The Adorable Way That Baby Koalas Are Weighed Laughing Squid (Re Silc).
The intoxicating garden: Michael Pollan on growing psychoactive plants FT
Are Private Equity Firms to Blame For Rising Home Prices? Marker
The Pandemic Opportunity Project Syndicate
What the impending rubber ‘apocalypse’ means for the U.S. economy CNBC (Re Silc).
Coronavirus: Sinovac is world’s most used vaccine, but how good is its Delta protection? South China Morning Post
Thai study finds 2 doses of Sinovac can’t beat Delta variant, AstraZeneca can ThaiPBS (Furzy Mouse). I cannot, however, find the original study.
CDC, FDA contradict Pfizer on COVID-19 vaccine booster CIDRAP
Mix-and-Match COVID Vaccines: The Case Is Growing, but Questions Remain Scientific American
Briefly Noted: For 2021-07-09 Fr Brad DeLong (nvl). Takedown of Slavitt on Delta.
* * *
Bay Area an ’emerging hot spot’ for COVID as delta cases jump San Francisco Chronicle
COVID-19 outbreak shuts down in-person services at Apopka, Eustis churches Click Orlando. I have never understood why there are no reports of clusters in megachurches, given singing and close contact. Perhaps the high ceilings and mall-scale HVAC were mitigations. But if this story is Delta, that may be about to change.
Study reveals children and youth had highest rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Canada before third wave Covid Immunity Task Force. Canada.
* * *
As New Vaccinations Decrease, Efforts Turn Toward Wisconsin Farm Workers Up North News. Who knew, a workplace-focused effort (siloed by industry, naturally).
California is diverging from the CDC on masks in schools San Francisco Chronicle
Abbott begins laying off hundreds of workers as COVID test demand evaporates: report Fierce Biotech
New study of 62k hospitals nationwide finds US is unprepared for next pandemic The Hill (Re Silc). Original.
Tesla’s Fall From Grace in China Shows Perils of Betting on Beijing Bloomberg
Why the US-China contest will be fought in the heartlands of America South China Morning Post
Myanmar rebel group suspends key leader in massacre investigation Channel News Asia
Vietnam receives 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as it tackles worst outbreak Channel News Asia
Is Covid-19 terminal for the rising middle classes of Malaysia and Indonesia? South China Morning Post
Indebted Land Communities Speak Out Right to Relief. Cambodian microfinance.
Climate Change: How Comfort Became Something an Individual Could Purchase The Wire
Sex and the City in Medieval India The Globalist
Giant Dam Is Messing Up Water in Africa Even Before It Is Filled Bloomberg
Taliban statement: China is a friend of Afghanistan and welcomes China to invest in Afghanistan What China Reads
England’s reopening: ‘The world is looking at us with disbelief’ FT
Mass infection is not an option: we must do more to protect our young The Lancet
‘We need help’: Haiti’s interim leader requests US troops AP
Venezuela: Security forces, armed gangs clash in Caracas Deutsche Welle
Venezuela’s Special Economic Zones: A Conversation with Oly Millán Venezuelanalysis
Mexico enters 3rd wave of coronavirus, infections up 29% AP
Joe Biden Just Threw Down the Anti-Monopoly Gauntlet—but One Big Question Remains Zephyr Teachout, The Nation. Lina Kahn weighs in:
3. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment to address unchecked market concentration and promote fair competition. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners and partners across federal government to use our full suite of antimonopoly tools and advance this key mission.
— Lina Khan (@linakhanFTC) July 9, 2021
Absent legislation? I’m not so sure. But come on, man:
"capitalism is more about vibe than anything else" https://t.co/Za7xNrfFmb
— Sun Destroyer 999 (@bombsfall) July 9, 2021
Joe Biden Fixes Capitalism In 31 Short Pages The Heisenberg Report. Well worth a read.
Biden fires head of Social Security Administration The Hill
Hunter Biden’s Art Dealer Has Reportedly Made an Agreement With the White House to Keep His Sales Top Secret artnet. Oh.
Democrats en Deshabille
GOP lawmakers caught on video telling activists to thank Manchin and Sinema for not blowing up the filibuster: ‘Without that, we would be dead meat’ Yahoo News. The party Pelosi and Schumer made.
The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It’s Taking America With It Michelle Goldberg, NYT (re Silc). So far as I can tell, “Critical Race Theory” is a right wing confection, a gallimaufry of quotations from sources that they do not understand with a label stuck on it. So it’s a little disconcerting to see Goldberg legitimize CRT as a thing, even if to oppose it.
The media’s extractive telling of Appalachia Scalawag
All of Us Should Be Working Four-Day Weeks Jacobin
Elvis (Your Waiter) Has Left the Building Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture
Viewpoint: Solidarity for the Tenet Nurses Strike Should Be Labor’s Top Priority Right Now Labor Notes
Striking miner’s wife hit by vehicle at Warrior Met Coal picket line, union says AL.com. If the Republicans are serious about a pivot to the working class, there would be no better way to show it than to have JD Vance on the picket line in support with a megaphone. #JustSaying.
Frito Lay Seeks Scabs as Kansas Labor Launches Boycott – Fort Lee Barbers Strike – USC Nurses to Strike Payday Report
Climate change made North America’s deadly heatwave 150 times more likely Nature
Climate Change is About Greed Jeffrey Sachs, Tikkun
Who holds the welding rod? LRB (AL). This is a must-read. Grab a cup of coffee.
Antidote du Jour (via):
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.
Is DeLong carelessly conflating Ivermectin (about which this seems baseless) with hydroxychloroquine here, or just repeating something that he heard, while forgetting that the source was probably a Big Pharma flack?
Methinks that he’s trying to one-up Vice, which recently ran this hit piece:
Administering drugs that require an actual public health care system is like something beyond the pale. And they don’t have the protection from lawsuits and other accountability that they’ve granted to “emergency approval.”
They’d rather line people up for the experiment they don’t have to be accountable for and continue to cut costs around care.
Here’s a Twitter thread on the impact of introducing ivermectin to Covid patients in Mexico City during early 2021.
If that data is accurate I can understand why Dr. Kory and others are hyping the drug. It looks like the kind of game changer we need. Anecdotally I hear from people who have had family members in the final stages of treatment with no hope of recovery who then petitioned their doctors to administer Ivermectin and saw miraculous results. If all that’s true it really is puzzling why there seems to be so much animosity towards Kory’s position.
Also curious is how the current discussion ignores how the FLCCC and Kory’s protocols early on which were based on clinical observations were found to be correct and were adopted as the standard of care. Like, the use of corticosteroids is now expected when in early 2020 it was forbidden. Kory and others had a role in that but you’d never know it from the recent coverage.
If it were me, and I’d already fought this battle once, I’d start to believe the reasons people were opposing my suggestions had to do with something besides science too!
If the powers that be intended to (1) increase profits for the specific companies who were commissioned to create vaccines, and (2) normalize depopulation as a side benefit, then their course of conduct during 2020 and 2021 would make a great deal of sense.
A meta study from first rate authors using first rate methodology in a peer reviewed journal says otherwise:
critiques that analysis toward the end, worth considering, not claiming no effect, just not spectacular effect
as chad says, he does offer a (rather gentle) critique of the Gideon et al meta-analysis. Alas it’s far too technical for me to properly get my head around. Commenter Terry Flynn may have some insights on his statistical analysis.
review of meta-analysis
Re: “Climate Change is About Greed”
I am a bit perplexed over the rationale of signaling out oil companies as the cause of climate crisis and attacking them with this “lets go get ’em” attitude. Even now, with a preponderance of evidence staring everyone in the face, much less theoretical/scientific predictions of possible outcomes, the response to climate change could be best described as “foot dragging”. And try and find anyone that would willingly give up the benefits of cheap energy. The oil industry is hardly the only culprit of CO2 emissions.
Spending time minimizing all the sources of CO2, some of which will be easier than others, seems a bit more productive use of time. If one option includes removing oil subsidizes and carbon taxes applied to the oil industry to effect that change, then so be it.
Let’s face it, it’s not just oil. And “making them pay”, short of shutting it down, is close to impossible. The entire system we live within today is the problem
Considering that the Middle East Wars are as much about oil and oil transport (Syrian pipelines built by Russia vs Saudia Arabia) as anything else, oil is a problem that we either don’t know how to solve… or don’t want to solve. No one wants to give up what oil and other serious chemical pollutants provide humans to the detriment of everything else.
I occasionally look around my house (interior) and think about what would be here if oil was extracted and sold at it’s true cost. Plastic, wood cut in factories, rugs, lamps, furnace, washer/dryer, refer, etc…
When I look at the exterior, cars, roads, the house itself…
Not very much, or at least not much at a cost I could afford.
And let’s not forget the massive human worldwide population growth since the discovery of all the uses of oil, seriously exacerbating the problem of what to do about it.
So, instead, people just lie about it all while ignoring the obvious (like the situation described by the LRB article).
Bottom line, the planet, as we know it, is in trouble and will remain so for quite some time.
And not only that, when they do talk about fossil fuel emmisions they never call out the biggest user: the US military.
So now we have to sit back with a straight face and listen to talk about how they are going to mine their way to a “green” future with EVs and such.
Seems very similar to the way the “War on Drugs” is fought: always go after the supply, never the demand.
