Links 5/14/2021

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UK recognizes animals as sentient beings Inhabitat (David L)

Baby whale shark pleads with fishermen to save its life Pattya Mail (furzy)

An Introduction to Asshole Cat Behaviors New Yorker (furzy). Cats are like women who follow The Rules…except it isn’t a technique, it’s what they are. They are entirely in control of if and when they are into you.

Herd of rare banteng spotted in Huai Kha Khaeng Nation Thailand (furzy). Handsome!

Freshly-Made Plutonium From Outer Space Found On Ocean Floor NPR (David L)

From guurst, you can’t even trust NASA: Fact check: Heavily edited viral image of sun’s surface wasn’t taken by NASA USA Today

Chainsaw massacre: tree poaching hits Canada amid lumber shortage Guardian (resilc)

U.S. has entered unprecedented climate territory, EPA warns Washington Post (furzy)

How clothing and climate change kickstarted agriculture Aeon (Anthony L)

Welcome To The Terrible World Of Prescription-Only Apps Astral Codex Ten (UserFriendly)


People are jerks: Pandemic puppies returned to shelters as COVID-19 restrictions lift The Hill (UserFriendly)

The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’ Guardian (Dr. Kevin)


Chinese firm’s COVID-19 drug claims draw skepticism Reuters (furzy)

Cuba’s Covid Vaccines Proceed even with US Sanctions Angry Bear. A bit surprised to see this depicted as news. Cuba has prioritized health care despite its generally impoverished state and has built a first-class biotech industry.

This is Why the World is Facing a Covid Apocalypse Umair Haque, Eudaimonia and Co (furzy(


India’s Covid crisis augurs lost economic decade Asia Times


Indian variant: Second jabs could be brought forward to tackle rise BBC


The Biden Administration has lost its mind. Dealing with a pandemic is not performative. And public health in the US is a state matter under the Constitution, as part of policing powers. The Feds can control interstate commerce and fund programs, but that only goes so far.

I am also bothered by the trash-talking of vaccines other than the US champions. I have to keep repeating this: Pfizer and Moderna measured efficacy ONLY against serious infections and deaths. Pfizer didn’t even test participants regularly; its protocol asked them to call a nurse if they had symptoms and the nurse would decide if they needed to be tested. So Pfizer would never capture an asymptomatic case and could easily have missed mild ones. By contrast, Bloomberg on Sinovac, which is less effective than Sinopharm (used in the Seychelles):

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%.

So the Sinovac data, on an more comparable basis, is in the same ballpark as Pfizer and Moderna (you’d need more granular data on how each company classified severity of infections and what the outcomes were to have a real apples to apples look).

Andrew Cuomo says New York will NOT follow CDC guidance and ditch face masks as he claims he will ‘rely on science’ Daily Mail

CDC’s Mask U-Turn Puts Business in a Bind Bloomberg. We got to be good about masking in the South, at least around Birmingham (where the medical industry is the biggest employer). I am now going to be even more reluctant to go out and shop (not that I do much as it is).

‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Cancels This Week’s Show After HBO Host Tests Positive For Covid-19 Deadline


Secret Service seizes $2 billion
in fraudulent Covid unemployment payments, returns funds to states
CNBC (furzy)


China census reveals the true scale of the Northeast’s decline Andrew Batson’s Blog (resilc)

Old Blighty

Glasgow Kenmure Street: Protesters force Home Office to release detained men The National (Richard Smith). Nicola Sturgeon supported the protestors.


So what if the Ottomans shaped the modern world? Asia Times

Rightwing violence grips Israel Middle East Eye. Resilc: “Because it is now a well established right wing apartheid state…..”

The “dogs” have teeth. Pat Lang. Resilc: “Col. Lang is a right wing kook on domestic issues, but spot on here.”

Mob ‘lynching of Arab’ aired live on Israeli TV Agence France-Presse

US funds make Israel’s bombardment of Gaza possible. When will they be halted? Guardian (resilc). Um, this has been an obvious choke point forever. Or how about not delivering replacement parts for all the materiel we provide as a sighting shot?

Joe Biden wants to avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – but that won’t be an option for much longer Independent

Civil War? Palestinian-Israelis Join Protests en Masse for First time in Decades, as Squatter Militias Attack Juan Cole

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Hijacked and Paying the Price – Why Ransomware Gangs Should be Designated as Terrorists Institute for New Economic Thinking. Confucius said that the proper naming of things was the beginning of wisdom. I am therefore not keen about the ongoing broadening of the use of the term “terrorist”. It comes off as a manifestation of NewSpeak, an effort to impoverish used vocabulary so as to achieve better messaging control. Better to take the (not much) time it would require to come up with more precise terminology (economic extortionists?) and corresponding criminal sentences.

Why is a Billion Dollar Pipeline Incapable of Defending Itself Against Ransomware? American Conservative

America’s Multi-Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Security Crisis OilPrice

Imperial Collapse Watch

What “politics” does to history: The saga of Henry Kissinger and George Shultz’s right-hand man Salon (UserFriendly). Mythmaking is important to power.

The Evil Military-Industrial Complex Frank Li, Econintersect

Capitol Seizure

U.S. Marine officer first active-duty military charged in U.S. Capitol riot Reuters (furzy)

GOP Civil War

Liz Cheney’s Stand Had Nothing to Do With Principle Intercept

The Splitting of the Ticket Split Larry Sabato (UserFriendly)

Only a matter of time’: Americans concerned after Marjorie Taylor Greene accosts Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Alternet (furzy)

Pelosi: Greene’s ‘verbal assault’ of Ocasio-Cortez could be a matter for Ethics Committee The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It Matt Taibbi (Kevin W)

The World Is Facing A Lithium Supply Crunch As Demand Soars OilPrice (resilc). Quickly becomes stock-tout-ish, but does not make the headline point invalid.

‘Green’ bitcoin alternative Chia is leading to hard disc shortages New Scientist (furzy)

Fighting the Big Grocery Monopoly Washington Monthly (resilc)

Column: Bitcoin, dogecoin, NTFs, GameStop — is this the peak of investment absurdity? Mike Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times. Hiltzik generously quotes your humble blogger!

Guillotine Watch

Bad Bezos American Conservative (resilc)

Class Warfare

Americans are more pro-union – and anti-big business – than at any time in decades Guardian (resilc)

The Resurrection Of Reagan’s “Welfare Queen” Andrew Perez and David Sirota

Thomas Piketty and Capital in the 21st century: accuracy in research and confusion in theory CADTM (Micael T). So glad to see someone pick this apart. Picketty’s definition of capital struck me as all wet but I didn’t have the time or energy to pick it apart, and his r>g as an absolute rule, as opposed to a propensity with reversals, was also obviously nuts (trees do not grow to the sky, and r>g as an absolute rule means capital will eat the entire GDP).

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John Siman

    Should Ransomware gangs be designated as terrorists? Yves sagely quotes a sage: “Confucius said that the proper naming of things was the beginning of wisdom. I am therefore not keen about the ongoing broadening of the use of the term “terrorist”. It comes off as a manifestation of NewSpeak, an effort to impoverish used vocabulary so as to achieve better messaging control. Better to take the (not much) time it would require to come up with more precise terminology (economic extortionists?) and corresponding criminal sentences.”

