Links 5/16/2021


Federal agency probes if Tesla driver killed in crash may have been on AUTOPILOT: Motorist had posted videos of himself riding in the vehicle without his hands on the wheel or foot on pedal Daily Mail

Wild Horses Adopted Under a Federal Program Are Going to Slaughter NYT

Missing Houston tiger found safe, will go to sanctuary NY Post

Washington D.C. gas shortage reaches critical level Deutsche Welle

The clothing revolution aeon

Into the Mystical and Inexplicable World of Dowsing Outside

AWOL numbers skyrocket after Air Force transitions to camouflage that actually works Duffel Blog

The Biggest Churches in the World: Anglo-Norman eleventh-century cathedrals Stained Glass Attitudes

As Xi offers vaccines to Tokyo Olympics, China hopes to avoid a boycott of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Games SCMP


‘Government Money That’s Gone Into Vaccine Development Is Being Privatized by a Handful of Companies’ FAIR

It Was The Government That Produced COVID-19 Vaccine Success Health Affairs Blog (run75441). Hoisted from comments.

‘It’s not over yet’: Uncertain protection from Covid vaccines leaves cancer patients in limbo Stat

Experts sound the alarm on air cleaning devices as feds modify school safety guidelines Yahoo News

No alternative to vaccine passports, says Dubai airport boss BBC


Major U.S. Retailers Drop Mask Requirements NYT

Why the CDC Told Fully Vaccinated Americans They Didn’t Need to Wear Face Masks Anymore WSJ

Nation’s largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks The Hill

Why The Vaccines are a Home Run Despite the Yankees’ Outbreak Insight. Sound analysis, despite the misleading headline – which isn’t the topic of the post.

Even those who are fully vaccinated need to wear mask, observe physical distancing, says AIIMS chief Scroll And the view from India.


Why One State in India Is Showing Promising Signs of Democracy as the World Goes More Authoritarian Counterpunch

To arrest the surge of Covid-19 in villages, India must involve NGOs and use simple technologies Scroll

Interview: ‘India’s vaccine Plan A was the pandemic disappearing… Its new plan makes no sense’ Scroll

The Analytical Angle: How Pakistan can learn from the Covid crisis in India Dawn

Class Warfare

Former Obama Staffer Jay Carney Is Amazon’s Top Flack Jacobin

Lamont to nursing home union: You have CT’s last and best offer CT Mirror

Judge Orders California City to Zone for Affordable Housing Capital & Main

Antitrust Establishment Confused as Big Tech Foe Lina Khan Gets Overwhelming Support from Congress BIG. Matt Stoller.

New York, New Jersey, California face long odds in scrapping SALT The Hill

Biden Administration

Neera Tanden lands in the White House, after all Politico

Biden’s Foreign Policy Needs a Course Correction Project Syndicate

UK withholds backing for Joe Biden’s minimum global business tax FT

Capitol Seizure

Deal Reached on 9/11-Style Commission for January 6 — But Roadblocks Remain Truthout

New Cold War


Eco India: The East Kolkata Wetlands face an existential threat from property developers Scroll

As BJP Aims to Homogenise India, Localised Resistance Can Restore Federalism The Wire

This book charts a history of India through the stories of its paper currencies over the centuries Scroll


Facebook is reportedly continuing a ban on anti-coup groups in Myanmar The Verge

Lines, tokens and money brokers: Myanmar’s crumbling economy runs low on cash Reuters

Myanmar junta attacks western town that resisted coup AP


Israel Gaza conflict: Air strike targets Hamas leader BBC

Israeli strikes kill 26, topple buildings in Gaza City  AP

Israeli air raid flattens Gaza building housing Al Jazeera: Live Al Jazeera

China urges US to back UN calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire SCMP

Once this violence in Israel and Gaza ends, there can be no return to ‘normal’ Guardian

Antidote du Jour, Timotheus: These are the latest brood from the cygnet swans you have featured twice in prior years.

Story Lake, Indiana

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. doug

    I don’t even want to think about what Neera will be whispering in her boss’s ear. JFC.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Never thought about it until I read your comment. Kamala Harris made a run for the Presidency last year but only won an award for Miss Uncongeniality before sailing off into political oblivion after Tulsi Gabbard cut her off at the knees during the debates. Until the DNC brought her back to life, that is, and rammed her down people’s throats as old Joe’s Veep. So..

        If old Joe “accidentally” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know-what-I-mean?) falls of the White House balcony and Kamala then becomes Madame President, could it happen then that Neera Tanden can then get selected as Kamala’s VP? Not sure if your system of government allows the political party in power to select a new VP after a VP gets elevated to President or not. Hmmm. Vice President of the United States Neera Tanden with both her and Kamala good buddies of Hillary.

        1. Nikkikat

          Yes, Kamala will be able to pick her own VP, well vetted by the DNC. Of course there is also the horrible transportation Secretary… repulsive as Neera and just as stupid. Hillary is still calling the shots around here.

          1. Pat

            It can’t be Neera unless Congress changes. The President nominates but both Houses have to confirm. She couldn’t make it through for a much less contentious position.

            My personal bet was that Kamala was the sop to the Clintonites, as she was their candidate, since Biden was considered an Obamaite and grudgingly had that faction’s support. Unity, you know. The nomination for VP will go to the Obamaites first choice, Buttigieg. That is unless he screws up some more PR paparazzi items and/or a Republican majority will not pass an openly gay man. At which point we will be given another odious Obama/Emmanuel approved Trojan horse.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Biden and his people wanted to jump onto the “listen to black women” slogan without actually doing anything, and then when it became apparent, he was to be held he had select a black woman. Its just the VP is effectively unelected so its nice for the VP to have a resume. Random Representatives are out, and there are no governors, leaving simply Harris. Barbara Lee is obviously out there, but Biden was never going to pick her.

              Biden was interviewing the Michigan Governor on the eve of the DNC. My guess is he expected to not be held to account for his promise which was so clear, but then again, he’s President. He’s been rewarded for his years of rank thuggery. You can see why he would get away with it.

              Once he made the promise who else was there for Biden?

                1. neo-realist

                  Abrams has stated that her first priority is getting elected as Governor of Georgia. Good luck given the voter suppression legislation.

              1. Pat

                Oh I remember old last chance to head off Sanders being upset to realize that the VP slot had been promised to someone without him. And supposedly it was about his “promise”. But anyone cynical knew that the VP slot was decided during the back room negotiations that coordinated the resignations and endorsements before South Carolina. That was the point where we started laughing at Warren thinking she was playing hardball by holding out on her endorsement and feeling some sympathy at Abrams finding out on national television that she wasn’t a consideration.

                Thinking Biden was being held to a campaign promise is right up there with thinking that Clyburn used his influence in SC to help his constituents.

          2. Mark Gisleson

            I honestly don’t think Clinton still has any positive influence within the Democratic party or Biden administration. What she does have is a weaponized army of identitarians who relish using social media and mainstream news media to destroy their ideological opponents. My guess is that she’s privately pandered to but publicly ignored.

            But probably her biggest weapon is that if she disagrees with Biden policy, all she has to do to stop it is to publicly endorse it.

            It’s been a long, long time coming, but after the Durham Report finally comes out, Hillary Clinton will spend the rest of her life out of public view as the new “Nixon” for which folks like Matt Taibbi, Aaron Mate and Glenn Greenwald will remain marginalized as punishment for telling inconvenient truths in the tradition of Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk (Fisk has, btw, been scrubbed by Wikipedia from their historical British journalist lists).

