Wednesday , October 27 2021
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Articles by run75441

Letters From an American

3 days ago

This commentary by Professor Heather caught my eye this morning. Interesting findings in the Letter today..

Letters From An American, October 23, 2021, Professor Heather Cox – Richardson

There are three stories in the news today that seem to me to add up to a larger picture.

First is the story of money laundering, which seems suddenly to be all over the news. Today we learned that federal prosecutors in Detroit have broken into a massive money-laundering operation between the United States and the United Arab Emirates called “The Shadow Exchange.” They confiscated $12 million and suggest this is the tip of the iceberg.

This story comes just weeks after the release of the Pandora Papers, which detailed the ways in which the world’s wealthy

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COVID vaccines and antibodies

4 days ago

Joel Eissenberg, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

I got the Moderna vaccine as part of the phase III clinical trial back in August and September 2020. Although it was technically a blinded trial, I knew from my symptoms after the second shot I was in the vaccine arm and not the placebo arm of the clinical trial. Nevertheless, I got myself tested for the spike antibody and confirmed it. Indeed, the levels were over eight times the minimum threshold (in arbitrary units) for a positive reaction. Unsurprisingly, a separate test for nucleocapsid antibody was negative, so I came by my spike antibody by vaccine, not prior infection.

But how does antibody titer relate to protection from a COVID-19 infection? The short answer is, it

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Michigan Republicans Are Quietly Replacing Officials Who Certified 2020 Vote Totals

5 days ago

This action by the Michigan Republican part does not surprise me in the least. Republicans have had control of the Senate since 1983 and the House (from what I can see) since 1990. They have had a trifecta (including the governor’s office) 2 of 4 times for a number of years also. Much of this has occurred because of gerrymandering state house and senate and federal congressional districts.

In 2020 the anybody but trump or biden vote did not apply to a state which normally goes Democrat in national elections. Trump lost by ~150,000. Republicans could not blame it on a faulty voting system. Each time there was an issue, it occurred in Republican counties and it was fixed.

Then we have Detroit, a mostly black community and Wayne County. As you will

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What If Democrats Fail to Enhance the ACA?

6 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Hey, this is a copy and paste article by Andrew Sprung at Xpostfactoid. He does a nice job of explaining the technical aspects of expanding the ACA and making it more liberal in providing greater Commercial Healthcare Insurance benefits to more US citizens. He also discusses what could happen if we make Biden’s healthcare extensions […]
The post What If Democrats Fail to Enhance the ACA? appeared first on Angry Bear.

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Analyzing the impact of biodiesel and it causing a potential issue

7 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Michael Smith Farmer and Agricultural Economist, “Farmers need more space for crops to meet mounting demand”- AgResource | Reuters Dan Basse of AgResource Co. analyzes the impacts of biodiesel and is throwing up a potential issue.  Reuters interviewed an agronomist who is closely watching the budget reconciliations and the spending of a $350 billion yearly […]
The post Analyzing the impact of biodiesel and it causing a potential issue appeared first on Angry Bear.

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Quality Issues, Kawasaki Subway Car Wheels are Moving Outwards

8 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Kawasaki Heavy Industries plans (2018) to restructure rolling-stock operations amid heavy losses, exploring such options as quitting the business and teaming up with other companies. This is unusual for a major Japanese firm to pull out of an industry, a country, and the United States. Or at least I find it unusual having worked for a Japanese company […]
The post Quality Issues, Kawasaki Subway Car Wheels are Moving Outwards appeared first on Angry Bear.

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Globally; oil short at 2,400,000 barrels/day; OPEC output is 375,000 barrels/day short of quota

8 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Focus on Fracking: US oil price at a 7 year high; largest US oil inventory build in 7 months; global oil shortage at 2,400,000 barrels per day as OPEC output is ​375,000 barrels per day short of​ quota​. Commenter and Blogger RJS OPEC’s October Oil Market Report Wednesday of this week saw the release of OPEC’s […]
The post Globally; oil short at 2,400,000 barrels/day; OPEC output is 375,000 barrels/day short of quota appeared first on Angry Bear.

