Links 11/12/2021

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You can’t hide from your cat, so don’t even try Live Science

Man who claims he swapped his wife’s ‘aggressive’ cat for a friendlier lookalike while she was away reveals he’s plagued by guilt six years on – and critics claim it’s a divorce-worthy offence Daily Mail

Wages Are Heading Up, But They’re Not Pushing Inflation Bloomberg

COP26/Climate

US-China thaw on climate change shifts the mood at COP26 FT

COP26: Climate Groups Welcome US-China Pledge Consortium News

China Briefing, 11 November 2021: US-China Glasgow declaration; Calls for ‘concrete actions’; Xi’s absence at COP26 Carbon Brief

Global Emissions Rebound to Pre-COVID Levels Scientific American

#COVID19

How SARS-CoV-2 in American deer could alter the course of the global pandemic NPR (Re Silc).

Clinical Impact, Costs, and Cost-effectiveness of Expanded Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Testing in Massachusetts Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Conclusion: “Testing people with any COVID-19–consistent symptoms would be cost-saving compared to testing only those whose symptoms warrant hospital care. Expanding PCR testing to asymptomatic people would decrease infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. Despite modest sensitivity, low-cost, repeat screening of the entire population could be cost-effective in all epidemic settings.” Editorial here.

Is Long COVID Even Real? MedScape. A critique of this JAMA study in Links of November 10. As flagged. the serologic tests are problematic. The author concludes:

To be honest, I’m a bit frustrated with how we’re handling long COVID right now. The case definition is bad, we have zero diagnostic tests, and papers like this may be used to argue it isn’t even a real problem. The truth is that long COVID definitely exists; I know many patients and friends who weren’t deathly ill from COVID and yet had long, lingering, debilitating symptoms. But we don’t know how common it is. We need to recognize that vague symptoms lead to vague diagnoses — and without clearer criteria, we risk labeling a bunch of people with “long COVID” when that’s not what they have at all. And that does a disservice to everyone because it makes it that much harder to make progress on this disease…whatever it is.

* * *
Airborne SARS-CoV-2 in home- and hospital environment investigated with a high-powered air sampler Journal of Hospital Infection. Built from “a household vacuum cleaner with surgical face masks serving as sample filters.”

Pandemic Puts ‘Outdated’ Infection Control Practices Under Scrutiny US News. Ouch!

* * *
26 Days Christopher Stolarski

CDC Hasn’t Updated COVID Vax Breakthrough Data MedPage Today

China?

China’s economic recovery set to slow further, with ‘worst yet to come’ for both supply and demand South China Morning Post

Chinese traditional medicine growth in Africa threatens wildlife Al Jazeera (dk).

China’s Latest Tourist Craze: Bright Pink Convertibles Sixth Tone

Can Taiwan Show China It’s a ‘Porcupine’? Foreign Policy

Widening Intel-Sharing To Asia Nikkei Asia. “U.S. lawmaker suggests adding Japan, South Korea, India and Germany to [Five Eyes].”

Myanmar

UN Security Council Expresses ‘Deep Concern’ as Myanmar Violence Worsens The Irrrawaddy. Reaction from NUG:

 

Bertil Lintner, “The Wa of Myanmar and China’s Quest For Global Dominance” (NIAS Press, 2021) (podcast) Southeast Asian Studies. The title seems a little overheated. But: “Who are the Wa of Myanmar and how, in three decades, have they built a force that is now the largest non-state military actor in Asia-Pacific?”

Rare earth metals used in electric vehicles may come from mines controlled by Myanmar junta Myanmar Now. Dysprosium. “China’s government curbed domestic mining of heavy rare earths in recent years because it is highly polluting. As a result, much of the mining moved over the border to less-regulated Myanmar.” Big if true.

Indonesia recruits farmers, teachers to battle anti-palm oil sentiment Reuters

Train driver sues JR West for ¥56 deducted pay over one-minute delay Japan Today

UK/EU

Arcane, hereditary, all-male — and at the heart of British democracy FT. Musical interlude.

The Caribbean

Debunking myths about Nicaragua’s 2021 elections, under attack by USA/EU/OAS The Grayzone

Haiti water shortage: ‘We pray for rain every day’ BBC

The Bolsonaro-Trump Connection Threatening Brazil’s Elections NYT but come on: Vladimir Safatle: There was no election in 2018. Relying on the US is suicide. Brasilwire

Biden Administration

On infrastructure, follow the money Politico

Biden woos progressives with promise next invasion will be 100% carbon neutral The Chaser

Judge Orders Arrest of Puerto Rico Power Company Chief Executive NYT

SoFi CEO: ‘Our student loan business got cut in more than half’ after federal payment pause Yahoo Finance. That’s a damn shame.

Supply Chain

A record 111 container ships are floating off California’s busiest ports, despite Biden’s 24/7 schedule and looming fines Hellenic Shipping News

Democrats en Deshabille

Have Democrats reached the limits of White appeasement politics? WaPo

Gunz

The Supreme Court’s Latest Gun Case Made a Mockery of Originalism Salon

What some firearm owners think could solve gun violence in America ABC

Our Famously Free Press

How Buffalo News Helped Keep a Socialist out of City Hall FAIR

Groves of Academe

‘Where’s The Rest Of It?’ Screams Yale President Standing Over Shaking Alumni Fundraiser Who Didn’t Make Quota The Onion. Those administrators don’t pay themselves, you know. Oh, wait….

Veterans Day

Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton in new PSA urge Americans to support National Medal of Honor Museum CNN

Watch: Armistice ceremonies return to normal after COVID disruption EuroNews

Francisco Goya, The Disasters of War, plate 71:

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fiona Hill: U.S. Is ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ of Democratic Decline Foreign Policy. Brookings Institution gotta Brookings Institution.

Finally, A Settlement In Flint The Brockovich Report

Class Warfare

Cargill Union Strike Plan Imperils 40% of Canada Beef Supply Bloomberg

‘We’ll Never Be in This Position Again’: Striking Deere Workers Hold Out for Better Deal Labor Notes

America’s Judges Are Putting My Life on the Line Sara Nelson, NYT

Yuval Noah Harari Believes This Simple Story Can Save the Planet NYT. Symbol manipulators gotta symbol manipulate.

Antidote du Jour (LA):

Bonus Antidote (DCBlogger):

 

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

124 comments

  1. juneau

    Good Morning. Regarding Long Covid, there is one group that has a cytokine profile that purports to identify the blood markers consistent with the disease. Bruce Patterson MD and IncellDx. They have been diagnosing and treating these patients since last year. I found them to be compassionate and caring but they aren’t getting the public funding they deserve imho. They mention chemicals called Rantes and IL6 and a certain white cell subset among other things as being diagnostic. Why does it take private money to get these studies done?

    My gastroenterologist says he has seen patients swab PCR positive who end up with negative antibodies. No doubt there is a reason this is common in Long Covid.

    Reply
    1. Cocomaan

      Why does it take private money to get these studies done?

      It’s always been weird to me that problems like chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic Lyme, and so on haven’t attracted the undivided attention of pharma or medicine. You’d think that profit would be in the offering for finding ways to treat these chronic diseases: think someone taking a dozen pills a day to feel normals.

      My guess is that because the solutions are subtle. This isn’t selling casts to hospitals, or wrist braces. Getting the treatments for these conditions right requires a lot of time and energy and, as you said, compassion.

      Our technocracy hasn’t found a way to monetize compassion so these chronic conditions go on and on.

      Reply
      1. Solarjay

        I have had Lyme and recovered.
        Lyme is easily treated with simple cheap antibiotics if caught in time. To me that’s why they don’t spend much money on it, and the muppets running the CDC etc. More entrenched cases take longer treatments. And yes not everyone can do long treatments with antibiotics.
        Oddly ( or not) the issues are the lack of good understanding and testing from the CDC. The basic CDC test has lots of false negatives, bad. There are private testing labs that have much better tests and expensive.
        There are a few directions medicine need to go in for Lyme.
        Better, faster, cheaper more accurate testing.
        Lyme vaccine which I read is in testing. As a side note there is a vaccine for dogs which my vet said was originally designed for people and only found to be 80% effective. I would have taken it!
        And lastly and most importantly testing to show when you are done with Lyme so you can stop taking antibiotics. Normal tests show antibodies which looks like an active infection.

