Links 10/5/2021

Massive California oil spill was reported Friday. But nobody told the millions who went to the beaches. USA Today

Large firing operations underway on KNP Complex of fires Wildfire Today

Can Nuclear Fusion Put the Brakes on Climate Change? The New Yorker

Why Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp All Went Down Today Wired. When Wired writes the “Facebook family of apps,” they are genteelly failing to mention that Facebook, a ginormous monopoly, purchased the firms that created those apps. Then Wired writes: “The fundamental issue… is that Facebook has withdrawn the so-called Border Gateway Protocol route that contains the IP addresses of its DNS nameservers.” No. What’s “fundamental” is Facebook assimilating Instagram and WhatsApp. The technical failure is a mere artifact of Facebook doing business. Obviously, if Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were three separate firms, Facebook couldn’t bring the other two down. AWS, on the other hand….

Facebook Is Weaker Than We Knew NYT.

Facebook is in trouble.

Not financial trouble, or legal trouble, or even senators-yelling-at-Mark-Zuckerberg trouble. What I’m talking about is a kind of slow, steady decline that anyone who has ever seen a dying company up close can recognize. It’s a cloud of existential dread that hangs over an organization whose best days are behind it, influencing every managerial priority and product decision and leading to increasingly desperate attempts to find a way out. This kind of decline is not necessarily visible from the outside, but insiders see a hundred small, disquieting signs of it every day — user-hostile growth hacks, frenetic pivots, executive paranoia, the gradual attrition of talented colleagues.


What we know — and don’t know — about Merck’s new Covid-19 pill STAT

Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is There a “Best” mRNA Vaccine? The Scientist (nvl).

People Are Getting Moderna ‘Boosters’ Anyway MedPage Today

Researchers retract preprint study that miscalculated higher heart inflammation risk for Moderna, Pfizer COVID vaccines Fierce Pharma

Quantifying the impact of COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions on influenza transmission in the United States Journal of Infectious Diseases. Results: “We estimate that incidence of influenza A/H1 and B, which circulated in early 2020, was reduced by more than 60% in the US during the first ten weeks following implementation of NPIs. The reduction of influenza transmission exhibits clear geographical variation. After the control measures are relaxed, potential accumulation of susceptibility to influenza infection may lead to a large outbreak, the scale of which may be affected by length of the intervention period and duration of immunity to influenza.”

How Covid wrongfooted the health experts FT

What are they hiding? At the start of Covid many scientists believed it likely leaked from Wuhan lab – until a conference call with Patrick Vallance changed their minds. We asked for his emails about the call. This is what we got . . . Daily Mail. Commentary:

You don’t have to buy the lab leak hypothesis to see that this is a very, very bad look; and one not unknown for public health this year.


Evergrande: Investors kept waiting over ‘major’ deal BBC

Chinese developer Fantasia fails to make debt payments Agence France Presse

Belt and Road Meets Build Back Better Foreign Policy

China is not heading toward a market economy, often due to its own policies, report concludes SCMP. From the Atlantic Council, pivoting nimbly.

“Economic war crimes.” Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence, The Scrum

“The World Turned Upside Down”—a critical review Global Inequality


Why the Myanmar military is facing its most serious challenge today Barbed Wire

ASEAN ministers disappointed at Myanmar junta’s peace commitment Reuters. Dudes. Come on.

The bleak outlook for Myanmar’s farmers Frontier Myanmar

A useful proxy from Indonesia::

Why Has East Timor Built the Strongest Democracy in Southeast Asia? CFR


Minister’s car runs over 4 protesters in Lakhimpur Kheri, farmers blame son; 4 more die in violence Indian Express

Solarpunk: A new anthology of speculative fiction counters dystopias with hopeful futures

Gladys Berejiklian has ‘a lot more to contribute’, Scott Morrison says Guardian

New Zealand admits it can no longer get rid of coronavirus AP


Our Foreign Policy Elite Has Learned Nothing From Afghanistan The Nation

Murder Plot Against Israeli Billionaire Had Iran Connection Tikun Olam

Crony Capitalism and State Capture: The Kenyatta Family Story The Elephant


How the NHS Uses Precarity as a Weapon Against Worker Organising Tribune

Europe’s drug regulator advises Covid-19 booster shots for the immunocompromised CNN

Why Germany is the west’s sanest country FT

French report: 330,000 children victims of church sex abuse AP. And we wonder why people conclude that the world is run by an elite of cold-blooded humanoid reptilians.

Biden Administration

Will Monopolies Steal the Infrastructure Money? Matt Stoller, BIG. Gotta throw a flag here: Violating Betteridge’s Law.

Amid Selloff, Biden Reassures: ‘A Meteor Is Headed For Our Economy’ The Heisenerg Report

Senior Biden aides privately explored whether payments could continue even if U.S. breached debt ceiling WaPo

The debt ceiling: can the US avert a disastrous default? FT

Postal banking pilot brings check cashing, bill pay in 4 areas Banking Dive

“Pandora Papers” offer expansive look at how the wealthy hide money Marketplace

South Dakota Is Turning Into a Tax Haven for the Global Elite Vanity Fair

Patriotic Billionaire Only Invests In American-Made Tax Havens The Onion

Health Care

COBRA subsidies die with a whimper Sick Note

Class Warfare

McKinsey Never Told the FDA It Was Working for Opioid Makers While Also Working for the Agency ProPublica

The Age of Exterminations (III). Why you Should be Worried. Very Worried The Seneca Effect (CEA).

* * *

IATSE Members Vote to Authorize a Strike With Over 98 Percent Support Hollywood Reporter

Nobody Really Knows How the Economy Works. A Fed Paper Is the Latest Sign. NYT. “The ways that millions of people bounce off one another — buying and selling, lending and borrowing, intersecting with governments and central banks and businesses and everything else around us — amount to a system so complex that no human fully comprehends it.” Perhaps comprehension is possible, at least at a high level: 719,945 of the afterlifed would like a word.

On Nathan Schneider on the limits of cryptoeconomics Vitalik Buterin. Commentary:

Right now, greed is a virtue, and no longer a sin. That’s creating problems.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


      1. Wukchumni

        She’s leaving on the midnight train to Canberra, with or without the pips?

        I watched her going away speech and she’s an effective scoundrel, missing accomplished.

  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    Facebook is in trouble.
    It has been slowly dying for a few years now. The number of posts/people/etc has been slowly drying up until what you are left with is a much smaller pool of die-hard users.
    I’m sure FB can offer stats and numbers that prove otherwise but based on my experiential evidence it is now on a long slow decline from, say, 2012-2013 peaks.
    Maybe it will hit some sort of inflection point and just collapse… but AOL is still around so it could go on in ever dwindling size for quite a long time.
    The other, and usually unmentioned, slowly collapsing elephant in the room is Google.

    1. Fritzi

      Well, contrary to what we have been constantly told for at least the last twenty years now, it seems the living gods from Silly Con Valley won’t dictate the future of mankind, life and the universe after all.

      Who woulda have thought.

    2. griffen

      Are we moving into jump the shark* territory? I think it’s highly possible. I still use the corporate offerings often enough, but I’m not logging into post pictures of my turkey sandwich exactly.

      *apologizes to all Fonzarelli fans…

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Maybe “Jump the Shark” isnt the right metaphor….. If you were in NJ I would say it’s like “Seaview Square Mall in 1999″… Obviously failing but with a lot of inertia behind it.

        1. ambrit

          I’d say that “jump the shark” is very appropriate when we consider that after the original “Jump the Shark” developer sold the company to a mega-corps, the “Meme Factory” became just another corporate friendly sales platform.

