Links 8/2/2021

Goose flying upside down is simply showing off, say experts WGME

Endangered Sumatran tigers recovering from COVID in Jakarta zoo Al Jazeera (Re Silc).

Proportionality in bank regulation and supervision – a joint global survey (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. Proportionality: “[S]upervisory practices should be commensurate with the risk profile and systemic importance of the banks being supervised.”

Pandemic fuels broadest global house price boom in two decades FT

From Rag to Label Vagabond


Where a Vast Global Vaccination Program Went Wrong NYT. On Covax, whose ambitions may have been vast, but whose performance has not been: 640 million doses projected, 163 million delivered. The Times buried the lead deep. Paragraph thirteen (!): “Driven by a nonprofit funded by the Gates Foundation….” Except no, there are in fact two non-profits. Paragraph eighteen (!!): “Covax was the answer, bringing together two Gates-funded nonprofits, Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI; the World Health Organization; and UNICEF, which would lead delivery effort.” The reporters seem not to know that Gates is a major funder of WHO, so that’s really three NGOs. Ditto Unicef, so four, of the total of four mentioned. So a more accurate headline might read: “How Bill Gates and Four NGOs He Funds Butchered Covax.” Just saying.

* * *

Opinion: Require the vaccine. It’s time to stop coddling the reckless. Ruth Marcus, WaPo

Say goodbye to persuasion: Vaccine mandates may be coming — but will they be legal? Jonathan Turley, The Hill. This post from October 2020 is looking pretty good. The topic was contact tracing, but the thinking applies with even more force to vaccination. Quoting Paul Romer:

It’s very hard for me to believe that anyone would call for mandatory vaccination without regulatory approval, if only because that guts the credibility of the regulators for the next pandemic. Pressuring regulators to fast-track approval — as if the regulators didn’t know the tastk was important! — does the same thing. But here we are.

* * *

Fluid Dynamics of Respiratory Infectious Diseases (PDF) Lydia Bourouiba, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering. Long, but super-interesting. From Section 3:

Exhalations do not eject isolated [Mucosalivary fluid (MS)] droplets into the environment. Exhalations—ranging from speaking to yelling, coughing, and sneezing—are made up of a turbulent multiphase cloud whose physical properties have significant implications for the range and longevity of the ejected mucosalivary droplets and, hence, for their fate, their range of contamination in space and time, and associated risk-assessment and risk-mitigation strategies… it is not the size of the droplets at emission that determines their range but rather the characteristics of the warm and moist gas cloud that is emitted and carries them forward. Only after the emitted cloud slows down sufficiently do droplet and residue sizes become important determinants of dispersal in background low-velocity indoor airflows (a few centimeters per second) and penetration of the respiratory system.”

Well worth a read for aerosol stans, because it gets past sterile debates about particle size.

* * *

Fauci: ‘I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns’ Politico. People think lots of things. Sometimes they change their minds.

Pair of travellers from U.S. fined $20K each for fake vaccination documents CBC


Transport into Beijing halted in bid to guard capital ‘at all costs’ amid Covid-19 surge South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Cantopop star Anthony Wong and democrat charged by anti-corruption watchdog over ‘election songs’ Hong Kong Free Press

Behind the Rise of U.S. Solar Power, a Mountain of Chinese Coal WSJ

Optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward:

Once upon a time:

The aloofness of Pax Sinica (review) Branko Milanovic, Global Inequalty


Myanmar democracy movement moves out of jailed Suu Kyi’s shadow France24. Will the warlords figure out that hanging together under Federalism and the NUG is better than hanging separately under the Tatmadaw? Maybe never. Jake, it’s Naypyitaw.

Myanmar coup has no constitutional basis East Asia Forum. As reporting using the phrase “caretaker government” implies. Meanwhile:


India’s Jobless Rate Drops to Four-Month Low as Virus Ebbs Bloomberg

Wetland champions: Promise from the grassroots Monga Bay

If I read this correctly, the poor have gotten worse off in both India and China from 2011-2019:

Canberrans are burning through firewood this winter and suppliers can’t keep up with demand ABC Australia

Kenyan entrepreneur turns water hyacinth weed into cooking fuel Reuters


Israel’s foreign minister said he has ordered the nation’s diplomats to push for UN action France24

One year on, political interference besets Beirut blast probe Agence France Presse

The last survivor of the Arab Spring has fallen – as the Middle East returns to a dark past Independent

Peru’s Finance Minister May Calm Markets But Challenges Remain Bloomberg


The U.K.’s Delta Surge Is Collapsing. Will Ours? David Wallace Wells, New York Magazine

Pfizer and Moderna ramp up EU Covid vaccine prices FT

The vindication of AstraZeneca: A vaccine trashed by Macron, politicised by Europe but quietly saving lives across the world The Telegraph

Britain’s Covid booster vaccine drive will begin next month: ALL over-50s to receive third dose – and they may get it alongside their annual flu jab Daily Mail

COVID boosters for wealthy nations spark outrage Nature

Biden Administration

US authorities scramble, trade blame as millions face eviction Agence France Presse. Pelosi trains the blame cannons on a new target:

Public health expert: ‘Biden absolutely declared a victory too soon’ The Hill

Schumer: Democrats ‘on track’ to pass bipartisan deal, $3.5T budget The Hill

Police State Watch

They’re Normalizing Police Robots By Calling Them “Dogs” Caitlin Johnstone. Kill them with fire.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Meet Paragon: An American-Funded, Super-Secretive Israeli Surveillance Startup That ‘Hacks WhatsApp And Signal’ Forbes

Grieving Parents of Murdered Mexican Students on List of Suspected Targets of Military-Grade Israeli Spyware OCCRP

Sports Desk

Empty Olympic stadiums offer psychologists a rare opportunity FT

Guillotine Watch

A new thing rich people are into: absolutely enormous crystals Los Angeles Times. Lovely photos. Best caption: “Crystalarium in West Hollywood sold this white quartz throne to a customer who lugged it aboard his yacht despite its 900-pound weight.”

Ex-Wife’s Property, Utah Ranch: How Wealthy Secure High Bails Bloomberg

Editorial: We froze and Abbott got paid – $1 million from the billionaire profiteer of Texas’ deadly storm Houston Chronicle. So the problem would be?

Class Warfare

$15 wage becoming a norm as employers struggle to fill jobs AP

A video response to Representative Tom McClintock’s description of wildland firefighters as “unskilled labor” (video) Wildfire Today (AC).

Revealed: the true extent of America’s food monopolies, and who pays the price Guardian (Re Silc).

If You Think Flying Sucks, Try Renting a Car New York Magazine

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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. John Beech

    Must say, I agree with the idea it’s time to stop coddling. I’ve a friend in Tampa and each time we speak, I ask if he’s been vaccinated because I won’t visit with him unless and until he does (we fly model airplanes and get together occasionally). The answer is invariably, no. Why not? Simple, it’s because he’s so freaking confused and fearful because the news, the government, and especially how our governor have lost focus. Good thing I’m not king for a day because the darned thing would be mandatory for the same reason people can’t take a pistol and shoot it at random in a crowd. Seriously, if it were up to me, I’d encourage civil prosecution of those who put others at risk by not being prudent. Big fines, jail time if needed with a forced vaccination! And note, while I fully support the immunocompromised who cannot reasonably take the vaccine, I don’t give a hot damn about religious exemptions because your freaking beliefs don’t trump my right to living.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have a better suggestion JB. If there is one issue that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it is healthcare and by that I mean the type of healthcare that every other developed country on the planet has. Both sides want it and don’t try to tell me any different – the stats are in. So how about this. All those that get a shot are then enrolled for life in the same sort of healthcare that all those other countries have. That includes too those that have already been vaccinated. That way, if something goes wrong with those vaccines in the years to come the healthcare will be in place to take care of them and people will be more confident about taking a jab. if America had already had this healthcare in place, maybe 100,000 Americans would still be here walking around. As a bonus, with this healthcare in place the government has a system in place to take care of all those long-covid victims. And medical bankruptcies become a thing of the past. Sound good?

      1. jsn

        You act as if voter preferences have some role to play on “our democracy”, you obviously don’t understand who “we” are.

        Buckley vs Vale to Citizens Untied, the United States has remade itself as The Republic of Cash.

        Until you can find the constituency to pay congress to act in the voters’ interests, voter preferences are irrelevant.

        1. Pelham

          Agreed, but I like the Rev’s idea. I’m getting to the point, however, that I like John Beech’s idea more. We still have a military draft for the good of the nation, and if activated, that’s orders of magnitude more intrusive than a vaccine. If we’re fine with a draft (many aren’t, but I am), why not a jab?

          1. zagonostra

            Just for a minute assume that the vaccine is deadly. I’m not saying it is, just try it as a thought experiment, a dystopic sci-fi novel. Would you really be advocating this? I encourage you to view divisive issues from multiple perspectives and acknowledge you could be wrong, and if you are, what the repercussions would be.

    2. Lupana

      But people do take pistols and fire them at random in crowds with disturbing regularity and ultimately not much is done about it.

      1. JohnWoo

        Especially in San Francisco where ending the carceral state, fighting racism and redistributive justice mean that the shooters are not prosecuted, or are given probation or simply ignore the police because the D.A. lets them slide.

        “Officials announced that 81 people have been shot since the beginning of the year compared to last year’s 35 in the same period. The recent incident showcases what many of D.A. Boudin’s critics are arguing, that he has indirectly caused a violent crime for refusing to charge a suspect who later commits a much more serious crime. Authorities arrested Newt three weeks before the shooting incident and did not charge him despite finding an untraceable rifle in his vehicle.”
        “When Mr. Newt was stopped and had an assault weapon on him he should have been in jail. If he would have been in jail, then you wouldn’t have had those three people shot and two people dying,” Vice President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association Lt. Tracy McCray said.”

      2. Pelham

        Really? The shooters tend to be prosecuted. That is, if they don’t take their own lives first.

        1. Lupana

          True but that’s only after they shoot. We have yet to do anything to address the overall issue in a more preventative way.

    3. cocomaan

      I can’t tell if this is satire or not. Must be good satire!

      Strange watching people turn themselves into pretzels as they justify locking up some 60% of the black population of the USA for not complying with the edict of the day.

      I guess destroying the lives of black men for the past few decades needs to be accelerated.

    4. Big River Bandido

      Mandating vaccines that don’t work? Brilliant!
      That’ll really build trust in the medical establishment.

      1. TimH

        Mandating vaccines that you don’t have legal recourse for if they kill you.

        Vaccines need be approved and without legal waivers first.

        1. Charger01

          Bingo. Faith in the medical and gov’t institutions is at a very low point from my view. Forcing people to have a vaccine that may impact their health for the remainer of their life won’t rebuild credibility in this fragile system.

        2. Stormcrow

          Technically mandating the vaccines without a person’s consent would seem to be illegal, especially because the mRNA vaccines are still merely experimental. The Covid crisis is not bringing out the best in “liberals” like Ruth Marcus. Even manipulating or enticing persons violates established ethical norms, to say nothing of outright coercion.

          COVID-19 Injection Campaign Violates Bioethics Laws. Dr. Robert Malone

          Safety data analysis and reporting in clinical trials of the COVID jabs appear to have been manipulated in at least some cases. One method for manipulating randomized clinical trial safety data is to only analyze the “per protocol” treatment group (those who completed all doses and were fully compliant with the study design) as opposed to “intent to treat” which would include all patients that have signed informed consent.

          For example, if a participant only accepted one dose and trial protocol called for two, under a “per protocol” analysis, adverse events they experienced would be dismissed and not included in the safety analysis. This is a classic way to manipulate safety data in clinical research, and it’s usually forbidden.

