Links 7/28/2022

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


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Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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The Great Naturalist John Burroughs on the Art of Noticing and What Artists Can Learn from Naturalists The Marginalian

A Fed-induced recession is a medicine worse than the disease Claudia Sahm, FT

The Great Resignation Is Long Over Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

Faceblocked Matt Stoller, BIG

Sunset of the social network Axios (PR).

Listerine Royalties: The Origin Story and Valuation of a Uniquely Enduring Asset Invariant


Climate policy support as a tool to control others’ (but not own) environmental behavior? PLOS One

Back to the Future Doomberg. Wood-burning.

Shell Posts Back-to-Back Record Profit, Accelerates Buybacks Bloomberg

A Seaweed Farming Boom Is Preparing Maine for Life After Lobsters Reasons to be Cheerful



* * *

Why an Up-Your-Nose Covid Spray Will Be Costly Bloomberg. No, they very won’t, because we’ll give them away, just like Trump did. FFS. And if investors are yellow-bellied pigeon-livered sapsucking gutless wonders uneasy, we know what to do: Operation Warp Speed II, just like Trump did. FFS.

A Virologist Talks Vaccine Research & Thailand’s Scientific Street Cred (podcast) Bangkok Podcast (Furzy Mouse). Nasal vaccine developer Samaporn Teeravechyan. See the show notes; obvious opportunities here for a great power that had some concept of diplomacy.

* * *

The molecular epidemiology of multiple zoonotic origins of SARS-CoV-2 Science (Furzy Mouse). From the Abstract: “We show that SARS-CoV-2 genomic diversity before February 2020 likely comprised only two distinct viral lineages, denoted A and B. Phylodynamic rooting methods, coupled with epidemic simulations, reveal that these lineages were the result of at least two separate cross-species transmission events into humans. The first zoonotic transmission likely involved lineage B viruses around 18 November 2019 (23 October–8 December), while the separate introduction of lineage A likely occurred within weeks of this event. These findings indicate that it is unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 circulated widely in humans prior to November 2019 and define the narrow window between when SARS-CoV-2 first jumped into humans and when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported.”

Transient and durable T cell reactivity after COVID-19 PNAS. n = 56. From the Abstract: “Multimeric peptides spanning the entire nucleocapsid protein triggered strikingly synchronous formation of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-12, IL-13, and IL-17 ex vivo until ∼70 d after confirmed infection….. The observed durability of IL-2 and IFN-γ responses imply the existence of long-lasting T cell memory following COVID-19….”

Smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, disease severity, and mortality among patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 infections PLOS One. n = 31,545. “The major finding of this study is that in a well-characterized national registry from many different hospitals across the U.S., COVID-19 patients who were identified as current smokers were more likely to die or receive mechanical ventilation than those who were identified as non-smokers. These analyses provide the most extensive and robust evidence to date that smokers have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 and dying as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

* * *

The Fögen Effect Masks a Big Methodological Issue Office for Science and Society, McGill University. I shouldn’t amplify this, but in case anybody’s run into it…

Why Monkeypox Is a Threat to All of Us Bloomberg


US aircraft carrier group heads towards Taiwan as tension over Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit continues to grow South China Morning Post

What to expect when Biden talks to Xi Asia Times. When, or if?

China’s central bank seeks to mobilise $148bn bailout for real estate projects FT

Inflating China’s Threat Risks Disaster for the United States The National Interest


Fraudpocalypse London Review of Books. “[I]n the last ten years, two companies in the DAX, the stock-market index of Germany’s thirty (now forty) biggest corporations, have experienced colossal implosions, caused by fraud.”

BASF readies more ammonia production cuts in gas supply crunch Reuters (guurst).

* * *

Starmer’s mess Tax Research UK

Sunak vs Truss: a battle between two failed economic policies Mainly Macro

University of Roehampton pushing ahead with mass fire & rehire in arts and the humanities University and College Union

The NHS is not living with covid, it’s dying from it BMJ

* * *

Populists at the Gates Foreign Policy. In Italy.

New Not-So-Cold War

First Ukraine grain exports likely this week under deal -Turkish official Hellenic Shipping News

What Does the Black Sea Grain Agreement Mean for Africa? Maritime Executive

* * *

Kremlin spokesman hails resolution of Kaliningrad transit issue as positive development TASS

Russia’s Vostok 2022 has big messages Indian Punchline

* * *

Is Escalation in Ukraine Inevitable? The National Interest

Germany and east European allies struggle to seal deals over Ukraine-bound weapons FT

The Return of History: Cold War Lessons for Current International Crises Valdai Discussion Club

AMLO’s way Africa is a Country

Biden Adminstration

‘Holy s–t’: Surprise Senate deal sets stage for record climate change package Politico

The Congressional-Staffer Rebellion The New Yorker

Biden does COVID victory lap; praises vaccines in comparing his case to Trump’s The Hill

Sanders says Democrats’ prescription drug reform bill is ‘weak’ The Hill

FBI, DOJ accused of burying Hunter Biden dirt: Sen. Chuck Grassley New York Post

My Latest Theory About The SCOTUS Leaker Original Jurisdiction

Guillotine Watch

Suburbanites Fight Over New Dinner Services in Mercedes Vans WSJ

Class Warfare

You Can’t Shame the Shameless Black Misleadership Class Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report. From 2020, reprinted by BAR as we approach the first anniversay of Ford’s death.

* * *

Britain’s rail network hit by new strike action over pay dispute International Business Times

Mick Lynch: ‘It’s No Good Being Pissed Off – We Need Organisation’ Tribune

Bicycle graveyards: why do so many bikes end up underwater? Guardian

Penn Station Expansion is Based on Fraud Pedestrian Observations

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. flora

    re: Populists at the Gates

    Pearl clutching by the EU neoliberal economic “experts” that have run Italy into the ditch for the past many years? The regular people would prefer non-bankers and non-neoliberals in govt for a change? People with a different idea about economics? Oh, the horrors! / ;)

    1. BillS

      Italy is one country whose political class has applied neoliberal ideas more than in practically any other European country. The medical system, in particular, has been run into the ground by decades of neglect and funding cuts. To get “quick” service, one must pay private practitioners. This is one reason that the Covid crisis got out of control (Lombardy region has ruthlessly applied neolib practice to its system – “efficiency” at the expense of resilience). The electric grid is another place – recently fully privatized – and falling apart. Water is partially privatized, but there is periodic resistance against full privatization. This is another system falling apart from lack of investment/maintainance. I recently read that 40% of water is lost to leaks in the system (and this in the middle of a never before seen drought)! The highway system and many bridges have been private for a long time. The collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genova is a direct consequence of penny-pinching by its management company. I am convinced that the political and managerial class here, like in the USA, hate its constituents and really prefer that they just go off and die.

  2. griffen

    Federal Reserve is serving in the role as the “Pennywise the Dancing Clown” for 2022…don’t believe that I’m wrong. The stuff of nightmares. Kill the economy to save the economy is not a highly valued headline,

    High inflation can continue….much like Fight Club…as long as it has to. The tools for dampening inflation, at present, are fairly limited to what they’ve been doing thus far in 2022. Reduced activity in the UST and MBS markets, and the increase in the short term target rate.

    This could turn into a King Solomon solution; to save the baby cut the child in half…

    Added, I can navigate the FT article by responding to simple queries about…brands of yogurt….weird

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I have no doubts that the hikes in interest rates and the layoffs to come will do nothing to the top 1%, who will keep demanding with impunity. Why stop buying when your assets have inflated so much you dgaf? Meanwhile the people that get layoffs and this year’s graduates will have economic pain for years to come.

    2. Objective Ace

      Cynically take: this isnt about saving the economy. Its about saving profits which requires destroying labor’s bargaining power. It just so happens that the way to do that is destroying the economy

      1. John Zelnicker

        Ace – You’re not being cynical enough.

        Powell has already said the real, main purpose of raising interest rates is to push down wages, just like Volcker did in the 1980’s when he broke the back of the labor movement by running unemployment to over 10% and mortgage rates to 18%.

        1. spud

          and with inflation running so high the rich can still borrow tons of money to manipulate paper. a 5% interest rate means nothing to them with inflation running close to 10%.

          they can still make money borrowing at 5%, but at 5% interest rates we will be in a full blown impossible to cover up depression.

