Links 6/14/2021

Why there is little need to be afraid of forests (and of the wild animals in them) Scroll

The Marshall Project Wins The Pulitzer Prize Marshall Project

Winged Words London Review of Books. Tariq Ali.


Disruption to shipping could delay Christmas orders BBC

The Highest Railway in America Has Finally Reopened Conde Nast Traveller

Teflon and ‘forever chemicals:’ The hidden toxins in your body Deutsche Welle

Las Vegas Bans Decorative Grass to Combat Drought Treehugger


He’s a Stanford professor and a Nobel laureate. Critics say he was dangerously misleading on Covid Stat From last month, still germane.

Coronavirus: Taiwan outbreak appears to stabilise after 13,000 cases and 452 deaths, says minister South China Morning Post

Delaying England’s Covid reopening ‘could keep thousands out of hospital’ Guardian

Vietnam Company Could Make Covid Shots in Tech Transfer Deal Bloomberg

Will Chinese Tourists Visit A Re-Opened Europe? Jing Daily


Covid-19 Visa Backlogs, Travel Curbs Strain Businesses in Need of Workers WSJ

A judge dismisses Houston hospital workers’ lawsuit about vaccine mandates. NYT

Analysis: G7′s billion vaccine plan counts some past pledges, limiting impact Reuters

Novavax Offers U.S. a Fourth Strong Covid-19 Vaccine NYT

Covid: Is there a limit to how much worse variants can get? BBC

After 12-Year Run, Benjamin Netanyahu Replaced as Prime Minister of Israel The Wire

Palestinians not counting on change as Bennett replaces Netanyahu Al Jazeera

Netanyahu: Is it all over for Israel’s ‘comeback kid’? FT

Netanyahu picks fight with Biden in final speech as prime minister Jerusalem Post

Biden Administration

“Activism Uncensored”: The Line 3 Pipeline Protests TK News. Matt Taibbi.

Biden’s first foreign trip as VP was a breeze; Harris’ was into the lion’s den Yahoo

CNN panel criticize VP’s ‘cringeworthy’ and unprepared response to questions about when she would visit the border and warn her ‘allies’ in the White House are losing faith in her Daily Mail

Biden at NATO: Ready to talk China, Russia and soothe allies AP

Ocasio-Cortez Says ‘Elephant in the Room’ Is Senate Democrats Blocking Their Own Party’s Agenda Common Dreams

Trump Transition

Pelosi pushes for Barr and Sessions to testify on data seizures Politico

W. James Antle III Trump photo op at church wasn’t why Lafayette Square was cleared. Where are the mea culpas? NBC News

Prof. Krylov: Defend Science From The Woke American Conservative

Class Warfare

New York City’s posh private school heads earn huge salaries NY Post

Cuomo’s MTA Power Shakeup Threatens to Upend Transit Comeback, Critics Say The City

Concentration in the EU: Where It is Increasing and Why Promarket

Health Care

Three experts resign as FDA advisers over approval of Alzheimer’s drug Ars Technica

Pentagon Papers

50 Years Ago Today, Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers Helped End the Vietnam War Jacobin

The Deceit and Conflict Behind the Leak of the Pentagon Papers New Yorker

Old Blighty


The UK’sforgotten ‘fifth nation’ BBC

Sports Desk

Black Lives Matter and the Fight for England’s Soul The Wire

We go again London Review of Books


US Lawmakers Demand Answers on DOJ role in Lava Jato Brasilwire


Myanmar’s crisis becomes ASEAN’s shame Asia Times

Indian arms company selling military technology to Myanmar junta Myanmar Now


Why India Needs Village-Level Data To Target Malnutrition In Children India Spend

Government will aid children who have lost both parents to Covid – but why not all vulnerable kids? Scroll

Rishi Sunak’s billionaire in-laws hit with £5.5m bill in Amazon India tax dispute Guardian

Jinnah’s tragedy Business Standard

The Paradoxes of the Bangladesh Miracle Project Syndicate


G7 ballyhoos challenge to China’s Belt and Road Asia Rimes

This was one of the worst weeks for China on the world stage in a while Business Insider

China denounces G7 after statement on Xinjiang and Hong Kong BBC

Empire of Clowns versus Yellow Peril Pepe Escobar

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here:

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  1. rjs

    anyone else notice that new cases of Covid have been falling much faster than the US Covid death rate? i’ve been figuring it was just a matter of time that lower cases would lead to lower deaths, so i was surprised this weekend to find that US deaths attributed to Covid-19 the past week (ending June 12) were down just 0.7% from the prior week…since new cases continue to fall (albeit slower), deaths as a percentage of new cases has been rising (ie, it was 2.81% for the week ending June 12th vs 1.34% for the last week of April).​…i don’t know ​why ​and haven’t seen an explanation as to why that is so…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Declines in reporting and testing is one. The other is the state of health or living conditions of the unvaccinated population. It’s not any different thanpeople going into work sick before Covid. People who could stay home did, and others who couldn’t went to work and had problems exacerbated.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        Per the CDC, Cases in Vaccinated individuals aren’t counted unless they are hospitalized or die. Cases in an unvaccinated individual are always counted even if they have no symptoms (for example, caught in routine work place testing). So the denominator (total cases) no longer includes many cases that would have been counted previously.

        AND I agree with NotTimothyGeithner that total number of people being tested is dropping so most asymptomatic or low symptom cases aren’t being counted.

        So the denominator (total cases) no longer includes many cases that would have been counted previously.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Most people are assuming that once they have the full vaccine regime, they are protected from catching the actual virus. So they are assuming they no longer need masks, and can go shopping, socializing etc in crowded malls and bars. This view is being encouraged.

          If the fully vaccinated can catch and spread the virus, then they are all potential sources for virus mutation and outbreaks.

          If it is true that cases of Covid-19 in vaccinated individuals aren’t being counted, then the efficacy of the vaccines cannot be measured. No data = no measurements.

          By not collecting the stats on the numbers of fully vaccinated people who go on to catch the virus, the CDC is (intentionally or not) protecting the vaccine makers from scrutiny. And the CDC is refusing to collect the very data which might help if the virus mutates so that the vaccines no longer work to prevent death.

          1. me

            PCR cycle threshold was higher when Trump was president, even Fauci admitted that more than 28 cycles leads to false positives, but they they did it anyway.
            S. Korea didn’t retest fully recovered patients because the were picking up dead viral particles. Here in USA to discharge an elderly patient back to long term care we needed 2 negative tests, we tested & tested till we got them, Wonder how those were counted?
            As far as the “breakthrough” cases, Fauci decided to use the appropriate number of PCR cycles this time and only count those that are hospitalized or sick.
            In fact the few cases we have are fully vaccinated, well outside the window and from long term care.

        2. campbeln

          And and the CT values have changed, dropping from 40/42 to 35 per CDC guidelines (and 28 for those with a vaccine).

          The 35 CT change is great, but this is more than a little bit of apple-to-oranges comparison-wise and I’ll not even touch on the timing of the change…

    2. Samuel Conner

      I have the impression that one should lag the numbers to account for the typical delay between onset/detection and outcome. Perhaps calculate “currents deaths as a percentage of new cases as of X days ago”, with X around 14. One should do this with data that has been smoothed to avoid the strong intra-week variations.

      Having said that, I get the same impression as you.

      Doing the math in my spreadsheet, it looks like the reported deaths per day divided by the reported cases per day from 2 weeks prior (in both cases integrated over one week to smooth — I can only lag by integer weeks since that’s my time resolution) has been creeping up — from ~1.0 % to ~1.9% over the course of May (I flubbed my data entry for the 1st 2 weeks of June and can’t comment on that period), but not as rapidly as the non-lagged ratio — which rose from ~1.3% to ~3.0%. The discrepancy is to be expected when the new cases are declining, as they were — strongly — in May.

      This is over the time frame 1st to last Friday in May, with the numbers being the Saturday to Friday changes per the John’s Hopkins dashboard.

      I think your impression that the apparent CFR is rising is correct, but not as rapidly as the non-lagged ratio would suggest. What this implies for the actual CFR and the severity of current new infections is not clear, IMO. I have no idea what proportion of low-symptom cases are not being detected/reported or how that proportion might be changing.

      1. rjs

        i considered lagged data, even as i commented on unlagged data; my thought was that since both new cases and deaths have been sliding fairly continuously since the end of January, the ratio between the two on a weekly basis should tend to stablize…

        so far, i see only two possible explanations; one, that some longer haulers are dying several weeks or more after contracting the disease, or two, that the incidence of mutant strains is increasing, causing the death rate to rise…

        1. Skip Intro

          Another possibility is that the entire testing and vaccination apparatus are missing a chunk of the population that the virus is killing. These people only show up when they die.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Interesting. The article states that hospitals do get higher payments for COVID, but there is no evidence of fraudulent reporting. That was over a year ago. We do live in a hyper capitalist society. Hospital administrations are often run by MBA types looking to maximize profits, even if the hospital is technically a non-profit. The compensation upper management receives at our local non-profit is in the 7 figures.

        There may have been no evidence a year ago, but did anybody look then or since? I would be astounded if in our corrupt society, grifters were not taking advantage of this system which is ripe for being taken advantage of.

    3. Mantid

      rjs, I’m curious, which dashboard or stat site are you getting your numbers from? I’ve been following Roylab Stats out of S. Korea. He/she/it combines stats from 45 sites (Johns Hopkins, La Repubblica {It}, Taiwan’s CDC, etc.) and doesn’t include the U.S.’ CDC, a good move since they are not reliable. Been watching it since Jan last year. It’s here:
      Sadly many western gvt have decided to control the stat numbers to control the narrative and the headlines. So criminal. But again, what site(s) are you using. Sono curioso.

      1. Phillip Allen

        “He/she/it combines stats […]”

        “They” is a concise term which encompasses all the possible pronouns, and is a useful elision when one lacks reliable information to ‘disambiguate’ the matter.

        1. R

          They is ungrammatical nonsense in this usage. It is the third person plural.

          If a new gender neutral pronoun is required, please invent one and don’t appropriate an existing pronoun. Pronoun lives matter.

