Links 3/15/2021

Waldeinsamkeit: Germany’s cherished forest tradition BBC

Step Inside the Mind of a Volcanologist Treehugger

Listen to Five of the World’s Newest, Wildest Instruments NYT

Worst sandstorm in a decade hits Beijing, huge parts of northern China SCMP

London police chief won’t resign over handling of vigil Al Jazeera

Stress and anxiety caused by smartphone use revealed in new TAU study Jerusalem Post

Bombshell analysis traces new Ebola outbreak to survivor of West Africa crisis Stat

The UK seafood that could send you to jail BBC

UNSC Watch: From Myanmar to Africa, Security Council Grapples With Members’ National Interests The Wire


How to find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in your area Ars Technica

Dr Fauci tells Trump he could be a ‘game changer’ in the fight against COVID if he tells his supporters to get the vaccine after HALF of Republican men said they will not get the shot Daily Mail

Netherlands joins Ireland in vaccine suspension over blood clot concerns Guardian

3 medical innovations fueled by that will outlast the pandemic The Conversation

Fact check: No links found between vaccination and deaths Deutsche Welle

Treatment for COVID-19 is better than a year ago, but it still has a long way to go USA Today

Virus tolls similar despite governors’ contrasting actions AP

US comes under pressure to share vaccines with rest of world The Hill

First he held a superspreader event. Then he recommended fake cures. MIT Technology Review

States Are Finding More Unreported Covid-19 Deaths WSJ

Coverage of Texas’ Declaration of Covid Victory Left Out Rapidly Rising Toll FAIR

Brazil’s anti-COVID mascot Gotinha is missing and some wonder why NY Daily News


Germany: Merkel’s CDU in crisis after setback in regional polls Al Jazeera

Angela Merkel’s CDU takes major hit in regional elections — early results Deutsche Welle

“What the Government Is Asking for Would Weaken Security for All” Der Spiegel


Problems mount for Bank of England governor after weathering Covid storm FT

Our Famously Free Press

Congressional Testimony: The Leading Activists for Online Censorship Are Corporate Journalists Glenn Greenwald

US lawmakers propose Australia-style bill for media, tech negotiations Ars Tecnica

How  Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation MIT Technology Review

Class Warfare

Judges Break Up Door-Making Conglomerate Matt Stoller

In the Netherlands, Workers Are Taking on Fossil Fuel Giants Like Shell Jacobin

Groves of Academe

Tenure’s Broken Promise Chronicle of Higher Education

Biden Administration

Biden’s Judiciary: A Tower Of Babel American Conservative

Joe Biden taps Gene Sperling to implement $1.9tn stimulus package FT

Biden’s embrace of Warrenworld poses new risks for Wall Street Politico

Yellen Says Biden Administration Undecided on Wealth Tax WSJ

Federal investigators blast Tesla, call for stricter safety standards Ars Technica

US fights to make up lost ground in chip production Asia Times

Trump Transition

A pro-Trump scam PAC wants $100 donations to get him back on Twitter Politico


Biden: Cuomo ‘investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us’ The Hill

Why Cuomo’s fall from grace should have happened years ago CNN

CNN guest calls out network on-air for Cuomo brothers ‘love-a-thon’ NY Post


PETER HITCHENS: Falklands hero Lord West is ‘insulted’ by the Foreign Office after he casts doubt on UN’s ‘sexed-up’ Assad gas attack dossier Daily Mail

5 former OPCW officials join prominent voices to call out Syria cover-up Grayzone

Germany grapples with its identity crisis on Syria Deutsche Welle

80 percent of Syrians impoverished; 60 % food insecure Qantara


Backstory: From ‘Partly Unfree’ to ‘Fully Unfree’? The New IT Rules Could Hasten the Slide The Wire

India’s digital media regulation sparks fears of curbs on press freedom Reuters

Tired of the endless wait for compensation, thousands of Indians may return to manual scavenging Scroll


‘Mandalay was a massacre’: Security forces fire at protests BBC

Myanmar junta pays dearly to sell its hated coup Asia Times

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video (Richard S):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. John Hacker

        Are “PBS/Marist poll” pollsters to be trusted? i have become such a cynic, my brain went to the Darwin Awards.

      2. jefemt

        I have read that Trump and his wife quietly took Covid vaccines on the way out the door of the WH /POTUS.

        I also read Trump recently requested a mail-in ballot for a local election.

        Why the heck is the media not trotting both of these watch-what-they-do, not what-they-say
        “teachable moments” at full volume and repeatedly?

        Oh, that’s right, the MSM — can’t think on feet, go off-script.


        1. Pelham

          I don’t think Trump is anti-vaccine. After all, he launched Operation Warp Speed, the greatest medical operation of all time. Also, it’s one thing to oppose mail-in ballots, which are indeed problematic, as no less than the NYT has reported. But if they’re permitted there’s no contradiction in using them. It’s like advocating for gun control but, until everyone is disarmed, keeping a gun on hand just in case.

      3. Michael Ismoe

        The Donald already told people to get the shot. The immediate response from the Vice President’s Office was “It doesn’t matter what Trump says. We need doctors to endorse the vaccine.”

        Trump’s response is in paragraph 12. When you get banned, you get banned by everyone.

        1. bassmule

          He still manages to make everything all about him:

          “We took care of a lot of people — including, I guess, on Dec. 21st, we took care of Joe Biden, because he got his shot, he got his vaccine,” Trump said. “It shows you how unpainful that vaccine shot is.”

          “So everybody, go get your shot,” Trump, who is 74, added.

          In a Wednesday statement, Trump simultaneously took credit for the fast production of vaccines and insisted that, if it hadn’t been for his presidency, no vaccines might have been developed for COVID-19.

          “I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all.”

