Links 3/29/2021

A Dog Who Kept Sneaking into a Dollar General for a Unicorn Toy Gets His Plush and a New Start People

Credit Suisse and Nomura warn of losses after Archegos-linked sell-off FT

Tiger Cub Hwang’s Family Office Behind Friday Trade Frenzy Bloomberg

The Gray Market: How Deep-Pocketed Crypto-Collectors Are Rushing Into an Old Art-Market Trap (and Other Insights) Artnet

Football Index: how ‘stock market’ ended up costing customers millions Guardian

Is that ship still stuck? As of this writing: “Sort of?”

Mega-ship in Suez Canal moved ‘80%’ in right direction Agence France Presse. But the front is still stuck:

She starts,—she moves,—she seems to feel / The thrill of life along her keel–

Too big to sail? The debate over huge container ships FT

Drug Patents and Big Pharma Are Slowing Down the Vaccine Rollout and More Jacobin

#COVID19

America Is Now in the Hands of the Vaccine-Hesitant The Atlantic

Amish community in Pennsylvania becomes first in US to achieve herd immunity after reopening churches led to 90% of households being infected with the virus last year Daily Mail. I would want to know much more about the effects of Amish intermarriage on the community’s collective immune system before drawing any sort of conclusion. (The Daily Mail’s image is of the very same Amish food stall in Philly’s Reading Terminal Market, where I used to shop regularly!)

Pollen Can Raise Your Risk of COVID-19 – and the Season Is Getting Longer Thanks to Climate Change Discover (original).

Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure (PDF) The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers

Trust science, just not “the science,” let alone scientists:

WHO, CDC, good job. “Misinformation,” forsooth.

New York Just Launched A Digital Vaccine Pass To Restart Concerts, Sports Events And Other Activities Forbes

Give pause before you raise a glass to the prospect of a vaccine passport Guardian. Commentary:

We don’t have AIDS passports, or measles passports, or tuberculosis passports. I’d also speculate, from Wolf’s clean/unclean dichotomy, that one of the lesser-known emotions that authoritarianism feeds off may well be hatred’s mannerly sibling, disgust (“deplorables”). Liberal calls for out-group censorship also fit into this frame.

The Week in Fascism Unpopular Front

China?

Xinjiang cotton dispute: the ‘era of bullying China’ is over, officials warn the West SCMP

Chafing At Xinjiang Rebuke, China Ready To Burn Off Some Fingers Heisenberg Report

China Picks UAE to Make Millions of Vaccines, Boosting Gulf Ties Bloomberg

How Should the United States Compete With China’s Belt and Road Initiative? Council on Foreign Relations

Sandstorms turn sun blue and sky yellow in Beijing Guardian

Facebook, Google plan new undersea cables to connect Southeast Asia and America Channel News Asia

Myanmar

Thousands take to the streets in Myanmar after bloodiest day since coup Reuters. Armed groups, warlords, or proto-states? Impressive:

Inside Myanmar’s Army: ‘They See Protesters as Criminals’ NYT. “Criminals”? Maybe. I don’t know anything about Myanmar policing, but I have to say that taking down a criminal with a shot to the head seems excessive, even by Myanmar standards.

Indonesia fire: Massive blaze erupts at oil refinery BBC

India

Bangladesh violence spreads after Modi’s visit, attacks on Hindu temples, train Reuters

Asia-Pacific, the Gigantic Domino of Climate Change International Monetary Fund

Haruhiko Kuroda: Addressing climate-related financial risks — from a central bank’s perspective (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

Syraqistan

Iran’s alleged suicide boat plot against Washington DC is far-fetched as hell Task & Purpose (Re Silc).

‘Worse than a jungle’: the cartel controlling Iraqi borders Agence France Presse

Western govt contractor entrapped British scholar in sting operation to cover up Syria corruption scandal The Grayzone

7 states will be green on coronavirus stoplight risk map starting Monday Mexico News Daily

Marisa: The Violence Of Lawfare And The End Of A Lie Brasilwire

Understanding Political and Social Unrest in Bolivia ACLED. Useful timeline, but “Jeanine Añez… was appointed as interim president” shows a revealing lack of agency. And then there’s this:

UK/EU

Boris Johnson cheated with lover Jennifer Arcuri in family home while wife was away Mirror. I see the “Boorish Johnson” joke has been made already. Oh, well.

Paris doctors warn of catastrophic overload of virus cases AP

Merkel rails at German states for taking foot off ‘emergency brake’ FT

For a better, faster recovery: €1,000 checks for Europeans Politico

Big Tech’s data watchdog in Europe is facing accusations of bureaucracy and lethargy CNBC

In Quest of a Multi-Polar World Michael Hudson and Pepe Escobar, Consortium News

New Cold War

Fresh sanctions may barely dent Fortress Russia Financial Times

Biden Administration

Biden’s Invites to Virtual Climate Summit Include Putin, Xi Bloomberg

Biden Wants Infrastructure Project to Rival China’s Belt and Road Antiwar.com

Democrats disappoint by not going after more Trump regs with CRA The Hill

Senators Offer to Let NSA Hunt Cyber Actors Inside the US Defense One

Scoop: Kids’ border surge expected to last 7+ months Axios

Biden and the Blame Game at the Border The New Yorker

Stop Anti-Chinese Hate, But Not Anti-China Politics? Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Groves of Academe

Colleges Are Using COVID as a Pretext to Make Draconian Cuts to the Humanities Truthout

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ten Months After George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Residents Are at War Over Policing NYT. “I’ve never seen people so on edge like they are today.”

Guillotine Watch

Seashell Art and Rock Gardens NYT. The deck: “With the New York charity circuit on hiatus, here is how some philanthropists and society figures are spending their time and resources during the pandemic.”

How to Map Nothing Places Journal

Class Warfare

Red lights and bathroom posters: Amazon’s all-out fight to block a union Agence France Presse

Amazon started a Twitter war because Jeff Bezos was pissed Recode

AI: Ghost workers demand to be seen and heard BBC

Elite philanthropy mainly self-serving Academic Times

Hugs are good for us. But when will they be safe? Globe and Mail

Shanna Swan: ‘Most couples may have to use assisted reproduction by 2045’ Guardian

How to Be Animal Orion

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

183 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘Mick Krever
    URGENT: The bow of the Ever Given is still stuck “rock solid” and the movement achieved in the stern this morning was “the easiest part,” the CEO of a salvage company working to free the ship told Dutch radio this morning.’

    This guy reports that the bow is still firmly stuck in clay so had a thought. Back during the California Gold Rush days they used water cannons to go after gold. Whole hillsides got blasted away until they finally had to make them illegal to use. You can still see the damaged environment to this day. So why could they not bring in a water cannon from perhaps South African gold mines to blast the bank around where they ship is being held fast? When the ship is free the damage could be quickly repaired so why not?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_mining#California_Gold_Rush

    Reply
    1. lambert strether

      > So why could they not bring in a water cannon from perhaps South African gold mines to blast the bank around where they ship is being held fast?

      So nobody else has to–

      Because the front might fall off.

      Reply
        1. Synoia

          South African gold mines are deep, solid rock mines. The gold is contained in a 1.2m thick layer of rock which slopes lower to the South, starting at the reef (The Rand) upon which is built Johannesburg.

          The gold has to be extracted from the rock. As far as I know South African mining for gold does not use water cannons.

          Reply
            1. juno mas

              They are using water-canon on the TAILINGS. These are the remnants of the hard rock mining work. These surface piles can be treated with water spray because they are above ground surface.

              This technique of removing residual gold from tailings has been refined. In Nevada they scrape the earth into giant surface piles underlain with an impervious blanket. The pile is watered with a gazillion sprinkler that replicate rainfall. Except the rainfall (fluid) is a mix of water and a mild acid which dissolves the residual gold and allows it to leach downward to the impervious blanket where it is collected and sent to an onsite concentrator for refinement.

              It is known as Heap/Leach processing. It creates massive scars in the landscape and consumes massive amounts of groundwater. (Nevada gets very little rain.) Attempts to re-contour and revegetate over the past 30 years have failed to rehabilitate these sites.

              Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      Rev, I was born in Siskiyou County Ca and they washed away mountains, not just hills.|
      The Oakland Museum has several not very good oil paintings illustrating the process and the legacy of the mining (Sediment, mercury and who knows what) changed California’s landscape dramatically and permanently.
      Some may not be aware that California was so easily occupied because 95% of the native population had died in the pandemic of 1822-1823.
      Malaria, most likely brought by Kanaka’s working in the fur trade for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
      There were settlements of Kanaka’s along the Sacramento River as early as the 1830’s, those folks got around.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Their sheer power made me think of them as a solution here. They could do in a few hours what they have spent the past week using diggers. They could blast a ring around that ship and the power of the ship and tugs would enable it to be pulled out of the remaining clay wall. The following video says that they washed down mountains like you said down to bedrock. I can only imagine the force behind those jet blasts-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=888vHIarWCE (4:37 mins)

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          With sufficient power, water jets can even cut metal. Its quite a common technique for precision cutting of metals where for one reason or another you don’t want high temperatures.

          I’ve no idea of the logistics of getting that type of water jet to the Suez, but I’d imagine one problem with the technique there is the lack of a scour in the canal. You might free the bow, but put so much mud into the canal that you end up making it unnavigable without lots of dredging. You might even end up creating a sand/mud bar underneath the ship, making it even harder to move.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Good points though I don’t think that they would use a scour but just use the water from the canal. If one were flown in, they could put it on a low setting or just use a smaller water jet and have a pump nearby to suck up the loose clay and dump it on the land side of the canal. I thought that I saw something similar on an underwater archaeological dig in a doco once.

            Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        Some may not be aware that California was so easily occupied because 95% of the native population had died in the pandemic of 1822-1823.

        I’ve never heard of this event and scouring the internet yielded nothing. Could you supply some evidence?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          p.s.

          I’m about 25 miles away in different directions from the first ever Ghost Dance held in the USA in Eshom Valley & Farmersville in 1870, which was attended by 5,000 to 6,000 of all that remained of Yokuts and Monache tribes which lost somewhere near 85% of their population due to Measles in 1868-69, their thought being a weeklong marathon dance would work in bringing them back.

          This area had one of the highest regional population densities of Native Americans of anywhere in the country once upon a time

          …the water always flowed here in an iffy state otherwise without ‘improvements’ , why risk living somewhere else as they only had about 3,000 years to figure out as to where to dwell in proto-fornia.

