Links 3/17/2021

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! I’m not a beer fan but feel free to quaff some on my behalf in a toast to the holiday!

ChimpanZoom? Primates at Czech zoo go wild for video calls Guardian (David L)

Watch dolphins ‘talk’ to each other to synchronize their behaviors Science (David L)

Give a dog a bone: Spending money on pets promotes happiness Journal of Positive Psychology (resilc). I agree, I always felt like I was a good person when buying things for my cats.

Photographer Spends 12 Years, 1250 Hours, Exposing Photo of Milky Way PetaPixel (David L)

How a building block of life got created in a flash MPR News (Chuck L)

Israeli archeologists discover ancient Dead Sea Scroll fragments Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Eight States Are Seeding Clouds to Overcome Megadrought Scientific American (David L)

Good vibrations: bladeless turbines could bring wind power to your home Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

It may look like an art show but these ‘dancing lights’ reduce pesticide use by 50% ZME Science (Dr. Kevin)

Scientists identify oldest-known meteor of volcanic origin a century after it smashed down into Sahara RT (Chuck L)

Nazi anatomical drawings are donated in effort to address ethical quandary STAT (Dr. Kevin)

Chemistry, Structures & 3D Molecules (Harvey). A molecule a month! Includes natural ones as well as drugs and dietary supplements. Recent examples include Caryophyllene (cloves), Ubiquinol, and Remdesivir.

Discovery identifies non-DNA mechanism involved in transmitting paternal experience to offspring PhysOrg (Chuck L)


Opinion: Why are Canada’s Catholic bishops playing vaccine politics? Globe and Mail (Dr. Kevin). From last week, still germane.

Bolsonaro’s handling of Brazil’s rolling coronavirus disaster is a threat to the world Washington Post (furzy). We ran a post with a similar headline a few days ago…


New T Cell Test Can Show If You’ve Had COVID-19 Freethink (Dr. Kevin)

From last week (hat tip guurst), don’t recall seeing it here:

The most ridiculous self-reported side effects to the AstraZeneca vaccine Quartz (resilc)

Leprosy drug clofazimine effective in suppressing Covid-19, researchers from Hong Kong, US and Denmark find South China Morning Post (resilc)

Pfizer Sees ‘Significant Opportunity’ After Pandemic to Hike Prices 900% for Annual COVID-19 Shots Sputnik (Kevin W). Another reason to prefer J&J.


Four shot dead following ‘stimulus cheque row’ BBC

A number of Republican lawmakers are saying no to COVID-19 vaccines The Hill


IRS partially shields some stimulus payments from debt reductions Politico


China asks Alibaba to shed media assets, including SCMP Nikkei

Pakistan on horns of a US or China dilemma Asia Times (Kevin W)

New High in Perceptions of China as U.S.’s Greatest Enemy Gallup (resilc)

A Secret War. Decades of Suffering. Will the U.S. Ever Make Good in Laos? New York Times (resilc)

Old Blighty

Defence review: UK could use Trident to counter cyber-attack Guardian

The Cormann Conundrum: is the new OECD Secretary-General a friend or a foe of environmental action? Steve Keen (UserFriendly, Chuck L)

New Cold War

Russia’s Putin authorised pro-Trump ‘influence’ campaign, US intelligence says BBC

Russia, not China, tried to influence 2020 election, says US intel community Sydney Morning Herald. Kevin W: “My IQ dropped 5 points just reading this article.”



Trump Administration Insider Reveals How the US Military Sabotaged a Peace Agreement To Prolong War in Afghanistan Antiwar (Kevin W)

An Israel vs. Iran War Would Be a Disaster. Here Is How to Lessen Tensions. National Interest (resilc). Assumes Israel wants to reduce tensions. Keeping the pot on a low boil maximizes US support.

The Arab yacht summit plotters have fallen out Middle East Eye (Kevin W)

Syria Ten Years Later: Blood and Blame The Bulwark (resilc)

Gaza fishermen killed by Israeli drone caught in nets, Hamas says Reuters

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DuckDuckGo Calls Out Google Search for ‘Spying’ on Users After Privacy Labels Go Live Macrumors

Google’s Second-Gen Nest Hub Will Watch You Sleep AndroidPolice

Utah Campaign Against Porn Marches On With Phone Filter Ban Associated Press

No one trolls better than Trump:


New Year’s Resolutions, Infrastructure And Drunken Darts Heisenberg Report (resilc)

The Memo: Biden team’s Obama criticisms draw some blowback The Hill. So how many years did it take for the contemporaneous critics of Obama’s policies to be acknowledged as correct? Well, not directly of course.

BlueAnon and Cognitive Dissonance: Pushing Biden Left is the New Three Dimensional Chess Ghion Journal. From last week, still germane.

8 dead in series of Atlanta-area massage parlors shootings, suspect arrested NBC What looks to be the earliest account with full body count; earlier local one had only 4 dead because it apparently had only the first set of shootings.


Cuomo should resign if allegations confirmed: Biden in exclusive ABC News interview ABC

Cuomo Has Lost Popularity, but Half of N.Y. Voters Say He Shouldn’t Resign. New York Times. Bob:

I’m not sure how Siena fits in with powerful dems, but anytime the powerful need a poll to push in the news, lately, for the past few years, its been Siena doing the poll

Polls are useless, yes, but the Siena polls are dead wrong. They had a Dem primary poll here that had the winner wrong by 30 points. The loser was the DNC pick.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Racism and Redlining Can Be Seen ‘in the Flood Data’ Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

Like It Or Not: Ft Mike Elk & David Sirota | #BreonnaTaylor​ & #GeorgeFloyd​ | KY “Public Safety” Bill YouTube

The Identity Hoaxers Atlantic (Anthony L)

Our Famously Free Press

Without Trump, Is A “Depression In Television” Coming? Matt Taibbi. Erm, he’s changed the headline to With Ratings Down, the Networks Hunt For a Trump Replacement.

