Links 7/13/2021

Yves here. I am ready to kill people. My mother has suffered multiple instances of neglect and mistreatment by the nurses at the supposedly best rehab facility in town, Encompass Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital, for which she is paying $2000 per day because it’s not in her Medicare Advantage plan. That includes nurses not implementing MD instructions, once abandoning her on the toilet for so long that she nearly fell asleep, which means she could have fallen off and broken tons of bones (she got a compression fracture of the spine for what for anyone else would have been a minor fall on well padded plush carpeting), leaving her multiple times with the nurse call button out of reach (a firing event in most hospitals and nursing homes) and putting ear drops in her eyes….and then to make matters worse, when our aide objected strenuously, it taking the nurse ten minutes to come back and flush her eyes out. There’s yet another major safety event that happened yesterday that I won’t belabor, but it led to an e-mail to her attorney.

Mind you, all this is happening despite my visiting every day for a few hours and having day and evening aides also on for much but not all of the time when she is awake.

I’d yank her out now, except the service delivering her hospital bed to her house screwed up and we probably won’t have it until late tomorrow at best, and one of her aides is off duty till Thurs due to her father being in the hospital, so we are short-handed.

The appalling part of this story is the alternatives clearly were much worse. Lakeshore has very good MDs, PTs, occupational and other therapists, and give patients 3 hours a day of therapy, while all the others are warehouses. But the nurses and admin staff are hazards to health.

I am determined to get someone fired over this. Frankly, the entire nursing staff on her floor should be canned but I will take what I can get.

Massive python goes viral after becoming stuck in a drain in Si Racha Pattya News (furzy)

How much do cats actually kill? Oatmeal (fk)

Can the Jaguar, King of the Forest, Save an Entire Ecosystem? Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

Understanding Your Control Over Climate Change Ian Welsh

The Science of Predicting When Bluffs in Southern California Will Collapse Smithsonian (David L)

EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals For Fracking a Decade Ago, New Files Show New York Times

When bacteria kill us, it’s more accident than assassination Aeon Essays (Anthony L)

DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth. Quanta Magazine (David L)

Can Doctors Save their Jobs and the World Dr. David Healy (furzy)


Populism and Covid-19 VoxEU


Necessity of COVID-19 vaccination in previously infected individuals MedRxIv

Vaccines, reasons for concern, part 3 Alex Berenson

COVID-19 Outbreaks Hit Summer Camps — Are Schools Next? HuffPost

FDA adds Guillain-Barre syndrome warning to J&J Covid shot Politico

Hundreds of medical workers infected despite Sinovac vaccinations Bangkok Post. The issue is that immunity wanes quickly, apparently.

European efforts to assess Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine stymied by data gaps Reuters

World’s Top Vaccine Maker to Boost Delayed Sputnik V Rollout Bloomberg


Covid-19: Dutch PM Rutte ‘sorry for easing restrictions too soon’ BBC


Covid-hit Seoul shifts social distancing into top gear Asia Times


Census Data Show Half of Unvaccinated Americans Live in Lower-Income Households Truthout. Duh. As we said, aside from logistical challenges, low income people can’t afford to miss a day or two from work due to “routine” side effects.


The increase in wealth inequality during Covid is not an accident: it is a design fault that needs to be corrected Richard Murphy


Biden backs Trump-era position on South China Sea Christian Science Monitor

Biden Team Weighs Digital Trade Deal to Counter China in Asia Bloomberg

Biden to warn US companies of risks of operating in Hong Kong Financial Times

TikTok’s Chinese Owner Put IPO on Hold After Warning Wall Street Journal

Cuba protests: What you need to know DW

Mexico’s Invisible Human Rights Crisis Intensifies Just Security

Several tied to Haiti assassination plot were previously US law enforcement informants CNN (Kevin W)

Former U.S. drug agency informant arrested in Haiti… Daily Mail. BC: “Coup de graceless? The Gang Who Couldn’t Run Straight? The speed that facts have unraveled in this coup is burning through all my popcorn.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Gen. Milley looks for rebound war as Afghanistan moves on Duffel Blog (Kevin W)

US General Austin Miller relinquishes Afghanistan command, ending America’s longest conflict ABC Australia (Kevin W)


Amy Coney Barrett’s first term was a master class in performing centrism. Slate (furzy). For some definition of centrism.


Trump Organization removed CFO Allen Weisselberg from leadership at dozens of subsidiaries amid tax fraud scandal: report Business Insider. And? This is bog standard when an exec is indicted.

Don’t Laugh Off Trump’s Lawsuits Against Big Tech; the Supreme Court Door is Propped Open for Him Counterpunch. Still an optimistic take since the Supremes turn down 99% of appeals.


Big Lie Believers in the Republican Party Are Running In the Midterms Charles Pierce, Esquire (furzy)

White Supremacist Candidate Who Disrupted Katie Porter Event Has a History of Violence Intercept

Texas Tempests

Texas Democrats flee the state to shut down GOP’s vote-suppression bill Salon

Gov. Abbott says 58 ‘hypocrite’ Texas Democrat runaways WILL be arrested when they return to Austin after jetting to DC on $100K chartered private jets to stop vote on GOP’s new state voting bills Daily Mail.

‘Here we go again’: Texas power companies seek to shift storm prep costs onto consumers Houston Chronicle (Chuck L). From last week, still germane.

US Pacific Northwest Heat Wave Bakes Wheat, Fruit Crops Reuters

Woke Watch

Critical race theory battles are driving frustrated, exhausted educators out of their jobs NBC (furzy)

Critical race theory — a guide Lars P. Syll

Cheeky Cruise Company Lawyering Credit Slips. Vacationers beware!

AMD CEO Says Chip Shortages Will Continue Through 2021 laptopmag

Latest US Oil Supply and Disposition Data from the EIA Angry Bear

Cryptocurrency trading volume plunges as interest wanes following bitcoin price drop CNBC

Google Fined $593 Million in France Over Treatment of News Publishers Wall Street Journal

Consumers Expect Red-Hot Inflation to Crush Their Earnings: Fed’s Survey Wolf Richter

Neoliberalism’s Bailout Problem Boston Review (Anthony L)

Class Warfare

COVID left Portland’s homeless population in crisis mode. Then the heat wave hit Grist

A Team USA Athlete Reveals the Hidden Costs of Going to the Olympics VICE

Billionaire Tax Cheat Travels to Space for a Few Minutes Truthout

And to top that we’ve put the first twat in space, England realises Daily Mash

Antidote du jour. Robert H’s Betsy dog:

And a bonus video (David L):

I badly need some comic relief. I must confess that this item from furzy amused me:

You don’t have to be from Thunder Bay to understand and enjoy this. This actually happened.

They went down the Trans Canada Highway, causing 3 accidents.

Yes, they went to jail… Yes, alcohol was involved.

The tell is that real moose would not fit so nicely into a car.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat

    Hi Yves,

    Best wishes to you and your mom. Nursing homes and rehabs are chronically understaffed, but I was surprised to hear that’s the case even at $2K/day! My parents both spent time in rehabs. In their experience the staff were conscientious but there simply weren’t enough of them, and there was a terrible language barrier with the doctors.

    1. CanCyn

      So sorry to hear about your trials with the rehab centre Yves. At $2K a day you’d certainly expect better. I hope that you will focus your lawyers on the administrators … they are responsible for hiring, training, staff schedules, staff oversight, etc. There is zero chance that they are unaware of the incompetence of their staff.

    2. Jackiebass

      I agree with your staffing assessment. I have had experience dealing with 6 different nursing homes caring for my wife and mother. I believe every one of them could double their staff to provide adequate care. In all of the nursing homes each worker was responsible for 10 to 15 patients. More during the night shift. This is an impossible job to do effectively. You have a few very dedicated people, probably 1 in 5, but for the rest it is just another job. Turnover of the help is high. Very few of the workers have at least a year of experience. How we care for our older population is shameful. Unless a patient has strong family support they are simply marking time until they die. It was a real eye opener the first time I went to visit someone in a nursing home. Personally I hope I never have to go into a nursing home.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is not an issue of understaffing. I’d be more sympathetic if it were. This is a 100 bed hospital with the rooms on 3 floors. There are always nurses lounging at the nursing station.

        1. Claire

          Yves, that enraging and crazy making.
          Maybe doing away with competency, civil service in the public sector, or other written exams in the private, plus the use of other metrics that once assured quality hiring of employees, to be replaced with quotas and lowered standards, wasn’t such a good idea for society in general and the most vulnerable in particular?

        2. Roger

          I very much understand what you are going through. In my case the nursing staff repeatedly failed to properly make sure that my elderly mother would not roll out of the high bed she was put in (e.g. lower the adjustable bed to the floor, put bars on the sides of the bed, move the side table), after multiple requests from my brother. The result was my mother falling out of bed, breaking a number of bones and dying of complications a couple of weeks later. We wish that we had removed her from that place. There is under-staffing and then there is simply not giving a damn. We sued and won, but that did not bring our mother back.

        3. Nce

          Ohhh, yeah. LVNs and RNs are notorious for abandoning the floor to CNAs, as if they believe that working with patients is too degrading. I quit my job as a CNA at a small rural hospital after a graveyard shift where the charge LVN disappeared for several hours. A patient with a hip injury couldn’t lower his bed to the flat position (something was wrong with the electronics) and the hospital was full. I searched every damn room in the place to try to find her so we could come up with a solution, but instead that patient indured severe pain instead. I was sooo angry, and the RNs that came on in the morning just listened with feigned concern, but did nothing to confront the LVN. I’d rather die than wind up in the ER there.
          I hope your mother gets better care. I can’t imagine how anyone disconnects from their empathy enough to allow crap like this to happen.

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          I am just a layman. But it seems to me that these nurses would not do these things unless they had been encouraged to do so over the last few years by a from-the-top workplace culture policy which encourages and supports this kind of behavior.

          If one needs to kill someone, is it possible to kill this entire hospital’s revenue stream, business and mere existence by publicising this far and wide? Or is it possible to torture some hospital board-or-other into firing the entire on-scene command structure of the hospital and hire a whole new command structure which does not support this sort of nursing behavior?

        5. enoughisenough

          I’m so very sorry to hear about the suffering your mother is going through. My heart goes out to both of you.

    3. QuarterBack

      Keep up the good fight Yves. It’s disgraceful that the state of healthcare is so bad that it can conceivably be less expensive and more effective to build, equip, and staff a facility in your own home than to utilize what passes as top shelf these days.

