Links 7/3/2021

Top Economics Blogs Lars P. Syll

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‘Humans caught the ocean on fire’: Gas pipeline fire in Gulf of Mexico creates shocking scene USA Today. The fire caught fire!

Let’s all please stop calling dollars ‘fiat money’ FT

GM to Source Lithium for EV Batteries from US-Based Startup Industry Week

A Major EV Battery Bet for India Is on Aluminum Over Lithium Bloomberg

How to solve COVID’s crew change crisis and protect global supply chains Hellenic Shipping News

A New Kind of Ransomware Tsunami Hits Hundreds of Companies Wired

Smart technology is not making us dumber: study


Physical phenotype of blood cells is altered in COVID-19 (in press) Biophysical Journal, n = 55. From the Abstract: “While the pathology is not yet fully understood, hyper-inflammatory response and coagulation disorders leading to congestions of microvessels are considered to be key drivers of the still increasing death toll. Until now, physical changes of blood cells have not been considered to play a role in COVID-19 related vascular occlusion and organ damage…. We found significant changes in lymphocyte stiffness, monocyte size, neutrophil size and deformability, and heterogeneity of erythrocyte deformation and size. While some of these changes recovered to normal values after hospitalization, others persisted for months after hospital discharge, evidencing the long-term imprint of COVID-19 on the body.” IOW, Long Covid.

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Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trial (accepted manuscript) Clinical Infectious Diseases. A review of RCT literature. From the Abstract: “Published and preprint randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing IVM effects on COVID-19 adult patients were searched until March 22, 2021 in five engines…. In comparison to SOC or placebo, IVM did not reduce all-cause mortality, length of stay or viral clearance in RCTs in COVID-19 patients with mostly mild disease. IVM did not have an effect on AEs or severe AEs. IVM is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients.”

The Ivermectin Advocates’ War Has Just Begun Vice

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Timing is everything: why some people return negative COVID tests despite being infected Brisbane Times

UK pupils use orange juice to fake ‘positive’ Covid test results Guardian (Re Silc).

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More than 1 in 10 people have missed their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine CNN

Lambda Covid variant’s ‘unusual’ mutations puzzle scientists FT

The Forever Virus Foreign Affairs


Foreign countries that ‘bully’ China will meet a ‘great wall of steel,’ says Xi during Communist Party centenary CNN. Note this is defensive.

China Isn’t That Strategic The Atlantic

What Bari Weiss Won’t Tell You About Human Rights and China Freddie DeBoer


Myanmar protesters burn junta leader’s images on his birthday Reuters. And more:

Ingenious. But all the ingenuity in the world didn’t save the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement.

‘If there’s no recovery, all businesses will be in trouble’ Frontier Myanmar

Facebook Tried to Ban Myanmar’s Military. But Its Own Algorithm Kept Promoting Pages Supporting Them, Report Says Time

Coronavirus: Indonesia defends use of China’s Sinovac amid surge in Delta variant South China Morning Post


Scavenging for coal in Tamlabasti People’s Archive of Rural India

The stories of oppression, murder and activism behind this viral Indian song Phoenix Media Co-op


Soldiers watch the US withdrawal from Bagram Airfield through the lens of Pokemon Go Stars and Stripes

New Cold War

The HMS Defender Incident: What happened and What Are the Political Ramifications? Russia Matters

Former Peru dictator’s spymaster reappears in alleged plot to swing recount Guardian

Biden Administration

FTC charges computer chip supplier Broadcom with illegal monopolization CNBC

White House to trumpet return to normalcy despite delta variant The Hill

Heat dome can’t unfreeze Biden’s climate agenda Politico

Biden can’t avoid a precarious balancing act. His voter base requires it LA Times

The Stryker is a ‘deathtrap’ but you’re paying for it anyway Responsible Statecraft

Contractor Informs Biden It’d Be Cheaper To Just Tear Down U.S. And Start Over The Onion

Our Famously Free Press

A Case of “Intellectual Capture?” On YouTube’s Demonetization of Bret Weinstein Matt Taibbi, TK News

Surely There’s a Better Way Zeynep Tufecki, Insight. Keying off this article (Links 7/1).


The Persistent Fantasy of a Trump Knockout Punch The New Yorker

Records show pressure by Trump, allies on Arizona officials not to certify election results NBC

How to Spot a Cult TNR

Intelligence Community

US Intelligence Agencies Are Trying To Solve Scientific Mysteries And Failing Badly Buzzfeed

Interrogations: How Did We Get to Brutal? Spy Talk

Health Care

A Political History Of The ACA Health Affairs

Sports Desk

The mechanisation of the beautiful game FT

Imperial Collapse Watch

North Miami Beach orders 10-story condo evacuated after report declares it unsafe Miami Herald. “[N]ot safe for occupancy due to structural and electrical issues.”

Class Warfare

US hiring accelerated in June as workers earned higher pay AP

Partisan fight over US labour market jolted by strong hiring data FT

How a trail in rural Oregon became a target of far-right extremism High Country News

The Team Resurrecting Ancient Rome’s Favorite Condiment Atlas Obscura

The Yoghurt Mafia RNZ

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. Kurtismayfield

    RE: US hiring accelerated in June article

    Those graphs and the data from them are not very impressive.. this article seems like it’s cheerleading a lot of nothing. Yes the total number of hires is larger than the previous three months, but there is a much larger hole to fill in. Until the labor participation rate sees a lot more positive slope I will not be cheerleading this economy for wage earners.

    1. griffen

      I agree on much of what you say, however the rise in wages compared with the prior year is pointing to a positive trend, possibly, for lower wage workers. I think the rebound in hospitality and travel related industries is important.

      Whether this trend holds, we shall see. A little more light to shine in the tunnel, so to speak. We’ll always contend with the monthly dance and cheerleading on a good report.

  2. Terry Flynn

    Am I the only one SUDDENLY getting loads of adverts for Corona beer? We all know their business went south when covid-19 appeared and their adverts disappeared (in UK anyway). Their product suddenly appeared only on special offer near checkouts (bulk buy) in Lidl stores -heavily discounted.

    Now they’re apparently fighting back. Advertising campaign, prices back up to old levels etc. People stopped being stupid?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Someone in their marketing department may be claiming credit for getting everyone to talk about ‘Covid’ not ‘Coronavirus’.

      Not that I have much sympathy for them, its a terrible beer. Any beer that needs lime added to be drinkable is not worth drinking.

      I do have sympathy though for the Irish band, The Coronas. They’ve been very quiet lately.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yeah I love the British and Irish jokes about lagers that resemble a bodily fluid…..

        But they remain popular….. So they’re clearly mounting a fight back. I just finished revamping my music collection so I clearly need to investigate the Coronas as my next task.

      2. Hank Linderman

        My understanding of the lime is that it’s there to keep flies from landing on the open bottle. The story is this is how beer was served in Mexico and tourists misunderstood, thinking it was for the flavor. I haven’t had a lot of experience in Mexico, but I did notice that urinals had sliced lemons and limes in them, for the scent and to keep flies away. Much nicer than the *urinal cakes* used in the US.

        Corona isn’t bad beer, although I prefer Modello.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            and most made by the same 2 conglomerates.
            …although there are rumors of a “craft beer” movement…every “mexican beer” available where i roam is made by one of the 2.
            monopoly works best when you can maintain the appearance of competition.

            happens all the time, with little fanfare….and is, to my knowledge, never referenced on the label.

            I try for this one…closest to local to me as i can get:

            only seen it in fredericksburg, tx.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Ocean on fire? Here in Cleveland: been there; done that.

    From Randy Newman’s “Burn On:”

    The Lord can make you tumble.
    The Lord can make you turn.
    The Lord can make you overflow…
    But the Lord can’t make you burn.

    So human technology continues its march to turn humans into gods. Granted, we’re only gods that can destroy stuff, but that’s still pretty impressive, isn’t it?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That type of leak isn’t all that rare. My brother, a retired offshore gas drilling foreman, told me a few anecdotes about witnessing them many years ago. When they don’t go on fire, there is a danger that ships simply disappear into them (the gas lowers the density of the water so that they don’t float anymore). Its happened before, but usually in parts of the world where a dozen dead sailors doesn’t make the news. I wonder if it was deliberately ignited so it could be tracked.

      1. Josef K

        Going a little off-topic, but that phenomenon, of gas thinning out the water and boats sinking in it, is an explanation I’ve seen forwarded for the Bermuda Triangle’s mysterious ship disappearances, with IIRC the culprit being methane hydrates coming from the ocean floor in that area. Something similar for planes suddenly losing lift when the gas bubbles up in sufficient quanitity thinning out the air column above.
        The idea of being on board a boat and suddenly sinking into the water like that is horrifying.

      1. Eclair

        Combining the beer comments above and the burning Cuyahoga River, one of my favorite local brews is made by Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company: Burning River Pale Ale. One could drink it for the incendiary picture on the label alone.

        1. savedbyirony

          I am partial to their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and always eager to try their seasonal brews.

  4. Reventlov

    Re: “Former Peru dictator’s spymaster reappears in alleged plot to swing recount”

    This story has moved very quickly since it broke last week, many details have not yet appeared outside the Peruvian press. has been steadily publishing descriptions and transcripts in Spanish of the recordings of Vladimiro Montesinos.

    Among other schemes, Montesinos recommended Keiko Fujimori seek American support for her claims of fraud in the election:

    Look, what they have to do is go to the United States embassy, ​​and talk to the intelligence guy from the embassy, ​​bring him all the documentation of the fraud.

    She has it, well, Keiko has that.

    With that documentation they would have to go to the embassy and speak with the intelligence officer of the embassy, ​​in what’s called the Office of Regional Affairs.

    The American [embassy], the United States. Her husband [Mark Villanella] can go, since he is an American, he can go to his embassy, ​​take the documents, show them, leave them at the embassy, ​​and ask them to refer him to their chief in Washington.

    And in Washington, the boss tells the president there, and the White House spokeswoman may issue a statement, to prevent Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua from prevailing in Peru. Such a statement, well, it has a great weight.

    In the last few days, a quartet of right-wingers have indeed been traipsing around Washington, showing up at the OAS without an appointment, getting heckled as golpistas at their own barely-attended press conference, etc. Also its already been admitted on Peruvian TV that technically they don’t really have proof of fraud – that’s why they want the OAS to “audit” the election. Peru’s saving grace may be the incompetence of the current Peruvian right.

  5. Geo

    Congrats on being listed as a Top Economics blog! And for being listed above Krugman :)

    1. crittermom

      I hadn’t noticed until your mention.

      Yes, congrats to NC!
      I wish EVERYBODY would read it and become educated by the truth.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Surely There’s a Better Way Zeynep Tufecki, Insight.

    Very interesting article. At the end, she notes about the MIT article:

    When Ralph Baric’s interview in MIT Technology Review got published I thought ‘well, great.’ This should generate some media coverage about biosafety and these specific questions about what was going on in the Wuhan labs. Dr. Baric has impeccable credentials, he’s noting real issues, and if people insist on likelihood calculations, he’s not saying any of this is definitive evidence of lab involvement—he personally thinks a natural origin is more likely (which I take to mean no lab involvement, rather than an engineered versus non-engineered virus since an accident or a screw-up at the lab, obviously, can be involve natural virus.)

    And yet.

    As far as I can tell, there has not been a peep in any major media outlet—I found one link to the interview in Foreign Policy, mentioned in passing.

    That’s it, so far.

    There are two obvious reasons why this may be so.

    The first is, as I’ve frequently observed, most journalists know absolutely FA about science or statistics, so don’t recognise a big story even when its shoved in their face.

    The second – and perhaps this is just bias on my part – I’ve noticed the past couple of weeks that there has been a bit of pull-back from the lab-leak story. There have been quite a few of the bad faith straw manning type articles she mentions in the article. This is despite no evidence of facts having changed (in fact, no new evidence one way or another has emerged for a year at least). I wonder if its occurred to the keepers of our narrative that when they acknowledge that those people on the fringe who are being busily buried by FB and YT and Google, etc., may have had a point, then they undermine what little faith there is in what our betters are telling us.

    1. Baby Gerald

      I thought I’d seen that name Zeynep Tufecki somewhere recently. Sure enough, here she is in the headline of this article in the World Socialist WebSite []:

      From censor to conspiracy theorist: Zeynep Tufekci promotes the Wuhan Lab lie

      For what it’s worth, WSWS has been strongly against any Wuhan lab leak idea. It is hard to tell why it is taking such a strident stand on this, but it comes off a little TDS-y for someone with an open mind regarding this controversy.

      The more interesting part of the story is Tufekci’s past articles promoting ideas like ‘YouTube radicalization’. As we saw in the Wall Street Journal where the author of an article about the lab leak theory, Michael R. Gordon, coincidentally turned out to be one of the leading advocates along with Judith Miller on the ‘Iraq has WMDs’ story.

      In short, based on these reporters’ reputations, it’s hard to put faith in any of them.

      1. John Zelnicker

        @Baby Gerald
        July 3, 2021 at 11:26 am

        Please provide the link to Tufecki’s “YouTube radicalization” post. I’d like to read it.

        The WSWS is being less than honest with that headline (I haven’t read the article) because Tufecki did not promote the lab leak theory. (I did read her post.) She reviewed the scant evidence on both sides of the issue and cautioned against coming to any conclusions because we simply don’t know at this point. Even probability calculations are fraught.

        IIRC, it took years to find the source of both SARS and MERS.

      2. Dirk77

        I posted this in the “How policies affect beliefs…” thread, but I repost it here:

        If the lab leak hypothesis is/was not investigated properly by people who are/were more than able to do it, then a persistent lack of convincing evidence that Covid had a natural origin is sufficient to infer that the variant was man-made. This reasoning is as valid as any in scientific inquiry.

        Ergo, Zeynep concludes there has been a coverup. Then the sensible conclusion is that the origin was man-made, and the burden of evidence is with TPTB to show otherwise. End of story. You don’t give the benefit of the doubt to people who are responsible for the uncertainty in the first place.

        1. Yves Smith

          The flaw in your logic is it took 15 years to establish the origin of SARS, in animals, and longer than that with HIV.

          And the authorities are exhibiting drunk under the streetlight behavior. There are direct flights from Wuhan to places in Indonesia where 1. There are caves with horseshoe bats and 2. There are wild markets for restaurants catering to Chinese diners. Smaller than in China but they still exist.

