Links 10/8/2021

Otis the Bear Wins Fat Bear Week for the Historic Fourth Time: ‘True Champ’ People. All hail Otis, our chonky boi king!

Modern Crocodiles Are Evolving at a Rapid Rate Smithsonian

U.S. keeps distance from IMF chief Axios. Re: the annual “Doing Business” report. From a week ago: Secretary Yellen is turning down calls from the scandal-plagued head of the IMF Fortune

IMF chief Georgieva’s lawyer claims data probe violated World Bank staff rules Reuters

Memo to countries going green: don’t be like the UK FT

Transition ‘needs careful sequencing’ to avoid price shocks: Wartsila CEO Hellenic Shipping News. “When Quinn the Eskimo gets here All the pigeons gonna run to him.” Perhaps gnomic prophecy, rather than “nonsense“?

The U.S. Department of Defense Releases its Climate Adaptation Plan The Center for Climate and Security

#COVID19

Real-world data show that filters clean COVID-causing virus from air Nature (Allan). Seems that the infection control establishment is as bankrupt as the public health establishment.

As I wrote on 9-97: “Why in the name of all that is holy wasn’t Jill Biden building a Corsi box on Good Morning America with some cute kids?” Still no answer:

Does the Administration still think Plexiglass is the solution?

Patient, Donor Denied Kidney Transplant Surgery Over Being Unvaccinated CBS. Good precedent. I assume this is but the first item on a developing checklist of what other conditions people can be denied care for, thereby strengthening the reach of Rule #2. Say, gout? Perforated septum?

Column: It’s time to close the religious vaccine objection loophole Los Angeles Times

China?

China orders coal miners to boost output to counter energy crunch FT

Civil unrest in China: Migrant workers protest in Zhejiang, Sichuan (videos) ZEE5. Indian subscription video service.

Hong Kong leader vows to cut red tape, contain costs for Northern Metropolis, points to green bonds as financing prospect for mammoth project South China Morning Post

In the future, where is the outlet for the development of the pharmaceutical and health industry? What China Reads

Myanmar

Malaysia to Talk to Myanmar’s Parallel Govt if Junta Fails to Cooperate With ASEAN The Irrawaddy

Myanmar’s Military Mindset: An Exploratory Survey (PDF) Griffith Asia Institute. Lots of good detail. Then again:

As I keep saying, wake me when an entire unit goes over to the NUG. And see Federalist #29.

Migrant exodus sparks worries over Ho Chi Minh City labour squeeze FT

The Koreas

How Fear and Family Values Led to the Biggest Hit in Netflix’s History Slate. “it’s a pity that it ends up mired in tropes about family as the be-all and end-all.”

Syraqistan

Now in power, Taliban set sights on Afghan drug underworld AP. Man, I sure hope we got all our dealers and drug lords out and resettled them safely in this country. They are the real victims here.

Comparing textbooks: Even Afghanistan scores better than Pakistan The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

‘A major setback’: UN ends Yemen war crimes probe Al Jazeera

How the ‘self licking ice cream cone,’ prolonged the 20-year war Responsible Statecraft

UK/EU

Sajid Javid says health and social care ‘begins at home’ and people should turn to family before NHS Independent

EU leaders caught in either-or argument over European defence strategy Euractiv

Court ruling puts Poland on a collision course with the EU’s legal order Politico

Migration and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in Europe: a systematic review The Lancet

The Caribbean

Haiti Envoy Who Resigned in Protest: “Nobody Asked Me About the Deportations” The Intercept. Commentary:

Etched in acid, as is fitting, but I’m not sure the mass psychology described is correct.

Biden Administration

Senate passes temporary debt ceiling deal Axios. As anachronistic as jousting.

Yellen says debt ceiling hike ‘utterly essential’, opposes platinum coin ‘gimmick’ Reuters. More liberal Democrat auto-kinbaku-bi.

The Janus of Debt Project Syndicate

* * *

Lawmakers say they were in the dark on U.S. troop deployment to Taiwan Politico. But from June 2020: “Army Releases Ultra Rare Video Showing Green Berets Training In Taiwan” The Drive

Lawmakers aim for blockbuster overhaul of war powers, arms sales Politico

Reducing the Role of Nuclear Weapons Will Make America Safer The National Interest

Assange

Key US Witness Against Assange Arrested in Iceland Consortium News

Obama Legacy

A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA Covert Action Magazine. Well worth a read.

Our Famously Free Press

The Cult of the Vaccine Neurotic Matt Taibbi, TK News. The headline is a little off-point. Starts out as a media critique of molnupiravir coverage, then broadens out to language usage. “The fear of uncontrolled audience brain-drift is now so great that even offhand references must come swaddled in these journalistic Surgeon General’s warnings.” Good clean fun, well worth a read.

The Facebook Whistleblower Is Heroic… And Terribly Wrong Matt Stoller, BIG

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The pandemic is testing the limits of face recognition MIT Technology Revivew

Borrowed a School Laptop? Mind Your Open Tabs Wired

Health Care

Power, paradox and pessimism: On the unintended consequences of digital health technologies in primary care Social Science and Medicine

Sports Desk

Surviving Hell: The story of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix Cycling News. Amazing photos.

Newcastle’s Saudi Takeover Is Just the Latest Chapter in Football Capitalism Tribune. Somebody will, so: “The Newcastle Bone Saws has a nice ring to it.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

UPDATED: Attack Submarine USS Connecticut Suffers Underwater Collision in South China Sea USNI News. Nobody’s saying with what. Of course, this is the Seventh Fleet. And speaking of the Seventh Fleet–

Paper Ships (podcast) Fat Leonard. “Leonard Francis became the most powerful military contractor in the Pacific, running a mafia organization at the heart of the U.S. Navy.”

Class Warfare

A ‘strike wave’ is coming to save America’s working class the old-fashioned way Will Bunch. Philadelphia Inquirer. Maybe if unions were to frame strikes as workers “discovering their class identity” they could get some coverage idk.

USDA study shows working conditions in meatpacking plants likely drove coronavirus outbreaks Midwest Center for Investigative Journalism

As Catholic order fought sex abuse claims, secret trusts devoted to it poured millions into American rental properties ICIJ

South Dakota Is a Moral Sewer and Should Be Abolished The New Republic. “The other Dakota is a make-believe state devoted to the preservation of wealth dynasties, and it should just go away.” Correct. In this regard, benighted Red State South Dakota bears no similarities whatever to California or New York.

Slowed canonical progress in large fields of science PNAS. Abstract: “Examining 1.8 billion citations among 90 million papers across 241 subjects, we find a deluge of papers does not lead to turnover of central ideas in a field, but rather to ossification of canon. Scholars in fields where many papers are published annually face difficulty getting published, read, and cited unless their work references already widely cited articles. New papers containing potentially important contributions cannot garner field-wide attention through gradual processes of diffusion. These findings suggest fundamental progress may be stymied if quantitative growth of scientific endeavors—in number of scientists, institutes, and papers—is not balanced by structures fostering disruptive scholarship and focusing attention on novel ideas.”

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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.

182 comments

  1. voteforno6

    Re: South Dakota

    If anything, that article was too nice. South Dakota is a benighted hellscape, where the only certainty is that it will get worse. North Dakota, on the other hand, is a lush verdant paradise of generally decent people (the troublesome ones are probably infected by the proximity to the other Dakota).

    Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Yours Truly grew up near the Delaware state line.

        And, let me tell you, Delaware has some very interesting priorities. You’ll note one of them as you leave Pennsylvania on US 202 South. Just inside the Delaware state line is a huge sign that says, “Welcome to Delaware. Home of tax-free shopping.”

        Nothing like advertising your state’s lack of a sales tax to Pennsylvanians, who pay quite a bit in sales taxes whenever they shop in the Commonwealth.

        Reply
        1. Jeff W

          Any mention of Delaware always reminds me of Jonathan Chait’s 2002 “Rogue State”(dek: “The Case Against Delaware”) in The New Republic:

          The organizing principle of the Delaware government is to subsidize its people at the rest of the country’s expense. While tolls [at the time 18 cents per mile on I-95 in Delaware as compared to less than five cents per mile in New Jersey and four cents per mile in Maryland] represent the most obvious of the state’s nefarious methods, Delaware also utilizes its appallingly lax regulation of banks and corporations to enrich itself while undermining its neighbors. Indeed, Delaware’s image as small and inoffensive is not merely a misconception but a purposeful guise. It presents itself as a plucky underdog peopled by a benevolent, public-spirited, entrepreneurial citizenry. In truth, it is a rapacious parasite state with a long history of disloyalty and avarice.

          Reply
          1. chuck roast

            And here I thought that New Hampshire (Live Cheap or Die) was the worst of the lot. What makes me especially annoyed is the very high ranking of their public school system.

            Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Timothy Noah makes a compelling case to re-merge the Dakotas but then we’d have to change all the flags which would be a lot of trouble.

      However from the story it sounds like it was Citibank that got the corruption snowball rolling and if we eliminated them Old Glory could stay intact. Since some economic observers have sought this outcome for years problem solved–or at least some of it. Those perpetual trusts may be a thornier knot.

      Reply
        1. tegnost

          I think the people who are trying to combine eastern oregon, eastern washngton and idaho are pretty sick of you, too…
          sauce for the goose and all…

          Reply
        2. lance ringquist

          the electoral college is a double edged sword. lincoln got in under the electoral process, and eradicated slavery, stuck a fork in free trade, and started america on the road to dumping the gold standard.

          Reply
  2. zagonostra

    >Column: It’s time to close the religious vaccine objection loophole – Los Angeles Times

    I love the way the article ends with a quote from Pope Frances:

    “…being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities … an act of love. And contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love.

