Links 5/26/2021

These ‘turtle dogs’ are helping to save a threatened species from extinction Euronews

A Maryland candy company is cooking up chocolate covered cicadas CNN

The First Rule of Bite Club? Talk About It. Outside

De-Ratting Rat Island Brought Silent Ecosystem Back to Life Scientific American

Austerity’s Hidden Purpose Yanis Varoufakis, Projecy Syndicate

Central Banks Face New Balancing Act With Their Huge Asset Piles Bloomberg

The Economy Is Booming. Why Don’t Firms Believe It? Joe Weisenthal, Bloomberg


The Beginning of the End of the American Pandemic The New Yorker. The case for optimism.

Is It Safe to Sing at Church Yet? Depends Who You Ask. The Roys Report

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Estimating infectiousness throughout SARS-CoV-2 infection course Science (Allan). From the Summary: “Based on our estimates of infectiousness of [Pre-symptomatic, Asymptomatic, and Mildly-Symptomatic (PAMS)] subjects and the higher viral load found in subjects infected with the B.1.1.7 variant, we can safely assume that non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and mask wearing have been key in preventing many additional outbreaks. Such measures should be employed in all social settings and across all age groups, wherever the virus is present.”

What scientists know about new, fast-spreading coronavirus variants Nature (Furzy Mouse).

* * *

Methylene Blue for Treatment of Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients: A Randomized, Controlled, Open-Label Clinical Trial, Phase 2 Revista de Investigacion Clinica (IM). Note this is not a preprint, and “Rev Invest Clin” is in PubMed. n = 40 in both arms of the study. From the Discussion: “This trial showed that MB, as a supplementary therapy to SOC protocols, led to a significant increase in SpO2, a significant decrease of respiratory distress and hospital stay, and 10% decrease in mortality rate. Severe COVID-19 patients presented with the chief complaint of dyspnea. After 1 day of MB administration, 92% of patients expressed dyspnea relief. This finding was very important for the care of COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory distress.” IM comments: “Worth following up with phase III trial!” It does seem that repurposing existing drugs for treatment, although not as glamorous as mRNA tech, etc., is both an effective strategy and under-noticed/under-funded, regardless of the outcome for any particular study.

* * *

COVID-19: Lack of Transparency Risks Global Response Consortium News (Furzy Mouse).


Propaganda and Education activities for the 100th Anniversary; Inner Mongolia’s crypto crackdown; Financial support for rural vitalization; John Cena apologizes Sinocism

China’s Xiaomi says U.S. has formally lifted securities ban Reuters

A mega dam on the Great Bend of China ABC Australia. Now that we might as well pave over the Mekong, let’s move on!

Taiwan’s Sudden Unraveling Masks a Serious Climate Problem Bloomberg


Myanmar’s Opposition Wants U.S. Intervention. Here Are Some Options. Foreign Policy. Some problems, here. First, “Opposition” implies that the government installed by the Tatmadaw’s coup is legitimate. Second, “Myanmar’s Opposition” is deceptive, since the lead says “some voices among the protesters.” Third, I’ve seen the “R2P” signs in images clearly directed at an English-speaking audience, but I don’t know how to assess them; I don’t see such signs in marches or protests that are clearly up-country, so my guess is an NGO faction. Finally, and now addressing the lead, “protesters” is probably not the word the National Unity Government (NUG) would prefer, since they see themselves ideologically as representatives of Myanmar Federalism, and institutionally as an entity deserving international recognition. This article is a mess. And speaking of international recognition for the NUG:

ASEAN-US meeting postponed, communications glitch cited as reason Jakarta Post

Aeon Mall postpones Yangon shopping mall construction after coup Kyodo News

The Myanmar military’s planned “intranet” is likely to fail ASEAN Today

Where Poets Are Being Killed and Jailed After a Military Coup NYT

The Koreas

Kimchi is Chinese? The Sino-Korean Struggle for Ontological Security The Blue Roof


14 states see Covid recovery rate of 90% or above Times of India

India’s Covid vaccine rollout favours the wealthy and tech-savvy FT

Concern as 24% of Rohingya Inmates in Jammu Detention Centre Test COVID Positive The Wire

More than 30 countries could face oxygen crises similar to India amid COVID-19 surges The Week

Indian Government’s ‘Vanity’ Project in New Delhi Invites Public Wrath The Diplomat


IAEA chief sounds alarm over Iran’s nuclear programme FT

Israeli Pilots: We Couldn’t Stop the Rockets, So We Took Our Frustration Out on Gaza Apartment Towers Tikun Olam. Interviews with the pilots.

Palestine: Hamas defeats Israel The Saker. Worth a read for the realpolitik.

The Myth of Coexistence in Israel Diana Buttu, NYT

Mysterious air base being built on volcanic island off Yemen ABC


PM ‘wanted to be infected with Covid on live TV, called virus Kung-Flu and was slow to act because he was on holiday with Carrie’: Just some of the grenades Dominic Cummings will lob at Boris Johnson tomorrow in explosive evidence to MPs Daily Mail

England’s NHS plans to share patient records with third parties FT

Feeling blue: drug dealer’s ‘love of stilton’ leads to his arrest Guardian

New Cold War

Nord Stream 2: Biden says sanctions ‘counterproductive’ to US-European ties Deutsche Welle

It’s time to respond forcefully to Belarus’s wily and malevolent dictator WaPo

How to avoid a conflict in Belarus Responsible Statecraft

Lack of irrigation water puts Chihuahua on brink of social and economic crisis Mexico News Daily

Biden Administration

Biden’s selling an ambitious agenda. Americans still aren’t sure what it is. Politico

Gary Gensler is not the guy Francine McKenna, The Dig

Senate Preparing $10 Billion Bailout Fund for Jeff Bezos Space Firm The Intercept. Why not ask Jeff to look under the sofa cushions?