        Some years ago I saw a commercial for a medical computer program to help docs diagnose illness. At the end of the commercial, Lyme came up as the top line of this persons problems.

        Reply
        1. Cocomaan

          Glad to hear you recovered. A colleague of my wife’s essentially had years taken away dealing with chronic Lyme after it wasn’t caught in time. But she eventually went on to have a baby, so she was able to regain some of her old vitality. I believe she did a lot of diet modification including carb cutting, which was interesting. At a certain point she was trying anything. I never did find out what the regime was, but like you’re saying it’s often personalized and requires so much time and attention from the medical practitioner.

          The story of the Lyme vaccine is wild. I’ve been keeping an eye on a new one for years and it’s just not happening. By now the original Lyme vaccine you reference is probably generic but also unprofitable so it’s not pursued.

          Reply
      2. Lee

        The ME/CFS Docs at the Stanford clinic have been experimenting with various existing drugs off label with some noteworthy success: anti-virals, low-dose Naltrexone, and Ariprazole for example.

        As for new drugs and treatments, I’m assuming that once the number of patients with a particular ailment becomes numerous enough so that money can be made, more research money will be forthcoming. If it turns out that Long Covid’s causes and possible treatments are closely enough related to ME/CFS, chronic Lyme, etc., that the requisite critical mass for producing profits will be reached and more money will rain down like mana from D.C. and Wall Street.

        Reply
      3. Jack Parsons

        The Lyme story is much worse. There is a vaccine, but it is only approved for dogs. It works quite well in humans, and if you live in Lyme country you should find a “friendly” vet who will hook you up.

        Reply
    2. WobblyTelomeres

      > Why does it take private money to get these studies done?

      The power of markets compels you.
      The power of markets compels you.
      The …

      Reply
      1. BeliTsari

        Thank you! I’ve just had a typically cursory NYC yearly physical, where my PCP and any number of clinicians who’d been here, still have PASC symptoms; yet quote these studies as we inch ever closed to “long COVID” replacing “anti-vax” as cognitive-dissonance-silencing, gaslighting trope (to feed exponentially more, ever younger victims to FIRE, PHARMA and another private equity “healthcare” feeding frenzy) just as kids’ MIS-C replaces PASC as unspeakable media topic? I’m supposing, we’ll soon have a whole new set of billing codes eliciting surprise billing; out of network specialist diagnostics, imaging and miracle treatments unleashed on chronic inflammatory or auto-immune conditions, as we “live with” mutating strains at school, work, looting, rioting, mass incarceration for insurrection?

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Aside from long covid itself, there will also be afterdamage in people who cleared themselves of covid itself, but have covidic cirrhosis in random organs and tissues around their bodies. When they get older and start developing the conditions of upper middle age, the targeted organs will then be discovered to not have the margin of safety that they would have been expected to have.

          Covidic nephrocirrhosis? Any little chronic kidney failure will mean imminent dialysis , transplant or death, because you have no kidney margin-of-safety to sacrifice to the chronic kidney disease and failure.

          In my purely lay opinion. And people with post-covidic cirrhosis of the whatever will be the next stealth-tranch of people to die under Lambert Strether’s theory of the ” bonfire of the disposables in tranches”.

          Reply
          1. BeliTsari

            I’d taken Nicotinamide riboside with Pterostilbene, my partner Quercetin, C, bromaline. We’d both had curcumin, 81mg aspirin (D3, zinc, Sambuchus nigra… for old farts, well we were worried FAR more about NYC’s private equity slaughterhouse medical system, than ARDS. Coworkers, older than myself were infected within a week, working in mills (with kids 1/3rd their age, no PPE, sick-leave, etc). We were happy to be together, indoors! I’m thinking of nurses, delivery-app cyclists, teachers, first responders, warehouse, MTA & food workers! I’ve tried Rooibos, nettle, ginger, mint… tea. But: dill, loveage, garlic, Mexican oregano, brightly colored greens, DARK, TART berry juices (hops, chocolate and red wine are in there too?)

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7322475/

            Reply
    3. Lee

      ME/CFS patients have been told by doctors and others for decades that since their are no measurable biomarkers to establish an organic cause of their symptoms, that it’s all in their heads. This view has been particularly prevalent within the U.K. medical establishment.

      Now, some current thinking holds that the locus of the disease may indeed be in our heads, so to speak. These researchers and clinicians believe that patients are suffering from chronic inflammation of the central nervous system caused by an immune system overreaction to the presence of one of the many viruses common in humans that for the vast majority cause no illness.

      Reply
      1. Vandemonian

        Part of the problem with long COVID and ME/CFS is the limited understanding (among the general public, but also in the medical community) of the distinctions between illness, sickness and disease. The three are similar, related, but different.
        Illness is an understanding that something about your body is not quite right. You know that you have a malady, but don’t necessarily share that news with others.
        Sickness is a situation where have sought and been granted permission to avoid normal duties. You may get out of doing the washing up, or get a sick note allowing time off work (maybe less so in the US).
        Disease is the thing you have because a doctor (or other health worker) says you have it. It’s a specific label (or pigeonhole), based on a collection of signs and symptoms, as agreed within the medical community.
        You can be ill without being sick or diseased (feeling unwell, but ‘soldiering on’), sick without being diseased or ill (‘faking it’ to get a day off work), or diseased without being ill or sick (homosexuality was a disease until DSM-III was replaced by DSM-III-R in 1987). You can also have any two.

        Mostly, healthcare deals with people who have all three, but the overlap is not perfect, and the edge cases are not always well understood, or well managed.

        Thankfully, there are some caring healthcare professionals who are willing to help a person deal with their illness without being able to identify a particular disease.

        Reply
    4. Kevin Smith

      Speaking as a doc, I have two concerns:
      1. The quacks will pile in with all sorts of remedies; and
      2. Some individuals will see “long Covid” as a meal ticket, and try to get themselves the diagnosis, and thereby gain entitlement to cash flows from things like disability payments, and extra rights as being “disabled”.

      To the extent that these things happen, they will draw resources and credibility from those who genuinely have “long covid”, hence the need for a proper case definition [which will of course be litigated to the nth degree by various interested parties …]

      Reply
      1. aletheia33

        i have yet to meet anyone on gov’t-funded disability whose “cash flow” and “extra rights” i would want to trade into.

        anyone who can continue choosing to live and making a go of it with those conditions has my great respect.

        and i have yet to meet any such person who is not dealing with what i would consider a truly disabling condition, either “mental” or physical or both.

        they face not only great difficulty in their hour to hour, day to day living but also the prejudice and disrespect of those ignorant of what it takes to go on living in the way they have to.

        please provide an example of someone you have met who sees a claim of disability as a “meal ticket”.

        Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        Speaking as a normal person, one of my concerns regarding long covid for quite a while now, and apparently now coming to bear as we can see, is that those suffering from it or who think they may be suffering from it will be accused of malingering, dishonesty, fraud, etc. as a murk around what is and isn’t long covid continues to be belched across the information (sic) superhighway

        I certainly welcome a proper case definition as you say, I recognise that this is important. I also recognise that some may disingenously abuse the existence of the condition and the prevalence of SARS 2 for some meagre material benefit. That is unambiguously shitty behaviour, I suppose, especially if it contributes to an epistemic fog about the nature of the condition itself that gets in the way of formulating a sound case definition. But on the spectrum of harms and miscellaneous shitty behaviour that pervasively persist throughout the world, and the concomitant scale of material harm they cause, it’s utterly negligible. In other words, while

        To the extent that these things happen, they will draw resources and credibility from those who genuinely have “long covid”

        may well turn out to be the case, it doesn’t have to, and it shouldn’t. But in an austere world, yes, it probably will.

