Links 11/14/2021

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1091 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, Karōshi prevention.

There Are Sharks in the River Thames Bloomberg

Shebeen Queens London Review of Books

IT’S NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD First Things

Emerson Didn’t Practice the Self-Reliance He Preached Atlantic

A Death Full of Life Beside

#COVID-19

This Thanksgiving, the Masks Are Off, the Dinner’s Inside and the Relatives Are Back WSJ

Oklahoma Guard goes rogue, rejects COVID vaccine mandate after sudden change of command Air Force Times

‘They See Us as the Enemy’: School Nurses Battle Covid-19, and Angry Parents NYT

MIRRORS OF CALAMITY The Intercept

As the U.S. Races to Vaccinate Kids Against Covid-19, Some Countries Hold Back WSJ

***

Why is Europe returning to the dark days of Covid? Guardian

Anti-Vaxxers and Politicians Push Germany to the Brink Der Spiegel

German state health ministers call to extend state of emergency as COVID cases soar Reuters

New COVID variant found in France: Reason for panic or not quite yet? Jerusalem Post

***

Bharat Biotech Chief’s Defence of Covaxin Undermines WHO Approval The Wire

Covaxin is 77.8% effective in symptomatic cases, shows phase 3 trial data: Lancet study Scroll

COP26/Climate Change

COP26 latest: India and China in last-minute push back on fossil fuels FT

‘We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe’: Nearly 200 nations at COP26 strike coal compromise promoted by India to ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ coal power, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions Daily Mail

Without Coal, What Happens to Cement, Steel, Iron — and Asia’s Path to Development? The Diplomat

Scientists pour cold water on Bill Gates’ nuclear plans Deutsche Welle

What has the COP26 climate summit achieved? Al Jazeera

With COP26 in Overtime, Draft Deal Denounced as ‘Clear Betrayal by Rich Nations’ Common Dreams

COP26 agrees deal aimed at averting climate catastrophe, after late drama Reuters

COP26: Vulnerable States Call Climate Loss and Damage Deal ‘Bare Minimum’ The Wire

COP26: ‘Blah, blah, blah’ as world nears climate ‘catastrophe’ Deutsche Welle

Iqaluit: A month without clean water in Canada’s north BBC

New York State of Mind

Photos: The 2021 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Has Arrived Gothamist

First NYC Tree Canopy Study Shows Growth as Storms and Budget Cuts Threaten Gains The City

Venture-Backed Grocery Delivery Apps Snap Up Shuttered Retail Spots From Brooklyn to the Bronx Brownstoner

Health Care

Will California Get Its Shot at Single-Payer Health Care? Capital & Main

Groves of Academe

A Casablanca for Conservatives Project Syndicate. James Galbraith.

Natural gas customers in Texas get stuck with $3.4 billion cold-snap surcharge Ars Technica

Class Warfare

Kaiser Permanente strike averted as union reaches tentative agreement Healthcare Dive

The EU’s Decades of Tax Trick Tolerance Der Spiegel

Wild Bidding Wars Erupt at Used-Tractor Auctions Across the U.S. Yahoo Finance

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

Establishment Dems in Buffalo Unfazed by Sabotage of Party’s Mayoral Nominee Truthout

He Tore Down Motels Where Poor Residents Lived During a Housing Crisis. City Leaders Did Nothing. ProPublica

Why Columbia Graduate Workers Like Me Are on Strike Jacobin

Ecuador

Battle among Ecuador prison gangs kills at least 68 inmates AP

Supply Chain Crisis

Too Big to Sail: How a Legal Revolution Clogged Our Ports BIG. Matt Stoller.

Biden Administration

Ron Klain retweet spurs court to slam brakes on Biden vaccine mandate NY Post

FBI raid on Project Veritas founder’s home sparks questions about press freedom Politico

Biden taps Califf to head FDA — an agency where he has plenty of unfinished business Stat

Harris and Buttigieg under the spotlight amid uncertainty over Biden’s future WaPo

THE MAIN DRIVER OF INFLATION IS A MURDEROUS MANIAC IN RIYADH The Intercept

As America Falls Apart, Profits Soar TK News. Matt Taibbi.

The Caribbean

 Biden must stop propping up the old guard in Haiti Responsible Statecraft

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell speaks from behind bars for the first time in the Mail on Sunday: Heiress tells how ‘creepy’ guards have forced her to stop taking showers, rats live in her cell and why she has no hope of a fair trial Daily Mail

India

In seven years of Modi, an unravelling of India’s proud democratic traditions Scroll

Congress Accuses Facebook of Bias Towards BJP, Demands Joint Parliamentary Probe The Wire

Five years after demonetisation, SC still to set up a bench to hear the petitions challenging it Scroll

India’s Stolen Gods and Goddesses The Diplomat

Delhi-NCR AQI severe, no respite in offing: Desperate measures Indian Express

Unpaid Wages Pile Up As MGNREGS Funds Fall Short India Spend

New Great Game in the Caucasus and Central Asia Asia Times Pepe Escobar

Syraqistan

‘Pakistan to Favourably Consider Transit of Indian Aid to Afghanistan’: Imran Khan The Wire

The Forty Years War: Tariq Ali and Afghanistan Counterpunch

China?

Xi Jinping set to raise Taiwan and Beijing Winter Olympic boycott calls at virtual summit with Joe Biden South China Morning Post

US And China: Collision Or Cooperation? American Conservative. Pat Buchanan.

The National Cyberspace Administration of China plans to stipulate that biometrics such as face, gait, fingerprints, etc. shall not be used as the only personal identity authentication method What China Reads

HOW TO AVOID NUCLEAR WAR War on the Rocks

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

210 comments

  1. lakecabs

    Jail without Bail.

    Does it not bother people that unconvicted people live in these conditions?

    If no bail is granted or someone can’t afford bail they should not have to live in squalor.

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      Exactly. And if they’re convicted, they shouldn’t be subjected to repeated rape and sodomy, which appears to be an all but formal part of the penalty in the US.

      Reply
      1. LawnDart

        Rape, sodomy, and assault can be used by COs to ensure compliance– the meaning of which might be difficult to ascertain when dealing with guards or staff who may well be power-tripping sadists.

        Hell, running afoul of a power-tripping sadist might be in itself the reason that a person finds themselves behind bars, and keep in mind that the word of a sworn law enforcement officer carries more weight than yours.

        If you do ever end up in jail, it’s best not to piss-off the person making cell-assignments: the nicknames of some of the more infamous booty bandits I recall include Resident Evil (abnormally tall and skinny kid who’d wrap his limbs around his victims in the manor a serpent coils around prey– mostly went after inmates but caught more than one staff member unawares), there was also Superman (he’d pretty much leap anything in a single bound), and, of course, The Thing (kinda self-expanatory).

        The Thing racked-up a pretty high body-count (if you will) over his most recent 20-year bid, almost maxing-out his time before being released on parole (PRB wanted to make sure there was some kind of supervision on this guy when he hit the streets: if he maxed-out, he would have completed his sentence and been free-and-clear of the system, at least til he caught his next case).

        The Thing was release Friday morning, made it to his “host-site” and fitted with an ankle monitor mid-day, and presumably behaved himself until around 10pm, when contact was lost with his monitoring unit.

        But he was asleep back there in the early light of the pre-dawn hours when I caught up with him Saturday morning. When I ran my light over him I noted that his tee-shirt was a bit streched and torn, and had what appeared to be flecks of blood on it. I let things kinda play out when he awoke with a start a few moments later: I kept my light on him, not moving, not saying a word until almost a minute later when I announced myself, stating that we had business to discuss and commanding him to “cuff-up.”

        The Thing was huge, no-necked, and I had to use two sets of cuffs to secure him as I had left the leg irons in my car. I tossed his bed real quick and found a serrated knive, like one you’d use to carve a roast, under his pillow. I scooped that up with a shirt I found and then tip-toed with The Thing out of the apartment which looked like a slum-ber party with still-sleeping bodies everywhere.

        We had a pretty decent conversation on our way to prison. He would not tell me where he had disappeared to the night before, and no incidents were reported by the local cops than could have been tied back to his bloody shirt and the knife. The infractions that he racked-up in prison were because he couldn’t stand being confined with another person, a cellmate, because it’d make him crazy, so short of killing them it was the best way to make sure he had a cell to himself (hey- pro-pointers!).

        The point is, being raped in jail or prison isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you (as pointed out by another commentor, in some places it’s almost normal), and compared with some of the staff and admin I’ve come across in that industry, The Thing was just a big ole pussycat compared with the hurting they can put on you.

        If you ever find yourself on the threshold of that world, the “criminal justice system”, my advice to you is “yes sir, no sir,” and do what you have to to not make yourself a target– if it’s BS, don’t make a beef, complain, or fight that fight til you’re relatively safe from the ones who can hurt you.

        Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      Rikers has been a hellhole since it was built and MDC has been horrendous for as long as I can remember,since the 60’s at least.
      The corruption in the correctional system is traditional and pervasive in New York just as it is in California.
      As a matter of fact EVERY State correctional system I have looked into is corrupt and brutal, with no exceptions.

      Reply
      1. LawnDart

        Stone, I would agree with your assessment of “corrupt and brutal” and it appears that my reply to Pelham’s comment was not appropriate for a family blog (and I was trying to be gentle! After my experience with DOC I may have lost the softer touch, so my apologies, mods). Corrupt actors have many ways of coming at you if they so choose, and it’s nothing that any department covers in their training, as far as I’m aware.

        As far as real oversight of our correctional systems go, yeah, forget about it. You enter that world and it doesn’t matter which side of the bars you are on, you’re in the animal kingdom, and most of the animals want to eat you.

        Reply
        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Part of Clyde Barrow’s story & in places such as Newgate prison in London going way back where children were it appears easy prey.

          Reply
    1. ambrit

      One basic rule of warfare, whether it be formal or social is: “Know your enemy.”
      Mz. Maxwell represents the Apex Social Predator class on our planet today.
      The better one understands such creatures, the better we will be able to “liquidate” them.

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        Well that appears to be the case. But it also appears we throw the principle of “innocent until proved guilty” out the window whenever it suits the fickle public or a “justice” system that can’t be bothered with it.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          To this admittedly valid criticism I will reply with Anatole France’s oft quoted maxim: “The law, in it’s majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
          Unfortunately, France’s quip is not entirely accurate. Traditionally, the rich have always given themselves the ‘droit’ of the ability to steal the bread out of the mouths of the working classes.
          I would also observe that a belief in Justice presupposes actually working systems of investigation of and prosecution of criminal activities.
          I’m with Stalin on this one. I care not what the Law says, as long as I can control how that Law is applied. However, that would make me a Predatory Elite. So, I am faced with a quandry: do I ignore myself, or do I shoot myself?
          Fun and interesting times!
          Stay safe.

          Reply
        2. JBird4049

          People all but say “they must be guilty because why would the police arrest them otherwise? So they deserve whatever happens to them.” It is certainly the belief of too many.

          That this also shows just how an cruel, unjust, and evil society we are doesn’t seem to occur or matter.

          Ghislaine Maxwell should face imprisonment, perhaps for life, but decent treatment and a fair trial is just the minimum we should give every accused person.

          Reply
          1. HotFlash

            I would add that even convicted persons should not have to live in squalor. However, the lady has already shown herself to be a flight risk, unlike, say, Steven Donziger.

            Reply
          2. John k

            Seems she’s getting about the same treatment we give most prisoners. Certainly all should get better; but we hear about this case bc she’s a celeb. Should she get better treatment bc she’s in the news? Better, say, than assange?
            Frankly, it’s bc we have country club places for elite prisoners that elites have no interest in improving prison conditions for everybody else.
            Similarly, we might have fewer wars if we brought back the draft.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Almost no one, but those very few elite prisoners stay in those places and using them to accept the torturous, even hellish lives of the average prisoner is a kind of evil; California’s San Quentin, Folsom, and Atascadero are really hard places to day. Then there is NYC’s Rikers where most of the prisoners are awaiting trial.

              So, the question is not about why a few prisoners have the money and the status that gives them homelike prisons, because that is only a mirror of America, but why almost everyone else is eating rotten food with maggots, entombed in often poorly ventilated and non-climate controlled tombs, often unable to leave for days or weeks at a time in some prisons.

              Then there is the rampant rape and the beatings, both by the prisoners and the guards, including the occasional murder, in both the men’s and women’s prisons and jails; we never talk about that because they are deemed garbage, not people, and therefore disposable.

              Not in every institution, of course, but let us talk about the the police; most are decent people, however, I can drive a hour from my home to a city with death squad for a police department, drive in different direction most of a day and see the sheriff’s department that has multiple gangs some of whom murder people as in a contest. Or the jails and prisons with non voluntary participation of the prisoners in gladiatorial combat? Or the Chicago style policing in which warrants are not used? And sometimes evidence is planted, routinely?

              Vallejo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. Four cities that have had problems for fifty years or more in their police and jails with multiple attempts at reform; then there is the California state prison system since its massive increase starting in the 1970s with the War on Some Drugs, which also has had multiple attempts, usually blocked by the extremely powerful prison guard union. If I wanted to, with just a little work, I could add a number of other California towns and cities.

              And they are all reflections of are prisons, which are worse. Or is it the other way?