          1. Anthony Stegman

            The economy is a complete sham if interest rates of 5% cause a depression. In the past interest rates were well above 5% for an extended period of time with no resulting depression. What’s different this time?

            1. spud

              the deplorable are broke, deep into debt, and we make so little, we cannot generate real wealth. a 5% rate will be a tremendous burden on the 90%.

              i bet the fed knows this, but they are part of the free trade hammer, everything else is a nail.

      2. griffen

        Because markets…we know fully what is the second rule which I ascribe to Lambert directly.

        Laugh, cry, curl up in a fetal pose. Before death.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “US aircraft carrier group heads towards Taiwan as tension over Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit continues to grow”

    Nothing like sending an aircraft carrier battle group to ease off tensions. Worse yet, old Joe could have said to the Chinese that Nancy wanting to jet off to Taiwan was the actions of a person that is even more senile than he is. But by sending that aircraft carrier battle group, he has now labelled Nancy’s trip as official US policy.

    1. timbers

      Are there any headlines regarding how big a carbon foot print is created to move all this military hardware for the sole purpose of facilitating a counter productive meeting that serves no purpose, for a vain 82 year old with nothing better to do?

      Any reports on how much moving all this military hardware will cost taxpayers?…Paging President Manchin…

      1. Larry Carlson

        Something like 40% of the navy’s fleet relies on nuclear power, so no huge carbon footprint there. I guess for the remaining 60% we can hope they’ve recently retrofitted them to use new European environmentally friendly fuels like wood and coal.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        There could be cartoons about it. A bunch of ships with smokestacks and black clouds coming from them turning into black footprints in the sky trailing all the way back to base.

        1. wilroncanada

          There was an old British joke about the navy pulling up and burning old ship timbers. they were getting more than 20 miles to the galleon.

    2. flora

      Eh… maybe the Navy is just sailing off to do another purchasing deal somewhere in the South China Sea. See: Fat Leonard and the Seventh Fleet. (Because Markets.) / joke

      1. flora

        adding: I’ve become jaded enough to think this is all pre-scripted by B and X to make both look good to their respective voters and party members before important upcoming elections for both – the CCP’s 20th National Party Congress in October and the US midterms in November. Too cynical?

        1. Craig H.

          See the Lily Tomlin archive.

          The onion and babylon bee have the best coverage of this kind of story. Howard Stern might have had a decent take back when he was on top of his game.

        2. hunkerdown

          Foil thickness looks alright, but it should be clear to Nancy, as it is to everyone else and Adlai Stevenson, that won’t be enough. ;)

          To me, it’s telling that China’s highest defense official is taking point on the proposed visit, and that Xi’s well clear of this kerfuffle. Lady Pelosi’s presence doesn’t rate as a diplomatic or even international interaction in their eyes, merely as a pest problem. I don’t see anything that would necessarily rub off on Xi, besides evidence of sound management, sober judgment, and proper delegation, just what a mature culture of administration expects from their administrative class, and in striking contrast to Western hysterical politics.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I saw that video earlier and was not impressed. It was OK for a Navy ship commander to panic and start shooting missiles at Chinese planes because he was in fear of his life. Maybe he should have gone into police work. Virtually every missile that the Navy fired took out a Chinese plane while nearly all the Chinese missiles missed the Navy planes as the pilots were too good for them. And in the end the only reason that the Chinese were able to sink the task force was mass airplanes and missiles which I guess is the 21st century equivalent of a Chinese human wave attack. Yeah, not buying that particular scenario.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Any chance we can load a few vape cartridges into Nancy’s luggage? Pelosi could be the Chinese version of Brittany Griner, except that no one would be working for her release.

        2. Old Sovietologist

          Yes, agree with you on the substance of the video.

          Although it does show how quickly we can move up the escalation ladder. What happens after the Ronald Reagan hits the bottom of the South China Sea? Does the US give up at that point and seek a peaceful solution or does it launch World War 3?

          We’re living in a much more dangerous period than during the first cold war and I’m getting more pessimistic

          1. Polar Socialist

            It’s really, really hard to actually sink a carrier. It’s much more likely to be unable to launch or receive aircraft, thus having to retreat towards Japan, hopefully under it’s own power.

            That gives the powers that be some leeway in deciding whether to escalate or de-escalate. If the latter, they just announce having “significantly diminished the Chinese capabilities for aggressive posturing” and transporting the 1,200 concussion cases back to continental USA for medical examination. And CVN-76 will go to it’s regular, scheduled maintenance and re-fitting expected to take 3-4 years.

            1. John

              I would settle for putting said carrier out of action. What good is it if it cannot launch or recover aircraft? A missile salvo might well sink a carrier. Multiple missile salvos would be even more effective. Should the powers blunder into such a scenario, why do you believe Jaspan would be eager to participate by giving safe haven?

              1. Acacia

                Japan is obligated to do so by the terms of ANPO. Plus, the far right and their buddies in the LDP are itching for involvement.

            2. Anthony G Stegman

              Aircraft carriers are essentially floating bombs, what with all of the aviation fuel and munitions carried onboard. A few well placed missile strikes will set off a series of explosions that will completely disable the ship. It may well sink.

            3. Yves Smith

              China and Russia both have missiles that can sink a carrier.

              One was also sunk in the first ten minutes of the Millennium 2002 wargames…by a Red meant to approximate Iraq, as in very low tech.

    3. S Haust

      Has anyone bothered to look at a map of the Pacific basin lately? The actual route of
      virtually all flights from US to “China” passes over parts of Alaska, northeastern Siberia,
      possibly Kamchatka, North Korea, Mongolia, etc. Great Circles can be very

      Avoidance of these areas is extremely difficult and inconvenient. If any one of these
      countries refuses overflight rights, Pelosi could be in for some major face dropping.
      I won’t even try to elaborate on that. Many others could come up with some kind of
      scenario. Actually, we were supposed to have learned this lesson when Edward
      Snowden was deemed to have taken a leap.

      But then, she could go round the other way, entailing even more weirdness.

      My real thoughts – “This, I gotta see”

      1. S Haust

        Of course a third possibility is SFO-HNL-TPE. It’s an established route.
        I haven’t seen the details but suspect that too involves some overflight niceties.

        These areas have been peaceful for a long time, after years of effort and
        diplomatic encounters. What a shame to destroy all that just for showboat Pelosi
        and her fantasies.

        IMO, “military action” could involve something like a fighter escort and orders
        to “set’er down” in Fujian or Xiamen. Defiance of such orders would involve
        the upset of a big apple cart.

    4. spud

      old Joe is just adhering to Bill Clintons well established policies of making sure the world is safe for free trade.

      “Memories from 1996 – when Chinese missile tests in the strait prompted U.S. President Bill Clinton to order two fully armed carrier battle groups to pass through the Taiwan Strait – have shaped the strategic operational codes of the Chinese military and the Central Politburo.”

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Nothing like sending an aircraft carrier battle group to ease off tensions

      We live in the stupidest timeline and I wish the showrunners would change it.

  4. christofay

    The aircraft carrier battle group will be kept on the east, safe side of Taiwan. Or the group will be sent to the west side, in the Taiwan strait between China and Taiwan as an interdicting martyr. I’m sitting here in Taiwan benefiting from the national health system and worried about our American perfect (0 for 20)) record and worried.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “First Ukraine grain exports likely this week under deal -Turkish official”

    I don’t think that there will be as much grain as we are being told. A lot of it has already been shipped out of the country via rail and it should be remembered that the Ukrainians will have to retain enough for their own use. I think that I read that it use to be about 8 million tons but of course there are less people in the Ukraine now. So there will come a point where, after a chain of delivers, it will come to a complete halt and people will be asking where the rest of it is. The Ukrainians will probably at that point turn around and say that the Russians either destroyed it or stole it and shipped it out overseas. And people will believe them. For myself, I would be extremely interested as to where exactly those ships take that wheat to. Will it be, in fact, to less developed countries or will it end up going to EU nations? One wonders.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Turkey seems to be one of the biggest importers of Ukrainian wheat, so I gather nothing will pass the Bosporus until they have theirs.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wouldn’t they be getting their wheat direct from Russia? Nothing wrong with those Russian ports which, I guess, also includes Mariupol now.

