Links 4/8/2021

Mulligan? Golfers consult rule book after ball lands on alligator’s back at SC course Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘a Chinese Financial Weapon’ at Virtual Roundtable Bloomberg

Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? Silicon Valley Has Bet Billions It Will Newsweek. Actual blood-sucking parasites! Intriguing!

Record rise in global methane emissions in 2020 FT

Analysis: High stakes at sea in global rush for wind power Reuters

Emerging Markets Need a Savior. It’s Not the Fed John Authers, Bloomberg

Greenland elections: Left-wing opposition Inuit Ataqatigiit party wins snap vote Euronews. “According to the US Geological Survey, the sparsely inhabited island has the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of rare-earth metals.” No wonder Trump wanted to buy it.

Party like it’s 2045? Thin Ink. On food. Well worth a read.

#COVID19

Escaping Catch-22 — Overcoming Covid Vaccine Hesitancy NEJM. “[B]efore you attempt to persuade, try to understand.” Well worth a read.

* * *

CDC Director on reports of clusters of cases associated with daycares and youth sports KMOV. For many, sports were the #1 reason to open the schools. In any case, I suppose that now this sentence — “The occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in schools reflects transmission in the surrounding community” — from CDC’s school re-opening guidance is now inoperative? Who could have known…

The Next Trick: Pulling Coronavirus Out of Thin Air NYT. From March, still germane.

* * *

6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records The Lancet. This is the study that’s being headlined as “brain disease” with inflated figures, because (in my view unfortunately) “neurological and psychiatric outcomes” are combined. Here is a handy chart that separates the two:

Interim report: Safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in healthy chilean adults in a phase 3 clinical trial (preprint) medRxiv. CoronaVac. n = 434. From the Interpretation: “Immunization with CoronaVac in a 0-14 schedule in adults of 18 years and older in the Chilean population is safe and induces specific IgG production against the S1-RBD with neutralizing capacity, as well as the activation of T cells secreting IFN-γ, upon recognition of SARS-CoV-2 antigens.” Two doses are needed, however.

In rare instances, AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine linked to blood clots, regulators say STAT

* * *

Why US coronavirus tracking can’t keep up with concerning variants Nature

SARS-CoV-2 is detectable using sensitive RNA saliva testing days before viral load reaches detection range of low-sensitivity nasal swab tests (preprint) medRxiv. From the abstract: “SARS-CoV-2 RNA first appears in saliva and then in nasal-swab samples.”

* * *

Top Official Warned That Covid Vaccine Plant Had to Be ‘Monitored Closely’ NYT

Global Vaccine Equity Is Much More Important Than ‘Vaccine Passports’ Scientific American

China?

China’s bitcoin mines could derail carbon neutrality goals, study says South China Morning Post

China weighs carrots and sticks in push to vaccinate millions Agence France Presse

China’s Film Authority Orders All Cinemas to Screen Propaganda Films at Least Twice a Week Variety. In this country, we don’t need to be told!

Myanmar

Relations between China and Myanmar have long been fraught, resulting in imperial invasions and wars South China Morning Post

Myanmar’s Junta Has a New Problem. Diplomats Abroad Are Joining the Resistance. Vice. From my armchair at 30,000 feet: Why not occupy an embassy and then set up a government in exile?

How Myanmar’s post-coup violence is transforming a generation Nikkei Asian Review

Mutual aid:

More onCNN bigfooting Myanmar, a thread:

Ward’s deployment of identity politics as a defense is quite striking.

Cambodia’s Angkor site shut for 2 weeks to curb coronavirus AP

Thailand detects first domestic cases of UK coronavirus variant – expert Reuters

Indonesia’s Jokowi Wants Growth. And Something More Bloomberg. More:

The central question is whether a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands and atolls, astride the Pacific and Indian oceans, needs to extract all the carbon trapped for thousands of years in its peaty wetlands. Everything else — from putting more palm oil in biodiesel and setting up fewer coal-fired plants to decongesting the sinking capital city, Jakarta — will emanate from that vision.

Widodo wants to demonstrate that he’s serious about making up for lost time with new regulations expected later this year. The world’s top exporter of thermal coal finally sees the need to put the right price on carbon, tax it properly, and plow resources into a barely tapped reservoir of renewable power. But a low-carbon future is difficult in a resource-rich nation with entrenched business interests.

Peat, eh? (See NC here, here, and here.)

India

Maharashtra raises alarm: stocks running out, may have to pause Covid vaccination India Express

Is India’s vaccine diplomacy hurting its fight against Covid? Times of India

Coming to terms with Gandhi’s complicated legacy Al Jazeera

Syraqistan

Jordan’s King Abdullah describes ‘most painful’ royal rift BBC

The Latest Reported Israeli Attack on an Iranian Ship Seems Like a Deliberate Escalation Haaretz

Iraq: Paramilitaries feeling the heat as Kadhimi steps up moves against them Middle East Eye

Questions about BBC producer’s ties to UK intelligence follow ‘Mayday’ White Helmets whitewash The Grayzone

China’s Iran Deal Is Just the Beginning The National Interest

Brazil prostitutes strike for first-line Covid shots Agence France Presse

AMLO’s Teflon: an opposition divided, masterful PR and common touch Mexico News Daily

Former Bolivian VP Álvaro García Linera on How Socialists Can Win Jacobin

Undocumented Venezuelans Given Protected Status In United States NPR (Alex Cox). Swell. More gusanos? (If I have the slang for “reactionary dregs” correct).

Brexit

Nematodes become latest casualty of post-Brexit trade glitches FT

UK/EU

NI violence must stop ‘before somebody is killed’ – Coveney RTE

Loyalists planning more protest parades Irish Times

‘Dishonesty’ over Brexit fuelled loyalist anger, says Stormont minister Guardian. And speaking of Brexit, I’m no Brexit maven, so I present this Venn diagram as grist for those who are:

French winemakers set candles and straw ablaze to save vines from frost Reuters

Biden Administration

Biden Can Go Bigger and Not ‘Pay for It’ the Old Way Stephanie Kelton, NYT (Furzy Mouse).

Biden on “caregiving infrastructure”:

A Better Corporate Tax for America Janet Yellen, WSJ. Yellen comments:

Big if true, since this would halt or even reverse financialization.

US offers new plan in global corporate tax talks FT

1 big thing: Dimon calls on companies to be policymakers Axios. Oh.

Corporate America tears down Biden’s infrastructure plan Politico

Police State Watch

NYPD “Goon Squad” Manual Teaches Officers To Violate Protesters’ Rights The Intercept

Our Famously Free Press

Substack shows publishers the value of journalists FT

Imperial Collapse Watch

Freedom Rider: The U.S. Can’t Control the World Black Agenda Report

Class Warfare

Amazon union drive in Bessemer, Alabama:

It’s great that Kim Kelly is there, but why is Teen Vogue’s labor reporter the only one on the ground? I guess real journalists are too busy sitting with their feet up on their desks, servicing their Washington contacts…

Complaint may spur review of meat industry’s virus response Star-Tribune

Small businesses versus the platforms The Counterbalance

Take On Wall Street With Local Banking The American Conservative

Sun, sea and cybernauts: the long road for Greece’s digital nomads Reuters. Interestingly, countries seem to be competing on visas for digital nomads.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

165 comments

  1. IM Doc

    With regard to the blood transfusion for aging article.

    Don’t laugh – that is a very real phenomenon. There are multiple kids on a full ride at Stanford. They just have to donate a pint to billionaire daddy every week or two. And only jocks need apply.