    1. km

      Did anyone seriously doubt that Needs Tanden would not be quietly integrated into the Biden Adminstration, once the initial brouhaha wore off?

  2. fresno dan

    Matt Taibbi
    Updated to include Joseph Mifsud’s “substantial connections to Russian government officials,” the hack of the French election in 2017, and that story the Washinton Post took seriously about Putin poisoning Hillary Clinton:
    Debunking Russiagate is like debunking a religion – the adherents of the set of beliefs that is Russiagate take its tenants on faith. No amount of facts, critical thinking, or logic can dissuade them. The people who were so proud of being reality based
    This pervasive tendency of people to believe nonsense makes me wonder what am I believing that is not in accord with reality.

      1. Detroit Dan

        He added a Mifusd item to the list of official Russia claims that proved to be bogus. These is a typo which says “Updated 5/15/17” (should be 5/15/2021), but a search for Mifsud will bring it right up.

        I wrote a post once about the circumstantial evidence that Mifsud was a western (not Russian) intelligence asset: Joseph Mifsud, Western Intelligence Asset

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Antitrust Establishment Confused as Big Tech Foe Lina Khan Gets Overwhelming Support from Congress”

    Maybe it is a shakedown maneuver. As in, give us more money for next year’s midterms or else we turn Khan loose and I can guess how the antitrust establishment feels about Lina Khan- (9 secs)

    1. grayslady

      Anything is possible, of course; however, having watched some of Khan’s confirmation hearing I was very impressed with her intellect, her verbal skills and the obvious level of comfort that comes from knowing that, if you don’t get confirmed, you still have lots of great options. I think what impressed the senate committee members was her one-size-does-NOT-fit-all approach to antitrust. She’s able to distinguish between ag issues and digital issues, for example. As I understand it, from a very quick read of her background, she appreciates the important balance between price and value. Early days yet, but she seems to be an enlightened pick.

    2. curlydan

      I don’t think Stoller should call it the antitrust establishment. Isn’t it the “trust and monopoly establishment”?

      In my mind, there is no antitrust establishment in this country although I kind of wish there was one.

      1. chuck roast

        I remember when AT&T was busted up. Finally, I didn’t have to mortgage my bicycle in order to afford a telephone. And in short order I could even call home long-distance without having to run from the bill collector. Those were the days!

  4. John Beech

    Small sample but of five friends of whom I inquired, ‘What do you think of the new CD guidelines?’ all five said, in a word, stupid. And I tried really hard not to give any indication of my personal leanings but they all mirrored my sentiments. Anyway, I don’t know what our government is thinking will be the overall population-reaction but this makes prospects of our resuming to go out to dinner with friends significantly less likely. After all, a restaurant by its very nature means no masking. Odds of our exposing ourselves to Karen anti-vaxxers and covidiots are nil so the $800-1000 we once spent eating out each month will not be happening again any time soon. I cannot fathom what they were thinking. Nice thing about when Trump was president is had he proclaimed this the entire media apparatus would have rushed to condemn him but with President Biden in command, their reaction is muted. Sigh.

  5. Furzy

    We have dowsers in Thailand….my very productive well was located by a dowser….some 50′ down….I just witnessed a new, nearby plot for a home trying to put in a well…they had to try 3X!!….

    1. JP

      My mother was a dowser. She called herself a water witch. I never gave it much mind. It was always dead in my hands but one day she asked me to hold her hand and hold the willow fork in my other hand. She had the other fork in her other hand and then we walked towards where she knew there was a buried water main. As the willow fork dipped I increased my grip and it just kept bending. I grasped it as hard as I could to keep it from dipping while my mother was just holding loosely. If it had been a harder wood it just would have broken. Just did it that once with my mother. I have tried since by myself but that stick is just dead in my hands.

  6. No Party

    Re: CDC Mask Guidance

    Here in Maryland, Governor Hogan lifted mask requirements for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Yesterday while out and about on errands, most continued to wear masks. While stopped at a a Wawa, the only two people NOT wearing masks were taunting and yelling at everyone else, telling us that it’s time to take the masks off, it was never real, get over it. While at the liquor store, a mask less worker proudly met us as we walked in wearing our masks and said “no need to wear those anymore” while my mother-in-law nervously declined to remove her mask. I guarantee the Biden Administration’s piss-poor messaging and roll-out of this new policy is going to create daily interactions like this for many – will they all remain civil or will some escalate into physical confrontations? My bet is on the latter.

    The Biden admin’s incompetence on this point is the final nail in the coffin for me. Forcing us to manage the confusion over masking requirements at the individual/local level is one of the most neoliberal plays I’ve ever seen. Especially for a policy that is impossible to implement no less. It says to me that what meager government assistance we’ve received to day is over – we’re all on our own now when it comes to COVID. There will be no more attempts at a coordinated federal and state response – every actor will decide for themselves how best to proceed, and we’ll be forced to manage the inevitable conflict as best as we can.

    1. Screwball

      It’s almost like we have become lab rats.

      Maybe we always have been. Maybe it’s better to always believe that and plan accordingly.

      I am 65 years old and have lost confidence in just about everything; government at all levels, the media, and unfortunately, many of my fellow Americans.

      I’m glad I’m old. The future doesn’t look too bright. We no longer need shades. :-)

      1. Harold

        It has seemed fairly obvious to me that we are/have been lab rats for quite some time.

        1. anEnt

          I intend to wear masks until I get arrested under the old anti mask laws (the ones some jurisdictions have that assume mask wearers are criminals.)

          I like not getting colds and the flu several times a year.

      2. Mel

        The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.

        Skip to the last couple of paragraphs of this rather disturbing essay:

        “So, it seems that if we want to stop evil memes, we have to do that starting from the bottom.”

        Wie anstrengend es ist, böse zu sein.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I remain confident in the abilities of Government, Media, and most Americans but I have no faith in the Neoliberal Government and Media and the Neoliberal warping of the economy, and the lives of too many Americans. The gaping canyon between the way things could and should be and the way things are is one component of our tragedy.

        1. Wukchumni

          I pledge allegiance to the credo of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation overcome by greed and/or debt, easily divisible, with liberty and just rewards for precious few with the right connections.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Listening to Bill Black’s part I review of the S&L crisis and his inside view of the concerns driving the Reagan administration give fine detail to your characterization of the credo of the United States. After high school and before I gave serious thought to my chances of being drafted to die to help rice grow high I still believed ordinary men might be included in the United States. Thank the maker for my high draft number!

      4. Left in Wisconsin

        the final nail in the coffin for me… have lost confidence in just about everything; government at all levels, the media, and unfortunately, many of my fellow Americans.

        So, then what? Give up? Just take care of your own? Trust no one? Prep for the apocalypse? We’re a young, naive species – it is any surprise that we are vulnerable to charlatans and bad faith actors, not to mention the structural power(s) of capital, propaganda, and misdirection? Government – competent, pro-social government – is the only solution we’ve got. You don’t have to be a Marxist to see that it’s not going to be easy, that every institution created will be the site of political struggle, that for the foreseeable future (the rest of my lifetime at least) any wins will be temporary, contingent, and ad hoc, but hopefully opening space for a brighter, more humane future.

        The young people I know today, I’m so impressed with them. I wish they knew more history, and there’s plenty I roll my eyes at, but they seem to have a much better sense of the kind of world they want to live in that we did. It’s only all over if we accept its all over.

