Links 1/2/2022

Should Pluto be a planet again? The debate rages on NBC

Global stocks deliver third year of double-digit gains FT

Trading the metagame Cobie. Crypto. Meanwhile (dk):

One understands the enthusiasm for crypto. In certain quarters.

The easy part is over’: uncertainty looms after world economy’s Covid rebound FT


County Sheriff says 991 structures destroyed in Marshall Fire southeast of Boulder, Colorado Wildfire Today and The Return of the Urban Firestorm New York Magazine

How do you make a movie about a hyperobject? High Country News. Don’t Look Up

Where Parents Can Get Help with Climate Anxiety Wired. If anxiety is the problem, performativity is the solution. And here we are!


This week Omicron and COVID left Australians taking a big cognitive leap, as surge takes us to new ground ABC Australia. “Cognitive leap”:

We’re so far beyond COVID-zero that Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said it baldly this week: infection with COVID-19 was required for the pandemic to evolve to be endemic — a constant presence in our lives.

“Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary,” he said on Thursday..

“In order for us to go from the pandemic phase to an endemic phase, the virus has to be widespread.”.

That’s a big cognitive jump for Australians — and there’s no going back.

Open advocacy of democide isn’t the first function that comes to mind for a “Chief Health Officer.” But perhaps I am old-fashioned in my thinking.

* * *

Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant within Tightly Monitored Isolation Facility, New Zealand (Aotearoa) (early release) Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC. Important. I have helpfully underlined the mushy bits:

Until recently, the principal route of COVID-19 transmission was thought to be through respiratory droplets (4; J.C. Palmer et al., unpub. data, Droplets are larger respiratory particles that fall quickly and thus disperse over short distances of generally <2 meters (6 ft) (2,4). However, evidence is emerging that the dominant route of COVID-19 transmission might in fact be airborne, through respiratory aerosols (4).


The article is from Volume 28, Number 3—March 2022 of MMWR. All but one of the authors are from New Zealand (i.e., none from CDC). The incident took place on July 16, 2021. Here is an article from Nature in July 2020 showing hallway transmission in a different venue via aerosols, to which we linked. Given what we know of the CDC’s molasses-like copy-editing process, one can only wonder how long this paradigm-shifting and life-saving article sat on somebody’s desk, and what obstacles this aerosol paper faced on the way to publication. And speaking of obstacles, I searched on a sentence from the article. Here is the Google result:

Here is the DuckDuckGo result:

The Marivi Post, Google’s single hit, is located in Malawi; the hit is a reprint of the CDC piece they seem to have picked up off the wires. Google, unlike DuckDuckGo, doesn’t have a hit for the original CDC piece. I can’t believe Google doesn’t crawl the CDC, so one can only speculate why the there’s no CDC hit. Doing so freely, could it be that whoever handles a CDC whitelist for Google is on vacation or….. out sick? Whether in Atlanta, Mountain View, or both?

School Ventilation: A Vital Tool to Reduce COVID-19 Spread (PDF) Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. From May 21, still germane (and contemporaneously recommended by alert reader antidlc). From the Conclusion: “Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can be reduced by improving ventilation. Federal funds are now available to enable schools to make the needed changes. These changes will make our schools healthier during the current pandemic.” So far as I can tell, this report has been ignored, certainly by CDC and the Administration. Perhaps local schools have nevertheless taken advantage of the Federal funding (hopefully not being defrauded in the process).

Opinion: To stop the pandemic, remove the invisible air bridge Editorial Board, WaPo. “The contagious delta and omicron variants need the air bridge to leap from person to person. Whether through better mechanical ventilation or throwing open the windows, an important way to fight the pandemic is to make the indoors more like the outdoors.”

* * *

The blame cannons need to be captured and turned around:

(A detailed thread on various respirators, with testimonials, from the same account.)

Here’s what it’s like inside the Chicago-area factory aiming to end US overreliance on Asia’s PPE production CNN. Among other things the former guy bequeathed to Biden (vaccines) was the Operation Warp Speed business model. So why in the name of all that is holy didn’t the Biden administration use that business model for masks and test kits?

There’s no mask shortage. You can buy certified N95s for $1 Fast Company. Project N95.

N95 Respirator Cleaning and Reuse Methods Proposed by the Inventor of the N95 Mask Material Journal of Emergency Medicine. From 2020, still germane. One wonders if this, too, is clogging up CDC’s publication pipeline….

* * *

Fact check: CDC is withdrawing its PCR COVID-19 test, but not because it confuses viruses USA Today (Furzy Mouse). It’s not fair to imply that CDC has been wrong about everything. Everything important, I grant, but not everything.

Swabbing tips (dk):

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England (PDF) UK Health Security Agency. On hospitalization in the UK:

This report has been published to share the detailed variant surveillance analyses which contribute to the Omicron risk assessment. This specialist technical briefing contains early data and analysis on emerging variants and findings have a high level of uncertainty.

Two studies have been undertaken which examine the association between both variant and vaccination status and risk of hospitalisation. Study 1 is based on a larger dataset, approximately half a million Omicron cases, because it includes all cases diagnosed in the community and in the first day of hospital admission, and all age groups. Study 2 uses a smaller dataset because it is restricted to symptomatic cases diagnosed in the community, followed by a hospital admission, in part to reduce the impact of cases where coronavirus (COVID-19) is incidental to the admission but detected on routine hospital admission screening. It is restricted to ages 18 and over.

The previous finding of reduced overall risk of hospitalisation for Omicron compared to Delta is confirmed by the updated Study 1. In addition, both studies find a substantial reduction in risk of hospitalisation for Omicron cases after 3 doses of vaccine compared to those who are unvaccinated, with overlapping estimate ranges. Both studies have been run on relatively small numbers of hospitalised cases and will require iteration. Despite the estimated reduction in hospitalisation risk and preserved vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation, the very high number of Omicron cases means that there may still be large numbers of admissions to hospital.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution on Mental Health Outcomes NBER. From the Abtract: “We estimate that COVID-19 vaccination reduces anxiety and depression symptoms by nearly 30%. Nearly all the benefits are private benefits, and we find little evidence of spillover effects, that is, increases in community vaccination rates are not associated with improved anxiety or depression symptoms among the unvaccinated…. The economic benefit of reductions in anxiety and depression are approximately $350 billion.”

Business scents opportunity for use of Covid sniffer dogs in UK FT. About time.


Locked down in China’s Xi’an amid coronavirus outbreak, residents subsist on deliveries of vegetables WaPo. Oh, the humanity! The only vegetable this country can deliver is Joe Biden’s brain. (Sorry. I had to do it.)

China urged to sharpen rare earths edge in race with the US South China Morning Post


Huge explosives cache seized near Myanmar border in Mizoram The Hindu. Hmm.

Child marriages in Asia rise as COVID drives more into poverty Nikkei Asia

The Koreas

South Korea ‘effectively’ reaches agreement with US to end Korean war The Hill

The New Political Cry in South Korea: ‘Out With Man Haters’ NYT. Commentary:

Lee Jun-seok.

Who’s the richest member of Girls on Top, K-pop’s new supergroup? Net worths, ranked – from Aespa’s chart-topping hits and Red Velvet’s brand endorsements, to Boa’s millions South China Morning Post


Why Israel Hates Gaza Foreign Policy

New Cold War

Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official on President Biden’s Call with President Putin of the Russian Federation (transcript)

Five key takeaways from latest Putin-Biden call RT

An Existential Threat to Europe’s Security Architecture? Anatoly Antonov, Foreign Policy

Biden Administration

Biden’s first year in foreign policy was a master class in continuity Responsible Statecraft

Buttigieg, FAA chief request delay in 5G rollout over airlines’ concerns The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

How Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Gwyneth Paltrow Short-Circuit Your Ability to Think Rationally Bloomberg. Rhetorical analysis (!), starting (footnote one) with one of my favorites: paralipsis.

Realignment and Legitimacy

How to Prevent a Coup in Washington Bracing Views. On “warrior ethos” and authoritarian followership generally, see NC here and here (from 2012, not so bad).

Mass Formation Psychosis Who Is Robert Malone. This earworm seems to be getting a lot of play. Accepting the concept for the sake of argument, there’s rather a lot of it about:

2021 Year in Review: Crisis of Authority and the Age of Narratives Peak Prosperity

Funny, but true?

I believe it’s not true. I believe — hopefully — that the level of creativity at the “grass roots” level is as great or greater than it has even been. The issue is gatekeeping rentiers who won’t allow creativity to flourish, or actively seek to suppress it.

Why New York City Is Endlessly Covered in Scaffolding Laughing Squid. To protect against collapsing facades is a little too on-the-nose….

New Year’s Post-Game Analysis

Good riddance to bad rubbish?

Scientists Try, Fail to Find a DIY Hangover Cure That Actually Works Gizmodo

Guillotine Watch

If it ain’t baroque, fix it:

I mean, if wretched excess is a thing one must have, can’t we do better?


Class Warfare

Billionaires Should Not Exist — Here’s Why Teen Vogue

Connecticut McDonald’s workers, union activists, get their jobs back in federal labor board decision Courant

Boston Starbucks workers ‘inspired’ by Buffalo union, seek votes as movement spreads Yahoo News

Widower: Forgiving is the way forward Toledo Blade (BC). Cf.

The Doctor’s Oldest Tool NEJM. A must-read.

The Year of the Abject: Making Sense of Nonsense Notes from Disgraceland (Re Silc). Another must-read (together with the above).

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote. I won’t ruin the suspense:

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. Michael Ismoe

    Any chance we can institute a new rule? The only time a picture of Bezos can appear at NC is if a guillotine is also in the frame.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        And for 2022 instead of we are ruled by Harkonnen we should consider that we are ruled by Honored Matres.

    1. JMM

      I read the other day that it’s a common misconception that guillotines need sharpening. I never thought about that, but I guess it makes sense.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Yes. However, consider

        1) slight serrations machined into the blade coupled with
        2) wave forms machined/carved into the guide tracks (within the uprights) to induce an oscillation in the blade,

        resulting in a sawing action during the last foot of travel.

        Build a better guillotine and the world will beat a path to your door!

    2. John Beech

      I disagree, Michael. Bezos has begun as a book seller and worked his axe off to build a product delivery solution for the rest of us. I just purchased some N95 masks off Amazon. Just now. Used Amazon because it was easier for me than finding someone else. Should Bezos be punished for making ‘my’ life easier? Seriously?!?

      Point being, if you don’t like using Amazon, that’s fine. Your money, your choice.

      But what you’re saying – effectively – is you want to make a choice for ‘me’. You want Bezos gone from the very face of the Earth. Ridiculed. Photoshopped with a guillotine. You don’t just want to take away my choice of using Amazon, you’d like to see the guy dead. Why? For working his axe off fulfilling his bit of the American dream?!?

      Today is Sunday, the Sabbath. I’m a business owner. My employees aren’t working but I am. Why? Because I want my bit of the American dream, too. Would you deny me my chance at it? Would you want me dead, also, just for having success through my labors? Seriously?

      So here’s the thing. Words have consequences. Someone, somewhere, may read your words and be so influenced by them they go out kill the guy. You will have effectively been who pulled the trigger by merely using your words. Is this your intent? Do you want to kill another human being? Do you actually want Bezos dead? I don’t think so. I do not think this of you (or more accurately, I hope this isn’t the real situation).

      What is it do you think that lambert and yves are doing with NC? Do they do this for fun, or for profit? You’re supporting an entity with a for profit goal, a business. Difference is you like Lambert and Yves so you’re here. You contribute money or eyeballs to their hard work. You reward them as surely as 1/10th of a penny may make it to Bezos based on my purchase of N95 masks just now. Where do you get groceries? What about your car, your phone? All of these are products begun by someone with a dream. The American dream. It’s why all these illegal and legal immigrants come to this nation. To live their dream.

      Anyway, please consider the wider implications of your words. Maybe think back to what led you to form the opinion an American success story is one to be loathed so much the very person who worked to achieve it should be dead. Is this an America we should work toward? Maybe also consider retracting them.

      1. Fiery Hunt


        Consider slave traders were businessmen too. Do you appreciate their go-getter ness too? How about climate-destroying polluters? Insurance companies that deny their legal obligations as part of their business strategies?

        How you make your fortune matters.

        1. cnchal

          > How you make your fortune matters

          Non sequitur. Is it possible to make a fortune with ethics as the main consideration? I would say no. Ethics isn’t even in the cheap seats when it comes to fortunes.

          1. Old Jake

            You just further explicated the initial point. How you make your fortune matters. I do not believe you will find a fortune or a fortune-maker accomplished without doing damage to people, the world in which we live, our society, some combination of those or most commonly all of the above.

            We must qualify this by recognizing what we are calling a fortune. My definition is wealth beyond that needed to live well.

            Note this is a response to Fiery Hunt, not cnchal.

      2. SouthSideGT

        “What is it do you think that lambert and yves are doing with NC?”

        Please consider that Yves and Lambert don’t take advantage of labor in the grotesquely unfair rapacious manner of Bezos. So your attempt at false equivalency is just that.

        Your fawning over capitalism and your laughable concern over the health of Bezos is weird. I wonder if you were as concerned about Space Cadet Bezos when he was launched into space. But then you probably saw that connected somehow to the “American dream”. The rest of us earth bound types which would include your employees saw it as a monumental waste of time and resources to service the ego of the world’s saddest nerd.

        To sum up I find it funny that Michael makes a joke about a proposed rule concerning the possibility of maybe Photoshopping a guillotine into pictures of Bezos. You probably don’t understand the historical reference to guillotines and the French Revolution which I am sure Michael is referencing. You are also an admitted capitalist and for these two reasons you don’t get the joke. But I bet one of your employees could explain it to you.

