The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 10, 2021

by Tony Wikrent


Google Is About To Turn On Two-Factor Authentication By Default For Millions of Users

[The Verge, via Naked Capitalism 10-6-2021]


Strategic Political Economy

China’s Central Bank Governor Vows More Fintech Crackdown

[Bloomberg News, via Mike Norman Economics 10-8-2021]
Sounds like a plan, especially now with the implosion of RE speculation. The bottom line seems to be controlling systemic risk. Second is addressing sources of economic rent extraction, monopoly in particular. It appears they have thought this through and it is not a knee-jerk reaction.

“Economic war crimes.”

Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence [The Scrum, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-2021]

Kneecapping China seems the best Biden can do….

There are fundamental social values and philosophies reflected in these different economic models. Understood properly, all economic institutions and structures—tax regimes, stock markets, regulatory environments, labor laws, and so on—reflect the values of the societies in which they exist. This is a problem for the U.S. in our time. We find that free markets and a weak state sector put Americans at a critical disadvantage next to models such as China’s. The problem is compounded because our religious devotion to supposedly free markets prevents us from even recognizing our circumstance.

We cannot compete, in short—we with our radical individualism, our free-for-all economy, and our countless social and economic casualties. And now we come to Gina Raimondo’s home truth: Because we cannot compete, we will do our best to cripple the nation against which we cannot compete.

Economic Armageddon: The COVID Collapsed Economy

“Many cities and states have spent no American Rescue Plan funds: report”

[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-5-21]

“As of this summer, a majority of large cities and states had yet to use any of the funding they received as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, according to The Associated Press. More specifically, no initial spending was reported by over half of the states and two-thirds of the 90 largest cities, the AP said. After reviewing spending reports required by the law, the AP found that states had spent 2.5 percent of the funds they initially received, and large cities spent 8.5 percent of the money.”


“Department of Education: Florida missed deadline for $2.3B in federal aid”

[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-7-21]

“After failing to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for how Florida would use federal funding for its schools, the state will forgo $2.3 billion in COVID-19 relief money. On Monday, the DOE sent a letter informing Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran that he had missed the deadline to submit a plan and obtain American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) money…. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) office responded to the letter, saying that Florida school districts still have money from the first round of aid to use.” • So we have a sclerotic system, at the very best. More: “[Jared] Ochs [of the Florida Department of Education] said that Florida the state “communicated well in advance” of the June deadline that it would require additional time to create a plan. He added that his department plans to submit its plans for how to use the third batch of funding in October 2021.”


Disrupting mainstream economics


The Radically Changing Labor Market

Barry Ritholtz [The Big Picture, October 8, 2021]


…have a look at the chart from Bank of America’s Haim Israel. Automation is inexorably driving huge numbers of jobs away. I suspect workers have figured for themselves they want to skip taking positions that will eventually be automated anyway. As we discussed back in July, the CARES Act monies flowed to people who recognized this — and so they learned new skills, got degrees online, trained themselves for new careers.

These days, the labor market is even more unusually dynamic than usual. It is not an exaggeration to suggest it is in the midst of a radical transformation.

The problem is not that economists cannot predict it; rather, it’s that they do not understand it.


“United States Non Farm Payrolls”

[Trading Economics, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-8-21].

“The US economy added a meager 194K jobs in September, of 2021, the lowest so far this year and well below forecasts of 500K. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (74K), professional and business services (60K), retail trade (56K), and transportation and warehousing (47K). Meanwhile, employment declined sharply in public education (-161K) and in health care (-18K).”

Lambert Strether puts this in proper context: “Interesting that “essential workers” in health care and education would leave the workforce. I wonder why? Some angst over this one:’


The Great Inflation Debate: Watching the inflation-watchers

Adam Tooze, October 5, 2021 [via The Big Picture]

“Nobody Really Knows How the Economy Works” ran the New York Times headline a few days ago. Might this be the opening for a new and better type of analysis? I would not presume to answer that question. But this is a moment to orientate ourselves. Once again, it is a moment for second-order observation, a moment to watch the inflation-watchers.

Why is this moment producing so much controversy and debate?

First there are the issues with the data themselves. When economic disruptions happen, they unleash adjustments that make the disruptions hard to measure.


We have no theory of inflation Inflation is the biggest debate in macro. The models don’t work.

[Value Added, via The Big Picture 10-6-2021]


Nobody Really Knows How the Economy Works. A Fed Paper Is the Latest Sign

[Upshot, via The Big Picture 10-4-2021]

Many experts are rethinking longstanding core ideas, including the importance of inflation expectations. It is vivid evidence that macroeconomics, despite the thousands of highly intelligent people over centuries who have tried to figure it out, remains, to an uncomfortable degree, a black box. The ways that millions of people bounce off one another — buying and selling, lending and borrowing, intersecting with governments and central banks and businesses and everything else around us — amount to a system so complex that no human fully comprehends it.


Building a Predistributive Democracy on the Ruins of Market Justice

[Economic Sociology and Political Economy, via Mike Norman Economics 10-8-2021]

An insightful chapter by Margaret R. Somers “Toward a Predistributive Democracy: Diagnosing Oligarchy, Dedemocratization, and the Deceits of Market Justice” is one of the key contributions to this project. Using conceptual tools derived from a Polanyian perspective, Somers — an eminent scholar of Karl Polanyi’s thoughtmarket fundamentalism and citizenship — elaborates on the logic of “free / natural / autonomous markets” where the notion of freedom typically means loosening of state role and democratic mechanisms in protecting citizens from social and economic disparities, poverty, and exclusion:

“The political economy of capitalism is that of market naturalism – the claim that the economy operates according to natural internal laws and regularities, symmetrical to the laws of nature, which tend toward maximum efficiency when left autonomous from government and politics. Market naturalism bestows moral privilege on market outcomes on the grounds of its alleged neutrality, voluntarism, and freedom from power and human bias. In fact, it rests on a market economy that is anything but natural and nonpolitical, but one constituted by a phalanx of predistributive mechanisms of political and legal engineering. Claims that the market economy is free from government power are thus utterly fictitious. Freedom from the power of democracy, however, has been a structural constant of capitalism from its inception.” (Somers 2021: 57).


Michael Hudson — On Finance, Real Estate And The Powers Of Neoliberalism
3rd Edition: Super-Imperialism

[via Mike Norman Economics 10-8-2021]

The updated and expanded 3rd edition of Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire is now available.

This highly respected study of U.S. financial diplomacy explores the faults built into the core of the World Bank and the IMF at their inception. Forensic detail reveals how the world’s core economic functions were sculpted to preserve US financial hegemony. Difficult to detect at the time, these problems have since become explicit as the failure of the international economic order has become apparent; the IMF and World Bank were set up to give aid to developing countries, but instead many of the world’s poorest countries have been plunged into insurmountable debt crises.

The book became famous for detailing how the removal of the gold standard left the world’s central banks with only one alternative vehicle: to hold their international reserves in U.S. Treasury securities.

The result was a self-financing circular flow of U.S. military spending and the investment takeover of foreign economies. The larger America’s balance-of-payments deficit grew, the more dollars ended up in the hands of central banks and sovereign wealth funds. Machiavelli could not have planned it better. By participating in this circular flow, nations in effect financed their own economic and military encirclement.