    It is all so California and all so bizarre.

    From a medical ethicist standpoint – can anyone explain the difference between this and vampirism? I have engaged students in this question for several years and no one has ever been able to call this anything but Nosferatu.

    We live in a madhouse.

    Reply
    1. Zamfir

      I thought you got turned into a vampire if you were bit by a vampire? These kids only go to Stanford, they do not directly become bloodsucking billionaires themselves.

      So at least we don’t have exponential growth of the problem, that’s worth something.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        They’re doing this crazy mess. And that means they think it’s acceotable.
        “Kids”??
        The reason they are picking college students is probably because they are 18.
        And of a certain circle because this some more BS.

        When this doesn’t work, the “kids” they use will get younger…and younger…

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Underground blood transfusions sounds to me like an excellent way to create a whole new set of pathogens.

      It reminds me of reading Tyler Hamilton’s biography. He was one of Lance Armstrongs wingmen, but after falling out of favour he went from EPO to blood transfusions. A dodgy doctor mixed up his samples and nearly killed Hamilton, not to mention the mismatched cells led to him getting busted.

      Reply
    3. shtove

      Interesting interview from last year with Irina and Michael Conboy, who experiment with existing methods of blood plasma replacement:

      Therapeutic plasma exchange can accomplish the same thing as specific targeting of systemic Beta-2 microglobulin, plus, as we publish, it can simultaneously normalize a number of age-elevated products, not just B2M. Commercialization of TPE as a repositioned therapy will be much faster and more effective, as compared to additional intricate specific devices or instruments. We are starting a company, which is called IMYu, focusing on the application of therapeutic plasma exchange and defined pharmacology for preventing, attenuating and reversing diseases of later years; applying designer approaches for combating a number of inflammatory fibrotic, degenerative and metabolic pathologies.

      The process is to eliminate inflammatory agents, corrupted proteins, and to lift their suppression of “so-called young factors.” Also a suggestion blood donation may partly produce the effect temporarily. And I like her final comment:

      Irina: I don’t know, I’m not a fan of such simplicity. I prefer to go from the other direction where you have a hypothesis, and you find a way to test that hypothesis. And then, science takes care of you because it tells you this is how it is instead of trying to drag science into a particular direction. Take care of science and science will take care of you.

      https://www.lifespan.io/news/diluting-blood-plasma-rejuvenates-old-mice/

      Reply
      1. giantsquid

        “Also a suggestion blood donation may partly produce the effect temporarily.”

        In fact, blood dilution seems to be as effective as receiving young blood in improving the health of elderly mice.

        “In the study, the team found that replacing half of the blood plasma of old mice with a mixture of saline and albumin — where the albumin simply replaces protein that was lost when the original blood plasma was removed — has the same or stronger rejuvenation effects on the brain, liver and muscle than pairing with young mice or young blood exchange.”

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200615115724.htm

        Reply
        1. shtove

          I guess the body eventually replaces the corrupted proteins with more of the same, so blood donation (or letting) probably can’t match plasma replacement. I keep donating.

          I believe the system of unpaid donations to the NHS UK are more effective at maintaining supply than the paid system in the US. Remove altruism, and the motive tends to fail.

          Reply
    4. Alfred

      It’s gone from “energy thieves” to the physical. If only Thiel et al. could figure out how not to have their own energy “stolen.”

      Reply
    5. Mikel

      I used to say youth is exhalted in order to exploit the young, especially with reference to advertising, marketing, some forms of entertainment.
      Now it’s gone to exhalting youth to consume them.

      Reply
    6. Mikel

      Coming back to this revelation and I’m thinking about the late Dick Gregory and some of his theories about the Atlanta child murders back in the 80s that I dismissed as too incredible to be true….

      Reply
    7. Edward

      This way these people can live long enough to set up their space colony in outer space.

      I am trying to remember if something like this has occurred historically. It sounds vaguely familiar.

      I have to say, though, that if this treatment actually works (a big if), it doesn’t sound automatically unethical to me, despite the symbolism and possibilities for abuse and issues of medical “haves” and “have-nots”.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        To quote William Burroughs:

        “We don’t like to hear the word “vampire” around here; we’re trying to improve our public image. Building a kindly, avuncular, benevolent image; “interdependence” is the keyword — “enlightened interdependence”.

        Life in all its rich variety, take a little, leave a little. However, by the inexorable logistics of the vampiric process they always take more than they leave — and why, indeed, should they take any?”

        Reply
    8. Maritimer

      More Medical push. In my jurisdiction, they passed an organ harvesting act to be implemented by, guess who, the Chief Medical Guy who has been managing the Government for over a year now.

      Under this act, you MUST OPT OUT to not donate. (Very little advertising that you can even opt out.) Anyone familiar with Big Tech and other corporate use of OPT OUT, knows how manipulative it is. You must identify yourself as a dissident, refusenik. Sounds familiar to anyone knowledgeable about masks and vaccines.

      And, there is no public info available as to how these organs are used, are they sold, are they traded, are they given to Big Pharma for research, to Tier 1 patients, etc.

      Move over Big Tobacco, Big War, Big Finance, Big Medicine is on the move.

      Reply
    9. Chas

      I recently read a novel by Chris Bohjalian called “The Night Strangers” which is built around this, what I’ll call, new vampirism. He builds a scary and somewhat credible story. A good read, but I’d be weary of every going to Littleton, N.H.

      Reply
    10. drumlin woodchuckles

      Every week or two? What is considered the safe long-term interval between blood donations for those civic minded citizens who donate blood to the Red Cross for years and years? Every week or two? Or every month? Or how long between donations?

      Reply
  2. Kurtismayfield

    It’s great that Kim Kelly is there, but why is Teen Vogue’s labor reporter the only one on the ground? I guess real journalists are too busy sitting with their feet up on their desks, servicing their Washington contacts…

    If they already know the outcome, why bother showing up? I highly doubt this will be successful, and allowing Amazon to contest hundreds of the ballots when the unionization needs a high percentage of yes votes tells you all you need about it’s prospects for success.

    Reply
    1. km

      It’s great that Kim Kelly is there, but why is Teen Vogue’s labor reporter the only one on the ground? I guess real journalists are too busy sitting with their feet up on their desks, servicing their Washington contacts…

      Up on the desks, servicing their Washington contacts?

      Reply
    1. Mikel

      Good one.
      I just thought as people have been sucked into techno-fuedslism, they’ve just devolved into other medieval pathologies (for lack of a better phrase). Isn’t soaking in the blood of the young attributed to degenerate”aristocrats” of the past?

      Reply
        1. Acacia

          Amongst the dozen film adaptations of the story of Countess Báthory, I’m a bit partial to Delphine Seyrig’s interpretation in the stylish 1971 Belgian horror film, Daughters of Darkness.

          Reply
  3. Howard Beale IV

    Translated article title: “They supplied us with another Sputnik V, the vaccines are connected only by the name, said the Slovak Medicines Office” – novinky.cz

    Reply
  4. Miami Mitch

    Biden…”It’s time we focus on our nation’s caregiving infrastructure — the kind of infrastructure that helps people build a better life and carve out their place in the middle class.”

    Competition, always with the competition. It’s a knife fight now just to get into the middle class. “Here are your knives, now get in our capitalism arena and battle!” The words people use reveal their psyche. Biden is a Republican through and through and I bet he will eventually get rid of Yellen for daring to Book Tax the corporations.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      The metaphor is flexible — my mental image was of someone chiseling away at a mountain of granite to create a small niche for him/herself.

