Links 11/7/2021

Buffett Out Of Ideas For $150 Billion Cash Mountain The Heisenberg Report

Record fundraising by a nuclear fusion start-up FT

Helium-3: The secret ‘mining war’ in space Asia Times (Re Silc).

Apple’s New Screen Repair Trap Could Change the Repair Industry Forever iFixit (dk). And by “change,” we mean completely [family blog].


COP26: more than 100 nations pledge to cut methane, but not China South China Morning Post

Ecological Leninism Adam Tooze, London Review of Books. Paraphrasing Andreas Malm: “The environmental movement may have aligned itself with social justice activism, but it hasn’t been ‘able to challenge capitalism.'” There is no “but.” Social justice activism does not, in fact, challenge capitalism. All power to the NGOs is not a defensible position.

‘Paralysing jargon’ is preventing us from taking action on climate change, says new research EuroNews


The Future of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination — Lessons from Influenza NEJM. Final paragraph: “Overall, the situation will be fluid, but we will require the continuing use of vaccines to avert severe consequences, even if milder illnesses still occur at a low frequency. We need to learn to live with these illnesses, just as we have learned to live with influenza.”

There Is Finally a Visible Way Out of the COVID Pandemic Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine. Finally?

* * *

Nov. 5: Spike in COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia traced to multi-day religious gathering Saltwire. Without aersols as a method of transmission, governments must take function into account when regulating gatherings, as opposed to venue size and ventilation, thereby privileging religious superspreaders, good job.

Waning Immunity after the BNT162b2 Vaccine in Israel NEJM. Pfizer. From the Conclusion: “These findings indicate that immunity against the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 waned in all age groups a few months after receipt of the second dose of vaccine.”

When are masks most useful? COVID cases offer hints Nature


China reaffirms commitment to zero-Covid policy as new cases spread FT

China’s trade with world surges ninefold after 20 years in WTO Nikkei Asia

What China’s Top-Secret Communist Party Meeting Is All About Bloomberg

What if Xi Jinping just isn’t that competent? Noahpinion. My ranking for competence has always been Putin > Xi > Biden. If in fact the ranking should be Putin > Biden > Xi, we’re in terrible trouble.

How much is religious soft power worth? Indonesian President Jokowi searches for answers in Abu Dhabi The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer


Recalling a recent Diwali in a Warli hamlet People’s Archive of Rural India. From 2018, still germane.

In India and Canada’s international student recruiting machine, opportunity turns into grief and exploitation Globe and Mail

Idol Threats The Believer

Ethiopia’s security crisis is worsening, what are China’s options? The Africa Report


John Major attacks ‘politically corrupt’ Johnson government FT

Biden Administration

Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill AP

Will Monopolies Steal the Infrastructure Money? Matt Stoller, BIG. Throwing a flag on the Betteridge’s Law violation.

Democrats Quietly Nix Biden’s $100B for School Modernization From Infrastructure Package US News. “A 2020 report the Government Accountability Office released just at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic found that 41% of districts required HVAC system upgrades or replacements in at least half of their schools.” So much for fixing ventilation, good job.

New Dem Paid Leave Plan Eliminates Eligibility for the Lowest Earners People’s Policy Project

Joe Biden or the new Mr Trump? Camilla ‘hasn’t stopped talking about’ hearing the President ‘break wind’ during chat at Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow Daily Mail. Nature is healing. Musical interlude.

FAA refers 37 of the ‘most egregious’ unruly passenger cases to FBI for criminal review ABC

* * *

Federal appeals court issues stay on vaccine rule for U.S. companies Axios

Florida lawmakers want to ditch OSHA in fight over vaccine mandate Fortune

Investigations widen into deadly stampede at Houston rap concert Reuters. Poor crowd control, as we see here:


Was the FBI Manipulated by the Democratic Party? Bloomberg

Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election is a bigger threat to democracy than bad ‘Russiagate’ media coverage, despite what disingenuous hacks want you to think Business Insider. Well, I guess that’s where we are. Personally, I think we should center the marginalized voices on this one:


Democrats en Deshabille

Moms who voted for Biden explain why they voted for a Republican in Virginia (video) CNN.

Rural Democrats stare into the abyss after Virginia Politico. “Rural Democrats say the party’s problems on their turf are twofold: The party infrastructure is largely not investing money in those regions, and the party is not committed to any sort of organizing outside the confines of a brief window during campaigns.” Also, the Democrat base hates them.

Democrats brace for flood of retirements after Virginia rout The Hill. That’s a damn shame. The leadership will have to work overtime to install more Blue Dogs.

Republican Funhouse

The Covid War Is A Class War The American Conservative

The American Right’s civil war Unherd

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. Navy Relieves Commanding Officer of Damaged Seawolf-Class Sub Maritime Executive. Oopsies from the Seventh Fleet again.

Stealth Plasma Could Challenge 75 Years of Air Defense Strategy Interesting Engineering. Big if true.

The Shared Genius of Mahan and Corbett War on the Rocks

A Drone Tried to Disrupt the Power Grid. It Won’t Be the Last Wired

Class Warfare

Walking America: Orlando Chris Arnade, Intellectual Inting. Well worth a read, especially for Snow Crash fans.

The Second-Largest Strike in the U.S. Is Happening in New York City New York Magazine

As Strike Looms, UC Lecturers Raise the Stakes Labor Notes

Starbucks management in a tizzy:

California legislation targets Amazon, but all warehouses would be impacted Freight Waves. Interesting enforcement mechanism.

Early Civilizations Had It All Figured Out The New Yorker. Review of Graeber and Wengrow’s The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.

Landlords Didn’t Expect Tenant Would Move Her Garden With Her, Have Potential Buyers Walk Out Bored Panda

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    Re: JB and gassiness, I think that it’s a perfectly legitimate approach to ‘social distancing’, though I suppose that there are residual concerns about CV in the lower reaches of the GI tract and possible aerosolization via that route.

    A possible compromise might be to reject the gassiness route but reduce the frequency with which one bathes.

      1. JohnA

        There was the old joke about the queen farting at some big meeting. Like most things in Britain and the absurd deferentiality shown to the royal family, the queen is supposedly above farting. Just does not happen. Anyway, the first time she farts, an English participant in the meeting, coughs and says ‘I’m terribly sorry, please excuse me’, the queen farts again, and a Welsh participant, says ‘I’m terribly sorry, please excuse me’, then the queen farts again and a Scottish guys says ‘I’m terribly sorry, please excuse me’. The queen then farts yet again. This time an American guy speaks up, ‘have this one on me, ma’me’.

        1. mistah charley, ph.d.

          The older gentleman says to his physician, “I have been having a problem with involuntarily passing gas – surprisingly, however, these events have been noiseless and odorless.” The physician replies, “Hmm – let’s get your hearing and sense of smell tested.”

      2. Samuel Conner

        Go long N95 underwear liners and diapers.


        On a more serious note, I think that the reduction in face to face contacts, since the public pronouncements of early 2020 that encouraged “distancing”, and the adoption of remote working did have some effects on bathing habits.

        I seem to recall a meme, “going medieval”, related to this.

        I wonder if there was a discernible change in water consumption and electricity consumption for heating water, perhaps trackable through municipal utility billings.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        One almost wishes that the next person to be granted an audience with Her Camillaness will prepare for it by eating a couple of hours beforehand . . . a mixture of boiled cabbage, baked beans and some kind of cheese.

    1. Eclair

      Remember when Bush the First vomited into the lap of the Japanese (?) Prime Minister during a State Dinner on a visit to Japan? Front page pictures, if I remove correctly, although I may be projecting the images of my oft overactive imagination. He lost his re-election bid.

      1. The Rev Kev

        By the time Bush the Second came along, people could deliberately forget that he was once arrested for drink-driving (with his sister in the car) and spent the night in jail.

        And he won – twice!

    2. Samuel Conner

      > reduce the frequency with which one bathes.

      the thought occurs that we could do with a COVID-era re-lyricization of “don’t stand so close to me”

  2. timbers


    Am I correct in saying the only person charged in a any way related to Russian influencing/interfering in the 2020 election is….Hillary’s “campaign operative” who helped create the Steele dossier?

    If so the irony is about as subtle as a well thrown brick hitting your head.

    But there we so many charges, most/all unrelated to Russia I could be forgetting.

    Obama classified the dossier to elevate it’s importance before FISA Court – knowing it was false – as a pretext to spy on the Trump campaign. Will he too be charged and arrested?

  3. timbers


    Am I correct in saying the only person charged in any way related to Russian influencing/interfering in the 2020 election is….Hillary’s campaign operative who helped create the Steele dossier?

    If so the irony is about as subtle as a well thrown brick landing upon your head.

    But there were so many charges, most/all unrelated to Russia I could be forgetting.

    Obama classified the dossier to elevate it’s importance before FISA Court – knowing it was false – as a pretext to spy on the Trump campaign. Will he too be charged and arrested?

    1. Charger01

      Was it sid blumenthal from the Hillary campaign that kickstarted “the rooskies did it”? I seem to remember that from the “Shattered” campaign tell-all

      1. Cat Burglar

        At least we seem to have found the mastermind behind the pee-tape, PR Executive-1, Charles Dolan, jr.

        Being a Senior Councillor to the Atlantic Council points to where he developed his skill.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      From the “Was the FBI Manipulated” link –

      It’s been clear for nearly two years that Steele’s dossier was garbage.

      Short memory with these people. It’s been clear since the dossier was first mentioned about five years ago that it was garbage. The scuttlebutt at the time was that there was some “compromat” on Trump that was so ridiculous no “legitimate” news source would touch it. That went around for a while until Buzzfeed, which had less credibility to lose, decided to publish the dossier not because it was accurate in any way, but just so everyone could see what all the hubbub was about. At which point the “legitimate” news sources then seized on it as evidence that Trump’s election was coordinated by Russia now that the details were out in the open, details which they were previously aware of but wouldn’t publish themselves due to the extremely dubious provenance. It was quite the little racket the media pulled with that one and we didn’t any official IG reports to know it was all BS from the get-go.

      As to the 2nd Russiagate link, it seems not to have occurred to the author that Trump’s contesting the results of the 2020 election was a direct response to the Russiagate nonsense the media hammered for four [family blog]ing years. These woke ingenues who seem to have just discovered during the Trump years that not everything on the internet is true also presumably missed one the first diktats of communication over the interwebs – don’t feed the trolls.

      If the Clintons hadn’t refused to accept the 2016 results themselves (after repeatedly challenging Trump during the campaign to concede defeat if he lost in 2016) by pushing the false Russiagate narrative, there likely would not have been a reason to riot in protest of the 2020 election results on Jan 6.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it seems not to have occurred to the author that Trump’s contesting the results of the 2020 election was a direct response to the Russiagate nonsense the media hammered for four [family blog]ing years.

        Yep. Blowback is a b*tch.

          1. Yves Smith

            No, that is a straw man, which is bad faith argumentation and a violation of our written site Policies. I suggest you read them and adhere to them if you want to comment here. This is not a chat board and we are bloody-minded about enforcing house rules.

            It was the Hillbots and Russiagaters that were trying to change the Constitutional order, which is a more serious blow to our integrity as a nation than challenging election counts (although Richard Nixon held back from that in 1960, when it was clear that key precincts in Texas had been tampered to Kennedy’s benefit). You seem to forget Hillary calling for Electoral College delegates to defect, editorials even before the end of November saying the military needed to approve who became president, which is banana-republic-level. And Russiagate was a complete fabrication designed to undermine Trump’s legitimacy as President.

  4. Jackiebass63

    There is a lot of hype about the Pfizer pill to treat Covid. A couple of things could turn it into a pill for the wealthy. I don’t remember the exact cost , buy it is very expensive. If insurance doesn’t cover the cost only wealthy people will be able to afford it. In today’s health care system controlled by corporations, getting paid is their number one goal. That probably means they will have to be guaranteed payment before administering the treatment.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Just call it Pfizermectin.

