Financial Times: “Things Could Fall Apart for Biden”

The Financial Times published a comment, Things Could Fall Apart for Biden, by Edward Luce. Whether or not you agree with its particulars, the piece is significant by virtue of Luce being, as the Brits would say, very well networked among Democratic party insiders and power brokers.1 My reading of Luce over time is that he seeks to occupy a sweet spot similar to the one McKinsey prizes, which I describe as “leading edge conventional wisdom.” It’s no good to be too far out ahead of the crowd, even if you are proven correct; Cassandras are loathed.

Luce is almost certainly amplifying what he regards as the shrewdest concerns among Beltway/Democratic party contacts. You can almost smell the fear that a lot of rice bowls are going to break in the 2022 midterms. As Expat observer put it:

If Mr Luce starts abandoning Biden, it means the guy is beyond salvation…

Other comments were less kind (and there were quite a few in this vein), no doubt due to cringe-making statements like “This has been the best presidential start in the lifetime of most Americans.”


Yes, it’s always interesting to read the views our globalist masters are trying to assign (pretty successfully actually) to the drones.


In very article that tries to even slightly criticize Biden, the author has to start by first glorifying his administration, then by bashing Trump. Everyone has to show their allegiance to The Narrative, lest you risk being confused as a deplorable who must be cancelled…

The author isn’t really being critical or writing for critical, intelligent readers. The writer is appeasing his colleagues and trying to avoid online harassers who, at the author’s first slip, will perscrute everything he has ever written to find even slight signs of thoughtcrime.

The fact that Luce is hearing enough angst to merit speaking up is arguably more important than the details, although the critics are correct: Luce deploys a lot of factually-challenged Biden record-burnishing. But Luce unwittingly reveals how Democratic party poohbahs are scoring Biden’s tenure. Their sense of priorities is jarring.

The supposed ne plus ultra of Biden’s mistakes is leaving Afghanistan. No, I am not making that up:

Yet Biden is now entering a much tougher phase of his presidency. One of his problems stems from an unforced error — the withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is hard to understand why he felt the need to pull out America’s skeletal force of 2,500 troops before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The costs of staying are minimal — there has not been a single US combat death in Afghanistan in the past 17 months.

By contrast, the risks of leaving Afghanistan are steep. It is only a matter of time before the Taliban regains control. The fall of Kabul would probably avoid scenes of Chinooks scurrying the last Americans out, as happened in Saigon in 1975. But it will nevertheless harm America’s prestige. The signal of US risk aversion will muddy Biden’s hopes of winning hearts and minds in a democracy-versus-autocracy contest with China. This setback is self-created.

Your humble blogger only very remotely pays attention to Afghanistan. Even I have worked out that the US is in control of just about nothing beyond Kabul and our bases and various warlords hold the country. And it’s not as if anyone in America besides arms merchants (who can’t stand the loss of a meal ticket) and our overextended troops (who welcome any reduction in deployment as a step in the right direction) care. Reader Sam added:

A lot of above analysis was made without proper comparison of US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1990. Why Trump negotiated with Taliban is a mystery – there was no reason to…..the situation is very different.
• In 1990’s, various factions of Afghanistan were left with lots of advanced arms of Soviets and Americans. Pakistan ISI was flush with free goodies given by CIA in 1980s and 1990s which resulted in lot of mischief all over the world.
• Situation is bad for Pakistan ISIS that they can’t control pedophilia affected Taliban leadership. . Large parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran suffer from Bacha Bazi and drug abuse.
• Taliban is a tired force. This doesn’t mean they will not try to take over but this time the Afghan war is likely to be more fragmented along tribal line than in the past.
Pakistan politics is about Polo, ex & current wives and mistresses – no different than the corrupt Pakistani Generals of 1950s-60s….the jihadi fervor of late 1990 and early 2000s is dimming in the absence of free cash from CIA.

By contrast, Luce makes no mention of Iran, a far more consequential player that Biden has been trying to corner, when we’ve already thrown every economically consequential sanction at them already and they are unbowed. So all he’s done is push them harder in the direction of Russia and China. Nicely played.

Luce is on a bit surer footing in criticizing Biden’s bipartisan fixation:

Biden’s window to enact his domestic agenda is narrowing. It is far better to have 50 Democrats in the Senate than 49. But at least two of these, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, are fairweather friends….

It is possible he will get 10 Republicans to vote for his bipartisan infrastructure bill. But the cost of negotiating with them is mounting….

Biden is so invested in his quest for a bipartisan moment that there are few concessions he will not make. Still, there is no assurance that he will get 10 Republican votes at the end of it. The echoes of 2009, when Barack Obama wasted the summer meeting Republicans halfway in healthcare talks, only for them to unanimously reject the bill, are real.

“Meeting Republicans halfway”? Luce apparently didn’t get the memo that Obama had a healthcare lobbyist write his bill, and more generally, that Obama’s strategy was to go 75% of the way toward the Republicans before he’d start horse trading.

No mention on Biden’s caves on issues of more import to the Democratic party base, like not doing anything about minimum wages (even Sanders was at least able to embarrass Amazon and McDonalds into making some improvements) or not requiring companies receiving Federal funds to offer one day Covid vaccine leaves for employees and contractors working over 20 hours a week? Oh, and how about not mentioning that the actual infrastructure part of his infrastructure bill pre-supposes private equity pork?

Luce finally gets around to Covid. We said early on that Biden needed to make tackling or at least managing the pandemic his top priority for at least his first three months, and aside from getting confirmations and dealing with actual emergencies, push everything else back.

Luce and I do agree that Biden’s presidency hinges on Covid, but again he’s more cheery than most NC readers would be:

The story of Covid-19 is a microcosm of Biden’s presidency. In his opening period, he plucked the low-hanging fruit with a rapid mass vaccine rollout. Death rates plummeted as the number of daily shots exceeded 3m. What remains of the fruit — the tens of millions of Americans who are suspicious of the vaccine — is hard to reach. Daily vaccinations have plummeted to just over 500,000 and infections are heading back up. Businesses and colleges are going through the same anxious cost-benefit analyses as they were a year ago.

