Links 4/7/2021

3 eggs found, 18 lieutenants lost at base Easter egg hunt Duffel Blog. A couple of days late but still amusing.

The Joy and Privilege of Growing Up in an Indie Bookstore Literary Hub

The Strange Convulsion in Scottish Politics Craig Murray


Japan’s Cherry Blossoms Hit Earliest Peak Bloom in 1,200 Years Treehugger

Talks collapse on Ethiopia’s Nile dam Deutsche Welle

Indigenous Peoples Are the Best Protectors of Forests, New UN Report Shows Treehugger

Facing Ka‘ena Point: On Turning Eighty New Yorker. Paul Theroux.

Modern Crime-Solving Methods vs. the Mystery of World War II Deaths NYT

Julian Assange

Everything The West Claims It Values Is Invalidated By Its Treatment Of Assange Caitlin Johnstone

All Eyes on Digital Payments Project Syndicate


Coronavirus latest: EU life expectancy drops after decades of increases FT

Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could have causal link to rare blood clots, say UK experts Guardian

HK warned off Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine over variant concerns FT

Taiwan Begins Slow Early Rollout of AstraZeneca Vaccines The Diplomat

Public health experts urge Americans to not skip 2nd vaccine dose Fox5

U.K. Carriers Push Air Bridge to U.S. Amid Vaccination Success WSJ

Ending in February 2021’: Expert Covid committee’s ‘supermodel’ flounders as second wave surges Scroll

100,000 New COVID-19 Cases and Bad Governance Push India to Cusp of Disaster The Wire

CGD recommends Indian digital vaccination certificate solution architecture for US Economic Times

Detroit will send workers door-to-door to urge residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine WWJ 950

Brazil’s COVID-19 death surge set to pass the worst of record U.S. wave Reuters

Canada faces ‘very serious third wave’ of pandemic: Trudeau Al Jazeera

Covid-19 raises risk of depression and dementia, study suggests BBC

The Roots of the EU’s Vaccine Debacle Project Syndicate

Ivy League Acceptance Rates Fall to Record Lows Due to Covid-19 WSJ

Los Angeles Families Reluctant to Return Kids to School Capital & Main

California aims to fully reopen its economy June 15 LA Times


The stability of an isolate of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage in aerosols is similar to three earlier isolates The Journal of Infectious Diseases

Biden Administration/p>

There’s no point person in Biden’s HHS for its $187 billion Covid-19 fund for health care providers Stat

Schumer gets his game changer The Hill

Biden and the Democrats Are Getting Serious About Raising Corporate Taxes Truthout

Five ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington The Hill

Can Biden Finally Get Immigration Reform Passed? Capital & Main

Roundup: Biden infrastructure plan light on waste details, report highlights recycling data gap WasteDive

Jeff Bezos Backs Corporate Tax-Rate Increase and Infrastructure Plan WSJ

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Police keep using force against Black citizens in Rochester. And the demands for change keep growing. WaPo

Key takeaways from the Derek Chauvin trial, Day 7 ABC

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Your ‘smart home’ is watching – and possibly sharing your data with the police Guardian

Our Famously Free Press

On the Miserable Necessity of Doing Censorship Stories in Pairs TK News. TK News. Matt Taibbi.

Meet the Censored: The U.S. Right to Know Foundation TK News. Matt Taibbi.

Class Warfare

Yellen calls for minimum global corporate income tax AP

Meet the Highest Paid CEO in S&P 500, Paycom’s $211 Million Man WSJ

1,100 Coal Miners Go on Strike in Northern Alabama Payday Report

Bezos, Musk top Forbes’ record-setting billionaire list Reuters

Democrats en déshabillé



Glenn Greenwald Took on the Authoritarian Right in Brazil — and Won Jacobin

My New Book on Journalism, Exposing Corruption, and the Resulting Risks, Dangers and Societal Changes Glenn Greenwald. Glenn predicts the MSM will largely ignore his book. I just ordered my copy.

Glenn Greenwald becomes focus of Brazil press freedom debate AP


Iran calls Vienna nuclear talks ‘constructive’, with next round set for Friday SCMP

EU to Turkey: Human rights issues are nonnegotiable Deutsche Welle


China-Iran pact more than meets the eye Asia Times

China leaps into a central digital bank currency, but similar progress eludes the U.S. CNBC


IMF projects India’s growth rate to jump to 12.5% this year Scroll


Five killed in Myanmar as troops open fire on protesters Reuters

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could have causal link to rare blood clots, say UK experts”

    Just heard today that an elderly women here in Australia died hours after receiving an AstraZeneca shot. That is not the remarkable part of the story. The remarkable part was how hard it was to find an article about it on either Google or Yahoo news. Not good enough, Carruthers-

    1. flora

      Matt Taibbi’s seconded linked article today is relevant, imo. “Meet the Censored: The U.S. Right to Know Foundation “,TK News.

      1. lordkoos

        Speaking of censorship, I subscribe to Taibbi’s twitter feed but rarely see his posts for some reason. Initially after following him I did see them but in the last few months, nada.

        1. flora

          Check your email ‘junk mail’ folder. The emails might be there. Interesting data point: when I click on my Taibbi subscribed email it might open, but then clicking on the mail’s internal link will bring up a MS Outlook full page red “This Page has been classified as Malicious’. Full Stop. Talk about irony….

    2. Ella

      I’m getting my JJ shot here in the US today. I’m having anxiety about getting the shot, hoping for no bad or severe (eg death) side effects.

          1. polar donkey

            I got J&J last Wednesday. Had chills and body aches that night. Woke up Thursday and felt like I had been in a car wreck. Head ache Thursday through Saturday. None of reactions were bad enough to miss work, just unpleasant. My wife is allergic to everything. A red head. I worry about her getting a shot.

            1. Boris

              I and my collegues got AstraZ some three weeks ago. I and two other collegues are, like you say of your wife, allergic to everything. I had absolutely no bad reactions at all, one of the others had no reactions either, the third had very light reactions for two days. A couple of the other collegues who dont tend to allergies were suffering very badly, though also only for about two days. Just a few anecdotes, and a different kind of shot, still: I would not worry super-much. Good luck!

      1. Katiebird

        I just made appts for us to get the J&J tomorrow. It’s at a drugstore miles away but still in the county. I’m getting anxiety mainly because my sister says that this means she can take me out for a birthday lunch later this month. OMG. Can’t we just take one step at a time :)

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Got my first Astra-Zeneca jab about 4 hours ago in a place that I last visited to see Leonard Cohen, not personally but in concert. Well organised long queues that moved pretty quickly which must be a blessing when it rains or as happened the other day when there was snow travelling on a harsh North Easterly.

          Feel fine so far, catching up on some real news here after checking out the BBC version where apparently the 6th most important news story is the British best shed contest, while on the Sky version a presumably very well paid sock puppet decided that 60 hr week Didgeroo drivers on barely minimum wage & often much less less, being described as exploited was too strong a word.

          Cameron lost millions – may this Cheshire cat grin long sustain itself.

          1. shtove

            Cameron lost millions – may this Cheshire cat grin long sustain itself.

            All the way to prison, I hope.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            If I’d been there I’d be humming a Cohen song while getting the shot.

