Links 12/1/2020

‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’ rock art discovered in remote Amazon forest Guardian

Even razor clams on sparsely populated Olympic Coast can’t escape plastics, study finds (DL).

Megalodons, the Ocean’s Most Ferocious Prehistoric Predators, Raised Their Young in Nurseries Smithsonian

Watchdog suspects EY knew it issued ‘factually inaccurate’ Wirecard audit FT

Bank of America latest to say no to financing Arctic drilling Agence France Presse

The Race To Crack Battery Recycling—Before It’s Too Late Wired (Re Silc).


‘Digital Covid Passport’ Linked to Vaccine Could Revive Travel Independent. “Such a system would presumably require a global database accessible by thousands of interested parties, raising questions on privacy.”

Airlines and the conflict of vaccine visions Izabella Kaminska, FT. Well worth a read.

Americans are choosing death over deprivation The Week (Re Silc). I’m in sympathy with the messaging. But exactly the same stance was taken on condom usage during the AIDS epidemic. This messaging didn’t work then, and it’s not working now. So why double down on it?

* * *

FAA confirms first ‘mass air shipment’ of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from Belgium as US preps for distribution USA Today. I’ve gotta say this breathless horserace-style coverage is making me a little queasy. Am I right in thinking that not only do we not have EUAs for either mRNA vaccine, we have seen only press releases, and there is no public data, let alone anything peer-reviewed? Surely it’s possible to hustle up the lame ducks in medical publishing, and get the data and the peer reviewed results out there? Science may be popping, but bubbles pop, too.

Divisions emerge among U.S. officials over when first Covid-19 vaccine doses will be available — and for whom STAT. For whom? As I keep saying, all Federal electeds (Congress, the President) and all political appointees. That should concentrate their minds.

Moderna applies for FDA authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine CNN

AstraZeneca nears temporary OK for COVID-19 vaccine, plots extra trial Fierce Biotech

Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines CDC

The Race to Make Vials for Coronavirus Vaccines The New Yorker

* * *

The Pandemic Heroes Who Gave us the Gift of Time and Gift of Information Zeynep Tufecki, Insight

Coronavirus Was In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known, Study Says NPR. Some sparks just die out….

Excess Patient Visits for Cough and Pulmonary Disease at a Large US Health System in the Months Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Time-Series Analysis (PDF) Journal of Medical Internet Research. From the Abstract: “Results: The percentage of patients presenting with an EHR reason for visit containing the word “cough” to clinics exceeded the 95% prediction interval the week of December 22, 2019, and was consistently above the 95% prediction interval all 10 weeks through the end of February 2020. Similar trends were noted for emergency department visits and hospitalizations starting December 22, 2019, where observed data exceeded the 95% prediction interval in 6 and 7 of the 10 weeks, respectively. Conclusions: A significantly higher number of patients with respiratory complaints and diseases starting in late December 2019 and continuing through February 2020 suggests community spread of SARS-CoV-2 prior to established clinical awareness and testing capabilities.”

The Wuhan files CNN

* * *

Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost Nine of Ten COVID-19 Deaths: Time to Act. Comment on: “Vitamin D Deficiency and Outcome of COVID-19 Patients”. Nutrients. From the Abstract: “Evidence from observational studies is accumulating, suggesting that the majority of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 infections are statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be prevented by vitamin D supplementation. Given the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, rational vitamin D supplementation whose safety has been proven in an extensive body of research should be promoted and initiated to limit the toll of the pandemic even before the final proof of efficacy in preventing COVID-19 deaths by randomized trials.” Hmm…. Readers?

The Double Burden of Respiratory NCDs and Air Pollution Being Well (nvl). See also.

* * *

The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: An Ongoing Failure of Governance Mike the Mad Biologist


China state-owned group caught in default storm owes banks billions FT

How property-hungry Chinese millennials and shadow banking could fuel a financial crisis South China Morning Post

Democracy darkens: Hong Kong activists reel from Chinese moves Reuters

Bamboo: Eco-Friendly Fabric or Environmental Disaster? Euronews

The Koreas

Elder Poverty and Subsistence-Labor The Blue Roof


Iran opposition suspected alongside Israel in scientist’s killing, Shamkani says Reuters

Iran Has a Range of Options to Retaliate Against Israel After Assassination Haaretz

Why Iran Is Getting the Bomb Tablet

Pentagon Says UAE Funding Russia’s Shadowy Mercenaries in Libya Foreign Policy. I guess that makes Neera Tanden a “shadowy mercenary” too? Seems about right…


Boris Johnson’s Covid tiers plans hang by a thread as Keir Starmer orders Labour to ABSTAIN in Commons vote leaving PM at the mercy of up to 100 rebellious Tory backbenchers Daily Mail

Covid: Confusion as Gove denies vaccines will be compulsory for pubs and entertainment venues Independent

France’s ruling parties agree to ‘total rewrite’ of controversial ‘Article 24’ security measure Euronews

Germany bans far-right group ‘Sturmbrigade 44’ Deutsche Welle

Wealth Gap Widens as Pandemic Hits Russia’s Poorest Regions Hard Bloomberg. So what’s not to like?

The Beautiful, Dumb Dream of McDonald’s Peace Theory Foreign Policy

New Cold War

A Successful U.S. Missile Intercept Ends the Era of Nuclear Stability Bloomberg

Biden’s Immediate Agenda Items Arms Control Wonk. Important.

Time for Moscow to Move On and Stop Thinking So Much About Washington Moscow Times

Trump Transition

U.S. coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns Reuters


Donald Trump: how COVID-19 killed his hope of re-election – new research The Conversation

Online Anti-Vax Communities Have Become A Pipeline For QAnon Radicalization HuffPo

Biden Transition

Top secret: Biden gets access to President’s Daily Brief AP. Not to be nihilist, but the PDB only started in the Kennedy administration (June 17, 1961, a month after the Bay of Pigs). We haven’t won a war since…

Biden names liberal econ team as pandemic threatens workers AP. “‘They are intellectual liberals, but not burn-it-all-down socialists,’ said Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an adviser to Sen. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. ‘They’re fairly conventional liberal economists and experts.'”

‘We believe in ensuring that we have fiscal sanity’: How Neera Tanden could oversee the budget Yahoo Finance. Oh.

Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy That Russian Hackers Changed Hillary’s 2016 Votes to Trump CNN

Scoop: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to Name Tina Flournoy as Chief of Staff Yashar’s Newsletter

It’s Time for a Woman to Run the Defense Department NYT

How America’s deadliest serial killer went undetected for more than 40 years WaPo. No, silly, not the Sacklers.

Class Warfare

Amazon Is Facing an Unprecedented Union Vote in the Right-to-Work South Jacobin

How Taxpayers are Picking Up the Bill for the Destruction of Local Restaurants Public Seminar

Ripley’s Offering $10,000 Reward for the Missing Utah Monolith Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Earthlings, It Seems, Not Aliens, Removed the Utah Monolith NYT

‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures Nature. See also “In the Pipeline.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. zagonostra

    >Bamboo: Eco-Friendly Fabric or Environmental Disaster? Euronews

    Strange they didn’t mention Hemp as an alternative fabric and how it compares to bamboo. I remember being bamboozled (couldn’t resist) once when I bought some socks for jogging and not realizing they were made of bamboo until I arrived at home and looked closer at the label. They were pretty good.

    1. Larster

      Went to Costco yesterday in WA state and they had a very large display of bamboo toilet paper. Could not find any info on the paging on handling the splinters, so took a pass.

      1. ?‍♂️

        Turn that b upside down and you’ve got a new brand name for a toilet paper company: Bampoo. But in all seriousness bamboo tp is quite nice…no tweezers needed.

    2. polecat

      Look on bright side … those pinebark beetles will be having a sad, if we just plop some bamboo rhizomes in place of all those dead conifers ..

      Now I ask you …. who doesn’t like the charm of a mature bamboo forest?

  2. juneau

    Vit D article: I think the “confounding factors” associated with D Deficiency (maybe poor nutritional status, staying indoors all time, age, dark skin, obesity) also raise risk of severe Covid. ( section on Groups at Risk of Vit D Deficiency).

    Having said that, the international data is consistently in support of the hypothesis that Vit D Deficiency is correlated to severe Covid, Vit D was used to treat Trump so it is known in parts of our medical community. Why won’t CDC tell the general public to take Vitamin D? I am not being conspiratorial, just disappointed; even the UK gove is shipping out Vit D to its citizens.

    1. Louis Fyne

      to give a very generous, cranky benefit of the doubt….science literacy and nuance is so lacking amongst the public, perhaps if the official pronoucement is that Vit. D lowers risk, people would be (a) sloppy with social distancing and (b) not be afraid (to be blunt).

      that said, in my book it’s near malpractice to avoid mention of Vit. D—–very low risk, high potential benefits particularly among those with sub-optimal diets.

      ymmv. and ya that pesky correlation, not causation thing

      1. Count Zero

        Well, when it comes to official recommendations for everybody to take Vitamin D, there’s a c) too. Vitamin D will become politicised.

        I can just imagine the ranting. It’s a Chinese poison that brainwashes you. It makes you trackable on google maps by making your brain transmit a code! Red-blooded American men DON’T take vitamins. It’s my right NOT to take any vitamin and YOU can’t make me! And so on.

        Can there be anybody who doesn’t know that taking vitamin D is essential to good health in northern climes in winter? Anybody who chooses not to is surely free to make that choice — however stupid.

        1. Louis Fyne

          white, non-white, college, non-college, rural, urban, poor, not-poor…..plenty of people (i’d bet >50%) don’t know about basic health.

          Paradox of public health advancements and factory-infused supplements, even with the junkiest of junk food diets, a person will live an apparently healthy life for 50, 60+ years before hitting a wall of systemic health failures (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc)

          1. juno mas

            Yes, this is why so many males die of heart attacks in their 50’s. Everything seems to be working until it doesn’t. Hints of arteriosclerosis goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Universal healthcare in the US would allow greater diagnosis/education/prevention.

            1. rowlf

              An old work joke:
              “Why do husbands die before their wives do?”
              “Because they’re lucky.”

              At a certain age I think a heart attack may be a better/cheaper exit than cancer, though a skinny friend who had several heart attacks said they hurt like hell.