        1. Screwball

          So, then what? Give up? Just take care of your own? Trust no one? Prep for the apocalypse?

          Yep, pretty much.

          The young people I know today, I’m so impressed with them. I wish they knew more history, and there’s plenty I roll my eyes at, but they seem to have a much better sense of the kind of world they want to live in that we did. It’s only all over if we accept its all over.

          I spent over 30 years in corporate America (hated it and only getting worse), then retired and became a teacher. I’m not impressed with what I see from the kids, their parents, or the one size fits all educational system (scam) they participate in.

          Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer, but this rock is a fricken mess. And we made it this way. No hope. Mad Max is coming. I’m ready and OK with checking out. They will fix it when there is no alternative. I will be long gone.

    2. exdeadguy

      I’m about to give up. I’m the sole staff at a small non-profit arts space in Upstate NY and we’ve been strict about masking since we opened up to small numbers in July last year. Most everyone has been great about it (even if some masks were terrible, at least they wore them) and no confrontations. Until yesterday. Our patrons are mostly older, and a group of five 60+ yo came in yesterday and proceeded to unmask. I reminded them that we still have the policy of masking here and they grumbled and put them back on. One came up to me a few minutes later and declared that they had the “double-vax” and are all protected so they don’t need to wear them. I reminded them we are a public space and under 50% of people in the county are vaccinated, so please keep the masks on. They did, but were not pleased. I’m swimming against the tide on this one and eventually I’ll just give up trying to enforce it. Just feels futile.

      The Insight link was interesting, but seemed to only offer analysis from the point of view of the individual: “Post-vaccination? For me, testing positive would be but a curiosity unworthy of my anxiety.” Well should I test positive, I would be anxious about spreading it. AFAIK there still isn’t good data about the communicability of “breakthrough” cases. Please let me know if I’m wrong about that!

      1. chuck roast

        Maybe the Swedes were onto something. Why don’t we be stoopid’ right out of the box. After all, we are only going to do myriad stoopid’ things down the line.

    3. Pelham

      Fully agreed. Someone else here commented that for those businesses that still (prudently) require masks, employees will now be forced to be the bad guys and tell non-wearers to put masks on, subjecting the workers to fresh new levels of abuse. So that’s yet another aspect of this abdication of federal responsibility.

      And confusion. In the space of one hour of casual surfing I stumbled across supposedly authoritative commentaries saying that the mask-free message is highly irresponsible and others saying the move is long overdue. Anyone absolutely has to be thoroughly confused at this point. And angry.

      You’re right. We’re all on our own. For my part — and of course I may be completely wrong — I view the declining infection and death numbers as a brief pause before a colossal and (on the positive side) clarifying covid resurgence in the fall. Unfortunately, my family and I are moving to a part of the country where mask wearing and other precautions have never been well observed. So we’ll be laying in stores of canned goods.

      1. jefemt

        Good luck with the move.
        Hope you’re not too frustrated being one of the minority transplants that isn’t part of the burgeoning wingnut crew.

        Get an ID, register to vote, keep checking up on your voter status. Stripping away voting rights and access is a high priority in wingnut land. Got plenty of gunz and ammo?

        I’m tempted to suggest you not move, stay where you are, they are full wherever you are moving. But, hey its the siren call of Freedom! for the huddled 7.9 billions yearning.
        The gates are down, there is no closing the door behind you.

        Malthusian chaos theory is coming to the fore.

        I remain -steadfastly– Mr. Happy

      2. Screwball

        And given the new narrative, confusing as it may be – how much confidence can we have in the data collection and analysis going forward? Must it fit the narrative, or do we follow the data/science?

        I think we know the answer to that.

          1. rowlf

            Good essay from my point of view of trying to make sense of all the reporting. I like these two observations:

            Did we lose it because the vaccine makers got too greedy, or because politicians became too panicky, or because the media realized that scaring the living daylights out of people 24/7 is great for ratings? Or just because we ourselves lost track of what was really going on?


            Injecting hundreds of millions of people with substances that have never been properly tested – for which long-established protocols have existed for a long time – is about as unscientific as it gets. Then when you realize there’s no evidence that they keep injectees from being infected or infecting others, but only makes them -hopefully- a little less sick, you might as well stop right there.

            From a science point of view, you’re engaging in either a useless enterprise or a giant gamble with people’s health. Both utterly unscientific endeavors, any scientist can tell you that.

            1. cnchal

              The message is, we don’t care if you catch a breath of Covid, the vaccine will protect your ass! Pandemic is over! Get back to the millstone!

              The same people that are telling us to forget masks are going to be asking us to remember them again. It ain’t over. Not by a longshot.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            Sorry — I was disappointed by the essay. It was more a rant than a fully reasoned analysis of the way Science has been subsumed into the clutches of Big Money. I am still studying the transformations [at a too lazy pace] of Science. I believe Phillip Mirowski provides a much more perceptive analysis of how Neoliberalism has captured Science. The research paper: “The Contract Research Organization and the Commercialization of Scientific Research”, by Philip Mirowski and Robert Van Horn. Social Studies of Science 35/4(August 2005) 503–548, speaks directly to the issues around Big Pharma’s takeover of Science, using it as an example of the broader takeover of Science by Big Money. That paper also discussed the FDA approvals process. After a quick reading I became troubled by the implications of the CARE Act’s relaxations of FDA approvals and the implications of the EUA for the mRNA vaccines. I believe Big Pharma may be using its control over Government and the FDA to radically alter the way drugs are approved in the US and to the very large extent that FDA procedures are replicated in Europe’s and Japan’s drup approval procedures this suggests a most unpleasant Sea Change world-wide is underway. And this makes the Biden waiver kabuki all the more opaque, strange, … suspicious.

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                Obviously there is money to be made, a dragon’s hoard of money to be made. What is strange are the motivations behind the Biden waiver. I would be surprised if there were Biden’s handlers could tap on no other ways to extract a more generous sharing of funds from Big Pharma. The waiver is disproportionate for that purpose. What is happening behind the screens? I cannot believe mere incompetence or intemperance can explain the Biden move — making it strange to me.

                1. cuibono

                  Thanks for this. Agreed. Dont like to think of its implications. Greed is much easier

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                Thank you for your link to Ilargi’s essay. What has been going on with the Corona pandemic deserves a good rant. I am like an Ogre but instead of layers, I have rough edges [watched Shrek for the multi-eth time].

                The paper you found is the same one I skimmed over before my comment. I need to give it a more thorough reading. For me the most telling tale of Neoliberal Science was told in Mirowski’s lecture “Prof. Philip Mirowski keynote for ‘Life and Debt’ conference” where he describes the place of Science in the Neoliberal scrip for exploiting the last stages of Climate Change with schemes for geoengineering.

                I hope the paper is helpful. My quick appraisal of it was that it was complex, multifaceted and difficult. Its use of Big Pharma as case for discussion seems apt to Big Pharma’s exploitation of Science, regulatory agencies — the FDA, and Government for financializing the Corona pandemic as it devolves.