        Reply
    5. BeliTsari

      We’d been negative on IgG, day 39 but bio-marker testing, after 1st Moderna side effects (a YEAR later) showed lots more than spike protein. And I’d love to believe this guy; but have all sorts of LOUD alarms quacking away after 19 months of living inside NYC’s crazy hive-minded echo-chamber? We’ve just had a cold, that set-off lots more pro-inflammatory cytokine BS, as did both vaccines, 5 months apart. Yet, a old folks’ flu shot in the midst of all this had no side effects? It’s like suddenly being allergic to NYC? Probably, a GOOD sign?

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9HSKceCt8tQ

      Reply
    1. Carolinian

      But they are fig leaf regulations for the most part. When gun owners say “all would be well if others were responsible like me” they ignore the fact that distrust of government regulation and its ability to protect is often a major reason for owning a gun. And that probably goes back to when the 2nd amendment was enacted. Militias played a big part in the Revolution.

      So yes laws requiring guns to be locked up are a good thing but how do you enforce them? And background checks are a good thing but 3d printers can now make, not only the moving parts, but apparently the metal barrels as well. Restricting ammunition sales might work but lots would still be around and it doesn’t take much ammunition to commit a crime.

      Reply
      1. BillS

        >>>So yes laws requiring guns to be locked up are a good thing but how do you enforce them? And background checks are a good thing but 3d printers can now make, not only the moving parts, but apparently the metal barrels as well.

        In most European countries, gun owners are subject to snap random inspections by local police, who come to check how weapons are stored. All gun owners must keep weapons in locked gun safes and who has what guns is known by the authorities.

        As far as I know, metal printing techniques cannot replicate the performance of a forged and machined gun barrel. 3D printing basically deposits powdered metal in a liquid carrier that is later sintered. These materials have little tensile strength and a gun barrel made of them would likely blow up on the first firing.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Thanks for the info. I had read the barrel claim but had my doubts. However I know little about 3d printing. I believe barrels can be bought legally here as a separate part–raising surveillance red flags in the process no doubt. Of course no barrel no gun.

          As for

          snap random inspections

          if we had that we’d have actual gun laws as well. It doesn’t seem likely.

          Reply
        2. Tom Stone

          The barrels are made from high pressure steel tubing using Electrochemical Machining which is silent and odorless, the 9MM FGC Mk2 has demonstrated a life of 2,500 rounds full auto.
          That horse has left the barn.
          Unit cost after a dozen or so drops to about $200.

          Reply
          1. bob

            “The barrels are made from high pressure steel tubing”

            aka not 3d printed. Or, as the economist might say- “assume a barrel”

            Reply
          1. ambrit

            Oh yes. The “Organs of State Security” will be worried about this. The ‘gyrojet’ is not only completely non-magnetic, but the round is self propelled and punches through just about everything in it’s path while the propellant charge lasts. That’s why this weapon was really feared by the Air Marshal service. It would pass through the ‘target’ and then puncture the skin of the airframe. Depressurization at altitude results.

            Reply
  2. Cathy

    I have followed the electrical system situation closely in Puerto Rico for years and currently live in PR. The NYT story is accurate but the focus on the arrest order for the LUMA CEO is the tip of the iceberg of the problems with LUMA and the privatization of the electrical system. There is a much deeper story here of privatization, austerity and the complete failure and lack of credibility of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (created by Congress to manage PR’s fiscal crisis and get it out of bankruptcy).

    For years, the FOMB and elements of the PR government have focused on privatization as the “solution” to PR’s electrical system problems, without serious consideration of how to really physically transform the system to be more affordable and less dependent on imported fossil fuels (which generate 97% of the power). Instead, privatization was used as a way to decimate one of the island’s major labor unions; LUMA didn’t hire thousands of former electrical system workers and now doesn’t have a trained workforce to operate the system, resulting in a completely unacceptable level of service that is briefly alluded to in the article. When the PR legislature tried to delay the implementation of LUMA’s contract because of their employee shortage, the FOMB threatened to take the legislature to court.

    Everyone in PR knows that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority needed to be transformed. But a non-transparent, politically-driven privatization process hasn’t solved the problems (no surprise). Major issues with the contract award process are discussed here: http://ieefa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Tom-Sanzillo-testimony-April-6-English.pdf. The real reasons that LUMA got this contract remain a mystery.

    All that said, I’m a bit surprised that LUMA allowed this controversy over their refusal to hand over documents to the legislature to progress into such a public relations nightmare for them, given that they were warned many times of this consequence. One really wonders what is in those documents

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > All that said, I’m a bit surprised that LUMA allowed this controversy over their refusal to hand over documents to the legislature to progress into such a public relations nightmare for them, given that they were warned many times of this consequence. One really wonders what is in those documents

      Please drop a link here when you know! Thank you for this excellent comment.

      Reply
  3. Ghost in the Machine

    Can Taiwan Show China It’s a ‘Porcupine’? Foreign Policy

    They could take a video rigging their chip fabs and other key manufacturing with high explosives and threaten to blow it all up upon invasion. But I really would not like to work in a place rigged so.

    Reply
      1. thump

        My limited understanding is that PRC mentality about Taiwan is that recapturing the renegade province would be more important from a national pride standpoint rather than making sure to get the chip fab facilities. With this “logic,” China may even prefer if Taiwanese blow up the facilities themselves.

        Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I doubt if China is too interested in the physical infrastructure itself. After all, if there is a worldwide chip shortage, its new companies will become even more profitable and they would probably have contingencies in plase. Even then, the ‘unification’ with Taiwan is something China would quite willingly accept a major economic hit to achieve. It goes way beyond symbolism.

      The strategic significance of the fab plants is that an attack on Taiwan is an attack on a fundamental part of the supply chain for the US, ROK, Japan and Europe. Whether or not they are destroyed or just seized by the Chinese, it is the reason the rest of the world can’t just shrug and say ‘hey, what can we do?’ if China attacks. The chip fab plants make Taiwan a strategic interest for most of the world.

      Reply
    2. Josef K

      Something I haven’t seen mentioned in the press much if at all is the collection of art and objects at the National Palace Museum outside Taipei. The vast majority of the art and objects dating back 3-4k years, much of it owned by the imperial family, hence the museum’s title, was spirited across the straight in the years leading up to 1949.

      Calling the collection world-class or invaluable doesn’t do it justice. I’ve heard 1 million pieces, the cream of which is also a very large number. The museum is basically built into a hillside, everything’s hardened, and it’s surrounded by military, fighter jets and transport jets at the ready. My info is a little dated, but the word was that all of it–or at least the most valuable pieces, which is still a huge number–can be airlifted out within hours; the destination, at that time, was Chile or another S. American country, I forget.
      Consider the Taiwanese government, caretakers of this incredible cultural heritage, would rather ship it off to S. American than let the mainland government get ahold of it. They have good reason, seeing as much of this art would have been destroyed (or hidden, or lost) during the (first) Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

      I’m sure the mainlanders have a plan to deal with Taiwan’s plan, and so forth, regardless it’s a siginificant if under-reported element of the situation.

      Reply
  4. bob

    Finally, A Settlement In Flint The Brockovich Report

    A little over 6k for each of the 100k? Only a lawyer could be proud of that….after 7 years

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Don’t get too excited. That $600 million settlement? Lawyers want a third of it for their share. So that would make it about 4k for each of the 100k. That settlement should be larger by an order of magnitude.

      Reply
      1. bob

        But the lawyers are the only ones on your side! They’re doing gods work. We should be thanking them and giving them accolades. Real people of the people. Lawyers. They’re even means testing it for us!

        ““The settlement reached here is a remarkable achievement for many reasons, not the least of which is that it sets forth a comprehensive compensation program and timeline that is consistent for every qualifying participant,””

        Consistently f’ing you over!

        Reply
        1. Romancing The Loan

          Lawyers who work for a % take large personal financial risks in bringing these cases and deserve to be paid for it – it takes a firm years of work, putting in hundreds of hours, plus filing fees and the expenses and costs of putting together a case, and if you don’t win or don’t win enough that is all a total loss because the client bears none of the expenses. Any such firm has a number of cases and the winners pay for the losers.

