Readers, a request: Keith, who was been our absurdly calm and reliable hosting provider for many years, is getting out of the hosting business in the next few months. So we need a new host. For reasons I assume are obvious, we want our new host to be offshore, not located in a U.S. satrapy, and to be able to serve us from a physical rack (i.e., not AWS, again for obvious reasons. If the host wants to use their own cloud, that’s fine. If the rack is a fallback, fine). The host should be familiar with demanding WP sites.
Our first choice, Qurium, looks good, but does not respond to our inquiries, whether because of Covid or because we don’t fit their business model, we don’t know. So we need your help, either (1) to get through to Qurium, or (2) to develop and vet alternatives. Thank you! –lambert
Raise the Damned Gas Tax! Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture
Australia oil industry up in arms over proposed decommissioning levy Reuters. “Up in arms”? Good. Since we have no cases of auto-defenestration, the levy is probably too small.
The Complex 50-Year Collapse of U.S. Public Transit Bloomberg
Facebook hits $1 trillion value after judge rejects antitrust complaints Reuters. Now they can hire even better lawyers.
SEC Issues First-Ever Penalties for Deficient Cybersecurity Risk Controls JD Supra
Six Days in Suez: The Inside Story of the Ship That Broke Global Trade Bloomberg. Tight coupling broke global trade, not Boaty McBoatface. Well worth a read.
China Focus: Immune barrier urgently needed to combat delta variant: top epidemiologist Xinhua. “‘Considering the high viral load and highly contagious nature of the delta strain, we clarified that anyone who was in the same space, unit or buildings as a patient up to four days before the onset of the disease was a close contact,’ said [China’s top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan]. ‘Due to the change in the definition of close contacts, different management methods have been adopted.'”
SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines induce persistent human germinal centre responses Nature. From the summary in MarketWatch: “The study, conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, suggests that people vaccinated with those shots may not need boosters, .” Oh.
Researchers pinpoint possible sign you have COVID-19 after being vaccinated The Hill
Mixing Covid vaccines gives good protection, study suggests BBC
Is one vaccine dose enough if you’ve had COVID? What the science says Nature. “[S]cientists still don’t know whether one-jab programmes for the previously infected could leave some individuals with suboptimal protection. Nor is it clear that such programmes would be effective for all types of vaccine.”
Human Behavior During the Pandemic Is More Important Than Any Covid Variant NYT
COVID-19 Lockdowns Show a World Without Parachute Science Hakai Magazine
Prologue to the Sky River Avery Review. Important.
China’s Communist Party turns 100: how each generation justifies its rule South China Morning Post. For reference: NOTE TO SELF: China’s Politburo Standing Committees since 1956…
The Plot Against China? Foreign Affairs
How Beijing humbled Britain’s mighty HSBC Reuters
Dragon Man Emerges Patrick Wyman, Perspectives
Taking Aim at the Tatmadaw: The New Armed Resistance to Myanmar’s Coup International Crisis Group
ASEAN’s Future Will Be Decided in Myanmar Foreign Policy
Business as Usual? International Responses to the Military Coup in Myanmar (podcast) Southeast Asian Studies
Myanmar army ‘tightens grip’ on multibillion jade trade: Report Al Jazeera
Even Gold-Obsessed Indians Are Pouring Billions Into Crypto Bloomberg
A $27 Billion Pile of Debt Looms Over India’s New Bad Bank Bloomberg
How It Feels The Baffler. “A mutual aid movement emerges to fight the pandemic in India.” From April, still germane.
Surge in Covid-19 cases in Tokyo, less than a month out from Olympics Guardian (DL).
Bring it on! New Health Secretary Sajid Javid fights for our freedom as he declares July 19 MUST be end of the line for Covid lockdown Daily Mail. Sharpening the contradiction between “oublic health” and “medical freedom.”
Can Keir Starmer Bounce Back From A Batley And Spen By-Election Loss? HuffPo. Hey, he beat the socialist.
German finance minister Olaf Scholz rejects calls to reform fiscal rules FT
Emmanuel Macron’s personality politics fall short at local level FT. Énarques don’t have personalities. They have personas.
US, EU, Canada Impose Conditions for Possible Sanctions ‘Review’ Venezuelanalysis
New Cold War
Sailing Into Troubled Waters. Russia Counters Britain in the Black Sea Moscow Times
Biden seeks support for infrastructure deal after bungled rollout FT
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Is a Gift to Wall Street, at the Planet’s Expense Kate Aronoff, The New Republic
Biden Administration Defends Huge Alaska Oil Drilling Project NYT.
It Took Two Days to Make a Good CTC Website Matt Bruenig, People’s Policy Project
Mississippi received millions in rent aid. But many struggling tenants are still waiting. NBC
Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment Stundin. Snowden: “This is the end of the case against Julian Assange.”
Big Brother Is Watching You Watch
Security robots expand across U.S., with few tangible results NBC
OSHA Virus Rule Intended to Cover All Workers, Draft Shows (1) Bloomberg Law. Looks like the White House watered it down, with the CDC running interference for them.
Teamsters Take On Amazon Julia Rock, The Daily Poster
Amazon is using algorithms with little human intervention to fire Flex workers Ars Technica (Re Silc).
The Handbook of Handbooks for Decentralised Organising Richard D. Bartlett (Diptherio).
Rare Events Need Different Methods Zeynep Tufecki, Insight
Antidote du Jour (via):
Scritches from a friend pic.twitter.com/FhQTRe7PDg
— CAPYBARA MAN (@CAPYBARA_MAN) June 28, 2021
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/06/links-6-27-2021.html“>here.
Kate Aronoff’s New Republic piece “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Is a Gift to Wall Street, at the Planet’s Expense” is far more informative than The Common Dreams report “Progressives Alarmed by Privatization“ which Naked Capitalism linked to last week.
“Whatever 12-dimensional chess Democrats are playing with the bipartisan infrastructure plan,” Aronoff writes with a fittingly derisive tone, “passing it could be dangerous in its own right by opening the way to the backdoor privatization of infrastructure….”
