Links 7/24/2021

Mainer’s idea to put the pot in the lobster sparks new research Portland Press Herald. The story that started it all (Furzy Mouse).

Extreme weather takes climate change models ‘off the scale’ FT

Dismal Economics James Galbraith, Project Syndicate. The URL is more on point: economics-captured-by-neoclassical-magical-thinking.

From agri-waste to eco-textiles: crop residue finds a place in fashion Mongabay

The Future of Ocean Farming Modern Farmer


Biden Officials Now Expect Vulnerable Americans to Need Booster Shots NYT. The “you are protected” (no qualification) messaging was always demented, but now it can’t be unsaid…

L.A.’s Fully-Vaccinated People Made Up 1-in-5 Infections Bloomberg (DL). That seems like rather a lot. “The ‘vast majority’ of those vaccinated who tested positive had no symptoms or very mild illness, said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director,” but sterilizing the vaccines are not.

Breakthrough Infections of SARS-CoV-2 Gamma Variant in Fully Vaccinated Gold Miners, French Guiana, 2021 Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC. Pfizer. From the Conclusions: “Such a low vaccine efficiency against infection by the Gamma variant was not expected because in vitro studies have shown a similar reduction of neutralization for Beta or Gamma variants by BNT162b2-elicited antibodies and a conserved CD4+ T-cell response against spike proteins from the Beta variant… However, this single unexpected outbreak in a small and isolated vaccinated population requires further real-life studies on BNT162b2 vaccine effectiveness against the VOC Gamma.” The population: “Mine workers were mostly men (42/44); median age was 53.3 years. Eighteen of the workers had risk factors for severe COVID-19: high blood pressure (11/44), diabetes mellitus (4/44), or obesity (4/44). Miners lived onsite in separate rooms but shared face-to-face meals and machine cabins. They also worked outside without masks. Twenty-one workers reported contacts outside the mining site during the previous 2 weeks.”

Vaccine Effectiveness Studies in the Field NEJM. “Questions crucial to vaccination policy remain, at best, only partially answered. These include the effect of new virus variants, the timing between vaccine doses, the effect of vaccines on asymptomatic infection in contrast to severe disease, the waning of vaccine immunity, and the potentially enhanced effectiveness of mix-and-match strategies that might be used with booster shots.” Reading between the lines, this shows the slow death of the dominant RCT paradigm in an age of pandemics, as the reluctant concession of the value of observational studies shows.

* * *

‘Hugely disappointing’: Iowa may have to toss out tens of thousands of expiring COVID vaccine doses Des Moines Register

The World’s Best Hope to End the Pandemic Still Needs More Doses Bloomberg. Covax.

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in the context of original antigenic sin Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics (vlade). From the Abstract: “Immunological memory is the ability of the adaptive immune system to ensure a persistent protective effect after immunization. However, it can also be a limitation to building a sufficient level of protective antibodies specific to new mutations of the virus. It is imperative to bear this phenomenon (called ‘original antigenic sin’) in mind and make every effort to overcome its inherent pitfalls when updating current and designing new vaccines.” Hysteresis translated to immunology? Vlade comments: “TL;DR: The immune system is a lazy dog, and once trained, it keeps the response even if the pathogen changes and the response is not optimal anymore.”

Is ‘original antigenic sin’ complicating indian vaccination drive against Covid-19? Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. From the Abstract: “‘Original antigenic sin,’ in which a prior exposure to an antigen leads to an ineffective response to a related antigen, may offer one immunological explanation for this unusual association. There is an urgent need of undertaking a detailed study to prove/disprove this association [between vaccination and subsequent infection].”

* * *

Cognitive deficits in people who have recovered from COVID-19 The Lancet (GM). From the Findings: “People who had recovered from COVID-19, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits versus controls when controlling for age, gender, education level, income, racial-ethnic group, pre-existing medical disorders, tiredness, depression and anxiety. The deficits were of substantial effect size for people who had been hospitalised (N = 192), but also for non-hospitalised cases who had biological confirmation of COVID-19 infection (N = 326). ”

Improved Nasal Spray Protocol (video) Saikat Basu and Diane Joseph-McCarthy, YouTube (Brittany). Starts at 5:28. Important for nasal spray stans, among whom I number myself.

Schools opened, suicide attempts in girls skyrocketed. Jeremy Faust, Inside Medicine (dk).


When will China open its borders? Non-Chinese vaccines might speed up the answer South China Morning Post

China’s digital yuan moves hint at a wider reboot Asia Times (Furzy Mouse).

Minitrue: Focus on Henan Flood Recovery; Do Not Report on Celebrity Tax Case or Covid Origins Press Conference China Digital Times


Anatomy of a Massacre: How Myanmar’s Military Killed Dozens of Pro-Democracy Protesters Vice

Myanmar junta picks replacement for envoy to Britain who broke ranks Channel News Asia

Myanmar’s Ethnic Shan Rebels Launch COVID-19 Vaccine Program With Chinese Jabs The Irrawaddy. Hmm.

ILO estimates reveal heavy job losses in the first half of 2021 in Myanmar International Labor Organization

Malaysia’s Political Crisis Is Dooming Its COVID-19 Response World Politics Review

Vietnam Factory Shutdown: How It Could Impact Holiday Inventories for Adidas, Nike, Puma, Wolverine and Other Companies Footwear News


Patrolling West Bank Just Not Same Without Big Cone Of Chunky Monkey In Hand The Onion

Don’t let the generals dictate the war’s legacy, make them answer for it Responsible Statecraft

South African Parliament to Start an Inquiry into Violent Pro-Zuma Protests and Looting Pan-African Newswire



The meaning of Macron FT

New Cold War

Russian Federation Sitrep 22 July 2021 Russia Observer (KW).

Victims of communism memorial received donations honouring fascists, Nazi collaborators, according to website CBC

The Caribbean

Mexico is sending navy ships with food, medicines to Cuba NBC

Guaido Staffers Accused of Embezzling Venezuela Humanitarian Aid Funds Venezuelanalysis. From US AID’s IG: Enhanced Processes and Implementer Requirements Are Needed To Address Challenges and Fraud Risks in USAID’s Venezuela Response (April 2021).

Biden Administration

Biden to nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Australia: report The Hill. Because of her work on Boeing’s board?

CIA inspector general reviewing handling of ‘Havana Syndrome’ cases CNN. Surely consideration should be given to the possibility of elite mass hysteria?

Sports Desk

The best sports story you’ll encounter this weekend is not at the Olympics LA Times. On surfer Garrett McNamara at Portugal’s Nazaré. I couldn’t find a surfing video without tacky blood-pounding music, so here’s an hour of the surf alone:

For those who like to fall asleep to white noise…

Tokyo’s Olympics Have Become the Anger Games The New Yorker. Not all the locals are enthusiastic:

Cleveland changing name from Indians to Guardians after 2021 season ESPN. Local icons:

I believe they’re the Guardians of Transportion, but maybe the modernizing update to Traffic is appropriate.

Peter Thiel, Palantir Co-Founders Slam ‘Emperor for Life’ Claims Bloomberg. Thiel’s PR team anxiously fingering their collars…

Did This French Aristocrat Have a Hand in the Deaths of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Other ’60s Icons? People

Class Warfare

An Open Letter to Nikole Hannah-Jones from a Howard Faculty Member Imani Light. Silence from Hannah-Jones on the issues raised starting at paragraph four. Unsurprisingly.

The Conspicuous Absence of Derrick Bell—Rethinking the CRT Debate, Part 1 Black Agenda Report

“Don’t You Work With Old People?”: Many Elder-Care Workers Still Refuse to Get COVID-19 Vaccine ProPublica.

“It is the refusal group, including a significant percentage who work in the nation’s nursing homes, that has confounded and alarmed health care officials who are at a loss as to how to sway them.”

In other words, an enormous failure by the public health establishment, who should have been planning communications more than a year ago. It is not surprising that poor working people, often Black, who collectively have had bad experiences with not only the health care system, the scientific method (see under Tuskegee), and “science” (see under eugenics), and who cannot afford to take time off, should be “slow on the uptake” for vaccination, especially when the vaccines themselves fall far short of perfection. The only wonder is that it has taken our professional classes so long to see that a problem exists, longer to find someone to blame other than themselves, and longer still to struggle through to the concept that the problem might be more than [makes warding sign] Republicans, if indeed they have. This is dysfunction on a Last Days of the Romanovs-level.

What did the ancient Romans eat? BBC

The Antikythera Mechanism: an ancient Greek machine rewriting the history of technology The Past

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. Jackiebass63

    We are seeing more stories about Cuba. Too many of them propose even tougher sanctions.if we look at all of the harm to the Cuban people sanctions have done it angers me. I believe it is criminal. It is long past the time for us to change our Cuban policy. I believe Obama made a good first step in the right direction. Unfortunately it was discarded by Trump, and Biden shows no interest in normalizing Cuban relations. We pretend to be a caring nation, but we allow our government to impose policies that do harm to ordinary people. It is past the time where we practice what we preach in dealing with innocent people.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yeah, these stories are being carried in local news outlets. My guess is Harris has been perceived as weak and too stupid to ignore these complaints, and the usual suspects are going to try to push her into reacting. It might just be more sanctions, but it will hurt just by being cruel. Biden already randomly railed against Communism, so the GOP will try to get her to denounce self identified socialists which is fairly common among young people who aren’t voting Republican.

      It might be a last gasp of the living Bautistas, throwing everything they have at it.

      1. Harliss

        Sanction an economy with commercial blockades for 60 years or more, then point out the economic misery of the blockaded place as a justification for even more blockades.

        About as logical as pretending the Kamaleon represents poor people of color after she marries a white billionaire and does the bidding of his economic group.

        Updating Henry II; “Will no one rid us of this turbulent pest”

    2. Carla

      “It is past the time where we practice what we preach in dealing with innocent people.”

      And not just in Cuba!!!

    3. RockHard

      Antonio Garcia Marquez argues that we should be running internet to Cube which is an interesting idea.

      Years ago I worked with some Cubans from Miami, gen xers who were all for normalization with the attitude “that was our parents fight, not ours”. That seems to have changed and it looks from my outside perspective like the Cuban community smells blood in the water and are back to 1960s thinking. I’d love to see more coverage of this, and Haiti. Something is afoot in the Caribbean

      1. Sandra

        Hmm.. im not in Miami anymore so I can’t speak to the climate there… but I remain anti-embargo. Still I’m more than a little bothered that the left is defending the regime, acting as if Cuba’s repression of speech and press is non-existent or a byproduct of the embargo.

    4. Procopius

      Sanctions are somewhat like the bombing campaigns against North Vietnam. They never accomplish their stated objective, they harm a lot of innocent people, and nobody dares to stop them.

  2. zagonostra

    >Cognitive deficits in people who have recovered from COVID-19 The Lancet (GM).

    Here is a dark dystopic thought for this lovely Saturday morning. Since I had the corona virus, and recovered I wake up to a world where a law is written that carves out a new class of people, you know, like a “minority,” “handicap,” “inside traders”, etc. This class could be defined as the “Cognitively deficit.” The courts could, at least if history is a judge, deem it constitutional to place limits on this class. You know, like they did in Buck vs. Bell in 1927 that allowed for the sterilization of the, and I quote, “mentally defective.”

    This new class then could be legally be restricted in how they are allowed to participate in public deliberation (Ytube) or even to vote. I know extremely unlikely but I wouldn’t take a bet on the Supreme Court. How about sensible people, oh I forgot, I recovered from Covid, I’m not sensible…glad I’m just sleeping and can wake up from this bad dream.

  3. cocomaan

    I figured the required boosters were coming.

    Just wait until we need boosters for the boosters for the boosters. I wonder what all this MRNA hacking does to the immune system. Is it like heroin, where the first hit is the best and it doesn’t work as well after that?

    I have seen no studies yet describing what might happen if you had to take an MRNA cocktail every six months.

    1. Sawdust

      I’ll bet an annual ritual demonstrating one’s faith in science would appeal to a lot of people. And if the side effects get worse, that just magnifies the Auto da Fe.

      1. John

        I would like to know if I need a booster shot. I was jabbed with the J&J vaccine in March. So far all I can hear on the subject is noise.

        1. Kevin Carhart

          If there is a messageboard, or someplace for information dissemination for “us”, I would like to know about it.

 does not appear to have anything like “Blog” or “Latest News”. They have some resources which are on a slower timeframe.

          A search-engine search for [“latest news for the J&J people”] returns nothing.
          [blog news latest janssen] is off topic very quickly. There’s a link to which is no good.

          Okay, I guess I am satisfied, I searched [for people who got the J&J] and got several articles some even with new timestamps. One of which says, as of May, “…By contrast, fewer than 9 million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine…”

          Small in a relative sense yet a ton of people. I would expect someone to ringmaster us all together and then sell ads in their sidebar.

    2. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      I am looking forward to the future when my empathetic fellow Americans start calling me a chud, MAGA, covidiot, or some combination of the three, and heartily wishing me dead, for refusing my seventh booster shot. /sarc

      When I try to encourage vaccinated friends to be cautious; that real world efficacy is different and they are not bulletproof, they look upon me with pity, like I have become a QAnon nut.