          Since the COVID shots only have emergency use authorization, they are experimental products and, as such, they are not authorized for marketing.

          Bioethics are written into federal law. As an experimental trial participant, you have the right to receive full disclosure of any adverse event risks. Full disclosure of risks is not being done, and in fact is being suppressed.

          Adverse event risks must also be communicated in a way that you can comprehend what the risks are, and the acceptance of an experimental product must be fully voluntary and uncoerced. Enticement is strictly forbidden.

        1. John Emerson

          Prevents death 99% of the time is just NOTHING, really.

          This place is becoming one more DON’T READ THE COMMENTS site.

      2. Phillip Cross

        If the vaccine isn’t completely preventing infection or transmission of the Delta variant, but it is very protective against severe outcomes, then if you are at risk, isn’t the most logical move to get the shot?

        I suppose some people hoped that the rest of the population would take the risk of the vaccine, and bring about a herd immunity, so they wouldn’t need to take any action. Sadly, it didn’t turn it like that.

        They aren’t going to mandate it for all. Take it, or don’t take it, who cares? Just don’t spread disinformation that could deter people who are at risk from getting the shot.

        1. cocomaan

          If the vaccine isn’t completely preventing infection or transmission of the Delta variant, but it is very protective against severe outcomes

          “Very” is doing a lot of work here (an old writing teacher also told me to never use the word.) The fact is that the Massachusetts study shows that we simply do not fully understand yet how Delta interacts with a vaccinated population.

          The CDC doesn’t even bother to record breakthrough data, so we have no information in order to establish the “very” you’ve used.

            1. AdamK

              And in Israel they started to give the same vaccine as a booster for the third time to people over 60 to protect them from delta.

          1. Phillip Cross

            The data from many tens of millions of vaccinated people in the UK and Israel is in, and yes it is very protective against severe illness, even against the Delta variant. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

            Obviously we would prefer a vaccine that snuffed out transmission chains, but we don’t have one. So by my calculations, if you are at risk, it’s even more important to get the shot because you are likely to going get infected at some point.

            1. Brandon

              The data from many tens of millions of vaccinated people in the UK and Israel is in

              And not just the UK and Israel, data is pouring in from independent national health authorities. We aren’t in any way solely reliant on the CDC for efficacy and safety data.

            2. AdamK

              I look it up daily on the Israeli newspapers and I don’t seem to see any detailed info published regarding the number of vaccinated in the seriously ill nor deaths lists. No reference at all, it only mentions in general that the vaccines are effective. I would like to see numbers that support it.
              A friend of mine, here in the US, fully vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine, got infected with delta, and it wasn’t an easy one. She was ill for 3 weeks with 103 fever. Went to urgent care and was sent home. She is recovering now, but that one wasn’t easy.

              1. Phillip Cross

                From Haaretz last week.

                “Among vaccinated people aged 70 to 79, for instance, serious illness developed in 5.7 percent of the 725 patients with no preexisting conditions and 11 percent of the 727 patients who did have preexisting conditions. Among unvaccinated patients of the same age, in contrast, serious illness developed in 17.1 percent of the 3,053 patients with no preexisting conditions and 20.6 percent of the 2,551 who did have preexisting conditions.”


                Even though they only make 10% or less of the population, the unvaccinated getting infected in much larger numbers, and are more likely to get seriously ill when they do.

        2. Temporarily Sane

          Once an issue becomes politicized and large numbers of people link their opinions to their political identity an appeal to common sense won’t change anyone’s mind because everyone, no matter which side of an issue they are on, thinks common sense in already on their side.

          This is a huge issue in the narrative driven, entrepreneurial media culture that neoliberalism has spawned. Numerous studies have shown that when presented with an overabundance of information, people become overwhelmed and turn to the first simple or easy to grasp narrative that fits their political sensibilities.

          Add to that a widespread loss of trust in the establishment, the echo chamber effect of social media algorithms, the news media treating audiences like customers who demand a consistent product, and you get a “post-truth” society where people holding radically different beliefs all think they’ve got it right and everyone else is wrong.

          In such a dysfunctional media environment where it’s often difficult to separate the signal from the noise and where media and government regularly bend the truth, even a relatively unambiguous term like ‘disinformation’ loses its gravitas.

          Individuals are largely products of their environment and you can’t fix a dysfunctional society of alienated and mistrustful individuals by berating them for not being better citizens.

      3. Pelham

        “Work” is doing a lot of work there. So a clarification: Yes, vaccines don’t work at preventing everyone from getting Covid. And they don’t work at keeping people from transmitting the disease. But they do work at keeping down the death count and hospitalizations. And they may work at reducing the chance of getting Covid in the first place, hence also reducing the pace of infection across the population.

        So in sum, vaccines must be supplemented with other measures that definitely include mask wearing indoors and possibly new lockdowns. We also ought to bar all international flights or mandate and enforce three-week isolation for incoming passengers, regardless of their point of origin. The southern border should be slammed shut as well. But neither of those measures are gonna happen.

        1. lordkoos

          And they may work at reducing the chance of getting Covid in the first place, hence also reducing the pace of infection across the population.

          The problem is, this is not the case. It has been shown that vaccinated people are still fully capable of spreading the virus, whether they exhibit symptoms or not.

    5. Mantid

      Perhaps we should lock up every employee of Pfizer, Moderna and Johns & Johnson until they can show the numbers that prove they put the health care of vaccine recipients above their massive profits?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I would narrow that down to ” every high-enough level employee of Pfizer, Moderna and Johns & Johnson to have power over releasing the numbers or not”. No point and not fair locking up the janitors and security guards till the high commanders at those three companies release the numbers.

        Just lock up the people who have power over the numbers.

    6. jonboinAR

      If the vaccine doesn’t prevent one from catching and passing SarsCov2, what would be the justification for mandating it? I’m glad I’ve been vaccinated because, from all accounts, it will help keep me from the worst effects of it. Is a person who’s been vaccinated being less likely to suffer the worst effects enough to mandate it? I assume that “public interest” would be the justification for a mandate. That would seem to me to require that someone who’s been vaccinated is demonstrateably less likely to PASS SarsCov2. That is, if the population has a high enough level of vaccinations, the pandemic will be slowed or stopped. But that’s not the consensus now, is it? We allow people to put themselves, individually, in all kinds of danger, as long as they aren’t directly harming others. Is that not what refusing vaccination can be said to really be doing? In that case, again, is the government justified mandating it?

      1. Isotope_C14

        ” We allow people to put themselves, individually, in all kinds of danger, as long as they aren’t directly harming others”

        For the life of me I can’t understand how someone can just ignore the fact that vaccinated people are still spreaders – and this directly harms others. People say, oh, it’s *less* but how do we know with such poor data collection?

        Unvaccinated people are not drunk drivers either. They are often intelligent but innately disobedient people that do not trust a medical establishment that has had countless products recalled due to negligence and regulatory capture. Fool me once…

        Those of us who have both auto-immune, and had Long Covid, have no interest in having a particular spike protein once again in the bloodstream.

        John Beech
        August 2, 2021 at 7:26 am

        Seriously, if it were up to me, I’d encourage civil prosecution of those who put others at risk by not being prudent.

        People waiting for the results of the vaccine are being prudent.

        Not looking good for the vaccine. Dr. Malone says he regrets taking it too on his twitter feed. He had long covid as well. Don’t know if he has auto-immune also, but would be interesting to know.

        1. Lee

          The vaccine is non-sterilizing so it would seem that vaccinated or not, each of us is still a vector and also function as an opportunity for the virus to mutate into more virulent and vaccine evasive strains. In which case, whatever advantages the vaccine provides in preventing more serious illness could be very short term even if resistance to earlier strains persists. Am I missing something or am I justified in responding to our current situation with the term “YIKES!”.

          1. Isotope_C14

            I occasionally wonder if the uber-rich have a different vaccine, or a regular dose of iverm/fluovox/etc.

        2. M

          Area I am working forcing staff to be vaccinated, they are already short of staff. Many quir, I am still working at neighboring hospital that has yet to bring out the stick..
          My vacation is starting sooner than expected, but I am exhausted.
          What a time to live destruction of middle class by offshoring jobs, Wall street rum amuck, never ending wars and now a lab escape virus causing the vultures to feast on what is left. Yeah

      2. Mikel

        “I’m glad I’ve been vaccinated because, from all accounts, it will help keep me from the worst effects of it….”
        And that could change, just like any number of narratives have so far.

      3. John Emerson

        “If the vaccine doesn’t prevent one from catching and passing SarsCov2, what would be the justification for mandating it?”

        It prevents death, as I said.

        There’s never goling to be a 100% effective response tp COVID and no one except m orons ever thought that there ever would be. But people seem to think that anything less than 100% is nothing/.

        1. Lee

          Given the level of expectations raised by authorities and experts regarding the liberating effects of the vaccine “less than 100% effective” probably has an outsized negative effect on public response to the vaccine. Given that the vaccinated can still function as vectors and mutational opportunities for the virus, absent better vaccines, other more restrictive non-medical public health measures seem to be called for. But if history is any guide, the profit and rent seeking sectors of our economy are quite powerful enough to successfully thwart the further implementation of such measures.

          As to the “moronic” lack of public trust in government, experts, and institutions, I would maintain that, based on decades of personal experience and readings of history, such mistrust is not completely unwarranted.

          1. Mantid

            Thank You Lee, Lots of back and forth about the vaccines. Lee, I agree that there are many other routes such as your proposed “non-medical public health measures”. Spot on the “profit and rent seeking sectors” (big pharma, big tech, Wall St., etc.) have thwarted any other measures being implemented. Poo pooing vit. D and K, zink, and above all Ivermectin.

            In Uttar Pradesh, population nearly 500 million and which has been using IVM and has a very low vaccination rate – had a case increase of 37 and 1 (yes one) death yesterday. The US is so controlled by those “profit and rent” sectors.

        2. Anon

          No one knows what the experimental gene therapies will actually do to the human body over time. Especially where the young are concerning there is no way to anticipate effects..

          We don’t really know if any of this ‘saves lives’ for very long if at all..

        3. pasha

          a post i read here yesterday — doctor IM? — pointed out that the Salk vaccine prevented the worst effects of polio, but didn’t prevent many folks still catching the disease. Salk shots kept us safer, until the subsequent Sabin vaccine, which WAS sterilizing and pretty much prevented getting polio. that is why, back in the fifties, we got both a shot and then a later a sugar cube.

          by analogy, the rDNA shots are akin to the Salk — preventing only the worst effects of covid, keeping us safer until development of a truly sterilizing vaccine (if such a vaccine is even possible).

          as a kid, my neighborhood spent a summer in quarantine, a long summer without fun, due to widespread polio. by happenstance, my elementary school was then tapped to be in the initial Salk study. i distinctly remember two school friends who got the shot with me and still got polio, only one of whom suffered any permanent effects. iirc, no one turned down the Salk shot because it didn’t offer 100% protection

          1. tegnost

            Now tell us the difference between Salk and pfizer, and postulate why a person might trust one more than the other…
            it’s a false equivalency.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The military are there only because they have the manpower that is needed. And guess what? They carry no rifles, no body-armour, no helmets, no military gear at all except their uniforms, face masks and a small backpack which probably has stuff like drinks and snacks in it. There is a photo in the article below showing them at work-

        The ones in blue are actually regular police who have the lead here.

      1. c_heale

        The UK The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 is a step towards an authoritarian state as it will allow the criminalisation of all protests.