    4. CanCyn

      Putting ear drops in someone’s eyes is an incompetent act, as are the other acts that Yves cites. There can be many reasons for that incompetence, and I have my sympathies for overworked, underpaid nursing and care staff. Mistakes in a healthcare setting can have far more dire consequences than say in a grocery store where a tired cashier drops a carton of eggs. Not to discount the problems for anyone overworked and underpaid in any job, but the focus here is on the consequences of their mistakes. My point is that ultimately it is the responsibility of those in charge to do something to correct a bad situation. I have been in Yves’ shoes and never once could I get an administrator in my father’s nursing home to admit that things could be different or better. You cannot change things if you can’t get the people in charge to admit that there is a problem.
      I imagine that few people who end up in institutional elder care had any plans to be there. I liken end of life care to beginning of life care. We go to extraordinary lengths to save premature and precariously ill newborns and then leave their parents to cope with any ongoing health problems. At the end of life, we go to extraordinary lengths to save old people from strokes, heart attacks, etc. And then leave them and their families (if they’re lucky enough to have them) to cope with their severely impaired health and ability to care for themselves. It isn’t a ‘win’ to survive a health crisis if all you have is slowly worsening health and inadequate care. End of life care needs to change and we have all we need to do it but the political will. Like so many of the problems in our world.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        As I said above, this particular hospital is not understaffed. I agree that this is a general problem but not here. In particular, I have no idea what the evening staff thinks its job is. When my mother needed to go to the bathroom, the nurses acted as if they couldn’t get out of her room quickly enough despite the lack of any other calls/demands and other nurses available at the desk. They were planning to leave her on the toilet alone AGAIN when the hospital I was at for my hip surgery never left anyone alone in the bathroom, ever.

        I have yet to see anyone other than the staff delivering meals go into another room on her floor, or hear a nurse call coming from another room. There are always nurses lounging at the nursing station. When I have come and asked for specific assistance because the call button has not been answered, they don’t act like it is their job to do anything, whether respond themselves or alert her nurse.

    5. The Rev Kev

      This is elder abuse this. You have had some people here in Oz put in tiny cameras in their parent’s room in aged care because of stuff like this though I image that American laws would be different here if that could be done or not.

      It is only cold comfort that one day that those nurses will be in such a situation and I am willing to be that it won’t be in a place that you pay 2k a day. More likely the sort of place that you would see on 60 Minutes. After all, what goes around comes around – sooner or later.

      1. upstater

        We had a Wyze camera in mom’s room at an assisted living residence. Laws in the US generally allow families to do this. We could look in an make sure she was OK or before calling. There was one incident where she fell around 1:00 AM and we called the attendant who did not answer; we then called the manager and the sleeping attendant was fired. Mom did not require the level of care Yves mom does.

        We also set up an Alexa device so we could drop in with video calls; she was unable to use any sort of phone, but did well with drop in video. With COVID restrictions it was a great benefit. I installed the Alexa app on an old cellphone and would turn it off except for calling her; I wonder what Amazon did with the eavesdropping recordings?

    6. PlutoniumKun

      So sorry to hear about Yves problems, its incredibly stressful when family can’t rely on care professionals. As for the cost, I remember many years ago asking my mothers specialist about care homes, and mentioning one well known expensive private one. ‘You are paying for some very lovely carpeting and a fountain in reception’.

      In my experience, staff become aware when they know the family of a patient is more vigilent than most, or has a specific medical background that means they will notice bad care. So Yves mother is lucky in this way, even if it does lead to someone getting fired.

    7. Cocomaan

      I’ve decided that if a loved one is in the hospital, I’m going to have to be there pretty much 24/7 or, alternatively, expect nobody to care. Too many instances where loved ones have been in the care of others and neglected.

      I think our sclerotic healthcare system has driven positive incentives so far into the ground that they will not see the light of day for another generation, at least.

    8. WhoaMolly

      Your mother is blessed to have a loving competent daughter. A couple years ago we tried to find a similar facility for my wife’s father. 2k a day sounds low, compared to Northern California rates.

      The deciding factor in quality of nursing homes looked to me like the character, integrity and management skills of the administrator.

      Keep up the fight. You are right.

    9. The Historian

      I am so sorry to hear what is happening to your mother. I’m so glad you have a good strong voice to hold them accountable.

    10. Krystyn Podgajski

      Yes, Go Yves! I am always glad to hear when people fight horrible people doing horrible things to people they love.

    11. JacobiteInTraining

      Not much I can say that hasn’t already been said by others….but since NC is as close as I get to ‘online family’, I send a hug and a smile out into the ether to you and yours. People caring for people is the highest and best use of the atoms that make us up. :)

    12. Rod

      Heart Suffocating this all.
      imo-You are doing everything as right as can be done and it should be going so much better.
      Everywhere I look nowadays, I see the need for twice as many people who care and act on that care.
      Money can’t buy that…

      Bless you and your Hips

    1. ambrit

      This comes out of the closest thing to a National Health Program that America has, the Veterans Administration. The lesson should be obvious.

    2. Raymond Sim

      There is no good news about SARS-CoV-2, no upside, and there never has been. All the happy talk is lies and always was. I think it’s imperative that those of us with a clue stop giving any of it the benefit of the doubt. We ought to be on the attack.

      Shouting, ad-hominem attacks and fearmongering work – they’re just not nice. But when the grounds for fear are legitimate – there really is a fire in this crowded theater – and when the ad-hominems amount to “This person has demonstrably lied about this subject in the past and are clearly lying now too.” I’d say there’s an ethical obligation to call a spade a spade.

  2. nvl

    The late parents retired to Florida. I am not in the least surprised by what you and your mother
    are being subject to.

  3. urblintz

    New headline

    Already Elected Big Lie Believers Own the Democratic Party


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      One Big Lie does not cancel another.

      Russiagate does not cancel Electiongate.

      And the Republicanons have the courage of their convictions and their assault rifles and their ammunition.

      Liberals and progressives and leftists can believe that now, or learn it later.

  4. IM Doc

    About the Berenson article on COVID.

    This is another source of extreme cognitive dissonance for me.

    He is a Tom Clancy like thriller author. In fairness, while he was a reporter earlier in his career, he did a lot of work on Pharma. He has a very good handle on how to read scientific research and to do statistics.

    Repeatedly, he has far more closely mirrored the conversation I am hearing in academic medicine regarding COVID. Far more closely than what the American people are getting from mainstream media.

    I did not know he was on substack now. This paper is an almost duplicate of a journal club I was at last night.

    So our mainstream media seems to not be able to accurately understand/report Covid numbers and epidemiology to the American people but a thriller writer can.

    We truly are in the Twilight Zone.

    And the hit pieces on him and the visceral hatred directed his way have just been breathtaking to behold.

    I do not like his take on masking. As one of the links pointed out yesterday, the answer there is not going to be found in research or RCTs easily or quickly. The framing on masking by our health officials has been abysmal, in that Berenson is 100% correct.

    Has Berenson been wrong? You bet. But he seems to immediately correct and make amends. Has Fauci been wrong? Oh yes. But no correction from him – just weaseling. I do not like some of the childish Berenson behavior, but he has been far closer to what is being discussed behind closed doors in medicine than our mainstream media.

    1. Mikel

      Thank you. I was just about to comment on the mask comment he made as well.
      All anything (even his beloved experimental shots) is doing is reducing exposure to viral loads and/or the effects.

      A lot of this not wanting to use masks to reduce exposure to aerosols in indoor places is people not wanting to be reminded that there is something bad going on and nobody is certain what to do about it.

    2. Carolinian

      Some of us instinctively distrust scientists and advocates who dogmatically argue their position and insist all who disagree just shut up (in other words the Covid thought police). As a mere citizen I have no idea whether the Berenson article is giving the whole truth but it certainly sounds plausible. Perhaps we have to turn to former novelists when the experts themselves start spinning narratives.

    3. Lou Anton

      I’d noticed the UK/Scotland point he brought up as well. UK reports their data (well, some data, whether it’s all data…) here, and here’s a map that shows where infections are most prevalent. Scotland is in rough shape, but it’s vaccination rates are surely high.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        From what I’m aware, vaccination rates have been fairly constant across the UK. Regional Covid hotspots seem to reflect local issues and a certain degree of randomness – for example, a spike in Scotland following the Scotland v England match. Nearly everyone is expecting a very sharp rise in England following the weekends football.

        I should say that I’ve always been suspicious of UK figures, as comparing those in border areas in Northern Ireland to those in the Republic have never matched up, with levels in NI being constently lower despite evidence that the direction of infection is from the UK. In other words, I think they are consistently undercounting, mostly by using less reliable tests. I can’t prove this, but there does seem to be a pattern there.

        Another wildcard issue is that the UK is something of an outlier in vaccine pattern. They’ve been taking a ‘shoot first, worry about the second shot later’ strategy, which has meant that the time between vaccinations for many people have been significantly longer than recommended by the manufacturers. As others have pointed out, this is potentially creating a very nice environment for vaccine immune varients to arise. It also complicates the question of effectiveness.

        But whatever way you look at it, when the most vaccinated country in Europe now has by far the highest rates, there real world evidence is strongly pointing to vaccination not being a population level solution.

        The real test though will be in a couple of weeks time when this wave blows out naturally and we’ll see the data on long covid and hospitalisations.

    4. Raymond Sim

      Berenson, has participated in egregious lying ad hominems against Zoe Hyde and Kimberley Prather, and seemed to be working in some sort of tag team with Angela Rasmussen, of all people. The problem isn’t that he’s been wrong sometimes, it’s that he’s a liar.

      I don’t think he’s what his fans think he is, and I don’t think being right or wrong has anything to do with his job. Information operations aren’t about persuasion nearly as often as about inducing uncertainty.

      1. chuck roast

        I have no idea who these people are whom you mention. The guys argument sounds pretty plausible to me. Moreover, IM Doc chimes in with an echo. Could you provide credible links to your assertions?

        1. Raymond Sim

          Well, they’re both very active on Twitter, it shouldn’t be hard to form an opinion:

          Short version, they’re both reputable scientists who’ve repeatedly been right when others were wrong. I always pay attention to what they have to say, have done for many months, and haven’t noted any tendency to untruthfulness in either of them. Alex Berenson on the other hand is a propagandist, a habitually misleading, (when he isn’t just lying) one at that. He dishonestly smeared each of them, at different times, I’m sure it’s in their timelines.