      The fact that I rely on this site (which is careful to ensure its server is not on U.S. territory) for factual information on Covid, and have veterinary IVM at home in case I get breakthrough Covid because I know there is zero chance my doctor would prescribe it for me … welp, I would say things in America have become exceedingly strange of late.

      It does amuse me how slow on the uptake our elites are in understanding that most Americans dread and avoid accessing the “healthcare” system. Nobody wants to go out of their way for an extra helpings of the time and money sink that is U.S. healthcare. Joe and Jill and Kamala and Nancy have doctors that come to them. The rest of us don’t have that.

    3. chris

      Here’s a useful search result from Science Direct on the topic of “secondary immune response”.

      Long story short, we know a decent amount about what happens with repeated exposures to both virus and vaccines. But we don’t seem to know a lot about what makes it likely for someone to have a poor outcome or hyperimmune response. And in the one article on that search result which mentions how you determine the frequency of boosting, I’m not sure we’ll have the data available to set that time period between shots correctly for a while yet. Maybe others who are more familiar with the topic can add to this.

    4. Maritimer

      A sign of progress against the Covid Project will be when a prominent Stand Up Comedian takes on the task of satirizing/ridiculing much that has gone on. Or maybe someone will organize a large Covid Comedy Festival of comedians who are Covid dissidents and refuseniks. The material is so rich that, as they say, it writes itself.

      Someone might also consider putting together a video of all the Covid bloopers by CDC/WHO/Complicit Governments.

    5. Objective Ace

      This is what I tell people who give me grief for not getting vccinated (after I already had covid in January)

      I’m less worried about getting covid in the next year or two–I agree with them that getting a vaccine would lower that likelihood. What worries me is compound effect of the dozens of times I get covid throughout my life and/or getting booster shots at least every 6 months for the rest of my life

      If your trying to argue the pro-vaccine stance without acknowledging the need for repeated boosters ad infinitum, your argument will fall on deaf ears here. Sadly, most of the vaccinated cant even achnowledge they’ll need 1 more booster

      1. Cuibono

        If this website is considered social media soon this kind of talk will be verbotten: See Klobuchars newest bill 230.

      2. Larry Y

        I get a flu shot every year. That’s one frame of reference. Other diseases have multiple shots and then boosters years later, like pneumonia vaccines.

        My current speculative scenario is that after a few booster shots covering enough variants of the virus render it the common cold – unless immune compromised (age, disease, malnutrition, etc.).

  4. Michael

    Lambert, re: “L.A.’s Fully-Vaccinated People Made Up 1-in-5 Infections”

    For a useful point of comparison, this quote from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department {LFCHD) in Tennessee, via a report by the local NBC affliate:

    “LFCHD also said it is seeing a growing number of “breakthrough” COVID-19 cases, which are positive cases found in people who are fully vaccinated. The health department said about 20-25% of new cases are considered breakthrough.”

    The paragraph following is also eyebrow raising, to say the least.

    1. Brian Beijer

      “When we say ‘99% of all COVID-19 cases,’ that means all the cases in the entirety of the pandemic, so back to March 2020,” LFCHD Communications Director Kevin Hall said. “The ’20-25% of new cases’ is looking at ‘over the last few weeks.’ Looking at just July, there have been 297 total cases, and of those, 22.9% are breakthrough cases.”

      That is the following paragraph. Just wow. I wonder how many other health officials are including all Covid cases, even those that happened before the vaccine became available, in order to come up with that 99% figure.

      No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.

      -Lily Tomlin

    2. David J.

      Minor correction: It’s Kentucky, not Tennessee.

      Anecdote: I’m a Lexington resident and here, as I suspect, everywhere, the public mood seems to be “this thing is mostly over.” Anyhow, I had ordered a new fridge back in April and with the supply chain being what it is, it didn’t get here until earlier this week. When arranging delivery, I had a bit of difficulty with a store rep when I stipulated that the delivery guys wear masks. It got straightened out, but not without a few unpleasant moments. The delivery went fine and the guys were compliant. One comment from the driver stood out to me; he said that “the government” was doing this to us. He didn’t mean that the government had mishandled aspects of the pandemic, he meant that he thought the government was behind the pandemic. An extreme view, to be sure, but one that I think is more prevalent than a healthy society would like.

      1. tegnost

        The usual suspects have been piling up huge piles of money onto the huge piles they already have, they’re shaming and blaming in their usual suspect way, telling people they can’t have an increment right now, sorry (well not really) there’s a pandemic after all, and we need shared sacrifice among the plebes in order to take our rightful righteous place as the Masters of All from starlinks all the way down past the bleached coral whose fabulous rainbow colors would never have been seen but for cataclysmic global heating which will decimate, at least, some of the potential competition to their mastery (kill all the babies if you want to continue ruling the graceless masses) All Hail the AI without which the marchers to mediocrity would never even get out of bed but for the threat that the gloorious all seeing eye of the AI and it’s ability to do everything better than a plebe on their best day! You want nice things? No.

        1. Mikel

          “AI” crapification is something for the plebes.
          I don’t think TPTB would get the same sense of satisfaction through power tripping with a machine that doesn’t really grasp the concept of power.

    3. TsWkr

      Somewhat paradoxically, the more people who are vaccinated, the higher the percentage breakthrough cases will be, so this number is tricky to read into without more information. If everyone were vaccinated, then 100% of cases would be breakthroughs.

      LA County has about 2/3 full vaccination, so as a simple example let’s say there is community spread which would infect 1000 people weekly if there was no immunity in the population.

      The 1/3 of the population that is not vaccinated makes up 333 cases.

      The 2/3 of the population that is fully vaccinated makes up 667 * (1 – vaccine efficacy)

      If the vaccine is 85% effective, then there would be 100 cases (667 * .15) in the vaccinated population. 100 out of 433 total cases is 23%.

      Obviously this is simple and ignores people with one dose or prior immunity from infection how people socialize in groups of vaccinated/unvaccinated, who is more likely to get tested. So, it seems that the vaccines are down into at least the mid-80% effectiveness range, which is still pretty good, perhaps part of it is that the population who has received it shows less of a response. The bad news is that you will have a whole lot of breakthrough infections if the virus is otherwise running rampant, and it will probably run rampant until it burns out on this wave.

      1. Bloke Down the Pub

        Thank you for rightly pointing out the maths that make vaccines look less and less effective in terms of breakthrough numbers as the total vaccination rate rises.

        “If everyone were vaccinated, then 100% of cases would be breakthroughs.”

        Some would misunderstand this as a complete failure of efficacy rather than a statistical inevitability for any vaccine less than 100% effective.

      2. curlydan

        thanks for that example in proving that vaccination is effective although I don’t think it’s quite as effective as you have found. I don’t see a 2/3 full vaccination rate for LA though although it’s certainly above 50%.

        Here are the best stats I see, but they frustratingly leave off (or I can’t find) the 12-15 year olds: 5.133M fully vaccinated 16+ year olds. There are 10.04M residents of LA County according to the Google machine.

      3. Michael

        According to the CDC, in LA County 61% of the population over the age of 12 is “fully vaccinated.” [Source:

        If the breakthrough rate in this hypothetical population is 20% then the vaccine effectiveness drops further to 78%. Still good. Not good enough to reach herd immunity with vaccines alone (85% appears to be the lower limit for doing so with Delta:

        Of course, as you appear to recognize, this hypothetical assumes a representative sample of the vaccinated population is being tested. It has been suggested we cannot know the true rate of breakthrough in the vaccinated population since, per Walensky and Fauci, the fully vaccinated “don’t get sick,” have no reason to get tested, and – as a corollary – no need to evaluate the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines exists.

        I think it is also reasonable to suspect the presence of asymptomatic cases in both counties is completely attributable to people who are subject to regular testing (hospital workers, perhaps).

        Many confounding variables in estimating effectiveness exist; however, the known variables (lack of motivation for getting tested, no desire to gauge real-world effectiveness) all tend to result in a higher effectiveness than obtains.

    4. Valerie

      I think you’ll find the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department as well as Lex 18 are in Kentucky not Tennessee, but you’re right.about the eyebrow raising implications.

      1. Michael

        I think it is better not to claim I was confused because the two states are indistinguishable in my mind, and just plead gross ignorance of geography.

  5. saywhat?

    In Old Testament Israel, the Frito Lay management would be stoned to death for making their workers do ANY work on the Sabbath.

  6. Lemmy Caution

    RE: L.A.’s Fully-Vaccinated People Made Up 1-in-5 Infections

    Memo to health officials: 20% breakthrough rate means vaccine passports without the full array of other precautionary measures (i.e., masking, social distancing, occupancy limits, etc) are essentially Untouchable-shaming theater.

    The article also states that:

    The “vast majority” of those vaccinated who tested positive had no symptoms or very mild illness, said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director.

    Thought experiment: If you replace the word “vaccinated” with “unvaccinated,” is this statement still true?

    The “vast majority” of those unvaccinated who tested positive had no symptoms or very mild illness, said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director.

    1. IMOR

      Thank you, Lemmy, for reviving a classic, simple test for me which I had stopped using, at some point.
      Also, with all the use and misuse of percentages in re: Covid, I am reminded of what his Police Squad partner told Frank Drebbin about Norbert’s condition after they got him to hospital: “The doctors think it’s 50-50 that he has a 70% chance at a 90% recovery, but there’s only a 10% chance of that.” Or words to that effect.

  7. IM Doc

    About the French Guyana paper from the CDC

    This is how science – the actual process – not the Fauci version – should be working.

    I have repeatedly stated that I am seeing much much more vaccinated positives than one would ever have expected. As I have stated, they seem to be much sicker (though not critically so) and they tend to happen in clusters. For the past two months, this has stuck out from the dominant media narrative. I have never had to fight the cognitive dissonance between the media and my own eyeballs in my life.

    I belong to a large non-public alumni group of my residency program that has literally thousands of IM docs all over America. The first thing a scientist does is to confirm that your observations are general or something you are just seeing. It was quickly obvious from that group that I was far from alone despite the “minimal breakthrough cases” media narrative.

    So, then you do everything you can to hypothesize reasons why you are seeing what you are. I have been a physician for 30 years and that experience plays a huge role as well. Having this gigantic number of breakthrough cases just simply does not happen. I continue to see more than half the cases in vaccinated patients and so do many others. UNHEARD OF IN VACCINES BEFORE NOW.

    Part of hypothesizing why is looking to the literature for evidence. Seldom is this found in RCT at this stage. Case reports and series like this paper are critical. They are seeing the same breakthrough ratio. And they have done a lot more viral research than you can. This is a gold mine for my own questions.

    Is there anything in the paper that could possibly explain what I am seeing. Lots of times, it is not in the headline part but in all the test results and discussion. And yes, there is a very important finding deep in the results.

    Why would clustering and sicker patients be so much more common in the breakthrough patients – there must be a reason for that?

    If you look at the brief discussion of cT or cycle threshold you will see that the vaccinated patients have a SIGNIFICANTLY lower cT than the unvaccinated. That is the way the PCR test works. It basically means the vaccinated have a much higher amount of viral active particles than the unvaccinated. That would account for the breakthroughs I and my colleagues are seeing being a bit more ill. And it would explain the clustering. THe vaccinated breakthroughs have much higher viral load so they are much more contagious and the higher viral load makes them more symptomatic.

    So we now have a suggestion and strong evidence that the vaccinated population may be spreading much more virus than the unvaccinated. I would say that is a critical public health issue and must be further researched immediately.

    This Certainly needs much more work. THis is not confirmatory of any conclusions. But it is consistent with observation on the ground – unlike most of what the media has been spewing to the American people. But this is how science works. This paper is about the gamma variant but a conference yesterday with experts discussed that similar findings were being found in delta and lambda. The suggestion in this paper is now on the front of my mind. I am even now thinking of ways to confirm or falsify these conclusions going forward. This is science.

    Another issue. The writers make the point that the breakthrough rate is extremely divergent from the expected rate. The difference is this paper documents what is happening in REAL LIFE. So much of what we are hearing on our media about vaccine efficacy is research being done in vitro. It is presented as gospel truth. I just want to scream.

    I am doing great and thanks for all the kind words. More about my week later. The commenters here are the best in the internet and I so appreciate my time here.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Thanks for the great read doc!

      I find it so depressing that in our current state of societal collapse that people like Salk, who said “Could you patent the sun” are not the leaders (or scientists) we have. The billionaires like Gates who said the third world couldn’t make safe vaccines, are the guys controlling the media narrative that everyone must be vaccinated. Well, the billionaires made a crap vaccine. This is no surprise to me, everything they have been doing since the 80’s is to make more planned obsolescence.

      Fantastic to hear you are doing great!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Good to hear that you are back on the bounce. Figured that you must have been pretty crook as a comment that you made recently consisted of only one word. On a different note – if all these vaccinations only last a few months and so many Americans have been vaccinated already, that would mean that by the beginning of next year that America will be back to square one as far as vaccinations are concerned. I don’t even know if there is any planning going on for this eventuality after Plan A fails. Plan B will probably be just like Plan A though – but with a lot of panic.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I think they’re already in panic mode. I mean the Republicans recommending vaccinations? The next thing they’ll be telling Americans is to stop spitting in each other’s faces and put the masks back on.

