Links 10/17/2021

Yves here. Jerri thanks readers for their kind messages of concern. She is on the mend and as you can see is back to posting!

New Zealand to cast out its official wizard Bangkok Post (furzy). Hate to say but he didn’t prevent or foresee that earthquake.

Fish and Overfishing Our World in Data (resilc)

Dental Discoveries: Study of Ancient Teeth Debunks Belief First Americans Came From Japan Sputnik (Kevin W)

This Pristine Beach Is One of Japan’s Last. Soon It Will Be Filled With Concrete. New York Times (David L) :-(

Defend the deep aeon

La Palma volcano: Lava ‘tsunami’ as earthquake intensifies eruption Euronews (David L)

Spinoza’s God: Einstein believed in it, but what was it? Prospect Magazine. Anthony L: “One for jr.”


Buckle up for the mass health-care firings National Post (resilc)


FDA advisory panel votes 19-0 to endorse booster dose of J&J vaccine STAT

From mna:

Oh, and major reasons to oppose the “natural immunity” enthusiasm:

Characterizing menstrual bleeding changes occurring after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination MedRxIv. Write-up: Study finds menstrual bleeding changes after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination (Kevin W). Study:

Eight months later: Researchers compare immune responses elicited by three COVID-19 vaccines MedicalXPress (fa). Study: Differential Kinetics of Immune Responses Elicited by Covid-19 Vaccines New England Journal of Medicine


COVID-19 was the No. 1 killer of Americans age 35 to 54 last month, and No. 2 overall The Week (resilc)

Union nurses across U.S. convene, call for ending Covid, advancing society based on care National Nurses United

Covid: US to lift travel ban for fully jabbed on 8 November BBC. Hoo boy.

New Navy Guidance Will Discharge Sailors Refusing COVID-19 Vaccination Without Exemption USNI News. Resilc: “Then they gunup after dishonorable discharge for Trump troops.”

‘You Are Hereby Reprimanded!’ Airman Told to Begin Separation Due to Vaccine Refusal Defense One (Kevin W)

Boeing workers stage protest near Seattle over U.S. vaccine mandate Reuters

Conservative media viewing correlates with intention to use ivermectin ars technica; BC: “Laying pipe for the next wave of censorship.”

Eric Clapton’s Covid vaccine conspiracies mark a sad final act NBC


Out-of-Practice Airline Pilots Are Making Errors Back in the Air Bloomberg (Robert M)


When the West was itchin’ to go to China Asia Times (Kevin W)

China tests new space capability with hypersonic missile Financial Times


EU states are weary of NI Protocol, Brexit and UK bad faith Tony Connelly, RTE (guurst)

The UK approach to Northern Ireland is one of casual political vandalism Financial Times (Kevin W)

Brexit: why does Northern Ireland matter so much? Social Europe

Old Blighty

Sir David Amess killing was terrorist incident, Met Police say BBC

Fighting returns to Beirut’s streets in an echo of the civil war Economist. David has been reading the French press and does not like what he sees.

New Drug in the Democratic Republic of Congo: The Zombies of Kinshasa Der Spiegel (resilc). I hate to sound cynical, but how long before you see this used in the US? It’s not even yet a Schedule 1 drug!

Imperial Collapse Watch

US elites’ imperial corruption compares to Opium War Asia Times

Military judge blasts Marine Corps’s handling of officer who criticized Afghanistan withdrawal The Hill (David L)


Honeymoon Over: Biden Economic Plan ‘Too Risky,’ Americans Reckon Heisenberg Report. Resilc: “Why I stay away from people as much as possible.”

Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision The Hill. Good, sez I.

Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline New York Times. Resilc: “Except near the Obomba Martha’s Vineyard estate.”

U.S. Coal Use Is Rebounding Under Biden Like It Never Did With Trump Yahoo (resilc)

Beckhard-Harris Change Equation CIO Wiki (resilc)

The case for minting a $1tn coin to deal with America’s debt ceiling Nathan Tankus, Guardian (Wukchumni)

Police State Watch

Overtime Police Pay in NYC Blows NYPD’s Runaway Budget Bloomberg

The case for more energy Matthew Yglesias. UserFriendly: “Ugh”

Report: For 20 Top-Selling Drugs, Big Pharma Made Far More From U.S. Sales Than From the Rest of the World Combined Public Citizen

The Framework Laptop Could Revolutionize Repairability. We Hope It Does. New York Times (Robert M)

Former chief test pilot for Boeing charged with lying about flight controls on 737 Max Independent (resilc)

Bezos’ Blue Origin is at odds with everything Star Trek represents Guardian

Dispensing Doctors: Should Physicians Sell Drugs to Patients? Undark

Academics cast harsh light on composition of S&P index Financial Times

Guillotine Watch

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wants companies to promote social change NPR

Class Warfare

Should you ask for a pay rise? Not according to the former Pepsi CEO Guardian (resilc)

Goldman Sachs CEO Says Wage Inflation Is Spreading Through Economy Bloomberg. Kevin W:

Excuse me for stepping on their moment but what Goldman Sachs bemoans as wage inflation I suspect translates as workers being able to pay their bills and increased consumer demand for the economy.

From mna, be sure to read the entire tweetstorm:

California hospitals brace for massive strikes as workers protest staff shortages CalMatters


The problem with America’s semi-rich Vox (Matthew C). Important.

Economists to Cattle Ranchers: Stop Being So Emotional About the Monopolies Devouring Your Family Businesses Matt Stoller (Kevin W)

Elite Capture and Epistemic Deference The Philosopher (Anthony L). Important.

Antidote du jour. LvH: “My cats looking at a bird outside.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves, for the links and most welcome news regarding Jerri.

    With regard to US elite corruption, it should not be forgotten that the Delano and Forbes families were involved with the British opium traders and used the profits to build firms and getaways in the north east and Florida. The descendants on both sides of the pond are still around and wealthy, but discrete about it.

    Recently, Yves featured a post about the US elite mimicking its ye olde British peers. I wrote a long post, lost in cyberspace or moderation, about how their fraternising remains and how malign their influence still is. One day, I will rewrite and offer to Yves for posting.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Recently, Yves featured a post about the US elite mimicking its ye olde British peers. I wrote a long post, lost in cyberspace or moderation, about how their fraternising remains and how malign their influence still is. One day, I will rewrite and offer to Yves for posting.

      Please do!

    2. Soredemos

      That Asia Times piece alternates between interesting observations and ‘old man whining about kids these days’.

  2. fresno dan

    So. Labor shortage discourse time!
    I work for a food manufacturing company (specifically bottling/canning various beverages)
    We are desperately under staffed.
    The wages are competitive, but they can’t keep anyone on after they hire them.
    Why? Because since we’re short
    So at the bar restaurant I hang out at, I know a couple of people who work at the Heinz/Kraft fruit drink plant in Fresno. Forced overtime happens frequently – working 7 days a week, and more than 8 hours a day.
    (I gave her a tshirt that says A day without wine is like …hell if I know and she gave me a purple Heinz/Kraft tshirt) that I asked for – I like the purple color).
    Until time and a half becomes double time (or more) for overtime, companies will use mandatory overtime. And as they note, after taxes and deductions, the “extra” money is not worth forgoing the time off.

    1. griffen

      That’s an interesting thread, worth clicking to view the extra level of detail the tweet originator provides. What that detail provides is just how distorted (my words) the just in time scheduling had become. If the concentrate just spoils on the dock, isn’t that a manager level mistake I’d assume?

      I’d have to generally agree with the points made. If you are currently working, say, 1 to 3 double shifts in a given 6-day workweek that will get tiresome.

      1. rowlf

        Having worked lots of forced overtime in the past, I’ve seen people get goofy from fatigue and start having accidents.

        1. rowlf

          Oh yeah, the hot gardening tip is to make sure your commuting vehicle drifts towards the mailboxes/curb and not into oncoming traffic. You can tune this by adjusting tire pressures. Falling asleep at stoplights is ok if you keep pressure on the brake pedal to prevent movement.

          I worked midnight shift for 20+ years.

        1. griffen

          Okay, well I’m open minded to welcome a better description than just tiresome. I’m asking for your help, and not being judgy.

          In my younger days during summer break, I might go from 6am to 8pm at the latest on a given day on my summer job at a dairy products delivery. Some of that time was spent driving. Other times there was inventory to take as other drivers finished. By end of the week I was spent.

          1. lordkoos

            It depends on age as well. Many Amazon warehouse workers are seniors who put in very long days.

            I’d say exhausting, demoralizing, soul-crushing etc. Besides the work itself, it takes people away from their families for too many hours.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      Wisconsin Department of Correction has been using the mandatory overtime since the Wis GOP decimated the unions in 2011. You can go to work and be told you will stay for a second shift. About 4 years ago, the vacancy was 20%. This year it is at 50% even thought the legislature voted in a $5/hr pay add on over a year ago.

      1. timbers

        I’m working in healthcare manufacturing drugs. Pay is good and they are hiring. That is probably not the norm everywhere but it is in Massachusetts. This stands out: up to half my co-workers are recent immigrant Americans with easily heard accents or Indian HB1 workers. That can likely cause problems.

      2. John

        If ownership and management would treat their employees with respect and compensate them decently, it would be a surprise to them that the employees were willing to go the extra mile. Considering workers mere “wage-slaves” has clearly run its course. Ownership and management has no one to blame but themselves.

    3. Eric377

      Feels somewhat implausible. Like we have so critical a need for you to work 50 hours/week, that we’ll do without your 40 if you refuse? More likely I think is if you want 10 hours OT, then give us 15 or we give you 0. I know guys that did 50 for long stretches, but not much above that stressed them way out.

      1. rowlf

        About two-ish decades ago a regional airline was forcing overtime to make a maintenance station meet its goals. This was at a non-union company. One of the workers in the maybe 40 person station had family problems and couldn’t comply with the company demands. The worker would be fired if they didn’t work the overtime.

        The entire workforce walked out in support of the worker with a family problem, causing the station manager to be fired, and the workforce be requested to come back to work on more flexible conditions.

    4. Eclair

      My take on ‘mandatory overtime,’ double shifts, 6-day weeks, etc. Just another tactic to keep the serfs too busy and too tired to plan a revolt. Not, let it be noted, ‘to revolt,’ in a disorganized and chaotic manner (which ordinarily leads to a violent and successful put-down,) but to plan, to strategize, to organize. In other words, to run your community to that all the people benefit.

    5. flora

      That The Violet Wanderers (Spooky Ghost edition) labor shortage thread is a great read. Thanks, NC for the link. I’ve been hearing from grocery store owners/managers for some time bottlers can’t get bottles, canners can’t get cans, etc. Now I know why.