      3. Skip Intro

        I guess you missed all the predatory and monopolistic ‘business practices’ that built Amazon while you were idolizing Bezos’ bootstraps. Your concern for the use of the guillotine symbol, and its impact on less stable readers is touching. I am uncertain whether assigning a profit motive to Yves and NC is not more projection than reality however.

      4. ambrit

        I’ll counter with the observation that Bezos is a billionaire. That class of ‘businessperson’ is separate and distinct from ‘ordinary’ ‘businesspeople’ in that his wealth has crossed a threshold. That threshold is defined by the socio-political influence a “fortune” holds in the surrounding society. Just like the Robber Barons of a hundred to a hundred and fifty years or so ago, today’s billionaires have become political figures in an overt sense. They use their fortunes to sponsor socio-political movements, rules, and enforcement features that reinforce, defend, and increase their power.
        For the Robber Barons, the society imposed economic and political restraints, after said Robber Barons had almost destroyed the nation; see the 1929 Crash and following Depression and civil unrest. Must we suffer through another Depression to relearn the lessons of the New Deal of the 1930s?
        Bezos and his ilk must be tamed and restrained, by any means possible. If it involves guillotines, well, so be it.

        1. BeliTsari

          I’d assumed it was facetious, as well? All the usual BS about competition, innovation or a free and open marketplace; pasty nerds in bad suits used to spew, dead-eyed outside Walmart; selling Ayn Rand’s silly delusional grandiosity for David Koch debunks itself? What, exactly do libertarians READ, here?

      5. upstater

        I am a small business owner, maybe like you JB. I had a very innovative methodology for evaluating the reliability electric transmission lines. We had a 25 year run. In spite of having an unambiguous contract protecting us with my customers, they decided to misappropriate my IP and take it into a closed industry group (normal people call such things “theft”, but that is a potentially libelous term). It took 5 years of litigation and a jury trial to remedy. Financially we came out ahead. But the business was destroyed. They spent $10M trying to grind a mom and pop shop into pulp. But that’s a deductible business expense and the cost was simply added to everyone’s electric bill (7.5 cents for 150 million customers).

        Yes, Bezos started Amazon humbly sending books all over, a wider and cheaper inventory that bookshops could never match. He used USPS book rates, which were dirt cheap. It took decades before Bezos began collecting sales tax, something a bookshop wouldn’t get away with. Lawfare as a core business practice works wonderfully.

        People like Bezos and most corporate CEOs are clearly psychopaths. It is all about power and control over everything. They are not chasing the American Dream. They are destroying it with their payoffs to politicians, fighting anybody that opposes them with armies of lawyers (I was seriously impressed with the ones opposing us). Our county gave Amazon $75M towards a 3.8M SF Amazon distribution center. Did Amazon really need that money? Were people simply bribed? These are the same pols that have handed out hundreds of millions in tax breaks and grants to our now half-empty Mega Mall Destiny USA, which has been largely emptied by Amazon and the rust belt deindustrialization (the developers all ended with 9 figure wealth, now this white elephant is getting set to default on $700M of bonds, sold mostly to pension funds). Stay away weekend nights or bring a Kevlar vest.

        Most importantly, they abuse their workers in a manner that George Orwell could never imagined.

        Billionaires, like the MIC or COVID response, are a vivid example of the rot present at all levels of government. This is the American nightmare and it isn’t a dream.

      6. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Bezos concept is based on destroying every other business in order to be the last business on earth.

        You reveal your Prime Directive ethics by sanctifying Bezos’s mass jobicide and business-cide every outside of Amazon and his Warehouse Slavery in service to your ” easier ease of getting something”.
        Those of us who want Amazon destroyed are trying to defend ourselves against a threat to our existence.

        1. Kevin Carhart

          Yo Drumlin, I usually consider it too far in the weeds to address just one person, but I hope this is also interesting more broadly. Since you are interested in tactics and asking “how?”, see what you think of this from the other day.

      7. Eclair

        John, some of us may believe that Jeff Bezos, blessed be his name, has actually perpetrated, or enabled to be perpetrated, many acts of violence upon the unsuspecting world. While allowing a small proportion of the population to indulge in avoidance of delayed gratification (yes, delivery of your N-95 masks is a Good Thing), it is at the expense of the immiseration of a larger proportion of the population; low-wage workers in Asia, truckers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers (peeing into their bottles as they are squeezed by corporate algorithms.)

        And, some of us question just how much ‘stuff’ do we need. Is this frenzy to have the latest gadget dropped onto our doorstep in just 24 hours, simply a fruitless effort to find meaning in a life that has become increasingly unmoored from deep human and community relationships?

        And, for some of us, while we do not begrudge a just reward for innovative and sustainable ideas and actions, it is the vast accumulation of wealth and its accompanying grasp of enormous political power, that is so distressing. The panoply of yachts, private jets, 4th, 5th and 6th homes, bubbalicious girl friends, (to say nothing of affecting a ‘wild and crazy guy’ mode of dress) along with a complete disregard for the effects on our planet’s ecosystems, is so reminiscent of the decadence of 18th century Versailles, that we cannot refrain from … well … dwelling on the unpleasant social consequences of that ‘let them eat cake,’ movement.

        Or, maybe you left off the ‘ /s ‘ at the end of your comment and I am too dull-witted to realize it is biting satire. If so, my apologies.

      8. wendigo

        I guess ” thanks to all those employees working through tornados and covid so I can live like this ” is too much to expect.

        But ” look at what I can have while you should focus on non-material things” does remind me of ” let them eat cake “.

      9. cnchal

        Never mind the inhumane working conditions used to deliver your masks.

        By the way, Bezos sells his stawk confetti for billions a year, that Mr. Market prices at over $3,000 per. There is no tenth of a penny per piece of crapola sold going into his pocket.

        There is a near $1,000 annual inducement to recruit each whip cracking sadist into a Prime membership. Talk about a lock on your customers. That is moar than $100 billion per year. Read the report and find out how that works.

      10. enoughisenough

        Lol. As if Bezos invented mail-order.

        He invented nothing, added nothing. My life is not more difficult for not using Amazon, that’s just brand-loyalty to the point of propaganda. Why the boot-licking? eesh, it’s embarrassing to watch.

        He’s just more ruthless at exploiting others, is all. That deserves no credit, rather it deserves censure.

      11. Old Jake

        Several of the responses to this amount to ad hominem posts. I might sympathise but I also object, as I believe we try to avoid those. As my sixth grade teacher used to say: “Children, behave!” And I’ll try too.

      12. lance ringquist

        amazon was exempted from the regulations and taxation by nafta billy clinton, that as a business owner i have to pay, but bozo did not.

        bozo road to the top on the deaths of many business that had to follow the laws, regulations and taxation that bozo did not.

        bozo road to the top by treating people and everyone else like dirt, plus some very bad business models and bubbles built up by nafta billy clintons deregulation.

        this is not the american dream,

        it is impossible to discuss the destruction of americas civil society without the name bill clinton, one man sent america and the world back to the gilded era: The failure of Bill Clinton’s CEO pay reform

        “the Democratic Party in the Clinton and Obama administrations has consistently embraced and implemented policies that strip workers of economic and legal rights to benefit investors and the elite professionals that serve them. Over time, the “neoliberal” economic order—which sees only good, never bad, in the relentless untrammeling of capital and the deregulation of markets—has created an unacceptable level of economic insecurity and distress for those outside the 1 percent and the elite professionals who serve them.”

        this is the american dream,

        Ben Franklin: the high wage protectionist constitution: The Doctrine of High Wages – How America Was Built: Proponents of the Doctrine of High Wages argued that not only were American workers better paid than their counterparts in England and Europe, but they were far more productive as well. In fact, American economists argued that high wages created a virtuous circle: the superior productivity of American workers allowed them to be paid much higher wages than anywhere else in the world, while those high wages provided American workers a much higher standard living, which, in turn, enabled them to be more productive.

        HAWB 1800s – The Doctrine of High Wages – How America Was Built



    3. Pelham

      Bezos and Musk have at least one yacht apiece, right? I’d chip in if somebody would develop a yacht torpedo that could be launched from a jet ski or a bass boat.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Really? You must know the first reaction will be to have their minions draft and enact an extension to “Stand your ground” consisting of “on your yacht”. Skeet shooting, in a way, immediately follows. “Sorry, officer, but when those kids on their jetskidoothings started my way, I truly feared for my life.”

        (I know you were kidding, right, you were, right?)

        1. ambrit

          Something similar was used in the USS Cole bombing in the Port of Aden back in 2000.
          Incidentally, the Agent in Charge of that investigation, John P O’Neill, was forced out of the FBI for constantly warning about what he suspected was an upcoming major terrorist attack on the US by alQuieda. He died in the Twin Towers on the day of the attack that he had warned of.

  2. David May

    Looking at the images today of Bezos, praying patriots and the bad taste home gives a nice snapshot of America. Can someone please nuke this abomi-nation already and get it over with?

    1. redleg

      Given the way The Blob is poking Russia, you should be careful what you wish for.
      Although I’d imagine that should nuking occur the VBNMW crowd would then triumphantly declare that the subsequent nuclear winter would solve global warming.

    2. sd

      Today’s links are an argument for greatly increasing the taxes on the rich – mostly as a means to stop them from flinging their bad taste around much the way some animals throw poop…

  3. Jessica

    Responding to Jeremy Grimm’s comment yesterday
    I too hesitated to read The Agency because of the part about Hillary winning the 2016 election, but to my pleasant surprise, Hillary herself is barely present in the book if at all. Also, one key plot point was made by the US president getting us into the mess that I worried about Hillary getting us into. (Trying to be vague enough to not be a spoiler.)
    On the other hand, I simply didn’t think The Agency was as good as The Peripheral because I found myself caring about many of the characters in The Peripheral, but not about those in The Agency.
    Interesting that Gibson’s 2/3 (so far) of a trilogy is a major way that many are starting to psychologically prepare for what we are currently heading towards.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks for your assessment of Agency. I will probably wait for the third book in the trilogy, and possibly pick up Agency after checking on the third book.

    2. griffen

      I enjoyed the arc of the story in the Peripheral. I found it most convenient to identify with the world that Flynne, Burton, et al, resided in; one could make the argument vast portions of this country are on the path to mirror what that seemed like.

      Still unsettled if I proceed next with Agency. I might delay and instead wait for season 4 of Ozark!

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘A few hours ago, a promising token called $YEAR was airdropped. It was set up as a “year in review” of your Ethereum transaction history. Less than an hour ago, this turned into a painful experience for buyers of the token.’

    Yes, I can fully sympathize with all these people who invested their ‘money’ into the latest gimmick on the block without being more cautious. Why just the other day I got a $50 note from my bank and I did not notice that it too had a _burn mechanism function embedded into it. Before I knew what was going on, that $50 note became a $40, a $30 until it to zeroed out and I could not even spend it as it was locked out of the market place. I tried dropping it into a lead bag at one point to cut internet connectivity but that did not work either. Cash! You just can’t trust it. I can’t wait until we switch over to digital currency for safety’s sake.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The hilarious thing about that tweet thread is that the author’s remedy is more vigilance to protect web 3.0 and not getting the [family blog] out. PT Barnum will always be right.

    2. Andrew

      A few weeks ago I looked into digital contracts because I wanted to figure out what, exactly, they facilitated. The only working example of a public-facing digital contract I could find was one that offered to pay you a bounty in Ethereum if you found and exploited a bug in the contract’s program code such that it failed its internal automated sanity checks. It didn’t occur to me that from a different point of view, a “bug bounty” contract can be weaponized and sold to unwitting investors, who then have the secret payload of a “bounty” all pay out back to the scammer, who is the only one to know about the bug. Clever, if completely evil and antisocial.

      1. Tom

        You didn’t come across Uniswap, AAVE or Compound? The have each facilitated billions of dollars worth of financial transactions via smart contracts.

      2. Kfish

        As a lawyer, I consider a standard-form contract that neither party can customise to their needs to be a complete non-starter, even if it is ‘on the blockchain’. Even house contracts get customised.

  5. Sam Adams

    Re: “ So why in the name of all that is holy didn’t the Biden administration use that business model for masks and test kits?”
    Ans. Incompetence. Arrogance. A desire to cull the herd, humanely?

    1. Chromex

      Answer #2. Because previous administration did it. Previous administration bad. Dems good. That’s the platform
      Of course, that could be a subset of Arrogance I suppose

    2. Nikkikat

      Or advice from Fauci, Walensky which appears to be about killing as many people as possible.

    3. Tex

      Because the only business model Biden understands is comprised of lobbyists and payoffs. Doubtful the mask and test kit industry can compete with Pharma in this world.

      1. Skip Intro

        If masks obviated the need for 3-4 vax boosters a year, for everyone, forever, I think they could have a material impact on the prospects of an industry addicted to causing addiction.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        Is there really any politician that would do any better?
        We finally have to wake up to the fact that business has completely captured our government. Getting mad at the politicians is equivalent to getting mad at a ventriloquist’s dummy. If the CDC wasn’t completely captured we would be getting advice on D3 and Zinc, research on repurposing drugs, research and money for ventilation, etc.
        What we get is: VACCINATIONS, TINA.
        Why? Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna making $1,000 profit every second

        1. Soredemos

          “Is there really any politician that would do any better?”

          Yes, actually. And not just in the sense of a Bernie Sanders-type who would never be allowed a chance to do better, but I think any number of bog-standard neoliberals would probably have done a more competent job simply by dint of not having a rotting brain. ‘Export something to the private sector’ is something anyone but Biden could have done better.

    4. Louis Fyne

      (a) incompetence + (b: anything Orange Man did is automatically bad + (c) kowtow-ing from The Media that makes Pravada look like Thomas Paine

      1. katiebird

        (Nodding) I was talking to someone (kind of) about this (yesterday) and I felt creepy the rest of the day for implying that T did anything remotely good — Operation Warp Speed. Of course LOTs more should have been done and should be doing now. But where would we be without OWS? And why isn’t it’s success being used to justify more good stuff?