      Either way, it doesn’t change the reality that “middle class” is a lot harder to reach or stay in than it used to be.

      And it would seem that our rulers, including JB, prefer it that way.

      Reply
          1. skippy

            Wellie in that paradigm the point of binary exchange determines utility, value, price, and most important of all ***INFORMATION*** which can be used by others to define reality and rationally[tm] position themselves accordingly E.g. those that lose are ***IRRATIONAL*** and serve as a behavioral conditioning tool to move the unwashed too light[tm] ….

            Reply
            1. Alfred

              “serve as a behavioral conditioning tool”
              Ah, I am terrible at that–being totally unembarrassable and dis-agreeable, and argumentative, though I do wash. I never fit the paradigm of defined reality, yet here I am somehow, though my continued existence might be thought arrogant. Thanks for explaining so thoroughly.

              Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Every time I hear joe biden stumble through some policy or other concerning the “elderly,” I wonder what dr. jill must be dishing after a couple glasses of chardonnay at lunch with her lady friends:

      “GIRL! The stories I could tell…”

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        Meanwhile, real infrastructure in the Biden plan gets only $700 billion over several years, a tiny fraction of the $4 trillion needed immediately to just bring things back to last century’s standards.

        But here’s the thing: I’m sure that those who are really running the country understand quite well that we would need to spend on the order of $10 trillion or $14 trillion to truly put the country on good footing for the 21st century and begin to deal at least semi-realistically with the climate crisis. And even if they’re still a bit concerned about the national debt (and they probably aren’t), they know very well that infrastructure ultimately pays for itself. In this context, Biden’s pittance at this very late stage is revealing.

        It’s now completely reasonable to conclude that these elites, whoever they may be, have truly and definitively abandoned the US and see their fortunes and future from only a globalist perspective, perhaps intent on securing land holdings for themselves and their progeny in the new temperate zones that will arise in the latter half of the century, well away from climate refugees and with secure perimeters.

        Given the constraints represented by what we need to do and is not being done to avoid climate catastrophe and the likelihood that the global extend-and-pretend economic crisis is finally reaching its ragged end, it’s also reasonable to conclude that the future planned for the rest of is one in which we officially become permanent debt serfs.

        The danger is that we reflexively shy away from this conclusion and yield to the temptation to attribute the impending disaster to misguided policies and stupidity. It’s vital instead that we entertain the notion and even the probability that our demise is being implemented by supremely well informed, brilliant and malevolent people. As Lambert says, everything is going as planned.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Everything is going according to plan”

          Originally a Russian punk song, but I like this version better.

          And I agree about the elites. Everything so far as been a stopgap measure done on the cheap, from the $2000 that turned into $1400 to no minimum wage to the underpowered “Jobs” plan (I can never remember Biden’s name for it). All stop gaps, sold under the rubric of “Build Back Better.”

          Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Thanks.

        I thought it was literally translated as “raw material for building america’s ‘caregiver’ caste…er…I mean ‘infrastructure.’ “

        Reply
  5. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Irish Oireachtas Health commitee on Vitamin D & it’s recommendations for national use – John Campbell talks it through in his latest video.

    https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/press-centre/press-releases/20210407-oireachtas-health-committee-launches-report-on-addressing-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-ireland/#:~:text=The%20Joint%20Committee%20on%20Health,established%20to%20address%20that%20deficiency

    Personally after taking Vit D for a year, I know for a fact that my emergence from Winter this year has been much less sloth like than usual.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      They’ve certainly taken their time about it. I’m glad I have my stocks.

      I think it should be emphasised that the evidence that it helps with Covid is not proven, or even demonstrated to any high degree. But there is years of research pointing to D being effective at boosting the immune system against a variety of viruses, and being safe to take.

      Reply
      1. jonboinAR

        I only know this. In December, my wife had Covid. I spent 2 weeks in quarantine with her. I didn’t contract it. She had a quite mild case. She was taking vitamin D and zinc supplements. I was pounding both zinc and D (higher doses than she was taking) before, during and after her illness. I still take a lot of both. As her main medication she was given a steroid shot, but I don’t know what it was. She thinks it helped a lot. Just an anecdote, but true. Take it for whatever it’s worth.

        Reply
        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          I think that there is enough evidence which should have led to the institutional gatekeepers of the gold standard for proof, running trials for certain possible treatments in a manner that would satisfy their own requirements. Even then proof appears to be somewhat flexible in relation to these bodies, as in not the same standard applied to Remdisivir as has been applied to Ivermectin, the latter of which was also failed due to a 2:1 ratio in a control group that was seen as being just fine for the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.

          Large trials are expensive & it appears to me to need a return on investment like pretty much everything else it seems. Of course it is good that there is the approved trial method available but judging by certain items that I assume have been cleared in the above way, there are also a relative few products that have been proven if only in the longer term to be shown as being outright dangerous, like Merck’s Vioxx & what about Thalidomide, how was Oxycontin approved, are systemic weedkillers put through the same rigour ? There appear to be large question marks directed at products like aspartame, sugar & trans fats that appear to be ignored or just not worth looking into.

          Personally I don’t trust the system as I believe that it has been compromised much in the same way that it has been in other areas – particularly in finance. I don’t think that the present methodology especially if there is possible conflict of interest covers the whole spectrum of available evidence, which in my case after spending months looking into certain possibilities, due mainly to the vulnerability of my partner, has also been informed by applying Cui Bono, looking at the history, observational data / personal experiences & that old survival technique of applied common sense, which of course doesn’t mean that I am correct in my conclusions in regard to the best way to survive the pandemic, but so far so good.

          The standards applied to prove causation are extremely important but in this screwed up world, I don’t consider them to be the only game in town, particularly as throughout this crisis there appears to be much in the way of evidence or proof that those running the show(s), have other priorities than the health of the majority of those that they lord over.

          Reply
  6. SOMK

    Re: Northern Ireland Riots

    RTÉ receive plenty of justified praise here for their coverage of Brexit, but leave a lot to be desired in their coverage of the North (among other things), in particular as the Irish media and political class would like nothing more than to do a Corbyn on Sinn Fein’s electoral chances in the Republic.

    From the article:

    “The unrest has been attributed to tension in loyalist communities over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI’s handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Féin politicians at the funeral last year of senior republican Bobby Storey.”

    This is certainly how it been spun, with DUP leader Arlene Foster similarly calling Sinn Fein “the real law breakers”, (amusingly a sitting Fine Gael TD was caught ‘liking’ said tweet and resorted to blaming the old slippery thumb) However it does seem a bit strange that something as relatively innocuous as this would set off such tensions.

    What many are pointing to in online discussion (and for what its worth its also listed in the wikipedia article, so you could at the very least equally say “the unrest has been attributed to”), is a massive drug seizure in South Antrim, with increased checks meaning the bread and butter income for loyalist gangs has been severely affected. The speculation being that the youth have been riled up and sent out to provoke a war with nationalists, the age profile of the rioters has been notable.

    Irrespective of the above, it’s very grim stuff, the lack of leadership on the matter has been palpable, shameful and deeply worrying.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Reporting from NI is usually terrible from UK outlets, marginally better from RTE. Its not just politics, the major news sources in Britain usually don’t even bother having a Belfast correspondent anymore.

      RTE though is as always constrained by domestic politics. They try to be balanced to an extent that they end up not telling us things that are very obvious.

      Foster really let her cover slip though with that Twitter statement. The DUP leadership have been stoking this up for weeks at least, but they’ve forgotten to pretend they have clean hands. As you say, it does seem that crackdowns on drug gangs (i.e. loyalist paramilitaries) is a key spark to set it off, but it rarely takes much to set off riots in NI.