      One possible knock-on effect is distributors prioritizing large customer orders over smaller customer orders (which would make sense for the distributor), leaving small shops and stores with even less stock and selection relative to the big stores.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        I work in a different manufacturing industry. Our stuff isn’t perishable and our unionwork force is mostly skilled labor, but I see the same problems including among salaried staff like engineering, customer service and accounting. Hugh focus on inventory and cash flow because of quarterly results, but I ‘ve seen a $50k repair sit for a month waiting for a $100 part because we don’t want to stock too much inventory. Employees everywhere have been leaned out with no dead wood anywhere. but with increasing workloads and added requirements. Lots of metrics and documentation have been added in the past few years. Cross training is a must because all you need is for someone to quit or go out on medical and the whole system starts to seize up. I’m salaried and went from working 43 hours a week with just a few “crunch” times 5 years ago to now working 50+ hours under constant pressure. People burn out so turn over keeps increasing which requires training new people which causes time stress on existing employees and so it goes.

    6. Mantid

      Well, I’m not a math major but paying one worker to do the job of two for regular pay + 1/2 sounds like someone besides the worker is making some quid.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        Exactly. OT is supposed to be some of the “slack” in the system and to be used for unexpected events or short-term known crunch periods. It has been abused to avoid increasing head count which wall street never likes.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        This has been going on since at least the late 1990s. And one place it happened big time was in the senior manager below the C suite ranks. Everyone I knew with a high level but not tippy top job wound up having half a job to another full job assigned to them.

        That may allow them to rationalize the abuse of the lower level workers: “I work 50+ hours a week. What is wrong with them?” Of course ignoring the complete non-comparability, like greater control over what they do when, more glam trappings, the incentive to work extra of the prospect of promotion (and a big pay increment if so), a lot of the “work” time being meetings (aka 10% substance, 90% jockeying) and of course higher pay which allows for hiring of servants (nannies, yardmen, drivers…).

      3. pzooft

        isn’t overtime time-and-a-half? So one shift at regular rate + another at 1-and-a-half is two shifts for 1 + 1-and-a-half wages, total 2-and-a-half, which is more than 2. So, no the employer doesn’t save anything on wages. Savings may come in the form of not-paid temp wages and the concomitant savings on hiring, medical, firing, and HR. But probably not. It’s the stress of mandatory overtime that’s the problem.

  3. fresno dan

    Three little bears cause triple trouble playing on a hammock ???
    That is EXACTLY my experience with hammocks. I think nature is showing us that hammocks are to be avoided…
    C’mon man – who can get into those things.

    1. Wukchumni

      As a charter member of the great hammockracy, the first mistake people make is buying those ‘ropey’ looking versions which look good in a see me-dig me macrame fashion, but tend to bind into your body and 10 minutes in one is tantamount to torture, please don’t go there.

      I’ve been sleeping in a Crazy Creek Crib hammock for over 20 years now in the back of beyond and must have close to 500 nights between trees, the best slumber ever as far as i’m concerned.

      My favorite night out was @ Willett hot springs about 15 years ago, I found a couple of trees on a granite slope where a few inches of 105 degree water was coursing down about a foot below my rear echelon on a chilly night in the mid 40’s, providing just the perfect amount of warmth.

    2. Questa Nota

      C’mon man

      Here’s the deal. We’ve decreed appointed a select committee to develop and enforce new hammock regulations. You’ll be required to get certification as a hammock user, and be sure to bring your entire medical history, three references and two credit cards with adequate funds available. /s

    3. ambrit

      Who can get into those things?
      Sailors from the days of sail, that’s who. And the floggings will continue until you learn how to do it.
      Down in the Yucatan, the ‘locals’ seem to lie in the hammocks in a corner to corner manner. More stable? I dunno. I usually fall out of the hammock I string up between the big pine trees in the back yard, while sober!
      Stay safe.

  4. begob

    From the article on the zombie drug:

    A colonel of the National Police who prefers to remain anonymous points to an initial chemical analysis from a laboratory in Kinshasa. It has found that bombé includes a mixture of different substances like tramadol, dolarene, nitrile, ampicillin and, in some cases, traces of heroin.

    Just another aspect of bog-standard opioid abuse? The detail on scrapings from catalytic converters seems a bit Reefer Madness, like reports on Krokodil ten years ago.

  5. timbers

    Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision The Hill. Good, sez I.

    We have to know every $600 net accumulated deposit/withdraw in a 12 month period from the 99% so we can make the 1% pay their fair share of taxes.

    So say Dems.

    Makes sense to me. Because I can’t possibly think of a better way to make the wealthy pay the taxes they aren’t paying. Can you?

    As in – we have to spy and record every Americans phone text and online activity, so we can fight them over there instead of here.

    This is making me think of Massachusetts recently requiring use worker bee surfs to fill a new section in state taxes if you sold more than $600 thru Ebay. And the make Ebay send you an email as a “tax form 1040-abcdefg” or something like that. In other words if you sold $600 in stuff at a loss that you might have paid $1800 for, Mama Massachusetts wants to know your business and use up your time making you report it to them. At the end of the form, they say you don’t have to pay any taxes but they just want to know so as to help you.

    I filled it the first year, and never again after that.


    “The Biden administration earlier this year released a proposal that would require banks and other financial institutions to report on existing annual IRS forms the total amount of money that came into an account during a year and the total amount of money that came out of it.”

    “The president’s budget request proposed imposing the reporting requirement for accounts with flows of at least $600.”

    1. griffen

      It’s one more thing for banks and credit unions alike to have to track and file, let alone retain the records. It is an incredibly low bar; and what if banks are required to aggregate activity in a given week or month (which in some instances they are doing already)?

      Here’s a better, more subtle plan. Target the real tax cheats, then aim much higher than $600! The real tax cheats in the US, and elsewhere, have means and methods not available to most Americans.

    2. Pat

      The so called average income in America is just under $69000.00. Add just a bit to the weekly salary and you get $1500. Sure it would be less after taxes were withheld, but why not pick a figure for reporting that clears the weekly average pay for Americans.

      Because they aren’t looking for the people that cheat the government on any scale, they really want low hanging fruit. The chumps who shave a few hundred or maybe a thousand off their taxes. They don’t cheat enough to be able to pay a high priced law firm to tell the IRS to stuff it.

      1. John Zelnicker

        October 17, 2021 at 9:58 am

        Your last paragraph is exactly right.

        The highest rate of audits per capita is in a very poor county in the Mississippi Delta near Memphis, not where the rich folks live.

        The reason is that Congress has mandated that the IRS spend a lot of resources going after poor folks who got a few hundred or a thousand more in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC is one of the best anti-poverty cash programs in the country. I have prepared returns for folks whose refund (including EITC) equaled as much as one-third of their annual income.

      2. Pelham

        Which raises a question I’ve been pondering: Why should there be high-priced law firms? If we’re to have any remotely plausible equality before the law, shouldn’t the entire legal profession be nationalized and private law firms be forbidden?

        As matters stand, if you can afford enough lawyers, you can get away with nearly anything, while innocent people routinely go bankrupt defending themselves against charges that should never have been brought — or end up in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

        1. Oh

          High priced lawyers should be in jail. They are able to charge beaucoup $$$$ for clerical work because the legal system is rigged in their favor.

        2. Skunk

          If you decide to take a tax dispute to tax court, you are presumed guilty until proven innocent. It’s the only court that works that way. The burden of proof is shifted to you. Quite a deterrent.

        1. Pat

          I guess my “so-called” didn’t do enough in that sentence. And for the record, I got this figure from an article that called it average, hence the so-called. Regardless of average or mean, when you chose to use the weekly salary before taxes you would get for 40 hours a week at $15/hour to tracop you aren’t looking for people who are really cheating the government.

          1. TimH

            Again, you are conflating income (one person’s pay) with household income (one or more person’s pay).

            So the $/hr is less than your estimate due to that, and also due to min wage people having to do more than 40hrs/wk to get by.

      3. Laura in So Cal

        Yes. I worked for a small privately held corporation years ago. Our federal taxes got audited 3 times in 4 years. We were able to get 3 “no changes” mostly due to the fact that we weren’t cheating and our CPA was an ex-IRS auditor AND the fact that I was so pissed that they kept auditing us that I answered every question in detail and was burying them in paperwork. I spent nights and weekends dealing with it.
        I think they saw we weren’t going to roll over and just do a settlement. I asked our CPA why they kept coming back to us and he said we were big enough to have some money, but not big enough to have high powered legal or tax help.

        1. The Rev Kev

          What you have described is not only a shake-down but basically an unofficial, near annual Federal tax on medium-sized businesses. That should help the economy that. /sarc

    3. ambrit

      Ah! So that’s how I can figure out where the $600 “Creepy” Joe Biden owes me went! Just send the IRS a FOIA demand for the “intelligence.” See, there is a public use for this rule.

      1. flora

        I was wondering how the Dems are going to pay for the multi-trillion dollar bailout of Wall St… again. Now I know! Baby sitter’s yearly money, (Joey B can’t sniff teenage girls’ hair right now, but he can sniff their bank accounts). / let’s go, brandon!

    4. Oh

      The Democrat crooked politicians won’t be reporting their bribesreceipts from corporations of course!

  6. sd

    From the article on vaccines and menstrual breakthrough bleeding was this sentence:

    We also find that many respondents who had post-vaccine changes did not have them until fourteen days or longer post-inoculation, which extends beyond the typical seven days of adverse symptom reporting in vaccine trials

    This surprised me. Vaccine trials limit reporting of adverse reactions to 7 days?

  7. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Bezos’ Blue Origin is at odds with everything Star Trek represents” article at-

    Present day Star Trek is a odds with everything Star Trek represented so I am not surprised. Canon Star Trek had a core of humanism as that is what Gene Roddenberry believed in. Present day Star Trek has its own ideas what it is all about. Why is this so? I will let the Critical Drinker explain why- (1:45 mins) swearing alert

    1. Joe Well

      It started going downhill in the final few seasons of TNG with so many episodes about endless politicking around conference tables and it just kept getting bleaker and more boring through DS9.

      1. TimH

        Apples and oranges… TOS was a standalone SF short story per episode. Modern series of any sort have more complex character and/or plot developments taking the full season to develop.

    2. IM Doc

      Some of my fondest memories as a child were to sit with my father and watch the original series of Star Trek.

