Links 7/30/2021

Photographer Catches Whale Breaching Next to a Fishing Boat PetaPixel (Furzy Mouse).

Sponge fossils suggest animals already existed 890 million years ago New Scientist

Trans-Alaska pipeline under threat from thawing permafrost High Country News

How to redesign our cities to make them heatwave-proof FT

‘Is this legal?’: Why an obscure data service has been sued nearly 100 times for facilitating anti-competitive behavior Investigate Midwest

Cosmic-ray threat to quantum computing greater than previously thought Physics World


‘The war has changed’: Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe WaPo. Too many emojis for my taste, but this is a useful wrap-up/critique well worth reading in full:

Note that the smallpox comparison is perhaps not ideal because smallpox is not airborne. So the comparison isn’t helpful in one’s personal practice. Also, and unsurprisingly, CDC butchers masking. Again.

Finally, the sequence of events: (7/27) CDC issues new guidance; (7/29) CDC “privately briefed members of Congress”; (7/30, later today) CDC to release the science behind this document (although it got leaked to WaPo first). The science is, apparently, the reveal, not the guidance. So why Congress first?

Biden rolls out aggressive plan to jump-start vaccination Politico. Federal workers, bribes, paid leave (yet nothing targeting Blacks, the Democrat-loyal yet least vaccinated identity vertical. Nor anything on delivery in the workplace). Biden: “I know people talk about freedom, but I learned growing up … with freedom comes responsibility. The decision to be unvaccinated impacts someone else.” Showing once again that Biden — and I know this is a low bar — is a better politician than his party, which is focused on its own offended amour propre and firing the blame cannons at Bubba in the Red States.

Biden on boosters:

So we’ve bought the boosters? No further development or approvals needed?

CDC Director Alarmed After Googling ‘Covid Cases’ For First Time in Weeks The Onion

* * *

Ivermectin for preventing and treating COVID‐19 Cochrane Library. Selection criteria: “We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing ivermectin to no treatment, standard of care, placebo, or another proven intervention for treatment of people with confirmed COVID‐19 diagnosis, irrespective of disease severity, treated in inpatient or outpatient settings, and for prevention of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection.” Author’s conclusions: “Based on the current very low‐ to low‐certainty evidence, we are uncertain about the efficacy and safety of ivermectin used to treat or prevent COVID‐19. The completed studies are small and few are considered high quality. Several studies are underway that may produce clearer answers in review updates. Overall, the reliable evidence available does not support the use ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID‐19 outside of well‐designed randomized trials.”

Why Is the FDA Attacking a Safe, Effective Drug? WSJ (here is an unpaywalled version). Subsequent qualifying letter to the Editor on retracted Elgazzar study.

* * *

Researchers Find Signs of COVID-19 Mutations in NYC Sewage, Pointing to Possible Dog and Rat Infections The City (preprint). Wastewater testing for the win. And so much for the supply chain, as rats board departing shipping containers.

Surveillance Data Shows White-Tailed Deer Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 USDA. Serum samples show antibodies; we don’t know if the deer are shedding virus.

Aerosol hot spot study within healthcare environments (PDF) Victorian Health Building Authority. “4.2 Locations where aerosols are likely to coagulate…. 4.2.1 Around return/exhaust grilles…. 4.2.2 Sharp obstructions jutting out from flat surfaces… 4.2.3 Around and in small gaps… 4.2.4 Window and door frames … 4.2.5 Ensuite walls and side of the toilet pan.”

* * *

AstraZeneca’s having second thoughts about its COVID vaccine business as FDA filing drags on Fierce Pharma. AZ’s had its problems, but in explicltly promising not to make a profit, they are the white crow in Big Pharma.

Vaccinated people are getting sick — but some counterintuitive math puts it in context Boston Globe


City of Nanjing isolated as China fights worst Covid outbreak in month Guardian. Air travel again:

Nine cases were first detected on 20 July, all among airport staff in Nanjing. Another 24 local cases on Wednesday brought the total number believed connected to the cluster to 171.

Among the recently confirmed cases are people who joined a crowd of 2,000 at a show in Zhangjiajie, Hunan on 22 July. All attendees, who are now spread across China, have been designated “high risk”. People who have since been diagnosed in Dalian and Chengdu reportedly attended the show, with some having travelled there through Nanjing’s Lukou international airport.

Much of the focus is on the airport, where cleaners – who were cleaning planes that had arrived from overseas and domestic flights – contracted the virus and passed it on to colleagues and family.

The central commission for discipline inspection has publicly criticised the airport management, accusing it of negligence. In a statement on Thursday, the most senior enforcement body of the Chinese Communist party, said the airport lacked supervision and had unprofessional management, and that epidemic prevention and control measures had not been properly implemented. It was highly critical of management for not separating staff and operations for international and domestic flights, and called for “deep reflection and rectification”.

But how did the cleaners catch the disease? Aerosols or fomites? NOTE: The South China Morning Post says: “[T]he outbreak [is] thought to be connected to an international cargo flight more than two weeks ago.” Hmm.

Delta outbreaks; Damage control over tutoring industry destruction; Taliban in Tianjin Sinocism

Next move up to US as China delivers ‘to do’ lists on relations South China Morning Post

U.S. warns China is building more nuclear missile silos AP

What is China’s ‘battle for data’ and who will be targeted next? FT

How to strengthen China’s ecological redlines? China Dialog

Hong Kong man sentenced to 9 years in prison in first national security case Channel News Asia


David and Goliath: Myanmar’s Armed Resistance at the Crossroads The Diplomat. Meanwhile:

‘It was like hell’ – multiple Covid-19 patients reported dead at Yangon hospital after oxygen supply fails Myanmar Now

Isolated Myanmar calls for international help as COVID cases surge Reuters. More precisely, the Myanmar junta.

Rivals struggle to take advantage of military beer boycott Frontier Myanmar

Philippines’ Duterte fully restores key troop pact with United States Channel News Asia


Kolkata: Pandemic Hits India’s Only Bank For and By Sex Workers As Depositors Withdraw Savings The Wire

The Koreas

Breaking News: the Two Koreas Reconnect the Inter-Korean Hotline, Signaling the Resumption of Dialogue The Blue House


In a World First, Bennett Announces Third COVID Jab Campaign for Israelis Over 60 Haaretz


Growth returns to eurozone with healthy rebound in second quarter FT

New Cold War

Why Everyone’s a Winner in the Nord Stream 2 Deal Carnegie Moscow Center

Crimea ‘water war’ opens new front in Russia-Ukraine conflict FT

Biden Administration

Infrastructure cap will force fuzzy math Axios

Pandemic Aid Programs Spur a Record Drop in Poverty NYT. It works, so naturally we’re getting rid of it.

Pedro Castillo Appoints Socialist As Prime Minister Kawsachun News


Julian Assange stripped of Ecuadorian citizenship AP


Why MMT rejects the loanable funds theory Lars P. Syll. The topic is a hardy perennial, but worth a read.

Health Care

Millions of Medicare Part D Enrollees Have Had Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending Above the Catastrophic Threshold Over Time KFF

Groves of Academe

American Education Is Founded on White Race Theory The New Republic (Re Silc). “The ongoing [1619] project ‘aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.’ Its necessity is proven by the conservative backlash to it.”

Our Famously Free Press

Media Promotes Fake “Vaccine Hesitancy” Narrative To Justify Coercion And Scolding Michael Tracey. I’m not sure this is an example to emulate:

Snappy comeback, but does winning the day make a difference?

Sports Desk

That was fast:

Class Warfare

Bankruptcy and elite impunity Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. Brutal. A must-read.

Who holds the welding rod? LRB

Finnish “Tiira 1”, home built from farm equipment and flown without aviation experience in 1973 Reddit. From 2019, still germane.

Chronic Illness Cost This Former Dallas Museum Director Her Career. Embracing Novelty Gave Her New Life. Texas Monthly. “On July 8, 2011, she resolved to do something new each day.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (JB):

Good kitty!

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. ex-PFC Chuck

    “Finally, the sequence of events: (7/27) CDC issues new guidance; (7/29) CDC “privately briefed members of Congress”; (7/30, later today) CDC to release the science behind this document (although it got leaked to WaPo first). The science is, apparently, the reveal, not the guidance. So why Congress first?

    So they can dump stocks, buy puts, and sell short, of course.

    1. jsn

      This is the logical endpoint for Phillip Bobbit’s “Market State”, theorized in his 2002 book, “The Shield of Achilles”.

      I have to add, when I read it then I though such a state would be incoherent because it would monetize all “public goods” and prove inable to govern in their absence.

      So, here we are.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    There’s an interesting review of yet another book surveying the history of humans and human culture. Similar in scope to Jeremy Lent’s The Patterning Instinct, the new book, Human Kind, a Hopeful History, was written by journalist and “popular historian” Walter Bregman. The hook is that old battle between Hobbes and Rousseau over the fundamental “nature” of humans.

