Links 3/31/2021

Police say they found mafia fugitive on YouTube, posting cooking tutorials ars technica (BC)

Mother knows best! Cat carries one of her kittens into Turkish hospital and ‘asks doctors for help’ after the small animal developed an eye infection Daily Mail (Kevin W)

G. Gordon Liddy, planner of Watergate burglary, dies at 90 NBC (furzy)

Heavy Rain Brought Spectacular Waterfalls to Australia’s Most Famous Rock Atlas Obscura. Chuck L: “Stunning photos.”

Consider the Stork London Review of Books (Anthony L)

Living in a World Without Stars Lapham’s Quarterly (Anthony L)

Scientists Discover a Hidden Law Behind The Pointy Bits on All Living Things ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book explores striking ways to fix our ecological problems PBS

Is the World Going Plant-Based? It’s Complicated. Plebity (Mark W)

Experimental hearing implant succeeds in registering brain waves MedicalXPress

#COVID-19

Vietnam: Flight attendant sentenced for ‘spreading’ COVID DW (resilc)

Is it farewell to the handshake? Spectator (Micael T)

Science/Medicine

Vaccine Diplomacy: The Surprising Success of Sputnik V Der Spiegel (resilc)

Cuba Libre to be COVID-Libre: Five Vaccines and Counting… CounterPunch

Germany to Bar AstraZeneca Vaccine for Those Under 60 Starting Wednesday Bloomberg

Mutations could make current Covid vaccines ineffective soon: Survey CNBC (furzy)

The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different. Atlantic (David L)

This is what the US should be doing and isn’t:

Getting One Vaccine Is Good. How About Mix-and-Match? New York Times (Kevin W)

I can’t believe she said this, it’s obviously false or if narrowly true, an indication that the CDC is engaged in Cuomo-level Covid data gathering. First, per the makers’ own clinical trials, the vaccines are not 100% effective even by their own standards, which is (typically) reducing the incidence of severe cases. For instance, Pfizer only had those exhibiting symptoms get a test, so any asymptomatic cases would be excluded. Secondly, the press is regularly reporting on individuals getting Covid despite having gotten two shots. Again, that’s to be expected at a low level. Third, Walensky’s messaging is 100% wrong from a public health standpoint. It’s a drag, but those who’ve been vaccinated should keep observing Covid precautions. And MDs in the field aren’t having the same experience as Walensky. For instance, from IM Doc, hoisted from comments, regarding his experience with the vaccines:

The most fascinating problem that has no obvious explanation is a surprisingly large number of patients that get sick and are COVID positive within hours/days of their first injection. I have heard all kinds of lame excuses why this may be happening – but none of them really ring true for the numbers that are occurring. I would predict this is going to be an interesting story when the full story of COVID comes out in a few years. By the way, they tend to be WAAAAY more sick than a regular COVID patient. No hospitalizations yet.

After PM Imran Khan, Pak president tests Covid positive; both took Chinese vaccine Times of India (resilc). No vaccine is 100% but Sinovac reported lower efficacy than some others plus Lambert has pointed out Chinese pharma manufacture is not always the best.

UK/Europe

Irish pubs could become work hubs in post-pandemic plan BBC

‘We are a laughing stock’: Covid-19 and Germany’s political malaise Financial Times

US

Florida COVID numbers face new scrutiny Yahoo (furzy)

Finance/Economy

DeSantis vows to ban ‘vaccination passports’ as he signs law shielding businesses from COVID-19 liability Orlando Sentinel. My lawyer is very firmly of the view that any official or business effort to obtain/enforce vaccination status would be impermissible given that the vaccines are approved only under an Emergency Use Authorization. If they got a “normal” approval under a Biologics Use Authorization, that would be a very different kettle of fish.

China?

Hong Kong: China limits parliament to ‘patriots’ BBC. Resilc: “Sort of like the Trump/GOP vision.”

Sitrep China : Xinjiang backlash market shock Saker (Chuck L)

Hydrogen fuels a revolution in Chinese trucking Asia Times

The geopolitics of Myanmar’s black swan coup Asia Times (resilc)

Syraqistan

Houthis Answer Saudi Arabia’s Ceasefire Proposal with More Attacks National Interest (resilc)

Pentagon Would Face Costly Lawsuits If US Ended Afghanistan War Antiwar

U.S. tries to break Iran nuclear deadlock with new proposal for Tehran Politico (resilc). Looks like a non-starter. And curious lack of context. As Rev Kev pointed out in Links yesterday:

The Chinese just threw Iran a lifeline. When the Israelis found that there was a provision for intelligence-sharing between China and Iran, they hit the panic button as that alone could be a game changer for the Iranians. Even in the US, Biden was putting together a proposal to Iran for them to scale back some of their nuclear activity in exchange for the removal of some – not all – sanctions. The Iranians, with the Chinese in their corner, have told him not to bother as unless he removes all sanctions which was part of the original deal, then they aren’t interested. They didn’t quite tell him to go fly a kite but I am sure the message was there. After all, what is the point spending months and a huge sum of money scaling back their nuclear activities when the US/EU can slap back sanctions overnight. They learned that lesson from Obama and them more so with Trump

Battle for the Soul of Islam CIRSD (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Delusions of High-Tech Warfare CounterPunch (resilc)

Requiem for the ‘American Century’ Consortium News (Anthony Lynch)

11 Navy Aircraft Carriers Simply Aren’t Enough Popular Mechanics. Resilc: “Never enough.”

Trump Transistion

AT&T said Trump’s tax cut would create jobs – now it’s laying off thousands of workers Guardian

Trump’s Millions American Greatness (resilc)

Murkowski faces new Republican challenger after drawing Trump’s ire Reuters

Biden

Democrats torn on Biden’s bipartisan pledge The Hill

Guatemala declares emergency measures as new caravan rumored Associated Press (resilc)