          1. juno mas

            It’s one thing to control the expenditure of government largese as President—paying for vaccine exploration before results are assured. Very different than listening to medical scientists and coordinating a national strategy that would have saved, oh say, 250,000 lives.

            Don’t ascribe to prescience, or design, that which is coincidence. (See: Sweden.)

        2. Aumua

          The power of the media suppression field around Trump and his followers, especially the more extreme elements like QAnon and other groups involved in the Capitol riots, is not to be underestimated. It’s far more intense than what was done (and is still being done) to Bernie. We don’t hear anything from Trump because the PTB currently want to erase him from memory, but just because we haven’t been hearing from that vector does not mean that energy has dissipated.

          I suppose if Fauci or whoever really wanted his endorsement on vaccines then they could have Twitter offer to give him back some access in exchange.

      4. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        March 15, 2021 at 7:25 am
        Fauci added: ‘If he came out and said, “Go and get vaccinated. It´s really important for your health, the health of your family and the health of the country,” it seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him.

        ‘I think it would make all the difference in the world. He’s a very wildly popular person among Republicans.’

        Though it wasn’t publicized at the time, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump got the vaccine in January before they left the White House, a Trump adviser told in February.
        Anybody who has ever attended religious services soon comes to realize that there are many, many, MANY tenants of the religion that are not only ignored, but are acted upon 180 degrees from the professed doctrine. (why do people belong to tribes, religions, or parties with beliefs that they ignore? I don’t know)
        I have mentioned many times my rabid Trump supporting friend in, of all places, Boston, MA. He has had cancer, and is wife is currently being treated for cancer (she is doing very well – maybe even cured). Both got the vaccine as soon as it was available to them. What of all this talk of all the republican men who won’t get the vaccine? And my response is, know any Catholics who use birth control? Many professed beliefs and followed beliefs, when put into Venn diagrams, the overlapping parts are usually just a sliver…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Looking for some new music yesterday to pass the time in what seems like day# 4,579,429,827,464 of sitting at my [family blog]ing house, I ran across Messiaen who’d I’d never heard of before and his symphony Turangalila. There were some weird sounds in the recording and I wondered if they had been dubbed in after the fact, but on looking it up I discovered he used the new-to-me odd instrument called the ondes Martenot. It was one of the first electronic instruments and sounds similar to the more familiar theremin, and was actually patented the same year in 1928. Radiohead has used the ondes Martenot in more modern times, but never understanding the attraction of Radiohead, I’d missed it.

      A demonstration where the musician plays a bit from Turangalila (and a little Star Trek theme if you watch until the end) – enjoy!

      1. Phillip Cross

        Charlie Hebdo did a cover cartoon showing the Queen of England kneeling on Markle’s neck, whilst she says”I can’t breathe”.

        Various groups found it to be distasteful for differing reasons.

        1. JTMcPhee

          In this new age of cancelation, “distaste” and Harumph! and “that hurts my feefees” cancels what are often pretty truthful observations. Dare not to challenge the Narrative, or spoof shibboleths, for fear of denunciation and exile…

    1. Jesper

      About the: waldeinsamkeit

      This Dilbert comic comes to mind:

      My experience of the lockdown is that the extroverts don’t have any problems but the introverts living with and therefore trapped inside together with an extrovert…. No escape valve.

    2. pasha

      the japanese have a similar concept, “shinrin-yoku,” forest bathing — standing alone in the forest and bathing in healing green light. anecdotally, i can attest that living in a forest has lowered my blood pressure

  1. zagonostra

    >Biden 3/11 Speech

    I did not watch or listen to the speech, but I just read a transcript and I feel I woke up into a future dystopian world.

    While it was different for everyone, we all lost something — a collective suffering, a collective sacrifice… Tell the truth. Follow the scientists and the science. Work together. Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people…I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn…by July the 4, there’s a good chance you, your families and friends, will be able to get together.

    Collective suffering, collective sacrifice. Put your faith in gov’t, and believe it tells the truth. Truly, there must be some way out of here said the Joker to the Thief….

    1. Arizona Slim

      If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that putting trust and faith in [fill in the blank with name of institution] is foolish at best.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Follow the scientists and the science – unless they work for the OPCW and their conclusions would stop the US from vaporizing some brown people. In those cases it’s science be damned and bombs away!

      And yet they wonder why people have no faith in government.

      1. Vlad "The Mad Lad" Lenin

        *Lionel Huttz voice* Marge, there’s “the science >:(” and “the science :D!”

    3. cocomaan

      People are getting exactly what they voted for. They eat this stuff up. As long as someone can stand at a podium and mouth out nearly complete sentences, they’re acceptable as long as they meet partisan criteria of whatever party.

      My favorite part:

      We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. We, the people.

      Having been to DC, no, sorry, but this federal government acts a lot more like an extractive colonial power than anything else.

      But hey, gonna get my stimmy.

  2. timbers

    Yellen Says Biden Administration Undecided on Wealth Tax WSJ

    The Overton Window sure has moved a lot in 12 years. Barack and Hillary kept saying in their campaigns how they’d each reverse GWB tax cuts for the rich. Biden didn’t even make Trumps corporate tax cuts an issue the campaign. If fact nobody did that I recall much. And now it’s crickets on the corporate tax cuts, and instead a complicated spider’s web that Dems know will never pass anyways.

    Well done.

    1. Solideco

      Also haven’t heard anything about Biden eliminating/reducing the tariffs targeting China that Trump enacted early on. Granted, I don’t remember if some/most/all of the tariffs were withdrawn over time.

      Also, haven’t heard anything about union “card check” which Obama promised to support and then did nothing. Seems like something Biden, who is supposedly pro-union, would support.