        It’s my right as an American to spit in another person’s mouth during a pandemic. The rest of the world might wanna re-think allowing Americans in their country though.

      2. Cuibono

        the plan is that enough doses have already been purchased in the US to boost. So all is good!

        1. Procopius

          Saw an article somewhere that some state is going to have tens of thousands of doses “go bad” because they haven’t been used before their expiration date. This stuff isn’t very storable, like UHT milk. What they have on hand now isn’t going to last until next year.

    3. Icecube12

      I live in Iceland where 70% of the population is vaccinated, including 85% of those of us 16 and older. (Keep in mind our population is about 365,000.) We have had no domestic restrictions at all since sometime in June, and stopped testing vaccinated people coming to the country at the beginning of July. We are now seeing huge and sudden increases in cases over the past week, from 5-10 cases a day a week ago to 95 today. It’s a faster rise than we’ve ever seen before. They all seem to be originating from vaccinated people coming to the country as the health authorities are finding many different strains of Delta which hadn’t been seen before in Iceland (and the unvaccinated are supposed to quarantine and then also get tested twice after entering the country). About 60-70% of the positive cases are in vaccinated people. Four are now in hospital: one unvaccinated, two fully vaccinated with Pfizer, and one fully vaccinated with AZ. So it’s all pretty proportional to the population pf vaxxed versus unvaxxed so far. It sounds as though those in hospital at the moment are all older, but the vast majority testing positive now are 18-29 and then to a lesser extent 30-39. Many in this age group got Jansen/J&J. The health authorities say that 97% of the cases have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, but it’s early days, and also that doesn’t sound too much different than pre-vaccine. The government is now reimplementing some restrictions, but they are pretty loose (masking indoors again–thank goodness, 200 person gathering ban, bars close early, etc.). We are a small population, but we are easy to keep track of, so in a week or two, we should have some better info here on just how sick the vaccinated get, which vaccines the sick have had and when, etc. So I guess that is an upside.

    4. Shonde

      First of all, thank you for sharing all your on the ground observations.

      A question: You were tested for the virus and found positive. Do you have any idea where your test landed on the cycle range when you were found positive?

      1. IM Doc

        Because I am a very persistent physician – they did share with me the number – 18. And later this week I did find out it was the delta variant. If the delta variant has reached my remote location – you can be assured it is now everywhere.

        The subsequent tests I have done they have refused to supply the number.

        I was fully vaccinated in mid April.

    5. Arizona Slim

      Our doctor is back in the house! Welcome back, IM Doc — we missed you around here.

      Request to Yves and Lambert: Please display IM Doc’s comments about his week as a standalone post.

    6. Dean

      The article discusses cT values;

      “CT values were not different according to the immune status: median (interquartile range [IQR] of Ct (RdRp1) = 29 (25-35) for non-immune (n = 3),
      21.5 (18-25) for vaccinated 1 dose (n=6) and 23 [21-27] for vaccinated 2 doses (n = 13), p = 0.15 with median test. For RdRp1: median [IQR] = 28 [25-33] for non-immune (n = 3), 20 [20-23] for vaccinated 1 dose (n = 5) and 23 (21-26) for vaccinated 2 doses (n = 13), p = 0.09 with median test. For N gene: median (IQR) = 32 (30-34) for non-immune (n = 2), 26 (25-28) for vaccinated 1 dose (n = 5), and 27 (26-31) for vaccinated 2 doses (n = 14), p = 0.30 with median test”

      The P values do not show a significant difference. One problem is n is so small it is hard to detect a difference if it exists.

      There is this Nature communication:

      Initial report of decreased SARS-CoV-2 viral load after inoculation with the BNT162b2 vaccine

      1. IM Doc

        Yes – these are all true – however – this was a case series – never meant to be a definitive discourse on that issue. If you read what I said – this is a possible signal. Nothing is confirmed. But a very important one. And certainly goes right along with what I am seeing. And a huge swath of my colleagues.The health departments across America should be watching for this right now. But we are not even counting vaccinated positives yet.

        There are now press reports showing up about one vaccinated individual being a superspreader person among other vaccinated and unvaccinated. And this goes right to the debate of masking and mitigation. Unfortunately it is also a very important issue for the vaccination of kids in school issue. You have to assume that all the breakthrough cases are all spreading virus – and they have been told not to mask. So they are just walking around everywhere sharing the wealth. Furthermore, if there is even a chance that they may be carrying around a higher viral load – that must be investigated fully. It would in normal times completely change the operating procedure. But again – we are not even counting breakthroughs right now.

        In my local area this week, we had a report from the Health Department head about our case numbers. I was on tele because I am in quarantine. It became immediately apparent that they have two books – one with the breakthroughs and one without – Let’s just say they are only sharing one to the public – and I think you know which one. The numbers with the breakthrough cases were very similar to this paper. The media is not really running this down.

        1. Dean

          I agree with everything in your original comment except the word “significantly.”

          The Nature paper and you may both be correct. You are probably seeing the delta variant while the Nature data were collected in February 2021.

          I agree that health departments and especially CDC should be monitoring and reporting viral loads for all cases.

          Thank you for all the information you provide.

          1. IM Doc

            I would like to share with you that I used your comments today when I was debriefing the two medical students here with me this month for their rural rotation.

            A few things that people may not know – July 1 is the first day of the medical year. These kids are fresh right out of their non-clinical 1st two years and this is their very first rotation. To have their very first clinical experiences be in the middle of the mess we find ourselves in at our hospital – and on top of that having their attending succumb to the contagion and have to be quarantined has been jarring for them to say the least. This is about as “real” as real gets. We did our debriefing today on the computer. I will be back in person early next week.

            These kids walked into this morning – 6 COVID patients who were admitted all still in the ER – because there was nowhere for the new admissions to go last night – we are already full. 3 vaccinated/3 unvaccinated. None of these people are horribly sick. But these students are literally scared to death. What a way to start your career. I may be one of the better equipped to guide them through this – because when it was my first day 30 years ago – the AIDS patients were all over the ER.

            I showed these kids this thread this AM. And told them both that it is very very important to use correct and measured language when we are discussing issues with patients and non-medical folks. Little abbreviations and things we say to one another all the time are often not really going to do the job when discussing with the public. Always always remember that. And this is why I so appreciate this site. It seems like everywhere else is an ad hominem hatchet fest in the comments section – and this is such a relief.

            But I ended our talk today with something which I feel is just as important. This is not looking good at all. We may be right back where we were last fall and winter very soon. I urged them both to learn the basic mechanics of medical statistics and medical reasoning. I am afraid we are soon going to be entering territory in the next few weeks when luxuries like RCT and p- and z- scores are not going to be our lot. That is why my teachers trained my brain to look and evaluate things on the fly – ALL kinds of medical research- and to be able to wield it appropriately in any situation – I am going to endeavor to put these kids through the wringer in that regard the next 6 weeks.

            The others I am really more concerned about are the nurses, RTs CNAs front desk people, and the housekeepers. This is WWAAYY more stressful on them than any physician. We should all be keeping these people in our thoughts and prayers the next few weeks. I am already seeing severe strain develop in many of them here around me.

        2. John Beech

          IM Doc said in part . . . ‘But we are not even counting vaccinated positives yet.’

          But then you addressed what I was wondering vice two sets of books.

          It’s my opinion the owners of the data won’t be able to destroy it. My guess is some day a forensic analysis will reveal not just the shenanigans but the real numbers.

          John, vaccinated along with his wife, whose daughter (vaccinated) has arrived to live with grandsons in tow (not vaccinated 5 and 8), and who is terrified of school openings due to being asthmatic, overweight, and in the problematic age category.

          1. Yves Smith

            No, I am confident major medical systems are NOT keeping data on asymptomatic vaccinated positives. Or more accurately, they have that only at the patient record level, not a higher level. It would take work to compile that data, and they have no incentive to do so because local health depts. and the CDC don’t want it. They would have to create a separate field in their records or a separate database. The MBA beancounters in charge won’t authorize that.

            IM Doc is in a relatively small population county with no major medical systems operating hospitals. Not at all like the rest of the US.

            And it would be even more work to root through patient records after the fact, since all would have to be screened to do ex post facto data harvesting.

            1. Edward

              I can think of a reason the drug companies might want to collect data about their MRNA vaccines; this is an experimental technology and they might want data on how it actually works in real life. Are they doing this? I don’t know. They could also feel such data exposes them to liabilities and want to avoid this. It might be similar to the way Exxon secretly did research on climate change in the 70’s (or was it the 80’s) and kept it top secret.

      2. IM Doc

        The article you have given is also from March. So the datasets were likely done in DEC thru possibly JAN They way things are mutating and changing on the ground – and the way we have demonstrated now that the vaccine efficacy markedly decreases in months – I am not sure those conclusions apply. If I am reading it correctly – the patients in that trial had been fully vaccinated within about 40 days. That time window is not valid in our current situation when the vaccinated patients that seem to be the sickest were vaccinated now months ago. Many other things may be going on.

        This CDC paper – if I am reading it correctly – all the data was collected within just a few months of vaccination as well – making it even more critical that we study this issue.

        I do not know – I will ask friends of mine who are experts. But I am hesitant to put much timber into anything that was done in the early part of the vaccination program. Too much has changed.

    7. antidlc

      “I have repeatedly stated that I am seeing much much more vaccinated positives than one would ever have expected. As I have stated, they seem to be much sicker (though not critically so)…”

      Could you please clarify? “They seem to be much sicker”.

      “Much sicker” than what? The unvaccinated positives?

      1. IM Doc

        For several weeks – dating back to mid May – I was seeing groups of fully vaccinated patients becoming positive – but asymptomatic. Most of these situations arose because one member of the family or group was found to be positive because of foreign travel – or having surgery or whatever.

        As this became more and more common – I began to be very concerned about what the future may hold. And the Health Department and CDC were just ambivalent.

        The guidance of the local health department was to ignore this – “they are vaccinated – there is no way they can spread, etc.”. Just as the CDC guidance was telling them to do. I do not much like to have armed nuclear warheads sitting around, and I am very persistent – so I ordered the contact tracing on my own – every close family member or close contact was checked. And to my absolute horror – large clusters of them were positive. But at that time, they were asymptomatic- almost every single one. I have been dutifully reporting these numbers to Yves and Lambert for weeks.

        Then about a month ago – something changed. People were then starting to become ill – and come to clinical attention that way. There were no longer just the asymptomatic patients. And again – on my own – ordered the contact tracing – and found the same thing. Multiple vaccinated family members positive. Multiple bridge group members positive. Multiple church members positive, etc etc. And lately – socials around the July 4th weekend were also clustered. At that point in time – there was no one sick enough to be in the hospital. But the vaccinated positives were clearly more ill than the unvaccinated positives. Heavier coughs, more SOB, more febrile. This included even the younger ones among them. But again – no one sick enough to be hospitalized.

        And then – this week – we have had a seismic shift. We have admitted multiple very ill vaccinated patients – two of which were critically ill. At the same time – we are admitting unvaccinated patients as well. Some of them too are now very ill. We have had deaths this week – all of those patients were unvaccinated. But I am not holding my breath – we now have two critically ill vaccinated patients that I am not sure are going to make it. I do not have the best handle on these situations this week because I am in quarantine. But right at this minute – we have more COVID patients in the hospital since January – and it is right at 50/50 vaccinated/unvaccinated – and I would say they are equally ill.

        It has been fascinating to watch this very orderly step up in severity over time. And then this week the bottom dropped out. And I live in a very vaccinated county – the paper reported this AM a 72% vaccination rate. The only stragglers were the 12-18 group which is below 50. The “herd immunity” concept is certainly not working here. And the local medical folks are just horrified that this is getting this bad after working so hard for this really good vaccination rate. It is reminding me greatly of the ramp up we had last summer – it is almost the same in every way – except it got much worse much quicker. I am hoping it will burn out – but not looking like that so far.

        I will share something else. I have a very small limited patient size – I am in a small town. But I am very attentive to media reports of numbers from other locations. Big cities and big sample sizes give perspective. When I heard last weekend that there were ZERO vaccinated patients in the hospitals in LA – I grew immediately concerned – because that was not our experience at all – It is basically a WHAT HAVE WE DONE WRONG MOMENT….So I called three of my old students who are now on the front lines in the LA area – to the one – the response was “I have not a clue what they are talking about – that is just not true…”. Among the three of them the averages they were seeing were about 75% – 85% unvaccinated in the hospital – and all had had very ill vaccinated patients. I did not feel so bad then. But My God, the media cannot be trusted with a single god-damn thing. I have never seen such a bunch of liars in my lifetime. It is a real tragedy – when we need them the most they are doing propaganda. And do not even get me started on the Health Dept people who are misleading the population like this.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          thanks a lot Doc…both tongue in cheek(as in: wow, thats pretty depressing!) as well as perfectly sincerely.

          here’s the official story from Texas:

          my county says 38% vaxxed…but there’s nowhere to get a shot, here.(ie: how are these reported?)
          wife and youngest got their first shot in county to north…which is where most from here are being sent if they want a shot. that county says 26.9%.
          both these #’s gel with my anecdata and random surveys of people i run into in various places.
          in neither county are masks all that prevalent, and both have more than their share of “it ain’t real”-ers.
          it feels like a crime that i have to resort to an internet forum to get the breakthrough numbers.
          good luck with your recovery, and keep keeping us informed.