Can Biden do anything about it? He could copy the UK’s Boris Johnson and effectively say to hell with the restrictions, or follow France’s Emmanuel Macron and adopt a more coercive vaccination policy. Neither step is fully within the power of a US president. In practice, he will have to muddle through and hope that the third Covid wave is not strong enough to upset the economic recovery. As long as Biden has that, his presidency will stay on the rails.

Erm, notice the pointed avoidance of actually crediting Trump with the Operation Warp Speed that gave Biden vaccines to distribute.

Of all places, the normally rosy-glass-wearing NPR has a fresh and gloomy Covid forecast (hat tip David L):

The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.

That’s according to new projections released Wednesday from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers working in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help the agency track the course of the pandemic…

“What’s going on in the country with the virus is matching our most pessimistic scenarios,” says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina who helps run the modeling hub. “We might be seeing synergistic effects of people becoming less cautious in addition to the impacts of the delta variant.

In the most likely scenario, Lessler says, the U.S. reaches only 70% vaccination among eligible Americans, and the delta variant is 60% more transmissible.

In that scenario, at the peak in mid-October, there would be around 60,000 cases and around 850 deaths each day, Lessler says.

Each scenario also includes a range of how bad things could get — the very worst end of the range for the most likely scenario shows about 240,0000 people getting infected and 4,000 people dying each day at the October peak, which would be almost as bad as last winter…

But overall, the main projection shows a steady slope upwards to the peak in October, and then a steady slope back down…

At that point, “herd immunity starts kicking in a little more aggressively and we start to see things going down again.” By January 2022, the model shows deaths coming back down to around the current level of about 300 per day.


First, 70% vaccinated? Since when? We are at 48.8% now.

Second, there appears to be zero allowance for vaccine efficacy waning over time. Now boosters could significantly blunt that problem, but the powers that be would need to be staring a rollout in September, if not earlier. Instead, the priority seems to be not to harsh the mellow of anyone planning a summer holiday.

Third, the “herd immunity by January” comment is insane. Did this crowd not get the memo that immunity to coronaviruses is not durable?

And our GM has been chewing his nails. He’s been regularly rumbling that SARS-COV-2 looks and acts an awful lot like a weak SARS-1. Which means the idea that the bias of mutations will be towards the virus becoming less deadly is optimistic. GM has said less technical things that come to similar conclusions, so forgive the heavy geek bent:

The nasty thing about the spike is that the polybasic cleavage site — the PRRAR motif that has now become RRRAR in B.1.617.2 — is also a superantigen. When T-cells see it, they go crazy, and this is a big part of the pathology — and also why there are such autoimmune issues.

This will not be lost, ever — the PBCS is critical for efficient spread, and is under extreme purifying selection, and up until now positive selection to become even more basic, but it looks like in B.1.617.2 the spike is 100% cleaved, so there will be no further optimization. Which is actually very bad news — first, there was a possibility that further evolution for better cleavage could disrupt the superantigen, but now it is stuck in this configuration, second, further gains in fitness will now likely not come from the spike (except in terms of immune evasion), but from the Nsp and ORF proteins, i.e. precisely what we don’t want — that’s where increased mortality will come from.

Also, in principle we could have tried to target the PBCS immunologically in order to block cleavage, but because it is superantigenic, that’s not an option…

Which is not a reason to cheer — as I said, it will never lose it, but more importantly, SARS-1 had not PBCS and was much more lethal. Which can only mean that everything else about this virus is wimpy and attenuated, i.e. if it deattenuates, we are in very big trouble.

As I so often say, it would be better if I were wrong. But winter is coming and we’ll know a lot more soon, like it or not.


1 Luce’s big claim to fame is having been Larry Summers’ speechwriter, which proves he has very high tolerance for outsized egos.

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  1. IJ

    First, 70% vaccinated? Since when? We are at 48.8% now.

    The way I read it, it’s 70% of eligible adults, not 70% of the population. 68.6% of eligible adults have received at least one dose so far, so at least that doesn’t seem overly optimistic.

    1. sharonsj

      I have only managed to get one dose because I live in a rural area and there is precisely one guy who shows up one day a week to give the shots at the local pharmacy. I was supposed to get the second shot last week and it got postponed until next week. This might explain why things are taking so long.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      There is now a push to vaccinate teens and children, so this is again moving the goalposts, referring to an old metric when they have a different and more demanding objective.

      And the model is defective if it does not allow for transmission by kids, which seems to be the case. Data from the periodic Imperial College tests of 100,000 in the UK showed months ago that elementary school age children were 2x as likely as adults to bring Covid into a household, and older adults, 7x.

      And as much as I very much understand the risk/return tradeoffs for teens and children of vaccinating them, an issue that the press has not been straight is that children are a major Covid transmission vector.

      This situation creates a monster conundrum. No one is willing to talk about masking kids, except very late in the game as in two days ago: And I suspect that is due only to parental resistance/inertia about vaccinating their children, and not a recognition that it’s a prudent idea regardless.

    3. chris

      I would be very interested in reading any references that state what you said. This virus can infect 100% of our population so it is a concern for more than just adults. All of the modeling I know of and science I’ve learned says that herd immunity is based on the total population of potential carriers. So 70% of our population may not really be good enough if we have to consider how some people have weaker immune systems than others. Most numbers I’ve seen published suggest our herd immunity threshold, such as it would be possible to achieve with this virus, is about 85% of the population. My understanding of the 70% goal was the hope that we would reach that number and coast higher over the year until winter hit.

      Also, it seems we need kind of a standing wave of vaccination. We will need enough people with enough resistance to have a good immune reaction when exposed to this virus. Given some people have weaker immune systems, the elderly and the obese don’t take as well to vaccines to begin with, and some people see marked drops in antibody response within 6 months after receiving the vaccine, we may need a system to constantly maintain a population of people who are within 6 months of a booster shot. That’s going to be really difficult to do.

      We may get lucky. Recent papers published in Nature and Science discussing what happens when you recover from COVID and then get the vaccines have data that shows a really strong and enduring reaction to the virus when you encounter it again. I know it’s not a great thing to think about the way out of this being lots of people getting sick with covid and recovering and then receiving the shots but that’s all I got right now.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I know your comment was generally valuable. However….

        Wash your mouth out with soap.

