Links 5/27/2021

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Tasmanian devils born on Australian mainland after 3,000 years BBC (resilc)

It’s Hard Work to Restore Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, but the Views Are Amazing Atlas Obscura. (Chuck L)

Massachusetts store owners rescue woman’s $1m lottery ticket from trash Guardian

Out of this world! Stunning winning photos from the Milky Way Photographer of the Year competition 2021 are revealed Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Denmark plans to build a massive wind-energy hub on artificial island in the North Sea Yale Climate Connections

Greenland’s Melting Glaciers Are Polluting Coasts With Shocking Amounts of Mercury Science Alert (Chuck L)

Ethane analysis points to severe underestimation of methane emissions in oil and gas production Academic Times

Airships for city hops could cut flying’s CO2 emissions by 90% Guardian (resilc)

New Diagnostic Tool Predicts The Risk of Alzheimer’s With Astonishing Accuracy of 90% Science Alert (Chuck L)


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

US joins calls for transparent, science-based investigation into Covid origins Guardian. Moi: “Please tell me what problem gets solved by having an answer either way.” Resilc: “Cold war ramps up.”

Chinese embassy in U.S. says politicising COVID-19 origins hampers investigations Reuters

Totally left out’: Thailand’s expats anxious as march toward immunity passes them by Coconuts Bangkok (furzy)


Indian Covid-19 variant has spread to at least 53 territories worldwide, says WHO France24 (resilc)

U.S. CDC looking into heart inflammation in some young vaccine recipients Reuters

Immunity to the Coronavirus May Persist for Years, Scientists Find New York Times (David L). The triumphalism is so blinding, I’m gonna have to wear shades. Breakthrough infections among the recently vaccinated suggest otherwise.

How science has been corrupted Undark (Peter W). From early May, still germane.

Hiltzik: In defense of the COVID lockdowns Los Angeles Times (resilc)


China’s vaccine helping hand divides viral Taiwan Asia Times (Kevin W)

US warns citizens to reconsider any travel to Japan as athletes prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games ABC Australia (Kevin W)

US downgrade of Japan’s Covid safety is simple math Asia Times


Melbourne lockdown: Fears over outbreak sparks restrictions BBC


‘Lions led by donkeys’: Johnson damned over COVID as unfit for office Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

Dominic Cummings Tells a Chilling Story of British Failure Bloomberg

Up to 8,700 patients died after catching Covid in English hospitals Guardian


The “Legal Epidemiology” of Pandemic Control NEJM (Dr. Kevin)

Fully Vaccinated Sailors Can Make Some Port Calls, Ditch Masks and Cut Quarantines

Woman Protests COVID-19 Vaccine By Speeding Car Through Vaccination Site HuffPost (Kevin W)

Woman charged with assaulting Southwest flight attendant Associated Press (resilc)

FAA has received 2,500 reports of unruly, dangerous passengers so far in 2021. The majority were over masks FAA. “The FAA announced a zero-tolerance policy for unruly and dangerous behavior.”

Shuttered hospitals, soaring Covid-19 deaths: Rural Black communities lose a lifeline in the century’s worst health crisis STAT


Cummings: PM discussed scrapping Bank of England independence as Covid struck Telegraph


Washington is playing a losing game with China Responsible Statecraft

Steve Wynn May Face Justice Department Action for Role in China’s Push to Expel Businessman Wall Street Journal

Nicaragua’s First Black Presidential Candidate Keeps Getting Targeted by the Cops Vice (resilc)

Swiss abandon years of EU talks and reject treaty BBC (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

Brexit Britannia flotilla steams East Asia Times (Kevin W)

New Cold War

Roman Protasevich – Arrested In Belarus – Is A Western Government Financed Neo-Nazi Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)


Loosening the Tie to Israel CounterPunch

Afghanistan’s post-US conundrum is mutating Asia Times (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Drug dealer jailed after sharing a photo of cheese that included his fingerprints CNN (BC)

Oracle Peddled Software Used for Spying on U.S. Protesters to China Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

Surprise! Upgrading America’s Nuclear Arsenal Will Be Stupefyingly Expensive Popular Mechanics (resilc)

How American Journalism Became a Mouthpiece of the Deep State American Conservative

America Dominant Again (in Arms Sales) TomDispatch


“They got the mother lode”: Former federal prosecutor says grand jury has “everything” on Trump Salon

Are Trump’s Scottish Golf Courses a Front for Money Laundering? Vanity Fair. A small corroborating detail: my brother and sister in law are master players at maximizing the value of frequent traveler points. They went on and on and on about how terrific (as in did not make sense economically) the deal they got at Trump Turnberry. It was way out of line with other hotel/resort packages.

What we know about grand jury in Trump probe The Hill. A more cautionary take.


Biden faces growing pressure to take action on antisemitism The Hill

GOP Civl War

GOP gambles with Pelosi in opposing Jan. 6 commission The Hill. Ahem, given the history of commissions, they should cooperate.

Gunman who killed eight co-workers at California transit facility knew victims well, mayor says CNN

Black Injustice Tipping Point

George Floyd sister says Biden broke promise on bill BBC (resilc)

Amy Cooper, White Woman Who Called 911 on Black Birder, Sues Over Firing New York Times (Kevin W). The last thing she should want to do is have this incident back in the press. Only reason I can fathom is she can’t get a job at anything dimly approaching her old level, so she perceives she has little downside.

Police State Watch

Revisiting “Russiagate”: If Trump was Putin’s Asset, Why Did Obama Sign an NDAA that Enhanced Presidential Powers? Ghion Journal

Climate activists hail breakthrough victories over Exxon and Shell Financial Times (David L)

Judge Shopping in Bankruptcy Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Catching up: McDonald’s board members sued over ‘lavish’ $56 million severance for fired CEO Easterbrook Chicago Tribune in April and last week: McDonald’s shareholders reelect board members despite criticism over ex-CEO’s firing CNBC

Distribution of Bitcoin mining hashrate as of April 2021, by country Barry Ritholtz

Exclusive: Biden looks abroad for electric vehicle metals, in blow to U.S. miners Reuters (resilc)

Will NFTs Transform Tattoos Into Bankable Art? New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

Warren, Quarles spar over Fed role in banks’ Archegos losses American Banker

Senate Prepping $10 Billion Bailout Fund for Bezos Space Firm Intercept. This is such a gimmie, why don’t the Feds wind up owning a chunk?

Class Warfare

How the 1 percent’s savings buried the middle class in debt Chicago Booth (Scott). This is based on the bogus loanable funds theory. Loans do not come out of pre-existing pool of savings. Loans create deposits. But at a 50,000 foot level, what this analysis highlights is worse: middle class debt slavery is strongly correlated with, and therefore likely directly connected to, the growing wealth of the super-rich.

There is no justification for cutting federal unemployment benefits Economic Policy Institute

Most executives say they want more contract and temp workers. A majority of those workers say that’s not good enough. Business Insider

A New Crop in Pennsylvania: Warehouses New York Times (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “A Desert Cottontail bunny joins the White-tailed Antilope Squirrels (AKA chipmunks) for a tasty meal of bird seed.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John Siman

    Thank you, Yves, for linking to Moon of Alabama’s explication of why the NYT and Guardian dutifully conceal the fact that their oppressed-person-du-jour Protasevich is actually an ardent neo-Nazi. In this context I think it’s well worth going back to Moon of Alabama’s November 20 post, which showed *in its own words* how the NYT recruits its propagandists-formerly-known-as-journalists:

    Did you ever wonder, MoA asked back in November, why ‘western’ mainstream media get stories about Russia and other foreign countries so wrong? It is simple. They hire the most brainwashed, biased and cynical writers they can get for the job. Those who are corrupt enough to tell any lie required to support the world view of their editors and media owners…. Here is evidence in form of a New York Times job description for a foreign correspondent position in Moscow:

    “Russia Correspondent [for the NYT]: Job Description:
    “Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains one of the biggest stories in the world. It sends out hit squads armed with nerve agents against its enemies, most recently the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. It has its cyber agents sow chaos and disharmony in the West to tarnish its democratic systems, while promoting its faux version of democracy. It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. At home, its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out in his villa.

    “If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news: We will have an opening for a new correspondent as Andy Higgins takes over as our next Eastern Europe Bureau Chief early next year.”

    Thus saith the NYT.

    1. diptherio

      Is that real? Goddess help me, I can’t tell the difference between over-the-top sarcasm and reality these days.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yep, it’s real OK. And the funny thing is that the job advertised was for a journalist who by definition is supposed to be a fact-collector.

        1. MaxY

          There are only two dictators left of the Urals. To read, only NATO-financed neo-Nazis oppose those dictators. Who can explain this riddle wrapped in enigma?

          1. km

            Even taking everything bad said about Russia and Byelorus as true (it isn’t), the Free and Democratic West simply relies less on overt repression and better PR to control its populace

            Although the cases of Ed Snowden and Julian Assange, much less Oles Buzyn, to name the first obvious examples to come to mind, show that the West isn’t shy about using overt force when necessary.

    2. upstater

      Like the German industrialists and bankers of the 1920s and 30s, the US and EU have this notion they will be able to control the Pandora’s box of the neo-Nazis they have unleased and financed in the former Soviet bloc. History doesn’t repeat, but it sure does rhyme!

      1. John Siman

        To employ Max Blumenthal’s apposite phrase: again we witness the Blob’s monstrous management of savagery.