Trump Legacy

U.S. judge dismisses indictment against ex-Trump adviser Bannon, cites pardon Reuters

Clinton Legacy

Hillary Clinton directly appeals to QAnon to stop claiming she drinks children’s blood: ‘It’s painful to me and my family’ Independent

Health Care

What deadline? Most clinical trials are still not reported on time to federal database STAT

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A Year After George Floyd’s Murder, Most Americans Are Not Optimistic About Future Race Relations Morning Consult

A Serious Discussion of the Political Thought of Kwame Brown Benjamin Studebaker

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Pentagon Papers at 50: What’s Left Out is Crucial Counterpunch (CEA).

Southwest Airlines flight attendant loses two teeth after passenger assault NBC

Class Warfare

By the numbers: Declining wages for U.S. men Axios

Labor shortages end when wages rise, say some local businesses Journal-Constitution

Uber and Lyft Are Poised to Crush Gig Workers Yet Again Jacobin. But see today’s post.

Farmworker organizing in Washington is undoing discriminatory labor policies High Country News

Why Is Caste Inequality Still Legal in America? NYT. Good thing there’s no caste system in America, or “essential workers” would really be in trouble.

What the History of Commoning Reveals Grassroots Economics Organizing. E.P. Thompson’s students!

The wildfires are starting. Heated

Honeybees are accumulating airborne microplastics on their bodies National Geographic

How Inevitable Is the Concept of Numbers? Stephen Wolfram

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Isotope_C14

    Oh, I how I miss those WL revelations.

    “Hillary Clinton directly appeals to QAnon to stop claiming she drinks children’s blood: ‘It’s painful to me and my family’ Independent”

    Now those Spirit Cooking “art” exhibitions she attended aren’t exactly what a rural, protestant, conservative family would see as “normal”. Not the best triangulation on her part, being in the public eye and all.

  2. zagonostra

    >Hillary Clinton directly appeals to QAnon to stop claiming she drinks children’s blood

    She may not drink children’s blood, but she doesn’t have a problem spilling it in other countries. I would guess she doesn’t think much about the pain the policies she pushes cause other families.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      My thought exactly. Clinton is the last person to opine on the pain experienced by families.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        To Hillary the people she had a hand in killing are subhuman, hence they dont have emotions like Hillary. If she thinks the people not voting for her are deplorable, imagine what she thinks of the people in slave markets in Libya.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I feel like her feelings being hurt bit is the result of learning Bible Study Family friends are likely the ones pushing the crazier stories about her. They might not even call her now that she is an after thought. She might see her fellow cultists as human.


            Clinton’s prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or “the Family”), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to “spiritual war” on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship’s only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has “made a fetish of being invisible,” former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God’s plan.

            She’s on a mission from God.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Ahhh, Hillary Clinton. Is she even politically relevant anymore? Was this plea just to get people to notice her still? Have women abandoned her for people like a younger Kamala Harris who is just one heartbeat away from being Madame President? Election night of 2016 seems such a long time ago now- (5:36 mins)

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        That was my immediate thought as well. As dense as she appears, she has to realize “stop, you’re hurting my feelings” is red meat for the QAnon crowd. Or maybe not? I have to admin that level of cluelessness would be consistent with some of her other moves.

      2. Fran

        Comparing the many political achievements and career of Hillary Clinton to the
        striving Political Sex Worker Harris is a gross insult to women.

    3. Verifyfirst

      Like to see Hillary appointed ambassador to Libya. Obama could take…….Ukraine? Or maybe Yemen or Syria? Bush could be assigned to Iraq.

      1. enoughisenough

        Obama can take Honduras.

        Or Bill to Haiti, Hillary to Honduras, Obama to Libya.

        Constant shoes thrown at their heads, that’d be cool.

    4. Maritimer

      “Can’t take the heat get outa the kitchen.” File this story under: America Has Become A Nation Of Wimps.

      This lady should be a guest on that new Nutfest show being run by the King of Montecito.

  3. John Siman

    “QAnon believers have a particularly grotesque view of [Hillary] Clinton,” we read in The Independent, “painting her to be a psychotic, child torturing, baby eating, demon worshipping paedophile.” Apparently she finds this critique unfair.

    Never in my entire life have I met a QAnon believer. Never have I met a Klansman — never a Proud Boy, nor a neo-Nazi, nor a White Supremacist. All of them seem to exist primarily on the shadowy fringes of our collective consciousness, as grown-up equivalents of the various scary monsters with which little children are teased.

    I have, on the other hand, met many living human beings who enthusiastically support Hillary Clinton. Now they are scary.

    1. IfThen

      I’ve never met a serial killer or someone born in Transylvania. I think they’re just made up to scare children.

    2. Robert Hahl

      They do exist. I asked after one of my son’s childhood friends. He said, “He is a QAnon type now; we don’t communicate.” A childhood friend of mine became a Moonie, and he wasn’t even Korean, his parents were Chinese. Cults happen.

      1. Pat

        Hey, there are still people who consider Hillary Clinton to be eminently qualified and brilliant rather than a manipulative sadistic corrupt screw up, there are all sorts of cults. Misinformation and snake oil cons are very bipartisan.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      “Never in my entire life have I met a QAnon believer. Never have I met a Klansman — never a Proud Boy, nor a neo-Nazi, nor a White Supremacist.”

