Links 6/13/2021

Cambodia’s mine-sniffing rat army Deutsche Welle

Edgar Allan Poe’s Other Obsession Atlantic

The Telegram Billionaire and His Dark Empire Der Spiegel

Why didn’t the rest of Asia get a taste for Chinese hero Yuan Longping’s hybrid rice? South China Morning Post

Airlines have seen an unprecedented rise in disruptive passengers. Experts say it could get worse. Houston Chronicle

Delta passengers and crew subdue off-duty flight attendant on Atlanta-bound flight CNN

Sharks Use Earth’s Magnetic Field as a GPS to Navigate the Ocean Treehugger

Like berries on a vine, Brood X cicadas are nature’s bounty for enterprising chefs Montreal Gazette

Fed explores ‘once in a century’ bid to remake the U.S. dollar Politico

Bolivia’s ‘People of the Water’ try to survive loss of lake AP

Montana, the sold-out state New Yorkers can’t get enough of NY Post


Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof MIT Technology Review

If vaccine apartheid exists, vaccine billionaires shouldn’t Stat

Delay ending lockdown: majority of public back Boris Johnson to wait Guardian

‘Winners’ and ‘losers’ from Covid-19 Business Standard

Vaccines for All or Vaccine Apartheid? Project Syndicate. Gordon Brown.


At G7 Meeting, Narendra Modi Pushes for Lifting Patents on COVID-19 Vaccines The Wire

G7 leaders face biggest climate change decisions in history – David Attenborough BBC

U.K. Defends Leaders Clustering During Pandemic: G-7 Update Bloomberg

The G7 helped to build this low-tax world. Are they really ready to change it? Guardian

Health Care

A Backroom Deal To Kill Single Payer Daily Poster.

‘Simply unacceptable’: Alzheimer’s Association blasts Biogen over the price of its new medicine Stat

Britain is a parasite on poor countries by poaching their doctors and nurses Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Our Famously Free Press

Media Flipping 180° On UFOs At Pentagon’s Directive Says More About Media Than UFOs Caitlin Johnstone

Groves of Academe

‘How Much Damage Have My Colleagues and I Done?’ Chronicle of Higher Education

Truth, Reading, Decadence First Things

Julian Assange

With Biden in UK, 24 MPs Call on Him to Let Assange Go Consortium News

Biden Administration


Roaming Charges: Biden’s House Has Many Manchins Counterpunch

Trump Transition

Apple tightens rules after Justice Department targeted U.S. lawmakers Reuters

I told you so! Trump reels off list of times liberal media said he was wrong when he was right all along, from Wuhan, to Hunter Biden’s laptop and the clearing of Lafayette Square Daily Mail

Guillotine Watch

Blue Origin auctions seat on first spaceflight with Jeff Bezos for $28 million CNBC

Rocket men: Bezos, Musk and Branson scramble for space supremacy Guardian

Class Warfare

Fat Cats on a Hot Tin Roof NYT. MoDo.

NY can’t force ISPs to offer $15 low-income broadband plans, judge rules Ars Technica

Life Is About to Get Even Rougher for Mississippi’s Unemployed Capital & Main

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax Propublica

Sports Desk

This Is Spider Tack: The Men Who Inadvertently Created MLB’s Stickiest Problem WSJ

Osaka Foregoes Press Briefing to Protect Mental Health, and Press Piles On FAIR

Israel’s Knesset to vote on new government, end Netanyahu’s reign Al Jazeera


Colombia’s Government Has Declared War on Protesters Jacobin


Will right-wing Peruvian demagogue Keiko Fujimori burn the country down before accepting defeat? Grayzone

‘We Are Sounding the Alarm’: Global Left Warns Right-Wing Fujimori Trying to Steal Election in Peru Common Dreams


Why is India failing to use its genome sequencing capacity for Covid-19? Scroll

In a Crisis, India’s Modi Could Always Change the Narrative. Then Came Covid. NYT

As Lakshadweep protests development plans, study urges safeguarding islands from future sea rise Scroll


New Great Game rages in post-coup Myanmar Asia Times

State Suppression Craig Murray.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Pedro

      Actually it’s a very safe place. Ground predators like foxes will not dare to cross there. A very smart placing!

  1. David J.

    Thanks for the link to the nice piece on Poe. The author makes mention of Poe’s criticism of transcendentalism and in this vein I’d like to recommend a pair of Poe’s short pieces which are best read back-to-back. They are a real hoot of the “laugh out loud” kind. First, read “How to Write a Blackwood Article” and then read “A Predicament.”

    Enjoy your Sunday!

  2. The Rev Kev

    “The G7 helped to build this low-tax world. Are they really ready to change it?”

    Today’s must read if for no other reason than Mark Blyth wrote it. With his typical Scottish clarity, his assessment about the new tax regime is that there is less there than meets the eye. A bit of stock standard accounting magic on the part of those corporations and nothing will fundamentally change.

    1. wilroncanada

      There is no there, there. They believe unanimously in austerity, for the proles.

  3. Sam Adams

    Re: NY can’t force ISPs to offer $15 low-income broadband plans, judge rules
    Denis Hurley is and has always been a Suffolk County political hack. This is not surprising.

  4. flora

    re: Airlines have seen an unprecedented rise in disruptive passengers. Experts say it could get worse. Houston Chronicle

    This is part of a larger pattern, imo. There is an association between depression and aggression.

    Extended periods of social isolation during lockdowns took a terrible toll on mental health.

    Also related imo, health care providers have seen an rise in youth suicide attempts and self-harm in the US and in Australia.

    1. Mikel

      I lean toward alot of these issues being more related to who people had to be “isolated” with (especially youth) and being “isolated” with the click-bait internet/social media. Everything turned up to 11.

      1. wilroncanada

        Mike and flora
        I lean a lot more toward the immiseration of an increasing percentage of the population in the 1st world, as indicated by the increase in airline violence long before lockdown. No doubt, the Covid measures made matters worse. People who are taking plane rides are not likely poor, but they are poorer than they wore a few years ago, and they have no hope. Many have taken refuge in alcohol and drugs.
        Again, it’s a societal social issue for which fines or prison are unlikely to be very helpful.

        1. ambrit

          When one consides that prison was never meant to be a place of ‘reform,’ but a place of punishment, the dynamic becomes clear.
          I’d rather say that this is an issue of social control.

    2. TalkingCargo

      All of the news seems designed to invoke fear and fear sometimes causes a fight or flight response. I suspect the pandemic panic and the lockdowns are partly responsible for the incidents of crazy rude customers/passengers, as well as the mass shootings and riots.

      As most who read this blog should know: “Fear is the mind-killer.”

    3. Lobsterman

      It’s just entitled violent chuds being their true selves. It will continue until consequences are enforced, specifically adding the violent buffoons to no-fly lists and enforcing.

      1. flora

        Chud? Canibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller ? Is that something like 1930’s Jude in another country’s slang understanding?

        No fly lists that once included Sen. Edward Kennedy? No chance for political mischief?

        1. EGrise

          I was just thinking about this. Prior to the pandemic, everyone (who wasn’t a terrified low-information type) knew that the no-fly list was security theater BS filled with random names and obvious non-threats like Sen. Kennedy.

          (Not that we did much about it, for various reasons, much like we still take off our shoes at the airport, but that’s a separate discussion.)

          But what happens when the ban lists maintained by airlines are added to the federal no-fly list (I understand that they are different lists, but could be wrong), and the feds can point at it and say, “Look! The people on this list are on it because they did bad things.” The inference being that *every* name on the list is also correct because of guilt by association.

          I suspect that then the *real* political mischief will start, and it will be even more difficult to counter it. Or maybe I’m giving the PTB too much credit.

