2:00PM Water Cooler 10/26/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

No UPDATEs today. This is the lot! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

I always like looking at the location. This cuckoo is from Nome, Alaska.

* * *


Patient readers, I have started to revise this section, partly to reduce my workload, but partly to focus more as an early warning, if that is possible. Hopefully I will have a variant tracker map soon. In the meantime, I added excess deaths.

Vaccination by region:

Coercion works? Or boosters? (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax.)

57.4% of the US is fully vaccinated (CDC data. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Turkey, and just above the Czech Republic in the Financial Times league tables of this Monday). We are back to the stately 0.1% rise per day. I would bet that the stately rise = word of mouth from actual cases. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus…

Case count by United States regions:

Downward trend resumes. I have drawn an anti-triumphalist black line to show that what was once a crisis is now not newsworthy (presumably because hospitals are not overwhelmed, normal medical billing is about to resume, etc.).

Simply tape-watching, this descent is as steep as any of the three peaks in November–January. It’s also longer than the descent from any previous peak. We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January, which nobody knows the reasons for, then or now. Today’s populations are different, though. This population 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: There is the possibility that natural immunity is much, much greater than we have thought, although because this is America, our data is so bad we don’t know. Also, if the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of social 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. And although readers will recall that I have cautioned against cross-country comparisons, I’m still not understanding why we’re not seeing the same aggregates in schools that we’ve see in Canada and especially the UK, although we have plenty of anecdotes. Nothing I’ve read suggests that the schools, nation-wide, have handled Covid restrictions with any consistency at all. So what’s up with that?

Even if hospitalizations and the death rate are going down, that says nothing about Long Covid, the effect on children, etc. So the numbers, in my mind, are still “terrifying”, even if that most-favored word is not in the headlines any more, and one may be, at this point, inured.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 25, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Upper Midwest improved. Trouble spots in the West. Wierd flare-ups, like flying coals in a forest fire. They land, catch, but — one hopes — sputter out. Look at the New Mexico-Arizona border, for example.

Speculating freely: One thing to consider is where the red is. If air travel hubs like New York City or Los Angeles (or Houston or Miami) go red that could mean (a) international travel and (b) the rest of the country goes red, as in April 2020 and following. But — for example — Minnesota is not a hub. If Minnesota goes red, who else does? Well, Wisconsin. As we see. 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. (Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Finally some relief for the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, although I don’t understand why they they have the bad luck to be so stubbornly still red.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 757,849 753,845. Going down again, mercifully. We had approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found more than a little disturbing.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid):

So how long does it take before 10% “excess” deaths becomes the new normal?

(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 in historic variant sources, with additions from the Brain Trust:

Chile and Chile rising. Also Portugal, oddly, which lifted restrictions about a month ago. Remember this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *


“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 Mice de Talleyrand-Périgord

I’m wondering if I should replace the Dune quote above — too obvious? — with this one: “It is said in the desert that possession of water in great amount can inflict a man with fatal carelessness.”

Biden Administration


West Wing brain! West Wing brain! Somebody actually thought this tweet would help Biden. Oh my heavens.

“Democratic Leaders Are Betting Progressives Will Fold” [Daily Poster]. “Over the past few days, Democrats dropped a pair of brutal news dumps indicating they intend to fully gut many of the progressive elements in President Joe Biden’s health care, climate, and anti-poverty reconciliation spending bill. Now, it’s up to progressive lawmakers to ensure the final Biden agenda bill doesn’t end up a hollowed-out shell that won’t meaningfully help anyone. The only way to change those expectations — and to actually wield power — is for CPC members to pledge to vote no on a hollowed-out shell, and finally make their demands clear. If they don’t, they’ll likely get rolled, and no barrage of tweets or press releases or email blasts will hide that avoidable outcome.” • Burn it down, and let President Manchin and the centrists write whatever bill they want (obviously the end game all along, given that both Manchin and Sinema were installed by Democrat leadership). Commentary;

Tell me what good “our democracy” is if my teeth are falling out!

Manchin’s Contract with America:

I read Manchin’s document, and so far as I can tell, Schumer’s “agreement” was equivalent to saying “I agree I read what you wrote.” But take Manchin at his word. If the document was a contract, there was a consideration. Nolo (sorry): “[E]very valid contract must have consideration. Consideration is the benefit that each party gets or expects to get from the contractual deal — for example, Victoria’s Secret gets your money; you get the cashmere robe.” So what was the consideration? Did Schumer get money from Manchin, or a cashmere robe?

* * *

“The Stock Market Just Loves Biden Not Getting Things Done” [Bloomberg]. As I have said several times of Mr. Market at the Fear & Greed Index. “The market’s rise to date this year reflects a serious lack of confidence in the Biden administration to deliver on tax hikes. The latest political news is therefore rather good for the stock market. But a fiscal boost along the lines of the “Blue Wave” narrative that propped up the market very nicely ahead of last year’s election, and again after the Democrats’ surprising victory in two Georgia seats gave them control of the Senate, is still something the market wants. Without some big new spending package, there is an unpalatable “fiscal cliff” coming next year, as people learn to live without pandemic emergency assistance. So far, not getting things done has worked well for Biden in the markets. It’s a strategy that will soon stop working if Democrats aren’t careful. ”

“White House Releases Details of New International Travel Requirements” [MedScape]. “The White House released new plans today that take a layered approach to improve the safety of international travel to the United States ahead of the busy Thanksgiving travel season. Starting November 8, international travelers flying into the US will be required to show proof of vaccination, or prove that they meet very limited exemption requirements. Along with a vaccination record — which can be a digital or paper certificate — vaccinated passengers and children traveling with them will also have to show that they’ve gotten a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of boarding the plane. Travelers will also need to prove that they were vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the US or the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use. The US has authorized three vaccines, the WHO has authorized four more. International passengers who can’t show proof that they are fully vaccinated and qualify for an exemption will have to provide negative test results within a day of departure. Unvaccinated US citizens or lawful permanent residents will need a negative test within 1 day of departure. Travelers will also need to provide simple contact information so they can be reached by public health authorities after they arrive in the event contact tracing is needed.” • I don’t see what good the contact tracing requirement does, since we don’t contact trace. I remain unreconstructed on all this. I think anything short of quarantine on arrival is “let ‘er rip,” albeit more slowly than in the past, and I don’t see how we can react in the case of a new and highly transmissable variant. Perhaps I’m too pessimistic? In any case, we’re about to find out.

Democrats en Deshabille

“‘Cruel’ Fauci is condemned for spending $2m on experiments which saw beagles ‘de-barked’ and trapped in cages so flies could eat them alive. Bi-partisan fury at ‘reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds'” [Daily Mail]. Long ago, I wrote a post urging the thesis that the only real difference between Democrats and Republicans was that Republicans had a long history of torturing animals (I gave many examples). So now, Fauci has managed to erase that line. Of course, if Fauci gets nailed for torturing puppies, that’s a lot like Cuomo resigning for sexual harrassment, instead of murdering tens of thousands of elders in nursing homes. But you take what you can get, I suppose.

Obama Legacy

This is idiotic:

Yeah, you know, like the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, Mao was just a kid, ditto Castro… Ho Chi Minh started out in high school…. Holy Lord!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Democrat bag man McAuliffe (1):

Democrat bag man McAuliffe (2):

It’s enough to make me root for the other guy…

“Was Radical Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone Murdered to Secure Republican Control of the United States Senate?” [Covert Action News]. • Seemed pretty sketchy at the time…

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Manufacturing Activity Index in the US fifth district including the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia jumped to a 3-month high of 12 in October 2021, rebounding from -3 in September, which was the lowest since May 2020. ”

Housing: “United States New Home Sales” [Trading Economics]. “New home sales in the US soared 14% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 800K in September of 2021, following a downwardly revised 702K in August, and well above market forecasts of 760K. It is the highest reading in 6 months, boosted by strong demand and a shortage of previously occupied homes for sales.”

Housing: “United States Case Shiller Home Price Index YoY” [Trading Economics]. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in the US increased 19.7% yoy in August of 2021, slightly below a record 20% rate in the previous month and compared to forecasts of 20%. Phoenix (33.3%), San Diego (26.2%), and Tampa (25.9%) reported the highest annual gains among the 20 cities in August. Meanwhile, the National Composite Index increased 19.8%, the same as in the previous month and remaining a record high rate. As has been the case for the last several months, prices were strongest in the Southwest (+24.1%), but every region logged double-digit gains.”

