Links 9/13/2021

Floating Fire Ant Rafts Form Mesmerizing Amoeba-Like Shapes Smithsonian. From June, still germane.

Why have gray wolves failed to gain a foothold in Colorado? High Country News

Central bank digital currency: the future starts today Bank of International Settlements

Supply chain crisis will leave permanent scar, UPS warns FT

9/11

9/11 Was Bad, But It Wasn’t QAnoners Wandering Around The Capitol For A Few Hours Bad Caitlin Johnstone

The World 9/11 Made Richard Haas, Project Syndicate. Blobo di tutti Blobi.

In Short 20 Years. Reminiscence of the Future… (ctlieee).

Losing the Wars Fellow Travelers

Health Effects of 9/11 Still Plague Responders and Survivors Scientific American

FBI releases first secret 9/11 file: Saudi embassy official let two hijackers stay at his apartment and helped them in LA before the attack, was ‘facilitator’ for Al-Qaeda and distributed extremist Muslim literature Daily Mail

#COVID19

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies NIH. “Preliminary data suggest that monoclonal antibodies may play a role in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in household contacts of infected patients2 and during skilled nursing and assisted living facility outbreaks…. Three anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody products currently have Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in nonhospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who are at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization.” Three anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody products currently have Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in nonhospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who are at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization.” Bamlanivimab plus etesevimab, casirivimab plus imdevimab, and sotrovimab.

Current status of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 PLOS Pathogens. From the Conclusion: “The mAb biotherapeutics are a promising strategy for immediate treatment/prophylaxis or in situations where vaccines are less effective—such as in immunocompromised individuals, young, elderly, and vaccine-hesitant individuals. MAbs can also be rapidly tailored, selected, or mined towards new variants. For this, we need more intensive studies to track viral evolution, analyze the human antibody repertoire, identify and develop pan-coronavirus NAbs that target evolutionarily conserved epitopes. These efforts will enable rapid and dynamic reconfiguration of existing NAb cocktails to cull new surges that are driven by SARS-CoV-2 variants.”

SARS‐CoV‐2‐neutralising monoclonal antibodies for treatment of COVID‐19 Cochrane Library. Metastudy. From Main Results: “We identified six RCTs that provided results from 17,495 participants with planned completion dates between July 2021 and December 2031. Target sample sizes varied from 1020 to 10,000 participants. Average age was 42 to 53 years across four studies of non‐hospitalised participants, and 61 years in two studies of hospitalised participants…. The evidence for each comparison is based on single studies. None of these measured quality of life. Our certainty in the evidence for all non‐hospitalised individuals is low, and for hospitalised individuals is very low to moderate. We consider the current evidence insufficient to draw meaningful conclusions regarding treatment with SARS‐CoV‐2‐neutralising mAbs. Further studies and long‐term data from the existing studies are needed to confirm or refute these initial findings, and to understand how the emergence of SARS‐CoV‐2 variants may impact the effectiveness of SARS‐CoV‐2‐neutralising mAbs. Publication of the 36 ongoing studies may resolve uncertainties about the effectiveness and safety of SARS‐CoV‐2‐neutralising mAbs for the treatment of COVID‐19 and possible subgroup differences.”

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Grotesque conflicts of interest on NIH ivermectin non-recommendation Trial Site News (nc).

Thanks, Dr. Fauci! National Library of Medicine. Damn. What’s that slurping sound? Truly offensive hagiography from a putatively scientific organization of civil servants.

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I Got A ‘Mild’ Breakthrough Case. Here’s What I Wish I’d Known NPR (DL).

Massive numbers of new COVID–19 infections, not vaccines, are the main driver of new coronavirus variants The Conversation

Are We Wearing the Wrong Masks? MedPage Today. Commentary on the large Bangladesh mask RCT. “Had we done this study a year ago, we would have been able to provide important health guidance.” Most NC readers, at least, sorted out that N95 > surgical > cloth pretty fast, though I don’t know how broadly the general population did.

Lewis County hospital to stop delivering babies after staff resign, refuse vaccine mandate NCPR. An anecdote….

China?

Beijing to break up Ant’s Alipay and force creation of separate loans app FT. Whatever’s preventing us from doing similar has nothing to do with democracy, the rule of law, judicial precedent, rights, etc.

Cover Story: The Rapid Fall of China’s Most Famous Corporate Raider Caixin Global. The URL is a little more pointed: “cover-story-the-debt-crisis-of-former-corporate-raider-baoneng”. Commentary:

To include or not include? China-led SCO weighs Iranian membership The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. SCO = The eight-member China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization which also groups Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Asean’s focus on Mekong issues is crucial for region’s water security South China Morning Post

Myanmar

Myanmar shadow government reaps diplomatic harvest Nikkei Asian Review. And speaking of the NUG:

From Boycott to Bombings: PDFs launch D-Day war on Mytel Democratic Voice of Burma. Give war a chance:

India

India looking to tax cryptocurrency trades and ecosystem in the country -ET Now Reuters

UK/EU

England vaccine passport plans ditched, Sajid Javid says BBC (KW).

France’s former health minister charged over handling of Covid crisis Guardian. We should try that here.

German election demographics: Facts and figures Deutsche Welle

“Things Are Looking Good and Going According to Plan” Der Spiegel (Re Silc). BioNTech on boosters.

Oil-rich Norway goes to polls with climate on the agenda AP

Swedish Cement Crisis Could Threaten Country’s Green Credentials Bloomberg

The Old Country Yasha Levine

The Caribbean

El Salvador’s bitcoin experiment is already going wrong — and what else could happen Protocol

Biden Administration

Manchin, Sanders at odds over $3.5 trillion budget resolution ABC

Dems hurtle toward a new fiscal cliff Politico

MMT and the deficit myth Lars P. Syll

As Texas ban on abortion goes into effect, a religion scholar explains that pre-modern Christian attitudes on marriage and reproductive rights were quite different The Conversation (ctlieee).

Police State Watch

Association of Jail Decarceration and Anticontagion Policies With COVID-19 Case Growth Rates in US Counties JAMA. From the Conclusion: “the absence of strong federal public health policies in the US has resulted in a high level of variability in state- and county-level policy responses. This situation now allows for comparative analyses to inform effective policy making…. [O]ur results suggest that the globally unparalleled system of mass incarceration in the US, which is known to incubate infectious diseases and to spread them to broader communities, puts the entire country at distinctive epidemiologic risk.”

Sports Desk

Against Kids’ Sports Culture Study

Imperial Collapse Watch

After Afghanistan: No Post-American world Adam Tooze, Chartbook (naval construction) and The new age of American power Adam Tooze, New Statesman.

Man Who Made Millions Overcharging for Printer Toner Is Going to Prison Vice. The dude went into the wrong line of work. He should have chosen mortage-backed securities. Or Bitcoin.

NY county worker charged in digital currency mining scheme AP

Class Warfare

Review: The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland Labor Notes. From 2020, but I love the book title.

Be Your Own Boss: More Co-op Businesses Are Returning Workers’ Power Mother Jones

How Important Is It to Us that No One Gets Anything for Free, Ever? Invisible People (dcblogger).

How floating islands can make urban waterways green and clean CNN

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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

167 comments

  1. Ian Perkins

    Asean’s focus on Mekong issues is crucial for region’s water security

    “These reasons explain why the Mekong and more broadly, Southeast Asia, have been at the centre of a geopolitical contest for influence among larger powers. Yet, the region has enjoyed peace for more than half a century because regional countries and their organisations such as Asean and the MRC have worked hard to maintain stability.”
    The USA ceasing its wars on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam around half a century ago is no doubt purely coincidental, with no bearing on subsequent peace and stability whatsoever.

    Reply
  2. Terry Flynn

    None of these measured quality of life.

    Understandable given how early on we are in this pandemic (in terms of epidemiology) but which will become important. NC drew attention to ACE2 heart issues in football players – which IIRC turned out to be not so serious but the more general point regarding lingering chronic major organ problems was well made and (to my mind) remains a reason why “repeated bouts” of even asymptomatic Covid-19 are worrisome is an issue NC is doing good work in keeping drawing attention to.

    Measuring QoL is easy. Getting people to tick boxes about aspects of their life linked to specific organs is easy. VALUING any deterioration is the hard part and has been perhaps THE biggest issue in health economics for 25+ years. Here’s just one anecdatal finding. People who have experienced horrible pain (typically due to something like bone cancer) who also expereienced depression, when answering the main EQ-5D “QoL questionnaire” used by many Western European/Aus/NZ/Canadian govts in deciding cost-effectiveness typically rate “extreme depression” as WORSE than “extreme pain”. Others always imagine “extreme pain” must be worse. Interesting how experience deviates from “imagine you are….” stated preference scenarios…..and I’m a stated preference guy. Humbles me and makes me very wary re Covid-19 and keen to hear about the commentariat here who see things – like Ignacio, MD, GM and others……..

    Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Floating Fire Ant Rafts Form Mesmerizing Amoeba-Like Shapes”

    At last! A way to put one of those Elon Musk flamethrowers to use.

    Reply
      1. John Zelnicker

        @Milton
        September 13, 2021 at 11:26 am
        ——-

        I’m not sure if fire ants have or have not contributed to climate collapse, but they are not to be trifled with.

        Fire ants received their name from the intense burning pain of their bite. There are cases of people being killed by a swarm of fire ants that they couldn’t escape.

        They are also very difficult to eradicate without constant vigilance.

        Sadly, my hometown of Mobile is responsible for introducing fire ants to the US. They came through on cargo ships from South America.

        Reply
        1. jonboinAR

          From someone who knows: they will bite the living crap out of you! While doing carpentry on sill plates here in Southern Arkansas, I’ve gotten just 2 or 3 on my hand or knee a few times. The whole area swells up. It’s one of those insect bites or stings that’s worse the second day than the first. Although, the initial sting isn’t intensely painful, relative to say, a red wasp. The next day, though, it’s all swollen and itchy. This is with 2 or 3 bites. More information than anyone cares to know, probably.

          Reply
          1. LawnDart

            I just left Russelville last week– was going to camp but didn’t because of the 100+ heat after spending most of the week under the sun. So I headed towards Eai Claire WI instead.

            Any travel tips are welcome to my ears, especially potential hazards I may come across.

            Reply
            1. jonboinAR

              Good state-park-style camping in my general neck (SW Arkansas – SE Oklahoma). Shady Lake, Parker Creek, Crater of Diamonds, Lake DeGray, Jefferson Ridge, are all in Arkansas. Some are Arkansas state parks, some are Army Corp of Engineers, all quite good. In Oklahoma we favor Beaver’s Bend State Park adjacent to Hochatown in the Choctaw Nation. Hochatown features pretty decent tourist-type eats. All of these parks are on the south side of the Oachita mountain range. The temps are good right now, but they should be even better in the Russleville area you recently left. Have you been to Eureka Springs, AR? Great walking around tourist town. I don’t know what kind of camping’s nearby. Of course, you were fairly close by in Russleville.

              Reply
          2. Jaye Lee

            First aide tip: get meat tenderizer with papian (it must have this) and make a mixture of it with rubbing alcohol to apply to fire ant bites, and bee and wasp stings. It draws the toxins out.

            Reply
    1. LawnDart

      I bought one for my daughter (she’s into those sort of things). She was fantasizing about all of the spiders she’d kill (I cringed, as I feel that spiders are our friends), the campfires she’d start, etc., with that flamethrower of hers.

      Now, I’m old enough to regret my infatuation with firecrackers and other things that go “boom!” And that this came after I tired of a few Star Wars (the original) toys I had laying around, you know, the ones that are now collectable…

      I related this experience to the kid, what “limited edition” means, and who Elon Musk is. Poor girl was crushed, torn, as she weighed her desire to massacre god’s lesser-loved creatures against the bottom line: any use of her Not-A-Flamethrower could lower its value significantly.

      While it’s looked at longingly, it remains in its original packaging, unfired, so-to-speak. These items can be found today on Ebay anywhere from $2500-10k.

      Pray she never become POTUS, because she’d likely lob a few nukes your way: she believes that the Australian “spider problem” is way worse than ours and that the only way to solve it is if that country were to disappear from the face of the Earth. Sorry ’bout that.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        Pray she never become POTUS, because she’d likely lob a few nukes your way: she believes that the Australian “spider problem” is way worse than ours and that the only way to solve it is if that country were to disappear from the face of the Earth. Sorry ’bout that.

        Tough but fair

        Reply
  4. flora

    Central bank digital currency: the future starts today- Bank of International Settlements

    huh, Catherine Austin Fitts’ predictions are coming true. I’d though she was being silly. Silly me.

    Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          …don’t Bogart that joint committee

          15 years ago we were on a guided walk to Fox Glacier in NZ, and to give you an idea of how climate change has took hold, they only do helicopter flights now, it has receded so much in a short time.

          You had to walk a mile maybe a mile and a half to get to the glacier and halfway there, and our young Kiwi guide announced that there was going to be a safety break, and we got so excited in anticipation until it turned out to be just that, a safety break to make sure we were ready to surmount a big fricking tongue of ice.

          After we got going again, I inquired of our young turk with a mighty staff if he knew what safety break was slang for, and he had no idea until we told him, ha ha!

          Reply
          1. LawnDart

            (“Safety break” is an old school term for indulging in marijuana, for foriegn language participants and those who might be otherwise unfamiliar with the term. Yes, best to take stock of provisions before continuing the journey or chosing to turn back– a hidden stash might cause no small measure of ill-will to develop in the group, and make the Donner Party seem like rank amatures: “Hey!?! What do I smell?” “Yeah… but that was the last of it.” You motherf…)

            Reply
        2. ambrit

          Yes, but cash cannot be tracked and ‘managed’ if one was so inclined. Digital? Boy oh boy. Talk about the Econopanopticon.

          Reply
    1. cocomaan

      A well-designed CBDC will be a safe and neutral means of payment and settlement asset, serving as a common interoperable platform around which the new payment ecosystem can organise. It will enable an open finance architecture that is integrated while welcoming competition and innovation.5 And it will preserve democratic control of the currency.

      We can be almost certain it won’t be well-designed.

      Reply
    2. c_heale

      Couldn’t finish the article. Sounded like the guy was somw kind of fantasist. What is ‘stablecoin”. If it’s bitcoin that is anything but stable. Has anyone asked him what people are going to do if there is a problem with the electricity supply even on a local scale.

      Reply
  5. The Historian

    Re: The Long Deep Grudge.

    I just watched a series on Wondrium called “Ordinary Americans in the Revolution”. Our labor problems and class warfare started MUCH earlier than the Gilded Age. It started with the birth of our nation. And I didn’t know it, but the first labor strike in this country was in 1619.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1619_Jamestown_craftsmen_strike#:~:text=The%20Jamestown%20Polish%20craftsmen%27s%20strike,documented%20strike%20in%20North%20America.

    There is a LONG history of class warfare in this country!

    Reply
    1. Tommy

      someone on here recommended the Many Headed Hydra book. It IS great…have read twice. EP Thompson admirers do real history….Some of this ‘first contact’ mixing among natives, blacks and whites is covered in Jennings classic Invasion of America…but the Hydra book covers so much more…and basically beginning of Atlantic imperialism….slavery etc….

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        Thanks! I will try to read that book!

        I am now looking for more sources on Hancock, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, etc., that don’t give the ‘standard’ elite version of what they did – I’ve read that – but more on what they thought of and how they treated ordinary people. From the historian that presented the course, I gather that they considered ordinary Americans as ‘useful idiots’ and not only did not want them involved in their government, but it appears that they went out of their way to treat them very badly.

        Reply
    2. Synoia

      Umm…I suspect Great Britain was greatly responsible for the continuation of its class warfare in its colonies.

      Many of the British settlers in the Southern parts of the N America Continent were the younger sons (All inheritance of land in the UK went to the elder Son).

      Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    The Paradise Fire in Sequoia NP went from 32 acres to over 1,100 acres burned in just 24 hours and for the second year in a row @ the same time, we’re under mandatory evacuation orders for cabin owners in Mineral King.

    Our cabin is on just the other side of Paradise ridge from where the fire is raging, and if it gets over the ridge, that’s where the Atwell Grove of Giant Sequoias are, including those trees growing at the highest altitude of the species @ 8,800 feet, some 3,000 feet higher than where they typically hang out.

