2:00PM Water Cooler 8/1/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, today’s Water Cooler is brief, not to say austere, because I must hustle along to finish a post on airplane ventilation. So talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From Danpaco:

Danpaco writes: “This is a very happy cactus at the base of a Norway maple on a old tree lined street in downtown Toronto! Where am I?? According to the neighborhood this isn’t some seasonal transplant, it’s there all year round. Judging from the patch behind the tree I would say it’s doing well.”

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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. jr

    Rising discusses self-identifying brainiac Krugman being interviewed by sentient amoeba Brian Stelter:


    Stelter, with a chuckle, obsequiously asks if we can “dispense” with the recession debate once and for all. Cause now we are all in the presence of an Authority. To a mental jelly doughnut like Stelter, talking to Krugman must be like a visitation from Athena herself.

    According to Krugman, “experts” agree that we aren’t in a recession and in fact it doesn’t matter anyway. “The state of the economy is what it is.” Which leads one to wonder why bother having the word at all? These people really do think they can just talk up a new reality. Robby points out that were we under a Republican regime, Krugman would be weeping and rending his garments. Also, from another source, I didn’t know Krugman is a former Enron executive.

    1. Pelham

      I simply don’t understand the political thinking behind denying there’s a recession. They really couldn’t anticipate that this would quite understandably generate howls of hypocrisy?

      Had I been a Biden flack, I would’ve advised acknowledging that we’re in a recession but pointing out that it’s mercifully unusual because unemployment remains low. They would’ve been miles ahead on credibility and would have hastened the discussion along to other topics rather than throwing kerosene on a dumpster fire by denying what the public has been told for decades constitutes a recession, even if economists actually do fiddle with the details.

        1. Yves Smith

          The Wall Street types agree there is probably not a recession using the six criteria the NBER uses. So the Biden Administration is not crazy. But acting as if “there is not a recession (yet)” = “the economy is doin’ great” is embarrassing. They should admit it has slowed but then go into bafflegab as to why it should get better.

          1. Pon

            “48% of trucking companies, taxi & limo services, and independent Uber & Lyft drivers couldn’t cover July rent, in addition to 45% of restaurant owners, 44% of nonprofits, and 44% of retailers.”

            “(A)ccording to Alignable’s July Rent Report, based on responses from 3,553 randomly selected small business owners surveyed from 6/25/22 to 7/29/22.”


            Maybe the transportation industry should declare a general strike the First of November?

      1. flora

        The recognition of their own human frailty from the bubble dwellers, their humility in the face of the unexpected real world events they helped create, is most inspirational. They wear a suit of mental clothes fine enough for any emperor. / heh

        1. flora

          Shorter: the bubble dwellers are all too human. “It didn’t happen” and “it’s not my fault” are grade school level fall-backs. / sigh

          1. ambrit

            Considering the abysmally low quality of “political discourse” in evidence in the West today, grade school excuses will have to do until Mother Nature gives us all a big kick in the a—-.

    2. Librarian Guy

      Well that’s news to me that he’s a former Enron exec, but can’t say I’m surprised!! One of his greatest hits in the last 18 months was on a 9/11 anniversary to share how proud he was that there were NO cruel abuses directed at Muslims, how tolerant & wunnerful modern ‘Mericans are!! He clearly lived thru the Bush invade & torture years, but since he & the other MoTU’s never experienced anything negative, it never happened, was memory holed just after!! As the saying goes, sometimes the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. These people can, like Louis XVI’s Imperial Court, not give a tinker’s fvck while the world goes to hell around them . . . for now. If FDR believed a rising tide floats all boats, Krugman may live long enough to see a rising deluge can eventually drown or harm all passengers on Lifeboat Earth. In the meantime his massive ignorance, ego & indifference at least entertain some of us!!

    3. ChrisRUEcon

      > Robby points out that were we under a Republican regime, Krugman would be weeping and rending his garments.

      Probably aligns with his feelings on whether “deficits” are bad or OK as well …

    4. Yves Smith

      This is Making Shit Up. Do not ever ever ever do that again. Krugman has been an academic economist his entire career. He has never held a private sector job.

      He was on an advisory board to Enron and was a tout before it collapsed. From the Wall Street Journal:

      “I predict that in the years ahead Enron, not Sept. 11, will come to be seen as the greater turning point in U.S. society.” It’s one of our all-time favorite quotes, and it was published 10 years ago this Sunday. As former Enron adviser Paul Krugman might say, this statement is false.

      It was, of course, Krugman who wrote that statement, in his Jan. 29, 2002, New York Times column. It took chutzpah, considering that, as Glenn Reynolds reminds us, his column just four days earlier had been a testy defense of Krugman’s past position on Enron’s advisory board. While serving in that capacity–before joining the Times, whose strict ethics rules prohibit such moonlighting–he had written a puff piece about Enron, “The Ascent of E-Man R.I.P.: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” for Fortune.


  2. JohnA

    So, Pelosi is going to go to Taiwan on the 2nd or 4th of August. Will the last Water Cooler, Links, etc., be tomorrow or Thursday? Stupidity on steroids, I doubt Taiwan ice cream is worth that much of a provocation.

    1. Alex

      How to fight this insanity that threatens sentient life on earth?
      One thing you can do today is stop spending any discretionary money until after the midterms.

      The harder and deeper the Bidendepression, the less likely that the people running the country will have any future credibility.

      The New Deal was forced by circumstances, it was not voluntary for the Powers That Be.

      1. Greg S

        “The harder and deeper the Bidendepression”

        I could care less what the powers that be around here think about such glib expressions of hope for more pain and despair, that has got to be one of the more “family blog” upped comments I’ve read in awhile. You understand that “harder and deeper” in the sense you are talking about means death and destruction of families and communities in parts of the country least prepared to handle it, don’t you?

        Probably looked cute on your screen before you punched send though…

        1. chris

          Who is it that you think is rooting for a depression? What have Yves or Lambert or Jonah or Dr. Hudson or any regular poster on economics here said that gives you the impression they’re excited about a terrible calamity afflicting the US? What i have read here is that they are begging for our leaders to follow a saner course. Just like they begged people like Krugman and Summers to do what was right during the last financial crisis. At worst I see examples of gallows humor throughout NC. They’re laughing because the alternative is crying.

          For myself, I have often wished bad fortune on the cast of characters we’ve been given as leaders. But never at the expense of those already suffering. Biden and his son deserve to rot in a miserable place. Same with Pelosi, the Clintons, Schumer, McConnell, everyone on K Street, and most of the senior level cabinet members, every bank executive, and everyone in FinTech or PE. But that’s unlikely to happen without a lot of other people suffering greatly first. So I’ll be happy if we get through this period with those malcontents causing a minimum of harm.

