News roundup for Tue, Oct 5, 2021

The US is having to temporarily suspend international delivery of mail and parcels to New Zealand and a few other countries as it lacks the needed air transportation. Australia and Samoa are also impacted.

Expect price increases on chicken and tomatoes (and maybe even some barer shelves) in the upcoming months. Diapers may also be on short supply soon—it’s time for a certain toddler I know to get hip with potty training.

A worker shortage has stymied yard waste, garbage, and recycling services in Northern Virginia.

There’s been a lot of air activity near Taiwan:

Venezuela is suffering from serious hyperinflation and just subtracted six zeros from its currency. It’s the second time the country has had to do this.

Southern California has had a massive oil spill off the coast, and many area beaches are closed. Hundreds of thousands of gallons were spilled from a pipeline leak. Marine life is being badly impacted. Fisheries stretching all the way from Long Beach down to Dana Point are being shuttered within a 6-mile coastal band to prevent contaminated fish from being consumed.

The British Army is having to help with petrol distribution:

The world has over 236 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3 million cases in the last week. There have been over 4.8 million deaths in total. The US has a cumulative 44.6 million cases. The US gained over 680,000 cases in the last seven days. Over 721,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. The US gained over 50,000 new cases on Sunday, and over 48,000 by late afternoon Monday. 1,500 people are dying per day in the US based on a 7-day average. The US, UK, Turkey, and Russia have had the largest case gains over the last week. Most COVID metrics are on a downtrend in the US.

Merck has got a promising-looking COVID antiviral pill. All other COVID treatments require an injection or intravenous administration. This new experimental drug, molnupiravir, reduced hospitalizations and death by about half. Merck is seeking an EUA.

Governor Newsom says all kids attending schools will need to be vaccinated. The mandate is the first in the nation, similar to the soft mandate made for teachers earlier this year. Teachers in California must be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing:

Nearly half of COVID patients in Wuhan still have symptoms one year later—a phenomenon dubbed “Long COVID” in the West. Studies in Norway and the UK have also found that most COVID survivors developed Long COVID. Although men have higher mortality rates from COVID, women are more likely to develop Long COVID. These are observational and phenomenological studies without control groups, but the data is still important and something to keep tabs on.

Vaccination might help with the remission of the symptoms of Long COVID:

Moderna is trailing a Delta-specific booster!

Israel says you have to have had your booster if you want to be considered fully-vaccinated:

More and more airlines are jumping on the vaccine mandate bandwagon:


    • Bill Masen

      Brexit only played a very minor part in the fuel crisis, Its actually caused by a massive shortage of truckers, huhe numbers have left the industry in recent years normally due to poor pay, terrible work conditions, long ours and not stop government pressure making truck operations very difficult and expensive.   EXAMPLE   In this area there used to be 7 truck stops where truckers could rest overnight, get showers, hot meals, rest in a lounge, refuel, and sleep in secure compounds.  ALL those truck stops bar one has gone. So there is nowhere for truckers to rest. The authorities hassle truckers who try to park up in lay bys, and criminals target the trucks overnight.  Also most UK Industrial estates around the edges of most UK towns will not let trucks rest up or park overnight. Indeed many places give truckers only a ten minute delivery slot. if they are early or late they get turned away. Then many larger cities apply draconian restrictions and local taxes on truckers wanting to access inner city customers.

      The Acttual fuel crisis was triggered by fear mongering media who inflated a very localised driver shortage into national wave of Panic Buying.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Bill Masen

        It’s certainly multi-factorial, but let’s not downplay the role of kicking out thousands of Polish truckers (just one group, for example) when Brexit went through. Now the UK has issued thousands of temporary visas for foreign truckers, but those who were already booted aren’t too interested in returning. Any country with a fertility replacement rate of less than 2 is going to have to rely on immigrant workers to some degree to keep the economy running. Although the argument for increased trade sovereignty is understandable, the xenophobia behind the Brexit push is causing chickens to roost here. And the UK is now exporting only 60% of what they used to because in their push for trade control, they essentially lost exclusive trading rights with the EU. I’ve heard arguments that there was benefit in independent decisions on COVID vaccine procurement, but I’ve also heard arguments that being in the EU would not have prevented that, either. I’m not convinced that the UK is getting what they wanted from this endeavor. 

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      • Few were actually kicked out on two counts, first HUGE number of poles, estonians, latvians, romanians hungarians etcapplied to remain in the UK and now live here full time with their families, if you visit some towns in East Anglia region most of the shops are ran and owned for the huge Polish / Baltic communities. Also there is a huge shortage of truckers across Europe especially in oddly enough Poland, Czech republic, Austria and Italy . THERE was NOTHING  xenophobic about  BREXIT ma’am it was simply about taking back control from a very corrupt and undemocratic EU . Example how would the United states like to be controlled, governed and its domestic and foreign policies  from Brazil, and your laws and governance be decided by hundreds of foreign politicians from South and Central America with the US government only having a token say in how and what laws are created.  A system of govenment where UNELECTED burocrats decide policy and the elected representatives only get to rubber stamp it. Imagine california being governed by the New England states, thats what the EU became.  

        From a simple COMMON MARKET trading agreement to a federal superstate that overruled and superceded national sovereignty. A super state wanting rid of NATO and to create its own military governed ONLY by Brussels. And many of its members talking about a European Empire.