    An excerpt from the review:

    He puts it in terms of the clash between the Hobbesian ”veneer” view that the state of nature is nasty brutish and short, and thus that civilisation is a fragile shell over it and requires tight top-down rule or order will crumble, and Rousseau who argued that it is civilisation that is the problem, keeping humans “everywhere in chains” and that things were OK in the “state of nature” before civilisation was invented.

    It’s not hard to find abundant instances of the unquestioned Hobbesian view throughout history…the Christian assumption of our “fallen” nature, especially savage in the punitive Calvinistic version still to be found in our schools, law, patriarchal families, prisons and work places. Much of the book presents cases where dumping the assumption leads to far better outcomes.

    Bregman argues that what most characterises the human species is friendliness. Many animals are very social, putting high value on being together, interacting, cooperating, grooming and playing, with obvious evolutionary significance, but humans are especially designed for convivial social interaction. We like being around others, being on good terms, helping and co-operating. This he says is the major factor in the progress of our species, much more important than competition.

  3. Michael

    Smallpox is not airborne.

    Per the CDC: “Rarely, smallpox has spread through the air in enclosed settings, such as a building (airborne route).”

    I wonder if fomites vs. airborne was ever a debate vis-a-vis smallpox transmission… (smells a dissertation proposal).

    Anyway, I see why they made the comparison, although, since basically no one under the age of about 45 has ever experienced it, the comparison is not particularly useful.

    1. JBird4049

      It is useful as showing just how awful an infectious disease could be. For up to twelve thousand years almost everyone eventually caught smallpox and roughly 30% died, but the the death rate depended on what version you got. Variola major was 30% or more. Variola minor was about 1%. Scarring and blindness was common and it came back to an area when enough vulnerable people were around. That usually being the unvaccinated or the young. Roughly every ten to thirty years. Not the Black Death, but not the common cold either.

    2. Procopius

      That’s funny, I always understood smallpox was airborne.


      Smallpox is highly contagious. In most cases, people get smallpox by inhaling droplets of saliva, which are full of virus, during face-to-face contact with an infected person. When someone becomes infected, they do not immediately feel sick or shed virus to their household contacts. In addition, they have no symptoms for 10 to 12 days. After the virus has multiplied and spread throughout the body, a rash and fever develop. This is the “illness” portion of the disease, and it’s when someone is most infectious.

      It’s really not clear here if they’re staking their claim on the idea that airborne droplets are actually fomites but not aerosols.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, droplets. A smallpox person doesn’t fill up a room simply by breathing or talking, as with Covid. (There is also, at the link I provided, mention of scabs, etc., so fomite transmission is a thing (as with the famous story of biological warfare via smallpox-infected blankets for the Indians). Even worse, vaccination for smallpox is life-long, unlike that for Covid.

        Hence, to the extent smallpox is used as an analogy through the association of ideas that CDC has set up, the analogy is bad in every respect but arithmetically, R0. Wretched communication once again.

  4. zagonostra

    >Biden rolls out aggressive plan to jump-start vaccination – Politico

    There is an interesting and momentous divergence taking place right now. A couple of days ago New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a “medical freedom” immunization bill. You have the Postal Union exerting it’s influence that exempted their workers from Biden’s decree and on the other hand you had AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka that supports mandatory vaccination for his members. Within my own circle there will be friends and family that support shift from encouragement/incentives to enforcement/penalties.

    What keeps rattling around my brain is the disconnect between the gov’t punishing truth tellers such as Assange/Hale with incarceration and their asking me to believe that they are pushing mandatory vaccines for the health and welfare of myself and society.

    My mind connects news stories and draws out relationships that are contradictory. I can’t help it. So when Biden says “I know people talk about freedom, but I learned growing up … with freedom comes responsibility,. The decision to be unvaccinated impacts someone else” I can’t help thinking about where this “responsibility” fails every single day, such as in the story “Fed up with democrats, Thousand March to Demand Medicare for All” posted by Yves. Freedom doesn’t work in society when untethered from responsibility, but the timeless question Dylan posed, Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head pretending he just doesn’t see? belies the theory viz actions.

    How can I trust the politicians when once in office they “promptly switched allegiance to the private insurance industry” as the M4A article illustrates? So you object it’s not the gov’t I should trust but “The Science?” To many other connections come to mind to answer that one.

    1. Jen

      The cognitive dissonance of rolling out an aggressive plan to jump start vaccination, and the data presented in the WaPo article and Eric Ding thread boggles the mind.

        1. zagonostra

          Your being ironical right? An incentive of $100 to get vaccinated is not going to convince anyone except those on the margins of society. Everyone else sees it as what it is an insult.

      1. Acacia

        Is it cognitive dissonance or has Biden’s team already been briefed on the breakthrough problem and they think that doubling down on the messaging is the solution? Also, isn’t a “jump start” what people do when the battery is dead? ;)

    2. Maritimer

      Commander in Chief sez: “..with freedom comes responsibility.”

      So, was CinC irresponsible by obtaining 5 draft deferments during the Vietnam War? Which culminated in a final deferment due to asthma. Love to see that paperwork.

      So, will Joe be giving Vaccine Deferments to any Vietnam Vets who do not want to be Big Pharma Vaxxed?

      The hypocrisy is just stunning.

      1. pasha

        you are, i think, confusing biden with dick chaney, who did get five deferments.

        biden got the college and law school deferment, and was out of the draft zone (18 to 26 year olds) by the time he graduated. he was already too old when the draft lottery occurred in 1969

  5. Tom Stone

    I will not be getting a booster shot.
    I woke up at 3 AM due to pain, again.
    My sleep cycles have been disrupted since three days after my first shot of the Moderna Vaccine caused a number of old injuries to flare up, most noticeably in my elbows which had been badly sprained and completely healed years ago.
    My sciatica is substantially worse, as is are the damaged areas of my cervical spine and Lumbar region.
    As it is I am marginally functional.
    I had an MRI two days ago and will be seeing a neurologist in mid August,
    I’m hoping to avoid opioids as long as possible because I detest the fuzziness they bring but I’m at my limit for dealing with constant pain while still being able to function.
    I played the odds…

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m thinking of IM DOC’s comment a few weeks go how those who have had the third booster shot are vowing not to get a fourth. As Israel is doing this now for their older cohort, it will be worth while keeping an eye on reports about what happens with these people. I would assume that from the older cohorts, they will over time they will give it to younger and younger cohorts so it will be interesting to see if there are any difference with patient reactions between the different age cohorts.

      Hope you get better soon, Tom.

      1. Kevin Smith

        My wife and I had Pfizer, then JnJ, then I had another Pfizer and she had Moderna. We’re both 70, the shots were no big deal.

        1. IM Doc

          Very happy for you.

          I have now 1 death and several serious complications among my panel of patients.

          Some people have not been so lucky.

          I also am very concerned that as we give more and more boosters the sick period afterwards get more intense.

          We will see.

          I have no idea what the data is on mixing shots like you describe. Hope it works out for you.

          1. Tom Stone

            Doc, I have idiosyncratic drug reactions, I knew that before getting the vaccine.
            I have enough in the way of co morbidiites ( Age, Cancer survivor with heart problems) that after several week of trying to evaluate the risks I decided to get the shots.
            it was a bet made with limited information.
            And in my case the outcome was not what was desired.
            Playing the odds means you are more likely to win than lose, it never guarantees a win.
            It’s still the way to bet.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Re playing the odds, always in the absence of all the really salient information: Sadly, the house (as in Big Pharma and the PMC) always wins. Wishing you better in coming days.

              Love the note above that AstraZeneca, one of the badder offenders in corporate-land, is now having a sad that it decided not to “make a profit” from its anti-Covid drugs (aka vaccine.) Unlike, of course, Pfizer, Moderna and the like…

            1. IM Doc

              Oh no – We have not even started or indeed had any guidance whatsoever about boosters yet.

              No, these complications are all from the original vaccination drive over the past 8 months.

          2. rfdawn

            It seems that immune response to vaccines/boosters may vary quite a lot for immunocompromised people, and with age. Individual testing of actual immune response may be needed to decide whether boosters are a good or bad idea.

        2. Aumua

          I had the J&J in April and never had more than the mildest side effects that i can’t even be sure weren’t psychosomatic. I feel great now. Just another data point, among many.

          Am I lining up for a booster any time soon? I don’t know, probably not.

      2. Yves Smith

        Those shots in Israel are likely to go OK. The “routine” bad reactions (feeling terrible for a day or two) are apparently what got worse on Dose 3. The younger you are, the more likely you are to have that happen.

        But Israel has also been doing good tracking and is pretty transparent, so we are likely to hear otherwise pretty pronto if not.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I thought that they were pretty advanced in their aggressive vaccine roll outs over the past several months but it looks like that they will now be the global vaccine guinea pig because of it.

