Links 5/6/2021

Could Rediscovery of Rare Owl Be a Hopeful Sign for Other ‘Lost Birds’? EcoWatch (Furzy Mouse).

Southern California warehouse boom a huge source of pollution. Regulators are fighting back LA Times

COVID-19: B.C. Centre for Disease Control now accepts virus can linger in the air Vancouver Sun

Mammals evolved big brains after big disasters Science Daily. Hopefully!


U.S. will back proposal to waive intellectual property rights and boost Covid-19 vaccine production STAT. Here is the US Trade Representative’s Press Release:


“We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) needed to make that happen. Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved.” So, there will be fine print, and we will need to see it. Nevertheless, it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick! (Oh, and see Sanders on May 2.)

Fauci: The U.S. has a ‘moral obligation’ to help with global pandemic response Politico. Fauci: “I am certainly not against anything that can get doses of vaccine quickly into the arms of people in the developing world.” In Links 5/4: Fauci warns against discarding trade rules on Covid vaccines FT Fauci be nimble, Fauci be quick….

US move on vaccine intellectual property is a ‘monumental moment’ in COVID-19 fight Sky News. Says WHO.

EU Ready to Discuss U.S. Plan to Waive Vaccine Patent Protection Bloomberg

* * *
SARS-CoV-2 infection of the oral cavity and saliva Nature. From the Abstract: “Collectively, these data show that the oral cavity is an important site for SARS-CoV-2 infection and implicate saliva as a potential route of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.” • Droplets (tiny loogies) making a comeback as a secondary mode of transmission?

* * *
Densely sampled viral trajectories suggest longer duration of acute infection with B.1.1.7 variant relative to non-B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 (preprint) Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. From the Abstract: “These data offer evidence that SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 may cause longer infections with similar peak viral concentration compared to non-B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2. This extended duration may contribute to B.1.1.7 SARS CoV-2’s increased transmissibility.”

NVX-CoV2373 Vaccine Efficacy against B.1.351 in South Africa NEJM Novavax. From the Discussion: “Although these findings require further confirmation, our observations suggest that vaccination with prototype-sequenced NVX-CoV2373 conferred a degree of cross-protection against an immunologic escape variant.” Commentary:


Delayed production of neutralizing antibodies correlates with fatal COVID-19 Nature. From the Discussion: “Specifically, our work suggests that there is a critical time window in which the neutralizing antibodies must develop to improve virological control and disease outcome.”

* * *
Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking? The Atlantic

Mass-Vaccination Sites — An Essential Innovation to Curb the Covid-19 Pandemic NEJM. Well worth a read.

Ruckus in the skies: What happens when airline passengers refuse to wear masks LA TIme


Washington shies away from open declaration to defend Taiwan FT. “‘There are some significant downsides to . . . strategic clarity,’ [Kurt Campbell, the White House Asia tsar] told the Financial Times Global Boardroom conference on Tuesday.”

Top US trade envoy signals intention to meet Chinese counterpart soon FT. Tai seems busy!

As Morrison declares war on China, US retreats Macrobusiness

China-Australia relations: Beijing ‘indefinitely suspends’ high-level economic dialogue with Canberra South China Morning Post

Iron ore is saving Australia’s trade with China. How long can it last? CNN

China Faces Growth Headwinds From Manufacturing, Citigroup Says Bloomberg

Ling Huawei: China’s Dilemma in Dealing With Its ‘Big Four’ AMCs Caixin Global. Asset Management Companies.

The Surprising Strength of Chinese-Japanese Ties Foreign Affairs


Myanmar’s anti-coup bloc to form a ‘defence force’ Al Jazeera. Protests ongoing:


Myanmar’s military taking away young men to crush uprising Channel News Asia

As striking staff return to work, Myanmar’s banks face a cash crunch Frontier Myanmar. “‘I have a loan from a microfinance company that I need to repay and a family to support – a wife and a five-year-old daughter,’ he said. ‘It wouldn’t be easy for me to get another job, particularly as I’d have to change my career.'” I’d bet the Tatmadaw will hunt this poor young man down in any case. Why would they do anything else?

Myanmar parcel bomb blasts kill five people, including ousted NLD lawmaker South China Morning Post. Ugly.

Philippines’ Duterte apologises for taking unapproved China jab BBC


Official COVID Projections Were Toppled by Virus Variants That Genome Panel Had Warned About The Wire

Crew Change Restrictions Widen on Indian COVID-19 Surge Ship & Bunker

A harrowing brush with Covid as India is ravaged FT


Boris Johnson is on a hat-trick! Prime Minister looks set to demolish ‘Red Wall’ with three more victories in Labour heartlands as poll puts Tories TEN POINTS ahead before Britain heads to polls TODAY Daily Mail

A town disillusioned: Labour facing historic Hartlepool defeat but little love felt for Tories Independent and How the Left lost Hartlepool Unherd

Your move, Macron: Boris Johnson sends two Royal Navy vessels armed with cannon and machine guns to stop French fishermen from blockading Jersey in dramatic escalation of conflict with Paris over post-Brexit fisheries Daily Mail

Macron strides into cultural battle over Napoleon’s memory Politico vs. Macron Condemns Napoleon’s Restoration of Slavery NYT

Independent Scotland would use sterling ‘for as long as necessary’ – Sturgeon Holyrood

Washington’s Green Branches in Europe Consortium News

Royal Ascot Encourages Guests to Wear Secondhand Outfits Treehugger (Furzy Mouse).

Son of the soil Pedro Castillo promises a presidency for Peru’s poor Guardian. Run-off next month.

How the US gov’t cultivated environmental and Indigenous groups to defeat Ecuador’s leftist Correísta movement The Grayzone

New Cold War

Opinion: Russia’s plot to control the Internet is no longer a secret WaPo. David Ignatius. Of course.

Blinken heads to Ukraine in show of support after Russia troop standoff Reuters

Biden Administration

Biden Wants to Replicate China’s Infrastructure Miracle Foreign Policy

Biden Axes Trump Gig-Worker Rule, Favoring ‘Employee’ Model (4) Bloomberg Law

Good Thing She Isn’t Fed Chair Eschaton

White House eyes subsidies for nuclear plants to help meet climate targets -sources Reuters

Prosecutors ask judge to appoint ‘special master’ in probe of Rudy Giuliani ABC

Megachurches Receive Second Round of PPP Loans Julie Roys

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook’s oversight board whiffed. Trump deserves a permanent exile. Margaret Sullivan, WaPo.


Startling surge in L.A. bloodshed as COVID-19 fades: ‘Too many guns in too many hands’ LA Times

Health Care

Major Depressive Disorders Have an Enormous Economic Impact Scientific American

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Girl Magic Trio Seeks to Suppress Spirit of Rebellion Inside St. Louis Jails Black Agenda Report

Imperial Collapse Watch

US seen as bigger threat to democracy than Russia or China, global poll finds Guardian

No Country for New Babies Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

Class Warfare

Why Universal Basic Income is a Labor Issue On Labor

How a ‘time of crisis’ creates a ‘crisis of time’ The Long-Termist’s Field Guide

The secret life of shoes: why are there 3,000 concealed in the walls of our houses FT

Data Show Demand for Butt Implants Soared During the Pandemic Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (via Guurst from):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. cnchal

    > Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking? The Atlantic

    Trust doesn’t mean what you think it means?

    > Data Show Demand for Butt Implants Soared During the Pandemic Bloomberg

    Chairs are hard or too much Kardashian?

    1. Wukchumni

      I got my big booty the old fashioned way, who knew Covid 19 really translated to how many pounds you would gain during the pandemic on a see food diet?

      1. crittermom

        >”… see food diet”

        Thanks, Wuk. I needed a laugh to start my day. I’m stealing that one!

        1. Wukchumni

          Meanwhile, continued shorting of the Dow Cornings index…

          There was an 8% uptick in breast implant removals last year. According to Dr. Lisa Cassileth of Cassileth Plastic Surgery and Skincare, implants have a shelf life and will eventually fail. “The population of aging implants is getting greater every year, so part of this is just a reflection of the boom we have had in implants over the years.”

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      The author notes: “The United States suffers from a deficit of imagining the lives of other people.