        2. freebird

          Yes, many people don’t know taking Vitamin D is helpful. Either because they just don’t tune in to health information, or because two generations of doctors have been smugly telling their patients that supplements only create ‘expensive urine’. Only little pills patented by big pharma companies can possibly be effective.

          I’ve given up on trying to tell people zinc and D are helpful, they are quick to shut it down at the first sentence. Maybe we will cull a few of the willfully stupid from the gene pool.

          1. Louis Fyne

            I blame Common Core….but things were going downhill well before that.

            Common Core was the gasoline on the smoldering wreck of US public education (admin. bloat, unions, standardized testing, lousy pedagogical choices, disinterested parents, decline of non-family role models in the community, atomization of society, etc).

            your mileage will vary.

            1. polecat

              Like how to be traumatized (the whole Family,even!) for little Johnny’s lack of foresight, for have his bb gun in view as he Zooms with ‘Teach – due to craycray district authority policies. BAD Johnny! Bad Baaad BOY!

              I can give other ‘teaching’ examples .. needed to show just how screwed up much of public school education has become. Ridiculous in the extreme! Parents are figuring it out, as they home school due to covid issues/lockdowns. Add a truckload of higher uneducation at higher levels, say inept Colleges … and here we are, half way to Idiocracy!

            2. Procopius

              Minor quibble: I believe Common Core is anti-union. It looked to me, at the time, as if it was created (partly) to enable kids from Teach for America to work as teachers at reduced wages. If you’ve paid attention you’ll note that charter schools are rarely unionized. Some of them actually work, some of them are even superior, but mostly they’re a grift or a cult. That’s why Betsy DeVos loves them.

          2. polecat

            Like how to be traumatized (the whole Family,even!) for little Johnny’s lack of foresight, for having his bb gun in partial view behind him .. as he Zooms with ‘Teach’ – due to craycray district authority policies. BAD Johnny! Bad Baaad BOY! It’s Juvie for You, you deplorable little terrorist!!

            Yes, I embellish, but not by much. I can give other ‘teaching’ examples .. needed to show just how screwed up much of public school education has become. Ridiculous in the extreme! Parents are figuring it out, as they home school due to covid issues/lockdowns. Add a truckload of higher uneducation at higher levels, say inept Colleges … and here we are, half way to Idiocracy!

          3. Count Zero

            Well, the school always seem to get the blame. But isn’t it the job of family and community to educate in the broadest sense. That’s surely what a culture is. And surely children grow up with bright and lively minds and a sense of curiosity?

            I am no Albert Einstein but I am sometimes astonished at how oblivious some people are to everything around them. How do you get a mind so closed down and so dull and unresponsive?

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          The politicization would all be aGAINST vitamin D and would all come from the Pink KKK Democrat side.

          If you take vitamin D supplements , you must be some kind of Deplorable. What are you, some kind of Racist StormTrumper? Why else would you take Vitamin D supplements?

          The Pink KKK Democrats would probably try to outlaw Vitamin D. They would try to put it on the Controlled Substances list at the C-2 level.

      2. Tomonthebeach

        In the Cub Scouts, we referred to such syllogistic approaches as “snipe hunts.” Digging for the cause of death by inventorying the commonalities among deceased victims is junk science. It ignores that most fatalities were Vitamin D deficient before they were infected for a variety of reasons that are all more likely to lead to a poor prognosis regardless of the cause of infection. It also ignores that once in hospital, virus symptoms might actually reduce Vitamin D which depletes rather quickly, replenishment via a feeding tube is unlikely, and all ICUs are devoid of sunlight.

        At best, Vitamin D is a barometer of general health – not a prophylactic or cure for severe disease. Youth, healthy internal organs, and frequent outdoor activities increase resistance to most diseases. This is not news. Nor is it news to learn that older people with metabolic disorders who are not active outdoors are likely to have low resistance to most diseases.

        Most people get Vitamin D from sun exposure. As we age, sun exposure leads to keratoses and other sun-exposure skin disorders which interferes with Vitamin D production and reinforces minimizing sun exposure. In addition, deficient metabolic processes can reduce Vitamin D production and even supplement uptake.

        1. lordkoos

          Most people, especially those in northern climes, do not get nearly enough vitamin D from sunlight, so taking a supplement is a good idea.

    2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Well it’s cheap & safe unless you gorge on it, so with very many dying why not ? but that’s not how things work these days.

      I’m waiting on the Spanish study featuring 15 hospitals which will hopefully clear things up for good.

    3. Krystyn Podgajski

      Nurses across the country are already giving Vitamin D3 to COVID patients. It is in the Marik COVID Protocol (PDF) and MATH+ Protocols, along with Zinc and Vitamin C.

      I am starting to think they are pulling a Fauci on this, not publicizing it too much so there is not a run on supplements.

      P.S. If anyone here lives in Texas…why?

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thanks, Krystyn. These amounts are for hospital patients. Any thoughts on a useful everyday prophylactic dose? I haven’t been tested for a Vit D deficiency but definitely am not getting as much sun these days and though I eat veg and fruit daily, probably not enough. And I have a couple of risk factors, mainly age and weight. Thanks!

        So are you in TX now?

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          All I can say is get tested.

          Yes, making my way slowly through but ran out of gas money so I am stuck west of Dallas till the 3rd.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          Krystyn’s “MATH + Protocols” link contains a clinkable link to an outpatient protocols page.

          1. jonboinAR

            I don’t want to speak very much about what I don’t know about, but elsewhere on the ‘Net they were talking about taking 40,000 IU’s (that’s right) in a single dose to alleviate the deficiency, saying that’s necessary to do once or twice, but I don’t know. But then, reading through a bunch of posts by those, who like me, may well not know whereof they speak, 4,000 I.U.’s could be the maintenance dosage. In any case, from what I could gather, it’s really hard to overdose on Vitamin D. I don’t know where to get any kind of definitive recommendation. Me, I get a ton of sun anyway, AND have upped my dosage from 1000 to 2000 I.U.’s.

            1. Judith

              A few years back, at end of the long winter in MA when we had 8 feet of snow, my doctor tested my vitamin D levels and found them basically zero. She prescribed 50,000 units weekly for 12 weeks and then a regular dose daily (I usually take around 1,000). YMMV

        3. lordkoos

          We live about 150 miles south of the Canadian border and take 5000 units of D in the summer, 10,000 in the winter. Wife and I have been taking that dose for a few years, we haven’t changed it for the pandemic. No ill effects, in fact we are doing well as far as health considering we are both 69.

      2. amfortas the hippie

        i likely get enough from Sol, even in winter(i take advantage of every warm spell, and spend a lot of sunnytime in the greenhouse–nekkid as i can get away with)

        i live in texas
        why what?

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Why do you live here? ;) I have smelled nothing but cow poop and seen nothing but fracking trucks.

          1. skippy

            Not much why when born there I would suggest …

            Other than that always be thankful to cow piles when the other option is a piggery … you can be freshly showered and perfumed and walk through one of those things, in a few minutes, odor will be with you for the day even whilst far far away.

            Fracking trucks on back roads or main[?], even back in the 70s industry was spreading by product all over rural areas.

          2. amfortas the hippie

            texas is not a monolith
            it’s more like 5 different countrys
            i’m 5th generation, and still maintain that sense of place
            sure, there’s a lot of pathology… but not more than anywhere else i’ve been
            and i reckon the place would really go to hell if i left

            and i’ll take 5 tons of that cows hit, please
            ill compost like a god for the next several years and turn it into fruits and veggies

        2. divadab

          My late father-in-law had a little alcove on the deck where he sunbathed nude – he said you have to get the sun to all the parts! He lived to 92 after working 40+ years machining aircraft parts so he must have been doing something right!

      3. curlydan

        maybe the problem is not so much Texas as Dallas. I always say Kennedy was shot in Dallas for a reason.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Read “Dallas 1963” by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis.
          It’s not about the event, but the three years heading up to the event.
          Bat sh!t crazy.

          West of Dallas is a pretty wide swatch, hope you don’t get snakebit.
          If you do, call 1-800-suck this.

      4. Cuibono

        in my experience it is doctors refusal to try something not sanctioned by the powers that be. I see NO trials underway for Ivermectin for example in the US despite 5 small RCTs from abroad now showing efficacy

      5. Susan the other

        very interesting. thank you KP. just for the record, my husband (300 lbs. these days) takes 10,000 iu of Vit D-3 daily; he was recently cut back to a daily maintenance dose of 4,000 to keep himself in better balance – but he has never felt that the 10K dose was creating any imbalance and he has been on it for several years now. Not giving advice, just saying his experience has been good all the way with Vit D.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      There has been discussion on this in various medical journals – quite simply, the argument is that the medical field incorrectly insist on applying the same standards of evidence to foods as they do to medicines – this is clearly wrong, especially with something as safe and cheap as Vitamin D. Its ultimately a conceptual error within the public health sciences – a failure to consistently apply ‘evidence’ to real life practice when dealing with non-commensurate risk levels.

      Treating a food as if it was a novel drug is intellectual laziness, but sadly this is so common that its hard not to conclude that it relates to a fundamental flaw in how doctors (and many scientists) are taught. The irony is that we may well be mass treating people with a completely novel and barely tested (for hazard) vaccine, while many health agencies are still dithering about whether to tell people to take Vitamin D or zinc, let alone something like sulferophane (found in broccoli).

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        SACN & The Institute for Wellbeing in the UK are not too keen on Vit D, the latter I did a bit of research on & it is a Public Private Partnership & a PLC run by a CEO who owns 4 others listed in Companies House with the vague listing of each as Other Health Services. I tried to find them but drew a blank, except for 1 that came up on a Chinese site, which could I suppose be another of the same name & obviously I could not understand the lingo.

        I had a scroll through their papers from the University of Glasgow, which appear to concentrate on behavioral studies & how AI can be of assistance in the same. They make videos for the public which have titles like How to keep a man for life, How to bring up your kid & stuff like that. Perhaps it’s all totally innocent & I am wrong to smell a rat.

        SACN got into trouble not so long ago in regard to conflict’s of interest related to the likes of Nabisco, but I couldn’t find anything that would have me believe that they have changed their spots.

    5. Stephen V.

      I’ve been taking 50k IU’s daily for the past few months. Also 500 mic of K-2 to take care of the CAlcium problem. YMMV but I’ll know more after my wellness checkup. Without getting foily, it seems the toxicity problem is overblown. —
      Vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D, is a rare but potentially serious condition that occurs when you have excessive amounts of vitamin D in your body.