            There ain’t no cure for love
            There ain’t no cure for love
            All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky
            The holy books are open wide
            The doctors working day and night
            But they’ll never ever find that cure,
            That cure for love

            1. Eustachedesaintpierre

              Shtove – Ah that would be icing on the cake but I will believe it only if I see it.

              Yes PK, could have done with a cure for that many times & it’s often horrendous side effects, speaking of which I woke sometime during last night wondering why I had a massive hangover without having drank anything, before waking up enough to realise that it was a vac attack. Drank 2 pints of water & got back to sleep while today I am totally washed out but improving.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        2nd Moderna yesterday morning, and I’m down for the count but alert with aches, a headache, and no energy.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I snapped out of my fatigue funk around 330, but clearly, the second dose did a number on me.

            1. jonboinAR

              I got the first Moderna a week ago. Uneventful. Not looking forward to the 2nd, based on yours and other’s reports. Wish me luck come the 29th!

              1. LifelongLib

                First Moderna today, second to be in four weeks. Arm getting a little sore after 5 hours.

              2. Stephen Gardner

                Both my wife and I have had both Moderna shots with no side effects to speak of. I didn’t really feel bad the day after #2 but the next day I felt unusually good. I think it was recovery from a very subtle side effect.

        1. Pelham

          Ditto for the 2nd Moderna headache. Lasted about a day, but other than that and a slightly sore arm I was fine. I wonder how it’s going to work against the UK variant, which is now dominant in the US. Elsewhere, I read it’s effective against the Covid Original for at least 6 months.

        2. anonymous

          1st Moderna 2 weeks ago, with not much of a reaction. Then, 1 week after the shot I felt terrible. 2-day migraine, exhaustion, extremely achy arm (down into the hand), vomiting, etc. 2 weeks after the shot, it’s like there’s a goose egg pasted onto my armpit and it’s very achy. When I talked to the clinic, they said that’s a very common delayed reaction. not much to start, and then the problems start about a week in. I was prepared for the itchy rashy “Moderna arm” but that’s not what I got, and they said they’ve had a number of people with that timeline and reaction. Also, that if it doesn’t clear up before the second shot would be due, they are recommending not to get the second one. I had a friend who had something similar, except that there was no delay in her reaction and her doctor told her absolutely not to get the second shot. So I’m wondering about the media rah-rah cheering to make sure people get the second shot.

      3. Ella

        So I got my shot at a drive through center in Massachusetts. I was shocked at how well organized and efficient it all was. I took my parents (senior citizens) with me and we were all vaccinated at the same time (3 appointments). The nurses were very excited to be vaccinating an entire car at once.

        So far, my arm is a little sore up to my shoulder. Laying low today (as much as possible with a FT job, my 7 year old remote learning, and my partner working this afternoon…).

        I survived the first 15 minutes which is what I was most concerned with (allergic reaction).

        I did cry, though. (Not because of the pain but the emotions.) It was very emotional for me.

        1. RMO

          Still waiting for mine here in BC. According to the plan I’m supposed to be able to get mine earlier than the mid-May date standard for someone in my early 50s age group (ruptured and lost my spleen in an accident back in the 90s) but so far haven’t heard anything. They’ve suspended use of the Oxford vaccine for the under 55s here. When my 80+ mum got vaccinated a few weeks ago she got the Pfizer. As for the situation in general… we did so well here at first. All the way through to about November of 2020 things were very well contained and then all of a sudden they went down the tubes. I notice today we broke the 1000 case a day barrier for what I think is the first time.

    3. kareninca

      It is almost impossible to find articles about the risks of vaccination. If you google “risks of the covid vaccine” almost all that you will get are articles that purport to debunk claims of risks. These articles do actually exist, even in the MSM. However, to find those articles you have to go to borderline websites like ZH; readers there will post the links.

      I tried and tried last week, using numerous search engines. I now understand why it is that almost everyone I know thinks there is no reason for concern at all.

      I am personally not worried about the short term risks of the vaccines (other than Astra Zeneca). I want to know about the medium and long term risks. Someone asked me, “what would you need to feel safe taking these shots? I said, “6-10 years of watching how they turn out; that’s the usual time frame for vaccination safety data.”

      1. Ella

        Right on. But if you don’t get the vaccine and wait 6-10 years, how do you ever get back to any semblance of a life? I’m not talking about partying in Miami, but getting kid back to school, seeing grandparents, etc.

        You’re stuck unless you are young and/or live alone. It’s a conundrum. Being too insightful or smart is crippling – ignorance is bliss.

        1. kareninca

          There’s only one person I care about visiting whom this makes difficult – my 78 y.o. mother on the East coast. I have no problem with being tested for covid and quarantining; I’m guessing that will suffice. My great grandmother couldn’t visit her mother in Scotland at all.

          My normal life is not all that different from my covid time life.

          I know a lot of blissful people.

      2. ProudWappie

        I wouldn’t overdo it. I would, at least wait, until after the next Autumn. Then we’ll see whether pathogenic priming (also called Antibody Dependent Enhancement) is a thing. I really hope that will not be the case, but we just don’t know yet. I still don’t see why people, that have a very low chance of getting Covid-19, should rush out and get vaccinated, especially with the experimental state of the vaccines available.

        I’m really concerned, about the ease with which vaccination seems to be forced upon people. Although the official statements are that it’s voluntary; it’s pretty obvious that this will be pushed through directly or indirectly.

        1. kareninca

          Yes, that is about the right time frame for ADE to show up.

          The funny thing is, Newsome (our governor) is saying that CA will likely fully open in June. How can you force vaccines if things are safe enough to open everything?

    4. Fern

      There’s good reason why this should not be a story. With about 15 million covid vaccinations a day, and these being skewed towards the small percentage of the vulnerable elderly, you would certainly expect some deaths of elderly people immediately following the injection. And this elderly individual was in a nursing home, indicating that she probably was frail. We don’t even know if she died of a blood clot. They are going to have a coroner’s report. It appears they are keeping track of these deaths. I don’t see a problem here at all.

  2. Wukchumni

    Japan’s Cherry Blossoms Hit Earliest Peak Bloom in 1,200 Years Treehugger
    Underground movements here have been blossoming as usual in what has turned out to be an unlucky bakers dozen of cherry trees near the river on the all cats & no cattle ranch, having planted the 13th last January-my bad in bringing on such a yucky year, in 2020 hindsight.

    I’d planned on putting in a few more varieties, but had to keep an eye on unforeseen health issues. I realize the world is depending on me to break the hex, but it’ll have to wait until next winter.

    I know by spilling the beans there is some bird online that will wreck it for me and the winged ones will strip the trees bare of their gotten gains, but so far amazingly they haven’t figured out how good cherries are (rubs hands in a self-satisfying manner) and have left them alone, as opposed to a nectarine tree 200 feet away with 30 orbs on it one day and none the next, grrrrr.

    Lapins is the slot machine of choice when it comes to paying out jackpots, with about 300 on the 6 year old tree. Stella is the biggest tree & best tasting cherry but oh so stingy in output, no free rides. Maybe it had a dozen on it last year.