      And while he constructed the sentence rather poorly (i.e., lack of direct agency), it’s accurate and pretty much sums up the problem.

      1. campbeln

        I disagree.

        I have empathy for my fellow man in excess. I also have a permanent cautious eye turned toward Big Pharma and the “Public” institutions that clearly no longer work for said public.

        We took our son in for his vaccinations to his pediatrician. We were asked about the HPV vaccine to which we’d done some initial research. We asked, when is the latest he can receive the HPV vaccine without adversely affecting it’s effectiveness? It turns out we can get another 4-5 years of research to bolster it’s use with no one being adversely affected by that decision.

        When one applies similar logic to the emergency use authorized COVID vaccines, however…

        I’m sorry, but J&J knew they had asbestos in their FAMILYBLOG baby powder for DECADES and didn’t care. Why should I believe they won’t be similarly cavalier with my health re: COVID?

        This is the price we pay as a society when that society refuses to hold powerful people to account.

    3. cocomaan

      What a big pile of garbage from The Atlantic. A lot like the NYT “travel to the hinterlands” except lazier.

      What are they thinking, these vaccine-hesitant, vaccine-resistant, and COVID-apathetic? I wanted to know. So I posted an invitation on Twitter for anybody who wasn’t planning to get vaccinated to email me and explain why. In the past few days, I spoke or corresponded with more than a dozen such people. I told them that I was staunchly pro-vaccine, but this wouldn’t be a takedown piece. I wanted to produce an ethnography of a position I didn’t really understand.

      Is Twitter representative of the population? Is it a good place to run an ethnography? Give me a break. Author is using twitter because he doesn’t want to leave his home office. And then:

      After many conversations and email exchanges

      Many is twelve?

      1. Try something like “DoorDash for vaccines.”

      Someone kill me now. The cringe is too strong.

      1. IM Doc

        I will say again – I have just as many blue liberal professional patients balking as I do MAGA folks. This clearly is a take down of the Neanderthals.

        But he gave away his game in striking fashion. “I am rooting for the vaccines.”

        Let me ask a simple question. Are journalists supposed to be rooting for their covered subjects?

        At least he admitted it. He is forever banned to the trash in my mind.

        Somewhere Edward R Murrow is doing RPMs. The profession of journalism is clearly as compromised morally as my own medicine, maybe more so.

        Lord Have Mercy.

        1. cnchal

          > Are journalists supposed to be rooting for their covered subjects?

          Category error.

        2. cocomaan

          I don’t understand “rooting” for a drug. I might root for nieces and nephews, who need positive reinforcement and support.

          A vaccine is an inanimate object. It does not need you to root for it.

          It reminds me of Andrew Conway Ivy, who testified at Nuremberg, and later went on to promote Krebiozen for cancer treatment. He stuck with the drug, seeming to “root” for it, long after it was discovered to be snake oil.

          1. Petter

            >A vaccine is an inanimate object
            My anti- vaccine daughter would probably answer “ Well no. The vaccines are made of billions of baby nano particles.”

            1. cocomaan

              Yeah that’s true. But while a gun is made of steel and baby bullets, if someone roots for it, it doesn’t do anything.

        3. The Rev Kev

          I love the total lack of awareness by that author when he quotes that guy as saying “It might sound crazy, but I’d rather go to Twitter and check out a few people I trust than take guidance from the CDC, or WHO, or Fauci” From what we have been reading, this guy is perfectly correct as the advice coming from the CDC, WHO and Fauci has been a shocker if not outright lies.

          And yet all he can say is ‘I cannot imagine that any amount of hectoring or shaming, or proclamations from the public-health or Democratic communities, will make much of a difference for this group’ not apparently knowing that people just love being hectored, shamed or being proclaimed too. This article should be a saver so that when the pandemic is over, it can be used as source material by historians trying to work out attitudes of people during the pandemic.

          And yet this is the very same person that last year ‘coined the term “hygiene theater” when referring to hygiene measures being taken during the COVID-19 pandemic that have done little to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and have provided a false sense of security.’ And yet he still doesn’t get it here.

        4. Raymond Sim

          My stepfather was about as German-American as you can get, with an immigrant father and an American-born mother who grew up speaking German. So I was a little skeptical when he told me Edward R. Murrow’s job hadn’t been so much to convince America Hitler was bad, as it was to present the English (and their empire) as worth saving. Later though my Dad, a working-class WASP from Flint Michigan said he thought that was prettty much correct.

          Some years later I read a rather scandalous account of how chummy Murrow had been with Churchill, and the extent to which he’d been a knowing and willing agent of British propaganda.

          This really bummed me out. The most important male influence in my young life was my mother’s father, a very conservative Ontarian, and this all made that excellent man seem either rather naive, or possibly a bit sinister (During the war he actually had some involvment with what I assume had to be the OSS.)

          This past year I’ve become acquainted with the debate, if you can all it that, over airborne transmission of respiratory infections – not the past year’s debate, but the past century’s debate. Wherein the notion of ‘droplet transmission’ was shown to be based on faulty calculations circa 1936. I’d always wondered why aerosols were discounted, but I figured biologists knew stuff about which particles could carry viruses. Turns out they were just full of shit.

          Shit that prevented collective action to address a collective problem, which airborne disease most certainly is. You know the meme that shows a shining city of tomorrow and is captioned something like “If Yves Smith had been in charge.” You could caption it “If we had implemented what we knew about proper ventilation by 1951 into our building codes by 1970.

          All of which is to say, things have been stinking rotten our whole lives. My Dad from Flint was a sociologist. Something he made a point of conveying to me was “The natural trajectory of any human institution is towards corruption and incompetence.” When I told him I believed him, he told me I would have to see for myself before I really comprehended. He was right.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If saving the English and their Empire was part of the price to be paid for defeating the Nazis so that the Germans and everyone else could have some kind of post-Nazi future, would that have been a price not-worth-paying?

            And anyway, the British Empire ended up being not-saved, so that part of the price didn’t even have to be saved.

            And were your Germany-oriented ancestors so anti-Englanditic as to hope that England would lose and be enslaved or exterminated? This wasn’t just a replay of World War One here.

            1. Raymond Sim

              Germany-oriented ancestors? Don’t follow.

              When I was young I made a practice of asking old guys (on the farms I worked on) to talk about the old days. I think most people now would be suprised by how often they would volunteer antagonistic opinions about England and/or the English. They had diverse reasons. I remember three as most common: The idea we were tricked into WW I, accounts of Colonial cruelty from friends or family who had done overseas missionary work, and of course, being Irish.

              Anyway, if Mr. Murrow was a virtuously dishonest journalist that makes him sapient, or lucky, but dishonest nonethelss.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                My mistake. German-Stepfather is not technically an ancestor. Still, could be a very important influence on one’s forming viewpoint.

                The feeling of being tricked into WWI could be a very powerful downstream
                outlook influencer. Especially given rising suspicions that Woodrow Wilson did indeed work with the British Empire forces to trick and manipulate America into WWI.

            2. Ed Miller

              The real power people behind the British Empire basically jumped ship to America. We are the Empire 2.0. Caitlin Johnstone has basically said this in many ways, and I have come around to her thinking on the subject.

          2. campbeln

            My Dad from Flint was a sociologist. Something he made a point of conveying to me was “The natural trajectory of any human institution is towards corruption and incompetence.” When I told him I believed him, he told me I would have to see for myself before I really comprehended. He was right.

            …wow! Very well said. And sadly, how very true.

            Thank you for sharing this!

    4. Procopius

      I think the ones Saying No to the Vaccines are saying they trust the science fine, but they don’t trust the people who claim to be telling them what science says.

  2. John Siman

    Margaret Sullivan of the Bezos-owned WaPo repeats the official euphemism of Corporate Journalists Against the Second Amendment: “[blah blah blah] the complex interplay between free-speech issues and public welfare.” It’s not complex. Americans need to fear the monopolistic power of Facebook to destroy free speech, especially the right to express dissent. We likewise need to fear the oligopolistic power of what Greenwald calls the NYT-WaPo-MSNBC-CNN-NPR axis to manufacture consent. Sullivan reminds us that Orange Man sucks. Yeah, I know that. But Margaret Sullivan and her anti-journalism colleagues are of an order of magnitude more dangerous than any narcissistic celebrity politician.

