America, share a lot in bilateral issues.

      You’re a nation who thrives on conning suckers… We’re a nation that thrives on conning suckers…
      Let’s do virtual lunch! We’re in the market for a new intervention so we should talk about that, too…

      Reply
    2. David

      It’s always been like this. When AFRICOM was set up in 2007, the US was looking for an African country to host it, and, whilst Liberia expressed interest (unsurprisingly) and Botswana is rumoured to also have been interested at one point, in the end, nobody agreed to do so. (This was at a point where the French were reducing their forces, and there was a general move to get rid of foreign troops to the greatest extent possible. Then the Islamic State happened). There is now a zone of insecurity bisecting the continent from Nigeria down to Mozambique, with Islamic State clones popping up everywhere (the latest is in Uganda). The cliché about African armies is that they consist of good soldiers, badly trained and often poorly led. So in the last couple of decades a lot of effort has gone into training them, with, it has to be said, variable effects. In many countries, pay is late, if it ever comes, the officer corps is corrupt and the military is a career, like the police, for those with no other skills. So it’s hardly surprising if, like the Malian Army in 2013, they decide they don’t want to fight and die. But ultimately, unless African armies can be made better and more capable, holding the line against the IS is going to be impossible. Western countries don’t want to stay there indefinitely, and the locals wouldn’t want them anyway.
      It’s in that context that you have to see Buhari’s suggestion. (There have been rumours about such ideas in the African media for a while). AFRICOM already does quite a lot of training (that’s its main activity, historically) and it might make sense to bring the trainers nearer to the trainees. But against that you have to put traditional America sensitivity and grasp of nuance. I was in an East African country some years ago when I was told that a US team from AFRICOM had come through the week before; In an inspired stroke, the US had decided to send a team of entirely black officers. This did not amuse the Africans, for whom black Americans are first and foremost Americans, as well as being the descendants of slaves, and therefore looked down on.

      Reply
      1. John A

        Yes, I know a few Africans here in England who consider themselves superior to Caribbean people because ‘they were too smart to be caught and shipped off as slaves’.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          You could just remind them that most of catching and shipping was done by wealthy African kingdoms made wealthy by the selling of their fellow Africans.

          Reply
  13. Glenn May

    Re: “This is apartheid”
    Isn’t it time to get a new epithet for racist segregation?
    South Africa abandoned its structures of formal racist separation more than two decades ago.
    While certainly not a perfect or seamless transition, it was accomplished without the massive civil war many predicted.
    We should learn some lessons from that, including the power of making racist states international pariahs.
    To that end, we need a term to describe Israel’s foundational racism which makes it clear that it, too, is untenable and unacceptable to the global community.

    Reply
  14. Alex

    Re the B’tselem article, their first argument is about the immigration policy. It’s amazing that something that many countries do and no one bats an eyelid becomes apartheid when Israel does it.

    Greece, Germany, Kazakhstan and Abkhazia have similar immigration policy for ethnic Greeks, Germans , Kazakhs and Abkhaz respectively. Russia has a similar policy for “compatriots” which is de facto means mostly ethnic Russian Russian-speakers in the former USSR. These are just examples from the top of my head, without any special research.

    Reply
  15. truly

    Karon’s “Holocaust” article is a good read. However, I have a beef with an opening statement. While it is true it leaves so much out.
    “it remains an intractable part of Western common sense that the Nazi murder of millions of European Jews was such a profound and massive evil”
    What it leaves out is that Nazis genocided nearly as many leftists as Jews. And considering that many Jews in Germany were quite left leaning at that time, they may have been exterminated as much for their leftist positions as for their being Jews. Per fairly available data (wiki and others) there were 11 million people who died in the holocaust. 6 million of those people were Jews. That means that 5 million were not. Recalling Neimiller (sp?) poem, “first they came for the communists…… then they came for the trade unionists….”
    Add in the millions of Russians and Chinese killed by the Germans in WW2 while USA was primarily concerned with liberating Europe, one starts to see a pattern here. “Western common sense” is not one bit concerned when leftists are attacked, genocided, holocaust, sanctioned, etc.
    Post WW2, USA went to war with Korea “to stop the spread of communism”. Then shortly after it was Vietnam for the same reason. Add in the Cold War, sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, N Korea, and our sanctions and constant saber rattling towards China and Russia. Oh, and don’t forget every time we “intervened” in South America when any county chose thru democratic processes to install leftist governments- Chile 1973 being the best example.
    What I am getting at here is that as much as America and “the west” has never atoned for their abusive behavior that is so grounded in our “whiteness”, it has not even occurred to many that we need to consider atoning for all of the abuses we engaged in, supported, or stood idly by without judgement, those abuses directed at leftists.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      But leftism is a violation of the grand human project of elite rule, and they aren’t about to throw away ten thousand years of careful human breeding and training for a bunch of silly nonsense called fairness or justice. Elites have a right to exploit! It’s the “natural” order, don’tcha know? /s

