2:00PM Water Cooler 9/20/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I will have more on health care in a few minutes. There’s a lot. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

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At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching….

We already start to an instant rebound from Labor Day, I assume because reporting is returning to normal. Nevertheless, Labor Day, as the end of summer, also signals life changes for Americans, so those changes will affect the numbers too. We shall see!

Vaccination by region:

Flat everywhere but the South.

54.6% of the US is fully vaccinated (mediocre by world standards, being just below Ecuador, and just above Switzerland and Malaysia). We are back to the 0.1% stately rise per day. This is the number that should change if Biden’s mandates “work.” However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus… (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well.)

Case count by United States regions:

Fiddling and diddling! We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January. The populations are different, though. This one is more vaccinated, and I would bet — I’ve never seen a study — that many small habits developed over the last year (not just masking). Speculating freely: If the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of distance could be significant if adopted habitually by a large number of people. And if you believe in fomites, there’s a lot more hand-washing being done. On the other hand, Delta is much more transmissible.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report September 17, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

Lower Ohio Valley less red. Northern Main still suffering. The South mostly yellow or green (cases, not hospitalization). Rockies under siege. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. Previous release:

(Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

Test positivity:

The South, the leader, steadily dropping.

Hospitalization (CDC). This is last week’s. Ever since the CDC “improved” this chart, it’s been consistently offline:

Here the CDC’s hospitalization visualization, from the source above:

Alabama now headed down, fortunately. Things are picking up in the West.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 692,012. We are approaching the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I am finding more than a little disturbing. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions.) (Also adding: I like a death rate because it gives me a rough indication of my risk should I, heaven forfend, end up in a hospital. I should dig out the absolute numbers, too, now roughly 660,000, which is rather a lot.)

Covid cases worldwide:

American exceptionalism?

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Capitol Seizure

Pretty small crowd, if you ask me:

IIRC, at the Capitol riot, the rioters brought no guns. So, hmm.

“Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol” [The Hill]. “Several hundred pro-Trump demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday to protest the treatment of those charged in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection — a crowd that seemed to be dwarfed by the outsize presence of the news media and police forces on hand to monitor the event.” • Not exactly an organized militant tendency.

Biden Administration

Lambert here: Say what you will about the former guy, but no FDA Commissioners resigned on his watch, and no Ambassadors were recalled over anything he said, let alone did. And on the pandemic, I’m not seeing anything comparable to Operation Warp Speed in scale or ambition, either. Maybe we should send the adults out of the room again?

UPDATE “Biden’s Entire Presidential Agenda Rests on Expansive Spending Bill” [New York Times]. “No president has ever packed as much of his agenda, domestic and foreign, into a single piece of legislation as President Biden has with the $3.5 trillion spending plan that Democrats are trying to wrangle through Congress over the next six weeks. The bill combines major initiatives on the economy, education, social welfare, climate change and foreign policy, funded in large part by an extensive rewrite of the tax code, which aims to bring in trillions from corporations and the rich. That stacking of priorities has raised the stakes for a president resting his ambitions on a bill that could fail over the smallest of intraparty disputes…. as Democrats are increasingly seeing, the sheer weight of Mr. Biden’s progressive push could cause it to collapse, leaving the party empty-handed, with the president’s top priorities going unfulfilled. Some progressives fear a watered-down version of the bill could fail to deliver on the party’s promises and undermine its case for a more activist government. Some moderates worry that spending too much could cost Democrats, particularly those in more conservative districts, their seats in the 2022 midterm elections, erasing the party’s control of Congress.” • Don’r forget: The Democrat Party was constructed. It is the way that it is because that’s how its leadership wants it. it’s more auto-kinbaku-bi; the Democrat jouissance from tying themselves up, and rendering rhemselves helpless (filibuster; Parliamentarian; moderates). It’s not merely pragmatic; I swear they actually get a thrill, a guilty pleasure, out of it.

UPDATE “Democrats confront ‘Rubik’s cube on steroids'” [The Hill]. One nugget: “The House bill creates a new federal health insurance program to provide Medicaid coverage in the 12 states that didn’t expand it under former President Obama’s health care law.” • Wait. Another health care system? Kidding, right?

“Unions Are Helping Big Pharma Fight Democrats’ Prescription Drug Bill” [HuffPo]. “A host of powerful unions are helping the pharmaceutical industry battle a key plank of President Joe Biden’s agenda, a display of how broad the powerful lobby’s reach extends into Democratic politics. The unions, mostly in the building trades, are members of a joint advocacy group, the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association, that is airing television ads attacking the House Democratic plan to empower the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. The group, known as PILMA, grew out of the industry’s use of union labor to build and maintain its research and manufacturing facilities.”

UPDATE “Drug companies on verge of sinking longtime Democratic priority” [The Hill]. • Well, I guess they were never serious about it, then.

UPDATE “Sinema tells White House she’s opposed to current prescription drug plan” [Politico]. “Both she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who met with the president the same day, delivered what one source described as a sobering message for the White House about the fate of the reconciliation bill and its $3.5 trillion price tag, which they both say is too high. The social spending plan is designed to pass without GOP votes through budget reconciliation, meaning that Biden will need to win all 50 Senate Democratic votes to secure its passage…. The drug price negotiation changes that Sinema is coming out against are a major component of the bill’s envisioned financing. Democrats are counting on them to raise as much as $700 billion over 10 years to pay for the party-line bill’s ambitious programs. Axing it could imperil the health care reform components in the social spending plan, such as a proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and supported by Biden, that would expand Medicare coverage to hearing, dental and vision.”

UPDATE “Guess what the three Democrats blocking lower medication prices have in common?” [David Sirota and Andrew Perez, Guardian]. “The three conservative Democratic lawmakers threatening to kill their party’s drug pricing legislation have raked in roughly $1.6m of campaign cash from donors in the pharmaceutical and health products industries. One of the lawmakers is the House’s single largest recipient of pharmaceutical industry campaign cash this election cycle, and another lawmaker’s immediate past chief of staff is now lobbying for drugmakers. The threat from Democratic representatives Kurt Schrader (Oregon), Scott Peters (California) and Kathleen Rice (New York) comes just as the pharmaceutical industry’s top lobbying group announced a seven-figure ad campaign to vilify the Democratic legislation, which aims to lower the cost of medicines for Americans now facing the world’s highest prescription drug prices. Schrader and Peters are among the two biggest recent Democratic recipients of pharmaceutical industry donations

At issue is House Democrats’ initiative to let Medicare use its bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. That power – which is used by other industrialized countries to protect their citizens from exorbitant prices – has been promised by Democrats for years, and party leaders have been planning to include it as part of their sprawling $3.5tn infrastructure reconciliation effort. On Wednesday, Schrader, Peters and Rice helped vote the measure down in the powerful energy and commerce committee, blocking the legislation before it could come to the House floor for a vote.” • “Promised by Democtats,” lol.

“Pandemic Roundup: September 16, 2021” [Violet Blue]. If anything, more brutal than I was. “President Joe Biden last Thursday released a six-point Covid-19 plan and announced it with a fiery speech, triggering a full-scale Republican meltdown. It’s called Path out of the pandemic: President Biden’s Covid-19 action plan. The plan will make a dent, but it falls far short of what we need to get out of the pandemic in several key areas, not least of which is its lack of comprehensive guidelines and unified, verifiable enforcement. I am not the only person saying this.” More: “Biden’s announcement speech stated that breakthrough infections are “only one in 5,000” — this is false because the US still does not have this data. New York Times opinion columnist David Leonhardt admitted the number was an “idea” in his column downplaying the risks of breakthrough infections; the sources Leonhardt loosely cited show this number is a fantasy. This is a problem because it will lead to underreporting (and missed diagnosis) of breakthroughs, and continue the spread. It’s an even bigger problem because vaccine skepticism is best predicted by lack of trust. Transparent communication, especially about vaccines, builds trust.” • This round-up is a good follow.

“U.S. authorities accelerate removal of Haitians at border with Mexico” [Reuters]. • Policy and morality aside, I don’t hear or see any NGOs given space to yammer about the babies anymore. Why would that be? Meanwhile:

Wowers, that dang Parliamentarian. Obviously, we need to elect more Democrats to get rid of her.

Democrats en Deshabille

“India Walton still has a general election to win, and Buffalo’s elite aren’t making it easy” [City and State NY]. “On June 28, Brown said he would wage a write-in campaign in November’s general election, with some prominent Buffalo figures – former mayor and current lobbyist Anthony Masiello and Common Council Member Joseph Golombek among them – standing by his side. After a controversial ruling from U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra, the brother of real estate developer and major Brown donor Nick Sinatra, it looked like he would have a line on the ballot under the newly formed Buffalo Party, despite submitting his petitions nearly three months after the deadline set by the state Legislature. Sinatra addressed the appearance of a conflict of interest by saying he considered the guidelines for recusal, spoke to another federal judge about the matter and he saw no reason to recuse himself. He ruled that the deadline was too early to allow for late-emerging candidates to take part and it limited the participation of voters, particularly Republicans and independents who cannot vote in the Democratic primary. However, Brown will not appear on the ballot after a state appellate court overturned that ruling and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay on the Sinatra decision, clearing the way for the Erie County Board of Elections to begin mailing ballots without Brown’s name on them. Walton’s camp cheered the outcomes, taking to Twitter and issuing a press release celebrating the victories.” But: “Developers realize there are limits to what she can accomplish through the powers of the office, [Rob Galbraith, a senior researcher with the Public Accountability Initiative,] said. ‘They know that just because a socialist steps into an elected office, she doesn’t have the power to seize all the productive capital in Buffalo,’ he said.”