          That the settlement should have been higher is not a good argument against paying the people who made it possible. Getting rid of bloodsucking plaintiff lawyers will only succeed in barring poor people with winning cases from the legal system entirely.

          IMO we should have the equivalent of public defenders for civil work as well, beyond the totally inadequate charity efforts that exist, but for now what we have is commission.

          Reply
          1. bob

            “Lawyers who work for a % take large personal financial risks in bringing these cases and deserve to be paid for i”

            The people they were representing were poisoned. They didn’t just risk money, they had their children poisoned, with no choice about any of it.

            The lawyers should be ashamed of themselves.

            Reply
              1. bob

                Yes, those are the options.

                1) Work for free
                or
                2) Take over 150 million from people who live in Flint.

                Do you sleep well at night knowing you’re defending the honor of these creeps? You’re not even doing it well. I hope you’re not getting paid. Are you?

                Reply
              2. ambrit

                Compared to what a decently competent lawyer makes on average, yes, Bob probably does work for the functional equivalent of “free.”

                Reply
          2. Cocomaan

            Lawyers who work for a % take large personal financial risks in bringing these cases and deserve to be paid for it –

            Sure, but what’s their salary? Are the partners getting six figures? Or is everyone involved getting the annual median salary in the US of roughly 50k a year?

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Adding, I’ll bet that most of the plaintifs in this particular case make very much less than the American ‘median’ salary. Flint is not your typical gated community.

              Reply
            2. Objective Ace

              I dont understand why this is relevent. Even if lawyers are overpaid, there’s plenty of others in the country who even more overpaid–what is the justification for singling out lawyers?

              Reply
              1. bob

                The lawyers are making more off the settlement than anyone in flint ever will.

                And then on top of that they are asking to be congratulated! It’s a record settlement!

                Reply
    2. Charger01

      little over 6k for each of the 100k? Only a lawyer could be proud of that….after 7 year

      Lethal. Woburn, Mass and Hinkley, CA and Libby, MT and Bhopal. It pays to sicken and kill people, if you’re a company.

      Reply
      1. Cocomaan

        If anyone hasn’t read the book about Woburn and it’s cancer cluster it’s well worth a read. A Civil Action. John travolta starred in the movie I believe.

        Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        Will be driving by Hinkley next week and I always get the heebie geebies knowing what went down there in a place well on it’s way to abandonment, an evolving ghost town of sorts.

        Reply
  5. dftbs

    Thank you for sharing the Brazil Wire interview with Vladimir Safatle. He highlights one of the things I always found baffling about the Latin American right, the contrast between their chauvinist language and their simpering supplication to the US.

    I think that following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the onset of the “end of history”, there was a tendency to excuse the excesses of applied neo-liberal theory in Latin America as necessary for the greater good. The socialist development model appeared to be a dead end, and a Friedman-esque utopia was to be ushered in by the militarist that not long ago where dropping college students out of helicopters.

    This lie was shattered early, first by Chavez in Venezuela, who prior to the undeclared war waged by the US, managed to achieve real growth rates higher than his northern adversary; and then by the “pink tide” leaders that swept the region in the first part of our century. Gone was the excuse that socialism would lead to poverty for the region; but rather than accept this prosperity, the Latin American right doubled down on revanchism, and frothing, violent, counter-revolution. And in doing so they bared the motivations in their souls. They were never moved by fantasies of a free-market oriented greater good, but by the preservation of their social and racial superiority in the face of the black and brown Afro-Amerindian “horde”.

    The supplication of this right-wing caste to the United States isn’t explained by economics, nor is the reverse loyalty of American foreign policy to this caste explained in this manner (if you look at petrobras or pdvsa stock during the pink tide era you’ll see the “market’s” approval). Rather, the Latin American right in each of their respective nations sees itself as the only legitimate portion of the population; and US policy is an expression of historical inertia, and the moribund intellect of the “experts” that formulate it. This is then warped by the perverse lens of American IDpol, where these actual white supremacists can hide beneath their “abuelas” skirts and claim mystical insight to what goes on in “their” countries.

    I think the Lat Am Left ( a place where the term applies because south of the Rio Grande you can’t be “Left” without being Socialist) has wised up to this. They’ve begun to adopt and align the language of patriotism to their political program. I hope the best for their struggle in Brazil, and in the electoral battle of the following year. But as Safatle notes, their legalist strategy may be a fools errand vs. an adversary that has no rules and no goal other than power.

    Reply
    1. Randy

      I’m thinking there’s a good chance there are no elections for Brazil next year. Not with Bolsonaro learning from Trump and the OAS and already claiming fraud + various US state and intelligence officials mysteriously dropping by. I hope Lulu has a plan worked out.

      But yeah, the recent Bolivia coup showed the right, at least in that country, is based on the belief that a white christian minority has the right to rule. They were so delusional that they were the real power in that country and not the poor and indigenous majority that they actually got themselves kicked out by holding legitimate elections instead of just… rigging them or not holding them at all. Can’t make this stuff up.

      Reply
      1. dftbs

        I am afraid you are correct with regards to Brazil. The Right seems to recognize they won’t win a fair fight. I hope the lack of strategic thought the Bolivian right displayed last year is shared by it’s Brazilian counterpart.

        Reply
    2. Expat2uruguay

      I also really enjoyed the Brazil wire article. Vladimir Safatle identifies Bolsanaro’s success thusly:

      Finally, you have a conception of power based on a leadership, in addition to good or evil, which supports a narcissistic identification with its followers. He is not a paternal leader, but is the image and likeness of those he leads: the same weaknesses, the same violence, the same impotence. He is them in power. There are no elements missing.

      I find it interesting to reflect on Trump’s presidency as the same weakness, violence and impotence of the deplorables, but acting with the power of the presidential office. Something to ponder, was Trump’s ineffectiveness, an effective representation of his base, a way to connect with them and realize their reality even within the trappings of power? The ideas are so provocative, that they confuse me…

      Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Each person is their own person even within social history, and for Trump I would say the powerless was completely personal in that he had no stomach for hard work (and no principles to motivate it), or even faking it. Maybe we could never get someone like Cheney inside a Trump exterior but if we could, that person would be by no means powerless, indeed they could put us in a much worse world that the sh1tty one we now inhabit, even though they would not present as a “paternal leader.”

        Honestly, if Trump had just presented as the slightest bit empathetic and leader-ly in the first 6 months of the pandemic, he would have rolled to reelection and could well be spending these years polishing his image as our Great Leader and figuring out if he wanted a third term, and if so how hard to push for it.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Honestly, if Trump had just presented as the slightest bit empathetic and leader-ly in the first 6 months of the pandemic, he would have rolled to reelection and could well be spending these years polishing his image as our Great Leader and figuring out if he wanted a third term, and if so how hard to push for it.

          Yep.

          Reply
        2. Noone from Nowheresville

          @Left in Wisconsin
          I’d agree and add:

          Honesty, if Trump had had a real team dedicated to his reelection, he would’ve had them stuff a second half “care package,” for ordinary people into the CARES Act. And he should’ve been on his bully pulpit pounding on the legislature lack of further action. Yes, while ignoring his own.

          He seemed to rely on the Hunter story and the vaccine announcement to get his win. Neither of those narratives took root.

          I also call that The Lazy on his self-defined “we’s” part. Almost like he thought he had a shoe-in.

          On the other hand, the politician who I had such high hopes for, because I really thought it was his moment to truly change the narrative, not just a momentary Overton window shift, also fell flat. Though that one I will admit is a bit more complex.

          Big wins for The Machine.

          Reply
  6. zagonostra

    >Taiwan suspends 2nd doses of Pfizer for teens over health risk

    The Taiwanese health authorities have suspended the administering of second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for children aged between 12 and 17, citing concerns about an increased risk of heart inflammation.