She continues: “The revolving door between Wall Street and the White House might help explain why more hasn’t been done to crack down on banks. [National Economic Council head Brian] Deese—now tasked with designing the administration’s approach to climate risk—is Blackrock’s former global head of sustainable investment. Having been paid a $2.3 million salary by Blackrock in 2020 and $2.4 million in shares, Deese made a lot of money even by Wall Street standards after leaving the Obama administration, where he served as a top climate adviser. Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo is another Blackrock alumnus….”
So I am wondering whether Matt Stoller is looking into Blackrock’s role here. Can we ask him??
Congress can’t even pass Covid relief w/o even bigger give-a-ways to the rich and corporations. Why should I support a corrupt pro rich “infrastructure” bill?
Raise the Damned Gas Tax! Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture
I say: NO! tax the rich and corporations, not just working folks. Tax Amazon – which I see clogging “our infrastructure” on a daily basis. Tax Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Google, Boeing, Big Phrama, Koch Bros, overseas profits, etc.
Gridlock forever until this one thing – taxing the rich heavily – is done first I say. No compromise.
If not, maybe Americans can be like the French were when Marcon tried to raise fuel tax just after he slashed taxes on the rich.
I think an unspoken part of raising the gas tax is precisely affect the middle and lower classes in an attempt to force them off gas powered autos. Taxation is an effective tool to change public behavior.
If we can’t afford the gas we probably can’t afford the EV.
Let them eat electrons.
No, it’s them poors driving pristine f-350s, encouraged by deraged mileage standards, and buying tbone steaks. We need to teach them a lesson!
I think that’s the point. “Stay at home, poors!”. How can I enjoy the public commons if it’s crowded with poors?
There is not enough EV infrastructure to support everyone moving to EVs. EVs are for rich people, at least the tax incentives say so – if your tax liability is less than the full EV credit, you don’t get the full EV credit. Also, with relatively short range, and long charging times, EVs work much better in multi-car households.
Finally, some states are finding alternative ways to tax EVs since they’re seeing their gas tax revenues go down, and EVs use the roads, too.
It’s not unspoken, but it’s the excuse. Gas taxes proposed by the ilk of Buttigieg are never high enough to change the behavior of new vehicle buyers and largely hurt the second hand owners who aren’t donating to political campaigns. With gentrification and a lack of investment in busses/trolleys, they are more car reliant than ever. Instead of mileage standards and taxes that will really change behavior of the new vehicle buyer, phony gas taxes are proposed where the poor who aren’t in the market for evs are the ones affected.
Of course, one less spoken benefit is when the poor stop voting, Team Blue will blame the poor.
> Gas taxes proposed by the ilk of Buttigieg
It does occur to me that if the current infrastructure bill culminates in a lot of “asset recycling” (like selling off the TVA or a lot of major highways) then Mayo Pete, that slippery little scut, would be in the thick of the action. And maybe that’s why he was put there.
How do we get 1/2 the population who cannot afford a $500.00 emergency, have a $5K/yr health insurance plan, and are under the median US wage of $20/hr (before taxes) off gas powered automobiles when the most affordable hybrid, the Prius, is a minimum of $24K and still uses gas, to a “cheap” Tesla at $42K?
Do we leverage the little to no public transportation outside the biggest cities?
Wait… I know… more debt!
Anything to avoid addressing mileage standards and public transit, but you know who rides busses? Elites wouldn’t consider it.
My mom was legally blind, so we used the city bus as dad was at work and available for emergencies. A major problem was timing. If we missed the bus, especially in Summer because it could mean waiting or walking. The city wasn’t large enough for a bus to come every 15 minutes. In major cities, where the have that, the bus just works. The villain in Roger Rabbit needed to close the trolley line to get people to rely on cars.
I saw a study years ago, and a trolley like service that runs every 10 to 15 minutes would attract the 9 to 5 crowd. You wouldn’t even have to run it that often from 10 to 4. The problem was 20 minute intervals changed decision making. Invest in this? No, we need pods to keep the poors away!
It’s interesting that in Thailand there is a form of public transportation outside of the cities. There are old, dilapidated, uncomfortable buses (mostly painted orange and white, so “orange crush”) that run between small towns. The fare is usually small enough that even cash-poor farm laborers can afford them. In addition, there are entrepreneurs who put a roof over the back of their pickup trucks, and a couple of benches, and act like buses, picking people up and dropping them off, for a price of a few cents. The reason I find this strange is that these are people with almost no capital. The official minimum wage is mostly around $10 A DAY! In some provinces it’s lower. The fact that there are no similar institutions in America and Europe says something to me about “market failure.”
> The fact that there are no similar institutions in America and Europe says something to me about “market failure.”
Excellent point. This is the opening the horrid Uber exploited and degraded. Ditto the equally horrid scooters. I would imagine, however, that in the United States, licensing requirements would forbid “gipsy cabs” like this.
And if that happens, there will be no gas tax money to “maintain” the “infrastructure” and “we” can go back to square one and have this fight all over again.
In the meantime, those who can’t or won’t pony up for an EV can keep the “infrastructure” in good shape for those who do.
Ritholz is, supposedly, a savvy “investor.” For him, or anybody, to advocate a gas tax as a funding solution for fixing and maintaining deteriorating “infrastructure” suggests that he thinks all this bullshit hype about EVs taking over the world is nothing more than book talking. He went so far as to suggest a COLA adjustment to the tax in the future. The same “future” that, they’d have you believe, belongs to vehicles that don’t use any gas.
C’mon, man. Both things cannot be true.
Road Damage conforms to the 4th power law. Regular vehicles – even battery heavy EV’s don’t do much compared to trucks.
The Tooze link yesterday made it exceedingly clear it is that global top10-20% that are driving the problem.
Yes, tax oil, but provide material support for working people, public transportation investment and subsidies through the change over.
It’s not poor people driving to work that’s burning the world, that poor people in advanced economies have no other options isn’t a decision poor people made. It is the rich who made those decisions flying off to their yachts on private jets who are burning the world, and suggesting we tax the poor to fix it.
> The Tooze link yesterday made it exceedingly clear it is that global top10-20% that are driving the problem.
