Hospitals are spending extra money to rent and retain well being care employees throughout the pandemic. That is dangerous for his or her margins.

Hospitals are facing staff shortages made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Wall Street analysts are increasingly concerned that there are insufficient staff for these facilities, which is hurting margins.

“The surge in COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant continues to exacerbate hospital staff shortages, hinder recruitment and retention, drive up wages and hurt hospital profitability,” Moody’s Investors Service said Tuesday. “Over the course of the next year, we expect margins to decline in light of wage inflation, the use of expensive care agencies, increased recruitment and retention efforts, and expanded service packages that include more behavioral health services and offers such as childcare.”

There are several problems involved.

Nursing staff and doctors have been in short supply in some parts of the country for years. Many have burned out – and after 20 months of the pandemic, some are choosing to retire or quit. (A recent survey of 6,000 critical care workers found that 66% considered quitting nursing because of the pandemic.)

“There is no question that the labor market has been under pressure for some time with COVID activity,” said William Rutherford, CFO of HCA Healthcare Inc.
HCA, -0.77%,
one of the largest hospital chains in the US said at the Morgan Stanley Health Care Conference last month, according to a FactSet transcript of the presentation.

Then came the Delta variant and an increase in hospital admissions, which in particular increased the need for nurses to care for COVID-19 patients.

Many hospitals have had to limit or discontinue elective procedures, which are considered critical to their financial success, in order to focus their resources on these patients.

This includes Intermountain Healthcare, Utah’s largest hospital system, which began postponing all non-urgent procedures in 13 nonprofit hospitals due to lack of beds in mid-September. That same week, Idaho began rationing care to hospitals there, citing the “massive increase in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization in all areas of the state.”

“In some US regions, hospitals have suspended elective overnight operations, not only because of an increase in cases, but also because of insufficient staffing, which led to a decline in sales,” the analysts from Moody’s write in the report.

And finally some workers made up their minds quit or get fired instead of following the COVID-19 vaccination regulations introduced by some health organizations.

Add all these factors together and consider that salaries and benefits typically make up half the total cost of a hospital.

Hospitals now have to pay their workers more, including hiring more expensive temporary or travel nurses; spend more on social benefits and other “perks” to keep; and increase the amount of money they invest in recruiting clinical talent. (This is a good thing for healthcare recruitment agencies like AMN Healthcare Services Inc.
AMN, -0.33%
and Cross Country Healthcare Inc.
CCRN, + 1.69%,
Analysts say.)

“When COVID spikes occur, hospital beds will primarily be assigned to COVID patients and non-COVID admissions will be postponed,” Jefferies analysts wrote this week in a notice to investors on nonprofit hospitals. “If we leave the delta rise, we believe that demand for temporary nurses will weaken from current levels, but will remain elevated (lower placement rates compared to current average) as postponed admissions and procedures are rescheduled.”

The delta rise subsides, and the number of new cases, hospital admissions and deaths are falling. The current 7-day average for COVID-19 hospital admissions is 7,271 (as of Friday), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s already lower than last week’s 7-day average of 8,378, but that doesn’t mean all hospitals aren’t ready.

“Even if the average daily COVID hospital stays are decreasing, we continue to see many hospitals and intensive care units across the country operating at full capacity,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday during a briefing at the White House.

Read more about related coverage from MarketWatch:

New York health workers who are laid off for getting vaccinated are in most cases not eligible for unemployment benefits

“You have to do the right thing”: 50 health groups ask employers to prescribe COVID vaccines for workers – but one major obstacle remains

Court Upholds Houston Hospital’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: “All Employment Has Restrictions On Worker Behavior”

Singapore is seeing file Covid instances. That will not be a nasty factor

People walk at a pedestrian crossing along Orchard Road shopping district in Singapore on September 9, 2021.

Facebook Facebook logo Sign up on Facebook to connect with Roslan Rahman AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Singapore authorities have Tightened Covid measures as infections rise to new record highs in the country – but two health experts told CNBC they weren’t particularly concerned.

The country’s health system and workers have been strained by the increase in cases, and transmission needs to be slowed down to avoid more infections in vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the Ministry of Health said on Friday as more stringent measures were announced.

Over the next four weeks, the group size for social gatherings will be reduced from five to two people, and work from home will be the default.

Still, medical experts told CNBC that the latest wave of the virus may not be a bad thing given that Singapore’s population is highly vaccinated.

According to Teo Yik-Ying, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, many of the patients with Covid-19 have avoided serious illness and will receive further protection from future infections as antibodies fight the virus.

Around 82% of the population of Singapore have received two doses of a Covid vaccine. That is what the health authorities said on Sunday 98% of infected people had no or only mild symptoms in the past 28 days.

Case numbers may remain high for a few months, but the “vast majority” are well protected by the vaccines and will not get seriously ill, Teo said.

“For these people, infection has no short- or long-term health consequences, but can also trigger a natural immune response that reduces the likelihood of later infection,” he said in an email.

Potential Benefits of Natural Infection

It is “not necessarily a bad thing” to let the virus pass through the population slowly, said Ooi Eng Eong, a professor in the Duke-NUS Medical School’s emerging infectious diseases program.

The two main vaccines used in Singapore are developed by PfizerBioNTech or Modern, and both use messenger RNA technology.

mRNA vaccines instruct the body to produce something called a spike protein found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19. It’s harmless, but it stimulates the immune system to make antibodies so the body can fight infections better when exposed to the real virus.

“When we get a natural infection, our immune system can recognize a larger part of the virus,” as opposed to just the spike protein, Ooi said, adding that it could make a person more resistant to future variants.

Instead of an infection followed by a vaccination, we will have a vaccination followed by an infection, which I think is even better as the infection is usually mild.

Ooi Eng Eong

Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School

He said Singapore could reap the benefits of a natural infection seen in some parts of Europe and North America, but in reverse order.

“Instead of infection followed by vaccination, we’re going to have vaccination followed by infection, which I think is even better because [infections] will mostly be mild, “he said.

“Those [countries] which had high disease rates last year, is paying the price “for higher death rates,” he told CNBC.

More new variants?

When asked whether widespread transmission of Covid could lead to the emergence of new variants, Ooi admitted that it was difficult to predict what will happen.

However, he pointed out that future varieties will have to compete with the “highly transmissible” Delta variety, the world’s dominant variety.

“It’s very hard to beat Delta,” he said.

There were also concerns about it mu, a new interesting variantbut it couldn’t start because Delta was too strong, he said.

“But I think it’s still wise to be prepared that at some point something better than Delta might emerge, or that the new variant might escape the immunity created by vaccination,” Ooi said.

Local Covid situation

The number of serious Covid cases remains in line with expectations, according to the Singapore Ministry of Health.

As of Sunday, there were 172 cases requiring oxygen supplementation and 30 in the intensive care unit (ICU). The capacity of the intensive care unit can be increased to 1,600 beds if necessary, the government said.

The two professors who spoke to CNBC were split on whether new restrictions were needed.

Ooi said the current virus wave was “within the limits” of Singapore’s capacity. The new restrictions are “unnecessary” and will slow down efforts to live with the disease, he added.

While Teo agreed that the situation will not worsen, he said tightened measures are needed to give Singapore “air to breathe” to make adjustments to operations and hospital protocols.

Hospital beds are filling up because of the country’s “very cautious” approach, not because so many people are in need of acute medical care, Teo said.

The long-term plan against Covid is a combination of vaccination and natural infection to provide protection without overwhelming hospitals, he said, adding that he did not anticipate an increase in the death rate, but it did see an increase in the absolute numbers calculate.

As of Sunday, Singapore reported 87,892 Covid cases and 78 deaths since the pandemic began.