      2. kgw

        So, this is going to enforce the role models, ie, our fearless leaders, as violent buffoons? Yeah, baby, YEAH!!

    4. Tom Doak

      Honestly I think at least half of it is just that such incidents are now more likely to be considered “news” and analyzed to make some of the points made above.

      Twitter reposting has made everything a trend.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Low-Flying DHS Helicopter Showers Anti-Pipeline Protests With Debris”

    I think that a case made be made to the FAA that that helicopter was breaking safety regulations in flying so low without good cause. It should really be a minimum height of 500 feet because if anything went wrong with that helicopter’s “Jesus-nut”, it could not help but come down on top of a lot of people. At the height that it was at, you could hit it with a rock. Here is the relevant FAA reg-

    1. Charger01

      Prehaps rotor washing native american protestors should be illegal as well. The sheriff could stop this nonsense instantly.
      Team Fed has had a history of “excogitate” rationale for dealing with energy protestors.,

        1. wilroncanada

          The Rev Kev
          “Black-Hawk down on blacks!!” “Black-Hawk down on blacks!!” “No SOS though, just information!.”

    2. Bill Smith

      Aircraft / rotorcraft operated by the Federal and State governments and their agencies do not have to follow those regulations.

      1. RMO

        They also aren’t required to maintain them in accordance with F.A.A. regulations and standards… there are few people who have been caught out by this when buying state government surplus aircraft. I know of one person who ended up spending a lot of money for what he thought was a Bell 206 Jetranger for a great price only to discover that practically speaking it was now a lawn ornament.

    3. campbeln

      We did a chopper flight to a New Zealand glacier once upon a time. It was made abundantly clear that any loose material must be secured as the rotor wash could pull it into the rotors and cause “the machine” to crash.

      There’s video of a Russian chopper in Africa pulling up a tarp into its rotors at low altitude and it was barely able to land.

      Seems like both a very unnecessary risk and a countermeasure opportunity…

  6. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, JLS.

    Readers may have spotted the world’s richest trade union leader at the G7 yesterday. His wealth is conservatively estimated at half a billion dollars. If one includes his Motsepe relatives, the extended family fortune is into the billions USD. They have done well out of a liberation movement.

    Said leader was invited, somewhat as a token, but hey ho, as the G7 needs allies to take on China. It makes no sense for said leader’s country to confront China, but thirty pieces of silver aren’t to be sniffed at. As he tucked into the Cornish sea food platter and craft beer at yesterday evening’s “braai”, one wonders if he compared the fare with what his chain of McDonalds outlets, over 150, provide.

    A predecessor said the struggle is my life. The above could say the struggle is my fortune. Cry my beloved country, indeed. At least, the above did not carry a portable shower like another predecessor.

  7. flora

    re: Fed explores ‘once in a century’ bid to remake the US dollar.

    I agree with the American Bankers Association.

    “The United States should not implement a [central bank digital currency] simply because we can or because others are doing so,” the American Bankers Association said in a statement to lawmakers this week. The benefits “are theoretical, difficult to measure, and may be elusive,” while the negative consequences “could be severe,” the group wrote.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Considering the fact that most US dollars are not actually printed but remain as digital creations, you can technically say that there already is a digital currency in existence. Came across the interesting fact that about 35% of all US dollars in existence have been printed in the past 10 months. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. But maybe the American Bankers Association wants their money created the old fashioned way- (1:56 mins)

      1. flora

        If the point, however, is to slowly eliminate phyical cash… or control how all money is spent via central “approval” of transaction… or tie all your financial information to a “universal digital id”… sort of like china’s “social credit score”…

        sounds crazy, right?

        1. The Rev Kev

          The elimination of physical money would be crazy and the amount of abuses possible would be colossal. So in this dystopian future for example, you might get an email from your insurance company to say that they are raising your premiums. The reason? Because through an access deal with the feds for that data, that note how much unhealthy foods you have been buying the past year and see that you have purchased 426 Twinkies alone during this time period. So now you are a bigger health risk causing them to raise your premiums.

          1. Claire

            Or, like the current private business model of billionaires controlling your constitutional rights to free speech, i.e. Nextdoor Neighbor, kicking you out of the “community”, or the ability to get notifications from the local police unless you have an account, and from which you can be banned, Facebook, or the ability to participate in public policy crafting meetings, Zoom.
            All of which can be shut down by an algorithm, or complaints from woke sheeple.

            Like 29% credit card interest? How about bail-ins where the government decides overnight that your “money” is now worth half as much, or, you are fined for stepping off a curb to early by the traffic light and the fine is subtracted from “your” account.

            Dystopia arrives with a cashless society.

            1. lordkoos

              “the ability to get notifications from the local police unless you have an account”

              How does that work, exactly? I ask because many of our neighbors are all-in for NextDoor, in fact just yesterday I had another invite to join from a neighbor.

              I checked out NextDoor last year, it seems just another data-gathering scam on a more granular neighborhood level… no thanks.

          2. anon y'mouse

            “all your (data)bases are belong to us”

            but seriously. computer geek i dated 20+years ago would never buy alcohol with his debit card, and never sign onto those store loyalty rewards cards either.

            he said it was only a matter of time before health insurance was denied because he liked a bit (seriously, he wasn’t a drinker) of whiskey now and then.

            when people started being offered the driving analyzer that has contact with your car insurance for lower rates, i said “look, it has come to pass!”

            same with fitbit

            1. lordkoos

              Cars made in the last ten years or so are full of computer chips and sensors. If you own a late-model car I’d guess your driving habits are now saved on a server somewhere. I’ll continue to buy cars that are made before 2010.

              1. Basil Pesto

                how would that work? aren’t the overwhelming majority of cars essentially air-gapped?

                1. ambrit

                  I dunno. There is the GPS functionality. That requires some sort of over the air communication. I would suspect that “modern” cars have built in wi-fi.

    2. athingtoconsider

      What we should do is completely de-privilege private banks and that would include allowing all citizens (at least) to use fiat in account form via debit and checking accounts of their own at the Central Bank (or Treasury) – same as the banks do.

      As for truly private banks, they could still exist as loan intermediaries and even create as many deposits as they dare but without government backing (eg. without deposit guarantees, eg. without lender of last resort, etc).

    3. flora

      adding: I have a hunch that a “fed coin” would make it even easier for the billionaires to hide their financial dealings from the public.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      “Legitimate digital public money could help drive out bogus digital private money, while improving financial inclusion, efficiency, and the safety of our financial system — if that digital public money is well-designed and efficiently executed,” she [elizabeth warren] said at a hearing on Wednesday, which she convened as chair of the Senate Banking Committee’s economic policy subcommittee.

      Makes you wonder if she’s ever seen the “tax code.”

    5. Edward

      “…fortify the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.”

      I have an alternative proposal to “fortify” the dollar: stop using it as an economic weapon against other countries. That way other countries don’t feel they have a vital national security interest in ditching the dollar.

    6. Acacia

      Fed explores ‘once in a century’ bid to remake the US dollar.

      Given that the Fed is controlled by private banks, doesn’t this initiative have just about zero chance of becoming reality?

  8. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Rocket men: Bezos, Musk and Branson scramble for space supremacy”

    Bezos will likely be insufferable after coming back from this ‘space flight’. I can’t imagine anything
    positive will come from this for anyone else, once his ego further inflates.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      We can only hope that blue origin bought its o-rings on amazon and they came from China.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        We can only hope that blue origin bought its o-rings on amazon and they came from China.

        You are aware that China has successfully sent spacecraft to the moon and to Mars and is building a space station, right? They’ve also, among other things, built 23,500 miles of high-speed rail lines since the early 2000s.