    2. Pelham

      Great point about the spider’s web that DEMS KNOW WILL NEVER PASS. That is the essence, right there. I’m thoroughly convinced that the Democratic Party warmly welcomes Republicans and members in their own ranks who render nearly every progressive promise impossible to fulfill in practice. This is the indispensable element that makes possible the theater of two parties obscuring the reality of one.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “80 percent of Syrians impoverished; 60 % food insecure”

    I have seen this story on the news the past two days and it is really quite disgusting. It is like when all those major media companies were reporting on the famine in Yemen and how the children were dying. But they would hardly ever mention the fact that it was Saudi Arabia responsible for all this by blockading food into those areas and blockading fuel as well to ensure there was no way to transport any food supplies to those regions either. It was straight out of a medieval starvation blockade playbook.

    Are the Syrians food insecure? Yes. Why? Because Washington has caused the bread-basket region of their country to be occupied so that they cannot access it. Why can’t they sell oil to buy food. Because there are US troops occupying those major oil fields so that this does not happen. And they have also been training Jihadists in sabotage techniques to go in and blow up the oil installations that the Syrians still do have. The Syrians are finding it hard to rebuild as the US has threatened any country that helps them do so with sanctions. They are also short of medical supplies again, because of US/EU sanctions, even though they too are fighting the pandemic.

    In short, the US will make sure that the Syrians will remain impoverished and starving until they let the Jihadists take power in the country. And today I saw a story of how low this campaign is getting. They cannot get Assad anymore so they are now threatening Assad’s wife with terrorism charges saying that she aided in war crimes and with threats to revoke her British citizenship. This is so disgusting this-

    1. km

      Gee, the United States and its vassals impose sanctions and wage war on a country and now its people are poor and hungry.

      Who could have possibly foreseen this? We need to step in and bomb these poor benighted folks back to prosperity!

      I guess now that the “ZOMG Assad gassed his own people ZOMG!” hoax was shown to be a hoax so blatant that it would not have fooled a kindergartner, the United States has to try a different approach.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Empire is taking Syrian oil, starting the refining in northeast Syria (occupied territory) and trucking it through Turkey. Seems the Russians or somebody are tired of this bullshit and dropped maybe three missiles into the tank farms and waiting tanker trucks, leading to this almost totally unreported bit of a conflagration:

        And of course the Israelis, behind their Shield of Impunity, have been interfering with Free Seaborne Commerce, that thing the Empire says it is all about protecting, by attacking Iranian and other ships that dare to try to deliver needed stuff and petroleum to Syria:

        “Who can destroy a thing controls a thing…” Of course more and more the collective ability to destroy things is far outstripping the human capacity to operate things, in any way other than in demolishing the Home Planet…

      2. pjay

        The problem is that most people don’t read Aaron Mate or other real journalists. The MSM have completely smothered the OPCW story and any objective account. The Deutshe Welle story in today’s Links is more typical; it implies that all 800,000 “asylum-seekers” are all fleeing torture and/or execution by the Evil Assad, rather than fleeing the ravages of war. Another reason we need to bomb them!

    2. Procopius

      Errrrmmm… Did you know that the U.S. Navy has imposed a blockade on Yemen, “in support of our valiant ally The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” since 2015? So not only does our military intelligence provide targeting data to school buses (supposedly used earlier that day to transport Houthi leaders to a meeting), weddings, funerals, markets, and hospitals, and refuel Saudi bombers on their runs, the Navy prevents food and medicine from reaching the reviled insurrectionists. /s There are a lot of crimes they will never be held to account for. Also, too, The School of the Americas.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Australian Navy is also there to help teach the Saudis how to do a blockade. I wonder how our service people feel about this part of their job.

  4. .Tom

    Problem with the link to London police chief won’t resign over handling of vigil Al Jazeera

      1. Redlife2017

        The Guardian briefly had an article on their front page about how the organiser of the vigil felt about Cressida Dick. They changed (rather hastly) the title of the article to “Boris Johnson defends Met chief after handling of Sarah Everard vigil”…But they forgot to change the URL and buried what was their lead:

        So the vigil organiser, Anna Birley (from the group Reclaim These Streets) said Cressida Dick should remain in her post. She was quoted as saying (and this is like almost at the bottom of the revised article):
        “We are a movement of women seeking to support and empower other women, and as one of the most senior women in British policing history, we do not want to add to the pile-on,” Birley told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

        I’m not even sure where to start with how awful this makes Anna Birley sound. So, what Cressida Dick, who literally has blood on her hands, can’t possibly handle having people call her out for her police force acting like a bunch of authoritarian black booted thugs? This, comrades, is where identity politics has led us…

        1. Biologist


          This group ‘Reclaim These Streets’ did organise the vigil initially, but when the Met Police didn’t allow it to go through they cancelled it (and set up some fundraiser instead like a good liberal NGO would do).

          The many women (and men) who did show up on Clapham Common went there despite this cancellation, as they’d rather not be silenced by the police – remember it’s a Met policeman who allegedly killed Sarah Everard. Many are angry, and do want Cressida Dick’s (and the Home Secretary Priti Patel’s) resignation. They went marching again yesterday, and today, without police permission.

          Anna Birley is a Labour councillor.

          Today’s march is against a bill being rushed through parliament that criminalises non-violent protests that cause ‘disruption’. Labour leader Keir Starmer caved under pressure and is allowing his MPs to vote against it. This country is so f#cked…

        2. ambrit

          To ad insult to injury; the ‘Beeb’ idpoled Dr. Who into Oblivion. Not even The Master, the Cybermen, nor the Daleks were able to do what the “woke” crew that had taken over running a successful fifty year old ‘entertainment’ program did. They retconned a very popular show into the grave.