    7. Cuibono

      and those who are fully immunized but spread infection? Should they be fined too?
      How about those who dont take the third shot?
      How about those who are immunocompromised?

    8. fattigmann

      @John Beech. If you believe the “vaccine” works and you’re vaccinated, you should have nothing to worry about but your own affairs. End of story.

    9. kareninca

      John Beech, you really shouldn’t be visiting with your friend in Tampa even if he does get vaccinated. Since even if he does get vaccinated, he can still catch the virus and transmit it to you (just as you, a vaccinated person, can catch it and transmit it to him). This is a good time to avoid visiting people. Maybe outside is okay, but if you are elderly and/or sickly, why risk it?

      I’m not vaccinated, but I’m less of a threat to others than the vaccinated dolts who live around me. I wear a mask whenever I’m out, I avoid crowds, I use Xlear to reduce the viral level in my nasal cavity, and I use Ivermectin (which likely reduces transmission). I wish I had a nickel for every idiot who has come up to me without a mask on saying “it’s okay, I’m vaccinated.” No, it’s not okay. Vaccinated people are a real hazard, too.

      You seem to have an emotional need for a simple answer – you want to force everyone to do the SAME THING. In some cases that really is the answer. But no matter how much you wail, you’re not going to get what you want here – even if they round up and force vaccines on Americans, we have very porous borders and we are not stopping flights; there is a whole world of virus and viral mutations.

      1. kareninca

        To clarify – I am less of a threat to others than the vaccinated dolts around me who aren’t wearing masks.

    10. Temporarily Sane

      The answer is invariably, no. Why not? Simple, it’s because he’s so freaking confused and fearful because the news, the government, and especially how our governor have lost focus.

      Your friend is confused and fearful…you’ve said so yourself, even listing some possible reasons why this is. Yet you continue to condemn him bitterly for not getting vaccinated even though you seem to be aware of how the media and government officials contribute toward people refusing the vaccine.

      I hate to sound like a school marm but wouldn’t talking to your friend about this, or at least trying to understand the situation from his point of view, be more conducive to cultivating a genuine friendship?

      Engaging in moral point scoring behind his back is the kind of passive aggression those who seek to keep the plebs divided love.

    11. pasha

      JB, i think your remedy goes too far, especially because the vaccines are still experimental.

      i think a better way to achieve widespread vaccination compliance will be by attrition:

      we have just been told that, when they are finally approved, all federal employees will be required to get the shot. many states will likely follow suit.

      hospitals and nursing homes around here already require it of their employees.

      colleges around here are now requiring vaccinations of everyone on campus.

      private businesses already can, by law, mandate it for their minions.

      i would not be surprised to see the FAA then mandating vaccination for air travel, a mild intrusion on civil rights compared to what TSA already does to us. if so, all public transportation would probably follow suit

      i think patience is called for; in the meantime, we must continue preventive measures

    12. Aumua

      I personally have given up caring if you get the shot or not. And by the same same token if various agencies want to put pressure on you to get it, that’s not my concern either.

      Not my circus, not my monkeys. Deal with it.

  2. zagonostra

    >Opinion: Require the vaccine. It’s time to stop coddling the reckless. Ruth Marcus, WaPo

    Momentum continues to build on forcing CV19 vaccine on to those who do not want them. Articles like this seek to build on that momentum. I noticed that on the sidebar the #1 most read article has this headline I should have gotten the damn vaccine,’ woman says fiancé texted before he died of covid-19.

    This weekend I asked a friend’s wife if she would agree to back legal measures to force people to be vaccinated, knowing that her own husband refuses to get the CV19 vaccine. She said after a moment’s hesitation, yes. Right there I knew that all hope for maintaining civil liberties will rest with the vaccinated not those who refuse the injection. If enough people can be convinced that the danger is so great to them that it is justified and reasonable that the other half the population should be forced, through whatever mechanism, to take the vaccine, then we are at the precipice of a medical totalitarianism. Hyperbolic? I don’t know.

    I respect anyone who decided to take the CV19 vaccine. But the article’s author claims that I am holding her “hostage” creating “inconvenience”, that she is “exasperated” and goes on to state:

    It’s reasonable, it’s fair, and it’s legal to step up the pressure on the reckless noncompliant. [as for religious objection] I have a hard time imagining what that might be beyond adherents of Christian Science…Yes, some fetal cell lines were used in the development or testing of the vaccines…How galling is it that some labor unions are resisting the vaccine mandate?…No. Show some leadership. Just tell your members to get the damned shot — for the sake of their colleagues if not themselves.

    Show some leadership? By compulsory forcible vaccination on those who reject the vaccine? If enough people adopt this position, the future for civil liberties looks bleak, it will set a precedent that can, not saying it will, create an eminent domain of the body, a dystopic future where the precarious balance of the good of all will crush individual freedom.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Giving up civil liberties always sounds like a good idea to the majority, at the time. That’s how things get ratcheted up … and never go back the other direction, towards more rights for the individual.

      Remember post 9-11, when everybody wanted to just throw any suspected “terrorist” in Gitmo, even if they had US citizenship?

      We actually did detain at least one US citizen suspect, Jose Padilla, in a military brig without due process and access to a lawyer, if I recall correctly. That’s never been corrected in a court and stands as a precedent.

      1. Procopius

        Yeah, and another precedent that I haven’t heard anybody ask to be reversed is the authority of the President to order the death of any person, including U.S. citizens, anywhere on earth, including within the United States, if they are suspected of being involved with a terrorist organization. For some reason we didn’t hear anything about Trump giving such orders, although a couple of times I saw a passing comment that he ordered a lot more drone strikes than Obama, who had ordered a lot more than W. I was surprised that Trump didn’t use the tool. I’m certain that some future President will.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Per marcus:

      The more inconvenient we make life for the unvaccinated, the better our own lives will be.

      “Laudable” sentiment, brought to you by the same people who, in calmer times, fight national “healthcare” tooth and nail because they love their own medical insurance so very much, forcing millions to do without to make elite lives “better.” This time they’ve decided that it’s in their best interests to force “healthcare” on those they’ve previously denied, whether they want it or not. Make up your frickin’ mind.

      I know I speak for millions of americans when I say that I wake up every single morning wondering how I can make the lives of ms. marcus (and john beech) “better” today. I’m so grateful for their giving me the opportunity to do something “worthwhile” with my sorry, puny, inconsequential, “misinformed” life.

      Guess again you worthless, miserable idiots.

    3. JP

      It’s not considered free speech to yell Fire in a crowed theater for obvious reasons. So why is it a grave stepping on of civil liberties to enforce measures to protect the population against life threatening disease.

      I write this fully cognizant of the arguments against the vaccines and it should be about the valid arguments. I understand there is way too much flack in the air and the typical kind of fear (people in Kansas worried about shark bites) to get any kind of clear picture of the valid arguments. I am vaccinated but not endorsing vaccines at this point. There are other solutions.

      Civil liberties cannot be some libertarian like justification for every man for himself. Civil means we exist as a community first and as individuals second. I understand it is a balancing act but a lot of this wouldn’t be happening if individuals in gov’t and society had acted responsible. By that I mean for the greater good not their own self interest.

      1. zagonostra

        “Civil liberties cannot be some libertarian like justification for every man for himself”

        You set up straw men to knock down. Let’s focus on and drill into that “balancing act” because we know the devil is in the detail and once the toe is in the door se will force it open and step right in.

        The issue is proportionality and making sure those who set the “fire” aren’t the one’s corralling you to the exit doors into a world where there are no more exits available is the threat.

      2. juliania

        What about the facts in the case of Israelis, most of whom have been vaccinated, yet numbers of deaths are going up? Can’t you righteous vaccinated folk see that something about that statistic says you are yourselves just as ‘dangerous’ and thinking only about your own safety is just as foolhardy and shortsighted as might be those who face the virus on their own merits of supportive health practices? The virus is still circulating — that’s the bottom line.

        I would submit that I feel that, for the most part, the unvaccinated are being more careful than the vaccinated at this point in time. I mask, do you, the vaccinated, do so also? You should! Your vaccination may protect YOU somewhat, but it does nothing for me, except possibly expose me to your non-dead virus particles, if you don’t mask. That’s not social awareness; that’s just selfishness. Okay, be selfish; be happy and feel safe. But what I do does not impact negatively what you are doing, unless it is a matter of your stock portfolio and Big Pharma’s profit profile. I’m not complaining ever about safety precautions; I’ll protect you (and myself by double masking) when I’m out in public even if you are still keeping the virus in circulation. And I won’t even bad mouth you about doing that; you know not what you do.

        Oh, but do make sure all tigers are vaccinated as well. Vaccine passports for them too. Plus all the nasty things you’d like to do to the unvaccinated for any that escape into the jungle. Minks, deer, cats…

      3. Mantid

        JP, because the vaccines are not effective against Covid being transmitted. So why “enforce measures to protect the population against life threatening disease” with something that’s not effective? Give Covid a few more months and a few more mutations (there have been thousands to date). I’d bet a dime to a dollar that Covid escapes the vaccine induced immune response soon. If it hasn’t learned to evade the vaccines within a 6 months to a year, I’ll eat my hat.

      4. Oh

        I imagine that you’s be the first one to advocate forced birth control by sterilizing the population so that you can save the world due to overpopulation.

    4. Skip Intro

      This hyperventilation is the last gasp of the official narrative before it succumbs to reality, and the realization that the vaccines don’t stop the pandemic will spread almost as quickly as delta at a vaccinated wedding in the Hamptons.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      But what about “the science”? It seems as if all the vaccinated worry warts have forgotten it. We had friends who refused to visit my house because I was unvaccinated at the time, even though the friends and the rest of my family were. So the one at risk in that situation was me and I was fine with having visitors.

      I really don’t understand all the hand wringing by the vaccinated. It’s as if they don’t really trust the vaccines they rushed out to get but somehow if everyone else gets them it will all be OK.

      Not much logic in that line of argument. Lots of irrational fear though.

    6. Pelham

      How do you feel about the military draft? That’s far more of a liberty-impinging obligation than getting a vaccine. The US has suffered enormous losses because of this disease. The vaccines wouldn’t have prevented that but they can greatly reduce the death toll and — too seldom mentioned — the extreme danger of long Covid, which may impair major organs of its sufferers for life.

      If a foreign power had somehow invaded and killed several hundred thousand Americans, I doubt many of us would hesitate to back a reactivated military draft to counter the threat. The vaccines are far from perfect but do hold proven potential to reduce the death toll and, maybe, disabling complications.

      That said, I think this ongoing conversation about individual liberty is worth having. But it needs to be balanced against the obligations we have to one another as Americans and to our country — and that even includes instances in which these obligations entail some degree of personal risk.

    7. Nce

      Here’s an interview of Whitney Webb by Robbie Martin (Abby’s bro) that describes how contention over social issues like wearing masks are encouraged, if not manufactured and certainly exploited by the national security state so that eventually DVE laws can be implemented:

      Yeah, I probably framed this (unintentionally) as too conspiracy-whingy, and it is very long (I thought the last third was the most chilling), but it’s well worth a listen. I agree with Whitney that we have a very big problem bearing down on us, and almost nobody is speaking about it with this kind of clarity. The contention over vaccines and masks is just a symptom of something much more ominous.

  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘Thos Major
    No, it’s not a glass bridge… and he’s 1000 feet up.
    A worker cleans part of the Aizhai Suspension Bridge in Hunan Province, China.’

