Links 6/3/2021

Why a Failing New Jersey Deli Is Valued at $100 Million: A Theory New York Magazine

Hacker Lexicon: What Is a Supply Chain Attack? Wired

Capacity prices down 64% in PJM’s first auction in three years S&P Global. “Renewable energy resources, nuclear units and new natural gas-fired generators saw the greatest increases in cleared capacity, while coal units saw the largest decrease, PJM said in a statement.”

Andrew Bailey: Tackling climate for real – the role of central banks (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

#COVID19

Biden announces ‘National Month of Action’ — that could include free beer — to get more Americans vaccinated by July 4 CNN

Resistance to vaccine mandates is building. A powerful network is helping. WaPo

Antibody Testing Not Useful to Prove Immunity Among Vaccinated: FDA MedScape

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Experts dispute Victoria claim that Kappa variant is more infectious than previous Covid outbreaks Guardian

Is the Second Shot Giving Young Men a Dangerous Heart Condition? New York Magazine

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‘A perilous point’: Global agencies call for $50 billion investment to combat Covid-19 STAT

Wanted: rules for pandemic data access that everyone can trust Nature

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Boxed in: How a single Pfizer decision complicated the Covid vaccine rollout while boosting profits Stat

The lab-leak mess Columbia Journalism Review

They’re keeping their masks on. Their reasons extend beyond their health. NBC

Las Vegas Poised For Full Reopening As First Major Convention Looms Deadline

Why TikTok’s chaotic ‘kickbacks’ took off with young people starved for company CNN. Extroverts are gonna kill us all.

China?

Biden’s Asia Czar Says Era of Engagement With China Is Over Bloomberg

If the US went to war with China, who would win? Nikkei Asian Review

Xi’s Historic Mistake Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate

China ousts Taiwan as Apple’s biggest source of suppliers Nikkei Asian Review

Slow to start, China mobilizes to vaccinate at headlong pace AP

Beijing quashes annual Hong Kong rally to mark Tiananmen massacre FT

China makes desalination push to ease water scarcity Reuters

China reports human case of H10N3 bird flu, a possible first AP

Australia has a devastating secret weapon against China Macrobusiness

US confident in Asean’s plan for post-coup Myanmar. Others, not so much South China Morning Post

Decentering Asean in the Quad’s Indo-Pacific Strategy 9Dashline

Myanmar

Chaos in Myanmar Is China’s Nightmare United States Institute for Peace

With no income and little support, CDM participants face tough choices Frontier Myanmar. Then again:

Myanmar: The Karen separatists helping young city kids take up arms against military Channel News Asia

Burma Army Fights DKBA and its Allies – 600 Villagers Displaced in Myawaddy Township Karen News

Could phone footage put Myanmar’s leaders in jail? (video) BBC. No, obviously.

Sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in border districts Daily Star. Bangladesh. Next, I assume, Myanmar.

India

India’s Cascading COVID-19 Failures Foreign Affairs

How Modi’s fraught relationship with pandemic data has harmed India FT

Chemical cargo ship sinks off Sri Lanka, fouling rich fishing waters Reuters

South Korea

South Korea’s elderly conservatives turn to YouTube, and conspiracy theories Rest of World

The future of manicures: Would you get your nails done by an AI robot? Channel News Asia

Syraqistan

Israeli opposition heads agree to form gov’t, boot Netanyahu out Al Jazeera

US sells off Iranian crude oil seized off coast of UAE AP

Turkey to Send Home Russian S-400 Missile System Experts in Signal to U.S. – Reports Moscow Times

UK/EU

‘Too narrow, too small and too slow’: School catch-up tsar lashes Boris Johnson after revealing he had ‘no option’ but to quit after government gutted his recommendations Daily Mail

The Cladding Scandal Isn’t Over Tribune

After Joint Debt, EU Seeks More Integration With Digital ID Card Bloomberg

New Cold War

“The Rrrrussians come again.” Patrick Lawrence, The Scrum

Russian elite hope Biden summit will boost foreign ties FT

Novichok Inquest to Be Stopped Dances with Bears

Mexico turns to private sector to develop lithium mining Mexico Daily News

See the horrifying place where your old clothes go to die Carib Report

Biden Administration

Joe Biden Is Filling Top Pentagon Positions with Defense Contractors The Intercept

U.S. to detail global distribution plan for 80 mln vaccine doses Reuters. Molasses for brains.

The Utterly Embarrassing Failure to Quickly Send Extra U.S. Vaccine Doses Overseas National Review. When you get owned by the National Review, the situation is bad.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun — Even Without the New Laws Biden Wants Glenn Greenwald

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Brazilianization of the World American Affairs

Guillotine Watch

Dr. Fauci’s forthcoming book is REMOVED from the internet after being posted for presale prematurely – as publisher claims he WON’T make a dime from the tome or a related documentary Daily Mail. That’s a damn shame.

Inmates sent home during COVID-19 got jobs, started school. Now, they face possible return to prison USA Today (dk).

Class Warfare

For Many Workers, Change in Mask Policy Is a Nightmare NYT

Amazon warehouse injuries ‘80% higher’ than competitors, report claims BBC

Labor aristocrats:

The Great Reset Barry Ritholtz

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

This is an elephant epic. I hope they arrive at their destination safely.

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.

120 comments

  1. Isotope_C14

    “Biden announces ‘National Month of Action’ — that could include free beer — to get more Americans vaccinated by July 4 CNN”

    Although I was very tempted to fly back this week and get the vaccine in West Virginia, obviously for a free gun, I think I’m going to wait until it a completely decked out fishing boat with dual fish-finders, torpedo tubes, and a .50 caliber machine gun are offered.

    Guys, don’t sell yourselves short! It’s like $GME all over again!

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Forget a free chicken in every pot, I want a case of our finest corporatized, mass marketed adult beverages. It’s not the best but we can’t get picky.

      Still think the biggest beer sign I’ve ever seen was at the old Texas Stadium near Irving, TX. huge Miller Lite signage.

      Reply
        1. griffen

          I have nothing against a Tall PBR! Michelob Ultra tends to be the frequent choice. Used to rotate through some good wheat beer options when I lived in North TX.

          Reply
    2. Keith

      Honestly, I am now holding out for a WA state freebie. A free gun would be nice, but they will need to do a little better than beer for me.

      Reply
    3. Cuibono

      “would you take the vaccine for a million dollars? ”
      “well, of course.”
      “Well then how about for a free beer?”
      “whatddaya think i am, a prostitute?”