        There is no such thing as herd immunity with a coronavirus. Immunity lasts only 6-8 months from having been infected and it appears the vaccines do not prevent infection, but merely prevent (for a while) worst outcomes.

        GM has pointed to press accounts of individuals who’ve been confirmed as having had Covid 3x, including after having been vaccinated.

        The % vaccinated figures are estimates of what it takes to get the R0 below 1.

        With Delta having an unmitigated R0 estimated at 8, it would take a very high level of currently effective vaccination to get the R0 <1.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I’m amazed at how herd immunity, a nebulous concept at best, and an untested one with Sars2, has become received wisdom.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think that at best we can achieve herd equilibrium, where there are sufficient people in the population with resistance to prevent infections rising to a level above what can be managed by existing health systems. A little like with the annual flu.

            This of course is based on an assumption that we won’t face more dangerous variants in the future, or that we won’t find that low level infections will lead to long term heart damage or similar.

            Nicholas Nassim Taleb would know doubt have choice words for scientists who claim to understand statistics but don’t understand the concept of long tail risk.

            But as you say, I’ve seen even people who should really know better use the term ‘herd immunity’.

        2. flora

          If only there was a safe, effective, already FDA approved drug people could take at first diagnosis, and take at home as an outpatient, and didn’t cost a fortune….

        3. Lee

          Assuming the chart linked below is correct and absent additional public health measures, if the vaccines are 70% effective, and the virus has an R0=6, then 97% of the population would have to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

          IIRC, the chart is from a tweet by Eric Feigl-Ding and was posted some time ago here at NC. I do generally attribute back to NC things I glean and re-post, but failed to do so in this instance. My bad.

  2. Tinky

    Interesting. Thanks Yves.

    As to this…

    But it will nevertheless harm America’s prestige.

    I seriously wonder whether America’s military enjoys any prestige whatsoever, outside of those whose chests swell with pride whenever a few jets fly over a football stadium at halftime.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    The obvious Elephant in the Room with Biden of course is just how much he is cognitively in control and whether this means others – and its anyones guess who this could be – is making the key decisions.

    I think there were occasional signs from bellwethers inside and outside his circle that at least some people (either Biden himself or those around him) understood that there are tensions building up that need radical action over a very wide range of issues – NCers of course will know what they are. Biden has shown he is capable of decisiveness over Afghanistan and for a brief moment it looked like he was serious about climate change. But there is a sad tendency (this seems pretty much a law of politics and the governance of democracies) that successful politicians get obsessed with tactics and short term fixes over strategy. A lot of what he is doing makes absolutely no sense to me even when viewed in purely electoral terms.

    Only time will tell, but I think a lot of politicians (not just in the US) will come to bitterly regret declaring premature victory over Covid. This has the potential to destroy a lot of governing parties as people begin to realise they were misled. I also wonder what the other wild card – the slow realisation among populations that climate change is no longer in the future, its hitting us right now, very hard – will mean politically.

    1. cocomaan

      Only time will tell, but I think a lot of politicians (not just in the US) will come to bitterly regret declaring premature victory over Covid. This has the potential to destroy a lot of governing parties as people begin to realise they were misled.

      I think another lockdown will result in some social upheaval. Part of me thinks it could be a rout for lockdown-friendly parties in the next election (maybe 2022 midterms), but another part of me thinks that something more grassroots, like a renewed labor movement, could be in the cards.

      At least here in America, labor is stronger than it’s been my entire life. It’s a result of a lot of that stimmy money and the radical shifts in consumerism. People are standing up to their employers in ways that just were unimaginable a few years ago.

      Blue collar folks reacted badly to the last lockdown. And if they’re locked down again AND blamed for it for being anti vax or whatever, it will be interesting to see what they do.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        This has been on my mind a lot lately. I think another lock down is inevitable. The magic thinking of pretending everything is better clearly isn’t working.I’m just not sure what, if anything, that means in terms of labor. Logically, I agree with what you’re saying. But I guess I’ve felt we were on the verge of social upheaval before and somehow that energy was diffused. It does feel a bit different now and I know we don’t have the leadership at the government level to meet the needs. Things will be interesting, for sure.

        One thing I did want to say:

        Only time will tell, but I think a lot of politicians (not just in the US) will come to bitterly regret declaring premature victory over Covid.

        Has anyone admitted to handing anything wrong at any point of this pandemic yet? Privately, they may have regrets, but publicly it will be “we had no choice” BS. I’m not even sure these ghouls recognize the poor handling of COVID when they’re alone. People used to say Steve Jobs had a “reality distortion field” around him that prevented him from seeing things that weren’t simpatico with his own outlook and desires. I think our ruling elite have the same blinders.

        (And kudos to Yves for finding worthwhile comments on the FT article. I dipped a toe into those waters and, well, I guess it was good to remind myself why I avoid comments usually.)

        1. Robert Gray

          > … Steve Jobs had a “reality distortion field” around him that prevented him from seeing things
          > that weren’t simpatico with his own outlook and desires.

          Au contraire. The so-called reality distortion field was purportedly something that Jobs himself generated through the sheer force of his personality, which energised those around him with excitement and enthusiasm to take on challenges. Sometimes, in the cold light of morning when the force-field was attenuated, it could be seen that the challenges were bigger than they had appeared, i.e., not (re)solvable.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            You are correct, of course. Somehow my brain inverted that concept and I should have known better, having once worked for the company. lol

        2. chris

          There is no way another lockdown will be allowed to happen. That would be the death knell of Biden’s administration. There isn’t a governor outside of California that would enforce it. There aren’t enough people who would comply. There aren’t enough people who could comply for that matter. Can imagine the revolt from business owners? Employees going through another Christmas with no paychecks? Even more evictions? No, we won’t go back into lock down unless martial law is imposed.

          Whether we meant to do it or not, we’ve decided the only way out of this is through.

          1. Louis

            There isn’t going to be martial law declared, at least not at a national level–governors could conceivably activate their state National Guards to quell civil unrest.

            Those clamoring for a lockdown always seem to be those who either are comfortably retired or upper-middle class professionals who can work remotely.

            I don’t that is a coincidence.