      You need to get out more. Possibly, for your next vacation, consider a safari into the wilds of Heartland America. Out here you can “meet” all sorts of amusing people. I.e. I was on the main shopping street of my intermontane city yesterday. I saw one SUV with a Christian ichthys symbol…. in which the open center of the symbol was colored in with an American flag. The vehicle also sported an old Trump/Pence bumper sticker. An hour later, I waited at a light behind a truck that offered up a III sticker in the center of the rear cab window. It was flanked by a blue lives matter sticker and an American flag sticker with thirteen stars, a la Betsy Ross*. On seeing it, I realized the old fashioned Trumpist theocrat was kind of cute, in retrospect.

      I sympathize with your paucity of experience. But, there is no shortage of angry, ultra rightist nutjobs in this country. You won’t “meet” them while waiting in line at an artisanal bakery or independent bookstore however. You need to be behind the wheel of fairly large vehicle to see them eye to eye.

      *(threeper symbols, I’ve seen them here before, always on older pickups).

    4. Aumua

      Never in my entire life have I met a QAnon believer. Never have I met a Klansman — never a Proud Boy, nor a neo-Nazi, nor a White Supremacist.

      Count yourself lucky, sheltered and/or privileged then because I assure you they all do exist and make real world impacts on real people.

      1. orlbucfan

        Exhibit A: the 3-named dingbat ditz elected to the U.S. House of Representatives courtesy of the State of Georgia.

    5. diptherio

      You’re lucky. I’ve met A LOT of Q Anon believers. My landlord is one. I would guess about 20% of my little rural community is on board to one extent or another.

    6. JBird4049

      >>>I have, on the other hand, met many living human beings who enthusiastically support Hillary Clinton. Now they are scary.

      Well, yes. The approved cults may change from area to area, but fanatics are going to fanaticize.

      Just drive fifty or a hundred miles out of the Blue Zone and the missing QAnon believers or Klansmen can be found. But as to the missing QAnon believers or Klansmen, just think of those who cannot accept the rising numbers of homeless even, if they can be tripped over in every major Californian city, but somehow they’re all invisible, and if they do accept it, those people must all be lazy or mentally ill. They just mysteriously… appeared during the last forty years. Facts be darned.

      However, just as the homeless’ existence can be denied, they are also subjected to forced relocations, often to near the dump or a bad, and more importantly, isolated part of the town/city/county, whenever their existence annoys the wrong people, you could say that many people are intellectually banished and made invisible; as I said earlier, the approved cults change from area to area. Being in the wrong cult, or even the wrong club, can cause a lot of social and economic pain.

      This economically socialist, socially libertarian Californian has had to be circumspect, even paranoid, in class discussions because I am not with the Awoken Ones, but I live among them. What about anyone even slightly to the right of me? Being as I am an American Mr. Leftist still vulnerable from other “liberals?” Mr. Slightly Right would probably be Mr. Silent and invisible. As am I.

      Being exposed as having thoughtcrime in American society is increasingly doubleplusungood, even dangerous, which makes people hide their beliefs. They are invisible.

    7. The last D

      Maybe you’ve met some, but they didn’t identify as such. During the 1920’s, when the Klan was a strong poltical force, I recall reading that Ohio had the highest number of organized Klansmen in the US. Not all of them wore their hoods on their sleeves, so to say, but that hardly made them them less a klansman. My father, the oldest son of Polish immigrants, lived in Pennsylvania on a farm three miles from the Pa-Ohio state line. He told me many times of how he had fights every day coming home from school because he was a foreigner, and a Catholic to boot. I’m not singling out Ohio, as I’m sure Pa had their fair share of homegrown racists; perhaps the rural counties evoked a higher percentage of these bigoted people. It’s likely that Klan membership ebbs and flows, like the inconsistent lapping of a sewer system. I’m certain that it exists and is now at a high rate of influence. Donald J. Trump has provided them with cover. A great deal of sewage runs through conduits like Trump and the Clintons. Some racists are more willing to go public, some are not. Some become nazis, some become proud boys. Some become politicians. But all seem to have a degree of secrecy. Remember that the Klan was also known as the Invisible Empire.

    8. Robert Hahl

      When she first became Sec. of State I happened to be at two separate events around DC in which one or more of the speakers made a point of saying how smart Hillary Clinton was. I realized then that she must be a dolt.

  4. zagonostra

    >Biden’s selling an ambitious agenda. Americans still aren’t sure what it is. Politico

    Recent talking points from the group, obtained by POLITICO, illustrated one of the difficulties that has come with the sales job: there are several similar-sounding bills to sell.

    That’s right, “talking points” and a “sales job.” That’s what Biden’s “ambitious agenda” is all about and Politico is more than happy to assist.

    1. Grant

      Was Pravda always this bad? My reading of the citizens in the USSR was that they were well aware of the hollowness of the state media. Orwell in the unpublished the intro to Animal Farm noted that capitalist ownership of the media was very similar. I didn’t live in the USSR, but the propaganda in this system is really obvious to me and unrelated to objective reality. Not impressed as far as propaganda goes.

      Is Biden “ambitious” relative to the crises we face? Of course not, but I struggle with whether the bias in the media here is ideological in nature, more class based, or a combination of the two. Probably a combination, given who owns the media and the class position of most journalists. David Brooks though says Biden is a champion of the working man, despite his record. Why? Cause people like Brooks say so.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    …repurposing existing drugs for treatment, although not as glamorous as mRNA tech, etc., is both an effective strategy and under-noticed/under-funded, regardless of the outcome for any particular study.