    That bridge looks new as it is only ten years old but I stumbled across a video on my meanderings yesterday which puts it into context. Watch this short Jeremy Clarkson to see what the Chinese have been doing the past thirty while we allowed our infrastructure to stagnate or degrade- (1:47 mins)

  4. The Historian

    What Nancy Pelosi really means by her CDC tweet: “Someone else handle that problem because we in Congress are too busy catering to the wealthy to do anything for people living on the edge.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is closer too red meat for the Team Sports partisans. They don’t care. They just want an answer, any answer to explain blind support when out in public. Bill tried to give them the national debt excuse, but the GOP really has that locked down.

      The Senate parliamentarian was too comical to last, and OMG Russia means they have to implicate Democrats.

    2. IMOR

      The hyped-up, twenty-something power broker wannabe (hey, was one myself once) who submitted and advocated for this tweet to whoever actually runs Pelosi’s account will be jobless later today or, at latest, end of recess. Tone deaf and whiny even for her account; violates idpol guidelines by criticizing CDC leadership; takes questioning tone toward (today’s, this week’s, this minute’s) current mask orthodoxy.

    3. Glen

      Rep. Ro Khanna let the cat out of the bag over the weekend on one of the Sunday shows. Too many Democrats get money from the RE sector and will not vote to extend the eviction moratorium.

      1. Pelham

        That sounds about right. I’ve read that this is certainly the case with California Democrats. It seems that certain local industries dominate politics in many states. I lived in a lightly populated state for a brief while where a majority of seats in the legislature were occupied by car dealers, as documented by a reporter friend of mine. Can’t recall if he ever wrote up this odd fact. Possibly not if he wanted to keep his sources happy.

  5. pebird

    I guess Pelosi (being busy and all) wasn’t aware of the June Supreme Court ruling to keep the eviction moratorium in place for a month because it was going to expire at the end of July.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Which means that they had a whole month to do something instead of waiting to the last moment and then run around with their hair on fire. Isn’t your Senate and House going on break now meaning it is too late to do anything?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is the excuse for local committee democrats and the kind of donors who are basically local committee democrats with too much money. The just need to hear an excuse to soothe their anxiety.

        After the 2014 beat down, Pelosi’s excuse was Hillary would win big and set things right and that all the money spent on centrists who lost wouldn’t be wasted. These people will believe anything.

        As for the little people, Pelosi wants more cops to keep her from potentially seeing a poor person.

      2. IMOR

        She as Speaker can call the House back in by fiat. It’s like either of Homer Simpson’s willfully oblivious dialogues with his daughter Lisa about how he’s only one man, if only the situation could be solved so easily, no one’s got the answer honey – when it’s a simple blindingly obvious action completely under his control.

      3. marym

        The Senate is still in session, and the House is supposed to be ready to reconvene on 24-hr notice if they get an infrastructure bill from the Senate. Not the this invalidates the possibility that it’s too late to do anything, they’d just need to find a different excuse.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          The House of Representatives failed to pass a bill on Friday that would have extended the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, which had been in place since September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to expire after Saturday, July 31, 2021.

          Majority Leader Steny Hoyer brought up the legislation to be voted on by unanimous consent, which was blocked by Republican members of the House.

          Unanimous consent “votes” are called when you don’t want your members to have to actually “vote” at all, and one person, usually from the other party, can be counted on to kill the thing dead, which you can then blame for tying your hands.

          “Unanimous consent” should be translated as “we’ve gotta look like we’re doing something, but we want this issue gone asap. We’ll clean it up later with the usual partisan verbiage and no one will know the difference. Low expectations work to our distinct advantage.”

          1. Lemmy Caution

            C’mon man. Democrats only control the White House, the Senate and the House. What do you expect them to do?

    2. Keith

      Wasnt it a week ago that she mentioned tbat very issue in defending Biden for not asking? That being said, SCOTUS could be a nice foil for them to focus blame and ramp up drama for court packing, which would be great for fund raising. Bread and cjrcuses for thd masses!

    3. Grumpy Engineer

      @pebird: It was startling to see the Speaker of the House portray such ignorance of recent (and significant events). I don’t know if it’s truly ignorance or if it’s willful deception, but you’re right. A statement that “the CDC has the power to extend the eviction moratorium” simply isn’t true. The Supreme Count said they’ll block any further extension. And this was widely discussed in the media.

      Does Pelosi (or anyone on her staff) not realize just how dumb this tweet makes her look?

      1. pebird

        Either they think we’re stupid or the political competency level is rapidly decreasing. Probably some of both.

      2. pasha

        please read her full statement. the more-deadly delta variant had not yet emerged when the supremes rendered that decision prohibiting any further extension by the CDC. ms pelosi predicated her statement on this sudden delta-covid surge. requesting executive action is thus not unreasonable, given that she has been unable to whip enough votes amongst the cats who have chosen her as leader

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Please read the opinion written by Justice Kavanaugh. He agreed to the one-month extension of the eviction ban (to the end of July) strictly for the purpose of giving people time to get their acts together. He agreed with four other justices that the CDC had exceeded their authority, negating the possibility of any future actions by the CDC regarding eviction bans. Kavanaugh said nothing about the pandemic being effectively over. He specifically said that any further actions had to be taken by the US Congress.

          Delta or not, that was the legal situation facing Pelosi. She’s known about this for over a month. Why the hell did she wait until literally the last day, and then only try for “unanimous consent” (which very obviously wasn’t the real situation in Congress) instead of taking a real (and recorded) vote?

  6. diptherio

    Just seeing the historical photo of that construction worker gave me an unexpected jolt of anxiety. It’s a bit weird, I never used to be afraid of heights at all. Then I had an accident while on a 24 ft. ladder and ever since heights have terrified me, I am none too proud to admit. The last time I got up on a big ladder, about 6 weeks ago, I literally couldn’t make myself let go of the rungs so as to accomplish the task I was up there for in the first place. My brain just started screaming at me, “oh, hell no!,” and I had to climb back down, slightly embarrassed. And now, just seeing that picture made my brain start screaming again, “for gawdsake get down man, it’s dangerous up there!” The brain is a mysterious organ…

    1. fresno dan

      August 2, 2021 at 8:55 am
      I can’t watch that documentary about that guy who tightrope walked between the two powers.
      Years ago I went to New York and and my friend’s wife took me on a tour, and we had to hit the World Trade center. We HAD to go to the top, and we went in the restaurant, and thankfully, we got a table in the middle. BUT OH NOES, the New Jersey wife wasn’t gonna stand for that, so she got us a table right next to a floor to ceiling window. There were planes flying lower than we were at… I looked everywhere but out the window.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Nothing to be embarrassed about. You are supposed to be afraid of heights, especially after an accident. Our brains are hardwired to consider the edge of a precipice to be a very dangerous place to be. People who are at ease at such heights are just people who are hardwired to ignore the obvious dangers. Either that or they are desperate enough to take such a job and force themselves to ignore the heights

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m more concerned about widths brought on by Covid and the danger from over expansion by ingestion, but yeah it doesn’t take much of a fall to die over.

        When I was a kid in our neighborhood of around 100 homes, the culprit in a few fathers passing away was failed attempts to put up tv antennas on the roof.

      2. Pate

        IIRC (a particular tribe?) of Native Americans did much of the high altitude work on the first skyscrapers. Apparently fearless of heights.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Fear of heights and vertigo are two different things. I’ve been stuck on the back of a box truck, four feet off the ground. I had to be talked down and had to shut my eyes. I had been on and off the back around a dozen times by this point. When it hit, I was gone. Once I was doing something at my parents on top of a porch and had used a step ladder to climb up. When I went to back on the ladder to get down, I was so dizzy/paralyzed we had to come up with an alternate solution which involved my dad leaning out of a higher window to pull me up into the house.

          1. lordkoos

            I was struck by a car in LA over 40 years ago and suffered only a broken wrist as a result, but since that time my balance has never quite as good, and I cannot easily be close to any sheer drop. Especially natural features like cliffs and steep hillsides which of course have no protective railings etc. I can get on ladders but do not feel particularly safe on them.

        1. HotFlash

          I remember reading any yrs ago an interview with a Mohawk high steel worker who said, “No, it looks as far down to us.”

      3. Eustachedesaintpierre

        I was looking forward to the Amalfi drive by coach & we happily climbed aboard & sat at the back which turned out to be a mistake as through each countless hairpin bend due to the angle of our perspective from around 10 ft in the air, it appeared as though our end of the coach was swinging in large arcs over the abyss. It didn’t appear to bother her Ladyship who kept shouting look at that ! while wearing a wild grin probably all on purpose It is a beautiful drive but I hardly noticed & was relieved when we reached Amalfi, only to then head up a mountain to Ravello which was even worse.

        We headed back to Naples from there on a boring straight road on a featureless plain, faraway from that coast which I thought was just great.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      both my grandads spent time on skyscraper girders like that.
      not me,lol.
      i used to be able to climb trees, all the way to the top, no problem.
      but after my wreck, when i was 20, i’ve felt too wobbly for even taking a shower….let alone enduring great heights.
      the ladder and scaffold work that’s so often necessary out here is my least favorite thing about doing most things ourselves….and none of that is ever more than 15 of so feet up.
      the roof of my house is a testament to that acrophobia(leaks like a colander).

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m pretty much ok with being @ heights where they might find your twisted body 400 feet below from whence you came should gravity have its way with you, but ladders scare me a lot more than sheer fear in the guise of granite.

        1. Carolinian

          Lots of people get killed on ladders!

          I’m ok with my 16 footer and even my 20 footer….those really long ones, fugetaboutit.

      1. LifelongLib

        My mom took me to the Seattle Space Needle on my 7th birthday. I was really looking forward to it because you rode an elevator and could see the whole city from the top etc. Going up in the elevator I was suddenly terrified. I’d never had a bad fall or anything like that, but the thought of being up in the air with just a bit of metal between me and that much empty space…Oddly I’m ok with flying, but tall buildings still make me nervous.

        1. fresno dan

          August 2, 2021 at 3:34 pm
          What I remember about the Space Needle (20 or so years ago) is that there was a tour guide/elevator operator, and he stood with his back right next to the elevator door going up. It gave me such trepidation that I couldn’t look at the guy. At least no one was with me goading me to go right next to the viewing windows…

          1. LifelongLib

            I can’t remember if there was a tour guide (this would have been 1963) but I definitely recall being afraid to look out or down. Thinking back the elevator at the time might have been one of those “glass” ones where you can see below you as well out to the side. That would petrify me even now…

    4. pasha

      i too am terrified of heights — but i have been surprized/ amazed how safe i felt taking several ropes courses. being harnessed really helps overcome the fear.

  7. Tom Stone

    A mandatory Vaccine edict would be so incredibly stupid and harmful that it seems inevitable.
    I won’t be getting a booster shot.
    Period, full stop.

    Add this to the end of the eviction moratorium ( With Billions in rental relief unspent) and hoo boy, here comes chaos.
    Not organized resistance, that is no longer possible.
    Millions of newly homeless in the midst of a pandemic, terrified and enraged by what they see as a betrayal.
    And TPTB think they can control this.

    Covid has shown how fragile supply lines and and Society as a whole have become, it was a mess even with the active cooperation of most of the populace.
    Without that active cooperation, which requires a substantial amount of trust in America’s institutions America will come apart.
    All the little things that have to work in order for the lights to come on when you flip the switch or water to come out of the tap when you turn it depend on a high degree of trust.
    Which has been pissed away, because Markets.