          The first one had a number of white observers, and the thought was their loved ones and friends couldn’t come back on account of them being there, so they held another one in Farmersville sans settlers, with the same result, and a few more and then gave up the ghost.

          Reply
        2. kareninca

          Maybe 1833?

          “It is a tragic irony that these defi- ant and exiled Chumash were virtually wiped out in the great Central Valley malaria epidemic of 1833.” (“Blood Came from Their Mouths: Tongva and Chumash Responses to the Pandemic of 1801 by EDWARD D. CASTILLO”)

          I can’t give a link because if I try the link is a mile long. But if you use Google Scholar it is easy to find.

          There was an Epidemic Fever in Ohio in 1822-1823: https://search.proquest.com/docview/137888218?pq-origsite=gscholar&fromopenview=true.
          Anyone who lives in Ohio should read this!!! It is an amazing account.

          Reply
    3. pebird

      From EU Referendum:

      “Land-based, long reach excavators are being used to carve out a deep, semi-circular trench around the bow of the stricken ship, while the Mashhour, a specialist cutter/suction dredger, is clearing a channel starting 100 metres from the port side of the ship to within 10 metres of the stricken vessel, working at depths from a half to 15 metres.”

      Reply
    4. Eric Anderson

      To my knowledge, the water cannons used for mining were gravity fed. A big wide pipe at the top of a substantial hill took in the water from a stream, and then necked down narrower and narrower to the point of output — creating the incredible force.

      Looks pretty flat oer’thar.

      Reply
  2. Henry Moon Pie

    How to be an animal–

    The author is battling against this concept:

    Human mental life consists of a range of capabilities that lift us out of nature.

    We can respond to the universe/Earth/Nature in one of three ways: try to dominate it (we’re seeing how that turns out); transcend it (as the Buddhaof The Upanishads teache); or belong to it, as I believe this author is advocating.

    We’ve been so determined to be “special,” “above,” and most importantly, in control, that we’ve isolated ourselves completely unlike our human ancestors and our precious few remaining indigenous people who see companions when they walk through the forest or meadow.

    The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

    Thomas Berry

    Reply
      1. Foy

        Yep Carla, I saw it the other day in NC comments and started dropping it in my conversations when the opportunity arose. Love it!

        Reply
      2. Henry Moon Pie

        :)

        Don’t stop there. Berry was a Passionist monk and history of religions scholar. Berry was also very interested in ecological issues going back into the 80s, and he came to realize how ill-suited Christianity was for our times.

        I recommend two collections of essays by Berry:

        Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as a Sacred Community

        The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-First Century

        You might also find this Berry-inspired website interesting.

        The link between change in religious thought and political, social and economic change is an interesting one. Octavia Butler’s Parable series relies on the creation of a new religion, Earthseed, created by her heroine, to power a recovery from a situation Butler put in our near future and that turns out to have been quite prescient. Ursula K. Le Guin referred repeatedly to Odonianism in The Dispossesed though
        Odonianism was never spelled out in detail other than being a philosophy/religion created by a revered anarchist, Odo, in Anarres’s past. (Le Guin herself was taken enough with Lao-Tzu’s Way that she created a published translation of the Tao te Ching herself.)

        Much of the social dissolution we’re witnessing throughout the West may be due in part to Christianity’s fading along with the unsatisfying nature of its putative replacement that we might summarize as “the one who dies with the most toys wins.” Berry was hoping that a new religion, one based on evolution but leading not to our superiority over the rest of Life but instead affirming our membership in the universe, would facilitate effective action against the ecological threats we’ve created for ourselves.

        Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      I tried reading the story but it got lost for me. The need to control where we came from is so critical for our facades that reality shall not interfere. After “Origin of the Species” became de rigueur, we simply used it to confirm prejudice and difference rather than what it really demonstrated. It showed a “sameness” that no one liked or could tolerate. It goes on today. Instead of understanding nature, we violently alter it to better suit us immediately and abandon the consequences as necessary.
      Alas, we were likely better when we were animals, just part of the food chain. We had no way to implement mass destruction of environs all over the planet.
      We may only need to observe what we have done since to see just how dumb animals can be when they think they can think.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Hmm, I thought it was really good.

        And I totally agree with you – “evolution” is actually a really problematical name, not surprising given the times Darwin wrote in.

        It is used by the uninformed as a synonym for “improvement” and “progress”. So we are the final product of Evolution, which is just substituting one deity for another. And then it becomes “really easy to see” that the Rich are better than the rest of us, and it’s just self-coddling and denial to view it any other way.

        But it just means adaptation to whatever is close enough to the current situation to make the leap given a need for change in order to survive. We didn’t evolve wolves coats when the world got colder, but we did seem to get a bit, um, huskier for instance.

        And circumstances do change, so there is no “pinnacle” really at all.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          It seems very easy to “drift” from the biological evolution by natural selection into Social Darwinism and eugenics, and their little brother our Meritocracy via being credentialed by certain kinds of college degrees. Preferably from the Ivies or one of the correct Blue Coast States.

          Reply
    1. David

      Yes, I have my WHO International Vaccination Certificates book right here. Some airlines won’t even let you on the plane unless you can show a recent vaccination, and many countries won’t let you in. I have no idea what Wolf means by the Nazi reference, by the way.

      Reply
      1. grayslady

        I have no idea what Wolf means by the Nazi reference, by the way.

        He’s probably referring to the Ahnenpass. It was a small booklet required to be carried by Germans of Aryan descent to show exactly who their ancestors were. It went back several generations from the holder of the pass, and those families who still have them today tend to use the information as the starting point for genealogical research.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          Woif’s gone full Godwin here I’m afraid. Vaccination status isn’t even remotely like a Nazi pseudoscientific identity pedigree. Almost anyone will be able to quickly move from the “dirty” side to the “clean” by simply being vaccinated. Vaccination status isn’t some sort of immutable identity barrier.

          As for those vaccine passports, I assume many countries will choose to require proofs of vaccination as a condition of entry as has been common practice across the world for many decades. Where was the outrage before?

          If we decide that government-issued vaccine passports are too far to go, do we also ban private companies or groups instituting controls based on vaccine status? Do we ban airlines from checking status as a condition of service? Is an individual’s freedom to choose whether or not to share a confined space with the imminent risk of unvaccinated people being present not a freedom we should allow? Should we take the rather extreme step to make it illegal to use vaccine status a condition of going into a business or accessing a service that wants to exclude the voluntarily unvaccinated as a safety measure for their employees and customers?

          These sorts of questions are still mostly theoretical for now but will become a lot more pressing once vaccinations have been made available to everyone in our countries and the only unvaccinated will be people who are either medically exempt or people who’ve made the conscious decision not to be vaccinated. Personally, I want the freedom to have the opportunity to get on a plane or go to a pub or concert knowing I’m not sharing this enclosed space with people who have deliberately chosen not to be vaccinated. Is that an unreasonable expectation?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            What you do not mention here is the effect of “othering” those who do not conform to ‘social standards.’ Such “othering” eventually leads to exclusion from society and often outright liquidation “for the good of the Society.”
            This imposition of an internal ‘vaccine pass’ system will lead to such an outcome.
            The much dreaded Neo-liberal Rule #1: “Go die” will now have a Corollary: “We will help you Go Die.”
            Terran human nature has been remarkably consistent over the last hundred thousand years or so.

            Reply
            1. David

              No, I think it will have the corollary “we don’t want to (familyblogging) die so go and get yourself (familyblogging) vaccinated, then the problem goes away.” Personally, I shall enjoy the discomfiture of lots of middle-class ecolo anti-vax types who can’t go to brunch.

              Reply
              1. kareninca

                I have still not found an account of how it is that having mass vaccination – especially at this point, with so many variants – is going to make the pandemic go away. Especially if, as it seems, people who are vaccinated can still catch and transmit covid. It seems that the vaccinated may then incubate and spread more transmissible versions, due to evolutionary pressure. In that case I don’t see how my getting vaccinated is necessary for the safety of others. However, I would absolutely read an account of how mass vaccination could help – if the account takes these issues into consideration – if you would link to one.

                Reply
                1. Yves Smith

                  See Edward’s comment yesterday on the Russian vaccine:

                  Russia may have developed a terrific Covid vaccine, CoviVac. RT reported on this vaccine recently:

                  https://www.rt.com/russia/517024-russia-third-vaccine-dead-virus/

                  …The vaccine is based on the most traditional technology that has been around for a long time and is widely used throughout the world, Aidar Ishmukhametov, the director general of the Chumakov Scientific Center, told RT.

                  “Globally, almost 100% of vaccines contain either deactivated or live pathogens,” he said, adding that the one developed by his center contains an ‘inactivated’ (dead) coronavirus. This type of vaccine simulates a natural infection process, introducing the immune system to the virus and “teaching” the body to fight the pathogen without the risk of it spreading through the body and causing disease, he explained.

                  …“Since we are talking about a whole-virion vaccine, the deviations in the genetic sequence – something one is calling different strains or different variants – are insignificant and amount to less than one percent. So… it would be weird to think that a whole-virion vaccine might fail to work against new strains, considering how small the differences are,” he said.

                  CoviVac received national approval in Russia while still in the second phase of clinical trials. It now has to go through the third phase so the developers can precisely assess its effectiveness, according to Ishmukhametov. However, the first trials have already shown that it has no side effects, he said.

                  “The most important thing is that at this point we have a vaccine that definitely has no side effects,” he said, adding that, out of 300 volunteers, none reported any symptoms except for occasional soreness around the injection site.

                  IM Doc replied:

                  I would take that vaccine in a flash if it were available here – and I would be encouraging all around me to do so.

                  I do not have the same feeling about our current options – and have wondered why we are not working on something similar to this.

                  And you are right – Hell will freeze over before a Russian vaccine is available here. Especially if folks like Rachel Maddow are still allowed on the national airwaves.

                  So a vaccine can (almost certainly) beat the variants…but it appears not the ones the US is betting on.

                  Reply
                  1. kareninca

                    Thank you. I did actually see that post yesterday, but I’ll admit that I skimmed over it since it is not a vaccine that is available here.