      Reply
  2. zagonostra

    >If the US went to war with China, who would win? Nikkei Asian Review

    Of course — no one really “wins” a major war. But the best way to avoid having to go to war at all is to convince your potential opponent that they almost certainly would be the biggest loser

    Is that like if you’re dead your opponent can be even more dead so therefore so you win? I don’t get it.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Actually this is pretty easy to work out this. The first two weeks of a major war the US has the edge on the Chinese military right up to the point where the US has to order replacement parts as their equipment starts to break down through wear and tear. Guess where they come from these days?

      Reply
      1. JohnnySacks

        The end would be when the draft is reinstated after the first massacre in order to re-up the human cannon fodder. The 10% are not going to be singing the star spangled banner as their kids are packed off to half way around the world to protect the Apple and Walmart supply chain. We’re so used to being the bully fighting the schoolyard weaklings that we’d be completely lost against any real enemy. Hell, 2 decades later we still can’t successfully deal with a rag tag group of dedicated Afghanis using hit and run guerilla warfare tactics.

        Reply
        1. Pelham

          Good observation about those supply chains. And didn’t US automakers in Germany before and during WWII eventually win US compensation for US bomb damage inflicted on their Nazi plants during the war? I wonder whether we’d face something similar or more embarrassing after a war with China. (What puzzles me is the question of who’s pushing this narrative. Corporate America loves China. Maybe it’s the defense establishment. If so, it’s terribly shortsighted as they depend on Chinese-made parts.)

          Re Afghanistan: We might also ask why 300,000 highly funded and US-trained Afghan troops can’t whip about 35,000 Taliban.

          Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ian Welsh had a fun/good wrote up, but without major force disposition changes similar to what he proposed in an area like East Africa, it’s the Millennium Games but on a grander scale. We know how Iran would go. If the US had a temporary edge at the he end of two weeks, it would be a miracle. Any significant US build up would be responded to. Too many missiles and too many targets that would disrupt everything. Desert Storm came after six months of bombing with the Iraqi Army being in Kuwait, and every country in the world including the USSR being on the US side. Iraq had recently been fighting Iran for the US for ten years. Weather gave the opportunity to the Iraqis to hit back. They didn’t take it, but it was there.

        Reply
        1. JCC

          There were other problems in regards to the Iraqi Armed Forces failing so quickly. I was given an Army summary of the overall initial battles back in 2004 which I don’t have handy right now, so I cannot quote directly. Essentially the US Army stated that Hussein made a serious tactical error that culminated in a quick initial victory.

          Instead of deploying his best trained troops (the Republican Guard which was pretty substantial) and his best sections of air power, he kept them well protected and far from the battle lines, a huge mistake on Hussein’s part according to our US Army tacticians.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m not sure where Hussein was on the invasion at the time. Maybe he believed the US would really leave when they found no WMDs, but in the 90’s, he went big on Iraq’s version of the US religious right for Sunnis. He wasn’t near the House of Saud or anything, but he considered religious make up of his units.

            Reply
      3. Keith

        Who wants a two week war? They is a lot of money to be made in the contracts for parts and such. Both sides also benefits from having a hot enemy to hate and anyplace to direct all that excess testosterone. Add in some drones and robots, and you’ll also get a more entertaining and lower intensity conflict that can be dragged out for a while.

        After all, “war is a racket,” and there is no sense in letting it go to waste.

        Reply
      4. PlutoniumKun

        The key problem for the US is supply lines, which is why China focuses so hard on trying to take out refueling aircraft and denying the US its key bases. But in the real world scenario while Japan, ROK, Vietnam, etc., would try to stay out of a conflict, a draw of some sort is in their interests (they certainly do not want a dominant, victorious China on their doorsteps) so they would not want to see things tilted too far to one side or another. So realistically, if China succeded in withstanding an initial US attack, they would not allow China to cut off US supplies and so would discreetly help the US out.

        Political considertions would also be key. Since nobody would want it to turn nuclear, this would almost certainly preclude US strikes on the Chinese mainland, which would give China a significant advantage. However, the US’s vast technological and numerical superiority in submarine warfare would amost certainly see most of the Chinese navy visit the bottom of the sea very rapidly. The US would most certainly keep carriers out of harms way unless absolutely necessary. Air superiority would be far more difficult, but ultimately most Chinese warplanes are a generation or two behind the US so they would not last long, even if they were much more numerous, especially if the Japanese give the US discreet aid (they will stay overtly neutral, but will keep their fingers on the scale according to how they see their interests).

        There would almost certainly be a concerted push by the ‘other’ nations in the region to keep tilting matters to allow both sides to claim victory in a score-draw, and ultimately this would probably suit the US/China establishments, whatever they say in public. In other words, both sides will allow the other the perception of a victory. This would suit most countries in the region which benefit from playing the US off against China. The wild card is Taiwan, which will be aware that it might be the loser in any sort of deal, so they may have an interest in stirring things up, to drag the US into making committments it doesn’t want to keep.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I am afraid that I am not so confident on a war with no unexpected side effects. Yes, Chinese submarines are inferior to their US counterparts but there was that time that a Chinese submarine surfaced in the middle of a US task force years ago. That is a good way to mess with a captain’s mind that. And think how many times US carriers have been ‘sunk’ in war games with countries like France, Australia, etc. If the Chinese navy lost too many ships, they may seek a balance – by nuking Guam or Diego Garcia.

          And if the US cannot launch strikes directly, they would have to use bases in countries like South Korea, Japan, etc. but would they allow it? Think about it. Those countries would then become direct military targets to the Chinese military and are within reach of them. The US would only lose a few aircrews and maybe ship’s crew. To me, if I was one of those Asian countries, I would see that the US has far less to lose in a general war.

          Sorry but there are far too many unknowns that could be in play here. What if Russia stands with China and both countries trash the satellite network as well as communications systems? Or Russia ships military units to China with their expertise in EM warfare. Needless to say, the war games that the US holds are not exactly a cause for cheer-

          https://breakingdefense.com/2019/03/us-gets-its-ass-handed-to-it-in-wargames-heres-a-24-billion-fix/

          Reply
        2. km

          Keep in mind which side will be on the attack, and which side will be much more sensitive to casualties.

          China sinks a CVN and it will be very hard to tell the American public that this was really a draw. Things will necessarily escalate mighty fast.