        1. ambrit

          The jury is still out as to whether or not the “vaccines” are a success. It all depends on your definition of success.
          If OWS was used to facilitate items or processes with known outcomes, good. As it is, we are still in the middle of a society wide Third Phase Trial of an experimental medical intervention.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Religious like belief in the “restoration”. Biden had his “big American smile” line. Trump was gone along with bad vibes. PPE everywhere would be a sign the “return to normalcy”and “America is back” aren’t so simple.

        Also, poor education. Harris said something to the effect “we are just learning about mutation.”

  6. PlutoniumKun

    The New Political Cry in South Korea: ‘Out With Man Haters’ NYT. Commentary:

    You need only look at the gender ratios per age group in South Korea to identify one reason for this. Its the result of small families and a preference for sons, which hit a particularly high in the 1990’s. Basically, lots of young Korean men can’t get a woman. China is rapidly going to find itself with the same problem. In the past, societies dealt with this problem by declaring war on someone, a very effective way to reduce the number of young frustrated men. Hopefully, they can find a better solution.

      1. ambrit

        Then there is the quote from Judge Dee in “The Haunted Monastary,” on spying a couple indulging in illicit relations; “Does no one in this monastary meditate?”
        Terran human nature is so stubbornly, human.

    1. Paleobotanist

      One often used solution for this surplus males problem is for women to have more than one husband at the same time. This might not go down so well in East Asia though. It is used in the Himalayas. It’s not too liked by women though, co-husbands fight all the time.

      1. JBird4049

        Polyandry is used, or at least has been, in places like the Himalayas where effort to survive and have children is so difficult, because of the lack of resources like farmland, that it takes more than two people. You get three, four, five adults working their posteriors off, not only just to survive, but to support even a few children.

        But I am thinking that in places where there are enough resources and not enough women that the local men might go a viking, which was not always about raiding, but trading or working at first. Then it changed. That is a frightening thought.

    2. Gc54

      S. Korea has great Internet, much better speed than US. So into the Metaverse all those frustrated guys can go to link up with the high fidelity avatar of their dreams.

    3. Soredemos

      How to explain the prevalence of incels in countries that don’t have a huge gender imbalance though? They aren’t really a unified political force in the US, by they do manifest periodically in the form of mass shootings.

      Also, war doesn’t just serve to provide an outlet for frustrated men to either exhaust themselves or get killed; it also exports the work of having sex with them to foreign women, ie rape.

    4. MB dork

      This trend perhaps will have a devastating effect on banking 20-40 years from now.

      I read somewhere global population peaked around 9.3b in 1988 and has been slowly retreating. Add to that all of the current day 20 and 30 somethings that spend huge amounts of time on digital media. Methinks a massive cliff is ahead for global population that will reshape society as we know it.

  7. anon y'mouse

    “the doctor’s oldest tool.”

    before reading the article, his/her ears?

    i prefer neoclassical architecture but baroque music. painting must be durer-era.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Disgraceland: Year of the Abject

    The posting is rather heady, relying on some analysis that is very much au courant. Yet the way the writer defines the abject is close to–likely derived from–the work of Carl Jung (with some Freud thrown in). What the writer describes as the abject is the Jungian shadow.

    Remarkably, the Shadow entry at Wikipedia has a clarifying paragraph: “According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that, if these projections remain hidden, “the projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object—if it has one—or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power”.[7] These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.”

    Not dealing with one’s shadow means constantly falling into distortions of power and illusions about the world outside oneself.

    Also, I don’t recommend the post’s “Coda,” which is two paragraphs of word salad and mixed metaphors. By using the word “kabuki,” a usage I am highly suspicious of, the writer turns theater and drama into an “abject.” Theater is a kind of ritual–and Protestantized U.S. society doesn’t do ritual these days, if it ever did. What is going on in the US of A isn’t theater–it hardly rises to the level of melodrama. The clockwork apostles that the writer attempts to press into service are another misunderstanding of ritual and representation.

    Is it possible that an iconoclastic (in the religious sense) culture like that of the U S of A has made images and representations into “abjects” and now has little to call on to invent / imagine a way forward?

    1. David

      I thought it started well but rapidly lost its way. I almost gave up when I read the inevitable twaddle about the “white underclass” and “white supremacy.”

      The reality is that in countries where the majority of the population is and always has been white, most of the victims of neoliberalism (which doesn’t racially discriminate, it just wants the money) will be white as well. Conversely, any appeal to those who have been marginalised by neoliberalism will be mathematically an appeal to a majority of white people. There’s no way round this, although various figures on the pretend-Left have been trying either to ignore the arithmetic, or make the numbers add up differently, for some years now. I suppose in more ethnically diverse nations such as the US, this might argument be easier to sell, but in Europe, for example, where populations are massively white, it’s just silly. For the Left to regain any ground, it will have to realise that the majority of those who have lost out under neoliberalism are white, and many of those were skilled and educated.

      The article also seems to me (perhaps channeling Agamben?) to revive the fashionable argument of the 70s, popularised by Foucault and others, that criminals are somehow romantic, alternative culture heroes; “cast out” by society. (This is not an opinion that survives real contact with actual criminals). Unless you are going to accept the extremist argument that the very existence of laws creates criminals, and thus makes them outcasts, you have to accept that criminal subcultures (which have been extensively studied) do not consist of people longing wistfully to return to normal life, but quite the opposite, who have chosen an existence of their own. The same applies to the hard-core street homeless (many of whom can’t cope with institutionalised living and return to the streets).

      Finally, does anyone know what this is supposed to mean?

      “In a white dominated/ruled society the marginalization of the excluded white subproletariat has been a political hard sell. They grew in size and have acquired a sense of entitlement minorities never could. Their sudden political awareness, no matter how fragile, has become an expression of pleasurable transgressive desires. As a new center of social subjectivity, they draw their power from this position, which serves as an inspiration for their own identity politics.”

      What is being sold to whom? What is the “white subproletariat” and how does it differ from the traditional proletariat? Who is the pervasive “they” (given that there is no plural in the first sentence)? What is this sense of entitlement? What are “pleasurable transgressive desires?” What is a “centre of social subjectivity” and how would you recognise it. And so on.

      1. Hickory

        Depends on the criminals. Always remember the biggest criminals run the show. When I remember that and really sit with the implications and consequences, many other things make sense. One consequence is they generate a society of BS that many people either accept with severe coping mechanisms (numbing with TV/booze/money worship/etc) or reject in various ways – some homeless and non-elite criminals are indeed choosing to walk their own path. If more would show this independence and strength to resist BS social norms, perhaps things wouldn’t be so fubar.

        1. David

          Yes, but he’s not talking about the kind of people who run the show. He’s talking about street criminals, muggers, rapists etc. whom neoliberalism has “excluded,” as opposed to, well, I have no idea, really what he thinks.

      2. Lee

        “Finally, does anyone know what this is supposed to mean?”

        Let me take a stab at providing a translation of this by quoting LBJ: “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
        (Moyers, Washington Post Archive, 1988 )

        This characterization fits my father, a poor working class white from Arkansas with the important exception that he hated not only blacks, but also rich white people who looked down on him as poor white trash. I suppose, given enough time and effort, an appeal to class based solidarity might have rectified his stance on race. Alas, his earthly tenure was too brief for that to have occurred.

      3. Tom Stone

        David,I certainly do understand that paragraph.
        It is an excellent example of “Baffle them with bullshit” whose purpose is to signal intellectual and moral superiority.
        It only appears to be polysyllabic gobbledegook, the conventional idea that words are used to convey thoughts with clarity does not apply.

      4. Jessica

        Best guess:
        The notion that the “excluded white subproletariat” should be treated like N-word, like non-people is what is being sold
        It is being sold to society at large (and presumably white people in particular)
        The “white subproletariat” means whites who don’t have proper working class jobs. Definitely opioid addicts and the like, probably folks who work bit to get enough money to go binge on a drug of choise. Might even include folks scraping by paycheck to paycheck cobbling together income from multiple jobs/gigs.
        Not sure how far the non-compassion is extending here.
        Simpler version: excluded white subproletariat sounds like it might mean whites who have given up even trying to maintain a normal working class existence.
        “They” and “their” refer to the ill-defined excluded white subproletariat.
        The excluded white subproletariat’s sense of entitlement means that they don’t expect to be abused. “How dare you do that to me”. Blacks have been so thoroughly mistreated for so long that they are not surprised by it.
        “Pleasurable transgressive desires” means things someone wants to do that give them pleasure and that they know break some kind of rule or other. (And that rule breaking might be part of the fun.)
        A “centre of social subjectivity” is like porn. You know it if you see it. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Just kidding.
        “centre of social subjectivity” should mean a group with a conscious identity, a sense of “We”. You would recognize you see people recognize each other as being part of some “We”. If you are not part of that group, you may recognize the existence of that “centre of social subjectivity” when they treat you like an outsider.

      5. Jeremy Grimm

        I looked over some of the other writings on this guy’s site. Strange stuff for the most part, some interesting, some obscure like today’s link, and all of it coming from a very different place. I got the impression this guy might follow the writings of Lacan and Zizek from a footnote to one of his comments. His thoughts in “Disaster Calculus” — just below today’s link in the category “Big Things” under his heading notesfromdisgraceland is curious. He seemed to be suggesting we needed World War II to progress(?) or something like that(?…?). Even the name notesfromdisgraceland is strange to me. My first association with the name is with Elvis Presley’s Memphis home. The heading “Music” includes a subcategory for “Guitar Gear”. The paintings on his personal website, which include the giant chickens painting, were interesting.

    2. Steve H.

      Yes, there is a curious passivity over Who is Whoming the Abjected, until the author starts talking about the curious agency of the AutoAbjected.

    3. Chris Smith

      Part of the thesis is solid. Even my dad has been saying since I was young that the rich keep poor people poor so that the middle class keeps coming to work. But other than that, the essay was an object lesson in the overuse of jargon.

      And at this point, I generally tune out anything that starts bleating about “white supremacy.” I have noticed that, thanks to the wokie-wokie-artichokies, most authors using the term ‘white supremacy’ are just saying they don’t like something and trying to put a racial spin on it so that right-thinking people won’t argue with them. But then, I think that was the plan all along: make racial divisions permanent by destroying all meaningful and productive discussion about them. But hey, as long as KenDiAngelo keeps getting those fat consulting fees …

      1. Pate

        “the rich keep poor people poor so that the middle class keeps coming to work.”

        In my case, dad said “give the middle class just enough so that they won’t join the revolution”.
        I guess it’s the same notion.

        1. Joe Renter

          Perhaps, another take on this is when you have a mortgage the the revolution gets put on the back burner.

    4. Watt4Bob

      I’m very interested in this quote;

      Complicated by globalization, technology, the decline of American manufacturing, weaning off conventional energy sources and the general decay of demand for labor, low-skill jobs have been disappearing irreversibly, and the ranks of white underclass grew unstoppably together with their discontent.

      It seems to me the author believes he is rattling off a list of various unrelated causes of the white working class’s abjection.

      I would say American manufacturing didn’t ‘decline‘ as much as it was deliberately displaced geographically, for the profit of a very few, leaving the workers behind, abandoned, ‘abjected‘, if you will, which caused the precipitous advent of the story we’ve all watched develop.

      The whole situation is obscured by the ‘story‘ we’ve been told, that this is the result of something called ‘globalization‘, as if an entity called globalization climbed in our window one day and stole our way of life.

      Globalization is not one of the laws of physics or even of ‘economics’, globalization is a story meant to explain away the deliberate and willful behavior of the very worst of American society in turning their backs the American people, cashing-out and taking the whole works off-shore.

      The globalization ‘story‘, among other things it’s intended to obscure, is meant to cover up class-hatred, the hatred of the ‘owner-class‘ for the working class.

      It is the ‘owner-class‘ that constitutes the elusive ‘they‘ that people ask about when they want to put an end to the argument;

      Who are “they“?

      The fact that you don’t know who decided to lock the doors on the factory, and send your jobs to China, at least in part because they hate your class, does not mean that those facts cannot be known.

      1. Eclair

        Great comment, Watt4Bob. I grew up in a New England mill city. All my immigrant ancestors came there to work in the woolen and cotton factories. After the boom years during WW2 (uniforms and blankets were all wool,) the mills closed, moving south to non-union states, and later to Asia. The city became a ruin.

        Same thing with the Western New York city, near where my husband grew up. The city was once the largest furniture manufacturing center in the country and had fabric mills as well. He banned me from walking tours given by the local history museum, where the docents waved their hands about the empty factories (the ones that hadn’t been burned to the ground by convenient fires) and bemoaned the lost glories of the city. When I asked why the mills had closed, it was all, ‘the unionized workers wanted too much money,’ so businesses ‘had’ to move out. Bad Workers! It’s ok, though, the city now has the National Comedy Center, funded by federal and state money. If only we had something to laugh about …..

      2. skippy

        Larry Summers memo please pick up the white courtesy phone …

        The term – sharing – in it – is about as maniacal as it comes …

      3. LifelongLib

        IIRC people were predicting as far back as the early 70s that as Europe completed its recovery from WW2 and Asian nations developed, a lot of “routine” manufacturing would move from the U.S. Supposedly the U.S. would respond with massive government-funded development of high-tech industries that poorer nations couldn’t match. Of course the massive U.S. government program didn’t happen, and here we are…

          1. Watt4Bob

            Pioneers of Public Relations

            The first public relations agency for political campaign management was founded by Leone Baxter and her husband Clem Whitaker in 1933. They handled campaigns for several California governors and for President Eisenhower. Eventually Ms. Baxter became head of the agency, Whitaker and Baxter International.