        When it comes to building infrastructure and actually making life better for its people China is eating America’s lunch. Do you really think the cheap junk sold at WalMart or on Amazon is the only stuff China makes?

        It never ceases to amaze me how many people who are skeptical of mainstream media reporting on Russia and national security issues shut down their critical faculties and buy into the most egregious propaganda when to comes to China.

        ps – Fox News is mainstream media too

        1. lordkoos

          China is perfectly capable of making excellent, durable products and have been doing so for some time. I recall twenty years ago when visiting Beijing how I was impressed by the quality of stuff on offer at various department stores. Many western companies insist on such low price points that it’s a forgone conclusion that there will be problems with many products, but instead of the corporations getting heat for this, China gets blamed.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Not that I said anything about it, but I’m sure “China” is perfectly capable of doing amazing infrastructure, in addition to making good baby formula, toys, pet food, tires, drywall, flooring, cosmetics and fentanyl.

          It’s just that, with the exception of the fentanyl, americans haven’t really seen it.

          I hear they can also produce some pretty good viruses when they put their mind to it.

          So, I guess I stand corrected. Sorta.

        3. Oh

          The O rings can stilled be of poor quality, especially if Amazon spec’ed them!
          I’d agree that China has accomplished a lot more for their people but that does not mean that they haven’t learned from Capitalism to pass off junk as good quality.

        4. Dave

          China high-speed rail update. “High-speed rail (HSR) in China is the world’s longest high speed railway network and most extensively used — with a total length of 37,900 km by the end of 2020. “

        1. ambrit

          The underside to the Morton Thiokol story is that the company’s own engineers warned against launching at the low temperatures seen at the Cape the night before the launch.
          The ultimate decision to launch was a NASA responsibility. That decision was made for political reasons. The rest is very disputed history.
          Add to the above that the only ‘real’ scientist on the commission, Feynman, was the one who figured out the ‘o’ ring problem. He even blind sided the rest of the Committee members by conducting an actual experiment live, on the table, to show the ‘o’ ring deficiency.

          1. Edward

            Actually, the story behind the commission is more complicated. After the Challenger exploded, people in the government realized why this had happened. However, they feared the government would just try to cover up the fiasco. To prevent this, they were able to include someone in the commission who would be unbiased– Feynman, and paired him with a general who gave him hints and clues to lead him to certain conclusions and answers. I have forgotten where I read this.

            1. ambrit

              Ah. Now that’s very interesting. Feynman worked on the Manhattan Project, and would have been ‘saavy’ to how a bureaucracy worked.
              His Addendum to the report, where he essentially described how big bureaucracies worked shows this. I’d like to read your source about factionaslism within the government after the Challenger disaster. It sounds about right.
              The other space shuttle disaster, I have read, hasppened for reasons similar to the Challenger debacle, NASA turf wars and bureaucratic inertia.

    2. Watt4Bob

      I can’t imagine anything
      positive will come from this for anyone else…

      I can think of at least one positive outcome, and it entails a particularly complete deflation of ego.

    3. Brunches with Cats

      Reminds me of an old joke riffing on the Western movie cliche: “This town ain’t big enough for both of us … OK, let’s move to Chicago.”

      Now it’s, “This planet ain’t big enough for both of us … OK, I’ll take the Moon, you take Mars.”

      Wishful thinking:
      I’m sorry, Jeff, I can’t do that.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I think that the main reason Bezos, Musk and Branson are investing into space travel is because they want to have a choke-hold on travel into space. You want to go into space, you have to pay them. When you use Musk’s services, part of the contract actually reads that you have to accept Musk’s claims to Mars down the track. The worse of it is that they have eaten NASA’s lunch with their people, research and expertise with the blessing of the government. It is like the Big Pharma model where the government does the research, gives it free to Big Pharma, they work out a dosage rate and then slap an ever-greening patent on it. If you want to see how our billionaires will treat space, take a look at the Starlink program which will cause all of us to lose the night sky simply so that their customers can post Facebook updates on what they just had to eat or spread the latest meme.

    1. Temporarily Sane

      I wonder why mass shootings are the only gun crime the national media regularly reports on these days? Last time I checked the murder by firearm rate in many of America’s big cities is still very high.

      Is it because the victims and perps are mostly poor and/or African American? Is it because focusing on inner-city crime would draw attention to the atrocious living conditions in these places? Is is because these stories are “boring” and don’t generate enough clicks?

      I see reports on local news stations and sometimes on foreign media like Al-Jazeera, ABC (Australia) and Deutsche Welle but rarely on American MSM.

      In the 90s and early 2000s the gun crime issue was more widely discussed but nowadays only mass shootings seem to be in the public’s consciousness.

      Also, far more Americans are killed by pistols each year (homicides and accidental shootings) than by assault rifles.

      So when talking about death by firearm if the focus is solely on mass shootings, that’s only part of the picture.

      1. ambrit

        There are a lot of shootings that do not make the news at all. An example; we had a shooting occur two blocks away from where we live last Wedensday night. We both heard it at about 12:30 at night. Approximately forty shots fired. It was the result of a police chase which ended in a crash at the location near us. Two of the people were wounded and were apprehended when they tried to get treatment at a local hospital. One escaped and the fourth pretended to be wounded, was taken to the hospital by ambulance and, when the ambulance was unloading him, got up and ran for it. He got away.
        One mention of the event on a local television station, and a squib in the local “paper of record.”
        Gun violence is only news nowadays if several people are killed and wounded. We have become desensitized to violence in all it’s guises.

      2. Mikel

        And they don’t report mass shootings classified as domestic violence like they do these types of public shootings.
        Meaning, they aren’t grouped together to show and/or imply pathology on a large scale.
        The domestic violence killings involving more than one person are also weekly.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The Telegram Billionaire and His Dark Empire”

    I see that Germany’s Lügenpresse” (lying press) is still at it and doing their part for the empire. It says ‘The service touts itself as a platform that is beyond the reach of states and authorities, a place where anyone can write and make whatever claim they want’ and that is exactly what Spiegel’s problem with it is. The lack of censorship. It says that people are leaving WhatsApp (controlled by Facebook) for Telegram. Why could that be? Well for a start, WhatsApp was censoring Palestinians commenting during that last war and Gaza-based journalist found their WhatsApp accounts blocked. If I recall, Palestinian accounts have also been censored in Germany because for some reason they are critical of a State whose name we shall not mention. And look at the censorship done in the US by Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Spiegel makes plain what it wants Telegram to do – let the authorities anywhere have full access to user’s data and to delete any illegal or harmful content that is reported to them. That could mean criticisms of governments, of Israel, of corporations and in fact anything that is not ‘woke’. And what sort of internet will we have when this happens everywhere? Think of a internet but one controlled by corporate Disney and that would be an approximation.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Go back just a few years and one can find many MSM depictions of Durov as a brave dissident fighting the forces of repression in Russia and Iran (won’t bother posting links, they are easy to find). But once the pro-Trump crowd started flocking to Telegram (let alone the Palestinians), Durov suddenly is a bad guy. It takes a certain talent to infuriate both Russia and the USA simultaneously. Good for him.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Fat Cats on a Hot Tin Roof NYT. MoDo.

    Paying taxes is an expression of citizenship. You can’t belong to the club and not pay your dues.

    You shouldn’t come into the world with the ambition to pay no taxes. Paying more taxes should be a sign that you made more money — and good for you. We don’t want to ding you for succeeding but we’re halfway to a plutocracy here.

    The richest of the rich want unspeakably high gains with unspeakably low costs. It may not be against the law but it certainly isn’t right. It’s tacky.