    1. Alfred

      I think what we need to fear is giving them too much power by default. If you don’t think their platform is treating you fairly or has an agenda you don’t agree with, don’t use it. If your job requires it as part of your work, it’s your employer’s problem. I don’t expect NC to publish everything I write or people here to agree with me. The main problem with FB, IMO, is their flagrant disregard for its users data privacy, and its cynical monetization of its users and callous disregard for their safety online.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        I don’t entirely disagree with your assessment, particularly in regards to the power of non-participation; I happily refuse to use all social media platforms. However, Facebook has become a de-facto public square and it employs pernicious psychological manipulation on its users, which is nearly everybody, so I’m not sure admonishing people to “just don’t use it” is enough. Taking the profit potential out of social media is the real answer, IMO, which I’m pretty sure will never be seriously considered.

        1. Alfred

          My understanding of the “public square” at first was people connecting on a personal basis–my brother started a page for general keeping in touch of extended families. I think the pernicious psych manipulation then was by vendors from news orgs and advertising, and FB and they use and enable each other for profit. Then the political/conspiracy stuff started because it was already such a huge way to reach a ton of people. Most people do not want to be included in all of that crap that developed, but they already have developed such a network of friends and family, and also online selling from pages, that no, they will not just stop using it, it’s become like a home. They don’t feel strongly enough that it’s worth the trouble to leave.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          From Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight For A Human Future At The New Frontier Of Power:

          We are no longer the subjects of value realization. Nor are we, as some have insisted, the ‘product’ of Google’s sales. Instead, we are the objects from which raw materials are extracted and expropriated for Google’s prediction factories. Predictions about our behavior are Google’s products, and they are sold to the actual customers but not to us. We are the means to others’ ends.

          “Industrial capitalism transformed nature’s raw materials into commodities, and surveillance capitalism lays its claim to the stuff of human nature for a new commodity invention. Now it is human nature that is scraped, torn, and taken for another century’s market project. It is obscene to suppose that this harm can be reduced to the obvious fact that users receive no fee for the raw material they supply. That critique is a feat of misdirection that would use a pricing mechanism to institutionalize and therefore legitimate the extraction of human behavior for manufacturing and sale. It ignores the key point that the essence of the exploitation here is the rendering of our lives as behavioral data for the sake of others’ improved control of us. The remarkable questions here concern the facts that our lives are being rendered as behavioral data in the first place; that ignorance is a condition of this ubiquitous rendition; that decision rights vanish before one even knows that there is a decision to make; that there are consequences to this diminishment of rights that we can neither see nor foretell; that there is no exit, no voice, and no loyalty, only helplessness, resignation, and psychic numbing; and that encryption is the only positive action left to discuss when we sit around the dinner table and casually ponder how to hide from the forces that hide from us.” P 95-6

          1. Pelham

            Thank you for this. I buy Zuboff’s argument. But I’m having trouble seeing where it leads.

            In the realm of politics, yes, it’s troubling to have shadowy capitalists defining the boundaries of the conversation. But beyond that, what? It seems to me that all the tracking and behavior shaping is mainly about turning people into somewhat more avid consumers. Not great, but not all that scary, either. Perhaps this manipulation needs to proceed a few more notches along the evolutionary scale before we can make out the greater threat.

          2. Skunk

            If there is one book from the past few decades that I would recommend, this book might be at the top of my list. Zuboff’s book is a must-read.

    2. Randy

      “But Margaret Sullivan and her anti-journalism colleagues are of an order of magnitude more dangerous than any narcissistic celebrity politician.”

      How many invasions of the capitol building has Margaret Sullivan inspired? And voter suppression campaigns based on lies? If you don’t like “the NYT-WaPo-MSNBC-CNN-NPR axis to manufacture consent”* just don’t read them.

      *(btw, Glenn has refuse to criticize Fox so he isn’t blacklisted from the last big outlet that will have him on, but we don’t have to pretend they’re any different)

      1. JTMcPhee

        How many invasions of other countries, how many overthrows of elected governments, how much domestic espionage and infiltration and kettling of dissenters, have Margaret Sullivan and her cronies inspired?

        Yet not a peep from these supranational corporate entities like FB, Twit and the rest about the bullsh!t and lies promulgated by the pro-Narrative set, no concern about “tribunals” set up to “adjudicate” their access to and use of those megaphones.

        Yep, we have the “freedom” not to read these organs of consent manufacture, but how many millions have been sucked into the Mockingbird Consensus as being The Place Where Truth Resides?

      2. km

        The difference is that the 1/6 rioters are rightly derided as cranks, a bunch of disorganized hicks who broke into the Capitol, were surprised to find that their targets had left the building, and then for want of a Plan B, decided to wander off.

        The NYT and WaPo and the rest of the MSM peddle breathless conspiracy theories and cheerlead for wars in which innocent people who never harmed us in any way suffer and die, yet they still set the narrative and manufacture consent, they still are the toast of the ruling classes.

        So spare us the hand-wringing.

      3. tegnost

        If you don’t like “the NYT-WaPo-MSNBC-CNN-NPR axis to manufacture consent”* just don’t read them.

        Remarkably easy to do, and great advice. They offer no info that isn’t offered in better form elsewhere. Nowadays I have a slow internet connection and notice some sites come up fast, NC, tides, weather, are good examples of sites that just pop up, there isn’t a 30sec wait while all the cookies get to doing whatever they do, and I sign off, no need to waste bandwidth on that. A major culpirit in the slow are any newspaper (most have been bundled up by digital media of one sort or another) or the rest. I’ve not been drawn in by npr content for at least 10 years so I can’t say how their internet works, but I don’t care either.

        1. Pelham

          I would advise at least skimming those mainstream sources daily. It’s always useful to know what they want you to think. And, though I hate to admit it, they sometimes have what appears to be credible content.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The credible content is bait intended to trick us into thinking all the content is credible.
            If they can trick us into thinking that, then we will believe the non-credible content.

            The trick is knowing credible content from non-credible content when they both come from the same place.

          2. LifelongLib

            According to Noam Chomsky IIRC the NYT is a reliable source for what’s happening, just don’t believe anything it says about why it’s happening…

    3. Carolinian

      Sullivan used to be a respectable person when she worked at the NYT. As Taibbi has chronicled the “journalism” profession is going downhill in a hurry.

  3. Alternate Delegate

    The OnLabor article on Universal Basic Income begins with Andrew Yang’s version of UBI, and concludes with the usual unfortunate “How Do We Pay for It?” nonsense, but in the middle it hits the real point:

    A $1,000/month UBI is not a living wage, but it’s a cushion that would give workers more power to leave a bad job — and thus more power to negotiate to make that job better.

    Money is power, and more money in more pockets gives more people power. Yes, of course “entrepreneurs” like Andrew Yang will try to pull that money back out of people’s pockets, but they will try that anyway. That’s not a good argument against putting more money in more pockets.

    1. TomDority

      A UBI would work as a cushion for a short period – as soon as UBI was rolled out – rents and housing prices would immediatly go up where rent controll was not in place – our economic and tax system is designed to hoover up any excess income out of the hands of the Smurfs.
      I was thinking yesterday that the Gutenberg Press was the great integrator and, the plethora of platfom in our digital age is the great disintegrator.

      1. hunkerdown

        Actually, all class systems are designed to maximally extract excess (uncommitted, therefore uncontrolled) purchasing and productive power from those who generate it. They have to, or they’ll be overthrown shortly.

    2. voteforno6

      How do we know that companies wouldn’t cut salaries by the amount being paid in UBI? Doesn’t UBI run the risk of essentially subsidizing employers?

      1. TomDority

        Walmart employees – by being so deliberatley poorly paid = are forced to get government aid to make living possible. They are not being paid a living wage but….gee they aren’t unemployed and we are subsidising Sam and his fortune making

      2. MDA

        In a sense, I would say employers not only would, but should cut wages if that’s what makes sense under UBI. UBI could represent “minimum wage”, and employers could then offer whatever wage they need to offer in order to get the employees they need to get. Employment wage would be purely supplemental to UBI. Maybe UBI, along with universal free public healthcare, could make domestic workers competitive enough to reduce our dependence on imports. I expect UBI could also affect housing costs, but I also would advocate for more dynamic public housing. For instance I totally support landlords who wish to evict non-paying tenants, but only subject to the condition that the evicted tenants have a place to go. If no available public housing, then no forced eviction.