            1. JBird4049

              Shall we go to war over the proper use of pronouns? And is it that important?

              Honestly, we are just screwed. Modern English just does not have a third person, neuter, singular pronoun other than it. It is just for things or objects and not people. At least, using it strongly suggest that the speaker does not think that the person indicated is a person. It has only been a fact for at least a thousand years.

              IIRC, if we go back over a thousand years. Perhaps a few centuries before the Norman Invasion to the original invasion by the Angles and the Saxons when the Romano-Celts were still in control, and to the why yes, old Old English/Germanic, there are some options. That would mean reviving the complex, mind busting case system that they had or of digging up some of the really old, old, old words. Probably both. But then, we would be speaking a version of Old English, and not Modern English, so why do it?

              Today, if it is an individual, the old fashion, standard rule is the singular, masculine, third-person pronoun he. Yes, yes, sexist I know. A more modern, inclusive rule is he or she, or perhaps he/she. I think the current rule is using the pronoun they.

              Pick your option and don’t insult the other person for picking differently. For me and my next paper, it will be whatever my teacher dictates.

              1. flora

                From “Revolt of the Elites”:

                The current catchwords—diversity, compassion, empowerment, entitlement—express the wistful hope that deep divisions in American society can be bridged by goodwill and sanitized speech….In our preoccupation with words, we have lost sight of the tough realities that cannot be softened simply by flattering people’s self-image. What does it profit the residents of the South Bronx to enforce speech codes at elite universities?

                ― Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy

              2. The Transsexual Menace

                The singular they emerged by the 14th century, about a century after the plural they. It has been commonly employed in everyday English ever since then and has gained currency in official contexts.

                Or is that too old to count for modern English? Maybe we should get rid of “he” and “she” as well, then, since those also date to the 14th century.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            My preference is to be referred to as he/haw so any that any time one of the woke crowd is required to refer to me in their preferred manner they wind up braying like an ass.

        2. the suck of sorrow

          I did not watch the video but could not one say, ‘”person or process” combines stats’ without offense?

      2. rjs

        mantid, i’m using worldometers data because their interactive 7 day moving average graphics make my calculations easier; i posted a link to that earlier but it seems to be gone..

  2. Bandit

    Three experts resign as FDA advisers over approval of Alzheimer’s drug

    And you wonder why the FDA refused to approve a cheap generic drug like Ivemectin that cost less than $1.00 for use against covid yet overruled all of their professional advisors to approve a drug that cost $56,000 and has not proven efficacy in its limited trials? Some times the corruption is so obvious that credentialed scientists and medical professional advisors have to resign to preserve their credibility, of which the FDA has none left.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As for the remaining questions about the efficacy of Biogen’s Aduhelm, the FDA required Biogen to conduct another clinical trial to assess the drug’s efficacy. If the company does not indicate that the drug is effective, the FDA could rescind the approval. However, Biogen has up to nine years to submit its data. Throughout that time, the drug can be prescribed to patients—at a list price of $56,000.

      I guess how deep the profiteering rot goes remains to be seen.

      With such a high price tag, payment will obviously need to be made through some sort of insurance. Since Alzheimers typically affects older adults, that “insurance” will presumably be Medicare.

      But Medicare requires some sort of “drug plan” purchased from private insurance companies. These companies famously don’t “cover” “experimental” treatments. This one seems tailor-made for the “experimental” designation.

      Who’s gonna pay? .gov?

      Seems like maybe the biggest fallout from this is the FDA exposing itself, yet again, for the wholly owned subsidiary of big pharma that everybody keeps pretending it’s not. One of these days, the nail in the FDA’s coffin is going to be the last one.

      1. Susan the other

        There is no evidence that Aduhelm does anything at all to allievate amyloid plaques. Gee, why doesn’t this surprise me. Those plaques are caused by mis-folded proteins; genetic mis-translations. Where the hell is that research? There also has been no information now or in the past about what natural foods and remedies are good for preventing and dissolving amyloid plaques. Surely there is some comparative research on various metabolisms and diets that could give the pharma grifters at least a tiny clue. Some research somewhere funded by the NIH on toxins in our air and water that cause plaques? Nope. Those fucks. Just the same old shit and circus. Oh, great! Let’s all run out and spend a fortune taking aduhelm before anybody even knows the side effects. Like our dear sweet Flying Nun who got osteoporosis and took a “new” preventive drug which turned her into flying senile within just 2 or 3 years. Science anyone?

      2. chuck roast

        When the dust settles there will be a smooth transition to Biogen of a number of current FDA administrators. I’m sure that FDA staff could finger them in a minute…if they were interested.

  3. John Siman

    I just spent far too much time reading The Atlantic’s Official Take on Boris Johnson. Even the self-contradicting title of the essay, “THE MINISTER OF CHAOS: Boris Johnson knows exactly what he’s doing,” promises the the failure of clarity which Atlantic readers must endure to imbibe their daily dose of Right Thinking.

    Johnson, The Atlantic warns us, might be “… a charlatan who … endangers democracy and traffics in racism, and who believes in nothing but his own advancement.” Uh oh!

    “[Johnson] has been accused,” The Atlantic continues, “of triggering a wave of *populist* anger that he then rode to 10 Downing Street, leaving Britain weakened and in very real danger of dissolution….” One must pause and note here that, pace Tom Frank, the word “populist” means “Trump-voting redneck” at The Atlantic.

    “I wanted to understand,” The Atlantic resumes, “whether Johnson was truly a *populist*, or just popular…. And I wanted to see up close if he truly was—as his enemies charge—the British equivalent of Donald Trump. On this question, Johnson would have an emphatic answer for me.”

    Umm yes, he would, and his answer was — surprise! — no, he’s not actually Trump. Nor is he Hitler. Not even Putin. Johnson just vaguely sucks. That’s what you can tell your liberal friends — with confidence! — if you read this essay. But it takes obedient Atlantic readers a whole lot of reading to get to this anticlimactic nugget. Such hard work it is to be morally superior in America today!

    1. Jesper

      I’d say that this:

      “believes in nothing but his own advancement.”

      is a very accurate description of members of the Professional Manager Class (PMC). As far as I can tell he is on of the best in the world in doing what the PMC does – get promoted through office/organisational-politics.

      The failures of the BJ-administration might be all down to him or part down to him, my suspicion is that he is not the only PMC in his administration and quite a few of the failures might be due to other PMCs not being capable to do their jobds/duties. They’d have failed without him, maybe some super-human could have kept the PMC from showing their inabilities but it is impossible to know for certain.

      He is, to me at least, the most successful PMC in the world and I suspect that many PMC are in private/secret thinking of him as a role-model. I might despise many in the PMC but his skill at being a PMC is something I can’t deny.

    2. hunkerdown

      But, along the way to that conclusion, the PMC reader was also shown how to bullshit and condescend with confidence, thereby reproducing their class and their station by immersion. The form of discourse is one of the “passwords” Michael Lind was talking about.

      1. John Siman

        A very perspicacious observation, Mr. / Ms. / Mx. hunkerdown! Reading The Atlantic is *not* at all a waste of time for the aspiring PMC climber who must stay au courant with cutting-edge PMC bullshit. For, as Lind observes, “Constantly replacing old terms with new terms known only to the oligarchs is a brilliant strategy of social exclusion.” Shibboleths once were they called!

        And let’s quote a little more from Lind’s essay “The New National American Elite” — because it’s so brilliant!

        “More and more Americans,” Lind writes, “are figuring out that ‘wokeness’ functions in the new, centralized American elite as a device to exclude working-class Americans of all races, along with backward remnants of the old regional elites. In effect, the new national oligarchy changes the codes and the passwords every six months or so, and notifies its members through the universities and the prestige media and Twitter. America’s working-class majority of all races pays far less attention than the elite to the media, and is highly unlikely to have a kid at Harvard or Yale to clue them in.”

        1. chuck roast

          Mx.? I won’t ask. It must take a substantial amount of time and energy to stay current with the latest buzzwords supporting the overclass. It appears to be a heavy burden to bear, but if one doesn’t have to demonstrate competence other than the correct credentials…well, then…let’s watch them spout. Perhaps NC should develop a category for abstruse PMC jargon so that slow old fellows like me can get a good chuckle before promptly forgetting the nonsense.

  4. ProNewerDeal

    IIRC Chile has about 60% vaccinated, with in some cities near fully hospitals & a new lockdown being imposed. Recent testing shows 27% of those patients testing positive for COVID, were vaccinated.

    The majority that were vaccinated, were vaccinated by the China’s CoronaVac, of Inactivated Virus vaccine type, the most mature type (Polio & Flu vaccines are of Inactivated Virus type).

    Ironically, I was disappointed that here in Murica, aka The Land of Freedom TM, we were not offered the Free Choice of any vaccine of Inactivated Virus type. In my guesstimate, this seemed to be geopolitics &/or Corporate Corruption of US Fed Gov; not scientific, since in Mexico the Global South & Russia “near-abroad” on every continent, nations of differing politics/culture & China relations approved CornoVac or other Inactivated Virus vaccines from China or India.

    Can a Chile-type scenario occur here in USA, especially in our USA winter of Oct2021-Feb2022?

    The only distinctions I see is that Chile is in winter currently, & that the type of vaccine used in Chile was Inactivated Virus instead of the USA’s mRNA Pfizer/Moderna.

    I doubt the mRNA vs Inactivated Virus is a driving factor, as none of these vaccines are seemingly of the Sterilizing Immunity caliber anyways. I assume a Chile type scenario is possible in the USA as early as Oct2021. AFAICT the public policy on the Federal & State levels are implicitly assuming “COVID is over” & this Chile-type risk doesn’t exist.

    Am I missing some concept here? What do ya think?! (c) Ed Schultz

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The UK also has a high vaccination rate and its lockdown looks certain to be extended as both infections and deaths surge due to the Delta (Indian) variant.