          1. Dirk77

            That is true. I was not implying that the actual origin was Y if investigation into Y was hindered by TPTB. The origin is whatever it was. I meant that all this talk about origins is clearly politicized so the best rule of thumb is what I suggested: the people obstructing the lab leak investigation should deservedly be dumped on; they don’t deserve to cut any slack merely because discovering the natural cause could take years as in the past. In that way, Fox and Tucker Carlson have it exactly right. And frankly, given what Zeynep wrote, people she quoted said and what I’ve heard elsewhere, it seems the origin if determined will be interesting only as a scientific curiosity. Even ignoring supposedly sloppy protocols in labs, population pressure is going to produce pathogens no matter what.

          2. Susan the other

            And the 6 mine/bat cave excavators in Yunnan who fell ill with Covid a few years before it escaped into civilization. And a report from Italy that Covid-19 has been discovered in a sewage sample dating to early 2019. And the vaping puzzle. And numerous reports (Wozniak, etc) of tourists returning from China in Sept. of 2019 with “very bad colds”. And a few cases of a very bad summer cold in the midwest (my brother in law for one) in early summer 2019. It doesn’t add up to a lab leak, or germ warfare, it adds up to an escape from a bat cave and a pretty gradual contagion. Which, of course, exploded. But there needs to be an acknowledgement of all this, without hysteria. Imho, the public, everywhere, has shown pretty good control over their panic. Governments seem to have been the hysterical ones. We should have a new cabinet office: the Office of Control over Government Hysteria and Misinformation.

      3. CoryP

        I haven’t read more than WSWS headlines since the beginning of the year. Their freak out readily to 1/6 has led them to accept statements from legislators and security services at face value for some treason.

        That was around the time their staff were guests on Useful Idiots and that other unnamed show. I felt the ICFi/WSWS was extremely disappointing on both shows, though in the latter case it was a mutual train wreck that nobody should have used for Twitter clout.

        And as the pandemic, I originally loved their articles as I saw them highlighting things that were being under covered. Eventually as my skepticism grew the general lack of links or footnotes to supporting material turned me off from more than skimming them.

        I don’t know why they’re taking such a hard position against the lab leak hypothesis, though our hosts here repeatedly indicate they thing it is weak…. I’m not sure if the WSWS thinks the only possible reason for such an accusation would be to bully China?

        In any case they’re a deprecated source for me these days. Saves on reading time. I thought zeynep’s article was as balanced as she usually is

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe assumes our “betters” have any interest in us mopes having faith in what they are telling us. Given Operation Mockingbird, the Cultural Cold War and that William Casey bit about disinforing the American people to the point that nothing we believe is true, does not seem like it. And add that one of the est ways to fit us up for manipulation is to fill us full of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. CIA and FUD, and NYT for that matter, each have three letters in their acronyms…. Just sayin’…

    3. Ignacio

      With all respect due to Baric, an excellent scientist indeed, the route for a new pandemic creation he suggests could occur, in theory, hasn’t ever been seen and no likelihood studies can be done on this. Labs are not good places for selection of highly infective viruses, and cultured cells are not precisely the best in vivo systems to select for virulence, on the contrary. I think he is taking advantage of the situation in an elitist direction: only in my lab should be permitted assays like these.

      Evaluate the risks to decide whether some research should be done in BS3 rather than BS2 labs is not that easy and this pandemic might be used by some to push policies that restrict some kinds of research to a few and reduce competition.

      1. Richard Needleman

        Any first year graduate student could develop a plan for creating a transmissible virus. The only question is whether it would work. That would be dependent on other virus characteristics.

        However, give me $20,000 for equipment, $30,000 for humanized mice, and $20,000 for supplies and I could cook up a humanized, lethal, coronavirus in my basement. Indeed, Baric has published part of the recipe:

        As for BSL2, I personally wouldn’t work as this level with anything other than, say, antibiotic sensitive Salmonella, and I would keep the antibiotic nearby. At this level you are essentially working with all the protection of your kitchen, assuming you wear gloves when you cut the chicken. Working with any possibly infective virus at this level should be certifiably insane, and doing so at any University in the US would have to be hidden from the Safety Department. They would not be pleased……

        1. Tom Bradford

          I could cook up a humanized, lethal, coronavirus in my basement.

          This gives me a nasty suspicion that if the outbreak of this virus had occurred in the US rather than China, TPTB in the US Govt. would be noisily pointing fingers at Iran, North Korea, the Taliban or whoever the villain-de-jour happened to be, imposing sanctions left, right and center, rattling sabres if not actually using them and imposing all sorts of anti-Constitutional laws on the citizens of the US for their own protection.

      2. R

        I don’t buy Baric’s accidental recombination theory either. It is too much like a cartoon where somebody drops a wrong ingredient into the cauldron and all hell breaks loose. I suspect it is his way of conceding it could have escaped BSL2 without conceding that deliberate gain of function experimentation should be stopped – just do it better next time! I don’t think he is wrong to restrict the competition to BSL3+, if that is what is required, but I would question the rationale for these experiments in the first place.

        There was an aside in a recent article to a scientist who is pushing people to consider the idea that the coronavirus is an escaped strain in development for a vaccine. Something attenuated that turned out not to be sufficiently attenuated…. This would fit with the mild symptoms (compared to SARS) and the greater infectivity but it was not supposed to be transmissible.

        I don’t know enough to judge but it is an interesting angle. More so than “we didn’t double glove and use the laminar flow cabinet”.

  7. jr

    Wow, that Buzzfeed article about intelligence agencies and science is terrible. First of all, the writing is atrocious. The writer uses the word science three times within three inches of each other on the page; I thought my vision was blurring for a second. But you don’t have to write well to be a techboi, you just have to say the right words enough times.

    Naiveté is cool as well. He cannot even muster the mental LEGOS to see the psy-ops angle to all of this. Even if UFO’s are of extraterrestrial origin, it doesn’t mean someone or everyone is taking advantage of their presence to run their own intel gathering. And the idea of ray guns, while scientifically dubious, makes a bit of sense when you want to sell an idea of an evil enemy to the public or some dumb-butt senator. The chemist gets it when she notes that “Everyone loves a good death-ray.” but this wings by him. The story of a bioweapon’s origin of COVID, whether true or not, has lots of political ramifications etc. to make it of value. (Oh, let’s not forget the Iraq war, we know that the WMD’s were a psy-op.) I’m not saying any or all or none of it is true. I’m just saying this guy missed the elephant in the room.

    Then there is the standard parade of scientists to be interviewed, and fill up page space, who confirm the author’s claims that the Science! is bogus. But setting aside the microwave beam gun, where it seems you can either do it or you can’t, he goes too far. The UFO question and the bio-weapons question aren’t closed cases by a long shot as far as I can tell. Lot’s of people with Science! degrees are interested in those questions so I don’t think this guy can nail down those coffins just yet.

    I bogged down when he started to lay out the usual BS litany of the history of flying saucers, as if these things started at Roswell, as if there aren’t reports and naked eye sightings from around the world, about how cell phone cameras suck, about how lots of people with a lot to lose have come forward to talk about these things they’ve seen. Using the recent flurry, he feels entitled to dismiss everything else UFO related with a few keystrokes. And not everyone who is interested in UFO’s expected a huge revelation with the report, as usual the techboi feels entitled to smear vast swaths of people. They seem to have no idea about the limits of science, for example they never discuss that detectives and professional interviewers are more useful for gathering information about sightings and encounters. I couldn’t bear to continue after the UFO section, somehow the article seemed to defy Science! by going on forever.

    1. Wukchumni

      The usual coterie of countries who are fake buyers of US Treasuries is under pressure as everybody knows that its all a con game and the introduction of extraterrestrial buyers fits in nicely with recent admissions that UFO’s are among us.

      Why wouldn’t somebody from Uranus want to play along, is the fervent hope in finding new purchasers of unidentified fiat objects, and similar to present ‘buyers’ it isn’t as if anybody really checks to see if things are on the up and up.

      1. jr


        Thanks for the laugh, I needed it today.

        Edit: there is an “is” that should be an “isn’t” in the third sentence of the second paragraph in the post above.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      idk about “microwave weapons”, but one can easily purchase what amounts to “ray guns” online:

      i’ve had a little thing in my shop for several years that, when activated by a keychain fob, and hooked to a motion sensor, will cause you to sh(t yer pants and run away…i’ve tested it, both on myself, as well as on a couple of eldest’s buddies(with consent)…who then presumably spread the experience to the local criminal element.(said criminal element is mostly mexican mafia, and this plays into their general habit of taking magic seriously:ergo, i am a powerful Brujo)

      also, mom has been on a crusade against my texas ratsnakes(we call them Jormungandr), who get into her chicken house and eat eggs(usually her darned wooden ones, which means i must kill the snake, to end it’s suffering—i like ratsnakes, as they eat rattlesnakes, and even their smell is a rattler repellent. i have no issue with them extracting an egg tax for this service)

      so…she bought a couple of solar powered, motion sensored devices that emit the teenager repellent frequency…. sold as snake repellers, they give my boys(15 & 19) headaches and nausea…but none of us olds can hear it at all.

      all this was immediately top of mind when the havanna ‘attacks’ made the news…and i’ve been pretty surprised that the coverage in msm still hasn’t acknowledged this readily available tech.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘…and i’ve been pretty surprised that the coverage in msm still hasn’t acknowledged this readily available tech.’

        There’s your answer Amf. If this is mostly short range stuff, then it could have not been a dastardly Cuban plot but must have been an “inside” job instead. And we all know that every Embassy has a spook detachment embedded in it.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          aye. range on the one in my shop is about 50 feet.
          youngest son…who’s the bird guy at moms, putting them up in evening…says he can feel it at about 30′.
          but who knows what a milspec model would be capable of.
          i remember seeing humvee mounted flat panels during anti-iraq protests…big square panels that carried the euphemism,
          active denial system”. i think they were sound based, too, but don’t really remember details.

  8. Questa Nota

    The current ideology mash-up of Hayek themes and YouTube censorship reinforces the trend toward economic, social and intellectual serfdom. Public resistance to either becomes more costly to individuals and makes them more cancel-prone. The Fourth of July resonates more this year.

    1. Sawdust

      But on the plus side, whoever’s alive in 2060 will look back on digital serfdom as the good old days.

      1. chuck roast

        Based upon the ubiquity of George Mason Uni in the Ionics poll, the good old days may well be beyond the rear view mirror.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          youngest was just joking that he was gonna post flags and various proamerica protrump stuff on his(whatever platform he uses)….this is common for both boys, to bother their mother,lol.
          i said something about big brother watching, right at the beginning of WOT 2.0(the war comes home), and him getting lumped in with magaidiots.
          wife seconds….and he says, ironically, “man, y’all are some antiamerican f&cks!”
          (all this is common banter around here)
          so i say,
          “i hate america because i love my country”.
          …which manifested as a koan, shocking him into confused rumination.
          minutes later, my mom texts that she wants us all on iphone vid putting a new flag on stepdad’s flagpole, because he(currently in MICU at VA) was shot on July 4, 1968, outside of Da Nang.
          seems she got him an iphone so she could facetime him.

          youngest an i are putting the roof on the shed where the chick hutch is this morning(will double as a “fattening shed”, full of cages, for when chicken meat production system is up and running), so i can spend the rest of the day watching tv and ignoring all the fanfare and cliche.
          (put the 2 surviving turkey chicks and all the “red jungle fowl” chicks in there yesterday, because they were starting to fly(sort of) in the box in mom’s cat-proof utility room(bantam chicks are still there). i will try to send video of tossing a large handful of disabled grasshoppers in there…fun times!….resembles football.)

  9. Jessica

    From China’s Not That Strategic:
    “Policy makers still maintain a system of household registration, called the hukou, that tethers people to their hometowns for basic services, even though it holds back both family welfare for the country’s mobile workforce and economic performance for the nation as a whole.”

    As Lambert would say, “holds back family welfare for the country’s mobiel workforce” is a feature not a big. It is giggification Chinese style.
    At one point the hukou system helped China avoid the kinds of slums seen in most other third-world countries by impeding migration from the countryside to the cities.
    As China became the manufacturing center for the entire world, the function of the hukou system shifted to holding migrant workers and their offspring in a second-class citizenship, somewhere between an illegal immigrant in the US and a legal one. For example, even though migrant workers provide the low-wage work force in the big cities, because they are not eligible for public services there, their children cannot attend normal public schools. This helps ensure the higher standard of living and status of those who do have the hukou authorization to live in the main cities.
    It is difficult to know what Chinese people actually think, but in many nations in which the middle-class is small compared to the population that has not (yet) reached that status, a fear of being swamped by the less advantaged population may well be present. This fear is often accompanied by contempt for those of lower status. This is not fundamentally different from the attitude of parts of the professional managerial class in the US toward the “deplorables”.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “holds back both family welfare for the country’s mobile workforce and economic performance for the nation as a whole”

      So the neoliberal author’s assumption is that “economic performance” requires that chickens be shut in cages, unable to move for their entire lives, while humans must lose any tie or contact to place or family so they can be part of the marvelously “mobile workforce.” So we could say that humans exist to serve “the economy,” not the other way around. If we look just a little more deeply, don’t we see that it’s not really some abstract divinity called “the economy” that justifies our existence from one day to the next but instead the billionaires who own “the economy?” When we make our only priority filling our most optimal role in the economic performance so that the Billionaires receive their due, then we are fulfilling our destiny.

      So surely they can dispense with the whole “trickle down” and Laffer Curve nonsense. The universe has brought us into existence so that we may continually insure a “proper return” on our Holy Billionaires’ capital. No need to come up with lame, faux-Scientific arguments. It has been written.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “…we could say that humans exist to serve “the economy,” not the other way around.”
        I like and saved this formula you crafted as an epigram capturing the essence of Neoliberalism.

    2. Josef K

      I appreciate your providing this counterpoint to the “the CCP has raised millions out of poverty” mantra. While it’s true to a significant degree, China’s GINI coefficient belies that oversimplification; the tide has risen so much that it wasn’t necessary to and thus hasn’t been managed in any equitable manner at all. It’s a two-tiered, or three-tiered society: CCP members and the well-off and very wealthy, who are pretty intermixed and inter-married, and then on a much lower economic rung, hoi polloi, urban and rural, who as in the US have much more in common than either cohort does with those they respectively share space with. If you’re both wealthy and in the CCP, you’re in the top tier, but your head’s sticking out and may get hammered down or cut off at any time.

      One of the core tenets of CCP policy before the great “opening” was subsidised rent, accomodations were certainly lacking, but rent was a couple of kuai a month. Real Socialist (even with Chinese Characteristics) progress would have kept affordable housing as one of its core tenets, instead they’ve intentionally boosted RE values and every other CCP official seems to have a hand in the decades-long windup.
      But this is rather typical of Chinese history, massives swings from one extreme to another with often tenuous periods of moderation (and peace) in between.