* * *

Finance: “Mastercard says any bank or merchant on its vast network can soon offer crypto services” [CNBC]. “Mastercard is preparing to announce that any of the thousands of banks and millions of merchants on its payments network can soon integrate crypto into their products, CNBC has learned. That includes bitcoin wallets, credit and debit cards that earn rewards in crypto and enable digital assets to be spent, and loyalty programs where airline or hotel points can be converted into bitcoin. To do so, the payments network is partnering with Bakkt, the crypto firm recently spun off by Intercontinental Exchange, which will be the behind-the-scenes provider of custodial services for those who sign up, executives at the two firms told CNBC. ‘We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing,’ Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, said in an interview. ‘Our partners, be they banks, fintechs or merchants, can offer their customers the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency through an integration with the Baktt platform.’ The announcement could lead to a significant expansion in the ways regular Americans earn and spend bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”

Retail: “Now you can buy now, pay later for just about everything” [CNBC]. “‘Buy now, pay later,’ or BNPL, lets shoppers break their purchases into equal installment payments, often interest-free, which can make even the biggest-ticket items seem affordable and the smallest purchases seem almost negligible. It’s similar to old-school layaway plans, except consumers get the product up front and pay for it in incremental amounts. As installment payments gain momentum along with a surge in online shopping, in general, in the wake of the Covid pandemic, about one-third of shoppers have already financed purchases this way and among those consumers, nearly two-thirds have done so five or more times, according to a recent survey by LendingTree…. Providers such as Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna, Sezzle and Zip are paving the way and big companies are also jumping on the bandwagon ahead of the holidays, with PayPal starting its own product, Amazon and Apple partnering up with Affirm and Target’s recent team-up with Sezzle. While spreading out the cost of a big-ticket purchase like a Peloton often makes financial sense, especially at 0%, this type of financing is increasingly popular for small items, too. ‘Our core was really smaller, everyday type purchases,’ said Sezzle’s CEO, Charlie Youakim. With Target, Sezzle will get to test out installment purchases for food and other categories, he added, ‘to see how broad this can be.'” • “Buy now, pay later” for a pizza? Socks? Is that where we’re heading?

The Bezzle: “Facebook was born, lives and thrives in scandal. It’s been lawless for years” [Matt Stoller, Guardian]. ” Lawlessness pays. We’ve known that Facebook is lawless and reckless for years. And yet despite all the light and heat, Facebook is still a globe-straddling monopoly over our information commons. One man is still in charge of it, making all key policy decisions, and he is worth $100bn and considered an important leader and philanthropist. To put it differently, when a bank robber robs a bank, blame the bank robber. When a bank robber robs 20 banks, and announces where he’s going to steal from next, and does it in broad daylight, repeatedly, and no one stops him, we should be blaming the cops. And that’s where we are with Facebook…. If we set up a policy system that offers a reward for destroying our social fabric in the neighborhood of $100bn and unlimited power, then this is what we’ll get. The problem is not Facebook, it’s a policy regime that creates an incentive for monopolization, securities fraud and surveillance advertising…. [T]his brings us to the reason we haven’t done anything about Facebook. In order to actually address the problem of dominant market power and conflicts of interest, we the people would have to empower our government to govern.” • What is this “law” of which you speak?

The Bezzle: “Op-Ed: Mark Zuckerberg makes a ‘mwahahaha’ metaverse move” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘Metaverse’ has begun to denote the sum total of physical, augmented and virtual reality. TV personality Jim Cramer put it non-succinctly on CNBC in July: ‘The metaverse is … you’re looking at basically — you can be in Oculus [using a virtual reality headset], whatever — and you say, ‘I like the way that person looks in that shirt, I want to order that shirt.”” Maybe we should just give the whole continent back to the Native Americans. More: “According to the latest Facebook whistleblower, engineer Frances Haugen, the company’s methods are built to fill us with longing, contempt and bad ideas [, and no Oxford Commas]. To do this on an even grander scale — more efficiently, more immersively — cannot end well. Even if you like the idea of buying a shirt you see in a 3D movie you think you’re part of, the full digitization of humanity means there will be much to grieve.

The Bezzle: NFTs, a thread:

The Bezzle: “Tesla Decided The Software It Was Testing On Public Roads Wasn’t Safe After All” [Jalopnik]. “Ah, the joys of Tesla’s ‘public beta’ of 4,000-pound cars careening around city streets with software that even Elon Musk says has ‘some issues.’… I, for one, feel calm and happy that I could be walking down the street at any time and somebody driving next to me’d be “beta-testing” Tesla software not ready for primetime.” • You’re doing your part! (From a Musk tweet quoted by Reuters: “Regression in some left turns at traffic lights.” • Oh.

Tech: “The MacBook Pro is the future of Apple’s ports mess” [Wired]. “One rumour that lingers like a nasty smell is the “portless” iPhone. This means future iPhones may only charge wirelessly, and only transfer data wirelessly. No Lightning or USB-C…. Guess what? This lets Apple continue to rake in extra cash off accessories thanks to MagSafe. It’s another Apple-owned standard, used in the latest iPhones for wireless charging. While you can use a standard Qi charging pad to recharge iPhones, only a MagSafe one offers the fastest possible charging rate…. There are two possible futures ahead of us, and much of it rests on how successful the EU Commission is at strong-arming Apple into using USB-C. If a “port-free” device becomes a get-out clause, the consumer is (at least mildly) screwed. This would see Apple mobile devices split into strata. You’d have Pro series gadgets with USB-C, and others with no charging port at all. If there’s no major change to Apple’s lines, and this all happens fairly quickly, this could include the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 mini and the entry-level iPad. Let’s just hope it doesn’t also include the MacBook Air….”

Tech: “Your ISP Might Be Collecting Much More Data Than You Think” [Interesting Engineering]. “The report identified several concerning data collection practices among several of the ISPs, including that ‘they combine data across product lines; combine personal, app usage, and web browsing data to target ads; place consumers into sensitive categories such as by race and sexual orientation; and share real-time location data with third-parties.’ The report further found that even though several of the ISPs promised not to sell consumers’ personal data, they allowed it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others. They also hid disclosures about such practices in the fine print of their privacy policies. Subscribers’ real-time location data shared was found to be shared with third-party customers such as ‘car salesmen, property managers, bail bondsmen, bounty hunters, and others.’” • Oh, nice.

Tech: “How Close Are Flying Cars?” (interview) [Bloomberg]. CEO JoeBen Bevirt: “The capital cost of putting in a new sky port is a small fraction of what it costs to put in a new highway, and yet, it has exponentially more value, because it can take you anywhere. The medium-term future is that we’re landing on lots and lots of rooftops. At launch, it’s a discrete number of rooftops that are going to deliver the most value to our customers, that is the focus of our infrastructure team…. We’ve always believed that this had to be affordable, that this had to be something that was accessible to everyone. And so for us that’s launching it at the price of a taxi and driving down as aggressively as possible towards the cost of personal car ownership. That is the key to unlock to making this something where everyone’s flying instead of driving.” • This didn’t seem nearly as horrifying and dystopian as I thought it would. I don’t know about the pricing, though. Will Bevirt’s backers take losses to build the system out?

Manufacturing: “Hertz Rental Car Co. Orders 100,000 Tesla EVs” [Industry Week]. “In the business world’s latest embrace of electric vehicles, Hertz Co. announced October 25 it had ordered 100,000 electric cars by 2022 from Tesla Motors for its fleet of rental vehicles and would install EV charging infrastructure at its locations around the world. Hertz interim CEO Mark Fields said the order would give his company the largest fleet of EV rental vehicles in North America…. According to a company statement, Tesla’s Model 3 vehicles will make up 20% of Hertz’s global fleet once the order is filled by the end of next year. That’s barring any unforeseen disruptions that might be caused by semiconductor shortages, Hertz said.”

Manufacturing: “Chinese magnesium shortage: Global car industry to grind to a halt within weeks amid ‘catastrophic’ halt” [New Zealand Herald (dk)]. “The world’s largest carmakers and other users of aluminium could be forced to halt production within weeks amid a ‘catastrophic’ shortage of magnesium across Europe. Magnesium is a key material used in the production of aluminium alloys, which are used in everything from car parts to building materials and food packaging. China has a near-monopoly on global magnesium manufacturing, accounting for 87 per cent of production, but the Chinese government’s efforts to reduce domestic power consumption amid rising energy prices have slowed output to a trickle since September 20. In Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces, the world’s main magnesium production hubs, 25 plants had to shut down and five further plants slashed production by 50 per cent as a result of the power cuts Europe is expected to run out of magnesium stockpiles by the end of November. On Friday, a group of European industry associations representing cars, metals, packaging and other sectors issued a joint statement warning of the ‘catastrophic impact’ of the production cuts, which they said had already resulted in an ‘international supply crisis of unprecedented magnitude’. The statement called for urgent action from the EU Commission and national governments to work with China to stave off the ‘imminent risk of Europe-wide production shutdowns.'” • What with Chinese magnesium (or not) and Russian gas (or not), Mr. Europe would seem to be in his nervous space.

Mr. Market: “Netflix Rating Raised Two Notches to Investment-Grade by S&P” [Bloomberg]. • Dave, good job.