Texas House rejects bill to reprice electricity sold during winter storm Houston Chronicle (Kevin W)

Nebraska declares meat only day and calls MeatOut movement ‘a direct attack on our way of life’ Independent

Class Warfare

Uber Grants Vacation Pay, Pensions to U.K. Drivers in Change of Job Status Wall Street Journal

Uber will pay its 70,000 UK-based drivers minimum wage and benefits following a major Supreme Court defeat Business Insider (Kevin W)

Cory Doctorow: Full Employment Locus Online (resilc)

8 People Describe How Unions Changed Their Lives Vice (resilc)

Can Amazon Be Stopped? Washington Monthly (resilc)

Antidote du jour. From Cornelius via furzy: “Even the cats in Germany know that French food is better”

And a bonus (guurst):

And a different sort of bonus, from furzy:

Simon Beck (born 1958) is a British snow artist and a former cartographer. He has walked more than 50 miles (80km) in circles wearing snowshoes to create vast snow drawings in Colorado.

It’s hard to imagine how he manages to “see” what he’s done from where he works, at snow-level.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fjallstrom

    I see the cat hasn’t merely good taste in food, but also in boardgames. Does the cat recommend any of those games in particular? How about that Wingspan game, do you get to chase birds?

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Back in the 80s we had 2 young cats and I had a watch with a flat crystal. Late in winter afternoons the sun, low in the SW, was just in the right position where it would reflect off my watch and onto the west wall of the room, opposite where I sat on the couch. I could keep Moonlight, the black cat, occupied for 15 or 20 minutes at a time trying to capture that jiggling bright spot on the wall. Silver, the other cat so named because of her fur color, had no interest.

      2. nycTerrierist

        re: domino cats (who have the best human):

        “That was 3 minutes and 28 seconds of my life I’ll never get back… and I appreciated every second of it!”

      3. CoryP

        .. and these videos led me to search “handedness paw dominance in cats” and onto a wealth of articles.

    1. Loran Davidson

      Cornelius replies: Haha you may tell him they haven’t released the Cats Expansion yet, but I will be sure to buy it if they do

  2. John A

    RE: Russia, not China, tried to influence 2020 election, says US intel community

    Whoever wrote this does not appear to have grasped that Ukraine and Russia have been politically separate countries for 30 years.

    1. jrkrideau

      Whoever wrote this does not appear to have grasped that Ukraine and Russia have been politically separate countries for 30 years.

      This seems to reflect the general level of knowledge of the US intelligence and foreign affairs communities.

      It is interesting that countries such as Brazil, Israel, the UK and Saudi Arabia are not mentioned, Nor is the Vatican who must have been campaigning for Biden. /sarc

    2. km

      It’s a pretext. Just like the guy looking to start a bar fight does actually know whether you were talking about him behind his back or not, nor does he care.

  3. Jason Boxman

    Well, someone is finally asking what I’ve been wondering for months now: “Will vaccines protect us from ‘long-haul Covid’? We need answers“.

    In the meantime, we cannot ignore the potential long-term impact of mild Covid cases. We need more research into whether the vaccine can prevent mild disease and infection entirely; until then, public health guidelines must consider mild infections as a potential threat to society and the economy. A study from the Patient-Led Research Collaborative that surveyed almost 4,000 long Covid patients who became sick in the first waves of the pandemic, found that most still have not been able to make a full return to work, and many are struggling to access necessary disability benefits. Just as clinicians and employers should not write off patients with initially mild cases who report debilitating long-term symptoms, the media and policymakers should not write off mild cases as having no effect on society or human health.

    So our let-it-ride strategy in the west is going to have profound, long lasting consequences for a significant population of relatively young, previously healthy citizens. Oops.

    1. Lee

      The silver lining for those who have ME/CFS is that the greater numbers of afflicted could spur public interest in more funding for research and treatment of such conditions. Ever the optimist, me.

    2. Pelham

      I couldn’t agree more that this “long covid” deserves much greater attention — and certainly now that less alarming news about deaths has calmed down. That 30% figure for the proportion of people who’ve suffered any degree of covid, even the mildest cases, enduring symptoms months after initial diagnosis ought to be waking us up. A sister-in-law of mine right now is battling the return of a covid high fever she thought had abated for good days ago.

      Moreover, with more infectious variants now gaining a head of steam — one of which is a good deal more deadly than the original — shouldn’t we be taking even greater precautions rather than stupidly contemplating reopenings and an economic boom? Biden’s national address holding out the prospect of a July 4 partial reopening appears, IMO, to be flat-out irresponsible. From what I gather, we have next to no idea of how the spread of variants will play out, let alone whether any of the vaccines will prove effective against them.

  4. zagonostra

    >Eight States Are Seeding Clouds to Overcome Megadrought – Scientific American

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the U.S. military even experimented with weather modification as a weapon of war. Operation Popeye, as it was dubbed, aimed to generate enough rainfall to disrupt enemy supply routes in Vietnam.

    These efforts were short-lived. In 1977, an international treaty banned the use of weather modification for military purposes.

    Whether the “efforts were short-lived” is true or not you should make up your own mind. A documentary called “The Dimming” was released last week on the subject of “weather modification” that deserves a fair and open minded viewing.

    1. UsDisVet

      “The Dimming” shows how psychopathic TPTB are. US and oligarch funded spraying of particulate matter throughout the US supposedly to curb sunshine and thus global warming. These particulates include coal ash (very toxic), aluminum (proven to adversely affect brain cells), strontium and barium. Already found in cells of animals who graze and in crops. Incremental genocide of the US population.