      Vitamin D toxicity is usually caused by large doses of vitamin D supplements — not by diet or sun exposure. That’s because your body regulates the amount of vitamin D produced by sun exposure, and even fortified foods don’t contain large amounts of vitamin D.

      The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.

      1. rd

        The recommendations I have seen over the years are to not take over 5,000 IU per day regularly to avoid toxicity. 400-600 IU seems to be a minimal level of supplement that provides some benefit for a healthy normal weight person. Our family doctors recommended 1,000 – 2,000 IU per day based on Vitamin D level blood testing several years ago, so that is what we have been taking. We live in a northern city with a lot of indoor work, so very low Vitamin D generation by sun exposure for 9 months every year due to reduced sunlight and cold requiring substantial clothing.

    6. Unfinished

      Anecdotes from my family regarding vitD supplementation. I supplement 5000 iu/d during Fall and Winter and 2500 iu/daily during Spring and Summer. I also get a lot of sun exposure during the 7 to 8 months of the year when Oregon receives enough UVB rays to enable vitD production in the skin. I tested my serum vitD level in October and it was 59 ng/ml (in the ideal range). My husband supplements 5000iu/daily during Fall and Winter, doesn’t supplement at all during Spring and Summer but gets even more sun exposure than I do and his serum vitD level in October was 51 ng/ml (ideal range). Our adult son supplements 5000 iu/daily year round, gets little sun exposure and had a vitD level of 52 ng/ml. We have supplemented this way for over 10 years now. My brother, who has never before supplemented vitD but gets a decent amount of sun year round, began to supplement with 10,000iu/daily in March. He tested in September and had a serum vitD level of 60 ng/ml(ideal). Grassrootshealth dot net is a good place to begin reading up on vitD and health. We have participated in their D*Action study for 9 years now.

      1. Unfinished

        I should have added that we, too, take vitK2 to make certain that calcium is handled correctly.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Why Iran Is Getting the Bomb”

    In related articles, The Tablet also reports that Iran is also getting anti-matter reactors, warp coils, Zero Point modules, light sabers and Sonic Screwdrivers.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Perhaps an up to date version of the Parthian shot, although they are very unlikely to catch a Crassus.

    1. timbers

      Maybe the leader Monolith (God, the Ultimate Supreme Being, or just your Average Joe alien race so advanced that humans see them as god like) has checked up our progress decided and we need some help if we are to escape ourselves and become Star Childs like in the movie.

    2. Sailor Bud

      Damn. I was genuinely hoping it was just sitting in some 20-something-year-old stoner’s apartment living room, after a nighttime raid with some friends.

    3. Ed Miller

      Having been placed in Utah just prior to Trump’s election and now removed after his electoral defeat it is clear the overlords’ work splintering the nation is complete, having driven people’s to the east of Utah into a frenzy never seen before.

      Time to move to Romania to amplify discord similarly to the east, this time in the Ukraine and then Russia.

      World domination! (/s)

      Adding one comment that is not snark – my readings on stock investor message boards confirms there are a lot of moneyed people virtually running around with their hair on fire about Trump’s loss. This would all be great fun if it weren’t for the actual reality people face. Unfortunately we can’t really be detached observers.

      1. CanCyn

        …”confirms there are a lot of moneyed people virtually running around with their hair on fire about Trump’s loss.”
        Why? Do they really think the Dems will do anything to change the FIRE status quo? Same party in reality, remember? The Dems only pretend to care, surely no one believes them anymore? Especially Wall St.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s amazing how quick people are to abandon the entire idea of the consent of the governed and the rule of law with regard to elections, I get that CNN, the MIC, the CIA, the Permanent State, and now Bush-era toady Bill Barr all want to see the man gone, but have people really thought through the resulting form of government? Performative Uniparty installations all the way down? Best of luck getting anything you want.

        As the long-haired bald guy with the John Lennon glasses said after he put down his kite: “…if you can keep it”.

        1. pasha

          HAL, on what basis do you posit that “rule of law” and “consent of the governed” are being abandoned?

          republicans have lost their court challenges 39 – 1 (and that 1 was for an order sequestering late-arriving ballots, which election officials were already doing). you cannot get much more “rule of law” than that.

          burden of proof falls on those claiming impropriety, and extraordinary claims demand even greater proof. yet in 39 instances no such proof has been submitted.

          absent such extraordinary evidence, trump has lost resoundingly and biden has won a clear majority, above 51% of the vote.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Last time I checked you do not win your way to the Supreme Court, where inconvenient matters like equal protection and issues like governors and secretaries of state (not legislatures) changing state election rules in a Federal election get adjudicated.

            The CNN line has evolved, hasn’t it. “There is no evidence of fraud!” has disappeared, with more than 1,000 sworn affadavits so far now being considered (these are known as “evidence”, provided by persons referred to as “witnesses”).

            So the next line is “there isn’t enough evidence to affect the results!”. That line may hold for a time, so long as judges along the way are willing to ignore the Trump PA lead of 700,000 on election eve turning to minus 20,000 after late night dumps of ballots “counted” in secret.

            Then it will be “Trump is trying to disenfranchise voters!”, justifying things like Mark Zuckerberg spending tens of millions of dollars to install unmonitored “ballot collection boxes” in Blue districts. But I’m not sure enfranchising illegal aliens, dead people, out of state residents, and supposed Covid shut-ins justifies disenfranching the 75M people who voted for Trump.

            LOL then there are the machines, you know, the ones CNN ran reports about a year ago stating the time to hack one was “1 minute”. With a very inconvenient on-the-record listing of the IP addresses overseas the machines communicated with, for what purpose again?

            Legitimate? That’s a good one, do you also do stand-up?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              LOL, coming out today, Michigan. Sworn testimony about police escorting Republican poll watchers one by one out of the counting room over the course of the day. I would say “next stop Venezuela” but it sounds like we’re already there, and we even got the same voting machines they did LOL

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Wait, what?

                  1. You have to go to Russian news to retrieve information like that? Why won’t American news outlets report on that? And why are people not in an absolute uproar that the most basic information about our society and the operation of our government is no longer available to them? Why, that sounds like…Russia!

                  2. Sounds like Russia Part 2: the secret police FBI shows up at a person’s door. The crime they are suspected of? Swearing an affidavit in a court of law that is of a political nature. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?


            2. marym

              If some of this is in regard to the hearing in MI today:

              According to the tweet from the AG in the first link the testimony wasn’t under oath. Media reports say there was testimony but no evidence of fraud. The “affidavits” with some of these accusations were already reviewed by a circuit court judge in regard to a request for an injunction. His evaluation in the third link.


              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Isn’t the battle for the truth interesting.

                Affadavit = “theory”

                “Media reports” = the same media who told us this:

                “many didn’t understand counting processes because they skipped training”, um hello because R’s were never notified about the training.

                AG Barr says “The Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud” without stating whether or not the DOJ has conducted any investigations, i.e. the statement is factual. On the other hand, affadavit witnesses are receiving in-person visits by the FBI to their homes, “just saying hello” but asking no questions. Odd.

                “On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, asked Colbeck why Trump’s campaign hadn’t asked for a recount if fraud had occurred”, um hello because you would be recounting the same stacked deck like you did in PA.

                1. marym

                  On p.9 of the third link in my comment, the judge says challenger organizations and parties were invited to a walk-through of the site and procedures, but none of the plaintiff affiants attended.

                  Also this from a media report: “Monica Palmer, Republican chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, told Bridge she knows of Republicans who signed up to serve as election workers but were never called back.

                  But Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey told the state Board of Canvassers last week that was because many signed up after an application deadline with not enough time to be properly trained.”


                  Yes, there’s reason to doubt media, mainstream and alternate, but I do try to include my sources people so can judge as they will the particular bias, argument, supporting links, etc.

            3. Aumua

              Having read 20 or 30 of the ‘sworn affidavits’, the only conclusion I draw is that people on all sides have lost their heads. Otherwise I really can’t be sure which parts of your post are true, or how true they might be. I’m all for letting the courts decide, but of course we both know that when they find that Biden did in fact win then that won’t be accepted either and we’ll be on to the next laundry list of complaints and/or accusations.

              1. marym

                The “affidavits” have been introduced in a couple of court cases. Those claims and others keep re-circulating in social media even after they’ve been debunked or the cases withdrawn. A couple of times the lawyers have told the judge specifically they’re not alleging fraud! (Link)

                There are many points in the electoral process that are vulnerable to human error or malfeasance, but most of what’s happening right now seems like just another phase the long project of using claims of non-existent fraud as a tool for voter suppression.

              2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I’ve spent a lot of time on the other side of The Great Firewall in an effort to ascertain how people feel and I can tell you that the people over there almost uniformly want every legal vote to be counted and then to let the chips fall where they may. They tend to be very patriotic and want to see America do the right thing. Regarding laundry lists of accusations they do also believe that the purveyors of such lists on the D side since Nov 2016 would do well to discuss solving the nation’s problems instead of spending all of their time and all of the oxygen in the room on dossiers of the Steele variety.

            4. thoughtful person

              “…. That line may hold for a time, so long as judges along the way are willing to ignore the Trump PA lead of 700,000 on election eve turning to minus 20,000 after late night dumps of ballots “counted” in secret.”
              PA state law (fwiw the state legislature is Republican in PA) required all mail in ballots *not* be counted until the days following the election. With the pandemic there were many more mail in ballots than usual.

              Doesn’t seem like a surprise at all how the counting went in PA.

              I think electronic counting is likely more hackable than counting paper ballots

      1. savedbyirony

        During the early months of covid, the National Theatre was showing some productions for free on youtube. It may have been Basil that gave us the heads up here. I watched some great productions last spring. This is excellent news.