– CNBC’s Cory Stieg and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

Why Borrowing Cash to Purchase Crypto Is a Actually Unhealthy Thought

Cryptocurrencies have been a hot investment for a while now and it seems like there are stories every day of people getting rich by investing in them. With all of the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies, you might be tempted to invest as much in them as you can – and possibly even borrow a lot of money To do that.

However, the reality is that borrowing money to buy crypto is a really bad idea. It’s not something anyone should do.

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Why You Shouldn’t Borrow to Buy Crypto

Generally speaking, it is not advisable to take out loans to buy most investments. You agree to pay interest on a debt while the return on your investment is only speculative. You will need to make payments on your loan whether your investment is doing badly or making you money. And those payments can become a financial burden if you end up suffering from investment losses.

Borrowing to buy investments also means that your investment must do extremely well in order for you to make a profit. Because you would have to cover the interest costs of a loan with your investment income in order to break even before you actually make a profit. And you could be forced to sell an investment at an inopportune time if you are having trouble making payments. This can result in your losses being permanently secured if you don’t have time to wait for your investment to recover from a downturn.

While this is true of any type of borrowing that is to be invested, the risks are only increased when you borrow Buy cryptocurrency. That’s because crypto investments can be much more dangerous than many other types of investments for a number of important reasons:

  • The cryptocurrency market is extremely volatile. The prices of digital currencies fluctuate enormously from one day to the next. If you don’t schedule your purchases and sales at exactly the right time – which is really difficult – there is a very high risk of losing money. If you take out a loan and have a deadline to make a profit so that you can pay back your loan, then the chances of having to sell at the wrong time increase greatly.
  • There is a lack of regulation in the crypto market. The federal government is still trying to catch up and figure out how to do it effectively regulate virtual currencies. In the meantime, investors are vulnerable to scammers. If you take out a loan and end up losing the money because you were scammed, you still have to pay back the entire loan.
  • The cost of buying cryptocurrencies can sometimes be separated from their underlying value. Cryptocurrencies often see a price increase due to Celebrity tweets or social media hype. If virtual currencies are going up in price because they become the newest meme stock, the price can go down as people move on to the next big thing. This further increases the risk of losing the funds borrowed.

If you want invest in cryptocurrencies and having done your research, adding some to your portfolio can be a good thing. However, you should only invest in virtual currencies with money that you can afford to lose. Chances are, you can’t afford to borrow money just to lose it, so avoid buying crypto with cash you get from a. have received private loan.

How Asbestos Revealed The place the Cash Went on a Dangerous Constructing Deal

101 Ash St. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

It’s pretty wild, which we would never have found out if it wasn’t for urban contractors destroying asbestos on 101 Ash Street.

The building, the former headquarters of Sempra, which the city hoped would permanently house hundreds of workers, has been a scandal for many years – mostly a scandal of incompetence. How could the city lease a lemon like that? Every building of that time has asbestos, why was the city so terrible when it was remodeled that it became uninhabitable? Why did they rent it to own rather than buy it outright?

It had clearly been a failure, an outrage for the former mayor’s claim to be a good public affairs manager, a legal swamp, a health hazard, an embarrassing waste. However, none of the revelations had confirmed that anyone was walking far richer than they had been.

Until now. On Monday we learned that Jason Hughes had actually deviated from the deal with more than $ 4.4 million.

Hughes has been a major figure in San Diego public affairs for nearly nine years. Previously, he had helped destroy a plan by former Mayor Jerry Sanders that he had worked out to get San Diego a new city hall. Sanders had hoped to save the city money on its many commercial leases and to redesign the C Street corridor.

But Hughes joined then councilor Carl DeMaio to argue that the city could simply use market knowledge and renegotiate its leases. Hughes would even do it for free, he said.

Sanders left, but the new Mayor Bob Filner didn’t and they got closer.

(It was around that time I also met Hughes. He became a major donor to the Voice of San Diego and my wife had a job graphic designer and marketing for his company. In 2016, he helped our employees get a new hire in downtown, right across from 101 Ash. His last donation was in 2019, although his company helped us extend our option in the current office.)

Filner and Hughes were a dynamic couple. They delivered new rental contracts and planned a complete redesign of the city center on the weekends. Over and over we heard how Hughes, who worked for free, brought so much value to the city.

“I see this not only as a civic duty, but also as a way to protect the rest of my customers in the city center …”, he told reporters when he and Filner started new business. When Filner dropped out, new mayor Kevin Faulconer picked up where they left off.

Hughes began wooing many politicians, including Senator Ben Hueso and MP Lorena Gonzalez, who helped him keep track of new bills, one of which was successful in forcing commercial agents to disclose when they were both the landlord and the renter represented in a lease negotiation.

That was his advantage, that was his declaration of separation: he would only represent the tenant and never the landlord. Too often other brokers represented landlords and tenants at the same time. He, on the other hand, was the champion of the small business seeking space. The new law helped him to emphasize the point: he would not have to fill out this information because he was only representing tenants.

Faulconer brought Hughes on to his task force to find a new stadium for the Chargers – another unpaid gig – and then, in 2014, Faulconer put Hughes in one of the toughest situations.

Hundreds of city workers worked on the Civic Center Plaza across from City Hall. It housed most of the city’s lawyers. But the owner of the building wanted out of town, and the purchase negotiations were a mess. Hughes had to work. He got a company, Cisterra, to buy the building and immediately negotiate a lease with the city. He told the city that this was a more complex deal and that he would like to be paid.

But as far as the public knew, he was still voluntary. There was no financial disclosure that he would get any money from this new landlord while he was representing the town for free. The deal was spot on for the city. It didn’t have to Borrow trouble with moneywhich is difficult sometimes. It would have a building in a prime location within a few decades.

We learned on Monday that Cisterra paid Hughes a $ 5 million commission for helping them make this deal a reality.

We never would have expected it if it hadn’t been for 101 Ash Street, a completely different building. Hughes, who was still working with the mayor and still the public assumed he was a volunteer, began helping with another problem. Hundreds of city workers, mostly from development services, needed offices quickly.

Sempra had also vacated its long-standing headquarters next to the town hall. While it wasn’t great for Sempra, it was a big improvement for the city’s staff. Hughes began speaking to its owners, Sandy Shapery and Doug Manchester. But Manchester is a very controversial figure and a major financial backer of Faulconer’s political campaigns and the Republican Party. Buying a huge piece of land from him would have been a big political problem. Whether it was that or the price, the city staff couldn’t make a deal.

Hughes called Cisterra again. They worked out a similar deal. The city would avoid having to shop at Manchester and Shapery. It would avoid borrowing money. Cisterra would buy the building and the city would immediately lease it from Cisterra.

But soon after, Hughes had an argument with Faulconer. The city’s real estate agency has published a tender for construction management services. Hughes’ company was seen as a successful bidder.

However, city officials were concerned about conflicts of interest and asked the city attorney if Hughes could get the contract given his volunteer service. In January 2017, the city made a deal to acquire 101 Ash – and in May 2017, the city appeared ready to continue that deal with Hughes Marino – except that it did not include any work on 101 Ash.

Hughes was furious when he learned that 101 Ash was not part of the contract. He was so angry that he never signed the contract to possibly manage projects in other city facilities.

Other workers got the 101 Ash job and they somehow destroyed asbestos in the building. The city could not draw workers in. Eventually, Jeff McDonald of the Union-Tribune began calculating how much this was costing the city, and his story sparked discussions about the building and the trash. Eventually, the city called in workers to evacuate them immediately after the county air pollution control authorities said it was unsafe.

The scandal broke out. It became a big part of the mayor’s race when one candidate angered the other for signing the deal and then the other candidate slammed the first for signing the renovation. But the question arose again and again: why had the city signed the lease? And where was the money?

Our Lisa Halverstadt has started to put together the offers. She discovered that Hughes had notified the city that he wanted to be paid for the deal with the Civic Center Plaza. But the city stood firm that he had never given up on being paid. When Halverstadt started to summarize his role as architect on both deals, she asked him directly if he had been paid.

