Links 1/12/2023

Jazz Is Freedom The Baffler

Grief, a (grand)mother tongue Scalawag

Climate

Oregon Follows California, Bans Combustion New Car Sales By 2035 Motor1

#COVID19

The bivalent vaccine booster outperforms Eric Topol, Ground Truths. “The Bottom Line: ‘Bivalent boosters work well to prevent severe Covid, as manifest by reduction of hospitalizations and deaths. They are not a panacea, by any means—their efficacy against infections is limited and of short duration, which has been the case for shots since the Omicron variant came along in late 2021.”

Immunogenicity of BA.5 Bivalent mRNA Vaccine Boosters (correspondence) NEJM. Small n. “These data are consistent with the modest benefits observed with a BA.1-containing bivalent mRNA booster. Our findings suggest that immune imprinting by previous antigenic exposure5 may pose a greater challenge than is currently appreciated for inducing robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants.”

Bivalent Covid-19 Vaccines — A Cautionary Tale (“Perspective”) NEJM. “I believe we should stop trying to prevent all symptomatic infections in healthy, young people by boosting them with vaccines containing mRNA from strains that might disappear a few months later.” Consistent with what KLG wrote at NC here.

How antivaxxers laid the groundwork to blame COVID-19 vaccines for Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest Science-Based Medicine. Watch out for the anecdotes! Do note — hear me out, binary thinking tribalists — that these three things could be true at the same time: (1) Most anti-vaxxers are bad faith operators who make sh*t up, especially online; (2) mRNA’s little spike factories have bad health effects (especially vascular); and (3) Covid’s own little spikes have bad health effects (endothelial, including vascular, neurological, and organ damage generally). If (2) proves out, that would have various socio-political effects, including the complete discrediting of the PMC who imposed vaccine mandates. It must therefore be blocked from the discourse, which the PMC also control, and I’m a little concerned that acceptance of (3) — I’m seeing more and more studies supporting it — will be used to drown out (2) (“I’m no anti-vaxxer,” “How do you know it’s not Covid?”). Too schematic? Too bleak?

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The quiet cost of covid: A million people missing work each month WaPo

The Silenced Employee The Unconscious Manager

Blinken says U.S. applauds Japan’s decision to double defense spending Reuters

China?

Satellite images capture crowding at China’s crematoriums and funeral homes as Covid surge continues CNN

* * *

China eases curbs on property developers to counter downturn FT

Painful as it is, China must rid its economy of an ever-rising property market Michael Pettis, South China Morning Post

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up. Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy. Extracting the key point from all the verbiage: “The United States is now trying to inflict decisive defeats on two major powers simultaneously. We are trying to help Ukraine inflict a military defeat on Russia…. At the same time, we are trying to inflict an economic and technological defeat on China that will slow its rise and preserve U.S. dominance for decades to come.” Perspective:

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine war: Sergei Surovikin removed as commander of Ukraine invasion force BBC. I am inclined to think this shuffle is simpler than it’s being made to seem. Surovikin is commander of Russia’s aerospace forces. Surovikin destroyed Ukraine’s grid from the air. His work is done. Gerasimov, his replacement, is a tank and infantry guy. Let the ground war begin?

Russia Is Afraid of Western Psychic Attacks Foreign Policy (LN).

Russia-Ukraine war: How the US paved the way to Moscow’s invasion Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye

Doctoral dissertations and lifelong intellectual prejudices Gilbert Doctorow

How Wars End: An Analysis of Some Current Hypotheses Berenice A. Carroll, Journal of Peace Research. From this thread:

Dear Old Blighty

Why Britain’s (Severely) Underestimating British Collapse Umar Haque, Eudaimonia (RK). Today’s must-read.

* * *

Are Britain’s striking public sector workers underpaid? FT

Ministers have created a conspiracy of silence, matched by a veil of ignorance and a deep denial of the truth when talking about public sector pay deals Tax Research UK

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Finally, some sense on the NHS: Wes Streeting recognises more money is not the only answer Guardian. Of course not. The answer is privatization! By Rule #1.

That NHS England patient data platform procurement, FDP, is live. And worth up to £480m The Register

Brazil ‘mega-protest’ fizzles amid authorities’ concern AP

Peru anti-government protests spread, with clashes in Cusco AP. “Government” is question-begging; “regime” would be more appropriate. Peru general strike:

Teamwork makes the dream work….

Guaidó Is Gone, but Media Dishonesty Is Here to Stay FAIR

Biden Administration

Republicans and Democrats, Unite Against Big Tech Abuses Joe Biden, Wall Street Journal. How about we start with not letting the organs of state security manage content moderation on the platforms?

Wall Street’s top cop trains his sights on crypto FT

Biden’s New Immigration Policy Criticized As Trump-Era Tactic Teen Vogue

Our Famously Free Press

New Yorker Takes Aim at People Who Still Think Covid Is a Problem FAIR. Once more on Emma Green’s shockingly bad-faith New Yorker article.

Western Journalists Are Cowardly, Approval-Seeking Losers Caitlin Johnstone

Transportation

FAA outage traced to “damaged database file” Axios. The wretched reporting on this story doesn’t question how the files, plural — apparently a backup failed as well — came to be damaged.

Canada says it has repaired its own air traffic system issues Seeking Alpha

‘Train Ride From Hell’: 17-Hour Amtrak Trip Becomes 37-Hour Ordeal NYT

Extreme Acceleration Is the New Traffic Safety Frontier Bloomberg

Supply Chain

‘Surge finally over,’ US imports back near pre-pandemic levels Hellenic Shipping News

Healthcare

‘EXCLUSIVE: Key study into anti-stroke drug taken by millions found to be ‘unreliable’ and potentially fatal side effects were ignored, documents reveal Daily Mail

Man Worried Antidepressants Will Leave Trace Of Original Personality The Onion. From 2014, still germane.

Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. hospitalized patients experience harmful events, study finds NBC. Let’s focus on the real issue. Are the hospitals profitable?

When you’ve got your health:

And then you’re, say, Queen Elizabeth after she got Covid:

The whole thread is worth reading. I’m sure IM Doc would approve of it.

Gunz

Illinois becomes latest US state to ban assault weapons ABC

Class Warfare

Who knew?

* * *

Amazon workers’ union victory upheld by U.S. labor board director Reuters

Three weeks in US unions, December 18th, 2022 – January 8th, 2023 Who Gets the Bird

Strikes Are Stronger Than Laws In These Tmes

Why the U.S. Nursing Shortage Keeps Getting Worse Time

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Rents Are Still Higher Than Before The Pandemic — And Assistance Programs Are Drying Up FiveThirtyEight

Effects Of The 2021 Expanded Child Tax Credit On Adults’ Mental Health: A Quasi-Experimental Study Health Affairs. Full article, not just an abstract.

The Medieval Problem of the Productivity of Art Philosophies

Behold the Denny’s Tower Brutal South

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.

152 comments

  1. Steve H.

    HipBone Game:

    > Jazz Is Freedom The Baffler
    >> It stemmed from his sense, as he put it in the notes for the sleeve of Thelonious Monk Plays the Music of Duke Ellington (1956), that it might be “helpful to know the precise structural and melodic starting point of a musician’s improvisations.” In other words, why not apply Monk’s slightly bent melodic imagination to songs everybody already knows? It proved to be an inspired idea.

    >Grief, a (grand)mother tongue Scalawag
    >> Over time, Emaye and I developed a sort of half-language to speak comfortably with each other. Eventually we came to know enough of each other and our habits to infer meaning easily.
    >> By the time I reached my high school years, it was rare that Emaye and I couldn’t piece together some semblance of understanding between us in our quick half-language, as much gesture and memory as it was Amharic/English hybrid. But on the occasions we couldn’t, I’d call my mom (speed dial 2 of Emaye’s old Motorola flip phone) and ask her to astergwami for us. My patient mother, a translator by trade, would listen to us each eagerly repeat ourselves, drawing out words for emphasis on either side of the speaker. Then once the missing word was found—my mother, our personal Vanna White revealing the hidden words between us—Emaye and I would look at each other and laugh with the newfound knowledge of what the other was trying to say.

    Reply
    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      A lovely essay be Mele Girma about her grandmother.

      And there is this: “To this day when I bake, I find myself cutting back the sugar in most recipes, hearing her voice in my head confidently remark that American sweets have bihzu siquar, too much sugar.”

      Exactly. This is what grandmothers know.

      Reply
  2. Raymond Sim

    Too schematic? Too bleak?