        1. Polar Socialist

          They did get (last year) 70% from Russia and 15% from Ukraine. I understand that Turkey is self-sufficient agriculturally, and the imported wheat is mostly processed into pasta and pastries for exports.

          I would like to say that Ukrainian wheat is sanction-free, unlike Russian, but since Russia is the biggest trade partner of Turkey, we can assume they have figured out a way to bypass Swift and just not care.

          1. Irrational

            Well, Egypt just cancelled their order for 240,000 tonnes of Ukraine grain, just a day after Lavrov visited. What a coincidence!

    2. truly

      re “will have to retain enough for their own use.”
      C’mon man, you know they will starve their own people so they can get a little more cash in their pockets before fleeing (or is that fleaing?) their own country.

  6. Lee

    “The NHS is not living with covid, it’s dying from it BMJ”

    In related Covid news:

    Your Long Covid Questions, Answered KQED Forum. (55 minute audio)

    “A study published in the journal Nature [Symptoms and risk factors for long COVID in non-hospitalized adults]
    this week documented yet more symptoms – including hair loss and sexual dysfunction – associated with long covid, a syndrome the CDC reports afflicts roughly a fifth of people who contract Covid-19. The Nature study also found that long covid sufferers are more likely to be young, members of ethnic minority groups, and economically disadvantaged. We’ll talk about the latest long covid science and hear from long haulers about how they have adjusted to life with a chronic illness.


    Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine and executive vice president, Scripps Research Institute

    Angela Meriquez Vázquez, long COVID patient and President of Body Politic

    Paige Morrisey, 25-year-old COVID long-hauler”

    1. LawnDart

      [Crud– this comment got hung-up by Skynet and I thought it had vanished to all but the bowels of an NSA repository, so I later reposted a similar comment– mods, nuking one or the other won’t hurt my feelings]

      1. tegnost

        The only way to deal with moderation is patience. Like I imagine most commenters do, I wind up in mod but only in very rare cases does the comment not show up, and generally in not that long of a time.

  7. Pat

    The Penn Station redo prompts my cynical question of the day. Does Hochul’s husband’s company have prime space for their concessions in the redesigned terminal?

    Look I know this is a big grab by real estate and construction interests, and so there are big winners and losers, many of them top donors. Even so this is looking more and more like a political loser in the short term as well as the long term. If I were a gubernatorial candidate from either party I would be staying as far away from it as possible. And yet her attachment is hard to miss. I can’t decide if she stepped in the dog do too early in the process to escape or she just has more to gain from it going forward.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      The re-design of the station is one thing, and can be discussed and argued over. What seems inarguable is the insanity of destroyiing a big chunk of Mid-town Manhattan, and replacing it with office towers no one (except the developers, builders and bankers) needs or wants.

      Hudson Yards is already an urban Dead Zone that taxpayers will be subsidizing for decades (some of the quiet corruption that was endemic under Bloomberg); the idea that the city’s Overclass insists on tearing up an otherwise functioning part of the city (Hudson Yards was built in a very under-utilized area) is just beyond the beyonds.

      1. Louis Fyne

        and Hudson Yards has one of the worst, yet common, features of mega-developments—it is a pedestrian wasteland: sterile, boring, an unpleasant place to be (thanks avant guard public art) despite efforts by planners to prevent such sterility.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>sterile, boring, an unpleasant place to be (thanks avant guard public art) despite efforts by planners to prevent such sterility.

          Reminds me of the Embarcadero Center . Acres of neo-Brutalist and Modernist concrete and glass with all the warmth and personality of Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. The fountain and plaza on Embarcadero One(?) looks like one of those covers on those science fiction paperbacks of the 60s.

          Anyways, after the deliberate murder of the port of San Francisco back in the 1960s fortuitously opened up all the land that its operations used. Away went all the companies and their employees that worked for the shipping. Zip went the land. The Port of San Francisco sold or “developed” aaalll that prime real estate. Then there was The Freeway to Nowhere along the Embarcadero. Its fatal destruction by the last big quake was welcomed.

          It’s interesting that my impressions of San Francisco are partially of what it used to be even though I was too young to have any memories when the port went away. So there is nothing concrete in my memories, but I have always felt that the city was busier and more crowded than it has been for decades. Then again, it seems like the whole Bay Area has been fading away starting in the 1970s (A lot of what started to go bad seems to start in that decade. No?). But just as Robert Moses murdered the old New York, so too did San Francisco’s elites. Or Santa Clara County although Silicon Valley was created there. However, that seems to be the only thing besides burying the place under concrete. There was the Financial District in San Francisco, but even that seems to be fading. So, elites through the developers buried much of the land under concrete and even more asphalt. Very profitably developing the heck out of the place except adequate housing or public transportation. All for the best of reasons I sure.

          But getting back to what my comment was originally about: most modern architecture is not about creating a livable or even functional space for an entire community. It is all vanity and profit. Build post-modernist grandiose monstrosities of concrete and glass as that is the easiest way to feed the vanity and increase their bank accounts. Much like all the neo-colonial wars that the United States has been losing for the past thirty years. Or how much work and money has been spent on keeping Market Street alive since the 70s. Lots of money to beautify it and that has worked for Lower Market, but like gangrene, a part is in constant decay. But then the slowly dying Financial District meant that there was/is a market for those offices and businesses. Seems like that in making a profit and putting in the sugar and meth has kept the economy going and given the impression of progress and creation, but like the energy filled addict who hasn’t eaten or done anything for weeks, the crash will come.

          As much as I loathe, okay, violently hate, Le Corbusier’s Brutalist architecture, if you do some study of him, you can see that he was interested in creating for a community. I think he was wrong with how he did it, but unlike the architects and urban planners who came after him, it existed. Murdering everything for profit hasn’t helped either.

      2. kurtismayfield

        It seems a lot of the new construction in Manhattan is unnecessary. How many of those super tall condo’s are actually occupied? It all just seem like real estate investment plays.

        1. CanCyn

          Provides rentiers with AirB&B for tourists? If us mopes can no longer afford NYC vacations, the 1-10 percenters still need a place to sleep when they visit the big smoke.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “My Latest Theory About The SCOTUS Leaker ”

    What does it matter? The leaker gave out that information as to what as coming. Biden and Co. did nothing for the next several weeks, and then acted surprised when Roe vs Wade was dumped.

    Meanwhile, here is an Honest Government Ad for the US Supreme Court- (3:26 mins) – Extreme language alert!

    1. jefemt

      The headline mentions Theory.

      It was Karl Rove, ferchripessakes. He had brunch with Ms. Ginny and got all the juicy bits (sorry!)…

      Super-wedgie! The shiniest of divide and conquer orbs…

  9. jr

    Pentagon official warns China’s ‘aggressive’ behavior in the South China Sea could lead to a ‘major incident or accident’:

    paired with this bit of fluffery:

    See, it’s a human rights thing:

    “But what is certain is that Pelosi’s decision will be a defining foreign policy and human rights moment for the U.S. and its highest-ranking lawmaker with a long tenure leading the House.”

    1. Questa Nota

      Taiwan will ask Ukraine for advice on how to shake down request defense funds from Uncle Sugar.

      But will they have cute photo ops with cooperative media?

      Quick, get a publicist to put some Taiwanese photogenic person into the Zeitgeist.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        The president of Taiwan will never win any beauty contests, so she may as well prance around in green t-shirts ala Zelensky.

  10. Katiebird

    RE: Prescription drug reform. Is this, “ It would initially authorize Medicare to negotiate lower prices for 10 drugs and then extend that authority to cover 20 drugs. ” a serious proposal?

    That is crazy – and if it’s such a limited list, why can’t the reporter list the drugs? I’m curious – what drugs do the Democrats think are so important (and the others so worthless) that their price must be controlled?

    The entire US Legislature is worthless. Look, if they don’t want ANY health care reform just say so. What they are trying to pull off is insulting.

    1. Katiebird

      AND it doesn’t take affect until 2026.

      I’m really curious…. What is the point of voting at all? Republicans openly despise the goals I think are critical. And the Democrats do too but they lie about it.