    Immediately brought to mind the following speech from Governor of NY, Hochul,

    Jesus taught us to love one another and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live,

    https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/rush-transcript-governor-hochul-attends-service-christian-cultural-center

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      But what about a vaccine from the not competent authorities? His holiness left himself some wiggle room there.

      Reply
      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Of course he left wiggle room, he’s a Jesuit. He’s also right about vaccination as an act of love, in the Catholic sense. Getting vaccinated inherently includes taking a small but real risk of contending with side effects from the vaccine itself. It is not a risk-free action.

        However much our “news”media and intensely selfish political elite push vaccines as a win for the vaccinated individual, their most critical purpose is still to protect the population at large, not individuals. Fewer symptomatic individuals in a given population result in less disease within the population, and dampen or kill a pandemic. Risking your own health to protect the health of other, often more vulnerable people within your town, state, or nation is an act of love. And courage.

        That last fact is the one I reckon best illuminates why it is that our most flag-wrapped braggarts despise it. Not on account of their beautiful American freedoms, but because getting vaccinated requires a small, but definite, risk to their beautiful selves in order to just maybe help the next guy. Their love of country is a very small thing when set besides their disdain for looking out for others.

        The real current tragedy of leadership right now in the U.S. is…. we’re contending with two sets of contemptible liar elites. 1) The credentialed, largely Democrat elites who make demands of obedience without honest discussion of the risks that obedience requires for the good of the nation, and 2) Trump Republicans, who sentimentalize the pre-20th century past, and the deaths that result from letting infections rage, and who brag about their “lack of fear” in every preface to a juicy bit of fearmongering gossip about the vaccines, or the mainstream consensus.

        Both elites are garbage. Why only the “elite consensus Democrat” genre ever seems to get slammed here is…… unclear to me.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          “elite consensus Democrat” are the more effective evil.
          Has not the dem party spent effort to acquire republicans to their own brand?
          And by what method did they do this?

          Reply
          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            “elite consensus Democrat” are the more effective evil”

            I do not believe this is true. The trajectory of our social economy over the past 40 years speaks against it. Their acquiescence to reactionary, Republican-led decay is no longer a “more effective evil”. It’s not the 1990s, and Bill Clinton, his wife, and Rubin are no longer pushing reworked right wing baloney…. dressed up as third way genius. Obama is not offering us a well-polished retread of the same thing anymore. Those days are gone.

            “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on a hot stove again. That cat won’t sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don’t like stoves.” – Mark Twain

            Too many commenters herein are devoted to reliving the past, at least in regards to the character of our society.

            Reply
            1. Swamp Yankee

              I tend to agree with your last sentence, FluffytheObeseCat.

              NC is my favorite public affairs/news/economy/intellectual site, in large part because of the excellent commentariat.

              But I do think all of our priors, as Lambert might put it, effect how we see things; for many, and I don’t exclude myself, the Democrats’ crushing of Bernie not once but twice was formative. I think this leads to a kind of attitude of “yes, we know the Republicans are horrible — they aren’t an option we’re realistically seeking out. The Democrats arouse our ire and often hatred precisely for their betrayal and cowardice.”

              While understanding and even holding to this view, I think if held to too exclusively, without countervailing evidence, it begins to elide some of the real dynamics in the country, which I (and I believe you, FluffytheObeseCat, but I could be wrong) have previously described as “Huns of the Hard Right vs. Liberal Inquisitors.”

              In my neck of the woods, it tends to be the former who are more malevolent when we talk about things like local environmental laws and campaigns I’m involved with here in SE Mass. Ditto homelessness.

              Community Facebook Pages, which have largely supplanted local newspapers here, are illuminating — and disturbing — insights into the MAGA vs. Woke death-match. Neither are good, and we ought to pay attention to both of their problems.

              Reply
            2. hunkerdown

              “Our society.” Liberals do not decide when the negotiations of society start and end. Any ideology that supports this entitlement mentality deserves nothing but total war and the absolute destruction of their social status.

              Reply
            3. lance ringquist

              who is more dangerous?
              the gop knows that what they bark and bray is pure economic nonsense. they are servants to the rich, but their party is vulnerable to change.
              the democrats however, actually believe what the gop barks and brays. and its written in stone, they back stabbed sanders twice, who was the real winner.
              in the 2020 election nafta billy clinton, biden, and clyburn even came right out and said, no change for you.
              carter went further than reagan, and nafta billy and empty suit obama made reagan look like a lefty.
              the mess that we are in today, is 100% traceable to nafta billy clinton. brad delong recently admitted to it.
              and i hold nafta joe biden to his word, nothing will change, because he meant it.

              Reply
        2. Carolinian

          That last fact is the one I reckon best illuminates why it is that our most flag-wrapped braggarts despise it. Not on account of their beautiful American freedoms, but because getting vaccinated requires a small, but definite, risk to their beautiful selves in order to just maybe help the next guy. Their love of country is a very small thing when set besides their disdain for looking out for others.

          Please see today’s Taibbi for the problem with living in imaginary worlds.

          The key term was moral opprobrium. Moralizing was exactly what journalists were once trained not to do, at least outside the op-ed page, but it soon became a central part of the job.[…]This was the beginning of an era in which editors became convinced that all earth’s problems derived from populations failing to accept reports as Talmudic law.[…]The only way to avoid the certain evil of audiences engaging in unsupervised pondering over information was to eliminate all possibility of subtext, through a new communication style that was 100% literal and didactic. Everyone would get the same news and also be instructed, often mid-sentence, on how to respond.

          And if the emphasis seems to be on Dems it’s because they seem to be far more the victims of this problem lately. The Republicans have no reason to be against the vax and aren’t as far as I can tell from the vantage point of my Republican state. After all Trump created the thing.

          But lots of medical professionals are against it–often because they have already had Covid. The reality is that there is very little hard and fast truth about any of this but your assertion that it is unpatriotic not to join the groupthink is, as Taibbi says and Greenwald says and as the ACLU once said, totalitarian at its base. And like Covid that’s no joke.

          Reply
          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            The reality is that there is very little hard and fast truth about any of this but your assertion that it is unpatriotic not to join the groupthink”

            Please do quote the passage above where I “said” this. I implied much of the flag-wrapped anti-vax furor is grounded in cowardice and contempt for all sense of duty to others. These are individual failings that are somewhat distinct from patriotism.

            I disagree with the assertion that the current vaccines are not well-correlated with reduced symptomatic Covid illness and (the implied corollary) that reduced symptomatic illness is not correlated with any reduction in transmission. It’s veryyyy unlikely that an airborne respiratory illness won’t be at least somewhat contained by methods which reduce respiratory symptoms. The burden of proof on this hypothesis would need to be a lot higher than Tucker Carlson’s say so for me.

            I cant speak for our hosts, but Mantid below is likely welcome to link or cite the relevant studies. By which I mean the ones that demonstrate that Covid is spread as effectively by the asymptomatic as by the symptomatic…. in contrast to related illnesses like common colds or SARS1.

            Reply
            1. Carolinian

              much of the flag-wrapped anti-vax furor is grounded in cowardice and contempt for all sense of duty to others.

              And I’m saying that’s silly. Do you think Republicans would rather make a point than look to the safety of their children? What you dismiss is the possibility that they could be right and the vaccine–coming soon to 5 year olds?–is doing more harm than good when mass injected into the young. Indeed IM Doc has said he will not at this time allow his sons to get jabbed (he himself has been) because they are more likely to be injured by the vaccine than Covid. Iceland just blocked Moderna altogether and the Scandinavian countries have done so for people under 30.

              And here’s suggesting what you call anti-vax furor is really anti mandate furor. Months ago when Biden took office he said he wanted a mandate but didn’t think it was constitutional. The OSHA mandate is merely an undemocratic (not decided by Congress) workaround that may never even appear since the real purpose is to intimidate businesses into doing Biden’s will.

              It’s even possible that the vaccine is making things worse as those exposed but unsymptomatic vaccinated breed new variants. Add in the obvious bad faith attacks on invermectin and I’d say people are more than justified in their suspicions of Pfizer and Moderna and those who say they should expose themselves to a non sterilizing, insufficiently tested drug. Walensky said the other day that vaxxed people spread the disease just like the unvaxxed and in highly vaxxed England more vaxxed were dying at the end of summer than unvaxxed.

              Under the circumstances it’s hard to see forcing 80 million people to do something via circuitous means and with dubious justification as anything more than an expression of power, not “love.”

              At least that’s my opinion. I’m not posing as some kind of expert nor will I but I do believe there’s more than enough legitimate opposition to this for your suggestion of “cowardice” to be just something you made up.

              Reply
        3. Chris S

          Fwiw, I think it’s refreshing to encounter a comment here that actually treats Trump Republicans as people with agency who deserve to be criticized for their ethical failings, as opposed to just symptoms of the all-encompassing evil of the Democratic Demiurge (not that it isn’t evil!). So thank you.

          Reply
          1. marym

            Not just ethical failings but their actual policy agenda. They’re not for any particular economic measures except lower taxes and deregulation (which benefit elites more than non-elites). They’re not opposed to big pharma or even off-label or EUA medical treatments, just vaccines or vaccine mandates. They’re certainly not against elite politicians, religious leaders, media stars, or institutions on the right. Key items currently driving the rank and file Trump Republicans to the streets, public meetings, rallies, and the polls seem be issues that do harm to other people. This is at least as dangerous to the common good as neolib, pmc betrayals and failures.

            Reply
            1. Carolinian

              But the Republicans have always represented these things with, to be sure, a minority of liberal Republicans back in the day.

              The job of the Democrats is supposed to be opposing these plutocrats which is why the current Dems with their designer ice cream are much worse. They don’t even pretend any more.

              However I would deny that any of this is related to Covid except insofar as the Dems have made Covid into yet another weapon to try to scare people into voting for them. Taibbi says it all goes back to 2016.