            1. The Rev Kev

              He’s not talking about that but a general trend. Take a look at the major franchises that have been run into the ground the past few years – Dr. Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Terminator, etc. All of them went into woke fantasies land and the earnings (or lack of) at the box office have shown the results. Nothing to do with having women in leading roles as it turn out. If you ever get a chance, watch some of the Critical Drinkers vids on popular films to see what happened and why so many modern films are so bad-


              1. Aumua

                “As the Drinker, he mainly covers movies and television, and occasionally video games and comic books. He often focuses on the far left politicization of entertainment in recent products. They suffer from forced political correctness, hamfisted messaging born out of “Trump Derangement Syndrome”, identity politics being valued over story and characters, excessive uses of virtue signaling, and unqualified and unlikable creators and actors at the helm. He also loathes the way beloved IPs of the past are retooled into being vehicles for present day woke agendas. As a result, the stories themselves are often terribly written even on a fundamental level.”

                From The Critical Drinker

                I mean there is definitely more than one right wing dog whistle in that little blurb, isn’t there. It’s also possible that shoddy film-making in many big studio films (especially reboots) these days is something independent of any “woke agenda” i.e. that the new Ghostbusters is not a bad movie because it has women protagonists, but because it’s just a bald, shoddily made cash grab. If there is any agenda here, it is the Capitalist one, with the studio cashing in on the intellectual property, nostalgia and the IdPol angle all at once with minimal effort put in.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  He is also a published author of several books so does know what he is talking about with the popular arts. And he is right. Things like a good story line, the development of strong, believable characters, realistic plot lines – all of them are being pushed aside to fulfill contemporary agendas. As an example, the revamped Klingons in a Star Trek film a few years ago were deliberately done so to represent Trump voters, I kid you not. The producers words, not mine.

                  And when you have unlikable actors (who could not be bothered understanding the franchise they signed into) getting into twitter fights with long term fans, you know that the wheels have fallen off. And the result are showing up in box office takings, even before the pandemic shut the cinemas down. Indie films hopefully will step into the breech with quality film productions.

                  1. Aumua

                    and I suppose the cherry-picked examples you provide all represent the “far left” to you, or is that distinction not really important here?

                    I think my original point still stands: that shoddy film making is a separate issue from real or imagined “far left”, woke agendas. Check out Annihilation if you haven’t. It’s a nearly all women cast and it’s great.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      I don’t think that you get it. This is not a “woman” thing. He did a video a while ago showing all the strong women charactors over the decades like Ripley from Aliens, Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager, the women from the Marvel Universe and on and on. The sort I like as it turns out. And it is really not a left vs right issue either. Not a heart. Nor is it about shoddy film making. It is about an agenda that has overtaken film producing to influence a wider audience into its own values – that of a vocal sub-minority. The fact that it is spread across not only so many films but film franchises over many years shows that it is actually a thing. But people aren’t buying it. Nor tickets to those films either.

                      But I will end this comment by saying that women characters in films can be great when given the lead-


                    2. Aumua

                      But I will end this comment by saying that women characters in films can be great when given the lead-

                      Of course they can, but that’s not really the point I’m making either.

                      And it is really not a left vs right issue either.

                      Exactly, which is why when I hear the term “far left” misused in that way it’s a dead giveaway that the person using it is either a victim of reactionary propaganda, or is being dishonest and actively spreading that rhetoric. To be fair, Will Jordan may have had nothing to do with writing the fandom page bio of him, and he may or may not ever misuse “far left” like that. But there it is, and a quick perusal of his twitter corroborates that sort of right wing bias.

                      For what it’s worth I probably agree with a lot of his movie reviews, on a film making basis. But I prefer RLM for less reactionary analysis in a similar vein.

                      It is about an agenda that has overtaken film producing to influence a wider audience into its own values

                      Yeah, I know, and all the heads of the media companies are Jews too, amiright?

        3. occasional anonymous

          I’ve been following this Sarah Everard case the last few days. As far as I can tell there’s been no word yet of her having been raped, so as of now it’s ‘just’ a kidnapping and murder case. Looking at the stats, something like 2/3 of the annual homicide victims in the UK are men (on top of men being more likely to be victims of violent crime in general). Probably a week doesn’t go by when several men aren’t murdered on the streets of Britain, with little comment from the media. But a pretty blonde girl goes missing and turns up dead, and everyone loses their minds? Suddenly we’re all supposed to care about the ‘crisis’ of women being scared to exercise, etc, alone, despite the fact that objectively they’re less likely to be in any danger? This type of media spectacle happens constantly in the US, but I guess the UK isn’t above it either.

          I’m not some obnoxious Men’s Rights Activist type, but I can appreciate the perspective such people are coming from when I see stuff like this.

          1. Carla

            You know, until you can posit that 2/3 of PERPETRATORS of homicides are not men, I really don’t think you have a leg to stand on.

            Women are not safe from men. And MEN are not safe from men.

            Seems to me, men are the common threat, here.

            1. Yves Smith

              Sorry, this is simply dreadful logic. Only a tiny percentage of the population commits murders. With sets as large as men and women, the differences within a set will be much greater than the differences between sets.

              And what is the age at which women in the US are most likely to be killed? Under one year old. Data from South Africa says women are overwhelmingly the killers of neonates and young babies.


              Articles from other countries, without the data backup, say the same thing, that women overwhelmingly are the killers of young babies, which is the age when women are most likely to be murdered.

              Care to rethink your sweeping generalization?

