Links 5/13/2021

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‘Inseparable’ Kitten with His Pig BFF Is the Cutest Thing You’ll See This Week DailyPaws (David L)

Two small planes collided over Colorado and both landed safely, one after deploying a parachute CNN. Crittermom: “This is the first I’d heard of an airplane having a parachute.”

There’s a New Definition of ‘Normal’ for Weather New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

Night mode ‘better sleep’ claims are nonsense, says university ZDNet (Dr. Kevin). Oddly relieved to read this. All I found that night mode did was make it hard to read (as in tire out my eyes).

Business of science: Tips and tricks for a perfect investor pitch Nature (Dr. Kevin). Kill me now.

Wearable bug pod protects you from Brood X cicadas and your dignity CNET (furzy mouse)

Who’s in Charge of Psilocybin? Chacruna (PlutoniumKun)

Philosophy with children Aeon (Anthony L).

Chemical giants hid dangers of ‘forever chemicals’ in food packaging Guardian (David L, Robert M, Carla R)

Ovarian cancer population screening and mortality after long-term follow-up in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS): a randomised controlled trial Lancet. See BBC summary: Ovarian cancer: Setback as major screening trial fails to save lives.

What 2,000-year-old poo says about our gut bugs ABC Australia (Kevin W)


World’s Most Vaccinated Nation Is Spooked by Covid Spike New York Times. Reported six days ago at NC: Seychelles, World’s Most Vaccinated Country, Hit by Covid Surge….Including Among the Vaccinated

‘There is no time to waste’: WHO needs new powers to control future outbreaks, report says Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W). As if the WHO has covered itself with glory. Comparing the WHO to national health regulators is what the Japanese would call a height competition among peanuts.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary expands definition of ‘ANTI-VAXXER’ to include those who oppose FORCED JABS RT (Kevin W)


How COVID broke the evidence pipeline Nature (Dr. Kevin)

Strongest Evidence Yet Shows SARS-CoV-2 May Insert Itself Into The Human Genome ScienceAlert. GM writes:

This happens to all RNAs if there is some reverse transcriptase activity around — the human genome is full of so called “processed pseudogenes”, which are reverse transcribed copies of our own genes that then inserted into the genome.

It also happens to other viruses, there are some classic papers about finding Ebola’s VP35 inserted millions of years ago into the genomes of bats (and also other mammals):

The vast majority of the time these are dead on arrival as they have no promoter elements to drive their expression. Also, they are often partial copies, and this will be a lot more often the case for coronaviruses, which have a very long genome.

This is not HIV, which is an actual retrovirus and has those elements in its genome.

So nothing to worry about. Also, these are extremely rare events.

Why does COVID make people so sick, so quickly? Israeli geneticist has an answer Times of Israel (David L)

Normalizing Community Mask-Wearing: A Cluster Randomized Trial in Bangladesh NBER (resilc)

Ivermectin advised for India Dr. John Campbell, YouTube (Carla R)


Panic Grips Uttar Pradesh After Bodies Found Buried in Sand on Banks of Ganges River – Video Sputnik (guurst)


COVID Variants and a Third Wave: Scientists Warn Government Is ‘Sleepwalking Into Disaster’ Byline Times (guurst)


FDA Clears Pfizer Shot for Teens; U.S. Cases Slow: Virus Update Bloomberg


Telehealth companies are fueling a lobbying frenzy to protect their Covid boom STAT

Pandemic propels makeover at shipping giant Maersk Hellenic Shipping News


U.S. Tariffs Drive Drop in Chinese Imports Wall Street Journal. Key section:

The Trump administration imposed the levies in 2018-19, aiming to boost U.S. factory production by making Chinese imports more expensive for the American companies that bring them in. That so-called re-shoring of manufacturing hasn’t happened in any appreciable way, economic data show, as U.S. companies instead turned to other countries in Asia for supply….

“If the goal was to reduce imports from China then it succeeded,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents U.S. companies that do business in China. “But if the goal was to increase manufacturing employment in the United States I don’t see any evidence that that’s happened. If the goal was to increase imports from other countries in Asia or increase manufacturing employment in Vietnam, it’s succeeded.”

Meituan: China tech giant’s shares slide over ancient poem BBC (resilc)

In Biden meet, Moon gets a late chance to shine Asia Times (Kevin W)


France wants to delay UK-EU Brexit financial services pact over fishing row City AM (guurst)

THE COST OF BREXIT: MARCH 2021 Center for European Reform

NI protocol ‘not sustainable for long’, says UK cabinet minister Irish Times (guurst)

Old Blighty

Blair needs to crawl back under his rock. The whinging about Corbyn supporters who voted with their feet after Labour’s shameful treatment of him is sore looserdom. Labour arrogantly thought they could kick the left to the curb and win campaigning on “We’re not Tories”. Pinko-bashing is so much more satisfying than a cold clinical look at campaign failures.

Pain that Begets Pain: Ethiopia is Hemorrhaging, Only Empathy Can Heal a Breaking Nation Ghion Journal


Israel-Gaza: Rockets pound Israel after militants killed BBC. Breaking story just after midnight EDT.

Ocasio-Cortez hits Biden for taking ‘the side of occupation’ in Mideast violence The Hill (UserFriendly)

Israel-Palestine conflict erupts in new dangerous ways Asia Times (Kevin W)

Battle between Israel and Hamas is an unwelcome surprise for Biden CNN (Kevin C)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Insider view: the tragedy of the US Deep State Pepe Escobar (Chuck L)


Rahm Emanuel Gets Another Job He Doesn’t Deserve New Republic

Democratic fissures start to show after Biden’s first 100 days The Hill

2021 Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals Flag Officers 4 America (resilc). Hoo boy.


The Heartwarming Tale of How a Co-Founder of Students For Trump Is Going to Prison After His Co-Founder Snitched On Him to the Feds Jezebel (Dr. Kevin)

Health Care

Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal: We must fix the gaping holes in Medicare Washington Post

Woke Watch

Sorry, but they’re called ‘mothers’ — not ‘birthing people’ New York Post (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

Elon Musk says Teslas can no longer be purchased with Bitcoin The Hill (UserFriendly)

FAA Approves Boeing Fixes for Latest 737 MAX Problem Wall Street Journal. “Latest 737 MAX Problem” does not inspire confidence.

Human rights groups based in the US and China issue joint statement condemning Apple’s app store monopoly Fight for the Future

Uber used 50 Dutch shell companies to dodge taxes on nearly $6 billion in revenue, report says Business Insider (Lucy Komisar)

Uber, Lyft want more public subsidies to meet California EV mandates Reuters (resilc)

Class Warfare

Talk of labor shortages is everywhere. What is really going on? Economic Policy Institute. Key point:

The footprint of a labor shortage is very fast wage growth. Does that mean wage levels in leisure and hospitality are now too high? No. These wages plummeted in the recession and have just regained their pre-COVID trend—i.e., they are now roughly where they would be if COVID had never happened. In fact, the current average weekly wage for nonsupervisory workers in leisure and hospitality translates into annual earnings of $20,628. Yes, you read that right. $20,628.

Union Nurses in Massachusetts Are Waging the Longest Current Strike in the US Jacobin (resilc)

Despite Weeks of Union-Busting, Workers at Imperfect Foods Vote to Unionize Truthout (Heresy101)

Residents revolted over a ‘tent city’ in their neighborhood—until they saw how well it worked UpWorthy (David L)

CT Gov Threatens National Guard to Bust Nursing Home Strike – Factory Workers in Rural PA Strike – Rise in Restaurant Walkouts Mike Elk

Antidote du jour (Tracie H). My guess is that this is an ocelot.