          Reply
      5. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        June 3, 2021 at 8:33 am
        …up to the point where the US has to order replacement parts as their equipment starts to break down through wear and tear. Guess where they come from these days?
        But the Chinese aren’t communists anymore, so the inverse of the old Marxist adage that the capitalists will sell us (i.e., communists) the rope with which we hang them (capitalists) no longer applies.
        So, it is imaginable that the Chinese capitalists very well could sell us the replacement parts. Considering the US success rate in war fighting against an enemy whose most advanced technology was a 20 year old toyota pickup trucks, I think the US war fighting failure has more to do with incompetence from top to bottom of the command structure, and nothing to do with spare parts…

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I have just been imagining the Pentagon phoning China in the middle of a war-

          “Hello, China? Yeah, about those artillery shells that you shipped us. Those were 156mm artillery shells, not 155mm shells. No, they don’t fit into our artillery. No, a hammer doesn’t work either. We tried that. What’s that? Yes, we still have the receipt for them. When can we expect those 155mm shells? Two months? Oh, there is a delay in production due to the war. Well, if you could call us back when you are ready to ship, that would be appreciated. Thank you.”

          I read a long time ago that during the Korean war that the Chinese were actually making artillery shells 1mm larger as captured Chinese shells could not fit into a US barrel but captured American shells would work just fine in a 156mm barrel.

          Reply
      6. Edward

        I think Putin gave the game away recently when he threatened words to the effect of “unimaginable pain” for the U.S. if they provoked a conflict with Russia. I imagine both Russia and China have developed detailed and devastating war plans for a conflict with America simply because they have smart, realistic leadership and ours is clueless, overconfident, and keeps provoking everybody despite America’s weaker and weaker position; on the one hand, Washington has done a fairly thorough job of eroding America’s society and industrial base, the real basis for U.S. power. On the other hand, they keep essentially begging countries like Russia or China to go after us. It is a great combination.

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its pretty straightforward – wars are more likely to occur if one side in a dispute is confident it can win a war – especially if they think waiting makes that victory less likely. This was a key consideration by both Germany and Japan in starting WWII.

      The danger for now is that the neocons think its better to have a war now than in 10 years time when China will be stronger. But there is also a danger that China will overestimate its own military strength and make a premature move in Taiwan.

      Uncertainty of outcomes is the best scenario for those wanting to avoid war.

      Reply
      1. David

        Agreed, but isn’t all this a bit surrealistic? Wars don’t just “happen”: they are fought over something, they need objectives, and there has to be some measure of success or failure. This article seems to assume that something called “war” will just happen (why?), that China will attack the US (where? how? for what purpose?) and that the issue will largely be decided at sea (why?). It’s a good example of the inability of a technocrat to really grapple with political questions. Your Taiwan scenario does provide a context for discussion – by contrast the article is completely context-free.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          Wars don’t just “happen”: they are fought over something, they need objectives

          So, could you remind me, David, what were the objectives in Afghanistan?

          Reply
          1. Edward

            There is a difference between the colonial war against Afghanistan and war against a country like China.

            Reply
          2. vlade

            Domestic political ones to start with, i.e. “war on terror”. No-one said that the objectives to start a war need to be rational.

            Reply
          1. vlade

            Despite popular preconception, WW1 didn’t just happen. In fact, it happened exactly as PK describes – for reasons that were not at all rational, but still real, Germany believed it was falling behind and decided that having a war earlier than latter woudl be better.

            Reply
        1. urdsama

          Actually it does.

          The US was all but certain it could crush the Vietnamese communists, as the French failure was viewed as a French issue (WWII was still fresh in the minds of the US military).

          The fact they were so horribly wrong shows how easy it is for a nation to drift into war.

          Reply
          1. Old Sarum

            Not war: “police action”. Get your euphemisms in line there!

            Pip-pip!

            ps If the US is the “worlds’ policeman”, it effectively redefines the “police” function. Your local cop shop may be prepared to sell you gunz and more, or give you them for free, under the right (usually religious/ideological) conditions.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              The U.S. Supreme Court held (sorry, I don’t know the name of the case) that our activity in Vietnam actually was war, even though it was not authorized by a proper Declaration. That meant that Jane Fonda actually did commit treason, because the Vietnamese were our enemies by waging war against us. Which is too bad, because I was in favor of her actions, even though I was in Vietnam at the time. I well remember the fact of the decision, even though now I can’t even remember the year or what the case was about (well, I remember it was about whether the definition of “war” was applicable in some legal affair, probably definition of “desertion in the face of the enemy” in the UCMJ).

              Reply
    3. Socal Rhino

      It’s a curious article. He talks about naval platforms as if a war would be focused on Chinese shipping rather than a contest over Taiwan. Given the likelihood of conflict in China’s backyard, why no mention of anti ship missiles?

      Reply
    4. Mantid

      Another variable regarding U.S. – Chinese – Russian – Somalian – Syrian – Iranian – Ukrainian (I know I’m missing a few others) wars besides the parts problem is global warming. Been reading about and meditating on the “end of war”. I imagine three hurricanes hitting the U. S. (Florida, Galveston, Virginia, Belize), fires (Colorado, California, Oregon Washington, British Columbia, Australia, Brazil and north into Venezuela) floods from glacier dam bursts (India, Bagladesh, Switzerland), crop failures from drought (Russian steppe, France, Nebraska, California, China, Vietnam) and as a bonus, no human digestible food coming from the oceans (can’t eat jellyfish). I feel it could be 5 years, maybe 10, surely 15 years at best.

      Back to the links……… and have a nice day.

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        You can eat Jellyfish (it can be found in Chinese restaurants and supermarkets) though I’m not too sure of the nutritional value…

        Reply
    5. Kouros

      As usual, it depends who Russia backs and how much backing is being provided. A full Russian support for China (except fighting troops) would spell the doom of US…

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        When it is all said and done, I believe, Russia would prefer to end up with weaker US and stronger China, than stronger US and weaker China.

