Links 10/16/2021

Update on Jeri-Lynn: Jeri-Lynn is still in this world. A reader offered to check the New York apartment where Jeri-Lynn works. The reader spoke to her housekeeper, who said everything was fine, and Jeri-Lynn and her husband were at their beach house. We then arranged for a wellness check there. The police report that her husband says that Jeri-Lynn was in the hospital, but is now fine. That is what we know, although we are still trying to get through to her and her husband. I’m sure Jeri-Lynn appreciates readers asking after her, as do we. –lambert

Decoding the Sounds of Nature: Technology is making it easier to understand Reuters

‘Powerful auroras’ on alien planets may be sending strange radio signals toward Earth Live Science

Flatworms Are Metal The Atlantic

Private Equity Funds, Sensing Profit in Tumult, Are Propping Up Oil NYT

How private equity came to resemble the sprawling empires it once broke up FT

Supply-Chain Stress May Have Peaked Already Bloomberg. Based primarily on freight rates and the something-is-better-than-nothing involvement of the Biden Administration. I’m not so sure.

Amazon Puts Its Own “Brands” First The Markup

How arson factors into California’s wildfires High Country News

South Carolina lawyer accused of having himself shot now charged with embezzlement Reuters


COMMENTARY: What can masks do? Part 1: The science behind COVID-19 protection Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Part 2. “While we believe masks have a place in the hierarchy of controls, we urge scientists and journalists to consider their limitations and to focus, instead, on the most effective controls and the combination of multiple interventions to stop or limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission.” Grab a cup of coffee. Essential reading.

K-12 schools without mask mandates in Michigan saw 62% more coronavirus spread Detroit Free Press (original).

CDC and WHO fiddle while people build filters:

Again, these DIY projects are made for the cameras. It stuns me that nobody from the Biden Administration has seen the potential for a photo-op. I’m coming to the conclusion they actively refuse to accept the mechanism of aerosol transmission, rather than merely being ignorant about it. I await the OSHA emergency rule with interest.

* * *

COVID-19 cases soared among kids as they returned to school The Hill

Montana sees new hospitalization record; Minnesota’s statewide transfer system offers little help: 5 COVID-19 updates Becker’s Hospital Review

* * *

FDA advisory panel votes 19-0 to endorse booster dose of J&J vaccine and FDA advisory panel unanimously endorses Moderna’s Covid vaccine booster for some groups STAT

A Dallas biotech company and UT Dallas are developing a rapid breath test for COVID-19 screening Dallas Morning News

Ohio student, 10, confronts anti-maskers at board meeting: ‘Please be quiet. It’s inappropriate’ Akron Beacon-Journal

The impact of the COVID-19 response on the provision of other public health services in the U.S.: A cross sectional study PLOS One. From Conclusions: “The provision of many essential public health functions and tasks have been limited or eliminated while the U.S. public health workforce responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Everything’s going according to plan!

Preparing for “Disease X” Science


China’s central bank says spillover from Evergrande crisis ‘controllable’ FT

Can China afford to stay isolated as world abandons ‘zero Covid’? South China Morning Post

It’s Official. China’s Solar Power Can Finally Compete With Coal Interesting Engineering

Historic Moment as First Passenger Train Along Laos-China Railway Arrives in Laos Laotian Times

Undersea internet cables connect Pacific islands to the world. But geopolitical tension is tugging at the wires The Conversation


ASEAN excludes Myanmar junta leader from summit in rare move Reuters. Statement from ASEAN chair Brunei. ASEAN will, instead, receive “a non-political representative.” I imagine those are thin on the ground in Myanmar just now, but we’ll see. Nice slogan:

Big if true:

Note that the Tatamadaw is likely present in Hakha already; whether from the ambushed column or not I don’t know.


Deadly shooting rocks Beirut as tensions over blast probe erupt Reuters


Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years Guardian. As many predicted at the time.

Security Forces Free Ministers Held Hostage in South Africa Bloomberg

New Cold War

How Russia’s Communist Party achieved unprecedented electoral success in Russia’s Far East — previously a stronghold for the far-right Liberal Democrats. Meduza

Brazil, Amazon, World: Crimes Against Humanity Counterpunch (RF).

Capitol Seizure

Congress’ Access to Individuals’ Private Communications: The Jan. 6 Committee’s Troubling Precedent Just Security. This source is about as Blob-esque as you can get. Commentary:

I didn’t have liberal Democrats as McCarthy acolytes on my Bingo card, but here we are!

Democrats en Deshabille

Bern-ing Questions (newsletter) Brian Beutler, Big Tent

There appears to be a pretty serious high-level breakdown of communication over the party’s top legislative priority [the Build Back Better Act], where only a few anointed people know what the most recalcitrant Senate Democrats want to do for the country, or whether they realize that their negotiating tactics have taken a tremendous toll on Biden’s approval rating and (thus) the fate of the country.

There are a lot of things Democrat leaderships says are existential that they don’t treat with a sense of urgency. Their “top legislative priority” is one such. Another is voting rights (H.R. 1). Another is the PRO Act. To be fair, the Senate is in recess now, and Sinema is in Europe raising money, and therefore completely out of touch. So what would one have them do?

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Let’s stand together to protect working families (Opinion) Charleston Gazette (DCBlogger). That’s Charleston, West Virginia.

Manchin’s Opposition May Doom Clean-Power Plan Biden Backs Bloomberg

Big Pharma’s Reward The Daily Poster

Now they’re just trolling:

Members of Congress Own Millions in Facebook Stock While Weighing New Tech Laws ReadSludge

Health Care

Minnesota National Guard to assist with long-term care staffing shortage Star Tribune

Imperial Collapse Watch

The End of American Militarism? Andrew J. Bacevich and Annelle Sheline, Foreign Affairs

Class Warfare

The Kellogg’s Worker in This Viral Photo Told Us Why He’s Braving the Storm Vice. The photo:

Teamster Insurgents Plan for a Win—And What Comes After Labor Notes. It’s not anti-union to remark upon the heart-breaking corruption that union leadership shares with the rest of our heartbreakingly corrupt ruling class.

Another technique to abuse the working class. Read the whole thread:

I’m amazed that capital is actually able to get away with paying workers wages in amounts workers find difficult to verify; the potential for wage theft is obvious (i.e., a phishing equilibrium). I suppose I shouldn’t be.

What Killed the Blue-Collar Struggle for Social Justice NYT. I reacted to the headline with all the cynicism the Times has earned, but read all the way to the end. Here, however, is a cautionary tale:

Household Experiences in America During the Delta Variant Outbreak (PDF) Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Re Silc). Selected bullet points from the Executive Summary:

  • Thirty-eight percent (38%) of households across the nation report facing serious financial problems in the past few months.
  • There is a sharp income divide in serious financial problems, as 59% of those with annual incomes below $50,000 report facing serious financial problems in the past few months, compared with 18% of households with annual incomes of $50,000 or more.
  • These serious financial problems are cited despite 67% of households reporting that in the past few months, they have received financial assistance from the government.
  • Another significant problem for many U.S. households is losing their savings during the COVID-19 outbreak. Nineteen percent (19%) of U.S. households report losing all of their savings during the COVID-19 outbreak and not currently having any savings to fall back on.
  • At the time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction ban expired, 27% of renters nationally reported serious problems paying their rent in the past few months. 2
  • When it comes to their children’s education, 69% of households with children in K-12 last school year say their children fell behind in their learning because of the COVID-19 outbreak, including 36% of all households with children in K-12 reporting their children fell behind a lot.
  • Thinking about the upcoming school year, 70% of households whose children fell behind last school year believe it will be difficult for children in their household to catch up on education losses from last school year.
  • In healthcare, 18% of households report anyone in their household has been unable to get medical care for a serious problem in the past few months when they needed it, with 76% of those unable to get care reporting negative health consequences as a result. Among households unable to get care when they needed it, 78% report having health insurance, while 22% report not having health insurance.
  • Half of households (50%) report anyone has experienced serious problems with depression, anxiety, stress, or serious problems sleeping in the past few months.
  • Among employed adults, 24% report having a worse job situation now compared to before the COVID-19 outbreak began, while 21% report having a better job situation, and 55% rate their job situation as about the same as it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

At the New York Fed: Implications of Federal Reserve Actions in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Liberty Street Economics

“A Glorious Mess.” On Confronting the Complexities of Storytelling with Anthony Bourdain Literary Hub

The Music Critic Who Tried to Disappear The Honest Broker. Whitney Balliett. Well worth a read, especially for jazz listeners.

Goya at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel — ‘the best exhibition in years’ FT

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

Crow the Toolmaker!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Steve H.

    COMMENTARY: What can masks do?
    Essential reading.

    Table 1. Time to Infectious Dose for an Uninfected Person (Receiver)
    Essential sharing.

    Taleb: “When some adverse event takes place, instead of wondering “why did it happen ?”, ask “why wasn’t it worse ?”.”

    In the worst of the early days, ventilators spewed aerosols into spaces stuffed to the hallways. What was surprising in those places is that everyone Wasn’t infected. Table 1 may help clear the Simpson’s Paradox aspects of masking arguments. Better for everyone.

    1. allan

      The numbers in Table 1 are bad enough. A 1 hour class with everyone wearing surgical masks is listed
      as being right on the border of allowing transmission, and every new day you’re rolling the dice again.
      But in fact the odds might be much worse. From just below Table 1:

      (These numbers are just estimates based on the CDC’s 15-minute contact tracing time, which has no scientific basis. And the more transmissible Delta variant (lineage B.1.617.2) may require an adjustment to a shorter contact time.)

      `… CDC … no scientific basis …’ LOL. The CDC PR office will not be please.

      1. Steve H.

        allan, you are correct. “All models are wrong. Some are useful.”

        That 15-minute is a thumbtack on the chart to stretch a regression off of. I’d say it’s plausible if other swiss-cheese layers of protection are in place. The numbers are too precise for risk factors that should be measured in orders of magnitude.

        The advantage is that it gives a heuristic involving time. There is one other modelling source I have that involves time, “A guideline to limit indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19“. Table 1 gives two orders of magnitude difference between nothing and both wearing N95’s.

        It’s important because of the Red/Blue cultural divide. “There are no Blue states—only Blue cities”. Cities have a higher population density, while Red areas are more rural, with less chance of transmission. Everyone wearing cloth masks isn’t even twice as good as nothing, so at the local level anecdota can swamp statistics, and Red areas can feel justified that masks are intrusive.

        This ties in with our epistemological testing crisis. Just what is the infection rate in the population? If somebody could, please tell me the false-positive rate on 40 cycles of PCR (and 37, 32, and 28, if you can).

        1. Steve H.

          Late follow up:

          The impact of false positive COVID-19 results in an area of low prevalence

          31 throat swabs tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR: n=15 via Seegene, n=15 via Cepheid, and n=1 via Luminex.

          12 of these patients were symptomatic, while the remaining 19 included five patients screened pre-operatively, five nursing home residents, three on the transplant waiting list, four screened pre-discharge, one screened pre-delivery and one nursing home key worker.

          Our results show that 26/31 were positive at low level (Ct>35) in a single gene, which is considered as a likely false positive result. However, five were positive in more than one gene: three were positive in two genes (Cepheid n=2, Seegene n=1), and two were positive in three genes (Seegene), which are considered to be likely true positive results (Fig ​(Fig11).

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the CDC’s 15-minute contact tracing time, which has no scientific basis.


        There are a lot of studies out there now… but I don’t remember one that covered contact time. However, we might remember the Australian cases where “fleeting contact” outdoors, presumably unmasked, brought infection.

        I don’t know how to formulate this except in layperson’s terms, but it we are next to a carrier, we need to calculate the volume of virus we breathe in * the time that we do the breathing. But we can’t know the volume, because we can’t know the stage of infection of the carrier (and worse, viral load is highest before symptoms begin).

        So I guess that means we need a rule of thumb?

        1. Steve H.

          We got our Shakespeare in the Park done a couple of weeks ago, here’s what we used:

          Going for one in a million:
          Outdoors: 10^-3
          Outdoors with distance: 10^-4
          Both masked: 10^-1
          Population: 10^-1 to 10^-2

          Stacking these we can get close to 10^-6, which is about smoking a cigarette. When within arms length backstage, both parties masked. Onstage, unmasked with distance; the half-dozen times it was necessary to be close, we choreographed so no one was inhaling.

          I used to work in a groundwater modelling lab, I can’t not think in terms of plume dynamics.

        2. Rick

          Contact time is a big deal. Thirty minutes in a grocery store vs. a thousand hours in a classroom is over three orders of magnitude difference. This discussion of masks seems pessimistic.

          Would be good to have numbers for other criteria like ventilation and vaccination, but it’s hard to imagine that high quality masks give such a relatively small advantage. Healthcare workers, mass transportation operators, in person teaching all have such high amount of contact time that infection would be nearly certain if masks only give about a 10%-20% advantage (none of these situations have a high quality mask on the source). Maybe vaccination gives over 90% protection but there doesn’t seem to be data in support of that.

    2. fresno dan

      Steve H.
      October 16, 2021 at 7:20 am

      (part 1) Also, it is easier to require people to wear masks in comparison to other, more effective interventions, such as vaccination, limiting the number of people or the time they spend in a shared space, or improving the ventilation in that space. Wearing masks provides an oversized illusion of control over a difficult-to-contain and still largely unknown disease.
      Part 2
      The studies we highlight here are among the more recent to conclude that masks are highly effective, and they garnered much media attention, sometimes being flagged as studies that finally lay the masking debate to rest.

      On closer examination, though, they illustrate our points in the above section about the need for well-conducted studies and highlight the difficulties inherent in evaluating interventions during a pandemic. They represent many of the limitations of similar studies published throughout the pandemic.