    3. Laughingsong

      “ What I’m talking about is a kind of slow, steady decline that anyone who has ever seen a dying company up close can recognize. It’s a cloud of existential dread that hangs over an organization whose best days are behind it,”

      It was like this when I was at Xerox in the late 80s. . . Xerox back then was the very first time I saw the meme “The beatings will continue until morale improves”, along with the Xerox Prayer (“…our raise be none, in Fremont as it is in Rochester. . . Deliver us from Sun Microsystems…”) and the “disaster movie” Xerox Titanic (with a cast of thousands. . . Uh, hundreds… no, wait, dozens . . .) this description perfectly fits. I would arrive to an acre-sized 2-story building that was mostly deserted due to the incessant layoffs, and we’d rattle around in there….it was awful.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It sounds really bad what happened to Xerox as it was dying and yes, it was awful. Having said that, has it ever occurred to you that one day there could be a great dramatic film made about this? Not that the present Hollywood would ever film it, but from what you say, it is a story that deserves to be told.

        1. ambrit

          That subject will be “redacted” under the aegis of the category; “The Greatest Story Never Told.”
          The Chairman of the Board’s Creed: “He who would follow me must give away everything….”
          Also; “..a man came up to him saying, “Teacher, what bad deed must I do to have eternal funds?””
          My preferred Sword and Sandals reboot is a film of; “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire.”
          Nowhere is safe.

          1. Laughingsong

            Heh, well you both gave me a chuckle for sure… greatest story never told, yeah… the gallows humor at the time was of course the way most people dealt… in IT where I worked, there was seemingly less trepidation as this was Silicon Valley and there were many IT jobs. However a couple of us in the Data Center were bummed because this was one of the few unionized data centers ( the only other ones I recall were Boeing and United Airlines).

    4. Terry Flynn

      Yeah it’s been dying for years. My 70+ year old parents represent typical users round here…… Reports of speeding cars, who is putting their bins out on the wrong day etc. Yawn.

      I deleted years ago.

      1. lordkoos

        Given that so many FB users are seniors, a certain amount of attrition is going to happen regardless. Unless FB has some plan to attract younger users to the platform the glory years are definitely behind them.

        1. polecat

          So, the big Cov is carving into mark’$ vig .. regardless of age ? No wonder the censors are toggle twitchy!

          Humm ..

      2. Mikel

        With the aging pop on FB, it may be election years (political advertising) that will keep the gears oiled – the very thing that creates much anger and controversy.

      3. Irrational

        I use it to contact customer service of companies which otherwise can’t be bothered to reply or don’t even offer an e-mail. Dunno why they keep the FB page.

    5. Pungor

      At least Facebook still steals personal information to sell to advertisers.
      Not NextDoor where people readily volunteer their portraits, preferences, hobbies, groups, favorites, ,allow cross checking of i.p. addresses, verified address, phone numbers–they are verified–mobile numbers, verified, install their tracking app and thus set themself up for the ultimate in an advertisers dream, a customized panopticon of their thoughts, movements, property and assets.

      Nextdoor Insight
      Series #5:
      The changing consumption patterns of U.S. neighbors*

      *63 Million verified neighbors

      It is aggressively marketing all its tentacles reaching into public agencies as a ‘public service’ while at the same time heavily censoring language, deviant thoughts and thus cutting taxpayers off from public agencies they fund and exiling them from their ‘community’ for the same kind of offenses. However, per their service agreement, they get to keep all your data, even after booting you out.

      Read the bio of the CEO, Sarah Friar, that’s all you need to know about who is behind this ‘neighborliness’.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yeah worst site ever. I checked it out before gullible parents could sign up.

        Amount of hassle to delete and be delisted worse than ANY site I’ve encountered. Did purge of cookies etc and had lied to sign up questions given my suspicions. Don’t touch with ten foot bargepole.

        1. Maria

          Several women we know in Phoenix have been stalked based on their profiles, their houses robbed after they stupidly advertised they needed pet sitters it turned out that the thief was their local Stasi like volunteer neighborhood monitor who gets to shut down people he does not like. A soft-ware version of the personal neighborhood grudges settled under color of a revolution.

      2. Kevin Carhart

        Thank you. Dang right. And this method of basic rundown you have done should be a starting point for all nebulous apps, startups and ex-startups who push radical disclosure and stamp a surveillance overlay on something people do for themselves on their own human rhythms. I can think of about twenty.

        There is more investment history here, Apparently they just did a SPAC IPO.

    6. curlydan

      they will have to find more ways to “monetize the enterprise” as users dry up. My 14 year old uses Facebook only for the marketplace.

      Someday, it will no longer be “free”. I use it as a virtual photo album, so one day FB will no doubt hold my photos hostage and demand a ransom in an effort to maintain EPS.

    7. Darthbobber

      I’ve seen a big dwindling starting around 2010 fairly slowly, and then accelerating post 2016. First it became reasonably useless for serious political discussion, then all of the less shrill/shallow started disengaging and paring back.

      I think their ham-handed and utterly arbitrary moves post-2020 election to clamp down on this, that, and the other thing, coupled with the increasingly intrusive promoted content have done nothing but accelerate the decline.

      I really use it only for easy contact with maybe 20 friends and relatives who remain there.

      For any serious purpose, almost every alternative is better (and some of those are pretty bad in their own right.)

      1. Ian Perkins

        then all of the less shrill/shallow started disengaging and paring back

        It (and it’s offshoots like Whatsapp) is widely used in India, being synonymous with the internet in many people’s minds, with businesses relying on it, students submitting homework over it, and so on..

    8. FluffytheObeseCat

      Facebook owns Instagram, which is still heavily used by young people. The Facebook platform itself is dwindling in influence (although it’s still a better venue for selling used goods that Craigslist, and I’ll bet it is good for other targeted small, local group activities. The boring kind that actually make people’s lives work better, but which are aggressively ignored by financial elites because they’re almost impossible to “monetize”.)

      Basically the old FB namesake platform can wither into a tool swap and church prayer group message board over the next few decades without destroying the company, or it’s social impacts. If Instagram begins to fail however……

      1. The Rev Kev

        I third that. Good luck ambrit, and perhaps you should suggest to them that they put their cardiac offices on the ground floor instead.

        1. Wukchumni

          Like many i’m a nervous Rx when it comes to these things in our best of all capitalist healthcare worlds, may your outcome not hurt your income being the most of our worries.

          Good luck on your mission and we’ll expect a debriefing when you get back to the world.

    1. ambrit

      With the site admin’s indulgence.
      Ye Doctor of cardio matters says that my left descending cardiac artery is showing a little blockage. This is where I had a stent put in nine years ago. The medico says that it could be the old stent being overgrown by placque or another spot of build up in that artery. However, all is not lost. He wants me to start low impact exercise to see if the artery will regain some of it’s former elasticity. “Go slow, you’re not a youngster any more. Build up and see if you can increase your tolerance to exercise. Try this for now before we go to a cardiac catheterization. Oh, and if you have a heart attack, call me right away.”
      So, there I am. This really gets home the idea of “personal responsibility.”
      A big thank you to one and all. I realize that NC is not a chat site, but the degree of solidarity amongst the Commenteriat here is exemplary. I feel blessed.
      Be safe all!

      1. petal

        So what you’re saying is you’d like some Jane Fonda workout videos for Christmas?
        Glad things worked out and it is potentially fixable. That is good news.

        1. ambrit

          Yes to some legitimate hope, (not the political kind.)
          Jane Fonda at her present age should be about right. Perhaps something from the Hallmark Channel: “A Lady Barbarella After Christmas Recovery Program.” With my luck, I’d get “Phoebe Zeit-Geist does cholesterol.”
          Phoebe Zeit-Geist:
          I didn’t realize until later today that this subject was of serious concern to Phyllis. That is a lesson to me on my own biases. There is a Little Narcisist lurking about in all of us.