            1. chris

              I don’t think it’s a coincidence either. Just like I have to imagine that once the ruling class figured out what was happening, they slowed a few things down. Why not decrease the surplus population? Why not scare what’s left of the middle class into submission? Why not cull the poor? There are a number of leaders who say they shouldn’t waste a crisis. I wonder what use they think they put this one to?

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                At the level of the Global OverClass, stealth population reduction by about 7 billion people over the next 100 years. In combination with lots of other things carefully fostered and cultured to mature into a multi-layered filter-field of person-removal.

                At the level of the merely UpperClasses and especially Local Gentries, with their narrower and nearer horizons, probably to terrorise the poors and near poors and make money off of decades of booster vaccines to come, and other merely self-enriching motives, without taking the longer Population Reduction views which I think the Global OverClass has long held and pursued.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I vehemently disagree. All it takes is a lack of hospital capacity state wide. Covid cases quickly fill up hospital beds because they typically get 1-3 weeks of treatment, while someone with a surgery or a heart attack or in a car wreck is nearly always out in a week.

            When hospitals can’t treat Covid or regular emergency cases because they are overwhelmed, the cities and states will lock down.

            And you can make them comply. Just about any business is licensed. It’s a nothingburger to yank their license. The owner then can be severely fined or even arrested if he continues to operate. You seem to forget that some bars and restaurants were made very successfully into demonstration projects.

    2. vlade

      Re your last point – I still don’t believe that most people are serious enough about CC. It will take a few more years of extreme weather to get there, and by then it’s a big question of what will be doable anymore.

      That is, unless a charmisatic leader with a real vision emerges, but I don’t see any right now (in the US, maybe AoC comes closest, but she doesnt’ seem to want this particular fight.. ).

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I found it interesting that the Guardian reported that German Greens have a policy of keeping their mouth shut on climate change with regard to the recent floods. This seems to have been based on advice that its better to let people come to their own conclusions rather than saying ‘I told you so’, which is, as always, satisfying but not likely to do anything but annoy people.

        My guess is that they sense a real mood change (in Germany anyway), but this could be simply a German thing.

        But as you say, there still isn’t a lot of real evidence that people are serious about it. Governments will get serious when their pollsters and advisors tell them they have to be serious about it or they’ll lose lots of votes. I’m sure you are right that we aren’t at that point yet.

        1. John

          Climate change is the superseding issue. Failure to even begin attempts to mitigate it will overwhelm all other issues. As said above, I see no movement to actually do anything, especially anything that might crack an ‘important’ rice bowl.

          1. Susan the other

            Yesterday’s post on the pipeline to collect CO2 at the source sounded like a free-for-all discussion on what to actually do and how to do it. It also sounded like Eisenhower and the American Autobahn. Put everyone to work on an obviously needed piece of infrastructure; pay labor, win votes, make the country prosperous – and in the case of CO2 capture and sequestration, make the atmosphere cleaner. I won’t elaborate on the huge irony here – that the interstate highway project combined with a totally overstimulated automobile industry and aided and abetted by Big Oil is what caused our CO2 problem in the first place. I’ll go with the future and in that future putting labor back on a broad and secure financial basis is the most important thing anybody can do. Politically and economically. And if the goal is now to cleanup our mess, so much the better. Biden just gave another “speech” claiming we have a labor shortage. I’d guess he’s setting the stage to pay labor a meaningful and livable wage. To that end CoV2 is something that needs to be folded into the cost of preventing the US economy from collapsing (which is what this is all about) and that could well be another way to put America back on an equitable secure footing when it comes to medical care for everyone. So the whole thing, regardless of Biden’s stuttering, looks focused and orchestrated to me. As far as Afghanistan goes, I’d imagine at least that we carved out a nice little freeport in Baluchistan to transport our favorite commodity, opium. But who knows. And who cares. The illicit drug industry should be legalized, standardized, taxed and enforced. So maybe that’s next.

        2. Stephen

          Yeah, I for one would trade a little international prestige for useable Healthcare and decent education.

          I always wonder what these beltway types mean by this word “prestige”. I suspect it has a lot to do with the way they are perceived on a personal level by their international peers they meet at cocktail parties and Davos-style get together.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden is in control or at least the President is too important to pretend it’s not starting with Biden. He’s always been lazy, and his promise was Republicans would be nice to him, echoing the Obama a promise that Republicans are about to be nice again. It’s a stupid set of promises, but its a deeply held conviction of these people. Biden snapping about Republicans saying Democrats drink blood is part of this when asked about Democrats who want to defund the police. Biden can’t grasp the GOP has no interest in opening spots at the table. It’s the same with staffers.

      1. Watt4Bob

        It’s a stupid set of promises, but its a deeply held conviction of these people.

        These people‘ possess no deeply held convictions, they have only a selfish dedication to preserving their status’, economic and social.

        What you’re calling ‘conviction‘ is actually a tactical ruse, intended to signal an admirable maturity they imply is missing in their ‘opponents’, who by the way, are not opponents at all but accomplices.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Which is why they treasure bi-partisanship so much, out of a genuine devotion to the principle that the complicity must continue at any cost and at all costs.

    4. Pelham

      It seems a good bet that at least some of the pols who prematurely declared victory over Covid know perfectly well what the consequences are likely to be. If that’s the case, they’re surely preparing their narratives for when the case loads and deaths really begin ramping up. I’ll be fascinated to hear what they tell us then to try to get themselves off that homicidal hook. Perhaps it will take the form of Condoleeza Rice’s 9/11 “I don’t think anybody could have predicted” testimony.

      1. Susan the other

        It might be useful to have Enemy Number One be CoV2. Since the Russians are fed up with that role. And China refuses to be so stereotyped. Enter CoV2. A “wimpy” version of SARS. But that might just be temporary because the spike protein is fully mutated which seems to mean that anymore mutations will be in different proteins contained within the virus and they will be more deadly. The next vaccines will be for those proteins. I don’t know about Edward, but Henry Luce would have loved it.

        1. begob

          I picked up on that point, but a quick search on attenuation of COVID only shows up information on treatments and vaccination techniques, rather than on the potential lurking within the virus. And handy links?