                    So it sounds like it is like Sinovac’s CoronaVac, which “relies on an inactive version of the novel coronavirus to teach human immune systems to recognize and destroy the real thing.” “Sinovac’s method is relatively crude, relying on a similar principle to the one Edward Jenner, the 18th century British scientist sometimes called the father of immunology, employed . . .””The advantage of a whole-virus approach is that “you are putting in many kinds of proteins,” says William Haseltine, a pioneering AIDS researcher who now chairs Access Health International Inc., a New York-based think tank. “Many of those proteins may induce cell-mediated immunity”—an attack by so-called T cells, for example, rather than just antibodies. ” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-24/coronavirus-vaccine-china-s-covid-front-runner-uses-brute-force-approach)

                    So, CoronaVac has been out long enough now for there to be some data: “Long-awaited results about the effectiveness of a leading Chinese COVID-19 vaccine were tinged with disappointment and confusion this week. . . Researchers in Brazil reported that CoronaVac, developed by Beijing-based Sinovac, was 50.4% effective at preventing severe and mild COVID-19 in late-stage trials. ” (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00094-z)

                    This doesn’t mean that CoronaVac is useless. And just because the Russian version is the same style doesn’t mean it is as weak against the Brazil variant. And I would be a lot more willing to take it than a mRNA vaccine. But I do wonder if there will be a problem with the variants.

                    Reply
            2. njbr

              Such hyperbole !

              Froth, much? Liquidation?

              If you don’t want to be a member of a society, stay out of that society.

              Your right of exposure to “ebola” does not give you the right to expose me to your “ebola”.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                The resort to using the National Socialist regime in Germany as an example is valid. During the Reich, the equavalent of “deplorables,” such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Homosexuals (the Pink Star,) were sent to camps and killed in one way or another. Deviants were rounded up and sent to camps. Opting out was not allowed as an option. Think the Japanese Americans on the West Coast during WW-2. Then, the authorities were not as murderous as their Continental counterparts. Don’t count on that being the case for ever.
                Have doubts about “the banality of evil?” Read Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem.”

                Reply
            3. Kurt Sperry

              I think you have to find a balance that respects everyone’s freedom to choose but at the same time protects public safety under the extraordinary temporary* circumstance of an ongoing, perhaps once-in-a-century, deadly pandemic.

              The person who busses your dishes should be able to be in a labor union that might demand as a negotiated working condition that they not come into close contact with people who in an ongoing historic pandemic might pose a significant—even fatal or disabling—imminent risk to their health. People in precarious circumstances don’t always get to choose the job they end up in. Similar to how in the US we don’t allow both smoking and non-smoking businesses in order to protect employees working on-site. The employees may be in a situation where they need the job to pay their bills and stay off the streets. They can’t really freely consent to a risk under the threat of the greater and more imminent risk of homelessness.

              *for some yet to be discovered definition of temporary

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                I have no real argument with your point.
                What worries me is the slap dash nature of the American response to the Pandemic. Truth be told, the entire West seems to have bungled this.
                I suspect that the definition of ‘temporary’ changes with each crisis.
                Triangulation at peak deviance?

                Reply
              2. Simply

                It seems to me that this particular vaccine does not prevent one from actually having and spreading this disease. It prevents some of the more egregious outcomes of having the disease. Why should I not be allowed to risk you harming me if I don’t want to be vaccinated? Health care costs? Accurate covid testing requirements should certainly be implemented.

                Reply
                1. Kurt Sperry

                  It seems to me that this particular vaccine does not prevent one from actually having and spreading this disease.

                  We’re still waiting for the data to settle this question. Obviously, those data are only now coming into being.

                  Reply
            4. Basil Pesto

              Such “othering” eventually leads to exclusion from society and often outright liquidation “for the good of the Society.”
              This imposition of an internal ‘vaccine pass’ system will lead to such an outcome.

              You do not come remotely close to showing this, an argument which amounts to ‘discrimination (literal sense) of people into binary groups will lead to the mass murder of one group and not the other, because this has happened once before and those circumstances were not specific but general and repeatable’. Prognostications of this sort might lead to much grave, solicitous head-nodding of assent from fellow doomists to begin with, but are of course deeply memory-holed when they fail to come to pass.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                These concerns are way way overdone with vaccines that are approved only on an EUA basis. Hospitals can’t even require a vaccine as a condition of care. My attorney is confident if anyone were so uninformed as to try it could be beaten back. EUA authorizations make clear any use is voluntary and can’t be compelled.

                Reply
      2. chuck roast

        Back in the day GIs were required to carry around their shot-records. The medics always seemed to have a needle at the ready. Can I get a shot against the Neo-liberal Infestation?

        Reply
    2. Weimer

      True – at least was 30 years ago, when I widely travelled the world. Still have the yellow booklet with several entries for the various vaccines. But – a big difference: this was not some cyber deal, with all your info stored online and subject to hacking; no smart was phone required; and – most importantly – the vaccines used had been tested over decades, and not some flash-in-a-pan concoctions, with unknown long-term effects. They were also not required for the West, just mostly for places with tropical diseases or some such conditions. So a big difference overall.

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        That’s still the case. I have my yellow booklet, but have only had to produce it once to get an entry visa, despite visiting several countries where it was mandatory to show proof of vaccination. And the US government does not have a copy of it.

        Reply
      2. vlade

        TBH, security vs. need are two things. I, for one, would have no idea of a govt stamp for the passport for example (well, more like a glue-on, you can do better security measures on those).

        In other words, we need to distinguish things like a requirement for vaccination (ok by me, it already exists, can be done w/o the digital stuff) and a big-brother tracking app (no, thank you).

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I don’t know about your system, but, when Phyl and I obtained our American passports for an abortive try at an overseas vacation, we found out that those passports have RFID microchips embedded in them.
          See: https://www.dhs.gov/e-passports
          Some retail outlets, Academy Sports for one, sell Faraday pouches for just such a case. They are all over the internet retail sales net.
          Draw your own conclusions.

          Reply
    3. FreeMarketApologist

      I was born overseas (US military parents), and still have my little yellow book of immunization records (rather outdated now, although I’m current on most everything).

      Philosophically, I’m struggling with the difference between requiring vaccination proof for international travel, vs travel down to the local grocery, pub, theatre, stadium, etc..

      Reply
    4. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I still have my yellow vaccine passport stuffed a way in a drawer somewhere.

      It surely can’t be beyond our capacity to create a relatively secure app based vaccine/test passport which does not compromise on personal privacy, and is time limited.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        It is possible, but, considering the temper of the times, I doubt the ‘safety’ of any app.
        Like with voting, let us stick with paper all of the way.

        Reply
        1. David

          One possible answer: I have a French health service card, known asa Carte Vitale, which has a chip in it, which can be read and written to by any health professional. It has a complete list of all the treatments, medicines etc. I have had in recent years, and it’s updated by anyone with the right equipment. The information stays with me, but is uploaded once a year (it’s not compulsory but highly recommended) to the health authority. It ought to be possible to have a vaccination status card which is in essence read-only but could be updated by professionals.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            True that. Real portability of records and the patient owns all his or her records.
            Security is the main concern here. Do you have any reliable data on public trust in the Health Service in France? I suspect that here, in America, such trust will be at low ebb.
            Be safe.

            Reply
            1. David

              Anecdotally, people don’t seem to be bothered: in effect, the records are uploaded once a year to their local health authority (in the US I suspect it would be state level) and that’s as much as anything else to check on the correct reimbursement of medical costs. It should be added that in France there are pretty strict data protection laws, policed by an independent Commission.

              Reply
    5. Estuary

      Will the Vaccination Passport have removable pages, say, for visits to the French Laundry?
      Asking for a friend.

      Reply
    6. JTMcPhee

      There’s no passport for HIV in part because HIV is not, at the moment, an airborne disease, unlike measles. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/10-infectious-diseases-that-are-spread-though-the-air.html

      There are a lot of countries that do impose entry restrictions on people with HIV: https://travelrestrictions.unaids.org/

      Here’s hoping that research I recall reading about recently will in fact produce an effective sterilizing vaccine/treatment. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210203162249.htm

      But human behavior and “nature” will obviously keep producing pathogens with potential for widespread disease. https://time.com/5779578/modern-world-epidemics-coronavirus/

      I used to box-score baseball games when I was young. Is there an equivalent for keeping score on nature-versus-humans innings?

      Reply
  3. dftbs

    Watching the the MIC/think tank complex contort and flail with regard to China has been a real source of entertainment. “How Should the United States Compete With China’s Belt and Road Initiative?” is so devoid of any substance, it reads like the daily re-affirmations a recently dumped lover post on their Facebook wall.

    The American brain trust forgets that they’ve been in charge of the world for multiple generations, and their stewardship led to the mass impoverishment of humanity (curiously enough outside of China). If they didn’t provide a coherent development model over the last 80 years, what makes them think they can come up with one now.

    The reason the US can’t compete with China is the same reason a fish can’t outfly a bird. One day maybe that fish will crawl out to land, perhaps even take flight, but once it does it won’t be a fish anymore. Perhaps one day, the polity which controls the North American continent will be able to compete with China, but that polity will have to change so much to do so, it wont be the USA.

    For all our sakes let’s hope that evolution happens peacefully, before all the General Rippers (retired) in whichever alphabet think tank start a shooting war.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      “The reason the US can’t compete with China…”

      Maybe it’s inevitable that the overarching form of human interaction has to be zero-(actually negative)sum competition, now as in mot of the past. If that’s the case, is there any hope of anything but a complete stripping of habitability of the planet for profit, to show who the winners are?

      One might hope that the form competition takes would become who can come up with the most effective non-destructive and sustainable means and methods of living together on this planet.

      But the rulers and owners always end up being the Alpha competitors-in-chief… Was it always thus? I recall reading about societies where cooperation and homeostasis were innate, though as I recall, all those were drowned by the chimp-and-saurian-brained upstarts…

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Colleges Are Using COVID as a Pretext to Make Draconian Cuts to the Humanities”

    If Colleges cut stuff like the Humanities, would that not simply turn them into a Technical Colleges aka a cow college? Certainly they could never be considered a University, even if they did have a great college football team. And why am I not surprised that a “scholar” from the American Enterprise Institute is getting his grubby mits involved in wrecking higher education?

    Reply
    1. John

      The first place I would look is at the number of “administrators” today as compared to say twenty years ago … and their salaries.