    2. Aumua

      I’m willing to have a discussion about geoengineering, what’s being discussed, concerns about potential consequences etc. but this is just the same old song:, Dane Wiginton, chemtrails. This stuff has been debunked, over and over.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “8 dead in series of Atlanta-area massage parlors shootings, suspect arrested”

    I saw an image of this guy on the news and he looked a total loser. So the question asks itself. What if this is directly related with the other linked news article? The ‘New High in Perceptions of China as U.S.’s Greatest Enemy’ one. After 9/11 you had people like Indians attacked by random strangers because the attacker thought that they were Arabs. So what if this guy under the influence of the China!China!China! campaign thought that he was just killing Chinese women? It may or may not be the case but it bears watching how this unfolds.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There has been a major upsurge in attacks (or at least, claimed attacks) on Asian Americans in the last few years. Most of the official Asian-American voices are blaming Trump and his ‘China Virus’ thing, although as several within the Asian American community has pointed out, most ‘official voices’ of the community are upper middle class coastal Asians who have appointed themselves spokespeople for a very wide variety of Americans with little in common except an asian ancestry. So I’m sure the China China thing hasn’t helped, but its more likely a little wider and deeper than that.

      Anyway, its never wise to speculate in the aftermath of something like this, time will tell.

      1. Jessica

        The news reports now are that the attacker was motivated by his failure to cure what he saw as a sex addiction. So misogyny more than racism.

      2. Procopius

        I’m too lazy to look it up. When did Trump impose his first tariffs on China? Seems to me he was pretty hostile to them at the time. I suspect, but have no evidence to back it up, that the number of attacks on Asians started then.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      How easy it is to judge, and aren’t you one who objects to the term deplorables?

      Rather than looking like a loser, I would say he looks lost.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Lots of people are lost and are even in pain. Few decide to murder a bunch of defenseless women in a series of hit and run raids and end up being arrested instead of a suicide-by-cop. Think of all the families that those women left behind and that are now having to deal with this. And I never used the word ‘deplorables’ as that is a null term.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          you totally missed my point: the terms loser and deplorable are of a piece. This has nothing to do with minimizing the devastating loss of life here.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I still don’t see how. The term ‘loser’ is typically to describe an individual. The term ‘deplorables’ was one infamously used by Hillary about five years ago to describe half of America. The later is not the plural of the former. And his actions prove that he is a loser no matter how you cut it.

            We all of us as we grow up and live our lives have to adjust to both our inner selves and our society that we live in. So if you can stay out of a mental institution or a prison, generally speaking you aren’t doing too bad. This guy did not. If he does not end up in a prison, he will end up in a mental institute.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              New sh*t has come to light! Now loser is the approved nomenclature to refer to the mentally ill. Or to those who land in prison.

              Singular, plural, schmural. It is the same judgmental impulse, some people are a waste.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Sigh. I was actually talking about two different things here. Try this then. Everybody has pain in their lives. It is part of the human condition. To ease that pain by trying to cause as much pain possible as you can to complete strangers is a) a sign of a maladjusted personality and b) a loser. Other people’s opinions may vary obviously.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    I reflected on this when we moved where we live a long time ago. I discovered that an infamous couple that raped and murdered a school girl lived just up the road from us almost within stone’s throw. Zero sympathy for such people

                    1. wilroncanada

                      “Loser!” Wasn’t that one of D Trump’s favourite descriptions of those he decided not to like?

              2. ambrit

                It’s an example of neo-liberalism in the social sphere. In every “market,” there are winners and there are losers.
                We used to have a social contract that included the idea that the “less well off” were worthy of assistance, as a social good. So, don’t ever let a neo-liberal ‘thinker’ tell you that contracts are sacred. Not all contracts are treated the same.

          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            RevKev’s outburst added nothing to the comments discussion, however…..

            Some SOB who murders 8 defenseless women because they are Asian is a loser. Period. Full stop. I don’t give a d**n what his cultural affiliation is or how hard he’s had it in life. There are actions that warrant utter condemnation. This is one of them.

      2. freebird

        Thank you. “Loser” is a mean-spirited word disrespectful of humanity, surprised to see it thrown around by a member of the commentariat. I guess one searches for an epithet for a vile killer, but don’t think “loser” is apt or helpful.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I happen to have a very low opinion of mass murderers whether they are serial killers or those wearing uniforms.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            To clarify, which I should have done earlier, the issue is conflating the behavior with the person. Ideally we censure the behavior without denying the essential worth of the individual. Perhaps we can agree on that. Loser functions as a global dismissal of the person, problematic in the same way deplorable is.

            And yes, I’m done!

            1. R

              If we are not to be losers, then what are we to be? Winners? The human race is not that kind of race, though. I think calling the alleged murder a loser is shocking not because of the personal moral contempt for their alleged actions but because of the world view it implies, that humans can be reduced to winners or losers. We are not winners here at NC because we get through the day without murdering people, so this suspect is not a loser.

              As a description it is derogatory without telling us anything useful. I saw the arrest photograph and my instant reaction was “damaged redneck druggie” from the scraggly backwoodsman beard and greasy thinning hair but there are a lot of people in Shoreditch or Brooklyn who look like that at the end of the evening. My prejudices autofilled a lack of self-care, a chaotic lifestyle, an eff you nihilism – but hey, maybe he is like the Unabomber and has an Ivy League degree and a closely argued thesis of revolt against the military-industrial-happy finish complex.

              Loser is not helpful in its playground contempt. A low-life would have been a better condemnation. Language matters, even or especially when approaching the horrors of life.

              1. R

                A lot of people who LOOK like that, was what I was trying to say. But they may also like the Happy Finish Unabomber and his one man campaign of lowtech onanism, who knows?

            2. The Rev Kev

              Maybe I should have just said that he looked like he was from the shallow end of the gene pool and be done with. But it was yourself that brought in the word deplorable which ended up bringing in Trump. The term loser here seems to be too culturally loaded to use. But he is still a serial killer not worthy of sympathy. I don’t recall the Auckland killer who went to two different places to kill Muslims getting much sympathy at the time to put a fine point on it.