    Not too bleak alas. But I would add that the makers up of stuff function both to discredit concerns about the vaccines, and to distract from the grim truth of what the de-facto policy of maximizing transmission has wrought.

    Reply
      1. albrt

        Thanks, I read the links too early and had not seen that. I hope Yves will do a full post on the “all three things can be true” concept. Although I would add a fourth thing – it can also be true that state organs are systematically and intentionally misleading people. Just because the anti-vaxxers are paranoid (and making stuff up, and being boosted by the government) does not mean the government is not out to get them.

        Reply
        1. ArvidMartensen

          I’m halfway through a new book by Professor Raina McIntyre, Prof of Biosecurity at Uni of NSW (Australia) and adjunct professor at Arizona State University. Called “Dark Winter”.
          All I can say is OMG. Her documenting of the biosecurity space is terrifying.
          The known instances of lab leaks and deliberate infections of the unsuspecting public goes on an one. Just seems to be BAU for the bioweapons crowd. And scientists are as bad as the military for blatant self interest, political manoeuvering and ar** covering behaviour.
          Kept me awake last night.

          Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Oregon Follows California, Bans Combustion New Car Sales By 2035”

    I, for one, am glad to hear that Oregon has a solid, stable electrical grid that will be fully capable of dealing with up to 4.1 million vehicles registered in that State charging up their batteries every night. But, as has happened in countries like Switzerland, I hope that Oregon drivers will be understanding when the State government tells them that they are forbidden to charge their vehicles during cold snaps as the electricity will be needed to power homes and industries instead. Their cooperation will be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Questa Nota

      Washington would be next in the long march up the Pacific Coast. They have a solid grid, too, and all that roll on Columbia River hydroelectric generating capacity. When the recent atmospheric river snows melt next spring and summer, the power generation in excess of northwest demand will be sent to California to help charge up the Tesla and other fleets. Droughts will reduce those supplies.

      To your point about forbidding charging, they could be at risk of some Oxford (UK, comma, Oregon, comma, Washington, elsewhere) neighborhood restrictions. Winters can be harsh there, particularly east of the Cascade Range.

      Reply
    2. SteveD

      New-car quality is so high now – if you purchase a new IC vehicle in 2034, you could easily expect it to be serviceable until 2044 with no special attention. With fastidious maintenance who knows how long? I suspect the next shoe to drop will be substantive ramping of yearly registration fees for IC cars, followed by outright prohibitions on registering them for road use.

      The B-Movie “The Last Chase” from 1981 (starring the Six Million Dollar Man) doesn’t seem quite so ludicrous now. Here’s the log line:
      In a future United States, the only transport available to an individual is public transportation. Predicated on an assertion that “the oil has run out”, an increasingly totalitarian central government has ordered all personal vehicles be impounded by law. One man, a former race car driver, yearns again for his ability to choose his own roads and destiny.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Or it might go a different way. James Howard Kunstler wrote a book where in the future everybody walked, rode a horse or used a wagon as the oil was done. But the book’s protagonist was shocked to come across a sports car driving slowly along the road and wondered how the guy got the fuel to drive it. And then the driver, after briefly talking to him, blew his brains out further down the road as he could not stand the future where that was no longer possible to just drive a car anymore and the car steered into a ditch.

        Reply
      2. John

        The US won’t get the public transportation system built. And why should it? As in the 12th Century, the serfs will be tied to the land and have no need to travel other than by foot or if fortunate bicycle. The US overlords on the other hand…
        Neoliberalism is neofeudalism.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          That flick is some heavy-handed neolib propaganda, like whoa. Think of the thousands of impressionable teens looking for a comfortable place to hang out away from the parents, who have been marinated in that narrative as it both concealed and rooted itself in their stolen kisses, and who as early Xers and older are acting and consuming sports cars as if all that were true.

          Reply
      3. Ed Miller

        Ten years is nothing. My Toyota is running strong at 17 years, and I take it on occasional cross country trips. On the west coast (no salted roads), cars built 30+ years ago are still going.

        Reply
    3. Delana

      “Their cooperation will be appreciated.”

      No cooperation needed. A computer will simply shut off their power remotely via their “smart meter.” Now water departments are installing them allegedly for “leak detection.”

      With this technolgy, water or power can be shut off if you do not agree to pay a higher daily price versus your new techie neighbors. A dollar a gallon or five bucks a kilowatt hour? No problem for the elite who have moved into the neighborhood and are willing to pay that to charge their car.

      Reply
      1. Joe Renter

        In Las Vegas those water meters are now installed. In the fall the mandate is to water once a week for exterior landscaping . My stepfather wanted to break that amount of time watering to 2 days. We received a letter saying we are over watering. Yes, the future is here.

        Reply
    4. Bsn

      To avoid …. “State government tells them that they are forbidden to charge their vehicles during cold snaps as the electricity will be needed to power homes and industries instead.” Problem solved, install solar panels. You get the juice first and when there’s extra, it passes to the state.

      Reply
        1. upstater

          A Tesla has a 75 kwh battery. I have a 5 kw PV system. The best output is approximately 35 kwh per day, but is much lower in late fall and winter. With net metering it zeros out our household use. We would have to nerarly double our system to support a weekly 75 kwh charge, and that assumes the utility wouldn’t change the net metering rules (which has happened in many states). Not too many residences have the sun exposure to support 10 kw of panels and apartments certainly do not. No doubt “smart chargers” could be throttled or shut off by the utility, too.

          So PV for EVs is a nice thought, but impractical for the majority.

          Reply
        2. ACPAL

          Yesterday here in SW Idaho the overcast we’ve seen for the last couple weeks reduced my PV output to about 2%. Most winter days, when we need power the most, I’m lucky if I get 10% and that for only about 4-5 hours. I’ve lived in Portland and the winter overcast is even worse. I’ve seen the solar PV farms in the Mojave Desert which produce a lot of power on clear days but nothing at night. The power lines to San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle are totally inadequate to carry the loads and the storage capacity is relatively non-existent. PV panels are NOT our saviors.

          Reply
        3. Randy

          I have a 6Kw PV system at 45* north latitude. From April until the end of October I can power my house and my EV and break even on a monthly basis with my electric utility. However I don’t drive much since I retired and less since Covid.

          I had Net Metering but the Walker Republicans and my electric utility took that away. I also have a Time Of Use electric billing plan that costs about 20 cents/KwH during the day and 6 cents/KwH at night. I made out like a bandit with that before they took my Net Metering away.

          As a result of losing my Time Of Use Net Metering if I produce excess power during the day they pay me about 5 cents/KwH for my excess power production and I pay 20 cents/KwH for using their utility power. From April – October I charge my car during the day and the rest of the year I charge at night, the idea being I put my excess power into my car and don’t “give” it to the utility.

          When days get hot and my power company is requesting that their customers conserve electricity that is when I plug in my car. They screwed me and I will attempt to screw them in return.

          Reply
      1. Old Jake

        Not in the Northwest. Up here there are fewer than six months in which the output of the panels is greater than immediate consumption. A couple of years ago I got an estimate for solar panel installation. With tax credits and low interest (subsidized?) funding, the ROI was still negative. No deal.

        NB – like Tegnost I am on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula. But even though eastern Washington and Oregon are mostly sunnier and a little to the south, I doubt there’s much of an improvement (but a good analysis is not at my fingertips).

        Reply
    5. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

      Next step will obviously be to start closing down the fueling stations that provide dino-blood for dino-cars, so even if you HAVE a dinoburner you’ll play bloody trying to feed it.

      Reply
  4. zagonostra

    >Why the U.S. Nursing Shortage Keeps Getting Worse – Time

    What I didn’t see mentioned in the article is that medicine has effectively become a business with a profit motive whose line workers, nurses, are being treated as car salespersons.

    I talked to my daughter who is a nurse last night, in her late 20’s, and she told me about how she is being pressured to “upsell” procedures that the patient may not need (I experienced “upselling” directly having bought a new car not long ago). There is direct pressure from her supervisor to steer patients to getting certain test/procedures that have higher Medicare or other insurance reimbursements. The pressure on the staff is palpable and becoming insufferable. It was a real eye opener to hear how doctor offices are being run like a car dealership. She is now looking at other career options since patient care has taken a back seat, or not even in the same car, as making a profit for the medical practice, sad because she is good at what she does.