          1. Rolf

            Biden and his son deserve to rot in a miserable place. Same with Pelosi, the Clintons, Schumer, McConnell, everyone on K Street, and most of the senior level cabinet members, every bank executive, and everyone in FinTech or PE. But that’s unlikely to happen without a lot of other people suffering greatly first. So I’ll be happy if we get through this period with those malcontents causing a minimum of harm.

            Yup, well said. These are hard and miserable times, getting worse, and we will have to pull together at a personal level. Humans have survived through their social resourcefulness, their collective ingenuity: we need each other. However, that said, what leaves me slack jawed is the recognition of just how little many of our self-described ‘leaders’ (Biden, Pelosi, et al.) really bring to the table: nothing, not even honesty. These are not exactly the people you want to share a lifeboat with.

          2. Anthony G Stegman

            If there is an urgent need for degrowth in order to avoid the worst outcomes of our high consumption lifestyles an economic “depression” will be unavoidable, and in fact, will be necessary. Who among us thinks that major changes to the lifestyles of the West can be achieved without pain? Of course there will be pain. The challenge for us all is to spread the pain around so that no one group suffers considerably more than any other group. At societal levels we should and must plan for a prolonged economic “depression”. There, I’ve said it.

            1. greg s

              Your oh-so-mature-and-edgy take that we “must plan for a prolonged depression” is especially psychopathic and moronic and indicates little to no understanding of what murderous havoc “degrowth” and “depression” will rain down on those least able to ward off the worst aspects of an economy that will obtain from your/Alex/Rolf/Marylou’s desire for a “BidenDepression”.

              Usually I find some more nuanced and empathetic insight from the glitterati around here – pretty horrifying how normalized this cheerleading for economic destruction has become. Try putting your kid/spouse/sibiling/parent/friend’s names and faces on the news articles about just the deaths of despair that obtain from societal adjustments to economic contraction and see how that hits you.

          3. Greg S

            “Who is it that you think is rooting for a depression?”

            Definitely Alex. Anyone agreeing with Alex’s planned solution to drive the economy into the ditch with his/her/ their inane cessation of discretionary spending. The people you so sorely wish would suffer in this scenario will decidedly not. Yves described a similar dynamic in her earlier essay thusly:

            “most of the incumbents will dust themselves off after a year or two of lean living and then go back to an approximation of their old normal.”

            Advocating for a course of action one knows will cause immeasurable pain, sorrow and death just because you think someone deserves to rot in a miserable place is horrific.

          4. dermotmoconnor

            Rooting for a depression, vs. rooting for Business As Usual?

            You can’t be so naive as to think that either path is benign. We could argue actually about which is worse, as BAU is strangling the life out of us. I’m currently 6 weeks from being homeless in Ireland, a country where we have 700 rental properties in a country of 6 million, oh, and a “booming” economy.

            Wake up man.

        2. Jess K

          It’s also not especially true. The greater the crisis, the more reckless and delusional the US ruling elite’s behavior. There’s widespread speculation that this bizarrely-ill-conceived Taiwan provocation is little more than a desperate, kneejerk response to the spectacular failure of the “destroy Russia” venture.

          In the near term, there is literally nothing we can do beyond pray that the Chinese appreciate the immense danger of nuclear escalation (aka doomsday) and will step back from the brink. God knows we can’t have the slightest bit of faith in outlaw US empire to do the same.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            Before everyone clutches pearls at the thought of Pelosi landing in Taiwan, despite hyper-ventilating by the Chinese, it may be a brilliant move by Pelosi and the powers that be to test Chinese resolve. It may turn out that China does nothing beyond barking. For a variety of reasons the Chinese dog may not bite. Deep down China may have an inferiority complex visa vie the West. After all, they have been humiliated many times by the West. The vaunted PLA may fear that it is actually no match for the capabilities of the US war machine. I suspect that the drone strike that killed the al-Qaeda leader was timed to send a not so subtle message to China. The US plays for keep. China, so far, does a lot of talking, but not much else.

        3. Objective Ace

          You understand that “harder and deeper” in the sense you are talking about means death and destruction of families and communities in parts of the country least prepared to handle it

          Maybe its better to take a meaningful unignorable amount of pain upfront then to be ignored and slowly blead to death with no sense of purpose or hope? Parts of the country already experiencing death and destruction–have been for decades in fact–are being totally ignored right now.

          1. greg s

            As long as they are not your families or communities? Just to be clear, is that what you are saying? Or are you one of those who might have to just live lean for a few years before getting back to business as usual?

            You realize your glib “maybe its better” rhetorical question is completely detached from the reality those parts of the country you observe as already experiencing death and destruction will get worse. It’s pretty horrific to sit behind a keyboard and abstractedly advocate for something you know will destroy families and communities just to make a point…

            1. Objectice Ace

              Its not to make a point–its to force change. And I’m not necessarily advocating for it, I’m saying it’s a legitimate tradeoff to consider. Upfront sacrifice in order to make the world better in the future. If society acted solely to avoid “destroying families and communities” America wouldn’t exist and we would still be ruled by Britain

              1. greg s

                So YOU are willing to sacrifice those families and communities because YOU think maybe it is possible the economic destruction and the human toll that goes along with the cessation of consumer spending, just so you can tip the economy into a depression (not a downturn, recession or pullback, a full DEPRESSION – look that word up, your blithe maundering about what may or may not help the country does not seem to take into account what that word really means) and hope something better comes out the other side?

      2. flora

        On the one hand I agree. On the other hand I will keep spending as I’m able at locally owned mom and pop stores and restaurants, and locally owned larger businesses, (the ones that still exist after the lockdowns that drove so many out of business while enriching the Wall St. behemoths). Call it ‘defensive spending’ or ‘strategic spending’ in defense of my town’s local businesses. And, pay with cash/check as much as possible to avoid the cc vig being deducted from the stores’ already small profit margins. My 2 cents.

        1. MaryLou

          “Withheld discretionary spending” means things one can do without, trips to resorts, new fashionable clothing, a new car that one doesn’t need, New chrome wheels, remodeling, gender reveal parties, cosmetic surgery, not the kind of stuff usually sold in Mom and Pop stores.
          Withholding of such spending is hardly “death and destruction of families and communities in parts of the country least prepared to handle it.”

          Corporate stores and services that sell the above?
          To hell with them, they treat employees like crap, (Disney) don’t pay taxes, destroy mom and pop stores, and are often foreign owned, like Target or Apple.

          Paying cash for goods and services is probably the easiest and best thing for family owned small businesses. It certainty simplifies their paperwork, increases their cash flow, reduces the interest they pay to borrow capital and a few other beneficial things.

          Oh, but how will they raise the billions to throw at Ukraine? The Horror!