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Retail Sales up .7%, July and August revised higher

9 days ago

Commenter and Blogger RJS at Market Watch 666

Retail Sales Increased by 0.7% in September after July and August Sales were Revised Higher

Seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 0.7% in September after retail sales for July and August were revised higher . . . the Advance Retail Sales Report for September (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled $625.4 billion during the month, which was 0.7 percent (± 0.5 percent) above August’s revised sales of $620.9 billion, and 13.9 percent (± 0.7 percent) above the adjusted sales in September of last year . . . August’s seasonally adjusted sales were revised from $618.7 billion to $620.9 billion, while July sales were also revised higher,

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“Quit Your Whining” – Economists to Cattle Ranchers

10 days ago

Author, Farmer, and Economist Michael Smith briefly talking returns to Cattle Ranchers and profits to meat processors and retail.

The beef industry is under fire, we’ve been seeing this for years. We first saw where Smithfield has taken over whole towns for pork production, vertically integrating as much as possible, even to take a cut of the feed grain market in those towns. This provides the blueprint for a bigger industry, beef.

Matt Stoller is Research Director for the American Economic Liberties Project, his piece gets into the grit of it: 

Economists to Cattle Ranchers: Stop Being So Emotional About the Monopolies Devouring Your Family Businesses,” BIG News Letter by Matt Stoller (substack.com)

 A few takeaways:

“Higher meat

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Continuing the Conversation concerning Medicare and Medicare Advantage

10 days ago

Continuing the conversation concerning Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs – Value Added Healthcare.

Background

Kip Sullivan and I have had a running dialogue on Value Added (VA) healthcare. This usually starts up with my asking a question, giving my doubts on certain topics, and a back and forth in an exchange of emails. I have done this before with others, mining their knowledge banks.

The likes of which Value Added (VA) is being touted for healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and other processes in healthcare as a way to improve care. I have mentioned VA methods being used to promote new uses for older pharmaceuticals as a basis for increased pricing when there is no increased cost. The value touted being new uses with little R&D costs.

As

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Private Equity Taking Over Healthcare and Doctors losing Control . . .

12 days ago

Articles from my Inbox as usual. There is a common thread or threads here of private equity getting more involved. It is bad enough with ACOs buying up medical facilities. We are losing control of healthcare.

“Insurers are taking decisions out of the hands of physicians, says ortho surgeon,” beckersasc.com

Dr. Grant Shifflett: I don’t want to paint a bleak picture, but I look at this in terms of the voice we have as physicians. And it seems like every day that voice is getting stripped away more and more by insurers denying care, determining what we can and can’t do and taking away decisions from us. … I’m in a private practice. I work for myself and I make my own decisions, but I still have to answer to the insurance companies. Not a day goes

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Agenda of Biden’s Build Back Better Bill

12 days ago

The same as the American Rescue Plan Act and the Improving Medicare Coverage Act, no one is talking of the detail within the Build Back Better Agenda bill. This makes it very vulnerable to pseudo Senators like Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin who are holding out for what ever reasons or just for spite.

It is also good for Angry Bear to know its content too. If there are questions, ask away. I will try to answer with what I know.

Build Back Better Bill

Lower Costs

Lower Child Care Costs

For 57 percent of children under six, there are no good choices for child care where they live. Only 44 percent of four-year-olds are served by public preschool programs. Nearly four in five private sector workers have no access to paid family leave. The

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What Secretary and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen proposes

14 days ago

Farmer and Farm Economist Michael Smith on latest proposed business policies which can impact U.S. Farming.

Secretary and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently went on CBS in order to sell the changes to the tax code provisions that would trigger events yet unknown at the $600 level,  and potentially beyond.

I’ll leave this proposal up to you if it is a great idea or not. A dish washer purchase audit is probably bad tax policy, but I’ll again leave it at that.

What caught my attention is what Yellen said next:

“It’s the people who report $10,000 in income . . . and have $3,000,000 go into their bank accounts.”