    And they are mandating @SFO that 5-11 years get a CV19 vaccine? This country has lost it’s mind. Restoring the soul of America, is that what Bide ran on?

    https://www.rt.com/news/540030-taiwan-blocks-vaccines-kids-myocarditis/

    Reply
    1. Ahimsa

      Germany’s vaccination commision (STIKO) now only recommends Pfizer/Biontech for those under 30 years of age and pregnant women, i.e. it no longer recommends 3 out of 4 of the originally authorised vaccinations (Astra Zeneca, JJ Jansen, Moderna) for those groups.
      https://www.dw.com/en/covid-germany-recommends-only-biontech-pfizer-shot-to-under-30s/a-59773550

      Think about this for a moment, in less than a year we have gone from the vaccine narrative of:
      (i) the vaccines will end the lockdowns/masks/pandemic
      (ii) the vax are unhesitatingly safe
      (iii) the jabs are over 90% effective
      (iv) there will be no mandates

      Today:
      (i) the vaccines do not prevent transmission – mask up and get ready for winter wave lockdowns
      (ii) the vaccines cause clotting/heart issues – multiple countries restrict or suspend recommendations
      (iii) protection wanes in matter of months – boosters required to maintain vax status
      (iv) healthcare workers & other groups forced to chose between job and vax – mandates for thee not for me

      I could go on, but I feel like those are my top 4 at the moment.

      And yes, I know that some or all of these issue were actually clear from the outset for those able to read the fineprint, but still I find it a very disheartening indictment of public health messaging and administration.

      Reply
      1. Maritimer

        whatever happened to Herd Immunity?
        whatever happened to Superspreader Events?

        Meanwhile, the Injectees in the herd head back to the barn for another experiment.

        Reply
  7. Jeff W

    “Expanding PCR testing to asymptomatic people would decrease infections, deaths, and hospitalizations.”

    Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina argues that PCR tests are the wrong tool for assessing who is, in fact, contagious—for that, he says, a rapid antigen test is “actually much more accurate.” (The US currently has very few of these tests available, Mina says, unlike, say, Germany, where there are 70 different manufacturers producing tests.)

    Reply
    1. Carla

      I was convinced of Mina’s arguments for rapid tests. But now with rapid testing widely available and implemented in the UK and across Europe and Covid numbers soaring in those areas despite widespread testing, I’m beginning to wonder. After all, as I believe Yves has pointed out, if people are not supported to stay home when they test positive, what good does the testing do?

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Too many people have bought the koolaid that the vaccines are all protective rather than a mitigation factor. Until that belief is shattered across all classes and ideologies we will not act in a rational manner here. Easier access to better tests is the first and deepest blow to it. It is also the reason that we do not have it in this country so we will vaccinate healthy children with a massively under tested vaccine before we ventilate their classrooms. Just for one example.

        Reply
        1. Karl Aid

          Other people have bought the competing koolaid that the virus is not dangerous, and that catching it is a good thing.

          Reply
      2. Pookah Harvey

        In Mexico City rapid testing was followed up with a phone-call to positive patients.
        Medical ivermectin kits were then quickly provided to positive mild to moderate symptomatic patients. Effectiveness for decreased hospitalizations ranged from 50% to 76%.

        Expect a push for government paid for rapid testing in the US once the patented covid pills get Emergency Use Authorization.
        Ka-Ching

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJSUKDng_Ww&t=998s

        Reply
      3. Jeff W

        “…if people are not supported to stay home when they test positive, what good does the testing do?”

        I’d be hard-pressed to surmise that knowing, with a high degree of accuracy (according to Mina), one’s current state of infectiousness or lack thereof, even without home support, wouldn’t change anyone’s behavior. (Rapid tests actually allow people to isolate for less time—only that time that they are actually infectious—than do PCR tests, again according to Mina.)

        We don’t need the detection of 100% of the cases or perfect isolation for the rapid tests to be effective. As one study in Germany [with, admittedly, a pre-Delta time frame] isolating the effect of rapid testing, found, “Despite the fact that only 10% of the population performed weekly rapid tests in March on average, new infections on April 1 would be reduced by 53% relative to the scenario without vaccinations, rapid tests, or seasonality.” [emphasis added]

        Germany, BTW, which had abandoned its free rapid testing program in October (in order to boost vaccinations—although it would seem to me that rapid testing and vaccination are complementary interventions), is bringing it back due to concerns over the rising number of COVID infections.

        Reply
  8. Tom Stone

    Only in America do Guns have agency, “Gun Violence” forsooth.
    Reducing societal violence is simple, create a more equitable society.
    Reducing the number of Criminals using firearms is also simple, enforce the laws prohibiting felons from possessing firearms.
    The man who murdered my acquaintance, 72 year old Michael French was a convicted felon on parole who had been caught months before in Possession of of a pistol by SFPD while casing a neighborhood in company with another parolee who was also armed.
    In San Francisco, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.
    Illegal possession of a firearm by a minor., possession of stolen property,possession of a firearm by a felon, punishable by 10 years in the Federal Pen and a $25K fine.
    He had plead down from 30 counts of robbery to one count, sentenced to a year and a day in the County Jail and released after 6 months for good behavior.
    He was sent back to San Mateo County to serve the rest of his sentence and was again released after 3 Months for “Good Behavior”.
    Shortly after that release he murdered 72 year old Michael French in broad daylight.
    That’s typical of how violent felons caught in possession of a firearm are treated in SF, Chicago and NYC.
    A few years ago California enacted (But did not fund) legislation that required the State to match registered Gun owners to convicted felons, it was one of the few States to do so.
    That and similar laws are seldom if ever enforced,California relies on the “Honor System”, trusting that Felons will voluntarily divest themselves of firearms as soon as they are convicted.
    LEO would much rather spend their time busting unlicensed barbers and busting the heads of unarmed protestors than going after violent armed criminals.
    The fact that more violent crime means bigger budgets and more repressive laws is coincidental…
    As Wall Street has so amply demonstrated laws that are not enforced are not effective.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The man who murdered my friend’s fiance and his sister 34 years ago had no police record, an upstanding citizen in that regard.

      It was one of the murders that are all too common on account of easy access to hand cannons in our society, if the assailant had to use a knife it’s doubtful he would have plunged it into a couple of bodies, as it’s a world of difference just pulling the trigger from a distance-really a coward’s way to go about things, but that’s how we roll in the USA, home of the brave and land of the free.

      It went down like this, my friend’s fiance was at his sister’s house when her estranged husband who had a court order not to be within a certain distance of her showed up and an argument ensued where upon he pulled out a gun and killed her, and my friend’s fiance who had never met the murderer desperately tried to call 911, so he killed her too.

      Before the double murder i’d had no experience with something like this happening so close to home, and as opposed to a film or something on tv, the hurt and anguish didn’t go away after a few minutes and my friend was one hell of a wreck for years afterward, compounded about a decade ago by the murderer finding a minor legal gap and bringing the trial back up if only long enough to drag a dozen grieving family members like my friend through the whole sordid process anew before his 15 minutes of jailhouse lawyerdom ran out and he was thrown back in jail where he belonged.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Like Identity Politics, Wokeism, Immigration and Abortion/Pro-Choice, the Gunz are not the issue here; it is that really they are political and social tools to be used for gaining power, status, and money. Rephrased, those personal beliefs and experiences mean nothing except as tools to be use on us to get all that.

        So, if there is a massacre somewhere, caused in part by the atomization and immiseration of our nation, that’s wonderful! More passionate rage, speechifying, donations, and votes for them. More money and jobs for those in the non-profit industry as well.

        That someone threw his life away because he valued it so little, or was so full of hate, he destroyed the lives of others (and their families) to express this is merely a profitable opportunity for many.

        This rendering of belief, experience, and emotion, of pain, into money is an expression of Lambert’s 1) Because markets, 2) Go die!

        We do live in an abattoir.

        Reply
        1. Carla

          Like the self licking ice cream cone, gunphobics think that guns can pull their own trigger, hence ‘gun violence’.

          Reply
            1. kgw

              Like all things brought forth by those called humans, of whatever variety, brought forth means brought forth. Not thought about, brought forth.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                I’m just trying to point out that regardless of one’s viewpoint or even the facts, these issues are just something to make money from, with the greater suffering or passion increasing their profit.