      I visited friends who lived in the “Old Bell” hutong several times in Beijing back when, and more recently enjoyed a wonderful evening in the old hutong house of an eminent calligrapher in that city. The modest courtyard boasted a stunningly beautiful cultivated pine tree. I was told that the whole place (hutong) was slated for demolition.

      1. Godfree Roberts

        Nope. Party membership confers many responsibilities and few privileges. See Economic Returns to Communist Party Membership: Evidence from Urban Chinese Twins. Hongbin Li Pak Wai Liu Junsen Zhang Ning Ma. The Economic Journal. Vol. 117.

        the current 98% home ownership, combined with a rapidly falling Gini coefficient will make China a leader in equitability by 2049.

        1. Josef K

          Granted, my information is anecdotal, and rather than state that CCP membership confers advantages, I should say that that belief was stated to me very often by Chinese people who were mostly middle class professionals but in many varied fields. Or businesspeople, both small and part of large companies including SOEs. Many instances, but I can’t pretend that can stack up against an article in an economic journal, stats are stats after all.

        2. Josef K

          Granted, my data, such as it is, is mostly anecdotal, but copious, from mainland Chinese people engaged in various professions, entrepreneurs, employees of small and large including SOEs, artists, and on and on–leaving the impression that it’s common knowledge. Rounded out by personal experience, but I don’t expect that to outweigh stats, even if it’s just one article in one journal, espcially to people with no first-hand experience in the country. I’m not saying that’s you…..but is it?

          Back before the modern more capitalistic economy grew dominant, being a ganbu–and while not every CCP member is a ganbu, every ganbu is a CCP member–conferred all kinds of privileges, that’s indisputable to anyone who was in China for any length of time. It’d would be naive to presume those privileges have withered since then.

          As to GINI coefficient, certainly China’s is better than the US’s, and below the world average. But most charts show it rising over the last 40 years almost without pause or reversal. It’s heading away from, and is pretty far from, “leaders in equibility” like Germany. Again, leaving stats aside–quelle horreur, I know–extensive travel in country paints a picture of two or three classes with huge disparities between them. What you get in terms of quality of life differs greatly, though less so than before. Then there’s foreign travel, unlimited internet, now social scores and carrot-and-stick social management; many inequities we don’t have to deal with.

          1. Josef K

            I see my initial reply was posted after all, it was delayed. Well since I took the time to flesh it out and repost, voilà.

    3. lordkoos

      My first wife was Chinese, she grew up in Beijing (but since her grandmother had been a landlord, after high school she was sent out to the far hinterland to pull weeds during the cultural revolution). She would refer to Chinese peasants as “farmers” in a derogatory way, much as many Americans refer to the rural working class as rednecks, white trash, deplorables, etc. Cities such as Beijing are extremely dependent on rural migrants for construction projects and other manual labor duties.

    4. Josef K

      More directly to your points about the hukou system, the size of the non-hukou population being so large, with separate schools and I guess even school systems, it seems to be not an intractible problem, but a necessary part of the economic system, in place for the long term. The overlap with the lowest economic rungs is large, to what extent would be interesting to know.

      I should moderate my comment about Chinese history; rather, periodically extreme, as elsewhere, but the size and long history of the country seem to account for the pendulum swinging very hard when it does get going.

    5. Kouros

      A 2 years old or so article an American Affairs analyzing some of the first Chinese General Social Surveys, prior to Tienanmen event points exactly to this theory, and posits that the fear arising from the middle class was a trigger for Tienanmen…

  10. griffen

    Are we getting “nature-pranked” today with the bonus antidote? Either way that’s cool; could not pay me enough to wear a wetsuit and full gear. Look too much like a healthy snack, to a predator !!

    Hope I catch the original Jaws on replay this weekend.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I thought sharks perceived us as too bony to warrant trying to eat us, and we move differently than seals and such.

      1. Fritzi

        May be mostly a question of species.

        I’ve heard the too bony thing about Great Whites, who pretty much specialize in seals, many times.

        Great Whites apparently don’t press attack further after a test bite, most of the time.

        Some species, like Whitepointers, are supposedly less choosy and more likely to actually try to eat you.

        Still, I’d say the numbers alone seem to show pretty clearly that there is no shark species that counts us among it’s favorite prey items.

        Crocs on the other hand…..

  11. IM Doc

    About the Ivermectin paper in the above links ——

    I never in a million years imagined myself being a conduit for medical arguments to a wider national audience – but here we are.

    I have done everything I can this past year to bring to the owners and commenters of this blog exactly what is happening on the ground and what is happening in my area of academic medicine. It is “on the ground” observation – sometimes very correct – and sometimes very wrong. I hope everyone understands where I am coming from.

    I attend multiple conferences via Zoom every week tapping into my old colleagues at one of the premier medicine departments in this country. Yesterday was no different – and this Clinical Infectious Disease meta-analysis by Roman et al was the main topic. Last week’s main topic was yet another meta-analysis of the Ivermectin RCT trials out of the UK by an epidemiologist named Tess Laurie. It had been published in the Journal of Applied Therapeutics.

    For those of us in medicine, this is all old hat. For everyone else it is like one blockbuster after the other coming out. I have been doing this for 30 years – I know instantly how to separate the wheat from the chaff – and so do honest brokers in medicine if the take the time to do so.

    You would be totally excused if you as a layman said – Wow – the paper in Clinical Infectious Disease ( a much more prestigious journal) is obviously the better paper – so Ivermectin is obviously not going to work.

    And you would be wrong.

    This episode is an example of a very common tactic that Big Pharma has been employing to bamboozle physicians for a very long time. It often detonates in their face a decade later – but who cares at that point – the money is in the bank. The difference now – is Big Pharma has captured our CDC and FDA – and most importantly in this example our medical organizations – like the Infectious Disease Society of America who publish the landmark journals like Clinical Infectious Disease. They are a fully owned subsidiary of Big Pharma – so Big Pharma is now playing this game for the world to see, not just physicians.

    This paper is a standard issue disinformation tactic employed time and time again by Big Pharma. It is such an incredible example – I will be using it for my students from now on.

    What am I saying ??? – CID almost assuredly had all of these manuscripts for months – and they chose the one (Big Pharma chose the one) that was the most negative about ivermectin. These studies were all meta-analysis of the available data – and the only possible thing that could be different was the methodology of the studies. All the RCT baseline data is exactly the same – but yet the conclusions were radically different.

    So, yesterday, at the presentation, the presenter – and epidemiologist – stood up – and STARTED HIS TALK with this paraphrase – (and this is a very unusual way to start a medical talk) “Interesting study – but there are some caveats – The relative risk confidence in this analysis has been manipulated above 1 – that may negate the whole study, some of the active arms have been converted to placebos – that too may decrease confidence” and on and on and on. Multiple caveats before he even got to the meat – a hallmark of a sloppy study.

    I do not have a chapter in medical statistics to write out what these above things and many others mean. But this is a poorly done study. There is an online journal club where other problems are being identified –

    I have never seen Big Pharma make their selection with such an obviously flawed study – they really are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Dr. Tess Laurie – whose study came out last week – is an acknowledged world wide guru of medical epidemiology – I have followed her team’s work for years – and her results are much more favorable – I am far more willing to follow her lead rather than Dr. Roman – someone I have never heard of before.

    Similar studies were deployed and written by Big Pharma shills for Celebrex/Vioxx, and opioids – and we all know how that ended.

    In medicine, we have bad studies all the time. We all instantly recognized this yesterday – and all realize the truth about this drug yet to be known. If anything, this sloppy effort has revealed an even sloppier effort to discredit Ivermectin. That did not go well yesterday at the conference. There may be enough of us who have been deceived for decades ready to stand up and call bull shit on the whole thing.

    But doctors are no longer the audience. Papers like this are broadcast to the heavens for the public to consume – they are doing everything they can to imprint on the public – IVERMECTIN BAD.

    As I have said so many many times, medicine at this level – should not be litigated in the media – it takes years of study to understand this stuff – and can be invisibly manipulated at the drop of a hat.

    Will be very interested to hear the comments of NC commenters – the most grounded in reality group in the world.

    1. Isotope_C14

      “Will be very interested to hear the comments of NC commenters – the most grounded in reality group in the world.”

      When I refresh the page, I usually do a “find in page” and just type IM Doc – your perspective on this has been really great – and I think we all appreciate it.

      Each day that passes I become more and more convinced we are being led by buffoons to a dystopia world worse than Orwell or Atwood had imagined.

      I mean seriously, a vaccine passport for an EUA mRNA vaccine? It’s now 100% clear that it is non-sterilizing, now it’s just a grift.

      I mean really, the whole point of “herd” immunity is so you don’t pass it around, we are no where near that place.

    2. Brian Beijer

      Thank you so much for this information! I understand that you are doing your best to use the tools you’ve aquired over the years to navigate through unknown territory made even more confusing by bad-faith actors. Mistakes will be made, but I’ve come to trust that you at least give a sh*t and attempt to do the best you can. That is a rare quality to find these days.

    3. Anonymous 2

      Thank you very much IM Doc. That is a very interesting, helpful comment from you.

      I have been following the Ivermectin debate – including Tess Lawrie’s contribution – with interest though I am a complete layman in these matters. And it is 40 years since I did my one term of statistics so I have not been able to drum up the enthusiasm to think that my very rusty skills (which were never that hot anyway) would be worth trying to resuscitate to get into the detail of this paper. So it is very helpful to hear from someone who does have the skill set to analyse and comment.

      I understand that Oxford are seeking to do a trial of Ivermectin as a therapeutic (Principle by name IIRC) which hopefully will shed light. Professor Eli Schwartz has also produced an interesting and encouraging paper – but you are probably already aware of this.

      It is very depressing to think that Big Pharma could stoop so low when people’s lives are at stake. What a world we live in.

      I too would be very interested to hear others’ comments.

      1. flora

        an aside: Oxford receives millions and millions of dollars in medical research grants from the Gates Foundation. One hopes that will not influence in any way the conduct and results of the trials. My 2 cents.

        1. pjay

          The Motherboard hit-piece in today’s Links states that the Oxford study “is expected to shed much more light on ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, when concluded”. That’s what I’m afraid of.

        2. antidlc

          Oxford participated in the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

          Can we count on an unbiased ivermectin study?

          1. Grebo

            My understanding is that the vaccine was developed by Oxford who wanted to give it away free until Gates stuck his oar in. Astra Zeneca’s contribution is merely to manufacture and distribute it.

            I would say Oxford itself is quite trustworthy. (I had my second shot of their vaccine this week; no reaction.) AZ and Gates not so much.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Slim here. And I would like to address this request to Yves, Lambert, and Jeri-Lynn:

      Please hoist IM Doc’s comment and make it into a standalone post. It’s that important.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not a bad thought that. Hopefully one day IM Doc will think about writing his autobiography. He writes well and has a lot of important stuff to write about. I use to think that Big Pharma was pretty bad for being responsible for the deaths of tens of thousand of Americans annually but it seems with these new drugs, that they want to export this model to the whole world.

      2. Pelham

        I’ll second that and thank IM Doc for the input. That said, I don’t know what to believe, though I lean toward anything that casts doubt on existing institutions that have already discredited themselves. At the very least, IM Doc offers a penetrating perspective at a time when ultimate truth appears to be forever inaccessible.

    5. jr

      Thank you and all the COVID brain trust for constantly bringing this back into focus, it’s invaluable.

    6. petal

      IM Doc, thank you. Glad you posted about this, am always grateful for your input here. When I saw the title of the journal this morning, that is what popped into my mind. “Ohhh, top journal-I see what’s going on.” Get the negative study into a higher end journal in order to undercut/discredit Tess Laurie’s study. It’s all been captured-the agencies, the societies, the journals. Mission accomplished. To quote Lily Tomlin, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” Cheers.

    7. IM Doc

      I somehow managed to not put the last paragraph in my comment – here it is –

      Someday in the future – when this is all behind us, and this crisis is over, we are going to hopefully have time to reflect on what has happened to our health care system. That is of course assuming that medicine/public health even survives. These issues of credibility and non-trust have been building for years. Physicians repeatedly and ever more commonly rotating between Big Pharma and our academic institutions. Rotating between corporate boards in Big Pharma and the highest levels of regulatory oversight in the FDA, NIH, and CDC. The entire system is now corrupt to the very core. At a time when we needed our public health systems the most, they have been entirely corrupted and/or defunded. And this is the result we have. What do I and thousands of on the ground physicians want with regard to Ivermectin? – We want honest studies done by honest brokers. That is not much of an ask – but it appears to be entirely impossible in our current situation. Thus, the reliance on foreigners, where this kind of corruption is not so endemic. I hope that it becomes crystal clear as we debrief from this nightmare that our public institutions like the NIH should be playing a vital role in this going forward. As was noted by the medical ethicists when I was a young doc, allowing the NIH and big universities to have patents and make money from drugs would be our undoing. And here we are. For example, under no circumstances is Fauci going to allow the NIH or any other federal agency to study things like Ivermectin. The lucre is rolling in from Moderna to which they own the patents and get royalties. That list of issues vis a vis our public health institutions would fill a phone book.

      This must stop. I just do not know if we have the will or the heart to do so. It seems that my profession is doing everything possible to hit the brick wall, and it is getting closer as every day goes by.

      1. Richard Needleman

        I’ve often thought that instead of lecturing Medical students on the minutia of neural anatomy they should be given a course dissecting the ‘research’ products of Pharma. Reading Goldacre, Ioannidis, and Marcia Angell on Pharma fraud. This would be more of a benefit than learning names of anatomical structures they will never need in routine practice. At the minimum they will learn some of the tricks used, and possibly finally understand the misuse of Fisher p values. Of course I myself would like such a course if taught by an ex-Pharma executive. The ways they commit fraud are so imaginative and subtle that only an insider could revel them. Errors of commission and omission…

      2. Pate

        Might you share your opinion about the Pfizer/Moderna vacs- eg. would you recommend to some patients? (I really want to know if you’ve had the jab?)
        Looking for guidance… thank you!

      3. Cuibono

        did anyone see the data out on the Indian Vaccine: very effective against delta and very safe.
        Too bad FDA said no way on EUA.

    8. Carla

      I rely on IM Doc, and on Dr. John Campbell’s YouTube channel. Many, many thanks to these fine gentlemen.

    9. pjay

      Thank you very much for this information. I was immediately suspicious of this article for a few reasons. I could find little useful information on the lead author, including anything from the HOPES Group webpage at the UConn School of Pharmacy (her listed affiliation). I was also having more difficulty than usual finding funding information about the authors (this particular meta-analysis was listed as “not funded,” I believe. Hmm.). There seems to be a Peruvian connection among several of the authors (one is from Brazil), and they have been actively involved in negative evaluations of hydroxychloroquine as well as ivermectin. None of this in itself means their analysis is invalid, and I’m well aware of my own confirmation biases. But something seemed peculiar about this particular piece.