      3. BlakeFelix

        Rational companies will always try to minimize their costs as much as possible, but a UBI would seem to help the negotiating position of the worker at least as much as the employer. And demand would go up, as the people with the UBI demand things, so prices rise, but then people can make a profit so supply rises and prices fall. It’s a balance, but in general people with money are better able to negotiate better deals. Try telling Bezos that he’s got plenty of money so you want cheaper stuff, or your plumber that you saw he inherited some money so you want him to cut his bill in half and see how that works. A UBI and a health care system would allow workers to subsist on lower wages more comfortably, but under most circumstances supply and demand will set the prices, and a UBI will up demand and probably not up supply as much in my estimation.

      4. NotThePilot

        IIUC, this is actually one of the strongest criticisms of the old Speenhamland system the English had in Napoleonic times. The landed gentry & the parish were essentially covering the cost of living in many districts, so the up-and-coming industrialists in town only had to pay enough wages to attract people that wanted a little spending money.

        I’m still all for a UBI, but I think for this reason (and other administrative & political ones), the best way to implement it might be to piggy-back off of the existing UI system (after upgrading the whole thing, of course).

        People who are employed would start getting their company’s UI contributions refunded directly (so it’s essentially a 2nd wage component, but enforced & routed through the government). The government would start covering actual unemployment claims, and people who aren’t already actively receiving UI payments would start getting them. The current rates based on previous wage and state could also be gradually normalized to cost-of-living.

      5. Geo

        Have you heard of Alaska? It’s a state in the US and each resident there receives approximately $2k a year from a gov fund paid into by oil companies. They’ve been doing this for over 40 years.

        Absolutely none of the anti-UBI rhetoric, including the one you share here, has come to fruition in this state yet poverty is significantly lower in Alaska than the national average.

        Why this is rarely mentioned in discussions of UBI is baffling. Makes me think there’s a reason this long running and wildly popular program is buried. Wouldn’t want the rest of America to know that companies extracting resources and wealth from us should be made to pay for it.

    3. None from Nowheresville

      The ability to create Credit and use Leverage are power. Money is something which is easily created and destroyed.

      I think giving people money without turning off keyboard credit creation is nothing more than a moving target and a distracting game. The people at the very bottom will find that it will end up very much like welfare reform. Plus we’ll be distracted, fighting about “worthiness” aka means testing and “pay for” aka budget deficits. Basically otherwise occupied from ever looking at the real and purposeful policies which created the unequal society in the first place.

    4. MDA

      I agree with your points and I also very much appreciate any attention given to UBI, which I believe would be necessary to solve the climate crisis. As long as people need jobs to make ends meet and those jobs come from the profit seeking private sector, where there’s more profit in extraction and consumption than from conservation, repair, reuse and recycling, we as a planet are screwed. UBI, along with universal free public healthcare, could sever the link between employment and subsistence and finally disrupt the power dynamic between private employers and government. How many thousand cuts have we inflicted on the planet because jobs?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Since many jobs are shoveling coal for Satan, if UBI exterminated those jobs, then maybe Satan would get less of his coal shoveled.

        Are there really some people so Puritan that they would prefer to see people shoveling coal for Satan because at least those people are “working”? And they owe it to something-or-other to shovel coal for Satan rather than to enjoy a UBI without “working” for it?

    5. Astrid

      As actual socialist and communist countries have found, direct support via state housing, services, and subsidized essential goods are better.

      But just taxing annual income above $1 million (including any access to capital gains) at 95% and 5% per year wealth tax would be just as satisfactory in my book.

      1. Procopius

        Wealth tax is too easy to evade when rich people can hire “experts” to evaluate assets at low prices. What is the “value” of a four carat diamond? What is the “value” of a twelve-bedroom six bath house? What is the “value” of a 2017 Rolls Royce Grey Ghost (if there is such a thing) with 6,000 miles on the odometer? What is the “value” of a closely-held corporation like Hobby Lobby? What is the “value” of Trump Tower? We already know real estate tycoons choose arbitrary low “values” for their properties when reporting them for tax purposes and arbitrarily high values when telling a reporter how rich they are.

        If Joe Manchin is so in love with a 25% corporate tax rate, he should tax them based on the net profit they report to their investors. And we need to change the laws on how the Congressional Budget Office is required to score IRS enforcement costs.

    6. Maritimer

      It is astounding to me that these discussions of UBI and other social programs like SS never ever mention the fact that the cost of living varies across the country. I would wager that $1000 paid in NYC is worth $2000 in Arkansas or parts of upstate NY for that matter. Yet, these Grand Design Politicians and Economists never even consider the cost of living!

    7. Skunk

      Without UBI, the future looks grim for workers. What else can we do if so many types of work are expected to become automated? If there are fewer jobs, you can also expect wages for the jobs to continue to drop, because there will be an oversupply of labor. Some program is needed to address the problems workers are expected to face.

      1. Procopius

        Well, first of all, it’s not true that all those jobs are going to be automated. Not as many have been automated as the propaganda would have you believe. Dean Baker at Beat The Press (cept dot net) points out, from time to time, that if they had automated so many jobs the productivity in those industries would have increased hugely (fewer workers producing more goods). It hasn’t. The story that all those jobs are going away are a good way to keep your workers terrified, though. Keeps them from getting uppity. And the constant complaints from people who claim to be employers that they can’t find workers (at the wages they’re offering) are further evidence that there’s no surplus of labor now, and employment is projected to increase by a lot over the next year. I think we need to hear a lot more about Speenhamland to inform this discussion.

  4. timbers

    A town disillusioned: Labour facing historic Hartlepool defeat but little love felt for Tories Independent and How the Left lost Hartlepool Unherd

    Sounds like Labour should have supported and led the fight for Brexit.

    Also, regarding the disconnect of the elite Labour MP vs the working (or non working in many cases here) folk, I’ve come to the conclusion that applying this lesson the the US would among other thing include:

    Appointing working joe American’s to the Supreme Court and lower courts, the Federal Reserve Chair and all other voting members, the Pentagon, Cabinet and regulatory posts, CIA, FBI (better yet abolish the last 2 mentioned agencies) and all other government posts.

    If your net worth exceeds a certain amount, you should be disqualified to work in government, and a top national policy priority should be to eradicate the US of wealthy folk. Start at say, billionaires and work down as needed. This is just a suggestion…there a probably better ways to eradicate the wealthy from America. Wealth can be like a disease. If only there were a vaccine for that.

    The government belongs to the people not Bill and Melinda Gates, Koch Bros, the rich, corporations, etc.

    1. TomDority

      The definition of wealth used to exclude money – and applied only to those things created or already in existence – Wealth of natural resources, wealth of charactor, the artist or mason as a creator of wealth. Lots of money is not wealth…its being rich.. having a lot of money is not a measurement of character or morality or creativity

    2. Astrid

      Sounds good to me. Set that at $10 million, indexed to CPI. Ditto post government employment, they can work wherever they like (within current limitations). But any assets above $10 million, no matter the source, will be confiscated.

    3. km

      The Labour apparat is far more concerned with purging Corbynites from its ranks and making sure that they have nowhere to go.

  5. Fireship

    > No Country for New Babies Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

    Some rare good news. Less citizens of the most destructive country on the planet. As long as you guys keep your death cult at home, it’s all good.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was reading an article about this earlier today which I either cannot find or has been edited out of the NYT one I did find but it had a sad ending. This women was deciding not to have kids as she asked what is the sense when she would be punished for doing so and not just financially. Hard for a woman to pull herself up by her bootstraps when she can’t lean over her pregnant belly.

    2. Pelham

      Let’s be clear: It’s the most destructive ruling elite/PMC combination on the planet. Citizens are cut out of the decision-making picture and by and large have very little to do with the death cult. In fact, they’re increasingly falling victim to it themselves.

  6. russell1200

    Mammal brains:

    Sigh.. so common. Take an area you don’t really know much about (neurology) and extrapolate cute hypothesis based on tenuous data.