Biden decides to shelve Warren’s wealth tax Politico (Kevin W). One less thing for me to post about. I was going to have to explain why a wealth tax is a crappy way to tax the rich (even before the wee problem that it’s probably unconstitutional). The IRS has lost every large estate tax valuation case since Estate of Samuel I. Newhouse, Deceased, Samuel I. Newhouse, Jr., and Donald E. Newhouse, Executors v. Commissioner (1990) and the issues are the same in implementing a wealth tax. The better and cheaper ways to tax the rich are: 1. Much higher income taxes on high incomes, 2. End preferential treatment of capital gains, 3. End carried interest loophole (has to be a true carried interest, not a profit share; this ought to go away with the end of preferential treatment of capital gains but this is the sort of thing you need to kill with fire), 4. Financial transactions taxes and 5. Higher estates taxes, particularly on very large estates [Update: Yes, that seems sort of contradictory, but with an estate tax, you tax on transfer to heirs, but with a wealthy tax, you fight the same losing battles every year. A high estate will at least nick liquid financial assets].

Americans want the government to buy U.S.-made goods, even if they cost more Reuters. Resilc: “Too bad we only make tattoos, corn syrup and dating aps.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Witness tells court of Floyd ‘begging for his life’ BBC

Derek Chauvin trial: Off-duty firefighter called 911 when police refused to let her treat George Floyd Independent (Kevin W)

Gunz

Graham says he owns AR-15 to protect his home from gangs The Hill. Worried about looters. Help me. How about zombies?

Our Famously Free Press

Has American Liberalism Abandoned Free Speech? Interview With Thomas Frank Matt Taibbi

THE MESS AT MEDIUM Verge (Micael T)

Top banks could be investigated over $20bn fire sale of hedge fund assets Guardian (Kevin W)

Tesla double-charged some customers for new cars CNBC

Musk says cell supply shortage makes it difficult to scale Tesla Semi production Reuters. Resilc: “Always an excuse for complex systems……it’s never that it’s just too complex.”

Class Warfare

Win the Amazon union fight and we can usher in a new Progressive Era Robert Reich, Guardian. Another proof that economists ignore history. Societal shifts take decades. The effort to move the country to the right, which was well organized and funded, wasn’t formalized until the Powell Memo (1971) and it took another full decade for it to being to get traction.

Antidote du jour. Dr. Kevin: “Fish larva at night”:

A bonus:

And another bonus (Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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93 comments

  1. davie

    Hard disagree with the comments on wealth tax.
    A wealth tax could reduce the complexity and amounts of fraud quite easily, while decreasing inequality and hoovering up extraneous money out of the economy.

    Simply, every year, individuals and corporations reports their net worth.
    Simply, sum up asset valuation and bank accounts, regardless of location.
    Then progressively apply a tiered tax based on that.
    Get rid of all other income, property, and capital gains taxes.
    Get rid of all other exemptions and deductions, and turn those into grants instead.

    When auditing someone, the government reserves the right to buy any asset at the quoted valuation +20%. If someone is caught under-appreciating their assets, they can hardly complain. Unreported assets can be bought at a price of 0.

    Decimate the tax lawyer military industrial complex and reward income, not assets.

    (In your own comments, you say “The IRS has lost every large estate tax valuation” and then advocate exactly a large estate tax with #5. I don’t understand this.)
    (Of course all these tax plans require steep capital flight measures, and an IRS with chutzpah)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree I should have unpacked my thinking a tad more.

      Per 5, the general public will still want a larger estate tax. And the financial assets (public stocks and bonds) aren’t subject to valuation disputes. They have a readily determinable price. The problem is many large estates have substantial holdings in private companies and real estate. The IRS will lose arguments on their valuation.

      1. Alex

        I think the Athenians had a good way to resolve valuation disputes. I can’t find the source but basically you were supposed to self-declare the value of your property, BUT then others got the option to buy it at that price.

        1. Alex

          I found it here https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03585522.1992.10408249

          By the procedure known as antidosis a person who was appointed to perform a liturgy [sort of a tax on wealthy Athenians who had to finance a public celebration or outfit a ship] could challenge another he considered better able to afford the expense.The challenged person either had to take over the liturgy or to accept an exchange of property with the instigator of the procedure.

          So it’s not exactly that but the concept could be applied to estates tax valuation too.

        2. a different chris

          It sounds good but, sigh – you can barely fight off “eminent domain” in any situation. But this would make it worse:

          Say you live in a place you like, it’s not a palace but it’s close to work has a nice backyard &etc. It’s worth $200k, you know that, everybody knows that.

          If Bezos wants to put in a warehouse where your neighborhood stands do you protect the place by valuing it at, I dunno, 1 million dollars and pay 5x the taxes then? Can you afford to do that, year upon year upon year?

          You probably can’t. So you don’t and live with the possibility of getting turfed out on short notice and there is no recourse.