            Whitaker and Baxter made their reputation by building the campaign that defeated Universal Healthcare in California in 1949;

            In 1949, they retained Whitaker & Baxter to help them with their efforts. The AMA paid Whitaker & Baxter $350,000 to defeat Truman’s healthcare plan.[1] In their usual style, Whitaker & Baxter began an all out media war against the healthcare plan, distributing over 100 million pieces of literature. In just two weeks of the campaign, Whitaker & Baxter was given a $100,000 retainer and over $1 million to spend on advertising, which is a $956,000 retainer and $9.5 million budget[9] in today’s dollars. They spent $1.1 million in advertising on behalf of the AMA. As part of their messaging, they began calling the president’s healthcare plan “socialized medicine,”[1] ushering in the same negative connotations and allusions to communism that they had brought upon Sinclair. *

            * Whitaker & Baxter had help defeat Upton Sinclair’s 1934 gubernatorial campaign in large part by branding him a socialist.

            While defeating Sinclair was a major milestone, their successful defeat of Universal Healthcare in California was the thing that cemented their reputation.

            The meme; Univeral Healthcare = Socialism = Communism = devil worship is still alive and well today.

            Leone Baxter was to later say that PR could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands.

      4. Steve H.

        > Who are “they“?

        Well, let’s see.

        Roget’s International Thesaurus:

        them 80.5
        the rulers 749.15

        Embedding for 749: VOLITION \ AUTHORITY, CONTROL \ Direction \ Master

    5. KD

      Is it not a parody? Or has the unutterable synthetic rupture of the sign and signifier unleashed the neoliberal crisis of meaning cascading into caravans of marauding idiotic pick-ups filled with drooling country people, dripping tobacco juice as they eye the haunches of a Warren Beatty-like PMC, attaching their peg legs with vaseline fingertips.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The Doctor’s Oldest Tool”

    I wonder after reading this article. The doctor here was able to convince a patient to take antiretroviral medications by not appealing on the grounds of noted papers but by practical appeals as in – ‘I use this and I have seen it work well with others.’ Here he is talking about a chain of trust between patients and doctors but I no longer think that it will scale as that trust with doctors has been broken due to the neoliberalism and financialization of doctor’s practices. I will give an example or two here. So you go to a doctor and explain that you have read good studies on invermectin but the doctor cuts you off and tells you that that is nothing but horse past, y’all, but he can give you a course of Remdesivir. And what happens if you ask a doctor about the aerosol spread of Coronavirus and they say that that is not true because the WHO and the CDC say so? Or a more personal example, what if you go to your doctor to report a reaction to a vaccine and there is suddenly almost an air of hostility to the notion? As part of a larger pattern, there was once a lot of trust with credentialed people but that trust has been squandered in recent decades so now people are no longer content to take the word of a credentialed person anymore. Losing trust I would imagine is like getting a divorce. Yes you can get married again but do you ever have the same level of trust with another person?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its an excellent essay, and very sad, as we all know the chains of trust have been broken, perhaps irreparably. Not just between doctors and patients, but possibly also within public health. The bile currently been thrown at those scientists and doctors who had the poor judgement to be right a year or two ago has to be seen to be believed. Never has it been demonstrated more clearly that the worst thing you can do for your career in any large organisation is to be right too early.

      The doctor who wrote that did remind me of my own doctor, who works primarily with the homeless and disadvantaged (he regularly jokes that I’m one of his very few patients with a job). His greatest strength as a doctor is that he genuinely listens to his patients, and is adored for them for this. He is assiduous in training up the many doctors who train with him in those skills. Perhaps significantly, he was a victim of a past public health fiasco, Thalidomide.

      1. Pate

        “The doctor who wrote that did remind me of my own doctor”

        He reminded me of a certain other Doc, one found lurking hereabouts.

    2. Steve H.

      He says, “I realized that the chain’s links consist of lived experiences and relationships”.

      It’s not just the workplace that causes the lack of trust. Janet and I have talked about the difference in nurses, that the aspiration is now set as a BSN, with more time on the keyboard than with patients. The training for nurses has changed, and thus the formative relationships, both friends and mentors. Janet was explicitly trained to be an advocate for her patient. Now, not so much.

      Even deeper, the young nurses and aides and doctors mostly grew up in an industrialized medical system, never with an opportunity to bond with a doctor to trust. Their primary frame is not that there is a person to trust. I have spent far more time alone, waiting in a cold room, than actually talking with a physician. What will the frame be of the kids growing up now?

      Based on his assumption of a doctor having the time to talk with a patient, I figured he must have been born before 1980. I checked, he graduated in 1996, pretty close that.

      1. skippy

        It was just a few decades ago that strong interpersonal relationships at work were deemed a impediment to corporate policy implementation, continuation of the de-unionization effort and atomistic treatment of employment contracts e.g. you are a commodity in a market place and it will price you according to your worth ***on the day***.

        Corporate policy requires malleability – above all else – and a strong reason olds tainted with the past will be turfed for a younger, cheaper, less life experienced, less skills, so a new work construct can be implemented without question. Not long after landing in Oz I decided to go back to Corp to pay for and be accepted in my wife’s social environment from birth. Got an executive position in the CDB and felt like I had been transported back to the 70s in the U.S. anyway it was not long till the very young marketing manager came into my office excited about a new book by some name I can’t remember from the U.S. Basically this U.S. executive wrote a book about how he devised a mathematical formula which could be implemented in creating a competition between between depts in a company which would increase productivity and rewards for the winners. Of course this model extenuated all failures on the test subjects and not its creator or that it was unquestionable due to the maths truth.

        So at the end of the day you just get a survivor island work environment where no one trusts another and what increases in targets/productivity is offset by down the road losses from increased turnover and cutting to many corners – too win. I tried to explain it to the young manager, but he was completely won over by the authors personal success in his job, memorized by the maths – I don’t need to think independently and just have to apply this formula to move up in the market, all whilst waving a book around [Thatcher] and nothing will ever stick too me.

        It was around this time I saw the old go out and in with the new, especially the old hospital staff with decades of experience and knowledge. Clearly remember two old matrons saying “well we did our part and its time to get on with the rest of our lives” as the great wave of retrenchment rolled across vast swaths of public institutions as the MBA’s took control of everything and everyone.

        Now I have my work and by chance clients are similarly experienced even if they stayed in the game till the end. Heaps of great conversations about a lot of water under the bridge across many industries and positions in them. Best of late was an Engineering Director and the wife that headed up big IT projects – she new its all old wine in a new bottle with shiny label. Only reason she stayed so long was she was allowed to call a spade a spade contra the others having to be positive without question. 2nd was a wife whose CPA husband was away whilst advising a pacific island nation financial team how to better sort its balance sheet. I commented on the aftermath of the Japanese trade deal which focused on fishing coastal waters and how that all played out. She said it was refreshing to meet someone so well read and knowledgeable.

        The one thing we all – know – is the new coming in is a completely different breed which is slavish with algos and maths to get what it wants and the unwashed have little or no agency in the matter … so Jackpot …

      2. skippy

        One could even theorize that stock markets are being treated like sacred cows whilst the labour pool is being reshaped. Covid has just be a lucky occurrence which allows an opportunity in facilitating this agenda and would not be possible under more normal circumstances e.g. under the cover of and people are more susceptible under currant circumstances.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i’ll mention again my doctor of 20+ years.
      he’s thoroughly conventional…believes the CDC and the AMA, as well as the superhot drug pushing chicks that regularly visit and leave suitcases full of samples.
      but he’s learned to not dismiss my reluctance regarding a drug as hysteria or ignorance or whatever…and, as with the vicodin holidays i taught him about, he says he finds my skepticism helpful.
      none of this would be the case if we hadn’t known each other for 20+ years, and developed a friendship(however confined to an exam room it is)
      we trust each other…including trusting each other to have open minds about things.
      …even about things over which he is the credentialed expert, and i am merely a lay savant.
      the few times that we’ve needed him but he was on (much needed ) vacation, we got sent to whomever was filling in for him….and the experience was always hostile, with the fill in doctor taking one look at me and deciding i was a crazy person…and downhill from there: priesthood status threatened by my ability to speak doctor, etc.
      so, yeah…this scales up into politics, religious toleration, real antiracism, and on and on.
      some anonymous and distant expert solemnly parroting “The Science!(tm)” can’t hold a candle to the trusted neighbor over the back fence. and logic and facts have little purchase against trust and belief.

      1. lordkoos

        Having a doctor who knows you and really listens is golden, and rare these days when so many docs must spend more time looking at their laptop than at the patient. I was forced to change physicians last spring when the person I had been seeing for ten years had to move to another part of the state to care for her mother. My former doc was a 40+ year old woman who I liked very much, we shared a love of cycling and she was there as I transitioned from my early 60s into my 70s.

        Now I feel a bit lost when I go into the clinic as her replacement is an older male doc (who doesn’t look all that healthy himself) who gives off a vibe of “phoning it in”. It’s depressing to lose a trusted medical ally. The new doc did correct a drug prescription that the old doc missed, however so it’s not all bad, but…

    4. Objective Ace

      I very much agree, and had similar conversations with my doc. I cant be sure how much his clinic being bought out by private equity might be related to his response. Regardless, thats another reason I’m now less trusting of my doctor on all things. I dont want my doctor’s interactions with me to somewhere be reflected in a stock price.

    5. artemis

      When I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, we had a family GP one town over who made house calls. He was an important advisor to my stay-at-home mother raising 6 kids, everything from letting kids develop healthy immune systems outdoors to how to choose a good college. When I was raising my kids in the 80s and 90s we were lucky enough to find a wise nurse-practitioner in our local family practice, and could see her whenever we needed to. Now I am retired and even though I am going to the same clinic, the system requires me to make appointments with “my” PCP about 2 months in advance, regardless of the urgency. So if I’m sick, I don’t get to see her. We like each other fine and I try to see her at least once a year, but the engagement is shallow and there is no way to develop a trusting relationship with anyone in this system. If I’m sick I go to urgent care, or play the appointment lottery and see a new doctor every time. Mostly I try to take care of myself and avoid having to go in because “healthcare” is so frustratingly uncaring.

      1. Anonymous

        I remember an occasional house call when I was growing up. Once I was old enough to start working, I found my own doctor and was very satisfied with the care. Back then, doctors would spend at least half an hour with each person when you went in for a routine appointment. The office would phone you with a reminder if you needed a booster shot. I was a teenager when “managed care” began to take over. It was clear at the time that medicine would never be the same, and it hasn’t been. I’ve also decided urgent care is the best route.

        1. Yves Smith

          I was really sick as a toddler and the local doctor came for a house call. I was upstairs.

          Our 27 pound cat was lying on the bottom landing.

          The doctor would not go past him and left.

          The housekeeper treated me with a mix of honey, onions, and scotch. Apparently fixed me up.

    6. KLG

      “Here he is talking about a chain of trust between patients and doctors but I no longer think that it will scale as that trust with doctors has been broken due to the neoliberalism and financialization of doctor’s practices.” -The Rev Kev

      Yes. And the loss of trust in biomedical research dates to the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. That is when biomedical scientists, who previously were working in a very old tradition in which public trust was a given among the vast majority of research scientists, began to see dollar signs. Things have been falling apart ever since. For example, follow Molnupiravir from Emory University to Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to Merck. Note that the drug, which is problematic for a variety or good reasons, was approved in a 13-10 vote. A good margin if you are running for Student Council President, but not for approval of a human therapeutic.

      And while we’re at it, why not reconsider Aduhelm, which could destroy Medicare?

  10. Mikel

    Crypto: Going to play out like the 2008 housing crisis with who gets hurt.
    Oh, sure the market will still exist like the housing market and other financial markets. The wealth is constantly shifted (not created) upwards in these systems too. The same mindset of value in scarcity underpins all of these markets.

  11. Nikkikat

    I may never be able to unsee that Jeff Bezos photo in his disco outfit. Girlfriends sexy model pose. Argh!

    1. griffen

      I am at a loss for words. His sneering face screams look ma, I really am rich and popular. I have all these thousands, or millions, of employees who do what I scream for them to do!

      At the very least, on a comparison, at least Musk appears to be a human life-form. Such a low bar.

      1. John Beech

        All that from a photo of some guy at a party? I once heard someone say I was projecting. Don’t recall exactly what it was about today but I remember I didn’t like it. And that later I looked it up (pre-DuckDuckGo so I had to get off my hind end and look it a dictionary). Upon reflection I disagreed with the person but I had learned something new. I learned projecting is a word with many connotations, but as it was used in reference to me, was in terms of psychology, where now, using a search engine instead of a dictionary I find it defined as:

        Transfer or attribute one’s own emotion or desire to (another person), especially unconsciously. “men may sometimes project their own fears onto women”

        . . . and honestly, when I look at the same photo, all ‘I’ see is a guy delighted with his heart-shaped glasses, pretty girl posing for the photo whilst hanging on his arm, maybe even a bit tipsy (guessing it’s a New Year’s Eve party or maybe a Halloween party, whatever) and wearing a big grin. I’ve been pleased with myself and worn a similar grin. Bet you have also.

        Look, don’t mistake me for an apologist for Bezos, whom I honestly don’t think about other than when people say something I find odd/objectionable/curious/distasteful, e.g. or in trying to take him down for whatever reason. Seriously, is the guy worth loathing? Why? What’s he done to earn this disgust?

        Other than build a successful business, what’s he done wrong? Got divorced? Millions upon millions have. built a successful business? Millions have done that too. Could it be you read articles that describe him as not paying his fair share of taxes? Is he doing anything illegal? Does what he’s done create jobs for others? Are they shackled to that job, or are the free to seek another? This website is called naked capitalism. It takes hard looks at capital, capitalist, and capitalism but it’s not anti-capitalist, capital, or capitalism.