  2. Bandit

    McKinsey Never Told the FDA It Was Working for Opioid Makers While Also Working for the Agency

    They didn’t have to tell them about their conflict of interests since the FDA was very likely already aware and proceeded anyway.

    1. Questa Nota

      Just taking a play from the Goldman playbook, both hands against the middle. What swell people.

    2. griffen

      To quote the narrator from Fight Club, I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

      McKinsey exists to enrich McKinsey. I am certain the Sackler, et al., received their money’s worth.
      Snake pits are shocking, surprisingly, to be filled with snakes.

    3. Ian Perkins

      Whether or not the FDA was aware of McKinsey’s interests initially, it signed a new contract – ‘extending the firm’s multiyear effort to help the FDA “modernize” the process by which it regulates new drugs‘ – after the news broke.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        The same thing happened with the EU banks restructured after 2008. The European Commission was advised by McKinsey. McKinsey also acted as watchdog for the EU. McKinsey did not advise the Commission and banks under the programme that the McKinsey pension fund had positions in the banks and hedges for its financial services portfolio. There was some controversy, but it suited the Commission and banks to avoid making much fuss.

    4. Maritimer

      A clearing house for mixing and matching racketeering techniques and strategies across industries.

    1. Nikkikat

      And “millions” do not go to the beach in October in S. California. Just a slight exaggeration.
      In October in Orange County the beaches are relatively empty.

      1. ambrit

        That was the weekend of the Big Air Show, which happens at the beach. I saw videos of the first day and the beach was, if not packed, pretty close to full. (In fact, the last day of the Air Show was cancelled due to the oil spill.)

      2. JerryDenim

        You obviously haven’t been to the beach in Orange County recently. Sunny skies, low humidity, and calm or offshore breezes all day make for the warmest and most pleasant beach weather of the year during the month of October. COVID changed everything. I think 85% of the SoCal population purchased a soft-top surfboard and attempted to become surfers in the last 18 months. Beach parking lots that never used to fill up, even on summer holiday weekends are suddenly at capacity year-round during the week, if the Huntington Beach based surf forecasting company “Surfline” declares the surf “Fair to Good”. During the weekends the parking lots and beaches are permanently overflowing, and that’s a regular weekend, not a weekend with a three-day airshow. I have no doubts the beaches of Orange County which stretch from Seal Beach on the North edge to San Clemente on the south end saw millions of visitors over the course of the weekend. I was one of the millions both Friday and Saturday.

    2. Chud Dickington

      >125,000 gallons of crude oil is quite the mess but it is not massive.

      That’s some high grade copium right there.

      1. Retaj

        By contrast, Florida has a ban on oil rigs offshore because the locals value the beaches so much. Californians are more to the left but do not value their beaches as highly, it seems.

        1. tegnost

          not as highly as they value their cars…. Cali is liberal in name only.
          I’ll speculate, based on the certainty of 125,000 gallons instantly predicted by the spiller that the final total will be more than that…
          “The estimated amount of oil that had poured into the ocean was 144,000 gallons.”
          I also get a negative kick out of the recovery totals… I recall 1,300 gallons from yesterday.

          1. Anthony Stegman

            The issue with California includes the fact that Big Oil has bought and paid for the governor and state legislature over the past many decades. Only in their minds is California “green”. The truth is far different as large areas of the state are among the most heavily polluted in the entire country.

        2. orlbucfan

          Yeah, but Florida natives and long time residents will not swim in the interior lakes nor rivers in the state. They are massively polluted. The Gulf of Mexico is becoming more and more an ecological horror show, too. Massive red tide and oil leaks from all the rusted out oil rigs which have never been dismantled and removed. The Atlantic side is starting to get red tides, too. It’s heartbreaking especially if you’ve lived down here long enough to recall when it was not like that.

        3. the last D

          Sound of me scratching my head. Didn’t the once-and-future president, trump, have something to do with a ban on offshore drilling around the Sunshine State? Might be wrong, but will continue scratching.

        4. the last D

          Florida does not have the authority to ban offshore oil exploration and drilling. That is left to the federal government. The once-and-future president, trump, extended a ban on offshore drilling around coastal Florida and other southern Atlantic coastal states. This same extension was not extended to California. Why? Scratching my head for a reason.

      2. hunkerdown

        It’s only 3000 barrels, about 1/3 of an Olympic-size swimming pool depending on specific gravity. Not all that massive in the grand scheme, but a convenient narrative-enforcing tool for austerians. The real copium is using gallons and barrels instead of liters.

    3. eg

      I recall being astonished to see oil rigs offshore so close to beaches in California when I rode down the Pacific Highway in 1990. Certainly no photos of such were widely distributed abroad at that time.

  3. Tom67

    About Fusion energy: my late father was a professor of Mathematics at Heidelberg university and his speciality was stochastics. He had started out as a phycisist and came to Mathematics through his work at KFZJ, the premium west German laboratory for nuclear energy. He was a guest lecturer at berkeley and worked with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore laboratory and the foremost Russian lab at Dubna. Basically he was mathematically modeling nuclear energy. He told me that Fusion energy will never ever work but that no physicist will ever confess to that as this pipe dream keeps scientists all over the world in pay and allows them all kinds of related research.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Another incentive is that it’s another deus ex machina, perpetually waiting in the wings, so we can continue to believe in the silly myth that infinite economic growth is possible on a finite planet.

      For reality, check out the EN-ROADS “Drivers of Growth” model that plots CO2 emissions against population, GDP per capita and the “energy intensity” of GDP, i.e. how much energy is required per unit of GDP. While there has been improvement in “energy intensity” over the past few decades, it is nowhere new enough to counter the effects of continually increasing population and GDP growth. For the growth-uber-alles and TINA folks, some kind of “magic” is required to keep up that lie that Business As Usual can continue much longer.

      Or you could go with the shoot-sulfur-in-the-sky model which follows the Biden administation’s approach to Covid. As our Harvard man explained a few days back in that NYT oped, his program would require a “booster shot” of more sulfur about every two years since the sulfur will come down, presumably in the form of much beloved acid rain. Hey, at least it’s not every 6 months.

      1. Pelham

        But that sulfur shot into the sky would amount to only 5% of the total sulfur now being emitted by other means. So it’s not unprecedented or even a huge increase.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That cast-a-shade sulfur would be put far higher than sulfur pollution by-products of combustion go. They are released into the lower atmosphere. The “sulfur sun-shade” would be released between troposphere and stratosphere, right up where the ozone layer is.

      2. lordkoos

        Like the sulphur-in-the-sky idea, the USA’s approach to COVID could be summed up as “let’s see what happens”.

    2. Mikerw0

      Agree. Any article about fusion that does not discuss Q-total should not be taken seriously. We are nowhere remotely close to making fusion work.

        1. Jeff W

          This video (“Former fusion scientist on why we won’t have fusion power by 2040”) also, along the same lines, which was posted a few weeks ago.

      1. bassmule

        Long ago and far away I used to write PR releases for these ninnies. In the beginning (1970) it was called the Laser Fusion Feasability Lab. These days it’s called the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Snappy, don’t you think? They’re woke, too! “The Laboratory for Laser Energetics is actively engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in an effort to evolve and conduct high-impact research.”

        ‘Laser Lab’ Prioritizes DEI Initiatives to Benefit Research

      2. polecat

        Oh C’mon!! Can’tcha feel that pull of cosmic energy? .. afterall, who Doesn’t like budgetary $cience Black Hole$ that self-lick back into existence every 10-20 yrs ..