      Oops. I used two syllables from the drug whose name is not to be spoken.

    2. Pelham

      What’s more, you have to take the pill within 5 days of the onset of symptoms. And I presume it would have to be prescribed by your doctor. In my case, that takes about a week. The math here isn’t working out.

      1. Objective Ace

        Just get it prescribed and have it on hand for when its needed. That’s what some doctors have been doing with the drug that cannot be names

    3. Mikel

      Everybody is just going to play long term effects by ear again?
      We don’t anything about what it will eventually become. Only time will tell.

    4. pjay

      If there are any NC readers who are not *absolutely incensed* at Pfizer’s miracle pill bull**t then I give up. I think they are just throwing it in our faces at this point, daring us to call them out. If there are any believers here I would love to hear your rationale.

  5. Tom Stone

    One heck of a smart gardener, and a good one.
    Since everything as transportable and not planted directly in the ground she’s on firm ground, but what you can take and what you can not take is not always intuitive.
    “permanently affixed” does not apply to chandeliers iiirc and some other things as well.
    Sometimes properties are listed with renters in place
    “Subject to tenants rights” andin some of those cases the buyers assume that things will convey that don’t and you end up with a lot of screaming and either a law suit or a dead deal.

    1. Martin Oline

      When I owned a bookstore the landlord explained it this way, “You get the curtains, I keep the blinds.” Because the ground rules were explained at the beginning, I made sure the bookcases in the center were braced to each other and not to the walls. I took ’em with me, which was about half of them.

      1. Yves Smith

        I put in absolutely beautiful bookcases that WERE braced to the wall AND ceiling lights, which under the law absolutely belonged to the landlord, and they made me remove them!

    2. JohnHerbieHancock

      I’m a little skeptical of the whole account… it just seems too perfectly one-sided. And a 25-year-old American with such good taste in gardening, and manners (and the money and time to do that) seems unusually exceptional. I say this as a 40-something American who spent his 20’s burdened by the time demands of a professional career and student loan payments. And I remember fellow grad school classmates looking at me like I was from Mars when I told them I planted some tomato plants and flowers on my porch, to have some green things around

      But if I am wrong, it would be reassuring.

      1. JBird4049

        It might be perfectly one-sided and it might be the landlords being completely selfish; even in a regular in the ground garden, there are often numerous planters, small fountains or birdbaths, and other easily moveable items; one would think that an owner would check with the renter on what she planned to do with the garden she created out of her own time and money. It is only honest and fair.

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      ““permanently affixed” does not apply to chandeliers iiirc and some other things as well.

      There may be quirks in some jurisdictions, but lighting fixtures that are hardwired and attached to the ceiling/wall/electrical box generally transfer with the property, unless the sales contract states otherwise.

      But this is all negotiable — if you’re selling and want to take fixtures, make sure they’re specifically excluded from the sale agreement. (or pull them out and replace them with something else before you start showing).

    4. ArvidMartensen

      As newlyweds we rented our first home in our early 20s, it was an old draughty noisy cold house on a main road. No carpet. And the landlord wanted to keep using the garden shed a few times a week to change into his prison guard uniform, so a bit weird.
      But, hey, 20 bucks a week! (back in the day)
      So we bought carpet off-cuts and carpeted the hallways and bedroom, without tacking them to the floor. We might have also painted some rooms. Put up some curtains.

      Then the landlord said he wanted to sell and we had to go. So we packed up, including the carpet and curtains, and moved. When the landlord found out we had taken our carpet, he was furious. Absolutely demanded! to know why we had taken the carpet.

      So we looked at the local paper and sure enough there was the house advertised for a much higher rent. Ok, a total family-blogger. So I called him and said, hey that house is in such a good location we’ll come over on the weekend and offer you even more rent than what you advertised. And then never turned up of course. Hope he waited. (no mobile phones in those days).
      Just a tiny bit of blowback from us.

    1. Pelham

      How about the NEJM’s conclusion: “We need to learn to live with these illnesses, just as we have learned to live with influenza.”

      Oh really? Nearly 1 in 3 covid sufferers end up with utterly disabling long Covid, which lasts for months, years or a lifetime. Let’s adjust that quoted sentence: “We need to learn to live with 30% of everyone on the planet being disabled and medically dependent for indefinite periods, possibly decades.” There. Fixed it for ya.

      Note as well that China continues to pursue a zero-Covid policy, the only realistic option.

  6. zagonostra

    >When are masks most useful?

    Probably not while riding a motorcycle without a helmet. A couple of days ago while at a traffic light in SE Florida, I see someone without a helmet but wearing a blue face mask waiting for the light to change at a busy intersection – the last place you would want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.

    Kind of like not funding hepa filters in old HVAC units in schools yet making kids wear face masks out on the playground.

    1. griffen

      Not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Freedom at it’s highest form of individual choice. Freedom to hurt like hell or be killed when swerving between cars (some do that on a rare instance).

      I’d suggest there is a bit of darwinism to this freedom in play.

      1. Charger01

        Riding a motorcyle is dangerous enough in this world. Without a helmet and crash gear its roulette with your life.

        1. The Rev Kev

          For those people that insist on riding a motorcycle without a helmet, I believe that ER surgeons call them donorcycles.

          1. Tom Stone

            Rev,when young I rode a Motorcycle and spent more on protective gear than I did on my first bike.
            And I got that gear at wholesale prices through a good friend who owned a bike repair shop.
            The owner of that shop is now my BIL, we’ve been friends for 53 years.
            He’s 75 and still riding, I stopped after two very close calls.

            1. The Rev Kev

              When I was younger, I looked around and noticed that every person that I knew (admittedly a small sample) who rode a motorcycle tended to have a limp of some sort. The smarter ones spent good money on protective gear which saved them all sorts of other injuries. My brother-in-law came off his bike when it slid out underneath him right outside our home but his leathers and helmet saved him. The bike, on the other hand, took months to fix up.

              1. synoia

                That was my experience, too. Coupled with an absolute fear of riding after I fixed the motorbike.

                After fixing my motorbike, I mad one test ride and have never ridden a motorbike again.

              2. jr

                A friend who rode cafe style bikes told me each one is an accident waiting to happen. I never saw the appeal, owned a scooter for a day and sold it.

              3. LifelongLib

                Decades ago I expressed an interest in learning to ride a motorcycle. My roommate informed me that his brother was a biker, and that he and his biker friends had all been hospitalized at least once. Scared me off it.

                1. Late Introvert

                  I had a (family blog) ton of fun riding dirt bikes as a kid, and I have several stories about accidents involving concussions, falling in pits, stalling on hills, etc.

                  The most fun was running from the cops who were in cars while we were in woods. But I will not to this day even dream of driving a motorcycle on the street.

              4. Tinky

                My first *real* job, while in high school, was as an orderly at a local hospital. Early on I saw a beautiful young woman who must have weighed ~90lbs., laid out in a bed with metal rods inserted throughout her legs and hips.

                Such an awful sight that it prevented me from ever considering buying a motorcycle.

          2. KLG

            Yes, they do. Right after I began my first faculty job I sat beside the head of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at a dinner for newbies. I mentioned to him that I was surprised the state was helmet optional. Yes, he sighed, the legislature refused to extend the legislation despite clear evidence helmet laws save lives. And money! We now call them donorcycles. Freedumb!!!

            Reminded me of what a libertarian faculty type (PhD in Biochemistry from a leading institution) told me about his penchant for riding without a helmet. Basically another “freedom,” to go along with his daily use of a common drug that is now legal in several jurisdictions across the country. I replied that he was mistaking a privilege for a right, and didn’t I have the right not to pay for him to sit in a wheelchair the rest of his life staring insensate out the window of his long-term care facility. His response was, “I never thought of it that way!” They never do.

            1. HotFlash

              Absolutely! Way (way) back when, a fellow student made his extra bucks picking up ‘donated’ organs and delivering them to airports for furtherance. He’d come to parties or whatever with his pager and when the pager beeped, he had to run. Good money, though.

              When seat belt laws came in (told you it was way back) his calls dropped precipitously. Not so many healthy young men donating corneas and such.

            2. Josef K

              Well, someone has to stick up for the .5%-ers on motorbikes, so I guess it’s me.

              Getting around on two wheels:getting around in a four-wheel cage::flying:watching flying on teevee. I think the poo-pooing and tsk-tsking of the cagers towards us riders reveals more than a hint of envy. Motorcyclying is safe enough if one gears up (ATGATT), and rides responsibly. Then the main danger in riding is inattentive drivers. Of which there are an increasing number, and in ever-bigger cages.

              It makes much more sense in every way to get around on two wheels, motorized or not; you just have to adjust to not carrying your living room with you everywhere you go. That’s the real obscenity, large cages getting 15MPG with one person in them–texting while they drive; that BTW mow down pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

              1. JBird4049

                It is all of the above. I have nearly crushed vehicles, pedestrians, and the two wheelers who refuse to obey traffic laws, or common sense, or swivel their eyes.

        2. BeliTsari

          Concurrent with COVID, NYC went kinda apeshit over e-scooter, e-bikes, electronic unicycles 22-38 mph; frequently on sidewalks, twisty hilly park trails… and of course, specious obliviousness & entitled obtuse narcissistic denial being our single most cherished commodity: no helmet OR a rock climbing helmet? Also, too: Drs Anderson & Rachel told vaccinated white folks, if they wore masks in bars, elevators, Ubers, Fight Club or choir practice, Tinkerbell would surely DIE, because… TRUMP!

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well . . . . as long as its not roulette with anyone else’s life, let freedom ring.

    2. generic

      I mean if I go somewhere I need a mask I usually put it on when I leave the door. Don’t really see a downside to not bothering with putting it on and off all the time.
      Also I’ve read the article and don’t really see the point. It’s not like you have to ration you masking time.

  7. Michael

    Buffet out of ideas?

    May I rec “change logo” and head for space. Or

    Develop drone capable of picking container directly off of ship and delivering to independent trucker in special zone outside of port politics.

    He’s had this problem for years. Times a wastin!

    1. griffen

      If he was a real life granddad, he’d send a check to every US household from his massive cash surplus. I think Rockefeller might’ve done that late in his life.

      More seriously, if it’s a giant hedge fund then I’m Willy Wonka. He’s famously known for a longer term investing horizon, and many hedgies / private equity just want to churn their portfolio over a 5 to 7 year timeline. I’m not defending Berkshire, but just making that distinction.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It is revealing that Warren Buffet is worth over $100 billion and could end homelessness in America with a fraction of his wealth if he wanted to as an example. And at age 91, what else is he going to do with all that wealth? But he won’t. Nor will Bezos with his $200 billion, Musk with his $320 billion or Arnault with his $200 billion. The several hundred billionaires in the US will never do such a thing and it is the desire or attitude of winner-takes-all that will be their eventual undoing.

        1. .human

          “Undone” by what?

          I’m reminded of a popular epitaph of the early 19th century:

          Death is a debt to nature due, I paid mine and so must you.

        2. griffen

          Well I must assume his children, and pretty much any subsequent generations extending into the future are all set. I recall about 10-15 years ago, he along with Billy Bob, er Bill Gates, established an organization built to pass their wealth onward in a broad philanthropic manner.

          In 100 years*, maybe there will remain a DQ, a Coca Cola, a Sees Candies, and a BNSF to transport it all. Seems likely the windfall / dividends would spread a long way.

          *Space expansion makes the franchise rights valuable up there, possibly..

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        “I think Rockefeller might’ve done that late in his life.”

        Late in life he was also known for pinching the butts of hot young women he encountered.

        1. Late Introvert

          Are there 100 million people not currently being well served by the rentier class?

          From this source, it would be 580,466, so not even ONE million.

          From this source, it would be 552,830, so even less.

