Links 8/22/2021

The Arc of History Bends Toward Emotional Support Peacocks Year Zero


America’s Most Flamboyant Private Eye and the 8,000-Mile Manhunt Narratively (Anthony L)

Are the English exceptionally gullible? The Spectator (Anthony L)

‘No one comes here any more’: the human cost as Covid wipes out tourism Guardian

Four hundred years of melancholy—why Robert Burton’s masterpiece speaks to our pandemic age Prospect

The World Is All That Is the Case The Millions

Police leave disabled Colorado woman with nearly $1,600 toll bill after using her stolen license plate The Gazette


Trump team thought UK officials ‘out of their minds’ aiming for herd immunity, book says Guardian

US extending travel restrictions with Mexico, Canada The Hill

Confronting Our Next National Health Disaster — Long-Haul Covid New England Journal of Medicine


Health officials warn people not to treat Covid with a drug meant for livestock. NYT

The Vaccinated Are Worried and Scientists Don’t Have Answers Bloomberg. “It’s quite clear that we have more breakthroughs now,” said Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco. “We all know someone who has had one. But we don’t have great clinical data.”


The F.D.A. is aiming to give full approval to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine on Monday. NYT

Covid-19: FDA set to grant full approval to Pfizer vaccine without public discussion of data British Medical Journal

Why we petitioned the FDA to refrain from fully approving any covid-19 vaccine this year British Medical Journal


The US Is Getting Covid Booster Shots. The World Is Furious Wired

‘Fully Vaccinate Everyone Before Considering Booster Shots’ India Spend

Will You Need A Covid Booster Shot After 2 Doses? What AIIMS Chief Says Scroll

Is catching Covid now better than more vaccine? BBC

More than 23,000 metro Atlanta students in quarantine weeks into school year WSB-TV 2

‘It’s pretty dire’: Vancouver Island salmon under threat from climate change-induced droughts The Narwhal

NATO’s southern flank is under attack — from wildfires The Hill

Henri vs. Sandy: How this hurricane stacks up against 2012’s killer storm NY Post

Hurricane Henri: What to know as rare cyclone heads north AP

Hurricane Henri already flooding NYC streets, subways NY Post. Lots of rain here in Brooklyn last evening, which started just before we sat down to dinner. It’s  now paused ,with the worst expected later today. I just hope my basement doesn’t flood – nor anything else, for that matter.

Groves of Academe

Elite Education The Point

Cuomo’s Ouster May Have Saved Public College in New York Jacobin

New York Dems brace for a new era in the state party Cuomo made his own Politico


‘Hell on earth’: Lebanon unlivable as crisis deepens France 24


People dying in wait outside Kabul airport: report Bangkok Post (furzy)

U.S. evacuations from Afghanistan face new roadblocks as Taliban co-founder arrives in Kabul San Franciso Chronicle

Tony Blair: Why We Must Not Abandon the People of Afghanistan – For Their Sakes and Ours  Tony Blair Institute of Global Change.

Afghanistan’s looming cash crisis threatens to worsen a humanitarian disaster MIT Technology Review

For Many Afghans, the US Occupation Was Just as Bad as the Taliban Jacobin

Authors of ‘War on Terror’ in denial to the bitter end Qantara

When the Raids Came Harpers

White Feminists Wanted to Invade The Nation


Afghanistan Action Plan: January 2009 Sarah Chayes. This  post immediately follows the important post Yves linked to yesterday. I repeat that link here for those who missed it: The Ides of August

Afghanistan Was Always About American Politics Project Syndicate. James K. Galbraith.


Three major networks devoted a full five minutes to Afghanistan in 2020 Responsible Statecraft (re Šilc)

Post-American Afghanistan and India’s Geopolitics Foreign Policy

China weighs how best to bolt the back door to terrorists from Afghanistan South China Morning Post

Class Warfare

To Ease Affordable Housing Crisis, California Views a Broad New Law Capital & Main

CEOs Got Bonuses While Workers Struggled During the Pandemic 

Biden Administration

Biden’s Likely Ambassador to China Is Entangled In Tech and Defense Sludge

Biden meets with security team at the White House as chaos mounts in Afghanistan after cancelling trip to Delaware as desperate Americans are warned to stay away from Kabul airport Daily Mail

Defence, digital trade, Covid-19 in focus as Kamala Harris joins Biden administration’s convoy to Southeast Asia South China Morning Post


Poor timing for US to lure Vietnam as a strategic partner Asia Times

US-Vietnam Relations in 2021: ‘Comprehensive,’ But Short of ‘Strategic’ The Diplomat


How One Myanmar Village is Fighting the COVID-19 Outbreak The Diplomat

Myanmar Shadow Government Launches Guerilla Radio Barron’s


Delhi’s Anti-Muslim Riots Robbed Dozens of Children of Their Fathers The Diplomat

Antidote du Jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. ProudWappie

      Good point, although the combination of generating revenue with tourism, and protecting natural resources (as in parks and the like), is something which is to be preferred over just extracting wealth from nature, which typically occurs in an unsustainable way.