      Adding to my unease was the Motherboard article, which nicely demonstrates how this study will be used to counter the work of Kory and the FLCCC folks. Step 1: start the article by linking them to a disgruntled Fox reporter “conspiracy theorist” working with James O’Keefe, the “Intellectual Dark Web,” etc., Then imply that this study is the first real *scientific* evaluation of the data (the earlier studies were weak, flawed, inconclusive, etc.). Explain how the conversation is now divided between those engaged in “the routine workings of science” and paranoid conspiracy theorists. Where evidence is presented that these paranoid conspiracy theorists are indeed being censored and deplatformed, turn it around and assert that such claims are actually “making ivermectin’s biggest promoters ever more famous.” And so on.

      Just trust the science folks!

      1. Brunches with Cats

        “There seems to be a Peruvian connection among several of the authors (one is from Brazil) …”

        Funny you should mention that, pjay. I was just doing a PubMed search and came across a paper published online ahead of the print edition in November, titled, “COVID-19 and Ivermectin: Potential threats associated with human use.” Two authors are with an agricultural lab in Pakistan; the other two are in Brazil and Mexico. Given the sloppy writing alone, I immediately wondered how on earth this paper was accepted at all. Alas, the answer is becoming increasingly clear.

        P.S. Adding my gratitude for IM Doc.

    10. TalkingCargo

      Thank you IMDoc. I started to read the article but I don’t have the expertise or time to investigate it further. In this time where the truth has gone missing, your posts are invaluable.

    11. PlutoniumKun

      Just to add one more voice here, thanking you for your posts. They need the widest possible circulation.

    12. flora

      Thanks very much for your comment about the newly published study; it felt “off” to me. Now I know why.

      1. tegnost

        I’m sure the reformulation will be a spectacular success, and require an appropriate cost to reward the risk takers….
        Thanks Doc

        1. Elizabeth

          Thank you IM Doc – your posts are invaluable in trying to navigate the minefield of lies we’re told about Covid treatment. To say that I’m shocked that big PHarma has so much power over the medical complex is a vast understatement. It is profit over people’s lives – and in my dark moments I wonder how is this not evil? I don’t think trust will ever return to public health because once it’s gone that’s it.

          Also, I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for monoclonal antibodies to treat Covid, which I’m sure costs thousands of dollars. These ads are sponsored by Regeneron. All I can say is thank you IM Doc – I’m so glad you’re part of NC. .

          1. newcatty

            IM Doc, you are appreciated for your integrity and good conscience . Thank you for your time spent being a voice of reason and compassion in the vast medical complex.

    13. Ping

      I would like to add my personal experience: I had debilitating neuroinflammation and neuromuscular symptoms for over two months after J&J jab living on liquid Theraflu for sleep and temporary symptom abatement. No answers from brain MRI and ENT (who commented “we’re seeing alot of this”). So I was highly motivated to research and found a prescribing Phoenix doctor phone consultation for Ivermectin (I could not find one in Tucson).

      After 3 weeks, pretty much all the symptoms (arm tremor, weakness in left leg, burning neuropathy, loss of balance, fatigue, vertigo, extreme head pressure with shooting pains) have resolved except for occasional tinnitus relapse (which can be bad) and throbbing ears. I experienced no side effects whatsoever from Ivermectin, not even a hangover like most OTC drugs taken consecutively.

      This is anecdotal, were my symptoms suddenly ready to cycle out on their own or did the anti-inflammatory, antiviral properties of Ivermectin with other supportive actions prompt recovery?

      For many years I investigated proposed private financing of real estate with excellent accuracy. I know how to research, I’m not a conspiracy crackpot. Now researching on behalf of my own life, it is unequivocal that coordinated censorship has been implemented by an industry that aggressively marketed synthetic heroin as non-addictive and other pharmaceutical travesties with very few consequences.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Thanks for sharing what I have been suspecting about Tucson health care folks and that certain drug.

    14. antidlc

      The Disinformation Playbook

      How Business Interests Deceive, Misinform, and Buy Influence at the Expense of Public Health and Safety

      To be clear: most companies don’t engage in disinformation. The deceptive practices that make up the Playbook are used by a small minority of companies—and yet, as we show, they are found across a broad range of industries, from fossil fuels to professional sports.

      Here are five of the most widely used “plays” and some of the many cases where they have been used to block regulations or minimize corporate liability, often with frightening effectiveness—and disastrous repercussions on public health and safety

    15. lanikai

      thank you. I was shocked to see that paper presented on this website without comment on it’s obvious inadequacy and bias. And I don’t recall Tess Lawry’s paper being here…so much for critical analysis!!

        1. flora

          Threading the needle is a delicate task. NC seems to rely on its readers/commenters to help with that task, trusting its readers to see and respond appropriately to the this’es and that’es. / ;)

          1. Judith

            I have assumed that Yves wants us to do some of the work of critical analysis. I like this participatory learning.

    16. Michael McK

      Some time ago I lost blind faith in meta-studies. My understanding is that well funded organizations (such as Monsanto attempting to assuage fears about Roundup) do several unpublished studies of whatever they are pushing and find out what methods make the results non-conclusive. Then do several studies that you are confident will not hurt you which you publish. A later meta-analysis will have just a few legit honest studies and a bunch of inconclusive ones and your cash cow will be protected.
      Just yesterday I learned that someone I knew (seemingly healthy, 54 years old) recently died of a heat attack with bloodclots in her leg. I don’t know if she was vaccinated or she had had mild Covid. Either way I just got several tubes of horse wormer (113mg Ivermectin each, study labels since some are not just iver,).

    17. Katniss Everdeen

      The Bird Group (Tess Lawrie et al.) has written a rebuttal to this “study”:

      Trial Site News discusses the study and rebuttal here:

      What is undeniable is that a “war” is being waged with regard to Ivermectin (Vice link above), but, to my mind, it’s not “Ivermectin advocates” who are waging it, as Matt Taibbi details in his link above.

      In fact, another far more derogatory Vice article by the same writer goes so far as to claim that “Ivermectin advocates” are akin to the fabled laetrile pushers, among other nefarious internet miscreants:

      The IDW has seized on ivermectin as a front in what it claims to be an ongoing war over free speech, with members and fellow travelers enthusiastically promoting poorly-designed studies, bad science, and strange half-truths while questioning why anyone would have anything against their doing so. In many ways, and seemingly without quite knowing what they’re doing or with any sense of the history of these kinds of claims, they’re following, nearly step-by-step, the patterns laid out for them by the laetrile-peddlers of the past.

      I don’t know how, but some are able to set aside a long history of massive big pharma corruption, regulatory capture and blatant lies, and believe that this time these corporations and agencies have only the public’s best interests at heart. I am not one of them. Way too much water under that bridge.

      What it comes down to for me is something that Weinstein et al. continue to stress, and is as concrete a FACT as can be known given all this cacophony–Ivermectin is one of the cheapest, safest, well-established and effective anti-viral drugs on the planet. To the extent this can be said of any drug, it can’t hurt you, and it may very well help. Pretty much the polar opposite of an untested, gene-editing, less-than-a-year-old “vaccine.”

      If this “pandemic” is as serious and globally threatening as is claimed, it makes zero sense not to try anything and everything that could control it. The behavior of the goliaths conducting the scorched earth campaign against Ivermectin makes absolutely no sense under the circumstances. The harder they hit it, the more convinced I am that Ivermectin is what its “advocates” say it is.

      1. Aumua

        Are you implying that the pandemic isn’t real with your quotes there? Because I’m looking at about 4 million dead, and while that is thankfully better than the most dire early predictions it’s nothing to scoff at. I think the conversation about the COVID vaccine safety and efficacy, and the shelving of alternate treatments like Ivermectin for political or profit motivations is important, but at the same I hate to see the anti-vax stuff and even COVID denial ala “plandemic” creeping back in around the edges of the discussion. There seems to be a huge resurgence of that stuff right now, riding on the backs of genuine concern and massive uncertainty.

        Clearly the vaccines are working (and so far for the most part safe). Just look at the numbers. Can we say that is true and that also adjunct treatments like Ivermectin are needed, and good?

    18. Mantid

      IM Doc, We are so grateful for your clarity and sequential thought process when evaluating this horrible situation – from the trenches. At one point you mention (outside the US) “where this kind of corruption is not so endemic.”
      I feel that is real important. So many examples of forcing a big lie in US history such as Gulf of Tonkin, early Watergate, Iraqi WMDs, Manufacturing Consent, et. but since the turn of this century it has become a done deal. Our government (and indirectly the public) is no longer in control, large corporations are.

      I’ll copy and paste a concise comment from a fellow reader that’s a good observation regarding control of the narrative….. “Google owns YouTube. Three of Google’s five significant shareholders are BlackRock, The Vanguard Group and T. Rowe Price. The Vanguard Group is Pfizer’s highest shareholder. BlackRock is a major shareholder as well. T. Rowe Price and BlackRock are top shareholders of BioNTECH. BlackRock and Vanguard are top shareholders of Moderna. The largest shareholders of the MSM are BlackRock and Vanguard. I believe they own four of the six corporations that own the media. Big Pharma is a huge contributor of the CDC and the WHO. And let’s not get into how entwined these banks/corporations are with our “public servants” in DC.”

      Covid, vaccines, full hospital beds, forced use of tech, vaccine passports, “trust the Science” …… lots of money to be made. ‘Nuf said.

    19. grayslady

      Thank you for confirming my suspicions. I’ve been religiously following all Covid-related discussions, whether written or oral, both for information on vaccines as well as repurposed medicines. I’ve also been following the Marik protocol (minus Ivermectin) since the beginning. As someone who has physiological difficulties with many of the more recent medications (augmentin, statins), I have learned how difficult it is to find a physician who supports alternative approaches to relatively common conditions. With that as background, I didn’t even have to read the article: the headline screamed “tobacco industry playbook”, which, as we know, has also been used by Monsanto, and who knows how many others.

      From my perspective, I saw the corporate capture of academic institutions as I was completing my Masters in Plant Pathology at the University of Illinois back in the late 1990s. My excellent professors (most of them, at any rate) were already complaining about the lack of federal or state grants for research. Unless they could find a corporate entity interested in their field of research, there was little to no opportunity to explore new concepts. We’ve also seen a similar scenario in Economics where, unless you are willing to spout outdated, neoliberal concepts, you are unlikely to be published in any journals.

      I think you are going to have to continue to fight the good fight from within. I don’t know if you saw the press conference video of Canadian doctors who were protesting being censured by their country’s main health body for demanding better research on Covid vaccines, but it was frightening to see dedicated physicians being threatened or fired for nothing more than scientific inquiry. Perhaps an international coalition of clinicians that can counter the now politicized/captured world and national health organizations is in order.

      1. Maritimer

        “I don’t know if you saw the press conference video of Canadian doctors who were protesting being censured by their country’s main health body for demanding better research on Covid vaccines, but it was frightening to see dedicated physicians being threatened or fired for nothing more than scientific inquiry.”
        If they threaten and intimidate the Doctors/Nurses what about the patients?
        There is only one Medical Game in Canada: Public Healthcare. So, what patient in their right mind would go to a Canadian Doctor and try to get sound Covid advice that would fit their situation and that of their family and children? You would be nuts to do so. You will be flagged as a problem, a dissident or a refusenik. Your healthcare will suffer accordingly. The already lengthy waiting list will lengthen even more for you, dissident. Just go with the one-size-fits-all Big Pharma/Healthcorp treatments the Doctors are told to administer.

    20. Richard Needleman

      I don’t want to argue from the point of view of authority. Covid is a very complicated disease and ivermectin is but one of a number of important resources. But for those of you who feel you are not competent to read the papers—and I think you would be surprised how accessible these are to a layman—consider these two excerpts from the recent literature and compare them to the attitude displayed by gthe articles referenced in this Links. I just saw a report on the MSM making fun of ivermectin as a horse remedy and laughing at people desperate enough to take it.

      From a recent Journal of Antibiotics article on the mechanisms(yes they are many) of IVM in Cov-2 (

      “Several doctor-initiated clinical trial protocols that aimed to evaluate outcomes, such as reduction in mortality figures, shortened length of intensive care unit stay and/or hospital stay and elimination of the virus with ivermectin use have been registered at the US [7]. Real-time data is also available with a meta-analysis of 55 studies to date. As per data available on 16 May 2021, 100% of 36 early treatment and prophylaxis studies report positive effects (96% of all 55 studies). Of these, 26 studies show statistically significant improvements in isolation. Random effects meta-analysis with pooled effects using the most serious outcome reported 79% and 85% improvement for early treatment and prophylaxis respectively (RR 0.21 [0.11–0.37] and 0.15 [0.09–0.25]). The results were similar after exclusion based sensitivity analysis: 81% and 87% (RR 0.19 [0.14–0.26] and 0.13 [0.07–0.25]), and after restriction to 29 peer-reviewed studies: 82% and 88% (RR 0.18 [0.11–0.31] and 0.12 [0.05–0.30]). Statistically significant improvements were seen for mortality, ventilation, hospitalization, cases, and viral clearance. 100% of the 17 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) for early treatment and prophylaxis report positive effects, with an estimated improvement of 73% and 83% respectively (RR 0.27 [0.18–0.41] and 0.17 [0.05–0.61]), and 93% of all 28 RCTs. These studies are tabulated in Table 1. The probability that an ineffective treatment generated results as positive for the 55 studies to date is estimated to be 1 in 23 trillion (p = 0.000000000000043). The consistency of positive results across a wide variety of cases has been remarkable. It is extremely unlikely that the observed results could have occurred by chance [8].”

      And one from Bryant, et al.
      “Meta-analysis of 15 trials found that ivermectin reduced risk of death compared with no ivermectin (average risk ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.19–0.73; n = 2438; I2 = 49%; moderate-certainty evidence). This result was confirmed in a trial sequential analysis using the same DerSimonian–Laird method that underpinned the unadjusted analysis. This was also robust against a trial sequential analysis using the Biggerstaff–Tweedie method. Low-certainty evidence found that ivermectin prophylaxis reduced COVID-19 infection by an average 86% (95% confidence interval 79%–91%). Secondary outcomes provided less certain evidence. Low-certainty evidence suggested that there may be no benefit with ivermectin for “need for mechanical ventilation,” whereas effect estimates for “improvement” and “deterioration” clearly favored ivermectin use. Severe adverse events were rare among treatment trials and evidence of no difference was assessed as low certainty. Evidence on other secondary outcomes was very low certainty.
      Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”
      Please note that “Moderate-certainty evidence” does not have the commonly used interpretation. In fact the phrase “high-cetainty evidence” is almost never found in the literature. Steroids used for Covid around the world have “moderate-certainty”. The results are not moderately certain, or uncertain if you like, but simply that the precise value the effect is only moderately certain; it may be a bit higher or lower. However, the fact that there is an effect is not in doubt.
      It bears repeating since for some reason it is not clear to people: Doctors are to use their best judgement as to the best way to treat their patients, not wait for the highly conflicted advice from Saint Fauci (who issued his verdict on IVM without the legal requirements of having an independent expert panel examine the evidence and vote on it) the FDA (Alzheimer drug approval?), or the WHO(70% of their funding from Phama and Gates).