    3. A.

      As a counterpoint to the three, unanimously naysaying comments in this thread, might I suggest to more open-minded readers the accessible and even-handed book The Future of Fusion Energy, written by two young fusion scientists. I do not remember where I came across this recommendation myself, it may even be another NC thread — but it is good, and concretely informative. It demands careful reading because the authors are mindful of not bullshitting the reader, leading to a certain density.

      In the end it may leave you unconvinced, but at least you’ll come off it with an appreciation of the science and engineering of tokamaks, the challenges posed by plasma confinement and turbulence, design issues of potential fusion power plants, the factors involved in scaling Q, among other things.

      1. Mikerw0

        Curious as to when the authors project we will get to Q-total (not Q-plasma) greater than one? None of the reported results to date have been even remotely close to breakeven. That is all that matters. I have seen all the press releases and we aren’t even close to making fusion work.

        1. A.

          As you might expect of a non-sensationalist book, they make no such projection.

          In addition, they acknowledge that the Q-total (which they call Q-eng in the book) is expected to be substantially lower than Q-plasma (which they just call Q), which of course varies based on the assumptions one uses for the efficiency of the heating and current-drive systems, but they show a sample calculation that results in Q-total being smaller than Q-plasma by factor of 5.

          A later chapter on fusion power plants suggests that Q-plasma = 20 is about what is going to be required for net power generation.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If all the climate change scientists were fired, would the climate stop changing?

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the tax haven that is South Dakota, the storied firm that has the five arrows logo was one of the first financial institutions to set up there. This is one of the activities the firm is prioritising. Some of its clients and associates are to be found in Aspen, Jackson Hole and Sun Valley.

  5. doug

    I hope the postal service is serious about the banking test. It seems a no brainer for them to offer basic banking services. Predatory payday loans/20% charges for cashing payroll checks should not exist.
    Totally enjoyed the correlation picture. Thanks.

    1. Carla

      DeJoy is making sure the postal service isn’t even serious about delivering mail. I can’t understand the enthusiasm about entrusting banking services for the most vulnerable people in the country to an agency that is currently being sabotaged every way to Sunday by this guy.

      1. doug

        Desperation is my motive. I do believe the PO would treat folks better than the way the unbanked is treated now. I understand your doubts and have some myself, but see no better alternative for the unbanked. The PO will outlast DeJoy…

        1. lordkoos

          “The PO will outlast DeJoy…”

          Perhaps, but it may be hard to recognize the USPS after he is through with it. Democrats seem perfectly OK with the drive to privatize.

      1. lordkoos

        WA state was looking into this also but I haven’t heard much about the idea for some time now. No doubt massive forces and $$$ are being deployed against this.

  6. jr

    re: Mckinsey ancedote

    Years ago I had a culinary event that I conducted at McKinsey’s office in Manhattan. The hallway’s are filled with portraits of past employees of note. One stuck in my head. I cannot remember the complete details but it was something to the effect that this guy had worked for two competing parties, one of whom was the tobacco industry. (This is not a Madmen reference!)
    The description praised this guy for being able to essentially commit a good act while committing what I would describe an immoral act without a twinge of conscience.

    1. Questa Nota

      And he made sure to wear those over-the-calf socks for which McK consultants were known, so there is that, too. No bare calfskin, except in the veal pen annex.

      1. jr

        Wouldn’t be surprised, right next to the slave pens. They were an interesting bunch, extremely polite in that way that reveals an arrogance and entitlement far deeper than some jerk0ff who needs to blather on and prove himself. Probably related to that “Old Money” sense of decorum.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Didn’t our very own Yves Smith work for McKinsey? Was her picture posted among the other notable McKinsey alumni?

      Or was this a wall that you really didn’t want your picture on?

  7. Wukchumni

    Massive California oil spill was reported Friday. But nobody told the millions who went to the beaches. USA Today
    Charlie don’t surf and we don’t think he should
    Charlie don’t surf and you know that it ain’t no good
    Charlie don’t surf and hang eleven
    Charlie’s not gonna be a oil slick scar, dude

    Everybody wants to surf the curl
    Must be something on a board unfurled
    One truth is we never learn
    Leave it in the ground, less to burn

    We’ve been told to keep the surfers out
    We don’t want them starting to hang around
    We’d prefer then not to be in Orange County now
    Across the water curtain that’s for certain

    The reign of the shubie is taking over
    So many more surfers to roam the earth
    Soon nobody will roll over stoked
    An empty set of waves, a human dearth

    It’s a no go zone, an 87 octane frown
    The withdrawals are well trod ground
    You can go to Trestles instead
    Don’t think it’ll spread that far down

    Charlie don’t surf though he’ll yearn
    Charlie don’t surf with the men in grey suits
    Charlie don’t surf don’t think that he should
    Charlie don’t surf we really don’t think he would
    Charlie don’t surf

    Charlie don’t surf and we don’t think he should
    Charlie don’t surf and you know that it ain’t no good
    Charlie don’t surf like a hodad would
    Charlie don’t surf

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Pandora Papers offer expansive look at how the wealthy hide money”

    Not that expansive. An examination of the 336 politicians listed as corrupt reveals none to be listed from the United States with the biggest concentrations in Russia and South America. Funny that. Another thing is Putin. When the Panama Papers came out several years ago, Putin’s picture was plastered all over those newspaper articles – in spite of the fact that his name was not to be found listed in them at all. Same again with these Pandora papers as though his picture was on newspaper articles, he is not listed. So Putin is either not corrupt or else he has all his money stored in Scrooge’s Money Bin-

    1. t

      Ryan Cooper at The Week, who is usually a solid guy, often repeats the current Putin story (Hacking emails, etc.) and I’m watching to see if he slips into this current trend of using Putin as shorthand for anyone in Russia with money.

      It’s just bizarre. I suppose the general idea is the entirety of Russia and HRC would be living happy, benevolent lives and stopping climate change if not for that one Trump-loving criminal.

    2. Carolinian

      You are channeling another site that I read but I didn’t have to read it to know that the WaPo story on this was fishy. Their claim of a Putin love child is based on one opposition website and hence the use of “alleged” throughout. But from a WaPo standpoint it doesn’t matter if it is true as long as it fits the narrative. One of the authors of their story was a Russiagater.

    3. Anon

      Yes… one benefit to being The Godfather, is that you decide who gets thrown under the bus, and when.

    4. Darthbobber

      I also noted the lack of ANY direct connection to Putin to justify featuring his face prominently on the Beeb website.

      As to the “alleged” mistress and the vaporous lovechild:
      1) This would not run about a prominent British or American politician without a wee bit more sourcing than that, and

      2) A culture that accepts things like the Brown/Harris overlap of romance, economics, and political advancement, or the DiFi/hubby/postal privatization nexus as unremarkable has minimal business feigning shock at similar things elsewhere.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “What we know — and don’t know — about Merck’s new Covid-19 pill”

    First heard about this drug a coupla days ago. Scotty from Marketing has bought about 300,000 doses of this stuff and I immediately thought ‘lab rats’! I mean, 300,000 doses is not much for a population of 25 million people. But if by chance a drug company wanted to do a trial in a country that keeps excellent medical records to see if there are any side effects (debilitating stomach cramps, severe diarrhea, memory loss, partial facial paralysis, temporary blindness, drooling, bleeding gums, erectile dysfunction, uncontrollable flatulence, spontaneous combustion, etc.) then I figure that 300,000 doses would be about right. So what is in those little red capsules? Don’t know. Hell, for all we know, it is an Ivermectin derivative that has a patent slapped on it but at $700 a course, who’s complaining?