          1. Susan the other

            Maybe. I just listened to an interview with Dr. Robert Malone (highly qualified virologist etc.) linked from Toward the end of his almost-monologue he said that the next phases of covid vaccine development will be not on the spike protein, but on other proteins associated with the virus. He wasn’t very specific. He’s cautious about the safety of the mRNA vaccines and not enthusiastic about the DNA ones (J&J) because as we once discussed here on NC, it takes 10 years to verify safety and efficacy of vaccines. At which point they can be licensed. But he wasn’t entirely negative.

      2. Mtnwoman

        Oh, it will all be the fault of the unvaccinated.

        It won’t be the short-sighted “Vaccines Only” narrative that has excluded safe, effective, repurposed medications for CV19 prevention and early treatment.

  4. Equal > Equitable

    I think leaving Afghanistan so symbolically did a lot to repair America’s standing in the world. Rather than causing it to appear weak or lost, I think it would have been viewed by many as a return to leadership based on values other than money. Ever since Cheney made it painfully clear in the first gulf war, the narrative has been ‘They are only there (in the middle east) for the oil’ and this caused their moral standing to diminish.

    1. vlade

      Well, if you mean dissappearing overnight w/o telling anyone, yes, it was symbolic. I’m not saying they should have left with all the pomp and band playing, but “now you see me now you don’t” way is not going to be seen as anything good..

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m only guessing, but I think the manner it was done may well have annoyed even allies – plenty of countries have courted domestic unpopularity in order to make a show of supporting the US in Afghanistan. I don’t think that just vanishing in this manner went down well even among those countries who are also seeking a way out.

    3. Felix_47

      I wish. We got nothing from AFG worthwhile. We were there out of some sort of Wilsonian messianism which did not fit the country or the people and was conjured up by a bunch of ignorant Ivy Leagers. I spent two years there. The real boots on the ground were not guys in air conditioned offices in Bagram like Buttigig but largely Hispanic and Black and Deplorables.

  5. voteforno6

    Describing withdrawal from Afghanistan as an unforced error says quite a bit about Mr. Luce, and the people he’s talking to. I would bet Mr. Luce’s salary that the public is much more in favor of that than he is.

  6. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Perhaps it is because I struggle to conceptualise anything near all the woven strands all gradually tied together over about 40 years, resulting in something like the Gordian knot, which within the constraints of a highly corrupt Democracy, I wonder how anyone could do much more than unravel a few outer strands – but then again, I’m not Yves or Lambert whose breadth of knowledge I find incredible.

    Just seems to me hopefully incorrectly, that the train left the station a few decades ago, picked up ever greater momentum on an increasingly downhill slope & now those up front in the gilded engine compartment, can now at best only slow down the inevitable, because they never thought that there would be the need to reverse or fit good brakes.

    1. Robert Gray

      > … resulting in something like the Gordian knot, which within the constraints of a highly corrupt
      > Democracy, I wonder how anyone could do much more than unravel a few outer strands …

      Within the constraints of ‘Democracy’, we need to guard against a new Alexander who might be tempted into drastic expediencies.

  7. John Beech

    I believe we wronged the Persians in 1953. Thus, a good start to restoring US-Iranian relations would be a sincere apology. Quite simple.

    No, not saying we didn’t have good reasons to have done this in 1953, but today the world is a different place. As an aside, one of my best friends and I began our relationship on a playground. I started a fight with my mouth. And nobody dared break it up after I clocked someone who tried to intervene and then he clocked him, too. So we had at it for a good ten minutes before, mutually exhausted, we declared our own truce. Note; unless you’re trained, 10 minutes is an eternity in a fist fight. We were tired, but I digress. My main point being, we’re better off with Persia as an ally than driven into the arms of Russia.

    We were wrong in 1953 – happens. Admit it, and a good start would be to apologize. Then give them time to digest it and see what happens. Maybe nothing – but – I really can’t think of anything that would give Russia more heartburn than our kissing and making up.

    Look, this is the reality on the ground and no amount of chest pounding will change it. They’re a proud people, we’ve wronged them, and just as me and David ultimately did (found a face saving way to end it), we should do the same with Persia. Speaking to me and Dave, our friendship persist and approaches 60 years. We should make up for lost time with the Persians.

    First because they’re a proud people. Second, because they have withstood the kitchen sink in terms of sanctions. Third, and quite honestly, because they’re worthy of our friendship. Me? I’d far rather have a Persian in my corner than against me.

    So because I think we should choose our enemies wisely, we should endeavor to patch things up with them. Do it today! It’s a misstep to continue. There’s no shame in apologizing and making up.

    My 2¢

    1. tegnost

      We were wrong in 1953 – happens. Admit it, and a good start would be to apologize. Then give them time to digest it and see what happens. Maybe nothing – but – I really can’t think of anything that would give Russia more heartburn than our kissing and making up.

      That’s a great idea. Sadly, in the current framework good ideas are the last thing that will happen.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        How many Iranians were around for that? No one cares. Maybe we could apologize for 8th century atrocities committed by some ancestor of an American. The much more recent issues are at play. The Iran Iraq War, sanctions, dumping on the nuclear deal, and so forth. Flooding the region with terrorists. Murdering a plane of civilians.

        With Biden not taking steps to undo the Trump damage and reinforcing that damage, he’s lost credibility as a negotiator. Withdrawal is the best option.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Largely it’s too late for that, and both countries have been the victims of US thuggery. I would also note Russia and Iran aren’t that dissimilar and lack any real grievances. Once you get over their clothes are different from my clothes issues, the have similar interests regardless of the party in power.

      Is the US worthy of Iranian friendship? The answer is unequivocally no. The GOP is the GOP, and the opportunity presented by Obama and mostly European pressure was stomped on by elite democrats who gripe about it and finally killed by Biden’s behavior. Instead Biden decided to start insulting countries. We aren’t dealing with misunderstanding as much as perfidy. That won’t get restored until a purge or the US is openly reduced and dealing on a much smaller scale.

    3. Anthony Stegman

      Unfortunately, many of our bettors, perhaps most of them, will consider an apology to be an embarrassment and lead to large loss of that priceless attribute “prestige”. Great nations NEVER apologize.

    4. E.Yates

      Re: No, not saying we didn’t have good reasons to have done this in 1953…

      We did not have good reasons in 1953. Our actions were based on fear and self-serving desire for control. We saw communists under 1 in 3 beds in the US, and everywhere in every country. At least that was the excuse.