    The brain-body size ratio is tenuous at best. With primates, the larger brain initially developed to go along with the need to do 3D mapping in both real-time and in memory for getting around tree tops.

    A number of birds have much smaller brains than primates, but are about equally intelligent. Some have suggested it is the number of neurons present in certain parts of the brain that are the relevant factor. And it could be a number of factors.

    1. jrh

      “The brain-body size ratio is tenuous at best. With primates, the larger brain initially developed to go along with the need to do 3D mapping in both real-time and in memory for getting around tree tops.”

      Aren’t you doing the same thing that elicited a “sigh” from you w/r/t the article? That second quoted sentence is just speculation. Reasonable speculation, I guess, but not terribly different that what you’ve criticized above.

  7. Wukchumni

    Southern California warehouse boom a huge source of pollution. Regulators are fighting back LA Times
    The amount of warehouses in the Inland Empire is astounding, and it’s a heat & smog trap’s trap, so i’m not surprised by all the pollution.

    Was driving north from SD on the 15 freeway and was gobsmacked by just how many ticky tacky new homes and cookie cutter retail stores had sprouted in BFE since my last sojourn. These domiciles are probably 2-3 hours drive from SD in traffic during rush hour.

    When I was a kid San Diegans prided themselves on not being like Los Angeles, and then they succumbed to sprawl.

    1. coboarts

      No, the natives all ran away. It’s mostly all transplants from Nebraska and Ohio, then the eighties…

      1. Procopius

        When I lived in Los Angeles, 1961-5, the standard opening small talk with anybody was, “So, where you from Back East?”

    1. Carolinian

      That’s worth a look but if the lab theory is correct then it’s a Chinese lab heavily supported by Americans and therefore plenty of blame to go around.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I only had time to glance through that article, but it looks very interesting, well worth a deeper read tonight I think.

    3. Mme Generalist

      Excellent. It’s great that he acknowledges the importance of the early work done by Deigin. I posted a link to Deigin’s interview with Bret Weinstein here back when it was released last year. It got thrown into moderation. Not sure that it ever posted.

      I wish early adopters of heterodox scientific views were not so readily dismissed. We have so few satisfactory answers regarding the virus, its origin, its treatment or its prevention. I despair at how sclerotic the conversation becomes even at otherwise open fora.

      1. Louis Fyne

        US investigative journalism is dead.

        In another era (1970’s) the mere conflict of interest from the Feb. 2020 Lancet article (as noted in the article ) would have raised the eyebrows of good investigative reporters across the country

    4. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

      There are, of course, larger political implications, both internally and externally, such as, what would it mean for the narratives of nationalistic greatness and the pride/prestige of the nation, if the facts and the very truth itself point to gain of function gone wrong due to a lab leak and the failures of leadership in China?

    5. Maxwell Johnston

      Great article; thanks for posting, otherwise I would never have read it. Interesting that in his acknowledgements, he mentions the scientists Deigin and Petrovsky. Another ethnic Russian who was early to the Wuhan Lab scenario was Petr Chumakov, who in April 2020 went public about ‘crazy experiments’ at the Wuhan lab. I was surprised at the time that the Russian authorities let him say this so publicly, which I took as a hint that the Wuhan lab hypothesis was probably accurate. I won’t bother posting a link; anyone interested can run “chumakov covid wuhan” through a search engine and find many results.

    6. Yves Smith

      That piece has a lot of problems despite its shiny veneer.

      Does not acknowledge that there were cases in Nov and modeling at UCSF says that means it must have been circulating in Oct.

      Also makes the utterly false claim that if the origin was bat caves, there should have been early cases near the caves. First, does anyone live near the caves? Second, it was established in research on SARS that a transmission vector was hunters (or whatever you call them) taking bats from caves to restaurants:

      Bats host a much higher number of zoonotic viruses than other mammals, many of which have caused human disease and outbreaks. A 2019 study warned that bats could cause the next coronavirus epidemic in China, due to their geographic proximity to several urban hotspots. This cave, for example, is located 60 kilometres from the city of Kunming in the Yunnan province of China.

      After the SARS epidemic, the team did not find many bats in the wildlife market, Daszak said, but noticed that people were “hunting them in the wild and selling directly to restaurants.” It collected faeces from bats that lived in the cave and tested them.

      “We found viruses in bats that could infect human cells in a lab,” he said.

      The team then tested the viral strains on mice to see whether they would cause a SARS-like disease. They did.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Alina Chan’s twitter history is just about must-read on this topic, even if you don’t agree with her. So far as I’m concerned the approach Daszak et al took towards a young junior scientist asking perfectly reasonable and relevant questions was credibility-annihilating.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. will back proposal to waive intellectual property rights and boost Covid-19 vaccine production”

    This is such a generous offer this. A great humanitarian gesture by the Biden regime. A real service to mankind. Yeah, I’m suspicious as well. Something happened recently that made them do a complete 180 turn and even Fauci, the human political wind-vane, did an about turn on his position just earlier this week. So what happened? I am guessing that India happened. So here is my theory. At this point, India is screwed as you can now say that that virus will be endemic to the population for a very long time. People in power at this stage would shrug their shoulders and say so what? They have plenty of people to spare. But I do not think that it is so simple.

    With access to 1.4 billion bodies of which only about 2% have been vaccinated, this virus will not only spread but will mutate as each infected person is one more possible chance of a more worse version of this virus. And I heard that India is getting ready to go into its third wave. So perhaps someone tapped Biden’s shoulder and said what if in the next year or so, one of the mutations out of India is not only a virus that spreads more rapidly but one that is more lethal. One that hits young workers, errr, people at an earlier age. One that will blow right through any vaccine being used at the moment. If something like that happened and it triggered another wave going around the world it will be far worse than what the world experienced last year. The only defence against this happening would be to vaccinate ALL the countries and India alone will need at east what, 2.6 billion vaccine shots? Mind you, this is just a theory.

    1. Wukchumni

      Was watching a doctor from Brazil and he mentioned that half the people dying there of Covid @ his hospital are under 50.

      I remember reading that in NZ it was a 2nd or 3rd wave where 25-40 year olds who were most susceptible to dying of the Spanish Flu.

      Everybody coming from overseas a century ago had to do it on a boat voyage which was generally long enough to stop the virus from spreading, whereas you can be anywhere in a day or 2 now.

      The celebration of re-opening here is a bit premature, but markets.

      Our family Zoom jam with Canadian cousins was such a stark contrast in how the virus was affecting different countries, they’re shutting down and hunkering down, my 65 year old cousin just got her first Pfizer shot and she was informed the second one will be in 4 months time.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’m suspicious too and I’m kind of the same mind as to what happened to change the winds, so to speak. Though I’m open to any other explanation because I am still not convinced these people will do something like this for the greater good, even if it is essentially self-preservation too. It is curious after digging their heels in, and breaking a campaign promise, the reverse would happen so quickly though.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Didn’t Biden just recognize the Armenian massacre? Given productive capacity, how many vaccines weren’t shipped because Biden didnot do this day one? His vaccine diplomacy has been dedicated to keeping Russian vaccines from going out. Already, history won’t be kind to Biden. Even Biden gets this, and if a variant gets out…even Biden gets this.

        Also, I suspect Biden is finding out his fellow nihilists calling themselves centrists aren’t as invested invested Biden’s brand as he hoped? Biden has some good government stuff, but this is partially a result of how bad Obama was. Other than this, what legislative packages are going to move through? The Congressional Black Caucus is worried about potential voting rights acts because they might get primaried. Infrastructure week has been silent. Individual debt and back rent issues aren’t being discussed. The labor market is being treated as something that will rematerialize because freedom. Police, housing, education, and so forth has all been in crisis mode, and the President is getting a cat. Don’t forget the kids in cages. Whether Biden can acknowledge all the issues, he has to know his administration has stalled out. People loved the stimulus, so Biden followed up with taking the good will to and then hold a photo op with History’s Greatest Monster (the writer’s of the joke know what kind of President Carter was. It wasn’t a joke about wearing a sweater.).

        Biden doesn’t have the support among the centrists or the political organization to bring pressure that he needs to do anything. He’s also crippled as a long time ignoramus, so he constantly learning on the job. And he’s lazy.