    Show some public spirit, Monopoly Men! Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200

    Oh brother. I can’t believe that someone actually gets paid to write tripe like this. Ooh, having more “wealth” than 90% of the country is “tacky”??? Ouch.

    I wonder what she thinks “we” should do about it–mark “our” electronically controlled “ballots” and “vote out” the bastards who constructed and protect the system in return for campaign “contributions” the next time the election circus comes to town?

    The system is too far gone. Talk of making these people pay their “fair share” is the biggest, fattest joke ever told. Even they don’t have enough money to compensate the country for the damage they’ve done and continue to do.

    Nothing will fix this now but going full-on Braveheart (or Hunger Games) on ’em.

    1. flora

      MoDo is left in the uncomfortable position, imo, of having believed all her adult life in the “Reagan Revolution”, aka the Milton Friedman’s et al neoliberal economic tropes, and suddenly realising that the neoliberal PR blandishments of her youth had nothing to do with the real backstage neoliberal game on offer.

    2. jsn

      We’ll, if did something about it, things would change, fundamentally.

      That’s not the policy that’s been bought.

      1. Yves Smith

        Short version from IM Doc:

        Yes – this is a method which coronaviruses – use to become more successful. This is also common in many other virus families.

        KLG provided more comprehensive take:

        Supercells? Nothing new here. Many viruses cause the formation of multinucleate syncytia. The mechanism can be summarized as follows:

        During infection and subsequent intracellular replication and assembly of the virus, viral proteins are produced in the host cell.
        Some of these are viral envelope (membrane) glycoproteins; these can be fusion proteins that mediate the interaction of intact virus with target cells. Not all of these proteins end up in mature virus particles. Some are trafficked to the plasma membrane of the host cell in the normal pathway (endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi, trans-Golgi network, plasma membrane). Two adjacent cells with virus fusion proteins on their surface can fuse through the interaction of these proteins. As virus is produced in these and other cells, more and more cells can fuse and form multinucleated giant syncitia).
        This is not novel to coronaviruses. Sometimes these syncytia can facilitate spread of the virus from cell to cell.
        Good illustration in Figure 7.

        And GM:

        Yes, this is a key mechanism of pathogenesis, higher infecitivtiy and of immune evasion.

        It is also the key mutation in the Indian variants – B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3, of which B.1.617.2 happens to have the most optimal set of additional mutations to make it supercontagious.

        The virus is not after our cells, it is after our ribosomes and NTP pools. There is no requirement for it to infect our cells one by one to get to those ribosomes and NTP pools, if it had a way to spread without going through the traditional pathway of making viral particles in one cell that then infect other cells, it could exploit that.

        And since this is a virus that has a lipid membrane, it has such a way — the infected cells have the S protein on the surface, the same way it is on the surface of the virus, and it can mediate fusion with neighboring cells that have the ACE2 receptor.

        And then both cells are under the control of the virus. But it does not end with one cell — you can agglomerate hundreds of cells that way.

        What happened in the Indian variants is that the polybasic furin-cleavage site gained an extra arginine R and became even more basic — that’s the P681R mutation (it’s right before the 4-aa FCS, which is now a 5-aa FCS). This, BTW, had been kind of already seen in the British B.1.1.7 — it had a P681H mutation, and histidine is also a basic amino acid, but arginine is even more basic. So now syncitium formation is greatly enhanced. This was the key result of the first preprint studying B.1.617.2 back in late April and the grave implications were immediately obvious.

        One of which was that this could be immune evasive even if it did not have the RBD mutations. Because antibodies will not do much against syncitium spread. And indeed, there was another preprint recently that studied this directly, and that is what is observed — antibodies are powerless against syncitia.

        Another is that this will be much more harmful — wherever this infects, it will make syncitia, occasionally merging even different cell types and wreaking total havoc on organs through severe cellular damage.

        Yet another is that this should be wrecking the immune system even more than the original virus was already doing — what probably happens (it has not been fully demonstrated yet but there are strong indications in that direction) is that lymphocytes arrive at the site of infection and then get engulfed by the syncitia, and die inside them. The mucormycosis cases in India are explained right now by the virus attacking beta cells in the pancreas, leading to diabetes, and that is probably indeed a strong component, but one can’t help but think that there has to be stronger direct immune deficiency induced by the virus itself because not everyone that shows up with a fungus eating his face is diabetic.

        1. GF

          Do any of the currently available USA vaccines prevent these variations from infecting people?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The frontline of this question is the UK, where the new variant is hitting hardest and there are most vaccinated people. There isn’t enough data yet for any firm conclusions, but it seems that vaccinations provide significant protection, but nowhere near complete protection – already quite a few fully vaccinated people have died.

            Or put another way – get your vaccine, but don’t give up on wearing your mask.

      2. jr

        Thank you Yves and the Trust, this is all news to me. I honestly had a visceral reaction to the idea of “super cell” formation, it’s a creepy thing to think about, Lovecraftian even.

    1. Lee

      In case you missed it, there’s over three hours of discussion on Covid, vaccines, possible therapies, and related social factors at Bret Weintein’s YouTube site. One of the participants is a principal developer of mRNA vaccine technology, Dr. Robert Malone. I’m not sure that what’s described in the article you cite was discussed. But then my understanding of molecular and cellular biology, although increasing daily of late, is still limited to that of a somewhat well educated layperson. I must say that I was surprised and rather disappointed with Weinstein’s suggested private sector solution at the end.

      I’d be interested to know what NC Covid mavens think about issues raised in the video.

      1. ilpalazzo

        One can note that his recent interview with Dr Kory has been taken down on youtube. It can still be found on bitchute.

        1. Mantid

          Cool, I got lucky. I saved the Dr. Korey on Dark Horse discussion to an MP4. When there’s a good or indepth utube, it’s worth saving them for reference. Regarding the DarkHorse inteview with Dr. Malone, there is a nice timeline under “show more”. Watching start to finish is difficult with the rudeness and lack of facilitation. However, quite informatice – a mut see before it’s censored.

        2. Mantid

          Cool, I got lucky. I saved the Dr. Korey on Dark Horse discussion to an MP4. When there’s a good or indepth utube, it’s worth saving them for reference. Regarding the DarkHorse interview with Dr. Malone, there is a nice timeline under “show more”. Watching start to finish is difficult with the rudeness and lack of facilitation. However, quite informative – a must see before it’s censored.

        1. Mikel

          Reading this and it reminds me of the even larger issue:
          The author makes the case for treatments for Covid that are effective if started 24 – 48 hours after onset of symptoms.
          First, you would have to get immediately tested for Covid within 24 hours of the first sniffle.
          Then you would have another 24 hours to get prescriptions for drugs, meaning appointment with some doctor somewhere.

          So all this article is missing is something major: how do you get Covid diagnosis confirmed and drugs all within a 24 – 48 hr time frame?

          How many will even have doctors that they KNOW will prescribe these drugs?

  11. bassmule

    MoDo: Everyone is outraged! Yeah? So now what? As has been posted in these precincts at various times: Republicans richly deserve the pummeling they receive from Times readers, but it is no accident that whenever Democrats are faced with actually doing something to benefit ordinary Americans, they suddenly become helpless. This is not an accident. There is only one Party: The Money Party.

    1. Oh

      Obama insisted that he would not extend the Bush tax cuts but he and his Democrats couldn’t wait to do it fast enough.

      MoDo is dreaming when she writes “Paying taxes is an expression of citizenship. You can’t belong to the club and not pay your dues“. I’m yet to meet someone who’s proud to pay his taxes. I guess they’re not proud of their citizenship!