          I’m aware that statistics are shaky in this area, let’s say 1,000,000 poorly housed people, suffering does not show up on the balance sheet by the way. The math there says $150,000. But that is really just a down payment.

    2. Samuel Conner

      It would be a rounding error in his portfolio, but I suspect that the company “Bootstrap Farmer” has a bright future and might be a profitable acquisition.

      Home gardeners who have not heard of them may be impressed with their durable plant propagation gear. It’s pricey but will not have to be replaced.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And here is an American maker of a deep compost pile mixing tool called the Compost Crank. ( I think it could also mix very super-deeply fertilizer and ammendments into the soil in the bottom of a planting hole, and I will get one for that purpose.)

  8. John Siman

    If you are actually interested in understanding freedom and political equality, as I am, I strongly suggest that you limit your exposure to the infantilizing noble savage fantasies in the late David Graeber’s new book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity and instead recall the true genius of the Enlightenment by reading the first chapters of Book 5 of The Wealth of Nations. Here, let me get you started:

    “The first duty of the sovereign,” Smith writes, “that of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies, can be performed only by means of a military force. But the expense both of preparing this military force in time of peace, and of employing it in time of war, is very different in the different states of society, in the different periods of improvement.

    “Among nations of hunters, the lowest and rudest state of society, such as we find it among the native tribes of North America, every man is a warrior, as well as a hunter. When he goes to war, either to defend his society, or to revenge the injuries which have been done to it by other societies, he maintains himself by his own labour, in the same manner as when he lives at home. His society (for in this state of things there is properly neither sovereign nor commonwealth) is at no sort of expense, either to prepare him for the field, or to maintain him while he is in it.

    “Among nations of shepherds, a more advanced state of society, such as we find it among the Tartars and Arabs, every man is, in the same manner, a warrior. Such nations have commonly no fixed habitation, but live either in tents, or in a sort of covered waggons, which are easily transported from place to place.…”

    1. John Siman

      In fairness to the late great David Graeber, I would like to add this email his friend Michael Hudson just now sent me on this topic:

      “The way David Graeber explained his major point to me,” Michael Hudson writes, “was his challenge of the easy armchair assumption (shared by Engels and many others) that hunter gathers were peaceful noble savages. David said there were many attacks, capture of women and slaves, etc. and that many early groupings were violent.

      “So he suggested that the Neolithic agricultural groups had FLED from these groups. In fact, flight would be a case throughout the Bronze Age.

      “As for the “inequality” of the Neolithic and Bronze Age – which certainly WAS there – there also was the foundation for economic equality in the sense of standardization – of weights and measures, land tenure, taxes, interest rates, and many prices (for palace and temple products).

      “So in contrast to the state being exploitative, it also organized standardization an equality. The first accumulation of wealth was public, not private as Engels thought. It was not “the family” but “the state” as serving a public function – ALTHOUGH kings and their relatives dominated the wealth concentration.”

      1. Donald

        So is your first post invalid or your second? Or should we just read Graeber so that we don’t have to rely on dismissive one paragraph summaries in blog comment sections?

        I haven’t read him at all and I am suspicious of noble savage myths, but I don’t think it is a good idea to tell people “ don’t read A”. You can never trust secondhand summaries of controversial political thinkers.

        1. diptherio

          The first one. “Don’t listen to the contemporary scholar, read this guy from 250 years ago who thinks his culture is superior and other cultures are ‘low and rude’ instead,” is not an especially credible take, imho. However, posting a rebuttal to your own take is pretty legit, so props to John for that.

          1. John Siman

            Read Adam Smith if you want to understand the potential of modern democracy & modern economics. I stand by that.

            1. jsn

              I agree, and I have.

              On the other hand, Smith made a dogs breakfast of “money” in the same book.

              Anthropology still has a lot to offer.

        2. zagonostra

          I always thought that Rousseau was the originator of the myth, “noble savage,” but I was coincidently corrected last night while reading an introduction to his works. Rousseau never used that phrase,

        1. The Rev Kev

          At the very least that is a confrontation being depicted if not an actual skirmish. I wonder if the placement of those figures is depicting an actual staggered formation with each tribesman having a “wing-man”.

          1. Susan the other

            NOVA last week: “Lady Sapiens”. It was really good. I have long wondered about those exquisite cave paintings in southern Europe dating back some 20-30,000 years. Because the “signatures” – the hand masks – always looked like women’s hands. And they have recently analyzed them and, so far, all of the hands are female. So that is an interesting example of voluntary social organization. And the UR of language – starting with the image. Probably brought on by the instinct to find a safe and hidden place to give birth (that would be my guess) because those shrines – with a pictorial reverence for life (most of the animals depicted are pregnant-looking) are all hidden well below the living quarters of the upper levels of the cave. There is freedom. Then there is necessity and cooperation.

        2. AW

          I have seen many prehistoric paintings; _never_ have I seen any painted on such bad quality rock. Looks like a bad photoshop job to me.

      1. Samuel Conner

        wonderful link; thank you!

        Here’s a money quote:

        “Anarchy and hierarchy are not fundamentally incompatible, as long as hierarchy is voluntary and participatory. Hierarchy must result from the delegation of power, rather than from its assumption. That delegation must serve a particular, well constrained purpose, and it must be reversible at any time.”

        We don’t have a reversible hierarchy at present, but it occurs to me that a comment yesterday on the “great resignation” (perhaps portending a hint of Corey Doctorow’s ‘walkaway’ vision) and the anger this has stimulated in financial elites suggests that the elites are growing anxious about the possibility.

    2. KLG

      100 pages in and enthralled. But I spent the best part of my undergraduate days taking upper-level anthropology courses in comparative belief systems and historical anthropology and the history of anthropology from a professor who was pure genius. Whatever you think of his work, David Graeber left us far, far to early. The slap at Pinker was worth the cost of the book ;-) BTW, I ordered this book from Blackwell’s (yes, the one in Oxford) at a moderate discount with shipping to the USA included. Arrived in about a week. It could be my imagination, but books printed and bound in Great Britain are better made than those “constructed” in these parts? Anyway, just another mechanism for weaning myself from Bezos, after 24 years. Ugh.

      1. eg

        Pinker is best ignored when he is opining beyond the confines of his actual discipline — which is basically all the time now.

  9. Cocomaan

    From the stoller piece on infrastructure: Moreover, there’s already a bunch of useful spending going on around broadband, it’s just not in the infrastructure bill. In early 2021, the first major piece of legislation passed in the Biden era was the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. (That’s the one with the tens of millions of checks for ordinary Americans.) That bill included $10 billion for local governments to carry out critical capital projects;

    Having tried to apply for some of these funds for a community organization via various grant mechanisms, I can tell you that these grants aren’t going anywhere fast. The process is a disaster. It doesn’t seem to use, which is supposed to be the portal for all grant funding.

    Grants, as a rule, go to the best resourced institutions, the ones that can afford to put together the complex applications.

    1. Nordberg

      We have a local non-profit that focuses on grant writing for rural health care entities and they specifically cite their existence being based on the already well resourced entities getting all the grants. How messed up is that?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        All part of the plan. Make money “available” but impossible to get with only bad actors gobbling up every where and accuse the program of not working.

        1. KLG

          I’m going to get flagged for too many comments in one morning. Must be that extra hour of sleep.

          As a grant applicant who has had some good fortune but whose overall success rate hovers at the Mendoza Line, this is very true. Basic rule of thumb regarding grant programs: Unless one-third get funded on the first submission, one-third will get funded upon revision, and one-third will remain hopeless for the duration, applying is a fool’s errand unless you are already a made woman or man. These really are clubs, and most of us are not members. I have served on and chaired numerous review panels in basic biomedical sciences. There is no way to objectively distinguish applications in the top third, but the narcissism of small differences, usually attributed to some aspect of something called “grantsmanship,” determines who gets the money nevertheless. Funny thing is, some people really believe they are in the top 6-8% required for success at the National Cancer Institute…Oh, and that one-third rule? Hasn’t been operative probably since the 1960s, when NIH review panels met to determine which grants will not get funded, as told to me by a now retired mentor who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

          1. Cocomaan

            Lol never heard of Mendoza line but that’s where I am in grants too. 100% agree with your post

        2. Mantid

          Just as with FEMA in southern Oregon and their resistance to helping people who’s houses and workplaces are ash and dust. And remember the formaldihyde (sp?) trailers after Katrina?

          1. ambrit

            We lived in one of those “formaldehyde trailers” for six months or more after Katrina. They were not too bad to live in. During spring we kept the windows open, so there was that. We didn’t ‘twig’ to the formaldehyde “problem” till after we had moved on up to a Katrina Cottage. [Those were excellent. We tried to buy ours and site it on the property, but the politicos added so many new regulations about building on the coast that we had to give the idea up.]
            The “formaldehyde trailers” mainly ended up ‘warehoused’ at several large “trailer lagers,” where they rotted. There was one conglomeration of the trailers at the site of an old log house factory company. These forty or fifty acres were plainly visible from Interstate 10 between Hammond and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As time went by, the trailers were visibly stripped for parts. I am talking of over a thousand trailers in one spot. There was another such giant holding place for the trailers next to Interstate 59, south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The sheer waste was incredible.
            Many such trailers were “gifted” to the Indian Tribes of Oklahoma to use as low income housing. Yet another of the White Man’s schemes to rid the continent of the aborigines.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Will Monopolies Steal the Infrastructure Money?”

    In recent decades a long held idea has finally died. That if you just worked hard enough, that you will be able to get ahead in life. That hard work and effort is always repaid. In America especially this was a part of the culture that went back to the 19th century and to a large extent it was true. But forty years of neoliberalism has finally killed it off so goodbye Horatio Alger. After reading this article, I think that it is long past the point where another legend dies off. the one that says that businesses are always more efficient and well run than governments. We have heard this for decades now which was used for justification to privatize functions performed by the government and have monopolies buy them up and run it at a level of profit which degraded that government function. Here I am thinking of electricity, water, postal services, etc. The examples in this article show that business are actually not only running down what they own, even when it is profitable, but that it has reached a point where it is degrading the actual economy of the United States. And all this simply to please a nominal Wall Street. So can we kill off this idea that business are always more efficient than government run enterprises now?

    1. Carolinian

      My impression has been that many long standing businesses secretly aspire to be like government–which is to say monopolies with a captive source of revenue and a laid back work ethic. In both instances it takes exceptional individuals to come along and break the mold. By this way of thinking America’s traditional celebration of individualism has been the source of its dynamism and America’s current cult of cancellation and conformity is the source of our political and social schlerosis.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is why you need corporate taxes. Expansion is the nature of the beast. Monopoly is the natural evolution. Taxes constrain the beast. The NFL cartel does this within its operation with salary caps and the draft. They don’t want teams to become what the Steelers or the Cowboys to be what they were relative to the League. Making other teams competitive was huge.

    2. Objective Ace

      >businesses are always more efficient and well run than governments

      I imagine this to be true. The problem is that no one asks the follow up question: “More efficient at what”? Only small fraction of the population judges the government based on how much money it makes. Most of us would prefer things like affordable heatlhcare or not having to worry about pollution and its effect on ourselves and our children

  11. Dftbs

    Look at the big brain on Noah! The Noahpinion article,and the cheerleading comments, on it go along way to reinforcing my notion that the west has no answer to China’s rise other than blind faith in its own failed path. There is a fatalism in this article, like a religious adherent caught in a fire who misunderstands theology and thinks faith itself is enough to get them out of a burning house.

    The impression of China and Xi’s competence is largely derived from the results of that system and his leadership. Each of Noah’s listed points of incompetence is actually a huge positive when evaluated by the overarching goals of the Chinese system. It’s almost as if Noah is victim to a perverse world view that limits his capacity to comprehend material reality.