    1. Terry Flynn

      I’m not going to dispute or agree with the use of this in Aussies but I know via my years there that of the three countries I’ve lived in (UK, Australia and Sweden) Australia is far and away the best (in terms of uniform comprehensive record keeping etc) to check whether this pill works and whether strange side effects start cropping up so agree with Rev Kev regarding Oz being great petri dish for potential knowledge. Twas only when I moved to Oz that I learnt I’d had mono, and had a very sensitive immune system likely to go wappy after certain stimuli….. Which it duly did last year….

      Whether the results gets publicised is another story however……

    2. Ian Perkins

      As for it being a derivative, and without getting all technical, just look at the diagrams of the molecular structures at the tops of the Wikipedia pages for molnupiravir and the other one. They’re altogether very different things.

  10. Wukchumni

    Large firing operations underway on KNP Complex of fires Wildfire Today
    I feel as if this blaze is the energizer bunny, it just keeps on going in slow motion spreading its torrid tendrils to what extent to be determined later.

    So far so good in Mineral King as the army of combustion marches on now in the Atwell Grove and a mile and a half from our cabin. There’s a bunch of Hotshot crews and other firefighters holding the line and today finally after 3 days of no helicopter aerial assist, those assets can be utilized again as the cloying smoke heads elsewhere for a spell.

    In the south not too far from the Redwood Meadow grove, the fire has nearly taken down an entire mountainside where i’ve never traipsed nor precious few others-nobody goes there. So far a veritable shitlode of nature acres have burned.

    Redwood Meadow is the only backcountry grove accessible by trail in Sequoia NP, and while it has nothing spectacular in terms of exemplary examples, its a welcome sight for tired legs, a fair walk from anywhere.

    Lots of people I know claim its haunted, but i’ve never experienced anything out of the ordinary aside from sleeping within the bowels of a Sequoia where a room for one was hollowed out hundreds of years ago by fire.

    There are also a number of 3 to 4 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep ‘Indian Bathubs’ sunk into granite, along with a bunch of mortars. I’m aware of one area that has a couple of mortars with the original pestles in them still.

    The view of the grinders about 150 feet away is a perfect row of 5 Sequoias each of them about 1,500 years old and 30 feet apart. This usually happens in the aftermath of a Giant falling eons ago and spreading it’s cones horizontally, creating one gigantic picket fence. of sorts.

    We’re zeroing in on 70k acres burned and went from 20% containment a few days ago to 11% yesterday which is no bueno.

    The Catiphate hasn’t been active, no gophers paraded around on the back patio in matching orange jumpsuits before cooler heads and entrails prevail, they’re listless like us, prisoners of zenda in the great indoors.

    That said, we need to get away and for once I look forward to Fresno, going to the Big Fresno Fair and the horse races in particular.

    The nags @ the oval office there are the cheapest horseflesh earning their oats in Cali, in that most of the contests will be claiming races, where for $3k, you can purchase any of the thoroughbreds in the running of the lower rungs.

    The cheapest claiming race @ Santa Anita would be $10k to give you an idea of the tail of the talent in Fresno.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for those sitreps that you have been giving us, Wuk. You should be moving into your cooler months shortly so fire season will be finished soon. From what you have been saying, at times it seems to have been a near run thing for where you live. There will be plenty to be grateful for at Thanksgiving next month I suspect.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for the kudos Rev Kev, between the Castle Fire last year and the KNP this year, nearly a quarter of the land in Sequoia NP will have burned, kind of a startling number.

  11. Tom Stone

    The article on Gladys the good and NSW political corruption is a hoot.
    Like California, with an accent.

  12. Wukchumni

    There is no new auto inventory as the chips fall where they may, and you read that the problem will be fixed in 3 months, but what if it extends to years out, and the Car Go Cult constructs what looks like large docking facilities hoping to lure that new car smell back onto the front lot, now full of empty?

    1. hunkerdown

      Not sure if I mentioned it, but a couple of weeks ago the stock at my nearby Ford employee parking lot had been mostly removed, presumably after deus ex machina delivered us from the unconnected wilderness with mana from heaven. I saw maybe 6 units of 300 left over for some sort of rework, which were gone by a couple of days later.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Alina Chan
    This doesn’t inspire trust.’

    I’ve seen a redacted sheet like that only a coupla days ago. This young, female politician from a South American country was on Twitter showing an agreement between her country and a big pharma corporation for vaccines and it looked identical as it was almost entirely redacted.

      1. petal

        That’s what I was thinking-rats & sinking ship. Maybe stuff is about to come into contact with the fan? Or maybe he thinks he can walk away now since the pandemic is over(“my work here is done”)?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The guy was head of the NHGRI since 1993, and the head of the NIH since 2008. At some point you have to say enough.

    2. Mantid

      I wonder which big pharma corporation will he work for. Knowing as much as he does (about how to skrew people) he’d be quite the catch. The wheels on the bus go round and round….

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Huxley’s soma was more like alcohol without the hangover. It dulled the sensed and closed the mind. It was also fatal over the long term like alcohol. Remember Linda? Lifespans in Brave New World were shorter even than our recently reduced average lifespans here because of Covid. Everyone remained seemingly free of the changes brought on by aging until they were a few weeks away from what we’d consider a fairly early death. Part of this was the purposeful result of the technical aspects of the bottling process, but part was the result of soma use.

        Huxley also wrote The Doors of Perception about mescaline, a naturally occurring psychedelic from the peyote cactus, among others. Huxley is also reported to have been under the influence of LSD as he was dying.

        The effects of a psychedelic are the opposite of soma in Brave New World.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          Yes, Huxley’s Soma has the exact opposite effect of the various psychedelics. He knew exactly what he was writing about.
          And yes, he had his wife inject him, intramuscularly, with a substantial dose of LSD as he was dying. After she administered a second dose to him, he passed away shortly thereafter, a few hours after JFK, November 22, 1963.

        1. John Zelnicker

          October 5, 2021 at 1:31 pm

          Quite true, flora. But I believe full legalization is still necessary.

          Psilocybin mushrooms are easy to grow in the proper medium and can still be found along the edges of cow pastures where they can get some shade.

        2. Ian Perkins

          But in the UK at least, psilocybin mushrooms grow wild, in great profusion in places, so the pharmaceutical industry’d have a job on its hands monopolising the drug.

      1. Mantid

        The Carlos Casteneda (sp?) books include great observations about psilocybin. Read a few as a teen.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks flora. I especially liked this bit –

      “Psychedelics are useful not for the hallucinations they provide but for the hallucinations they remove.”

  14. marym

    “The West Virginian kayaktivists got their meeting with Sen. Manchin!They brought stories of some of those 79% of West Virginians who want to see #BuildBackBetter passed in full. He expressed that with so many Republicans in WV, he can’t sign off on Biden’s agenda.”

    thread reporting issues raised and horrible responses from Manchin:

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Sound like he was sort of honest. They need to find a way to torture him into quitting the Democratic Party and being true to himself and everyone else by re-labelling himself as Republican.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      With such overwhelming numbers of WVians in support he shouldn’t need to worry what a minority of the other party thinks, so that’s either some ridiculously bad logic on Manchin’s part or, due to the # of character limitations on twitter, the twitterer had to leave out the part about the Republicans Manchin is worried about being the incredibly rich ones who keep him in yachts.

  15. Anon

    I’m not sure the origin of COVID even matters at this point… seems we are looking for a smoking gun, when one should really be asking what you will do if you find it. If it’s a question of legitimacy, certainly we would be beating a long-dead horse.

    Maybe I’m being too cynical, but it wouldn’t surprise me if those redactions were made to prolong the intrigue, and not to protect conspiracy.