“I have too much respect for the principals of the 101 Ash Street transaction to discuss their dealings in the press, especially if those principals are involved in legal disputes, but you can be absolutely certain that I would not be in any transaction without a information required to do so. Any claim to the contrary would be defamatory. “

That’s not a no.

The city called in Hughes and others seeking an answer to the same question Halverstadt had asked. And just when we wanted to hear the results of it, Cisterra and Hughes decided to get the facts out. Yes, they said Hughes got paid, nearly $ 10 million total for both deals.

Why would they be so ready to admit it? Why should they in one day level the facade that had lasted eight years on which Hughes was doing volunteer civic service? It’s because the city try to unravel now both deals stem from the allegation that Hughes had a serious conflict of interest that void both agreements. It’s because they decided on their best defense. The only way to save the deal and maybe $ 24 million in clawbacks is to argue that the city knew Hughes was getting paid all along. Faulconer knew and signed it is their claim.

If that’s true, then Faulconer has been lying for years that his close associate, donor, and volunteer real estate advisor actually received nearly $ 10 million over many years without disclosing it in any way. Faulconer’s team deny they knew this.

Here’s a disturbing reality: we wouldn’t know about it if Hughes had managed to get the construction contract and not done the efforts to keep asbestos out of the air as badly as the city or its contractors.

He would have remained known as a volunteer for the city that few knew made nearly $ 10 million in his service. What we need to know now is whether the former mayor was one of them.

As America reopens, companies see an uptick in unhealthy conduct

The crime is over. The spirits are high.

Businesses across the United States are struggling with a staggering increase in the number of people who can only be described as “badly behaved”.

Retail workers have been subjected to horrific attacks because of their race, gender, or disability. Flight attendants were verbally – and occasionally physically – assaulted. Aggressive driving has resulted in road anger with fatal consequences. Buyers argue in the aisles.

Experts point to increasing stress levels as a trigger for the increase in this type of incident.

The not so friendly sky is skiing

In May, a Flight attendant to the Southwest Airlines would have two teeth knocked out by an angry passenger, according to the law enforcement officers who arrested the woman in San Diego. This was just one of the most recent examples of airlines grappling with an unprecedented onslaught of confrontation.

“We can say with confidence that the number of reports we have received in the past few months is significantly higher than in the past,” said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA is tracking incidents with problem passengers and says face mask related issues contributed to this.

Union officials have described the situation as an “epidemic of aggression and attack”.

Alcohol can also be a factor. Both southwest and American Airlines have decided not to resume the sale of alcohol on board now because of the unruly behavior.

Perpetual bans for NBA fans

NBA fans returning to the arenas are a welcome sight for the league, which has reportedly been the case $ 1.5 billion below sales expectations last season as the pandemic resulted in lost ticket sales. However, the return of fans has brought a number of new problems.

For example, there was a 21-year-old Celtics fan in Boston charged with attack and battery with a dangerous weapon after lifting a water bottle from Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s as he left the seat at TD Garden.

In New York, Atlanta Hawks watch Trae Young was spat on during a playoff game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. And Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook was showered with popcorn by a fan when he left the pitch with an injury.

“To be completely honest, this s — is getting out of hand. … The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans who just do whatever they want to do … it’s just out of pocket,” said Westbrook in a press conference after the game.

The league issued an explanation on recent behavior and has subsequently changed its fan code of conduct.

“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is important that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans,” the NBA said.

Many of the teams involved do not tolerate the bad behavior, Suspend rude fans indefinitely participate in future games.

“Something is going to happen to the wrong person and it’s not going to be good,” warned Portland star Damian Lillard.

Retailers are joining forces

It’s not just sports stadiums and arenas. The retail sector is also seeing an increase in bad behavior, often targeting employees. According to Emily May, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Recall!, retailers see an alarming rise in discrimination when ground staff is viewed as a target for identity in enforcing security measures.

“With the rise in hate violence – which is at an all-time high – frontline workers are more vulnerable than ever,” she said in a statement.

It’s gotten so bad that at least a dozen retailers are among them gap, Dick’s sporting goods and Sephora have teamed up to work on a campaign with the nonprofit Open to all.

“We are trying to create a movement where everyone comes together to promote the values ​​of inclusion and safety, where we can all be safe, accepted, and be who we are,” said director Calla Devlin Rongerude.

“We weren’t in the crowd, we haven’t negotiated rooms with lots of other people for a long time. I think we are no longer able to be human with one another, ”she added.

As part of the campaign, participating retailers will have access to a toolkit and other resources to support the frontline workers.

Grown men argue over Pokémon cards

“The safety of our guests and team members is our top priority,” Target said in a statement.

The retailer said Pokemon cards have since returned to the store, but customers are subject to a strict purchase limit of two packs per guest. Sales of MLB, NFL, and NBA trading cards are still limited to Target’s website.

Remember “the golden rule”

Whether it’s aggressive driving or temperament in restaurants, gas stations or little league games, the bad behavior is caused by a combination of factors, according to Thomas Plante, professor of psychology at the University of Santa Clara.

“We have a tsunami of mental health issues out there, with anxiety and depression,” Plante said, adding that our collective stress levels have never been higher.

People juggle multiple stressors, he said. Including: pandemic, death, illness, job loss, homeschooling children, isolation and other challenges. This frustration can lead to aggression.

There is also “observational learning,” said Plante, explaining that when people see bad behavior all around them, even from so-called role models, they are more likely to repeat it.

“People model the behavior of others, especially highly valued models like … well-known politicians,” said Plante. “People look at how they act, which was pretty bad, and they go and do it too.”

What will reverse the trend? Plante’s suggestion sounds like something you might hear from the pulpit or a parent: treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself.

“People have somehow got out of practice to behave in public and in a polite civil society,” said Plante.

The Golden Rule can help us get back on track.

Correction: This article has been updated to indicate that Ian Gregor is a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Why Hovering Shares May Be Unhealthy Information For The Financial system : Planet Cash : NPR

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the Planet Money newsletter. You can Login here.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Apple stock numbers will be displayed on a monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at the Opening Bell on August 13, 2019 in New York City.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

While there have been some ups and downs, the stock market has hit historic highs in recent years. For many, that’s good news: it’s a sign that the economy and their retirement accounts are doing really well. For Jan Eeckhout, however, the booming stock market is a sign that something is deeply wrong with the economy.

Sure, says the economist, he has a retirement account with stocks and he personally benefits from the ongoing bonanza on the stock markets. The rocket ride on the stock market, however, is being driven by the skyrocketing profits of increasingly powerful companies. Their increasingly ridiculous profits, he says, are eating up the incomes of the great mass of workers and damaging the economy as a whole. This term is the central thesis of his forthcoming book, The Profit Paradox: How Thriving Businesses Threaten the Future of Work.

There is a powerful force lurking behind Corporate America’s rising earnings and stock prices. Eeckhout argues that violence is one of the main reasons the typical American worker’s wages have fallen; why the share of employed persons has decreased significantly; why the share of employees in national income has decreased; and why startup growth has slowed over the past few decades. That force, he says, is the amazing growth in market power since 1980.

The amazing rise in market power

Market power – also known as monopoly power – is the ability of companies to generate high profits by valuing their products and services more than it costs to actually manufacture and provide them. It costs Apple less than $ 500 to make a high-end iPhone, but it charges consumers more than double that amount. Apple’s ability to do this is a sign that the company has great market power.

Investors love market power. Warren Buffett, for example, famous advises that people invest in companies that will benefit a lot. Companies with market power are money-makers, protected by machine guns and bazookas, and keep potential competitors at bay.

Market power often comes from real innovation, efficient business models, and creating things that consumers like. but it also has costs for society. These costs are outlined in classical monopoly theory. Without competition, companies can raise their prices to maximize profits. As the prices of products rise, many consumers cannot afford them, and so the monopoly company reduces what it produces and sells. And that means they need less manpower.