      Cutting into the humanities while maintaining and expanding what amounts to job training is an excellent means of cutting the heart out of formal education.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        No! No and no! Many of these “administrators” are the human detritus of our beloved political apparatus. Public colleges and universities county-wide are convenient resting places for long-time well connected pols who are highly experienced bull$hit artists, but otherwise posses an enfeebled skill set. These feather-bedders need the cash, and they also act as kind of human economic stimulus machines. OTH I am no longer required get up the coins for tuition.

        Reply
        1. Swamp Yankee

          It’s me! I lost my community college position, teaching History and Political Science. The farcically corrupt administrators stayed on.

          Reply
          1. juno mas

            Yes, my community college has had a reduction in student enrollment. (Mostly high fee/tuition International students.) There is now a budget shortfall over a million dollars.

            So what transpires? Layoffs/ buyouts for tenured staff and reduction in pay/benefits for adjuncts. However, this week a new administrator VP, Diversity & Equity, was hired. Go figure. If you can’t teach then you shouldn’t be a new hire.

            Reply
    2. Carolinian

      never be considered a University, even if they did have a great college football team

      Tell that to SC’s Clemson University which once was indeed referred to as our “cow college.”

      Meanwhile here in the US we have our Ivies to serve as Blob Colleges. Perhaps it’s all vocational training in the end.

      Reply
    3. cocomaan

      They’ll likely still have the STEM faculty teaching humanities for the first year seminar class. That’s what most do now at liberal arts schools: every faculty member has to teach first year seminar at some point, where they read old texts.

      That way, you still have all the liberal arts trappings without having to commit to departments of humanists.

      I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the humanists, though. They were perfectly fine with a predatory student loan system and only now are braying as prudence starts to catch up with them.

      Reply
      1. Count Zero

        “I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the humanists, though. They were perfectly fine with a predatory student loan system and only now are braying as prudence starts to catch up with them.”

        I can’t speak to the US regime but in the UK students fees for University study were introduced in 1998 by government fiat. A series of increases and the introduction of student loans were similarly imposed by successive governments. At no point were University teachers consulted and those I knew as colleagues were opposed at every stage. We were never “perfectly fine” with any of it.

        Those teaching in British Universities never received any benefits, direct or indirect, from students fees and loans. On the contrary, rising student fees and a predatory loans system were simply part of the broader commercialisation of education and the steady erosion of wages and working conditions.

        The details may be different but I expect the situation of most of those who teach in Humanities in US Universities has similarly deteriorated in the last 20-30 years. They have been the victims as much as the students. Look to those who are profiting — it’s certainly not the vast majority of University teachers.

        Reply
        1. cocomaan

          I understand where you’re coming from, and agree to an extent, but at least under the tenure system in American higher ed, many university professors have an employment contract with great opportunities to organize against these negative changes.

          Instead of using academic freedom and contracted employment to organize against these kinds of moves, or, say against the growth of contingent faculty, instead not much happened. Grumbling in a faculty meeting does not equal activism in my book, but appears to be sufficient to soothe the moral conscience of many of these folks in question.

          Reply
          1. Count Zero

            Yes that’s a fair point. The UK and US University systems are very different. But in both faculty are fragmented and lack much leverage to challenge changes imposed from above. They grumble in faculty meetings because there’s rarely anything much they can actually do. At the same time, there are certainly faculty who are hungry for everything they can grab and trample over others to get it. So I agree there’s a degree of complicity among tenured staff and often very little in the way of solidarity.

            Reply
    4. Alex Cox

      The article isn’t only about the humanities. The title is misleading. The colleges discussed are scrapping hard sciences like maths and physics, too.

      Reply
  5. IdahoSpud

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/03/america-is-now-in-the-hands-of-the-vaccine-hesitant/618352/

    Never mentioned in these “scolding” articles is the fact that these vaccines are approved “for emergency use”, and have not yet competed clinical trials – a much higher safety hurdle.

    I am in no big hurry to be a participant in a large-scale unmonitored bio-experent, so social distancing and masks are de rigeur until I’m convinced it’s safe.

    Your emergency and panic are not my emergency and panic.

    Anyone with common sense (and a knowledge of Vioxx) should already have a keen wariness toward the medical industrial complex. This is just another ethics-challenged rent seeking business, no different than telecom, oil, or retail.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Some of us join in your lack of haste. It is interesting that many of the hesitant are medical professionals.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          I have already experienced “scolding sessions” for voicing my ‘vaccine hesitancy’ views.
          I’m going to “wait and see,” and then wait some more.
          I think that Wukchumni has the best “social distancing” policy; be a Mountain Man.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Too bad that option is not available to the vast majority of us mopes…

            Through through a chain of unrepeatable fortuities, my wife and I have been able to largely sequester in our little tract house in a densely populated area, to survive, so far, during this “unfortunate episode.” Did not stop us from weighing the pros and cons, then getting our two doses of Moderna apiece. So we form part of the cohort of the experimented-upon. Fortunately, so far no significant problems from the the shots, but of course the virus morphs and hides and the pharmacorps circle like vulture to “provide (for a lot of money) updated vacccines.”

            All this in hopes of being able to be close to our kids and grandkids with reduced fear of fatal or vastly debilitating infection. Of course the vaccines do not promise that we won’t get the disease, just that it might not be so acute, and promise nothing when it comes to long-COVID dysfunctions from a “milder case,” and nothing about our potential ability to spread resident and potentially more virulent and transmissible viruses from our own lungs and nasal passages and defecations.

            Amazing how docile so many of us are, and how our rules-based and Bernaysian-rooted system creates these cognitive cones of silence around stuff like how the “emergency use authorizations” have been applied, like the “authorization for the use of military force,” in ways that are not even “sort of” supported by a plain reading of the text… assuming the original text itself was actually fit for purpose…

            Reply
            1. Harold

              I understood right away that this is an experiment with us as guinea pigs. It’s true of almost all drugs, I find. And during my lifetime virtually all my most alarming health issues were the result of Dr.- prescribed medications, subsequently withdrawn. I am still annoyed with the so-called health experts’ decision not to level with the public about what they are doing. But finally, fatalistically, I decided to take the risk, for the benefit of others, at least, and get the shot. Due for second jab this week.

              Reply
          2. Wukchumni

            This here mountain man saw a sign @ Walgreens in the flatlands yesterday that proclaimed ‘Covid-19 Vaccine
            Available’ so I popped in without an appointment today and no problemo getting my first jab.

            The pharmacist told me that probably wouldn’t have worked in SF or LA…

            Reply
            1. Duke of Prunes

              Checking in from the Chicago area.

              The past few Saturdays I’ve received an email from Cook county informing me that new appointments would be available Sunday at noon. 12 rolls around on Sunday (we’ll maybe I forget, and it’s more like 12:05 or 12:10), I log in and get put in a “virtual waiting room”, and watch the counters update as ~53,000 people are waiting for ~9000 remaining of original ~26,000 appointments. I’m warned not to close my browser, I watch the screen periodically, and an hour later I check back, and, sure enough, no more available appointments. Log into the “partner” sites (various pharmacies and grocery stores) and also no appointments available.

              Meanwhile, a hospital in a economically depressed area of Chicago got busted using their vaccine allotment for VIPs (judges and spouses) and “special friends” (the hospital CEO’s church). Flash back just a month ago when this hospital administered the “1st shot in Chicago/Illinois” with much fanfare as the pols were backslapping about their generosity to an “underserved community”. I’m assuming that it’s monkey business like the above that makes ~15000 appointments disappear in ~10 minutes, but the remaining ~9000 take 60 minutes or more to allocate. This is the “Chicago Way” after all. Obviously, some animals are more equal than others.

              Not that this bothers me too much. I’m skeptical and can continue hunkering down, and “not breathing others air” will be easier as the weather warms. I know many who have the shot (daughter, brother, parents, in-laws included) with no ill effects. In fact, I know no one who has had problems, but my concerns are more of the longer term issues like Antibody Dependent Enhancement. People tell me to call the pharmacies and run multiple browsers when the appointments open up (pretend its like the day Cubs tickets go on sale), but I’ll let my appointments fall to those who want them more.

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                …a tale of two cities!

                One thing in my favor in a town of 136k where about 19,999 of those aren’t evangelicals, is they’re a little wishy-washy on taking the plunge, a hesitancy of sorts.

                In my hour long mission implausible vaccine show there were never more than 4 people in line at any time, I kept my cool @ 95.9 when screened to confirm I wasn’t no card carrying good for nothing Covid fellow traveler

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  I can see it now.
                  “Mr. Chairman. I have here in my hand a list of 134 individuals in the infotainment industry whose apps say that they are “Anti Social Vaxx Deniers!” We must stamp out this plague of plague carriers!”
                  “Uh, sir! Sir!”
                  “Yes Mr. Runner.”
                  “Senator Pangloss. Have you no shame?”
                  Pandemonium in the Senate chamber.

                  Reply
        2. JP

          Pretty unlikely that the vaccine is dangerous beyond normal outliers. I am more worried about the longevity of the immunity. Will we have to get periodic boosters to protect against designer covids?

          Reply
          1. RMO

            There are enough known long term effects of Covid even with a mild case that I’m ready willing and able to take whatever vaccine I can get, as soon as I can get it. Unfortunately we’re still going slow here in Canada, and cases are increasing again. My mum (over 80) got her first shot a week and a half ago and they say it will be about four months until she gets the second one. My wife and I (we share the same house) being 40 and 50 respectively aren’t in line for a shot for a long time yet.

            Reply
    2. Mme Generalist

      Yes. Plus, as I pointed out yesterday, the CDC reports that there are no data “available to assess the efficacy for prevention of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.” This suggests that all study participants were not systematically tested following vaccination but rather that only symptomatic participants were tested. If so, isn’t that stacking the deck?

      Is there another plausible clinical explanation for why those data would be unavailable?

      Reply
      1. rusti

        If so, isn’t that stacking the deck?

        Yes, if the primary trial endpoint is sterilizing immunity. But the endpoints for the trials were prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 and severe COVID-19 and death. In my opinion, if vaccine safety and efficacy against moderate to severe disease can be shown then that ought to be good enough. Medical professionals and scientists more qualified than me can comment on whether safety and efficacy have been demonstrated suitably.

        Reply
        1. Mme Generalist

          …if the primary trial endpoint is sterilizing immunity. But the endpoints for the trials were prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 and severe COVID-19 and death.

          Hopefully you won’t be subjected to public spanking for making this point as I was in yesterday’s comments!