      And when they don’t lie and do have the best of intensions, they are helpless against the others.

      I can’t think of a solution.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Not voting, not even being registered and being loud about it is my choice. This government, corrupt to its systemic core at best, a clear and ever present danger to too many, is not legitimate to me.

        I think walmart has a list of three dollar meds. That’s probably the list Gov will pretend to negotiate down.

      2. hunkerdown

        To be trained into subordination: first to a cause, then to a party, then (half the time) to the other party.

    2. Solarjay

      The specific drugs haven’t been chosen yet because based on a complicated multiple choice based algorithm

    3. Tom Stone

      The net worth of US Legislators is a bit higher than the median net worth of Americans….

    4. Keith Howard

      Most likely Pharma will prevent this from passing. But on the off chance that it survives, my fearless prediction: Whatever 10 (or 20) ‘drugs’ are eventually listed, insulin will not be one of them.

      1. Vandemonian

        Surely Big Pharma will just tell congress which items they’re allowed to put on the list.
        Drugs which are:
        – cheap to make,
        – out of date,
        – little used,
        – for extremely rare diseases
        – with troubling side effects requiring expensive (pharmaceutical) treatment
        and so on. You get the picture
        They (both) have form.

    5. kurtismayfied

      They are not worthless.. they are worth every penny Pharma has paid them. And they have been bought for so cheap

    6. Mildred Montana

      Imo, just more government sleight-of-hand. It says it will be saving taxpayers a little money sometime in the distant future. Meanwhile, as those taxpayers are celebrating their small victory and duly distracted, it puts 52 billion big ones in the pockets of chipmakers like Intel. This corporate gift was approved on a bipartisan vote, as corporate gifts always are, and the funds should be available well before 2026.

      Was it a coincidence that both bills passed about the same time? Cynical me says no.

    7. Katniss Everdeen

      The package, however, does include a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on prescription drug costs and would extend expiring health insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act by at least two years.

      What about the Medicare “doughnut hole?” $2000 out-of-pocket max (annually?) sounds pretty low. It also sounds like it would upend just about every drug coverage scheme now firmly entrenched in the scam that is u.s. “healthcare,” unless somehow .gov is just going to make up the difference which I doubt. I’d say the real point here is to extend the obamacare premium subsidies, which are set to expire right before the midterms, resulting in whopping premium increases.

      Yeah, I don’t believe any of it. It should go without saying that you don’t learn much about what’s really going on from an article at The Hill.

      The link I’m providing is to a podcast called Congressional Dish. The woman who does it actually reads the bills completely, and describes what’s actually in them. This one involves the rentier role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in setting drug prices.

      Not to draw this out too much more, but the “law” she was reading was–get this–a recently passed gun law. It had a “dingleberry” (her word) attached, involving a Trump era action that required all of those pharma Rx “rebates” you see advertised be passed on to the patient–for Medicare patients only. They are currently hoovered up by the PBMs as kickbacks. The biden admin postponed enactment several times, and the “gun safety” law postponed it again until 2027.

      The podcast is long I admit, 1 hour 20 min., but if you really want to know, ya gotta do the work. I follow her on spotify and listen while I’m riding my bike. Interesting stuff.

      1. katiebird

        Thank you for this, Katniss. I am TERRIBLE about listening to podcasts. I wish I could figure out how to get them on my TV because even if there is only a static page, it would give me something when I look up from my knitting. Also, I use speakers, not headphones. Which somehow makes a difference.

        Still, I’ll try to figure out a way to list to some of this one.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I have a smartphone which I only use for listening to podcasts and calling home from the grocery store to find out if we need eggs.

          You can get a cheap blue tooth speaker, get the podcast on your phone if you have one, use your home wifi so you can keep the mobile data / location OFF, and broadcast from the phone to the speaker with blue tooth.

          It’s almost like a radio! I couldn’t care less about “sound quality,” I just want to hear what these people have to say.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          PS. If you look at the link, there are several ways to get it on a smart TV. Probably the easiest is YouTube which is free with ads. I “watch” a lot of podcasts on YouTube if I’m around a TV.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          Spotify now carries quite a few podcasts and I’m able to listen to them on my non-smart TV. If you have a Roku or similar device you should be able to stream Spotify on your TV. I found that the cheapest Roku didn’t really work so I bought a better version for about $35-$40. This will give you access to all kinds of streaming services, many of them free. I can watch any youtube videos on my TV too and they also carry quite a few podcasts.

          1. katiebird

            Thanks!! I just found Pandora on my TV and it has Katniss’s podcast. And I’m listening now!! Wow.

          2. fringe element

            Thanks to both of you from me too. I listen to podcasts on my phone or tablet while I’m walking around the park or puttering in the kitchen, but it can be a hassle with little ear buds physically linked to the device I’m listening from. The blue tooth speakers and the good Roku for my TV sound wonderful. Also the link to Congressional Dish is a great tip.

            1. JBird4049

              Since I have to wear hearing aids, I use their Bluetooth to listen to podcasts and the occasional YouTube on my phone. However, they are the larger over the ear aids. Not the tiny buds.

              If you have hearing aids, I would check for Bluetooth that newer ones have or using a neckloop for the T-coil function that pretty much all aids and phones cell or landline have. Although you might have to buy a dongle since Apple got rid of the insert for a headphone cable because they deemed it unnecessary.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a Trump era action that required all of those pharma Rx “rebates” you see advertised be passed on to the patient–for Medicare patients only. They are currently hoovered up by the PBMs as kickbacks.

        Wait. You’re telling me Trump did something good?

        Adding, Congressional Dish is very informative.

    8. Grant

      That bill is good for one reason only, it can establish that Medicare can negotiate down the price of drugs broadly. Outside of that, it’s not going to lower the costs of drugs overall. There are no price controls and they of course don’t attack monopoly power. So, there is nothing to stop the companies from raising the prices of other drugs to make up the difference, or from raising the prices of those particular drugs between the time the bill is signed and the time when the provisions of the bill are in place. It will likely result in the prices of those drugs declining and other drugs increasing. It will demonstrate the benefits of Medicare negotiating these drugs and will also demonstrate the problem of not doing this universally.

      Warren and Bernie both supported forming a publicly owned company that would produce drugs and then sell them at cost. That would be amazing. Single payer would too of course, but that isn’t on the horizon.

  11. Terry Flynn

    The Fogen effect is not something I was aware of specifically by name, but already knew of various other reasons why it might arise. One is the poor ability of humans to deal with probabilities across “multiple events”. Thus to calculate the probability of getting COVID you must (in the simplest case) multiply chances of avoiding it on every possible exposure and subtract from one. Resulting number (chances of getting it) gets real high real fast, which may be why the media is now touting “how few people in UK have not had it”. The number is small and getting smaller rapidly.

    Another issue the clinical trials community has been more aware of for years is within-person variability – resulting in the n-of-1 trial. It recognises that the outcome of interest is stochastic not deterministic – on 16 identical exposures you might have a factor meaning you’ll avoid infection 15 times…… Or you might avoid it only 9 times. “On average” both individuals “avoid infection” but that’s not the whole story by a long shot. You must try to understand the variation. Maybe it is genuinely random…… Maybe it is a factor the experimenter failed to anticipate and vary systematically.

    Add together all these complicating factors and it becomes increasingly understandable why these charlatans get attention. All scientists should have a theory, backed up with data collected under the right experimental conditions, not just a “hypothesis”, for every stage in their model. Once you have merely a hypothesis for one stage, you have a weak point. Probabilistic models and human “sniff tests” are then too easily glossed over. A chain is only ever as good as its weakest link.

    1. paul

      Thus to calculate the probability of getting COVID you must (in the simplest case) multiply chances of avoiding it on every possible exposure and subtract from one.

      Another issue the clinical trials community has been more aware of for years is within-person variability – resulting in the n-of-1 trial. It recognises that the outcome of interest is stochastic not deterministic – on 16 identical exposures you might have a factor meaning you’ll avoid infection 15 times…… Or you might avoid it only 9 times.

      I may be unusual, but I have never met anyone who, could or does, behave algorithmically correctly to these suggestions.

      The amount of data gathering,collation and analysis seems insurmountable.

      You would need an app for that.