      It is time to lower the unrealistic expectations about masks—or any single intervention. Public health messaging needs to be focused on many interventions, starting with those at the top of the hierarchy. Masks offer very limited source control, and personal protection and should not be considered a replacement for vaccination or equivalent to interventions such as limiting time and numbers of people in a shared space or improving air movement.

      While we believe masks have a place in the hierarchy of controls, we urge scientists and journalists to consider their limitations and to focus, instead, on the most effective controls and the combination of multiple interventions to stop or limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
      One problem with any RCT for something like wearing masks is that the variability of how infectious a spreader is and the amount of time the spreader is actually within the zone of tranmission, as well as the variable susceptability of anyone exposed to any particular spreader. Sometimes, RCT’s are not suitable of answering correctly broad, multi factoral problems. The example of the teacher taking off a face mask for limited periods of time, the resulting infections, but the total lack of addressing a number of confounding factors is a perfect example.
      For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
      Viruses have had millions of years to perfect infection – their very existence depends upon infection. The idea that cheap, easy, and simple solutions abound is kinda of absurd when you reflect upon it…
      Making water potable and disease free is a massive exercise. We will need something akin to that to get a handle on virus transmission. The viruses aren’t gonna stop.

      1. Lee

        Being of advanced years and thrice jabbed, I know my risk of infection has been reduced, probably. I have no way of knowing if I’m susceptible to a breakthrough infection and at risk for serious disease. I still feel enough at risk to be maintaining the non-pharmaceutical precautions: masking, distancing, avoiding prolonged indoor contact other than at home, where we use air filters

        But things on the home front are now likely to change. I live with three considerably younger people, who have been most accommodating and heedful of my vulnerability lo these many long months. But now they are eager to get on with their lives, so we’re considering partitioning the house so they can feel less restricted in their comings, goings and associations. I am most concerned for their safety, and the prospect of my living for the rest of my days in a bubble is daunting. I’ve been a fan of Zen Buddhist teachings for many years, much less so of the lifestyle of a hermit Zen monk. More Vimalakirti than Han Shan, me.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > focus, instead, on the most effective controls and the combination of multiple interventions to stop or limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

        This was my takeaway from the article.

        We (or at least the press, the political class, and those who believe them) seem unable to get our minds around the concept of a layered defense, of defense in depth.

        This is deeply ironic, defense in depth is exactly the strategy the various factions of our ruling class have employed to maintain their power.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The ” the press, the political class, and those who believe them” deliberately conspire to prevent “We” from having access to that concept, in furtherance of their secret agenda of spreading covid to every single person on earth in order to make covid into a reliable tool in the Jackpot toolkit going forward.

          So it becomes up to “We” to spread this concept around among ourselves and to everyone we know who seems receptive to it in the teeth of ” the press, the political class, and those who believe them” working their hardest to erase this concept from the public mind.

      3. Steve H.

        : For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

        John Tukey: “Be approximately right rather than exactly wrong.” [via Tufte]

        My dear Fresno Dan, I hope I didn’t give the impression that I thought masks could be all.

        Like your water example, there are solutions that scale locally. If the authorities insisted on dumping sewage into your drinking water, you’d want to filter it. That’s pretty much what our authorities are doing with ‘Let ‘er rip!’. Higher N -> higher Variance.

        Also, glad you came back.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: subcomandante marcos’s verdict on Marxism and the indigenous–

    This is a topic much discussed in Deep Ecology circles. Two articles recently published at provide good examples.

    While the author of “An Indigenous peoples’ approach to climate justice” does not specifically discuss Marxism, the approach she outlines contains little if any relationship to Marxist thought. Instead, the core of their thinking revolves around our relationship to the Earth:

    Indigenous peoples prioritise responsibility to future generations in their relationships with the Earth, as well as “non-human relatives”, including the trees, fish, animals, skies and water. These are seen as possessing spirit and agency, recognising that we are made of the same elements, and thus are part of the same community.

    They also recognise that nature itself, or “Mother Earth”, has rights that must be respected, and this should be recognised in government-formulated policies and legal processes.

    This perspective was recognised internationally in 2017 at the COP23 climate conference, in a document released by Indigenous groups titled Rights of Nature: Rights-Based Law for Systemic Change. It stated that “we must stop treating the Earth as a commodity”, adding that:

    “Recognising rights of nature means that human activities and development must not interfere with the ability of ecosystems to absorb their impacts, to regenerate their natural capacities, to thrive and evolve, and requires that those responsible for destruction, including corporate actors and governments be held fully accountable.”

    Another article, “Why Citizens and Not Workers,” addresses Marxism directly using Polanyi, Bookchin, Arendt and Castoriadis. The author sees a battle between an “economistic” lens born of an era dominated by business and an obsession with progress and growth and on the other side a path toward “humanization” as outlined by Bookchin (as quoted in the article):

    [W]orkers have always been more than mere proletarians. Much as they have been concerned about factory issues, workers are also parents who are concerned about the future of their children, men and women who are concerned about their dignity, autonomy, and growth as human beings, neighbors who are concerned about their community, and empathetic people who were concerned with social justice, civic rights, and freedom. Today, in addition to these very noneconomic issues, they have every reason to be concerned about ecological problems, the rights of minorities and women, their own loss of political and social power, and the growth of the centralized state — problems that are not specific to a particular class and that cannot be resolved within the walls of factories.

    The author’s conclusion:

    In conclusion, the question of liberating society from domination is not a matter that can be resolved by conditions that the system imposes on us, but on the active stances and attitudes we and our communities take. From citizen initiatives and autonomous zones in cities, to agricultural collectives and indigenous movements, germs of direct democratic emancipation can be found in a diverse array of places. As Polanyi’s concept of the counter-movement implies [11], there is necessity in cross-communal alliances to achieve social progress. But we will remain blind for them as long as we think within the parameters of the system and 19th century dogmas.

    1. martell

      The author says that Marx is guilty of rationalism, positivism, and economism. In context, I’m not sure what the first is supposed to mean or why it’s supposed to be a bad thing. Shouldn’t we try to reason our way out of this mess? Even arguments for a new myth or new religion or new consciousness or whatever are arguments after all. Seems like reason has a role to play in addressing the crisis (or crises). As for positivism, I don’t know. Did Marx occasionally say things that make him sound like Comte? I suppose it’s possible. Nobody’s perfect. But the bit about economism is a clear sign that the article’s half baked. That was an interpretation of Marxism that flourished back in the early twentieth century. On that interpretation, there’s supposed to be an economy which develops over time according to laws of self-generation, with everything else (state, law, religion, philosophy) mere epiphenomena, mere by-products of the economy with no effects of their own. Polanyi is in fact a really good source for well reasoned criticisms of economism in that sense. Oh, and so are Althusser, Poulantzas, and Godelier, all of whom were Marxists. Which brings me to my point: this criticism of Marxism has been outdated since at least 1960.

      I have to say that it’s funny to see Castoriadis trotted out in support of what looks like anarchist politics of some kind. I’ve the impression that we, including unorganized gig workers, are somehow supposed to rise from the hell of the economic (and all it’s particularities, especially class interests) to the heaven of the political, thereby realizing our essential nature as free, communal beings. Now, that is not bad as a Cliff’s Notes take on Arendt, for whom the great failing of the French Revolution was that it’s leaders tried to deal with social problems such as starvation when they really should have spent all their time organizing the endless committee meetings of the future. So, there’s really nothing funny about the Arendt reference. But Castoriadis? Breaking with Marxism, he’d have, on this view, reverted to the views of the young Marx, circa 1843. Now that’s funny.

      1. Darthbobber

        Longer than since 1960. Even in the High Stalinist era, “economism” was used as a pejorative, and usually linked with “vulgar Marxism.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The more open corruption gets, the more vulgar Marxism seems the appropriate theoretical framework. The more vulgar, the better.

          (One might view* the vaccine mandate as the collapse of all that fancy-pants Gramscian theorizing about hegemony. That collapsed, as the vaccination rate shows. Hence the resort to brute force. Power grows from the barrel of a syringe, you might say.)

          * I don’t actually believe this.

          1. Taurus

            Adopting Marxism as the appropriate theoretical framework leads to an authoritarian system of government. This has been proven empirically over and over again. The authoritarian system of government has a side benefit – it is much better ability to deal with corruption than any democratic (or pseudo-democratic) system. So, in this respect, it might seem like the appropriate framework.

            I would offer that it is about as effective in controlling corruption as is the Sharia law imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan :)

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Because “leads to” is exactly what Marx intended. That’s why Marx called it ” the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”.

      2. JEHR

        Martell: It is rational for the capitalist to know that profits are the goal for any industrious activity. If the capitalist wants a bigger profit, then it is rational to create conditions that allow more monetary gain; for example, fewer workers who work longer and harder (slaves, maybe). Progress then becomes paramount if that gives the capitalist more access to greater amounts of goods to sell for even more profit. Progress means ever more commodities to sell derived from greater exploitation of natural resources both above and below ground. To obtain evermore profit, then progress must go on forever until there are no more resources left. That’s the rational for the capitalist and makes sense if you are a capitalist but does not make sense when the end result is the despoliation of the earth on which we depend for life itself.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for your detailed critique. And I’m sure you’re right about the author’s anarchist perspective.

        Given your considerable knowledge of Marxism, I’d ask one question about the relevance of Marxism in our era of ecological crises:

        If a worldview considers the relationship between humanity and the Earth as primary, the lens through which all other work, class, social and political relationships are viewed, could it be considered Marxist?

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        American Indian Activist Russell Means delivered a speech on the inherent EuroCentric Racism of Marxism and the Marxists.

        EuroCentric Marxist cultural white-racists were very upset and offended to hear it. But it appears that the Zapatistas are beginning to appreciate the truth of it. EuroCentric Western-hegemonic Racist Marxism has nothing to offer to anyone, not even to Europeans. The StalinoMarxist Reign of Terror in Russia revealed that to all who have eyes to see.

        Here is the link to the speech.

      1. coboarts

        and to make sure you get the full picture – look into what El Machete did to the federal and state “governments” – yeah baby

  3. nycTerrierist

    gorgeous wolves

    targeted for private contractors to kill by the USDA

    a sick lesson for the kids:

    “Students at Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho, have been studying a group of wolves — known as the Timberline wolf pack — in a nearby national forest since 2003. But sometime in the spring, biologists who track the pack noticed its den was empty, which was unusual, said wolf conservationist Suzanne Asha Stone.

    After conservationists obtained a wolf “mortality list” from the state’s Department of Fish and Game, they realized pups in the Boise National Forest’s Timberline pack were killed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services branch, Stone told The Washington Post.

    Michel Liao, a student at Timberline High, was shocked when he found out.

    “I understand a lot of people think wolves are dangerous animals,” Liao, a member of the school’s environmental club, told The Washington Post. “But it was so shocking to see that federal agents were the ones to come into a pups’ den to kill them, even though the pups didn’t do anything.”

    The incident came as Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) in May signed a law allowing private contractors to kill 90 percent of the state’s wolf population, which officials estimate is about 1,500.”

    1. Lee

      While wildlife conservationists tend to focus their concerns on the preservation of species, in my volunteer work with them in the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program, I found that most developed powerful attachments to individual wolves, myself included. The wolves of Yellowstone are as much storied as they are scientifically studied.

      1. lordkoos

        The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone had many positive effects on the environment there.

        “…then they decided to reintroduce the wolves back in 1995, and that’s when the forest started to get reshaped. Although the wolves killed the elk and deers, it changed their behavior, where the elk and deers don’t stay at one place and eat the trees and grass, and in the fear of wolves, they use to move around from one place to another. As a result, the trees and grass valleys regenerated and they grew to as 5 times their previous height in only six years. The birds started getting a place in the trees to live and the bears got berries to eat and were healthier to kill the elk.

        The beaver population flourished due to the trees and vegetations and their dam-building habits provided water for habitats like ducks, amphibians, fish, and otters. The coyotes were killed by wolves for prey so that the rabbits and mice population increased creating a larger food source for foxes, badgers, weasels, and hawks. The soil erosion caused variation in the path of the river, and more vegetation grew near the rivers and stabilized the river banks.

        And this is how the wolf changed the physical geography of the yellow stone national park.”

        It seems that Idaho’s treatment of the wolves would be counterproductive?

        1. nycTerrierist

          seems the USDA is at war with biodiversity

          less profitable in the short term

          tragic abdication of stewardship –

          but ain’t it grand that Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior, is a Native American?

          1. JBird4049

            IIRC, aside from the now milder winters, one of the reasons for the massive increase in ticks in the United States is having either a lack of or the wrong kind of predators around. Ticks prefer dense brush or heavy grass where they can wait to ambush their victims. Changing the forest understory and the fields of not only they amount, but the kinds of plants, makes it harder for them to hid from their own predators like birds or opossums, or from the weather like snow, hunt us, or reproduce. That means having all the various kinds of predators – foxes, bobcats, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions around to influence their prey.

            Just like with fire in California, climate change makes things more difficult, and hurts or kills off wildlife, but some fire (or predators) makes dealing with it by us or the local wildlife with it much easier.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            How do you expect one Secretary of Interior to force immediate change on tens of thousands of vicious ecocide committers in a whole other Department which she doesn’t even head?

            I await with interest to see what changes she can force upon her own department.

        2. Lee

          Wildlife, from bison and elk, which now carry brucellosis that they originally caught it from cattle, to large predators cost ranchers money. As far as many of them are concerned, the environment is fine as it became, devoid critters that increase costs and decrease income.