And a bonus (Robert M):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Elon Musk says Teslas can no longer be purchased with Bitcoin The Hill
    I’m on cloud 9 (where my imaginary Bitcoin assets also reside) over this news, and am wondering just how much this affects the Colonial Oil hackers, imagine the indignity of asking for hostage money in a cryptocurrency that falls nearly 20% in value overnight?

    I’d expect said hackers to increase their demands, because markets.

    1. fresno dan

      May 13, 2021 at 7:17 am
      If I was Colonial*, I would start a whisper campaign that Bitcoin is backed by MBS and CDO’s and that all the tranches were more highly rated than justified, cause the rating agencies were conflicted…and let the markets work their magic.
      * assumes Colonial bigwigs are not actually behind the grift.

    2. Louis Fyne

      surprise, Musk discovered no supplier or employee wants to paid in an asset that can drop 20% between the time of invoice and payment.

      but of course everyone was excited about the idea when bitcoin was making daily highs

      the environmental spin is pure green-washing over Musk’s greed. but given today’s one-dimensional media culture, it is working, it is great to be King Elon. Mel Brooks would be proud.

    3. Tertium Squid

      The honks on the crypto subreddits are racing through the grief stages after Musk broke up with them. Don’t know why they’re so mad when Musk is basically saying Tesla will continue as a HODL whale forever, functionally. That’s just what they should want, except of course the valuation of these things is 100% market psychology since that’s all there is. Never know what jolt might push them off the knife’s edge.

      I have to assume Musk is playing a publicity game. The environmental toll of Bitcoin was already obvious and well reported so that’s not why he’s doing it. Face has to turn heel to keep the narratives interesting.

    4. chuck roast

      I’m happy that you are on cloud 9 pal, but I lost big bucks on your personal ‘coins of the week.’ You owe me $600.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Wonder what it’s like for the elephant to be trotted out to perform an exercise she was probably drilled on over and over after being presented with the original to copy. Despite the happy music in the video, I doubt she feels the joy of artistic expression.

      1. nycTerrierist

        i’m horrified I posted in haste —

        so sad and angry now for the elephant

        can’t believe i didn’t suspect…


        1. Geof

          I was impressed as it started… though I thought the details and proportions were were awfully good. Then she drew hearts. An elephant might see what we see, but abstract culture-specific symbols would be meaningless to her. Then she wrote her name. There’s no way she would scrawl abstract meaningless junk (from her perspective) for her own pleasure. Sad :(

      2. Maritimer

        Drilled indeed. I suspect that with the proliferation of these Feel Good Animal Videos there are consulting agencies running about the Polluted Planet pitching NGOs and other Orgs for business. I remember a few months back there was a proliferation of Saving Elephant videos. Oh yeah, there are also those Feel Gooders where the friendly Police are saving ducks, deer, you choose the animal.

        Soon, I would think there will be a Feel Good Video Convention in Vegas with thousands of attendees. Right there alongside the Epidemiologists and Behaviourial Scientists.

  2. John Siman

    The fact that The Guardian and its demographic silo understand horniness and hot sex as expert-based tells us all we really want to know about this topic, maybe more. And I, as a woxepert, can easily answer their question, “Is oral sex more COVID-safe than kissing?” Oral sex is 100% COVID-safe if it’s restricted to servicing a transperson’s prosthetic genitalia.

    But beware the deplorables and working class untouchables! The Guardian‘s sexpert concludes with this caveat for PMC snobs:

    What should you do if your date turns out to be a Covid-denier?
    “Find something else to talk about,” Hanson says. “Move the topic along. If they keep going back to it and you cannot stop them, be quite bold and just say: ‘Shall we talk about something else?’ You don’t owe them anything in this exchange and you’re probably not going to take the date any further anyway. But don’t be mean to them.”

    For wrongthink is its own punishment.

    1. zagonostra

      I automatically thought of E.M.Jone’s book “Libido Dominandi:Sexual Liberation and Social Control” when I saw this linked article.

      Aldous Huxley wrote in his preface to the 1946 edition of Brave New World that “as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.” This book is about the converse of that statement. It explains how the rhetoric of sexual freedom was used to engineer a system of covert political and social control. Over the course of the two-hundred-year span covered by this book, the development of technologies of communication, reproduction, and psychic control – including psychotherapy, behaviorism, advertising, sensitivity training, pornography, and plain old blackmail…

    2. rattib

      “Oral sex is 100% COVID-safe if it’s restricted to servicing a transperson’s prosthetic genitalia”

      I think this is meant to be funny and hyperbolic but all I see is anti-trans bigotry combined with some odd assumptions about sex change operations.

      1. ambrit

        I think that the word “prosthetic” is the tell. Prosthetic means artificial. So, the author, in s/he’s own ‘cute’ way is saying that going full on “Plastic People” is the wave of the future. Prosthetic genitalia means “pocket p****s” and strap-ons.
        The underlying message here is the continued degradation of the interpersonal sphere.
        As for “transgender” issues, I direct your attention to some of the early stories of the writer John Varley. Especially the stories built around his multi-sexual Lunar Journalist ‘Hildy Johnson.’ How would a culture deal with sexual orientation when sex change is easy and cheap?
        The problem is not trivial. The issue of gender is not trumped by technology. Using sexual physiology to define one’s personal identity denies the psychic, and, dare I say it, spiritual aspects of the human condition.
        If I were a cynic, I would be tempted to suggest that all of this focusing on the “transgender” issue is a distraction from the reactionary counter attack against the real sexual revolution of the past century; the development of birth control methods that gave women control over their own fertility. Make no mistake about it, the continued attacks against abortion are really a part of an overarching desire to return women to the status of breeding stock. Scratch many anti-abortion supporters and underneath you’ll find someone also against birth control in any guise.
        As an example of the “old order” qua female fertility, I direct your attention to an article about the large scale burials of newborns at a site in Britain that has been hypothesized as having been a brothel. The subject is contentious.

      2. rattib

        Thanks Ambrit for the interesting links – I appreciate the abstract ideas at play; my concerns are more concrete.

        Back to the sentence from John Siman’s post, as I said, I get that levity is the goal but I think it’s a cheap shot and inaccurate to boot.

        The cheap shot: Neither trans people and/or issues are mentioned once in the Guardian article; it seems they are being invoked purely as shorthand for “woke bulls**t.”

        The inaccuracy: Depending on which one you’re getting, phalloplasty and vaginoplasty (or “the Chop” as my dad called it back in the ’90s when she was transitioning) involve little to no actual plastic. Furthermore, genital surgery is actually pretty rare (estimated 4 – 13% of trans/gender-non-binary people opt for it, if I read the study correctly).

        My dad got a whole host of other procedures (hormone therapies, cosmetic surgery, etc) but didn’t bother with “the Chop.” The transition took a few years but the bitterness she’d been carrying around for half a century began lifting the minute it started. I only wish everyone could experience such a beautiful transformation firsthand.

    3. jrh

      JFC. Come on.

      Don’t be a [family blogging] jerk. Who is your vacuous mockery’s intended audience? If it’s just *you*, maybe don’t bother posting it? You’re offering nothing to a conversation that nobody is trying to have.