      You take the precautions you deem necessary, use protections available, limit unknown contact, and respond judiciously to challenges, ie avoid the newly and obviously diseased.

      Supporting well founded public health mitigations is a good one too.

      This obviously won’t give complete protection, especially in a vaccine induced incubation environment, but it is probably the most that can be expected of people.

      1. Terry Flynn

        The reason people don’t conform to the algorithm is because of 40+ years of propaganda – you can follow relatively simple “rules” re masking etc (that sites like this one have promoted) but the powers that be have successfully presented such “basic mathematical and public health rules” as “evil constraints on individual choice”. Once upon a time predictive models worked much better because people just had confidence in the science or whatever. Plus we could TRUST that Fogen stuff wouldn’t be allowed.

        Now I’m perfectly aware that Thatcher’s “there is no such thing as society” is misused – it’s a selective quote from a wider paragraph. However it did indeed set the tone for a fundamental change in behavior that is now coming back to haunt us. People hadnt needed to understand the algorithm to do the right thing….. After all, could you explain a bunch of things in Einsteinian physics that we “just believe”? Now? Urgh….. “Your belief is as good as my fact”.

        Erosion of basic trust in science is the problem. I don’t need to know exactly WHY a computer can’t give me genuinely random number to know that random number generators produce pseudo random numbers. We are losing critical faculties in basic areas.

        1. paul

          but the powers that be have successfully presented such “basic mathematical and public health rules” as “evil constraints on individual choice”.

          They have and they haven’t.

          Erosion of basic trust in science is the problem

          That is a consequence of the erosion occurring in science&copybgates.

          You don’t comply, you die (professionally or even existentially).

          Not unique to our times.

        2. paul

          The reason people don’t conform to the algorithm is because of 40+ years of propaganda

          ..and also that 99% of people would not be able to define, let alone differentiate, between stochastic and deterministic.

          Even I am not sure, for me:


          deterministic = possible probable cause, though some might say direct,unintermediated cause.

          1. linearperk

            I think in this case the difference is if the previous events affect the subsequent events.

            Stochastic random steps aren’t affected by the steps that came before.

            Deterministic means that predictive power increases with the number of events and their relationship to each other/pattern.

            Just off the cuff! But it’s a great point to make. There’s a lot of useful information packed into precise definitions. How much is already lost?

            1. paul

              Would ‘increasingly possible probable cause’ fit the bill better?

              The end point of determination is also important.

        3. hunkerdown

          Neoliberal epistemology, as described by Philip Mirowski. Markets are smarter than science but mobs are dumber than entrepreneurs, or something like that.

          1. paul

            Never thought of it that way, but it would suggest a consensus for the comfortable.

            Now how will it trickle down?

            Reasonable argument will be enough, surely.

        4. Anonymous 2

          Adam Curtis – The Century of the Self – is interesting on Thatcher and society. He argues that Thatcher and Co identified a growing trend towards individualism in British Society and shaped their policies to take advantage of this development, which of course they then amplified.

        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Thatcher’s “there is no such thing as society” is misused – it’s a selective quote from a wider paragraph.

          Well, all quotes are selective. Here is the paragraph:

          But it went too far. If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. [end p30] There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate. And the worst things we have in life, in my view, are where children who are a great privilege and a trust—they are the fundamental great trust, but they do not ask to come into the world, we bring them into the world, they are a miracle, there is nothing like the miracle of life—we have these little innocents and the worst crime in life is when those children, who would naturally have the right to look to their parents for help, for comfort, not only just for the food and shelter but for the time, for the understanding, turn round and not only is that help not forthcoming, but they get either neglect or worse than that, cruelty.*

          If you toss out the garnish of “living tapestry” and ignore all the bleating about The Children, you will see — I have helpfully underlined the passages — that Thatcher, in her depicted ideal world, has no notion that people might take collective responsibility for the well-being of all — through a functional state, for example. This leads directly the sociopathic libertarianism of “Let ‘er rip” and “personal risk assessments,” in whose hellishness we are enmeshed today.

          Thatcher has not been misquoted and if anything the context makes the quote worse, stuffed as it is with sentimental tosh.

          NOTE * As for example infecting children in poorly ventilated schools without masking requirements.

          UPDATE As it turns out, she used the same line twice, in different contexts. This post supplies the other context. In this context, there is also “who is society? There is no such thing!”, a different quote.

  12. paul

    Richard Murphy’s lament is strange as he he was almost hysterically foursquare behind the anti corbyn counter reformation.

    I remember him being a strong supporter of the stalking horse pharma shill, owen smith, as the future of ‘labour’.

    Responsibility for sir blair ‘Starmer’s mess’ can be shared amongst many.

    Craig Murray’s and Peter Oborne’s comments on the Forde report make this clear.

  13. antidlc

    Nursing homes are suing the friends and family members of residents to collect debts

    Lucille Brooks was stunned when she picked up the phone before Christmas two years ago and learned a nursing home was suing her.

    “I thought this was crazy,” recalled Brooks, 74, a retiree who lives with her husband in a modest home in the Rochester suburbs. Brooks’ brother had been a resident of the nursing home. But she had no control over his money or authority to make decisions for him. She wondered how she could be on the hook for his nearly $8,000 bill.

    Brooks would learn she wasn’t alone. Pursuing unpaid bills, nursing homes across this industrial city have been routinely suing not only residents but their friends and family, a KHN review of court records reveals. The practice has ensnared scores of children, grandchildren, neighbors, and others, many with nearly no financial ties to residents or legal responsibility for their debts.

    1. Yves Smith

      This particularly example is not remotely legal:

      If the debt remains, “filial responsibility” may mandate that you pay off the remainder. Almost thirty states have filial responsibility statutes that require adult children to pay off the remaining debt if the estate cannot.

      Retrograde Alabama is not one of those states. Virginia is New York is not. If that Rochester is Rochester, New York, she is being abused. NY does not have a filial obligation law.

      And I have never heard of siblings, as opposed to children, being on the hook.

      Also if you are in a different state, so far it appears only PA has been trying to enforce it out of state.

      1. petal

        Yes, it’s Rochester, NY, Monroe County. I saw “Rochester” and wondered if it might be so I clicked on it and read, and then passed it on to family and friends in the Rochester area. A lot of them are either getting quite elderly or have elderly parents. The nursing homes around there are horrible to begin with.

        1. harrybothered

          That’s too bad. I always thought NY was much better at taking care of their elderly than other states – Cuomo-induced COVID excepted. One of my aunts is in a nursing home in Oneida, NY and she loves it there.

          1. petal

            The ones in the Rochester area have really gone downhill a lot in the last 10-15 years or so. Places people used to think of as excellent and solid(and were), places one might not mind ending up, are now at “wouldn’t take my dog there” level. It’s been a steady deterioration for some time.

      2. antidlc

        “This particularly example is not remotely legal:”

        It doesn’t matter if they can get people to pay the remainder.

        Are people like Lucille Brooks going to be able to hire an attorney to fight it?

        Well, I guess they could contact the regulators, but how much harassment will they endure before the regulators step in, if they step in?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          You said the magic word – “harrassment”.

          There are limits to how aggressive debt collectors can be and there is a cottage legal industry out there that goes after aggressive debt collectors. Collections were part of my duties at an old job and I took one of those half day courses that talked about collections law, so as not to breach it. We were told that we could not make any threats that we weren’t going to actually follow though on, otherwise the debtor could sue and win. I was collecting on past due accounts for the company I worked for directly, and was told that if I told a debtor we would send their account to collections and then didn’t do it, we could be sued by the debtor for harassment for making false threats. There was also a limit to how often you could call before it was legally considered harassment. Often, threatening to sue a debt collector for harassment will get them off your back pretty quickly. I’ve been on the other end of the collections situation too and using the magic word against the collectors worked for me.

          1. antidlc

            “Often, threatening to sue a debt collector for harassment will get them off your back pretty quickly. ”

            And are people like Lucille Brooks going to know that?

            Or are they just going to pay the remainder to get the phone calls and letters to stop?