              Reply
              1. marym

                While establishment Democrats are trying to scare people into voting for them, establishment Republicans are trying to prevent people from voting for Democrats. Neither offer any benefit to the non-elites who support them. My comment wasn’t about who’s worse. The political elites and their supporters on both “sides” present different obstacles to change for the better.

                Reply
        4. Mantid

          Hi Cat. “Fewer symptomatic individuals in a given population result in less disease within the population, and dampen or kill a pandemic.” The trouble with Covid is that one spreads the virus regardless if that person is symptomatic or Asymptomatic. Therefore the pandemic is not dampened much less killed. This Covid thing is pernicious.

          Reply
        5. jimmy cc

          Lots of flag wrapped bragarts love America, but tend to hate a lot of Americans.

          not surprising they wouldn’t get the shot as a patriotic gesture.

          like many others of the other political stripe love Humanity but hate a lot of humans.

          looks good on a bumper sticker.

          Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      Here in the United States, you can get the vaccine for free, but the side effects are on you. Furthermore, if you suffer long-lasting side effects, the vaccine manufacturers have no legal liability. Where is the love in that?

      Reply
      1. JP

        Maybe just get the disease. There’s no long lasting side effects from that are there? Only the air is free, or is it?

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          I can wear a mask and forgo the vax. I, apparently unlike most people, have some ability to not need to listen to some elite fantasist’s “higher purpose” which is invariably just a mythical ruse to keep the scam of elite domination going.

          Reply
    3. marym

      People claimed “religious beliefs” to get exemptions from masking and capacity requirements too.

      They (and their religious leaders) should be reaching out to medically and economically vulnerable people who are also reluctant to get vaxxed, to organize for safer vaccines and better healthcare, medical leave policy, government reporting on safety, worker protections, alternatives for frequent testing, and support for people in quarantine.

      If they aren’t doing that, despite some vulnerable and/or religious people trying to use the exemption with good cause, it’s mostly another example of people using the protections and deference accorded to religion to pursue their political and social agenda of personal freedom to do whatever they feel like doing.

      Reply
    4. Ghost in the Machine

      The Spanish Inquisition was also acting out of “love” and the desire to save people’s souls I believe. Vaccines, of course, have been wonderful for humankind, but having government mandates about injecting something into your body under societal conditions of distrust is definitely a dangerous slope to start slipping down. You can definitely envision those wrong think shots coming. A new lobotomy? While COVID vaccinated myself (I am around a university hospital and get all the firsthand stories; this is a disease to avoid) it does make me queasy to depend on an industry that seems to have unlimited greed, rapaciousness, mendacity, and general sociopathy. An industry protected from liability also.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        unlimited greed, rapaciousness, mendacity, and general sociopathy. An industry protected from liability also.

        religion comes in many forms

        Reply
      2. zagonostra

        Interesting that your handle is “Ghost in the Machine” it made me instantly think of the following quote by Arthur Koestler who wrote a book with the same title:

        In the social equation, the value of a single life is nil; in the cosmic equation, it is infinite… Not only communism, but any political movement which implicitly relies on purely utilitarian ethics, must become a victim to the same fatal error. It is a fallacy as naïve as a mathematical teaser, and yet its consequences lead straight to Goya’s Disasters, to the reign of the guillotine, the torture chambers of the Inquisition, or the cellars of the Lubianka.
        — Arthur Koestler

        Reply
      3. JTMcPhee

        And the priesthood in Catholic France was apparently acting out of “love” too, when thousands of its members abused hundreds of thousands of juvenile Catholics… I do like the note above, that while a Catholic order fought sexual abuse claims, it funneled “trust” money into rental properties. It’s all CALPERS.

        Reply
    5. Nikkikat

      That was a frightening remark, the Governor talking about vaccines sent from God. I guess we should kneel in prayer to the great Gods of Pfizer and Moderna. Anthony Fauci as high Priest.

      Reply
    6. Bart Hansen

      We are still living with the awkwardly worded first and second amendments. It’s like the founding fathers had some drafts placed before them, but strong arguments ensued such that they gave up on the editing.

      Reply
    7. Maritimer

      Hochul Hokum with Vax jewelry. Yet, if one were even to suggest that Covid Vaccination were a Cult, the screams would begin……

      Reply
  3. Theodore Braun

    Sobering. A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA In my college years, it was a “say It Ain’t So” moment for many Nixon followers. Later we found out about Carter and his support of the Taliban, etc. And it seems that every leader since. After reading this article I just had to listen to this song again. https://youtu.be/3HucBdnoiyE

    Reply
  4. Redlife2017

    Re: Covert Action Magazine…
    They have lots of interesting well researched stuff there – glad to see you guys linking to them!

    They are great at putting context into their articles – which helps as the ruling class colossus is like a giant squid.

    Reply
    1. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      I dunno. A lot of “suggests,” “may have,” “believe” and “never been openly acknowledged.” Not that I trusted Obama, and he certainly gave way to much credence to the U.S. security state. But I would have preferred some actual evidence of his family’s connection to the CIA rather than speculation. On the other hand, where’s there’s smoke there’s fire…

      Reply
      1. jsn

        IIRC, when I used to purchase it’s photocopied and stapled editions back in the late 80s, The Covert Action Information Bulletin I think it was called, it used all the same kinds of qualified language. It was on the excellent magazine rack at the old St Marks Book Shop, RIP.

        Most of the stories they were reporting then have been subject to some declassifications and follow up reporting elsewhere and have proven more or less true. If you’re interested, there are sites out there that specialize in following up on these stories. If you focus you can usually find one with declassified documents that round out the story. But, of course, you can always default to the official version.

        My grandfather in law was AID at the same time Obama’s mom was in South East Asia and he was definitely CIA, his wife let that slip at the funeral.

        Reply
      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Yeah, as normal with this genre (and its Birther type counterparts on the right), a lot of tenuous yarn diagramming…. kind of a Gish gallop, with footnotes leading to other Gish gallops. Definitely threads of truth here, and there are serious investigative journalists like Jonathan Kwitny and scholars like Al McCoy who work on the edges of this shadow world. But 2 + 2 doesn’t always add up to 5.

        ….I am shocked, shocked to learn that the Cold War MIC / Global Security State was a large global enterprise, mainly run by members of the American establishment, ​which ‘touched’ all kinds of Americans aabroad. But the (ahem) ‘flighty’ Ann Dunham feeding hearsay into a punchcard file at Langley is a long way from directing KOPASSUS kill squads in Solo as Colonel Soetoro’s femme fatale.

        Also, Javanese generals hardly need much US direction to be thugs (as Lambert says, they have agency), while the PKI leadership also fatally overplayed its hand in 1963-1965 (and no, Langley wasn’t behind that either – as usual, they were stoking ineffectual Third Force warlord crap like Pemesta).

        ….Also, BHO was definitely at Columbia and they wouldn’t give him a College diploma (vs General Studies) if he’d only taken a few courses. Per a friend of mine who was a classmate of his, ‘Mister Spock’ was quite well known in class for liking the sound of his own voice. Columbia being in NYC, a lot of nonresident students attend class but aren’t otherwise part of college life, so unsurprisingly, many contemporaries don’t recall them.

        (Even at the more insular Princeton campus, Brooke Shields sightings were pretty rare)

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > a lot of tenuous yarn diagramming

          Yarn diagrammers tend to pull the yarn too tight. I think of this article more as a water color painting: Wash after wash of transparent color that suddenly coheres into a distinct form (form in the sense of “having form,” too).

          On Columbia, IIRC, nobody knew how Obama came to be admitted, because it couldn’t have been on grades. And people did ask. Same as people asked what Obama really did on the Harvard Law Review, and nobody quite knew.

          I remember my very first Republican (i.e., Democrat-engineered) sex scandal, back in 2004: Jack Ryan, then undergoing a messy divorce, had apparently browbeaten his wife into attending a swingers club, or some such (I’m too lazy to find the link). This struck many, including me, as exemplifying Republican attitudes toward women (I was much more innocent seventeen years ago), and we said so, vociferously. The beneficiary of Ryan’s flameout (i.e, Democrat oppo)? Then unknown Illinois state Senator Barack Obama. “The luckiest politician alive.” Or maybe everything wasn’t luck?

          Reply
  5. griffen

    Welcome to the waiting room. Now that you have located an organ donor, feel welcome to wait a little more. I’d suggest that facing kidney failure puts receiving the Covid vaccine a bit lower on the priority list. I dunno.

    It’s a damned cold world. Not a medical professional so added insight is welcome.

    Reply
    1. juneau

      The doctor social media sites I follow seem to fall into 2 camps. The majority are appalled by the decision. The rest feel that to do otherwise is wasting an available organ that could go to a recipient who is less of a risk taker and has chances for a better outcome. Just my interpretation, can’t speak for others with certainly. I for one am appalled by this and also fear it sets a precedent for other denials of care.

      Reply
      1. CuriosityConcern

        I believe transplant recipients are decided by a transplant committee. All sorts of comorbities are scored, it seems fair to me to consider COVID vaccine status as a comorbitity, but as a component of that scoring system, not the sole deciding factor.
        I also think kidney disease is a risk for COVID mortality, so was the committee evaluating the patient’s survival probabilities pre or post transplant? Remember that a transplant recipient will need to be on immunosuppressive drugs post transplant.

        Reply
      2. IM Doc

        I will add a couple of things –

        I am horrified by this decision. It is not surprising however. The entire transplant realm in medicine is manned by some of the worst of the narcissist jerks. In brief, it is not that they do not know how to use a moral compass, they do not even have one.