                I was trying to avoid the long link references that expand my already wordy comments. Mirowski has been uploading his papers to I signed up there for free and on a full or new moon or random phase between I receive notices in my email on papers uploaded that might be of interest based on whatever algorithms is using. That’s where I have found many Mirowski papers and received notice as he or one of his graduate students uploads them to the site. Several of his papers have been uploaded more than once. On occasion he uploads a draft paper looking for comments. I hope the uploading of older papers that I have noticed of late is not an indication that Mirowski is ready to retire. I have not noticed a true protege among the many authors and co-authors he has recommended in the past.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          “Follow the Science” is a political slogan. The CDC has become a political agency little tied to Science … or Public Health. The FDA has been totally — to use a gamers term — pwned by Big Pharma. The US Government belongs to Big Money, but Big Pharma is only a part of Big Money. US citizens are allowed to watch a stylized kabuki of Government shown behind Wayang screens accompanied by Media sound and fury …

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        “Someone else here commented that for those businesses that still (prudently) require masks, employees will now be forced to be the bad guys and tell non-wearers to put masks on, subjecting the workers to fresh new levels of abuse. So that’s yet another aspect of this abdication of federal responsibility.”

        Let’s be honest, it’s been this way the whole time. There’s been nothing aside from social pressures and the workers on the ground enforcing the mask mandates from day one. I know quite a few in the service industry who are really worn down by it and several local places which have received negative Yelp reviews because they insisted on enforcing.

    4. JTMcPhee

      And then there’s the CDC saying that school kids should STILL wear masks. I guess if you’re the cognitively-challenged fin de Empire regime, self-beset by purblind, selfish interests, that is headed by Biden, cognitive dissonance and confusion and forgetting why you went into the press briefing room and situation room is to be expected and forgiven, as we make allowances for our elders even as they leave pots on the hot burners,, smoke in bed, and open the doors to robbers…

    5. Mikel

      As long as the message is muddled, people can be blamed for not following guidelines when something goes wrong and not those of “authority”.

      Game on.

      1. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

        That’s been going on for a while. Covid breakthrough case when you are fully vaxxed? Well, says our experts, maybe you had Covid when you got your shot, or maybe you got it right after, before you had full immunity. Or maybe you are elderly/frail, or have co-morbidities that made the vaxx less effective. Every negative outcome is placidly explained away. Those 9 Yankee ballplayers? They got the J&J, which is less effective. Also: most of them are asymptomatic, so what’s the problem? Lets not even get into the fact that only some of our elites — athletes, actors, commentators, etc. — are getting regularly tested for Covid. What this seems to mean for all regular people is that your Covid status, and your relative danger to others, even when vaxxed; why it’s all a crapshoot and if there is a failure, welp, it’s on you.

        I have a hard time describing my anger over the state of things at the current time.

    6. Carolinian

      But, but, he’s not Trump. All is good.

      Being an all round skeptic I’m willing to believe there was never a compelling case for surgical masks but the “precautionary principle” case for wearing them was defensible whereas the seat of the pants case for latest CDC is not.

    7. Nikkikat

      I agree. I am already picturing brawls with maga idiots in every grocery or retail establishment. This was all about poor employment numbers and business complaining the slaves are not returning to work. Biden and Harris putting on a photo op.
      The idea that people will police themselves on an honor system.
      I can also see Neera Tanden coming up with this plan.
      I picture her with a little desk right next to Biden’s dictating an idiotic idea such as the one they claim that unvaccinated knuckle draggers will all want to get vaccinated when they see the rest of us without mask. I plan on wearing a mask for a long long time.

      1. Jack

        The brawls have been going on for 18 months. Are you saying there’s going to be more of them?

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s the purpose of every two-party system to divide and rule, and some people really like to be ruled.

      2. Keith

        This will likely end the brawls, as major retailers are dnding the need. Costco even sent off an email blast to notify people. Do you really think most retailers will try to pick a fight with customers over something the govt won’t enforce, including state and local

    8. Kurtismayfield

      Did Biden think for one moment about the schools? He forced them all to be in by now, and the weekend that they are all back he releases this mish mash messaging.

      He just wants to claim victory. He could care less about science.

    9. Jack

      I don’t get it. Once the Feds told the states they were on their own the game was over. We now had 50 egomaniacal governors on the loose, some eagerly grabbing the power and others diving into the weeds. All, of course, concerned about their re-election, their “legacy” or some other nonmedical reason. So now Biden has started the “piss poor” messaging? The spectacularly incoherent behavior on the part of the states and lower political entities has been going on for 18 months. What is this? A Last Man Standing loses contest?

    10. Daryl

      > telling us that it’s time to take the masks off, it was never real, get over it

      I’ve noticed this this week as well. These people pop up when cases are falling and disappear just as quickly when they go back up. In the end it’s kind of weird that in a society obsessed with individualism, people are highly concerned with others choices to wear masks…

    11. Keith

      In eastern Washington it is all but over. I even had an employee come up and tell me not to bother with the mask. Staff was only wearing them as L and I have not updated their policies, yet. Employees at big box retailers aren’t even really wearing g them now, putting them on the chin. I will get to see what Seattle does in two weeks when I take a road trip there.

      With Bidens announcement, he all but called the pandemic over.

      1. neo-realist

        In Seattle, from what little store shopping I’ve done, employees and patrons are masked up 100%. Walking outdoors, I’d say about 50%. My company is tentatively talking returning to the office in the fall:(. I’m still masking up since I don’t trust that all the unmasked has vaxxed. The Governor has said the state will totally lift covid-19 restrictions June 30. I think that will be a good test of if we’ve radically beat back the virus in that more people will be outdoorsy and travel, w/o masks presumably. The latter part of the year will be interesting—-Will new mutations crop up from unmasked, unvaxxed and asymptomatic spreaders due to the lax mask guidelines and cause a massive uptick in infections–the pessimist in me says yes.

    12. cocomaan

      It says to me that what meager government assistance we’ve received to day is over – we’re all on our own now when it comes to COVID.

      100%. And what’s ironic is that this is what Democrats accused Trump of doing: not bothering to have a coordinated Federal response and leaving states to do things their own way.

      I think it’s not just Covid, either. Biden’s admin has said, “You’re on your own with everything.”

      What I don’t think Biden understands is the seething anger out there that you reference. Absent some moves to placate labor, I think there will be a labor movement starting up in the next year.

    13. Aumua

      the only two people NOT wearing masks were taunting and yelling at everyone else, telling us that it’s time to take the masks off, it was never real, get over it. While at the liquor store, a mask less worker proudly met us as we walked in wearing our masks and said “no need to wear those anymore” while my mother-in-law nervously declined to remove her mask.

      Yeah so much for “let people who want to wear masks wear them, and let those who don’t go maskless”. You can bet when the tables are turned that the same people who said that are going to be acting a lot more like fascists than the supposed “fascist lockdown” authorities ever did.

    14. Jason Boxman

      This all conforms to my original March 2020 opinion; they’re leaving everyone to die. If you’re able to get a vaccine, you can go to happyville (probably), if not, oh well, you have a sad.

  7. LadyXoc

    Hi. Did you know that your blogroll “Glenn Greenwald” link goes directly to the Intercept and not Glenn’s Substack?

  8. Tom Stone

    Doing away with masks is going to be a disaster as will reopening schools without proper ventilation.
    It looks to me like they are going to crash the bus and let the usual suspects loot the bodies.
    The CMBS mess is ripening nicely and the RE Market here in Sonoma County is showing signs of softening, It won’t take much, perhaps an UWI Fire in the Bay Area that takes a few thousand homes.
    The only bay Area County not at serious risk is San Francisco County and if the fire is the result of an earthquake on the Hayward Fault it’s “Katy bar the Door”.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      But how will Joe sniff hair if people keep masking? And the insufferable demands to smile? What about the a holes who tell people to smile?