        2. Raymond Sim

          As to the accuracy of any particular thing Berenson has said, IM Doc is surely in a position to judge that.

          My point is that anything Berenson has to say should be evaluated with the understanding that he’s a dishonest actor, and a propagandist.

      2. IM Doc

        I mean this as no personal offense to you – but your comment is a great example of something that has been let loose on our society by Twitter et al.

        I have had the most amazing opportunity as an academic physician to work with some of the great minds of the 20th Century – all the way up to Nobel Laureates.

        These people are at times brilliant – but at other times play in the gutter. Almost to the one – there are very very bad character flaws. Some of them lie, some of them exaggerate, some of them have sex with everyone on campus, some of them game their financials, I can go on and on and on.

        I have seen the biggest knock down drag outs you could ever imagine in medical presentations – with both sides calling each other liars, scum or much worse. Right in front of 600 people.

        That is the way things are done in medicine. If they are not saying it out loud – they are certainly calling each other names behind their backs. You will never find a bigger bunch of prima donnas than on any medical campus anywhere.

        It is true of almost everyone – and early on I learned the value of a very simple Bible verse – FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY.

        I do not know about these incidents to which you speak. Nor do I know about the incidents that these supposed offended may have engaged in the same behavior. Given the state of our media – I would not be surprised at anything. It brings out the very worst in us all.

        I do know of an article from the Atlantic about Berenson – where I can point out lie after lie after lie.

        But what does it matter? – when someone is putting forth hypotheses and statements and following the scientific method – then we should put all that aside – and engage their ideas.

        After 30 years of watching this happen on almost a daily basis – you learn how to split that in your mind. Unfortunately – our whole society is on Twitter et all calling everyone else a liar, scum or whatever name they choose. This is literally killing the country – and until we all grow up and act like adults – and realize that every one of us is a fallen being – this may be the end of us all.

        1. Raymond Sim

          No offense taken. It’s a bit weird to find that I come off as some kind of naif though. I’m passingly familiar with academia, and you’re not really describing anything that doesn’t seemingly hold true across many fields. I would point out though, that you omitted to mention the compliant imbeciles who infest all the fields where lots of money gets sluiced out. The pandemic has made it quite clear that academic medicine is as bad as economics in that regard. Epidemiology and id are mind-blowingly bad.

          Now I’ll take my turn to misread you, I wasn’t raised in an Abrahamic religion, and I often find those who were take things I say as attacks on some sort of essential quality of a person or institution, when my concerns are actually utilitarian. I think you’re doing that here.

          In viewing these internecine battles, if for some reason you need to make a best guess as to the truth of something, does your knowledge of who has told what lies, and for what reasons not factor into your judgement? Philandering and embezzling are bad signs to be sure, but wouldn’t persistent public lying, even in the face of repeated correction be a bigger red flag?

          In fact given your description of the way of things, doesn’t your first concern have to be the degree of confidence you’re going to give to the idea that someone is following the scientific method at all? Assuming that science is what they purport to be doing.

          Which brings me to my final point, Alex Berenson isn’t a scientist, he’s a propagandist, an information warrior. He absolutely deserves to be called out as such, whatever it is he may be saying at the moment. The fact that he is disgustingly mendacious is absolutely relevant to his expressed opinions on any topic. And the fact that he took part in scurrilous attacks on Zoe Hyde and Kimberley Prather, two reputable scientists who took up the cudgels on airborne transmission and the measures that will be needed to make schools safe, with the clear purpose of discrediting their cause, by insinuating, for instance, that Zoe Hyde would have all our children subjected to daily anal swabbing at the hands of school personnel, is an absolutely significant data point in approaching anything else he has to say about the pandemic.

          1. IM Doc

            I could not disagree more

            To single out just Alex Berenson as an information warrior undercuts what you say. Are we to dismiss everything anyone without a degree in science has to say? That would take out most of our media and talk show hosts.

            I have never read anything by either of the two people you mentioned. I have read some of what Berenson has written and it has at times been very close to points I am hearing in my circles that are just not being discussed by our mainstream media.

            I could with some time type out all kinds of inappropriate things said and done by Fauci in the AIDS crisis decades ago.

            By your reasoning that would therefore instantly disqualify anything he says from being taken seriously. Unfortunately some of what Fauci did back then led to deaths ( look up AZT). It was not just anal swabs.

            What I am saying is name almost anyone and things said in the past can be found to discredit them.

            There are those of us who find all kinds of propaganda warriors in the media mendacious. Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity make a career of it. But these are the people are culture have decided to use to inform the people. Unfortunate that the medical experts in the media fall right in line.

            This is the world we create when normal people have to sift through lies for nuggets of truth.

            I am just not buying it that just one of them should be singled out.

            1. Raymond Sim

              I didn’t single Berenson out, his name just keeps coming up, However, I hereby resolve to equitably denounce anyone else I perceive to be doing the kind of shit Berenson does.

              Right off the top of my head: Angela Rasmussen, Alasdair Munro, Monica Gandhi, and Peter Daszak are all guilty of the same sort of thing, and they’re real scientists too. They’re real scientists and truly terrible guides in attempting to find the truth. I think it’s because they lie.

              I won’t be claiming that every word out of their mouths is a lie, I didn’t claim that about Berenson either. I didn’t say anything anybody says is “automatically disqualified from being taken seriously” and that’s not a reasoned deduction from what I did say.

              Anything anybody says about something as important as this pandemic should be able to stand on its own merits if it’s to be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter how credible a figure makes the assertion. I honestly don’t see that it should be at all controversial to point out that habitual liars in particular make poor candidates for the benefit of any doubt.

              Maddow and Hannity are, to be sure, more successful creatures of the same type as Berenson. Nothing they say can be taken as true without evidence. Did you want me to denounce them too, if I was going to pick on Berenson?

              Fauci is a far more sinister figure than any of the others, but the fact that Berenson pales in significance by comparison is not a sound reason to give him any kind of pass.

          2. IM Doc

            The scientific method is not just for scientists. It is for everyone to use to process hypotheses and thought processes.

            He has put forth an idea or two and thought processes in that paper. Whether he has lied about other things in his life is not the point.

            If you think the paper may apply to your life your work or your health you should read it , and then dispute any assertions he makes with your own facts or thoughts.

            To just prima facie dismiss because you have experience that you believe he is a liar is itself an ad hominem argument. You are xyz bad thing therefore your argument is automatically bad.

            If you find things in the paper to dispute, dispute them. That is the essence of the scientific method. The ad hominem world of social media is completely destroying that.

            And I can give you countless examples in medicine and pandemics past where individuals were thought of as liars crazy or worse. But ended up absolutely in the right.

            Look up Ignaz Semmelweis for one.

            1. Raymond Sim

              I’m repeating myself, but I did not dismiss anything Berenson said in the article. In other discussions here I’ve been at pains to point that out, and to point out that your opinion of what he’s said there is of far more note than my own take.

              Science isn’t just for scientists, I couldn’t agree more. Cranks are often the ones who are right, absolutely true.

              None of this changes the fact that when a liar appears to be telling the truth it’s a good idea to run a self-diagnostic. It’s also a good idea to make sure that people are aware that a person being cited warrants careful scrutiny re veracity and motives.

      3. Jen

        Back in the waning days of Bush 43, I happened upon someone on NPR giving a remarkably cogent critique of the US policy in the middle east and Afghanistan. Who was this guy? Turns out it was David Stockman. My prior policy acquaintance with the man had to do with domestic economic policy, and on that front, I maintain my prior convictions that he has his head up his a$$. I find that I care less about the person making the argument, than the argument they make. I would very much like Berenson to be wrong, not because of who he is, but because of the implications if he isn’t.

      4. Tom Bradford

        I’ve no idea who Berenson is or what his antecedents are but I read his piece with the attitude I adopt when reading anything on Covid – the truth is out there somewhere but no-one can yet claim exclusive or privileged access to it.

        That said, red flags were raised for me when he wrote:

        “Public health authorities are also trying to blame the “Delta” variant, which supposedly is more communicable than the original Sars-Cov-2, for the rise in cases. This argument also makes little sense. In India, which was the original home of the Delta variant and where almost no one is vaccinated, cases have fallen 90 percent since early May.”

        That was not what I understood to be the case, which seems to be confirmed by:

        Reading his piece again with those red flags flying I could not avoid a suspicion that he doth protest too much and is coming from a died-in-the-wool anti-vaxer position. I’m not saying he is wrong nor would I dismiss his concerns outright, but for me this is just another opinion piece I will note and weigh in the wider churn.

        1. Raymond Sim

          He certainly makes sure his snake oil pitch appeals to ant-vaxxers, but I wouldn’t draw conclusions about his actual convictions from that. I wouldn’t assume he has any, actually.

          And yeah, I love “The unprecedented wave of death subsided! Yet again!” as somehow telling us anything benign about the cause.

        2. Cuibono

          “That was not what I understood to be the case, which seems to be confirmed by:”
          What are you seeing there?

    5. campbeln

      So our mainstream media seems to not be able to accurately understand/report Covid numbers and epidemiology to the American people but a thriller writer can.

      I can assure you this has NOTHING to do with it, honest! (apologies, but I’m unable to locate the study itself mentioned below):

      According to a 2009 study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, with the exception of CBS every major media outlet in the United States shares at least one board member with at least one drug company. Let me put it in perspective for you, these board members wake up, they go to a meeting at Merck or Pfizer, and then they have their driver take them over to a meeting with NBC to decide what kind of programming that network is going to air. For those board members who aren’t pulling double duty with a media conglomerate and a big drug company, they still understand that they can’t be honest and objective about big pharma because big pharma pays their bills.