Hudson’s critique of the destructive course of the international economic system provides important insights into the real motivations at the heart of these institutions – and the increasing tide of opposition that they face around the world….

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-7-21]


The Price of money remains at 5000-year lows [Graph]

[Bank of America Merrill Lynch, via The Big Picture 10-7-2021]


The Pandemic

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 10-9-2021]


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

How Other Nations Pay for Child Care. The U.S. Is an Outlier.

[New York Times, via Naked Capitalism 10-7-2021]

Naked Capitalism reader commented: “Once not a fetus, you’re on your own, get a job.”


GOP governors who ended unemployment benefits failed to spur job growth: September numbers

Jon Skolnik [AlterNet, via Mike Norman Economics]

The September jobs numbers released on Friday suggest that the GOP governors who decided to end federal unemployment payments failed to accomplish their goal of jumpstarting the economy out of its pandemic-era mire — something experts predicted months ago.

According to the Bureau of Labor, employers reported 194,000 new jobs, a far cry from the 500,000-plus expected by analysts….

Last month, Axios reported that states that discontinued benefits saw roughly half the job growth enjoyed by states that maintained the program. Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent for The New York Times, this week echoed a similar sentiment, citing “no surge in participation in the labor force” despite the “labor shortage woes that many business groups” have pushed.

In a Friday analysis, Matt Bruenig, founder of the People’s Policy Project, pointed out the wide discrepancy in the number of people who lost their unemployment benefits in September (about 8 million) and the number of people who acquired work (about 194,000).

“194,000 jobs is equal to less than 3 percent of the people who were removed from the UI rolls in September,” Breunig said. “At this rate, it would take 3.5 years for jobs-added to equal the number of people who lost their pandemic UI benefits.”


[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-7-21]

“The fact that people raised on neoclassical econ can’t tell the difference between “addressing a distributional problem” and “making it worse but also letting rich people buy their way out of it” is basically the core problem with the world today.”



They’re not capitalists – they’re a criminal predatory class


[Washington Post, via Naked Capitalism 10-7-2021]

Pandora papers: biggest ever leak of offshore data exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful


[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-2021]

Pandora Papers: Secret tax havens of world leaders, celebrities revealed


[Deutsche Welle, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-2021]

More Than Half of America’s 100 Richest People Exploit Special Trusts to Avoid Estate Taxes

[ProPublica, via The Big Picture 10-3-2021]

Secret IRS records show billionaires use trusts that let them pass fortunes to their heirs without paying estate tax. Will Congress end a tax shelter that has cost the Treasury untold billions?


South Dakota Is Turning Into a Tax Haven for the Global Elite

[Vanity Fair, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-2021]


People with higher socioeconomic status have lower emotional intelligence, especially at high levels of inequality

[PsyPost, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-2021]

A series of studies published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that people of higher socioeconomic status (SES) score consistently lower on tests of emotional intelligence, especially when they perceive high levels of inequality in their community. The researchers suggest that high SES and high subjective inequality promotes increased self-focus and less motivation to attend to others’ emotions.

Previous studies have explored the link between social class and emotional intelligence, generating mixed findings. Some researchers have suggested that people with higher SES are more self-sufficient since they have a greater share of the resources in their community and are less likely to turn to others for support. Accordingly, they have less of a need to relate to others and should have lower emotional intelligence. Anita Schmalor and Steven J. Heine proposed that this link between higher social class and lower emotional intelligence should be especially strong among those who perceive higher inequality because greater inequality should make the effects of SES even more consequential.


Economics in the real world

In Deep Ship: What’s Really Driving The Supply-Chain Crisis

Michael Every and Matteo Iagatti of Rabobank [via Zero Hedge, via Mike Norman Economics 10-3-2021]

….Crucially, in the shipping sector, consolidation and concentration has achieved levels that few other sectors of the economy reach.

In the last five years, carriers controlling 80% of global capacity became more concentrated, with fewer operators of even larger size (figure 7). However, this is just the most obvious piece of the puzzle….

In our opinion, the real change started in 2017, when the three main container alliances (2M, THE, and Ocean) were born. This changed horizontal cooperation between market leaders in shipping. The three do not fix prices, but via their networks capacity is shared and planned jointly, fully exploiting economies of scale that are decisive to making a capital-intensive business profitable and efficient. Unit margins can stay low as long as you move huge volume with high precision, and at the lowest cost possible.

To be able to move the huge volumes required by a globalized and increasingly e-commerce economy at the levels of efficiency and speed demanded by operators up and down supply chains, there was little other options than to cooperate and keep goods flowing for the lowest cost possible at the highest speed possible. A tight discipline of cost was imposed on carriers, who also had to get bigger.

This strategy more than paid off in the Covid crisis, when shippers demonstrated clear minds, efficiency in implementing capacity control, and a key understanding of the elements they could use to their advantage: in other words – how capitalism actually works.

Carriers did not decide on the lockdowns or port closures; but they exploited their position in the global market when the pandemic erupted. In a recent report, Peter Sands from BIMCO (the Baltic and International Maritime Council) put it as follows: “Years of low freight rates resulting in rigorous cost-cutting by carriers have left them in a great position to maximise profits now that the market has turned.”

Climate and environmental crises

“Climate Change Is the New Dot-Com Bubble”

[Wired, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-8-21]

”I made a list of all the interesting climate startups, around 2,000 of them, and turned it into an ebook so I could read it on my phone at night…. Sometimes, as I scrolled down the list, a big investment would catch my eye—$60 million for a company that promises to take carbon dioxide out of the air, $68 million for one that will turn it into fuel and materials. But the funding thins out quickly. It’s easy for investors to get distracted; there are just so many butter knives we could wield against the dragon of global collapse…. I began to feel a strong sense of déjà vu. I couldn’t place it until, one night, in the glow of the e-reader, I realized: It’s Web 1.0 all over again. We are in the era of climate. The comedy of the technology industry is playing again as a kind of Ibsenian tragedy: Scientists and academics told everyone about this thing for decades, and almost everyone ignored them. But then enough people got interested, and now there’s a market. And as a result there are a million business models, a million solutions, huge promises of the change to come: We’ll pour everything we have into green-energy infrastructure. We’ll transact in carbon marketplaces. We’ll pull a trillion tons of CO2 out of the air every year. Never mind that today we can do about 0.0005 percent of that, which rounds to nothing…. There are good VCs being venturesome with their capital. There are funds that are investing in green things. But—and God help me for wishing it—there’s no Google, no Apple or Microsoft, no monster in the middle taking its cut. There isn’t one carbon market; there isn’t one set of standards to follow; there are dozens of options, which means there isn’t really anything at all. Whole careers are dedicated, wonderful people, great science, online carbon calculators, but for right now it rounds to nothing. Amazon Web Services hosts open climate data, but I wish there were an AWS for climate. I wish I could tell you what it should do. I assume that the money will come. There are too many hot days for it not to. And obviously I want things to go differently this time. But I don’t know how you bootstrap a globe-spanning bureaucracy yesterday. I can’t even tell you what infrastructure we need, just that in general infrastructure evolves, slowly, in response to tragedy. Worse, if my déjà vu is accurate and history repeats itself—if the internet was the last big thing, and climate is the next big thing (or the last big thing)—then we aren’t at the precipice of a new era. We’re at the beginning of a bubble. The trillions in investment have to go somewhere. By the time all the money is spent, the companies in my ebook will probably be gone, save for a few dozen.”