        Reply
  3. John Siman

    Thank you, Lambert, for linking to Greenwald’s brilliant new essay “The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun,” in which we read of the “revolving carousel of scary villains” which the Blob has been using to demoralize decent Americans for two decades now. I recommend we read Aristotle on tyranny and so consider the Blob’s aspirations in a philosophical context:

    [Politics 1313a] Tyrannies … are preserved in two extremely opposite ways. One of these is the traditional way and the one in which most tyrants administer their office…. the lopping off of outstanding men and the destruction of the proud,—and also the prohibition of common meals and club-fellowship and education and all other things of this nature, [1313b] in fact the close watch upon all things that usually engender the two emotions of pride and confidence, and the prevention of the formation of study-circles and other conferences for debate, and the employment of every means that will make people as much as possible unknown to one another (for familiarity increases mutual confidence); and for the people in the city to be always visible … (for thus there would be least concealment about what they are doing, and they would get into a habit of being humble from always acting in a servile way; and all the other similar devices of Persian and barbarian tyranny …; and to try not to be uninformed about any chance utterances or actions of any of the subjects, but to have spies like the women called ‘provocatrices’ at Syracuse and the ‘sharp-ears’ that used to be sent out by Hiero wherever there was any gathering or conference (for when men are afraid of spies of this sort they keep a check on their tongues, and if they do speak freely are less likely not to be found out); and to set men at variance with one another and cause quarrels between friend and friend and between the people and the notables and among the rich. And it is a device of tyranny to make the subjects poor…. Also the tyrant is a stirrer-up of war, with the deliberate purpose of keeping the people busy and also of making them constantly in need of a leader…. Hence also the flatterer is in honor….

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      I’m not sure a philosophy that believes opposition to elitism is “tyranny” should be taken at face value. Not a homework request, but I hope you’ll be treating what wisdom from Diogenes missed the censors next.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Aristotle belief in elitism certainly stinks and is certainly problematical for most modern people, but his political philosophy is more than “unwashed masses bad, aristocracy good.” He did think that the average person was unsuited to participate in government. However, he also worried about corrupt and despotic leaders that arise in any modern political system and his main concern was how to get good government that benefited the society. He would probably label our current government(s) federal, state, and most municipalities as oligarchies.

        His preferred system was one with an aristocracy, but he also thought a monarchy or a democracy was also doable. Just not as good. An aristocracy would combine the best parts of a elite that could bring together many minds and talents together with just and competent government.

        However, each system tended to devolve into its corrupt, despotic twin which then became another system of rule. Democracy to mob rule; aristocracy to oligarchy; king to despot. Each would go the the next in the series until a democracy became a dictatorship then that dictatorship would become a democracy. Each type of government devolved as the greedy, self serving, power hungry took power. If Aristotle does not have something equivalent to Lord Acton’s dictum “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” his writings still say the same thing. Just less pithily.

        Further, the quotes by John Siman are an explanation with descriptions by Aristotle of how the tyrannical (and I think all kinds of governments use them, if they are power hungry and corrupt) maintain their power. It usually is by violence like assassinations or by debasing education or the ability to associate and form groups.

        Connecting to our United States, it has always used both on its own population. Assassination of community leaders, union leaders, activists, and politicians. Really any reformer at all regardless of race, if they appeared to be succeeding. The manipulation or destruction of public education, unions, associations, volunteer groups, even the intelligentsia and glitterati along with increased spying is the “soft power” used to make people dispirited and weak.

        The Poverty Industry by Daniel L. Hatcher, Finks by Joel Whitney, Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam, and War Against the Weak by Edwin Black are some good books to get background. War Against the Weak is not just on the United States, or even government, and Bowling Alone is not on government, but on society. However, they are about the elites and on social collapse and connects to Aristotle’s ideas.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          He did think that the average person was unsuited to participate in government.

          The average person is probably too honest for those kind of gigs.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I suppose that most people remember Homeland Security’s Security Advisory System. That was the one where a colour designated the level of danger to the nation. It did not take long to be politicized to the point where it became totally useless. No, I am not saying bring it back. But taking a leaf out of WHO’s recent changes, how about labeling each level of the internal security threat to the nation a name based on the Greek alphabet. So you would have Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, etc. The government would be happy because they could claim that they are doing something and most people could safely ignore it as after all, how many people in the US know the Greek alphabet?

      Reply
    3. Alfred

      Well. Aristotle had some advice for his pupil Alexander the Great when he was not yet ‘greating.’

      Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and Aristotle’s own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be “a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants”

      I’m not quite sure what Aristotle was up to here–any ideas?

      Reply
      1. John Siman

        “… Aristotle’s own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly *ethnocentric*.”
        — I think the use of the modern vogue word *ethnocentric* implies that we are Aristotle’s moral superiors (which we most certainly are not), but, yes, Aristotle understands the Hellenes as free by nature and therefore capable of rational self-government and the Persians as barbarians and therefore slaves by nature and incapable of rational self-government. Here’s a fun passage from Aristotle’s Politics for you to chew on: “[T]he art of war will by nature be … an art of acquisition … that is properly employed … against such of mankind … [who are] designed by nature for subjection [yet] refuse to submit to it, — and so such warfare is entirely just.”

        Reply
        1. Alfred

          Yes, fine. Why exactly is Aristotle interested in influencing attitudes justifying war? And there seem to be a lot of elisions in your quote. Not really convinced that Aristotle is my moral (or indeed intellectual) superior, now or ever.

          Reply
          1. John Siman

            Here’s the whole passage. I had put ellipses in it so it would sound terribly offensive to smug Americans, as if it were something taken out of Mein Kampf, — but it’s perhaps even weirder in context. And that’s just my point: Since we can hardly tell good from evil, we need to be shocked out of our current subcivilizational prejudices and read Aristotle with an open mind and realize that he is the great wise friend whom we have been searching for our entire lives:
            [Politics 1256b] …. even at the original coming into existence of the young some kinds of animals bring forth with them at birth enough sustenance to suffice until the offspring can provide for itself, for example all the species that bear their young in the form of larvae or in eggs. The viviparous species have sustenance for their offspring inside themselves for a certain period, the substance called milk. So that clearly we must suppose that nature also provides for them in a similar way when grown up, and that plants exist for the sake of animals and the other animals for the good of man, the domestic species both for his service and for his food, and if not all at all events most of the wild ones for the sake of his food and of his supplies of other kinds, in order that they may furnish him both with clothing and with other appliances. If therefore nature makes nothing without purpose or in vain, it follows that nature has made all the animals for the sake of men. Hence even the art of war will by nature be in a manner an art of acquisition (for the art of hunting is a part of it) that is properly employed both against wild animals and against such of mankind as though designed by nature for subjection refuse to submit to it, inasmuch as this warfare is by nature just.

            Reply
            1. Alfred

              Aristotle’s musings are limited by his myopic view of the world as being something to be used by men. I am not a smug American, I do not see myself as central, the Sun everything revolves around in the Universe, the owner, as it were, to value or not, use and dispose.

              If therefore nature makes nothing without purpose or in vain, it follows that nature has made all the animals for the sake of men.

              Yeah, nope. I imagine the head of Exxon would love to make him the authority and moral compass though.

              Reply
  4. Richard H Caldwell

    “If the US went to war with China, who would win? Nikkei Asian Review”

    Ummm, nobody, of course? Why even pose this question?