Mr. Market: “Tesla zooms past $1 trillion market cap on bet that the EV future is now” [Reuters]. After the Hertz buy: “Even Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk expressed surprise at the velocity of the surge. “Strange that moved valuation, as Tesla is very much a production ramp problem, not a demand problem,” Musk tweeted in reply to a comment by Ross Gerber, co-founder of the investment fund Gerber Kawasaki and a Tesla shareholder. ‘Wild $T1mes!’ Musk wrote in a separate tweet.”

The Economy:

Mosler reminded of the Clinton surplus that brought about the Bush recession? If so, Democrat “moderates” are doing their best to follow Clinton down that path.

The Economy: “Inflation is not the emergency” [Claudia Sahm, Stay-At-Home Macro]. “Inflation is important. Prices at the pump are high which hurts. The cost of many things like cars, electronics, and home appliances are up too, if you can find them. But, inflation is not an emergency…. Demand matters for inflation too. This year spring demand surged. In fact, in April and May of 2021, the highest percent of consumers, on net, said it as a good time to buy big-ticket durables since the crisis began. That coincided with the surge in inflation. Now that measure of demand is lower than the depths of the recession. Again, it’s hard to see a spiral inflation taking hold when consumers are willing to wait it out until inflation settles down, as they expect it will.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 Greed (previous close: 71 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 26 at 12:11pm.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on drought. “Heavy rains bring drought relief to western states” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Health Care

This is Ireland, but the infection control community in Canada and the United States seems just as dinosaur-like:

No. There’s no evidence whatever for “typically the droplet pattern.” If there were, you can bet CDC and WHO would have flogged it all over the networks.

Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation:

As as if John Snow left the handle on the public water pump, but told all the people on Broad Street who used it to boil their own water.

“Patients hospitalized for COVID-19 this year could pay thousands in bills” [Healthcare Finance]. • Healthcare industry: “The moment we’ve been waiting for!”

Screening Room

Who among us:

Zeitgeist Watch

A newly annointed Times-person:

We live under neoliberalism, so this is perfect.

“The Science,” a thread:

Class Warfare

“Capitalism’s Core Problem: The Case for Universal Property” [Evonomics]. “Before we talk about universal property, we need to look at co-inherited wealth, for that is what universal property is based on. A full inventory of co-inherited wealth would fill pages. Consider, for starters, air, water, topsoil, sunlight, fire, photo­syn­thesis, seeds, elec­­tri­city, minerals, fuels, cultivable plants, domesticable animals, law, sports, religion, calendars, recipes, mathema­tics, jazz, libraries and the internet. Without these and many more, our lives would be incalculably poorer. Universal property does not involve all of all those wonderful things. Rather, it focuses on a subset: the large, complex natural and social systems that support market economies, yet are excluded from repre­sentation in them. This subset includes natural ecosystems like the Earth’s atmosphere and watersheds, and collective human constructs such as our legal, monetary and communications systems. All these systems are enormously valuable, in some cases priceless. Not only do our daily lives depend on them; they add prodigious value to mar­kets, en­ab­ling corporations and private for­tunes to grow to gargan­tu­an sizes. Yet the systems were not built by anyone living today; they are all gifts we inherit together. So it is fair to ask, who are their bene­­ficial owners? There are, essentially, three possibilities: no one, government, or all of us together equally. This book is about what happens if we choose the third option, and create property rights to apply it.” • I would have cross-posted this, but apparently I ran into a WordPress character limit (!). Do not length deter you, however; this is well worth breaking out the espresso machine for.

News of the Wired

A handy skillset for The Jackpot:

Quite a thread. Very vivid language, though I didn’t understand a word of it after the tech dude fixed the board…

“In San Benito, Homecoming Mums Are an Over-the-top Texas Tradition” [Texas Monthly]. • I really shouldn’t sneer at the gaucherie:

I would be glorying in the color and form, if “mums” were a strange custom in the Third World. Oh, wait….

* * *

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 (Milton):

Milton writes: “New crop of loufas and avacados. I should have the loufas dried and skinned by the holidays. I’m leaving the ‘cados on the tree until late next spring.” Loufa as what one uses to scrub one’s back in the shower? These can be grown in one’s garden?

* * *

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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. djrichard

      “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you,” he wrote on Twitter

      Not inconsistent with Dem logic of taxes paying for programs.

      1. Helena

        “Programs.” You mean like the subsidies to fossil fuel companies?

        and this? https://www.rt.com/usa/264065-musk-tesla-government-subsidies/

        He insists it is an investment, but it is public money that nobody voted for him to get, specifically.

        “None of the incentives are necessary. They are all helpful,” Musk countered, describing the various incentives as catalysts that speed up the rate of innovation, offered because voters “want a particular thing to happen, and want it to happen faster than it would otherwise occur.”

        If he really believed in his work, he would invest his profits to make it work instead of making deals off taxpayers backs. You could never convince him that the sun doesn’t shine out of his ass though.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          The reason Elon Musk is a billionaire is BECAUSE of government subsidies. It seems churlish to be annoyed when your benefactor wants a small portion of it back.

          1. Helena

            And yet he doesn’t seem to resent paying a small percentage of ‘rent’ on his stockholders’ money. It’s all the millions of the rest of the people who ‘owe’ him for his existence who must understand they owe him his billions. Enablers all the way down. What a shock for him it would be have that pulled out from under him, along with all the other billionaires.

      2. eg

        Along with all the rest of the indignant billionaires he’s apparently incapable of understanding the fairly obvious implications stemming from the fact that “his” money has someone else’s picture on it.

      3. Daniel LaRusso

        This taxes don’t pay for things thingy

        I can see how that is the truth… but, currently we insist on balancing spending versus taxes. If those things don’t match, then the governemnts “borrow” money for the difference. Yes/No??

        If that is true, please could someone explain to me the mechanism of how the UK government “borrows” money. From who ? When etc ?? I understand this may be already answered somewhere, so please feel free to point somewhere else

        My understanding is it’s not like me borrowing from a bank.

    2. Bill Smith

      Won’t the side effect of this be to remove a lot of stuff from the public market to off market partnerships?

      Where the effect of gains in value will be all but undiscoverable?

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Where the effect of gains in value will be all but undiscoverable?

        Please pardon my possibly being a misunderstanding ass, but what gains in value???

        The stock market is essentially funny money printed out by the Fed with most of the “successful” companies overpriced, non producing vampiric entities like Uber; if it is the problem of even more than the already trillions of hidden untaxed funny money being hidden, than the IRS needs to be strongly beefed up and sent after the wealthy especially the billionaires with every legal means they have, and ordered not to do more audits of poor mothers in the Mississippi Delta.

        Those fantastically wealthy, nigh untouchable, people need some serious wealth pruning. I’d prefer a financial bulldozing, or at least a chainsaw, but I would accept the mass topping of their financial money trees.

        None of this is going to happen because of the massive bribing donations of money to the political class by the wealthy class.

  1. petal

    Any time I see the word “access”, I automatically become suspicious. They aren’t even trying to hide it anymore: “access to coverage” as opposed to “access to health care” they were using before. And the way things are headed, $50 will buy you a cup of coffee next month…. /s

  2. Louis Fyne

    Personal pet peeve…the proper “empiricism” slogan isn’t “trust the science”……it is, as jerry maguire would say, “Show me the data!” …with “trust but verify” in the top 10 too.


    1. Sorcery Believer

      I used to think like that, but now I try to look through the lens of “wtf do I know?” and leave it at that. After all, how am I in any position to collect, analyze, or verify, complex scientific data or research practices?

      Given the difficulty in gathering your own data, and knowing what to do with it, I think we can safely say that most people who “do their own research” have done no such thing. They are just regurgitating whatever their preferred online demagogues have manipulated then into believing.

      1. marku52

        My position on scientific papers has deformed to this:
        “If there is any money involved, they are lying.”

  3. Laughingsong

    New Dune quote: I’ve always preferred this one:

    “Arrakis [or whatever: I would replace with “public policy” or maybe just “Congress”] teaches the attitude of the knife – chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: ‘Now, it’s complete because it’s ended here.”

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Yes, Lambert, you might consider introducing a new “Dune” quote for each week.

      If finding an apropos one is too much work, make them randomly selected: Sortes Herbertienses.

      He looked at Halleck. “Gurney, take care of that smuggler situation first.”

      ” ‘I shall go unto the rebellious that dwell in the dry land, ‘ ” Halleck intoned .

      “Someday I’ll catch that man without a quotation and he’ll look undressed,” the Duke said.

      Chuckles echoed around the table, but Paul heard the effort in them. It ended up in confusion, Paul thought, staring at the backs of the last men to leave. Always before, Staff had ended on an incisive air. This meeting had just seemed to trickle out, worn down by its own inadequacies. And he recalled the old woman’s warning: “… for the father, nothing.”