    2. marcyincny

      If there’s one thing the pandemic has exposed it’s the extent to which economies depend on ‘luxuries’ like travel and entertainment, big contributors to both the spread of disease and global warming. I had no idea how big tourism was or how many people consider their “holidays” sacrosanct.

      1. Harold

        There is something in what you say, but weren’t wine, olive oil, tobacco also luxuries that supported and still support important economies, throughout history. Not to mention silk. And for that matter pilgrimages (tourism)?

        1. Procopius

          Harold, I don’t think wine and olive oil were luxuries until the 20th Century, and even then only outside of Europe. And in Northern Europe butter was used instead of olive oil. I would classify them as staples except they didn’t provide that large a share of calories. Olive oil may have been a luxury item in England, for example, but it certainly wasn’t in Italy or Greece, and wine was mixed with water to make it safe to drink.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Jim Cramer observed in the early days of Covid that a substantial part of our economy depends on “crowds.”

    3. Wukchumni

      I was furtively hoping that Covid would be the straw that broke the short term vacation rental’s back, but if anything it only intensified the trend, for once Sequoia NP was opened back up after a 3 month closure in June 2020, it was off to the races. Staying in a motel has lots of chances for contracting the virus being relatively close to strangers, whereas a house seemed a heck of a lot less risky, advantage AirBnB.

      Everybody I know with a vacation rental is all smiles, booked through October a few of them crowing contentedly, knowing profits trump all else in this game of life.

      Meanwhile, our unfenced (a rarity in this age of learning institutions for youth looking more akin to a prison) K-8 school was in dire need of funds for upkeep and whatnot, and over a 10 year period, a voting measure was put forth to initiate a tax on property owners to pay for that upkeep and it failed twice before passing, and meanwhile the amount of children going to school resembles an evangelical christian’s wettest dream in that perhaps they’ve been raptured, how else could you explain a school’s enrollment going from 200 to just over 100?

      It isn’t as if Bob & Betty Bitchin’ from Burbank and their fetching kids Truly & Trevor are going to pick up the enrollment slack in their 3 day stay here…

    4. Mikel

      I wonder how many people complaining about the unvaccinated here can’t wait to go traveling to countries with low vaccination rates?
      Think some of them haven’t attended a zoom meet from an exotic locale?

    5. lyman alpha blob

      “We are back to levels of travel we saw 30 years ago,” says Sandra Carvão, chief of tourism market intelligence at the agency.

      And they say that like it’s a bad thing. How many countries need to start on fire before we figure out we need to lay off the fossil fuels and stay put?

    6. Jason Boxman

      Wouldn’t that apply to any single source economy? There’s always a risk that social norms and appetites change. Maybe tourist driven economies are uniquely vulnerable to this. Even extraction isn’t immune to this; Appalachian coal became less desirable and that was an economic blow.

      We analyze the effects of the EPA’s Acid Rain Program on county-level production of coals of
      varying sulfur content in the Appalachian and Illinois basins, controlling for Powder River Basin
      production, proximity of power plants to mines, and scrubber installation. Using a thirty-year panel data
      set, we find that during the Acid Rain Program coal sulfur content positively affected mine closure and
      negatively affected production in most coal-producing counties, with the greatest effect from 1995-2000.

    7. lordkoos

      In many places in the world tourism is the best they can hope for, thanks in part to American and IMF policies that keep developing countries indebted.

      1. LifelongLib

        It isn’t just in “developing countries”. There are many places in the U.S. (and I suppose other developed nations) where whatever industry used to provide employment has vanished, and tourism is all that’s left (e.g. where I live, Hawaii).

    8. Maritimer

      What stunning hypocrisy, not only does the Guardian advertise their content is for sale to B&M Tax Dodging Foundation but they bemoan the fact that the polluting and climate threatening tourism industry is in decline. Evidently has nothing to do with their constantly trumpeting dealing with Climate Change. NIMTBY, Not In My Tourist Backyard.