    Noah claims that Xi is responsible for China’s slowing economic growth. He admits that this begun prior to Xi. But he scolds Xi for directing economic activity away from finance, that great engine of American “growth”, and towards industry; it’s hard to develop an argument to such an overwhelmingly dumb idea.

    Noah does a bit more projecting when he states that Xi’s actions have hardened attitudes towards China on the international stage. This certainly maybe true in the hearts and minds of Noah and his readers, as China has taken itself out of the subordinate spot they imagined for it. But the narrative of Chinese aggression doesn’t seem to stick across the bulk of the non-western world, which still sees the US as the greatest threat to peace. And trade data don’t indicate any hesitation to deal with Xi led China, even in the US which threatens China with war but increases imports to record levels.

    If anything the reality vs perception of Chinese aggression is a less important discussion than the capabilities of the US to do anything about this perceived aggression. Do we think China crushed democracy in HK or do we think they subdued a CIA guided color revolution? What does it matter what we think, what can we do about it? Do we think Taiwan is under threat of Chinese invasion or that it is being egged on by the US MIC to challenge the status quo? Again, what can we do about it if the Chinese act? All of these “unforced errors” by Xi are simply areas where Chinese power under his watch has grown enough that we have no recourse other than harrumphing.

    This attitude peaks in Noah’s evaluation of where the West doesn’t have any sort of answer since lobbing missiles isn’t an option, China’s Covid response. Never mind the death tolls, which should make this line of attack inert for anyone with an ounce of common sense greater than Noah. Instead he claims that the response is hurting the economy and creating social unrest. The Chinese economy continues to grow faster than competitors, and as opposed to those competitors it’s clearly growing in real terms. The latter claim about unrest is corroborated by an article about “on line” debates, very civil when you compare to what Covid has done to the social fabric of Western countries.

    You can always count on Noah to personify the big brain meme, and he comes out in force in this one. I’m looking forward to next week’s column, “What if Joe Biden just isn’t that competent.”

    Sorry for the rant, last thought, I would agree that the rankings are Putin>Xi, judging by the pot they have and the cards they started with. But I don’t think Biden, or anyone our system could produce would be at that table.

        1. judy2shoes

          Perhaps the worth of linking to Noah’s article is in the comments elicited, like Dftbs’s, whose analysis gave me much to ponder.

    1. Sean T

      Noah Smith is the dumbest smart person out there, like a dictionary example of Taleb’s IYI (intellectual yet idiot). That being said, Xi does seem remarkably overconfident. I personally agree with the whole wolf warrior take on the USA, but there is no benefit for a country like China to alienate almost all of its neighbors. Some of them, ok, but all? Russia is its only notable ally/friendly country. Sure Russia is no joke, but you would think SE Asia would be ripe for the picking, instead they are all afraid of China because of its actions in tbe South China Sea. The little border war with India was unnecessary and single handedly pushed India into effective alliance with the USA and Japan. China is very strong and very big, but not big and strong enough to take on the rest of the world combined.

      This might all be a moot point with a Trump return in 2024 effectively breaking the Western alliance, but China sure could be playing things more smartly

        1. Librarian Guy

          Yeah, I mean certainly nobody’s had the staying power over decades and been wrong about so much as Tom Friedman and his glorious Friedman Units for the Iraq war. “We’ll know in about 6 months” if it was the glorious success he predicted. How’d that turn out?

          I’m sure he was all in on Afghanistan too, for over the majority of the 2 decade failure. I’d wager a comprehensive, multi-volume set of Friedman’s wrong words would make David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” look like a tiny slip of a book.

      1. Darthbobber

        As far as I could see, the most recent border flare-up with India was as much India’s doing as China’s. And India and China have been consistently having such scrums for at least 60 years.

        As to China’s other neighbors being afraid of them, most of them aren’t exactly enamored of our responses, either.

    2. Pate

      Wonderful stuff. Noah be “imprismed”. He is an example of western “imprism-ment” (my wordsmithing so have mercy).

    3. Cat Burglar

      I thought Kremlinology was gone forever, but here we have Noah with a recent vintage! It looks like Xi is the only one on the reviewing stand Noah wants us to examine this November!

      By what right does he assume that Xi is an autocrat, that autocracy always means personal rule, and that psychologizing Xi ( Xi’s crackdown on industries he “doesn’t like”) is an adequate or accurate understanding? He refers to China as an oligarchy — why doesn’t he analyze it as one? He’d have to consider the power dynamics within the oligarchy that put Xi up as their exemplar, and to consider policy as their attempt to extend their rule and defend their interests in the face of opposition, and name the opponents. But that would lead our attention elsewhere than Xi, and Noah doesn’t want us to think about that — this really is an article showing us what we’re not supposed to think about.

      One of those things is clearly the actions of the Unites States and its allies toward China, and any consideration of China’s policy as a response. These aren’t significant questions for Noah — and that is the real message of the article.

      As far as the question competence goes, it also has to be answered comparatively. International relations may be more like being chased by a bear. The bear can run thirty miles an hour, and you aren’t competent to do that — but that’s OK: you only have to run faster than everybody else.

    4. Socal Rhino

      Michael Pettis is a much better source on China. He has mentioned the risk of competence not in Xi but in whoever follows him, given the centralization of power in recent years.

    5. NotThePilot

      I find myself coming back to Noah’s Twitter now and then, but mainly for his more playful posts, especially when he’s speaking from 1st hand experience. And the relentless rabbit propaganda. AFAICT, if you’re staying within the framework of liberal/progressive economics & history, he’s pretty insightful too.

      But I shake my head about almost everything he says pertaining to geopolitics, grand strategy, or wide-ranging history. He’s clearly not a dumb guy; I think it’s simply that he still hasn’t escaped being an economist. He universalizes too much, insists on interpreting things mechanically even if they’re more dialectical, and puts too much uncritical weight into metrics. For example, just in this article, the “backlash” poll he cites is literally just the US and 16 of its military allies, and even among them, Greece & Singapore (for very concrete reasons) aren’t that riled up.

      You hit the nail on the head too when you mentioned him failing to consider that the Chinese system has fundamentally different goals than an American economist / Bloomberg columnist. I’ve written it here at NC before: I’m not a Sinologist, but I know that in retrospect, practically every take I had about China was wrong before I learned a little about
      A. Legalist philosophy
      B. How much the “homogeneity” of Han China is a thin veneer over a wildly chaotic, centrifugal, regionally diverse society

      And don’t get me started on the Uighur concern-trolling that somehow justifies an unconditional alliance with Modi’s India.

      Anyways, I think the one time I did agree with Noah on strategy was when he was talking with people about a hypothetical, Left/Right civil war in the US. He thought that even if the Right started out much more militarized and tactically effective, they would ultimately sabotage themselves with lots of in-group, “We SpArTaN, SoOpEr-SoLdIeR” bologna.

      Meanwhile the Left, which still lives in wider reality (despite some shrill culture-warriors), would eventually win on logistics, planning, alliances, and sheer numbers. Reason #239875 not to be a bigot: bigger recruiting base

      1. dftbs

        I feel a twinge of guilt in starting the pile-on on Noah. And while I agree that I could often do without his “insight” I am grateful that our hosts at NC don’t exclude him, as he is representative of the dominant American mindset towards China. I think there is value in breaking down this analysis.

        This type of magical thinking, “imprism-ment”, and non-causal analysis pollutes nearly all strains of thought in the “West”. Whether it’s climate action that will be based on the market principles that got us here in the first place; the liberal notion of forcing a shot on people while ignoring the morbid reality of our healthcare system; or hoping that the Communist Party of China simply Forrest Gumped their way towards eradicating absolute poverty. All this analysis rest on the dangerously pathetic notion that our present system is natural and immutable; and so it requires no reform.

        I do think there is much to admire in the results yielded by other systems and world leaders whom we are told to look at as adversaries. But I certainly don’t wake up on Sundays itching to defend Xi Jing Ping. Unfortunately if our best and brightest are represented by guys like Noah Smith and his ilk, then it’s time to sign up for Mandarin lessons.

        1. NotThePilot

          Oh, I agree, I’m glad he’s linked to, and like I said, he’s not a dumb guy.

          There are lots of places I disagree with him but I can’t really say I’m definitely right and he’s wrong. But then he has these economist’s blind-spots where he kind of just ignores a point altogether, and that’s probably why I get frustrated reading him sometimes.

          I guess a part of me hopes he’ll have an epiphany one day, like reading Clausewitz or Machiavelli while on shrooms or something, and break free some of the mainstream economics.

          And as for Xi Jinping, beyond moral reasons like avoiding hypocrisy, I think one reason not to demonize or diminish what China’s achieved is precisely because China is not a cuddly panda bear. It would be a whole new tangent, but based on my understanding, Xi is not only an autocrat, but in a sense, the autocracy is the goal. And especially with the normal methods for maintaining that power in mind, Xi seems to be extremely competent to me.

          It’s a very philosophical sort of autocracy though, and paradoxically, it vehemently rejects several things I normally associate with Western tyranny, fascism, or totalitarianism. So the Chinese system may not be as menacing or inflexible as a lazy analogy to Western despotism suggests, but that also means a lot of people are underestimating how effective it can be.

        2. saywhat?

          All this analysis rest on the dangerously pathetic notion that our present system is natural and immutable; and so it requires no reform. dftbs

          Our present system is not even Biblical*, even though a large portion of the population claims to respect the Bible.

          *eg. government privileges for usury; eg. no limits to the concentration of land ownership.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats Quietly Nix Biden’s $100B for School Modernization From Infrastructure Package”

    Well of course they did. None of their kids go to any of these schools so why should they care? All their kids go to private school that have sky high fees to keep the riff-raff out and the facilities second to none. No collapsing ceilings and asbestos for them. If people want all those public schools repaired, then they should be prepared to have more bake sales and the like.

    1. Pat

      It is even more crass than that. None of those kids can host a fundraiser and/or bundle donations to them at a level they care about. Nor can they hire them for a huge speaking fee, give them insider stock tips, get them a high six figure book advance and/or a post congressional board seat.

      We know what they are, now it is all about determining the “fee”.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did the DemProgs know about this deletion? And agree to it? Or were they not told about it and are only finding out about it after they “passed this bill”?

      Someone should ask every member of the House ProgCauc that very question as loudly and often as possible in all the most embarrassingly public places.

  13. Martin Oline

    Thank you for the Walking America piece by Chris Arnade> I have not seen his work before but have subscribed to his future essays. It seems as though my future journeys will have to be vicarious due to my hips going south. His work will make a nice substitute.
    I recall a short-lived magazine printed in the early 1970’s titled Nomad I think. It was filled with articles by people who journeyed hither and yon, often in older vehicles which needed repair, and usually had communes as destinations. Not unlike the voyages of Further without the bus or the crowd. It introduced me to the work of Diane Arbus through a collection of her photographs. Today I suppose all such works will be available online.
    The Dawn of Everything is also “in process’ at my local library and when it is available I will read it. Thanks again for enriching my day.

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      A good read & Arnade’s mention of how pedestrians are not a priority reminded me of Bill Bryson the once honorary Yorkshireman ,commenting on that fact in some city that I cannot recall when a good while back I listened to the audio version of his book A walk in the Woods, which as you might already know tells the tale of him & a friend’s walk up the Appalachian Trail – I found it on youtube but it appears to have since vanished.

      I did discover however that they made a film featuring Redford & Nolte which I will check out.

  14. dcblogger

    In a 2020 research study, Invisible People attempted to dissect the general public’s views on homelessness. Understanding public perception as it relates to social matters is vital because in a capitalistic society, public interest shapes policy to a certain extent.

    We witnessed this in recent years when COVID-19 swept the country, and the government responded by shutting down businesses, leaving millions unemployed. The disgruntled public fought hard for safeguards – and received them. Stimulus checks were distributed expeditiously. Evictions were temporarily banned. Assistance – financial and otherwise – was ramped up to account for the crisis.