  5. John Hacker

    Are Capitalists getting lazy? ”US semiconductor companies have 47% of the global chip sales market, but only 12% are manufactured in the US.” Geez, i can sit around and let Wall Street make me money, why try saving the nation. That’ national security…

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Fact check: No links found between vaccination and deaths” – Deutsche Welle

    “Fact check: No links found between Deutsche Welle and facts” – Coronavirus

    With all due respect, it is still early days with all these vaccinations. Long term effects of vaccines like AstraZeneca have yet to be determined. We are essentially feeling our way along here and for all we know, one of the protocols that some counties signed to received some of these vaccines may have included clauses to keep bad results confidential. But as we need these vaccines so badly, it is a bit of a Hobson’s choice here.

    1. Pelham

      Relatedly, I think it’s worth watching the case of the apparently healthy 39-year-old woman in Utah who took ill after her second dose of the Moderna vaccine and then died of massive liver failure four days later. Granted, it’s just one instance. But I believe an autopsy is being done — and I for one would really like to know more as both my wife and are due for a second Moderna dose in a couple of weeks.

    2. wilroncanada

      Thinking of confidential: one account I read a few days ago included an account of blood clot numbers: AstroZeneca 22, Pfizer 25. I’ll try to find the link, but don’t hold your breath.

    3. Baby Gerald

      This DW article has been posted here twice. I seriously suggest it as an excellent example of a very wordy article that undermines its headline more and more with each passing paragraph. I posted a long-ish critique earlier today that wound up lost in moderationland. Not because of any included links [there were none] or any language issues, mind you, because I keep copies of posts here in TextEdit just in case situations like this happen.

      Anyway, I won’t try to repost it or any part of it here again but strongly encourage NCers to read this article straight through and relate their summary of it. Do they feel as if the facts are all in and the experts and data quoted in the article put their mind at ease? I for one, do not and would elaborate as to why, but would rather see if others here are getting the same sketchy vibes off this DW article as RevKev and I.

  7. kees_popinga

    Texas covid numbers have improved since that FAIR article. Prognosticating in a volatile statistical environment is hard — clearly FAIR wanted Texas politicians to be wrong; whether they *are* may take more than a week to prove.

  8. km

    “Identity crisis?”

    The only reason that Germany has an “identity crisis” with respect to Syria is because it is torn between a swell of refugees and orders from Washington to support further war on Syria, which means more refugees.

    For that matter, if Saudi Arabia and Israel were suddenly for some miraculous reason decide to stop caring about Syria, the United States would suddenly stop caring as well.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Step Inside the Mind of a Volcanologist”

    If I was a volcanologist, I would be thinking something like – please no pyroclastic flows!

    1. Arizona Slim

      Not to mention the widespread dispersion of toxic gasses like the ones that killed untold numbers of people in Pompeii.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      I’ve hiked to that Indonesian caldera, Ijen, (and visited the nearby ‘mud volcano’ at Lapindo opened by reckless oil drilling). Nobody else wears a respirator, including the several hundred local men who haul sulfur-bearing rocks out of the crater and down the footpath on shoulder baskets, day after day, for a couple of bucks a load.

      1. polecat

        It gives one pause, to think how Frodo and Sam wise survived THE END of all things .. with all those volcanic doom bombs splashing down close by, as they discuss strawberries and cream ..

  10. Pat

    So Kara Alaimo thinks Cuomo’s fall from grace should have happened years ago. I am not impressed. I do give her credit for at least noting the nursing home deaths, but it is all about how bullying creates a hostile workspace for women AND voters shouldn’t have voted for him because of this. And we should all examine why we failed.

    By all reports, Cuomo created a hostile workspace for everyone, not just women. But if you are the average overworked person, it was unlikely you knew this. The average two minute news update or the news article didn’t really focus on his beating up on staff or journalists. His combative nature was covered in policy battles, but that is not the same. More importantly just as the nursing home deaths are now an annoying aside to be ignored if possible, most of Cuomo’s worst decisions and policies were and are missing from the coverage, previously his obnoxious behavior was also largely ignored. He was arrogant and impatient. Now we get to call him a bully, but we are to blame that he got to be that.

    Of course there is a shining example of what he could be.

    Take former President Barack Obama (I served as a Treasury spokesperson in his administration). Obama has a reputation for being a friend to women and there has never been a whiff of sexual scandal surrounding him. But he learned that the tendency for other men on his senior staff to shout, curse, interrupt and take credit for other people’s ideas during policy discussions left senior women in his White House “feeling diminished, ignored, and increasingly reluctant to voice their opinions,” he wrote in his 2020 autobiography “A Promised Land.”
    He responded by taking responsibility. Obama wrote that hearing this “forced me to look in the mirror and ask myself how much my own inclination toward machismo — my tolerance for a certain towel-snapping atmosphere in meetings, the enjoyment I took in a good verbal jousting — may have contributed to their discomfort.”
    Obama deserves enormous credit for being receptive to feedback and examining the subconscious, unintended ways in which he was contributing to a workplace that was difficult for women. It’s long past time for other leaders to follow his example. And if all of us stopped voting for bullies and purchasing products from companies that don’t foster inclusive workplaces, the world would be a far friendlier place for women.

    Other than some supposed late night Self examination, what concrete changes did Obama make that would change the atmosphere? Or did he just ruminate? I’ve spent many a time looking at how procrastination has caused me difficulties, but rarely did any significant in the light of day to change things. I would bet everyone here can add to my example. But he is what we should be proud to vote for, the change we need.

    Not for nothing but I not only didn’t vote for Cuomo in 2018, I didn’t vote for him before that. Apparently Alaimo should consider herself more to blame than me. But I wasn’t rejecting him because of his management style but for his long record of empowering himself by coming through for large donors and leaving average NYers swinging in the wind. That is about the same reason I rejected Obama in 2012. From my perspective Ms Alaimo should remove the mountain sized boulder from her eye, that is if my guess about her voting record is even close to accurate.