    Rainier & Utah Giant are good for 30 cherries each, but refuse to grow up and play tall with others. Brooks & Tulare cherries have never fruited and are popular early season plantings in the Central Valley, lotsa blossoms, will nope spring eternal once again?

    Bing there done that expired twice after replanting and that was all she wrote for the variety everybody knows, turns out it doesn’t do well around these parts, oh well, die & learn.

    Black Tartarian wishes to go by ‘Tartarian’ as it feels the old name was treeist and i’m cool with that, now if only you’d fruit after 5 years of futility, just what do you do with those hundreds of blossoms anyhow?

    As far as plumbing goes this is my most ambitious water works with the poly drip line extending 500 feet from the faucet…

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m dependent on bees being there on their terms-not mine, and it has never been an issue with the other 77 or so fruit trees, and everything is partnered up to commit coincide with a cherry on top, utilizing different blooming periods a few weeks apart, depending on varieties.

        1. cocomaan

          Last year my wife and I got some old chicken feathers and hand-pollinated our peach trees, more for fun than out of necessity (I guess we have a weird idea of fun).

          Gave you a real appreciation for those critters.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I know this happened because I read about it in “Life” magazines from this era.

        Just how old are you, Rev? And is Biden really “our FDR”?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Nah, I was doing research on WW2 and decided to go through all the “Life”magazines published from 1939 to 1945 to get the “flavour” of the times. Mind-blowing some of the stuff in there.

          1. Ranger Rick

            The Popular Mechanics issues from that period (and later, the 1950s issues are amazing) are also very interesting. There was a time when “Do-It-Yourself” was not a hobby, it was the only way things got done. The ads are really something else — WWII and Korean War-surplus machine guns and cannons for sale to a good home.

      2. voteforno6

        Times have changed. The Cherry Blossom Festival is a big tourist draw to D.C., when there isn’t a pandemic going on.

    1. Phacops

      My favorite cherries are the Montmorency and Balotons. I live in orchard country in NW Michigan and one may see when a bear raids the cherry trees and crosses my property. The bear poop is full of half-digested cherries.

      1. Michael

        Montmorency rocks!

        Trader Joes sells them. Great in oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          I love Monmorency too – and use them in baking a lot. I substitute the dried ones for raisins, I use the jarred ones in tarts, and I make sorbet or strudel with the fresh ones during their very short season.

    2. lordkoos

      Have you tried hanging tinfoil or old CDRs in the trees? It’s supposed to put the birds off a bit.

  3. jhallc

    I lifted this out of the comments section on Taibbi’s “Censorship in Pairs” story. It seems to clearly state where my head is at these days.

    “Suppose I wanted to persuade a far right Trump-supporting reader that claims of election fraud are baseless. I could cite reports and fact-checks on CNN or the New York Times or Wikipedia, but none of those are credible to that person, who assumes, with quite some justification, that these publications are biased against Trump. The same is true if you are a Biden supporter and I try to persuade you of massive election fraud. Evidence for that is only to be found in right-wing publications that you will dismiss out of hand as unreliable.

    Let me save the indignant reader some time and write your scathing critique of the above for you. “Charles, you are establishing a false equivalency here that is shockingly ignorant of certain indisputable facts. Fact one! Fact two! Fact three! Here are the links. You are doing a disservice to the public by even broaching the possibility that the other side is worth listening to.”

    When even one side believes that, we are no longer in a democracy. My point here isn’t to hold both sides equal. My point is that no conversation is happening, or can happen. We are past democracy now. Democracy depends on a certain level of civic trust, a willingness to decide the disposition of power through peaceful, fair elections informed by an objective press. It requires a willingness to engage in conversation or at least debate. It requires that a substantial majority hold something – democracy itself – to be more important than victory. Otherwise we are in a state either of civil war or, if one side is dominant, a state of authoritarianism and rebellion.”

    1. Eureka Springs

      We never were a democracy. Yes, all of this convoluted deception assures we wont be anytime soon. Including and perhaps especially because the likes of Matt help perpetuate the myth. Can’t find a right, left, or centrist, which understands this.

      1. diptherio

        Lately I’ve been steering all political conversations as quickly as possible to “we need a new constitution” and pointing out that the one we have was meant to restrain democracy, not empower it — the fact that they originally wanted to limit the voting franchise to white property-owning males kinda gives the game away, you know? The political system we have was not designed for the purposes we want it to be filling, it was not designed to meet our needs and, unsurprisingly, it isn’t. If we want a system that actually has democracy as its goal, we need to start from scratch.

        I’ve gotten a surprisingly good reception from people on the left and right, I’m guessing at least partly because at least it’s not the same old narratives everyone is tired of.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          diptherio: Interesting that you are sparking real discussions. I have a feeling that most of us are worried that civil rights and civil liberties would be written (accidentally, of course, by the elites of the Monoparty) out of the new constitution.

          Maybe the discussion opener should be: “We could use a new constitution, but let’s keep the same Bill of Rights, which seems to be the part that works best.”

          1. Samuel Conner

            > worried that civil rights and civil liberties would be written (accidentally, of course, by the elites of the Monoparty) out of the new constitution.

            It seems to me a credible hypothesis that a new constitutional convention under current circumstances would be able to agree only to dissolve the Union.

            1. fresno dan

              Samuel Conner
              April 7, 2021 at 10:12 am

              It seems to me a credible hypothesis that a new constitutional convention under current circumstances would be able to agree only to dissolve the Union.

              Interesting to contemplate – dissolving the union
              A better for the world?
              B better for the people of the USA?
              I suspect, for all the strum und drang, that not much would change. I just don’t buy that the US is the great protector of peace and justice throughout the world. And on the other hand, that the US is the only thing that prevents world harmony…
              And that in the US, the only thing that prevents total harmony is southern racists…

              1. ambrit

                Oh come on now comrade fresno dan. We here in the North American Deep South do not have a monopoly on racism. Else, why does Chicago have essentially segregated neighborhoods? To widen the discussion, how about other forms of “racism?” As far as I have been able to discern over the course of my miserable existence, every ‘group’ has an ‘out group’ that they use as a convenient scapegoat.
                I may have been too ‘sensitive’ in my appreciation of your comment. You did forget the sarc tag, no?

                1. fresno dan

                  April 7, 2021 at 11:41 am
                  I may have been too ‘sensitive’ in my appreciation of your comment. You did forget the sarc tag, no?
                  Well, I thought general drift was clear that I meant to say that you just can’t take one group or even country and make them the total cause of all evil in the world. So Yes (or is it no – I never understood how that No? is suppose to work – is it no is correct or yes I agree?) – it is correct that I did not mean just southern racists, although southern racists exist and they cause plenty of damage. I think far more damage to the society is caused by squillionaires, who in trying to keep society divided by foisting division upon the country so as to deflect from how this country is governed as a plutocracy.

            2. TMR

              I don’t think so, mainly because the ruling class isn’t all that split (see the foreign policy consensus), and there are too many things that can go wrong with the dissolution process. There’s no viable plan for dissolution that would separate the lower Mississippi River Valley, for example, from the upper without another horrendously bloody war (this was, after all, the material reason the North prosecuted the Civil War).