          1. greg s

            I really don’t know where to start with this – pretty sure your comment is about as clear a declaration that you do not understand the interconnections between discretionary spending (Alex might have meant to say consumer spending – “discretionary spending” is a pretty technical term referring to different aspects of federal budgeting) and the macroeconomic impacts such a cessation of economic activity at that level would have. The kaleidoscope of impacts necessary for the outcomes you are rooting for will have collateral damage impacting people and communities least able handle them. Your list of companies you so dearly wish to destroy will sit on their hands and wait for better times. Your advocacy of “a few other beneficial things” makes me think you are talking about skirting tax laws with untraceable income – is that what you meant? If not, please elaborate.

            There is nothing cute about anything you’ve typed up there – I’m pretty sure quoting Conrad is especially ironic.

      1. flora

        Maybe she’ll go to China and revisit Tianamen Square. Call it a sentimental journey. (This is the only ref I can find online. I remember this well, and how worried our then Cn grad students studying at uni were back then.) I think the video is an ABC news report from back in the day.


        1. flora

          Can’t vouch for this reporting, but it’s interesting as a possible data point. Add it in to whatever other data points you have. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s something. That western misunderstanding of Cn economy maybe part of the problem with understanding what’s happening. Seriously, how do we in the West assess what’s happening in Cn, from either pro or con sites? No idea. And, imo, that failure to assess valuations by normal Western economic standards and local valuations based on local assumptions is a big problem.

          China’s Mortgage Crisis, Banks are Failing, Protests Everywhere. China’s financial crisis is Here…


    2. LawnDart

      Taiwanese media: Nancy Pelosi will fly to the island tomorrow night

      Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will still fly to Taiwan, according to local publications The Liberty Times and United Daily News, as well as the Taiwanese TV channel SETN. According to them, it should arrive at Songshan Airport in Taipei tomorrow at 22: 30 local time (17: 30 Moscow time).

      Source: Readoveka News

      I may be mistaken, but she should arrive around 9:30am Eastern tomorrow, if these reports are correct– perfectly timed for Yves’ interview!

      1. lambert strether

        I trust the Taiwanese on this as much as I trust the Ukrainians on anything. It may well happen, but not because they planted stories.

        1. LawnDart

          Having seen that behavior in Japanese media as well, I agree– “allied” media is parroting government narrative everywhere. I believe the MP article that I posted in a comment this morning went into that detail.

          1. LawnDart

            At 10pm Eastern, Bloomberg is reporting that according to the Liberty Times, Pelosi is due to land at 10:20pm local. Bloomberg states that it is unclear how the LT obtained this information.

            Like the text I posted from Russian media above, this is a report of a report. In other words, there’s a good chance that it is b.s.

            As other readers point out, it is difficult to discern what is real and what isn’t given the state of our media. Maybe that in itself is the point?

            Watching the markets, Shanghi, Nikkei, and HSI are none too happy this fine, Asian morning– down 1.5-2.5% as I write this. Paul probably is ticked about being forced to cash in his chips, decided to short, and encouraged Nancy to take her little trip, knowing it would crash the markets. Sure, speculation on my part, as who could possibly be so cynical, greedy and irresponsible?

            1. LawnDart

              Never mind– likely not BS, at least according to China’s Global Times which cites Taiwan-based Next TV as a source.

              Selected excerpts from GT:

              What the US should do now is to fulfill US President Joe Biden’s promise of not supporting “Taiwan Independence” secessionism, and not arrange for House Speaker Pelosi to visit the island of Taiwan, Zhao stressed while answering questions related to Pelosi’s Asia trip.

              Chinese analysts said this new warning is a clear signal that if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, China will see it as a provocative action permitted by the Biden administration rather than a personal decision made by Pelosi, and it would be a serious incident that means the US has violated its promise.

              Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that any arrangement serving Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan would be a breach of the White House’s commitment not to support “Taiwan independence.”

              China’s strategic view is far greater than just playing a game of hawk-and-chicken with Pelosi on her so-called surprise visit to the island, as China will use this provocative move by the US to irreversibly change the Taiwan Straits situation and speed up the reunification process, which is actually much more important than a US politician’s visit, said experts.

              If the US believes Pelosi’s adventurist move can open a new door for Washington on the Taiwan question, that would be too naive, said experts, noting that it could only end the US strategy of coercion on Taiwan

              No matter how Pelosi comes to Taiwan, the PLA’s prepared countermeasures will be implemented, and neither a shorter nor a lower profile stay would result in a lower intensity response, Lü said.

              The Chinese mainland could declare regular airspace control over all or part of the island if Pelosi made the visit, the expert said, “If the US moves one step forward on the Taiwan question, China will move two.”

              In the future, it may conduct flights close to the island and emphasize jurisdiction over the region’s airspace and territorial waters, Lü said. China has no interest in getting involved in a spat with an 82-year-old lady, nor is it aiming for conflict with the US military, but if they get involved in China’s core interests, we will definitely fight back in kind, Lü said.

              He said Pelosi’s trip to Asia will not be welcomed by the most countries in Asia, as the losses from any possible conflict would be huge for the region rather than the US.

              So Chinese hawks, like the USA republicans, see opportunity in this crisis: blame USA and settle the ROC/Taiwan issue once-and-for-all… way to go, democrats.

        2. Carolinian

          The latest from White House spox is that it’s totally up to her whether to start WW3 (not their words) and they will defend her militarily if necessary.

          Pelosi was probably hoping they would publicly forbid her (“hold me back, hold me back”).

          Sorry for some reason The Three Stooges popped into my head.

      1. Daryl

        For a more serious reply, it’s (family blogging) scary that we are entirely reliant on *other* countries not escalating for our own safety. And of course if pushed far enough, eventually they have to push back. All this so a bunch of octogenarians can LARP out their Serious Politician fantasies.

        1. Watt4Bob

          And of course if pushed far enough, eventually they have to push back.

          Why, when it’ll probably reach the point where they laugh instead?

          Considering the situation in Ukraine, if I were the Taiwan leadership I’d be negotiating unification with the ‘Homeland’ right now.

      2. Mikel

        China won’t be trying to take over the USA. They’ll be taking care of their business and that includes Taiwan.
        I’m going to step to the edge of the cliff and say that all of this saber rattling is to create a crises that the establishment wants to use to turn the screws, turn up the heat, right here in the USA.

        1. Yves Smith

          You have this wrong. From an established reader (as in the claims about his family connections are real):

          My father in law is a revered but long retired politico in China. He was a young one under Mao and somehow managed to thrive under the transition to Deng.

          My wife had a very emotional phone call with him this AM. Lots of crying. Do not know exactly what is happening – she is not a talker – however he and multiple other members of the Politburo have been moved into a bunker underneath the Forbidden City.