          1. UserFriendlyyy

            The point of it is to nab the wealthy not average joe. So you make the formula anyone has the right to buy it at whatever price you put plus $1Mil with the option to fight it in court reserved to properties valued at less than $1 mil. There are a million ways you can tweak it to make it fair to poor people. Do I care if billionaires drop the value by 1 mil to doge a little tax? not really.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          lol. That’s cool.
          those wily Greeks…
          i’ve had a recurring(every 5-10 years) problem with the local property tax people…the taxes are super low anyway, so i wouldn’t even bother with it if it weren’t for the effects on things like Medicaid….
          my Library is a 28 year old, broken down trailerhouse…”worth” $26k or so when i bought it…
          tax man’s algorithm(avoiding responsibility) periodically appreciates the value of this thing to $6k…or even more.(went up almost $10K last year)
          by their own rules, “Market Value” is king…as in, what i could sell it for.
          when i finally fell into SSI to get my hip, the $6k valuation exceeded the allowed asset level, so i had to put it on the market(friendly realtor, who now gets free eggs and tomatoes for life) at that price.
          last year, what with covid and all, the fight-it date slipped by me…and i didn’t notice the 10k jump until later($300 tax bil…a bargain for the roadwork, etc).
          i asked the guy: if i can’t sell it at any price, under the Market Uber Alles, isn’t it then worth exactly nothing?
          since i’d likely have to pay someone to haul it off, if i wanted to get rid of it, isn’t it therefore of Negative Value?
          he didn’t know what to say,lol.
          then called back with esoterica from the Mothership in Austin stating that they can’t devalue a trailerhouse below $3000.
          again, I’m of the Oliver Wendell Holmes school of taxes: “I like paying taxes…they are the fee i pay for civilisation”….but only if it’s fair and not rife with corruption and stupidity.

      2. davie

        The “how can the government ever determine the true value” argument is pretty thin.
        The market, as it is, all the time, evaluates the price of “non-fungible” real estate and private companies.
        They have to do it for asset backed loans/equity lines of credit.
        If the banks can do it, the government can too.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Sorry, that is false. I used to do valuations. Even different PE firms owning the same company will differ as to its value by as much as X v. 3X. And each owner will be entirely plausible. Without breaking a sweat, I can make a company worth X to 5 X.

          The owner will always have a better grasp of the company and the relevant market than the IRS. That’s before them hiring better lawyers. That is why the IRS always loses.

          1. davie

            Wow.
            With all due respect, considering where I am and all, your argument is verging into ridiculous bad faith territory. Sure, valuations are relative, but then maybe the law gets written in a way where it averages the evaluations. This is essentially an argument of Zeno’s Paradox.
            The beauty of my previous suggestion is that it doesn’t even require lawyers to get involved. Owner evaluates the asset or share holding, and if the IRS, through whatever dark-magic, deems it to be a good value at that price, they would be allowed to buy it up.
            Owner evaluates it low, IRS buys it. Owner evaluates it high, they pay higher taxes.
            Buy all means, “right-of-first-purchase” hardly exists in the American legal system, but valuation is hardly the crux here.

            1. vlade

              With the right-of-first-purchase, you’re assuming that the government is a neutral objective player.

              RoFP worked in Greece for a simple reason – it was not govt buying the stuff, it was their citizens directly. They knew that if they would try to misuse it, it would come back to them very very quickly via their fellow rich-citizens. Plus, they had a pretty good idea of what the stuff was worth in the first place, as they knew each other and their businesses.

              It ain’t so with the govt. I can happily see a situation where the govt will buy out things (and if you believe that some artificial limits or what they can would stop them, I have a bridge to sell to you), and then sell them on for a better terms to their mates (terms might not mean price), spurring even more of transfers of public money to the rich. In such a situation the fact the govt would over-pay would not matter, to the ultimate buyer, and they could use it happily to acquire stuff they would normally not be able to.

      3. R

        The remedy for valuation disputes is simple, as with children and cake: you cut, I choose.

        Give the IRS an option to acquire every asset at the valuation price, the option to be automatically traded in auction, and give the estate the right to buy out the option for the hammer price-implied tax delta plus 20% penalty to compensate the highest bidder for their no sale. If there are not enough bidders regularly, the penalty can be increased….

        Cue a liquid market in estate valuation and a satisfying punishment.

        1. Bill Smith

          That rule needs adjustment. Even the best valuation is a very grey area.

          If the auction sale price is not more than 105% of the valuation price then then IRS pays the taxpayer the a penalty of 2x the difference.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            There is no such thing as an “auction sale”. You can’t force an owner to sell. The process for a private company is a shit ton of work and highly intrusive. It will also upset employees and could lead key people to quit. In other words, the process is damaging to the business, so no way will this happen.

            Even a decent private valuation by a competent firm like Houlihan Lokey is $30,000 for a mid-sized single business company. Scale up rapidly for complexity.

            Seriously, you guys are a in la la land with respect to what is possible. Get a grip.

            1. davie

              The government impounds and repossess property all the time.
              Most of the time it goes to auction.
              Even in first world countries, the government takes stake in companies all the time.
              I didn’t think I see the infamous Yves Smith go full “There Is No Alternative.”

        1. Keith

          Depending on how much they collect on you. Income tax is also an intrusion, but a point of sale tax, not so much.

          1. davie

            This is honestly such a bad case of motivating reasoning, you should be ashamed.
            The only thing you’re bringing to the table is a regressive tax plan.

          2. UserFriendlyyy

            Yeah, too intrusive and it won’t solve anything. I am much more in favor of brutally murdering every last billionaire as publicly as possible. And no, I am not joking. That is just about the only way I see to get rid of the toxic culture of worshiping the most evil people in the world.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember reading that Karl Rove first popularized in the Republican Party the concept of limiting or canceling the SALT.

        But he didn’t support it from mere spite. His logic was that such a repeal would over time torture the Blue States into lowering their State Taxes to Red State levels. His plan was to turn all the Blue States into low-tax low-standards Red States and make them all Republican ruled forever.

  2. zagonostra

    >Democrats torn on Biden’s bipartisan pledge – The Hill

    Some political and policy experts say Biden’s brand as a pragmatist and centrist…

    While reading this sentence which began with above I had to stop and wonder at the phantasmagoric world that “political and policy experts” live on. What to make of “Biden’s brand?” Is that like say Calvin Klein or Levi pants? What is pragmatic about refusing to give citizens single payer healthcare insurance? In what geometrically twisted political universe would he be considered a “centrist.”