    1. cocomaan

      AOC tweeted that Cuomo should resign because:

      1. Sexual harassment;
      2. Awful workplace;
      3. Nursing home deaths

      #3 should be renamed: thousands of people sent to their doom by making a mistake that anyone could have seen coming, a mistake so stupid that it should be criminal.

      To me, the sexual harassment deluge is a way to cover up #3. Just as people start asking questions about nursing home deaths, women come out of the woodwork? Just like that? After Cuomo’s star had already risen last year? Seems suspect as hell to me.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        He will respond to her request right after he finishes the reapportionment maps for NYS.

      2. Bill Democrat

        Let’s be real–the TRUE scandal here is how so soon after RUSSIA tried to destroy Honest Joe with TRUMPed up allegations of sexual misconduct none of these supposed “women” are having their backgrounds examined for ties to the Kremlin!

      3. polecat

        NOT 4. Chilluns in bordercages. Why ain’t she down in Texas instead, leaning against chainlink weeping tears of Non-OMB – as the cameras click like locusts on hot sand!?!
        It’s crickets with her – telling, no?

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Falklands hero Lord West

    Question for commenters across the pond – is “Falklands hero” really a thing in the UK?!? We don’t recognize US military veterans as “heroes of Grenada” as that little excursion is viewed as kind of a joke. Is the Falklands conflict viewed fondly as one last imperial escapade or something?

    1. Paul O

      It would say generally not – though Simon Weston is one exception –

      I was 18 when Argentina (let me say) invaded – in fact I was on a coach in central London on a college trip to see the original production of CATS – so it was really quite a notable thing; the first televised war involving the UK in my lifetime. I don’t think many of us remember it with a deep sense of pride – war and death is not that kind of a thing – but I mix in certain circles. Ushered in another term of Her Who Shall Not be Named.

    2. David

      It’s the Daily Mail, which uses “hero” when other newspapers would simply say “veteran”. It’s not really a value judgement. On the other hand, the British lost some 250 dead over the course of the conflict, and a number of ships were sunk. It was anything but a picnic – indeed, to be able to carry out an operation like that at the other end of the world with small, improvised forces and a long and tenuous supply line, only a couple of hundred kilometres from the enemy coast, is actually quite an astonishing technical achievement, irrespective of what you think of the politics behind it. If the Argentine junta had had the faintest idea that the British would stage such an operation, they would never have invaded.

      I think most people were, and still are, very divided about the conflict. It nearly brought the Tory government down. It played a role (though arguably not a great one) in getting Thatcher re-elected. (The principal cause was the split in the Labour Party). It was also accompanied at the time by a great deal of hysteria and flag-waving which upset a lot of people, including me. On the other hand, with the passage of time, it seems more and more incredible that the UK was ever able to carry out such an operation at all. It’s not the purely military aspects that are the most striking, but rather the improvisation, coordination, crash development and testing and a willingness to try things and make mistakes. It was one of the last acts of the Capable British State that started to be dismantled in the 1980s. It’s a shame that it had to be a war.

        1. David

          Less than you might think. A small change in the fusing of the bombs and their A-4s might have sunk a lot more ships.

    3. R

      Putting aside the political grubbiness of the conflict – an invasion launched by a failing military dictatorship to distract from problems at home and counter-attacked by radical neoliberal government in danger of being voted out for economic shock “therapy” – the Falklands campaign was gripping drama on the home front. A daring mission impossible, a last hurrah for the gang, all safely happening on the other side of the world and without nukes. I remember the moment during a school science lesson, aged seven or eight, sitting on the floor of the big assembly room watching the educational programme on the school television when the programme disappeared and was replaced by a newsflash and the teacher was very angry that we all started messing about.

      There were several heroes. I am not sure I would put Simon Weston in that category, nor that he would put himself there either. I have always thought he was a victim of war, however inspirational in overcoming his burns. Notable ones who made the papers were:
      – Lt-Colonel H Jones VC – who died in a fearless and possibly vainglorious assault at Goode Green and got the Victoria Cross for his pains. Hero or madman controversy still rages.
      – Surgeon-Captain Rick Jolly, who was the Marines’ medical officer and the only man decorated by both sides, for running a field hospital where only three died, none under his care, and 50 Argentinians were treated. The hospital was forbidden to fly the red cross because it was too close to legitimate military targets.
      – the crazy Vulcan bomber and in-air refuelling crews, who flew on fumes in relays to get a tiny number of bombers to the South Atlantic

    4. wilroncanada

      ref to lyman alpha
      Really? I was certain Saint Ronnie was sainted because he was not only a hero of Granada, but at the same time he cured Vietnam Syndrome, leaving behind the much less memorable but much more virulent Grenada Syndrome. The country, as a result, went on to develop Poland syndrome, Chad syndrome, Nicaragua syndrome, and finally Panama syndrome completed under George HW.

  12. Dr. John Carpenter

    I love that since it doesn’t look like Cuomo will survive this, now CNN can run an opinion piece that his fall from grace should have happened years ago. Nice juxtaposition with the NY Post piece after it which helps explain exactly why it didn’t.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      They are certainly clearing the field for Kamala aren’t they? Cuomo gone. Newsome chasing a recall effort. Bernie with zero disciples in any way ready to take his place. That only leaves us one place to go in 2024. Must be nice to have friends in high places.

      1. christofay

        If any Republican starts going anti-war or supports cutting he OoD budget in half, I’m all in. I know I bumped my head too many times in life to look for any of this to happen.