              Over and out.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Well done, love me some Beck and those lyrics really do say the quiet part out loud ;-)

    3. Kasia

      If we look at big picture murder stats in the US it becomes clear that Asians are “under dying”. We could call this a mayhem gap. In 2019 Asians made up 5.6% of the population but were only 1.58% of murder victims. Blacks at 12.2% of the population were 51.58% of murder victims while Whites at 60.1% of the population were also under dying by being only 43.65% of murder victims. Women of all races were only 22.4% of murder victims. It will be interesting to see if all this recent media coverage of Asians being murdered reflects an actual uptick in the overall numbers for 2021 when they come out.

      Race of the offender is a bit more complex but “according to the FBI, African Americans accounted for 52.4% of all homicide offenders in 2018, with Whites 43.1% and “Other”/Unknown 4.4%. Of these, 15.4% were Hispanic or Latino.” Asians as perps are not even mentioned.

      Recently there has been a lot of publicity given to Asians getting randomly killed in what seem to be hate crimes. Often these recent attacks were filmed. In the overwhelming vast majority of recent cases, the perps were Black. Despite this on Feb. 20th, an Asian American association held a “”Unite Against White Nationalism” rally in NYC. In the media this Black violence against Asians was not only handled with kid gloves, but also bizarrely blamed on “White supremacy”, including an article even yesterday (before this shooting) in Vox with the following title and subtitle:

      The history of tensions — and solidarity — between Black and Asian American communities, explained

      How white supremacy tried to divide Black and Asian Americans — and how communities worked to find common ground.

      You can see how carefully they were treading there!

      And so if we are to speculate about motives of this attack, perhaps the White perp was angry about his group being scapegoated for another group’s attacks against Asians. And in a fit of insanity or of just plain evil, perhaps he decided that if his group was going to get the blame anyway, his group might as well start living up to these terrible expectations by actually perpetrating some of these attacks.

      1. Lee

        This is not to minimize the powerfully destructive nature of racism, but based on personal experience and what I understand of the past, I doubt that solidarity based on the many shades of non-whiteness has much of a future. At the the street level, and largely due to class inequities, various members of the same socially constructed category, race, often as not are kept quite busy enough violently or by other means victimizing each other.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          I’m just an old white guy, who nevertheless was raised by his staid-but-righteous parents to believe in MLK, always. i try…i fail sometimes but dangit I keep trying to do right.

          having said that, my personal experience with several friends in the Asian (specifically Korean & Korean-American) community left a really bad taste in my mouth. One lady in particular spouted some of the most racist vitriol against black folk I have ever heard…on the same weekend as she herself complained haughtily about how a white clerk in a ritzy department store had treated her.

          The lack of self-awareness was as astounding as it was equal parts hurtful and saddening.

          But back to the point: This occurred once I recall in LA’s Koreatown, and was directed against ‘black encroachment’ in ‘Our Korean’ neighborhoods, and one could also tell that the recent Rodney King riots were fresh to mind. ‘Roof Koreans’ with guns, shoplifting, arrogance and misunderstanding on both sides. Sad, sad face.

          And then again in the same way by a different person in a San Francisco neighborhood that had been traditionally Asian, but now was going in reverse: the lady was oh-so-glad that gentrification by whites and wealthier Asians was driving out the poor people….in her mind, almost exclusively black people, who she was happy to see leave and never come back.

          So I dunno…on the street level, we humans are so, so easy to turn against each other. many hostile camps, and Caesar will always be more then happy to conquer them all because we cannot seem to unite.

    4. Pelham

      One of the reports I read said the suspect, who was deeply religious, acted because he was obsessed with sex and he may have frequented the massage parlor he attacked. So it may have nothing to do with China or Asians as a category. (As for attacks on Asians in general, the number is way up but, thankfully, only a small percentage of those documented have been physical; the remainder involve shunning and verbal abuse.)

      Separately re religion and sex: Rod Dreher had a rather odd item in The American Conservative recently in which he revealed his disgust with youth counseling among evangelicals. Apparently, if what Dreher said is correct, about 99% of this group counseling is focused on thwarting the great and otherwise unspeakable evil of self-pleasuring.

      Of course, extra-marital sex of any sort is forbidden as well. In that joyless context, this intense, peer-enforced condemnation has got to be a profoundly warping and isolating experience — which also and just BTW and IMHO has exactly zip to do with Christianity. Why the emphasis, though? I suspect it’s a time-tested way to snag kids with a big fat hook of guilt for which they’ll be forever beholden to their church to try to dislodge.

      Regardless of the sleazy reasons, I suggest this practice ought to be included among the several now widely acknowledged forms of sexual abuse of the young that have been encouraged, enabled or ignored by a growing list of previously respected institutions.

      1. pasha

        interesting. one unifying principle of the “proud boys” white nationalist group is that they eschew the “otherwise unspeakable evil of self-pleasuring” — hence their name. could sexual repression be a cause of/ contribute to violence?

  6. pjay

    Re: ‘Syria Ten Years Later: Blood and Blame’ – The Bulwark

    I knew what the Bulwark was – Bill Kristol’s latest platform – but the subtitle of this article was: ‘Obama officials—some now in the Biden administration—are unwilling to admit their mistakes, even after years of humanitarian disasters and strategic blunders.’ So I read on. Turns out the “mistakes” were that Obama wimped out against the Devil Assad and didn’t take him out when he had a chance. My “mistake” was reading on. The depiction of the Syrian conflict was so ridiculous it would be funny if the real story wasn’t so tragic.

    The Bulwark is “a project of the Defend Democracy Together Institute” which, in turn, was created so that the neocons could hook back up with the Democrats. The author, Shay Khatiri, is a student at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, and has “studied military strategy and policy, trans-Atlantic security, and Middle East issues with Eric Edelman, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Mara Karlin, Tom Mahnken, Kori Schake, Michael Rubin, Mary Habeck, and Scooter Libby.”