“Billionaires Won’t Save the World”

[, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-8-21]

Jeff Bezos is the latest billionaire to pledge a cash sum to ‘protect the environment’ – but capitalism’s climate breakdown can’t be solved by throwing money at the status quo….

“The billionaire class which profits exorbitantly from the exploitation of workers and the plunder of nature have really taken to throwing breadcrumbs at the environmental movement – no surprise, given how consistently lauded they are for it by the mainstream press…. What ties these billionaire philanthropic initiatives together? As mentioned, they are all modest sums of money relative both to that which nation states are able to mobilise and to the billionaires’ own wealth. Additionally, they are usually constructed as a prize. … The focus also tends to be on sucking carbon out of the atmosphere, rather than developing technologies that would allow us to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Finally, these prizes are heavily PR-driven. As the beneficiaries of global inequality and ecological collapse, it’s not surprising that billionaires may be conscious of their public reputation. What better way to rehabilitate their brand than by whipping up fawning media attention over your efforts to save the world?”


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

Slowed canonical progress in large fields of science

[Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, via Naked Capitalism 10-8-2021]

Abstract: “Examining 1.8 billion citations among 90 million papers across 241 subjects, we find a deluge of papers does not lead to turnover of central ideas in a field, but rather to ossification of canon. Scholars in fields where many papers are published annually face difficulty getting published, read, and cited unless their work references already widely cited articles. New papers containing potentially important contributions cannot garner field-wide attention through gradual processes of diffusion. These findings suggest fundamental progress may be stymied if quantitative growth of scientific endeavors—in number of scientists, institutes, and papers—is not balanced by structures fostering disruptive scholarship and focusing attention on novel ideas.”


Nanofiber Membrane Filters 99.9% of Salt from Seawater within Minutes

[Interesting Engineering, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-2021]


Flash-heating efficiently recycles precious metals from e-waste

[New Atlas, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-2021]

The team says that this process can recover over 60 percent of gold in a sample, and over 80 percent of silver, palladium and rhodium. It also removes toxic heavy metals like chromium, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead, which can leach into the environment from e-waste in landfill.

Importantly, the researchers say that the process is energy efficient and scalable. It consumes about 939 kWh per ton of material processed, which is one 80th the amount consumed by commercial smelting and one 500th that of furnaces.


Machine learning and high-powered microscopes provide detailed snapshots of cells’ inner machinery

[, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-2021]


Neuroscientists Roll Out First Comprehensive Atlas of Brain Cells

[ScienceDaily, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-2021]

A slew of new studies now shows that the area of the brain responsible for initiating this action — the primary motor cortex, which controls movement — has as many as 116 different types of cells that work together to make this happen.

The 17 studies, appearing online Oct. 6 in the journal Nature, are the result of five years of work by a huge consortium of researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to identify the myriad of different cell types in one portion of the brain. It is the first step in a long-term project to generate an atlas of the entire brain to help understand how the neural networks in our head control our body and mind and how they are disrupted in cases of mental and physical problems.

“If you think of the brain as an extremely complex machine, how could we understand it without first breaking it down and knowing the parts?” asked cellular neuroscientist Helen Bateup, a University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of molecular and cell biology and co-author of the flagship paper that synthesizes the results of the other papers. “The first page of any manual of how the brain works should read: Here are all the cellular components, this is how many of them there are, here is where they are located and who they connect to.”

Individual researchers have previously identified dozens of cell types based on their shape, size, electrical properties and which genes are expressed in them. The new studies identify about five times more cell types, though many are subtypes of well-known cell types. For example, cells that release specific neurotransmitters, like gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or glutamate, each have more than a dozen subtypes distinguishable from one another by their gene expression and electrical firing patterns.

While the current papers address only the motor cortex, the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) — created in 2017 — endeavors to map all the different cell types throughout the brain, which consists of more than 160 billion individual cells, both neurons and support cells called glia.


A ‘Historic Event’: First Malaria Vaccine Approved by W.H.O.

[New York Times, via The Daily Poster 10-9-2021]

“The world has gained a new weapon in the war on malaria, among the oldest known and deadliest of infectious diseases: the first vaccine shown to help prevent the disease. By one estimate, it will save tens of thousands of children each year.”


Information Age Dystopia

The Shady $12 Billion Industry Tracking Your Every Move

[Hello World, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-2021]


Life’s better together when you avoid Windows 11

[Free Software Foundation, via Naked Capitalism 10-6-2021]


Why Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp All Went Down Today

[Wired, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-2021]

Forget the Wired article and focus on Lambert Strether’s comment: “When Wired writes the “Facebook family of apps,” they are genteelly failing to mention that Facebook, a ginormous monopoly, purchased the firms that created those apps. Then Wired writes: “The fundamental issue… is that Facebook has withdrawn the so-called Border Gateway Protocol route that contains the IP addresses of its DNS nameservers.” No. What’s “fundamental” is Facebook assimilating Instagram and WhatsApp. The technical failure is a mere artifact of Facebook doing business. Obviously, if Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were three separate firms, Facebook couldn’t bring the other two down.”


Facebook Is Weaker Than We Knew

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 10-4-2021]

Facebook is in trouble.

Not financial trouble, or legal trouble, or even senators-yelling-at-Mark-Zuckerberg trouble. What I’m talking about is a kind of slow, steady decline that anyone who has ever seen a dying company up close can recognize. It’s a cloud of existential dread that hangs over an organization whose best days are behind it, influencing every managerial priority and product decision and leading to increasingly desperate attempts to find a way out. This kind of decline is not necessarily visible from the outside, but insiders see a hundred small, disquieting signs of it every day — user-hostile growth hacks, frenetic pivots, executive paranoia, the gradual attrition of talented colleagues.


“Facebook’s backup argument to toss FTC case is public policy pickle”

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-6-21]

“A back-door argument in Facebook Inc’s new motion to dismiss an amended antitrust complaint by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission presents a real policy conundrum. Do we want federal agencies to be led by experts who have developed and expressed strong views about companies they oversee? Or are agencies ultimately undermined when their leaders’ decisions are open to accusations of partiality?… Facebook contends that FTC Chair Lina Khan staked out such antagonistic positions toward the company in her previous work as a public policy analyst, law professor and Congressional investigator that she should have stepped aside when the commission voted to authorize the FTC’s amended complaint…. The FTC chair, Clark said, didn’t just take an ideological or industry-wide stance on tech companies and monopolistic behavior. She expressed specific views about Facebook’s conduct. ‘Would a disinterested person believe (Khan) was impartial with respect to Facebook?” Clark said. “I think there’s a good chance Facebook’s argument will succeed.’”