If this were just one company, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to the wider economy. But Eeckhout documents a staggering increase in market power in all industries since 1980. We’re not just talking about the usual suspects; Amazon, Google, Facebook and so on. We talk about everything from cat food manufacturers to Seller of caskets. More than half of all dry cat food in the United States is sold by one company. Almost 90 percent of mayonnaise in the US is sold by two companies. Airlines, social media, pacemakers, pharmaceuticals, energy, cars, home improvement – there are so many industries that are increasingly dominated by just a few companies.

The International Monetary Fund rang alarm bells in 2019 about the problem of growing market power (read) our newsletter about that). They examined nearly a million companies, focusing on one measure of market power: markups, which is the ratio of the price of products a company sells to the cost of production. The IMF found that premiums in advanced countries increased 8 percent between 2000 and 2015.

in the his own studyEeckhout and his colleagues, published in a top peer-reviewed journal, note that publicly traded companies’ premiums have tripled since 1980 and that dominant companies are much more profitable than they used to be. In 1980, the average profit rate of a listed company was only one to two percent of sales. Now they have profit percentages between seven and eight percent of sales. It’s a mind-boggling increase.

Eeckhout says he has nothing against profits per se. However, the excessive profits of so many companies come at the expense of the livelihood of ordinary workers. In the world of ubiquitous market power, workers don’t just have to pay higher prices for goods and services. They, says Eeckhout, also find it more difficult to get well-paid jobs. This is because higher prices for things mean lower demand for those things, which also means lower demand for workers who make or provide those things.

“Market power is so widespread today, from technology to textiles, that it lowers production and labor demand,” he writes. “Instead of creating jobs, market power means that profitability lowers wages and destroys work. That is the profit paradox.”

Why has market power increased?

Eeckhout blames two big factors for the rise in market power. The first is the government’s lax enforcement of competition. This includes the ability for companies to partner with and devour their competitors, as well as an overly generous patent system that grants lengthy monopoly rights on the sale of all types of devices and pills. Most of the lobbying in Washington is largely about protecting and expanding market power.

However, according to Eeckhout, the main story is about rapid technological change that is creating markets where all winners are represented and making it difficult for Davids to challenge the goalkeepers. Over the past four decades we have made tremendous advances in technology in computing, transportation, and communications. This has fueled the rise of global supply chains, big box retailers, search algorithms, and “network effects” platforms that add more value to companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook the more people use them. Smaller businesses are now struggling to amass the brand’s resources, expertise, and reputation to overcome the formidable barriers to entry it takes to compete with the big ones.

What should we do about it?

The simple answer is that the government is liquidating companies. However, Eeckhout emphasizes that many companies are still dominant because, due to their technologically advanced and well-run business, they often offer greater efficiency and better products. Sure, you can dissolve Google, but its search algorithm, which is the main source of income, actually works better the more people use it. A liquidation of the company could put consumers in a worse position.

Some companies have to be wound up, says Eeckhout. Others just need to be better regulated, however. One idea: a “reverse patent” system where companies like Google only have a limited amount of time to keep the data they collect private. The data is then freely available to competitors.

Another idea: a new federal competition agency modeled on the Federal Reserve. The main job of the Fed is to prevent inflation, and according to Eeckhout, the cost of market power is much higher than the cost of inflation ever before. Like the Fed, this new agency would be well staffed and with expanded powers that it can exercise independently of Congress and the President. Their main task would be to regulate monopolies and limit market power.

Eeckhout admits that dealing seriously with this issue will not make stock traders happy. Limiting market power and increasing competition would reduce corporate profits. This, in turn, would mean that companies would have lower share prices. Returning to the levels of competition we saw in the early 1980s, he writes, “Be prepared for a Dow Jones below 10,000 instead of 30,000.”

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’90 Day Fiancé: Fortunately Ever After?’: Dangerous Information Hits Onerous (RECAP) | Leisure Information

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? Season 6, Episode 3 “Forgiving Is Not Forgetting.”]

It’s been a rough week for the 90-day fiancé: Happily Ever After? Pairs, one that some leaves on shaky ground.

Brandon and Julia’s interview with Immigration does not go as planned, while Angela and Michael still disagree about their operations. Plus, Andrei will likely never get along with Elizabeth’s family. But who plans life without her husband (just in case)? Read on to find out what drama happened in the third episode of season 6.

Elizabeth and Andrei

As you will recall, Elizabeth’s family reunion didn’t go well over her husband Andrei’s entry into the family business – and there’s little chance he will sit down with her brother Charlie. (Andrei hasn’t forgotten Charlie’s toast, which he says ruined their second wedding anniversary, especially since the other man didn’t apologize.)

It’s pretty much going as expected, although we think things could have gotten worse since they met in a brewery of all places. Charlie admits that he indulged in too much vodka at the wedding and expressed his feelings at the wrong time, but he only feels bad when he’s disrespectful to Elizabeth, not Andrei. As for working in the family business, Andrei believes he can only work with Chuck, while Charlie says his father told him to show his brother-in-law the ropes. The only thing they can agree on is that both of them are involved in making money. The hatchet isn’t exactly buried.

Jovi and Yara

Jovi and Yara get used to parenting a four-year-old baby, and that means choosing the right diapers and buying fruit and vegetables (“I have lemonade,” he says, “it’s like fruit”). Another problem: he feels that his opinion needs to be taken into account while she thinks he is going to do stupid things. His mother Gwen comes over to help (and insists that her daughter has to be in a blanket, not one), and Yara doesn’t want her to tell her what to do.

This could become a problem if Jovi has to go to work in Guyana for two months and Yara cannot go home as planned to visit her family in Ukraine due to COVID and a lack of documentation. Gwen might be the only help Yara will have.

Angela and Michael

The evening before Angela’s weight loss surgery, her good friend JoJo comes to her hotel. She will be there to support her after the surgery and serve as another person telling her to stop smoking. (Angela doesn’t; she even smokes a cigarette the morning of the procedure.)

DC

What JoJo won’t do is talk to Michael about the breast reduction that Angela will do for her friend. Angela’s husband is not happy as she expected, but she knows that the risk of this second operation depends on the size of her breasts. She worries about what this will mean for their relationship, and she isn’t the only one.

Michael worries that other men will notice Angela’s new body after talking to his brother Yekini after the operation. If Michael can’t trust his wife, they shouldn’t be married, says Yekini.

On the way to her appointment, Angela calls her clairvoyant, who appeases her fears with a reading – and also tells her not to smoke. But she only feels better for so long; When she tries to reach her family, no one answers. And given the risks she faces in the surgeries, she’s upset that she can’t talk to them before she goes down.

DC

Kalani and Asuelu

Kalani’s sister Kolini comes and sees the “new” Asuelu. He tries to get along with his wife’s family and leave the past (like his and Kolini’s previously explosive confrontation) behind. But Kolini worries that he will come off a little wrong, and she’s not the only one. Kalani shares her concerns with her sister, but she tries to give her husband the benefit of the doubt.

It only gets worse when Kolini finds out they are planning to buy a house. Sure, it might help if they have their own space – he’s uncomfortable living with Kalani’s family – but she suggests they look into six-month leases. What if they don’t stay together? Asuelu doesn’t even want to hear about the possibility of a divorce. Kalani tells him that she’s good at moving out and having a space of her own when he’s really changed, but they won’t work if that isn’t the case.

Brandon and Julia

Brandon and Julia are preparing for what they hope to take as the final step in getting their green card: an interview. (She hasn’t quite let go of her dream of living in Las Vegas, either; she really hates the farm.) What he didn’t tell her is that she should have records that prove she lives with him, as her name is on a bill, but they don’t. Things get tense when she wonders if he’ll be coming to Russia with her if she doesn’t get her green card and he is reluctant to take that step.