      I live near a place that was designated a World Heritage Site and it soon became a tourist destination (folks in search of T-shirts and other tourist swag) driving up RE prices, driving out the actual working locals and becoming an image of something it never was.

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      Then again, the Beautiful Habitats will be forced to earn their keep, one way or another.

      If there is no eco-tourism, and will be no eco-tourism going forward, then the hungry of the world will kill, butcher out and eat every Beautiful Habitat there is.

      So let us pray that eco-tourism can recover and then continue onward.

  1. NV

    Regarding the first article, which starts with describing allergies vs need for emotional
    support dog, would not a person with allergies or asthma be considered protected under
    whichever federal law applied ‘disabled’ to someone requiring an emotional support animal on a plane? And if not, why not?
    (This is one reason this asthmatic has not flown in years, in order to avoid situations as the described. Avoiding being assaulted by the TSA is the other pre-pandemic reason to eschew air travel.)

    1. Count Zero

      What about needing an emotional-support animal to protect oneself from somebody else’s emotional-support animal? They might then need a second emotional-support animal to protect the first? And so on.

      Was Noah really just a very needy person who required a lot of emotional-support animals before he could set sail in his ark?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        No need to rag on Noah. If somebody authoritative, like an expert but with no degrees, told you a flood that big was coming, you might need all the emotional support you could get . ;)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m not buying the idea in that article at all. It is a repeat of Reagan’s idea that ‘government is the problem.’ Government was partly to blame but you have to look at what was driving their decisions. How about I re-word the title for clarity-

      “The Root Cause of the Afghanistan Crisis? U.S. Corporate Profit-Seeking”

      Those trillions that were spent on Afghanistan? Most of it never left the shores. A lot of people and a lot of corporations made bank on this self-licking ice-cream. They never wanted it to end hence all those demands now that the US goes back in.

      What it meant on an operational level was that all those corporations worked to maintain the status quo and ignored the pent-up forces that would up end their apple-cart. They weren’t interested in actually building Afghanistan up but only profiting from it, even if what they did was detrimental to that country and ensure their ousting. Guess they never looked any further than their quarterly financial statements.

      1. Procopius

        He demonstrates he’s completely out of touch with reality when he says the military studied the lessons of Vietnam. They did not. They retreated into a fantasy world where they would battle the panzer columns coming through the Fulda Gap and fight the Red Baron in the skies. General Petraeus, a lying self-promoter, wrote a manual on counter-insurgency that was less realistic than the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual from 1940. Anybody who has ever lived in an underdeveloped country would have known that as soon as the Ambassador decided fighting corruption was just too hard the war was lost, that what we see at Kabul Airport today was inevitable. I do not believe none of the people working in Afghanistan knew that businessmen from the cities (such as they are) were going out into the countryside to Taliban courts to settle their disputes because the Taliban courts are honest. I do not believe none of the military “trainers” knew that the Afghan National Army was not being paid. How could they have thought an army that is not paid and not fed going to fight for a government put in place by an occupying force of foreigners? One of the things the Small Wars Manual emphasizes is that the expeditionary force must rigidly and impartially enforce the the rule of law. Unfortunately, we don’t do that at home, so we don’t think we need to do it elsewhere. Obama had good reasons to fear keeping American soldiers in Iraq without a Status Of Forces Agreement that exempted them from Iraqi law.

    2. Mikel

      I’vr been thinking about domestic politics in many places and how this additional mass migrant causing event plays with issues around unemployment.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the departing Afghans are evenly spread around all the countries which sent forces and experts and so on into Afghanistan, then there will be too few of them per country to affect the unemployment situation in any of those countries.

        The departing Afghans should be regarded as a special case. They were overtly lured into working with the NATO forces and developisers and etc. Some were even personally lured from already-overseas back to Afghanistan to take part in the great upbuildment.

        1. Ian Perkins

          I heard something about departing Afghans being dumped in Bosnia and Kossovo. I think this was until their processing had been completed, but what of those who don’t make it through whatever processing remains to be done? Or did I mishear or misunderstand – it was a brief item on BBC World Service radio, which doesn’t seem to have been repeated? Has anyone else heard or read anything about this?

  2. David

    If you have the stomach for another article on Afghanistan, I really would recommend this on-the-ground analysis from the estimable Afghan Analysts Network, to whom, I think, NC has linked in the past.