        2. Stillfeelinthebern

          I came down with a very bad cough two weeks ago. When I went to the walk in clinic for relief from the coughing, I told them I was vaccinated and they didn’t even test me for Covid. I was told it was going around and to continue the over the counter medications I was using. I returned that evening as I was much worse and asked that I be tested. It was negative. I was shocked that they didn’t immediately test on my first visit. If they aren’t even testing, they will not know.

        3. antidlc

          Thank you for your reply.

          I’m not sure how we fix this sad state of affairs.

          Thank you for your updates. Take care.

        4. flora

          I can think of 2 obvious (to me) questions about this, and I’m only a layman. However, for some reason I don’t
          think the CDC and FDA want to ask the questions or know the answers.

          Thanks for your expert, on-the-scene comments about what your practice is experiencing.

          Glad you’re feeling better!

        5. Ahimsa

          Wishing IM Doc a speedy recovery and many thanks for the updates.

          Reports 72% vax coverage in local area and also a
          50:50 ratio of vaxxed to non-vaxxed in hospitalised patients.

          Let’s do the math! We would really need the numbers of positive tests in both vaxxed (calling CDC???) and non-vaxxed populations to calculate and compare the hospitalisation rates for both groups in order to then calculate the vax efficacy. Of course the vaxxed population skews older and/or has more comorbidities and/or is possibly taking more risks since vaccination, so it’s not quite so simple, but…
          IF we assumed equal rates of infection in both populations (i.e. 28:72)
          (a big assumption meaning vax efficacy against infection is null)
          Then efficacy against hospitalisation is 61%

          IM Doc’s cases:
          X = Vaxxed hospitalised = NON-vaxxed hospitalised patients
          Vaxxed hospitalisation rate = X/72
          NON-Vaxxed hospitalisation rate = X/28

          => Risk Ratio = X/72 ÷ X/28 => 28/72 = ~0.39
          => Vaccine Efficacy = (1 – Risk Ratio) = 61%

          LA Story:
          Colleagues seeing 75%-85% non-vaxxed in hospital.
          LA reports 70% vaccination for >16 yrs old.
          Again assuming equal infection rates (i.e. 30:70 non-vaxxed:vaxxed)
          Then 80:20 hospitalised patients suggests
          ~89% Vax Efficacy against hospitalisation, i.e. 1- (20/70 ÷ 80/30)

          As you can see from these simple calculations, it is really important to know the vaccination rates AND the rates of infection, otherwise there is no way to make any sense of the no’s in hospital!

          Note: to produce the (acceptable?) efficacy rates above, I had to assume 0% efficacy against infection which would make a mockery of the idea of vaccination passports and dropping of masks.
          Finally, if the rates of infection are greater in non-vaxxed (presumably so?) then these efficacies really start dropping off.


          PLEASE REPLY if you see an error!

          1. IM Doc

            You are very correct on how you did the numbers.

            And this type of wide variation is to be expected in the real world – that is the way it goes. And another very severe confounding issue is the absolute gigantic chasm of numbers between these two data sets. I am in a very small area with a very small N. LA is gigantic. So theoretically, the LA numbers would have a much higher statistical power. However, there are an infinite number of confounding variables that must be taken into account in a side to side comparison. I have chills when I hear the media making all these god-like pronouncements about this place or the other. It is just very difficult to compare apples to oranges and they really should not be making blanket statements about every locality based on numbers coming from just one. This habit has been yet another bad side effect of our sterilization of the local health departments and the dependence on one centralized center.

            The other issue left off your calculations is the number of people who are very ill and suffering at home. This is not a small number. I know this for a fact because there are about 10 patients on our call list that are COVID positive and very sick and we call them twice daily. They refuse to be in the hospital, largely for financial reasons. That is almost certainly an issue in LA as well.

            Another possible confounding issue is if there is a much larger group of younger people who are not nearly as likely to be admitted whether vaccinated or not in either LA or here. The demographics and the attitudes of different age groups vary widely between different parts of the country.

            The vaccine efficacy of 61% in my area is much closer to what is being experienced in Israel right now for what it is worth.

            And thank you for the efforts to do these numbers – you should be a medical student.

            One other little pearl to think about. ANYTIME anyone in medicine reports a 100% rate of anything – assume they are lying until proven otherwise. I would assume that to be the case in every field. There is no such thing as perfection.

            When the LA report came out last week that their hospital admissions were 399 and all 399 were unvaccinated, I knew right off the bat that they were lying. That just does not happen in medicine. These people need to find better liars. For instance, if they had said 356 were unvaccinated, which is still a respectable number, I would not have raised an eyebrow. But they went for the gold, and earned hundreds of hilarious comments in my doctor’s forum that evening. The average physician in America who is hip deep into these tragedies is really getting tired of all the shenanigans.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “they refuse to be in the hospital, largely for financial reasons”

              that’s me, if it comes to it.
              covid, cancer, hiv whatever.
              doesn’t matter.
              i have no “access to health care”.
              for me , there’s no “path to”…
              walking around on an ankle that’s a bag of rocks with nerves in it for 30 years is all the “skin in the game” i can stand.
              when the time comes, i’ll leave a note…and wander on up to the mountain.
              fuck america.
              didn’t even try to be like the brochure.

              1. Late Introvert

                I’m with you Amfortas. I will not burden my family while enriching America’s For-Profit Health Care Industry. And I will make sure and tell as many of those heartless jerks as I can when it comes my time.

                I’m usually one of the few posting at this hour. Lot’s of great stuff tonight, thank you so much IM Doc. I quoted you in a large Bcc to friends and family just now. Keep up the great work, a beacon of light.

            2. Basil Pesto

              I just saw this bit of obnoxiousness on the guardian australia website. You might want to make a contribution, doc ;) I doubt they’ll run with it, but it might feel cathartic.

              The preamble blithely asserts that Australia needs to reach 75% of adult population vaccinated. It doesn’t explain why, or what will transpire when that magical 75% threshold is leaked, or express any concern or awareness about the possibility of immune escape in a majority vaccinated population that then “goes back to normal”. oh well.

          2. Cuibono

            your numbers seem to accord with the latest MOH data from Israel

            on a cheery note deaths are still WAY DOWN. UK slight bump, Israel and US very small bump

            And sufficient time lapse between cases and deaths has likely occurred using prior surges as an indicator

        6. Katiebird

          VERY scary information in this comment.

          It’s almost like there is a sub our cousin varient to Delta that is more vicious and sending even vaccinated people to the hospital.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            66% UV / 33% V here in Northern Ireland who are hospitalised although we are of course ahead with Delta so this info might sadly give most of you a sour taste of what is ahead & these figures released by the Department of Health, apply to between the 10th & the 17th of July – 33% vaccinated & 66% mainly younger people unvaccinated – hospitals now mainly at full capacity.

            AZ given to the older end of the age range & Pfizer, with a small amount of Moderna was given to the younger end – good luck all.


        7. Katniss Everdeen

          …. But My God, the media cannot be trusted with a single god-damn thing. I have never seen such a bunch of liars in my lifetime. It is a real tragedy – when we need them the most they are doing propaganda. And do not even get me started on the Health Dept people who are misleading the population like this.

          After 16 months of this shit–statements made one day and contradicted the next; massive, deliberate abuse of statistics, percentages, and visual representations; threats and vilification for non-compliance; relentless accusations and blatant censorship of “misinformation” and “disinformation,” without legitimate corroboration, by “omniscient” and omnipotent social media techies–there’s only one thing I know for sure.

          For me, fear of contracting a serious or fatal case of “the virus” is now taking a definite back seat to deep suspicion of “authorities”– in media, “public health,” and government–who are using their power to confuse and disorient the public to, what I can only conclude, is some nefarious end.

          I don’t know what their game is, but I’m more convinced than ever that there is one. And I’m. Not. In.

          Call me crazy, but chaos is not a plan. It increasingly feels like this entire nation is being forced to live inside the enfeebled, misfiring biden brain. No thanks.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i love you, Katniss…for being The Conservative, around here.
            and i agree, reluctantly, with this assessment.
            something ELSE is going on, here.
            how anyone can trust the media after 9-11 is beyond me…yet, here we are.
            ..and aren’t all the “journals” owned by that Swiss company?
            Ontological Crises.
            where is Objective Reality in all of this?

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              I love you too, Amfortas, most notably because you can discuss without taking offense when someone’s position differs from yours. It is a most admirable quality–pretty much a lost art these days–IMNSHO.

              Funny that you think of me as The Conservative, although I’m not at all uncomfortable in the role. However, when I’ve had occasion to talk to old friends about politics recently, I characterize my views as “channeling my long repressed, inner ‘hippie.’ ” Go figure.

              Takes all kinds, I guess, and I kinda like it that way.

              1. Procopius

                On the subject of trusting the media, I’m torn. On the one hand I was in high school during the McCarthy years, and lived through the entire Cold War, Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and Libya and Somalia and Djibouti (where the drones live). COINTEL and the Kerner Commission and the Church Commission and CIA bringing crack into the States to help support the Contras and death squads in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia. Yet for some reason I believe the claims that my government has been lying to me my whole life and that it comes out eventually, but sometimes I wonder why I believe that. But I do, and it’s been much worse after 2016. I think I lost trust when I found out what Harry Anslinger and J. Edgar Hoover were like, and then I wonder why I believe those stories, but not that they were heroes. Maybe because I trust(ed) the stories I heard about Henry Ford and Bill Bennet and how they fought the unions. It’s complicated, and most of the time, when it’s not important, I find myself trusting the stories in the Washington Post, and sometimes even the New York Times.

        8. Skunk

          Welcome back, IM Doc. Thanks for all of your great posts.

          During the vaccine trials, I already suspected that breakthrough infections were common with Pfizer. After all, pharmaceutical companies are seeking to make maximal profits, yet the data carefully sidestepped the important question of infection. It seemed odd that the data focused on serious illness, not on infection. Surely profit-seeking Big Pharma would have reported the best data possible for their bottom line. So the problem of frequent breakthrough infections with the mRNA vaccines was likely known from the very beginning. The ramifications of the breakthroughs could not have been known, as the information is still emerging (albeit with too little transparency).

    8. DonCoyote

      About a 1/3 of the way down in that article…

      Attack rate was 0/6 among persons with a previous history of COVID-19 versus 63.2% among those with no previous history

      The N’s are too small for any conclusion, but that trend is…interesting.

      Also, if we tease those six out of:

      The attack rate was 15/25 (60.0%) in fully vaccinated miners, 6/15 (40.0%) in those partially vaccinated or with a history of COVID-19

      then that means an attack rate of 6/9 (66.7%) in those partially vaccinated…so one shot was not much help. Although again very small N’s

    9. Irrational

      Good to see you back in form.
      Really appreciate your insights.

      In our corner of Europe (Luxembourg), the government claims that they cannot comment on positives among the vaccinated for data protection reasons, but will say that out of those hospitalized recently 94% were unvaccinated, 3% had one shot and only 3% were fully vaccinated and of that last group they were old and/or immuno-compromised. However, small country, so small sample.

    10. Jason Boxman

      And what’s concerning about the possibility that vaccinated infected, given how dispersion works with this virus, could drive ‘super’ (I hate that term) spreading events. If so, will these events be worse than what we’ve been seeing? And now we’re not masking at all, and explicitly so for vaccinated people. And this would then be exactly the worst possible public health message.


      I was at a car dealership in Asheville today; Busy. No masks except myself. Unnerving experience.

    11. Cuibono

      sad we are not seeing these cycle counts still
      the positive news is that all the miners fared well despite some being high risk

    12. Danx

      Please watch carefully what is going on in the Yukon territory, north of Canada (right beside Alaska).
      Yukon’s population: a bit more than 42,000.
      From March 22, 2020 to June 1st 2021: 68 cases, 2 deaths
      From June 1st to July 23: 474 cases, 4 deaths
      Most new cases with Gamma variant
      The Territory is pratically closed to the outside World since over a year.
      Cases in remote communities, reacheable only by plane.
      Vaccination rate: 85% one shot, 79% 2 shots, all Moderna
      Here’s the numbers, but no analysis like the one in French Guyana by Health Canada.
      Latest news release:

    13. Edward

      This paper concerns the Pfizer vaccine with its experimental MRNA approach. Maybe this MRNA technique has problems that were not forseen, and the non-MRNA vaccines don’t have this issue.

    14. Adelaidean

      If you look at the brief discussion of cT or cycle threshold you will see that the vaccinated patients have a SIGNIFICANTLY lower cT than the unvaccinated.”

      This is not a correct statement. The statistical analysis in the paper (see the paper’s appendix) stated that the differences did not reach what is regarded as statistical significance.

    15. Joe Krepps

      Grateful for your reply!

      For the past week, I’ve been wondering if “vaccination” is creating millions of “Typhoid Mary’s”? If the vax is reducing symptoms, how will people know they’re infected?

