Links 8/13/2021

Crumbly Mars Rock, Not Hardware Flaws, Scuttled Perseverance’s First Sample Attempt Scientific American

There’s a Silver Lining in the Extremely Bleak New Climate Report Slate

Policy Lessons – the big picture (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. “One element that would help reconcile all of this, is to restore higher sustainable economic growth. This is the main way to tackle the various challenges and limit the scope for policy tensions. Macrostabilisation policies cannot generate this higher growth. Structural reforms, which have been flagging for some years, are now needed to deliver a vibrant, flexible and competitive economy. Growth-friendly fiscal policies could also play a useful role.”

World Elephant Day

“Ecosystem engineers”:

China elephants: 150,000 evacuated from path of trekking herd BBC. The elephants apparently have their own Twitter account:

I really must commend the Chinese government for managing their trip (as opposed to, say, selling tickets to shoot them from helicopters, as some other countries might have done). That said, I also feel that a world where elephants could roam freely as a matter of course would be a better one (and that goes for a lot of other animals, too).

A Family Affair: How Elephants Build Intimate Social Relationships RoundGlass. Trailer:


Contributions of the EURO 2020 football championship events to a third wave of SARS-CoV-2 in Scotland, 11 June to 7 July 2021 Eurosurveillance. From the Conclusion: “Our results suggest a clear link between the increase in SARS-CoV-2-positive cases among men aged 20−39 years and the EURO 2020. The behaviour surrounding attendance at EURO 2020-related events rather than match attendance itself may have uniquely contributed to Scotland’s third wave. Increased social mixing and travel to London surrounding the games is likely to have increased cases among young men, who currently have lower vaccination coverage than the older population.”

The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is likely comodulated by temperature and by relative humidity PLOS One. From the Abstract: “We observe strong attenuation of transmission in climates with sustained daily temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius and simultaneous mean relative humidity below 78%, with outbreaks occurring at high humidity even where the temperature is high. We hypothesize that temperature and relative humidity comodulate the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 within respiratory droplets.” Colombia is used as a natural experiment.

Barrett leaves Indiana University’s vaccine mandate in place SCOTUSBlog

Missing: Corporate Leadership on Vaccines Barry Ritholtz, Big Picture

Fauci: ‘Inevitably’ everyone will need boosters eventually The Hill. Moving the herd immunity goalposts off the field entirely, good job.

Low vaccination rate among seafarers, suggests Neptune Indicator Hellenic Shipping News


Xi Jinping’s new rules reshape China’s Communist Party decision-making South China Morning Post

Why Xi Jinping Waited Years to Launch His Crackdown on Tycoons Bloomberg

China Tech Crackdown Dampens Luxury Boom Jing Daily

China building new missile silo site, say US defence experts FT. Lots of qualifications: “probably,” “likely,” etc.

China’s Belt and Road Finds Southeast Asia a Tough Slog (PDF) ISEAS. Singapore.

How Mekong River is turning into a new flashpoint in Indo-Pacific Deutsche Welle

Asean and Mekong as Anti-China blocks Khmer Times


China to provide Myanmar junta US$6 million to fund development projects South China Morning Post. A dollar goes a long way in Myanmar…

Japan’s Kirin not planning to exit Myanmar despite coup, losses Reuters


Koli women: fish, friendship and fighting spirit People’s Archive of Rural India

States demand NSW consults before going it alone on eased restrictions Sydney Morning Herald. Australian commentary:

An article by President Kitaoka: The world and Japan after COVID-19-Japan should lead the free world with ODA Japan International Cooperation Agency. Official Development Assistance, including Covid treatment. “Japan also should more actively engage in the production and spread of COVID-19 treatment drugs of Japanese origin, such as Ivermectin and Avigan, as a national project. One of the impediments to getting official approval for those drugs to treat symptoms of COVID-19 is the scarcity of coronavirus patients in Japan. JICA recommends that Japanese pharmaceutical makers carry out clinical trials in Brazil and some other countries where a large number of people continue to be affected by the infectious disease.”

The Koreas

Women Don’t Want to Do It, Men Don’t Have Anyone to Do It with The Blue Roof. See also.


Taliban take Afghanistan’s second-largest city Kandahar Deutsche Welle

US sends 3K troops to Kabul to evacuate some embassy staff AP

Afghans Need a Humanitarian Intervention Right Now Foreign Policy and The world must ensure a democratic future for Afghanistan FT. Sadly, “needs” and “must” do not mean “can.” Obviously.

Israel tries to bridge gap with Diaspora amid fears of strained relations with the West The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes NYT


EU leads vaccine marathon after losing sprint FT

Americans can now officially apply for France’s digital health pass The Points Guy

Peruvian Congress begins offensive against President Castillo MR Online

New Cold War

Russian hypersonic technology expert accused of high treason AP

Biden Administration

FTC’s Khan Urges Blocking More M&A as Lockheed Deal Looms Bloomberg

Realignment and Legitimacy

Leaked (or Stolen?) Dominion Voting Software Released at MyPillow CEO’s ‘Cyber Symposium’ The BradBlog. Trump’s lawyers should have demanded to look at Dominion’s source code, and so what if it’s proprietary? Instead we get this.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

O (No!) Canada: Fast-Moving Proposal Creates Filtering, Blocking and Reporting Rules—and Speech Police to Enforce Them

Health Care

Expand Medicaid, Crush “Predatory Lenders” — How Medical Debt Fuels Financialization NIskanen Center

Sports Desk

Julie suffered 60 concussions during her sporting career. At age 54, her brain has been permanently damaged ABC Australia. Cycling.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Crisis Of Confidence In America’s Military The American Conservative

America Failed Its Way to Counterterrorism Success Foreign Affairs

Class Warfare

The Coal Miners’ Wives Keeping A Strike Alive In Alabama Kim Kelly, Elle. I don’t see why a “woman’s magazine” is covering this when the Times, WaPo, and CNN already have such exhaustive coverage. Oh, wait….

Consultancy Capitalism Is Allowing Private Firms to Control Public Funds Jacobin

The week in US unions, August 5-12 Who Gets The Bird

Looking Closely is Everything Craig Mod

Antidote du jour, “A snapping turtle emerges from weeks of sleeping beneath a muddy lake that had dried up” (via):

Paging Terry Pratchett!

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. schmoe

    That Foreign Affiars article puts the Onion to shame:

    ” In Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere, the United States has repeatedly disrupted or destroyed territorial safe havens carved out by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), al Qaeda, and their offshoots and affiliates.”

    They forgot to mention the numerous US and Israeli air forces that are effectively air cover for ISIS, the TOW-2 anti-tank weapons made in the US that somehow end up in the hands of Al Qaeda affiliates in
    Syria,our establishment of safe havens from Russian airstrikes for jihadis in eastern Syria, PBS’s recent fluff piece on the former head of an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, or John McCain’s courtesy call on jihadis. I could go on for a while.

    And they forgot to mention our sanctions on the country most responsible for beating ISIS (Syria) and that it was Russian air power that helped turned the tide.

    1. Ian Perkins

      The article did mention Libya, where, Foreign Policy would have us believe, the US ‘led the charge to protect civilians’, or was ‘instrumental in doing so’. Some protection. In any case, a humanitarian bombing campaign is underway – last chance while the Afghan government welcomes it?

        1. lance ringquist

          the god father of humanitarian air wars.

          President Bill Clinton and Yugoslavia
          excerpted from the book
          Lying for Empire
          How to Commit War Crimes With A Straight Face
          by David Model
          Common Courage Press, 2005, paper

          Orwellian bastardization of language was never more evident than when the bombing of Serbia was called a humanitarian campaign. In an Orwellian inversion of language where war becomes peace and hate becomes love, Clinton defined the bombing of Serbia as a humanitarian campaign when, in fact, the United States and other NATO leaders were engaged in a campaign to break up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under the pretext of stopping ethnic cleansing. The SFRY was guilty of preserving its socialist approach to social and economic policy after the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Michael Parenti explained, in To Kill a Nation The Attack on Yugoslavia, that:
          … Yugoslavia (FRY) remained the only nation in the region that would not voluntarily discard what remained of its socialism and install an unalloyed free-market system… It also proudly had no interest in joining NATO. The US goal has been to transform the FRY into a Third World region, a cluster of weak right-wing principalities
          … One test of U.S. intentions in the bombing of Serbia is to compare the atrocities in Kosovo to those occurring in Turkey at the same time. Since 1980, Turkey has been committing atrocities against its Kurdish population with $15 billion of arms from the United States. Forty thousand Kurds have been killed and two million rendered homeless. Before the NATO bombing of Serbia began, 2000 people had been killed as a result of the civil war in atrocities in Kosovo to those occurring in Turkey at the same time. Since Serbia. If the U.S. was pursuing humanitarian goals why was it not only turning a blind eye to the atrocities perpetrated against the Kurds but also arming Turkey?…

        2. Harry

          Its for their own good. Like economic sanctions. Cos the one thing that people who have to put up with a dictator need, is difficulty obtaining food, fuel and medicines. Im sure they will thank us later.

        1. Harry

          Well, sometimes you need to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Admittedly using fuel air bombs and whiskey pete for breakfast cooking seems like overkill, but there are a lot of challenges in running an effective “humanitarian military campaign”. Oh look, another oxymoron!

          1. Ian Perkins

            “I love the smell of uranium in the morning,” as Lt Kilgore might have put it. “We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ . . . The smell, you know that vaporised smell. Smelled like victory.”

      1. Procopius

        Yeah, humanitarian bombing campaign. Not only is their city taken over by the Taliban, they also get bombed. “America Failed Its Way to Counterterrorism Success.” So much winning I’m sick of it.

    2. jrkrideau

      Ah yes, nothing like massive flows of refugees, hundreds of thousands dead, a few ruined countries and the spread of Al Quaidi clones from Nigeria to Yemen to Mozambique to help prevent terrorist attacks on the USA.

      That has got to be the least aware article I have read in years.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        That has got to be the least aware article I have read in years.

        I find myself saying this every few weeks. Just when you think TPTB can’t get any more tone deaf and out to lunch they prove you wrong…

        1. Ian Perkins

          Perhaps they’re not so tone deaf and out to lunch, rather, setting and maintaining a line, an agenda. Politicians, MSM, and social media can now quote Foreign Policy magazine, a recognised authority on foreign policy, as saying blah blah blah, and soon anyone with dissenting views will be auto-banned from all media, if not hunted down as traitors and terrorists. Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and others can go into the memory hole, and emerge from the other hole as stunning victories for Freedom and Democracy.

    3. George Phillies

      “Waging Peace through Unlimited Firepower”

      To quote the article: “Washington would also have to commit its forces to a final military campaign to defend Afghan cities until the Taliban capitulate to talks” The Taliban didn’t capitulate in the last 20 years, so they are unlikely to capitulate now, not to mention that they already control a substantial number of cities. Driving them out of those cities will have the outcome seen in Falluja and several other places, namely the city will be destroyed.

      There is also the practical matter that if the Taliban control the surrounding rural areas, where a majority of the people live, they can resort to siege warfare, cutting the cities off from food, fuel, power, and in some cases water.