        As a medical ethics professor for decades and one who has taken care of countless recipients of kidney transplants, the moral reasoning is just simply hogwash. Their main line of reasoning in this case is that she is going to be on immunocompromising meds, which are dangerous, and obviously she does not have the ability to “follow directions” in something simple like a vaccine. Furthermore, the meds may put her at risk for COVID ( although there are plenty of folks I know who are quite certain that the dreaded COVID storm may be mitigated by many of these transplant meds).

        The entire framework of their whole argument will fall to the ground with a simple trip to a renal transplant ward in any academic center. I would say more than 2/3 of the patients are morbidly obese diabetics whose years of self-abuse have led to the transplant in the first place. It has also been my experience that the abuse continues on after the transplant with even more Cheetos and Ding Dongs. What I am trying to say is these transplant patients for the most part, have destroyed their own bodies BY THEIR OWN DECISIONS IN LIFE. And they have no regard going forward that they are destroying their new kidneys. But yet somehow things are different for a patient balking on a COVID vaccine? And the decisions made by these diabetics are not just as pertient?

        This whole framework is unsustainable. I get headaches trying to follow the pretzel-reasoning these people are putting my profession through. Again – as I have said many times before – this is not going to end well for medicine.

        Reply
        1. antidlc

          I would say more than 2/3 of the patients are morbidly obese diabetics whose years of self-abuse have led to the transplant in the first place. It has also been my experience that the abuse continues on after the transplant with even more Cheetos and Ding Dongs. What I am trying to say is these transplant patients for the most part, have destroyed their own bodies BY THEIR OWN DECISIONS IN LIFE. And they have no regard going forward that they are destroying their new kidneys.

          How many of them eat unhealthy foods because they are depressed?

          Reply
          1. IM Doc

            I admit that came out much harsher than I had intended.

            After reflection – I would add – that not only are these diabetic patients suffering from their own decisions – they are also suffering from the bad decisions of years of Big Ag that have destroyed these people with high fructose corn syrup and the like – while medicine and public health have turned their cheeks the other way.

            Reply
            1. Raymond Sim

              “I admit that came out much harsher than I had intended.”

              Lol, I hear that happens to people sometimes.

              But it was informative for me. My first thought was “Omg, don’t let the neolibs know, they’ll cut everybody off.” But of course that would depend on who profits. Is treating renal failure lucrative for big healthcare?

              Reply
              1. IM Doc

                The top 2 “profit centers” in medicine are cardiology and oncology.
                Renal disease/dialysis is #3 closely followed by GI at $4 (those colonoscopies are not cheap after all).

                Most people do not realize that by federal law the instant someone is on chronic maintenance dialysis they are covered by Medicare. The insurance companies have nothing to do with chronic dialysis. At about 1500 dollars a pop multiplied by tens or hundreds of thousands across the country daily – and you get the picture really quick.

                Reply
    2. Maritimer

      Organ Harvesting. In my jurisdiction, you must OPT OUT if you do not want your organs harvested. That is then put on your health card needlessly identifying you as a refusenik, dissenter. Sound familiar? In addition, citizens are not even informed they can opt out. Just more contempt for Humans from the Medical Cartel.

      And, in Canada:
      “Canadians travel to China for illicit organs
      For the past two decades, Canada, among other developed countries, has been a participant in this abuse. Dr. Jeff Zaltzman, the head of renal transplants at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, revealed in 2014 that he alone had at least 50 patients who had gone to China for transplants. Zaltzman has since advocated for changing legislation to address the issue of forced organ harvesting.”
      https://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/maria-cheung-canada-must-end-complicity-in-chinas-brutal-organ-trafficking-regime/

      Imagine that, wealthy Canadians bypassing the CDN healthcare system.

      Organ harvesting is one nasty business just like Big Pharma and Covid. Do your own search on it.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      s/ “..liberal Oregon…” Do you mean to tell us that there is a “conservative Oregon” too? /s
      The entire concept of Oregon is sometimes a great notion.

      Reply
      1. Charger01

        :-)
        As you get farther away from the coast and I-5, you discover that the minority is quite united in their opposition to those places.

        Reply
      2. MT_Wild

        Anything east of Bend is about as red-state as you can get. Goes for Washington too, with Spokompton being an outlier.

        Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          I haven’t been in Spokane for nearly two years but I don’t recall it bearing much resemblance to Compton back then. Possibly all the fine Aryans folks in Idaho who drive bomb in once every two months to stock up on toilet paper, Advil, and ammo find the sight of a couple of blacks in the check out line at Winco to be unnervingly Compton-adjacent.

          But I sure as hell don’t.

          Reply
    2. LizinOregon

      And all of the state south of Eugene is extremely conservative except for Ashland. Oregon is liberal thanks only to the major urban areas.

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA”

    I have read bits and pieces of this story before but to have it all laid out is quite an experience and yes, it is worth a read. In fact, I would suggest that people re-read this article but instead of reading it as a case of recent history, treat it like you a reading a review of a brand new spy-thriller novel which ends in the novel’s protagonist – a CIA Manchurian Candidate – ends up as President of the United States. No, I am being serious here. Try it. Certainly it would make a great novel to read but you would be sued to kingdom-come if you announced that you were writing it and it could never be published in the US.

    Reply
    1. lambert strether

      Reverend, we should be looking forward and not backward.

      Incidentally, I’m convinced that the alliance of intelligence community, press, and hegemonic Democrat factions was sealed under Obama (and BrennanI) and led directly to RussiaGate. All three together in essence declared “a state of exception” after Election Day, 2016. A state which persists.

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I tell you, after reading this article I could help but wonder how much of Obama’s early career was him and how much was being arranged for him. I mean, being selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year for example. Was this common in this era?

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It’s been written about. He pitched to the conservatives that they would have the run of the place if they elected him, and he would browbeat liberals, who outnumbered conservatives, as the only black face in Cambridge, hence super safe. It’s his whole career.

            Student publications come and go in quality. Rejecting “Barry” and using Barack. SNL made fun of black yuppies and professionals doing that while being yuppies.

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              That one is suspicious as he’s completely lacking in charisma, and he could a clone of Guaido. Buttigieg does have the rich old guy’s idea of what you guys people are like energy. My guess is it wears thin after time. He’s absent from the news cycle. Elaine Chao was higher profile. My guess is he’s reached his level of incompetence. Telling old people how great they are works so long.

              Reply
            2. Michael McK

              McKinsey, domestically and in Iraq, parachuted into military (as ‘driver’ for a bigwig) in Kabul in some sort of unit coordinating responses to drug and terror intel. I cant find the article I read last year but it focused a lot on his military paperwork that was missing a bunch of stuff that implied he had undisclosed previous training. Sorry I can’t find a link but yes, Mayor Pete is spooky suspicious in addition to having horrible politics.

              Reply
          2. Henry Moon Pie

            Here’s the contemporaneous announcement in The Crimson:

            Currently, there are 80 editors of the review, all of whom were selected on the basis of grades and the results of a writing contest. Each year roughly half of the first-year class applies for the limited number of positions on the staff.

            Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        There are those who would date the birth of “a state of exception” to the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

        Among all the wonderful things this act did was creating the CIA.

        There are others who would say that date should be November 22nd, 1963.

        It’s arguable that on that date, the take over of the CIA and basically all of the American intel infrastructure by the “cowboys” of the Big Oil crowd was confirmed, leaving the “Old Money” Yankees of the Old Guard to stand on the sidelines, along for the ride.

        And then of course there’s 9/11/2001.

        Obama is certainly confirmation, if any were needed, but if you were paying attention, the deal was sealed a long time ago.

        Reply
        1. Pate

          Aren’t you being a tad provincial? Widen the lens a bit and it’s The Glorious Revolution. A bit more and it’s Sumerian clay accounting tablets. Ridiculous to sublime begets the Big Bang.

          Reply
          1. jsn

            I like Watt4Bob on this one with his first date.

            If you read “The Devils Chess Board” and “Kennedy and the Unthinkable” you get a picture of the legacy of the New Deal once Roosevelt died. Add to that Hjalmar Shacht joining the BIS while Dulles directed the CIA and doing “consulting work” in Chile and you start to see how the push back on the New Deal originated well before Buckley and Burnham began pushing NeoLiberalism at National Review.

            By the time Reagan was elected, you had the mob closing in on the White House with Lew Wasserman being one of The Ronald’s major supporters and the former CIA Director as VP. You look at the shinnanigans Bush Senior was warding off from the Reagan and pre Reagan eras when he came to office and it was probably a relief to him to be able to hand off to a dependable Rhodes Scholar in Bill Clinton.

            Since then, as they say, it’s been (CIA) turtles all the way down. The problem is they’ve experienced what Steve Jobs used to call “the Bozo Explosion”. Jobs was talking about Microsoft hiring so fast to support exponential growth that they couldn’t maintain any quality standards, this is essentially what’s happened to the post Cheney Admin CIA and now ironically named Intelligence Community in general.

            Reply
      2. Susan the other

        Thank you Lambert. I’ve read bits of this account but never in connected detail. None of it surprises me and all of it sounds true. And makes me sick. Obama was a total disaster as a president. And even though this history is beyond disgusting, we need to read it.

        Reply
    2. griffen

      Great read. Probably worth a second pass to draw out all the links, to past and both terms of 44. I might have missed that link to good old Tim Geithner before.

      I had not been aware of the Crown family, and their ownership of General Dynamics. Like it’s often said, it’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        The city of Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago river in the early part of the 20th century, from flowing into Lake Michigan, to flowing out, in order to solve the problem of the city’s sewage despoiling the lake.

        This was accomplished by dredging an immense amount of material out of the river bed, which was then piled up along the shores of the river.

        When the city fathers put the land along the river up for sale (or lease, I can’t remember which) Arie Crown, was the successful bidder.

        Mr. Crown started Material Service Corporation in 1919, selling the sand and gravel that was piled up on the river banks .