    5. Terry

      I agree with you heavily on that, the powers that be picked the wrong horse to back, post ww2, and the fallout and blowback from that since has been one of the er, Original Political Sins of the modern era, in which no amount of unintended consequences are ever enough to change course. We could have had a natural ally in the region, but instead destabilized them to our woe. From the reading I did about it, seems as if preventing ‘near peer regional powers’ from rising was the whole show at the time, so instead of working on the natural ally part, we stuck with the whole T. E. Lawrence Show legacy system. I also agree that there Should be no shame in apologizing and making up, however if there are political forces that act as physical forces; “Getting any political system, which bipartisan-ally chose a terrible path to admit it and change course takes 20 to 50 years.” I would point to the criminally insane War on Drugs, War on Terror, and War on then Less Than Spectacularly Wealthy (Reagan Revolution). Moreover, Iran’s intel community has straight clowned the US several times since then, and there is nothing like getting embarrassed about your stupid choice to make an empire triple down.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Assuming that Biden is actually in charge is like an economist assuming a can opener. I have little doubt that they have him safely in a bubble of some sort but if anything goes wrong, they will just wheel him out to take the blame. Things have been falling apart for some time now and it no longer really matters who is in charge as the steps necessary to reverse or even ameliorate what is happening will be fiercely resisted by the insiders. Let’s take the domestic affairs issue of the pandemic.

    The establishment knows how to see off challenges. They stopped any talk of healthcare for all in the middle of a pandemic dead cold, stopped a raise in the frozen minimum wage, put off student debt relief until the heat death of the universe and any other measure that people wanted in the way of help. But now they are dealing with a virus and they are at a loss how to deal with it. All the usual tactics don’t or can’t work leaving them at a loss. You can’t bomb it, bribe it, threaten it, beat it up with billy sticks, shoot it, arrest it, declare it classified, censor it, make a new law against it – none of their usual methods works. The present mess we see is the result of their inability to process what to actually do and it is still accelerating.

    And for foreign affairs? I have maintained before that the world is no longer a unipolar one but a multipolar one. And Washington is resisting this instead of adapting to it. In fact, they are doubling down. They are re-orientating their forces against China which is why the pullback from Afghanistan. They are also dragging in as many countries as possible including NATO to confront China. And they are confronting Russia. And Iran. And are trying to topple the governments of a number of countries as well. They could prioritize where they should put resources but as I said, they are doubling down. What is worse is they they can’t threaten or bomb China and Russia. They can’t even bomb Iran for that matter. A twenty year effort to have a first strike capability on Russia died when the Russians introduced their latest generation weapons so we went back to having a balance of terror.

    So Biden is overseeing all this going on but he has little effect on it. Maybe the Republicans will label him as ‘the one that lost Afghanistan’ but it will not matter. Half the time he is probably in left field anyway and the Presidency came far too late for him to have a powerful say. And that is one very large caliber bullet that America managed to dodge there.

    1. Terry

      Many things you mentioned in your second paragraph are things I have brought up to folks with different language. Shaming, messaging, and rule by Diktat ( for example) work really, really well where the personal and political intersect; “We want this, we want society to do this.”, “No, and here is why you are wrong and bad for even wanting this thing that is right and good, never mind our donors own the system that does the wrong and bad to you to their immense benefit.”
      Regarding a Global Pandemic; This is a Real Thing, with Real Consequences, and the politicians that have thrived in an abstract, financialized, political economy, where most of their workload is telling the teeming masses they can’t have nice things, or they already do but don’t understand that they do – find their whole skillset pretty much useless; One cannot tell a virus that if it kills less people or evolves slower that maybe its needs will be met down the line when far more important things are dealt with, or that it is getting a ton of choices in the marketplace in exchange for navigating the nightmaresphere of that marketplace, or use the world’s most advanced narrative management tools to convince it it deserves to get paid less and suck it up and work harder. I wonder how the US would have dealt with this if, all other things remain the same, we were still in a mostly manufacturing economy instead of a paper pushing and people convincing one? At least the things one needs to pay attention to in an industrial world are related to “This real, objective task needs to happen, within these margins of error, and if they don’t, we are boned here, here, and here, and will have to deal with that later.”, as opposed to “The more abstractions of ownership and liability mitigation we create, the more successful we are, and woe be upon anyone who we can push those costs onto.”

  9. Michael hudson

    From my perspective, a big Achilles Heel for Biden and the Democrats is Cleveland, whee the Democratic death-star duo Hillary + Obama are backing the opponent of pro-Bernie Barbara Lee. The DNC has thrown all its support against the progressives. I’ve been in a discussion about whether, if Lee loses, she should run as an independent, letting the Republican win to show the DNC that if they fight against the “real” left, they’ll be out of office.
    Coupled with Biden’s refusal to support the minimum wage promise, to cancel student debt, to return to the Iran deal, to roll back Trump’s regressive taxes, oppose Medicare for All. He has only one year before his party loses the Senate and perhaps even the House.
    The Republican strategy is simply to block any real domestic spending bill on infrastructure or anything else.

    1. Synoia

      I have to wonder if this is deliberate, to continue the current position beloved of the wealthy donor class.

      Bumbling incompetence or fog of deceit?

      1. Pelham

        Absolutely. And your speculation chimes with the fact that, regardless of the combination and proportion of Dems and Republicans in Congress, there always seem to be enough votes in combination to avoid doing much of anything potentially constructive.

    2. Big River Bandido

      If “asset recycling” is any part of the infrastructure bill, I hope the Republicans defeat the bill. Same with any proposed re-entry into the TPP.

      The Republicans could do the left and the country a great service in this way.

      1. Retaj

        All the consultant iterations of the branding: public private partnership, ppp, p3, asset recycling, will eventually lead us to the truth: Asset Looting.

      2. Terry

        Asset Recycling is just the new messaging for how we privatize things created with or payed for with government money right? And the part where ‘we’ sell them off for pennies to private institutions that then charge a trillion pennies to the people who need to use it, after their government already paid the high risk costs that no private entity would ever dream of taking on.

    3. Cas

      Barbara Lee is the U.S. Representative from California’s 13th District. Nina Turner is the former Bernie campaign manager running in Cleveland.