              Likewise, there are other strategic concerns that make dissolution very, very unlikely unless you had a situation like the Civil War where a significant portion of the ruling class stood at great risk of complete dispossession. I don’t think there’s anything short of a labor revolution that poses this kind of threat to any portion of the ruling class.

              1. tegnost

                I don’t think there’s anything short of a labor revolution that poses this kind of threat to any portion of the ruling class

                think we’re so far gone that a collapse is the only thing that will work to effect real change and that’s an even bigger crap shoot…the new system doesn’t necessarily have to be better than the old one…and typically it probably hasn’t been. I’m glad I’m old. Sorry youngsters, I pretty much spent my whole life fighting against it all, but to no avail.
                In todays world Reagan would be an extremely popular democrat.

            3. Gc54

              Weaken the federation and strengthen the states. Would redirect war mongering into a civil war. Fun times, but at least nukes would be off the table to save foreigners.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            Maybe with some clearer wording on that 2nd amendment.

            Inchoate idea – citizens can legally own any weaponry or surveillance equipment used by the police.

          3. diptherio

            We need a selection system for constitutional assembly members that doesn’t prioritize the wealthy and powerful, as they would be the ones to end whatever “rights” we still have left (and it’s debatable, after the Snowden revelations, whether we still have any). I’d suggest sortition, or a system whereby people are selected by their communities, rather than self-selected, as is the case now (not “throw your hat in the ring” style, but “you’ve been chosen by your peers, so now you gotta go to Washington and take on for the team”).

            1. Kouros

              Sortition sounds wonderful.

              However, it will not immediately solve the issue of entrenched bureaucracy. DoJ, DoD, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. in collaboration with corporate owned media will make minced meat out of Congress/Senate elected via Sortition. Plus the issue of CiC, how you elect that official?

              And then the SCOTUS, which is on the back-pockets of business?

          1. marym

            There are no laws that I know of that would govern how representatives to a convention would be selected/elected. If the popular vote is to play a role, the franchise is under serious attack by state legislatures. If state legislatures are to play a more direct role, ALEC supports such a role. The linked website is not https.

        2. JTMcPhee

          The current dying US Empire borrowed its legal system, form and function and jurisprudence, from Jolly Olde Englande at a time when their legal system was at a nadir (from the mope standpoint.)

          Too bad we did not borrow their notion of an unwritten constitution as something that emanates from the polity and tradition and stuff as well. The problem with a written document with “four corners” is pretty plain today, including that it was written to enshrine property over persons and crush any motions toward even a reasonably representative form of governance. Not that the unwritten English constitution has done much to produce anything other than the usual “Golden Rule” outcome — “Them as owns the gold, rules.”

          Out of left field: Anybody else notice that the colonized folks have begun to wreak some vengeance on the Brits? Lots of MPs and portfolio holders and senior civil servants with names indicating family origins in India and such places, like Priti Patel and folks… Bringing destructive policies to the Home Islands…

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have read that the Koch Brothers and their family of spinmills have long-ago prepared a Libertarian Constitution and have it ready to go and get ratified by their Republican State Legislatures as soon as they can get a Constitutional Convention called.

          There’s your new Constitution.

          1. JTMcPhee

            A link to the Koch plan:

            Too bad the “progressives” don’t have that level of organization and forethought. But then the Left could never agree on just what kind of political economy they wanted to live in. Other, apparently, than “Not what exists.” In the Kingdom of incipient chaos, the organized man is king. Or something like that.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well, the “progressives” don’t have that level of money or personnel. So “progressives” will have to try and find or make some other battlespace that they can lure the Kochheads into.

              For example, most Nashvilleans thought they wanted a decent trolley-system going all over Nashville. They were going to hold a referrendum on it and most Nashvilleans thought that most Nashvilleans would vote for it.

              But the Koch family of groups organized against it and ran an effective propaganda campaign to convince most Nashvilleans that they didn’t want it after all. Now . . . if Nashvilleans For Transit could become a long-term combat group and figure out how to re-wage and win that battle, they could show “progressives” elsewhere how its done.

    2. Carolinian

      Cronkite said the only thing a news organization has to sell is credibility. Lester Holt just said that TV news shows are no longer obligated to be objective about controversial topics and would themselves be the arbiters of truth (as opposed to the Cronkite version–pre Tet and Watergate–the government).

      You could argue that both were pushing a particular narrative but I’ll take the Cronkite. In the end it may be about judgment and character versus careerism.

      1. Carolinian

        Just to add that Holt would likely defend himself by saying that Cronkite worked in another time when there were only three networks and the news was regarded as a public service loss leader. There was also much heavier FCC regulation then.

        At least that was last month’s MSM defense, the “who, little us?” defense. Now they want to reconstruct the limited competition of the 60s but without the obligations that were implied. It’s a corporate power play plain and simple.

      2. albrt

        The part I don’t get is calling corporate journalists “ideologues.” Lying for a transparently political purpose does not make you an ideologue in my book. Although I suppose it is telling that the holier-than-thou journalist believes the worst thing he can say about another journalist is that the other journalist believes in something.

        This seems like the same category error embedded in the common observation that Americans are ideologically polarized. I would say instead that most Americans are completely unmoored from any ideology, and instead are hysterically lashing out at shadowy targets fabricated by Facebook algorithms.

        1. Carolinian

          It’s ideological in that the MSM news outlets that are left reflect their oligarchic ownership, and Trump and his deplorables provide convenient foils to distract from the real economic issues.

          In other words it’s the Dem version of the same bait and switch that the Repubs use when they are in power–just different bait.

          Journalism used to work on an apprentice system that produced practitioners who were more in touch with the country at large and the real world. So arguably it is as much a matter of personalities and “character.”

    3. fresno dan

      April 7, 2021 at 8:40 am
      Democracy depends on a certain level of civic trust, a willingness to decide the disposition of power through peaceful, fair elections informed by an objective press. It requires a willingness to engage in conversation or at least debate. It requires that a substantial majority hold something – democracy itself – to be more important than victory.
      Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is known for his outspoken opinions, whether it’s about basketball or politics. During CBS’s broadcast of the Final Four on Saturday, he fired off a stinging critique of American politics, accusing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle of trying to “make the whites and Blacks not like each other” so they can stay in power.
      Not to overplay the analogy, but in sports, if you won’t accept that the game is as fair as practicable, and that you may not accept the results unless you win, there is no point in taking the field. Winning isn’t everything – because if your opponent can’t acknowledge your victory, (objectively, that it is was done within the rules, and that the the game is/was not corrupt) it doesn’t meet the definition of a contest and there is no point to the game. Every athlete accepts the rules of the game – and in life, that means accepting losing. To be an athlete is to accept more losses than wins, to be a loser more often than not.
      AND one of the things that most annoys me about the USA is the arrogance and boastfulness (and undoubtedly, my visceral dislike of Trump). That the American system if the GREATEST in all things, and if any flaws are admitted to, its only so that we can say that we are tops at being humble.
      The American political system reliably thwarts the will of the American people on all sorts of issues all the time. If there is ANY silver lining to this, maybe we will at least be able to dispense with the nonsense that we have the greatest political system in the world…

      1. No it was not, apparently

        “but in sports, if you won’t accept that the game is as fair as practicable, and that you may not accept the results unless you win, there is no point in taking the field.”