          2. Duke of Prunes

            There’s a lot of laws which are supposed to put a leash on debt collectors. I had one hounding me for a debt I knew I did not owe. IIRC, first, you send a registered letter with return receipt to the collector telling them to stop calling. After this, they’re only supposed to contact you by mail, with possibly a few reasonable exceptions. Then, you ask for proof of debt (again, you do this by registered mail with return receipt). They were never able to come up with this so they eventually went away. You always do “registered with return receipt” so you have proof of the communication and that they actually received it. Mail also is more labor intensive and slows the whole process down so the collectors who focus on speed don’t like it.

            1. JBird4049

              The debt collection industry seems to be increasingly slimy in that the bottom feeders will go after anyone for anything. If you have bought some debt for pennies on the dollars getting any payment from anyone means profit. I have read of some collectors suing, but not actually telling the alleged debtors. It is immoral, unethical, and illegal, but when has that stopped some people? Just look at all those illegally foreclosed homes using forged documents a decade ago.

          3. Big River Bandido

            re: “harrassment”

            In 2013 or ’14, I was sent through a battery of high-cost, hi-tech “diagnostics” (sonogram, endoscopy, and finally a “Hide-A-Scan”) to determine the cause of elevated amylase and lipase numbers. All three procedures turned up nothing…but not after the Hide-A-Scan turned into a debacle; the insurer kept sending me bills which THEY were supposed to process through a different insurance company! The first time I called the provider, they said “you have to send this bill to Company X at this address and they’ll pay it.” I did. And the same bill kept coming, with all my calls leading to wild goose-chases and taxes on MY time. I finally decided I was simply not going to pay, and I wasn’t going to talk to them any more, and washed my hands of it.

            They subjected me to several months of dunning calls, and I kept explaining what happened and saying “this is YOUR problem, not mine”.

            Finally, one freezing early February morning in 2015, Mr. BRB’s was heading to work and discovered his car had a flat tire (on-street parking). While we were struggling with the tire, in absolutely freezing temps, I got a call. It was a collections agency. I went ballistic. I repeated the entire story, replete with profanity, screaming into my cell phone on a busy street in Queens, and never giving the caller a chance to interrupt. I finished with “this bill was never my responsibility, I will *never* pay it, and furthermore, your continued pursuit of this matter constitutes HARASSMENT.” I told them if they ever called me again, I had ample grounds to sue them, and then hung up.

            I never heard from them again, and so far as I know, my credit score never reflected any adverse consequences. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the word “harassment” again in similar situations. It’s potent.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          Telling the collector to go pound sand over and over will make them realize they are trying to bleed a stone. There is no way they can get the bill on the family member’s credit report.

        3. Yves Smith

          You don’t need an attorney. You write the mother of all nastygrams yourself. They have no legal standing whatsoever to ask for dough. And you can go on about them being shameless predators.

    2. Lexx

      Here’s a pdf listing the states with ‘filial responsibility’ laws on the books.

      As though being a resident of a nursing home wasn’t distance enough from loved ones… I knew a neighbor who couldn’t afford a nursing home (she could barely afford the house she was in because it was paid off), who “chose” then to continue to smoke her cigarettes and watch the Home Shopping Network down in the basement, almost until it killed her. She survived the hospital but not more than a week in rehab. She had one last heart attack walking assisted back from the toilet.

      The idea that a nursing home would go after those two sons for any balance owed, or really anyone related to her had she chosen to rack up a bill… imagine how much lonelier those residents would be. It was not a harmonious family. Her eldest was probably livid about the cost of her brief stay in rehab. The only thing of value she had left was her house and she had taken out a reverse mortgage on that just to stay at home.

      If those laws get any real legs under them, it could get very nasty indeed. There are “kids” out there whose only plan for retirement is an inheritance… or what’s left of it.

      1. GramSci

        So, having recently moved back to Pentagonia to help care for an ill grandchild, I did a quick google and came up with this gem:

        In recent years, Virginia‘s filial responsibility law has been used for purposes not contemplated by its original architects. For example, it has allowed a brother, who had run his mother‘s fi- nances into the ground, to sue his sister to hold her liable for his financial mistakes, burdening her with substantial litigation fees.3 The law has provided a forum for a stepfather to retaliate against his wife‘s children after the children petitioned the court to replace him as their mother‘s guardian.4 It has permitted a man to sue his less solvent brother to contribute a greater portion of their parent‘s luxury assisted living facility bill.5 It has spurred children of a mentally impaired man to pay for legal advice to avoid significant monetary debt.6 In contrast, it has benefitted a woman, allowing her to successfully hold her sister equally liable for their mother‘s costs.7 Few lawyers or judges seem to be aware of the law,8 yet its potential impact could be devastating.

      2. paul

        I knew a neighbor who couldn’t afford a nursing home (she could barely afford the house she was in because it was paid off)*, who “chose” then to continue to smoke her cigarettes and watch the Home Shopping Network down in the basement, almost until it killed her. She survived the hospital but not more than a week in rehab. She had one last heart attack walking assisted back from the toilet.

        An isolated person resorting to life diminishing, industrial entertainments?
        Not assuming a pilates position after her her final jog to the afterlife?

        You configure an unsympathetic monster.

        *property taxes she might be exempt from?

        1. Lexx

          Her total yearly income (she confided) was around $18k. This would be a difficult neighborhood to reside in on so little. It would be more accurate to say she didn’t want to live in the nursing home that little amount of money would afford her. She decided she would be more comfortable at home. Between that and her lifelong addiction to nicotine, it was a slow suicide. From the time we moved across the street, it took twelve years.

          Moving in with one of her sons or them moving in with her were not options she would have considered. She could have sold the house and chosen a modest room in an assisted living facility… we discussed that. It galled her the idea of giving all she had left to someone who would take care of her, until she ran out of money. She calculated that would be in under 5 years… and then what? So, suicide. Until the day she could no longer get out of the lounger in the basement, she could do as she liked. I saw the ambulance show up on that day and she never came home. I’m certain she thought it was worth the price of her choices… somewhere between a rock and hard place. As far as I know she left no debts behind.

          But you’re correct… given her income and her age, her property taxes were reduced.

    1. fresno dan

      I’m convinced! Of course, all those adverts from Russian bride websites that deluge my inbox kind of predisposed me to start thinking about emigrating to Russia…

      For those who appreciate Russian humor, this is Russian trolling the West:
      I clicked on the youtube link before I read the rest of the post – you’re saying the video isn’t serious? C’mon man…. Next thing, you’ll tell me all those beautiful Russian beauties don’t really want to marry me…

      1. LawnDart

        Nah, I think you’ll be good– but you will need to introduce yourself as Фресно Дэн.

        [Edit: it’ll help too if you let them know that you’re a Western oligarch who needs to spend time in Russia until some “tax-issues” back home are resolved– but that might take a while.]

  14. Lex

    I’m contemplating paying for Doomberg. Anyone subscribe to it? I think the book was “American Canopy”, read it years ago, and it discussed the heavy use of wood as fuel in the US, even for locomotives. Even with spark screen/arrestors on the stack, wood burning trains regularly started huge forest fires in still standing old growth forests. Apparently it was quite common.

    I’m fascinated by how Europe will deal with this energy crunch at the domestic use level. In 90’s Russia things were obviously real bad, but because cities had centralized heat generation “nobody” lived in unheated or severely under heated apartments. I don’t recall if it was steam generated specifically for heating or part of the electric generation system. Milwaukee still has a similar system of urban steam distribution but I believe it’s controlled by Wisconsin Energy Corporation.

    1. Louis Fyne

      As Doomberg has lots of Twitter followers, enough snippets of his content gets circulated on Twitter so that you get the gist of the post.

      The main posts of his latest firewood post is very similar to stuff mentioned by posts here and the commentariat—burning firewood is an insane “green” policy; the EU bureaucracy labels firewood as a “renewable” energy source (insane), the western leadership are acting like scientifically-illiterate ostriches re. energy policy.

      His solution is fission and more drilling of hydrocarbons.

    2. prism

      Re: Doomberg. While I won’t argue that they have good analysis with respect to certain details of the economy (for example, oil/gas supply chain), I’m not impressed with their geopolitical understanding of the world, which can be reduced to “German/European (Green) politicians are too stupid to understand the importance of nuclear power and wanting to sacrifice their economies to the ESG/Green Agenda”.