      1. Brian Beijer

        I just saw a report on the MSM making fun of ivermectin as a horse remedy and laughing at people desperate enough to take it.

        It’s interesting that you should say this. Only yesterday, I wrote a critical comment to Vetenskapsforum covid-19, the only group in Sweden providing alternative information about Covid-19 to FHM (Swedish CDC) and Anders Tegnell (surely everyone as heard of him by now). Within the first 5 minutes of the video, the guest refers to Ivermectin as an animal medication,stating specifically that it is mainly used on horses. I was incensed to hear this to say the least and wrote a comment under the video correcting this misinformation. Link below:

        What I find curious is why the specific reference to Ivermectin as being used on horses? What an odd reference to a medication with decades of use by doctors in treating African river blindness disease, even awarding the discoverer/ inventor the Nobel Prize for it’s contribution to medicine? And now, it’s suddenly only a “horse medication” ? Why only horses? In an earlier comment, someone remarked that Ivermectin is also in heart medication given to dogs. It seems almost like that “horse medication” has become the “talking point” for a script.. Am I being overly paranoid? This smells like a coordinated effort to me.

        1. rowlf

          Virtuous goodthinkers rely on vaccines to help them get to heaven, as directed by their holy leaders. Heathens look to animal medicine to try to avoid punishment for their sins. /s

          (Like prayer, I can’t see any possible downside to using Ivermectin. We’ve got tape loops of Pali chanting going on 24 hours a day in my house. So far so good, and it keep the tornadoes and hail away.)

        2. Brunches with Cats

          “I just saw a report on the MSM making fun of ivermectin as a horse remedy…”

          I’ve been on the computer all day slogging through scientific studies and then searching the FDA’s drug database. Based on what I found, I’m going to take a stab at the “horse remedy” slur.

          First, I searched the FDA drug database for ivermectin. There are only two manufacturers of oral medication, both of which market 3 mg tablets. One offered 6 mg tabs, but discontinued them. There also are a couple of topical creams. Unless I’m not looking in the right place, the database of veterinary drugs is far less detailed, with no dose-specific info, package inserts, correspondence with manufacturers, etc. I thought it was curious that, of the ten suppliers listed, only two are in the US. The other eight all appear to be Chinese. Whether that has anything to do with anything, I haven’t a clue.

          Anyway, in a letter to “stakeholders” (whoever they are) on April 10, 2020, the FDA said it was concerned, following a published study of ivermectin’s possible use for treating COVID, that people would attempt to treat themselves with veterinary grade ivermectin. They also warned of a possible shortage as a result. From the letter:

          “FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals, thinking they can be a substitute for ivermectin intended for humans. People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular animal species for which they are labeled.”

          FDA corruption is a given, and who knows whether their “concern” was real at that point. However, given the level of stupid in the world, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that some people might take drugs intended for cows and horses. So, along with that letter, the FDA posted a FAQ for consumers, with an image of cute ponytailed veterinarian with … A HORSE.

          All that info, free, with the weight of a federal agency — how could a corporate media hack resist? I’m betting it also found its way into media kits from PR consultants getting paid millions to place stories for their corporate clients.

          So there’s my $.02 — worth every penny, I’m sure.

          1. rowlf

            I always thought it would be brilliant if the manufacturers of veterinarian Ivermectin products were to offer a line of 3 mg tablets alongside their other products for animals. The animal owners would not likely buy it due to being a nuisance to administer but it would be available if consumers wanted to try to administer it that way, well, to animals. Capitalism to the rescue! The manufacturers could claim honestly that they thought it may be a popular product with large animal owners. They could even have large FDA type labels like cigarettes and booze have saying you probably don’t want to use this product.

            I’ve got your bath salts right here…

            1. Brunches with Cats

              Capitalism? Only if they claim “new and improved flavor horses love” and raise the price 800 percent.

              1. rowlf

                That is a very dark view. Here you have a company or companies that probably had a very good year in sales of their products for animals. Why not explore expanding the product line? If I was a manufacturer what would be the downside of offering more animal products?

    21. Oh

      IMDoc, Thank you. I always look forward to reading your comments. I have news for the presenter who said “The relative risk confidence in this analysis has been manipulated above 1 – that may negate the whole study, some of the active arms have been converted to placebos – that too may decrease confidence”. He needs to read the following book:

      Statistics done wrong : the woefully complete guide
      Author: Reinhart, Alex

    22. Jeremy Grimm

      I suppose my biases have become so great, I did not even bother to read the hit piece against Ivermectin. Instead I read the Onion story about the Contractor giving Biden the bad news.

      The other night I got a call from a surveyor collecting opinions for a supposedly political survey. At one point in the survey I was asked to rate “favorability” for a series of statements which I believe were intended as talking points for a political campaign. The statements all revolved around the pandemic and the drug Industry — testing but also planting ideas. One test statement cited the tremendous success of the public-private partnership that resulted in the rapid development of the Corona vaccines, and suggested this great success showed how the drug Industry could respond to a crisis once it was released from regulatory constraints. I wonder whether the great Corona vaccine “success” has been adopted as poster-boy for a push to undo FDA regulations the drug Industry finds onerous. I also wonder to what extent the great Corona vaccine “success” is also intended for use in a much larger campaign pushing public-private partnerships and further efforts to eliminate Government regulations more generally. Ivermectin and toxic spike proteins greatly sour the pitch, and must be quashed. True or not is immaterial.

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom IM Doc. Wisdom is hard to attain and almost as difficult to find. We are fortunate to have you as a wellspring.

    23. skippy

      @IM Doc

      If – only – this was a Big Pharma/Health industry[tm.] concern …

      I have personally seen this in numerous industries over some decades – Education, Construction, Food processing/Mfg, et al and those that supply them with raw or value added products.

      I’m with Philip Mirowski, Lars Syll, and Kenneth Arrow on the fundamentals which have created this currant environment and to what outcomes drive events. Its not unlike all those back in the day that cautioned on the slavish worship of econometrics based on some wobbly axioms only to be extenuated with bad maths and physics that only a religious zealots treatment of astrophysics could achieve.

      My dead relatives Gustavus M. and Joseph Blech weep …

      Then my clients wonder why I engage in such work at their abode, after a few polite chats about things outside the work being done.

      1. Irrational

        Don’t slam astrophysics – at least we know when we are making assumptions and approximations!

        1. skippy

          It was a reference to a known astrophysicist in South Calif which used his degree to burnish his esoteric beliefs [business???] blog and CD/Book sales eg.

          “that only a religious zealots treatment of astrophysics could achieve.”

          Its not a slam on astrophysics per se but highlighting the machinations of some in economics over the neoliberal period, contra the self correcting aspect of royal sciences.

    24. Susan the other

      One thing I would be very interested in reading is how 3 of the 6 cave excavators in Yunnan survived Covid. Natural immunity, good immune systems, some herbal remedies, etc. And since those three survived, it is quite reasonable to think that lots of other people have survived severe cases of Covid naturally. That body of record, if it exists, is a big threat to Pharma. Not just for Covid, but any other profitable disease. So we clearly need yet another new office in the Cabinet: the Office of Profit Oversight. Profit used to be a great incentive to go out and make the world a better place with good ideas. It has now become 90% snake oil leaving way too much destruction in its wake. “Wake” being a very appropriate word these days.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Soldiers watch the US withdrawal from Bagram Airfield through the lens of Pokemon Go”

    The Taliban play Pokemon Go as well. But they look at US/Nato bases like Bagram instead and say ‘Gotta catch ’em all!’

  13. Brian Beijer

    I read the Vice article on FLCCC, and it was difficult to ignore the numerous adjectives and other descriptors helpfully provided by the author. Words such as “fringe” and “holy war” are peppered throughout the article. Thankfully, she refrained from giving her opinion when citing Youtube’s response to Weinstein’s claims of being demonetized. This way readers are able to form a completely balanced and objective perspective of the situation. /s
    The systematic review of Ivermectin in RCT manuscript is another matter entirely. This seems to be a decent study. The conclusion “IVM is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients” is very unequivical. If memory serves me correct, this is highly unusual in scientific articles. Can anyone with more knowledge in this area provide some feedback? Is the study so broad reaching and and well done that this is an appropriate conclusion? Is it time to call it quits on Ivermectin and get in line for the jab? Because TINA.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Hmmm, that reminds me of something. I think it’s about time for Yours Truly to make another donation to the FLCCC.

      So, Vice, thank you for the motivation.

      1. BlueMoose

        Thanks for mentioning this. I was wondering if there was a way to make a contribution.

      1. pjay

        Yes. And then re-read the Vice hit piece as part of a tag-team effort; the academic article provides the “scientific” cover needed to debunk the FLCCC “conspiracy theorists,” who then can be disparaged freely with all the techniques Brian B. mentions.

    2. Carolinian

      Does Vice ever have any good articles? It’s like their entire role is to patrol the Overton.

      1. pjay

        Anna Merlan, the author of this article, sees her role as precisely that. She is a professional “debunker;” meaning she attacks claims that fall outside the liberal establishment narrative on any subject, lumping them all together as “conspiracy theory” (she wrote a book on it). In this she is similar to Dr. David Gorsky, operator of the ‘Science-Based Medicine’ website that has been cited by NC commenters a few times. Gorsky seems to be a hero of hers and a key source on ivermectin. Both see themselves as protecting the simple-minded public from snake-oil salesmen, and some of their targets are indeed deserving. But they refuse to acknowledge any distinction between the type of questions raised here and the rantings of Alex Jones, QAnon, or “Dark Web” conspiracies. And they seem to be completely oblivious (at best) to the type of corporate influence on medicine and medical research that has been described so well by IM Doc and others here. Patrolling the Overton is a very apt description.

      1. marku52

        I particularly liked “Fringe doctors”. Kory invented a sepsis treatment that is in use world wide, and Marik literally “wrote the book” on critical care.

        Yeah, in med school, if you study critical care, you study his book.

        “Fringe” indeed. What a biased hit piece.

        1. Fern

          Re: “Kory invented a sepsis treatment that is in use world wide”.

          According to the FLCCC website, this sepsis protocol is attributed to FLCCC founding member Paul E. Marik, not Kory. Below is the conclusion to the article in which the HAT sepsis treatment is presented. This paragraph set off my quack radar warning system bigtime — YMMV.

          “6. Conclusions
          Glucocorticoids, vitamin C and thiamine have important biological effects in patients with sepsis and septic shock. Due to the overlapping and synergistic effects of these remarkably safe and inexpensive drugs, the combination of these agents (HAT therapy) likely restores the dysregulated immune system and bioenergetic failure that characterizes sepsis. We, therefore, propose that HAT therapy will improve both the short-term (mortality) and long-term (post-sepsis syndrome) outcome of patients with sepsis and septic shock. Multiple randomized controlled trials are currently underway to test this hypothesis.”

          Here is what Wikipedia says about this journal: “Until September 2018, the editor-in-chief was Jonathan Buckley of the University of South Australia. In 2018, Buckley and the other nine senior members of the editorial board resigned, claiming that MDPI “pressured them to accept manuscripts of mediocre quality and importance”.[1]”

          The 9 senior editorial board members resigned the same month that this paper was submitted.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have seen Sahra Wagenknecht before and she seems to be the real deal. She supports leftist governments buy will also criticize Merkel for swamping Germany with refugees. But that Irish Times article is something when it says

      ‘The Holier-Than-Thous argues that German left-wing politics has been co-opted by a middle-class academic elite which has little interest in the concerns of today’s working class, from precarious labour contracts to a growing housing crisis.’

      You know, this somehow sounds very familiar somehow as if I have seen it before. Don’t know where.

      1. michael hudson

        I like Sahra (we did a joint interview for FAZ a few years ago) and also many of the Linke members. I have NOT found them to be mainly academic, certainly not at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (funded by the government as the party’s think tank, as it also funds Boeckler Stiftung for the Social Democrats, and Frederick Ebert for the CU). I’ve spoken across the spectrum at all three institutions, and the Linke are the LEAST academic by far.
        There’s an obvious reason for this: German academia is quite right-wing. Even my friends at Boeckler say that they have great difficulty getting an academic job, because they’re viewed as too Keynesian (not to mention MMT, where there’s always a good showing at their end-of-October conferences). So the presence of Linke academics is relatively minuscule.
        Another problem is that there’s still a loathing in the East for everything from the Stalinist pre-1991 era. Also, West Germany threw what East to the wolves, putting the least capable Germans in charge (even at the Semper Opera in Dresden), so the young people moved west. The East German population is elderly — it’s mainly a retirement community now.
        The ruling CU party is neoliberal, but also is NOT anti-Russian, because German business looks east (as did Adenauer, by the way). But the Green party is. So the situation is quite complex.

        1. Susan the other

          Makes me wonder if the Green Party isn’t an implant. And the accuracy these days of the term “neoliberal”. There’s a glitch a minute going on. Today Daimler announced it will have 1 million EVs on the road this year; yesterday the Germans, worried about their steady supply of wind electricity, gladly accepted Nordstream; and we pretended like “nothing to see here.” Interesting to learn that Adenauer looked east. (He was revered by John Foster Dulles.) Willy Brandt was vilified for his Ostpolitik and Schroeder wasn’t very successful. Now times are changing so fast… so back to “neoliberal” – I’ve even heard that there are lotsa neoliberals in Russia now. And some very prominent neoliberals in this country, like the Koch Bros, have started the anti-war think tank, the Quincy Institute. Which is also very environmentally oriented. I think the Neoliberals need to write a manifesto. They might well be financially liberated. Since they’ve got more money than god. No?

      2. ilpalazzo

        Oh yes Sahra is great. I dream about alternate reality where there are actual public elections for EU parliament and I can vote her in there. I’m Polish from western part of the country that used to be Prussian partition and she is from former East Germany and it all fits together nicely. Then I woke up.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its happening to Green parties as well as the left, a complete split between the woke (mostly younger) generation and those more concerned with economic justice.