    Clarity of language and clarity of thought are our best — perhaps our only — weapons against propaganda and hysteria.

    1. fresno dan

      John Siman
      May 14, 2021 at 7:10 am
      I agree. I liken it to calling a riot an insurrection. Agendas be there…
      And to go on, for years hijacking a plane apparently was pretty easy, given the frequency with which it happened. FINALLY, people figured out that unrestricted access to the cockpit was not a good idea.
      Now, maybe we will figure out that actors other than the owner of the computer having access to software running the computer is not a good idea? (they don’t call it Windows for nothing) NAH, too much money involved. By the way, I have my doubts that it was only 5 million.

      1. ambrit

        Perhaps 5 million in stock options?
        Also, what about shorting a company’s stock before carrying out a highly public ransomware attack?

      1. Bakes

        Also, what about shorting a company’s stock before carrying out a highly public ransomware attack?

        Well put!

        I see what you did there!

    2. Michael

      A book rec’d here, Is That A Fish in Your Ear?, speaks of Magic Words.
      They create illusions, stop critical thinking and foster manipulation.

      The Israel war stories these past few days repeat “lynchings” ad nauseum.
      My association is with vigilante justice where a person is KILLED, usually by hanging.
      Wm R Hearst would be proud.

      Citizens, we have our work cut out for us!

    3. hunkerdown

      The proper-gandist naming of things is the beginning of social order. The purpose of the term “terrorism” in the neoliberal era was to elevate already-overbroad property rights superior to life rights like the English frame-breaking laws, to reinstitute aristocracy through sham popular investment much like suburban home ownership. It has served well enough in that purpose to suggest elites had the purpose somewhere in mind when propagating it.

      IMO, there’s nothing wrong with using the last gasp of a nearly recuperated phenomenon against the predatory terrorist elite, to harden the mass against elite rule and their methods, for better and for worse. Ruin elite language. Tear off the veils of elite conceits — yes, Remarque’s soldier of the Western front, the Kaiser indeed poops just like you. Destroy elite narratives and ideals at their root by toxifying distinction and elevation and ambition. Laugh in their faces when they call themselves “scholars” instead of welfare queens. Treat their performative speech as worth less than an unsolicited answer from Alexa or the desperate counteroffer of a minimum wage hike from Ceaucescu. Take the precious thought-forms they built and destroy them nonchalantly while looking coldly into their eyes and daring them to gaslight you again. In short, I believe the moment calls for less Plato and more Diogenes. Dispel servility and debase the coinage.

      1. LifelongLib

        Yes, and after you’ve done all that you’ll find out your great new society still needs professionals and managers and scholars and artists and engineers and on and on. Just because the elite coopted them doesn’t make them unnecessary. The head of the Soviet rocket program that launched Sputnik was once in a gulag. But when the government decided they needed someone with that sort of ability, they had nowhere else to turn. And neither will the future society you imagine.

        1. hunkerdown

          Not at all. Michael Albert’s parecon is the basic recipe: remove the reason for a coordinator class to exist. and they will no longer exist.

          I do not deny that there is a certain amount of administrative labor to be done in any organizational unit. What I deny is the necessity of a class of specialists who dare to presume they have a right and title to empowering labor. They need to be corrected, and subjection to the same disempowering labor conditions they inflict on us is a good start. Their skills can be diffused, automated, and democratized. There is no longer any reason to recognize them as a “class” interest when it is perfectly normal to remind them of their proper place in society (at the bottom) whenever they step out of line in public. Let’s see just how useless Karen is as a manager when the lash of hunger has been torn from her hand and turned back on her. I have a feeling most won’t last long.

          That’s what I mean by destroying the class interest. Social discipline works just as well to recontextualize any elite class as it does the lumpen.

    4. Dale

      I think a better term for them would be pirates. They hijack goods and hold them for ransom. I agree that they should not be called terrorists. But they could be dealt with in a similar way. Thomas Jefferson sent the Marines against the Barbary Pirates in North Africa.

    1. Steve Sewall

      Yes. Magnificent. 30 minutes of it won me over. Makes Game of Thrones look ridiculous and Downton Abby insignificant. It works because of what it shows of the human face. Thinking as shown through the eyes.

    2. Kris

      I started watching this some years ago and would have continued had more episodes had English captioning. Wasn’t there a brouhaha about the main actress – who apparently was in no small measure responsible for the show’s great popularity (this was my impression as well) – being replaced for some reason partway through the show? Wondering if it’s worth revisiting.

  2. fresno dan

    The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’ Guardian (Dr. Kevin)
    Bob Hall, a 75-year-old retired researcher in New Jersey with a self-described “naturally grim countenance [that] tends to be off-putting to others”, concurred. “In the United States there is an obligation to appear happy, and I get told to smile and ‘be happy’ a lot, which is very annoying,” he said. “The mask frees me from this.”
    Not to mention I’m pretty horrid (adjectives are funny things) looking. The two paper bags I wore over my face were mistook as being for armed robbery, so socially sanctioned mask wearing was a boon to me. But of course, the Big Beauty Industry must be appeased…

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can see no reason why people should not be permitted to wear masks. After all, people are allowed to wear hats. But I think that once the pandemic is over – eventually – that once more laws will come into effect to make mask-wearing illegal. They already did it with Muslim women years ago. It was about a year ago at the beginning of the pandemic in the UK that NC featured a brief video clip of London police stripping the mask off the face of this old guy. They reckoned that he was hiding his identity from all the street cameras or some such bs excuse which was why they pulled it off his face. A few months later they would have not dared to do such a thing and were certainly wearing masks themselves.

      1. flora

        Asked my local bank’s teller – once the lobby re-opened last year – if people entering the bank with masks on worried them. At first it did, she said. But since the tellers soon realized they recognized their longtime customers even with the masks, they weren’t worried about customers’ masking requirements. One data point.

        1. flora

          adding: masks hide the ravages of age on the neck and jaw line. Why, they’re positively “youth” enhancing! I might keep wearing one! / ;)

  3. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Greenwald tweet

    Thanks for stating the obvious – it needs to be repeated. I keep having friends say that they are vaccinated and can now do x, y or z again, to which I keep reminding them that there was nothing physically barring them from doing it before.

    These announcements that you can now go outside unmasked crack me up – they act like millions of people smart enough and independent enough not to fall for the shaming haven’t been doing it for over a year already,

    1. cocomaan

      Gotta love Glenn for always putting things plainly.

      This is the most bizarre set of announcements I’ve seen since the same authorities said NOT to mask against what everyone knew was a respiratory disease.

  4. Howard Beale IV

    Today’s Antidote du jour is something I wouldn’t want to come across – either the eastern or the western variety.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Unfortunately Burmese Pythons have become an invasive species in the South – and even the alligators are no match for them.

          1. Darius

            Is that a python? It looks like a rattlesnake. Pythons in Florida give me the willies. Probably because they are so catastrophically destructive and creepy. I once saw a rattlesnake round-up. It was revolting. All because of the humans, not the snakes, who were suffering horrible abuse. People attitudes were that of course everyone knows rattlesnakes are bad, so it doesn’t matter what you do to them, as long as they end up dead by the end of the day.