          Reply
    3. cocomaan

      Are we going to force women trying to get pregnant/are pregnant to take vaccines now What about men worried about their fertility when trying to conceive?

      What if we find out there’s a population of people who do not respond well to mRNA vaccines?

      All of a sudden, going Amish seems preferable to the medical tyranny that it seems many want to impose.

      Reply
      1. cocomaan

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/03/28/vaccine-passports-for-work/

        WaPo’s phrasing is insidious:

        “vaccine passports – that would allow Americans to prove that they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as businesses try to reopen.”

        First, “allow Americans to prove” is bizarre language. I can try to prove anything. I do not need the federal government’s help to prove anything, necessarily. And to what extent does a government app prove anything? Are fake ID’s held by teenagers not a thing?

        Second, “as businesses try to reopen.” Try? Business closures were by government edict. Plenty opened when they were told not to. The Amish article is about how the Amish ignored everything and just went along their way, doing business, going to church, and so on.

        This is some disgusting stuff.

        Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      We’ve blown right past the “emergency” use authorization–one aspect of which is that no one can be forced to take the drug–and are now discussing, and even defending, “vaccine passports.”

      From the article:

      More alarming are reports of a gaping, and growing, partisan divide. A poll this month from NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist found that 87 percent of registered Democrats had either received a vaccine or planned to get one, compared with just 56 percent of registered Republicans.

      “Enquiring minds” would also like to know why so many of these “scolding” articles couch their “commentary” in political terms, when there are so many other, different ways to “categorize” the citizens of a nation of 330 million souls that would be far more “medically” useful.

      More going on here than meets the eye I think.

      Reply
    5. nick

      Your comment has some factual inaccuracies. The vaccines that are available in the USA were not approved, but rather granted Emergency Use Authorization so that they can be made available prior to approval. Also, they definitely were evaluated in clinical trials. You may not believe that the results of those trials justify scheduling an appointment to receive the vaccine yourself, but the statement is still false.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        A quibble, if you will.
        The mRNA vaccines were not ‘evaluated’ in the manner of the standard three stage clinical trial model.
        In essence, the public roll out of these vaccines is the Third Stage Trial.
        Considering how dysfunctional the initial, and indeed, subsequent actions of the “healthcare professionals” have been, I am not filled with optimism at present for our prospects relative to the Pandemic.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          >The mRNA vaccines were not ‘evaluated’ in the manner of the standard three stage clinical trial model.

          A technique that fortunately prevented any bad drugs from ever getting to market. Sigh. Look if you don’t want to take them, don’t. I would have put it off if I was in a low-risk category, but unfortunately I am just the opposite.

          But the holier-than-thou is a bit grinding to us, who again, given the odds it wasn’t even a question.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_withdrawn_drugs#:~:text=Significant%20withdrawals%20%20%20%20Drug%20name%20,addiction%20a%20…%20%2027%20more%20rows%20

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            My apologies if I come off as “holier than thou” on this subject. I guess that my ‘biases’ are shining through.
            Given the odds, taking the present Covid vaccines is always an ‘option.’
            We are both in the prime high-risk category. Not accepting the present “state of the art” vaccines has not been an easy decision to make.
            Our basic problem with these vaccines is that they are “not good enough.”
            Only time will tell if we are correct in our disquiet or just credible fools.
            Ultimately, the final arbiter of the efficacy of these vaccines will be the mortality figures of the vaccinated versus the un-vaccinated. That will, also, take time to become clear.

            Reply
            1. IdahoSpud

              Ultimately, the final arbiter of the efficacy of these vaccines will be the mortality figures of the vaccinated versus the un-vaccinated.

              Perhaps. Nobody knows whether there will be unanticipated long-term effects from the vaccine. If they are telling you different, they either have a time machine or they are making assumptions.

              I prefer successful phase 3 trial completion over blithe assurances and scolding.

              Eff em.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                Your tone is utterly out of line. You are putting yourself on a fast track to being blacklisted.

                What ambrit said is accurate. You may not like the clinical definition of efficacy but that’s a separate matter.

                Reply
          1. ambrit

            No problem. How else are we going to ‘game out’ this situation if we don’t try to think of all of the possibilities?
            Keep thinking for yourself!
            Stay safe!

            Reply
        2. rusti

          The mRNA vaccines were not ‘evaluated’ in the manner of the standard three stage clinical trial model.

          How do you mean? Which among the vaccines given EUA doesn’t have Phase III trial results published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            From what I have read, a full three phase trial regime takes about one to three years to implement.
            Read: https://www.antidote.me/blog/how-long-do-clinical-trial-phases-take
            The Covid vaccines have been given Emergency Use Authorization very early, indeed, long before the Third Phase Trials are complete.
            Read: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03219-y
            So, if the Phase Three Trials aren’t even ‘over’ yet, how can they even be presented for review?
            This whole process has been corrupted, probably beyond repair.

            Reply
            1. rusti

              I’m pretty sure it’s considered unethical to continue having a placebo group in clinical trials if, after unblinding after a certain number of cases to get initial efficacy numbers, there is compelling and statistically significant evidence that people in the placebo arm are potentially at risk if they aren’t offered a choice. Let’s say there was an antiviral that was proven to be a very effective HIV treatment. Would you expect blinded trial participants, possibly in the placebo arm of the trial to continue for the sake of having a more complete data set? The answer isn’t super cut-and-dry to me.

              Anecdotally, I heard of someone in the Moderna trial who expressed a desire to continue blinded but the administrators encouraged them to get unblinded since they were the only person left in their city.

              In my mind, the fundamental question to answer is the confidence level about vaccine safety, because it seems efficacy (if not durability of immunity) is well established. Dr. Paul Offit says that most vaccine safety issues historically tend to be apparent in the weeks after vaccination, but I don’t have enough knowledge to make an independent assessment.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                They don’t “unblind to get efficacy numbers.” The study remains blind to the participants and to the techs administering the shots. However, IM Doc and others pointed out these studies were effectively at least partially unblinded due to the pretty high % having reactions to the vaccine. The comment about the Moderna vaccine person makes zero sense.

                And a vaccine is not a treatment. Plus have you lost sight of the fact that drugs are dangerous? Hello Vioxx?

                The only cases I have heard of dimly like you suggest was when a drug looked so promising in an initial clinical trial (which takes 3-10 years) that they let some get access to it early on an Emergency Use Authorization basis. Did you miss that lots of corners were cut to get these vaccines out on an EUA basis?

                And your AIDS example cuts the other way. Some of my friends who got HIV early and are still alive in part attribute that to not having gotten the initial drugs. They did more harm than good.

                Reply
      2. Jeremy Grimm

        The Corona vaccines were developed and made available to the public in “Warp Speed”. I have not run across any account explaining how that was done without cutting corners. The situation suggests at least two troubling possibilities — either the existing process for getting a vaccine to the public was unduly onerous or the Warp Speed process risked cutting a few corners when given its Emergency Use Authorization. I can only make sense of the emergency that justified the Emergency Use Authorization in terms of the stunning absence of public health policy based on concern for public health combined with the Government’s reliance on developing a Warp Speed vaccine as panacea instead of following the example of public health practice already demonstrated and proven by countries in the Far East — countries that learned how to deal with the Avian flu.

        Regarding risks, there is risk from receiving the vaccines, and risk of Corona from not receiving the vaccine. I believe our Government has allowed concerns other than public health direct policies that force relatively high levels of both risks onto the Populace.

        Reply
    6. Kevin Smith MD

      Hey IdahoSpud,
      Hate to break it to you, but you are already “a participant in a large-scale unmonitored bio-experent (sic)” … it’s called the Covid-19 Pandemic.

      And guess what, each and every one of the vaccines on the market have been through clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people, to ensure a good standard of both safety and efficacy.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        If the Corona pandemic [deference to Corvidae] is a large-scale unmonitored bio-experiment, I suppose that implies that the Corona pandemic is not being monitored. That is a good point to make in a discussion of vaccines. The Corona tests and testing capabilities demonstrated so far are underwhelming. Your notion og the ” clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people, to ensure a good standard of both safety and efficacy” leaves me wondering about the necessity for the lengthy approval regime earlier vaccines endured.

        The notion that the Corona pandemic per se is a bio-experiment is odd in light of the many previous infectious diseases which have been studied in past pandemics. So far the discoveries about the Corona pandemic seem to replicate discoveries made through the study of past pandemics. They are remarkable only in regard to how little seems to be remembered from even recent past pandemics like the Avian flu.

        Reply
      2. kareninca

        Kevin Smith MD, all that you are doing is claiming that the vaccines are safe. You’re not proving it – and in particular you are not proving that they are safe in the long term. The only way to find out if they are safe in the long term is to wait and see for the requisite period of time.

        You might read this: https://www.jpost.com/health-science/could-an-mrna-vaccine-be-dangerous-in-the-long-term-649253.

        In the article, Michal Linail, ” a professor of biological chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,” says all sorts of flattering things about the development of the vaccines. But then she is asked if she is going to be vaccinated herself. Her response was: ““I won’t be taking it immediately – probably not for at least the coming year.”

        I figure that that is a pretty good guide. That article came out on Nov. 17th, 2020. I’ll assess my options on Jan 1st, 2022, and decide then whether I am willing to be vaccinated. Either then, or if the case fatality rate goes way up.

        Reply
    7. Maritimer

      “Anyone with common sense (and a knowledge of Vioxx) should already have a keen wariness toward the medical industrial complex. This is just another ethics-challenged rent seeking business, no different than telecom, oil, or retail”
      *******
      I had my run in with the Medical Cartel in a cardio setting ten years ago. I refused their one-size-fits-all treatment and chose an alternative/contrarian path recommended by many eminent cardio experts and researchers whose beliefs have moved into the Mainstream ten years later.

      So, drink the Medical Koolaid at your own risk. I, and many others, will exercise our critical thinking and choose differently.

      I refuse to be Vaccine Reckless or be shamed, cowed, humiliated, forced into being so.

      Reply
  6. Fireship

    > Ten Months After George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Residents Are at War Over Policing NYT. “I’ve never seen people so on edge like they are today.”

    Riot season is going to start early this year. It is going to be a long, hit Summer. Make sure to stock up on popcorn, folks.

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      And one hell of a fire season.
      It’s a good time to pick extra filters for your air purifier and review your evacuation plan if you live in the West.
      I’ve lived in W Sonoma County for 15 years and this is the first year there has been no water in any of the seasonal creeks.
      None.
      Which means the Russian River hasn’t been flushed…The pollution accumulated over a year is usually washed into the Pacific ocean in January/ February, not this year.