      2. Pelham

        I was thinking exactly the same thing! Nazis were widely regarded as the greatest bulwark against “bolshevism” in the 1930s. And now the West is backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

        1. km

          Hell, Britain and France backed the original Nazis against the Soviet Union at Munich. The goal was for Hitler and Stalin to fight.

          Seeing this, Stalin did a 180, which is what in turn what spawned the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact).

          1. Doc Octagon

            The Soviet Union had mutual defense pacts with Czechoslovakia, Britain, and France, but 1936-1939 was the height of Stalin’s Great Purge / Terror where 8 out of 9 admirals and 13 out of 15 army commanders were purged by forced confessions and NKVD troikas. Soviet embassies were shuttered around the world. The Soviet Union was diplomatically non-communicative during these years. Stalin was hearing voices.

        2. lordkoos

          There is no doubt that western elites have always preferred fascism to socialism and communism, to this present day.

    3. lordkoos

      “It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. “

      Gee, what other countries fit that description I wonder?

  2. Juneau

    Regarding whether there is advantage to knowing the origins of Covid, one immunologist I follow (Dr Been) said that it would allow us to ask them maker for the antidote. Bioweapons are supposed to be developed along with an antidote to protect your guys from the weapons. Beyond that it doesn’t do much more than possibly provoke a war.

    1. Isotope_C14

      As a non-PhD, with over 15 years in academic labs, in more than one country, I suggest that uncovering the facts about a potential lab leak are absolutely critical. First, bio-safety is a joke, no one ever follows the rules, and usually the rules are ones that systemically can’t be followed.

      Capitalism itself is 100% incompatible with the scientific method. Safety “costs too much” in the short term to be reliably implemented.

      Until Science can be funded outside of the terrible competitive grant model, moderate risk experiments should be cancelled across the board.

      Unfortunately people like me are systematically prevented from getting into positions of power in the current regime, or they are bribed by the structure to let horrible activities slide. If I were on any kind of oversight group I would have said absolutely no to GOF research.

        1. Isotope_C14

          When I read that, I was happy that he wrote it, but deeply disappointed.

          If it is proven that a lab leak was responsible for a global pandemic, Daszak, Fauci, Shi, and anyone else in a leadership position, should be immediately fired and put in charge of nothing more complicated than an office stapler for the remainder of their existence.

          I had read about the GOF stuff last year, and in the back of my mind, I was thinking, no one can really be the stupid. Sadly I was wrong.

          There’s no doubt that there is more of this research done in military laboratories and I hope those involved can sabotage any of this research from the inside, kill the biological agents covertly, or release the information on what horrible plagues are waiting to be unleashed.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > The grant proposals spelled out what Dr. Shi was going to do with the money

          I think the “follow the money” part was the most interesting part of Wade’s article. (Note Proverbs 28:1: “The wicked flee when no one pursues.” So their guilty-seeming actions are not ipso factor proofs of guilt.

          Meanwhile, there’s this:

          How do we research origins on the Chinese end? (And should we assume that our intelligence community has any good data, even if we trust their ability to interpret?)

      1. Dean

        It is hard for me to understand why GOF research would be performed with a viable virus. Can the same results be obtained with a pseudovirus or a genetically alter virus that is replication deficient?

        As Alfred notes, Nicholas Wade did a great job of elucidating the possible lab origin. Wade quotes the research aims of the Shi lab:
        “Test predictions of CoV inter-species transmission. Predictive models of host range (i.e. emergence potential) will be tested experimentally using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments across a range of cell cultures from different species and humanized mice.”

        Could the Shi lab done all studies with a pseudovirus? Wade doesn’t mention this possibility. I am not a virologist so I don’t know if it is even feasible to perform (especially the in vivo infectivity assays) with a pseudovirus.

        Perhaps other NC commentators more familiar with the methods can explain.

        1. Isotope_C14

          I’m not going to tout myself as a virology expert, I was trained in microbiology and ended up working on almost exclusively human tissue culture or animal model projects with very limited use of viruses aside from basic transfections. Unfortunately there isn’t much bacteriology money to go around.

          One very dark side of this is that they could have been intentionally making a virus that they could use as ransomware. You would do this in live virus and tissue culture because you had a “deadline”. All the other methods are almost assuredly slower. Viral replication time in tissue culture is VERY fast, because there is no immune system to kill infected cells.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Did you miss that this was a lab in China? A foreign investigation will do absolutely nothing regarding what China does or does not do. This virus led China to shut down 70% of its economy. It should be plenty motivated to be concerned and investigate.

        My point is that knowing one way or the other has zero implications for how we manage SARS-CoV-2. That is what the world outside China controls.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      The short answer to the question, “Please tell me what problem gets solved by having an answer either way” would be: To reduce the chances of a repeat.

      If the virus did escape from a lab, it would be helpful to know how. Was the leak the result of human error, equipment failure, inadequate protocols or something else? Is research still ongoing or was it stopped? Has the cause the leak, if identified, been fixed? How was it fixed? Are there other labs engaged in similar research that should be made aware of the problem and solution?

      Beyond those questions, if to was a lab leak, is this type of research worth the risk? How much should it be done? Where should it be done? Is the oversight and review process adequate? If not, what needs to change to make the research safer?

      On the other hand, if the virus originated in the wild, where is the location? What animal hosts the virus? Did the virus die out or is it still active? Is the virus mutating? How did it transmit to humans? Did miners working in caves contract the virus? Did an infected animal wind up in a Wuhan wet market and infect patient zero? Did the infected animal transmit it directly to humans or was there an intermediary animal that facilitated the jump?

      It seems to me these are all valid questions and that the answers could help reduce the likelihood of a repeat performance of Corona.

      Taking an approach like, “It’s time to look forward, not backward” leaves too many questions unanswered.

      1. Screwball

        Great list and I 100% agree.

        I hope this stays front and center in the news cycle until SOMEONE does something worthwhile to find out. This cannot happen again.

        I have little hope anything will come of it reading what has been written so far. Like everything else, it is getting politicized – which will only mean the truth will never come out.

        One would hope people of all political persuasions would want to get the facts, but it appears not. So sad.

        1. Geo

          Completely agree. Seems the truly important stories never get the follow up they merit while we get to hear every twist and turn of the Royal Family sagas and whatever some actor tweeted.

          As I heard Bill Moyers say one time (quoting someone else, I forget who): “News is what somebody does not want you to print. All the rest is advertising.”

      2. Kouros

        All very valid points. Unfortunately the search for origins seems to have 100% political aims.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Unfortunately the search for origins seems to have 100% political aims.

          Worse, there is no institution to which we could entrust the search that does not have political aims. It would be nice if we had an international consensus that pandemic or even epidemic investigations could be treated with the same rigor as airplane crashes, but there’s no desire for that by anyone…

          1. Fern

            “Worse, there is no institution to which we could entrust the search that does not have political aims.”

            Yes, this is the problem. After Russiagate, not to mention Gulf of Tonkin, Bay of Pigs, Yellow Rain, weapons of mass destruction, anthrax investigations, etc., reading that an “intelligence agency” says that three lab workers were hospitalized with a respiratory disease makes me less likely to believe it.

            Unfortunately, China has reason to be paranoid, since the United States weaponized everything and has already weaponized this important lab safety issue. It’s a destructive dynamic. Hopefully, the fact that the NIH was complicit in the Wuhan research will tamp down the geopolitical posturing because it’s terribly important to understand what happened and to address which kinds of research are too dangerous to be done.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I would add to your list the concerns expressed in IM Doc’s comments from a week ago:
        What I believe is the essence of his comment:
        “The hypothesis is that if the virus was indeed habituated in a lab to human tissue it would have been evolutionary selected for these cells.”

        It is well worth the trouble to read his full comment, as well as his comment at the head of this well worth reading thread concerning the origins of the current Corona flu virus:

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        This is a matter of national sovereignity and China’s deal. So they’ll do whatever they will do, in private.

        And all these demands if anything will make China less likely to investigate because they sure as hell are not going to knuckle under to outside pressure. All this noise means they won’t do anything now and if they do, it will be later and quietly….and the “later” means the investigation will be less effective. Frankly even now is late.

        Does anyone demand investigations and reforms when Big Pharma keeps mis-selling drugs that do a shit ton of harm, like Vioxx (the year it was withdrawn from the market, life expectancy increased), or Zantac, of the mother of them all, OxyContin?

        My point is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on your list has anything to do with responding to the ongoing Covid crisis and confirms my point.

    3. hunkerdown

      “Antidotes, yes. We’ve just been using ivermectin. Here is our animal trial data and human meta-analysis…”

      (Curb Your Enthusiasm music)

    4. Glenn S Olson

      Only two possibilities, animal or Wuhan lab? I’ve spent more time around spooks than virologists so when I heard that it started in the open market AND people not associated with the market I could just imagine some CIA flunky sprinkling the virus in the market then accidently spilling more of it elsewhere. I’ve also seen news articles saying it’s been around as early as the previous November??? The point is there are more than two possible sources.

      With the political climate and propensity for the CIA (and other 3-letter agencies) to conduct false flag ops as well as covert dirty tricks, plus the high number of viruses plaguing China the last several years I’d say the CIA should be high on the suspect list. Remember, the CIA and Israel were the first to develop software viruses to cause physical damage (i.e. STUXNET) and bringing the world into a software viral war. Anyone who thinks the CIA hasn’t already started using biowarfare is extremely naïve. It’s just a question of whether this was one of their ops.