    Bring on the National Guard ( Good luck with that), bring on the SWAT teams, pass more and more repressive laws and see what happens.
    All stick and no carrot is the only response that is acceptable to our elites.
    And it is suicidal.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Donald Trump Jr. sent out a tweet to stir a lot of people up (and also because he is a bit of a d***) and said-

      “Someone should introduce a bill mandating that you have to show your vaccination card to vote, and watch everyone on the left’s brain malfunction and explode.”

      Needless to say, A lot of people thought that this was actually a great idea. The same sort of people of course who would be outraged at the idea of voter ID.

      1. Brian Beijer

        It makes one wonder, is the US on the verge of becoming a democratically elected totalitarian state? Such as… oh, let’s see… which country was that? Oh yeah! The USSR. The irony is delicious. I can’t think of anything more totalitarian than a citizen having to show documents that prove one is in good standing with the government in order to participate in the society. I wonder if these out-raged Americans are aware that this is what they’re demanding? I find it so mind-boggling is that this continues to be covered in the media as though it’s a valid viewpoint despite the news reports about all-vaccinated, super-spreader events. As though these events have no relevance at all, just a coincidence. What strange…some might say stupid… times we live in.

        1. Wukchumni

          The USSR & USA were most oft diametrically opposed on all things, and why should our collapse be anything different using usual Bizarro World logic?

          Soviet citizens needed internal passports to travel from one city to another while we didn’t care you went in the lower 48, soon to be 50 states. You can sense internal passports will be here soon, because Covid chaos – opportunity to observe movements.

          There was one central store in Moscow named G.U.M. where you could find the most variety, we have Amazon.

          When Communism collapsed it was a bit bloody in countries starting with ‘R’, but orderly elsewhere. Nobody owned guns for the most part. I just read about the horrible shortage of bullets occurring in the USA, lead by example.

          Rubles really weren’t worth anything as there was little in the way of consumer goods to buy-along with it only having value in the USSR, and nobody owned land or developed real estate-so when the ax fell, it wasn’t as if they lost everything as they had nothing to begin with. Its just the opposite here.

      2. Nikkikat

        DT jr. is really a drug addled moron. Just like the elites of the past, with each generation of these monied morons, they get more stupid, vapid and worthless.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      our focus, therefore, should be on what can we do to mitigate that all but inevitable outcome…Big Organising is coopted and absorbed…so it has to be local.
      start at your door, and work your way out.
      It is almost a certainty that what you find is less than ideal, on many levels…not least of which is the quality of one’s neighbors…ie: how amenable they are to even considering what’s ahead, as well as what they can contribute, or not, to constructing the parallel structures we needed to have in place 30 years ago.
      build up your tribe as best you can, and make provision to help those who are near to you, but won’t lift a finger in this regard, until it’s too late.
      Post-Roman Britain….it would be cool to skip over the first 400-600 years, and go straight to Alfred..but it’s unlikely.

    3. Kara

      “And TPTB think they can control this.”

      Tom Stone, have you seen what’s happening north of you in Shasta County?

      Search the term red, white and blueprint

      Nothing like a Hispanic Marine rancher and hundreds of others locals vowing to use firearms if local authorities don’t stop trying to control citizen’s bodies and businesses.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      It appears that this messy situation is about to get even messier. If that’s even possible.

      At the same time calls for use of force / ostracization / jail time against the filthy unvaxxed are escalating and pressure will be ratcheting up on parents to have their very young children “vaccinated,” the booster issue comes around.

      I wonder where the “two jab but no more” citizens will fall on the official scale of vilification. Will you be kicked back down to filthy unvaxxed status, or will you be given some credit for previous compliance and allowed to occupy a position slightly above irredeemable refusenik?

      To paraphrase a Gene Hackman line from Mississippi Burning, “If you can’t be better than a filthy unvaxxed, who CAN you be better than?”

      1. Carolinian

        As Carson said, accept the premise accept the bit. Premise: it’s the plague. Follow on premise: you are endangering my life by not getting the vax even if you stay in your house and merely serve as a bad example via your defiance.

        Since these premises are accepted a priori (because society is in danger) they are hard to shake.

        But they are only premises for a certain segment. I don’t think the public at large wants forced experimental vax.

      2. Brian Beijer

        I’m reading these words in a crowded train car right now. I
        assume that most of the adults in the car are vaccinated because everyone is unmasked with the exception of me. I’m also unvaccinated. Everyone is talking and coughing and laughing, enjoying their summer vacation as I quietly try to make my way home from work. At this moment, I couldn’t think of a more dangerous group of people to be with. Not just dangerous to me, but to each other. They’re not to blame. They’ve been told by their government, the scientific institutions, the media and their doctors that they’re safe now. Oh! And let’s not forget that the virus isn’t airborne anyway./s
        Yet somehow, I’m the one considered irresponsible and risking people’s lives in all this because I haven’t taken what’s looking like a mostly useless vaccine. Sometimes I get so tired of living in the prison of society’s bullsh*t.

    5. lordkoos

      I’ve been thinking for some time now that the goal seems to be widespread social unrest — how else to explain such cruel policies? They keep pushing people harder and further into a corner of poverty, ill health and homelessness.

      When widespread unrest reaches a certain point the resulting crackdown will not be pretty, and it will likely be some kind of permanent reversion to authoritarianism. I’m sure our rulers know full well what is coming with climate change — greater crop failures, more intense heat waves, rising sea levels, unprecedented numbers of climate migration etc. At this point it is all about control. Initiatives that support the public good are not even on the back burner, they have fallen off of the stove.

      1. Cuibono

        sure looks like it. People getting divorced over vax/mask status? Siblings ending their relationships?
        calls for cutting off public benefits and ability to shop etc?

      2. Skunk

        You’re probably right. So they are preparing a surveillance system to control the population and distribute resources. The remarkable thing is that people actually believe the purpose of the surveillance and data collection is to “protect them from terrorism” or “to improve targeted advertising.”

    6. Acacia

      mandatory Vaccine edict

      It’s almost as if the Dems want to lose the Congress next year, and the WH in 2024. So be it.

  8. Anon

    Re: Pelosi & Yesterday’s Links

    So, Pelosi is “fighting for” the eviction moratorium, yet knew back in June that it was going to expire in July and did nothing. Cori Bush stands outside to “fight for” the eviction moratorium, yet she was only joined by Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley at night. Later on, she got AOC and Jamaal Bowman to show up as well (even Elizabeth Warren showed up for solidarity). Considering that Democrats are the majority in the House, what’s stopping them from simply just doing it?

    1. Jason Boxman

      And it’s really astounding that Pelosi, having been in Washington decades, didn’t realize that Republicans might object to unanimous consent. Because this has never happened before I guess? I’m amazed these theatrics even work anymore.

  9. fresno dan
    Unfortunately, touching oneself will not be the difference between catching Covid and not, as there are many factors that influence a person’s risk of getting the disease.
    But Dr Jennifer Landa, a specialist in hormone therapy, suggests that indulging in some self-love might be able to strengthen your body’s natural defence forces.
    “Masturbation can produce the right environment for a strengthened immune system,” she said, according to Men’s Health.
    out of an abundance of caution…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well as we have learned over the past several months as far as this pandemic is concerned-

      ‘You’re on your own.’

    2. Michael Ismoe

      So then we wasted all those vaccine shots on members of Congress – they were already immune.

    3. ramjam

      If that were true I should have the immune system of superman, given my proclivities as a youngster.

  10. Solar guy

    To the WSJ hit piece on solar. Here is an old but solid report of years it takes a solar panel to produce the energy it took to make it.

    Today’s solar panels use substantially less energy because of advances in efficiency and manufacturing. The cells are cut much thinner so less material per cell, it’s about 1/4 of what it was in 04. Efficiency is way up. In 04, a module was about 7% vs today they are 18-25% efficient. Less materials and substantially more efficient means less embodied energy, or 1-2 years for crystalline, instead of the 3-4 in the study.

    And given that modules last 25-30 years with limited losses ( warranties are for 80-85% of new at the 25 year mark) they produce 15 to 30 times as much energy as it took to make them.

    I’d like to see something other than coal make them, but if that’s what it takes, just keep making them.

    1. John k

      Animal energy built the first fossil fuel plants. Fossil fuels logically build the non-fossil plants.
      The comparison at the moment is between fossil building more fossil or an alternate. A simple metric u would think wsj would understand is that coal can’t compete with solar, even cheaper nat gas can’t compete in most parts of the country; I saw a solar low bid of 0.022/kwhr for utility wholesale with some storage in Texas before Covid… gas can’t compete with that.
      And gas very likely to rise with little fracking while solar price continues falling.
      The market has decided. The issue now is cheap stationary storage, cost is falling here too, lots of research going on.
      Fossil soon to be limited to locomotion, new autos and trucks probably all electric by 2030.

  11. JustAnotherVolunteer

    Once upon a time… from the great social documentary photographer Lewis Hine. He chronicled working life in the US in the first half of the 20th Century including a long stint covering child labor. There is a good film about his work: “America and Lewis Hine”. You can find it on Kanopy. The New York Public Library also has a good selection of photographs online here:

  12. meadows

    We recently upgraded our off the grid cabin solar panels, two standard panels (I forget the size) replaced a couple 30 year old ones…. the difference was striking! New solar is cheaper, faster and more efficient. Comparison: take a computer from 1990 and put it next to a computer from 2020 and do some video editing. It’s that significant a difference.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I have to say I have been impressed with my 100 watt solar panel and my 350W battery while living in my van. I just stayed 5 days in a campground and only used the panel to top off my battery. There is a lot of efficiency, on the user end as well that helps. LED lights, etc…

      My solar panel folds up in a little suitcase so the whole package takes up nearly no space in my van.

  13. Mildred Montana

    “A video response to Representative Tom McClintock’s description of wildland firefighters as “unskilled labor” (video) Wildfire Today (AC).”

    McClintock, a career politician since the age of 23, nothing in his CV about any blue-collar work.

    But presumably he thinks of himself as “skilled” because he knows how to tie a tie in the morning, co-ordinate it with his shirt and suit, and then go out and collect donations for his next campaign in return for legislative favors.

    I’ve got an idea for a funny Youtube video: “Rep. Tom McClintock tries to put on fire-fighting gear, hilarity ensues.”

    I’ve always believed that blue-collar labor is highly under-valued in our society (and white-collar correspondingly over-valued) and does not get its due respect. For instance, my brother has been a mechanic/farmer for many years and is one of the most talented people I know. I doubt that McClintock could repair his own car or grow a crop of oats like my brother does. So much for his “skills”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I know that I have said and written some stupid things in my lifetime but gratefully nothing as stupid as his statement. Firefighting is not only hard work but you have to be smart about it. That is why the US National Fire Academy is actually a thing. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a highly experienced firefighter would be on par with a master craftsman in a regular trade job.

      1. LifelongLib

        As other commenters have noted, the priviliging of mental (white collar) labor over physical (blue collar) labor is an ancient one, going back to the times when few people could read or write. That privilege no longer makes sense (if it ever did), but we shouldn’t denigrate mental labor either — granted there are better examples of it than the Representative…

        1. Mildred Montana

          Not to denigrate mental labor in any way. Human beings are incredibly diverse and they all possess individual job skills. Successful entrepreneurs, bosses, and foremen deploy admirable organizational and inter-personal abilities. Actors, musicians, and writers enrich our lives with their mental exertions. Good teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. can help people with their hard-earned knowledge.

          I doubt, though, that Rep. McClintock does much mental labor. That leaves his only observable skills as those of the typical politician–plausible lying, glad-handing, and getting himself re-elected by selling out. (I’m ignoring here the mental labor involved in constantly lying–tough to keep all those lies straight.)