    Its the very same place where John Muir witnessed a wildfire in 1875, the last time it burned. In the linked article he mentions watching younger Sequoias burn, but not the bigger older ones. When you walk through the grove you notice every tree is around 15 feet wide @ eye level, but there are few young trees say 4-5 feet wide, as the fire Muir watched 146 years ago seemed to have done them in. He mentions watching the conflagration from a hollowed out Sequoia laying prone on the ground, there’s a photo of it in my friend’s blog, he calls it the Covered Bridge Log. You can also see how close lesser trees are to the Brobdingnagians. They would have never had the chance to coexist cheek by jowl before Americans arrived on the scene, as historically fires would come through the groves every 17 years-never allowing them to be bothersome by spreading fire into the upper branches of Sequoia trees

    I’ve got insurance coverage on my cabin and it can be rebuilt to look just like it was before if flames rudely intrude, but should an ancient forest get burned up, that’s that. It’d be lost for all time, on our watch.

    https://abc30.com/tulare-county-evacuation-order-warning-knp-complex-fire-wildfire-sequoia-national-park/11015890/

    http://sequoiaquest.com/atwell-mill-grove.html

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1901/09/hunting-big-redwoods/544044/

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s tough hearing that Wuk. Keep yourself safe mate as there is only one of you. And here is hoping that that forest is bypassed by the flames.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for the kind words…

        Had the last supper (a San Franciscan burger & fries and a glass of cab-sav) @ the Silver City Resort on their deck, when the mandatory evacuation order was announced as in vamoose. There were a bakers dozen or so of guests also eating-who were given doggy bags, and i’d finished my meal and a few gulps of wine later, went to the cabin, took some art & heirlooms, a few backpacks, tents, etc., and a generator, and down the hill I went in the twilight initially interesting as smoke makes for sunsets but getting darker with every twisty turn followed by another around the corner, and 4x NPS SUV ranger trucks flew by me along with a large truck & horse trailer (to take NPS stock out of harms way) and a water tender truck as well.

        Those NPS rangers broke the news to tourists in 45 car camping spots @ Cold Springs Campground, that they had to pack it all up and leave immediately, in the dark.

        When I was within 4 miles of Hwy 198 on the way down, the Colony Fire component was glowing malevolently on a wide ridge far in the distance, almost giving the appearance of a large flood-lit stage.

        Here’s the skinny on the anatomy of our fire and the plan to fight it, if you’ve got 45 minutes to spare. From last night:

        https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/33350-knp-complex-of-lightning-sparked-wildfires-in-sequoia-national-park-have-grown-to-550-acres

        Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Its pretty bad today already, feels like I chain smoked a pack of unfiltered Gauloises, and all that smoke has made aerial attacks not possible, nor is ground support gonna happen, its too steep and full of burnables.

        Reply
  7. anEnt

    The importance of the FBI document release cannot be overstated. Of course there is the 0th level proof that we’ve fought the wrong countries. The question that remains is why. Why was this proof of Saudi government involvement withheld? And more importantly, who in our government chose not to declassify it immediately so that the public and congress could take a more correct decision on what to do? Those people and their successors who kept this document classified adhered to our enemies (the Saudi government), giving them aid and comfort for decades, and fit the constitutional definition of traitors.

    Reply
    1. Jesper

      There is a saying about nations not having friends. Possibly that is true. People have friends though, possibly the people in the House of Saud and the Saudi Arabian government had friends who were willing to help them at their time of troubles. Possibly those said friends might actually have helped divert the attention and response towards people without many friends…

      Reply
      1. anEnt

        The fact that the good old (formerly only) boy network is used to stubborn treason from government officials is immaterial to the treason itself. Yes, of course our leaders had friends in low places (KSA.).

        Reply
        1. Jesper

          I agree. As is then I do not think there was a grand conspiracy, I believe there might have been some self-censorship from some as they did not want to upset the good old (formely only) boys network. It might have been career-suicide to make the case that one of the biggest customers of the Military Industrial Complex was guilty of something.
          Someone needed to be blamed and the country with few, if any, friends in Washington DC and some connections to the attack was chosen over the country with many friends in Washington DC and stronger connections to the attack.

          The invasion of Afghanistan is said to be US-led, possibly the invasion might also be said to be Bush-led. As Bush was president of the US then it might only be semantics, if it is only semantics then why not call it the Bush-led invasion of Afghanistan? Only a rhetoric question :)

          Maybe one day there will be more clarity, however, I doubt that there will be repercussions for anyone that matters.

          Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      The Daily Mail article says that what was released was from a 2015 interview, long after any official 9/11 reports were completed.

      I didn’t believe the official reports at the time and 20 years later I still don’t. How would we know if this recently released transcript of a 2015 interview is even remotely accurate? They have had 20 years to doctor the evidence now. This new release doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know except the name of some low level Saudi, which is most likely exactly why they released it.

      Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        Agreed Lyman, I never believed anything they told us at the time. I was just thinking about the many investigations of the Kennedy assassinations, king and others always felt there was some kind of cover up. Doubtful we will ever know the truth. Considering all the lies about Covid, masks etc. why would we believe them now?

        Reply
    3. John Zelnicker

      @anEnt
      September 13, 2021 at 9:00 am
      ——-

      I suspect it has to do with an agreement between the US and KSA back in the 1950’s, IIRC, that the worldwide oil trade would be denominated in dollars and that KSA would use its surplus dollar reserves to buy Treasury securities. We were under a modified international gold standard at the time and needed to make sure there was a market for our Treasury securities.

      It has been such ever since.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I don’t understand what the importance is of the oil trade being denominated in dollars. Countries under sanction may have a hard time getting dollars, but as far back as the 1970s trade in Eurodollars has been so large that virtually any currency can be traded for them, so there’s no real reason oil can’t be purchased with any currency.

        Reply
        1. Yoghurt

          MMT might explain this. Oil is a “must have” and just like taxes you just have to come up with the money (or barter for it). You need US dollars to pay US taxes. This helps make US dollars worth something. By making oil only priced in dollars, it forces everyone to come up with USD even if temporarily. The US also gets very upset whenever an oil country want to go off the petrodollar, e.g., Libya just before [KG]h?adaffi got ousted proposed a gold standard, Iran wanted to open an oil market in euros and other currencies around y2k.

          Reply
  8. Questa Nota

    If you can stand it, take a moment look at that other 9/11 event from 2012 in Benghazi. There is a wealth of information that shows the parties involved and what they did and didn’t do. Hillary and her pals in State and down at the Farm ran their little off-the-books operation without the knowledge or participation of others. The only success they had was in setting a new low for FUBAR

    Ambassador Stevens and the three others were murdered on her weapons-retrieval mission. Too late, as those same weapons made it further east where they killed Americans. Serial numbers on missiles proved that case, and statements lies about YouTube videos causing riots were quickly called out.

    Reply
        1. Ian Perkins

          Surely the question should be, what was the US doing there in the first place, using the disaster it had engineered in Libya to try for a repeat in Syria, not why didn’t the US turn the attack on its Benghazi arms dealership into an even bigger bloodbath by providing more ‘security’.

          Reply
      1. Bill Smith

        Stevens was in the market to buy certain kinds of weapons. Some of those weapons did get shipped elsewhere.

        So both statements are true.

        Reply
  9. BeliTsari

    Aside from mediocre investments in HIS “standard-of-care” designated treatments, exactly WHAT has Fauci gotten right; or propounded, that actually saved lives or prevented exponential pandemic spread? Neither the University of Pittsburgh or NPR writers bothered to mention how BOTH administration’s anti- masking, social distancing and filtered veltilation wish-think and commercial air travel pronouncements have made “essential workers” little more than an ideal growth medium, regardless of vaccine uptake. Almost as if media exists to distract us from: mutant variants, vectored by commercial class air travel, spread like wildfire for months in crowded bars, schools, transit, clubs, jammed workplaces, churches, concerts, sports events (frequently by smug, asymptomatic inoculated churls) brainwashed by media, social networking and politicians, that mRNA and skyhook wish-think made them immune and everything was back to NORMAL! Well, to some of us, it’s all been like a particularly stereotypical Irwin Allen disaster movie… or “Shaun of the Dead?”

    Reply
    1. Ian Perkins

      I don’t know what he means by “Although it seems that SARS-CoV2 does not mutate. Instead, it creates variants which, somehow or other, is a completely different process to a mutation!” It sounds like complete nonsense, leaving me thoroughly disinclined to read any further.

      Reply
    2. chris_gee

      Yes it is a good read. However he says 3% of tests are positive but 30% are false positives which he says is not possible. However I think the correct interpretation is that 30% of the 3% are false i.e 2.1% are true positives. Of course what the test actually measures and the proportion of potential cases tested are important in determining the actual incidence.

      Reply
    3. Eclair

      I am happy to read that a medical person seems as confused as I am at this point. Gah!

      Just a quibble about the two excess deaths graphs: UK and Northern Ireland. The author asks what NI has ‘done right’ and what the UK has ‘done wrong,’ seeing that NI has so many fewer excess deaths. Ummm, is this because both graphs use the same vertical scale? And NI has a population of under 2 million, while UK has a population of 66 million? The NI line does have an almost infinitesimal bump in spring 2020 as well as a dip earlier this summer, followed by a steady rise.

      Reply
    4. lyman alpha blob

      There’s also a new Joe Rogan podcast where he interviews Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying again. It’s on spotify so not sure how to link to it, but those interested should be able to find it.