  3. fresno dan

    The Guardian
    Is oral sex more Covid-safe than kissing? The expert guide to a horny, healthy summer
    Hmmm….I would suggest that to my girlfriend – only for safety reasons of course … except, first I need a girlfriend….

      1. fresno dan

        There are people who do it indoors? For safety’s sake, all sex should be done outdoors.
        and not to humble brag, I’ve always worn two paper bags over my head – at the time, that was at the insistence of my partner, but it does have the accessory health benefits…

      1. ambrit

        Without some sort of American National Health, testing will be segregated by wealth; so, only the ‘well to do’ can afford to disport themselves with abandon?
        What about consent? Will interns the nation over be relegated to playing the ‘numbers game?’ Perhaps mandatory testing for STDs, at the applicant’s expense of course, will be a prerequisite for consideration for acceptance into an internship now. Gotta keep those ‘Titans of Industry’ safe now!

  4. Carla

    Re: Residents revolted over a tent city in their neighborhood until they saw how well it worked

    “having safe shelter and basic services is sometimes enough to restore a person’s sense of hope and dignity.”

    No kidding. That Americans have to be told this is a powerful indictment.

    That this restoration of hope and dignity can be achieved (at least temporarily) with TENTS (and decent planning) is the greatest argument for the principles of “Housing First” that I have heard yet.

    “Housing First does not require people experiencing homelessness to address the all of their problems including behavioral health problems, or to graduate through a series of services programs before they can access housing. Housing First does not mandate participation in services either before obtaining housing or in order to retain housing. The Housing First approach views housing as the foundation for life improvement and enables access to permanent housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter. Supportive services are offered to support people with housing stability and individual well-being, but participation is not required as services have been found to be more effective when a person chooses to engage.”

    Astounding! Services are more effective when a person chooses to engage. Who coulda knowed?

    And a program that treats homeless people like actual persons. Who’da thunk it?

    Yet it just. Doesn’t. Catch. On.

  5. zagonostra

    >Merriam-Webster online dictionary expands definition of ‘ANTI-VAXXER’ to include those who oppose FORCED JABS RT (Kevin W)

    The term “anti-vaxxer” is relatively new, having entered the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2009, and is used by media outlets and political commentators as a pejorative – like “9/11 truthers” and “birthers” – to brand vaccine skeptics as unhinged conspiracy theorists.

    Merriam-Webster tweaked its definition of “vaccine” in January, apparently to make it more friendly to the new mRNA-type inoculations that were created to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

    Somewhat related Ohio plans to start a lottery to encourage people to get vaccinated. The prize is $1 million for five adults. In addition, they will give free scholarships up to 5 teens. So you have “joints for jabs,” “free beer”, “free Uber/Lyft” rides, and McDonalds partnering with Biden Admin, and celebrity cameos. I need to start a list of this “soft persuasion.”

    I neve liked Foucault as a human being but his views on how institutions function to produce “obedient citizens who comply with social norms, not simply under threat of corporal punishment, but as a result of their behaviour being constantly sculpted to ensure they fully internalize the dominant beliefs and values” seems more valid now in this CV19 environment than ever.

    1. Petter

      Regarding Merriam-Webster and Foucault and your reference to Discipline and Punish, I’m reminded of the Philosopher of Science Ian Hacking, who was deeply influenced by Foucault. Pulled up Hacking’s essay Making Up People:
      I have long been interested in classifications of people, in how they affect the people classified, and how the affects on the people in turn change the classifications. We think of many kinds of people as objects of scientific inquiry. Sometimes to control them, as prostitutes, sometimes to help them, as potential suicides. Sometimes to organise and help, but at the same time keep ourselves safe, as the poor or the homeless. Sometimes to change them for their own good and the good of the public, as the obese. Sometimes just to admire, to understand, to encourage and perhaps even to emulate, as (sometimes) geniuses. We think of these kinds of people as definite classes defined by definite properties. As we get to know more about these properties, we will be able to control, help, change, or emulate them better. But it’s not quite like that. They are moving targets because our investigations interact with them, and change them. And since they are changed, they are not quite the same kind of people as before. The target has moved. I call this the ‘looping effect’. Sometimes, our sciences create kinds of people that in a certain sense did not exist before. I call this ‘making up people’.
      As for Foucault the person, Nietzsche wrote that “all philosophy is memoir.”

      1. zagonostra

        That’s quite a self indictment coming from Nietzsche seeing as how messed up his own personal life was…

      2. Old Sarum

        Classifications of People:

        One of my favourite pejoratives is “dog on a string” which in the UK to indicates those who’s lifestyle (out of choice or otherwise) is one which marketing professionals would not designate as a “lifestyle” lifestyle and who’s dogs are often restrained in a minimalist manner. It is up there with “fur coat and no knickers”.

        Discrimination and classification seems to be the very essence of humanity and can be seen in the youngest infant. I wish that this aspect of human nature would be mentioned in the foreword and afterword in any conversation about classifying people.

        Institutional classification is a convenience, and the cynic in me says that every convenience engenders a crisis in some way.

        Pip pip

  6. Wukchumni

    I was barely a licensed driver in Cali when the gas lines of ’79 showed up, and the longest wait was about a half mile which seemed to defeat the purpose, using up a gallon with all that idling and going nowhere fast. It feels weird only having mostly only ex-Confederacy states playing along this go round.

    My Buffalonian better half had a better solution in that she’d pop over to Canada to gas up as there was no shortage there, of course you can’t get there from here now.

      1. Carolinian

        I’d say the panic over this situation–which Colonial had said was going to be short lived–shows how the country’s paranoia level is now on overdrive. What was that about Biden and a return to “normalcy”? The media and politicians are still doing everything in their power to make us nuts.

      2. griffen

        So much for being civil and following the line forming procedure most learned in Kindergarten. Only the truly valuable and celebrated can cut into the line!


  7. Jesper

    About the “Telehealth companies are fueling a lobbying frenzy to protect their Covid boom “, might the causality be the other way around?

    Might it be that the existing lobbyists saw that Telehealth companies suddenly had more profits and then the lobbyist were the ones to reach out with a message along the lines of: “You sure have a nice business going there, wouldn’t it be a shame if legislators legislated with bad outcomes for you but if you hire us then I am sure the legislators will do what is right for the country?”

    Or maybe the start was with the Telehealth business who came to the conclusion that with the profits they are making then they need to pay some lobbyists so that the profits might continue?

    It might not matter much for the outcome where the lobbyism-activity started but it might be useful to know if someone wanted lobbyism to be curtailed.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      Telehealth companies were lobbying for telehealth before Covid. Rules varied by state. They were seeking for the right for lower-value telehealth visits to be reimbursed at the same rate as in person ones. Covid made that seem not so unreasonable.

  8. fresno dan

    2021 Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals Flag Officers 4 America (resilc). Hoo boy.
    During the 2020 election an “Open Letter from Senior Military Leaders” was signed by 317 retired
    Generals and Admirals and, it said the 2020 election could be the most important election since our
    country was founded. “With the Democrat Party welcoming Socialists and Marxists*, our historic way of
    life is at stake.” Unfortunately, that statement’s truth was quickly revealed, beginning with the election
    process itself.
    *If only they would….
    Seriously. These people are in the chain that fire nuclear weapons, or starts wars. If this is how accord they are with reality, no wonder we haven’t won a war since Grenada…
    (Grenada is a joke. We haven’t won a war since the Civil War)

    1. allan

      “We haven’t won a war since the Civil War”

      For some definition of we.