Or, always “pretend” to go after the supply. If we waste our time imposing a corporate income tax surcharge on Exxon Mobil et. al. the only thing that will do is stimulate their capital expenditures to modernize their drilling rigs, their electronics, their tanker fleet, etc. so they can plump even more oil. This foray into never-never-land by Sachs almost explains why all the bigs are looking frantically for more oil as we speak. A surtax on corporate income is nonsense. What we need, yesterday, is the nationalization of oil companies. Control both supply and demand. If the demand for supply is left up to the “free market” then obviously there will be a jamboree of wildcatters all selling for the highest price. Whereas if we control demand with better transportation options, and a long list of other benefits to society, and likewise control supply not just by that lesser demand but also by making oil production an impossible venture because it cannot make enough money to stay in business as a capitalist enterprise (i.e. no profits) then problem solved. Much more efficiently. We still have oil, which we will need, but we no longer have excessive CO2 and profiteering at the expensive of civilization and society. Oil is still necessary, but oil companies are not sacred. It is time to take them over. There is no way to let them operate freely in this world. To tax their “income” (their extraction practices) is just a perverse incentive.
This article by Jeffrey Sachs for Tikkun makes me wonder if Israel is getting nervous about its drive to become the oil kings of the eastern Mediterranean. They should know that those days are over.
I’ve largely kept schtum on the delta variant so far until I see some (at least in pre-print) articles, given my background. Seeing these, together with good reports from NC commenters in good stead makes me very very anxious. Round here, as reported by NC, vaccination is “better than the USA” in older groups – we have a pretty strong and well established seasonal flu-vaccination program in place on which the covid vaccination scheme has piggybacked with great success among those aged 50+ and the clinically vulnerable (me).
Under 50s are still a bit hit and miss but the overall stats (reported by Lambert and others) show that vaccination is proceeding well in the adult population. Note the Guardian quotes the proportion of the TOTAL population vaccinated. 20% of the population is “not adult” so if you want to know the proportion of ADULTS vaccinated using Guardian figures, multiply by 1.25.
The anecdotes reported on NC in last few days chime horribly with what I’ve been seeing. People who had covid originally in early 2020 are getting covid-delta really really badly (and they’re fully vaccinated – ages ago). Interestingly, given the early transmisibility, given the people concerned (providers of the family biz) I’d be ill by now if I had delta but I’m not. But I’m on a really strong immunosuppressant, following long-covid symptoms throughout 2020. This ain’t data but it lines up with the data quoted here….
Am also reminded of the EBV reactivation hypothesis mentioned here. EBV reactivated when I was stressed in Sydney in 2010. Comprehensive blood tests elicited the question “when did you have glandular fever?” me: “Errrrr, never”, Doc: “Wrong. You have the antibody.” Me “ohhhhhh, that month long period of hell around 2005……never got tested – cancelled doc appt when I got to a month and started feeling better”. My 2020 was largely like that.All sorts of things are turning up in my antibody tests that I never knew I had,,,,,,
from yesterday’s water cooler, posted by Cuibono: molnupiravir
Many thanks. unfortunately this reinforces the case for “treating before the patient might even be sure they have covid – as with all/most antivirals”
Thanks Terry; You describe what a public health program could do if the public health weren’t privatized to make many rich and many sick. Having a drug for prophylaxis would be so easy, if it made anyone money.
Sick is too valuable to prevent in our little part of the world. Note the huge amount a hospital is given if it claims a patient has Covid?
War (any type) is a racket.
Surely beats what we do now: treat the patient only after they turn blue
Its looking very bad indeed, especially if the vaccine effects on those early recipients is already starting to wear off, which is looking increasingly likely. The UK may be the most vaccinated country in Europe, but its nowhere near well enough covered to stop a wave of Delta. The only question is whether it will prove as deadly or as likely to cause long term damage, and we’ll find this out soon enough.
I think politicians around Europe will be looking very closely at the UK. If the Tories get lucky, and the inevitable wave in August is tolerable (i.e., not too many body bags), then they’ll be tempted to follow suit with a complete opening up – albeit at a worse time of the year as winter approaches. If it turns into a catastrophe, then they’ll fall back to a more cautions approach.
Either way, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the back of Covid this year. Its conceivable that things could get even worse.
It’s looking very bad, and just look at the UK if you want to see the U.S.’s future. A few thoughts:
1. My midwestern county’s positivity rate has tripled in a month from 1.3% on 6/6 to 3.9% on 7/12–and that’s the 14-day positivity rate, so the recent rate must be larger.
2. School opens in many places in about a month. Hopefully, every elementary school will be masked (not likely, but hopefully). Nonetheless, with 3-foot distancing I fear that Delta can sweep through an elementary school quickly. And as for middle schools and high schools, not many states initially will be as wise as California that requires masks for all kids at all schools.
3. Florida just released it’s latest weekly stats. Infections up 50% from last week to this week.
4. The “Delta blob” of cases in southwest Missouri just keeps spreading to neighboring counties in Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
And while all this is happening and the mathematics of the spread is unrelenting, the CDC says go maskless in schools for the vaccinated, and a possibly more “consumer friendly” vaccine like Novovax may take a few more months to get rolled out. Grrr.
Comfort and Climate Change–
Air conditioning and climate make a nice example of a reinforcing loop. Air conditioning uses energy which contributes to CO2 in the atmosphere which heats things up which causes the air conditioning to run more which puts CO2 into the atmosphere at an even higher rate and round and round we go until we get Jimi’s “smell of a world that has burned.”
I grew up in a house, located in the occasionally scorching Missouri summer heat, that was not air conditioned. I survived. Since then, I’ve lived without air conditioning in the mountains of northern New Mexico (not too tough) and now in Cleveland (usually not too bad). I’ve preached, clothed in suit clothes minus the jacket but plus an alb and stole, in an un-air conditioned church during summer heat waves in Chicago and managed not to faint. Fans, especially ceiling fans, help considerably. Shading, especially of west-facing windows, is critical. And some sacrifice of comfort is necessary. But in the absence of extraordinary temperatures, humans can survive without air conditioning in many parts of the country. And perhaps moving to areas like the Deep South and lower altitudes in the Southwest isn’t the greatest idea.
If we don’t want more and more of the planet to become unlivable for us without air conditioned houses, workplaces and cars, then we can wait (like for Godot) for the government to closely regulate air conditioning use or we can make some changes ourselves in our “comfort level.”
Here in PA, wife and I have lived without AC for about seven years. If we were in an urban area, it would probably be unbearable because of the concrete heat sinks. But with some decent forest and strategically placed trees (PAs ecologically natural state of being), it becomes livable.
Seems to me that urbanization is one of the great problems with the need for climate control measures.
In Philly, we’ve been making do without the AC since we moved to the house in Germantown in 2011.
Heat is another matter. We have to run that to some extent for about 4 months of the year.
This house is well designed to stay significantly cooler than the outdoor temp.
I also live in such a house in NJ. It’s not something we knew about when we bought the house, but became apparent the first summer.
The first owner of the house was a professional builder who built the house for his family. Not only is the house comfortable in the summer but also in the winter – I wouldn’t say we don’t use heat, but we certainly don’t blast the heat and get along fine with a jacket or a sweater over whatever outfit we put on that day.
But, in addition to that, because we live on a busy county road, he built the house so you don’t hear the noise of the traffic, which is really nice.
I am retired and can sit around all day drinking fluids (incl beer watered to 2%) , almost naked and sweating heavily, without bothering anyone. That helped get through 116 degrees w/o AC. More to the point, the Portland reservoir is 3500 feet higher and sheltered from sun and wind, and pipes are underground, so the taps ran colder than you’d ever want and I could take 4 cold baths a day. So I made it OK.
There is a strong cultural element I think. You see far less air con in southern Europe, even in the very hot parts. People have simply adapted to it with afternoon siestas, heavy stone buildings, and so on. I’ve noticed that there is a lot less aircon in Japan than, say, Singapore or large parts of China, despite summers being close to unbearable in all those areas.
There has been a movement to build data centres in northern latitudes, precisely because its easier to keep them cool there. I wonder if we’ll see the same move in other businesses, as the cost of keeping workers cool in increasingly hot summers becomes a real burden on businesses.
I seem to recall that in medieval Japan, the only thing that made the oppressive heat and humidity bearable for many people was being able to wear clothes made of silk. They had linen of course but it was found that silk was better which had to be mostly sourced from China.
Equatorial Africa had no problem keeping cool.
Less clothing. Topless for many.
I can think up a few advantages to the topless movement. In particular two stand out. And I’m not always the one to project what you had initially suggested.
To quote a certain Michigan poet, she had points of her own…way up firm and high.,..working on night moves…
In Japan, ramie has been used as a textile for some time. While linen is meant to be best in a dry heat, ramie is best for high humidity, hence its success in Japan.
I have a few ramie tops from an American producer and I’m definitely a fan.
We Americans have a real hang-up about sweat. Maybe it was all those Right Guard and Secret commercials over the decades.
“Aren’t you glad you use Dial, don’t you wish everybody did?”
I think there may be several instances where American and Western European personal grooming habits deviated in the 50s and 60s, and there may be an advertising campaign behind most of those.