                Immigration
                Abortion
                Gay Marriage
                The Police
                The TSA
                Religion
                Climate Change
                The Tooth Fairy, etc.

                It is all the same to the Grifters and their Grift Machine.

                For that matter, the increasing speed of our society’s collapse also means an ever greater money making opportunity. To be honest, I am pro gun rights, but what does it matter?

                Again, it is all the same to the Grifters and their Grift Machine.

                So let’s aim the greater part of our anger towards them and it. If we do not, it is all over but the dying. It will end with a fight over who gets into the last, remaining floating raft in an icy sea just for a chance to live a few days longer. Then fighting over the last can opener for the last can of Alpo or that final jug of water. Truly.

                Reply
          1. Oh

            Let’s not forget that USA has always been a violent country. First we killed the natives, then we had the wild, wild, west, then we killed people half way across the world, then we treat the killers as heroes, now we have TV shows and movies that emphasize killing, Presidents are not even spared. I wonder if guns have anything to do with all this?

            Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “CDC Hasn’t Updated COVID Vax Breakthrough Data”

    Generally speaking, you can’t be held responsible for what you do not know about. If the CDC – who has a budget of over $11 billion a year to spend on stuff like this that should be their bread & butter work – does not have the figures for vaccination breakthroughs, then they obviously cannot be held responsible. If they did, they would have to act on any such figures and publicizing them. The pharma corporations would not welcome such information being made known and the White House will hate it because it makes their so-called pandemic plans flawed and in need of radical redesign. Better not to collate such figures and if asked, use the Sergeant Schultz ploy. And if they are held to account for this wilful negligence, then they will use the standard excuses of how mistakes were made but the lessons have been learned.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      It seems from the article that Blair lead a latter-day, alas incomplete, bourgeoise overthrow of a relict group of aristocrats. I’m not perfectly clear as just how much formal political power the House of Lords previously or now continues to exercise. Another gap in my knowledge of history that I must now address with further reading.

      Reply
      1. R

        The House of Lords is hybrid, partly aristocrats and partly PMC lickspittles promoted there by the main parties. I would rather take my chances with aristocrats than the lickspittles

        Reply
        1. Count Zero

          Yes indeed, interestingly the only member of the British Parliament in the 1960s and 1970s was Wogan Phillips, Lord Milford (1902-93). His maiden speech was a call for the abolition of the House of Lords — it gets metaphysical!

          Milford was an interesting character — considerably more interesting than the nomenklatura favoured by Blair and the moneyed men who buy a seat in the Lords these days with hefty donations to the Tory party.

          Reply
  10. ObjectiveFunction

    ZH very occasionally picks up some good stuff not available elsewhere.

    Very interesting comments by Russell Clark (formerly of Horseman Global), in his final letter upon closing his macroeconomics-based short fund, after years of losses. As a wise man is wont to say, big if true…..

    The success I enjoyed from 2011 through to beginning of 2016 largely stemmed from asking the question that no one seemed to ask – why does the Yen and Japanese Government Bonds rally whenever there is a crisis? The obvious answer was capital flows from Japan would create a bull market in the area they flowed to, and then when the Japanese pulled capital back, it would create a bear market, often with significant currency volatility. Armed with that observation, and combined with analysis of the commodity markets, we built a portfolio that was largely short emerging market and long bonds.

    Since 2016, using the same analysis as above, Japanese capital flows have almost exclusively been to the US, and are an order of magnitude larger than anything seen before. And yet, US equities still power ahead, Yen remains weak, and currency volatility has been consigned to the history books. Of course, I asked myself why this is. Why did a model that worked so well, for the best part of 25 years, stop working?

    The obvious answer is that central banks led Quantitative Easing (QE). But that answer alone seems insufficient to me. Japan has had low interest rates for years and was still racked by bouts of extreme equity and currency volatility. The other problem with that answer is that the big inflation spike seen this year should then lead to greater volatility in equities, especially as central banks dial back QE programs.

    The answer for me comes from China. China wants a strong currency, and to keep consumption strong. It seems to me that the Chinese government uses it extraordinary control of the economy to control activity and the currency through the commodity markets.

    To elaborate, I expected China to post a weak trade surplus in October, and for currency devaluation fears to spike (particularly after the recent Evergrande selloff). Chinese trade surplus was actually very strong. And it was strong because Chinese imports of oil and iron ore were down significantly. Chinese steel production was down a stunning 20% year on year, a number you would typically only see in a bad recession.

    China has effectively taken control of key commodities, and now adjusts volumes to suit its own needs. Taking all this volatility through physical markets, has essentially collapsed financial market volatility, and also led to commodity currencies being significantly weaker than commodity prices – which has been a problem for me this year.

    Now I understand this, non-obvious trades at the beginning of the year such as long oil, short iron ore now seem obvious. The surprising weakness of gold and other precious metals can make sense in this analysis. It also explains why the extraordinary fiscal and monetary policies of the US have not been met with greater commodity or bond turbulence. It is very hard for me to get bearish US treasuries when I see Chinese steel production down 20% year on year.

    The big question then is whether this Chinese policy of absorbing financial risk in the physical economy sustainable? History suggests not, as most countries prefer to devalue than slow economic growth. However, I can see reasons why China may continue with this policy. The most powerful is that with US policymakers seemingly unable to raise interest rates, or balance budgets there is a gap in the market for a credible currency. Is China making a play for reserve currency status?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Hyperinflation needs a host be it coins or paper money, as a country having a going out of business as usual sale is pretty messy, and if you’re lucky the ordeal is over in a few years (Austria & Germany after WW1 in the early 20’s) or if you are truly cursed it’ll be ongoing from Black Friday in 1983 if you’re Venezuela. Most of Latin American hyperinflationary periods were a decade or more. Hyperinflation even happened in the oddest places, as in Japanese occupied Philippines during WW2, it took ever larger amount of of JIM (Japanese Invasion Money) to buy anything. Mexican hyperinflation in the 1980’s was largely responsible for all 50 states having immigrant communities whereas it only used to be the border states before, with most of them sending precious $’s back home in remittances to support entire families. If you were good at construction in Mexico but paid nothing because the Peso was worth nothing, what would you do?

      Hyperinflation was tantamount to a stroke, it didn’t kill but maim the patient who had to change the ways they went about doing things, but I can’t see how we get there from here in our largely digital world where in the USA physical currency only accounts for 4% of transactions, nearly a rounding error in the scheme of things.

      That is, I see the end of the almighty buck being all that, more of a surgical strike, but how do you get there from here when all of the actors on the financial stage are metaphorically printing like mad, not that anybody on the outside looking in can really discern what’s what of the money riddle, wrapped in the mystery of an uncaring beholder, inside an enigma machine.

      How does it happen that in lieu of it taking 6 Yuan to buy a Dollar, it gets reversed, turning the USA into exporter overdrive with the main item being food, of which 25% produced was already exported back in the day, but increases to more like 90%, because markets.

      Let them eat Little Debbie…

      Reply
      1. Kouros

        One can live… Romania ended up doing just such a thing in the last years of Ceausescu rule. There was drastic rationing… The food was sold to EU…

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Food is necessary to live. Selling one’s country’s food might be profitable, but it is not a survival strategy. Then the Ceausescus’ rule did end with a firing squad. But I don’t see our current leadership having the survival instincts of even a flock of sheep. A really stupid flock of sheep.

          And if someone has to buy your food, who really has the power? IIRC, the United States is expected to produce enough food, if just barely, for the foreseeable future, and there is always Canada next door. I’m sure that they would be very happy to offer good terms to the 330 million Americans living right next door. And most of the food does go through the Mississippi River or on a very few train routes. Just perfect for blowing up some bridges or locks and keeping it here or there.

          What concerns mean is if that food does not reach the American population or if Indian or China have bad harvests. One country has a heavily armed population that increasingly loathes its ruling class, and all three not only have a decent military, but also have nuclear weapons.

          “Hi, we like to buy some food. How much? How does most of it sound to you? Don’t worry about those military exercises. They are just exercises, right?”