        So where you see a photo and are disgusted, I see a photo of guy happy at that moment. That’s he’s made himself one of America’s success stories is, in my opinion (and like belly buttons, we all have an opinion), something to be happy for. Happy that this guy has made it. Honestly, I am happy for anybody that’s made it. And isn’t that why we celebrate this kind of thing in America?

        Washington Carver made it. Edison made. Ford made it. Carnegie made it. I’ve made it. Gates has made it. Jobs made it. Yves and Lambert are making it (or have made it, but I’m not privy to their numbers). Even the guy who rejects it all and lives in a tiny house off the beaten path and composts his own excrement and raises is own chickens and grows his own veggies has made it because money doesn’t necessarily define what making it is in America.

        We’re all living the American dream! So please don’t be disdainful of those you don’t even know other than through the words (articles) of others, whose motivations you also don’t know. Please don’t let others tell you what to think. Not even me!

        1. griffen

          He wrecked small businesses and smaller booksellers. His logistics operation has taken advantage of prior infrastructure investments by federal and state authorities. To work in the distribution centers is to work in an unyielding hell. First hand account of that aspect.

          His business practices basically took the Walton family processes and went bigger. Amazon was in the right place and time to ultimately take off. His image being discussed today is just the projection of everything going right for a driven capitalist to succeed.

          He wins by punching downward. I find him a fairly vile person.

          1. tegnost

            Lately I’ve been thinking that it’s not accurate to blame it all on bezos personally. even though myself has focused primarily on him, an animus I don’t expect will ease.
            At some point early in the synthetic creation of amazon he walked into a roomful of financiers who were looking for someone just like him to do what he’s done, and covered the bills while offering guidance. Those scoundrels are hiding behind the glitter.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Forwarded the Teen Vogue link to my brother. He immediately called my wife, demanding that she take my computer away.

        2. lordkoos

          “The American Dream”,TM, as George Carlin put it, is called that because you have to be asleep to believe it. Many USians are living the American nightmare, with nearly 40,000,000 in living in poverty, and half a million homeless.

          When I see that photo of Bezos I see one wealthiest men in the world who is well known for treating his employees like sh*t, from management down to the warehouse workers. Just another greedy, expoitative pr*ck.

        3. Huey Long

          Yves and Lambert aren’t running a monopoly that hurts workers.

          Jeffy boy is, so familyblog him, his business, and his dreams.

          Hopefully you’re better to your workers, assuming you really own a business, for your own sake.

        4. skippy

          You are aware of the ideological undertones your using are the same ones that were crafted in establishing the corporatist libertarian movement by the wealthiest post WWII. As such are you even aware of what concept of society they had in mind and looked to foreword to their individual and collective[tm] benefit.

          I mean its just mimicry of a narrative created out of whole cloth to support an agenda which benefited – them – yet productivity and wages diverged in the mid 70s all whilst productivity has grown by 400%+ during that time. Then some are want to burnish people like Bezos as exemplars?

          Do you understand your basically saying – I got mine – and everyone else can pound sand regardless of how it was gained.

          1. John Beech

            We went off the gold standard and the world of finance changed. 1971 was a seminal point in time, no question.

            But what I am saying is we have chance in America. Not a guarantee, a chance.

            So you grow up in the barrios of east LA, stay out of the gangs, do the math homework, learn to dissect a frog, learn to compose your thoughts on paper, graduate high school. From there community college. Do well, and you have a shot at a state college with scholarships. Graduate college, get an entry level job. Keep your head down and you’ll have a solid middle class life. Almost guaranteed.

            So you grow up in the middle of nowhere Kansas, desperate to leave you hop a Greyhound to NYC. You kick around, wait tables, you’re discovered and become a star. Almost guaranteed to not happen.

            But either way, you can hope.

            So you grow up in a broken family in Atlanta. No job prospects, you begin detailing cars. You do well and your name gets passed around. You get a trailer for all your detailing stuff and you go to offices to provide mobile detailing. You meet a girl works as a nurse in a doctor’s office. You pool your resources. She’s got your back. You show up and work every day. Middle class life – almost guaranteed.

            Do any of these things in Mexico City. Ain’t happening. The level of poverty is staggering. Our poor have flat screen televisions. Our poor have smart phones. Our poor are fat.

            Visit India. Their poor? Scary. Think they’d swap existence with a poor guy in America? In a New York Minute!

            You’re never going to get me to say a cross word about America. Perfect? Nope. I know it. I’m not blind. But you have a chance here. Gal does deliveries for Amazon. Turns out she owns three Amazon delivery vans. Got a start with Amazon when Bezos and Company wanted to put a move on UPS and FedEx. Husband works for her. Only in America.

            We have a terrible level of inequality. But here you can dream, work, and with a bit of luck make it. Lot of people make a living due to Bezos. Angry about wages in a pick & pack center? Learn a skill. Machinists earn good livings. So do AC technicians. Middle class life guaranteed. Or sit back and whine about personal experience in a job packing orders for others. Small wonder life sucks if that’s all you’re good for. Is that Bezos’ fault as well?

            Only in America.

            1. skippy

              The gold standard always favored Capital and even then government had to set the price at the end of the day. It never can deal with deflationary periods and ends up destroying more capital than necessary.

              I’m an advocate for a JG and removing CB IR NARIU policy after endless failures.

              On top of that I don’t confuse ideology [especially the propaganda sort] with economics.

      2. Mantid

        Seems I should be glad I didn’t see it. Thanks for the head’s up. I had a hard enough time with Sticky Fingers.

      1. ambrit

        Time to dig out my old “Demystifier Glasses.” I know I stored them in the same box as my “X Ray Specs.”

        1. newcatty

          Do you also have magical glasses that can detect lost, cold or deadened, human hearts ? Think this would not necessarily apply only to Bezos in that photo op. The heart shaped glasses are just the right prop.

    2. Josef K

      He’s dressing sharp, and acting cool.

      If I were a bazillionaire I’d do better than the jello-mold production on his arm, though it’s also true ghouls of a feather….

  12. griffen

    Curing a hangover. Get that one lasting sensation to vomit your guts over with, then consume copious amounts of water. Venture to a local Waffle House, no need to ask if it is open; if the Waffle House closes then FEMA knows there is a problem!

    Besides, if you puke one time extra it’s not like that never happens in a Waffle House.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Famous drinker Kingsley Amis, who wrote in the morning and drank the rest of the day, touted this recipe as a hangover cure:

      1 glass of water
      1 teaspoon sugar
      1/2 teaspoon salt

      It worked for me—in combination with a large breakfast, aspirin, a little yellow pill, and a four-hour sleep. Unlike Amis, I didn’t have 500 words of prose to churn out before noon. ;)

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      1. water.
      2. coffee
      3. grits with bacon and/or a fried egg with tabasco
      4. wash down with a V-8.(likely B-complex and the rest of the goodies in the veggies)

      i only get hangovers with not-beer(wine, whiskey, etc)

    3. Samuel Conner

      For those who favor “simple recipes”:

      A gallon of reconstituted frozen orange juice worked wonders for a housemate who had imbibed too much warm sake earlier in the night.

      It was challenging to keep the man talking — to distract him from his misery — between drinks, but after the second pee break, it was clear he was on the mend. It took about an hour to get to that point.

      Always keep a package in the freezer.

    4. ZacP

      Just don’t get dehydrated in the first place…drink plenty of water. You’re gonna want a roughly 1:1 water to peepee ratio. The real golden ratio.

      1. ilpalazzo

        This. Hangover really is just too much toxic alcohol digestion byproducts concentrated by dehydration. Drink a lot of water. If you feel you had enough and you are going to sleep, have a pint of water before. If you wake up to pee, have another pint afterwards. The problem with this is that if you are not accustomed to it, you will wet your sheets.

    5. barefoot charley

      Just be a two-fisted drinker: drink a glass of water along with your glass of alcohol and you won’t have a hangover. Alas, this insight did wonders for my drinking . . .

      1. Laughingsong

        Agreed, drink a large glass of water along with every alcoholic drink. I would also add that we also only buy alcohol from small breweries/cider houses/distilleries. Fewer additives make for a cleaner drink and less problems. And pay attention to the ABV!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yes to watching the alcohol %,lol.
          wife brought me a 12 of a Karbach IPA…murky and bitter!…i drank it like it was coors light…and then wondered why i was inebriated after just 4.
          then i saw the abv on the carton as i was putting it in the fire(sunday=outdoor cooking and drinking and jamming day) and switched to iced tea for a while.

          i know to treat…say…Guinness or Real German Beer differently than the amurkin kinderbier we usually have, but the county had recently had a ballot initiative to change from kinderbier only to wine and such, and that allowed some real beer to sneak in.(few years ago, driven by the nascent local wine industry)
          just had another initiative last year…and we have our first likker store in an 100 years.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘and we have our first likker store in an 100 years.’

            That would imply that the last one was put out of business by Prohibition. Well, the regular ones that is. Person has got to be able to have a drink from time to time after all.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              all the surrounding counties have been totally Wet forever, but this one, we were lucky to have beer…the methodists and church of christers were politically powerful for most of the local history, and they forbade it.
              the attempt to gin up a wine industry…pretty successful, really, until the fallout of the 08 crisis damaged tourism…was the impetus for change. the wineries wanted to be able to sell their wine here, but couldn’t.
              promises of jobs and groaf and countywide prosperity…along with the unstated desire to drink something besides beer without having to drive 50 miles one way…overcame the old teetotaler regime(which consisted of a great many drunks anyways,lol)…and we had wine in the grocery store.
              took a while(and my insistence) for one mom and pop to discover that this also meant they could sell Real Beer.
              but their clientele is far too stuck in their rut for anything adventurous…so for guinness, it’s still a 100 mile round trip.
              the 2 bars…both attached to greasy spoons, by law…are “private clubs”, where one must purchase a “membership” in order to get a drink.
              the methodists and CoCers still get their likker from the surrounding counties and drink it at home, or in their trucks.

              in texas, after prohibition,counties were given the choice of how wet or dry they would be.
              this one was one of the last holdouts in the beer only class.

              1. Janie

                Prohibition in Oklahoma worked well. The bootleggers did home delivery and you could keep a bottle at your favorite restaurant.

      2. griffen

        What if I get thoroughly ripped because I conflate 8 or 10 drinks of Miller Lite with actual water?

        I should not favor cheap, abundant beer. Different conversation perhaps.

    6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      My buddy who was a medic in Korea in the 2010s used to give himself an IV around 2am and be fit as a fittle when he woke up at 5am for PT. He said half the time he’d blackout and not even remember putting the IV in his arm.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘the Big Mac is an amazing invention. I think the mind the created it had the exact same type of brain as Mozart or Oppenheimer or someone. it’s a mastery of different textures and temperatures. no living American could invent something like that now’

    Well, yeah. It is eaten as a food but no bacteria will touch it because it does not recognize it as a food. Even rats won’t touch it apparently. There is a Quarter Pounder here in Oz that is over a quarter of a century old under less than ideal storage conditions and having been brought back in 1995, but it is still there. Can you imagine what a cheese sandwich would look like after just a month? Yeah, not so much brought to you by a mind like Mozart or Oppenheimer but more like a Thomas Midgley, Jr.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, when my sis and I were kids we pestered our Mom to buy “Wonder bread” because TV…
      She did buy one loaf and put a slice on a saucer on the Veranda in September.
      The next June it was as fresh as the day she put it out,except for a little dust.

      1. JBird4049

        Ah, yes. Wonderair. We used to buy it and it was merely the holder for the Velveeta and whatever processed “meat” product was around. Or perhaps tuna and mayo. Or Miracle Whip.

        People can complain about how bad the American diet is, or the horrors of Big Food, but it has been that way for awhile.

    2. griffen

      Was the discussion (yesterday, maybe earlier) about space travel / future space colonists being coerced into cannibalism, I think? Problem solved! Ship a complete rationing of the Big Mac to a future destination on Mars, et al, with instructions to prepare once the colonists have a “Mac Attack”. Also ship a whole ration of antacid.

      Think of the sponsorship potential. This location on Mars is sponsored by McDonald’s, or the golden arches emblazoned on a SpaceX or Blue Origin space rocket.

    3. Lee

      That the worst hamburger in the world could become the most popular is to me is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,”

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ll quote Robert Heinlein here when he said that a difference, which makes no difference, is no difference. It’s still junk food that even bacteria will not stoop to consume.

    4. .human

      I have a hot dog bun that has been left out on my kitchen counter for more than two years. Other than the occasional rodent nibble, it is unchanged, other than dried out. No mold. No discoloration of any kind. No change in size.

      I wonder what we eat.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >I wonder what we eat.

        Wonder no more, .human. There’s a TV show on the History Channel called ??? ???? ???? ????? ???????. First of all, that show’s title is in need of a little fixing: ??? “????” ???? ?????? ???????. There. That’s more truthful.

        I’m not sure what that show intends to convey (I’ve only watched a few installments for a few minutes each), but it sure ain’t about ????, unless one calls burgers, fries, potato chips, chocolate bars, cookies, and sugared cereals food. It seems to me to be a disguised infomercial for all the nation’s purveyors of processed fat, flour, salt, and sugar at jacked-up prices (contrary to popular belief, fast food ain’t cheap).

        And that’s what (too) many of us eat.

  14. DanB

    Re: Public health systems acceptance of Covid becoming endemic. Seven years ago I stopped writing about the potential for public health to offer leadership regarding the relationship of health to societal decline and inequality. What I said then is being illustrated today, “I suggest these leaders are trapped in a tightening contradiction between the field’s mission, protecting the health of the entire public, and acquiescence to social policies that serve the private interests of the 1%. This stance of Loyalty inexorably places the health of the public at risk.” Instead of reforming and rejuvenating the public health “system” (in the USA) we are witnessing the furthest degradation of an already (before Covid) severely underfunded and dysfunctional system.