    There is plenty of “bipartisanship” when it comes to continuing foreign wars, continuing to fund the MIC_1 at war-time levels, allowing MIC_2 to buy politicians so that no progressive healthcare ins legislation passes, stifling move to change national elections to a paid day off, or any of a long list of truly progressive legislation that benefits the mass of people over special interest.

    In a sense, and in a subtle way, the Hill perpetuates the illusion of this great battle raging between Dems and Repubs when in actuality they serve the same class.

    I think Hill author would benefit by reading the Lapham Quarterly piece in the links because the true battle is not with “bipartisianship” but with creating a political paradigm shift where class interests and morality are inserted into the political discourse and TINA is guillotined.

    (From LQ)

    What the Davos elite knows in its gut is Old Testament: the cost of labor is a threat to profit. So forget about helping workers, and don’t worry so much about social protest, people are replaceable—send in the clones!

    1. ChrisPacific

      The Lapham Quarterly piece was excellent. I thought this part was a good statement of the general NC view:

      The question I have is: Which conspiracy fantasy is the more deadly? The conspiracy fantasy that insists international elites are plotting to enslave us? Or the Davos Conspiracy Fantasy that insists stakeholder capitalism will bring greater equality and restore the earth? Davos and QAnon: weasels fighting in a hole.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Houthis Answer Saudi Arabia’s Ceasefire Proposal with More Attacks”

    This is a bit like the time that Israel invaded Lebanon back in the early 1980s. It was a land and water grab but resistance grew so fierce over the years that Hezbollah actually kicked them out of the country less than twenty years later. Israel tried again in 2006 but this time Hezbollah mauled the invading forces before they could be established and the Israelis have not invaded since. But the problem of a well armed and well trained Hezbollah force on their northern borders now remains a constant factor in any strategic calculations for the Israelis.

    Same here with the Saudis. They invaded Yemen along with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, and Pakistan and the support of western forces in the background. But now not only are the Saudis in their own quagmire, the other countries have been heading for the exits. There have been attacks inside Saudi Arabia and multiple strikes on oil installations. When the war is over, the Saudis will now have the constant problem of the Houthis on their borders like Israel does with Hezbollah. And the Houthis are not budging on their demand that all of the embargo be lifted either.

    1. Bill Smith

      “2006 but this time Hezbollah mauled the invading force”

      The only thing I would describe as “mauled” in that 2006 conflict is Lebanese infrastructure. Yes, the IDF didn’t do that well and they admitted it. But the border has been much quieter since 2006 than any other time. So, in retrospect the Israelis likely aren’t too unhappy about that ‘mauling’.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, about that Lebanese infrastructure. That is known as a “war crime”, especially since they weren’t actually at war with Lebanon itself. They accumulated a whole long list of war crimes in those few weeks and one of their last ones was strewing cluster bombs near and far in civilian areas on their way out the door which in the years after killed and injured a whole bunch of civilians. Sure they admitted to being not happy about how it ended but it was more along the lines of ‘The war situation has developed not necessarily to Israel’s advantage.’ Didn’t help their ego when they learned that they had been actually defeated by Hezbollah’s B Team.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    “Davos and QAnon: weasels fighting in a hole.”

    that is a profound statement.

    and:”Or does Davos have the same fear that drove the Soviet Union to create the Iron Curtain: if we allow some to live in places outside of our social factory, they’ll all want to live there.”

    this is the real reason behind TINA….and, notably, it’s the same cold calculation behind all the anti-voter shenanigans we’ve seen forever, and which the GOP are currently rushing to lock into place.
    The Bosses cannot win a fair fight, and they know it.
    They can only win by cheating, by theft and…if all that fails, by murder…on whatever scale is necessary.

    I’ve been reading McCarraher’s “the enchantments of mammon”, and am at a part where he’s quoting Gerrard Winstanley quite liberally(he of the Diggers, or the True Levelers).
    “Same as it ever was..”

    -“Was the earth made to preserve a few covetous, proud men to live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasures of the Earth from others, that these may beg or starve in a fruitful land; or was it made to preserve all her children?”
    Gerrard Winstanley

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’m slowing enjoying that one too Amfortas – about 250 pages in now. One thing that struck me in his critique of Marxism that never occurred to me before – Marx thought workers should own the means of production, that being factories, but he sort of took it as a given that workers would be toiling in factories mass producing goods going forward. 19th century TINA. Not really a stop and smell the roses kind of guy.

      If we ever do get a real 3rd party in this country, I’d be in favor of recycling the Levelers name – I really do enjoy the historical subversives.

      Since I believe you recommended The Enchantments of Mammon, I’ll recommend one you might also like – William Hogeland’s The Whiskey Rebellion. Lots of subversives in there, including one I may name my next cat after, Tom the Tinker. The Whiskey Rebellion barely got a mention in my high school history, but after reading an entire book about it, you really understand that things operate the way they do today because it’s how they were designed 200+ years ago. Alexander Hamilton does not get nearly the hagiography from Hogeland that we’ve come to see from Broadway in recent years – not a very appealing character in his telling.

      Same as it ever was indeed.

  5. Eelok

    Elizabeth Kolbert is a very interesting figure. I haven’t listened to the PBS one in full, but based on how the introduction frames it, I would highly recommend Adam Conover’s interview with her instead. It’s a remarkable conversation that really brings out all of the contradictions and cognitive dissonance involved in discussing this topic.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      What comes to my mind from the snippet of the interview above, particularly as regards putting reflective bits in the atmosphere, is that Kolbert is falling into her own trap of potentially creating far worse problems by trying to solve them (in this case the issue of reducing excessive heat).

      But in the podcast you link to, as you suggest, there is far more context and indeed, she seems very aware of that possibility. She simply feels that at present no alternative is “on the table” to get rid of heat quickly and at some point that is likely going to be an existential problem.