      Reply
    2. neo-realist

      Riot season with many tinder points. Not just the Floyd trial, but the impending trial of the McMichael “Clan” in the murder of Ahmad Arbery and the possibility of street action for voting rights if Biden and Schumer continue to dither over filibusters.

      In the McMichael case, I swear that they are probably waiting for them to die in jail to prevaricate having a trial – one of them is trying to get out of jail because of uncontrollable blood pressure.

      Reply
    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      popcorn is good for watching debates or the shenanigans in DC (the congresscritters, not the disaffected). not so apropos for watching people in the streets get pepper sprayed or shot with rubber bullets or worse.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Xinjiang cotton dispute: the ‘era of bullying China’ is over, officials warn the West”

    Looks like the Chinese have had enough. So the EU and the Anglo-Saxon Alliance put sanctions on cotton and cotton products from the Xinjian region and a coupla big corporations followed along. So now the Chinese have started their own boycotts on those corporations to their shock. Seen this before. Several years ago the EU put a sanctions list on Russian products after Crimea went back to Russia. A few short weeks later, the Russians put an equivalent sanctions list on those EU countries costing them billions and those countries in the EU were actually shocked that this was possible. Who would ever think that actions having consequences would be back in fashion anymore? From what I hear, the Chinese are considering changing their present National Anthem – “March of the Volunteers” – to something different-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ0ftoiIQxU (4:12 mins)

    Reply
  8. Wombat

    “I have no idea what Wolf means…”

    She explicitly says it in the last tweet: “separation of society into two tiers: the ‘clean’ (privileged, with access) and ‘unclean (restricted, stigmatized, marginalized).”

    I wonder what tier someone who already flies all over the world with a WHO book in hand falls into.

    Reply
    1. kgw

      China’s “debt diplomacy” is a hoax.

      “In the cases of Maldives and Sri Lanka, China was accused by the Western corporate media of luring the nations into a “debt trap,” from which they could not recover without granting China influence over their affairs. Yet, when the International Monetary Fund and World Bank lured nations into debt traps, the resulting punishing austerity measures were viewed by the West as “necessary” and “just.” Hypocrisy like this was best summed up when U.S. Vice President Adlai Stevenson I once said, “A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”

      Reply
      1. juliania

        Minor quibble: Adlai Stevenson was never Vice President though he did run for the Presidency and was UN representative during the Cuban Missile crisis.

        Reply
  9. John A

    Apropos the latest Johnson tittle-tattle about extramarital affairs, though in this case, there is a whiff of corruption about it from the time Johnson was mayor, the story was broken by the Sunday Mirror which had a huge front page splash with the ex-lover giving her tell all story.
    The BBC has a Sunday morning politics programme presented by Andrew Marr, during which he holds up all the Sunday papers and reads out the front page story from each. Except yesterday, for some reason, he did all the papers except the Sunday Mirror. BBC self-censoring to not show the government in a bad light at its best.

    Reply
  10. Tom Stone

    When I read of Bangladesh I keep in mind that it will be uninhabitable due to sea level rise before the end of the Century, perhaps well before because climate change and sea level rise are not linear.
    you can already see where the mass migrations will take place and here in the USA the Reconquista is likely to be real messy.
    Have you seen the videos of the armored vehicles built by the Mexican Cartels?
    One I watched ( Can’t find it) showed a convoy of hundreds of them, armed with heavy machine guns, Those Machine Guns were bought from a Military, the US DOJ supplied arms were mostly .50 caliber sniper rifles, AR-15’s and Pistols.
    I wonder if the Cartels are miffed that the US supplies Al Quaeda with superior weaponry?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I’m on 3 types of Rx eye drops for a month after my cataract surgery, one comes from Ireland, another from Switzerland, and the third from the USA.

      Who knows why it is like this, no doubt tax incentives were a feature, and they must be profitable (with insurance i’m still out of pocket $100 for the troika) but its too spread out for my liking, why doesn’t each country produce all of these for domestic use?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Ireland is a major centre for the US medical devices industry. I remember buying disposable contact lenses in Taiwan which were a quarter of the price I’d pay in Ireland, and only then noticing the ‘Made in Ireland’ stamp on the pack. A huge percentage of medicated eye drops and contact lenses comes from one small town in the south-east of Ireland.

        The specific reason they are in Ireland is that policy back in the 1970’s and 80’s (before EU rules stymied this) was to give massive tax write-offs for capital investment, especially for mid sized fast growing companies. The logic of this was the realisation that Ireland couldn’t compete for cheap labour type FDI, so decided that it was better to get high value companies which would employ better paid technicians, and then hope that clustering effects would make them stay. The ‘clusters’ usually involved technical colleges which would then produce the type and level of employee the company needed. I know of one that even had a Swedish language course as the US company had a contract with the Swedish government.

        A low fixed corporate tax to allow transfer pricing was the icing on the cake, but contrary to what most people think, it wasn’t the main driver – in reality, other countries offered as low if not lower taxes. It was specifically the mix of capital grants/tax write offs, easily available serviced sites and the supply of quality technicians that was the draw for health related manufacturers.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Smith

          Maybe you are referring to Allergan. I have visited their plant and met their people. Absolutely top quality. My understanding is that the owner of Allergan, way back in the day, took a shine to the Irish people and the rest is history.

          Reply
  11. upstater

    As a home vegetable and flower gardener, today’s bonus antidote doesn’t portray heaven, rather that other hot place. Or at least purgatory.

    A good electric fence around my vegetable garden makes deer *slightly* better neighbors.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Have you considered using Big Cat droppings as a chemical warfare repellant? If you have a local zoo, get some tiger or lion excreta and spread lightly around the growing area. (A friend who was into ‘gentleman farmer illicit growing’ outdoors swore by the method. Deer just love to munch on cannabis foliage.)

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Senators Offer to Let NSA Hunt Cyber Actors Inside the US”

    ‘Former NSA general counsel Glenn Gertstell has argued that an expansion of NSA authorities to collect domestic intelligence is overdue. “It can’t possibly be the case that the Fourth Amendment ties our hands in such a way that we just have to sit there and watch the Chinese romp through our infrastructure.” ‘

    And there is the money quote. The Fourth Amendment is next on the chopping block because Russia!Russia!Russia! and now China!China!China! I think that the idea is that if you get rid of the Bill of Rights, then the Russians and Chinese will have nothing left to attack. Can we call that a win for democracy if Americans have less rights than they did since the 1770s?

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      “watch the Chinese romp through our infrastructure” Nice Metaphor, and Information Free.

      What do you me specifically Mr Gertstell ? Can we have a definitive, detailed list of Chinese actions?

      We need to exclude actions where lack of security is extant.

      We have had much nonsensical arm waving about various threats to the US, many of which are spurious, careless, untrue, empire building, or just money seeking.

      Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      That’s how bin Ladin played the US (assuming he gets legitimate credit for the use of commercial jets as cruise missiles against the World Trade Center…) Hightening the contradictions, indeed.

      “Capitalism will destroy itself from within…” with a little push in the Right direction… Trouble is, the Leviathan will take everything of worth and beauty down with it.

      Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          That was one of two books published in 1994, seven years before 9/11, with a plot device of airliners used as bombs. The other was “Storming Heaven” by Dale Brown, which was closer to the 9/11 scenario – crazy terrist motivation.

          I remember reading that after 9/11, the Pentagram convened the noted writers of military suspense novels and a number of other people with wild imaginations, maybe including folks from Disney. They were supposed to brainstorm all the other scenarios the rest of us ought to live in fear of so they could take all the actions they have so competently taken to protect us so we could sleep on in blessed ignorance of all the terrible monstrous terrist dangers always lurking just beyond the circle of the campfire light… Since obviously the Big Brass in the Pentagram have been unable to come up with in all their complex gaming of all possible war and conflict scenarios, like what happened on 9/11. And since we are supposed to believe the Official Version of that set of events…

          Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Funny thing about that “Lone Gunmen” episode. It got dropped right down a memory hole at the time. The parallels were noteworthy but it had almost zero mention in newspaper articles after the New York attack. It was like the case of the dog that was not barking.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                What is really ‘funny’ in a sick way is that, if television writers could think up such an idea, it is reasonable to assume that “terrorists” could do the same. Thus, the lack of counter measures, not even of the passive type, being instituted beforehand bespeaks an appalling level of incompetence and corruption in America’s “defense” system.
                I always circle back to the idea that Bin Laden “won” that episode of the “Terrorism Wars.” He wanted to disrupt the Hegemon’s functionality. Insofar as 9/11 ushered in all sorts of authoritarian laws and practices within the confines of America, he succeeded.

                Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  Bin Laden and his cohorts were into symbolic attacks which is why the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were chosen. Can you imagine if he had chosen operational targets instead? Such as Fort Detrick or even the NSA headquarters building-

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency#/media/File:National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg

                  But, and I hate to say this, he was a great strategist. He said once that he could get two of his guys to go to the far ends of the earth and raise a raggedy flag and the US military would follow with a huge force. And that is what happened.

                  Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Good book that which (*spoiler alert*) ends with a Jumbo jet crashing into the US Capital building wiping out the President, nearly the entire Senate, much of the senior bureaucracy and the Justices of the Supreme Court. In 2021 this would be considered a happy ending.

          Reply
  13. a different chris

    How much things seem to be changing – PA and the minimum wage, even the R reps are thinking about it. But this particular backlash is pretty classic, in the “they don’t even try to hide it anymore” sense.

    But Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, disagrees.

    “I will tell you automatically indexing it is a problem for a lot of our people,” Barr said. “They don’t want to give someone a raise just because they’ve been there. They like people to earn their raises and having your labor rates go up every year simply because the government says they have to go up is a problem.”

    It’s indexed to inflation, dude. Yeah there are multiple and imperfect measurements of such and we can argue over them, but pretty much it isn’t a raise when you can’t buy anything more than you could buy last year.

    But you gotta be able to play His Lordship and get the ring kissed or your life has no meaning, apparently.

    https://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2021/03/29/minimum-wage-pennsylvania-republican-senators-laughlin-pat-browne-erie/stories/202103290064

    But don’t worry, the Dems can continue to shoot themselves in the foot:

    >President Joe Biden is calling for gradually raising the minimum until it hits $15 in 2025.