  12. Robert Hahl

    Truth, Reading, Decadence – First Things

    About the influence of ’60s French theorists on Literature Cepartments.

    “The old critics used familiar terms of analysis—irony, structure, symbol . . . The new theorists traded in logocentrism, “the Other,” undecidability, “infinite paradigm of difference.” Their vocabulary reduced the audience for academic criticism. American undergraduates couldn’t understand it, but so what? The obscurity wouldn’t be a problem as long as resources and students were pouring in. If classes were full, the American scholars who embraced the new theorists could welcome a foreign discourse steeped in Hegel, Freud, Heidegger, and European linguists that only a few sub-sub-specialists had mastered. Why bother with reader-friendly prose if research funds and outlets are plentiful?”

    I always start analyzing any change in any Western institution after WW II by asking if it was really just a cold war program. Funding seemed to come from everywhere to support all kinds of silly things to dilute the influence of the actual left. Here, the new theorists were saying that it is folly to for “truth” in literature. I think this was an effort to discredit all those Marxists running around saying that there was truth in Marx’s writings.

    1. David

      This argument surfaces from time to time, but the real explanation, in my experience, is more mundane and even faintly sordid. And remember that the same process could be observed in many other countries, including Britain, but not, interestingly, in France.
      “French theory” simply took over from Marxism as a foreign, exotic, exciting, poorly understood and badly translated set of ideas that could be wielded to win arguments and make it easier to get published and land top jobs. As with Marxism, the very impenetrability of the jargon meant that it was often hard to understand the argument, let alone rebut it. And any attempt at rebuttal could be met with the equivalent of the patronising Marxist dismissal of “bourgeois” criticism.
      Essentially, the problem was that studying English (or any other) literature is actually hard work. It’s not the same as “reading”: you have to know stuff, and the discipline had actually become very professional by the 1970s. So if you’re going to study, say, someone as ferociously learned and subtle as Alexander Pope, you have a great deal of work to do before you can say something of interest. Unless, of course, you come from completely outside the discipline altogether, emboldened and fortified by your own “theory”, which renders mere facts superfluous. It’s exactly analogous to the process by which MBAs and their soul brothers took over university administration, and proceeded to give instructions to teachers who were world experts in their subject about how to teach.
      Ironically, somewhere in all this was a good idea trying to get out. Even when I was an undergraduate, nobody doubted that texts were capable of an infinite number of interpretations. Indeed, we were warned against the so-called “intentional fallacy:” the idea that a text was a kind of crossword puzzle to be decoded to arrive at what the author intended. Much of what writers like Derrida and Barthes said, properly understood and correctly translated, was no more than a series of variations on this theme, albeit in the ironic, playful mode of much French intellectual writing of the time.

      1. Robert Hahl

        “…the ironic, playful mode of much French intellectual writing of the time.”

        Years ago I heard about some standard advice from a French intellectual. He said at least 20% of what you write should be incomprehensible if you want people to take you seriously. I don’t think he was being playful there.

        And as to whether this change in approach to criticism was a front in the cold war, the article mentions there was major funding by the Ford Foundation. So, how could it have been anything else?

        1. montanamaven

          Thanks. I was in the theater department in the early 1970s working on a PhD and married to an English PhD candidate. The theater department was sane compared to the English department and you would think we were the debauched ones. Nope, that was the English dept. We performed Shakespeare and they talked about him. I realized after my doctorals that I wanted to do and not teach, so I left for NYC and never came back to academe. I now believe in apprenticeships rather than studying drama. Shakespeare and Moliere learned by performing. I didn’t understand any of that essay. I was told that if you can’t explain something simply, you are a moron and/or a poseur.

          1. ambrit

            That was bloody brilliant! I have known people like that. They are everywhere. Indeed, I’d suggest that this comic has described perfectly the entire class of salesmen, saleswomen, and salesthings.

      2. eg

        This is the circus I escaped by NOT pursuing my PhD in ‘87 after completing a BA and MA in English during the previous six years. I was fortunate to receive rather parochial schooling right through undergrad, featuring an unselfconscious grounding in what would now be identified as the New Criticism. Moving to the University of Toronto for grad school exposed me in a mild enough way to other critical theories, but it was enough to cause me to question the entire enterprise and any likely future I might have in it.

        I’m simultaneously grateful that I got out when I did and for the six years of study which continue to serve me well as I try to keep learning.

    2. djforestree

      Promoting that kind of French theory was part of a Cold War cultural program:
      “As a matter of fact, the agency [CIA] responsible for coups d’état, targeted assassinations and the clandestine manipulation of foreign governments not only believes in the power of theory, but it dedicated significant resources to having a group of secret agents pore over what some consider to be the most recondite and intricate theory ever produced. For in an intriguing research paper written in 1985, and recently released with minor redactions through the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA reveals that its operatives have been studying the complex, international trend-setting French theory affiliated with the names of Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes.”

  13. cocomaan

    TRUTH, READING, DECADENCE by Mark Bauerlein June 2021

    Good article about the downfall of the English department. I took some graduate level English for my master’s degree. The attitude that prevailed reminded me of the default attitude on twitter: edgy smugness. But the search for greater edginess consumed itself.

    My guess is that there will be a renaissance in the humanities in the next few decades, but it will be a practical one, maybe conservative. Something like, “Moby Dick is primarily a text about whales and the people chasing them. Look at all these passages about whale biology. It’s about whales.” Or “Titus Andronicus is primarily about eating your relatives. Because people hate their families.”

    Hopefully the death of the English department will slay my least favorite word, problematize, which the author talks about in the article. Declaring this or that “Problematic” is one of the lazier ways to search for the truth.

    1. Jason

      Declaring this or that “Problematic” is one of the lazier ways to search for the truth.

      There’s a lot to unpack in this statement.

      I’m off to brunch.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Montana, the sold-out state New Yorkers can’t get enough of”

    My wife and I have both noted that if there was anyplace that we would like to live in America if we wanted to, that it would be Montana. This is spite of rumours that it sometimes gets cold there in the winter. But if so many New Yorkers are going to go there to live, perhaps because it is due to all those green acres-

    ‘Green acres is the place to be
    Farm livin’ is the life for me
    Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
    Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside’ (1:05 mins)

    1. Carolinian

      There’s a recent movie called Land where Robin Wright–normally seen in fashion togs and spiked heels–goes to live alone in a log cabin in the mountains of Wyoming, not Montana. We are supposed to be moved by her big city struggles with bears and chopping wood. I wasn’t.

      Are there no dude ranches? Sounds like from the article there still are.

    2. hamstak

      I lived in Great Falls, MT as a youth some 40 years ago. Never have lived in a more beautiful state. It got down to -30F one year; the following year, after we had left, it hit something to the effect of -60F (that might have been wind-chill adjusted). I never found that extreme cold to be a problem, but of course, I never got caught out in it.

      New Yorkers would be more suited to that clime than my now S. California acclimated rear end.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      The Rev Kev: Rumor is that the mythical splendor of Green Acres is in Illinois.

      I look forward to your arrival. Yes, we truly are engaged and formed by the goings-on in Hooterville.

      It does get cold in the winter–but it’s a damp cold, so it is good for one’s complexion.

    4. montanamaven

      Born in Iowa, raised in Illinois, schooled in Michigan, 15 years NYC, 2 years LA and the last 25 years in Montana. It is the most beautiful place I’ve lived, but the people are a bit ornery in my county. In contrast, I love New Yorkers who are gruff but good hearted, gregarious and funny, but I hate the humidity. I am about to spend time in Tucson and so far I love the desert which is really different from anywhere I’ve lived and the people are super friendly. So, yes, it’s beautiful in Big Sky Country, but the rough tough winters and distances between towns can make the inhabitants a tad cranky. They will also insult you to your face like “Just because you married a Montanan doesn’t mean you will ever be one.” (This from a very wealthy cattle rancher’s wife.) “Thanks for the warm welcome.” The wealthy New Yorkers and Silicon Valley people (I refuse to use the word “folks”) mostly hole up in their huge lodges with their own staff and you rarely see them. You know they are there because the private jets come in on Fridays. But I do appreciate the better airline service so I can get out of Dodge and go South.