      After viewing the new Star Trek offerings in the past few years, regrettably, I would never dream for a second of having a child sitting and watching anything having to do with Star Trek at this point. Mr. Roddenberry, who I heard speak at conventions multiple times, repeatedly stated that he was so proud of what his show had meant to America’s Children. Indeed, he must be rolling in his grave right now. I recently read that immediately before his death, he was begging on his knees for the producers to never make Deep Space Nine. Amazing, DS9 is like Captain Kangaroo to some of the fare being offered today – full of F-bombs, gore, extreme violence and angst. What I think would offend him the most is the very very dark overall atmosphere. They even managed to ruin the character of Picard for me forever. There have been episodes where unlike the optimism of Mr. Roddenberry – I just wanted to go blow my head off. At least we still have the DVDs of the old stuff which I am happily watching with my kids right now.

      I would also add the the character of Dr. McCoy is one of the big reasons I am a physician.

      I was at a conference recently of young physicians about COVID. One of the presentations was actually about Star Trek – and how the philosophy of that show would make it mandatory for any fans to applaud the current “science” and laud any and all efforts that Dr. Fauci was doing for viral research and how so many folks in the Pharma industry were big Star Trek fans. What a wonderful thing that Mr. Roddenberry had invented to instill a love for “science” in so many people. “Science” of course being defined in its current iteration under Pope Fauci.

      It fell to me to inform this young man that he had not a clue what he was talking about. During Mr. Roddenberry’s production of the show, there were countless examples of “science” gone wrong at the hands of those who would warp it.

      Indeed, just within the first 10 shows of the first season, I can find 5 examples of this extreme concern for what “science” is capable of in the wrong hands.

      The most apropos for today – Season 1 Episode 8 – Miri – where the Enterprise crew finds a planet where the scientists had been doing what we would call “gain of function” research and released a virus into the populace that destroyed that world, leaving only the kids behind. It is stuffed with quotes from Dr. McCoy that I would just love to hurl at the Dr Faucis and Dr Wens of our world today.

      TV shows like Star Trek-TOS and The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits and much of the written science fiction of that era are both very dated AND simultaneously more profoundly relevant than ever. A dead giveaway that someone is hitting the nail on the head.

      1. larry

        IM Doc, could you possibly provide a couple of McCoy quotes? I loved the original ST along with The Twolight Zone and The Outer Limits – re the latter, I have always remembered the phrase “From the inner mind to … the outer limits”. I also enjoyed The Invaders, too. Especially the introduction.

        1. Gc54

          How about the inevitable “Blast it, I’m a doctor not a …” ? The rest of the sentence would invalidate Administrator Fauci.

          1. newcatty

            IM Doc, Its touching, and no surprise, that you credit Dr. McCoy as a reason you became a physician. Bones had compassion, humanity for all beings and integrity.

        2. IM Doc

          Kirk – You will need to isolate that virus – we need to develop a vaccine.

          McCoy – Is that all Captain? We do have 5 days.


          McCoy – “It did not work out quite as they had planned.”
          A general comment on the whole viral project on this planet – they were trying to genetically engineer an immortality virus.

          Kirk putting pressure on McCoy to develop a vaccine.

          Kirk – Work faster doctor….
          McCoy throws the papers on the desk – “Maybe you would like to take a crack at it…”


          I think the most important of all is the increasing fear and panic experienced by the members of the crew as the disease got worse and worse. The landing party became infected the instant they beamed onto the planet. The increasing signs of infection were highlighted as the episode evolves – and the fear and panic are masterfully played by the actors.


          Spock and McCoy discussing the vaccine ——

          McCoy – The question is what is the correct dose?
          Spock – That is a very good question……It could be a beaker full of death….


          Spock – The vaccine may be fatal
          McCoy – The disease most certainly is…How long do you want to wait?….
          And then McCoy picks up the syringe and plunges it into himself – valiantly making himself the guinea pig……


          It is amazing how well they did with the social mechanics of pandemics and what happens to the collective psyche – and all in just a 50 minute show. I showed this episode and the one that immediately followed – “Dagger of the Mind” – in the Medical Ethics and History Class. Miri was informative about how people react in the setting of a rapidly progressing epidemic – and “Dagger” was a very thorough piece about involuntary commitment in the psych setting and mad doctor experimentation with unproven technology.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Here is a short video by a film critic explaining the differences between the old and the new Star Trek. This guy is very conservative and has more than a few axes to grind but the points that he makes are valid-

   (6;36 mins)

            Of course the character of Reginald Barclay became a steady one for both TNG as well as Voyager who was capable of outstanding heroics. But in the new Star Trek, he would never have been given the chance to exceed himself.

      2. Zagonostra

        Season 1 Episode 8, thank you. I didn’t know that but that episode still reverberates in my memory. I will que that one up tonight.

      3. petal

        Two episodes from TNG that I’ve been thinking of throughout this whole thing are Genesis (season 7) where Barclay is injected with a synthetic T cell and things go downhill from there(great Halloween episode, too), and Unnatural Selection from Season 2 where children are engineered to have highly aggressive immune systems. Their makers went ahead and tinkered with something and there ended up being unintended consequences that impacted everyone they came in contact with.

        That young physician has obviously never watched Star Trek. smh. Fauci, Walensky, et al, would not be celebrated. Quite the opposite.

      4. Pat

        I always thought of DS9 as the flip side or Noir version of the Trek universe. The later years could almost be a primer in navigating a corrupt political system with any integrity. It was also the last of the Treks I could watch. It makes sense that it was the tipping point. I haven’t seen the most recent, although I did intend to check out the Picard at some point. Now I may miss it.

        I attributed the decline to the loss of the unique SF voices that Roddenberry was able to find and champion on the original, not just Roddenberry. The farther we got from the original the more all the writing got to be formulaic and the characters less multidimensional. But I probably was giving less credit to Roddenberry’s clear vision of the world he wanted to be a part of in the future. My bad.

    3. Soredemos

      Present day Star Trek basically has no ideas about anything, outside of some very clumsy Trump bashing in Picard. It isn’t Star Trek; it’s generic action sci-fi (and not very good action sci-fi either) with a (very thin) Trek veneer.

      The best thing to come out of Discovery and Picard are the RedLetterMedia reviews.

    4. Dagnarus

      I went through all the star treks from NG to voyager about a year ago. ST:Voyager had an episode “Tuvix”, where Janeway kills a sentient being in order to restore two of her crew members (the sentient being was created by combining the two crew members in a transporter accident). I remember feeling a bit sick watching it. It was especially jarring after having so recently watched the NG episodes. I couldn’t possibly imagine Picard marching this creature of to the Medbay against his will to be dematerialized.

    1. Carla

      Hi, jo6pac — that article has been linked at The Automated Earth at least once and maybe multiple times before, as well as today. The publication date is June 2020.

  8. timbers

    The case for minting a $1tn coin to deal with America’s debt ceiling Nathan Tankus, Guardian (Wukchumni)

    I have a better, easier, solution.

    The Federal Reserve is currently spending $120 billion/month and giving that to it’s rich friends. But it’s not counted/reported as either spending or towards the debt limit. Why? Because the corporate conglomerate US Media…and because the Federal Reserve adds it to it’s Balance Sheet and says it’s not counted in the debt limit because it’s offset by the asset of the financial instrument it just purchased.

    So why not do this:

    The Treasury issues Social Investment Bonds. Say $10 trillion worth. The Fed Reserve buys them all and adds it to their Balance Sheet.

    It’s not spending, it’s not counted towards the debt limit.

    Problem solved.

    1. Andrew Watts

      It isn’t a problem because the debt ceiling is probably unconstitutional. New spending authorized by Congress, and the debts it incurs, are covered under the 14th amendment. The authors of it couldn’t possibly fathom the level of stupidity which presently governs the country though.

      “”The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. ”

      Eh, but personally I hope the US defaults in December. It would more than demonstrate what a dumb country we are and how unserious our federal government is as a political body.

      1. Phil in KC

        I hope we don’t need a demonstration of that magnitude, as it would hurt a lot of innocent people. I will go with the coin.

      2. chuck roast

        The chances of a US default in December or any month in the future from December to November is zero, null, none and n-e-v-e-r gonna happen!

        Man behind the curtain: “Raise the debt limit!”
        Stooge on Capitol Hill: “Yes sir!”

        1. Michael Ismoe

          These billionaires just spent a lot of their own money making sure they had trillions of dollars in assets. They ain’t gonna throw it all away. Our Congress worked long and hard through Covid to make sure that no billionaire was left behind. Do you really think Bezos will allow that? He keeps all the government’s records in his cloud. I’d say he is the one calling the shots.

          Caveat: If you find out Nancy Pelosi has shorted the market, go long seeds and barter.

          1. Greg

            I wonder if anyone has done the numbers on whether it would be possible to make money by simply immediately copying any congressional stock order.
            I wonder if their insider-based lead is long enough that they can work as a forward indicator without the margin being eroded by delays in order placement for plebs.

    2. Wukchumni

      Hello Hollywood, I see a tv game show coming out of this:

      ‘Who Wants To Be A Trillionaire?’

      Contestants descend upon retail outlets buying stuff and when the cashier asks for payment, you hand em’ a TDC and they obviously can’t make change for you, so what happens @ the oddest impasse, is the gist of the fun.

      In one episode a homeless panhandler is given a TDC and she tries to buy something and is turned down by a retailer, gets Gloria Allred to represent her and wins an 11 figure settlement.

    3. Samuel Conner

      I think that, depending on how the instruments were structured, they could count against the limit, but I think there is a way to structure them such that they don’t.

      IIRC from threads at NC and/or NEP years ago, perpetual bonds — that never mature, but simply pay interest until redeemed — don’t count, and that would be a pretty simple way to circumvent the limit. It would also cut away the (poor) rhetorical ground of deficit hawks who (claim that they) worry about the burden it will be to future taxpayers when the debt “has to be repaid.”

      There are other tricks that could be pursued, such as issuing very high coupon bonds with very long maturities, and receiving multiples of the bond face value at auction, which could be used to retire existing low-interest bonds as well as fund expenditures, all while staying under the notional face value limit.

      I suspect that unusual measures such as these will be resorted to before “The Coin” is minted.

      1. John Zelnicker

        October 17, 2021 at 9:58 am

        Those perpetual bonds are called Consols and they would definitely work.

        I read one opinion this weekend (Tankus, maybe) that Consols are the solution that Janet Yellen would be most likely to use if Congress doesn’t act.

        1. Samuel Conner

          IIRC, the British government consolidated a variety of prior outstanding debt instruments with the funds generated through sale of the perpetual bonds, that came to be known as “consols”.

          Perhaps, given the political circumstances that could pressure Treasury into issuing its first ever perpetual bonds, they would come to be called, in US context, “McConnsols.”

      2. saywhat?

        perpetual bonds — that never mature, but simply pay interest until redeemed

        In other words, perpetual (potentially) welfare proportional to account balance.

        Vomit …


        The debt of a monetary sovereign, being inherently risk-free, should return at most ZERO PERCENT minus overhead costs minus maturity premium = (at least slightly) NEGATIVE.