    Unfortunately, I see almost no difference between this article and stuff from the NY Times, Guardian, BBC, New Yorker, Deutshe Welle, etc., etc. This ratcheting up of anti-Assad propaganda in recent weeks is very depressing. It never ends.

    1. curlydan

      I also noticed the author is trying to apply for asylum in the U.S. Maybe he thinks if he writes a bloodthirsty op-ed he can get it?

    2. Offtrail

      I agree. This article is a real clinker. Just terrible propaganda. It makes me think of Mary McCarthy’s comment about Lillian Hellman – “Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the'”.

      A couple of examples – attributing Putin’s seizure of the Crimea to Obama’s Syria policy, and making no mention of the effect of US sanctions on Syrian civilians.

      At least I know to avoid this publication in the future. Thanks for providing its provenance.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “The Identity Hoaxers”

    Quite an interesting article with an extensive list of people who have been caught at this. It makes the point near the end that ‘a tenured professor (no matter their ethnicity) has immense power within a university department. It takes a brave graduate student to question their identity, just as it takes a brave doctor to express skepticism about a Munchausen-syndrome patient.’ And I imagine that this would be quite true. OK then. Why did Elizabeth Warren not make this list? She claimed to be Cherokee to help get her position. You would think that such a prominent person would be a good example. But as the Democrats are in power, I am guessing that The Atlantic thought about it for a millisecond and said ‘Hell, no!’ And this helps explain why people can get away with these acts.

    1. The Historian

      What position did Elizabeth Warren get because she claimed to be Cherokee? To use your ‘Native Americaness’ to advantage, you have to have papers stating you are a member of a tribe. Since Elizabeth Warren had no such papers, I can’t see that her claims would have been taken seriously or could have been used to advance her career in any way.

      And I don’t think Elizabeth Warren was purposely ‘faking it’ like the people mentioned in that article. It was a ‘thing’ in the US in the 30’s and 40’s to claim you had Native American blood even if you didn’t. My father claimed he was 1/8 Chippewa until the day he died. He wasn’t. In fact, he had no Native American blood in him at all. Now DNA tests can tell you if you have Native American ancestors. That wasn’t so when Warren was growing up so no doubt, she was relying on family folklore, just like my father was.

      1. The Rev Kev

        OK, I’m game. Without going into extensive research, in 1986 she checked a tick box for a State Bar of Texas registration form claiming to be an American Indian. That was to be her persona-

        And if I recall correctly, she claimed to be a minority to help further her chance of getting a professorship to Harvard. She had dark hair back then and I have seen one old photo where she looks Native American. You don’t think that they would not have leapt at the chance to have a Native American as part of their staff? Claiming to be some sort of minority by ancestry is one thing. To use it to lever your way into a position is another.

        1. The Historian

          Your link is a Texas Registration Card from 1986 before she was involved in politics that states that race is only for statistical purposes – so ????

          There is a LOT not to like about Elizabeth Warren, but this “Cherokee story” is just a smear campaign, nothing more. She obviously believed she was Native American or she wouldn’t have gone for that DNA test. Why participate in it?

          1. Mark Gisleson

            I am half Norwegian American and 1/8 German American. According to family historians I am probably 1/32 Irish/English/French/Belgian/etc.

            I identify as Norwegian American and if you get me talking, I’ll eventually own up to the German. I would never ever not even on a bet identify myself as part Irish or English etc. Long before mentioning those ethnicities I’d fess up to being part Neanderthal.

            For me to list those minor ethnicities on a form for the purpose of getting a job or scholarship would be fraud, period.

            If however I had been adopted and raised by Mexican Americans, I could be culturally 100% Hispanic/Latinxyz and yet totally ineligible to claim Mexican American heritage on any hiring or scholarship form.

            None of it makes any sense to me but had Warren grown up immersed in Cherokee culture and walking the talk, I’d cut her a lot of slack. She didn’t, so I don’t.

            1. Pam

              Public employee jobs, long codified and a stronghold of affirmative action, are a stronger reason to be minority than any university post.

              Besides, isn’t race supposedly a “social construct”?

              1. neo-realist

                I don’t know if public employee jobs are so much affirmative action as much as there isn’t nowhere nearly the amount of racism involved in hiring practices in the public sector that there is in the private sector. The public sector just practices what it preaches as far as equal opportunity employment to a much greater degree.

                Based on experience in the public and private sectors.

          2. Big River Bandido

            There were other documents circulating at the time this story broke, and IIRC one was a Harvard form she filled out several years later, and it was *not* “for statistical purposes”. She has a long, clear history of doubling down on this issue.

            The reason “Pocahontas” was such a devastating attack (and brilliant, I must admit) is that it really hits to the truth of Elizabeth Warren’s character. So does “snake”, frankly. I wouldn’t speak two words to Elizabeth Warren without at least 2 witnesses present.

            1. wilroncanada

              Dear Big River
              And who was it that pushed the “pocahantas” meme all over the place? Was it not the fake Swede? Who’s father he claimed as fake German, when he wasn’t trying to be John Miller?

              1. Darthbobber

                And if it were Satan, Prince of Darkness, would that have any bearing on its accuracy?

      2. Randy

        My own grandmother claimed to be part Cherokee, which I believed when I was a kid. I stopped believing her when I grew up enough to be able to scrutinize the claim rationally, as much as I still love and adore her. Have a hard time believing Warren could be so credulous, and if she is, then that’s not a great look for someone who bases her reputation on what a smart logical wonk she is.