    Not Surprisingly, the General Public Thinks Crisis-Related Unemployment Should be Immediately Addressed and Rectified. But, What Does the Public Think About Homelessness?
    Sadly, according to Invisible People’s data, an astounding 60% of the general population thinks the leading cause of homelessness is addiction or mental illness. This means that most of the public is grossly misinformed about the most impactful cause of this ever-growing crisis.

    Note that the issues of addiction and mental health are deeply personal. Some might even point to them as flaws. Making the homeless crisis look like a personal flaw instead of a social failure has been the task of the media for centuries now.

    In an article produced by American University and published online by Newswise, researchers found that major media outlets such as newspapers and television programs “under covered, oversimplified and misrepresented” homelessness. In fact, one of the most cited “solutions” to homelessness, according to the media, is for the homeless person to overcome drug addiction. The least cited solution would be to improve unjust housing policies and systems that perpetuate poverty.

    As you might have guessed, the reality is the complete inverse of what is being shown on television. So, when 79% of Americans turn on the news or flip through the newspaper to absorb the minuscule stories on homelessness trickled out into the public like a water reserve, these readers and viewers are misinformed.

    Homelessness by Numbers: A Breakdown of the Actual Causes of Unhoused Status in America
    Throughout the past few years, we at Invisible People have tried to counter the harmful narrative that has been circulating. We have released several fact-based, data-driven critiques regarding the homeless crisis and the fact that drug addiction plays a significantly smaller role than you have been led to believe. As a point of reference, please see:

    Truth Talk: 74% of Homeless People are Not Drug Addicts

    Study Shows Lower-Income Status Does Not Mean Higher Rates of Drug Addiction

    How Homeless People are Misrepresented in Media

    The above-listed articles deal with homelessness and its causes through the people who are experiencing it. They lay the foundation to reinforce the fact that homelessness is primarily a housing issue. Human studies continually show that the leading cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. The three leading causes of homelessness are as follows:

    Lack of affordable housing
    That’s right. Drug addiction isn’t even in the top three. Yet, even with these numbers exhibited through countless studies, the general public remains largely unconvinced.
    In October of 2021, Executive Director of Housing Rights Initiative Aaron Carr provided profound insight on this subject via the following Twitter thread:

    To quote directly from the source, Carr led with the following statement:

    “Claim: Homelessness isn’t a housing issue, it’s a drug issue.

    Counterpoint: The worst State for drug overdose deaths in the United States is WV, which also has one of the *LOWEST* homelessness rates.

    Conclusion: Drug addiction is a factor in homelessness, but the lead factor is housing costs.”

    Herein, rather than examining individuals, we look at data related to entire states and then see where each state ranks regarding homelessness and drug addiction. It’s clear to see that West Virginia boasts the highest rate of deaths by overdose nationwide. Yet, it simultaneously holds the title of seventh-lowest state for homelessness. This could seem like a coincidence, so let’s expand the research a bit more.

    How States Rank Regarding Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Housing Costs
    New York is now the second-highest state for homelessness, according to Statista, yet it ranks 34th for drug addiction. The third-leading state for homelessness is Hawaii, which ranks dead last for drug addiction. The addiction rate is so low in Hawaii that Biz Journals claims it has “one of the smallest drug problems in the nation.”

    Then, what about California, the state most notoriously known for homelessness and currently holds the fourth position for highest homeless rates in the country? One might assume that surely California has a different record, but no… The trend continues. The sunshine state is actually 36th in Opioid deaths and addiction and 31st in overall drug addiction ranking.

    Fifth up is Oregon which OCF researchers say “has a disproportionately large population of homeless people when compared to other states.” Does it also have a disproportionately high number of people addicted to drugs? No. Its drug problem ranks 27th in the nation.

    Now, let’s examine Washington. It’s 6th for homelessness, 35th for drug addiction. Alaska is 7th for homelessness, and 14th for drug addiction.

    This trend is so strong. It seems that there would have to be at least one exception. There is. District of Columbia holds the top position for both homelessness and drug addiction. However, it’s important to point out that D.C. also ranks extraordinarily high in its rates for housing. In regards to drug addiction vs. homelessness statistics, research shows that D.C. is the exception. Therefore, it does not disprove the rule.

    If drug addiction were really the leading factor contributing to homelessness, we would undoubtedly see a correlation between states with high addiction rates and states with high rates of homelessness across the board. Yet overall, this simply is not the case. What we do see is a correlation between housing costs and homelessness. Here’s a look.
    States with the Highest Housing Costs in Chronological Order:
    District of Columbia
    New York
    Rhode Island
    States with the Highest Rates of Homelessness in Chronological Order:
    District of Columbia
    New York
    *Note that District of Columbia has the second-highest housing costs nationwide. Do you still think homelessness is a drug issue?

    1. Mikel

      I once said to someone, why is there hesitation to provide housing to someone who is a homeless drug addict, when so many people with housing are drug addicts?
      If everybody had to pass the purity tests that are put in place before considering providing housing to the homeless, the number of empty homes and apartments would be mind boggling.
      I received a blank stare, then some mumbling about people getting something for nothing.

    2. Nikkikat

      In California 2 or 3 years ago, a judge took on a case where homeless groups were suing various cities for not dealing with homeless encampments. The cities were ordered to come up with plans to get people housed. Most of them just raided the camps and forced them to leave. There was a very large encampment in wealthy Orange County. In a river bed there were about 4,000 people in tents. When the authorities interviewed people from the river bed, they found over 95% had jobs. It was also true that workers at Disneyland lived in their cars.
      They simply could not afford a place to live.

    3. Laughingsong

      Thanks for that. Inasmuch as any mental illness or drug addiction is associated with homelessness, it seems most people have it backwards: being homeless for a longer time can be the cause of mental health and addiction issues. The despair is bad and gets worse as one feels the scorn of the housed.

      Thanks for the link, I have bookmarked it.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps the public is going on its deeply obsolete memories of the “old homeless” . . . the evictees from the Reagan-era shut-down mental hospitals who never did get the promised “community halfway houses”.

      Perhaps a new term should be invented for the new homeless . . . . something like ” the New Homeless”.
      Human-interest feature stories could be run on every possible venue featuring the names and faces of employed non-criminal non-mentally-ill non-addicts who are homeless due to pure brute force economics.

      Enough thousands of such testimonial-type human interest revealing personal stories reaching enough hundreds of millions of people for hundreds of millions of viewings and readings could get the American public up to speed on the new reality of The New Homeless.

      After all, Hoovervilles were a political problem for the Establishment because people just like you, and you yourself and everyone you know could end up living in a Hooverville.

      Perhaps we should call the new camps of the New Homeless by the new name of the New Hoovervilles.

  15. cnchal

    > California legislation targets Amazon, but all warehouses would be impacted Freight Waves.

    “The bill essentially sets down two key rules and then builds mechanisms around them to make sure they are enforceable,” the Judiciary Committee’s report said.

    Quotas are at the root of the “key rules.” One rule in AB 701 is that when a worker is hired, the employee must be given a “written description of all the work quotas to which the worker will be subject, as well as what the consequences will be if the worker fails to meet those quotas,” according to the Senate committee summary.

    With that list in hand, another key rule can be invoked: that employees can’t be expected to meet quotas whose demands would prevent the workers from being able to comply not just with occupational safety rules in general but with permitted rest and meal breaks.

    No wonder Amazon hates this. Imagine detailing the abuse one is expected to endure working for them.

    “Amazon warehouse workers complain of relentless quotas and crushing workloads, managed through a system of constant surveillance,” the letter said. “To keep up with Amazon, Walmart and other competitors have been forced to also offer two-day and next-day delivery, leading to a dangerous rise in quotas and time pressures.”

    Chinese sweat shop working conditions, selling Chinese crapola with Amazon leading the way to maximize abuse of workers. Were working conditions humane, Amazon would be wildly unprofitable even with the direct government subsidies that they extort for putting up torture chambers and indirect government support by grossly overpaying Bezos to store their zeros and ones. A 150% annual exploitee turnover rate is an abomination.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    1. Mantid

      Cnchl, I think you’ve written this a handful of times ….. “Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist” Quite accurate and thank you.

    1. curlydan

      I’m all for discussing vaccine alternatives and hopefully promoting good and inexpensive ones, yet not a mask in sight in the photos of the indoor event hosting 800 people who were said to be mostly in the “medical profession including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others.” I hope the ventilation was good. At least the building looked large and airy.

      Multiple methods, people!

      1. Nikkikat

        I have seen this too among our doctors, nurses and other medical staff. We have a mass of medical buildings and a hospital. There are major buildings for cancer and heart patients. The staff is seen every day at the area restaurants and stores. They are mostly unmasked. Makes me very nervous to see these people who take care of my mother for several medical conditions flaunt masking.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: rural democrats

    Ive been to every UVA home football game, I’m not worried about crowds because it’s not a concern there, but as I walked around Grounds, I noticed around complete absence of UDem (we have to have our own name instead of YDs) tabling or doing voter registration.

    If they’ve withdrawn organizing from Charlottesville, then theyve pulled out of the towns and small cities across the state where turnout if not out right winning can flip elections. Then of course, the 50 State strategy was an outright rejection of Bill Clinton’s strategy of corporate giveaways to undermine the GOP and coasting.

    The Terry McAuliffe website has not been updated, but it doesn’t list field offices anywhere. I scrolled through the Facebook offering of a local committe with a all year office. There are two posts with local pictures going back to May, both pictures of two people seated, SEATED, at tables at events. One person in the Summer picture is sweating profusely. Again, seated. I mean that committed could have found 5,000 likely Democratic voters, but they are sitting. They did thank their field organizer. The metro area could easily demand four to get the work done.

    Money spent on field offices and organizers isn’t money going to James Carville railing about Wokeness when he isn’t feeding Republicans Democratic party strategy.

    1. Nordberg

      At the wake game, youngkin and staff were walking the parking lots asking for votes and handing out beer coozys. Did not see any such effort from the UD’s to counter. Too bad Wake lost to Carolina yesterday.

      1. griffen

        Contrary to the above, I’m glad that Carolina finally found a way to win instead of playing to not lose. They were able to outperform a high caliber offense. I like what the coaching staff at both schools are doing, long term anyway.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      People who share your view and support your understanding might well create for themselves a new embryonic political party in suitable regions and locales. They could call it the Real Democrat Party. Or the Rural Democrat Party. Or some other evocative name which they could all agree on.

      And they could do what the Populists did starting in the 1870s or so. Growing a painfully slow organic movement platforming a political party and moving toward accretive and accumulative power on many obscure fronts.

      And then avoid the fatal mistake of running jointly with the Official Democratic Party. That was the glass of sewage full of hookworms that the Populist Party did last time . . . when it ran with Bryan as a Democrat also.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “There Is Finally a Visible Way Out of the COVID Pandemic”

    The first line set the tone – and then it went downhill from there. So it starts of by saying ‘Probably we were always going to have to decide ourselves when the pandemic was over.’ Umm, yeah. Does anybody remember that time back in 1942 when both Germany and Japan – being at the maximum extent of their conquests – decided that World War 2 was over now so everybody can go back home. No, I don’t remember that happening either. But when it said that America must make its own plot now, I am pretty sure that this virus gets a vote as well. Sorry, but vaccinating kids down to 5 years of age is not going to do it, especially when they are probably more at risk of a vaccine reaction that the actual virus. And since when is parents concerned about life and death decisions for their children being “silly” and people are being odd about being “obsessed” about this?

    And Pzifer’s new drug is not going to cut it either. Not unless it will be issued to any person in America that wants it. This guy calls it a monster breakthrough but isn’t that what they said about Pfizer and Moderna? And this new stuff will probably be so expensive that you will need to be in the what, top 20%, to be able to afford it. And if he thinks that ‘the Delta variant and mass vaccination effectively fought each other only to a disorienting draw’, then I have news for him and it is all bad. Just wait till the next variation comes along next year. It could be a beaut.