      One of the many things I find appalling about the official response to Covid is the lack of consistent published baseline data to allow a comparison of vaccines. I believed the first reports indicating that the Chinese vaccines were less effective, but as Yves has pointed out a few times, there are firm reasons for believing that the methods of assessment are chosen to make some vaccines (mostly the RNA ones) look better than they may be, and others (i.e. the Chinese and Russian) look worse.

      The only thing we can say for certain now is that none of the vaccines provide anything close to 100% protection, and that no country has come close to the rate of vaccination needed to prevent further Covid surges without the use of other public health methods.

      1. Mantid

        P.Kun, You mention “there are firm reasons for believing that the methods of assessment are chosen to make some vaccines (mostly the RNA ones) look better than they may be”. I finally watched this DarkHorse discussion, spoken of a few times in our (NC) discussions:

        Watch it before it’s gone to censored heaven (or hell). It will not be shared in MSM but hopefully it will be in the criminal trials (sad pun). Skim to 2:17:00 and listen for about 5 minutes. Not well facilitated but interesting study on where the spike protein of the Pfizer vaccine goes (settles). Oy, it settles in the bone marrow (not good) and the ovaries (also not good). Remember thalitimide?

        And now we’re passing it into children. Is there not end to this corruption and criminality?

        1. Objective Ace

          FYI, the Darkhorse discussions are available on mostly any podcast app.. if/when they are censored by YouTube

      2. Nikkikat

        I have also been saying that there was a clear bias from the beginning they have pushed the two MRNA vaccines over the J and J. These vaccines have had a lot a bad side effects, some lasting weeks or months. Had they not done this, I think we would have vaccinated many more people using the J and J. It also seems that they have shut down the Big Pharma CEO’s gabbing about boosters. They were saying the quiet part out loud. They want to keep jabbing us and keep the dollars rolling in. This virus has been really good for the bottom line and stock portfolios. Fauci has played a large role in pushing the so called effectiveness of RNA vaccines.

        1. tegnost

          “mRNA vaxxes are programmable!
          We’ll just update with new versions!”
          I too notice that booster thing kind of disappeared lately.
          The J+J is still a questionable technology.
          We’re flying blind.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          J and J. The company that for decades knew their baby powder contained carcinogenic asbestos and denied it. Baby powder.

          And now they’re making “vaccines.” From 3 days ago:

          About 60 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine that were produced at a troubled factory in Baltimore will have to be thrown out, the FDA has reportedly concluded.

          The Food and Drug Administration has decided that these tens of millions of vaccine doses that were produced at a factory operated by Emergent BioSolutions must be thrown out due to possible contamination, The New York Times reports. The FDA will, however, reportedly allow 10 million vaccine doses to still be distributed with warning labels noting that regulators can’t guarantee that Emergent “followed good manufacturing practices,” the Times reports.

          After the first Emergent manufacturing debacle, J and J put more of its own inspectors into the plant for more J and J style “quality control.” At some point, past performance IS indicative of future results.

          1. Yves Smith

            You are drawing the wrong inferences here.

            1. Pfizer has a vastly worse record with harmful drugs and extended coverups than J&J. IM Doc comes close to seeing red on this topic.

            2. J&J was made/pressed to take that shitty factory recently. This was not an established J&J operation. J&J recently took control in some sort of Operation Warp Speed scheme/request.

            If you have ever had any experience with manufacturing, you almost certainly know it is very difficult to turn around badly performing factories. Lambert has even said he wonders if getting J&J to take this crap facility was part of a covert scheme to help Pfizer (there have been other indications that the CDC is operating as a Pfizer booster, such halting J&J vaccine sales over a clotting issue when the VAERS database shows higher frequency of clotting-related pathologies and deaths).

      3. ambrit

        Around here, I have now heard from several supposedly ‘smart’ people the idea that, “I’m vaccinated, and now safe from the virus.” Trying to argue against such a delusion is head bangingly painful. The unwillingness to even question a “cherished” belief in vaccine triumphalism is rampant.
        The upcoming fall and winter in the Northern Hemisphere look to be brutal. If England feels the necessity to continue a ‘lockdown’ during the summer, imagine how bad winter will be.

        1. hunkerdown

          On r/datingoverCENSORED (where CENSORED is either thirty or forty, I forgot which) someone had posted a query about the use of “If you are/aren’t vaxxed swipe left” in online dating profiles. One of the resident PMC women there kept using the term “believe in science” (We don’t capitalize deities even as we genuflect towards them) and equating the consumption of the current vaccine offerings with basic human reciprocity, as if the corruption that riddled and riddles the Western treatment of the pandemic did not exist or lowkey pays her rent.

          The results of the debt relation are secondary to ensuring the relation continues. Jay Gould wouldn’t hire one half of the working class to kill the other half if the working class were not sufficiently housebroken to remain in their supplicant station.

        2. flora

          The media does a poor job of explaining the vaccs’ absolute risk reduction vs relative risk reduction. The media mostly only reports relative risk reduction; I think people are left to assume that’s also the absolute risk reduction. It’s not. Here’s a quick abstract from a long paper.

          1. flora

            From the abstract:

            Unreported absolute risk reduction measures of 0.7% and 1.1% for the Pfzier/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, respectively, are very much lower than the reported relative risk reduction measures. Reporting absolute risk reduction measures is essential to prevent outcome reporting bias in evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine efficacy.

      4. Mikel

        And the kicker from this article is yet ANOTHER reminder:
        “…Dr. Michael Mina: It’s a hodgepodge of semi-useful approaches. What we’re seeing is this massive confusion, because the CDC, almost overnight, swung 180 degrees from actively pleading with people to continue mitigating strategies to a few weeks later, saying, don’t do it. We don’t want you to test anymore. That runs a risk of confusing a lot of people.

        [Editor’s note: U.S. health officials last month flipped the script on the nation’s COVID-19 testing policy, telling the majority of Americans who have been fully vaccinated that they no longer need to get tested for the virus if they are exposed to someone who has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. This came just two months after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged Americans to remain patient with mitigation measures like mask-wearing and social-distancing.]

        But we still want to keep testing up and going to ensure that we are not missing outbreaks. We’re going to need to have systems set up to be able to identify if there is a silent outbreak happening that ultimately could start affecting the unvaccinated. Maybe it’s happening amongst both vaccinated and unvaccinated. ”

        Breakthrough cases are going to be denied as long as possible…

      5. fumo

        The details given by Hancock last week were out of a sample of roughly 120 patients, only 3 had been double jabbed. The main US/EU approved vaccines are all remarkably effective, I’m not sure where the factual basis for all the consternation about vaccine efficacy is being hidden but I can’t find it. There is no significant number of cases of previously healthy double-jabbed patients being hospitalized, as much as the ideologically “vaccine skeptical/hesitant” may want to believe otherwise.

        Vaccination is the only path out of the pandemic, any other path will inevitably leave the population exposed and vulnerable to wave after wave ad infinitum.

        1. tegnost

          The main US/EU approved vaccines are all remarkably effective,

          The main US/EU EUA authorized vaccines appear to be effective
          If you’re going to go on about “factual basis” maybe use more accurate though less colorful language
          This is the stage 3 trial, has anyone from CDC asked you about reactions you may or may not have had?

          1. R

            In practical terms an EUA for a vaccine is no worse than a full approval for new drugs. Very few drugs are tested on acute infections in the kind of numbers that the vaccines have been tested in for the EUA. You simply cannot recruit enough patients.

            The drugs with huge clinical trials are lifestyle disease drugs (metabolic diseases, musculoskeketal-cartilage diseases, vascular diseases etc), where there are large patient populations under primary care. The trials are only this large because the diagnostic criteria are fuzzy (most of these diseases are really syndromes, i.e. a mixed bag of conditions with the sane signs and symptoms – Alzheimer’s disease is a classic, not all dementia is AD) and the effect sizes of the drugs are weak. Consequently, huge numbers are needed to prove anything – and even then it may just be a freak result.

            The large trials are not that large to prove safety. Safety effects turn up in post marketing surveillance. In the vaccine context, that means now, under EUA.

            The perfect is the enemy of the good.

            1. tegnost


              To minimize the risk that use of a vaccine under an EUA will interfere with long-term assessment of safety and efficacy in ongoing trials, it will be essential to continue to gather data about the vaccine even after it is made available under the EUA.

              Have you been contacted regarding effects of the vaccine you may or may not have had?

            2. fumo

              The “vaccine skeptics” won’t change their tune when the vaccines go from under the EUAs to full approval as they will before long. Watch and learn. They’ll just concoct more ad hoc rationalizations for why vaccines are an evil plot and a public health menace instead of the only realistic answer we have to the Covid pandemic. The narrative must and will always be maintained even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence. The preordained conclusion is a given and then the anti-vaccine narrative will be tirelessly constructed and modified to support that by whatever means become necessary.

              1. athingtoconsider

                The “vaccine skeptics” won’t change their tune when the vaccines go from under the EUAs to full approval as they will before long. fumo

                But I thought full approval required 5-10 years of testing?

                So how can they be fully approved “before long?” And if they are fully approved prematurely (because of longer term side effects), what is that going to do to the credibility of all new vaccines?

                This undue haste reeks of panic to me of some oldsters who perhaps think that if they can only survive a bit longer that their wealth and power might soon, via advancing Science, enable them to cheat Death for hundreds of years or perhaps indefinitely. And if that comes at the expense of younger generations, that’s nothing new to many Baby Boomers, is it?

              2. campbeln

                Jon Stuart took YEARS fighting for the 9/11 responders ill health related to that fateful day.

                Similar denials are still ongoing for Gulf War Syndrome.

                Fallout from the mRNA Phase 3 trials we’re currently conducting (poorly) will run a similar path.

                1. fumo

                  Covering up bad results from the mRNA vaccines to railroad regulatory approval will require corrupting not just any one nation’s vaccine approval process, which might be possible, but the processes of *every* country conducting such a process. Is the conspiracy to promote mRNA vaccines a global one involving all countries’ regulatory systems simultaneously then? How likely is that to successfully be accomplished? I can see one country or another being corrupted, but *all* of them at once? Please forgive my skepticism.