    4. Adams

      Barbara Lee is in her 12th term in CA 13, and was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF.

      In the dem primary for Ohio 11 (Cleveland) progressive Nina Turner, who was Bernie’s co-chair in 2020, is running against the whole institutional Dem establishment. The long knives (Obama, Hillary, Clyburn, and even the Congressional Black Caucus) are out for her, just as they were for Bernie.

      Early voting has begun. Turnout is low so far. Election is Aug 3. Send support to Nina!

      1. Terry

        Another Generational Original SIn: the AUMF. This brings me back to The Pledge to Resist, and Not In Our Name, and the largest global protests in history to stop an illegal war of aggression (that didn’t work). Also yeah, domestically the Biggest Thing seems to be “You will still suffer for not voting for the Patriot Act and AUMF, 20 years later, as the empire has a long memory, as do the the rest of the legislature that did vote for it and tell everyone how tough they were because they did.”

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’ve been in a discussion about whether, if Lee loses, she should run as an independent, letting the Republican win to show the DNC that if they fight against the “real” left, they’ll be out of office.

      (I think you mean Nina Turner.)

      It’s hard for me to believe this is still something that needs debated after all this time. If they still think they can take over the Democrats, the progressives either need to show the DNC they are serious and stop being afraid to draw blood or accept being controlled opposition. I like Turner a lot, but I’ve kind of tuned out of Ohio because I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends.

      1. Oh

        Even if Nina Turner manages to win, the Dims will capture her just like they captured the Squad. The Bernicrats need to start their own party and think long term. There’s no role for them in the Democrat party.

        1. Terry

          Due to the hard, sad math of US electoral politics, starting your own party is the opposite of thinking long term. We have a Two Party System, the math of the system makes it so, unless we drastically change the electoral system. If a third party is going to unseat one of The Two Parties, it needs to be in the right place at the right time when one of those two completely self destructs, where enough of the at-large votes and talent have an affinity with a third party that is in the game to jump to. Some folks thought The Green Party might have been that since the 70’s, that didn’t work out so well. The Whigs got 4 presidents, but history is not much kinder to them.)
          I don’t think ‘Progressive’ Dems (I hate the term) have a home in the Democratic Party, as they are the ‘no where to go’ voters there in the same way that the abortion single issue voters are for the GOP (though the history of that was, again, astroturfed. GOP Protestants considered abortion ‘A Catholic Issue’ until the 70’s, when they realized it would create a voter block if they changed messaging, and did: can’t vote for the baby killers no matter what. And I feel that, I have a hard time voting for Iraq War politicians and anyone who ever voted for expanding the war on drugs, but that leaves me with no one to vote for.)
          At the same time, the slim chances to effect party platforms stay within the institutions, and take decades of effort to make small changes until big things shift the world. In closing, withdrawing effort from the dems, by their leaderships most hated constituency has the possibility of opening up more space for the worst of the right to gain total control. Til they lose it after the worst possible stuff happening, and I personally hate that triangulation. it However as is, team Biden is gonna lose the midterms, in part because the wingnutosphere knows how to mindscrew people, in part because of historical trends, and in part because the Gerrymandering is now worse than when the term was invented, and it is not gonna much matter afterwards, with the judicial picture. The time to care about reactionary politics and climate change was 30 years ago, we didn’t, and they fought harder, better, and with far more money. Now we are in the era of roosting chicken.

      2. KD

        The “Left” is much like Max, the canine companion of the Grinch who Stole Christmas. No matter how much the DNC abuses or exploits him, he comes running back drooling and happy. The only difference between the story and real life is the part about the DNC’s heart growing three sizes too big.

    6. Randy G

      Hi Michael!

      Your analysis, as always, is cogent — but I think you mean Nina Turner, not Barbara Lee. (If you are that MH.)

      (You are one of the few economists on the planet who would be worth saving in a flash flood– keep up the great work!)

    7. Hepativore

      Many progressive pundits such as Kyle Kulinski and Mike Figuredo wanted Sanders to get Biden to agree to a few executive order concessions before Sanders dropped out and supported Biden. Still, as we have seen Biden largely go back on most if not all of the promises he made as part of his platform, Biden would have probably reneged on any promise he made with Sanders anyway, as there would be no consequences for Biden lying to Sanders’ face. After all, the DNC establishment has shown that it cannot be trusted with following through on any policy that they might hold publicly so why should they start now?

      The larger problem is the fact that the Democratic Party leadership does not seem to consider losing elections to be that big of a deal. They can still fundraise on Republican vilification and their party members can still get cushy jobs as corporate lobbyists for all that they have done for the donor class even if it might cost them from an electoral standpoint. Losing elections against Republicans is a relatively small price to pay for being able to maintain an institutionalized political status quo that can squash any sort of serious challenge from the political left and can effectively lock out third parties from ever gaining a political foothold.

      However, I still think that the left taking over one of the two parties is probably a better strategy than a third party trying to build its own political infrastructure from scratch. As things stand now, there is no way that either party is going to change election laws to make it easier for third parties to get on the ballot as the current system serves both the GOP and DNC just fine. Plus, running as a third party candidate would just make it even easier for the media and political establishment to marginalize a third party candidate into irrelevance. This would be an almost impossible hurdle to overcome when trying to win over the “normies” who get their news from cable media and mainstream publications as said sources would probably give no visibility to a third party candidate whatsoever.

    8. Terry

      If only the Democratic Party writ large showed the same institutional and tactical acumen when fighting the GOP as they did when fighting off internal competition from their left flank. I am reminded of team Hilary’s internal communications where they were tactically angling to compete with Trump in 2016 because their internal biases made them think it was a slam dunk, while fighting tooth and claw to end Bernie. Aaaand then again in 2020 when the The Fix Was In to make sure no D pol had to look stupid in a televised national debate against him, and the whole institution closed ranks around Biden within a day, and he was suddenly The Frontrunner.
      Say what you will about The Tea Party, but when their astroturfed base got riled up, the GOP played to it and it worked. The Dems would set their most energized base on fire if it means that the DNC/DLC crowd are still getting 48% of the campaign contributions and 30% of consulting contracts.
      You mention Obama, who kept stoically silent while Dollar General Benito built his whole campaign around smearing him, but suddenly has a lot to say publically whenever anyone to the left of Bill Clinton gets some traction in a local dem primary, so that is par for the course.
      Finally, if the Repub plan for decades has been “Say government cant do anything right while we privatize those services via government contracts to our own companies at 1000% cost”, I believe their strategy is to block any domestic spending that provides material benefits at a profit free cost politically, as a way to then bust out and privatize all of that infrastructure spending. Get the gov to pay for it, via no bid contracts, get the gov to then sell it off to private infrastructure management firms, and then double or triple charge the taxpayers who paid to build it to use it. Works for Pharma.