              1. ambrit

                Yes. Whacking Day is on May 10, according to “The Simpsons.” It is appropriate that we celebrate it, even if a bit belatedly.
                Concerning the Python ‘invasion’ of Florida; it exposes a ‘silver lining’ to global warming. As Florida is flooded out by sea level rise, all the serpents will be forced north, into Georgia and Alabama.
                The North American Deep South can then really call themselves “The United Snakes of America.”

              2. wilroncanada

                Re pythons in Florida. Read Squeeze Me By Carl Hiaasen, 2020. Hilarious!

            1. lordkoos

              Looks like a rattlesnake to me as well. I know what they look like as there are many in the arid hills around here. They are especially dangerous in springtime.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                it IS a rattler.
                shape of head gives it away.
                we have an infrequent frog around here that looks just like a rattlesnake head.
                i informed the state amphibian guy.

                (yes. Texas has one of those. i have him, and the state entomologist, in my fone)

          2. newcatty

            Uhh, did your friend ever belong to a college fraternity? Don’t know it’s still considered “cool” or not…When we lived in a university town, we came across , in different situations , frat brothers who had a huge snake in a terrarium in a bedroom. Both had “adopted ” the snake from their former frat house. Their friends, who we knew through different social milieus, related how the frat houses had snakes, turtles, iguanas, white rats, mice, parrots (hilariously well versed in “slang”), and usually a huge “guard dog”. These future real estate salesmen and PMC epitomized the caliber of the young people to leadership positions in America! BTW, no offense to anyone who just really likes snakes in the garden (house).

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          Alligators are going to have to evolve. Crocodiliforms are famous survivors

          1. ambrit

            Oh! Oh! A monster!
            I see a D list cable channel “monster of the week” film plot in that. “Orlandoboa vs. Crocosaurus!” Coming soon on the Psy Phi channel!

      2. Copeland

        I adore wild snakes, couldn’t see enough of them. Would never consider keeping snakes.

        One of my oldest memories is of my older brother “saving” a leopard frog from a garter snake, pulling the frog from the snakes mouth. I was like…WTF bro?

    1. Phacops

      Once caught a young pygmy faded rattlesnake at Rock Creek ranch in Desolation Canyon, Utah. It was cute.

      Ran into an Eastern Diamondback in the GSMNP and it was impressive!

      1. Nce

        I was sitting in a Geo Metro with the window rolled down in the mountains east of San Diego when a green-tinted rattlesnake appeared about 5 feet from my car. It held its head about 9″ above the ground as it slithered by- I’ve never seen a snake look or move like that before. It was scary and fascinating.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Liz Cheney’s Stand Had Nothing to Do With Principle”

    Au contraire, Liz does have principles. Just not ones shared by the bulk majority of her fellow citizens. Even while being given the boot for airing Republican dirty linen in public, she was still demanding – wait for it – more money for the Pentagon. In fact, she said the lack of 3-5% growth above inflation in the defense budget would be a “red line” for her and other Republicans. See, in her world view, average people get ordinary boot straps but the military have to get solid gold boot straps-

    1. fresno dan

      Donald J. Trump
      9:36am May 12, 2021

      Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being. I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party. She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our Country. She is a talking point for Democrats, whether that means the Border, the gas lines, inflation, or destroying our economy. She is a warmonger whose family stupidly pushed us into the never-ending Middle East Disaster, draining our wealth and depleting our Great Military, the worst decision in our Country’s history. I look forward to soon watching her as a Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC!
      Trump is right – in what he says above at the moment. From many of Trump’s statements and speeches, one could make the case that he is more of a peacenik than any dem. BUT than there is this:
      A TWEET – threatening nuclear war!!! If Trump was bluffing, it shows a profound misunderstanding of the potential consequences, and if he wasn’t, well, it shows that human extinction is even closer than I thought…
      One of the problems with Trump’s supporters is that there is way too much acceptance of allowing Trump to change a policy or be too vague on matters of great import, and excuse his pronouncements as jokes or owning the libs.
      AND I actually do think Cheney has principles and is showing some gumption in being forthright about them. The problem is that they are wrong! And in making an “official” news narrative, why Cheney is wrong is censored – ONLY the view that Cheney is wonderful, and Trump is bad is permitted. No wonder our politics is so non-serious. Amoeba have longer memories…

      1. chuck roast

        I look forward to soon watching her as a Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC!

        Say what you want about this guy, but he was a-laugh-a-minute.

        1. Ander

          I’ll be real I sorta miss seeing his wild takes on Twitter. Who needs satire when you’ve got a character like that running the country?

    2. Darthbobber

      Cheney’s real beef with Trump is that he was never a reliable neocon, and that’s her central identity. I don’t think you could separate her from Trump’s domestic agenda by even the width of a razor blade.

      The real source of Trump’s popularity with much of the base is that he actually delivered a number of things that his party had been claiming to advocate for quite some time, without actually delivering them even when in control.

      His domestic slogan (pre-Covid) could have been “crude but effective. ”

      Bait-and-switch hit it’s upper limit in the GOP, but is still effective (though with diminishing returns) among the ill-named Democrats.

        1. ambrit

          A Venn diagram of those two classes of ‘objects’ would be interesting to see. Would there be any overlap at all?
          Such an exercise might be a good way of judging the “sincerity” of a politico. (As the truism goes: “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you have it made.”)

  6. IM Doc

    Dr Walensky on Tuesday

    I will not let my vaccinated son go to summer camp without a mask.

    Dr Walensky on Thursday 48 hours later

    Anyone who is vaccinated can get rid of their mask and no more social distancing. We’re all good.

    Americans – what has changed in the scientific data between that 48 hours?

    Young Americans – believe it or not, the CDC was once the envy of this entire planet.

    Now it is being run by someone who is a liar, a charlatan, or a political numbskull – pick your poison.

    We were so much better than this in the past. I just simply cannot believe what has happened to our public health infrastructure.

    I do despair for the young of this country. They will never understand the concept of competence with leadership like this.

        1. tegnost

          The economy is the only life that matters and a massive recovery is priced in.
          Get to work.

          1. newcatty

            Looking forward to a public announcement featuring Michelle and G.W. smiling and George holding a big bag of candy in his hands. He gives a piece to Michelle, as she giggles. George says: Its time for Americans to go out there and shop again! It’s up to all of us to support our country’s economy! And you can share the goodies with a friend. Michelle hugs him and giggles, again.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > Looking forward to a public announcement featuring Michelle and G.W. smiling


              Looking forward to a public announcement featuring Michelle and G.W. Dick Cheney smiling

      1. rl

        That is my gut-feeling, anyway. A local news site published this article yesterday. Quote:

        The CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — those who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.

        [. . .]

        Walensky announced the new guidance on Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing, saying the long-awaited change is thanks to millions of people getting vaccinated and is based on the latest science about how well those shots are working.

        “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities -– large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

        The new guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not. Walensky said those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors.

        In keeping with today’s notes on the importance of clear language and sober use of the power to name: What we persist in calling “democratic governance” (even if an illusion of it), at this point, might be better described as the politics of temptation.

      2. newcatty

        Well, former Wal-Mart greeters can have a new job: Vaccine Passport Checkers. Uhh, they might need to have an armed security guard behind them for “safety and security” enforcement for valued employees and customers.