  2. zagonostra

    >Barrett leaves Indiana University’s vaccine mandate in place SCOTUS Blog

    A Trump appointee no less. Goes against the narrative being peddled that the troglodytes Trumpsters are anti-vax.

    More importantly, historically SCOTUS has never been much of a stalwart against the State’s forced injections and sterilization laws. It’s a matter of settled (unsettling) case law. In 1905 US Supreme Court case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts declared vaccination was constitutional and subject to State enforcement.

    This set the precedent for Buck vs. Bell and the 1924 Sterilization Act referred to below.

    This precedent case decided in favor of compulsory vaccination in order to prevent the greater public from infection by a diseased individual. Laughlin argued that like compulsory vaccination, sterilization involved seizing people and subjecting them to intrusive operations, but for the greater good. This case would later serve as a precedent when the US Supreme Court faced the decision of sterilizing Carrie Buck in accordance to the law in the trial of Buck v. Bell (1927)

    Those who blithely cheer on ACB’s decision, which was summarily made without any comments, are not thinking about the untoward consequences of what is taking place or the arguments made by the defendants in the Nuremberg trials where U.S.’s eugenics laws were used as exculpatory evidence that what was done was within the purview of public policy.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Just as a reminder, here are the definitions of “vaccine” and “immunity” from the cdc’s own mouth:

      Let’s start by defining several basic terms:

      Immunity: Protection from an infectious disease. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.

      Vaccine: A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.

      Vaccination: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.

      Immunization: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination or inoculation.

      It apparently takes some pretty high-level, elite, (you might even call it “supreme”) jurisprudential education and experience to read the two words “produce immunity” and equate it with “you’ll probably only get ‘a little’ sick and probably won’t have to go to the hospital, at least for the next 4 or 5 months, and for the ‘variants’ that we know about now.”

      I guess that’s why there are only nine of ’em for the whole country. Such power to reason is rare indeed.

      1. Basil Pesto

        your repeated attempts to argue semantically the “not a real vaccine!!1!” meme based on a narrow reading of a single CDC webpage have been repudiated by commenters more knowledgeable on the subject with convincing reference to, for example, the flu vaccine.

        1. Isotope_C14

          With the quality of data being collected by CDC and VAERS I don’t know how any person could hang a flag to either side.

          As a microbiologist, I wouldn’t call this a vaccine, I’d call it a potentially beneficial prophylactic treatment for a high risk group.

          Anecdotally, all the girls that run the bar that I shouldn’t go to have incredibly whacked long-term symptoms. All of them are under 30. Most of them are having bizzare menstrual problems. One, who is utterly adorable and reminds me of a young Terry Farrell hasn’t had her time of the month in 55 days. One, who I won’t describe further who had long-Covid – double vaxxed – has a new condition, Endometriosis. This is not normal. She was totally healthy before, and has lost most of her muscle mass. Last I saw her she was probably 120/130lbs – note she’s 6’1 or so. That would be my guess, as far as the weight, she’s lost her shape, and wasn’t carrying much fat when she was muscular.

          Basil Pesto, I was sitting there at a bar with my friend who thinks everyone who says something doesn’t smell right about these “vaccines” is a “conspiracy theorist” after he sat there and heard what the bartender girls problems were. He STILL won’t believe it.

          Are you listening to the signal? I mean no disrespect by this, sometimes what we’ve decided to believe is unfortunately wrong.

          1. Basil Pesto

            No disrespect detected, so fear not. I have not formed a final opinion on the vaccines, and am still deciding whether to get one based on 1. the risk profile of the vaccines, and 2. my ongoing analysis of my government’s policy (see my very long post further below). Regards 1., in a brief exchange I had with IM Doc a couple months back, I summarised one of his arguments that the novel vaccines have a risk profile of their own (and the CDC’s data collection failures are making it hard to monitor these), and for me nothing has changed there.

            I took issue with Mr/Ms Everdeen’s ongoing attempt, with a pretty flimsy evidentiary base (a single CDC webpage), to argue that the mRNA vaccines aren’t actually vaccines, and I’ve recalled commenters here pointing out that there’s a bit more to it than that. I’d also submit that

            I wouldn’t call this a vaccine, I’d call it a potentially beneficial prophylactic treatment for a high risk group.

            is a description that applies just as well to what we call the flu vaccine.

            my point here is that it’s a lame semantic argument and not an especially persuasive, relevant or damning one, though she seems to think it’s all three.

            Furthermore, this:

            It apparently takes some pretty high-level, elite, (you might even call it “supreme”) jurisprudential education and experience to read the two words “produce immunity” and equate it with “you’ll probably only get ‘a little’ sick and probably won’t have to go to the hospital, at least for the next 4 or 5 months, and for the ‘variants’ that we know about now.”

            I guess that’s why there are only nine of ’em for the whole country. Such power to reason is rare indeed.

            is non-sensical crankery. It is not in the (any?) supreme court’s authority or competence to second guess public health policy (even when the public health policy is incompetent, as we know the CDC’s advice has been), least of all in response to a filing for an emergency injunction.

          2. The Rev Kev

            August 13, 2021 at 5:07 pm’

            From your description of the problems that all the girls that run the bar are experiencing, that sounds very ominous and especially for such a young age group. That is one helluva strong signal that and I wonder if such problems are being investigated.

            1. Isotope_C14

              These girls are so sweet and kind, both of them very athletic, very lean, clearly runners/cyclers and in their health-prime.

              I suspect any diagnosis will be unrelated to the shot unfortunately.

          3. mn

            It is funny that you mention this about your lady friends, one of the hospitals I am working at is mandating the vaxx. They actually held a zoom panel conference with Ob-gyn to help ease any fears about potential problems with future fertility. How can they possibly know anything when there are no long term studies. I cannot watch it, all this rah, rah, vaccine is making me crazy. We are all lab rats.

          4. Ian Perkins

            These two women research scientists, both pro-vaccines, have collected 140,000 similar-but-different stories, and quite quickly – one of them was deluged when she raised the topic. They’re troubled by the reports they’ve collected that some people are having their concerns dismissed out of hand by doctors. However,
            ‘The stories collected by Lee and Clancy usually describe only brief disruptions to menstruation. “From what we have seen so far, it appears that the changes to the menstrual cycle seem to be short-lived, just a couple of cycles,” Lee says.’
            Lots more in the article, including why there’s so little data, and why, perhaps, ‘He STILL won’t believe it.’
            Why Reports Of Menstrual Changes After COVID Vaccine Are Tough To Study

    2. Basil Pesto

      that Buck v Bell was a terrible decision does not per se mean that Jacobson was. The shame is not on the Jacobson court, but on the Buck court for being taken in by the specious argument that forced sterilisation was somehow for the greater good, with Jacobson merely being the legal precedent that the state can compel medical intervention, when it’s warranted, to protect public health (unless you think smallpox should’ve gone unchecked?). Put another way, if Buck v Bell was a case about, say, compelling a certain group of people to, I don’t know, wear adult diapers for the greater medical good, with Jacobson used as the precedent, and the court agreed that, “yes, actually, your argument that Scientologists (or whomever) must be compelled to wear adult diapers for the public health benefit of the whole population is very compelling” and ruled in favour, it would again be a poor reflection on that court’s decision, not the Jacobson court’s decision.

      I don’t know what the USSC’s procedures for injunctive relief are, so I can’t say whether ACB’s summary decision was unusual (I suspect not). I did actually just read the brief submitted to the court and while it has some interesting arguments here and there (I note that they too try to paint Jacobson in a morally dubious light because it was used as precedent in Bell), it’s mostly pretty shabby imo (the shabbiness of some of those arguments have been discussed ad nauseam in comments here).

      Addendum: okay, a two hour rabbit hole on USSC rules and procedure later and I’m a bit clearer on what happens with the court and injunctions: they give them very rarely and narrowly. Hence, I suspect, ACB’s summary dismissal. See Sotamayor here for a description of the court’s parsimony with regard to granting injunctive relief. See also this, because it’s a Covid-relevant case which does actually grant injunction, and a pretty interesting discussion. Incidentally, in that case, Gorsuch (who seems like an absolute wanker, but tbf gets off a pretty good line about acupuncture) sceptically and rather disproportionately refers to Jacobson, and is rebuked for it (and his obnoxiousness) later by CJ Roberts in his dissent.

      1. zagonostra

        Let’s simplify this.

        Leaving aside penalties. exemptions and mechanism of enforcement, if the Fed gov’t decreed that all citizens are required to take a CV injection, would you be ok with that? And, do you think, given prior SCOTUS rulings, such a statute would be deemed to be constitutional?

    1. diptherio

      We were just trying to be polite and give you the first opportunity, Dan. Age before beauty, ya know? ;-)

  3. fresno dan

    I posted this yesterday, but it was very late in the day – if you haven’t seen it, its not a rerun!
    Fresno Dan’s hospital adventure
    see July 13, 2021 posting at 8:34 for background
    So I have been having some atrial “flutter” problems (apparently, atrial fibrilation and atrial flutter are irregular heart beats of the atrium, but different). I had gotten myself a cardiologist, had more cardiac tests, and was scheduled for a consultation on August 18, 2021. My condition had been declining for a while, and it declined preciptiously. Finally, on Saturday, August 7 I was gasping for air just sitting in my chair. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and I drove to the emergency room of Saint Agnes hospital in Fresno. (I was afraid I would not be able to speak if I called an ambulance).

    I arrived at the hospital at 10:30 pm, which is a very bad time for admittance to a hospital, but a great time for observing a hospital emergency room. The hospital doesn’t pay too much attention to HIPAA (patient privacy law). The triage “room” was three sided, and so stuffed with …stuff that the patients were essentially sitting out the open end. I could hear what they had to say to the triage – well, I know he wasn’t a physician or registered nurse. Maybe physician’s assitant? So there was this 13,14,15 year old girl who had been in a serious car accident 9 years ealier, suffered traumatic brain injury (they were sitting next to me with an empty chair between us, and the girl seemed able to hold a normal conversation). She had also lost her colon, 2 feet of ilium and a host of other injuries. No matter how bad you think you got it, there are others far, far, FAR worse off.
    So after a mere 4 hours, my turn to see the triage guy. The female RN asked a few questions, and the triage guy listened to my heart and admitted* me forthwith.
    You may think being in a hospital bed in a hospital emergency room means you have been admitted to a hospital – and you would be wrong. Other than letting medicare and insurance companies weasel out of paying for you hospital stay, what could possibly be the distinction for this arbitrary and capricious payment rule? Absurd, ridiculous, and despicable.
    So I got to sit in the emergency examination room for about 12 hours. I got treated with IV cardizem – and it was like a miracle. I could at least breath normally. Hooked up to a heart montior, I amused myself by trying to control my pulse rate. It had intially been 140, but after the IV I was able to think it down to 70. It had tendency to want to be at 90. And I could observe the emergency room nurses in action – whatever they pay them, IT AIN’T ENOUGH. There was an 83 old woman with dementia next to me, and the male nurse had the patience of a saint. He handled his duties with compassion, expertise, total aplomb, and humor. Not to mention all the other minor and major emergencies.
    So seeing that the IV cardizem worked so well, they decided to take me off that to torture me. Or maybe to see how I would do on pill form of the drug. Not nearly as well, but I could still breath. Finally, around 4 pm Sunday I was transferred to a semi private room. My roomate was a young black man who had been shot 6 months prior in the hip, leg, and foot, in for some follow up. He said he had been the victim of mistaken identiy (I overheard him talking to someone else – a housekeeping woman I believe). I introduced myself when I had to get up to go the bathroom as his bed was next to the bathroom and wished him good luck in his treatment. He was very courteous and respectful – and I don’t think it was an act.