    At worst I imagine they were discussing the possibility of conspiracy, like every other human with two brain cells has considered. To make such unofficial musing public would serve as confirmation of what is mere speculation.

    1. Cuibono

      yeah finding out that some people or groups or even governments were involved in the creation of a novel virus that killed millions seems like it is really unimportant

  16. Ian Perkins

    Murder Plot Against Israeli Billionaire Had Iran Connection

    Another misleading headline, which should read “… Had Possible Iran Connection.
    The would-be killer is an Azeri national with a Russian passport.
    Sagi’s brother is a convicted murderer, and Sagi a convicted fraudster.
    Sagi was trying to break into Forex dealing, potentially annoying Israelis already involved.
    And he owed money to Russian gangsters.

    But of course, since Sagi is Israeli, it stands to reason Iran must have been behind any plot to bump him off.

  17. Even keel

    Re: French child abuse.

    The headline 330,000 figure is a wee bit misleading. That is the number estimated over 70 years. It does not say how the estimate was reached, but down in the article it clarifies that actually, the estimate abused by clerics is 216,000. No word on where the remaining 114,000 came from. Perhaps lay employees or volunteers?

    That’s about 3,000 per year. Not good. But, there are something like ten million children in the country even today.

    Now, the averages conceal, I assume, and I would assume these numbers were backloaded, so that higher numbers were in older years. No evidence, except that child protection is much stronger in the last 30 years. And, of course, the use of the undisclosed average is itself a bad faith tactic that suggests statistical manipulation.

    Finally, there is no telling what this sex abuse means. All sex abuse is bad, no doubt, but modern definitions could include quite a lot which may not have been considered abuse at the time. And, of course, the age of consent has changed. What proportion of these acts, being judged now as heinous crimes, were actually involving a person within the age of consent, as judged by the society at the time?

    So, I take the comment “no wonder people believe Q” (paraphrasing) to mean that, given the constant headlines and propaganda, no wonder people believe falsehoods, rather than “given the horrific abuse, no wonder people believe falsehoods.”

    To be clear: even one instance of abuse by a person with earthly power is wrong, and deeply wounding to the victim, and ought to be addressed. But the scale of the problem is clearly exaggerated for political purposes.

    1. Terry Flynn

      You can’t read can you? First page says the remainder are most likely Scout leaders etc. I’m guessing you’re actually a priest?

      My RC priest took me to a “diocesan musician” convention when I was 13 since I was the church organist. I was plied with scotch having been separated from fhe adults but knowing all the priests locally were total paedos I kept my wits about me and they never got their way. One of them got convicted at least.

      1. Even keel

        I do see that now. Either I missed it on first reading or the article was updated. (My version of the article now says it was published 2 hours ago, perhaps indicating an update)

        A little more detail comes from the New York Times: “over half the abuse occurred between 1950 & 1970”

        That is, more than fifty years ago. Not exactly news.

        The point is that despite the reporting, this not some sort of huge abuse factory. The rate of abuse is not disproportionate to the rate more broadly. Aggregate statistics pop out and garner clicks, but the aggregate is only large because the institution is large.

        I was looking for support on the “background rate” of abuse, but only found Wikipedia, which claims that 10 percent of boys and 20% of girls are abused. This is not apples to apples with the above situation, but it gives a sense. I would want statistics on other institutional settings. But I think the point remains. Without that context, real analysis is difficult.

        Also, while searching for that information I found an Atlantic article from 2018 which claimed there was no legal age of consent in France prior to 2018. I have no idea what the culture in France was like around sexual issues involving minors in the past, but I expect it was very different from today.

        One thing I think about is that statutes of limitations do not just prevent cases from being tried when the evidence is stale, but also function as a rough way in which to tie the social context in which the act was committed to the social landscape and cultural setting in which the act occurred.

        Again, sex abuse is horrible. And should not be committed nor condoned.

        1. newcatty

          Its not just odd, its unconscionable and dispicable. A reflection of using rationales like, ” no age of consent” to, if not excuse child sexual, then to justify and defend it.

  18. Jason Boxman

    One of the CDC reports looked at 32,867 medical encounters from hospitals, emergency departments, and urgent care clinics across nine US states from June to August 2021. Based on these data, the authors estimated a higher vaccine effectiveness for Moderna (95 percent) compared to Pfizer/BioNTech (80 percent) for preventing hospitalization and, similarly, for preventing encounters at emergency departments and urgent care clinics (92 percent for Moderna and 77 percent for Pfizer/BioNTech). Another report by the CDC analyzed 3,689 cases of COVID-19 hospitalization across 18 states from March to August 2021 and estimated a higher vaccine effectiveness of Moderna (93 percent) versus Pfizer/BioNTech (88 percent).

    Well that’s hardly what people were lead to believe about vaccination, particularly as regards to Pfizer. Oops. This is what happens when you reject a defense in depth approach.

      1. Basil Pesto

        interestingly, I posted something to Malaysia a couple months ago via Australia Post, I went to their site yesterday to get a shipping quote via their online postage calculator, again to Malaysia, but they don’t offer rates for their standard services (only the prohibitively expensive ‘courier’ option) so I’m wondering if they’ve suspended service to Malaysia at the moment (and maybe other parts of SE Asia as the same inquiry for Indonesia had no ordinary shipping rates either). I was able to ship something to the USA today though, no problem.

        The Aus Post network seems very congested at the moment as a lot of us are shopping online under lockdown. Some deliveries taking 1-3 weeks longer than usual.

        1. Greg

          Mail usually goes in the belly space of people movers, rather than using specific cargo planes like the dedicated parcel companies (FedEx DHL etc) do.

          Temporary suspension due to lack of transportation = can’t deliver the mail because there aren’t enough passenger flights going from the US to NZ right now.

          Congestion within AU and NZ domestic shipping right now is due to lockdown shopping and delivery slamming the parcel operators, but the international stuff is still all screwed because of the general global shutdown in passenger air travel.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        That is a broad statement & I admit that since the very start of the pandemic he has occasionally been proven incorrect which he has readily admitted to. He has from way back been correct on ventilation, masks, aerosols which is more than you can say for the seeming rotten hulks of public institutions. As to the above analysis he does the best that he can with the available data which has always been the case with his assessments of the likes of Vit C, Vit D, Zinc & all those other presumably terrible things that unlike the holy Vax are apparently designated as being bad for you.

        There have been many sources of info out there of varying quality in a time of great confusion including of course here & sometimes it is just a case of weighing up various positions to try & figure out which is the best way to negotiate the chaos & JC IMO has for many people to a large extent succeeded in plotting a reasonably safe path for many that has been far superior to the official line, which includes the vax as the best available option.

      2. DataHog

        Your recommendation to consider shunning Dr. Campbell’s videos doesn’t make any sense.
        Dr. Campbell goes to great lengths to document exactly where the information he’s presenting to us comes from. He shows his sources and urges his viewers to check the documentation themselves. Many times he shows his sources again. And then urges us again to read the source material, which usually are peer reviewed medical reports.

        In graduate school research methods classes that I took, we were strongly urged to seek out all the high quality data we could find…and then check the low quality stuff too. Yet, you’re urging us to avoid a high-quality source where he is very careful with the data he presents?
        That’s a very curious recommendation. Seek less data!
        Also, why did you wait until now to comment here in NC about Dr. Campbell? Your recommendation coincidentally appears immediately after Carla recommended his October 5 video comparing Merck’s new anti-viral Molnupiravir with Ivermectin. Did ivermectin do too well in his comparison for your taste?

        My recommendation is follow Carla’s suggestion, watch that YouTube video if you’re interested in a comparison of those two anti-viral drugs.