    Reply
    1. LaRuse

      That aligns with an experience I had last year. I was in a nasty car accident and went in to see my Nurse Practitioner for a hip injury. She handled that well enough, but while she listened to my heart and lungs, she detected my heart murmur, which I’ve had since at least my teenage years. She insisted there was no way at 40 I should still have a murmer unless something was wrong and scheduled me for an echo.
      I had not come for heart problems, I had a documented murmer since childhood, and next thing I know, I was on the hook for a $1000 bill for an ECG. Which of course came back completely normal and showed, no surprise, a non-rheumatic, benign murmer.
      When I saw her for strep about a month ago, she never mentioned the murmer, not even in passing. No upsales on the strep visit, at least.

      Reply
    2. IM Doc

      There is a reason for what have now become known as “annual wellness visits”. In the day, this used to be called an annual physical. It used to be in the past that your physician would have a detailed chat with you and then examine your body for any sign of trouble. We were actually taught how to do that well back in the day. An experienced physician with years of laying on hands, can actually pick up quite a bit of problems – and they also know exactly what is totally benign.

      Now, Medicare has an “annual wellness visit” and a physical exam is specifically proscribed. You are just not allowed to do it or bill for it.

      It is usually not even done by a doctor, a nurse will do just fine. They sit in front of a computer and check off boxes as the computer tells them what to ask the patient. No independent thinking allowed. In this “annual wellness visit”, you are interrogated about all kinds of surveillance testing and it is very important for the provider that you are up to date on them all – if not, they get no bonus money. Furthermore, literally ALL of the things that are gone over have something to do with ancillary procedures and thereby cash flow – colonoscopies, mammograms, bone density studies, labs, home equipment, oxygen.. My favorite addition was a few years ago when almost immediately after the introduction of the $100K/course hepatitis C drugs, we were tasked to screen every single Medicare patient with a hepatitis C test that costs about 280$. With literally no evidence that this mass screening was even helpful. No evidence at all – even to this day. This despite the fact that NOT ONCE – not a single time in my entire career has a hepatitis C patient not been obvious on routine labs or their history or physical exam.

      So an “annual wellness visit” is not really considered successful unless the patient leaves with a bunch of tests and labs to be done and mentions of new diseases to scare them to death. And, of course, the patient does not even hear the cash register ringing in the background. All of this done usually by “non-profit” corporations – where there is absolutely zero accountability on where any of this cash is going.

      The things that REALLY affect the elderly – like balance problems, gait problems, falling, memory/thinking issues, family issues, malnutrition, mental health, and just needing to talk/cry/lean on their trusted physician are completely ignored – there is simply no money to be made. You cannot imagine how so lonely are so many of our elderly, they just need someone to talk to. Again, no talking allowed. Just filling out boxes on a computer screen. So these critical issues, see Lambert’s Queen Elizabeth tweet above, that used to be the mainstay of caring for Medicare patients are just ignored.

      This is a huge reason I left the big city. Every single mega-city in the USA is now dominated by this approach. It is unescapable.

      Reply
      1. Insouciant Iowan

        My experience, exactly, at a stste University research/teaching hospital. I’m sharing your comments with friends!

        Reply
      2. lcm

        So true. The Medicare wellness visits I’ve had are completely pointless. I tried for years to get my PCP to just give me some good exercises for balance. She told me to stand on one leg while brushing my teeth. I finally found some gaze stabilization exercises online, which helped a lot.

        Reply
        1. JP

          Tai Chi Chaun is much better then yoga for building equilibrium. If you can find a good instructor you will find it very helpful.

          Reply
      3. Dan Berg

        My doctor told me that unless I had a problem an annual exam not necessary; I haven’t been to a doctor since.

        Reply
        1. Randy

          A friend of mine is unhealthy and has to patronize the Medical Industrial Complex. It seems like every problem they fix results in them causing several more for him.

          I avoid doctors unless there is no alternative.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          I get one every year but just for bloodwork, oh, and because Rx are good for only a year and I have a couple. My MD is very sensible about this. I regularly reject blood and other tests that are not indicated given my givens and she is OK with that, in fact sort of amused.

          I have a legacy policy I am paying for as a backup to Medicare that pays for an annual exam. Will be interesting to see how this pans out. Since I infer an annual physical is NOT a Medicare-covered service, it would appear it can be done entirely outside the Medicare regime, as in my non-Medicare-accepting MD can bill my legacy insurance.

          Reply
      4. Rick

        Interesting, thank you for this perspective. I have noticed that since I’ve been on Medicare the wellness visit did not include anything other than BP check and a basic chest auscultation (I do enjoy medical terminology, sometimes an omphalos is just a belly button :P ).

        To his credit, my PCP doesn’t do any upselling, we just chat about his practice and the decaying state of public health for the time after taking care of routine concerns I might have.

        Oh – one other thing. My doctor does not have a computer in the exam room. He has a clipboard with some short version of my chart and takes notes by hand. He’s not old, either, under 50 I think.

        Reply
  5. Raymond Sim

    Let the ground war begin?

    I suspect the longer it takes the more likely it becomes both that they’re encountering significant difficulties, and that their actions will be very intense and firepower-heavy.

    Reply
    1. ACPAL

      Deteriorating Law

      Politicians have found yet another way of getting around honest law-making by pissing on Webster’s Dictionary. The problem with assault weapon bans begins with the English language. There is no natural definition of “assault weapon” like say “water.” While the military has it’s definition (actually more than one but they’re quite similar) in the civilian world it’s whatever someone wants to call it and they can change it from day to day. A politician can pass a law making an AR-15 an assault weapon today than change the definition tomorrow to include squirt guns and even make the law retroactive. This didn’t used to be acceptable law-making.

      But far worse than that our laws used to based on common sense, common law, and past precedence. Recently politicians found they could get around abortion ban restrictions by allowing anyone to sue everyone associated with abortions. California used the same tactic to try to ban guns. That same tactic could be use for everything including attacks on every part of the constitution including all the Amendments. Now they’re getting around the Second Amendment by taking a previously narrowly defined type of firearm, an assault weapon, and expanding the definition to include almost all firearms. Again, this tactic could be used to restrict speech, religion, rights to fair trial, and etc. Under President Obama his staff stated that “due process of law” was whatever they said it was.

      Regardless of an individual’s position on guns this rapid deterioration of law should scare the crap out of everyone because the next step could heavily effect them, possibly sending them to jail.

      First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
      —Martin Niemöller

      Reply
  6. griffen

    Unite against big tech abuses. Yeah it is as though before my time as the current President, I didn’t serve as a sitting Senator from the state of Delaware or serve as the country’s Vice President for 8 years. All these big tech companies are run by meanies. Dude, just look at Amazon, Google or Apple and how they make more money than God (or god if you are inclined) !

    For the next article perhaps Mr. Biden can ask his friends from both camps to unite against the consolidated powers within Big Ag and Big Meat/Protein industries too. Come on man. I like having the option to listen to the article. Keeps my hands free to catch all the vomit projecting forth.

    Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘Massimo
    @Rainmaker1973
    There are more people living inside this circle than outside of it’

    Years ago Obama declared a Jihad against China with his Pivot to Asia. This was not only through deploying more military assets against China but also his vaunted Trans-Pacific Partnership which was unofficially know as the Everyone But China trade pact. But soon there was a new term that I started hearing which was the Indo-Pacific. That kinda puzzled me a bit as to go after China, you would really need only the Pacific bit but they have been consistent with that Indo-Pacific term. Looking at that map, that term makes a lot more sense now.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      The MIC has to project more wars and use their stooges like Obama to promote it. Let the Japanese slaves do the fighting.

      Reply
  8. zagonostra

    >Landmark” lawsuit accuses mainstream media of forming coalition to censor “misinformation”

    Not sure about the legal basis since these were private organizations but since the Twitter files have exposed FBI and other gov’t agencies directly involved in the censoring it will be curious to see how this plays out and to read the court decision. Also I don’t know much about the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), on the face of it it looks very suspect.

    Kennedy, CHD, and several other organizations, journalists, and individuals filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District of Texas-Amarillo Division alleging that these legacy news organizations partnered with Big Tech to “collectively censor online news” about COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election that did not align with the official narratives…

    TNI, launched in March 2020, is a coalition of some of the world’s largest news organizations, including the Associated Press, the BBC, the Washington Post, and Reuters, who partnered with Big Tech with the aim of stopping the spread of “misinformation.”

    https://reclaimthenet.org/rfk-jr-sues-mainstream-media-misinformation-cartel/

    Reply
  9. griffen

    In reading the headline on the Denny’s Tower, I was not surprised to read about the landmark tower of downtown Spartanburg. I am a bit kind I suppose, as this downtown does not really sport many office buildings or similar past 10 or 12 stories. In recent years an AC hotel was built and opened, and I think that might reach 10 floors. The best thing to say about downtown is that the streets and sidewalks are inherently walkable. The local tourism efforts include a number of weekly or weekend offerings in the spring season.