          They have done this a few times over the past 2 years of COVID. However, by the tone of my wife’s voice, this sounds much different. She is telling me that the statements of Xi the past week to anyone with a passing knowledge of Chinese culture are not platitudes. They are deadly serious. Face-saving is a critical part of Chinese social interactions. She made the point twice – the Chinese view this as their own Cuban Missile Crisis.

          “The lobsters are in the water” – this is what my kids were talking about in their half way translations. This is a Chinese expression indicating that the ships are deployed. I would say it is an equivalent to CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THe DOGS OF WAR.

          1. Robert Hahl

            The reason Nancy Pelosi’s going to Taiwan is obvious, at least to me. China is being punished for supporting Russia in the Ukraine War.

            China must have anticipated a development of this kind when they green-lighted the Russian invasion (I know, RU would have done it anyway), but the Chinese apparently didn’t think it would start a nuclear exchange when they told Putin to let ‘er rip. Therefore I say China will not sink the USS Ronnie Regan. And the Moon of Alabama commenter was probably right who said that when the Chinese really can’t abide something they are more explicit than using vague promises of force, it’s more like “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

          2. Karl

            All I can say is Wow. Thanks for this post.

            We seem to be in a game of “chicken” now with both Russia and China, both of which we will lose.

            Bonus: we get a global recession for our efforts. WTF??

          3. Mikel

            I agree that China is serious about Taiwan. Their business left over from the civil war.

            It’s the USA that I’m focused on.

          4. Mikel

            “They’ll (China) be taking care of their business and that includes Taiwan.”
            I didn’t say it would be pretty. Their civil war was not.

            The USA is pushing every pressure point with a desperation what failings they want to cover-up. And the pressure points being pushed include “we the people.”

            Why do they prefer chaos?

            1. Mikel

              “What failings do they want to cover-up?”
              Can tell when I’m typing too fast and doing more than one thing…

          5. JTMcPhee

            Anyone have any info on the current positioning of the Core Group of US “continuity of government” personages? Are the general staff types and senior bureaucrats and Congresscritters standing by the entrances to the bunkers they’ve prepared for themselves? That would say a lot about what is actually happening. OTOH, of course, our rulership is so effing stupid that they believe their own chest puffing notion that they can stare down the Dragon.

            Hasn’t worked for Russia, but then the feebleness of the dying Empire on the ground in Europe is so plainly apparent. But hey, they got the goddam Seventh Fleet that won the war against that last set of almond eyes, righ in their faces! No backing down now! And we just took out Amman Al-Zawahri and some Taliban mopes in Notagainistan! We’re on a roll!

            Best we can hope for is that the Chinese government figures out either some way to do a less than WW III level response that preserves their face at home. No guarantees that the sh!ts in suits in Foggy Bottom and the Dirty Gray House won’t still feel the need to prove their manliness (Pelosi demonstrating how long her d—k is, included) by tatting for every measured tit that the Chinese might come up with.

            I am wishing I had done some more prepping now, though at my age and in my general condition I’d likely not last long in the post-Armageddon world.

          6. Rolf

            Yikes, this is scary, many thanks for this insight, Yves. And thanks to NC’s commentariat.

            1. chris

              What I wonder about is, Pelosi can’t be doing this in a vacuum. Who is telling her this is a good idea? Biden? The Pentagon?

              1. Yves Smith

                No, I think Pelosi is doing this in a vacuum. She has over 20% Chinese voters in her district. This is about the fundraising and maybe the chip factories, plus she’s long poked China. This is part of her personal brand.

                The question is why Biden/the Administration isn’t stopping this. I think it’s 100% tactical. The Republicans have piled on, so Pelosi not going = Dems weak, appeasing China. They are rationalizing letting her go as “China is bluffing” when it isn’t.

                And as Sun Tsu said, “All tactics and no strategy is the noise before the defeat.”

                1. Anthony G Stegman

                  I don’t believe that China will do anything meaningful if and when Pelosi’s plane touches down in Taiwan, aside from the usual hysterics. China has been threatening to use force against Taiwan for years now to no affect. Most Taiwanese don’t fear China. To Taiwan China is a paper dragon. China claims that Taiwan is a province of China. That is just idle talk since China can’t back up it’s words with force. If China had both the intent and the capability to control Taiwan it would be a simple matter for China to declare that the air space above Taiwan is included in Chinese air space, and then control that air space. Pelosi’s plane could then be intercepted and escorted out of Chinese air space. That won’t happen because China does not have the military capability to make that happen. All China can do is huff and puff; something they have become very good at doing. Everyone can calm down. There will be no nuclear war over Pelosi’s grandstanding visit to Taiwan. There likely will be no shots fired at all.

                  1. LawnDart

                    That won’t happen because China does not have the military capability to make that happen.

                    Stegman, are you insane? China has home-team advantage, a 2-million man army, and over 500 ships and 600 aircraft in their navy alone, plus two dozen of the most excellent Russian-made SU-35s. Oh, and nukes with the means to deliver them (via hypersonics) should things come to that. And how many weeks would it take us to deliver a non-nuclear response should hostilities break out?

                    However, at least up until recently, China was intent upon trying to buy-off the Taiwanese by offering a better quality of life for high-skilled workers and professionals from the island should they choose to relocate to mainland, pursuing unification via assimilation rather than by barrel of gun.

                    But, silver or lead… took too long in making a choice, I suppose. In retrospect, perhaps this was inevitable.

          7. Anthony G Stegman

            I’m skeptical that China will make any significant moves if Pelosi lands in Taiwan. The movement to the bunkers may be more a precautionary step in the event the US escalates things (beyond Pelosi’s visit), rather than an indication that China is seriously contemplating military strikes against Taiwan, or against US military assets deployed in the region. Aside from ranting and raving for a number of years now, China has done little to stop Taiwan’s inexorable move to full independence.

            1. sluggodacat

              Your analysis reeks of propaganda. You should familiarize yourself with RUSI’s jawdropping analysis of the new industrial warfare. The US would run out of ammo in a month or two and replacing it would take quite awhile. China fought the US to a draw back in the 50’s and they were an impoverished nation with laughable military tech fighting against the foremost military power in the world. I don’t see how anyone would think that a modernized China would lose to the US military on their turf.

            2. Daniil Adamov

              What “inexorable move to full independence”? De facto Taiwan has been fully independent since the end of the Chinese Civil War. Other than that, the only shift has been in Taiwanese and American public and elite opinion with regards to making this independence de jure. That… does not actually amount to much in material terms, though. The situation is static and can remain static for a long time.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        But I caught a bit of an Indiana Jones documentary yesterday on the TV where he hid in a lead lined refrigerator (supposedly this was a thing back in the 50s) and survived all of that from a test blast even though everything else was vaporized. American Exceptionalism – we are all Indiana Jones.