    2. Jen

      The WaPo piece makes me want to pound my head on my desk.

      “The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.”

      Defense against what? Transmission? Hospitalization? Death? Further down:

      “The breakthrough cases are to be expected, the CDC briefing states, and will probably rise as a proportion of all cases because there are so many more people vaccinated now. This echoes data seen from studies in other countries, including highly vaccinated Singapore, where 75 percent of new infections reportedly occur in people who are partially and fully vaccinated.”

      So, what, again, are vaccines the best defense against?

      “The CDC document cites public skepticism about vaccines as one of the challenges: “Public convinced vaccines no longer work,” one of the first slides in the presentation states.”

      Umm, because we were lead to believe they were a path back to normal – i.e., no transmission amongst the vaccinated, and on that measure, they objectively don’t, based on the paragraph above.

      Lastly: “We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody’s nose,” Neuzil said. “It’s hard to do, but I think we have to become comfortable with coronavirus not going away.”

      So, let ‘er rip,then?

      I’m not taking a booster unless someone can articulate, and show data to support a clear benefit.

      Interestingly, the tone in my workplace has done a 180 from triumphalist “post covid” to “we’re a long way from being out of this in about a week. A colleague was joking about getting a “I survived pandemic med school,” and my boss, who has been one of the most fervent people I know about getting back to normal actually beat me to the punch in saying “I think it’s a little too soon for that.”

      1. Lupana

        Does anyone know if the vaccines themselves because they aren’t perfect or universal are going to themselves drive the emergence of stronger and stronger variants? It almost seems like it to me..

        1. Jeotsu

          Sustained transmission between vaccinated people will put selection pressure favouring virus variants that are more capable of avoiding the vaccine-mediated immune response.

          So more variants better able to propagate within a vaccinated community are baked into the cake at this point. Their disease severity is an open question, that depends on what molecular mechanisms get selected to improve that transmissibility. We might be near the efficiency max for the spike protein, so other techniques of immune evasion/subversion, or more cunning utilisation of cellular resources for reproduction, might be next in line.

          Nature is full of surprises. More infected people and more transmissions and more viral replications results in more chances for “lucky” (on in the case of people and society, “unlucky”) mutational or recombinational events that could lead to dramatic changes.

          I was thinking about the Plague of Justinian, a thought experiment if it had been a respiratory virus like CoV-2. If a first wave had passed through Constantinople that was similar in morbidity the wild-type C-19 it might have gone un-noticed (higher fraction of young population in the 6th century, higher background rate of mortality generally), only to return later in a more optimised form.

          The worst thing we can do with this virus is allow it to keep circulating in the population. Another concern is that poor management might end up negating some of the possible treatments (Ivermectin), as widespread, inconsistent use (sub-effective doses) would be applying selection pressure for variants that get around that, too.

          1. Lupana

            Thank you. I just am feeling like we are doing everything imaginable wrong and I don’t get how so many experts can fail so repeatedly. It’s like the collective of people in charge really have no idea what they’re doing.

        2. Still Above Water

          Does anyone know if the vaccines themselves because they aren’t perfect or universal are going to themselves drive the emergence of stronger and stronger variants?

          According to the study “Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens”, yes:

          Could some vaccines drive the evolution of more virulent pathogens? Conventional wisdom is that natural selection will remove highly lethal pathogens if host death greatly reduces transmission. Vaccines that keep hosts alive but still allow transmission could thus allow very virulent strains to circulate in a population. Here we show experimentally that immunization of chickens against Marek’s disease virus enhances the fitness of more virulent strains, making it possible for hyperpathogenic strains to transmit. Immunity elicited by direct vaccination or by maternal vaccination prolongs host survival but does not prevent infection, viral replication or transmission, thus extending the infectious periods of strains otherwise too lethal to persist. Our data show that anti-disease vaccines that do not prevent transmission can create conditions that promote the emergence of pathogen strains that cause more severe disease in unvaccinated hosts.

          1. Lupana

            Thanks – I’ll look that up. I almost think we have to take a step back and reconfigure our whole response to this..

          2. Procopius

            You need to avoid falling into the error of forgetting that “can” means “might,” or “could.” “Possibly.” Far too many people are predicting that this is what will happen. Evolution works from random changes. Most mutations are deadly. Imagine making random changes in a transistor radio. How often will those changes be improvements? In a way, these medicines should not have been palmed off as vaccines. They do help the body resist infection to some degree, they seem to often prevent more severe symptoms and death, but neither natural infection nor the vaccines confer immunity, and apparently the antibodies that help the body fight the virus don’t last very long. It’s very disappointing, and I think the overselling of the vaccines when they first came out (and even still) have rebounded negatively — lots of people feel they were lied to.

      2. ilpalazzo

        Lastly: “We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody’s nose,” Neuzil said. “It’s hard to do, but I think we have to become comfortable with coronavirus not going away.”

        This looks like they are proposing treatments as an option again which is a step in the right direction.

      3. anonymous

        Jen: “Defense against what? Transmission? Hospitalization? Death?”
        That’s the question.

        Kizzy Corbett, et al (Barney Graham’s lab): Immune correlates of protection by mRNA1273 vaccine against SARS-Co-V-2 in nonhuman primates
        This is Moderna and did not use Delta.

        “Immune correlates of protection can be used as surrogate endpoints for vaccine efficacy. Here, nonhuman primates (NHPs) received either no vaccine or doses ranging from 0.3 to 100 μg of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, mRNA-1273. mRNA-1273 vaccination elicited robust circulating and mucosal antibody responses in a dose-dependent manner. Viral replication was significantly reduced in bronchoalveolar lavages and nasal swabs following SARS-CoV-2 challenge in vaccinated animals and most strongly correlated with levels of anti-S antibody and neutralizing activity. Lower antibody levels are needed for reduction of viral replication in the lower airway than in the upper airway…
        the necessity and timing of subsequent vaccine boosting will depend on the goal of the vaccination program. One goal would be to prevent severe disease and lower airway infection while allowing community exposure to provide mucosal immunity from upper airway infection and boosting of the vaccine response. Another would be to achieve persistent high-level immunity against mild infection through vaccination to more rapidly reduce transmission.”

        1. Jen

          “the necessity and timing of subsequent vaccine boosting will depend on the goal of the vaccination program. One goal would be to prevent severe disease and lower airway infection while allowing community exposure to provide mucosal immunity from upper airway infection and boosting of the vaccine response. Another would be to achieve persistent high-level immunity against mild infection through vaccination to more rapidly reduce transmission.”

          Another would be enriching big Pharma without achieving either. Since the CDC seems to have difficulty finding its own posterior with two hands and a flashlight, I’m going with option number 3.

          1. anonymous

            You are right. I don’t see the high titers of recent immunization reducing upper airway infection with Delta, as high antibody did in this paper with macaques and an older variant, unless there actually is a big reduction, but there is so much more virus with Delta that the reduction isn’t enough. Whatever, Pfizer’s business is booming!

      4. Pelham

        Great set of questions. By you, not the reporter. This gets at a key frustration of mine when I come away from stories more baffled than ever because GLARINGLY OBVIOUS AND INDISPENSABLE questions were never asked.

    3. raven

      Tom, do you live in Lyme disease country? I don’t downplay your suspicion regarding Moderna vaccine, but you describe some of the many weird symptoms I’ve suffered with over the last five years from chronic Lyme. Sleep disruption and pain that shifts and moves around are some of the most common symptoms.

    4. jr

      I’m sorry to hear of your pain. About a month or so after I got my second shot, my doctor told me she was concerned about my white blood cell count. It was “borderline”. I had a more recent test about a month ago and I haven’t heard from her so I’m assuming the levels are back up. I don’t know for certain that it was the Pfizer shots but I am definitely scared of the prospect of a booster.

    5. Keith

      I am with you. I did one jab with J&J and suffered for a week with severe abdominal pain and gi issues. It was close to the blood clotting warning, not not quite there. I already have a messed up gi system, so I may have been a time bomb for it. My thoughts were whether the cure is worse than the disease. Then add to it the media controlling the narrative, preventing me from researching it and not knowing who to believe. As a result, I am out.

    6. Dr. John Carpenter

      Tom, for what it’s worth, I had two shots of Moderna also. The second took me out for a week. Since then, my arthritis, sciatica, and gout have gone from manageable to constant problems. There have been days when I could barely move. Though I can not prove the shots were what triggered everything, the issues are uncommon for me and started right after the second shot. I made what I thought was a least bad option. I knew we were being recalled to the office so getting the shots seemed logical. If suggested, I would approach a booster with a bit more caution, and perhaps forego it entirely, based on what the first two shots have done to me.

    7. Lee

      My hopefully helpful response to your comment got disappeared, so I’ll give it another try.