        Material Service Corporation would become immensely successful selling the material that built Chicago, and by the way, never having to purchase excavating equipment for decades IIRC, because the material was already piled up and ready to go when Arie Crown cut the deal for the property.

        When the city fathers figured out that they had unwittingly given away an immense fortune to Crown, they tried to get it back by suing to nullify the deal, but Crown won.

        Material Service Corporation bought General Dynamics in the late 50s, they produced the F111 of Viet Nam fame, among other famous and expensive weapons systems.

        There were giant posters touting General Dynamics on the wall next to the door that led to the time clock I used to punch in one of Crown’s big buildings in Downtown Chicago.

        I cleaned boilers when I was a teenager.

        The links are incredibly spare because the Crowns are rich enough to erase almost all evidence of their own existence.

        Reply
      1. jsn

        I’m looking forward to the next generation of Chinese spy cinema.

        I used to pick up copies of Covert Action Magazine back during the Herbert Walker Bush Administration. They had a great series going as I recall tracking one Bill Clinton, then Governor of Arkansas and the interesting CIA and drug related things happening in Arkansas. In the Whitney Web series on Jeffery Epstein at Mint Press, all the same characters surface.

        Some Chinese film director can turn this into gold, or the CCP equivalent of GOT. The great thing is the plot centers on a set of families who are all dynastic in some sense of the word so it could start with the death of Roosevelt and wind up, in season 10 in 2031, just being a one hour evening news documentary on contemporary American politics.

        Reply
        1. Nikkikat

          Interesting about all that CIA drug money and drugs landing on that airfield in Arkansas. Might be why old George was reportedly like a second Dad to Bill.

          Reply
          1. jsn

            And why Michelle and George Jr. share candy: all one big, deadly, dysfunctional dynasty.

            I mean, Bill Barr’s dad got Jeffery Epstein his first job, like Carlin said, “its a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

            Reply
    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      Rev Kev:

      I didn’t know about the Geithner connection. Wowsers, as we write about here.

      And there’s this:
      Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi in 2011 before he was killed by terrorists. Described as having a “talent for breaking bread with men in camouflage fatigues,” Stevens oversaw an illegal arms pipeline from Libya to Syria as part of Operation Timber Sycamore designed to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. [Source: timesofisrael.com]

      Which is one of the reasons I’m, eerrrr, impatient with liberals and Democrats who want to laugh off what happened in Libya, mainly because the Republican committee members were so inept that they couldn’t take down Hillary Clinton.

      And a piquant send-off from Hugh Iglarsh (whom I met years ago + nice to see a familiar name):

      Chicago writer Hugh Iglarsh characterized the central tower as a “Great Tower of Nothing, a monument to hubris, chutzpah and Chicago-style clout… which rivals the Pyramid of Khufu in its brutal, enigmatic grandiosity.” [Source: chicagotribune.com]

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        Makes me wonder a bit more now: it was easy at the time to swallow the “Islamic Terrorists did it.” But I’d like to at least consider now that the Russians ordered the counter terrorism that blitzed Benghazi and killed the hapless Ambassador. And remember how glib Obama was, and how unfazed and how he gladly led us to the brink.

        Reply
        1. jsn

          I think Barack liked the smell of Hillary’s fingers burning on that one.

          The thing is now, everyone in the game is so dirty all they can do is threaten each other. If anyone actually plays their high card, someone else in one of the side games will certainly lay down the card that destroys them.

          Diocletian’s Palace in Split makes more sense every day. The rot is so bad if the empire is to survive, it needs a clean institutional start somewhere else, all new faces and all new structures. Not to imply I want the empire to survive, just a prognosis on it’s condition.

          Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        that reminds me, grauniad football’s lead photo earlier today was a group of geordie madlads standing outside St James’ Park, looking generally boisterous, and holding up a jumbo KSA flag. It’s now one of my fave images of 2021 (low bar).

        Reply
    1. albrt

      Re: Newcastle Bone Saws

      They should have bought Arsenal or West Ham for a Whitechapel Jack-the-Ripper tie-in. Can’t compete in top level sport marketing if you miss the little things like that.

      Reply
  7. Eduardo

    Patient, Donor Denied Kidney Transplant Surgery Over Being Unvaccinated CBS. Good precedent. I assume this is but the first item on a developing checklist of what other conditions people can be denied care for, thereby strengthening the reach of Rule #2.

    Heart Disease? It is the number one killer (maybe temporarily excluding Covid) and largely self-inflicted through diet.

    “Figure 2 shows the number of deaths … from 17 risk factors in 2016. Diet, tobacco use, and high systolic blood pressure were the leading causes of deaths …. For example, dietary risks accounted for 529,299 deaths in 2016, with 83.9% of these deaths due to cardiovascular diseases…”
    The State of US Health, 1990-2016 Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Among US States

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      …largely self-inflicted…

      which organ of .gov regulates high fructose corn syrup?
      The food pyramid is a production/sales schedule, not a road to good health

      Reply
    2. griffen

      I believe that the “rule 2” is a reference to established order for neolib economics. #1 is Because Markets. #2 is Just Die or comparable wording.

      Exhibiting the nature of our leaders and overlord classes.

      Reply
  8. ambrit

    The submarine “collision” story says that the vessel is returning to Guam on the surface. There should be some photos of the ship from “friendly” drones available somewhere soon. The South China Sea is a big area, with lots of shoals and reefs, plus “friendly” and “adversarial” ‘objects’ floating around. The last submarine “collision” mentioned in the article involved another American submarine hitting an underwater seamount. That shoild have been a known obstruction, but, our knowledge of what hides under the waves is sketchy.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      That sub was actually traveling submerged but does not say at what depth. I was wondering if it may have hit one of the many containers lost overboard from merchant ships and that was only partially submerged. That reference to the USS San Franciso hitting an underwater mountain was certainly bizarre. Seems that it was not on any of the charts that they were using. There was a ship called the RMS Quetta that was lost off our coastline when it hit an unmarked submerged rock but that was in 1890. So how does that happen still in 2005?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_San_Francisco_(SSN-711)#Collision_with_seamount

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        A semi submerged container was my first thought too. An Irish navy sail training vessel was sunk years ago after that type of collision in the Bay of Biscay. There have also been instances of subs hitting abandoned fishing gear.

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My uncle was a pilot boat captain, and he led a cargo ship into water that was too shallow some decades ago. Long story short, the Army Corp of Engineers was filing fake reports and not doing their job which is to track the depth of the Harbor. Racing through shallower areas more prone to the effects of tidal forces is another possibility. Then previous mishaps with the fleet have demonstrated the decline in seamanship in the Navy.

        Reply
      3. lambert strether

        My thought was another submarine, probably Chinese, possibly American. Please read the links I supplied on the Seventh Fleet. The stench and rot are extraordinary.

        Reply
          1. newcatty

            Related questions re recent Southern CA horrendous Oil Spill :
            How? When? Why? Where?

            Not just the narrative of PR and media .

            Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          It could have been a sub but such collisions are pretty rare. There was one when the HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant collided in the night back in 2009 and another when the US Navy nuclear submarine USS Baton Rouge and the Russian Navy nuclear submarine B-276 Kostroma collided back in 1992. On the other hand, there are some 3,000 containers that are lost overboard annually and considering the trade routes, I would guess that to be more likely-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Vanguard_and_Le_Triomphant_submarine_collision

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine_incident_off_Kildin_Island#Collision

          Reply
  9. PlutoniumKun

    Surviving Hell: The story of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix Cycling News.

    Fantastic photos and writing. For those who don’t know, Kate Wagner is the author of McMansion Hell. Its quite a left field career move to go from architecture writing to cycling journalist, but she’s proven brilliant at both.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      I’m not a true cycling fan but have older siblings who ride a lot. Mostly terrain and mountain bike, on or off trail. The cobblestone roads would be pure hell on the joints, maybe that is just me.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Back when I was a wee little Slim, my family took off-season vacations on Nantucket. This was back before ‘Tucket was discovered by the 1% crowd, but even then, the summers were too expensive for the Slim family.

        Any-hoo, in the town of Nantucket, there were cobblestone streets. Mom and Dad rented bicycles so we could get around the island, and I absolutely loved it when Dad rode over the cobblestones. Why? So I could hum!

        Instead of the usual hmmmmmmm, my humming sounded something like this:

        “Huh-uh-uh-uh-uh…”

        Good times!

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Probably my worst cycling experience was along those corrugated rutted roads along the Great Divide Trail – the ones in Wyoming were the worst. For some reasons, corrugated ruts are even worse than cobbles in my experience, something to do with the repetitiveness. Hour upon hour of riding those with a full camping load in the face of a dusty wind was no fun. But it did make the evening camp meal taste particularly good as at least that meant it was all over -, even if it was my terrible camp cooking.

          Reply
    2. Old Sarum

      I settled down to watch the Paris-Roubaix live on SBS here in Australia, but after quite a few crashes I just couldn’t stomach it.

      Quite why the bikes were not equipped with tires more suited to the conditions confounds me, as rain would have been forecast.

      ps If you ever go cycle-touring, make sure you have mud-guards (fenders?) fitted to your mount.

      Pip-pip!

      Reply
  10. PlutoniumKun

    How Fear and Family Values Led to the Biggest Hit in Netflix’s History Slate

    I never seem to have much time these days to watch TV or streaming shows, but as everyone was talking about it (and Korean movies are usually fantastic), I watched Squid Game last weekend. it is very gripping, with great characters, although I’m a bit puzzled as to why its such a huge hit, as it as plenty of flaws as well. Wierdly, Netflix’s Alice in Borderland (a Japanese show) had a very similar plot and is better in some respects and has a much smarter script, but that seems not to have been a hit outside Japan. Maybe people just liked watching a show with regular middle aged losers at its core rather than cute instagram actors.