      It doesn’t appear to apply to people who write “our historic way of life is at stake.”

      As irrelevant as these retired would-be MacArthurs are, this is another nail in American exceptionalism.

      1. voteforno6

        retired would-be MacArthurs

        In the retired flag officer community, I suspect that the ones who signed this letter aren’t exactly the most prominent.

        I think that this demonstrates more than anything just how many flag officers we actually have, which is too many.

    2. pjay

      “Generals” and “Admirals”!!

      Consider how powerful the processes of institutional selection are for this many “Generals and Admirals” to be so ideologically delusional. Although some probably signed for partisan political reasons, I’m sure many actually believe this bulls**t rhetoric (I saw Boykin’s name on the list). Of course this is nothing new, as movies like Dr. Strangelove and Seven Days in May emphasized way back when. Seems to be a hell of a lot of retired “flag officers” around today, though.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      2021 Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals Flag Officers 4 America

      fresno dan:
      What worries me is that the letter is reminiscent of oh-so-concerned militaries in places like Brazil and Chile, where the “flag officers” only wanted to make sure that Judeo-Christian Values are not being violated.

      The partisanship is delightful:
      “The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities
      are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020. Finally, H.R.1 & S.1, (if passed), would destroy
      election fairness and allow Democrats to forever remain in power violating our Constitution and
      ending our Representative Republic.”
      “Aside from the election, the Current Administration has launched a full-blown assault on our
      Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner, bypassing the Congress, with more than 50 Executive
      Orders quickly signed, many reversing the previous Administration’s effective policies and regulations.”

      I enjoy the detail that the FBI, accompanied by the Supreme Court, will ensure our rights.

      The signers all are retired, and they all seem to be men, manly men, Constitutional men. The signers are almost all from a rather WASPy wing of America. I see a Pappas, Bruno, Bucchi, and Valente to lend a touch of spice from Rick Santorum’s America, though.

      Because they are retired, I don’t advocate abrogating their pensions. I suspect, though, that the glorious FBI can’t be bothered to monitor this crew of Foghorn Leghorns.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Err…Santorum is a bootlicker, not a WASP or at least the traditional meaning. Though I guess it’s expanded with Jeb converting.

        A key difference between the US and the other examples is the US has such a proliferation of generals they have as much cachet as the admiral of the week on Star Trek.

      2. a different chris

        >The signers all are retired, and they all seem to be men, manly men,

        Note you don’t normally rise to that kind of position if you, you know, decide to join the Armed Forces later in life. This is something you start at right out of the gate.

        So said Armed Forces signers have participate basically not at all in the “capitalist” society they think is so great. They *are* the people who have experienced the most pure socialism, as they conceive it, of anybody born in the good ole USA. Housing, medical, job-for-life, they got it all.

        And yet they haven’t a clue of it. Idiots.

      3. fresno dan

        DJG, Reality Czar
        May 13, 2021 at 10:30 am
        from the letter:
        Under a Democrat Congress and the Current Administration, our Country has taken a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government which must be countered now by electing congressional and presidential candidates who will always act to defend our Constitutional Republic.
        I’m not going to say EVERY word in the letter, including the and and is delusional – I think the and and are merely articles and do not affect how well the other words reflect reality.
        Seriously. It shows the writers have no sophistication, no subtilty of analysis, no knowledge of history. And REALLY aren’t very smart. These guys are not in a bubble – they are in an iron diving bell, and have been there since 1890….

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I found the letter confusing. The thinking was incoherent and poorly expressed — like ravings from Captain Queeg.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Lest we forget, senior military officers live like kings. Quite a few articles that describe what that means, including this one:

      And for a specific example, there’s General Failure and Leaker of Gov’t Secrets David “Betray us” Petraeus:

    6. Andrew Watts

      It’s always good to be reminded that the ranks of our generals and admirals are manned in part by the John Birch Society. At least they aren’t threatening a coup like their French counterparts.

      God forbid any aspect of American society isn’t ruled by unenlightened self-interest and the profit motive.

  9. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding the Aeon bit on kids and philosophy:
    “Philosophy has the unfortunate reputation of being a difficult and esoteric subject, inaccessible to most adults, let alone children.”

    so many adults nip themselves in the bud due to these assumptions.
    my brother simply talked himself out of even trying to read the Marcus Aurelius i gave him…”too hard”…’i can’t understand that kind of thing”.
    but when you go and actually read such stuff…especially the more ancient philosophers(and ancient authors, in general), you find that it’s relatively easy….as if those ancient adults were actually children…much simpler to grasp than, say, heidegger or quine (aristotle, included…and with the caveat that you read a good translation).
    i started in with the socratic method with my boys before they could form sentences.
    and along with Rule #1(don’t do stupid shit”) and Rule #2(don’t be a dick)…the most repeated memnomic has been: me: what’s the first step on the path to wisdom? them: I don’t Know.
    this has been an awesome counter to the learned helplessness they, perhaps inadvertently, train them in in school…wherein they assume that they Know that they can’t grasp something…examining unexamined assumptions can be hard work…or it can become a habit of mind….and if it’s the latter, it seems to have a positive and moderating effect on the lordly omniscience of teenagerhood.
    I have long advocated teaching philosophy in pre-school…beginning with the more Socrates inspired plato, in simplified, cartoon form.
    lead them with questions to wisdom and awareness.

    of course, this all flies right into the face of what public education is “for”….making better subjects/workers/etc…but that’s a whole other can of worms.

    1. zagonostra

      The dialogues of Plato are entertaining to read with much humor and wit. Aristotle is clear as well, although when you get to his Categories. On Interpretation. Prior Analytics, I can see how people give it up, I don’t think I ever finished reading those completely (I wish his early dialogues survived). Even Descartes writes with a clear crisp prose as does Hume, Locke, and Berkeley.

      It’s when you get to German Idealism and Analytic philosophy that interest starts to wane. I’m glad that recently people are (re)discovering the Stoics and also less traditional streams of thought coming from the likes of Rupert Sheldrake and Terrance Mckenna.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah…pretty much anything from german in english translaton is relatively difficult.
        when i took a summer class on german in jr high, the guy said it was because of how germans put together compound words….and how in philosophy, this is made even worse, due to making up terms sort of on the fly.
        (i asked, due to my Nietzsche fascination, and noticing wide disparities between translations, eg Kaufman and the more KJV sounding editions(which i prefer))
        of course, now…40 or so years later…i remember very little german, and can’t elaborate.

        point remains that a lot of this stuff is only hard because we believe, a priori, that it is.
        (later)Joyce is hard…Plato, Aurelius and even Nietzsche are not.

        1. JEHR

          Yes, Joyce is hard. I have been following Frank Delaney’s podcasts which dissect (and I mean “dissect”) Joyce’s Ulysses phrase by phrase. Delaney died before he finished his analysis, unfortunately. You can find Delaney on iTunes. It is well worth listening to.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i found this very helpful:

            Joseph Campbell’s first book.
            I read Finnegan straight through 3-4 times, then went through it slowly…then came across the skeleton key and went through it again(all this over 30 or so years).
            starting with “Portrait…”, Joyce just gets more and more difficult…although i was able to read Ulysses unaided.
            Finn…just wow.
            that’s my drop me off on Titan book.