          Another skill: Social intelligence. Some people get by on it alone. One can go a long way in this world simply by being nice. By sneering at “unskilled” fire-fighters, Rep. McClintock showed he lacks even that.

          Like most politicians today he is a parasite, and not even a skilled one.

  14. tegnost

    Food monopoly is good with interesting chartology…
    made me question my fancy beer habit.
    Always shop the perimeter of the store.

    1. freebird

      Are you thinking fresh produce is not supplied by a limited number of giant enterprises?

      Meanwhile, yes, Mom was right. It doesn’t pay to pay extra for name or ‘premium’ brands, especially if they don’t offer a significant quality or taste advantage.

      Wonder how many of our ‘foodies’ are missing the chance to save more for their future, instead paying up for high priced coffees/beers/goodies; totally unaware it’s all going to the same Big Food companies.

      1. lordkoos

        Depending on where you live, your supermarket may stock local produce from smaller entities. Here in WA state we often see some local fruits and veggies in chain supermarkets.

        1. freebird

          Sure, there is some, here and there. But in the main, big agribusiness is firmly in charge of the fresh stuff as well as the boxed.

  15. Questa Nota

    That upside-down flying goose may have been channeling its inner Gary Larson. If you have an affection for animal comics, Gary is your guy.

    On a different topic, I’m not up on current lingo. In reading the fluid dynamics blurb I don’t understand the phrase ‘aerosol stans’. At a glance that could be about fans, or e.e. cummings fans named stan or even a new central Asian country that just blew onto the map. Help. ;)

  16. Michael Ismoe

    Opinion: Require the vaccine. It’s time to stop coddling the reckless. Ruth Marcus, WaPo

    Has Ruth Marcus ever been right about anything? The only reason she still has a job in Bezosland is because she keeps crashing the Amazon Prime van. She’s better off staying a columnist at WaPo, no one will read her blather there.

  17. Biologist

    Report on long-term evolution of SARS-CoV-2, by UK Government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. (link at the end)

    The notion that SARS-CoV-2 will inevitably evolve towards low virulence and join the ranks of older coronaviruses (e.g. common cold) lies at the heart of the ‘we need to live with the virus’ narrative, pushed by the anti-masker and anti-any-measure crowd, in line with the false dichotomy of economy vs. public health, and the misunderstanding that to control the virus we need lockdowns (in fact we only need those when transmission control has failed).

    This notion has been rightfully criticised from the start by Yves, Lambert and some of the informed commenters here, and I couldn’t agree more with them from my expertise as evolutionary biologist (though I don’t work on viruses). I specifically recall Yves pointing out that the much higher case fatality rate of SARS-1 and MERS is a data point that might show us the evolutionary potential of SARS-Cov-2.

    Now UK government science advisors are saying the same thing:

    Scenario Four: SARS-CoV-2 follows an evolutionary trajectory with decreased virulence.
    Likelihood: Unlikely in the short term, realistic possibility in the long term.

    Instead they first consider 3 (much) more likely scenarios for the short term:

    Scenario One: A variant that causes severe disease in a greater proportion of the population than has occurred to date. For example, with similar morbidity/mortality to other zoonotic coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV (~10% case fatality) or MERS-CoV (~35% case fatality).

    Scenario Two: A variant that evades current vaccines

    Scenario Three: Emergence of a drug resistant variant after anti-viral strategies.

    They describe how each scenario may come about, how likely it is, and what the impact is.

    For the first one:

    This could be caused by:
    1. Point mutations or recombination with other host or viral genes. This might occur through a change in SARS-CoV-2 internal genes such as the polymerase proteins or accessory proteins. These genes determine the outcome of infection by affecting the way the virus is sensed by the cell, the speed at which the virus replicates and the anti-viral response of the cell to infection. There is precedent for Coronaviruses (CoVs) to acquire additional genes or sequences from the host, from themselves or from other viruses.

    2. By recombination between two VOC or VUIs. One with high drift (change in the spike glycoprotein) from the current spike glycoprotein gene used in the vaccine and the other with a more efficient replication and transmission determined by internal genes, for example, a recombination between beta and alpha or delta variants respectively. Alternatively, recombination may occur between two different variants with two different strategies for overcoming innate immunity, combining to give an additive or synergistic change of phenotype resulting in higher replication of the virus – and potentially increased morbidity and mortality.

    Likelihood of genotypic change in internal genes: Likely whilst the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 is high.

    Likelihood of increased severity phenotype: Realistic possibility.

    Impact: High. Unless there is significant drift in the spike glycoprotein gene sequence, then the current spike glycoprotein-based vaccines are highly likely to continue to provide protection against serious disease. However, an increase in morbidity and mortality would be expected even in the face of vaccination since vaccines do not provide absolute sterilising immunity i.e. they do not fully prevent infection in most individuals.

    They then proceed with a list of things that can be done:

    • Consider vaccine booster doses to maintain protection against severe disease.
    • Reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the UK (to reduce risk of point mutations, recombination).
    • Minimise introduction of new variants from other territories (to reduce risk of recombination between variants).
    • Targeted surveillance for reverse zoonoses, and if necessary, consider animal vaccination, slaughter, or isolation policies.
    • Continue to monitor disease severity associated with variants (to identify changes in phenotype).
    • Continue to develop improved prophylactic and therapeutic drugs for SARS-CoV-2 and disease symptoms.
    • Consider stockpiling prophylactic and therapeutic drugs for SARS-CoV-2.

    The second point, reducing transmission, is obviously what would most drastically reduce chances of such a variant, as every viral replication is a potential mutation event. It is also the opposite of current UK government policy (and many other countries obviously).
    The last two points are interesting, as they go against much of the official narrative where vaccines are the silver bullet and the only solution worth discussing (well I suppose the ‘stockpiling’ is part of the playbook).

    My explanation for this Scenario One is that the current selection for increased transmission likely leads to increased virulence because increased viral load helps transmission but also leads to more severe disease (as a side-effect, from the virus point of view). The Delta variant in fact has much higher viral loads (1000x or so) and is much more transmissable (I am unaware of evidence for increased severity). In absence of natural or vaccine immunity, the only evolutionary brake on this continued evolution is if the time it takes for a patient to die (or become too ill to infect others) becomes too short. If this is too rapid for transmission to occur, milder variants may have an advantage. Needless to say, with the current time lag between initial infection, duration of infectious period, start of symptoms, and time to death, in combination with limited testing and self-isolation, this natural brake is completely irrelevant at the moment.

    Speaking of vaccines, there was this on Scenario Two (a variant that evades current vaccines), via several potential routes:

    3. Antigenic ‘shift’: Natural recombination events that insert a different spike gene sequence (or partial sequence) from human CoVs MERS-CoV (highly unlikely due to the low frequency of MERS-CoV infections), or from currently circulating endemic human CoVs (more likely due to the prevalence of these viruses). This would recombine into the ‘body’ of SARS-CoV-2 that is capable of high replication in human cells. The consequence could be a virus that causes disease at a level similar to COVID-19 when it first emerged but against which our current battery of spike glycoprotein-based vaccines would not work.

    Likelihood: Realistic possibility.

    Impact: High for a completely new spike, medium/low if a spike from a seasonal CoV is introduced since we expect a proportion of the population to have antibodies to these endemic viruses.

    What could we do? In the case of introduction of a completely different spike glycoprotein, a similar vaccine platform could be rapidly employed as has been used successfully on the original Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 and subsequent variants. However, there would be a time lag for roll out whilst these vaccines were generated in sufficient quantities to control and mitigate the effects of infection.

    (Note the acknowledgment that, as we now know, vaccin roll-out is not trivial even if we just consider rich countries that produce them such as UK, where currently less than 60% is fully vaccinated and daily vaccination rates have dropped considerably)

    4. A longer-term version of shift whereby SARS-CoV-2 undergoes a reverse zoonotic event into an animal reservoir(s). This virus is then on a separate evolutionary trajectory because the virus animals is subject to different selection processes than in humans. The SARS-CoV-2 decedents then re-emerge into humans at a later time when vaccines that have been updated to keep pace with drift in humans sufficiently mismatched so as not able to provide immunologic cross protection.
    Likelihood: Realistic possibility. Impact: Medium.
    What could we do? Maintain a capacity to make vaccines with updated/different spike protein variants and begin to develop broader CoV immunity in the human population to diverse coronaviruses. For example, begin to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine with strong cross protection to other CoVs potentially using other viral proteins rather than just the spike glycoprotein.

    Or say, reduce our reliance on mass-produced meat that requires industrial animal breeding.


    5. Antigenic drift: A gradual or punctuated accumulation of antigenic variation that eventually leads to current vaccine failure. Worst case is that this drift combines with significant antigenic sin (vaccination resulting in an immune response that is dominated by antibodies to previously experienced viruses/vaccines) meaning that it becomes difficult to revaccinate to induce antibodies to the new strains. Genetic and antigenic drift are almost inevitable. Antigenic sin has not yet been reported for SARS-CoV-2 so we consider this possibility less likely.
    Likelihood: Almost certain. Impact: Medium.

    Leaving aside the worst-case scenario of antigenic sin, I’m not sure I understand why vaccine failure would only have medium impact given that we’ve made ourselves completely dependent on vaccines as we’ve given up on anything else, at least in the UK. Worse, the risk of vaccine failure is getting higher precisely because we’ve given up on everything else, including a functioning test and trace system, economic support for self-isolation, universal masking, or any attempt at ventilation in schools and offices.

    People often think that evolution is about randomness and chance. Mutation is a chance process, but every viral replication is a throw of the dice – the more cases, the more mutations. Which mutations survive and thrive initially is to some extent stochastic, but the selective environment in which they subsequently expand and conquer whole countries is not random – it is a product of the collective choices we’ve made on transmission and on vaccination.

    At least in the UK, we’re now betting all our money on vaccines while at the same time undermining them by letting the virus loose. It might be possible that our last wave is now passing, that in the mean time the rest of the population will be vaccinated, that reports of low efficacy against Delta are exaggerated, that we won’t import (or create) yet new variants. This is certainly possible – we might get lucky.

    The point is that we keep throwing the dice and pretend things will be fine. If SARS-CoV-2 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s very dangerous to assume that things won’t be as bad as they seem. So the question is: do we feel lucky?

    The report can be read here: [pdf]
    It is worth reading in full, it’s very accessible, including helpful background information.

    What I don’t know is who wrote it. It’s published by the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, but unclear exactly who wrote it or whether it reflects the whole Group’s opinion:

    Paper presented by group of academics on scenarios for the longer term evolution of SARS-CoV-2. It was considered at SAGE 94 on 22 July 2021 and updated on 26 July 2021. (…)
    These documents are released as pre-print publications that have provided the government with rapid evidence during an emergency. These documents have not been peer-reviewed

    1. urblintz

      As I understand it, vaccines have never had much success against corona viruses. The current U.S. approved vaccines (there are others, yes?) apparently offer some protection against serious illness but are non-sterilizing. More infections are imminent…

      and still not a word about developing treatments.

    2. Basil Pesto

      and the misunderstanding that to control the virus we need lockdowns (in fact we only need those when transmission control has failed).

      This is actually a vital point about lockdowns that I perhaps should have stressed more in recent posts I made (over the weekend in particular), broadly defending them as a Covid response. The (successful, so far) lockdowns in Australia have been in response to failures in transmission control as you say. In Victoria last year, poor discipline from privately contracted security staff in hotel quarantine. In Victoria again in July this year, a furniture removalist from NSW brought in the disease – Victoria went into snap lockdown, cases peaked at about 20, lockdown was lifted last week and restrictions eased, and cases were at 2 today (this is delta btw, as far as I’m aware). In NSW in the first place, it was spread in the community by a private driver who was driving airline staff despite not wearing a mask or being vaccinated. NSW did not go into a snap lockdown, despite the lessons of Victoria and several other states who have this year, and will have to be in even longer lockdown as a result (and the success of this large
      lockdown is perhaps harder to be sure of, given the high level of community spread now, and the very high transmissibility of delta).