Because Dial, spelled backwards, means “happiness”.
My uncle allegedly wrote that.
There’s a legal element to this too. For example, in Maryland, the square footage of a residential property that is below grade is not considered when advertising the qualities of the home. So my split level property, which has a nice finished lower level with about 1200 SF cannot be advertised as having any of that space if we sell it or need it appraised. We can include features like the bathroom downstairs but not the square footage. This is important because that space keeps itself cool regardless of whether we use AC or not. The level has a direct walkout and is mostly covered by 5 feet of soil around the perimeter so it regulates temperatures very well. But because of the legal regulations for real estate, newer homes don’t build this way because they can’t be sold for as much. You end up buying houses with more square footage above grade, which requires more air conditioning in the summer. There are lots of things like that in local codes and regulations all over the country. Getting them changed would help the problems we have but it would take a lot of work!
I grew up on a farm in the Midwest without air conditioning. In the summer, we would open up all the windows in the house at night and put box fans in the upstairs windows to pull in the cool air, then shut them all up again in the morning. This kept things livable except on the extreme hottest days, or on the days when the neighbors spread fertilizer on their cornfield which sat across the road, with our farmhouse directly downwind. I remain forever grateful for air conditioning to this day.
I’ve oft relied on getting high as a deterrent to damned hot, but admittedly it isn’t for everybody.
The temp yesterday was 104 on the turn on Hwy 198 @ 1,000 feet, and 20 miles later up on our ‘driveway’ @ 7,000 feet it was 79 and shady in the forest for the trees.
Heard the NWS forecast for Yosemite Valley is 110 this weekend, yikes!
When i’d go to HK in the 1980’s, I found the humidity and high heat unbearable as far as my delicate Californian constitution was concerned when doing something as simple as walking on relatively flat ground, only remedied by hailing a red icebox on wheels, with the command ‘please drive me around for HK $25 ($4 US) and return me here’, which was good for about 10 minutes of glorious over the top air conditioning within the confines of the cab, then let out to my own devices, including cunning via acting like I really wanted to buy a camera from some well insulated enterprise offering such trifles, when I was only there for the a/c.
I’ve been using the a/c less this week, trying to acclimatize to the heat. Found this on the temperature boundaries of human survival:
There is some variability on what people can tolerate though, depending on age and other factors. Also, apparently it takes about two weeks for the body to acclimatize. So I’m mindful of proceeding gradually.
Earlier this week when temps were about normal for Sacramento – highs around 94 F, lows in the upper 50s, and relative humidity of 25% – I was able to keep the a/c off during the day, although I did turn it on for a bit after 8 pm. Without the a/c on it warmed up to 84 degrees inside by late afternoon.
Yesterday the high was about 109 F and it was tough. Especially in the 4 – 6 pm period when the outside temperature peaked it felt oppressively warm inside though the a/c was set to 85 F.
Torontonian here. The UK Foreign Service ranks Ontario as ‘tropical/arctic’, which means that foreign service employees can claim reimbursement for long underwear *and* are permitted to wear Bermuda shorts to the office in summer. So when we were house-hunting, I wanted a location that was close enough to the lake that the temperatures were tempered by it, but not so close as to inflate the price. If I wanna swim in the lake, I have this bicycle to get me the 2 km (10 min) to the beach. Full disclosure: I beleive that AC is immoral and unconscionable, ditto electric carving knives, power mowers, pop-up Santas, snow blowers, electric hair dryers, and don’t get me started on leaf blowers. But I digress.
Dealing with non-comfortable temperatures requires long-term planning. When we bought this house, brick two-story over 100 years old at the time, we tore out all the (lovely) lathe-and-plaster walls and insulated like crazy. Spun rock fibre batts (non-flammable, repel water, and do not emit toxic fumes in a house fire) in all the walls, including internal. That means we can keep the overall house heat fairly low in winter (14 C) and toasty-up individual rooms as required (bathroom warmer for mornings and showers, living room and offices warmer than bedrooms or kitchen and work rooms but cooler at night). Also excellent sound-proofing. B/c the house was so old that the 2×4’s were actually 2″ x 4″, we special-ordered slightly thicker batts than standard for a couple more R’s in our R-value. We insulated and vapour-barriered all walls and the roof; the vapour barrier in the attic roof (used for storage) is a foil-faced bubble stuff over the rock wool and there is insulation in the ceiling betw the 2nd floor and attic as well. Calculated r-value for our house is walls at betw 13.8 and 14.2 and the roof betw 18.9 and 17.7 but that does not include air spaces.
When we re-roofed a few years ago, we insisted on white shingles and a ridge vent. The roofers were not thrilled with the white shingles but we prevailed.
We also have trees. Originally the Old Guy Next Door, a 100+ year old sugar maple, shaded the front half of our house and it was wonderful. The city’s contractors cut it down two years ago, but two of its scions, now 30 or more yrs themselves, shade the back half. Two younger children, maybe 10-15 years, will take over for the front eventually and the city has planted an elm sapling to replace The Old Guy, although it will be some years before they-all get tall and broad enough to keep the front upstairs cool. In the meantime, we have barberry, mock orange, rose of sharon, wild cherry, the two young (20 foot) maples, and a host of shorter (2-3 foot) food plants in the front to keep us cool, at least the first floor, and largely in vegetables. It’s so leafy and green that even I miss the front walk sometimes.
Inside, metal Venetian blinds reflect the worst of the afternoon sun (and also reflect the harmful chi from the West, for any Feng Shui users out there). Well, mostly.
Other things we did 40 years ago was to install sealed-double-glass casement windows, opening to the south to take advantage of the breeze off the lake at night, and a large (3′ x 6′) sliding panel to the attic that allows us to vent hot air out through the ridge vent. In winter we close the metal blinds to keep the heat in (reflection works both ways) and in dire cold snaps, we have corrugated plastic window-stuffers that have bubble foil and cloth quilting on them to keep the warms in and the colds out.
Current project is a 12-volt system to handle emergencies, we do get a lot of power-outs in our ancient grid here and often when AC demand peaks. Lights, computers, phones, and freezers, in order of priority.
Well, so far we have survived and, dare I say, thrived. I don’t have to buy greens or herbs in the summer, I just pick them from the yard, and later I will have peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. Or not, as the Goddess deigns. I am very urban and don’t expect to be food self-sufficient all year round, but getting green or whatever is always an exercise on a frontier. We do the best we can, starting from where we are.
The Abott lab story
‘Abbott begins laying off hundreds of workers as COVID test demand evaporates: report Fierce Biotech’
Important to keep the fact that the floor has fallen out with testing in mind when considering case numbers..
Any new case numbers going up at all in this environment, “hey the pandemic is over and were all reopening and the u.s. cdc says masks are not needed” means there are way more cases in reality.
I am trying to keep an eye on hospitalization rates (where they are hopefully still testing!)
but you CAN have to look at Test positivity to see if that is indeed the case. if the number is below 3% or so, the problem is likely small
Vaccine passes for indoor dining and such, seem to be entering mainstream acceptance in the EU – becoming official legislated policy imminently (as early as the coming week, in Ireland).
I also noticed a bizarre instance of the Auschwitz Memorial museum, gatekeeping people who have compared discrimination against the unvaccinated with use of the yellow star. Fair enough it’s a hyperbolic comparison, and mostly made by people against vaccines as a whole – but they’ve also targeted the same statement at people opposing the vaccine pass, labeling them as anti-vaccine.
What do people make of the risks of domestic vaccine passes? I find it hard to believe what I’m seeing, in that it seems to be getting widescale (maybe majority) acceptance/support – where as personally, I view it as setting a lot of the precedents for a Social Credit System.
In France (and I think this is common to the EU system) no information is actually transmitted. If you go to a restaurant and want to sit inside, you flash your telephone against the QR code displayed outside, and somebody checks that the result is positive – ie you are vaccinated. But the information is not stored (I’ve just checked and there’s no history on my phone). Because the only technology being used is Bluetooth, the data can’t be transmitted very far anyway.
There’s a fair amount of opposition to the passport scheme, but mainly from people who say that they just want to stick it to the government: for the same reason many just won’t get vaccinated. The civil liberties lobby, which has a business to protect, is busy pushing the “thin end of the wedge” argument but there’s not much traction. In Europe, it’s normal to have an ID card or residence permit, and nobody finds this sinister. By contrast even the smallest move towards a social credit system would require mass repeal of privacy laws, not only national, but European as well.
The information doesn’t need to be transmitted though, because it’s stored on a central national database – and your phone (simply by having the QR code, with the national gateway just being a verification service).
Once you’re forced to display an identifiable QR code to a third-party, and the third-party requests verification from a central national database – then the national database can trivially be updated to return any information the government desires (criminal records, unpaid fines/debts etc.) – so that pretty much is all of the infrastructure needed for a Social Credit System.
There is talk of making the vaccine passport mandatory for e.g, public transport and such. No national ID card requires everyday usage, at the scale that a vaccine passport would if expanded to all at-covid-risk services in the economy.
A slippery slope (i.e. thin end of the edge) is only fallacious, if the slope is not real. In this case, there’s a real danger that the slope is real.
Central database of what? There is no national gateway. In this case the restaurant has a reader which decodes what’s in your QR code. It’s like showing a ticket to get into a cinema. Any system such as you describe would have immediately been detected by experts and the government would be in deep deep trouble, even more than now.