“India Walton has a new campaign manager” [WIVB]. “There’s six weeks left before the Buffalo mayoral election on Nov. 2, and Democratic primary winner India Walton is bringing on a new campaign manager to oversee the remainder of the campaign. In a press release Monday, Walton announced that she’s making Drisana Hughes her campaign manager. Hughes served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Alvin Bragg’s campaign for Manhattan District Attorney earlier this year and was the organizing director for the mayoral campaign of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. ‘Her wealth of experience in Democratic campaigning, her deep understanding of political organizing, and her shining intelligence are exactly what this campaign needs to win in November with a strong mandate to build the safe, healthy Buffalo we all need and deserve,’ Walton said of Hughes in her statement. Walton’s campaign is undergoing a broader staff reorganization that will involve other staff members taking on new titles and responsibilities, the press release adds.”

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“Scoop: Sources say Beto plans Texas comeback in governor’s race” [Axios]. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios. O’Rourke’s entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.” • Commentary:

Donors? Axios is platform, so Beto wanted to stand on it?

Republican Funhouse

“Ducey canceled federal unemployment benefits and promised back-to-work bonuses instead. He’s only paid 222 of them” [Arizona Agenda]. “When Gov. Doug Ducey announced in May that he was cutting Arizonans off from the federal government’s additional $300 per week in pandemic-related unemployment insurance, he promised a sweeping new program that would provide “return-to-work bonuses,” child care subsidies and education scholarships to incentivize people to get jobs. But four months after Ducey announced the program, and more than two months after he cut off additional federal unemployment benefits, only 222 people have received a bonus for pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. The state so far has doled out $422,000 in bonuses for people who got a job and got off unemployment, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, which is charged with administering the fund. That’s less than 0.15% of the $300 million Ducey promised for the program. And it’s far less than the federal benefits would have paid out to needy Arizonans struggling through a worldwide pandemic…”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Liberal Attack on Government” [The Atlantic]. “It was against this conjunction of administrative power—the postwar alliance of big government, big business, and big labor—that best-selling writers such as Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader rose up in full-throated opposition in the early ’60s. Excessively close ties between government and industry, Carson argued in her 1962 best seller, Silent Spring, exacerbated a misguided vision of a simplified, pest-free environment…. Carson’s skepticism about the government adequately representing the public interest echoed through the growing environmental movement over the next decade… Nader and other citizen activists searched for ways to build something larger than individual crusades. They aimed to enlist energetic young researchers and professionals to press government agencies to fulfill their public missions and regulatory roles. The media, the courts, and administrative and legislative processes would be their field of operation. Civil-rights and anti-war movements fueled their belief that the government could not be trusted and needed to be watched over and held accountable. Notable liberal foundations, including Ford and Carnegie, played important roles launching this new public-interest law movement.” • The difficulty here is that NGOs are not only not democratic, they’re dependent on the whims of wealthy philanthopists. And so, over and over again, the #MeToo saga repeats. I don’t think there’s anything an NGO can do that the State and/or political parties could do and should do. Of course, that assumes either function, but they will never be made to function by NGOs. As we see all too clearly.

UPDATE Genocidal elites a parsimonious explanation? Thread:

The difficulty is thinking this idea through materially without resorting to Bond villains in bunkers or yarn diagrams. Though there are not very many of the Shing…

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

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The Bezzle: A parable:

The Bezzle: “Wall Street Journal Eviscerates Facebook” [The Ad Contrarian]. For those of you who, like me, don’t have a WSJ subscription, this is a summary of last week’s multipart series. The conclusion: “Zuckerberg’s record of lying and cheating his way to success is the great business scandal of our age. From the day it was born, Facebook has been a crooked operation. Facebook has never allowed third party validation of its audience claims. How any marketer or advertiser can be stupid enough to believe anything Facebook says about their advertising or audience metrics is beyond me. The shame of our industry is on full display here. If our industry “leaders” – the 4As, the ANA, the pathetic holding company aristocrats — had an ounce of integrity they would have questioned Facebook’s probity years ago…. Our industry has been the silent partner to the decay of civil society engendered by Facebook. We are the hidden hand.”

The Bezzle: “Troll farms reached 140 million Americans a month on Facebook before 2020 election, internal report shows” [Technology Review]. “[A]fter the 2016 election, Facebook failed to prioritize fundamental changes to how its platform promotes and distributes information. The company instead pursued a whack-a-mole strategy that involved monitoring and quashing the activity of bad actors when they engaged in political discourse, and adding some guardrails that prevented ‘the worst of the worst.’ But this approach did little to stem the underlying problem, the report noted. Troll farms—professionalized groups that work in a coordinated fashion to post provocative content, often propaganda, to social networks—were still building massive audiences by running networks of Facebook pages. Their content was reaching 140 million US users per month—75% of whom had never followed any of the pages. They were seeing the content because Facebook’s content-recommendation system had pushed it into their news feeds.” • Now do YouTube. Why on earth the platforms don’t operate like the blogosphere and RSS do, and just put up posts in chronological order from accounts you subscribe to… Well, we know why.

Manufacturing: “The Next Best Electric Car Battery Is Here, Cheaper Than Ever” [Bloomberg]. “There’s no shortage of excitement for electric vehicle battery startups or multibillion dollar investments in the industry, as companies, backers and scientists look for the winning play. China, though, is already moving on to the next leg in the race — one that isn’t dependent on a big, bold breakthrough — with sodium-ion batteries. Done right, this technology could lead to widespread adoption in a market largely dependent on subsidies and where EV sales are still a fraction of all cars. China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., or CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, unveiled its latest product in July — a sodium-ion battery. The following month, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it would drive the development, standardization and commercialization of this type of power-pack, providing a cheaper, faster-charging and safe alternative to the current crop on offer, which continue to be plagued by a host of problems, not least, faulty units catching fire.

Manufacturing: Just pathetic:

This video seems to be from 2016. Fundamentally, nothing has changed. The country that invented the shipping container and the modern supply chain can’t even manufacture its own cranes.

Mr. Market: “Why Evergrande has suddenly exploded into a potential global financial market crisis” [MarketWatch]. “On one level, Evergrande—which reportedly faces at least $83.5 million in interest payments due on Thursday, with a 30-day grace period — is raising concerns about a liquidity crisis among all Chinese and Hong Kong property companies, as markets quickly turn off access to dollar funding. In a more macro way, the firm’s woes are bringing to the fore China’s wide-scale regulatory crackdown across most of its businesses, starting with technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. 9988, -2.19%, which is rattling confidence in the world’s second-largest economy. China’s crackdown on property developers, without a known endgame, is what’s sapping liquidity from thinly traded securities like Evergrande bonds, which are held in passive emerging-market-index exchange-traded funds and separately managed accounts at U.S., European and Asian money-management firms.” • I don’t play the ponies, so this comment is worth even less than you might think. That said, Xi is surely capable of dealing with a liquidity crisis, should one arise (and is the Evergrande more like the mortgage crisis, or the Savings and Loan crisis? If the latter, then we face the pleasing prospect of a lot of real estate developers going to jail). For the rest of it, the West seems to have a problem with China having a government that governs. We’ll see how that goes.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 20 Extreme Fear (previous close: 34 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 37 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 20 at 12:36pm. First Extreme Fear in awhile.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Health Care

UPDATE “Intelligence agencies can help stop future pandemics. Here’s how.” [Scott Gottlieb, WaPo]. The main takeaway from Gottlieb’s book. “Our government has the capacity to gather epidemiological facts even when other nations don’t want to share them. Deploying intelligence agencies and assets to monitor outbreaks would advance our public health goals and help guard against adversaries who would try to exploit the chaos brought on by a health crisis.” • Now we’re doing to start seeing “news” stories on pandemics sourced to anonymous intelligence officials. Swell.

UPDATE “How Access, Advocacy, And Innovation Can Help Us Achieve Health Equity” [Health Affairs]. “The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated deep disparities that have existed for generations—disparities that will not fade with the pandemic if we do not act with urgency. Results of a recent CareQuest Institute for Oral Health consumer survey revealed that six million people lost their dental coverage as a result of the pandemic. This points to serious challenges ahead as our recovery continues.” • Bad teeth are a well-known class marker.