    The interior decorator to high society, Sister Parish, once said “Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.”

    In our constant rush to move forward, we forget that valid and valuable answers are often in our history. But there’s certainly a lot less money in repurposing history rather than selling the new! new! new!.

  6. Tom Stone

    Lambert, there is a formal caste system in America.
    How else can you describe the “LEO Bill of Rights” which gives law Enforcement ( Not Peace) officers different and superior legal rights as a matter of law?

    1. Wukchumni

      Homeless are ‘untouchables’ as far as law enforcement is concerned…

      There is no potential of financial gain by issuing citations and/or arresting the homeless and wasting valuable jail spaces housing them, for it falls into ‘accounts payable’ all money going out.

      About the only thing law enforcement does on a regular basis with the homeless, is to arrest their belongings and cart it away in a paddy wagon chock full of squalor when they roust a roost, and in theory those individuals violated by removal of their property can go somewhere to an impound lot to get their goods back, but does that happen very much?

      1. Mildred Montana


        I’m going to use your comment as a springboard to my own, slightly-related. I hope you don’t mind. Homelessness is an issue I feel strongly about.

        I live in a beautiful city with lovely weather and many charitable organizations that provide free food and clothing. For those reasons (and others of course) it also has a lot of homeless people. Semi-reliable data say it is 2% of the adult population.

        Six years ago, due to an addiction, I became one of them. I slept in shelters and doorways, lived on the free meals, and wore the free clothing. To reference your comment, all the enforcement against the homeless was “passive”; that is, gated doorways, security fences, private security officers (“Sorry, you can’t sleep here”), and police officers waking up doorway- and park-sleepers at 7AM. Other than that, no harassment.

        After six months of this “life” I had the good fortune to be accepted into a transition home for people with addiction problems. Six people in one house, one to a room, a facilitator on the premises, random drug-testing, regular meetings and chores. No curfews, but if a resident didn’t come back at night questions were asked the next day.

        That home changed everything for me. I lived there for a year, shook my addiction, and straightened out my life. I left it as a different, hopefully better, person.

        All of which brings me to my point: Homelessness is the symptom, not the disease. Because of behavioral, mental, or addiction problems many are incapable of living independently. I know this from personal interaction with homeless people. So treat the disease. House the homeless in facilities with rules, structure, security, and supportive counselling.

        Will this eliminate the problem of homelessness? Of course not. But it would be a long step in the right direction. And, yes, I know I shouldn’t make my personal experience in one city in one country the experience of everyone. But as I said, I feel strongly about the issue. I’ve been there.

        1. Nce

          I am glad that you are doing well now, but it needs to be said that many “homeless” people are not addicts, mentally ill, or incapable of living independently. My town is a ski resort surrounded by federal lands, and there is virtually NO affordable rentals because 2nd homeowners make more money through Airbnb. Many workers here live in vehicles. I’m not glorifying this, like supposedly Nomadland does (I haven’t seen it) but I want to emphasize the CLASS-based reasons for homelessness. Oh- and I can tell you, as someone who drives a very old and ugly vehicle, that the cops in this area will definitely find a reason to license check you. This is a town that laughably aspired to be the Aspen of the Sierras; a recent article authored by the owner of a fly fishing guide business called for the ban on dispersed camping on federal lands because RVs are an “eyesore” and “dangerous.” A county supervisor, which he mentioned in the article, told me that she thought his demands were reasonable! The town is run by absentee owners of 5000 SQ ft McMansions, so if you want to see the ugly prejudices of the affluent liberal pmc crowd flagrantly on display, vacation here. I stay for now because my greatest worry is avoiding bears (not a real concern) and I can’t afford rent elsewhere, but I absolutely hate this town. I don’t need anyone’s oversight of what I do with my day, I need to live in a better, more democratic and egalitarian country.

          1. Wukchumni

            If you’re homeless & have a car you’re living in, there are still assets possible to acquire for law enforcement, thus harassment.

            Its a pity how short term rentals have messed up things, a friend rents out his home to a couple of gents who worked on Sequoia NP trail crew seasonally for about 15 years in order to attain the holy grail-full time NPS employees!

            He knows full well that he could get $6k a month in high season as a short term rental, but is content with $1600 a month on a yearly lease and the idea he’s part of the solution-not the problem.

            1. JBird4049

              Minimum wage in California is officially $14, but effectively a little higher. Let’s say $18.50. At 40 hours per week that is $2,900 gross. Median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $2,600 as of April after a 30% drop. The areas around San Francisco are cheaper, but it is still over $2,000. Rooms, aka (maybe actual?) broom closets, are cheaper and start at $350, but are located either waaaay out of town or in “exciting” areas.

              Effectively, you cannot rent an apartment on a retail worker’s wages and unless you have a car you cannot get to work from where you can afford to rent a room. There are a lot of people living in their cars.

      2. Aumua

        I as well was homeless or as I liked to say, “houseless” for a number of years mostly in my 20’s. I lived outdoors for the most part, camping near town or in certain secret places within town. I begged for change sometimes, flew a sign or busked. I asked for kickdowns at stores and restaurants and dumpster dove. When I was was not at my smallish home base town (in AZ) I was on the road in some capacity, hitchhiking around to various places of interest, gathering, festivals and such. Or I was riding along with some or another temporary tribe. I avoided big city streets as much as I could, but I lived there too on occasion. I got my mail at general delivery. Was I homeless because of mental illness and/or addiction? Those were possibly factors, although my drug use at that time had not escalated yet to where it eventually took me. Certainly I was emotionally and socially maladjusted if not full on crazy.