The restaurant has to verify that the code isn’t fake – so they use an official app to scan the QR code, which verifies it with a central database.
Civil Liberties groups have been calling it out. To very little effect.
When I can sit inside a restaurant again is at the bottom of the list of things I am worried about. I’ll be continuing to watch all the drama around it from the sidelines.
RE: Hunter Biden’s art dealer
Looks like you have to subscribe to read the whole thing, but the subheader says it’s being done to prevent bad actors from trying to use buying Hunter’s art as a means to curry favor with the POTUS.
Is it really to prevent? Because it sure seems like a great way to facilitate some grifting.
I was able to read the piece and also saw the photo of Hunter Biden ‘creating’ his masterpieces along with examples of his art. He would appear to be using a drinking straw to blow blobs of paint around the canvas. I am not an art critic and then again, have never seen the charm of Damien Hurst’s art who makes millions from his ‘works’. If one of my daughters had brought a Hunter style piece home from primary school, I would have praised her, put it on the fridge with a magnet, and when it eventually fell off, discreetly disposed of it.
don’t be the “my kid could have done that!!” guy in 2021
Truth is often the strongest trigger of all.
My kids are all grown up now. One daughter did art at upper secondary school and I have an oil painting on my wall she did of a crab. I like it, will never sell it, so will never know what an art dealer would value it at. But then again, as I will never be POTUS or VPOTUS, I have no idea whether such labels add value to art work.
This is how I read it. Given the extreme flexibility of “bad actors” as a category, the point here seems more to impose enough secrecy to keep the public from being able to form it’s own judgement.
(doesn’t work for me because the measures themselves push me towards a certain judgement.)
(doesn’t work for me because the measures themselves push me towards a certain judgement.)
You and anybody else with two working neurons.
This “explanation” is aimed squarely at the “laptop, what laptop?” crowd which, apparently, is still a thing.
I have been informed that anyone who questions the integrity of the Biden’s is Putin’s Bitch.
He has knobby knees, which is a deal killer.
Not the only one, but still.
Having watched the then Senator from Mastercard during the Clarence Thomas hearings and reading a few articles here and there I can’t understand how anyone can have doubts about their integrity.
So no worries
I think it’s clear that no one on this site is being fooled by the possibilities. Maybe he’s a budding young talent! I have my doubts.
The business of visual art is grifting writ large… see Mary Boone.
(and for some schadenfreude: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rise-fall-mary-boone-revolutionary-art-dealer-going-prison-tax-fraud)
All the more reason why this photographer avoids the gallery scene. I can sell my own work, thank you very much.
Here I am President and owner of Crashtopus Military Aircraft. I want to pay off Joe to buy some of my Crashmaster-000 fighter planes. I get into a bidding war with myself, behind two secret names, and ramp up the price for one of these gems into the seven digit range.
All completely secret.
I also buy up some much better artworks by Bush, Eisenhower, Churchill, and have an exhibition at my palace, errh, lowly hovel, to which large numbers of art reporters, Democrats staffers, etc. are invited, with the Biden painting as the centerpiece. Perhaps I even manage the loan of a few works by Whelan. And I hand out glossy brochures showing all the paintings.
I can’t imagine how Joe could have found out who the payoff came from.
Only seven digits? C’mon man!
“Joe Biden Fixes Capitalism In 31 Short Pages”
I’m not so sure that he will. The article says that ‘Biden is directing (or asking) multiple federal agencies to crack down on the tech, agriculture and drug industries’ (and also telecommunications I should note). These are all industries that Americans directly interact with on a daily basis and are obvious targets. But I am not seeing those that should be targeted – the FIRE sector as in finance, insurance, and real estate. These sectors underpin all American life and it is their influence that has de-industrialized America and gotten those sectors that Biden targeted to be such major rent-extractors. If Biden was serious about revitalizing the economy, it is the FIRE sectors that he should go after as through profit seeking, they will undermine any reforms attempted.
But it’s the FIRE sector that picks the cabinets for US presidents. My take is that absent actual legislation, this is just more PR from Biden. He wouldn’t want to upset President Manchin by pushing for real reform after all.
The idea that “Biden is fixing capitalism in 31 short pages”. Might be one of the more ridiculous titles that I seen since he took office. I guess someone thought they would pump that FDR theme again. Yeah, sure as heck Joe Biden is saving the world.
I hope you read the 31 pages. He at least says stuff that the previous occupiers of the office(both D&R) refused to. I was actually encouraged after reading it. Color me naïve….
Big difference to what he says that he will do and what he actually does. This is the guy, remember, that has a history of plagiarism & lying since he was in college, that brought in the Crime Bill which caused an explosion in the prison population, was a cheerleader for the Iraq invasion, made sure that student debt could not be discharged in bankruptcy, and wrote much of the Patriot Act. And this is the guy now being seen as the Great White Hope?
As the Scotsman said – ‘I ha ma doots!’
Good words are just that. Kahn is a good start, but we are last the time of prevention. Biden might claim to take on Big Ag for example, but his choice of cabinet secretary sends a different message about the aim of the agency. And Vilsack has already had a chance to be anything other rat.
Don’t forget Obama was a really bad president. Don’t let Obama set the bar.
Of course Biden isn’t going after the FIRE sector. He’s still the Senator From Mastercard!
Well, the DNC coffers have been filled from the FIRE sector for a long time. A cynical person might think all this hoohah about cracking down on tech, ag, and drug is merely to start a bidding war for political influence. Let’s get some really big fresh money in the game, get tech to outbid the banks, then roll over for the biggest bidders.
Even just undoing the Obama administration just puts us at George Bush levels of awful back when we needed whole sale change across every sector.
The other problem is time. As the NYC subway flooding demonstrates, the last 12 years were pissed away. Biden’s “refusal” to lean on Manchin et al means he isn’t close to putting together any kind of package that can pass or meet the demands of the crisis. My guess is Biden panicked when his deadline approached and endorsed the Trump Era proposal for infrastructure privatization.
With our esteemed, current “fixer”-president as a senior, tenured member of “management,” congress passed a “law” that Medicare, the largest single purchaser, was prohibited from negotiating drug prices, fer chrissakes.
If that’s “american capitalism,” I don’t want it “fixed,” I want it gone. But if that’s as anti-“capitalist” as most right-thinking people would perceive, you don’t need 31 pages, one sentence would do–you wouldn’t have to “fix” anything without being so corrupt that you take a bribe to break it in the first place.
There is no fixing capitalism because it’s working exactly as intended. It can only be destroyed.
Government has to win some daily-life-feelable victories for ordinary people before ordinary people will find government something to trust or like again. If Biden is making these crackdown choices for this reason, he is making a good strategic first choice to begin winning people over to the possibility of waging a decades-long struggle to reconquer government from its current FIRE sector occupation.
If he is doing it for some other reason , like scoring an easy look-good victory, that could still despite such a low motive inspire people to begin thinking of what might be possible with a works-for-them government, and inspire them to reconquer the government to use it against powerful public enemies like the FIRE sector.
So I don’t mind Biden’s choice in this regard.
Fascinating read, very illuminating.
On the point it makes about Korean industry being based very much in Korea, this is very much a mix of deliberate policy and what you might term collective action (similarly in Japan and China). You will see many foreign brands wandering around the country, but its rarely what it seems – usually control (and profits) have been very firmly wrestled from the foreign owners and local franchise owners have strong control.
A common practice is that Korea and the US does a trade deal, where Korea firmly promises to allow US corporation X into its domestic market. Korea gets its deal, but Corporation X finds that it can’t buy land, it can’t hire good staff and suppliers mysteriously charge them twice as much as anyone else. Corporation X quickly gets the message and either sells out the brand rights to local ‘partners’, or just withdraws.
I think the US and UK are pretty bad at this type of domestic economic warfare mostly because as leaders in development, it always seemed more sensible to promote free trade, as they usually won out (the exception of course being in finance, where both always used brute force to open up foreign markets and keep the power and profits at home). Of course, plenty of other countries have quite stupidly bought into the same ideology, when they benefit even less.
The article notes of course that rather cleverly, the Tories have been promoting the idea of the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ rather than ‘The Green New Deal’, because the latter still has a sense of being about providing real jobs and income for ordinary people. I wonder if the Republicans (and maybe some Dems) try the same semantic slight of hand in the US. Or maybe the term New Deal has been so weakened by overuse nobody will realise if its been used to give handouts to the usual suspects.
Some more Korean fun: Feds nab 13 Korean battery plant construction workers on immigration charges
In August, the FOX 5 I-Team began investigating complaints from American workers that they were being passed over for basic construction jobs in favor of Koreans who weren’t legally allowed to work in the United States.
It’s the same everywhere, not just East Asia. The locals are always gonna try to grift foreign rubes. It’s just that the West has had military dominance for the past 3 centuries so the myth of “free trade” (which somehow always worked in their favour) has become a fundamental belief. Many Westerners haven’t realised that since Russia and China got atomic weapons that era was over.