90 days fiance happy until after Brandon Julia

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After the interview, they reveal that their application was not approved. It wasn’t denied either. There is a new document they may need, although the immigration officer doesn’t even know what it is. You will know in two weeks whether your application has been approved or whether you need to provide additional evidence.

Tiffany and Ronald

After this Cancellation of tickets for you and your children To visit Ronald in South Africa, Tiffany used the money on bail at her home so they could move out of her mother’s house. Fed up with putting him first and focused on her own happiness.

And if you ask her mother, Maggie, Tiffany won’t find that in her husband. That’s okay, she says to her daughter. Sometimes people are not meant to be. Tiffany refuses to give up yet, but having her own place gives her a backup plan. Will she need it?

90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After ?, Sundays, 8 / 7c, TLC (Fridays before premiere, Discovery +)

Like a Actual Veil, Like a Dangerous Analogy: Dissociative Type and Trans Aesthetics – Journal #117 April 2021

Am I even real? is a cringe question to begin with because, even as a rhetorical one, it doesn’t seem worth asking. Its cheap thrills, however, point to the fact that sometimes, your feelings are not valid. By “your feelings,” I mean, among others, mine when they don’t feel like mine. By “sometimes,” I mean a kind of frequency that is hard to tie to the level of the anecdotal or the structural. To say that some feelings are not valid, contrary to the assessment of pastel infographics, is not to say that they are really––unblurred by an edgy reading––something else. They are not valid in the sense that they, formally, do not pass as personal, not even to yourself.

We tell ourselves stories in order to live, but what if these stories are too pulpy? The word “dissociation” is increasingly used to describe episodes in which feeling doesn’t feel like feeling, in which it can’t sufficiently get across the effects of personhood on the one hand and reality on the other. In 1845, fifty years prior to the proper invention of dissociation as a distinct pathology, the psychiatrist Jean-Étienne-Dominique Esquirol paraphrases one of his patient’s experience of the world like this: “Objects do not come to me, they do not identify themselves with my being; a thick cloud, a veil changes the hue and aspect of objects.” Which is a lot. In its melodrama, it also resembles a kind of too-much-ness that sounds like ordinary life in a world in which social relations appear as a quality of things, though often out of focus (racial capitalism).

In more recent memes that name-check dissociation, we can see a veil that is not attached to objects but to the sketchy, literally cartoonish form of personhood: it is often surrounding anime or animated characters, mostly SpongeBob SquarePants, splitting them up into doppelgängers, as if they’re frozen in movement, casually detached from the animation that is surrounding them in time and space. In another version of this meme, however, SpongeBob has created a real rainbow with his bare hands, captioned as, in the detached tonality of all-caps, DISSOCIATION.

In the affective zone between vibe and (self-)diagnosis, dissociation has become one of the concepts describing complications in linking personal experience to the social world. On this side of a more straightforward pathologization, dissociation is described as something that you realize you’re doing during sex, on ketamine, or while trying to remember a childhood. It gets applied to a wide range of situations, from slightly vague episodes deep within the everyday to a blur of threateningly biographic shape.

A relatively paradoxical form sets these accounts apart from some other allegedly contemporary feelings: within sentimental genres from the niche meme to the feminist long-read, they manifest an intense lack of intensity—or at least, a lack of a kind of intensity that would indicate significance, presence, or coherence. In this applied use, dissociation—not unlike alienation—functions to make relatable where relation isn’t recognizable as relation, especially to the ones who are in the middle of it, overwhelmed.

Which is most of us. The veil feels normal. If everyone knows what it feels like to not feel like yourself, where does it become a problem only some have? The impossibility of scaling dissociation down to such an evaluation, even on the spectrum of pathologization, seems to be part of the missing link. If there is a dissociation mini-trend, then I would suggest it is not a phenomenon from which it is possible to retrieve a new, or bad, or queer feeling with a particularly valuable relationship to “the” contemporary. Dissociation is an archive of not feeling it.

Here I want to trace how people, mostly trans people, navigate the shattering and clouding that dissociative language describes as a real layer of life—as it is mediated by anesthetics (not limited to ketamine), and by extension, aesthetics. However, I do not think that the weak descriptor “trans” in itself touches on a distinctly severe or particularly expert variety of dissociation. As Oren Gozlan writes, “If gender functions as a veil for the constitutive instability of the subject split by her unconscious, it can be argued that every gender disposition carries a kernel of helplessness, anxiety, and guilt, and therefore it is susceptible to dissociation, splitting, and idealization.” Gender itself functions as a veil, one would have to polemically add, for the operations of racialization and capital.

If am I even real? is one of the cheap catchphrases of dissociative style, it has a particular place in both the internal monologues of gendered imposter syndrome and transphobic hate speech. When being trans is constantly transposed to the tonality of sentimental debatability and scientific diagnosis, am I even real? is not just a rhetorical and/or pathological question. It can describe social abstractions that are both part of life and hovering outside of it, blocking access to it. The veil, in this sense, is real. It also hides certain struggles (also real) from others: it is a clichéd veil of loneliness for some but is life-threatening for others. Trans and dissociation both seem like concepts that are most useful in distinguishing a set of situations in their divergence, not necessarily where they overlap or have proximity to each other.

Being good at keeping one’s distance, at zoning out in the right moments, is a crucial technique for hanging out—but how does one get better at it? How do you develop it as a style? As Charlie Markbreiter has put it: “How to wield dissociation so that it makes you more collectively-minded and not less?” This is a particularly nontrivial question. Clinical literature often describes the blur of dissociation as a defense that turns into a “collapse of relationality—both intra- and interpersonal.” The absent-mindedness I’m following around here, however, often can’t afford such climactic characterization, as it is involved in figuring out forms of not being alone that are too precarious to break down. Improvising a convoluted collectivity in this way might or might not amount to the kind of world-building that Lauren Berlant, if I remember a 2017 talk correctly, has called a “dissociative poetics.”

When something terrifying happened in front of my eyes two years ago, I wasn’t shocked by how I didn’t feel anything but by how normal not feeling felt. “But isn’t that also part of the trans magic?” a friend offered over coffee. Then we went to join a protest for trans rights in front of the US embassy in Berlin-Mitte, even if we both didn’t really feel it, though we did meet friends. Now I imagine this kind of magic to be the slightly underwhelming cheap trick of letting something disappear, and even though everyone feels as if they know it hasn’t, the trick still works, every time.

Then we went to join a protest for trans rights in front of the US embassy in Berlin-Mitte, even if we both didn’t really feel it, though we did meet friends. Now I imagine this kind of magic to be the slightly underwhelming cheap trick of letting something disappear, and even though everyone feels as if they know it hasn‘t, the trick still works, every time.

Dissociative Symptoms: The Bad Style of Pathologization

In clinical psychology, too, in trauma-based, interrelational, psychoanalytic, and other models, dissociation seems to be an attractive concept not despite but because of its vagueness. Dissociative symptoms are described from the therapy-talk truism to the case study labelled as “severe.” They are often first explained as ordinary or even structural mental processes with which one adapts to the inherent too-much-ness of the social, including where it’s internalized—muffling it by keeping certain modes and parts of knowing, feeling, thinking at a distance from each other. In this “normal” sense, dissociation seems to be one way to describe everything that’s rounding off the messiness of relations to a relatively functional fantasy of being involved.

Clinically observed at the other end of what is almost always flattened to a spectrum are cases in which this tips over to what the DSM-V classifies as “dissociative disorder.” One popular idea seems to be that one initially dissociates as a way of zoning out of the traumatic aspects of a relationship in order to not be overwhelmed, and then staying that way. In Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder (and many things before that), this splitting then is said to manifest as parts and selves oscillating between me and not-me. This “shattering” is often observed along not only lines of sex and gender, but of class, age, and race, too. Depersonalization-derealization disorder, on the other hand, hyphenates other kinds of detachment, from the world, feelings, self, body, everyone you love, etc.