        1. Objective Ace

          >In other words, perpetual (potentially) welfare proportional to account balance.

          Only if interest payout is inflation adjusted (and we measure inflation correctly)

          >The debt of a monetary sovereign, being inherently risk-free, should return at most ZERO PERCENT

          Again, only the inflation adjusted rate should be zero

          1. saywhat?

            Price inflation would not be such a big deal IF it were created ethically; eg. via an equal Citizen’s Dividend and was moderate. Then it would be a healthy anti-fiat-hoarding measure.

            But in any case, those who can afford to save fiat risk-free are no more deserving of being protected from price inflation than those who cannot afford to do so and are arguably, less deserving.

            Besides, Mr. Market has already demonstrated that investors will accept even negative real returns on risk-free* assets, hasn’t it?

            All that said, citizens should be protected from negative returns and even user fees up to reasonable limits as a natural right of citizens to use fiat in all its forms, including account form. But as for banks and other large fiat users, let them pay for their large-scale use or hoarding of a public utility.

            *Not even totally risk-free in the case of German bonds since Germany is not monetarily sovereign.

  9. Houston, we have a problem

    Confused link: Clicking on Union nurses across U.S. convene, call for ending Covid, advancing society based on care National Nurses United gets you the Eric Clapton story.

  10. Koldmilk

    The tsunami to worry about from La Palma is oceanic: a projected worst case for a La Palma eruption is a landslide into the Atlantic that creates an ocean tsunami large enough to affect the Eastern seaboard of the US. The enormous horseshoe crater of the volcano shows that has happened before human settlement. The seabed below has evidence of several massive landslides. It’s less likely with the current slow eruption, but with an eruption that includes a large earthquake the shaking could cause the collapse of the cone. Volcanic mountains are not solid rock, but layers of loose rock and lava, with steep sides.

    1. Fark Binkleberg

      >a projected worst case for a La Palma eruption is a landslide into the Atlantic that creates an ocean tsunami large enough to affect the Eastern seaboard of the US


      1. newcatty

        Ah, not cool. It has been mentioned at NC before, that wishing for harm against any peoples is not appreciated in any way. Allah, or God, does not need to be called upon for the destruction of any country’s seaboard.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “California hospitals brace for massive strikes as workers protest staff shortages”

    After reading these tweets, all I can say is that California had better hire some of those medical personnel sacking for not being officially vaccinated as trainers – and fast. It is only a matter of time before California will be forced to bring in Californian National Guard personnel to try to fill in some of those empty slots. Those medical people can give them intensive training so that they will hopefully save more people than they will kill. Will it help? Only for a time so consider it a holding action until they figure out a permanent solution. But sorry guys – California being California, once these Guardsmen are in place, I expect them to stop looking for a long term solution as the immediate problem will be solved.

  12. Cocomaan

    Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision The Hill. Good, sez I.

    Everyone with any sense of practicality saw through this one. Despite the technocrat dictat that “more data is better”, the average American hasn’t seen an improvement in their circumstances despite the net tightening now for decades

    I’ve been really amused by Yellen’s chastising and whining about opposition to her idiotic data mining scheme

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Out-of-Practice Airline Pilots Are Making Errors Back in the Air”

    This article makes sense of something I read earlier today. An airliner was coming in to Reagan National Airport in Virginia when it hit the runway too hard and blew several tires. The airliner was stuck then on the main runway shutting down a lot of flights until it could be towed away about 15 minutes later. The article below tap dances about what actually happened but a passenger’s tweet clears it up. I suppose the first instinct of an airline would be to blame their pilots for any mistakes but it that airline has not been properly retraining their pilots, then perhaps they will not want to go there-

  14. zagonostra

    When I read certain stories linked under NC’s “#COVID-19” rubric, I think of that quote by Benito Mussolini of “all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

    Fascism like other strains running through human history never completely goes away, it lingers like the “long covid’ is said to do – it should have a vaccine all its own.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: When the West was itchin’ to go to China

    I never bought the idea that Maes Titianus was an official envoy of Marcus Aurelius. Although that doesn’t matter because it wasn’t just geography that was impeding the relationship between the Romans and China. By the time the trade caravan of Titianus reached China the Han was only years away from an economic crisis which would lead to a series of rebellions which ended the dynasty.

    The Han Dynasty extended as far west as Tajikistan and Afghanistan at the height of it’s power so it’s been a historical question of how much they knew about each other. It’s mostly irrelevant though. By the time the Jin Dynasty ended the Three Kingdoms era they were more than aware of the Eastern Roman Empire when Byzantium inherited the Roman mantle.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You have to admit, there is a great novel waiting to be written about a Roman delegation traveling all the way to China to meet their Emperor. It would make great reading. They must have known about each other very well because silk became a common thing to wear among the rich and noble families. It would have been great to wear in those hot, Roman summers-

      Who knows? Maybe Roman legionaries matched themselves against Chinese warriors in mock combat like depicted in that film “Dragon Blade”- (1:35 mins)

      1. ambrit

        The closest thing to your idea about cross cultural exchanges is Gore Vidal’s novel “Creation.” This tome is set in the period of Athenian ascendancy, c 500 BC.
        As is usual with Vidal, well worth reading.
        It continues the jaundiced view of “official” history, especially as concerns religion, that informed the works of Robert Graves. [Graves’ novel “King Jesus” gives a quite ‘revisionist’ version of the life of the Hebrew prophet Yeshua ben Yusuf.]

        1. Soredemos

          Graves isn’t reputable about much of anything related to actual history. His White Goddess stuff is especially downright batshit insane. His reference material was already a century out of date when he wrote that book, and he mangled it in service of his weird poetic femdom vision anyway.

          He has great artistic worth, but he’s awful in terms of history. And no, this isn’t a case of ‘snobby historians don’t like the radical dissident’ (in fact historians love dissidents; revisionism is constantly happening), it’s that he was outright making shit up that wasn’t supported by any evidence.

          1. LifelongLib

            I don’t know enough history to argue the point, but my understanding is that Graves intended the “Claudius” novels in part as satires of the British ruling class of his own day, so some historical lapses may have been necessary tradeoffs for that.

          2. ambrit

            Graves made the point that almost all “history” is unreliable. As the oft quoted parable says; History, with a capital ‘H’ to emphasize the “official” nature of the beastie, is written by the victors.
            The history of the canon of the Christain Bible is a case in point.
            I have seen from a slight distance how “official” historians treat ‘dissidents.’ They belittle them, cast as much disparagement as they can, and do their best to destroy the ‘dissident’ academic’s career in Academia. Individual historians might approve of ‘dissidents,’ but generally in private. Official History Departments are like other Academic apparats; full of careerists, opportunists, and outright fakes.
            Max Planck’s (in)famous quip about the progress of science applies to history as much as any other discipline.
            “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
            I may be a tad cynical, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the rot at the heart of most Terran human endeavours.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Oh, for sure. A small unit made up of Romans might’ve engaged Han Chinese forces during the Xiongnu civil war. Zhi Zhi was said to have foot warriors that fought in a formation that reminded the Han general of fish scales. It could’ve been the testudo formation.The Parthians sent the Romans they captured after Carrhae to their eastern frontier around the city of Merv. It’s possible some of them escaped to the Steppe or became mercenaries.

        The Chinese enlisted these captured warriors and moved them to Gansu province. Where a city founded by foreigners was named, wait for it, Li-Jien. An odd coincidence at any rate.

    2. Soredemos

      Valerie Hansen makes the argument that there was never a real silk road. She goes one by one through a number of major ‘silk road’ trade sites, and argues that all of the evidence only shows that there was basically a series of relatively short distance silk trails, none of which were particularly robust or well planned out. Trade basically consisted of people irregularly making short distance hops to the next outpost to turn some small amount of profit. Goods might eventually end up at the other end of the ‘road’ through a very haphazard and long process. No one actually seems to have started in China with a grand plan to sell silk in the far west.

  16. John Siman

    Thank you profoundly, Yves, for linking to the review of Clare Carlisle’s new book Spinoza’s Religion: A New Reading of the Ethics. By a remarkable coincidence, I just started listening to Antony Ferguson’s Audible reading of Spinoza’s Ethics Friday night. Yes, Spinoza was beloved by Goethe and Einstein, but, even more importantly for us Americans, Spinoza was (semi-secretly) beloved by John Locke. The book to read here — which I just finished Monday — is the philosopher Matthew Stewart’s masterpiece Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic. (Does anyone know Stewart? I think he lives in Brookline. I want to interview him!) Stewart’s title Nature’s God is taken from Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence: For Stewart’s stunning argument is that Jefferson, that almost all of the most influential Founders, were the devotees of the radical philosophical + scientific tradition that goes back to Epicurus (primarily preserved by Lucretius in de Rerum Natura) and was revived by the Enlightenment philosophers, the greatest — and most dangerous — and most (secretly) influential — of whom was Spinoza.

    Thus Stewart writes (quoting Spinoza): “The most obvious general principle of democracy is that it finds one way or another to give all individuals an equal voice in public affairs. In democracy ‘all men remain equal, as they were before in a state of nature,’ says Spinoza. Thus, ‘without any infringement of natural right, a community can be formed,’ and this democratic state approaches ‘most closely to that freedom which Nature grants to every man’” (p. 371). Nature here being Spinoza’s God and Einstein’s God, or, as Jefferson wrote, Nature’s God.

    Let me just say for now that I think Stewart has written the most important book of the decade and that a new understanding of the flow of radical philosophy from Spinoza through Locke to Jefferson could make possible a rebirth of Enlightenment and freedom in the USA.

    1. Bruno

      The author of the article “Spinosa’s God” correctly recognizes that for the philosopher “God was not ‘like man’…” and then proceeds throughout with the masculine pronoun “He.” Could there be a better indication of total misunderstanding?

      1. ambrit

        For a clear communication between author and reader to occur, the author must often “compromise” and use locutions in general use that convey the basic meaning intended. We being denizens in a still Patriarchal culture, the pronoun “He” is standard usage and any significant deviation would subtract from the clear presentation of the thesis. Arguments concerning the “proper” usage of pronouns should be reserved for later, distinct works.

    2. ambrit

      Curious that, I have just finished reading a Thrift Store find, Stephen Greenblatt’s 2011 tome, “The Swerve,” that deals with the rediscovery of a full copy of Lucretius’ “De rerum natura” during the Late Middle Ages (early 1400s.)
      It is constantly amazing to discover just how much chance plays in Terran human affairs.
      I mean, for example, what if Benedict Arnold had been successful in his treachery? Welcome to the Loyal Colonies of America!