      Two other notes: As for the Wuhan lab being close by that could easily be a coincidence considering all the labs around the world. The US claiming that China won’t turn over all of it’s information is likely the US asking for unrelated information knowing they won’t get it so the US can claim that China is holding out. This is standard operating procedure for the US to support propaganda.

  3. Sam Adams

    Re: Biden faces growing pressure to take action on antisemitism
    Just a basic LSAT analogy,

    Israel is to Judaism as the Vatican State is to Christianity.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Antisemitism? Becoming less of a word to conjure with. Recently, it more often looks like antiLikudNetanyahuism. And maybe more people, after looking at how Herzl’s Zionist project has worked out and how the current Israeli Rulership treats Palestinians (and Uncle Sucker), are becoming increasingly resistant to all the hasbara and guilt-manipulation.

      Seems to me that AIPAC as a foreign agent is HAPPY that there are incidents where stupid and violent people do actually target Jews with violence, because that heavily reported undercurrent of human badness is what their brand depends on.

      Maybe the cognitive dissonance between the Judaism of Maimonides and the expansive colonial Zionism of the Likudniks is powering the reported disaffection of many Jews with the Eretz Israel Project.

      1. Carolinian

        When Likud took over decades ago there was talk that the establishment Left’s lockstep support for Israel would finally be coming to an end. Of course it didn’t happen and optimism on this question is always like Waiting for Godot. The reason is probably because this particular issue was never about truth and always about power–not just a tiny minority of the world’s population gaining the power to rule a country of their own but also the power of its supporters to make other nations kowtow to their cause and even restrict the speech of those citizens who object. Perhaps this is an unfair view but it really shouldn’t matter what Americans think because it’s not our country and not our business and vice versa.

        1. hunkerdown

          But more than that, the credibility of elitist anthropologies in general, of the common-sense belief in the few having a right to impose arbitrary debts and taboos upon the many, is what’s in play right now. If Israel, and the “right to exist” (strictly speaking, the right to separate and elevate the identity above all) is lost, liberalism will have to deliver on the promises it never intended to keep. High society becomes an unaffordable boondoggle. Cats and dogs, no longer told to fight one another, stop fighting one another. To people who believe that any Order is better than no Order, all of that is tantamount to a great extinction.

          The world needs more nihilists.

    2. John A

      That would be a fair analogy if the Vatican State were continuously grabbing and colonising the rest of Italy while displacing Italians.

      1. ambrit

        Remember the Papal States? Now, the Vatican has settled down into a State of Soft Power Influence.
        Considering that both the Israelis and the Palestinians are basically semites, from an ethnological point of view, the Zionist Movement should be seen as a religious item, not a ‘racial’ one. Thus, the old Church of Rome forced Italians to conform to the tenets of ‘the Church,’ or be ‘outed’ as ‘others,’ even though ethnic and racial Italians. The Ultra Zionist Movement, as presently constructed, is doing something similar to the Palestinians.
        Will the Sanhedrin follow the Vatican’s lead and settle into a soft power status? I fear that Jerusalem will end up a glass lined, radioactive crater before that happens.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      I was completely unaware that “antisemitic incidents in the United States have increased 63 percent since new hostilities broke out 11 days ago between Israel and Hamas,” or so says the adl.

      You’d really think an “increase” that big and that fast would have made more “news.” Or at least been more apparent.

      So, according to The Hill, here’s the “hate” you’ve got to watch out for people:

      [Marjorie Taylor] Greene compared vaccinated employees wearing a “vaccination logo” to Nazis forcing Jews to wear a yellow star during the Holocaust, which led to the genocide of 6 million.

      Past remarks by liberal Democrats comparing Israel to an apartheid state have also come under new scrutiny from lawmakers who say they can contribute to antisemitic violence.

      An then there’s that Counterpunch link: Loosening the Tie to Israel.

      Heinous stuff. There oughtta be a law.

      1. hamstak

        What caught my eye in the Goodman article on Counterpunch was the assertion that Israel holds 100 billion in foreign exchange reserves. How in blazes did they accumulate that much?

        Maybe I am wrong and that is not some extravagant amount, but I would think that acquiring reserves would be a consequence of net exports — I might be wrong about that too — but if not, just exactly what has Israel been exporting? Military hardware? Security training? Cherry tomatoes?

        1. Jason

          How in blazes did they accumulate that much?

          The answer is antisemitic.

          just exactly what has Israel been exporting?

          Their chosen-ness. Where’s your gratitude? Even your question hints at a touch of antisemitism.

          Therapy is in order, lest you start poking around any deeper. Get back to work. There is nothing to see here.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          pharmaceuticals (teva), cybersecurity software (mossad), soda stream machines.

        3. chuck roast

          According to Wiki they got $8 billion in loan guarantees last year. It’s all fungible baby.

    4. km

      The variant I use is that one can be Jewish and opposed to Israel, just as one can be a German opposed to Nazi Germany.

  4. allan

    Biden Administration Taps Private Sector to Invest in Central America [WSJ]

    Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday will unveil the agreements of 12 companies and organizations to invest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as part of the administration’s efforts to deal with a surge of migrants from Central America at the U.S. southern border.

    Among the companies involved, Microsoft Corp. has agreed to expand internet access to as many as three million people in the region by July 2022 and to establish community centers to provide digital skills to women and youths.

    Mastercard Inc. will seek to bring five million people in the region who currently lack banking services into the financial system and to give one million micro and small businesses access to electronic banking. …

    So, the solution is unleash the private sector, learn to code, and microcredit. This will surely do the trick.

    1. pjay

      Maybe we can add Nicaragua to that list as well, provided we can get rid of that brutal racist authoritarian President Daniel Ortega (see today’s completely balanced and objective Vice News story) and get someone in who believes in a “rules based” economy. I’m sure they’re working on it.

    2. jsn

      You’ve got to keep those refugees coming some how.

      It will be a key component of “the resistance” when D complacency right now hands Orange Man another term.

      The people who created the “problem” are the right ones to solve the “problem” when your “problem” is the preferred policy.

      1. Grant

        “You’ve got to keep those refugees coming some how.”

        That can be done through actual endogenous economic development. It would just require radical changes to policy and the structure of the international economic order, new international institutions to take the place of the WTO, tearing up deals based on the NAFTA model, far more comprehensive economic planning, probably things like capital controls and a willingness of allowing emerging enterprises in developing countries to displace foreign capital. But let’s not mess around with all of that, there are profits to be made. Send in Mastercard and Microsoft, get these people in a better position to serve Mastercard and Visa and the like. This is just capitalist imperialism, and most of the liberals are back to brunch and can’t be bothered to care much or to challenge Biden to do much of anything for working class and poor people. Many invest in these companies and stand to make money off of this stuff, so cha ching!

    3. philnc

      Ha! Good point, allan. Last time I looked, M$ has had zero experience delivering broadband infrastructure to anyone, even to their own campuses (they outsourced that). Unless you want to count all those MSN floppies they distributed in the Nineties (personally, I never used any as my supply of AOL disks long outlasted the utility of the floppy drive). There are plenty of companies — even a (very) few cities — out there with the necessary competence, but none of them appear to be in the Biden team’s Rollodex of Fortune. The problem is that public sector network engineering has been so lobotomized over the last forty years that it can’t even be trusted not to accidentally electrocute soldiers in war zone showers. And as for banking, why not just repeal the 1967 repeal of Postal banking by that other not-quite-FDR Democratic administration whose imperial pursuits derailed expansion of the New Deal.

    4. Grant

      Wow. I would love for someone to explain how an influx of foreign capital, especially capital owned by giant oligopolies, leads to endogenous economic development in the region. A country that is actually developing increasingly meets its own needs with its own public, cooperative and private enterprises. If there are markets dominated by foreign capital and we wanted evidence of actual endogenous economic development, enterprises in that country would increasingly displace foreign capital, and you would see more stuff being produced (and exported) that has good terms of trade. Poor countries tend to produce and export goods that have bad terms of trade, like raw materials, and the developed countries have long fought against poor countries forming things like producer cartels to realize better terms of trade. This is just more capitalist imperialism, trying to get people in a better position that they can serve foreign capital and the existing order.

  5. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Washington is playing a losing game with China” article at-

    ‘To hold its own with China, the United States must renew its competitive capacity and build a demonstrably better governed, better educated, more egalitarian, more open, more innovative, healthier, and freer society.’

    Or they could toss a few hundred billion towards the Pentagon. You know the former solution is the smarter way to go but you know that Washington will go with the later.

    1. Mr. Magoo

      The data seems a bit on the dramatic side. Apparently the source is from an organization that describes itself as “150 years of shaping the world by connecting markets to optimise global resources”. Nothing to see about promoting globalization there.

    2. jsn

      Looks like Chas Freeman has been offshored the same way Thomas Frank was.

      It’s nice to see Koch and Soros cooperating to bring this to an American audience.

      (Originally published by East Asia Forum)

  6. Howard Beale IV

    Gee, with all of these ‘air passengers behaving badly’, makes you wonder just what ever happened to air marshals….