      I will say it is something to behold to see this sudden flood of essays alleging the absolute necessity of elite social order, as if it were up for discussion but nobody wants to admit it. These will be very interesting times for future philosophers to consider.

      Reply
  16. Carolinian

    Thanks for the Doctorow. One should point out that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act gets about as much respect as the onetime fifty five mile per hour speed limit even if one is threatened with life imprisonment (or thereabouts) for copying a movie. One response to the printer scam is to never use a printer. Perhaps that’s why our devices seem to be ever more portable.

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      “One response to the printer scam is to never use a printer.”
      *******
      I don’t print much but when I do, I do it either at the library or a copy shop. What a racket these printers are. I finally figured out that the time replacing cartridges, cartridges not working, etc. just was not worth it.

      I think that a Proof we do not live in a capitalistic society is that you cannot buy a simple, b/w printer. I am very happy to no longer be a Printer Oligopoly Hostage.

      Reply
  17. antidlc

    KFF article on health expenses for 60-64 year olds:

    We analyzed a sample of medical claims obtained from the 2018 IBM Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database, which contains claims information provided by large employer plans.

    I would love to know how IBM gets this data, what data it includes, and how much you have to pay to get this data. Is the data anonymized?

    Reply
    1. juno mas

      What’s more important is the 60-64 cohorts health/work status. If they are all employed (and the 65+ not) then environmental/age issues may be in play. Most male heart attacks occur from 55-65 y.o. The health expenses for the two cohorts could be correlated to work stress/heart attack issues.

      I can tell you that my medical insurance costs dropped when transitioning from private insurance to Medicare at 65. But my personal medical expenses totaled over a million dollars from 60-65. In America, Don’t Get Sick!

      Reply
  18. Henry

    Since ~ 80 – 90 % of Indians are deficient in Vitamin D (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q_mhJRFtxg) perhaps we could point them to the studies showing its effectiveness against Covid (https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/11/3361/htm), no patents required and the process is so simple I could probably start manufacturing it, though not with the current purity or insanely low cost that you can get it for on the market. That of course means there is not much profit to be had and Vit D has terrible side effects where having sufficient blood levels tends to reduce the risk of all sorts of infections, heart disease, cancer, etc which could be deadly to the pharmaceutical industry. Also I’m not sure if Indians could be convinced that it was worth suspending some of there cultural practices, but India is a pretty sunny place for the most part and I suspect a few days of full sun exposure would be sufficient to provide significant protection (~ 50% risk reduction)
    Then of course there is the drug that can’t be mentioned with now 52 studies showing it’s effectiveness in prevention and cure both early, late and even for long haulers and since it is so much safer than the vaccines (~ 16 attributed deaths over 30 yrs) at least in the US recommending it would likely require the laws to be rewritten so that the vaccines could still be legal. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMeP66gdc4o &
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19DPijOoVKE)

    As an aside. Not sure about the energy usage compared to google, amazon, facebook server farms, but some might be interested in taking a look at a version of Web 3.0 soon to be launching, a decentralized platform based on blockchain that not only claims to solve the privacy and safety issues, but also allows developers to create platforms that are not controlled by a monopoly so can’t be censored. (https://dfinity.org/)

    Finally folks may be interested in this talk Climate Change and Butterflies in the Western US – TN2M3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsSQAKrLXEk)

    Reply

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