        2. Grateful Dude

          I read Thomas Mann’s “Magic Mountain” many years ago with a fat dictionary, and I had a decent vocabulary at the time. I told a German friend who laughed: “But he writes in simple straightforward German”. The problem was that the translator translated compound nouns into obscure English words and phrases.

    2. Mildred Montana


      “Philosophy has the unfortunate reputation of being a difficult and esoteric subject, inaccessible to most adults, let alone children.”

      Whenever I am approaching a difficult subject for the first time I read a primer. I did that with the history of The French Revolution, went on to more specific books about the events and the players, and became sort of an amateur expert on it. The primer provided me with an overview of the Revolution so that when I began to read about it in depth I already had a foundation of knowledge.

      In the case of philosophy, if one wishes to use the same strategy, I can highly recommend Will Durant’s “The Story of Philosophy”. Published in 1926 but by no means obsolete (is philosophy EVER out-dated?), it’s a wonderful introduction to all the major philosophers. I read it, then read some of the works described therein, but even after all that reading I still can’t claim to be an amateur expert. ;)

      Sample quote: “Philosophy is the front trench in the siege of truth; science is the conquered territory.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the Durants are great…rescued their collected works…all hardbound…from high school library, ere they were tossed(librarian at the time had an understanding with me).
        I’ve collected a lot of other primers/overviews over the years, hand them out as needed.
        few of the kids that come around here are interested, though…out of eldest’s core coterie of maybe 12 or so early twentysomethings, only 2 have borrowed books(one borrowed 2 of the philosophy primers—other, a hottie, borrowed one of mollison’s books on permaculture(her major is ecology or something near it))
        the bar is at the Library(funky trailerhouse in the woods, eldest has a room), so they have to pass all the stacks to get to the bathroom.

        1. Mildred Montana

          “I’ve collected a lot of other primers/overviews over the years, hand them out as needed.
          few of the kids that come around here are interested, though…”

          In my twenties, I would be one of those uninterested kids too, I hate to admit. At that age, I read all of Somerset Maugham and a lot of Victorian novels and books of essays, but not much else.

          When I turned forty, something happened. I suddenly (seemingly out of nowhere) developed an interest in “serious” literature. Perhaps it was an abridged version of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that I read and enjoyed and maybe that book led to my aforementioned interest in the history of the French Revolution. Whatever the reason, that’s when my reading “career” really began.

          I have lots of nieces and nephews in their 20’s and 30’s and one thing I’ve learned is that they can’t be told what to do. It seems they’ve got to find their own way and, alas, learn from their mistakes. As far as reading goes, I believe they are far too busy living life to be absorbed by it. I know I was.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Interesting choice of verb, “to enjoy” the Decline and Fall of Rome. Not what you meant, of course, just struck me as an “enjoyable” contretemps.

            I imagine even back then there were a few who actually did, “enjoy” that define and fall that is, and via some stratagem or adaptation managed to prosper… and such will be the case in the present turn of the Wheel…

    3. QuicksilverMessenger

      One might even say that the whole of childhood is the very essence of what should be philosophy, where the fundamental question is always “Why?”

  10. Kevin Smith

    One of my sisters has a Cirrus, loves it, and the rocket-deployed parachute was a big selling point.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, they’ve been around a few years now and the evidence is that they’ve saved a lot of lives , although there is always the worry that the safer you make private planes, the more they’ll be flown stupidly by stupid people. I think there have also been cases of premature deployments, although I don’t think thats killed anyone so far.

      It kind of goes under the radar, but small private aircraft kill a lot of people (proportional to the number in the skies). In an area I go hiking 2 years ago I came across a small monument to a family that died when their 4 seater failed to make it over a hill. When I read up the history of the area I was surprised at the number of crashes over the past 70 years on that one small clutch of hills alone. Some aircraft debris from the 1950’s is still visible on remote hillsides.

      1. RMO

        It started in the hang-glider world, moved to ultralights and microlights and then on to light aircraft and sailplanes. It does have advantages over wearing a parachute, even in something such as a sailplane which is designed for quick egress in case of the need to bail out.

        As for the accident itself I’m not surprised it happened on the approach to an airport but was a little surprises that it was a controlled airport with a tower. It is a busy one though. Looks like they were cleared to land on parallel runways and the pilot of the Cirrus either made much too wide a turn or was lining up on the wrong runway.

        1. Old Sarum

          Juan Browne on Youtube covered it, complete with radar plots.

          I’ve been up in a glider and an ancient light aircraft as a passenger. I forgot to kiss my aerosol goodbye both times, but the Darwin Awards were not a thing in those days.

          Pip pip!

          1. RMO

            Old Sarum: over 1,400 hours in sailplanes for me and not dead yet! (To be more serious though aviation is terribly unforgiving – I’ve lost a number of pilot friends since I started flying back in 1999. On the other hand, without flying and the community it brought me into I could very well have succumbed to the depression which has been a recurrent drag on my life since adolescence – so I see the risk as being worth it)

      2. ChrisPacific

        I recall reading an info piece on one of the planes I used to fly on and finding out that they were pretty common in private aviation as well. According to the article, a big selling point for private usage was that most were former commercial aircraft that were, quote, ‘built and maintained to commercial passenger standard’ and thus very safe. I remember spending some time reflecting on the implications of that statement.

  11. MarkT

    Re WHO COVID report: at least this other commercial media outlet mentions how Europe and North America dithered rather than taking immediate action, a la China. I posted that I thought they wasted 6 to 8 weeks. This report says something similar.

    “For a month after the declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020, the report continued, “too many countries took a ‘wait and see’ approach rather than enacting an aggressive containment strategy that could have forestalled the global pandemic”.

    1. MarkT

      I have vivid memories of the head of WHO appearing on NZ TV news night after night urging governments to take immediate action.

    2. MarkT

      Europe and then the USA became the centre of the outbreak. Supposedly First World countries.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “First World” just seems to mean “more fragile…” How many things can break in a 1st World country before Nothing Works Any More?

    1. Charger01

      Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a red flag right there. We’re in the fully expanded, ready-to-burst bubble territory.

      1. chuck roast

        You may lack a serious understanding of the current function of the Federal Reserve Bank.

    2. Mikel

      You can’t have “shortages” if there aren’t enough people out there with money, in the long run, to buy stuff…

      They couldn’t expect the top 10% to buy EVERYTHING.

      Banks want to get their loans paid back from businesses, especially the zombies. Then the banks get the money from debt slaves that will be paying on cards for years.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Maybe those new credit cards for creditless people need a snazzy new name. How about NINJA card!

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Uber used 50 Dutch shell companies to dodge taxes on nearly $6 billion in revenue, report says Business Insider

    A little off-topic, but I’m always surprised that the Dutch get off easy when the discussion turns to tax havens and other dubious financial activities. Only Luxumbourg is worse among the EU nations, and they at least have the excuse in having little else except tourism. There seems to be a clear corrolation between the questionable ethics of the company and the likelihood that they will put their European HQ in Amsterdam or Lux.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      PlutoniumKun: What happens is that every time that the Dutch are about to get caught out for being a giant tax scam, they run out into the streets carrying placards reading, Not One Euro for Italy.

      Then the clock re-sets until the next tax / financial scandal in the Netherlands.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Ovarian cancer population screening and mortality after long-term follow-up in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS): a randomised controlled trial Lancet. See BBC summary: Ovarian cancer: Setback as major screening trial fails to save lives.