“Association of Nursing Home Characteristics With Staff and Resident COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage” [JAMA]. From the Results:

Among the more than 14 900 nursing homes reporting vaccination data by July 18, 2021, 60.0% of staff and 81.4% of residents were fully vaccinated on average. Average vaccination coverage was lowest among CNAs (49.2%) and registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (61.0%), with higher coverages noted among therapists (70.9%) and physicians and independent practitioners (77.3%).

After adjustment, for-profit ownership was associated with a decrease of 2.5 (95% CI, −3.2 to 1.8) and 3.3 (95% CI, −4.0 to 2.6) percentage points for staff and resident vaccination coverages, respectively, compared with nonprofit facilities.

Greater percentages of staff and residents who were non-White (ie, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black, Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian, and 2 or more races) were associated with lower vaccination coverages for both groups.

UPDATE “Covid gives us a chance to fix indoor air pollution forever” [Wired]. “We spend almost all our lives indoors – about 90 per cent, in fact. Take your age, multiply it 0.9, and that’s your indoor age, or how many years you’ve lived indoors. So the quality of the air you’re inhaling is pretty important. But for the most part, that quality tends to be poor. Indoor air can be packed full of harmful pollutants, which make us sick and hamper our productivity. ‘It’s influencing us constantly; I just don’t think people have thought much about it. And then when Covid hit, I think it opened a lot of eyes,’ says [Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings programme at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health]. Our buildings haven’t always been so stuffy. After the energy crisis in the 1970s, it transpired that our infrastructure wasn’t particularly energy-efficient; buildings were leaky, with heat spilling out of poorly-insulated walls. To fix this, architects made buildings smaller, a little bit more airtight. But this also entailed choking off air supplies and lowering ventilation. And so when the pandemic hit, it became harder to ignore how our stuffy buildings were negatively impacting our lives. While it’s now well-established that Sars-CoV-2 transmits through droplets in the air, it also has this in common with many other viruses, such as the cold and flu that travels around your office and schools every winter. What if we could stop that from happening? Bumping up ventilation and filtration rates in buildings could easily reduce the spread of airborne pathogens that regularly make us sick. In a May letter to the journal Science, almost 40 experts, including Allen, called for a ‘paradigm shift’ in improving indoor ventilation standards to control the spread of infectious disease.” • Stopping all drafts and adding insulation hasn’t made the house stuffy — it’s too old and enormous ever to be sealed — but it sure has saved on the fuel bill. So, now what do those of us who did the right thing to save energy do in the winter? Open the doors and windows in the winter? Really?

UPDATE FDA erases aerosols and ventilation:

UPDATE WHO erases aerosols and ventilation:

UPDATE Yes, WHO is still at it:

UPDATE A unified theory of aerosol transmission put in layperson’s terms:

UPDATE “Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why” [Money]. From 2019, still germane: “Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country. They’re well-educated, and have exceptional access to healthcare. And while some pockets of low-income communities of color are ‘under vaccinated’ for religious or financial reasons, studies published in places like the American Journal of Public Health show that the parents opting out for ‘philosophical reasons’ are mostly white and mostly wealthy…. Parents who opt out of vaccines tend to “believe, simply, that they can make the scientific determinations about the efficacy and dangers of vaccines for themselves,” she says. They have more free time on their hands than lower income parents — time that can be spent poring over anti-vaccine forums and websites, and applying for state-specific exemptions required to bypass school immunization laws…. When an outbreak does happen, rich families aren’t the only ones affected, of course. Usually, they aren’t even the hardest hit. This underscores a more sinister theory about why rich Americans are opting out of vaccines. A string of research referenced in the Washington Post last year suggests that wealthy people simply have less empathy than everybody else. They’re more likely to cheat on their taxes, and their spouses. And they give lower proportions of their income to charity. ‘Wealth is basically a mechanism for power, and power has a freeing effect on people,’ the social psychologist Adam Galinsky told the Post.’“It takes away the constraints of society and frees people to act according to their dominant desires.’ If you’re rich, the consequences of ‘opting out’ aren’t particularly dire. After all, it’s easier to rationalize the risks of bypassing immunization if you can afford a lengthy hospital stay, or to pull your kid out of daycare if her classmate gets sick. And while the U.S. has a long history of stigmatizing poor parents—’free range parenting,’ versus neglect, ‘welfare moms‘ versus stay at home mothers—if you’re a wealthy anti-vaxxer, you probably won’t face any social ramifications either.” • How it plays out:

Groves of Academe

“Maspeth HS diplomas ‘not worth the paper’ they’re printed on” [New York Post]. “Maspeth High School created fake classes, awarded bogus credits, and fixed grades to push students to graduate — “even if the diploma was not worth the paper on which it was printed,” an explosive investigative report charges. Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir demanded that teachers pass students no matter how little they learned, says the 32-page report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, Anastasia Coleman. ‘I don’t care if a kid shows up at 7:44 and you dismiss at 7:45 — it’s your job to give that kid credit,’ the principal is quoted as telling a teacher. Abdul-Mutakabbir told the teacher he would give the lagging student a diploma ‘not worth the paper on which it was printed’ and let him ‘have fun working at Taco Bell,’ the report says. The teacher ‘felt threatened and changed each student’s failing grade to a passing one.’ The SCI report confirms a series of Post exposes in 2019 describing a culture of cheating in which students could skip classes and do little or no work, but still pass.” • Worst of all, this is a public school, not a charter.

Class Warfare

“Harms of AI” [Daron Acemoglu, NEBR]. “I argue that if AI continues to be deployed along its current trajectory and remains unregulated, it may produce various social, economic and political harms. These include: damaging competition, consumer privacy and consumer choice; excessively automating work, fueling inequality, inefficiently pushing down wages, and failing to improve worker productivity; and damaging political discourse, democracy’s most fundamental lifeblood…. I also suggest that these costs are not inherent to the nature of AI technologies, but are related to how they are being used and developed at the moment – to empower corporations and governments against workers and citizens.” • Well, er, would we be developing AI if it did not “empower corporations and governments against workers and citizens”? Dude, come on.

“The Unimaginable” [Cory Doctorow]. “It is easier to imagine the end to the world than it is to imagine a nonviolent end of capitalism. But we should still try.

In many ways, we are already living in a postcapitalist society. Many of our most important jobs — parenting, caring for elderly relatives of friends — are unpaid. And virtually none of our great businesses or their industries would be profitable save for vast state subsidies: the huge public subsidy inherent in the climate emergency. Companies profit by pushing off the highest cost of doing business to the rest of us, in the form rising seas, hurricanes, wildfires and droughts. If companies had to carry this cost on their balance sheet, most firms would have to drastically restructure or go out of business. It’s a bloody form of postcapitalism, one where vital hard work is unwaged and only costs — not profits — are socialized. But there is an alternative. We just have to imagine it.” • “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” –The Bearded One

Guerilla grazing:

News of the Wired

There is a punchlineL

R.I.P. Norm MacDonald,

Fortunately, virtue is its own reward:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (johnnyme):

johnnyme writes: “Looks like another breakthrough case.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. lance ringquist

      here is one, years ago one of the leaders of the chinese communist party, can’t remember his name. opened the bell on wall street and got a standing ovation from slavish parasitical wall streeters raking in billions off of human and environmental degradation, whilst driving millions here at home into grinding poverty.

      the leader looked down at the masses of wall street chumps with a smile on his face, a caption should read “look at the wolf, smiling down at the sheep”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Wall Streeters weren’t chumps. They were China’s running-dog lackey flunkey stooges. They made their money. They made a fortune off their country’s misfortune.

        They were like those Africans who sold other Africans to the Slave Ship Captains. And Bill Clinton was one of their Paramount Chiefs.

        1. lance ringquist

          and in the end, those that sold their people into slavery, ended up being colonized and brutalized also.

          lets face it, free trade is about as short term as it gets. now its wall streets turn to be sheared by the wolves.

          and i do not blame the chinese, they must have been astounded as the smiling grifter nafta billy clinton was offering to sell out his countries two hundred years plus of innovations for some short term gains for a few.

          the leadership of the CCP must wake up every morning and look at a picture of the smiling grifter nafta billy clinton, and get belly laughs every morning, great way to start the day.

  1. Randy

    What’s up with covid deaths going up while hospitalizations go down in the charts? People quietly dying in their own homes?

    1. TMR

      People who end up dying of Covid tend to stay in the hospital longer than those who recover. If admissions were on an upswing, but have peaked in the past two weeks and are now on a downswing (as shown by the decreasing positivity rates), you’d still have increasing fatalities from the admissions two+ weeks prior.

      It looks like the slope of fatalities is just starting to flatten out, in accordance with its lagging indicator quality.

    2. Jen

      Capacity problem, maybe? According to the NH covid dashboard the state has16% of its “staffed beds” available. One wonders how many “unstaffed beds” might be out there. Hospitalization peeked at 324 last January, there’s about 130 today.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not flu season yet. Normally, they pull beds and staffs from other hospitals when there are flu outbreaks. Then there is staff burnout on top of this problem. They aren’t supposed to be working that hard right now.