As condensed into self-help talk, the description of dissociative symptoms that evade rigid categorization often invokes feeling trapped in the wrong body. Or, as if on the wrong end of a similarly difficult analogy: behind a glass wall, in a movie, dream, or cloud. If one of the great inventors of dissociation, late-nineteenth-century psychiatrist Pierre Janet, has described dissociation as the inability to tell a coherent story about oneself, it is little surprise that the style in which its symptoms appear is often kind of bad.

It might not feel like a movie, if it did not feel too much like a movie, overdone. “Dissociative style” comes across as over-aestheticizing, but to anaesthetizing effect. It demands too much emotional performance while doing too little to elicit it. The connections and parallels that dissociative style draws, also the doodles, are unmotivated. “The most common dissociative intrusions include hearing voices, depersonalization, derealization, ‘made’ thoughts, ‘made’ urges, ‘made’ desires, ‘made’ emotions, and ‘made’ actions.” Here the social form-ness of feeling shines through.

The diagnosis of dissociation is in itself a judgment of affective capacity. It’s an evaluation that a given patient (or person) could potentially learn to be more competent at feeling, which is feeling real, present, and personal. As Abby Stein has pointed out, those who are non-allegorically but literally incarcerated, even when meeting criteria that are in themselves highly biased against them, are often not attributed either the diagnosis of a dissociative disorder and its treatment nor, by extension, the benefit of the doubt of “just not having been themselves” that does legal wonders for some. From infographics to new materialisms, feelings are often presented as unified in form and universal in distribution. Even if squidgy, affect is a resource that everyone has relatively equal access to—if they would just lean into it! Again, it would be to underestimate dissociative symptoms and the style derived from them to reduce them to failing at this sentimental chore.

The problem of dissociative style points to the social abstractions that are blurring the background: Kyla Schuller shows in The Biopolitics of Feeling that affective capacity—the capacity to affect and be affected—is not commonly shared, but assigned, split, and kept apart by regimes of racialization and sex difference. Whether one feels as if they are real enough or whether others feel as if they are real enough indexes real evaluations that appear as social relations. In this sense, the performance of showing off intense relationality, as it manifests in demands from radical vulnerability to vibrant matter, often also gets caught up in the aesthetics of the virtuousness of white feelings.

Dissociated Episode: The Soap Opera of Good Sex

The aesthetics of gender dysphoria, too, are sentimental. Even where it is transposed to an emphasis on euphoria or a universal condition of female fucked-ness, dysphoria entangles the possibility of self-knowledge with feeling intense. Mostly, dysphoria is still coded as a particular way of feeling intense—not fucking and being high, but rather respectable suffering. In a very few parts of the world the medicalization of transition has shifted from the spectral model of the invert, via the singular model of the identity disorder, to a model of gender dysphoria that is supposedly more in touch. In those situations there is now a wider range of anecdotes that one can dish out to doctors (or memoir publishing houses). Getting what you want from having feelings (a prescription; a pronoun) is related to tone-matching the genre conventions of dysphoria.

Some trans activists have argued that gender dysphoria should be considered in the treatment of dissociative symptoms, as a possible cause. It might seem cheap, to turn this hierarchy on its head and instead suggest dysphoria as one particular style of dissociation. Transition can be about wanting to feel better, or hotter, or worse but differently worse, but it is also, on a more fundamental level, about changing how life relates to its own story-ness. Without ignoring the limitations of dissociation, where it problematizes the immediacy of feeling, it also nudges the discourse of transition towards its social, or socially awkward, dimension.

Like in sex! Sex can be one of the scenes in which the unfeeling of embodiment steals out of isolation. In Torrey Peters’s novel Detransition, Baby, however, it is dissociation, clocked under this name, that both hides and contains the possibility of sex that is good in itself and also related to at least “some kind of redemption.” When Amy, one of three main protagonists, suddenly goes internally AWOL during sex, the narration follows the trajectory of her episode, to sex as well as gender scenes of her partly pre-transition past. Ones in which her acute absentmindedness can’t be told apart from having fantasies. Fugue-like states almost, filled with dreams of switching positions, cross-dressing, being someone else, that, in the precise multi-edgedness of fantasizing, will have turned out to be more than that while also, in the moment, actually keeping Amy from acknowledging them.

At the end of the story, after her transition, this form of dissociation is a guard that Amy is capable of letting down, at least for a while. “For Amy it was the first time she saw herself fucking as a woman without laying a psychic veil over whatever sexual scene was occurring.” Going somewhere in your mind is of course not just a pre-transition move, or sex-negative self-state. What sets these kinds of being in a fog apart from other kinds of feeling bad, including dysphoria, is that they are also immensely desirable in themselves. Losing a sense of self in one specific way instead of another can be something you want from gendered life, too. Jamie Hood talks about “the sexualization of dissociation” that she terms “fucking like a housewife”—alluding to the depersonalization that heterosexuality, specifically, is so good at edging on.

But back to Detransition, Baby:

“Baby, why are you crying?” Reese had asked. Because some combination of hormones and poppers had made possible the sex that Amy had given up on. The poppers made her too dumb to flee into herself, to send herself somewhere. So there she was with Reese. Not off elsewhere working to see herself as a woman when she lay on top of a woman, or replacing a man with someone else while he lay on top of her. She simply was a woman present with a woman. It felt like some kind of healing, some kind of redemption.

This breakthrough to intimacy that tautologically feels like intimacy is neither separable from nor reducible to some ratio of anesthetics (poppers, in this case) and transition. It is also held by the woman that Amy is sleeping, then crying with. Reese, who is also trans, has dated and fucked trans women for longer time and is seemingly capable of seeing Amy. Which also means seeing through parts of her, but like, “casually.”

A casualness, fermented in trans relationships that can be fucked up, can be saving and also boring (which is to say normal), making possible the trust exercise of leaning into relation without falling into where category is threatening. To break down dissociation in this scene is then not just getting better at being yourself and present, at wanting—although here, it might well be that, and it seems fun. Neither is it just submitting more to not being yourself. To dumb oneself down into being present hinges on an environment where the related/non-relatedness of sexual intimacy is held by a sociality that in turn holds the immediately personal by extending it.

If all this sounds melodramatic that is because it really is. Torrey Peters has said that initially, the project of writing Detransition, Baby was to address specific trans issues within the framework of a soap opera, a genre characterized by a cheap and sentimental gloss. Counterintuitively, there seems to be something about the complexity of trans life that the novel wants to figure out, including dissociation, that is only appropriately captured under a soapy film. In this scene, on that day, sex is good again, actually. This is not an allegory. But the possibility of fucking through and working around alienation and/or dissociation is itself noncoherent to the point of sometimes feeling unearned, cheap, too much. It is also real. In this scene, to take dissociation seriously means to commit both to the possibility of overcoming some of its parts while making it an art to deal with others. Dissociative virtuosity then, I think, includes both managing and submitting to—so power-bottoming for?—something like noncoherence, while neither romanticizing nor vilifying what’s noncoherent about it.



Elif Saydam, selfing, 2020. Detail. Courtesy of Elif Saydam.

Dissociative Style: Afterwork Non Sequitur

Dissociation does not only take shape as a relatively distinct episode one is able to leave behind by being melodramatic—or not. Skillfully abstracted away from experience, it can also become its own style. A style in which the fact that there are parts which don’t seem reconcilable indicates neither romanticist fragmentation nor pseudo-deconstructive relativism. Their non-integration is not reduced to a formal gesture but becomes a formal infrastructure in its own way—that can hold, for example, the beautiful and the analytic, in their disparity, without collapsing one into the other or approximating them in a collage.