    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a solution. Just add these passengers to a no fly list – for good. So passengers are told before they fly that if they do this sort of stuff, not only will they be criminally charged and face hefty fines, but that for the rest of their lives they will never be permitted to board any airplane on any airline inside the United States as in never. That will deter a lot of them for sure and I bet that a lot of passengers would agree with this measure.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I doubt this will deter the “obnoxious, entitled American,” and I for one do not care to have yet another government-mediated (or even worse, corporate-cartel-enforced) manacle clamped on by the Panopticon Oligarchy. And you know darn well that Rich Folks will be exempt.

        1. The Rev Kev

          They will be exempt because they have their own private jets so only get to be obnoxious with the pilots and crew. But yeah, you have a point. Such a no-fly list would be abused too often. Hell, even Senator Kennedy found himself on Bush’s no-fly list once.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, I don’t agree. A no fly list for refusing to comply with a mask rule has absolutely nothing to do with a no fly list for supposed terrorists. The latter already provides TPTB a vehicle for abuse. They don’t need a mask no fly list for that, so there’s no net benefit on that front.

  7. Stephen Bunnell

    From an immunologist:

    Re: “ Immunity to the Coronavirus May Persist for Years, Scientists Find New York Times (David L). The triumphalism is so blinding, I’m gonna have to wear shades. Breakthrough infections among the recently vaccinated suggest otherwise.”

    1) Breakthrough infections in recently vaccinated are irrelevant unless happing > 2 weeks after the second shot of a two dose immunization. It takes that long to develop and accumulate protective antibodies.

    2) In the US, most breakthrough infections are from variants. This is as expected because some variants differ enough from the vaccine that we are somewhat less well protected. This can be solved with a booster for the variants.

    3) Some rare people respond poorly to the vaccine because they are immunocompromised. These people are over represented in breakthrough cases. This is normal. They are best protected by herd immunity, which reduces the amount of virus circulating.

    4) These are among the most effective vaccines ever produced. If everyone could be vaccinated, the virus could be largely eliminated.

    1. Pat

      Said with no evidence attached.

      Let’s talk about the trials and data we do have. We have had these vaccines for less than a year. Their trials have been limited. We have anecdotal evidence that there has been less interest and follow through on reports of negative responses to being vaccinated, so the greatest knowledge of the extent and causes are limited to those causing hospitalization. Even with that the responses are more numerous and extensive then covered by the press. And we have it from the CDC itself that unless a breakthrough case is hospitalized it doesn’t existing as far as they are concerned.

      My point, your immunologist is making a great many definitive statements about subjects where they have limited or deeply compromised data. Unless they added a whole lot of caveats, this is At best deeply wishful thinking based on the sunniest press reports out there because otherwise…

        1. J.

          Um. I read that link, and it says:

          From the beginning of the so-called “pandemic”, waves of asymptomatic “cases” were deliberately created by running unreliable PCR tests on 100,000s of perfectly healthy people every day.

          The entirely predictable false positives were called “cases”, and these manufactured “cases” of Covid19 were used to build up the illusion of a global plague.

          I don’t think I’d take that site too seriously.

      1. Stephen Bunnell

        CDC Report

        10,000 breakthrough infections were detected in the ~100,000,000 fully vaccinated individuals in the US. That’s 0.01%. 160 died. That’s roughly 0.0002%. There have been 33,000,000 cases in the US, out of ~330,000,000 persons. That’s 10%. There have been ~600,000 deaths in the US. That’s ~0.2% of the US population. So, based on known breakthrough cases, the vaccines improve your protection from COVID by a factor of 1000x (at most). And based on deaths, the vaccines improve your protection from COVID by a factor of 1000x (definitively, see below).

        Anyone entering the hospital with COVID symptoms would be tested for COVID and detected. Therefore, the number of severe cases is *not* likely to be an undercount. However, they could be undercounting asymptomatic cases in the vaccinated. From clinical trials we estimated that most vaccines reduce asymptomatic infections by ~90% or more, so we might eventually expect to see 10,000,000 breakthrough cases. The fact that only 10,000 have been detected so far proves that real world efficacy is incredibly high.

        The viruses have a real world R value of 2-3 and some variants appear to have Rs of 4-5. At the worst case efficacy of 90%, the worst case R for variants in a fully vaccinated population becomes 0.4-0.5%. Anything below R=1 leads to viral extinction. Since real world efficacy could be as high as 99.99%, the vaccines seem awfully good.

        From the same report, 64% of breakthrough cases were from variants of concern. More recent studies post on biorXiv show even higher levels, 85% or more. But even in these cases the vaccines appear to be highly protective.

        1. Stephen Bunnell

          Apologies, real world efficacious as high as 99.9% one decimal place too many above. Same point holds.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      The CDC reports that more than 10,000 breakthrough cases have occurred in the U.S., though they admit that “the number of reported COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases is likely a substantial undercount of all SARS-CoV-2 infections among fully vaccinated persons.”
      The true number of breakthrough cases is going to get even fuzzier though, because going forward, the CDC intends to only count vaccinated people that are hospitalized and/or die from Covid as breakthrough cases. Not going to count those that have mild Covid or are asymptomatic. Trust the science!

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Wait. You haven’t heard of all those “breakthrough” cases of polio and smallpox that occur with those vaccines?

        Yeah, neither have I.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          From Wikipedia, citing Smith JS (1990). Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine. William Morrow & Co. ISBN 978-0-688-09494-2,

          “The results of the field trial were announced 12 April 1955 (the tenth anniversary of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose paralytic illness was generally believed to have been caused by polio). The Salk vaccine had been 60–70% effective against PV1 (poliovirus type 1), over 90% effective against PV2 and PV3, and 94% effective against the development of bulbar polio.”

          The original Salk vaccine was only 70-90% effective in the 1950s. Which means there were breakthrough cases recorded. The post-vaccination case rate was orders of magnitude lower than the unvaccinated rate, so people kept taking it.

        2. R

          Sorry to ruin your sarcasm but the last recorded smallpox fatality (lab leak) had previously been vaccinated. So yes, we have heard of those and now so have you.

          My asperity on this point is that, like Mr Bunnell the immunologist above, I think it is irresponsible to conflate success or failure in:
          (i) protection against infection;
          (ii) protection against disease; and,
          (iii) prevention of transmission.

          No vaccine or immunity through infection offers 100% of (i). The immune system is a lottery, a chance survival by a virion and a mutation in its reproduction and you have an infection that can potentially evade your vaccine-derived antibodies, in all their permutations.

          Most good vaccines offer strong odds of (ii), at least as far as severe disease is concerned. The latest UK hospitalisation data suggests that the Pfizer and AZ vaccination programme in the UK is offering ~98% protection against hospitalisation, despite infection.

          Sterilising immunity, benefit (iii), is another lottery. Indeed, some vaccines are responsible for vaccine escape outbreaks of some diseases, e.g. polio.

          Vaccination offers real hope to people of avoiding personal tragedy and some hope of offering public health benefits of “herd immunity” / elimination. To claim that vaccines don’t work because a tiny fraction of the vaccinated go on to develop infection, even severe disease, is a crazy and deeply irresponsible position.

          It is also not a phenomenon that could have been prevented / evaluated with “moar trials” because ultimately you only learn the limits of performance in mass vaccination. That’s why all drugs have Phase 4 pharmacovigilance / post-marketing surveillance.

          1. Chris


            Without intending ad hominem criticism, the comments further up the thread seem to be based in self-entitled individualism.

            The vaccination program is not intended to ensure that you as an individual are guaranteed absolute freedom from infection, illness and hospitalisation. It is a community effort, grounded in a sense of shared responsibility to each other, which we undertake to protect our community from the worst effects of the pandemic.

            Vaccination programs were ever thus. They deliver protection even to those unable to receive the vaccine (too young, too unwell).

            1. IM Doc

              I could not agree with you more about the community effort – if only Fauci and the CDC and our national media seemed to understand.

              Forcing vaccination at threat of loss of job, ability to travel, or humiliation is not anything close to the spirit of a “community effort, grounded in a sense of shared responsibility to each other.” When you actually bother to take the time to talk to those who are balking – they almost inevitably bring up all the lies and distortions that have been going on. Just look at flip-flop Fauci this week – last week NO LAB LEAK – this week – OH YEAH – LAB LEAK. And we are asking our citizens to entrust to these “no liability” liars their very lives. What could possibly go wrong?

              I will correct you on one thing – Self-entitled individualism is most definitely not the issue with the vast vast majority of the vaccine hesitant. Please stop saying that.

              Again – I will contend that anyone who is criticizing these folks needs to but spend one day in my shoes. I have never seen such incompetence from our government officials in my life – and that has consequences. All these PMC types running their mouths all the time seem to think that these hesitant people have the ability to understand the situation and also the time to even get vaccinated (see Yves post from yesterday). In reality, the ignorant and often hateful commentary coming from the PMC and their organs like the NYT betrays that they truly are just running their mouths, changing what they are saying as the wind blows. And the vaccine hesitant are not so stupid that they are not able to pick up on this instantly. Just look at how the myocarditis issue is being handled right now.

              I am hoping that we have already achieved the needed level of immunity from natural infections and those already vaccinated – because the vaccine program in this country is now DOA – trust me.

              1. Chris

                Sorry, Doc, I expressed myself poorly.

                My comment about entitlement was more about the way in which the effectiveness of the vaccine is being measured according to the safeguarding of individuals, rather than the degree of protection for the community.