      For sciatica I found the exercise demonstrated in this video most helpful (hat tip to Arizona Slim).

      I used opioids for years to manage chronic lower back pain, as distinct from sciatica. The fuzziness, which I also did not care for, diminished with time so long as I did not increase the dosage.

      As it turned out the severity of the pain, caused by stenosis and spondylolisthesis in my case, was due to it being amplified by ME/CFS and is currently being successfully managed with low dose naltrexone and no opioids. This inexpensive, off-label prescribed medication is an opioid antagonist that works by diminishing the function of one’s opioid receptors. The body then compensates by upregulating endorphin production with a net gain in terms of pain reduction. It’s best not taken if one is using opioids regularly as it will cause instant withdrawal symptoms. You might read up on this and ask your doctor as to whether or not it might be appropriate for you.

    8. Count Zero

      I know several people in Britain, aged around 70, who have had a flare-up of old symptoms from illnesses in the past after two Pfizer jabs — specifically Shingles and ME. Fortunately they only seem to have a lasted a week or two. Not sure why it’s happening.

  6. paul

    In other terrible news:
    Craig Murray’s appeal to the UK supreme court has been turned down, so (if he lasts that long) an honest,frail man will be spending up to 8 months in one of our crappy,overcrowded jails.

    Best summaries,as usual, from wings over scotland, here and here.

    1. Tom Stone

      Craig Murray’s fate is a travesty of Justice and the clear message is “Get in line or face prison”.

      I’ll say it again, the reason we had the “Rule of Law” was to protect the persons and property of the elites.
      The fact that lesser beings also benefitted was considered an unfortunate necessity by those elites who were smart enough to understand what the real function of the “Rule of Law” is.

      A lesson that has clearly been forgotten.

      If you want to get ahead or merely keep what you have acquired by fair means or foul you had best attach your lips firmly to the right set of buttocks.
      Because that’s the alternative to the Rule of Law.

      1. JohnA

        It was not just Murray’s court reporting on Salmond. He did the same eye witness reporting at the Assange show trial in London. On both counts, he had to be crushed. As with the ever worsening health of Assange both mental and physical, and the documented fragile Health of Murray, the powers that be must be hoping neither comes out alive.

  7. GramSci

    When did Stalin say “great crimes require great forgiveness”? Doctorow quotes him thus, but DDG couldn’t find the quote.

    1. Carolinian

      I’m not finding it. Believe Doctorow may have a bee in his bonnet re Russia. May have just wanted to work Stalin in.

    2. Randy G

      GramSci — A solid source for the quote doesn’t seem to exist in my searches — they all go back to Doctorow’s article as the source of the quote. I assume the point was just the shock value of the name “Stalin”. As awful as the Sacklers and their sweetheart deal with a corrupt judge might be, seemed like an odd juxtaposition.

      Stalin was apparently a witty guy with a good handle on irony, and fortunately for Americans, he made most of his best quips in English.

      The far more common Stalin quote: “It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes” –there are several versions bouncing around — does not appear to have any source either.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Tom Joseph
    If Putin is willing to attack our diplomats w/ portable microwave devices that cause Havana syndrome, we shouldn’t assume our elite athletes & the Olympics would be off-limits to him. It’s something we should at least take precautions on. Will discuss further on tonight’s podcast’

    You know, Tom Joseph has a valid point here. It hasn’t hit the main stream media yet but an American swimmer was nearly hit with a Kogan 34L Microwave Oven with Grill during the woman’s 100m freestyle. And during the men’s 10000m athletics competition an American had to jump over a Westinghouse 40L 1100W Black Microwave which had been left in his lane. Also, during the Woman’s BMX racing, F.Stacil from the US found at the start of her race that a Panasonic NN-CD58JSQPQ 27L Convection Microwave Oven with Grill and Combination Cooking had been chained to her bike. The only thing in common with all three microwaves was that all three bore price tags marked down in Rubles.

    1. Randy G

      Apparently even American athletes are so propagandized with ‘Russia hysteria’ that they are under “death ray” threats from Putin. Several are already whining that the Russians have mysteriously cheated them in Tokyo.

      I see George Pal’s fantastic special effects from the 1953 ‘War of the Worlds’, with Putin at the helm of a Martian floating ‘death machine’, hovering right over an Olympic swimming pool.

      On the other hand, it was stunning and uplifting seeing the American women’s gymnastics team hugging and congratulating their Russian counterparts who won the Gold medal.

      Being gracious, sane and decent seems almost un-American at this point. Aren’t these women gymnasts watching Rachel Maddow?

    2. Arakawa

      An anonymous but extremely reliable source tells me the Taiko Drummer teams placed at regular intervals along the Olympic bicycle road race were hired by the Russians to throw the American cyclist off his rhythm. That’s why he ended up losing the lead towards the very end of the race.

  9. Carolinian

    Good Doctorow–definitely worth a read. Sounds like one of our biggest problems is corruption in the judiciary.

    As Tkacik writes, America’s captured bankruptcy judges are “steeped in legal theory that casts the invention of the limited liability corporation alongside that of the steam engine as a paradigmatic development in the pursuit of said prosperity.”

    For these judges, impunity is a feature, not a bug – a way to embolden “risk takers.” And while the economists who espouse this theory wring their hands about the “moral hazard” of public health care and housing, they’re oddly sanguine about limited liability.

    Of course conservatives would claim that judicial activism for the wealthy and powerful was inspired by earlier judicial intervention for liberal causes and then pat themselves on the back for their clever sophistry. However the law is supposed to have something to do with justice, and not just advocacy, in order to remain legitimate. When that isn’t true pitchforks are the next move.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Sounds like one of our biggest problems is corruption in the judiciary.”

      Boy, no kidding. The incessantly ballyhooed badge of honor that “we” are a “nation of laws” starts to look like nothing but a craven fig leaf when the “judiciary” is so massively corrupt.

      From the Tkacik link in the article:

      Virginia prosecutors had spent six years hammering out a bulletproof racketeering, conspiracy, and money laundering case against the [Purdue] executives that would have involved mandatory prison time. But the Sackler family had an improbable number of very important friends, and someone powerful within the Bush Justice Department mysteriously downgraded the charges against the executives, got the family’s earwax removal business Purdue Frederick named in the plea deals to keep the Medicare and Medicaid spigots open for OxyContin patients, and put the prosecutor who brought the case on a list of U.S. attorneys to fire instead.

      While the Sacklers could not have known in May 2007 that their old defense attorney Eric Holder was about to be named the next attorney general…

      I would have pasted more quotes from the article, like the one about the “successful” PE “bankruptcy lawyer John T. Dorsey [who] is now a judge himself,” but there are too many. If you read the article, make sure to note how many of these instances involve “healthcare,” and how many of the bankruptcies “discharge” fines for Medicare / Medicaid fraud while leaving all the “profits” in the bank accounts of the fraudsters.

  10. madarka

    Israel’s boosters are not a world first. Dominican Republic has been giving a Pfizer booster to people vaccinated with two shots of Sinovac for over a month, trying to get ahead of the curve for when Delta takes off locally. No age limit: I’ve had it and I’m in my 30s, most of my family’s gotten it. The stats show 344,387 people have had the booster so far, which equates to about 8% of the fully vaccinated population.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      “No American needs a booster now”
      “We have purchased all the supply we need to be ready”


      “we expect that boosters will be needed in the not-too-distant future” (i.e., at least before the boosters’ expiration date).

      A message of “be calm, don’t freak out now”, and “get ready for more of the same”.

      1. Shonde

        So, are those boosters that have already been ordered the same formula as the original vaccines or are they now reformulated to Delta?

        If Delta has already learned how to escape the original vaccine formula, what’s the use of more of the same? It seems many of those infected vaccinated in the Massachusett’s case being reported may have been young so had more recent vaccinations which should have been more protective.

        1. Judith

          Yves said the following in her CDC post on Wednesday. (So I share your confusion.):

          But for Pfizer and Moderna, the vaccines were approved because they showed high enough efficacy against the type then circulating. Recall that one defense of J&J was its lower apparent efficacy was at least in part due to being tested later and as a result against some additional variants. But the EUA regime requires that boosters get a new approval. We posted this section from a Reuters story yesterday:

          Pfizer said it will be creating a booster shot to target the Delta variant. Trials for the booster shot began in Nashville on Monday. Moderna also announced it will be developing a booster shot, with trial results expected by September.

          Studies by Moderna and AstraZeneca showed significantly diminished efficacy of a third shot against earlier variants; it’s not hard to imagine that results against Delta would be similar or worse.1 IM Doc had also heard about trials for Pfizer using the old vaccine from local investigators weeks ago. It’s not clear if the supposed Delta trial mentioned in the story is the same “material” but a different dose, or a new formulation. IM Doc had believed that Pfizer was attempting another two-shot regime, but that may have been unpopular with participants and with officials that heard about it too.