          I mean for a few thousand years the Assyrian Empire(s) was criminal gang with an empire feeding off its neighbors. The annual campaigns were merely looting expeditions with food being one of the things stolen. They made almost any colonial empire, with the possible exception of King Leopold’s Republic of the Congo, look like paradise for the victims. Anyone want to bet that at least one current country or empire will not do this if things get bad?

          Reply
    2. dftbs

      Thank you for sharing, it was a good read. Clarke seems to be an unfortunate true believer in “markets,” and thought that they were natural forces rather than the culmination of political choices.

      His final note to investors is interesting in the things he highlights and the things he ignores. For instance, Japanese driven dislocations have been the “bread and butter” of Wall St. trading desks over the last decade. But the question that is never asked is would this Japanese “capital” (from their persistent high savings rate) be better deployed outside of capital markets. TPTB in Japan, and in other central bank led regimes (sterling, euro, cad, aud) have been happy chasing positive relative returns in dollar terms, was/is this possible in perpetuity?

      Finally, because the Chinese are the only real “producers” they dictate marginal demand for commodities. They are, whether they want to be or not, in the driver’s seat. I would challenge his belief that they are aiming at reserve currency status. I think they diagnosed the problems that come with it and know that reserve currency is more a curse than a blessing if your goal is to work toward “common prosperity”. A lot of the “risk” their actions add to Clark’s market analysis comes from the Chinese understanding that markets are man-made things, and exercising control relative to their political goals.

      Reply
    3. Brian Westva

      If I recall one of Yves’s lessons correctly, a country has to run a trade deficit to become a reserve currency issuer. The US is doing a fine job in its reserve currency role. China runs a trade surplus and of course is a major exporter. I don’t see how they could reverse this situation.

      Reply
  11. Laputan

    RE: Have Democrats reached the limits of White appeasement politics?

    Substitute “White appeasement” with “embracing conservative positions to appeal to nonexistent moderate voters” and the piece might have a point. Apart from that and having just one passing mention of the dreaded c-word, the only other issue I have with it is that just about every point made in it is flat out wrong or so dated it doesn’t hold any currency. Sister Souljah was almost 30 years ago. Biden was not selected as the Democratic candidate to appease the Whites. What obviously got him the nomination was that Black voters came out en masse because of his association with Obama and the triangulation by the party elite to railroad Sanders. As ridiculous as it sounds, Time Kaine was plucked to be the VP to appeal to Hispanic voters since he speaks Spanish. Etc, etc.

    Amazing how shortly after the Virginia gubernatorial election in which the number 1 issue according to voters was the economy, the solution offered by the great seers at WaPo is to have more racially diverse candidates. These people never learn.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Or maybe they have learned quite well that keeping people riled up and pitted against one another over the politics of ascriptive identity will keep them from eyeing the prizes to be had by addressing the politics of class.

      Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      ISTR that George W. Bush also spoke Spanish on the campaign trail. His pronunciation was creative, to say the least, but he did have the basic words and phrases down.

      Reply
    3. George Phillies

      Biden visibly locked down the nomination via the Clyburne endorsement and the Democratic policy of letting South Carolina effectively choose their nominee.

      Reply
      1. Laputan

        That doesn’t disprove my point. Clyburn and Obama’s machinations could not have prevailed for Klobuchar or Pete. Both were polling terribly with Black voters, so they had to choose Biden precisely because of the Black vote.

        Reply
    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      To be fair, it’s a better solution than Terry McAuliffe. Though the economy being the number one issue is just a reflexive response. I would usually put education in that category without specific quirks such as the “swing” (more of a turnout thing than a swing) in parents with kids in K-12.

      Reply
      1. Laputan

        No disagreement with McAuliffe. However, even if they select a POC candidate, if they’re still some creature of the consultant class whose economic agenda bears no discernible difference from an ex-CEO of a private equity firm, they’re going to continue to lose…albeit, I guess, on their own terms.

        Reply
  12. Jason Boxman

    Say what you will about SoFi, but after Obama and Liberal Democrats whacked subsidized graduate loans (but… everyone just needs more education they said!) I was able to refinance my loans with SoFi for a significant reduction in lifetime cost. Granted, I gave up protections that federal loans include, but it was a gamble I was willing to take.

    The real travesty is federal students loans are used as a profit center for the government. They should be grants! The federal government doesn’t need “income”, as the currency issuer, so the whole thing is a farce with a significant and needless human cost.

    Free community college is the least of what we need, and we aren’t even getting that!

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      It is those with lucrative contracts “working” ostensibly for the Feds that is the reason for so much evil. As with the congressional-military-industrial complex, the congressional-educational-finance complex depends on getting business from the government, which allows them to extract money from the process; bombs or textbooks, contracts or loans, it is all the same thing.

      So those grants would not be a means of profit for the finance industry, which is why it is loans instead.

      Reply
    2. Glen

      Free community college was wacked out of the BBB bill by the universities, but the universities are getting in the same doom spiral as healthcare. Less people can afford it, less people go there.

      The American elites have made it clear. Any youngsters with technical chops should go to a country with free college/university. It will be a better education, better career, and better life.

      Reply
      1. Count Zero

        Yes but there’s no such thing as free education anywhere. It is funded by the tax-payers within that jurisdiction, though increasingly students have to contribute by paying fees too.

        Overseas students are generally charged fees. And quite right too.

        Reply
  13. zagonostra

    >Vox Populi – Ytube Dislike Button

    YouTube videos will soon only show the number of likes with the number of dislikes hidden, though content providers will have access.

    The establishment, which includes those who have control over the means of social communication, have decided to stop enabling people in thinking of themselves as connected with others.

    The name of the game is to have people feel isolated in their views. When you see others sharing your sentiments there is a feed back loop that amplifies/supports you sentiments because you know you are not isolated. As in the FCB/LCB meme that went viral, this is troubling to those in power. They have to mute the vox populi, it is becoming dangerous.

    All these developments, like demonizing people for going against the vaccine mandates, de-platforming content creators, and ridiculing those who go against the establishment narrative are related and if you’re not connecting the dots, you should.

    https://support.google.com/youtube/thread/134791097/update-to-youtube-dislike-counts

    Reply
    1. Screwball

      The censorship and stunts like this seem to be getting more and more prevalent. I have been put in Twitter jail twice now for expressing my opinion on matters that are “hot button” topics, and apparently I was on the wrong side.

      It is fun to watch certain pieces of news get covered far and wide, while other pieces that seem to be more important and useful get smothered on the back page or not covered at all.

      Orwell is probably laughing in his grave as we speak.

      Reply
  14. George Phillies

    Another partial solution to student loan programs is to make college less expensive. One approach to this has surfaced as the University of Austin AUTX.com proposal, liberal arts with fewer administrators.

    On the STEM side, note my draft proposal Essential University on Books-by-George.com. Observe that part of what is proposed is ‘creative destruction’ of some college accreditation organizations, whose accreditation rules function in part as a welfare program, mandating employment of substantial dollar costs of administrators and ‘general education’ teachers.

    Reply
    1. enoughisenough

      That “U” of “Austin” is a complete scam. No one with any critical thinking skills should be taking that seriously. Anyone investing is a mark.

      The solution to rising costs of college is to fully fund them, and make them free, or nearly free, as they were for those getting degrees in the 1960s and early 70s.

      Cutting admin bloat is also possible, as is reducing salaries of football coaches and other parasitic aspects of public college these days.

      Reply
  15. allan

    I love the smell of revisionist history in the morning. It smells like … like … the New York Times.

    Will Zephyr Teachout Finally Have Her Moment?
    [NYT]

    … on Monday she plans to formally announce her candidacy for New York State attorney general, a turn she could not have foreseen a year ago when the former governor, with his Must See TV Covid briefings, was still holding on to a 65 percent approval rating, and the state’s top prosecutor, Letitia James, now making a bid for his old job, seemed happy to be exactly where she was. …

    Seven years ago, she emerged from relative obscurity as a legal academic with an expertise in corruption to help successfully shift state politics leftward when she challenged Mr. Cuomo’s re-election, receiving an astonishing third of the primary vote. Threatened by her showing and what it said about the magnitude of progressive sentiment, the governor eventually began supporting measures like a $15 an hour minimum wage and paid family leave. After years of pressure, he broke up a faction of independent Democrats in the State Senate who caucused with Republicans and stymied liberal lawmakers.