    The essential message is that – as some of us have said – the US and the Taliban were playing different games. The US thought the Taliban wanted an inclusive political settlement. They were, to put it mildly, wrong. The analysis argues – rightly, I think – that:

    “this unfolding catastrophe stemmed not from intelligence failures, but a vain hope in the best-case scenario and a wilful blindness to the worst.”

    The paragraph that most struck me, illustrating the complete detachment of the US (and the Afghan government) from the realities of the world is as follows:

    “Internationally, many institutions were commissioned to look into ‘post-peace’ scenarios … Studies looked at how a future constitution might work, at disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), women’s rights, the economy and development. Peace-advocacy NGOs were given funds to build negotiating ‘capacity’ in the government, or advise on how to bring women into the peace process, or deploy technical support to the intra-Afghan talks. New bodies and a new ministry were set up in Kabul to guide and carry out the government’s peace strategy. The various political factions in Afghanistan wrote up their own plans for peace. (US) strategy was spawning fantasy castles of research, advocacy and new institutions.”

    Sometimes, you just want to weep.

    1. Ignacio

      Another conclusion: the US loves sanctions as a political tool. Has this ever worked, except for making the life’s of many a misery?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Sanctions have been effective at strengthening the targeted regime, making all problems the fault of foreign devils. At this point, we have enough information on the effects of sanctions to conclude a primary goal of sanctions is to keep the sanctioned “villains” in power for their use as villains. A more European aligned Russia, would do what? In the end, it would create the conditions for Europe to be independent from the US regardless of the nature of Russian politics in that scenario.

        Inertia too. The US doesn’t have to live in the real world so to speak, so it can be flippant whereas Moscow, Beijing, Islamabad, etc have to deal with reality. Its not like anyone from Afghanistan has ever attacked anyone in the US. Saudi subjects were behind 9/11 and funded by Saudi nobles.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Slight edit, sanctions have been effective at strengthening the targeted regime’s hold over their country.

    2. Darthbobber

      How they can look at the attitude of the Ghani government during the Doha “process” and claim that it was largely the Taliban that refused to engage in serious negotiations is beyond me.

      And they obviously did do a LOT of meaningful negotiation with other Afghans, the results of those negotiations becoming evident these past few months.

      The Sharia thing is meaningless until we see the variant of Sharia that is implemented.

      The late puppet government was officially an Islamic Republic, claimed a basis in Sharia, and included a council of clerics to rule on such matters.

    3. Janie

      Reminds me of a print interview with J. Paul Getty in which he was asked if he took an optimistic view of investments. He said it was quite the opposite; he looked at the worst possible outcomes before committing.

    4. Joe Well

      That reminds me of every liberal organization I have ever encountered. Meetings to have discussions to determine parameters of committees to discuss plans to envision future…

    1. Susan the other

      How is it we can justify ruining a country, killing and maiming millions of people, depriving them of crucial imports, and patrolling their waters in total arrogance… and then say “Oh never mind all that, we want to be partners now?” One day we will learn that there is a basic human instinct for truth and no matter what gaslight bullshit we try to pass off as reality it won’t fly.

    2. Questa Nota

      Strategic misdirection.

      Mere plebes wouldn’t understand, above pay-grade, insufficient clearance, fade to blue.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Three major networks devoted a full five minutes to Afghanistan in 2020”

    They are making up for it now and are getting very bellicose in demanding that the US attack the Taliban. So yesterday there was a link to a story of how some die-hards were trying to organize a resistance in the Panjshir valley which the neocons were fully onboard with because apparently what Afghanistan desperately needs right now is a new civil war.

    Well that idea is already collapsing as the Panjshir valley elders are making peace with the Taliban but not before during a White House briefing a reporter was wanting to know if the Pentagon was considering launching strikes to support that resistance-

    Apparently this reporter is in dire need of a second brain cell to rub against the first. Such a strike would probably have to be launched from Kabul airport. Has she considered what would happen there if the US launched an aerial attack on Taliban forces? What is wrong with these people?

    1. Ian Perkins

      Civil war is the only way to protect civilians, just as humanitarian bombing is the only way to protect human rights.

    2. tegnost

      i hear vicky nuland and robert kagan are teaming up with that st louis assault rifle couple… they’re going to do a rambo and free afghanistan cause they’re just fed up

    3. Dftbs

      Americans don’t realize that diplomatic situation in Central Asia has changed. Those supporting strikes would have to get through Iranian or Pakistani air defenses first.

      I think the interesting question is, did the diplomatic situation change because we lost the war, or did we lose the war because the diplomatic situation change. Of course I don’t expect that to sort of introspection from western media.