    1. ambrit

      And here I was thinking that Loofas are cousins to the Oompa-loompas. You know, the ‘back up’ labour force Willy Wonka had in reserve just in case those interesting little production units get a bit stroppy.
      “You lot just think about forming a union and I’ll have the Loofas in and replace you all! Now back to work!”

    2. skk

      I got 3 seeds ( out of 10 ) to germinate ) so planted them – originally to make a sponge, but discovered that when young, as a ridge gourd its a good vegetable to make a bhaji with. I mistreated them a bit, didn’t give them enough water I reckon, once I figured that out I added a 2nd water dripper but now with the low sun its too late for more fruit I reckon. I got 6 fruit of which I’m leaving 1 on the vine to go all fibrous.

  4. hemeantwell

    The Wellstone article did get me interested. But, oi, the writer just couldn’t stop himself from overegging the pudding. Instead of sticking with a compilation of witness accounts, the problems with the FBI’s story and so on he bizarrely refers to Nixon’s involvement in Kennedy’s assassination and then does a stint with EMP firing vehicles. Having fallen into the mindset, I found myself wondering if the extra baubles on the tree were intended to spoil reception of the more plausible portions of the case, i.e. that Covert Action might itself by a victim of one.

    1. t

      I am baffled by the contemporary idea that JFK was any kind of threat to the status quo, powers that be, etc. etc. If there was ever a man who would go along to get along because he was entirely unserious.

      Maybe it is a limited hangout to make the rest of them sound unlikely.

      I am, no kidding, just baffled. I get why HRC’s supporters kept hooting about her work with single-payer advocates as evidence of her interest in a real healthcare system (instead of the just business as usual BS it was). But why the ghost of JFK is propped up as an anti-poverty, anti-war stalwart who had it in for the spook state… baffled.

      1. Pelham

        In general I think you’re right about JFK. But I don’t think it would have taken much to rile the Joint Chiefs and intel community at the time, given all the hubbub over Cuba. In fact, I’m a bit surprised that similarly uncontentious Biden hasn’t met some unfortunate fate after his out-of-character insistence on the pullout from Afghanistan — though maybe such an event would be too obvious even after all these years.

      2. Eloined

        True, he was a politician. But your bafflement with regard to the “spook state,” at least, may be resolved by considering the Bay of Pigs and the fallout that affected his administration and arguably his life.

        As for threatening the status quo, consider his work to tax offshore income with effects on Texas-domiciled oil companies. They were majorly pissed.

        “[C]ontemporary idea”? Pshaw.

      3. hemeantwell

        A very late to the party sorta redemption came, iirc, in a recent Cockburn piece on the Cuban missile crisis, likely linked here. What it boiled down to was that JFK had a back channel through a Soviet attache to Khruschev and was able to cut a deal to avert the bombing campaigns etc his advisors were pushing. As I think about it now, it wasn’t clear if the advisory loons were aware of the obvious exit via a trade of the Jupiter missiles the US had in Turkey for the Soviet missiles in Cuba.

      4. pjay

        I tend to agree with hemeantwell on this. There are *many* suspicious elements regarding Wellstone’s death, a number of which are noted in the article. But including unsubstantiated speculation and relying on extremely untrustworthy “researchers” absolutely undermines any valid argument. An example of the former is the comment about Dorothy Hunt and the JFK assassination. There are a lot of unanswered questions about Howard Hunt’s wife (and her death), but to my knowledge this “theory” is not backed by any evidence. An example of the latter is reliance on anything Jim Fetzer says. His “research” on JFK, 9/11, and other issues has become so goofy that he is often accused of being a disinformation agent (I don’t know this for a fact, of course — just reporting).

        However, to ‘t’, while Kennedy was no saint, nor was he any sort of radical, there is plenty of evidence that he was perceived as a threat, and hated, by the military and intelligence establishment, and many other right-wing groups. There is also much evidence, especially after the Assassination Records Review Board was created and forced the release of records in the 1990s, that Kennedy *was* definitely working toward reducing tensions with the USSR and possibly Cuba, having been shaken by the Cuban missile crisis, and even getting the US out of Vietnam.

        But back to the Covert Action Magazine piece; I like this publication, and I was glad to see it linked in NC. Unfortunately, I think hemeantwell is right on this one.

      5. jsn

        The declassified history warrants revisiting this period.

        After the Dulles brothers took over foreign policy, increasingly less domestic politics was what it appeared to be.

        JFK was a New Dealer, the Dulles’s saw to it that ended at our shores and set us on the path of rolling it back here too.

      6. Jessica

        JFK was clearly no proletarian hero and for most of his life, quite conventional for someone raised as close to royalty as the US had then. (This is why there is newsreel coverage of him as a teenager.)
        However, he seems to have been changed by the experience of being president, particularly when his advisers wanted him to go to war with the Soviets.
        On the other side, Dulles at the CIA was seriously pissed that their Bay of Pigs gambit to force JFK into invading Cuba failed and cost Dulles his job. That alone was enough motivation for him and his.
        The other item that seems to me to point at clear conflict between JFK and the cold war machine was his blocking intervention in Indonesia. LBJ got in and greenlighted the genocide there.

    2. Stephen V.

      I’ve a bankruptcy law textbook where the author flat out states there would have been no 2005 bk reform bill if Wellstone had lived.
      I find that to be a chilling bald fact. And this “reform” –with the Student Loans provisions being my fave part–is er, alive and well. Natch.

  5. hamstak

    First we have:

    Manufacturing: “Hertz Rental Car Co. Orders 100,000 Tesla EVs”

    followed by:

    Manufacturing: “Chinese magnesium shortage: Global car industry to grind to a halt within weeks amid ‘catastrophic’ halt”

    Does this indicate it is a good time to short Tesla?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Those cars will never be delivered. It was a PR stunt. Hertz just got out of BK and Tesla wanted to look mainstream (He has a two year wait for production now. Where are these cars gonna come from? And do rental car customers run a cord from their room out to the car to refuel?)

      It was a PR stunt and it worked. Both company’s stocks were up over 10% in one day

      Barnum and Bailey meet Elon Musk.

      1. Hepativore

        He is really pushing the Neuralink idea lately, too. I have yet to understand what the point of it is and how exactly it is supposed to to any of the things that Musk claims it is going to do.

        If anything it seems like a glorified surveillance/data collection device. The sad thing is that employers are probably going to fall in love with it as they will see it as another way to keep tabs on their employees at all times even when their chattel are off of the clock.

        Also, can somebody explain why Elon Musk is held up to be some sort of genius/innovator? He is little more than a very wealthy private investor. He has no technical input or much of an understanding of any of the products he decides to fund or the companies that he has bought. All he does is throw money at things that he feels are going to inflate his already massive ego even more.

  6. cocomaan

    I put this NPR article into the Links today but it got eaten by the moderator, here it is again:

    Even in parts of the country where COVID-19 isn’t overwhelming the health system, patients are showing up to the ER sicker than they were before the pandemic, their diseases more advanced and in need of more complicated care.

    Months of treatment delays have exacerbated chronic conditions and worsened symptoms. Doctors and nurses say the severity of illness ranges widely and includes abdominal pain, respiratory problems, blood clots, heart conditions and suicide attempts, among others.

    I wonder what the heck is going on here.

    1. clarky90

      My fully Pfizer vaxxed friend, Tony, died “peacefully in his sleep” a month ago. Tony was 62 yo, a non smoker, a non drinker, a non gambler. We were friends (coffee in each others houses every few months, before the pandemic hit) for about 20 years. He was fit, a normal BMI and healthy; And, AFAIK, not on any medications. He was comfortable financially, (a retired govt official). Tony worked as a caregiver with severely disabled children/young people. A genuinely kind, helpful and generous person….. RIP my dear friend.

      There was no obituary, no funeral……… just the unofficial news, “died peacefully ……….” Many of us got together for a shared meal, to reminisce and to mourn.

      I am also seeing reports of inexplicable suicides and murders, here in New Zealand..

      A father, husband and rugby star…




      “….The family – Graham Dickason, an orthopaedic surgeon, Lauren Dickason, a doctor, and their three girls – arrived in New Zealand in late August, a photograph online showing the girls happily clutching little kiwis and with beaming smiles as they embarked on their new life.

      ………go figure…… go figure … go figure….

      1. cocomaan

        Sorry to hear about your friend. My wife lost a family member last year to opiates, I lost a friend to (supposed but unconfirmed) Covid, another to an overdose/suicide. They were all in their 30’s. All had financial troubles of one kind or another.

    2. Silent Bob

      Very interesting indeed. Blood clots? Heart conditions? Nationwide? A suspicious person might start connecting dots.

      1. cocomaan

        The same arguments could also apply to widespread long covid, too. The collective shrug bugs me, but since this kind of thing isn’t tied to dollars the way covid is tied to dollars, it will just continue this way!