“Google files document production demand against one of its biggest public critics”

[The Verge, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-6-21]

“Late Monday night, Google filed for a court order to produce documents from longtime Google critic Luther Lowe, as part of its ongoing federal antitrust case, US vs. Google…. As vice president of public policy at Yelp, Lowe has long been a prominent voice pushing for antitrust action against Google, even launching an email newsletter called “This Week In Google Antitrust” to track support for action against the search giant. In public statements, Lowe has particularly focused on the search neutrality case against Google, alleging that the company uses the power of Google Search to co-opt and overwhelm subject-matter directories like Yelp. This isn’t the first time Google has used the antitrust proceedings to compel document production from rivals.”


“Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends”

[The Register, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-6-21]

“BBC R&D discovered it too didn’t much like the way personal data was in the hands of the wrong people. That got in the way of creating better public value from the internet, and the BBC worries about these things. Public service broadcasting in the 21st century means public service internet. So, in 2017 it started a project called Databox with Nottingham University, using ideas kicked off by some cat called Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who’s apparently got some track record here. Two years later, work started on prototypes and last week BBC R&D put out a report on what the first testers thought of it all… The idea is simple. You keep your personal data stored on an edge device you control. This can be a phone app or an actual appliance. It implements the three strands of what’s called Human Data Interaction, HDI, the philosophy at the heart of it all. These three ideas are: legibility, agency and negotiation…. The researchers say that the test audience that has used the system – young people who don’t spend much time on the BBC particularly – was positive. Audience members liked the control and visibility it gave them; they understood the need to manage personal data but didn’t understand how to do it. This unlocked that door. … We do need a revolution that puts the power in the hands of the people, but we probably don’t want to shoot the Czar and his family. A more equitable sharing of power and value, more transparency and accountability, and the ability to say “no” will be disruptive, but in the right way. It’s about time we made Google read our terms and conditions – and the world’s finest public service broadcaster is on our side. Be rude not to.”


iPhone Apps No Better For Privacy Than Android, Oxford Study Finds

[Tom’s Guide, via Naked Capitalism 10-9-2021]


Progressive Policies into the Breach

The End of Forced Arbitration?

Susan Antilla, October 6, 2021 [[The American Prospect]

Persistent advocates and new strategies have led some companies to relent on blocking access to courts. But there’s a long way to go….

With a newfound movement of sexual harassment and discrimination victims, advocates, and innovative legal experts forcing the issue, several high-profile tech companies have dropped their requirement that sexual harassment cases be heard behind closed doors. Amazon even ended arbitration for customer complaints. And numerous legislative and administrative efforts are pushing to go even further.

“I think we may be seeing the beginning of the end” of mandatory arbitration, said George Friedman, who spent 37 years running dispute resolution programs at the American Arbitration Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is Wall Street’s self-regulator….

American companies have fought long and hard for the power to hijack the public’s right to sue them. Not only do forced arbitration agreements bar individuals from filing their own court claim, they often forbid litigants from pursuing any group claims, whether in court or in a private arbitration forum. If you get fired because you’re Black, or you lose money at the hands of a corrupt stockbroker, you could wind up telling your sorry story to a couple of 60-something white arbitrators at the local Holiday Inn. And you’ll probably lose.


USPS Begins Postal Banking Pilot Program

David Dayen, October 4, 2021 [The American Prospect]

“The United States Postal Service (USPS) has taken the most dramatic step in a half-century to re-establish a postal banking system in America… The move puts the USPS in direct competition with the multibillion-dollar check-cashing industry, which operates storefronts to allow unbanked or underbanked residents to cash their paychecks.” We have the American Postal Workers Union to thank for the move: The postal banking pilots came out of a 2016 collective bargaining agreement that the postal workers union negotiated with the USPS.


Los Angeles Takes Key Step Towards Establishing Public Bank

[Los Angeles Times, via The American Prospect 10-9-2021]

“After a long hiatus, the movement to establish a public bank in Los Angeles is once again inching forward. The City Council voted Tuesday to begin a process to study the viability of forming a city-owned bank and to create a business plan for doing so. Proponents say a public bank would allow the city to save money on banking fees, increase credit access for small businesses in underserved areas and help finance affordable housing and green energy programs.”


How Rep. Pramila Jayapal Turned The Progressive Caucus Into A Powerful Force

[Huffington Post, via The American Prospect 10-9-2021

“Normally, conservative Democrats, who are typically more willing than progressives to let legislation die, are the most adept at using hardball tactics to dictate the party’s agenda. But a unique confluence of events, plus years of organizing, prepared the [Congressional Progressive Caucus] to become an influential bloc on par with any other faction in the party.”



[via The Daily Poster, Octover 7, 2021]

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), which represents film, TV, and other entertainment workers, voted overwhelmingly on Monday to authorize a strike, marking the first potential nationwide industry strike in the 150,000-member union’s 128-year history. “This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. The move towards a strike is a response to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ failure to work with the union to address excessive working hours and unlivable wages, issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Institutionalists = Obstructionists

Obama Legacy A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA

[Covert Action Magazine, via Naked Capitalism 10-8-2021]


“They Pick The One” — How Big Pharma flipped Kyrsten Sinema, who’s now threatening to be their key obstructionist.

Andrew Perez and David Sirota, October 8, 2021 [The Daily Poster]

“The pharmaceutical lobby is very savvy,” Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said earlier this week during Daily Poster live chat. “They pick the one or two people they need to block things, on the relevant committees or at the relevant time.”

“It may differ from congress to congress,” explained Khanna, who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We try to get 90-95 percent [of the caucus]. They are focused not on 90 percent, but the blockers.”


Conservative / Libertarian Drive to Civil War

The New Abortion Vigilantism

[New York Review of Books, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-2021]


“During Civil Rights Era, Native American Communities in the South Armed Themselves Against the Klan”

[Scalawag, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-2021]

“Cole did not heed the sheriff’s warnings. That night, about 50 Klan members drove to Hayes Pond and circled their cars; Cole set up a small generator, a PA system, and a lamp. Most of Robeson County’s Klan members stayed home; the 50 Klan members, women, and children at the rally were part of Cole’s following from South Carolina. Soon they were surrounded by 500 Indian men, many of whom were U.S. military veterans, and about 50 Indian women. Many were armed with rifles, shotguns, pistols, and knives.”


Special Report: How AT&T helped build far-right One America News

[Reuters, via The DailyPoster 10-10-2021]

“A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic. OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives… Since then, AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show.”


[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-7-21]

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-6-2021]


Thomas Neuburger [God’s Spies, via Mike Norman Economics 10-7-2021]

‘This Is a Battle Between What People Need & What Money Wants.’ How’s That Going to End?

Without a revolutionary approach, one that clean-slates the leaders of whoever holds power in government, there will be no meaningful change.

There will be change, and it will be meaningful in the margins, like better mileage standards for gas-burning cars, and meaningful for some or many groups, like DREAMers, perhaps, or working families in need of child care.

But there will be no meaningful change, change that solves the unsolvable for everyone. We will never get off the carbon economy, for example, because the masses, our rulers think, can always be kept at bay by advertising disinformation, constant PR to the contrary, and doomed-to-fail efforts to pretend to try. All because the rich, who rule us so completely that their control of government is virtually unchallengeable by normal electoral means, will never leave power absent being dragged from it.