                I agree entirely that the shabby management of most aspects of the rollout has eroded confidence, making hesitancy an entirely rational choice for many.

    3. IM Doc

      I really hope you are correct.

      I pray daily that all the end zone dancing being done right now is well placed.

      Like everyone else I want this thing over. And I want my patients and my community to live in health not fear.

      Excuse me however if I have a few nagging concerns.

      First of all I have any number of patients who have been evaluated for foreign travel or employment testing sweeps or what have you turn out to be positive. All fully vaccinated. Most without symptoms. Vaccines given months ago. Healthy immunocompetent patients. Way more than I feel comfortable with. And yet they are not being counted even in the case numbers daily. They are certainly not being evaluated for the presence of variants. In fact, the authorities could not care less about even calling them. It is really easy to have a victory celebration when you are not even counting those who do not fit your narrative.

      My other problem with your take is the best vaccines ever invented line so common today. Unlike the general American public, I have had the benefit of sitting through 30 years of Pharma propaganda. OxyContin was the best pain Med ever. Vioxx was the best and safest anti inflammatory ever. Trovan the best antibiotic ever invented.

      Spare me.

      Again, I hope beyond hope this is over. My years of listening to Pharma propaganda and their methods of spin all being used writ large right now really give me pause. The big difference that I did not see coming was their ability to turn my entire profession into non questioning zombies.

        1. antidlc

          From the article:

          The FDA’s growing emphasis on speed has come at the urging of both patient advocacy groups and industry, which began in 1992 to contribute to the salaries of the agency’s drug reviewers in exchange for time limits on reviews. In 2017, pharma paid 75 percent — or $905 million — of the agency’s scientific review budgets for branded and generic drugs, compared to 27 percent in 1993.

          “The virginity was lost in ’92,” said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School. “Once you have that paying relationship, it creates a dynamic that’s not a healthy one.”

          Thanks, flora.

          Follow the money.

      1. jsn

        Before the peak in the spring, the Hopkins regional data were not correlated, since then they have increasoingly become so.

        I wonder if these changes in parameters for defining who has COVID is driving that.

    4. Jeff W

      “Breakthrough infections among the recently vaccinated suggest otherwise.”

      I’m actually not sure what breakthrough infections have to do with the assertions in the article. It says “…most people who have recovered from Covid-19 and who were later immunized will not need boosters.” Those aren’t what’s commonly referred to as “breakthrough infections,” i.e., being immunized (presumably not having had COVID) and then getting infected.

      The article says

      The experts all agreed that immunity is likely to play out very differently in people who have never had Covid-19. Fighting a live virus is different from responding to a single viral protein introduced by a vaccine.

      So it seems like the article is explicitly placing those who have had immunity conferred by exposure to the actual virus (and who have been vaccinated) in a different category than those who have had immunity conferred by vaccine.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      Nice job of Making Shit Up, as in presenting things as fact when you don’t have them and we do.

      The CDC is not tracking breakthrough cases among the immunized. So the only source is from patients, and as a self-proclaimed immunologist, I assume you are not practicing medicine without a license.

      I suggest you get out and talk to MDs. They are regularly finding significant %s of family groups who were fully vaccinated >1 month prior all testing positive when they are being tested to travel abroad, similar to what IM Doc describes (some MDs, like an MD daughter of a reader whose MD husband works in a big hospital system, are admitting it and then trying to hand wave it away as no big deal, the CDC must be right and these cases are no cause for concern). I have also heard anecdotally from a few readers of the same result, having been immunized some time back and testing positive.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i forget to pull up my bandanna out here in the wilderness….low population county, easy to avoid crowds if nowhere is crowded.
      hardwre store and the dollar store are the exceptions…close packed aisled, crammed with stuff, people idling and in the way.
      but on our trips to the big city, i wear the dern thing, and don’t care what sort of stinkeye i get from the ubiquitous belligerent morons
      (it’s texas, after all, where such creatures proliferate…although my hoary visage does serve as a deterrent to them getting too belligerent with me*)

      * and, speaking of hoary visage:

      I am saddened that my “hairstyle” has made it into the fashion pages….i’ve only cut my hair in the past 25 years with wire cutters, when i get an intractable knot….it’s down past the middle of my back…and looks a lot like this “new” hairstyle, although mine has a lot more gray, and is paired with an equally ramshackle beard.
      when these folks’ significant others find twigs and leaves and even critters in their carefully coiffed radical do’s, then we can talk.
      it’s like when pop culture discovered worn out work jeans.

    2. petal

      Walking through our local hospital this morning, happened to notice they removed the social distancing markers overnight. Pandemic’s over, folks! /s

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that if you wish for something hard enough, that it will come true. At least that was what was said in that book “The Secret” that Oprah pushed on her old TV program years ago. (rolls eyes)

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Magical thinking works wonders: just look at how Russiagate freed us from Trump.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        wife’s chemo palace still won’t allow me in there, and still do the temp check/interrogation at the door…and they still require masks(and not bandannas, dernit)
        but like you indicate, everywhere else is removing the restrictions…generally with the caveat that only the fully vaccinated are free to breathe on other people.
        however, in the same way that the mask mandates at various retail outlets…from truck stops to walmart to the corner store…were not enforced…this newfound freedom for the vaccinated is to be extended to all and sundry, since they don’t ask the maskless about their vaccination status….so the caveat is meaningless, and amounts to a merely performative concern for science and public health
        not enforcing the mask mandates…whether by government or private business…was due specifically to the assholery of the mask free “It’s Not Real!!” people…which, in Texas, seems to be about half the population.
        as always, the system selects for psychopathy.
        and ‘there’s no such thing as society’

        1. petal

          They still require masks and have limits on how many people can accompany patients, but it was surprising to see the SD markers had been removed.
          Boss is taking the group out for lunch today. He’s acting as if once vaccinated, you’re bulletproof. Not looking forward to it. For some reason I just can’t seem to get on board with magical thinking.

          1. curlydan

            I just had a “group” outing yesterday. The group was to eat lunch in a private room, shoulder-to-shoulder. I said, sorry, this freaks me out, and I’m eating outdoors. Luckily, everyone was fine with that. I’m not sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone but my immediate family.

        2. Alfred

          My feeling is it’s the “there’s no such thing as community” folks–unless it’s their immediate cohort, and you’d better not step on their toes, no sir

        3. Lemmy Caution

          As more and more vaccinated folks circulate about, mask-less and carefree, nobody is paying much attention to the fact that the CDC can’t definitively say whether fully vaccinated people can spread the virus or not. Seems like kinda an important thing to know before sounding the “All Clear.”

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            which is why i do mask where i deem it necessary

            ie: i’m generally the only customer in most of my usual places (beer/cig store, feedstore…i don’t really go anywhere)…because i time it that way—always have…
            anything more crowded than that, i wear it…because i don’t want to bring it home…just in case we’ve insufficient data, as yet, to determine whether or not i can still transmit it.
            wife’s getting her first shot next week, hopefully. She must do so in her “off-week” from chemo…and plan on feeling terrible for 2 days, per the oncologist.
            i don’t trust pfizer with a hole in the head, but that’s what’s currently approved for my youngest(15) we’re considering waiting out the summer befre taking a leap.
            eldest…i’m leaving it up to him.
            I still worry…perhaps overmuch…about either of my boys taking either of the mRNA shots.
            I remember reading a few years ago about potential issues involving things like sterilisation(!) and induced autoimmune disorders(i was burying myself in cancer lore at the time).
            I don’t trust either company(moderna a little more than pfizer, whom i regard as rather evil as far as egregores go)…and i don’t trust our corporatised regulators, either.
            kinda waiting for the anecdotes to flow with regards to long-ish term side effects/third eye growth.

            and, to be clear, i’m far from antivaxx…and i hate being in this position.

          2. Jeff W

            Well, the CDC “can’t definitively say” but, apparently, it took into account (according to the NYT) data showing that the risk was likely to be very low. Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, for example, said that recent studies show that those who are vaccinated “carry too little virus to infect others.”

            So the CDC adopted a somewhat lower standard than being “definitively” able to say —and we can disagree with that—but it seems, again, according to the NYT, like it found the evidence sufficient to make the decision it made. (And, again, we can argue with that as well.)

            1. Lemmy Caution

              Seems like when you’ve got a 100 million-plus vaccinated people wandering around without masks, the CDC’s assessment that the risk that they are spreading the virus is likely to be very low is not very reassuring to me.

              Especially when they are undercounting the breakthrough cases and aren’t planning to even count those vaccinated people that come down with mild or asymptomatic cases. With no track and trace capabilities, no one will know who people are contracting the virus from.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Per GM, even if this is true (and reports of entire family groups vaccinated a while back having most/all vaccinated members test positive says otherwise, since it seems logical that the virus was brought in by one person and then was transmitted within the household), the immunity declines starting 2 months out from being vaccinated.

              And this statement is silly. Were these people in the study actually challenged by being exposed? If not, this is garbage in, garbage out. The approach to all the vaccination studies has been not to do that because ethics, so I doubt it.

      3. Nikkikat

        Husband and I went to staples this morning; as this is the place we have been able to find a steady supply of KN95 masks. We had a feeling we had better stock up as they were likely to stop carrying them. Well, ALL of their masks were on Clearance. Marked down to a 1/3 what we have been paying.
        So pandemic over, wipe all traces of masks from our memory banks……get back to work.