  4. LaRuse

    Re: Coronavirus Was In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known, Study Says
    I maintain the belief to this day that my boss was infected with COVID around Valentine’s Day. He and his youngest took a daytrip to Washington DC and spent a lot of time on the Metro and in the museums. 4-5 days later, he and the kid were sick – fever, cough, chills, pain, etc. A few days after that, the other three members of the household were also sick. Very sick. They all went to the doctor and all five tested negative for the flu. My boss missed a full 5 days of work, which had never happened in the 4 years I have worked for him. I have never heard him that sick.
    I knew about COVID in mid-February thanks to NC and at that point, I think all anyone really knew was that it was in Washington State and New York and no one was talking about community transmission. To me, this article suggests what I have been assuming for many months – that his family DID get COVID and they were damn lucky since Boss is in the same high risk category as my husband due to chronic pulmonary concerns and regular injected doses of an immuno-suppressant.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve heard similar stories from various countries – a few weeks ago a Polish neighbour of mine was telling me that when he was visiting his parents there in mid February there was an outbreak of a very nasty respiratory disease among children – the doctors were whispering that it might be Covid, but it was considered ‘too soon’. Poland had not shown up at all in official figures before that. I’ve had several people mention a very nasty respiratory disease hitting staff in Dublin Airport in late December. Of course, these could have just been a flu.

      China is pushing very hard on the narrative that the virus did not originate in China and was in fact circulating last year. The recent study from Italy indicating that it was in Italy in mid 2019 is getting a lot of attention there. I don’t really know what to think of it, because these studies do seem based on firm data, but are outliers in terms of the overall weight of research. Only time will tell I think. Its unfortunate of course that this is so heavily politicised as China is now invested in the ‘this came from the West’ narrative, while I’m sure Biden won’t depart much from Trumps ‘China disease’ narrative either. It will take a long time for the real truth to come out, if ever.

      1. Biologist

        China is pushing very hard on the narrative that the virus did not originate in China and was in fact circulating last year.

        That the virus was circulating earlier doesn’t mean that it didn’t originate in China. It was probably circulating under the radar earlier in Wuhan as well before it got noticed.

        Do you have a link for that study in Italy? As far as I recall, the earliest study putting it in Europe was end of November or early December in France, based on later PCR tests of earlier stored samples. As far as I remember, phylogenetic evidence (i.e. comparing all SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes) puts the last common ancestor around November or maybe October, but not much earlier. But maybe I’m wrong!

        But of course none of this evidence will matter in the political narratives of the day.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Sorry, just found a link to the study here.

          This isn’t my area of expertise to put it mildly, but so far as I know the viral replication studies give quite a clear story of Covid originating in October in Wuhan, and getting to Europe in January at the earliest. So these Italian studies may just be random outliers of one type or another. It seems to me a little illogical that it could have been spreading so early without being recognised, and then suddenly popped up the other side of the world in a market that just so happened to be close to a top level lab in China with lots of bats and coronavirus samples.

          It is intriguing though, and its entirely possible we may end up with a very different story in the end.

          BTW, the narrative the Chinese were pushing for a long time was that the virus came to Wuhan via US military personnel during the Wuhan Military Games. I don’t think they are pushing that so hard now, but instead are focusing on a general ‘it probably arose in Europe, but its certainly the American’s fault’ type story.

          1. Biologist

            Interesting, thanks!

            Your latest link points to a study that uses anti-SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibody detection, not PCR. It claims seropositivity as early as September, but doesn’t seem to include data points well before the pandemic which would be a good negative control–useful given the high false positives in antibody studies. So I would tend to view this with a bit of skepticism.

            The study in your other link did use PCR, and did use negative controls, samples from 2018 and June 2019, and found the earliest detection of SARS-Cov-2 on 18 Dec 2019, which is a much more plausible date.

            The phylogenetic studies I mentioned (for an overview see table 1 here suggest the last common ancestor (i.e. the start of the current pandemic) between early Sep and Dec.

        2. flora

          I believe it showed up in several US college towns in January just after the long winter break, when students from China and S.Korea returned from visiting their families during the break.

      2. Carla

        Well researchers certainly have grappled for decades with the origins of the 2018-19 “Spanish Flu” which may actually have come from a sparsely populated part of Kansas. Turns out, because Spain was neutral in WWI, it was one of the few national governments that didn’t censor its news reporters at the time, so because Spain actually had a free press, the disease was dubbed the “Spanish Flu.”


        1. polecat

          John Barry implied such, in his book “the Great Influenza”

          Kansas – land of farm-raised pork … receptors

      3. Procopius

        Maybe I’m just cranky, but does it really matter? At this point? I remember back in December last year people were reporting in various comment sections that there was a particularly bad strain of “flu” going around, which took weeks to get over. Afterward, there was speculation it may have been COVID-19. I don’t see what difference it makes. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there was a report a couple of weeks ago about a huge wedding for the son of an ultra-orthodox Jewish rabbi, with as many as 10,000 attendees, stomping, dancing, singing, and shouting in very crowded circumstances. Has anyone seen any report of follow-up on that? Have many people who attended that gotten sick? I would think that would be interesting information, so not likely to be covered by the MSM.

        1. Yves Smith


          Tell me how you do contract tracing with a community that has gone rogue. And since when is the MSM in the contact tracing business?

          Moreover, the wedding participants before and after were assembling in close proximity, maskless, which would make it impossible to parse out exposure at the wedding from other super-spreader events like regular synagogue attendance. See the post wedding photo below for an example.

    2. rd

      There was a very nasty respiratory bug that was NOT Covid-19 going around early this year. I had it. Very sharp painful coughs with one day of fever in mid-March. It took over a month for the dry cough to go away. My rib cage hurt from the coughing. It was the worst respiratory infection I have had since getting pneumonia 20 years ago.

      However, I have donated blood three times since then, starting in mid-May, and the Covid-19 antibody tests came back negative every time. I view that as a good indicator that what I had was not Covid-19.

      There is evidence that Covid was around in December on the West Coast, but I don’t think it was as widespread as some people are making it out to be as there were other respiratory bugs out there as well.

    3. Phillip Cross

      Trevor Bedford posted an interesting thread about that CDC study.

      “I don’t think that this study by Basavaraju et al from @CDCgov
      can be taken as evidence that #COVID19 was circulating in the US in December 2019. 1/10”

      He says you’d probably get a result of 2% positivity if you tested same period in 2018 (or any winter) because that’s the false positive rate for the test they used. It can show positive in the presence of corona viruses other than Covid19.

      “The other angle to consider is that if we’re supposed to believe that 2.0% of random blood donors in Dec 2019 are COVID+ this would translate to millions of infections in the population at large, in which case we would have noticed due to people dying in large numbers.10/10 “

      1. Cuibono

        the authors are to be faulted for NOT including samples from 2018 as a control. why did they not?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon Says UAE Funding Russia’s Shadowy Mercenaries in Libya”

    So if I got the story right, the United Arab Emirates is apparently guilty of having a foreign policy that furthers the U.A.E.’s interest rather than that of the Washington. Guess that forgot to check with them first before acting. And that the U.A.E. is a lot closer to things that effect it in places like Libya whereas Washington is on the other side of an ocean which may be why they did what they did. Is the Washington also upset that the U.A.E. is having financial dealing with people like Michele Flournoy and Neera Tanden to have an effect on Washington’s policies? To my mind, that would be a greater concern.

    1. apleb

      No you misunderstood.
      UAE as a US client state is mandated by law, custom and especially the sons of … doctrine (they are sons of …, but they are OUR sons of….) to only hire american mercenaries and not inferior russian ones.

      They can have whatever policy they want, but if they want to act on it with military force they better pay american mercenary companies to do it and pay american politicians in form of election PACs for the poltical support.

      Otherwise this is a rogue operation and will be dealt with accordingly. The dollars they earn with their oil are after all american dollars and they better get spent only in the US of A.

      PS: yes, spending them on upstanding politicans like Mrs. Flournoy is not just allowed, it’s expected. Mrs. Flournoy has a big freezer to build and this icecream costs more and more every winter! There is a freezer gap if you haven’t noticed.

    2. David

      This story has little to do with the US (it’s not all about you, guys!), and is largely to do with rivalry between Turkey and the UAE supporting different sides in the Libyan civil war. The UAE is keen to stop Erdogan’s plans for Ottoman Empire 2.0, in which Libya, with its oil and gas reserves and its ports, figures prominently. But the UAE, like Turkey, is using foreign mercenaries (in this case Russians, or at least employees of a Russian company) to do the fighting. If the US doesn’t like that, well, then, they can do the other thing. They aren’t a major player in Libya anyway.

  6. edmondo

    If Bernie Sanders had a pair, he’d come out against the nomination and promise to vote against Neera Tanden in committee and on the Senate floor if she gets that far.

    What’s the point of being in politics if you can’t shiv someone when they are down? What would Amy Klobuchar do?

      1. timbers

        Isn’t it possible Dem control of Senate comes down to one vote? If I were Bernie I’d terminate that Dem minority. But doubt he would.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Notice all the focus of late on Manchin, not Sanders. As usual the Dems think the left has nowhere to go.

      2. JCC

        Taibbi’s article is an excellent summary of the whole Clinton Team and Corp Dems.

        I hope the Republicans (and Sanders) tell Biden to stick it where the sun don’t shine regarding the Tanden confirmation To say that she is an awful person and totally unqualified is an understatement.

        The crucial question, supposedly: was the road to solving America’s problems a matter of erasing class inequities? Or did a “class only” analysis insufficiently highlight the special disadvantages faced by communities of color and other disadvantaged groups?

        A third possibility — that mainstream Democrats as a rule ignored both questions and primarily whored for corporate donors — was ignored.

        She, and the Clintons, are exactly what gave us Trump, who very effectively leveraged the worst parts of “economic anxiety” and notably did better – percentage-wise – this time around in the Red States than Biden did in the Blue States.

        I’m nearly convinced that 4 years of a Clinton/Obama/Biden mindset in D.C. will guarantee us another, and worse, version of Trump.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I’m pretty sure of it. Like we’re watching the same damn train wreck happen in slow motion all over again.


        2. Katniss Everdeen

          “……worse version of Trump.”

          Worse in what way?

          Less deferential to military brass who defy the “Commander-in-Chief” to maintain forever wars so they can turn them into lucrative post-military lobbying careers?

          More vehemently and bombastically opposed to globalist “free trade” agreements?

          More willing to strong arm manufacturing back onshore using whatever draconian means necessary to get the job done?

          More willing to break up the cold war relic of nato and address Russia with diplomacy instead of naked aggression?

          More willing to address illegal immigration as a scourge that keeps wages low and low-skilled workers indentured?

          More willing to call obamacare the miserable failure that it is and repeal and replace it?

          Plenty of your fellow americans are hoping you’re right about that guarantee.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Dangerous Truthiness detected! Your Panopticon access credentials are hereby revoked.