                  1. Yves Smith

                    From reader KLG via e-mail:

                    fumo seems to think the approval apparatus is much more atomized than it is. Regulatory capture is certainly the order of the day in the US and this seems to be true, though less so, in the EU. Is WHO to be trusted? India, Russia, and China go their own way for their own “good and sufficient” reasons, with some doing better than others. Africa is left out so far. South America follows the US? I do not know. Canada is stuck with us, without any vaccine manufacturing infrastructure, which they allowed to disappear. I’m not up to date on Australia and New Zealand.

        2. Cuibono

          Vaccination is the only path out? It surely is one path out. But too much remains unknown since we have NO prior experience of vaccinating our way out of a pandemic.
          Hmm, seems to me that history would suggest otherwise: this disease is likely to become endemic like prior coronaviruses

        3. IM Doc

          I have multiple problems with your statement above.

          First and foremost, in medical history – vaccinations are not the only way out of a pandemic. This is very faulty Big Pharma Claptrap. And conflating vaccine histories in different virus families with different pathogenesis is really not a good approach. Even with the POLIO vaccines – it took almost a decade before Dr. Salk proclaimed victory – and that was after many more hundreds of thousands had been maimed or killed. And please note polio is still around and actually making a small comeback – DESPITE the massive worldwide vaccination drives.

          Smallpox, measles and polio ( our big success stories with vaccines) are very different from coronaviruses – and generalizing statements about “vaccinating out of a pandemic” should never be made. It is literally apples and oranges. Ask any veterinarian how successful vaccination has been on animal coronavirus pandemics – and you may begin to play a different tune. Maybe this technology is different maybe not – but it is impossible to tell when the authorities are not even counting cases correctly. And it is inappropriately early to be making such statements.

          Secondly, I, as a PCP, have now lost count of how many completely vaccinated patiients in the past few weeks/months have been positive for COVID after their vaccines. They are just no longer being counted. How convenient. And this is the way it is being presented in the media – no matter how wrong-headed it is. It is very clear to me here on the ground that these vaccines do not provide sterilizing immunity as the majority of our others do. What that means going forward we will soon find out. But doing victory laps at this stage of the game is almost imbecile. As to your hospitalization point, just like last summer, here in my local area – we are starting to see a drip drip drip of COVID hospitalizations – and though small in number – every single one last week was fully vaccinated. We are already seeing in some parts of the country – looking right at southern Texas – that vaccinated patients are indeed being hospitalized. And it happens to be going on in the UK at a very surprising rate. Indeed, if one looks closely at the numbers coming out of the UK – the VACCINATED have a higher chance of dying right now, even though the death rate is very very low.

          I have stated repeatedly – and will state again. The real test for these vaccines is coming up in the next few months. As “vaccinated” Chile is finding out right now – the winter is really harsh – and if we can get through the fall and winter months here in America without a huge surge – then I will feel much more confidently that the vaccines have worked. Until that time – I believe strongly that end zone dancing is completely inappropriate

          1. me

            Don’t forget those with myocarditis and the increasing number of people with clots. We thought things were going to quiet down, but it is just getting started. Covid, cardiac, stroke, clots of all kinds. And I wanted to take a vacation.

    2. Mikel

      ‘I assume a Chile type scenario is possible in the USA as early as Oct2021…”

      If you’re going to assume one, I would think the USA would know before Oct with the larger population that is highly mobile? Although Oct or later could be accurate just because of the critical mass it would have to hit before it was admitted that something needs to be done about breakthroughs.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      And how many angels dance on the head of a pin?

      The report does seem to make clear that Trump did not order this all by himself just so he could get a photo op, as was widely reported. He may have taken of advantage of the situation to do his stupid photo op, but the breathless reporting from the Trump-Deranged was that he ordered and coordinated it, something I find very implausible coming from someone with an attention span shorter than that of a deranged gnat.

      Plenty to criticize Trump about without making stuff up. Of course the really egregious stuff, like fomenting coups in Venezuela, etc are things the DC establishment agrees with him on, so what we get instead is these asinine back and forths about what really happened at Lafayette square while ongoing atrocities perpetrated across many presidential administrations get ignored.

      1. dcblogger

        cops would not act in defiance of a president. Had Trump have any objections to tear gas it would never have happened.

        1. hunkerdown

          The desperation for any theory of culpability where Trump holds the short end hangs in the air like fermented testosterone at an anime convention. What bourgeois politics does to its adherents is just embarrassing and pathetic.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This guy sounds like he’s selling used cars or discount appliances. I wouldn’t buy either one from him, let alone some sort of news “analysis.”

      Gotta love the info under the video where he tells you about himself–“LegalEagle. The most avian legal analysis on the internets. ” WTF?

      And under “Business Inquiries”: “Please email my agent & manager at

      Sounds real reputable.

  5. allan

    Ferrari enters luxury fashion, targeting uninitiated youth [AP]

    Giving new meaning to fast fashion:

    Ferrari V12 production cars were suspended over the factory floor Sunday night as the 74-year-old luxury carmaker launched a new era as a lifestyles brand, with a runway show unveiling its first ready-to-wear collection targeting a younger generation that might not be aware of its Formula One racing pedigree and coveted performance street cars.

    Models walked along the halted production line in a symbolic gesture that underlined the creative interplay between Ferrari’s long lineage of sleek, curved automotive bodies and the fashion line by creative director Rocco Iannone, strong on structured outwear contrasting with fluid, bright printed silks in Ferrari red, Scuderia yellow and electric blue. …

    The youthful streetwear feel was sophisticated, with oversized Ferrari branding on shirts, complemented by wide shorts with reflective tape or loose-fitting trousers sportily fastened at the ankle.

    Footwear included steel stiletto moccasins with rubber soles for women, or trekking sandals with flashes of color and a sneaker collaboration with Puma for men. Accessories included big Prancing Pony crystal earrings, trailing Ferrari-branded belts and futuristic sunglasses by Rayban.

    The seasonless collection will be trickled out in six drops this year, with 80% meant to be genderless and available in a range of sizes from XXXS to XXXL. …

    For some reason this reminds me of when Kodak began licensing to have its logo on crayons.
    Cross branding is not a good sign for a manufacturing company.

    1. fumo

      I’m a solid tifoso of the Maranello firm and have even been to the factory and museum, but the future of IC-engined sportscars has got to be pretty dim. Today you have electric sedans everywhere that can match most of the Ferrari line-up in sheer speed, I reckon Ferrari could well end up like Harley-Davidson, selling ever smaller numbers of uncompetitive product to a dying-off customer base on image and history alone.

      The days when Ferrari cars actually performed significantly better than far cheaper and widely available alternatives are long past.

      1. urdsama

        With regards to performance of IC versus EV, it’s not that clear cut.

        Yes, off the line it’s a win for EVs. But long haul and continued performance, not so much. While Porsche has avoided the extreme limp mode issue that the Tesla Plaid has (as just one example), top end speed for sustained periods of time still belongs to IC performance cars.

        Also, I suspect many of those who are in the market for a Ferrari, are likely to keep getting the IC cars, with an EV on the side.

    1. cocomaan

      I really like the idea of the Gerontocracy.

      There are plenty of capable leaders in their 50’s who would make good presidents, but there’s an entire generation of people far past retirement age in charge of any number of government functions. What gives? It seems to me that your 50’s is a great combination of energy and wisdom. Even early 60’s seems reasonable.

      Instead we have people in office two decades older than that. It’s wild.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Partially is the attachment to the brand and nostalgia. Biden has been around a long time, so he wasn’t questioned. A Kamala Harris type didn’t have that kind of protection. Klobuchar, Gillibrand, and a host of losers over the years. If Team Blue had not been so bad all these years, theso types would have had traction. Hillary is vaguely associated with health care from 1994, so she remained associated in 2016. Buttigieg, O’Rourke, and so forth won’t break through because the don’t reach into the glorious past and subsequently are questioned more.

        The Clintons ran party recruiting, so Team Blue is trash all over. Bill for 1992 missed a couple of competitors because they were looking at ’96, and Moonbeam made noise with a late entry.

        Who is the leader outside the gerontocracy of Team Blue? Pelosi tried to make her squad alternative, but they gripe alternative out people not knowing their names.

        What would a younger Biden who wasn’t the VP but a leading voice on domestic and foreign policy have done? Oh right. We already know. The “New Democrats” can’t win without preconceived notions about candidates.

        1. cocomaan

          It’s also seen with the Republicans, too. Trump is 75, Mitch McConnell is 77, Chuck Grassley is 88 freaking years old!

          Nancy Pelosi is 81. Chuck Schumer is a baby, at only 72.

          I mean, these are wild numbers. Is anyone writing about this?

          1. Doc Octagon

            Hmm… Senate Standing Committees determine leadership by seniority alone; where the chair is each Party’s to win or lose. That, and modern medicine, ensures the Senators of the safest states can wield enormous power regardless of a Senator’s modest talent, the roughest of approximations to human communication, or the wisdom of the electorate overlooking both of the above. Well, mystery solved.

            The system favors stability and undermines any burgeoning cults of personality by handicapping seats which require actual personality to win. Any upstart has to t-bone a busload of mild gov’t-issued public service replicants to subvert the American consensus.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Republicans, even the nominally young ones, are old. Its just their nature. Team Blue is has been heavily supported by younger voters for so long the oldest ones are getting AARP ads.

            On a slightly more serious note, someone, probably Atrios, posted the ’96 GOP primary field and their ages. Smoking obviously took a toll, but yeesh, those guys were contemporaries of Biden et al.

        2. Stinky Wizzleteats

          I can’t lie and pretend that when Covid-19 first hit and it looked like it preyed on the elderly specifically that I wasn’t a little excited about a plague tailor made to wipe out this blight. It felt like god was finally on our side, but alas.

          1. ambrit

            Sorry, but G-d doesn’t take ‘sides’ in this casino. G-d is the casino, plus, the bugger throws the dice around corners where we can’t see them on occasion.

        3. TMR

          That generation came up truly believing they were going to change the world for the better, and I don’t think they’ll ever accept the notion that they permanently failed.