        The point being that for me, at least to some degree I chose to live that way, on the fringes of society, without working at a job, without relying on money, paying bills and maintaining a residence. Like everything in life it was a tradeoff. All this is just to say that in some cases personal choice is a part of homelessness. Not in all cases of course.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Your comment goes along with that linked story today “The Beginning of the End of the American Pandemic.” It really does sound like the pandemic is slowly winding down. But I do wonder. If these new variants take off and it proves that they can blow through the present vaccines, then it may be a case of not so much as being out of the storm so much as being in the eye of a hurricane at the moment waiting for the second part to hit. This is either very pessimistic thinking or very realistic thinking and I’m damned if I know which.

      1. Tom Stone

        Rev, “eye of the hurricane” seems like an apt description.
        Based on the last year or so that seems like a realistic appreciation of our situation in the USA.
        Of course you could put your faith in our glorious leaders like Dr Fauci instead and relax…have a brewski, catch up on the Kardashian’s and chill out.

        1. Robert Hahl

          Last I looked the storm was officially still killing 15,000 people per month in the US. Not really a lull. The variants are coming. Lockdowns in October sounds right to me.

      2. CanChemist

        Speaking of… Dr. Feigl-Ding posted this thread this morning re Indian variants and UK

        ““Results from the [UK] SAGE modelling subgroup from 5 May, highlighted again by SAGE on 13 May, show that a variant that is 50% more transmissible could lead to a surge in hospitalisations as large as the peak last January, even if there was no vaccine escape at all.””

        1. R

          A friend who submits modelling on the variants to SAGE in the UK has advised us to “get what needs doing down now, the cases are only going up” and that they fear the Indian variant will cause a short but extreme wave of infection in the unvaccinated which will stretch hospitals to the limit and will severely disrupt industries which employ this population (largely the young, e.g. retail, hospitality, delivery services, care work, possibly seasonal agriculture and schooling).

        2. Procopius

          … a variant that is 50% more transmissible COULD lead to a surge …

          I may be out of line here, but after 20 years of this kind of expert advice, I just don’t find it very useful. Until we begin seeing a surge of variant cases, what are we supposed to be doing to prevent them? The supreme version of it is, “… possibly could increase the risk of …” It’s exhausting.

    2. fumo

      A Canadian friend told me this morning that the prevalence of cases in BC was very geographically focused in the Lower Fraser Valley around Surrey and that most of the province are seeing very small case loads. He is on Vancouver Island.

      Surrey’s situation is roughly analogous to Bolton’s right now in the UK. Canada has prioritized getting first doses into people’s arms, lots of first vaccinations there, but few second ones at the moment.

      1. RMO

        The majority of cases have been in the Fraser Health District (where I live). My wife was able to get her vaccination ahead of the original schedule as our area in Surrey eventually got classified as a high transmission area. I would like to know where the transmission actually occurs here as personal experience when out grocery shopping etc. has been that occupancy limits and spacing limits are still being observed and mask use has been at 100% since about November.

        We also are only at about 50% of the population having been vaccinated with their first shot.

    3. Kouros

      Vaccination seems to have an impact, and BC reached a while ago (and increasing fast) the threshold of 50% from every age category (except under 12) getting their first dose.

  7. Wukchumni

    PM ‘wanted to be infected with Covid on live TV, called virus Kung-Flu and was slow to act because he was on holiday with Carrie’: Just some of the grenades Dominic Cummings will lob at Boris Johnson tomorrow in explosive evidence to MPs Daily Mail

    Look, he’s black sheep in Whitehall
    Blonde and hairy, not very tall
    Now he’s up talking above my head
    Hanging by a little thread

    Boris the Covid’er
    Boris the Covid’er

    Now he’s dropped being the spoor
    Heading for the #10 door
    Maybe he wasn’t as scared as me
    Where’s he gone now, I can’t see

    Boris the Covid’er
    Boris the Covid’er

    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

    His pompadour is wrapped in a ball
    Doesn’t seem to move at all
    Perhaps the ultimate comb over
    From there to the white cliffs of Dover

    Boris the Covid’er
    Boris the Covid’er

    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

    He’s come to a sickly end
    Don’t think he will ever mend
    Never more will he make Kung Flu sound
    Been there-done that on being the pandemic proving ground

    Boris the Covid’er
    Boris the Covid’er

  8. jr

    Phew, heady doses of surrealism with my mocha this morning. First of all, Hillary Clinton having to defend herself against charges of vampirism. I think we may have here an example of Hillary making a tactical flub: The last thing you ever want to do is let someone who is ragging on you know the abuse bothers you. I know, personally, vampirism is going to play a big role in any further discussions of that squawking, grasping obscenity.

    The article about caste inequality was another Funhouse Mirror moment. Here is the non paywalled version:

    Two professors bemoan the caste system creeping into the US, two professors who doubtless rely upon countless low-caste Americans to keep their privileged lives going. I’m not at all against a law protecting people from the caste system that carries over but I think there is a level of disconnect when you can write about one group of people so clearly and all around you the same thing goes on in different dress. I don’t want to get Sky-nuked for too many links so I’m inserting an “*” where it shouldn’t be:



    A little dated but I’d bet the data still holds more or less. Bottom line: Indian immigrants tend to be better educated than other immigrants and to have experience in academics or professional fields . Law’s targeting caste, while a good thing in general, in reality are going to be of benefit to a select few because of our caste system. My guts tell me the not-well educated Dalit 7-11 clerk out on I-95 who cannot afford an attorney will not have his or her rights consistently protected by this law. Not impossible, but unlikely. They will simply slip into the American caste system while their better positioned brethren will have some actual ground to stand on when attempting to see the law enforced. In other words, it seems like another set of PMC’s paving the way for more PMC’s under the banner of equality. PMC caste consciousness?