      My concern for Australia reflects your general concern but I think we’re even more vulnerable due to low vaccine uptake thus far and lack of existing herd immunity. Today, the NSW government was saying that they want to end their lockdown when vaccination rates reach 50%. As you suggest, it’s betting on vaccines while undermining them by over-relying on them. The consequence, it seems to be, could be more and longer lockdowns further down the track. Certainly, this would seem to qualify as a fat tail risk. The risk of guaranteeing more of what they’re trying to avoid by opening up, reducing effective and relatively moderate ad hoc restrictions, and relying on a vaccine that just cannot be relied upon to “go back to normal”/“get us out of the pandemic” which is the uncritically repeated assumption in the press here. Mutation risk is not remotely a part of ~The National Conversation~ (a cliché which I utterly despise). The thoughtlessness at play here is just lamentable.

      Thanks for the post, I will take a look at that SAGE report.

    3. Verifyfirst

      Basically everything sensible goes back to the Precautionary Principle….

      Question: If a non-sterilizing “vaccine” like what we have for Covid, were to reach, say, 95% of the population, would that alone contain the virus except for occasional (local) outbreaks? (and if yes, would that support some more coercive type of effort to get to that level of vaccination? Leaving aside a lot of issues like foreign travel, mutations in lower vaccinated populations, animal reservoirs, etc.)

      P.S. I am just trying to understand, so please don’t yell at me. Go throw your cabbages somewhere else!

      1. Biologist

        I’m not an expert in this but let’s try!

        The situation you describe, “contain the virus except for occasional (local) outbreaks”, is known as herd immunity.

        As I understand it, the theoretical herd immunity threshold is 1- 1/R0
        R0 (R nought) is the virus’s reproduction number. For the Delta variant apparently it’s much higher than for the original strain, potentially in the order of 5-8. If we assume it’s 5, then this threshold is 80%, if we assume 8 it’s 87.5%.

        But, that assumes that the vaccine has 100% efficiency in reducing transmission (sterilizing) which as you point out is not what we have. There are different studies on effectiveness of transmission for several vaccines and variants – one of them showed a number of 88% for two doses of Pfizer on Delta – but this reduces over time – and there have been other studies I believe.

        If we take 88%, then the actual fraction to reach herd immunity is 0.80 / 0.88 = 91% for R0=5 and 0.875 / 0.88 = 99% for R0=8.

        This is assuming that vaccine efficiency says at 88%, but we know it goes down over time.

        The other assumption is absence of transmission reduction measures. If we reduce transmission, we effectively reduce R to a lower value, but of course this reverts to its ‘natural’ value as soon as measures are lifted.

        So to answer your question: yes,
        –> If R0 for delta (the dominant variant in UK and I think also USA) is closer to 5 than to 8
        –> If we can actually reach 95% of a population. Ca 3-5% of the US population is immunocompromised and is not able to mount an immune response, so effectively everyone else including all infants would need to have their shot
        –> If efficiency doesn’t drop with time (effectively if we keep vaccinating)
        –> If efficiency doesn’t drop because the virus evolves to evade vaccines
        –> If R0 doesn’t evolve to become higher (as it has with Delta)
        –> If if it possible to keep updating vaccines for new variants

        So for a country like New Zealand which now has effectively zero transmission, this might be possibe if they vaccinate virtually everybody, and keep vaccinating with updated vaccines for the new variants that they will import once they open the borders. To do it from a starting point of a raging epidemic (e.g. UK) it seems impossible, in my opinion. And let’s remember that most of the world hasn’t even had their first shot of anything, let alone a third booster.

        But I might be wrong – if anyone knows better please pipe up and I’m happy to stand corrected!

        1. Jeotsu

          Discussion in NZ (from pundits, at least) is now about what threshold of vaccination we need to be able to reopen the borders. These pundits appear near-universal in their ignorance of the reality of the mRNA vaccines (we have Pfizer only for in-country vaccinations). They talk about it like it is sterilising, and that assumption undermines all their projections (i.e., that vaccine passports would be sufficient without managed isolation and quarantine).

          I hope that the government officials are better informed, and we will find out next week when they release the roadmap for opening up.

          Honestly, I am very glad that the vaccine rollout here has been slow. Best case is we are done by the end of January. This gives plenty of time for the realties of the limitations of the current vaccines in the face of Delta variant to move out of the “interested experts” arena (scientists, and also the keen folk here at NC) and into the minds of our policy makers. There is strong pressure to reopen, but the government appears to remain very conservative in regards to letting the virus in.

          One reason for that conservatism is that they feel a responsibility for many small pacific nations. Just yesterday they announced that the scheme to get workers in from many small pacific island nations to work in the NZ agricultural industry (picking fruit, etc) is back in action. And they don’t want to send disease back to those countries, as they lack the facilities (medical, institutional) to cope. For this reason NZ has been taking in international fishing trawlers with outbreaks, and hospitalising crew as required, because the alternative is for those plague ships to dock at some small island nation where the danger would be so much greater.

          The islands still remember the “western” diseases that ripped through ~1900 or so, causing mass casualties and societal strife.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Frankly I am hoping for a slow roll-out here in Oz as well so that we can see how things play out with this virus before it is too late. Too many people are pinning all their hopes on these vaccines and NSW is saying that perhaps they can open up when about 50% of the population has been vaccinated. And all I can do is sit here and ask

            ‘Are they f****** crazy?’

          2. Basil Pesto

            Yes, this comment echoes my concerns with Australia pretty much exactly, that I’ve expressed in comments here lately (inc. a few posts above), except to say the NZ government seems to listen more carefully to its public servants instead of the heads of the business community.

            That’s very interesting about the other pacific nations though.

        2. Skunk

          This assumes a continued political backdrop of globalization. Maybe NZ will decide to keep its borders closed indefinitely. Freight is still coming in.

          If I recall, American Samoa managed to avoid outbreaks of the 1918 flu by closing itself off.

          The real problem with the idea of herd immunity is that it’s regarded from a national level. Except for situations like the one in NZ, you cannot figure out what the “herd” actually is. People are always coming in and out of the majority of countries, even during supposed lockdowns, although there may be fewer. So what is the “herd”?

          For all practical purposes, the “herd” may turn out to be the population of the world (NZ may be able to think about this differently). If you think about the original SARS virus or Ebola, it was possible to contain the spread during outbreaks to just some countries, and to prevent it from becoming established in others. Good luck doing this with SARS-CoV-2. The virus has been notoriously difficult to detect once it becomes established. Asymptomatic infection, tests that yield false positives and negatives, the ability of the virus to be carried in the intestinal tract even if other tests show negative– all confounded attempts to figure out who has it.

          Another problem is that it’s looking like vaccine efficacy might diminish in the vaccinated within a relatively short window of time. If a vaccine’s efficacy is waning just six months after being administered, it’s difficult to imagine how we could successfully vaccinate most of the world successfully. By the time you’ve gotten to just part of the world, the efficacy of the vaccine is waning in places that you previously vaccinated. So can you vaccinate most of the world “at the same time” in the sense of “before the virus can mutate” to a strain that evades the vaccine?

          Probably no one knows the answers to these questions. At this time, it seems the vaccines are a useful tool to prevent death, but I do not think we will reach herd immunity in the world with these vaccines. NZ had the best strategy by managing to keep the virus from ever getting firmly established in its population.

          This does not mean that we won’t develop viable solutions. But we may not have solutions yet that will allow for true herd immunity. I would to stress that this is just an opinion. We really don’t have enough facts to say anything definitively.

    4. Carolinian

      Key word in your post–“likely.” Predictions are not fact as we have already seen. My understanding of the counterargument from some epidemiologists is that it is hubris to assume that we can wrestle this thing to the ground with technology and therefore concentrate on therapeutics and quarantine where appropriate (the elderly).

      There’s also the argument that what’s going right now is a social problem, not just a disease problem or the realm of biologists. A single minded approach risks saving lives (assuming that works) while taking away the means of living them.

      1. Biologist

        it is hubris to assume that we can wrestle this thing to the ground with technology and therefore concentrate on therapeutics

        Totally agree, which is why the classic epidemiological toolbox of contact tracing and isolating is so important. No need for apps! Jerri-Lynn had a great post about this comparing (I think) Hong Kong and New York. This can of course only be done effectively when overall cases are low.
        Also agree on the therapeutics, there’s lots to be done there.

        quarantine where appropriate (the elderly).

        This I don’t understand. You mean isolating the elderly indefinately? They’re not the only vulnerable people, even if vaccinated. Further, ‘isolating’ doesn’t work because precisely the people that are vulnerable need more care. More care = more contacts. This was shown in Scotland, where people on the ‘shielding list’ of vulnerable people had 8 times higher Covid risk:

        There’s also the argument that what’s going right now is a social problem, not just a disease problem or the realm of biologists.

        Absolutely. But we cannot pretend that the facts of the virus will change because we wish them too. Any social or political choices need first to acknowledge the basic biology of what we’re dealing with.

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      and this:”…A longer-term version of shift whereby SARS-CoV-2 undergoes a reverse zoonotic event into an animal reservoir(s)…”
      wasn’t this reported just the other day? in dogs, rats and deer?
      If i were a virus sleuth, i’d set up shop at the nearest mega pig factory and do random sampling.

      1. Biologist

        That’s a great idea!

        Here in the UK they’ve set up a system for wastewater monitoring, surely that can be used in mega pig factories as well.

      2. Skunk

        It was reported in deer recently, but it’s also been reported in big cats at zoos, farmed mink (including some that have escaped to the wild), some pet cats and dogs, etc. When a pet owner gives the virus to a pet, it’s reverse zoonosis.

        With influenza, the natural reservoir is aquatic birds. This means the aquatic birds can carry the virus without causing evident harm to the birds themselves. There are many different influenza strains circulating in wild birds at any given time. Some of the strains can be passed into domestic animals, such as into domestic fowl. We all know what happens when a flock of chickens gets infected with a highly pathogenic strain of influenza. The virus may not have harmed the aquatic birds, but chickens are genetically different enough from aquatic fowl that large numbers of them may die.

        Some of these strains can be transmitted via zoonosis to humans. Usually, only people in direct contact with birds (typically chickens) contract the strain, but sometimes their close family members do. The severity of illness varies from mild conjunctivitis to death, depending on the strain of influenza and other circumstances.

        Despite this, the virus typically does not learn easily to spread human-to-human. But this can always change. If enough key mutations arise, an bird influenza virus that infects chickens on farms can adapt to spread among humans. With most viruses, this does not occur easily. Consider, though, that almost all known crowd diseases among humans seem to have begun initially as livestock diseases. As an example, measles may have come from rinderpest that infected cattle. See, for example:

        Similarly, humans infect animal populations. So you have to think of viruses as cycling back and forth between human and animal populations. So let’s return to the idea of “herd immunity.” Let’s say that somehow we managed to create an actual sterilizing vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, and we successfully vaccinated all human beings. Great achievement! But there’s a problem. Maybe wild animal populations now have species that circulate their own versions of the virus. In other words, let’s imagines the inverse of the influenza example. Maybe a wild animal of a particular species initially caught the virus through direct contact with a human, and later the virus learned to spread animal-to-animal in that same species. The virus may continue to mutate in the new species.