        1. ambrit

          I laughed out loud when I first saw the scene where ‘Indy’ flew through the air inside the fridge. No one could survive such a ‘journey’ unscathed. Broken bones at the least. Hollywood.

          1. Paradan

            A Yugoslavian stewardess fell 35000 feet after the plane she was in blew up, she survived…

            1. ambrit

              Yes, but she just fell. The Indy scene has him being kicked by an atomic bomb. The initial ‘G’ forces alone would probably kill a “real” Terran human. Of course, the sudden stop at the end of the woman’s fall, she was still in the wrecked aircraft, replicates a high G force ‘kick’ too. Her survival is remarkable.
              See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87
              There were also several cases of aircrew falling from aircraft during WW Part Two from high up and landing in snow banks or water and surviving.

            2. dermotmoconnor

              From wiki: “Following the bombing, Vulović spent days in a coma and was hospitalised for several months. She suffered a fractured skull, three broken vertebrae, broken legs, broken ribs, and a fractured pelvis. ”

              In the Hollywood version, she gets up, runs around gets into fights and tracks down the bombers.

              1. jonboinAR

                Or, like Sly Stallone in some ridiculous movie, she lays down in a glacier runoff stream for a couple of minutes, wearing a tank-top that shows off her rippling, bare biceps. Then she tells the bad guys with whom she’s negotiating from a position of AMERICAN STRENGTH that she’ll meet them at the top. Then, still clad torso-only-in-tank-top, having not bothered to even dry off, she mountain-climb scales the peak, beating the bad guys to the top, they flying up there in a helicopter. Once there, of course, she settles things from a position of AMERICAN STRENGTH! I still recall those details from the movie because it resides in my mental database as the stupidest thing I’ve seen.

    3. Louis Fyne

      on the plus side #1, China has a no “first use” nuke policy.

      on the plus side #2, the first nuke (likely from the US side) won’t fly until after PRC sinks the USS Reagan. Will Joe push the button?

      on the plus side #3, if the US nukes a PRC target, the PRC likely will *only* nuke Pearl Harbor or Guam or San Diego and put the ball back in Joe’s court.

        1. HotFlash

          They will tell him to push the button and then he can have his applesauce. Jill will be flustered, but she has confines.

          Even with all his marbles, Joe would not/ever have been running the show.

        2. JTMcPhee

          He’s pretty close to meeting his Maker anyway — so going out in a flash would short-circuit more years of decline and irrelevance.

    4. Karl

      Oligarch that she is, this trip makes abundant sense: let “stuff” hit the fan; profit on her Taiwan short positions and her U.S. + China MIC long positions. Of course her Asian-American donors would also be clued in and also well positioned.

      The Pelosi farewell to Taiwan tour!

      1. ambrit

        If the PLA Airforce does it’s job properly, it will be the “Farewell to Nancy Tour.”

      2. Mikel

        They call Nancy a “China hawk”. She’s a cheap labor that keeps her stock selections pumped type of hawk.

        Or just enough crisis will probably created to try to pass wartime labor laws here and other mess in the USA like what is going on in the Ukraine right now.
        Then the MIC companies (and others part of the big gang) can really make big profit margins on this side of the ocean.

    5. Pelham

      I hadn’t been keeping up with the Taiwan issue so I looked up popular support there for the island’s status. It appears that about 3/4 of the population prefers either keeping things as they are or achieving formal independence from China (a slim majority for that at 54%). Only about 12% favor unification.

      It seems a bit odd to me that these numbers aren’t more widely reported. If China were to launch any kind of bid for forced unification they might well be able to achieve military victory but would (I should think) utterly trash their standing on the world stage and brand themselves as bloody aggressors. Given their desperate need to maintain export markets, I doubt this is a scenario the Chinese leadership is considering.

      Therefore, we may expect another kind of response to Pelosi’s visit, perhaps something uniquely designed to embarrass the US at the site of its past colonial adventure in the Philippines.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Does China need the rest of the world [to think well of it] more than the rest of the world needs China? I don’t doubt that a forced unification would result in some backlash, but I’m not sure it’d be enough to force even the West to sever economic ties, let alone countries outside of it. Incidentally, that would be the case even if the independence and unification percentages were flipped – that matters a lot for the situation on Taiwan, but globally China would strongly disapproved of either way and hard to get rid of either way.

      2. JBird4049

        Bad things happen often due to mistakes, not desire.

        The Cuban Missile Crisis almost made the Cold War hot because of misunderstandings and a lack of communication. However, back then, everyone was confident and the entire leadership either fought or had seen what a major war could do. The Second World War was not even a full generation earlier. Dresden, Hamburg, Nagasaki, and even London was still in the very recent memory.

        I do not think that the Chinese are hoping for a war or even the American government (mostly) want one. I think that they have boxed each other in. The Chinese government has an expansive view of what is Chinese and has been saying for generations that Taiwan is part of mainland China. Their actions against the Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers has not made anyone trust them, but it is part of the Chinese political ideology and need for safety by being over-controlling. The United States has been guaranteeing Taiwan’s independence for generations and is now run by corrupt and inept leadership, which is unable to finesse the situation. The Chinese are facing economic hardship and unrest because of it.

        Both sides are not very secure politically. Neither side has had a truly major war with a first or second rank military in generations or has anyone in power that has even fought in any war. Neither side understands really the internal politics of the other. I think that Pelosi being a corrupt hack responding to her wealthy Asian donors for appearances sake, (and donations and votes) not to actually do anything, and that the Chinese are overly concerned about appearances while facing some other difficulties is what both sides are missing.

        Even if no nuclear weapons are used, the entire planet including China would be economically devastated. I think that the Chinese would be the ones suffering the most in the long term because everyone around them would rearm even more, which would hem them in. They would be denied the resources of the rest of the planet at least for a while and they would be forced to be subservient to the Russians for everything especially food and for help in things like sea rise. Then add that the Western countries would be extremely determined to become autarkies.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Would be a great way for the US to wipe out all those trillions in debt to China in one grand repudiation — nuclear Jubilee for me but not for thee…

        1. Carolinian

          So it will be On the Beach except this time there’s no beach since Australia gets it too.

    6. KLG

      From Caitlin Johnstone a few minutes ago:

      “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”
      ~ Ancient Greek proverb

      “A society grows radioactive when old women try to start World War Three on a planet they know they won’t have to live on.”
      ~ New Australian proverb

  3. Jason Boxman

    Where the Fight Over a Return to the Office Is Over and the Office Won

    The competition for parking space is getting steeper. Commutes are inching longer. Workplace lounges are filling up with commotion as junior associates play cornhole. What return-to-office debate? In some parts of the country, it’s been settled.