      Only listened to the first 15 minutes so far, but they are discussing Rogan’s recent recovery. He was evidently not vaccinated prior to catching the rona but took preventative measures like vitamin D prior and ivermectin and other treatments after. So far it’s a good discussion of the best treatments physicians can use for their patients with an emphasis on early identification and treatment – go after it hard from the beginning and the vast majority of otherwise healthy patients fully recover.

      Perhaps the discussion will turn towards aliens later as Rogan is wont to do, but for now they are staying on topic ;)

      Reply
  10. Tom Stone

    I turned on the TeeVee for a few minutes yesterday to watch the FootBall highlights and see how many in the stands were masked.
    Very few masks were in evidence, just like the College games.
    And Saturday night at the movies here, the farmer’s Market, the crowded restaurants…
    18,000 Schoolchildren in Mississipi have contracted Covid in little more than a Month, not all of them are the worthless spawn of deplorables.

    The response of our “Leaders”?
    Demonize what appears to have been an effective treatment based on the outcomes in Peru and Uttar Pradesh and change the definition of “Vaccine”.

    It’s going to get very interesting well before All Hallows Eve here in the USA.

    Reply
    1. Ian Perkins

      Will anti-maskers refuse to participate in Halloween, fearful that donning masks and costumes will erode what’s left of their fundamental freedoms?

      Reply
    2. t

      “Where did I get it? Who knows. Like so many Americans, I had loosened up with wearing masks and social distancing…” from the linked NPR story. Who knows? I mean, and from some who claims to have been reporting on Covid.

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    One bubble makes your assets larger
    And low interest rates makes your savings small
    And the ones that Greenspan gave us
    Don’t do anything at all
    Go ask Alan
    When the dominoes fall

    And if you go chasing returns
    And you know they’re going to fall
    Tell ’em a put stroking nonagenarian
    Has given you the call
    Call Alan
    When the market goes into a flat-spin stall

    When the men on the Fed board
    Get up in Jackson Hole
    And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
    And your mind is moving low
    Go ask Alan
    I think he’ll know

    When logic and proportion
    Have fallen sloppy dead
    And the White Knight is talking backwardation
    And Dow Jonestown agrees “full speed ahead!”
    Remember what Ayn’s acolyte said:
    “Heed the Fed. Heed the Fed. Heed the Fed”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aeWicwy7fA

    Reply
    1. saywhat?

      And low interest rates makes your savings small Wuk a took his soda cracker?

      The most a risk-free asset should return is ZERO percent minus overhead costs = NEGATIVE. Otherwise, we have welfare proportional to account balance, not according to need.

      The problem then is not low interest rates but HOW they are set which currently violates equal protection under the law in favor of the banks and asset owners.

      Reply
    2. Milton

      By far your best whatever these lyric rearrangements all called.
      Not for me to reply to the pun master in how a line should be but…
      And if you go chasing returns assets

      Reply
    3. Mildred Montana

      @Wukchumni

      Bravo! It’s tough to rate works of genius but this one might be your best ever, your Magnum Opus. A sure-fire bet for induction into the Hall of Fame of Parody.

      Do you take requests? How’s about Jeff Bezos stranded in space and the Rolling Stones’ “2000 Light Years From Home”. Might be something to work with there, but don’t let me interfere with your creative process.

      Reply
    4. jonboinAR

      We have to get a YouTube-type production going for this fellow. Can you sing, Wuk, even a little, or do we need to find someone?

      Reply
  12. John Beech

    Re: yesterday’s link vice orcas attacking; any been freed by Seaworld? Possible they’ve communicated how evil we humans actually are? Wouldn’t surprise me. Never been to Seaworld despite entreaties by daughter and grandchildren. Don’t approve – voting with my wallet.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Tucci’s program is good.

      I am now taking book on how long it takes for this interview to be put in the large file of interviews Oprah has that are never to be mentioned again. One of those embarrassing examples of Oprah’s gullible and tendency to gush rather than ask logical questions, John of God anyone. And if someone rudely does bring them up, they are distracted by a good work or perhaps a few examples of this year’s favorite things…

      Reply
    2. Pavel

      Check out Tucci’s short videos on YouTube about how to mix cocktails. Impossibly charming.

      And watch “Big Night” (1996)… funny and bittersweet and set in an Italian restaurant.

      And given the global economy may go down the tubes any second now, see him in the excellent “Margin Call”. I am far from a financial expert (to say the least!) but IMO the best financial thriller ever. 👍👍

      Reply
      1. griffen

        I agree on the take about Margin Call, well done and a litany of talent. Jeremy Irons as the essential heavy hitter was great. And, it gave you enough of an insight into the details behind why, and how, unloading all that cr*p mortgages and MBS went like it did. Find the next buyer, ahem, sucker.

        The character Tucci played may well reflect prevalent attitude to risk management and risk aversion happening as well ( at the time ).

        Reply
  13. Pat

    The cognitive dissonance in the NPR testimonial is astounding. The writer got that they had been mistaken about how much protection they had from the vaccine and that they could have infected their father, but it almost seems like not having done so wiped that possibility from their brain. While they sort of endorse masking, and do recommend limiting social gathering to small groups. There is also the make sure everyone is vaccinated rule.
    Ummmm.

    I am so over the idea that vaccinated people aren’t a possible danger. That if we limit gatherings and workspaces to the vaccinated we aren’t taking at risk of getting sick. It as if we cannot shake the notion that while vaccination doesn’t guarantee you won’t get Covid it does guarantee you cannot give it to anybody else.

    Even if we get to say 90+% vaccinated and the deplorable unvaccinated are largely out of public life, how long will it take for people to realize that the disease hasn’t disappeared? Sure our lack of a robust and accurate testing system will disguise it for a while, but eventually…

    Our leaders truly are incompetent.

    Reply
    1. chris

      Agreed. That was an amazing example of ignorance from someone who stayed that they had covered the pandemic from the beginning.

      I await the follow up article. “What I wished I would have known before my second SARS-COV-2 infection…”

      Reply
    2. BeliTsari

      Just went to Seinfeld’s ancient post office. It’s about 60% masked, mostly selected as useless fashion statements. Apparently a religious obligation to scream directly into each others’ maskless face in Manhattan’s UWS, now (or you’re “antivax” and undoubtedly a MAGA insurrectionist Luddite?) If you don’t cough, sneeze or kvetch into your iPhone 13 @ 98dB, preface prevaricating pouty agitprop pontification with, “President Joe Biden,” “science-based,” “95% IMMUNE” or “horse-paste swilling, diseased uppity essentials,” you’re just obviously a RooskiBot? There’s a terrifying pandemic, killing hundreds-of-thousands in this country. There’s also COVID, AGW, drought, usurious debt, income disparity, racism, homelessness, wage-theft, lethal pollution, authoritarian autocracy… affecting we the peons!

      Reply
      1. QuarterBack

        “The thoughts of the Chairman [Mao] are always correct. If we encounter any problems, any difficulty, it is because we have not followed the instructions of the Chairman closely enough, because we have ignored or circumscribed the Chairman’s advice.”
        Lin Biao, January 1962

        Reply
      2. Screwball

        I think that has been the plan from the very beginning. That must be part of the “unity” BS they were spewing since the campaign trail.

        IMO, their plan isn’t working very well. There were chants at filled up sporting stadiums over the weekend where many gave their opinion to the “unity” that didn’t sound too united (in one sense).

        At this rate, and if they double down on mandates, which I expect, the angry chants at football games turn into angry mobs in the streets.

        We are lead, and have been lead, by complete incompetents. This country is a dumpster fire and getting worse.

        Tick, tick, tick…

        Reply
    3. BeliTsari

      Just went to Seinfeld’s ancient post office. It’s about 60% masked, mostly just virtue-signalling fashion statements. Apparently it’s religious obligation to scream directly into each others’ maskless face in Manhattan’s UWS, now (or you’re “antivax” and undoubtedly a MAGA insurrectionist Luddite?) If you don’t cough, sneeze or kvetch into your iPhone 13 @ 98dB, preface presumptuous, prevaricating pontification with, “President Joe Biden,” “science-based,” “95% IMMUNE” or “horse-paste swilling, diseased uppity essentials,” you’re just obviously a RooskiBot? There’s a terrifying pandemic, killing hundreds-of-thousands in this country. There’s also COVID, AGW, drought, income disparity, racism, homelessness, wage-theft, lethal pollution, authoritarian autocracy… affecting US poors?

      Reply
    4. XXYY

      I am so over the idea that vaccinated people aren’t a possible danger.

      This seems to be an idea that will never die.

      If pressed, public health people and others will admit that vaccines were never designed to suppress case rates, but just to reduce serious symptoms and death by training your immune system to kick into gear faster.

      Fair enough, but then why do we continue to see policies based on the assumption that being around vaccinated people is somehow safer than, or even preferable to, being around unvaccinated people? That “vaccine passports” are a good idea? That small groups of vaccinated people are safe? That vaccinating all employees means it’s OK for everyone to go back to work?