        So, in the above case, it is possible that even if the virus were eliminated in human populations, it could re-enter human populations from the animal reservoir. It might not be highly likely, but it would be possible.

  18. shinola

    Maybe (probably) it’s just me, but this covid pandemic brings to mind H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”… Remember how the Martians were defeated?

    If you consider Human “civilization” as a war on nature…

    1. Lee

      If as fictional character Robert Ford stated, “Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool… The mistake”, maybe we’re just another one of the oopsies. Our ruins will certainly wow future generations of one life form or another.

      1. Jason Boxman

        For those that missed this — I would have — it came from the new Westworld (2016) series on HBO (and maybe elsewhere?).

  19. fresno dan
    12,712,935 people in 4,859,440 households fear eviction. Those numbers are hugely understated. The Census total shown in the chart above is off my total of their numbers by 1.
    There is a huge amount of blame to spread around but please note that even the Democrat-governed states failed to promote the Federal rent assistance programs.
    Through June, only $3 billion of an allocated $47 billion was spent.
    Neither the Administration nor the House nor state governors – anywhere – promoted the existing Federal rent assistance programs.
    By the way, rental assistance is a budget item. Democrats could easily have passed a better program through reconciliation even without support of Republicans.
    There are only 2 people to blame for that failure: Biden and Pelosi.
    Article has a lot of data. What I gleen from it is that evictions are not getting the attention they deserve.

  20. a fax machine

    Cultural news: the Internet is still on fire due to Christine Weston Chandler’s arrest for doing that unmentionable thing rural, white southerners are stereotypically known for with her senile mother. The end came over the weekend when Christine revealed to a business associate that she was also stealing money from her mom in violation of court orders, and has since been taken into custody.

    Thus ends one of the longest running Internet phenomenons, which started in 2006 when Christine, then Chris, was discovered by a SomethingAwful user for posting “love notices” around his community college’s library. Subsequent developments led to Chris uploading his Sonichu comic book to the Internet and love videos to Youtube while being the subject of many Internet pranks/bullying with his father. After the latter’s death the former came out as a woman and became the first Brony… inadvertently starting an entire Internet clique around the My Little Pony television show. She was preparing for a trip to a MLP convention (! – big business) in Seattle when these recent events unfolded.

    It’s been about 15 years and has caused many to reflect. Christine has, in her own special way, influenced how online communities communicate and how they work. Much of the current datamining and doxxing strategies used today were first demo’d on Christine in 2009, 10 and 11. Which relates to: her former business associate was 8chan’s COO until he was fired for being unable to get the moderation problem under control… a situation that preceded the New Zealand terrorist attack committed by a radicalized 8chan user. Much has changed in that time.

    nb: It’s a sad end because Christine is otherwise capable… she has an AS in CAD and was set to be a machinist like her father.

      1. a fax machine

        Christine is what happens when someone doesn’t get professional help for a mental health problem. Back in the day, her love quest was silly but innocent and the pranking usually didn’t go beyond set boundaries. This ended when she transitioned and everything became grosser (though, people are now noting her violent sexual tendencies existed at the very start but were repressed by her late father). She will forever be the most famous person from Ruckersville, Virginia.

        The larger attempt at a business around her has since crumbled, and it’s notable that every major MLP convention (ones that are remaining open despite Covid… future superspreader sites given the orgies that occur at them) has since banned him and made public statements trying to walk around her without naming her specifically. Christine herself now faces lifelong homelessness (if given a suspended sentence) or life in prison. Right now, the ‘web is hoping for the former so she can have a homeless episode like the late Terry A. Davis also did. Livestreaming has grown to be a big part of this, as you can imagine.

  21. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Once upon a time”

    Viz., “Once upon a time is used to indicate that something happened or existed a long time ago or in an imaginary world. It is often used at the beginning of children’s stories.”

    And now, “Overall employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The construction of large projects, such as high-rise buildings, is expected to drive employment growth, as will the need to rehabilitate, maintain, and replace an increasing number of older roads and bridges.”

    National Geographic, “Men of Steel” is an interesting daydream(?) and satisfying diversion, if a copy is available at the local library.

    Although, the overall environment might be observed to be challenging, that is, “I think they want astronaut’s equivalence,” quips Adam Cross, at 31, one of the younger Mohawk workers. He’s not far off. Designed to identify the smartest and strongest, the admissions test is almost fit for the space program. Applicants first take a general aptitude test, run by an outside company, and only the top 400 scores move on. They then take a physical test, which requires them to scale a 30-foot iron beam and lift 25-pound weights to an elevated platform as rapidly as they can. In the end, half are accepted. Older Mohawks needed no such training. Mr. Marquis borrowed $300 from his father, bought a licence from the Montreal union, started work the same week, and paid off the debt with his first cheque. Now, he has a co-worker he says is less than impressive despite having a PhD: “You can’t take a chicken swimming – that’s kind of what we’ve got going on.”

    See also, “Fittingly, Mohawk ironworkers also helped build the Freedom Tower; in 2015, Silverstein Properties even held an exhibit at 4 WTC called “Skywalkers: The Legacy of the Mohawk Ironworker at the World Trade Center.” Today, about 200 of the 2,000 structural ironworkers in the New York area are Mohawk.”

    Always remembering the rule that dominates at least a subset of the population in today’s modern world, that is, “Hard work is for suckers.”, yet where would we all be without the steady supply of “suckers” willing to do the hard and dangerous work that everyone else takes for granted?

  22. Wukchumni

    Watching the washers @ a Mammoth laundromat:

    We’re in between backpack trips, the next one starting tomorrow in Yosemite NP and man can your clothes get pretty hanky on you when you wear the same shirt every other day along with alternating other articles en route on foot, and there’s nothing lazier than waiting for le duds to be sudsed, and on the message board were urgent pleas largely in Spanish from the likes of Motel 6 offering $16 an hour and a $700 signing bonus, while the Mammoth transit operator is casting out a $1200 bonus with $25 an hour pay, both sounding a bit desperate. Local eateries were offering $15.65 and $17 an hour to prospective employees as well.

    1. EGrise

      I suspect that’s what’s really behind the lapse of the eviction moratorium: business wants more desperate slaves so they can stop offering higher pay.

  23. genezip

    Regarding Covax, I don’t like this focus on flagging the Gates Foundation specifically. The Gates Foundation isn’t even the largest funder for either Gavi or CEPI (and their contributions are ultimately dwarfed by the total volume of government donations). Not that the Gates Foundation is necessarily so innocent, but I think their prominence in the public health space makes them a convenient bogeyman and distracts from competing interests from other large public and private stakeholders. I don’t think anyone is coming out of their affair looking particularly well.

  24. Even keel

    Re: robot dogs, caitlinjohnstone

    This nugget from that article: Hyundai Motor Company in June closed an $880 million deal for a controlling stake in the robotics firm (Boston dynamics).

    That’s America’s leading robotics company, as far as I know. Making advanced robots. Worth 1.7 billion dollars.

    By contrast, a web company that leases vacation homes (Vacasa) is going public via a spac, which deal values the company at more than twice as much: 4.4 billion.

    Seems to highlight the fact that rents are way more profitable than making things.

  25. Verifyfirst

    I would like to request IM Doc (and others) back off the “lifestyle choices” rhetoric a little–unless you have studied obesity and smoking, you don’t know what you are talking about as far as causation, and your constant references to “poor choices”, “Bears” and Covid risk factors are not helpful.

    I notice you don’t include alcoholism or drug abuse in your list of “bad choices” so perhaps we have made a little progress…..

    1. saywhat?

      Otoh, I’m obese or at least my gut is, yet the loss of only 10lbs or so makes the difference between being able to walk 2.5 miles non-stop, my usual walk, and having to turn back after about a block with chest, head and neck pains.

      So I appreciate IM Doc and am not at all offended by his efforts to save lives with honest advice. True, one might have to be really desperate to take that advice but at least IM Doc points us in the right direction.

    2. Carolinian

      I can see your point, but regardless of whether it is a choice or an addiction doctors have to express the reality if it is endangering your health. If you are including alcoholism surely you don’t think alcoholism is a good thing or something that should be ignored.

      Arguably the media have been trying to avoid offending people by avoiding the weight issue completely despite the fact that it reportedly has quite a lot to do with covid. They, like doctors, should go for the facts if it can change outcomes.

    3. Cuibono

      i have studied obesity and smoking, extensively and for 30 years.
      I take your point to mean that these are complex problems , and that it is overly scolding to call them “lifestyle choices” but not that we as humans have no agency in our own health?

      1. Verifyfirst

        There are many illnesses, disorders, traumas and even treatments which overwhelm agency for the average individual.

        Medication for schizophrenia, for example, causes 100 to 200 pound weight gains (actually the label lists “unlimited weight gain” as a side effect). Cigarette smoking is pervasive in the population of adults with brain diseases (the “mentally ill”), far beyond the percentages found in the general population.

        These are undoubtedly risk factors for many bad things, but have very little to do with “choices”.

  26. David

    Thanks for linking to the AFP article on Lebanon. The country is quite close now to terminal disintegration, and anyone who cares about stability in the Middle East needs to keep a close eye on what’s going on there.
    What the story says isn’t wrong, so far as I can tell, but it rather misses the point. The issue of who can be blamed for the explosion almost exactly a year ago (as opposed to who should really be blamed) certainly consumes the Lebanese political class, but it’s insoluble, insofar as in Lebanon everyone is responsible for everything and nobody is responsible for anything. That’s the logical end result of a confessional political system with prizes for all the main contenders, and which relies on an elaborate and painful consensus to achieve anything, let alone to form a government. And the biggest article of consensus among the elites is robbing the country, while playing an amusing and involving game of musical chairs among themselves.

    But whilst the Lebanese certainly want those responsible to suffer, they also want the corrupt political class as a whole to be gone, and somebody to do something about the economy, where the Lebanese Pound has lost 90% of its traditional purchasing power, in a country where almost everything has to be imported. After 4 August last year, it seemed to some that there was a window of opportunity for reform the system. But inevitably, all that happened was another round of musical chairs, and complex trade-offs between political parties with foreign sponsors. The “new” Prime Minister, Hariri, was the same one who had been driven from power in October 2019 because of the economic situation of the country. He was never able to form a government, and now, after almost a year, yet another Sunni politician, Miqati, is being given a chance: he did a creditable job as PM twice before during periods of crisis, but a Lebanese PM without a government has little if any power.

    The West has made the badly-needed economic help conditional on political reforms that everyone, especially the Lebanese public, knows are necessary. But they will never happen, and would not happen even if the will were there: the system is structurally incapable of delivering them. I don’t follow every twist and turn of the crisis – it’s too depressing – but I’m fairly sure that, without a miracle, Lebanon is going down. I don’t know what we’ll see: it could be a return to ethnic conflict, or just a complete disintegration into some kind of anarchy, or both. Keep an eye on this one.

  27. Kaligula

    >> No, it’s not a glass bridge… and he’s 1000 feet up.

    >> A worker cleans part of the Aizhai Suspension Bridge in Hunan Province, China.

    Aside from my sweaty palms, I wonder why he wears a hard hat…

    1. Gc54

      Looking down, accidentally bumps head on converging girders, disoriented so falls. Hardhats cushion but he really needs a parachute too.

  28. Big River Bandido

    Clicked on the Hill article on infrastructure. Can’t tell you how many “articles” I’ve read about this bill over the last few weeks — and not one of them even mentioned a single thing that was in the bill. “Journalism” today is all about process, zero substance.

Comments are closed.