        Yes, “in sports” that may work, but only in as much as it is a game, i.e. post-play, everyone is as well off as before the match.

        That is, the point is only valid as long as the sport itself is a “bullsh**-job” for everyone involved, better yet if the sport itself is bullsh** as well (say wrestling or video games).

        But if the outcome is real, then one cannot reject playing as that means that the enemy will perfectly control a real-life impact on your own well-being; so one must at least play to try and spoil, as much as possible, the expected victory of the opponent.

        “Winning isn’t everything”

        It really is, in matters of life and death (access to food, clothes, apartments – and their precursor – local industrial dev.).

        “Every athlete accepts the rules of the game – and in life, that means accepting losing.”

        That means losing one’s life or means of living; if not, then the matter-at-hand was actually irrelevant; this is one of the important takeaways of western politics – it was intended as an aesthetics costume drama for the non-ruling upper (i.e. “middle”) classes, the actual management of society (economy) was to be kept behind the curtains, well away from the middle-class petite bourgeoisie’s navel gazing pseudo-intellectualism.

        To resolve matters of actual survival, democracy is wholly unnecessary, but the ruling party must maintain proper industrial and logistical capabilities at all times and use them too, else the system will collapse.

        Somewhere along the lines the west started believing its own propaganda and now everyone keeps waiting for the electoral bullsh** (of which cultur-kunst, or rather, “the media” is a core component) to resolve industrial supply and distribution issues.

        Since the issue is “life-and-death” (food, clothes, and apartments) and the belief is that culture-wars will resolve it, the hysteria intensifies, focus is miss-applied and less and less thought is given to real industrial development.

        1. JTMcPhee

          The vast majority of the movements and activities of the US Imperial Military are bullsh!t jobs and digging ditches to then fill in. A few weeks of reading in Duffelblog and or a stint as an Imperial Trooper ought to make that manifestly clear. A lot of death is involved, though, and wasted resources and drift toward militarized corruption and oppression, so not maybe the same as Major League Baseball ™ or fuh’bowh which don’t result in too much death and destruction, but it’s still a game. At the largest scale, it’s even called “the Great Game.”

          Where does a circle begin?

          1. No it was not, apparently

            “Where does a circle begin?”

            Yes, exactly.

            Every facet of society is ran as if nothing mattered, had no consequences, and was, ultimately, a performative theatre.

            Even warfare… (I’ll note that something similar was happening during WW1).


            It’s as if Rick Mayal, John Cleese and the Flying Circus trupe had taken over the west, except the damage and misery is real and not at all funny.

            Fact is, I’m finding it a bit difficult to watch old satire as everything seems to have come true and it now feels as if one watched a comedy that slowly turned into a grotesque documentary about the future.

        2. fresno dan

          No it was not, apparently
          April 7, 2021 at 12:41 pm

          My only point was to draw a distinction between how Barkley looks at the situation, which I think comes in part from his athletic background and that many people share – one can take the field, and lose, and still be friends. And I think Barkley hits the nail on the head as far a political manipulation goes.
          Your contention, and I don’t want to misstate, is that a loss in politics is a life or death matter? Does losing the filibuster fight demand war? Is every compromise a sell out? After the hostilities, are the republicans put in a gulag for re-education? If the current political system is bad (and I don’t think it is the most wonderful political system ever devised) would a revolution be better … were the Trump “insurrectionists” on the right track?
          And as you apparently you believe every western government is a charade, which government of the last 100 years do you believe has governed well? I think the Scandinavian countries have done well, but are they western? Maybe the key is being small…

          1. No it was not, apparently

            “how Barkley looks at the situation, which I think comes in part from his athletic background and that many people share”

            This Barkley fellow is a professional sportsman, correct? So, he is an over-paid non-worker in the US’ plutocracy’s entertainment sector, a millionaire in his own right and a member of an extremely privileged strata of society?

            What price then, does he pay for failure, when he “takes to the field,” what happens to him? Does he stop being a millionaire? Does he lose his mansion? Does he become destitute and starves?

            No, his employment is the very definition of a bullsh** job, and he only keeps doing it for fun and to make even more unnecessary millions (as for him this an easy and guaranteed way, as opposed to stock market casino, where he could also lose money).

            I should note, that I have no clue as to what his opinions on political manipulation are, nor would I care much about what an entertainer would have to say about it, given, you know, that entertainment sector (and its employees) is (are) crucial in manipulating the populace attention away from real politics (known as “economy”).

            “Your contention, and I don’t want to misstate, is that a loss in politics is a life or death matter?”

            Indeed; as you seem unconvinced of this, consider the following examples:

            – A) factory is closed, the town, fully dependent on it for its economy, is now forced to essentially close down (with everyone losing their – supposedly comfortable – lives), or everyone can just wait around until they finally starve to death.

            *(a note: here in Europe, we really don’t believe in moving away from place of birth, having to leave your hometown mostly isn’t considered an acceptable life outcome and is considered a form of immiseration).

            – B) town hospital is closed, forcing citizens to seek medical help in a remote location, delaying emergency response, etc…

            – C) powerplant is built, forcing people to relocate, or reducing quality of life (perhaps severely) if they can’t move.

            – And I need not even go end explore the consequences of classic government service failures in US (poor and scaling back welfare policies, poor or non-existent public healthcare and schools, etc.,)

            As you can see, real policy has real consequences, victims’ lives can be completely tossed upside down, or they may even lose their lives.

            Politics is not a matter where you can lose and then “shrug your shoulders and mutter about the next election”; that isn’t how human rights (limited work time, pensions, right to union organizing, public housing, etc., etc.,) were won, nor can they be defended by graciously permitting the right wing (democrats, labourists) or extreme right wing (republicans, tories) to scale back workers’ rights while extending the power of ruling plutocracy.

            Oh, and by the way, the consequences of any real left-wing, pro-workers policy would leave the rich and their comprador technocrat elites bereft of their privilege, wealth, and power – they have good reason to oppose any improvement of the system as even those of them who wouldn’t find themselves answering the questions of the working class in rapid-court hearings, would certainly see the reduction in fun, pleasure, and entertainment as a fate worse than death.

            So, no need to worry, neither Nancy, nor Mitch will lift a finger to improve general life conditions in the US, as the people who they really represent don’t need that, they need those beneath them properly disciplined and kept obedient.

            “And as you apparently you believe every western government is a charade, which government of the last 100 years do you believe has governed well?”

            This is not a belief, it’s a fact; as you cannot actually allow for general democracy, the result would be chaos; if any system pretends to be democratic, it is merely using a series of propaganda tricks to keep educated people happy, as this is vastly better than open violence and all regimes prefer to keep costs and damage down.

            So whilst you have understood the point well, your question doesn’t follow; US isn’t problematic because it would be a charade (if it worked – and it doesn’t – it would be a good thing as it would allow for lower violence and greater harmony), it’s problematic because it seeds destruction and chaos worldwide and has now become so incompetent that it even pushes its own core “citizens” into third-world levels of destitution.