      Reply
      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        IMO this is a very good assessment of the situation from Slugger O’ Toole.

        https://sluggerotoole.com/2021/04/08/for-the-sake-of-future-generations-we-simply-cannot-go-on-like-this/#more-135687

        I spoke on the phone earlier to a community worker I know who believes that so far the rioting is manageable & aside from an incursion through gates in the wall that divides the Shankhill from the Falls by way of rammed stolen cars which resulted in an in kind Catholic response, that the fight is for the most part between the Loyalists & the cops with not much in the way of specific sectarian violence. The Catholic Short Strand enclave in East Belfast is usually the first area to come under attack which so far has not occurred. He also believes that as no water cannon have yet been used that the PSNI have it under control, while also admitting that he is trying to be optimistic, acknowledging that it could all sadly ratchet up a few gears.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          The PSNI have just started using water cannon. So much for optimism.

          Republicans are feeling quite smug about this, but three is the possibility of dissidents deciding to stir things up. There is also the possibility that attacks on catholic enclaves could force a violent response. Republicans have long memories of the betrayals of 1969, they won’t go through that again.

          So far, the anger is being directed at the government and PSNI, despite Arlene Fosters best efforts to direct it against Sinn Fein. But with the anger building up in loyalist communities its very hard to know what target they will lash out at. Ultimately, they’ve isolated themselves and they know it. That Slugger article is good, but not many loyalists have that level of self knowledge.

          Its made worse of course by the determination of the UK media to pretend its not happening, as to admit that these are very serious riots is to ask the question why they are taking place, and of course the answer is Brexit, and nobody wants to go there.

          Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Film Authority Orders All Cinemas to Screen Propaganda Films at Least Twice a Week”

    Hollywood immediately counters this by saying that they will now commence filming “Top Gun III”, “American Sniper II”, “Zero Dark Thirty – The New Generation”, “Red Dawn III” and “Team America: World Police II.”

    Reply
    1. HomoSapiensWannaBe

      Don’t forget the currently running “For All Mankind” anti-Russian propaganda series on Apple TV.

      Reply
    2. doug

      and a few John Wayne movies about the military.
      Please note Mr. Wayne himself was a draft dodger, despite his stage persona.

      Reply
      1. John Wright

        Some years ago ( December 11 1995, Santa Rosa CA Press Democrat) a local resident wrote an op-ed in which he wished good health for Frank Sinatra.

        It wasn’t because he liked Sinatra, it was because his father had despised three men, John Wayne, Douglas MacArthur and Frank Sinatra.

        At the time both MacArthur and Wayne were dead.

        The op-ed writer figured that his father was in good health because “I can detect in him a glimmer of satisfaction at the prospect of outlasting his third and final nemesis.”

        Here’s what he wrote about Wayne:

        “John Wayne holds down the No. 2 spot on this short list. Dodging military duty during WWII by whatever means necessary, Wayne made patriotic movies by the truckload, risking his life daily on Hollywood backlots, while Dad and his buddies faced the real thing in far-off jungles. The Duke did muster the courage to make a tour of the Pacific theater with the USO, but well away
        from any real fighting. Many miles from the front, as my father and hundreds of other GIs watched, the sound of a backfiring truck sent Mr. Sands-of-Iwo-Jima scurrying off the stage and into a ditch for cover.”

        “From that day onward Dad referred to him as “Foxhole,” the Oscar-winning fraud.”

        Reply
  8. Roger the cabin boy

    “I guess real journalists are too busy sitting with their feet up on their desks, servicing their Washington contacts…”

    I don’t think their feet can be on desks if they are on their knees.

    Reply
    1. Anders K

      I think you underestimate the flexibility of Our Brave Freedom Fighters of the Fourth Estate – both moral and physical!

      As an aside, I’m very interested in how much that would be considered “conspiracy theories” when I was growing up in the 80s is now considered mainstream. Maybe its just me that changed, or is it just egotism and advancing age (with a dash of cynicism on the side) ?

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Nah, I don’t it is either egotism or dementia.

        There has always been real conspiracies and actual cabals as well as real paranoiac phantasms, but there’s so much more to be conspiratorial about, too much stinking garbage to hide or ignore. It is more obvious and mainstream now; to not wear some tinfoil, even if it is the wrong tinfoil, just shows you are a chump.

        TL;DR: If you ain’t paranoid, you’re crazy.

        Reply
  9. Carla

    Very excited to subscribe to “The Counterbalance” — thanks for the link to “Small businesses versus the platforms,” Lambert! I’m sending it to my favorite local, independent bookstore owner.

    Reply
  10. Michael Fiorillo

    The NYPD’s Goon Squad/Strategic Response Group brings to mind the immortal words of Chicago’s Richard Daley in the aftermath of the 1968 cop riot at the Democratic convention: “The police are not here to create disorder; they are here to preserve disorder.”

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Iran Deal Is Just the Beginning”

    ‘As our organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, recently recommended for Israel, this should include both empowering partners to develop robust oversight regimes for foreign direct investment and exports and offering competitive sources of financing for investment-hungry Middle Eastern firms.’

    Yeah, Israel has too many problems of their own at the moment to be providing oversight to anybody. Things are so chaotic at the moment that they recently forgot to pay for a major shipment of vaccines which led Pfizer holding back the next shipment until they have been paid. Pfizer executives actually labelled Israel a ‘banana republic’ because of what they are dealing with-

    https://www.rt.com/news/520187-israel-banana-republic-pfizer-vaccine/

    Reply
  12. Mme Generalist

    >Lambert: More gusanos? (If I have the slang for “reactionary dregs” correct).

    Yep. Worms, generally. But when we use it in this way we mean specifically maggots.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Yes in Spanish gusano names both worms and maggots though when you call someone ‘gusano’ at least in Spain, you think of worms mainly. It may not apply for Mexico, where maggots but not worms are eaten in tacos (and I would say they are delicious when I tried those in Guatemala long ago). We have recently wittnessed a ‘luna de gusano‘ event (‘maggot moon’ when the moon is closest to earth) and, apparently it is called ‘de gusano‘ because it appears when maggots start to appear after thawing. So I believe you are quite right on this, they are using it as maggot.

      Reply
      1. Mme Generalist

        In Cuba, and to a lesser extent among some cubano expats in Puerto Rico of which my family is a part, the slur is meant to connote those that feed on feces, those who got fat on the squalor in which most cubanos lived under the Batista regime and then slithered away when justice came. At least that’s the story my father taught me.

        Interesting about the moon. I’d never heard that, but love the imagery!

        Reply
    1. tegnost

      Well alrighty then…
      “Please do not respond to say that “anyone of any race can be a gusano” or that “it’s an ideological term, not an ethnic one.” That is patently false. My family, friends and fellow Cuban Americans all know the history of this word. It was created by the Castro regime as a propaganda tool. It refers to (and is solely meant to) discredit the entire group of Cubans living outside of the island. It was created to discourage collaboration and communication between Cubans on the island and off the island. It was created in order to make two sides of an ethnic group become enemies, instead of family, based on their geography.”
      A group of people living in the us and opposed to the gov of whatever state, which is also opposed by the us thinking they need to undermine said gov. are gusanos. Why not?

      Reply
      1. km

        The article doesn’t support the headline.

        That said, from what I understand, the former elites of Cuba, like in much of Latin America today, are of more predominantly Spanish or European background, compared with the lower classes, where Indian and/or African ancestry more frequently predominates.