      3. fresno dan

        The Historian
        March 17, 2021 at 9:19 am
        Why would Warren pretend to be an American Indian in the 1980s if later she downplayed the matter as a misunderstanding based on family lore? Fairly obviously it was for career advancement. Despite the current leftist mania to call out supposed “white privilege,” the fact is that even in the 1980s minority status could confer distinct advantages in hiring and promotion in career fields dominated by liberals for whom affirmative action is an article of faith. For any young academic, identifying as a Native American could be the key edge for landing important faculty slots. As the 1983 guidance from the American Association of University Professors noted, when it comes to filling academic positions, “in the interests of diversity, affirmative action considerations might control the final selection.”
        A 2018 investigation by The Boston Globe found little to support the idea that hiring committees at various law schools where Warren taught openly discussed her alleged Native American heritage as a factor in bringing her on board. Yet, Harvard was quick to tout her as the law school’s first “woman of color,” of which Warren said she was unaware. She was identified as a minority winner of a teaching award at the University of Pennsylvania, apparently also without her knowledge. Maybe these schools did not discuss her supposed ethnicity, but they recognized and exploited it.
        Yet whether you believe that diversity-hungry university departments completely ignored Warren’s unique supposed ethnic background, Warren was still trying to game the system. There is no other reasonable explanation for her sudden ethnic shift. She was never a member of a tribe, never lived as part of that culture or heritage, had no even incidental connection other than the alleged family story. It is hard not to conclude that she claimed she was a Native American to get a professional edge.
        I think the author of the article could be wrong – he simply cannot know Warren’s true motivations. Warren could sincerely have believed she was Native American, and been proud of that fact.* With regard to having papers, did Warren know all the paperwork required for each position and did each position require the same level of documentation? And the article I think shows the problem lies more with the institutions than with Warren – willing to use Warren as a symbol for their diversity bonifides (dare I mention Obama?)
        On the other hand, if affirmative action is of some benefit, than providing that benefit to someone of Warren’s economic CLASS seems a misuse of the benefit. And as often noted at NC, part of race consciousness is purposefully propagated to diminish class consciousness.
        * Like your dad, (and maybe Warren for that matter) I know plenty of blue eyed people who claim Native American heritage, apparently to give themselves a certain cachet with regard to being attuned to nature or being a victim of the man. (funny how that applies to Native Americans, but not say to Finnish people)

        1. kgw

          I stayed a summer in central British Columbia back in 1972…I once asked a fellow standing outside a drugstore in Burns Lake, BC, what kind of indian he was…He replied that he didn’t know he was and indian until the white man came.

          1. skippy

            Having spent most of my formative years in Arizona, 60s and early 70s, after parents divorce shipped to the sticks in Missouri …. it was hilarious getting onto the school bus for the first time, in winter IMO, and have some local kid ask me if I was Native American.

            English, German, and French ancestry.

            Now on the other hand my Iowan born step grandfather nose left no doubt about his Native American ancestry.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Warren is the only full prof of Harvard Law School who got an undergraduate degree from a public school (Rutgers). Harvard and Yale are real snobs in that regard. So that’s the motive. Sadly, being from a pretty poor family from a poor state (Oklahoma) isn’t enough to get adversity points.

    2. marym

      The article was about people who build their lives around a heritage that isn’t theirs at birth. Warren has built her life around being a white, middle class, professional woman.

      Not to worry. The US has a vocal right wing elite that will never let Warren’s moment of stolen valor be forgotten, even though she actually cares more than they do — in a white, middle class, professional woman sort of way — about whether their rank and file can afford to get an education or own a home and has done some work toward those ends.

    3. Aumua

      Whatever else you want to say about him, Trump’s nicknaming her “Pocahontas” was a stroke of genius. It shut her down so effectively.

  8. R

    The paper on the increased lethality of the Kent variant is my friend’s paper. Well done friend! It’s had quite a pick up on the internet and on trad media.

    The absolute risk remains low. The current hypothesis, if I understand it correctly, is that the transmissibility and lethality increase are due to faster viral reproduction so patients are experiencing and shedding higher viral loads before the immune system gets its boots on, which makes them more infectious in the pre-symptomatic period and the disease hits harder. Unfortunately, for some people, the initial edge this gives the disease is more than they can cope with.

    What should be of more concern to NC readers is the struggle my friend had in obtaining the data to do this sort of research. Invited to attend SAGE sub-committee videocons? Tick. Cited in Royal Society reviews of coronavirus? Tick. Research access to hospital line list data, to understand the epidemiology and clinical implications of outbreaks of new variants better? Denied by Public Health England. If PHE has found a way to hamper responses to coronavirus, it has seized it with both hands. It has denied testing rights to local laboratories, outbreak data to local authorities, anonymous patient data to academic researchers….

    Boris plans to solve the problem of PHE with a structural reorganisation and appointing Dido Harding, of the failed Test and Trace programme, to run it. This is putting the fox in charge of the hen house. What PHE needs is disbanding and the responsibility for public health handing back to the local authorities from whom it was taken in the 2012 Lansley NHS reforms. But, while some reversal of the Lansley destruction is being considered, specifically the clinical commissioning group nonsense which gave responsibility for healthcare service procurement to undemocratic consortia of local GPs and has hampered clinical and social care acting together in the pandemic, public health remains a Cinderella and is being pushed further into a Too-Big-to-Fail siding under Dido.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this report. The importance of local public health has been demoted in the US, too, in favor of centralized, top-down management. There’s even a new book out about the US handling of the pandemic titled ‘Pandemic Blunder’.

  9. dave

    From what I recall, the Obama Administration thought it did an absolutely great job from 2008-2010. Criticism must seem like it’s coming from way out in left field.

    1. albrt

      From what I recall, the Obama Administration thought it did an absolutely great job from 2008 to 2016. And they did if you look at it from their perspective.

      They successfully shoveled tons of money to banks and insurance companies without helping working people at all, stifled unions while successfully tanking the fake commitment to card check, got away with committing tens of thousands of war crimes, and succeeded in reviving the republican party to the point where it could serve as a demonic threat that would send every democrat consultant’s kid to college ten times over.

      Did you have some other set of goals in mind when evaluating their performance?