        1. newcatty

          Also, loyal, true, American patriots are free to shop! Free to spend their hard earned money from “working”! Consuming helps some people fill up missing parts in their lives. It’s all a matter of perception and opportunity for how any of us choose to spend the money. It was chilling to read that ” Dollar General” stores are sprouting up at such an astounding rate. Like, other indicators of”economic distress ” the lowering, and at worse elimination, of societies ‘ Decent or basically healthy products are eroding. Homelessness, crappified foods at grocer_stores ( ask low wage workers if they can afford organic produce), cheap junk at the local “dollar” store is now the norm. Let them eat junk is the current replacement for any cake…have you priced any brand of bread that’s not junk?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I am not changing my masking or propyhlactic practices even though I got vaccinated. In fact, this discussion reminds me to buy more masks.

      Aside from my selfish interests (I wear KN95s when outside the house and procedure masks inside to protect my mother and model for the aides), IMHO another reason to wear them is as a courtesy to store employees. They have no idea if you are actually vaccinated or not. I would be worried if I were a store staffer every time I saw a maskless patron.

      1. rowlf

        A small data point that adds to my problem of making sense of any media coverage of Covid-19, about three months ago I was in a check-out line at a local Kroger supermarket that gets very busy every afternoon and the cashier was someone I had chatted with several times over the last few years (this is in Georgia and it is polite to chat with people.) The cashier was also a shop steward and during conversation I asked how many employees at the store had been infected since March 2020. His answer was two, and they were suspected to be infected at home.

        The store put up Plexiglas screens early on and customers (minus a few nutters) and staff have been pretty good on masks. The shop steward preferred a face shield and no mask during this period.

        I’m still sticking with NPIs.

  8. zagonostra

    >Exclusive: Biden looks abroad for electric vehicle metals, in blow to U.S. miners – Reuters

    What kind of “vehicle?” I was at a railroad crossing waiting for the train to go buy yesterday and I had time to notice the makes of all the “vehicles” around me. The cars were all foreign brands, every single one of them. There were however several Ford and Chevy trucks

    It seems that the Koreans are continuously improving their cars, just look at new Sonata, and Honda, Toyotas, Suburu, and Nissan are what people drive in SE Florida, with the higher priced Lexus, Mercedes, and Beamers also in abundance. When I’m in Central PA, I do see some American makes, but they are usually older vehicles.

    It’s sad what has happened to American-made cars, but I guess that’s globalism for you. I think it may be time to retire the notion of “Made in America” and submit to “Made in a Factory” somewhere.

    1. freebird

      1. You were not in pickup/SUV/RV country. The US makers have shut down a lot of car lines to put their attention on trucks and large SUVs and they are selling a lot of them.
      2. I don’t know the story of each brand, but I know Nissan trucks are made in the US, and I think I’ve seen quite a few large auto plants with foreign names but US workers.

      It may not be as bad as you think, but perhaps others have better data. My anecdata is I’m rolling in a small RV built on a Ford Transit chassis.

      1. Glen

        Most pickup trucks in the US are made in USA/Canada/Mexico because there has been a 25% tariff on light duty trucks since 1964.

        How else could the big three be able to charge $100K for a pick up truck unless they locked out the competition?

    2. JTMcPhee

      As a new enforcement attorney with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, I drafted the original lawsuit against General Motors under the long-defunct Magnusson-Moss Federal Warranty Act, way back in 1977.

      GM chose not to manufacture enough Oldsmobile/Cadillac “Rocket 350” V-8 engines to power all its Oldsmobile branded sedans. It kept the “Rocket V-8” logo on the 1976 and 1977 and later cars, even though these vehicles carried the very inferior Chevy generic V-8s and a weaker transmission — leading to a bunch of disappointed consumers. 0000000wwww0This became a big national issue, with lots of class action cases piggybacking on the original suit brought by the Illinois Attorney General. Before the case blew up into a Big Deal, I had the pleasure of hearing a judge tell the GM white-shoe attorney asserting that GM could do whatever it wanted, “Mr. Gottshalk, Engine Charlie Wilson has been dead several years, and it is absolutely not the case in this court that what is good for General Motors is ipso facto good for the United States.”

      A lot of the generic 350s and trannies were made in Canada and Mexico. GM fought tooth and nail, eventually getting away with a pittance to the consumers, a bunch of money to the tort lawyers, and a statement in the owners’ manuals and the window stickers of later vehicles that “This vehicle contains a General Motors engine and transmission manufactured in a General Motors plant. This equipment meets all General Motors international standards.”

      “Made in America?” Case closed.

    3. Pelham

      I think the faded popularity of American sedans is a legacy thing. I’ve driven recent Chevy Malibus that are at least as good as their Japanese counterparts, and Buick sedans have been getting great reviews. I tried to convince a fairly wealthy couple we know to look past the Porsche and BMW SUVs they were considering and check out a Buick. I don’t think they took me seriously, but they could have saved a few thousand dollars and repeated visits to the Porsche dealer for tuneups.

    4. RMO

      To name just a few, the Honda Accord and Civic, the Toyota Corolla, VW Passat, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Hyundai Elantra are all made in the US. Conversely a number of “American” brand vehicles are made in Mexico or elsewhere – the Jeep Renegade is built in Italy for example.

  9. fresno dan

    “They got the mother lode”: Former federal prosecutor says grand jury has “everything” on Trump Salon

    This reminds me so much of RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA! Russiagate!!!
    What does it say about USA! USA! USA! that this criminal enterprise known as Trump has been operating for 50 or more years, under dems and repubs, at the state and federal level, was elected president, and they are just now figuring out he may have broken the law?
    And I have to admit to some schadenfreude about the MSM having to revisit Wuhan lab as a source of covid, and be in that uncomfortable position of acknowledging that Trump said that first (essentially), and that maybe, possibly, unbelievably, Trump could have been correct…

        1. RMO

          I’m sure this is the end for Trump. Just like the characters at 75% of the way through a Friday The 13th movie are sure that this time Jason Vorhees is really dead and gone forever.

    1. km

      All this does is show what I have said all along: the criminal laws in this country are far-reaching and broad enough in scope that an aggressive prosecutor can always find a pretext to bring charges against anyone, especially any person involved in higher level business or politics.

      This is entirely intentional. There is always a means to get anyone the elites want off the island, off the island, and it is entirely legal under existing law.

  10. cocomaan

    Asia Times Afhganistan withdraw

    It emerges that the latent fear in Washington and Brussels that the Taliban might taunt, harass and humiliate the retreating Western forces (which include NATO troops as well) is steadily receding.

    Consequently, there is a growing measure of confidence about what the future portends, which is reflected in NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement last week about an open-ended presence of the alliance in Afghanistan beyond September, even if in a modified role.

    I’m sure all these highly paid generals remember that, year after year, the various Taliban factions have engaged in “rare” winter offensives and a definite spring offensive. Maybe a touch of early triumphalism, here?

    Interesting how Pakistan is involved and not involved. They know better than to try and lay claim to a land with thousands of years old ethnic conflict.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Straight Monty Python, when my memory still worked I could recite the lines of the French soldier dissing the English King on his quest for the Holy Grail:

      Since the Brits are so still very involved in all this Great Game/Game of Risk! (Tm) sh!t, very much appropriate for the Afghans who taunted them in the past, after kicking their colonial a$$es, to call them “English pig-dogs,” and “f@rt in their general direction…”

      All us mopes get to know about what the a$$holes in the CIA and War Department and all the other sneaky thieves and looters are up to is what the daring MSM tells us and what the few who are interested in preserving the reality can dredge up, well after the Empire has “created its own new realities.” It’s a cancer, a metastatic one, virulent and pretty much unstoppable until it kills the victim…

  11. a different chris

    I don’t know what, if anything will come out of it.

    But like I keep saying about triumphalist/terrified predictions of The Return Of The Donald, 4 years is a long time in politics. So the really unexpected, at least to us distanced by an ocean, news of the sudden backstabbing of Unsinkable Ship Boris -by a guy we also wish we had never heard of – pretty much underlines what I’ve been saying.

    In Mr. Trump’s case, at a minimum somebody who wants to be the King will have to kill the King. Assuming of course, that he has his father’s genetics and doesn’t just collapse face first into a pile of Cheetos.

    Life is just one damn thing after another said some brilliant anon philosopher.

    Sad that the Anthropocene is running out of time as well as popcorn.

  12. John A

    Apropos the Danish wind farm artificial island. Can we expect to see US warships making ‘freedom of navigation’ voyages past it?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “‘Totally left out’: Thailand’s expats anxious as march toward immunity passes them by’

    I know that I should be concentrating on this article but ‘Democrats Abroad?’ ‘Republicans Overseas’? Those are real organizations? I had to check and found the following-

    I would dearly love to be at a joint meeting of these organizations. And then innocently ask whether Trump was so bad after all?

      1. The Rev Kev

        And Australia which stands at about 1.9% of the population at home. We are way down the list of countries that vaccinate and even countries like Kazakhstan do a better job. Thanks Scotty from Marketing.

  14. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding Ed Harrison’s Twitter post about Dollar General making up almost half of all new retail openings, CEO Todd Vasos put things succinctly in an interview with the WSJ in 2017: “The economy continues to create more of our core customer.”

    Kind of all you need to know, isn’t it?