    3. Objective Ace

      Isnt the simple explanation that people were putting off preventative care? That was my assumption

        1. Cocomaan

          Of the list of conditions they gave as examples of what’s flooding hospitals , which ones do you think are conditions people have put off?

          Seems to me that the vaccine is the conspiracy theory while thinking this may be long covid coming to roost is not.

  7. aleric

    The Minneapolis FBI was closely tied to the Bush admin. There was a nationwide scandal at the time about Ashcroft telling the FBI to find non-Republican political cases to distract from the corruption oozing out of the Bushites. In Minneapolis they brought down three city council members on a mix of entrapment, selective editing of wiretaps, and shady witnesses. All three cases were criticized by the judges and resulted in minimal sentences, though they ended the political careers of the three who were outside the big-money downtown developer nexus. Very suspicious that they were 300 miles out of town and on the scene of the Wellstone crash before any first responders.

  8. Jason Boxman

    It’s enough to make me root for the other guy…

    Heh, why stop there? Although losing elections isn’t exactly an outcome liberal Democrats understand or introspect upon, so even that might provide little enough relief. It’s hard to know what’s worse, Democrats out of power or Democrats in power!

  9. mbc92028

    When a traditional car maker announces selling 100K units to a rental car company. Its considered dumping undesirable products that were passed their shelf life. And has always reflected poorly on the manufacturers products. Tesla does it and its stock shoots up.
    Next day Elon, the same guy who was made rich by being the best at exploiting/gaming public policy and tax loopholes, attacks public policy when it asks him to pay the % the rest of us contribute. With the same old entrepreneurs can do it best argument. From the guy who built several companies on gathering federal and state handouts, rich stuff. Got to love the cult of Elon, never disappoints.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Maybe Trump has a surprise coming. Elon runs for the ’24 Republican nomination and soundly drubs goofy old Trump. Elon then easily defeats Buttigieg on the Muskman’s way to becoming Emperor of Mars and God of the Solar System.

      Elon. Blessed be his name.

    2. Objective Ace

      Traditional car makes dont require fixed capital investments located throughout the country. Part of the announcement included more charging stations at Hertz locations

        1. Objective Ace

          I’m not. Not even if Uber paid for them it still gets them in the door to be a future client. Also sets a precedent for getting in the door at other rental agencies, maybe even into other industries

          Another interesting and important question is if the charging stations will be available to the public. I guessed no initially but if Uber pays for them then maybe they will be. That’s another benefit to Tesla and its customer base

  10. Hepativore

    If anybody has seen Brianna Joy Gray interview with Ro Khanna on Bad Faith, this explains a lot on why the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is so ineffectual.


    Ro Khanna basically dodges every one of Gray’s questions and constantly makes excuses for folding in the face of the establishment. It exposes the rotating-villain strategy that the Democrats had all along for preventing the spending bill being anything but a corporate giveaway and privatization scheme.

    As anything that could have been useful or beneficial for the general populace has either been stripped out or removed in a futile attempt to appease Manchin or Sinema, I think we can start writing the obituaries right now for the Democrats in the midterms and probably the 2024 presidential election.

    Then again, by losing, it will take the spotlight off of the party so they can drop the illusion of doing anything besides appeasing their corporate donors and then the Democrats can go back to their actual goal which is fundraising from said donors.

    1. tegnost

      The carrots will all be gone leaving only sticks remaining…some form of the new irs reporting will be included in the new bill, and claimed to be “not as bad” as the $600 reporting threshold, but still targeting the working class and imploring all those reluctant to toe the line to do so forthwith. I think there’s an apt purse seining metaphor in the present day, the tech lords have the net deployed, all that remains is to continue slowly closing it all up. I’ll add that the progressive caucus is set up to take the fall here…so what if jayapal et al get punished by their supposed to be liberal base? They will be replaced by a suitable conservative. See kshama sawant popularity among the Seattle PMC. They’ll throw her over for anyone.

  11. Jen

    Inflation is not the emergency

    “Again, it’s hard to see a spiral inflation taking hold when consumers are willing to wait it out until inflation settles down, as they expect it will.”

    Let me know how that works out when it comes to food. Ah but food and fuel don’t count when calculating inflation because prices are too volatile.

  12. Bill Zarlate

    “White House Releases Details of New International Travel Requirements”

    I have to travel to Italy for much-delayed business next month. To travel to Italy, I require both vaccination proof and a less-than 72 hour old negative PCR test, whereas for re-entry into the US the negative test is *not* required. I feel better about the outbound flight knowing every passenger on the plane has been tested negative, but as much as I could do without the hassle of another test, I would feel a lot better knowing the return flight had the same test mandate. But, no.

    1. Milton

      A better method would be for passengers to walk through a gauntlet of Covid-sniffing beagles before boarding. I’m sure this would be more reliable and less expensive by comparison.

    2. outside observer

      Might I suggest signing up for whatever immigration fast track program before you leave (I’m not sure if this is TSA precheck or global entry or what, but I regretted not having researched before travel). From what I observed recently the immigration line for entry back into the US is very likely an all day every day ongoing super spreader event – crowd from all corners of the world packed tight for an extended period of time with poor masking plus poor ventilation.

  13. Code Name D

    A COVID impact on labor? I love how much data NC has on the impact corvid has on the economy. But one data point I can’t seem to find is how large of an impact COVID has on labor sources. This will have some bearing on the “Great Resignation” and “Striketober”. But the real question I have has to do with Mandate expulsions. I have gotten into a debate that is speculating that the Mandate expulsions is making a larger impact against labor than COVID deaths. A very interesting point if true, but I can’t find any data to affirm or disprove the point. Discuses?

    1. ambrit

      One unadressed aspect of the Mandate kerfluffle is that the “expulsion orders” resulting from compliance or non-compliance with the Vaccination Mandates will, almost by definition, be ‘punishing’ anyone who dares to think outside of the “Official Narrative” box. The Mandates are selecting for Conformists. At a meta level, the Powers That Be are comfortable with the medical system enduring extreme stress and for a higher death rate in exchange for the elimination of independent thinkers and thus, possible opponents to future elitist policies.
      I find that I am not cynical enough to keep up with the evolving history of our Empire in it’s Terminal Phase.

  14. Screwball

    “‘Cruel’ Fauci is condemned for spending $2m on experiments which saw beagles ‘de-barked’ and trapped in cages so flies could eat them alive. Bi-partisan fury at ‘reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds’”

    From the linked article:

    In response, a group of 24 lawmakers, led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), are now demanding Fauci provide answers about the experiments they believe to be ‘cruel’ and a ‘reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.’

    Demanding Fauci provide answers? And only 24?

    Please! When is the last time this guy provided anything but BS?

    This story makes me sick(er), and this guy has been making me sick for a long time. At this point, I don’t know what should be done to this guy, but firing his ass should be the first thing. Yet 35 to 40 percent of the country hasn’t heard about this little episode, nor will they care – he’s in their side of the tribe, and the media will cover for him as well.

    Ironic, it’s only 5 days until Halloween. I think if they ever caught Michael Meyers and ripped his mask off it would be Fauci. This guy is pure evil.

      1. Pelham

        Prosecuted, yes, though I doubt any existent laws would apply.

        There is something uniquely awful about taking animals that we have specifically bred to work for us and be companions — creatures that by definition are pure, innocent and often loyal and loving — and tormenting them for whatever reason. It’s not murder, but somehow in my heart I believe it’s damnably worse.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            I’m just guessing but if I was up in the higher echelons & was looking for a suitable scapegoat for the bad management of Covid in the US, I would be at least examining Fauci as a candidate. He has been the face of the response right from the start, made various missteps is it seems hated by many & probably has plenty of dirt that could be dug up to be exposed in the bright media flash of daylight.

            I would allow certain stories to circulate & then see how it goes from there – but maybe he is too connected, knows where the bodies are buried & I am just talking out of my rear end.

        1. Objective Ace

          I’m not sure all cultures would agree with you. Dog meat is, afterall, consumed in China, Nigeria, Switzerland, Vietnam, and more.

          I agree with you that it is extremely sad, but then again I also think the same thing about the pigs, cows, and chickens that we treat much worse on a much more massive scale in this country too

    1. petal

      There’s also this one: NIH is now accused of spending $100m of taxpayer’s money on torturing lab monkeys with ACID and snakes: DeSantis leads calls for Fauci to quit after he was revealed to have funded horrific testing on beagles
      “The National Institutes of Health has been condemned for torturing monkeys with acid, toy snakes and rubber spiders for research after it was revealed Dr Anthony Fauci had approved funding horrific experiments on beagles.
      The organization alleges that the experiments have cost nearly $100 million just since 2007.

      Since released video footage of the testing showed distraught primates chained in tiny cages as researchers surprised them with rubber spiders and mechanical snakes – objects they instinctively fear – to observe their reactions.