    So after about 3 hours in this room, I was transferred to the ?cardiac intevention ward? to a single person room. I got an IV of some different drugs and a portable heart monitor was attached. A hospitalist had seen me in the emergency room, as well as a cardiologist. Now, this cardiologist in the emergency room seemed to think the most important thing was to stick with one cardiologist – no mid stream switching of cardiologists, or too many cariologists spoil the patient (I should stick with the cardiologist I was being assigned to in the hospital – ABC – always be closing ) Now another cardiologist saw me in this ward, and he seemed most concerned about taking away business from my present cardiologist. He was to be the guy to do the ablation should I decide on that. I decided to go with ablation – I had a friend who had had it done and he was a pretty smart guy. I did not want to leave the hospital dependent on the pill form of cardizem. Maybe if I had started earlier in getting a cardologist I would have more time to ponder my options, but I just wanted to breathe. They gave me a shot of heparin, so I would have nice contrasting purple sploches for all the places they poked me…
    They also did a covid test on me where the stick the swab up your nose into your brain (I am kidding about sticking it into your brain). They found no covid, and I am pretty sure they would have found no brain if they had stuck the swab up further.
    So I was scheduled for the ablation procedure on Monday at 4 pm. Which came and went. So I was scheduled for Tuesday at 11:30. Some physical therapists took me for a walk, where they discovered that any exertion what so ever raised my heart rate. I was put back on cardizem IV.
    I was put under for the procedure, and had some of the most realistic and coherent hallucinations I have every had. The worst part was the four hours after the procedure that one has to lay flat without moving so your groin incison can clot.
    So Wednesday arrived, and around 4 pm they figured out I was beginning to stink and I should leave. The nurses no longer give sponge bathes – you have to do it your self. As I had IV’s in both arms, and my chest was plastered with cardiac monitor patches, I did an abysmal job of self cleaning.
    Soooo…two days since procedure. When sitting I can breathe, but still the most mild exertion leaves me winded. I see the cardiologist who apparently did the procedure tomorrow.
    This is also my first hospitalization under Medicare Part A (I don’t have Part B, I kept my Federal retiree health insurance) so I will be very interested in the costs and reimbursements. As I was in longer than the 2 midnight rule, medicare should pay 80% – but we shall see….

    1. Tom Stone

      Dan, I’m glad things worked out as well as they did.
      I waited too long to get to the ER in 2019, a month before I qualified for Medicare.
      3 days in ICU and two days on the general ward then 2 months on Oxygen with home health care.
      The bill was big enough that I started laughing when I saw it.

      1. fresno dan

        Tom Stone
        August 13, 2021 at 8:03 am
        I’m glad you survived seeing the bill…seriously, I wonder how many people fall over dead when they see their bill? And I hope you’ve recovered!

      1. fresno dan

        August 13, 2021 at 8:08 am
        Supposedly, if a doctor treats a medicare patient, they are bound to accept medicare reimbursement rates. But of course, that only applies if your being treated for something that medicare covers – that is why I made the crack about do you believe you have been admitted to the hospital
        One form of surprise billing is prevalent in Medicare: hospital observation status. This issue affects Medicare beneficiaries in hospitals who are never admitted as inpatients but receive medically necessary care as if they were. Since Medicare only covers a post-hospital skilled nursing facility stay if the beneficiary was officially admitted to the hospital for three consecutive days, those classified as “outpatients” or as being under “observation status” can face enormous out-of-pocket costs if they need follow-up care. Often, these individuals didn’t even know they were on observation status—or know to ask.

        The bipartisan Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act (H.R. 1682/S. 753) would close this loophole and protect beneficiaries from high, and often surprise, medical costs for the skilled nursing facility care they require after hospitalization.

        Due to robust safeguards, Medicare otherwise limits the amount of surprise billing providers can engage in, but fear of surprise billing is nevertheless on the rise among people with Medicare coverage. A survey of Medicare beneficiaries found that 63% of respondents worry about getting a surprise medical bill after they receive medical care.

    2. diptherio

      The nurses no longer give sponge bathes – you have to do it your self.

      Wha?!? When did this happen? They have a patient with tubes sticking out of them try to bathe themselves? Seems cray-cray to me, and a pretty good way to get your patients some unnecessary infections, etc. in all those places they can’t easily reach. I wonder if this is a staffing issue (not enough CNAs around to do the job properly), or some new MBA-inspired policy, or something else.

      Glad you’re home now. Thanks for the report.

      1. fresno dan

        August 13, 2021 at 8:53 am
        If you had seen the nurse who brought in the wash basin, towels, and soap, I feel like a dodged a bullet.

    3. zagonostra

      Thanks for sharing, brings back memories, not so pleasant, of own experiences with ER in SE Florida.

    4. IM Doc

      Take care Dan.

      I would love to say this story is unusual but it is not.

      And yes one of the most important things I learn everyday in dealing with patients is that things could be so much worse. We must all learn to value every day.

    5. allan

      Quite a tale. May the next month be less interesting for you than the last one, and stay on the mend.

      1. fresno dan

        August 13, 2021 at 9:27 am
        Dare to be dull! People under appreciate how wonderful boring is!

    6. Gregorio

      Good luck on your recovery! I also had atrial flutter and the ablation procedure. My resting heartbeat went from 79, to between 40 and 50 bpm, and I no longer experience shortness of breath.

    7. freebird

      Hope you start feeling good soon, Dan. For everybody else in US, don’t even think about going to an emergency room unless you have at least 7 hours to invest!

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for your sobering report.

      When I worked as weekend graveyard switchboard operator/’guard’, in my college years, I heard some chilling stories about the range of skills, demonstrated by the cardiologists who came to read the cardiograms from the ICU. Some could barely find the pulse, while others could notice indications of things like incipient kidney failure. I hope you ended up with one of the better cardiologists.

    9. ChiGal in Carolina

      Inquiring minds want to know: were you able to roam freely within the hospital wearing your bunny slippers or did they confiscate them at the door?

      Wishing you a swift recovery.

      1. fresno dan

        ChiGal in Carolina
        August 13, 2021 at 11:34 am
        I didn’t think to bring the bunny slippers with me. The hospital gave me TWO pairs of pretty niffty non skid socks to wear as slippers.
        And speaking of hospital wear, they want me to walk down the hallway to see what happens when I walk. So they are trying to tie up the hospital gown so that my a$$ is not exposed – and the nurses are having a pretty difficult time because the gown is so IDIOTICALLY designed. You know, if you don’t want patients a$$’s exposed, maybe make it so the patient themselves can tie the drawstrings themselves. And the thing of it is, what with all the IV’s and cardiac monitor wires hooked to me, the gown actually made it more difficult to see and access my body. Really, the hospital gown is the best design possible??? Quick access to the a$$ is the most important thing?

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Kinda been there, emergency angioplasty all basically very scary shit, NHS staff also brilliant but no bill to pay.

        Wishing you the very best possible recovery.

    10. FluffytheObeseCat

      Take care. Your ability to modulate your pulse rate with your mind is really valuable. Practice it if you can safely.

      1. fresno dan

        August 13, 2021 at 12:59 pm
        I am pretty skeptical about biofeedback. And I thought if it worked you really had to concentrate and put yourself in a trance or something. But all I did was look at the heart monitor at the pulse rate, and think I want the rate lower. At first I thought, well, when the rate went down that is just the drug taking affect. But than I would stop trying, and the pulse rate would rise (not back to 140, but higher) and then I would try it again. And it worked again! I did this enough times that I am convinced it is not just a coindicence. So I now believe in mindfullness or whatever they call it.
        I think I will look into some daily meditation…

        1. Jeff W

          “…all I did was look at the heart monitor at the pulse rate, and think I want the rate lower.”

          Well, in effect, that’s how biofeedback works: it makes typically covert behavior accessible to operant conditioning. In fact, you probably didn’t have to “think” anything—you could just watch the monitor and lower (or maintain) the pulse rate as indicated on the screen. In one sense, it’s wholly unconscious because you can’t say exactly (or maybe at all) what you’re doing in terms of responding to bring about that result. No one who’s doing it can—because as B.F. Skinner pointed out “we don’t have nerves going to the right places.”

    11. juno mas

      Dan, stay strong!

      As a Medicare recipient I can tell you it will be months (a couple, at least) before you receive an explanation of benefits (EOB) from Medicare. It will detail what was billed and what Medicare will pay. In the interim, you will likely receive billing from places and people you do AND do not know—Do Not Pay any thing until you receive the Medicare EOB.

    12. ex-PFC Chuck

      Best wishes Dan, and it’s good to hear things are looking hopeful.

      Not all such situations end as well. Yesterday we went to the funeral of a friend of 35+ years. She’d had bypass surgery 10 or so years ago and while on a long road trip with her husband began experiencing shortness of breath so they returned earlier than planned. I don’t know the full story but I believe she had at least one medical appointment upon returning and her daughter had arrived early in a morning last week to take her to another. The daughter and husband helped her out of her chair she “dropped dead on the floor” we were told. I don’t know if anyone tried CPR, etc., or whether COVID was part of the picture.

      1. newcatty

        Best wishes for continued recovery, Dan. Being “bored” is to cherish the quiet and peaceful time. Wear pink bunny slippers and as has been said by someone: Relax and let go. I only have plain ole beige slippers, but they are nice and comfy.

      2. fresno dan

        ex-PFC Chuck
        August 13, 2021 at 1:55 pm
        I am very sorry for what happened to your friend. My condolences.

    13. fresno dan

      So I had the follow up appointment with the cardiologist who did (or oversaw) the ablation. I am having swelling feet for the first time in my life, and the improvement from the ablation was very disappointing. I have had coronary bypass surgery and radiation to my chest and throat from the Hodgkin’s disease so I was anticipating that this would not be a cure all – and I don’t blame the current doctors for my current condition. But it was much worse than I expected…no, no, not my heart but the a$$hat cardiologists attitudes:
      1. Not one opportunity to ask a question
      2. He rattles off how he is going to change my meds, adding and subtracting – saying the names of meds as if I am a cardiologist familiar with all heart medications (they will call the pharmacy). I don’t know if these meds are to be taken once or twice a day – hopefully the prescription label will say. I have seen deli’s take more care getting the mustard I want on my sandwich and being clearer on what my choices are. The cavalier and careless way what drugs are being added or subtracted is astounding …I get the impression it is like the FBI not recording interviews to change the record if something goes wrong.
      3. I go to the pharmacy, no record of a prescription request made by the cardiologist. I will have to check again today.
      4. They bring in an interventionalist (bypass) cardiologist, and he is better. Still, after he rattles off all the tests he wants done I have to inform him most of those tests were done by my general practioner who ordered those cardiology tests in the past year (whether he knew what the f*ck he was doing is another question and I bring up the verboten point that maybe he was just ordering tests to make money) and the cardiologist I had just begun seeing in late July. So some of the heart dye tests, monitor tests, EKGs already done and a plethora of heart information already available. MAYBE things can go south in a hurry, or MAYBE the declince is long and slow and should have been caught…
      5. I had no idea if the appointment was over, and neither did the staff. Not really sure what the plan is…
      Just because someone is a doctor doesn’t mean they are smart, or that they are caring…

      1. lordkoos

        My best wishes Dan & hope all turns out OK.