        2. Yves Smith

          I am pretty sure these are just regular Pfizer shots called “boosters” because 1. being given after a full vaccination and 2. only one shot when Pfizer regime calls for 2.

  11. Darthbobber

    Chinese nukes. If the maximalist hysteria is fully correct(unlikely) those pushing it say that in a decade the Chinese total will have risen from maybe 350 to as many as 700.

    As compared to the 6000+ held by the US and the also 6000+ in Russian hands.

    And our leaders have actually provoked this reaction.


    1. The Rev Kev

      US and Russian negotiators are meeting in Geneva next week in talks about reducing the number of nukes. The US has been insisting that China be part of the negotiations to reduce their nukes with the Russians saying that they aren’t the boss of them and that the US should ask the Chinese themselves. So Russia has now said that as the US wants to bring in China, that they should also bring in the UK and France as well as they have comparable nuke stockpiles with China. Needless to say, this went down like a fart in an elevator-

        1. Charger01

          LOL, did Bibi let it slip again? Seriously, we have strategic nukes on subs around the world. Get rid of the rest of ’em. The land based (silos) are just the worst Cold War relics. Swords into plougshares, make ’em into fuel for electricity and be done with it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Now, the Israel ites only have about 200 to 600 strategic nukes, and unknown numbers of lesser devices, quite a few on submarine-launched long range cruise missiles, and of course among the UN avowed doctrines one has heard in the past from the Likudniks, is the Samson Option of nuking not only the Arab and Persian states, but the capitals of Europe as well…

          It is to laugh, the notion that “Israel is on the US side.” Quite the opposite, it would seem.

  12. Eclair

    Re: Doctorow on bankruptcy and the impunity of the elite; Sacklers and various private equity raiders.

    Lately it’s like balancing on ice floes in a rapidly warming world. Big chunks keep breaking off, bearing away loyalties and beliefs and people I once agreed with. And my chunk crashes and forges itself into a ice island with people waving Trump flags. People who are small-time farmers and truck drivers and welders hanging on to a precarious job in a manufacturing company that pretty soon is going to up and depart a dying town.

    And, plowing through the ice field is a gigantic yacht, filled with raucous billionaires and politicians of both parties, drinking Dom Perignon, stroking the smooth bodies of pre-adolescent girl gymnasts, and tossing Oxycontin tabs to the the starving precariats huddling on their ice floes. Behind the party boat, a smaller, towed yacht that acts as landing pad for a couple of helicopters that swoop over to the only patch of dry land left in the US, where an airfield for private corporate jets speeds the partying billionaires to bunkers in New Zealand.

    I try to talk to former ‘liberal’ friends, but they lecture me on how Jeff Bezos has earned every penny of his trillions. And they love getting ‘stuff’ in 24 hours. Or they did until they ended up on the ice floe.

    Another informs me that the multi-million dollar homes in the Chautauqua Institute (New York) gated compound pay property tax equal to a full 75% of property taxes in the the entire city of Buffalo. I try to explain to them how ‘off-shoring’ jobs impoverished the workers, gutted once prosperous cities, while enriching the corporate owners who could then bid up prices for the vacation homes at CI, but their ice floe tilted and they slid off into the frigid sea.

    All I can think is that we’re being led to slaughter, mumbling platitudes fed to us daily by the MSM; individualism, freedom, voting, free enterprise, privatization, wealth equals virtue, and on and on and on. I think that the obscenely wealthy will never willingly give up their billions, their farmland, their vacation homes in Aspen, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Hamptons, their power. And the federal government that could tax their property, their income and so shunt the country back into some semblance of equality, is now indistinguishable from the people and corporations that own almost everything.

    So, I wonder, do I swallow a couple pills, take a swig from the box wine of Proprietor’s Red, shrug and say, that’s life? Does anyone have a plan that doesn’t involve blowing up pipelines, and letting the air out of the tires of SUV’s and private jets?

    1. Acacia

      Sounds like your ex-liberal friends and mine are on the same ice floe. The “plan” seems to be hunkering down, looking after your family, friends, and neighbors. Clown world will keep on keeping on… until it doesn’t.

    2. Randy G

      Eclair — Hang in there. Swallowing the ‘red pill’ at least helped you put together a concise and accurate appraisal of the ‘Great Disintegration’.

      Puncturing delusions doesn’t win friends and influence people — that’s for sure. The myth of Cassandra comes to mind, but there must be some survival advantage in seeing that the tracks head directly toward the cliff .

      Don’t buy beach front property in Miami. Walk slowly to the back of the train while looking for an exit.

      Unfortunately, those are not plans for diverting the train — which seems to have plenty of MO MO MO Momentum.

      Good luck.

      1. chuck roast

        I took a dip down at the Elm Street Pier today. A kid rode up on bike and jumped in the water. He engaged me in conversation. I thought that he was around 19. He told me that he was 14 and was hoping to be able to live into his 30’s. And so it goes…

    3. Geof

      Allow me to correct a passage in the TNR article on critical race theory. The original:

      The backlash against the Times’ project and critical race theory is instructive. . . . The litany of Republican legislation to ban Black-centric narratives is a reverberation of the Conference of History’s intent to train students in a white, “patriotic” view of the past. The right wants students to believe that white Americans, even slaveholders, were redeemable—even ultimately virtuous—purveyors of the American experiment in freedom. They want to preserve a history that forgives and forgets all the wrongs committed in the service of white supremacy. They want to remain the heroes of the country’s history, despite all evidence to the contrary.


      The backlash against the class-first left is instructive. The litany of liberal progressive initiatives to enforce identity-centric narratives is a reverberation of the Conference of History’s intent to train students in a rich, white, “patriotic” view of the past. The political centre wants students to believe that wealthy Americans, even billionaires, were redeemable—even ultimately virtuous—purveyors of the American experiment in freedom. They want to preserve a history that forgives and forgets all the wrongs committed in the service of the supremacy of wealth. They want to remain the heroes of the country’s history, despite all evidence to the contrary.

      As Barbara and Karen Fields write in Racecraft:

      In racial disguise, inequality wears a surface camouflage that makes inequality in its most general form—the form that marks and distorts every aspect of our social and political life—hard to see, harder to discuss, and nearly impossible to tackle.

      1. JBird4049

        It is the emotional and historical elimination of whole groups of people and classes to support a more useful narrative. A more subtle kind of social book burning. George Orwell would have enjoyed, I think, analyzing and skewering.

        Has anyone noticed that the two hands are washing the other? This is one of the things that the New Republic is doing. The advocates of critical race theory provoke a backlash from the thankful conservatives, racists, and Republican politicians who are happy to get the masses riled up, the donations in, and get more votes while using it to blunt the criticism of the obvious endemic, systemic real racism. The thankful liberal, woke, and Democratic politicians happy get the masses riled up, the donations in, and get more votes while using it to blunt the criticism of the obvious endemic, systemic real poverty, which has been a thing for a few centuries now.

        It is almost like this is all planned, at least by a few individuals, just like all those news stories that come out simultaneously, with the same wording, and in just about all the major news outlets in the radio, print, broadcasting, and on the internet.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Which is the whole, sole and only reason that the NYTimes would be THE paper to commission and deploy the 1619 Project, as part of a broader Psychological Operations campaign against Lower Class Social Agitationaries.

    4. JTMcPhee

      The bankruptcy lawyers in the Northern District of Illinois used to be known as the Forty Thieves. Some of them have ended up on the bench and they get appointed as special masters and “trustees in bankruptcy.” The latter two positions are quite lucrative rackets. I sat through bankruptcy fee petition hearings many years ago (late 70s) where the grift was so bad that one judge (there being investigative reporters present that day) actually told off the lawyers asking $500 an hour for secretarial and paralegal “billable hours” in addition to the $3,000 (IIRC) per hour for lawyer billables (which were also vastly inflated for the work actually needed for filing of routine motions.) One book on the whole subject of the corrupt “rule of law” here in the Empire is “The Death of the Law” by Lois Forer.

    5. hunkerdown

      I like Caity Johnstone’s plan, to go down swinging.

      Just throw sand in the gears of the machine and try to wake people up in whatever way you can. No one person can win this, but we can each shine a bit more light on things for others and make life a bit harder for the bastards. You can’t do everything, but you can do your bit.

  13. clem

    >Possible Dog and Rat Infections
    >White-Tailed Deer Exposed to SARS-CoV-2
    just a thought:
    would it be possible that something like the “discovery” of america (entry of measles & smallpox) with mass death repeats itself (this time with wild animals)?

      1. LawnDart

        Interesting to see what the effect on the affected may be– should affected animals (especially rodents and livestock) in effect act as viral pools… …ye gawds.