    1. freebird

      Wow, what a guy. And this wonderful economy we have also creates a steady stream of ‘core employee’, a harried overworked person making bad money, often tasked with keeping an entire store running alone or with 1 or 2 other people; cover the registers, answer the phone, keep the machines running, clean, answer questions, AND stock the shelves, assigned random long hours to work with little notice. That’s why the aisles are usually full of boxes.

      It is an evil system funneling cash to the top echelon while screwing the labor which runs the operation.

      But I disagree that with the article: “This trend of lower end retailers is indicative of underlying economic distress ” Not really a watchable indicator at this point though there is plenty of distress. It’s just growth for its own sake, a big chain flush with cash earned by cheating employees, putting it to work by finding ever new corners of the US to drain the money from, gotta keep jacking up numbers.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        In a real sense, it’s a perpetual motion machine/self-licking ice cream cone, in that the employment model of these stores (and the ambient neoliberal hellscape it corresponds to) creates the “core custumer” who shops there…

    2. Glen

      “The economy continues to create more of our core customer.”

      What he really said:

      “I and my fellow American CEOs/billionaires continue to wreck the middle class in America.”

  15. The Rev Kev

    “US joins calls for transparent, science-based investigation into Covid origins”

    So old Joe has told his spooks to get busy to find out the origins of this pandemic. He has been President for over four months now so it is a wonder that he did not ask in his first week. And he gave them 90 days to do so. You think that they would have been investigating this since December of 2019 but whatever. So we have seen how this sort of stuff goes down. Probably he will get Blinken to get together a handful of trusted ‘agents’ who will come up with a damning report condemning China. Biden will then take this report to Congress and say that three intelligence agencies have confirmed China’s guilt. At that point, it will be publican reported that all 17 intelligence agencies all agree that it was China’s fault and that they have two weeks to make reparations to the US – or else!

    1. cocomaan

      The intel community has been virtually silent throughout the entire pandemic. I haven’t heard a peep from them. Anyone else?

      No NSA signals intel on Chinese chatter surrounding the initial outbreak? No CIA agents blowing their cover to report on how it got started or nefarious uses of the virus for strategic positioning? No intel agencies trying to help us find the weak links in the supply chain as they happen?

      You’d think the Covid-related supply chain issues alone would be critical to national security. How many microprocessors are there in every cruise missile? Every F35?

      What exactly where they doing for the past year? Working from home?

      1. Darthbobber

        Rule of thumb: If they actually are doing things that really are what one usually thinks of intelligence gathering we don’t generally hear about it.

        It’s when they’ve been told to do the “intelligence” equivalent of assembling agitprop for a political goal that you hear a lot about it.

        And the very fact that Biden is rolling out this request for “intelligence” in the most public way possible gives me a strong inkling that this investigation is very much of the second kind.

  16. TBellT

    I think China has right to be upset, it’s pretty clear that the MIC have allowed this theory to resurface now that its in their hands and not Trump. There is very little in the way of new evidence.

    For instance the lab leak WSJ story never included the Chinese response which had been around since March, so I’m adding it here. From what I understand the laboratory surveyed 1001 old respiratory samples and found that 3 consistent with COVID collected in January of 2020, not earlier, and say the CIA must be “confused”. Additionally the WSJ never provided the actual report their story was based on and the article notes there is disagreement within intelligence community over it’s accuracy, though the rest of the article runs with it at face value.

    1. Aumua

      There is very little in the way of new evidence.

      And this is the crux of why I feel this whole thing is a big distraction at best, and that it’s not about finding the truth or fixing anything that’s broken. It’s about pointing the finger and keeping the people riled up over these foreigners we’re competing for control of the planet with.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > the lab leak WSJ story

      I thought that story was RussiaGate-level sloppy and dumb, and it makes me paranoid that the spooks have infested the WSJ newsroom, as with WaPo and the Times.

      This has nothing to do with the truth of the claim, which has nothing to do with whatever narrative the intelligence community is pushing, again as with RussiaGate.

      1. Cuibono

        Not sure i follow you here. Surely you are not discrediting some very fine ethical scientists who are calling for a more thorough investigation?
        I take it you are saying that the new interest is not related to those calls?

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Melbourne lockdown: Fears over outbreak sparks restrictions”

    Spitting chips over this one. The State of Victoria is going into lockdown and many of the States are shutting their borders with Victoria. A train was stopped in South Australia and Victorian passengers taken off in fact. Business are having to shut down again but with no government support this time. But with “The Hammer and the Dance” you expect this sort of thing. What has me spitting chips is that the whole thing was so unnecessary. I believe that the original cause was our old friend aerosol transmission again when air from one room that had a door open spread into another room when that door to that room opened. This also happened only a month or two ago so why was the lesson not learnt?

    Some of the States have demanded purpose built camps of cabins to preclude this possibility of spread but Scotty from Marketing has refused. He was insistent that hotel quarantine was the only way to go and in the recent budget, there was no money allocated for opening up camps of cabins to do this. And this in spite of the fact that the virus has escaped hotel quarantines a dozen or more times already. Now he seems to be changing his mind as the country is about to get another big economic hit (it’s the only thing that he notices) from a much more infectious strain of this virus (from India). I guess he was thinking before why bother when the Pandemic is just about over now. Like Boris, he hates changing his mind and his first instinct with any matter is to blame others for whatever goes wrong on his watch. I wish the people of Victoria luck.

    1. fumo

      Australia’s criminally slow vaccination program implementation—full vaccination is even today currently only 1.9%—is likely to bite them in their backsides hard at some point soon. Countries that had good initial success with NPIs, like Oz and Japan, and that have coasted on that success without at the same time aggressively vaccinating their populations have put themselves in a very dangerous spot.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Include New Zealand in that although one reason given for a slowed-down vaccine push into the general population is that we haven’t been able to get the ordered doses, which are going instead to countries with more immediate need of them.

        Dunno if that’s true.

  18. Lee

    US joins calls for transparent, science-based investigation into Covid origins Guardian. Moi: “Please tell me what problem gets solved by having an answer either way.” Resilc: “Cold war ramps up.”

    A lab leak origin would reignite the debate on whether or not the benefits of gain-of-function research outweigh the risks. Or, a reexamination and improvement of lab security could be forthcoming. Bret Weinstein recently suggested that the only safe place to perform such research would be on a ship anchored out in the middle of an ocean.

    A natural origin for the virus could set us to developing other sets of practices and policies, though I’ll admit that the human appetite for groaf might obviate such measures.

    1. cocomaan

      I’m with you. I don’t see why examining origins isn’t both a play by the military industrial complex to have a new threat to fight AND a way for us to evolve in our understanding of medical ethics.

      It’s the same way that the Nuremberg trials of Nazi doctors were both a way to restore justice AND a way for us to examine the ethical underpinnings of our medical research programs.

      And yes, I did just violate Godwin’s law, sue me.

      1. David

        People have been worried about biological warfare for a very long time now, and especially the prospect of some kind of non-state actor getting hold of BW agents. So there’s nothing new here, and in any event Covid isn’t much of a weapon, compared to some others. You can’t really protect against a surprise BW attack, so all you can do is to make sure you have treatments, and if possible vaccines if an outbreak has already been identified. In any event it’s not a military question, nor is there much money in it compared to other technologies.

    2. The Rev Kev

      China is already pushing back asking some hard questions about Fort Detrick as well as the scores of US biological laboratories scattered around the world and especially in eastern Europe and asking why they are there and not in the US. Meanwhile the Senate has passed legislation that requires the release of classified intelligence related to the origins of coronavirus-

      The program to internationally isolate China is now well underway.

      1. Lee

        “The program to internationally isolate China is now well underway.”

        Isolate China? The harder task will be isolating people from their iPhones, and other low labor cost goodies, not to mention the profits at stake.

          1. The Rev Kev

            “Isolating China” Yeah, I should have gone into that more so here are some examples. Militarily – you try to pin them against their coastline with warships from the US, Australia, India, Japan, Germany, the UK, etc and sail through disputed territories. Financially – you seek to have them de-listed from western stock markets by demanding that they fulfill “auditing” requirements. Diplomatically – you blame them for doing human rights violations & for being responsible for the present pandemic. Exports – you use a US law to punish any country that purchase Chinese weapons or associated technology such as communications gear as obviously it is a threat to US security. Industrially – you deny them access to equipment & parts that they use in their own industrial gear and put their top companies under bans in order that they do not compete against your own corporations so that they can “catch up”. Kidnapping top execs is also a thing now too. Educationally – you restrict Chinese students by labeling them as technology thieves and arrest one every no and then because they are associated with the Chinese State which is quite common in China. And all this when put into context is what I mean when I say that there is an attempt to isolate China.

      2. fumo

        There was a wonderful link posted here—one I can’t find now—some time ago on this subject. My surprised takeaway was that the Wuhan lab in question was working in close collaboration with and even staffed from a very global highly-credentialed scientific community. This wasn’t some secret PLA bioweapons lab, which was what I was expecting it to be.

        I propose that the potential blame/culpability splatter zone from a proven lab leak might therefore include the whole international scientific field and come with very much unwelcome public scrutiny. It will be hard to sell the risk/reward of research in this field going forward if the risk calculation is informed by the global Covid-19 pandemic and all its incalculable costs resulting from a lab leak. Don’t expect the elite PMC of this corner of virology to be eager to implicate themselves, and in a field so technically arcane any formal investigation will necessary have to rely on the same PMC elite that populates the field with the baked-in conflict of interest.