    1. JBird4049

      jr (and Wukchumni and Tom Stone) there has been a caste system de facto, if not de jure, in America since at least the early 1600s. The race at the very bottom changes, but there have been Native Americans, Whites, and Blacks whose family has been on the bottom since forever.

      The books White Trash by Nancy Isenberg and Masterless Men by Keri Leigh Merritt are interesting.

      Actually, thinking on it, I would put America’s original “Indians,” the Native Americans as always being at the very bottom including now. Any negative statistic you look at will have them listed right there, but apparently our blessed Professional Managerial Class can’t even deign to notice them even if there are over five million of them. Why not as many are tucked away in their reservations, really their approved disposal zones, in the middle of nowhere. It is all about dividing and conquering for the status, money, and power. And the American grift continues as it has for the past four plus centuries.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Myanmar’s Opposition Wants U.S. Intervention. Here Are Some Options.”

    ‘Washington has choices, from imposing no-fly zones to tightening sanctions.’

    Unfortunately, other countries get a vote too. And where it says ‘This article does not advocate or endorse any U.S. military action in Myanmar’ I say c’mon, man. Pull the other one – it plays jingle bells. The US can’t do a direct invasion as I doubt that the bordering countries of China, India, Thailand, Laos or Bangladesh will permit the basing and launching from their territory of American troops to do this. That would only invite retaliation afterwards for perhaps decades. So, no land-based supply system. To launch an invasion from the sea would also require a carrier and all bar two are still in home waters right now. The USS Ronald Reagan is off Japan doing sea trials at the moment while the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is doing operations in the Gulf so not really available.

    As for a no-fly zone, what if the Chinese do the same but first? Chinese Air Force planes need only go across the border but where will US planes come from to do the same? So a no-fly zone is out as is “limited” strikes. And does Washington understand the internal political situation at the moment to say who might cooperate and who might go full Iraq on US soldiers? And those soldiers may be operating with no aerial cover too come to think of it. And unless the US has a government-in-a-box that has popular local support, you can forget it. You might end up with another Libya. Looking this article over again, all I can say is that strategy may be interesting but it is logistics that rule. It is times like this that I wish that people would reconsider the Powell Doctrine once again-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s sad but still cute. They think ExxonMobil cares or that the US does anything that it perceives to be hard. Even with a full agreement from neighboring countries the costs would be hideous.

      1. Procopius

        Since its creation, the State Department has preferred to support the most bloody-handed tyrants. It is supposed to promote stability. Marcos, Suharto, Papa Doc, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlevi, Mohammed bin Salman, Idi Amin, etc. How people can then come and express fears of women’s rights in Afghanistan, or invoke R2P in Myanmar, I do not know.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Senate Preparing $10 Billion Bailout Fund for Jeff Bezos Space Firm”

    And this is how NASA and space flight is being taken away from the public and being given over to the billionaires – for free. So Senators give tens of billions of dollars to NASA which then goes direct to Blue Origin or SpaceX or one of the other private corporations. These billionaires not only get the money but they get NASA’s research and technical expertise as well. And their people too I see. Was just reading today how a retired NASA astronaut has now gone to work for Axiom Space-

  11. Wukchumni

    In California’s San Joaquin Valley, the farming town of Corcoran has a multimillion-dollar problem. It is almost impossible to see, yet so vast it takes NASA scientists using satellite technology to fully grasp.

    Corcoran is sinking.

    Over the past 14 years, the town has sunk as much as 11.5 feet in some places — enough to swallow the entire first floor of a two-story house and at times making Corcoran one of the fastest-sinking areas in the country, according to experts with the United States Geological Survey.

    In Corcoran and other parts of the San Joaquin Valley, the land has gradually but steadily dropped primarily because agricultural companies have for decades pumped underground water to irrigate their crops, according to the USGS California Water Science Center.

    When farmers fail to get enough surface water from local rivers or from canals that bring Northern California river water into the San Joaquin Valley, they turn to what is known as groundwater — the water beneath the Earth’s surface that must be pumped out. They have done so for generations.

    A few years ago somebody donated to our museum a circa 1900 photo album of a wheat farm that was wonderfully done showing every aspect of the harvesting of the wheat, people doing the work, the horse drawn vehicles, the buildings and outbuildings-the gamut.

    It was in danger of being an anonymous locale, this bonanza of dry wheat farming-until I noticed in tiny lettering on one of the barn buildings, the word: ‘Corcoran’, which did in the mystery.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Unfortunately Wuk, this problem has been going on for at the very least a century as showed by the following image. If Dr. Joseph F. Poland was still alive, he would need a taller pole-

      The worse of it is that the gaps that had the water in them have now been compressed, hence the slow collapse of land. So that means that you cannot fill those previous spaces ever again.

      1. Wukchumni

        The best dump i’ve ever had was in Visalia, its so easy to get rid of stuff with its wonderful system of elevated ramps with bins below for the largess. A sofa that had turned into an expensive cat scratching post went to the great beyond the other day, I was the only pallbearer. It was just $7 for internment.

        Couldn’t believe how fast the vast orchards across the road from the dump had grown since my last excursion.

        There’s say 10,000 five year old trees all living off 3 gallons a day of groundwater, one of tens of thousands of orchards of size all with straws in the ground sucking on a mutual milkshake. Something has got to give.