      2. pasha

        michigan already has an out-of-control deer problem, caused by steady decrease in hunting and removal of natural predators. my county has the highest incidence of car-deer accidents per capita in the u.s. so now they not only carry lyme’s ticks but covid-19 as well?

  14. jr

    This is so screwed up. This is Saager talking about why the vaccines are working so why do we need to mask up again? He see’s it as elite liberal hand-wringing and CDC incompetence. He’s got the last part right but he is completely over the rainbow on the vaccines, he see’s no problems ahead. If you’re vaccinated, you “won’t die” if you get COVID. Now that’s the bar, not “avoid getting COVID at all costs!” but “hey, you won’t die”. I’ve heard this from more than once source. Long COVID anyone?

    Then there is the ideology. It’s a “free country” he has blurted out more than once in relation to masking. Whether COVID is concerned with notions of personal liberty is left out of the discussion.

    So it’s Saager using faulty information to criticize the (finally) sensible masking information the CDC is putting out there, arguably with some authority given the the CDC was poo-pooing masks not so long ago. So bad info degrades good info because bad info. Someone here mentioned something recently about when the B.S. gets so deep people start thinking it’s solid ground they are standing on or some such….

    1. Mikel

      All of these elite or assorted well-off are ok with the idea of long covid because they could afford the doctor bills and the time off.

      They can “live with the Covid medical bills”.

      Nobody ever puts it that why when they spout off about “living with Covid.”

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Saagar was so off base on that one he wasn’t even in the stadium.

      He can be such a millennial putz sometimes–they both can.

      Really liked the discussion at the end when Krystal suggested that somebody make pfizer STFU about boosters, because it’s giving people the idea that they think their own “vaccines” don’t work. Gee, ya think?

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Notice how Krystal stays more or less silent during Saager’s mask rants. Or so it seems to me. I’m a little surprised she doesn’t try and “nudge”* him toward a more reasonable position on them.

      *nudge being the word chosen by behavioral scientists maggots that want to improve the cattle, er, us, according to a nova or nova like pbs progrm I sort of watched (half asleep/daze such that I didn’t reach for the remote to shut it off).

      1. JBird4049

        There is so much flying fecal matter from the CDC and others, I am not surprised that Saagar, or anyone else, might get something wrong. Who do you trust? And even when you can trust a person to be decent and honest, can you trust what they think they know is true is true? Again, it is a unending effort to get through the flying bafflegab and lies. If he got something wrong, I’m going to give him some slack as he is usually right.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Rather a significant thing to get wrong and particularly to double down on, but I agree that Saagar has a lot going for him.

          I’m not finding the format for non subscribers as good as that in The Hill and I much prefer donations to subscriptions so I’m not quite as much of a regular now.

    4. Pelham

      Agreed, emphasis on the risk of long Covid. I saw the Saagar segment, which came perilously close to Tucker Carlson country. But even Krystal’s response was lousy, basically saying that mask-wearing should be entirely optional. She appears to be unaware that masks are primarily good at protecting OTHER PEOPLE in case you’re a spreader. They’re not nearly as effective at protecting an uninfected wearer.

      But regardless of the video skeptics’ various objections, it seems it would be a rather simple matter to deflate their various arguments by sharing 3 or 4 informative and well-accepted bits of information on what we know about the virus, vaccines and preventive measures. That, however, is out of the question as it would knock the little soapboxes out from under their feet, and we can’t have that.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Crimea ‘water war’ opens new front in Russia-Ukraine conflict”

    There seems to be an assumption in this article that if the Ukraine takes over Crimea again, that the dam stopping the river flow into Crimea would be knocked down allowing the waters to once again flow. I seriously doubt that that would ever happen. As it is a mostly Russian population living there, I would guess that it would stay in place to punish those people for their ‘disloyalty.’ And those Crimean Tatars who are making sure that the waters stay blocked will find under a Ukrainian regime the same treatment that they received when it was under Ukrainian control years ago – malignant neglect.

  16. marym

    Yay for those Republican governors and Trump who got the vaccine (of course they did) and boo to liberals for not acknowledging this. Meanwhile the policies and rhetoric of those same Republicans have been as much a failure of public health policy and contributed as much to civic discord as anything Democrats have done.

    Today from a vaccinated governor cited in the article:
    TX: “Texas Gov. Abbott threatens fines again against local officials and businesses that enforce mask mandates, vaccine requirements…“The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates,” Abbott said in a statement.”

    “personal responsibility” except for driving while suspected of migrantness:
    “On Wednesday, Abbott issued the order, allowing Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to reroute civilian vehicles back to their origin point or a port of entry, or seize the vehicles, if police suspect the driver is transporting migrants who are infected with the virus.”

    (Most would-be migrants are currently turned away at the border based on Trump/Biden Title 42 policy. There are testing and vaccination procedures for migrants allowed to enter, although, like everything else, it’s probably flawed. Here’s a link with an overview and additional links.)

    1. Procopius

      Let’s see… “Department of Public Safety,” check… “seize the vehicles,” check… “suspected of,” check. Fits neoliberal guidelines. Just out of curiosity, does the new order say anything about what happens if the car is NOT transporting migrants “who are infected with the virus?” See, news stories never mention that. We really need to end “administrative seizure of assets.” It’s such a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment. Even Clarence Thomas mentioned that a few years ago.

  17. Eelok

    The snarky comeback tweet is fine as far as an interaction with an antimasker goes (although the sanctimony still irritates me) but it’s also totally the wrong framing. If the only people who masked up were those who work with the vulnerable, nowhere near enough people would be wearing masks! It’s similar to the error Yves and others have identified with Biden’s acceptance of the right wing narrative on masks:

    In this exchange, the supposed “winner” is still conceding that masks are an imposition we must accept to protect the vulnerable, rather than a collective responsibility that benefits everyone when the numbers don’t spike, the “economy” (which is apparently just indoor restaurants and gyms now, but I digress) can stay open, and the healthcare system doesn’t get clobbered.

    It’s interesting to me that Biden/liberals in the US are all in on this mistake, while in Ontario we’ve never dropped our mask mandate, despite having our own inept, right-wing pandering Premier in charge of things who has bungled plenty of other aspects of the pandemic response.

      1. griffen

        Clear as mud! Feel like we need a Miyagi reference.

        Daniel san, mask off mask on mask off mask on. \sarc

        1. Carolinian

          A friend was visiting Gatlinburg, TN and reports huge crowds, no masks. One suspects that telling America to mask up after telling them not to (if vaccinated) may not fly. Roll out the Ivermectin?

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      “Snappy comeback, but does winning the day make a difference?”

      At some point you’ve got to say, who cares? A doctor should not have to put up with guff from some venomous counter jockey on account of wearing a mask. Not just cause he’s a doctor, but because citizens on the street should not have to put up with snotty little taunts about it. Period.

      Sneering heels who bolster their egos by taunting customers in work interactions aren’t worthy recipient of your sympathy*. Most people who refrain from masks – wisely or not – do not behave this way. Fauci’s behavior, Walensky’s behavior, the pious snottiness of writers at the New Yorker do not magically make it okay for someone to be a jerk at a lunch counter. That deli counter a-hole got the minimum smack down he deserved with that doctor’s comeback.

      *(Also, it’s rarely employees who act this way. It’s self important owners who are most likely to drive away customers like this.)

      1. fresno dan

        July 30, 2021 at 11:45 am
        There does seem to me to be an inconsistency from Lambert in which any percieived slight against anti maskers or anti vaxxers is called out, but the avalanche of right wing media disinformation on vaccines and masks is seldom (?never?) addressed.
        Republican govenor upon republican governor attempt to OUTLAW mask wearing, a number of republican congressmen defy the House of Representative rules on wearing masks, and a doctor responding to a right wing meme of mask wearers being cowards is what is significant to post with regard to masks?
        The fact is lack of civility or eloquence or past errors on certain points by CDC or Biden is not why people who don’t wear masks don’t wear masks.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > but the avalanche of right wing media disinformation on vaccines and masks is seldom (?never?) addressed.

          Because 99.9% of it is crap. There’s an enormous industry devoted to justified albeit click-hungry and tribal fulmination against anti-maskers, and I don’t see any reason for me to add my tiny voice to an already enormous chorus (plus some sources I’d never link to any case, for the exact same reason I’d never link to, say, Breitbart).

          It is, however, the public health establishment’s job to get masking right, and from Fauci’s Noble Lie to this very day, the CDC has screwed it up. That’s the story. It’s a story of systemic failure across administrations, and it’s rarely told. Given that my time is limited, the untold story seems the appropriate focus.