YIMBY/NIMBY at the development scale. Contractors cut corners promised by developers, finger pointing ensues, nothing resolves. Hiccups in the construction calendar are ignored until oh, wait we can’t proceed. It’s sausage all the way, elephants all the way down. Except the production contracts are fungible, investors want in. Grandiose expectations get landed hard and then maybe something can happen, losers get shuffled off to the side, buy local only works on the labor side. International companies can do local projects, community colleges ramping up training programs to provide the labor base. California severely restricts siting while curtailing out of state renewable purchases to encourage jobs. Project path and calendar could last a long time until finally something gives, meanwhile the MW per tower increase. Naselle design and construction to get increasingly standardized. https://www.reutersevents.com/renewables/wind-energy-update/vestas-boeing-collaboration-putting-wind-beneath-their-wings Boeing, Ford, and Vestas joint design team working on it.
“Why the US-China contest will be fought in the heartlands of America”
Interesting article and viewpoint this. I can just see economists briefing capitalists on this now
Economist: ‘We have found out how we can outperform China and beat them in the coming decades!’
Capitalists: ‘That’s great that. Tell us – what do we have to do?’
Economist: ‘You have to adjust the economy so that the bottom half of America has the same level of income and security like they had back in the 1950s.’
Kishore Mahbubani In the SCMP with what is perhaps the first sensible commentary on US-China “competition” I’ve read in a long while. Yet I do think his analysis relies on some flawed assumptions.
The first, that the American system cares to improve the livelihoods of its lower classes. I would contend that continued impoverishment of Americans is a feature, our central bank led pandemic response being only the latest empirical evidence of our system’s priorities. And furthermore, as the Eurasian landmass closes down to American capital and the Chinese solidify their position as the world’s preeminent trading nation; American capital will only find room for margins in the accelerated exploitation of its domestic population. Hence the “printing” of more money but the less access individuals have to it.
The second is the CPC’s “evangelical” character. Despite the best efforts of western Libs to downplay the “communist” nature of China. The CPC is very explicit in declaring its perceived historical mission. They are also explicit in declaring they believe their mode of communism is more effective than the old Soviet model; as it is less Marxist dogma, and more scientifically Marxist in its dialectical nature (adaptability). “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is less about abandoning socialism and more about understanding that due to historical and geographic circumstances there are different paths to socialism.
So while Kishore Mahbubani should be praised for not advocating a land war in Asia. I think he too has a rosy picture of what made America great and what can “save” America.
It wasn’t American ingenuity or its political system that made America ascendant post-1945. It was the performance of its two best military commanders in defending the homeland. Admirals Atlantic and Pacific Ocean prevented America from suffering the devastation that destroyed the productive capacity of the rest of the world. We spent the generations since them destroying those capacities ourselves.
“We spent the generations since them destroying those capacities ourselves.”
I would take issue with the pronouns “We” and “ourselves.” The great majority of us have little say when it comes to the allocation of private capital and decisions affecting the means of production. We have quite long way yet to go to achieve Camus’ definition of democracy as “when we are all guilty.”
I agree with the issue you take with the concept that ” we” diddit ” to ourselves”.
” We” did not do it to ourselves. “We” did not do it at all.
“Them” diddit to ” us”. “Them” being the IFTC ( International Free Trade Conspirators) and their Republican and Clintobamacratic supporters and agents.
>“Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is less about abandoning socialism and more about understanding that due to historical and geographic circumstances there are different paths to socialism.
I don’t suppose you’re looking to buy a bridge? I have several that would be just perfect for you.
Sorry. We already have one, in Alaska.
RE: Are Private Equity Firms to Blame For Rising Home Prices?
The article points to why people are writing bout this so much, it is because it is all accelerating.
I was just informed that Zillow is buying houses with cheap cash now, putting them back on the market without doing any renovations and jacking up the prices up to 30%! This is also their chief revenue stream now; Zillow Owned Homes.
Take a look at this place in North Carolina, look at the price history. Listed for 23% more after Zillow bought it!
Perhaps because my knowledge of financial markets is so bad, this article has me confused. It isn’t the well known private equity markets buying houses in my area, it is the companies I’ve never heard of before that are offering cash for houses – and there are a ton of them, and no they aren’t listed on Wall Street either. In fact, I can’t find information about any of them. I was very concerned at first because I thought they might be fly-by-night conpanies, but my real estate agent said, no, that they actually did have the cash available. So where are they getting their money for all these house purchases from?
I did note that in the article the data seems to stop at 2019. Housing prices in my area were rising before 2019 but it went on steroids in the past two years. So what has been happening in the last two years to cause this boom – other than Covid?
The asset-holding classes have gained quite a bit in their brokerage accounts from the rampant, very large runup in stock prices in the giant tech stocks during the Covid crisis. It stands to reason that a lot of that cash is now being harvested and put to work in real estate.
Historian, as a retired Real Estate broker I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
Those cash offers are coming from private money for the most part.
Some of it is pooled money (partly to diversify risk including risk from natural disasters) and some of it is sole source.
Run through a corporation or three and each property held as an individual LLC.
And all those firms you see making these offers are there for pretty much the same reasons we had so many loan brokerages in the lead up to the 2008 crash.
The lenders had full recourse against these brokerages for misrepresentations made in the loan application, something that made it much easier to rate the RMBS as AAA.
Laying off risk and obfuscating ownership to the degree it is possible.
Which has nothing to do with money laundering.
Why are people still buying at what looks a lot like a blow off top?
The USA is rapidly becoming a low trust society at a time when ecological disaster has clearly begun.
And every asset class is in a bubble.
If you are looking out 5-10 years would you rather have your $ in Tesla’s stock or Real Estate in a good location?
GTFO is definitely an element in today’s extremely unstable Real Estate market.
I still think June will prove to be when we hit the peak of this R.E.Market, if wrong (Again) I doubt I’m off by more than a Month or two.
Thank you for what I regard as an excellent answer to the questions the link raised without answering. I hope you are right that June is the peak. I am in the GTFO category in several regards. I am watching what I thought was an adequate retirement savings wither in a series of unanticipated and surprising large increases in the prices for goods and services I need. I live in a rental that investors may soon buy, and that rental is at an elevation only a foot or two higher than Delaware — first-in, first-out as quipped in in a lecture on Abrupt Climate Change and rising oceans. Besides I live too near several large cities and a nuclear power plant.
Perhaps these companies you have never heard before are fronts and cutouts for avoiding attention getting focused on the known-by-name bad actors?
That article is total crap. It decries “conspiracies” that private equity is buying houses, when this is undeniable fact. Then it claims that the real problem is individual homeowners, NIMBYs against housing, who are squelching the dreams of their neighbors. There is no evidence for this bullshit. No middle class person I’ve ever met is against housing being built for their collective children. Developers, OTOH, prefer building office space rather than housing, against the objections of most citizens.
It is true that a few unfortunate or misguided people like to cash out the equity in their homes. But most realize that no matter how much their house appreciates, it doesn’t house them any better. And the vast majority wish homes were more affordable.
Housing prices are going up. Who should we blame — low interest rates, a lack of supply, pent-up demand, inflation run amok, or wealthy families snapping up extra bonus homes … or is Wall Street to blame? From that beginning following the arguments in this link is like trying to follow the cards in a game of three-card Monte.
Institutional investors have been moving into real estate, especially since 2010, but in spite of their growing activity of late … “institutionally backed firms only own 2.5% of the market…”
“While investors purchase 20% of all homes nationally today, only 1–2% of homes are bought by larger investment firms. Most rentals are owned by small investors.”
So, “small investors” not the “larger investment firms” are buying up a fifth of the housing market. It is the acceleration of the rate that investors are putting money into the housing market that brings them into our attention. But even though large and small investment firms are only a small part of the market for homes there are massive investments fueled by institutions namely pension funds. [I am confused here. Small and large investors are not that big in the housing market and pension funds are shifting massive investments into real estate in packages of 1000+ properties at a time? Who is assembling these packages and who does the author of this link credit with purchasing and owning these properties as a lot of massive investment is flowing into SFRs (single-family residences)?]
From here the argument splays itself. There are not enough young workers to tax to support retired older workers. The public pensions need to earn high returns to fulfill promises made, and this is causing them to invest in SFRs. From passing worry over the pension crisis the link worries over NIMBY homeowners and real estate zoning ordinances that constrain developers from building new housing. The link argues we must eliminate “restrictive, and often racist, zoning regulations” … “so that markets can respond to the most pressing needs…”
We are at the brink of a foreclosures and evictions boom. Employment rates and pay are not robust. The CARES Act authorized the FED to handle several trillion dollars for vague purposes — besides driving the stock markets to new highs. Small businesses are hurting or dying. Another wave of Corona flu looks increasingly possible; and housing prices are reaching toward new highs in many areas. After reading this lengthy link — who can we blame for pushing up housing prices?
Some investment company is making surprisingly high cash offers on hip-pocket listings for rental properties in the area where I live. I do not know if it is a large or small investment company. All I know is that the investment company finders thought the numbers looked good on the little duplex where I rent. One swallow does not make a Spring … but a shifty argument that arrives at the pension crises and a plea to deregulate the housing markets by ‘modifying’ the “restrictive, and often racist, zoning regulations” does not make an argument at all convincing to me.
Let’s talk about anything, but class, and I guess this is why the American gendarmerie keeps getting all that military hardware and local government funding increases, even though the crime rate has been falling for the past thirty years. People were in shock after 2008 and surprised by the massive and well protected corruption then; while people are not ready for the next 2008, they will certainly not give a response as tepid as Occupy Wall Street.