          1. tegnost

            There is less overt racism than I witnessed a a child in north florida in the ’60’s, others can probably come up with examples of how things are “better”, such as that can be… but It’s time to hand the reins to a younger cohort, just IMO… Life is a river not a lake…

              1. tegnost

                I knew I was reaching there… but it was really bad then…and it’s still really bad so there’s no refuge

              2. FluffytheObeseCat

                Yes. Considerably less overt; tegnost is right. I can still remember black porters at the Orlando airport tipping their caps to my father in the early 70s. And I remember bars in New Orleans in the early 80s that would only serve the local black residents at a barred window; they just knew not to enter and didn’t.

                You appear to have no idea of how some parts of the Deep South operated in the 60s. It was surreal.

            1. ambrit

              I can barely remember segregated busses in Miami, Florida when we first came to America. As I’ve mentioned before, Miami Beach had a curfew for non-whites well into the 1960s. In the 1920s and 1930s, Jews weren’t allowed to own property on Miami Beach north of Fifth Avenue. There are still places in South Florida that quietly segregate their property ownership.
              Just becuse something has been declared illegal does not stop it from happening.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        What gives? If they let go of the precious even for a second they may wind up falling into a volcano.

        We’re ruled by a bunch of power-hungry, immortality-craving gollums.

        1. Mildred Montana


          Being unfamiliar with “Lord of the Rings”, I had to look that one up.

          Smeagol lived to be 589 years old. Does that mean we’ve got 500 more years of our current Congressional gollums? If so, that’s about the time it took the Western Roman Empire to fall. Curious.

          Also, in my comment about the shale oil fraud case, I refer to this quote from John Kenneth Galbraith:

          “…regulatory bodies, like the people who comprise them, have a marked life cycle. In youth they are vigorous, aggressive, evangelistic, and even intolerant. Later they mellow, and in old age – after a matter of 10 or 15 years – they become, with some exceptions, either an arm of the industry they are regulating, or senile.”

          Written 50 years ago, his use of the word “senile” seems quite timely today. Not just for regulators but for all the government gollums.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Yikes! There’s a clip you won’t see on the cnn G-7 highlight reel.

      Here’s one reply to that tweet:

      It’s called a “Redirect”. Any of my staff in my assisted living recognize that behavior in seniors and their caregivers. You don’t get a 80 yo to come by waving hands and leading him with hand holding who has no cognitive decline. FACT!

      Looks to me like dr. jill panicked. She’s usually not so “demonstrative” in her shepherding when in public. I expect we’ll be seeing a resurgence in stories about the jill and joe “love story” to justify all the hand-holding that will surely go on at the putin-biden “summit.”

      Could you imagine Jackie O. waving her arms, grabbing JFK’s hand, and leading him away like that? Yeah, me neither.

      1. petal

        I’m trying to replay the August 2019 town hall in my mind and revisit the dementia symptoms he exhibited. Seems like it’s gotten worse and they’re having a harder time hiding it. They were able to hide it better during the campaign and keep things under control/wraps at the WH, but at events like these that they don’t really have as much control over, it’s getting out. I bet they can’t wait to get back to DC. “He was just tired from the time difference”, etc etc.

        1. tegnost

          somehow I wound up on DK’s email list although i never open them, and one just came through claiming in the part I could see, the hook, that biden scolded a reporter so he’s still being advertised as pretty sharp…

      2. Nikkikat

        They apparently learned how to control and contain the doddering old fools back in the Reagan years. Nancy and her astrologer managed Ronnie quite well.

    3. R

      Rev, the link does not work. I found the clip by direct search. Is it broken or being suppressed? Twitter’s passive aggressive “something seems to be broken” covers more than just technology….

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    Forest fear–

    Sounds like a possible treatment for Gates-itis:

    desensitisation programme you might undertake with allergies: nighttime hikes, carefully measured out in small doses, will break down fears while at the same time giving all those senses that are underused during the day a welcome workout.

    If Bill would just try the author’s prescription for a couple of weeks, maybe he would fear and hate Nature less and quit trying to destroy/control it with his Frankenplants and robot tractors.

  7. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: the bad week for China

    -China is officially less democratic than before…file under no duh.
    -NATO huffed a bit
    -Biden announced the US would in the future donate vaccines. much for the TRIPS wire.
    -money to decrease US semi conductor dependence from China and TAIWAN…not that it’s good…in a grand scheme it’s a joke compared to our decades of deranged trade policy (since Biden has been a player in DC)

    I suspect rumors there would be overtures to Putin to work against China were real and rebuffed as offers with less seriousness than emails from Nigerian royalty. Now the propaganda machine is pushing out the best anti-China stories it can.

        1. Mantid

          Regarding “considering”…… California’s fire fighters are predominantly prisoner labor. No considering there. Actions speak louder than considerations. But they are paid, in dollars. And there were benevolent slave owners as well. Sad state.

          1. JBird4049

            Yes. There was an effort to make all forms of slavery illegal, but some demanded that the bit about penal servitude be put in/let in.

            Since after Reconstruction, the South has had a vigorous system of penal servitude first in farming, mining, and construction, and today in manufacturing; Slavery by Another Name is a good book on the subject. It make me a bit ill. Reading books about Blacks during slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and then books like White Trash in which wealthy colonists call poor whites as good for only “human manure” best be worked to death and then buried, thereby improving the land for their use (supposedly civilized use). This does explain some of the high death rate of early colonists especially in the South. Makes one wonder just who was in charge and running things during the past 400 years of American history.

            I went to some good public schools, and certainly had good teachers, but much of what I learn about American history, I learned from reading books outside of the approved class list. My schools were good enough that nobody lied by commission to me, but they certainly did lie by omission when leaving an awful lot of inconvenient) history out.

            It has only taken thirty years to fill in some of it. Sometimes by accident when browsing bookshelves. Really nothing but luck combined with good teachers and family that really pushed me to learn what was missing. This is why remaining angry at some Alt-Right pinhead or some Awoken PMC fool because it really is not their fault; they are so ignorant and programmed with the Approved Narrative™, sometimes from birth, that makes it very difficult for them to see that herd of trumpeting pink elephants in front of them. Although I still want to hit some of them in the head occasionally.

            I am more angry at those who created and then guided that pernicious, now self perpetuating ignorance to their original victims. It might be pretentious to say, (actually, it is) but I will say it anyway. The induced deaths of their souls and minds is almost, maybe is, worse than the actual physical murder of the individuals would be for the power it gives the perpetrators: the parasitical elites and their helpers.

        2. chuck roast

          “Russia is considering putting prisoners into forced labor.” This from Bloomberg…ahem…will be consigned to the ashcan of history…ahem…in quicktime. Ample demonstration why the Twitterverse is the Stoopidverse.

    1. Procopius

      People who think China is going to become democratic should read up on Chinese history, especially the kingdom of Ch’in. They’ve studied political science for three thousand years and have their own opinions, which are not at all agreeable to liberals, libertarians, or capitalists.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Built-to-Rent Suburbs Are Poised to Spread Across the U.S.”

    This is the Wall Street Journal understating the problem. Actually it reads to me like propaganda. It is talking about developers building rental-only suburbs which of course crowds out development of suburbs where families can buy their own home. That is one thing. But right now you are having corporations buying up whole suburbs and outbiding families – corporations like BlackRock. Before too many years, most suburban homes will be rentals-

    Work it out. As this trend increases, young families will never be able to compete buying a home if they are in competition with a pension fund for example. So they give up and become renters instead. Which means that they never get a chance to build up their wealth the traditional way (‘You will own nothing…’) and as it is pointless as renters to buy a lot of furniture or gardening gear, they will spend their money on lifestyle choices like restaurants, holidays, clothes (‘…and be happy about it‘). More likely the rents will be so high that it will sop up most of their pay-packets anyway. And so comes about Rentier America. In this future, the Brady Bunch rented their home and the high rents meant that they could never afford a maid.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think its important here to make a distinction between ‘build to rent’ schemes and investors buying up existing schemes for rent. The latter certainly drives up prices and makes it nearly impossible for first time buyers to get on the ladder (this is a huge political issue now in Ireland). The former doesn’t do this, on the assumption that there is no capacity limit within the industry to build more houses. If lots of cash that would otherwise go to boosting unicorns is pushed into well designed build for rent schemes I think this is a good thing, as excess capacity would drive down the cost of housing to everyone.

      The countries who have best addressed housing issues focus on a wide variety of housing tenures – from public housing to co-operatives to private (highly regulated) renting to private home ownership. And I think in this large scale rental only developments are not a bad thing if they are regulated correctly. One big advantage they have over small landlords is that they have an incentive to maintain their developments to a high quality in order to maintain rents, unlike small landlords who often have very negative incentives. I’ve a number of build-to-rent schemes near where I live and they are strikingly well built and maintained, unlike those which were sold to small landlords. It only takes one landlord to decide to stuff his apartment/house to students or criminals without bothering to control them to run down a neighbourhood.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What is an apartment building after all but build to rent?

        At least in the US, a major crisis is simply houses as stores of wealth instead of reasonably long term places to live relative to family needs. Terrible zoning laws. Then the stability of jobs. Comparatively rents versus home ownership in so many localities, buying makes too much sense. That isn’t always the case and is often the result of conscious decisions by regulatory bodies.

      2. Grumpy Engineer

        on the assumption that there is no capacity limit within the industry to build more houses…

        I’m pretty sure this assumption isn’t true, especially as evidenced by the recent (and extreme) price hikes seen in construction materials. And in my little corner of Appalachia, I’ve seen zero of explicit “building to rent”. I’ve seen plenty of existing homes being sold to investment firms. Local housing costs have risen by more than 15% year-over-year. The “excess capacity” thing clearly hasn’t happened yet.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t know the US situation, but I assume its highly regional. The funny thing about the construction industry is that it all seems competitive until that wall is reached, and suddenly contract bids go through the roof (if you can get anyone to tender at all).

          But of course there are many other factors involved in construction capacity – regulatory bottlenecks, land availability, funding, etc.