  15. Tom Stone

    I love seeing Jeff Bezo’s being as cool as he can be, from the shades to the shirt and the hooker that looks like syphilis on two legs, best of all is the NYE 2022 sign behind him.

      1. Tom Stone

        Rev, I stand behind my characterization of Ms Sanchez, she just got more $ than the gals hanging out on the corner.
        And he left Mackenzie Scott for THAT ?
        The man could afford to buy a pair of identical twin supermodels from each Country on earth and house them on a tropical Island he bought outright without noticing the cost.
        He has worse taste in women than he does in clothes.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They are all adults. It’s not like she was on staff or anything. Bezos is a pig, but in this case, it’s not like he’s David Brooks who dumped his sick wife for his research assistant while pumping out the same article about how kids lack character on a monthly basis. And he converted from Judaism to Catholicism. It’s probably to get his wife a tuition break at a Catholic high school.

          They look stupid, but who cares? The brother in law being involved was funny as hell.

    1. tegnost

      He’s stuck in the ’90’s…
      Probably still believes self driving cars are 10 years out…
      at the absolute most…

      1. ambrit

        Yes, too true.
        Considering his age, Bezos might be going through a “Meatlife Crisis.” Most male Terran humans experience this in the time period between their youth and being uploaded into the Cloud.
        (I wonder what’s playing on the inside of those glases?)

  16. Samuel Conner

    Thanks for the Malone discourse. I’m not happy with what appears to me (not sure where I saw this, but I think it was him) to be his approval of “let ‘er rip” Scott Atlas, but it’s useful to know about this hypothesis, and yes — it does appear to be more widely applicable.

    I don’t agree that “fear of the virus” is irrational. Does Dr M have a blind spot about long Covid? Is there some detached from reality crowd formation on the other side of this, too? Or is ‘precautionary principle’ out the door?

    I wonder if the habit of gardening can be a useful counter to free floating, “target-sticky” anxiety. It’s something concrete (and useful!) to focus on — a way of acting locally. Increasingly I’m starting perennials for gratis distribution, something that could benefit the local ecosystem (am focusing on native varieties) and that might outlast me.

    His counsel about intentional communities such as churches IMO misses a problem — there is IMO mass psychosis formation going on in some of them; just ask about biometric ID and see if the response is not over the top (this is not to defend biometric ID, but to observe the phenomenon underlying opposition to it in some groups).

    I believe it was Emperor Justinian who reckoned that popular anxiety about post-mortem punishments was such a valuable method of crowd control that it was essential that this fear be stoked in the churches. So yes, Dr. Malone may be on to something, though one might argue that he is late to the game.

    1. Carolinian

      The man just got banned from Twitter for disputing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine he helped to conceive. This sounds pretty mass psychosis-y to me. Yes it’s not exactly a blinding revelation that such a phenomenon exists but the US and our elite class in particular seem to be moving increasingly in that direction. Russiagate and TDS would be other recent examples.

      Roosevelt said we have to fear fear in order to get anything done. The desire by the establishment to embrace the fear narrative is the tell that they want to keep things the same–a “safe space” where no unapproved talk will upset the fearful.

      1. Yves Smith

        Please don’t exaggerate Malone’s role:

        But the path to success was not direct. For many years after Malone’s experiments, which themselves had drawn on the work of other researchers, mRNA was seen as too unstable and expensive to be used as a drug or a vaccine. Dozens of academic labs and companies worked on the idea, struggling with finding the right formula of fats and nucleic acids — the building blocks of mRNA vaccines.

        Today’s mRNA jabs have innovations that were invented years after Malone’s time in the lab, including chemically modified RNA and different types of fat bubble to ferry them into cells (see ‘Inside an mRNA COVID vaccine’). Still, Malone, who calls himself the “inventor of mRNA vaccines”, thinks his work hasn’t been given enough credit. “I’ve been written out of history,” he told Nature.

        The fact that he does so makes it easy to attack his valid criticisms.

        1. Carolinian

          Well that’s why I said “helped to conceive.” I’m not sure though why exaggeration on one side discredits while exaggeration on the other side, by our regulators, doesn’t face the same objection. It’s Malone who is being censored, not them.

        2. Michaelmas

          Please don’t exaggerate Malone’s role

          Thank you.

          What Malone proposed was staggeringly obvious. Making it work was hard.

            1. Michaelmas

              urblintz: did someone do that yet?

              Yes, they did. You should understand: originally, mRNA vectors were never meant to be mass coronavirus vaccines and were diverted for that purpose only when COV19 came along.

              They were intended to be highly-expensive personalized medical interventions for cancer patients; i.e. an individual patient’s tumor would be sequenced, partially synthesized, and then that synthesized cancer sample would be ‘shown’ to the patient’s immune system via the mRNA vector.

              In fact, amusingly, the man who runs Flagship Pioneering, the VC partnership of synthetic biologists that created Moderna among eighty-odd other companies, who is this guy —
              and who has all the friendly attributes that come from being brought up in a refugee camp in Lebanon, pounded on tables and raged furiously at his employees that he would never allow Moderna to be used as a coronavirus vaccine.

              A couple of billion dollars later, he’s changed his mind.

              1. urblintz

                No, they didn’t, yet. Intended, would…I understand very well the hope that mrna vaccines could work against cancer but that has yet to be proven:

                mRNA vaccines for cancer take an off-the-shelf approach: These ready-made vaccines are designed to look for target proteins that appear on the surface of certain cancer tumors. How well they work is a matter of speculation right now, but some experts have concerns. “The question is: What is the target? You always have to have the right thing to target for the vaccine to be effective,” says David Braun, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School who specializes in immunotherapies. After all, with cancer, there isn’t a universal target the way there is with the coronavirus’s spike protein, and DNA mutations in cancer cells vary from one patient to another.

                This is where personalized mRNA cancer vaccines enter the picture—and these may be more promising.

                1. Michaelmas

                  Okay. I concede your points.

                  But the mission brief — at least at Moderna, which I know about — was originally always personalized cancer vaccines. Though, yes, this would absolutely depend on the candidate target proteins that a given patient’s specific carcinoma presents.

    2. grayslady

      Does Dr M have a blind spot about long Covid?

      No, he actually has long Covid himself. Although he was vaccinated, he’s had Covid twice and his wife has had it once. He is one of the doctors that believes in treatment, not just vaccines, and has shared some of his experience with trying repurposed drugs for dealing with long Covid symptoms. I would refer you to his Twitter account for examples of what he has tried for long Covid, but the account has been taken down.

    3. flora

      Malone is pro-early treatment to keep people out of hospital. He also notes in an aside in this Joe Rogan interview that hospitals have a large financial incentive to get covid patients into the hospital because of special increased hospital reimbursements for covid designated patients. Malone wants to keep patients out of the hospital with early treatments as much as possible.

      On long covid, he says there’s been some good studies done that are coming out now that indicated long covid may be, may be associated with existing hyperglycemia in long covid sufferers. (hope I got that right)

      Here’s the 3 hour long Rogan interview.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Thanks for this.

        Me thinks that in a population with as many widespread comorbidities as in US, fear of the virus is quite rational.

        I wonder if there’s a ‘mass psychosis formation’ angle to the widespread disdain for NPIs, which seems to cross group boundaries, being shared by both “don’t tread on me” types and “it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated” types.

        I believe it was IM Doc who pointed out in a recent comment that NPIs are the first line of public health defense. How have they come to be deprecated?

        1. flora

          Yes. Adding: Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) were always seen as the first line of defense in public health when I was growing up.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          in my little town microcosm/petridish, the Suspicion came first: “it ain’t real”/”just the flu”.
          this came straight out of the rump/alex jones/breitbart bubble, and spread concurrently with mainstream worry about this new chinese virus.
          that’s how masks….a reasonable thing in themselves…were politicised.
          i watched it happen.
          soon, the local leadership was afraid of requiring masks anywhere, lest they be inundated by the more frothing trumpsters….these latter were not shy at all about forcing the rest of us to prove them right. a perverse experiment, to say the least.
          for a little while, when the virus arrived way out here and local people were getting sick, and even dying, the mask orders were more easily swallowed. of course, at that time, even greg abbot was on board.
          but then he got the memo, and ended all that, and has been fighting mayors and county judges and school boards ever since.
          out here, it is all but unthinkable that the local school will require a mask(my sophomore son will wear one)…they are terrified of the pushback from the spittle flecked ravers.
          the whole thing was ad hoc engineered to serve political division and to rally support for an unsupportable boob who would have otherwise went flailing and ranting into oblivion.
          Q had a big, if subtle, influence out here, too…i made sure to learn the lingo so i could determine if whomever i was listening to was sending signals/secret handshakes.
          no grand theories are necessary, however….this is exactly what happened during that satanic cult scare in my old hometown, 35 years ago*…a moral panic. this time, sort of engineered, but the dynamics are the same.
          use Fear Uncertainty and Doubt to gin up hatreds that were already simmering, and then point your mob at your opponent.


            1. Amfortas the hippie

              havent updated it since i finished the house and moved back out here.
              i was most active at it during the 6 1/2 year wait for a hip….sedentary and bored.
              now, i don’t have the time or the proverbial bandwidth(farm is full timex2), and NC is pretty much my main intellectual outlet, barring the occasional visitor.

              i’m really quite surprised it’s still there,lol(don’t remember the password for it or the email used to do it)…but i like to use it for those purposes^^^, as a file of various stories that make points sometimes.

      2. Stephen V.

        Thanks flora! We’re 1/2 way thru and there is a LOT there. But I noticed Rogan–being modest?–saying that it was an accident that Malone’s Twitter was nuked just a day or two before the interview. I gravely doubt this.

  17. PlutoniumKun

    Locked down in China’s Xi’an amid coronavirus outbreak, residents subsist on deliveries of vegetables WaPo. Oh, the humanity! The only vegetable this country can deliver is Joe Biden’s brain. (Sorry. I had to do it.)

    Lots of reports of problems in Xi’an with food deliveries. This is in contrast to previous lockdowns where sufficient movement was allowed so nobody went hungry and the local governments generally filled in the gaps. I’m wondering if this is because the Chinese (who follow data very closely) now think that lockdowns need to be even stiffer than before? (i.e no deliveries permitted). Its possible too that the scale has just overwhelmed the local government capacity to sort out the problem.

    1. Jessica

      I want to honor the Chinese delivery workers who kept Wuhan and other cities alive during their lockdowns.
      I would guess that many are internal migrants, who are treated something like an illegal alien in the US.

    2. wayne

      I have a friend who is living in Xi’an and his community has a market opens at 9am on the basketball courts where you can buy produce and such. The prices are the usual for the area, you just have to wait in line. Also there is an app where you can order to the market, but with so few delivery people, only so many orders can handled, so you can start ordering at 9am but usually by 901am no more orders are accepted.

      Also the community entrances are blocked and there are people in hazmat suits manning them, you used to be able to get deliveries by reaching over the barriers, but they erected another set of barriers 10 ft out to stop it.

  18. Anon

    Where Parents Can Get Help w Climate Anxiety

    While we’re here: This is one area I find psychiatry more useful than psychology.

  19. John Beech

    The Google vs. DuckDuckGo was eye opening. What have I learned today? You cannot trust Google. Interesting. Thank you, Lambert!

    1. BeliTsari

      Google exists to SEO speciously oblivious churl constituents comforting little hits of dopamine; by disappearing conflicting, contradictory or factual cognitive dissonance from harshing their buzz? Those of us, living in the Bates Motel, abandoned by their information super-highway are happier with consensus reality, troubling though it might be. If your phone sends you someplace, you’ve likely been had from backdoor rootkits & worms?

    2. LawnDart

      As an experiment, a lesson in perspective, I suggest throwing the Yandex browser into the mix.

      Hint: (non-hyperlinked) text that appears in Russian can be translated into English by highlighting the word or section of text followed by a right-click.

      The English language version of the Yandex browser is improving by leaps-and-bounds, but has quite a ways to go before it is more English-only speaker friendly.

        1. LawnDart

          Bart Hansen,

          Vivaldi/Iceland and Yandex/Russia seem like good contrasts/alts to USA/USA– a little less added to our (privatized) permanent records.

          Looked it over and downloaded Vivaldi– language/translate feature seems more friendly than Google’s, but I want to play with it a bit before calling it a hit-or-miss.

          Thanks for the suggestion.

    3. Mantid

      I’m glad you see it. Youtube is now infamous for initially bias and now downright censorship. And, google owns youtube. Ergo, ipso facto rediculoso.

  20. PlutoniumKun

    Should Pluto be a planet again? The debate rages on NBC

    My rule on this is very simple – if it featured a saloon bar in Cowboy Bebop, its a planet.

    1. grayslady

      Agree. The theme music from the final scene of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was a nice touch.

  21. Pat

    Stiller gives you Bezos, I give you

    The Obamas

    Both should come with a reservation for a one way trip to oblivion.

    (The trash you find searching Twitter for memories of Betty White…)

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The crazy thought had occurred to me that Obama might be feeling just a tinge of guilt for his pulling out all the stops to stop Bernie and make Biden the Dem nominee. Guess not.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The only thing Obama thinks about relative to that is how much more money he can expect to get from a grateful upper class.

    2. Screwball

      The comments under that Tweet makes one want to puke.

      I really don’t get the worship of these two grifters.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The same people who cannot understand Trump-worship have no problem idolizing their super-hero. It’s the same disease, just different mutations.

        1. Screwball

          Without a doubt. I am retired (teach part time for fun money) so I have a lot of time to read “things” which I find incredibly interesting. People watching via internet zeros and ones. I read all angles from far right to far left to everything in the middle, and the comments to said data.

          The hypocrisy of one hand, and loyalty on the other to their narrated beliefs is quite incredible – on both sides – and there are no rational thoughts allowed. This isn’t everyone of course, but for the the 60-70 percent who are all in with tribal warfare – truth be damned.