          1. fresno dan

            Lambert Strether
            July 30, 2021 at 2:19 pm
            1st, I respect all your hard work and your intellect. Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t spend my time reading what you post.
            So what you say is true enough, but I think it ISN”T JUST RIGHT WING MEDIA. Republican govenors and republican congressmen make and influence policy. They are making arguments, and to ignore them is to acquiese to them. I think there are complex issues when looking at how disease spreads at what is the best practical policy is. But I cannot find a moral equivalence between Fauci/CDC and Abbot or DeSantis (as well as others). There are errors of judgement / understanding and there is advocating policies that indisputably will kill people because that is what appeases your tribe…
            You can’t expect every soldier to jump on a grenade, but you sure as hell can expect him not to throw a grenade into his own platoon.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Here is an article about Texas Governor Abbott’s recent action of presuming to ban Texas localities from imposing their own mask and/or vaccine mandates.


            This is part of a deep and broad Republican / Fox News/ etc. initiative to make counter-corona measures into an object of culture-war-motivated rejection and obstruction. Pretending it isn’t happening won’t magically stop it from happening, or magically go back in time to magically prevent it from having happened.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Maybe while Abbott is at it, he can bring out a law saying that people should rinse themselves down with gasoline to prove how harmless it is.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                And encourage them to light up a cigarette and smoke it, to show their independence and to own the ” no smoking” liberals.

  18. allan

    Four vaccinated, two unvaccinated passengers test positive for COVID on Royal Caribbean ship
    [USA Today]

    Complete shocker, did not see this coming.

    Not all passengers on board Adventure of the Seas have been notified of the COVID-19 cases on board. Close contacts, have been alerted and have been given a PCR test. Friday, the rest of the ship will be alerted through an announcement from the captain, according to Sierra-Caro.

    The ship is currently docked in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, where many passengers have disembarked for activities such as shore excursions. Typically, according to Sierra-Caro, an announcement like this will be made once passengers return to the ship before departing.

    Not smallpox on blankets, but close.

  19. Mikel

    Re: Nanjing / Airplane cleaners

    “But how did the cleaners catch the disease? Aerosols or fomites…”

    Once the plane lands and door opens for passengers to depart, don’t the air filters dealing with re-circulated air turn off?
    What about those moments for everyone, on a packed flight?

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Finnish “Tiira 1″, home built from farm equipment and flown without aviation experience in 1973”

    First off, I will say that this is a very nice achievement that. Nice lines on it too. But has anybody heard about the time back in WW2 when POWs built a glider in an attic in Colditz prison without their guards knowing about it?

    1. Carolinian

      Yes we have. As for the link, those old Volkswagen engines are probably hard to come by these days. But homebuilts are a big thing in the US. Off the shelf small aircraft are very expensive.

    2. Synoia

      Yes, I believe the the Glider is discussed in “They have there Exists” by Airey Neave. and I in in Douglas Bader’s autobiography, “Reach for the Sky.”

    3. fresno dan

      But has anybody heard about the time back in WW2 when POWs built a glider in an attic in Colditz prison without their guards knowing about it?
      Read the book and saw the movie (1955) – but that was a phase I was in about 40 years ago.

      1. RMO

        Volkswagen flat fours aren’t even remotely hard to come by even here well into the 21st century. There’s also a fair sized industry producing parts and complete engines based on the VW flat four specifically for home built aircraft use. Converting your own VW for aircraft use isn’t as popular as it was in the 60s 70s and 80s but that’s because of the much greater variety of engines built specifically for home built light aircraft use these days.

  21. Mikel

    So these booster shots and mandates.

    Would the unvaccinated start with the latest shots or are they expected to line up shots 1, 2,3, and/or 4 in a small time frame? Like that is not a crazy experiment in itself!

    Has the madness been thought through?

    1. Maritimer

      There’s gonna be an App for that.

      Anyone remember Let’s Make A Deal: “Do you want Vax #1, Vax #2, Vax #3, Vax…..”

      All so reflective of The Silicon Valley-Gates Rackets: products which never work properly, must be constantly updated at your expense. Just substitute Vax for WIndows and presto, all New Pharma Scheme.

      1. hunkerdown

        Monty opens vaccines #1, #2, and #3, and behind each finds a goat. Do you want to change your selection? y/n

  22. antidlc

    In July, 2020, HHS issued this press release:

    U.S. Government Engages Pfizer to Produce Millions of Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense (DoD) today announced an agreement with U.S.-based Pfizer Inc. for large-scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States following the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval. The agreement also allows the U.S. government to acquire an additional 500 million doses.

    By “agreement”, I assume they mean a contract.

    Question: Where can I find a copy of this agreement/contract?

    Just curious as to what it says.

    1. amfortas the hippie

      idiocy abounds
      im in san antone again
      second trip this week
      more masking evident compared to tuesday
      and the va and this here specialty hospital , as well as wifes chemopalace, are all back to stringent measures
      im in the car in the parking lot
      when i get home and on a device with an actual keyboard, i have 2 rousing tales for you all
      another layer of chaos has been added to my life this week, and its a doozy
      shitfountains and amfortas launches a crusade
      fun times
      film at 11

      1. Daryl

        > more masking evident compared to tuesday

        Interesting. I have been going to the store and I would guess 1 in 10 have been wearing masks with little variation. I’m about to stop going back in though.

        Hope everything is ok Amfortas.

        1. amfortas the hippie

          im in the medcenter part of town? which likely skews the sample.
          and im fine, if a bit exhauted and harried
          i cant tell the tale on this tiny keyboard(cracked screen, too)
          but i cant wait to get home and fill yall in
          its pretty crazy, even by my standards

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            after a skinnydip, and a tall-boy cerveza….after just getting back from all day in the car in san antone.
            i’ll drop it here, so as not to clog up watercooler:

            so…in addition to the ongoing grasshopper plague, the herbicidal manure problem, and wife’ continuing adventures with cancer…all pretty well incorporated into the background noise of my life….and on top of the last 3 months of running mom to san antone for stepdad’s continuing adventures in icu at the VA…
            we got a call tuesday morning from my mother in law…her toilet had exploded…again.
            Some background….our small city has been bringing the ancient infrastructure into the 21st century, over the last so many years. Credit, where due.
            Lots of grants, lots of bonds, lots of extra work for the city guys…and it necessarily takes a long time(pop:3400 or so)

            so last october, they/someone(schools upstream) were doing something with the sewerlines upstream from MIL’s house…and sent a bolus of shitwater down the pipe.
            And it hit a clog right downstream from her, where several WW2 Era lines converge in a dry creek bottom.
            So her toilet exploded and created a fountain of raw sewage in her little house.
            Ruined everything she owned.
            Her home insurance paid for cleanup, tearout, and rebuiling the insides, including new wiring and plumbing.
            Meanwhile, city fined her $4k for the pile of shitstained debris that wouldn’t fit in the big dumpster they brought.
            I was assured, back then, that the city would put a backflow preventer and a pop-off valve between her and the city.
            (they didn’t…and, my bad, I got busy with my own BS, thinking this was in-hand)

            so the house is finally done…save for trim and a few other cosmetic details, all the inspections were passed, including plumbing…and she starts moving in.
            new, to her, furniture(my mom donated a couch)…new clothes, and boxes of whatever pictures and other family stuff she had been able to save and clean.
            Then tuesday, she’s in there unpacking her box or two per day, and the toilet explodes again…a shit geyser that re-floods the house.
            City show up and starts messing with the manhole down in the creekbed…big rotorooter…while the fountain of humanure is still erupting inside.
            Her contractor shows up, and immediately runs to the cleanout and unscrews the cap…thus relieving the pressure and moving the fountain to there, outside the house.
            City worker runs over and yells at him, cusses him out…then I arrive, and step in between them, and he comes for me…i gandalfed my walking stick down and told him to get his ass back to work.
            I was pretty irate, and not to be trifled with.
            So city manager arrives and starts asskissing and blowing smoke up everybody’s backside(his job, after all) and calling city government…
            I jawbone him that this WILL be made right, and will cost MIL not one thin dime.
            …. and he(on tape) said city would take care of it…and then he called servepro.
            Then I learned that there was no backflow preventer or pop-off valve…they had never been installed.
            So this is on the city, as far as I am concerned.
            He says, “yeah, we;ll do that after lunch”
            didn’t even know where the line was…going off hand drawn, 70-100 year old maps….and by this time, I was expecting a repeat, and making her pay for it all.(she was in tears, weeping incessantly under a tree)
            So on my way home, i’m calling the city office, trying to get hold of the mayor…not there—”i don’t know where she’s at”…gave me the wrong cell for her, and then said “well, I guess I don’t have it”.