      That said, I get the feeling from both the interview in links and the podcast, that she is more confident in the good intentions of scientists as a whole than may be warranted. As in, they may be right or wrong but that will be based on the science. COVID has brought other motives into sharp relief, for those not already aware of it, as being very much in play even in the sciences, and while she may address that problem elsewhere, I didn’t pick up on it in the podcast.

  6. Kevin Smith MD

    Re: covid immediately after vaccination
    1. I just got my appointment for Covid vaccine, and felt like loosening up on the precautions [and I am a doc!] I reined myself in, and reminded myself that the shots will be just one more layer of protection, and are sure not a license to abandon precautions. Knowing patients as I do, I imagine that some folks may loosen up before they get a shot, get infected, then get sick right around the time of the shot.

    2. It is possible that some immunizations [not just for Covid] may transiently depress cell-mediated immunity in some individuals, facilitating the emergence of incipient infections [notably viral infections like Covid] and/or the emergence of latent infections [for example, herpes simplex = cold sore; or herpes zoster = shingles.]

    The above may also explain why some folks have a nasty case of the flu very shortly after having a flu shot.

    1. SKM

      I`m really puzzled by the statement in links :”the most fascinating problem that has no obvious explanation is a surprisingly large number of patients that get sick and are COVID positive within hours/days of their first injection. I have heard all kinds of lame excuses why this may be happening – but none of them really ring true for the numbers that are occurring…”
      There is no immune protection for about 12 days after the first shot – just puzzled a doctor seeming not to know this. Protection then builds slowly over the following weeks etc
      “Lots of people” coming down with Covid very shortly after the first vaccination, if true (ie if statistically true that is compared with the rest of us) might suggest they caught it at the vaccination centre (see occasional photos of overcrowded centres and under-nose mask wearing)….
      just perplexed at the statement…..

      1. IM Doc

        That was my comment – so I will be happy to explain.

        I have had actually numerous patients sealed up in cars double masked at the vaccine center in the parking lot far away from anyone – with the vaccine attendants in CAPR PPE – get very ill within 24 hours of the vaccine and end up positive for COVID. These are not people “letting their guard down” which is the main excuse for this phenomenon. Furthermore, they are people who have been holed up at home – at no risk for exposure. At least in the time frame that it takes for COVID from exposure to illness. They are certainly not vaccinated fully until 2 whole weeks from the last vaccine.

        But the timing and their exposure make no sense. I can see this happening to a few patients – but this is just happening way way too often.

        This phenomenon of getting ill with COVID within 24 hours of the vaccine has become so common across the country that I am seeing Twitter threads among my colleagues about what is going on. It is happening repeatedly in my practice. Many are noticing this – and many are discussing.

        I had a couple this AM who got their shots on Monday – again in a car with no exposure sticking their arms out the window to a CAPR clad attendant. They have not been out of the house in 6 weeks. Their groceries and mail are left on the doorstep every day. They called yesterday evening – a day after their shots – both very ill – and their rapid tests were positive this AM.

        The leading theory on this that makes any sense at all was alluded to by the other physician above – Kevin Smith MD – some kind of viral reactivation. In other words, patients may have deactivated COVID particles lying around their upper airways or lungs that get activated when the immune system is distracted by the vaccine. The herpes virus family does this type of thing all the time. There is evidence that this could be happening in coronaviruses as well – although not as well worked out. There are other theories that are too abstruse to go into here. NO ONE is suggesting the vaccines are giving them COVID. NO ONE is suggesting that the vaccines should be effective in 8 hours. It is just the fact the timing and access to infection is all wrong – and something else must be going on to explain this scenario. It is much much too common to ignore.

        It is almost like an Agatha Christie locked-door mystery.

        I am a veteran of the AIDS crisis. These kinds of issues in the times when not much was known were common. The insights that came from many of these scenarios back then were critical for learning about the virus and its life cycle. I am certain this will be no different.

        It is imperative that when everyone runs across discussions among physicians on Twitter about these things – restrain yourselves. Do not insert yourselves unless you know what you are talking about. Read and learn and think. This is how we in medicine are going to get to the bottom of this pandemic. People in our time seem to forget the years it took to unravel AIDS; COVID will be no different. And it is still very early.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Would it make sense for people scheduled for vaccination to marinate their bodies in the appropriate anti-virals so that they are full of anti-viral chemical when getting the vaccine? So that the anti-viral will keep suppressed any dormant coronavids which the vaccine distracts the body from keeping suppressed?

          1. IM Doc

            I think that would be a bad idea. Dormant or inactived viral particles are going to engender no immune response – so I think that would not be indicated.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Huh, while these #s clearly establish benefit, even the high end of the estimate range is lower than the claims made after the clinical trials.

  7. Miami Mitch

    Americans want the government to buy U.S.-made goods, even if they cost more Reuters. Resilc: “Too bad we only make tattoos, corn syrup and dating aps.”

    Reslic, don’t you know that tattoos, corn syrup and dating aps are the fuel of our fine military men and women? And poverty-drafted teenagers are our number one export!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Strongly suspect that the Pentagon is the primary opposition to Medicare for All, affordable college tuition, as well as a living wage (which you mentioned as the poverty draft) as those upset their primary recruiting tools.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Higher education or trade education is probably more an issue for the Pentagon. Their recruiting base is usually pretty healthy and young anyway by virtue of being 18 to 25. The ones who need medical care are likely not capable of meeting army standards. Every soldier is a rifleman. The Internet tubes tell me they stopped advertising healthcare in the 80’s.

        Reserve specialists might be an issue, and keeping people in the Guard depending on the rules for veteran healthcare.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Hmm. Have met several marines who enlisted for the healthcare, and this has been in the past 8-9 years. Small sample size, I suppose.