I should run that every day for a week.
That would be welcome. Its a great response to the tired old ‘population is the elephant in the room’ brigade. The primary problem is that a small percentage of the worlds population is generating a monstrously disproportionate level of pollution.
Almost not a bad idea. The subject matter explored at greater depth and from different angles is what deserves sustained attention. This is a job for mainstream media with the vast resources to do so. But that’ll be the day.
And then maybe once a week for the lifetime of this blog. Just to keep the ever-fresh reminders ever re-freshened forever.
( Straight-faced serious, because I don’t do sarc on blogs. I think that might well be a good idea.)
They’re also concerned abt the growing number of nomadic by choice individuals and couples. The cord cutters formerly at the core of the remains of the system. High enough gas prices ($6-7 a gallon? $10?) would limit the range of some and put others back into the corral of theur choice.
For me, a gas tax is a property tax. And there is no way taking more money away from me will help me save money that I do not have to buy an energy efficient vehicle.
This will change my behavior, but not in a way anyone would like.
During this PNW heat wave, I saw all the $100,000 RV’s pour into town, and this $290,000 beast park on the STREET right next to me towing a BMW and a motorcycle. The rick fcks won’t leave me alone.
Will a gas tax effect their behavior? Nope. The stupid burns.
Okay I had to click through to the link above! Wow, if I had that money to burn on both the rig as it is, plus all the required upkeep when something fails. Let alone the gas or diesel bill when fueling up.
I’ve looked at campers before but nowhere on that level. Looked as in more a curiosity for cross country adventures.
He’s not proposing a Euro style gas tax but merely that it keep up with inflation which it stopped doing in 1993.
In other words it’s not a substitute for soaking the rich as the country used to quite sensibly do. To be sure back then they had many schemes to evade but they still have those schemes while enjoying much lower tax rates.
Raising the gas tax is, as Ritholz notes, regressive. And probably more costly than the rare repair bills for cars damaged by crummy roads. Behind this, however, there seems to be an assumption that lots of people engage in lots of purely optional joy riding and can therefore afford to cut back. I doubt this is the case but I’d like to see stats, if there are any. Meanwhile, I’ll keep an eye on developments and be prepared to acquire a yellow vest.
Ritholtz totally ignores State Gas Taxes. In California our state gas tax is $0.553/gallon + the Federal $0.184/gallon for a total tax of $0.717/gallon. California isn’t even the highest with Pennsylvania ($0.58) getting that honor.
Theoretically, those taxes should be addressing state highways, bridges etc….In addition to our annual vehicle registration taxes. I pay @$150/year for my 2005 Honda and newer and/or bigger vehicles cost more.
As of this morning gasoline ranges from $4.25 to $4.45/gallon for regular unleaded where I live. My employer has mandated being back in the office as of next week. I live close to work so going to the plant 5 days/week will only cost me about $15. Several of my co-workers will be paying over $50/week for the privilege of working at the office. Public transportation for most of us doesn’t exist or is wildly inconvenient.
Is this another reason to stay home and collect unemployment benefits?
Not sure about Blackrock. But his latest piece on the FB ruling is outstanding as usual:
I liked this bit. It is clear that Wall Street is an exercise in getting the public to take on all risk, while making Wall Street eternally profitable and untouchable. Another step in government letting Wall Street take over, to own the whole country. Gov and WS working together to turn the citizenry into serfs.
“A two-page memo that’s emerged from bipartisan infrastructure talks gaining steam in the Senate pledges to pay for $579 billion of new spending with both user fees and a gas tax (options the Biden administration has come out against), as well as an array of private-public financing schemes (that it hasn’t). As David Dayen noted at The American Prospect, these financing options include tax-exempt private activity bonds—which allow governments essentially to borrow on behalf of a private company or nonprofit—and more inventive methods like “asset recycling,” which involves selling off existing public infrastructure to private companies to pay for new infrastructure. These schemes appear to save money in the short term but effectively move public assets into private hands, where they become cash cows for the companies that own them through higher rates.”
The plan is basically the same one we had from Obama. Trumps was also very similar. Now it’s Biden turn. Wall Street must be getting impatient.
“Wall Street”, broadly considered, owns congress. Is it shy about giving orders?
2 years ago i rented this kei car in Japan:
Better than 70 miles to the gallon driving city and country not carefully.
There’s a whole lot interesting taking place in todays nature antidote. What makes the bear take flight up to higher ground?
Bear markets everywhere?
When we toured a local winery, the owner pointed to a section of a 6 foot tall fence around a field of specialty grapes. The sturdy fence was completely flat for about 12 feet.
“The bears come up to the fence and just lean on it,” he said. “They keep pushing until it falls over.”
I’m expecting drought-stressed black bears in our backyard any day now. Perhaps seeking water and food.
Someone should shimmy up and bat them off like coconuts.
I’m damn curious, more than anything else in the news today. Any plausible explanations? Last tree for a thousand miles and hunters with dog packs showed up???
It’s a bear fraternity prank. Telephone booths are too few and too small.
I don’t get what all the fuss is about…that’s just a normal Black-Beary Bush. [ducks]
I was blown away by that bear photo. Never seen anything like it.
Unfortunately, there is no story about it (via), leaving me curious.
Thanks to the clever commentariat here, I was left laughing (‘black-beary bush’; ‘bear market’).
When the bear photo was posted in the nature is lit sub reddit it was debunked as a prank within an hour. I have no idea what it is doing on their twitter but I suspect it somehow did not get erased from their archive by moderator oversight.
Has NC ever erased an antidote? Can we still find that sloth doll that was mistakenly posted if we have sufficient search skill?
Assuming the photo is not a prank (see comment immediately above)…..
I’ll be back later with an un-bear-ably funny comment. Please bear with me.
Oh well it’s a good one if that’s just some photography trickeration. I didn’t grab the pic and email to all my contacts either…lol. a fun distraction.
> What makes the bear take flight up to higher ground?
I thought they were trying to escape the heat?
Gotta get up high to get that refreshing bear conditioning! Yeah that was bad, sorry guys.