      2. psv

        I was glad to see Barkley say this. I’ve felt this way about divide and conquer for a long time.

        As a former copy editor, I can’t help noting the capitalization style rules – “white” and “Black” is used three times in the article. That would be a thorn in the eye if I were correcting a text. Is it gray or Gray? (joke). Of course I know this is connected to US identity politics issues, but what sort of logic justifies this? What does it tell a reader?

        I note that “rich and poor” are lower case – which I’d read as reflecting economic status not being a valid identity box, as others here have noted.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Saying or writing “Black” and “white” is a Social Justice Wokenon signifier. Saying “black” and “white” or saying “Black” and “White” is a signifier of one’s rejection of Social Justice Wokenormative hegemony, and might well show a willingness to carry the battle to the heart of the Social Justice Wokenormative hegemonist enemy.

        2. Aomoa

          It should be noted that “Caucasian” is capitalized. So maybe there’s a little more to it than ‘woke signifying’.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            “Caucasian” should mean ” from or of the Caucasus Mountain region”. But it got hijacked by racialist theorists who wanted a snootier-sounding word for ” White”. (The only way to correct that misappropriation of the word “Caucasian” at this point would be to surrender it to the racialist theorists and invent the word ” Caucasiastani” for people from ” Caucasiastan” . . . the Caucasus Mountain region.)

            So capitalising “Caucasian” is ‘academic intellectual superiority signifying’.

            But capitalising “Black” while lower-casing “white” is strictly and only a Social Justice Wokeness Display. And insisting on society’s acceptance of that capital-letter-racial-assignment-disparity is an expression of Social Justicentric Wokenormative Hegemonism-enforcement.

            ( How’m I doing? Am I learning how to handle the Vampire’s language? Am I showing how to dismantle the Vampire’s Castle with the Vampire’s own tools)?

  4. allan

    Southwest braces for water cutbacks as drought deepens along the Colorado River [AZ Central]

    Unrelenting drought and years of rising temperatures due to climate change are pushing the long-overallocated Colorado River into new territory, setting the stage for the largest mandatory water cutbacks to date.

    Lake Mead, the biggest reservoir on the river, has declined dramatically over the past two decades and now stands at just 40% of its full capacity. This summer, it’s projected to fall to the lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s following the construction of Hoover Dam.

    The reservoir near Las Vegas is approaching a threshold that is expected to trigger a first-ever shortage declaration by the federal government for next year, leading to substantial cuts in water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. …

    The soils across the watershed remain parched and will soak up some of the melting snow this spring and summer. The amount of water that flows into Lake Powell at the Utah-Arizona state line over the next four months is projected to be only about 45% of the long-term average and among the lowest totals in years. …

    I’m old enough to remember when there was so much runoff in 1982 that
    the emergency spillways at Glen Canyon Dam were seriously damaged.

    Somewhere, Edward Abbey is saying I told you so.

    1. cocomaan

      If you’re into narco noir science fiction, The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi describes the future of the American southwest pretty well. Not a fan of everything in the book but the water rights and scarcity portrayal is on point.

    2. Wukchumni

      The first couple years of the current drought in Cali have the feel of the late worst stage of the 5 year bout last decade, things are drying up very quickly here, and on a side note in regards to all that glitters, golden poppies put in their worst performance ever this spring, you’d see the odd patch here & there, but nothing like last year’s Golconda where we saw vast hillsides richly veined that had never had anything in the way of paydirt previously.

      It’ll be a banner year for trusting that subsidence will go into hyperdrive here-as virtually all nourishment will come from underworld connections.

      On the drive down Hwy 99 last week, noticed that orchardists have been very aggressive in planting new hires, you used to see lots of empty land adjacent to the highway, but its all being filled in now.

      It’s a strange look, everything not depending on the hand of man to water it, has a tired hangdog look about it, while the orchards look fit as a fiddle.

      Farmers are hep to things drying up, a 30 year old mature citrus orchard I drive by all the time was ripped out a fortnight ago with the trees left in piles, and I noticed yesterday that the 15 or so large burn piles were merely cinders, with new Navel movements coming in soon. Young orange trees use a lot less water than old ones.

    3. freebird

      Meanwhile, yesterday drove by yet new acreage in NM and AZ plowed and planted, with accompanying dust devils and dust storms, so that someone can grow yet more nut trees and alfalfa, sucking the rivers and aquifers dry, so ‘we’ can export nuts to Asia and fodder to Saudi Arabia.

    4. Utah

      The problem is exacerbated by the fact that water is over allocated to cities and farmers because water rights were being associated during a wet period. And also my great state of Utah wants to take the water that they haven’t been using but are technically allocated because now we’re in a megadrought. So that leaves less for the other states. I think that glen canyon dam needs to be drained, personally. That water would then raise Lake Mead to a functional capacity.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Anasazi were 10 years into their 50 year bout with drought when they gave up and split Chaco Canyon in NM 900 odd years ago, never to return.

        All they had was surface water when the big dry came, we can prolong things by declaring eminent domain on other people’s water under the aegis of aridity-which would be the death of orchards, the dominant non smoke able cash crop in Cali

        …if only there was a new world limited edition to help us out of a jam, I heard a NFW flagon of Flint sold for $4,350 online last week, so there’s hope

        If you had to relocate the southwest, would you repopulate things in such a fashion as the US Government did with Vietnamese immigrants, in spacing them out all over the country?

        This was done with all blocs of immigrants after we’d realized the error in the Cuban influx after Castro, which forever tilted the nature of politics in Florida, man.

        1. Alex Cox

          And Biden has just given all undocumented Venezuelans the right to reside in the US, which guarantees us another angry, right-wing Florida constituency and an ever-rightward foreign policy drift.

            1. ambrit

              Actually very good. A lot of water hazards, as one would expect. Less worry about alligators than in my day. Mom says that the pythons and boa constrictors are eating up even the alligators now.
              I was a Par Three level player, but I did have fun out on the links, with my four club bag. (I would play the local course after hours. If you didn’t do damage to the course, the keepers would usually not figure it out.)

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Are they eating mostly the smaller ones and preventing them from ever even getting big?

                The answer to boas and pythons in Florida might be to find ways to make boa meat and python meat accepted as good to eat. Python pilaus and boa barbecues. Eat them to extinction.

        2. Gc54

          Canada awaits … only a question of when the migration north starts to all those blackfly lakes. Too bad no soil. Damn those glaciers …

    5. crittermom

      Yesterday was a first for me. Here in southern Colorado, I received an alert on my flip phone warning of severe dust storms that would bring visibility down to zero at times. My first alert regarding that.
      They were correct. The wind was so strong all day that it rearranged many things on the property & I was apprehensive to step outside for fear of being hit by flying debris. Blinding dust from morning till night.

      Not surprising, I suppose. It’s always dry here in the valley & the drought has only made it worse. Our well has once again been sucking in some sand now & again. Even after the pump was raised last year due to the same problem.

      We’re surrounded by crop circles that grow potatoes, with hemp farms just a little farther south.
      Since the legalization of marijuana here in 2012, many pot farms in my immediate vicinity, as well.
      Much water being sucked from the ground, but none falling from the sky.