        1. ambrit

          Make the “passport” also an app, and mandate scanning the app for ‘access’ to the emporium. See, now we have seriously segregated the population, by “access” to wealth. (I-phones ain’t cheap, nor is the ‘service’ to run them on.)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t worry. Joe Biden believes in science, so outbreaks can be prayed away. Praise science! He will do the same for climate change too.

      Rationally, Biden says whatever he perceives the crowd wants to hear. I doubt Biden remembers three days ago, but maybe he wants to end social distancing to get back to sniffing hair.

        1. ambrit

          I’m a bit more cynical, I believe. My version of your dictum is: “Science is whatever the CDC was told to say today.”

    2. Old Sarum

      CDC legitimacy collapse:

      When it comes to the rash of acronyms I try to come up with my own interpretations: CDO: Crap, Dung, Ordure. SEC: Scrutiny Entirely Comical. I started after hearing the joke about Lotus cars: Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious.

      My latest: **nts, Definitely **nts. This one probably works best in a British cultural context and is very strong language, but hey! – when hundreds of thousands of the “cousins” are snuffing it…

      Pip pip!

    3. cocomaan

      Not to mention Fauci saying that the mask can come off outside, but wear it under your chin, hours before.

      I just wonder if there’s something we don’t know about going on. Like maybe someone is ready to talk about virus origins. Or something.

      The messaging is so bizarre and herky jerky that I can only assume something else is going on.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Wade’s recent article in the bulletin of the atomic scientists might have something to do with it.

        Every scientist knows the truth about lab safety. At best it is a guideline, and is regularly ignored. My Doktorarbeit students would often have their sandwiches in the BSL2 room. Telling them to stop seldom worked.

        The fact is they were never going to be able to cover this up forever. I like how the responsibility is diffused between China and the US.

    4. Nikkikat

      IM DOC, yes, to all you stated above about both Fauci and the CDC. They apparently take their marching orders through the business around table and the chamber of commerce.
      Businesses pretend they can’t find workers and a few days later they claim we are all good.
      This while 8 Dodger baseball players test positive for covid….they were fully vaccinated.
      This morning I read talk show host Bill Maher won’t be taping his show…he is positive for covid. They are puppets for the elites at the CDC. From the time Walensky came on board, she has been as pathetically owned as Redfield, Birx or Fauci the ( masks won’t protect you) liar. It’s all about the money, no matter where you look. I will be wearing a mask, won’t be going inside any where, will not fly nor will anyone come to visit me without a mask.
      Nothing much has changed. I am vaccinated but nothing has really changed except I might not die from covid.

    5. antidlc

      This was posted at 2:04 PM eastern time:

      The nation’s top infectious disease expert urged people to set aside their masks when outside, with the exception of very “unusual” outdoor situations.

      Speaking to CBS This Morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “If you are vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask outside.”

      He added that “it would be a very unusual situation, if you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask.”

      “But any other time,” he said, “if you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, put aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it.”

      Nothing about indoors.

      Shortly after this, the CDC released its new recommendations

      1. Milton

        That, actually, should have been the recommendation since day 1 and one that I followed myself no matter the shaming from the PMC types here: Double mask indoors, maskless outside unless in crowded settings. I think a policy like that from the getgo would have met with less resistance from the never-maskers.

    6. antidlc

      Americans – what has changed in the scientific data between that 48 hours?

      Not a change in scientific data, but there is this…

      The new recommendations come on the heels of a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday, where a handful of Republican members tore into Walensky for the agency’s “conflicting, confusing” and “senseless” guidance, and urged more “real-time” recommendations.

    7. The Rev Kev

      You have my sympathy, IM Doc. It must be hard to square the circle of what advice is coming out of the CDC and what your own medical training and instincts are shouting to you. And after watching Fauci in that video clip above once more throw people to the wolves in order to further his political career, I am really starting to understand that German word ‘Backpfeifengesicht’ – which translates to a face that’s badly in need of a fist.

      1. Mme Generalist

        Ha! I didn’t know the Germans had that. In French it’s têtes à claques. Literally, faces for slapping.

    8. PHILDenizen

      Dr. Walensky on March 29th:

      I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom…But right now I’m scared. I know what it’s like, as a physician, to stand in that patient room gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved ones, because their loved ones couldn’t be there.

      The same day on Maddow:

      And we have — we can kind of almost see the end. We`re vaccinating so very fast, our data from the CDC today suggests, you know, that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don`t get sick, and that it`s not just in the clinical trials but it`s also in real world data.

      And the very next day:

      Dr. Walensky spoke broadly during this interview,” an agency spokesman told The Times. “It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get Covid-19. The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence.

      So we have a credentialed infections diseases “expert” with a Harvard(!!!) degree and a prestigious sinecure at Mass General who is too, let’s be frank, stupid to understand vaccines work. Instead, we have her marching around with outpourings of overwrought emotion and ignorance that convey a sense fatalism and terror. Whose own agency has to correct her “expert opinion” the very next day. And this is what neoliberals call competence and “listening to science”. Apparently the science speaks, but everyone listening to it needs a hearing aid or a babel fish.

      I have fatigue from the “but science” virtue signaling, which has devolved into the dividing line between the Dark Ages of Trump and the Biden Enlightenment. Enlightenment my ass. Any citizen wishing to not croak now has the full time job of quickly educating himself on infectious diseases and devouring the barrage of studies that determine the nature and trajectory of Covid. I have enough s**t to deal with in my life without a “doing what the fscking CDC should be doing” bootcamp.

      Then there’s Fauci and his blatant lying about involved in gain of function research. Rand Paul is loathsome, but his questioning of Fauci was on point and Fauci’s indignation was stomach turning. The lab leak hypothesis is a more plausible explanation than “some dudes who were into bat gobbling conjured it into existence”. The only thing conspiratorial about it is the suggestion that it was deliberately unloosed for nefarious purposes. Researchers get sloppy. Respiratory viruses are easy to catch and spread. Intentionality aside, it’s an avenue of inquiry that absolutely needs to be explored fully. To even suggest that laziness and hubris are a transmission vector earns you scorn and derision as a “Trumper conspiracy loon”.

      Denizen dad, having done time at the NIH with Fauci briefly after med school, is circumspect. But he’s hinted that Fauci has always exhibited a degree of narcissism and a preference for politics over matters of health.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > The lab leak hypothesis is a more plausible explanation than “some dudes who were into bat gobbling conjured it into existence”.

        Exactly as the Watchmaker Hypothesis (“if there is a design, there must be a designer”) is “more plausible to evolution denialists.

    9. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Incidentally FLCCC were right on the ball last February in relation to aerosol spread. For myself as I sometimes work in engraving which involves very fine sanding, I once had a Leonard Cohen line pop into my head ” The flecks of dust you seldom see ” while working on a job when the light was slanting just right in order to illuminate the tiny dust fragments that are usually invisible swirl about in the air. It prompted me to buy a better respirator. I don’t know but I imagine Covid particles are smaller than what I could see, which led me to masking seriously from the very start – it was interesting initially being treated like a leper who had forgotten his bell.