  8. rl

    “Is the world going plant-based? It’s complicated”:

    Cultural relativism and a self-censorious populace have removed any possibility for the truly difficult conversations to be had. Naturally, any conversation about animal consumption has all but dissipated, while the epoch of destruction continues, uninterrupted in the Anthropocene era.

    Life has plummeted in ways previously thought unimaginable: from the ecological to the moral to the intellectual. Our desire to sate our curiosity is rarely a neutral act; it requires pulling nature apart and extracting only the resources we want, draining other living things of the habitats they need for survival.

    Appreciate the author putting it this way. Too often, even an otherwise sober critic will try to hedge around the bolded two to make the message more palatable to contemporary sensibilities … even as the world of mass-consumption matures into autophagia.

    But this strategy doesn’t make the message more palatable, not least because most people sense the hypocrisy. It’s just self-defeating.

    The author quotes Camus, “a man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon himself.” Add: principles cannot be compromised, only abandoned.

    Thank you NC for including this article in Links; have saved it to my bookmarks.

  9. John Siman

    R.I.P., G. Gordon Liddy. Who else remembers that back in 1981 — forty years ago! — Liddy teamed up with fellow-ex-con Timothy Leary and embarked on a national Mutt ‘n’ Jeff barnstorming tour of America’s college campuses? Back when the USA still believed in serious fun! See “LearyLiddyDebates” https://youtu.be/P24Y83NaVv4

      1. neo-realist

        Some are dead, e.g., Edward Brooke, Jacob Javits (except when he ran for Senator as an independent when dying from ALS). Some have aged out of running for office, e.g., Lowell Weicker. One went from dem to libertarian and left politics altogether, e.g., Lincoln Chaffee.

        But there really aren’t a lot of those people when you think about that lot.

    1. rowlf

      Yepper. My roommate when I was at Rutgers went to a Leary-Liddy Debate and liked it a lot. On the other hand, Liddy’s autobiography “Will” seemed a bit off as I got the feeling he borrowed a few stories from others like Robert Mason did in “Chickenhawk”.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Two charlatons taking their shtick on the road…

      One reason they performed as a duo was because of the legal matter that initially brought them together: Liddy was the Dutchess County, NY District Attorney in the 1960’s, and busted Leary during an acid test that was occurring at an estate in Millbrook, NY.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      As a very young adult I met Liddy and Leary by pure chance at a bar called The Backstage in Scottsdale, AZ after they’d done an appearance at ASU. They welcomed the small crowd in the bar to join them at their table, which three or four of us did and we all talked amicably for a couple of hours before closing.

      They were clearly friends, and were both sparkling and charming drinking company.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “11 Navy Aircraft Carriers Simply Aren’t Enough”

    Should have thought of this before. By law the US must have 11 carriers. But the present carriers and their crews are being run ragged going from one trouble spot to another to show the flag and launch the occasional strike. And of those 11, maybe a third are in port with maintenance and the like. In addition, the new Ford-class carries being built basically don’t work – the same ones that were to replace the older carriers with. What to do?

    Enter the British. This explains why they built those two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. They could see what was going to happen even if the US Navy didn’t – or wouldn’t. The British can now offer use of those carriers to fill the gap of the US Navy carriers needed – for a price. This is not as unlikely as it sounds. Just last year, a US Marine squadron, also known as VMFA-211, deployed aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth so if there was ever trouble, you could see this happening in a combat situation-

    https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/marine-corps-times/2020/10/30/marine-f-35s-deploy-on-uks-newest-aircraft-carrier-queen-elizabeth/

  11. bassmule

    Regarding pointy things, a few words from Elias Canetti:

    “The most striking natural instrument of power in man and many animals is the teeth. The way they are arranged in rows and their shining smoothness are quite different from anything else belonging to the body.”

    “The teeth are the armed guardians of the mouth, and the mouth is indeed a strait place, the prototype of all prisons. Whatever goes in there is lost, and much goes in whilst still alive.”

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Florida COVID numbers face new scrutiny”

    So I guess that the happy dance is off now?

    1. semiconscious

      um, not quite yet. i’d say that the jury’s still out (from the article):

      Tatar’s findings have not been universally accepted. Lauren Rossen, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has analyzed excess deaths, told Yahoo News that she saw nothing exceptionally suspicious in the state’s excess death numbers.

      “Florida doesn’t stand out to me,” she said.

      Other critics of Tatar’s findings described Florida as neither a glowing success nor an unmitigated disaster but rather a state that has handled the pandemic with some successes and some failures, with the excess death data reflecting that mixed record…

      does make for a hot anti-desantis headline, tho…

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    And in the WTF? category this morning, we have Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland endorsing Nina Turner for Fudge’s House seat over Fudge’s pick, Shontel Brown. This is in addition to Nina’s endorsement from an influential city council member this week.

    Could I end up having Nina Turner as my Representative in Congress? That would be a cause for celebration.

    1. Pat

      Good news about those endorsements.
      Fingers crossed. Even those of us not in the district would benefit from Nina Turner being in Congress.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I am seeing Nina’s ads all over YouTube. What stops me from donating is that my money has to go through ActBlue.

  14. Michael Ismoe

    I’m rarely engage in finger pointing but if that young woman slept with Matt Gaetz for money there’s no way she could have been compensated enough.

    1. Sutter Cane

      While the Republican hypocrisy for still paying lip-service to caring about “family values” makes Gaetz an easy target, I imagine that had the same young woman waited a year until she was 18 and then flown to L.A. to launch her porn career, started an Onlyfans, or found a sugar daddy, the same people condemning Gaetz would then view her actions as empowering. I say this not in defense of Gaetz but more as a comment on our currently schizophrenic sexual mores.