        My ER visit after a bad reaction to the second Pfizer shot (I was not admitted to the hospital and did not spend the night) added up to a little under $4000, with medicare it was reduced to $650. I can afford that much at the moment, but there are a lot of people who couldn’t.

        1. fresno dan

          Lambert Strether
          August 14, 2021 at 5:01 am
          Not really sure – both early ?40’s? I would guess?
          I’m not even really sure about who did the ablation, as it was scheduled on Tuesday at 11:30 but I actually got in the room at 2:30. I don’t know if I was talking to the cheif of ablation or the guy who did – like I said, no time for silly patient questions…

      2. skippy

        Hay fresno …

        Look your dealing with the output of decades of market based healthcare[?????] and as you have noted, everyone is sus about doing things and income steams and not quality or dignity of life. You are not a human in this dynamic but a line item in some balance sheet.

        BTW I’ll be dead soon one way or another but as some say not dead yet … forefinger thinginy …

  4. diptherio

    I searched the NYT the other day, just to see if they’d published anything on the Warrior Met strike.

    Not. One. Single. Article.

  5. Tom Stone

    A good friend of mine is a fencing contractor who does a lot of custom work, including gates.
    Last year he built a record number of very sturdy steel gates and this year his shop has built 3 times as many as they did last year.
    These gates run from $5,000 to $25,000 and sometimes more.
    Heavy gage steel, powder coated and sturdy enough that a prius at 40 MPH would bounce off.

      1. Tom Stone

        The kind of people spending $25K on gates are the rich, who never in the past felt the need for a gate strong enough to keep out anything short of an armored vehicle.
        If you hadn’t noticed the FedGov is doing everything they can to incite a peasant revolt, between guaranteeing that the homeless population will increase several fold this year and the response to the pandemic.
        These are the smartest guys and gals in the whole wide world and everything is under control…
        Chaos is controllable, right?

    1. Wukchumni

      When things come a cropper, wealthy types that had $25k to spend on a steel gate, will be prime targets for those that have nothing, and unlike a Prius, all they need is a ladder to defeat it.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        I can’t help but wonder how much rebar is in the masonry walls on either side of said gates. If any. Not that the question amuses me……. ;)

      2. Keith

        Thats an old trope. Perimeter security as part as a layered defence is very effective. Additionally, gates also buy time for a bug out, if that is their plan.

      3. Blue Duck

        wealthy refugees from San Francisco flooded into the rural parts of Sonoma County right around the time of the George Floyd riots. They’ve ruined property values around here, but now that the race riots that they’re so terrified by have subsumed, it has left us with empty communities here in the countryside. One benefit is that it’s just me and one neighbor living off our aquifer. I have no doubt all the soft city folk will come back once things get scary again.

    2. Keith

      I can believe it. I have family that you could call members of the PMC that are hardening their homes and looking at bug out vehicles (as i have become a safe haven, apparantly). People are anxious out their.

    3. lordkoos

      A friend’s wife is a blacksmith/artist, and among other things she creates custom wrought iron gates and fences for people. They are extremely expensive, no two are alike and she is doing great selling them to the wealthy Seattle types who have moved east of the mountains to flee whatever.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > A friend’s wife is a blacksmith/artist, and among other things she creates custom wrought iron gates and fences for people. They are extremely expensive, no two are alike and she is doing great selling them to the wealthy Seattle types who have moved east of the mountains to flee whatever.

        This reminds me of the Dovetail phyle in Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age, as does “layered defense,” above.

  6. CanCyn

    love the antidote – literally turtle island! If you click through to the source there is a little article checking in with the researchers who took the picture. They’re in Maryland and have transmitters on the turtles they study, the one in the photo is a female who hibernated a little longer than the others, hence the dried mud on her back. Here is an amazing thing about these snapping turtles: “”What we think is super cool is that these animals do use a particular mud-place, if you will, a wallow. And they return each year to the same exact spot, and by exact spot I mean to the centimeter,” Krochmal told Live Science.”

    1. Judith

      Chris Arnade (@Chris_arnade) has recently been feeding hot dogs and carrots to two snapping turtles (Reginald and No-Name) in his neighborhood and posting the videos on twitter. Good for a smile. (If I had a twitter account I would send him the photo.)

    1. marku52

      Except I’m not buying the premise. Out here in SW OR we are in the middle of the worst Covid slam in the entire pandemic, and it is every day over 100F with about 30-40%RH.

      Doesn’t’ seem to bother the virus much.

      1. Ian Perkins

        The study was based on Columbia, which is “is uniquely suited for the study of weather factors on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 for the following [reason]” (among others):

        Lack of air-conditioning. Indoor air-conditioning is rare in Colombia [12]. The citizens live in the ambient conditions of temperature and humidity of their environment. This eliminates individual specific variation in temperature and humidity as a potential confounding factor.

        How much of that is true where you are?

        1. Hiroyuki

          that is right. ithe Florida summer is akin to the Northern winter in some ways due to the need to stay indoors and in the AC. Low humidity AC environs mimic winter

  7. griffen

    Is Korea a reason to sell short the Tinder, Match or Bumble? They’re all swiping left apparently. Even that might indicate some effort, however.

    I’ll leave additional comments for others. This is a family blog after all.

    1. AE90

      I found it interesting that Lee Jun-Soek won by a margin of 43%, and in the sex survey, 43% of women expressed no interest in sex. Coincidence?

      1. Soredemos

        I’m pretty sure TK isn’t actually claiming Lee Jun-seok is an ‘incel’. It seems to be a joke at the fact that he’s never done ‘it’, ‘it’ here being actually won an election. It’s not actually a reference to sex. Lee Jun-seok may also in fact be a rampant misogynist, I have no idea (that word has been debased into nigh-meaninglessness anyway).

        On the subject of so many women apparently not having any interest in sex, well, if more men were actually any good at it it wouldn’t be treated by many women as a tedious chore.

        1. AE90

          That was one of my attempts at humor. But perhaps more women are demisexual than we realize. And that’s too much work for a lot of men. Studying and perfecting seduction is considered more worthy than building an emotional bond.

          1. Procopius

            I remember a column many years ago by, I think, Ann Landers, in which she said she had received a bunch of responses from her readers, in which more than half said they had very little interest in sex. A quarter said they hadn’t had sex in more than a year and didn’t miss it.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I’m pretty sure TK isn’t actually claiming Lee Jun-seok is an ‘incel’. It seems to be a joke at the fact that he’s never done ‘it’, ‘it’ here being actually won an election.

          From other things TK has said, incels are a significant portion of young Korean men, they are quite reactionary, and they are politically conscious, as incels.

          1. Soredemos

            This doesn’t surprise me. Japan has a similar problem, as do other countries to lesser extents (adjacent to incels, NEETs, ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’, as a term originated in the UK, not Japan, for instance). There are always going to be people around who for whatever reason can’t get laid, but when their numbers expand so much they can be meaningfully described as social blocs something is deeply wrong with the state of social interaction in a country. People screw as a matter of socializing; it’s just a thing that happens. If large numbers of people simply can’t get laid, that’s evidence of a broader decline in social relations generally.

            The real underlying problem also gives rise to ugly, weird ‘solutions’, like Jordan Peterson essentially suggesting women should be provided for men to give them a sexual outlet.

  8. Ian Perkins

    America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes

    I don’t follow the article’s logic:
    “By decade’s end, the die was cast. The C.I.A. concluded that Israel already possessed nuclear warheads.
    So Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir hatched a deal. Neither Israel nor the United States would acknowledge that Israel had nuclear weapons.”

    Why the ‘So’? Why should knowing lead to not acknowledging?

    Could it be that were the truth to be told, the US willingly allowed Israel to ‘steal’ the know-how?

    1. Gc54

      See Hersh’s The Samson Option. It was clear by end of 1959 that Israel was developing atomic warheads in conjunction with French scientists. By 1968 Defense minister Moshe Dayan had pushed the Dimona nuclear facility into full scale production. In 1986 London Sunday Times published pictures taken there of bomb assembly with enough plutonium triggers for a dozen thermonuclear (H) bombs/yr by technician Mordecai Vanunu and the jig was up. Mossad grabbed Vanunu in Rome and locked him up. Actual tests of the fission trigger had been conducted jointly with South Africa in the Indian ocean on Sept 21 1979. 3 were detonated, the last picked up by a VELA satellite. The signal was unambiguous but was obfuscated by a review panel, etc.

      1. Gc54

        Unburied my Samson Option copy. Sept 22 not 21 1979, apparently detonated 3 nuclear artillery shells not bomb triggers to prove to SA government customer that the tech they had bought from Israel worked. SA was pursuing its own bomb program, whose devices were dismantled several years later. Wheels within wheels.

    2. Kouros

      Acknowledging, especially now, would make illegal any military and otherwise support to Israel, which is now ~ 4 billion per year…

    3. Maritimer

      America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes NYT

      America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Vaccines NYT

  9. tegnost

    attempted coup (Let’s stop pussyfooting around with equivocal words like “insurrection”).
    I crossed Toyota off of my list never to be purchased or recommended again

    and i just crossed ritholz off my list of credible commentators. Must’ve od’d on the kool aid when chumming around with the UHNWI’s in maine…during the summertime of course…

    1. Eloined

      Barry is a combo of access journalist, (seemingly) savvy investor, and irrepressible humblebragger. I stopped checking in on his blog when, in response to a 2012 scandal involving NJ police escorting wealthy drag racers on public roads, he brushed it off as not a big deal, as he and his buddies also enjoyed that kind of fun from time to time — for he is not just a blogger but a daring MAN! Tried to find that abominable post from the past but no luck.

      1. Wukchumni

        I tend to like Barry’s links, but the rest of his presentation seems to be paean homage to Wall*Street, often the praise is gooey sweet and there’s no possibility of disparagement.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “China building new missile silo site, say US defence experts”
    ‘Findings set to stoke fears that Beijing is pursuing more rapid nuclear build-up’

    Meanwhile, in Chinese news-

    “US spending $1.2 trillion to upgrade nuclear missiles, say China defence experts”
    ‘Findings set to stoke fears that Washington is pursuing more rapid nuclear build-up’

    1. Ian Perkins

      From that FT article,
      Some defence analysts argued that Beijing could be engaged in a “shell game”, whereby the PLARF would move a small number of ICBMs between empty missile silos.
      This would make it harder to pre-emptively destroy China’s second-strike capacity because an adversary would not be sure where the missiles were located.

      I don’t think anyone’s suggesting the US only has 300-odd nukes, but pretends to have more by moving them around.