    Its unfortunate news, but not unexpected. Most cancer screening is a scam or just bad science. It can only clearly be justified for a very specific number of cancers and for specific cohorts (for example, breast sceening for women over 40). It is not just a case of it being difficult to detect, it can lead to an enormous amount of unnecessary and probably dangerous overtreatment. But there is a lot of pressure from the cancer NGO sector and of course, Big Pharm for screening for a wide range of cancers without the type of proper study as linked to above. Its a very tough conversation with people to try to persuade them that screening for disease (not just cancer) is often a terrible idea, even doctors sometimes don’t understand why. I know of at least one oncologist who regularly comes on the media demanding a much wider level of screening that can be justified by the science.

    1. orlbucfan

      There are two deadly cancers very hard to detect in the early stages: pancreatic and ovarian. This is sad news.

    2. griffen

      Someone beat me to the punch about pancreatic. All too often it’s diagnosed too late. I noticed last year that colon cancer screening received a public boost, sadly after the passing of Chadwick Boseman.

      Certain types of cancer are indeed a nefarious foe to accurately diagnose and/or treat.

      1. R

        Moreover most cancer survival rate improvements are an artefact of redefining survival and earlier detection. It now means “living five years from diagnosis”, not “did not die if this”. Modern medicine has got better at early diagnosis in some cancers and so these now show impressive “survival” rates but in practice early generations would gave died at roughly the same age and likely without aggressive surgery and chemo. The earlier detection trend us another reason for pushing screening programmes onto the worried well.

        Having said that, there are some truly remarkable therapies now on the market. Herceptin appears to have cured a friend’s aggressive bowel cancer in his 30’s. The new tailored immunological therapies like CAR-T are even more miraculous.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Israel-Gaza: Rockets pound Israel after militants killed”

    The thing about this latest series of Israeli atrocities is that they have been so blatant about it, that people are starting to finally notice. Actually it is very clarifying in that people are having to state their positions here. Examples? Nikki Haley reckons that this is the Palestinians challenging Joe Biden so he should be tough on them. The actress Gal Gadot put out a tweet about the cycle of violence between Israel & neighbors because apparently she could not use the word ‘Palestinians.’ Biden and the State Department said that Israel had the right to self-defense but refused to answer if the Palestinians had the same right. But if you want clarity, you should listen to the Irish. Seriously. I have seen two Irish EU Parliamentarians challenge the Syria chemical attack narrative in the EU Parliament and just today, I saw an Irish MP call out the Israeli Ambassador and tear him a new one. Must be something in the water in Ireland-

    1. Carolinian

      Just reading an article comparing what the British did in Ireland to what they did in Palestine during the Mandate. There is a connection there. Of course the British made no bones about their realpolitik imperialist motives whereas a country that claims to have a “human rights” foreign policy might at least be embarrassed by inconsistency in the application of same.

      Phil Weiss says Biden will do nothing because he and his party have been bought.

      1. Jason

        Thank you for posting this, Carolinian. From the article:

        It’s surely why Nancy Pelosi has said that the Capitol would crumble and fall to the ground before the Congress stops giving aid to Israel.

        It’s not hard to imagine this statement:

        “Congress will fall to the ground before we stop giving aid to the American people”

        getting more pushback.

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    Child philosophers–

    This is how the author of this piece characterizes the commonly held worldview re: children:

    Even as childhood is idealised as an idyllic phase of life, children themselves have been cast as what psychologists and sociologists label ‘human becomings’ as opposed to human beings. Children are in the process of becoming fully human, but are not there yet. By contrast, adults are understood as complete human beings. As a result, we see children as ‘defective adults’, in the words of the cognitive scientist Alison Gopnik.

    The Tao te Ching views things as being the complete opposite. It is the baby who is closer to being fully human:

    Ignorant of the intercourse
    of man and woman,
    yet the baby penis is erect.
    True and perfect energy!
    All day long screaming and crying,
    but never getting hoarse.
    True and perfect harmony!

    TtC #55 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    Lao-Tzu considers the intellect to be the creation of culture while it’s our intuition that is connected back to our hunter-gatherer beginnings. As such, the intellect is to be mistrusted because the culture that created it may be perverse:

    Whoever rules by intellect
    is a curse upon the land.
    Whoever rules by ignorance
    is a blessing on it.

    TtC #65, (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    What’s meant by “ignorance” here is Lao-Tzu’s “knowing without knowing,” i.e. the intuition:

    To know without knowing is best.
    Not knowing without knowing it is sick.

    TtC #71 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    Intuitive knowing, drawing on our essential harmony with the cosmos as beings who evolved in that cosmos, can be trusted, but relying on the intellect, especially in Western culture with its over-exuberant estimation of “progress” and human capability, leads to thinking we know what’s best even though we’re disastrously wrong.

    This fits with the Tao te Ching‘s recurring image of “uncut wood” as being an ideal toward which we should strive. The human, shorn of the distortions wrought by a out-of-whack culture operating through the intellect and ego, can return to a state of harmony with the “ten thousand things,” i.e. Nature:

    [W]hat works reliably
    is to know the raw silk,
    the uncut wood.
    Need little,
    want less.
    Forget the rules.
    Be untroubled.

    TtC, #19 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

    Our author’s child philosophers, not yet fully simmered in Bernays Sauce and Enlightenment human hubris, are closer to this uncut wood than we. It’s not surprising that they’re better able to articulate and explore the great mysteries of human existence.

    1. Jason

      Thank you Henry. I think your post speaks directly to ways of thinking that jo6pac’s article – just below – brings out.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    Bibi certainly has his own worries about being replaced, but the Biden relabeling of the Saudi massacre of Yemen as a defensive action was a clear message. With Biden attacking the world, the US’s more loathsome vassals know Biden is going to let anything go. See Colombia.

    1. Jason

      Thank you for this, jo. From the article:

      A lot of worry has been triggered by discoveries that variants of the pandemic-causing coronavirus can be more infectious than the original. But now scientists are starting to find some signs of hope on the human side of this microbe-host interaction. By studying the blood of COVID survivors and people who have been vaccinated, immunologists are learning that some of our immune system cells—which remember past infections and react to them—might have their own abilities to change, countering mutations in the virus. What this means, scientists think, is that the immune system might have evolved its own way of dealing with variants

      If scientists are just “starting to find some signs of hope” of our innate ability to fight off pathogens, then science may be coming out of its self-induced dark age.

      “On the question of butter vs margarine, I trust cows more than scientists.” *

      *The exact quote by Joan Dye Gussow was “more than chemists.”

      1. Larry Y

        This matches the observation that people get multiple infections as children, so later adult infections by variants stay mild. Or take the flu, where past exposures and vaccinations provide partial protection to new strains.

        Of course, when the new variants are so novel and different, or affects an immune-compromised community, we get what we have now… or the Asiatic/Russian Flu of the 1890s.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Isn’t that the essence of “herd immunity?” Only the strong and adaptable survive?

        1. newcatty

          It is an enlightened perspective about the earth and the inhabitants ( including human beings). Purely scientific and rationale. Survival is justified and determined by strength and adaptability to survive in the world that one finds oneself at the moment . The weak and useless eaters are to be reviled and their demise is a glorious victory. Isn’t that a Manifest Destiny of human beings? It was a goal for superior races as determined by the stronger. Has it changed? Homeless Americans are stepped over on streets, children are hungry, health care is a racket, agriculture is corrupted and destructive of our land and waters by Big Ag, war is the way to peace and power, etc. I am not hopeless…It appears many are awakening . And? A new Destiny ?