        Skin tone was a class issue in Cuba, and the most vocal opponents of Castro tended to be from the old ruling classes (as was Castro himself).

        Hence the term “maggots”. As to whether and to what extent the term necessarily has a racial context today, I do not know.

        However, the article doesn’t go into any of that, just “Castro bad!” and “Me victim!”

        Reply
          1. Librarian Guy

            De acuerdo.

            El termino refiere a un nivel de clase y privilegio, y no tiene nada que hacer con el ser etnico por si mismo, aunque claro que la clase alta de Cuba tuvo mas sangre Iberica o “blanca” que la mayoria de Cubanos mestizos.

            Reply
    2. Lee

      Identitarians do so like to muddy the conceptual waters. The “slur” as originally intended had nothing to do with ethnicity and was meant to express disdain for anti-revolutionary political reactionaries. Likewise, criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians has become anti-Semitic; criticism of Obama and his policies is deemed by some to be racist; criticism of the female reporter in Myanmar, cited above, is white male misogyny, and so on.

      Reply
      1. o4amuse

        My ex, raised in a left wing Marxist family in Mexico City, gleefully uses “gusanos” for any and all counter revolutionaries and class traitors.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The “slur” as originally intended had nothing to do with ethnicity and was meant to express disdain for anti-revolutionary political reactionaries. Likewise, criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians has become anti-Semitic; criticism of Obama and his policies is deemed by some to be racist; criticism of the female reporter in Myanmar, cited above, is white male misogyny, and so on.

        Yep. It’s a lot like a form of fetishism. The real relation cannot be seen, and something visible (in this case, ascriptive identity) is substituted for it.

        Reply
  13. chuck roast

    Escaping Catch-22 — Overcoming Covid Vaccine Hesitancy

    Indeed, a tidy little piece by a thoughtful, sympathetic MD with the best intentions. Unfortunately, the fellow appears to be blind to the institutional decay that his reluctant patients may well be feeling if not expressing. A leap of faith here, but he seems to put medical science on a pinnacle independent of its surrounding social and economic dynamics. A very large percentage of the population is hip to this wide-spread institutional rot, and he is practically oblivious to the fact his esteemed profession may well be deeply affected. Physician heal thyself.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      This hesitancy was years in the making. The vaccine protocol for infants is staggering, in the name of “civic responsibility.” And for years the discouragement of breastfeeding, which confers immunity. It reminds me of how dairy farmers take calves away from mothers soon after birth to keep “production” from being disrupted. In the name of convenience (for whom?) and profit.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Maybe there’s a bit of hatred in the “science community” for Nature since it is often making fools of them with dark energy, dark matter and now a entirely new force.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that there should be another factor mentioned in this account and it comes down to trust. I well remember all these people coming out of the woodwork last year demanding that the economy had to be completely opened up and people should be willing to give their lives for this to happen. They made no bones about the fact that the economy was much more important than people and if people had to die, well, sacrifices had to be made. It was disgusting to watch these people and how flippant they were with other people lives.

      Even now, it is beginning to be understood that the Astrazeneca vaccine will kill a few people but we are told that the number of people are counted as ‘acceptable loses.’ They did not quite say that but they did opine that the vaccine on the whole was ‘worth it’. But it reinforced the point that people are expendable so why would you trust people that say stuff like that. Perhaps if we had an organization that was on the straight and narrow in explaining everything, people may have been more accepting but after sixteen months who would people listen to now? Politicians? The Media? The WHO? The CDC? Would you believe that they have even dragged in Moran Freedman to borrow some trust?

      https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/546515-morgan-freeman-if-you-trust-me-youll-get-the-vaccine

      But after his war with Russia ad a coupla years ago, he is now a broken vessel for trust-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB9FDl1siS4

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        Acceptable collateral damage comes out in the open at home. Albright, and her saying 500,000 dead Iraqi children was “worth it,” might be feeling vindicated right now.

        Reply
      2. Petter

        Why do we even listen to to actors opining on issues of the day? I’ve noticed that Meryl Streep has kept a very low profile of late. A latter day Will Rogers she was not.
        Film critic Eileen Jones on Maryl Streep titled – Against Meryl Streep.
        https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/meryl-streep-speech-trump-golden-globes/
        Incidentally, which has really nothing to do with anything, I watched the movie Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert and thought, there is no way Meryl Streep would have played that role the way Isabelle did.

        Reply
      3. km

        I suspect that Morgan Freedman was willing to spout any dippy propaganda line you could think of, as long as it was in the service of Team D.

        Reply
    3. Geof

      A very large percentage of the population is hip to this wide-spread institutional rot, and he is practically oblivious to the fact his esteemed profession may well be deeply affected. Physician heal thyself.

      I very much agree. From the article:

      The problem with that establishment, as Mr. K. sees it, is not just its drug pushing and profiteering, but its censoring of people who disagree. For instance, in July . . . social media companies removed a viral video of physicians suggesting (misleadingly) that hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment for Covid-19

      The article describes this as “his perception that people questioning medical dogma are censored” and “these instances of so-called censorship.”

      The removal of videos about hydroxychloroquine and ivermectine, and suppression of challenges to WHO dogma, such as early calls for masks, concern about aerosols, and the lab leak hypothesis, was not “so-called” censorship. It was censorship.

      Even an article like this, calling for empathy and understanding, is unable to face the facts of censorship and the catastrophically poor choices of health officials. I have tremendous sympathy for many in the anti-mask anti-vax brigade. Our health elites have demonstrated time and again that they are not honest – this suggests they are not even honest with themselves.

      My lack of trust does not push me into automatic rejection of the vaccines. I am much more concerned about the (large) risk of long covid than the possibility than the (real, but probably very small) risk that these novel vaccines might trigger something nasty. I look forward to getting vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. But every time I read something clueless like this, my general disinclination to trust anything the experts have to say increases.

      Reply
    4. IM Doc

      I have said this before – and will say it again. My profession has tolerated unethical and criminal nonsense from pharma, hospital and insurance companies far too long.

      The overwhelming problems are now just old hat – and the physicians especially the younger ones – behave as if they are cult members.

      They have no awareness of the extreme damage this system is doing to individual people and our society in general.

      What you point out is completely true. I would guess 80% of physicians have little or no self-awareness – and are just mind-numbingly trudging along as if the profession still had Marcus Welby esteem in the wider society.

      Those of us able to recognize the Naked Emperor have no idea how to wake our colleagues up. After 20 years or so of trying in every possible way, I have largely given up and resigned myself to the future brick wall. It is definitely on the way.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        Thank you for expressing your frustration. Cult members–I wonder if this began with the huge infusion of money into universities from pharma and chemical companies for “research” labs and programs which gradually co-opted the independence of scientists. To keep their jobs, join the cult.

        Reply
      2. skippy

        The Corporate system seeks malleability above cognitive skills outside some narrow widget/cog application. Now would you please take this personality test …. before we proceed any further …

        Reply
    5. Maritimer

      “We do know that the confidence of physicians and public health officials can be instrumental in allaying people’s fears.”
      **********
      For starters, publish on your PR websites, the vaccine uptake among professional healthcare workers. In my jurisdiction, the vaccine and other Covid information available to the public is very slim and cherry-picked. To get such information, one would have to try FOI if even possible. Such concealment sets off the alarm bells right away.

      Reply
    6. Cuibono

      you make a very important point, one that the MSM is assiduously avoiding along with 99% of the medical profession.
      everyone acting like former pharma transgressions are irrelevant, just cause pandemic.
      actually , trust is something earned. Who would have thought ?