    1. marcyincny

      “The first line set the tone..” and I didn’t read past it. Benjamin Wallace-Wells has no cred IMO since he got his whole family infected and his physician wife declared she was ‘so over’ COVID.

    2. VietnamVet

      The only way Pfizer’s new drug or monoclonal antibodies work is if treatment is within 5 days of infection with coronavirus. With roughly 40% having the asymptomatic illness, the only way to detect it in them is with testing daily or a minimum of every 3 days. The fully vaccinated must be tested too. They are only around 13% less likely to be infected than the unvaccinated. Their protection against severe illness also fades away in months.

      A duopoly controls the home testing market right now in the USA. Only those who can afford concierge medicine will be tested and treated (i.e. Donald Trump). Without a functioning public health system, the vaccinated who cannot afford testing and these treatments, who must work, need to continue to mask, social distance, and have workplace ventilation to try to avoid catching the virus in the first place.

      Joe-Six-Pack’s already shortened life-span will not be impacted by these costly therapeutics.

  18. Steve H.

    > Helium-3: The secret ‘mining war’ in space

    : Scientists say two fully-loaded Space Shuttle cargo bay’s worth of Helium-3 — about 40 tonnes worth of the gas — could power the United States for a year at the current rate of energy consumption.

    I did not know that.

    My concern is “China will” and “Beijing is charging” gives agency to states, where I want to ask “Who?” We know our villionaires have their eyes upon’t.

    Cui bono, cui malo.

    1. JeffC

      That “could” is pulling a really heavy load, since no one yet knows how to build the needed reactor. That engineering knowledge may still be decades out.

      —Capt. Obvious

      1. synoia

        To mine the moon, it appears more energy is needed to get to the moon than returned, for the foreseeable future (the next century).

        I read the article as an effort to avoid, and do nothing, about our ever approaching mass extinction from carbon dioxide.

        1. HotFlash

          Lotta work to get stuff up to moon, but getting back down is just gravity. Should be fine, as long as targeting is accurate. What could possibly go wrong?

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            FWIW, I’d take Elon’s engineers (two are former students of mine) over Boeing’s. But, I don’t get to make that decision.

  19. marym

    Re: Comparing Russiagate and No-actual-fraud-gate

    Trump cronies also “kept getting arrested,” but as an assault on “our democracy” serious Russiagate impact on the presidency was over before it started. Negative propaganda closer to reality than “the dossier” about Trump’s personal or business life wasn’t important to his followers during the election or his presidency. Trump and his family and administration didn’t inconvenience themselves by providing testimony or documentation to the investigations. Mueller and a Republican Senate were never going to end his presidency.

    In comparison, the Republican anti-democracy project is on-going: the long game of voter suppression; attempts by a president, federal and state officials, a national political party, and advocacy groups to undo the presidential electoral results; new state laws for voter suppression and undermining the electoral process; “prominent media/political figures relentlessly promot[ing] conspiracy theories;” and a Republican electorate believing only they and their votes have a legitimate place in Real America.

    Democrats don’t care if people vote either. For those who hope electoral politics can still be a factor in getting us off the current path to destruction, their complacency along with the Republican project is a more important threat to “our democracy” than Russiagate hysteria.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Wait, remember when liberal Democrats were trying to get “faithless electors” to override the results of the 2016 election? Indeed, Lambert coverted it here at length!

      Federalist 68, the Electoral College, and Faithless Electors

      So, uh, there’s that.

      And the threat of Russiagate is the cooperation or cooptation of our intelligence services to sell the idea that a sitting president is a Russian agent. That seems to my mind to be at least as dangerous as Republicans filing really bad cases in court to overturn election results, however odious that might be. One of these things is more dangerous than the others. And court cases challenging ballots and election results in this country is surely as old as American-pie and part and parcel with our system. Russiagate, not so much.

      1. marym

        I do sometimes forget they did that. It was disgraceful. Ironically HRC lost 5 of her electoral votes and Trump lost 2 of his.

        See my comment @ 2:21 pm re Trump already making claims about a “rigged election” before the 2016 election and soon after his inauguration, and his commission to investigate. Below are Trump comments from Election Day and from November 2016.

        I think attributing the project to overturn the results of the 2020 election to backlash to Russiagate would be like attributing Russiagate to backlash from Trump’s stand on “rigged elections” or to decades of Republican unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud

      2. flora

        Yeah, I remember that. I remember Hollywood actors in TV ads created by, I assume, the DNC and run in flyover states, featuring actors like Martin what’s-his-name from The West Wing. I always liked his acting. I liked that show. I liked it, that is, until the moment those ads started to run. I mean, if state electors got heavily fined or sent to jail for breaking their states’ long standing election laws, no problem for Martin what’s-his name, TV actor reading a script. He wouldn’t pay a price. /meh

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      ” . . serious Russiagate impact on the presidency was over before it started.”

      The most damaging impact of Russigate was not on the institution of the presidency but on the general USA political system because it very effectively served the Dem establishment’s efforts to distract the party’s voter base form thinking seriously about why they lost the election.

    3. Pat

      Not for nothing but as someone who has spent the better part of the last four decades watching the Democratic Party let me be blunt. That boat has not only sailed it has sunk. It isn’t just the Republicans who are anti-democracy. Just as they are less straightforward about their intentions, Democrats just don’t come flat out and say you don’t get to vote, they just try to call off the election and dump wholesale amounts of votes in the trash.

      Among the many atrocities of the Democratic majorities of the last two decades was they never moved to secure voting rights, not even when they had both Housed of Congress and the Presidency. I mean one might have thought that the first “Black” President might have wanted to do something like that, but similar to his concern about public spaces in Chicago his agenda and the public interest never met. It is, like abortion, judges, minimum wage, student loan forgiveness, paid leave, and healthcare, just something to use for fundraising.

      People voting, people’s votes counting, negating their votes and yes accepting that they didn’t vote for you are bipartisan problems. And NOTHING will be done to make sure voting rights apply to everyone and not just the right people by either party.

      I will continue to cheerlead anything that helps bring down Russiagate. That massively illegal fiction was a deeply cynical distraction to hide that our supposedly appalled elected officials were not opposing the actions of the Trump administration, but the person who upset their apple cart. But beyond that, in context, in the bigger picture It was also a massive criminal attempt to overthrow an election using false claims of illegal actions, that was easily as big an attack on democracy as January 6, especially because after it didn’t work those same claims were the excuse to undermine and attempt to remove a duly elected President. Cause you know that is real respect for voting.

      1. marym

        I agree with most of what you’ve said about Democrats, with a few differences.

        I don’t see Russiagate as being of less importance because it didn’t work, but because it wasn’t going to work, for the reasons I mentioned. It was as you say “a deeply cynical distraction to hide that our supposedly appalled elected officials were not opposing the actions of the Trump administration, but the person who upset their apple cart.”

        Any protest event can – like the Capitol riot – devolve into harm to people and property, due to planned or spontaneous provocation. The danger of the Capitol event is its place within the larger Republican project of nullifying votes and voting rights. Unlike Russiagate, it’s being designed to work.

        Criticism of the Republican disenfranchisement project is more credible and more illustrative of the danger to “our democracy” with the inclusion of the intentional failure of Democrats.

        Similarly criticism of the Russiagate project would be more credibile and useful if it also focused on the absence of effort by Democrats or the media to address material corruption in the Trump administration. That would open up the issue of bipartisan corruption across multiple administrations and levels of government.

        1. tegnost

          The thing about the capital riot is the security states unbelievable (literally) inability to keep it from happening.

      2. Regulus regulus

        If one believes the dossier was entirely a stitch-up job by Clinton’s team, then why the hell did they play telephone all the way to Olga Galkina in Cyprus for a document with initially a very limited circulation? Clinton can pay for prevarication right here in the states, stories about corruption and vice in Atlantic City, for example. Durham alleges it all came from a singular source plugged into a strange nexus of red herrings: Alfa Bank / Moscow Ritz / Prague. One person? Olga Galkina, worked for both a state-owned Moscow engineering firm and a tech company with a history making accommodations for the Kremlin, produced all those stories with enough verisimilitude regarding events in three different geographic locations to fool the FBI and DOJ back then. But today, the DOJ is apparently a crackerjack outfit, all because a phone call wasn’t made when a dude said it was.

        The Durham investigation relies on the presumption that the Hillary Clinton was hostile to US interests, to create a document to mislead the very apparatus much of the world was assuming she was going to control right up until election night, a document that goes to great lengths to color an individual already world-renowned for his avarice and philandering. But all the hues which correspond to foreign investment in real estate conspicuously absent from the palette.

        1. flora

          Book smarts or street smarts. The HC team didn’t look like it had any street smarts, imo. Mich and Wisc on-the-ground, get out the vote people begging her to come to their states to shore up the flagging support they saw? Her reply was “no”. She apparently thought the goog AI thingy was a superior guide to the voters’ preferences than local team Dem’s real people’s reporting from the real ground. My 2 cents.

          1. KLG

            IIRC the future (but never) First Gentleman and Former President was a major voice from somewhere in the Clinton campaign saying that maybe Robert E. “Robby” Mook had lost the plot regarding Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio…Say what you want about Bill Clinton, and I have said it all, but his political instincts and skills are approximately 6 orders of magnitude sharper than Hillary’s.

  20. Tom Stone

    I think the USA is close to a point where someone will “Kick over the table” out of frustration and anger at how unfair and corrupt things have become.
    It’s a well documented phenomenon and there are many thousand and perhaps tens of thousands of people with the skills to take down our power grids or otherwise destroy critical infrastructure and all it takes is one to get pissed off enough to “Burn it all down”.
    This mandate to vaccinate 5-11 year old kids is the last straw for a lot of people, if one of them has those skills things could get real interesting, real quick.

    1. flora

      I hope not. Joey B. has a new Patriot Act v. 2.0 bill waiting for some new alarm to push it forward. In the ’50’s and 60’s civil rights marches the word was “the first side to become violent loses” – loses the public’s sympathy and respect and support.

      That said, I’m glad I don’t live in San Francisco. (San Franciscans are probably glad I don’t live there, too. /;) )

      1. JBird4049

        A Patriot Act v. 2.0 to immediately and openly, with the appropriate legalistic covers, put in the security state’s requested improvements instead of the their merely fast and more opaque or camouflaged emplacement? But of course. Not to mention deliberately creating future business opportunities and appropriating federal payments to the right, connected vendors?

        I… see.

        I predict that the kicking over of the table might be a false flag operation if someone does not lose their temper in the next year. I can see the FBI finding members of the BLM or even some “renegade” members of the DSA through heroic “police” work trying to bomb Congress. Or would that be some MAGAnista Trump patsies fall guys supporters?

        Am I cynical enough, yet??

    2. griffen

      One can hope in one hand and wish in the other hand. Albeit, a more colorful analogy exists I am trying to avoid the comment being queued. This is a (family) blog! Next years mid term elections should be quite telling.

      I look ahead to a 2024 (groan) presidential race that will border on more insanity. Repeating the 2020 race will or could likely yield more of the same. But farther out into 2028, it’s possible a different sort of race begins taking shape. I don’t all the policy stances of the VA gov-elect; I saw one column label him with the white supremacist tag. But he fits what a next R candidate might look like; better than Trump and able to provide a stiff-arm to the lowest/basest Trump tendencies. I have no clue what the D candidate could look like. It isn’t mayor Pete or VP Harris, my humble opinion. Perhaps a one-term or two-term governor.

      Or that asteroid just finally hits at last. Making the above null and void.

      1. flora

        My red state’s lege Dem minority seat holders are running away from the national Dem estab and the B admin as fast as they can. It’s hard enough to win a Dem seat here without the national party hanging policy millstones around their necks. (The nat Dem estab shows up here once every 4 years to “harvest” donations and then vanishes.)