              We know that Ms. Maxwell is guilty as Hell for child rape and pimping. She came from money so she has no excuse for her actions and she almost certainly has money for an excellent legal defense and I have no pity for her as a person.

              I do have pity for her as a human being. Just like for all the other millions of Americans who have had and do suffer from a “Justice” system often without competent legal defense, on little or manufactured evidence, by prosecutors who only want to convict as many as possible, sentenced by judges who don’t care, to be incarcerated, often for decades, with little medical care, or enough food that is often rotten anyways, in conditions that encourage rape, abuse, and the occasional murder.

              Again, why in God’s name is okay to have such a system? California and New York is bad enough, but there are stories of the prison systems in the Deep South that are worse. Really worse. Isolated small towns scattered across the country as well that are really horrible. So one person, admittedly a child rapist, gets an adequate defense, and there are a handful of prisoner living in the good areas of Club Fed, how does justify the evil that is our so called justice system?

              Thomas Jefferson is supposed to have said:

              “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

              I rather agree with him. Can anyone tell me why it is okay for the United States or any other country with similar systems to even exist?

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                This is pre-trial detention. Not even remotely the same category as state or Federal prison.

                Remember a grand jury already found against her, so it’s not as if there’s no judicial process or no evidence here.

                Rich prisoner are seldom jailed before trial. They are given high bail and have their passports taken to prevent flight. Prosecutors routinely ask for “remand,” as in the accused should be remanded to jail because they either represent a danger to others (like an obsessive lover who has repeatedly defied protective custody and beaten and threatened his ex, or someone with a prior conviction of a violent crime now accused of another violent crime) or are a flight risk.

                The argument with Maxwell was that she had been successfully on the lam for quite a long time evading arrest (way way longer than even connected high profile prisoners can usually carry that off), had greatly understated to the court her financial resources and likely had more she hadn’t admitted to, and already had multiple passports, she was a clear flight risk and had to be incarcerated.

                That does not justify anyone being put in a cell that is filthy. But she made clear she has the means and intent to evade the law, and her current situation was a predictable outcome.

                Reply
    2. Skip Intro

      I would say precisely so you and I can mock the unwitting irony of her complaints about creepy guards, and perhaps savor a bit of guilty schadenfreude. Your response ‘Ugghhh” was correct.

      Reply
    3. Louis Fyne

      Because even Ghislaine is innocent until proven guilty by evidence that the prosecutor has to bring forth

      while America was never perfect, At the rate we are going, America is doomed as we don’t even aspire to noble ideals.

      1940’s-era Germans were given due process. now it is trial by twitter

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Well, Germans were usually given due process, until the People’s Courts were created. IIRC, 1943. Then it was just show trials much like the ones during the Great Purge. Yeah, in a way it was trial by Twitter with only tweets that scream guilt, preferable with plenty of invective, to be allowed.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Those People’s Courts were bizarre. Saw a few clips that had on trial people accused of being part of the Hitler plot. They took away their belts of course so the prisoners had to hold their pants up with the hands whereupon this maniac “Judge” would demand to know why they were fiddling with their pants – in between shouting insults at them. That judge was killed in a bombing raid not that long after so he never had to go on trial himself.

          Hmmm. Was just reading that ‘In 1956 the German Federal High Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) granted the so-called “Judges’ Privilege” to those that had been part of the Volksgerichthof. This prevented the prosecution of the former Volksgerichthof members on the basis that their actions had been legal under the laws in effect during the Third Reich.’ so maybe he wouldn’t have been. Those concentration camp guards should have used the same argument maybe-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Court_(Germany)#Legal_aftermath_after_World_War_II

          Reply
      2. Yves Smith

        See above. She’s a clear flight risk, one of the most obvious of all time. The incarceration to make sure she can be tried is warranted. She brought it on herself by evading arrest for so long and then lying to the court about her assets. If she’d turned herself in, she’s probably be under house arrest with an ankle bracelet.

        The appalling condition of her cell and that of other detainees is a different issue, and you are conflating the two.

        You really fell for her PR stunt. Depressing.

        Reply
    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      It’s not something that I have much understanding of but that doesn’t look very encouraging. The other day I watched an RT video featuring a large march against hunger in Sau Paulo as food prices continue to increase.

      Reply
    2. Blue Duck

      Energy costs represent two-thirds of the cost of producing food. Any increase in energy costs is going to lead to an increase in food prices. Good production needs to be localized ASAP. Suburbanites need to rip up their lawns and replace them with vegetable gardens. Their backyard pergolas need to become chicken coops.

      FWIW tavi costas fund is long goal and is front running the inflation narrative.

      Reply
      1. farragut

        “…Tavi’s fund is long gold…” if I may presume to edit? :-)

        [gold and silver, especially through PM miners & streamers, but his premise works for any commodity sensitive to inflation, as BD implies above]

        Reply
      2. Jason Boxman

        And then what? Out here in rural western NC, the line at the Chick Fila, a drive through with two lanes, nonetheless frequently spills out into the street. The McDonalds is popular as well, although not quite as much. I’m doubtful many people would know what to do with fresh vegetables, were they growing just outside the house, to say nothing of in the grocery store.

        Reply
    3. griffen

      Well it’s a short time until the vaunted turkey gets carved, so I found a recent link to the anticipated inflation for the Thanksgiving spread. This is a Chicago based article, so others mileage may vary.

      As long as we have transportation and logistics issues, and variable to increased energy costs, we’re stuck with what we get to pay for (or substitute shop for). And lastly, LGB. A pox on both the “R” and “D” houses for these outcomes, but in blunt term Democrats will own this now and going into 2022.

      https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20211112/bigger-turkeys-higher-prices-thanksgiving-dinner-will-cost-you-more-this-year

      Reply
    4. Lee

      Let me guess, he sells agricultural commodity futures? Even accounting for bias, he might well be right. What with climate crises, supply chain disruptions, civilizational collapse, I wonder just what the cost might be for something that can’t be had at any price. I’m pondering this question as my koan of the day.

      Reply
  2. BeliTsari

    Thank GOODNESS, WSJ & WaPo are firewalled, so we can just make up our own stereotypical fantasy and projection. If we offer to cook for our sublime betters, will they sit face-to-face, MASKLESS & kvetch about us uppity essentials & death o’ disparity disposables over unobtainable reduced cruelity artesinal cage-free turkey? Will inebriate grandiosity loosen their pouty, petulant tongues? Do our bosses, landlords, creditors vape 30% THC dope before diving in or cutting loose in front of “the help” Siri or Alexa? Is no bad little kid out there, hacking into voice-activated 5G systems to hear what’s in store for us, as they spew R0 7 virions directly into each other’s sneering face? Once ALL links are firewalled, only outlaws will…

    Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >Anti-Vaxxers and Politicians Push Germany to the Brink – Der Spiegel

    “A Pandemic of the Feebleminded” is an actual heading in this article. Do the authors of this Der Spiegel article (apparently it took 10 people to write this article) not know the infamous case of Buck v. Bell?

    On May 2, 1927, in an 8–1 decision, the Court accepted that Buck, her mother and her daughter were “feeble-minded” and “promiscuous”,[17] and that it was in the state’s interest to have her sterilized. The ruling legitimized Virginia’s sterilization procedures until they were repealed in 1974.

    They open with this: “…the country is now being slammed by the fourth wave – fueled by millions of people who refuse to be vaccinated” and as proof of that they site “Spain and Portugal” but conveniently leave out countries with even higher vaccination rates where there is a resurgence of cases, especially different variants. This article revels in the “fog of fallacies” and cunningly affects the appearance of knowledge and reality while engaging in deceitful sophistry.

    Here is another phrase used: “A federation of imbeciles has ensured that Germany is being hit extremely hard by the fourth wave

    Again from Buck v. Bell

    It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

    WTF is Der Spiegel thinking? Are they trying to resurrect the language used in discussions of eugenics at the turn of the last century?

    https://theprivacyreport.com/2009/06/25/three-generations-of-imbeciles-are-enough/

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      The article is dumb – nay, imbecilic – for the reasons you point out (though there’s no doubt that people who are multilaterally anti-vax in the pre-covid sense are, in fact, imbeciles and potentially harmful ones at that – there’s also no doubt in my mind that a cohort of people would have been anti-covid vaccines whatever their function, efficacy or safety profile) but why on earth would a German news magazine moderate its language with reference to old American jurisprudence? You can’t seriously be suggesting that anyone that uses the word imbecile, never mind feebleminded, as an insult in 2021 is a proto-Eugenecist based on the use of these because if they are then, shit, perhaps I need to re-evaluate my life and vocabulary choices. What an unexpectedly woke take!

      internal edit: okay, for the sake of leaving no stone unturned, I consulted digital Oxford and digital Webster.

      First, imbecile

      Oxford:

      imbecile /ˈɪmbɪsiːl /
      ▸ noun informal a stupid person.
      ▸ adjective [attrib.] stupid; idiotic:
      try not to make imbecile remarks.

      Webster

      imbecile
      1 : a foolish or stupid person
      2 dated, now offensive : a person affected with moderate intellectual disability

      Second, feeble-minded:

      Oxford

      feeble-minded
      ▸ adjective unable to make intelligent decisions or judgements; foolish or stupid.
      ▪ dated (of a person) having less than average intelligence.

      Webster

      feebleminded
      1 dated, offensive : impaired in intellectual ability : affected with intellectual disability

      NOTE: This meaning of the word feebleminded, which is associated especially with eugenics practices of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is no longer used in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts and is considered offensive.

      2 : foolish, stupid

      3 obsolete : irresolute, vacillating

      So of the two big boi English dictionaries one of them points out explicitly that, for the two words in question, the offensive use of said word is now also dated and therefore (as though there were any doubt or question about this) almost certainly not what Spiegel had in mind. I gotta ask, WTF are you thinking? There may be a day in the future where ‘imbecile’ and ‘feebleminded’ go the way of ‘retarded’, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet and I doubt it ever will.

      Reply
    2. Ahimsa

      Thank you Zagonostra! The argumentation in that piece is disgraceful.

      Der Spiegel is a fully paid, card carrying member of the MSM and delights in carrying water for commercially/governmentally endorsed messaging. They gleefully quote Dr Christian Drosten (our Fauci), who is becoming somewhat comical for his flip-flops, or rather his tortuous readjustment of his stances.
      The writers’ basic assumptions, remaining unstated in the piece, are that vaccines are totally safe and effective and as such are the only way out of the pandemic (TINA). The article writers make no genuine efforts to question any of those assumptions or to examine the inherent logic of the measures currently being implemented and proposed in Germany. Therefore they dismissively and condescendingly conclue anyone who is not onboard is simply a contrarian (a pegorative term here in Germany), anti-vaxxer, right-wing/nationalist, or (as Zagonostra pointed out) a feebleminded imbecile! Hey, if you can’t argue the facts then you have to besmirch the character of those who question your beliefs, right?

      As a counterpoint I would like to suggest an opinion piece which appeared yesterday in the Berliner Zeitung and I find it to be the most cogently argued piece against the government’s overreach in times of the pandemic. Curiously, the article is today behind a subscription paywall. The piece is written by a young independent filmmaker and loosely translates as, “Enough of the Vaccine Debate, Get Back to Common Sense.”

      “So far, the federal government’s corona policy has been based on a bet that doesn’t seem to be working: a salvation/solution through vaccination. Time to rethink…

      …In order to end the indirect (and unconstitutional) vaccine mandate and the misleading debate around this, the following four points will have to be recognised.

      1. Those who are have not yet been vaccinated will in all likelihood not change their minds – unless traditional inactivated vaccines are authorised.
      2. The 2G restricion model (vaccinated and recovered only) and charging to test is none other than an indirect vaccine coercion and is not epidemiologically grounded. If any restriction model is appropriate, then it is 1G: tested only.
      3. Vaccination must be a voluntary decision, and this must be finally accepted.
      4. That there will now likely be problems with hospital capacity in winter, has less to do with the unvaccinated and much more to with a) the waning immunity (despite claims to the contrary); b) the failed politics of betting everything on the vaccines and c) the fact that 4,500 fewer intensive care beds are available than last winter.”

      https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/wochenende/schluss-mit-der-impfdebatte-zurueck-zur-vernunft-li.193768

      I’m not so sure about his first point, it certainly increased vaccine take up in France and Italy. And here in Bavaria were infections are spreading like wildfire, long lines are reported daily at the vaccination centres.

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Why is Europe returning to the dark days of Covid?”

    After reading through this article, I am going to say that this is what “living with the virus’ looks like in reality. All those who thought that we were going to have a re-do of 2020 will be severely disappointed. And the contradictions between what our governments are mandating and what this virus is capable of is producing contradictions that are spreading fracture lines through all our societies. So lockdowns will still be with us (like in the Netherlands) and anybody that is dumping their masks is just begging for trouble. I hate to say it but as far as dealing with this pandemic is concerned, we are still on our own and looking for the best sources of advice and information that we can find. But I think that whatever comes our way, that you will read about it first here on NC.

    Reply
    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Better timing in the UK & US although by pure chance as nothing to do with the leadership, while for Europe it looks as though it will be a very tough Winter. I wonder if the pols believed the silver bullet vaccine hype & were expecting that by this stage they wouldn’t be facing an increasingly fractious population, of which there are high rates of vaccination – perhaps another case of the grand illusion.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think the unspoken strategy in the UK was to get Delta through the population in the summer, when it could do less damage. The question is whether the natural immunity built up will mean a better winter or not. The contrast with Ireland is clear – Ireland kept levels down, but now they are rocketing as restrictions ease and winter sets in.