      Reply
  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    Typical golfers. They have a rule against the one thing that might jazz the game up. Like the McCain funeral guests, if we just arrested golfers, we would solve so many problems.

    Reply
  15. Ella

    So I posted yesterday about getting my JJ shot.

    An update: about 5 hours after getting the vaccine, I got hit with major nausea and then headache, body aches, flu like symptoms. Rough night with aches, chills, etc. This morning on the couch, no work for sure. Bright lights hurt, (typing this on a screen isn’t the best idea).

    So it’s been a realky rough ride for me. I hope I’m better tomorrow.

    However, both mom and dad, who I took with me yeaterday, we all 3 got vaccinated together, have not 1 symptom. Not even sore arms.

    So curious.

    Reply
    1. expr

      Possibly older people have weaker immune systems and thus less response. After my second Pfizer shot I had only a sore spot at the shot location for less time than the first shot and a bit dehydration while 10-15 year younger (than my 78) friends reported a day of severe tiredness.

      Reply
    2. Lee

      Members of my household got their second Moderna shots yesterday. They experienced nausea (one of the three with vomiting), chills and fatigue. This didn’t stop two of them from putting some in some hours of brush and fallen log clearing in preparation for yet another season of California’s drought driven conflagrations. Alas, they were then too tired to go fishing as they had previously planned.

      I got my second Pfizer dose a week ago and have been, I think, more tired than usual since. It’s hard to know for sure because I have ME/CFS. Tired is my default setting.

      Reply
      1. Brunches with Cats

        I got Moderna #1 last Friday despite reservations about side effects. I’ve heard from three people directly since January (all frontline medical providers) and of several others secondhand about exactly the reaction you describe, the worst being in someone who’d had Covid a few months earlier (vax triggered eye infection she had during virus). I was fine being way down on the VA’s priority list. Then when they opened it to everyone about a month ago, appointments at my outpatient clinic were Friday mornings only, and I was fine with that, too, as I have a standing obligation on Fridays. Well, don’t you know, it got canceled last week (Good Friday), so when the clinic called Thursday afternoon saying they had open availability (they actually were having trouble finding enough people for their supply), I was all out of resistance excuses. Definitely not looking forward to #2, skedded for May 1.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          #1 Moderna had just a very sore arm. #2 Moderna was a bigger deal, slight fever ( I never get a fever), big fatigue, had to take a nap ( I never take naps).

          Definitely interfered with normal operaations. By day 3 tho, all seems well.

          Reply
          1. Brunches with Cats

            Thanks for the firsthand confirmation. Despite the anxiety in anticipating more-than-likely side effects, it motivates planning ahead by clearing the calendar and stocking up on homemade chicken soup, cold & flu remedy, TP, and sufficient provisions for the feline overlord.

            Reply
    3. Katiebird

      We’re getting the J&J shot in a couple of hours. I’m not afraid of the shot itself but, I’m pretty nervous about possible side affects. Luckily we have 2 couches if necessary.

      Reply
    4. sd

      Fwiw, I had the J&J over the weekend. Mild tenderness where the jab was but actually much less than the last flu shot I received. No side effects other than sleeping a little longer than usual on the second night. I’m in my 60s, average weight, no underlying health issues that I am aware of other than gluten intolerant.

      Reply
    5. polar donkey

      My friend’s wife had same reaction as you had. When I got the J&J shot, I could feel the fluid going into and through my shoulder. I never had that feeling before with a shot. It was mildly painful and disconcerting. I remember texting my friend “what the hell is this, snake venom?” You would think the government or J&J might want to talk to people who had reactions to see if we have any common traits.

      Reply
    6. Tom Bradford

      Wifey (67) as a front line worker – does a stint at the local library – got her first Pfizer last Thursday and something very like a very bad cold over the weekend, headaches, congestion, lethargy and the shivers tho’ no fever. We’ve heard that any reactions to the first Pfizer are worse with the second so she’s seriously thinking of skipping it.

      My age group is slated to start getting the Covid vaccine in May, but I had a note from our GP yesterday that our annual free flue jab is lined up for next week. Can’t say that I’m enthused about getting flue and Covid jabs within weeks of each other, and for wifey it would mean getting the flue jab between the first and second Covid – and I wonder if the potential consequences of that have been thoroughly researched.

      Reply
    7. Darthbobber

      My wife and I have now had both of our doses. She got Modernad, and I got Pfizered. I’d say things were moving faster at Penn than they were at the time of my first dose, but it still takes them longer to do the equivalent of a company than it would take the army to shove a battalion through.

      Neither of us had any side effects at all.

      Reply
  16. Bandit

    Undocumented Venezuelans Given Protected Status In United States NPR (Alex Cox). Swell. More gusanos? (If I have the slang for “reactionary dregs” correct).

    Actually, gusanos mean “worms”. The description “is specifically directed at Cuban exiles, an ethnic subgroup (i.e., Cubans who are not living on the island of Cuba). In some circles, it’s considered acceptable to use such slurs against Cubans, simply because of their perceived beliefs or other such ridiculous reasons.” So it is that Miami is swarming with gusanos.

    Reply
    1. The Scourge of Denver

      Swell. More gusanos

      I for one am all for giving those guys safe haven. Having lived in Venezuela for the better part of the year I have a great deal of sympathy for them.

      Reply
    2. Darthbobber

      Pish. The slur is directed at those of a certain economic class and politics. But the gusanos would like to see it as purely an ethnic slur and cry victim.

      Reply
        1. Alex Cox

          It is very hard for everyone in Venezuela right now — as it is in all countries sanctioned by the US and EU. Sanctions are a weapon of war, and affect one third if the world’s population. An obvious solution might be for the US and EU to end the sanctions.

          Reply
  17. Michael Ismoe

    Jesus H. Christ

    I can safely ignore everything in the New York Times but now I have to read Teen Vogue every month to keep up with what’s important in the USA.

    Reply
  18. Mikel

    Re: “The Next Trick: Pulling Coronavirus Out of Thin Air” NYT. From March, still germane.

    I just had to shake my head. The research is there and aerosol transmission is still sort of treated like the elephant in the room that the authorities want to dance around…

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Indigenous opposition party wins snap elections in Greenland”

    ‘According to the US Geological Survey, the sparsely inhabited island has the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of rare-earth metals.’

    Rare earth mining is also notorious for leaving behind an extremely polluted mining site and all sorts of environmental damage. I guess that the locals were not happy with the standard model where a big mining corporation sets up a local mining company to do all the extraction, ships the profit to the mothership corporation, goes into bankruptcy when enough has been extracted and leaves local taxpayers to pay for cleaning up all the damaged environment.

    Reply
    1. Irrational

      The locals might not like it since the US already left them with a nice little radioactive mess around Thule airbase (see Wikipedia for example). They know how it feels to get stuck with the bill. Curious to see what this new government does.

      Reply
  20. Mikel

    Re:s”1 big thing: Dimon calls on companies to be policymaker Axios.

    Revised headline for accuracy:
    “1 big thing: Dimon calls on companies to “come out of the closet” as policymakers”

    “Dimon says the nation’s policy design and implementation have been “hampered by short-term thinking,” and few institutions are blameless.”

    Let’s see if it occurs to him that the worship of quarterly profits and the chase is the most short term thinking of all…

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      It must have occurred to him, what with this article in 2019 on DeBanked:
      “Jamie Dimon Among 181 CEOs Pledging to Look Beyond Investors”

      More and more CEOs are stepping up to explain the moral vision of their companies’. Harvard Business School Historian Nancy Koehn says that this specific case of such espousing is a “response to something in the zeitgeist.