          But currently, in the Yellowstone region, ranchers are less of a problem for wildlife species, whether they be herbivores or carnivores, than what happens when ranchers with large holdings sell them to developers who then subdivide and build mansions on 20 acre ranchettes mostly for wealthy coastal elites who love the picture postcard beauty of the place but can’t tolerate wildlife species who might harm them, their kids or their pets.

          This is why some of the prominent wildlife preservation groups there are seeking accommodation with ranchers to keep both them and the wildlife on the land.

        3. Ping

          Louisa Willcox and Dr. David Mattson founders, have been fighting the good fight in collaboration with tribes and credentialed associates in the Rocky Mountain States for grizzlies and wolves, species considered talismans.

          Their site is a wealth of information.

    2. David May

      “Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) in May signed a law allowing private contractors to kill 90 percent of the state’s wolf population, which officials estimate is about 1,500.”

      This diseased entity, this gigantic mistake known as the USA, cannot end soon enough. Enough of this depravity.

      1. newcatty

        It is depraved to kill wolves, especially pups in their dens, with such cruelty and short sighted greed. Always have had an affinity for wolves. Just look at the amazing improvement of Yellowstone , as in above comments, in its physical geography.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you are a fellow American, the house of iron cards may well fall upon you too.

        If you are a European “friend of America” , well . . . . thank you for sending over your best and brightest to get the party started, eh?

  4. PlutoniumKun

    I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t sound too serious for Jerri-Lynn, hope she recovers quickly.

    1. threeskies

      Yes, me too: so glad to read Jerri-Lynn is no longer in a hospital. That is good news. Thank you for that.

      1. Carla

        Thank you, Yves and Lambert, for using a combination of your personal connections and a police wellness check to ascertain that Jerri-Lynn is apparently recovering. Wishing Jerri-Lynn steady improvement and her family the best.

        And also huge thank you to Yves, Lambert, and the stalwarts behind the scenes at NC for keeping this essential site humming along in Jerri-Lynn’s unexpected and unannounced absence.

        1. Arizona Slim


          I admit that I spent a lot of overnight sleep time in the land of worry. Specifically, I was worried about Jerri-Lynn.

          Wishing her a full recovery.

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

            Thank you dear readers, for the many kind thoughts and wishes. You make me feel like a treasured member of this community. This was a pretty bad week.Not quite as bad as the week I had brain surgery last year, but that’s a tale for another time.

            And I appreciate the reader who checked up on me. Thank you! But my housekeeper was a bit suspicious of him and had taken my do not disturb instructions strictly. I wasn’t actually at the beach but snoozing upstairs. She didn’t want to share such details with a stranger. And that initially confused the police who showed up in Point Lookout, where my husband was spending the day while I rested in Brooklyn. They said we might expect a visit from the NYPD at our Brooklyn doorstep.

            1. Susan the other

              Jerri-Lynn – what a relief. All sorts of things crossed my alleged mind: Has she been kidnapped; shut down by the censors; has she got Covid? Whatever it was, it’s is so nice to see you are back.

              1. Michael Ismoe

                You make me feel like a treasured member of this community.

                But you are. We just assumed you knew.

            2. ex-PFC Chuck

              You are indeed a treasured member of this community! It is so good to hear you are doing OK. Thank you, Yves, Lambert and the others who keep the site at the top of its game.

            3. Angie Neer

              Good news. Honestly, I wonder whether you welcome all this discussion of your personal life. Also, given numerous incidents of police “welfare checks” gone bad, I hope your husband is not now on a list of suspects.

            4. norm de plume

              Glad you’re OK. I’m sure I’m not alone in checking NC first thing this morning to see if there was news. Take it easy…

        2. ambrit

          Yes. This is a perfect teaching moment to ponder the line dividing the group interest and personal privacy concerns.
          Best wishes for a “speedy recovery” to Jeri-Lynn.

        3. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Good to return from no internet Donegal mountain & see much more positive news – on Jerry-Lynn at least.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Even before reading, when I saw the link, I assumed that it was a typo, and that what was intended was “meta!”, though that doesn’t make a whole lot more sense. It was puzzling to see “metal” in the article title, and I wonder if this is an editing error. Or maybe intentional nonsense that functions as clickbait.

    2. Mister Rogers

      From Urban dictionary:

      “that’s so metal
      something so hardcore it can only be compared to metal (the music that is)

      Dude did you hear about the guy who cut off his head with a chainsaw?
      Yeah man, that’s so metal”

  5. zagonostra

    >Sen. Bernie Sanders: Let’s stand together to protect working families (Opinion) Charleston

    Empty signifier. Who can read that headline and be moved? The first paragraph is so familiar to anyone who has attended any of his rallies during Presidential race that it doesn’t even register anymore. Like hearing the same thing over and over and over, pretty soon you don’t hear it anymore.

    The Senator has gone to framing the problem to spouting pabulum, “Build Back Better plan” is vitally important. Yes I know, I’ve heard it before, all of it. But like a smooth operator whispering sweet nothings into your ear and seducing you only to wake up the next morning and see her for what she is without the make-up and high heels, you’re not going to ever be taken in again. I wish it weren’t so, I remember a time when she had a rosy blush and an innocent laugh, no more. Like that nasty Dante dream in Purgatorio.

    While Thais is punished in Hell for having flattered her lover, the harlot in Proverbs leads astray a young man specifically with the ‘flattery of her lips’: ‘Irretivit eum multis sermonibus, et blanditiis labiorum protraxit illum’ [With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him] (7.21).

      1. ambrit

        I see the process of “diminishing returns” as coming into play here.
        As with all other “progressive” movements before, at least in the recent past, say from 1800 and on, a credible threat is needed to enforce compliance from the status quo elites.
        For today’s exercise in bait and switch going on before our very eyes, a serious counter move is needed. It is obvious that the status quo elites, at least those within the Democrat Party of the United States, are ignoring the vaporings of the progressives within their Party. Several chances to strike real fear into the hearts of the status quo elites have been bungled. Like an infection, elite impunity is strengthened in the status quo elites with each example of the lack of the will to power shown by the progressives within their Party.
        When will Sanders admit to himself that “polite” politics is not working?
        I’m no political guru, but I am increasingly of the opinion that the progressives within the American Congress will have to deploy a ‘Nuclear Option.’ Allow the Federal Government to default on it’s debts. The world wide fallout will be not only educationally clarifying, but also existentially ‘moving’ to the masses of the American public.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          To me it seems like something out of the blue is all that would accomplish anything now. Progressives such as Sanders and their efforts may be related to it, but I no longer believe -even assuming best intentions and I think Sanders has those – they are or even can be a solution. And frankly it not only looks but in the gut feels like total collapse is the horse to bet on.

          1. ambrit

            I hesitate to pile on here, but I agree with your prediction.
            This has the earmarks of a “test to destruction” for the extant system.
            By being short sighted and rigid in their attitudes, the present status quo elite is setting up the system that they rely on for their primacy for failure.
            The other thing to keep in mind is that any “collapse” that occurs doesn’t need to be severe and catastrophic. It can be gradual and accumulative. A dysfunctional Post Office here, a truncated supply chain there, soon it “adds up to real money” as the saying goes.
            You stay safe up there!

        2. lordkoos

          The problem with this idea is that if the government did default, it would most likely be one more crisis that TPTB could exploit to further erode the fortunes of the average citizen. The beatings will continue until etc etc.

          1. ambrit

            I’m working from the idea that there is a threshold point beyond which, the “consent” of the masses to being ruled will be withdrawn. Eventually, the theory of “blowback” should effectuate and the beatings will become “equal opportunity.” I follow the ancient Alchemists in this: As above, so below.

        3. Mantid

          Perhaps Sanders’ being on the national stage and his “relentless messaging” (Lambert) has something to do with the many many strikes, retirements, and quits we see in the “workplace”.

      2. Zagonostra

        You miss the whole point. It’s not the message but the betrayal – though you yourself may not feel it as such, many do.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          You’ll have to forgive me. I thought a comment that began with:

          Who can read that headline and be moved? The first paragraph is so familiar to anyone who has attended any of his rallies during Presidential race that it doesn’t even register anymore. Like hearing the same thing over and over and over, pretty soon you don’t hear it anymore.

          The Senator has gone to framing the problem to spouting pabulum

          … had something to do with, ya know, hearing the same messaging over and over. In fact, the messsaging on Build Back Better has been awful and not aided by the press. I think it’s a positive thing that Sanders got the message out in President Manchin’s home state.

          As for feelings…. Feelings aren’t facts, as they say in AA.

          P.S. Sanders didn’t write the headline. Editors write headlines.

          1. zagonostra

            I see where we are coming at this from different viewpoints. See for me “feelings” are very much facts when I analyze politics – both from the outside as an observer and inside when engaging in self-reflection.

            Maybe it’s that I have Plato’s Gorgias running through my head and I am missing the forest for the rhetorical trees.

    1. Randy G

      @ Zagnostra

      Never thought of Sanders messaging as a ‘harlot’ — that’s a lot more imaginative than his rhetoric! — but I no longer listen to him at all. Zero. I voted for him twice in primaries and attended his rallies.

      I’m interested in listening to someone who will fight for people who believe in him/her, not a rollover artist that sucks all the life out of the movement backing him. I’ve heard all the sales pitches — no longer buying.

      Lambert notes that “Sanders is relentlessly on message”. So is a chewing gum commercial.

    2. dcblogger

      I was thrilled thrilled thrilled to see Sanders’ op ed in a West Virginia newspaper, that is carrying the fight to the opposition. And West Virginia is most definitely NOT happy with their Senator. As of now they are fatalistic, but Sanders has certainly lit a flame under Manchin.
      Manchin fires back after Sanders pens op-ed in West Virginia paper

      Joe Manchin criticizes ‘out of stater’ Bernie Sanders for op ed in West Virginia’s biggest newspaper

      1. howseth

        Now that’s really good to hear – Sanders’ does op ed in West Virginia newspaper (Though, how many are reading the newspaper anymore?)

        Here I am in California wondering what might be going through the minds of West Virginians – as their repugnant (to me) Senator Manchin (and his wicked daughter (to me)) prevent any progress in America

        Are they cynical in West Virginia?- Wear a Fox/Rush/Tucker mindset? frustrated with all politics? Distracted by sports? Happy to own the lib/Dems above all?, Just fatigued? Ready to vote that bum out of office – and kick him down into his stinkin’ coal mine?

  6. The Rev Kev

    Great to hear that Jerri is with us still. If she was in hospital, it sounds like that she is going to need plenty of rest and quiet for a long while. I wish her well.

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      October 16, 2021 at 8:09 am
      I second that. As much as I will miss her posts, HEALTH COMES FIRST

    2. Eudora Welty

      I really appreciate the different types of links that Jerri-Lynn lifts up on her days doing the blog. She is an essential member, and I am so glad she is apparently on the mend.

  7. Tom Stone

    Good news about Jerri-Lynn, let’s hope for a swift and full recovery.
    As to supply chains, I had to replace a headlight switch on my ’98 Toyota earlier this year, no new units were available so after a Month I went for a used switch, which has now failed.
    New switches are still not available and it has been 3 weeks since my mechanic started trying to find another used one.
    They are not available, new or used and there’s no telling if they will become available again any time soon, or ever.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Took a minute to punch around at and found quite a few 1998 toyota headlight switches. HTH.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      Hey Tom, if I remember right, you are out in CA? Have you tried a pick your part? There are some big ones around the urban centers where you might be able to get one. Watch a YouTube on how to fix before going, bring the tools needed to remove(if the biz doesn’t do it for you), and you may be able to get the part and then install it yourself…

    3. GeorgeMartinSr

      From the article: “Even if the ports were operating perfectly, labor shortages and bottlenecks elsewhere would continue to gum up the system.”

      Bottlenecks, like CARB, the California Air Resources Board, headed by Mary Nichols, another paper pusher with political and financial connections and zero real world experience, who after f’ing up our state, was almost inserted into the EPA by Biden?

      Saw this yesterday~
      “The EPA reached an agreement with the California Air Resource Board to shut down semi-tractor rigs that were non-compliant with new California emission standards. In effect, what this 2020 determination and settlement created was an inability of half the nation’s truckers from picking up anything from the Port of LA or Port of Long Beach. Virtually all private owner operator trucks and half of the fleet trucks that are used for moving containers across the nation were shut out.”
      That’s California, now Biden wants to expand it nationwide through the Infrastructure program.
      Also no more non-union drivers. How to destroy an economy with a pandemic and special interest legislation.

        1. jr

          I think this is a terrible idea. I have truckers in my family. It is a skill intensive job. I myself have driven a 26’ moving truck mid-continent and back. I couldn’t even imagine taking out an 18-wheeler. It requires patience, attention to detail, discipline, and more patience to do it safely and even then it’s a really dangerous job. Add in the crumbling infrastructure and psychotic driving habits of the American…forget it. Go long pile-ups and trucks jammed under bridges…

      1. The Historian

        George: Perhaps you’d understand better if you understood that those people who drive the containerized cargo from the ports aren’t regular OTR or O/O drivers, they are drayage drivers and drayage drivers get paid a bit differently than OTR or O/O drivers. They get paid by delivery and with the shortage of containerized cargo chassis, they can’t earn any money. Here’s an article that explains what is going on:

        And I can’t see that CARB is a factor since this shortage is happening all over the country:

        In any event, CARB has been going for many many years – it isn’t new. What I think may be new is that California is increasing its enforcement. Are they really putting trucks out of service? If they are it is because the trucking companies have decided the fines are just a CODB and are ignoring them.

        Looks like if you want someone or something to blame, perhaps you might look at the Just-In-Time shipping that the country went to several years back and the shortage of warehouses? Covid-19 has unfortunately shown us what the weaknesses in that policy are!