I think of dissociative style as the poetics that shine through a Juliana Huxtable DJ set. When she plays two or more tracks at the same time, that doesn’t mean they are being mixed, even if they match. They drown and sound out each other from a distance. Dissociative style is riffing on form itself, that is, “the nonviolent synthesis of the diffuse that nevertheless preserves it as what it is in its divergences and contradictions, and for this reason form is actually unfolding a truth,” but going down this spiral even further, and tending to the violence in nonviolence.

At the same time it is also spiraling further into this negativity, tending to, e.g., the violence in nonviolence. One thing that often seems to shift into view, in this way, is a violently depersonalized relation: work, but mostly its absurdity. In one of Huxtable’s poems that is called “WORKING,” we follow a lyrical subject waking up not at home and making her way to work from there, in the tonality of the all-caps flat affect that permeates Huxtable’s poetry. The odyssey to collect “ENOUGH OF MYSELF” plus an outfit, navigating a hangover-veiled New York, culminates in the absurdity that work didn’t really need her that day: “AND FINALLY SAT DOWN AT MY COMPUTER ONLY TO REALIZE NO ONE WAS IN THE OFFICE TODAY AND I HADN’T RECEIVED A SINGLE EMAIL. WELCOME TO SUMMER.” Sometimes, dissociative style feels gimmick-y in the sense that Sianne Ngai has outlined: it seems to have comically bad timing in catching up with its supposed significance, or value. It’s running late for work, or worse, early.

In a different vernacular, Nora Fulton’s poem “suqu” opens with the description of a closing shift, the contradictions of which have infested the modality of description itself, as a pun: “I was working at the franchise I’ve never worked at.” She, perhaps almost a lyrical subject, is just about to close up shop as two other trans girls text her that they can relate to “suqu,” a term that the almost-lyrical subject can’t remember ever coming up with. “I love them both, but we have little in common in terms of our transness, so suqu couldn’t have to do with that.” She then drives home—through mist, naturally—to arrive at a party at her apartment that seems similarly blurry:

The light music and soft clamour of people was all around me, and the rent was due. I stood the long flat black box upright below the slatted window. The people who were and weren’t there totally accepted my presence, welcomed me, but I was distracted. I tried to think of everything I’d said to ____ and ____—in that strange form of trans temporality both of them are much younger than me, but having transitioned earlier, also much older—and I couldn’t remember coming up with some nonce term like suqu to describe something that, years later, would probably seem like the most obvious and oft-restated component of a world that was, at the point when I had coined it, more unknown than I knew, and deserved a term that constituted more than the entirety of my descriptive capabilities. I was sure I hadn’t coined it and would never coin it. As soon as I woke up the next morning I searched the word and could find nothing; or rather, I found any number of irrelevant meanings, because language rarely helps. I wanted to go back to sleep, but couldn’t, and then could.

Because the word “trans” is a weak descriptor most useful in only loosely relating one situation to another, the kind of sociality it invites often feels particularly crunchy. Fulton’s “suqu” formalizes how the challenge of being trans, but with others, is mediated by a virtuosity in keeping several forms of temporality and knowledge apart. A kind of virtuosity that is vibrating in the only slightly less negative sentence structure of viral tweets à la just because x is y, doesn’t mean that z. Just because someone, in non-trans temporality, is younger than you, that doesn’t mean that, in trans temporality, they are not also older. This is not just funny because it satirizes a detached mind game that online teenagers play but it is also funny because it is true. Trans discourse dissociates, too, in that it speaks to a rapidly shifting taxonomy that sometimes indexes an actually existing infrastructure, and at the same time to anti-trans violence that just persists in undoing its groundwork.

The distracting attempt to remember a possible common ground is framed by the end of the workday at the beginning of the poem and then at the end, a kind of sleep that might be more than just reproductive. “The light music and soft clamour of people was all around me, and the rent was due.” From the smudginess of collectivity suddenly, connected via non sequitur, the deadline of property emerges. On the other hand, the “and” syndeton places party and money almost side by side. Constellated in this way, value shows up as something that is derived from and informs social relations, but is also separate, as its own thing. An applied formalism of noncoherency makes it possible to carefully depersonalize narrative so that it can intertwine these two levels of analysis, and life, in their disparity.

Coda

Trans life is clouded and sparkling with a veil of unreality that can be as cheesy as it can be deadly. This veil is real as it is abstracted away from the “assumption that trans women’s very existence means something outside itself,” as Emma Heaney puts it. The figure of the trans woman supposedly encapsulates a kind of dissociated knowledge that is knowledge not for her but for other people: writers, doctors, and queer theorists, for instance. Heaney shows how a specific transfeminine experience becomes the go-to allegory for the writer’s alienation, both from oneself and society. The transfeminine experience is “read as mere allegory and reduced at the same time to the too literal,” as Jules Gill-Peterson writes. Value is extracted from it, even if it appears as sentimental value, or diagnostic value. If dissociation can be the name of a process that slows down or even freezes the imaging processes of metaphor and that precede this valorization, it is no surprise that it pops up in proximity to this emotional overload.

What does it take to move away from over-stylized readings resembling this transfeminine allegory, e.g., as Grace Lavery puts it, “descriptions of trans as instability, fuckery, or interstitiality that reduce such ontologies to intellectual or aesthetic patterns”? And how can we at the same time not assume trans experience as something that only appears in the tonality of self-recognition and sincerity? Counterintuitively perhaps, the refinement of a style of analysis that is more scaled to life might include a commitment to the bad analogy, as it points to the anesthetic patterns that are clearly structuring it, too, if painfully or blissfully.

To take noncoherency seriously as an elaborate style, rather than kitsching it down to a constitutive lack or campy gesture, might ultimately hint at a way of describing the complex relationship of gender to value—while facing the challenge that Kay Gabriel has so brilliantly formulated: “to think capital’s instrumentalisation of gender without reducing the latter to the former as epiphenomenon or, indeed, a handmaiden.” After all, as Ngai puts it, sometimes an “abuse of logic … is required to show how the basic relations and operations of capital work.”

Weirdly enough, if sometimes dissociation fills in as a word for alienation, where we can wield it collectively, it can also become a word for the messiness of relating that works in our favor. As The Faggots and Friends Between Their Revolutions reminds us, “WEAK LINKS IN THE CHAIN ARE LINKS IN THE CHAIN.” There is a dissociative tension that vibrates in those social relations that make “an association of free people” both more imaginable and also more unimaginable, in the gossipy way, in the sense that they blur what we thought we knew about what feeling real feels like.

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Maxi Wallenhorst is a writer living in Berlin. Recent texts have appeared in Texte zur Kunst and The Interjection Calendar from Montez Press.

© 2021 e-flux and the author

To Fight Central America’s Unhealthy Governance, Biden Can’t Simply Throw Cash on the Downside

President Joe Biden faces a dilemma: To curb the exodus of migrants from Central America, the must Systems of governance of these countries need a thorough overhaul, which will cost a lot of money. Just pouring money into countries with corrupt administrations, legislatures, judicial authorities and elites will mean little more than refilling a leaky bucket. In Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, the past four years have seen earlier successes and the challenges of working against impunity and corruption are growing. Although countries have different dynamics and schedules, they were all setbacks.

Under the circumstances, the $ 4 billion Biden pledged to improve the lives of Central Americans must be carefully managed so as not to simply get dragged into the kleptocracy machine. It’s not just about prioritizing governance, it’s also about doing it intelligently. That requires a detailed approach. The Biden administration is already signal The aim is to pass the funds on to reliable partners and to demand transparency in accounting and progress in the fight against corruption. Members of Congress are asking for the same. A few concrete measures could immediately help restore a solid foundation.

A few years ago, hybrid international state mechanisms to strengthen the prosecution were celebrated for their obvious successes. The most ambitious and successful, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), resulted in more than 400 criminal convictions, including heads of state, lawmakers, judges and executives, over a period of 11 years, and dismantled around 70 criminal networks (see previous Just Security coverage). Honduras MACCIH (Mission to Support Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras) has managed, over its much shorter lifespan, to set up a vetted anti-corruption prosecutor and investigate a number of high profile cases. The newest and weakest of these mechanisms is the International Commission against Corruption and Impunity (CICIES) in The saviourworks there with the public prosecutor’s office on fraud related to Covid, among other things.