  15. semiconscious

    re: Hospital ICUs overwhelmed despite fast vaccinations—Chile 🇨🇱 made a critical mistake—its government eased restrictions on travel, business and schools much too early, creating a false sense of confidence that pandemic was over. This always been my fear. 🧵https://t.co/6McpZjekxT pic.twitter.com/NbmKPiOpLI

    — Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 30, 2021

    seems to be a problem even in new zealand, a country entirely free of covid-19: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/439170/new-zealand-hospitals-in-crisis-after-biggest-january-february-on-record

    People are being treated in corridors, increasing numbers of staff are reporting burnout and wait times are becoming longer.

    In the past 48 hours, Dunedin Hospital and Whangārei Hospital have reached capacity, asking people to keep ED for emergencies only.

    Now, medical practitioners around the country say it is a nationwide problem that, without support, is only going to get worse.

    Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president Dr John Bonning said the emergency department was where the stress was most visible, but the whole system was under increasing pressure.

    “Patients are stuck. They’re in corridors. They’re spending six, eight, 12 hours in the emergency department where we’re forced to try and provide them longitudinal care,” Dr Bonning said.

    Some ED shifts were functioning with only two thirds of their normal number of nurses.

    “So it’s about the sickest and most injured patients not being able to be admitted to the ward and us trying to look after them whilst we wait for those ward beds to become available.”

    It was easier to outline the hospitals that did not have a major problem than to name the ones that did, he said.

    again: this’s a country basically free of covid-19. so, what exactly is going on regarding the current state of ‘health care’ worldwide?…

    1. Wmkohler

      My understanding, based on other coverage that I’ve read, is that New Zealand typically depends on a certain number of immigrants to staff nursing and other medical roles, and with their border shut, they don’t have access to that labor supply anymore. Hence the capacity crunches. Of course, given much of the tenor of the press coverage, one would be forgiven for supposing that your health care system getting overwhelmed is only a cause for concern if it’s happening due to COVID specifically.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky: “Our data from the CDC today suggest that vaccinated people do not carry the virus.”’

    Yeah, I know that she has only been in the job two months but seriously? This is what she said? This is the sort of thing that gets people killed. Did the interviewer challenge her at all and call bs? I would say that now would be an excellent time to use the precautionary principle but it seems to have gone out of fashion at the moment.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      My concern isn’t about the outrage of someone opining publicly on an unsettled scientific question, but instead about what the actual data (which is just now coming into existence) says. If the data strongly suggest what she is saying, good for her saying it. That’s valuable information to have in a major crisis situation even if it is preliminary.

      Try running a war or a response to a major national disaster while strictly following the precautionary principle to the letter and see where you arrive at that way. A major upside of the PP is that its invocation will free the invoker from having to make and thus be responsible for all sorts of difficult and confusing risk balancing decisions where all the data one might prefer to have aren’t present.

      1. The Rev Kev

        In all fairness, using the precautionary principle would have had people wearing masks in public when last year the Federal government and Fauci were telling people ‘Nah! It’ll be fine.’ And this applies to the WHO come to think of it. And a lot of your State Governors. And all those “TV doctors”. Lots of bad advice was floating all over the place last year. So no, I am still a fan of the precautionary principle. Our State Premier here in Oz has been using this and we are now coming out of a three day snap lockdown using this principle.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Fair point on the masking. Australia, not being in a crisis anything like many other places, has the luxury of the possibility of a more considered and cautious approach, one much of the world lacks. You could say that the application of the precautionary principle played a significant role in Australia avoiding the worst of the crisis, but our opportunity to follow in Australias’s wiser path has now sadly been lost.

          1. The Rev Kev

            For what it is worth, with our neoliberal Prime Minister, it could easily have gone the other way but there is nothing to say that it could still not happen here. Last year the Czech Republic was right on top of it but it is now a disaster so it is not over yet. Much to my bitterness, I found that it has been business people at the forefront of demanding to keep all their business open in the middle of a pandemic, aided and abetted by government health authorities. Last time I heard a businessman say this was, uhhh, yesterday!

            I would have thought that they were smart enough to realize that once a pandemic has a grip, people won’t go to their businesses in any case. Nope. Their profits are suffering and they will let people risk dying of this virus to keep their businesses open. And I think that this is what has botched many country’s response to the pandemic. They tried to have it all by keeping their economy open while giving lip-service to the pandemic and are now in the worse of worlds. Gachhh!

    2. Jeff W

      Although Dr Walensky refers, perhaps too broadly, to “clinical trials” (in which asymptomatic participants were not checked for infection) in the video clip, it seems like the data she is primarily relying on is a separate study conducted by the CDC involving about 4,000 front-line workers (i.e, hospital personnel, first responders, teachers and service workers).

      According to this Bloomberg article

      The researchers compared the frequency of Covid infections before and after vaccinations to estimate how effective the shots were at preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread, regardless of whether people felt sick or not…Two weeks after the first dose, the [Pfizer and Moderna] shots appeared to prevent 80% of infections; that rose to 90% two weeks after the second dose, when people were considered fully immunized.

      Estimates of how well the shots prevent infection should be interpreted cautiously, due to a relatively small number of infections confirmed, the CDC said.

      Those findings seem to be consistent with an earlier Israeli study that “found the Pfizer vaccine…reduces infection, including in asymptomatic cases, by 89.4% and in syptomatic cases by 93.7%.”

      [emphasis added in both quotes]

  17. fresno dan

    Buitengebieden
    @buitengebieden_
    Working on that summer body after quarantine..
    I don’t care how many sit-ups I do, I can never get six pack abs…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s simple, really…merely redefine “sixpack abs” as “beerbelly” and yer golden.
      i mean, it works for all sorts of other things(“collateral damage”)….

      seriously, though…i recommend gardening…the old fashioned way…or, as i tell my wife, ” you should be out there hoein’ in the field, not in some derned gym”.
      my winter belly is almost gone, already.