      There seems to be quite a serious disconnect here.

      Reply
    5. Laura in So Cal

      So my fully vaccinated Dad (age 79) got sick on Friday and tested positive for Covid on Saturday. My Mom tested negative and has no symptoms. They both had their 2nd Moderna shots in early March. No idea where he got it, but the current theory is church or grocery shopping last weekend. He carpools with his friends who are all vaccinated. None of them are showing symptoms. His unvaccinated contacts (me and his neighbor) haven’t been sick and are both fine so far. My Dad is doing okay and is much better today, but said the high fever and horrible headache were awful. “Worst night of my life” he said.

      Reply
    6. Nikkikat

      They just want to keep shooting us up with their MRNA. Nothing will get better. I go out to the store and see all of these elderly people with no masks. Pandemic over!
      If I go to the working side of town, I see more masks than over at the fancy grocery.

      Reply
    7. m

      I worked last night on the covid unit, 8 patients and 6 were vaccinated with one as recently as May. It was a nightmare due to lack of staff, family furious that you can’t take their calls, but how can you do the extras when you can barely get the job done.
      I have one more day to go, then my contract ends, and we shall see what happens with this OSHA/vaccine bs.
      I am truly amazed after all this I never got sick. I sat in rooms and held hands of people that knew they were dying and were afraid to be alone. Ran into the room to stop someone from falling out of bed out of instinct and forgot to put on goggles & swap out my surgical mask for an N95. Wearing the same disgusting PPE for days that I am sure was contaminated because everything is made overseas.
      I am going to remain part of the unwashed, unvaxxed for my own medical reasons and I don’t like that our medical care is by algorithm, mandate and not individual. I hope our government gets a complete turnover and Fauci is fired.
      My father used to do testing for the some agency, he said their regulatory process was a joke, once they came close to a toxic level for some chemical the bureaucrats would just raise the safety level.
      I agree our leaders are incompetent, they are also greedy and will rollover for donations.

      Reply
      1. BeliTsari

        They’re thoroughly incompetent, but that’s beside the point? They’re working for folks who’ve made fortunes, monitizing death, chronic PASC, small businesses and individual worker’s crises and wealthy voters who’ve all seen their “disruptive” NASDAQ portfolios exponential growth exceed excess fatality statistics. PS: also an EXPERT from PBS, who believed the utter BS they’d spewed about Creative Class™ & yuppie liberals being free to SPEW derision at death o’ disparity deplorables:

        https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/09/13/1032844687/what-we-know-about-breakthrough-infections-and-long-covid

        Reply
  14. chris

    The article on free housing as a human right is interesting. I feel a lot of personal knee jerk resistance to the concept that probably is part of the problem. Like, where are these people going to go? Into my neighborhood where they’ll decrease property values and have drug use issues or threaten me and my neighbors? Perish the thought…

    We know that housing the homeless helps a large chunk of them. We also know that most homeless don’t migrate far from where they had their last permanent address. Further, we know that many have severe mental issues and drug use problems – which us why so many are in tents instead of shelters.

    This is a tragic problem. I agree with the gist of the article saying that we’ve created a system that creates expenses and hurts our fellow citizens. But the author’s conclusion that we can just give these people houses seems ridiculously simple. I’m sure there’s tons of open houses in Ohio. But I don’t think any of the homeless in Venice Beach want them. I also don’t think giving someone with drug abuse issues or mental health problems a house solves as many problems as these advocates think.

    Reply
    1. peon

      As someone who works with homeless people I could not agree more. I do not pretend to know what the solution is to the complicated human problem that is encapsulated in the the words “the homeless”, but I can assure you giving them houses will not fix the problem. Mentally ill, cognitively impaired, addicts, etc do not make good independent home owners. No one wants them as neighbors and they will not take care of their home. Most of the homeless have a meager income, usually SSI, which is around $780 a month in my northern state. If you were frugal and a good money manager you might squeak by with that kind of income but very few of the homeless are either. I feel the reason we make no headway on the homeless problem is you have liberal “give them services and free housing” in one corner and conservative “throw them in jail or make them get a job” in the other corner. Neither one of these are workable solutions to this problem.

      Reply
      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        It’s almost as though (American) society itself would have to be fundamentally and radically reordered to really address the problem.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          Yes, it’s really just the obvious result of what is essentially 30+ years of reaganomics and there is no intent or will to change. Expect lots more homeless people to be produced, and volumes of hot air blaming the homeless for the problem.Who wouldn’t want to do lots of drugs and live for free at venice beach?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Venice Beach has been “cleaned up” by a local sheriff. All moved miles inland. The police are agressively protecting “property values!”
            I too blame it on Reaganomics and the dismanteling of the State and Federal Mental Institutions. (We have abandoned DoD properties decaying into piles of rubble where a lot of the “homeless” could be decently housed, fed, and kept from “revolutionary ideations.”)
            Now we are going to see a new cohort of formerly housed and “safe” families on the street. This is where the old Bonus Army came from. Who says it cannot happen again?
            A good book about how it was back in the 1920s and 1930s is “On The Tramp” by the Bothwells. Remember that this was from before the Great Depression.
            See: [Well. How interesting. Wikipedia does not have a ‘page’ for this book. I wonder why? I also got my very first; “Search function is overloaded” message. Hmmm….]

            Reply
        2. Eureka Springs

          I always ask at times like this, what do many of the first and second world countries do? Bet there’s plenty of good free advise out there.

          Reply
      2. Kevin DeNardo

        The pathetic truth is, there is no money to be extracted from poor people – that’s one reason why solutions are hard to come by. If there isn’t a profit to be made, screw them and their problems.
        “They made poor life choices”!

        Reply
      3. Soredemos

        Americans are really bad about confusing cause and effect. It never seems to occur to many of us that being homeless is really bad for mental health. We just assume the homeless person was always crazy. Give them stable housing and watch as many of them start to piece themselves back together.

        Absolute worst case scenario they don’t get better or clean, but at least now they’re crapping and shooting up indoors, and not on the street, which is what most of the ‘concerned’ middle-class actually cared about.

        Reply
        1. saywhat?

          +infinity

          Also, eliminate the war on drug users and they won’t have to steal to afford their drugs.

          Also, lest modern-day Pharisees think they are doing God’s will by persecuting the helpless:

          Proverbs 31:6-9

          Reply
        2. Carla

          “at least now they’re crapping and shooting up indoors, and not on the street, which is what most of the ‘concerned’ middle-class actually do.”

          There. Fixed it for ya.

          Reply
        3. hunkerdown

          Exactly that they confuse causes and effects. Worse, they naturalize themselves as causes, leading to things like authoritarian parents portraying their witting acts of abuse as mere “consequences” of a child’s insufficient piety. It all leads back to Puritanism and its norm of casual public sadism, from which can be traced a straight line to the idea that costs must be imposed on (some) people having obtained some cost-free benefit, as if the material world must be made to balance with spiritual “accounting”.

          Reply
      4. LilD

        Giving them houses will not fix the systemic issues that creates homelessness

        But it will convert many “homeless people” into “people”

        Reply
      5. Carla

        The Housing First people seem to have come up with some workable solutions:

        https://endhomelessness.org/what-housing-first-really-means/

        I really liked the basic theme of the linked article, but the author lost me when she pinned the California wildfires and NYC air pollution on homelessness. I mean, c’mon.

        But I love her questions:

        How important is it to us that we don’t see anyone get anything for free, ever?

        Is This Mentality Worth Our Health/

        Is This Mentality Worth Our Economy?

        And I love her conclusions:

        “As Homeward Bound explains, homeless people “generate expense, rather than income, for the community.”

        From this perspective, it becomes clear that our greed is essentially the root of our poverty.”

        But then she goes on to imply that ending homelessness will make “a massive dent in the climate crisis.”

        Definitely a bridge too far. That’s a shame because it sorta ruins what began as a really great piece, IMHO.