That photo makes you think it is the last remaining tall pine tree and all 17+ bears have taken it over. Squatters.
Perhaps a partridge in a bear tree.
I was trying figure out how to get that to work for hours. I got to “An angry partridge at a bear tree?”.
Let me just say this about the antidote: LOLWTF.
Fascinating article, thanks for this link. The focus on the ‘sky river’ isn’t necessarily new. In the 1990’s I managed to tag along on a hydrogeological survey in Inner Mongolia at the edge of the Gobi – one of the mysteries of the water balance in this region is that there is much more groundwater recharge than models predicted. Rainfall is very scares there, but it was surprising how much water could be found with just a little digging, and surprisingly little of it was fossil water. The best guess at the time was that it was from dew (my tent would be sodden in the morning, despite it being on of the most arid places on the planet). It seems the Chinese have taken this idea very seriously.
What the Chinese are doing is of course geoengineering. I find the arguments around geoengineering somewhat pointless, as it will be done – by the Chinese. They aren’t going to ask anyones permission. And if it screws up a neighbours climate or water supply, that won’t bother then either (the Indians and Vietnamese, to name two, are all too aware of this).
I can’t recall the figures, but historically a remarkable percentage of senior CCP leaders have been trained hydroengineers of one form or another. Hydro engineering is central to the very existence of China, and has for millennia. It’s as if the US was run by the US Army Corps of Engineers. This is why controlling the Tibetan Plateau and the headwaters of all the major rivers of the region is central to their strategic thinking. There is also a cost to this thinking – their approach is very linear and oriented to throwing vast amounts of concrete at any problem. They pay lip service to softer and more integrated approaches to flood and water supply, but lip service is all it is.
> It’s as if the US was run by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
I’m pretty sure it was post-WWII?
> I find the arguments around geoengineering somewhat pointless, as it will be done – by the Chinese. They aren’t going to ask anyones permission. And if it screws up a neighbours climate or water supply, that won’t bother then either (the Indians and Vietnamese, to name two, are all too aware of this).
Nice little rice-growing delta you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it
Nice big cement dams you have there….
Did we mention that we Vietnamese essentially invented the ‘sapper’ (dac cong) concept, which is Special Forces meets combat engineers?
[Terrific piece on Sky River, thanks!]
The Hill article “Researchers pinpoint possible signs you have Covid-19 after being vaccinated,” uncritically repeats the tired CDC talking point that
The link included to support that assertion leads to the Harvard Health Publishing article “Should we track all breakthrough cases of Covid-19?” In that article, the author writes,
This is flat out wrong however; the CDC report states quite clearly that the number of breakthrough cases in the period of the study was 10,000 out of 101,000,000 fully vaccinated people – not 130,000,000 people.
So claiming that the breakthrough rate is less than one on 10,000 is wrong.
Even saying that the breakthrough rate is 1 in 10,000 is a stretch – the CDC acknowledges in the same report that the 10,000 breakthrough case number is likely an undercount.
If Massachusetts is any indication, the more accurate breakthrough rate for the general population is about 1 in 1,0000 fully vaccinated people.
But according to another CDC study involving healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workers, the breakthrough rate was about 90 per 1,000 fully vaccinated people.
So now the rate of breakthrough cases varies from .01% (as claimed in the Hill article), to .1% (the Massachusetts report) all the way to 9% (the CDC essential worker study).
Instead of mindlessly repeating CDC talking points, the media should be doing more to shed light on realistic breakthrough rates and which groups are especially at risk.
Correction — The sentence above should read:
If Massachusetts is any indication, the more accurate breakthrough rate for the general population is about 1 in 1,000 fully vaccinated people.
People keep forgetting that vaccine effectiveness is 95% at best, most vaccines are in 80-90% range. That means that at least 5% (more like 10-20%) of vaccinated people did not develop full immunity. Breakthrough infections are not a surprise as we are in the middle of the pandemic and there is ample opportunity to get infected.
Even 9% number from the CDC essential worker survey is very realistic, this is a group that has high level of exposure to potentially infected people, so it’s very likely to get infected if they didn’t develop immunity.
So none of this is surprising, this is a very different situation from other vaccines where you preemptively vaccinate the population to prevent the spread of the disease. In that case the disease has to spread through a largely vaccinated populace, so typically the probability of infection is very low. Here we are dealing with vaccinating for a virus that’s already widespread, it’s a very different mechanism.
The 95% number I believe you are quoting is from the original Pfizer study from December.
The “most other vaccines are in 80-90% range” – I am not certain what you are talking about. It depends on what exact parameter to which you are referring. When making comparisons like that , it is essential to compare apples to apples – and not apples to oranges. For example, the 60% flu shot number often discussed every year – is not at all the same parameter as the 95% RRR in case numbers in the Pfizer study for their COVID vaccine.
That Pfizer number is a relative risk reduction – (NOT absolute risk reduction). Relative and absolute risk reduction mean two completely different things. The issue is that RRR of 95% does not in any way imply a blanket 95% protection. This is not what that number means, especially in trials like the original Pfizer trial, where the vast majority of patients in both the vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups remained negative throughout the whole study.
However, our media has gone out of its way to make certain though that every American thinks that. Big Pharma uses these RRR numbers in their ads and glossies all the time – because in general they look really good to people who do not marinate themselves in medical statistics every day.
We should also remember that historically in vaccine research, the risk reduction in case numbers was not a leading indicator of efficacy of the vaccine. Rather, mortality efficacy, morbidity efficacy, and pathogen transmission rates were far more important – and critical to be done before approval was even considered. We have a bit more info about these critical parameters than we did in December but not much.
What I am saying is that this 95% number should in no way be being used in the way you are thinking about it – nor should the RRR be being used in the way the CDC or the vast majority of the media are using it in their reporting. It just does not mean what people think it does. And the case number reduction rate is only a very minor point in the actual efficacy of a vaccine.
Not every website is intended for mass consumption. If it were, there would be no elite. Think of The Hill and Politico as correspondence clubs where the “scholarly” courtiers can workshop their pro-oligarchy talking points among relatively friendly company and maybe augment their gig flow. The Hill is doing exactly what it was intended to do. It would be better if it didn’t exist, of course.