    10. Cuibono

      Not only that but this: the risk to teens is great enough that an EUA was approved to give them shots.
      But none of them are vaccinated yet and apparently the risk is so low we dont need masks anymore.Remember my mask protects you.Your mask protects me

      what am i missing here?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw that on the news tonight. Once bounce and it was off. Holy hell, was that Superman’s Cat?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      5 stories is the minimum height at which it is believed cats can flip over and turn themselves into mini-parachutes, lessening the impact of a fall (they can often break legs). My first cat, who had regularly gotten out on the fire escape to walk down and demand to be let in on a lower floor, got out one night and fell and died.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, I felt terrible. The bedroom was super hot that night and I cracked the window open. He was also pretty aggressive, if he could get his shoulders underneath the window, about forcing it up enough so that he could wriggle out.

    3. Michael

      Radiohead did a program on this years ago after a study in NYC revealed the same thing. Only it was much more than 5 floors, but not 100% successful.

  7. griffen

    Investment absurdity column is a good read. Can’t help but recall the insane period leading to the dot com bubble imploding. I’m sure there will be a handful of winners, but the losers no doubt will trend to $0.00.

    I reserve my right to be proved wrong, of course.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I worked for MSFT during the dot com boom/bubble – they hired me sight unseen for a ‘premier’ Support position in IIS, interviews exclusively via phone, (this, in the 90’s when such things were…rare) and I am reasonably certain the answer I gave to the ‘What is your Age of Empires Strategy, and are you willing to join the Team AOE league’ was what clinched my hire.

      I lived in Alaska at the time, and they paid a ridiculous amount of $$ to move all my household items – including a VW Westfalia van – via barge down the inside passage to the dock in Seattle as well as cash bonus, and addt’l moving bonus, free initial housing rental paid for until I found my own apt, all the frills and dressings paid.

      i was a ‘blue card’ (I got various stock options packages) and as soon as I started vesting I cashed out to pay off my student loans in total, buy property in Alaska and on the Olympic Peninsula, and also for a buncha gold (then at, I dunno, $400/oz?) so as to have the true ‘I got
      actual gold buried somewhere on my property! LULZ’ cachet.

      I never got into investing then….and never was willing to sign for a mortgage on an actual McMansion like most of my friends were doing, since I cannot stand not buying something cash on the barrel head…but oh the forth, churn, and ridiculousness of valuations and stocks back then.

      I kinda wasted my salary on frivolous things, worked thru the dot com bust, Y2K, 9/11, and finally quit in ’04 or something like that to go spend a year building cabins before going back to work in IT at other places.

      So yeah, not a MSFT Millionaire (the last few years stock price just stayed flat flat flat) but I sure was a lucky winner back then.

      At least I mostly didn’t let it go to far into my head: i chose to ‘invest’ a lot of $$ in tangible items for the family farm like new tractors, paid for my Moms Masters degree in education, helped out my poorer extended family with their projects and education, and yes…even donated a fair bit to charities of my (leftist) leaning variety.

      Too bad i was high as a kite when I buried the gold. Someday, maybe I’ll even find it again. :)

      1. Carla

        So wonderful to hear your life story — so far. Paid for your Mom’s Masters degree? What a mensch!

        I think you will always be wealthy in all the ways that count. And that Bezos, Gates and Zuckerberg could never begin to comprehend.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Heh, thank you. :)

          My Mom died this last Oct, of cancer. I miss her so much, but I think quite possibly the single proudest moment of my life was when she stood up there and got the degree, and we hugged and cried afterwards.

          She was a life long teacher, in a family of teachers, and she used the degree to get into a specialized ‘teaching both at-risk & gifted kids’ program. At which, naturally, she excelled, until she finally retired. Her students, during – after – and even years later after she died….stayed in touch…chalked up her influence as one of the best factors in their young lives.

          I miss ya Mom….but you done as good as anyone can in this life!!! :)

          1. fresno dan

            May 14, 2021 at 12:33 pm
            My condolences – losing a close parent is a trauma. Its been 37 years since my mother died. But we have our memories…

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              Thanks, appreciated! :)

              If it is permitted, what is your favorite happy story of your Mom? (and Dad too – my Dad is always super shy & quiet so i tend not to tell stories about him, poor guy :)

              I may or may not be religious, but darnit…I like the whole ‘as long as we have memories, they are not gone!’ philosophy of the passing of loved ones. The sharing of these memories keeps them alive both for us, and also becomes a memory of others who never even knew them.

              Until now. :)

      2. griffen

        That’s a remarkable, detailed summation. So you’re best off in the long run having worked for MSFT as opposed to, I dunno maybe! I think I might be hunting for me pot of buried gold but that is a personal choice.

  8. Alex

    Re So what if the Ottomans shaped the modern world?

    Calling the Ottoman Empire pragmatic and tolerant is a bit of an overstatement. Even excluding the bloody last decades of the Empire when the Armenian genocide was committed, the Empire forcibly recruited non-Muslims into its army as janissaries, treated non-Muslims as second-class citizens and had a thriving slave trade, partially as a result of raiding its adversaries in the Mediterranean. The best that could be said about it was that it was somewhat more tolerant than some West European countries at that time.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Since I grew up when the US still had a draft, and have lived long enough to see low wage workers turned into “free range slaves,” I’d have to cut the Ottoman Empire some slack. No, I wouldn’t wanted to have lived in the Ottoman Empire, but increasingly I’m finding the US to be less than free and not particularly brave.

      Plus we give money and material/moral support to Israel, so everything they do is on us. Not to mention how many viciously rightwing allies we have around the world, all in the name of freedom (and shaping the world in our imagined image).

    2. David

      I don’t think anyone would seriously deny that the Ottomans had an enormous influence on the modern world, and still do, vicariously. Indeed, it’s arguable that we are still dealing with the consequences of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, from the Balkans, through the Levant, as far as the Sahel. The Ottoman system of ethnic and religious divide-and-rule, with different rights for different groups, and the creaming off of local elites to convert to Islam and work for the Empire, left a toxic inheritance which is behind a great many contemporary conflicts. If you slightly expand the definition to include the original Arab conquests (which the Ottomans largely took over) and the spread of Islam they encouraged, then you can include Mozambique, India, Indonesia and China among the places still suffering the consequences.

      There’s always been an Arabian Nights-type tendency to romanticise the Ottoman Empire as a place of exotic luxury. But the Ottomans, whilst they were prepared to tolerate different beliefs, put down revolts against their power with extraordinary savagery. As you say, they had a thriving slave trade. Arab traders were already buying slaves in Africa in the VIIth century, from the well-established internal markets there, and it’s been calculated that some 14 million Africans were sold to Ottoman slave traders up until the fall of the Empire. In order to prevent them becoming a political force, they were in general castrated so as to have no descendants. Millions of other slaves were captured from various parts of Europe.

      This still affects the politics of Africa today: part of the problem in Sudan is the divide between the northern Muslim elite who are the descendants of slave traders, and the southerners who were their prey, and were shipped in large numbers to the Ottoman Empire. The same is true of Zanzibar, the base of the notorious slave trader Tipu Tib. Unlike the Europeans, who mostly bought slaves in West Africa from local dealers, Tib led raids into the interior by small armies to bring slaves back to export to the Ottomans. It was only the arrival of the British colonialists that stopped the trade.