            People who (supposedly) pulled the lever for Addled Gramps should confront their choice:

            1. You voted for more war
            2. You voted for more censorship
            3. You voted for more job outsourcing

            But you got gurlz doing it all, isn’t that sweet?

      3. pjay

        The article “Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy…” is from Glenn Greenwald, not CNN. I point that out in case the listed source keeps people from reading it. It is scathing, much more so than Stoller’s. And very good.

          1. Laputan

            Even the great purge she still has to leave some of the bitter condescension out in the ether. She’s like the serial killer who just can’t help but leave some sort of calling card:



            I wonder what’s left now that she’s removed her entire raison d’etre. I would try and take a peak, but I don’t have the tolerance for that level of masochism.

            1. jr

              Oh God, shield your eyes, Molly Jong-Fast is in that list of depravities. Even in single sentence blurbs you can still see her utter lack of facility with words shining through, it’s actually a bit astonishing that so little can be done with so little…

    1. JWP

      I’ve lost interest and hope with Bernie. He seems beyond the point of making a stand outside of the confines of the party after all the years of advancing his caused while being stepped on. He had by far enough support to jump ship and start his own thing, maybe join the people’s party. The man is just too old and been in DC too long to come back at the DNC. The new extended ‘squad” is large enough to torpedo stuff in the house and I hope they start voting against Pelosi’s bills.

      1. jr

        It seems everyone and their momma worth reading has chronicled the efforts to humiliate and sideline Sanders but Sanders himself.

      2. nippersdad


        It became pretty clear during the South Carolina debacle that he was subject to Stockholm Syndrome. Castigating Zephyr Teachout for telling the truth was about the final straw, and then came the debate.

        The amount of credibility he has lost is incalculable.

        1. jr

          What did he think the endgame was? Not being Ralph Nader? He had the masses behind him, no? He knew the vampires and ghouls he was surrounded by, no? Even if he had been unsuccessful he would have been remembered by the people who trusted and loved him. Instead, he will now be remembered as the crazy, poor uncle in tattered dress, openly mocked at the family reunion if even noticed at all.

          1. nippersdad

            Sad but true.

            The thought of all of those incredibly poor people sending in their fives and twenties in hopes of having a real voice in our government being sold out because he didn’t care to irritate his “good friend Joe” galls me no end.

            And now he gets to work with Neera Tanden. I think that may be a fitting epitaph for his political career. At least Nader can still hold his head up high; the same cannot be said for Sanders.

            1. JWP

              I can already read to wapo headline “Progressives turn on Sanders” where they paint him as an innocent old man who is being attacked. Wouldn’t be the case if the movement was been seen through and not a sidebar to advance a narrative in Biden’s ear.

            2. HotFlash

              The thought of all of those incredibly poor people sending in their fives and twenties in hopes of having a real voice in our government being sold out because he didn’t care to irritate his “good friend Joe” galls me no end.

              I can see how you might think that. But really, if there was another likely candidate who promised that, s/he didn’t stand up to the plate. Although, I must give Tulsi Gabbard props for trying. (cue soundbite: “Tulsi who?” “Marianne who?). Two political careers ended in obscurity, but I do look forward to Mayo Pete’s career progressing nicely.

              Where should we have sent our fives and twenties? Bernie is who Bernie is, and who he has been all along. His tactic has always been, when beaten, to try again by going back to the voters, making his case, and letting them decide. The primary was truly rigged, but I don’t believe he took a fall. If he ran again, I’d contribute again. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was flawed, but our only hope. If you got a better candidate, bring ’em on.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Regarding today’s links –

      “Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy That Russian Hackers Changed Hillary’s 2016 Votes to Trump CNN

      Before clicking the link, I was going to ask how those conspiracies were spread – just through Tanden’s tweets or did she possibly appear on some network like, I dont know, maybe CNN?

      But when I click the link it goes to the Greenwald article, not a CNN piece. So no actual self awareness from CNN forthcoming. Let’s not give CNN credit where it isn’t due ;)

    3. polecat

      I wholly agree. Sanders should go down fightin. Doubt he would ….. he will most likely acquiesce into following the least resistant glide path to obscurity.

    1. zagonostra

      Not familiar with this site, but to me it seems like a hit piece on Kennedy and totally biased. I follow the full spectrum of views from Alex Jones to Rachael Maddow. When you label someone as a “conspiracy theorists” it immediately puts me on alert as to the author’s motive.

      I say let folks decide for themselves, I’ve listened to Kennedy and he doesn’t sound like a quack, he may be wrong, but at least he introduces views which question the official narrative which I for one find useful.

      Like other conspiracy theorists, he has gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic by adapting his anti-vaccine messages to fit the crisis, firing off false allegations against Microsoft founder Bill Gates and about the safety of 5G telecom networks.

      1. Tvc15

        Agree with Zagnostra. RFK jr is not anti-vax as he has stated, his entire family is vaccinated and he just wants to ensure vaccines are safe. Sounds reasonable to me. Shouldn’t critical thinking also apply to the for-profit pharmaceutical industry?

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Critical thinking is not allowed.
          Question EVERYTHING except covid.
          BTW, Ivermectin is a horse wormer, not exactly sure how it could prevent/cure a virus.
          Obviously above my pay grade for sure.

      2. Gary

        He is extremely dangerous to the Deep State, not for the purported anti-vaccine without liability, testing and efficacy philosophy he espouses, but for his show hosting and giving voice to people like Catherine Fitts, Assistant Secretary of Housing — Federal Housing Commissioner at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in the administration of President George H Bush.

        She talks about financial sabotage of the American economy with Covid as the rationale for programmed looting just looking for an excuse that it provided.

      3. johnson

        Not familiar with this site

        The Globe and Mail is a prominent Canadian newspaper, for what that’s worth. It’s not a fringe publication. I don’t consider myself well-versed in these things, but I believe it has a reputation for solid reporting.

        1. pjay

          The NY Times is a prominent US newspaper, definitely not a fringe publication. It has a reputation for solid reporting (among the liberal educated classes, anyway). And it is as capable of smearing public figures and making s**t up as the slimiest tabloid. Kennedy has challenged a number of prominent Establishment narratives over the years. For that he must wear the scarlet ‘C’ (for “conspiracy theorist”) and be banished from “respectable” society.

      4. bob

        I listened to him for over 20 minutes from a video. It’s him talking. He never comes out with any sort of thesis, just general questions, which have mostly been answered, just not to his satisfaction. Very much like Alex Jones.

        He’s really painful to listen to. Not a good public speaker. If he weren’t a Kennedy no one would ever listen to him.

    2. Mummichog

      “When you label someone as a “conspiracy theorists” it immediately puts me on alert as to the author’s motive.”
      Amen. When I hear these talking heads deny any conspiracies I immediately turn off. Conspiracy usually derided as “how could hundreds of people keep a secret…” OK. In my lifetime, these major proven conspiracies Gulf Of Tonkin, revelations in the Pentagon Papers, Iran Contra, 9/11 attack and coverup (Kean Commission stonewalled by CIA), IRAQ WMD, Afghan War, Wall Street MBS-mortgage fraud, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Panama Papers. These all proven lies and conspiracies costing hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of loot. One the most notable features of these massive, killing and profitable conspiracies is that few if any are ever prosecuted and certainly not the majors responsible for them.

      Toronto’s Globe and Mail totally Establishment. AKA Mop ‘n Pail. Another Canadian disgrace. Woe Canada.

      As far as vaccine due diligence, it is incredible that so many reckless people are against others who would exercise care and critical thinking in health choices. One wonders why.

      1. jr

        Yes. I have a friend who is a sort of anti-vaxxer, not full blown but just doesn’t trust the pharmas and doesn’t trust the media to keep him informed about it. Ditto for the scientific community. Who can blame him? Even if he is dead wrong about vaccinations, and I think he is, he has a million other examples to support his point of view.

      2. Aumua

        You do have to take these things on a case by case basis, considering the level of coverup and the walks of life of the people who would have to be in on it, as well the number of people. Some of the things you list there are not implausible coverups and/or conspiracies, but many modern CT’s are in fact implausible when you stop and consider carefully the ramifications. It generally requires a considerable amount of critical thinking (more than most people care to engage in) to separate the truth from the b.s.

  7. Bemildred

    The medical community, as a generality, does not promote approaches to health that are cheap, simple, and readily available, and which do not require much in the way of business with the medical community. This has always been true to some extent, but it’s become more pronounced since profit became the primary purpose of medical organizations. Of course there are lots of con men and quacks selling cheap remedies too, so you are kind of on your own.

    1. ambrit

      Hold it a minute.
      If con men and quacks are promoting a “remedy,” then it is, by definition, expensive. Most “snake oil” cons work on a small “sucker” sample, so, to be worth while, said “snake oil” has to be expensive per unit cost.
      Also, con men and quacks as groups self select for greed.
      If you had meant by “selling cheap remedies,” to buy low and sell high, then you are touting basic Wall Street ‘Casinoism.’

  8. The Rev Kev

    “It’s Time for a Woman to Run the Defense Department”

    By golly this article is right. This is what is lacking in America. More women in control of a planetary imperial force. And you know what changed my mind? By listening to a video by a film critic named the Critical Drinker talking about the film Captain Marvel. By showing me how women have been pushed aside in films, TV series, etc. I understand where I have been going wrong. Women aren’t helpless little things after all. So we guys need to get behind such media characters and by extension, women in business, industry and politics. Like the Critical Drinker, I too blame my upbringing in installing in me toxic masculinity and internalized misogyny. Women are capable of running the Pentagon just as they run most arms manufactures today- (3:58 mins)

    1. Martin Oline

      You are absolutely correct. I remember when that meanie Leslie Stahl asked Madeleine Allbright about the Iraq embargo, “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” and Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it.” Albright later criticized Stahl’s segment as “amount[ing] to Iraqi propaganda” From WikiPedia.
      Thank you Rev, that commentary by the Critical Drinker is great!

      1. John Wright

        The article promotes Michele Flournoy as “widely viewed as one of the nation’s top defense policy experts.”

        Per Wikipedia she:

        “helped persuade President Obama to intervene militarily in Libya.”