      1. David

        Unlike the US, the Chinese look as if they are (probably) increasing the number of their deployed land-based ICBM systems. Why, and by exactly how many, remains to be discovered, but it probably reflects a determined effort to vault straight into something like nuclear parity with Russia and the US as part of the First Division of nuclear powers.
        ICBM fields under construction are pretty difficult to hide, or to mistake as anything else, so I suspect the story is basically correct. The “shell game” idea goes back to at least the 1970s, where it was discussed in Washington, but never implemented, so far as I’m aware.

          1. David

            I think you misread your source -13080 is the total number of warheads in the world, not in the US. The US (and Russian figures) are about half that each.
            In addition, you shouldn’t confuse missile with warheads. The DF-41, the new generation Chinese ICBM, can carry 10-12 warheads per launcher. Warheads are not really a useful comparator, since a large percentage will be in storage rather than deployed. .
            The point of Chinese modernisation, as I said, is to get them out of the second division with the UK and France (and not that far ahead of India) and into the big league with the US and Russia. They don’t need as many warheads as either, they just need to be unambiguously in the same league. This would give them all kinds of political advantages strategically and in disarmament talks. With a generation of nuclear-missile submarines coming into service, and several hundred land-based MIRV’d systems, they could quite quickly reach a thousand deployed warheads.
            In any event, the new START treaty of 2011 limits Russia and the US to 1550 deployed warheads, counting a bomber as one warhead, and to a maximum of 800 missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft. So the Chinese don’t have that far to go.

            1. Ian Perkins

              You’re completely right about my misreading – USA 5,550! Thank you, though it’s still rather more than 350.
              I’m still very doubtful about the rest of what you say. True, missiles aren’t warheads, but warheads are warheads, and can presumably come out of storage – why else would they be in storage? I expect China could quite quickly reach a thousand deployed warheads, but it could be aiming at a much more modest increase, while building multiple silos to protect them against a first strike. I suspect the latter (and I’ve seen arguments by ‘experts’ as to why that’s more likely, for what they’re worth), whereas you seem to favour the former, but so far as I know, there’s little if any hard evidence for an attempt to join the US/Russia ‘big league’, just speculation about motives and the like.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Given that they’ve never shown much interest in expanding the arsenal over the past couple of decades, I wonder if they’ve just decided that maintaining strategic ambiguity over how many they possess would be the most useful policy. They must surely have seen the enormous costs that Russia and the US (and French and British) have had to endure to maintain oversized arsenals. In most respects, what matters with nuclear weapons is not how many you possess, but how many your enemies think you possess.

  11. Ian Perkins

    China’s Belt and Road Finds Southeast Asia a Tough Slog

    Another year-old article, and a rather jaundiced view. The rail link to Laos is nearly complete, as is the new Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (main port) highway in Cambodia – which isn’t even mentioned.
    As for ‘Vietnam, on paper a communist comrade of China,’ I think many people stocked up on that sort of paper when lockdowns hit.

    1. jo6pac

      They finished the one in Mongolia and it’s the slowest train they have built. It only goes 145mph with freight and passengers. I can’t find the story but crosses rivers over 100 time and has that many tunnels. Then here in Calli the so-call hi-speed train only goes about 100 miles from no where to no where. Sad little state Calif.

      1. Wukchumni

        The concept of building a high speed train from Chinatown in LA to Chinatown in SF, seems farfetched.

  12. Paradan

    So if we’ve been buying hypersonic secrets from one of Russia’s main engineers, and we still can’t get it to work, does that mean that Russia’s weapons don’t work either?


    They’re trolling us by letting us steal hoax data, and then “arresting” the leaker so we think it’s something we’re doing wrong and we will keep pursing a dead end that keeps us from deploying a functional weapon.

    1. Ian Perkins

      I think ‘pursing’ may be an apt typo, whether or not Russia is taking the US for a ride.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      An old KGB head said information you pay for is only good enough to get people to keep paying.

      Your first proposal suggests the information would get to relevant engineers and firms. The intelligence industry is very much a series of islands of people trying to justify their jobs. If the information is good, it could easily be sitting in a desk waiting for a performance review. Or a book deal.

      If it’s not any good, the receivers run the risk of being embarrassed at least internally.

  13. jr

    Thank goodness for the comedic stylings of Barry Reinholtz, everyone could use a laugh and whazzerface-Fong at Vogue or wherever hasn’t turned out any of her ding-a-ling verbal confectionary that I’ve seen recently. Barry fills a hole, and to spare. Most of it is ideological onanism, when he describes this enlightened ruling class of CEO’s he is setting himself above them and therefore above, by his lights, the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if he emailed this to the board of directors of all the companies he mentions. But like all cheap candy, about a quarter of the way in the flavor cloys.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. The guy seem to be suggesting a sort of apartheid America where the vaccinated roam free and the unvaccinated are left in their caves. And he wants corporations to enforce it. Why not just have the government do a carrot and stick approach? Have cops pull people over or do a stop and check on the streets. If you have been vaccinated, you are sent on your way. If not, you have a choice of a vaccine on the spot or a week in a covid-infested jail cell. And you know what? Having just typed that stupid idea, you can be sure that there would be all sorts of s***libs who would consider that to be a great idea.

      1. tegnost

        The part where Mickey D’s should raise their prices 10% and give a 15% discount to vaxxed is truly stupid. Nudge theory FTW… Maybe they should raise their prices 50% so that fewer low income people would eat there, vastly improving their health outcomes. Now that would be leadership. And they could raise wages as a result, which would also be great for the country.

        1. jr

          @ Rev

          Yeah to apartheid, his language is quite clear. It’s all about power over others, pushing around those less well positioned than he is. Feeble posturing and plumage display. Another quivering ball of a human being desperate for existential validation and finding it only it exerting power over others. He thinks he lives a full life but his words reveal a void. Not that he has the slightest inkling of all that, all he knows is the hunger for the sharper pair of Italian leather shoes just over the horizon.


          Unfortunately for a lot of McD’s customers it’s the best food around. But don’t look for Barry to dig into all that, for him McD’s is actually fulfilling an important societal role of keeping the zombies fueled enough to make it to work cleaning something. That’s what’s best for society in “The Big Picture”, not an informed, nourished and healthy populace. His healthcare concerns begin and end with 1. someone giving him and his ilk COVID and 2. someone giving the economy COVID.

  14. The Historian

    A silver lining in the IPCC report?

    The author of the Slate article claims:
    “Crude oil prices took another plunge following the report’s conclusions, throwing into question the supposed business case for fossil fuels. ”

    Well, that is interesting, so I looked up some financial reporting on oil and apparently, nope, oil prices, while falling, aren’t falling because of the IPCC report – they are falling due to lack of demand because of Covid and OPEC maneuvers – nary a word about IPCC. The author should also have noted that oil prices were falling before the IPCC report came out.

    Maybe I’m too much of a cynic but I don’t think the oil companies and their investors give a damn about the IPCC report and we should never assume that they would! And while more people will read the report and wring their hands, again, this is where it will end as it has ended after previous IPCC reports.

    1. Eclair

      Yeah, I read the Slate article, looking for the ‘silver lining.’ Hah! Turns out it’s just another soothing anodyne; ‘everything’s gonna be all right,’ just go back to watching the Olympic Game reruns and deciding what color marble for the new kitchen counters.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I’m noticing the manufactured consent machine whrring a little louder about the environment these days. Even the doom and gloom reporting makes me feel like it’s designed to make people think “too late so stop trying to fix things.”

        1. The Historian

          It is too late to fix things. For example, hurricanes and wildfires are worse than we’ve ever seen them, our summers are hotter, Greenland’s ice is melting at an extremely rapid rate, etc. All we can do now is implement damage control procedures so that the damage doesn’t get worse. But apparently, even that is too much to ask for from our MIC’s.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Splitting hairs perhaps, but I don’t think it’s too late to fix, reduce, or prepare for many things, but then it does not look at all like we will.

          2. Skunk

            Historian – I think you’re probably right, but we should still do what we can. However, there is no damage control that can deal effectively with the types of problems that will be unleashed. The corporate types have badly overestimated their ability to escape the impacts themselves.

        2. Roger

          Maybe the silver lining was another one of those technological silver bullets that will magically solve highly complex problems sometime in the future, thus allowing us to continue on with our masterful and polluting ways?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “States demand NSW consults before going it alone on eased restrictions”

    OK, a quick survey of the deteriorating situation in Oz. Cases of the Delta strain are going not only from suburb to suburb in Sydney, but are reaching regional centres in NSW including Aboriginal areas who are particularly vulnerable. The Capitol is under lockdown but not before the Parliamentarians managed to flee it first. Queensland has stomped this virus down again but there are serious worries as the virus is heading towards us from our border with NSW. Victoria is having difficulty putting it down but they should succeed. So what happened? Is it because the Delta strain spreads more rapidly? In short, no.

    An economic decision has been made to let this virus run its course in Australia and to force people to be vaccinated. When it reaches 80%, we throw our borders open to the world and treat this virus “just like the flu.” Absolutely nothing can go wrong with having the situation here in Oz to become just like Europe or the UK or the US. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is refusing to lock Sydney down but is instead talking about easing restrictions soon. And she has the total full backing of Scotty from Marketing while being aided and abetted by medical people like former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth who are providing cover. Rage does not even cover what I am feeling.

    Scotty from Marketing keeps on talking about virus ‘suppression and vaccination’. Note, he refuses to use the word eradication. So he is betting the lives of 25 million people in a vaccines-will-save-us-all play and totally ignoring all the evidence of what is happening overseas. He reckons that people that have been double-vaxed should be able to go anywhere in Oz causing me to shout “F***wit!” at the TV. The mass deaths that will follow will be merely neoliberal collateral damage for he and his colleagues. I think that he imagines that when we have the Federal election next year, he will be able to go out and say ‘Look. I made everything go back to normal again! It is 2019 all over.’ I suspect a different scenario based on what I read here on NC but that is just me.

    With a year and a half of hard work and sacrifice already, we could have kept this virus at bay until maybe a sterilizing vaccine had come online but instead some of our political leaders are willing to throw it away for a mythical economy. They want the cheap working immigrants, tourists, international students and cruise liners to come back again. Soon I think that I will go to the movies to go see “Free Guy”. As I said, we have it under control in Queensland but if these neocons have their way, I will probably never be willing to risk going to a movie theater ever again. Or a restaurant. What a brave new world.

    1. amfortas the hippie

      speaking of sterilzing vax
      i asked the other day and ill keep asking, since i dont have time during my ongong chaos too dig for it: is there a sterilizing vax in the pipeline?
      is that even possible with a coronavirus?
      even better, an old fashioned killed virus vax?
      wishful thinking i suspect

      1. Ian Perkins

        Sinopharm’s and Sinovac’s (China), Shifa Pharmed’s (Iran – the Ayatollah’s had it) and Bharat Biotech’s (India) are olde worlde killed virus vaxes,
        There is talk of a pan-coronavirus vax, going for spike’s ‘helix stem’, in the pipeline; whether it’s sterilising remains to be seen, but the signs from other vaxes don’t inspire much hope.

      2. AE90

        Novavax has one–FDA is holding up production for ? [reasons].