        I’ll correct a few other things if I may, only 12% of UK companies exported goods to the EU, most of which are still doing so, and the EU is still selling stuff to us.  We have already signed MULTIPLE trade deals with other nations that were were forbidden from doing by the EU.

        If we were in the UK we would have been in the same mess as they were with France spending billions on a vaccine that did not work, the EU struggled to vaccinated 1% of its people by the time the UK was 33% vaccinated. In the EU we were not allowed to buy vaccines from places like the US, India or Russia, Outside the EU we bought from everywhere and also made our own versions which we sold globally, again something the EU forbid.

        Then we have AUKUS just created, CANZUK moving forward and the UK joining the TPTTT thing 🙂

        The UK regained its sovereignty, something the US would never have surrended, We no longer have to comply with EU laws based upon the Napoleonic justice system, We are back using the original Innocent until proven guilty system.

        On immigration since the 1990s we have over 7 million migrants arrive in the UK most from the former Commonwealth, but still many from the EU.

        And unlike all the other trading agreements we are establishing as a free nation, we are not paying the EU £14 billion pounds ($19billion) just to be members.

        There are many similarities between Britain escaping the repressive and undemocratic EU and the 13 colonies breaking away from King George because you had no representation  just the tax demands and unjust laws.

        Just remember FREEDOM is never free, it always comes with a price, and a slight drop in trade to regain control of our sovereignty, borders, laws and trade deals was very worth it.

        As for the EU itself Germany is moving into alignment with Russia AGAIN, Poland , Hungary and many Baltic states have a growing independence movement, as does France but for its own reasons. The EU Shengen agreement (open Borders) has been a disaster as millions of migrants from Africa , the middle and far east were simply able to enter and travel unchecked through multiple safe countries to cherry pick north european states with the best welfare systems. Swedens fabulous welfare state is now nearly bankrupt because of the huge numbers of recent arrivals. Crimes of violence against European woman have gone through the roof to a point some countries have eased gun controls for its women. Terrorism has increased. And the EU’s own financial accounts have not been signed off by its own accountants for over 20 because of massive systematic fraud.  And of course the adoption of the EURO has destroyed the economies of Italy, Greece, Cyprus etc

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      • Bill Masen Bill Masen
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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Bill Masen

        I was happy to see the UK get its folks vaccinated quickly. I was appalled with the EU haggling over procurement prices and leaving huge swathes unvaccinated. 

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      • Thomas L Bill Masen

        “As for the EU itself Germany is moving into alignment with Russia AGAIN” Just not true!

        And no! The economoies of Italy, Greece etc… was not destroyed by the EU it was destroyed by spending much more then they could afford. 

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      • Bill Masen Thomas L

        Yes Sir it is true Germany is leaning closer to Russia than it has ever done before, especially on its reliance on Russian gas.  Italy and Greece were allowed to join the EU even thought both nations did not meet the EUs own fiscal rules.

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    • Karl Winterling

      I thought this post about the debt ceiling fiasco is good and explains why you (probably) don’t need to worry (at least in terms of things getting very very very bad in an SHTF sense, not in terms of whether it might hurt you if you invest in the stock market or government bonds or you depend on a 401(k)).

      My thinking (I’d say I generally agree with a “moderate MMT” viewpoint) is:

      1. There’s nothing you can do about it other than general preparedness. Anyway, if you voted then it really shouldn’t be your job.
      2. The “both sides-ism” take is wrong, but the arguments used by each side are ridiculous because there’s absolutely no good reason not to raise the debt limit. Any argument trying to explain why you won’t pay a bill you’re legally responsible for and you can afford is ridiculous.
      3. A credit downgrade probably isn’t that big of a deal and won’t significantly increase borrowing costs, so every political consultant is going to tell politicians to keep playing “chicken” until the last minute.
      4. Unless it’s dealt with beforehand, there will be a “Lehman moment” when Congress must act. We won’t really know how bad political polarization is until that “Lehman moment,” but my guess is it isn’t so bad yet that Congress won’t do something. We won’t 100% know whether polarization is very very bad until then, though, and anyone who wants to find out rather than dealing with this ASAP is dumb.
      5. The extent of damage might depend on human elements like how much people panic (panic and sell bonds, panic and lay off employees, etc.).

      In terms of investing (not professional advice here): keep an eye on Bitcoin and the Yen. My guess is their values will spike at some point and then come back down.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Karl Winterling

        I’m really hoping we don’t have to go through this. 

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      • Fingers crossed that they work something out well before the last minute.

        I think the chance of “truly defaulting” (weeks without paying bills and digging into the economic abyss) is pretty much zero. But getting to the point of missing a payment shouldn’t even be an option and deliberately causing a recession to hurt political opposition or make a political point would set a horrible precedent. A stable liberal democracy also depends on officials not prioritizing scoring political points over peoples’ wellbeing.

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      • The Senate passed a short-term extension of the debt ceiling tonight. Hopefully, the debate going forward will be less crazy.

        I’m going to take a hot bath and get some good sleep.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Karl Winterling

        Cheers to that.

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      • Hardened Karl Winterling

        You might be interested in watching this take on the debt ceiling.  If I remember correctly it makes an argument that they will never not raise it.  It might help you to relax about it (or might make you more anxious, depending).

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