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Panic Grips Uttar Pradesh After Bodies Found Buried in Sand on Banks of Ganges River – Video”

    Uttar Pradesh? Isn’t Narendra Modi’s seat in Varanasi – in Uttar Pradesh? And aren’t there upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh before too long?

  18. Tracie Hall

    Ocelot was my guess too but there was only one sign between two cages and it asked if I could find their Bob Cat. I figured that was for the “empty” cage and thought they should name their Bob Cat Waldo, and wondered if the missing cat, envious of his gregarious sleepy neighbor, took it’s sign with him. :-)

  19. Elijah SR

    Firstly, I’ve been consuming cute pig content a lot lately since a coworker of mine got piglets. That first link is exactly what I needed today. If I had the space and time I’d have some of my own.

    I’ve been on the picket line with the nurses in Worcester. I have every respect for MNA and their dedication. They’ve been remarkably militant and their testimonials speak to both the severity of their working conditions and how seriously they take their responsibility to patients.

    As the article mentions, Tenet paying $30,000 dollars a day for police and advanced surveillance. The cops have been cracking down on strikers and supporters in every way they can. They recently set up cops just to ticket anyone driving by who honks their horn in support. It isn’t the worst strikebreaking we’ve ever seen, but the hospital’s been gearing up to try and shut it down.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Anybody know whether the what I consider “elitist” National Nurses Union has been doing, or not doing, with respect to this strike?

      NNU is ONLY for registered nurses, and excludes the almost a million licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses, , who seem in some minds not to be “real nurses” since they don’t always have a bunch of acronymic credential markers after their names. That exclusion might seem a it high-falutin’ and unwise for an organization that claims it wants to have effective political power.

      And far as I can tell, NNU leadership seems to represent the subset of RNs that fit into the “nurses eat their young” meme, pretty hierarchical and condescending.

      But they do good twitter and press releases, and marches and demonstrations. NGO ing it,, then.. And, no doubt, some good work too, that escapes my jaundiced, retired-LPN eye…

      1. Elijah SR

        I don’t know the relationship MNA has to NNU, but I do know they also serve as a union for RNs. I can’t find anything to indicate that membership extends to LPNs or CNs. I think this is a similar situation for a lot of nurses’ unions. No good.

    2. Elijah SR

      Well now the strikebreaking is getting egregious, Tenet Healthcare just announced they intend to replace every one of the striking MNA nurses.

  20. John Emerson

    The argument against ‘forced vaccinations” is as old as the smallpox vaccine and it’s bullshit. Measles, which can be fatal, has almost disappeared in the US because of a vaccine, but little kid died of measles in my home town because he lived in an antivaxx community. He couldn’t have been vaccinated at his age, but the person who gave it to him could have been.

        1. Jason

          Yes, I ignore dead children. That’s what all my posts and my often obviously quite angry demeanor are all about: my indifference to life.

          I’m really not in the mood today.

          1. John Emerson

            My point is not what you pretended to think it was. It was that the victims of antivax and “anti forced vax” are often not the antivaxers themselves. Vaccination is public health, not individual identity.

    1. R

      Countries with compulsory vaccination seem to have lower uptake rates than voluntary ones. UK uptake of vaccination is voluntary and about 95-99% for SARS-Cov-2 in the age cohorts that have been eligible. Only very few people are obliged to be vaccinated for occupational reasons (certain health care workers and vets, possibly the police, the army in Gulf War I but that back fired and I think it is now personal choice).

      Apparently there is a well studied sociological phenomenon, I forget the name, but in plain English “cussedness” arises.

      As to the poor child, is their fate any different from being born to parents who don’t believe in blood transfusions or gun control, neither of which appear to be targets for legislation.

  21. km

    Re: “Kamikaze Left”: Now that Nulabour is back in the saddle, you need to fall in line and vote Labour, even though we did everything in our power to sabotage Corbyn and his chances when he was the Labour candidate

  22. Mikel

    RE: “COVID Variants and a Third Wave: Scientists Warn Government Is ‘Sleepwalking Into Disaster’

    For those who may have skipped over this article. Here’s a highlight:

    “According to Professor Ravindra Gupta, of the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease, the Indian variant “likely will cause infections despite vaccination and we don’t know how big that problem will be”.

    Despite these sober warnings, newspapers such as The Times and Daily Mail have obfuscated SAGE’s analysis by selectively reporting its new scientific findings and omitting to inform readers of the huge risks and uncertainties posed by new variants….’

    1. Louis

      There are valid reasons to be concerned but it also doesn’t automatically that the all the vaccines are completely worthless against the Indian variant either.

      There is a lot we don’t know and it’s best to let the science go where it goes instead of jumping to conclusions.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “World’s Most Vaccinated Nation Is Spooked by Covid Spike”

    I’m reading this to say that the Seychelles was at fault for going with China’s Sinopharm vaccine when they should have gone with a superior product – like the Pfizer vaccine which Israel uses. At least they did mention that nearly half the population of the Seychelles got vaccinated with Astrazeneca but did not criticize that vaccine. You read the story and they criticize the 56 countries that went with China’s Sinopharm vaccine instead of going with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Not mentioned is the fact that those countries went with China’s Sinopharm vaccine or Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine because the wealthy countries hogged all the vaccine supplies to themselves leaving all those other countries swinging unprotected in the wind. So no honest reporting from the New York Times which can be a real garbage publication at times.

    1. Mikel

      I suspect it’s not going to be at least until the end of the summer that the true effectiveness of all these vaccines in the midst of all the variants starts to be revealed. And emphasis on “starts.”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I am getting tired of the trash talking of Chinese vaccines.

      Sinopharm has higher efficacy than Sinovac, which has comparable efficacy to the mRNA vaccines.

      China, unlike the West, required the drug developers to gather data across the full spectrum of infections. The 50% for Sinovac includes mild cases. Pfizer and Moderna did not report on or gather data on mild cases. Their 90% ish efficacy is ONLY on serious infections (as in hospitalization-level) and deaths).

      On Sinovac, via Bloomberg, as in hardly a China booster:

      Russell: The Sinovac study was to look at how the vaccine works against the entire range of clinical symptoms, from mild infections to severe ones, including death. The efficacy data of about 50% is for very mild disease, requiring no treatment. For infections requiring some medical intervention, it’s about 84% and for moderate-to-severe Covid cases, it’s 100%.

      1. The Rev Kev

        When I wrote that ‘the Seychelles was at fault’, I should have put in a sarc tag. This New York Times article is just another hit piece on behalf of the big pharmaceutical corporations to try to recapture the vaccine markets from those countries that they abandoned a coupla months ago. Should have seen this coming as supplies caught up to and exceeded demand.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Woke Watch

    I was informed yesterday that for the purpose’s of my kid’s middle school health class, people are to be referred to not as girls and boys or men and women, but as “afab”s and “amab”s – “assigned female at birth” and “assigned male at birth”. So who is it that’s confusing sex and gender now? Or have we gotten rid of the whole notion of being born a certain sex altogether and I missed the woke memo on that?

    1. Louis

      I don’t think the woke issues memos, it’s one of those things you’re just magically expected to know–if you don’t you’re a horrible person who should be cancelled.

      1. rl

        The cancellations are the memo.

        J.K. Rowling was far from the first, and certainly has not been the last.