  10. Donald

    I am not impressed by the Bulwark piece on Syria. As much as I hate Obama’s intervention in the Syrian civil war, I seriously doubt the writer could have done better, since he also seems to favor intervention in a multi- sided conflict.

    If we had overthrown Assad it still would have been chaos and then there would be cries for American troops to occupy all of Syria. But sure, no doubt this time would be different from every other US occupation and/ or intervention.

    1. John A

      It reads as western propaganda on stilts. Plus the photo at the top of the bloodied boy can very well be a White Helmets ‘rescue act’ with Kensington Gore.

    2. km

      Because Libya worked out so well!

      Note the author of the Bulwark piece, who is doubtless seeking to prove his value to his new masters.

      Pity they don’t allow comments.

    3. Darthbobber

      It’s a dreadful article.
      “every American foreign intervention since 1991 had been on behalf of oppressed Muslims.” When somebody says this with a straight face, there really is nothing to talk about, except maybe who they work for. But we know who the Bulwark works for. The DefendingDemocracyTogether never Trump neoconservatives.

      The rejected Clintonite plan was really just a reprise of the “successful” Libya plan. Successful only in that the existing government did fall, with rather unpleasant and easily predictable consequences that continue to reverberate now, with few signs of improvement.

      1. Skip Intro

        They were oppressed by the weight of their Oil and Natural Resources. It can happen in Catholic countries too IIRC. I don’t see the US invading Holland for its resources though… protestant sectarian ties, or Shell owning the US gov’t? Who can say.

  11. John

    China is the great enemy? Has Russia been demoted from “greatest enemy” and existential threat” status? What about Iran and their relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons? I’m confused. Who is the ENEMY this week?

    I realize that the Pentagon, Intelligence agencies, the MIC et al all need a declared enemy to keep the dollar$ flowing, but get your enemies straight guys. You know we aren’t smart enough to do it without your help.

  12. km

    RE: Russia, not China, tried to influence 2020 election, says US intel community

    Perjurers, torturers and entrapment artists, talking about supposed secret evidence that we’re not allowed to see.

    I call BS.

    For that matter, the perjurers, torturers and entrapment artists did serve up a fair amount of specific, concrete evidence during the runup to the War on Iraq.

    It was still all BS.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I could see this being used against Bernie Sanders if he ever made another foray into Presidential elections. He went along with Russiagate during the last campaign and one day after getting off a flight, they dropped the boom on him by asking whether he knew that the Russians were actually supporting his campaign. And of course he had to way to answer that. So from now on they can claim that they have ‘proof’ of Russia’s involvement in the 2020 campaign and by extension, Bernie’s campaign which he will always be on the backfoot denying.

      1. km

        Of course they would. If Sanders had won, he’d quickly find himself boxed into the same interventionist imperialist policies as his predecessors, maybe with a bit more human rights talk to pretty things up, something about how we need to make war on Syria because LGTBQXYZPDQ Rights!

        Anyway, I think Lambert pointed out that after the russiagate fiasco, the intelligence agencies will have a de facto veto on major party nominations.

      2. Skip Intro

        Sanders: “Our campaign doesn’t accept donations from PACs or foreigners, but if the Russians want Americans to have Medicare-for-all, free public colleges and universities, and a living wage, then it would make sense that they support our campaigns goals.”

        but no Rev, you’re right, the ability to tar anyone who wasn’t a rabid Clintonist in 2016 as a Russian Operative will be very valuable to Democrats Inc..

  13. Michael Ismoe

    We are truly the Evil Empire. aren’t we? When the Nazi regime fell, were the German people held responsible for their government’s actions? If so, we are all going to Hell. Where else would you send a people who would rather have people die of Covid rather than use a vaccine that wasn’t developed in the West?

    1. km

      I have long said that we as Americans had best pray that there is no God and that He is not just, for if ever were a collective punishment deserved, then surely we are in for a big one.

      At least the average frustrated German had ample reasons to take desperate measures, and it’s not as if the Nazi regime was dependent upon winning the next Reichstag election and therefore had to give the voters what they wanted in the short term.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You must be channeling your Thomas Jefferson-

        ‘I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.’

      2. ambrit

        Roughly half of the pre WW-2 Germany did suffer a severe collective punishment at the end of the war, courtesy of the Red Army.

        1. km

          This is how Germans suddenly and mystically morphed from self-proclaimed Uebermenschen “The World Belongs To Us!” to the biggest pacifists in Europe. It was one thing to go around terrorizing the defenseless, but being the defenseless wasn’t nearly as much fun.

          For that matter, WWII was most instructional in getting western Europeans, the folks who brought us imperialism and colonialism, to start signing a very different tune, once they got a small taste of their own medicine. Even the winners weren’t so enthused anymore,

  14. semiconscious

    re: The most ridiculous self-reported side effects to the AstraZeneca vaccine Quartz (resilc)

    somewhat reminiscent of this list:


    Low body temperatures
    Low blood pressure
    High blood pressure
    Requiring reading glasses
    Excessive bleeding gums
    Excessive rectal bleeding
    Rheumatoid arthritis flare-up
    Swelling in extremities
    Burning in intestines/gastric area
    Metallic taste in mouth
    Dysphagia issues
    Water on the knee
    Lower back pain
    Numbness in arms, necks, face
    Swollen temples
    Feeling feverish without a temperature
    burning/fizzing sensation in body parts
    Random bruising
    low/high blood sugar
    Spontaneous lactation

  15. JTMcPhee

    Your tax MMT mega dollars at work: F-35 collides during refueling with KC-130 Attack Tanker, F-35 destroyed, KC-130 lost all 4 engines and pancaked into a farmer’s field, all our valiant Marines survived:

    That’s a $138.5 million F-35B (fully incorporated cost) and many millions to repair the KC-130. But the training for Imperial power projection wars must go on, and on, and on…

    On a clear day
    You can see the fireball…

    1. John A

      A big insurance claim, perhaps? Especially if any of the various crew claim whiplash injuries.