A corn farmer is preparing for the year. He/she needs seed, fertilizers, pesticides, and the appropriate

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Phone Service in a Prison Environment

14 days ago

The High Cost of Phone Calls in Prisons Generates $1.4 Billion a Year, Disproportionately Driving Women and People of Color Into Debt (businessinsider.com)

It has been a while since I have tackled issues with the prison system in the US. Besides it being heavily skewed towards the color of a prisoner and the funding they possess to mount a defense; once convicted and imprisoned, the screwing over the prisoner increases. If they go to trial, the sentence is enhanced (the court does not like to work).

Once at the prison, a prisoner’s family usually attempts to maintain contact either by phone or by visits if they can afford to do either. Family contact is an important factor in maintaining some degree of sanity besides having funds to buy

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Oil Price highest since 2014; natural gas price falls from 12 year high – largest inventory build in 16 months

15 days ago

And gasoline exports at a 26 month low . . .

Blogger and Commenter R.J.S., Focus on Fracking: “Oil price is highest since 2014; natural gas price fell from 12 year high after largest inventory increase in 16 months”

Oil prices finished higher for the 7th straight week after OPEC decided to only add the minimum to global supplies in the coming months . . . after rising 2.6% to $75.88 a barrel last week as rising global demand amid tight supplies more than offset higher US inventories, the contract price for US light sweet crude for November delivery jumped early on Monday after reports emerged the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee of the OPEC+ alliance had recommended oil producers stick to their current plan and ease their cuts by just

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Eastman’s Memo giving Pence Direction on Overturning the 2020 Election

15 days ago

I did not believe I would have to put this up on Angry Bear. Prof. Heather Cox – Richardson in her Letter From An American, October 11, 2021;

The Eastman memo, uncovered by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa at the end of September in their new book Peril, flew largely under the radar screen, explained away as more of Trump being Trump even as it laid out, in writing, the steps to overturn the 2020 election and even as we knew that the former president tried to put that plan into place. A study by Media Matters showed that ABC, NBC, and CBS all chose not even to mention the memo. These stations reach more than 20 million Americans. 

Letter From An American, October 11, 2021

Abbreviated version of the John Eastman Plan

PRIVILEGED AND

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Employers Added 194M jobs, U3 Down, PR Declined

16 days ago

Blogger RJS, Marketwatch 666, September jobs report

September Summary

Major agency reports released this past week included the the Employment Situation Summary for September from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the August report on our International Trade from the Commerce Dept, and the Full Report on Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for August, and the August report on Wholesale Trade, Sales and Inventories, both from the Census Bureau…in addition, the Fed released the Consumer Credit Report for August, which indicated that overall consumer credit, a measure of non-real estate debt, grew at a seasonally adjusted $14.4 billion in August, or at a 4.0% annual rate, as non-revolving credit expanded at a 4.1% rate to $3,345.3

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Leading Up to the Attack on the Capitol

18 days ago

What did you know and when did you know it?

J. Michael Luttig, the former United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit:

“I was honored to advise Vice President Pence that he had no choice on January 6, 2021, but to accept and count the Electoral College votes as they had been cast and properly certified by the states…. I believe(d) that Professor Eastman was incorrect at every turn of the analysis in his January 2 memorandum.”

Quote taken from “Letters From An American – September 22, 2021,”

Two questions and maybe three.

What? Why is Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig feeling so honored when Vice President Pence asks a question about decertifying the nation’s Electoral vote and overthrowing the

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Record High August Trade Deficit on Higher Imports of Pharma and Services

19 days ago

Commenter and Blogger RJS, MarketWatch 666, “Trade Deficit Rose 4.2% to a Record High in August on Higher Imports of Pharmaceuticals and Services”

Our trade deficit rose by 4.2% in August as the value of both our exports and our imports increased, but the value of our imports increased by four times as much . . . the Commerce Dept report on our international trade in goods and services for August indicated that our seasonally adjusted goods and services trade deficit rose by a rounded $2.9 billion to a record high of $73.3 billion in August, from a July deficit of $70.3 billion, which was revised from the $70.1 billion deficit for July that had been reported last month . . . after rounding, the value of our August exports rose by $1.0

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Chicken, Hog, and Beef Farming and then there is Big Ag

20 days ago

Michael Smith, Real Farmer and Farm Economist

Ooh boy have we got a lot going on in ag world. Run sent me this a little while ago and I think this is important.