      I’m at least 95% sure I had Covid in January 2020. I know how it affects me; a tsunami of mucus and fatigue. If I’d gotten the vax, with reduced symptoms, I could have told myself the runny nose is from allergies and I didn’t get enough sleep. How many infected but vaxxed people are out there thinking they’ve got a cold but it’s nothing serious?

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    A couple of things of value but without a direct connection to today’s Links:

    1) “American Sadism,” a lecture given late last month by Chris Hedges. Hedges is in full-blown Amos form, and his unflinching look at the sadistic elements in our culture is tough listening, but he manages to give all this horror an historical and philosophical context. A note for those whose skeptical side is aroused by words like “spiritual:” former Div student Hedges bases his arguments not on Exodus, the Sermon on the Mount or Paul but on Nietzsche, Joseph Conrad and Engels.

    2) The Nobel address of Olga Tokarczuk, Polish writer, clinical psychologist and 2018 winner of the prize for literature, focuses on the role of narrative and the need for a new way of telling the world’s story. Teaser excerpt:

    The world is a fabric we weave daily on the great looms of information, discussions, films, books, gossip, little anecdotes. Today the purview of these looms is enormous—thanks to the internet, almost everyone can take place in the process, taking responsibility and not, lovingly and hatefully, for better and for worse. When this story changes, so does the world. In this
    sense, the world is made of words.

    How we think about the world and—perhaps even more importantly—how we narrate it have a massive significance, therefore. A thing that happens and is not told ceases to exist and perishes. This is a fact well known to not only historians, but also (and perhaps above all) to every stripe of politician and tyrant. He who has and weaves the story is in charge.

    Today our problem lies—it seems—in the fact that we do not yet have ready narratives not only for the future, but even for a concrete now, for the ultra-rapid transformations of today’s world. We lack the language, we lack the points of view, the metaphors, the myths and new fables. Yet we do see frequent attempts to harness rusty, anachronistic narratives that cannot fit the future to imaginaries of the future, no doubt on the assumption that an old something is better than a new nothing, or trying in this way to deal with the limitations of our own horizons. In a word, we lack new ways of telling the story of the world.

    3) Here’s three of the growing number of efforts to create new stories and new ways of telling them:

    a) Sapienship–Yuval Harari, an Israeli historian and philosopher who’s been arguing that myth is the glue of societies, is a co-founder of this organization.

    b) Journey of the Universe–This effort is funded by the Thomas Berry Foundation and is led by cosmologist Brian Schwimme. Berry is the author of the maxim: The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

    c) Common Earth–Common Earth is a new organization drawing on the work of Berry along with systems analysis and MMT (!) in order to train people for organizing and direct action on ecological matters.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “….Hedges is in full-blown Amos form…”

      lol. when is he not?
      i have always only been able to read him sparingly, lest things burn.
      but i send things like this to my PMC brother, and …if he even reads it, will not understand.
      it will be just so much ranting…”well, but…”
      when he used to come out here for a few days(pre-pandemic), i’d get him high and/or drunk in the pasture/woods, and take any utterance of his about his life(usually regarding the sharkpeople he works with) as a launchpad into just this kind of Amos bristlebeardy rhetoric….could even sometimes get him worked up and in agreement that all is frelled, and that the system must burn if his daughters are to have a better life.
      but then he sobers up, and picks up his iphone, and remembers his job and his mortgage and car payments and so on, and causes himself to forget all that ranting…to be ashamed, even, of his brief dalliance with it.
      much easier to think of me as a lunatic with a grievance complex…or as secretly jealous of his success(i am not, and worry often that his job/life will surely kill him one day)
      the Machine keeps just enough people sort of satisfied that they will continue to Consent To and Defend it…when what is required is a wholesale Withdrawal of that Consent.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Back in my generation, we had a song about people in your brother’s position. Most of us had plenty of experience with it, more than we’d like. Choices can be seen to constrict us into tighter and tighter boxes.

        The Pretender

        1. Geo

          Excerpt from the linked article below addresses this type of “pretender” complex:

          You can run the list of “defense mechanisms” but the point for now is that what makes them defenses is not that they protect you from pain– they don’t, clearly.  They suck at doing this, look around. 

          The purpose of defense mechanisms is to stop you from changing.  So that after the trauma or the break-up or the loss you are still you. More sad/ashamed/impotent/enraged/depressed is fine as long as you’re the same guy.

          This is what makes treating narcissism particularly difficult: the pathology’s Number 1 characteristic is identity preservation. “I want to change.”  Nope.   You want to be happier, sure, more successful, feel love, drink less, but you want to remain you.  But that won’t work.  The identity you’ve chosen blows, ask anyone.  Change is only possible when you say,  “I want to stop making everyone cry.” The first step isn’t admitting you have a problem but identifying precisely how you are a problem for other people.  But I’ll save you the trouble, you’ll fail at this, too, because of the Number 2 characteristic of narcissism: inability to see things from the other’s perspective. 

  9. The Rev Kev

    “An Open Letter to Nikole Hannah-Jones from a Howard Faculty Member”

    I think that it is a safe assumption that Nikole Hannah-Jones will have nothing to say about this subject. She has her eye on bigger prizes and Howard University is now set firmly in her rear vision mirror. I would go so far as to label her the Meghan Markle of American racial politics.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      She’s much more entrepreneur than journalist or scholar, let alone fellow trade unionist; expect total silence from her on these issues, unless forced, in which case she’ll dissemble.

      With that hard, mean face, she looks like a nasty piece of work.

      1. TimH

        The establishment tried to screw her over, and she didn’t take it.

        Give her credit for that.

      2. Late Introvert

        She grew up in Iowa, which actually does have some decent civil/women’s rights history back in the day, but she renounced us all as racists recently. Never would move back, she said.

        She plays hard ball so will go far and do nothing good or useful.

  10. John Beech

    Do lobsters feel pain?, and other questions, make me question humanity.

    I mean, when a single woman fears taking her kids to the emergency room because she doesn’t have money, and another frets regarding lobsters going into a pot of boiling water to cook, is nuts.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Alternately, I question how people can be selectively compassionate.

      If one can imagine one creature’s pain, how can one be cold to another’s?

      Suffering is suffering

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Here’s someone trying it from another approach: animistic materialism. Interesting effort to merge Marxism and animism:

          Thus, I call for an animist materialism, a materialism that views each being on Earth as part of a network of animate and inanimate beings who in combination create ecosystems which in turn enriches life within and without it through connections with other ecosystems that together makes a living planet. In this materialism, all beings are actors as no actors can act alone.

          1. saywhat?

            The Bible itself hints at rocks (eg. Luke 19:40), mountains, the ocean, etc. having consciousness, not to mention animals (eg. Balaam’s donkey), but that’s not the primary and ESSENTIAL message which is Man’s sinfulness and His/Her need for a Redeemer/Saver.

    2. Brian Beijer

      I mean, when a single woman fears taking her kids to the emergency room because she doesn’t have money, and another frets regarding lobsters going into a pot of boiling water to cook, is nuts.

      There are some that would say these two examples are highly related to one another. That we are still questioning whether lobsters can feel pain in the 21st century is exactly why a single woman finds herself fearing to take her kids to the emergency room because she doesn’t have money. The innate inability for humans to feel empathy toward those who are different from us, so much so that the question of whether lobsters can feel pain requires “research” is exactly why the single mother must choose whether or not to give her children medical care. In so many areas of life, we allow capitalism or “the market” to substitute for ehics or basic empathy. During this pandemic, I’ve started to wonder if we have allowed this because we simply lack the innate ability feel empathy as a species. Instead, we arrive at empathy through an intellectual exercise such as through research. In our capitalistic society, empathy is just not profitable. Therefore empathy is not worthy of the resources it would require to investigate if lobsters feel pain or if it is humane for children to lack medical care. What should make you question humanity isn’t that we are currently investigating if lobsters feel pain, but why it is that we don’t already no the answer to this question. To me, that is nuts.

      1. JEHR

        There was a time when doctors thought that new-born babies could not feel pain and would circumcise them without suppressing the pain.

      2. No it was not, apparently

        Yeah, so, you need to have the so-called “mirror neurons” working to be able to “feel” what others feel, if they work, you’ll will literally feel what you think others feel.

        Empathy is more complex, but at various levels your brain must be working “properly,” for it to work; for the capitalist system this happens to be a weakness they are trying to get rid of, at least at the level of operative elites, it can, unfortunately, prevent exploitation and they can’t have any of that you see.

        So the system is interested in hiring mentally disturbed individuals as is clearly evident and has been for a very long time.

        As far as lobsters and pain is concerned; pain is an obvious feature of working nervous system, the consequence of lack of pain perception are well known – premature death due to unforced (or un-prevented, or un-recovered) injury.

        The whole debate revolves around seeking excuses for exploitation, previously, slaves were thought to be animals and animals until recently were thought to be un-feeling creatures (as if they were some sort of an animated stone- err, flesh-golems), this made even the worst cruelties excusable – after all, they “couldn’t feel anything” or so it was said.

        Variations of this tune continue to this day: “the poor are like that, it’s okay to them,” “this is normal in their country.”

        And I’m not kidding here, to give you an example, a professor at uni., who got his doctoral specialization in top US universities, once explained to us: “that it is remarkable that in Amerika even the homeless do not seek the state to help them and, rather, consider their condition to be their own fault” he would tell us that with incredible glee and satisfaction, and of course with that unspoken conclusion: “wouldn’t it be wonderful if our country too could be as advanced as the U.S.A.”

        Because americans do not mind to be homeless, right, you guys are just different like that(TM), right? I mean the prof. couldn’t have been wrong (and a complete egotistical as*hole to boot), could he?

        Well, to answer that rhetorical question, I’ll just leave this little tidbit: he became the minister of then LibDem government (in one of the so called “core statehood” ministries).

    3. Yves Smith

      Decades ago, the Wall Street Journal (when it ran a human interest story every day on the front page) made fun of the University of Maine for publishing a paper that concluded that lobsters didn’t mind being steamed to death.

      I can tell you my large sample of lobster murders via lobster pot is 100% at odds with their findings.

  11. begob

    Anyone got the recipe for pullum oxizomum, from What the Romans ate? Internet search no help.

    1. Polar Socialist

      From Apicius: On cooking


      G.-V. [laseris] satis modice.

      These directions are very vague. If the raw chicken is quartered, fried in the oil, and then braised in the broth with a dash of vinegar, the bunch of leeks and parsley, seasoned with pepper and a little salt, we have a dish gastronomically correct. The leeks may be served as a garnish, the gravy, properly reduced and strained over the chicken which like in the previous formula is served in a casserole.

      Other sources say “good-sized” is 100 ml, “smaller” is 70 ml and “smallest” is around 30 ml. “Broth” is understood to be fermented fish sauce.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          The secret ingredient in garum which the Romans were unaware of was monosodium glutamate.

          1. Cuibono

            “There are two common forms of glutamic acid, L-glutamic acid and D-glutamic acid. L-glutamic acid found in protein is referred to as ‘bound’ or ‘protein bound’ glutamic acid. In real, natural foods amino acids are rarely free. Rather, they are linked or bound in long chains to other amino acids in peptides or proteins. D-glutamic acid ‘outside of protein’ or ‘free glutamic acid’ is artificially and chemically produced outside of the body. This is what is known as monosodium glutamate or MSG.”

            1. Eustachedesaintpierre

              Thanks for the info – I picked up on the MSG from a TV show a good while ago featuring i think the Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, who visited this guy – I forget where but somewhere in Southern Italy who made garum in large earthenware vessels. I also recall that when it is first prepared it doesn’t look very appetising & would have to be left a good while for the magic to work.

      1. begob

        Cheers! I had a look at the chef’s restaurant website, but no luck on a modern kitchen-friendly recipe.

    2. Jason V

      I’m not sure if he covered that dish, but the “Tasting History” channel on YouTube has done several roman dishes.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Tokyo’s Olympics Have Become the Anger Games”

    Tokyo has a history with the Olympic games. They were supposed to get it in 1940 but that honour was yanked after Japan’s invasion of China. Those games them went to Helsinki but then WW2 cancelled the games for 1940 altogether. So then Tokyo hosted the games in 1964 and pretty successfully. They got it again for 2020 but we all know what happened then. But it seems that the Japan of 1964 is not the Japan of 2021 in some important regards. What I mean is this. Japan in high summer can be as hot as a b****** and humid to boot. So the 1964 Tokyo Games went from October 10th to October 4th. It avoided the city’s midsummer heat and humidity and the September typhoon season. The 2021 Tokyo Games by comparison are being held in high summer. Today I was watching some bike races and the commenter mentioned that it was 33 Celsius (about 91 Fahrenheit) and humid to boot. They were guzzling so much water they may as well have a keg strapped to their backs. And the fact that it rained on them later probably made it even more humid. Considering that Tokyo had years to plan all this out as well as a bonus year, did not the Japanese not think to duplicate the October scheduling of 1964?

    1. Mikel

      Also from the article:
      “Were it not for the cosmic wild card of covid-19, it is likely that the 2020 Games would have benefitted from this rebound effect as well.”