    9. Terry

      Also, on this site, you are likely the Michael Hudson I have read for decades, and I engage with a great deal of respect. Thanks for writing Finance Capitalism and its Discontents, and Finance as Warfare, and all of the articles that get posted here.

  10. Sound of the Suburbs

    US wealth distribution. shot 2015-06-15 at 11.28.56 am.png
    The exponential curve continues into the 1%, and a more realistic picture would show how wealth has concentrated with a very few people.

    Getting the neoliberal ideology accepted in a democracy were never going to be easy.
    The rewards are far too concentrated with far too few people.

    Just try saying the right things and hope no one notices.
    That did work for a while, but that time has passed.

    Let’s try a new tack.
    I will deliver “Hope and Change”
    The words were excellent, but he didn’t deliver the goods.
    It did maintain the status quo for another eight years, but the natives were growing extremely restless.
    After eight years his time was up.

    Trump promised to change things, and that was good enough.
    He didn’t deliver the goods either.

    What can we do now?
    They gave the Democrats another chance, but they want to preserve the status quo.
    Biden’s chances of re-election are slim to non-existent.

  11. Gregory Etchason

    As long as Trump keeps insinuating he’s running in 2024, Biden isn’t the issue. It’s who will run in place of Kamala. I think Trump would beat her. Kamala’s problem, like many female politicians is the vicious infighting of female staffers.
    I think Sheldon Whitehouse would make a great President. We’ll see. If he successfully takes down
    Kavanaugh. It’s a done deal.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I”m sure the infighting doesn’t help, but Kamala is Kamala’s problem.

    2. KD

      “Kamala’s problem, like many female politicians is the vicious infighting of female staffers.”

      Got Stereotypes?

      Kamala’s problem is Kamala, not her “female staffers”.

      1. tegnost

        yeah, I don’t like the b*tch card, particularly from individuals with traditionally male names

  12. saywhat?

    Which is not a reason to cheer — as I said, it will never lose it, but more importantly, SARS-1 had not PBCS and was much more lethal. Which can only mean that everything else about this virus is wimpy and attenuated, i.e. if it deattenuates, we are in very big trouble. GM

    I’ve just read (wiki) that SARS-1 had an overall fatality rate of 9% but approaching 50% for those over 60 years old.

  13. lambert strether

    I’m listening to Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast, and the Romanovs make the Bourbons look like paragons of good government. And our political class reminds me of the Romanovs, as does the intractably intertwined nature of the problems we face.

  14. Mtnwoman

    Oh, it will all be the fault of the unvaccinated.

    It won’t be the short-sighted “Vaccines Only” narrative that has excluded safe, effective, repurposed medications for CV19 prevention and early treatment.

  15. Robert

    “Situation is bad for Pakistan ISIS that they can’t control pedophilia affected Taliban leadership. . Large parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran suffer from Bacha Bazi and drug abuse.”

    The Taliban rose to power due, in large part, to their aggressive and violent opposition to Bacha Bazi. It is our friends in the Afghan gov that are serial child rapists. Many, many, many American soldiers have clearly communicated that they were instructed to turn the other cheek on this topic. See Scott Horton’s book on Afghanistan.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The claim is that some members of the Taliban leadership have adopted practices they are supposed to oppose, and they can’t be rooted out because it’s too fraught to expose them.

      Horton’s book was published in 2017. Normal pub cycles mean it was “sold” in 2016. He would have presented his thesis as part of his proposal. So his research is from 2016 and older. So the book is too dated to disprove the theory.

      1. Robert

        Appreciate the reply.

        There is no evidence that the Taliban are engaging in that behavior. It is much more likely that the American who posted the comment does not understand the situation. He assumes that because it is bad, and we are not bad, that we oppose it, when the inverse is the truth.

        There is ample evidence that the Taliban use the victims to kill their molesters (the Afgan gov). In other words, the Taliban learns of a victim, approaches him, provides him with weapons, and encourages revenge.

  16. campbeln

    Anyone have an update on this one from IM Doc?

    It’s hard to find anything studying this because there is none – we have not had enough time.

    But one of the problems with mRNA technology in these vaccines is indeed there will likely be a more vigorous immune response every time they are given making the number of reactions even higher – and this seems to be higher the younger you go.

    Studies are already underway on the mRNA booster – and unofficially via friends that are recruiting patients – things are not going so well at all. Many many more are getting very sick. Also, please note that in some of the arms of these protocols – there is a repeat of the two shot process – so you actually are giving people a 3rd shot followed a month later by a 4th. Unofficially, according to my reliable sources, the number of people turning down the 4th shot is astronomically elevated – the 3rd shot reaction is just that bad. All of these subjects have already had a 1st and 2nd shot earlier this year.

    Again – this is why something like an inhaled nasal vaccine may be a much better modality.

    This has all been so rushed – it is quite a quagmire right now.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The odds that one will find an official confirmation are extremely low. And now that the government is squashing what they consider to be bogus Covid information, even if there were corroborating accounts, they would either be disappeared or propagate more slowly than they would otherwise.

  17. George Phillies

    “Erm, notice the pointed avoidance of actually crediting Trump with the Operation Warp Speed that gave Biden vaccines to distribute. ” leading to a deeper problem, a substantial chunk of the American population that notices this sort of coverage and (probably justly) does not trust traditional news sources. I am starting to see articles on this issue, coupled with articles on why 2020 polling was disappointing in its accuracy.

  18. kgw

    ‘Financial Times: “Things Could Fall Apart for Biden”’

    Things have already fallen apart, years ago, n’est-ce pas? Biden is simply another in a long line of fall guys…While those who engineered the debacle are enjoying mojitos on their favorite island.

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