    2. CanCyn

      There was an article in links the other day about a medical school in the US that is no longer recognizing the difference between sex and gender – sorry can’t find it now, will post link if I do find it. It scared the bejeezus out of me, profs reduced to tears when being scolded by their woke students for using the word woman or female or man or male. If you speak up to point out that gender is not a cultural concept and that some diseases and conditions present differently and need different treatment depending on a person’s gender the wokerati pounce. Literally, they cannot say pregnant ‘woman’. WTF? Seriously WTF? Treating a transgender person with respect is far different from knowing their gender in order to treat their physical condition and discussing it in case notes or a lecture. I cannot believe that this is even a thing. The medical student who wrote the article is anonymous and will remain so until graduation for fear of being ostracized for speaking out

  25. KommieKat

    Re Rahm Emanuel Gets Another Job He Doesn’t Deserve

    Three reasons Rahm is the perfect choice for the Japanese ambassadorship:

    1. Everything he needed to know about Japanese culture he acquired by watching The Fast and The Furious – Tokyo Drift:

    2. He can move the Japanese police into the 21st century by helping them build black sites for extra-judicial detention.

    3 He is already missing a finger, so the Yakuza will be cool with him.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “TONY BLAIR: Why I fear the kamikaze Left could plunge my party into extinction”

    Tony Blair has no right to opine on the Labour party at all. It was under his direction that he turned it into what it is today and the fall of the Red Wall is a result of his policies. He helped abandon working class people in pursuit of wealthier people, particularly in London, and led his country into Iraq and Afghanistan getting British soldiers killed. I have no idea why he is sucking up so bad to Starmer unless he is hoping that they will bring him back into the party for another go at leadership.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Relevance. What good is Tony Blair? If Starmer wrecks Labour so much, the corporate backing will disappear. Blair was the last reelected Labour leader, and for the dead ender partisans, this makes him god and worth listening to, subsequently worth paying to blunt more lefty messages with claims of Blair’s smart politics.

      If Starmer fails beyond the level of spin, I think the Labour neoliberals will be worthless for a generation from a donor perspective as the Tories will be so entrenched or replaced by more Corbyn-like types. Either way, Blair’s primary asset will be worthless. Even the US Evangelicals dumped Shrub, so I don’t think he can sell himself on a megachurch revival tour about his friendship with Shrub.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i think of that guy as the UK variant of Hillary, or Sally Struthers…everyone wants them to just go away, but they won’t.
      i do my part by paying zero attention beyond the headline(obnoxious troll pokes head out of hole and yells at people again)
      they feed off of our attention(clicks)
      don’t give it to them.
      (worked for joe lieberman(you’re welcome(spits, turns around thrice)))

  27. antidlc

    re: Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal: We must fix the gaping holes in Medicare

    Too many older workers are uninsured or underinsured, which is why we must lower the eligibility age for Medicare to at least 60. Doing so would give 23 million older workers the security of knowing they can finally address illness and injury and not worry about how they will pay for a doctor.

    Hey, Bernie, and Pramila,

    Do you not understand that
    1) People pay part B premiums?
    2) People pay supplemental premiums?
    3) People pay part D premiums?
    4)If you have Medicare Advantage, you need to watch out-of-network charges?
    5) Doctors don’t have to accept Medicare assignment?

    1. juno mas

      Yes, Medicare is not free, or comprehensive (no vision/dental coverage). But is less expensive than paying cash for medical treatment; or getting no treatment at all. Most of Medicare costs come from end-of-life events and chronically ill patients. Setting the eligibility lower would likely allow 60+ workers to leave the job market and allow for younger workers to advance (maybe).

      Most doctors accept Medicare assignment.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You apparently enjoy a more secure job world than that I experienced: “allow 60+ workers to leave the job market and allow for younger workers to advance”. A lot of my 60+ co-workers were escorted out the back door years before reaching medicare age.

  28. allan

    Epstein-adjacent academic shouting at the kids to get off of his lawn

    A leading Democratic economist on Wednesday urged the White House to shift course after the government reported higher-than-expected inflation last month, which has heightened fears of fresh trouble for the recovering US economy.

    “Policymakers at the Fed and in the (White House) need to recognize that the risk of a Vietnam inflation scenario is now greater than the deflation risks on which they were originally focused,” former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told CNN. “Whatever was the case a few months ago, it should now be clear that overheating — not excess slack — is the dominant economic risk facing the US over the next year or two.” …

    He urged the administration to take three specific steps. One is to publicly express greater concern about inflation as a way of tempering expectations of future inflation, which themselves can fuel inflationary economic behavior. A second is to signal that enhanced federal unemployment benefits, which critics have said are discouraging some Americans from returning to work, will not be extended after they expire in September. A third is to slow the rush to distribute Covid relief funds. …

    1. griffen

      Like so many I despise that man. Far too long hes been given too high a pedestal to shout from.

      Good old Larry.

    2. a different chris

      “Whatever was the case a few months ago” (um, the case a few months ago was, like so many many times before, that you got it wrong… it’s weird because you say the same things -kill off the poor- over and over again but unlike a stopped clock you are never right)

    3. JTMcPhee

      The “Vietnam inflation” as I saw it was the military junkyards over there, full of the hulls of $150,000 M-113 armored personnel carriers with little holes in their sides where the shaped charge RPG rounds burned through and shredded the grunts inside. And the piles of broken and blood-stained UH-1 and F-4 and A-4 and AD-1 etc.fuselages and parts, $350,000 to a million a copy. And a million tons of bombs and millions of artillery and mortar shells, and 20 million gallons of defoliants like Agent Orange, with which I have a personal relationship. And the massive facilities at Ton Son Nhut and Cam Ranh Bay and Da Nang and Chu Lai and Phu Bai and in Cambodia,, and Laos. All “paid for” with dollars from wherever, injected into the US economy via contractors and consultants and military pay (which was peanuts, at the time).

      Sure seemed to me that all that money being injected into ‘commerce’ involving materiel for which there was no velocity or acceleration, unless one counts blowing shi!t up as “acceleration of parts…”

    1. Wukchumni

      The Yankees are woeful this season, but at least they’re sporting a .857 positive average asymptomatically.

  29. Milton

    Continuing the Scripps Health ransomware situation.
    I’ve not been able to get through with my primary via email. The main portal website is still down. The phone number that is given on the splash screen, as one may guess, is completely overwhelmed. There seems to be a local news blackout with the local Union Tribune paper and TV stations lamenting the lack of transparency from Scripps Health officials.

  30. Wukchumni

    He’s Earnest, Rahm.
    Rahm Emanuel Gets Another Job He Doesn’t Deserve New Republic

  31. Wukchumni

    Something smells fishy dept:

    The hackers demanded a billion, but settle for $5 million and the pipelines are back running?

    How many ransomers settle for 1/200th of what they initially demand in payment?

  32. Louis

    I never thought I would find myself agreeing with anything in the NY Post but they’re right about the absurdity of “birthing people.”

    The “woke” thing may have started out with good intentions but has gotten out of hand.

  33. flora

    re: ‘There is no time to waste’: WHO needs new powers to control future outbreaks, report says Sydney Morning Herald ‘

    The WHO wants more global power with it’s very own global ‘patriot act’, after a year of WHO bureaucratic failures. How … nice. / ;)

    1. c_heale

      Since the WHO has been behind the curve at every point with Coronavirus, there is no way it should have extra powers.

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