The Tricky New Way That Big Ag Is Getting Farm Data, The Atlantic, Claire Kelloway, October 5, 2021

Big data collection is 100% not in the favor of the farmer by corporations. The more we see John Deere et al get tech heavy where they are collecting data about the equipment used and also other ag adjacent corporations such as Cargill who just purchased a chicken processor in Central Texas the more we see the plight of farming.

Now, don’t get me wrong, data collection by the USDA and the university extensions has always been a thing, but that was a give and a get. I give the

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Hidden in the Reconciliation Bill, a Mandate

21 days ago

Michael Smith on the Open Thread: “‘Found this interesting. Tucked in the reconciliation bill they want to mandate employers with 5+ employees to contribute up to 10% to an IRA. Failure to do so is ‘taxed’.” 

Hidden In The Reconciliation Bill: A Retirement Plan Mandate That Will Take Most People By Surprise, Forbes, Elizabeth Bauer, September 25, 2021

“Under the proposal, starting in 2023, employers with five or more employees would have to offer a retirement plan and automatically enroll employees, diverting 6% of their pay to a retirement account. An automatic escalation clause would increase the automatic contribution to 10% of pay by year five. The default plan would be a Roth IRA invested in a target-date fund, a mix of investments based on

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Pharmaceutical Revenue U.S versus the Rest of the World

22 days ago

UNITED WE SPEND For 20 Top-Selling Drugs Worldwide, Big Pharma Revenue from U.S. Sales Combined Exceeded Revenue from the Rest of the World, Public Citizen, Rick Claypool and Zain Rizvi,

I have written on the high prices of pharmaceuticals in the past on Angry Bear, pointing to a WHO report which showed the costs laid out to bring the drugs to market had been recovered, and hinting on a new approach to increasing profitability by claiming increased value due to newer uses as a reason to increase prices. Note the difference between cost and prices.

Public Citizen has a recent article up which breaks down the pricing schemes between the US and the “Rest of The World.” It is a quick read and hits the differences I have been pointing to and will

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US natural gas hits highest price since 2008, closes at 7 1/2 year weekly high;

22 days ago

US natural gas hits highest price since 2008, closes at 7 1/2 year weekly high; European and Asian prices 5 times higher, Commenter RJS, Focus on Fracking

Oil prices rose for a sixth consecutive week as rising global demand amid tight supplies more than offset higher US inventories . . . after rising 3.0% to $73.98 a barrel last week as U.S. crude inventories fell to a 35month low and as global oil supplies tightened, the contract price for US light sweet crude for November delivery opened higher on Monday on continuing signs that global oil inventories were falling sharply, and rose nearly 2% to close $1.47 higher at $75.45 a barrel, as parts of the globe, especially China and India, were seeing demand pick up with the easing of pandemic

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IMCA sets New Medicare Age at 60

23 days ago

Improving Medicare Coverage Act – H.R. 5165

Medicare – Improving  Medicare Coverage Act; H,R, 5165, September 3, 2021

130+ House Democrats are co-sponsoring a bill by Pramila Jayapal, the Improving Medicare Coverage Act. The impact of which would drop the Medicare eligibility age to 60 years of age.

All well and good, it is about time something is changing. Healthcare Insurance and medical costs are exceeding high in the US. Pricing of healthcare exceeds the actual cost of it. Today, sixty-year-olds can pay a penalties under the ACA for just being old. The ACA was designed to allow for such the same as for smokers. Oldsters are told they could get better coverage under Medicare which is true. It too comes with a price which I have written

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3rd quarter GDP Estimate: Personal Income, Outlays, Construction

23 days ago

August Personal Income up 0.2%; 2 Months PCE Would Subtract 0.07 Percentage Points from Q3 GDP, Blogger and Commenter RJS reports at MarketWatch 666