It does seem that they’re really, really interested in getting shots in arms, as a substitute for health care. I unfollowed some “waxed, vaxxed, and stocked on snacks” type on social media last night for unironically championing Team Moderna. Oh well. It’s beyond creepy. It’s Skub.
The article is interesting but lacks historical context. Experiments in the type of high density micro cities he describes were very common in Europe in the post war years. They ranged from attempts to create moderate densities along with separating pedestrians/cyclists from traffic (Milton Keynes), to car free zones often built literally on top of carparks with links to motorways (Basildon), with multiple different experiments. Some were moderately successful, many were catastrophes. Sometimes they were just conceptually flawed, sometimes the fault was the disastrous state of architecture at the time, often the problems were social – just dumping poor people into a high density area and assuming that nice homes will result in nice outcomes. Designing new cities is very difficult and very expensive.
Going back millennia, small dense cities were the norm – from Greek City States to Bastides, the density came about because of the cost of city walls and everyone wanting to be able to walk to the market. It was the car and to a lesser extent the spread of public transport in the 19th Century that messed things up.
I’m not sure the writers notion that somehow creating competitions will result in better urban areas. We know how to make great compact cities. The Greeks managed it 2,500 years ago, the Romans and Mayans weren’t half bad, and many other successful societies across the globe managed it. Its hard to beat the quality of urbanity represented by 18th Century European urban planning, everyone still wants to live in places that look like Bath in England or Georgetown or Barcelona for a pretty good reason. The best way to achieve this is not to assume that we know more than those long dead architects and to stop catering for the private car. Not letting highway engineers anywhere near the process would also help mightily.
Excellent analysis, pookun.
But where’s the profit in happy, healthy inhabitants?
The Romans profited by making great small colonial cities with running water, sanitation and public baths. The Chinese now fund new towns and urban expansion through the extraction of value by taking land at agricultural value and using the surplus to pay for services.
So it is possible to have self financing urban developments – but only by making the land value public. 19th Century private railway operators bought up land in advance before building a station, then profiting from the urban developments around them. Private operators find it more profitable to manipulate the city and try to make the government pay for the infrastructure. Its all connected with a rotten land and property system. Henry George was right.
I’ve read up on the politics behind the Chairs created at “Ivy League” (USA) and many “red brick” (UK) universities. Marxism was deliberately played up because the powers that be “knew they could beat it”. They eliminated Georgism from syllabi precisely because they couldn’t beat it – when those notorious lefties Adam Smith and Ricardo endorsed land value taxation (/s) you know you’re in trouble.
That is interesting. When I studied economics back in the late 1980’s TCD in Dublin had a somewhat eccentric lecturer called Raymond Crotty who was an avowed Georgian. I read his book at the time (advocating a George style land tax used to fund a UBI) and while his proposals were a bit pie in the sky, his central argument seemed to me to be entirely sound.
I remember once during a lecture in UCD his name was mentioned and the entire studentship laughed. I doubt any of them had bothered reading his book, they’d just been trained to see heterodox economists as figures of fun (there were a few around, but they were rarely allowed near students). I remember even the professor (who despite being a mainstream macro guy, was clearly more open minded than most of his colleagues) looked quite shocked at the laughter.
After the Celtic Tiger crash, another of the rare heterodox economists (a specialist in medieval urban economics, so well outside the mainstream) was the only one to accurately predict the timing and scale of the collapse. I recall in an interview that he said knew the economy was screwed when he heard so many of his ex students on the radio, representing the banks. He hinted that he knew them from their work and character, so hearing them assuring the country that all was well with the banks was a very strong counter indicator that we were all up that creek without a paddle.
You can’t keep those Georgeists down. The Lincoln Land Institute has been doing the right thing for many years. I was a devotee back in my land use planning days. They tried to popularize the concept of “givings.” Think the opposite of “takings”, whereby land owners benefiting from the extension of publicly funded infrastructure are required to pay a beneficial surtax to the municipality. They had some success in South America.
Comedian Alexei Sayle has been taking short bike tours down the City and posting the videos on YouTube. One of his bike rides had been through Milton Keynes. I don’t think particular mind was paid to the infrastructure, by him or this viewer. I’ll try it.
The writer’s notion that competition solves things is simply liberal dogma and I wish it could be merely dismissed as such. It is worth looking at the k-shaped reward structure for losers based on their class to understand the purpose of competition and the reasons that the gentry promotes it nearly fetishistically. I’m not sure Waldman thinks creating material undesert for the sake of a ridiculous game is an entirely bad thing, in other words.
Thank you for that! I wasn’t aware he was doing this. Sayle has been a favorite of mine for years.
Here is the first of the Sayle videos on Milton Keynes:
Seems to have been optimized for cars?
Since my last comment got snagged by the moderators – I guess I should have marked my snarc – let me try again.
Please, Please, don’t romanticize the past. I don’t know about the Mayans, but for the Greeks and Romans, most of that wonderful architecture, like our Washington DC architecture, was built by slave labor. And most of it didn’t come out of public funds, rather it was built by the elite to further their ‘dignitas’. Can you imagine our elite building structures for public use? And it wasn’t available to everyone – just those who had the time to enjoy it.
I would also remind you of the insulae most people lived in and the constant fires in Rome amongst the dwellings of the not so elite.
I wouldn’t look to ancient civilizations as a model because their models worked but only for the elite. And aren’t the elite living well now in our civilization? I think we need a new model of city building – one that improves the lives of all people.
I do like the idea of smaller, more communal cities, though!
I wasn’t referring to all their cities I was writing about the planned smaller cities of the period, usually in colonised areas – the Greek colonia around the Mediteranean for example, or Roman cities like Avignon or Baalbek. Frontier cities had to be nice, as you needed to persuade the right people to move there. The bastides of medieval france would be an example – they were built to reinforce frontiers – giving people a nice home and some land was the lure to get an armed population along your boundary with a hostile neighbour. There are many equivelents for various middle and central Eastern empires – such as the cities the Persians built as a chain of barriers between them and the roving horse raiders of central Asia. Building from scratch gave them an opportunity to put in good infrastructure (and associated rules) from the beginning. But a rational layout was logical when you had to design them for defensive purposes.