      LOL

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        From the article you referenced:
        “Reactions to the statement have been skeptical, with many critics calling into question whether any action will come from such words. “The bottom line is, I don’t think much is going to change,” commented Dick Bove, a Wall Street analyst. While Walter Olson, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, said that “It’s not really clear whether they’re intending to replace any part of the system or do the same things as before, but … smile more.”

        Reply
  21. pjay

    Re: ‘Questions about BBC producer’s ties to UK intelligence follow ‘Mayday’ White Helmets whitewash’ – The Grayzone

    The Grayzone has become the leading source for exposing the massive Western Imperialist propaganda apparatus. It provides detailed information naming names, tracing connections, and following the money, and has gathered many of the most fearless critics of the establishment media such as Aaron Mate. For this reason, it has been subject to constant smears by the pseudo-progressive “left”.

    A noteworthy example was that recent statement on Syria signed by over 300 academics (including Chomsky – *sigh*) ripping the Grayzone contingent, among other anti-imperialists, as useful idiot Assad apologists. Diana Johnstone has an excellent essay at Consortium News that is very relevant to this element of the propaganda war.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2021/04/07/diana-johnstone-the-imperialism-of-foolery/

    As noted elsewhere in today’s discussion, you’d think that educated and “knowledgeable” people would hesitate a bit before relying on dissident exiles as sources of Truth, but alas. After spending most of my adult life criticizing various right-wingers, I find that today nearly all of my disgust is directed toward those “liberal” or “progressive” lovers of “human rights” who provide cover for our psychopathic foreign policy.

    Reply
    1. km

      Yeah, but gay rights!

      Brown people in foreign lands must suffer and die at the hands of our military and our proxies, and self-styled progressives are willing to sacrifice these poor people who never harmed us in any way, as long as the wars are ordered by western politicians who support the right IdPol causes.

      One reason why I am no progressive.

      Reply
    2. judy2shoes

      “I find that today nearly all of my disgust is directed toward those “liberal” or “progressive” lovers of “human rights” who provide cover for our psychopathic foreign policy.”

      Thanks for your comment and link, pjay. Your quote above encapsulates some of my thinking, too. For a very long time now, I’ve held democrats to a much higher standard than the republicans (low bar, I know). Silly me.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve held democrats to a much higher standard than the republicans

        Its a problem of knowing better. Democrats on occasion demonstrate they know better and then choose to behave like Republicans.

        Reply
        1. judy2shoes

          I concur, and I think that Democrats, like Republicans*, are having their thoughts/votes shaped by green stuff, and I ain’t talking kale.

          *I also think that Republicans believe their ideology; I don’t think Democrats do, for the most part.

          Reply
  22. Mikel

    RE: “Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘a Chinese Financial Weapon’ at Virtual Roundtable” Bloomberg

    Theil calling for “regulations”.
    My take: Actually, he’s calling for the institutionalization of crypto and now wants to erect barriers to entry to make hia existing investments more profitable.

    If only it were a well-needed warning….

    Reply
    1. djrichard

      China using their surplus dollars to buy US treasures, MBS, US stocks – not an issue.
      China using their surplus dollars to buy bitcoin, well that’s an issue.
      How about China using their surplus dollars to buy NFTs? Another financial weapon? LoL.

      Reply
  23. semiconscious

    re: 6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records The Lancet.

    Dr Musa Sami, Clinical Associate Professor in Psychiatry, University of Nottingham:

    “This is a robust piece of work in a large cohort demonstrating the association between COVID-19 and psychiatric and neurological complications. This is a very important topic as there has been considerable consternation regarding COVID-19 as a ‘brain disease’. We need accurate data and estimates of the size of this association before we can draw this conclusion. There are several strengths to this work: a very large sample size, adjusting for a variety of confounders, and appropriate control samples. All together around 1 in 3 patients who develop COVID-19 will have a neurological or psychiatric disorder at six months, and 1 in 9 patients of those who develop COVID-19 will receive a new diagnosis of neurological or psychiatric disorder. We would expect individuals with influenza and other respiratory illnesses to also present with some of these illnesses, and they do. What this paper shows is that COVID-19 makes the presentation of these illnesses more likely in the order of around 44% for influenza and 16% for other respiratory illnesses. What we do not fully understand at the moment is the mechanism by which COVID-19 has this effect: psychological stress, longer stays in hospital and characteristics of the illness itself may play a part.

    “This data provides very important information for services and policy makers to estimate the burden of neurological and psychiatric disease from COVID-19. What is important for the public to remember is that most patients who develop COVID-19 will not develop these complications. The severity of COVID-19 appears to be associated with increased likelihood of developing these complications in those admitted to ITU or those diagnosed with encephalopathy and delirium. Those experiencing psychological or neurological symptoms should seek medical attention and remember that effective treatments are available for many of these conditions.”

    https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-observational-study-looking-at-neurological-and-psychiatric-outcomes-6-months-after-covid-19/

    Reply
  24. Laputan

    RE: 1 big thing: Dimon calls on companies to be policymakers

    Dimon told Axios in an interview: “I think America has a bright future. I don’t know if we’re at a crossroads or not, but I think the better strategy is to assume we are and to fix it. It’s a bad idea to not fix it and hope that it really wasn’t that important.”

    Dimon’s letter — widely read for insights on the economy, the financial system and politics — dedicates an entire section to public policy:

    The lack of self-awareness from both Dimon and Axios is galling. Perhaps we are where are because our institutions are controlled by people obstruct any structural change and take pablum from Dimon like, “stuff could be bad and might need to be fixed,” as some sort of sage wisdom. And then our media outlets never challenge their assumptions…just act as their stenographers so they can maintain their access.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      It would make hideous TV but I would pay $10 to watch McConnell and Demon mud-wrestle to a decision on cable.

      Reply
  25. The Rev Kev

    “Jordan’s King Abdullah describes ‘most painful’ royal rift”

    Since Prince Hamzah has been bumped out of the Royal Family, perhaps he might end up getting a consolation call from Prince Harry. Hard to say what actually went down and I am reading how other countries like the United Arab Emirates and Israel are involved so it might take more time for the story to come out-

    https://asiatimes.com/2021/04/coup-attempt-in-jordan-leaves-a-trail/

    Reply
  26. Carolinian

    Interesting about Gandhi and his possible racism. PBS just finished a series on Hemingway and the show, being Ken Burns, had to deal with passages in his writing that seem racist. But you can also find such passages in F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe (especially Thomas Wolfe).

    Doubtless at the time these famous writers thought nothing of using language or incidents that we now find offensive. But then our current elites have their own socially approved, thoughtless prejudices that future generations may find odd (“What was the deal with them and Putin!?”)

    Could be we are all tribal and prejudiced about something. Hate the sin, love (or at least try to understand) the sinner.

    Reply
    1. km

      I don’t expect people who lived in distant lands in the past to have the politically correct sensitivities of a modern-day grad student.

      A particular pet peeve of mine is Hollywood scriptwriters who insert woke speeches in the mouths of historical characters, as if all good people from long ago talked and thought just way Hollywood scriptwriters do today.

      Reply
    2. juno mas

      Yes, the cultural space that Hemingway lived in was very different than today. Doesn’t make his inventive writing style insensitive. Earnest was a man of his times; not the second coming of Jesus.