  5. fresno dan

    as I grow older, the medical problems multiply. So it turns out I have atrial fibrillation. After I had been told I didn’t. So this is after I expressed concerns to my doctor after my decline in cardiac capacity, who then had me wear a cardiac monitor for two weeks, told me Ijust had occasional irregular heartbeats (which I found concerning) but not afib, but now my doctor either looked at the data again or somebody told him he was wrong and that I do have atrial fibrillation. Maybe its time to get a new doctor and get a cardiologist as well (I had cardiologists for years after the heart attack, but stopped having one after I retired as they were not all that useful)
    So now I am prescribed xarelto. I don’t know. My problem is that so many “new” drugs that I have been prescribed ending up having black box warning, e.g., Plavix, Avandia. I have taken a baby aspirin twice a day after my heart attack (25 years ago) after I stopped taking Plavix and I’m still alive, so I am loathe to add yet another drug to my regimen. Having worked at FDA I know how doctors get their beliefs about drugs. I am not a doctor, and they have education, training, experience that I do not have. On the other hand, two doctors missed diagnosing my Hodgkin’s diesease AFTER I told them I thought I had it. And my self diagnosis of atrial fibrillation was more correct than my doctor’s intial assessment. And I probably know more about how pharmaceutical companies manipulate studies.
    For 20 years, the U.S. government has urged companies, universities, and other institutions that conduct clinical trials to record their results in a federal database, so doctors and patients can see whether new treatments are safe and effective. Few trial sponsors have consistently done so, even after a 2007 law made posting mandatory for many trials registered in the database
    Science examined more than 4700 trials whose results should have been posted on the NIH website under the 2017 rule. Reporting rates by most large pharmaceutical companies and some universities have improved sharply, but performance by many other trial sponsors—including, ironically, NIH itself—was lackluster. Those sponsors, typically either the institution conducting a trial or its funder, must deposit results and other data within 1 year of completing a trial. But of 184 sponsor organizations with at least five trials due as of 25 September 2019, 30 companies, universities, or medical centers never met a single deadline.

    From Google search
    New Study: Xarelto No Better Than Aspirin At Preventing Blood Clots. A new medical trial comparing low-dose aspirin with expensive Xarelto found that aspirin was just as effective at controlling proximal deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.Mar 12, 2020.

    1. The Historian

      You definitely need a new doctor, but there is no way of actually knowing if the new doctor will be any better or worse than the one you have.

      Like you, I was told to wear a monitor for a month because I was having bouts where my hearr rate slowed to 40 bpm and I would feel faint. Even though I had several of these bouts, the doctor said the monitor showed my heart rate was ‘unremarkable’. So I asked to see some of the strips from the monitor and the doctor said he didn’t have them – that a company in NJ was supposed to be monitoring the monitor and that they only sent him a report that said ‘unremarkable’. So I had all the expensive tests, and even though I am still having these bouts and I actually had some in the doctor’s office, the cardiologist said that there was nothing they could do – just a product of ‘old age’ – I’m 72 – and that I would just have to ‘live with them’. So I am looking for a doctor in a new town, and all I am finding when I search for doctors is how well their patients like them – not much else! So I guess bedside manner is now more important than competence?

      1. IM Doc

        In Medicine – this is known as a PRESS GANEY score. It is one of the worst abominations to have been released on medicine in my lifetime – right up there with the electronic medical record.

        You are right – it is far far more important for modern docs that work for a health system or corporation that their patients leave the office with a smile on their face.

        I am all about having a good bedside manner – I am told by my own patients all the time that I do – and to be honest that is all I care about. But the drunkard beating his wife who left my office yesterday afternoon most definitely did not have a smile on his face when he left – nor did the lady eating 2 bags of Doritos daily with a blood sugar of 313.

        When we as a society wonder why we have an obesity problem in this country – I think a large part of the reason is our new generation of physicians and health care are navel-gazing and marinating themselves in a bathtub of happy scores. And the evil part – their incomes and their bonuses depend on it.

        It is a disgrace.

        1. Stevew

          Thank you IM Doc for all your posts. Not that I disagree, but please enlighten us with your take on electronic medical records.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Is it that a new generation of physicians and health care are navel-gazing and marinating themselves in a bathtub of happy scores? Or is it that the people who determine their incomes and bonuses and their even staying employed are marinating them in it? Whom should we blame here?

          1. IM Doc

            It started with the administrators and handing over the leadership of medicine to the MBA crowd.

            At this point, the docs have just allowed it to happen for so long that I am not sure who is responsible.

      2. fresno dan

        The Historian
        July 13, 2021 at 10:58 am
        Man, I hear what you are saying. And to put things in perspective, I’ve had cancer and a heart attack, and I think the medical arts have kept me alive. But MAN, modern medicine can be annoying, frustrating, and becoming just more and more greedy. I wouldn’t even mind the greed so much, except I’m paying more for worse outcomes. Give the patient a pill and get them out of the office…
        I am actually willing to give my general practicioner a break. Although I have been his patient for 5 years, and I’m thinking its time somebody with fresh eyes look at me, as well as his hard to explain reluctance that I not see a cardiologist.

        1. chuck roast

          We seem to fall apart one organ at a time. Me…I’m looking for the trifecta. I got failing eyesight and failing hearing. I’m figuring if dementia kicks in soon, I’ll make the big score…deaf, dumb and blind.

    2. IM Doc

      I obviously do not know you at all – but I understand your situation – and where you have questions are the same questions I have had for a very long time.

      First of all – there is a cardiologist trained in EP who seems to have his head screwed on correctly – who writes a very informative blog about rhythm problems – and other cardiac issues. His name is John Mandrola –

      Secondly – do not spend another cent ( or Medicare cents ) on cardiac monitoring – those 30 day monitors literally cost 5-7 K dollars. It is a total scam that should have no excuse of happening anymore. When I say I work for an industry that is a wealth extraction machine – I am not kidding.
      There is a device called a Kardia Mobile. Look it up on Amazon. The least expensive one is the kind you need – about 80 bucks the last time I looked.

      It goes into your cell phone – and when you need to intermittently monitor your heart or certainly when having any kind of symptoms – you put your fingers on it – and it will do an ECG. They do exactly the same function as the big expensive ones – for literally 1-2% of the cost – AND you get to keep it forever – to monitor yourself for all time…..

      I have not looked in to them much – but a colleague has told me about another device out there called Oura Rings. They actually have the ability to monitor your heart 24/7 – and they fit on your finger like a wedding ring. Again, I have not had the opportunity to personally evaluate – but I will be soon. To be honest, I usually try these things out on myself first.

      I have been using these Kardia Mobile devices exclusively for the past 2 years. A colleague of mine in a big city who worked for a hospital system was fined by bonus reduction for ordering these at all. I am sad to say the MBAs in the mahogany offices have the docs by the gonads in these big HMOs like Kaiser and the big hospital systems in Anytown USA.

      I am sick and tired of all the scams. The fact that XARELTO now almost 10 years after its introduction is costing patients 500 bucks a month or so is an absolute sin. Coumadin is about 25 cents a pill – so less than 10 dollars a month. You just have to be monitored – way more at the beginning but much less often as time goes on.

      And yes – there is nascent controversy about whether people do better with AFIB on ASPIRIN or XARELTO/ELIQIUS/WARFARIN.

      I am old-fashioned. There was a time when I was young when the internist’s job was to sit down and comprehensively go through all of this with the patient. I still do. But I also do not work for a hospital system and I do not have an MBA as my boss demanding I see 30 people a day. And drug reps are banned from my office.

      1. fresno dan

        IM Doc
        July 13, 2021 at 12:11 pm
        Thank you for the good advice. I only have a flip phone – I remember when I use to ride my brontosaurus and they made it lllegal to ride and talk on the phone at the same time, but maybe its time to come into the 21st century.
        1. Google gave me search results of electrophisiologists in Nebraska and Virginia, even though the search querry specifically said located in Fresno, CA. good grief…
        2. Of several doctors and practices called, nobody picks up the phone. Phone trees. After going through the tree, I’m told to leave a message.
        3. Phone numbers that appear to be phone numbers of physicians, but are actually the number of physician referral services.

      2. Basil Pesto

        There is a device called a Kardia Mobile. Look it up on Amazon. The least expensive one is the kind you need – about 80 bucks the last time I looked.

        It goes into your cell phone – and when you need to intermittently monitor your heart or certainly when having any kind of symptoms – you put your fingers on it – and it will do an ECG. They do exactly the same function as the big expensive ones – for literally 1-2% of the cost – AND you get to keep it forever – to monitor yourself for all time…..

        That looks neat. My Dad was diagnosed with lulmonary arterial hypertension a few months ago (it was originally presumed to be emphysema that worsened precipitously but he gave up smoking ~30 years ago) and after a quick search turned up this paper I might look into getting him one. News you can use!

      3. larry

        Doc, if you have a pacemaker, what is the best, if there is any, way to monitor your heart activity?

        1. IM Doc

          The pacer is able to hold 2-3 days of heart beats all the time – it has to be downloaded into either your phone or a device you have in your house –
          Once you have a pacer – you should not be having to worry about monitors.

      4. Tom Stone

        Xarelto is $1,560 retail for 30 pills (450MG) with Medicare drug coverage it’s a $400 co pay.
        Until 1/1/20 that co pay was $4.
        I’m taking Coumadin now and although the extra monitoring ( Blood work) is a 40 mile round trip each week the savings are substantial.

    3. Oh

      I’m not surprised that this wonder drug is just about effective as aspirin. The Pharma crooks cooked up the results to make their drug look good and had their reps pump their drug down the pipeline.

      I always resists tests because I wonder what the great Med-Ind complex will recommend next to line their own pockets and make me miserable!

    1. Lambert Strether

      That’s why I can’t get excited about it. IIRC, Wisconsin Democrats did the same thing in a battle with Scott Walker. The tactic garners press, and never comes to anything.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        In this case, the tactic is buying time for the FedGov to pass and sign voting rights laws before Texas can pass and sign its voting no-rights-for-you law. If the Dems in command at the FedGov would prefer to prevent passage of voting rights laws, that is not the Texas Dems’s fault. That is the DC Dems’s fault. The Texas Dems are buying them time, to either use or run-out-the-clock on , as the DC Dems see fit.

        So I still see it as exciting in this case. If the DC Dems take all the excitement out of it by refusing to pass voting rights laws, that is not the Texas Dems’s fault.

        And they probably had to charter a plane in order to make their getaway that fast in a bunch.

        1. Gareth

          Preventing a quorum in the Texas House does not buy time for Democrats in DC. Federal law would override any law passed in Texas. You could argue that it highlights the issue for Democrats in DC and might put pressure on reluctant Democrats there, but the outcome of the vote in Texas has has no bearing on the vote in DC. Additionally, this happens every ten years in Texas like clockwork; it isn’t particularly novel at this point.