      2. FreeMarketApologist

        Here’s my suggestion: The banking lobby whispered in somebody’s ear that the big banks (worldwide) have outsourced significant amounts of their IT and back offices to offices and companies in India. If they were unable to staff those offices, modern banking will grind to a halt. Therefore, some vaccines better show up in India, pronto.

    3. Rod

      Just on the surface, to do this “Is a big fu*king deal”–almost Un-American(in our Business Model) and, imo, a lot bigger than the Affordable Whatever thing–because it is unambigously morally right. And that is more of a rarity than a commonality, from my experience.
      In a way, for whatever reason, the President has tossed a bag of flaming turds onto Pharma’s front porch, and now they have a decision to make…

      maybe he did learn something in the Senate and as VP.

    4. km

      TL:DR: this is a PR opportunity that we don’t want Russia or China to be able to take advantage of.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. stands by Ukraine against ‘reckless’ Russian actions – Blinken”

    I don’t think that Blinken is over there to give support to the Ukraine against Russia. I think that he is there to give support to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy instead. Zelenskiy is not in a good position as the neonasties are on his case so this is Blinken saying to the Ukraine that they want him kept in power as he is their man in Kiev.

    1. Carolinian

      “Zelensky is our guy”? Though it was Yats. It’s still unclear to me why these goings on about as far away from America as you can get are of any concern to us. Even next door Russia doesn’t think what remains of Ukraine is worth the trouble of invading. They got Crimea back and that checkmate move is a humiliation the swamp can’t seem to get over.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As I understand it, here are permanent bureaus and task groups and offices and “desks” in the imperial swamp that are staffed by silo’d people who have inbred skill sets at government overthrow, creating channels to funnel arms to “freedom fighters,” moving big pots of money around under the radar, and like in universities there seem to be ‘tenured and endowed chairs’ in the “policy apparatus” that somehow are always filled by the worst and most destructive neocons dedicated to strategies and stratagems hatched, when? Before my parents were babes?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Some of them far predate neocons. They may be neowils ( neo-wilsonians) or even holdover legacy straight-up Wilsonians.

          If we want to “de-intervenionism-ize” the US government, we will have to dig beneath the newest layer of neo-conservative filth to scrape off and cauterize the century-old layer of Wilsonian filth beneath it and the Free Trade-ist filth even beneath that.

    2. km

      Zelensky was elect4ed over the vociferous objections of the United States. The US Ambassador pretty much openly campaigned for Poroshenko. However, Zelensky wasn’t given and will not be given much of a choice.

      For that matter, you may recall that Poroshenko was elected as a relative moderate, then morphed into “bloody Petya” immediately upon taking office.

  10. marym

    Cancel culture:

    “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday morning signed into law a controversial voting bill aimed at curbing access to mail-in voting in the state.”


    From the lawsuit filed in response:
    “4…SB 90 is a bill that purports to solve problems that do not exist, caters to a dangerous lie about the 2020 election that threatens our most basic democratic values, and, in the end, makes it harder to vote without adequate justification for doing so.
    5. SB 90 does not impede all of Florida’s voters equally. It is crafted to and will operate to make it more difficult for certain types of voters to participate in the state’s elections, including those voters who generally wish to vote with a vote- by-mail ballot and voters who have historically had to overcome substantial hurdles to reach the ballot box, such as Florida’s senior voters, youngest voters, and minority voters.”

    1. marym

      In other FL voting news this week:

      “NEW: @GovRonDeSantis requested a probe into the effort to help Floridians with felonies vote. State police devoted more than 700 man hours, reviewed more than 7,600 records and tried interview more than 100 people. The conclusion: no evidence of fraud.”

  11. semiconcsious

    re: Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking? The Atlantic

    well, might they simply be questioning the ever-changing ‘science’? (from october, 2020):

    Less than half the UK population can expect to be vaccinated against coronavirus, the head of the government’s vaccine task force has said in an attempt to clear up the public’s “misguided” perception of the programme’s aim.

    Kate Bingham told the Financial Times that vaccinating everyone in the country was “not going to happen”, adding: “We just need to vaccinate everyone at risk.”

    Ms Bingham said the government was aiming to vaccinate about 30m people, compared with a UK population of about 67m, if a successful vaccine against Covid-19 was found.

    “People keep talking about ‘time to vaccinate the whole population’, but that is misguided,” she said. “There’s going to be no vaccination of people under 18. It’s an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”

    1. Rod

      Mass-Vaccination Sites — An Essential Innovation to Curb the Covid-19 Pandemic NEJM. Well worth a read.

      and Rain is wet, also.
      I’m sure we’ll be doing this all over–in time–in the nick of time–or past the time…

      My better has been Volunteering at the Vac. Site set up by our local City in upstate SC. for the past month.
      When she started, it was 1.2K and a week later 2K. Last week around 500. Today 500 are scheduled and the Clinic(in its current form) is shutting down next week.

      from todays The State:

      More than 1.3 million South Carolina residents, or about 32%, have completed vaccination as of Monday, and more than 1.7 million, or about 42%, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

      and test rate 5.5…

  12. The Rev Kev

    “As Morrison declares war on China, US retreats”

    This is like the UK leaving the EU. The EU was he biggest customer for the UK before Brexit but now that they cut themselves loose, there is no others markets that can make up for what the UK has lost. Same for what the present government is doing to Oz and the Chinese market. There is no way to make up for what the government deliberately threw away. For the past few years Scotty from Marketing has been pushing an anti-China agenda for whatever reasons. Maybe he is doing this at the behest of Washington as right now, plans have been announce that will militarize the top end of Australia and make it a base for operations in the Indo-Pacific. I am sure that our neighbours are thrilled at the prospect. I would disagree where the author say that ‘It’s largely for domestic political consumption’ as nobody really wanted this here and did not see the sense in it. This all came from the top for their own political reasons – and gains. But the author correct in saying that ‘Suddenly, the entire free world sounds an awful lot like Donald Trump’ and you hear this with what is coming out of the G7, the European Parliament, etc. What is it like down here? This is like being on a jetliner and suddenly the captain asks over the intercom how many people have experienced a barrel roll followed by an Immelmann turn.

  13. Wukchumni

    ‘Air Dinkum’

    This is like being on a jetliner and suddenly the captain asks over the intercom how many people have experienced a barrel roll followed by an Immelmann turn.

  14. Wukchumni

    Megachurches Receive Second Round of PPP Loans Julie Roys

    A Psalm of Covid:

    The Loan is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    It maketh me to lie down in green pastures: it leadeth me beside the still underwater on account of lack of advertithing.
    It restoreth my business: It leadeth me in the paths of righteousness thanks to political game sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of debt, I will fear no overdrawn drama: for thou art with me; thy PPP and thy staff they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest thy ride with oil; my Lamborghini runneth over.
    Surely goodness and luxury shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Loan for ever.

  15. Rod

    Mass-Vaccination Sites — An Essential Innovation to Curb the Covid-19 Pandemic NEJM. Well worth a read.

    and Rain is wet, also.
    I’m sure we’ll be doing this all over–in time–in the nick of time–or past the time…

    My better has been Volunteering at the Vac. Site set up by our local City in upstate SC. for the past month.
    When she started, it was 1.2K and a week later 2K. Last week around 500. Today 500 are scheduled and the Clinic(in its current form) is shutting down next week.

    from todays The State:

    More than 1.3 million South Carolina residents, or about 32%, have completed vaccination as of Monday, and more than 1.7 million, or about 42%, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

    and test rate 5.5…

  16. chris

    I don’t have the words to describe how I feel about Mrs. Clinton coming to the defense of truth, justice, and American behavior on-line.

    The same Hillary who paid an army of trolls to spread disinformation about Bernie and others? The same Hillary who set off the insanity of Russiagate? The same Hillary who smeared Ms. Lewinski’s name in the press for years? The same Hillary who endlessly equivocates in favor of corporations like Goldman Sachs? The same Hillary who can’t be trusted with classified materials and deleted records from a private server? That Mrs. Clinton thinks that we need to restrict 1st Amendment rights because of disinformation? Really?

    What will it take for the press to stop asking for the opinions of these odious people?

    1. tegnost

      she should have hired cambridge analytics. Much cheaper, considerably more effective….but maybe it was the contents of the package that was the problem and not the brand…so many questions, so many other things to think about…

    2. cnchal

      > What will it take for the press to stop asking for the opinions of these odious people?