        1. Kevin Carhart

          I did not wait until now. I had a long back-and-forth with Basil about it, around the time of July 19th in the UK. And the comment from GM was also replying to me, further up. No, I don’t like big pharmaceutical companies and I also have reservations about the Weinsteins and have said so. Yes, I get the point that it’s been used for river blindness forever and is safe, and that it is subject to suppression. I’m opposed to monopolies doing things with suppression that they can’t do on their merits. I read all about how AT&T suppressed the answering machine and useful phone peripherals, in the Master Switch by Tim Wu. I also have a problem with the disruption story. A lot of people ride that rhetorical train about scrappy business insurgents killing a jealous incumbent. It leads to a blindspot in criticizing the insurgent also. That’s my anxiety about ivermectin. That is my anxiety about references to Novavax. They garner our goodwill because they have a sensible stance on a human need but we still have to muckrake them in their own right. The humongous pharma has more resources but startups are small and they do a lot of damage – like Pungor’s comment about Nextdoor. The disruption millieu is also important. If all the ivermectin people want to do is pragmatically get solutions to humans, I like it. If they also want to say “look at what we accomplished with disruption,” I’m concerned about who else they are helping.

          I do not like large or small business – I’m anticapitalist.

          I listened to Campbell for several months! I went there from Naked Capitalism comments in the first place and I decided slowly.
          To Eustache: Yes, there are things he is correct and outspoken on, such as international air travel spreading covid. He sticks his neck out when he says this and that is very useful. When he is deferent to power, he’s doing the opposite.

          I stand behind that Campbell’s approach to July 19th in the UK was appalling and this is when I stopped. Two main concerns that the Lancet group had were that all of that unmitigated activity would lead to long covid and also it’s a variant factory. By shrugging at what the government was about to do, Campbell abdicated on both of these problems. He declined to use his megaphone in a critical way, and I feel he had a responsibility to do so. I think he bears some responsibility for what happened afterwards. After the steep drop, the cases have been juddering up and down at a very high level. Kids returning to school with no mitigations at all are getting covid and long covid. Gurdasani was warning about this before it happened. The critics have been borne out and Campbell was a non critic. Basil pointed out that he ran a short clip of the Lancet group’s emergency briefing and said “well I’m convinced.” I appreciated this when it happened, but he didn’t stick with it and was convinced by the sanguine, blithe arguments for a vicious policy, a couple of days later.

          1. Yves Smith

            Have to differ with you on air travel. It’s unquestionably a propagator. How do you think the wild type and Delta got here, for starters? And there were early analyses that showed a high correlation of the severity of the first big wave to the # of international flights per capita. That is a big reason Italy was hit so hard.

            1. Kevin Carhart

              I wrote it unclearly. I was commending Campbell for saying what you are saying. He recognized it as a propagator and expressed alarm that “we seem to think we can fly all around the world…” That’s the kind of thing I wished he would keep doing. I think he has flipped and is now disregarding propagators.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Also, why did you wait until now to comment here in NC about Dr. Campbell? Your recommendation coincidentally appears immediately after Carla recommended his October 5 video comparing Merck’s new anti-viral Molnupiravir with Ivermectin. Did ivermectin do too well in his comparison for your taste?

          This is wrong. Mr Carhart and I debated the relative merits of Mr Campbell a couple of months ago, prior even to the August 24 comment he linked to above. He was similarly strident then.

          I’m not a JC fanboi or anything – in fact I pretty much agree with what GM wrote in the link above, I just found some of Mr Carhart’s criticisms a bit over-the-top in their silliness (he’s a shill for Big Vitamin by… extolling the virtues of being out in the garden to generate Vitamin D?). He’s one source of information doing the best he can and, as far as I can tell, doing so in good faith, like NC, but I find NC’s analysis superior – I found him more informative and useful in 2020, particularly in the early stages when he was very on the ball. Still, you don’t have to agree with everything he says or the conclusions he draws to get some value out of what he’s doing, unless he’s shown to be some sort of genuinely nefarious actor.

          1. Kevin Carhart

            Hi B.P. Well I recognize that you are saying some of each here so thank you. And I got your Kit Yates article.

            However, you’re belittling. Having merch is a red flag. It has never just been from the garden. People send in their photos posing with their bottles. It’s about a vitamin and about branding at the same time.

            This is a clip from the Frontline episode, Generation Like, about a youtuber and their monetization consultant:


            It’s worth watching the 3:50 version so I hope that PBS page is useable.
            Does Campbell not play this game because he’s too noble? He eschews it? Why? We don’t know, and we see an incomplete perspective. Does he have the equivalent of Oliver Luckett? Is a million subscribers too small-time? I doubt it. If Campbell does play these games, isn’t that a form of bad faith? In the Frontline and another film, the youtubers’ quality is corroded as time goes on and they are under pressure. He might think he has a tiger by the tail, start to want to put some expectations together about how big of a tiger. If he makes any deals based on it and then comes in under expectations, he has a problem on his hands and the work itself might suffer.

            1. Kevin Carhart

              The other Youtube film is called Youtube, Youtubers and You, by Nordin Lasfar. It’s a VPRO Backlight film. Both are worth our time if we take certain Youtubers at face value. The surface appearances are very seductive because it is an intimate medium.

      3. Cuibono

        except that GM is wrong about reinfections. they remain uncommon. If you disagree with that please show me the evidence.

          1. Kevin Carhart

            – Isn’t March superceded by the subsequent months?
            – I’m reading all the same Naked Capitalism you are. Anecdotally, Roger Blakely just posted that he had had it several times. Thread between Roger, Raymond Sim and you, recent Links. Raymond said we don’t know yet.

            1. Raymond Sim

              “Raymond said we don’t know yet.”

              I’m forgetful, but I would imagine I said something along the lines of “The 30% nonseroconversion rate alone makes assertions about being able to establish reinfection rates as being something like 1% highly implausible.

              Or I might have pointed out that when the virus roars through populations where previous incidence was assessed at 50% or even higher, and does so just as rapidly, or even more rapidly than it had done, then extremely low rates of reinfection become implausible – herd immunity isn’t on a two-position switch.

              Or I might just have referred to that study of the cohort of Marine Corps recruits where they documented so many reinfections (With homolgous strains? I think so.).

              I like to say that most people’s belief in God appears to me as just wishful thinking – a few people seem to have a deeper basis, but they’re special, mostly it’s wishful thinking. Atheism though? – 100% wishful thinking. In this case it’s the other way round, faith in naturally acquired immunity is wishful thinking, and at least some of us nonbelievers have a sound basis.

            2. Yves Smith

              RB cannot know if his infections were reinfections as opposed to not clearing an infection and having it flare up again unless he had his infections sequenced. I guarantee he didn’t. There’s effectively no genetic sequencing of Covid in the US and a mere patient can’t command that apparatus.

              Moreover, a lot of people are getting bad colds now, think they are Covid, and tests say no.

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Campbell does point out that Iv**mectin efficacy seems equivalent if not better than Merck has shown in their study of Molnupiravir. He also points out that a course of treatment of Iv**mectin is 53 cents while the current cost of treatment for Molnupiravir is $705.

  19. Mildred Montana

    “Nobody Really Knows How the Economy Works. A Fed Paper Is the Latest Sign.”

    Says Jeremy Rudd, senior advisor at the Federal Reserve: “Mainstream economics is replete with ideas that ‘everyone knows’ to be true, but that are actually arrant nonsense. The economy is a complicated system that is inherently difficult to understand, so [arrant] propositions like these are all that saves us from intellectual nihilism.”