      The NIH scientists then removed portions of their brains or destroyed them with acid to ‘intentionally worsen the primates’ fear’.

      ‘In the video, a callous NIH ‘white coat’ can be heard joking, ‘Where the hell is the dancing monkey?,’ after one of the tests on the terrified monkeys ends,’ the WCW report states.

      The videotaped experiments, according to the group, took place at he National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland and have ‘cost taxpayers over $16 million since 2007 and $1.7 million in 2019 alone.’ ”
      More at the link.

      1. nycTerrierist

        For years, I’ve been signing frantic petitions from the White Coat Waste Project
        about this nightmare

        Glad at least its getting some attention — finally

        we need to shut this sick sh*t down

      2. GERMO

        You’ve all got to be kidding me. You actually believe this Fauci-puppy-torturer stuff? AND you read Naked Capitalism? WTAF. Hey do ya think the Fauci-hatred has something to do with his eye-rolling while working under a certain ex-president maybe?

        The Washington Post debunked all this baloney already, but sure, stick with Daily Mail etc. Hating on Fauci has one single dimension to it. One. But I guess we’re all “doing our own research” these days…

        1. annony

          The timing of the puppy story is suspicious, seems like a straw man to distract from the Vanity Fair story, “In Major Shift, NIH Admits Funding Risky Virus Research in Wuhan” and Pamela Brown’s interview with NIH Director Francis Collins on CNN. It also gives the Washington Post a chance to once more “debunk” a Fake News Fauci Attack instead of having to deal with with the Gain of Function story.

          Brown, in an interview on her program Sunday night, asked Collins what the revelations say about Fauci’s claim months ago that “the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute.”

          “You’re just now finding out U.S. tax dollars were being used to pay for this risky research in that Wuhan lab two years ago,” she said. “So the question is how can you know what this money is going toward? What kind of research this is going toward in places like the Wuhan lab if you’re just now finding this out from EcoHealth Alliance how the U.S.’ taxpayer dollars were being used?”


          1. Yves Smith

            Nonsense. You never run a negative story to distract from a negative story. Google “halo effect”. It’s a cognitive bias where people see people and institutions as all good or all bad.

            It’s a sign that Fauci is being set up to take the fall if there is a surge this winter. The dog torture story was not picked up when he was Saint Fauci because nothing bad could be said about him, it must be an effort to attack The Science.

    2. Soredemos

      I’m going to dissent from everyone else giving blanket condemnations of these experiments. The point of the experiments is to test an anti-parasitic drug to treat Leishmaniasis, a disease that kills up to 50,000 people a year.

      I love animals, but in the end I’m not a psychopath; I value a human life more than that of any other animal. I will support animal experimentation if it can be justified.

      Now, I don’t know if these beagle experiments are justified, or if they couldn’t be done in a more humane way. They certainly don’t read well. But my inclination is to assume that they are done the way they are for a logical reason, and the Tunisian researchers didn’t just wake up every morning thinking about ways to inflict sadistic suffering.

      This whole episode feels like an exercise in a very cynical type of media-engineered five minutes hate. Rolling out a story about cute puppies is from the exact same school as “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!”. It’s perfectly designed to elicit a lizard brain emotional reaction.

      1. Yves Smith

        This study is utterly indefensible and you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to justify it.

        From KLG, a professor of microbiology:

        Having applied for and received IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Used Committee) approval for research using vertebrate animals (mice and fish), there is no way on earth that beagle-sand fly “experiment” (as described above) would ever be approved in a university or other legitimate research setting. Period. Even if as I assume the point was to study Leishmania, which are scary parasites spread by desert sand flies. A sketchy project at the equivalent of a black site? Sounds like a “yes”?

        1. Soredemos

          I didn’t justify it. I literally said I didn’t know if it was justified.

          But I’m not against animal experimentation if it can be justified.

            1. Soredemos

              Yes, unironically. At a certain point you have to find out how a drug affects a living organism. I would willingly sacrifice a hundred rats/dogs/pigs/whatever, if the end result was even a single saved human life.

      2. Daniel LaRusso

        it’s interesting that an animals life is worth less than a human life. Why do we think that ?

        1. Soredemos

          The very fact that we can formulate such a question, and the dog almost certainly can not, is one answer.

          I will, if I have to, trade any animals life for that of a human in a heart beat. I’m perfectly fine if that makes me a villain in your eyes.

          1. Yves Smith

            All of my cats were much better creatures than a lot of humans I have met.

            It takes years to turn babies into humans and in many cases it does not take.

  15. petal

    United says vaccinated pilots and flight attendants could refuse to fly with unvaccinated coworkers

    “Almost all employees at United Airlines have complied with the company’s vaccine mandate — and they do not want to fly with unvaccinated co-workers, according to the airline.

    United (UAL) is facing a federal lawsuit brought by six of its employees who have applied for a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine mandate. The airline has said that employees with valid requests for exemptions will be placed on either medical or unpaid leave. The employees bringing the suit are challenging the airline’s decision to place them on leave.
    US Court Judge Mark Pittman in Fort Worth, Texas, has ordered United to keep employees who have requested an accommodation on the payroll while the case is heard.
    But United said in a court filing last week that it’s not practical to allow them to keep working, because some vaccinated pilots won’t fly with unvaccinated staff. In a separate filing, United said flight attendants have stated they would hold similar objections to flying with unvaccinated coworkers.
    The company asked for permission to put unvaccinated workers on leave.
    “United cannot return the unvaccinated pilots to the cockpit because — aside from the various practical problems with testing and masking — we would face serious and widespread objections from the vaccinated pilots,” said Kirk Limacher, vice president of HR at United, in a court filing. “In fact the objections among our vaccinated pilots are so strongly held that many of them would simply refuse to fly with the accommodated pilots. The distractions and dissension this would cause in the workforce represent an unacceptable safety risk.””
    More at the link.

    1. ambrit

      Another example of fall out from the Vaccine Big Lie.
      Almost all of the people I speak to “on the street,” and in shops etc., have internalized the lie that the Covid Vaccines confer ‘sterilizing immunity’ from the malady. Several persons openly laughed at me when I stated that vaccinated people can spread the contagion. I get an increasing amount of backlash from wearing my mask whenever indoors in any public place. The mask mandates are still in effect, but there seems to be a general unspoken agreement that the mandates are ‘dead letter’ and can be flouted with impunity. The only exception to the above that I can think of is the Library, and even there, the duty police officer has been remiss in his observance of the mask rule. [The “duty police officer” here is tied somehow to the period of time when local school children are possibly in the Library. His duty seems to be one of providing protection to the children, not the Library itself.]
      So, stay masked, stay safe! Hull down.

      1. petal

        Yeah, I lost a childhood friend (practically family) over the Vaccine Big Lie not long ago. It was like I had touched the third rail by questioning it(and you know what I do for a living). There will be fall out from it(VBL) for a long time and in myriad ways. I feel so psychologically drained from all of it.

        1. ambrit

          You bring up a very good point concerning this “vaccine experience.” The stress of trying to maintain an independent conscience is palpable to me. When you have to stop and ask yourself to do a “cost benefits analysis” concerning your very speech with others you would normally trust, then something is very wrong with the society.
          And yes, considering what you do for a living, I am amazed that anyone who knows you would not trust your commentary to be genuine and at the least re-examine their own biases concerning health and disease.
          I consider the NC commenteriat as being a ‘leading indicator’ for the public psyche. The quote from Lincoln is apposite here: “..you may fool people for a time; you can fool a part of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” From the Lincoln / Douglass debates of 1858. The NC commenteriat is that part of “the people” that one cannot fool for long.
          Phyl and I have given up “discussing” the Pandemic with family members from either side. There are too many emotions involved, too many egos to be protected. My best guess is that even those who understand that “something is wrong with this picture” cannot admit that they have been conned.
          Stay safe!

          1. petal

            Thanks! I was barely a teenager when it aired and thought “meh” at the time. Just watching that clip tonight before before posting-gosh what almost 30 years later?-I was blown away. I think it’s become one of my favourite episodes and scenes. So powerful. Might pull the dvd tonight and watch the whole 2-parter. Could be a good thing to do right now.

            1. Jason Boxman

              True, although I still think The Inner Light is one of the best episodes, and continues to be timely, although that planet’s malady was not of their own making.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yes, there are four lights. So how long until people who sensibly wear masks in public are treated with hostility? Wearing a masks shows the lie of the “effectiveness” of vaccines and will rile some people. And here I am thinking more of s***libs rather than bubbah.