The “small investors” are probably foam-rubber fronts and cutouts for the “larger investment firms”.
REIT’s are likely composed of “small investors”
I can’t comment on how many homes are being bought up by private equity here in eastern MA. However, I can say that a lot of the new homes being built are what they call “scrape offs”. This doesn’t increase the housing supply, it just results in the replacement of a nice, more affordable, older home with a larger more expensive one. This is trend is largely due to the limited amount of suitable vacant land on which to put up new homes. There are a few large subdivisions going in nearby that are higher density than zoning allows because they will contain 20% “affordable” units. It seems that here in eastern MA the supply side of the curve is driven by lack of buildable land and zoning restrictions.
“Tesla’s Fall From Grace in China Shows Perils of Betting on Beijing”
Could Tesla’s problem in China be that there is not such a big fan boy club for Elon Musk there? I mean that Elon Musk says that he is going to build cars and so many people ignore the amateur hour production line that he made to build these cars. He brings out a truck that can’t actually carry much and people are running off to buy them. He says that he is going to put tens of thousands of satellites into orbit which means that humanity loses the night sky but will be able to update their Facebook status quicker. Can you imagine how that last one went down in China? It would be like ‘You’re going to do what?!?’
That, and the fact that a few hundred Chinese Companies exist to give Tesla serious competition in price and utility, NIO (given pretty large Chinese Govt subsidies) being one good example right now.
Re: Rubber Apocalypse
Interesting historical tidbit: the Scotsmen are given credit for coming up with the idea to use lamb intestine as a suitable condom, however it wasn’t until 1827 that the British perfected this idea by taking the intestines out of the lamb first.
I uhhh….well, that is to say…errrm…
…well played? :)
Different sort of rubber “apocalypse”..the article is talking supply chain and where much of the global supply is sourced from.
Otherwise I see what you did there !!
A longer comment I made about this was evaporated by Skynet earlier but what I said was that before WW2, Germany knew that they would lose all access to rubber when war broke out and so in 1931 developed a substitute called Buna-S which they started producing in 1935. So with this rubber shortage, could we do not do the same as our technology must surely be better after 90 years. Either that or they will wait till climate change makes some part of America perfect for growing rubber trees.
On the comment about “The Christian Right Is In Decline”, I recommend Lambert and others read Cynical Theories published last year. “Theory” is very much an academic thing with visible street creeds.
Survey: White mainline Protestants outnumber white evangelicals, while ‘nones’ shrink
The ‘unprecedented’ dataset also suggests that white Christian decline, which accelerated in recent years, appears to have slowed.
Survey: White mainline Protestants outnumber white evangelicals, while ‘nones’ shrink The ‘unprecedented’ dataset also suggests that white Christian decline, which accelerated in recent years, appears to have slowed. https://religionnews.com/2021/07/08/survey-white-mainline-protestants-outnumber-white-evangelicals/
I think this is to be expected. People are going to turn to religion when they are desperate and no-one else is helping. Btw this isn’t meant to be a criticism of organized religion.
I’ve seen figures that show quite a lot of those who grow up in evangelical, fundamentalist, conservative churches drop out as adults. Anecdotally that certainly seems to be the case with my wife, her three siblings and the three close friends she has had since high school. Several of them are still Christian but none are evangelicals.
Re Lambert’s take on CRT: I dunno. I understand it. It’s not difficult. And it seems to me that many of the right-wing complaints capture the essence of it — as does Wesley Yang in Matt Taibbi’s recent interview.
On the subject of CRT, I found this article (also by Wesley Yang) quite interesting:
I think that’s right. There are two basic problems, it seems to me.
One is that like most such “theories”, CRT uses a complicated technical vocabulary to obscure the almost total absence of intellectual content. This means that not even its supporters really understand each other and often differ violently about the meaning of terms and concepts. This in turn means that for the average person the subject is almost totally incomprehensible and, when deployed in real-life contexts is a best a series of vague slogans masquerading as a theory. So it’s normal that people should misunderstand it.
But this is the other point. It’s origin is in Critical Theory which, as we all know, developed out of attempts to explain why Soviet-style revolutions did not break out in Western Europe after 1917. The theorists discounted pragmatic explanations (Lenin and the Bolsheviks, sheer luck, opposition too strong elsewhere, reformist political parties in Germany, time not ripe etc. etc.) in favour of effectively blaming the victims. The European working class (which was supposed to revolt) failed to do so because it was stupid and misled into having a “false consciousness.” That meant that the theory had not failed, it had just been failed. CRT continues this tradition of looking for complicated, self-serving explanations where most people would prefer simple ones. So after years of affirmative action in education around the world, test scores are still not equal between ethnic groups. Brushing aside roomfuls of studies into socio-economic factors, culture, parental expectation etc. etc. CRTers have decided that this is because of something called “systemic racism”, so that the policies that have been employed for the last forty years have not failed, but once again they have been failed, because of “the system.” Since inequalities of outcome are assumed without evidence to be the product of systemic failures, and since there is no pragmatic evidence of any other kind (how could there be?), any criticism of the theory, which is by definition perfect, makes you part of the problem, which means you can be disregarded. It is a perfect self-licking intellectual ice-cream cone.
I would distinguish among:
-Original CRT – an academic critique of systems and institutions
-Corporate/PMC wokery – possibly some well-meaning attempts at diversity and inclusion, much classist performance and opportunism,
-Grassroots identity groups defining and organizing around their own issues rather than as part of broad based movement
-Broader based movements that also acknowledge identity based issues
-The right preventing people from taking action, talking, teaching, or learning about the issues animating any of the above
Among the first four there are arguably influences, shared concepts and language, and authoritarian and divisive elements that need to be addressed.
The first four are also the current excuse for the fifth which has been the reaction of the right to every cause or movement ever taken up by the left or liberals.
RE: “New study of 62k hospitals nationwide finds US is unprepared for next pandemic”
This is exactly what I thought was going to happen, especially as media, administrators, scientists, and politicians turned into “vaccine” salesmen with a fervor they never demonstrated for the prepardness of hospitals and clinics to deal with a wide variety of emergencies.
As if the thinking was to sell everyone on just taking a shot of this or that, and then the profit seeking health care system could continue its cost and care cutting ways that lead to bigger bonuses for a few executives.
Private equity determined to strike in US:
Kaseya Failed to Address Security Before Hack, Ex-Employees Say [Bloomberg]
As well he should have been. At Insight Partners’ portfolio firms, failure is not an option,
but pointing out that the PE management model is failing is even more of not an option.
Rare good news, governor of California denies fracking permits: https://www.sfchronicle.com/climate/article/Newsom-administration-denies-fracking-permits-16304643.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headlines&utm_campaign=sfc_morningfix&sid=60c3befe9269214739254d75
Gov. Newsome actually seems to be listening to the people ahead of his recall vote. Either way, this is temporary, as Sacramento will revert to its regular operations once the polls close.
He’s sending out a nice bribe to landlords as well, the State had a program that would pay rents for some with low incomes at 70 cents on the dollar out of the current surplus.
Recently increased to 100% with checks showing up in August…
Its good for the tenants as well, proof that with enough pressure the Dems will actually deliver concrete material benefits.
It almost makes me wonder if there might be a futures market in back rents?
RE: “Elvis (Your Waiter) Has Left The Building”
Was talking with a relative about this the other day and we came to the same conclusion: a good number of reataurant workers are out there trying to find any job but going back to a restaurant.
They also know more people that were hard hit with Covid, so it is real to them in way that it is not for people who could work from home.
It could mean a new dawn for self-serve buffets.
“The intoxicating garden: Michael Pollan on growing psychoactive plants FT”
Brugmansia suaveolens is certainly an interesting choice of botanical exotica.
“Bring the tropics to your own conservatory with this exotic Brazilian native! Enormous, fully double, trumpet shaped blooms dangle elegantly from its woody stems throughout summer, giving it the common name of Angel’s Trumpets. The flowers are night-scented, filling the air with a rich perfume on warm summer evenings.”
“‘We need help’: Haiti’s interim leader requests US troops AP”
“All you care about is money. This country deserves a better class of criminal, and I’m gonna give it to them.”
There are people who exist in this world that take their ‘work’ very seriously, but not in Haiti apparently; where, the unsophisticated looting by unsophisticated criminals is the current satisfactory steady state. After a time; though, it becomes necessary to enforce the ‘rule of law’, so that the misappropriated funds can be protected by the established political and legal architecture of the state and then the looting/graft can enter, or evolve into the next level of sophistication and legitimation. The game and its templates have already been established, long ago,
Finally, as an example of individuals that take their ‘work’ seriously:
Lambert – Thanks for teaching me a new word today – gallimaufry.
My wife just sniped that is a word only seen in print, mostly used by people that just acquired a Thesaurus. But she was pouting because I just read to her LawnDart’s comment about Scottish condoms..
The Fourth Doctor described himself as a “gallimaufry from Gallifrey”. (PROSE: Scratchman)
The Fifth Doctor once described his TARDIS as a “gallimaufry of gadgets”. (PROSE: The Reproductive Cycle)
Believing it was a wand, the Sheriff of Nottingham described the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver an “intriguing gallimaufry”. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
RE: Are Private Equity Firms to Blame For Rising Home Prices?