      1. John Siman

        Another amazing coincidence! But I am here to tell you that Stewart’s understanding of the centrality of the renaissance of (as opposed to the rediscovery of) de Rerum Natura in the progress of philosophy — progress which culminates in the American Revolution! — is by orders of magnitude more profound than Greenblatt’s.

        1. ambrit

          Curses! So much for “popular” science. The two can almost be considered to be opposites.
          Time to get your suggested tome.

  17. CH

    Re: Labor shortage discourse time!

    As I recall, Dmitri Orlov made the case that the inefficiency of the Soviet economy was protective during the collapse. Because of central planning, there was a significant degree of redundancy and because there was no profit motive there was no “just in time” supply chain. People were already used to not getting paid, so they continued to show up and do their jobs, and because all housing was state owned, people weren’t thrown out on the street. Consumerism was not a thing so people were more self-reliant.

    We seem to be experiencing something close to Orlov’s collapse scenario, it’s just that a pandemic caused it rather than peak oil as he assumed.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Consumerism was not a thing so people were more self-reliant.

      I know people who would literally die if Amazon shut down their warehouse for 24 hours.

      1. Anon

        My brother used to say it was a good thing we grew up poor because we learned how to survive on very little. We started to dumpster dive and to fix old things we found using duct tape or wire at an early age. The stuff people throw out is astonishing. I’ve never ordered anything from Amazon. Nearly everything I own is secondhand.

      2. Mantid

        I sincerely doubt that a person would die. Have them or a friend take a few bits of time to research (simply via the internet) nearly anything they would need from aspirin to a dialysis machine. Amazon is not the only game in town, though with a perception of their necessity, they may eventually become so.
        And …. if so, what will your people do if amazon is the only game in town and bezos needs a few more dollars and cranks up the price on aspirin? Where will your people go in that scenario? Boycott amazon and take other routes while they exist. Just like a street drug dealer, get ’em hooked and raise the price – ten fold.

      3. jr

        I know people who would die if the bodega on the corner were to shut down. Has there ever been a civilization as ham-strung, as helpless, as hopelessly dis-empowered as ours? Not only imposed helplessness but willingly, reflectively helpless!

    2. JohnA

      Plus, public transport was good and people were used to walking so there was no car dependency like there is in the US where housing, workplaces and retail malls are all car-dependent in most places.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Want to know the difference between the German economy of WW2 and the modern one? Back in WW2, the Allies assumed that the Germans were so efficient, that everything would be organize to the second and it was all tight as a drum. So by bombing, it would cause the economy to collapse thus ending the war. What actually happened was that the Germans were in fact a bunch of slackers. So when the Allies bombed the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt – to heavy cost – they assumed that Germany would be crippled. Instead the Germans looked around and found that they had over a month of spare ball-bearings in the supply pipeline so that they were right.

      And the modern economy? Everything is in fact, thanks to computers, literally is organized to the second and is as tight as a drum. So even without bombing, one disruption and all is chaos which we are now seeing.

      1. ambrit

        Using that analogy, I can well see Mainland China “crippling” the West by lobbing a few hypersonic cruise missiles at the Taiwan computer chip manufacturing facilities. From whhat I have read, that product is not something that can be manufactured at a handfull of dispersed “cottage” factories. Issues of scale become important. (I am open to correction.)

  18. Wukchumni

    I guess the upside to the supply chain crisis and a profound lack of new rides available for purchase, means we won’t have to endure those oh so irritating tv commercials where Bob & Betty Bitchin’ unbeknownst of one another’s actions, buy matching SUV’s as Xmas gifts.

    As they used to say back in the day, ‘you can’t sell from an empty wagon.’

    1. ambrit

      Ah, but take a page from Pan American Airways sales book circa 1968. Then, Pan Am took reservations for their eagerly anticipated orbital flights, as seen in the film 2001. (The film was not the true origin of the program.) No down payments for the flights were taken. Cards identifying the holder as being “on the list” were sent to space flight enthusiasts.
      The Pan Am Space Clipper shown in the film 2001 is one of the most “far out” product placements in the history of film.

  19. Verifyfirst

    Two sides of the US union coin:

    Randi Weingarten, AFT has a salary over $600,000/year, last I looked, which was some time ago. Given she has been president of AFT for…decades?, she must be a very wealthy woman, by normal working people standards. Another labor multi-millionaire, like most atop US unions… and now she is pushing Covid dis-information–like a good ……uhm…..teacher?! Wowser–read the embedded wsws story….yikes.

    On the other hand, there is the mine worker strike in Alabama–remember that?! Me neither, I’m ashamed to say…..maybe throw them a bone? Hard to imagine the (local level) need is not real there…..

    1. The Rev Kev

      This sounds like he is giving a bad faith argument. Sure, having more energy to use has possibilities – so long as it does not help heat up the planet any more. Heat is a byproduct of energy use and it has to go somewhere after all. What does he want us to build if mini-nuke reactors and geothermal energy won’t cut it? Anti-matter reactors? Zero Point Modules? All that stuff takes resources after all. Energy wise, this guy is like that economist that says ‘Assume a can-opener.’ There is no clean energy technology as there are always costs in generation – always. Even if this was not true and he got his wish, the net effect of it would be hyper-capitalism as we would be using up the remaining resources that we have even faster.

      1. bob

        Matthew Yglesias is a bad faith argument. He keeps reinventing bad faith without any coherent argument. He took this disruptive business model with him to substack.

      2. Duke De Guise

        Dude, it’s socially unacceptable to even imply that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is the ultimate buzz-kill, and that it, ahem, complicates the energy narrative…

      3. Samuel Conner

        > Heat is a byproduct of energy use and it has to go somewhere after all.

        LOL; a few days ago I was musing on the idea of home-scale aluminum smelters or castings setups for use in Winter. The heat generated would reduce heating fuel consumption.

        Probably not needed; it would be easier to simply have workers sleep at their workplaces and access the waste heat that way. /s

      4. FluffytheObeseCat

        “ There is no clean energy technology as there are always costs in generation…”

        And I’d like them to be lower than they currently are. Which is possible.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Honeymoon Over: Biden Economic Plan ‘Too Risky,’ Americans Reckon”

    That article has the following passage-

    ‘The large majority of people are working, and their sympathy for the unemployed will erode rapidly as the latter (soon to be renamed “lazy bums”) get blamed for every shortage, closure, and inconvenience.’

    So we have seen the unvaccinated blamed for America unable to get back to work and for extending the Pandemic. If the American economy merely splutters along between now and the 2022 midterms, will the Democrats turn around and blame the unemployed for why this is happening? I mean, they are going to have to blame someone for them not being able to have any legislative/economic accomplishments and it is not like they are going to blame themselves.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      The Democrats will blame everybody but themselves. The ONLY way they can possibly win in 2024 is for Trump to live until the Republican convention. Jesus H. Christ, only the Democrats can make Trump look effective. I’m glad I’m old.

  21. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding Eric Clapton the musician (who cares what he thinks about anything outside music?… and even that…), he’s always been a decent blues rocker whose fame depended on the talent and genius of others, whether Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in Cream, Lennon and McCartney, or Duane Allman in Derek and the Dominoes.

    Other than that… meh…

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Needless to say (though I should have said it initially), the primary genius behind Clapton’s fame is Robert Johnson, from whom he lifted generously. I mentioned the others because they worked personally with him, and were responsible than he for the music that gave him his greatest fame and repute.

        1. TimH

          Clapton’s guitar work in “As my guitar gently weeps” is in my top 5, partly because it isn’t a continuous medley except for the mid solo.

          OTOH, I don’t like any of the Cream stuff.

        2. Carolinian

          The main thing is that he’s a racist from a remark he said in 1976. Also he said mean things about Jimi Hendrix.

          Or something. One begins to understand why Taibbi parted ways with a changed Rolling Stone. But perhaps RS was also surfing the zeitgeist when they previously praised Clapton. I can’t claim to have spent a lot of time with either the magazine or the music.

              1. TimH

                I’m probably an annoying jerk about as often as Clapton. But no-one reports it, and I can’t play guitar or compose a tune.

        3. Mantid

          We all “lifted” from Mr. Johnson. The great start there and then move along to their own voice. No shame in that.

      1. lordkoos

        Clapton was infatuated with J.J. Cale, I think he wished he could be J.J. Cale. Unfortunately for Eric he could never be as funky as Cale, who was something of an American treasure as far as I’m concerned.

        Clapton took mostly from the blues, but one of his biggest hits was his cover of Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff”, which helped Marley’s career (and his bank account) but didn’t come anywhere near the tension of the original.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > his cover of Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff”,

          The worst attempt at reggae ever attempted. I don’t like the Wailers’ live version from 1975’s (transcendent) Lyceum concert, so here is another from the same show:

          Needs to be played loud with the bass up!

        2. Lee

          Beautiful! To my knowledge I haven’t listened to Cale before. Another somewhat obscure and underappreciated guitarist I like is Roy Buchanan. His sound is less subtle and more raw and raunchy than Cale’s.

          Pete’s Blues.

        3. Lee

          From Wikipedia:

          “John Weldon “J. J.” Cale[1] (December 5, 1938 – July 26, 2013) was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter.Though he avoided the limelight,[2] his influence as a musical artist has been widely acknowledged by figures such as Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Eric Clapton, who described him as “one of the most important artists in the history of rock”.[3] He is considered to be one of the originators of the Tulsa sound, a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country, and jazz…Although Cale would not have the success with his music that others would, the royalties from artists covering his songs would allow him to record and tour as it suited him.”

          Interesting guy, he did it his way, actually side-stepping fame.

    1. bassmule

      A very short story: Interviewed somewhere, back in ’67, possibly? Clapton and Bruce said B.B. King Live At The Regal was their favorite album. I went out and bought it, and it changed the course of my musical life. Also caused me to lose interest in poor Eric as I discovered Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King, T-Bone Walker, Otis Rush, etc., etc. And the more I learned, the more I realized how the Brits took Black music we held of little value very seriously and fed it back to us as rock. I remember jamming with American guitarist (left Oakland CA a long time ago) and Amsterdam resident Lamar Chase in 2009. Playing with him in front of a Dutch audience made me realize how much I take for granted my ability to play and sing this music. To paraprhase Chase: “It’s entertainment to us. It’s art to them.”

    2. lance ringquist

      cream was jack bruce, when clapton pulled the plug, everyone acted as if clapton was cream. bruces voice, and the writing credits says it was jack bruces cream.

      baker was good also, those were the days was a very good song indeed. clapton was good at livng off of others, and stealing wives.

      1. norm de plume

        Jeez, not much love for EC on this whole thread.