  13. fresno dan
    After a solid year of living with a pandemic, the national press is beginning to ask the question that even Democrats have been quietly pondering in the Sunshine State: Was Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pandemic response right for Florida?
    A recent reanalysis of laboratory experiments indicates that absolute humidity strongly modulates the airborne survival and transmission of the influenza virus. Here, we extend these findings to the human population level, showing that the onset of increased wintertime influenza-related mortality in the United States is associated with anomalously low absolute humidity levels during the prior weeks. We then use an epidemiological model, in which observed absolute humidity conditions temper influenza transmission rates, to successfully simulate the seasonal cycle of observed influenza-related mortality.
    Long story short – if Florida has done better than expected, government policy probably has far less to do with that than Florida’s humidity.

    1. curlydan

      If you look at the top 20 metro- or micro-politian areas ranked by COVID infection rates, it is always surprising to me how many of the top 20 are in VERY dry areas. I think there are many other factors at play here (e.g. conservative regions, high Latino or Native American population, and others), but “dry” always stuck out for me.

      Here are the top 10. Only Pine Bluff, AR looks like it has any type of humidity:

      1 Eagle Pass, Texas 58,722 10,259 174.7
      2 Yuma, Ariz. 213,787 36,590 171.2
      3 Gallup, N.M. 71,367 12,091 169.4
      4 Laredo, Texas 276,652 42,932 155.2
      5 Bismarck, N.D. 133,179 20,499 153.9
      6 Lubbock, Texas 322,257 49,484 153.6
      7 El Paso 844,124 127,305 150.8
      8 El Centro, Calif. 181,215 27,099 149.5
      9 Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 152,940 22,378 146.3
      10 Pine Bluff, Ark. 87,804 12,792 145.7

    2. mike

      more science….. so are the scientists now saying Florida should have be open? or just taking credit after the fact.

      1. Geo

        Agreed. I only have anecdotal stats but the people I know with family in Florida have had a much higher infection rate than other areas. And I live in Los Angeles where our numbers have been terrible, and used to live in NYC. So, you’d think my circles in those two cities would have higher rates but nope. It’s the Floridians who have almost all had it.

        Again, just my anecdotal observations but something seems off about their official numbers.

  14. Darius

    Trump should be taking credit for the vaccine. After all, it was his “Operation Warp Speed.” Getting the vaccine should be a MAGA sacrament. I suppose if he was back on Twitter, he could be stomping all over Biden about the vaccine.

        1. Aumua

          I personally have heard enough of Trump’s views over the last four years to last a lifetime. I do see your point though, but I don’t have much sympathy for the guy either.

    1. a different chris

      Not for me, I got the Pfizer.

      Trump is like the guy they had to pin down on the floor of the airplane to keep him out of the cockpit in order to safely get to their destination. He not only doesn’t deserve any credit, up to the election he was an obstacle to getting things right and after it he just disappeared and sucked his thumb.

      Tired of his defenders. Maybe they should work for some big corp where the most useless guys take credit for everything, get lauded and promoted and everybody below them just shakes their heads and tell themselves to just consider it good that they moved on.

      1. Geo

        Well said. It’s this attitude that is why terrible people run the world. People still don’t know the difference between a salesman and a friend. Explains the popularity of cable news talking heads, guys like Cuomo/Trump/Bloomberg, and our celebrity worship culture. Unfortunately a salesman is all about the deal (art of the deal?) and has no concern for the product being sold or the customer buying it.

        Still, that anyone buys what Trump is selling after his lifetime of obvious huckster schemes is amazing to me. I have an old catalogue for “courses” on get rich quick schemes where Trump was doing a talk ($99 attendance fee) and he’s listed along with other cons like Tony Robbins, Jim Kramer, that “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” guy, and a bunch of lesser knowns all promising to hold the secret to unlocking great wealth. This is the charlatan people look up to? It baffles me. It seems most people just want to believe happy lies from a celebrity than ugly truths right in front of their faces.

        1. tegnost

          If he was such a great salesman he would’ve said buy a mask 2 days after he told his grifter friends that was what he was going to say. He’s a flop there for sure. Doesn’t know the game. Small time real estate clown. Never gonna’ be a bankster.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Because he was invested in the culture-war meme that ” Real Men don’t wear masks”.

  15. marym

    Texas voter suppression

    “Texas Republicans are rolling out a slew of restrictive election bills, taking particular aim at early voting after Democrats enthusiastically embraced the practice last year.

    And while Texas already had some of the most restrictive laws on the books, that isn’t stopping state lawmakers from joining their GOP peers across the country to propose new restrictive bills.

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office spent 22,000 hours looking for voter fraud and uncovered just 16 cases of false addresses on registration forms, according to The Houston Chronicle. Nearly 17 million voters are registered in Texas. (Link)

    In its 15 years of its existence, the [voter fraud] unit has prosecuted a few dozen cases in which offenders received jail time, none of them involving widespread fraud. (Link)

    1. lordkoos

      This type of thing needs to be addressed at the federal level ASAP, but I doubt the Democrats have the stones to take it on. They don’t seem to care as much about winning as you would think.

  16. arkansasangie

    RE — Dr Fauci tells Trump he could be a ‘game changer’ in the fight against COVID if he tells his supporters to get the vaccine

    He already has. He did so on the banned cpac video

    1. ambrit

      I’m curious as to whether Trump was complicit in the initial Pandemic response PPP ‘effectiveness’ lie campaign. Dr. Fauci was directly involved in that episode of managerial dereliction. Is Fauci now coming out against Trump for revenge for being used poorly by his “superiors,” of is he trying to cover his a—.
      Trump now, is in the territory where ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity.’
      The best thing any Trump haters can do today is simply to ignore him.
      All this sturm und drang is a diversion. The entire governmental medical system failed. No one person can take ‘credit’ for the state of play we endure today.
      The Pandemic is literally a case of “a pox on both your houses.”

      1. a different chris

        Boris and his compatriots won’t miss a single meal, so what’s the problem? /s

        1. ambrit

          The problem is that Boris and Company, (sounds like a late Edwardian ‘Boy’s Own’ story, eh, wot,) are known for their predilection for “Cannibal Cuisine.”