          In my experience private developers (and their funders) absolutely love build to let clients, because they dramatically reduce risk and shorten the payback period. So the cost per unit is likely to be significantly less to the build to let purchaser, all things considered. But of course the industry is notoriously lemming-like, so when one type of development is flavour of the month, you almost always end up with a surplus within a couple of years. Given the bottomless pit of cash available to the investors, this could be bad news for them, but maybe very good news for those looking to rent in a few years.

          1. Mantid

            Plutonium, I’m curious what the lumber situation is near you. In the U.S. midwest, construction lumber (2×4, 4×4, etc.) cost is about 4 times what it was in even mid 2020. Just curiou

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Lumber is rarely used in Ireland, our climate is not kind to structural timber. When it is used its mostly engineered wood of one form or another. Most structural timber used is imported from Germany or Sweden (conifer trees actually grow too fast in Ireland because of mild winters, so the timber isn’t high quality). The only exception is film sets. I’ve noticed a lot of harvesting of conifer plantations this year, usually a sign of high prices for paper pulp, this is often driven by Chinese demand as anything else.

              I did hear that small construction (i.e. single house) tenders had jumped 25% or more within 6 months, partly I think a matter of demand, and partly due to material supply issues, I don’t know which is the greater driver of inflation.

              One thing I’ve noticed on my walkarounds is that a lot of developments that a few years ago would have used pre-cast concrete are now using in-situ. I suspect this is because of concerns over supply chains (Ireland produces lots of concrete, but pre-cast usually comes from the UK).

              There is also a real problem with construction services – quite simply, architects and engineers are working at full capacity and small companies are finding it hard to staff up due to Covid and Brexit and, ironically, rents being too high for immigrants.

              Due to everyone working from home, I haven’t had as many chats with people directly involved in the industry as before, so I’m not really sure what the current situation is, but I’ve heard many complaints about getting supplies and rapidly rising prices, so it seems to be a global issue.

        2. tegnost

          Here’s one theory…trucking and rail…
          Construction project estimators say one of the biggest factors causing shortages is the continuing inability to ship available materials via rail or truck. “Due to container and trucking shortages being felt across the country, anything with significant shipping and logistics components can cause lead time issues,” said Josh Lawrence, vice president of preconstruction and chief estimator at McCarthy Building Cos., St. Louis.


          According to this it’s not timber…

          This is pretty wide ranging…

          1. cnchal

            Lumber prices are off at least 40% from May.


            Where the ruin is going to come from is the freak out by companies and fear of not being able to get enough material when needed, so they are ordering moar than they can use, just to be safe. What this does is provide a massive demand pulse, which is a false signal, to get suppliers to up production, and then once everyone is satisfied, production will be cut again. Yo yo economics.

    2. Nikkikat

      Wall Street continues to strip us of any ability to rise above the poverty line. They prefer us on our knees, groveling for a few pennies. Capital is property and they will own it all.

    3. lordkoos

      I found it interesting that the development mentioned in the article was just outside Phoenix. Where do people think their water is going to come from in 10 or 20 years? Arizona is already in a drought and has been for some time.

    4. Mikel

      Going to take it one dystopian step further:
      The thinking could be to keep everyone moving (gig like) as much as possible in the future: which would be a barrier to the entire settled-down experience. This also affects things like community organization and voting. Voting is tied to place of residence. Rentiers are no fans of the struggle for democracy.

    5. Tom Bradford

      In my neck of the woods we’re getting an explosion in the construction of ‘retirement/lifestyle villages’ as the post war population bubble reaches retirement age. Some of them are very upmarket, with very cosy ‘villas’ and community centers with gyms, spas, pools, theatres, restaurants, and varying degrees of care provided, up to rest-home, hospital and hospice on site. The latter in particular don’t come cheap but for many who are ready and with little or no mortgage on the ‘family home’, selling up releases plenty of capital to fund it.

      I’m in line for exactly that, but for the generations coming after who don’t have that capital bonus of freehold and property inflation to cash in on, retirement is looking somewhat grim.

  9. Geo

    “Benjamin Netanyahu compared US President Joe Biden administration’s planned return to the Iran deal to US neglect of European Jews during the Holocaust, in his final speech as prime minister on Sunday.”

    Curious if the Dems will denounce this with even a fraction of the fervor they go after Ilhan Omar with? Just kidding. They won’t.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    From the Empire of Clowns article: “All hell broke loose inside the – exclusive – G7 room when the Anglo-American axis, backed by spineless Canada, tried to ramrod the EU-3 plus Japan into an explicit condemnation of China in the final communiqué over alleged rights abuses committed in Xinjiang.”

    What is it? Is it speaking the now thoroughly debased English language? Would it be the rapacious aristocracy and the imitative U.S. managerial classes, all “bespoke”? It is the rickety gerontocracy / kleptocracy that the Anglo world has devolved into?

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      They are looking for a war. Funny thing: They’ll find it. And lose it, as the Anglo world has these last seventy years.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The original White House statement said “the United States and our G7 partners remain deeply concerned by the use of all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labor of vulnerable groups and minorities and supply chains of the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors – the main supply chains of concern in Xinjiang.”

        I was just thinking that the Chinese could also prank the White House by coming out with a statement that says “China and our partners remain deeply concerned by the use of all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labor of vulnerable groups and minorities and supply chains of the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors – the main supply chains of concern in US prisons.”

        1. Nikkikat

          Kamala, kept the prison population very high here in California because the prisoners fought the fires around rich peoples houses for practically free. Even when ordered by a judge to reduce the prison population, she fought to keep them in prison. “Who will fight the fires?” Kamala asked. They know no shame.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Deeply concerned are they? But no so concerned that G7 companies would stop buying goods produced in those countries or – perish the thought – manufacture them in their own countries.

          Haven’t checked the original White House statement – wondering if it came in the form of a word bubble emanating from a sobbing, toothy, semiaquatic reptile?

        3. Mikel

          Is there a list of companies from the G7 that the G7 countries have prohibited from contracting with any companies using forced labor?

  11. Wukchumni

    Why there is little need to be afraid of forests (and of the wild animals in them) Scroll
    Took a walk off-trail through the forest for the trees, and aside from an onslaught of non-biting mosquitoes (thank goodness for a headnet-the lightest most important part of a Sierra day hikers ensemble in the summer) which had at least a few hundred clinging to me for miles, our traipse to the Mineral Lakes was fabulous and we didn’t expect to see another soul, and weren’t disappointed.

    Mother Nature’s clients are reacting to the big dry in a huge way, Thimbleberry leaves are half the normal size, and forget about getting any fruit this year, we’re talking survival strategies here. Pollen which usually falls in late June-early July blanketed the area in May, bail out! is the silent scream everything that ekes out a living, is doing.

    Its kind of the equivalent of a B-17 with a couple knocked out engines, when the pilot tells the crew to throw everything out of the plane to enable them to make it back to the base by lightening their load.

    A new tree die-off is in full swing, this time attacking the 7-9k altitude versus the 4-7k die-off of 130 million trees during the long drought of 2012-2016. Incense Cedar newlydeads with tan needles dominate the action so far, but certainly not limited to the trees that fool people into thinking they’re Giant Sequoias, as they look so similar.

  12. hunkerdown

    Yeah, about Hong Kong, where HKUST was a site of an economics ‘experiment’ paying students to protest, with University of Chicago among others as collaborating institutions (in every sense). SCMP

    1. The S

      Alex Lo has been on this since Sept 2020

      When hard right-wing Senators like Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley support a movement, it certainly couldn’t have anything to do with democracy or freedom; they only support the rule of wealth. If real estate-hogging billionaires like Jimmy Lai support a movement, it can’t be a democratic movement because actual democracy is a threat to concentrations of capital. I won’t even mention the Ukrainian Nazi support. But seriously, no movement in the world waves the USA flag unless it’s a right-wing movement looking to big Capital for support.

  13. Tom Stone

    If the National Association of Realtors wasn’t a bad joke they would be going all out to have all student debt cancelled.
    We have a large cohort crippled with “Educational Debt” that can not afford to buy a home and start a Family.
    CalPers is better run.

    1. lordkoos

      Aren’t those realtors doing quite well for themselves with the status quo? They get commissions from all those Blackrock home sales.

    1. Nikkikat

      Here in California, no matter how bad the drought situation gets they make excuses about golf courses being watered while the rest of us wash in a bucket. The wealthy shall golf. After all they can afford it.

      1. Michael

        Here in San Diego, one golf course shuttered and housing was approved by the Planning Comm to be built in its place. Goes to City Council tmrw.

        Residents preferred less density, after all they had lived next to a golf course for years. Was 1200 homes, now 600. Also how about something besides SFDs.

        1. JBird4049

          IIRC, during the 80s drought some of Northern California’s water restrictions were only enforced in Southern California after it was discovered that developers were making a lake in a new housing development using water shipped from the north (Northern Los Angeles, maybe).

          Northerners were not happy. Heck, I was not happy. As in my parents telling us not to get any water into the sidewalk gutters or they might shut us off for real. Then seeing that lake on TV. That might have been when those threats to blow the water canals happened. Fortunately, the next rainy season actually had rain.

  14. cocomaan

    Why there is little need to be afraid of forests (and of the wild animals in them)

    I liked this excerpt. Wild animals don’t scare me, but in the woods of Pennsylvania where I spend way too much time recreationally, there is something that scares me: ticks. A tiny tick could ruin your whole damn life. They scare me way more than a bear does. I’ve been up close to a black bear and they’re terrified of humans.

    I do take issue with one thing:

    There are no longer any robber bands, and animal attacks (with the exception of domestic dogs and the odd cow or two when you have to cross a pasture) are almost unheard of.

    There aren’t any robber bands, but lawlessness tends to be more common on the liminal spaces: urban tenement forests and the edges of our wilds. You see a lot of petty crime and drug use at the edge of the wilds, as well as the tough people involved with energy extraction, which always breeds violence. Best to be honest about these things rather than avoiding them for touchy-feely purposes.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think the difference here is that this is actually a German article that has been translated into English and not originally an English article. And whenever I visited Germany, I found it a custom of people to go walking in the woods in their free time or on the weekends and so were safer. I enjoyed them because they were so different.