    I confess that window washing of the sort depicted in the article is not for me. My fear of heights and would only be trumped by the fear of strapping into a harness 15 stories up. Nope.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      That link doesn’t work for me for some reason.

      As for the Denny’s headquarters building it has all the charm of Denny’s itself. Architecture really isn’t the town’s strong suit.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        I finally caught up with this link which is very good. The plaza is also the site of the town’s Christmas tree. Eventually they got tired of buying one every year and just planted one–the eco choice.

        And yes ersatz Postmodern has been replacing 1960s flat roof “from Bauhaus to our house.” City Hall is next to be torn down.

        Anyhow, thanks Lambert.

        Reply
  10. Jeremy Grimm

    “Medieval Problem of the Productivity of Art”
    This seems a strange debate to resurrect from the debates of medieval schoolmen. I was disappointed to see William of Occam siding with the artefact nominalists. That does make me wonder about Occam’s use of his razor and by implication its other uses. I suppose much hinges on the meaning given to ‘necessity’ — drawing upon one statement of Occam’s razor: “Non sunt multiplicanda entia sine necessitate” — “entities must not be multiplied without necessity.”

    There are many questions for debate about Art that merit exploration — for example the relationship between Art and Craftsmanship and how they differ and are the same, how much Art depends on the quality of its Craftsmanship– but revisiting “productivity” as considered in the medieval debate explored by this link seems odd to say the least.

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      Ever since the industrial revolution got under way, there has been an effort to “de-skill” workers, that is, do away with expensive craftsmen and get by with people paid to do simple repetitive operations in an assembly line.

      Employers would like employees to be like Lego pieces, easily replaceable.

      This effort on the part of owner/employers has the side benefit of doing away with guilds/unions.

      There is also the effort to demean artists in general, as engaged in a “worthless” activity.

      Want proof, try telling your prospective father-in-law you’re an artist or a musician.

      The funny thing is, people still feel compelled to engage in learning difficult crafts, and producing “worthless” art.

      It seems the impulse to create is basic to the human condition, and people everywhere continue to engage in this activity even when faced with near total lack of encouragement, or understanding from the general population.

      Reply
  11. Glen

    Too soon, too soon…

    Jeff Beck – A Day In The Life (Live at Ronnie Scott’s)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHHY3eRUMsM

    Jeff Beck- Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Brush With The Blues) (Live performance) R.I.P.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q0p7yXoOVg

    Playing everything from the Beatles to Mingus, and more. From the Yardbirds where you took over for Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page took over for you (all still friends). One of those musicians that played with everybody, and shaped music for over fifty years.

    Thank you Jeff, for the music, the joy, and just being who you are.

    Reply
  12. flora

    Remember back when there was an advertising push to get more people to take statin drugs? Some new research is out.

    “Conclusion: These findings extend previous evidence showing that significantly elevated ALS reporting [Lou Gehrig’s disease] extends to individual statin agents, and add to concerns about potential elevated occurrence of ALS-like conditions in association with statin usage. ”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29427042/

    Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        Huh? From Johns Hopkins:

        Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient produced by the body and used for cellular energy, is often touted as being vital if you’re taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol. Proponents of CoQ10 say it helps reduce muscle pain, which can be a side effect of statin use, and is an important energy source that the body needs.

        “No solid evidence supports benefits of taking CoQ10 supplementation while taking statins,” Martin says. “If you’re taking statin drugs and have muscle aches, the next step is talking to your doctor about changing your prescription.”

        There are several different statin drugs and they can be given at various doses. Finding the one that works for you is a better route than taking a supplement to try to counteract ill effects of your current prescription.

        https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-truth-about-4-popular-heart-health-supplements

        The real issue is that statins are wildly overprescribed. No evidence they are beneficial except for those with heart disease.

        Reply
        1. Not Again

          It’s possible your blood sugar (blood glucose) level may increase when you take a statin, which may lead to developing type 2 diabetes. The risk is small but important enough that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on statin labels regarding blood glucose levels and diabetes.

          https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013#:~:text=It's%20possible%20your%20blood%20sugar,blood%20glucose%20levels%20and%20diabetes.

          Reply
        2. IM Doc

          There are two situations in which the use of statins is strongly supported by data –

          1) Secondary prevention for coronary artery disease – in other words, once the patient has ALREADY been diagnosed with an event ( heart attack, stroke, etc) or already has evidence of severe coronary artery disease ( having had stent placements, etc). The use of these agents in those type of patients has been shown to decrease problems in the future, but the effect is rather small. Please note, there has never been a well-done trial showing any improvement in primary prevention. Primary prevention would basically be finding elevated cholesterol on labs with no symptoms or history of disease and prescribing statins based on that alone. Again no evidence this does a thing in the long run.

          2) Acutely using statins in a stroke. This acute use in the setting of an acute stroke has been shown to have some benefit.

          Since we have been talking about all cause mortality in relation to COVID, etc, it is also important to point out that the use of statins over the age of 70 for any reason, has been shown to increase all cause mortality in that cohort over the placebo.

          Reply
          1. Revenant

            IM Doc, is there a link or review paper for the all cause mortality in >70’s? I am trying to dissuade my mother. I forbad her taking stations for years but then a new GP got to her (the old one was immensely and unconvincing in the do as I say, not as I do department). She took them for a few weeks and Bang! Diabetes. Some damage done but it is never too late to stop…..

            Reply
            1. IM Doc

              There is a book you can get online very cheaply called OVERDOSED AMERICA – by John Abramson MD.
              He is an excellent physician. And each of the chapters in that book are about one drug class or the other.
              The chapter on the statins I have never been able to find a single quibble with. The entire book is incredibly referenced. I print out entire chapters of his book several times a week for patients with questions and concerns to read over.
              I could point you to many medical papers – but they are often written in jargon and medicalese and are very difficult for people to read.
              That is not the case with the above book. It is written for all to read and understand.
              I just did an OVID search for this topic – and there are over 800 references. All of them from journals, large to obscure. I am always looking for ways for patients to get the benefit without having to wade through all of these papers and sometimes books are the best way.

              Reply
          2. ArvidMartensen

            My partner has been on statins since a CABG in 2017. Over 70. Went almost vegan after the op and lost a lot of weight but still had to get a stent last year.
            We just found out recently about a lot of research that says statins over 70 aren’t a good thing. Now adding fish to diet and subtracting sugars and refined foods so that blood sugar spikes are minimised as much as possible. And walks about 5 km every day. Thinking of halving the statins, having seen the mortality data.
            Apart from pills and surgery, the well meaning docs don’t have much to say. And surgeons! Every surgeon is a champion and every surgery they do will last for ever and you will never have a problem! Surgeons are not humble.

            Reply
  13. marcel

    Re “Ukraine war: Sergei Surovikin removed as commander of Ukraine invasion force BBC”
    Defense Politics Asia claims this is because the war grows larger. All existing generals remain where they are, but there is room for two more: two more fronts of war. But where or when we’ll those fronts, the Stavka doesn’t tell.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      This all looks like bending over backwards to push back against Western article gleefully acting as if the restructuring = Russian admission of problems.

      Surovikin was effectively demoted. He is one more layer removed from Putin in the chain of command.

      Reply
      1. Tom Hickey

        “Surovikin was effectively demoted. He is one more layer removed from Putin in the chain of command.”

        If this were correct (it is not) it would be Gerasimov that is being demoted since he was chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. But he still is the chief of staff and now has an added responsibility as the commander of the SMO going forward.

        Surovikin reported to Gerasimov and he still does. No change in the chain of command. What difference does the change make? Gerasimov is now the commander of the SMO rather than the overseer as the chief of staff while remaining the chief of staff.

        Is this a difference without a distinction. No. Gerasimov will now issue the orders directly. From the political perspective, direct control is now closer to Putin and Shoigu than when Surovikin was in charge of the SMO. What this means in the Russian way of war remains to be seen. The Russian way of war is different from the West and experts in the Russian way of war report that the West doesn’t understand it.

        Here is Zaluzhny on Gerasimov.

        “Zaluzhny keeps a collection of works by Gerasimov, who is 17 years older than him, in his office.