      I think there may come a time in some countries where there is a need for an explicit split, with economic progressives making it clear that you can and must prioritise economic and climate justice over and above the claims of minority X (however justified). This doesn’t mean you reject feminism/anti racism/LGBT rights, it means that you cannot have minority rights unless you first create an economically equal society and address the climate emergency.

      In Ireland, the left has already been split for many years between the internationalist/nationalist wings, the former embracing various forms of wokeness. Its noticeable that Sinn Fein, the most openly populist and national/economics focused of the main parties has been far more successful electorally, much to the despair of faux middle class lefties.

      1. Sawdust

        The generational divide might be the most important factor. The members of Generation Z have lived basically their whole lives through their phones; they’re conditioned to a social norm where everyone watches everyone all the time, where everyone is constantly at the mercy of an impersonal mob. It’s rational for them to adopt an ethos of ruthless but ever-shifting fanaticism on relatively superficial issues.

        If this is true, the prospects for any kind of economic solidarity are pretty dim.

        1. Isotope_C14

          I don’t see the same obsession with phones in Germany. The Gen Z here, and I see them a lot – are not like US folks that stare at the phone constantly.

          Perhaps it has to do with TV “On time”?

          Germans don’t keep the TV on all day – and the bars only have TV’s up when the football is on (soccer) – other times there are none.

          Most Germans desperately want to speak German, as it’s a failed language globally, they lost Science and Entertainment to English, and have no other cultural touchstone. Most of the time, instead of saying “hi, how are you doing?” they say “have you learned German yet?”.

          It’s pretty annoying.

      2. Temporarily Sane

        The German Green Party enthusiastically supported the NATO war against Serbia in 1999 and since then it has become fully neoliberalized. Today it’s pro-NATO, pro-EU, pro-war, pro-austerity and fully on board with demonizing Russia and China. It’s basically the “Deutsche Version” of the Democratic Party and appeals to PMC wokester types.

      3. ex-PFC Chuck

        ” . . it means that you cannot have minority rights unless you first create an economically equal society and address the climate emergency.”

        Yup. It all comes back to Maslow’s pyramid of needs.

      4. Aumua

        It seems so obvious to me that racial (and other social) justice is intimately tied to economic justice that I wonder how people can dismiss that so easily and compartmentalize them as if they were two unconnected things. I am of the opinion that none of can be truly free until the most oppressed among is is free, so there is behooves us all to get behind the movement(s) for liberation of historically oppressed peoples. Far from being superficial, racial and other kinds of oppression go to the very core of class warfare, as in the deep connection between slavery and Capitalism for instance. And I believe it’s time for people (mainly white men) who have historically benefited the most from systemic injustice against the “others” to step aside and relinquish ideological control and/or leadership of leftist movements to those others. Our time has passed, now it is their time to be elevated and given the platform, the voice and the torch. It’s up to us as allies to deal with it, and to help that happen, and that’s the real woke shit.

        If any of this makes you feel uncomfortable or angry then I implore you to consider for a minute why that is.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I’m not sure if you’re arguing with PK directly, but look carefully at what he said:

          I think there may come a time in some countries where there is a need for an explicit split, with economic progressives making it clear that you can and must prioritise economic and climate justice over and above the claims of minority X (however justified). This doesn’t mean you reject feminism/anti racism/LGBT rights, it means that you cannot have minority rights unless you first create an economically equal society and address the climate emergency.

          This is clearly not an argument that social justice and economic justice are two unconnected things. Rather, the point of disagreement between the two of you seems to be the question of which type of justice theoretically and necessarily precedes the other.

          For what it’s worth, I follow your posts with a measure of sympathy, and as a fellow Young occasionally exposed to other Youngs, I feel that the idea, propagated here in comments, that a strict dichotomy exists between those that support economic justice and those that support social/‘identitarian’ justice and never the twain shall meet is a big oversimplification; I just don’t see it on the ground (put another way, I have very little doubt that the dudes putting up ‘eat the rich’ posters in my bobo neighbourhood go along with the fashionable idpol precepts of the day as well).

          But it’s not that wing of pro-economic and pro-social politics that’s in the ascendancy; it’s the neoliberal strain that, as Adolph Reed Jr puts it, is happy with the current inequities so long as they are in demographic ratio (50:50 men:women, ~10% black etc.) That’s why I’m inclined to go along with PK’s perspective: take care of the economic inequities fairly and broadmindedly, and the social inequities will (to a large but not complete extent) take care of themselves. Such an outcome, to my mind, is far less likely by putting ethnic or social grievances (inter alia) at the fore. This is well understood by those with power, hence for example the vapid and diluted #pride celebrations undertaken by some of the most powerful entities on earth this month.

          1. Aumua

            I was responding to PK, but also I veered off into a somewhat generalized rant, which I know is not the best way to communicate on this blog. I’m working on it ^_^

            But it’s not that wing of pro-economic and pro-social politics that’s in the ascendancy; it’s the neoliberal strain that, as Adolph Reed Jr puts it, is happy with the current inequities so long as they are in demographic ratio (50:50 men:women, ~10% black etc.)

            I agree 100% and believe me when I say that I’m not about equal representation among the ruling class, but instead abolishing the ruling class. I do not support the neoliberal co-opted version of the woke movement at all. Just saying there’s also a real, and positive side to it.

            That’s why I’m inclined to go along with PK’s perspective: take care of the economic inequities fairly and broadmindedly

            Yes ok, but how are we gonna do that? Are we any closer to that goal than we were when Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto? Seems like we’re about as far away as we’ve ever been. It seems like we need a united working class, and not not just in the U.S., but globally. And also that we might be able to have a united working class but before these rifts can be sealed, first we need to get a few things straight. And that’s kinda what I’m talking about here.

            So yes I am saying the opposite of what PK said: that in order to create an economically equal society, we need to first address the realities of colonization and slavery in our nation’s history and their echos into the present, so that the working class can finally be at least somewhat united. Because I don’t think it’s going to happen otherwise.

          2. Aumua

            I did spend some time on a response. I don’t know what happened to it, but I’m a little disappointed.

          3. Pat

            You are kinder than I am. I believe that economic equality or justice is so counter to the goals of our political leadership class, both parties, that social and identity issues are actively used in order to distract from anything that might advance that.
            Just as ads that either implicitly or directly support “causes” such as black lives matter or gay rights are usually pandering bull, so are politicians marching in parades and taking a knee or …

            See it is a lot easier to pick some divisive social issue to “fight” for than to actually level the rocky and hilly terrain of economic justice. Distraction allows for a lot of nothing getting done on all fronts.

  14. GramSci

    Re: A New Kind of Ransomware

    After blaming Russia and China, in the lead we get this in the tail: «A nation-state group, for instance, would find that kind of foothold invaluable for spying. It’s a beautiful tunnel to dig just to immediately blow it up.»

    And then this:
    «Regardless of how that initial compromise happened, the attackers have been able to distribute their malware bundle to MSPs, which includes the ransomware itself as well as a copy of Windows Defender and an expired but legitimately signed certificate that has not yet been revoked. The package is designed to circumvent Windows’ malware checks with a technique called side-loading that enables the ransomware to run.»

    Isn’t an expired but unrevoked certificate exactly what Windows Defender is supposed to defend against??

    Not surprising I guess. One expects MSM spin from Condé Nast.

    1. Oh

      Most certificates expire and generally are not revoked. If you have noticed, an attempt to reach a Fed Govt URL with an expired certificate will result in a warning from Firefox but you can still get to the web site.

    2. chuck roast

      Lately I have been getting a lot of SPAM action in my e-mail which I rarely get. The obvious SPAM is accompanied by regular notices (sent to SPAM) from Norton Anti-virus that my anti-virus license has expired. I never even knew that I had Norton Anti-virus installed. I’m guessing that, 1.) this is a SPAM attack to get me to click on an infected link, or 2.) Norton is goofing on me and trying to get me to buy their BS anti-virus which I really don’t need. Now, why would I think that?

  15. bob

    Rail trails are always controversial. They are not ‘easy’ as so many people try to say they are. There are lots of lawsuits. The railroads, the original and current owners of lots of the USA are behind the Rails to Trails Conservancy. It’s a way for the railroads to maintain an option for a railroad that costs them nothing.

    It’s another land grab by the railroads.

    1. Another Scott

      This is a complex issue, with not all of the opponents being easily classified. I’ll use a local example. There are a number of streams and rivers that are now underground. A neighboring city wanted to build a bike trail above the right-of-way. Sound great, right? The only problem is that in one neighborhood, the trail would cut right between multi-family homes. I have a lot of sympathy for the residents who are opposing it because they don’t want wealthier people going between their homes when the street is a block away. By contrast, I’m highly critical of the industrial/commercial opponents who have been using state land without compensation.

      One of the first such bikeways is the Minuteman Bikeway in Arlington and Lexington, Massachusetts, which was constructed in part to prevent the former railroad to be used to extend the Red Line to 128. I don’t think anyone would classify residents of those communities as right-wingers.

      Rail trails also retain the utility corridors rights, so many transmission lines and interstate pipelines are built above/under them, at least in my suburban areas.

      1. bob

        “Rail trails also retain the utility corridors rights”

        Railroads use The Rails to Trails Conservancy to prolong their right of way indefinitely and without cost. A ROW is not property ownership. If the railroads don’t use the ROW’s, the ROW is supposed to revert to the original owners. The Rails to Trails Conservancy allows the ROW’s to be extended indefinitely.

        The intent of a railroad ROW from the 1800’s was not to allow transmission lines and pipelines, but that is exactly what the Rails to Trails Conservancy is advocating for and succeeding.

        The The Rails to Trails Conservancy is a lobby group for the railroads that is very good at greenwashing their ongoing land grabs.

        1. freebird

          This is good to know about, and nobody likes underhanded land grabs. But, what’s the alternative; cutting these strips of land into a million privately owned slices? I’ll take the linear parks if given a choice. If you ‘revert to original landowners’ what’s really going to happen? Blackrock makes a deal to handle it?

          1. Michael Mck

            I know someone in San Jose whose home was backed by abandoned tracks. Their (and the rest of the block’s) lot was expanded to include the space. The drawback is pollution potential because there are often many ancient or unreported spills along railroads and always in old rail yards.

    2. Wukchumni

      Interesting story in that the proposed trail would link a prosperous burb with one kind of down at the heels, and that usually isn’t the case with trails in the wilderness, which skew heavily egalitarian.

      1. bob

        “isn’t the case with trails in the wilderness, which skew heavily egalitarian.”

        That’s just patently false. In theory, maybe, but try to get a diverse group of unhoused people on a bus and let them hike and camp in the wilderness. ¡Qué horror!

        The wilderness is very non-egalitarian. Go look at some of the demographic studies for hiking. High net worth white people.

        1. Wukchumni

          There are no trails for billionaires, everybody walks the same trails no matter their wealth, which by the way will buy the Brahmins precisely nothing in socialistic haunts such as our National Parks.

            1. Wukchumni

              As laudible as the parks may be, they are hardly socialistic.

              Nobody individually owns anything in our National Parks-we all claim mutual ownership by virtue of being citizens, nor is capitalistic gouging allowed to occur in such cloistered places, such as you’d see at a sporting event or concert where a woeful Miller Lite beer suddenly becomes valued @ $11, because markets.

        2. Wukchumni


          Things are changing as far as demographics go, for instance over half of the people we encountered on our Big Pine Lakes-Palisade Glacier backpack last week were Asian-American.

        3. griffen

          Egads that’s a horrible take. I see all kinds of cars, vans and trucks driving into & through the Pisgah national forest not far from my home.

          Parking on weekends is typically at a premium, given traffic levels. Plus some very cool waterfalls.

      2. tegnost

        Investors love “down at the heels” areas for the potential gentrification windfall, especially if they can get things like rail trails at public expense.
        Affordable housing!

    3. Phillip Allen

      I’m involved in a local trails group founded in part to encourage the completion of a planned Rail-to-Trail project. These are very expensive to build out because Federal regs require that R2T trails be engineered to have 10′ easements on both sides of a minimum 10′ trail and all be completed at a standard that, should the PTB decide to put rail service back on the line in question, the will only have to remove paving to begin laying track. Right-of-ways and easements on these projects are a nightmare.

      “Rail-to-Trail”, by the way, is a specific type of trail project with Federal funds disbursed by the States, thus the engineering requirements.

    4. Carolinian

      The story is about farmers not wanting a public trail through their property although “about” may be too strong a word as it meanders considerably. I don’t think railroads enter into it although it will be (or now apparently won’t be) a “rail trail.”

      In my town they are building a trail system but very slowly due to easement problems. I’m not sure how much these disputes need to be shoved into a national politics box.

    5. lordkoos

      We have the 110 mile Palouse To Cascades trail which goes through part of our town. It is on the old Milwaukee right-of-way. I’m not sure what the current ownership issues are as the Milwaukee railroad has been defunct for many decades.

      I’m so old that I can remember in the 1950s as a young child riding the Milwaukee Hiawatha train from here to Chicago, which was a fine way to travel. I’ve always thought it was a mistake to tear up those tracks, which took so much time, money and labor to build in the first place. There may well come a time when rail travel is needed again — it’s energy efficient and relaxing to travel by train, and the days of the personal automobile may eventually go the way of the dodo. There are plenty of other trails in our area for hikers and mountain bikers, they just aren’t as easy to access.

  16. Wukchumni

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that a few men are created more equal than the average consumer, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Loot and the pursuit of Happiness in a bunker in En Zed if the shit hits the fan–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their unjust powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it isn’t as if there is a Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should be changed when their tired act becomes old and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Joe Sixpack & Jane Chardonnay are more disposed to suffer, while elite evils are unalienable, as if they’ll right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    1. griffen

      The movie series for The Purge was running yesterday afternoon and again earlier today. It isn’t what one would characterize as a quality entertainment franchise. Pretty low bar and low brow, zero character development.

      But fast forward another 100 years and who can say? I’ll be gone.

  17. jr

    Re: cults

    This author nails it, I think:

    “Hubbard also wanted to establish, through language, a clear way of demarcating believers from nonbelievers (or, sorry—“suppressive persons”).”

    It’s obvious but it’s worth typing it aloud: this describes IDpol word games in a nutshell. Pure ingroup/outgroup primate hijinks.

    “It is almost impossible to avoid one, Montell seems to say, in a market economy where corporations have started calling themselves “families” and professional identity is increasingly being offered as a substitute for a living wage.”