        Reply
        1. Nikkikat

          I think most of the fires in calif. are caused by utility lines and lightning strikes.
          There have been a few small fires started by the homeless living around parks in the hills. Most people have no idea about homeless people except what they read in the papers and see on the news. Where I live in wealthy Orange County,
          We have a Large flood control channel that runs through several cities. Nearly four thousand people were living there. After much hysteria from people in the area, the people were forced out. It was found that very few of these people were “drug addicts” or mental problems. They worked at minimum wage jobs and were forced to live in tents. A large number of people working at Disneyland either live in their cars or in old motor homes. Many families in Los Angeles live in motor homes and vans. Many single women with children live in old motels and must move every month. They have no transportation and have a hard time getting their children to school and because they are not allowed to stay at any one motel for more than 30 days must move every month. Their belonging are kept in storage but they frequently cannot pay the bill and lose everything. As a social worker for 34 years, I can tell you this. It is a housing problem more than anything else. There has not been apartment or low cost housing built here for decades. The amount of money these people are allotted each month as well as food stamps is barely enough for them to survive. This way we ensure that the poor never ever get a chance. They are not lazy. They are not drug addicts. They are not mental cases. Most of these poor people have been stuck like this for generations. A lot of them fell into poverty because of not having enough to live on. Just one car repair bill to keep their job, puts them on the street. Most of the poor and homeless are children. It is very easy to sit back and pontificate and feel oh so smug pointing fingers but few of the press or politicians know anything about the homeless. We could pay a living wage or provide housing to solve most of it but we don’t. Nothing is built in California unless it is a million dollar house. The average rent for a one bedroom is well over a thousand a month. The “news” lies about everything; yet people read this garbage they put out as truth. That article was a load of crap. Bill Clinton destroyed the welfare system and Barack Obama cut food stamps seven times.
          There is no job training anymore either. But it’s always poor that are the problem.
          Ess

          Reply
          1. saywhat?

            Sounds like California (and the rest of US) needs and is getting some Biblical warnings about mistreating the poor and favoring the rich.

            Thanks for your comment.

            Reply
          2. JBird4049

            >>>We have a Large flood control channel that runs through several cities. Nearly four thousand people were living there.

            This comment might not seem quite apropos, but this comment reminds of Las Vegas with their thousands of homeless living in the underground flood channels.

            What is scary is that it does rain, often very heavily, even in sunny, and now drought stricken, California. I can see why people would live on nice, solid, dry concrete flood channels and overflow ponds. It would be a great place to pitch a tent, if you had some ground padding, but what happens if, actually when, there is flash flooding. There are extremely good reasons for having permanent flood control, although making a cement channel out of the Los Angeles river was not nice.

            I can see having a very strong El Niño just blasting those channels especially as the hills have lost some of their top cover. I guess some our more fortunate citizens might just consider this getting rid of the trash.

            What a great country we have now.

            Reply
          3. Carla

            I believe and agree with everything you say Nikkikat, except that the article “was a load of crap.”

            I think the question “How important is it to us that we don’t see anyone get anything for free, ever?” is a very good one, and that we should ask it of ourselves and our “leaders” constantly.

            And I don’t see how your knowledge of people experiencing homelessness negates it.

            But when the author claimed that solving homelessness would remedy climate change, that’s when she lost me.

            Anyway, thank you for sharing your very considerable experience with people suffering from the dearth of affordable housing. It is, indeed, a crisis.

            Reply
        2. JBird4049

          IIRC, there have been a few studies showing that just being homeless can make people crazy. I also think that the arguments about how hard it is to house the homeless is mostly nonsense.

          Many of the homeless also have jobs, but spent their days in their vehicles, couch surfing, or places like the library; it is not the lack of income for many, but the obscenely high cost of rent that is the problem. $2,000 for a “cheap” apartment while places go unrented, and luxury condos and apartments continued to be built, at least before the epidemic.

          No, there have been much housing turned into AirBnBs or a quick profit, or unrented “investments” used for money laundering, and luxury apartments to be sold at a high markup, while thousands of people throughout the country enjoy the free night air.

          Then there are the states with oodles of just abandoned housing.

          This is a little tinfoil hatish, but some people must making bank out of all this suffering and using some that profit to keep the housing situation into the mess it is. It is the best explanation I can get to why it has been allowed to get worse over the past two generations. Just like with the Sacklers and their drug dealing, people who are being driven insane by the cost of just living, including housing, need drugs and are easier to extract wealth from. Then there are all those investment firms buying up huge amounts of housing, including blocks of houses…

          Reply
      6. Chad Cuckington

        Giving people homes will absolutely solve the homeless problem. It shouldn’t matter how much income someone makes because shelter is a human right unless you’re an inhuman dogfucker that thinks people should have to pay others for the right to live.

        Reply
      7. howseth

        What would you do about the homeless situation then?

        I live just across from a large encampment – still growing – in Santa Cruz, California – there over 100 + people – in tents and make shift structures, within 50 – 200 yards of us… It stretches along the San Lorenzo River.
        Do I want these new neighbors? Hell, No. I realize most are just trying to get by, of course – but there’s always trouble – dogs barking , the occasional corpse, the drug stuff, fireworks, gunshots, screaming (less lately), flies, trash fires… A Local activist is mad at us for not being more accepting of our new neighbors. He could make the point – correctly – that we are like the filthy rich in comparison! (Even though we live in Tax Credit housing for lower income (mainly artists)

        Have no idea where these ‘transients’ come from – seems a never ending stream coming into our neighborhood in Santa Cruz – and, despite this notion reported by reporters, that these homeless are local – by that I mean, people who grow up here. I doubt most are. (I’m not ‘local’ either, by the way) Most look fairly young – under 50. Many look quite healthy, actually – because they are under 30 – walking, bicycling – sunshine – and out in the fresh air. (The air here has been better this summer. The big wild fires of last summer – are much further north this summer… so far.

        The city official throw up there hands – and mention they have made ordinances for camping – but they will not enforce – due to ‘Boise’ Court case, Covid-19, etc… The police chief said they can’t even keep meth dealers in jail (caught one with 10 pounds recently) – had to let him em’ out same day – penny bail! Or was it no bail?… same thing.
        These camps have been moving about Santa Cruz for years – often they have been easy to see from the Highway 1 – this new camp – just across from our apartment – is more hidden from view of the general public. Out of sight – out of mind? Not our minds.

        What to do? What to do?

        Reply
        1. howseth

          I would be inclined to build all the housing it would take to house every one of them. Also – job programs, and mental health, and security people – the whole shebang – Looking how we blew those trillions on absurd post 9/11 adventures…. What an awful stupid waste.

          Go raise our taxes to pay for this (easy for me to say – as I still probably would not pay much – though sales taxes could also be raised, gas taxes, – and make Medicade/Medicare for all – and save a ton of $$$$ that way.
          Would Senators in The rural red states be willing to help in this? The ones with less of a homeless population? I doubt it…especially with the pay to play political system we seem to have settled on in the US.

          Where do you build this housing for the homeless though? – It will most likely never be a popular idea in a any local neighborhood confronted with it.

          Meanwhile, I read some statistics recently – Santa Cruz has both the highest per capita homeless population in the United States – & – the highest housing costs in the US – based on median income. What a combination!

          Reply
      8. jonboinAR

        Do we really have THAT many mentally ill people? I mean, the number of homeless seems to be huge. (I don’t live where it’s an issue.) Are a large proportion of them mentally ill, or are a great proportion of them junkies? I’m not sure what exact difference it makes in terms of addressing the problem, but it should make some kind, I think. Also, can we not erect a bunch of basic hotels for them to stay in?

        Reply
    2. Eclair

      If there is one thing our society/economic system does really well, it is to make people crazy.

      If, though unfortunate decisions, rotten luck, lack of intellectual capacity, mis-firing neurons, ‘bad’ parenting …. whatever …. people are not crazy when they end up on the street or in their broken-down RV, they will be. I can scare myself silly by imagining what it would feel like to not have a safe, cozy, warm house/room to retire to at the end of the day. Or to not leave, if the day starts our rainy or snowy. Coping would require alcohol and drugs.

      Our vaunted ‘justice’ system does the same. We put unruly prisoners in solitary confinement, practically guaranteed to send one’s brain into weird coping strategies. The regular ones we simply subject to a demonic regime of calculated dehumanization. Resulting in roughly six times as many mentally broken people as CoVid-killed people in 2020.

      So, if you are poor, ill-educated, maybe a bit broken, or simply unlucky, you have a really good chance of ending up either homeless, or incarcerated in our vast ‘low-income housing system.’

      Those born to well-off parents, better educated, whose mis-firing neurons or weird brain chemistry travels along more socially approved paths, are liable to end up in one of Graber’s ‘bull-shit’ jobs, where either their angst, engendered by nagging feelings that their life is worthless, will be stilled with regimes of prescription drugs or their innate sociopathic tendencies will be rewarded by enormous salaries and stock bonuses.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “How Important Is It to Us that No One Gets Anything for Free, Ever?”