      We mustn’t fall into the temptation of applying contemporary moral standards to a civilisation that vanished a century ago, but on the other hand it’s fair to say that, even a few hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire was a byword for violence and cruelty.

      1. Mikel

        Zanzibar is associated with that exoticism.
        It was a holding point for slaves too.

        About the only thing less cruel than what would be found in, for instance, the dungeons of the slave castle in Ghana, would be that the slaves got more sunlight.

    3. Lee

      Admitting the limitations of generalized opinions formed by encounters with one individual, we had a Turkish high school exchange student, from a well off family, who was an authoritarian- worshiping, racist, elitist, who we found to our great displeasure was on the sly teaching our young son the joys of petty scamming and thievery. Much to our amusement, he reacted with sputtering shock and horror to news and comedy programs that criticized or mocked the U.S. President and other authority figures. We were quite glad to see the back of him.

    4. Michael

      Jason Goodwin, The Janissary Tree
      Set in Istanbul in 1836 featuring Yashim the eunuch detective

  9. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “This is Why the World is Facing a Covid Apocalypse”.

    One day, maybe when the world ends, this guy will write a story about an important
    issue that isn’t just an opportunity to bash the western world (especially the US) in
    an entirely condescending manner. Maybe.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Perhaps you could point out the areas where his critique is wrong or inaccurate?

      1. Mr. Magoo

        I don’t think that the issue of making vaccines more available is wrong. And as much as I am not a fan of pharma companies in the US or Europe, asking them to roll over and hand over the technology, may be the first thing that comes to mind to resolve the issue, but I suspect not the only to meet the objectives of more widespread vaccine availability.

        Conversely, if you sample some (any) of the authors other writings – you will see my point on the author’s biases.

        1. tegnost

          asking them to roll over and hand over the technology,

          you may have some biases of your own

          my bias is that we have a covid apocolypse because of the travels of globalists who “own” technology

    2. Carla

      Mr. Magoo,

      Thank you for calling my intention to Umair Haque’s article, which to the extent that I am aware of the current state of the global pandemic seems to be quite accurate. I always appreciate being pointed toward good information.

      As for Mr. Haque’s anger about the impending needless death of tens of millions, it seems to me more honest and justified, and less self-serving, than really any defensive reaction from an American or Western European could be.

      1. Mr. Magoo

        Well, if you really think the path to raising awareness to instill action on an issue is berating someone, then so be it.

        Else, the author is just preaching to the choir and you are just singing along.

        And I actually agree with the objectives of this article are – getting vaccines out. I just think it is pointless making it a pissing contest, like the author always devolves into.

        1. flora

          erm… some of us read everything re C19 with the ability to strip out the political and emotive couching in order to concentrate on the data presented, and evaluate the data presented objectively regardless of said emotive or political couching. That’s a good thing, imo. /;)

          1. Iji

            I think the point was to focus on the data or facts or solution, and not to limit your audience to those that agree with your emotions, however right or wrong they might be.

  10. Jason

    Forget Backstage Passes or V.I.P. Bracelets. Vaccination Cards Are the New Ticket

    Tossing their masks, jumping on side-by-side treadmills, sharing peanuts next to fellow sports fans, the vaccinated find special freedoms await.

    At Fort Bragg, soldiers who have gotten their coronavirus vaccines can go to a gym where no masks are required, with no limits on who can work out together. Treadmills are on and zipping, unlike those in 13 other gyms where unvaccinated troops can’t use the machines, everyone must mask up and restrictions remain on how many can bench-press at one time.

    The washed and the unwashed. You can just sense how much the authors of these types of pieces love writing them.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Chainsaw massacre: tree poaching hits Canada amid lumber shortage”

    If people want to patrol against these tree poachers at night, they should consider drones fitted with infrared cameras. The heat from those truck engine blocks should give a clear signal and really, you only need to keep an eye on where those minor roads go and not the whole forest. So if a truck is spotted at night off in a minor road, you only need a cop car waiting for them when they emerge. But this will only be worth while if you have heavy fines for this activity and maybe a coupla months jail time. But if those poachers are willing to give up their buyers and millers, then they should only be fined and told that they can skip the jail time.

  12. flora

    re: CDC’s Mask U-Turn Puts Business in a Bind – Bloomberg.

    Policy U-Turn makes little sense as is, (and why no mention of C19 recovered people having immunity?) – but, as a setup to nudge people toward accepting “papers please” demands, it’s clever. / too foily?

    1. Mme Generalist

      That’s what I asked IM Doc, above. I’m grasping for some sort of sense, but increasingly worry that, to borrow from IM Doc, we’re being lead by liars, charlatans, and utter mad-men and -women. I’ve said from the beginning of all this that they wouldn’t do anything differently if they wanted as many of us as possible dead. But this I didn’t anticipate.

    2. cocomaan

      Definitely a possibility.

      I’m also seeing vaccinated people saying that they will continue to wear a mask because they don’t want to be mistaken for someone who is lying about being vaccinated.

      Which is hilarious. First as tragedy, then as farce.

      The other thing I’m seeing is that now kids have to remain masked, but adults don’t? Has everyone lost their marbles?

      1. Pat

        As children are now believed to be major factors in the spread of infection, this could be their Hail Mary play in hope that this new advice doesn’t turn out to be the disaster that common sense says it will.

        1. cocomaan

          I guess CDC forgot one of those basics of human psychology, that kids look to their elders for behavioral cues.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Pandemic puppies returned to shelters as COVID-19 restrictions lift”

    Unfortunately this sort of behaviour is always going on. When I was a kid, there was an add on TV here in Oz for either coffee or cigarettes (too long ago to remember which) and it had this young guy in a woolen jumper on a cliff face with his beautiful Irish Red Setter and with its coat blowing in the wind. A coupla months later, it was noticed in animal shelters an influx of grown Irish Setter puppies….

    1. crittermom

      >Pandemic Puppies

      This absolutely breaks my heart—but is exactly what I feared would happen.

      Words cannot express the sorrow I feel for those ‘adorable puppies’ that have once again been abandoned following what they thought was their forever home.

      Maybe in the future if those adopting were asked to sign an agreement that if they choose to return the puppy a year later because they were no longer ‘convenient’ to have so they must also now give up one of their human children too, there wouldn’t be so many ‘temporary’ adoptions?

      Not a serious suggestion, of course, but I’m someone who can’t go into a shelter as I end up in tears, wanting to rescue them all.

      Although I’m a one dog person, they’re always a ‘rescue’ whom I take in for (their) life.

      I now share an unbelievably strong bond with the (now large) Australian Kelpie puppy my landlord brought home for me in early December that a breeder gave him because ‘he needs special attention since he’s so timid’ (my landlord owns his aunt).

      He’s no longer timid, but instead a happy and very loyal dog.
      Quite the watchdog, too (tho’ he likes everyone).

      I wouldn’t/couldn’t give him up for anything, and look forward to the many years we have ahead together.

      My heart still breaks for all those ‘returned’ former puppies, however… *tears*

      Not surprised by your telling of the Irish Setters. “Oh. Look over there. A new trend!”
      Humans can be so heartless… *more tears*

  14. Verifyfirst

    Thanks to Fauci’s incessant need for the spotlight, many more people will die. many more will get sick. Covid will not go away, it will get worse again. There will be much more virus floating around in the air anywhere you go. The new virtue signal will be NOT wearing a mask–cuz that demonstrates you are vaccinated.