          It’s like two cults, but they are the same. They are the people who keep voting these pukes back in – and I see them as the problem. We cannot flush the toilet of corruption when all these people want to do is “own” the other side by “vote blue no matter who”, or “vote for Trump to own the libs.”

          The most frustrating part – you cannot talk to any of them. There is no middle, there is no compromise, there is no self reflection that maybe, just maybe, my tribe sucks too.

          The narrative managers have created binary political warfare – where only the rich win at the expense of the poors – because our main voting block hate each other so much they MUST vote for one tribe or the other, because…

          It is all very depressing, and without saying, very punitive for many. When we see people wishing their political enemies dead, we are long past fixing anything IMO.

          Buy hey, nothing like sitting back watching the slow motion destruction of the greatest country the world has ever known. Congrats America.

          Happy New Year!

          (now I’ll go read Dave Collum’s dark screed (linked above). I’m sure that will make me feel better).

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i’m with you on all of that, although i have a quibble with this:”but for the the 60-70 percent who are all in with tribal warfare”
            i think those fully engaged, on both sides, is a much smaller portion of the total population.
            the biggest voting bloc is eligible voters who don’t vote, after all.
            I admit i haven’t updated the mental graph on this recently, so i don’t know specifics of 2020.
            but that broad mental graph i do have has remained pretty consistent for a long while…and even gels with my observations way out here.
            most people just aren’t all that engaged with politics. Like philosophy, it requires a modicum of leisure time to stay up to date with whatever shibboleth is currently the rage.
            the eligible nonvoters and the unengaged overlap considerably, too…most people vote only when they’ve been convinced that they must…by fearmongering, usually…but that grows better roots when there’s a lot of uncertainty and precarity about.
            in my long term informal and stealth polling around here, the vast majority don’t know who their congresspeople are, state or federal, and can’t name a scotus,or any of the cabinet, and generally have no idea what’s going on in austin or DC.
            the ranchers and (former) farmers vote, generally…and keep abreast of farm policy…generally filtered through captured government outlets and corpse owned news rags(listen to the farm report in the morning on rural radio: like a long ad for cargill)
            the bidness owners are similarly engaged and vote and try to keep informed about the parts that concern them.
            but ag policy and tax policy and regulation policy and all the rest comes packaged in all the culture war craziness

            and that craziness gets spewed all over everybody else, no matter if they ever watch fox, or know what a marginal tax rate is.
            so you end up with white poor ladies with 5 kids and no husband, on foodstamps, and never even thinking about voting being rabidly in support of trump….because their boss who owns the convenience store plays fox or righty radio in the store all day(while he’s stealing her wages, not paying her fica, and/or feeling her ass).
            the actual woman i’m describing…for even more fun…prepandemic, often wore a mask during cedar fever times, because her allergies were so bad.
            now, she’ll yell at you for a biden sticker on your car.
            the craziest part, is that so much of this is unconscious, and almost automatic.
            this particular woman doesn’t know that she’s changed, as near as i can tell.
            multiply that unconsciousness by millions, and i see no hope of meaningful change…until either the internet and tv fail utterly, or some more or less sewer socialist party somehow supplants the dems.

            1. Screwball

              @Amfortas the hippie

              In 100% with you. I’m in Ohio farm country, not far from the Amish. Been down around there quite a few times (hour and half away). Great area to visit. Many times I thought – these people “get it.”

              Funny, I was there because of dirt track sprint car racing. Where in America can you see a dirt track with 70 plus 900 hp cars race around a 3/8 mile dirt track while horse and buggys with slow moving vehicle signs on the back saunter by?

              Another piece of local Americana is the “Testicle Festival” (huge) which happens in a little splat on a small highway that has a post office and a bar. Come have a ball says the tee shirts.

              My liberal friends call the people from West Virginia stupid red-neck hicks – because Joe Manchin I guess. Who was it, some celebrity…now I remember, Bette Midler (one of the most talented people ever IMO) called them some bad stuff. I lost a lot of respect for her over that. The best part was the people from West Virginia who responded with intelligence and class. My mom was a West Virginia hillbilly and the greatest women who ever lived (as were all our moms). Who didn’t like Granny?

              People get tired of being told they are stupid. That won’t bond people.

              But as you say, so many don’t get into it like some of us do. No time, no interest, too worried about how to pay next months rent.

              By chance, a few months ago I got hooked up with 3 buddies from high school that I haven’t talked to in 40 years, and have hooked up several times since. We are all still the same as we were then. Looking at our current situation, we are trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and where are the adults in the room.

              IOW – FUBAR

          2. danpaco

            To expand upon what your saying…
            Growing up in Canada it was common to use the expressions “dumb American” or “Americans are stupid” etc. It’s an expression brought about by some combination of moral superiority and insecure nationalism, a national sport really.
            After moving to NY for 5 years, returning to Canada a few years ago, I have since come to another conclusion.
            Americans are not stupid they’re just really terrible at critical thinking.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Why Israel Detests Palestinians in Gaza”

    There might be another reason that this article omitted to mention in spite of giving the history of Gaza over the past several decades. The Gaza Strip was the place that the Palestinians pushed the Israelis out of and forcing them to evacuate 9,000 of their people – though they took care to destroy everything that they had built before they left. There would be no salami-slicing of Gaza here and it was a very traumatic experience for the ultra-Orthodox. Actually, when I think about it, that is a very strange omission that-

  23. Tom Stone

    The question of the day:
    Will Anthony Fauci have to retire before he recieves the
    “Presidential Medal of Freedom” ?

    1. flora

      Fauci has been recently compared to J Edgar Hoover, and for good reasons, imo.

      wiki about Hoover:
      He was appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation – the FBI’s predecessor – in 1924 and was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director for another 37 years until his death in 1972 at the age of 77.

        1. flora

          In the sense of a consummate D.C. civil service political insider with enough amassed power through money, important connections, and/or knowing dangerous secrets to keep his detractors and opponents at bay? / ;)

        2. rowlf

          A labcoat could conceal any number of the costumes from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ever notice that the cameras never show his pumps and fishnets?

      1. ambrit

        I link the Fauci screed with the Mad Magazine image. I imagine Fauci as Alfred E Neuman with the tag line, “What me worry?”

  24. JohnH

    Noticed that the Bloomberg piece on rhetorical trickery describes ivermectin as, you guessed it, horse dewormer.

    1. AndrewJ

      Is there some style manual on all the editor’s desks at the big shot media outlets that says, “you must slander Ivermectin at every opportunity”?

      1. marku52

        It’s an improvement specified by the Ministry of Propaganda.

        Used to be “Horse Paste”. Now upgraded to “Horse Dewormer”

        I guess they thought that “paste” was getting passe…

  25. Stephen V.

    On coup prevention and the article referring to GW as “our Cincinattus”…lest we forget old George invaded western PA–at the instigation of Hamilton in year 1 of his presidency –
    Hogeland’s book is excellent on this.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “This week Omicron and COVID left Australians taking a big cognitive leap, as surge takes us to new ground”

    Been kinda tough the past few months here because of the pandemic. The bulk majority of the people here saw that we had a solid chance of keeping the pandemic out as we are an island continent. All they had to do was isolate airline passengers for a fortnight and it was sweet and people here were mostly willing to make the sacrifices to do it. Victoria had a helluva fight and lost several hundred people dead but they fought it down to zero. Like New Zealand, we could have done it but it didn’t happen. Why?

    Because our ‘leaders’ and their appointed ‘medical’ officers decided that we had to let it in and let ‘er rip for the good of the economy and the way to do it was ‘herd immunity’, just like Boris preached. Businesses, both large and small, demanded that we open up and came right out and said that we had to accept a coupla hundred or thousand dead a year because of the economy. Before Omicron came in, Scotty from Marketing was saying that now we could bring in 200,000 emigrants – probably to keep wages flat. Well now people here, seeing Omicron, are not going out so much and so those businesses are probably not going so well. So, no work if they want to try to bring in more people.

    It has been frustrating to watch unfold. So for example, Scotty insisted that people could only ever isolate in city hotels but it was botched again and again. There is a tweet in Links about this virus escaping from room to room when both doors were open. But this happened at least three times in NSW alone. WTF? Once was warning enough. And the staff had only surgical masks and not full body suits like the Chinese used. Myself, I would have said use caravan parks as each family would have been isolated with fresh air between but I don’t have a medical degree so they weren’t listening to me. Good thing that we did not have the same caliber of leadership in WW2 or else they would have been inviting Japanese troops to land and take over a coupla bases because it was all inevitable anyway. But I do like local comedian Natalie Tran’s tweet about this all – ‘I’m just happy the economy is ok’ – plus the replies-

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is Western Australia semi-isolated enough from NotWestern Australia by desert that Western Australia could still follow a “no covid allowed here” policy and keep the disease-bringers from NotWestern Australia out of Western Australia?

      Or is it too late for that, even with all the will and desire in the world?

      1. The Rev Kev

        They are trying to hold the line and only have a hand full of cases but it is hard when you have the entire federal government working against you. We had a local billionaire named Clive Palmer who tried to sue the Western Australian government for their entire annual budget (which Scotty supported until it went nowhere) because they shut their borders to him and his businesses but failed. W.A. is looking at the insanity of what is going in the eastern States and don’t want a bar of it and I can’t blame them.

      2. Basil Pesto

        They are scheduled to re-open in early Feb. I’m not sure isolation has a whole lot to do with it considering all the states have had covid licked at one point or another, but I guess it makes things a bit easier for them logistically. But re-opening to the other states (not re-opening in terms of daily life, which carries on there in a more or less 2019 normal mode) and therefore the virus in February remains their plan, though they seem to want to do it in a manner that is less destructive than NSW. Public mood there will have some part to play in the political response. WAers might look at the eastern states and go “nope”. But the “we have to live with it” propaganda is pretty strong nationally.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          How many road and rail links exist between Western Australia and NotWestern Australia?

          Is there mining and miners in Western Australia?

          How do the miners feel about Western Australia opening back up to NotWestern Australia in covid exposure terms?

          Do these miners have access to . . . umm . . . err . . . . certain mining supplies?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Those miners. That is the problem for Scotty from Marketing. Normally he would bully that State into compliance but a lot of Australia’s revenue comes from those mines. If Scotty plays it too heavy, The W.A. Premier could say that he has to shut down those mines because of the pandemic, thus chopping off all that revenue.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well . . . that sound perfectly legal , and not violent at all. Is the W. A. Premier tough enough and mean enough to do it?

              If the mine-owners demand it, would he do it?
              If the miners unions demanded it, would he do it?

              If the both did it together, would he do it? Would that kind of support in fact give him the back-up needed to say ” we’re shutting down for the safety of the miners, and we are not opening back up until Federal Australia and all the other States adopt our Zero Covid Tolerance policy, and in fact, we aren’t opening the mines back up until the rest of Australia has the same Zero Covid on the ground as we have.”

              Could he do it? Would he do it?

              The power to destroy an opponent is the power to control that opponent. Didn’t Frank Herbert say something like that in Dune?

              1. The Rev Kev

                The Premier of Western Australia – Mark McGowan – is pretty hard-core and has not signed up for this “living with the virus” deal the past two years. Because of his stance, he ‘reached a record-breaking approval rating for an Australian premier of 88%’


                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  That sounds hopeful and inspiring. If he is prepared to physically block and/or sever all land links between Western Australia and NotWestern Australia when the various NotWestern Australian elites maliciously seek to mass invade and mass infect Western Australia with covid, then he and Western Australia may well be able to keep eachother safe and uninfected.

                  If so, and if he can reject and repel every effort that NotWestern Australian elites and leaderships will make to mass-infect Western Australia, then he may become so popular among the non-elite majority in NotWestern Australia that he could get elected Prime Minister on a program of ” make all Australia “Western” and covid-free.”

    2. Kfish

      Depressing? It’s been enraging to watch Scotty and Gladys [urinate] away 18 months of mutual sacrifice so that they can go back to fleecing international students and exploiting migrant workers. I had hoped that our border policy would result in a more balanced economy with more local production, but apparently that was too much.

      It was grimly funny to watch Dominic Perrottet talk about people making their own decisions and then panicking “no, not like that!” when NSW stayed home over Christmas.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hey Kfish. It would be ironic if he opened up the economy to make himself popular so that he could win the Federal election in May. But now Omicron has blown chances of that away as people are now seeing what “living with the virus” actually means. By my count, at least 1360 people have died since he got Gladys to open up and that clock is still ticking. People in NSW may have stayed home over Christmas like you say, which was smart, and now I see that numbers at the Opera House were also way down in spite of Dominic & Scotty telling people to go out there and celebrate.

  27. Bob Blake

    Regarding the different search results re Google and Duck Duck —
    I subscribe to a VPN that allows me to select and internet server from pretty much anywhere in the world. If I connect to a Singapore internet server and do a google search on a specific topic, the hits are vastly different from do the same search while connect to a South African or USA or Korean server. Often I find article of interest that are written in the USA but only appear on a search while connected to a non-USA server. For what it is worth the privacy and do not track laws are vastly different in different parts of the world. From all the history I have read regarding “news” throughout the past, controlling what others see and read has ALWAYS be the norm. To think that here in the USA is different from what is occurring now and in the past is foolish. The “flow of information” is always controlled by whomever can. Always and ever. Nothing new here.

    1. rowlf

      There is an observation that the US is a muffled zone for news and information access. One technique I use based on long experience in libraries and also doing engineering research is to imagine something has to exist and then seek it out using any tool I can get access to. Anytime I run across the same info at different locations I start to wonder if it planted to be found or lazy parroting. I also like to study how intelligence analysts do their work, as they often get most of their information from public domain information and have to sort out what is real and what is bogus.