      One time when I was hitch-hiking, I got dropped off at the edge of a wood. Straight away I saw that although it was a hot day, the woods were darker and in shadows. A few steps in and the temperature noticeably dropped. The canopy above was thick and little grew on the floor except for the trees – and a carpet of dead pine needles. You could easily move between the trees and German woods were great for free camping.

      1. cocomaan

        Ah, that makes a lot of sense. German woods are exactly as you describe them. American woods still have some interesting dangers. But that’s also what’s attractive about them, to me.

      2. Mantid

        Rev, I slept in the woods near (in) Berlin in the 80s. I had to go quite far from the road because the trees were all …. in rows. They all looked about 30 years old as well and I assumed they were planted post war. Very odd, such an organized “wood”.

        1. ambrit

          I remember reading a book about the start of WW-1, where the author quoted a memoir from the Russian side that remarked on how orderly and ‘clean’ the German managed woods in East Prussia were.

      3. fumo

        If you want some forest danger thrills, go visit the hollers of the Upper Skagit in WA State. Gunfire, abandoned ad hoc meth labs, stolen and abandoned cars driven into the ground, shot to pieces and then set on fire, illegal garbage dumping everywhere, barely still human methheads with firearms wandering aimlessly about. Anywhere remote yet reachable by motor vehicle will be despoiled and dangerous.

        That said, once on the hiking trails it is like a pristine wilderness paradise that goes on forever.

        Germany has those creepy fascist pine forests planted in rows and kept clean below. Tuscany also has these thanks to Mussolini, pine forests planted in a strange mythical northern homage where there should be, and once were, mostly oak forests.

    1. Aumua

      I’ll probably need to see a little more ‘proof’ than that before I jump onto the We Must Stop All Vaccinations Now train.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Yes, it’s interesting because if you go to the 2:39:00 mark of the video discussion, the doctor (Robert Malone, apparently one of the inventors of the mRNA tech) got vaxxed with the Moderna and he explains why: No ADE signals, helps with long covid, and he needs to travel. Also his wife, another vaccine expert), got the vax as well

      2. Objective Ace

        Sadly thats the problem as noted in that link. No ones documenting the side effects. You cant prove anything if no one is tracking the data

        1. Aumua

          Just from a common sense point of view, covering up a large amount of deaths seems tricky at best. Not saying it’s impossible, just… unlikely.

          1. Yves Smith

            It’s not just deaths. A lot of the averse reactions can lead to long-term impairment. In the teeny circle of people who I interact with directly, one hospital employee (verified as the real deal; we’ve interacted with her from early Covid; she’s cautious about making comments) saw a teen who went status epilepticus < three hours after getting the first Pfizer jab. We asked IM Doc about this, He said he'd seen it in adults a mere 3 times in 30 years - all the result of drug withdrawal or ODs. As he explained:

            “Status” as it is referred in the medical community – is when the patient is having massive grand mal seizures – and NOTHING, I mean NOTHING stops it. All the usual meds fail – even the nuclear warheads. They will almost always begin to choke and gag on their secretions – and the unfortunate part – about 45 minutes into it – you begin to fry your brain. It causes rapidly escalating brain damage. The only hope once recognized is to intubate the patient and put them on general anesthesia (as in surgery – gas) until the seizures stop. The anesthesia begins to cause its own problems after about a day or so.

            I have not gotten an update as to how this kid is doing. She may not know or there may be a confidentiality issue. But the possible outcomes are bad to terrible.

    2. Mantid

      iron, who “owns” TrialSite News? Just did a short Duck search and it seems it’s based in Salt Lake City. Obvious concerns if people understand the history of SL City. But I’m curious about their reliability. I’ve seen many references to them. Thanks for the links.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Here’s the proof

      I hate to break it to you, but dumping a YouTube link in the comment section doesn’t “prove” a thing. You might at least gesture at adding some value by summarizing it, because a lot of us don’t have 45 minutes to waste listening to something we can’t link to in any case.

  15. Tom Stone

    Every once in a while I am struck with just how weird the USA is, watching that clip of the “New FDR” reminded me of “America’s Tough Guy Sheriff” Joe Arpaio.
    The tireless defender of Christian Family values who is most famous for dressing up men in pink panties and locking them up in cages.
    And they are taken very seriously indeed by the serious people.

  16. Carolinian

    Thanks for the Tariq Ali in LRB. It is both interesting history and, at the end, a rebuke to those who would defend Charlie Hebdo on a “can’t you take a joke?” basis.

    With Macron and Marine Le Pen mud-wrestling for the presidency, French Muslims remain a key target. Macron is playing catch-up on a field where his opponent has all the advantages and no need to prove her credentials. For French Muslims, there is a stench of Vichy [oppression of the Jews] in the air

    Of course from where I live professions of ignorance re the baiting of minorities are quite familiar. Satire gains its transgressive nature and therefore humor from making fun of people who are ordinarily if unjustly revered. Taibbi points to Hebdo’s cover cartoon of Queen Elizabeth. The anti Islam material on the other hand is something different. In other words it’s all about the power equation and japes at the powerless tend to carry an implied threat, not humor. It’s also why Woke and complaints about verbal victimization by often wealthy and anything but powerless middle class elites are so unconvincing.

    1. David

      Tariq Ali can be interesting at times, but I’m afraid this is just a piece of garbage on a country he knows nothing about. He shouldn’t listen to the IdPol lobby.
      There is no general animus against French Muslims, and indeed there is a competition for their vote. Muslim voters have been steadily moving to the Right for some years, largely because of the “Left”‘s IdPol obsessions. This movement is one reason why the Socialists have lost control of many of their former urban strongholds.
      What there is, is a real fear of Islamist violence (300 dead and counting) and a demand that the government get a grip on extremists who preach hatred for democracy and republicanism, and who believe that their religious convictions mean they don’t have to obey the law. The vast majority of the Muslim community, including important Imams and secular Muslim intellectuals, are firmly behind the government on this, and not surprisingly since they have been the main ones to suffer from the Islamist influence in the poor urban areas. (Much of this, incidentally, is soft-power projection from Qatar and Turkey, who have sent radical imams to France).
      Macron’s core vote is the PMC and woke elite, which makes a fashionable fetish of fear of “islamophobia”, and for years refused to recognise there was a problem, deliberately confusing fears about islamisist violence with the “anti-muslim prejudice” it was desperate to find, so it could fight it bravely on Twitter. He and Le Pen are not remotely competing for the same vote. Macron’s support on the Left has gone up since his firm response to recent islamist atrocities, but he still has to nibble away at the collective vote of the traditional Right, which he is trying to do by sounding more concerned about security, which is the first or second preoccupation of the French electorate at the moment. Le Pen, for what it’s worth, is largely campaigning on security and economic issues, and hoping to attract some votes away from the traditional Right. There are no votes in anti-Muslim prejudice, as any expert Ali bothered to ask could have told him.

      1. Carolinian

        You aren’t really addressing my point about Charlie Hebdo or the view that those cartoons do reflect anti-muslim prejudice–perhaps disguised as supposedly virtuous secularism.

        Of course George W. Bush claimed to oppose anti Muslim prejudice while killing thousands of that faith for no good reason. And the recent French regimes hardly have their hands clean in Syria or Africa.

        1. David

          The cartoons were a red herring. CH was famous (or infamous) for pushing to extremes the traditional leftist disdain for the church and other religious structures (not necessarily religions: the Left has always drawn a distinction between anti-clericalism and anti-religion). They produced much nastier stuff, more frequently, attacking the Catholic Church. The thing that needs to be grasped is the deeply secular, anti-clerical nature of French popular culture, where people may go to Mass on Sunday, but later the same day make ribald jokes about priests and nuns. The trouble is that professional anti-racists, looking for groups to patronise and exploit, have decided to import Anglo-Saxon IdPol thinking into an environment where it makes no sense and is profoundly dangerous and damaging. There is, to repeat, no widespread anti-Muslim sentiment in France, much as certain political actors would dearly love there to be.

          1. Carolinian

            But the difference is that when CH attacks the Catholic church they are attacking a stuffy and powerful institution just as they were with that cartoon about the Queen. Whereas–what Ali is saying in his long essay explaining Islam–is that the Islamic poor see their religion as a defense against the powerful who are out to get them and perceive the cartoons not as satire but as bigotry. Whether you see them that way is not the point.

            I knew a black woman who, as a kind of test, asked me what I thought about OJ’s Bronco chase. I said he wouldn’t have run if he wasn’t guilty whereas to her running from the police was the natural response of black people in almost any situation.

            Ali is out to explore much the same question I think. It isn’t really about French politics. .

          2. Temporarily Sane

            There is, to repeat, no widespread anti-Muslim sentiment in France,

            You’re joking, right?

    2. Temporarily Sane

      Very good points.

      Punching down is not edgy or brave. Charlie Hebdo are cowards and rank hypocrites.

      In 2008 Charlie Hebdo “[f]ired cartoonist Siné for anti-Semitism. In a column, he joked about a rumor that Nicolas Sarkozy’s son was considering converting to Judaism before marrying a young Jewish heiress and wrote “he’ll go far, that kid.” Two years earlier, the magazine had sold more than 400,000 copies of its special edition with the caricatures of the Muslim Prophet.”

      That is such a mild joke and many, many times less offensive than the grotesque cartoons Hebdo printed knowing they would antagonize and greatly offend Muslims.


  17. The Rev Kev

    “Biden at NATO: Ready to talk China, Russia and soothe allies’

    This is going to be a bigger fiasco than the US-China meeting in Alaska. Biden is using macho-talk and saying stuff like “And it depends on how he responds to acting consistent with international norms, which, in many cases, he has not”. This is like the time Obama referred to Russia being like the unruly kid at the back of the classroom. And I heard a Republican Senator today refer to Russia as a criminal enterprise and that Biden must not be weak.