        There has been a bit of a dip the last two weeks which might indicate the strategy was correct – however, levels are very high and its equally likely I think that it could rise again as the party season takes hold.

        I suppose if nothing else, by next spring we’ll have a lot of useful data to see who made the best guess.

        Reply
        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Yes you are correct PK the UK did let it rip.

          Talking to a friend yesterday just out of hospital after 6 days on oxygen etc with Covid. He told me that there is a selection process on admittance whereby they separate those as defined as being hopeless cases who are then put into a ward & basically just made as comfortable as possible. During his 6 days 2 died in the ward he was in while he as he said, was lying prone & regretting the fact he had only one shot whereas his wife had both who was fairly ill but did not require hospitalisation.

          Another friend I believe has long covid as his doc put him on antibiotics after he had it for a diagnosis of a chest infection, which had no effect whatsoever – dbl vaxxed but fairly obese.

          Reply
        2. R

          UK levels are heading up again, doubling time 2-3 weeks. I was optimistic the week of drops was the result of high infection rates in 0-20’s bring herd immunity in that age group and boosters bring down rates in the elderly, so the ones in the middle would no longer be fighting war on two fronts. But it appears to have been half term holiday effect only.

          See here for much more analysis:
          https://mobile.twitter.com/bristoliver

          Reply
    2. Samuel Conner

      > dumping their masks is just begging for trouble

      My anecdotal observation is that most people I encounter in indoor public spaces are masking, but the masks appear to me to be inadequate, either cloth or surgical procedure masks. My understanding is that while these were effective at reducing inhaled virus dose of the earlier strains to levels low enough to significantly reduce risk of infection, the amount of exhaled Delta in infectious persons is so much larger than in the earlier strains that cloth/procedure masks are no longer significantly protective. I started using N95s in recent weeks.

      Don’t mean to advertise, but in the spirit of ‘this might be helpful’ …

      FWIW, I find the 3M Aura 9205/9210 line of N95 respirators to be comfortable and easy to get what seems to be a good face-seal without (after some familiarizing) a lot of fussing. They are not, in my experience, difficult to breathe through. I won’t include a link, but there are YouTube videos posted by distributors of this product who are highly enthusiastic about it. They can be difficult to put on at first; one has to manage two ‘over back of head’ elastic straps and fit one’s chin into the ‘chin cup’ before pulling the rest of mask over one’s face; not hard in principle but some friends (elderly with possibly declining memory) have had difficulty mastering it. They’re made of a non-woven fabric and do not have a hard edge, so in spite of being pulled pretty tight against the face, they don’t bruise one with prolonged wear (in my experience). The contact area between mask and skin appears to me to be significantly wider than one would get with a rigid respirator, which gives me added comfort that there is a pretty good seal with little leakage. I can feel the entire respirator pulling toward/pushing away from my face on inhalation/exhalation and I get no sense of air flow against my skin along the mask/skin contact surface.

      I encountered them at Home Depot and there are online sellers, though some of these will only sell to certain types of corporate purchasers. They’re not super cheap, but are also nowhere near as pricey as N95s were in 2020 during the PPE shortage crisis. I’ve been re-using mine multiple times; probably should do some research to determine whether the protection effect degrades with multiple reuses.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Just now (missed the ‘edit window’) out of curiosity I experimented with double masking with these, with a multiply used respirator over a less reused one.

        The doubled respirators ‘nest’ nicely.

        To my surprise, the effort required to breathe with two of these (used, admittedly) is not (to my perception) a lot greater than with just one.

        I still have no sense (skin sensation and also running fingers along the mask/face interface) of air leakage along the seal.

        A google search on double masking with this respirator does not yield useful hits.

        ——–

        The thought occurs that if multiple uses degraded the filtration efficacy to, say, 80%, double-masking with used respirators, both at 80%, would boost the combination to 96%. I need to look into this more.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          When I use an N95, I still have a gap under the chin. When I put on a procedure mask under that, I too find it feels a bit hard to breathe. But I know I have a good seal. For instance, once I was kitted out like this and went into a garage and took off the masks just for a second to scratch my nose. Only then could I smell the gas fume stench. Did the same once in the gym and ONLY then did I find out the gym has a smell too….not of sweat as you would expect, but plastic, from the mats, dumb bells, etc.

          I haven’t checked but I am pretty sure my blood ox is OK because being that well masked does not hurt my ability to weight train hard.

          Reply
          1. Samuel Conner

            re: the under-chin seal, I find that the “bottom of jaw” seal is actually the best part of the seal of this specific model of N95 respirator. Maybe it doesn’t seal equally well for every specific mandible shape.

            There’s a tab at the ‘apex’ of the under-jaw part, and you can pull on this to snug the respirator over your lower jaw. The fabric conforms to the shape of my jaw/jowel to a width of more than one inch and I think this part of the seal must be very good.

            Reply
            1. R

              I had to fly from UK to Arctic Norway recently (12h, with changes) and wore a 3M FFP3 mask of similar design. It was remarkably effective. It really blocked out ambient stenches although I was able to smell jet fuel and a rather pungent pickled herring stall and the smells from next door toilet cubicle, but very faintly in each case. No impediment to breathing. Some issue with sweating. Walking through airport with two large hand baggage items (not on wheels, refuse to look like I am pulling a chihuahua around!) in suit with a large coat on/carried was unpleasant and exacerbated by the mask but I think it would have been sweaty anyway.

              Very few Norwegians were masked. I was reassured by very low case rates but since I returned I have seen that by some measures, Norway is worse than the UK….

              Reply
            2. Samuel Conner

              > Maybe it doesn’t seal equally well for every specific mandible shape.

              Just got feedback from someone whose face shape is longer than mine, and the nose bridge slips when he speaks. Not a great option for him.

              Don’t order a case of these before you’ve experimented with a smaller quantity to make sure that they work for you.

              Reply
          2. polar donkey

            About 2 weeks ago, right before Halloween, Shelby County (Memphis) ended the mask mandate. This week, covid cases have gone up about 40 to 50%. 80 cases to 126 cases. Maybe it is a blip or maybe a larger trend. This coming Saturday there is an indoor concert, Luke Combs. 15,000 people. Largest show in Memphis since January 2020. There’s going to be 200 people in masks, all of them employees at the arena. If the mask policy helps, why not keep it. If it doesn’t, it is all just for show. By only reintroducing mask mandate during bad times and removing it during good times, how do we know it helps? I keep my mask on, I’ll error on the side of caution. But policy-wise, this is nuts. Swinging back and forth to whichever side is complaining most at the time.

            Reply
            1. Samuel Conner

              One could argue that the dynamic of easing up as things improve and locking down when they deteriorate is a kind of “restoring force” in a harmonic oscillator (a WC commenter suggested this as an explanation for the oscillations in virus concentration in Boston wastewater).

              I imagine that these could be regarded to be natural experiments and enterprising researchers might be able to pull together masses of data from various sources (location data from cell phones, masking data from public surveillance cameras, etc, etc) and build explanatory models which account for changes in the (admittedly very noisy) ‘measured’ prevalence data. Perhaps the correlation should be with hospital admissions and excess mortality data instead.

              I’m with you — don’t remove a layer of protection just because it feels temporarily safer. That’might be contributing to the ‘restoring force’ that keeps the time-averaged prevalence level way higher than we would like it to be.

              Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        fwiw, a doctor friend of mine adores the Auras and bemoans that the supply in Australia is low – they’re highly coveted in hospitals. I found a site that sells them and ordered a box alongside a box of P2 standard masks made by an Australian manufacturer, AMD. The P2s arrived but the Auras didn’t and I had to chase up the store – they apologised and said it would be 4-8 weeks before the manufacturer could send them out and offered a refund but I said there was no hurry so I’m happy to wait. The P2 masks are pretty good, though. The fit is pretty good but I still usually wear those with a mask brace from Fix The Mask.

        The masks I usually wear are washable KN95 standard masks made by Airinum (not linking because I don’t want to seem like a shill for Big Mask, but also don’t want to eschew the brand names completely because this might be worthwhile information to people). Obnoxious branding and marketing but from what I can tell, a pretty good product. I was actually looking at one of their masks when the big bushfires were happening in Australia in January last year, then Covid happened and I couldn’t buy one until August. They have disposal filters (last a few months depending on usage) that you place inside the mask ‘skin’, which is washable. I have one with valves and one without. For the model with valves, you can buy additional valve stoppers and swap over as needed. I don’t wear mask bracers with these. Fit is pretty good, and comfortable. My main concern in the nose bridge, which is a foam material and I’m not sure how that filtration compares to the rest of the mask.

        I usually double mask with a bandana made by US company Outlier, which has lightweight merino on the ‘skin’ side and two additional layers with proprietary fabrics. I didn’t get this strictly for Covid prevention purposes (and it’s not marketed for such) but all up that’s, like, 8 layers between mucosa and air to be going on with so I feel like I’m in pretty good hands.

        Somewhat related, here is a great masking comparison infographic taken from Feigl-Ding/Greenhalgh on the twitter (I also like the mask types vs time to infection table that I’ve shared before)

        Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            No worries. Just a reminder to readers, I only got the relatively expensive Fix The Mask mask bracer because I was curious to see what the product/design was like. For a more cost effective (particularly if you’re making them at scale, eg for your family and friends, community, school etc.) DIY bracer, there’s still the venerable badger seal

            Reply
    3. Lee

      “…we are still on our own and looking for the best sources of advice and information that we can find.”

      Speaking of which, and not to beat a dead horse, but Dr. Campbell on YouTube has a very interesting segment providing a a pharmacodynamic analytic comparison between the new Pfizer antiviral and ivermectin. It’s a bit complicated, and the topic is well above my paygrade, but I tend to trust this guy. His use of rudimentary visual aids in this one is as amusing as it is informative.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufy2AweXRkc

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        That’s a really encouraging talk by Dr Campbell.

        The one caution I would add is that the undeniable in vitro activity of “the medication that must not be named” does not inevitably translate into an assurance of clinical efficacy at doses tolerable to human patients.

        I found that talk very encouraging on two fronts:

        1) the agent has multiple non-intersecting modes of action, which means that if it is found to be clinically efficacious at tolerable doses, it could be rapidly deployed as monotherapy with low risk of the emergence of resistant strains. It also means that practitioners and health systems that are currently using the agent as prophylaxis or as therapy are not risking the catastrophe of rapid emergence of resistant strains which could close off future use of the agent by escaping its modes of action.

        2) one of the papers featured in the talk reported good in vitro efficacy at a concentration of 50 micro-M. The molecular weight of the agent is, in round numbers, around 1000, so this corresponds to a mass/volume concentration of around 50 milligrams per Liter or 50 micrograms per milliliter. That’s significantly higher than the serum concentrations one would superficially expect from typical (well-tolerated) dosing schedules of the agent for use against parasites, but the mismatch is not numerous orders of magnitude.

        This talk isn’t proof that the agent is a solution to the pandemic, but I think it provides grounds for hope that it could indeed have clinical efficacy and at some point could be acknowledged to be useful and could find wider acceptance and use.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          According to Dr Kory,( IIRC), that study was done with some-animal-or-other kidney cells. When tested in human lung tissue, they got to a useful concentration for virus damage with typical human dosing.

          And the margin of safety of dosing for IVM is quite high. FLCCC has tripled their recommended dosing as a result of fighting delta. From .2mg/kg to .6mg/kg

          Reply
      2. lordkoos

        After I watched Dr Campbell’s video yesterday, the youtube algorithm began suggesting I also watch FOX news, Tucker Carlson etc. Interesting times…

        Reply
    4. Roger Blakely

      Here is my anecdote. I’m in Southern California. Yesterday I went to optometrist for the first time in two years. After two years my arms have gotten too short. I wear a respirator and goggles in all indoor public spaces. Due to my respirator use over the past several months I have been feeling better because I have been eliminating more virus than I have been inhaling. I wore a surgical mask, like everybody else, into the optometrist’s office. Today, sure enough, I feel achy and my temperature is elevated. I picked up some Delta. Who needs a booster shot? Just go grocery shopping without wearing a respirator.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Due to a recent development of concerning symptoms, my Docs have scheduled two up close and personal diagnostics, which require extended periods of time in an enclosed space with several pokers and prodders. I’m vaccinated and required to get a PCR test prior to these procedures. Evidently, all staff with whom I will have close contact will have been vaccinated and recently tested. Even so….

        Reply
      2. Duke of Prunes

        Just because you are sick, doesn’t necessarily mean it is covid. I know a lot of people with cold symptoms and negative covid tests.

        Reply
    5. Expat2uruguay

      Just a little update: Here in Uruguay we have had only one wave. 74% of the population is double vaxxed with 17% of the population under the age of 12, and therefore ineligible for vaccinations. 36% have had Pfizer booster doses, on top of their initial doses, consisting of about 30% Pfizer and 70% Coronavac . And as of November 1st, our borders are fully opened to vaccinated travelers. We currently have 5.4 new cases per 100,000 as our 7-Day average, and a test positivity rate of 2.4%. Summer’s coming down here, and this continues to be a really good place to live. Con suerte!!