    And if that does all come to pass, imagine the political consequence to Biden and his Dems.

    Imagine the howling if Trump had done this……….

  15. Mikel

    “This is Why the World is Facing a Covid Apocalypse” Umair Haque

    And wait until the vaccinated west show up for vacations or other reasons… waiting to be served.

    They’ll show up vaccinated…but still able to spread the disease.

    Almost like something out of the 1500s…

  16. Carolinian

    Thanks for the Bezos book review. However I’d hardly call the subject author’s previous book, The Everything Store, “mostly favorable.” That book describes in detail all the ways Amazon has played the system and how it has been a workplace nightmare for even the executives, much less the underlings. Without a doubt Bezos did have the acumen to see an opportunity and build it into a giant institution. But the ethics of how he did so should hardly inspire admiration. And even now the practicality question makes Amazon a dubious business if not helped by being a quasi monopoly. Take that away (and Walmart for one is trying) and arguably it could still collapse.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Mob ‘lynching of Arab’ aired live on Israeli TV”

    I think it noteworthy that in a place like America, that you could not have group of radicals walking down a major street shouting “Deaths to Blacks!” without a ton of bricks falling down on their heads from all sides of the political spectrum and yet you can have radical groups going down major streets in Israel shouting “Death to Arabs!” and getting away from it. Here is what happened in Israel on just one night

    But here is the thing. If you watch the news and pay attention, this sort of thing happens every damn week of the year. I read about such stuff about every other day so all those beatings and deaths are not one-offs but are typical in Israel on an ongoing basis. And usually it is the “settlers” doing this with troops from the Israeli armed forces either aiding in this or turning a blind eye. Attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque on one of the holiest times of the year would be akin to Italian riot squad police launching attacks inside the Vatican during Easter services. And yet the worshipers are the violent ones? Israel has seriously lost its way.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Has Israel “lost its way,” or is it predictably acting out the logical consequences of policies and behavior?

      It’s been a vicious right-wing state for years now; if they ever had a “way” that was anything other than a steadily-progressing form of ethnic cleansing and incarceration, they didn’t lose it: they gleefully killed it.

      1. JBird4049

        Not lost its way, it is a victim of a slow coup. Just as in the United States, there must be/have been many of Israelis who believed and fought for equality. But just as in the United States, with the Bourbon Democrats and their creation and use of Jim Crow as an example, there were organizations who used racism to gain power, status, and wealth.

        Even now the Gazans are legally the owners of a large amount of the Mediterranean natural gas fields as are the ones in the West Bank of water, minerals, and farm land. Just as in the American South, the elites do not stop at mob violence or organized Klan lynchings to get what they wanted with the blacks being lynched and the whites (sometimes) given a chance to run away.

        1. flora

          … there must be/have been many of Israelis who believed and fought for equality.

          Yes. Absolutely yes. Thank you.

      1. ambrit

        No one in the Middle East is innocent. All parties have blood on their hands. So, because some extremists on one side act badly, that gives the ‘other side’ carte blanche to act badly too? (Notice that both ‘sides’ to this issue have extremists in play; murderous, self righteous extremists.)

      2. The Rev Kev

        Today I am announcing the opening a new theme park – called “Gazaland”. People get to stay there for a week of fun times experiencing life as a Palestinian. Experience it all – the checkpoints, the midnight raids, the kidnapping of you children by police raids, the random violence of maniacs walking down your street, trying to stop you and your family being thrown onto the streets by settlers trying to steal your home. It will be just like Westworld – but without the robots. But I do agree that it is all complicated-

        ‘Palestinian Family Who Lost Home In Airstrike Takes Comfort In Knowing This All Very Complicated’- The Onion

        ‘GAZA, PALESTINE—Attempting to find some solace in an otherwise trying situation, the Al-Natshehs, a Palestinian family who lost their home in an airstrike, took comfort Wednesday in knowing that this was all very complicated. “You know, having your longtime family home demolished by an Israeli missile is a tough pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, you gotta realize there’s two sides to every story,” said Rabia Al-Natsheh, the matriarch of the family, adding that, despite the fact that her 5-year-old son was killed in the attack while her husband suffered third-degree burns, she ultimately found peace of mind in knowing that it’s a very nuanced issue that can be pretty complex when you look at it. “Sure, we have experienced incredible hardship and been forced to the brink of destitution, but then again, it’s not a black-and-white thing. It’s honestly a relief knowing that the loss of our home is simply a part of a long, inscrutable series of events, the root causes of which are too difficult for anyone to objectively assess.” Al-Natsheh added that she was grateful to have plenty of time to read multiple different perspectives on the subject at her new refugee camp.’

  18. Carolinian

    Re the Colonial Pipeline links–as I’ve mentioned the pipeline runs past my town and I believe it must be older than me since I remember seeing the marker signs as a kid. Which is to say that the pipeline company somehow managed to function all those years without the internet so it is indeed a puzzlement that they can’t do so now. As those linked articles point out, the coverage should be focusing on Colonial management and new laws to force these vital institutions to get real.

    1. chuck roast

      So, I was paddling around the harbor today and floated by a 50′, 10-20 ton fish boat. To say that this ocean going vessel was a rust bucket does an extreme dis-service to buckets. The rust was flaking off in huge chunks and you couldn’t begin to tell what color it might have been at one time because there was no paint anywhere. It was clearly a working boat. Although why any mariner in his right mind would crew on it was beyond me.

      There was a Coast Guard go-fast boat tied up to the next dock. I paddled over and four crewmen were taking lunch. We said hello, and I asked them, “Have you guys ever inspected that fish-boat?” Thinking that this was a pretty funny question they all yukked it up. I go, “So, when the crew dies on the thing it’s not your responsibility right?” And there I was ruining their lunch. I shoved off with a parting, “That is the shabbiest craft I have ever seen.” It’s all the Colonial Pipeline.

    2. pasha

      as i understand it, the hack did not interfere with the ability to continue pumping fuel. rather, it made it impossible to accurately bill the clients. that is why they shut the pipeline down, and why they ultimately paid the ransom

  19. Mikel

    Both of my parents are fully vaccinated, but they have serious underlying health issues.
    And I am glad because they have to go to doctors offices, etc on a regular.

    I checked with them and they are both going to continue to wear their masks.
    I’m relieved they understand the precarity of the situation.

    1. flora

      Thank you. Myself as well. Best wishes for your parent’s continuing good health and for your family’s continuing good health.

  20. Pat

    Regarding Maher and the baseball players testing positive after vaccination, imho there are a few things to keep in mind.

    1. NC has been all over the CDC’s policy that seeks to downplay how often the vaccinated get Covid. By limiting the reports of breakthrough cases to the hospitalized, they ignore mild cases. And all of these publicized cases mentioned currently do not count as far as the CDC is concerned.