  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    Well, I got dragged into the Daily Mail article, and all I have to say is that, whenever I despair of the U S of A, I am relieved that There Will Always Be an England.

    Cummings versus Boris Johnson? To paraphrase another link above, that’s like deciding Hillary Clinton versus Dracula.

    Meanwhile, there’s this:
    “No 10 faced questions after a Sunday Times report suggested officials fear Dominic Cummings will use an appearance before MPs to accuse Mr Johnson of missing key meetings on the crisis because he was working on a biography of Shakespeare, because he needed the money to fund his divorce from Marina Wheeler, his second wife.”

    What did that talented and insightful man from Stratford do to merit Boris Johnson?

    Meanwhile, I found this: A queued-up pre-review.

    Praising the nonexistent. Indeed.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli Pilots: We Couldn’t Stop the Rockets, So We Took Our Frustration Out on Gaza Apartment Towers”

    Must have really sucked to have dropped an apartment building only to see Hamas rockets heading to Israel on the way back to your base. One to brood over while you are knocking back a few Goldstar beers in the mess afterwards. In between air raid sirens announcing the latest wave of Hamas rockets that is. Terror attacks didn’t work in Britain during the Blitz nor with the Germans later on. Didn’t work against the Vietnamese either. Israel should update their tactical doctrine from 2021 BC to 2021 AD.

    1. Synoia

      The Israeli’s have thousands of years of practice in knocking down dwellings and walls walls, Jericho comes to mind.

      It’s how they first invaded Israel. To the best my knowledge this is at least the third time thy have snatched the land. Exodus, Return from Abyssinia, and 1947.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Other than proportional reductions in military aid, it is hard to see a pathway for the U.S. to be constructive in this matter so long as Netanyahu controls the dialogue. Earlier this week during a visit to Israel, Secretary of State Blinken announced that the U.S. would pay for the rebuilding of Gaza, while Israel’s PM Netanyahu reportedly stated at the post-meeting presser that the U.S. should not reenter the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. While I support Israel’s security, I am marveling at the level of influence over U.S. policy by this foreign political leader. Obeisance was reflected in this Reuters photo of the meeting: Why?…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Something interesting that came out of that meeting was Netanyahu thanking Blinken on behalf of Israel for helping them get more bombs when they went into Gaza back in 2014. Netanyahu said that Blinken shepherded the legislation through personally to get those bombs to Israel to be used against Gaza.

  14. jefemt

    Nat Geo… bees and microplastics. Paywalled. My first thought was,
    “Thank Goodness it is only the bees, and no other species!!”
    I am assuming in good faith the authors make a point that is has to be happening to us all, every organism, every biome.

    We’re on a closed loop spaceship, folks. Remind yourself and others, particularly Power Peeps, of that if the conversation seems to be straying in a narrow linear direction…

  15. Wukchumni

    True confessions of the 472,487,973rd richest person in the world, dept:

    I owe most of it to having the foresight of being born to parents in a developed country and cashing in on a truss fund during the housing bubble part 1, pretty much.

    And talking bubbles, this is a doozie!

    A crappy house in a not so desirable part of Auckland for nearly a couple million, with feverish demand. Maybe it was worth $50k in the 80’s?

    Love me some Kiwi housing bubble, it used to be merely ridiculous, but is headed to the outer limits, and without the benefit of foreigners playing along, all in house punters.

  16. zagonostra

    >Austerity’s Hidden Purpose – Yanis Varoufakis,

    It may be hidden to some, but not all. Here is YV’s concluding paragraph that’s worth posting in case there are some that don’t see the motives driving the establishment/elites.

    The only way to overcome this conundrum, and to rebalance both the financial markets and the real economy, is to lift working-class Americans’ incomes substantially and write off much of the debt – for example, student loans – that keeps them bogged down. But, because this would empower the majority and raise the specter of Peel’s fate, the rich and powerful will prefer a return to good old austerity. After all, their most important interest is not to conserve economic potential. It is to preserve the power of the few to compel the many.

  17. fumo

    “Kimchi is Chinese? The Sino-Korean Struggle for Ontological Security”— I was in Portland, Oregon a while back at a nice Japanese restaurant and saw kimchi on the menu as a side. Being surprised to see it, I asked the server about it and he confidently informed me that kimchi was of actually of Japanese origin.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its similar with Poutine, totally from Pocatello not some Province up over. {avoids incoming politely thrown brickbats}

        I’ve eaten many a pav in EnZed et al, but have never seen one on a desert tray in the USA…

    1. Oh

      If you ask the Korean people, they’ll tell you that the Japanese people originally came from Korea.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t think this link is about Kimchi or Chinese pickled cabbage — and I may be wrong but didn’t the Korean adapted hot peppers so prominent in Kimchi originate in the New World?

      For me, examining the ‘racial’ prejudices of the Orient elucidates ‘racial’ prejudices in the West … at least in the US since it is the country where I live and a country which in some limited way I have come to know. I believe I am not in error in claiming a limited ability to tell the difference between Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, or Vietnamese peoples by their appearance alone. I cannot distinguish between Vietnamese, Thailandese, or Cambodians. The one thing I notice as a Westerner, is how very similar they all are, even to being indistinguishable in many cases. As races mix in the West, how long will we it be before we need accuity like that developed in the Orient to distinguish one race from another. I don’t have a reference but I recall reading about how remarkably little genetic differences there are in the human species. There is speculation humans passed through some horrendous population ‘filter’. Those of us who survived that ‘filter’ differ from each other in fewer ways than in any other species in nature.