        For the record, while he was as gobsmacked and destabilised as all the other guitarists in London when Hendrix arrived (Jeff Beck considered retiring), unlike most of them Clapton became friends with him, meeting up occasionally, sometimes jamming together in nightclubs.

        I have also read interviews with him where he’s just won ‘best guitarist’ in some poll or other and been asked ‘what it feels like’ to be the best; on one occasion he said ‘You’d better ask Prince that question’ and another time he deferred to Stevie Ray Vaughn.

        Then there’s his regular Crossroads Festival which he puts on featuring loads of great musos along with himself; and you can’t feign the love and respect he enjoys from his peers. And that includes JJ Cale, for whom Clapton made a tribute album with friends after Cale’s death to honour his memory and provide funds for his family. He always acknowledged Cale as a mentor.

        Last, I agree that sometimes his star has shone unreasonably bright compared to those making music with him but that is hardly his fault. He didn’t coin Clapton is God. I think he felt burdened by it, just as Dylan bucked against the prophet/spokesman image he was pigeonholed with.

        Maybe for that reason he has for many years now concentrated mainly on collaboration and guest support (he must have hundreds on video) for everyone, and I mean everyone. It would be easier to list those he hadn’t played with. And I challenge anyone to find even one where he butts in or hogs the limelight. There is a reason people want to play with him; they know their songs will be enhanced rather than dominated by him.

        So excuse me if I find this pile-on a bit sad. He might not be everyone’s cuppa but he is not an also-ran. And he is entitled to his opinion, as y’all are yours.

  22. Wukchumni

    A coterie of cabin owners were allowed to transit through the still smoking KNP Fire yesterday to winterize our places by turning off water, draining it out of pipes and adding antifreeze to toilets and putting up window shutters.

    Seeing as our propane tanks had been turned off the past month by firefighters in preparation for fuego that never showed up in our neck of the woods (thankfully-it came within 1.75 miles of us) many of us had the task of bagging up the largess in our larders, er propane powered fridges. I went for the 4 bag approach like a Russian nesting doll, a hanky one as frozen food generally wants to stay frozen.

    The fire was hot along the 9 miles of road through the burn area with complete hillsides denuded and looking like moonscapes if it weren’t for what is left of waify burned up trees looking very skeletal. The potential for mudslides is huge if we get heavy rainfall as there is no there there, holding the soil in place anymore.

  23. Michael Ismoe

    Between the vaccine mandates, the gridlock on Capitol Hill and senile Joe just walking aimlessly through the halls of the White House, I suspect that the Dems could lose almost every seat they currently have in Congress. Quick question: If there are only two Democrats left in the House after the midterms, does Jim Clyburn or AOC become Minority Leader? And would it matter?

  24. The Rev Kev

    “The problem with America’s semi-rich”

    The problem with America’s semi-rich is that they have organized themselves like the Party mechanism like in George Orwell’s novel “1984.” In that novel, 2% belonged to the Inner Party, about 13% to the Outer Party and the other 85% were plebs. Only here it is about 0.1% in the Inner Party, 9.9% in the Outer party – and everybody else. The percentage differences are probably due to modern technology.

    The Chinese supposedly have a curse saying ‘May you live in interesting times’ but after reading this article, an American curse could be ‘May your family be part of the ten percent.’ The abuse that you read about on the factory floor and in businesses sounds like deferred cruelty from the top 9.9% out of their frustration. Psychologists talking about this by giving the example of a boss who yells at a worker, who comes home and yells at his wife, who then turns around and yells at their kid who then turns around and kicks the dog.

    1. griffen

      While a good read it felt like covering old territory. Like territory this site has covered in the past, ie, what or who comprise the top 10 to maybe 20 percent. I still land on this opinion, that after the top 10% the rest are just never that far from being furloughed or getting axed due to merger or industry consolidation.

      A portion of the semi-rich, as presented in the article still get into it the old fashioned method of earning it all the way up. Whether that’s through earning an MBA, a JD or similar achievement that requires extra planning.

    2. Lee

      The article really speaks to my personal history, as there was a time when my ex and I were in that class. Since divorce she, having spent decades stressfully overworking herself, and subsequently remarried to a fortune 500 CFO, still is. Both now in retirement they operate a small but successful vineyard and winery. Financially, I have done not nearly so well, but well enough that, while I don’t do much in the way of discretionary spending, I suffer no lack of the basics. This is quite good enough for me, and therein lies one of the great differences and a source of marital conflict between my ex and I.

        1. newcatty

          Beautiful. I will add, to know that is the source of happiness, or for some contentment, is enough. The American people have been sold the opposite bill of goods. Enough is never enough. If you believe that, then you will never succeed in this world. Working for the joy of the work or to have enough for yourself the basics of life is forbidden philosophy. Is a sunset lovely, or a full moon or seeing Venus this evening enough to bring peace and awe?

    1. Mantid

      I’ll read the Nurses United article in a sec. I wonder if they mention Math + protocol or Ivermectin. Even many nurses seem duped by MSM’s BS regarding anything other than vaccines. On va voir.

      1. Mantid

        Dear Mantid, Well I just read the Nurse article and reviewed many of their links, information on avoidance and prevention, reviews and cautions regarding PPE, etc. Nothing on prevention protocol that are proving effective: various vitamins; mouth and nasal washes; Ivermectin; etc. Sad but true.

  25. brian

    The PhD suggests natural science and all we know about coronavirus is wrong, and that he knows better. All one needs do is study the history of the attempts to create a vaccine. It has NEVER worked in past, and clearly it doesn’t work now. One day everyone will realize you can’t fight either the reality of natural immunity or the mutability of a coronavirus. Until then, mass psychosis will rule the world. I am embarrassed for Senor Bassani. Introduce him to a real physician that doesn’t work for those who would obfuscate truth to sell disease.

  26. diptherio

    Here’s another one to add to the “People theatrically quitting their jobs in protest of poor wages and working conditions” file, from the latest Trillbillies episode (with a bonus breakdown by the boss). The story lasts about 6 minutes, and is time well spent, imho.

    The Slippery Slope [soundcloud]

    5,000 minnows lol.

  27. lyman alpha blob

    Here’s a little down-the-rabbit-hole discovery that NC fans of the classics and scifi might like. Last night we were flipping though channels and my better half settled on some 80s nostalgia and we watched the last hour or so of My Cousin Vinny. I thought I saw a Donald Sutherland cameo so looked up Sutherland’s filmography and found out I was mistaken, but did notice that in the late 60s he starred in a production of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Since Vinny was over, I thought I’d see if I could find Sutherland’s Oedipus which I did, but listed next to it was an even earlier version from the Canadian Stratford Festival with script from the William Butler Yeats. The set is minimal in contrast to the costumes which are sublime. The acting comes across as a little overwrought, and who does overwrought better than William Shatner! Shatner is credited as one of the members of the chorus – I couldn’t spot him with all the masks but maybe someone else can. It was produced in 1957 but just hit the interwebs a few months ago.

    Oedipus Rex with an appearance by William Shatner – enjoy!

  28. flora

    I left a comment link to Diana Johnstone’s latest article about German politics. Comment has gone into mod land.

      1. flora

        Could be. I tried posting only the link just now and it wouldn’t post. You can find the article from Oct 5 on Consortium News website.

        1. flora

          adding: If you read the article be sure to also read the comments. Very good. European politics is more complex than our MSM reports. (no surprise)

        2. ambrit

          I have noticed, from my own struggles with Ye Hungry Dragons that Sunday is truly the ‘Day of Rest,’ as in, the moderation rate is “slower” than on other days. That’s completely logical and natural. I’d imagine that moderating a site such as Naked Capitalism, which gets a multitude of “reads” and probably a tsunami of spam and attack bot generated comments is a labour intensive enterprise. Frankly, I am amazed at how well the site mods do their jobs.
          Thanks all for the hard work.

        3. Carolinian

          Only this comes up on DDG….from back in May


      2. Wukchumni

        Skynet knows when you are sleeping, knows when you’re wide awake woke, knows when written words in the hive must not be spoke.

  29. upstater

    737 Max… How the big fish got away…

    Both the US Attorney “prosecuting” Boeing and Boeing’s lead counsel land at Kirkland & Ellis as partners after DOJ negotiating on the victims and citizen behalf. That revolving door is magical! Two low level employees get indicted, two attorneys get 7 figure annual partnerships and Boeing gets of with off a wrist slap.

    (free, but an obnoxious video ad must be endured first)

    1. Maritimer

      For all things 737 see Air Disasters (12 seasons) from Smithsonian Channel. I got all 12 from my local Torrent Dealer.

      One can play aircraft Sherlock Holmes with these. Try to see where the Investigators are hedging for the manufacturers, essential to the Economy. Or see how Technology can be a serious problem. These would be an excellent vehicle to teach children critical thinking skills.

      These would be even better if there was a show regarding the legal consequences of each crash.

      1. rowlf

        If you can’t get a limited set of variables like an airplane right, how well can you certify a vaccine?

  30. Wukchumni

    New Zealand to cast out its official wizard Bangkok Post

    Since 1998, the wizard has been paid NZ$16,000 ($11,300) annually by the council “to provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services”, and he said he was not happy about being sidelined.

    A starting hire @ Mickey D’s makes more annually than a wizard, who knew?

    That said, I watched him many times in ChCh, my favorite of the larger cities in NZ.

  31. Wukchumni

    No words need apply weekend:

    Lets Dance, by Jake Shimabukuru

    Nightmare, by Artie Shaw

    O’banion’s Wake, by David Grisman

    Mountains of Illinois, by Tommy Emmanuel

    Embryonic Journey, by Jefferson Airplane

    Spanish Flea, by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass

    1. Mantid

      Nice. For more powerful Jazz look up “Music is the Healing Force of the Universe” Albert Ayler and Maria Parks singing. Beautiful text, powerful music. Love TJ Brass.

  32. Jason Boxman

    So I hate Twitter threads. Anyway, a key takeaway on virulence:

    In @evisher’s words: “classic virulence evolution trade-off theory assumes that recovered hosts are fully immune such that host immunity does not wane and pathogens do not evolve to escape such immunity. (36/N)

    So the Establishment has been feeding everyone a line of nonsense that letting it ride (and vaccines!!) is in any way a reasonable path back to normalcy. Instead, it is the way of pain.

  33. Wukchumni

    Military judge blasts Marine Corps’s handling of officer who criticized Afghanistan withdrawal The Hill
    You cant handle the truth! Son we live in a world that has the MIC and an endless stream of funding, and those almighty bucks have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it you, you lieutenant colonel Scheller? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for our lapses of direction, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury, you have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that a hasty retreat from Kabul while tragic, probably saved lives. And the existence of lack of leadership so grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

  34. Josef K

    Yes, the Japanese have cemented pretty much every river of any size–years ago the last major one was still running wild, but I’m sure that problem has been fixed in the interim–and lined most of it coastline with large concrete tetrapods. In “theory,” to prevent erosion, when in fact they’ve exacerbated it every place they’ve been placed. Funny how nature managed to keep Japan’s coastlines from eroding badly for eons all by it’s little old self.