      Interestingly, I lived in Ketchum, ID where the living Hemingway family domiciled (His son Jack was the state Fish & Game Commissioner) in the early 70’s. Some of Earnest’s friends often recounted their nights drinking and gambling with him in the Casino on Main Street, to me. (A venue I frequented myself.) In my estimation they were all, culturally, ‘birds of a feather’. He was simply more renown.

      Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is a reason Dean collapsed before Iowa. He was always bad.

      He was better than whatever Terry MacAuliffe disciple at the DNC he ran against, but being better than MacAuliffe is a bar only people like Tim Kaine can’t achieve.

      Reply
    2. Alternate Delegate

      Why does this keep happening to these people? If you wanted an anti-war candidate with a 50-state strategy in 2004, you had about one choice. But then later he was a disaster at DNC. And now this?

      At least it took him a few years to degenerate. With AOC I feel like I’m watching the same movie on fast-forward.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Why does this keep happening to these people?

        Well… I sometimes think we have been invaded…

        “”We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

        Or we can always think the movie They Live.

        Just saying… ;-)

        Reply
  27. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have largely rejected the plan, saying the tax hikes that Biden is proposing to pay for it would crush American competitiveness.”

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/06/corporate-america-biden-infrastructure-plan-479490

    This charade, with all of the public sound bites, fury, handwringing, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of economically privileged teeth is somewhat of a non sequitur, is it not?

    Since,

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/16/these-91-fortune-500-companies-didnt-pay-federal-taxes-in-2018.html

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/04/05/corporations-federal-taxes/

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/02/business/economy/zero-corporate-tax.html

    Perhaps it is an inside joke, that I fail to understand. Or, perhaps I am missing the arcane, subtle, and inscrutable reasoning behind the calculus that justifies the corporate hysterics.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Jesus H. Christ (as written above). Thanks for the link. Vaccine passports drive me crazy and I cannot agree more with Thraser’s article in the Scientific American plus some of the comments in the video you linked.

      Reply
    2. Mikel

      I can’t with “vaccine passports” for these shots that are still in the stages of STUDY.
      It’s like it doesn’t matter about the virus…they just want to institute some more kind of tracking.
      Can’t even wait until it is better confirmed about the reliability of the vaccines with variants…that’s the giveaway that this isn’t about “the virus.”

      Reply
  28. PlutoniumKun

    More onCNN bigfooting Myanmar, a thread

    I see the first impulse of the journalist was to blame ‘white males’ for criticising her ‘reporting’ (and in the process ignoring all the non-white non-males who had qualms about what she was doing). This seems the default now whenever any journalist is criticised, whatever the motive or background. I shall use it has a handy heuristic to identify who is probably trying to hide something.

    Reply
  29. noonespecial

    Re: Axios/Dimon

    Paragraph 8 of Dimon’s letter states his obvious reason for holding the job he holds, “our success and accomplishments are founded on our commitment to our shareholders. Shareholder value can be built only if you maintain a healthy and vibrant company”. Later in the letter, he proffers methods to address several issues negatively impacting USA and ends with this: “We owe it to ourselves to restore our competitiveness, our common purpose and our true sense of civility in the pursuit of building a more perfect union.”

    I think Lewis Lapham’s essay “Globalization” in the current issue of his quarterly may be of some interest to the NC readership who may not have read this piece. Lapham’s article includes these lines:

    (https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/trade/globalization)

    In the era of imperialism, businessmen became politicians and were acclaimed as statesmen, while statesmen were taken seriously only if they talked the language of successful businessmen.
    —Hannah Arendt

    (Lapham):
    But because globalization is dehumanization, and the rule of money is the rule of nobody. The great, good, and glorious machine that generates the world’s wealth and directs the world’s trade (aka “creatively destructive capitalism,” “the unfettered free market”) doesn’t come equipped with the freedoms of human thought, conscience, or speech. Admittedly, a design flaw, but not one that troubles the upper servants of American oligarchy.

    Reply
    1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

      Lapham is a talented story teller and his perspective and life history is unique, even if the story has been told many times before by other individuals. Being reminded, once again, of what truly is and was, our social and cultural reality, its historical foundations, and of the political/economic elite that both create that same reality and define its ideological boundaries, leads me to the sobering assumption that the realization of a future global dystopia is highly probable. Maybe it is already here. How would one know, if one has already been born into it and subjected to the mandated socialization and/or enculturation techniques?

      “Governments come and go, and so do wars and ideologies; money lives forever. The shipyard owners made no apologies for Hitler, nor did the captain regret his dealings with Göring and Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator who made Rieber a Knight Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic. For a good many American corporations in the 1930s, dealing with Nazi Germany was standard operating procedure; Ford and General Motors building trucks for the Wehrmacht, the Rockefeller Foundation funding Nazi eugenics programs.”

      Reply
  30. kareninca

    I read “Lisa Rosenbaum, M.D.’s” “Overcoming Covid Vaccine Hesitancy” with care. She missed two things. One is that it is nearly impossible to find MSM articles about possible problems with vaccines using the usual search engines, even though such articles exist. If you google/bing/ddgo/qwant “potential dangers of covid vaccines” nearly all you get are “debunking” articles. When one side of an argument censors the other, it naturally raises suspicions.

    The other problem is that hardly any articles these days have comment sections – including Dr. Rosenbaum’s. She gets to plop her opinion out there in public, in a readily found forum – but no-one gets to publicly engage with her points. She does not even provide a way of reaching her to make counterarguments. It is not crazy to infer from this that she does not want to try to defend her positions.

    Nothing about her article made me more inclined to be vaccinated. Actually, the more I read about how people want to manipulate me, the less desirous I am of being manipulated.

    I’ll credit her with admitting that the long term effects of the vaccine in children are unknown. But she didn’t admit that that was the case for adults.

    Reply
  31. kareninca

    But I thought that CoronaVac was considered to be “disappointing”:

    “Scientists in Brazil have downgraded the efficacy of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine that they hailed as a major triumph last week, diminishing hopes for a shot that could be quickly produced and easily distributed to help the developing world.

    Officials at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo said on Tuesday that a trial conducted in Brazil showed that the CoronaVac vaccine, made by the Beijing-based company Sinovac, had an efficacy rate just over 50 percent. That rate, slightly above the benchmark that the World Health Organization has said would make a vaccine effective for general use, was far below the 78 percent level announced last week.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/business/chinese-vaccine-brazil-sinovac.html)(from January)

    Reply
  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    So Janet Yellen says . . . “We want to change the game”.

    Oh really . . . .

    If you want to make America a player in the game of survival, you have to abolish all the Free Trade Agreements and Treaties. Under Free Trade, America isn’t even a player. America is just a playing field.

    Reply
  33. jonboinAR

    re: The surfin’ dolphins. The long right looks like Rincon, but it’s usually more of a zoo there.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Funny that about life. So a guy is riding a wave like he has probably done hundreds if not thousands of times before. And then this happens – which he will talk about and remember for the rest of his life. Straight out of the blue so to say.

      Reply
  34. Sharron

    Four or 5 years ago the Young Plasma Transfusions 1st stage Human Study for Parkinson’s Disease run by Stanford were all the rage on the Parkinson’s forums. As my husband has Parkinson’s we all waited with bated breath for the quarterly updates some of the test subjects posted. There were definitely improvements for a majority of the test subjects. The boost in energy, stamina, reduction in tremors and other issues began to wane after about 3 mos after the infusions stopped. If I remember correctly, there were weekly infusions with young plasma for about 6 weeks. The plasma was from males under the age of 18.

    Next level testing was supposed to commence, but I haven’t seen any information about this in at least 2 years.

    Reply

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