        “n 2016, Flournoy co-authored a CNAS report titled Extending American Power, which called for increasing the military budget, approval of the Trans Pacific Partnership, weapons shipments to Ukraine and training the Ukrainian military to thwart Russia, issuing military threats against Iran should it pursue nuclear weapons, and escalating military intervention in Iraq and Syria. The report advocated regime change in Syria, stating, “In our view, there can be no political solution to the Syrian civil war so long as the military balance continues to convince Assad he can remain in power.”

        And most remarkably, she remains “widely viewed as one of the nation’s top defense policy experts”

        The USA and the World is so screwed, if Flournoy represents the cream of US military/diplomatic policy experts.

        Are the other choices even worse?

        1. Duke of Prunes

          It’s a good thing all government history started in 2016. /s

          This is truly depressing. Kind of a greatest hits of horrible policy.

      1. rd

        It is impossible to tell the difference between news, pundits, and satire these days. They seem to have morphed into a single media blob.

      2. Person

        I was just going to say, it looks like the NYT has found its post-Trump strategy for declining readership… entering The Onion’s market.

    2. Lightningclap

      Rev, I thought you were referencing him the other day with “nah, it’ll be fine”. His recorded reviews are best, but I’m enjoying his streams with Gary, Heels, et al.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks. I’ll have to check out those streams. He actually knows what he is taking about in his videos as he is a published author with several titles to his name.

  9. David

    The Bloomberg article on Missile Defence is misleading and alarmist.
    The technology it describes, which has been under development for twenty years since the days of Little Bush, was only ever designed to intercept a small handful of incoming missiles from a country like North Korea. It can’t be scaled very far, and not even its most fervent admirers would suggest that it could cope with an attack from, say, a medium-sized nuclear power of the size of India.

    The article harks back to the Star Wars years of the 1980s, where some enthusiasts really did believe that it was possible to design a defensive system capable of intercepting thousands of incoming Soviet missiles and warheads. In theory (if you were the US) this would have made a surprise attack pointless. In theory (if you were the Soviet Union) this would have given the US an invulnerable first-strike capability. In the end, it all turned out to be academic, as the technology wasn’t feasible then, and isn’t now. So the developments described in the article are irrelevant.

    If you want an idea of what a genuine BMD system would involve, the Soviet Union (and now Russia) has had one operating since the 1960s. Its latest version is described here. Notice that, whilst it’s a large and elaborate system, its only function is to protect Moscow from a first wave of attacking warheads. The original justification for the system was to give the Politburo time to transmit the launch codes for retaliatory attacks before the second wave arrived. Given the limitations of the system, and the fact that the ABMs carried (and still do) nuclear warheads, we can see how far away any country in the world must be from the kind of defensive system that the writer of the article is obviously worried about.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yup. Its annoying when an article like that could have been rejected after a few minutes reading the relevant pages of Wikipedia. Missile defence is yet another military self licking ice cream, a constant never ending dance of chess moves (North Korea, with its very limited resources, maybe an exception to this).

      Ultimately, building nuclear ICBM’s is hard, but once you do it, the various ways you can avoid countermeasures are relatively trivial (just lots of dummies for one). Sadly, the only effective way to stop someone attacking you with nukes is to be able to hit them back even harder.

      1. John Wright

        I remember visiting the Massachusetts Cape Cod region during the Reagan Star Wars investigation in the 1980’s.

        A relative of mine explained that the Cape Cod second home real estate market was hot because of all the “Star Wars” money being paid to Boston area academics and consultants.

        “Liberal” Massachusetts apparently did well during a prior missile defense scheme.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Speaking of raygun.
          Who is/was the first dem president to be elected from deep blue California?
          Trick question, eh?
          Alex, who is Kamala?

      2. That Bastard Edmund

        I’ll never forget sitting down to watch Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech, back when I actually did sit down to watch Presidential addresses. His intro started talking about eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons completely, and I was stunned. President “We begin bombing in 5 minutes” was actually embracing nuclear disarmament?! And then sat there slack-jawed as this fantasy of intercepting and destroying sub-orbital ICBMs played out. Even my rudimentary knowledge of orbital mechanics, picked up as an av
        id follower of the Apollo program, the hard science fiction I’d read, and some high school Physics knew this was a bogus pipe dream. And, of course, a glorious, over-priced boondoggle for the defense contractors. And so it remains, to this day.

    2. Paradan

      the Soviet ABM you refer to was actually really cool. They used neutron bombs as the warheads. The neutron flux would cause a chain reaction in the incoming warheads. They wouldn’t go critical or anything, but it burned out the warhead so it would be a dud.

      This also means that the tyrannical and anti-innovative socialists developed and deployed a critical strategic technology about 20 years before our incentive driven “de-centralized” capitalist one did.

      1. Jeotsu

        I believe the ‘kill’ mechanism was via thermo-elastic expansion of the nuclear ‘pits’ on the incoming warheads.

        The high neutron and x-ray flux from the exploding ABM would be preferentially absorbed by the high-Z uranium/plutonium on the incoming warhead. All this energy being absorbing on the facing side of the nuclear core would cause very rapid (nanosecond time scale) heating, which in turn causes expansion. This expansion creates a powerful acoustic wave that then launches into/through the nuclear pit.

        On the far side of the pit, where the plutonium stops and the implosive charges begin, you have a huge impedance change. This causes the acoustic shock wave to reflect (bounce) back, and that shock is enough to shatter the pit via spalling. Thus when the warhead tries to detonate, it fails to get fission (and subsequent fusion).

        To be effective the ABM has to detonate pretty close to the incoming warhead, on the order of a kilometer or so.

        1. Paradan

          so this sounds more reasonable.

          Wish I could remember where I read the neutron thing, but it was at a respectable looking site, and not some random comment(like mine :))

          On a related note, when I heard that the US was developing a new small yield warhead I had hoped it was because they finally admitted that kinetic kill vehicles were never gonna work for the GMD. Sadly I was wrong, they just want them for bunkers and other bad ideas.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Time for Moscow to Move On and Stop Thinking So Much About Washington”

    Well they would but Washington acts like the proverbial “psycho ex-girlfriend” and won’t leave them alone. No, seriously. They get up in their face a coupla times a week by driving past their borders. They cross boundaries by sailing their ships into Russian waters. They get unhinged and threaten to have nuclear-tipped missiles on their border unless they do what they want. They try to read all their mail and messages. They insist that Russia goes back to when things were good between them – back in the 90s. They get their friends to side with them against Russia even if they hardly know them. They won’t stop obsessing over them and accuse them of controlling their life. They try to break them up with their new friend China as in “If I can’t have you, no one can.” And finally they give you the “I’m not crazy” speech.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Don’t forget the crazy-ex analogue of ordering pizzas delivered at 3 am and damaging their credit ratings — the “it’s legal because we do it” sanctions attacks at all scales

  11. JTMcPhee

    Re condoms and masks: maybe one reason the condom public-health messaging failed, as compared to the messaging on masks, is that the first involves a different kind of intercourse with much stronger drivers than “social intercourse.” (‘I don’t use condoms because it reduces the intimacy of my experience…’) Though there’s a linkage between these prophylactic practices that one discusses at one’s peril, in this fraught woke world… Appears some small fraction of our fellow humans actively pursues getting HIV, for various reasons:

    An acquaintance’s son hooked up with an anonymous young lady during Spring Break bacchanalia in Daytona a few years ago — says he woke up with the young lady gone, leaving this message in lipstick on the motel mirror: “Welcome to the AIDS world.”

    1. Duke of Prunes

      This last bit is a well worn urban legend. In my formative years, it was herpes instead of aids (because aids wasn’t a thing yet, and herpes was the latest dreaded incurable std), and now it’s probably covid.

    2. The Rev Kev

      “Welcome to the AIDS world”

      I heard the same story nearly forty years ago but the message read “Welcome to the wonderful world of AIDS.”

  12. fresno dan

    Top secret: Biden gets access to President’s Daily Brief AP. Not to be nihilist, but the PDB only started in the Kennedy administration (June 17, 1961, a month after the Bay of Pigs). We haven’t won a war since…

    How soon we forget the brave sacrifices of our brave tip of the spear brave soldiers, brave airmen, and brave seamen bravely doing battle….bravely.
    Yup, I’m talking that epoch turning battle for the very soul of humanity….Grenada. Operation Urgent Fury (not to be confused with the similarly named, but unsuccessful Operation Dawdling Fury).
    It was an operation that could only be undertaken by the arsenal of democracy, and even with the most powerful military in the history of the Earth, the result was not foreordained. For it is not the material that determines the outcomes of such cosmic conflicts, but the heroes of our great republic, where the people vote and elect their leaders…well, except in 2016 when the Russians stole the election….and 2020 when the sitting president says the current result is fraudulent. And the guy who got the most votes in 2000 not getting the presidency. But these are just quibbles…
    The point remains – let us never forget the victory that assured freedom for all the peoples of the world!

    1. Wukchumni

      Grenada was the perfect foil in that it sounded like a weapon, yes that menacing.

      Our military is akin the the NY Jets, a tremendous amount of money was spent in going 0-11, or in the case of our vaunted armed forces 1-10, with the coaches on the latter never losing their jobs, including many becoming general managers based on their keen skills of fielding competitive teams.

      1. fresno dan

        December 1, 2020 at 10:19 am

        Sir, have you no sense of decency? Besmirching the NY Jets…
        Poor, pitiful, pathetic, hapless NY Jets. ;)

    2. Ford Prefect

      We beat armies regularly. We just can’t beat the people in the countries with the armies.

      Even the Viet Cong and NVA swam in the sea of the people. The astonishing thing about the Hue campaign in the Tet Offensive was that an entire division was able to infiltrate, complete with arms and ammunition, over a period of weeks into a major city and nobody made a peep.

      The American military wants to be viewed as liberators but that really only worked in Europe and South Korea. Most everywhere else, the US military is eventually viewed as an occupation force.

      1. km

        Even South Korea was a stretch, at least from the perspective of many of the people then living there.

      2. HotFlash

        The American military wants to be viewed as liberators but that really only worked in Europe and South Korea.

        Not so sure about Europe, either. I once worked with a Hungarian woman who was a child when the Americans liberated (or whatever) Hungary. She remembers being given a doll when the Americans arrived in her village, posing for a photo with the doll. After the photo was taken the doll was taken away from her, to her shock, and on, presumably, to ‘liberate’ the next village. Just an anecdote, of course. A friend worked for a man who as a teenager in Hungary had worked for the occupying US forces. He related that the Americans would give him oranges,which he would take back to his refugee camp. He would hide under the covers to eat them so as not to share with his fellow campers. In case you were wondering, yes, he was a despicable boss.