    Commenters destroy this NY Times story. The occupancy rates are apparently apples to oranges, and of course no mention of COVID anywhere. A few suggest it’s propaganda to get people back into expensive office real estate.

    1. LaRuse

      My company announced on Friday our “transition back to the office” less than a year after deeming hybrid our new Way of Working. I am deeply disappointed and disheartened because the past two years of WFH have been the most professionally rewarding and successful years of my life.
      But managers gotta manage. I can’t even just be flip and say I will find some other remote work – that all seems to have dried u p.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        They probably read the NYT article and thought if everyone else is doing it they didn’t want to be left out. Propaganda success!

        1. Pelham

          Having worked at a major news organization years ago, I can tell you that a great deal of attention is paid to what the NYT plans to put on its front page the next day. Hours ahead of its final decision the Times sends out a list of page 1 candidate stories with short dopings. More often than not, this served as a key guide to the kinds of stories my news outfit put on its front. And if the Times pulled a story, we would follow that lead as well.

          These, BTW, were not decisions that my colleagues necessarily agreed with. But upper management seemed determined to maintain their standing within some exalted fraternity of editors and reporters, the kind of people who crop up at the White House Correspondents Dinner or Gridiron or other garbage events like that.

          1. HotFlash

            Ms/Mr Pelham, you were with Gannett? My dad was mg editor during the original takeover, maybe #1, #2, or #3 in the Gannett collection, and for the addition of USA Today via satellite (color!!!). I was only a kid, but I was also working as copy boy(person!), and I got stories.

  4. Jason Boxman


    Bank of America proudly sponsors this special presentation of Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barrack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, to open dialogue around the power of portraiture and its potential to engage communities. The exhibition is on view at the de Young Museum, San Francisco from June 18 to August 14, 2022.

    (bold mine)

    I remember when Michelle spoke in DC back in 2019. Met some of the staffers that managed the event on the Amtrak on the way back to Boston. They were touring all around the country with her. I guess she published a book? They obviously deified her as a god, sort of like the portrait in this exhibit.

    Obama certainly engaged some communities when he let people lose their homes from his HAMP debacle.

    1. Screwball

      The Citigroup president and his misses are favorites of the banksters, so this fits. I hope at some point his stock portfolio (as well as many more DC grifters) get a margin call. Couldn’t happen to better bunch of hucksters.

  5. RookieEMT

    Welp, my personal war on Covid is about over but umm… yeah I’ll say it’s not just the flu. Fever is gone along with the aches and it’s just coughing a little now. Fever lasted three and a half days.

    Yesterday, started to notice taste and smell is warped. Smell is all but gone and taste is muted. I can’t taste my tea but can taste the sweetness. At least food still can be flavorful.

    Also, I feel a little peaceful but muted. It might be an ADD drug starting to kick in (takes weeks for effect) but God forbid it’s a mild brain fog.

    Hopefully the melatonin I took protected some of my brain and will allow for fast recovery.

    If you catch Covid, throw everything you have at this thing. I did 10+ interventions and had high vitamin D to start with.

    1. LaRuse

      The jury is still out if I am going to catch it from my husband or not. My throat has been sore/raw since Saturday. No fever. I had a moment when I thought my sense of smell was gone (I couldn’t smell homemade peppermint oil based air freshener I make with rubbing alcohol and essential oil). But later I could smell my own perfume, and my foods and drinks taste fine. I tested negative yesterday. Am I sick? I feel fine. Ran 7 miles on Saturday; 3.5 miles this morning. I don’t think I am sick. But I can’t swear I am well, either. So I guess this is living with it.
      Husband declared it “mild” although he didn’t get out of bed for 5 days. When I pushed back on this, he said “it’s way easier than any round of walking pneumonia I have ever hand.”

      1. JBird4049

        Having had walking pneumonia myself, I guess that is good to know, but it only took me a month afterwards to recover and my sense of smell and mental acuity was never affected. Aside from the bit from lack of oxygen for two weeks, and complete exhaustion for over a month that is! I think I had Covid two years ago and after a week of unpleasantness, I felt fine.

        But that’s the problem, maybe. If you get a pneumonia, you are in misery, but if you survive there are usually no long lasting effects. If you get Covid, maybe you will not feel as bad as even having a mild cold, but the effects from the hidden damage might be very great. And usually the damage to a person’s body has some correlation to the misery while being sick. However, if Covid can kill or cripple you while not making you very miserable, if at all, it makes assessing the risk or convincing people of the seriousness of the disease hard to do.

    2. notabanker

      I caught it over the 4th weekend. It hit the following Tuesday. 3.5 days of fever and aches, followed by another week and a half of ups and downs of just generally feeling crappy with little energy. I’d feel pretty good for a few hours, then not so much. 11 days after symptoms I still tested positive. Two full weeks from first symptoms it was gone. It never really hit my sinuses and lungs, which is unusual because every cold I get starts there and flares up right away. Just some sniffles and mild congestion.

      No issues with taste or smell. But I agree, this is no ordinary cold / flu. On top of the physical symptoms, the anxiety of whether it will go away or not is real too.

    3. HotFlash

      Oh, Ms/Mr Rookie, so sorry to hear, although the part about you doing (mostly) fine is definitely good. Hurray! This Covid stuff, though, is not ‘just a cold’ and the numbers show that it is, um, not going away anytime soon. The ‘herd immunity’ schtick is untenable — does anyone really, really understand how herd immunity is achieved? It is not by ‘developing immunity’ from exposure, it is by everyone who is not by virtue of their mysterious mutant genes* resistant/immune to the bug, dying, and only those who are resistant enough to live, living and reproducing.

      * More-or-less quote from Alfred K. Bester’s “5271009”. The protagonist got wiser, not likely that’ll happen with this bunch.

  6. Mikel

    “…a French app called, appropriately, BeReal. Created in 2020 and now sitting near the top of the charts in Apple’s App Store (ahead of TikTok, Instagram, and Google Maps), it has taken off in the United States in the past several months. Its official description has a “WARNING” with 10 bullet points. “BeReal is life, Real life, and this is life without filters,” one says. “BeReal won’t make you famous. If you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram,” reads another.

    How it works: Once a day, at a random time, users receive a push notification telling them that it is time to “BeReal.” That means they have two minutes to post whatever they’re really doing at the moment by taking one photo with their smartphone’s outward-facing camera and one selfie at the same time. These are rendered as a single image, with one photo positioned in the top-left corner of the other. (Instagram has re-created the BeReal image-within-an-image format and renamed it “Dual.”)…”

    I have to shake my head. They are marketing to this to people they say are “exhausted by “the algorithm” or by “surveillance capitalism.” What they’re really desperate for is connection without the anxiety of performance. They want something real.”