    Bam. Identity as a deflection of legitimate material concerns and a mask for the corruption of the corporate world. Easy work for a population saturated with the logic of advertising and marketing, not to mention McSpirituality. This reminds me of a personal tale. Years ago in the Lower East Side I met two philosophers at a bar. They were celebrating the fact one had landed a job and invited me to drink with them. I asked what the job was and the lucky hire answered “An advertising firm is looking for philosophers to write about their clients products.” I was a bit shocked and asked how a student of truth could do such work. I got a flurry of objections and statements like “At least he has a job!” I returned to my seat. The point is that the corporate world is constantly looking to legitimize it’s predation in people’s minds and now it wants their minds as well.

    “Cults and cultish organizations rely on precarity and social insecurity. They fill in the gaps, offering a sense of community and shared investment in the future. So when they use the language of “follow me,” you follow, because where else are you going to go?”

    This precisely describes the momentum the professional identitarian rides to power, wealth, and fame. While street activists languish in prison or face personal ruination, BLM leaders put down payments on mansions and Duh-Angelo (sorry) and her ilk work the “middle minded” market of the self-convinced literati. Legitimate grievances are transmuted into career springboards; real political action becomes a stage for performative publicity stunts. It’s the tactical version of “validate and distract” (or whatever that phrase is exactly) as opposed to the Democratic establishment’s strategic vision.

    1. Carolinian

      As she traces just how reliant cults like Synanon and Heaven’s Gate were on jargon and invented language (the latter referred to people as “containers” and parking lots as “docking stations”), Montell concludes that language is the primary means by which any group, and not just a cult, establishes a sense of shared purpose and identity. Specialized terminology allows adherents to feel they have unique access to something. “Whether wicked or well-intentioned,” she explains, “language is a way to get members of a community on the same ideological page.

      One could observe that this description applies to academic writing in general. Cult? Or is that too facile a way of dismissing it?

      Regardless it’s not exactly news that those in charge have always used special language to signify their status. It’s one reason that Latin also prevailed for so long but not the only reason of course. Intellectuals felt they needed a lingua franca that transcended national boundaries.

      1. jr

        Agreed that language has always been weaponized, it’s just that Idpol is the currently surging variant in the halls of power. And I definitely agree about cult-like tendencies in academics. I think it’s a fairly common human trait to form special in-group languages and sometimes, oftentimes, it gets out of hand.

        1. wilroncanada

          idpol has nothing on the religious right, in terms of both language, and intent.

      2. enoughisenough

        When discussing specialized topics to a specialized audience, often a certain amount of jargon is required, in order to express complex thoughts. This would be in-depth papers which presuppose an academic audience.

        However, when specialized vocabulary escapes the contexts in which it’s necessary, and is used in lieu of more appropriate language for communication to a generalized audience, and used when the thoughts expressed are not specialized or complex, then we have status-seeking dreck. And in-group signalling.

        I have had so many problems with most of my colleagues in my field writing terribly misleading and jargon-filled articles as “public scholarship” in online venues the past 5 years. It is not written for the public most of the time (they’re bad at teaching if they think this is how to communicate to non-specialists) it’s more to pad their resumes. And it certainly isn’t scholarship.

        But all that is to say that in actual academic writing, there is a purpose to much of the jargon. The bigger problem is that academics are often bad writers.

        I think what’s worse is the corporate-speak that is actual nonsense, but has infiltrated not only academia but general understanding of basic stuff. It perverts our understanding, and forces us to see things in a zero-sum business school limited understand of the world. We’re all suffering the consequences.

        ZB. at my college in meetings the wider community is referred to as “stakeholders”, rather than…….oh you know, THE COMMUNITY.

        1. enoughisenough

          “limited understanding” in the 3rd to last sentence. Sorry, I didn’t get an editing opportunity this time, for some reason. :)

          1. enoughisenough

            And I’d also like to add, that in all reality, it’s not Phds who are coming for people.

            It’s the MBAs. They are destroying our commons, at every single level, universities, hospitals, you name it.

            And MBAs are NOT academics. Business schools are basically trade schools for grifters.
            They should not exist.

            1. GramSci

              I remember the time (and it wasn’t, from my POV, so very long ago, 1969, to be precise) when the Harvard BS was where the losers went.

              1. enoughisenough


                Sounds right!

                It produced GWB, right so there you are: losers spread their failure around, drag the rest of the world down with them. :/

                1. Srikant Datar NOT


                  > Harvard BS was where the losers went.


                  > Sounds right!

                  Gulp. Y’all do know that’s where Yves went, right? :-)

        2. Aumua

          Scientific writing is meant to be concise, accurate and often dry. To those ends it may need to use language that might be difficult to parse for those not familiar with the subject. Of course as enoughisenough said it can easily veer into cliquish or even cultish in-group signalling, especially in subjects that are not hard, cut and dry science such as economics for instance. It’s important to make a distinction between calling out those cases and simple anti-intellectual or anti-science sentiments that have become quite in vogue in some circles.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Q Anon is a cult? Fine, but what about Blue Anon (as Aaron Mate dubbed it), the equally irrational belief among the #McResistance that Trump was a Russian asset? A belief, by the way, that most Democrats seem to still maintain.

      Trump Derangement Syndrome and magical thinking were so prevalent among liberals, that they convinced themselves of all kinds of nonsense: Putin hacking the 2016 vote, hacking Pokemon Go, hacking the Vermont electrical grid, Russian bounties in Afghanistan, ad infinitum, all of it bs. In December, 2017, all the late-night comics and SNL did bits featuring Robert Mueller as Santa Claus (!) An April, 2020 Harris-Harvard poll showed that over half the country (disproportionately Democrats, presumably) still believed the Steele Dossier was factual, pee tapes and Trump-as-Russian-asset-since-1987 included.

      Recall the language used by the #McResistance during those years, and still: total, complete buy-in to a belief system that had them convinced that “Democracy” would be saved from the grip of Hitler/Orange Man by selfless spooks and Rachel Maddow.

      For these people, it wasn’t just about maintaining group identity and authority, but polishing their moral vanity. They Believed and, given the credentials that comprise their identity and authority, we were supposed to Believe, as well.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          It all somehow reminds me of The Emperor’s New Clothes, as in you must be stupid & ignorant if you don’t go along with it. There also appears to be as yet mild similarities to the behaviour of Mao’s Red Guards.

        2. Aumua

          It is true but let’s be real for minute. Q-anon is kind of on another level of cuckoo.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            I don’t really know that much about Q-anon which I suppose is in these dark times is an expression of the US Right. The thing about Idpol is that it is basically everywhere in the West, whereas the Right like the true Left here in the UK & also in most of Europe have at least for the time being become largely ineffective.

            It is also culturally shoved down everybody’s throats, of which I am picking up a growing resentment, but whether that will result in an eventual full blown backlash I don’t know, which sadly will likely be visited on those minorities that Idpol is supposedly supporting., which is evident in the UK which is seeing a gradual but steady rise in homophobic & transgender attacks.

            Personally I agree with the woman who lost her job for stating that all lives matter & worry about the fact that much of what is happening on the Web appears to be the work of keyboard warriors who can destroy peoples lives & careers from a safe distance & also while not actually physically burning books effectively have the power do the same by cancelling them.

            As a youngster I believed that it was possible to create an ideal World, but unfortunately that mindset eventually appeared to me at least, to generally just make things worse & sometimes lead to all kinds of evil crawling up from under stones.

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            Yes, and no…

            I see QAnon as a fever dream projection and elaboration upon actual Overclass perversion (i.e. Jeffrey Epstein and those connected to him) combined with magical thinking about who should address it. Cuckoo, yes, but is it really more insane, or dangerous, than commiting to a preposterous conspiracy theory (Russiagate) forged by a convergence of interest among factions in the national security state, corporate media, and the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party?

            The NSA vacuums up all our electronic communication and activities, and can watch us pick our noses from outer space, yet a large majority of Democrats still believe that Donald Trump has secretly been a Soviet/Russian asset since the 1980’s: how is that not cuckoo, and how is demonizing a nuclear power less dangerous?

            Q-Anon is semi-organized insanity among the deluded powerless; Russiagate was a soft coup attempt – that it strengthened Trump among his hard-core followers and some independents is another story – against a duly elected, if personally grotesque, President?

            Both phenomena are based on hysterical delusion, but which has more institutional backing, and which is more dangerous to democracy, and to peace?

  18. eg

    The Greeley FT article is simply egregious. Were I as clueless as he is about fiat monetary operations, I would be loathe to publicly display my ignorance so flagrantly for all to see.


      1. R

        No paywall, you just have to register for the free ftalphaville section, which is the best bit of the FT (I don’t miss the rest of the paper much although in moments of weakness I think about subscribing to the paper copy, just because).

      2. lordkoos

        I recommend extensions for your browser which allows you to get around most paywalls, the most well-known is called Bypass Paywalls Clean.

      3. Susan the other

        Yes, me too. I recently heard that Japan bought the FT. Japan, the very soul of sovereign fiat. I was just guessing the article make a point that the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world and must maintain a level of confidence…. blablablah. So with that criterion now we have proof that our sovereign fiat is a very, very trustworthy currency. The US dollar, by virtue of its global generosity, spending into sovereign deficit, has proven its good will. And “good will” by definition (or lack of another one) IS fiat. Ha. The US dollar has been fiat, tried and true, for almost a century. And besides which, it’s time for the Financial Times to understand that all sovereign money is fiat. It’s cooperation.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i know. i want to see what Kelton, Wray and Hudson have to say.

      all money is “fiat”, is it not?

      1. Duck1

        So, poorly made, unreliable, will leave you on the side of the highway watching the sunset?

    2. jsn

      It was a bizarre read, but the point he is getting to, that it would be more useful to think of it as “credit money” than “fiat money” is a good one for reasons other than the ones he gives.

      Money is an important social relationship and the credit framing supports thinking of it that way rather than the blunter power relationship implied by “fiat”, with the overtones of capriciousness attendant. Our system is capricious but if governed democratically could be pro social.

      Beyond that, all his rationalizations left me wanting to ask him, “where do Treasury Bills come from?” He appears to think private banks make them or that they grow in trees.

  19. a fax machine

    re: UFOs

    Actually not really about UFOs, but why we’ve been seeing so many UFO stories recently. This article is particularly revealing, quote “How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation”. There’s probably some sort of backroom metric or deal going on to promote these stories in place of “divisive” politics…. which has now consumed everything except make beilive fantasies such as UFOs.

    Further quotes: “America, after all, is at its best when it is united by curiosity about the unknown. […] As large swathes of the country face a drought of “biblical proportions” and all-time temperature records are demolished, an unlikely shot at uncovering “breakthrough technology” is worth eroding the deep fault lines dividing America. To that end, the Biden administration must live up to its twin commitments to transparency and unity. ”

    I’d normally not post this since it’s such a stupid and not political topic, but again my point here is not UFOs but why instead we are seeing so many UFO stories in the media.

    1. anon y'mouse

      this is why they forced through the moon landings in the 60s.

      they had to fulfill JFK’s promise, after they murdered him.

      it seems to have worked. at least a bit. for awhile.

      1. Late Introvert

        That’s the first I have heard that suggestion, and it immediately rings true. But then Kubrick faked it all /s.

    2. Acacia

      my point here is not UFOs but why instead we are seeing so many UFO stories in the media

      I just recalled that Adam Curtis devotes a chapter of HyperNormalisation (2016) to analyzing the uptick of UFO sightings in 1990s. Curtis argues that these were in effect a campaign of perception management, organized by the US military in order to divert attention from experimental aircraft and weapons tests. Memos, attributed to the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations were leaked to UFO investigators, to manufacture a narrative that the US govt was covering up evidence of “real” UFOs.

      I wonder if this latest flood of stories about UFOs is a page from the same playbook.

      1. Late Introvert

        Why oh why does anyone believe anything the Pentagon says in 2021? Losing Liars.

  20. Pelham

    Re the study saying smart devices aren’t making us dumber, and this: “For example, he says, your smart phone knows the way to the baseball stadium so that you don’t have to dig out a map or ask for directions, which frees up brain energy to think about something else.”

    That doesn’t sound right. Granted, if you’re trying to get to the baseball stadium and simultaneously would like to do long division in your head, I suppose this might be true. But how often is this or anything similar the case? Besides which, another study has found that use of GPS on smart devices actually degrades our ability to orient ourselves in any environment, an essential mental function.

    1. tegnost

      “…frees up brain energy to think about something else.”
      because walking and chewing gum is really hard..the “smart” device takes care of the complicated thinking and memory storage/access leaving you with time to wonder what poutine is and this does not make you dumber?

      1. Susan the other

        That test with remembering 3 words interrupted by drawing the face of a clock telling time… they give it to seniors to assess how easily confused they are, etc. Well, it confuses us because the word memory part accesses the left side of your brain and the clock accesses the right side (spatial). So most people actually forget the 3 words. But, I’ll just offer this: we are already such big dummies that using smart devices will not be able to make us much dumber. Speaking for myself, of course.

    2. rowlf

      Was the conclusion of the study written first? /s

      I miss the older generation of airline pilots who flew in the 1980s and 1990s when flight management computers were becoming common. Almost all were former military and often veterans, and had long experience performing their own navigation in the earlier airliners. The pilots would try to be ahead of the computer that they did not fully trust and if an error was suspected maintenance would have a long discussion trying to figure where the fault was. The computers were some of the first to be sensitive to Neutron Single Event Upsets, but other times an incorrect input in the flight plan setup would be the fault, or the performance expectation was not the same as the design. These computers (two installed) cost about $250k each so you handled them like eggs. Even a test bench check for return to service was $7 – 10k so throwing parts at a problem was discouraged.

      Even now I use the GPS or phone mapping system as a VOR beacon as I don’t always agree on the routing. Sometimes the computer routing takes you through places that have more pawn shops and bail bonds offices than Waffle Houses.

      The article also misses the problems of bubble-wrapped news and information leading to people chattering about how studies show coffee is good for you again and missing icky things.

      1. a fax machine

        Good way of using computers: as an aid, but not a replacement for your own abilities. For example, a truck driver looking at Google Earth to figure out where *exactly* he needs to be, and what the building and surrounding roads look like. This is done to plan his approach so there’s no time wasted when doing the delivery.

        Bad way of using computers: a trucker pressing a button on the console and expecting the computer to tell him where to go. More often than not, the computer will get basic information wrong such as lane widths, available easements, maximum overhead and maximum allowable tonnage. This then leads to trucks getting physically stuck into places they cannot get out of, usually due to parked cars.

    3. enoughisenough

      Pelham: absolutely.

      Calling it “smart” or “dumb” as the article does, is esstentially strawmanning the issue.

      If you’re not learning the route yourself, and just following GPS, then by definition you are not learning!