    Again, I do think that as a rational human being that min wage should simply be indexed. However thinking as just the opposite, a political animal, the Dems should only raise it one year at a time. Put it on the table every year and have the Rs fight it.

    Reply
    1. Stephen

      I honestly never understood the anti-indexing logic. Its so easily countered that I would expect ostensibly intelligent business professionals to be embarressed to deploy such a weakly argued position.

      Its really quite simple. If last year’s published CPI increase was 3% and you hold my wages steady…you are in fact giving me a 3% pay cut year-over-year.

      Indexing wage increases to inflation is not “giving someone a raise”. To argue otherwise is patently disingenuous.

      Reply
    2. Duck1

      “They like people to earn their raises ”
      Ha, ha. Of course people in a factory setting, doing the same tasks day in and day out, year to year, never earn a raise. Also if you have health care coverage, there went any possible raise over the last 20 years. Get sick and can’t work, there goes the coverage, Catch 22.

      Reply
    3. kgw

      It makes so much sense…

      “The last outstanding nugget from Putin’s conference is an admission by Putin of his political-economic philosophy made during his reply to the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov:

      “The growth of unemployment during the pandemic – it is not big but it is still here and we are seeing and recording it. I speak about this all the time and encourage the Government to do what is necessary to reach pre-crisis levels. In general, the situation is improving and has proven to be better than preliminary forecasts. But you are right. It is clearly necessary to focus on this all the time.

      “Of course, I know that the Communist Party is always concerned over issues of privatisation. I have also spoken about this. Probably, our approaches to this matter do not always coincide, but at any rate I believe we share the common view that privatisation for the sake of privatisation is unacceptable for us, especially the way it was carried out in the 1990s in some areas. It must be beneficial for the economy; it must improve the economic structure. We must proceed from the premise that any step in this context must create a better, more efficient owner de facto, in practice rather than formally. But obviously, this must be done in a certain environment so as not to give away what costs millions and maybe billions for next to nothing. This is the bottom line for us.” [My Emphasis]

      Lots of trolls accuse Putin of promoting Neoliberalism. The above proves them liars. Putin’s foremost concern has always been for the welfare of his fellow Russians. If I haven’t made that clear over the years of my reporting on his speeches and pressers, then the failure must be on those feigning blindness when they can see perfectly well.

      IMO, the four main political parties are all fundamentally nationalist, even the Communists. I don’t think anyone/party anti-Russian/pro-Neoliberalism has any chance politically, and won’t for many years. However, it’s what I’ll term progressive nationalism that seeks to promote the same in its partners–even in those nations that don’t deserve such treatment. Russia takes the high road and doesn’t deviate, which I find commendable. It’s my hope that the Eurasian Bloc will follow the examples of Russia and China, but selfishness and greed are formidable obstacles, not to mention exceptionalism.”

      Reply
  14. Watt4Bob

    I moved to Minneapolis in the early 70s, and most of my siblings followed me.

    My sister owns a home a handful of blocks from ground zero, 38th and Chicago on Minneapolis’ south side.

    I used to live in the same general area, and I drove a taxi in the city for 16 years.

    The history is this;

    Minneapolis is one of the most segregated cities in our segregated country, the police have a well-deserved reputation for heavy-handed enforcement aimed at blacks and indigenous people.

    When I first moved to Minneapolis, the mayor was an ex police chief whose officers could do no wrong.

    One of my friends family owned a bar that the police took a shine to, and forced his father to allow their use as an after-hours police hang-out. IOW, the bar never closed, the police came in late and stayed all night playing cards, drinking, and basically acting like they owned the place.

    His father hated this.

    The city fathers considered this style of policing necessary to keep the white folks feeling safe.

    The city, in the person of mayor Don Fraser tried to ‘reform’ the police force in 1980 by bringing in Tony Bouza, who had been Assistant Chief and Commander of the Bronx in NYC to be Chief of Police.

    The police rank-and-file basically stone-walled Bouza, and while he instituted many reform-minded changes, the basic police culture remained much the same.

    Fast forward to today, the economic impact of Covid has created misery at the bottom of the economic heap.

    The brutal treatment of George Floyd at the hands of the police resulted in mass protests that provided cover for disparate violent groups including folks like the bugaloo boys, and agent provocateurs who were allowed to turn the south side of town into a smouldering mess, in part by inept city government, but in great part by passive aggressive police, intent on showing everyone that their heavy handed treatment of poor minority folks was appropriate.

    In the aftermath of the carnage, the police have continued a campaign of passive resistance to change, by refusing to enforce the law in the wreckage of the southside, obviously intending to demonstrate that;

    “If you don’t like the police, just see what life is like without us.”

    Of course, there is a lawless element only too glad to play their part in the drama by terrorizing the people in the absence of a ‘normal‘ police presence.

    One must also take into account the hard-headed attitude the Trump phenomenon encouraged on the part of the nations police, and as I mentioned, the economic misery at the bottom, produced by the Covid shut-down, that no one else, certainly not the media seems to understand, plays large a part in all this drama.

    Minneapolis, and the Metro area are the economic engine of this state, taxes paid in the Metro area contribute to the economic welfare of the whole state, but of course the Rural-Metro divide is carefully nurtured to the advantage of out-state politicians who have stymied state aid to rebuild Minneapolis neighborhoods destroyed in the unrest that followed George Floyds death because they feel the ‘Liberal’ government in Minneapolis is responsible for the situation and should pay for it themselves.

    Now we face the possibility of another Covid surge, and further economic devastation coinciding with the Derrick Chauvin trial, the result of which, no matter the verdict, will inevitably result in greater political division.

    The people have a right to be on edge.

    It all makes terrible sense.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      Good to hear from someone who knows the area!

      One must also take into account the hard-headed attitude the Trump phenomenon encouraged on the part of the nations police, and as I mentioned, the economic misery at the bottom, produced by the Covid shut-down, that no one else, certainly not the media seems to understand, plays large a part in all this drama.

      I think this is often forgotten. Trump captured the nation’s police forces through some proactive diplomacy. Biden has to be EXTREMELY careful what he says this year about these trials. A screwup could mean a lot of problems.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        Trump captured the nation’s police forces through some proactive diplomacy.

        Yes, and remember, the police know they are considered to be members of the “basket of deplorables” that HRC so famously insulted. The police have terrible, dangerous jobs and they are susceptible to Trumps grooming in part at least because of the PMC’s decades of disdain.

        I’m not excusing brutish behavior, but I have been paying attention, and I understand that it might be hard stomach protecting people who have no respect for you.

        And, I’d remind the police that Trump, smiling while he’s conning you is every bit as disrespectful as the PMC’s casual disdain.

        Reply
    2. Carla

      Thank you for this very informed and informative comment. The most impressive documentary I have seen in some time is called “Women in Blue,” a profile of four female officers on the Minneapolis police force. It was shot over several years and basically completed before George Floyd was killed, although a short coda brings it up to date. I heard about it on Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” and then found the film on PBS Passport.

      If you haven’t seen the film, do treat yourself:

      https://www.npr.org/2021/02/08/964032168/documentary-asks-do-women-in-blue-police-differently-than-male-officers

      Reply
    3. km

      If you don’t like the police, just see what life is like without us.

      This is the argument of pretty much every abuser, ever.

      Reply
    4. Maritimer

      “One of my friends family owned a bar that the police took a shine to, and forced his father to allow their use as an after-hours police hang-out. IOW, the bar never closed, the police came in late and stayed all night playing cards, drinking, and basically acting like they owned the place.”
      *************
      Just another example that Omerta is alive and well in Government. The book and movie Serpico depict this very well. The Police Academy training goes out the window and the real training is given by the crooked cops at the Station House.

      I vividly remember a book, On The Pad, written by a corrupt NY detective. It is very rare to find such a book. I remember he said that when there was a real crime alert, the cops would speed the other way, fearing violence. And when there was a person found dead at an upscale address, both the cops and firemen would race there to try and get some loot out via the fire escape.

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/434839.On_the_Pad

      Books about the actual inner workings of corruption in America are rare. So much so that the means of suppressing them must be very powerful indeed.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The opening of Soylent Green echoes this. Charlton Heston as a future cop with a “flexible” set of ethics is spot on.
        Another good treatment of this is the inimitable Harvey Keitel in “Bad Lieutenant.”

        Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    The Gray Market: How Deep-Pocketed Crypto-Collectors Are Rushing Into an Old Art-Market Trap (and Other Insights) Artnet
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It isn’t a good comparison, Japanese buying van Goghs & Renoirs @ high prices 30 odd years ago, those are household names in the art world, and very much desirable. You put either of them up for sale and well heeled buyers will duke it out for the right of ownership.

    It’d be like somebody paying up for classic creme de la creme of American numismatic rarities, such as an 1804 Dollar, 1913 Liberty Nickel, 1894-S Barber Dime, 1822 Half Eagle, 1876-CC 20 Cent, or half a dozen other highly sought after aged round metal discs, and then all of the sudden a virtual NFT coin is worth just as much.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      This from the article jumped out at me –

      Jafri’s behemoth painting set the Guinness World Record for “Largest Art Canvas” when he completed it in September 2020. He created the piece—a free-form composition of richly colored gestural abstractions inspired by drawings from children around the world—without assistants over eight grueling months spent holed up in the ballroom of Dubai’s otherwise-shuttered Palm Atlantis hotel.

      Throwing paint at a wall in the ballroom of a luxury hotel was “grueling”, was it? Try digging a ditch or working in an Amazon warehouse. Sounds like the “artist’ was compensated much better than most other occupations for their labor.

      And the ‘inspired by children’ bit brought to mind Maddox’ reviews of small children’s artwork from the early days of the interwebs – I Am Better Than Your Kids . Maybe the buyer should have checked there before shelling out enough to feed a small country on some crappy art.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Amazon started a Twitter war because Jeff Bezos was pissed”

    ‘Snarky tweets targeting Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’

    I spite of his business running on top of the internet, I don’t think Jeff knows how it works yet. Perhaps he thinks that when he and his minions attacks Sanders and Warren, that that is it. Yeah, nah! What actually happens is that all those supporters of Bernie and Liz come to their defense and pile on top of those attacks by Jeff via things like Twitter. Here is a useful word for Jeff to learn

    “dogpile”

    informal•North American
    noun: dogpile; plural noun: dogpile; noun: dog pile; plural noun: dog piles

    a disorderly heap of people formed around one person on whom the others jump.
    “he was mobbed by Twitter users in a dogpile after his remarks”
    a situation in which criticism or abuse is directed at a person or group from multiple sources.
    “the mere suggestion is of course enough to warrant a Facebook dogpile”

    Jeff may be surprised to learn that Bernie & Liz are much more popular than he is.