Another reason why it is so crucial to understand how Alexander Hamilton shifted the basis of national economies: Prior to Hamilton, national economies were stuck in the zero sum mode of feudalistic mercantalism: the amount of national wealth was considered to be the amount of land, precious metals, serfs and slaves under the control of ruling elites, and a nation could only gain by another nation losing.
Hamilton reorients a national economy so that wealth is based on the productive power of its citizens to create new, better, and more efficient ways of transforming natural resources into useful goods and services. The amount of land, precious metals, serfs and slaves under the control of ruling elites becomes far less important than the development of new science and technology, and their application to the productive processes of the economy.
Under the Hamiltonian vision, it is possible to foresee and welcome the time that all or almost all productive processes are automated and robotized, making the drudgery of manual labor a ancient relic. Thus under the Hamiltonian political economy, moving toward a point where the lives of many can be supported by the efforts of few is a desideratum.
But this can only be accomplished under a philosophy of political economy which inspires and encourages sharing and caring for our fellow citizens. This, liberalism cannot do, because of liberalism’s absolute insistence on individual rights, including the “right” to amass property without interference from the community (state). Hence, the importance of reviving the philosophy of civic republicanism, which seeks to protect individual rights while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of the community. This is the proper philosophical basis on which to deny any single individual the “right” to become as rich and powerful as they can and/or want. Yes, in a civic republic, a billionaire is a failure of policy.
Also note the importance of the Constitutional mandate to Promote the General Welfare. Ruling elites are supposed to be custodians of the national wealth, not owners of it, and are supposed to rule so that the national wealth benefits everyone as equally and equitably as possible, while at the same time preserving room and incentives for the creative potential of individuals. This is the ideology of political behind Hamilton writing that directors and stockholders will fear “an extension of capital” to new enterprises because it might cause “a diminution of profits,” and arguing
Regarding the need to Promote the General Welfare so that the economy works for all equitably and equally, note also Benjamin Franklin’s observation
Haiti never was allowed to flourish after the 1803 revolution. France and the US made certain of that. This continues to the present day
Who are the people there going to call for help? What is a reliable institution? Who can I count on to help them? In US terms I am in poverty, but it is no matter compared to their distress. I donated in 2010, after the earthquake, just to learn later that hundreds of millions only disappeared into a black hole.
But now, of course, what is needed is a resolute political action against the powers of further repression. Where will it come from? Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Perú, Mexico? Tell me, I’ll go there if no more than in spirit.
Uplift for the oppressed, downdraft for the oppressors.
Alice X, Haiti’s continued punishment is instructive, is it not?
Yes, few people know that Haiti managed to pay off the “debt” of liberation (compensation to the French owners and other indemnities like beating the French armies, royal, republican, and imperial) only in 1960 or so…
Yes, I like how the French demanded compensation for the property taken from them, which were the Haitians (slaves) themselves. Talk about arrogance.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité my posterior.
Haiti never was allowed to flourish after the 1803 revolution. France and the US made certain of that. This continues to the present day
Who are the people there going to call for help? What is a reliable institution? Who can I count on to help them? In US terms I am in poverty, but it is no matter compared to their distress. I donated in 2010, after the earthquake, just to learn later that hundreds of millions only disappeared into a black hole.
But now, of course, what is needed is a resolute political action against the powers of further repression. Where will it come from? Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Perú, Mexico? Tell me, I’ll go there if no more than in spirit.
[take 2 – an identical take 1 fell into moderation, I guess. Apologies in advance if it shows up as a duplicate.]
Uplift for the oppressed, downdraft for the oppressors.
I’d say Brad DeLong’s post is sobering, and it’s worth noting that you’re rolling a 5 sided die for a breakthrough case every time you come in contact with virus particles; Is that a bet you want to take? How often do you want to roll that die?
Sobering but not sober.
Haven’t Democrats made use of the filibuster in the past? Don’t their adherents expect they may be a minority party in the future at some point?
Not eliminating the filibuster now to pass protections for voting rights greatly increases the likelihood that Democrats will be in the minority. If the Democrats are in the minority and Republicans need to eliminate the filibuster to accomplish their objective there’s no reason to believe they won’t, as Democrats did for most presidential appointments in 2013 and Republicans did for SC appointments in 2017.
Filibusters by minority party 1917-2012
Filibusters by minority party 1977-2019
History of the filibuster to impede civil rights 1874-1984
Has it escaped your attention that in recent decades whenever the Democrats were in the minority and were inclined to make use of the filibuster the Republican majority invariably altered the rules to reduce its scope?
Which is how our two most recent Supreme Court justices came to be approved by simple majority?
The remnants of the filibuster are destined for the dustbin. The sole remaining question is which party administers the coup de grace and when.
They’re setting up the plot device for season 118 of Friends: Beltway Edition.
There was the time the filibuster was used to block anti-lynching legislation.
Bill Frists’ nuclear option was simply getting rid of the filibuster if democrats didn’t comply. Democrats complied, so even there claims to have used the filibuster for good 15 years ago were bs.
Is the rubber apocalypse coming? In the early, maybe mid, 80s Scientific American ran an article that the greatest threat to the industrial economy would be if the blight that hit the South American rubber plantations moved into Asia-Pacfific. There are no real viable alternatives to natural rubber. Without it you aren’t getting in an airplane, for example.
If climate change is now the threat, ugh oh.
I watched the Playhouse 90 television play of “Days of Wine and Roses” last night, with Piper Laurie and Cliff Robertson. It is hard believe network tv ever held such content. Watching it and reading an essay “THEY ARE NOT LONG, THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES: THE BRIEF LIFE OF ERNEST DOWSON” https://hokku.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/they-are-not-long-the-days-of-wine-and-roses-the-brief-life-of-ernest-dowson/ made evident some allusions in recent movies and television movies that through my ignorance escaped me.
The Playhouse 90 play seems fitting to juxtapose with the sadness, fear, and anxiety of the Corona pandemic. Between the pandemic, and of course other news and happenings of the moment, and waiting in the not so distant future, I have found myself drinking more than I should. The Playhouse 90 play offers a view of where that could lead. The title is from a line of a short poem by Ernest Dowson, a poet I had never heard of before, but must read more of. The essay I referenced above included a comment made by an advisor to King Edwin of Northumberland, about a sparrow that “…flies swiftly in through one door of the hall, and out through another.” That comment is paraphrased by the character Andrew Lincoln, in the second movie in the Jesse Stone series, “Stone Cold”. The story Mrs. Weaver, Ruby’s mother in the film “Happy Accidents” offers some counterpoint to the theme in “Days of Wine and Roses”.
Hard to put in perspective, but my pharmacy does Covid tests. My pharmacist quietly told me that there are a lot more positives. With less demand for test results, this may be because they are for confirmation. I did try to find out if this was among the vaccinated, but while they didn’t deny that idea they wouldn’t confirm it either.
They were also giving vaccine shots until the first of the month, although not being one of the big chains they weren’t doing it for long. This was supposedly a state decision. Admittedly this area did supposedly meet that 70% metric, but not a sign that there is still a push to get everyone vaccinated.
Pure speculation from a somewhat educated POV, pharmacist expects the booster to happen, and will not be surprised if they are back in the vaccination business in a few weeks.
After recovering the ability to produce a coherent thought, I have decided that what we’re looking at here is a cry for help from the American political class.
“Such aggression stems, in part, from a systemic level of corruption, which places Putin’s Russia in an increasing state of tension with the Western neo-liberal order. In Russia, as shown in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority staff report in 2018 (SFRC Minority Report), corruption is not simply a matter of individual officials abusing public power for private gain but, rather, an organizing principle of governance. Formal government decision-making is captured by informal networks of political and business patrons who control the allocation of public resources.”
So they apparently need to formalize their networks, maybe align with the likes of ALEC, in order to become acceptable to us?
Aggression? Who has started what wars where, and for what reasons? Who benefits?
Really weird to be pointing at Russia, because they offer nothing that we in USA can learn from.
Data can be our friend
Vietnam worst outbreak is better than out best day ever
‘We need help’: Haiti’s interim leader requests US troops
::Vin Diesel Riddick Voice::
“It was always the plan …”
If Biden allows the sending of any US troops to Haiti, he will have thrown away election 2024 right there by that action.
Which means that if he DOES send American troops to Haiti, thereby throwing election 2024, that that too was part of the plan.
Here’s a ” lest we forget” piece from Reddit about a forgotten social fairness / counter-exploitation hero.
It is also an illustration of exactly what Free Trade is designed to foster and protect. And is a perfect illustration of what anyone who buys something from . . . in this case Pakistan . . . is buying from.
Free Trade is the New Slavery.
Protectionism is the New Abolition.
starts at 8:40
Vivek Chibber interview on “Jacobin” discussing the origins of Critical Race Theory. He dates it to the late 1980’s, the nadir of the US Left he notes, and an attempt to reconcile issues of identity with a socioeconomic analysis of social struggle. Critical Legal Theory and Intersectionality Theory come up as well, I got the sense things were kind of swirling around back then.