      2. John

        Taibbi called Youngkin the Delta variant of Trump.
        I hope not. Even though I know there’s worse evolving.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          Van Jones is responsible for the “Youngkin is the delta variant of Trump” quote, not Tabbi.

    3. QuicksilverMessenger

      But will it actually be a “last straw”? I live in Seattle. I don’t think it will be a last straw here. I think people are rushing headlong to get their kids vaccinated, at least the ones I know. And I think it will be the same in SF, LA, Portland, NYC DC, Dem strongholds. I feel like I’m out on an island. I have an 8 year old daughter and we are definitely in the ‘waiting at the back of the line’ path.
      I should add, though, that Seattle schools never mandated the vax for 12+ students and that has been available for a while. So maybe they won’t. We’ll see what Pfizer wants….

  21. Verifyfirst

    Idk. I’m about 90% sure there is no hope for the humans.

    1). Feedback loops–“One or two percent of permafrost carbon is equivalent to total global emissions for a year.”

    2). Then, US politics: how did the progressives not seize on this and demand it come out, if Manchin does not agree to support the second bill?

    Four Waste Coal Provisions Manchin Put in the Infrastructure Bill
    A review of legislative text shows that several provisions in a section drafted by Manchin’s committee would benefit companies involved in waste coal, which happens to be what the Manchin family coal brokerage specializes in.

    3). Covid–aside from all the other issues (not masking, etc.), there is the question of why one would assume the virus will mutate to less harmful forms, when all it has done so far is the opposite, and it is being efficiently bred for new variants around the globe?

  22. Tom Stone

    Last year my Daughter asked me to explain the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
    I told her that the Dems promise to spit on it first, and sometimes do.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      The Repubs don’t care what you think about what they’re doing. But the Dems need you to pretend they’re doing something noble and they need you to thank them for doing it.

  23. QuicksilverMessenger

    re the Nova Scotia outbreak linked to religious gathering.
    What I keep wondering about is is there any data about outbreaks linked to sporting events. Every stadium and every sport- college and pro football, baseball, soccer, now basketball and hockey- just packed with people and I certainly don’t see a lot of masks. Are there huge outbreaks in these areas? We kept getting warned about Sturgis etc, but these sports stadiums with the crowding and the yelling and screaming seem perfect places for transmission. Or maybe because much of it is outdoors.

  24. Roger Blakely

    The COVID War Is a Class War in The American Conservative is an interesting article for the anti-vaxx perspective that it offers on Federal OSHA’s new vaccine mandate. “Tyranny is fine, as long as it is enforced by human resources departments and not bureaucrats. ”

    Something else that we should keep in mind as we move toward living with SARS-CoV-2 is that the government no longer sees the need to fund the sick time. And we are moving away from the idea that employers need to provide sick days for employees to recover from COVID-19.

    At the same time, as I have been saying since the beginning of 2021, vaccinated people are getting surprised by the fact that they are getting sick with COVID-19 and that they are getting much more sick than they expected to get. They are not dying or going to the hospital, however, they are being flattened for two weeks.

    1. Maritimer

      “…putting an end to the Covid caste system.”
      One is reminded of the injustice and caste system known as Conscription, notably during the Vietnam Lost War. General BoneSpurs and the Delaware Creeper could tell you all about it with their multiple draft deferments and malingering. One of the features was for the wealthy to shop around for a Medico-for-hire who would verify their unfitness to serve. Today, just shop around for one who says he injected you. Oxycontin alone proves there are many such Docs for hire.

      So, for Covid Vaccination Verification and Authentication, I have yet to see that there is any secure and reliable system for who is and who is not vaccinated, even within a State. (Sales of saline solution are probably way up. Got Vax cards?) One would have thought that in this One-Size-Fits-All World, there would be a standardized Vax system.

      For starters, who checks all those Elite private jets coming and going every day?

      From that article, it certainly seems that Conservatives and Republicans feel there may be a lot of political advantage to be gained from opposing the increasing Covid failure, abuse and coercion. The price of doing the bidding of BigPharma, WHO, WEF, etc. may turn out to be very high.

  25. lordkoos

    Moms who voted for Biden

    Biden is an old-school Republican in all but name, so how is voting for a Republican governor a stretch?

  26. David

    On the Adam Tooze essay, it’s true that social justice (or IdPol) activism is increasingly being allied too alleged ecological concerns. It’s happening in a number of countries, but the most flagrant example I know is that of Sandrine Rousseau, who narrowly failed to become the Green Party candidate in the 2022 elections in France. Now I know that could sound like narrowly missing being picked for the Costa Rican ski-jumping team, given that EELV is running at about 6-7% in the polls, but the party is very popular and has a lot of influence, in what used to be called the Left, and in the media as a whole. Her argument is that global warming, and the destruction of the environment in general, is all the fault of white males. The “struggle against racism and sexism” is thus effectively the same thing as the “struggle against global warming.” So marching against “islamophobia” or getting more women CEOs is actually, in some magical fashion, going to stop global warming. (Apparently nobody told her about China and India in this context). It’s not hard to see how this could turn out: IdPol completely confiscates all environmental subjects, and, because the fate of the earth is more important that paltry questions of wealth and power, IdPol becomes the single dominant ideology.

  27. Jason Boxman

    So I grew up in Orlando, I’m embarrassed to admit. And it is as Arnade describes it. Although I’m amazed he walked anywhere for 20 miles. You’re likely to get killed by several cars during a 20 mile walk anywhere in Orlando, with limited sidewalks, and fewer opportunities to cross 8 lane highways.

    Orlando has little to recommend it, although the immediate Lake Eola area downtown is nice and a popular spot, and Thorton Park used to do art and wine walks monthly. But good luck affording housing anywhere near there. The Baldwin Park area is nice as well, but that’s a planned upscale mixed community, as you’d expect.

    A bit of history: Running through downtown Orlando is Division Ave, which in years past was the dividing point between white and black Orlando. Blacks to the west, whites to the east. When I was there, Mayor Buddy Dyer was heavy on the gentrification with large swaths west of Division getting built out with the huge sports arena, among other things.

    And it’s interesting how much drinking plays a part in nightlife. Once Disney opened their own downtown area with late night drinking, the Church Street Station area of Orlando basically died. (This was in the 90s I believe.) It was a scene with shops and restaurants, but people could drink later at Disney. So it folded. As a kid, my parents would take me to the arcade at Church State Station. (The Amtrak line still runs right through downtown Orlando there.)

    Oh, I see via the map he walked through Dr. Phillips area, then up 441(!!) through the poorer areas of west Orlando, to 50. I personally wouldn’t be walking Orange Blossom Trail, definitely not at night. But to each his own.

  28. stefan

    Tooze: “Though it is true that climate change is human-induced, it is not true that humans in general have that impact. It is the economic system and those who manage and profit from it who do. The epoch of crisis that we are in should really be called the capitalocene.”
    What Malm identifies is a far more comprehensive loss of intellectual bearings. Malm:: “If postmodernity is a malaise of amnesia and displacement – as though time and nature had in fact disappeared – we might think of the warming condition as a realisation, in the dual sense of the term, of a more fundamental illness or wrongness in the world.”

    1. Soredemos

      Seems like Tooze is trying to individualize the problem. As if there’s just a relatively small number of ‘bad guys’, eg fossil fuel execs, that if we got rid of the problem would go away.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I could not locate the items you quoted in you comment in today’s link for “Adam Tooze on Andreas Malm’s …” I am also unsure of the point of your comment. I found Tooze’s discussion of Andreas Malm’s recent books much more stimulating than usual. As for your comment, I am far less concerned by “malaise of amnesia and displacement” or “more fundamental illness or wrongness in the world” than I am with particulars. I agree that, yes, there is a “fundamental wrongness in the world” — but that observation has been blatantly obvious for quite a long time now. I believe today’s link was most concerned with actions to counter the fundamental wrongness. Have you an opinion about what actions might have a positive impact in addressing the Climate Crisis?

      I want to remain focused on what actions might have positive impact on the future. The idea that non-violent action is the only path forward seems more attuned to the needs and desires of the existing Power Elite, than in any way related what has lead to social changes in the past. The Climate Crisis seems only partly similar to past crises, and far far more dangerous to ignore. I believe the success of non-violent activism has been greatly exaggerated, while conveniently ignoring its context within threats of violent activism. However, I believe those who contemplate violent action need to study much more carefully exactly what kinds of violent action might prove effective. Violence against persons, even the repugnant and morally reprehensible, will not be effective. Violence must be carefully designed and executed to destroy property only. The specific targets should be selected to incur the greatest possible financial losses and pain on the Corporate persons bent on destroying our life and world, but ALSO carefully designed to avoid physical harm to any persons. The harm should also be designed to minimize harm to externals … like the harm in which the destruction of an oil pipeline could result — like the pollution a quantity of oil might produce in the area of the pipeline breach. The targets should be very carefully selected for their high costs and for the great difficulty in their repair or replacement. I believe a pipeline is not all that difficult to repair. The Patriot Act and the u.s. Surveillance State definitely leave me questioning the wisdom of claiming organizational responsibility for what are now deemed terrorist acts — which could lead to rendition and other unpleasantries. I believe future ‘terrorists’ need to avoid any and all ties to others, to organizations, and to any particular action. Martyrs are not what these times need. We need actions that leave no tracks, and leave large financial costs to the Power Elite.

      1. stefan

        Hi Jeremy. My quotes were lifted from today’s Tooze substack:
        I am a big fan of Adam Tooze, whom I trust implicitly. Tremendously hard worker. Well worth subscribing.
        Like you, I too am not sure of the point of my comment. Was simply noting a couple salient points from his summary of his LRB article.

        As an Army veteran of the Vietnam era, I’m not a big believer in the efficacy of violence. But by now I am an old man. Younger opinions may vary. I think I may have given up hope.

        At this point, I find myself identifying with the Chinese poets of yore, who sought tranquility in a simple life in the country. To that end, I live in the mountains of northern New Hampshire, where I cultivate my own garden. So I guess my answer is a mass exodus of workers, refuseniks from capitalism, in a quest for simplicity and self-sufficiency.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Malm’s work is instructive, brilliant and unsettling. His historical imagination is fascinating and inspiring. His arguments pose a serious intellectual challenge to complacent reformism.

          The extent to which they become an actual political challenge will depend on the degree of reformism’s success in delivering real progress on the energy transition.

          That is an historical test that can no longer be dodged. As am old-man … I am not so sure violence is without its purpose. I hope your simpler life in the New Hampshire country, and your distance from immediate threats, will prove of value to you, your relatives, and friends. I hope to find some similar peace. I envy your exodus to New Hampshire, and hope to soon follow your example with an exodus to upstate New York. Judging from your comment above — We are kin.

          1. stefan

            On the topic of hope, a few thoughts from Anna Semyonovna, a character in Vasily Grossman’s novel Life and Fate:

            “I’ve realized now that hope almost never goes together with reason. It’s something quite irrational and instinctive.” …“It seems that nowhere is there so much hope as in the ghetto. The world is full of events and all these events have the same meaning and the same purpose – the salvation of the Jews. What a wealth of hope! And the source of all these hopes is one and the same – the life-instinct itself, blindly rebelling against the terrible fact that we must all perish without trace.”

            “People carry on … as though their whole life lies ahead of them. It’s impossible to say whether that’s wise or foolish – it’s just the way people are. I do the same myself. … I’m taking care of one old man whose cataract it will be possible to remove in six months or a year. I give Yura French lessons and get quite upset at his bad pronunciation … I’m busy myself from morning till night. … I hear stories about the terrible punishments Jews have suffered … and then rumors, rumors, rumors … And we heard today, from a peasant we know who was driving past the ghetto fence, that the Jews who were sent to dig potatoes are digging deep ditches four versts from the town, near the airfield, on the road to Romanovka. Remember that name – that’s where you’ll find the mass grave where your mother is buried.”