The August report Personal Income and Outlays from the Bureau of Economic Analysis gives us nearly half the data that will go into 3rd quarter GDP, since it gives us 2 months of data on our personal consumption expenditures (PCE), which accounts for nearly 70% of GDP, and the PCE price index, the inflation gauge the Fed targets, and which is used to adjust that personal spending data for inflation to give us the relative change in the output of goods and services that our spending indicated . . . this report also gives us monthly personal income data, disposable personal income, which is income after

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USPS Small Banking Services Initiated

23 days ago

Briefly, with more info being found at The American Prospect by David Dayen (link below). The USPS has initiated check cashing service for a minimal fee. And Louis Destroy the USPS DeJoy has bought into this service.

The pilot was launched on September 13 (?) in four locations: Washington, D.C.; Falls Church, Virginia; Baltimore; and the Bronx, New York. The initial banking test allows customers to cash business or payroll checks at the post office and place them onto a gift card. Although DeJoy did not initiate this and is usually too busy trying to wreck the place, DeJoy did buy into the test.

Under its current authority, the post office can expand its operations to include financial services options. One of the major postal workers unions

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School System Outbreaks of Covid

25 days ago

Blogger and Commenter RJS

Briefly: even though US Covid infections have been falling since labor day, there’s been anecdotal evidence it’s rising among school age kids . . . at the same time, there are now solid studies showing that the mRNA vaccines administered in the US are losing their effectiveness . . . hence, it looks likely that about the time the holidays roll around, many of those infected kids will be mingling with their vaccinated grandparents, who may no longer be protected against a serious case . . . no doubt the CDC sees that too, hence their sudden urgency to push booster vaccinations…

The drop in new US cases is mostly a story of the South, where the August surge was most pronounced, and to a lesser extent to the West,

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Do COVID vaccines offer a lengthy and durable protection?

26 days ago

Prof. Joel Eissenberg has a new post up considering people’s immunity to Covid and what it consists of after vaccination.

COVID vaccine immunity is waning — how much does that matter? (nature.com), September 17, 2021, Elie Dolgin,

We can say circulating antibodies do matter for protection from COVID-19. With the innate immune response, they represent the frontline response in a viral challenge. Often forgotten in the durable immunity response are the memory B- and T-cells. The assays for their activities are much harder to monitor. Ultimately, this part of the adaptive immune system plays an increasingly important role over time. For the vaccinated people, the memory cells are continuing to perform well:

Immunologist at the US National

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Joe Manchin believes Income Inequality is not a problem

26 days ago

Does Joe Manchin Believe That Income Inequality Is a Problem?, Horizons, Nancy LeTourneau’s big picture looks at politics and life

Nancy was one of the regular writers at Washington Monthly. She had well – written fun reads, some of which I disagreed with in my numerical way. I am a numbers guy. The editors of Washington Monthly decided to change the format and brought in a cadre of writers who replaced Nancy, the Longmans, Atkins and others. The site is over-run with trash-commenters. Not sure why the lead editor did such as most of the good commenters left and readership has decreased.

Some of Joe’s more epic moments . . .

Since 2010, millions of opioid tablets have been sent to two small towns in West Virginia. Has Manchin

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Moderna booster on the way?

27 days ago

“Preliminary Analysis of Safety and Immunogenicity of a SARS-CoV-2 Variant Vaccine Booster,” medRxiv preprint

Authors: Kai Wu1*, Angela Choi1*, Matthew Koch1*, LingZhi Ma1 , Anna Hill1 , Naveen Nunna1 , Wenmei Huang1 , Judy Oestreicher1 , Tonya Colpitts1 , Hamilton Bennett1 , Holly Legault1 , Yamuna Paila1 , Biliana Nestorova1 , Baoyu Ding 1 , Rolando Pajon1 , Jacqueline M Miller1 , Brett Leav1 , Andrea Carfi1 , Roderick McPhee1#, Darin K Edwards1#

Affiliations: 1Moderna Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Prof. Joel Eissenberg, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Joel participated in the early trials of the Moderna mRNA vaccines for Covid-19. He was inoculated with the true vaccine as determined by

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