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      What is war any more, anywho? Would it just be an escalation of what has already been going on for I don’t know how long? There is some motivation by the journalist or Nikkei Asian Review for posing this question and it is certainly an irresponsible motivation. Are they trying to influence stock prices or some other volatile reason, or just stir up sh!t? Only the shadow knows…

      Reply
  5. Jack White

    Re: “Antibody testing not useful…” and ” Is the second shot giving young men…” : Corporate medicine is not interested in proving itself wrong!

    Reply
    1. Judith

      The New York article on second shots of the vaccine makes it clear that the CDC is making it recommendations about vaccines based on absolutely no data. This explains why I cannot find any detailed information about severe side effects from the Moderna vaccine when I search the internet.

      Who to trust: anecdotal data or the CDC? /s

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “…… the CDC is making it recommendations about vaccines based on absolutely no data.”

        This mass vaccination program under EUA is the drug trial where the “data” is generated. To the extent that TPTB are interested in collecting any data at all, of course.

        Not really sure why people are refusing to comprehend that.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          data that is not being measured…a stage three drug trial where no one is keeping track of side effects (except the side effect that is huge piles of money appearing in their accounts)… This should worry everyone…

          Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          If SARS-CoV-2 ever goes away, despite their best efforts at preserving the problem to which they style themselves the solution (nods to Clay Shirky), the E of the EUA goes away and so does the ability to sell all that experimental gene therapy they had been wanting to sell to cancer sufferers at tens of thousands per pop.

          The US government’s only job is to create and allocate new private property for its elites, and I dare say at least most of the Framers had that very design in mind.

          Reply
      2. Unfinished

        I linked to this yesterday in Yves’ post From Tragedy to Hesitancy. It seems that the spike protein itself may be a toxin, and that there is now evidence that it circulates in the body after vaccination with the mRNA vaccines. Count me amongst the hesitant because, awaiting more data.
        https://youtu.be/Sis1Sddzbqk

        Reply
        1. jonboinAR

          Brett (Weinstein) and Heather discussed just this the other day on their podcast “DarkHorse”, laying it out nicely. It’s quite scary, even to myself who is fully Moderna vaccinated with no apparant ill effects. (I hope I pasted the URL correctly. I didn’t put the period in the middle of “tube” as many do as I don’t know what that period is for. I apologize if I did it wrongly.)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU63lsHA0y0&list=PLjQ2gC-5yHEug8_VK8ve0oDSJLoIU4b93&index=10

          Reply
          1. Unfinished

            “It’s quite scary, even to myself who is fully Moderna vaccinated with no apparant ill effects.”

            This is scary stuff and I’ll not be the one to pass it along to vaccinated friends or family, most of whom were vaccine-hesitant yet ended-up opting to vaccinate for any number of valid reasons. Most, like you, felt no reaction.
            And thanks for the DarkHorse podcast link.

            Reply
          2. Skunk

            But the vaccine is generating antibodies to the spike protein, so presumably the antibodies are targeting any spike proteins circulating in the blood.

            Reply
            1. Unfinished

              Perhaps not. According to Dr. Bridle studies have shown the spike protein accumulating in various tissue, the spleen and bone marrow among them. In the DarkHorse video linked by jonboinAR, Bret Weinstein does an excellent job of explaining the reasons the vaccine is “meant” to stay local to the injection site and proximate lymph gland.

              Reply
    2. grayslady

      I just finished reading an article on Pro Publica about breakthrough cases and learned that antibody testing is being done on cancer patients and those with autoimmune diseases. Seems that, depending on the drugs those patients are taking, two shots=zero antibodies. If doctors are confident that they are receiving valid information from antibody tests on these patients, why are the rest of us being discouraged from requesting antibody tests? Is there something the vaccine manufacturers or the public health officials don’t want us to know, or are the antibody tests truly unreliable for non-compromised individuals?

      Reply
    3. Maritimer

      Let me suggest that there is data but no disclosure.

      In my jurisdiction, about three weeks ago they started an EverybodyGetTested Policy. Why would they do that? I suggest they are gathering massive amounts of data on lots of related vaccine issues. After all, this is one massive experiment.

      And from Daily Mail:
      “NHS records ‘may be shared with secretive US tech giant’: Millions of patients’ medical histories could be available to company that has ‘terrible track record’ with personal data, campaigners warn”

      So that will include all the Covid testing done on the taxpayer dime. Plus NHS members will have to OPT OUT from the program.

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9646151/NHS-records-shared-secretive-tech-giant-campaigners-warn.html

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “US sells off Iranian crude oil seized off coast of UAE”

    I understand that the U.S. Navy is so pleased with itself for hijacking that oil cargo off the high seas, that they are actually considering dropping the present U.S. Navy theme song of ‘Anchors Aweigh’ to something more in line with their new role in the world-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThCcKTIOLZ0 (1:25 mins)

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, I’m looking forward to “Letters of Marque”, after all a public/private partnership could vastly increase the efficiency of the US Navy.
      We’ve already got a model in the Civil Asset forfeiture laws that could be adapted, no need for an inefficient Prize Court!

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Tom. You may have missed it but there was an article linked here a coupla months ago discussing exactly that. If I recall correctly, it appeared in some sort of official Naval publication so the idea was actually up for discussion.

        Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        John Robb suggested in 2017 that “delaying Chinese dominance” with rear-guard actions by something like letters of marque was a viable strategy to put the US in a better priority vis-a-vis the rest of world than it would have otherwise fallen to. (“The unconstitutional takes a bit longer.” -Henry Kissinger)

        Reply
        1. RMO

          Speaking of Kissinger I find it noteworthy that even that old conscience and ethics free killer has said that the aggressive adversarial war-stoking treatment of China and Russia that have become all the rage in the last decade is extremely dangerous to the point of insanity. When Kissinger says you’ve gone too far… well, it’s a little like Hunter Thompson or Nikki Six saying that you may be overindulging on the booze and drugs.

          Reply
  7. Darius

    Let Asian elephants move north and fill the niche of their close relatives the wooly mammoth. That’s how to rewild mammoths, not genetic engineering. Not entirely realistic I know.

    Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      A herd of wild Asian elephants has been wandering through cities in southwest China 🐘🐘🐘
      Authorities are baffled as to why they have travelled so far from home

      I am pretty sure that these elephants – despite all appearances – were the ones that voted in Arizona’s presidential election for Joe Biden. I expect to hear more about this when the animals are supoeneaed by the Arizona state senate audit in Maricopa County. Trump’s restoration is just around the corner.