      The monsoon season never came last year, with very little snow over the winter. I find myself beginning to welcome any mud season we may experience this Spring, as that would mean rain.

      Oh, how I miss living @ 10,000′ in the mountains, where I was so happy for twenty years! It was green, with wildflowers & lots of trees.
      Not so here.

      1. tegnost

        The comments by you, crittermom, and utah have have me wondering about what the downstreamers in SoCal are going to be faced with

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Water flows towards money. SoCal will be fine. Others with less money will not be so fine.

    6. Michael Fiorillo

      Time to start buying empty lots in cities from Duluth, Minn. to Rochester, NY: an adequately-watered region, with infrastructure already in place to receive climate refugees from the Southwest in the coming years.

  5. Mark Gisleson

    Very worried about Craig Murray’s immediate future, more so after reading his latest and learning that Russiagate (the lie that refuses to die) has now come to Scotland.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’d share those fears. He is incredibly brave and has real integrity, but I think he’s become a genuine problem for the establishment. I also believe he is not the healthiest. The guilty verdict in his trial for contempt of court was ridiculous and should have been laughed out of the court. The establishment seem determined to silence him.

      I have to say though, the way in which the radical threat of the SNP has been so effectively neutralised is a masterclass in how to exercise real power and eliminate dissenting voices. The London ‘blob’ or whatever you want to call it, still knows a few neat tricks.

      1. paul

        The London ‘blob’ or whatever you want to call it, still knows a few neat tricks.

        ..and it’s all hands to the wheel to bolster the mini blob in the SNP, pretty much a blanket blackout on TV of Alex Salmond’s new party and hit pieces like this today in the ‘guardian’ and this one in the times are going to be in plentiful supply.

        The mini-blob are petrified by his return, he’s performing well and they are reacting badly.

        They’re doing their best to shore up the unionists with their nonsensical both votes SNP nonsense, while he is actually shoring them up among the the disaffected with the SNP/ALBA both votes yes strategy.

        PS A donation to Craig will be useful, justice in the face of the crown is not cheap here.

  6. Brian (another one they call)

    Is it strange that Ms. Johnstone, Mr’s Taibbi, Greenwald, Escobar are the press today? How does one justify the stories coming from the famous names and their mouth organs in this light?
    How can we expect the rich and famous to care about news when they are paid to print? I certainly don’t want to limit the group above as the only news, as there are others that are not fettered by their chains of currency. For the sake of discussion, why do we look to financial press to bring us stories about anything but the currency? Does the financial press care about the accuracy of what they print about currency, for currency?
    Are independent doctors, reporters, politico’s the only ones we can afford to trust?

    1. JTMcPhee

      And not even then, without a lot of careful due diligence. Think of all the Trusted Reporters who took CIA money to tilt the Narrative toward the Great American Imperial Centuries?

      But then the CIA and the equivalents in other countries all play that game, MI6, Mossad, Turks, Nigerians, Bolsonaro, you name it. The b@st@rds win by sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt everywhere, and nudging us in what seem to be random directions that all end up with the Few owning everything and doing whatever they damn please, free of consequence or retribution.

      “We will know our program of disinformation is complete when everything the American people believe is false…” Spun, in recent years, to get us to believe that Casey was just making a little joke, heh heh…

  7. Duck1

    Apparently the date is still April 1:
    Jeff Bezos Backs Corporate Tax-Rate Increase and Infrastructure Plan WSJ

    (I admit I haven’t read the article, since WSJ no subscription have I.)

      1. Procopius

        Yeah, but Bezos can support raising the tax rate because Amazon doesn’t pay any taxes anyway. And I’m so old I remember when the corporate tax rate was 52% (1960).

  8. barefoot charley

    The New Yorker’s once-legendary fact-checking and copy-editing, from the Theroux piece: “eight years before he died, in 2018, we became friends again.”

    Wish this were still a wowser.

    1. Jeff W

      “He” here refers to V. S. Naipaul who died in 2018 so, presumably, eight years before that, in 2010, Paul Theroux and Naipaul became friends again. (It seems it was actually seven years before, unless the two had an earlier unreported rapprochement.)

      The phrasing is a little difficult to parse—at first, we can’t tell if the 2018 refers to the year that Naipaul died (it does) or the time “eight years before” when Theroux and Naipaul became friends again—and should have been copy-edited on that basis alone—but, since 2026 hasn’t occurred yet, it really can’t be the latter.

      (Is it OK to have two consecutive phrases set off by em dashes? Well, I’m not writing for The New Yorker.)

  9. The Rev Kev

    “EU to Turkey: Human rights issues are nonnegotiable ”

    So, I guess that after Turkey is done with, the EU will be reading the riot act to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf States with how they treat their people and their human rights.

      1. Basil Pesto

        on the other hand, it was almost certainly human rights jurisprudence that led to Baraitser J deciding not to extradite him to the US, however much she might have liked to. The UK, of course, is no longer part of the EU.

        I have no doubt Assange will go to the ECHR eventually, but one of the procedural requirements is that domestic court processes be exhausted (so that the ECHR isn’t seen to be unduly interfering simultaneously with the legal system of its member countries), and as a result, it could sadly be a long wait.

    1. David

      Well, Turkey has wanted to join the EU for thirty years now, against opposition from a whole lot of countries, including of course Greece. As the article tries to explain (not very well, perhaps) this controversy is really about how close a relationship Turkey is going to be allowed to have with the EU, and in return for what concessions on their part. Membership would be impossible with Turkey’s current human rights record, and even closer association would be difficult. The Gulf States are not, of course, applying for membership.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      As long as the TurkeyGov wants EU membership for Turkey, then the EU might be meaning that human rights are non-negotiable for Turkey getting to enter the EU.

      Since KSA was never going to apply for EU membership, the question doesn’t come up for KSA in the same way as for Turkey.

  10. semiconscious

    re: Covid-19 raises risk of depression and dementia, study suggests BBC

    from the article:

    The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, was observational. So the researchers couldn’t say whether Covid had caused any of the diagnoses – and some people would have had a stroke or depression in the next six months regardless…

    ‘the science’…

    1. Maritimer

      Yes, yet more “science” on which to base a logical, rational decision on an experimental treatment.

  11. Fireship


    Such a quintessentially American story: Buffoonery, hustling, police violence all in one. Some days I think I must be reading Morris Berman’s Why America Failed blog when I’m actually reading the NC links.

  12. tegnost

    US right to know…

    Dr. Folta wrote to a Monsanto executive, “I’m glad to sign on to whatever you like, or write whatever you like.”

    Science! Trust the Scientists!

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Yellen calls for minimum global corporate income tax”

    Not sure how this is going to fly in all those other countries. It would mean that they would have to restructure their economy to suit the US economy – for no gain. The US could organize an effort to crack down on all those tax havens like came out in the Panama Papers but that would mean that the wealthy and corporations would have to pay their taxes and I don’t think that they want to do that. As the following article mentions, this is the sort of thing that Trump would have come up with-

    Like the colours of that bird in today’s Antidote du Jour by the way. Really sharp those.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Yep, thanks for the link to the post about the treatment of Julian Assange that discussed the values of the invisible policy elite versus the values they profess to hold. His many years of incarceration under the equivalent of house arrest in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and his subsequent imprisonment under the harsh conditions of the notorious Belmarsh Prison reveal what that group truly fears, which is the courage to publicly speak truth they want to keep suppressed, together with supporting evidence that lies outside the bounds of their controlled media. The Panama Papers likewise provided revelation.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Biden and the Democrats Are Getting Serious About Raising Corporate Taxes

    Just as soon as they get all the loopholes baked in. Wake me up when any large corporations actually pay more than a pittance.