As I said above, there’s always a choice, even if it’s not the one we’d rather have. We just haven’t taken it yet.

A Whiff of Civil War in the Air

[The Dispatch, via The Big Picture 10-8-2021]

Malice and misinformation are driving national division. A recent poll that should shock exactly no one who closely follows American politics and culture. A majority of Trump voters (52 percent) and a strong minority of Biden voters (41 percent) strongly or somewhat agree that it’s “time to split the country.” (The Dispatch)


A New Confederacy: Trump and the Republicans have already seceded

[Salon, October 9, 2021, via DailyKos]

Now they’re preparing to fight a new civil war. In fact, they’re already doing it in all but name….

All of the states that refused Medicaid expansion and have passed restrictions on voting and abortion are controlled by the Republican Party. Many of those same states have also passed bans on mask and vaccine mandates, and nearly all of them have endured more cases per capita of COVID-19, more hospitalizations and more deaths from the virus. In effect, without any states (yet) seceding from the Union, we already live in two Americas.

One of those countries-within-a-country, in the words of the esteemed lawyer and Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, “has no set of constraints, no belief in the norms, no commitment to the Constitution or the rule of law, while the other side is trying to observe the rules.” He said this on Wednesday night on “All in With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC, while discussing the challenges we face going into the 2022 and 2024 elections….

This is what I mean when I say that Republicans have already seceded. They’re a white party and they’re forming a white country with white laws and white companies and white jobs where white votes count and others don’t. They can live in the states that comprise that country, but they can’t survive there without our money. It was the same way with the South before the Civil War. They lived in their states with slavery, but they couldn’t survive without the economy of the North, so they started a war. They never intended to “secede.” They intended to win, and run the new country, which would be the South writ large, with slave-owners in power and slavery everywhere.


Collapse of Independent News Media
[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-8-21]

Lambert Strether: “Who knew, trust is not an infinitely renewable resource, so the elites can’t just strip mine it:”



Altercation: What Takes the Place of Local News Ain’t News

Eric Alterman, October 8, 2021 [The American Prospect]

Right-wing propaganda that looks like local papers is flooding America’s towns.


A catastrophic failure of U.S. journalism

Northwestern University Journalism Professor Steven Thrasher [via The Daily Poster 10-7-2021]

“A catastrophic failure of U.S. journalism and politics is that something like Biden’s 10-year, $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill is not called a $350 billion annual bill… but the Pentagon’s budget, which will exceed $7.5 trillion over a decade, is called a $750 billion annual bill”


A New Ideology


The Shortages Will Get Worse Before They Get Better


  1. bruce wilder

    Was there a big story in 2003 that the media overwhelmingly got wrong?

    And, that debacle — rarely acknowledged in retrospect by the participating institutions or players — took only 10 percentile off the top of a fairly low number (~55% to 53%) and most of those were apparently back among the faithful the next year.

    The 2016 election year took off close to another ten percentile, but the Media built back better with Russiagate hysteria. How has that worked out during COVID?

  2. Hugh

    Every month I look at the data tables for the BLS jobs report. I have a pretty good idea of what they measure and how they measure it. And then I hear media, economists, and politicians read numbers as though they were solid, incontrovertible fact that are essentially made up. They don’t correspond to what most people think they do. They are calculated not to track or reflect reality, but to make a nicer line on a graph. It’s surprising how some of the data (the household data, for example) are done on the cheap and then a lot of statistical games are played to try to make up the difference. And then there are some things, like quality of jobs, that aren’t really measured at all.

    It’s funny too how offshoring has lost its economic chic. So now the fallback explanation for whatever in jobs is automation. There still seems to be zero economic awareness that there is an ongoing pandemic or that it could have any serious, let alone long term consequences, you know like on jobs or inflation.

    As for the big reconciliation bill, this is shaping up as yet another case of the so-called Congressional members completely blowing the messaging. They should have been hitting the $350 billion a year not the $3.5 trillion total cost months ago. They should not have been letting the MSM portray conservatives like Sinema and Manchin as “moderates.” They should have been making fun of their lack of specificity, that Manchin gets a million or two a year from his investments in Big Coal or that Sinema is bought and paid for by Big Pharma. They should have been hammering the message that this money is for ordinary Americans, not the rich. And that the real message of Mitch, the Republicans, Manchin, and Sinema is that they hate ordinary Americans, don’t want to spend a dime on them, wish they would just go away and die, preferably out of their sight. But they can never have too many trillions for the rich.

    What we are getting instead is a bunch of mealymouthed mush. The Republicans are being given a pass. Manchin and Sinema are, if anything, being talked up. The big bill is shrinking by the day. And I’m hearing a lot more talk of It’s hard, It’s not the size of the bill that counts, that somehow this whatever is fulfilling the Biden agenda, just without the fulfilling it part. Not a word yet on how and why Sinema and Manchin are so intent on destroying the Democratic party, or why the party should let them, why a self-serving non-entity like Sinema should have ever been chosen for anything let alone a Senator. And you no doubt can add in your own list of how and why the Democrats are going through this self-destructive charade.

  3. NR

    A recent poll that should shock exactly no one who closely follows American politics and culture. A majority of Trump voters (52 percent) and a strong minority of Biden voters (41 percent) strongly or somewhat agree that it’s “time to split the country.”

    The problem with splitting the country is that without the political influence of the blue areas and states, the red part of the country would very quickly become a theocratic police state, and the flood of refugees to the blue areas would probably be untenable.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but there is definitely a problem.

  4. Hugh

    My comment is in mod.

    It would be clearer if some of these titles were translated: “People with higher socioeconomic status have lower emotional intelligence, especially at high levels of inequality” could be simplified and clarified by just saying “Rich people are a–holes. The richer they are, the bigger a–holes they are.”

    As for “Billionaires Won’t Save the World,” did any of us think they would?

    “Life’s better together when you avoid Windows 11.” Isn’t this always what happens when another OS or app comes out? It’s full of bugs a six year old could have foreseen. It doesn’t work as well, do as much, and reduces your control and ownership. IOW, it’s a feature.

  5. Hugh: “People with higher socioeconomic status have lower emotional intelligence, especially at high levels of inequality” could be simplified and clarified by just saying “Rich people are a–holes. The richer they are, the bigger a–holes they are.”

    Yeah, but what really upsets me is that this has been known for thousands of years. Livy wrote about how the rich fucked up Rome, then the Roman republic, then imperial Rome. Machiavelli repeated Livy a millenium later, A founder of the Christian faith wrote “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” All we’ve accomplished in our age is to replace the wisdom of the ancients with the findings of modern social science. And even then, all the carefully constructed theories of precariously balanced civic republicanism have been discarded in favor of the modern economic theory that the greatest selfishness results in the greatest good to the greatest number. So, we arrive at the point that the American republic discards its tradition of a peaceful exchange of political power (for the second time!) , and very, very few are willing to explicitly identify the root causes of the discord, because they are the rich.

    The truth never comes precisely labeled; we have to exercise our free will to find it – or ignore it – and so the rhyme of history continues.