  2. petal

    Re Maspeth HS article:
    Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir has a linkedin page. It’s interesting. NYC Dept of Ed for 19 years, and before that, 4 years as a financial analyst at Deutsche Bank, and 2 years as a senior staff accountant at Citi. BA in Finance from Howard.
    “Principal of the Year
    Queens Village Club
    April 1, 2013
    Awarded Principal of the Year for founding Maspeth High School whose curriculum is dedicated to the preservation of the classics and school culture that stresses good character.”

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      The Bloomberg regime at the NYC Department of Education was notorious for cultivating a generation of toadies and martinets in the Principal corps. They established a Leadership Academy that took people with minimal classroom experience – previously, you needed years as a classroom teacher and Assistant Principal before rising to Principal – eliminated institutional memory, and inculcated them with anti-union biases and support for the forced march of high stakes testing (which ironically was this character’s downfall).

      Some of these people were really monstrous, but those who financed the Bush-Obama wave of corporate education reform/school privatization – the Gates, Broad, Walton Foundations, et. al. – have never been held to account for their gross failures and vicious policies.

    2. jr

      No surprise here, sis has told me how her school in the Bronx graduates failing and even aggressively problematic children so as to avoid them falling behind “culturally”.

      In Philly, students from the inner city attending Temple are shocked to learn they must take refresher courses to catch up because the public schools are so poorly operated and administered.

      Don’t even get me started on GED instruction…

  3. TimH

    Yet again: lede that says one thing, body says another:

    “The Next Best Electric Car Battery Is Here, Cheaper Than Ever”

    not equals

    “CATL has said it will have a supply chain in place by 2023”


    “a supply chain in place”

    not equals

    “volume manufacture”

    1. hunkerdown

      That’s called “institution”. Convince them some thing has always existed, and that at the same time it doesn’t exist unless they construct it. Repeat, simulating the action of the thing you’re trying to build, until the programming takes. You’ve now created an institution. It is that easy and that stupid.

      Turning back to the article and considering the source, it’s more likely Bloomie are trying to signal some American R&D concerns to create or arm blocking patents to sabotage the value of the invention. Resource piracy interests want their endeavors and investments to bear fruit, of course, and they too would prefer battery makers use something rare and unique, so that they feel needed. It’s all so sneer-worthy until they arm up.

    2. SES

      I wonder if there’s any connection to Aquion Energy’s sodium-ion battery technology? Aquion Energy, formerly of Bethlehem, PA, went bankrupt in 2017, and its assets seem to have been acquired by a Chinese company, as far as I can tell from Wikipedia.

    1. michael hudson

      Wall St. to China: “We’re collapsing. Do something! Bail out Evergrande.”
      China: What do you mean, “we,” white man?

      I hope that foreign readers will get the Lone Ranger/Tonto context. (I’m part Chippewa myself.)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Every American person or institution who invested anything in China was an economic traitor against America to begin with.

          I hope that every dollar that was invested in China gets lost in China.

          1. lance ringquist

            Lincolns comment on”free trade” was, “If I buy $1000 of steel from abroad, we have the steel, but foreigners have the $1000. If I buy the steel in America,
            we have the steel and Americans have the $1000.”

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Charles Walters Jr., the editor-founder-publisher of Acres USA, often cited that Lincoln item in his articles about ” balance parity economics”.

              He phrased it a little differently. It was supposedly when America was building the Transcontinental Railroad and British Steelmakers were quoting a lower price for railroad rail than American steelmakers could quote at the time. Some of Lincoln’s cabinet wanted him to “save money” by going for ” always the lowest price, always”.

              Lincoln said: ” If we buy the rail of England , then we have the rail and they have the money. If we buy the rail of ourselves, then we have the rail AND we have the money.”

            2. Katniss Everdeen

              Not only do we have the steel and the $1000, we have the physical plant to make more steel, and the know-how and skilled labor to keep it coming better and faster.

        2. lance ringquist

          i noticed a change in china once musk fell into the trap. the chinese leadership must have thought we have gotten all we can get now, time to pull the plug.

        3. lance ringquist

          you can only imagine how many derivatives the dim wits created off of those bonds they were stupid enough to buy.

          i wonder if that is the real reason for the panic.

          that size of losses means another bailout, right at the time the nafta democrats are reneging on their promises because we cannot afford to fulfill those promises(as if anyone was stupid enough to believe in the promises in the first palce and voting nafta democrat again).

          trump is drooling over 2024. trump understands MMT.

      1. lance ringquist

        The biggest political story of 2008 is getting little
        coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated
        our economic debate for three decades.
        Since the Reagan years, free market cliches have passed for
        sophisticated economic analysis. But in the current crisis, these
        ideas are falling, one by one, as even conservatives recognize that
        capitalism is ailing.
        You know the talking points: Regulation is the problem and
        deregulation is the solution. The distribution of income and wealth
        doesn’t matter. Providing incentives for the investors of capital to
        “grow the pie” is the only policy that counts. Free trade produces
        well-distributed economic growth, and any dissent from this orthodoxy
        is “protectionism.”

          1. lance ringquist

            100% correct.

            nationalism is at the core of the founders vision of the enlightenment

            fascism is the exact opposite, under free trade, the corporation has sovereignty over the people

            its why hitler vowed to make europe a free trade zone, it was to take away the right of self determination

            Hitler and Mussolini were in the firm camp of the free traders

            protectionism is the foundation of national self-determination and is fundamental.


    2. Michael Hudson

      Wall St. to China: “We’re collapsing. Do something! Bail out Evergrande.”
      China: What do you mean, “we,” white man?

      For foreign readers, the context is the Lone Ranger and Tonto surrounded by Indians. (I’m part Chippewa myself.)

      1. Skip Intro

        A classic joke whose wit is not diminished by repetition! How many American readers get the reference I wonder…

    3. The Rev Kev

      For overseas readers, “The Australian” is the paper for our so-called elites. It is the equivalent of the “New York Times” or “The Washington Post” so is both neoliberal and neocon. To read it online you have to pay for a subscription but personally I would rather buy second-hand toilet paper as being of more use. And yes, it is a Rupert Murdoch publication.

  4. Eloined

    according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all.


    Knowing this statement is carried over from some time back, might you elaborate a little bit on how The Narrative of today, which to my eyes supports vaccine mandates and passports, frequent testing in schools, workplaces and beyond, masking of pre-K ‘students, etc.,’ while with widespread acceptance pinning shortcomings of any of the above on the unvaccinated, runs contrary to high death counts?

    Relatedly, what to make of the recent Atlantic article estimating that 40-45% of COVID hospitalizations are with rather than from the virus?

    I sincerely appreciate the COVID info shared here. I am narrowly wondering if, from your perspective, recent Narrative-related events may have cast in doubt this carried-over assertion regarding The Narrative’s relationship to death counts now that the Biden Administration inarguably has not swept into office and solved the problem — as would be indicated by low death counts.

    Also, maybe I am misreading your perspective.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You could be right. It’s a standing element, and they are “sticky.” On reflection, however, I think you’re trying to apply logic to the narrative… The idea seems to be nudge people through fear, indeed, but not so much fear of death as fear of the other.

      1. Eloined

        Thanks for the response.

        Agreed on the limits of simple logic. When it comes to TPTB, hypocrisy and inconsistency may not mean a lack of ‘smart’ design.

        It was probably here where years ago I saw an internal Google deck translating Cass Sunstein’s administrative philosophy into a world-changing corporate vision.

    1. ambrit

      I’d imagine she’s trying to figure out how to gently tell the questioner that Thatcher has been dead for eight years.

  5. marym


    We have a moral obligation to lead with compassion. I’m calling on the Biden Administration to immediately halt the deportations of our Haitian neighbors and work with us to support the Haitian diaspora. There were babies under the age of 3 on that flight.

    These are human rights abuses, plain and simple. Cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law. This needs a course correction and the issuance of a clear directive on how to humanely process asylums seekers at our border.

    Under NO circumstances should we be treating migrants this way. Period.

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Haitian Bridge Alliance, America’s Voice, Human Rights First

    @PressSec on images appearing to show border patrol agents whipping Haitian migrants at the U.S. southern border: “I have seen some of the footage. I don’t have the full context, I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate.”
    https://twitter.com/cspan/status/1440013987840774152 09/20/2021

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, you could expect to reliably hear a dramatic quaver in the voices of TDS-afflicted liberals when they said, “But there are babies in cages!” … sort of like the lady in the Simpsons who always cries out, “But what about the children?”

        Those moral panics of the liberal classes, ooh, they hurt so good……

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Can I ask a stupid question?

          How the hell did 25,000 Haitians end up in Brownsville, Texas? Is there a ferry from Port Au Prince to Houston? Did the earthquake cause a land bridge to form across the Caribbean? It’s 1600 miles of shark infested, hurricane-sodden seas between the two. How’d they get there?