      NB: Please note how the elephants dressed as Republicans to vote for Old Joe. Those Democrats are tricksters.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        EINOs
        elephants in name only? At some point, we will be talking about TINOs (Trumpist in name only)

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      These elephants are of the Asian variety but once upon a time, there were elephants that roamed northern China known as Palaeoloxodon – often called the “straight-tusked elephant” – which roamed from Britain to Japan. They were thought to have gone extinct about 10,000 years ago but some Chinese scientists are beginning to wonder if more than few of them hung around until much more recent times-

      https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/bronze-art-sparks-debate-over-the-extinction-of-the-straight-tusked-elephant

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Experts dispute Victoria claim that Kappa variant is more infectious than previous Covid outbreaks”

    ‘Physicians say state government has jumped gun in stating Kappa is spreading faster, with evidence suggesting ‘there’s nothing different’

    Excuse me a minute while I finish banging my head on my keyboard. It is not only America and the UK where you have these wonky medical ‘experts’ come out of the woodwork to argue for example that herd immunity is not so bad or shutting businesses hampers public health or masks will kill you. So one professor here is saying that ‘the Kappa variant was acting “the same as we’ve seen before” with other variants in Australia.’ Ahem. Since the States like Victoria are quick at doing snap-lockdowns, how could he determine this? What are we supposed to do? Open up everything and see if this professor and others like him are right or not? You have a few of these medicos on TV and in print saying that Victoria should not have shut down now. I believe in America that they call this ‘quarterbacking’.

    At the risk of doing so myself, I will point out to these wonky medical experts something that they may have heard about in medical school but which apparently they slept through. It is called the Precautionary principle. Here is a definition-

    ‘The precautionary principle is a broad epistemological, philosophical and legal approach to innovations with potential for causing harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. It emphasizes caution, pausing and review before leaping into new innovations that may prove disastrous.’

    The world could have saved itslef a lot of grief by adhering to this principal more.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      Gah! The shareholders disapprove, RK. As I have been told in various jobs in the past for holding’unpopular’ views about legality, ethics and employee welfare, you are bad for the business. One supervisor even said to me, “Wat! are you crazee?”

      Well, yeah

      Reply
    2. RMO

      Well Rev let’s just compare Australia with Canada, where I live, in deaths per million people. Australia: 35, Canada: 674. I’m going to go out on a limb here and agree with you that the approach the states in Australia have taken seems to be working rather well and it would probably be a good idea to stick to it unless there was pretty strong evidence supporting dropping the snap lockdown technique. But what do we know? We’re not credentialed medical experts!

      Reply
  9. Tom Stone

    For those interested in the history US relations with the Karen tribes the footnotes of McCoy’s “Politics of Heroin in SE Asia” refer to particular records of testimony before Congress post WW2 about them including testimony from missionaries, some of whom worked for the OSS during the wa.
    It was originally written as a thesis so the the footnotes are voluminous and extremely useful to those who like to explore rabbit holes.

    Reply
  10. Alfred

    “Authorities are baffled”
    If they understood, would it really make any difference? As long as they are baffled, they can do whatever they ‘think best.’ We definitely should not look to “authorities” for curiosity about the truth.

    All right, I’m done. I am “praying” for those elephants, because that’s all I got. Elephants are a repository of wisdom I hope the Earth never is deprived of.

    I am now officially retired, as far as the SSA is concerned. Hallelujah and pass the beans.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      “Prayers” are important…with good intent. Reminds me of a coach of kids’ sport team who wouldn’t hear of a kid praying for”help” from Jesus in a game. The same coach was “woke” to the efficacy of using guided visualization techniques during practices and before games. He saw no hypocrisy in his point of view. He saw no common denominator in the actions. Soon, the parents of kids who wanted to whisper a quick prayer or who made a quick “sign of the cross” were upset. In this case, the parents were told by others: Don’t rock the boat! Visualization techniques are psychologically proven! They are based on science! The parents kept quiet.
      Elephants leaving their natural habitats, whales beaching themselves on many shores, dying fishes rotting in waterways, manatees dying, dolphin species disappearing, birds (again silent in spring), bees and other pollinators ‘ societies crashing. Humans? Prayer “is all I have left”. Been officially retired, too. Grateful that, So far, we can buy beans , organic onions and garlic.

      Reply
  11. Mantid

    Regarding “Keeping masks on” as I read the article I was waiting for mention of privacy, seein’s how surveillance cameras are everywhere. I remember articles about face paintings, crazy color glasses frames, etc. that can confuse “security” cameras. (Hopefully) Everyone has some inside jokes with friends. One I remember from the 90’s, among friends was “It’s for your own security m’am”. It’s a bit more serious now with false arrest and imprisonment due to faulty facial recognition software.
    BTW, watching a beautiful morning Dove do it’s up/down dance on the fence.

    Reply
  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    Brazilianization.

    The article is long, insightful, and quite brilliant at points. Author Alex Hochuli knows Brazil well—kudos for the reference to the remarkable novelist Machado di Asis, who isn’t a “magical realist,” because as the article shows, Brazil doesn’t need vapid “magical realism.”

    Insight: “All around we’re confronted with deaptation, an idea the philosopher Adrian Johnston has taken from memetic theory to describe the way that an initially adaptive memetic strategy later becomes useless or even counterproductive.5 If liberalism was a set of ideas appropriate to the bourgeoisie’s rise and then consolidation—all in the name of freedom—it is today in a state of deaptation, wielded in defense of hierarchy and domination.”

    That may seem highly technical, but it explains that modern liberalism has devolved into neoliberalism, which is now merely the defense of bureaucracy, exaggerated telephone menus, and the Sacred Markets.

    Insight: Wowsers… “Just look at Italian elites’ desperation to remain part of euro, despite the penury to which it subjects the country and the destruction of any future for it. Just as Brazilian elites wish they could permanently decamp to Miami, for long the capital of Latin American reaction, so globalized elites in Europe and North America wish they too could escape the masses that “hold them back.” Italian elites wish they were German, British “Remainers” do likewise, and American liberal elites wish they were “European”—or at least that America’s flyover country might disappear.
    “Nowhere (except perhaps in China) do we find ruling elites pursu¬ing any sort of “national project”—something that thereby implicates, and aims to integrate, the masses. Insofar as neoliberal elites have any project, beyond short-term crisis management and government-by-media, it is always anti-national.”