  18. diptherio

    New Wells Fargo Employee Walked Through All The Crimes He’ll Be Asked To Commit [The Onion]

    Meeting with an HR representative for his first day on the job, new Wells Fargo employee Kyle Menardi was walked through all the crimes he’ll be asked to commit, sources confirmed Wednesday. “The crimes we do here are pretty straightforward, and most new employees get a hang of how to do them within a couple of weeks,” the HR rep informed Menardi, adding that he should prioritize getting a handle on the more day-to-day insurance and securities fraud, and then turn his attention to learning about the company’s more long-term scamming and market manipulation criminal projects.

  19. Frieda

    Graham says he owns AR-15 to protect his home from gangs

    Worried about looters in the suburbs? Heaven help me, but pass the ammo first:

    “hundreds of protesters first took to the freeway downtown and then made their way towards the scene of the shooting in Wauwatosa. When police in riot gear blocked their path, they turned onto North Avenue and began indiscriminately smashing windows. The police eventually deployed tear gas and pepper balls, the crowd lobbed bricks at the police, and at one point a group of rioters looted a gas station until the police arrived and the guilty scattered.
    The next day dawned on a community in shock. Wauwatosa belongs to the relatively buttoned-up and prosperous Milwaukee suburbs.”

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/09/a-riot-in-the-suburbs-inside-the-changing-face-of-wisconsin-2020/

  20. fresno dan

    So my neighbor came by and told me that Millie, her cat had died last night (apparently while Millie was asleep). I had seen Millie yesterday walking towards me, but I was leaving to go see about buying a mouse (a computer mouse) and I thought I would see her later. Millie was only 5 or 6 – not that old. Every time she saw me she would run up to get petted, and when I went out early to water the garden, she would sit on the porch and wait for me to finish, and extract a “toll” for pets before I could get back into the house.
    It is so unexpected…

    1. HotFlash

      Dan, so sorry for you, and for Millie’s official person, so abruptly left with a cat-shaped hole in your lives.

  21. David

    The “Battle for the Soul of Islam” article has some interesting material in it, but I don’t think it necessarily means what the author thinks it means.

    He’s obviously most familiar with countries where Political Islamist governments have long been in power (the Gulf) or have been for a while, at least (Turkey, Iran). Thus, any movement of popular resistance to power in such states can, by definition, be seen as anti-Islamic, in the sense that Islam is a major part of the established order. (Sudan is not the same, by the way: Bashir’s regime was only Islamist in the sense of manipulating Islam for political reasons, and the forces that overthrew him were not anti-Islamist). But the story in countries where Islamists were not in power (Tunisia, Egypt) is quite different. In Tunisia today the Ennadha party is the largest and most powerful political force in the country, and seems very popular among the young. In other words, in countries with poverty unemployment and repression, the young are, as usual, against established power structures .

    But I think it’s an exaggeration to see this as being about Islam vs atheism, still less a battle for the “soul” of the religion. The point really is that Islam isn’t compatible with modern concepts of a secular state – ie one where religion takes second place to the laws of the land if they conflict. Islam is both a religion and a complete set of laws (hence “islamic jurisprudence”) and takes precedence over any positive laws passed by parliament, for example. Given that there have been few regimes in the Islamic world which have been based on popular sovereignty, this has not so far been a problem, but it might be about to become one. It’s already a problem in Europe, where younger Muslims are much more radical than their parents, and look precisely to the kind of countries discussed here (notably Turkey and the Gulf) for inspiration.

  22. Carolinian

    Re Lindsey–our senior senator may be a dweeb but surely Schumer is also a dweeb and Graham is right that the assault weapons ban has no chance of passing.

    My brother has someone in his neighborhood who likes to fire off his AR-15 for the heck of it and to blow off steam. It’s going to take much more than Schumer or a 50/50 split to root this sort of thing out.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      dems and weapons bans are like gop and abortion bans.
      sound and fury….
      if you really wanted to lessen the likelyhood of mass shootings, actual meaningful change is where you start…like a new new deal.
      some of these shooters are actually mentally ill…like the recent colorado guy…but hopelessness and despair and the bullying and torment that so often accompanies them(as a coping mechanism) are, i think, the real issue.
      we’ve been maximising despair for most of my life….on purpose.
      this current tempest in a teapot reminds me of Texdems running wendy davis on an abortion rights only ticket…of course they lost,lol….handed texgop all the ammo they needed.
      this is not intended to be actually fought for, just to rake in some money….and likely distract from the recent flirtations with FDR-ism….the Establishment wants to move on into more familiar territory.

  23. Lee

    “The geopolitics of Myanmar’s black swan coup Asia Times (resilc)”

    Given that there are some 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar, many armed and at odds with each other, all I gotta say to any great power thinking to step into the fray is, best not.

  24. marym

    Re: Americans want the government to buy U.S.-made goods, even if they cost more

    I wish US consumers would buy US-made goods. For maybe 15 years I’ve been able to buy only US made consumer goods – clothing, most household goods from small items to furniture, and even some appliances (not electronics of course). I don’t need to provide for a family and I’m lucky to be able to pay a little more if necessary, though most of what I buy is in a medium price range. It’s getting more difficult, but for a long time it really was easy if one was able to shop on-line.

    I wasn’t paying attention to the big picture of manufacturing and the economy in the early days of factory work moving overseas, and big box stores packed with imports trampling local retail, so I’ve wondered whether there was ever much of a protest movement of consumers and workers.

  25. Cuibono

    “100% effective even by their own standards, which is (typically) reducing the incidence of severe cases.”

    Actually, the primary endpoints were NOT severe cases or hospitalizations or deaths. They are symptomatic infections.

    It is critical to undersand this. we still have NO STRONG RCT data that shows that the severe cases are prevented

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