    2. The Rev Kev

      When you think about it, it is amazing that Biden cannot pull out about 2,000 people from Afghanistan until all the way into September but what he can do is declare victory over the pandemic for over 330 million people almost overnight and tell people that they can throw their masks away as in right now. This is something that Trump would have pulled if still President but he isn’t so this is all on Biden if it all blows up in his face over the next coupla months. Now everybody has to play doctor and judge their daily risks from day to day which is totally irresponsible on the part of the feds. I know that I don’t live there but if I did, I would stick with the masks for now. What else can you say?

      1. Tom Stone

        Rev, it’s not if, it’s when.
        The human race has been down this road before and the way to deal with epidemics and pandemics has been known ( More or less) for centuries.
        The current US approach is a guaranteed loser, but don’t worry, the 1033 program is being expanded…

      2. The Historian

        Hmmmm……let me see….

        According to the NYT about 47% of people in this country are partially or fully vaccinated, so over half the people in this country are not vaccinated even though vaccines are freely available.
        There is about a 10% chance of a breakthrough case of Covid even for the fully vaccinated. Do any of us know who will be a breakthrough case?
        How many variants will it take to break the vaccine? The flu viruses have managed to figure it out.
        CDC has proven itself over the past to be a political arm of the government – remember when they told us masks weren’t necessary back in March a year ago? Not to mention their confused guidance over droplets and aerosols.
        Big business and the wealthy want reopening immediately and they aren’t even doing anything to hide their greed these days. Look at Big Pharma – they have gotten so callous that they aren’t even trying to put a pretty PR face on the fact that they put dollars over lives.
        Who controls our government – and therefore the CDC?

        Yea…..I think I will still avoid crowds and wear a mask.

        BTW, thanks for the link. That has been and always will be one of my favorite songs. It was so nice to hear it again this morning.

        1. Mikel

          Remember that they are still studying all of that. Even numbers you are throwing out now are a work in progress…largely because variants keep popping up and information about asymptomatic spread is still developing.

        2. juno mas

          A large portion (children:25% of pop.) haven’t taken the vaccine because they are not authorized to be given the vaccine.

      3. Monkey on a Trike

        I’ve always thought that that song was a bit jaunty for it’s subject matter…So, at the end of 2019, I put this together with a couple of friends.

        After all that’s happened since, I’m starting to feel that maybe we should have left well alone.
        Long time lurker here at NC, thanks to everyone involved for helping me maintain a degree of sanity.

    3. Wukchumni

      The only real sitdown restaurant/bar here in tiny town had been for sale for 16 years, and with the boom in visitation to the National Parks even before Covid hit, they’d been doing some respectable numbers the past few years, and then finally it sold in 2019 for about a million bucks.

      The new owner is pretty far right politically, and rightly figured for himself that he was going to be up a river without a paddle if he didn’t do something different, and that was to have no mask policy whatsoever, none of the cooks, servers, etc. wore any, and customers were on their own, do what ya want!

      Its kind of brilliant in that you get enthusiastic anti-maskers and a family on a road trip from Nebraska, all in one fell swoop. This approach would’ve never worked in SoCal of SF, the place would have been shut down toot suite, but Tulare County is more interested in getting the sales tax.

      It has earned (along with apparently really bad food) the eatery a rash of 1-star reviews, not that the ‘restaraunteur’ seems to care.

      We’ve been crazy busy in town with a lot of visitation, and not only is the parking lot full, but there are cars parked along the side of the road for quite aways.

      I thought it would lead to a rash of Covid cases, but can’t say as that has been the case, and the eatery has had a no mask policy for almost a year now.

  9. Wukchumni

    This book charts a history of India through the stories of its paper currencies over the centuries Scroll
    When I was in business, there was scant demand for older coins & paper money from poor countries or those in the Communist bloc party, thus I didn’t pay much attention to Haitian, Russian, African (not all countries, but most), Chinese, Polish, Indian, mostly all Islamic countries & a few other countries in Latin America along those lines. Once upon a time there was demand in Mexico for better coins from Mexico, but once hyperinflation set in circa 1980, the only interest for Mexican coins was from collectors in the USA, that sort of thing. Demand boiled down to the home market from where they came, older pre 1945 Dutch coins were in a bubble from the 1970’s to 1980’s, for instance. There was feverish demand in the Netherlands for essentially common junk.

    There was no money in it for me, so it was something you ignored and whats funny now is the amazing demand for older & rarer Chinese, Russian, Polish & Indian coins, which could have been bought for a few pennies on the $ in the 80’s, versus current values.

    Conversely in old school capitalist countries, collector values of coins (the creme de la creme of rarities have skyrocketed though) have dropped quite a bit as the average collector is probably in their 60’s to 80’s and they’re all net sellers, or their heirs are, adding more inventory to a market where young adult coin collectors got raptured-as in there aren’t any.

    A number of old school hobbies are like this, similar to MLB’s average age of a fan: 57.

    This was the height of artistry in Indian coins, 400 years ago.

    Jahangir’s 12 gold coins of the Zodiac, Mughal Empire, ca. 1620 A.D.

  10. The Rev Kev

    ‘The moment Israel bombed Al-Jalaa tower in Gaza housing international media outlets including Al Jazeera and AP. Reports and media personnel were not even allowed time to grab their equipment before evacuating the building #GazaUnderAttack #Palestine’

    The descriptive line I have heard most about this deliberate targeting of journalists has been “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today” but I don’t think that it works that way. I want to send Ben Netanyahu a quick email as a heads-up for him on what to expect but does anybody know what the Hebrew word for ‘effect’ is?

    1. JMM

      I was talking to a friend about this yesterday. Up to a point, the world will know less. I would expect those communication towers to be able to get information out of the place, fast, probably using satellite connections. People will always have their phones and internet access, but that might not be the most reliable link in the current conditions.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I sense it’s Netanyahu testing the waters and removing official media voices who might give witness. The response was Biden telling him what a great job he was doing. Whether he is going to continue Likud’s vision or dissolve the Israeli constitution (he’s killing kids to avoid prison), I don’t know, but he’s seeing what he can get away with.

    3. flora

      They had a short warning I think.

      Video of inside the press offices of the Associated Press and AlJazeera before the Gaza building was levelled to the ground. Journalists trying to grab precious and valuable equipment in short period.

      and then

      Oh my god. The building where al Jazeera’s office is housed has just been taken down by Israeli airstrikes. There was a warning and evacuated. It houses offices and private homes. I can’t believe it.

    4. Chauncey Gardiner

      Links to the articles and tweets about the deadly attacks on journalists and civilians in Gaza and Iraq with silent administration support yesterday reflect the values of those who lead the organizations that they themselves characterize as “The Values-based Order” or “Rules-based Order”. After decades of such military actions, a legitimate question arises about how to remove them from positions of authority and influence in their support of policies that reflect their ideological worldview, not the values of the majority of the American people.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Us mopes might somehow remove some of the people in government who are responsible for aiding and abetting the actions of the regime in Israel, but their places will be filled by other people who have to get past the AIPAC force field and resist the temptation to grab all those bribes that “supporters of Israel” here in the Empire will dangle before their “I really want to get re- and re- and re-elected” eyes.

        Good luck fixing that fundamental issue in the operation of “our democracy of the corporate persons, by the corporate for the corporate persons” and the natural individuals that control and operate the corporations for their gang’s benefit.

    5. John Zelnicker

      @The Rev Kev
      May 16, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Don’t worry about the Hebrew, Bibi speaks English fluently.