      Reply
        1. Expat2uruguay

          That makes no sense to me. Uruguay could support a larger population and being that there is a functional government and Society here, a larger population would lead to Greater prosperity.

          Further, I don’t understand how your advice above fits in with the idea of naked capitalism being this wonderful source of news that we are all encouraged to share with others. If other people coming to naked capitalism is seen as a good thing, then I can tell you that I believe it is the same for this country.

          I rather suspect that you think that I am bragging or something? Again, I’m confused. Many people here share there antidotes and little facts about where they live. (Sometimes it’s pretty lonely for me here, because I came by myself, with no family and no friends, to a land that speaks a different language and has a very different culture.) So sometimes I feel rather isolated and that’s why I want to share here. And truthfully, I hear many other commenters who actually live in the United States say that they feel isolated in their communities and that’s why they come here. But to be honest, I don’t post here very often because I don’t feel welcome. And I suspect that’s the point, because for some reason I’m not welcome. Qué pena!!

          Reply
          1. annie

            i’m sure i speak for many if not most readers here in urging you to keep posting, and more often. i recall your posts in the past very favorably. perspective from uruguay is invaluable.

            Reply
  5. BeliTsari

    Pandemic of the unvaxed is blatant non-sequitur. Sending kids, unprotected into intentional infection with a rapidly evolving coronavirus, we’d known wasn’t amenable to vaccine/ herd immunity BS, is simply criminal. Infecting millions (loved-ones and school staff) then innoculating them without testing for existing immunity, inflammatory issues that might trigger side-effects, while media blames victims infected as “essential workers” without W4 employment, ACA healthcare plans or paid sick-leave epitomizes what’s our tag-team kleptocracy?

    Reply
  6. Pat

    IANAL and am speculating freely, but my sense of how the Supremes will settle the vaccine mandate has drifted in the last week or so. I have always thought, and continue to think, that the deciding factor will be what our oligarchs think will keep the wheels on their track and their coffers being filled. I also believe Roberts would have preferred not to have been left holding the bag, but we don’t always get what we want.

    But I also think the wheels are coming off the vaccine will save us bus. Not just because Klain is an idiot, although that has helped. If it was just that the vaccine didn’t actually protect people, they’d go for it. Too much is going wrong, on multiple fronts. And they are rapidly finding that staffing problems increase with the mandate not decrease.

    This may be thrown out. (And I wish I thought law and the Constitution would be the basis of the decision, but no…)

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I was listening to one or another conservative on the news recently (sorry I can’t be more specific) who is involved in challenging the vaccine mandate. What stood out for me was that although he considers a federal vaccine mandate to be an unconstitutional overreach, when asked if he felt private employers had the right to mandate vaccines for their employees, he seemed a bit taken aback as if experiencing a moment of cognitive dissonance. He then started to hem, haw, verbally tap dance, and deflect but I think, although I wouldn’t swear to it, the gist was “yes”. If so, in his world the subordination of workers to employers is more sacrosanct than that of citizens to their (at least putatively) democratically elected representatives.

      Reply
      1. saywhat?

        If so, in his world the subordination of workers to employers is more sacrosanct than that of citizens to their (at least putatively) democratically elected representatives. Lee

        Because working for someone else is supposedly voluntary – ignoring that citizens, contra the Bible, typically have no other choice than to work for one master or another.

        And a major root cause of this is government-privileges for private credit creation (along with no limits to the concentration of land ownership, even by foreigners) which have reduced a great many citizens to rent, debt and wage slavery.

        Reply
        1. Duke of Prunes

          I’m not sure why you say “supposedly voluntary”. While I do have to work to support my family, I don’t have to work for company x. Perhaps company y thinks it can more easily hire people without a mandate. It is much easier to change an employer than a country.

          Not saying I’m in love with the system, but I don’t think it necessarily defies logic to support private mandates, but not public.

          Reply
      2. Mikel

        “.. If so, in his world the subordination of workers to employers is more sacrosanct than that of citizens to their (at least putatively) democratically elected representatives.”

        Sickening isn’t it? They pay off the politicians dearly to take the heat.

        Reply
      3. Aumua

        It’s very much cognitive dissonance, and it’s very typical of your right libertarian type POV. They’ll never stop talking about government tyranny, but then have nothing to say about the corporate, capitalist tyranny and control of many aspects of all our lives, from the cradle to the grave.

        Reply
      4. Left in Wisconsin

        Yes, around here the big local am radio talking heads (Milwaukee and Chicago) are explicitly fine with employer mandate = “it’s his business and he sets the rules, no right to make him to differently.”

        Reply
  7. Tom Stone

    When I bring up single payer the first objection I get is “So how ya going to pay for it?”
    I respond the we are ALREADY paying for it and not getting what we pay for.
    The second objection is “IT’s SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!!!”.Which is,inherently evil,like public schools and highways…
    And I respond with “Yup,just like the VA”

    Governor Noisome did indeed campaign on “Single Payer for all Californians”.
    Remember the “French Laundry” incident?
    Da Governor showed up at that Birthday party because it was given in honor of one of his dearest friends and greatest supporters who just happens to have been a lobbyist for big med and big pharma,.
    A lobbyist who can get the Governor of California to break the rules HE instituted has demonstrated serious clout,any guess how much $ that was worth?
    And to top it off Gavin was seated between two health care lobbyists.
    That was business as usual in the Golden State.
    Don’t believe me?
    Remember the San Bruno gas explosion?
    How about the conversations between the head of the CA PUC with a high PG&E official about which judge should hear the case resulting from those deaths.
    The head of the PUC talking to the representative of a criminal organization ( How many counts of manslaughter?) about Judge shopping….
    Not every thing in California is like CalPers,a lot of it is worse.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      These days, “So how ya going to pay for it?” is not so effective anymore. You could start off by saying that when they give the Pentagon another $70 billion without debate, how did they pay for that. But to my mind, the best comeback would be to say to them this and see how they respond-

      ‘When they passed the CARES Bill early last year, several trillion dollars were given to the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the country. How did we afford that?’

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        We in US can perhaps be happy that “how ya gonna pay for it?” does not get raised when the military budget is under consideration.

        One knows that this part part of the budget will be authorized regardless of ability to “pay for”, and raising the question “how ya gonna …?” just creates an opportunity for the opponents of social spending to slash that.

        Reply
    2. lakecabs

      For most Americans if you doubled their Federal Income Tax you would be miles ahead of what they pay for healthcare now.

      So if taxes were raised 10% most people would be miles ahead.

      Workers could get more of a paycheck if they didnt have healthcare taken out.

      I can’t believe employers won’t get behing this.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Look at the panic over people quitting part time jobs. It would alter the power balance between worker and employer everywhere. In theory and in all likelihood, it would be a huge benefit to companies but not minor tyrants.

        This is why the argument about how much money will be made misses the point. The companies and cost savings aren’t the issue. Having talented people willing to become barristas for a few months terrfieis the MBA types.

        Reply
      2. dcblogger

        I can’t believe employers won’t get behind this.

        it is all about control. it would be much easier to quit if you had healthcare. But basically class warfare. they just do not believe their workers are entitled to a decent life.

        Reply
      3. FluffytheObeseCat

        “I can’t believe employers won’t get behing this

        Well, they haven’t gotten behind [national healthcare] for 6 decades now, since Medicare & Medicaid were watered down to suit them in the 60s. So, why on earth would you believe this? As NotTimothy indicated, large institutional employers get great benefit from locking in talented employees via provision of group health insurance. And it’s not just private megacorps that benefit from this unhealthy system; state and municipal governments, university systems and public school systems benefit quite as much if not more.

        In my experience some of the talent who are most stymied and ‘locked in’ this way are middle class professional and paraprofessional women. I’ve known, and still know, quite a few families in which the man was free to spend years at risky (but potentially big payback) jobs because the wife remained a school teacher or university professor. With high quality institutional health coverage and other benefits.

        Conversely, I know a few families in which the man is de facto locked into 50 hour per week management jobs and the woman can therefore work sporadic contracts or run a small business. The first of these guys has a very fulfilling job with NASA, but the other…. I’m less sure of his happiness.

        The gist of it is, corporate America likely holds about half of its critical talent by the short and curlies because of their need for family health insurance. You’d better believe they know it too.

        Reply
      4. LifelongLib

        I talked with a few small business owners about this during the debate over Obama care. They were so convinced that government couldn’t do anything right that they were sure they would end up paying more in taxes for government health care then they were currently paying for private care. They seemed to want to stick with the devil they knew…

        Reply
      5. Left in Wisconsin

        We need to find a way to split small-to-medium employers ideologically from big business – now they are completely beholden… All the state CofC’s as owned by anti-tax, deregulation interests, as is the completely fraudulent National Federation of Independent Business, which is completely part of Koch world.

        Reply
  8. Michael Ismoe

    EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell speaks from behind bars Heiress tells how ‘creepy’ guards have forced her to stop taking showers, rats live in her cell

    I thought Jeffrey was dead.

    (Just kidding, I really think he’s sitting in a kibbutz in an un-named country in the middle east.) Oh, and Ghislaine, don’t stand too close to the edge of the boat.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Her conditions in the detention center seem pretty fair to me. After pimping and priming a number underage teen girls, not women, for a creep like Epstein she deserves the pit; much like the one that Bane sent Bruce Wayne into (Dark Knight Rises). She is a horrible no good person.

      Reply
      1. Bob

        Yes, the whole mess was and is a nasty, evil construct.

        The question remains – Where are the video tapes ? And yes several sources state that EVERTHING at Jeffery’s houses was videoed.

        Is Ghislaine Maxwell being held to find ALL of the tapes?

        Reply
        1. griffen

          It is quite disgusting, for some I suppose. Florida had them on something, back 15 to 20 years ago. Obfuscation goes a long way, when your accusers are unwilling and silenced even.

          I had thought Maxwell fled the country, prior to her capture by the FBI last year.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Where are those video tapes? I can take a guess. Remember his little island resort of his? You can imagine what could be found there but it took the FBI about a month before they sent a team out there. But by the time they got there, a clean-up crew had gone through there and a lot of concrete had been laid down………

          Reply
      2. lordkoos

        Barbaric prison conditions are nothing to encourage or be proud of IMO. As someone else mentioned above, innocent until proven guilty was once a thing.

        Reply
      3. TimH

        So, griffen, you approve of inhumane detention for arrestees prior to conviction?

        Or just the ones that you have personally identified as deserving?

        Reply
        1. griffen

          Yes, in this instance I weep not for the woman who rightly stands accused of assisting a pedophile in the targeting of young, economically challenged women. No wait, teenage girls.

          Epstein was despicable. And she was alongside as his confidant for countless encounters. For the record, there is tie here to an investigation in southern FL. And the law in Florida permitted Epstein to walk.

          Does anyone really understand her circumstances, by the way?

          Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Scientists pour cold water on Bill Gates’ nuclear plans”

    That water wasn’t heavy as well, was it? Looks like Bill Gates has become one of these people that you see disaster and corruption follow wherever they goes which puts him in company with people like Barack Obama, the Clintons and Tony Blair. Having him put his grubby mitts on anything nuclear is definitely not a good sign.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Gates has been pushing this design for many years. It certainly has a lot of potential advantages over existing GenIV designs, not least (probably) being a lot safer and generates less ‘loose’ waste, although the reactors themselves will be very difficult to decommission. They will probably have to be buried in-situ, which means finding suitable locations will be quite problematic.

      Its interesting that they are now selling it on the basis that it incorporates a substantial amount of storage (hey, I thought nuclear power meant we didn’t need storage). Its clearly far too large scale for the type of modular use its been hyped up for. And having a prototype up and running by 2030 is just too late for the sort of timescale we need to decarbonise. The problem is of course that we know Gates doesn’t believe in making his designs open source, so you’ll have to pay him to build one.

      Reply
        1. JBird4049

          With the understanding that my knowledge of Bill Gates plans for nuclear power is nil, if Windows anything, especially the buggier, bloatware later versions are used for comparison, wtf is anyone listening to Bill Gates and his schemes? His lifelong métier is that of a con-artist or confidence man starting with “his” original operating system.

          I became an Apple acolyte, back when it was a tech company and not the grifty thing it is now, because of what Windows was and is.

          Reply
      1. juno mas

        …”pay him to build one” is exactly what the US Dept. of Energy is proposing to do!! Gates’s group is being given $1 Billion to design and build one.

        Pouring cold water on them is exactly what you have to do to current nuclear power plants to keep them cool. Here’s a story on the Diablo Canyon power plant that some academics from Stanford/MIT want to continue running past its 2024/25 decommissioning date.https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-11-14/should-californias-last-nuclear-power-plant-stay-open.

        Read the Comments at the end of the article to be disabused of the idea that nuclear power has a future vis-a-vis renewables and emerging battery technology.

        Every time I hear of a new Gates wiz-bang proposal, I remember this guy is actually a college drop-out with little understanding of science of any kind. If he could sing or dance I might be impressed. Naah!!!

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          There’s a test of a prototype hydrogen fusion reactor scheduled for 2025. If it’s successful (as currently seems likely) that’s where we should put our money, and lots of it. Two biggest advantages, a meltdown is not possible and there is no radioactive residue. Also continuous operation. Keep advancing “green technologies,” but fusion power is going to be needed just for desalination of brackish water. We’re going to run out of drinking water, especially in the SouthWest.

          Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Sequoia NP was opened the other day 2 months almost exactly after the KNP Fire came calling, but allowing drivers only as far as Hospital Rock, about 6 miles drive on the Generals Highway.

    Wildfires are pretty schizophrenic in what they choose to lay waste to, taking down every last living thing from rivers edge to knife-like ridgeline in great swaths, leaving black barren slopes in largely Never-Never Land, as in nobody ever went there before, only with their eyes from a fair distance.

    And then you see a section the fire missed somehow, dense understories which allow you to really see nothing but a curtain, compared to some of the clean sweeps, the most promising of from a pull out on the road, was a series of relatively flat plateaus on a gentle graded area rare in these foothills, the lowest one nearest to the river. It practically screamed Native American settlement in it’s now wide open spread-the fire must’ve burned really hot here.

    It would’ve supported 100 people year round and is in between a few other Potwisha sites near the river. I’d like to take a walk and see what’s what, but it requires really worn out boots as there looks to be 6-9 inches deep of ash pretty widespread, and I have a pair with practically no tread and some of the seams have come undone, and depending on how filthy they are afterwards, could die with my ankles on.

    Another burnt out canyon revealed a early 20th century trail and telltale rockwork, where’d that go to?

    I’ve driven by both spots hundreds if not a thousand times and never noticed anything before the fire, c’est la see.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Another burnt out canyon revealed a early 20th century trail’

      I wonder if that trail would have been marked on an old map somewhere. With all those cleared areas, now might be a good time to send in archaeologic teams to look for Native American settlements. It was only after a severe fire swept through the Little Big Horn battles site and cleared the vegetation that an archaeologic team was able to go in and who found a great deal of artifacts.

      Reply
      1. juno mas

        That Twentieth Century trail and rock work are likely not Native American legacy. (Most of the natives were exterminated by the turn of the century (1900).

        I spent three weeks walking the Kings Canyon NP with the Rae Lakes ranger (a friend) 40 years ago and was astonished to discover the impacts (detritus, mule packing trails, etc) of the early White visitors on that portion of the Sierra Nevada. The National Forests were created by Congress in 1906, and not a year too soon. Yosemite Valley (north of Kings Cyn. NP) was given Congressional protection in 1864, thanks to the work of John Muir who recognized that sheep grazing in the high Sierra would be an environmental disaster.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          85-90% of the population of nearly 60 tribes of Yokuts on the western slope of the Sierra all died of Measles in 1868-69 right around the same time John Muir first came to the Sierra. Muir had nothing to do with the 1864 Yosemite protection, it was more Frederick Law Olmstead and Abraham Lincoln’s doing. Have a read of Olmstead’s 1865 Yosemite report, it is so far ahead of it’s time in how he felt things would go in the future, really one of the first conservation reports ever.

          http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/olmsted/report.html

          The Native Americans had no immunity against white mans diseases, just as the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep had no immunity in regards to domestic sheep ailments such as scabies and nearly went extinct just like the Native Americans.

          The trail up the burnt canyon was probably built by the CCC as the Generals Hwy didn’t exist until the mid 1920’s. There was close to 2,000 young men working in the CCC here, and one of the things they did was build trails to every Sequoia grove, but trails need upkeep and when the CCC was disbanded in 1942, all their work pretty much went back to nature, only to be revealed when a fire comes calling.

          In 1912 a dam was proposed at the confluence of the Marble Fork and the Middle Fork of the Kaweah Rivers-right in the area i’m describing, and it made sense but nothing was ever done until 50 years later when a dam was built a dozen miles downriver.

          Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Wild Bidding Wars Erupt at Used-Tractor Auctions Across the U.S. Yahoo Finance
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The ‘necessity bubble’ in the new & improved ‘Adjust In Time’ economy promises to be exciting to watch as the players duke it out on what you would hardly think is bubble material, but tractors do have pull, apparently.

    Used cars are going to be the much more intriguing bubble going forward because everybody can relate. You’ll know were in the thick of it when a 2005 Pontiac Aztek is worth more used than original MSRP.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      How does that ‘Stones tune go? You can’t always get what you want, but if you “bid up” some time you might….get what you need. Looks like high times in crop growing country, pretty interesting summary on the Machinery Pete profile and business background.

      Not sure about the value of a 2005, or any model year of a Pontiac Aztek, so maybe you are correct. What a horrid looking vehicle!

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Being a student of bubbles yet not particularly fond of bubbly, i’m pretty sure no champagne bubble has occurred, but the Ferrari bubble of the late 80’s was quite something, set off by founder Enzo Ferrari finally reaching his end in 1988 @ 90 years old, not totally unexpected you might say, but bubbles need something to get em’ going…

        You know the 308 Ferrari that Magnum PI drove, and the one Clark Griswold was distracted by Christie Brinkley in National Lampoon’s Vacation?

        They sold for around $50k new in the early 80’s and by 1990 a tired one with too many miles was worth $125k, whee doggies and something that stood out as every other make of new car you bought started losing money as you drove it off the lot, German cars in particular having spectacular fall from grace, er sticker price.

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “How to Avoid Nuclear War”

    I agree with his conclusion that a nuclear conflict is unthinkable though he never brings up the reason why – nuclear winter. That is a worse case scenario that and is why a nuclear war is to be avoided. As a mate of mine once said – ‘You seen one nuclear war, you’ve seen them all.’ Unfortunately, the writer – Michael Krepon – goes full establishment as he blames the withdrawal on all those treaties on Putin and Russia. I guess that as Co-founder and President of the Stimson Center think tank, you have to write to other members of the establishment in terms of what they believe and not what actually happened. The real problem to my mind is that if this is what the Washington establishment really believes, then it is no wonder that they have such a poor understanding of foreign affairs.

    Reply
    1. David

      It’s a disappointingly conventional academic arms control article that makes a false antithesis between “diplomacy” and “deterrence.” Diplomacy is just a word for the mechanisms by which states deal with each other, and it’s as morally neutral a word as “negotiation.” Deterrence (which is by no means limited to the nuclear area) is a type of diplomatic relationship where one state persuades another that aggression is pointless because the cost will be too high. So Iran, for example, has deterrence as a major arm of its foreign policy (diplomacy if you like) since it can inflict more damage on a likely attacker than that attacker will accept.

      This argument, like all such, gets things the wrong way round. Arms control agreements are a sign of lowered tension, not a cause. They happen when states feel comfortable with negotiated controls on their military forces because the situation appears less worrying. But they also require a degree of trust to already have been developed, since no amount of evidence will convince you that the other side is respecting the agreement if you are not prepared to be convinced. Attempts to agree arms control treaties without underlying trust always come to grief. Here, the argument is presumably that Iran does not need to deter the US and Israel, because diplomacy has resulted in an agreement – the JCPOA – which has created security …oh, wait.

      Reply
      1. Dftbs

        Arms control agreements are a sign of lowered tension, not a cause.

        I think this is a clarifying, often lacking observation; particularly in its application to the JCPOA. It seems to me that the Iranians gauge American/Israeli actions as existential threats in the way Israel gauges Iranian rhetoric. The current negotiations, much like the diplomatic initiatives of last spring with Russia and the upcoming zoom call between Biden and Xi, will arrive at nothing concrete; as the other side has determined we are “non-agreement capable,” there is no trust. But so long as people are talking and not shooting, that is good.

        Perhaps the Iranians, Russians and Chinese have all arrived at the conclusion that it’s ok to appease American self-regard for the sake of world peace.

        Reply
    2. Bill Smith

      HOW TO AVOID NUCLEAR WAR

      “The national leader who authorizes the first use a nuclear weapon since 1945 will live in infamy for the rest of recorded history.”

      It would entirely depend on the circumstances.

      Reply
  13. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Re: Ghislaine Maxwell. I guess the sob story is o somehow convince whoever still believes the press that she’s not Isreali intelligence. “Just a simple country girl who can’t get a break’. OK…whatevs. I wouldn’t doubt she’s not even in a prison at all but in some safe house in Arlington.

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      Whatever she is, she’s something else alright.
      NC won’t take my advice and call it “L’affaire Ghislaine Maxwell & Jeffrey Epstein”.

      When did the mastermind of any criminal activity end up in jail twice and then dead under mysterious circumstances while the side-kick, second fiddle roamed the world?

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        You forget that Epstein was the lead dog money-wise. He lived in the most expensive home in Manhattan, literally. The parties were his parties, not hers. He was the one who ran the Lolita Express (private jets are monstrously expensive). He was the one who gave the donations to MIT and Harvard. He was the draw for his fabulous parties. Clinton and Leon Black and Bill Gates didn’t want to hang with Maxwell. They wanted to hang with Epstein.

        The mastermind never rakes in less.

        I am told by a party who is in contact with a journo how got her hands on a huge trove of Epstein docs that his money came from being an arms dealer. That makes everything, including his lifestyle, make sense. There’s no evidence Maxwell was part of his main gig.

        Reply
        1. Mikel

          It’s all speculation – but there have been reports of Epstein and connection to her father, Robert Maxwell.
          And coralling the girls was a big part of this scam.

          And Epstien didn’t grow up in elite circles.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            Epstein got his way into Bear Stearns, the Wall Street firm that was very proud of hiring men from modest, even poor, backgrounds and making them rich if they produced. The famed head of the firm for decades, Ace Greenberg, had started out as a runner. Maxwell met him after he was at Bear and was the favorite of one of the most powerful partners at Bear for his skill in options trading and complex product structuring.

            Esptein was already very well established when he met Maxwell in the early 1990s. He had, for instance, billionaire arms dealer Adan Khashoggi as one of his clients in the 1980s. He has other defense/intel state clients then.

            Maxwell is assumed to have been a client (as in had Epstein managing some if not most of her money). There’s no evidence that her father had schooled her enough about business and finance to be an operator in other than the social and sexual arenas. She did have formal jobs off and on but that may have been just to give her something to do other than go to the spa all day. Nevertheless, Wikipedia reports she spent most of the late 1980s on daddy’s yacht…named for her!

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              The parallels with Robert Maxwell are fascinating given the Ghislane connection. He may not have been well known in the US, but he was extremely famous and notorious in the UK up to his very mysterious death. Nobody has ever really found out exactly where he got all his money, but its generally assumed that he laundered cash for Mossad throughout Europe. He was in so many ways a monster straight out of James Bond movie. If he hadn’t allowed his arrogance and greed to get the better of him later in life, he may well have gotten away with it and retired rich with a knighthood.

              I would imagine that if Epstein was involved in the arms trade, at the very least Ghislane may well have had possession of her fathers address book – there would be very many useful contacts for anyone involved in that world to know. I really find it hard to believe that its just coincidental that she ended up with Epstein, although no doubt she would have recognised some of her daddy’s Dark Triad character traits in him.

              Reply
    2. TimH

      What she knows could cause difficulties among a lot of very influencial people.

      I’m honestly surpised that she’s still alive.

      Reply
  14. John Siman

    Since most of Matt Taibbi’s TK News essay “As America Falls Apart, Profits Soar” is behind a paywall, I am pasting in what I consider to be his five most incisive and urgent paragraphs. And, oh yes, O conscientious readers, let me repeat what I’ve said before: If you’re not subscribing to Taibbi on Substack, you’re not being a good patriot! But here you go:

    “Compared with how often you heard pundits rage about the “insurrection,” how regularly did you hear that billionaire wealth has risen 70% or $2.1 trillion since the pandemic began? How much did you hear about last year’s accelerated payments to defense contractors, who immediately poured the “rescue” cash into a buyback orgy, or about the record underwriting revenues for banks in 2020, or the “embarrassment of profits” for health carriers in the same year, or the huge rises in revenue for pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, all during a period of massive net job losses? The economic news at the top hasn’t just been good, it’s been record-setting good, during a time of severe cultural crisis.

    “Twenty or thirty years ago, the Big Lie was usually a patriotic fairy tale designed to cast America in a glow of beneficence. Nurtured in think-tanks, stumped by politicians, and amplified by Hollywood producers and media talking heads, these whoppers were everywhere: America would have won in Vietnam if not for the media, poverty didn’t exist (or at least, wasn’t shown on television), only the Soviets cuddled with dictators or toppled legitimate governments, etc. The concept wasn’t hard to understand: leaders were promoting unifying myths to keep the population satiated, dumb, and focused on their primary roles as workers and shoppers.

    “In the Trump era, all this has been turned upside down. There’s actually more depraved, dishonest propaganda than before, but the new legends are explicitly anti-unifying and anti-patriotic. The people who run this country seem less invested than ever in maintaining anything like social cohesion, maybe because they mostly live in wealth archipelagoes that might as well be separate nations (if they even live in America at all).

    “All sense of noblesse oblige is gone. The logic of our kleptocratic economy has gone beyond even the “Greed is Good” mantra of the fictional Gordon Gekko, who preached that pure self-interest would make America more efficient, better-run, less corrupt. Even on Wall Street, nobody believes that anymore. America is a sinking ship, and its CEO class is trying to salvage the wreck in advance, extracting every last dime before Battlefield Earth breaks out.