      For most people, if you learn the route yourself, you can find it again without assistance. If you listen to GPS, you’ll have to listen to GPS every time. God forbid your phone runs out of power, and you need to get home, haha

    1. Aumua

      I don’t know. I never see any messages like that, and I post all kind of stuff that could be considered radical. Maybe the AI just knows I’m a lost cause hahehe.

  21. fresno dan

    A Case of “Intellectual Capture?” On YouTube’s Demonetization of Bret Weinstein Matt Taibbi, TK News

    Even to those critics, however, the larger issue Weinstein’s case highlights should be clear. If platforms like YouTube are basing speech regulation policies on government guidelines, and government agencies demonstrably can be captured by industry, the potential exists for a new brand of capture — intellectual capture, where corporate money can theoretically buy not just regulatory relief but the broader preemption of public criticism. It’s vaccines today, and that issue is important enough, but what if in the future the questions involve the performance of an expensive weapons program, or a finance company contracted to administer bailout funds, or health risks posed by a private polluter?
    My critique is that intellectual capture has been going on for for a long time, and that those doing it have gotten more skilled, more brazen, and more expansive at it. The idea that the American media is somehow separate, independent, or even capable of seriously challenging the status quo is laughable. How many examples are needed: Assange, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Obamacare, Russiagate, qualified immunity, etcetera.

    1. Glen

      I agree. Intellectual capture is nothing new in American news. We have a long history of it, with our “modern” incarnation dating back to WW1:

      Committee on Public Information

      But the MSM ability to control the news seems to be wearing thinner every day. I suspect that both the advent of other means for Americans to get their news and most American’s lived experiences are starting to diverge rather sharply from the corporate approved pablum.

      I suspect it is this second aspect, our lived experiences, that will ultimately force something to change. Americans seem to have given up watching the MSM as their numbers are cratering. I wish I could predict change for the better, but I’ve read too many dystopian SF novels that seem to mirror my lived experiences for the last year or so to feel particularly good about how this is all trending right now.

  22. Wukchumni

    Philippine volcano news lifted from the internet:

    PHILVOCS is saying an eruption appears imminent, but still uncertain exactly when.

    TAAL has been emitting a huge amount of SO2 that is exceeding that of Mt. Pinatubo leading up to it’s VEI 6/7 eruption….and TAAL is almost as large as Pinatubo. Should TAAL erupt similarly to Pinatubo, a massive injection of SO2 into the stratosphere would result…along with potentially global climate impacts.

    TAAL is a huge volcano with a large crater lake (Lake Taal) that at one point was connected to the ocean, (but is now blocked off due to subsequent eruptions and has turned to fresh water).
    In January 2020, TAAL had a moderate eruption, but inflation instead of dropping, actually started to increase…and since
    then, geologists have been warning that a much bigger event was in the offing. Lake TAAL has many villages along it’s shores and in the immediate vicinity, and mandatory evacuations have begun.
    Right now, the main concern is what the impact from all the water in Lake Taal (over 90 sq.miles) will have on the potential for explosive eruptions. The current phreatomagmatic “burps” are evidence that magma/water interaction is beginning near the huge/growing magma chamber that underlies the lake.

    Should the roof of the magma chamber fail catastrophically from a large steam explosion, it is quite possible a VEI 5/6/7 eruption could happen at any time.

    Given that the blast would be propelled by a massive gas release, TAAL could be an even larger producer of SO2 into the stratosphere than Pinatubo was.

    1. Michael McK

      Not from down under but I find it odd that the article does not mention the CIA overthrow of the Labour government in 1975, about when the future Labour Prime Minister started privately seeming close to the US.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read a file linked here about this and it seems that it was not only Bob Hawke but all sides of the political spectrum as well as big business like Frank Packer that were giving these private briefings to the US. It may be that after the ’75 coup, that all politicians came to realize that they had to play ball with the US by briefing them on all developments in Oz or else they would met a similar fate. A few short years ago a story popped up how Anthony Albanese was also doing this so I would assume it to be standard practice.

        This part did not rile me but what did was where in this file it talked about how the US would get our local politicians to move away from policies like full employment, Keynesian economics, etc. and move into a more neoliberal direction. Seems that for years now the ACTU big get-togethers have a rep from the US present and were behind this idea of “collective bargaining.” And it was this influence that has led to a decline in union membership as they were de-radicalized and made to be more “cooperative” with government policies that impacted the workers themselves.

  23. Michael

    Re: CCP Centenary

    Note this is defensive.

    Note this is not:

    “The people’s military has made indelible achievements on behalf of the party and the people. It is a strong pillar for safeguarding our socialist country and preserving national dignity, and a powerful force for protecting peace in our region and beyond.”

      1. Michael

        It is entirely fair for any country to claim an altruistic interest in “protecting peace” as a cover for military expansion that goes well beyond self-defense.

        I just don’t allow myself to mistake one for the other, regardless of which country is making such a claim.

        1. Kouros

          While it is good to be circumspect, history serves as a baseline. One can gage the extent of the US altruistic help… and the compared with the Chinese actions…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hard to project force anywhere with *checks notes* a total of only four bases-

      -Argentina – A base in the province of Neuquén in Patagonia. Land loaned to the Chinese government during Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s presidency. Activities in the base are unknown. China claims it is for space exploration and intelligence services.
      -Djibouti – Chinese People’s Liberation Army Support Base in Djibouti.
      -Myanmar – A naval SIGINT facility in the Great Coco Island.
      -Tajikistan – A military post in South-eastern Gorno-Badakhshan

        1. The Rev Kev

          Translation of that Bloomberg story. ‘China builds navy from scratch in order to defend itself and ensure that a foreign power does not dominate its own home waters. Wait, are they allowed to do that?’

  24. Arizona Slim

    Responding to Ping: Thanks for confirming what I have been suspecting about Tucson health care folks and that certain drug.

  25. Maxwell Johnston

    “The HMS Defender Incident”

    This is a very sanguine view of the incident, sort of “business as usual, no biggie.” Stephen Bryen at Asia Times has a much more pessimistic assessment; as Bryen is reliably pro-USA and pro-Israel, I’m a bit disturbed by his view that we are several steps closer to a war:

    This article is behind a paywall, but if you want to read beyond the intro it is easily bypassable if you fiddle around a bit with your search engine of choice. I usually disagree with Bryen, but he is always intelligent and well informed and I’m with him on this one. Unfortunately.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The HMS Defender also was accompanied by the Dutch warship HNLMS Evertsen and when that ship also turned to go into Russian waters the day after, was also warned off by Russian jets. I don’t think that the Russians are going to let this pass as otherwise you will have NATO warships cruising by Russia’s biggest naval base in the Black Sea every day of the year and pretending that they are in Ukrainian waters. No nation would tolerate that-

  26. crittermom

    >”The Stryker is a ‘deathtrap’… ” Powerful, infuriating article.

    It seems another lifetime when we were wailing about $300 toilet seats for the MIC.

    At least, despite their exorbitant price, they didn’t kill you. And they apparently worked.
    So the grift was obvious, but no lives lost due to a faulty toilet seat.

    Now our tax dollars are going for a $942M ‘frivolous’ upgrade for a vehicle that has poor performance–and doesn’t protect our soldiers. They’re left as the proverbial ‘sitting ducks’.

    When greed such as this is costing lives, it’s crossed a line.
    And grifters have been jumping over that line for too long now.

    The F35 is another ridiculously expensive debacle, but I don’t think it’s cost lives (yet).

    ‘Our’ government is so ‘bought out’ it’s, it’s ……….. ‘infuriating’ isn’t a strong enough word, but I’ll leave it at that.

    Every parent of a person in the military should be made aware of this article. It’s their kids who will die or be mangled.
    Hell hath no furry like a mother…

    1. griffen

      It’s quite the boondoggle for sure. Doesn’t even serve it’s intended purpose all that well, based on the article.

      But who’s really counting the costs in lives put at undue risk, attributable to poor or ill suited products for military purposes? I’m beginning to think that those in the seats of power just can’t be troubled, with the economics or the unfortunately draped coffins. Just infuriating.

    2. Bill Smith

      There are been plenty of positive comments by users of the Stryker. It fits somewhere in the middle ground of armoured vehicles.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      For outrage you need to look only slightly further back at the Army’s Future Combat Systems program. A couple billion dollars spent and as far as I know, no vehicles ever resulted from that program. Back in the day, I used to see the equipment lists for U.S. Army units. Each unit was issued a standard complement of Humvees. But if the unit was deployed to Iraq, the Humvees were shipped with the unit but as one logistic officer told me the Humvees went into storage somewhere in Kuwait. The Humvees were replaced by an equivalent number of MRAP vehicles for use in Iraq. Multiple billions were spent to acquire MRAP vehicles. MRAP vehicles are difficult and expensive to ship. I recall a short article describing how one Army unit dug a big pit in Afghanistan where it buried heaps of its MRAP vehicles because they cost too much to ship back with the unit when it returned Stateside from Afghanistan. This is just little stuff. How many nuclear weapons do you need to feel safe?

  27. Blue Duck

    The Team Resurrecting Ancient Rome’s Favorite Condiment

    140 odd comments and I can’t find another NC commenter who is excited to try garum? I’m just not sure it will be the same if it’s not made by Gaulic slave labor.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I will be interested in trying garum, but I wonder whether it will be all that different than Oriental fish sauce like the Thais and Vietnamese use. I also expect garum will be expensive and relatively hard to find.

    2. lordkoos

      How different is it from something like Thai fish sauce (which is seriously stinky stuff but when added to food during cooking is transformed)?

      1. rowlf

        Do not ever spill fish sauce in a vehicle. Don’t ask me how I know. Luckily one of my sons removed enough of the interior to clean well enough that the Little Trees air fresheners (“You’ll find one in every car. You’ll see.”) no longer curl up and change color when installed.

        Also, microwaving kimchi at work isn’t a good idea either.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I wouldn’t mind trying it myself if it was based on the original technique. I used to be put off by all the comments about the smell and the like and how it was prepared. But then when I was reading this article, I thought about other past practices. How our ancestors hung meat for weeks while it went kinda rotten for a better taste. And in fact we still hang game meat.

        1. The Rev Kev

          This plant got mentioned here last year. I was going to say that we will never know but then thought better. What if there is pollen from this plant under a lake bottom or something. It may be possible to tease out the DNA of this plant and perhaps one day to again grow it again-

    4. Brunches with Cats

      Recreating garum has been a thing for at least 20 years, and I’d have never known it, if not for NC/Lambert (this is SUCH a Lambert link!). I actually was going to comment earlier, but got submerged in ivermectin.

      I first encountered garum while researching an idea for a novel. Among my references was a book on the ancient Gaulish language, which suggested a connection between garum (the sauce), garos (fish), and Garumna, the name for the Garonne River. My real interest in garum, however, was the road the Romans constructed along the coast between Italy and Spain to get to the best source of fish for their garum habit. Whether the Romans impressed the Gauls into garum-making is doubtful for many reasons, but they did use enforced labor to construct the road, and then levied outrageous taxes on the locals to maintain it.

      Worse still, the Roman provincial governor was embezzling, and he gave road-building contracts to family, who deliberately did a shoddy job so they could get more money to repair the damage! The Gauls sent a delegation to Rome to file charges. The governor’s counsel was famed orator Cicero, who won acquittal on the grounds that the Gauls were habitual liars, and that the governor’s sister, a Vestal Virgin (revered in ancient Rome), would cry if he was charged with a crime. As Lambert likes to say, “plus ça change …”

      Getting back to the sauce … There was no one “authentic” recipe, as there were many variations in preparation, type of fish, and added ingredients. Moreover, cheaper versions were produced for the unwashed masses, and even the good stuff reserved for the elites was crapified as the centuries wore on. In my search for an “original recipe,” I found the papers from a 1997 symposium, with one entire talk on garum and another on fish in ancient Rome, both very entertaining. There are a couple of recipes on p. 107, one of which involves letting the whole stinking mess sit in the sun, uncovered, for 2-3 months. Bon appétit!

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    “The Yoghurt Mafia RNZ”
    I very much enjoyed reading this link. It was well-written, entertaining, and strangely inspirational.

  29. Kouros

    “all the ingenuity in the world didn’t save the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement.”

    It didn’t help being tainted with cries for independence. One country, remember? Two systems…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It didn’t help being tainted with cries for independence

      Fair enough. I had tactical ingenuity in mind. Gorgeous signage, wonderful documentation, Lennon walls, umbrellas, etc. Strategically… It may have been that nothing was possible, I don’t know. There’s no particular reason for the CCP to allow an experiment in liberal democracy to proceed within its borders, now that Hong Kong is no longer dominant within China’s economy. What’s the upside for them?

      1. Kouros

        I don’t have the link, but there was a western Anglophone living in HK that decried and described how the democratic movement has been sabotaged and high-jacked by mixing it with the cries for an independent HK and waving of US & UK flags.

        Chinese are very pragmatic. A “democratic” HK, with its own administration, focused on its problems (democracy could have broken the back of the tycoons there) would have been a bonus for China. But the push was to preserve and present anything inherited from the Brits as the best, and dismiss the rest of China as bad (good old Manichean approach, different than the ying/yang interconnectedness).

        Great tactics on shoddy strategy takes one nowhere…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I don’t have the link, but there was a western Anglophone living in HK that decried and described how the democratic movement has been sabotaged and high-jacked by mixing it with the cries for an independent HK and waving of US & UK flags.

          I followed the coverage reasonably closely at the time, and my sense was that the independent HK faction was larger, younger, and driven by desperation, and the US flag-wavers were a small and different faction of loons.

  30. GramSci

    Re: A Political History Of The ACA

    If the review is to be trusted, Cohn finds that the ACA had nothing to do with RomneyCare or Liz Fowler. Down the memory hole.

  31. Jason Boxman

    So at a glance, the official high level narrative seems to be that if you’re vaccinated, getting infected is not a big deal, and being able to spread it if infected isn’t a big deal, no matter how rare.

    It’s hard to conclude that the former is acceptable without substantial study and the CDC isn’t collecting data on this, and the latter is simply a national tragedy.

    What a bizarre approach.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if you want peace in this world, trust women to deliver it

      Like Maggie Thatcher in the Falkland Islands, Hillary Clinton in Libya and, very sadly, Aung San Suu Kyi with the Rohingya (although I think she faced a Sophie’s Choice, given the power of the Tatmadaw).

      Completely delusional. Who would trust these people either to be “responsible” or to “protect”?

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is an interesting article about how some scientists say they have been able to quantify the amount by which farm productivity has gone up as the amount of several key air pollutants has gone down. If this is really so, and farmers as a whole become aware of this, farmers might become a strong counter-air-pollution constituency.

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