    Japan’s government just can’t stop pouring cement into every available nook and crany; the LDP, aka the Illiberal, Undemocratic Party, depends on the construction industry to no small degree so the cement has to keep flowing.

    I recommend Alex Kerr’s “Dogs and Demons” on this and its context.

  35. Wukchumni

    It’s still 5 weeks away, but i’m gearing up for Lack Friday and being part of the mass of humanity yearning to find stuff to buy, and by then retailers in brick & mortars will have emulated the new car dealers and include a modest add-on fee to manufacturers suggested retail prices on dwindling inventory on hand.

      1. newcatty

        I remember bemoaning when Christmas was started at Thanksgiving so many moons ago. Then right after Halloween. The crudest move was “Christmas in July”. Happy winter of either one’s discontent or for those not consumer consumed, content.

  36. enoughisenough

    re. “standpoint epistemology” I have to say – it’s always rang a bell to me – functionally sounding like what right-wing conspiracists say to shut down discussion or teaching of evolution. They coach their children to challenge their teachers by saying “you don’t know! You weren’t there!” during conversations of the origins of hominids.

    Suddenly, everyone is trying to argue that research doesn’t result in knowledge of a topic. It’s pretty incredible.

    1. jr

      “standpoint epistemology” smacks of solipsistic thinking, but then that’s the heart and soul of CRT, it’ ultimate goal being division and delusion, which interestingly that article on Spinoza alluded to indirectly.

      1. David

        Yes, I hadn’t thought of solipsism before, but that’s a good point. The whole article struck me as the product of someone quite intelligent and thoughtful, but feeling obliged to wander off every now and then into jargon-infested ideology.

        I was reminded of something I read about decades ago, and had completely forgotten, but must rank as a very early example of this thinking. When Paul Simon was making his album Graceland in the 1980s, he was wrestling with the problem of whether it was ethical to go to South Africa to record under apartheid, even using black musicians. So he turned for advice to … Harry Belafonte, whose skin colour and ultimate African ancestry made him, presumably, a moral authority on the subject. At the time, as I recall, nobody suggested that it was a strange thing to do.

        1. jr

          Thanks, yeah the guy seems to be pretty smart but I wonder if he isn’t under pressure to use the “right and righteous” language that infects Woke academics. It seems likely there is more than one trap to fall into when dealing with this poison; turning to him as a resource isn’t empowering anyone but the system that designates the proper authorities and being one of those authorities condemns him to adherence to the dogma of that authority.

      2. enoughisenough

        totally agree. It is a total embrace of narcissism, and leaves the door wide open for fraud and grifters.

        Anyone can claim anything as a personal experience.

        Or glom onto others as evidence of virtue “my best friend is —-“. Absolutely Fabulous did a perfect send-up of this a decade ago – her grandchild is the “Chanel of babies”

        Graceland is a masterpiece, but Simon is considered a terrible cultural appropriator now.

        The way our society is digesting CRT (which to my knowledge is not about artistic production) is pretty thoroughly anti-art. At least how it’s being received. It’s pretty disheartening. Satire is gone, art-inspired catharsis is gone…

        1. enoughisenough

          I will add, however, re. Belafonte: he was the perfect person to consult, as both a musician and as a very very public civil rights activist. So he could speak to the music aspect, and the sensitivity of borrowing.

          Yeah, I see nothing wrong with that at all – Belafonte ROCKS.

          It does make it even sadder that Simon is criticized for this – he seems to be very conscious, and makes a lot of effort to be open and sensitive. He’s even credited the original writer of El Condor Pasa, after he found out there was an individual writer, and it was not just an anonymous folk song, as he thought originally. I don’t know who could do more. I find it fairly irreproachable.

          Paul Simon rocks. But people just want to condemn, and check everyone else to make sure they’re condemning, too. It’s so depressing.

        2. jr

          It’s all dull-minded literalism, no nuance, all polarized thinking. It’s a kind of fundamentalism, no gray areas, everything in it’s assigned place despite all the claims of fluidity and tolerance. And when the reaction hits, it’s going to get swept away along with any real progress that’s been made. The future isn’t fluid, it’s fascistic, and the Wokels haven’t done a fu(king thing to stop it. They deserve the dustbin of history.

    1. antidlc

      “So saying we need to live with the virus because it’ll ultimately become endemic and possibly milder is accepting that a lot more people are going to die and fall ill and that’s a price that we’ll just have to pay to get there.”

      As that author said on a subthread, “I am constantly enraged by this.”

  37. Jeff W

    “New Zealand to cast out its official wizard”

    How does that work in a jurisdictional sense? In 1990 New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore made Ian Brackenbury Channell the wizard of New Zealand (and “Antarctica and relevant offshore areas” which seems like a bit of overreach but anyway) and now the Christchurch city council fires the guy? I guess they’re just removing him from the city payroll but his status as New Zealand’s wizard remains? It doesn’t seem like a city council would have much to say about a ministerial appointment.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I don’t believe his wizardly duties ever really took him outside Christchurch (aside from his mission to avoid being counted in the census, which resulted in him dropping off the map for a while every time it came up) and he didn’t have much of a profile outside that city. He’d have been considered just an eccentric street performer anywhere else – which is what he was, of course, but he was at it for long enough in Christchurch that he became an object of affection and part of the city’s culture and identity.

      He is getting on in years now (the articles mention he is rarely seen in public any more) and I don’t believe he has taken on any sorcerous apprentices. Meanwhile the city has been busy reinventing itself, so in a way this isn’t too surprising. As I recall the council was never a fan and the original stipend was due to public pressure, so we’ll see how much public support he still has, and whether the council is forced to back down.

      1. newcatty

        Would there be a younger person to take on the duties and responsibilities of the official wizard? It is charming and sweet that a city would have an official wizard. An eccentric street performer would be one interpretation.

  38. Wukchumni

    Notes from the sideline:

    There is a plethora of possibilities for punters with quite a few sportsbook tv commercials in between the action on both MLB & NFL games, they really push gambling. I’d suspect this is to make younger adults interested in something the 59 & 53 year old* atypical faithful are.

    On the other hand, being involved in gambling as a player is strictly verboten and you’ll end up like Pete Rose if you do so.

    Nice little double standard ya got there, be a tragedy if something were to happen to it.

    * the average age of fans in both leagues

    1. Laura in So Cal

      My husband and I were both commenting on this. Not only are there so many commercials. but even on the pre-game show they are talking about odds and “the spread”. I guess they are trying to both expand their audience and extract more money from the masses.

      1. Wukchumni

        The onus on gambling is quite something and the come ons in the commercials (wager a buck to win $100 if there’s a hit in the game!) onerous.

      2. curlydan

        I think the betting trend got re-energized a few years ago. ESPN starting airing “bad beats” with the bald headed late night guy (sorry, his name escapes me). It’s going to get worse as a generation of kids is brought up on gambling, “Draft Kings”, etc.

        A young and talented soccer player for Sporting Kansas City recently had to leave the team for the season out of fear for his life after amassing a ton of gambling debt from his addiction. He even bet on games in his own league (MLS), but luckily not on games with his own team.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My bet would be that ole Pete is as useless as he seems. He tried paternity leave (as a Cabinet Secretary…that’s a bit much…there are a few jobs where you commit, you need to be there. Its one of them) because he’s a rat who was trying to get out of dodge. The mistake was ever giving him authority. They might be trotting him out now.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Pete’s on his way to an NGO. The Transportation Secretary thing was just a gig they gave him so he had a place to xerox his resumes.

    2. Glen

      Oh, and we had such high hopes for Pothole Pete, but now it looks like the only pothole he’s trying to fill is the one he imagines resides in the average American’s head – fill it up, fill it up with BS!

      Whatever happen to that whole Made In America push by Biden? Whatever happen to concern about “the trade deficit”? It’s closing in on one trillion dollars – 2020’s total was -911,056.1 million dollars:

      Trade in Goods with World, Seasonally Adjusted

      So are we going to start making things in America? Or did Wall St tell Biden to shove it?:

      Biden’s China Tariff Plan Fails to Provide Enough Relief, Businesses Say

  39. jr

    Thank you so much for the Spinoza article! There is much of Magic in his thinking. I wrote a comment about it but at page three I decided to keep it for my notes. Also, I have to check out the prayer of Anselm, the Proslogion. Great stuff!

    One quick note: the idea that God can be both manifest and un-manifest is crucial. It’s an idea someone should run past Sean Carroll with his “God is not a good theory.” none-sense. God is definitely NOT a good theory, It is the author of all and therefore the author of theory and theories. Looking for God in toto in the world is like cracking open the case of one’s computer to look for Alan Turing. Sure, there are clues, but as God precedes reality It is definitionally not containable within that reality.

  40. Cat Burglar

    Stoller’s article on cow market rigging reflects our ranch’s experience — after 2015 we were a break-even operation (and we were not small). Prices were good in 2015, and as my sister, the ranch manager, said, “Somebody probably lost their job for letting that happen.” We’re relieved to have left the business before the whole thing goes down. We were both really burned up reading his article, but happy that our R-CALF dues made something happen.

    No surprise here that economists are unable and unwilling to model a phishing equilibrium in cow markets. Dumping the “Structure-Conduct-Performance” analysis of markets in favor of modeling deductions from first principles is to turn your back on an empirical approach to actually existing markets.

    1. Glen

      So I would like to support American ranchers. How do I buy direct?

      I know these are dumb questions, but we are seeing a dramatic re-structuring of our economy, and getting rid of the price gouging useless middlemen is an important opportunity.

  41. jr

    From fake backdrops to fake children, the administration of “Dead Man Wandering” Biden and “Ka-Babble” Harris are at it again:

    This is of a piece with the link I posted last night where two professional liars discuss how stupid Americans need to be spoon-fed policy ideas:

    The Land of Illusion. Except the man behind the curtain has neglected to pull the curtain and his butt is hanging out. Not gonna be pretty.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I’m not sure why there is such an uproar over using child actors for a NASA video. NASA only exists to shovel money at Bezos, Musk and Branson to do what NASA can do cheaper, faster and more efficiently.

      1. jr

        A fair point but I wonder how it “lands” with a lot of people. At the very least, it’s ammunition for those who are critical of the administration and are looking to load chain, pottery shards, bricks, anything that can cut and maim into the blame cannons aimed at the White House. Trump may or may not have cleared those protestors to wave an upside down Bible for the cameras but people know for certain Biden and Friends are phony as heck.