      No, in fact, the Europeans are very well aware of the issues, they simply cannot do anything about it. Europe has no sovereignty – their energy and foreign policies are under the control of the US State Department and oil and gas lobby.

      Ask yourself this: why would the German Greens cancel Nord Stream 2, a fully built gas pipeline after years and billions worth of investment, quite literally overnight and went for coal instead?

      That’s because the social democrats and the greens do the bidding for US Imperialism, whose goal is to strangle Europe into purchasing the American LNG, which are far more expensive than the cheap Russian energy their industries are dependent on. (And they have to go for coal because there is not enough LNG in the world to meet the demands of Europe, instead of, you know, just starting Nord Stream 2)

      Similarly, they’re not allowed to restart or build more of their nuclear power plants because the US oil and gas lobby does not give them the permission to do so!

      Michael Hudson is right when he says that it is objectively better for Europe to join the United States as the 51st state, because at least then they will have some representatives in the US legislature. Right now they have the same status as Puerto Rico, a colony of the US empire.

      So back to Doomberg and the likes of these analysts, more often than not their solutions, while reasonable, are simply not realistic without proper understanding of how politics work.

      1. nippersdad

        “….because the social democrats and the greens do the bidding for US Imperialism.”

        Exactly. It drives me wild when Green policies are attributed to/conflated with the actions of servants to the neoliberal cause. A Green wanting to use coal is a contradiction in terms that should not go unremarked.

  15. Terry Flynn

    Re bikes in rivers. Shopping trolleys (carts) were the object of choice to throw into canals and rivers in the UK as I grew up. Now I suspect South Park has it right that e-scooters will prove most popular.

    Mr Mackey’s war on them is a legendary episode and given the insane speeds individuals have been observed riding them at (on sidewalks in the UK) I suspect this mode of transport will suffer the same fate. I don’t think many people will miss them.

    1. Dermotmoconnor

      Dirtbags in Portland OR drove by us at 15 mph, two on one scooter. A lot of that behaviour. No sympathy for the dupes who ride these idiot transporters. Adults riding a child’s toy, big stupid smirks on their faces.

      1. petal

        Dermontmoconnor, A couple weeks ago I was walking my dog on the sidewalk like we do every night and some d-ck student came barreling down the middle of the sidewalk towards us at full speed on one. He was hauling. We jumped back into a yard. I yelled at him to slow down but he either ignored me or couldn’t hear because he had earpods in. I stood back and watched where he went, and when he was just past my house, I saw him go flying through the air like a crash test dummy doing cartwheels. It was hilarious! One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. The sides of the driveway where the sidewalk goes through are shaped like a bowl, so he probably hit it at 20-25mph if not more. He started wandering around like drunks do and moaning. The police came, then an ambulance, and campus security. They collected him and his things and moved to a side street and the paras fixed him up in the rig. I wandered down as I had witnessed the incident, and asked the campus security cop if they needed anything from me. I told him exactly what happened from start to finish. He said the e-scooters are not allowed on the sidewalks unless under 12 years old, that there have been a lot of problems with them, that they can’t start ticketing them until someone in power says okay. I can’t remember if he said the administration or the town. The guy had chipped a tooth and had some pretty bad road rash. I hadn’t laughed in a long time but was laughing about it the rest of the night. He could’ve really hurt me or killed my dog, or any of the little kids or elderly around here. I see 2 students on 1 scooter often, they are always on the sidewalks, and I am not looking forward to Fall term. Those things are an abomination.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Those things are an abomination

          A couple of years ago in Los Angeles, people were setting e-scooters on fire, and throwing them up in trees.

          Perhaps the e-scooter firms have moved on to college towns?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Mr Mackey and the e-scooters? Oh my, yes- (57 secs) – Language alert.

      Thing is, in that episode it showed a major problem with those scooters. They were dumped on sidewalks everywhere. You had people tripping on them and even being injured but typically people had to walk around them – when they weren’t taking up parking spaces that is. So once more you had a corporation impacting on the commons – in this case public sidewalks and parking spaces – for their own profit. No wonder people were so enraged about them.

      1. Hugh

        We took them home and stripped them for useful electronics. Every child around here has a little bell on their bicycle easily removed from the Bird Scooters with a phillips screwdriver. Throwing them in a water causes pollution as the batteries corrode.

      2. digi_owl

        This summer Norway introduced rules for such scooters that included penalties for riding them drunk akin to driving a car.

    3. WhoaMolly

      at age 80 a fall can mean a broken hip.
      a broken hip at that age is often a death sentene
      you never heal properly
      so yes im enraged when a smirking 150 lb scooter rider
      whips past me from behind
      with 6 inches to spare
      a few people still need me

      1. paul

        Jeezy peeps, that was horrific!
        there can be slo mo problems as well.
        Someone I met shortly before he died of pancreatic cancer, had his foot run over by an aggressive, impatient elderly user of a mobility scooter.
        Because of the complications due to his existing condition, they had to cut his fucking foot off.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Kremlin spokesman hails resolution of Kaliningrad transit issue as positive development”

    I have been wondering about this development and why Lithuania backed down. Yes, the EU was leaning on them but I did wonder. I think that in return for Russia recognizing States like Lithuania, that access to Kaliningrad had to be guaranteed. So maybe Russia made it plain through back channels to the EU that if Lithuania did not back off, then that treaty was broken – and with it Russia’s recognition of Lithuania’s independence. Ruh, roh. If course it should be mentioned that some Lithuanian nationalists have their eye on parts of Kaliningrad if not the whole territory itself. For those interested, here is the actual agreement between Lithuania and the Russian Federation-

      1. The Rev Kev

        I should have clarified my comment. When I said that the EU was leaning on them, I meant that it was to get them to back off but that Lithuania was resisting. Just finished watching a video a few minutes ago from Defense Politics Asia confirming this slant- (28:52 mins)

  17. Carla

    Re: Mick Lynch: ‘It’s No Good Being Pissed Off – We Need Organisation’

    These are the parts that stood out for me:

    “I think people are waiting for unions, and unions have got to go where the people are. We’ve got to go into working-class communities. Dave Ward of the CWU has been saying this with his New Deal for Workers. We’ve got to find a way of delivering it. There have been some contradictory opinions in recent years. Brexit was an example. Take the recent Wakefield by-election. That was a Labour seat, voted Brexit, went Tory, and has now gone back to Labour.

    If you ask the majority of people there what they think about public services, for instance, I bet they would say:

    ‘We want a public railway. We want the NHS to be properly funded. We don’t want privatisation of healthcare.’

    … The labour movement in its broadest sense, magazines like yours, along with the trade unions, we’ve just got to say, ‘We’ve got permanent values and they don’t change because of the political landscape.’ That might be decent wages or a charter for workers and those out of work that can’t be changed. Minimum standards that are legislated for or enforced by collective bargaining. Council houses, public ownership, we’ve got to keep talking about these permanent values.

    Then Starmer, or whoever succeeds him, will have to say, ‘I had better go to where those permanent values are, they seem to resonate in working-class communities.’ Because they will. The Tories have permanent values: low tax, defence of the nation, family values. I think the unions will have to refound and restate what the permanent values of our movement are. Then the political side of the movement will have to relate to that standard. That’s the way to shift them, rather than worrying about policy or focus groups. As soon as it goes there, you’ll get some leader who wants to listen to what the Daily Mail says. The erosion of community has left a lot of people a bit lost, floating on a tide, and the only way to address it is with permanent values.”


    Isn’t this what any political party or movement that’s going to succeed long term has to have: PERMANENT VALUES?

    Yet somehow, here we are, with NO values and NO permanence on either the “left” or the “right.” If the Tories have permanent values, then how/why Boris? If the Republicans have permanent values, then how/why Trump?

    When Clinton took office and announced his first objective was to “end welfare as we know it,” that telegraphed the end of him as a Democrat loud and clear as far as I was concerned. When Obama bailed out the banks and sabotaged healthcare, the party was dead to me and tens of millions of others.

    1. flora

      I agree. I think our current majorities of neolib politicians in both parties only value The Market myth and a frenzied search for money, an endless search for donations.

    2. digi_owl

      Supposedly what happened was that Clinton, and Blair in UK, leaned heavily on focus group marketing techniques to plan their election campaigns.