    I recommend this article highly, which should also disabuse of the notion that Brazilians are Latinx (which in Portuguese would come out as “Lah-tingsh.”

    Studying Brazil will unbalance certain assumptions about the U S of A, as Hochuli deftly shows.

    Reply
    1. km

      TL:DR: The Iron Law of Oligarchy reasserts itself.

      The West had a pretty good run for a while, but it is now in the process of reverting to the mean. Countries such as Brazil need not do so, for they never really left the mean.

      Reply
  13. JacobiteInTraining

    Just booked my first Amtrak ticket since pandemic – down to Olympia/Lacey WA to meet up with my brother, thence to the mountain cabin so he can relax for a few days – he has been taking care of my Dad at home, who is now bedbound and likely on his way to the Great Pitchers Warmup Bullpen in the sky. Dad gets transferred to a hospice for a few days while we are out goofing off, then I’ll spell my brother w/care back at the farm.

    No big alerts on COVID restrictions anywhere, just a modest ‘note’ about mask wearing being required. I’m vaxxed, but expect to mask up anyway. (don’t want anyone to think I’m a Q-bert)

    But aside from that random bit of meaningless trivia, I watched a documentary about the Portland Mavericks the other night. Kinda sorta in honor of Dad – who was an award-winning high school baseball coach in the State of Oregon during the 60’s-early 80’s. I don’t remember going to see a P’land Mavs game back then, but I know my Dad would surely have been following their saga closely at the time and rooting them on.

    Maybe we can get him awake long enough to watch it with us sometime the next few weeks. :)

    Anybody from the PNW, and/or is a baseball fan: might just wanna give it a watch. It is pretty well done.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA76b5Hhvxg

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      I’m so jealous. Can’t wait to ride the train again. I wish you a wonderful trip, and condolences for your Father.

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I was a fairly frequent Amtrak rider ‘before’, and they have sent me increasingly plaintive ‘hey, bro, why not consider a trip soon, please!’ marketing emails the last year. Now that I am vaxxed, i feel pretty good about it….will be using them again whenever I can. Absolutely hate I-5 traffic *anywhere* (short or long haul, heh) and the Cascades trains have always treated me well.

        I mean, except for that one time they ‘lost’ Mom for 18 hours after a bad windstorm. But that’s another story. :)

        Thanks for condolences – luckily, Dads always been one of those guys who instilled in us kids the right things at the right time, and he has had a really good run in this world. Always loved his ‘Tall Firs’ story:

        You are a kid, and are sheltered by all these huge old trees, but you don’t really realize the protection they are giving you – you just are doing happy kid things, in a peaceful pretty forest. Some years go by, storms blow up, some of the firs get knocked over, but under their shelter, and that of the rest of the big ones – you get a little bigger and stronger.

        A few more years go by, finally some of the biggest ones die, but you keep growing up taller, more confident, and start filling in the empty places. You stretch out your limbs and drink in life as you explore further and further away from that safe clearing.

        Finally one year you realize – wow. I’m one of the tallest firs around now, the biggest from my youth are now but fond memories.

        But then you look down, see the lil ‘uns growing up and playing down below, and you smile to yourself.

        Now *you* are the Tall Firs. :)

        Reply
    2. RMO

      Mention of an Amtrak trip reminds me that my wife and I were going to take the train from Vancouver (well, Seattle really) to San Fransisco to visit friends in mid March a year ago. When I cancelled the tickets on the 11th I was worried that I might be over reacting to the spread of Covid at the time! Didn’t take long to realize it was the right decision though. It would have been the first train trip I had taken since the early 80s when I took Via rail to Alberta. I was surprised at how reasonable the prices were for the Amtrak Coast Starlighter, even if you got a compartment. Our friends are in Toronto now and there’s no way I’ll be able to afford the Via rail tickets for a trip there!

      Reply
    1. Isotope_C14

      What I don’t get about the neo-liberal media and silicon valley, is by their constant censorship, they end up making Fox news look good.

      Interestingly enough, and this book might not be for everyone is called “Dancing Naked in the Mind Field” by Kary Mullis, inventor of PCR, and Nobel prize winner in Chemistry. It’s an odd book, kind of like getting into the brain of a mad-scientist-hippie-surfer.

      Now I bring this up because I found some video where he goes on and on about how Fauci is a complete moron. Mullis died right before COVID occurred, and it’s probably good, cause he would have been none too happy about Fauci’s celebrity status.

      Reply
    2. Maritimer

      I would assume that after decades in the Swamp watching your back, you would learn a few tricks. Like Burner Phones. In popular media, criminals often use burner phones to evade detection by authorities. Wouldn’t you use emails for the record and then fill in the incriminating parts by using a Burner Phone?

      The broader question: in an increasingly criminal economy and society, how do the criminals communicate without creating a record? I am amazed I have never seen a comprehensive article on so obvious a subject.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Dr. Fauci’s forthcoming book is REMOVED from the internet after being posted for presale prematurely – as publisher claims he WON’T make a dime from the tome or a related documentary”

    Fauci may have outlived his usefulness to the Biden administration. The pandemic seems to be on the retreat in the US and it may be that Fauci wants to cash in on this, hence the book deals and the documentary. After all, he was there right from the beginning and went from working for Trump and now working for Biden. But if he is getting the limelight as ‘America’s Doctor’, that is less credit that will go to old Joe. It may be that the Biden admin has decided to drop Fauci by releasing embarrassing emails and letting him eventually resign. That way, in a few months time old Joe can declare that the pandemic is over in America and bathe in the glory himself for being responsible for this without have to share the credit with Fauci.

    Reply
    1. petal

      I read last night on Breitbart that a blue check(Jack Posobiec) tweeted that Biden admin is actively discussing an exit strategy for Fauci after his emails were released yesterday. Stay tuned!

      Reply
    2. zagonostra

      Speaking of “America’s Doctor” what happened to the Sturgeon (sic) General? I vaguely remember Koop being on TV way back when I used to own one…

      Reply
  15. pjay

    – ‘The lab-leak mess’ – Columbia Journalism Review

    So much ironic humor in this article, including:

    – the list of “journalists” who are lecturing the media for their fickle bias, which starts with Jonathan Chait, Ross Douthat, Brett Stephens, and Megan McCardle.

    – This: “When Conspiracies and reality collide”: Writing for the Post, Charlie Warzel argues that a series of “disorienting events,” including the US government’s recent investigations of the lab-leak theory and, unrelatedly, UFOs, have created “precisely the sense of confusion that disinformation researchers, fact-checkers and swaths of the mainstream media try to bulwark against.”