      2. chuck roast

        I like that Mary Nichols knows the Clean Air Act upside down. And the nice thing about statutes like the CAA is that the pols can gnash their teeth and wring their hands, but there is little they can do to prevent their continued implementation. Those old first wave environmental laws are all we have between a remotely livable country and neoliberal rule #1.

        1. Milly

          Why isn’t CARB enforcing ship emissions in California ports and 200 miles offshore?
          “in one year, a single large container ship can emit cancer and asthma-causing pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars. The low grade bunker fuel used by the worlds 90,000 cargo ships contains up to 2,000 times the amount of sulfur compared to diesel fuel used in automobiles”

      3. Kevin Carhart

        Your comment has an uncanny resemblance to OldBuddy which in my opinion dents your credibility somewhat. Are you related?

        We have a 1099 misclassification problem in the USA. I support AB5 and I support 86ing Prop 22 as unconstitutional. You sound so aggrieved, but you have decisions on your side like Friedrichs/Janus so I’m not that worried about the poor non-union OO’s.

      4. Kevin Carhart

        This was just eaten. Sorry if it comes through twice.

        Your comment has an uncanny resemblance to OldBuddy which in my opinion dents your credibility somewhat. Are you related?

        We have a 1099 misclassification problem in the USA. I support AB5 and I support 86ing Prop 22 as unconstitutional. You sound so aggrieved, but you have decisions on your side like Friedrichs/Janus so I’m not that worried about the poor non-union OO’s.

    4. Airgap

      Great news with Jerri-Lynn. That is one worry I can scratch off my list.

      Supply chain issues on the mainland versus what I’ve experienced just this last week in Honolulu;

      We needed an internet set up at our place that included the cable modem and wireless router. So I made an appointment at the main Spectrum office at Ala Moana center. Should be up and running shortly thereafter I thought. Wrong.

      Saturday: “We have only the modems in stock but come back Monday the wireless routers should be here”.
      Monday: “Sorry, the wireless routers didn’t make it in today. They’re on the island but not in stock yet but for sure they’ll be here Wednesday”.
      Wednesday: “No the wireless routers still are not in. All we know is that they are in transit so come back tomorrow”.
      Thursday: “No they’re not here yet”, yada yada yada.

      I left and went up the street to Wally’s and bought one for $99 and now enjoy NC loading at a normal speed.

      Friday: Herd back from auto repair shop where I had left the car. “The intake manifold is cracked and you need a new one. It’s a dealer part and not stocked on the island. We have to order from the Mainland but they don’t have them in stock either. They expect maybe sometime in December they’ll have some. Oh, and you will have to pay for it now as it’s a special order”.

      Looks like we’ll enjoy the bus more frequently. Fortunately The Bus is reliable, convenient and cheap.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . “The intake manifold is cracked and you need a new one. . .

        Can you please enlighten me on what make, year and model the motor is? I want to add it to my shit list.

    1. chuck roast

      Could be. That’s right in line with my theory that the only “alien planet” I know of is the planet Earth. It’s all our bad vibes bouncing back at us off the ionosphere giving us a wicked powerful aurora, Dora. And it ain’t gonna’ stop until we bring back rotary phones.

  8. hemeantwell

    Re the shootings in Beirut, the Reuters article follows the model observed by Moon of Alabama, wherein the fact that the shooters were members of right-wing Christian militias is elided. The Reuters article does, to its limited credit, say the firing appeared to come from the Christian area. A Guardian piece criticized by MoA only referred to ‘shooting broke out, ‘ making it sound like a spontaneous bar fight.

    MoA also pointed out, more speculatively, that the attack preceded the arrival of US representative Nuland. The Maidan square shootings in Kiev (2014?), originally blamed on cops but now attributed to neo-fascists, also occurred in conjunction with a visit by her.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Cf. also the Finns vs. Soviets in the Winter War. IIRC a battalion or so of Finnish ski troops utterly defeated a trapped Soviet division without winter gear on a road in the forest.

      2. marku52

        Standard ambush technique. Like the US army running tanks up a narrow road in the “Bridge Too Far” advance. All it takes is to kill a tank at the front and the rear of the convoy to stall the whole thing.

        The US did the same stupid thing in N Africa, early on. Ran up a canyon without reconning the hills on either side. The entire column got destroyed. The Germans were good at this.

        1. Bill Smith

          British tanks. Not US.

          I believe that the only US units that took part in Market Garden are the 82nd and 101st US Airborne divisions.

        2. The Rev Kev

          It is also a standard Russian tactic. You pull an enemy into a corridor and then you slam the door behind them. That is how Donbass forces a few years ago dealt with two separate Ukrainian invasions – to deadly effect.

  9. Wukchumni

    Alexandra Souverneva, a former doctoral student and yoga teacher, made tabloid headlines in September when she told investigators suspecting her of causing the Fawn Fire that she had tried to start a fire to boil water she thought contained bear urine. The arrest of Gary Maynard, a former criminal justice professor who allegedly went on a fire-setting spree near Lassen National Forest in an effort to trap crews fighting the Dixie Fire the month before, prompted warnings about the “potent threat” of an arsonist’s match as the state grapples with megafires.

    Mushrooms & meth would be my guess as the root causes, and boiling out ursine urine is a doozy. These are mere pikers compared to what a determined arsonist with 50 road flares, a full tank of gas and no shortage of bad intent could do in a 300 mile Cali drive by.

    We had a peak of what could happen when Mother Nature’s equivalent of an arsonist lit all those locales south of San Jose last year at once, or more locally here, the 4 lightning strike fires that all happened simultaneously 5 weeks ago.

    On the wildfire post I speculated as to the cost of the KNP Fire with a $13 million guess, and I was wildly off as it turns out with the cost to date being $70 million and the nearby Windy Fire @ $70.8 million, they’re neck and neck in extending debt.

    Wouldn’t that seventh of a billion be better spent on doing the heavy lifting of cleaning out our forests of the accumulation of duff and thin things out so as to resemble what they looked like before we rudely interrupted the usual burn cycle.

  10. diptherio

    An important thread from Jonah Furman about the actual pay at the John Deere plant. It’s not $70K as everyone is reporting. Not even close.

    Long thread, but important: John Deere workers have reached out to me frustrated about media repeating company talking points that workers make 60-70k a year. One who’s been there over a decade showed me what they made in 2020: Under $40k. So let’s talk about wages at John Deere.

    Edit: I see now that the Tressie McMillan Cottom tweet is a quote tweet of this same thread. Oops. (Twitter embeds are disabled on my desktop browser, so I couldn’t tell that’s what she was referring to).

    1. griffen

      I clicked through to see the extra details. Presenting it in broader terms should have been, or could have been perhaps more clarifying. Making it sound better in 2019 terms than in 2020 terms, just looks like a marketing PR effort.

      If they tried it again, perhaps this is what they could have stated…”entry level is $20 / hour and after x years it ranges up to $30 / hour. Above are basic averages across plants in different states with varied product lines. Incentive and bonus programs, when capacity is at or above 99%, can push these higher.”

    2. Michael Ismoe

      That picture of the striking worker in a storm is a perfect representation of what workers in America can expect. There’s no AOC. Bernie is not around. If you want respect you have to stand in freaking torrential downpour. American workers, you are in this alone. You have a small window but the next time there’s a downpour in Omaha, it would be somewhat heartening if that poor bastard wasn’t alone

      1. marym

        If Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez had shown up with an umbrella they would have been criticized for staging a photo op.

        If there’s going to be a sustained and effective labor movement striking workers need back up like community support (food, child care for those on the picket line – like this for example), consumer boycotts, union leaders who won’t sell out, contributions to strike funds, and support for labor journalists in addition to congresspeople who find a way to get some work done.

        1. witters

          “If Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez had shown up with an umbrella they would have been criticized for staging a photo op.”

          So what? Turn up!

  11. Verifyfirst

    “To be fair, the Senate is in recess now, and Sinema is in Europe raising money, and therefore completely out of touch. So what would one have them do?”

    Yah, it’s not like they are in a position to, idk, keep the Senate in session or something…..

    I’m stuck on–these (Sinema, Manchin, many others, never mind his picks who lost biggly, as in Maine and Kentucky…) are the Senator’s that Schumer wanted, so…….(maybe he imagined they would owe him loyalty?).

    1. flora

      DC’s pols do what their handlers want them to do. ;)

      People joked for decades that DC pols should wear racing car driver-type jumpsuits with their “sponsors” logo patches prominently displayed. To the usual Wall St. corp patches now I’d add various intel agency patches … especially on Dem team jumpsuits. /heh

      1. ambrit

        I’m minded to send our “captured” representatives bright neon orange or yellow jumpsuits; the kind the county prisoners on the roadside cleanup crews wear. That way, the next time a Jan/6 happens, the ‘insurgentes’ can know right off who to ‘petition’ for ‘redress.’

      1. Gareth

        She can raise funds from US expats who retained their citizenship regardless of where they live. I don’t know that she’ll raise that much money on her tour; she may be more interested in it as a way making herself conveniently unavailable while getting some photo ops she can use in campaign materials.

  12. Stephen

    I can’t get to the Bloomberg article, due to their paywall. But I can say with some certainty that recent softening trends in freight rates ex China are almost entirely correlated to Golden Week shutdowns. It happens every year. Not sure its wise to extrapolate any broader trend from this period.

      1. Stephen

        Well, they are financial journalists writing about logistics. So we can cut them some slack.

        NC is really good at collating and presenting supply chain info from properly legit sources – splash 247, loadstar, hellenic shipping news, etc. One of the many reasons I hang around here.

  13. nothing but the truth

    small business employs a huge number of people.

    a massacre of small business is coming.

    large companies are replacing cashiers with self checkouts and making a huge deal of paying 18$ starting wage. no way small business can compete with that.

    and now skyrocketing rent, insurance costs, crime, and a pauper customer.

    1. ambrit

      We here in the North American Deep South have already seen the Pandemic caused spikes in lower level wages receeding. The local WalMart now advertises entry level wages, at a dedicated table just inside the main entrance, of $11 USD an hour for front of the store employees. Last year, that entry level wage on offer was $15 USD per hour. Something similar has happened at the local fast food outlets. The one good sign here is that those “Now Hiring” signs are staying up. Perhaps the local ‘Dogz’ are not gobbling up the dogfood on offer.
      The local small business situation continues to deteriorate. A small group of small businesses that have kept going through the PPP “loans” are now preparing to throw in the towel. The word I heard was that disposable income has dried up. Add that to supply chain issues, which seem to be hitting the small business community especially hard, and we can see the vague outlines of a “Perfect Storm” of economic dislocation looming on the horizon.
      It may be a “sign of the times,” that the check-out woman at the JoAnn Fabric store told me last week that their business is picking up.

  14. ajc

    Marine plants and animals should still be thriving in ocean waters, but they are not. We have lost 50% of all marine life over the last 70 years. The GOES team has used its collective professional and academic experience to undertake further analysis of the peer reviewed and published data to explore the less obvious reasons for this decline and its implications for climate and humanity. In our view, this loss of marine life is directly related to the drop ocean pH and the ‘chemical revolution’ which began in 1950, a decline which is continuing today at a rate of 1% year-on-year despite there being ideal conditions for growth.

    There is no doubt that it is the tiny ocean planktonic plants and animals that regulate our climate, but the planet’s largest ecosystem seems to be ignored as one of the tools to address climate change. Every second breath we take comes from marine photosynthesis, a process which also uses 60-90% of our carbon dioxide. If we have lost 50% of the very thing that regulates the climate, surely it is time to stop, take a fresh look at ocean chemistry and biodiversity and ask ourselves some fundamental questions: “Why have we lost this level of marine life? Why is the decline continuing? What does this mean for our climate and humanity?

    Of particular concern from a climate change perspective is the level of carbonic acid in the oceans, which is the result of atmospheric carbon dioxide being dissolved into the oceans. In the 1940’s pH was 8.2, but in 2020, pH had dropped to it 8.04, meaning the ocean is becoming more acidic. If there are no plants to use the ‘carbon’ for photosynthesis, this leaves unused carbonic acid to move the pH downwards. Reports from respected institutes around the globe, flag an acceleration of the ocean acidification process, which will result in the loss of more marine plants and animals, especially those that have carbonate shells and body structures (aragonite) based. These same reports forecast that in 25 years, pH will drop to 7.95 (2045) and with this, they estimate 80% to 90% of all remaining marine life will be lost – that in the GOES team’s opionion is a tipping point; a planetary boundary which must not be exceeded if humanity is to survive.

    Let’s be clear: If by some miracle the world achieves Net Zero by 2045, evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) BioAcid report [1] report demonstrates that this reduction will not be enough to stop a drop in ocean to pH 7.95. If the level of marine life (both plants and animal) is reduced, then the oceans’ ability to lockout carbon into the abyss is depleted. It is clear to the GOES team that if we only pursue carbon mitigation strategies and don’t do more to regenerate plant and animal life in oceans, we will reach a tipping point, a planetary boundary from which there will be no return, because all life on Earth depends upon the largest ecosystem on the planet. Humanity will suffer terribly from global warming, but it must be understood that the oceans are already showing signs of instability today at pH8.04, but pH 7.95 represents the tipping point.

    This is the abstract to the full paper. Ocean acidification won’t be solved by whatever future failed attempts we make at limiting/eliminating emissions. And most likely acidification will lead to mass extinction of land animals, including, possibly humanity.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “If the level of marine life (both plants and animal) is reduced, then the oceans’ ability to lockout carbon into the abyss is depleted.”