Tropical cities like those of the Khymer or Mayans were often constructed as nodes of smaller dense settlements spread over a wide area, presumably so most food could be grown within the boundaries. They probably weren’t planned as such, but they did have to follow patterns formed by irrigation works.
Let’s do whatever they did in the Amazon.
Edible forests (see NC here and here, among others). Although the plants would need to be different.
Involved both plantings and the soil (terra preta). Private property lines might get in the way of an effort like that, though.
One of the interesting questions in prehistory is why grain growing societies seemed to dominate over those with more diverse sources of food, such as those tropical civilizations based on mixes of nuts and fruits from trees and root crops. One explanation is that grain is easier to tax – its far easier for tax collectors to roll up at harvest time to demand the rulers share than it is with tree cropping, as the latter has a much longer and less predictable season. Root crops are also easier to hide from the tax collectors (‘you want 20% of my potatoes? Fine, go dig them, they are in that field over there‘).
Might as well put an Asterisk NEXT TO EVERY REFERENCE TO ANYTHING IN THE PAST.
I’m a Marxist and I’d love for us all to work together in peace and harmony and No one be a slave but literally our whole current Economic System is built on Neoliberal Slave Labor where thousands die every day due to poor living conditions in the U.S.
It’s curious how what ur saying dovetails nicely with the current Liberal Establishment. Are u purposely trying to divide us here at NC?
I spent a year in Harlow New Town (Essex, UK)
When Harlow was created as a New Town some 70 years ago, it grew from a vision shaped by Sir Frederick Gibberd, acknowledged as one of the leading architect planners of his time. Gibberd saw the town as ‘an organism which would go on changing and being rebuilt as the needs of the people changed.’” – https://hggt.co.uk
I found it a soulless place of concrete, convenience and right-angles like the yards outside an abattoir – perfectly suiting Joni Mitchell’s parking-lot plonked on Paradise. In a sense Gibberd was right, communities should be organic and grow as the people who live there shape it to fit their lives, but Gibberd and his ilk arrogantly took that as licence to impose on the community their view of what “the people”‘s needs should be and how they should live their lives.
There are multiple complex reasons why the new towns of the post war era were generally so bad, but the architecture profession has to take a large share of the blame. New towns from an earlier era – such as Bourneville (now a suburb of Birmingham) and Port Sunlight worked very well and were often beautiful (and still are). The Arts and Crafts influence obviously helped. Even the estate villages/towns of Britain and Ireland, which were generally constructed for rich landowners to maintain control over their employees and tenants usually ended up much nicer and more socially mixed than the post war new towns which were created with much more idealism.
Incidentally, this isn’t just hindsight. The Town and Country Planning Journal, which was to some extent a 20th Century survival from the 19th Century Arts and Crafts movement, was highly critical at the time of the designs at the time (I once, out of curiousity, spent an evening going through old copies in a library to see waht had been said at the time). They were dismissed as upper class fuddie duddies at the time, but almost all their criticisms turned out to be correct.
‘it could be dangerous in its own right by opening the way to the backdoor’
Dangerous or ‘Profitable’?
They know what they are doing.
working link for Dragon Man Emerges:
fixed it. Thanks!
Correct link for Dragon Man Emerges: https://patrickwyman.substack.com/p/dragon-man-emerges
fixed it. Thanks.
“‘Like a sauna in our apartment’: Record-breaking heat in Pacific Northwest hits high of 116 degrees; cooler temperatures expected Tuesday”
No matter how hot it was in NE America, it seems that Canada had even higher temperatures. One place even reached 47.9C (118.2F) on Monday which is nothing less than ferocious. It must be playing hell with the flora and fauna on both sides of the border-
Here in central WA with no air conditioning we are sweltering in place. The thermometer on our back porch reads 112F in the shade.
> sweltering in place
Good one. Sorry for this!
Yeah, let’s raise the gas tax and thereby raise the price of everything shipped by truck (i.e. everything). Food has already gotten stupid expensive around here (upstate New York).
Trucks use diesel, not gasoline.
The diesel tax is already higher. They wouldn’t miss raising it. Outfits like Ford and Chevy would lobby to raise it before people bought BMWs instead of F350s, and Congress Andrew the states would oblige, ignoring why people bought those vehicles these days.
Exactly! The federal diesel fuel tax is 24.4 cents per gallon whereas the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
Diesel engines are some 20-33% more efficient. Diesel fuel contains about 10% more energy than petrol per liter (32.2MJ/L gasoline vs. 35.9MJ/L for diesel). I don’t see unwarranted discrimination through a mileage-tax or carbon-tax lens. On the other hand, that third-or-fourth-power relationship between axle weight and road wear would have to be compensated elsewhere.
That’s basically it, most diesel is consumed by tractor trailers and large trucks, basically very heavy vehicles historically used for commercial purposes.
I think anyone who stands nearby an idling truck could quickly surmise that diesel engines pollute on a much higher level than your average car, Monster SUVs included.
My guess is even here on NC not that many have stood nearby an idling truck.
But they still pay a tax on that fuel at the pump and they have to report for tax purposes where they used that fuel so that they pay the proper state taxes as well as the federal tax.
Most trucking companies in the US are a part of IFTA :
@Chris Smith — food also very high here in NE Ohio.
re: Facebook complaints dismissal.
They gave the FACEBOOK antitrust case to the PRESIDING JUDGE of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court?? Facebook. To the PJ of the FISC. Stop, stop- you’re killing me! I’m busting a gut over here!
The PMC has gone from hiding their abuses and agenda, to replaying farce after farce to show the complete ineffectiveness of opposition within the system, to straight up trolling, to…this. I prefer the earlier seasons; the showrunners aren’t even trying anymore.
He knows where his file is kept.
> They gave the FACEBOOK antitrust case to the PRESIDING JUDGE of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court??
Very good catch. Gosh, I wonder why they did that.