    The Slate article though is a pretty poor take. The writer seems to have decided to take on the woke themes to curry favour with US publications. The show is obviously a comment on the cut throat nature of much of South Korean society, and is unusual in pointing out how an immigrant underclass and North Korean refugees are often the worst treated, but otherwise I think the satire or allegory is pretty superficial. If you want to watch a really smart allegory on Korean capitalism, Parasite is still the winner.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I feel like we (everyone) tend to put everyone in a box over time. Japan won’t attract as many new eyes and ears as Japan is already in the box at least until the next cultural boomlet. Without a transcendent talent, Japan could produce the best music star in the world and there won’t be recognition because KPop reigns right now.

      Reply
      1. Soredemos

        >Without a transcendent talent, Japan could produce the best music star in the world

        They already have; five of them. They’re called Band-Maid, and they’re mostly a hit overseas. They were going to get their first Budokan show, and then covid happened.

        Reply
  11. divadab

    Re: PNAS study on “slowed canonical progress in large fields of science”

    Ossification, bureaucratisation, groupthink to the max – these are all the fruits of selection for maximum obedience and rote learning in schools and the deliberate suppression of thought and creativity. Decadence on a massive scale. Combined with the corporatisation of science – selection for profitability and exploitation of intellectual property rent extraction – and we see the results all around us. Notably in the “follow the science” authoritarianism – which demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what actual science actually is in practice – not an authority on high like the voice of G-d but rather a messy practice of exploration, argument and keen thought.

    I’m coming more and more to the same conclusion as the Mighty Marley:
    “Nobody can stop them now…..
    and it seems like, total destruction the only solution”

    It feels like the prelude to fascism. It feels like ossification. It feels like the stupids are being promoted and the smarts killed off. It feels like it’s time to get the heck out of the city. Time for a purge.

    Reply
    1. jr

      “Ossification, bureaucratisation, groupthink to the max – these are all the fruits of selection for maximum obedience and rote learning in schools and the deliberate suppression of thought and creativity.”

      This must be in private schools and better placed public schools, at least in regards to primary education. My sister’s experience in NYC public schools speaks to intentional chaos: students given free passes to act out and skip classes based on Woke “cultural” concerns, administrators whose knee-jerk reactions to teacher’s issues are scorn and dismissal, union officials who throw up their hands and cry “Whaddaya gonna do?” when asked to get off their a$$e$ and do something, anything.

      Parent’s anger and dismay is deflected at the teachers. The teachers are expected to shoulder every problem and still give 110% to their jobs as the world around them burns. Meanwhile, the students fall further and further behind until they are just pushed through a sham graduation and hit the streets with patchwork educations at best and a disdain for educational institutions in general. I’m sure the Gates foundation has an expensive, tech-centered, ultimately tax payer financed solution though.

      Reply
      1. divadab

        That’s my experience of the California Public schools’ selection of the university-bound. One example – my kids’ school once upon a time had a student-run radio station, where all the nerds and later stoners worked. A great opportunity for technical learning, creativity, and fun. But some of the more rebellious kids offended the more authoritarian community members with some naughty words and songs and to cut a long story short – the station was sold off. What a waste of learning opportunities!

        The football team otoh always a prime focus!

        Reply
    1. Grumpy Engineer

      I’m skeptical. Oh, I definitely agree that it’s less risky to acquire antibodies by vaccination than by infection, but I can’t quite see how triggering an immune response against materials that merely resemble the virus will produce antibodies that fight the virus more effectively than antibodies formed by responding to the actual virus.

      And as for “vaccinating the recovered”… Well, I know of only two people who had the virus who were subsequently immunized. One was my 13 year-old nephew. His COVID case was basically an annoying head cold. The vaccination, though, made him sick enough to miss school for three days. The other was a 60 year-old friend of my wife. Her COVID case was serious enough to require two nights in the hospital. The vaccination made her sick enough to miss work for an entire week. Both refused the second shot.

      In know it’s only two data points, but still…

      Reply
      1. Bacon

        My layperson’s understanding is that the cellular features your immune system ends up producing antibodies to target are somewhat random in a natural infection. It tries a bunch of different things and hopes one of them works.
        The MRNA vaccine strategy is a leap forward because it can provide a very specific stimulus to produce the most effective antibodies by exposing you to the feature of the virus. What your immune system “learns” from a natural infection is something of a crapshoot in contrast.

        Reply
        1. Greg Taylor

          The vaccinated would seem to be defenseless against a potentially deadly spike-resistant virus variant while some of those with “randomly” generated antibodies would have a better chance. The “random” virus-fighting strategy of our innate immune systems seems optimized to minimize chances of wiping out the species. Immune system mono-cultures created by non-sterilizing vaccines seem to decrease risks to many individuals at the expense of herd survival.

          Reply
      2. jr

        I for one will not be receiving the Pfizer booster if/when it’s offered to me. I’ve mentioned before that my white blood cell count took a nose dive after my second shot. Heck, for all I know it took a hit after the first one as my blood wasn’t tested until after the second. And your point about the vaccines providing am imperfect match makes sense to me.

        A closer look at the “explainer” piece, which from my reading of the definition of explainer is giving agency to an inanimate object but whateves, reveals some holes in the narrative. The author mentions that Israel and the EU give natural antibodies much more efficacy than the US but that our medical authorities are unequivocal that natural immunity is inferior. Are we expected to just accept that our medical system is inherently superior to those institutions? I see no reason to discount those positions out of hand simply because Fauci and Co. tells me so. Are the Israeli and EU doctors all fools or grossly mistaken? Evidence is provided for the US case; how about some evidence for the competing view. Oh wait, that’s probably “misinformation”.

        We are told there are “logistical” benefits to vaccinating everyone. Given that we have a fool-proof testing and reporting process here in the US this seems reasona….oh, wait, disregard that. It’s a shambles and, if memory serves, as Lambert has pointed out home testing is about to make it worse.

        We are told anti-vaxxers blame “evil corporations” who place profit above all else. I’d like to see the corporation that doesn’t prioritize profit over all else. Isn’t that what they are literally designed to do? Explicitly?

        Two studies are linked as supporting evidence for the Pfizer and Moderna efficacy and durability figures. The first study was explicitly funded by Pfizer. I couldn’t find the direct funder of the second but the corporate connections listed next to the contributing researchers are plentiful. To the author’s credit, she probably couldn’t find any studies that weren’t tainted thusly. But she did seem to miss that while the Pfizer study claimed, and she reiterated, “at least” a six month period of protection, the Moderna study found that:

        “ Protection for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine declined 4 months after vaccination.”

        So, which one of the decidedly non-evil corporations is wrong? And why? Two months is a very big deal, especially when people are walking around thinking they can take a 9mm round to the chest because they were vaccinated eight months ago or so.

        I’m willing to bet there are more problems with the article but my reheated pizza is ready.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          I also will never take a Pfizer vaccine booster — you’re not the only one who had a bad experience with their COVID shot.

          Reply
      3. Raymond Sim

        Dude, the whole reason it’s called vaccination is precisely because using something other than actual smallpox virus worked sooooo much better than variolation.

        The whole idea is to use something that merely resembles the pathogen!

        The reason the whole virus approach hasn’t worked out as well as hoped is that functionally the killed virus resembles the active pathogen less than the spike protein simulcrum which the mRNA vaccines induce your cells to produce.

        And there are two really strong reasons not to automatically anticipate infection will yield superior immunity

        1) The enemy gets a vote. HIV isn’t a one-off, screwing with the host’s immune system is pretty much de-rigeuer for big time success as a virus. SARS-CoV-2 interferes with development of immune memory.

        2) The immune system makes mistakes. For instance, if you were previously infected with a similar pathogen your system may respond as if that’s the problem now, and if things work out okay, it may never realize what actually happened. The door is thus left open for reinfection, potentially with a more dangerous variant. A vaccine that omits the parts that resemble the other bug is a potential workaround.

        As it turns out, 2) applies to SARS-CoV-2 as well. In fact it may be that 1) applies so strongly because the virus doesn’t have to do more than fuddle your immune memory, because it’s already half-convinced you were infected with one of the common cold causing coronaviruses. It appears this contributes to twice-dosed vaccine immunity being so superior to once-dosed.

        Reply
    2. zagonostra

      The author of this article, Beth Mole, has a PHD in microbiology but I’ve been listening to a PHD that specializes in immunology. Dr. Johnathon Couey, who was let go from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for going against approved narrative.

      His clips are long, detailed, backed up with references, and thoroughly researched. His view run counter to this article and he specifically states that natural immunity is superior. His channel “JC on a Bike” was yanked from Ytube but should be back up soon. His videos on Twitch are amazingly informed and skillfully delivered.

      I guess it’s really up to the individual to wade through contradictory accounts. This is difficult if you are not familiar with the biology, as I am not. But I’m trying. Most of my family just doesn’t want to listen anymore, they are tired and just want to think talk about something else.

      https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1169422096

      Reply
    3. Cuibono

      Who cares about Ab levels? Even Pfizer said at the latest FDA meeting they were not sure if they were good correlates to protection.
      What we care about is protection against breakthrough. And the Israel data made clear there is no comparison.

      Reply
      1. Raymond Sim

        Protection against what aspect of breakthrough infections? Infection full-stop? Variant notwithstanding? Time elapsed notwithstanding? Or are you talking about making infections ‘liveable’ maybe?

        If that’s what you’re on about then what you’re actually talking about is running an experiment on the entire population.

        All of you reading this who advocate for living with the virus via infection are promoting an unethical experiment that makes the vaccine project look trivial by comparison.

        Reply
  12. Reify99

    Wartsila is at the crossroads. They have proven prototypes to provide many specific alternatives to fossil fuels. Hybrid tugboats, microgrids for island nations, using 5G for autonomous shipping, etc. They also make the enormous fossil fuel engines that power cruise ships. I listened to an annual meeting a couple of years ago with the old CEO. At that time renewables made up 20% of their business.