    6. Bill Smith

      Previously there have been news reports that Hamas did use that building. As did Islamic Jihad. Usually these types of stories where filed by non US/non European Journalists shortly after they left the Middle East.

      Then there was this from the Atlantic in 2014:

      Don’t know what to believe, but it would be interesting if some of the longtime AP reporters were directly asked about the alleged floors that where off limits and guarded.

      1. The Rev Kev

        An Al Jazeera reporter gave an interview yesterday and she said that was not possible. Everybody in that building knew each other (unlike a typical western apartment block) and the idea that there were off limit floors is just so much bs. You couldn’t just wander into that building but had to be passed in at the lobby. The other offices in that people were for professional people like doctors and lawyers and I believe were located about the ground floor or above.

  11. jr

    Saagar on Rising detailing a White House rule requiring that all quotes, even those anonymously attributed, must be clear with the communications director or the journalist risks losing access to press briefings. As Saagar points out, if this had been done under Trump the mainstream press would have gone bananas, I can imagine the references to the Soviet Union etc. flying around. Barely anyone has said a word crosswise to Biden’s press clampdown.

  12. Michael Ismoe

    I am so old that I remember when Ned Lamont was a progressive, or at least he played one when he ran against Joe Lieberman. Is it any wonder why people stop voting?

    1. chuck roast

      Ned Lamont played a progressive? And his policies were what exactly? As I recall he played at being a bespoke golfer and had to be dragged off the course by his Dem oligarch pals to run against Java Joe who was wandering off the reservation much too frequently. Just about anybody can be not-Joe-Lieberman. Unfortunately, Neddy saw how easy it was when all the levers of power move in your direction and took a liking to it. He still dresses well though.

      1. Steve from CT

        I am 80 yrs old and don’t remember anytime Ned was a progressive. He was more progressive that Joe Lieberman who became one of McCain’s followers and consistently grew more conservative. It is not hard to be more progressive than Joe. I knew we were in trouble when Ned appointed a Golden Sachs operative as his economic advisor. His base is Fairfield County and the 1%ers.

        1. Jason

          He was more progressive that Joe Lieberman who became one of McCain’s followers and consistently grew more conservative.

          I don’t think that’s how it works. McCain was a tool of the real power players his entire life. It was passed down from his daddy. Look into McCain Sr’s involvement with the USS Liberty atrocity. Lieberman didn’t need to follow McCain to become who he was.

    2. PHLDenizen

      Lost in the discussion, as is the custom with any employment centered around manual and unskilled labor, is how the conditions in nursing homes aren’t much better — and in some ways worse — than gigs like Amazon warehouses. There’s the daily grind of seeing people off regularly to the Eternal Care Unit, but the injuries you accumulate have gotten orders of magnitude worse over the years. Americans, due to various causes, have grown themselves into unnaturally large mammals. It’s not moralizing or shaming (which is absolutely not my intent here) to point out the effort involved in transporting, positioning, cleaning, etc. someone whose weight is measured in “clinical units” (healthcare slang for multiples of 200 lbs.) absolutely wrecks your body. The daily accumulation of repeated soft tissue damage and fatigue without breaks long enough to heal them is dangerous, running the risk of permanent injury and fscks with your ability to care for everyone else in your charge. This extends to EMTs, nurses, orderlies, ER docs, fire rescue personnel. PMC doesn’t get it, they don’t WANT to get it, and they just don’t give a fsck. Disability rates in these occupations are unreal, although it’s not counted and most just power through it until they absolutely can’t.

      PMC also fails to recognize that they’re in a union themselves: lobbyists, agglomerating themselves into large practice groups to negotiate with insurance companies, trade organizations, campaign donations as dues. They fancy themselves as stately, committing only acts that are “common sense for the good of the economy”, but they’re just full of sh!t. It’s self-interest, flexing muscle that comes from their position in the hierarchy of economic power.

      1. John Zelnicker

        May 16, 2021 at 12:23 pm

        My daughter is a nursing assistant and has worked in nursing homes. That is, until her back gave out from moving large folks in order to change them or their bedclothes. It’s an occupational hazard in the US due to our high rate of obesity. Sadly, as you note, these injuries are not counted or acknowledged.

        1. GF

          On one of Bill Maher’s last shows before quarantine this past week he showed a graphic that 78% of people who contracted Covid were overweight or obese. Interesting, but I would like to know how many were Republicans vs Democrats vs Independents?

    3. timbers

      Lamont to nursing home union: You have CT’s last and best offer CT Mirror

      “Most nursing home workers earn between $13 and $15 per hour, and the union is seeking to set a floor of $20. That’s an increase of 33% or more.”

      Good thing we are importing immigrant kids by the millions. I’m sure some of them can be taught to perform Nursing Homes functions for around $2/hr.

      1. Screwball

        Knowing the amount of money these overworked and underpaid people are paid when writing the monthly nursing home check makes my blood boil.

        You can pay 3-4 grand a month for a room, and they can ingest another $1200 worth of drugs a month through a 90 pound woman – but only pay their people $13 bucks (or less where I am) an hour. And this has been years ago.

        And the best part (kidding); 2 aides to care for over 2 dozen residents.

        I haven’t the words, and if I did (I do) I can’t post them here. Well, I can think of one – criminal.

  13. Mikel

    You know what gives me dejavu?

    “All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Friday said those who were fully-vaccinated against the coronavirus also need to continue wearing masks and following physical distancing guidelines, The Times of India reported.”

    This reminds me of March 2020, when Fauci and crew were saying no need to wear masks while countries in Asia, who had dealt with more widespread Sars viruses more recently, masked up.

    Seems like there is more caution from doctors and researches in India about the ability of the shots to fight the variants.

  14. Geo

    “Once this violence in Israel and Gaza ends, there can be no return to ‘normal’”

    There’s that “return to normal” phrase we all love so much around NC. From Covid to the housing collapse to 9/11 and GWOT, all the way back to slavery/Jim Crow and Indigenous genocide, we are always, to quote Obama, looking forward and not backward. Those who refuse to learn from history are something-something-something…

    Maybe “normal” is the problem?

  15. antidlc

    ‘The right decision wrongly handled’: Inside the Biden administration’s abrupt reversal on masks

    During her opening statement before a Senate health committee Tuesday, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was adamant that the Biden administration’s masking and social distancing policies remained sound.

    Even under hostile questioning from Republican senators, including Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Walensky ticked off a series of statistics to support the CDC’s current guidance. She noted that only a third of the country was fully vaccinated, stressed the high rates of cases in many counties and ended with a vague comment that the agency works to review and update their formal advice.

    Left unsaid by Walensky was that she had already made a decision the night before — approving a recommendation Monday from CDC officials to significantly overhaul its guidance to no longer require fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks or physically distance in most cases. As she batted away questions from senators demanding to know when Americans could ditch the masks, scientists back at the CDC were performing one last scrub of the data and studies to identify the roughly 700 CDC webpages that needed to be updated with the new guidance.

  16. Mikel

    I don’t know why everybody is excited to run out and pay higher prices for everything.

    Now would be a time to mass chill while and let inventories get up to speed. As much up to speed on raggedy infrastructure will allow.

    Sit back and watch the barges lining up in the Mississippi River…etc.

  17. rowlf

    The NPR On Point episode What To Know About Kids And COVID Vaccines from Monday May 11th has had a transcript posted.

    Some snippets to build interest in reading the transcript.