    Macro-economists waste years and billions trying to predict human behavior ?? ?????. Can’t be done. They’d probably have better luck predicting the flight path of a flock of swallows or the direction of a school of fish.

    Intellectualism nihilism for them would be good. Professional nihilism would be better.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Age of Exterminations

    Yeah, the author needs to do a little work here – killing off retirees so the rich can get richer is more than a little far fetched. First he needs to understand MMT – the US isn’t going to save any money by eliminating SS payments since it can spend as much as it wants any time being an issuer of sovereign currency. As for private pensions, those are tied to the stock market – killing off the retired would also stop that gravy train from delivering to the NYSE every month. And it’s fleecing those retired middle class people that makes the hospital and elder care and insurance corporations rich – they aren’t going to kill off the goose that lays their golden eggs.

    Better conspiracy theories please.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Money is only as valuable as the things it can buy. All the money in the world at this very moment is only worth all the everything-for-sale in the world at this very moment.

      In a Limits To Growth world of Peak Everything and dwindling resources into the future, more money will only be stretched over less value. You can mint a trillion dollar coin, but you cannot put a trillion dollars more oil into the oilfields just by minting the trillion dollar coin.

      Less old people means less resources being used. And in a world of dwindling resources, mass eldercide would be one way to lower competition for those resources.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Well if he had made the argument that extermination was needed for the rich to have some more lebensraum, he might have had a better point since there’s already a lot historical precedent for trying that.

        I read lots of scifi and also watch the behaviors of our actual elites, and I’m definitely not a fan and wouldn’t put some sort of extermination plan past them. I just didn’t think this particular one coming from an economic standpoint was well thought out.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>I just didn’t think this particular one coming from an economic standpoint was well thought out.

          It seems that many people or groups do not have a well thought out plan. They just do immediate actions that they think will benefit them in the short-term without thinking of even the intermediate, never mind the long-term, results.

          Also, what people might think benefits them is not always obvious to others. Increasing their relative wealth and status over others instead of increasing their own absolute personal wealth and status is often the goal. One way to increase your relative wealth and status is to tear down other people while keeping what you have.

          Impoverishing ever greater numbers of people is lucrative as well as ego and status increasing right now, and gives the politicians and oligarchs greater ability to manipulate and control the population as well; that increasing spending on the general welfare, or encourage the re-industrialization of the United States might increase overall wealth as well as the welfare of their own families in five, ten, or twenty years is not important to them. It might even improve their own well being as well as even being sixty, just maybe even seventy, today means you might benefit from the results. However, not only do many of the elites have very short-term thinking, they also do not care to decrease their own relative advantages over others or worry enough about their communities or even families.

          That the enraged mob, the angry revolutionaries, or the President-for-Life might come next five or ten years doesn’t come to their minds or they might think that they can slide their way out.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Maybe that was/is his actual plan but he can’t say it that way, so he has to make the “money” argument so that people won’t react badly.

  21. lance ringquist

    the article from Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence was good to a point. it seems most leaning democrat types always pin the blame on reaganism, when in fact, it was carter that started reaganism, along with the 2 dimwits in his government, alfred kahn and paul volker.

    i am sure reagan wanted to do a lot of damage, and he did do some.

    but the authors gloss over the person who did the most extreme damage to america and the world, nafta billy clinton, who took a meat axe to america and the world.

    just about every problem we face, can be traced back to nafta billy clintons disastrous policies.

    and nafta joe biden helped to build this mess, and Gina Raimondo is your typical nafta democrat.

    the pivot to asia was not trump, it was two dim wit nafta democrats hillary clinton and obama who were astonished that china was not going to be kept in their place.

    the nafta democrats actually thought that the whites in america were superior to the chinese, and the chinese would simply be americas coloney, supplying cheap labor for massive profits for the global elite.

    the difference between a GOP type and a nafta democrat is, the GOP type know what they bark is complete economic nonsense, they do not care, they serve the rich, a nafta democrat actually believes the economic nonsense, and that makes them incredibly dangerous to civil society and peace.

    1. skippy

      Reagan gets special notice due to the Union busting for EMH thus removing social bargaining power in the market [society] and replaced with consumer[tm] choice … which IMO paved the road for Billy nafta types.

      And as already noted on this blog the liberal corporate dems thought they could liberalize China by sending in their version of Jesuits and Priests to soften up the country, but for some silly reason sovereignty got in their way, as it did in Russia, so it was time to deploy the totalitarian meme cannons we see today.

      Meanwhile in the U.S. its Gates friction less capitalism and tax havens to hide the loot …

      1. lance ringquist

        although reagan deserves scorn, the one who started the destruction of unionism in america was jimmy carter. what he did to the trucking and airline industry, devastated 100’s of thousands or more union jobs.

        the destruction then spread into other manufacturing unions like truck building.

        nafta billies way was already paved by carter.

        its hilarious what china has pulled of on nafta democrats, like no one ever warned them this would be the results.

        you could see it in obamas and hillary seething faces.

        clintons own advisors warned him a economic disaster would be the direct result of his free trade policies, he ignored them, and sold us out to wall street and the chinese communist party, and we reached that disaster by 2008.

        i think many unions simply do not know what happened, and blame reagan, who deserves some blame. but they still whole heartedly back nafta democrats like biden. it looks like the rank and file are learning.

        the leadership is to in bed with nafta democrats.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    If indeed Facebook is weaker than we knew, and these signs are really present; then if Facebook has any rich powerful enemies this is their chance to heighten and accelerate the erosive forces eating away at Facebook.

    For instance, if there are other Silicon Billionaires who resent and/or hate Zuckerberg for one reason or another, they could pool all their money to pay Facebook’s “best and brightest” to quit Facebook and stay quitted. And to then keep paying any new “best and brightest” Facebook can recruit to likewise quit.

    Meanwhile, public-level opponents can organize boycotts against Facebook advertisers until they stop advertising on Facebook.

    What if Teen Vogue were to inspire such a boycott against every Instagram advertiser there is until nobody dared advertise on Instagram? ” Do it for the teenage girls”.

    And on the wacky voodoo fringe, what if hundreds of thousands of people were to sign petitions promising to ” earnestly meditate upon the joyous possibility of Zuckerberg dying of terminal cancer unless he liquidates Facebook”? What if the ” we earnestly hope for his painful death” community were to rent huge billboards with thousands of names of earnest hopers? Eventually Zuckerberg would become aware of them. Would the knowledge that millions of people actually sincerely want him to die as soon as possible have a psychomental degradation effect on his immune system, thereby bringing about his much-to-be-desired early death? ( Is psychoneuroimmunology a thing?) And if it did, would this show that “weaponized psycho-voodoo” can be a weapon of social class warfare?

    1. Maritimer

      “For instance, if there are other Silicon Billionaires who resent and/or hate Zuckerberg for one reason or another, they could pool all their money….”
      I do not have a Facebot account nor any other anti-social media account. I do, however, have some understanding of how Facebot works.

      One feature, as I understand it, is that you can put all or part of your account behind a wall, accesssible to only your “friends”. Well, as we have all experienced, “friends” can be very fickle and even turn on a resentful, hateful dime.

      So, why not a central anti-Facebot site where those “resentful, hateful” friends can go to post the FB dirt they have access to and vent their emotions. Just for starters, you have all those broken relationships, divorces, biz-gone-bad, etc. This would take away at least part of FB’s value which, paradoxically, is privacy.

      If it’s a GO, send me 100 shares!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Someone should really try this to see if it works. But always staying just within the letter of the law.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Aren’t pretty much all the remaining Old Media companies Facebook’s rich powerful enemies?

      Serious question, I haven’t been keeping up.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        But are they rich any more relative to Facebook? Are they powerful anymore relative to Facebook?

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