        ‘I grew up on Russian military doctrine and still believe that all military science is in Russia. I studied with Gerasimov. I read everything he ever wrote. He is the smartest of people, and my expectations from him were huge,’ said Zaluzhny.

        Reply
        1. tevhatch

          This speaks to the start of actual full on combined forces warfare, before the airwing was (nearly) missing, but Surovikin spent a lot of effort in degrading the Ukrainian air defense, and is now back focusing on the air arm. Surovikin and Gerasimov each have their specialty, and besides his newer skills in aerospace, Surovikin was for most of his career an artillery and field fortifications man with a good deal of experience in dealing with counter-insurgency in Syria. A new team is in play. Something is heading for the fan blades, and it’s all flying west.

          Reply
    2. John Zelnicker

      It appears that the BBC is completely misinterprets what’s going on with the Russian generals. No one has been replaced or demoted.

      Moon of Alabama has a chart showing what’s actually happening at the end of this piece. The rest of the post is an excellent review of the ongoing Russian breaches of the Ukrainian defense lines, with maps.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        On BBC’s behalf, it’s at times quite easy to misinterpret what’s going with the Russian generals. I remember my history professor literally giggling when lecturing about Imperial Russia and how both civil service and army had ranks, positions and tasks and at times a person could have a task that was not in line with neither his rank or position.

        A weird mixture of bureaucracy, patronage and merit which may appear as “byzantine” to an uneducated onlooker. I can only assume faint echoes of such a world still exist in the Russian state apparatus.

        Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        The PMC has a Prosperity Gospel of office politics, too. Rank is conferred as a significator of one’s trueness to God’s the corporate Will.

        Reply
  14. THEWILLMAN

    Maybe not bleak enough. One thing I’ve found out from the shift in Covid policy belief and DNC politics is that most of the people I agree with – I only agree with in a certain ideological climate.

    The mRNA skeptics were totally right to sound the alarm on giving some marginal vaccine platform and trusting pharmaceutical companies that historically have worse ethics than cartels. But now when they have a chance to actually enter the debate – they choose to be insular and approach valid concerns with the scientific rigor of ancient aliens.

    Many people who were actually banned from social media and those who defended them celebrated when Elon banned others on the other ideological side. Very few actually believed in the free speech principals they used to defend themselves.

    Now with Hamlin. Commotio cordis probably – definitely not vaccines. Or vaccines probably – definitely not Commotio cordis. It’s not much different than the football game itself where the Bengals Fans and Bills Fans see the same play but one group nearly unanimously thinks it’s a penalty when the other side does not.

    Reply
  15. LawnDart

    Re; Illinois becomes latest US state to ban assault weapons

    This is nearly meaningless legislation with very limited effects. It will:

    A) Piss-off nutters who think a rugged-looking weapon will somehow protect them from societal collapse
    B) The “illegal-possession” part may be effective once-in-a-blue-moon against wanna-be gangsters and thugs who feel compelled to flaunt their s**t

    It will not:

    A) End the straw-buyer trade/guns-for-drugs pipelines from mostly surrounding states
    B) Make any noticible reduction in gun violence

    I travelled to Chicago for New Years to meet with a friend who I’ve known for decades. The usual midnight festivities outside were much curtailed from years-past when police and emergency services left the streets from 23:45 to 00:15– often taking cover under viaducts as the city would erupt in gunfire that made it sound like Beruit in the bad-old-days. But not any more.

    Yeah, their was some; a few clips of small-caliber emptied, some random shotgun-blasts, but not even a half-dozen bursts of full-auto to be heard within earshot, nothing like the old-days when you’d hear dozens of quarter-sticks set offs, street-sweepers boom, and what sounded like intense fire-fights throughout the city– ammunition is too expensive these days and frequently of questionable availability: you don’t want to run yourself dry on BS when you might actually need your s**t later.

    But if it makes the liberals feel better and the pols get to say “Look we’re doing something!” then… whatever.

    Reply
    1. Patrick M P Donnelly

      There are $$$ reasons to enact useless legislation ‘against’ guns. It always stimulates purchases of weapons.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      400 million cows have left the barn, but the 400,000,001st will be disallowed from leaving…

      We’re looking at something awfully similar to what happened to the Anasazi after climate change laid them low and cannibalism set in and all they had was crude weaponry made out of rocks…

      …pass the a salt please

      Reply
  16. in_still_water

    Published in yesterday’s Federal Register was an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking entitled ‘Safety Management Systems’. There has been a marked increase in ‘risk management’ activities in the past couple of decades in the ‘safety’ arena and it does seem better in integrating new global variables introduced into the system. But this type of macroscopic program has not been added to enhance older safety systems but replaced them.

    Reply
    1. playon

      I’m not knowledgeable about these things, but is it possible that the FAA computer system mess was caused by a hack?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Well if astrologers were good enough for Ronald Reagan to decide on the timing of government decisions with when he was in office, who am I to disagree. :)

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Sorry Rev, but Reagan ‘decided’ nothing. It was all Nancy, working from behind the scenes; with the able assistance of the White House Court Astrologer.

          Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          The acts and institutions of Reagan certainly display a staying power beyond their merit. I wouldn’t dismiss Joan Quigley’s temporal engineering so lightly.

          Reply
          1. Joe Renter

            “It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny but in in ourselves” Shakespeare.
            Having said that I believe in Astrology for the masses. Those who are more evolved like Shakespeare rule their stars.
            I am currently studying Esoteric Astrology. A different science.

            Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      And here I misread the headline to read: “Russia Fears Western Psychotic Attacks”..I should have realized that Russia already knew that fact from experience.

      Reply
  17. Lex

    The Haque article is really interesting. I guess he doesn’t consider the USSR a developed nation though. I’m not sure the west really gets that we’re approaching a post-soviet kind of future.

    Reply
    1. Maxwell Johnston

      He completely ignored Russia’s demographic implosion during the 90s, quite an oversight in an otherwise interesting read. To its credit, Russia survived the 90s and has emerged relatively intact. Maybe Nietzsche was right when he said that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Of course Russia’s underlying social structure and vast natural resources helped it immensely, which makes me wonder how the UK will fare. Dmitry Orlov has written extensively about societal collapse (focusing on how the USSR fared vs how the USA will eventually fare), and I suspect he’d be pretty skeptical about the UK’s future.

      Reply
    2. Revenant

      Umair Haque is hysterical.

      Life goes on here in Blighty. Things are expensive. Driven by profiteering, not ten years of Tory rule / Brexit.

      There is a degrading of life – the lovely Japanese grill-at-your-table place closed, dry cleaning turnaround time of 1-2 weeks(!) in supermarket (but the independent does it in a day), no hot food on the train because Covid etc. But we have not become Somalia. If anything, we could do with a bit of clannish rage. We are just resigned to the setbacks.

      The exception is the NHS which has finally reach some critical threshold value for cascading multiple failure in all domains:
      – primary care: no GP’s because full time male Boomer GP’s outsmarted government and dropped out of hours on-call responsibilities and Gen X GP’s are all women who broke into the profession then folded in favour of working part time around caring responsibilities and assortative mating to hospital consultants, plus somewhere along the way medical school forgot to teach doctors to examine the patient a la IM Doc and 10 minute appointments don’t allow much examination.
      – hospital medicine: underfunded, not enough of any role or resource, ineptly managed what there is; most beds blocked by interface with failing social care for elderly / multi-morbid; mental health services with multi year waits
      – social care: not part of NHS, biggest victim of austerity then left to due as DNR in Covid like its patients
      – support services (physio, rehab, pharmacy, clinical labs, ambulances, health visitors and midwives): badly organised, not joined up, ridiculous access processes, Cinderella services, yet central to smooth running of the above.

      There is a real danger the BHS collapses (which would see a proper protest) or worse finds a new broken equilibrium and we just forget we ever had in person appointments….

      Reply
    3. Stephen

      It was very interesting.

      I am sitting in my house on the Surrey / London border and impending collapse feels a long way off. The dustbins were emptied very efficiently on Tuesday, the post operated and trains were running. Waitrose delivered the groceries on time too. One item was out of date so that was potentially an indication of impending doom but the gentleman who carried out the delivery took it back and a refund was processed almost immediately. Definitely a First World problem. I will keep a look out for the impending collapse though.

      More seriously., there is truth in what he says. But it is too apocalyptic. To link all the problems to “post Brexit” as the title implies is also wrong. Brexit has not necessarily helped but it has not yet caused doom. To be candid, 1979 and the Winter of Discontent felt far worse but I was 11 years old and very impressionable. 1984 when I was leaving school and we were all worried about mass unemployment also felt pretty bad. Again, I was probably very impressionable. These days, I do avoid mainstream media though and understand that it full of apocalyptic stories. Life is far better without all that.