    2. The CDC believe that the vaccinated cannot spread infection.

    3. We only know about those breakthrough cases because of mandatory tests. With the CDC stance and business disruptions caused by the supposedly not infectious vaccinated but positively testing employees, how long do you expect mandatory testing to continue. I fully expect that the CDC will say that it isn’t necessary to test the vaccinated in 3…2…

    Just as contact tracing was too hard, the facile explanation for the inevitable rise in Covid cases will be the unvaccinated. Because counting the small failures is bad PR. If some breakthrough cases can, as I believe, spread the virus, we will be in the dark regarding that possible spread vector for too long.

    1. cnchal

      > 2. The CDC believe that the vaccinated cannot spread infection.

      I believe the CDC is lying. It would imply sterilizing immunity, which we do not have.

      I see tremendous pressure from the rentiers to get the eviction ball rolling. Ultimately the un mask mandate will bite the CDC in the ass, right when the deluge of evictions are in full swing.

      Still Flying = Total Fail

    2. petal

      The org I work for is already dropping the mandatory testing for vaccinated employees from 2x a week to 1x a week. One of the carrots for getting vaccinated.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > 2. The CDC believe that the vaccinated cannot spread infection.

      More like they believe the vaccinated should not spread infection. But no worries, CDC has got a pretty good track record so far. Oh, wait…

      Adding, it occurs to me waste-water testing is a parallel source of data on infection.

      Suppose waste-water testing in a college town shows the virus spreading. The college tests its residents. They trace it to a cluster in a dorm. Turns out that the residents have been vaccinated, but asymptomatic spread occurred.

      If the CDC is determined to shut off all sources of data on asymptomatic spread, we would expect to see wastewater testing programs shut down, and/or papers discrediting it to begin to appear.

  21. SKM

    Re Picketty: Frederic Lordon was on to what was wrong with the book and did a very good analysis/take down in the Monde Diplomatique in 2015 which was eventually translated in May 2015 as “Why Picketty isn`t Marx” Picketty`s came to be a best seller presumably because it wasn`t a fundamental critique of the system. Before he shot to celebrity status for mysterious reasons he was often on the French media with nothing very startling to contribute along with several others. It seems the research was good, and useful but the book he composed was a missed opportunity…….
    On another topic: Pierre Kory`s group has put together a full account of the evidence that there is a disinformation campaign afoot against Ivermectin (prophylaxis, antiviral, antiinflammatory of now proven efficacy against Covid)
    This, together with this piece on Bill Gates`s role in impeding access vaccines for most of the world really says it all. We are in a very bad place!

    1. Basil Pesto

      has anyone here tackled “capital and ideology”, yet? One might think it’d address some of the shortcomings Lordon mentions just going by its subject.

  22. Pookah Harvey

    From: The Resurrection Of Reagan’s “Welfare Queen” Andrew Perez and David Sirota

    “Throughout my travels across Kansas I hear constantly how employers are struggling to find people for open jobs because folks are staying at home due to the rich unemployment benefits and the stimulus checks that Democrats continue to enhance,” said freshman Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, a multimillionaire who has proposed legislation to cut off federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

    The Danish McDonald workers union representative said their workers currently receive a base pay of about $20 an hour. Employees earn additional wages for seniority, working off-hour shifts (weekends or nights), overtime, and holidays. Employees over the age of 20 also receive a pension plan. The most recent union agreement from 2020 has McDonald’s employees over the age of 18 earning a minimum of DKK 127,24 (about $20.59) per hour, with a slight increase in 2021 (DKK 129,74 or about $21 per hour) and 2022 (DKK 132,24 or $21.40).

    Price of a Big Mac in Denmark according to the the 2021 Economist Big Mac Index, $5.30. The price in the US, $5.66.
    Hmm, must be due to the low cost of beef due to the surplus from the vast cow herds in the outback of Denmark..

  23. LadyXoc Looking at this map of the later Ottoman Empire it becomes apparent that the creation of Israel, and all Sykes-Picot disposition of North Africa, was contingent on European re-conquest/colonialization of this area: something which I have not seen discussed in any US history.

  24. Too Small To Steal

    Secret service 2 bn dollares
    – that’s a great way to recollect money. Accusing people of fraud. I don’t doubt there is fraud but 2 bn that is a lot.

  25. Susan the other

    Hiltzig was good. The Peak of Investment Absurdity. Because no one can predict the future. We can narrow it down but we can’t predict anything. “And all our yesterdays…” is sobering because it’s just a question of time before what once worked no longer works. But I am far less concerned with it all after surviving the turmoil of the last 2 decades. We do survive, don’t we? And it’s amusing to see people overreach. Optimism made gesture. I’m convinced that the reason we do survive it all is because we actually have group-think. Common sense. Sovereignty. It would not surprise me to learn that what we call common sense actually rules the universe. Certainly not money. Money is just the daily promise. How nice. I’m thinking that it is only a short step now to understanding the only intrinsic value, which is cooperation… as it evolves through spacetime. ;-)

  26. CarlH

    From the “Covid Apocalypse” article:

    “What do I mean by “Covid holocaust”? Am I exaggerating, like every white dude on planet earth is going to tell me, smugly, rolling their eyes? Let’s do a little simple math together, Chad.”

    I am getting really, really tired of the “white man” bashing. I am a poor, powerless white man and have been my whole life. I am an ally of all who are oppressed and all this discourse does is turn off allies like myself. The sanctimony in our current society is revolting to me. I am fully aware of the horrors that white men have brought us all, but this blanket hatred of all white men is not going to help anyone.

  27. NotThePilot

    Re: Bitcorn alternative chia, I’m definitely not a fan of the crypto or blockchain.

    It’s downright nihilistic at this point, and no amount of tweaking the proof algorithm will fix it. The second you remove the (conservative libertarian) ideology behind all the design decisions, you realize that there are already perfectly good solutions for all the technical problems it claims to solve. And most are at least as old as I am (with hawala probably taking the cake at over a millennium old).

    When Bitcoin was just starting out & you could mine on your home computer, it was an interesting toy concept if you were into distributed-computing. But even then, it didn’t seem to actually solve any real-world problems.

    Right at the time Ed Snowden had fled to Russia & was still living in the airport, I was eating dinner with a friend, and we had a conversation something like this:

    Friend: “So what do you think of this Snowden guy?”
    Me: “I don’t know, it’s always possible he’s been recruited by foreign intelligence, but all the leaks are probably true. Man, you can tell he’s embarrassed the government. They want to draw-and-quarter him”
    Friend: “Yeah…” (*munch chips & salsa*)
    Me: “I do feel bad for him, stuck in that airport, like I want to order him a pizza.”
    Friend: “Haha, can’t really do that from here though”
    Me: “Yeah… actually, I’ve heard about this thing called Bitcoin. You essentially donate time on your computer for tokens, then you can route them over the network anywhere. So I guess you could order him a pizza that way…” (*munch chips & salsa*)
    Friend: “Hmm…”
    Me: “But wait… I’d still actually have the order the pizza… in Russian. I don’t know Russian! So that’s kind of useless”
    Friend: “Haha, yeah, I was going to say, I don’t know how you’d call up a pizza-guy in Russia”

    I could ramble on a lot more about bitcorn, teh blockchain, or crypto… but I’ll leave it at that for now.

  28. chuck roast

    I look forward to soon watching her as a Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC!

    Say what you want about this guy, but he was a-laugh-a-minute.

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