        These protein-based candidates, made from harmless fragments of COVID-19 (called spike proteins), are paired with a secondary agent (called an adjuvant) that activates the immune system.

        Although protein-based vaccines take longer to develop than the messenger RNA (mRNA) models employed by Pfizer and Moderna, they have a long history of use and an excellent record for safety and effectiveness. Some have even offered glimpses of complete immunity in early COVID-19 research.

        A protein-based vaccine from the manufacturer Novavax was reported to have achieved sterilizing immunity in primates.11 Subsequent phase 2 trials have shown it to be safe in humans and able to generate a strong NAb response.12 Further research is needed.

        On the downside, vaccines like these are known to stimulate a robust CD4 T cell response but need an adjuvant to render an equally strong NK cell response. It is unclear if the Novavax adjuvant, derived from a plant polysaccharide, will able to deliver the one-two blow needed to achieve sterilizing immunity in humans.13


        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yup. that’s what i wanted.
          “Mamtani expects the Novavax shot will play an important role in the United States as a booster for currently authorized vaccines. The company released results yesterday of a clinical study of a booster dose of its vaccine, given to participants from its large North American trial about 6 months after their second dose. The third jab quadrupled participants’ levels of neutralizing antibodies.”

          i was trying to hold out for one like this…being nervous about the mRNA…but gave in in march(?) and got the moderna.
          to be clear, i had read about the mRNA tech in fall of 2018, when wife was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer…and thought that if they wre ever able to get the bugs out, it would revolutionise medicine…like to almost star trek levels.
          but it was clear from my reading back then that they weren’t ready for the open ocean, and needed to stick to the stock pond for a while, yet.
          that opinion/assessment hasn’t changed.
          we haven’t had any issues as yet, but still….i’d rather take something old timey and proven…with known side effects/adversities, etc.
          ad astra incrementa, and all…but you can’t skip steps,lol…like making all us vaxxed folks into phase 3 trial participants.

      3. Brooklin Bridge

        There would be no profit stream in a once and for all vaccine. It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around just how real that consideration is and how serious the part it plays in decision making.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > i asked the other day and ill keep asking, since i dont have time during my ongong chaos too dig for it: is there a sterilizing vax in the pipeline?

        I may be going out over my skis here, but my impression is that a sterilizing vaccine would have to operate in the nose (and through the entirely separate mucosal immune system (!!) nobody ever talks about). The virus enters through the ACE receptors in nasal tissues, and an infectious viral load is generated in the nose before the lungs are ever reached. Hence, to sterilize the infection, you have to sterilize it in the nose. Jabs in arm muscles don’t do this. See this article in Chemical and Engineering News (linked to 8/5).

        1. Ian Perkins

          I haven’t been following it too closely, but these might help. Looks like nothing soon, but there’s something in the idea all right:
          Altimmune’s intranasal Covid-19 vaccine shows sterilising immunity May 11 2021
          In a SARS-CoV-2 challenge model, a single dose of the vaccine delivered sterilising immunity in the lungs of mice, while non-vaccinated mice went on to develop dense lung infection and disease.

          In the study, carried out in partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, K18-hACE2 transgenic mice were given a single intranasal dose of AdCOVID and challenged with live SARS-CoV-2 after a month.

          Data showed no recognisable levels of SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs of vaccinated mice, indicating over a one-million-fold decrease in virus levels versus the non-vaccinated mice.

          Altimmune Announces Update On AdCOVID™ Phase 1 Clinical Trial June 29

          AdCOVID was well tolerated but did not stimulate an adequate immune response in healthy volunteers
          Altimmune will discontinue further development of AdCOVID and focus its resources on its ongoing obesity and liver programs

          AdCOVID appeared to be well tolerated with an overall adverse event profile similar to intranasal saline placebo. The immunogenicity data demonstrated lower than expected immune responses for each of the immune parameters tested. Although antibodies were detected that bound the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and neutralized the virus in a subset of subjects, the magnitude of the response and the percent of subjects responding to AdCOVID were substantially lower than what had been demonstrated for other vaccines already authorized for emergency use. Based on these data, and in view of the highly competitive COVID-19 vaccine landscape, Altimmune is discontinuing further development of AdCOVID beyond the completion of this Phase 1 trial.

          AND: (different vax)

          Nasal-Spray Combined Vaccine for Covid and Flu Shows Protection July 20

          Clinical-stage biotechnology company, Vivaldi Biosciences, announced positive preclinical data supporting further development of Delta-19, its combination vaccine for protection against COVID-19 and all strains of influenza.

          “With these strong proof of concept data we are ready to advance our Delta-19 program toward clinical trials. We filed a patent application last year, and we are prepared to undertake an accelerated development program, employing our expertise in vaccine strain optimization and cell-based production, and ready access to BSL-3 facilities,” said Bill Wick, CEO of Vivaldi Biosciences.

          There may be others; I’ll say something if I notice exciting news.

    2. Gc54

      Gotta have Sydney property values shooting up again so that there is something to brag about around the barbie.

    3. Basil Pesto

      I actually read the Doherty report today (for our podean friends: this is the modelling from an immunology upon which the federal and state government policies of vaccination and attendant restriction reduction are based), which I admit I should have done sooner, to check the assumptions of the modelling, which date from mid-June. It’s actually a lot better than I was expecting from the way the governments had been talking about it. It doesn’t assume magic-bullet status for the vaccines, for example, and the word ‘herd immunity’ only comes up once, and sceptically.

      I need to examine in greater detail the assumptions of vaccine efficacy that the model uses with the facts on the ground today in other countries (and, without wishing to set a homework assignment, I would be most interested in what some of the NC Covid brains trust think about the report, which again can be found at this link, and would be grateful for their opinions. I think they might find it a pretty interesting read regardless.)

      But I was surprised to see, in their objectives section near the start, that their concerns for the future for transitioning between phases reflect mine that have concretised in the past month or so following my own analysis of the news (thanks, NC!).

      First, I should relate their description of the ‘phases’ in the ‘rationale’ section:


      On 2nd July 2021, National Cabinet agreed to formulate a National Plan to transition Australia’s COVID response. The plan consists of four phases defined by achievement of vaccination thresholds broadly expressed as a percentage of the eligible population (aged 16+ years). Modelling is to be used to define target levels of coverage sufficient to transition between:

      A. Current Phase – Vaccinate, prepare and pilot, with a continuing focus on strongly suppressing the virus, including through the use of early and stringent short lockdowns, for the purpose of minimising community transmission;

      B. Post vaccination phase – focused on minimisation of serious illness, hospitalisation and fatality as a result of COVID-19 through a combination of vaccination and some ongoing degree of light social restrictions, with lockdowns deemed unlikely;

      C. Consolidation phase – public health management of COVID-19 consistent with other infections, but no lockdown requirement;

      D. Final phase – removal of all border restrictions.

      Now, to that objectives section I mentioned just earlier, the key part:


      Objectives of the immunisation strategy to enable a transition from Phases A to B are:

      1. Minimisation of moderate and severe health outcomes, defined as all identified cases leading to workforce absenteeism as well as that subset resulting in hospitalisation, intensive care requirement and death (to be constrained within national capacity for hospital ward and ICU admissions); and

      2. Reduction of the intensity and length of application of socially and economically disruptive public health and social measures, which are currently the primary means of reducing transmission. Ongoing ‘light’ restrictions will likely be needed to augment vaccine impacts, but lockdowns would be deemed unlikely.

      Given the time horizon, transitions to later phases (C and D) will be associated with greater uncertainty because of:

      • Likely emergence of new variants within Australia or internationally exhibiting one or more of heightened transmissibility, severity or immune escape;
      • Changing global epidemiology of COVID-19 affecting the risk profile of travellers from different countries and regions;
      • Waning of vaccine-derived and natural immunity over time;
      • Development of new vaccine products (eg multivalent or specific VOC vaccines) and schedules
      including administration of booster doses to high risk subgroups or whole population;
      • Population fatigue and the potential for declining compliance with restrictions;
      • Potential for future development of readily bioavailable therapeutics that might be used for
      either or all of transmission reduction, prevention of disease progression and life-saving therapies.

      The emphasis is mine, and I emphasise it because these are similar uncertainties that I’ve come to myself in the last month (again, thanks, NC!), but my fear based on what we know now is that these uncertainties apply to the plan to transition from Phase A to Phase B, not phase Phase B to Phase C. And, given that up to now, with the ignoble exception of NSW and Victoria last year, we’ve been more or less covid-free, the consequences of misjudging those uncertainties could be extremely grave, and it may just end up necessitating a return to phase A, meaning we’ll have lost a lot and gained very little. In fact, I don’t really understand how it can raise the possibilities and uncertainties of mutation, immune escape, and waning vaccine immunity and only apply those uncertainties to the transition from B to C without raising the possibility of having to revert to phase A, i.e. the pre-vaccine phase, when those concerns reflect the potential future impotence of the vaccines?

      I fear, however, that some of the subtleties and circumspection of the report have been lost in its second-hand dissemination by politicians to the public.

      My other concern from my (not thorough) reading is having searched for ‘long covid’ and ‘sequel’ (as in ‘sequelae’) and turned up nought, it seems that the report fails to adequately weigh concerns regarding long covid.

    4. Blue Duck

      I must admit, it has been hard watching my Australian friends and family living a normal life the last 18 months, while my family in the US have lived a totally disrupted life. It certainly is interesting now watching all the performative coping “It’s ok to cry” Instagram posts that we saw in the US last year, now eminating from Australia. I hope that the Lucky Country hasn’t been made totally soft by three decades of uninterrupted prosperity…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hard to be fighting this virus down again and again and again only to have some of our leaders sabotage everything and just say let it run through and see what happens. We too can be like the rest of the world. It takes a neoliberal to think like that.

    5. witters

      Well, now we got a statewide lockdown. (Of the NSW kind, so Bunnings still doing a roaring trade.)

      1. The Rev Kev

        What’s that American phrase again? Uh yeah, a day late and a dollar short. Scotty did announce that lockdowns will only be done as a matter of last resort so I guess that he got his wish.

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Crisis Of Confidence In America’s Military

    The regard that Americans had for the military was always the hypocritical ritual of a bunch of fair-weather patriots. It never came from a sense of shared sacrifice, a measurable cost to the populace, and/or a genuine love of their country. The military’s role has been reduced to another chess piece in our dysfunctional political system that is mostly performative anyway.

    But some people got rich and that’s the most important thing after all.

  17. Andrew Watts

    RE: Taliban take Afghanistan’s second-largest city Kandahar

    It’s over ladies and gentlemen. The fall of Lashkargah and Kandahar was the only thing stopping the Taliban from the encirclement and/or siege of Kabul. The only question now is if the government just capitulates to the Taliban. In any case Ghani’s tenure can probably be measured in a matter of hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if his government is toppled by a military coup if he doesn’t resign.

    Anybody who said they weren’t surprised by this is full of poop. I expected that the Taliban would control at least 2-3 provincial capitals by September when I said that the situation was hopeless in April, The Taliban took that in a single day. It was only a week ago + 1 day where they didn’t control any of the capitals, nor did they have uncontested control over an entire province.