        1. montanamaven

          There is that. We had no speed limit on the interstate for awhile. Lot of crashes, so it’s now at 80 MPH. You better not go over 85. It’s still pretty easy driving around here except for Bozeman where it’s a nightmare. Median price of a house there is 670,000. Nobody local can afford to move or afford to live there. Too bad. It has a great downtown where you can still get your Luchese boots or Justin’s ropers repaired, Along with great burgers they also have great sushi, of all things. Each county has their Ted Kozinski looking hermits. We had a guy who put pro-Nazi signs on the road just to piss people off. Most people ignored him. “Oh that’s just Lee.”

          1. tegnost

            It was in ’89, and quite novel at the time…
            me “…ok, I give you $5 and that’s it?”
            officer “…yep, have a nice day sir…”
            I especially liked the part where he said “daytime speed limit…”
            I believe the thinking was with the 55 speed limit it took so long to get places people would fall asleep, better to speed and get there,… and faster

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Your story reminds me of a time when I went for some drinks with a local Montanan I met in Elkhorn Springs while cycling through the State. He said he was grateful for an ‘outsider’ to talk to as it was so hard to be that way with locals especially as he had a business and so couldn’t afford to annoy customers. He had spent time in Germany and Brazil and had a Brazilian wife and he said that the reaction of his long time neighbours to his Brazilian wife had shocked him, especially when she had the temerity to put a ‘no war for oil’ sticker on her car. I loved towns like Helena, but I was surprised at how, shall we say, frosty the welcome was to a tourist wandering by. As I travelled down through Colorado and NM it was noticeable how people became much friendlier and more open the further south I went.

  15. kramshaw

    Groves of Academe

    ‘How Much Damage Have My Colleagues and I Done?’ Chronicle of Higher Education

    Wow, this is important! I think this particular administrator is well positioned to speak to the people who would advocate for the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction around sexual assault justice.

    BTW the article is available on the author’s Medium page without any pay-/registration- wall:

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      kramshaw: Thanks for the link. The Chronicle page wouldn’t let me read (an appeal for subscription).

      Author Lee Burdette Williams has been through much soul searching, and the long article is indeed worth a read.

      We are dealing with kids who likely have never lived on their own. We are dealing with sexual desire in a culture that still has a theme of the purity of white women–those purity rings, the rather weird father-daughter dances–this is a paradigm of long standing in the U S of A. It was a cause of lynching, once race entered the circumstances. And race still enters this situation.

      The biggest problem that these adjudications face is that they are administrative procedures, not courts. If we seek justice, which is what everyone is stating that their aim is, then the procedures can’t be perfunctory and rely on expulsions. (The article mentions a young man expelled in the second half of his senior year–which brings up the dilemma: either make real charges that stick or make a deal to have him finish out the year. But the simplicity of expulsion?)

      Reading about the brawling on the airplanes, which may not seem to have a connection–but it does–the problem in the U.S. being highlighted these days is an insistence on equality without the mindset of what it means to be an equal, the insistence on justice without the complications of justice. These are not new attitudes. This is the country that came up with the Three-Fifths Rule, after all.

    2. David

      I thought the whole article was very worrying, but what hit me was the description of a “normal” weekend at the writer’s university:

      “suicides and suicide attempts; drunken fights and subsequent arrests; sexual assaults during large, chaotic parties; students hospitalized after accidents, alcohol poisoning, or untreated chronic illnesses; large, newsworthy drug busts; and hate-filled graffiti on a campus door. For a dean of students, a weekend on campus is considered a good one if, on Monday morning, no one has died and neither a reporter nor a uniformed officer sits on the bench in the hallway awaiting your arrival.”

      So she expects to lose a student every week of term? What is this, the Roman Colosseum? I know times change etc. etc. but I’ve been involved with (European) universities for most of my adult life, and yes, suicides and suicide attempts happen, students get drunk (often) but nothing like this. Is this kind of feral behaviour a typically Murkin thing?

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        My daughter’s best friend is a ‘floor fellow’ at a dorm at McGill in Montréal and she needs to call an ambulance for severe intoxication or suicidal expression at least every other weekend. At one student residence, albeit a large one. So, no, not restricted to the U.S.

        Many, many young adults leave their family homes for university and start drinking + smoking without any prior guided experience, or any exposure to sane patterns of behavior. We’d likely see less of this if more students remained in their family homes while at university. Maybe. Depends on the family home.

        1. David

          But they always did, didn’t they? I was at a university in the UK for much of the 1970s, and these sorts of problems were scarcely known. Male students (well, the Rugby Club) often drank too much and occasionally wound up on the floor, but that was about it. And pretty much all of us were living in a big city, away from home for the first time. Perhaps we were more grown up – certainly in comparison to what I see today. And I think we perhaps also realised more that if we demanded freedoms we were responsible for the consequences of our decisions.

          1. ambrit

            Speaking as an older one who grew up in America with English parents; we were allowed to “scrape our knees” and “get banged up” as circumstances dictated. I’m wondering if all this isn’t an artifact of suffering the tender ministrations of “Helicopter Parents.”

            1. CanCyn

              This strikes me as well Ambrit. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading about college students – you know, adults, young though they may be, not secondary school students. Why is a college official talking to parents about their adult children’s crimes or misdemeanours?
              And to PK and Jen – I too had a free range childhood and teen years – by the time I was in my 20s, while still partying and carry on, I had the sense to know when enough was enough and a sense or responsibility that doesn’t seem to exist in 20 somethings these days.
              Further to this, and agreeing with Robert Gray at 5:50pm, why are college and university officials expected to act as both substitute parents and police and prosecutors? It is clear that no good can come of it. The student services area of college administration has grown exponentially over the past few decades. In some cases for the better but now with their fingers in way too many pies. E.g. Off campus housing and student shenanigans or worse off campus should not be the responsibility of the institution. But I digress, back to what is going on with college students – I don’t know the answer but as I said at the start, I have to agree that overly protective parenting and a lack of appropriate levels of independence during child and teen development may be part the problem.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            My first thought on this was that its a factor of campus residences. I don’t know the figures, but university campuses in the US seem more self contained than in Europe, so there is no hiding any problems. When I went to collage, most of the bad things happened well off-campus as almost nobody lived there. On any given Friday night, any random group of, say, 10,000 20 year olds, you can be fairly sure that a few of them will have ‘accidents’ of one kind or another. If they are all on a confined campus, that becomes news. If spread through a city, its just a regular Friday evening in your local hospital emergency room.

            Another issue I suspect is the strictness of alcohol laws in the US. In my experience, the longer you delay going through your ‘crazy’ period, the worse it is. The worst memories I have of drink related issues was when I was in my mid to late teens at school, not uni. By the time I got to Uni myself and my peers already got some of the worst behaviour out of our system. I remember the last evening of my final exams at school where a bunch of guys decided to cross Dublin Bay – by swimming – at 1am – while very drunk. Miraculously, nobody died, but it was sheer luck. Nothing I witnessed in Uni matched that for danger. I strongly suspect that if the option of getting drunk when none of us could afford it was postponed until we were 21, things would have been much worse.