  29. Camilla and Charles

    We in The Royal Family don’t break wind, ever. We have a strict diet of baby’s blood and Scotch. No fiber whatsoever.

  30. bob

    U.S. Navy Relieves Commanding Officer of Damaged Seawolf-Class Sub Maritime Executive. Oopsies from the Seventh Fleet again.

    At what point do any of the 271 Admirals take some responsibility?

    1. LaRuse

      Exactly. Because they didn’t just relieve the CO, but nailed the XO and the COB too. Why? If the collision is what they say it was (and uncharted seamount and not something like, oh, any enemy submarine), there is NO reason to whack the XO or the COB. I know the CO gets relieved when anything this serious happens – he’ll get reassigned in a few months or a couple of years. But at some point, a HARD look needs to be taken on the Admirals and the entire administrative staff of the 7th. Constantly whacking the senior officers with real, day to day experience of running a boat is only going to deplete good leaders when really, the root cause is probably sitting inside the 395 Beltway somewhere in an office.

    2. griffen

      There was also a link yesterday, detailing some of the damage done to the bow and also the sonar array. Expensive sub means expensive repairs. I know next to little about submarine ops, and quite honestly consider those films about nuclear submarines quite interesting to a landlubber.

      If we have issues like this negotiating the vast underseas, what the heck are we doing with a fairly new branch of the US military (Space force). Not a rhetorical question. Just defies logic.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was reading an article yesterday about a French sub being put back into commission after a massive fire. It burnt out the whole front of the sub but leaving the engines and machinery OK in the rear. So the French cut off the burnt out front end, took the front end of another de-commissioned sub, and welded them together so now that sub is back in commission.

      1. flora

        ha! D’Oyly Carte is great. Thanks.

        “And I polished up the handle of the big front door
        chorus: He polished up the handle of the big front door

        I polished up that handle so carefully
        That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy

        chorus: He polished up that handle so carefully
        That now he is the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy”

  31. Pat

    So the legal battle to overthrow the vaccine mandate has truly started.

    Do we know the odds of the stay being kept in effect until every case is heard? That could be years…

    (I am sure Roberts is cursing up a storm…)

  32. Soredemos

    >Investigations widen into deadly stampede at Houston rap concert Reuters. Poor crowd control, as we see here

    Oh, it’s so much worse than just poor crowd control. Travis Scott may be the dumbest dude in all of rap, and his fans are probably the dumbest fans in all of music. He’s been actively encouraging this kind of ‘rush security to get into the show’ behavior for years. There was even footage of it from past shows in the official trailer for this Astroworld concert (and you can be sure that fact will by front and center for the inevitable lawsuits). He combines deliberately stoking inflated crowds with deliberately understaffing security at his shows both to save money, and because he *wants* this kind of behavior in his fanbase.

    Scott and management let the show continue for forty minutes after the city notified management of the first deaths. Scott could clearly see the ambulance golf carts trying to get through the crowd (which many in the crowd thought was hilarious, and which they actively blocked and climbed on top of), but kept going. An unconscious guy was carried over the crowd literally right in front of Scott, and all he did was stare, repeat “yeah…yeah…” like a mantra for a while, before starting another track.

  33. David

    I couldn’t get through the paywall to read most of the article about China and Ethiopia, in spite of several attempts, but I’m going to use it nonetheless, to make a couple of points about things to watch for over the next year.

    In the short term (and I know this sounds like yet another country to worry about, and it is) keep a very close eye on Ethiopia. It’s gone from a stable, if somewhat autocratic, society, to a potential regional catastrophe in only a couple of years. The long rule of the EPRDF, after the overthrow of the Dergue regime in 1991, wasn’t always popular, especially with western human rights groups and international institutions, but its complex federal system gave the country a lot of stability and allowed development and progress. Addis Ababa was a functioning modern city with its own light railway system, some of it underground. All this has been thrown away since 2018, with the arrival in power of Abiy Ahmed in 2018 (young, western educated, technocrat blah blah) who either provoked or stumbled into (depending on your point of view) a major crisis which has turned into a civil war. The EPRDF was dominated by Tigrayans, as the war against the degree was, and what seems to have started as a bid to reduce their influence and undermine the autonomy of Tigray has now got out of control. Abiy was an Omoro, and leader of that faction within the EPRDF. You don’t mess with the Tigrayans, and there are signs that they might now be preparing to move on the capital itself. Ethiopia is the seat of the African Union, previously an island of stability in a violent region, and an apparent proof that large numbers of ethnic groups and religions could co-exist peacefully. With a population of 120 million and one of the three or four largest economies in Africa, if it comes apart there’s going to be real trouble. Add it to your list of Things to Worry About in 2022. Here, by the way, is a good short explainer from the International Crisis Group.

    Given all that, it’s hardly surprising that the Chinese have invested so much time and effort in Ethiopia, including constructing the new African Union building (generously provided with surveillance material, no doubt). Like everyone else, they assumed stability would endure, and it’s not clear what they are going to do now, and whether their previous emphasis on soft power will give way to something else.

  34. Carolinian

    Re Biden and Camilla–seems somewhat ironic that Biden should himself be a methane source at the climate summit.

    Not that anyone would ever make jokes about such a thing.

  35. lordkoos

    Apple’s new iphone screen repair — “The new iPhone 13 completely disables its flagship Face ID functionality when you replace its screen. We have confirmed this repeatedly in our lab, testing with many different phones on iOS 15 and 15.1, and our results have been replicated by numerous repair professionals.”

    I guess I’m out of touch with what people want in a smart phone — I would view disabling facial recognition as a definite plus. It’s not like it’s so arduous to use your fingerprint.

  36. NotThePilot

    Re: Record fundraising by a nuclear fusion start-up

    I know someone yesterday mentioned how nuclear fusion seems to be one of those technologies that’s always 30 years away. NC seems to have several people with a physics / energy background so I’d like to ask the collective mind: Do you think net-positive fusion energy will ever be feasible? And if so, when?

    I’ve come to my own weird opinion, but I’ve only studied a little formal physics beyond the introductory college level. So it’s only 1 or 2 levels above crackpot tops.

    1. Glen

      Honestly, I have not kept up on the development of nuclear fusion once my job moved me out of the national labs arena so bear in mind that my opinion is somewhat dated, but my snap opinion is that we are making progress, but only to the extent that instead of “we are permanently thirty years away”, I would say “we are permanently twenty years away”. I will use this as a prod to get more up-to-date.

      Do I think it is feasible? Yes, the Sun seems to work just fine. Do I think it is possible, and practicable? Well, with that question, we’re deep into the physics, and more importantly, the engineering, and the economics/politics.

      Remember that the huge expenditures required to develop nuclear energy were only started as a deadly race in a winner-take-all war, and later development pushed as part of the cold war in the what economic/political system will prevail. Are the elites that decide our economic/political priorities calling the current world situation similar to WW2 in it’s dire necessity to prevail? Look at COP26 and the answer is pretty obvious: blah, blah, blah.

      But do I think this research is necessary, vital, and should be increased? Yes, now more than ever. Why is that? Well, let’s take a couple steps back and look at what we’re really talking about.

      Our solar system is a “closed system”. All the energy in the system started in a fusion reaction in the Sun (this is not completely true as you can argue that some of the energy we obtain comes from nuclear reactions from material which might not have been cooked up in our Sun, but still a sun, somewhere.) So once you figure out how to put a Sun in a bottle, you can get very serious about exploring or leaving our Solar System. Now again, the details on how to do this would consume massive resources to develop and execute, but at least it becomes a viable subject to discuss doing.

      So, the short answer, yes we could do it, but not enough $hit has hit the fan for the powers that be to prioritize it in a realistic manner. It requires another Manhattan Project level of effort to get it done.

  37. Mikel

    So help me out here…I was scanning an article about the infrastruture bill and saw this little nugget:

    Under line items: How will spending be paid for?
    States returning unused federal unemployment supplement: $53 Billion.
    (this site doesn’t have a lot of blocks from reading, but mainly useful for getting the basics of some economic news stories)

    One narrative that persists is that there are so many people flush with unemployment benefits that they’ve stopped looking for work?

    In this proposal, it looks as though billions were never used.

  38. drumlin woodchuckles

    So . . . Camilla-poo had to endure the unendurable torture of hearing President Biden break wind after wind after wind?

    O the humanity!

    tragic . . . .

    Not that I would ever rise to travel in those social circles , but if I did I think I would visit a joke and novelty store first, and see if they had a tiny pocket-version of a woopie-cushion . . . . maybe a self-squeezing one which would give voice every few seconds to a minute.

    It would be loads of laughs. And give the camillas something to talk about.

    ” It wasn’t me! Uh. . Uh . . . the dog diddit!”

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I thought the Bidens sent their dogs to the farm because they kept biting people? (Or maybe it was to Dr. Fauchi?)

  39. drumlin woodchuckles

    “Rural Democrats stare into the abyss after Virginia”.

    Maybe they should form themselves a new Party. Maybe they should call it . . . the Real Democrat Party.
    ” We are the Real Democrats”. To. . you know . . . rub the DLC Democrats’s nose in it.

    They could do their own organizing and their own fundraising in their own areas. They could run their own people for every appropriate office and start learning how these things are done. If the Democratic Party threatens to sue them for copyright infringement or trademark violation or whatever, they could say ” Sue us, please! We need the publicity.”

    They will know they are becoming successful and attracting attention if the DLC Clintobamas try infiltrating DLC Clintobama-tainted or Clintobama-associated or Clintobama-adjacent agents into their new emerging Real Democrat Party. At that point, they will need a very strong Intelligence/Counter-intelligence Party Bureau to detect and exclude all such would be agents and infiltrators.

  40. lance ringquist

    the problem with the politico piece on rural folk is that i vacation in a rural town away’s away from the mpls./st.paul metro complex.

    been vacationing in that area for almost four decades. that small city of about 3,000 residents had five small factories, a grain elevator, a pharmacy. 2 hardware stores, and three full time restaurants, and a creamery.

    by about 2002, the grain elevator went, the pharmacy went, all five factories went, only one hardware store left, and only two restaurants open only part time, the nice one went under, and the creamery is gone.

    in that small city now i see what i see in the twin cities in many areas, men standing on street corners with their hands in the pockets, face looking downwards.

    that whole area including its major cities of duluth are going red as the factories and all of the other service parts that lived off of those factories, headed for mexico and nafta billy clintons free trade utopia communist china, or went out of business.

    republicans win all of the time, all through out the area, which was so solid democrat since the new deal, that the democrats thought they had a forever lock on it.

    so the author ignores the damage that might not be reverseble by ignoring the policies that nafta democrats pounded into this country.


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      One might well mock Bill Clinton with a changeup to his saying . . .

      Its not the economy, stupid. Its the stupid economy.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Thank you for the kind words. Feel free to use it if/when/where appropriate and see if others agree.

  41. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a story offering some clarifying information about Mr. Munger’s design for the Stalag Munger dorm at Santa Clara University.

    He gave the University a bunch of money for a student housing project with the stipulation they had to use his design or they’d lose all the money. A billionaire can do that when a University is short of money after several decades of Great Tax Revolt by the citizens of California leading to downfunding of the colleges and universities, I guess.

    Anyway, assuming Santa Clara builds Stalag Munger exactly as Munger designed it, one hopes it stands empty and unused and vacant for ever and for ever. A historical sign can be erected calling the building ” Santa Clara’s Folly”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That place would become a death trap in a raging fire. Those dorm rooms would quickly fill with smoke and I bet that there would be no plans to vent them in case things went south because the capability would not be there to do so. They should call it Munger’s Folly instead. His next building will probably be filled with those torpedo tube style rooms that you see in Asia.

      1. lance ringquist

        all building codes will be ignored by the nafta democrats, rich driven philanthropy(a scam)is a nafta democrat wet dream.

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