      Category error.

      1. chuck roast

        the press? Read the above comments on “journalists”. Journalists were creatures of a past technological epoch. These creatures used typewriters and rotary telephones. They typically asked people probing questions from primary sources on their laughable devices and attempted to get verifications for their answers from secondary sources. It was kinda’ like work and research. All while using white-out mind you. They were right than wrong.

        Then these “journalists” wized-up and got smart. They got computers and smart phones which made it easy to verify one another’s bull$hit. More importantly, the anonymous source became the Delphic whisperer. And presto…the “journalist” became the “stenographer.” This is known as The Judith Miller Primer. Curveball…Herself…it’s all the same.

  17. Milton

    Was it ever discussed why the headings for Biden and Trump are different in the Links–Trump Transition vs Biden Administration? Seems to me the Transition label should’ve been used during the first 100 days, then switched over to Administration after that. I guess a continuous attack by the elites made transitioning a necessity for the Trump folks.

  18. Adam1

    OMG! The USPS has become so crapified it’s useless. I’m trying to close my fathers estate and his ex-wife needed copies of his death certificate to claim her insurance money. I spent $26 to send them Priority Mail Express (Overnight to 2-Day Guarantee). Mind you I was sending them just 80 miles away. I had to input and select the street address which becomes embedded in the bar code – so it wasn’t my hand writing. I sent them on Sunday… it is now Thursday and according to tracking they are bound for my home; and that was after saying they were out for delivery yesterday. No signature was required. I for the life of me don’t know how they weren’t delivered. My ex-stepmother has lived at that address for over 20 years.

    1. John Zelnicker

      May 6, 2021 at 11:48 am

      I believe that there is a money-back guarantee on Priority Mail Express if DeJoy hasn’t nuked it in the past 5 months.

      At least you can get your money back, although I know that is not much help.

  19. Wukchumni

    Scientists have discovered a giant sequoia still smoldering in California’s Sequoia national forest, months after wildfires tore through the region last August.

    The tree was found, charred but still standing, by researchers in the lower part of the national forest this week. While turning down a sharp switchback on the trail, a member of Sequoia’s fire ecology and research team spotted a plume of smoke in the ravine below. Using a long camera lens, the team tracked the smoke to a single giant sequoia, standing in the burn area from last year’s Castle fire. The enormous tree, which has probably stood for hundreds if not thousands of years, looked like a chimney spouting smoke in the middle of the blackened forest.

    In August, lighting struck deep in Sequoia national forest. The resulting Castle fire spread into areas of the Giant Sequoia national monument, home to trees that have stood for over 2,000 years, including “General Sherman”, the largest tree on earth. For weeks the Castle fire burned through 150,000 acres of land, before crews managed to contain the blaze in late December.

    That’s a testament to our winter of missed content that a Sequoia @ say 5,000 feet is still on fire 6 months after the conflagration was quelled.

    My plan for this summer is to hike as much as I can early on to beat the smoke from wildfires near or far that typically only start happening in August. I didn’t even walk an inch in the wilderness from September to Halloween last year as the air quality index was close to 200 most days, yuck.

    1. Nce

      Damn! Thanks for the link to that article. Mono County, specifically Mammoth Lakes had the world’s fourth worst air quality last year from July to Nov. I had to check daily to guess which way the winds would blow to plan my often futile attempts to breathe yellow-category air rather than purple. I don’t know what’s worse for our lungs, Covid or wildfire smoke.

      1. Wukchumni

        Got a backpack trip to Iva Bell hot springs in your neck of the woods in late July. easily the best view of any Cali hot springs i’ve ever been in when ensconced in the King Tub, looking down with imposing ridgelines up high on either side and Fish Creek valley below, spectacular~

        Hope to not get smoked out…

  20. Ping

    Interesting that Peter Daszal, funding Wuhan Corona Virus research, organized and drafted the Lancet and Nature articles dismissing lab origin. The entire structure of bio-lab incentives are perverse and, after the massive devastation caused by this virus, no doubt there is aversion to public attention or transparency in these multi-national facilities.

    I understand Center for Food Safety has filed lawsuit against NIH for failing to produce FOIA documents disclosing the funding and research for dangerous and controversial “Gain of Function” where pathogens are enhanced/engineered for study of virulence and transmissibility in humans and partly funded by NIH in Wuhan and elsewhere.

  21. Wukchumni

    Can we talk about how dead easy it would be to make a fake vaccine card?

    Mine has my name and scribbling all in ink on a couple of dates when getting my shots and the numbered Walgreens location.

    In this age of holograms and safety features, our proof of vaccine is on heavy card stock, circa the 20’s, er 1920’s.

    1. Aumua

      Yeah there are no deterrents whatsoever from copying the card I got and photoshopping whatever name I want in there. There’s not even a copy protection watermark. Almost makes want to sell fakes to some of my idiot friends for $250 bucks a pop. Almost.

  22. vw

    Ugh, that Atlantic article about vaccine refusal. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

    I will give the author credit for making an effort – for actually talking to people who do not share his opinion. I give the brave souls who risked talking about this topic to a journalist much more credit.

    I am, possibly, the last person in America with a nuanced opinion about this – I have taken all the usual set, have had my toddler take all the usual set, and my husband will take the COVID vaccine next month as well. I have not ruled out taking one myself, and the overall trends of the final trial (which is what’s happening now) is headed in a promising direction – but also, I have decided to watch and wait for another few months (I have zero comorbidities, am trying to get pregnant, and the data is insufficient about fertility issues). Others may not agree, sure, but my stance isn’t stupid. Given that I am still mostly isolated and that everyone I interact with (aside from my husband and toddler) without a mask is already vaccinated, I doubt I am putting society at great risk, either. I have gritted my teeth and accepted that the cost of this decision is that I don’t get to go to parties or join communities or have friends right now. I’ve taken up a spiritual practice, the first in my life, to help me cope, as I am not an introvert and have developed what could easily veer into a simmering hatred of introverts crowing about how they just LOVE the pandemic! over the course of this miserable year – I am trying to work through that, as that’s not a balanced outcome either. But my child’s life is worth it to me, and if I have to hide away from others to protect them… so be it, amen.

    So let’s see what the author’s solutions are to my “hesitation”:

    1) Bribe us children with some candy so that we behave
    2) Roll out a more authoritarian government and the brave new techno-fascist future without delay
    3) Preach at the top of his lungs at us WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT OTHER PEEEEEOPLE??????

    I just… I cannot get over… the abject failure of the messaging around this. I just cannot. Merely reading this article made me less likely to ever get a vaccine, I was so utterly insulted. I sat inside a dark room, surrounded by flickering screens and an empty, echoing silence, watching my former friends one by one lose their minds from their similar situation while not being able to help them, suffering deep spiritual and emotional pain while trying my best not to lose my mind, for the sake of my family and the protection of the elderly relatives I live with for a year and yet… my sacrifice is insufficient? Now I have to overcome my concerns about this under-tested new technology, and sign up with a smile for them to inject me with something that might (and, I mean Jesus H. Christ that I feel the need to point this out, they don’t have ANY data on fertility yet, because the vaccines haven’t EXISTED long enough for it to even be MEASURED) prevent my child from ever being born?

    I’m just say this. I’m planning on really ramping up my spiritual practice, because what I’m watching, I’ve realized, is a society which is starting to crumble from the feet. Maybe it’s been going for a while, and I’ve just been insulated from it until now – but I doubt this will stop with me. Fingers crossed the vaccine roll-out continues to go well… and either way, time to make preparations for the next incoming government failure.

    1. vw

      And one more damn thing – my husband would have been vaccinated this week, except that we don’t currently have health insurance. I was laid off last month, what was offered through his employer was too expensive to buy and still afford food (!) and we have been struggling through the crappy government website trying to figure out what level of risk we are comfortable with… and it won’t kick in, whatever we choose, until June 1. I asked him to wait until then, because if he should have a vaccine reaction, we’d be financially annihilated. You have any plans to roll out Medicare for All anytime soon, Derek? Buehler???