          Texas Democrats usually go to a retreat in New Mexico when they do this. It was a mistake to go to DC and appear with Biden because it muddies the issue by tying people’s negative perceptions of Biden and Harris to the voting bill. The decision will hurt vulnerable Democrats in the border counties.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            ” Put visible pressure on” the DC Democrats is what I meant by ” buy time”. The longer the Texas Democrats can make a point and a show of staying away to deny the Texas Republicans a quorum, the more humiliating it looks for the DC Dems to spend that time refusing to pass any voting rights bill. Maybe the DC Dems will eat as much humiliation as they have to in order to prevent a bill from passing in DC. Maybe the DC Dems hope to run out the clock long enough on preventing a Federal voting rights bill to be able to throw the election to Trump in 2024 with the help of all these Republican laws in various states.

            But that is what I meant. It seems to me there is a level of Brain War to all this and the TexDems were/are trying to raise the visible shame-pressure on the DC Dems as their part in waging the Brain War for voting rights.

            But I hadn’t considered the ” going to DC looks bad” angle. I live too far from Texas to have that level of granular knowledge. Didn’t they once go to Oklahoma to try preventing quorum?

            1. Gareth

              Ah, I see. I think they did go to Oklahoma one time. It is a comparatively short drive up I-35.

    2. newcatty

      Yes, but they were on chartered planes so guess they were calm, comfortable and were in high spirits from their PR photo op.

      Cornel West: “Let us bear witness to this spiritual rot.”

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Vaccines, reasons for concern, part 3 Alex Berenson

    Most of the specialists I’ve been reading would be a little less dismissive of the success so far of vaccines, but I think his broader point – that vaccines will not stop either future waves of Covid, or future spikes in deaths is looking more likely. The enormous rise in infections in the UK is a clear demonstration of this, although I think we’ll only know for sure if the vaccines genuinely protect the vulnerable from hospitalisation and/or Long Covid by the end of the year. It cetainly looks like the spring/early summer ‘success’ of vaccines in the UK and Israel may well have been little more than the usual ebb and flow of infection.

    The only certainty in this is that if it is shown that vaccines do not succeed as a solution for Covid, absolutely nobody in authority will admit to it. We’ve already seen lots of articles and statements that essentially criticise the Japanese/Australians/South Koreans, etc., for being so slow in vaccination, implicitely blaming them for the current problems they’ve been having. In reality, they have been sensible in keeping vaccination as one weapon against Covid, not the entirety of their policy.

    1. Mikel

      Lots of people economically dependent on getting crowds of people into indoor spaces.
      That’s what a good deal of this hem-hawing over “what to do” is about.

    2. Raymond Sim

      A year and more ago I was telling anyone who cared to ask, and some who just wished I’d shut up, that vaccines were unlikely to solve our problem.

      Because it was fucking obvious from what we knew already. I mean it. Completely obvious, thanks to a substantial body of knowledge, much of it preexisting.

      Things I didn’t do: I didn’t lie, I didn’t lie about the disease, about other people, about immunology, about anything. Why would I?

      Why would anybody lie about this stuff? Why does Alex Berenson lie the way he does?

    3. Cuibono

      Concur. I think he greatly overstates his case based what we know SO FAR about reduction in deaths and severe illness…on the other hand, remember that the RCTs were NOT designed to measure that and they did not show that. And that the data that is being massaged to show that has potential issues. Lots of them.

      1. Raymond Sim

        If you’re referring to the vaccine trials, then I concur with you as well. We don’t know a patch on what we ought to. That said, when the people you should be able to trust betray you, it’s important not to become a target of opportunity for other scumbags, especially scumbag propagandists who could be working for anybody.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    How much do cats actually kill? Oatmeal

    This is solely anecdote, but I grew up in a suburban house in Dublin where the garden was always full of birds, my mother loved them and did everything she could to encourage them. When I moved to the UK one thing I noticed was an absence of so many of the birds I was familiar with, and even putting out a feeder didn’t succeed in bringing many to my garden. Those that did were noticeably more reluctant to come close when I was sitting outside on a summers day.

    I quickly came to the conclusion that the reason was simple – nearly all my neighbours in my home in England had pet cats, and most were allowed to wander. In Ireland, dogs are far more popular pets, and my mother used to shoo off the occasional cat that wandered into our garden.

    1. marieann

      I am in Canada where we mostly keep cats cats indoors( I do anyway) but a neighbours cat terrorizes the birds….I hear them squealing at her all the time.
      She visits my yard all the time, probably because I have many fruiting vines/shrubs that feed the birds so I have a lot of birds.
      I don’t know if I am making it worse for the birds by supplying food that attracts them, or helping them increase their numbers by having a plentiful food supply.

      At one time I had 4 cats, most of them from strays so I could never get them to become indoor cats, however only one of them was a good bird catcher.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the feeder is too high up for cats to reach it, and too cat-hostile for cats to climb the pole, and too far away from any bushes or shrubs for cats to be able to leap onto the feeder from shrubs and bushes, then feeding the birds should not be putting them in any cat danger, I should think.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Glenn Greenwald
    No masks.
    Also, is it good or bad to use maneuvers to prevent bills from passing which have majoritarian support?’

    And before they headed out to that private plane, they made sure to take along at least one pack of Miller Lite. Does that count as an actual beer?

    Both parties pull this sort of stunt and both parties look stupid for doing so. Performative politics.

    1. griffen

      It could be worse! Coors Light.

      That said, either option is still better than Keystone Light.

      1. ambrit

        That being Texas, I have been told, by a Texan no less, that Shiner is the generally acknowledged “bottom of the barrel” beer for that State. (I have visited the old Shiner brewery in Austen, oh, just before the last of the Mastodons gave up wandering the plains and removed themselves to the Reservation.)

        1. tongorad

          The old Shiner brewery is in Shiner, TX and is called Spoetzl Brewery.
          My family on my mother’s side is from Shiner. One of our family stories is that one of the Spoetzls asked my grandmother’s hand in marriage. She declined, and its been downhill ever since (my family, not Shiner bock).

        2. griffen

          Bet it depends on who you ask. I’ll have the Bock version by Shiner on occasion, and it’s quite good when cold on a warm summer afternoon.

          Granted that might not classify as a real Bock for Octoberfest in Germany, but it’s a fine beer to me. A case of Keystone light is only good for volume purchases and not a good beer.

          1. ambrit

            An old joke about Milwaukee’s Best was that it tasted the same going in you as coming out of you.

          2. larry

            If you guys want to drink really bad beers, try Pittsburgh ones, like Duquesne. The worst of the worst was Iron City. It was so bad, it no longer exists. One can could give you a raging headache.

        3. Chris Smith

          I lived in Texas for a long time. Shiner Bock is reasonably ok. Lone Star, on the other hand, the self-proclaimed “national beer of Texas” …

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the majority is evil, and the bills are bad evil bills, and the maneuvers actually stop the bills, then yes, it is good to use maneuvers.

      Even if the Christopher Hitchens of today, that great new contrarian-in-training Glen Greenwald, pretends not to think so at this particular time, because pretending not to think so at this particular time gathers a better harvest of lucrative eyeballs.

  9. petal

    Yves, I’m so sorry to hear about what is happening with your mum. You and her don’t need this ish. If it’s happening to her, how many others is it happening to, and has happened to? I don’t have much, but should you need bail, I’m happy to chip in.

    Re the low income people unvaccinated: yes, hard to take time off, and also who will pay their medical bills should that need arise either now or in the future as a result?

  10. Ghost in the Machine

    It seems Ian Welsh is declaring that The Jackpot has begun in ‘Understanding your control over climate change’

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Regarding “Coincidental killers”: I am glad to read this because it focuses on a pet peeve of mine. We are always “at war” with everything, even viruses and bacteria. And I am tired of war, and I am tired of the fear.

    2. Rod

      Grim, but refreshing expose’ from Mr Welsh.

      XR Fundamentals
      #1 Tell the Truth

      Unrestrained Consumption services Capitalism while consuming the only Home we have.
      And is ‘The Common Link’ that cannot be made or spoken of.

      How does a World Economy work without a World?

      1. newcatty

        An anecdote and true story:
        When I was just 18 I was a freshman at a large public university. It was when the first “Earth Day”, IIRC, was on the scene. I walked almost every week day to classes and to go hang out with friends at the “student union”. There was always something going on at the mall ( heady times) and I pursued the tables and booths at my leisure. You know those “light bulb” epiphanies? I came up to the “Earth Day” group table and picked up every flyer, brochure and a copy of a beautiful photo of Mother Earth…” The big blue marble”. As a kid from a tiny and isolated town it was like having been transported to OZ ( hee, hi Rev and other Aussies). I was amazed at the information about what was happening in the bigger picture of the state of the planet. That was almost 50 years ago! It came to me: “Saving the planet ” was the most crucial thing to work and advocate for at that time. What good would any “prosperity” be for us, if there was no home planet to live on? 50 years later…

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        The better question is how does a world economy work without humans? Cuz let’s face it, the world isn’t going any place.

  11. Mikel

    RE:Vaccines/Reasons for concern

    Pretty much excludes the J&J shot from discourse, but it is still available.
    Anybody else get the impression that every mishap with J&J gets more press than mishaps with mRNA shots?

    J&J is also the only company that has given a time frame for effectiveness (8 months) and are they being disregarded for that bit of honesty? At least, and it is least, that gives people a time frame to work with regarding current and future precautions that could be taken. A time frame can help in plannning how to handle events in one’s life for the coming months. 8 months could buy time for until other more effective, and not so novel, treatments come along.

    1. Nikkikat

      They have been doing everything they can to discredit the J and J. Of all the issues that have come out, the MRNA seem to have far more problems. It’s obvious to me too. I was vaccinated with J and J as was several family members. None of us have experienced side effects of any kind.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I have noticed all these stories knocking J and J here in Oz as well and trying to turn people away from it. And it is not even used down here.

      2. crittermom

        I also received the J&J vaccine back in April, with no side effects.

        And yes, I’ve also noted the press releases regarding the various alternatives and comparisons.

        Regardless, I will continue to wear a mask when in public no matter the reports. To me personally, it’s a matter of common sense and my own rights and beliefs.

        As my Dad used to say, “Common sense is not so common” (which he valued above formal education).

        I do believe in science, but with so much variation regarding ‘which is best’, I choose to listen to my gut instincts above all else, and my instincts tell me to continue to mask and social distance myself from those who think ‘the pandemic is over!’