    The point is that for adults, the benefits of vaccination are enormous. As you correctly pointed out at the start of the show, there are almost 600,000 deaths that have occurred in the United States. But if we break down those deaths by age, there were approximately 300 under 18 years of age. So, as you noted, it’s a tiny, tiny percentage. So, the question becomes: When do the conditions for an EUA become satisfied for children?

    This is not a disease that spread to a large extent by children to adults. It’s very different than influenza. And I think that’s oftentimes forgotten. Children are the primary vectors or the vehicle by which influenza spreads within a community. That’s not the case with COVID-19, at least based on the available data. So, I think to argue that including children as part of the herd immunity is a little bit risky.

    And my concern again is that we have in general, because children are so much lower risk as we’ve all brought up, children under 20 are not only lower risk of spreading the disease; they are not the super spreaders.

    In fact, it’s adults spreading it to them. And children and young adults are very low risk for severe disease, about one in a million chance of death for a child under 19 from COVID as opposed to 600 deaths [per million] in the U.S. from adults.

    And now … I think we’re doing this once again to children by vaccinating them without knowing what the safety is. We are asking children to accept the vaccine, to get immunized, to protect the adults. That isn’t necessary. Children just very rarely get sick.

    1. Yves Smith

      The comment about spreading from kids to adults is false. The UK’s Imperial College does large scale surveys in the UK (this is only systematic information on Covid) and they found elementary age kids were 2x as likely as adults to bring Covid into a home, and older kids, 7x as likely. Those cases were almost certainly all asymptomatic. We don’t yet know if Covid-vaccinated asymptomatic cases are less infectious than garden variety asymptomatic cases, where there is some contagion risk. And since the CDC is now refusing to track asymptomatic cases, the only data we might get on this critical issue is from overseas….which may be rejected due to being based (largely or entirely) on other vaccines.

      1. rowlf

        Thanks for the refutation to the US doctors’ statements on the program. NC has been the most reliable source I have found yet to sort out Covid information even if it takes a while get the topic nailed down. I like to read foreign news but if I run across something that sounds interesting, it is very difficult to validate.

      2. Jeff W

        “…And since the CDC is now refusing to track asymptomatic cases, the only data we might get on this critical issue is from overseas…”

        Apparently, there is a study that began enrollment in March of 12,000 college students on 21 US college campuses that examines the question of whether vaccines blocks asymptomatic transmission of the virus. While only the Moderna vaccine will be administered in this study, virologist Dr. Larry Corey, who directs operations at the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), the organization running the study, says the results will apply equally well to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: “Whatever one learns from Moderna applies to Pfizer. The strand of RNA is identical.”

  18. lobelia

    When the Daily Mail writes, too graphic to publish, which I’ve never witnessed before:

    05/16/21 By James Robinson and Katie Weston and Chris Jewers Children account for nearly a third of Palestine’s 174 dead as another night of Gaza air strikes sees families pulled from rubble of their homes: Netanyahu vows to continue rocket attacks ahead of UN Security Council meeting today

    This morning, photographs, which are too graphic to publish, show dead children being pulled from the wreckage of homes in Gaza after Israeli air strikes last night. Other pictures show rescuers helping injured children from bombed out homes.


    According to the Gaza health ministry, 174 Palestinians have died since the start of the conflict on Monday.
    Among the people killed are 47 children, it said. In Israel, 10 people have been killed in total, with barrages of rockets fired from Gaza.

    Netanyahu is a monster (Joe; where’s that half mast, and candles for, at the least, the babies?).

    (Oh, and Kamala Harris is almost always ‘smiling’ – from ear to ear – despite the ever increasing US and worldwide premature deaths, and immiseration of human beings, she’s amoral (and amoral Bill Gates and his ilk don’t acknowledge the word, immiseration). As to Governor Ned Lamont, no doubt he’s been conferring on a private line with Biden and Obama/Biden advisor, i.e. his wife’s venture capitalist business partner, Zeke [just Die at 75] Emanuel, see: 04/16/20 Kevin Rennie: The ‘Reopen Connecticut’ group’s work should be public. Why does Gov. Lamont want it kept secret? , would love to see that 2020 form, IRS 1040 (along with Zeke’s), Ned.

    I can’t help it, I’m increasingly waiting for a magical, selective group of asteroids, to hit and boot certain ‘persons’ to Mars, permanently)

    gotta run

  19. David

    Vaccine passports at airports.
    This isn’t at all surprising, nor should it be at all surprising that it’s Dubai that is leading the way. It’s not only the world’s busiest airport, it also has connections from virtually everywhere in the world, including some countries where vaccination is not, perhaps, that well advanced. In a world of hub and spoke international travel, a lot of other places are going to have to follow suit.
    Dubai is, in my experience, a very well-run airport. But I wonder how many others will cope as well.

  20. zagonostra

    >It Was The Government That Produced COVID-19 Vaccine Success Health – Affairs Blog

    But wasn’t the “Government” also responsible for the “failure” that we got CV19 to begin with? If indeed the prevailing theory is true and it was man-made/manufactured in a lab and did not emerge out of some “wet market” then the gov’t that funded and the one that hosted the research are both equally responsible. Because some act is an accidents it does not confer absolution.

    I did not read this article, the headline put me off and it’s juxtaposition with the Eagle (symbol of U.S.) clutching hypodermic needles as opposed to arrows was just too much for me on a Sunday morning.

  21. Wukchumni

    After 15 years, the Navy’s littoral combat ships are still in search of a mission

    SAN DIEGO — Almost 15 years ago, the U.S. Navy christened the first of a new class of warship designed to fight the Global War on Terror. The so-called littoral combat ships would be fast and agile, operating close to shore against missile-firing boats and small submarines.
    Today, the Navy has a new mission — or rather, has returned to its old mission, facing off against more capable warships deployed by China and Russia. And the service is still trying to figure out what to do with its $16 billion LCS fleet.

    It doesn’t help that some of the ships have suffered embarrassing breakdowns in mid-ocean. Or that the Navy discovered recently that the transmission in one of the two classes of ships was defective and needed to be redesigned. And while Congress has eagerly funded construction of the two very different classes of ships, it cut funding from the mission modules needed by the ships to fulfill their missions.

    That unfortunate combination explains the ignominious nickname assigned to the LCS by some sailors: Little Crappy Ships.
    I heard an F-35 got it on with a LCS, and the offspring was an underwater plane.

    1. newcatty

      Agree. First time I have been repulsed and disappointed in an antidote. I just saw the image and skipped quickly to the comments.

    2. Riverboat Grambler

      Why? I think it’s hilarious. It’s just manipulated footage of birds in nature.

    3. diptherio

      It’s amazing and gave me a good chuckle to start the day. I hope they do fish next.

  22. lobelia

    Longer version (still in moderation, or s-yn-tted), made much shorter:

    I’m increasingly waiting for a magical, selective group of asteroids, to hit and boot certain ‘persons’ to Mars, permanently. At this point, sans protective gear is fine with me, since no one innocent of such crimes is allowed any protection at all. And, they’re not even supposed to/allowed to lament that reality; in real time, at least.

    gotta run

    1. Jason

      I hope your longer version gets through. And I hope you’re well ;)

      sticking around for a bit

  23. antidlc

    Neera Tanden lands in the White House, after all

    Proof there really is a federal jobs guarantee…for some

    –David Sirota

  24. Jason

    UN coordinator warns of ‘devastating consequences’ if Mideast violence escalates

    U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland is calling for Israeli and Palestinian forces to de-escalate, warning on Sunday there would be “devastating consequences” if the violence in the region continues to build.