    The cover story for the deployment of a brigade to Kabul is a dumb lie. It’s either a desperate effort to buy the government some time for a surrender by any other name, or a vain attempt to persuade the Taliban not to attack Kabul. In either case I think it is pointless gesture unless there’s an unconditional surrender.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You think that it will be like Bagram Air base? That the Afghanis will wake up one morning and find no Americans left in Kabul with the US Embassy building deserted?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My guess is Biden, more so the FP elites, doesn’t want a bunch of abandoned top level collaborators being dragged through the streets. Part of the problems with the operation in Syria was the nearby Iraq experience and the US not even pretending to care about Libya’s aftermath. People who might have sat on the sidelines knew they had to back Assad or get a Saudi backed government.

        It makes it harder to find local accomplices. It’s why the US had to use that doofus Navalvy in Russia. No one respectable would even take a call at this point from the US.

        That Afghan CBS translator sitcom is probably a psyop to convince foreigners we don’t abandon our henchmen.

      2. Andrew Watts

        It’s possible. I think that most, if not all, the embassies will either re-locate to the airport or close entirely until some clarity about how the situation will resolve itself. The second brigade being kept on standby is probably the deterrence and/or rescue formation that under the worse scenario will have to potentially fight it’s way to the embassy from the airport and back again if the Taliban attacks it.

        The distance from the US embassy to the international airport is seven miles so I’d expect it’d kinda be like a more chaotic fight that involves more casualties than Mogadishu.

      3. Ian Perkins

        Unlike in Saigon, they now have stealth helicopters that supposedly let them get bin Laden without the Pakistani air force noticing, so perhaps they’re hoping the Taliban will be as obligingly blind to their flight.

      4. Procopius

        I’m horrified that Biden allowed the use of B-52s on cities the Taliban has taken. There cannot possibly be any military justification for it. We’re killing the people we claimed to be fighting for, apparently just out of blind frustration, punishing them for being insufficiently willing to sacrifice for our incompetence. Of course, looking back on it, that’s pretty much what we did in Vietnam and Iraq.

    2. Wukchumni

      Anybody notice how the fawning over our military in a ‘every GI Joe or Jane is a gawldarned hero by merely enlisting’ really disappeared once Covid hit last year?

      Almost as if everybody in the MSM got the word to switch to ‘essential workers’ instead.

      In essence we’ve been programmed to not care about being kicked out of the ‘stanbox, so we wont.

        1. Ian Perkins

          It was in action in the UK quite recently. As I recall, workers had to have regular rapid tests, and if positive, maybe too if they were pinged by The App for being near another positive, they had to isolate for however long. This resulted in transport chaos, with a third of all truck drivers off or something, so it was all dropped for expendables like them.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I wonder though if the Taliban think its in their interest to take Kabul? It took two years for them to do it after the Soviets left. They may find it useful to have it as a sort of hostage and a source of cash (i.e. forcing Kabul to pay them to allow food in and people to come and go). They seem to have already taken all the key trade and access routes in and out of the country and the key poppy areas. Without foreign money pouring in, Kabul could be more of a liability than an asset to them.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The Taliban looks like it wants to be the dominant power of Afghanistan. Why would they tolerate a weak government in Kabul that would serve as a puppet of foreign powers? The control of the roads around the city just makes it easier to lay siege to it and cut off the supply of food/fuel without a direct assault being necessary.

        I don’t think China will cut off foreign aid regardless of what the US/EU does.

    4. David

      The Taliban probably realise that “taking” Kabul would not be that easy, because there are individuals and groups there with nowhere to run. It’s quite a large city, and the Taliban have shown no particular expertise in, or enthusiasm for, urban combat. There are also likely to be heavy civilian casualties. The Taliban will be hoping to leverage the gains they have made so far to negotiate some kind of surrender or phased transfer of power. It’s worth adding that we’ve haven’t seen much actual fighting from the Taliban recently, and nothing on a large scale, so it’s unclear how successful they would be in a substantial battle.
      On the Embassy point, it’s standard practice to evacuate non-essential personnel from Embassies in times of danger. And this is what the US is doing here: the British and other nations appear to be following suit, probably after consultations. Most western countries have advised their nationals to leave the country. This is one of many ways in which Kabul in 2021 is not Saigon in 1975: there are many other major players as well as the US.
      In general, governments try to keep Embassies open for as long as possible. many countries retained their Embassies in Kabul during and after the Russian invasion, and a number did so even after the Taliban took over. The essential question is one of safety, and it can be assumed that the US and other western powers have been given assurances by the Taliban that the Embassies won’t be attacked.

      1. Andrew Watts

        This isn’t like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan though. It’s an unstable situation that is unfolding very quickly. I don’t believe Moscow had to be asked to not target the embassy either. It won’t be long before we’ll see if it resembles the mad scramble out of Saigon.

        The Taliban hasn’t cut off all the border crossings at any rate. The road from Kabul to the Pakistani border is still technically open. Although I have no idea if it will be filled with IEDs or set up for ambushes. It’s a basic stratagem articulated by Sun Tzu.

        But if I had to guess I’m going to say that there won’t be battle for Kabul.

  18. marym

    Here are some links regarding source code pre-election and post election certification. I’m not qualified to say if these are the right and/or sufficient standards and procedures. As to whether “Trump’s lawyers” would be qualified, opinions may vary.

    “Test Report for Certification Testing” Colorado 2019 – includes description of the process for source code

    “Voting System Source Code Review and Other Information” NC 2019
    Includes descriptions of standard setting authorities, and state and federal law in addition to a description of the review.

    AZ 2020 election: Overview of the source code review portion of Maricopa County post-election audit (the official one, not the ninja one). This page has links to the audit reports.
    “These tests were designed to verify if the same federally and state certified source code was installed on the equipment. Auditors conducted a full forensic clone of the drive which is a “bit-by-bit” copy. This allowed them to review deleted files, deleted file fragments, and hidden data that may be found in slack and unallocated space Source code extractions tested…”

      1. marym

        Why do you hate capitalism? (Joking). I wasn’t thinking that broadly. Yes, open source code would be analogous to other parts of the process. How does one know the number of ballots returned aren’t greater than the number issued? The procedures are part of the public record, not a secret that just the auditor gets to evaluate. I’d still like to hear from someone commenting on the existing code and hardware audit procedures as far as how and when something nefarious would be introduced specific to particular candidates or elections.

  19. Verifyfirst

    Aug 10, 5:08 pm
    At least 1 million people got unauthorized third booster shot

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine have gone back for an unauthorized third booster shot.

    Florida is among the states reporting the highest number of people opting for a booster shot, followed by Ohio, California, Illinois and Tennessee.

    The estimated 1.1 million, included in an internal CDC briefing document reviewed by ABC News, likely is an undercount because although it counts Moderna and Pfizer shot recipients it ignores people who may have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and got another shot.

    It’s also unclear whether people who received a third shot did so under the direction of a doctor. The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t authorized a third shot to boost immunity, although there are reports of some physicians encouraging severely immunocompromised patients to do so.

    Boosters for the immunocompromised may be recommended by the FDA within weeks.

    -ABC News’ Anne Flaherty, Eric Strauss

    1. Ian Perkins

      Someone here was boasting of four shots so far yesterday – 2 Pfizer, 1 Moderna and 1 Janssen, I think.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        How do they do it? To get a shot, you have to give an id, no?, and prior shots would be linked to that, again, no? Fake ids? Can a doctor prescribe a third shot?

  20. mn

    I am wondering, all these businesses are doing big vaccine push and the deadline for most is 9/15. Under EMA any adverse side effect and you are pretty stuck with the bills. Once approved if you have a problem you can sue through vaccine court, essentially the federal government. It is hard to do, but people have gotten payouts. They are pushing for FDA approval sometime in September, maybe 9/16? Just some thoughts from someone with no faith at all in our leaders

    1. Shonde

      mn, like you I have no faith at all in our leaders..

      The People’s Pharmacy is respected by the PMC since it is a feature at NPR, am I correct?

      Maybe we all need to send a link to everyone we know including all PMC since today’s People’s Pharmacy is entitled “Why Vaccines May Not Protect You Against Delta COVID”. Also, “Just because you are vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t catch the Delta COVID variant. You will survive, but you could become a long hauler.”

      The stupidity of mandates of a leaky vaccine is unbelievable.

      Maybe our only hope is Dr. Eric Topal since he now does seem to be waking up and seeing the problems with the vaccines. I am also seeing lots more discussion of ADE especially in light of what is going on in Israel.

      Anyone seen any reports of a super spreader event starting from the vaccinated at Obama’s party? A few if those who attended ending up in ICU’s might wake everyone up to just how bad these vaccines are just like Rock Hudson dying from AIDS finally awakened the PMC to the devastation of AIDS.

      1. mn

        I have taken care of patients where a whole family tested positive but only one person was actually sick. I have taken care of fully vaccinated ranging from no symptoms (in hospital for fall & broken bone tested +, for example) to respiratory distress requiring multitude of treatments.
        And I have one more question, when this first started we would wait till people crashed and intubate/vent, no bipap as they were afraid we would aerosilze the virus. So, why did Boris Johnson get bipap treatment? Just a question from contaminated, filthy , unwashed unvaxxed essential worker

        1. Ian Perkins

          I haven’t the slightest wish to defend Johnson – I’d even composed an epitaph for him, SIC BORIS BREXIT EXITQUE (Brexit done and he’s gone), which I was quite disappointed to see unused – but I think by then doctors had realised intubation with COVID wasn’t a good idea except as a last resort.

          1. mn

            No, Boris fell ill early on, we didn’t start doing nebs & bipap till summertime. Well, at least where I am presently located. Doesn’t matter except that the rich don’t follow these rules they make, very frustrating

            1. Ian Perkins

              We could both be right, though I haven’t checked the timeline – I think intubation had been found to be best avoided by the time Boris gotit, and naturally when he did he’d have had the cutting edge stuff.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a super spreader event starting from the vaccinated at Obama’s party?

        Martha’s Vineyard sees COVID surge, but Obama party not a cluster — yet Boston Herald:

        It’s too early to tell,” said Janet Hathaway, assistant to the health board.

        She said Friday if there is a cluster linked to last weekend’s 60th birthday bash on the Obamas’ nearly 30-acre Edgartown spread off Great Pond, it will probably be with the serving staff. And some of those workers usually cover multiple parties on the island — especially with the summer season in full steam….

        Health agents on the island have reported 54 new COVID-19 cases since Sunday, Aug. 8, with 10 reported on Tuesday, 13 on Wednesday and now 18 new cases reported Thursday. The 54 cases reported over the past five days come after case levels reached near-zero totals at the beginning of the summer, according to The Vineyard Gazette.

        Martha’s Vineyard Hospital spokeswoman Marissa Lefebvre told the Herald they have also seen a jump in people coming in for tests for coronavirus. She said the number of positive hits is also up and they have a patient in the hospital who is ill.

        “This is the busiest time on the island,” Lefebvre added. “It’s impossible for us to know at this point” if the infections are linked to the Obama bash.

        “Probably be with the serving staff.” And totally not with the bougies who drank and chatted and danced maskless and then flew away in their private jet.