      Reply
  18. DorothyT

    Why Britain’s (Severely) Underestimating British Collapse

    Umar Haque, Eudaimonia

    On the mark as today’s best-read.
    Nationalism: back to the good old days. Make America (white) again. Brexit those borders.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m afraid that I am going to have to disagree. The guy never gets into the reasons why things are the way that they are but just sprays facts out like from a fire hose. He never mentions all the austerity pushed on the British a decade ago by the Tories which made things much worse in the UK. And when he talks about the NHS system neglects to mention that both political parties are deliberately underfunding it to break it up and turn it into an American style health system. So why does he not mention that when he talks about the problems of the NHS? Sorry but that makes the whole article suspect.

      Reply
      1. Patrick M P Donnelly

        Agree. The deafening chorus is all to herd the crowd into TINA.

        He is almost a CONtrolled opposition journo. Retaining some credibility for later spending to suggest changes to the NHS, ignoring why it has been rendered suitable for sale.

        Getting rid of Corbyn and others is also a continuing process. All media are aimed at one thing in the UK. Capture is complete. It is required that the rich families retain maximum number of profit centres.

        The cost of conscription is that those trained to act can effectively oppose. The benefits of a ‘professional army’ is that they easily control a riotous mob.

        Management, all is management!

        Reply
      2. Redlife2017

        Spot on Rev. That is Umair in a nutshell. Lots of sound and fury with little explanation as to WHY (beyond Brexit) it is a sh**show in the UK. Also the forbidden word (COVID) shows up, but naturally as if it is all past and not impacting the now.

        Reply
      3. Anonymous 2

        ‘Both political parties deliberately underfunding it’.

        You do know that Labour have not been in power since 2010, I hope? I am sorry, this is all on the Tories, with some assistance from the LibDems 2010-2015. The last time Labour was in power they pumped a great deal of money into the NHS to address the problems they had inherited. You cannot fairly blame them for the current situation.

        Reply
        1. JohnA

          Except the new Labour funding was via the PFI initiative whereby private funding was used for things such as new hospitals. This resulted in these new hospitals being on the hook for millions in repayments on terms that were loaded in favour of the private ‘investors’. A total scam that the Major/Blair/Brown governments promoted. Is it any wonder that Blair is now a multimillionaire? Asking for a friend, by the way.

          Reply
      4. JohnM_inMN

        Speaking of suspect. I clicked on the link “America collapsed” embedded in the article and it linked to his Medium article from July ‘22 titled “The Final Stage of American Collapse.” (I won’t provide the link since Medium limits how many freebies you get). I got to the following paragraph and clicked the link “But that was a literal Russian intelligence operation.”

        It linked to the Mueller Report.

        And so, too, was what happened next. Instead of heeding history’s warnings — which were copious, at this point, America’s institutions fell down on the job. Instead of attempting to stop the rise of all this demagoguery and scapegoating, they enabled it. Who can forget how the story — conveniently — just before Trump was “elected” — became “Hillary’s emails!” But that was a literal Russian intelligence operation. Yet America’s institutions fell for it — from the New York Times onwards — and the rest failed to prevent it, like the CIA or NSA.

        Reply
        1. albrt

          Yeah, I followed the same path and had the same reaction. I’m a doomer, but I’m not too interested in hearing analysis from a guy who thinks everything would be OK if only the CIA and NSA were in charge of elections.

          Reply
      5. Some Guy

        Umair Haque is an interesting character. He is a decent and prolific writer, and is willing to call out the decline in society from a non-idpol leftist perspective, and that’s a rare enough combination these days that he has and deserves a decently sized audience.

        At the same time, I don’t know how old he is, but his writing suffers from a typical error of younger people, over-weighting recent history and expecting the future to happen faster than it will. He has this view (as you note) that all was well in Britain prior to Brexit. In addition, he comes across as naive / overly optimistic at times, but, although I could well be wrong, based on his writing, I don’t see these failings as suspicious or a direct attempt at misdirection, but more of blind spots, that he may figure out in time.

        Time may tell.

        Reply
        1. Stephen

          I agree. Have tried io read his stuff before. But he seems to lack the skill of putting things into context and weighing different perspectives. Far too simplistic and presents the world like a morality play, which it is not.

          I also have to say that I do not know when the NHS had its mythical golden age before successive governments ruined it. Waiting lists were a big challenge in the 70s, for example. I remember the problems my mother had getting treatment for very serious illness at that time too. None of this is to say that successive governments have not ruined it but more nuance is needed to pinpoint exactly what the issues really are.

          The excess deaths thing is strange and causes are not understood. I did see a tweet where Philip Pilkington speculated that a cause might be old people not putting their heat on, given how much it costs right now. But that potential cause is not being discussed, given how inconvenient it might be for all sorts of reasons.

          Reply
      6. ven

        Agreed that he is a it hysterical – and repetitive in that. And much as I agree that successive governments have ruined the NHS, increasingly deliberately, he manages to miss the point that excess deaths are happening all around the world.

        Reply
  19. Another Scott

    Remember when renewable energy advocates argued that switching to wind and solar would create good jobs? It looks like they never specified that the jobs would be for Americans as the industry killed off an effort to make work on off-shore wind subject to the Jones Act. Massachusetts Democrats worked with Ted Cruz to make it happen.

    https://www.eenews.net/articles/lawmakers-to-renew-fight-over-offshore-wind-workers/

    It’s stories like this that make it harder for blue collar workers to support renewable investments. I don’t think that most workers necessarily like work in a coal plant in Somerset more than on a wind farm off Massachusetts’ coast, but they seem to prefer the paycheck that comes with the former. The renewable energy industry need not be lower wage jobs (especially compared to many of the fossil fuel ones they replace), but so long as the industry (and supportive politicians) are calling the shots, investors rather than workers will benefit most.

    Reply
  20. Mikel

    “The bivalent vaccine booster outperforms”
    Eric Topol, Ground

    The usual throwing around the term “immunity” only to reveal studies about prevention of hospitilization or death.

    Reply
  21. Lexx

    ‘Why Britain’s (Severely) Underestimating British Collapse’

    ‘The reason I’m teaching you all this? So that you know. And remember. And think about it. That’s what Orwell would have wanted, I imagine. He had to write novels to issue his warnings, because stories, really, are the only way that the human mind can comprehend sheer impossible, stupid, incredible tragedy at this scale, like the one that Britain has made of itself. Not numbers. They don’t suffice. But they are, at least, perhaps, a meagre beginning, because, well, if nobody learns from this story, as Brits have yet to do — did it ever really happen at all?’

    I was worried this numbers guy wouldn’t get to the point before the end but he didn’t disappoint. It was ‘the story’ I was thinking about as I unpacked the paragraphs… but whose story? “The play’s the thing”, except our Claudiuses* don’t have consciences for us to appeal to. They do have legacies though and children and grand-children, and of course they want to live to enjoy their spoils. We need to threaten to take their legacies from them, to suck the fun/rewards right out of their lives. To tell them in a way for which there is zero wiggle room for reinterpretation ‘this is our story, here is your small role in it, make of it what you will, Stanislavski’s. The populace of the planet is done playing extras in your movie.’

    The only bumper sticker on my car reads: ‘Adults on board. We want to live too!’. Perhaps we should stop behaving as though some lives were more valuable than others.

    *What is the multiple for Claudius?

    Reply
  22. Lexx

    ‘Who knew?’

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yeah, Warren, but you’re the guy who said all we needed to do to get to the end of the retirement horse race is to invest in a broad S &P index fund and hang on to the reins. Have you seen the S & P lately? Of course you have.

    Reply
  23. GramSci

    Ian Welsh had a post yesterday that nicely complements today’s offering from Umair Haque:

    https://www.ianwelsh.net/america-will-lose-its-scientific-ascendance-to-china-when-disruptive-science-will-return/

    His motivating study was this 4 January report from Nature:

    ‘Disruptive’ science has declined — and no one knows why
    The proportion of publications that send a field in a new direction has plummeted over the past half-century.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04577-5

    Reply
    1. voislav

      We (and by we I mean the scientific community) know why disruptive science has declined. Several factors come into play, all revolving around commercialization of science:

      1. Drastic reduction in funding for fundamental science (vs. applied) – this extends to far fewer tenured faculty at universities and reallocation of scientific funding from agencies and programs funding fundamental research to those funding applied research. Also included into this are closures of corporate research centers (Bell Labs, etc.), most corporations have outsourced their research into the startup space.