      God, the smugness. The condescension. The lack, the utter lack, of any true understanding. Why, why has the left set itself on fire this way? I still believe in its causes, but the backlash that’s brewing will discredit them all, with terrible consequences for the vulnerable. Gods protect us all from the consequences of this mismanagement.

      1. JTMcPhee

        What “causes” are the Left’s causes that you still believe in? I don’t see anything on the Professional Left that is in any way meaningful to ordinary people (more foreign wars, continued foreign wars, means-tested meanness, protecting the pillars of great wealth, on and on) and the “hippy left’s” causes seem mostly to be vapor ware, including green washing and idpol and such.)

      2. Laura in So Cal

        Truly, that is a great rant. I was shocked this week to learn that one of my best friends had already gotten her 16 year-old daughter vaccinated with the 1st shot of the Pfizer vaccine. My friend who is in her late forties, is very overweight, and has contact with lots of people in her essential worker role was fully vaccinated by late February. I totally understood her decision for herself then. However, I’m worried about the lack of caution with regards with kids and young people. I hope I’m wrong.

        1. chris

          My oldest (16 almost 17) is fully vaccinated. No side effects or complications at all. No adverse reactions. Her two weeks post 2nd vaccine ended earlier this week. She’s excited about getting to apply for jobs and do other things that teens used to do.

    2. John Zelnicker

      May 6, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      What a great, truly insightful rant. It should be shared with everyone who thinks bribes, coercion, or shaming are going to get anyone to take the vaccine. The potential damage to the left is incalculable.

      I haven’t been jabbed yet, but only due to various small obstacles I haven’t been able to overcome yet, like my truck being in the shop. But, if someone tried any of those ideas on me, they would get an earful, much of which would be what you said.

      Thank you.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I will give the author credit for making an effort – for actually talking to people who do not share his opinion. I give the brave souls who risked talking about this topic to a journalist much more credit.

      Yes, that’s why I liked it. We don’t do that nearly enough.

      One fact that came up was that several felt they had already had Covid, and so had the antibodies.

      Many people I spoke with said they trusted their immune system to protect them. “Nobody ever looks at it from the perspective of a guy who’s like me,” Bradley Baca, a 39-year-old truck driver in Colorado, told me. “As an essential worker, my life was never going to change in the pandemic, and I knew I was going to get COVID no matter what. Now I think I’ve got the antibodies, so why would I take a risk on the vaccine?”

      I wonder how many are like Raca? We have lousy data, so there is no way to tell.

      1. Raymond Sim

        As far as I can tell the great majority of people are under the impression that you’ve “got the antibodies” if you’ve been infected, and you’ve definitely double got ’em if you’ve been vaccinated.

        From the very early days of our initial Covid catastrophe last year there’s been a great deal of room for doubt about almost everything to do with long-term immunity to this virus. In particular the question of whether either naturally acquired immunity or vaccination can serve to end transmission of the disease has been assiduously deprecated by people who ought to know better.

        Events worldwide since October have shown naturally acquired immunity isn’t going to get us there. That path is an endless tour through one of those Breughel triptychs. More recent events (see Singapore hospital outbreak) are making it look like the vaccines aren’t either.

        In my view the problem isn’t vaccine hesitancy, it’s a general failure, top to bottom in our society, to recognize the severity of the threat and to take the comprehensive steps – including helping one another afford food and shelter for God’s sake – needed to quell the epidemic.

        It’s appalling to me to see any American bitching about vaccine hesitancy, when other countries, poor countries, had long since dealt with their Covd problems before the vaccines became available, and only continue to have problems now because of tub o’ germs countries like the USA.

    4. Mikel

      And they keep phrasing these articles as if the vaccines stop the transmission of the virus. They don’t.

    5. Cuibono

      thank you for this . ” Merely reading this article made me less likely to ever get a vaccine, I was so utterly insulted”. i have wondered about this too: so many articles do that to me. Is that intentional? are the authors just truly of of touch?

      1. Procopius

        Actually, I have the same feeling about almost everything the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC do. Especially since Hillary lost. At least the Right Wing Extremists are open in their hostility to me and the things I want. The “centrists” or “liberals” aren’t openly hostile, but they don’t make any effort to hide their contempt. Saw somewhere an epigram, “The Republicans fear their base; the Democrats hate theirs.” Well, they’ve already gotten rid of the Working Class, so that’s one bucket list item out of the way.

  23. Raymond Sim


    A comeback for droplets?

    ‘Droplets’ can come back as a term for those persons who deny airborne transmission e.g.”That Angela Rasmussen, is she some sort of Droplet?”

    It’s obvious that droplets too large to form aerosols can contain infectious particles. But Covid isn’t dermal anthrax, and saliva from an infected person isn’t Sarin. You can get splattered with Covid spit and be fine if you can just keep it out of all your natural holes and any open wounds. There’s a reason droplet transmission has never been demonstrated for any respiratory virus.

    That said, given that America’s slaughterhouses and produce packing sheds are, in the best of times, an ongoing source of deadly infection my wife and I observe fomite precautions when handling our groceries.

  24. lobelia

    Re: Louis Fyne’s comment at May 6, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Bulletin of Atomic Scientists mulls the origin of covid.

    Here’s an interesting precursor piece: 12/16/20 By Sam Husseini Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance Has Hidden Almost $40 Million In Pentagon Funding And Militarized Pandemic Science:

    “Pandemics are like terrorist attacks: We know roughly where they originate and what’s responsible for them, but we don’t know exactly when the next one will happen. They need to be handled the same way — by identifying all possible sources and dismantling those before the next pandemic strikes.”

    This statement was written in the New York Times earlier this year by Peter Daszak. Daszak is the longtime president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based non-profit whose claimed focus is pandemic prevention. But the EcoHealth Alliance, it turns out, is at the very centre of the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways.

    To depict the pandemic in such militarized terms is, for Daszak, a commonplace. In an Oct. 7 online talk organized by Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Daszak presented a slide titled “Donald Rumsfeld’s Prescient Speech.”:

    “There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — there are things we don’t know we don’t know.” (This Rumsfeld quote is in fact from a news conference)

    In the subsequent online discussion, Daszak emphasized the parallels between his own crusade and Rumsfeld’s, since, according to Daszak, the “potential for unknown attacks” is “the same for viruses”.

    Daszak then proceeded with a not terribly subtle pitch for over a billion dollars. This money would support a fledgling virus hunting and surveillance project of his, the Global Virome Project — a “doable project” he assured watchers — given the cost of the pandemic to governments and various industries.

    gotta run

  25. ArvidMartensen

    The UBI is a neoliberal policy and therefore not aimed at improving the lives of working citizens.

    The UBI or a variant has been trialled and found to work very
    However, a trial does not replicate, in any way, what would happen if the UBI was given to every citizen. The real proof-of-pudding test is in existing welfare payments.

    First of all, a UBI given to every citizen will have the effect of raising accommodation costs. Feeding more money into a system without increases in available stock will just drive up rents and purchase prices. The more desirable rentals will go up because people are competing with more money. Ditto the least desirable rentals. The price rises due to the UBI may be higher in the lower end of the rental market. Rent capture by asset owners will be swift and merciless.

    Second. Neoliberals cannot help themselves with “welfare” payments. They love to stigmatize and punish those with ‘moral failings’ by making rules around who gets it and when. In the western world even the idea of the “deserving poor” seems to be biting the dust.

    So single parents, long tarred as irresponsible, may have to report in every fortnight with proof that they are taking their children to approved activities (happens now in Australia).
    So the unemployed, long tarred as lazy and feckless, may have to report every fortnight with blood tests to prove they have not taken drugs or alcohol, and that they they have gone for 10 job interviews. The hurdles will be raised gradually as the ‘who is going to pay for this’ brigade gets their wind and the politicians fight over who is toughest on the great unwashed.

    Third, businesses of course will love it. Say hello to wage cuts. Oh the pain of business owners as they explain to their employees how tough times suddenly are, how they would love to keep wages the same but really they are almost bankrupt and they would hate to fire people but they will have to if they can’t cut wages. And it breaks their hearts.

    As people sink into poverty and the middle classes disappear, the UBI is a smokescreen to stop any discussion of the real structural changes that could make a difference, such as public housing stock, labour regulations and protections, raising taxes to pay for public services etc.

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