    Cuomo broke up the so-called Independent Democratic Conference?
    He did everything he could to protect them, and they were defeated at the ballot box.

    What do you need to do get a job covering politics at the Times? Wait, I don’t want to know.

    Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    SoFi CEO: ‘Our student loan business got cut in more than half’ after federal payment pause Yahoo Finance.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Newsflash:

    SoFi Stadium in LA has be renamed NSF Stadium, and prices on cokes & barley sodas raised a buck on all sizes, with all student discounts rescinded.

    Reply
  17. fresno dan

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/chicago-police-superintendent-says-sergeant-fired-raid-wrong-home-rcna5336

    FROM the article: A Chicago police sergeant faces termination over the wrongful raid of an apartment that was recorded captured on body camera video that showed a woman being handcuffed while she was naked.
    ….
    Aporongao had information listing the target’s address but “disregarded all of this information and instead relied exclusively on J. Doe’s statements,” according to the report. Neither Young nor her home were connected to the target or any other criminal activity, the police accountability office said.

    Reply
  18. Soredemos

    >How SARS-CoV-2 in American deer could alter the course of the global pandemic NPR

    Guess I’ll point out that this seems a bit hard to square with the notion that it spreads mostly indoor. Deer don’t need extra ventilation, surely.

    Reply
    1. King

      Speculating other methods of transmission and what we know about corona viruses as well as ruminants….

      The word “ruminant” comes from the Latin ruminare, which means “to chew over again”.

      Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    National Park Premiums: The Cost Of Living Near The Country’s Most Sought After Natural Landscapes

    For many of us, there’s nothing better than escaping to the great outdoors. Whether your passions lie in conquering mountains, seeking out magnificent wildlife, witnessing strange and alien vistas, or in the simple joys of fishing, the country’s national parks have it all to offer.

    As our national parks are often in remote areas, they can be difficult to reach on a regular basis. Therefore, why not move to your favorite park, or as close to it as possible? That way, we avid explorers and nature enthusiasts could enjoy the benefits of our national parks year-round!

    https://outforia.com/national-park-premiums/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There’s a lot to like living cheek by jowl next to a NP-and speaking of which, they’ve reopened a part of Sequoia NP and the Generals Hwy, so we’re gonna go see the aftermath of the recent KNP Fire.

    Reply
  20. robert lowrey

    Yuval Noah Harari Believes This Simple Story Can Save the Planet NYT.

    When the NYT features articles containing the inane phrase, “Saving The Planet,” one remembers our disgraced former President’s accusations of “Fake News”. There is no “Saving The Planet,” as the planet is in no peril. The future of a civilization completely dependent on the stoking of Greed worldwide, now that is in peril, and that is what we wish to “Save”. And if that means destroying every rainforest, every indigent tribe, every other sentient creature on the globe, so be it. Every call to save the planet has at its heart, much like the $trillion infrastructure bill, a grift by some corporate sponsor to convince the naive to invest more billions in some technology that will do what they have all done so far: accelerate Climate change. Using solar energy to first grow food, and then using fossil fuels to process those calories into fuel for machines is the most egregious example of calls for “Saving the Planet”‘s counterproductivity. It has at its heart nothing more than expanding the fossil fuel regime. Now, if they were to call it Saving the Planet’s ability to sustain life, at least that would have a premise that makes some sense, with the possibility of outlining steps we could take to actualize that goal, but the glib, “Saving the Planet”, is pure hokum: Earth isn’t going to disappear because a predatory primate has decided its own ascendancy takes priority over preserving the ability of the very air we breathe to maintain life. Publishing tripe that suggests its survival depends on any actions the Naked Ape may or may not take is beyond Fake News, it’s Corporate-speak (everyone always seems to forget that every “news” outlet is a Corporation, so what they disseminate is always written in the same Corporatese that give us phrases like Save the Planet) for “Put your hands up and give us all your money, so we can build the infrastructure we need to continue on the current course of suicidal despoliation.” We have built HAL and set it on a pre-ordained path which we are (apparently) incapable of changing, yet we think it’s only in Science Fiction that humans put machines in charge of their very survival. But we are wrong. We are mere Morlocks; the machines are the AI-enabled race of Eloi that our forced labor feeds while millions of our fellow creatures go hungry and shiver in the cold or swelter in the escalating heat. The panicked, “Save the Machines” (For it is they, not the planet, that are in danger) is the real driving force behind the nonsensical, “Save the Planet”.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Mr. Harari makes some good points. If everything human is more or less fiction, fiction of our own contrivance, then money is certainly a big one. I really don’t think that information processing makes us any less human – in fact I’d say it helps our brains make connections about our relative reality much faster. It’s amusing we have this eternal existential crisis. Which we ease with pretty stories. What is it to be human? One answer is Who cares? If you want to juxtapose transhumanism (where Harari seems to be going) with saving the planet in order to decide which is our future, I’d say first you have to admit that money is a total fiction and we can spend for both if we choose. For a writer bent on exposing old fictions, Harari certainly hangs onto the fiction of money. It will only take 2% of world GDP a year to repair the planet. I think that’s probably based in as much reality as any of our fictions. What we need to sustain life on this planet is not a transhuman revolution – it’s a sustainability revolution – wherever that leads us. I’d just submit that it will a much bigger effort than 2% of global GDP a year. But global GDP is a fiction so who cares?

      Reply
    2. Maritimer

      ““Saving the Planet”, is pure hokum: Earth isn’t going to disappear….”
      ***********
      Thanks for pointing out The Obvious. It seems that on practically every subject today it is necessary to do that. As far as Climate Change, one is supposed to listen to experts, scientists, etc. who cannot even frame the problem correctly.

      While on the CC subject, how do all the Climate Scientists feel about the WHO, CDC, FDA, BP running their Covid rackets and disgracing Science over and over again? Why is their Science any more believable or trustworthy than that generated by their corrupted medical colleagues? Critical thinkers want to know.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        Why is their Science any more believable or trustworthy than that generated by their corrupted medical colleagues? Critical thinkers want to know.

        lol. “critical thinking” so brilliant you need shades.

        Reply
  21. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    The ongoing fascination and myth making surrounding Ursus arctos has its peaks and valleys in the collective imagination of the dominant predator on this planet.

    Documentary wise, the following two selections have much to offer and they are freely available for viewing; where, the Werner Herzog, Timothy Treadwell film is probably the more familiar of the two stories, the Charlie Russell documentary is no less captivating, engaging, insightful, and informative. They both are worthwhile and free weekend viewing, for anyone that has both the time and the interest..

    “Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog looks at the life and death of grizzly bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. The documentary incorporates footage of his interactions with grizzly bears, shot by Treadwell himself, while traveling in Alaska prior to 2003. It also includes interviews with those who knew him as well as professionals who deal with wild bears.”

    https://watchdocumentaries.com/grizzly-man/

    “The grizzly bear is considered by many to be the most dangerous animal in the world. But there is one man, Canadian Charlie Russell, who thinks differently. He believes that grizzlies are misunderstood animals and that our fear of them is not only unnecessary but driving them to extinction. His beliefs have taken him to Russia where he has been raising orphaned grizzly bear cubs for the past ten years in the wilderness of the Southern Kamchatka peninsula. Becoming their surrogate mother, he struggles to keep his cubs alive and teach them everything they need to survive a life in the wild.”

    “The Edge of Eden: Living with Grizzlies”

    https://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/6781/The-Edge-of-Eden–Living-with–Grizzlies
    .

    Reply
  22. Soredemos

    >The Supreme Court’s Latest Gun Case Made a Mockery of Originalism Salon

    This really makes me appreciate the French approach to law: follow what the text explicitly says, not some bloated monstrosity of cobbled together legal precedent.

    Reply

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