      What that paragraph describes is overshoot that precipitates a decline in carrying capacity. Carrying capacity has two aspects when applied to the Earth. Resource limits are likely to be the first thing we think of when we hear of carrying capacity, but sinks are just as critical. Both the ocean and Earth’s soils are carbon sinks, and the former has a very limited carrying capacity before it heads into overshoot. If overshoot lasts too long, the future carrying capacity of the sink declines, perhaps never to be revived. It’s a point of no return that you do not want to reach.

      This page (scroll down) contains a graph illustrating overshoot with a decline in carrying capacity.

      1. Guy Hooper

        Exponential are frightening. In a rational world, a reduction in O2 would be a reason for action. Since being pointed out in 2017, no action.

        I imagine a scene where the President is told by his science advisor that the oceanic oxygen supply is about to vanish. The President stares uncomprehendingly, then turns to his economic secretary and asks “What impact will this have on the economy?”

        The universe is coldly indifferent to our human old brain urges. It proceeds mercilessly in accordance with its physical laws. There will be no second chance.

      2. Susan the other

        How do we save the oceans? What would be effective at this point? Turning civilization into its own septic tank? One for this and one for that – like specialized fermentation processes? And planting trees around each one. Gotta have oxygen to ferment stuff. Make any effluent going into the water systems and the ocean from any human activity a crime? Surveilled from space? The waste police.

  15. IM Doc

    About the National Guard being called into various states to man the rehab and nursing homes, urgent care centers and hospitals…..This is even happening right now in my own area.

    This is having to be done for 2 main reasons. The employees in the medical realm are just simply exhausted and depressed and are leaving for that reason. And also in many places, those who are left are being fired as part of a vaccine mandate.

    FUN FACT – Did you know that a good number if not most of the National Guard troops being called out to fill these positions are actually UNVACCINATED? Oh yes – it is true. I thought it was just my area – but after a few phone calls to colleagues, this is happening elsewhere.

    So we are firing people for being unvaccinated – and then turning right around and replacing them with the unvaccinated……to try to alleviate the emergency caused by the initial firing?

    Makes sense? right?

    Can someone explain to me how this has a God damned thing to do with public health?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that. I saw a recent JD video talking about that in places like New York and Connecticut but it is good to have actual on the ground confirmation. And it is more than firing people for being unvaccinated – and then turning right around and replacing them with the unvaccinated. It is firing qualified, experienced people for being unvaccinated – and then turning right around and replacing them with the unqualified, inexperienced, unvaccinated people. What could possibly go wrong?

      I know that those National Guardsmen will have their hearts in the right places but it is not fair to put them into this sort of position. But calling out troops always looks good politically. It would have been better if over the past few moths that they were using medical personnel to give those Guardsmen intense training on what they need to know and medical procedures as it was pretty obvious that they would have had to do this sooner or later.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Most people who join the Guard do so for the benefits to attend college. It’s a system of conscription for the lower classes as it’s one of the only ways to advance their social position.

        “WTF am I doing here (Iraq/Afghanistan)? I only joined up for the college money!”

      1. Arizona Slim

        Exactly. And Yours Truly will not obey.

        Instead, I have been working very hard on improving my health and fitness. Even as a sixty-something, I am finding that my body is very responsive to these efforts.

        1. ambrit

          A Fellow Traveller here. (With, in today’s political climate, all of the McCarthyite ‘negative’ connotations.)
          Stay safe!

          1. Procopius

            When I got told on two other blogs that I lied when I said I voted for HRC, and then was accused of being a paid troll for the Russians when I asked where the evidence was that the Russians caused Hillary’s loss, I realized I had traveled in time back to my high school days, when the real “Tailgunner Joe” was running amok. Then the whole TDS and the attempt to prevent Trump from governing. It’s not going to get better soon, either.

        2. Soredemos

          No, this is simply stupid. You do not want to get covid. It is a particularly nasty disease that often leaves behind a lot of lasting damage even when it doesn’t kill. If you can get a vaccine, and can afford the potential of a few days of missed work from side effects, you should do it.

          The mandates are clearly part of a plan to blame a complete top to bottom public health failure on ‘deplorable refuseniks’, but you should still get vaccinated if you can do it.

          I now have personal family experience with what happens when not vaccinated. My sister is going to have to deal with the fact that she was the vector through which her husband died.

        1. flora

          something, something, “We never thought it would come to that”, something something, “We didn’t know”, something something, “We just did what we were told”, ….

    2. Carolinian

      Makes no sense. And while front line military are threatened with discharge for no vax, reports say reserves have until next summer to meet the same requirement.

      1. Guy Hooper

        US Air Force Reserves require their troops to be vaccinated or scheduled to be vaccinated by today, a drill weekend. Those that refuse are being administratively discharged. Religious exemptions are being handled at the HQ level, not the local level. Word has gone out that virtually none of the exemptions will be granted.

        The rationale is that unvaccinated people are somewhere around 90% of ICU hospitalizations and deaths. Military readiness is compromised with numbers like that so everyone gets vaxed.

        In my 20 years, I had dozens of shots and vaccines for Asia, Middle East and Africa. The idea of not getting them seemed like self harm. The only controversy in my time 1985-2005 was Anthrax but I had no effects and never met anyone who did. Follow up studies did not indicate a problem with the Anthrax vaccine as far as I know. Flu shot every year was required.

        Sign up to serve, you have to get shots.

        1. Yves Smith

          That 90% claim is from either Jan 2021 (many people not vaccinated till March-April) AND the vaxes being more effective against wild type Covid than Delta.

          MDs in multiple locations are saying that hospitalizations NOW are more like 60% vaccinated/40% not. But they do say the sickest are not vaccinated.

      2. Guy Hooper

        Posted previously that US Air Force Reserves require all troops to be vaccinated with first shot with schedule to get shot 2 if required today. This is a drill weekend for the USAFR.

        My comment apparently got tossed in moderation but don’t know why.

    3. flora

      It makes no public health sense, imo. So what is really going on and why is it going on in almost every country in the West in near lockstep? Have our democratically elected pols all been replaced by Zeta Reticulans? /heh (Halloween is just around the corner.)

      Many questions aside, Quebec’s health ministers seem to have a clue that losing a large percent of health workers just as Canada is entering the winter flu season may not be a good idea.

    4. Nikkikat

      Maybe, it only has to do with Fauci’s stock portfolio…..sadly. Like the Moderna boosters, one day you don’t need them because “not enough data to make a determination”. Within a few days a panel decides you do need one.

      1. flora

        an aside: With the “greatest generation”, which grew up in the Great Depression/New Deal/WWII, the primary outlook of most all adults back then was keeping employment high and decent wages and benefits in place for workers and families. Left or right, Dem or GOP, the prevailing outlook was keeping a middle class of both blue collar and white collar workers strong to avoid another great depression. imo.

        Over the last 30 years that’s all changed. Now it seems the primary outlook for everyone in politics and media and higher education is keeping stock market prices high and rising, no matter what, especially with pols and agency heads and members doing so very very well in the stock market: Fed govs trading their own stocks with insider interest rate knowledge; Congressmen and women trading their own portfolios with advanced knowledge of c19 effects on the market last Feb/March 2020; Fauci and the FDA/CDC profiting from higher pharma either directly or indirectly. And it’s all legal.

        Bill Black taught us about regulatory control capture in banking. Banking isn’t the only area where regulatory control happens.

        1. Glen

          I’m the guy in the meeting at the back of the room that says “my pay, my bonus, my compensation” every time the manager says “shareholder value”.

          It may be true, but it does not endear one to one’s managers. But it has so perverted corporate managerial decisions where I work as to render them absurdly comical on many occasions. These guys routinely make decisions that will double their pay but end up costing the corporation billions.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      Any reasonably competent politician must recognize that this national guard callout is a temporary solution at best, and any reasonably cognizant citizen must recognize its desperation.

      Both must, or soon will, realize that, despite all the big, tough talk, coercion has its limits as well as its consequences.

      According to other websites which shall remain nameless, the failure of the biden administration to codify the “vaccine” mandate beyond a press release has meant that it has been unchallengeable in court. Now that biden is, reportedly, formalizing the mandate through OSHA, including all the “exceptions,” that situation changes.

      Even given the massive corruption in the american judiciary, I cannot imagine that some remotely “logical” justification for replacing a group of experienced, qualified unvaccinated professionals with a group of unvaccinated weekend warriors could be concocted. Not to mention the issue of a taxpayer funded defense force working in the for-profit “healthcare” businesses commonly known as hospitals.

      Time to shit or get off the pot. We’re about to see how much brute force the american public will accept from the likes of joe biden and his owner operators.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        To be fair, the military is one of the few institutions that continues to function (granted, not in a war-winning way, but at least they can still do logistics). Function in some other way than extracting rents from the helpless or deceived, that is.

        Another one of these few institutions is the intelligence community (granted, not insofar as collecting intelligence against foreign enemies is concerned, but in terms of domestic politics, I’d say it’s doing pretty well.

        Leading me to suggest that when we need to take the National Guard off nursing home duty, we could send in the spooks.

        1. IM Doc

          The problem with this situation we are facing now is the National Guard is trained to take care of guarding the nation. The spooks are trained to be spooks. Neither skill set is going to translate into a nursing home of 90 year old demented patients.

          Hilariously, one of them has had to take frequent breaks to vomit. Nursing homes have a certain odor especially in the rooms. It can at times be overwhelming. During my intern year there was a quote told to all the interns – “Breathe deep the aroma of life – let life’s beautiful smells inhabit every cell in your nostrils. But when you are at the VA – just breathe through your mouth”. Believe it or not – even that simple thing is a learned skill.

          The new employees have absolutely no idea for the most part how to correctly take care of patients – especially nursing home patients. The medics among them have some clue – but watching “weekend warrior” used care salesman transporting patients safely much less changing diapers, taking care of catheters correctly or even turning people in bed correctly has been harrowing to say the least. The safety in many of these tasks is certainly not intuitive.

          Again – this is not about public health. We have replaced unvaccinated employees who knew what they were doing and had been trained with unvaccinated “volunteers” who for the most part have not a clue what they are doing. My educated estimation is this is not going to go well for public or patient safety.

          1. flora

            Thank you. Especially for the comments about elder health care.
            John Prine’s “Hello in There” song:

            Oncst upon a time, capitalism was restrained by other, larger, socially wide understood forces: religious understandings, the Enlightenment principles, a view wider than “the bottom line” as important for society’s construction and continuation. A “capitalism within society” understanding instead of “profits uber alles” understanding. My 2 cents.

            1. Brunches with Cats

              Clear explanation, thanks for the link, Flora.

              “In times of civil unrest, the citizens of a state can rest assured that the Guard will be ready to respond, if needed.”

              Nice, clear warning.

          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            “ Again – this is not about public health. We have replaced unvaccinated employees who knew what they were doing and had been trained with unvaccinated “volunteers…”

            It is as you say, not about public health. But you keep speaking of the Guard as though it were controlled by the same authorities that mandated vaccinations for nursing home workers. Which to the best of knowledge isn’t the case; worker vaccination mandates are being pushed or dictated at the federal executive level of government. Whereas state governors have considerable control over deployment of state Guard units.

            The ineffectual use of National Guard personnel likely reflects the decision by state level executives to use what few tools they have available to deal with a problem largely not of their making.

            1. Brunches with Cats

              > worker vaccination mandates are being pushed or dictated at the federal executive level of government …

              Some states have their own mandates; e.g., New York, California, and Washington. The latter is the strictest in the country (and the sh!t’s about to hit the fan on Monday). FWIW, Gov. Inslee says he’s got in all under control and there won’t be any need for the Guard. I would love to see him eat those words while standing directly in front of the fan. Bonus: When the unvaxxed Freedom Warriors realize their fill-ins are unvaxxed National Guard, we might get to see what a real insurrection looks like.

              Inslee’s Thursday press conference (10/14) pretty much corroborates comments that the mandates are more about obedience than public health. Among other revelations, he said he’s been told that the imminent OSHA rule will include a test-out option, but that he’ll have it rewritten at the state level to be “consistent” with his no testing, get-vaxxed-or-get-fired dictate. He insisted that only vaccines work, whereas people died when they tried testing.

              Just a few minutes earlier, he announced a new rule that attendees at indoor events of more than 1,000 people and outdoor events of more than 10,000 will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within the previous 72 hours. One reporter dared to ask why testing was OK in those instances, but not for state workers. Here’s Inslee’s verbatim response, with a link (you can’t make this up):

              “The reason we’re having a test-out option is that in order to deal with the religious exemption and medical exemption issue. It’s very difficult to ask a football team to assess the religious or medical exemption requests of 70,000 people. So in order to accommodate that, we’ve opened up that door to folks. It’s the only realistic way we thought to really handle this in a practical way. So that’s the reason we’ve allowed it for the particular arenas.

              “In a vocational standpoint, the employer who sees the same employee every day can ask for, you know, an assessment of the ability to accommodate an exemption. That’s very not easy to handle. But we have found it success handling it. You just can’t do that when people are trying to rush into a football stadium.”

              The reporter who asked the question was from KIRO 7 News, Seattle (CBS affiliate, owned by Cox). The following link is to his report and includes Inslee’s full, uncut press conference.

          3. Randy G

            IM Doc — As someone outside the medical profession, I appreciate someone inside the profession commenting on the replacement of trained staff, terminated due to their vaccine status, by untrained ‘scabs’ who have equally dubious vaccine status.

            To me, an outsider, it seems like a truly insane policy. However, I thought maybe I was missing the logic and soundness of the program. Apparently not.

            1. jsn

              I find it hard to believe there’s some Machiavelli scheming ways to kill more Americans faster.

              But the more of this that happens, the harder it is to believe otherwise.