          Something is missing from the story

          1. marym

            It’s a fair question.

            They didn’t just arrive since the earthquake. They’ve come to northern Mexico over the years from other places in Central/South America where they’ve migrated due to the long history of problems in Haiti. Trump/Biden immigration restrictions – partly due to the pandemic – mean it’s not possible to apply for asylum. Below is a summary of the current situation. The link has more detail on some of the history.

            While Haitian migrants have found themselves in many countries…those who have found themselves at the U.S.-Mexico border are in a distressing state of limbo because of current U.S. immigration policies. Had they been in the U.S. in May, they would have been eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status that would allow them to live and work in the country for 18 months. But living in Mexico, if they’re caught trying to illegally enter the U.S. or make a claim for asylum, they risk being expelled back to Haiti under Title 42, a Trump-era health measure that began in March 2020 and has remained in place under the Biden Administration. (Most people who are expelled are Central Americans who try to enter through Mexico, and are sent back to Mexico.) By HBA’s estimates, the Biden Administration has in a few months expelled more Haitians back to Haiti than during the entirety Trump Administration.


            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Haiti has a Petionville problem.

              Unless the entire population of Petionville is systematically exterminated, and every ally and subordinate the Petionvilliers has throughout the entire territory of Haiti is also hunted down and exterminated, Haiti will not make one single particle of progress or solve a single problem. Because Petionville and its lackeys is the problem.

              Until that happens, Haiti will never make one particle of progress. And the only way that can happen is if the 6 million non-Petionville Haitians are so ridden with starvation and disease that they truly have nothing left to lose except a death-in-life which is worse than death itself. If the 6 million non-Petionville Haitians finally reach that point of final extremity, then they will rise up and accept the Petionvilliers killing a million or so Haitians as a price the Haitians will just have to accept so that the surviving 5 million Haitians can reach and physically exterminate every single Petionvillier and Petionville-adjacent person on the Island.

              And the only way that can happen is if Haitians are kept rigidly bottled up in Haiti until Haiti explodes with rage and hate and despair. And allowing emigration from Haiti will prevent Haiti from reaching the point that Haiti is finally ready to pay the price needed to exterminate Petionville.

              If that is the only hope for Haiti and the only way forward, then the longest-range humanitarian thing to do is to send all the Haitian refugees under the bridge back to Haiti.

              The message would be . . . . ” you have no escape and will be allowed none.
              Your only hope is to exterminate your Petionville no matter what the cost to yourselves”.

          2. dday

            According to a cable news reporter this afternoon, most came on buses, many directly from the Guatemalan/Mexico border. There was some suspicion that the Mexican government may have had a hand in this, to avoid a large Haitian caravan wandering through Mexico for weeks.

          3. jsn

            It appears there is a US, Panama, Haiti migrant arrangement, probably built to supply impoverished Haitian labor to the plantations in our southern colonies. The numbers of migrants are in the multiple 10s of thousands per year into Panama.

            Recently, they’ve started looking to come to the US. This addresses some of this: https://wgnradio.com/news/international/rising-numbers-of-migrants-risk-lives-crossing-darien-gap/

            Your basic point, I think, is that institutions are supporting this exploitation, they have been for a long time. I can’t figure out why now they’re looking to the US in mass though, and haven’t been able to find any reporting.

            1. marym

              Do you have more info on this agreement? The examples in your link don’t seem to follow that path – e.g. “Emile, 29, said he had left his home country of Haiti 13 years ago to work in the Dominican Republic. Then he lived in Chile for four years, and two months ago he decided to leave for the United States…Most of those currently crossing the Darien are Haitians who were living in Brazil and Chile and were left with little work due to the pandemic. Visa requirements make it almost impossible for low-income migrants from Haiti to take flights to Panama, Mexico or the United States. So many make the dangerous trek across the jungle in the hopes of starting a new life in the U.S.”

              Here’s another description of the situation from the Panama’s minister of foreign affairs that also seems to present Panama as a passthru for migrants from Haiti, and other countries en route to Canada and the United States.

              (I don’t dispute that institutions are supporting situations of exploitation and displacement, including US policy in Haiti through the years. I’m just not knowledgable about labor migration issues beyond what’s in these links)

              1. jsn

                I can’t yet find anything substantive.

                Enough things are pointing in the same direction it appears there’s some large unspoken agreement or informal arrangement with figures of 30-70,000 Haitians a year along with 3-4m immigrant workers in Central America (this from a UN conference posting with no links or references).

                That’s a lot of people moving around out of which 25k isn’t all that much, but it’s always mentioned laterally. On the other hand, internet research isn’t my strong suit.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Life in America probably looks better than sugar slavery in the tropical Americas. And since they were already transported off Haiti onto the contiguous American continental mainland, it is conceptually easy enough to go the rest of the way to America.

              Haiti is not the only country with Petionvilles which need extermination.

  6. Lee

    “Lambert here: Say what you will about the former guy, but no FDA Commissioners resigned on his watch, and no Ambassadors were recalled over anything he said, let alone did. And on the pandemic, I’m not seeing anything comparable to Operation Warp Speed in scale or ambition, either. Maybe we should send the adults out of the room again?”

    Yeah, but what about the threat to Demockracy?

    1. Skip Intro

      Nothing threatens Democracy like those pesky voters! They should be eliminated once and for all!

      p.s. Say Hi to Chelsea for me.

    2. Mantid

      Dr. Scott Gottlieb who just wrote and published a book about Covid and the U.S. response called “Uncontrolled Spread”, was head of the FDA for about 3 – 4 years, leaving in 2019. Guess where his new job is? ……. 5 4 3 2 1….. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Small world.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps the FDA Commissioners hung tough under Trump to prevent Trump from having vacancies which he could fill with his Business Commissars. Perhaps they felt the Biden election meant that ” help is on the way”.

      Perhaps they have realized that help is not on the way. Or perhaps they are aged and worn and are creating vacancies in hopes that the Biden group will fill them with Safety Commissars to keep Trump 2.0 from filling vacancies with Business Commissars. Perhaps they are doing what Supreme Court Justice Ancient Old Man should do but will not do.

      One would really have to ask each resignee why he/she resigned to see what they are/were thinking.

  7. Jason Boxman

    Let the variants roam, says I!

    The Biden administration will lift restrictions on fully vaccinated international travelers in November.

    Because it isn’t really a pandemic unless you have more fun and interesting variants to get sick and die from.

    Thanks Biden!

      1. Cuibono

        it is as if we want this thing to go on endlessly.
        and why not you might ask: it surely is profitable.
        and it keeps people too occupied staying alive to trouble with such niceties as M4A

        1. Sawdust

          We might end up turning covid into the human version of Marek’s disease. I’ll bet our leaders, and probably the whole PMC too, would be just fine with an outcome where anyone who doesn’t get their shot every six months is a goner.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          When you’ve screwed up to the tune of 600,000 dead and still have your job, where’s the incentive to change course?

        3. Mikel

          It’s at the point now where you keep away from as many as possible for as long as possible until the death count hits those that think they are untouchable.
          Only then will proper safety measures be taken seriously.

  8. Carolinian

    Re The Atlantic–I recently read the author’s book, Public Citizens, on which the article is based. The premise is worth talking about: to wit that New Deal big government made the Dems electoral heroes and dominant in Congress but that the government itself was subject to regulatory capture by the capitalism it was supposed to regulate. Carson, Nader and others felt there had to be a third body of citizens to keep government honest and effective. However this worked against the interests of the Dems who depended on big unions and big donors to keep them in power. So ultimately Nader and the others gave us reform but a stronger Republican party.

    It’s probably true. But who’s the villain here, Nader or the compromised Democrats? Nader thought we needed a third party. I do too.


    1. Darthbobber

      The analysis breaks down on the question of what the viable alternative was. To blithely ignore the fecklessness and regulatory capture? To just continue offering testimony at the pro forma hearings when it was always ignored?

      What alternative does such a system offer mere citizens other than to attempt to band together and collectively exert public pressure?

      And there’s a qualitative difference between the public citizen groups and initiatives of the 60s and 70s and the NGO stew of this shiny millennium.

      1. Carolinian

        I don’t think the author was objecting to the Nader movement or being pro Democrat. It’s just sort of about what happened. You might fast forward the purity versus power discussion to what happened to Occupy since that’s a topic today.

        Or time machine backwards to the beginning when the creators of the country were obsessed with the Romans and talked a lot about virtue. There’s a book about that too.

        Nader came along at a time when the country was a lot less cynical or that’s how I remember it. But the people in power have always been cynical and had to squelch this. Nader was right in his principles but perhaps naive about human nature.

    2. JBird4049

      We need to have at least one large, powerful, and effective party that is not Democratic or Republican. Preferably two as it would help to have not only a leftist party, but also a sane and effective conservative party whose ideology wasn’t based on racism and the combined worst forms of liberatarianism, gold bugging, and authoritarianism. The current Republican Party is more a corrupt, authoritarian, and reactionary oligarchy than conservative; it has no real ideology except winning at any cost power, money, and status, and then even more power, money, and more status with the best way being serving the wealthy, capturing all branches of government in every state and eviscerating them.