    – This: “Public trust: Researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, are out with a new paper arguing that the media has undermined trust in scientific work by failing consistently to point out that science is inherently self-correcting.” He goes on to quote Annenberg’s Kathleen Hall Jamieson on this. She wrote the book Cyberwars: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President, which “scientifically” proved the claim of the title. Well, at least if we accept opinion survey research as scientific, and we start by accepting Brennan and Clapper’s assertion that the emails were hacked by Russia, etc. I admit to being especially bitter about this one. Jamieson’s book was used by one of my former journalistic heroes, Jane Mayer, to definitively prove the truth of Russiagate in the New Yorker (her other main sources, if I recall, were Brennan and Clapper).

    The article makes some good observations. But I’m not sure the author, Jon Allsop, fully appreciates all the irony.

    Reply
  16. hunkerdown

    Media reports confirmed that the 7,000 found in tubes hidden in clothing items imported illegally into Qingdao, China, were from a parcel originating from the US

    (sina.com.hk, Chinese language)

    Neat. The USA, actually caught in the act of committing guerrilla bio-warfare with fruit flies.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I suspect that this sort of stuff happens more often than we think. Certainly this was done to Cuba in the past. It may be seen as a “smart” way to reduce some competition with a competitor country. Recently there was a small outbreak of Coronavirus in a Chinese city near the Indian border. So was this the result of illegal travel between the two countries (likely) or was this an attempt to kneecap the Chinese economy which has gone back to normal? You can bet that the CIA is thinking about doing stuff like this.

      Reply
  17. flora

    re: The lab-leak mess – Columbia Journalism Review

    Thanks for the link. It’s a good compilation of everything I saw in the past year wrt MSM “reporting” about this hypothesis. The MSM didn’t cover itself with honor in its rush to judgement, its unquestioning deferral to the favored powerful bigwig’s certaintes – on either side of the question – in a wholly uncertain situation.

    Hoping that the MSM have learned something which will guide their future reporting is probably too much to hope for, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      flora
      June 3, 2021 at 12:18 pm
      A herd of wild Asian elephants has been wandering through cities in southwest China 🐘🐘🐘
      Authorities are baffled as to why they have travelled so far from home
      ================================================
      A refreshing acknowledgement that government functionaries and experts really have no clue as to what elephants in general think about, and these elephants in particular.
      I think something that is damn near impossible, is for talking heads and anybody giving a “news” conference, is the ability to say, I don’t know.
      And I would further say, it is impossible, for any talking heads and anybody giving a “news” conference, to say I don’t know two times in a row…

      Reply
  18. fresno dan

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/05/post-pandemic-dont-want-to-reenter-society/619045/
    Quarantine has given us all time and solitude to think—a risk for any individual, and a threat to any status quo. People have gotten to have the experience—some of them for the first time in their life—of being left alone, a luxury usually unavailable even to the wealthy. Relieved of the deforming crush of financial fear, and of the world’s battering demands and expectations, people’s personalities have started to assume their true shape. And a lot of them don’t want to return to wasting their days in purgatorial commutes, to the fluorescent lights and dress codes and middle-school politics of the office. Service personnel are apparently ungrateful for the opportunity to get paid not enough to live on by employers who have demonstrated they don’t care whether their workers live or die. More and more people have noticed that some of the basic American axioms—that hard work is a virtue, productivity is an end in itself—are horseshit.

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That was a fun read. I wanted to say to the author, ” Rejoice, buddy. You’re learning the wisdom of wu wei.”

      Reply
    2. Alfred

      I’m a bit bummed at the crappification of hard work. My feeling is that it is the bosses who have crappified hard work, not that hard work is horseshit. We forget why we are here, and it is to learn and gain insight and remember who we are. The mundane is part of that. I hope people use the time to meditate on their petty tyrant bosses to wake up. It was the best thing for me to have time to say WTF.

      Reply
  19. Mikel

    Re: “Why TikTok’s chaotic ‘kickbacks’ took off with young people starved for company” CNN. Extroverts are gonna kill us all.

    A couple of things: the article has no real explanation for why and I doubt this is the work of a sole teenage extrovert.

    “The success of “Adrian’s kickback” defies explanation. “Adrian” was not an influencer, for one, and the initial video that kicked off the hashtag was just a screenshot of an invitation cobbled together on Snapchat.

    But for whatever reason, likely due to the unique mixture of absurdity and the unknowable nature of TikTok’s algorithm, the video landed on users’ “For You Pages,” or #fyp, and enough users saw it to send the hashtag #adrianskickback into the digital stratosphere…’

    “the unkowable nature of TikTok’s algorithm”….

    But SOMEBODY (and not the teenagers) understand exactly what they are doing with the algorithm.

    It’s like it’s modeled off a push poll…

    Reply
  20. Mikel

    Re: “The Great Reset” Barry Ritholtz

    “Pandemic lockdowns are coming to an end in the U.S., and with them, a massive economic recovery has begun….”

    “Massive.” (Implies for the masses, doesn’t it?) That’s the story and they are sticking to it!

    For all the uncertainty, amazing all of a sudden to see so much certainty.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      I took a gander at that, then I had to know what Barry Ritholtz has that got him published:

      blah, blah blah equities analyst, CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and guest commentator on Bloomberg Television. Ritholtz is the host of the Bloomberg Podcast Masters in Business in which he interviews influential figures on markets, investing and business.

      All righty then

      Reply
      1. pasha

        barry ritholtz’ blog “the big picture” is well worth reading for the wide variety of articles. his background in mathematics, physics, and law provide a wider perspective than most financiers. he has featured picketty’s work on the societal effects of inequality, for instance. pro minimum wage articles appear often. he’s even a bit left-of-center

        Reply
        1. J7915

          Also an awsome taste in cars I can only wish I had parking space for. That is my reason not to own a Benz 300SL. No space in the motor stable…:)))

          Reply
  21. korual

    Re: Climate Change for Central Bankers by Gov. Bank England

    “But the effects of climate change matter for monetary policy because structural shifts in the supply side of the economy can affect not only future point-in-time macroeconomic variables, but also the expected natural rate of interest (r*) and the natural rate of unemployment (u*).The physical and transition risks from climate change are relevant to these issues, although the economic modelling and research to estimate the relative size of these effects has only started to emerge in recent years.”

    Oh dear, obviously not familiar with 25 years of MMT research. Someone should let him know that his r and his u are both around zero, so just work with that. (And by the way there’s nothing “natural” about it.) Since this is a matter of some urgency…/sarc

    Reply

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