    “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
    Still waiting for their customers to request the greener solutions. Then we’ll find out how fast they can scale up.

    Reply
  13. fresno dan

    Our illustrius medical system Part 5 (and cell phone serviee too)
    Sooo, the angiogram went fine (the procedure, not the result – BUT I’m still vertical 🤓. I actually don’t know if they put in a stent for not, but I see them next Tuesday). It was disturbing that my cardiologist did not know (or did not remember) on the day of the procedure that I had had a coronary bypass, which meant that the first idea of doing the angiogram through a radial artery was not possible.
    So because of the drugs they gave me (hardly any enough drugs AT ALL – I think taking a SIP of Coors light would get you higher than the drugs I was administered gave me) you need a friend or a medical transport to take you home – not a taxi (how much sense does that make – how much medical training does the average friend of an average person have – but whatever). So I had arranged transport home from a professional medical transport group.
    Then they ask me who is gonna take care of me at home when I got there. Uh, me, of course!!! They KNEW I was single, parents and all relatives not living, and that I LIVED ALONE, etcetera. So they can’t let me go home and be there by myself (I did fantisize about all the porno films I have seen with patients and nurses, but it turns out they would not send a nurse home with me :( so they keep me in the hospital, because I can’t figure out if I am bleeding if I’m alone????? All the other person would do is call an ambulance, like I would.
    So I am not released from the hospital until about 2:30pm the next day. Not for medical reasons, merely legal reasons. Not one test, except for some blood draw at 2am for who knows what? (other than the hospital rule of waking sleeping people up) No one looks at my groin after leaving the operation area (where a angiogram insertion is made), no blood work, later I found out all the cardiology wires aren’t actually HOOKED UP TO ANYTHING after I left the procedure room where the angiogram was done, IV is left in me even though nothing is being put in me – just in case….. Nothing but me just staying is a hospital, apparently to accrue charges. If it was waiting for the drugs to wear off, I would say they had worn off in about 2 minutes (assuming the drugs they gave me were even a detectable dose). Put me on a cot for 4 hours and let me sleep it off.

    As bad as that was…there is more. So I never carry my cell phone with me. But I thought it would be a good idea in light of the circumstances. So I get a call, I can’t pick up the phone in time. So I called the voicemail number. It tells me I HAVE 9 NEW VOICEMAILS!!!! I’m thinking what is the matter with this hospital, I’m right here. So there are voice mails from the hospital, my cardiologists, and my doctor. But you know what, THEY ARE FROM AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, AND A FEW DAYS AGO. My voice mail for the cell phone provider (old folks provider – you know who it is) is not giving me the voice mails on a timely basis. I had problems with this provider, so I am going to unclench my wallet and pay more for hopefully better voice mails. So I have to get a new phone and new phone service – hopefully I can transfer my phone number.
    I have had worse days, but I have never had more annoying days…
    I guess there are things in this country that work right, but I am encountering them less and less

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      Hi fesno dan…
      fight gravity
      I’m so fed up with my phone options I watched most of the rotary dial cellphone youtube from yesterday,,,I’m tempted…but still you’re hoping a “great power” provider like ATT or tmobile will carry your calls…

      Reply
    2. Pat

      fresno dan, that sounds like a nightmare. People in America don’t just avoid the system because of cost. I wonder why?/s

      Onto cell phones, most providers can transfer your number.

      This is not a recommendation more a review. When Sprint bought TMobile I went to Mint. Not perfect but so far my complaints are the sales emails, and that for some god knows what reason if you block a number they still let them leave a voice mail. Even more confusing is that my hitting send on a text doesn’t always means it get sent. I have been taking the blame for late response texts but it isn’t just me and I am checking a lot that they went out when I first sent them.

      I have never found a cell service I love, I do however deeply dislike both Sprint and ATT.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Pat
        October 8, 2021 at 1:54 pm
        I only hope that when the time comes, I just drop dead. But we can’t always get what we want….
        So fervently I wish the people in hospice give me my drugs when I want them, and plenty of them

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Things can be just as stuffed up in Oz with hospitals. We picked up our son from the hospital last weekend and the medical advice that we had to follow him depended on the person that you talked to. It’s like they don’t talk to each other or something and considering that each patient has one master file, you would think that they would use it to coordinate their advice from.

      Reply
    4. ambrit

      Hang in there Fresno Dan. I have also found the Medico Industrial Complex to be much more ‘extractive’ than even just ten years ago.
      My cardiologist told me to come back in six weeks, pretty soon I thought, for a check up on the cardio status. Then the clinic’s algo tries to get me to come back in six days. I called the billing department to check. (The most user friendly patient facing department here!) After she stopped laughing the clerk on the other end of the telephone line said; “Oh my. I’ll just change that to what your doctor actually wrote down on your chart. Six weeks. I swear, I think some days the computer has been programmed to squeeze in extra stuff.”
      Putter around for a few days. That’s what I had to do after my stents went in. Do everything at half speed.
      As to your phone. If you stay in the same region, you can absolutely keep your ‘old’ phone number.
      The FCC rules: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/porting-keeping-your-phone-number-when-you-change-providers
      Hope this helps.
      Stay safe!

      Reply
  14. Kris

    Re: How Fear and Family Values Led to the Biggest Hit in Netflix’s History. This is a rather one-sided article; the author seems to be taking out their resentment against family tropes in dramas (“backward looking”) in general. One of the things I value in kdramas – apart from the history and culture – is seeing characters presented in bright outlines, as opposed to indistinguishable shades of moral gray often seen in American dramas. South Korean society has changed faster than any country on earth, and kdramas allow a glimpse into the tensions being negotiated, what is gained and what is lost, positive and negative – each of which can be defined either way depending on how one looks at it. A larger issue this fits into for me is how we tend to be blind to the ways in which our own values/beliefs (and social organization) have been iteratively molded to fit (and in turn bolster) the needs of the socioeconomic system we inhabit. We (in the west) seem to be in the midst of such a change, although its eventual outlines are unclear. Rhyd Wildermuth touches on some of these ideas in his latest blog entry: https://rhyd.substack.com/p/a-brief-letter

    Reply
  15. Carla

    IMHO: Stoller on Haugen vs. Facebook is great today!

    Key passages:

    “But a regulatory overlay in some ways would worsen the problem, because it would explicitly fuse political control with market power over speech and it would legitimize the dominant monopoly position of Facebook. (Common carriers, for instance, have an antitrust exemption from FTC rules).”

    and

    “Here’s the solution. First, we need to ratchet back Section 230 as Haugen suggests (or even further), which would simplify the business model. Second, we need to break up Facebook, as well as the other big tech firms. Third, we need to ban surveillance advertising. (There are other rules to consider, such as interoperability mandates, but that should happen after the monopoly power is smashed.) The institutional home to do this properly is the Federal Trade Commission, which already has legal authority, research capacity, buildings, and a staff. Already, new FTC Chair Lina Khan is moving in this direction”

    and finally:

    “What we don’t need is to legitimize social media monopolies with a separate agency that will be easily captured by the industry it regulates.”

    Of course Stoller is a terrific thinker and writer, and the whole piece is well worth reading. Don’t miss it!

    Reply
  16. Mikel

    “Sajid Javid says health and social care ‘begins at home’ and people should turn to family before NHS”

    I don’t know what’s going on with family life in the UK, but here…well…

    Marketwatch, which NC occasionally posts an article from, has a running financial advice column. Since this is all tied to economic issues, I will use that column (though there are plenty of examples to be found elsewhere). Here is a sampling of the types of issues that often populate that inbox:

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-father-coerced-me-into-giving-him-100k-for-a-lucrative-cryptocurrency-multi-level-marketing-scheme-i-trusted-him-to-act-in-my-best-interests-11633704020?mod=mw_latestnews/

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/i-just-dont-trust-my-sister-how-do-i-gift-money-to-my-nieces-without-their-mother-having-access-to-it-11631544827?mod=article_inline/

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/i-have-three-children-i-quitclaimed-my-house-to-my-most-responsible-son-now-he-has-blocked-my-calls-11631058196?mod=article_inline

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-friend-had-a-stroke-and-his-brother-moved-into-his-house-when-he-protested-his-brother-said-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it-11633626245/

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-husband-and-i-took-care-his-mother-for-4-years-his-brother-said-we-could-have-her-house-but-now-he-wants-to-kick-us-out-11632920597/

    The comments section in each article, of course, have people with other stories to share.
    These types of articles appear almost daily.

    Reply
    1. Quentin

      People without families have not hope of rescue. Just as people alone have to access to the funds to help ‘working families’. Single people work too, they’re also people, the cult of family has reached the proportions of a totalitarian mafia: you are not free.

      Reply
  17. MonkeyBusiness

    The Facebook Whistleblower Is Heroic… And Terribly Wrong

    Well she might be a Facebook plant. Just a way for Mark Z to control the conversation.

    Reply
  18. Carolinian

    Great Taibbi–and not paywalled.

    We’re similarly [to SovietRussia] becoming a nation of totalitarian nitwits, speaking in a borrowed lexicon of mandatory phrases and smelling heresy in anyone who doesn’t. This cult reflex was bad during the Russiagate years, but it’s gone into overdrive since the arrival of COVID. The CNN writer who thinks it’s necessary to put a disclaimer in the lede of a story about molnupiravir, of all things, is basically claiming he or she is afraid a theoretical unvaccinated person might otherwise read the story and be encouraged to not take the vaccine.

    Seems molnupiravir is now being condemned for hurting the party line (must have vaccines). And that’s a much greater fault than bad science to those who seek to control everything.