      However, we have to realize what has happened in the past century before we work on before creating these parties.

      First, in the last one hundred and forty years we have had the Progressive Movement/Party as well as IIRC two socialists and one communist parties. The Progressives were co-opted and absorbed by the Democrats. The other three parties, as well as the whole leftist and socialist movements were destroyed. First by the United States government using the Creel Commission and later the Palmer Raids as well as jail and/or deporting people, sometimes illegally during and after the First World War. After the Second World War, the Red Scare was used to implement the Blacklist and to drive anyone even suspected of have sympathies with socialism or communism from all areas. None of this includes the spying, beatings and assassinations at the behest of wealthy businessmen and the government in the United States from before the 20th century and into the 1970s.

      Secondly, have you looked at the arts, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, philosophy, literature, religion, science, and even the social movements since the 1950s? I believe that “turn on, tune in, and drop out” was the mantra of the Beatniks, then the Hippies. Actually engaging in society, never mind making any positive whole sale changes was made uncool. This could be applied to most of the rest. The visual arts became inward looking and not outward. Any messages directed at the self and not society. Willem de Kooning work is one good example. People, society were not part of the art or any messaging. Then there is classical music which was made elitist and the stage which became fluff, colorful, mindless entertainment whereas before they both had widespread popularity among the little people and often were meant to make people think. Then there is the wasteland of popular music, today.

      I can make similar arguments or complaints about architecture, philosophy, literature, religion, and science. Buildings tend to be either soulless or monumental, not for people and communities at all. Much as I don’t like it, I think Bauhaus architecture, with the possible exception of Mid-century Modern, as the last good humanist architectural movement. And the Prosperity Gospel? Just where does Jesus fit in with this adulation of Mammon?

      Most of what would make people think, feel, and dream of connecting with others, of dreaming the impossible has been destroyed. And I can the various social clubs and hobbyists groups that have gone away since the 1950s.

      Third, we now have massive, and still growing, well financed, organized and enthusiastic police and security state that makes the one of the First World War look nonexistent. It will consider any movement especially if it starts gaining power, a threat, to be labeled as a terrorist organization or some such hyperbole. All the powers and tools, even the illegal ones, will be used against this organization(s).

      I think that, really, to get that party(ies) we have several very large steps or obstacles.

      First, we have to create a social movement for social connections. Not a reform or a protest movement. Just for connections. Rather like Occupy Wall Street but for everyone to socialize. Even just (re)creating more social organizations would be good. This is necessary because people do there best when socializing. It is harder to punch someone over an issue when you’re at a barbecue, drinking his beer. Not impossible, but socializing makes it harder. Not to mention that much good work has been done while drinking. Like a lot of scientists while drunk.

      Second, we have to agree on what kind of organizations to create and what they will be advocating. A movement or a party? Socialist or what? Reformist, climate change, corruption, or something else.

      Third, the political parties as well as the various police and security agencies will spend a lot of time, money, and work to co-opt, take over, or just destroy by creating internal dissension, spying, bribery, blacking and whatever else they can think of. Also frame ups, false charges, false arrests, beatings, and blacklisting. If it gets hot enough, and it probably will, as it from did from the late 19th and into the 1980s, IIRC ending with the environmental movement. There were beatings, bombings and assassinations often from deniable parties. Judi Bari would be a good example. The Black Panthers, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. of the 1960s would good examples as well. And HUAC. An immense amount of preparation and then effort by the reformist organizations will be needed to deal with this.

      Buckle up. It is going to be a rough journey.

      1. lance ringquist

        its got to be the western mindset. i used to think it was the english language people, but it spread to places in all of europe rapidly, or any where european type of influence reigns supreme like japan.

        no matter how bad it gets because of the imbecilic free trade economic policies, the population sticks with the parties that got them to this in the first place.

        canada just re-elected their smooth talking empty suit obama type, he got in by the skin of his teeth, just like biden did, even though a rejuvenated socialist party even promised to protect canadian jobs and have a massive infusion of R&D.

        its baked in. we are finished.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps one could relable ” new social movement” to ” new sociable movement” to make it more clear what is being called for.

        ” Bowling Together: the New Sociability”.

        1. JBird4049

          ” Bowling Together: the New Sociability”.

          That’s an idea that even our security state would have some trouble demonizing. And it is closer to what I was trying to say.

  9. Eloined

    Re: former FDA commish Gottlieb on intel x public health collab

    More non-disclosure of author interests, as WaPo fails to disclose Gottlieb’s board seats at genomic testing leader Illumina, surely a fitting private-sector partner for natsec agencies’ projects, nor at Pfizer.

    He is rather “a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute… and has advised members of the national security community on issues related to public health.”

    1. Jason Boxman

      Interesting — Pfizer has been disclosed in some places, but never heard about Illumina before. Thanks!

    2. Darthbobber

      Sample Gottlieb disclosure, not from WaPo.

      Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean’s “Healthy Sail Panel.”

      My, that finger’s in a lot of pies. As to using the spooks as ersatz epidemiologists, it’s an idea bad enough to be accepted. Then our pandemic knowledge can be as politically driven as our human rights concerns, and all the health organizations these charming people use for cover can be suspect wherever they try to go.

      1. Skip Intro

        How likely is it that the epidemic spooks would be content to just wait for and observe outbreaks? That certainly would not be in character.

  10. PKMKII

    The Money article on the anti-vaxx movement ties in with your “Don’t Blame Bubba” argument. Too often, I see the anti-vaxx/vaxx-hesistant movement tied to the “Bubbas” and not enough to the bourgeoise. And when it is tied to that class, it’s almost always tied to the “Karens” of the world. If it’s not punching down in the form of class, it’s punching down in the form of gender.

    1. Brunches with Cats

      > The Money article on the anti-vaxx movement ties in with your “Don’t Blame Bubba” argument.

      Absolutely, it does. And it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to thank Lambert for making the distinction recently between “anti-vaxxer” and “non-vaxxer” (IIRC, it was in his running commentary on the Biden speech). I had been using “anti-vaxxer” as a universal label for the unvaccinated, unthinkingly perpetuating the myth.

      I was having this discussion last week with a VA provider, who said that she knows several people who lean right politically who have been vaccinated and think everyone else should be, too. Meanwhile, a college friend who went into chiropractic is so solidly against the COVID vaccines that she won’t schedule appointments with patients who’ve been jabbed in the previous two weeks in the belief that the vaccine itself makes the recipient contagious. I’ve heard of at least one other chiropractor (male) who is vehemently opposed to the vaccine(s), although no reason was given.

      In the 80s, it was the New Agers and “health-food nuts.” All of them weren’t white, and they weren’t all rich, but maybe that’s what you have to be anymore to lead that kind of lifestyle.

      1. JBirdd4049

        Just why do so many people think that injecting whatever the government tells them is just A-Okay is puzzling. Thirty or forty years ago, yes, I could see that as the FDA, NIH, and CDC were functioning agencies, and then as now, most vaccines have a long record of safety against some really unpleasant diseases. Today, after the “warp speed” development and the near total shambles of the general response to COVID and the vaccine roll-out, not so much.

        I am worried as to what the new mtRNA vaccines might do in the long term, especially after the corruption of the whole process of their creation, testing, manufacture, and distribution; nuance is almost completely lacking, especially in something controversial like the vaccines, as you are assumed to be either totally for or totally against whatever, with large helpings of victim blaming and red herring added onto a plate of tribal identity.

        It’s just nuts and doesn’t do any good except to give cover to grifters and crooked politicians like Dr. Anthony Fauci

        1. Drake

          Couldn’t agree more. I’m more worried about the vaccines than about the disease, though not terribly preoccupied with either one, and quite sick of even hearing about a disease with a 99.x % survival rate. I had CV at least once (it was a nasty few hours, but didn’t rise to the level of some colds I’ve had) and have no intention whatever of getting a jab, not being elderly, obese, or sick. Maybe in about 5 years when we actually have some knowledge of the long-term vaccine effects I’ll no longer consider them experimental medicine and won’t feel like an involuntary guinea pig. I’ll take a pass till then.

          And we should be calling this the Fauci-virus. He appears to be one of its creators, after all.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Have you been X-rayed or otherwise internal-organ scanned to see if you have legacy microcellular damage in various organ systems? Damage you do not feel now and will not feel soon, but will feel less soon and more late as the inevitable age-related decline of organ systems reveals that the organ reserve people normally have is missing in your case and you will find yourself falling off a cliff of fast-forward organ failure in late middle age?

            Or if you would rather not think about that, then you can just live your life and when you reach late middle age, be surprised or not depending on if you have legacy microdamage or not.

        2. Objective Ace

          Not to mention the going out of their way to not collect data. That’s what gets me the most. Sure, it could just be incompetence, but if you suspected the outcomes might not be what you wanted–you couldnt design better data collection to still get max vaccinations out there

        3. Brunches with Cats

          > Just why do so many people think that injecting whatever the government tells them is just A-Okay is puzzling.