            1. Robert Gray

              > … university campuses in the US seem more self contained than in Europe …

              > … most of the bad things happened well off-campus …

              What’s even worse is that American schools and universities nowadays claim the authority to discipline students for actions performed / committed off-campus too, even when such actions are in no way connected to a student’s educational life. By virtue of merely being enrolled in an institution, students are considered to be in the institution’s spotlight 24/7. One particularly egregious example of this is social media commentary, even from a private ISP account, with no university identification, etc., etc.

        2. Alphonse

          Is this kind of feral behaviour a typically Murkin thing?

          My residence at large Canadian university a few decades ago was nothing like that. On the first day, the orientation leaders tried taking the new students off to get drunk. Almost no-one went along. I recall no ambulances attending my residence of a couple of hundred or so students. I don’t recall anything like what you describe.

          I began the article with respect for this dean’s willingness to be open. That respect faded as it became clear this article was really about her and her feelings. She begins:

          The most unsettling weekend of my professional career . . . upended much of what I believed about myself and my profession and plucked me from a path I had traveled for 25 years, depositing me in an unfamiliar landscape that still feels, almost five years later, like a foreign land.

          Near the end she says:

          Nor had I fully understood how I looked through the eyes of the women who expected support and instead got fairness

          And she concludes:

          I think about those parents, traveling from all over the United States . . . in search of someone who understood their pain and frustration. That they had to travel to find that kind of support haunts me. That they had to listen to my words when what they needed was to be heard breaks my heart.

          At the conference, she speaks almost exclusively to mothers. She doesn’t reach out to the sons. I get the sense that if she had spoken only to fathers and sons, she never would have questioned herself.

          She does not talk about the difficult problem of balancing the rights of the accuser and the accused. She says that “believe the woman” – assume guilt – is “a good place to start.” (“Listen and respect” is a good place. “Believe” is not.) She bemoans the difficulties imposed by government, then argues that she (and therefore it) is fair, and that the only problem is a failure to listen – not to the accused men, but to their mothers. She seems to have erased men from her conscience.

          I believe that misogyny and misandry are flip sides of the same coin. Each feeds on the other. There is no zero-sum game: to reduce one, we must reduce the other. It is through developing empathy and compassion for the Other, not for the self, not for those like the self (mothers, in her case) that we can reduce the incidence of hate. From that universal perspective that recognizes that we are all capable of being aggressor and victim we can best deal with the wrongs that people do.

          My sense of injustice is not gendered. My anger the mistreatment of women comes from the same place as my anger at the mistreatment of men. I reserve my greatest frustration not for the hateful, vengeful and bestial among us (for there will always be some): but for the enablers, the decent people whose blindness leads them to feed a dynamic of bias that produces hate. This woman is one such. Her moral horizon is small. She needs to take her ego – her shame, her embarrassment, her insecurity – out of the picture. Maybe this is a step towards her seeing that bigger picture: but she has a long way to go.

      2. Jen

        We’ve had 4 students die this year at my “small liberal arts college.” One was medical, two were acknowledged suicides, the third is widely suspected to be one. My high school class was the first in a decade to graduate in tact, but the deaths in previous classes were all related to drunk driving. My friends and I all had issues. How many and how complex has only become clearer as we get older, but there were no suicides while we were in high school and maybe one in the 30+ years since.

        I feel like there’s a sense out there that every and any miss-step is the end of the world. Bad grade? End of the world. A colleague of mine who has taught neuroscience to undergrads for 30 years says the number of students who drop the course right before the deadline has grown exponentially. You can’t try something and fail, or even worse, get less than an A.

        And yeah, the hyper-vigilant parenting. I was born in Queens. During the early 70’s, I walked to school every day. No parents with me, or dropping me off. No bus, if you had less than a mile walk. While these events had no bearing on the safety of school kids, the FALN was blowing things up in lower Manhattan on a semi regular basis, and Son of Sam was out and about.

        No matter how much parents try to protect their kids from the harsh realities of life, it will, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. By insulating kids from every single risk and insult, I feel like they have created a cohort that enters into their first unsupervised experience utterly unprepared.

  16. Ghost in the Machine

    Regarding sharks using the magnetic field for navigation, I wonder how quickly they adapted to magnetic field instability and reversal in the past.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “A Backroom Deal To Kill Single Payer”

    American will get a single-payer health care system over the dead bodies of the Democrat Party. The bulk majority of Democrat voters want it, a majority of Republicans want it too. In a tweet some time ago, Caitlin Johnstone said that Democrats could have control of the Presidency, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court along with the overwhelming majority of the population. But come time for it to be voted on it would probably be derailed by an antisemitic scandal.

    What does not surprise me is that fact that Union leadership is opposing it. I have noted the capture of union leadership by the PMC before and I suspect that it is they who are opposing it, not on behalf of their union members but because they do not want to lose access to their political “friends”. A vote on a single-payer bill in California was torpedoed in California and it seems that the same will happen here in New York. And I should note that both States are Democrat strongholds.

    1. Lobsterman

      Democratic voters soundly rejected single payer at the polls. Republican voters have never indicated interest. Americans are simply too cruel and haven’t learned that it’s no way to live yet.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, they did not reject it at the polls. Stop propagating falsehoods. Polls show strongly otherwise. They were never presented with a referendum, fer Chrissakes. Have you not worked out that the Democratic party leaders do not represent the base but the big donors?

        Bernie Sanders was cheated in Iowa, where being declared the winner, as he should have been, would have given him tremendous momentum, and then was knifed in the primaries in states that were largely irrelevant in the general election because most go R in the general election.

        1. eg

          The inordinate influence of Republican dominated states in the Democratic Party primary system is itself a tell, isn’t it? Very clarifying,

      2. Skip Intro

        All the candidates paid lip service to it. The VP was for it before she was noncommittal on it. Even Biden babbled something about a ‘public option’.

    2. Yves Smith

      You’ve got the targets wrong. American labor has always been opposed to single payer. They were against it when the UK created the NHS and it briefly became a topic here.

      The unions want to bargain for health insurance as proof of their value added to members.

      1. Lee

        When I was a union organizer, it often occurred to me that I was actually a group health insurance salesman.

  18. allan

    Zaid Jilani’s drive-by tweet shows willful ignorance or worse on his part.
    He could start by reading Interior’s IG report on Lafayette Square
    and learning how constrained that investigation was due to lack
    of cooperation from other parts of the executive branch.
    An informed piece by someone who did is

    Reading the Park Police IG Report More Closely [Luppe Luppen]

    1. JTMcPhee

      Major problem with “current affairs” is that there is not enough time in one person’s day to even try to tease out the “reality” of any of the SNAFUs and scams and public and private frauds to ever hope that there can be an informed citizenry. The CIA, the “mainstream media,” the DNC and all the other organs of deceit know this truth and thus can “get away with murder” with impunity.

      Add to that all the people and bots who actively connive at obscuring and bad-faith cross-examining “the news” and even serious attempts at investigation and reporting and analysis, and what’s left is that infamous dictum of evil former CIA director William Casey: “ We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

      Fear, uncertainty and doubt: the tools the organized, unscrupulous and nefarious use to keep decent people under their thumbs.

      1. fresno dan

        June 13, 2021 at 1:26 pm
        Fear, uncertainty and doubt: the tools the organized, unscrupulous and nefarious use to keep decent people under their thumbs.
        There is the IG report with regard to the Star Chamber of Carter Page in the FISA court – it certainly shows that something profoundly wrong happened, but states also that it really doesn’t have the investigational chops to find out what. And nobody else, at least in government and MSM, seems to think it is a problem worth addressing….
        And than it all goes down the memory hole…
        Hard to believe that improper investigation of a republican administration (undertaken by a democratic administration) would be a top democratic party priority, but republicans don’t seem to care much either. Bipartisan ship in action – or do repubs just love the police state so much they can not to anything to constrain or expose it?
        And whatever happened to the Durham investigation? Try googling it and all you get are these no name “news” sites where you have to agree to view about a million commercials.
        I really don’t know if Trump had the park cleared, or if it was a fabrication of the media (maybe both).
        The only thing my interest, rage, worrying about this stuff gets me is higher blood pressure.