            2. newcatty

              IM Doc, Second that appreciation for your contributions to NC. IMO, it’s absolutely chilling that among the most vulnerable population, elderly and nursing home patients, are being cared for by totally( except for medics) untrained and unqualified weekend “warriors”. We have gone from any compassionate care for them to literally throwing them under politicians ‘s camouflage wheels. Imagine asking a guardsmen to care for children or babies in NIC units or adults in critical care beds. Most of us should be shocked, shocked I tell you. It’s beyond incompetent and criminal to have these guardsmen caring for patients who need the specialized care that you describe.
              BTW, it was hilarious to read about the poor guardsmen who had to take breaks to vomit. I am especially sensitive to smells and odors. One time I was visiting an elderly relative, not in nursing home, but in facility with one, and relative in assisted living. Shared elevators with home units. We stepped in elevator and a nursing home patient in a wheel chair just let it rip. Flatulence and feces in that diaper. As elevator stopped I ran out to exit door, only by deep breaths did I avoid vomiting. If I were in a nursing home, and was cognitively intact, I would be insensed that some strange “soldier”, especially of other gender, was caring for my intimate needs. Add to that, the “weekend warriors” perhaps resenting having to do that work. Hey, So I signed up to play on a few weekends. I knew I could be called up for natural disasters, but this is humiliating and, sometimes scary, since I don’t have the f***king clue to how to care for these people.

          4. Tom Stone

            I have dealt with dementia recently and it takes immense patience and calm to keep the elderly demented from becoming agitated to an unsafe degree.
            They ARE demented, they are NOT in their right mind and trying to reason with someone suffering from dementia will not work.

            Asking an untrained 20 something National Guardsman or woman to deal with them…hoo boy.

      2. eg

        While I concur that the use of military personnel as emergency care workers is suboptimal in just about every possible way, if the early experience of Ontario and Quebec where they were called into Long Term Care Homes last year is any guide, it is the horror stories that will emerge about the prevailing standard of care revealed to have PRECEDED the pandemic that may have some value.

  16. Brooklin Bridge

    Thanks for the information about Jeri and hope for the best.

    The article on intervention hierarchy (part 1) was excellent. In particular it emphasized the importance of multiple layers of intervention (both ways) and their hierarchy. One of the interventions I rarely hear considered by friends and acquaintances is that of exposure time in a given setting such as a supermarket visit or a class room event (3/4 hr.?) or a conversation where two (or more) people are within talking distance.

    Some random observations: Many people have a tendency to get closer and closer during a conversation and continually stepping backwards again and again has diplomatic limitations. Supermarket visits are one of my greatest exposures (after outdoor conversations with friends) and I’ve always tried to limit the longest visit to around half an hour – 45 min. being the outer limit. My point being simply that awareness of exposure time should be a consideration just as the type of filtration one wears over nose mouth and in some cases eyes. Another issue is stringency drift. One will only know that their protective efforts were inadequate (or beyond their control) when they get the damned disease (and even then…) so it is very human and very easy to progressively let one’s guard down.

    One of the issues I couldn’t find discussed in Part I or Part II was the influence of money and its attendant evils such as main stream media or politicians and their “agendas” on scientific research. It is so rampant in contemporary Western societies, that it should be an integral consideration in any careful study. This was perhaps very obliquely touched upon in the refreshing critique of the WHO and the CDC in their coverage (or lack of it) of transmission vectors and the time it took them to partially recognize the relative importance of aerosol particles vs. droplets.
    More importantly, however, I suspect money ultimately has a significant influence on what studies are done and which ones are not done as well as which ones are ignored and which ones “acceptable” for the public.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Many people have a tendency to get closer and closer during a conversation’

      To help solve that, ask them if they could go to the fruit and vegetable aisle and explain to them that you seem to have picked up a cold and can no longer smell them to see if they are ripe or not. But assure them that you can’t be virus-infected as you next door neighbour said that you weren’t.

      For persistent people, having a coughing fit and take out a white handkerchief but one that has hidden in it one of those Hollywood blood capsules. As you cough into it, squish it and let it stain your hanky. Look very much surprised and push the hanky towards them and as them if they think that this is normal or not.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        If not patented first, these ideas and should be an integral part of any mitigation strategy analysis.

        1. ambrit

          I fear, seriously, that roving teams of “Health Proctors” will be instituted. Those found not to be “in compliance” will be whisked off to the dreaded FEMA Health Quarantine Facilities for “observation.”
          The above may be considered ‘extreme’ thinking, but similar processes have been instituted around the world over the past century or so. Some examples were legitimate responses to health crises. Other examples were political exercises in the suppression of dissent.
          Not even I would have predicted a few decades ago that Cynicism would become a survival characteristic.

          1. flora

            I agree. When ‘cleverness’ on the personal level to dodge and dive only servers to confirm by proxy federal-level mandates stuff, what larger principle is being served? Shorter: do the work directly and not by the half measures of a personal wishy-washy “oh, I didn’t mean THAT” dodge. /heh

          2. Maritimer

            “I fear, seriously, that roving teams of “Health Proctors” will be instituted.”
            You already have those, doing the job for free. There have always been the nannies, snitchers, squealers, etc. amongst us but now such behaviour is endorsed, encouraged and stimulated by Government and their Corporate Owners. And it is deeper than that, exploiting long standing hatred and resentment in people.

            Behavioural Science has far advanced in the last seventy years since the end of WWII when it last had its most visible Propaganda heyday. Today’s Propaganda onslaught makes old time Propaganda look like a day at the beach. They have a multitude of behavioural buttons to push and Government funding to do it.

            All those billions (tens, hundreds?) spent on Vaccine Propaganda and still there are refuseniks, dissenters, critical thinkers who on their side have spent very little. Certainly makes one wonder about the value of Majority Opinion.

          3. tegnost

            Amazon will run the facility through their distribution…oops I mean fulfillment centers, they are totally set up for observation, and the quarantinese can work off their rent in the non sleeping hours, 4 on 4 off and then maybe, just maybe they’ll learn to get in line and hail the Great Ones.
            Glad to see j-LS is ok

      2. jr

        This is brilliant. I’ll forgo the blood capsule but the next time I feel I’m getting spatially squeezed I’m going to start hacking into my mask like a maniac…

  17. Solideco

    Sinema is in Europe raising money

    Say what?…

    Who is she raising money from? Vacationing Arizonans enjoying the sights of Paris?

    But seriously, who? And I thought foreign donations were illegal.

    I’ve seen Sinema’s European fund raising mentioned on NC and elsewhere, but not once have I seen anyone mention the funders or the legality.

    Any ideas?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      It’s only illegal if the foreign money comes from Russia to benefit Trump. All other countries are OK and if the money to influence US politics comes from Israel, then it’s widely encouraged by both parties.

      1. ambrit

        Since when has Israel been a part of Europe? I mean, it most closely resembles a Despotic Theocracy. How much more anti-Enlightenment can you get? [This of course credits Europe with still having some vestiges of Enlightenment philosophy at the centre of it’s socio-political system.]

            1. ambrit

              I have been wondering if the European/American Middle East policy and it’s warmaking could legitimately be considered as a New Crusade? [I’d start this ’round’ of Great Gamesmanship at the inception of the Anglo American oil companies back at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.]

            1. Chauncey Gardiner

              Ha!… Most excellent comment. Think they’ve won a few times. World can always do with more music and more musicians.

              1. newcatty

                Our local noose PBS ( yes) show told us that it’s all legit, see, cause Sinema can take in money from ex-pats. The host, actually with a sense of humor, smiled and said, Uh, hear there are lots of them in Paris. And, oh it’s beautiful there in October. This is a Phoenix station.

          1. ambrit

            Hmm.. And how many Theocracies can we name in Europe?
            I would also note that Lebanon is an example of a similar phenomenon, an European culture slowly being assimilated into the local Arab culture.
            I’ll give you the colony part, insofar as it’s dominant population is comprised of first and second generation transplants from Eurasia. However, history shows a general trend towards assimilation of the colonizing population by the dominant ‘local’ culture. The few examples that I can think of where the colonizing population maintains distinctness and supremacy involve massive violence and intimidation. Those examples generally tend to end with the total destruction of the colonizing population and culture.

    2. allan

      Expats. Rich expats. Goldman Sachs employees were her biggest individual donors since 2017.
      They’ve got office all over Europe. And surely Deutsche has some US staff in Frankfurt.

      She can stop any tax hike cold. They know it, and she knows that they know it.
      All they need to do is negotiate a price have a constituent meeting.

  18. Carolinian

    Good to hear the good news about Jerri-Lynn even if it was a bit like one of her fave mystery stories.

    And from the mask article a few tidbits of new information.

    Thus, the public should not rely on typical cloth or surgical masks to offer them much time beyond 15 minutes in a shared space with potential sources, even if others are also wearing masks. Wearing a non–fit-tested respirator allows about an hour of time inside a shared space even if no one else is wearing a mask or respirator.

    In other words the shorter the exposure the better and and not being indoors with an infected person at all the best plan. But according to this it is time based.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That quote sounds about right to me. Pretty much common sense actually. A mask is useful if you’re just going indoors quickly, but given that the rona is transmitted by aerosols, if an infected person is indoors for an extended period of time then the mask only delays a room filling up with virus and doesn’t at all prevent it. The math here is not hard and I’ve been wondering for well over a year why it isn’t widely acknowledged. If a mask stops 95% of particles, after sitting next to a masked infected person for 20 breaths it’s the same as one unmasked breath. How long does it take the average person to exhale 20 times – one or two minutes max?

      That’s not to say that masks are not effective – just that it depends on the circumstances.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I’ve not yet read the mask papers linked but to an extent, based on some of the comments I’ve read, it sounds like it reflects this table that I shared in comments last month (noting that the numbers therein are not empirical, but estimates based on various assumptions).

        Some days I feel like I should take a break from NC but then I worry about missing out on worthwhile stuff like this!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Masks. Seriously.

      Hasn’t anyone been watching the baseball playoffs?

      Packed stadiums in every part of the country with three or four hours of non-stop shouting and cheering and not a mask in sight.

      One five game series was even held completely in California–LA and SF–with that same level of commitment to masking, which is to say none at all.

      I continue to mask up when I go to the store, but mostly in solidarity with the servant class of “sales team members.” I’m afraid that mask ship has sailed.

      1. Carolinian

        I wear a mask in the store and, since I’m usually not there very long, perhaps it does do some good. At any rate it’s not much trouble.

        However the implication of the linked article would seem to be that children in a classroom all day are not getting much benefit from cloth masks alone or perhaps at all. Here in SC a court has blocked the state legislature insistence on no school mask mandate. But our local school board just voted, barely, to continue to reject a mask mandate. I hear from a teacher that there are more positives this year than last but then Delta is supposed to be more infectious. Masks were also optional last year and hours curtailed.

  19. super extra

    I see Russiagate and the Steele Dossier are back in the news. I apologize if this was linked a couple days ago, because if Team Russiagate really wants to revive this for some book tours, they should be prepared to answer questions around why the nefarious russkies are to blame when our own domestic amoral hackers are creating fake news empires for rich investors:

    Hacker X: The American Who Built a Pro-Trump Fake News Empire Unmasks Himself

    From the article precis..

    For two years, he ran websites and Facebook groups that spread bogus stories, conspiracy theories, and propaganda. Under him was a dedicated team of writers and editors paid to produce deceptive content—from outright hoaxes to political propaganda—with the supreme goal of tipping the 2016 election to Donald Trump.

    Through extensive efforts, he built a secret network of self-reinforcing sites from the ground up. He devised a strategy that got prominent personalities—including Trump—to retweet misleading claims to their followers. And he fooled unwary American citizens, including the hacker’s own father, into regarding fake news sources more highly than the mainstream media.

    Pundits and governments just might have given Russia too much credit, he says, when a whole system of manipulating people’s perception and psychology was engineered and operated from within the US.

    “Russia played such a minor role that they weren’t even a blip on the radar,” the hacker told me recently. “This was normal for politicians, though… if you say a lie enough times, everyone will believe it.”

    Previously dubbed “Hacker X,” he’s now ready to reveal who he is—and how he did it.

    The article lays out how the webring he created was initially used to push highly-targeted advertising to people who signed up for newsletter/email in response to a huge range of stuff (they mention the example of ‘lemons curing cancer’ but it shifted over 2015 to political stuff, which grabbed more people).

    It would be incredible – and hilarious – if the Russiagate fraud was unwound because the amoral hacker who did this wasn’t satisfied with being outed anonymously in a book a year ago that went nowhere because he wanted to be sure everyone knew it was him!

  20. The Rev Kev

    “The End of American Militarism?”

    There is more chance of the Pope converting to Islam that Joe Biden ending militarism. Biden has been there pushing for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and is now going along with pushing against China and Russia. So, Neoliberal at home and Neocon abroad. If Biden let the evacuation of Afghanistan go ahead it was probably so the resources spent in Afghanistan could be spent going against China instead as seen with the Quad, AUKUS and NATO units now in the Pacific.

      1. LifelongLib

        IIRC the main religion in “Dune” was “Zensunni” which looks like a combination of Buddhism and Islam.

    1. Brunches with Cats

      Totally with you on this, Rev. I didn’t for one minute believe Biden pulled us out of Afghanistan to end the “forever war.” A while back, I linked to an article or two about negotiations with the Taliban months in advance of the U.S. departure, much of which centered on an oil pipeline.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: Deadly shooting rocks Beirut as tensions over blast probe erupt

    The article appears to be understating the level of violence yesterday judging from the videos floating around social media. The Lebanese Army looked like it could do little to stem to the violence as armed crowds strolled past their checkpoints in Beirut. It fortunately appears to be much calmer today.