    Putin did say that Russia would be ready to hand over cybercriminals to the US if Washington did the same for Moscow and the two powers reached an agreement to that effect. But – I think that Putin was only talking about non-Russians when he said so. To do otherwise, he would first have to change the Constitution of the Russian Federation where it says-

    ‘Chapter 2. Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen
    Article 61
    1. A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State.’

    And I do not think that he is going to do that. Otherwise Russia would be swamped with extradition demands for Russians hacking the 2016 US Election, for hacking everything but the 2020 US Election, for crashing jets, for poisoning civilians in Syria, for sabotaging the Colonial Pipeline, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, so not going to happen. What will happen at the meeting is that old Joe will demand that Russia obeys the international normes (set by Washington) and when Putin say that he will always defend his country, the meeting will finish. Then, as announced, old Joe will step out to the reporters and blame Russia and announce that more sanctions will be levied. If they keep this up, they will eventually see a Russia-China-Iran military pact and that might as well have a ‘Made in the USA’ stamp on the side of it.

    1. doug

      The BS Macho from Biden is pitiful to watch…Sad really.
      I am with Mr (Rodeny) King: Can’t we all just get along?
      I mean really. Can’t we? We sure as heck need to.

  18. WaltD

    Wonder how those 2,000 rental houses in the Phoenix suburbs will be when it’s 120f there during the summers in the late 2020’s.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Fulfilled ROI goals in mid 2020s, and become a nice write-off against other rentier income as enviro conditions render them unlivable.

    2. Carolinian


      or early 2020s. i believe it hit 115 one day last year… enough to close the airport.

      air conditioning is the only reason they can build those suburbs–ac in houses, cars, stores. A friend who lives there stays indoors lately after 9 am.

  19. rowlf

    The company I work for has announced that everyone needs to come back and work in the office now that more than 75% of employees have self-reported being vaccinated. My concerns are the office is set up in an open office configuration that was notorious for spreading colds and flu among the workforce and I don’t think the current Covid-19 vaccines work as well as many people believe they do. On the positive side the coworkers I work with that were infected over the last year all had the mild infection and recovered. A second positive could be I always seem to have the desk under a HVAC vent and I get razzed for wearing a jacket at my desk.

    1. Nikkikat

      Never mind the so called break through infections the CDC is no longer counting unless you die or are hospitalized. You know the infection you or someone else in the office may take home to an elderly relative or cancer patient.

  20. bassmule

    Re: World’s highest railway

    Even at 10 mph, if I’m climbing to 14,115 feet, this lowlander is going to be looking for a little tank of oxygen at the top. No mention of any such thing.

    1. Carolinian

      I’ve been almost that high in my car despite asthma. As long as you are sitting down it’s not a big problem.

      The east/west interstate across Colorado crests at the Eisenhower tunnel which is over 11,000 ft.

    2. ambrit

      And here I was thinking that the article was about the new 4:20 Express to the Magonia Ski Resort.

  21. Jason Boxman

    From Novavax story:

    By the time Novavax gets the green light from the U.S. government, it may be too late to contribute to the country’s first wave of vaccinations. But many vaccine experts expect that, with waning immunity and emerging variants, the country will need booster shots at some point. And the protein-based technology used in the Novavax vaccine may do a particularly good job at amplifying protection, even if people have previously been vaccinated with a different formulation.

    “They may be really the right ones for boosters,” said Dr. Luciana Borio, who was the acting chief scientist at the F.D.A. from 2015 to 2017.

    Boosters are still coming! That seems to be the conventional wisdom, rather than pursuing an elimination strategy. As long as boosters are viable, why bother I guess, the thinking goes?

    1. JTMcPhee

      As pointed out already, there’s no money in elimination. At least for Big Pharma and its tapeworm elements… And continued disease propagation leads to all kinds of costs that get counted toward GDP, so where’s the problem? No valuation of suffering and loss in GAAP.

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: A judge dismisses Houston hospital workers’ lawsuit about vaccine mandates. NYT

    Didn’t want to sign up so read the hill instead:

    The suit further alleged that the vaccines were experimental and dangerous and that being forced to get vaccinated violated federal law.

    In a five-page order on Saturday, Hughes largely debunked the plaintiff’s arguments. But the judge specifically blasted the plaintiffs for equating the vaccine mandate to forced experimentation during the Holocaust.

    So, we have our first taste of how “the courts” will treat the EUA. They will ignore it.

    Once again, from the fda itself, with gusto:

    FDA must ensure that recipients of the vaccine under an EUA are informed, to the extent practicable given the applicable circumstances, that FDA has authorized the emergency use of the vaccine, of the known and potential benefits and risks, the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown, that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine, and of any available alternatives to the product. Typically, this information is communicated in a patient “fact sheet.” The FDA posts these fact sheets on our website.

    I’ve no idea why the plaintiffs gave the judge a holocaust strawman to “debunk,” but apparently they did. This particular article made no mention of whether the judge “debunked” the EUA statute itself, but I guess it’s somewhere in the ground covered by the word “largely.”

    1. Yves Smith

      This is really appalling. I had mistakenly and incorrectly been confident that the clear “voluntary” language in the EUA and past rulings would have made this a no-brainer for the courts. But the EEO backing this is a big factor, at least for some judges, who tend to feel the Executive needs to be given at least a certain amount of deference.

      Other problem is I have seen a lot of anti-vax suits. They have been horrible horrible horrible. Most first year law students could make a better case. They tend to make political arguments and not focus enough (or at all!) on legal issues. The Holocaust overreach/distraction is very typical for that crowd.

      So I bet a contributing factor is they were referred to an anti-vax lawyer, which would lead to additional prejudice by the judge (as in the plaintiff had a stealth or explicit anti-vax agenda, or that was inferred through their choice of counsel, and also colored how the judge viewed the case. Even if the filing presented the plaintiff as vaccine-supporting for established vaccines, the judge could have read it as the anti-vaxxers finding a sympathetic plaintiff to advance their agenda).

      1. Laura in So Cal

        What also bothers me is the employers refusal to accept any liability for this. I saw some language from OSHA that initially said that vaccine side effects etc. would be considered a workplace injury if the vaccine was a job requirements (and theoretically covered by Workers Compensation), but I think this was walked back?

        I think the same thing should be true of colleges, etc. If they require an EUA vaccine for admission, they should be on the hook for the costs of injury, disability, and/or death associated with the vaccines. But they aren’t of course.

      2. Aumua

        It looks like separating politically driven anti-vax sentiments from legitimate concerns about the safety and/or efficacy of the COVID vaccines is going to become increasingly difficult. There’s a lot of gray area and uncertainty right now on this topic, which is just the kind of opening that the far right anti-vax movement is looking for to effectively infiltrate the discussion space and push their agendas.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        I shared your confidence. The statute is crystal clear. I thought the fda would at least concoct some sort of justification for grandfathering in the vaccines for “approval,” at least the mRNA ones, to preserve some semblance of legitimacy.

        Surely this will not stand on appeal, but I hope the plaintiffs get better representation next time–someone who knows how to narrow the issue and drop any extraneous agenda.

        This is really far to important to be left to amateurs.

      4. IM Doc

        This is from Texas – maybe that is part of the problem.

        Texas agencies and courts have a very long tradition of siding with the big hospital systems and bad doctors no matter how insane it is to do so.

        For example, the Dr. Death case – where it is crystal clear that the ball was egregiously dropped by the Baylor Health System in Dallas ( they could have stopped him in the tracks, instead they allowed him to get privileges at other hospitals by not spilling the beans, thinking they would be sued if they did). The AG of Texas prevented any of the dozens of patients from suing Baylor.

        That is just one example – I could go on and on and on.

        The courts and agencies in Texas are very very protective of the big hospital systems – no matter how egregious is the problem.

        I wonder if this would be any different in another state? I feel in my gut that Texas may not have been the best proving ground for this kind of case.

        1. me

          There were comments on other sites that this judge’s rulings are often over-turned on appeal.

    2. Laura in So Cal

      So a month ago or so, my Dad who is a big Fox viewer said he saw on the news that “people are losing their jobs because they aren’t vaccinated.” I said, “it is under EUA so they can’t do that”.

      Turns out he and Fox were right.

  23. tegnost

    The lava jato article from brasilwire can be augmented with this one from the same source to include some culpable parties that are conveniently absent from the raised hackles in the dem party
    During the coup against Dilma Rousseff, many mainstream commentators and journalists insisted that a 2009 State Department cable that had recently come to light, which clearly detailed what would become Operation Lava Jato, had nothing to do with the anti-corruption operation. All such evidence of United States involvement was dismissed as if conspiracy theory. Lava Jato, its narrative, and its careful control of media, central to the operation, were protected.

  24. Susan the other

    Pepe Escobar on the moth-eaten tweeds at the G-7. Give them all some aduhelm. I’d be hopeful about B3W if it were anyone pushing it but the G-7. My guess is that it’s all shameless pontification because in order to do a B3W the G-7 would have to first quickly dismantle its entire way of doing business for profit. It’s the tragedy they cannot prevent – that their desire to make a profit will prevent progress entirely. And like a Greek tragedy, there’s no way for them to realize it.

  25. Cuibono

    Does anyone find it odd that the Novovax date of entry to US market seems to get pushed farther and farther out?

  26. The Rev Kev

    “The UK’s forgotten ‘fifth nation’ ”

    The Cornish certainly are a unique people and I have several books on them in the 19th century. They were at the forefront of mining engineering at the beginning of the century but through failure to adapt, were left behind at the end of the century. Their mining expertise was in such demand that it was said that “Wherever there is a hole in the earth, you will find a Cornishman at the bottom”. You could go into a small mining village in Cornwall and would find men who had worked in America, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, South America, etc. and this was in the day of sail remember. Their traditional toast was “Fish and Tin and Copper” as these were their main economic pursuits and women worked too as ‘Bal maidens’ on the surface sorting the rock brought up. And they had some unusual ideas too. So they would spend a fortune on best clothes for a Sunday and it was not unknown to see an absolute hovel where a Cornish family lived but on a Sunday you would see emerge people for church dressed like something out of a London fashion parade.

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