        1. Pat

          And since we don’t contact trace we won’t know how many other serving staff in other locations may end up infected as they land their planes and get off to party here and there…

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Dr. Eric Topal does seem to be waking up

        I viewed his interview with Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine as an intervention. He was giving permission to the PMC to express their private doubts.

        NOTE Adding, “Topol,” with an “o.”

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ….you can sue through vaccine court….

      As we saw after 9/11, a lost janitor’s life was not “worth” as much as a lost stockbroker’s. Apparently there are “legitimate” ways to determine these things. Something about earnings “potential.”

      I wonder what the going rate for a permanently damaged 17-year-old heart will be determined to be, and what factors will make one formerly healthy heart “worth” more than another. Because I’m certain these distinctions (and more) will inevitably be made.

    3. Badbisco

      Repost of a comment I made on the cooler. Sorry, just can’t stop thinking about it

      Just learned this afternoon that my investment consulting firm employer will announce on Monday a vaccine mandate. Plan was a post-labor day opening with unvaccinated required to mask, but now will be a 11/1 opening with vaccination required or be terminated.

      With the entire firm working well remotely for 18 months, they could easily allow the ~25 out of ~130 unvaccinated employees continue to work remotely but they want to bully us into using a vaccine that doesn’t stop transmission.

      Now I have to weigh the possibility of vaccine generated clots, my own vaccinated mother in law recently had an unexplained positive d-dimer with neg covid, as well as Andrew David Elroy, against losing my job and the possibility that it breaks up my marriage.

      Their COVID vaccine religion and the chance to announce their fervent faith in it, simply outweighs my personal medical choice, my ten years of hard work for them, the evidence that it doesn’t protect others from infection, and basic reason.

      Thanks, just had to vent

    1. chuck roast

      Interesting that it is the “Progressive Caucus” in the lead here. Geez, there is even a “Blockchain Caucus”…mind-boggling…blockchain: a solution in search of a problem. Cryptocurrency…good for three things only; producing mega-tons of CO, the primary payment mechanism for extortion and the old fave financial speculation. You would think that the CIA had enough cash with its “black budget”, but now that its Afghan poppy scam is coming to an end, I’m guessing that the new and improved future is corporate extortion. I liked the “progressives” much more when the old-school-graft conservatives were in control.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Cryptocurrency…good for three things only; producing mega-tons of CO, the primary payment mechanism for extortion and the old fave financial speculation

        You say “extortion” and “financial speculation” like they’re bad things.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “America Failed Its Way to Counterterrorism Success ”

    No it didn’t. If it has prevented catastrophic attacks against the U.S. homeland again, that was part of the plan. Bin Laden came out and said that if he did a major attack on America, that it would respond by sending American forces all over the world where they could be attacked like in Iraq & Afghanistan. And not only would they be resented by other countries for doing this, but it would spur recruitment while costing America trillions in wasted resources. And when you look at the past twenty years, that is exactly how it played out. Bin Laden had it all worked out – the sob.

    It also says ‘Washington has developed what is, on balance, a better counterterrorism approach.’ That must be the one where Afghanistan is currently imploding. And where US convoys in Iraq are constantly being attacked. A combination of special forces raids and drone attacks sounds like you are making progress but without a ground plan, it ends up becoming irrelevant as local insurgents learn how to adapt. And unless too you have a political effort working in tandem with your military effort, in the end the gains can evaporate overnight. But all Foreign Affairs think of is special operations forces, drones, and manned airpower stationed in different regions to try to impose their will. That and trying to influence the local government to reform according to Washington’s ideas. But off-hand I cannot think of a place where this is really working out as planned.

  22. Wukchumni

    Re: baseball in the cornfield…

    Anybody else notice that essentially the ‘field of dreams’ had all the trappings of a minor league game seemingly, this despite MLB getting rid of a bunch of minor league teams, and dropping some from AAA to A ball, such as Fresno?

    1. fresno dan

      August 13, 2021 at 12:15 pm
      Yeah! I haven’t followed what is really going on with the Grizzlies. I imagine the city paid up front or behind the scenes for what is really a pretty nice downtown stadium, and somehow Fresno got paid back by losing triple A ball for one quarter of an a or something.
      I actually wanted to go to a game or two, but with covid delta I am having second thoughts. Most nights are pretty deserted (by mistake I went to a game on Star Wars night a couple of years ago – I am kinda of amazed that none of those para glider guys didn’t crash into the light standards). Of course, the thing about busy nights is that it takes two innings to get a beer and a hot dog (not to mention the 25$ price tag)

    2. juno mas

      I believe the Field of Dream game is intended to “look” like a game played in yester yore. It was clear these were not minor leaguer’s playing in the game.

      While MLB has taken control of the former “minors”, it is the individual teams that decide where there minor league teams are located. Although Fresno is a major city (population wise) the Giants decided they wanted their AAA team to be closer to their MLB ballpark, so it was relocated to Sacramento. I’m sure Fresno is not thrilled to have a single A team, now, as there is considerable difference in the quality of players between A and AAA.. But it being baseball, there is plenty of opportunity to sun and chat in-between the action.

  23. Wukchumni

    Pro sports used to only do 1 year contracts, what if a player’s skills atrophied or they got hurt?

    In 1966 after winning the World Series the season before, Sandy Koufax & Don Drysdale each held out for 3 year $500k deals ($166k per year) but no dice, and Koufax inked a 1 year deal for $125k, Drysdale $110k.

    The LA Angels signed Anthony Rendon to a 7 year $245 million contract last year, and this is what they got for their $35 million this season:

    On April 12, Rendon was placed on the 10-day injured list after suffering a groin strain. On May 5, Rendon was placed on the 10-day injured list for the second time after suffering a left knee contusion. On June 7, Rendon notched his 600th career RBI with an RBI single off of Kansas City Royals starter Jackson Kowar. On July 6, Rendon was placed on the injured list for the third time after suffering a left hamstring strain. The Angels would later announce on August 4 that Rendon would have season ending surgery to repair a right hip impingement. He finished the season batting .240/.329/.382 in 58 games.

    1. griffen

      I used to avidly watch the ATL Braves, and now I sadly don’t care. Maybe if they meet the LAD again in the playoffs, with the victor headed to the WS.

      These owners & teams have themselves to blame. Give the players union too much power and able to guarantee the money. At least in the NFL, for all I know, all the announced money for a given player is not always guaranteed. Bad two years, bad injury problems and off you go.

  24. AE90

    I also feel that a world where elephants could roam freely as a matter of course would be a better one (and that goes for a lot of other animals, too).

    I remember reading a story about someone visiting, I think it was Belize, and living in a hut in the jungle. The residents told her that sometimes red ants, thousands of them, would come along and not swerve for obstacles. They said it was better to just get out and let them pass. They actually did just march in, swarm all over, and then they were gone on their way. I guess elephants could cause a little damage that way, but putting it in monetary or “human suffering” terms really sounds ridiculous to me after reading that story. Can’t anyone else take a hike across country? The ants say, “Hey, that thing wasn’t here last time we came through.” They don’t come after you and try to kill you for it.

    1. Procopius

      Back around 1910 or so, what is now the northern part of Bangkok was basically swamp with a few hardy souls eking out poor livings to avoid taxes. Some of them got killed by elephants every year, and the elephants had a tendency to tear up crops. Tigers weren’t as much of a problem.

      1. AE90

        CNN, 6/22/2021

        Elephant-human conflict has been on the rise in recent decades — not just in Thailand, but in places like India and across Asia where the animals live. As human settlements and infrastructure expand, wildlife habitats shrink and become fractured, leaving animals with less land, smaller packs and fewer resources — forcing them to roam in search of food.
        “Although roughly half of the geographic range of elephant habitat in Thailand is considered suitable for long-term elephant conservation, much of this area is threatened by agriculture, roads and other development resulting in fragmentation and increased (human-elephant conflict),” said a 2018 study on elephants in western Thailand, published in the journal PLOS One.

  25. Wukchumni

    Friends are going on a backpack trip to the Bullfrog Lakes out of Mineral King, and as much as i’d like to join them, have other irons in the fire.

    There’s the wreck of a A4 Skyhawk Navy jet near the ridge high above one of the lakes that crashed in 1969, and one of my neighbors in our cabin community found it about 20 years ago while walking off-trail. It had been sent in search of a DC-3 that crashed on Mt Williamson in the winter of record snowfall in the Sierra, and then a A-1 Skyraider prop plane was sent in search of the A-4 and it too crashed near Mount Kaweah

    This a.m. when I was looking for info about the A-4 on the internet, came across this broken arrow i’d never heard of before:

    The 1965 Philippine Sea A-4 crash was a Broken Arrow incident in which a United States Navy Douglas A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon fell into the sea off Japan from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga. The aircraft, pilot and weapon were never recovered.

    On 5 December 1965, 31 days after Ticonderoga’s departure from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay in the Philippines, the attack jet fell over the side during a training exercise while being rolled from the number 2 hangar bay to the number 2 elevator. The pilot, Lieutenant (junior grade) Douglas M. Webster; the aircraft, Douglas A-4E BuNo 151022 of VA-56; and the B43 nuclear bomb were never recovered[6] from the 16,000 ft (4,900 m) depth. The accident was said to occur 68 miles (59 nmi; 109 km) from Kikai Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan

    It was not until 1989 that US DoD revealed the loss of the one-megaton H-bomb. The revelation inspired a diplomatic inquiry from Japan requesting details.

    1. Anthony Stegman

      Though Japan has long had the official position that nuclear weapons are never to be introduced in the Japanese islands the US Navy has repeatedly brought such weapons to Japan aboard naval vessels. The Japanese and Americans routinely refuse to confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons in japan.

  26. Soredemos

    >Russian hypersonic technology expert accused of high treason AP

    Even if he actually did hand over secrets to ‘foreign governments’, it might not matter much since there seems to be a recurring ‘you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink’ thing that happens with the West being either entirely incapable of or at least extremely tardy at copying Soviet/Russian innovations. My favorite example is probably how the Soviets had a working closed cycle rocket engine in the late 40s, then abandoned the tech and it sat in a warehouse for forty years, until rediscovered after the USSR fell. The entire time the US wasn’t even pursuing that avenue of inquiry because they had already deemed it to be physically impossible (much of SpaceX’s supposedly vaunted innovation has been basically playing catch-up to what the Soviets already did decades ago).

    The tardiness of the West on hypersonic missiles is beyond breathtaking. They’re actually not new; Russia has had hypersonic (mach 5) scuds since at least the 70s. So it’s been known they can be done for ~fifty years, as well as been known that they’re worth doing for at least 30 years as scuds and scud clones have repeatedly defeated anti-missile systems since at least 1991. And NATO has literally been allowed to inspect Russian modern hypersonic weapons up close on at least once occasion. Yet somehow we’re still in the baby steps stage on this technology.

    (We’re also apparently behind the curve on sub-sonic guided munitions as well. I distinctly remember in 2016 when Russia launched cruise missile strikes against AQ and ISIS positions in Syria all the way from the Caspian Sea. This was twice the distance any Western analyst believed Russian cruise missiles were capable of).

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    What would Porfirio Diaz have said about China and Southeast Asia?

    ” Poor Southeast Asia. So close to China, so far from God.”

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