          1. Helena

            I went to teachings by Tibetan monks for years (when they could come here to the U.S., and travel freely) and in almost every prayer there was a plea to ‘turn the wheel of the Dharma.’ I never understood until recently what this meant to me. I started noticing that my relations with people I barely knew would go from good, to hostile, to better than ever before, to neutral, and so on, with me just dealing with each situation as best I could as it came up. Now I don’t worry about what people think about me today wearing a mask–I have never stopped, and others have gone from wearing one with me, to being annoyed when I kept wearing one, to putting them back on themselves when the surges started. If I sit in the center of the Wheel, which is, to me, being true to myself, the wheel turns and the world around me changes. This is not strictly the way the dharma wheel signifies with the buddhas, but it is a symbol to me like ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes’ kind of thing.

        1. ambrit

          Did you forget the snark tag? (Seriously. You do have a sly sense of humour.)
          I am an “expert” on very little, but am quite capable of a decent analysis of the currents observable in the public that I interact with.
          Now, many will disagree with the conclusions I draw from my observations. I’m willing to discuss and debate that aspect of my comments. One thing I have learned the hard way here is that nothing is set in stone. Everything is liable to re-evaluation as new evidence is collected.
          Stay safe!

      2. JBird4049

        What happens when there is a new variant that defeats the current vaccines? And why can’t it be pointed out by the powers that be that even the flu vaccines have their problems, but still reduce the latest, although not prevent their spread? That would give credence to the need to mask, but support taking the vaccines.

        I do not get this insanity. This is not mere incompetence or laziness, but suicidal. We know that the vaccines are not sterilizing and we know that without masking, and preferably several other tactics like ventilation, the disease will persist, spread, cripple, and kill. The mental and emotional chaos that will happen when a new variant ignores the vaccines and starts killing in job lots is going to be massive.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Significant vaccine escape is the big gamble, with the collapse of any other mitigations. I don’t care to see how this movie ends. I can only hope treatments are pursed with some vigor as we’re certainly going to continue to need them, either way.

        2. ambrit

          Your last point, “..chaos that will happen..” is on my mind too. The extant Elites have given themselves no ‘Plan B’ to fall back upon if ‘Plan A’ fails. This is criminal incompetence.
          I won’t go all tinfoil hat on this because the situation as it stands is bad enough.

          1. flora

            We have a pandemic of a virus.
            We have a plague of techno billionaires and security agencies who dream dark dreams, imo.
            This snip is from an FT interview of Gates in April 2020, just after the lock downs began; Gates looks happy, even gleeful at the prospect of shutting down the world economy.


            1. Helena

              The computer nerd oligarchs seem to live for creating a simulation and running it through. Put them all back in a garage where they can’t involve anyone living.

        3. The Rev Kev

          Can’t agree more. We have and use some pretty advanced technology but socially we can’t seem to get our feet out of the furrows. If nothing else, this shows how we raise & educate people is not fit for purpose.

          1. Daniel LaRusso

            Jordan Peterson talks abut this alot.

            Emotionally we’re cavemen, technically we’re spacemen. And that mismatch causes a lot of pain. Social media in particular.

      3. John Beech

        I continue wearing a mask and engage in brown water horking of my nasal cavities when contact is unavoidable.

        Meanwhile, I was saddened recently to learn a fellow I occasionally did business with died on the 4th. This after nine days sick at home and six weeks in hospital. Alone and intubated, as usual. Sigh.

        So his two boys say they’re going to make a go of his business (hydraulic hoses). Thing is, when I went in the shop (wearing my mask) they were not wearing masks. Little hope they can keep the business going. Why not? Too stupid.

  16. Gareth

    That’s an awe-inducing mum. I wonder what mechanism is being used to keep it attached without damaging the underlying clothing. When I was in high school, some of the young ladies had mega-mums, but they went for length rather than width. Standard mum size at the time was about two feet long and 8 inches wide. The show-offs went up to six feet long and around 10 inches wide. There is an optional version for boyfriends that goes on the arm like a corsage, but I haven’t seen any evidence of uncontrolled growth there.

  17. Pat

    Lambert, I don’t know if you got the news, but Dune pt 2 was greenlighted by their production company and already has a distribution deal with Warners.

    So you get to see if the spider reappears. ;-)

  18. PKMKII

    I always took Fauci to be neither Democrat nor Republican (He’s served under multiples of both) but rather solely a beast of the bureaucracy/blob/deep state. Which explains why the liberals love him so much, he’s pure technocratic, the fever dream of a politics without politics.

  19. griffen

    I was going to comment on the CNBC article about the “Buy Now Pay Later” current fads. Seems too good to last. Consumers really should wisen up; cause if they permit you to do it that means it’s not in your favor to go along with them !

    Instead the article I’ve included below got my attention, from last week but relevant. Call it the “Boston Seltzer Party 2021”. I’d think the chairman, Mr. Koch, must’ve had a hard time hearing that idea.


    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Consumers really should wisen up; cause if they permit you to do it that means it’s not in your favor to go along with them !”

      How did Winwood put it more than 50 years ago:

      The man in the suit
      has just bought a new car
      with the profit he made
      on your dreams.

      “The Low Spark of High-Healed Boys” (video)

  20. José

    Concerning a topic recently discussed on NC – the possible waning of influenza vaccine effectiveness with repeated innoculations – I’m not sure this February 2021 paper has been linked here.

    It addresses the evidence suggesting that “repeated influenza vaccination may reduce vaccine effectiveness” and concludes that the “evidence suggests that influenza VE declines with vaccination PM” [PM = Program maturation – the number of years since program inception].

    Link here: https://academic.oup.com/ofid/article/8/3/ofab069/6129135

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Pure anecdote. My spouse got her third Moderna injection yesterday. She’s feeling lousy today as was the case after the second dose.

      She received her injection at a pharmacy, and on my behalf, she was asking about J&J. She brought up mix-and-match, and the pharmacist said, “You don’t want to do that.” He told my spouse that the hope was that this dose would at least get people through the holidays, but probably not much longer than that. “This is all a big experiment,” was another comment.

      I’ll get a second J&J next week. Those graphs from Israel tell me that I’m basically riding bareback now, not just with respect to infection but to hospitalization as well since I’m over 65.

      No good options.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Funny, I literally just read this and said that while Australia is throwing caution to the wind in many respects, it remains very cautious on other things including vaccine mixing (they are different, unrelated branches of the public service/bureaucracy at play of course)

  21. NotTimothyGeithner

    To be fair to Terry Mac, if he was the current governor, he would only be the 4th worst statewide office holder.

  22. Helena

    When you look at the history of big social movements, they’re usually started and sustained by young people who put in the work to make it happen.

    Obama seems to speak this as a man comfortable in his belief that they can put in the work, and nothing is going to happen–to him anyway. But, nice to see all these young people out there knocking themselves out!

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Obama has picked up on a theme that mainstream American Christianity has used for decade after decade in service to Capitalism:

      If things aren’t going so well for you, it’s because you’re not trying/believing hard enough.

      That view is especially cruel because it’s not satisfied with the shame our society attaches to failure to play its game successfully as it defines success. More than shame and disappointment is demanded. Hard times in life must be attributed to the sufferer. No socio-economic system, no State, no God can be responsible. You, the one in pain already, must be guilty of something, guilty of a failure to try hard enough.

      Obama is salting the earth among any of the young not imbued with a level of cynicism that’s tragic for young people to have.

      1. Helena

        Obama has always seemed especially cruel to me since after his first election he said to a young person asking about his policies, “If you don’t like it, run for office yourself!
        Yes, and why would he be accountable to the people who voted for him? Power as a means unto itself.

  23. YPG

    “In San Benito, Homecoming Mums Are an Over-the-top Texas Tradition”

    I’m from El Paso: another place where the Mum tradition is alive and well. It warmed my heart to see this. Yes, they are a bit much but it’s a beautiful element of Texas (especially Chicano) culture. People meet up in groups to make them together. The biggest, toughest high school football player could often be seen wearing one his date made for him (though they’re usually much smaller) OR he might even be seen making one for his date. Sometimes grandmas make them for a fee. It makes me so happy that this cultural practice is still going strong in a world where technology and capitalism shreds this sort of thing without remorse.

  24. Helena

    If I want to be seduced, I will buy a man.

    Is he returnable for a full refund if I’m not satisfied, is my first question.

  25. jr

    I had an incredible dream last night I thought it might be fun to share. I was driving with a carload of my former NYC bartenders through the back roads around my paternal grandmother’s rural house. We pulled over and got out at an intersection. Then I saw Bigfoot walking through a line of trees. He was about 30 feet tall and didn’t seem to notice us. We all ran anyway.

    1. Helena


      My takeaway from this article: “Bigfoot lets you know when something doesn’t smell right…Invoke Sasquatch as your Power Animal when you want to expand your horizons but need a little push to do so. Sasquatch has no limits to where it wanders in the wild. The creature’s energetic influence will help you take those big footsteps outside of your comfort zone.
      Invoke Yeti medicine and energy when you want to express your individuality. No one imposes expectations on the Yeti; the creature is a natural nonconformist. As a Power Animal, it aids in the process of self-discovery and encourages you to stand tall and proud while being your authentic self.”