      Pandemics that litter human history and recent past are called “cosmic wild cards.”
      And we wonder why the establishment and ita assorted cheeleaders remain unprepared for emergencies, with BS “just in time” supply chains that are a measure of how unserious they are about public safety and health.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Too many tv deals. The ’64 Olympics had less than 5,000 athletes before the US started adding all kinds of events to win medals compared to the 10,000 at the current Covid afflicted Olympiad. Then there are the deals made for the facilities when the Olympics are done. Its just one giant s#@t show.

      1. Pat

        And NBC is probably still regretting the money they spent to get to the Olympics exclusive for so many years. Sure they are using them to expand the anemic Peacock service, but all that expansion has also ended up making them less of a four year bonanza for broadcasters. I can’t imagine it is working any better for any of the broadcasters from other countries. Everyone will have a few hours of bonanza but they have to produce hours of niche programming. For every hour of gymnastic or soccer coverage you have hours of events like mixed team archery or eight crew rowing.

        The last thing they want in America is for that to interrupt their roll out of new prime time programming.

    3. JohnA

      It still cannot be as stupid as hosting the next soccer World Cup in Quatar, although in a sop to the too hot for soccer summer there, it will be played in November-December 2022.

    4. Carolinian

      and the September typhoon season

      Those who have seen the excellent Criterion release of Tokyo Olympiad know that it still rained quite a lot in 1964. The Atlanta Olympics took place in the summer (I was there) and sported the same conditions you describe.

      Interestingly we here in the Southeast have many of the same yard plants as that part of Asia because the climates are similar.

  13. antidlc

    re: Biden Officials Now Expect Vulnerable Americans to Need Booster Shots

    And earlier this month, on July 8, here is what the CDC and FDA had to say:

    Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Vaccine Boosters

    Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data – which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely on those data exclusively. We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.

    1. Sutter Cane

      I have just assumed for some time that a booster shot, probably annually, will be required, given the nature of the virus. The public health establishment’s messaging has been consistently atrocious throughout the pandemic, and they seem incapable of learning from past mistakes.

      Why not a simple “We don’t know yet” when the question was originally posed?

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Is the typical booster shot for a vaccine the same dosage as the original? If you had the Pfizer two shot vaccine, is the booster just one shot at the same dosage? Or two doses again?

          1. urblintz

            …and given Doc’s comments above we don’t know yet how effective this “miracle” vaccine is.

            We do know it’s not miraculous.

            1. Count Zero

              I have had a flu jab in the UK every autumn for the last 12 or so years. It’s given free to everybody over 65 (or is it 60 now). Flu kills tens of thousands of people here every winter — mostly older with health problems of course.

              My understanding is that they put together a cocktail based on their prediction of which variants are likely to be circulating. Some years their predictions are less successful than others. In those 12+ years I haven’t had flu though I have had an assortment of minor winter bugs.

              I am not sure how much of this applies to Covid. I don’t see any problems in getting an annual Covid booster with my flu shot. I don’t expect 100% protection from either flu or Covid. But I believe that my chances are much better if I am vaccinated.

              When I was growing up in post-war Britain TB was still a killer and in the 1960s as teenagers we all got several BCG jabs. TB disappeared. So did Smallpox. So I do have faith in vaccination. I don’t, of course, have much faith in multinational pharmaceutical companies. It’s tragic that science and medicine is corrupted by the incessant greed for profit. It turns everything good into s**t.

      2. chuck roast

        I typically get a flu shot every fall. So, I viewed getting a “booster” shot of the anti-Covid vaccine as no big thing. J&J by the way. However, if the vaccine that is currently protecting me is crap, what’s the point of getting a crappy booster shot? Back to just wearing a mask and avoiding the crowds.

      3. anEnt

        A better question is why we’re only pursuing vaccines. We could have walked and chewed gum last year by changing the building codes for structures bigger than single family homes to require UV sterilization in the air handlers, which is so much the gold standard that it was literally the control for the research that established that tuberculosis was transmitted via air. Then we’d be working on defense in depth against Covid and protection against the next pathogen also.

        At some point in the future our descendants will look back at our time in a similar manner as we look back at past times without sewers.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed.

      Except for the data you don’t collect, of course. GIGO goes for “when science demonstrates they are not needed,” too.

  14. Carla

    Re: The Future of Ocean Farming

    What a wonderful article. Thank you, Lambert. We have to have some hopium or we’ll just curl up like thirsty plants and die…

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Biden to nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Australia: report”

    Well at least we aren’t getting Hunter Biden.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Shouldn’t he be Drug Czar? I hear he has a impeccable resume for it.

        Alternatively he could be ambassador to Colombia…

        1. KLG

          Yep. Like Joe Kennedy as FDR’s head of the Securities and Exchange Commission! Then Hunter can become ambassador to Colombia, just like Ol’ Joe as Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Access to Hillary means nothing now, and I’m pretty certain everyone has realized Chelsea is a nothing. HRC had a following among women of a certain age, but its to Hillary not Hillary Clinton. Chelsea is completely meaningless to what would not be the under 42 crowd.

  16. Sutter Cane

    My elderly parents, who were both vaccinated with Pfizer back in January, are just getting over a case of covid. They were sick for about 10 days, but said that two of those days were particularly unpleasant, with fever, chills, and such. They never felt bad enough to think about going to the hospital or doctor, but did say that it was bad enough that they recommend avoiding it if possible.

    They are certain that they contracted it by going back to church, which they hadn’t attended in person since early 2020. They wore surgical masks, not N95s, but many other members of the congregation weren’t bothering with masks at all, and “social distancing” was out the window. This is in an area of the country currently seeing a surge in Delta cases.

    I had thought that my parents by now understood that masks other than N95s or higher were worthless in protecting the wearer, and that keeping some arbitrary distance like 6 feet apart didn’t matter when in an indoor space with dozens of other people. I think they were just tired of never going anywhere or never socially interacting with anyone.

    At any rate, this is but one anecdote, but adjust your risk tolerance accordingly.

  17. Carolinian

    Re BAR and Derrick Bell–this is canny stuff.

    For Bell, the most important example of interest convergence is the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that racial segregation is unconstitutional. Bell originally argued this in his 1980 paper “Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Convergence Dilemma,” where he posited that the Court’s decision resulted not from a moral concern about Black well-being under Jim Crow regimes but from three international and domestic interests. Internationally, the U.S. needed to end segregation because it embarrassed the country on the world stage and undermined Cold War imperatives. Bell’s thesis was later corroborated by historian Mary Dudziak, who demonstrated that the Supreme Court wanted to end segregation because the Soviet Union and Third World anticolonial movements were using Jim Crow to criticize Amerika. Domestically, the U.S. needed to end segregation because it needed to gain Black support for Cold War foreign policy and because segregation was viewed as a barrier to industrialization in the South.

    In other words CRT was originally a rejection of the moral theory of history represented by essays like 1619. Here in my upstate SC town there has always been a big international manufacturing presence going back decades and climaxing with BMW;s largest assembly plant. This New South attitude that (slowly) supplanted Jim Crow arose from a business case that said that racism was holding the region back and had to go. The result was hardly a Woodstock of peace, love and understanding but arguably has led to a desire for the races to get along and accomodate each other–even as many in the North cling to the old South image of police dogs and water hoses.

    Ironically much of the current racial unrest is happening above the Mason Dixon where Black people are fewer and shared interests less obvious. I live in a city with a 50/50 racial divide. A race war here would be a war indeed. BAR continues

    Thus, Bell’s materialism inspires his theory of racial fortuity, which interprets even the most celebrated events of Amerikan racial history as cynical decisions designed to advance capitalists and imperialist ends.

    Obviously these are the very things that our current moral theorists among the elites don’t want to talk about. Their moral concerns cease at the water’s edge and in the precincts of Broad and Wall. And the article says Bell’s further beliefs in Black Power and separatism are also likely to be anathema to elites (including some of my local accomodationists) who are shooting for the Woodstock, not the “realism.”

    So yes business Republicans are still Republicans in the end (including our Black SC senator Tim Scott) and the class war will continue apace. But that other kind of war is surely not something we want. Or is that simply the “white” in me talking?

    1. David

      I thought it was strange that anyone could argue for essentialist theories of racial conflict as late as 1957: the Second World War generally put an end to that kind of theorising. The idea of inherent and eternal conflict between biologically defined “races,” such that “there is no empirical reason to believe that racism and white supremacy will ever come to an end” could, with a few changes of wording, have come from Mein Kampf. Maybe he didn’t mean that, but then he shouldn’t have said it.

      1. Carolinian

        The idea of inherent and eternal conflict between biologically defined “races,”

        Isn’t that the very argument being made by Hannah Jones? Nobody is calling her a Nazi.

        And while there are two more parts to the linked analysis that haven’t yet appeared, it could be that Bell is saying that Blacks make too conspicuous a target for capitalism not to use them as a permanent underclass–the assumption being then and largely now capitalist=white people. In other words a class rather than race analysis.

        Frankly though I know nothing about Bell other than what I’ve read today. If there’s an actual case that he was a latter day Nazi then let’s hear it.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > there is no empirical reason to believe that racism and white supremacy will ever come to an end

        There can’t be, because the history has not yet been made. I am sure the same thing could and would have been said about slavery c. 1855 – 1860.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      further down, there’s this:
      “Thus, Bell’s realism inspires his theory of racial realism, which views Amerikan society as permanently racist and which advocates survival strategies as a more effective and realistic alternative to traditional civil rights calls for racial equality. ”

      (this is prolly the ‘white’ in me talking, as well…sigh)
      in what i consider my life’s work, or the teleology of amfortas, i view amurkin society as permanently corrupt and amoral…godzilla and mothra fighting, and i’m the guy in the hopefully hidden valley(john galt? or elrond? or sam gamgee when he’s mayor for 5 terms?), taking in the fleeing villagers(within reason).
      lifeboats…noah and his ark…all that.Gondolin.Nargothrond. Imladris. Laurelindorinand.
      i’ve voted every single time they’ve let me…never missed an election…but i’ve been a pessimist for a long, long time…and in fact, increasingly so: the whole edifice will have to crumble to dust before there’s any really earthshattering change. Machine learned much from the 60’s…especially how to integrate and manage protorevolutionay murmurings.

      black dude i cooked with in austin, a long time ago…student at huston-tillotson, and also studying to be a barber…turned me on to this sort of thing during our long discourse while watching the catfish fry.
      i remember him, after i said that i had read crenshaw, recommending Bell…but even bookpeople and the library at H-T didn’t have it(pre-amazon, pre-internet, high point of neoliberal hegemony,93?)

      1. no one

        I have to defend Bell against that smear. In the days when critical legal studies was a thing, Bell was one of the most eloquent and captivating expositors of that philosophy, of which CRT seems to be a mere offshoot. Selected quotations notwithstanding, his materialism was Marxist, not neoliberal. He would have been astounded, not to mention deeply offended to be thrown into the same category as Milton Friedman and those types. And he would wonder if the accuser had read any texts, neoliberal or otherwise, since such an accusation could not be based on actual knowledge of the subject. Bell’s warmth and humanism were poles apart from the chilly bunch of neoliberals who have come to dominate today’s right wing discourse. In the current debate, he is deeply missed.

        1. chris

          Warmth and humanism? Here’s a quote from an old Adolph Reed interview talking about Bell:

          I remember I was at a conference a number of years ago at Harvard Law School when Derrick Bell was still on the faculty there. Bell was on a panel at this conference, and he insisted that nothing really had changed for black Americans since 1865. And I’m looking at this—here he was, a full professor at Harvard Law School, making the assertion that nothing had changed. Well, obviously something had changed, because he was in Harvard Law School without a broom in his hand.

          Sounds a lot like the neoliberal grifting pundit class to me, even if he was coming at this from a Marxist point of view.

          1. Basil Pesto

            that quote doesn’t really speak to warmth or humanism one way or another, more a certain obliviousness.

        1. chris

          Huh, I wonder if that’s the same Shetterly from the blog I referred to.

          Update: looks like the answer is yes!

  18. tommystrange

    You’ve probably already heard…but that is not the shop steward….it’s a comedian spoof….still funny!…but….

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I thought it was odd that a union shop steward for the plant would mistake some of the brands Frito-Lays owns.

  19. Mikel

    RE: Miners / French New Guiana
    “Miners lived onsite in separate rooms but shared face-to-face meals and machine cabins. They also worked outside without masks. Twenty-one workers reported contacts outside the mining site during the previous 2 weeks.”

    Again, no mention of bathrooms that, from this description, were obviously shared.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Again, no mention of bathrooms that, from this description, were obviously shared.

      Good point. Again, if fomite transmission were an important route, I would have expected a study out of India, which has well known issues with sanitation and and plenty of qualified scientists to do such a study.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Victims of communism memorial received donations honouring fascists, Nazi collaborators, according to website”

    Why this is being built in Canada I have no idea. There already is one in Berlin, Prague and Washington DC so another one is superfluous. If, however, any country wants to build a Memorial to the Victims of Neoliberalism I will chip in money to have that built.

    1. jrkrideau

      Why this is being built in Canada I have no idea.
      Nor do most Canadians. It seems to have been the brainchild of the Steven Harper Gov’t which was not particularly known for rationality. I do get the feeling that it may be intended as a distraction from some of the pro-Nazi immigrants we absentmindedly accepted after WWII.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Apparently a lot of East European “anti-communists” found refuge in Canada after the WW2 when their native countries wanted to prosecute them for genocides, massacres, rapes, looting and other crimes.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I’ve always understood the anti-communist label to be a euphemism for fascist or some other nazi collaborator during World War II.