    Still, there’s a country that looks like it’s on the brink of civil war and/or state collapse.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Undersea internet cables connect Pacific islands to the world. But geopolitical tension is tugging at the wires”

    Yeah, not so much internet cables but surveillance chains in practice. China was going to lay cables to a few places but western countries made those islands an offer that they could not refuse.

  23. lordkoos

    I thought I would share this email from the FLCCC that I received yesterday. Their fundraising is under attack from corporate entities.

    To our dedicated supporters:

    We must be making an impact, because Big Tech is coming after our small and mighty nonprofit with all that they have.

    First, Teespring shut down the FLCCC online store. I guess our t-shirts and mugs were more than they could bear. But don’t worry, we are working on a new and improved store with lots of new merchandise and plan to launch in a couple of weeks.

    Today, an entirely new level of attack was levied by two more Big Tech players.

    1. PayPal shut down our donation platform, suddenly and unexpectedly, because of what they call “being in violation of Pay Pal’s Acceptable Use Policy.”
    2. Facebook has restricted posts, ability to add followers, and threatened to unpublish the page as a result of being rated as “Partly False by an independent fact-checker”.

    These attacks join LinkedIn and Vimeo, which removed our accounts, and YouTube, which began taking down our testimonial videos months ago.

    The powerful forces of Big Tech, Big Pharma, government, health authorities, and mainstream media continue to suppress us. There is nothing false in anything that we post. This is an attack on our ability to fundraise, our free speech, and our efforts to share effective, safe COVID-19 prevention and treatment protocols to help people around the world stay out of the hospital — and to save precious lives impacted by this dangerous virus.

    As a 501(c)(3) organization, 100% of our funding is based on donations from our supporters. We do not make a dime from any therapy or medication that is listed in any of the FLCCC protocols. Our team is dedicated to one thing — saving the lives of those across the world that are impacted by COVID-19.

    Our team rallied today, and as a result, our new donation button is now live. We apologize for any inconvenience this shutdown may have caused.

    We appreciate every individual contribution and work hard to invest every cent wisely towards our cause. It is more important than ever to rally and fight back against these coercive attacks.

    Thank you to all of the FLCCC Alliance followers and supporters that make our efforts so worthwhile. We want you to know how grateful we are to you for recognizing and supporting the urgency and importance of our work.

    With sincere gratitude,

    The team at the FLCCC Alliance

    1. Ian Perkins

      “We do not make a dime from any therapy or medication that is listed in any of the FLCCC protocols.”

      That may be true of the organisation, but is it true of its members and donors? I read there’s quite a business in writing – and charging for – online prescriptions for drugs many doctors disapprove of.

      1. Objective Ace

        >I read there’s quite a business in writing – and charging for – online prescriptions for drugs many doctors disapprove of.

        No more than a regular doctor’s appointment would cost. As to the cost of the prescriptions they recommend: monoclonal antibodies are 1000x more expensive then IVM and they are recommended by the rest of the medical community too.

    2. Arizona Slim

      When I donate to the FLCCC Alliance, I do it the old-fashioned way. I write ’em a check and mail it.

      I encourage others to do the same because I don’t trust PayPal further than I can swing a bull by the tail.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I heard once an even more evocative version of that basic sentiment. ” I’d trust ( whatever) as far as I could throw a chimney by the smoke.”

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Rehabbing Rahm Emmanuel

    Bush and the Cheneys are already taken care of so once they’re finished putting the lipstick on Rahm maybe they can do Anthony Weiner next!

    1. ambrit

      Oh no. Anthiny Weiner? That would be a perversion of the “Big Tent” theory of political organization. Weiner would be like the oft mentioned camel; once it gets it’s foot under the stall partition, the rest will follow. Then we will all be buggered.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Perhaps the Dems have noticed their poll numbers tanking despite the “Big Tent” they’re trying to construct. And who better to pitch that tent than Weiner? (although probably not by getting the foot in…)

        1. ambrit

          Great Heavens my good nebulous sir! Are you positing a Democrat Party Glory Hole!!?? [Such actually does fit the facts we have concerning how the American political parties, ahem, “work.”]
          Keep those political ‘donations’ coming in!

          1. newcatty

            Speaking of pretty uping Weiner, it occurred to me that lipstick would not be applied to his lips, but some other part of his infamous anatomy. Ugh!

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Wouldn’t those two make just the neatest DemPrez ticket? Emmanuel-Wiener or maybe Wiener-Emmanuel.

        The name-puns suggest themselves. Wiener-Manuel. Or Manuel Wiener. Getting a grip on the situation.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Tool use making crows happy

    It isn’t just the crows. Firing up the power saw brings a smile to my face too. Maybe it’s just from counting my digits after the cutting is done and realizing I’m still intact, but I do feel invigorated!

  26. chuck roast

    Another “pivotal moment in Teamster history.” Please, spare me. The Teamsters have been corrupt sell-outs for my entire geezer life. My wife worked with the UFW in their early days in Coachella. The stories she told about Teamster union busting and brutality were hair-raising. No reason not to resist the swine leadership, but the overwhelming zeitgeist conspires.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      They may be a good example of “the means must reflect the ends.” They resorted to some questionable alliances when they were in their organizing phase, and it turned out there was an unspoken price for some of those allies.

      On the other hand, the UAW allied with those to their left, and they had a very successful collusion for quite a while until some old scores got settled along with the Dem Party being now impressed with their anti-Red bona fides.

  27. NotThePilot

    Been busy for a while so haven’t been able to find time to post; I’ve wanted to though, especially in light of everything accelerating in the Great American Untergang of 2020-2021.

    I’m glad to hear Jeri-Lynn is doing well, and I also wanted to ask, did anyone else read the Bonus Antidote and think, “Spinoza was right again!”

    Forward, Part 3: Most writers on the emotions and on human conduct seem to be treating rather of matters outside nature than of natural phenomena following nature’s general laws. They appear to conceive man to be situated in nature as a kingdom within a kingdom: for they believe that he disturbs rather than follows nature’s order, that he has absolute control over his actions, and that he is determined solely by himself.

    Part 3, Prop. 53: When the mind regards itself and its own power of activity, it feels pleasure: and that pleasure is greater in proportion to the distinctness wherewith it conceives itself and its own power of activity.

  28. FluffytheObeseCat

    Ohio student, 10, confronts anti-maskers at board meeting: ‘Please be quiet. It’s inappropriate’ – Akron Beacon-Journal

    Thank you for linking to this article. It’s one of very few in the mainstream media that depicts what I’ve been seeing and living here on the ground in flyover. For those who haven’t read it, let me please touch on a few of the high point of the piece:

    1) a school board meeting in NE Ohio was deluged with overwhelmingly white mask “protestor”.
    2) they shouted over everyone who attempted speak in defense of the board mask use policy
    3) the article centers on their continuing vile behavior when a ten year old girl, who actually attends a district school, tried to speak.

    Please look carefully at the photos of the “protestors” if you click on the piece. Two of the “Bubba” style men are wearing shirts that display crypto-racist symbols; one wears a “Betsy Ross” 13 star flag and another wears a blue-stripe “police lives matter” flag. And then there is the lovely photo of a perfectly groomed young woman with fancy phone case, a showy cross at her neck, and haughty sneer on her face. She is too ladylike to subtly threaten her fellow citizens with T-shirt symbols; instead she’s wielding her phone camera to do so.

    The little kid trying to speak in the face of their foul, self-aggrandizing BS is not white, by the way…. and based on my few years of life in Ohio, I betcha the majority of her public school peers aren’t either. And I betcha half the anti-mask protestors don’t send their kids to the public schools either.

    They perfectly represent the norm among the vocal anti-mask and anti-vax brigades in the heart of the U.S. today. Their “righteous” fury over government mandates in the face of a deadly disease is….BS. It’s just a socially “valid” excuse for them to enjoy themselves abusing small time government personnel and others whom they perceive as weak. Contempt for other Americans is their key motivation. Disgust at the thought of taking (possibly ineffectual) precautions on all our behalf’s is writ large across their faces. Not because the precautions may be ineffectual, but because they’re disgusted at the need to make any sacrifices for the rest of us at all.

    You see, they know they are better than the bulk of us, who are no longer ‘just like’ them, so public courtesy isn’t something they need indulge in. The rest of us aren’t as Christian, as fawning toward the “correct” authorities, as devoted to particular episodes in our nation’s history as they are. Just look at their silver crosses, Betsy Ross flags, and Back the Blue flags….. it should be clear to you that they’re better than all the rest of us, who may (so weak of us!) give the civil authorities a chance or two, despite their fumbles and vapid talk.

    Well, hell! If it isn’t clear to you that they’re more right than everyone else….. there must be something wrong with you. Just ask them.

  29. Katniss Everdeen

    Courtesy of The Automatic Earth:

    Nebraska Attorney General ruling on IVM & HCQ : “Allowing physicians to consider these early treatments will free them to evaluate additional tools that could save lives, keep patients out of hospitals, & provide relief for our already strained healthcare system.”

    I had hoped that when the dam finally broke it would be in Florida. But if it has to be Nebraska, then so be it.

    Link is to a pdf of the decision. Conclusions on p. 47 if anyone’s interested.

    1. Maritimer

      Thanks for that.

      It is hard to believe that some Medical Professionals are not using prophylactics for themselves and families. And, when infected, that they do not use alternative treatments scorned by CDC, etc.

      If there are ever any Covid Class Actions, the first question for the Docs is “Did you ever use prophylactics or alternative treatments like Ivermectin, etc. for yourself or your family or for anyone else?”

    2. Objective Ace

      Great read–thanks! The part about Fauci outright lying (whether intentional or due to ignorance) is particularly damning. Why are we still listening to this guy about anything public health related?

  30. marym

    “24 Tennessee lawmakers penned a letter to the CEO of @KelloggsUS” (Official Twitter for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union)

    “Tenn. lawmakers show support for Memphis workers in Kellogg’s strike
    Letter signed by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, two dozen lawmakers calls for CEO to recognize sacrifices made by workers through the pandemic”

  31. LaRuse

    Thank you for both the update on JL and for the Bourdain excerpt. Bourdain’s death was a rare celeb passing that hit me kind of hard. I love his books and I love hearing from people who worked and lived in that life AB led. Just an extraordinary guy and his death has always struck me as unusually tragic.
    Best wishes to Jeri-Lyn on a full and speedy recover.

  32. enoughisenough

    I sure hope Jeri-Lyn is going to be ok!

    You know, a lot of internet spaces call themselves a “community”, but NC truly is.

    Thankful to you all for being there for each other <3

  33. Josef K

    Look at the photos of the anti-maskers in that story about the brave 10 year old girl in Ohio: a bunch of smug-looking middle aged white people. As a middle-aged white person who isn’t an entitled selfish jerk, or at least tries not to be, and who also is amazed and extremely impressed by this website’s commitment to getting the facts around COVID and getting them out there, let the chips fall where they may, I’m quite ashamed to be part of this demographic full of narrow minded, racist, anti-science, opinionated ignoramuses. May they and their culture, such as it is, all just whither and die.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      One of three Washoe County school board members who resigned this year has gone public over being forced out by right wing harassment, resulting in a psych breakdown. The organized verbal assault is not restricted to school board meetings. I was told privately by a retired VA RN who attended a Washoe County Board of Health meeting this summer that a fair number of ultra-right attendees went off on various Covid-related regulations in public comments, threatening board members and “the government” more generally.

      VA nurses don’t scare easy, and she found more than one of the male “protestors” disquieting.

      1. lordkoos

        It has long been a tactic of the far right to run candidates to sit on local school boards. In some places they have been quite successful, for example in Texas where they have been able to alter and censor textbooks.

        1. orlbucfan

          They’ve been doing that for decades in Texas. Same in Floridumb. I would like to give a Profile in Courage to the eloquent, powerful 10 year old who stood up to the STUPID/CORRUPT yahoos in that room!!

    2. Gareth

      Do you ever wonder why they won’t listen to you? Nothing like telling people you hate everything about them to gain their trust.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        I guess I don’t see why I – or anyone – should be working to “gain the[…] trust” of adults who abuse children in public.

        1. Gareth

          You don’t have to see the reason in opening a dialogue if you don’t intend to fundamentally change anything. That’s your choice, and it is a popular one lately in certain circles.

          1. marym

            Maybe part of the reason right wing activists “won’t listen” is because they can’t hear over the noise they’re making harassing school board members and election workers and school children, rioting at the Capitol, intimidating abortion clinic patients, and showing off their guns. What’s their responsibility in opening a dialogue?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              As I have been saying, the right is more serious about its politics than either liberals or the left. As long as the only liberal response is aghastitude (in Thomas Frank’s coinage) nothing will change.

              To put this another way, if the right is perceived as the only revolutionary force in America, then if there is a revolutionary conjuncture, only the right will be in a position to take advantage of it.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > May they and their culture, such as it is, all just whither and die.

      I’m hoping that the increasing tendency to openly cheer on the death not only of one’s political enemies personally, but collectively, doesn’t culminate in something…. really bad. It’s the “openly” that’s new, since Trump. See Stoller’s “On Mocking Dying Working Class White People.”

  34. Josef K

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Today, we know the answer is a resounding yes — thanks to a bio-acoustic monitoring system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify sounds in the wild.”

    So they know the tree makes a sound because they listened to the recording; thus the question remains unanswered ;-).

    1. Judith

      The multitude of non-human organisms of all shapes and sizes that live in the forest sensed the vibrations and other types of outputs that humans have no awareness of when the tree fell. This will continue long after humans have disappeared.

      1. Quentin

        Yes, Judith. If the suffering of the people is openly expressed by them and not heard or noticed by the political and elite overlords, do the people really exist? I am a man/woman, mark my words.