      One of my favorite stories was from listening to audio recordings of former General Of The Army and Chief of Staff George Marshall in the mid 1950s recounting from his viewpoint and access to information how wrong the press got almost every story. He also felt the press reporting focused too much on manipulating emotions and left out many facts. I’d like to point out that when Marshall was in charge of the US Army the intelligence analysts came from a wide range of backgrounds. Later many lost their positions in the Second Red Scare and groupthink sank in.

      1. The Rev Kev

        A minor data point that I will add is this. The author Robert Heinlein once wrote that he was present on the spot of stories that “Time” magazine wrote about later and he said that they got it totally wrong on what happened. And “Time ” magazine was a pretty big deal back then.

        1. rowlf

          Marshall griped that every US action from North Africa onward was presented by the US press as the imminent surrender by Germany.

          I wish we had recordings or notes of Marshall’s team, Sir Alanbrooke’s team and the Soviet team at dinners discussing what they were doing and how the press reports the reality they were creating. There must have been moments when these people who had worked together for years loosened their ties and talked shop.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I subscribe to a VPN that allows me to select and internet server from pretty much anywhere in the world

      I made sure to set my VPN to the US before running that search.

      To be clear, I’m not making the point that Google games and censored its search results; read all the way to the end. I’m making the point that they butchered the job.

  28. Roger Blakely

    The New York Times is reporting about gender politics in South Korea. The post surprised me. I am not surprised by the issue. I am surprised by how much the political expression of the issue has developed in South Korea. This movie is coming to a theater near you.

    Feminism is not longer getting the okey-doke from young men. The problem is the 80-20 rule, or more accurately, the 99-1 rule. We are living in social conditions that enable women to throw themselves at the top men and ignore the vast majority of men. We are living in a country where one-quarter of men under the age of thirty years old are virgins. You can’t run a society that way.

    In the early 1970s it was seen as the height of bigotry when the anti-ERA politico Phyllis Schlafly said that giving women educational and employment opportunities would result in nothing other than women having fewer men to marry. The past one-half century proved Schlafly right.

    In 2021 YouTuber Kevin Samuels became a household name.

    The gender war of the 1970s was smoothed over because feminists convinced men that hypergamy was not a thing. Hypergamy is a thing. The gender war is back on.

      1. Roger Blakely

        Actually, I didn’t get the statistic quite right.

        Here is the idea: Since 2008, the share of men younger than 30 reporting no sex has nearly tripled, to 28 percent.

        It was an article in the Washington Post in 2019. The article includes a graph that shows that 28 percent of men under the age of thirty reported not having any sex in the past year.,explanations%20for%20this%2C%20Twenge%20said.

          1. Roger Blakely

            Well, actually, there is more to it. We are talking about a survey of men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 years old reporting that they had not had sex in the past year. If you look at that graph it starts out in 1989 with women at 13% and men 15%. The graph ends in 2018 with women at 18% and men at 28%. Clearly, something is true for young men that is not true for young women. That difference in the graph between men and women is what is generating a social movement around the planet the likes of which we have never seen. No amount of SIGN language from women (shame, insults, guilt, and the need to be right) is going to stop this wave.

    1. Jason Boxman

      While only anecdotal, in my experience my male friends that look like Hollywood lead actors had their dating apps blow up. Friends that did not look like that, well, crickets. I cannot say if this is broadly applicable, though, but apps give you access to all the most desirable people in your area. How can you compete with that if you’re average?

      And have you seen male leads in movies since the 1990s? Worlds different than decades prior. How can any average male compete with that kind of ideal?

      From my personal experience in Boston, women from outside the US have somewhat more moderated standards than American women.

    1. Mantid

      Good call chris. Luckily, I haven’t tested positive, but if I do I’ll check into it. I hope they don’t run out of Ivermectin like they did in Oxford.

  29. fresno dan

    2021 Year in Review: Crisis of Authority and the Age of Narratives Peak Prosperity

    Philosophy. I have let go of the belief that I know truth, because I am relentlessly doubting the veracity of the data from which my narrative derives. In the Age of Narratives, all I can offer is Dave’s Narrative. There is also no topic in the Year of Our Lord 2021 in which my opinion is non-partisan because all opinions are now partisan. Consequently, I may come off as a right-wing white supremacist who moonlights as a Russian operative while serving up nostrums characteristic of an anti-war ex-hippie.
    I would add I am a commie free market proponent….

  30. ChrisRUEcon

    #TheKoreas #Feminism

    Amazing to see the US exporting the playbook as it were:

    “Lee said in a Facebook statement that … “

    Ahem, should that not be “Meta”?

    … and right down to to misogynistic rap too …

    “What more do you want? We gave you your own space in the subway, bus, parking lot,” the male rapper San E writes in his 2018 song “Feminist,” which has a cult following among young anti-feminists.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I guess …

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #Web3DotOhNoThePain #NFTMess

      The porosity of these platforms from a security standpoint should be setting off bells, whistles and vuvuzelas like a million soccer matches in South Africa. More shenanigans as multiple transactions brokered via disparate sources ends up in confusion as to who actually owns “the thing” … (via Twitter) [SPOILER: It was not actually a “hack”]

      1. ChrisAtRU


        How about a compromise based on yesterday’s Rogue Planets link: Pluto is a planet which shares its orbit with rogue Plutinos!

        That 3rd requirement to “clear the orbit of other objects” seems a bit odd, especially given where Pluto is, and its size.

  31. Tom Stone

    I wonder how many of the PMC realize that by “Letting ‘Er rip” they and their children are also being tossed under the bus?
    1 Million new cases a day is going to cause serious disruption across American Society,not least due to the politicization and the subsequent loss of trust in “Our” institutions.
    America has been a high trust society for a long time,many of our critical systems ( Health care among them) depend on a high degree of trust to function.
    And that trust is being pissed away very quickly.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is this really a PMC decision? Or is this a Global Overclass decision and the PMC are merely the Stalag Kommandants?

        1. LifelongLib

          I know a lot of “P’s” who deliberately avoided being “M’s”. And let’s face it, any society needs “P’s” and “M’s” of some sort. It’s the Nazis we need to get rid of.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Its a distinction worth remembering and a philosophy of careful selection of the right targets that is worth applying. If we ever get the power to apply it at all.

  32. lance ringquist

    this basically says it all lambert,

    “The US government needs to be courageous and step up and, at the very least, institute the necessary tariffs to punish those who use slaves who produce counterfeit items, including medical gloves, and allow American competitors, like ourselves, to compete on a level playing field,” Ratigan said.

    nafta joe biden is a feverish believer in the promises, the glories, the efficiency and that its good for the poor free trader.

    the promises and glories are aimed at the wealthy and powerful.

    the efficiency is the belief of the southern slave plantation owner, slavery was very efficient for them, not so for anyone else. the south was grossly under developed, easy pickings for the north once lincoln weeded out the free trade sympathizers in the military.

    its good for the poor part is that it puts the deplorable in their place, and as any good plantation owners knows, a cowed work force is a efficient work force, and some plantation owners even fed the slaves enough so that they were not starving, then crowed about how good slavery was for the poor.

    remember, people can justify just about anything!

    so we have a choice, a civil society and just environment under democratic control as ratigan points out, or barbarism run by a nafta type that believes in efficiency.

    no wonder nafta joe biden let operation warp speed die. it was not efficient.

    “truman was a populist: Of course I believe in free enterprise but in my system of free enterprise, the democratic principle is that there never was, never has been, never will be, room for the ruthless exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few

    “TRUMAN built GATT into the most humane system of trading the world has ever seen.

    ‘here is what truman said when the bill clinton types tried to organize GATT into a slave labor treaty on the world,

    “Of course I believe in free enterprise but in my system of free enterprise, the democratic principle is that there never was, never has been, never will be, room for the ruthless exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few.” Harry S. Truman”
    and this,

    this was removed from the GATT by bill clinton,

    “Compensatory tariffs might be added to products from countries that do not maintain international standards of environmental protection, wages, health and safety standards, and social safety nets, thus encouraging higher standards for all people everywhere.”

    “Is the answer to withdraw from global trade, as the free traders have caricatured our position? No, it is to go back to a system like the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which promoted trade but was flexible enough to allow countries policy space to develop and to preserve their intricate social contracts by preventing commodity dumping, environmental dumping, and social dumping.

    the ideologues of free trade ignored all this and tried to impose a one-size fits all model on everyone. They produced not the best of all possible worlds but Donald Trump.”

    FDR favored trade but cautioned: conditions so poor that the employees don’t even have access to water: The Slave-Free Business Certification Act is republican legislation

    “A tariff is a tax on certain goods passing from the producer to the consumer. It is laid on these goods rather than on other similar ones because they originate abroad. This is obviously protection for the producers of competing of goods at home. Peasants who live at lower levels than our farmers, workers who are sweated to reduce costs, ought not to determine the price of American goods. There are standards which we desire to set for ourselves. Tariffs should be large enough to maintain living standards which we set for ourselves. But if they are higher they become a particularly vicious kind of direct tax which is laid doubly on the consumer. Not only are the prices of foreign goods raised, but those of domestic good also.

    pages 145-146, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward, first published in 1933

    I believe that statement sets the standard by which our trade agreements should be judged. Do the agreements contain provisions that will protect the living standard of Americans, farmers and working people?

    Most of our current trade agreements do not.

    Home/The State of the Union/Senator Josh Hawley’s Bill to End Slave Labor
    Senator Josh Hawley’s Bill to End Slave Labor

    “its pretty bad that a republican can FDR/TRUMAN the nafta democrat party.”

  33. Jason Boxman

    News you can use! ProjectN95 has quite a few N95s in stock. If only we had a functional government, that might make N95s available for purchase, even for free, with, say, a web site? Ha. Ha. Maybe the Obamacare web site rescue team can come back and save us all?

  34. Tom Stone

    I’m beginning to think that our beloved reptilian overlords might regret “Letting ‘er Rip” and encouraging Covid to mutate at some point.
    Possibly when their mistress complains that her hairdresser is too sick to come by her apartment
    It’s going to take a disaster of that magnitude before they reconsider the current approach to the pandemic.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that, given the reality of asymptomatic spread, it might not be safe to be near any of the servant class, regardless of how healthy they appear.

  35. Joe Well

    COVID keeps killing (metaphorically) my heroes

    Glenn Greenwood today mocks the NYT for reporting that cases are increasing while in fact deaths are actually going down slightly.

    Does anyone have a two year old with the patience to explain to GG that for most diseases death does not immediately follow diagnosis?

    1. skippy

      That freedom and liberty voodoo* is some strong cognitive cool-aid … especially went taken with every meal …

      It works only if you really really believe in it … if not its pay no never mind and face the cold hard realities …

  36. MonkeyBusiness

    The comet has to be awfully close now. We will all go out with a bang. Not a bad ending I would say. Jeff Bezos will end up being the richest man in the cinder.

  37. Tom Stone

    I watched the thrilling last two minutes of the superspreader event put on by the NFL in Indianapolis.
    50,000 plus in a dome screaming their heads off for hours and no masks in sight.
    In similar news the Sonoma County Library just announced expanded hours of operation.
    This is a combination of mass murder and mass suicide.

    1. Samuel Conner

      There may be a bit of mass psychosis formation in all ‘camps’ these days.

      I wonder if some wag will design a new pandemic era lapel flag pin: the flagpole could be replaced with an oxygen tank. Do your patriotic duty and keep the economy strong.

      In the department of “where is the Market when you need it?”,

      the thought occurs that a reality TV show chronicling what life is like in present-day ERs would be really socially useful.

      I recall brief videos on themes such as “these are your lungs on tobacco” in HS health class several decades ago. Surely “COVID ward” or “intubated critical care” reality shows have a large potential viewing demographic.

      And Pharma could advertise its products during station breaks.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It was a “frozen war” . . . officially called an Armistice. It takes a Treaty of Peace to conclude a War between Sovereign States.

      I remember reading somewhere that Syngman Rhee of South Korea objected when the US seemed to be on the verge of accepting a Peace between South Korea and North Korea. Syngman Rhee insisted on keeping the “reunification” issue open from his end, and acquiescing in that concept was the price that Rhee exacted from the USgov in return for deigning to be America’s “puppet”.

      But if someone knows different, I would certainly accept correction on that point.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      “Draconian” measures that won’t work, if you believe the tropes from western finance rags …


  38. MarkT

    I’ll try again. The Arch (Tutu) was very outspoken not only in the political/economics field. But also elsewhere.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      One wonders if Draculamala Harris is silently cackling to itself and muttering ” oh please, oh please, oh please . . . “

  39. skippy

    (The Center Square) – The head of Indianapolis-based insurance company OneAmerica said the death rate is up a stunning 40% from pre-pandemic levels among working-age people.

    “We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business – not just at OneAmerica,” the company’s CEO Scott Davison said during an online news conference this week. “The data is consistent across every player in that business.”

    OneAmerica is a $100 billion insurance company that has had its headquarters in Indianapolis since 1877. The company has approximately 2,400 employees and sells life insurance, including group life insurance to employers in the state.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Nice find. This makes me remember earlier in the pandemic when Lambert posted a story about refrigerated truck sales/orders/rentals as an indicator of overflow deaths at hospitals/morgues. When there are gaps in the data, they can be inferred from elsewhere. You can’t hide this magnitude of human tragedy under a rug of faux/vanity statistics. Forty. Percent.


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > about refrigerated truck sales/orders/rentals as an indicator of overflow deaths at hospitals/morgues.

        IIRC — it was a long time ago and it’s been a rough year — the indicator was a good idea that turned out not to work all that well (the spot market was to small to be trackable, or some such). Still, the general principle remains: One should always be on the lookout for good proxies!

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not as an indicator of overflow deaths, but as an indicator of hard pressed medical services. How about oxygen bottle supplies? They ran pretty short last year when India got hit hard and I think that the same happened in South America. Might be worth keeping an eye on.

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