    Taking pictures and putting them on a platform is surveillance. No matter how many ways they try to get people to do it. The platforms ARE surveillance platforms. They exist and are funded come hell or highwater because their number one purpose is surveillance.

  7. HotFlash

    Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Flynn fined £63 million and £6.7 million respectively, by the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)for overcharging the NIH for epilipsy medication phenytoin sodium capsules for over 4 years. Via Dr. John Campbell (retired UK nurse and nursing prof), who gives detail on the drug and its necessity. Golly, that’s just one drug, just one country, just two companies, and only 4 years. Ya think the sample should be extended?

  8. HotFlash

    Danpaco, hi, neighbour! I know that cactus, it is 3 blks from my house (on the way to No Frills), and it is an opuntia, looks like an opuntia humifusa, but could be an opuntia fragilis. Both live happily in Ontario including the winters. Native to Pt Pelee (our most tropical place) but the North American Native Plant Society, which has been pushing for the use of native plants in gardens etc., is encouraging Ontarians to plant them wherever, and there is a sidewalk planting on Mill Street in the Distillery area of them, near the tennis court. We got our opuntia from NANPS many years ago, along with our solomon’s seal and the wild ginger. We had always brought the opuntia in for the winter, but this year, on the example of the cactus-under-the-maple, we decided to leave it outside. It looked seriously worse for wear in the early spring, but came back like gang busters and now is three times the size it was in the fall, after nearly 10 years of ‘coddling’. I’ll have to go look at the under-the-maple opuntia, we don’t have blossoms. Well, not yet — I will show our guy this plantidote.

    Oh, and it is edible!!! But obviously, a *lot* of work.

    1. Danpaco

      Hi Neighbour indeed!
      Amazing, thanks for the info. It really is a beautiful specimen and now I have a name for it.
      I work often in the neighborhood, I’m a little Italy dweller myself but shop often at that grocery store. We’ve probably crossed paths.

      1. HotFlash

        Indeed! Hope we can figure out how to meet up some day. For instance, I wil be at that tree tomorrow at 6pm. Won’t stay long.

      1. LawnDart

        Add to that, cat food is more expensive than people food. For protein, chicken hearts, gizzards, trash fish, etc.– any non-processed low-end stuff otherwise destined to become pet food, animal feed (I know it’s cannibalism) or fertilizer can be had for cheaper than any pet food.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I tried some canned cat food once, just to see . . .

      I didn’t like it. It wasn’t Fancy Feast, though. But I don’t think I will try Fancy Feast either. Its still cat food. How much better can it be, really?

      1. LawnDart

        No worries, Rev– the cat was dinner a few nights before (cat meat is sweet, or so I am told by an old Siscilian aquaintence).

    2. Pat

      The Fancy Feast pates are some of the best mass produced cat foods available for diabetic cats. It is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and has the right levels of vitamins and taurine. It is in fact a better choice than more expensive Hills Science Diet.

      And I say that as someone who kept their diabetic prone cat alive and thriving for almost eight years without insulin by carefully curating their diet. Fancy Feast was not the only acceptable cat food but most of the others were not only more expensive, but had to be used sparingly as their carb levels were higher.

  9. Brunches with Cats

    Britain to Provide Warships to Ukraine

    The article is from Ukrinform, Ukraine’s state news agency, thus amounting to a government press release. It’s primarily about military needs, but toward the end adds, “The provision of warships to Ukraine will help to ensure the safe export of grain, which has just begun today – the first ship left the Ukrainian port of Odesa.” No source is given, but if this is what Ukraine intends to do, the Russians are going to go bonkers, as it could violate the grain agreement signed in Istanbul. The article does quote the Ukrainian ambassador to London as stressing that, “at the moment, Ukraine needs anti-mine ships,” but doesn’t say whether or not that statement is related to grain exports. Either way, it’s problematic.

    The agreement* warns against provocation by military vessels getting too close to the merchant ships. The definition of “too close” was still to be determined when the agreement was signed (haven’t checked whether they’ve done so yet). However, it did specify that demining, if necessary, was to be done by another country, to be agreed upon by all parties.

    Those Russkies, ya know, just can’t trust ‘em to stick to an agreement.

    * Yves added the full text of the agreement at the end of her comprehensive analysis on July 25:

  10. The Rev Kev

    By my count there are now only *checks notes* about 99 days left until your midterms so now in double digit territory. Waiting for the first signs of panic in DC breaking out soon.

  11. jr

    The Hill breaks down the Taiwan situation:

    1. Xi is scared of Taiwan’s vibrant democracy (and no doubt our own).

    The real reason Xi is upset over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

    “That is too simple and outdated. At the heart of why China obsesses over Taiwan to the point they could conceivably start World War III, is because Taiwan’s democratic success story is an existential threat to Xi Jinping’s legitimacy and authoritarian rule.”



    2. The US must maintain it’s honor and it’s moral superiority.

    Biden cannot give China’s Xi the upper hand


    “The credibility of U.S. commitments and expressions of U.S. resolve matter in global politics, most pointedly now with Beijing’s increasing aggression against Taiwan. No U.S. president should permit himself to be so treated for the honor of the country, the credibility of its commitment, and strength of its deterrent.”


    “Equally important, Biden is in the right to take the upper hand — China is committing genocide against Muslim peoples in Xinjiang and the U.S. should not be reticent to express its moral superiority. The U.S. should never accept hectoring or abuse from authoritarian governments that violate human rights.”

    This crap is like Flintstone’s Chewables for the chattering classes: Ostensibly good for you; sugary sweet to insure consumption.

  12. IECG

    I’m Mexican and I don’t know whether to comment on this blog post or on “links”. But I’ll do it here.

    The United States is not happy with AMLO’s energy policy and it seems that the Biden government intends to use the mechanisms of NAFTA 2.0 to protect the interests of US capital.

    The interesting thing is that AMLO has said that his priority is the sovereignty of Mexico, not access to the US market.

    The Mexican PMCs have reacted with fear, fearing that AMLO will repudiate NAFTA 2.0.

    Personally, I would have liked Trump and AMLO to abolish NAFTA when they had the opportunity, but I understand that this was perhaps not the right time. Now, with the destruction of global supply chains, it may be time.

    Considering how potentially destructive a disorderly abandonment of NAFTA 2.0 could be for Mexico and the United States, perhaps some NC readers will want to keep a close eye on it in the coming months.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Free Trade classes in both countries would try to make the abolition of all traces of any and every NAFTA as destructive as possible to both countries. Could the protectionist classes of both countries beat down the free trade classes of both countries?

      In theory it would be possible for the two countries to survive the temporary destruction and then reconstruct for themselves two separate mutually sealed off protectionized national sovereign agriculture sectors. At least one would hope.