    Reply
  17. CCinco

    With regard to “vaccine passports,” this is certainly not a new concept. I am old enough to remember having to carry my International Certificate of Vaccination, aka “shot record,” with me and display it along with my passport whenever crossing any international border. Vaccinations tracked via these certificates included smallpox, typhoid, cholera, tetanus, yellow fever, polio, diptheria. I remember distinctly the year my father’s office, Defense Attaché to Central America, was moved from Guatemala City to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. My brother and I had stayed behind in Guatemala to finish out the school year and flew to Tegucigalpa on a commercial flight by ourselves. We arrived in Tegucigalpa, and as we were going through the usual customs procedures, the customs authorities asked for our vaccination certificates. We did not have them. They promptly whisked us into a separate room and immediately gave us a smallpox vaccination. My parents weren’t very happy about this as I recall, but that’s just the way it was.

    I realize that I am talking about international travel, not travel within country, but my main point is that this idea of vaccination passport is certainly not new. Somewhere along the line this practice of carrying a shot record for travel must have been deemed unnecessary and died out.

    Reply
  18. lincoln

    “Credit Suisse and Nomura warn of losses after Archegos-linked sell-off”

    I sure hope Repo’s were not involved in this. Broker dealers have in the past offered clients Repo’s to lever up their non-agency MBS and CLO positions. The volatility of stock prices makes this sound like a stupid idea for equities, but you never know. A description of how Repo’s allowed hedge funds to buy debt securities with leverage from the Washington Post:

    “A hedge fund wants to purchase $100 million of BBB-rated collateralized loan obligations, or CLOs, held on a bank’s inventory….If the fund doesn’t have $100 million in cash on hand, it may enter into a three-month repo agreement with the bank. The bank may offer to put up $60 million of the total. That would be known as a 40% “haircut.” The bank decides on the haircut — as well as the interest rate charged — by assessing the risk of the securities it’s holding on its balance sheet, as well as the counterparty risk of the hedge fund it’s doing business with….During the three months, the hedge fund receives the coupons, or periodic payments, from the CLOs, but the bank typically holds onto the bonds….The bank charges the fund a so-called repo spread for the $60 million in cash that it put up….since it (the hedge fund) only put up $40 million of its own money, and is earning 5.2% of $100 million, it just levered up its return to 13%.”

    Reply
  19. Lee

    “How Should the United States Compete With China’s Belt and Road Initiative? Council on Foreign Relations”

    LOL! We can’t even adequately maintain and improve our domestic infrastructure. Who in their right mind would buy a bridge from us?

    Reply
  20. Wandering Mind

    Understanding Political and Social Unrest in Bolivia

    There is little, if any, support in the Bolivian constitution for the manner in which Anez took office.

    Article 169 of the Bolivian Constitution sets out the order of succession:

    1. President
    2. Vice-President
    3. President of the Senate
    4. President of the House of Deputies.

    Anez was none of these at any time.

    Instead, she was the second vice president of the Senate.

    The thing to note about that is, under the rules of the Bolivian Senate (not the Constitution), the Second Vice-President of the Senate must come from a minority party. Anez’ party had about 4% support in the country in 2019. Therefore, Anez was only in that position because she did not represent the majority of Bolivians.

    The proper method for choosing the president after Morales and his vice-president resigned and after the President and first vice-president of the Senate/House of Deputies resigned was for the Senate to meet and elect a new President of the Senate and/or for the House to meet and elect a new President of the House of Deputies, one of whom would then succeed to the office of interim President of Bolivia.

    This they were not allowed to do because MAS held a majority in both houses and would have elected one of their members to that position.

    Instead, Anez simply declared herself President.

    This would be roughly equivalent, in the United States, to Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader of the House, declaring himself President of the United States if Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, Nancy Pelosi, Steni Hoyer and Chuck Schumer had all “resigned.”

    The other action which Anez took early on was to grant immunity to the armed forces in connection with suppression of the protests which took place shortly after she became President.

    This is similar to Andrew Cuomo giving immunity to nursing home operators for deaths related to Covid. It is an open invitation to shirk one’s duty or, in the Bolivian case, to shoot civilians with impunity.

    One final note re: the article – The divisions within MAS are real, pre-date the 2019 election and the media in Bolivia like to play them up. However, there are also divisions among the right, which is why they were not able to defeat Morales in 2019 and Arce in 2020.

    Reply
  21. lobelia

    Re Naomi Wolf’s Nazi reference on twitter

    I can no longer view twitter comment threads, but I assumed she was referring to IBM’s Digital Health Pass and IBM’s ghastly involvement with Nazi Germany. It’s the same thing that came to my mind when I first read of Cuomo’s horrid Excelsior/IBM Digital Health Pass partnership almost a month ago. I was too depressed and time constrained to post a comment on it frankly, and figured it would hit the mainstream US news soon – given Cuomo’s whacking of Elders, and no doubt disabled, and New York City’s sizable Jewish population way too familiar with the Holocaust – and be commented on by someone else. 03/03/21 By Valerie Edwards New Yorkers will have to flash a ‘COVID passport’ to prove they’ve been vaccinated or had a negative test to enter sports arenas, theaters and businesses under new pilot program https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9322633/New-Yorkers-flash-COVID-19-passport-enter-sports-arenas-theaters.html . Interesting that Forbes waited, or were asked to wait, quite a while to announce it and – unlike the UK Daily Mail – noted no opposition and far less detail).

    Looks like Naomi was referencing IBM and the Nazi’s. Although it contains a video (which I also can’t peruse any longer due to scripting allowance nightmares), this includes some transcript: 03/29/21 By Tim Hains Naomi Wolf: Mandatory Vaccine Passport Could Lead To The End Of Human Liberty In The West

    And by the way, the last thing I’ll say is IBM has a horrible history with Nazi Germany… with punchcards that allowed the Nazis to keep lists… in such a way that they could round up Jews, round up dissidents and opposition leaders. It is catastrophic, it can not be allowed to continue…

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/03/29/naomi_wolf_mandatory_vaccine_passport_could_lead_to_end_of_human_liberty_in_the_west.html

    Whatever one thinks about Naomi Wolf, I totally agree with her on this point. Additionally, it’s horrifying that the millions without access (or unreliable access) to computers or smartphones are not even mentioned in passing, the passports appear to be a solely online endeavor..

    I would welcome a magical, massive solar storm that only targets technocrats who clearly appear to insanely think everything should be online only, AI surveilled for undesirability, cash banned, landlines obsolesced, and that the unconnected should just go die off. Except, of course, for folks like Warren Buffet, et al. It’s revolting how many billionaire technocrats actually love privacy, analog technology, and fine craftsmanship; e.g. having ‘their own’ family doctor; being fitted for shoes or buying their clothing in now exclusive clothing stores where they can see if it actually fits and more than small medium and large sizes are available; stereo turntables & vinyl albums; and wind up watches – all which used to be available and affordable for most everyone – yet have been financially obsolesced and made unavailable for ‘commoners.’

    gotta run

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      I read the well documented book, IBM and The Holocaust, years ago. It describes how IBM tech was used by the Nazis in numerous ways, one of which was to round up undesirables when necessary.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust

      To my knowledge, IBM never even sued the author.

      In the same vein I recommend Victor Klemperer’s accounts of living in the Third Reich. Particularly telling are his descriptions of how the Nazis used language against their enemies. Much like today. Klemperer was a language expert.

      https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/90845.Victor_Klemperer

      Follow the History!

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        What makes Victor Klemperer’s words so special, is he was writing about the 3rd Reich in real time in his diary, and although never leaving Dresden, he was able to piece together the big picture, being a critical thinker and a keen observer.

        Reply
  22. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re Archegos losses, wonder how many other cockroaches are hiding in the shadows after playing at the equity derivatives craps table in the casino, what the aggregate unreported losses are, and what the hidden bailouts of the “Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions” might total this time, as well as the additional costs we will all indirectly bear? “Eliminating Burdensome Regulations” and assuring “Free Markets”?… yeah, sure… whatever Wall Street’s lobbyists say. This type of behavior and its foreseeable results will continue until we get a new Glass-Steagall Act that’s actively enforced.

    Reply
  23. Cuibono

    So if the vaccines are 60-90% effective at preventing infection, on what grounds does a vaccine passport make sense? What is someone got the vaccine from China and that one is only 40-60 % effective? What if someone is immunocompromised and his efficacy is 30%? what is the imunity wears off in some faster than others? What if some cant take time off work to get a vaccine?

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      All good points, but what all these vaccine passports and shaming is not really over being safe; it is more to reinforce the created class of deplorables.

      Reply
  24. kareninca

    The article by Daniel Engber in the Atlantic (“America Is Now in the Hands of the Vaccine-Hesitant”) is unintentionally funny. The article itself demonstrates why so many people are “hesitating” and adds to the “hesitancy.” This is because it is a very long article about the fact that numerous people don’t want to be vaccinated – without a SINGLE mention of the many reasons WHY they might not want to. Not a one. All that it is about, is this peculiar (to him) mental state that people are in. And of course a few shots are fired at Trump, just to make the article alienate much of the population.

    Naturally there is also no comment section in which readers could explain what their concerns are, so that Engber could address them. And there is no way provided to contact Engber. One could infer that this is because he has no credible response to those concerns. Or that he doesn’t want people communicating with one another about them. But it’s most likely that he just doesn’t much want to deal with people he’d rather patronize.

    I conclude that this article was merely written as a way to demean people who are not interested in being vaccinated, since it shows no interest at all in their concerns. Of course, most people who read the Atlantic will enjoy reading it. If I were paranoid I would say that the author expects the whole vaccination project to fail, and has written this so that he can look back and point and say “see, I told you that if those plebes didn’t sign on it wouldn’t work.”

    Reply
  25. sidelarge

    Naomi Wolf was trying to “challenge the consensus” = essentially downplay the pandemic for months, displaying her appalling inability to understand simple grade-school-level charts while being at it. Her Nazi reference is moronic, and should be understood in that context. Gigantic contrarian/sensationalist.

    Reply

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