        If this was a lab leak, China wasn’t exactly acting alone.

    3. sam

      Maybe another problem to be solved would be a critical examination of the media blackout on any discussion of this line of inquiry until Biden signaled that it was OK to mention. If cases of a new virus begin appearing practically next door to a facility doing enhanced function research on viruses then common sense would suggest at least the possibility that there could be some connection, yet for most of the last year just asking the question was enough to be branded as QAnon conspiracy theorist and banned from social media for spreading COVID disinformation.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > If cases of a new virus begin appearing practically next door to a facility doing enhanced function research on viruses then common sense would suggest

        Since we have cases of Covid well-before the Wuhan Market, reasoning from a coincidence in space is defeated by a lack of coincidence in time. Also, I didn’t know what “practically next door” could mean, so I went to Google Maps:

        It turns out Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market is a half-hour’s drive from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, across a river. So “practically” is doing much more work than a mere adverb should have to do.

        So often common sense is wrong, as in the sun revolving round the earth, etc. Making shit up is against site policy. I hope you find the common sense you seek elsewhere.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Just on a point of clarity, the Wuhan bio research lab is not the on the same site as the Institute of Virology – its further to the east, a total of 30km from the seafood market from what I’ve been able to find out. Googlemaps is very unreliable in China for all sorts of reasons, some obvious, some not so obvious.

          It has to be said though that none of the official sources seem to agree at all about the relative distance between the lab and the market, which seems reason enough for suspicion.

          But from what I’ve been told by people who have worked in the university (a former colleague of mine has worked for many years as an English tutor in Wuhan University), there are many associated buildings throughout the city, including quite close to the market, which is very much in the heart of the city, next to the main station. I haven’t been able to find out the source of the frequently quoted ‘400 metres’ claim, but I think its related to one university office building that distance away, although I’m pretty sure that office has no identified link with the virology institute.

          It must be said though that even 30km isn’t a particularly long way for Chinese people to travel for cheap fresh food, especially if there is a metro link, and there is an excellent metro in Wuhan. I know several here in Ireland who will regularly do a 50km drive to go to the seafood harbour shops on the north Dublin coast, and they consider it ‘local’.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            As Lambert stressed, there were cases before the cluster tied to the wet market, including ones in Italy, so the focus on the wet market looks like an effort to construct a narrative.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “EU-Switzerland relations head for trouble as partnership deal unravels”

    I know that Switzerland will cop a lot of flak over this one and that the EU will seek to punish Switzerland for refusing their entreaties but this sounds more like the Switzerland that I use to know. Independent and financially prudent even if a bit stiff-necked. Sure there are a lot of goodies on offer for Switzerland but they would have to get rid of their Swiss Frank and probably destroy their printing presses to boot.

    So if any financial problems come up they are stuck with the Euro and can no longer adjust their own currency to suit their circumstances like they can do now. Maybe a few Swiss on holidays in Greece asked the locals how that worked out for them being part of the EU. It could be too that perhaps they think that the EU is going to be facing some hard times ahead so would it be a good idea to sign aboard the EU Titanic right now? Maybe they suspect that Brussels has their eyes on all that gold and valuables on deposit in Switzerland too. That I could believe.

    Another factor is NATO. Both the EU and NATO are integrating so that you join one, you join up with both. Perhaps the Swiss are not keen on sending their troops to the Russian border or some foreign hell-hole on the whim of Washington & Brussels. They have a very long proud tradition of military service to the country and would probably not want to go back to the days when they were just mercenaries for hire. The Swiss I knew were very tied to their country first and foremost. Going overseas in search of monsters to destroy is not in their DNA.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I haven’t followed this but I strongly suspect the deal breaker was equivalence on financial services. Switzerland expected more accommodation but the EU decided not as a result of Brexit.

  20. allan

    Nature does bat last, but throwing her a slow softball doesn’t help:

    GOP governor and lawmakers clash over vaccine policy [Ohio Capital Journal]

    … Republicans in the state General Assembly, meanwhile, are pushing sweeping legislation to weaken Ohio’s vaccination laws — for all vaccines, not just COVID-19. On Tuesday, anti-vaccination activists crammed into the House Health Committee hearing room to testify in support of House Bill 248.

    The legislation would ban vaccine requirements on customers, employees or students from businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges, daycares, or others. It would also prevent governments, insurers, or businesses from offering incentives for people to get vaccinated, or even requesting that people get vaccinated.

    In interviews, public health experts warned the legislation would hold the door open for infectious diseases to spread among Ohioans. …

    To paraphrase Justice Brandeis, the states are indeed the Petri dishes of democracy.

  21. enoughisenough

    “U.S. CDC looking into heart inflammation in some young vaccine recipients”

    Have a number, at all, Reuters??

  22. nippersmom

    Amy Cooper, White Woman Who Called 911 on Black Birder, Sues Over Firing
    Somehow, I suspect Amy Cooper is absolutely fine with so-called Right to Work laws making it possible for employers to fire members of the proletariat whenever they want, for any reason or no reason at all. But members of the PMC are victims of discrimination when fired for cause. And somehow, her erstwhile employer is racist, while ranting to 911 about feeling threatened by an “African American man” (repeated to the operator for emphasis) is not. I hope she gets thrown out of court with a flea in her ear, and that her attorney is reprimanded for wasting the court’s time as well.

    1. Procopius

      I only glanced at the story, so maybe I got it wrong, but I think the story said her suit claimed she was fired because she is white, not because she violated company policy. Somehow I feel this is going to be one of those (many) cases where the outcome is never reported.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Disagree. Her case is non-existent. She made a false report to the police. That’s a crime, either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity. The woman was a fiduciary. She is supposed to operate to the highest legal standard of care and put her client’s interests before hers or those of her company. She demonstrated that she is incapable of merely “obey the law” behavior in her private life (both violating the rule to keep her dog leashed, which is required all over NYC except in leash-free dog parks, and then doubling down by filing a false report via 911). It also shows she has terrible judgment.

        Wall Street firms have fought much better founded sexual discrimination cases and won. No way will her employer settle this one. They’d also get huge demerits from their investors and might even suffer some fund withdrawals. Big investors hew to ESG (environmental, social, and governance) principles. They would not approve of any payoff of this bully, and settlement = payoff.

  23. Pelham c

    Re Amy Cooper: I dunno. I rather sympathize with anyone fired by an employer for almost anything other than specifically screwing up on the job. I’m not defending Cooper’s actions, but this odoriferous disemployment door is open way too wide with cancel culture and can extend to some pretty harmless stuff. I hope she wins her case.

    1. hunkerdown

      Only just now that the upper gentry are losing their entitlements for the bad behavior it is their ostensible duty to preach against, is cancel culture somehow a problem.

      I hope she as a worker (such as the comparison is valid) wins while she as a person loses.

    2. nippersmom

      Her “case” is based on claiming she was a victim of racial discrimination. She has absolutely no evidence of that. Being fired for being a racist and making a fake call to 911 is not at all the same thing as racial discrimination. She claims she was fired for being a white woman.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Take the race out of it. She made a false report to the police. She said she was at physical risk when no such thing was happening (she had a weapon, as in a dog, on top of it!) That is a big deal:

        It is critically important to recognize that Falsely Reporting an Incident can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As such, it is punishable by up to one year in jail and as much as up to seven years in state prison.

        As a fiduciary managing money, which had been her job, she is held to the highest standard of care under the law. Such flagrant disregard shows she is unfit for her job.

  24. Maritimer

    Massachusetts store owners rescue woman’s $1m lottery ticket from trash Guardian
    Here’s an even better Mass Lottery story involving the infamous criminal Whitey Bulger whose brother was at one time the most powerful pol in MA.:
    “The lottery win had been another one of Bulger’s brilliant schemes to launder his drug, extortion, and loan-sharking money. Back in the summer of 1991, a winning Mass Millions lottery ticket had been purchased at the South Boston Liquor Mart by Michael Linskey, who was the brother of a Bulger underling named Patrick Linskey. The FBI had learned that once Whitey heard about the jackpot, he ordered the real winner to sign the ticket over, with Whitey and two associates paying $2.3 million cash for 50 percent of the winnings.”

    As I recall Whitey also owned the booze mart where the ticket was issued! That shoulda raised issues about the ticket distribution. See book Black Mass and the movie with Johnny Depp.

    But, be assured, such blatant corruption and FBI endorsed crime only goes on in Boston

  25. The Rev Kev

    ‘Dr Vaccine Sharma (ethnic mum)
    Ridiculously framed question that got the answer it deserved.’

    That reporter may have had a valid question. So there is this guy in Melbourne who opened up his cafe and was serving customers when one of them said that he thought that his cafe was on a list of potentially infected places. Suddenly his mobile goes off with messages from his family and friends saying and asking the same. By that point, he still had not been contacted by the health authorities advising him to shut down in spite of the fact that they published this list of places that included his.

  26. Dirk77

    Re: “There is no justification for cutting federal unemployment benefits”. I guess there is a connection between this and Yanis’ article in yesterday’s links? As happens on YouTube, even if your history is wiped each session as mine is, I got a suggested link yesterday to a video about psychopaths. If the psychologist interviewed is to be believed, power is very important for such people, unable to get joy from places as you and I would.

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