    To many people, it is very important. This article is talking about the homeless but I thought of student loans too. Not the fact that they could be gotten rid off if there was the political will but so many people say that as they had to pay off their student loans, why should others not have to do so too. Hey, you guys remember reading how the Union armies in 1865 would go into an area and proclaim the slaves free there but the older slaves objected on the grounds that their kids would not have to suffer in slavery like them? No, I don’t remember reading that either. By coincidence, I saw a video clip of a Fox news talking head slinging off at Denmark because they get stuff “for free. It did not end well-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXecLXlzEXE (2:01 mins)

    Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Umair Haque calls it “sadism” in a post today, “Why Americans are Trapped in a Sadistic Society:”

        Because both sides [Red and Blue] believe in this social order — all perpetually pitted against each other, the invisible hand of the market the only real mechanism in society — people are reduced to adversaries, rivals, enemies. I come to regard you with hostility and suspicion, because it’s either you or me. We don’t both get income, healthcare, medicine, money, shelter — only one of us does, whichever one is more “competitive”, meaning more ruthless, cruel, domineering, at the moment.

        What kind of people does a society like that make? Well, brutal, selfish, and indifferent ones. Americans have to be that way just to survive another day, because they really are pitted against each other in ways that’s not true in almost any other society, except maybe the former Soviet Union. They have aspire to be dominators, to pull down everyone else, just to win a chance at survival today…

        The consequences of this way of life are evident by now. America’s social fabric does not exist. If you live in a profoundly hostile world, like most Americans do, then you must become paranoid. You must regard everyone and everything else as a possible threat, scanning the horizon. A society like that never develops as one. Its social fabric — bonds, ties, social capital — can’t expand, deepen, broaden. It can only wither, shrink, and atrophy. To the point of nothingess.

        Reply
        1. Skunk

          Unfortunately, “Let’s Drop the Big One” was another of his satirical songs. Let’s hope things don’t get that bad. Don’t want to hurt no kangaroo…

          Reply
    1. Lost in OR

      This brings to mind the monkey experiment in fairness. IMO one of the major factors in our current angst is that we know the game is rigged and the winners are already chosen. And we’re not on the chosen team. This same “the chosen ones” issue applies to reparations and other inequality issues (how can you favor slave descendants over native Americans over Japanese internees over… me?

      We are all trying to move our lives forward in our own way be it education or entrepreneurship or home ownership or whatever. It is getting harder for every one in every way. I suggest giving every citizen a nice piece of the pie and asking them to move their lives forward in what ever way they choose. A debt jubilee favors those who chose debt to advance their lives. Giving debtors a stipend to pay off that debt would advance their lives further. Giving the same stipend to non-debtors would allow them to advance their lives similarly.

      Reply
  16. Fred1

    Re: youth sports

    Both of my daughters participated in club sports from 1995 to 2005: travel swimming and travel soccer. So I may be out of touch about what’s going on currently.

    However, the criticisms in the article are not new. They were present when my daughters participated. As to the expense and by inference the class issues, travel swimming was cheap and the time commitment by parents was manageable. The coaching was all about learning the strokes. There was no shouting by the coaches. A swimmer could enter the events they wanted and the times gave a clear unbiased quantification of the swimmer’s progress. The primary benefits were that the child learned an activity they could participate in for the rest of their life; the child clearly learned how to swim, not four one hour lessons at the summer pool; and a layer of physical fitness was obtained that could not be obtained from any other activity. Few minorities participated, but the expense wasn’t as big a barrier as travel soccer.

    Travel soccer is more expensive and depending on how ambitious the club and specific team were the expense and time commitment could be very excessive. That said, almost 99pc played high school soccer and this was the main motivation for participating. Most dreamed of playing in college, and some did in D3. A very small number played D1, or at least were on a team.

    For girls at least travel soccer was a social club, hanging out and doing things with their friends. Yes, none of them liked to lose and all we’re proud of their team’s success. But it was a worthwhile activity. There were few minorities, except for exchange students. So certainly from the criticism in the article, very little has changed.

    Reply
  17. Swedish Neoliberal Fools

    The Swedish cement row. What Bloomberg writes is pure PR-firm blather.
    Cementa had to turn in a report on the environmental impact of their activities. The report was like a swiss cheeese, full of holes, to the point that the environmental impact could not be assessed. Therefore the company’s licence was not prolonged.
    On cue: stupidities like 170,000 people would lose their job and neoliberal fools like the current social democrats made changes to the current environmental laws just for Cementa so that they could operate 1 more year. These social democratic fools running Sweden right now just keep on giving foreign billionaires what they want, lowering taxes for Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg etc.

    Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    El Salvador’s bitcoin experiment is already going wrong — and what else could happen Protocol
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Who am I to critique one’s choice of currency, but i’d have gone in a different direction and called the new NFT money ‘El Salvador Dali’

    Now that we’ve mentioned it, Bitcoin is currently appraised @ $44k, which in Chinese numerology, mans ‘death-death’

    Reply
    1. Lunker Walleye

      Listened to John Campbell a few weeks ago saying that we are now in an endemic — he was reporting on what British medical authorities were announcing. They say everyone is going to get covid and I took that to mean whether or not one is vaccinated. He says this applies to the UK and the US. My Acedia sank to new lows.

      Reply
  19. Lee

    “Against Kids’ Sports Culture Study”

    I recall my son’s first soccer game at around age 7. While most members of the two teams were massed around the ball kicking each other in the shins, he plopped down well away from the writhing tangle of arms and legs and began inspecting bugs he found in the turf.

    Aside from the social aspects of being a team member, he has never shown an interest in what he derisively terms “ball sport”, preferring instead recreational activities such as hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, abalone diving (alas, currently suspended here), and the like.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      My soon to be 17* year old nephew had staked it all on being a pro soccer player and then like many an American lad a year or two into teenagerhood, suddenly could give a fig about football.

      The lowlight in some tournament (I use that word loosely) was our team being down 6-0-a shellacking of lacking offense, and one of the parents yelled out for all to hear that the next boy to score a goal was going to get $10 for the effort, which was dutifully collected by a 10 year old after the game, how had it come to this?

      My brother-in-law video’d all the action, and they’d watch it later, not all that different from what an NFL coach does.

      * he failed his written driving test and shows no inclination to get a drivers license, versus yours truly chomping at the bit to hit the road.

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      (to make this today’s kids sport thread)…..

      the level of kids sports that author writes about is an incredibly small percentage of kids.

      Focusing on the 0.25% of kids going overboard with sports ignores the much more pressing problem of childhood obesity and kids spending too much time glued to their screens consuming TikTok

      your brain is nothing but fat and blood vessels. those blood vessels won’t stay healthy if one’s general level of activity is low.

      One can be pro-kid sports-rec activities but also acknowledge that the $$$ devoted to high school football is insane. But that is Amera

      Reply
      1. Laura in So Cal

        Organized Sports were great for my kid, BUT he played multiple sports, rotating year round, and we avoided specialization and travel teams until my son found THE sport he loved. It was soccer and he was 14. We did AYSO’s club teams which required tryouts, but which were the least expensive and had a policy of everybody plays. This has been a huge part of his treatment for mental health issues. He has played high school soccer for three years now and being outside at practice was a Godsend during the pandemic.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Soccer is a college kid’s we know choice of sports. She is now playing competitive college soccer. She truly accomplished this goal through hard work, self-discipline and will. She was given opportunity for club sport coaching. A key to her success is that she loves to play. Many on her club team were playing due to parents’ push. Most were not successful in getting to play college sport. She is attending a great college with a scholarship. Many on her team are, too. Not one is a varsity blues kid. Youth sports need to be reconstructed. Lets not diminish dedicated athletes, who are working for their higher education. Another story:
          We know a kid who was relentlessly pushed into team sports. Kid never had enthusiasm for a sport. Briefly enjoyed swimming until fun gone…did not like pressure. She should have never been pushed into sports. She had to melt down into tears and quit in high school. Not fair at all to her. She could have participated in PE. PE should be active and fun. Many of the ambitious and competitive parents are responsible for egging on that PE is for losers or namby pamby. A tale of two kids in the American dreamscape.

          Reply
      2. Cat Burglar

        One answer would be to increase the number and types of physical activities children can do.

        Just presenting them with a few team sports works really well from a school budget point of view. One coach or teacher can easily supervise a few large groups, so there is no need for more staffing or attention. Skill instruction might not have to be provided because TV or parents can be assumed to have already done it. Because the sports are competitive, stronger and more interested students can enforce discipline by compelling attention. It is the cheap way to run a program.

        Obviously the kids who most need movement, skills, and attention don’t get any of it under this method (except maybe negative attention from their peers). You get a two-class system: participants, and the checked-out. Sound familiar?

        At my high school, way in the distant past, students revolted against the system. You had to be enrolled in PE, and the school got funds for each student enrolled; you had to show up for the first five days of the quarter to be enrolled. About a third of the class duly showed up for five days, then absented themselves until they had to pick up their report cards.