    “It’s only in this context that these endless cycles of hyper-divisive propaganda make sense. It’s time to start wondering if maybe it’s not a coincidence that politicians and pundits alike are pushing us closer and closer to actual civil war at exactly the moment when corporate wealth extraction is reaching its highest-ever levels of efficiency….“

    Reply
    1. William Hunter Duncan

      I’m a subscriber, and this is what I commented there:

      The working class is the most integrated sector of America. Most of the black folk I know don’t have much interest in BLM, more likely to ask “WTF do they have to say about the violence in the hood?” None of the “minority” folk I know have any interest in the race baiters at CNN. MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, NPR, that’s for idiot white folk, the pretty people. Most of the white working class folk I know aren’t interested either, to busy trying to get by, take care of family etc. Now find some politician that doesn’t have a platinum tongue, walk the talk about forcing industry to come back and threaten the rich with high wages for those folk or watch your holdings get repurposed, and see wtf happens

      Reply
      1. John Siman

        I agree with you 100%, William Hunter Duncan, and I am honored to quote you: “None of the ‘minority’ folk I know have any interest in the race baiters at CNN. MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, NPR, that’s for idiot white folk, the pretty people. Most of the white working class folk I know aren’t interested either, to busy trying to get by, take care of family etc.” Yes, yes, and yes! The pretty people are indeed the race baiters now! As a Taibbi subscriber, you’ll be glad to hear that he came down here to Loudoun County, Virginia election day Tuesday and I got to hang out with him! He’s the best — I am writing about this for NC right now!

        Reply
        1. William Hunter Duncan

          Thanks and congrats! He does seem like he would be fun to hang out with. I subscribed because he is one of only a few journalists who maintained equanimity after Trump was elected. By contrast, with the exception of the NC writers, most journalists between their visceral hatred of Trump, their unquestioning acceptance of income inequality, eternal war, censorship, pharma covid narrative and the authoritarian aspects of some gender/race issues, I find them insufferable.

          Reply
      2. Lee

        We’ve got a long time family friend who is a shift manager at a local Starbucks. The chain closed 8,000 stores in 2018 for a day of racial sensitivity training. The sensitivity trainer surveyed the group of workers at our friend’s location. They stared back at him. After a moment, everyone broke out laughing. There was nary a marginalized minority who was not represented among them.

        Reply
        1. William Hunter Duncan

          But in the insular bubble of Higher ed and corporate media, the only studies that matter are the ones that say it was ONLY about racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia and a loss of status.

          Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Shorter him: the wealthy have decided that social contract thing is soooo annoying.

      Isn’t this how–historically speaking–revolutions always come to pass? For the powerful the rule of thumb is almost always “too much is never enough.”

      Reply
    3. fresno dan

      John Siman
      November 14, 2021 at 10:04 am
      The only better result? The previous quarter, i.e. Q2 2021, when net profits sat at 13.1% overall. These results track with the true great story of the pandemic era, which not-so-mysteriously hasn’t made the news much, while Americans have been tearing each other’s faces off over issues like race and vaccination policy: the massive widening of our already-obscene wealth gap.
      ==================================
      Funny, how the rich, who happen to own the MSM, scarely ever talk about how the good ole USA system makes the rich ever richer. Must be all that meriotocracy…
      And this graph of corporate profits – you would thing it was a big thing…er, rocketship going up.
      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CP

      Reply
      1. BeliTsari

        “Minorities,” working class females, refugees & indentured 1099 gig-serfs are in NO position to “tear each other’s face off?” 1% Media/ Social Networking Advocacy Solutions firms & White kids’ co-opting movements or appropriating & spinning the utter HORROR of being Black and poor in ‘Murika, has precious little to do with Black Lives Matters, which involves police up and murdering our neighbors? Conflating this with Comcast-ATT-Fox-Disney-Viacom again monitizing poor worker’s death, by cop OR, being proded into hellish gig-serfdom, to intentionally infect vulnerable loved-ones, flip their apartments; then indenture chronically PASC survivors into 1099 gig-serfdom IS what Taibbi, Greenwald… basically all our HEROS are studiously ignoring. When cops beat us; gas, taze, shoot flash-bangs, plastic jacketed metal tubes or sic attack dogs on ALL our fellow readers’ “minority friends,” and psychos have mom drive them and ol’ bessie into the “hood” to git sum; this actually is ah’ er… kinda icky to express to our upscale ofay friends?

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8j4JquIKoLk

        Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      America is a sinking ship, and its CEO class is trying to salvage the wreck in advance, extracting every last dime before Battlefield Earth breaks out.

      This has been increasingly obvious for at least a decade now. It’s high time that someone finally said it.

      And it’s long past time for people to stop accepting sanctimonious “explanations” such as “cherished american values” like “capitalism” and “human rights” to justify the looting and pillaging, or expecting expanded mail-in “voting” to resolve the issue. It’s all just what end-stage gaslighting looks like.

      Reply
    5. Ranger Rick

      I don’t know what anyone stands to gain if the US collapses, and I don’t think anyone’s planning that far ahead. Chaos is not a ladder here. Survival bunkers and prepper strategies might give one a chance at an individual level, but the complete destruction of the world economy is absolutely assured in a kind of financial/agricultural/industrial/scientific mutually-assured-destruction scenario — 2008 was a warning that any disruption would have far-ranging repercussions. Stopping US food exports alone would cause untold millions if not billions of deaths from starvation in every corner of the globe.

      Messaging won’t have an impact on what’s to come. We’ve seen that the media can scream bloody murder 24/7 and not even move the needle on public opinion one way or the other. The forces that drove a populist to be elected to the White House haven’t gone away, and we’ve had a full year of a Biden presidency in which “nothing will fundamentally change” to really drive home that something really big has to happen in order to alter the course the country is on.

      Reply
  15. Eudora Welty

    I mentioned in a comment on the Nursing topic that I work without benefits.

    One thing on my mind lately is that, over the past 7 years until February 2020, I have gladly taken advantage of a county/city sponsored medical clinic, usually held for 3 days in the dark days of February, where you have to line up starting at midnight, but that you eventually get some basic health care. There, I received annual or semi-annual mammograms, some vaccines such as tetanus, and I also got my teeth cleaned 2 or 3 times. They checked my glucose and blood pressure, and offered me access to a Physician Assistant if I wanted to see one.

    This was all staffed by volunteer MDs, RNs, and dentists. Now, of course, with Covid and rampant burnout, I seriously doubt the community health clinic is going to return in that same form anytime soon. I especially want to get that mammogram, because they can be costly if you try to do it without any form of health insurance. This feels like another major breach of the social safety net.

    Reply
      1. newcatty

        It’s not tacky, at all. It’s also notable that right here in River City we have fortunate ones who don’t have to rely on city/county medical clinics for an annual dated care facility to provide essential health care. If one is clever, work “under the table” for most of your yearly income, then voila you can qualify for basic, and beyond, health care. It is part of the still existing social safety net. It is, of course, Medicaid ( applies to those on Medicare). I knew a wonderful LPN who worked in a major university physician’s group practice, who had no benefits. She, too, went to a county sponsered health clinic. She knew the paid doc in charge of volunteers. Many actual poors, and working people, like her, relied on the clinic. Many with chronic illnesses like diabetes. Many kids with asthma. She did not begrudge any person who was among the truly poor and working class, who qualified for Medicaid, etc. She did predict the coming social unrest and breakdown, when the fake “poors” are coming more to light. When asked what will happen if “folks” call out the grift, and some are not OK with it in River City, she Got the smug answer, We got gunz. Yeah!!! Hope u stay safe and sound.

        Reply
  16. flora

    Thanks for the Taibbi article. From the longer version:

    “All sense of noblesse oblige is gone. The logic of our kleptocratic economy has gone beyond even the “Greed is Good” mantra of the fictional Gordon Gekko, who preached that pure self-interest would make America more efficient, better-run, less corrupt. Even on Wall Street, nobody believes that anymore. America is a sinking ship, and its CEO class is trying to salvage the wreck in advance, extracting every last dime before Battlefield Earth breaks out.

    “It’s only in this context that these endless cycles of hyper-divisive propaganda make sense. It’s time to start wondering if maybe it’s not a coincidence that politicians and pundits alike are pushing us closer and closer to actual civil war at exactly the moment when corporate wealth extraction is reaching its highest-ever levels of efficiency. …”

    Also known as divide and conquer, keep the plebs fighting each other, etc.

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      There’s a good op-ed by Jamelle Bouie in Sunday’s NYT that hits on a point similar to the one Taibbi makes. It’s based on a 1948 book by a Trinidadian scholar who makes the case that racism isn’t a caste-like matter but rather an artifact of class and the way capitalism itself has developed. So the insistence on approaching race as a caste issue avoids the real problem.

      This confirms one of my fantasy priors. I haven’t been subjected to a Robin DiAngelo-style race seminar. But it occurs to me that during an opening for discussion (if such openings are allowed) a participant could suggest that a different and far more effective way to bring together a diverse workforce and bridge racial gaps would be to organize a union. How would that go over?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > a participant could suggest that a different and far more effective way to bring together a diverse workforce and bridge racial gaps would be to organize a union. How would that go over?

        I think it would be worth it to find out!

        Reply
          1. flora

            Is your corporate HR doing the labeling? I think it’s corporate HR paying for the Robin DiAngelo style race seminars. They must think it’s worth the money. / ;)

            Reply
  17. William Hunter Duncan

    “Biden taps Califf to head FDA — an agency where he has plenty of unfinished business Stat”

    A data maestro? A visionary data guru? Since his former stint at FDA he has been working for Alphabet, Google’s parent company?

    OMG – i think i am going to say it….Let’s go Brandon!

    Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      See! This is the difference between the two parties. Democrats pick a guy from Google. Republicans would pick a guy from Microsoft.

      Hooray Blue Team.

      Reply
  18. ambrit

    I don’t know if this is within the bounds of “acceptable converse” here. So, “Calling all moderators! Help me out here!” [Is there a voluntary method of putting a potential comment into the moderation queue?]
    On the Covid front; that curious right wing satire outfit, ‘The Babylon Bee’ has a sarcastic, but resonant, fake commerical taking aim at the Vaccinate the Kids push: “Playskool Unveils Vaccinate Me Elmo.”
    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl_BfOIXkaA

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      It didn’t seem that objectionable to me, other than the fact that they used a surgical procedure mask rather than a proper N95.

      OTOH, the public health authorities were, earlier in the year, a bit late to recognize the implications of Delta for masking. Maybe the use of an inadequate mask in this satire is a subtle dig.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Good catch. I rewatched it and also noticed that Elmo wore his mask below his nose a lot.
        [I’m not too ‘hip’ to the site admin’s attitude towards ‘The Babylon Bee.’ That prompted the “cry for help.”]
        What I really “liked” was the passive agressive Elmo bullying a little girl. Classic Neo-liberal PMC ‘assumption of superiority’ character traits.
        “Vaccinate them all and let “The Science” sort them out.”

        Reply
      1. TimH

        Exactly. As Ken White has put it, if you think that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to opinions and statements that you disagree with or are contradictory to your beliefs (religious or otherwise), then you don’t believe in the First Amendment.

        Reply
        1. Aumua

          Some people are abusing the first amendment, running it into the ground you might say. In all sincerity, I’m not sure there’s anything we can do about that either. But it’s still very sad to watch, and some of those people truly deserve to be not only run off the air, but locked up for what they do.

          Once again I’m not saying that’s what should happen, just that it is what they deserve.

          Reply
            1. newcatty

              Well, laws protect me from false slander, threats of bodily harm, libel and the fake screams of fire in a crowded theater. Or least they would if actually justly enforced. The latest fiasco of the deaths and injuries at the Houston concert exemplifies this lack of enforcement and greed. It is not relevant to dig up past ones at rock concerts, we are talking about now. Then I cringe when I consider deranged Paul from AZ in the Congress. Uh, no, he doesn’t have the “right ” to threaten another Congress member with killing. Ugh, his “self-defense ” that it was only a cartoon is ludicrous. Uh, saying it was about her stand on illegal immigration was ridiculous. FWIW, threatening to harm, a republican, with “hang him” is equally egregious.

              Reply
              1. TimH

                Laws protect you from harm in the same way that home contents insurance protects you from burgalry. They don’t.

                Oh, and the “screams of fire in a crowded theater” decision was reversed much later.

                Reply
      2. JP

        Where do you draw the line between journalism and fraud. On the one hand you have Julian Assange in jail for publishing embarrassing facts. On the other you have dirty tricksters promoting false narratives calling themselves journalists because they also publish partizan muck and made up facts. After all, it is all starting to come apart because now anybody can say or retweet any degree of BS and command a huge audience. Flat earthers use to be a very small fringe but now reality is so not interesting. Everyone is now addicted to eating their own brand of flavored sh*t. Do you think our society is somehow now more fair because anyone can create baloney to the general detriment of the body politic?

        Reply
    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yes, he qualifies as a journalist and is entitled to his first amendment right to free speech. His supporters go wrong only when and where they also defend his “right” to knowingly receive stolen property, commit libel, and harass others in public venues.

      He and Project Veritas have a long standing practice of targeting easy pickings, specifically past their prime, dysfunctional operations like ACORN. Not because of the magnitude (or reality) of their guilt, but because they are easy to screw with and demonize. Delineating his vileness in this will get the rage-soaked commenters all up in your face. Not because he is a journalist, but because they get pleasure out of his brand of snotty down punching, and really, really, really do not want you to exercise the same freedom of expression that he so rightly enjoys.