    In remarks to the U.N. Security Council, Wennesland detailed the number of deaths that have occurred since the conflict began last week. According to the U.N. coordinator, 181 Palestinians and nine Israelis have died as a result of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas missile attacks, based on preliminary figures. Reuters on Sunday reported that 188 Palestinians had died

    Wennesland condemned Hamas, which is considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S., for violating international humanitarian laws governing armed conflicts by launching rockets from highly populated civilian neighborhoods into Israeli neighborhoods. He also called on Israel to abide by the same laws by practicing “proportional use of force, exercising maximum restraint to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations.”.

    Passive voice (“have died”) used for Israel’s planned, intentional “mowing the grass” operation which slaughters Palestinians. Passive voice for Israeli deaths as well here. A bit unusual, but no matter: Nuclear-powered Israel, one of the strongest , most well-endowed nations on earth, provokes a defenseless, population that they themselves have caged. The prisoners throw whatever they’re able to get their hands on back, for defensive purposes but also as a matter of dignity – and they are widely condemned.

    The whole world watches.

    1. km

      Why, it’s like the violence just appears out of nowhere, perhaps it just drops out of the sky.

      1. Late Introvert

        At least Team USA can have a day or two not being the worst nation. What a relief.

        1. km

          I dunno, take away unconditional American support and Israel would instantly get a Whole New Attitude.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It is not so much as the unconditional American support as the fact that they expect it as a god given right. And with zero thanks but dumping on America too because they are “entitled” to do so. Hubris will be their undoing as it has previously.

  25. Jason

    Israel Gaza conflict: Netanyahu says strikes to ‘continue at full force’

    “I have never covered air strikes with such intensity, explosions are everywhere in Gaza, there are difficulties in communicating with officials to find out where the strikes are,” said the BBC’s Rushdi Abualouf in Gaza.

    “The building in which I live in [the] western part of the city shook like an earthquake,” he wrote on Twitter. “A hysterical state of chaos, children and women in the building that houses more than 200 people screaming.”

    Israel will continue intentionally slaughtering innocent women and children. This is to be referred to as the “Israel Gaza conflict” to confuse any sentient being’s sense of conscience.

  26. Jason

    Top AP editor calls for investigation into Israeli airstrike targeting media building

    The Associated Press’s top editor on Sunday called for an independent investigation into an Israeli military airstrike that destroyed a Gaza City building housing the AP and other news organizations.

    “We are in a conflict situation,” Buzbee said. “We do not take sides in that conflict. We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don’t know what that evidence is.”

    “We think it’s appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened yesterday — an independent investigation.”

    It’s merely a “conflict situation” in which you don’t take sides? We’ve repeatedly pointed out how you take sides simply by virtue of the language you use. You engage in narrative control. You turn a lopsided slaughter committed by a nuclear-armed monster into a neutral “conflict” and have the audacity to repeatedly condemn the victims.

    You’re calling for an investigation? How quaint.

    You aren’t even capable of condemning the blatant destruction of your own office? The wanton disregard for your comrades in what you laughingly call journalism?

    It’s unconscionable, and you are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

    1. km

      Netanyahu also claimed to have Supa Secret Evidence about Saddam’s WMD programs. For that matter, he assured Congress that the War on Iraq would lead to a new era of peace and stability in the Middle East.

      That Congress never calls him out on his lies is to its enduring shame.

      1. Jason

        I have a comment in mod. Shorter version: They can’t call him out because they’re part of a structural, symbiotic relationship that Israel and its minions have worked at – via subterfuge and the proverbial “power of the purse” – for going on a century now.

        Theodore Herzl cited this issue with his community as one of the reasons they needed their own state.

        The American Zionist Council rebranded as AIPAC when Robert Kennedy wanted them to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. For precisely this reason.

      2. Jason

        They can’t call him out because they’re part of a structural, symbiotic relationship that Israel and its minions have worked at – via subterfuge and the proverbial “power of the purse” – for going on a century now.

        Theodore Herzl cited this issue with his community as one of the reasons they needed their own state.

        The American Zionist Council rebranded as AIPAC when Robert Kennedy wanted them to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. For precisely this reason.

      3. Jason

        Adding, Netanyhu and the Israeli far-right are hardly the entirety of the problem. Much as the issue in the U.S. is much larger than just the big, bad Republicans.

  27. Josef K

    From the Hill article on CDC’s latest mask announcement:

    “This newest CDC guidance is not based on science, does not protect public health, and threatens the lives of patients, nurses, and other frontline workers across the country,” said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo. “Now is not the time to relax protective measures, and we are outraged that the CDC has done just that while we are still in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century.”

    Looking around the web the last few days, the best explanation I could find was that testing health-care workers after they’d been vaccinated found on average they carried 90% less virus. That’s at least better than that it was a purely political decision. However, since I’ve read that one’s viral load only has to be 100 virions to get sick, 1/10 that of SARS-1, 10% of–how much, probably a lot–is still worrisome.

    I for one would like to see more info and more debate around this.

  28. Riverboat Grambler

    Seeing some eye-popping replies to the Kamala mask thread; some people pointing out that you should obey local store’s masking policy and other people saying those stores are “anti-science”. I’m sorry, does the vaccine suddenly stop you from getting it or spreading it? Have we even come close to vaxxing most people in the US? This was a decision based on politics, not science. What a joke. Thanks Joe, thanks for passing the buck down to workers like me, workers you couldn’t be bothered to fight for raising the min wage.

    I’m a night cashier in a convinience store in a county that still has a mask mandate. I’m getting my second shot in a few days so I’m about three weeks out from being fully vaxxed. I’m relatively young and I’m not worried about covid killing me but I really don’t wanna miss a whole paycheck from being quarantined if I catch it. A co-worker said something the other day that blew my mind. “Well if you catch it, it’s not like anyone has to know. What’s the worst that’ll happen? You get someone else killed?”

    Uh, yeah dude! That would be bad! What the familyblog is wrong with you? Then it occurred to me that this attitude is probably fairly common among people. Good lord.

    Whatever. I’m so tired of playing the mask police, tired of the disrespect, tired of people not caring. Most people are good in my area but the ones that aren’t, ho boy. At least I haven’t been shot.

    Once I’m fully vaxxed and the mandate lifts, I’m done. Not my problem anymore. If the government don’t care, then I don’t care.

  29. Matthew G. Saroff

    I know that everyone gets so upset about the feral horses.

    They are an invasive and destructive species.

    1. Josef K

      “They are an invasive and destructive species.”

      It takes one to know one, doesn’t it? The difference being this invasive and destructive species introduced pretty much all of the other invasive and destructive species.

  30. Big Tap

    Team USA is fully behind these atrocities. Israel would not do the Gaza bombings without prior American consent. As usual the U.S. has blood on its hands. Think Yemen.

    1. Jason

      Think of anything that will deflect our attention from Israel and its lobby. We’ve got it. Thanks.

  31. lobelia

    A hug (and prayers) back to you, and yours, Jason. So heart warming in such horrifying times, the real candle you’ve kept lit, regarding actual terrorism – against the defenseless.

    gotta run (‘heading out,’ smile)

  32. MarkT

    The mess we’re in is that the worst amongst are in control. All regulations that were designed to keep them in check were thrown out the window (the Clintons bear a huge amount of blame). Balance is needed, and it was lost some time ago.

    At some point it will come down to what really matters.

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