    2. Tom Bradford

      ““If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

      Never saw the zen in this. “Sound” is the subjective perception of vibrations in the air hitting an ear drum. If there is no ear drum to respond to those vibrations by creating the perception of “sound” in the mind of a hearer, the falling tree still creates the same vibrations in the air – the fundamental laws of physics require it – but the necessary conditions for “sound” – an ear drum to respond to those vibrations and the nerve and brain circuits required to convert those vibrations into the illusion of “sound” – do not exist. Hence to answer to the koan is an indisputable no.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I believe a Song dynasty teacher named Foyan said something along the lines of:

        “Nowadays people mistake mirroring awareness for the ultimate principal. That’s way (Chinese master whose name I’ve forgotten) used to ask ‘In far-away places, deep in the mountains, where no one ever goes, is it there?'”

  35. Pat

    I have spent years getting whiplash from the seemingly always contrary nutritional advice that sets media coverage. Butter bad, butter good. Fat bad, fat good. Alcohol bad, wine good. Simplistic examples, but our media delights in taking complicated things and pretending they are simple.

    I am getting that same whiplash feel from Covid. Between the clear and obvious propaganda, and the conflicting studies I cannot keep track. I gather there is now a VA study that has the J&J vaccine dropping precipitously in effectiveness, this follows one from the last few weeks that had it remaining relatively effective longer than either the Moderna and Pfizer. And all the data out of Israel showing that the Pfizer pretty much drops off a cliff is apparently counter to the information the FDA is using. I get that much of what we are seeing could be based on studies run by the pharmaceutical companies but very honestly Our data collection is obviously corrupted and our current regulatory system so captured how can anyone rationally evaluate the situation.

    It would be easier to give up and just follow whatever story is approved this week but everything feels like no mask, mask, no mask, mask…

    1. rowlf

      You probably don’t want to think about previous popular pharmaceutical products that were considered safe by the FDA until they weren’t.

      1. rowlf

        I forgot to ask if “Everybody Knows The Vaccines Are Safe And Effective” isn’t working for you. At this point is seems like the vaccines are a belief system.

        1. Pat

          It wasn’t working from day 1.

          And the mandates scare the hell out of me. One thing there is no question about is that these are not 100% effective. There also now seems to be no hiding that all the vaccines get less effective over time. But you Will Be Vaccinated so we can go back to before. Probably followed by we blame the secretly unvaccinated when this inevitably fails. It makes no logical sense if public health is the real goal.

          I did get vaccinated. I will not, however, even consider a booster until I officially have little to no immunity. Maybe not even then. I have met their standard, that it is pointless is not my problem. (It is every one’s problem if public health matters, but once again it clearly doesn’t.)

          It isn’t just that the data is all over the place, it is that our official policies make no sense…even if you use their preferred studies, polls, experts.

  36. Mantid

    Darn, couldn’t get the “Decoding Sounds of Nature” article to work, but….. You’d be surprised what you can hear if you simply sit/stand/walk/swim/ for a period of time. Putting “tech” between you and nature – and it’s “sound” – is a losing proposition. To listen includes more than your ears. Take the time, while you can.

  37. Jeff W

    [Crows] are one of the few animals known to make tools. But would you believe doing it actually makes them happy?

    Is that supposed to be surprising? Having an effective tool would be reinforcing and experiencing efficacy in behavior (e.g., being able to fashion an effective tool) is probably self-reinforcing, at least for animals like crows who have some notion of self, and probably for others, too. (And reinforcement is often, but not always, accompanied by some positive internal state such as one we might call “happiness.”)

  38. Eric The Fruit Bat

    So, I drive downstate on Wednesday next week, and Thursday, I get the rest of my cochlear implant kit, and we activate it. I plan on making a side trip to visit with the parents of a very dear friend of mine, whose father suffers from moderate to severe dementia, who doesn’t even recognize his own first child.

    Then it’s off to Lost Wages to celebrate my 62nd birthday, and then back home on Tuesday.

    With me luck, fellow commentariots!

    1. Carla

      Congratulations on your implant, and best wishes for a wonderful birthday week. Oh yes, and good luck!

    1. chuck roast

      She’s kinda like Typhoid Mary. She was in Cyprus a while back, and I was expecting the worst. But apparently the local inoculations were sterilizing.

  39. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated the link to the FT article on private equity. Private equity firms and their principals have been financially successful because of historically cheap debt used to fund their leveraged buyouts together with the economic suppression of labor. When interest rates finally are allowed to rise to address the decline in the purchasing power of the dollar, I expect we will see contraction of these entities through liquidations of their portfolio companies and perhaps even some of these firms themselves. Will American society lose anything from their demise? Outside of financial losses incurred by their investors and executives, hard put to think of any.

    1. jo6pac

      Yes and even goes somewhere usefully unlike the one in Calli that’s billion or so over budget and there bridge over the river near Fresno but no rail laid down yet. They need more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      1. Gareth

        Don’t forget about Acela. Amtrak’s longer routes are not attractive to most riders due to the time, cost, and unreliable schedules. If you go cross country on Amtrak, you need to be taking a vacation and riding a scenic route for it to be a good experience. If the trains were faster, the schedules would be more reliable, which would increase ridership and eventually lower costs. I never knew what I was missing until I used public transit in Europe. If France can do it, so can we.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If America had as many people per square mile as France has, and they were all evenly spread out over the country as they are in France, then America could do it the way France has.

          Since America doesn’t have what France has, America will have to find another way to do it.
          And anyway, I would be satisfied with deep broad penetration of fairly fast rail travel all over America than to have some High Speed White Elephants like the ritual display High Speed railway they are building . . . and building . . . and building . . . in California. And ruining the best farmland to build it over, by the way.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That was a very enlightening article. A lot of Dem consultants seem to have the wrong theory of the case. For us poor voters, it’s a little like the converse of Dylan’s Rolling Stone theorem:

      When you’re offered nuttin’, you got nuttin’ to gain.

  40. Tom Stone

    I spent a few minutes figuring out how much it is going to cost my Landlord to deal with Code enforcement.
    Keep in mind that the original water leak could have been dealt with for $250-$300, when the cesspit was impacted that went to $2,000-$2,500.
    A bedroom, two decks, a bathroom and a kitchen were added and the place was illegally converted to a duplex in 1976.
    The standard fine is 3-5X the permit cost and the permits now would run about $15K, then there’s the fine for the failed cesspit, as much as $500 per day.
    Add the cost of remediation, another $2-$3K at least..
    I couldn’t get the LL, his son or the family lawyer to take things seriously after more than 2 weeks of trying.
    I suspect I’ll get a call when they get the bill from the County…

    1. orlbucfan

      As a small responsible LL, I wish you the very best of luck. Hubster and I have 2 rental properties which we inherited. We have always taken care of them, and are rewarded by having 2 TERRIFIC renters who have lived in both for years. The fact that your LL suffers from dementia is just more weight to carry. Take care!

  41. Henry Moon Pie

    So I’ve had a nice afternoon at our daughter’s baby shower celebrating the approaching arrival of our first grandchild. There were lots of interesting conversations about Covid, politics and supply chain issues.

    There was the typical “karma” story of an ex-husband who had forbad the vaccination of his son getting Covid and barely surviving. He was treated in an emergency room, but according to the story, refused admission because of being unvaccinated. His blood ox reportedly dropped below 90.

    Re: politics, two old friends almost got into a shouting match after one, a Trump voter, recited a litany of BIden failures.

    Most interesting was the report from an executive of a small manufacturing firm that makes after-market equipment for high-end SUVs They were having trouble getting supplies of most things from plastics to stainless steel sheets, though thankfully they’re not putting chips in what they make, and many suppliers were resorting to auctioning off what inventory they had. He talked about how one critical shipment was on a cargo ship turning circles in the Pacific, and container prices had jumped so much that they were resorting to using air. On the demand end of things, they had previously sold through auto dealers and speed shops, but they were now selling direct online above list. They were considering using this online connection to basically go auction instead, listing inventory and asking how much the buyer was willing to pay. Remember the buyers are owners of Escalades and Aviators who now buy direct and have the box delivered to their mechanic or dealer.

    So I asked him how could they plan even 6 months in advance with floating prices on both ends. He said he’d never seen anything like it 20 years of doing this. He said they’d dealt with the bottom falling out of demand in ’08, but he had never experienced these kinds of supply problems and rapid inflation.

    My impression is that small business people are seeing the world they’re used to becoming less and less recognizable.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > small business people are seeing the world they’re used to becoming less and less recognizable

      One of the supposed bright sides of “The Great Resignation” is that some people quit their jobs and hang out their shingles or set up small businesses (others, of course, enter the underground economy). This is very, very hard. The great majority of small businesses fail. I don’t think this will play out well, especially when the small businesses find themselves competing not with other business of the same scale, but with the Amazons and Walmarts of this world. Ideologically, The Great Resignation is part of the “easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” complex.

  42. juno mas

    RE: The Music Critic . . .

    Hey, thanks for the great read about the Jazz critic Whitney Balliett.

    While my greatest pleasure is listening to Jazz, reading about it through an esteemed critic enriches my life, too.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Balliett piece was beatifully written, as was the Bourdain piece. I put all the artsy stuff together at the end (and one could indeed think of Goya as an artist for our time, as he paints portraits of the mad and degenerate Spanish court, but where were the horrors of war?)

  43. dcblogger

    I think lambert linked to this, but just in case
    A Letter From a Jailed Line 3 Water Protector

    I think that we will be seeing more of this sort of thing. Democrats think that the worst thing that could happen is that people will give up on the political process and become inactive. There is a real possibility that in at least some cases activism will escalate and people will ignore electoral politics. Striketober is an indication of that.

    1. jr

      If the Democrats think that, why don’t they do a fu(king thing to try to get people active? Where are the voter registration drives? The pushback against disenfranchisement of the poor? The progressive policies that address real issues, if “progressive” still has any meaning at all?

      The Democrats are perfectly happy with things the way they are, getting to play “good cop” and coo over identity issues that impact a fraction of a percentage of the population. AOC get’s to raise eyebrows at the Met gala. It let’s them get on with making money, which is all they have ever given a damn about.

      But I agree that things are going to escalate. Supply shortages, lots of anger and resentment, wild inequality, and winter is coming. A bad one, I hear.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        DLC Clintobamacrats don’t want ” the wrong people” to get active. Just like the Republicans don’t want ” the wrong people” voting.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > There is a real possibility that in at least some cases activism will escalate and people will ignore electoral politics. Striketober is an indication of that.

      I think you are right. That’s why I keep muttering about conservative Republicans being more “serious” about politics than liberal Democrats or the left. (And at the sharp end of “serious,” I mean like… Barnett Slepian or David Gunn). So it really concerns me that activism on the right will escalate (even further) and the nucleus of Paxton’s “mass-based party of committed nationalist militants” will emerge. 1/6 was cosplay put by the side of the SS or the KKK’s night riders, but at some point the cosplayers may taste blood, decide they like it, and things will go from there.

      Now, a “mass-based party of committed working class militants” would be nice, but so far as I can tell — and the press is very far from whatever is happening out in the biomass — I don’t see signs of it. One of the things that you see from Duncan’s Revolutions is how long the (various flavors of) revolutionaries had to work in Russia. It wasn’t just the Bolsheviks. There was a decades-long tradition.* (Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, 36 years before 1917. So, the propaganda of the deed didn’t work, let’s try something else….) We have nothing at all like that. So while the Romanovs may be a parallel example to our own in terms of ruling class decadence, perhaps in other ways it is not. The English revolution of 1642 might be a better example if one thinks that a breakup of the United States — “Defederalization”? Subsidiarity? Confederacy? — is in the cards. I don’t think anybody forsaw, say, Cromwell or the Instrument of Government when Charles I and Parliament started fighting over taxes.

      * Abolitionism in America started in 1831. Once the Republican party was founded in 1854, things moved more rapidly.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “propaganda of the deed didn’t work”

        Maybe that’s just the wrong deed. What about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand? It led, rather inevitably, to revolutions in Germany and Russia with the latter being successful.

        That said, I’m personally, firmly in the “means must reflect the ends” camp. If you want a peaceful, non-hierarchical society, your means need to be peaceful and non-hierarchical.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “propaganda of the deed didn’t work”

          Surely revolutions in Germany and Russia were not Gavrilo Princip’s intent? Something “working” isn’t the same as something “having consequences.” In any case, Russian revolutionaries decided it didn’t, and adopted other strategies, one such being the Bolsheviks…

  44. Even keel

    The worst part about the infrastructure bill hoo-ha /horse race style coverage is that there is no debate I’ve seen about the actual particulars of the bill.

    Not that I’ve been watching too closely, but I heard that the bill calls for most of the spending to be through “public/private partnerships” (which I generally read as code for looting and poor infrastructure: a 15-20 year building instead of an 80-120 year building). The bill also has stuff about enhanced IRS “enforcement” as a pay for (but it is just computerized warrantless mass surveillance of bank accounts).

    This stuff is terrible, but the “progressive” reps are spending every ounce of capital trying to defend the bottom line (which is not really that big anyway since it is over ten years), rather than improve the bill.

    So, the worst part about the fight over the number is that it appears (to me) that any fight over the substance is washed out.

    Maybe I don’t have the details sorted, and would be happy to be corrected.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Maybe I don’t have the details sorted, and would be happy to be corrected.

      No, I think you’re in the ballpark.

      My picture is that while the reconciliation bill makes things better, although not good enough, the infrastructure bill actively makes things worse, as in encouraging more use of oil for example and, as you point out, the usual suspects looting everything and crapifying it.

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