    And Biden says – “… I’m talking about building high speed rail; that’s infrastructure.”

    Been hearing that for decades from any number of politicians. Maybe those high speed trains will be powered by cold fusion which we should be getting any day now too.

    Just go back to sleep Joe – Build Back Bedder.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Taxes do not fund federal government expenditures. Rinse, repeat.

      And here we are, falling into the PayGo hole.

      Taxes, I read, are instruments of policy, and used to circulate money in an economy.

      Please correct me if any of that is wrong.

  15. mrsyk

    “Can Biden Finally Get Immigration Reform Passed?” Doubtful. For me, meaningful immigration reform would highlight the reforming of US foreign policy driving it. Not gonna happen. IMHO future policy here is only going to get stricter and stricter as basic resources become scarce. I wouldn’t be surprised to see water rich states beginning to explore ways to control the inflow of fellow citizens from drought stricken areas. Disclaimer: I woke up in a particularly pessimistic mood today.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I think water rich states might want enough people moving in from desert states to tip the demographic power balance more back to water rich states.

      Given what the demographic power balance now is, the desert states will be conspiring to take all the water physically away from the water rich states, through things like NAWAPA and etc.

  16. Raymond Sim

    Regarding the Indian ‘Supermodel’ – I suspect the model mostly gets it right. I think it’s the immunology of Covid-19 that’s misunderstood.

    I would submit for everyone’s consideration that a prevalence figure double usual estimates was, and so far as I know, continues to be consistent with available hard data. What’s inconsistent is the notion that high prevalence would yield some measure of ‘herd immunity’.

    In my opinion, the current pattern of the pandemic, including the ascent to dominance (note I didn’t say ’emergence’) of the various ACE-2 affinity enhanced variants, in many places, via diverse mutations is consistent with the following hypotheses:

    1) Many, many asymptomatic, or at least effectively asymptomatic, cases. Maybe 40%?

    2) Prevalence of infection about double what’s usually posited for modeling.

    3) Frequent reinfection of, and transmission by previously infected persons with waning serum immunity. I use ‘frequent’ here to connote ‘definitely not extremely rare.’

    4) A virus that generates a lot of mutations – note that this doesn’t necessarily imply we would see a lot of mutations in infected persons. The dynamics and rigors of viral competition during replication and transmission may be very unforgiving.

    Note that when grown in cultured cells the virus tends to evolve enhanced ACE-2 affinity. It appears that, absent the rigors of transmission, it is advantageous. So you might expect viral particles with various kinds of enhanced binding to be kicking around lots of places.

    Enhanced ACE-2 affinity also correlates with evasion of naturally acquired immunity.

    Thus, under my hypotheses what’s going on is this: In lots of places the population has reached ‘herd immunity’ except that isn’t a thing. Instead of the epidemic dying out, many people with waning immunity are reinfected, this refreshes their immunity, eventually ‘herd immunity’ is raised to the point where variants with higher ACE-2 binding affinity have a decisive advantage – and off we go!

    Okay, I got the first Pfizer jab a couple days ago and I gotta lie down for a while. If anybody is interested in this I’ll try to respond with at least maybe some pertinent links.

    1. Cuibono

      i think the evidence supports your conjectures here mostly. Not this one: “3) Frequent reinfection of, and transmission by previously infected persons with waning serum immunity. I use ‘frequent’ here to connote ‘definitely not extremely rare.’” I have only seen 2 in 700 so far. Early days yet of course.

      1. Raymond Sim

        In what context have the 2 in 700 occured?

        My impression, circa October 2020 here in California, was that outside the hardest hit areas like Imperial County, reinfection could plausibly account for something like 20% of cases without this being immediately apparent to clinicians.

        I see this as more a function of the quality of the available public health data than the skill of the doctors.

        1. Cuibono

          well, i keep records on 700 people who were infected once. two of them twice. not too hard to do but i agree most are not doing it

          1. Raymond Sim


            If we just had a proper fix on the numbers of asymptomatic cases we would almost certainly know vastly more about what the future holds.

            Were any of the primary cases asymptomatic? Any sense from patient accounts whether some of the 698 could actually second infections, the first being mild or asymptomatic? I hear and read a lot of suggestive anecdotes, but not from a database of 700.

            It seems to me I’m seeing rather a lot of anecdotal accounts from various countries, using various vaccines, of fully vaccinated hcw’s testing positive without symptoms, but it could easily be confirmation bias.

        2. Michaelmas

          @ Raymond Sim —

          All your conjectures seem quite plausible to me. I’ve had similar thoughts.

          I see this as more a function of the quality of the available public health data than the skill of the doctors.

          If not in the US, in the UK the testing regime coming into force there should tell us more soon.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Are you mathematically inclined? There’s a video presentation by Prof. Julia Gog I found very enlightening.

            She discusses the ramifications vaccination policy might have on encouraging/discouraging new variants, to which end she expounds on the dynamics of the epidemic.

            I’m not finding the link at the moment, but if it’s of interest I’ll make a better effort.

    1. Pelham

      Tankus makes some good points but then he says platforms must apply some standards to the content they carry. OK. So who makes up those standards and applies them? The record so far suggests well hidden and completely unaccountable authorities exercise a blend of enormous biases and impenetrable mysteries in their decision-making.

      An alternative: Two distinct online categories — platforms and publishers. Platforms would exercise no authority over their content and bear no legal liability for it. Publishers would exercise complete authority over their content and bear complete legal liability, just like publishers in any other medium.

      1. tegnost

        I think moving platforms is entirely appropriate in that an ecosystem should imo have more diverse options and like newspapers of old, each platform can develop it’s genre and authors can seek venues they feel comfortably a part of, so more platforms is good but for myself the platforms need to be liable for it to work. Unfortunately, as a society we’re still sort of stuck in the “One Platform to Rule Them All” mode and ubiquity (in the form of cell phones) is the name of the game. It seems like a good move for Tankus to make.

    2. molon labe

      Tankus seems to think that opinion should be edited, rather just facts. The article and links are a good example of why the answer to disagreeable speech is more speech rather than less.

    3. Astrid

      Good riddance. I never finished anything he ever wrote, despite the NC seal of approval. “Cancelling” opinions that he disagrees with just showed what a bad egg he really was. Glad I didn’t waste too much time trying to take him seriously.

  17. Cuibono

    “Live all you can,” Lambert Strether says in “The Ambassadors.” I’ve done my best, and so the gloom of “the life unlived” in the work (and life) of Henry James is not a mood that I share. I have seized every chance that I’ve been offered, and some I’ve snatched; many of my choices were reckless, some of them colossal blunders, resulting in a different kind of regret—the regret of excess, of having been a greedy fool.”

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