      2. Use of faulty research metrics to award funding/promotions (a.k.a. publish or perish) – funding system rewards quantity of research over quality, leading to “scattershot” science, short studies that lead to quick publications, rather than deeper investigations. Also disincentivizes “moonshot” research, researchers opt for studies that are certain to yield publishable results, rather than uncertain research that may or may not produce something.

      3. Peer-review model for publications/hiring/funding – incentivizes group-think and stifles originality. Scientists are all too human and they resist new ideas, especially when their paycheck/reputation may depend on it. Most innovative research is now done by older researchers who are well established in the field and cannot be bullied or defunded. Unfortunately, that also means that our scientific innovation lags a generation or two, as most scientists form their original research ideas early in their careers.

      4. Management takeover – massive expansion of scientific research resulted in it becoming the domain of the mediocre PMC types. Until 1970’s – 80’s, scientific research was the domain of the fewer, more talented, individuals. With the massive increase in funding during 1960’s, it attracted the attention of the PMC, who installed administrative oversights by mediocre managerial class. Similar has occurred in most large technical companies, they used to be run by engineers and focused on the product, now they are run by accountants focused on the bottom line.

      Reply
  24. begob

    In breach of my rule not to watch “that which cannot be unseen”, I played the short body-cam video from the assault on Solidar, where the Russian shoots two Ukrainians dead in the woods. Struck me as a miniature of the whole conflict. Three Ukrainians dug in – one young, one old, one dead – yet unaware of, or powerless against, the fact their position has been overrun, with heavy gunfire all around. Russian in a panic surprises them from behind, screaming at them to (presumably) surrender or disarm. The young one complies, the old one clutches his rifle, which he won’t let go when the Russian grabs it by the barrel. Russian snaps and fires two bursts. The End.

    Reply
      1. begob

        Link gets disappeared – it’s on the December1991 channel on Bitchute: (Graphic 18+++) BRUTAL! AFU Foxholes Get Stormed – Surrender Doesn’t Go As Planned

        Reply
    1. fresno dan

      TimH
      I agree with the guy’s overall view point. BUT when he writes this:
      And so, too, was what happened next. Instead of heeding history’s warnings — which were copious, at this point, America’s institutions fell down on the job. Instead of attempting to stop the rise of all this demagoguery and scapegoating, they enabled it. Who can forget how the story — conveniently — just before Trump was “elected” — became “Hillary’s emails!” But that was a literal Russian intelligence operation. Yet America’s institutions fell for it — from the New York Times onwards — and the rest failed to prevent it, like the CIA or NSA.
      ==================================
      It is one of those things – the fact that Trump is bad doesn’t mean Hillary is less bad. The Clintons are probably more responsible for the things the author decries than anything Trump did. And stirring up incredible hardship in the world to enact Russian sanctions and fueling the military CIA industrial complex because people refuse to see that the dems are as bad as the repubs is just something I can’t countenance.
      It is amazing to me how many people have bought into the mythology of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and in my view, is, ironically, why so many of the authors concerns exist – the PMC, neoliberalism, or deep state, call it what you will, that distracts us from domestic problems by yelling Russia!, Russia! Russia!

      Reply
  25. antidlc

    NY Times coronavirus briefing:
    https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/coronavirus-briefing

    Nearly three years later, as the acute phase of the pandemic fades in the U.S., and as more of us are trying to pick up the pieces and move on, we’re winding down this newsletter. We may appear in your inbox again if the pandemic takes a drastic turn, but at the end of this month, we will pause the Virus Briefing.

    Personally, it’s bittersweet. For years, I’ve waited for the day when we would happily put this newsletter to rest. In the early days, I thought that moment would come when we reached herd immunity, when we had an effective vaccine or when treatments would render the virus powerless. But over time, I think we realized that we would never experience that total release and that the virus would most likely be with us long term. While we’re certainly in a better place than when this newsletter was created, I had hoped for more closure as it came to an end.

    Reply
    1. BeliTsari

      Back, when this first started. It’d been DECADES since I’d bothered to read NYT. But, once management skedaddled upstate or out the Hamptons; NYT’s intern’s reporting was for a glorious, if short couple months, as accurate as ANY actual journalism about the plague? Everybody stumbled on statistics Cuomo & de Blasio were WORTHLESS. But it was as if those left behind, kept inadvertently running into actual journalistic sources (even Gothamist was good for acwhile; The City, In These Times, ProPublica & especially WSWS were doing honest-to-goodness journalism!) Imagine, if we knew when the 2nd million excess deaths occured, what the infection, hospitalizations, ICU & mortality was; how many had PASC organ or immune system damage? How many kids debilitated from how many infections?

      Reply
  26. Insouciant Iowan

    Peru’s troubles and the ouster of Pedro Castillo coincide with a report in today’s Financial Times about the price of copper going up as China begins an “economic rebound.”
    Bloomberg reported in mid-December that Peru’s copper production was piling up, running out of storage. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-14/peru-copper-mine-running-out-of-storage-space-in-threat-to-production). This backup is threatening production.
    The handwriting was on the wall early in the Castillo administration (https://www.mining.com/misstep-could-reignite-blockade-against-las-bambas-copper-mine-in-peru/)

    Reply
  27. semper loquitur

    re: Long COVID

    About twice a month, I have to attend a Zoom meeting with clients for work. There is one client who has never shown her face on video. She explained once that she was afflicted with Long COVID. This has been the case for her for almost three years, she relayed.

    Her Zoom thumbnail shows an attractive woman with a striking head of blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes. But the other night, that image was shattered. She briefly turned on her video so that her husband could show the group something. She was standing off to one side to avoid the camera but for an instant she drifted into view.

    When I say she appeared to be a zombie of her former self, I do not exaggerate one iota. Her hair was limp, dead. Her face was gaunt and her skin a pasty, dull pallor. Her eyes looked empty and very, very sad. It literally made me catch my breath for a moment. I looked away to make sure she didn’t see me staring in shock.

    Reply
    1. Roger Blakely

      I wonder if these symptoms are what you would expect from a chronic vascular disease. None of her organs, including her scalp, is getting the blood flow that it needs. Her body is exhausted from fighting off this virus for the past three years.

      Reply
      1. semper loquitur

        That jives with my impressions. She looked as if she had been drained by a vampire. She has a young special needs daughter as well to contend with. The physical and emotional strain must be immense.

        If this is what is spreading throughout the population, to a greater or lesser degree of severity, we are in a lot of trouble.

        Reply
    2. BeliTsari

      An ex-partner couldn’t get a George Romero zombie gig, due to Bipolar 1 meds. So it’s bugging me that 40yrs later, NYC’s been a hilariously stereotypical 70s disaster/ zombie flick… INCLUDING how: those who’ve been the most tragically damaged, jumped wholeheartedly at denial, delusion, didactic pontification of what they’re told they believe? I’ve undoubtedly aged ~10yrs in 3 acute cases & PASC? So, my MASKLESS mouthbreathing neighbors shuffling onto the elevator (hacking, coughing or kvetching directly into each-other’s equally unmasked face @ 98dB is more depressing as it’s now officially, “natural causes, quietly in their sleep?”) I shutter at what I’ll see, whenever I feel the elevator about to stop!

      Reply
      1. semper loquitur

        I think comparisons to horror movies are chillingly apt. For me, it’s more of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers feel. All around me, I see people packed into bars or restaurants, on buses and subway cars, all mostly maskless. I walked by a bar the other day, filled with laughing people, and in the middle of a group of them a woman was hacking her lungs out. No one flinched.

        My family and friends have given up on masking for the most part, as everyone is bored with COVID. I often feel isolated, like I’m living in a different world than everyone else. Fortunately, I like feeling that way, I enjoy socializing but I enjoy being alone more. But it makes it harder to deal with other people when you are the constant reminder that things are not as rosy as they wish they could be.

        I’ll share that story about the woman in the Zoom meeting with the people I care about, but they won’t listen. They will nod concernedly and then do nothing different. If I press the point, they will become bored and then agitated. They will accuse me of trying to boss them around or not respecting their right to live their lives the way they see fit. When I point out that they are affecting other people’s lives, they will shut down, it breaks their ideological coding.