      Discussing his deficiency of honor and honesty, and the similar lack among his supporters, in no way changes the fact that he is a journalist. One who deserves to be scrutinized closely, and swiftly ‘outed’ every time he distorts the record in order to push his ultra-rightist agenda. He is successful in no small part because the dullards in our MSM don’t have what it take to effectively combat him. Neither the necessary institutional support, nor the wit and tenacity to return his BS beat downs with more and better of the same.

      Reply
  19. chuck roast

    Too Big to Sail:

    Truly superior piece by Stoller. Who knew that this side of the supply chain used to regulated as a pubic utility? And who…who I ask…would have guessed that the greatest deregulatory efforts would have come during the Clinton administration? So, the production of containers; their loading; their shipping; their unloading, storage and distribution are all controlled by a small number of loosely integrated, unregulated cartels. Monopoly profits and rent seeking (am I being redundant) at every step in the chain and not only no penalty, but an economic reward for any and all inefficient (family blog)-up. So, now, with the omniscient power of the Brandon Administration, a huge deluge of cash will be showered on the various choke points in the chain to lubricate the flow. Is this a great country or what?

    Reply
    1. GF

      I agree that this is the best explanation of what is really happening in the supply chain fiasco. Matt did yeoman’s work putting this post together. The “choke points” will not be opened up until the monopolies are broken.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Yes, one of his best.

      As to “who would have guessed” I assume you are being sarcastic. Funny how so much horrible tracks back to the Clintons. From the article

      But the tide of deregulation, heavily supported by the Clinton administration, was too powerful to resist. Critics of the OSRA, such as current House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, were ignored. For context, the OSRA was one of the bevy of deregulatory initiatives in the 1990s, which included the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the establishment of the World Trade Organization, and the procurement reform that led to the consolidation of defense contractors. Standing against deregulation was virtually impossible.

      And in classic blame the victim manner the Clintons shafted the poor and working class and then called them “deplorables.”

      Reply
      1. JP

        No! The Clinton was not calling the poor and working class deplorables. She was calling the bible thumping, gun toting, flag waving, fox news reactionary assholes deplorables. I know you hate Clinton (I do too, both) but you got it wrong.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          Oh, so being religious makes you a deplorable? You just wrote off the entire South, including devout blacks.

          This is what she said:

          …you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.

          I must note that when I put “Hillary Clinton deplorables” into Google, it did not autofill.

          Reply
      2. lance ringquist

        we cannot recover till that monsters policies have been reversed, which i doubt they can, at least under normal circumstances.

        study after study links trumps rise, to nafta billy clintons disastrous policies

        Lost Jobs, Lost Democrats, the future looks bleak for nafta democrats

        factory town after factory town are turning red, along with minorities who also worked there

        https://inthesetimes.com/article/democrats-electablity-heartland-midwest-factory-manufacturing-obama-trump-elections

        Reply
        1. marym

          Trump didn’t even bring his own family’s manufacturing jobs back to the US, and the Republican establishment during the 30 years since nafta has been as much a part of creating an economy that serves the oligarchs, not the working class as the Democrats.

          So it’s not clear what some of these Rust Belt voters may think “moving to the GOP” is going to accomplish. It’s not just that a “progressive coalition” needs to see them “not as a xenophobic, aggrieved demographic, but as part of a class—a struggling, anxious, racially and ethnically diverse group of people who understand that American society, as presently constituted, is not designed to ensure their wealth, health or happiness.” They need to see themselves that way, but in my lifetime white conservatives have chosen the role of aggrieved demographic on virtually every issue.

          Reply
    3. Bill Smith

      eh… there were ships too big to use the Panama Canal in the late 1990s. By that point container ships where being scaled up. Panama announced the canal expansion in 2006 after years of study. The knock on effects of that led to the race between US ports so not be left out.

      And the US control of pricing didn’t extend to a lot of places. For example, Asia to Europe was outside of the US pricing control. The world doesn’t entirely revolve around the US. The choice was more difficult than Stoller lays out.

      And those larger ships are more efficient than the smaller ones by the metric used. They both have the improved engines.

      So certainly fallout as Stroller but the lead up to that is more complex.

      Reply
    4. Rainlover

      It is a truly superior piece by Stoller. Thanks, Jerri-Lynn. It’s a long piece, but Stoller’s ability to break complex subjects into digestible bits is so helpful for neophytes. I also had no idea that shipping was once regulated as a public utility but I wasn’t surprised that the Clinton administration was responsible for deregulation. It seems that many of the nation’s present troubles are rooted in that Clintonian orgy and yes it’s a deliberate pun.

      Reply
    5. Boomheist

      Excellent article but one section lacks important context. The NYT this morning wrote about how agricultural exporters are being hurt by this supply chain issue, and Stoiller touches on this too: “And in a trend that started earlier but accelerated during Covid, U.S. agricultural exporters gradually lost access to shipping, because the shipping oligopoly made more money returning empty containers to Asia than filling them with bulk commodities from the U.S. first. Earlier this month, for instance, one large domestic milk producer testified to the House Agricultural Committee that “we’ve been told it is more cost effective to skip the Port of Oakland (one of our primary export ports) than to accept exports.” The important context here is this – the only reason many US firms can export anything at all is because ocean carriers must carry back empty containers to Asia or Europe for the next load, and because these empty containers need to be shipped anyway carriers got into the habit of offering their space for virtually nothing to gain more income. This is the reason the US could export hides and garbage and waste paper to Asia. Similarly, those milk guys could ship stuff cheaply to Asia only because of the full-empty export-import imbalance that created all this excess capacity. However, once you fill a container with something it needs to be landed and emptied, unloaded, and this takes time and may require transport to a warehouse or a plant, and in situations where empties are scarce it isn’t worth it to the carrier to fill that empty box, because instead of just firing that empty back to the factory filling containers with furniture or whatever is being sent to America, now that container first needs to be shipped somewhere to be unloaded and then shipped again to that factory, an extra move someone has to pay for, and something that takes time So, ironically, the very export business our farmers developed in the last 15-20 years and now depend on only exists because of this huge shift of manufacturing overseas and the resulting creation of empty cargo space on containers that result.

      Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Thank you for this. That all makes perfect sense. I always wondered how it made financial sense to ship all that waste/recycling to China.

        Reply
  20. MonkeyBusiness

    Jeff Bezos’s version of the Jackpot: https://www.rt.com/usa/540203-bezos-earth-population-limit/

    “Humanity will move most industry into space and allow only a select few to remain on our planet, which will be turned into a natural resort, according to self-funded space explorer Jeff Bezos.”

    “This place is special, we can’t ruin it,” the founder of Amazon said of our planet.

    “Millions of people will move from Earth to space over time. And that’s the vision of Blue Origin – millions of people working in space,” he said, referring to his own firm.

    “Over centuries, most or many of the people will be born in space. It will be their first home. They will be born on these colonies, they will live on these colonies. They may visit Earth the way you would visit Yellowstone National Park,” Bezos predicted.

    1. You will own nothing in space.
    2. Earth will be owned by billionaires.
    3. Only “millions” will have the privilege of working for people like Bezos.

    Reply
    1. upstater

      Words cannot possibly describe such deranged monsters like Bezos and his ilk.

      On the subject of Bezos, Amazon has delayed opening it’s nearly complete 3.8M square foot, 5 storey distribution center in the Syracuse area. Apparently they are blaming supply chain disruptions and the inability to fill this place with imported trinkets and doodads for their loyal customers. 1500 would-be stock pickers must be disappointed about delaying their career aspirations. County taxpayers were extorted of $75 million to entice Amazon to build its sweatshop here.

      Reply
    2. tegnost

      “This place is special, we can’t ruin it,”

      I’m pretty sure we can…funny that bezos thinks that it can be saved by getting rid of everyone else when getting rid of him and his ilk of whip cracking sadists (h/t cnchal) would be so beneficial to the earth.

      Reply
    3. flora

      Amazon warehouses in space? Bathroom breaks ( if allowed) in the airlock chambers? What could go wrong? (In space, there is no US national EPA or workplace safety rules. /heh) Better idea: put Bez and his buddies in space… and leave them there. / ;)

      Reply
      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        His dream reminds me of the Amazon sci-fi show The Expanse which is set in such a world, where the hoi poloi who essentially keep the whole thing going off Earth by slaving away on asteroids are called Belters. The space ships are powered by nuclear fusion. So if Bezos is actually high on that part of his own supply & wanting to go where no Amazon warehouse has ever gone before, then the boffins had better get a move on with the development of NF & a lot of other stuff, which I hope does not include the robot going by the name of megarachnoid.

        Reply
    4. Maritimer

      “This place is special, we can’t ruin it,” the founder of Amazon said of our planet.
      ***********
      So, JB, do you have agreement from the other 3499 Billionaires on the Planet? When was COP(ulate)3500 held?

      Reply
    5. LifelongLib

      The idea of putting industry in space is an old SF one, but usually most of humanity continues to live on a pollution-free, ecologically restored Earth. First time I heard of turning Earth into
      a park that people only visit once in a while…

      Reply
    6. ArvidMartensen

      Maybe this is what happens to someone who is surrounded by their own echo chamber. Where they always get their own way. Where they can buy anything and anybody. Where everybody around them never disagrees or calls them an idiot because they want to stay on the gravy train.
      Maybe they gradually lose their grip on reality. Are Bezos and Musk really becoming delusional and believing fairy stories where physics can be beaten through imaginings, where human biology can be tamed through grit and determination?
      Or that is what they want the suckers to believe anyways. Instead of the truth which is “you’re all gonna die and we’ll use our money to escape the coming apocalypse”.
      I believe Bezos shot Shatner into space, to show human biology is irrelevant to the advertised Bezos dreams of the population being sent into space.
      But maybe it’s all PR, a look over here trick so we don’t see a dying planet where we are left to our own devices.
      Whether it’s all a belief or a PR trick, suffice to say that to anyone who believes anything said by Bezos, Musk, Branson and all the other billionaires, I have a really awesome, iconic bridge to sell you.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        When life is not respected or valued, then predators kill with impunity. Native people’s lives were expendable. Wildlife is too. Human’s killed or harmed with Covid is “tragic” and unfortunate. We kill wildlife consistently, besides exposing them to Covid in zoos or in desecrated habitats. Baby wolves are slaughtered in their dens in this country. Wild horses are rounded up not just with other horses, but with helicopters. Most sold to any buyer, often for “horse meat”. So sorry, uh you wanted to see a leopard in our zoo? Uh, tragically died from Covid. Wanted to see a whale or dolphins at our “sea world”? So sorry, they are ” mysteriously” languishing in our pristine pools. Uh, some are attacking their beloved trainers. It’s not understood. Bears are breaking the rules! Coming into towns! It’s scary when a bear breaks into my cabin to eat my provisions! No, wildfires or loss of natural foods, like salmon or berries, is no excuse! So it goes… Is Bezo’s
        bizarre vision an extension of making earth in this model?

        Reply
  21. Jason Boxman

    So it’s interesting that this NY Times article about exporters, particularly diary, airbrushes out the overwhelming consolidation in the industry and leaves you with the impression that it’s family farms that are damaged by our export challenges. But there’s been tremendous consolidation in the industry in just the past ten years.

    It’s just 60 miles from El Dorado Dairy in Ontario, Calif., to the nation’s largest container port in Los Angeles. But the farm is having little luck getting its products onto a ship headed for the foreign markets that are crucial to its business.

    The farm is part of one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, California Dairies Inc., which manufactures milk powder for factories in Southeast Asia and Mexico that use it to make candy, baby formula and other foods. The company typically ships 50 million pounds of its milk powder and butter out of ports each month. But roughly 60 percent of the company’s bookings on outbound vessels have been canceled or deferred in recent months, resulting in about $45 million in missed revenue per month.

    I often wonder why any food exports are permissible when people in this country are starving as it is?

    Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    Due to the conditions of my parole from working, semi-annually I pick up every last thing that doesn’t belong off the aprons of the avenue to Big Arbor for a good mile on both sides.

    There was 5 of us so we made quick work of it in a little less than 4 hours and 23 bags later, you could eat off of it, but please don’t.

    You never know what you’re gonna come across, and we kept finding car parts, a hubcap here, a couple of side view mirrors, a door handle, and you just know we were all thinking we could put it all back together if we found more one part at a time, but alas no.

    Cigarette butts are still #1, followed by beer (Bud Light & Negro Modelo led the way) cans/bottles in frequency and then a newcomer to the curb, masks.

    Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Had an online order from Big Box that featured free shipping* come in 5 separate shipments over the past week, and doesn’t that really epitomize the inefficiency of just in time that must be part and parcel all part of the problem plaguing our ports, LA in particular?

    * if I had to mail or UPS the very same items back to Big Box, it would cost me around $60

    Reply
  24. ChrisFromGeorgia

    This Thanksgiving, the Masks Are Off, the Dinner’s Inside and the Relatives Are Back

    Hubris: (in Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

    P.S. have a peek at the latest 91-divoc site data on the US 7-day daily case average, or if you’re lazy just wait for tomorrow’s water cooler.

    Reply
  25. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Too Big to Sail: How a Legal Revolution Clogged Our Ports BIG. Matt Stoller.

    The OSRA eliminated a system that had kept shipping relatively stable through booms and busts. Prior to the OSRA, the U.S. regulated ocean shipping as a public utility, based on the Shipping Act of 1916.

    The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 undid the Shipping Act, bringing deregulation in force to shipping. The goal was to induce the same “efficiency” gains to shipping, that policymakers imagined they saw in trucking, rail and airlines.