“US, EU, Canada Impose Conditions for Possible Sanctions ‘Review’’
I think that the conditions are to let Greedo become President and for Venezuela to put their oil fields up for sale. But I was just thinking what would have happened if what is being done to Venezuela was a normal practice back in the 19th century. Can you imagine?
1862 – “UK, France, Canada Impose Conditions for Possible Sanctions ‘Review’
London and its allies today demanded Washington show “meaningful progress” in talks with internationally-recognized President Jefferson Davis and uphold international standards for democracy. The British Empire and France have announced a series of conditions the Union must meet in order for them to “review” their sanctions regimes and that the Abraham Lincoln government demonstrate “meaningful progress” in a “comprehensive negotiation” with the Confederacy. The foreign policy representatives went on to call for the “unconditional release” of Confederate prisoners, the “independence” of political parties like the Peace Democrats (the “Copperheads”), freedom for the press and an end to “human rights abuses.” The Lincoln government remained unavailable for comment.
Well said and but for Antietam all to possible.
The sheer arrogance of the very concept of a “sanctions” review” would be breathtaking had it not become banal. It is the present day equivalent of sending in the Marines to give the cheeky buggers a lesson.
…that’s exactly what did happen in 1862, until the Emancipation Proclamation was released (though sanctions weren’t exactly meaningful at that time, they did the opposite – continue trading with a breakaway region in opposition to understood international norms). Read A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman and/or The Cause of All Nations by Don Doyle for more details. Though it was less about “democracy” and more about “the rights of nations”.
I believe that the term used in the 19th Century was “gunboat diplomacy”.
And the article should refer to the “Lincoln regime” as “regime” is code for “government that we don’t like”.
> the article should refer to the “Lincoln regime”
And then of course there’s “the disputed election of 1860,” where Lincoln didn’t receive a single vote in many Southern states, leading many to “question his legitimacy.”
For an alternative web hosting & co-location company check out https://www.hetzner.com/.
I’ve used them in the past with good results. They are not Word Press specialists, but they do provide bare-metal servers at very affordable prices, and “managed” servers for a bit more.
Thank you. Because our WordPress installation has such a large database (due primarily to comments), we put atypical loads on the server. And we have very little tolerance for downtime, so a human needs to be on call. They explicitly do not offer WordPress support.
Contact me via email and we can discuss some ideas. (I am presuming that you can see my email address.)
InMotion has been solid for a long time
They are located in Virginia Beach, VA. Please read the requirements.
I thought I posted a comment early on. You may want to check on OVH , which offers about anything you want out of the way. Incorporated in France, though, so not really out of the satrapy.
You’ll find this is the case for many of these programs.
Here in PA, you needed crazy documentation in order to get your rent aid. Given that the average reading level for Americans is something like 6th grade or lower, the documentation requirements mean that this simply will not actually happen.
They make you jump through so many hoops that one gets tired and don’t send in documentation. Why not 1 page that requires name and address and amount paid in rent?
United orders 200 Boeing 737 MAX planes in huge boost for the jet program [Seattle Times]
It must be great being too big to fail.
Thanks, it makes me wonder what’s in the infra bill for airlines and boeing
Big airlines with reserves are ordering plenty of them – they have no real choice if they are already locked into using 737’s – Ryanair as an example. The question is whether they are buying more of them than they intended 2 years ago, which seems unlikely.
The real measure is orders from leasing companies, as they will only buy aircraft that they are sure they can lease to smaller airlines worldwide. So far as I’m aware, they’ve been staying away from the market, even with temptingly low prices on offer from Boeing.
However according to the Seattle Times on Sunday, the FAA has told Boeing that it must delay certifying their new 777X until 2023.
This 2017 essay by Lewis Lapham – published in Lapham’s Quarterly magazine issue about fear – seems relevant.
“Fear, says Lewis Lapham, is America’s top-selling consumer product.”
(I thought voting T out of office would lessen the all-fear-all-the-time MSM howlings. I was wrong.)
Really great essay! Thanks.
“Australia oil industry up in arms over proposed decommissioning levy”
Well I can understand why these oil corporations are so upset. It goes against the standard model where a depleted oil field or mine has its assets vested in an “independent” corporation which then proceeds to go bankrupt – leaving the costs of decommissioning to a State or even a country. Taxing them for the purposes of decommissioning before they have a chance to get out of that oil field is just not fair. It’s not cricket, dammit!
RE: It Took Two Days to Make a Good CTC Website
There is no way looking at the website that anyone can tell me they did not design it like that on purpose to limit the amount of people who can claim a child tax credit.
Everyday I read about the current administration I grow more angry with myself that I did not vote 3rd party.
I am waiting to see what the COLA will be for those of us on SS disability will be this year. I am sure they will make some excuse why it did not increase.
why there is no increase [in SS diability] (which also of course affects standard SS and military retirement and military disability pensions. )
Why? Because there’s no inflation don’t’cha know. Except, I just went to the Post Office and saw they’ve doubled the yearly post office box rental rate. Gas prices are up significantly in the last month. Grocery prices are up. But… there’s no inflation…by some definitions. / ;)
Groceries are WAY up, in every category: fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, frozen vegetables, dry goods, staples. The loss-leader prices in the weekly ads are at the level regular prices used to be, sometimes higher. Disheartening and worrisome…
On a brighter note: Krystyn–good to see you here again!
We are in an inflationary period, yet somehow the price of gold does not reflect that, even while the central bank of Thailand bought 90 tons of it in April and May of this year.
My sympathies. Expect your anger and regret to be constant. It takes so long to recognize that unless the candidate with the D is under attack from the party, you might as well vote for the Republican. That way you don’t have to listen to the lame excuses about why they did what they did as they screw you.
Yes, there is a certain je ne sais quoi about the grand old party. I always put it down to their penchant for stabbing us in the face, whereas the donkey guys prefer that we do a 180 and take the blade in the back.
> There is no way looking at the website that anyone can tell me they did not design it like that on purpose to limit the amount of people who can claim a child tax credit.
Hanlon’s Razor has to be pretty sharp to cut through that website, I agree.