    2. lambert strether

      Thanks! Links would have been better, since most “international” coverage is there

  13. Samuel Conner

    Something that might be of interest —

    in a recently arrived email from academia.com, which has been trying to get me to subscribe for a while, there was a link to a podcast


    which is a book author interview; the book has the promising title:

    “Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the Production of Uselessness”


    (the publisher is an imprint named Goldsmith Press)

    This may be related to the “This is hell!” blog


    I don’t know anything about the book or the “this is hell!” site but the podcast title sounds interesting.

    Have readers previously encountered either of these?

    1. JBird4049

      I sometimes listen to This is Hell, which is not bad. Despite the often depressing topics and interviews, Chuck is such an enthusiastic and thoughtful interviewer that I don’t become depressed over whatever awful thing is being discussed.

  14. Mikel


    “….The chain of events that led the stockpile of a now-critical vaccine to dwindle to near nothing in the United States is only now emerging.

    At several points federal officials chose not to quickly replenish doses as they expired, instead pouring money into developing a freeze-dried version of the vaccine that would have substantially increased its three-year shelf life.

    As the wait for a freeze-dried vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration dragged on over the last decade, the United States purchased vast quantities of raw vaccine product, which has yet to be filled into vials.

    The unfinished vaccines remain stored in large plastic bags outside Copenhagen, at the headquarters of the small Danish biotech company Bavarian Nordic, which developed Jynneos and remains its sole producer.

    For nearly 20 years, the United States government has helped fund the company’s development of the vaccine, clinical trials and manufacturing process, at a cost that passed the $1 billion mark by 2014 and is hurtling toward $2 billion. Despite this, the United States now finds itself unable to procure enough doses to quickly launch a widespread vaccination campaign for those at highest risk: men who have sex with men, and in particular, those who have multiple partners….”

    The article includes a bit about the previous smallpox virus.

    “In 2019, JYNNEOS, a replication-deficient live Vaccinia virus vaccine was licensed in the United States. On November 3, 2021, ACIP voted to recommend JYNNEOS preexposure prophylaxis as an alternative to ACAM2000 for certain persons at risk for exposure to orthopoxviruses….”

    So, in addition to the storage issues, Jynneos is just now getting it’s first go round outside of studies in the USA.

  15. Louis Fyne

    anyone watch the Biden drone attack announcement?

    My beef is w/whoever is in charge of cinematography—good news: no lousy fake soundstage set, bad news: who decided to frame Biden awkwardly between two columns. Visually looks so weird.

    Why not just follow precedent and use the Oval Office desk? Can Biden not sit at a desk?

    Ok want to be outside—why not just use the Rose Garden? can someone adjust the teleprompter so that Biden isn’t constantly squinting at the screen? What is going on?

    The Democrats are supposed to be the party of Hollywood—no one at the West Wing has a friend who can give some free advice about cinematography, the language of visuals, and set design?

    Reagan using 80’s tech looked great on TV. and he was senile too!

    1. Carla

      When are we gonna learn? Fining banks only encourages their fraudulent behavior. Criminal charges and serious jail time for all those with “fiduciary responsibility” — that’s the only answer. Sheesh!

  16. digi_owl

    Looks like the white house is shopping for some PR wins, as apparently they offed Zawahiri this weekend.

    This via “airstrike” in Kabul no less.

    Do wonder how they would have reacted had China or Russia used a drone delivered missile to pop say Kissinger.

    1. flora

      tsk. The “new” Kissinger is supposedly the Google guy. What’s his name? Eric Schmidt? or Larry Page? Not sure which. Henry is getting very old. K’s manager need a hand off to a younger person for continuation of whatever. / heh

      1. flora

        Adding for no other reason than I think Sir Davis’s conducting Handel’s Royal Fireworks music is here nearly perfect. I like Handel’s music. There is something here that a ‘this or that’ or an ‘1 or 0’ cannot comprehend, imo. AI calculates, it does not comprehend.

        Prom Palace – Music for the Royal Fireworks


        1. flora

          And adding: the greatest privilege and greatest pleasure in my official job and work has been mentoring the young as they enter the “real” IT world.

          Truly, my greatest privilege and pleasure has been guiding students through how to approach a technical IT problem and how to approach a full time staff person’s anxiety about some computer glitch.

    2. ambrit

      Damn! They kill a senior member of an influential faction of a country that they had to leave under fire? What sort of public image does that bring to mind? To me, the main image produced here is “Ugly Americans.”
      The Afghan Government will deny involvement any way. To be linked not only to this killing, but as subservient to the Americans is the kiss of death in that part of the world.
      America is becoming quite good at extra judicial killings. Now wait for it to start happening back in the Homeland. Everything else of a questionable nature that America has done ‘overseas’ has sooner or later “come home.”

  17. Wukchumni

    Unfortunate cookie saying:

    “It is best for you to not flirt with island nations.”

    Unlucky numbers:

    U-235, U-238

  18. Wukchumni

    Potentially toxic algal mats were discovered at Kaweah River, according to state and local health officials.

    Recently, state officials notified the Tulare County Environmental Health Division that an algae bloom was spotted at Three Rivers’ Skyline Pond, and the site was tested. Algal mats were also discovered in the Slick Rock area, west of Dinely Bridge.

    Following the discovery, Three Rivers Community Service District posted “Toxic Algae Alert” signs at recreational areas along the river.

    These blooms can produce toxins that make people and animals sick, according to Centers for Disease Control. People, dogs and horses frequent the area.

    “Because children and dogs are most susceptible to serious health impacts, it is recommended they avoid touching any suspicious-looking algal material found in the water or along riverbanks,” health officials stated in a press release.

    We’ve had extensive algae blooms on the rivers here that look like underwater green smurfs and locals are bummed as the river is the place to beat the heat.

  19. Amfortas the hippie

    Yves asked me to do a post for the fundraiser a while back.
    but ive been too scatterbrained with all the archaeology i’ve been doing(Tam’s closet, etc) to settle on something germane to the current pancrises.
    but the shrinklady from over the hill that’s been coming by to check on me(friend of wife) is a rancher and hay farmer…and a raging lefty(by local standards).
    so i slip into evangelising about sustainable ag, parity pricing, local food resilience, etc quite easily.
    this has had me ruminating about the sri lanka debacle and the more recent farmer’s protests in the Low Countries.
    and comparing them in my mind to Cuba’s “Special Period”, when their efforts resulted in a rather robust local food production system….and a global shortage of frelling mules.
    so i’m drawing together some research…and “trying to put myself in that place”(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpyvtGE4vpY)….and, while i’ll prolly be past whatever the deadline is,lol…this is something near and dear to me…as well as something i’ve fretted about for a long, long time.

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