  6. Synoptocon

    Unless the trust in media question has been calibrated against generalized trust (I’m not familiar with Gallup’s vehicle for this question, but it’s very likely not calibrated), be critical. Trust has been weaponized and is now deeply intertwined with political identity – distrusters are systematically under-represented in polling and positively correlated with the current incarnation of pseudo-conservatism. I would guess that trust in media is even worse than the numbers suggest.

  7. Synoptocon

    I wouldn’t take the study on socioeconomic status and emotional intelligence to the bank. The best data they have is based on Mechanical Turk respondents with significant gender skew. When they try to replicate with geographic convenience sampling (which predictably has the opposite gender skew) the observed relationships drop out. I would guess that there’s some issues with instrumentation, mode, and sampled population.

  8. Jerry Brown

    I love your week end wrap of things. But I can’t get past the U.S. can’t compete thing without disagreeing. Because that is baloney Tony. If anyone any where in the world can do something- this country can also do it, even if we might not want to. That is a different problem.

  9. Arthur

    I liked the story about a Native American nation actually defending itself against a bunch of crackpots. What a novel idea! I mean taking up arms in defense. I wonder what the work/cancel culture crowd will say about such an outrageous idea.

  10. different clue


    When you wrote ” work” . . . did you mean to write “woke” ?

  11. Arthur

    Sorry to all. Meant woke, of course.

  12. Plague Species

    Instead of “Week-end Wrap” how about we just call it “Just Kill Yourself.” It’d be more apt. It seems rather imbalanced, doesn’t it? So many people making their livelihoods on reporting the collapse but quite literally no one can be bothered to mitigate the collapse. The answer to the collapse apparently is to read some more and comment some more and find a gaggle of online friends and feel smug and arrogant in your assurance you have it all figured out even though you’re fabulously impotent to influence the course of events.

    This is why I’m here. This is why I exist. So you can at least feel comforted in the fact that none of you are insane like Plague Species is insane and ALL of you are so much more intelligent than Plague Species (Furry Orca too) as witnessed by your SAT scores and MENSA membership cards.

  13. So many people making their livelihoods on reporting the collapse but quite literally no one can be bothered to mitigate the collapse.

    Wait. Someone is making money doing this?

    For all the talk, PS, especially all the talk in this obscure corner of the multiverse, for all the algorithmically driven “engagement” of new media and “polarized” politics, not many people are genuinely engaged about much of anything.

    “Decline and Fall” rhetoric was built into the founding mythic concept of the American Republic as a new Rome, the original Republic, much like the pretentious neoclassical architecture (and spelling!) of the Capitol. That rhetorical vessel, as it were, can be set to decorate a table, without ever pouring anything into it. It is not like more than one person in a hundred has even the most superficial idea of why Rome fell, beyond something about barbarians at the gate, let alone whether there were any colorable choices about whether to fall within the scope of statesmen.

    Most of American political discourse takes place in an other-worldly context of myth piled upon myth. Today is “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”, a celebration of virtue-signaling “anti-racism”, victimhood, collective guilt and the destructive subversion of patriotism, the whole point of which is political irrelevance and paralysis. Why mitigate a plague of billionaire locusts when you can check white privilege.

    Just to pick something else at random, I saw this news item this morning: Ted Cruz has been blocking Biden’s nominees from taking up important posts at the Treasury Department, because Biden isn’t sanctioning the imminent completion of NordStream2 — the gas pipeline across the Baltic linking Russian natural gas supply to northern Germany. Why? Not because he is concerned about more fossil fuel consumption in a leading industrial state (which has been shutting down nuclear to burn lignite!). No, Cruz wants to score geostrategic points against Commie Russia. (Apparently, the whole fall of Communism thing passed him by — I am sure he thinks the second coming of Jesus will head off ecological collapse or maybe he’s planning on waiting out the apocalypse in Cancun.)

    Trust has been weaponized and . . . [distrust] positively correlated with the current incarnation of pseudo-conservatism.

    And, vice versa in a way: the center is being propagandized to “trust”, “follow the science”, and forget the lies about WMD or any number of other issues. How many idiots “trust” Rachel Maddow and what would that “trust” signal?

  14. Trinity

    “Most of American political discourse takes place in an other-worldly context of myth piled upon myth. Today is “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”, a celebration of virtue-signaling “anti-racism”, victimhood, collective guilt and the destructive subversion of patriotism, the whole point of which is political irrelevance and paralysis. Why mitigate a plague of billionaire locusts when you can check white privilege.”

    This is all wrong. You are demonstrating the exact thing you are complaining about. Sure, many corporations and organizations will try to use it to whitewash their bad behavior. Why would anyone even pay attention to that? Can you extract any kind of meaning that it is occurring on Columbus Day?

    The indigenous were never tainted (directly) with what Tony wrote about above, although the government worked really hard to subvert them by kidnapping and trying to brainwash their children. And subversion, discrimination, and the usual anti- propaganda is exactly what’s being done with China today (sans the children). Because why? Because both offer an alternative to the status quo, and that cannot be allowed. Any culture that offers an alternative will be targeted and attacked.

    And therein lies the real problem. You, and others here and elsewhere don’t want anything to change except that one “little, minor, annoying” problem of the billionaire *leeches. And said change must furthermore be spoken only in “acceptable” terms of politics, accompanied by the appropriate political gestures and political hand waving. It’s funny, but some indigenous cultures by and large survived with little to no politics for what, ten thousand years? There’s a reason the Spanish burned any records they kept.

    Politics (and its discourse) isn’t the answer, and that’s your problem, and it’s the problem for many because we’ve been taught from birth that politics is always the solution. (Of course we were.) TINA, we are told.

    Politics doesn’t work because it is easily captured by the millionaires du jour, academics on the take, and the support staff who want the same goody bags and a shot at taking power over others. It’s nothing more than lather, rinse, repeat.

    We need alternatives, we need to think about alternatives, and we need the brightest among us to be thinking about alternatives. If it takes renaming a federal holiday to do it, I’m all for it. The current way of doing things needs to end. Over thousands of years, it only worked for the people for what, roughly 40 years out of those thousands?

  15. Some time ago people used leaky vaccines in chickens in hopes of preventing Mareks disease. The result was the leaky vaccine induced the virus to evolve more deadly strains because the more virulent strains had an evolutionary advantage in the leaky vaccine environment.

    For a year fatality rates for Covid fell. Then mass vaccination with leaky vaccines occurred and shorty after new note worthy variants began popping up in mass and fatality rates began increasing.

    New Covid cases in countries with mass vaccination shot up during the start of vaccination (because as anyone who has actually read the science knows the vaccines increase the chance of Covid for the first several weeks) then as evident in Israel these countries saw new Covid cases increase to the same or higher levels then before vaccination despite large amounts of natural immunity.

    What’s going on is the people who’ve been yelling insults and pretending to be self righteous don’t want to accept that they took and pushed a vaccine that increases morbidity and mortality. Even the corporate studies show the vaccines worsen morbidity and Pzifer had more deaths in their vaccine group. The real world data and studies show increased mortality and morbidity with the experimental vaccines. Anyone who bothered to read the FDA booster meeting would know this. To maintain face and their denial they are flailing for ways to blame people who didn’t take experimental drugs.