        That went on for a year, until the administration cried uncle: sports team jocks in training were given their own PE classes (which also kept down brutal treatment of weaker students). Everyone else went into self-directed classes with competent instruction: judo, gymnastics, an early version of aerobics, and so on. It was fun (and got you in good rockclimbing shape, but that is another story). That was way back in the 70s at a pre-Proposition 13 California High School, granted, but it shows what could be done with the right policy.

        Reply
    3. Cat Burglar

      It is interesting that a social democratic country like Norway, that usually dominates the world in nordic ski racing, specifically forbids competition and ranking for children under 12 years old.

      They see the best way to learn is by having fun. When it is pointed out to them that some children have more talent than others, they say they do not like the idea of “talent,” and that if the kids keep skiing into their teens, by then you can’t tell the difference — an effective debunking of the idea that true ability can only be shown by by time-constrained displays of relative proficiency.

      Reply
    4. Cat Burglar

      More on Norway — apparently 93% of children there participate in organized sports. I don’t know if I would like it, but maybe I would under something like what is described in this NYT article, “Does Norway Have The Answer To Excess In Youth Sports?” If it is fun, and a kid is allowed and supported in finding their own way — apparently something adults in that country seem strangely ready to help with — how would that not work?

      Reply
    5. QuicksilverMessenger

      My eight year old daughter wanted to play soccer so I signed her up this year. At her first practice I was watching her and the image of Ferdinand the Bull came to mind. She’s not very interested in the ball or where it goes and who is chasing it. She’s more interested in picking the clover and dandelions in the grass. I am all for this.
      I played soccer at what could be called a fairly high level in my youth- State Select team and Regional pool. Players I played with went on to play pro and I could have as well, at least at some level. I basically quit outright because I really did not like hanging around athletes and the ‘competition’ environment year round. I loved the game itself but it’s not really a very rewarding culture as a whole. It really is a kind of dim bulb world. I played one year of D1 soccer and then called it good.
      But I think the main point for me (and this is a few decades ago) is that it was still pretty cheap to do this. Our club team had a sponsor (the local tailor!) and he provided the uniforms. Coaches were not paid, and for a lot of teams in my area, were recent immigrants. My coach was from Scotland, others as I recall, from Germany and England. The State select teams were all sponsored by N*ke (at that time) and nothing really cost anything except the time which thinking back on it was probably a bit onerous for my parents but not over the top like I hear about now days.
      Elite youth soccer now has changed and much of it focused as feeder clubs tied to MLS teams (of course this depends on your region- mine being Seattle)
      I sincerely hope my daughter continues to be more interested in picking the flowers than in competitive youth soccer but you never know how these things turn out

      Reply
    6. Taurus

      Another aspect of kids playing organized sports is that from an early age they are robbed of initiative to create a game for themselves. I have these conversations with my 13 year old son who likes to play basketball- call a couple of your friends and go play at the school. He is so used to having things set up for them. A pickup game teaches you not only about competition but also about being able to agree on a foul when there are no referees. Plus, you get to deal with the reality of – this person doesn’t have time to play right now and that person doesn’t want to play with me. And that’s OK – life is full of these situations.

      Reply
  20. Judith

    Michael Hudson on China’s policy of shaping markets to promote overall prosperity.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/09/13/the-vocabulary-of-neoliberal-diplomacy-in-todays-new-cold-war/

    George Soros has thrown a public sissy fit over the fact that he can’t make the kind of easy money off China that he was able to make when the Soviet Union was carved up and privatized. On September 7, 2021, in his second mainstream editorial in a week, George Soros expressed his horror at the recommendation by Black Rock, the world’s largest asset manager, that financial managers should triple their investment in China. Claiming that such investment would imperil U.S. national security by helping China, Mr. Soros stepped up his advocacy of U.S. financial and trade sanctions.

    China’s policy of shaping markets to promote overall prosperity, instead of letting the economic surplus be concentrated in the hands of corporate and foreign investors, is an existential threat to America’s neoliberal priorities, he spells out. President Xi’s “Common Prosperity” program “seeks to reduce inequality by distributing the wealth of the rich to the general population. That does not augur well for foreign investors.”[1] To neoliberals, that is heresy.

    Reply
  21. Grant

    Fascinating how Manchin’s open corruption, the corruption of his family (which is grotesque even by DC standards), Manchin voting on things like the minimum wage that directly impacts his wealth, is really never the focus of attention in the media system that is owned by the corporations that his policies and corruption benefits. No, this is just an ideological thing. It is Bernie’s democratic socialist worldview versus Manchin’s moderate worldview. Society is falling apart not only because of the type of policies Manchin supports and his corruption, but also because of how manipulative and dishonest the media is. People have lost faith in most every major institution in society, for good reason. I mean, how much would the particulars in the bill benefit Manchin’s state? But, it is Manchin versus Bernie. Manchin is speaking on behalf of many Democrats, wealthy and corrupt to a person.

    Reply
    1. AndrewJ

      They found that the mRNA vaccines have a 90-something percent efficacy against any infection? That runs counter to a lot of what we’re hearing here. Interesting.

      Reply
  22. Michaelmas

    Thanks for the Tooze article in the NEW STATESMAN, ‘The new age of American power.’ It’s both educational and truly sickening.

    I already didn’t like Tooze for his fellating of Tim Geithner as a source for his book, CRASHED. His attempted celebration of the continuing dominance of the American military for the next century — because beneath its veil of pseudo-realism, celebration is what this article chiefly comes across as — is both deeply delusional and frankly evil.

    Note in particular Tooze’s studied avoidance of addressing what the synergy he proposes between the US military-industrial complex and its technofeudal/vectoralist overclass would actually mean in real life for the vast mass of American plebes and the rest of the world.

    Just the worst kind of US-sycophantic Englishman. Tooze makes Neill Ferguson appear likable, honest, and moderate by comparison.

    And he is stupid and ignorant, besides. As regards the U.S. military seeking dominance from orbit, the Chinese sent a clear message back in 2007 that this simply isn’t realistically possible and it’s a lot easier to knock things down from orbit than put them up there —

    ‘China’s Antisatellite Missile Test: Why?’
    https://www.technologyreview.com/2007/03/08/226350/chinas-antisatellite-missile-test-why/

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      celebration is what this article chiefly comes across as

      curious take. I don’t really get that from the article at all. It all struck me as fairly bleak.

      Note in particular Tooze’s studied avoidance of addressing what the synergy he proposes between the US military-industrial complex and its technofeudal/vectoralist overclass would actually mean in real life for the vast mass of American plebes and the rest of the world.

      I don’t think it’s studied avoidance so much as not relevant to the thesis of his essay, which is essentially “rumours of America’s decline in world affairs have been greatly exaggerated”. It’s not a polemic.

      And he is stupid and ignorant, besides. As regards the U.S. military seeking dominance from orbit, the Chinese sent a clear message back in 2007 that this simply isn’t realistically possible and it’s a lot easier to knock things down from orbit than put them up there —

      whether America’s plans are sensible or viable or not isn’t really the point; the point is they have enormous resources to direct to these questions, and that is what they are doing, to further entrench the power of their military.

      The point about Geithner is a bit silly too. It’s possible that he didn’t attack Geithner as much as he deserves but it’s such a fractional part of the whole story that Crashed tells, it seems to me. I was a bit wary when I read the intro myself, but I don’t think it was exculpatory or anything. If being a bit unduly nice to Geithner is the price to pay for access to a primary source that no historian would want to squander, so be it, I guess, though maybe I’m a bit naive about these things.

      Reply
  23. arte

    “Man Who Made Millions Overcharging for Printer Toner Is Going to Prison”

    I thought the article would be about some printer company executive who colluded to set high printer ink prices across the industry, fiddled with the page counter chips on the cartridges to make sure all the ink could not be used, or such usual shenanigans.

    Reply
  24. Maritimer

    Lewis County hospital to stop delivering babies after staff resign, refuse vaccine mandate NCPR. An anecdote….
    ******
    Story says “staff members”. Docs, nurses, janitors??? Who knows?
    I have yet to see anywhere in the Convince-The-Hesitant Drumbeat any publication of Docs, Nurses, other Health Professionals vaccinated. That would be a very convincing argument to have, say, 95% Health Professional vaccination rates. But no data.

    Noble Omissions are as telling as Noble Lies. Possibly even more powerful.

    Hopefully, if there are any lawsuits, class action or otherwise, this will be one of the first questions asked by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

    Reply
  25. Howard Beale IV

    Re: High Country News article – I’ll show that to the daughter of my best friend who was up here last week – she works at a wolf sanctuary in Colorado and she what she makes of the article…

    Reply
  26. Tom Stone

    How soon will we see the results of the recent superspreader events ( Football and Baseball games for two) and how long will the current narrative about Ivermectin hold up?
    My guess on the first is early October, no clue on the second.

    Reply

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