      There is some stuff about dreams at the end.

    2. griffen

      You almost had a plot to a quality horror film. Set in the Upstate of New York or similar terrain, a coterie of drunk barkeeps attend a conference for the National Bartender Alliance.

      In the movie version, he notices you all look wholesome snack size humans. High times follow when the slow footed bartender gets taken first.

  26. Matthew G. Saroff

    Considering the horrible human factors engineering of the Tesla Model 3, i.e. replacing the dashboard with an iPad, the rental car companies are going to see a lot of accidents as unfamiliar drivers deal with Tesla’s weirdness.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “How Close Are Flying Cars?”

    Not close at all in fact so you can forget this old idea of your own personal flying car. Tesla put their cars on the road that was using ‘beta’ software which killed several people – when it wasn’t crashing into fire-trucks and parked police cars that is. I would expect flying cars to use the same level of software so that regular people could fly them. But even the FAA won’t be idiot enough just to let anybody to fly one without having a pilot’s license first because that is what you need – pilots, not drivers – to use one. A driver, for example, would not take into account winds in their flying car whereas any decent pilot is fully aware of them. It would only take a few spectacular crashes of flying cars to make them as popular as the Hindenburg.

    1. rowlf

      Um… howabout being cognizant of air traffic control air space like commercial drone operators have to be aware of? Commercial drone operators have their controllers have FAA certification and the drones have FAA registration and ADS-B transponders.

    2. OptikErik

      Thank you Rev Kev.
      And where will they put the traffic lights?
      What if one has a mechanical problem and falls on my roof?
      What if two or more have a collision and fall on my roof?
      I’m gonna be some pissed!
      Hard to imagine all those flying cars being operated by people with a pilots license!

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Your ISP Might Be Collecting Much More Data Than You Think”

    Was just thinking when I read this. Any ISP would have some pretty granular data on each of its users, right? So what if those ISPs sold lists of their users and the telephone numbers and some data to those call center scammers. Here in Oz we regularly get these scammers and I wonder where they got my phone number from, even though we are a DoNotCall list.

    Handy hints-

    If you have a scammer from the Windows department saying that you have a problem, virus, etc on your computer, tell them that that can’t be right as you only use Linux here. That shuts them down.

    If you have a charity caller, tell them sorry and that you only ever donate to local charities. My wife once made the mistake of donating to a big charity and we received calls from them for years after.

    1. ambrit

      I have come up with an ‘alternate’ charity that I tell importuning callers and checkout droids about whenever exhorted to “give and give generously.” I call it the “Small Family Resources Centre.” It’s fun to watch the realization show up on the live person’s face as to where this “charity” might be located.

    2. Acacia

      My tactic was to say: “yes, I’d like to talk about this — could you hang on a minute?”

      Then put the phone down and never come back. Hang up about ten minutes later.

  29. The Rev Kev

    Recently there was a story from Loudoun County of a father complaining of the sexual assault of his daughter in a school bathroom at a public school meeting – only to be assaulted by and taken down sheriffs. Well, things are really blowing up for that county school. That student, nicknamed the ‘boy in a skirt’, has been found guilty of sexual assault. The family is demanding an apology from the National School Board Association for labeling them as ‘domestic terrorists’ while the superintendent of Loudoun County schools is trying to pretend that he never heard of any such assault. Meanwhile, students at a coupla schools have staged walkouts as they know the score and now the Loudoun County School Board has some ‘splainin’ to do-


  30. VietnamVet

    One English sentence illuminates the truth. “It’s like we are trying to vaccinate ourselves out of cholera, rather than cleaning the water.”

    Vaccination is a money maker. Clean water requires taxes and good government.

    All the shortages, illness and death in the West are due to the ruling cult that denies there is any such thing as society. Only money has value. They vanquished Life, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

    The single thing that matters is corporate/state messaging to keep the lid on the cauldron and pump the Dow Average. Dr. Anthony Fauci is The Prince. They must believe the propaganda; otherwise, they are staring at the abyss.

    1. ambrit

      “…they are staring at the abyss.” And we, the Public, are the Servants of the Abyss. We are being driven to this pass by those elite’s indifference and depravity. Our purpose is equality. We use the tools that come to hand.
      Stay safe! Hull down.

  31. even keel

    The evonomics piece is a great example of the terrible threats our planet faces. These sorts of threats scare me more than even global warming.

    Start with his discussion of “social assets.” In his writing, these seem to be purely rational inventions of prosperous societies.

    Rather, it was their social assets: the rule of law, pro¬per¬ty rights, a well-organized banking system, economic transpar¬ency, and a lack of corruption. All these collective assets played a far great¬er role than anything else.

    Obviously: the list has some major omissions. And I don’t mean the ecosystems “gifted to us by nature.”

    In truth, nobody set out to build any of those things. These systems were developed by people following moral and ethical traditions and trying to live out their moral goals. Trying to build something like one of these “from scratch” as it were, or by just willing it into being, or thinking really hard about it, is as ludicrous as trying to design a bird, or an ecosystem.

    Similarly, if you take an ecosystem, and start changing things about it, because you don’t like that part, or perhaps don’t think it is just, or it doesn’t fit your ideology, then it will fall apart fairly quickly. It will fail regardless of how much you know about, say, predator-prey relations.

    Incredibly, the paper estimates that the planet is worth somewhere between 25 and 110% of the value of human activity.

    Measuring ecosystem services in this way is so . . . Weird. It’s just dollars now. The mountain is worth the same as a prison. The “work” done by salmon spawning and bringing nutrients in their bodies from the oceans up the mountain is worth the same as, say, KBR contractors serving crap food at escalated prices at military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay.

    I suppose the biggest mistake is the most fundamental. He presumes that the whole world should be subsumed into “the economy.” When, in fact, it is the opposite. There ought to be more spheres of life in which economic thinking does not dominate. People need to turn off their economic brains more, and turn on other ways of thinking. It is precisely these other ways of thinking that constitutes and guides the “invisible hand.” If they atrophy, the hand will not be guided by anything.

    So much for the philosophy. I have problems with the economics as well.

    First, practicality. He seriously proposes to appoint managers over every parcel and system of the planet. How is it, exactly, that a manager could even add value to salmon spawning? To insect pollination? To soil fungal growth? In what sense could she even be called a manger?

    Second, agency. He says we all own it, but we should not try to manage it ourselves. Instead, professionals should manage it for us! You know, professionals at, like, pension funds (guys and gals who know how to give the store away to Wall Street, am I right?). So, by immediately dividing management from ownership he wants to create the same agency problem that is inherent in modern corporate organizational structure.

    This obliteration of agency is humorously emphasized in the conclusion of his (terribly glib) potted history, which culminates in corporations with limited liability, which were not invented but “arose only when it became necessary to amass capital from strangers.” Truly ingenious use of the passive voice. You know, just another natural step in evolution!

    His analogy to patent law does not strengthen his argument either. He argues that intellectual property used to “float around in the air” but now they are “essential to the profits” of corporate giants. Okay. Cmon. IP is essential to tax games. Accounting shell games. But stuff is still made, or not made. IP law is way overly complex and used just as often to stifle socially good and productive activity as it is to spur it. His ideas about owning the commons will go the same way: becoming overly complex, dominated philosophically by legalism and economically by those who can afford the best legalists.

    Anyway, that’s as far as I could make it through the piece. I do think the basic problem is essentially economic-thinking expanding beyond its boundaries — while this piece proposes that economic-thinking should be expanded to take over everything. It is good to read the arguments of these people, and to practice refuting them. Thanks for this link!

      1. even keel

        The hits keep coming. That’s a great link too. But, the framework of levels of complexity and discussions among them adds a whole ‘nother level of complexity to communication. Before I open my mouth, I better consider the level of complexity at which the speaker is speaking!

  32. Basil Pesto

    latest in the “endemic disease is good actually” PR campaign:

    Endemic C19 has arrived in Portugal. Here’s what it looks like.

    (aside: I really hate the contemporary style of headline writing. The post-listicle style, if you will.)

    Campbell recently had a video where he cheerily highlighted a report featuring modelling suggesting that “endemic equilibrium” (??) was on the way to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Separately, deeper in the video, he drew attention to a study from the UK Office of National Statistics with data on self-reported long covid in infected vaccinees… where the long covid rate in those patients was much higher than he had been expecting *bangs head on table*

    Still, sometimes I must admit I’m tempted to lapse, to gently dip my toe in the waters of optimism, and I wonder whether my predilection for NC and its gloomier outlook is making me unreasonably biased. This is probably because summer’s coming and I would like to be able to justify enjoying a relatively normal one.

  33. Richard H Caldwell

    Capitalism’s Core Problem: failure to account for “externalities” (at all, let alone properly). See Tragedy of the Commons, Regulatory Capture, et. seq.

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