        1. pasha

          usa conducted no liberation of hungary — the closest us troops got was parts of austria and czechoslovakia.

          1. HotFlash

            Unfortunately, I am not a historian, and I am long out of touch with these people so can’t ask for clarification. The stories are as told to me *and* as remembered by me (IANAH) some 30 years later.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Americans are choosing death over deprivation”

    A very patronizing, scolding article this. If the author wants people to take the virus seriously then he should know that they follow the example of their leaders. And this was where Trump was cunning. Instead of centralizing control and taking the blame for any mistakes by his staff, he threw it all on the backs of the Governors – to mostly disastrous results. And it was bipartisan. Look at leaders like Cuomo in New York, DeSantis in Florida, Abbott in Texas, Ducey in Arizona and Newsom in California. Talk about your epic fails. For examples of their failures, Newsom was busted in a restaurant with a large party. Cuomo told people to stay home for Thanksgiving and then went on the radio to say that he was going to visit his mother and sisters and other family members. Other Governors were refusing to get people to mask up because ‘mah rights.’ So if the author wants to scold someone, he should start with the country’s leaders first. And while he is at it, he should rip Fauci and Scott Atlas a new one for all their lies as well.

    1. Lee

      I am older, with a pension so I’m in a position to wait for the second marshmallow to drop. Even so, I feel the itch to socialize, albeit not so strongly as in my misspent youth, but I deem It a dirty rotten shame after so long a race to falter and fall with the finish line in sight.

      Most working age people are not so lucky because, although we have the productive capacity to better protect them with stipends and better on the job protections, our business owners and political leaders lack the will to make it so. And it makes sense for those who must put themselves at risk in order to make a living to also seek out the consolations of social life.

      Based on what through the haze of times past I can recall of myself at a younger age, I’d be out there taking my chances as well, putting my shoulder to the wheel; and when the day’s work was done, seek respite from loneliness.

    2. rd

      As somebody living in NYS and following all of the Covid-19 protocols, I didn’t feel too bad about the Supremes taking down Cuomo’s executive order about religious places. It made no sense to put severe restrictions on houses of worship while largely leaving the bars open.

      The upstate county execs (Republicans generally) are doing much more nuanced, focused, and functional regulation than Cuomo. They are getting better compliance and lower cases as well than NYC. We are seeing rising case loads, but in general we are still some of the lowest case areas in the country.

    3. Lex

      Prod the Maskless a little about why they’re not wearing a mask and however gentle the question, an angry defense spews forth. Lack of leadership and their hypocrisy has yet to make the Top Five. What I’m hearing even among those who are visibly trying to answer reasonably is a combination of pride and self-pity. They feel seriously put upon (self-pity). They don’t want to wear a mask and no one can make them (pride). Victim and prosecutor. The light in their eyes is a pure defiant eff you to the world. The disease is a platform to extend an angry middle finger to the globe, their communities, and every wrong ever done them, without having to pick up a weapon, name their enemies, hunt them down, or worry about leaving fingerprints. Impotent rage with a smiley face plastered on it.

      1. Geo

        It’s been said here before but the anti-mask vibe is very similar to the anti-seatbelt vibe decades ago. Same with how anti-littering efforts were responded to by people who liked tossing trash from their car windows. It’s primarily people who don’t respond well to doing what they’re told like spoiled children being made to do chores and throwing a tantrum. Like seatbelts, it will probably take a generation to become “normal”. Seems to take that long for attitudes and social stigma to shift. And there will still be people who do whatever their selfish self wants to do.

        1. Lex

          We didn’t wear seatbelts for years after it became law, then one day it seemed to occur to both of us we were mortal. Death and/or disability had long term consequences to us.

          Of the few photos I saw of travelers lined up at the airports, less than 10% of them looked like they were over 40. It was “the kids” going home; the demographic at least risk to them.

  14. doug

    Neera description from Politico website :

    ‘She does not come out of the classic left but is likely to be welcomed by progressives as a strong addition to Biden’s roster of top economic advisers.’

    ‘WELCOMED’ . well sir, that settles that.

      1. The Historian

        The Democrats are co-opting the word ‘progressive’ without having any understanding of what it means. This is just another way to shut down the true progressives out there and get them out of their way. This is similar to what the corporations did to co-opt unions and then destroy them.

        1. The Historian

          Piven and Cloward wrote the seminal book on how this is done in 1978 and it is still germane today. “Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail”.

      2. tegnost

        The leftern edge of the overton window is being firmly secured in the center right sector of political discourse in the good ol’ USA. So whenever you see “progressive” used in a non medical sense, think reagan depublican

      3. polecat

        How about ‘Hillaryian succubus’.. would that suffice?

        There are of course, others …. more or less dissedqualifying.

    1. Jason Boxman

      It’s a definition that Warren clearly endorses:

      The Massachusetts progressive Elizabeth Warren is among prominent Democratic senators who have backed Tanden.

      (“Biden’s outspoken nominee to run budget office deletes 1,000 tweets”)

      I always found it comical how supportive some on the ostensible left were of Warren.

      The left can’t get out of its own way.

      And we’ve got Sunrise and other left groups rallying support for the two odious Senate runoff candidates in Georgia, and both reject the GND. Comical.

      1. JWP

        Leave the “left,” as they get closer to making deals with the moderates, their progressive policies lose effectiveness and become liberal, conditional slop. The progressive side is ripe for a younger candidate in the vein of trump who is not afraid of sticking it to the establishment and forcing policies that seem unlikely into position. If someone like that can control the voters, those policies can all the sudden become the norm.

      2. nippersdad

        My Wife got a call from “Our Revolution” flacking for Ossoff the other day. Apparently the phone banker had never heard of the “Lightning Round” questioning of what Ossoff would do were he to gain office. She asked him why she should bother to vote for a different candidate who would refuse to do anything she supported, and they had no answer.

        Comical is not the word I would have used; that is just a betrayal. On a related note, I would really like to see what Nina Turner thinks of all of this.

    1. zagonostra

      You have to love Taibbi’s prose.

      Tanden is famous for two things: having a puddle of DNC talking points in place of a cerebrum, and despising Bernie Sanders. She was #Resistance’s most visible anti-Sanders foil, spending awe-inspiring amounts of time on Twitter bludgeoning Sanders and his supporters as a deviant mob of Russian tools and covert “horseshoe theory” Trump-lovers

  15. carl

    Re: How COVID killed Trump’s reelection chances.
    This is another in a long series of articles/studies which make me wonder if I missed my calling, writing stuff that pretty much anybody already knows. Trump was such a public disaster that even the usually somnolent public woke up and took notice.

  16. jr

    Can I just say I hope this fails miserably? Not sure why, is it the commercialization of space?
    The vapidness of the stated goals in a time like this? The no doubt nefarious unstated goals of “Moon Mark, an entertainment and education company…“.

    I hope the lander falls down a lava tube. And the lava tube collapses. I’m dumping the rest of my coffee because I think I’ve had too much.

    1. Paradan

      look at it like this, fracking and shale oil have never turned a profit,yet they’re still going strong. we could use this financial system to fund freezing carbon emissions into blocks of ice that we then send to the moon. we then sell the ice to any future moon colony, since they’ll surly want carbonated drinks. all we have to do is get a single block of ice, just a kilogram, safely landed on the surface, and we can start bids on an IP.

      we get rich, and we save the planet.

    2. JWP

      I’m with you. There’s a lot of talk about how the US needs a new space age to get it’s swagger and respect back. Last time I checked sending people to the moon doesn’t break up monopolies. Wouldn’t it be ironic to name our next rocket “Glass-Steagall” to signify the idea literally leaving the planet to be lost in space?

      On the non USA USA side, people are supportive of it now because they want entertainment and not to face reality, i wasn’t around for the first space race, but this one has some eerie undertones of not being releftive of a strong society and being more of a political stunt.

      1. jr

        Wonder-Bread and Surfaces. And I’ll bet the Chinese are looking into living in those lava tubes instead of turning them into reality TV hover-boarding arenas or something, sponsored by PepsiCo and friends, or pinning their hopes on that leering, gibbering psychopath Musk and his Martian hopium-pipe dreams. Which seems wise, given Yve’s article about climate armageddon and that terrifying map of the United States that looks as if someone dipped half of it into red paint.

        1. JWP

          Better yet, selling cut outs for $5,000 you can send on the space shuttles of which 90% of the proceeds go to the sitting president’s re-election fund and the other 10% go to Amazon to ship your cut out to the launch site as a “currier fee.”

          The goal might be to create a highways of space travel so the climate activists can turn their attention to the impacts of that instead of everything else. Distraction is the name of their game.

          1. jr

            Per standard Amazon operating procedures, the shuttles will be stuffed with plastic bubble wrap of all sizes and configurations to insure the cutouts don’t shatter upon touching down. Then, the plastics will be melted down and turned into a statue garden featuring Bezos, Musk, Zuck, and that guy from Google; Thomas Friedman’s cutout will lead pilgrimages of the others there while their meat puppets on Earth look on via their 15’ leased flatscreens and suckle Cheez in a Can dropped from thermally shielded drones.

            1. JWP

              Those drones will then collect the cans and bring them to a recycling facility where they are repurposed into materials to build the billionaire colony on mars. Now earth’s resources will be used to fund and build things not even on earth. the entire planet will be a third world country. Call it “Earthladesh”

  17. urblintz

    A question to the NC community, especially for science oriented types who might have insights:

    I have a “Reme-Halo” air purifier attached to my air conditioner which theoretically “ionizes” the air in very beneficial ways. But I have read that ionization creates ozone. Reviews say there are federally mandated limits to how much ozone any ionization system emits and the “Reme-Halo” PR states that their device emits only a very small amount, well below that of even naturally occurring ozone.

    Should I be concerned about ozone? My “Reme-Halo” needs to be replaced… and it seems replacement “bulbs” (or whatever) are not available so it’s all rather moot…. but maybe I shouldn’t even replace it when it comes in stock?

  18. Jason Boxman

    From the Times:

    Vaccines Are Coming. But First, a Long, Dark Winter.