        1. ambrit

          Blast! Now it’s headless turtles all the way down.
          Viewing the history of ‘Boris and Company,’ the presence of headless turtles long preceded this imbroglio. I would posit a recurved cosmos with Boris and Company as the hollow centre.
          The tragedy here is that there were many capable ‘experts’ who warned against this course of action as leading to disaster. Yet, there were no competent opposition elements available to push back in a meaningful way.
          If only Corbyn had, when the anti-semitic smear was first manufactured, responded with a hearty, “Bugger off you sods!”
          I have family back in the UK. In both the South and North. It is beginning to look as if everyone living in the UK is well and truly doomed.
          Imagine a time when a nation is isolated from international trade and ravaged by a Pandemic, simultaneously. An incompetent government, unable to respond adequately to the cascade of crises is just the icing on this excremental cake.

          1. wilroncanada

            Cuba? Syria? Iran? North Korea? Yemen? Venezuela? Iraq? UK? Sounds about right.
            I’m sorry about your extended family, but I just had to throw in the above..

            1. JTMcPhee

              The Boys of the UK upper crust have had a hand in pretty much each of the places you named, in glove with the Empire to produce the situations faced by the humans who live in each.

              “Retribution for the sins of the priesthood get visited on the people they flock…”

              Interesting assortment, especially including Cuba, where the people have proven amazingly resilient. To the point where their doctors and other medical personnel have been instrumental in mitigating the horrors instigated by the “special relationships” ties between UK, US and Israel…

            2. ambrit

              That’s all right about families. Everyone, well, almost everyone, suffers from having one.
              That list of yours looks like perfect candidates for a revived ‘Unaligned Nations Bloc.’ Now that the UK is rapidly falling out of First World status, it has to figure where it fits in. An ‘Unaligned Nations Bloc’ is perfect as a political levering tool for Second World nations. Somehow, I don’t see Boris and Company as modern day Titos. So, who leads this “Second Force” is still up for grabs.

            3. Michaelmas

              Speaking of comparisons between the U.K. and North Korea —

              ‘Cap on Trident nuclear warhead stockpile to rise by more than 40%
              Exclusive: Boris Johnson announcement on Tuesday will end 30 years of gradual disarmament ‘

              ‘Britain is lifting the cap on the number of Trident nuclear warheads it can stockpile by more than 40%, Boris Johnson will announce on Tuesday, ending 30 years of gradual disarmament since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The increased limit, from 180 to 260 warheads, is contained in a leaked copy of the integrated review of defence and foreign policy ….’

    1. Anonymous2

      Johnson ‘s strategy is clearly to seek to keep his support firm by picking fights with the UK’s neighbours. It may in the short run be successful politically but in terms of stagecraft it is likely to be disastrous. Antagonising 27 of your closest neighbours is hardly wise.

      Is there any plan here? I doubt Johnson has one but the shadowy forces behind him almost certainly do – turn the UK even more into Pirate Island than it already is – a haven for malefactors of great wealth from around the world. I fear it has, I regret to say, gone over to the dark side.

  17. Maritimer

    Stress and anxiety caused by smartphone use revealed in new TAU study Jerusalem Post

    “Tel Aviv University’s Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine carried out a new study claiming that the excessive time spent on social media or on mobile phones leads to an increased chance of pain in jaw and mouth-muscles, teeth-grinding, sleep problems, fatigue and drowsiness during the day.”

    Anti-social media from anti-human corporations is damaging to humans. Bring on 5G! As fast as possible.

  18. Phil in KC

    I am a big fan of Glenn Greewald’s work, but In his testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee, he asserted that “several members of Congress with the largest and most influential social media platforms demanded that Apple and Google remove Parler from their stores . . .” Which members of Congress? I have been searching for the names of these culprits and come up empty. This was a clandestine operation, it seems. Or, as it seems possible, did Apple and Google simply decide on their own that it might not be in their interest to provide a platform for those planning riots and assassinations? Clarification and substantiation of these claims would be appreciated.

    1. CoryP

      I believe Glenn was referring in part to AOC whose tweet he references in a previous article.

      From that article:

      “ Not only did leading left-wing politicians not object but some of them were the ones who pleaded with Silicon Valley to use their power this way. After the internet-policing site Sleeping Giants flagged several Parler posts that called for violence, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked: “What are @Apple and @GooglePlay doing about this?” Once Apple responded by removing Parler from its App Store — a move that House Democrats just three months earlier warned was dangerous anti-trust behavior — she praised Apple and then demanded to know: “Good to see this development from @Apple. @GooglePlay what are you going to do about apps being used to organize violence on your platform?”


      That’s the first example that came to mind, I don’t know any other specifics offhand. Hopefully he isn’t being hyperbolic.

      1. Phil in KC

        Didn’t realize that Apple and Google were that intimidated by AOC. Of course, she was able to shut down Amazon’s plans in her district, so maybe word is out . . .

        And perhaps Glenn is indeed being hyperbolic. AOC is not “many.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “US fights to make up lost ground in chip production”

    With the present political leadership, I would not know if they even had the capability of producing Lay’s, Ruffles or Pringles chips anymore.

  20. Procopius

    Errrrmmm… Did you know that the U.S. Navy has imposed a blockade on Yemen, “in support of our valiant ally The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” since 2015? So not only does our military intelligence provide targeting data to school buses (supposedly used earlier that day to transport Houthi leaders to a meeting), weddings, funerals, markets, and hospitals, and refuel Saudi bombers on their runs, the Navy prevents food and medicine from reaching the reviled insurrectionists. /s There are a lot of crimes they will never be held to account for. Also, too, The School of the Americas.

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