          Well, I certainly don’t. I made a choice based on several factors and thought about it for months before rolling up my sleeve. I didn’t “trust the science,” because there wasn’t enough of it and there still isn’t. It didn’t help, as you point out, that public health officials were lying and completely untrustworthy. The information and discussion on NC was a major consideration, thanks to the diligence of our excellent mods. Ultimately, I figured there was less risk in getting the vaccine than in not getting it, and that it more likely than not would help contain the spread at least a little — but that’s too many caveats to even remotely suggest to others what they should do, and waaaaay too many to support vaccine mandates, especially as a condition of employment.

    2. John k

      But most reluctant of all are low-paid traditional dem segments.
      In my area both dem and reps are mostly jabbed.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    “Wealth is basically a mechanism for power, and power has a freeing effect on people,’ the social psychologist Adam Galinsky told the Post.’“It takes away the constraints of society and frees people to act according to their dominant desires.’

    I would like to humbly dissent from social psychologist Galinsky’s assertion that wealth, especially its pursuit, is “freeing” in any real sense.

    Racing, chasing, hunting,
    drives peoples crazy.
    Trying to get rich
    ties people in knots.

    Tao te Ching #12 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    1. jr

      Agreed, but often they think that confusion is freedom in my experience. I’ve lived with and worked for two multi-millionares. The woman received 26G$ dollars a month in rents from her tenants but the happiest I’ve seen her was when she was able to scrape a hundred dollars from one of them because they had placed recycling in the trash. She would literally lick her lips. The man’s hands would tremble when I paid him rent in cash, like an addict fumbling with his kit. Both of these individuals were in their mid-seventies.

      The insatiably satiated…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Man, that is so weird to read. I shouldn’t be surprised. People like Nancy Pelosi are very advanced in age but she is still chasing every dollar that she can even though she is worth hundreds of millions.

        1. jr

          The accumulation of wealth is an addiction, make no mistake. Physiological symptoms and all. And in their minds everyone wants their money, everyone is running a scam, everyone is exactly the thing they are.

          The woman once accused me of coveting her money. I told her absolutely not, I’ve seen what it does to people. She was shocked into silence, for one I made it clear I wasn’t hustling her and two I made it clear to her what she actually was. She stared at me as if I’d slapped her across her face.

          1. LifelongLib

            The people you describe sound insecure, at least psychologically. Maybe they still imagine they could lose everything. I wonder what it would be like to be born into wealth that was so great and solid that little short of a nuclear war could threaten it. In that situation there wouldn’t seem to be a need to do much of anything. Life would just be a long series of hobbies.

  12. Janie

    Kurt Schrader’s grandfather was a vice-president of Pfizer (Oregon Live, Feb. 28, 2008). He “played a central role in figuring out how to mass produce penicillin during World War II” and left ” what appears to be quite a large inheritance” to Schrader.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      We don’t have Congresspeople anymore. They are “designated day traders with impunity” now.

      I’m telling you the dems won’t be back in power until 2032

      1. John k

        Could be right, we alternate on souring on one group of kleptocrats and the other.
        trump left only after losing bc of his incompetent handling of a 100-year pandemic by a smaller margin than he won by in 2016. Biden will have to fix it given dems are not gonna give the paroles anything useful by 2024.
        Promises… you’ll get the good stuff next time! Trust us… Lucy and the football…

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Probably the “good stuff next time” will be a leaner tougher meaner Trump 2.0. Someone like Cotton or Hawley or Rubio or Cruz.

  13. Pat

    Any body but me think if Pfizer did not have protection from liability there would never have been an announcement that its vaccine was safe for children 5 to 11?

    Am I learning or endlessly cynic?

    1. Objective Ace

      Ehh.. they could have just spun off the Vaccine division like JnJ did its talc division. The liability waiver is nice, but theres other ways to screw over your customer base and avoid liabilities in this country

  14. Terry Flynn

    Norm Macdonald went before his time. I loved the YouTube compilations of his SNL segments. I remarked to a friend about 10 years ago that “something is up” – that was his first diagnosis of cancer. We knew something was wrong but never guessed cancer.

    Kudos to him for continuing hard hitting jokes without ever revealing his own status.

    1. Darthbobber

      Ran into the Technology Review troll farm article earlier today. Clicked through to it from another site’s article that took off and ran with it.

      I guess I’m supposed to infer from the reference to propaganda and the elections that:
      A. The content in question was aimed at influencing electoral outcomes, and
      B. The time frame was specific to the elections, as opposed to being something that was already ongoing and continued thereafter.

      But the article itself does not even assert either of those things. And what they do show looks like a standard click-bait operation intended to generate revenue for those engaged in it.

      The definition of ‘reach’ that 140 million is based on comes from accepting Fbk’s most self-serving claims of reach. If a single piece of this dreck showed up in your feed during the covered time period, then you were “reached” for some value of reached. But for most Fbk users most of the time, the overwhelming bulk of algorithmically placed content is basically white noise. (It would be an exaggeration to say that Fbk is mainly about monetizing white noise, but only a slight one).

      For all the name-dropping of Prigozhin’s IRA (dragged in twice, though both times they go on to say explicitly that there’s no evidence. of a connection) I see nothing to indicate that the sinister East European (sinister BECAUSE East European, I assume) were doing anything different from the legions of domestic and overseas troll farms rife on social media. To say nothing of the equally omnipresent astroturf pseudo movement groups, scampacs, corporate front sock puppets, usw, usw.

      Face it, were the platform to rigorously suppress inauthenticity as such the majority of its revenue would disappear overnight.

      1. Darthbobber

        That should not have been a reply to the comment above it, it was intended for the main comment level. Oops.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Hehe yeah. Am I falling victim to the Mandela effect or did Norm once reveal that his favourite book was an infamously difficult (Russian?) one, thus letting the cat out of the bag that he was, in fact, far more clever than the “dumb everyman” persona he generally portrayed?

        Incidentally the “changes” 10 years ago that friend and I spotted were sudden weight gain and his tendency to still do dark humour but start giving more context (though he had more control over show format after leaving SNL anyway).

    1. Valerie

      Me too.I looked up his web page and saw a few interesting items I’m going to spend more time with come the weekend. He has a Patreon page too.Those who can should kick in a little to keep a great American eccentric like this in business.

  15. Cuibono

    I love the FDA graphic, especially the part about reporting fraudulent treatments…especially people peddling that horse dewormer paste..that will get us through this pandemic safe and sound!

    And i never knew that donating blood would end the pandemic. How does that work again?

  16. drumlin woodchuckles

    With all the heavy doom-laden seriousness of events, I will introduce an irrelevant frivolous topic.

    About that talking Australian duck ( ” you bloody fool” ) , I circles back and listened/watched to some you tube videos of Australian musk ducks in mating display. Their squeaks and whistles sounded nothing like anything that could be turned into a door slam or a ” you bloody fool”.

    So I am wondering if the audio is as fake as the video. And if it is, is the whole article about the talking Australian duck a fake as well? And is the magazine which published it also in on the joke? Is it fake turtles all the way down?

    Is this an elaborate psychology experiment to see who does what about the article about the talking duck?

    1. Terry Flynn

      Only tangentially relevant but made me think of one of only a few jokes I committed to memory years ago. The “original” involves grapes and a duck. Don’t Google it else you’ll have the annoying song stuck in your head for life.

      The IMHO much funnier update is a “dad” joke you can Google involving a duck asking for bread in a pub. When told by the right person (circling back to someone like Norm Macdonald) it has immense build up to a truly side splitting punchline. Plus if you omit the swearing (which isn’t common and isn’t really necessary for the joke to land) you can tell the kids and they’ll love it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s a set-up!

        1. Terry Flynn

          The 2nd tweet is one I only knew as a separate joke so that’s some inspired concatenation of jokes. The first tweet is generally the only bit I tell when challenged.

          As a Brit, the other jokes I can tell are really unsuitable…

  17. The Rev Kev

    UPDATE “Intelligence agencies can help stop future pandemics. Here’s how.”

    Just a thought here. Instead of having all these spooks running around the world trying to raid the health departments of different countries to find out their true data, that perhaps they can turn loose the Department of Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency to find out the real figures for things like hospitalizations, deaths, long-covid, etc. in the United States itself. Lambert has been complaining for a long time now of how the figures are being withheld or bodged up to make things sound better than they are. States like Florida are now notorious for playing fast and loose with their data. Only thing is that anything that they found would be made classified.

    1. Darthbobber

      How lack of info can be seen as the central problem is a mystery. We knew about the Delta variant even before Biden took his premature victory lap and proclaimed the vaccinated to be completely safe and able to dispense with all other protective measures. We’ve known about mu for awhile now, with seemingly no impact on policy. We know perfectly well about aerosol transmission, and devote our efforts to pretending otherwise.