What emerged in the early 00’s had pretty much dropped the socioeconomic bit as being dull-minded and somehow conservative. What had taken it’s place was the notion of the social construction of race etc. as being central to advancing social justice. Changing attitudes, not material relations, became the goal. Thus sensitivity trainings.
Ah yes. Not disturbing material relations or positions. Letting the rich stay rich so long as they humbly admit to some racial privilege or other and display their sense of guilt.
” Come let us now enwrap ourselves in our golden Robe of Wokeness. We shall be rich AND Woke. We shall live in the happy intersection of Richness and Wokeness.”
Joe Rogan and Michael Pollan talk about coffee and caffeine. utube, ~14 minutes.
What Michael Pollan Learned from Quitting Caffeine for 3 Months
Coffee. Saving people’s lives, powering the Enlightenment and Arabic Civilization as well as the Industrial Revolution. Is there nothing that it can’t do?
Survive climate collapse?
I hear there’s lots of eucalyptus trees in mid-California. Enough to support koalas? If so, lets introduce koalas to California. I doubt they could learn to eat anything else and become an invasive species.
Seriously, you do no want to encourage eucalyptus trees growing in California. They have an oil that can make them explode in a hot fire. Considering the fact that we can expect more serious fires in California going forward, that is one tree that you do not want to encourage.
There are already lots there, especially in coastal California where they were planted as windbreakers.
To the west of Sydney there are a chain of mountains called the Blue Mountains and they are pretty to look at. Why are they blue? Because of eucalyptus and gum trees growing in the area. They emit a huge amount of oils into the atmosphere. When eucalyptus oils, dust particles, and water vapour combine, as the sunlight hits, it creates an optical illusion of a blue haze. So before you even have a fire, the atmosphere here has a haze of eucalyptus oil in it. To me, that does not sound good-
Interesting. I wonder if this blue haze effect can also be seen in California.
The Great Eucalyptus Debate (The Atlantic)
Interesting article. But where it says ‘Science can’t tell us what to do, whether to hone the axe and ready the glyphosphate or simply spread a picnic blanket under the canopy and relax.’ I am going to say you don’t really want to spread a picnic blanket under the canopy. Those trees drop branches that kill people and as I said in another comment, that is why they are known as ‘widow makers’ down here.
They also have a tendency to drop branches with little warning. The wood makes good firewood. It burns hot and long, but it is hard to chop and often splits along curves in its grain.
A eucalyptus tree dropped a branch killing a little girl playing at recess at an elementary school near my parents house.
Sorry to hear about that little girl. Here in Oz those trees drop their limbs often enough that they have been nicknamed ‘widow makers.’ When these trees get heat stressed due to lack of water, a defense mechanism for them is to drop some of their heavy limbs and you do not know if it is about to happen until it does-
This story too starts off talking about a young girl killed by a branch down in Bendigo in Victoria. Might be wise to spread the word.
The problem is that they are already there. And unless there is a program to kill all the millions and millions of them, they will stay there.
And if they are going to stay there anyway, why not bring in some koalas to feed on them?
I once read something else interesting. That in California, the eucalyptus, freed from its natural predators in Australia, can grow so fast that its wood forms with all kinds of internal tensions and stresses, and can crack or rupture or even “explode” if sawed wrong.
It would make a great shovel-ready program to replace them, one tree at a time. Sell them off for firewood or something and replace them with an American native that will be more fire/drought tolerant. Maybe replace them with some tree plantations that could eventually supply local needs for lumber though it would take a few years to have them come online.
To you and I that would be common sense but what about a corporation that cannot see beyond a quarterly worldview? The government could form a corporation to do so but as soon as it would be about to realize great profits selling lumber on behalf of the public, the politicians would sell it on the cheap as part of a “privatization” effort to some doners, errr, public-minded citizens. Cynicism too much?
IIRC, another “feature” of eucalyptus (and another reason to weed out at least some of them) is that their oil affects the earth, making it unsuitable (pH?) for many other plants. This is how you often see large groves of them.
Sort of reminds me of the tree in Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s super-creepy Charisma (1999).
The irony is that central California’s eucalyptus were introduced from Australia and did all too well.
The old story I heard as a boy was that the trees had been planted by the railroads because they were fast growing. The railroads hoped to use the wood for making railroad ties but discovered it was too brittle and would not split evenly. The story is similar to the story I heard about how kudzu got started in the South.
Russia reckons that the OPCW has some ‘splainin’ to do in regards Navalny. How so?
‘the OPCW states that its secretariat “deployed a team to perform a technical assistance visit” related to the suspected poisoning of a “Russian citizen” at Germany’s request on August 20. The problem is that on that day, Navalny was only flying from the Russian Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. It was on that flight that he first felt ill and was then rushed to a hospital in another Siberian city, Omsk, following the plane’s emergency landing.’
So was the OPCW using clairvoyance or something?
Brad DeLong post is rather weird – a California Democrat semi-insider criticizing another insider. I used to read him until Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election and blamed the Russians. The point is that there has been absolutely no change in addressing the pandemic from the Trump to the Biden Administrations except Dr. Anthony Fauci, of all people, became the chief spokesman adding more confusion to an already confused response.
Based on short-term Phase I/II trials conducted at the beginning of the pandemic, Pfizer and Moderna gene therapies were called “vaccines” and declared to be “safe and effective” without any reproductive, long-term or efficacy data to support them. mRNA vaccines are the one and only way the US government is addressing the plague. The US public health service is not being restored lest it become an alternative to the current extractive for-profit healthcare system.
The risks of catching COVID-19 have never been made clear. The vaccine campaign was never targeted. The scheme is to inject as many people as possible in the shortest period of time. The mRNA vaccines have side effects, killing injected young women with blood clots and causing long term damage to young men and adolescent boys’ hearts. The vaccines lower the severity of the illness but they do have risks. For young men and women saying “GET VACCINATED NOW!!!!” is the equivalent of yelling “FIRE” inside a theater.
The private/public PR campaign ignores the reasons why the USA is #1 in total deaths at over 622,821 today. Gaslighting/censoring off-patent treatments, not stopping international flights, and inadequate testing, little contact tracing and incompetent quarantines are big reasons for the deaths and illness.
We are in the same church.
“All of Us Should Be Working Four Day Weeks” – Jacobin.
!@#$%^&*!! I’ve been saying that for I don’t know how long. &^%$#!! Replace me with machines, please! Just give me the same purchasing power (or whatever you call it) that I have now, working my &^%$# a$$ off. !@#$%!! This lady I know who owns a restaurant complains, “Nobody wants to work.” Hey, you stupid ^%$# idiot! No they don’t! Did you think they did? You think anyone who’s worked in your grimy kitchen has ever really wanted to be there? !@#$%^!! Pay them enough to make it worth their while and they’ll come back. A$$!!
I would even accept “32 hours a week pay for 32 hours a week work” if we went all the way back to the New Deal tax code and schedules, and we used as much of the tax money as needed on National CanadaCare for America.
Damn, why don’t you tell us how you REALLY feel heheh?
Now here is an interesting article. It appears that Al Sharpton, Mr. Crump and others are coming to see that Blue on Citizen violence is such a danger to us all that it is worth de-racializing the issue in order to build cross-racial coalitions with victims of all races in order to reform policing.
The article is titled : ” Al Sharpton eulogizes white Arkansas teen shot by deputy.” Here is the link.
Dennis Kucinich’s run for mayor of Cleveland is also interesting in this regard. Kucinich sent Cleveland residents a postcard mailer two weeks ago that featured the city’s Chamber of Commerce-type logo which is “Cleveland” written in a custom red font. The logo was modified so that it was filled with “bullet holes” and the red font was dripping blood is some spots. This week we received a second mailer with the logo now unmodified and a rainbow included.
As for policy, he’s advocating increasing the police force by 25% and requiring police to walk a beat.
The other candidates aren’t quite sure what to do with him and his campaign.
And here’s one from the spontaneous worker rebellion front. All the workers at a particular burger king just up and quit. If enough workers at enough ill-paid food places do enough of this, those places will either have to raise their pay or go out of business. If the whole sector either raises its pay or goes out of business, then the restaurant-patronizing public will have to be ready to pay a living-wage price to get food at living wage restaurants. And any wannabe restaurant patrons who don’t want to pay the living wage price for living wage food . . . . don’t deserve to eat in restaurants.
Anyway, here is the link.
“What explains the disappearance of erotic sculptures from Hindu temples in modern India?”
I never heard this story before. You wonder what would have happened if this form of Hindu had endured instead of succumbing to prudish Muslims, prudish Hindus and prudish Victorians. At least the modern Hindus are not taking explosives to those sculptures Taliban style. This outbreak of erotic art reminds me of a similar period of erotica in the form of the Moche sex pots of northern Peru. At least 500 pots have been discovered with sexual themes with a variety of positions. And there are other periods of history where some cultures were also more libertine like ancient Athens.
Of course you really have to ask the question. Are these outbreaks of sexualised culture more what the norm should be with humans or is it a matter more that suppression of the sexual part of our cultures has been more the norm over the centuries? I know that the liberal English of the Regency era despised the prudishness of the Victorians. I can testify as well to a more prudishness in western culture over the past few decades and I lay some of the responsibility of this to our corporate media/social media who censor even classic paintings & sculptures lest somebody, somewhere takes offense-