        As of June 28th (latest figures I could find), there were 20 new cases of Covid in our sparsely populated county in southern Crowdorado.
        The highways are SO FULL of vehicles here (many with out of state plates), I can only expect that number to rise.

      3. Mikel

        With a member of the household facing return to a high rise office building with no windows that open in September, and me not having to even think about that situation in January, it is the quick fix I’m thinking about for buying time while they figure everything out….and more non-mRNA treatments that are on deck.
        And yes, I’ve heard it is the one with the least harsh side effects for most.
        I’m still using avoiding crowded indoor spaces as the main way to avoid spread and catching anything. Quite cool with it.

      4. AndrewJ

        I got the J&J vac, after reading some commentary by commenters here and IM Doc (though I went looking for a particular comment that I thought I remembered to forward to a friend’s vac-hesitant dad, and couldn’t find it), and I’m still pretty happy I did. I did however have about 24 hours of feverish/flulike side effects. Didn’t sleep, sweated, felt hot – no way I could or should have gone to work the next day.
        It’s impossible to know for sure, but I think I had a housemate with Covid last summer, and if previous exposure is what causes side effects after vaccination… well, it’s interesting.

  12. Tom Stone

    I am not surprised by the problems Yves and her Mother are facing, even at a $2K per day facility.
    Nursing homes are cash cows.
    More care=less cash.

    As to Covid, it looks like the next spike will arrive in the midst of Fire Season which is going to complicate evacuations.

    1. The Historian

      It’s called crapification – when money becomes more important than quality or treating humans decently. And it is happening all over. Remember when you got a decent sized seat and a meal on airlines? Or when you could go to a grocery and get the things you wanted instead of just the things they want to sell? Or when you went to a doctor and they actually listened to you instead of just ordering more tests and prescribing pills? Or when you could buy an appliance that lasted 25 years?

      I just wonder how long we humans are going to stand for this! What is our tipping point?

      1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        >when money becomes more important than quality or treating humans decently

        So, Capitalism

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Cuba protests: What you need to know”

    From what I saw, the crowds supporting those protestors in Florida were larger than the one in Cuba itself. An image from the air would tell tell the story of how large this protest actually was but I doubt that we will see one. Even what we see can be dodgy. In this article, there is an image of a crowd all over a monument. It turns out that this was not an image of protestors but pro-government supporters on the Maximo Gomez monument in Havana. Funny how the mistakes all go only one way. If the organizers thought that this would launch a general fight, they were sadly disappointed. I would guess that it was something organized out of the exiles in Florida with the blessings of the Biden admin. And of course there was the MSM doing their part. Here is a Washington Post article about this protests and the writer – Lizette Alvarez – is the daughter of Cuban refugees. Imagine my surprise-

    1. Lambert Strether

      Whenever I see a story about a demonstration that has a tight crowd shot focused on a few spectacular individuals, and that gives me no indication of crowd size with a wide angle or aerial shot, I skip the story. I don’t like being played.

    2. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      South Africa has had ongoing riots since, according to one report I read, the arrest of Jacob Zuma. But S.A. has been more or less a US sycophant, so no MSM cheerleading of the protestors, unlike Cuba. Of Course, South Africa is now a “free democratic” dependable sycophant of the US, Unlike Cuba which has managed to maintain some semblance of independence despite having been stomped on by the US for close to 65 years.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Cheeky Cruise Company Lawyering”

    I actually sense a business opportunity here – but for Elon Musk. Let me explain. Musk says that he wants to plant a colony on Mars and would go himself but is too busy washing his hair. Let us say that he can do it. He can’t of course but let us say that he did. He could then make a ton of money by allowing companies like those Cruise Companies to incorporate themselves on Mars. And in the contracts signed, if there were any problems you would have to deliver them in person to their Mars head office. So any complaints from passengers on those cruise ships? ‘Please refer any complaints to the Mars Head office – which can be anything from 36 million miles (58 million kilometers) to 250 million miles away (400 million kilometers). Have a nice day.’

    1. thump

      It’s maybe unclear because of brevity. Perhaps “On the Necessity of…” would be more clear.

      However, my quibble with it is that the 5-month study period, from mid-December, 2020, to mid-May, 2021, ended just at the Delta variant was beginning to take off in the US, and the study does not say anything about genomic sequencing of cases. Thus it strikes me that this study does not really inform our current situation.

    2. Raymond Sim

      I haven’t read the article, but the key question is this: Do they address the derangement of immune memory by Covid infection?

      If they don’t then their conclusions are meaningless.

  15. Nikkikat

    The moose picture made my day! I really needed a laugh. I thought the rather profane daily mash of Richard Branson’s space flight said what most of us were kinda thinking. Lol

    The dog in the picture is one cute pup! Thanks.

  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    The Daily Mash article on Branson’s space trip is truth through parody.

    Is there a German compound word for this?

    1. jhg

      The Daily Mash article is a good description of Mr Branson’s antics. So is the article from Truthout.
      I grew up watching the Apollo program, I remember when Apollo 8 orbited the moon and when Apollo 11 landed. I do realize that it was, in essence a political race to get to the moon, but I like to think it was more. Now the race to space is simply a contest between egotistical multi-billionaires who spend their money on their space toys instead of their own people.
      Maybe some technicians will “accidentally” load 3X the fuel required for Mr Bezo’s flight and re-program the flight computer to shutdown the engines when it reaches twice the Earth’s escape velocity.

  17. Blue Duck

    Schools & delta wave

    We’re in danger of a real mess when it comes to the US schools reopening in August. With kids acting as super spreaders, and clusters appearing in summer camps, reopening schools will be like opening little delta variant factories in each community. However, the pressure to reopen the schools this august is going to be immense to say the least.

    Personally, I’ve been home schooling my kids since March 2020 (I hate the idea of my kids sitting infront of a computer for 6 hours a day on zoom class – it’s hard enough to keep Silicon Valley out of our lives without that added pressure). That’s three kids 7 years old and under. My wife is a physician on the front lines of covid and works a heavy schedule. I’ve essentially been home alone with three young kids for 16 months. I think I will probably send them to school this August even if the delta variant is picking up. Even if it’s just for a month or so, I desperately need a break from indefinitely providing childcare 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. So many parents I know are dying for their kids to go back to school too.

    My anecdotal data aside, parents of all stripes and political persuasions are going to demand the schools reopen come hell or high water, and it is going to really drive the delta infection rate up, and therefore lead to a lot of bodies. I understand how selfish that may sound, but this has caused so much strain on families and caregivers, and we are getting zero support from society. We’ve done the older generations a huge service by locking down our families to save them from COVID, and if the schools can’t reopen, it will be time for them to repay the service.

      1. Blue Duck

        we’re in cali. our kids will be wearing masks regardless of what the school districts say.

        1. juno mas

          …it is a state-wide mandate that was reversed. California having a diverse collection of school districts, the mandate will be made at the District level.

          This will be another experiment in risk-reward. Keep those N95’s handy.

    1. curlydan

      the parents want the kids back in school, and I bet the kids want the kids back in school, too. My younger child is adamant that he’s back in school after 1+ years of remote school.

      Any non-masked elementary school is destined for a Delta variant blow up in the first 1-2 months of school.

      Any non-masked middle or high school is destined for at the least a bunch of minor blow ups and quarantines.

      California’s policy (masks for everyone) is about the sanest thing I’ve seen lately.

      1. Aumua

        You can expect a massive pushback from crazy conservatives if they try and do that, including school board meeting takeovers and more recalls of elected and other officials. Afaik the nationwide wave of gubernatorial and other recall efforts are being spearheaded by right wingers specifically over COVID lockdowns.

    2. Maritimer

      In all the studies I have seen this past year and more, I have yet to see any of them address all the factors in lockdowns/masking. Usually the studies are quite limited in analysis. One of the considerations unaddressed has been the effect of lockdowns/masking on the human immune system. My spouse and I have been talking about this for months. It seems to have escaped the notice of the Epidemiologists.

      So, imagine my surprise to see today a headline at MSM CDN Global News:
      “Will Canada’s COVID-19 babies face ‘immunity debt’? Here’s what experts say
      What is immunity debt?

      Immunity debt refers to the lack of immune stimulation due to the reduced exposure to viruses, germs and bacteria as a result of COVID-19 safety and lockdown measures.
      “Because of the whole COVID lockdown, kids are being immune-deprived and their microbes are being screwed up. So their immune systems are a bit screwed up,” explained Brett Finlay, a professor of microbiology at the University of British Columbia.”

      Also in that article, some alarming comments about RSV. So, again, lockdown, masking and other draconian measures seem to have had side effects unaddressed or considered by the experts. It seems as simple as Action, Reaction.

      1. Basil Pesto

        or it’s possible that in calculating risk, hypothetical concerns about immune debt are given lesser weight than concerns of SARS 2 running amok.

    3. wilroncanada

      My grandchildren, all three (1 in middle school and 2 in elementary), in school for the full 2020-2021 school year in British Columbia. They were home in the spring of 2020 for 6-8 weeks while the Ministry of Education and the school boards tried to determine their approach. Such as reducing class sizes, increasing spacing in classrooms. The children were back in school by mid May 2020. There were no masks mandated for students until near Christmas 2020, when middle school students were masked.
      There were certainly some cases in schools throughout the year. Contact tracing showed that virtually all were brought from home, and were caught early enough to maintain the spread of below one. The teachers union was not always helpful, often pushing for closing schools. The worst area in terms of school cases was in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver: ethnic neighbourhoods with often front-line parents, along with a mini Bible belt, and anti-vax cohort in the farthest eastern suburbs. The religious schools had by far the most continuous case loads.

  18. QuarterBack

    Re Haiti, despite ongoing page turner revelations about (alleged) U.S. ties to the assassins, NYTimes and other MSM journalists choose to write about the debate over whether the U.S. military should “provide assistance”. Hmm…

  19. crittermom

    RE: Antidotes
    Betsy is a beautiful dog! Awww. I just want to hug her. Great photo.

    That moose/hunter ‘photo’ is hilarious.
    I think we all need some comic relief.
    Good choice, Lambert. Thanks.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is a good looking dog though I don’t know the breed. And it wasn’t Lambert’s choice but Yves as she’s back from the wars.

    2. Robert Hahl

      Betsy is part Feist, a squirrel hunter, from Tazewell, VA. She has very soft fur, like an honorary bunny. I am a great disappointment to her because I don’t shoot treed squirrels.

      1. Nikkikat

        Robert, I am so glad you commented. I was wondering about whether the adorable dog is a feist. I had one as a child. The big eyes gave it away to me. My dog was smaller but looked like the pictured dog. Ours showed up at our house when I was about three. No one claimed her and the local vet in our small town did not recognize her as one of his clients. My parents tried to give her to a relative as they didn’t want a dog at the time. She came back to our house twice after we took her there. We decided she wanted to stay with us. We kept her. She was a great dog! If one us tried to wander off, she ran and barked and alerted my mom. She also spent her days chasing squirrels. Of all my dogs over the years she has always had a special place in our hearts. Thank you for the beautiful photo.

  20. Brooklin Bridge

    I’m terribly sorry to hear this. Such negligence! God help us, it just doesn’t stop.

    1. Carolinian

      But that would transform it from legalized bribery back into a hobby.

      The truth is there’s no ethical “safeguard” that could justify Hunter being allowed to this at all as long as his father is President.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Yes, that’s the whole point of the op-ed!

        Ben Davis, author of the opinion piece,
        urges Hunter Biden to wait until ‘the big guy’ is out of office

        needless to say, might affect prices

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Covid-19: Dutch PM Rutte ‘sorry for easing restrictions too soon'”

    Rutte seems to be just another Boris – but with better hair. He wanted to keep the country open a year ago and just go for natural herd-immunity until he realized that that might not be politically wise to lose a chunk of your population. Then not long ago he opens up the country prematurely and when it all goes south, declares that he made a boo-boo. I’m betting that he is keeping a close eye on the UK to see what happens after they open up everything to see if he can do the same in the Netherlands.

  22. Carolinian

    Re Counterpunch and free speech–this is echoing the Dershowitz argument that the 230 provision means that government is already regulating internet speech by giving Facebook et al extra doses of it (they are protected from libel and other private suits). And the Counterpunch article is quoting at least one Supreme Court justice who seems to agree.

    As Justice Thomas wrote, practically beckoning Trump’s lawyers into the Supreme Court: “[I]mmunity provisions like §230 could potentially violate the First Amendment to the extent those provisions pre-empt state laws that protect speech from private censorship,” and whether tech companies’ “right to cut off speech … could lawfully be modified raise[s] interesting and important questions.”

  23. amfortas the hippie

    boston review
    nothing us around here didnt know already
    and in fact has been perfectly obvious for my whole life
    sent to my “conservative” peeps
    “some circumstantial evidence is very strong. like when you find a trout in the milk”-thoreau

  24. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Former U.S. drug agency informant arrested in Haiti… Daily Mail”

    “Several tied to Haiti assassination plot were previously US law enforcement informants–CNN”

    “Other suspects also had US ties, including working as informants for the FBI, the people briefed on the matter said.”

    Remembrances of things past, or the ways in which past behavior appears to predict future behavior, or “As when a dog goes to his own vomit and becomes abominable, so is a fool who returns in his wickedness to his own sin.”, or “Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.”, ect., ect.

    1. “Near-identical horrors are documented under the subsequent French rulers of Haiti, who shipped in hundreds of thousands of African slaves to work their plantations. From that time to this, the logic of Western exploitation of the Third World has remained fundamentally the same: dreams of a better life must be crushed by violence and grinding poverty so extreme that local people will accept any work at any rate, and abandon all notions of improving their lot. This is why death squads, tyrants and torturers are such a standard feature of the Third World — hope is always being born and is always being killed by local thugs serving Western elites.”

    2. “More troubling still, the U.S. government directly impeded the prosecution of human rights crimes in Haiti by refusing to return documents seized from FRAPH and Haitian military headquarters and by reaching a secret settlement with FRAPH’s leader, Emmanuel Constant, which allowed Constant to remain in the United States with a work permit while evading deportation to Haiti and criminal prosecution for human rights abuses there. The U.S. government’s cover-up of the crimes of FRAPH, which was founded by Constant while he was allegedly on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) payroll, suggests that the U.S. government is trying to prevent revelation of its own complicity in violent abuses in Haiti. For example, U.S. officials who were negotiating with the Haitian government regarding the return of the FRAPH documents, while conceding that the material belongs to the Haitian government, have maintained that U.S. citizens’ names must be redacted from the materials before they are returned to Haiti. Removing names would conceal whether U.S. citizens were themselves party to human rights crimes in Haiti.”

    3. “Emmanuel Constant, leader of FRAPH, is widely alleged, and himself claims, to have been in the pay of, and under the orders of, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the coup period. Emmanuel Constant lives openly in the USA. As a result of a damages claim brought against him by Alerte Belance, a Haitian woman living in the USA, for an alleged assault by FRAPH members in 1993, it emerged that the US authorities were in possession of tens of thousands of pages of documents which had been removed from the FRAPH offices by the Multinational Force (MNF)9 in October 1994. As a result of subpoenas brought by US lawyers, the US Department of Defence admitted that it was in the process of reviewing the classification status of the documents. In December 1995 a spokesman for the US State Department announced that the documents would be returned once they had been reviewed and the names of all US citizens removed, though he did not rule out that Washington would keep some of the documents.”

    4. “Constant led the paramilitary group called FRAPH. It’s an acronym for Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, which killed thousands of supporters of the former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Constant’s been allowed to live freely in the U.S., after threatening to reveal the full extent of his ties to the CIA. The U.S. government ignored several requests for his extradition. Constant was arrested in a separate case last month, not for human rights abuses, but for committing mortgage fraud.”

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Team Mulls Digital Trade Deal to Counter China in Asia”

    There is a lot of talk about the newer technology revolutionizing the world with China having an edge in their advanced 5G for example. Could this trade deal be really about getting those countries to lock out Chinese technology and to only buy technology from western sources, even if it is inferior?

    1. Nikkikat

      Rev Kev that is my belief too. This is all about “Mr Apple” as Trump used to call Tim Cook. Apple has multiple stock buy backs and a trillion in off shore accounts. At least three times that I recall, they were allowed to bring that money here tax free only to then off shore it again. The last four US Presidents have done this favor for Apple. When all you care about is your quarterly profits and do nothing in research and development and then get the US Military to war posture for you, I’d call it a racket one that regular people pay for in many ways.

  26. Maggie

    This is for fresno dan. My husband was diagnosed with afib summer 2016. I found an on-line support group made a huge difference in our understanding and ultimately where we chose to go for treatment. The online group is now part of the American Heart Assn. Support Network MyAfibExperience. I hope you will check it out.

  27. Dave

    That Critical Race Theory explainer video leans heavily on one article by John Calmore (mainly about the jazz musician Archie Shepp) which is hardly one of the most cited in the field. Seems like cherry picking in order to play up racial separatist strains. Admittedly, I did not bother watching the whole video, but I imagine many people who associate themselves with CRT would chafe at having “White Fragility” included in the canon.
    The Delgado and Stefancic book offers a good overview of CRT, which acknowledges the areas of disagreement among practitioners. Having read it, I was left with the impression that CRT is basically the law school arm of Ethnic Studies, with an emphasis on Black Studies. Not, in other words, a singular, cohesive theory, but an area of research. It has fostered a handful of ideas that have become fairly mainstream: especially “microaggressions,” “narrativity,” “intersectionality.”

  28. antidlc

    From a comment in the Berenson piece:

    If you knew a vaccine only provided eight months of immunity, would you consider the vaccine worth the risk?

    Note to Yves: So very sorry for your experience. We live in a broken society.

    1. Basil Pesto

      for me, that would depend on the epidemiological situation on the ground. That’s why, being where I am, where things are under control or have a tendency to get under control after brief small outbreaks, I’m not in a particular hurry to vax up. If I were in the UK or USA, then I would probably consider it worth the risk.

  29. Reader

    This 48 year old school teacher may have died from long covid. The failure of our government to take care of people during the pandemic certainly didn’t help. After getting sick in spring of 2020 and having his work hours reduced, he was evicted along with his family last August at a time when the average high temperature was 104. Then 3 days later, the rental assistance money finally came through.

    While homeless, he sometimes taught online classes from his car. He blamed himself for thinking that the eviction moratorium would protect him and his family. It appears he never fully recovered from COVID and he died at the beginning of this month despite having secured new housing. It’s a heartbreaking story and I’m sure there are many others like it from the pandemic.

    The first link is the eviction story from 2020 and the second is about his death. I hope it’s ok that I’m re-posting this from yesterday.

  30. ambrit

    The display of PMC “entitlement” in the picture of the Texas Democrat Party apparatchiks jetting to “freedom” is breathtaking. Not only are they defying the “Will of the People,” but none of them are masked.
    I predict that “Business As Usual” going forward is going to include a high death count.
    I contemplated having a one off tee shirt made; “It Ain’t Over Till You Die.”

    1. marym

      There’s a certain amount of entitlement and thwarting of the will of the people in the proposed voting legislation too, whether or not this junket is a useful form of protest.

      The non-masking disgraceful.

    2. Pat

      Please do not forget performative. The self congratulatory posturing could also be described as pointless.

      I am sure we can come up with numerous other descriptions none of which include hard work.

      1. jhg

        The Texas Republicans are going to ram through legislation that places most of the restrictions on minorities voting without debate and along party lines. There is no will of the people here. The democrats have no way to counteract this other than this ultimately useless piece of theater.

        This bill will be voted on and passed eventually along with similar restrictive bills in many other states. I think the bigger problem is the ability of state legislatures being able to overturn the outcomes of elections they don’t like.

        1. workingclasshero

          Restrictive as in possesing a valid i.d.?what am i missing about voter suppresion arguments?it seems reasonable to me.

          1. marym

            “Both the [Texas] House and the Senate versions of the bill would add new restrictions to Texas’s already very restrictive laws governing absentee voting. They also would prevent drive-through polling sites, an innovation that some Texas counties used during the pandemic to protect voter health. And they impose new restrictions and paperwork requirements on individuals who help disabled voters and non-English speakers cast a ballot.

            The bills would also make it much harder for election officials to remove partisan poll “watchers” sent by political campaigns or parties if those poll watchers harass voters or otherwise attempt to disrupt the election — with the Senate bill making it particularly difficult to remove such saboteurs. And the Senate bill could impose a draconian array of civil and criminal penalties on election officials, political campaigns, and even individual volunteers who commit fairly minor violations of the state’s election law.