  16. StewartM


    Not a word yet on how and why Sinema and Manchin are so intent on destroying the Democratic party, or why the party should let them, why a self-serving non-entity like Sinema should have ever been chosen for anything let alone a Senator.

    I don’t know how the Dems would have “let any of this happen”. I don’t see them having any leverage.

    Word is that Sinema isn’t returning any calls from the White House, but she *is* talking to Mitch McConnell. What has happened is clear–both Manchin and Sinema have been bought and paid for; Manchin was openly musing retirement years before and Sinema cares less about winning elections than about the wonderful gravy-train she’ll be getting post-Senate.

    This is the way of American corruption, you just buy off enough Congresscritters to defeat anything you don’t want. You can pull up previous statements by both Sinema and Manchin about how the now-holy filibuster had to be reformed or curtailed, and by Sinema about climate change. But hey, $$$ talks louder.

  17. NR

    For a year fatality rates for Covid fell. Then mass vaccination with leaky vaccines occurred and shorty after new note worthy variants began popping up in mass and fatality rates began increasing.

    The Delta variant first appeared in India in December 2020, which was before any vaccines were seeing widespread use. No one in India was vaccinated at the time Delta emerged.

    The real world data and studies show increased mortality and morbidity with the experimental vaccines.

    Right, which is why hospitals across the country are filled with vaccinated people, and vaccinated people are dying at ten times the rate of the unvaccinated.

    Oh wait, no, it’s actually the exact opposite. Hospitals are full of unvaccinated people and the unvaccinated are dying at much higher rates than the vaccinated.

    Good god, you’re full of shit.

  18. Hugh

    Anybody got a vaccine for leaky oakchairs? NR beat me to the punch. You can’t have A cause B, if B was already there before A. My googling “delta first detected in India” brought up citations that it was first detected in October 2020, The FDA didn’t authorize the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use until December 11, 2020

    I would add that a study from the University of Ottawa cited by anti-vaxxers claiming covid vaccines caused myocarditis in 1 out of 1,000 vaccinees was pulled yesterday because they calculated their sample of vaccinated at 32,379 when it was over 854,930, or 26 times bigger. That is the myocarditis risk was more like 1 in 26,000.

    A different meta-study focusing on the highest risk group young males found a vaccine-related association of myocarditis of about 1 in 2200. This was still 6 times less than for the unvaccinated. Study name: Risk of Myocarditis from COVID-19 Infection in People Under Age 20: A Population-Based Analysis. It’s at Pub Med at the NIH.

    I try to avoid putting in URLs because it tends to throw my comments into mod.

  19. @ NR
    The Oxford AstraZ clinical trial started in August 2020. India was included in the countries that had participants in that trial. Other experimental Covid vaccines also had trials running in India before Delta came about.

    “Right, which is why hospitals across the country are filled with vaccinated people, and vaccinated people are dying at ten times the rate of the unvaccinated.”

    In America the CDC uses different tests and testing procedures for “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated.” The CDC counts people as “unvaccinated” several weeks after the second injection. The CDC has flat out said they are not gathering or recording data for the vast majority of infections in “vaccinated” people. The CDC cherry picks out any hospitalization or death that isn’t reported as “Covid.” “Vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” people do not have the same characteristics and are an apple-to-orange comparison.
    This is why anyone who is looking for the truth uses all cause mortality and data from all countries instead of cherry picking data from an organization (the CDC) that has dozens of Vaccine patents.
    Fact: The start of Covid experimental vaccine campaigns is correlated with increased all cause mortality.
    Fact: Countries with higher Covid vaccine rates have higher overall all cause mortality afterwards.
    Fact: Pfizer’s randomized trial had more deaths in the vaccine group.
    Fact: In the corporate randomized trials all cause morbidity was several times higher in the vaccine groups.

    This has been explained to you multiple times but sadly you aren’t willing to enter a good faith discussion and instead throw out the same dishonest fallacies over and over.

  20. different clue

    About the Sinemanchin problem, or at least the Sinema side of it: she plans to go into well paid propaganda/lobbying employment for some business or industry-group or other after finishing her audition for it in the Senate.

    What if Sinema disapprovers and resenters were to start working right now on a ” Sinema watch” project? “Where’s Sinema”? And be ready to organize the biggest possible boycotts against any company which hires her. Maybe they could be tortured into dropping her. Maybe she could be “followed around” and have her life ruined to make an example out of her to warn other Democratic Senators who plan to do the same thing.

    Could such a thing be done? Is it even possible?

    And would it be possible to at least cause some trouble for whatever company it is that Manchin’s daughter is involved with? Hopefully until she is forced to leave it?
    To show these Senators that the desire for revenge will reach their family members if it can’t reach them personally.

  21. Hugh

    Manchin’s daughter Heather Bresch was CEO of Mylan, a Dutch based pharmaceutical. She jacked the price of Epipens by more than 4 1/2 times to around $600 for a package of two. She retired with a $30 million golden parachute in 2020 when Mylan was taken over by Upjohn.

    I agree it is very doable to make Sinema poison. Big money works off the assumption that the public will forget about Sinema’s part in all this 6 weeks after it’s done. Our job is to remember what she did. We could start a running count of how many people Sinema and her funders have killed today. Big money hates things like that because they can go viral and blow back not just on Sinema but them.

    As for oakchair, people are going to believe what they want to believe. He doesn’t need facts. He can make up his own. To solve problems, we need first to understand them. But what we see more and more nowadays is there are a lot of people out there who are out there. They don’t want to solve anything. They don’t want to solve anything. They just want to feel right, that they won whatever argument they are having, at least in their own minds. I find this deeply nihilist. It makes nothing better. It doesn’t even try.

  22. Stew


    I like your solution to the SinemaManchin Problem, but the problem is, we’ve let the Masters of the Universe become so rich that the whatever cost we will inflict on them will be nothing compared to the personal benefit they will reap. One way or another, they’ll draw the loot.

    I don’t see either of them really “working” as in “doing labor”. More like getting to join the sit-on-the-corporate-board gravy train ($250-$500k per sitting for a large firm). All you have to do is to attend the meetings (maybe only once a year) and you can play games on your phone while you’re there and not say a thing, and the company will fly to there and back on a private company jet, and pay for your food and lodging.

    So hey, for like 10 such “jobs” a year, you could be pulling down $3-5 million for as little of 10 days “working”.

  23. StewartM

    That last comment was mine (on corporate boards)

  24. NR

    The CDC counts people as “unvaccinated” several weeks after the second injection.

    Oh really? Let’s see what the CDC says.

    In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: ±

    2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
    2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

    When your lies are this transparent, it’s not worth wasting time with any of the rest of your bullshit.

  25. different clue


    I hope somebody gives your suggestion a try on various platforms. For visual impact maybe somebody could create a “sinemoji” . . . . an emoji-style simple caricature of Sinema’s face with an obviously half-eaten fece in its mouth. Do for “sinema” what some gay activists did for “santorum”.

  26. NR

    By the way, there’s a quote from the late great Carl Sagan that’s probably more relevant today than it’s ever been:

    One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

    Applies to anti-vaxxers, Trump supporters, and 99% of right-wingers today (the other 1% are the ones who are in on the con).