Amazon must think there is an infinite pool of people available to crap on. Both for their warehouse positions and the delivery positions.
Amazon is already known as being a crappy place to work.
Maybe there will always be a desperate pool of people to draw on, but one can hope that eventually it will get to the point no would ever want to work for them.
They’re getting ready to turn the lights on at a gigantic new Amazon warehouse just up the road from me. Amazon has been absolutely carpetbombing the area with “come work for us” advertising. I’d be interested to see how that’s going for them.
I’m wondering if the job dissatisfaction is strictly with the warehouse and delivery positions as opposed to the professional class ones. A few years ago I ran into a tech writer who works for Amazon and she is supposedly very happy with her gig. She left the Bill Gates mothership to work for it.
I hear that white collar workers at Bezos’ farm can sometimes be found crying at their desks.
About a week ago the landlord let us know he was thinking about listing the duplex where I have been renting the upper apartment for the last several years. I heard no more from him. A few days ago a real estate agent and three ‘buyers’ showed up for a walk-thru. After a quick walk-thru, they stood out in the yard in plain earshot talking to each other about how it looked ‘good’. The lead ‘buyer’ got on his cell phone to report that it looked like the numbers worked — and the three drove off.
The real estate agent told the guy downstairs that these ‘buyers’ had already purchased a number of the other duplexes in our immediate area but not to worry. They didn’t raise the rents or do anything other than make some needed repairs. For example our duplex had been in need of a new roof for some time.
I guess the Great Reset isn’t just some sick joke. I also guess the CARES Act might have originated from the Davos crowd. I remain amazed by how slickly they arranged for its unanimous passage through Congress. I also believe Biden lied when he promised that nothing would change. I think he meant that nothing in the ‘plans’ would change. The Infrastructure Bill appears to offer further proof of this notion.
I hope for you sake, and the sake of your fellow tenants, that they don’t upend your living situation. Had that happen at my last apartment. It’s a rotten situation to get booted because a new investor wants to squeeze a few more dollars out of a dilapidated place.
There’s a chain on pawn shops I’ve seen in my travels called “Pawn America” and it is the most accurate name for our nation’s current state I’ve seen. Everything is being sold off to the private investor class: water, housing, transportation, energy, food, infrastructure, war, policing, space…
There is no public good anymore. We the People are having our aspirations of a perfect union – justice, domestic tranquility, common defence, and general welfare – commodified for the enrichment of a few, crapified for the many, and weaponized against the left-behind.
I guess it sorta makes sense. We founded the nation by evicting the indigenous, built it on the labor of indentured servants and slaves, and now are just reverting back to our past: Make America Great Again, manifest destiny, etc.
Have read others say it, and often ponder if the past 75 or so years of prosperity and relative comfort we have been fortunate to experience is merely a fluke in human history instead of the so-called arc of progress. Are we just creative primates who, like a million monkeys at a million typewriters for a million years, got lucky and wrote Shakespeare – and are now reverting to typing gibberish? Some of the monkeys seem aware they did something magnificent and want to retain that but most seem more intent on banging away and fling their feces when told to focus on spelling and sentence structure.
I don’t know. Maybe every generation worries they’re on the cusp of downfall? Even so, a broken clock is still right sometimes.
My late mom (who lived through both) thought the New Deal and the Great Society were good but temporary aberrations, and that the last 40+ years have been a reversion to the U.S. 19th century norm. She said she and my dad had had the best the U.S. would ever offer. My wife and I caught the tail end of the good times (retired with a pension and free health insurance) but plenty our age and almost all our son’s age have it mighty tough…
Thanks for the kind wishes. I had been planning to move for the last couple of years. Our landlord’s selling of the duplex put the necessary fire under my ass. I am concerned that I won’t be able to move fast enough to avoid dealing with a new landlord to get my deposit back. There are things I need to get done that I postponed on account of the Corona pandemic. I may not be able to complete everything fast enough if the sale closes as quickly as some of these Investor sales can close.
Not surprisingly all the local storage spaces were full when I checked around a little last week. I keep reminding myself I will be using my current landlord for the requisite referral when I look for a place in the little town I want to move to.
Jeremy, sending good thoughts and I hope everything works out for you. It’s a rotten position to be in and so unsettling.
I wish I could share Snowden’s enthusiasm about Assange. There’s no way a bad witness, even a key witness, ends this case. The only thing that ends it is the President ending it.
Useful Idiots Matt and Katie interview Norm Finkelstein. (full interview is paywalled, however this short intro is worth reading in itself, imo.)
Nobody has a monopoly on Truth.
‘“For even your most deep-seated belief, you have to leave at least some corner of your mind open to the possibility that you’re wrong.”
‘Why? Because Norm told you to.
He describes how he learned this key life lesson from a college professor. This professor is the only professor he remembers because this was the only professor who forced him to think. His right-wing professor.’
adding: here’s part of the useful idiots interview, not paywalled. utube, ~30 minutes of the interview.
Thanks for the Ever Given link–indeed worth a read.
Tokyo surging. Come on folks. 317 cases in a city of what 38 million?
For hosting, it might be worth checking out Koumbit. They are a nonprofit based in Montreal. They host a lot of community sites and activists so they shouldn’t cave in to pressure, and they can offer live support.
Canada is a US satrapy (sorry, Canadians). They do look like they have the technical chops, though!
Snowden about Assange’s persecutors: “This is the end of the case against Julian Assange.”
Assange’s persecutors about Snowden’s observation: ” Case? We don’t have any case. We don’t need no steenkin’ case!”
I think Snowden himself gets this. But he cannot say that part out loud.
May First Movement Technology has over 800 members hosted on their servers and a a long, public track record of defending movement organizations against corporate and government attack. If you are looking for a partner in movement building that will collaborate on hosting, May First is a good choice.
This sounds laudable, but I’m not sure it meets the requirements of offshore hosting and WP expertise.
re: Qurium – my rule is never chase a vendor, no matter how appealing. If they don’t get back to you now, how will it be when you have a service problem. Doesn’t Rackspace offer hosting outside the U.S.?