            The state’s Republican leadership, moreover, has made it quite clear that it is willing to wield the criminal law harshly to punish even very minor election-related transgressions. Texas’s Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is currently prosecuting a 62-year-old man who mistakenly voted a few months before his right to vote was restored — the man, Hervis Rogers, was nearing the end of his parole period after being convicted of two felonies. If Rogers is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison for the crime of voting.”


            The article has additional detail, including some provisions removed from earlier versions of the bills, and a link to a discussion of the Georgia law, for an indication of the kinds of measures currently being considered/passed.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Them being un-masked is a bad thing.

      But the only will they are defying is the Will of the RepublicaNazi Tyrranocrats. They are buying some time for the DC Dems to either achieve or prevent voting rights laws at the Federal Level.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, the TexDems can’t make the DC Dems pass the Federal Voting Rights bills if the DC Dems don’t want to. If the DC Dems secretly don’t want to, all the runaway TexDems can do is make the DC Dems’s secret agenda and desire into public knowledge and public humiliation.

          And the DC Dems may feel that preventing the bills’s passage is so important that they will endure all the public humiliation they have to in order to avoid passing those bills. If so, the TexDems will have provided us a clarifying moment.

  31. Sub-Boreal

    It would be a shame if today’s antidote was the only thing that formed your impression of Thunder Bay.

    A recent podcast series dug deeper:

    “Locals call it Murder Bay. It might be the most dangerous city for Indigenous youth in the world. But to others, it’s their white nirvana.”

    Although I’ve never been there, I live in another northern Canadian town, and it all seems pretty plausible.

    1. wilroncanada

      I saw the inside if a Thunder Bay jail, when it was two separate cities. I was hitchhiking to Vancouver, with no money, and was dropped of in town by my driver who was carrying dynamite in his pickup truck. It was winter 1966. I went to the police station and asked if I could sleep in the jail until the next morning, and they let me.

  32. jax

    “Yves here. I am ready to kill people.”

    Pretty much a lurker here but oh! Yves, I totally get where you are. Several years ago I had a client with moderate Alzheimer’s who required rehab for a host of ailments that went sideways. She couldn’t have been a sweeter woman who raised three children, was active in her community, and to hear her husband tell it, made the best cakes in Illinois. While she suffered from Alzheimer’s, occasionally I could see the strong woman she once was in her lucid blue eyes. That disease alone cuts like a knife.

    The family had plenty of money, so she went to the best rehab/nursing home moolah could buy.

    And it was disastrous! Still serving this dear woman, I did 12 hour days, while her (grown) children came at night after work. Maybe I tend to over invest in helpless people under my care, but I spent 2 weeks of 12 hour days absolutely livid as she either lay in her own urine, or “missed” her shower, or her PT, or her lunch, because of staff change mix-ups. So, I started with the charge nurse in gentle, civil tones, but that made not one bit of difference.

    Two days in I turned full blown harridan and could see CNA’s and PT people hide as I strode down the hallway toward the charge desk. And I don’t blame them. When I’m angry my voice actually drops a register and I speak in, shall we say, deliberate, tones. I also like to think I have death rays in my eyes as I explained the various statutes I was printing out in my client’s room.

    Maybe the rich have access to something that approaches actual care but as far as I can tell the rest of us MUST be an advocate for our families and, in my case, a beloved client. It’s disgusting, confusing, and infuriating and I wonder why there aren’t more murders in these so-called rehab/nursing centers.

    I know you’re not helpless against this, Yves, but please know there are others to have thoughts of homicide as they see their beloved mistreated. IMO, it is a sane response in an insane environment.

    Lesson learned for me? NEVER go to a nursing home. There are much easier ways out.

  33. roxan

    Re: Can drs Save their jobs & the world–excellent article that will keep me busy for awhile, as is their link, about drugs. In my experience, doctors refuse to acknowledge drug side effects, even when listed in the PDR. Instead, the patient always is an ‘outlier’ or a ‘hypochondriac’, etc.

    If you want to know how to judge the care in a nursing home, ask how many patients the nurses and aides each have. And use your nose—if the place reeks, run! Some states allow ‘drug certified’ aides to give out pills. As an RN, I routinely had 30-40 patients, and managed the building. My 3 aides, had 80 patients. The problem is that there is no public out cry as people don’t realize what they will encounter in these places until too late. If nurses complain, they lose their license. The state inspectors are uninterested, just want to fill out their forms and leave.

  34. Raymond Sim

    I’m such a pessimist that I’m not often disappointed. This past year and a half has been one long exception though.

    Honestly, if Yves Smith can’t make the system provide her mom with minimally humane care what hope is there for the rest of us?

    Suicide booths? You know the bastards will try and tack on a waste disposal fee, without offering any recompense for the compost value.

  35. KFritz

    Re: Killer Cats

    A quick internet search indicates that the 84 million number is cared-for, domesticated cats only, not the millions of feral cats, a higher percentage of whom do kill to eat. So the total kill count is likely far higher.

  36. Elizabeth

    Yves, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with another problem on top of everything else. I had a relative go to a nursing home about a month ago – so far it doesn’t reek or have any blatantly horrible problems. My relative is a “private pay” v. Medicaid patient. It would be very interesting to me if there is any difference in the kind of care one gets with regard to payment. It’s not cheap – over $7,000/mo plus all the nickel and dime charges.(it’s a money suck). My relative does have a lot of visitors, so perhaps that’s another determination of the type of care people get. The administrative offices look very plush – so I’m sure a lot of money flows to the top.
    I’m keeping my eyes open -and I’m promising myself I’ll never go to a nursing home – ever.

    Go for it – someone needs to be held accountable for neglecting your Mother.

  37. enoughisenough

    Re. talented and dedicated educators quitting amid the hellscape of what both Dems and Repubs have allowed to happen to public edu, I don’t see a way to save it.

    This is where we’re headed, my predictions:

    ideological and income-segregated charter schools. For the rich (I am willing to bet the NYT is already starting this) brand charter schools. Send your PMC kids to the NYT charter school, the Bloomberg one, or the MacKenzie one.

    For the rest: Netflix and Amazon online schools. This is already in the works. For parents who can pay for the “extras” of having a real, live, qualified teacher, there will be a couple of elite Amazon brick and mortar charter schools.

    For the suffering rest: public schools captured by asset recycling/public-private partnerships. This is already happening with community colleges.

    Local businesses, or whoever is richest in town, will own the school, and businesses will set the curriculum. That means Walmart and megachurches will be in charge of local schools in many cases.

    Students will be forced to work at these businesses in order to graduate. This also, is already part of some public high school curricula.

    Anything that costs money, like computers, teachers, school lunches, and books, can be worked off by the children’s indentured labor. Like what Paul Ryan was advocating.

    That’s the future. Racially segregated, child labor, and totally reinforcing inequality. Much of this is already there, it won’t take much for it to be the entire system. It’s a dystopia, but I don’t see us not doing it, because Democrats just don’t care about public edu or teachers.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It would lead to a vast increase in Home Schooling to get away from all these schools you describe.

  38. newcatty

    The nursing home, rehabilitation, assisted living situations in this country is unconscionable. It is of note to have Yves Smith’s mother be spotlighted in her personal accounting of their experience in Birmingham, Alabama. The industry is, from what I have observed ,or been told about, is often understaffed or tolerates abusive or neglectful behavior by caregivers. I agree, the cruel exploitation of these vulnerable people is disgraceful. I think the fact that one has Yves Smith talking ” out loud” is a way that will help bring this intolerable situation to more public awareness.

    This is another “canary in the coal mine” of the degradation of this country’s commons. We have hungry ( forget the lame labeling of ” food insecure” children and adults in this country, now. We have , mostly, people of color who live in Alabama counties who have no sewer system access and waste water from toilets just flow into the back yard, or end up in the bathtub. And, no, this is not woke “grey water” recycling from the washing machine to water their “gardens”. We have a growing homeless population, corrupt or crappified health care system ( which, ironically is used to conquer and divide people). Not often talked about is that for many who are no old enough, damit, or are eligible for medicaid [ make just too much above poverty levels] or miltary/ veterans healthcare are in a niche that determines that they have no healthcare, with the option of showing up at an ER when in need. Not to mention the many who have “health insurance” through employment, that has ever higher deductibles, co-pays, with more of their small paychecks having their costs for premiums go up.

    Another aspect of the awful eldercare situation in the nursing homes, etc. Only from our experience , some years ago, the majority of nursing assistants , housing staff were people( mostly women) of color. Their pay often is very low. We knew a few who related they had no employer provided health insurance. In some states , legal documentation of citizen ship was not relevant. So, one has poor, stressed and often, exploited , women tasked with the difficult and unsavory work of caring for elderly, or recovering, patients. Just to be truthful, there are some jobs I could not do: this would be one of them.

    The other aspect of this is that it is a social class issue. Not just in who can, and will, be able to pay for good care . We knew older people, who really did not help their own cause who were insufferable to any caregiver who did not treat them as “special and as their “superior “. One close relative lived in what was a good and well run home. She came to the point when she needed to be in their excellent, and sought after, rehabilitation center. As a resident she got first priority to be admitted. After her first stay, she needed to go back. The head nurse at the center told us, point blank, that × was not welcomed. The last time × was there, she verbally berated staff, refused to ” help herself” by not following basic requests like doing any physical activity. One time , in another facility, when a family member was visiting and checking out her situation, she blabbered about how all of her caregivers, except most nurses, were black!!! Relative responded, they are taking care of you! X did her trade mark pout and eye roll. This said after caregiver had just wiped her butt and changed her soiled bedding. Her roommate was, uh yeah, a black woman. Her relative was agasht at the roommate hearing the comments by x. When × was taken out of room, the relative apologized for x ,and found himself saying, uh, × is old school, The roommate smiled gently and said, Its OK. Nothing more. Of course × was often in pain and angry. But, elderly people ( like me) can choose not to play these games. There is a difference in understandable complaints about not being content and just being an arrogrant jerk.

  39. Alice X

    Yves, the great geneticist Richard C. Lewontin has died. He demonstrated that, essentially, we are all the same. He was a self described Marxist and I applaud that he reportedly wore working class attire and footwear to his lectures at Harvard, in solidarity.

    An essential piece from him:

    His obit from the NYT is behind a paywall.

    Your nurses, your mother’s nurses, I would suggest, suppose that they have left the working class.

    In my view, nothing of human regard in this world happens well enough without lending a thorough hand to the working class. I could say a complete hand.

Comments are closed.