            And to be clear, it’s common around here for citizens to call their employees at the city, county, etc…on their cells…or even stop by their house on the way home. This is tight knit, small and isolated community, with lots of interlacing kinship ties
            so it’s after hours by the time I get back(this was an all day affair)…so I call everyone I know who is in any way adjacent to the local bougie set who take turns with things like city council, school board, etc.
            I don’t live in the city, itself, so never thought to get all their numbers.(so, with just the one city, this county is sort of like a city-state…i don’t live “in town”, but i consider myself just as much a citizen as anyone…de facto,if not de jure, city and county are one)
            But I talked to 6-7 people…and told the tale(they had already heard about it) and mentioned that I would be “taking up the cross” over this to one such person(a pious man)…he’s like “oh, shit”, laughing…and I say “yeah, man…i’ll have CNN and an army of wannabe Ida Tarbells camped out on the square by the end of the week”
            …because the story is just too delicious:
            Poor Latina Widow, a Pillar of the Community, rendered Homeless Twice by Texas Town’s incompetence.

            Sells itself…and is like cotton candy to the muckrakers I am acquainted with.
            So my phone starts ringing at 8am sharp.
            (found out later, from cleaning ladies, that the city phones were lit up late into the night, with lots of comings and goings)
            county judge, city council people , city manager,their human resources lady(wife has known all of them all her life…i’ve known them for almost 30 years)
            met the city manager and HR lady at the house, in order to meet the city’s insurance adjuster guy, up from San Antone….
            CM showed me the backflow preventer and popoff valve…pic said that happened after hours.

            And my ass shone from all the smooching it got.
            You could see it from space.

            Now, the task is to watch them closely…everybody knows that i’m on point…told MIL, “don’t sign anything until I look it over”.
            It’s no secret that there’s kickbacks and corruption…such is the case with any tiny town in the boonies.
            And this town, like any other, has it’s dark side that connects to that corruption.
            Such is the way of things.
            But this is usually so far in the background from just about everybody not actively involved, that it is largely ignored(i weigh it against progress on the infrastructure upgrade)
            what i’m watching for is shenanigans that will effect my MIL, especially if they cost her money, or any more suffering and grief.
            Lest I fully launch the Crusade I merely rumbled about.

            Aspiring Bougies in the extended Familia mutter about my immediately implemented strategy and talk about their lawyer friend, but I think i’m more effective than any of that is likely to be…my methods are certainly quicker.
            Work began that afternoon, and is ongoing.
            Jungle Drums indicate that this is the top of the agenda.
            Because the optics are terrible.
            There are places in America, in 2021, with problems just like this: 70-100+ year old infrastructure…often privatised(not in this case, thankfully)…that necessarily FAILS UTTERLY at some point…and ordinary folks are made to pay for it and suffer the consequences.

            Don’t Stand For It Where You Live.
            Instead, stand up for your neighbors when BS like this occurs.
            …because that’s what actual revolution(small-r) looks like.
            The people(never forget that they’re people) who run things at this level work for US.
            And they must be reminded of that fact, sometimes…especially over important things like a four foot, violent, shitfountain in an old lady’s house… TWICE, in less than a year.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              to be clear, i have not called CNN, Texas Monthly, or any of the perhaps double handful of Muckrakers i’ve corresponded with over the years.
              this is the only thing i’ve written on the matter, let alone posted online.
              and this is my sole internet home.
              it will be interesting to observe any virality, and how it manifests.

              added: contractor’s wife arrived with him, and ran inside to move boxes onto tables to get them above the 4-5 inch sewage flood…and went to ER that night with “acute methane exposure”.

              still haven’t had a call from the mayor, although she did text that she would be calling me.

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                I know your story is not funny, but it made a hilarious read. I think it amused my inner child.

                Once all is well perhaps you could write it as a short story or television comedy along the lines of the kind of comedy done on Playhouse 90 — e.g. “No Time for Sergeants”.

              2. The Rev Kev

                Man, after reading your account I can see you in a Wrath of God mode now. Good on you for going to bat for your family like that. Maybe to mess with them after everything is fixed is to tell your Mayor to see how many other places have not had backflow preventers installed which she will be held personally responsible for.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  already suggested that, after MIL is made whole, perhaps they should get to steppin and install those on every house that could reasonably be subject to such an event(by looking at those ancient maps, and looking for similar clog-points).
                  last time i bought one, a 6″ pvc backflow preventer was around $50.(mine was for the big greywater line out of my greenhouse clawfoot tub…waters some fruit trees and a mint bed.)
                  even an hundred of them would be cheaper than what just this event will cost…and that’s to say nothing of the scandal and shame.
                  i’ve never purchased a pop-off valve of that size, so i have no idea what they run.
                  “a stitch in time…”, and all.
                  also of note: MIL’s 2 events are not the only such events.
                  i know of at least 4 more…kept carefully quiet.
                  but my spidey sense that day said to expect at the very least footdragging.
                  i’m not gonna let that happen.

              3. petal

                amfortas, I’m so sorry. What a horrible, soul-crushing thing to go through. That poor woman. I’ll send good thoughts out to her tonight.

    2. EMHO80

      Covid Update for Rockwall, TX:
      I had to take my neighbor to the hospital ER early this morning, due to recurring non-Covid health issues.
      When we arrived around 5 a.m. the ER was full and the staff had problems finding a berth for my friend to be examined at.
      The nurses seemed flustered and overwhelmed at the influx of patients. I asked a non-nurse staff member what the ailments for all these patients were, and was told most were believed to be Covid. And that the influx had started a day before. I was unable to find out about vaccination status of patients.
      After making sure my friend was taking care off, I left and decided to go into quarantine and am scheduling a PCR test. I’m glad I was wearing an N95 mask and that I’m fully vaccinated.
      The situation at the ER is very different from what it was 3 weeks ago when I took my friend there before. There had been no long wait times and staff seemed comfortable and not stressed!
      It should also be noted that Rockwall is a rich white collar/PMC town were vaccination uptake was high and so was mask compliance until late May/early June.
      Now you see very few people masked at Walmart or elsewhere!
      Please be careful outthere, and start restocking supplies. My feeling is that we will return to conditions of April 2020 very soon.

  23. Ranger Rick

    Had to repress a laugh when I saw that “Premium Masks” comment. Of course the masks that actually do something* are premium. I wonder how the supply levels of the masks are doing now that they are once again back in fashion?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      3M N95s hard to get (at least the “classic” shaped ones I want). Otherwise, (in the NOT 3M category) the supply is not too bad as of a few days ago.

        1. Mantid

          Ranger, get a respirator. Better than an N95 (filters smaller particulates) and a filter will last a very long time. Also good against fire smoke if you are anywhere east of Oregon/California. Plus, the alien look is a fashion statement in itself.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Joking aside, I’m not at all dissing your intent. I actually bought a full mask respirator. But I’ve never worn it; I’m afraid it would really really scare young kids not to mention some adults. I got an industrial one which would make Darth Vader look friendly, perhaps they make them more subdued.

            1. Carolinian

              I have one that I use for carpentry and such. They are very easy to breathe through and you can check the seal by putting your hands over the two cartridges and inhaling.

              But it wll scare the children. Adventurous wearing one of these in public.

          2. Ana

            Yes. I’ve been using a 3M respirator for a year. Be sure to buy extra snap on filter packs.
            Ana in Sacramento

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Don’t wait. N95’s will almost certainly be hard to find soon unless they have done something about mfg. in country.

  24. Gill

    What’s worse to cripple the country and parasitize the American people?

    “– the honorable John T Dorsey, of the Delaware bankruptcy court.”

    “The venerable Joseph R Biden of the Senate since 1972”

  25. 1UnknownSubject

    Awesome video of the ghost of the mountains. It makes it even better that he/she knocks the camera out of commission.

  26. John k

    How did the cleaners catch the disease, from fomites or inhalation?
    Cleaners often enter the airplane as soon as first gets off, so they are breathing passenger air. Typically they wear gloves, and they clean by wiping down surfaces with antiseptic liquids, so their gloves are likely virus killing surfaces. They seem highly unlikely to become infected from contact, much more likely to get it from inhalation.
    Regardless, it seems odd other passengers didn’t get infected… is it known only cleaners got it? Or maybe the source was the cockpit…
    Complicating the problem, of course, is that presumably the cleaning crew cleaned multiple planes.

      1. marku52

        Plus the aircraft AC, which has been circulating the air through HEPA filters, is turned off. Stagnant air for the cleaners.

        1. rowlf

          It depends on the aircraft and operator. Some set ground power only and that turns off the power supply to most aircraft systems. Some run an auxiliary power unit (APU) to supply 500 degree F air to the aircraft’s air conditioning system (it’s also used for starting engines). When the pandemic started in the US some major airlines went the APU route as testing showed very clean air in the cabin while at the cost of increased fuel use.

    1. Mantid

      Reminds me of what I do on a hot (above 40C) day. Open the car door, count to 10 in a few languages (kinda fun in itself) then get in. The temp drops a quick 6 – 8 degrees. Then open all window as I take off. AC is a cop out and renders a person unaware of their environment. It’s nice to be reminded that we’re all funk’d due to global warming. It’s like a cheap, red eye flight to Venus. Don’t drop any cigarette butts on the Moon as we pass by.

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