        1. saywhat?

          I’ve been watching some Eastern Front movies, including an Estonian (1944), Russian (Kalashnikov) and others and the message of even the Russian ones is that the Soviet political class was scarcely better than the Nazis even to their own people.

          I also understand better why some Estonians volunteered for the Waffen SS; their fellow countrymen had been deported to Siberia by the Communists. Yet at the same time, in the movie, they despised Hitler and joked about using his photographs (distributed as bravery awards) for toilet paper.

          So it’s quite possible to be both anti-communist AND anti-fascist – a pox on both their houses.

      2. Frostback

        In Canada, it’s largely Ukrainian ex-pats, who are the Canadian analog to the crazy Cuban ex-pats of Florida. The only countries with more Ukrainians in fact are Russia and Ukraine itself. There anti-communism is only exceeded by their Russo-xenophobia. IN BC and The Prairies, they are a potent political and cultural force.

        “anti-communist label to be a euphemism for fascist” Can be, particularly among Ukrainian ex-pats.

        1. RMO

          Frostback: It’s certainly a weird experience for me to look upon the rather extreme elements of the Ukraninan community here (and I ain’t talking about the Sons Of Freedom:-) since on my Dad’s side my grandmother was Russian and my grandfather Ukranian.

          Of course I also have English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish (and by the looks of my family some Norse) ancestry on my Mum’s side so pretty much all of my ancestors in the A.D. were at one time or another at bloody odds with each other.

    3. CoryP

      The relatively new podcast The Bottlemen about Canada has a great series on this called “Victims of Victims of Communism” about the maybe-fascist Ukrainian diaspora here (Operation Mapleclip), the genesis of the memorial project, and the interesting history of our current deputy PM Chrystia Freeland.

      One of the hosts people may recognize is Dan Boeckner, who I know from the extended Chapo podcast universe. The show is really good though I can see how the hosts might come across as annoying, as with most things I listen to.

      The series I mentioned though is worth giving a full episode a try and not shutting it off at the first cringey running joke about a stomach ache because it passes quickly and there is a wealth of good information.

      There’s also a related 2 episode interview with Yasha Levine, which is okay but one of those interviews where I wished the hosts talked over the guest MORE.

    1. Geo

      They say everything is bigger in Texas. Even the grift it seems. Manchin and Sinema must be jealous. They only get five-figure checks for doing Exxon’s bidding.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and we export what’s tried out here, in texas, to the rest of you.
        you’re welcome.

        ..and i understand the resulting “let texas secede” tropes one usually finds in the comments of such a story…but please remember that not all texans are clones of lite gov/radio preacher(dan patrick) or louie gohmert….let alone Lil George and tedfrellingcruz(ugh).

        1. newcatty

          Not All texans are clones of lite gov/radio preacher (dan patrick) or louie gohmert…let alone Lil George and tedfrellingcruz(ugh).


          I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it with only consenting adults. Molly Ivins

          Sometimes I think Texas exists as a reality check for those who might wander too far toward the precious. Molly Ivins

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            during a protest against austin’s antihomeless policies, circa 93, i drank beer with her…on Congress Ave.
            just like her persona.
            real deal.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              by the bye…i also, during that time, made breakfast for Bob Bullock and Anne Richards most weekday mornings.
              she liked her eggs more runny than him.
              he liked chopped up french fries mixed in with his eggs.
              basement/first floor(don’t remember) cafe in the “Democratic Building” there,to the southeast of the Capitol.
              owned by an english guy(i was filling in for him, as he went back home).
              learned on the fly to make bubble and squeak and hoppin john.

  21. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Extreme weather takes climate change models ‘off the scale’ FT

    Things are about to get very interesting, beyond what even a global pandemic offered up.

    Climate change —-> water scarcity and drought conditions as the ‘new normal’ —-> food scarcity and ever higher costs for food —-> widespread food shortages —-> increasing local and global political and social instability

    But all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds and everyone must remain steadfastly focused on the positive distractions because there are good times ahead that promise space tourism, self driving cars, higher highs on the stock market, space migration, ect.

  22. a fax machine

    California roundup: Democrats can’t agree on the high-speed rail project, and Diablo Canyon NPP’s imminent closure will increase statewide emissions by 10-20%.

    We’re now at “Bargaining”. During Trump the Team Blue was in total Denial about the end of their private-public green partnerships, Covid Summer was probably Anger and now it’s a slow meltdown until the temperature targets are blown through and Depression begins. The nuclear workers displaced by the final end of California’s nuclear program will see their expertise be donated (and then shredded away) at local Goodwills upon their death or, if they are lucky, recycled into the government’s expanding weapons program at the LLNL. I’m dead serious about the latter part because I can count all the new transformers moved in to support operations there. It is scary where we are headed where the government can only agree to use physics and science in the service of murdering other people and not carbonless energy.

    For the HSR project, I suspect both wings of CA Team Blue will compromise on diesel trains for now, since high-speed capable ones were already purchased by the adjacent Amtrak agency per SB-1. This kicks the can down the road as 25kV power is required for tunnels… but I suppose that problem is best figured out next year if Biden’s infrastructure bill finances it. It is extremely distressing that Team Blue can’t even agree on [family blog]king power system for a train. It’s also created an awful circumstance where I support Newsom’s aims in this specific instance, which is unusual as he was an opponent of the project until 2018 or so.

    On a positive note: Biden’s bill might add a permanent Amtrak financing mechanism,.

    1. Calvino

      Natch, Newsom is pro nuclear power, witness his extending the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, which sit atop a complex of earthquake faults, right on the coast, just like Fukushima. This site describes the danger before he greenlighted the extension.

      Also, the bullet train segment Newsom is pushing goes between new subdivisions and future ones in the middle of nowhere, owned by the biggest donor to the Democratic machine, and to the defeat the recall of Newsom, Stewart Resnick, California’s biggest landowner, all enabled by taxpayer provided water. How stinkingly obvious does this corruption have to be?

      1. a fax machine

        If Newsom was pro-nuclear CA would have had new reactors for DC years ago. Fault lines shmault lines, a properly engineered facility run by a competent agency (the government, not PG&E of course) can do so safely. But this also costs a lot of money.

        As for the train the current alignment is far better than the original plan; if the current alignment is actually built (track, structures, power added) then it’d connect every major city in the Central Valley allowing for the existing Amtrak service to flip over. The original plan did not include this and would have died by now if it was chosen.

      2. jr

        “the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, which sit atop a complex of earthquake faults, right on the coast, just like Fukushima. ”

        Sometimes when I read a comment like this I literally laugh out loud. I’ve been trying to read the world strictly as a metaphor for the last two weeks (except things like buses etc.) and this one sparked an image of that facility laid out like a glyph of death on the face of the planet. What hooting, yammering chimps built that thing atop an earthquake zone? It’s almost too perfect. A elemental farce, the folly of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, mapped out in concrete, concertina wire, and asphalt. It’s no wonder the Galactic Federation is hesitant to show themselves. Imagine the embarrassment of being the ambassador to Earth. A career killer, an “office with a view”. Whispers and giggles behind one’s back(s).

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: Don’t let the generals dictate the war’s legacy, make them answer for it

    The US lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before they even began. I can’t think of a country better suited for waging an ongoing insurgency than the graveyard of empires. It’s a landlocked country with mountainous terrain where the only thing the people hate beyond their neighbors is an outside invader. The dominant ethnic group isn’t divided by a border ensuring that defeating it is only a temporary setback as it’s able to re-group outside of the area of operations. Islam provides the necessary fighting spirit and morale for armed resistance. Which I must say is what I admire most about America’s adversaries. Any foreign invader of the US would find plenty of active collaborators considering the number of Americans who fink on each other.

    Both wars were an epic failure in American diplomacy. If the US military was going to achieve any measure of success in Iraq they needed both Iran and Syria on board. This wasn’t impossible given the less then secret negotiations surrounding the Golan Heights and the Iranian nuclear program. A nuclear deal struck in 2003 would’ve been a better then what we don’t have now. Instead we went from briefly cooperating with the IRGC in Afghanistan, to fighting insurgents supported by them in Iraq, to assassinating Soleimani. Threatening to roll the 4th Armoured Division into Damascus incentivized the Syrian government to export jihadists and facilitate their transfer to the Iraqi battleground. Similarly the US needed Pakistan’s support in Afghanistan. This is a blunder the Chinese don’t appear to be making.

    Anyway, I’m only scratching the surface of the factors at work. I’m sure that others with more knowledge will work out the many blunders and failures that contributed to the unwinnable status of the forever wars. It’s why I don’t rule out an attempted military coup by junior officers and NCOs in America’s future.

    1. David

      I thought the article was surprisingly superficial and rather pointless . The militaries of various countries have been given un-winnable wars to fight since the beginning of time, and have always complained about that. No doubt the US military could have performed better in both wars, against some ideal absolute standard, but that would, at best, have meant losing them less quickly. The responsibility belongs, as it should, with the political leadership.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Imperial military, the Brass who develop the doctrine, strategy and tactics, does not complain about these vast exercises in procurement and logistics, because that’s how they get a leg up and get to collect all their benefits and perks. How many generals roll over to the MIC corps? How many actually go out into the field with the troops? I think mortality of recent general officers is limited to accidents and green-on-blue killing by disgruntled Hajjis.

        “Leading from the rear” is the doctrine, all right, and the strategy and tactics too… Got to keep the rice bowls full. Amazing how this denouement is going to play out. Nobody did anything wrong. No errors were made. Pat Tillman was not killed because of stupidity and friendly fire. Millions of wogs died. Only a few tens of thousands of GIs killed and wounded. No problem doing it all over in another place with another bunch of wogs and another several trillion dollars. It’s what they and all their bunch know how to do.

  24. Glen

    The March for Medicare is today – I don’t see anything about it in the MSM. The website is here:


    No arguments here about whether using Medicare For All as a good name for single payer healthcare was correct or not.

    I don’t think COVID is going away, and I think the need to improve our heath care is more important than ever for both our citizens, and empowering small businesses.

    Americans’ Medical Debts Are Bigger Than Was Known, Totaling $140 Billion

    Medical debt is now the largest source of debt in collections in America.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I thought student debt was the biggest? $1.5 trillion — Pretty hard to find stats on what is in collection, of course, though I bet since it’s debt that compounds and grows from fees and penalties and just fraud by lenders and buyers of tranches and of course the collectors, I bet it’s in the same range as medical debt in collections.

  25. antidlc

    Missouri attorney general says he will sue to stop mask mandate in St. Louis, St. Louis County

    Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he will be filing a lawsuit on Monday to stop a mask mandate in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

    Schmitt, a Republican, said in a tweet that he intends to file a lawsuit to “stop this insanity.”

    St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, both Democrats, announced the new mandate Friday, saying it would take effect on Monday.

  26. fresno dan
    didn’t get around to reading the post of Taibbi’s article yesterday, but Taibbi’s view of how things really work was particularly elucidating:
    The passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was a classic demonstration of how America works, or doesn’t, depending on your point of view. While we focus on differences between Republicans and Democrats, it’s their uncanny habit of having just a sliver of enough agreement to pass crucial industry-friendly bills that really defines the parties.
    Whether it’s NAFTA, the Iraq War authorization, or the Obama stimulus, there are always just enough aisle-crossers to get the job done, and the tally usually tracks with industry money with humorous accuracy. In this law signed by George Bush, sponsored by Republican Chuck Grassley, and greased by millions in donations from entities like Sallie Mae, the crucial votes were cast by a handful of aisle-crossing Democrats, including especially the Delawareans Joe Biden and Tom Carper. Hillary Clinton, who took $140,000 from bank interests in her Senate run, had voted for an earlier version.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. The same happened with the passing of that bill that gave the Capital Police $2 billion recently. Two of the squad voted for it and two voted present – and the bill passed.

    2. Jason Boxman

      As I’ve long said, if it’s bipartisan hold onto your wallet. You’re about to be robbed.

  27. chris

    File this article from The American Conservative under, they really didn’t think this one through before hitting publish…

    The simple truth of the matter is that the vast majority of children do not belong in a classroom. What should they be doing then?

    Well, why not work?

    1. Medbh

      It’s phrased poorly, but I agree with the premise that our current educational system doesn’t serve children well. Many adults struggle to sit in a chair all day long or listen to a lecture, and yet we demand it of kids.

      Working can be one of the most powerful and engaging ways to learn. For example, biology, weather, chemistry, food safety, etc. become very “real” when you plan and care for a garden. Positive work opportunities would enable kids to see why the information is relevant to their life.

      I don’t want kids to work so they are good minions for the capitalists, but rather because it’s one of the most effective ways to learn.

      1. chris

        This is one of those ideas that even though I might agree with parts or it, or see how it could be implemented in a way that provided benefits to the people involved, the history of it makes me say “Absolutely Not!”

        I’m not going to support rolling back reforms that are already threatened by how we treat migrant laborers and their children.