But much of that progress has been reversed under the Trump administration, and Biden cannot turn back the clock. While innovative mechanisms such as CICIG created opportunities, created victories and stimulated changes in criminal proceedings, the constellation of factors that made these ad hoc mechanisms possible is very unlikely to repeat itself. All depend on legislative and judicial approval and the political will of the executive, and none of this is likely to come from governments controlled by the same old corrupt forces (or, in El Salvador, by new authoritarian forces with little appetite for the outside world) Control). . A regional mechanism will face the same headwinds, although support from other countries in the region could potentially make it more profitable.

Use US aid

However, there is a way to leverage the vital work of these mechanisms: states must implement the recommendations of the CICIG, MACCIH, and CICIES as a condition of receiving US funding. All three mechanisms that have been left behind (or are still being created in El Salvador) are preparing extensive reform proposals to improve anti-corruption and impunity work. In the case of Guatemala, CICIG proposed far-reaching reforms to the judicial selection process. She proposed other key reforms to improve access to justice, minimize malicious law enforcement and delay tactics, professionalize the judiciary, and separate the judiciary from administrative duties. These were never implemented. MACCIH has also left a roadmap for the reforms needed and CICIES has started recommending changes in several areas.

In all three cases, victims’ access to justice was a key to the reforms, however was hemmed in by courtsespecially in cases of corruption. Corrupt officials are trying to close the cases left by CICIG and MACCIH without further investigation. The US Congress and the Biden administration should insist on a roadmap, timeline, and milestones for the proposed reforms, as well as monitoring the remaining CICIG and MACCIH files to determine how and when funds will be disbursed.

Biden has said He will ask the US Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors to work with their local counterparts in the region. But simply teaching better technical skills is not what prosecutors need. In all three countries, crusade attorneys general have been replaced by those not interested in taking over powerful state and elite private interests (with the partial and likely temporary exception of Raúl Melara in El Salvador). It is the specific units within these offices, such as the FECI (anti-corruption) or the human rights criminal units in Guatemala and the UFERCO anti-corruption unit in Honduras, that need direct support – political, security and diplomatic even more than technical and financially. All funds for these units must be protected from leakage through other parts of the AG offices as the United States also works to move these offices to be more efficient and honest.

Rule of law judges are becoming an endangered species in the region. In every country these judges are attacked. Anti-impunity judges at Guatemala’s Constitutional Court have faced constant threats of impeachment and worse, and the current judicial selection process has already continued to exert undue influence. Guatemala has set up high-risk judicial processes for corruption, organized crime and human rights cases, partly with the help of CICIG, but left the judges against impunity in that court exposed to constant harassment, even threats, tried law enforcement and lockdown. In El Salvador there were attempts to remove the judge in the El Mozote massacre (what I discussed here) out of the case, and these types of maneuvers can be expected when the criminal proceedings are only inches forward. Biden could expressly support these judges and make non-interference in their cases an indispensable requirement for any support.

Dissolve coalitions of the corrupt

As others have suggested, the anti-transplant penalties are the Angel list and the Global Magnitsky Act should be used strategically to break apart and weaken coalitions of the corrupt. This would open up opportunities for legislative changes (including campaign funding reform) and for the emergence of new clean hands political forces.

In order to achieve this, the United States would have to redefine its overarching goal from the temporal pursuit of regional stability at any cost. During the Obama years, a narrow definition of stability did not serve the United States well. This led, for example, to the decision to support the 2009 coup in Honduras, which paved the way for the current corrupt and criminal regime. In 2015, amid massive popular protests in Guatemala and the resignation of the President and Vice-President over allegations of corruption, the United States insisted on maintaining the election calendar until electoral funding and administration could be cleaned up, despite widespread calls for a postponement. The result was Jimmy Morales, whose attempt to hide his illegal campaign funding and his family’s corruption led to the overthrow of CICIG. President Biden, who was close to these decisions, should learn from them. Sustainable stability requires a different US approach.

After all, greatly expanded resources without strict accountability will only backfire. It’s not just that money shouldn’t be given directly to corrupt leaders and ministries. Even private and civil society groups should be screened for authenticity, leadership and local reputation. Organized crime and other corrupt forces are known to form their own civil society groups to obtain and divert funds, and local elites have long been involved in corrupt schemes.

It is especially important that USAID funds, including public-private partnerships in areas where corruption has flourished (such as health, housing, energy and infrastructure), are carefully monitored and partners are vetted before any money is paid out. There are groups in the US and across the region who can provide information about the makeup of corruption networks, who is who, and whether recipients are known for their honesty.

Whistleblowers and local communities affected by projects (or a corrupt diversion of funds) must have easy access to financial and social accountability mechanisms within USAID and other US agencies. Such protective measures extend the project design and implementation. But in the long run it will give hard-won US dollars the best chance of actually reaching the people in the region in order to create the conditions they need for a life worth living that they do not want or have to leave.

BILD: A doctor wearing a mask with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez takes part in an anti-corruption protest in Tegucigalpa on September 11, 2020 amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP via Getty Images)

Good Threat, Dangerous Threat: Cramer’s ‘Mad Cash’ Recap (Monday 2/1/21)

Forget about the “glowing” stocks like GameStop (GME) – Get the reportJim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers on Monday how many options individual investors still have to make money on the stock market without buying into the Reddit madness.

Cramer said that it is always worth going back to fundamentals in volatile markets. For example, this week we learned that there is a huge shortage of semiconductors. This is great news for stocks like Lam Research (LRCX) – Get the report, Applied Materials (AMAT) – Get the report and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) . The semiconductor bull market joins the bull market in e-commerce, which is much bigger than just our economy staying at home. That’s why Cramer continued to recommend Amazon (AMZN) – Get the report, Aim (TGT) – Get the report and Shopify (BUSINESS) – Get the report, among other.

There are many long-term issues in technology, from digitization to cybersecurity to 5G wireless vehicles, electric vehicles, clean energy and remote working. In each of these categories there are clear winners from Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) – Get the report and Tesla (TSLA) – Get the report Zoom video (ZM) – Get the report.

Outside of technology, there are more options. Cramer said when the economy reopens he will like Walt Disney Co. (DIS) – Get the report and Boeing (BA) – Get the report. He was also bullish about real estate with stocks like Lennar (LEN) – Get the report and Home Depot (HD) – Get the report. China continues to be strong and Cramer would play that theme with Apple (AAPL) – Get the report and Starbucks (SBUX) – Get the report.

So forget about the glowing Reddit stocks. They pose no systemic risk to the markets, Cramer concluded, only to the traders who buy into these sky-high valuations.

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Executive decision: Thermo Fisher Scientific

In his first “Executive Decision” segment, Cramer spoke to Marc Casper, Chairman, President and CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) – Get the report, the life science company that helps drug makers and testing companies fight COVID-19. Thermo Fisher posted 51% organic growth for the quarter, causing its shares to gain 1.1% at close of trading.

Casper stated that Thermo Fisher is a global leader in equipment and accessories for the life sciences. The company was ready to help the world meet the COVID challenge. Thermo Fisher helped develop COVID tests and now supports hundreds of millions of COVID tests around the world. Casper said the need for a diagnosis around COVID will remain in the years to come as doctors need new tests to evaluate patients.

When asked about the role science will play in the future, Casper said that there is no doubt that science is vital, be it in life sciences, climate change or any other important topic. He assumes that the funding and discovery of science will only increase as we learn about our new challenges.

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At the time of publication, Cramers Action Alerts PLUS held a position in DIS, AMZN, AAPL, SBUX.