    Reply
    1. Michaelmas

      Becoming a nation of totalitarian nitwits? By and large, it always has been, in my experience, alongside combining that tendency with the moral and intellectual development of a nation of used-car salesmen.

      Here’s the Prisoner’s Dilemma as done by THE WIRE, in a bit that about sums the country up —

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAxVaVsM9ng

      Reply
    2. clem

      It’s good that we have Taibbi otherwise we wouldn’t know what to think like the people who inject themselves with disinfectant

      Reply
  19. Grant

    “Yellen says debt ceiling hike ‘utterly essential’, opposes platinum coin ‘gimmick’”

    It is a gimmick to create money through the Treasury and not through the Fed’s open market operations? It seems that this country on almost everything continues to do things just because we have been doing things a particular way. There isn’t an attempt to do things differently even when there is ample evidence that the status quo doesn’t work and when there are good alternatives available. The system works for the interests that control it and the system is deeply anti-democratic. Reminds me of Bill Black’s “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One”. The elite failure in this society is something to behold.

    Seems that private banks creating most of the money in the economy should be viewed as the gimmick.

    Reply
  20. Glossolalia

    Re: South Dakota

    In 1889 the territory was admitted to the union, as part of a historic push that would also grant statehood to Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This was, according to the historian Heather Cox Richardson, a deliberate effort by the Republicans, newly in control of the White House—Benjamin Harrison having beaten incumbent Grover Cleveland the year before—to expand their power base after their Gilded Age “swing toward Big Business” had lost them popular support elsewhere. Creating two Dakotas made little practical sense. “There is no such territory as South Dakota,” a Minnesota newspaper observed. “South Dakota is a mythical political organization and for all practical purposes may as well be called the territory of Timbuctoo.” But splitting the territory in two gave the GOP six new political bases instead of five.

    If the Republicans really want to out-fox the Democrats and their push for statehood for Puerto Rico and DC, they could further split North and South Dakota in to four states, earning them four more Republican Senators. Hell, why not split up Wyoming and Nebraska, too?

    Reply
  21. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Facial recognition – Something that I learned early through my job, backed up by the story about one of Saddam Hussein’s doubles is that for ID purposes ears are very much like fingerprints, so perhaps profile photos showing an ear would work best for ID photos. although they do grow bigger & more gnarled with age.

    I also suppose that if you are afraid of being mis-identified that they may be worth being on view, or hidden if the opposite is required.

    https://www.wired.com/2010/11/ears-biometric-identification/

    Reply
  22. JP

    The status quo is the status quo because it muddles through. That is, it is the current working model.

    Banks make money, create money, by making loans. If they can’t collect on the loan it is collateralized and in any case a loan officer might lose her job. Enough bad loans and the bank bites the dust. From a reasonable economic viewpoint good loans are loans where the economic payback is greater then the amount borrowed. For instance some infrastructure is built that facilitates greater prosperity. A bad loan is wasted money that subtracts from the greater prosperity. But for a bank it is simply good to collect and bad to foreclose. Like a house painter considers good paint is easy to apply he doesn’t care how long it lasts. Congress is conflicted, being somewhere between the painter and the house owner. This may be the root of the corruption in our fiat system.

    When a gov’t prints money there is no repayment to be made and no accountability and no bad debt to go unpayed. Pretty soon there is tons of worthless money. That is how governments fail.

    Reply
  23. Joe Well

    Re: abolishing South Dakota

    California unironically should be abolished and New Englandized into 25 or so new states.

    Reply
  24. heresy101

    Jeffery St. Clair makes me upset that I didn’t vote to recall Gov. Newsome: https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/10/08/roaming-charges-29/

    “Despite a sordid history of leaks and spills, there are still 19 “oil and gas agreements” in California’s coastal waters and 1,200 active wells. Further out in federal waters, there are another 23 oil and gas production “facilities” off the state’s coast. During his abysmal tenure, Gavin Newsom has approved 138 new offshore drilling permits in California waters. As oil continues to lap up on the California coast and spread into Talbert Marsh at the height of the fall migration on the Pacific Flyway it seems imperative to ask: who’s to blame?”

    He describes and maps the horrors of CA’s oil spills.
    “And so it is with Huntington Beach, where an oil tanker dumped 450,000 gallons of oil into the very same waters in 1990, despoiling 15 miles of beaches, wetlands, and marshes, from Long Beach south to Newport Beach. The price? Just another write-off for big oil, as it continued to extract 135 million gallons of oil a year, from California’s dwindling reserves–some of the dirtiest oil on the planet and the most expensive to exhume, process and transport.”

    “California alone has experienced 40 major pipeline leaks a year since 1986. That’s about 1400 oil and gas leaks, spills ruptures, blowouts, and blowups. One spill every nine days. The economic damage exceeds $1.2 billion. The human toll has been more than 230 injuries, 53 deaths and who knows how many cases of cancer and leukemia. The ecological costs are incalculable.”

    Check out the map. “The next spill is coming, coming very soon, probably within a few days. It’s inevitable. It’s also criminal.”

    There options to drilling and pumping all this ocean oil. GE has a proven 14MW wind turbine where five of them would produce all the electricity used by a city of 70,000 people. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/ge-claims-record-14-mw-for-prototype-offshore-wind-turbine-after-2-years-of/607828/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202021-10-07%20Utility%20Dive%20Renewable%20Energy%20%5Bissue:37221%5D&utm_term=Utility%20Dive:%20Renewable%20Energy

    Reply
    1. Raymond Sim

      Don’t feel bad. Just imagine what it would be like right now if the CalDems had some Republican doofus governer playing the environmental bad guy for them.

      Reply
  25. Lambert Strether Post author

    > All hail Otis, our chonky boi king!

    I got sucked into wrong-think by NPR’s clever language. Otis not fat because he is a king. Otis is fat because he’s chowing down on salmon. Then Otis leaves the salmon bones under the trees, which fertilizes the forest soil (see NC post describing this process).

    It is easy to get people to think in the static and unchanging singular (Otis, the bear king).

    It is also easy to get people to think in dynamic but permanent binaries (Red v. Blue, etc., etc., etc.).

    It is much, much less easy to get people to think in systemic and changing trinaries (Otis, salmon, trees).

    So NPR is sucking me in and making me stupid, good job.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      In contrast, our Black Bears here in the Southern Sierra are way too skinny, a lot of missed meals in that food is increasingly difficult to find in the midst of the big dry.

      Reply
  26. juno mas

    RE: Obama Legacy

    I have never read any of Obomber’s books. That Link is the first in-depth account of his families life that I’ve read. Why am I not surpised that it rings true?

    The questions the article raises about his “narrative”, that parallel my lifetime, are accurate. The early 60’s demonstrations were mostly about civil rights demonstrations (police beating Black demonstrators). The anti-war demonstrations didn’t happen until 1967-68. (The Kent State massacre was 1970.)

    I attended an Obomber campaign rally on the campus of my local college. After listening and watching it was clear to me he was a Poseur. He remonished anti-war protesters who were in attendance. After he finished his speech he ducked behind the campus library, and thinking he was out of sight, pulled out his cigarettes to light up. (I watched him from inside the library.)

    He was never what he presented himself to be!

    Reply
  27. Raymond Sim

    I noticed some here deprecating long-term illness from SARS-CoV-2. Just came across this paper, so it’s a handy example, but the literature is full of evidence, and has been for what, a year? Sorry guys, but the case for long-term injury from Covid is far better than evidence for Ivermectin as a treatment. And dismissing other people’s suffering because it’s emotionally inconvenient for you is ugly.

    “Neuro-COVID long-haulers exhibit broad dysfunction in T cell memory generation and responses to vaccination”:

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.08.21261763v1.full.pdf

    Reply
  28. Dave in Austin

    I read the link today “A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA” and it ties up a lot of loose threads I knew about but didn’t connect. Everyone on here should read ithe story with great care.

    The story of Obama’s probable father was newsman gossip during his first run but I hadn’t spotted the extradinary quote in O’s biography. And that explains the unusual travel history of mom back to WA while pregnant and her never living with the proclaimed father or having any later contact with him. I’m even guess he never got a green card, jut a student visa. As the father he could have gotten resident status.

    The company Obama worked for in NYC is well know and I didn’t know he worked there. It is not the sort of place where people get hired by accident.

    His mother’s second husband also had an unusual history and background I was not aware of. It is simply not posible that his mother lived in Indonesia after the 1965 coup and didn’t know what happened. And the list of people and organizations she and her father were connected to is definitely CIA-related. The picture of her dad in the “no insignia, no rank” uniform in, of all places, Cambridge, MA during WW II with mom raised a whole host of questions- the article is correct on the use of uniforms with nothing on them during WW II for intel officers.

    All the corruption-in-Chicago story is old news but how the Pritzger connection was made and the General Dynamics link is new to me- and GD did very well during the Obama years.

    A lot of news people I knew in DC told me they started sluething on Obama’s educational background and who paid for what during his first run and were told by their orgainzations- “We aren’t going there”.

    But one thing anybody who is familiar with Hawaii can tell you: random mainland salesmen assigned to the Islands will NEVER get a son into Punahoe Academy without some serious connections. And the story about how he got into Columbia, lived totally under the radar with nobody remembering him from class, and how he paid for it… that has never passed muster.

    A truly extraordinary and rather sad story. A bit like Bill Clinton who apparently discovered his supposed “father” wasn’t his father in high school. Notice Clinton has never looked up any cousins on that side of his preported family; they were not family. And his real father? He apparently knows… he’s long dead. As they say politely but firmly in the south when outsiders pry: “Well, that’s family bidness”.

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      Agree this article is a must read. One thing that could be expanded on is Obama’s mother’s work on micro loans in Indonesia and other parts of South Asia, especially in view of this recent comment concerning micro finance, here on NC.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *