Links 7/23/2021

Why Australia’s Trash Bin–Raiding Cockatoos Are the ‘Punks of the Bird World’ Smithsonian

Covid-19 and bank resilience: where do we stand? (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

Cutting-Tool Consumption Down for Third Straight Month American Machinist

Thermal coal prices soar as demand for electricity rebounds FT

Get Ready for a Spike in Global Unrest Foreign Policy


How the Delta variant achieves its ultrafast spread Nature. “[T]he researchers report that virus was first detectable in people with the Delta variant four days after exposure,compared with an average of six days among people with the original strain, suggesting that Delta replicates much faster. Individuals infected with Delta also had viral loads up to 1,260 times higher than those in people infected with the original strain.” The short incubation period makes contact tracing harder, in countries that do that, and the high viral load increases the likelihood of superspreading events.

CDC Director Says Delta Variant Of COVID-19 Among ‘Most Transmissible’ Viruses Known HuffPo. Walensky: “It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of and that I have seen in my 20-year career.” Meanwhile, this is CDC’s messaging:

* * *

America Is Getting Unvaccinated People All Wrong Ed Yong, The Atlantic

Republicans urge supporters to embrace vaccines in abrupt shift of tone FT

Anti-vaccine groups changing into ‘dance parties’ on Facebook to avoid detection NBC. Moderation doesn’t scale.

Can Disinformation Be Stopped? Harvard Magazine

* * *

COVID-19 Transmission during Transportation of 1st to 12th Grade Students: Experience of an Independent School in Virginia Journal of School Health. n=1154. From the Conclusions: “This study demonstrates a model for the safe operation of school buses while near capacity. COVID-19 transmission can be low during student transport when employing mitigation including simple ventilation, and universal masking, at minimal physical distances and during the highest community transmission.”

Spatiotemporal invasion dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 emergence Science. From the Conclusions:

We find the emergence of B.1.1.7 throughout the UK was associated with a high export frequency from a major source location that was identified only retrospectively. This pattern recapitulates at a national scale the role that international mobility played in the early spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We conclude that the exceptionally rapid spatial spread and early growth rates of lineage B.1.1.7 likely reflect the combined effects of its higher intrinsic transmissibility (1, 7, 9) and the spatial structure of incidence and mobility before, during, and after the second lockdown in England (42).”

“The last sentence: “Importation of SARS-CoV-2 lineages and variants from areas of high incidence will continue to pose a risk to those regions that are reducing NPIs after having controlled infection.” Pay attention, United States! From the FT translation: “Importation of SARS-CoV-2 lineages and variants from areas of high incidence will continue to pose a risk to those regions that are reducing NPIs after having controlled infection.”

Israel data, a thread:

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Long COVID: When You Don’t Collect the Data, You Don’t Know If You Have a Problem Mike the Mad Biologist

Elimination of COVID-19: what would it look like and is it possible? The Lancet


Hong Kong’s status as a financial center seems safe Felix Salmon, Axios

How Diplomatic Snubs Highlight Frayed China-U.S. Ties Bloomberg

Ambiguity Is a Fact, Not a Policy War on the Rocks

Hong Kong police arrest 5 trade union members for sedition AP. Worker’s paradise!


Myanmar’s Parallel Govt Forms COVID Task Force With Ethnic Health Agencies The Irrawaddy

Myanmar military accused of arresting doctors while COVID-19 infections rise Reuters

Vietnam struggles to find solutions for extreme dry seasons in Mekong delta The Third Pole

Capitalism v. socialism?

Bitcoin is too much for the country that brought you the 1MDB scandal:

China or the US? Why Southeast Asia cannot stay neutral forever South China Morning Post


U.S., Iraqi officials to announce U.S. military shift to advisory role in Iraq by year’s end Politico. We were advisors in Vietnam, too….


Digital Corbynism Dissent

The Caribbean

Freedom Rider: Standing with the Cuban People Black Agenda Report

Haiti And Washington’s Braindead Interventionists The American Conservative

Exclusive: China Zhonghe Petroleum plays a central role in the oil trade between Iran and Venezuela What China Reads

Biden Administration

Joe Biden’s digital trade deal could see US rejoin Asia-Pacific pact ditched by Donald Trump South China Morning Post

Biden sanctions Cuban regime after crackdown on protesters Politico

OSHA Virus Rule Intended to Cover All Workers, Draft Shows (1) Bloomberg. Commentary:

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Mississippi asks US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade CNN. The brief.

Details on F.B.I. Inquiry Into Kavanaugh Draw Fire From Democrats NYT

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Spyware for sale: the booming trade in surveillance tech Agence France Presse

Sports Desk

As Housing Crisis Grips Minor League Baseball, Non-Union Players Win Victories Through Organizing Payday Report

Imperial Collapse Watch

Ex-airman: Guilt over drone strikes prompted to leak secrets Associated Press

U.S. Navy’s Top Officer Admits “Painful” Teething Issues With USS Ford Maritime Executive

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Another condo evacuated in Surfside over safety concerns Miami Herald. “Following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo, Miami-Dade cities have evacuated a number of residential buildings including in Miami Beach and North Miami Beach.”

Class Warfare

Uber And Lyft Drivers Are Being Carjacked at Alarming Rates The Markup

The Battles to Come Over the Benefits of Working From Home NYT

The Left Is the Only Reason We’re Talking About Climate Change at All The New Republic

RNA breakthrough creates crops that can grow 50% more potatoes, rice

Andidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Raymond Sim

    Only 16% past four months, wow.

    Can we just call it the “Pandemic of the unmasked” now?

  2. zagonostra

    >Can Disinformation Be Stopped? Harvard Magazine

    Is this the Harvard that didn’t give Cornel West tenure? Never mind, beside the point. I just scanned through article to be honest, but this paragraph caught my attention.

    And when disinformation starts to take shape online, Donovan doesn’t believe that it’s always the mainstream media’s job to cover it. That, she thinks, often does more harm than good, spurring more publications to publicize the same disinformation and encouraging more people to seek radical content online. She thinks “strategic silence,” her term for bypassing stories that could spread disinformation, can stop many media-manipulation campaigns in their tracks.

    Doesn’t Ms. Donavan know that it is the “mainstream media’s job to create it” not cover it? “Strategic silence”, you mean like what has been going on in Somalia and other parts of Africa that is crawling with CIA operatives? “Radical content”, like how Cares Money went to large corporations and the majority of the U.S., those in true need received pittance?

    It’s also quite curious that the article opens up with 1/6 but doesn’t mention the FBI undercover operatives or all the anomalies that lead to “Stop the Steal” the article seems very much to be digging in the shallow vein of those that suffered, and continue to suffer, from TDS. How about Russiagate, pee tapes, Steel Dossier and 4 years of “disinformation?” Should we talk about the Warren Commission and Oliver Stone’s new documentary that came out last week and has been met with a very loud “strategic silence” from the MSM…no let’s not go there.

    1. rowlf

      My co-workers ask me why I never agree with the news.

      …well, my father and several friends at the church I go to are veterans of the Secret War in Laos and Cambodia, the war the US government and US news said wasn’t happening. Why should I trust any official sources after being lied to?

      Add to that with seeing companies weasel out of labor contracts, business executives praising a facility one week and shuttering it the next week, FDA approved drugs being withdrawn due to safety problems, the US military being loaned out to protect terrorist countries and groups, it is hard to be skeptical or cynical enough.

      A fun exercise to go through to check the quality of news reporting is to find a historical topic and compare the media reports at the time. An example is George C. Marshall being interviewed in the 1950s and saying the press gave too much focus on George Patton and overlooked other US Army generals that performed better, as well as the press repeatedly claiming every major battle from North Africa onward as the decisive battle that will make the Germans surrender.

      1. Pelham

        I sympathize. Your idea for comparing press coverage with actual historical events is worth a book. I’ll consider that for retirement.

    2. lordkoos

      “Strategic silence” accurately describes MSM past behavior towards Bernie Sanders, the Occupy Movement, and a host of other stories that the establishment has deemed inconvenient to cover. Project Censored has been covering these stories since 1976.

      A sampling from Project Censored.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Does anyone else find it hilarious that the PMC types are just figuring out that not everything on the internet is true? Someone turned it on almost 30 years ago – maybe they were all still stuck in AOL until recently?

      1. Aumua

        Well believing anything you read online that seems to fit into your belief “ecosystem” is certainly not limited to the ‘PMC’. Me I just disbelieve everything by default then filter things into the OK category or not, as I go along.

        1. Procopius

          I’d like to do that, but it’s a hard skill to master. For example, I often believe what I read in Izvestia on the Hudson (NYT), until I remember where it’s coming from. Then I have to decide whether it’s important enough to me to further check out. It’s usually irrelevant to me anyway.

  3. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding the atlantic thing on unvaxed folks:
    not mentioned at all is what we’re experiencing here in central texas.
    i’ve related it before, so forgive the repeat…but i think it’s very important, and gives the lie to all the shaming and blaming.
    i tried to get a shot as soon as the national guard showed up in this far place…maybe mid february?
    i didn’t know that I was supposed to get an appointment for the drive through in the parking lot of the county barn…so i just rolled up. they said no-go, due to the numerous restrictions then in play…over 65, etc.
    so i called the county judge’s office, as instructed, and got on the list.(which was, itself, pretty weird)
    the shots were rare back then.
    so i got vaxxed at the county barn in march, and got the second dose in april.
    but wife(with cancer and chemo) and both sons(15 & 19) had had the virus in january…and thus weren’t supposed to get the shot until may.
    but school was still on, and wife didn’t want to be absent(sigh)…figuring that by june and summer vacation the shot would be even more readily available.
    it was definitely not.
    so here it is towards the end of july, and we’re still actively seeking the shots….but our clinic isn’t even offering them, and the national guard is long gone…so there’s nowhere in our county to obtain them.
    next county over, the clinic next to the hospital has them, but in apparently limited supply…and they never know how many doses they’re gonna get until they open the box. and they only offer them on fridays…moderna in the morning, pfizer in the afternoons(?). youngest can get the latter, wife wants the former…so they are further limited to making that trip(20 miles away) to going around lunchtime.
    walmart, in that same town, also has the shot…but both the clinic and walmart use a third party app…which turns out to be quite clunky and difficult to access…to do the appointments…why they couldn’t hire one of the myriad unemployed people in that county to answer the phone and set appointments is beyond me. walmart also only has moderna, so youngest is excluded…and they also have apparently limited supply.
    so wife and youngest are getting their first shots today, at that clinic…eldest is vax resistant, likely due to the right wing lunatic cousin he works for, and having righty am talk radio in that cousin’s truck on all day at work…I’m working carefully on that.

    meanwhile my mother….who is historically resistant to everything having to do with healthcare(control freak/hostile to dr’s and nurses/knowitall/ worst patient ever)…has decided to get the shot…but because she has “reactions” to anything needle related(likely panic attacks), she only wants it in a hospital…which isn’t how any of this is being done.
    i’m taking her to the VA in san antone today(130 miles away), to attempt to find out what’s going on with stepdad, who’s been in icu for more than 2 months(the suspected covid outbreak in that icu is what prompted her uncharacteristic willingness to get the shot).
    she wants to go to the clinic, adjacent to the VA ER, to get her shot, today.
    but what i fear is that she will have her usual “reaction” to a needle in her arm and be hospitalised(nothing is ever simple with my mother,lol)…in San Antone, 130 miles away from home…on the very day that my wife and youngest are getting theirs.
    the uncertainty as to how wife…cancer/chemo/frelled immune system…will react to the first dose, compels me to try hard to get back out here as soon as possible.

    the point in all this rambling is that 1. it’s complicated…..families are complicated, modern life is complicated and people’s reasons for not being vaxxed yet are complicated…. and 2. why the hell is it so hard to get the shot, when we’re inundated by shaming and blaming narratives that assert that to fail to do so makes one a pariah and a Bad Person?

    i hear about doses being tossed out for being unused until after their expiration date…i hear about sending doses to the rest of the world(a good thing, in principal)…and i’m usually surrounded by maga people who will steadfastly refuse to wear a mask in close quarters, let alone get a shot that they think will put a tracker in their blood(or turn them gay, or whatever).
    none of this is really addressed in any of the articles i’ve read about “The Unvaccinated”…including this one.

    i remember reading about a doctor, somewhere, venting his frustration at doses tossed out when only healthcare folks and old people could get it, and not enough were willing…he said something to the effect of “let me take them out into the street and give them to whomever wants them, rather than simply throwing them away”…and that’s where i am on all of this.
    the two mRNA vax have been out there for 7+ months, now…and with billions of dollars of public money and exemption from liability, one might think that production would have been put into overdrive by now…and that the shots would be available everywhere….on a walk-in basis.
    but they are not…at least where i roam.

    1. tegnost

      when we’re inundated by shaming and blaming narratives

      It’s the only game they have…the narrative…
      The national guard did mine and it was a prescheduled thing, “Sign the EUA, pick your time…”
      That all stopped at the end of may

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        There is always someone in this world who wants to shame and blame you. Living 40 years with Bipolar Disorder and Asperger’s taught me that.

        I am not wearing masks in places where they do not say I have to. Blame me all you want but I just can’t care. Why should I? Suddenly society wants to care about me after all these years of pushing me out and leaving me mostly homeless for the last five years while they all go rich from airbnb and housing price increases. If someone has any clue how to make me less cynical I will be open to hear it. When I turn to the Dao, well, nature treats all things as straw dogs.

        That guy the other day who still did not want to get the vaccine after being in the hospital? I understand him. It is the only place left he feels like he has agency. I had this joke I told my friends that I called the suicide hotline and when they asked me if I had a plan I said’ “Yes, I am going to eat the typical American diet from now on.” You can kill yourself slowly by overheating the planet or eating a horrible diet and you are “living your best life”. But if you decide to do it quicker you are stupid or suicidal.

        That guy was giving the big finger to the exact system that is also screwing over Amfortas. We should all be applauding him as a martyr.

        This is the last I am commenting on anything related to COVID because it is all just too much for me.

        1. zagonostra

          I appreciate your comment.

          Public/political figures trying to shame people about public health issue when they won’t even deign to put M4A to a floor vote exceeds my vocabulary to register my disgust and cynicism. They let people worry themselves to death with anxiety over how to get even basic medical attention for themselves and their loved ones and then try and shame you into getting vaccinated for a virus that has a ~+95% recovery rate, it’s just too much.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            What percent of the “95% of people who recover” have long-term after-damage to brain cells, kidney cells, lung cells, heart cells, etc?

    2. lazydog

      We had walk-in essentially no questions asked clinics set up and running for a month or two, but they shut them down when people simply stopped showing up and doses were expiring as a result. In rural counties, there’d probably be only one or two in each county, so transportation that could potentially involve 30-40 miles and the attendant tax on people’s time I’m sure were dissuasive factors.

    3. Aumua

      Rural counties I could see that it might actually be difficult, but I’d say that any place in the U.S. with a reasonable number of retail stores that have pharmacies has a ton of options, for any of the vaccine choices.

    4. lordkoos

      It is terrible that you are unable to find a place to get vaccinated. Here eastern WA they have plenty but can’t give it away. Not sure how far you are from the borders of TX but could you possibly drive to another state that offers better public health policies?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Texas is HUGE, and i’m literally in the big middle of it…no mexican dentitry for i, i’m afraid,lol.
        but wife and youngest have gotten their first dose…and he feels “fatigued”, but that could easily be the mold allergies that have been giving us hell all summer.
        i’m just trying to stay close…although i likely hafta take mom to san antone manana, for to oversee the transfer of stepdad from Va ICU to some rehab facility down there(second time…first one, he crashed after 4 days and went back to VA—been down there bumping along the bottom for 9 weeks, now…began with pneumonia and collapsed lung, and then ventilator, dialysis, trach tube, heart attack, stroke, and on and on. he’s been a miracle of medicine since ’68…now, even more so. chaostime)

        i’ve got the beer chilling for sunday, hopefully.

    1. Big River Bandido

      What article is this in reference to? I want to read the background but I can’t find a story in the links with any reference to who Hale and O’Grady are.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s the one called “Ex-airman: Guilt over drone strikes prompted to leak secrets” under ‘Imperial Collapse Watch’

    2. Verifyfirst

      I have been thinking about the statement Mike Gravel apparently made after reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional record (below from The Nation obituary):

      The senator proceeded to read from the documents until around 1 AM. At that point, a physically exhausted Gravel said he could go on no more. But before he finished, Gravel read from an address he had hoped to deliver on the Senate floor that night.

      “People, human beings, are being killed as I speak to you tonight. Killed as a direct result of policy decisions that we as a body have made,” Gravel said, as he wept and wiped away tears. “Arms are being severed, metal is crashing through human bodies because of a public policy this government—” He broke off, overcome with emotion. “One may respond that we made such a sacrifice to preserve freedom and liberty in Southeast Asia. One may respond that we sacrifice ourselves on the continent of Asia so that we will not have to fight a similar war on the shores of America. One can make these arguments only if he has failed to read the Pentagon Papers. That is the terrible truth of it all. The papers do not support our public statements. The papers do not support our best intentions.”

      Nothing has changed since then.

      1. Pelham

        Thanks for recalling this. I wonder at what point in the writing of history that (at the very least) US carpet bombing in that war will be calibrated at the level of genocide.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      It might make an especially good read for those who breezily suggest re-instituting the draft as some 11th-dimensional chess way of preventing war. That idea is doubly wrong. First, the connected will never go. They didn’t go in WW II. They won’t go now. Second, to force someone to choose between prison, exile and becoming a trained killer is a violation of human rights if there ever was one.

      1. lordkoos

        First, the connected will never go. They didn’t go in WW II

        That is not quite true — many prominent families sent their sons into WWII. JFK, GHW Bush, and many others saw active service (most were officers), because their families still retained a sense of duty to their country in those times. That seems to be a quaint notion these days.

        1. Turing Test

          Agreed. JFK’s older brother Joseph was killed on active duty as a bomber pilot in 1944. The elite still had some sense of noblesse oblige.

          Even in the Vietnam era people like Al Gore and John Kerry served when they could have pulled strings to avoid it the way the younger Bush did.

          Of course it was Bush Americans chose to be their leader, twice. We needn’t wonder why America has become the country it is.

      2. Late Introvert

        I was only 10 when the war in Vietnam ended, but correct me if I’m wrong, wasn’t the war deeply unpopular in good part because of the draft? And didn’t the draft lead to fragging? I’m antiwar to the bone, but it pains be me that our current military are unrepresentative of the populace. Bible Belt Southerners in the officer ranks, the rest staffed by economic rejects.

        I have a 15 year old daughter, so I’m not advocating for it either. Maybe if one could be confident that the Lying Loser Generals wouldn’t start another war crime. Don’t count on that.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I thought it was bad stupid behavior by particular officers which got particular officers fragged. Or so I have read.

          It took 10 years for opposition to the war to torture the government into ” un-drafting” the armed forces. Now the government has the will and the ways to crush such public opposition.
          People who think bringing back the draft will make war more unlikely are living in a delusion and are beneath reason and logic. After all, did the draft make the Vietnam War itself ” less likely”?

          1. Procopius

            It’s so complicated. For anyone born after 1960, I recommend reading David Halberstom’s book, The Best and the Brightest. He explains the mind-set of the East Coast Establishment very well. Too bad there’s no way to tell if they really believed the shit they talked. It’s all too possible they did, just like Hillary may have really believed that murdering Muammar Qaddafi would bring freedom to the strugling masses of Libya. Those people are still around, just a new generation. Almost every choice they made was based on ignorance and naivete.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Republicans urge supporters to embrace vaccines in abrupt shift of tone”

    It may very well be that somebody ran the numbers and worked out how many Republican voters would no longer be around to cast their vote come next year’s midterms as in they would be busy pushing up the daisies. So it is not so much them being worried about getting any blame but just simple demographics. The Democrats at the present rate will have more survivors who can still vote. And lest we forget that last year, neither party was worried at all about getting their supporters out and voting during the course of the year in the middle of a pandemic. People must have died over those months voting because their party told them to.

    1. bassmule

      From yesterday’s links:

      I don’t know how to convince people to get vaccines, but hectoring them as idiots isn’t likely to work. Moreover, while the partisan divide is real, it is also only one divide. The least vaccinated group – black Americans – is also the most Democratic leaning.

      — Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) July 17, 2021

      1. Carla

        Actually doing something lasting for poor Americans — of any and every race — might build trust in those communities for the future. But, no…

        Is this really the way our elites want to dispatch the poor and working classes? Their robots aren’t quite ready for prime time, so who will do their dirty work?

        I think it was Lily Tomlin who said something to the effect of “it’s impossible to be too cynical.” Indeed.

    2. Socal Rhino

      Glenn Greenwald tweeted yesterday to debunk this “sudden shift” narrative, linking to multiple prominent Republicans supporting vaccines months ago. Maybe Lambert will include this in the water cooler. GG( I think) had also recently linked to numerous Democratic statements from last year saying how this vaccine rushed by Trump shouldn’t be trusted. Kamala Harris among them.

      1. Darvon

        “So you expect me to take the GMO experimental Trump vaccine?”

        “He pushed that to contaminate all the obedient Blue state voters ” :-)

    3. antipodeanDLC

      Early this year, the red states were on average doing very well vs. blue states. That changed dramatically as the vaccines were rolled out. Now red states are seeing much higher fatalities than blue states.

      “It may very well be that somebody ran the numbers and worked out how many Republican voters would no longer be around to cast their vote come next year’s midterms as in they would be busy pushing up the daisies”

      That was probably meant to be tongue-in cheek, but the trendline must be beginning to cause concern to at least some among the party apparatchik.

  5. The Rev Kev

    They done it again. In the opening minutes of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies a little while ago, there was a minute’s silence held for those Israeli athletes killed half a century ago with a Japanese women doing an exotic dance wearing sackcloth and ashes. Great way to get people to forget about the recent attacks on Gaza. Anybody think that they will allow in the next Olympics a minutes silence for the men, women & chilren massacred in Gaza in 2021?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      They can do one to honor all the athletes who sacrificed their lives so that the Olympic Committee can get some half-decent ratings. Profits Macht Frei.

      1. The Rev Kev

        They have already had a few athletes come down sick which has spooked the rest of the Athlete’s village. I have no idea how many will be sick by the time that it is all said and done (probably within three weeks of the closing ceremony) but assume that a third have problems afterwards that may end up being permanent. And what that means is that perhaps that those athletes are finished for good career-wise. What do those athletes do? Who is responsible for paying them compensation? What careers may be over for good? What if it is someone famous? Did they have to sign waivers to attend the Olympics? Lots of questions here.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve started another Olympic fast which is going slowly, and sure there’ll be hunger pangs for pixies on uneven parallel bars and perhaps pole vaulters, but i’ll persevere.

        2. Pelham

          These athletes are amateurs. I assume that whether their competition days end or not, they’ll be going right back to the 9-to-5 jobs at Taco Bell or wherever after the games. Oh, wait …

    2. Mantid

      Well Rev, I kinda doubt it. I wish I could eat ice cream however. I’d have a new favorite brand.
      “Ra ra ree, kick ’em in the knee,
      Ra ra rass, kick ’em in the pocket book”

      1. wilroncanada

        Reminds me of one of the mock cheers from my high school daze:
        Rin-tin-tin, kick’em in the shin,
        Rass ma tass, kick’em in the other shin.

      1. fresno dan

        thanks for that. The taxonomy chart was very helpful. I was thinking it might be a fishing cat, cause that is the only small wild cat at the Fresno zoo, but it doesn’t actually look anything at all like the anecdote.

  6. jr

    So I’m on the train yesterday, which I have to take at the moment for the few dollars in cash I’m bringing in right now, double-masked and gargled with a bandana over it all. This idiot sits next to me, mask below nose, so I stand up to move down a few seats for whatever it’s worth. As this was happening a young woman boarded and moved towards my abandoned spot.

    At that moment, this motherf***ing idiot pulls his mask down in order to sneeze explosively into middle of the car. I literally ran off of the train, the young woman did as well, and we both got into the car behind. My heart was racing.

    The train got to my stop and as I exited I looked into the car I had fled. The idiot was still there, mask below his nose. What really struck me was that everyone else who had been sitting there was still in their seats. No one had got up, even to move down to the other end of the car. They had no sense of the danger, probably feeling secure behind their vaccinations and poorly fitting masks. I think I’m going to quit my little job and live off of my credit cards for a bit.

    1. fresno dan

      July 23, 2021 at 8:48 am
      For what it is worth – My own non rigorous observation (undoubtedly, seeing some one not wearing a mask correctly sticks in my mind) is that there were a significant number of people who do not wear masks correctly – I suspect as a passive aggresive defiance of the mask wearing rules when they were in effect. I noticed that since people can be in stores in CA now without masks if they are vaccinated that about ?25%? (plu/minus 10%) still wear masks, and these people appear to universally wear masks correctly.

      1. jr

        Yes, agreed, I think there is a kind of defiance to it, you can see that clearly in some individuals. I also think there is a deep well of ignorance, not only about the viruses, and airflow etc. but just about how things work in general. The general population has been successfully infantilized.

        I encountered this when I was a culinary instructor, well educated people grabbing for phones when adding up sums such as “100+100+50+7+50” or who would laugh nervously when confronted with a four button scale. The people to whom I would say “add up (the numbers above)” and they would respond “We don’t know metric!” A broad based dummification. And often an annoyance at having to deal with such things.

        I think some people believe having the mask in your possession is enough, judging by the fools I see who will wear it but take it off to eat their lunch on the crowded train. Or who scream into a phone while wearing a surgical, again on the train. Or the responses I get from friends and family that after walking through a crowded super market, that it’s “Ok!” because mask. A bright child can see that wearing a mask ineffectively is a waste of time and that even wearing one effectively is fraught when the stakes are so high. As I explained to my partner, a slip of the mask next to Delta and it’s in. She is on board and has been stepping up her preventative practices. But no one else seems to have a sense of the stakes nor any idea about anything but the barest of precautions.

        1. wilroncanada

          to fresno dan and jr
          I don’t agree that it was about defiance. Some was certainly about defiance, but a lot was about ignorance. However, the major problem was poor mask design; they were not made to fit most people, and they were not adjustable. It would have cost too much?
          Every mask I bought, except one, fogged my glasses. That meant, of course that air was escaping out the top, right into my eyes. Those purchases included early cloth masks, double cloth masks with inserts, non-medical (blue or green) masks in boxes of 10 or 50, KN95 triple masks, and even some medical masks. I addition to top opening, most loop-ear masks allow escape at the sides, unless one crosses the elastic or cloth loops. The only masks that worked properly without fiddling or alterations were: medical masks with long nose pincers across nearly the whole top edge. Those which were only adequate masks. The only other was a construction mask with a partial soft plastic liner around the inside edge for a seal, on which I then had to seal the breathe hole.
          Many local friends made their own masks early on, which they continued to use. Few were properly made, or worn. Of course, beards voided the efficiency of virtually all masks.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my beard was my excuse for just sticking with the bandanas i already had on hand in feb. 2020….i determined pretty quickly that i’d never be able to wear a regular mask without shaving.
            that, and i don’t really go anywhere where there’s lots of people.
            also,feb 16,2020…day after payday, i went to the walmart 20 miles north predawn to attempt to stock up on stuff…got the last big jug of hand san, but TP was already gone, as were any kind of mask or even bandana.(likely local healthcare workers, homehealth, etc)
            next day i went to our local mom and pop hardware place and got a pack of painter’s masks, and gave them to wife and boys. that lasted until the sewing brigades on pinterest got up and running.

            as for all the noses sticking out above masks,,,i’d venture that a lot, if not most, is defiance…a childish sort of defiance.
            some, however, was because of people’s comorbidities…copd, allergies, etc.
            i’ve observed numerous nose-outers obviously laboring for breath…so, benefit of the doubt…we ain’t a healthy nation.

        2. fresno dan

          July 23, 2021 at 11:22 am
          I went to Walmart at about 9:30 am today to pick up some glasses, and my estimate of percentage of mask wearers at that time is about 5%. So I don’t know if I was way over estimating the number of mask wearers, or the early birds are older and wear masks more. It is very seldom that I am in any public space after 6:30am – I get there as soon as it opens, buy what I need, and get out.

          1. lordkoos

            I was in Seattle last weekend and noticed that at least 75% of the people shopping in supermarkets are still wearing masks. It’s a stark contrast with my county in eastern WA where among the locals only 25-30% are now wearing them. I see many seniors out shopping without them now. We are on the honor system where if you have been vaccinated you are not required to wear a mask.

            I’ve been reading about the Gamma COVID variant vs the Delta:

            “Delta and Gamma collectively made up around 30% of all cases in the US as of June 9 with Delta making up around 14% and Gamma 16%.

            Researchers looked at how the two variants Delta and Gamma were spreading in various counties.

            They found, the growth curve for Delta, which is more transmissible but against which vaccines are highly effective, shows faster growth in counties with lower vaccination rates.

            In contrast, Gamma which is less transmissible but against which vaccines have somewhat less efficacy has a higher prevalence in counties with higher vaccination rates.”

            I believe the Gamma variant is #1 in Illinois at the moment.

        3. Aumua

          We need to understand and take into account the level of disinformation running amok in the wild too. A good number people people scoffing at masks don’t believe that COVID is real. They don’t believe that viruses are real. They don’t believe we landed on the moon either and they literally don’t believe the Earth is spherical in some cases. Some combination and/or degree of these ideas are becoming a lot more common in (especially) alt-right circles the past few years, but it’s always creeping into the mainstream. Add to that the anti-vax drivel that is piggy backing on the legitimate doubts about the covid vaccines (and always spreading faster than careful reasoning), and it explains a lot of the behavior we’re seeing. How can you engage, reason or debate with that level of crazy? You can’t.

          You want to see a tipping point? Well society is tipping, baby…

        4. Robert Gray

          > … well educated people grabbing for phones when adding up sums such as
          > “100+100+50+7+50” …

          À propos: Some years ago, I taught in a major university in [a third world country with oil money and delusions of modernising grandeur]. My students were, or thought they were, budding young engineers. My eyes popped out of my head the first time I saw them reach for their calculators … to divide by 10. Without jokin’.

          1. zagonostra

            I work in finance for an international company with their U.S. Hdqtrs based in Reston, VA. My colleagues are from all over the world. Two in particular, both young, one from India the other from China do math in their heads (avgs, multiplications, financial functions and other calcs) faster than I can key them into an Excel spreadsheet. They run circles around my math/finance calculation abilities. Luckily, I’m an old geyser and have what youth and natural talent lacks, experience…at least for now that keeps me ahead of the pack, though they are nipping at my heals.

        5. Count Zero

          When I was a grammar school boy in England back in the 1960s we had to wear school uniform, with white shirt and school tie. It was rigorously enforced with canes, leather straps and slaps. Defiance was a subtle game in which you tested the limits of how untidily your tie could be tied. There were the tiniest fractions between: a) looking like an obedient dickhead and b) being visibly defiant and risking a slap around the back of the head. Pushing the limits of school uniform was a risky art. Ah, such such were the joys.

          Our incompetent mask wearers are at least sometimes playing the same game — alas a game that should only be played in a semi-fascist institution when defiance required some courage. It’s not a game at all for adults dealing with a nasty and very infectious virus in public places.

    2. Pelham

      One point re poorly fitting masks: I ran across one study a few days back — perhaps it was linked here — that even a mask with poor fit works fairly well. However, this does NOT include masks that aren’t covering the nose, and I see quite a bit of that, too.

  7. fresno dan

    Follow up
    from my post on July 13 at 8:34 am
    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 after looking around, and having to wait a while for an appointment, I saw a cardiologist/electrophisiologist on Wednesday. So it turns out I apparently have (some more tests are necessary to confirm) atrial flutter. Atrial flutter can mask atrial fibrillation, so I can possibly have both, but one atrial story at a time. So the good news is that ablation will probably take care of it and restore most, if not all, of my physical capacity to walk around without being out of breath and do minor gardening without gasping for air – which I am EXTREMELY grateful for. It may sound strange, having had cancer and a heart attack, but everything wrong with me has been fixed more or less.
    Two points:
    1. My antipathy to network health care I believe is well founded – I know that “managed” care is cheaper, but the price is too dear for many people. I do not have a HMO type insurance, so my primary care physician’s reluctance to recommend a cardiologist is perplexing. But the freedom to go to a specialist of my own accord is invaluable.
    2. NOBODY knows your body like you do. Never fear to get a second opinion and/or to see a specialist.

    1. Mantid

      Fresno, Get well soon. Are you folks getting the smoke intrusion that far south? Just curious. Having it blow and land in NY City and presumably Washington DC is a bit interesting, though likely politicians aren’t too interested.

      1. fresno dan

        July 23, 2021 at 9:50 am
        Seems like there is no smoke to me. Last year was really bad. And the air in the valley is never really pristine. But we have had some days over 110, and many over 105, so nobody wants to be outside anyway.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like you have been through the wars. Take care of your health then and it sounds like you may be slowly on the mend again. After re-reading your post, it is right what they say though. That youth is wasted on the young. :)

    3. cocomaan

      2. NOBODY knows your body like you do. Never fear to get a second opinion and/or to see a specialist.

      This is great advice. I have had too many crappy experiences to do anything else.

    4. Duke of Prunes

      Don’t want to rain on your parade, but I’ve had heart rhythm problems for 15 years. For a while, my electrophysiologist was pushing the ablation. It’s one of the few procedures that’s actual “curative”! Sounds like you’ve heard the same pitch.

      Anyway, my friend went in for an ablation and ended up with open-heart surgery because the doctor accidentally punctured his heart. He was at a supposedly great hospital in Denver. This might have been his 2nd ablation. Anyway, he still has a-fib, and just deals with it.

      Meanwhile, another friend’s daughter had one and everything is A-OK going on 10 years.

      There are also on-line forums where people talk about having 2 or 3 ablations because they didn’t “take”. Me, I had a 2nd heart surgery to replace my failing artificial valve, and that seems to have cleared up my a-fib (for now). Something about cutting your heart open and sewing it back together a couple times…

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. If my heart was otherwise healthy, I probably would have given it a shot. I’m just hoping to set expectations. I don’t think it is quite the “sure thing” that some doctors make it out to be.

      Good Luck.

      1. Judith

        Anecdote, for what it is worth: Two of my sister were diagnosed with afib. They each had an ablation. There were no problems and the treatment stopped the afib for both of them.

      2. fresno dan

        Good points. I did come off as too polyannish. All procedures carry risks, and ablationists ablate.
        But I’ll give it a shot and see what happens. Just knowing what is going on is making me take it easy and that has relived a lot of the palpatations and I don’t have the same trepidation I had.
        And thank you to all the posters for your well wishes!

        1. Terry Flynn

          re ablation. Regulars know my background (NOT medical doc but PhD in med stats). I also happen to have had cardiac catheter ablation. Someone like you knows well to ask questions and my experience should, I hope, re-inforce this.

          History: I had Supra-Ventricular Tachycardias (NOT generally as serious as AF) from childhood. Never sought help as thought “anyone can get these if they exercise too hard” (doh). First mistake. They became an issue during my PhD (around the millennium) – I ran Fortran simulations taking hours and decided to stop being the “weedy guy” so did big gym work when simulations ran. Built my chest from 35″ up to 38″ and body fat went to low low levels through intense gym routines. Problem was I began to get SVTs again. BAD ones. Cardiologist consulted in Bristol, UK. Guessed immediately what the problem was. Advised ablation. 99% success rate. BUT I know that 99% success rate can conceal a lot of variation, based on my stats knowledge. I didn’t fancy a 1% chance of open heart surgery to need a pacemaker when a med could help. So I said no.

          BAD decision. I got an SVT that wouldn’t resolve, despite all the “tricks” I’d been told by docs to bring me out of it. I ended up in ER. Got a really big lecture from consultant that “you’ve been in SVT for a length of time that is equivalent of running the London marathon…..twice…..gonna get the ablation now?” Of course I said yes. in 2005 I got ablation. They “froze” the bit of my heart that was short-circuiting. Only it didn’t go to plan.

          Average operation time was (back in 2005) 1.5-2 hours. I was 5+ hours on the table. And I HAD to be fully conscious as they need to “artificially induce the problem, map it, bring you out of it, then zap the offending muscle”. Trouble is none of this went according to plan and me being conscious KNEW this. I had a “specialist registrar” (bascially a UK registrar – not quite consultant but who has specialised in a particular procedure) who did it. And my “day job” involved working with senior medical docs so I know when they are *ahem* “giving artificial comments to the patient”. I’d told my parents I’d be in and out in less than 2 hours. When it got to 5 they were understandably in a state.

          The specialist registrar was “old school” and had the “poker face”. Trouble is I worked with them for years and could read it. I knew there was trouble. They kept upping the voltage to induce SVT. They were close to electrocuting me. It worked in the end. They mapped my heart, Gave me adenosine (to bring me out of SVT) – it is the ctrl-alt-delete. Heart rebooted back into sinus rhythm BUT too fast. WHICH I’d been telling docs since 1991 was a problem. We now know from epidemiological studies (Framingham etc) that the “best resting heart rate is 60-80 NOT 60-100”. Mine was always too high. They took an hour getting mine down low enough to start cryo-ablating the offending muscle.

          I was never sure it worked. 5+ hours on the table put me in the 99+ percentile of people. A cardiac nurse in Sydney (where I moved to in 2009) thought that the “go in via the artery in the groin” thing was awful and something nobody at his hospital in Sydney did. Twas (despite other risks) ALWAYS done via open heart surgery.

          2015 I return to UK. GP (family practitioner) APPALLED at lack of follow-up and refers me to local hospital cardiology dept in Nottingham. They do month long tape. Inconclusive. But the GP and I strongly suspect ablation failed. I’m in the 1%. But the thing is, I understand stats. I know full well there are docs with 100% records and ones with less. The AVERAGE is 99%. So just ASK QUESTIONS! Ablation for AF is a BIGGER DEAL than for SVTs. You don’t want someone who hasn’t done this a LOT for AF! Good luck.

          1. Terry Flynn

            PS Adenosine is used to reboot your heart. Twas used in the ER in Bristol when I had the awful SVT. The consultant insisted on talking to the consultant on-call cardiologist when seeing my ECG because he was not certain I was in SVT. Having learnt of my reputation (And I saw him look me up on the PC) he was not gonna do anything “not by the book”. Adenosine in wrong heart condition will kill you.

            He warned me, before he got his trainee to inject me with adenosine, that “some people experience….odd things….”. I asked “are we talking end-of-life weird out of body stuff?”. He said “yes”. So his house officer injects me – she was terrified. I want to know who she is to reassure her – that kind of stuff is horrid to one’s psyche. Anyway my heart rebooted perfectly. I saw no God or anyting religious.

            He asked “what did you feel?” I said “best orga*m ever”. And several medics sniggered. But it was! He LOLed as if “yeah seen that before”. But this is not a route I’d recommend to get your kicks……

          2. fresno dan

            thank you so much – I appreciate the time and effort you took to provide some background to me – the information is helpful and valuable.
            But you know, we can do something, or we can do nothing. I would rather be in the ground than be an invalid…

            1. Terry Flynn

              You’re welcome. I hope I didn’t sound too negative about the procedure: it really is a game changer. My main point is just to ask lots of questions, exert as much patient influence over the physician doing it as you can and thereby ensure you get the one who has done ablation, and crucially ablation on atrial issue patients, most often.

    5. Oh

      Fresno Dan,
      Glad to know you could see a specialist who determined the cause. Get well soon! All the best to ya.

    6. Maritimer

      I had a cardio problem about ten years ago. I refused the standard, industrialized physical intervention recommended. I was treated with scorn and contempt by both the discharging physician and a nurse when I was discharged.

      Fortunately, I was able to find a licensed physician who was also committed to Integrative Medicine. In short, use what works.

      The first thing he told me was to get my health records from the Industrial System. This I did, probably one of the few people ever to do so. The records were very revealing and, in black and white, showed errors and contradictions in diagnosis and analysis. Some really slipshod stuff.

      Anyway, if you can, do your own research, always with a critical eye. For cardio, I used Drs. Esselstyn, Colin Campbell, McDougall (Retired but still a website.) among many others. I was astounded by some things I found, stated by expert medical professionals. See also Professor Norton Hadler of North Carolina.

      In another NC item, nitric oxide was recently mentioned. Dr. Louis Ignarro was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the human body, and many of it’s health protective roles. You might also want to consider his opinions.

      Good luck and view all with a grain of salt.

  8. BillS

    The crushing of the bitcoin mining machines seems like such an indulgent, petulant, showy waste. These computers would have likely made an excellent high performance computing cluster applied to scientific problems. A donation to a university or research organization would have been more productive, in my mind – especially given the shortages of many integrated circuits that go into them.

    The burns!

    1. Soredemos

      The computers are all Application-Specific Integrated Circuits; they’re purpose built for crypto mining and can’t be used for much else anyway.

      Huge waste of sand even making them in the first place.

      1. BillS

        My understanding is cryptominers use advanced graphics card GPUs to find the required blockchain hash functions. These can be readily repurposed using standard software libraries to solve large systems of equations found in many physical modeling problems.

        1. Soredemos

          Miners have mostly moved on from GPUs to ASIC setups, with the exception of Ethereum.

  9. Keith

    While an interesting issue about WFH, the article is mostly nonsense, IMHO. The author, the infamous Goolsbee, seems to have forgotten that the smart phone has already blurred the line of work life vs. home life for many, with expectations, either from the employer, or what I have seen, the employee, to be connected at all times and responding to work all hours of the day.

    His other point about employers flexing their muscles when they are back in the drivers seat is also the same old same old. He who has the power, either employer or employee, will press their advantage when they have it. No shocker there.

    More interesting but not explored here is whether the “pay raise” from working from home could entail pay cuts. Or, if private sector follows the federal govts pay policies and pay according to an excessively complex and politicized payscale which depends on localities. I think that is where the newer front between employer and employee relations will open up. It would be interesting to see where the NLRB would fall on this issue.

    Another issue, and speaking from experience, if you want to crush a union, embrace WFH. In two .gov jobs I had that were unionized and WFH, you had no representation. Union made no effort to perform outreach, and as they were often co-sited with management- generally also in the office, their bonds were stronger with them than with the outbased employees.

  10. Lemmy Caution

    RE: CDC Director Says Delta Variant Of COVID-19 Among ‘Most Transmissible’ Viruses Known

    As I read CDC Director Dr. Walensky’s comments about the Delta variant, I noticed she was throwing around a lot of percentages, but no raw numbers. IM Doctor recently warned about this very tactic regarding Covid messaging from health officials.

    For example, Walensky says:

    The number of new cases has risen almost 250% since the beginning of July, and states with low vaccination rates, including Florida, Texas and Missouri, are experiencing some of the worst outbreaks.

    Here’s another one:

    Walensky said last week about 97% of people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated, describing the situation as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

    In the embedded video Walensky gets even more vague, saying:

    We are at yet another pivotal moment, with cases rising again and some hospitals reaching their capacity in some areas.

    It struck me that the CDC is sure interested in using case counts to scare everyone into getting vaccinated, even though they’ve stubbornly stuck to their guns about only being concerned about tracking and reporting Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths.

    So this article is a case of the dog that didn’t bark. Why didn’t Walensky climb up on her hobby horse of hospitalizations and deaths because of this terrifying new Delta variant, which she says is the most aggressive and infectious she’s ever seen?

    Using the graphs posted by Lambert each day in Watercooler, I took a look at what is going on in the measures the CDC says are so crucial.

    Looks like new hospitalizations are about 9 people (18+ years old) per 100,000 the week ending July 17, 2021. They haven’t been that low since March, 2020.

    Covid-related deaths are down to a daily rate of .76 per 1,000,000. They haven’t been that low since March, 2020.

    Excess mortality rates are down to 2.63%. That is actually quite a bit below the excess mortality rate of 4.36% reported back in March, 2020.

    According to the goalposts set by the CDC itself, we are in better shape than we’ve been in nearly 1 1/2 years.
    I’m not saying the Delta variant isn’t something to be concerned about; just that the scaremongering from our fearless leaders continues.

    1. Mikel

      They’ve turned it into something else that divides people…like elections.
      This helps to enable oppression.

    2. 1UnknownSubject

      We have been noticing the same thing – in relation to using percentages. We watch the local news here in SoCal and that is all they provide. Without further context, (graphs, original baseline number, etc) percentages can be misleading. Going from 1 case to 2 cases is a 100% increase after all.

      1. Lemmy Caution


        What if — and this is a big what if — the Delta variant is no big deal? What if what we are seeing are early signs that it spreads like crazy but doesn’t trigger hospitalizations or deaths anywhere near the frequency of earlier variants? So far that’s what the numbers suggest. And isn’t hospitalizations and deaths what the CDC wanted us to focus on anyway?

        1. Isotope_C14

          Looking at the data out of Israel, UK, and elsewhere, perhaps the majority of people have been exposed and hospital occurrences will be quite uncommon with it. I suspect the UK death curve vs. Case count will be informative in the near future adjusting for age etc.

          I can think of one industry that wants continual booster shots. They won’t be too happy about less fear.

        2. Stevew

          One can gauge the lethality of Delta by looking at the India numbers (severity and mortality) versus Israel/UK. Also can see how effective the vaccines are.

        3. Larry Y

          Tell that to India, or now Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. The grave diggers, crematorias, coffin makers, and other funeral businesses got pretty busy.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            But their conditions are not ours (or each other’s). The virus does not exist in isolation with a fixed value for lethality. The effect always varies by jurisdiction/political economy.*

            NOTE * And if it turns out not to, we’re really hosed…

        4. Basil Pesto

          it’s weird that you can read NC or IM Doc’s posts and thus conclude that Delta is ‘no big deal’ on a pretty flimsily tendentious evidentiary basis, your ‘and this is a big what if’ hedge notwithstanding.

          But assuming that big ‘what if’ bears out, it’s an assumption that doesn’t justify a cavalier attitude to public health in the here and now. or to put it another way, ‘nbd’ was the prevailing mindset in February last year – except at this very website* – and look how that turned out.

          *NC was of course wrong about masks early on but had the perspicacity to self-inform and then correct its position by, what, April? That’s 5 months earlier than, for instance, the Australian government. People coming from such positions are certainly worth taking seriously compared to those in comments last year who were calling masking, without any sense of irony, a form of child abuse. I believe they were also ‘no big deal’ers who – again, without irony or self awareness – lob accusations of scaremongering, fearmongering, and incipient oppression.

          The ad-hoc covid motto I devised for myself and shared in comments a few weeks ago was ‘caution and humility’ and I like it more with every passing week.

          1. Lemmy Caution

            I would just repeat my earlier point — why is the CDC suddenly focusing only on new cases, and not a sharp increase in hospitalizations and deaths? It’s been three weeks since the big July 4 blow out parties, so you’d think by now all hell would be breaking loose. It’s not, and that’s a very, very good thing. So why isn’t the CDC doing high fives on progress on the very measurable they decided to focus on a few months back. It just seems off to me a little.

        5. skippy

          Ideology before data is a strange state of thought … if one can call it the later to start with.

    3. Foy

      NSW in Australia is an interesting study at the moment because its so early in the Delta outbreak. It has had 2066 cases in latest 6 week Delta outbreak, 1750 current active cases and 172 are currently in hospital, 35 in ICU. 165 new cases today and still going up even with fairly strong restrictions in place for 4 weeks (although not strong like Victoria had). And the hospitalisations are skewing much younger than earlier outbreaks.

      Not convinced that those numbers show that Delta is a nothing burger as some suggest.

  11. Wukchumni

    Goooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    The rather green unit was pinned down as low as interest rates could go in the green felt jungle with triple canopy AAA rated UST’s providing cover for living beyond our means and so far so good-semper finance it visa vis an ongoing debt offensive waged. Some grunts claimed it was similar to action movies where a good guy with a gun never actually needs to reload and can get off as many shots as needed to make the scene work, all you need is a suspension of disbelief for a few decades.

    1. Grant

      I think economic problems in capitalism are pretty much comprehensive, it is a fundamentally unsustainable system. I think monetary and fiscal policy is used, along with other things, to try to prop up a dysfunctional system that cannot deal with the problems in front of us, many of which the system is actually creating. So, I personally think that there is an overemphasis on monetary policy and the fact that we have a fiat currency. A fiat currency actually gives us a lot of flexibility. It being used in ways that is damaging isn’t because of inherent problems with fiat currencies. It is who is in power and this dysfunction economic system. Since replacing national currency with a sea of cryptocurrencies is entirely unworkable and since commodity based currencies don’t make tons of sense in this day and age, I don’t see a viable alternative. We need a new economic system and we need to change who has power.

  12. Carolinian

    Re the head scratching in The Atlantic over the unvaxxed.

    Being The Atlantic it doesn’t seem to occur that one big reason is that the public distrust the “experts” because they have perfectly good reason not to trust them. For example the CDC says being vaccinated means you can’t get Covid. But this is untrue and it was always untrue even by the admission of Pfizer etc. Meanwhile our media moguls don’t seem to understand that if you take an advocacy approach to providing information–the less polite term would be propaganda….Pravda and Izvestia–then after awhile the public will figure this out and only 21 percent will tell pollsters they trust you. Walter Cronkite got this. CNN and Fox and the NYT and WaPo do not or don’t care.

    We do of course need experts and scientists and even a meritocracy. But it doesn’t work if corruption and self dealing step in. And unfortunately under capitalism that’s the situation we have. It would be ironic if the public in Russia, onetime propaganda central, have more trust in their medical authorities than we now have here.

    1. zagonostra

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the CDC have a financial interest? I heard/read that they can submit and profit from patents? Has anyone followed the money? When I try to answer the question with a google search I get conflicting accounts. What’s an inquiring mind to do?

      The National Institutes of Health may own intellectual property that undergirds a leading coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moderna, according to documents obtained by Axios and an analysis from Public Citizen

      In summary, the claims made by Kennedy are inaccurate. Rather than selling vaccines, the CDC spends $4.6 billion per year to buy and distribute vaccines for children. And although the agency holds patents, it licenses both patented and unpatented technology to third parties. Finally, the CDC is a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, not a vaccine company.

      1. Cuibono

        it isnt the CDC’s profit motive. it is the revolving door. tell me where Wallensky is working in 4 years ok?

    2. jonboinAR

      It has long been quietly understood by many that the media and spokespeople for the government lie regularly and as a matter of policy, that is, to manipulate public opinion or activity in some direction they want it to go. Lately, however, starting perhaps with all of the loud controversies during the Trump administration and culminating with the chaotic reactions to the pandemic, the BLM protests, the “Insurrection”, etc., the media’s reporting on all these events being hacked apart in the alternative media, it has become pretty open knowledge that NONE of the public purveyors of the things we should supposedly know about are to be trusted. They ALL lie, or themselves get deceived/deceive themselves, just as much as we know that our family, friends, and co-workers do. So everyone picks up their bits from here, from there, and creates their own alphabetic soup of opinion. As far as to whether individually or as a whole nation we are better informed than ever or not, I suppose that mileage varies considerably, but we are probably less likely than I ever remember to ALL do something because someone who, in the past would have been considered to be in a position of authority, tells us we should.

    3. fresno dan

      July 23, 2021 at 10:19 am
      There was a commenter yesterday or the day before, and apologies for not remembering who it was, but he/she said one of the wisest things I have ever read on the issue: vaccination would not be an issue if everyone had regular access to a primary care physician (of their own choosing I believe).
      From Obama care to approval of that travesty – the alzheimers drug – people rightly see that health takes a back see to the dollar. You can’t blame them for cynicism…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > vaccination would not be an issue if everyone had regular access to a primary care physician (of their own choosing I believe).

        I noticed that one. Yes, it was excellent.

    4. Maritimer

      Hey Atlantic, great opportunity for you to answer two simple non-scientific questions which have yet to be addressed by any Vaccine Pushers:

      1. Are you aware of the extensive and disturbing legal records of PFI, JJ and AZ? (Legal settlements are being reached even as they are jabbing people.)

      2. Why would anyone trust a product from any company with such legal records?

      Looking forward to reading a comprehensive article on this subject including interviews with ethicists. Thanks for your open-mindedness. It is wonderful to see a publication that does not engage in propaganda but searches for the Truth whatever that may be.

      1. rowlf

        What was the phrase? Lepers cannot change their spots? (I might have to look that up again.) How many FDA approved drugs has Pfizer had to stop selling?

      2. Basil Pesto

        this is no less rhetorically bereft than saying “are you aware of all the beneficial treatments developed by Pfizer, J&J, AstraZeneca & Merck throughout their histories? How could you not trust a product from any company with such records of success?”

        It’s axiomatically fallacious, even to a mainstream journalist.

        Their malign histories are certainly justifiable bases for a hermeneutic of suspicion – but such a hermeneutic should be the basis for further robust investigation (which, yes, the media is failing at. the CDC too for that matter), not for drawing conclusions, which from your posts appears to be what you have done vis à vis the vaccines (the scare-capitalisation of Vaccine Pushers rather gives that away). Speaking as someone who is a know-nothing idiot who would like to get a handle on these issues, the prejudicial automatic cynicism you seek to propagate is next to useless to me, epistemically.

  13. anon y'mouse

    we could suck it up and pipe it down and then just keep circulating it within those pipes. as capacity is needed, build more pipes and then our country can be full of pipes full of carbon piping around in an endless loop for all eternity. /s

    or we could start accepting that living like the 1700s wasn’t so bad, and maintain vital power sources for medical and emergency use.

  14. Wukchumni

    Ever read the Reddit Collapse threads?

    Weekly observations section is interesting. A common theme lately is the smoke from wildfires headed to the plains & northeast, with AQI of 100 +/- in some locales. that’s really high for being so far away from the ‘action’.

    Somebody in Finland notices that leaves are falling off of trees months ahead of time there-just as it is here with oak trees.

    Drought & heatwaves have wiped out a lot of Canada’s crops.

    1. Carolinian

      Our local tulip poplars are dropping some leaves. I think this may be fairly normal unless they all fall off. Rainfall here has gone down quite a bit.

    2. Michael McK

      Early this morning I heard Geese flying south over northern California. It seems far to early for that.

    3. HotFlash

      Rose of sharon generally blooms in Toronto in Aug and Sept (I checked). The ones on the school grounds are always a cheery thing for the kids going back to school. They have been in crazy full bloom in my neighbourhood for over two weeks now. Even mine, always late due to being very shaded, are in bloom. Trees are all keeping their leaves so, though. Our temps have been moderate and we’ve had good rain.

    4. Anthony Stegman

      The western United States has always been in a state of drought, some time periods worse than others, but always far less precipitation than areas to the east. In California there have been many droughts in the 40+ years I have been living in the state. One thing that has been constant is that droughts eventually end. The rain and snow will return to California. The reservoirs will become full. All will be well. Until the next drought. It is interesting that coastal areas of California are experiencing below seasonal average temperatures to-date this summer. The marine layer lurking along the coast has been very thick and persistent. So far, no fires nearby. The air is clear due to the strong onshore winds that have also been persistent this summer.

  15. antidlc

    RE: CDC Director Says Delta Variant Of COVID-19 Among ‘Most Transmissible’ Viruses Known

    The link includes a Reuters tweet that includes a video of Walensky and the following link:

    Masking guidance unchanged as Delta variant sweeps U.S.- CDC director

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not revised its masking guidance, even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps the United States, driving up infections, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday.

    So COVID-19 is among “most transmissible” viruses known, but the CDC still has not revised its masking guidance.

    I give up.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      What Walensky didn’t say is that covid-related hospitalizations and deaths have plummeted to low levels not seen since March 2020, even as the number of cases rise.

      In a way this is good news. Why?

      We know that fully vaccinated can get infected; that the vaccines lose their punch pretty quickly; that about 150 million people in the U.S. aren’t vaccinated at all and that the Delta variant spreads very easily and accounts for 90% of all new infections.

      You would think all these factors would mean skyrocketing hospitalizations and deaths. In fact, they are lower than they’ve been for much of the last 1 1/2 years and there is no significant uptick apparent yet.

      1. Carolinian

        The death rate here in SC is way down despite the beaches being open and much less mask use than last summer when that statistic went back up during the summer.

        That said, it does seem to be creeping up a bit from several weeks ago.

        As always, we’ll know for sure what is/was going on when it is over.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          I’m not sure what you mean by functional knowledge, but no I am not a virologist. I am a commenter on a financial blog. However, since the health authorities have been misleading the public and straight-out lying about many aspects of the Covid virus and the vaccines, I believe I have every right to use common sense to pose questions and think about what may really be going on.

          For instance, if Delta case infections are through the roof — and they are — then how do you explain the lack of concomitant hospitalizations and deaths that you would expect?

          My hypothesis is that the Delta variant is much less dangerous that pervious strains, and that is why hospitalizations and deaths are far below previous rates — not the vaccines so much.

          Anyway, if you have any sort of informed counter-hypothesis, please enlighten me. Feel free to wing it if you feel particularly bold.

  16. Daryl

    > Israel data, a thread

    I’m actually a little relieved to see some actual data on this and not just the standard “doctors say the risk of a breakthrough case is low…” I hope that in addition to hospitalizations, they will be tracking long term symptoms.

  17. Grant

    I don’t deny that the Cuban government has authoritarian tendencies. I also don’t deny the real accomplishments of the Cuban Revolution. What I have a problem with is the entirety academic discussion as to the extent that the authoritarian elements in Cuba are the result of the state or the external pressure. The US was attacked on 9/11, and look what the state did here in response. The Patriot Act, mass spying by the NSA in violation of our constitutional rights, and look how the state has treated those that brought these violations to light. We already lock up a large share of the public, and have done horrific things as part of the drug war, the decades long war of the state against the left and social movements. And this is to say nothing of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Cuba has been on the receiving end of 60 years of terrorist attacks by the US, 60 years of coup attempts, invasions, we undermine the government from within through USAID, the NED and the CIA, and have been at economic war against Cuba (which is a form of collective punishment). You can read declassified CIA documents on this, the internet was to cause massive collective harm on the Cuban people and to make Cuban socialism look as bad as possible. Many in power have a lot riding on the failure of Cuban socialism. So, if 9/11 led to massive restrictions on our personal freedoms, how would what we did not do the same in Cuba, doubly given the massive power differential? This is why I am opposed to people denouncing the authoritarianism of the Cuban government, while giving mild critiques of what we have done to Cuba. What would our society look like if we were in Cuba’s position? Call it off, then let’s talk. The discussion in this regard is absurd and entirely academic. Continuing the war against Cuba while denouncing the lack of internal freedoms in Cuba is logically absurd. On this, I have just as little interest in the center left as I do the right.

    The same thing goes with the economic situation. I mean, in a addition to that, Cuba struggles with issues almost all developing and underdeveloped countries struggle with. The media never discusses that, neither do the worthless and wealthy politicians in power, who are very invested in the class war here and abroad. So, some of its economic struggles are not just the above, it is also the things that most every developing country struggles with. This is why I find so much inspiration in the Cuban Revolution, even though I do sometimes disagree with particular things done during the revolution (and for that matter every revolution). It is amazing what it has accomplished given this. Since capitalism isn’t sustainable, I think we have a lot to learn from its successes and failures. But, I think our society is incapable of having rational and honest discussions on Cuba. Those in power own the media, the two parties, many NGOs and will not stand a critical discussion of what THEY have done. It is shameful.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i agree.
      they’ve never been close to perfect…but their number one export is healthcare proffessionals, at least last i looked….and the “Special Period”, after the collapse of USSR, when their rapid rejiggering of their local food supply system caused a global shortage of mules(!) is something to be proud of.
      the handful of cuban expats i’ve known(small expat community in houston) were, to a person, former hotel owners, casino owners, or descendants of batista’s goons…ie: inherently biased from square one.

    2. Judith

      I do not know enough about life in Cuba to say anything definitive, but it seems to me that the people of Cuba have had to make do on their own (with occasional help from friendly governments) for a long time. Figuring out what is essential and what is not. Repairing, creating, taking care of their own needs, and helping others. Perhaps this is a model for how people need to live in order to address the climate apocalypse that we are in the midst of.

    3. skippy

      It should be said that Castro came to D.C. post removing the corporatists and was welcomed as a head of state dignitary to talk terms of trade and whatever …. he did not bend the knee and it was ever was after that …. free markets … yeah …

  18. juliania

    This is probably just a flash in the pan, but my thought this morning is all about how our financial entities (banks, credit unions, the whole ball of wax) have universally switched from being grateful to their customers to preying upon same. (Grocery stores do it with sales, or special items customers can save stubs to finally purchase – or they used to.)

    That thought built into this question, could we not, we citizens, elect an ombudsman? Not a political entity but a person who would have people power to deliver judgments against the corporatocracy in favor of citizen rights? If this could happen, I am thinking the actual power such a one might have would be ephemeral, in the way that the UN has a somewhat ephemeral status but is vital for airing grievances among nations and actually getting things accomplished at the ground level. This would be that on a national stage. Someone who would take on the questions our government is ignoring – a person like the late, good Senator Gravel but electable because being of neither party, and being a voice for the very real concerns all citizens have in their daily lives.

    A pipe dream? I would vote in such an election. I would march for such a cause. And no, the Supreme Court is not it. The Congressional parliamentarian is not it. Ralph Nader was it once, unofficially. So was Martin Luther King. We need such a person again. We need to go back to having a national conscience.


    1. Daryl

      I think the covid lockdowns were quite educational — in that most businesses cannot even go a week or two without revenue. If this power were to be wielded intentionally, the effect could be quite dramatic.

  19. zagonostra

    >Italy CV19 vaccine protest

    Although MSM is covering the roll-out of vaccine identification to enter restaurants and other places of business, it is not covering the consequent protest happening in the street right now. Someone who lives near Milan just messaged me about the protest. Only accounts I can find are on Twitter.

    The jejune attitude I see here, U.S., on the part of the majority, over these mandates is worrying. If you can force someone to get a vaccine over a virus that has ~+95 recovery rate you’ve crossed the Rubicon and you are in Brave New World a la 1984 world.

    1. Carolinian

      Fake vaccine certificates are also a big thing from what I read.

      If a crisis this is then TPTB should keep acting like it and stop pretending that the vaccines alone are a solution.

      1. Cuibono

        yep expecting more MSM stories on these fake certs any day now. Only reliable solution IMO will be a tattoo barcode or implantable chip

        1. Maritimer

          They want, first, Mandated Cell Phones. That is, each Human must own a cellphone and have it near them at all times. GPS on all times. Start with VAX records, then slowly morph to more info, licenses, tax, etc. Just get the project started. Anyone remember Temporary Income Tax? (Remember Obama giving away cellphones? This also has implications for burner phones which will probably have to be outlawed. How will Wall Street operate?)

          Then, as you say, this will morph to imbedded chip or vaccinated nanotech.

          The object is to track all Resources on the planet and Humans are Resources.

    2. Grant

      We are in the middle of a pandemic still, another wave may be on the way. And you may remember what this pandemic recently did to the Italian healthcare system. I can see people protesting just as much because of how states have handled the shutdowns. I mean, let’s keep in mind the radical neoliberal roots of the EU itself and who has power. I am not saying that there aren’t real issues with forcing vaccines on people, but there are just as large of issues with the economic system itself, how the EU and international economy have been structured. That too is not really being discussed here. Let me ask you, since the environmental crisis (far beyond carbon emissions) is growing and coming right for us, do you not think very radical changes are going to need to happen at the level of the system, the relationship between the state and citizens, the relationship between enterprises and the state and will pretty comprehensive economic planning not be needed? I think we should use this situation to propel that conversion forward. I have major issues with just framing this as an individual liberty concern. There are those elements to be sure, but it is far beyond that, and part of the problem of the pandemic is the impact you have as an individual on others. Yes, we should debate what the state can and should do, but we also have to debate how individuals impact each other in a pandemic. Your freedom to do stuff can cause others to die.

      1. zagonostra

        Partially agree, but there has to be proportionality. Otherwise when you tradeoff security for freedom, you get neither (Franklin?).

        I’m still wading through where/how the virus originated, who is profiting, and many other data points from many disparate sources. It’s not simple. We are on the cusp of losing the ability to make decisions that impact control over what goes in our body and that of our children. This is serious sh&t with ramifications that can lead to a dystopian future.

        1. JBird4049



          >>Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

          Here’s the letter from which it’s taken.

  20. Wukchumni

    Everybody was crypto buying
    Those bytes were fast as lightning
    In fact it was a little bit frightening
    But they bought with expert timing

    There was funky Musk man from funky Tesla town
    He was scooping them up as he was putting them down
    It’s an ancient bait & switch art and everybody knew their part
    From a feint into a slip, and buying them blips

    Everybody was crypto mining
    Those bytes were fast as lightning
    In fact it was a little bit frightening
    But they bought with expert timing

    There was funky mines here and little mines in Flin Flon
    He said here comes the big juice, let’s get it on
    Geothermal energy to go, started swinging with the dynamo
    The sudden motion made it flip now we’re into a limited edition trip

    Everybody was crypto buying
    Those bytes were fast as lightning
    In fact it was a little bit frightening
    But they bought with expert timing

    Keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on

  21. Rodeo Clownfish

    Not sure what happened to my earlier comment, but here goes another try:.

    It seems risky to turn off the ability of plants to regulate their own growth, as in the article on rice and potatoes. Didn’t nature evolve this ability for some advantage/purpose? Shouldn’t that angle be considered before such “progress” is unleashed on the world?

    1. JTMcPhee

      The loss of the ability to regulate growth is the hallmark of cancer cells. Just sayiin’…

  22. Soredemos

    >Hong Kong police arrest 5 trade union members for sedition

    The association published three children’s books that Li Kwai-wah, a senior superintendent of the national security department, said have seditious intent.


    “And the children, maybe because of the information inside … can turn their mind and develop a moral standard against the society.”


    The publishing of such books “brings hatred against the government and administration of justice, and (incites) violence to others,” Li said. He added that the books targeted children between the ages of 4 and 7.

    Literal “won’t someone think of the children?!”. Nice equating of ‘society’ with ‘the party’ there as well.

  23. noonespecial

    Re: Agence France Presse Surveillance Tech

    The article quotes a Canadian research who warns, “…the reality is that almost all governments have a stake in keeping this industry the way it is — secretive, unregulated — because they benefit by it.”

    One particular example of how in the Acela Corridor ex-military personnel are looking to cash in on this growing sector and put that tax-funded know how to work:

    “Jason Crabtree…(a former special advisor to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Command) the CEO and cofounder of QOMPLX, a $1.4 billion-valued cybersecurity startup with $96 million in revenue…He wants to not only give government agencies cyber tools that could be used to go on offense and play defense, he also wants to protect the private industry from catastrophic attacks…QOMPLX deepened its ties to the U.S. military and intelligence agencies with the purchase of Sentar, an Alabama cyber intelligence company that claims multiple multimillion-dollar contracts with the DoD, and with the recent recruitment of Brian Hale, a former director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and assistant director of public affairs at the FBI.”

    Must be nice to be so well connected, so keep that door revolving.

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    I think the changing of the climate is itself getting more people to talk about climate change. What we need are more educational extreme weather events to hit two groups of people . . . . the climate denialists who are a majority in some regions . . . . and the super elite who think they can buy their own security from a changing climate which they think they will use to reduce the majority population with.

    What is needed are category 6 and 7 hurricanes destroying a trillion dollars worth of upper class property all at once along our various Gold Coasts. Also, we need some F6 and F7 tornadoes full of bowling-ball-sized hailstones and at least a mile wide on-the-ground to form and spend an hour apiece leisurely razing a few couples of Oil Patch cities and suburban fringes all the way to the ground. Mass casualties of a million or more per year will be needed to get the respectful attention of the pro-fossil elites and the culture-war red-team masses.

    Tucker Carlson, in particular , should lose every single asset he has to the global warming superstorms whose existence he profitably and recreationally denies. Tucker Carlson deserves to spend the next 50 years sleeping in a soggy box under a bridge somewhere. I hope it happens.

    1. Soredemos

      Not that I necessarily disagree with anything you say, but it’s incomplete. Liberals are also all in on the culture wars. It’s all they have. The ‘left’ isn’t anymore serious about the climate than the right is.

  25. Old Sarum

    I feed an Australian magpie which suffers from deformed feet (and his partner), however when I see the damage that seemingly bored sulphur crested cockatoos can do with those beaks of theirs, I put all notions of feeding them out of my mind (as cute as their antics are).

    Pip Pip!

    ps As I recall it from London in 1977, the Punks’ antics could never be referred to as “cute”,

  26. Alice X

    I’m a day late and still a dollar short. The antidote’s via links to yesterdays antidote.

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