    2. newcatty

      Some “conservatives” and others believe that ” the vast majority of children do not belong in a classroom”. They should be herded into charter schools in the “classrooms”. The rest will continue to attend their God ordained, righteous, beneficial, leadership training in private or parochial schools. Some charter school students will “profit ” from practical, prudent curricula that instills positive societal values in their lives: working to support their “communities ” they will do what, IIRC, was an idea floated not that long ago: work in school cafeterias , janitor “assignments, hall “monitors”, landscape ” maintenance”, peer “tutoring” and computer ” hot shots”. Oh, and many who just go the “vocational track” will “work”.

      1. lance ringquist

        bill clinton vowed to create 1000’s of charter schools, 1 reason: the Clinton-era Community Tax Relief Act of 2000 made it possible for funds that invested in charter schools to double their money in 7 years.

        stunning, this guy is really a out of touch elite: Bill Clinton meandered onto the topic of charter schools, he mentioned something about an “original bargain” that charters were: But what’s most remarkable about what Clinton said is how little his statement resembles the truth about how charters have become a reality in so many American communities

        either bill is stunningly out of touch, or corrupt. my feeling is a little bit of the first, and a ton of the second.
        remember, if you elect a neo-liberal democrat, a clinton type, you will end up with the same results than if you elected a republican.

        how we got charter schools: Milton Friedman sided with the segregationists citing their prejudice and racism as merely market forces, bill clinton agreed and unleashed charter schools onto america

        The Obama administration’s promotion of charter schools and privatization has gone hand in hand with its policy of federal cuts to public schools; we have to remind free traders that bill clinton started this

        america can never recover till bill clintons disastrous policies have been over turned.

        remember it was bill clinton that not only unleashed these monsters on us, he also showered them with tax payer money: A spokesperson for New York City’s largest charter network resigned in protest, stating she can no longer defend Success Academy’s “racist and abusive practices”

        remember, bill clinton unleashed these monsters onto us: Nearly half of New Orleans’ all-charter district schools got D or F grades; what happens next?

        bill clinton vowed to create 1000’s of charter schools, 1 reason: the Clinton-era Community Tax Relief Act of 2000 made it possible for funds that invested in charter schools to double their money in 7 years.

        its bill clintons polices period: Who Is Profiting From Charters? The Big Bucks Behind Charter School Secrecy, Financial Scandal and Corruption: Hedge Fund Managers and Real Estate Developers

        bill clintons polices were the ultimate stock scams: Getting rich on Charter Schools with the Clintons’ New Markets Tax Credit, everything nafta billy did was to goose stock prices

        look what bill clinton did when he legalized, even subsidized corporate run, fundy run charter schools: No better example can be found of the Party’s adherence to the voice of billionaire contributors and technocrats over its traditional constituency into working class and middle class Americans than its disastrous foray into School Reform.

        And unfortunately, the current leadership of the Democratic Party shows no willingness or ability to change course on these issues

        we cannot recover till we reverse bill clintons polices.
        How The Democratic Party Fatally Damaged Itself by Attacking Public Education

        Mark Naison·Sunday, June 25, 2017

    3. marym

      Same guy wrote the piece a few weeks ago (see 7/9 Links for link and comments) defending the residential “schools” where indigenous children were taken, and the mass graves.

  28. Basil Pesto

    there were some anti-lockdown protests in Australia today, most prominently in Sydney, mainly attended by paranoiac edgelord sooks. I wonder if old mate OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL was there?

    Despite the images, this remains a pretty fringe position across the country, where most people just get on with it even if they’re not happy about it (JobKeeper allowance helps to an extent, but it’s still not enough for the poor. naturally, it comes with complex eligibility requirements). A bit worried for Sydney with its protests though, as it remains in a rather fraught position. Thankfully, Melbourne and Adelaide are looking good for coming out of lockdown in the near future – possibly this week – even with these protests. I suspect borders with NSW will be closed for months yet. This all could have been avoided, of course, but wasn’t because of some of the most abysmally stupid party politics in the face of a pandemic that you’ll see outside of the US.

  29. nothing but the truth

    some inflation gossip from barrons:

    “Here’s a simple illustration of how significant including and not including house price inflation can be. In 1979, the CPI rose 11.3%, and that included a 14% increase in the price of existing homes. In the past 12 months, the CPI has increased 5.4%, and the 23% increase in existing-home prices isn’t part of that. Government statisticians have created an arbitrary owner rent index (up 2.3% in the past year) to replace house prices,” he writes in his Carson Report blog.

    This imputed rent is inferred from homeowners’ estimates of rents from the tenant market, which is fundamentally different from the owner-occupied housing market, he adds. That creates considerable error in the data. Given that owner housing accounts for nearly a quarter of the consumer price index, Carson guesses that the CPI would be rising at double-digit rates similar to those in the 1970s if the index were calculated the old way.

    After the impact of higher prices, real hourly earnings are down 1.7% from their level a year ago, according to TLR on the Economy, while real weekly earnings are down 1.4% after a 0.4% uptick in the average workweek. Real wages for production workers have slid 2.2%, and their real weekly earnings are off 1.6%, when a slightly longer workweek is taken into consideration.

    After taking inflation into account, real retail sales also are slumping, as David Rosenberg, the eponym of Rosenberg Research, points out. And that’s despite the higher-than-expected 0.6% overall increase in June, which he said was all inflation-related, with actual volumes down, and followed a downward revision to May’s data to show a 1.7% decline instead of the 1.3% drop originally estimated.


    (and this with the CPI that famously undercounts housing, removes food and energy)
    your std of living is being calibrated downwards….

    1. JTMcPhee

      Don’t even need a Catfood Commission to activate Chained CPI. Us mopes are so screwed. No wonder the “conservatives” want to de-institutionalize school children and force them into the slave pool… seems some places in the world, the mopes are figuring out what is being done to them, requiring strict disciplinary action to keep them from getting even microscopically uppity…

      And then there’s something in the works for October 15, of a more general nature: How many working people who take part in this blog are planning to join a nationwide strike, hmmm? What excuses for not taking part? I’m disabled and retired, but I ought to find a picket line if I had the courage of my convictions and was OK about getting my head busted by cops and strike breakers. One can bet the organs of corpokleptocracy will be all over this attempt to occupy the political economy space…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The demonic contract for whiteness is a nice touch…

      I assume this is true (assuming the plaintiffs aren’t crazy enough to risk the wrath of the judge). Here is a video where the YouTuber reads Anastasia* Higganbotham’s book, Not My Idea, aloud:

      Here is the contract which I have annotated:

      At a), we see the note: “Land, riches, and favor may be revoked at any time.” By whom, one might ask? Any White person? Any Black person? Who, exactly?

      At b), we see: “[Mess endlessly…. for the purpose of profit $.”

      So, white supremacy is the source of profit? I can see how the capitalist class would be very happy indeed with Higginbotham’s book, and would encourage its promotion. Also, the notion that all relationships must be contractual will serve the protagonist daughter well when she encounters college.

      NOTE * Love the Romanov reference….

      UPDATE Conor Friedersdorf interviewed the author in 2019 and didn’t lose his mind, so I assume we’re in the midst of a moral panic.

  30. R

    What, nobody read the Antikythera mechanism article? It is a treat and on a personal basis, lovely to see my friend Roger Hadland thanked for lending (in fact, creating) them his prototype X-ray machine that took the crucial images (see article for amazing shots of writing inside corroded metal lump!).

    Roger’s father was a classic British boffin and inventor and entrepreneur of various high speed laser camera techniques crucial for science and defence. Roger continued the tradition but set up his own company in industrial x-ray imaging. He doesn’t have a degree but has worked with three Nobel laureates on experimental apparatus and can literally design an X-ray CT scanner of ground breaking resolution (including all the electron handling and HV circuitry) in his head. He is a brilliant inventor and the antikythera mechanism could not have been imaged without him.

    He is also a true risk-taker and bet his company down to the last brass farthing on building the prototype and lent it to the project out of scientific interest with no guarantee it would work or sell….

    1. JTMcPhee

      I read the article. Wonder what social function the device served? Just a one-off by some engineering and observational genius, or something more? Whither Atlantis, hey?

      Maybe he or she was like Roger Hadland’s father, inventing and entrepreneuring “high speed laser camera techniques crucial for science and defence…” Civilization’s vector is toward entropy and Ragnarök,, pretty much all of it… All this effort to understand all the complex omelet of working parts of the universe, so we can find ever more compendious ways of blowing stuff up…

      “What good is this marvelous military, if we don’t use it?”

  31. Objective Ace

    >Victims of communism memorial received donations honouring fascists, Nazi collaborators

    Where’s the victims of capitalism memorial? I always found it ironic that the Victims of Communism memorial in DC was one of the hot spots for the homeless to hang out at. Its comprised of a number of nice benches and was mostly in the shade

  32. Alice X

    James K. Galbraith from a speech in Copenhagen on August 12, 2011 on the fraud underlining the 2008 economic debacle:

    What you cannot get – not at a meeting sponsored by the International Monetary Fund, not from the participants at the Institute for New Economic Thinking – is any serious discussion of contract law and fraud. I’ve tried, repeatedly. No one will deny, in response to the question, the role that fraud played in the financial debacle. How could they? But they won’t discuss it either. And it seems to me, this reflects a logic which bears pursuing.

    Why not? Why is this one of the great taboo topics of our modern economic history? Well, personal complicity, frankly, plays a role among present and former government officials, regulators, consultants and the academics who advised them and those who either played the markets or took fees from those who did.

    At the INET conference at Bretton Woods, a few weeks ago, Mr. Summers stated that he was – it was a wonderful phrase – that he was not among those who regard financial innovation as necessarily evil. I took a note as I heard him say that, I thought that really bears quoting.

    There is a web of negligence and complicity here. Of culpability, abetted by the way universities are funded and by what they teach.

    But it’s more than that. Let me try to frame it in somewhat more abstract terms. I would say that the commodity is the foundation stone of conventional economics. That the theory of exchange requires the commodification of tradable artifacts. Without that, there is no supply and demand. A world of contracts, each backed by a separate and distinct set of promises each only as good as the commitments made specifically and the ability of the laws and courts to enforce them, is a different sort of world. Just because you can call a set of such contracts by a name, “collateralized debt obligation” or “credit default swap”, and just because you can create something – you may even be able to create something called an exchange to trade them on – does not make them into commodities with a meaningful market price.

    1. skippy

      I’ve said as such here on NC ages ago, more so that as – money is a contract – how it reflects on its dynamics.

      1. JBird4049

        It is not just money. It is any kind of contract in any kind of economy.

        In “primitive” societies tasks are often grouped into occupations. The knapper made the blade and arrowhead for the axe, spear, and arrow makers, who gave it to the hunter, farmer, leather maker, and forager, and finally the food collected is given to the community. It is all about trust or unwritten contracts.

        If one cannot a secure job that pays enough to buy a house, order a tool online, own a car, or save for retirement. If somehow he does, it normal to lose the house with a faithless or crooked mortgage contract, sold a defective tool, usually from cheapest places like China, or have the car breakdown just after the warranty, or have all his savings vanish due to the crooked banks and investors. And the crooks in all major businesses, the banks, the judiciary, police, and the legislature, are all aided and even abetted by the faithless (to the people or nation) government, just what is the point of working? Do we even have an economy?

        I think there was a Soviet joke that went “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

        Well, we pretend to have an economy that has jobs from which a middle class family can live the good life, if the parents work hard, obey the law, maybe get educated, or even go to church, doing all the “right” things. (Laughs bitter tears) Even just the necessities of life are often unavailable to most individuals no matter how hard they work.

        Alice X and skippy have pointed out, contracts are essential. Contracts you can trust, and what else is even a verbal agreement or handshake between family and friends, but contracts? We cannot trust the CDC, the news media, our political representatives, the police, the security state, the judges, our very utilities, forget our employers and often even public aid in unemployment and disability.

        Without trust even a tribal band of only ten, twenty, or thirty just falls apart; can anyone tell me that they trust any organization in our society? Not the individuals, as there are always the good cop, the hard working, compassionate aid clerk, the honest mayor, or the decent preacher, I mean institutions.

        Once trust is lost, things fall apart. For instance, it is not the police who control crime. It is the individual and their community with the police as the backup. (A reason for the high rate of violence in some American communities is the complete lack of trust in the police or the government. They are the outsiders, that occupying army. That being so, you don’t snitch and the fist or the gun, used by individuals or small groups settles things).

        Is any institution in government, business, or religion maintaining the trust or faith of its community? And what happens when they lose the last little bit of trust and faith by its people. Answer, it falls or at best becomes just a facade with the people usually forming their own parallel institutions. This is also how nations, countries, and empires fall. It is interesting to think that trust is that important, but it is, and contracts are really nothing, but trust, albeit enforced by the (trusted) state.

        1. skippy

          Was agreeing on contracts in toto and only extenuated on money due to its post contract factor and how that effects its broader dynamics – per se contracts for decades in duration created with loans and sold on whilst profit is taken today thingy … Bush ignoring mortgage fraud comes to mind.

        2. skippy

          Almost forgot about the mob that was banging on day and night about contracts being private and buyer beware so zilch regulation … who were they again – ?????

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