      1. tegnost

        A big insurance claim, perhaps?

        I’m not sure the military works like that…
        The only insurance claim will be from the agribiz that manages whatever crop was in that field.

  16. Jeremy Grimm

    > “UK could use Trident to counter cyber-attack”
    Britain’s new policy for answering a cyber attack or other “emerging technologies” — eg. chemical or biological attack — with nukes sounds crazy to me. I am not aware of a reliable way to attribute the origin of a cyber attack. And I am not sure about chemical and biological attacks but it is not difficult to imagine ways to launch them that would be difficult perhaps impossible to reliably attribute.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I like their idea where they say that Russia is their greatest enemy. So from now on, they are going to be developing their forces and efforts in the Indo-Pacific region.

      1. shtove

        I vaguely recall that the UK is decommissioning the tank regiments necessary to counter a Russian invasion of Europe.

    2. David

      It’s the Grauniad looking for clicks. I suspect the original title of the article was “Defence Review Doesn’t Actually Rule Out Nuclear Response to Cyber-attacks In As Many Words” but that was not thought snappy enough. The UK (and as far as I know all the other NWS) have always refused to say precisely what level of attack or threatened attack they would consider to be equivalent to a nuclear threats, because that’s just another way of saying that attacks of certain kinds can be launched with a degree of impunity. But so far as I know, no nation would actually contemplate a nuclear response to a cyber-attack, in part because of problems of attribution. There’s no story here.

      1. RMO

        China has had a stated no first use policy for decades. India’s had a no first use policy but then modified it to state that they would consider use of nuclear weapons in retaliation against chemical and biological attacks as well as nuclear attacks.

        The U.K. could be fairly said to be in breach of it’s duties under the Non Proliferation Treaty by allowing an increase in their nuclear weapons arsenal.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Is no one else troubled by the idea of preemption or retaliation for a cyber attack or other “emerging technologies” — eg. chemical or biological attack — whether the preemption or retaliation is nuclear or not? As far as I know there is no reliable way to attribute the origin for these attacks. Am I wrong in that assessment? A third party could trigger a war between two other parties by leaving a well-made trail of bread crumbs pointing to some target. And don’t forget the Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Russian cyber attack on Hillary and our election processes and other fictitious up attacks.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “The Memo: Biden team’s Obama criticisms draw some blowback”

    I think that I can see an ongoing problem here. Trying to determine if something done by Biden was actually done by him or done by his ‘handlers.’ Something like this happened during WW2. So Allied intelligence were tasked with predicting what actions the Germans might do. They soon realized that it depended. If the German military was in charge then they would probably do X but if the Fuhrer put his nose in, then he would likely do Y instead. So trying to predict the Germans really came down to trying to find out who was really giving the orders. Same here down the track. The problem will be trying to find out if Biden is giving orders or whether it his handlers giving the orders.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Cuban doctors might carry the virus of Commyanism to the Western-style Democracy in Brasília…

  18. Carolinian

    Re Washington Monthly and Amazon–when it come to lowering the antitrust boom on Amazon then by all means yes. But this article seems a rather superficial account of the country’s regional economic landscape. Which is to say that the claimed “even” prosperity of the mid 20th century would be news to anyone living in the South–a region that only really started to boom in the 1960s (as other regions declined). All about the air conditioning?

    Meanwhile Southwestern states such as Arizona were mostly backwaters during the described period and are now also booming from real estate speculation if nothing else. The reality is that America has become much richer than it was in the 1930s and that, more than tech innovators, has changed who we are. Michael Hudson is doubtless better at describing these changes than Washington Monthly–a mag that once championed all that deregulation.

  19. Cuibono

    If the UK variant is so deadly, why is the UK death plumetting and why did it not surge to a much higher extent over say the US than it did in wave 1?

  20. Susan the other

    Very interesting. PhysOrg. Discovery of a non-DNA mechanism for epigenetics. McGill U. has discovered a protein in sperm which packs DNA into cells which itself transmits info to the embryo. Certain proteins created to respond to the father’s environment can pass on as info. It was discovered by giving male mice a diet deficient in folate and tracking the results. It has long been good medical practice to give pregnant mothers folate supplements to prevent birth defects. So the father’s deficiency could possibly be corrected by the mother’s good diet. So that’s nice. But still leaves the question if and how certain environmental information is passed directly to the germ cells before conception. Maybe not. Maybe stuff just floats around and is incorporated is various proteins and is thus transmitted via sperm cells to the embryo.

  21. Maritimer

    Opinion: Why are Canada’s Catholic bishops playing vaccine politics? Globe and Mail (Dr. Kevin). From last week, still germane.
    I could not get beyond the paywall of The Mop And Pail.

    But one reason Catholic Bishops with any sense of morality or ethics should question some of these vaccines is that Pfizer, AstraZeneca and J&J are all criminal organizations. The evidence is at:

    Additionally in Canada there are a number of legal challenges asking the Governments to produce the evidence they have to declare Emergencies and govern by dictat. These challenges are based on parts of the Canadian Charter of Rights, basically Canada’s Constitution.

    Personally, I am shocked that any leader of any religion would advocate associating with a criminal organization of any type. Yet, I have yet to hear any religious leader speak out on this subject. The silence is deafening.

  22. occasional anonymous

    >Nazi anatomical drawings are donated in effort to address ethical quandary STAT

    I genuinely don’t see what the ethical problem is supposed to be. You can’t change the past. The drawings and their origin are what they are. The only ethical quandary is pretending there’s a quandary and potentially screwing modern patients because you’d prefer to virtue signal rather than use available medical information.

  23. Jon Cloke

    Re ‘Syria Ten Years Later: Blood and Blame’; doesn’t this just get filed under “if only the US had started one more war/ramped up the violence a bit more”?

    You can read this warhawk stuff about every war the US has been involved in, from Vietnam onwards…

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