      1. Big River Bandido

        When your actual policies are toxic, the only way to “sell” them to voters is through fraudulent marketing.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > focus group marketing techniques

        I think political advertising should be outlawed. Politicians (or their proxies) should be forced to talk to people on the campaign trail.

    3. Partyless poster

      That permanent values idea stood out to me too
      Its badly needed here since so many like to play word games.
      It could help prevent “progressives” from promoting war for instance

    1. chuck roast

      Well, I ain’t so cheerful. These nuvo-geniuses either don’t know or seem to care that there is an entire marine ecosystem in shore-side kelp beds. Snails, fingerlings, crabs, starfish, mussels. And these are only the creatures you can see. They all have an immeasurable effect on adjacent eco-systems. This is a classic eco-tone…the very richest space between two different large ecosystems. There is a reason shore-side Mainiacs chase seaweed harvesters off with shotguns. Heaven forbid they attempt to figure out a economic use for green crabs…creepy, crawly atom-bombs. Watch the sea-gulls go the way of the passenger pigeons.

      1. Lexx

        I’ve been watching people ’round the world “rescue” sea turtles from an entombment of barnacles and shellfish, and wondering if it has ever been thus. Do sea turtles need saving by so many kindly humans? Has there been a change and now formerly mollusk-free turtles are swimming around with a few extra pounds of freeloaders attached to their shells? How did the shellfish get there, and in such numbers? And what do sea turtles eat anyway, that they should find themselves in barnacle-rich waters, or is this just another consequence of the climate crisis?

        I need to look for the answers to these questions, before I offend again with my do-gooderiness. It’s so hard to do the right thing, to know what the right thing is without some kind of downside, if not outright evil on my part. What we need is a 12-step program for those of us with an addiction to the feels of good intentions. ‘Hi, I’m Lexx and I thoughtlessly give away money to unworthy causes.’

        There’s still time to reform I hope. Over to you, Chuck.

        1. nippersdad

          I, too, have become addicted to watching people de-barnacle sea turtles. I seem to recall that young turtles spend their youths in places like the Sargasso Sea, which would be a magnet for crustacean larvae, and would answer the question of why one sees so many infested small turtles. I suspect it has always been that way, and has only gotten worse now that the seas have been vacuumed clean of critters (parrotfish?) that would eat them off of their shells when they grow up and live around coral reefs; think birds eating the ticks off of rhinocerouses in Africa.

          Not really sure if that is the answer, but de-barnacleing (?) turtles is one of the few bright spots in my YouTube watching regimen, and if you are helping people to do it then you have brightened both my day and that of the turtles you have helped to save.

          1. Lexx

            I’m not sure it counts as an addiction if it’s only for a few weeks and then I’m tired of the subject, but funny you should bring up ticks. Apparently there are just as many kindly souls who take pity on hedgehogs riddled with ticks (or even just a few) and make videos of gingerly handling the little hogs and removing their parasites… and then giving them a nice drink of water. The hedgehogs are always very thirsty.

            Tick removal is less ambiguous to me… ticks are bad, right?… but for now I’m keeping my money in my pocket until everyone has weighed in on whether those ticks are an important part of the ecosystem.


            1. nippersdad

              I believe it was here that I first heard of “ghost moose.”” I don’t think that anyone will ever get all of the barnacles off of sea turtles, and I doubt that anyone would dare to pick all of the ticks off of ghost moose. Whatever we do in that respect is necessarily going to be of limited effect.

              The main thing is not to wake up one morning to find out that an entire generation of something just got wiped out.


      2. Judith

        Kelp grows best in cold water: 43 to 57 degrees F. The oceans of Maine are sure getting warmer. I can remember when December meant those wonderful pink shrimp, but the water is too warm in Maine in the winter now. (And I no longer eat fish.) I am guessing kelp may at some point be at risk as well. As Yves has pointed out, humans need to drastically change the way we live. Increasing the harvesting of kelp does not seem to be of any help in stopping the death of the oceans.

    1. LawnDart

      That is quite neat! It’d be a great way to get from town-to-town in many of our rural areas.

    2. fresno dan

      Wowee!!!! That looks like fun (and scenic too!)
      of course, I could never assemble something like that. Maybe, far, far in the future, as gasoline gets too expensive, single rail lines could be built specifically for “rail bikes” – probably too much to hope for, an environmentally and inexpensive (and safer) form of transport. (far thinking people would plant trees along side the track for shade)

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: University of Roehampton pushing ahead with mass fire & rehire in arts and the humanities

    So one more classics department down the drain. George Santayana rolls over in his grave. In another generation, nobody will remember who he is either.

    Meanwhile the US neocons say “hold my beer” as they trash another country and hope for the best, and the rest of us wonder how the supposedly best and brightest got to be such [family blog]ing idiots.

  19. Tommy S.

    That climate package is such garbage. Tax Credits indeed. Half the military war planet destroying budget in one year, spread over five years. Wow…pathetic…. We need mass bottom up organizing insurrection. And we need the seeds and sparks and meetings and aggressive non violent direct action plans immediately. They don’t fear us. ..That’s the problem…..

  20. Young

    WH states that they can not prevent Pelosi to travel to Taiwan.

    But, the C-in-C should be able to order the US military planes not to fly to Taiwan. Right?

    That may force Paul to charter a 737MAX for Nancy, one hopes.

  21. LawnDart

    Re: China snap military exercises Friday and Saturday in South China Sea

    News List– China Maritime Safety Administration

    In USA, I am getting the following message when attempting to navigate to the site:

    Thu, 28 Jul 2022 16:14:15 GMT (taikoo/BC5_US-Georgia-atlanta-1-cache-3)

      1. Polar Socialist

        The “main” page of China Maritime Safety Administration gives this:

        Dear users:

        From July. 25 to Aug. 9, the website may not be accessible due to the system maintenance. During this period, the system will be open for use (6:00-21:00) and closed at other times. We are sorry for the inconvenience that may have been caused to you. Thanks for your attention.

        If you have any questions, please contact 400-010-0220.

    1. Old Sovietologist

      Getting the same in the UK.


      Thu, 28 Jul 2022 17:07:37 GMT (taikoo/BC230_FR-Paris-Paris-3-cache-1)

      1. LawnDart

        Hmmm… …thanks for finding that. It does not format well for mobile– by chance did it say where news/alerts could be found while the site was down?

    1. LawnDart

      Readout of President Biden’s Call with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China

      President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke today with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The call was a part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the PRC and responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align. The call follows the two leaders’ conversation on March 18th and a series of conversations between high-level U.S. and PRC officials. The two presidents discussed a range of issues important to the bilateral relationship and other regional and global issues, and tasked their teams to continue following up on today’s conversation, in particular to address climate change and health security. On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.


  22. paul


    Smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, disease severity, and mortality among patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 infections

    This needs an extra ‘no shit sherlock’ tag.

    Smoking is associated with just about all cause mortality and morbidity.

    It is hardly a revelation that already diseased will succumb more easily to an extra threat.

    Is this ambulance chasing, or tail chasing?

    1. vao

      The authors are probably trying to put the last nail in the coffin of a myth that had been spread early on in the COVID-19 pandemic by some parties not quite free from conflicts of interest.

  23. WhoaMolly

    re: Xi warns Biden not to “play with fire”

    whole situation has
    a “guns of August” feel
    into catastrophe

  24. Screwball

    Interesting tidbit about The Hill’s Rising. According to a Glenn Greenwald set of Tweets, Rising (used to be hosted by Krystal & Saager) interviewed Dr. Fauci the other day. One of the regular hosts, Kim Iversion, which I’m guessing many here don’t like, was not allowed to interview Fauci.

    Let’s say she has not been a fan, and has questioned many of the “science” calls made by the “science” people, including Fauci himself. I found her refreshing in that context to so many others. I would have paid to see that interview, but didn’t happen.

    So she quit, and is no longer with Rising. He didn’t say who was calling the shots behind the scene not allowing her to interview Fauci. Could have been The Hill or perhaps Fauci, but I’m only speculating.

    You will only be told what they want you to know, nothing else. What a sad state of affairs.

  25. digi_owl

    I get claustrophobic just looking at that critter.

    I guess that will be the western housing situation soon enough, btw…

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