      We knew about COVID itself early enough to have had measures in place well before we bothered to do so.

      But what we really lack is spies? Please somebody make it stop.

  18. eg

    Greetings from Soviet Canuckistan, aka “America’s Hat” where we are having a Federal election.

    Lambert will be pleased to know that we use paper ballots counted by hand.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Lambert and others have regularly referred to your paper ballots counted by hand as being a better system.

      And we speculate on why the political elites are so determined to prevent the better system here in this country.

    2. Personae

      It is late evening and I have been watching the election results. The most interesting part of the coverage on our national broadcaster CBC – by TV reporter David Common – has been reports on the process of managing and counting of ballots. We were ‘shown’ – i.e. in public – a secure warehouse room in which the ballots were being counted, by hand. How the ballots arrived. How they were sorted. We were shown how ballots by post were put in red bags that allowed election officials to go through postal stations to actively look for election ballots mixed in with other mail. We were even shown a very secure back storage room where Elections Canada stores every actual paper ballot from elections conducted over the past 10 years as a record of the elections! Just in case. I always knew we had a very good system to conduct elections even if our choices always sucked. But this was interesting.

  19. Michael Ismoe

    This Election Day update just in from The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

    Donald Trump calls it a “fake election” after he garners zero votes in numerous constituencies throughout the country. Once Cyber Ninjas completes its work here in Arizona and we reconstitute the Electoral College and then AZ recasts all of it’s votes for Trump-Pence, they need to move Over the Border and check out those Cannucks in Northern Minnesota.

  20. allan

    Who knew that `Listen to science’ would be hijacked
    by the `Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible’ crowd?

    Assembly considers limiting a pesticide linked to bee deaths [WXXI]

    The New York State Assembly held a hearing on whether the state should strictly limit the use of a chemical in pesticides linked to the die-off of honeybees, and population declines of other insects and birds.

    The compounds, known as Neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” have been in existence since the 1990s and have been widely used during the past 15 years in a pre-treatment for corn, soy and wheat seeds. …

    Industry representatives who testified at the hearing argue that neonics are safe and effective. Caydee Savinelli from Syngenta, a Swiss-based company and of the largest sellers of agricultural pesticides in the world, said the chemicals are an important aid to farmers responding to climate change, which has caused sudden insect infestations that threaten crops. …

    Members of the state’s Farm Bureau also testified, saying the chemical is an important part of an integrated pest management system that helps protect pollinators. They asked the Assemblymembers to listen to science before deciding to limit their use. …

    Savinelli said instead of worrying about the potential harmful effects of the pesticides, more people should plant flower gardens to help support pollinators, and turn off their outside lights at night to protect moths and other nighttime insects. …

    Shorter Syngenta: If the colony collapses, it’s because of your lapses.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Unions Are Helping Big Pharma Fight Democrats’ Prescription Drug Bill”

    Just goes to show you how some unions have been captured. Can you imagine their chants?

    ‘What do you want?’

    ‘Prescription drugs that we will never be able to pay for.’

    ‘When do you want them?’


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Some of that capture happened during the McCarthy period, when “purge the communists” was a cover for eliminating pro-labor leadership out of unions and bringing pro-business and even mafia-adjacent leadership into those unions.

  22. Mikel

    Re: Dear WHO
    The virus is AIRBORNE. It is the height of irresponsibility to put out public health messages about “safe schools” which make no mention of ventilation, crowding, time spent indoors or the heightened dangers associated with singing and speaking. pic.twitter.com/b37R34j1ae

    That’s the churches they are mainly afraid of …. then the the establishments from sporting arenas to concert halls.
    You know how many PMC’ers make a living off of speaking fees?

  23. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Take simple steps to help slow the spread of #COVID19. Get vaccinated. Wash your hands often with soap & water. Cover your mouth & nose with a mask. Avoid crowds & practice social distancing. https://bit.ly/2xkmOW8

    Given the following observations, increased vigilance and caution would still appear to be the prudent approach, all things considered.

    “Viral loads of breakthrough Delta variant infection cases were 251 times higher than those of cases infected with old strains detected between March-April 2020.”
    “Interpretation: Breakthrough Delta variant infections are associated with high viral loads, prolonged PCR positivity, and low levels of vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies, explaining the transmission between the vaccinated people. Physical distancing measures remain critical to reduce SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant transmission.”

    “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant Among Vaccinated Healthcare Workers, Vietnam”


    All the while being mindful of, in a mindfulness sort of way and properly considering all things that go, “KA-CHING!” Because, as we all know it’s about, “Money, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of money during a pandemic”. And because, “this is just the beginning.” So . . . .

    “Looking forward, Bancel said, “We have begun preparing late stage studies for our flu vaccine and RSV vaccine, which received fast track designation from the FDA a few days ago and are looking forward towards our vision of a single dose annual booster that provides protection against COVID-19, flu and RSV for adults. I look forward to the start of our Phase 3 trial for CMV this year and to clinical proof of concept data in the coming quarters from our therapeutics pipeline. We believe this is just the beginning.”

    “Moderna Reports Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2021 Financial Results and Provides Business Updates”


    The global religion and its canticle are always in style, it appears, “I want money, that’s what I want. I want money, I want lots of money. In fact, I want so much money, give me your money. Just give me money.” The disaster was just another opportunity for enrichment.

  24. a fax machine

    re: Chinese made gantry cranes

    This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. The much bigger, grander cranes at the Port of Oakland are also Chinese, as is the Eastern Span of the new Bay Bridge, and the new floating fire station San Francisco bought. This is a reoccurring trend in coastal cities because, until recently, China could provide it much cheaper. In my view this is a big reason why Trump won, because when Democrats fail to put American workers first it cedes valuable ground to Republicans.

    Also the video is from 2013, from an Obama speech extolling the new cranes and road tunnel connecting Miami’s port to the Interstate freeway system. Probably why Democrats then lost Florida, because what’s the point in voting for Team Blue if their leader is just going to sell your jobs out to foreigners? Probably what steelworkers in Ohio and Pennsylvania were thinking in 2016. Only within the past six months have mainstream liberals even considered China a serious threat and protectionism worth doing, although will to power is another question entirely.

    1. lance ringquist

      and also calling us names because we did not just go out and find another job, or learn how to code, or be willing to constantly move all over america in search of those new jobs that were going to be created by the glories of free trade, perhaps that type of thinking backfired, NAW, its all the deplorable fault.

      once you radicalize your people, its hard to get them back.

  25. djrichard

    “The Unimaginable” [Cory Doctorow]. “It is easier to imagine the end to the world than it is to imagine a nonviolent end of capitalism. But we should still try.

    Unfortunately we can’t go backwards. But if we could, I would recommend devolving to clans. In particular, the types of clans described by Marcel Mauss in “The Gift”, the oceanic potlatch societies. Authority in such clans seems to accrue to those who best embrace “I give so that you may give”. Talk about a different reality than what we live.

    Anyways, CJ Hopkins periodically brings up this same question as well. To point out that we’re not locked into our reality. We just need to imagine our way out of it.

  26. djrichard

    “Harms of AI” [Daron Acemoglu, NEBR]. “I argue that if AI continues to be deployed along its current trajectory and remains unregulated, it may produce various social, economic and political harms. These include: damaging competition, consumer privacy and consumer choice; excessively automating work, fueling inequality, inefficiently pushing down wages, and failing to improve worker productivity; and damaging political discourse, democracy’s most fundamental lifeblood….

    I’m reminded of Matt Taibbi’s metaphor in If Private Platforms Use Government Guidelines to Police Content, is that State Censorship?

    Weinstein’s travails with YouTube sound like something out of a Star Trek episode, in which the Enterprise crew tries and fails to communicate with a malevolent AI attacking the ship.

    I do a fair amount of commenting on TheHill. And there are times when I feel like I’m engaged with AI in the comments section. Not that I am (engaged with AI), but it’s kind of like we’re all weaponizing authority on behalf of whatever campaign we’re promoting and it seems in the process we’re becoming more like AI. Less human. No different than the articles themselves on TheHill. There’s human authors to those articles. But the way they’re constructed to evoke a carefully calibrated response, they may as well be authored by AI constructs for all that it matters. Some entity intent on winning.

  27. Mikel

    “This may seem dramatic but it isn’t & given that we* have lost the war against COVID to the GBD & Co, we can’t cushion this.
    *Everyone trying to control the pandemic & save lives.”
    — Hisham Ziauddeen (@HZiauddeen)

    GBD = Great Barrington Declaration
    “Indeed these aspects of the plan have been articulated by many and the GBD, AIER, HART and the like have been actively involved in efforts to stop any govts controlling the pandemic. Of course it is likely that in govts like ours they have found like-minded allies.”

    Unfortunately, understanding this death cult economy and society does not engender faith in the “vaccines.” That could actually be an argument against them…

  28. Expat2uruguay

    Lambert- This water cooler has the wrong date in the title. I don’t know if that matters in your records system oh, but I thought I’d point it out.

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