  42. Nikkikat

    Saw the CNN interview with Mayor Pete. Can’t tell you what Pete said because Pete never actually never says anything. Just a bunch of words around and round. Connecting to nothing and meaning nothing. Interesting how he was suddenly trotted out of his exile to say something. Pete is not a bright guy. Pete is the latest flavor foisted on us by the men behind the curtain. Pete knows nothing about transportation, the PTB think they can pass him off as the next OBUMMER. Good luck with that!

  43. antidlc

    RE: labor shortage

    Here is my story.

    I have been using grocery curbside pickup and home delivery since the beginning of the pandemic.

    I scheduled a pickup for today. Usually an hour and half before pickup time, I get a text stating the store is out of certain items and suggestions for replacements are given. I can then accept or decline the suggested replacements.

    Today I received no such text. This has happened before so I didn’t think too much of it. I just figured that maybe I got lucky and they had everything in stock or they had new employees that forgot to text (or didn’t know they were supposed to text.)

    So I show up at my appointed time, text that “I’m here” and wait for them to deliver the groceries to my car.
    I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, a store employee approached my car and told me he was very sorry — they were short staffed and he did not have time call everyone that they were running behind. He apologized over and over. I told him not to worry about it — I’ll just come back. (I live close by so no big deal.) He said it would be at least an hour. He called back later, again apologizing, saying my order was ready for pickup.

    I went to the store. He delivered my groceries and again apologized and gave me a store credit for my inconvenience. I told him again it was no big deal — this guy has provided excellent service for months and he knows me by name. I had left a tip for him in the car. He was clearly frazzled and looked exhausted. I don’t know if people have quit or if they are out sick. I would guess people have quit because there is always a “Now Hiring” sign on the door as I drive by.

  44. jr

    Health note: I’m happy to report that my white blood cell count has returned to normal per my GP. A big relief. Also, it appears my fears that my Pfizer jab killed them off were unfounded as I gave the blood sample a few weeks before the shot, I had the timeline confused.

    A note about language: my GI had used the term “borderline” to describe my count, which I interpreted as nearly gone. My GP said they had dipped slightly; I suspect my GI meant they were borderline concerning but I was terrified for months because of that simple word!

  45. Helena

    Well, I’m dying of laughter:

    The leverage could kill it, Michael Burry argued in a series of tweets that have since been deleted. “If you don’t know how much leverage is in crypto, you don’t know anything about crypto, no matter how much else you think you know,” he tweeted in June, (NYMag)

    “Jamie Dimon’s Own Bank Has A Cryptocurrency But Says Bitcoin ‘Not My Cup Of Tea’ Yahoo Finance

  46. Ian Perkins


    You were asking about Tom Feeley of ICH, who says:
    “My doctor was treating me for long Covid and despite his best efforts I got to a situation where even one hours work exhausted me. It got to the point that I was admitted to hospital in San Diego and a battery of test suggested I might have leukemia, a marrow bone analysis confirmed I have acute leukemia I have been here for almost 3 weeks, where the doctors nurses and staff are working get my cancer into remission. I am having daily chemotherapy.”

  47. Wukchumni

    Harden the giant sequoia groves? Reducing the ground and ladder fuels beneath the huge trees can make them more resistant to fire. The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been treating many of the groves with prescribed fire since the 1960s. The Sequoia National Forest also has an active prescribed fire program. But the federal agencies have not had the funding and personnel to conduct thinning and prescribed fire projects in all of the groves. And California air quality regulations and residents who complain about smoke from prescribed fires restrict the windows for when the burns can take place.

    Rethink the way limited firefighting resources are allocated to going fires? In a September 23, 2021 public briefing, one of the Operations Section Chiefs on these fires explained that he did not have enough hand crews and other resources to be able to work on all of the high priority areas on his fire at the same time, and was forced to shift them around based on fire activity. It sounded like Whack-A-Mole. This was due at least in part to the numerous ongoing fires, which were competing for the same resources. Other fires had similar shortages and unfilled resource orders.

  48. Jason Boxman

    So I realize it might be inappropriate to ask in this forum, but perhaps file this under scams or rent extraction: I just got what looks like a legitimate itemized bill for medical services from one of those clinics or whatever that you might go to after a car accident; This happened 7 years ago. The auto insurance company supposedly paid all the bills and as I recall recommended the clinic.

    I got a letter claiming that the previous owner sold it, but retained rights to unpaid bills, and is billing me for the balance due. This is from over 7 years ago now. Is this even legal? As far as I knew, the service was paid in full and I was never ever billed for a dime.

    Nonpayment is threatened with a referral to debt collection. What specialty of lawyer would I even call about this? Is this for real or a scam? The itemized bill is certainly for real and has real details from my visits.


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      First, check for the statute of limitations on the debt. In most states it’s only 5 or 6 years. I think you are in NC. If so, the statute of limitations is three years: They can pound sand.

      But write a letter to them saying they can pound sand, the debt was paid in full seven years ago by your insurer, and they are either so incompetent that they lost track of that or they are deliberate attempting to defraud you, since separately even if you owed them, which you don’t, the statue of limitations passed years ago.

      I would seriously consider writing the AG or a county prosecutor. Probably too small beans for the AG but this would be easy peasy and an elected DA might take this up if he’s having a slow month.

      If seven years is not past the statute of limitations, then:

      Second, call the auto insurer immediately and alert them to the fraud. Ask if there is any way they can pull up records that old to show you paid.

      Third, write a letter disputing the debt. Say that your insurer paid it in full and them pursing you now is fraud. Add if they persist you will report them to the state AG and will alert class action law firms, since you would be willing to be a lead plaintiff and if they are defrauding you, they are likely defrauding others. CC your insurer.

      Either way you must write disputing the debt.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Thanks so much for taking time to describe in detail what steps I can take to protect myself! I hope this is helpful to others as well!

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Obviously you have to be more polite/professional that I was but I would definitely say stuff like “egregious error or apparent fraud”. Definitely use the F word but stay cool.

  49. Wukchumni

    When I six we all took naps in school and were oh so innocent, but that was then and this is New England when 6 year olds go on a rampage…

    BRISTOL, Vt. (WCAX) – Bristol Elementary School students and staff say their school is in a state of unrest and many fear for their safety. They say kids in crisis aren’t getting the proper care to keep their behavior under control.

    Teachers told me safety concerns came to a head last Thursday and Friday. I talked with one mom who says her first-grader witnessed the chaos.

    “He had gotten into the car and kind of looked distraught and I was like, you know, “How was your day, buddy?’ And he was like, ‘I almost witnessed a murder,’” said Megan Vaughan, a Bristol Elementary School parent.

    When Vaughan heard her 6-year-old son say something so drastic, she knew the situation probably wasn’t that severe but something serious had definitely happened.

    Later that night he told his mom more details. Vaughan says her son saw his friend get pinned behind a table, unable to breathe.

    “Their classroom had been destroyed and that they were evacuated to another classroom and then into lockdown,” Vaughan said.

    Bristol Elementary School teachers say last Thursday, two classrooms were forced to relocate to other workspaces while a student was in crisis. A first-grade classroom sustained significant damage.

  50. Bazarov

    “God” is just the sensation of “oneness” that occurs when consciousness get a little, uh, “jangled.”

    Sensation is a weak word, but I don’t want to be too hyperbolic. Suffice to say, the sensation is almost a certainty that you’re not you–that the universe is pouring into you like a waterfall pours into a basin.

    It’s not really terrifying. In fact, when it happened to me, I wanted to laugh!

    I got there by accident. I would imagine most people people come by it that way, as near death experiences contain something of this awesome oneness. Many achieve it by meditation, encounters with art, and/or taking drugs.

    The absolutely essential element seems to be to upset the conscious order that divides you from the world and the world from itself. In the disorientation, the veil parts: God.

  51. VietnamVet

    “They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.”

    This is the only explanation to the inexplicable responses to the coronavirus pandemic in the USA led by Dr. Anthony Fauci. The corporate aristocracy controls a for-profit system where the majority of the human population and the earth have no value. Big lie propaganda and divide and rule identity politics have led the West to the brink of collapse.

    Blaming the unvaccinated for the current fourth spike and future coronavirus spikes plus firing unvaxxed first responders and healthcare workers due to a Presidential News Release while Americans are still sick and dying from COVID highlights the current absurdity.

    The mRNA vaccines are profitable but have known side effects and are very leaky. They do not stop transmission. At best, more than half of the fully vaccinated, who had no debilitating side effects, avoided severe illness and death but booster shots are needed after 6 months. Yet, without a functioning public health system, literally any outsider for the foreseeable future must be treated as a possible “Typhoid Mary” virus carrier. Periodically overflowing hospitals, isolation, and fear are inevitable as everyone gets infected and maybe reinfected when new mutations arise.

    No society or economy can function if this remains the status quo. The last likely coronavirus Russian flu pandemic lasted from 1889 to 1895. This time the mRNA vaccines may select for mutations that avoid the immune system response to the extinct Wuhan spike protein and continue its virulence even longer.

    Stockholders and their managers literally do not know what they are doing.

  52. K.k

    Natural immunity , children, and vaccines.

    I was just subjected to j dores video with max blumenthal. They were discussing Rogans interview with Gupta.
    Blumenthal actually said the only kids that have died from covid were kids who were already dying from cancers and extreme co morbidity . What the hell! This is a complete lie. Setting aside the morality of and ethics of what they seem to be ok with, in my own city there have been multiple kids who died from covid who were perfectly healthy before infection. These people seem to be ok with kids catching covid multiple times over the next decade because of b cell. They are perfectly willing to ignore other studies that show its not such a good idea to expose children to covid. The one that comes to mind immediately is the study that discussed vascular damage lasting months after infection even with moderate cases in children.
    Also i just want to point out the hypocrisy of Blumenthal and co who are up in arms about half ass restrictions and mandates in the us and europe as being authoritarian yet will praise how China has controlled the pandemic. By the way i have no problems with how china has handled it in so far as the majority of their population supports and approves of the way the state has dealt with it.

  53. Pat

    Update on the “successful” negotiation that prevented the IATSE strike scheduled to start today, one of the online trades has in a back door manner acknowledged that the congratulations may have been premature.

    So Loeb may have continued the tradition of selling out the membership for peanuts. Apparently as more details emerge the membership is not happy. So far I have seen complaints on the pension relief issue, the turnaround issue, the streaming issue, and even that the wage increase doesn’t cover inflation. And just a note on turnaround, unless there are serious penalties attached to invading it, the inadequate ten hours will be invaded on a regular basis without one (an hour or less at a premium will just be added into the budget calculation).

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