  27. metamars

    “Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus – Global subsampling” @ show the evolution of various strains of covid.

    There’s been an explosion of delta variant variants after Jan 2021.

    As per Chris Martenson, the delta variant had an additional UNnatural insert into a furin cleavage site, meaning it was engineered by humans. The original SARS-CoV2 had 4 or 5 UNnatural inserts into furin cleavage site, again meaning it was engineered by humans.

    Thus, the appearance of the earliest delta variant had nothing to do with vaccines. However, to my untrained eyes, the proliferation of vaccination is highly correlated with an explosion of mutations of delta, alpha, and gamma.

    I have NOT seen data which further breaks down the relative prevalence of new variants (of variants) by vaccination status. Somehow, I don’t think even the Israelis have done such small granularity data taking.

    Even if they had, it’s not clear that we’d be able to definitively isolate which population – vaxxed vs. unvaxxed – actually originates new variants. Although I’m looking at a graph of, say, 100+ variants of delta, to find the “patient 0” for each of these variants would require a SUPER fine granularity of data. I mean, you’d probably have to test everybody for specific variants, and I’m pretty sure the standard tests don’t do that. In fact, I think they don’t even determine, e.g., delta vs. alpha.

    However, if we asked Charles Darwin which population is generating most of the variants, I don’t think he’d hesitate in pointing to the vaxxed population. It’s well known that not only are the sexy vaccines not sterilyzing, but they also target only a small part of the virus, viz., the spikes.

  28. Probably the #1 or #2 most alarming covid related report I’ve seen/heard in the last week is “Dr Nathan Thompson’s ⁣JAW DROPPED when he tested a patient’s immune system after the 2nd j” available on brandnewtube dot com.

    Thompson took extensive immune system panels (similar to what is done for HIV patients), after both shots of a vaccine. (IMO, he should have taken these panels just before vaccination, also.)

    It’s not a pretty picture. (As predicted by Geert Vanden Bossche). AFAIK, not even the Israelis have taken such data, say on even 1% of their vaccinated citizens. Thus, it’s not just the CDC which is flying in the dark. It is also the more transparent Israelis.

    This obvious failure at ethical and frankly OBVIOUS testing, of an essentially experimental vaccine, underscores the worldwide mania evident among the vaccine fetishists and their assorted captured administrative states. It reminds of the report that CDC has given no money to pay for autopsies of the vaccinated dead. If Israel has done so, well, I haven’t heard of that, either.

    So, good on the Israelis for being more transparent than the CDC. But shame on them for not doing obviously needed testing and autopsies.

  29. Hugh

    Viruses are viruses precisely because they lack a lot of the machinery to replicate themselves. This leads to higher rates of mutation. So if viruses mutate in our conspiracy-ridden upside down world, it can only be because of a conspiracy of who? Martians? Metamartians,? The truth is out there, or maybe people watched too many reruns of the X-Files.

  30. bruce wilder

    what we see more and more nowadays is there are a lot of people out there who are out there.

    tru dat

  31. different clue

    I read that Robert Reich is suggesting that the slightly lower-than-before rate of “workforce participation” by “workforce-eligible people” should be considered a national strike. And maybe it sort of could be, in a diffuse and unorganized way. But not a strike by current workers. Rather, a wait-it-out by current non-workers. Here is the link.

    If this is a reality-based way to understand this, maybe millions of diffusely non-organized homedwellers with young-adult children might diffusely decide in a non-organized way to let their young-adult children live at home with them until there are non-shitty non-McJobs for them to find. That might add to the pressure to improve job-pay and job-quality.

    The establishment would try to relieve that pressure by re-raising the rate of illegal immigration. If a pro-better-jobs movement were somehow able to conquer the machinery of government and use it to torture the employER class into making jobs better, that movement would restrict immigration both legal and illegal to zero for purely working-class-greed-based reasons. Choke off the employER class’s labor supply till the employER class is forced to raise pay and improve conditions in order to avoid its own economic death by workforce-deprivation suffocation.

  32. So if viruses mutate in our conspiracy-ridden upside down world, it can only be because of a conspiracy of who?

    Another idiotic comment from hugh, the comical cosmic ray denier, who should spare us from anything to do with science.

    There is nothing unusual about mutations occurring in viruses. However, as the graph in my reference clearly shows, the rate of variants proliferating in humans has been exploding, AFTER the vaccinations were introduced.

    The question is not “should we see mutations, at all?

    but rather “what is to blame for the explosion of variants? The vaccinated population, or the unvaccinated population?”

  33. NR

    “Dr Nathan Thompson’s ⁣JAW DROPPED when he tested a patient’s immune system after the 2nd j”

    Well with a title like that, this must be legitimate science and not painfully obvious clickbait!

    I eagerly await the follow-up video “Stuart Johnson found one weird trick that will completely cure you of COVID in under 5 minutes! (Pharmaceutical reps HATE him!)

  34. Dr. Robert Malone tweeted:

    “Taiwan death from COVID-19 vaccination exceeds death from COVID-19”
    Vac deaths in Taiwan: 852
    Deaths with COVID-19: 844

    So, official Taiwanese stats mirror what I believe is the case in the US, if we had accurate figures.

    I think the US data fudgers should give a little talking-to to their Taiwanese counterparts. (snicker)

  35. Not quite a miracle drug, but still useful:

    Dr. Doug Corrigan
    “The treatment reduced the risk of reaching mechanical ventilation by 44%. ICU admissions were lower by 43%, and an overall in-hospital mortality saw a 47% decrease.”

    What is this substance, you ask?


    Let’s hope they don’t give aspirin to horses.

  36. Hugh

    It seems almost unfair to bring up reality in the middle of metamars’ hallucinations, Viruses can not replicate on their own. They have to hijack the chemicals and replication machinery of another cell to replicate. Covid is an RNA virus, that is its genetic information is recorded in RNA, not DNA like ours. RNA is less stable than DNA and this allows greater odds of mutation. Covid-19 is a bit unusual in that it does contain an RNA-proofreading polymerase, which reduces mutations. Covid’s previous main reservoir was primarily restricted to bats in a relatively small region. Then it jumped species primarily to us, a much larger, more numerous population with a worldwide distribution and no immunity to it. This has led to a huge increase in the number of viral particles and with it improved the odds of mutations. We are also doing a lot more testing for covid. The result is that we are finding thousands of minor genetic variations but so far only four, alpha through gamma, more significant variants. All this is expectable. Why metamars needs to trumpet quack conspiracy theories and theorists you can decide for yourselves.

  37. StewartM

    I read the link to the abortion issue failure, and found it opaque. Dems aren’t using the “right messaging” and are to blame for the loss of women’s reproductive rights—what that right messaging was, we were supposed to know.

    I, in an evil moment, note that if 90 %, or even 80 %, and probably even 70 %, voted for abortion rights–even in TEXAS–there would never be such a law. Texas has such a law because a great many women were fine with denying themselves rights (or, at least, it didn’t rise as an important enough issue when they walked into a voting booth). Women, including a lot of poor women, could not be bothered to vote for their own interests just like a lot of working-class whites have been voting for the past 50 years to likewise to shit in their own economic beds because, you know, the danger of those “other people” takin’ over.

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