  19. WaltD

    The American people have gone feral. I expect it’s gonna be an exciting summer. They’ll go buck wild this 4th of July. USA USA USA.

  20. DJG, Reality Czar

    On the brawling in airplanes. Hannah Sampson, Wash Post, via the Houston Chronicle.

    Oh: “Nelson said it was a “very, very difficult week” after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccinated people did not need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors in many scenarios. The requirement to wear a mask in airports and on planes, trains and other forms of transportation did not change.”

    Yes, the CDC has screwed up royally.

    Yet the flight attendants have power available to stop this: A one-day strike or work-to-rule, creating major snarls at the airports, would get the message to the public. Frame it as a safety issue.

    The article ends with some typical U.S. bloviating about “the return to civility.” Really? In the U S of A?

    At a certain point, someone is going to do something that will result in critical injuries or deaths (not to minimize the missing teeth, already reported, of the flight attendant). Then we will have the National Conversation on Violence and Bad Public Behavior, with finger-pointing and charges of sexism and the required singing of “Amazing Grace.”

    1. Aumua

      Yep, and also:

      The number of passengers continues to creep toward pre-pandemic levels. More people will be crowded onto planes with covid-era restrictions, while at the same time, mask requirements in other parts of daily life are easing … “There is just this level of confusion that also comes into play,” she said.

      People are done with this. They are experiencing being mask free in pretty much all other parts of their lives now, and having to wear the damn thing again for hours and hours through the airport, on the plane, when transferring, on the next plane and then out of the arrival airport… they’re not going to put up with it. They are going to circumvent it any way they can.

      1. Yves Smith

        Sorry, the airlines and FAA have the upper hand here. I was just on a Delta plane last week. They made clear mask wearing was mandatory. Repeated stern announcements, including it has to cover the nose.

        They will have people removed from the plane and fined and banned from flying. The pilots and flight crews won’t put up with this shit and the pilot controls the plane once the doors are closed.

        The position you advocate is spoiled and confirms what a bunch of crybabies Americans have become. Mask wearing is not hard. No one whines about daily bathing, which is a ton more work.

        1. Aumua

          Who said I was advocating that position? I’m simply offering what I think is the most salient explanation for why we’re seeing this. I agree 100% that it is a spoiled crybaby attitude.

          1. Pelham

            Lambert has suggested that to encourage mask wearing, authorities should offer some praise for those who comply. I think he has a point. But I also think a good-cop, bad-cop approach might be better, with scolding having a place as well.

            Then again, maybe that’s just me as I get furious at the inconsiderate nature of non-mask wearers in checkout lines subjecting the poor “essential” workers, sentenced to hours on the job, to infection. And the violent travelers on planes refusing to wear masks is beyond contempt. If it were up to me, I’d slam them instantly in solitary.

            1. Geo

              Maybe airlines should start offering mask-free seating on the outside of the plane. Just strap a few seats to the wings and let those who prefer to not wear a mask sit out there. Win/win situation for all! :)

                1. fresno dan

                  Great, great movie! So Richard Attenborough’s hat flies off, but how does Jimmy Stewart’s hat stay on???
                  and didn’t they have any rope…so they could be tied on instead of just hanging on for dear life?

                  1. ambrit

                    “Rope? Tied on? We’re real men here bud! We only put on the windscreens to reduce drag, not keep sand out of our teeth!”

  21. enoughisenough

    I think it’s hilarious that the CNN article tagged on a couple of paragraphs at the end, saying the TSA is screening everyone, like that’s supposed to make us feel safe, when what it really does is confirm their uselessness. Their screenings stop nothing.

    The TSA should be eliminated, and we just go back to normal metal detectors/basic airport security.

    The PATRIOT Act was one of the worst things ever. It, by bundling different agencies, creates a fascist state. We also need to go back to the INS, separate from customs.

    1. ambrit

      To willfully misquote the inestimable Samuel Johnson, “the Patriot Act is the last refuge of a H— of a lot of scoundrels.”

  22. Edward

    “Blue Origin auctions seat on first spaceflight with Jeff Bezos for $28 million”

    $28 million might be enough to fix the water system in Flint MI.

    1. JTMcPhee

      But nowhere near enough to fix the water systems in all the other places affected by toxins in the water supply — due to age of systems, materials used, or nasty industrial chemicals sucked up into the pipes we all (unless rich enough to buy “perfect” water) are exposed to, to greater and lesser degrees.

      Of course there’s plenty of wealth that could be directed to ameliorating and curing that and a bunch of other problems, if only…

    2. RMO

      A seat on a flight on which you don’t have to sit next to Bezos has gotta be worth at least twice that much.

  23. molon labe

    Truth, Reading, Decadence–this all started as college attendance jumped up (as noted in the article) due to attempts to avoid/delay getting drafted for Vietnam (as not noted in the article).

  24. Riverboat Grambler

    Can’t imagine working on a plane now. Working in a small store enforcing the mask thing for over a year was seriously taking a toll on my mental health; every time someone walked in the door was a potential confrontation. Most people were cool but the people that weren’t were very memorable, sometimes three or four times a day. Especially after the CDC’s oh-so-helpful ruling that made things much worse and significantly upped people’s sense of entitlement. The last few weeks was awful.

    My vaccination happened to coincide with our county’s mask mandate lifting and it’s a huge weight off me to not half to fight people over it. All I was trying to do was protect myself and the people I care about while I deal with random strangers all day and some people treat you like dirt for it. It doesn’t matter if you give them one for free, they’ll walk away without putting it on, or put it on their chin, or any number of toddler-ish behavior. “Give me a break”, no you give ME a break.

    If my boss actually expected me to check people’s proof of vaccination, I’d just quit.

  25. Tom Stone

    Suicides: I happened to run into the man organizing my 25th HS graduation accidentally a couple of months before it was scheduled ( He recognized me, I have a noble proboscis) and we talked for a few minutes about who was doing what.
    At that time the leading cause of death among the 1972 Piedmont HS class was suicide.

  26. The Rev Kev

    Something for the early hours of the morning. So, ‘For decades, Queen Elizabeth II has maintained a ‘never complain, never explain’ stance about addressing the details of her personal life that make the front page.’ That is now changing. Seems that Harry and Meghan have been telling so many porkies lately, that she intends to have courtiers issue statements to correct any statements (bs) from Harry and Meghan. What seems to have caused this change was when they named their new baby Lilibet, which was the Queen’s nickname, and made out that they phoned her to get her permission first-–c-3103830

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the lowest-flying anti-protest helicopter . . . I remember reading once years ago about a method that insurgents in Vietnam had for bringing down helicopters when they were known to fly the same low route over and over and over again.

    They would fire a crossbow bolt with monomfilament fishing line tied to the end ” through” the rotor between the blades. The other end of the fishing line was tied to a length of slightly heavier line. The other end of the slightly heavier line was tied to slightly even heavier line. And step by step, heavier line by heavier line, till the heaviest line’s other end was tied to logging chain or some such thing. When the helicopter wound all that up in its rotor, it eventually crashed itself.

    I would never do anything so illegal as to advocate such an illegal action. It just came to mind as an anecdote relative to nothing at all.

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