        Reply
        1. BeliTsari

          Yves’ timeline of Naked Capitalism’s coverage of consensus reality, over the last three years, serves to reiterate: The information, we’d cite from alarmed clinicians, empirically astute frontline HCWs & renowned epidemiologists (we’d noticed to be consistently correct) was pretty freely available online, if one’s BS alarm didn’t drown-out pertinent concerns of commentators, sick of surfing in a tsunami, amidst ravenous sharks. HCWs who’d stayed here were a big advantage, when I’d decided to delay a 2nd mRNA-1273 by 5mo (after prodigious research & testing) as was use of hippie-dippy snake-oil supplementation for PASC? Sero-prevalence & accurate info disappearing after BA.1 (“vax, relax & unmask… kids are back in school,” sounded more like the busted TV in “They Live” & as you’d mentioned; we’d watched ofay kids OBVIOUSLY trying to get BA.2xxx Omicron, as if they were ANGRY if they’d speciously tested negative last January?) There’s a lethal worldwide pandemic of DENIAL & a pretty scary immune-hijacking virus going around. But I’m pretty sure everything’s back to NORMAL, if it doesn’t start raining Rooski SLBM, no Chinese iPhone or Tesla molnupiravir victim mutates us into I Am Legend extras, or Siberian methane fireballs don’t trigger Elvis and his saucermen into jamming us through some black hole? Me, I believe we’re going to miss wearing the same stinky Vincent Gigante outfit for daze at a time, behind a crusty mask?

          Reply
        2. aletheia33

          semper, thank you for your report.

          i have a little theory going that in the USA currently, most people are now so terrified–of COVID, climate change, impoverishment (incipient or worsening), the obvious societal collapse-in-progress, perhaps especially the collapse of the “healthcare system” and at a time when a huge generational cohort is entering “elder care” etc.–that they are taking on the outlook and behaviors of people who believe their world actually is coming to an end and that they are on the brink of doom and death. which in a sense, they are, but for most people not literally, at least not yet. it is fear that is actually driving these behaviors, not the immediate reality here–after all, so many third world people are far better accustomed to situations like what the USA is in now.

          my theory is that the kinds of behaviors that emerge in such a situation can be summed up by the old saying “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” IOW deep down feelings of creeping hopelessness, overwhelm, and disempowerment–being experienced simultaneously by a large portion of the population. and such feelings are very “contagious” of course. “i’m going to get COVID because my doctor told me we’re all going to get it.”* encouragement toward fatalism, which, i theorize, is on some level what many people suspect they are being pushed to embrace, though they cannot acknowledge it even to themselves. denial, after all, is a human psychic mechanism that can be benign, as it can enable people to continue on with their daily lives, including trying to “preserve a sense of normalcy” for their children, in the face of great difficulties.

          recklessness, rage, every man for himself …. let it ALL hang out, because–as the media keep telling us for one thing–we’re fucked. this idea may not be conscious. it’s well know how in an unconscious society a shared unconscious idea can do incalculable damage.

          i’ve not said this very well, and perhaps it is just a rather obvious point that does not even need to be stated.

          * a doctor actually told me that. and that since i was boosted, if i got it (yes, omicron), it would be like a mild cold, nothing to worry about. that was my first and last consult with him, thanks to NC.

          Reply
    3. Raymond Sim

      It’s my birthday today. I’m 65. My father-in-law had a January birthday too, and had just turned 92. He died last week, having refused treatment to prolong what had become a miserable existence. Until the pandemic I anticipated he would likely outlive me, but once I got a sense of how my in-laws’ (very nice) retirement community was dealing with Covid I reckoned he was doomed, and he was.

      It was my wife who told him, while he was hospitalized for a deep vein thrombosis, that Covid increased the risk for that. She gave up trying to explain to him, and her siblings that the preventive measures and testing they described the facility carrying out were inadequate, and that repeated infection was likely to lead to exactly the sort of rapidly accelerating mental and physical incapacity and suffering he experienced.

      I have no idea how many similar accounts I’ve read since 2020, but this one’s our family’s, and most of the family don’t have a clue what actually happened.

      Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      I have to admit that your story of that poor women has been haunting me today. She must be in her own version of hell and I do not know if there is a path for her back to any sort of health again. And I wonder how many more there must be out there just like her.

      Reply
  28. curlydan

    The brief CTC expansion may one day become known as one of the greatest though short-lived anti-poverty campaigns.

    The Heath Affairs gets to the heart of the effectiveness here: “Before the CTC expansion, the credit was not fully refundable—consequently, one-third of American children did not receive the full value of the benefit because their families did not earn enough. In other words, those with low or no tax liability did not receive the payments.”

    Not only did poor families get expanded monthly payments for their children from July-December 2021, but they also benefitted on their tax returns due to the full refundability of the credit. I recently looked at IRS data through mid-July 2022, and families earning under $30K got $16.8B more in child tax credits on their tax filings than they did in 2021.

    So that’s $17B that won’t be coming to the poor during tax season 2023. Also, the EITC expansion in 2022 was reversed as well, so expect poor people to be under more stress in 2023.

    Reply
  29. spud

    Umar Haque blames brexit, but does not mention the fact that the same stuff is happening to every country in the E.U.

    blame thatcher/blair. you make nothing, you have very little expertise left but that of the street in london, which thatcher/blair turned your country over to.

    surprise surprise, bankers, financiers, hedge funds, etc. are not good at production at all. nor do they make good skilled labor, engineers, farmers, skilled policy makers, etc..

    Reply
  30. britzklieg

    Thanks for “Jazz is Freedom.” Great writing! The fundamental insight is not ground breaking (freedom is perhaps most possible when applied to and emerging out of strict (and pre-existing) musical forms and “rules”) but for the fact that Monk was the exceptional avatar of it, far more so than the “free” jazzers which came after him. Can you imagine telling Miles Davis that he played the tune wrong, as related in the article? Ha! Brilliant, original artist… still admired and known well today but not well enough… which seems to be the fate of jazz in general these past several decades. Perhaps it was a zeitgeist, now lost to the facile manipulations available in our digital world, but Grimstad’s explication should compel anyone who reads it (the links are exceptional) to listen up and pay attention and remember that “lost” is not the same as “gone” – which jazz will never be, even as the few remaining clubs where it thrived continue to close.

    Reply
  31. agent ranger smith

    Perhaps Surovikin was given the task of making the hard and unpopular decisions about retreat and retrenchment. Now that they have been made and carried out, perhaps Gerasimov the tank guy is put in to use the Suroviking preparations and enhance them for effective nullification of the tank warfare the Ukraine side might plan to wage if/when the Ukraine side feels it has been sufficiently tanked-up.

    If the long-term Russia plan is to let Ukraine and NATO “spend” itself to death fighting the long war in Ukraine, then Gerasimov might want to let Ukraine go ahead and send the tanks and tankers into batttle and slowly attrit attrit attrit them. Till NATO runs out of spare tanks to send.

    Reply
  32. Terry Flynn

    Re QE2 death/Covid. Covid almost certainly did (as the tweet convo states) accelerate her deterioration but she allegedly had had Multiple Myeloma for a while – having dual citizenship and using VPNs to escape the UK media blackouts I’d been aware that “something other that covid” seemed to be in play.

    Brandreth is widely disliked in the UK but it’s widely known that he had access to “high level Royal gossip” via being friend of Prince Philip (amongst other possible sources). Of course, in judging the truth regarding the Queen we must bear in mind that he’s trying to hawk his book. However her symptoms, particularly after getting covid, did match those of MM very closely (according to clinician friends and colleagues). We don’t even need to start on THAT picture of her and Liz Truss – doctors clearly had recently put a cannula into her hand until just before the meeting.

    Reply
  33. agent ranger smith

    The recessed windows in that Denny’s Tower in Spartanburg, SC might make energy conservation sense.
    From post-spring through summer into pre-fall, the sun is high enough that the recessing could prevent a lot of sunlight from directly shining through the windows into the rooms. Whereas from mid-fall through winter into early spring, when it is cooler out, the sun is also lower enough that it can “cheat” the recessing and reach the window glass coming in at a low angle of approach. Thereby capturing more solar energy to turn into heat inside the rooms.

    That’s just a guess. Could any expert tell us if that is what the designers might have been thinking?

    Reply
  34. David in Santa Cruz

    Thanks for the Monk link. Spent all day listening to some of the live recordings. I never got to hear him play, but a number of his former sidemen including Billy Higgins, Charlie Rouse, and Ben Riley used to gig at my local jazz center and play his amazing compositions. Such a pleasure to listen to this American treasure.

    Reply

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