    With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic may be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.”

    Of course there’s no reason for this. At any time, this ends. If Congress were to pass immediate material support, joined with an immediate shelter-in-place order, we could contain this in less than a month.

    This pandemic simply hasn’t been bad enough for the elite to do much about it. The Market is back! Most of the PMC retained employment, remotely! A vaccine is here! (And who thinks those with means won’t line-jump, if they so choose?)

    So the balance of America is left to die. And the consequences will reverberate for some time. Most immediately, throughout the health care system (such as it is). Not to mention education, funding for state and local governments, ect.

    And I haven’t read about bread lines lately, but it’s hard to believe these only lately disappeared, and hunger is gone from America.

    Fun times.

  19. Cas

    Regarding the rushed vaccine approval–The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is meeting in Dec. to review the data from the mRNA vaccines. I thought the meeting was scheduled from Dec. 8-10. This Federal Register notice says the Dec. 10 meeting will be live-streamed for the public. Here is the FR notice. I’m hopeful it will provide helpful information, including how to access the studies. Should be interesting.

  20. amfortas the hippie

    our oncologist told my wife a minute ago that she(wife) won’t be getting a vaccine any time soon…and even then, probably only one of the messenger rna.
    i’m in the parking lot of course, but i sent a list of questions and concerns
    oncologist demurred until they get guidance
    said main concern for wife is “live virus”… but i haven’t heard of that one yet
    so we’ll be doing the protocols for the foreseeable future

    wife and boys are definitely fatigued by it all( i’m fatigued by being the bad cop/dr doom,lol….staying on the farm/avoiding crowds doesn’t bother me one bit)

    1. Cuibono

      the oncologist would only accept the one type of vaccine we have ZERO real world long term experience with?

      1. amfortas the hippie

        to be fair, this is filtered through my wife, who is bewildered by that sort of thing
        this is why i’m allowed inside when we review the scans: i speak doctor

  21. ShamanicFallout

    re The Amazon rock art. Wukchumni linked to that a couple of days as well

    This is very interesting, what they have found, but do they know what they have found? And, as if on cue, one of the researchers there, feeling the need to ‘say something’ about the motivations of the ‘artists’, went there- that is he said, “they probably worshipped these animals.” Reminds me of the Wittgenstein quote:

    “Frazer [This was from W’s Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough] is much more savage than most of his savages, for these savages will not be so far from any understanding of spiritual matters as an Englishman of the twentieth century. His explanations of the primitive observances are much cruder than the sense of the observances themselves.”

    Reply ↓

    1. Susan the other

      I’m inclined to believe that this rock art is authentic – it looks to be, and preliminary dating says it is. The main reason it probably is in my mind is because the archeologists in Brazil and other SoAm countries have long claimed evidence in South America of civilizations that go back a good 40,000+ years. Which everyone in the otherwise “Western” world just ignored and kept claiming the magnificence of the European cave paintings (which are beautiful, no argument, but not all that old). And the thing that is really the monkey wrench for archeologists is the indigenous tribe in Canada that has no DNA precedent – it’s as if they are the first humans. Somebody’s gotta be.

      1. Mel

        Blew my mind, that negative space one, with the phantom conical tree in the middle of all the ornaments.

  22. fresno dan

    Right-wingers on social media are calling for Trump supporters to refuse to vote for Republican candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Georgia Senate race. Instead, tweets with the tag #boycottGArunoff are encouraging voters angry at alleged fraud in the presidential race to write in President Trump for both seats.
    I’m hoping they succeed. So, does Trump think a democratic senate is actually in his interest (more to b*tch about on his TV show if democratic policies pass?) – or more likely, just Trump petulance…

    1. amfortas the hippie

      the fringes of “both” parties are being pushed out… on the right, because they’ve become unhinged and unmanageable (see:trumpism); on the actual left, because those policies are just so dern popular and thus must be made to be seen as crazy, and all but identical to the loony right.
      the Big Center that’s trying to finally formally birth itself has a pretty unpopular platform, so they know they can’t compete with either version of populism–especially that of the left.
      mass participation in politics is seen by our betters as well past it’s usefulness
      expect a more overt technocracy

  23. kareninca

    I mentioned on Sunday that I had just seen two lockdown-loving, mask-pushing, Biden-esteeming, ultra-liberal churchgoers take off their masks and start singing with each other – five feet apart! – since they hadn’t sung with another person since the lockdown. And that I fled. I didn’t want to make mention of AIDS, but now I feel compelled. It really did remind me of the 80s. They felt a physical compulsion; it was as if they were in a trance. The moment the first one suggested it, it was going to happen. It was like me eating persimmons if they are in the kitchen; if they are there it is going to happen.

    Any particular “bad” activity is ludicrous to someone who doesn’t care for it. I hate music and I don’t eat out, so I can see how insane those activities are now. But I’m still doing nonprofit used book sales. We are still being given 15,000 books a month (down from 30,000, since we’re limiting donations), and I’m still meeting with people and selling books or giving them away to other nonprofits. Yes, we’re wearing masks and distancing and following county rules, but no it is not risk free. It could all stop; that is an option. But it won’t stop, since it’s my stupid.

  24. Gary

    “We haven’t won a war since” The Kennedy administration? What war(s) did we win before that? Korea? Don’t make us laugh.

    How did we “win” WWII with the freshly born cold war the result of our “victory”? With Japan destroying our automobile industry? With tens of trillions wasted on nuclear weapons?

    1812, and defeating Pancho Villa, now there’s wars that we won after being invaded on our home territory,

    1. Steve

      Well, conquering Canada was to have been “a mere matter of marching”, and the US didn’t conquer Canada (militarily, anyhow …), so how can the War of 1812 be considered an American victory?

  25. marym

    From the department of shining city on a hill:
    Yesterday the SC heard arguments on whether Trump can proceed with census numbers that don’t count undocumented immigrants as persons.

    Today they heard arguments on whether US corporations can be held liable for aiding and abetting child slavery overseas. The Trump DOJ is on the side of the corporations. The corporate lawyer served in the Clinton and Obama administrations.

    There was at least some skepticism on the part of the conservative justices, especially on slavery, so there’s that.

      1. JBird4049

        What? IIRC, the census has always counted every person regardless of their legal status and not just American citizens. I guess the Nine could overturn greater than two centuries of precedent including the counting of slaves in the numbers. What has always mattered is who can vote with higher census numbers giving the voters more representatives in Congress and therefor more power than voters in other parts of the country. That is why the South had such great power before the Civil War in the federal government. The three-fifth clause of the Constitution gave the region’s voters more power than those of the North’s voters; the clause was a compromise to reduce the power of the Southern states and induce both the North and the South to vote for the Constitution. The increasing number of people in the North was eroding the South’s political power, which was one of the reasons for it succeeding from the Union.

  26. Cuibono

    “Such a system would presumably require a global database accessible by thousands of interested parties”

    You don’t say.

    want to travel?

    coming soon to a theatre near you

  27. Ping

    After many were totally unprepared for the oft intense or incapacitating side effects of the 2-part Shingrix vaccine, there has been occasional mention in MSM that the public should be prepared for Covid vaccine side effects, fever, malaise etc so they will follow thru with second shot.

    My extremely fragile mother is in a care facility and I really wonder if those in her condition will recover from any significant side effects. I haven’t asked the director if corporate is requiring residents be vaccinated. I suppose no easy answer as Covid would quickly be fatal for those in fragile nursing care if vaccination side effects didn’t send them into downward spiral.

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    > DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures

    The protein folding problem — determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence” — is a grand challenge problem in biology. The amino-acid sequence for a protein can be read from the genetic code used to construct the protein. [There are some caveats. Some protein are trimmed after their amino-acid chain is constructed. There are also the chaperone proteins that help some proteins fold properly.] Knowing a protein’s 3D shape is believed to be key in understanding how that protein functions. [I believe other aspects of a protein’s structure are also important, things such as the exterior charge map it presents to other molecules and the flexibility of areas of the protein structure — but neither of these attributes have much meaning until the 3D shape of a protein is known.]

    There is a yearly ‘contest’: Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction(CASP) where different research teams compete in determining 3D shape from amino-acid sequence for proteins for which the 3D shape is known but has not yet been published and presumably unknown to the contest entrants. Measured against this year’s CASP molecules DeepMind is predicting structures close to or matching the experimentally determined structures.

    Deepmind is owned and ostensibly controlled by Google — which is disturbing in itself given the importance of the protein folding problem. Deepmind is an Artificial Intelligence which is also disturbing for other though similar reasons. And I feel at a loss in describing how extremely important the protein folding problem and related problems I waved at really are.

    Until the last hundred years Humankind has focused most of its attentions on structures that could be seen and touched. The materials and processes of life offer a vast library of information about unseen structures which I believe will have a profound impact on the future of Humankind … assuming we can throw off our chains of Neoliberal exploitation. There is wild fascination with nanotechnology expressed in science fiction but I believe the future of nanotechnology will be at the molecular level of proteins and unknown families of future molecular structures based on chain elements other than the amino acids that are the basis for our life. Energy is at the foundation of our current civilization and at the foundation of any future civilization which might be even remotely related to our present civilization. Heat holds a vast and growing reservoir of energy we might might eventually tap working at a molecular scale.

  29. ewmayer

    “How America’s deadliest serial killer went undetected for more than 40 years WaPo. No, silly, not the Sacklers.” — Lambert, appreciate the snark as always, but you appear to have fallen prey to a category error: the Sacklers are parallel killers, not serial. The disctinction is crucial, because as with so many other forms of crime, doing it at scale makes one a “white-collar criminal” and thus eligible for stay-out-jail-for-$ treatment, in this case by having an abstract entity known as “the company” plead guilty. Said abstract entity enjoys all the positive rights of legal personhood but is alas unable to participate in any of the non-monetary negative sanctions experienced by actual human persons who break the law, such as ‘perp walks’, ‘doing hard time’, or even in some places and cases, the ‘death penalty’. Most interestingly, the latter ultimate sanction does in fact have an analog which can be applied to a corporate ‘person’, but oddly, that never seems to happen anymore, quite the opposite in many cases – just ask Obama-era ‘tough prosecutors’ Eric Holder and his former top lieutenant Lanny Breuer.

  30. farmboy

    USD trades consistently below 92, expect a rate hike…January 2021. Just going to leave this here.

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