    From 1995-1998, Congress debated how to get rid of the public utility framework around shipping, with the encouragement of the Clinton administration. The key change they settled on was to eliminate the transparency provisions of the Shipping Act by allowing secret deals between ocean carriers and shippers, while retaining the antitrust exemption.

    But the tide of deregulation, heavily supported by the Clinton administration, was too powerful to resist. Critics of the OSRA, such as current House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, were ignored. For context, the OSRA was one of the bevy of deregulatory initiatives in the 1990s, which included the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the establishment of the World Trade Organization, and the procurement reform that led to the consolidation of defense contractors. Standing against deregulation was virtually impossible.

    So, another “efficiency-enhancing” deregulatory time bomb planted by the excruciatingly odious clinton administration detonates years later for another double-dealing democrat administration to “fix.”

    According to Stoller, many predicted the shipping disaster that would unfold and they were right, just as with the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the WTO.

    The lesson should be that when concerns are raised against the current behemoth “bills,” supported only by democrats and that have to be “read to know what’s in them,” they should be heeded instead of shouted down. If history repeats, or even rhymes, we’ll all pay the price down the road unless we do.

    Let’s go, Brandon.

    Reply
    1. Robert

      It’s difficult to understand Matt Stoller’s explanation of the bottleneck with cargo-handling in the ports of LA\LB. I think it is a stretch to say that the reform of the 1916 Shipping Act in 1998 “deregulated” ocean shipping. Is he trying to assert that an Act of the US Congress in 1916 regulated international shipping into a sort of public utility, that every ship, regardless of flag, complied with? And then in 1998 we reformed this act so that steamship lines could now form alliances and make secret deals with shippers on freight rates? And this led to the construction of bigger ships which ultimately overwhelmed our port’s ability to manage the increased throughput? That’s it !?
      The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are overwhelmed, that’s for sure. One good reason for this is that they are woefully inefficient. In 351 big world ports, they rank 328 and 331 in efficiency.
      Right now I guess they would need more labor: longshoremen and warehousemen. They would probably need more tractors and chassis, more top-lift forklifts, more high-straddle loaders, and lots more stockyard space and transit sheds. The roads, the rail yards: the land. There is no more land for expansion.
      They can handle the dispatch of five or six ships a day; moderately sized liners that are making 75 or 80 percent capacity discharge+load back. Meanwhile there are 80 ships waiting at anchor! Those ports needed to be bigger than they were. How much bigger? Well we could look at Yokohama or Jebal Ali UAE.

      Reply
  26. Bruno

    News from the cancel world:

    John Cleese cancels Cambridge University appearance over debate sparked by a Hitler impersonation

    (JTA) — An impression of Adolf Hitler at Cambridge University has touched off a fight over the limits of free speech and has drawn Monty Python comedian John Cleese into the fray.

    The impersonation was delivered at a debate recently on whether there’s such a thing as “good taste.” Andrew Graham-Dixon, an art historian, impersonated Hitler as an example of bad taste, in order to argue that good and bad taste do exist.

    At the time, Keir Bradwell, the president of the Cambridge Union, a debating society, jokingly thanked Graham-Dixon for the impersonation.

    The impersonation came as British universities have faced criticism, including from the government, allegedly for not acting tough enough on expressions of antisemitism. And since then, Bradwell has reversed course and published an apology for not cutting Graham-Dixon off.

    That condemnation has led Cleese, a champion of free speech, to cancel his attendance at an upcoming event at the Cambridge Union. He said he made the decision in protest of the university’s treatment of Graham-Dixon.

    “I was looking forward to talking to students at the Cambridge Union this Friday, but I hear that someone there has been blacklisted for doing an impersonation of Hitler,” Cleese wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does.”

    Cleese was scheduled to appear in Cambridge as a guest of the debating society as part of his new documentary series, “Cancel Me,” in which Cleese interviews people who are perceived to have been penalized or silenced for making offensive statements.

    In the debate, Graham-Dixon spoke as Hitler, putting on a German accent while making a Nazi salute.

    “Culture struggle through taste, my struggle, my struggle, Adolf Hitler’s struggle, I was a watercolor painter, I was rejected, my German art, my purity, it was rejected,” Graham-Dixon said in a German accent before about 400 listeners, as shown in footage of the debate obtained by the Varsity news site. “The romantic tradition of German art was rejected by this modern art, this modern, horrible art that was promoted by the Jews.”

    The audience of 400 people voted in favor of Graham-Dixon in the debate. At the event, Bradwell commended Graham-Dixon for “perhaps the longest Hitler impression this chamber has ever received, a remarkable accomplishment for tonight.”

    But days later, Bradwell apologized for not interrupting Graham-Dixon.

    “I would like to offer my unreserved apology for the comments made by a speaker in our debate on Thursday night,” he wrote in a statement Saturday posted to Twitter. “Neither I nor the society condones the thoughtless and grotesque language used by the individual in question, and I am sorry for my failure to intervene at the time.”

    He added that, “my failure to intervene was solely a question of lacking the courage to stop someone in front of a room of 400. The speaker came as a respected art critic, and there was no indication that he would make the remarks that he made. I only wish we could have foreseen the remarks that he made and chosen someone else.”


    The post John Cleese cancels Cambridge University appearance over a debate sparked by a Hitler impersonation appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

    Reply
    1. Rainlover

      What I thot was interesting was the author’s use of two book reviews to suggest that Freud’s hysteria diagnosis might have some application to current physical complaints: ie, that hysterical behavior (or unreason ala Foucault) is still present. Also striking that both writers reviewed as examples of hysteria are men. I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s premise but it’s stimulating to consider it.

      Reply
      1. sporble

        I agree with Rainlover.
        To me, the piece is nuanced and insightful. I think the initial takedown of Freud was provided for balance, along the lines of “just because Freud was grossly wrong sometimes doesn’t mean he didn’t also have some useful ideas”.
        Both the author of the piece as well as the books that were reviewed indicate that it’s not always possible to distinguish the nature/cause of maladies, and that physical/psychological/social components could all be involved. The whole piece is a perceptive reminder that not everything is clear.

        Reply
        1. Soredemos

          He was grossly wrong basically always. An impressively useless thinker. Even when he was kind of, sort of, not totally on the wrong track about something, he didn’t arrive there through any kind of coherent logic. Stopped clock.

          Freud didn’t come up with the concept of psychosomatic illness, and while sometimes useful it also has a quite ugly history. Just ask Barry Marshall.

          Reply
  27. skippy

    Is it just me or is this covid thingy playing just like the dialectal with unregulated markets pre and post GFC …

    IM Doc could be Born from an NC perspective … watch out doc or you won’t get another job in this town, persona non grata amongst peers with income expectations, and sorry to hear about your life boat fire …

    Reply
  28. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “IT’S NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD—- First Things”

    Upon first examination the essay offers up much (convoluted?) grist for the intellectual mill, even if that same ground has been worked and re-worked over many, many times in the past by other critical voices. See for example,

    “In this respect, Szasz was cognizant of the interplay between diagnosis and political and social power; medicalisation gives a pre-eminent role to doctors, it privileges the role of medication as a therapeutic intervention and so the pharmaceutical industry stands to profit much by stretching the boundaries of the concept of mental disorder. Several authors in addition to Szasz have brought critical attention to this ever-widening reach of psychiatric diagnosis, and to the pharmaceutical industry’s complicity in this phenomenon, not only by supporting ‘new’ categories of psychiatric disorder (such as adult attention deficit disorder), but by endorsing the lowering of diagnostic thresholds for a host of established psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder.”

    “No such thing as mental illness? Critical reflections on the major ideas and legacy of Thomas Szasz”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353517/

    An indictment of the mental health industry more generally and psychiatry specifically can be found in offerings such as, “Shrink Resistant: The Struggle Against Psychiatry ic Canada” It is available online for free, along with other suggestions at:

    https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22Antipsychiatrie%22

    See also, the review by Fava and Rafanelli, “Iatrogenic Factors in Psychopathology”

    https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/500151

    Where, for example, the psychotropic effects of commonly prescribed medicatons, such as Sinemet (Carbidopa/levodopa) used to treat Parkinsonism may have severe iatrogenic complications manifesting as profound psychiatric disturbances/complications. Interindividual variability suggests that even small dosage adjustments can lead to extreme negative effects.

    Especially interesting is the statement that, “Hysteria is a kind of demonic possession. “You should expect to get some ­demonic attacks from time to time.”

    Anyone who has had direct personal and prolonged experience with individuals experiencing severely altered states of consiousness, from those that are socially accepted as “normal”, would be be quick to agree with that somewhat trivial stated observation.

    Reply
  29. dk

    IT’S NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD First Things

    Something weird about the article, it talks about people being sick and/or having problematic behaviors, doesn’t talk about being “well”, or offer clear concept of a desirable end-condition. Since life operates through a sustained disequilibrium, such a definition cannot be too specific, and is rather a locus of intersecting conditions. Sufficient and broad nutrition (which is in turn dependent on availability of resources), some more-than-minimum level of physical vigor, a calming satisfaction with at least some of the individuals specific circumstances of habitat and occupation, etc. How is one supposed to achieve this sweet spot if one doesn’t have a map of where the sweet spot is and where one’s current condition is in relation to it? Simply saying “I want to be free of this pain and that constraint” seems cursory and unserious in relation to the existential importance of own health and relative peace of mind. And indeed the author is making a point about a tendency to offer suffering (and perseverance though it) as a token of worth. But what’s the more ideal condition look like, beyond “I feel fine (right now)”?

    I wonder if this kind of attitude arises from conceiving health as something provided to one (by “healthcare” and the nominal right to it), in contrast to considering own health to be an own imperative and the associated right being the pursuit of it. Of course we make commitments to communities to access and contribute to sharable benefits, but that needn’t limit us to total dependence on others. An exaggeration to highlight the contrast: it’s nice to have people to wash one, but one should also know how to wash oneself, at the very least in order to supplement the service of washing providers beyond the regular arrangement.

    Reply
  30. fresno dan

    https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2021-10-20/trump-announces-launch-of-media-company-social-media-site
    Trump Announces Launch of Media Company, Social Media Site
    Former President Donald Trump says he’s launching a new media company with its own social media platform nine months after being expelled from social media for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
    By Associated Press
    |Oct. 20, 2021, at 9:09 pm
    ===============================================
    So, I can’t find this Trump site. I can’t find any more written about it either. Has it failed or is it still being put together??? How long does it take to make a media platform that people can reach?

    Reply
  31. Amfortas the hippie

    Via Bach, some Mongolians,a whole bunch of 1930’s-1950’s black people.
    and Art Pepper….
    i arrived at this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbvyNnw8Qjg

    For me…somehow….”STREAM FOOTBALL!!!!”….(i won’t link)….has found me.
    when the song was over.

    but there’s nothing i hate worse than frelling Football.

    makes me question the Algorithm.

    i’ll jump over the fire(not),
    in penance.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      And from Queen I went to Freddie Mercury to Zanzibar to the Zanzibar Revolution to Tanzania. I then considered revisiting the Bantu Expansion but ran out of steam.

      Reply
  32. ArvidMartensen

    re the Intercept story about the suppression of Covid reporting from hospitals and hospital staff.
    I’ve said before that in Jan 2020 I saw video from China that was alarming. Hospitals with dead and dying in corridors, people falling over and dying in the street etc. And the terror of the police and health workers was palpable. That’s how I worked out something bad was coming this way.
    And then once it go to the West, social media went dead. No personal stories from sick people. No videos of the terrified or personal videos of ambulances backed up at Emergency. Complete. Utter. Nothingness. Only sanitized stories from the MSM and social media giants.

    On 11 March 2020 Boris Johnson met with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Palantir, IQVIA, Uber, Facebook, Benevolent, Babylon, Improbable, Oxford Nanopore, Kainos, Local Globe, Entrepreneur First, EF, EE, Livi, Tech Nation, TechUK, PUBLIC, Deliveroo, Faculty “to discuss how the tech sector can support the COVID-19 response” https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/905097/Rt-Hon-Boris-Johnson-MP-meetings-January-to-March-2020.csv/preview

    I imagine the same thing was happening in the other western countries. I assume that this was how we got orchestrated social media suppression.

    Suddenly my state, which reported every day on the covid situation, is suppressing the data.
    From today, numbers of Covid cases are no longer being reported from regional towns. Yesterday a town with a large indigenous population had 130 cases (all caught in the last week). Today? None?
    The stats on how many in hospital, how many on ventilators, how many tests done? All gone last month. Now just total cases and deaths. Maybe that will go next.
    The numbers of infected have plummeted since the change in stats, from near 1000 to ~100. I don’t believe these stats at all.
    Since in the neighbouring state which still reports the data, numbers are going down ever so slowly, but still hovering around 1000, down from 2000 8 weeks ago.
    Coincidentally, we have new freedoms to do whatever, and overseas arrivals are now being welcomed without proper quarantine. Anyone can travel anywhere. Hotel quarantine is out.
    How convenient to stop counting just around the time when cases would be expected to start rising again.
    But today at the mall mask wearing seems to have halved indoors and outdoors. It’s as if someone has said “virus gone”. When I was young, a “look at me” type of guy told me all human beings are mad. As I watched people today, I am more inclined to believe him.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

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