  18. RockHard

    Surprised this morning didn’t mention MGM getting acquired by Amazon. Seems like we might be going back to the studio system except without theaters, just digital distribution.

  19. Synoia

    The Beginning of the End of the American Pandemic The New Yorker. The case for optimism.

    This is more like delusion, or insanity. In the late ’50s flu pandemics, the flu recurred in winter for the next 2 or three years. It begs for the excuse “who could have known.” To which the answer is any one who could read.

    This pronouncement should wait until April 2022.

    1. fumo

      If this time is different, it’ll mostly be down to higher vaccination uptake than in ’57-’58.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I wish I shared your apparent faith in the safety and efficacy of the currently available vaccines. I mourn that matters of such importance have become matters of faith as Science in my view has become so greatly deprecated and diluted by pecuniary concerns. The manifold differences in the epidemiology of flu and Corona flu are above my pay-grade, but so is your implicit assumption of their equivalences evident in your comment.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This is more like delusion, or insanity

      Seven paragraphs up from the bottom:

      Covid-19 deaths give us another way of tracking the pandemic. Experts have argued that the U.S., with a population of three hundred and thirty-two million, should aim for fewer than a hundred coronavirus deaths daily—roughly the toll of a typical flu season. Right now, America is seeing about six hundred covid-19 deaths each day; according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which generates one of the country’s most widely cited pandemic models, that number will likely fall to about a hundred in August. “Things will look very good this summer,” Christopher Murray, the director of the I.H.M.E., told me. “A lot of people will think that we’re done, that it’s all over. But what happens in the fall is the tricky part.” Murray believes that a confluence of factors—the spread of variants, in-person schooling, meaningful numbers of still-unvaccinated people, and the seasonality of the virus—will produce a small winter spike, concentrated in communities with low vaccination rates. It won’t be the apocalyptic surge of New York City in the spring of 2020—or, more recently, those of India or Brazil—but, each week, several thousand unvaccinated Americans could die.

      So even the optimists are preparing for a “small” spike in the fall. But through anesthetizing public relations, and not contact tracing, or preparing the public mind for boosters, or remasking.

      Also noteworthy is this paragraph:

      As good news began to arrive, I greeted it with a blend of guarded skepticism and cautious optimism. First came evidence that outdoor transmission was unlikely. Then we learned that contaminated surfaces rarely spread disease; that some patients can breathe better simply by lying on their bellies; that P.P.E. works; that dexamethasone saves lives. We discovered that immunity lasts many months, perhaps years; that repeat infections are unlikely; and that variants present a surmountable challenge.

      Erasing aerosol tranmission from what we “learned” is always a bad sign (especially when the author doens’t take a positive view of what the mode of transmission is). I’m surprised the New Yorker’s vaunted fact checkers didn’t flag this. Not.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Chinese engineers and construction firms will likely succeed in constructing a massive hydroelectric project on the river in Tibet that is the headwaters of the river in India and Bangladesh. However, it is unlikely that China will successfully resolve the longer term geological, environmental, social and political issues that will be created by this project. The Mekong River and other projects are indeed reflective of the disregard for these issues.

  21. Wukchumni

    A mass murder by hand cannon in San Jose, 8 dead.

    Authorities blame the spree on some guy’s index finger, which in the end turned on the assailant.

  22. Oh

    If you ask the Korean people, they’ll tell you that the Japanese people originally came from Korea.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I recall a story I heard in Korea in the mid 1980s about an archeological dig in Tokyo that was halted as the archeologists found artifacts appearing more and more like Korean artifacts from the same period. I do not know whether the story is true but after visiting first Tokyo and later Seoul, I could readily believe the story is true.

      As far as the link is concerned — I was immediately reminded of the Korean proverb “Eat Chinese mustard, and cry.” I don’t think the proverb is referring to Chinese style pickled mustard leaves. Even so, much was discovered and invented in China although developed further elsewhere.

  23. crittermom

    Just FYI, our governor here in Colorado has announced a drawing each week for 5 weeks for $1M.
    This report gives the straight-out facts:

    With the odds around 1 in 500,000, that’s a lot better than playing the lottery, and I didn’t even have to spend money on a ticket.

    Now to find a website where I can verify my results were sent in as required… ;-)

    I am ready to receive! *palms held out open*

    1. Maritimer

      “Let them eat cake.”


      “Let them play the vaccine lottery.”

      So much for ethics or addressing income inequality. Don’t apply in a redefined Pandemic.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    > “Pentagon Papers at 50: What’s Left Out…”
    This link speculates about what sounds like some kind of shadow government behind the US fiasco in Viet Nam and thereby indirectly behind other foreign policy strategies current in the deployment of US Armed Forces or weaponry. [I added another viewing of “Fog of War” to my DVD viewing list for this evening.] If McNamara was outside the foreign policy inner circle … then who was inside it and where did they originate from? My last several viewings of “Fog of War” left me with the impression that key members of the US Government didn’t really know why we were there or had to stay there. If the “Domino Theory” was really behind US policy I can only remain skeptical and wonder about those who rule us — but I cannot recall any other vaguely reasonable alternative theories for why we were in Viet Nam. I hope someone will take a moment to remind me why we were in Viet Nam.

    I am shamed to admit that as a US citizen, I am not entirely opposed to US Empire, though without storm-troopers and an Emperor in thrall of the dark-side of the ‘force’ . But even such limited adoption of Empire as I would admit to — cannot fathom US Imperial policies. We are an Empire at war with its own interests — an Empire machine gunning its own feet.

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