      1. Pat

        I think the bigger question is, was this really a war? Occupation certainly, but war?

        War implies some urgency and some investment in a particular outcome that ends in a favorable manner. We may have had a preferred response, but have certainly had no urgency or desire for an outcome.

        The occupation WAS the desired response. That was what filled the coffers of those with any say. Whether that was always the case or whether everyone just figured out that was the best possible outcome from blowing it from the start, I am not sure we will ever know. But what we do know is that it was a tremendous abuse of grunts, the happily clueless American public, and most of all the people of Afghanistan.

        Oh and all the people who have been making bank on that occupation are screaming the loudest that we must go back because in their minds they are the real victims, no matter who they say it is about. For instance, who is going to pay Petraeus’ speaking fees if he knows nothing…

        1. Dftbs

          I think it was a war. I think there was urgency, but as with COVID, the sense of urgency is outmatched by our lack of capability.

          So the administration, DoD, our allies all want to do something. But we can’t do anything. Not for lack of will but for lack of capability. I may have dreams of dunking a basketball, but those days are long behind me.

          Similarly, actual American power is dramatically limited. We can’t bluster and threaten our way over Pakistani airspace like we did 20 years ago. Those threats aren’t believable.

          It’s nearly impossible for those that populate the military adjacent functions of our empire to grasp that. The embedded media in flack jackets, the think tank bargain basement Clausewitzs, the guys and gals that sell the bombs over martinis, the NGOs that bless the war with religiosity of human rights. They have to believe. Like leprechaun, sprites or other superstitions, once there is no belief they will cease to exist.

          But ultimately reality comes for unpaid bills of faith.

          1. Pat

            Well just for sh*ts and giggles let us take your position at face value examine the question of WHEN did the US lose the capability for the war.
            Was it from the very beginning when we had the aid, and the troops, of multiple countries at our disposal?
            Was it when we rescued the poppy fields for our allies the war lords?Was it when we helped arm the Northen Alliance? Was it when we picked “winners” of the factions fighting over it internally?
            Was it when we invaded Iraq?
            Was it after the second, third, fourth….surge?
            Was it when our forever wars were erased from political discussion during our elections?
            Was it when coverage of Afghanistan became an afterthought for a slow news day in our media?

            When in the last twenty years+ did we lose this war and start just treading water at a cost of how many lives and a rate of approximately 500 million dollars a day due to lack of capability?

            Edited to add: we blame capability even in Covid for what many times are decisions.

            1. Dftbs

              I think that was the question I posed at the start: “did the diplomatic situation change because we lost the war, or did we lose the war because the diplomatic situation change.”

              I think I may have a different understanding of the power dynamics that hold the answer to that question. I read in your statements a definite ascription of our present situation solely to the actions of the US.

              I don’t agree with that. That sort of analysis neglects the fact that other nations have agency. They didn’t spend the last 20 years waiting for us to leave. They spent it defining their national interests and taking paths to promote these interests, whether they aligned with US wishes or not.

              When the press asks if we are going to bomb the Taliban in support of the “resistance” they assume that history and the power dynamics that drive it are static. When you wonder if we lost the war when we invaded Iraq, or became heroin dealers, I think it’s a similar thought process. In the case of the press it neglects that our power is materially diminished, history happened. Pakistan isn’t afraid of being bombed to the Stone Age by us the way they were in 2001. In the case of your question, it neglects that we are not the only actor on the stage. The Taliban spent the last twenty years becoming better fighters and better diplomats. The Russians and Chinese defined their national interests by rejecting vassal status in the US world order. The Iranians and Pakistanis have stand off weapons that allow them to tell us to go suck lemons.

              I think we Americans have an misapplied faith in our system. We think that our misleadership class made bad decisions. But perhaps our system, the incentives it puts before us, can only lead to the decisions we took. That’s not to say we are victims of fate. There are other decisions to make, but none that can be made within the ideological confines of our system.

              So going back to the beginning I think that as with COVID, there is a sense of urgency within the apparatus of power in our nation. But they are doing the best and most they can, and what you have seen iss all the system allows for. In the case of COVID $2000 bucks and haphazard public health measures. In the case of Afghanistan, $2000 air fare and haphazard evacuation.

              After all the United States is exceptional in that it doesn’t promise to do things for the welfare of its citizens. But that it will allow its citizens to define and act upon what they determine to be their own welfare. Maybe that worked before we closed the frontier, but it certainly doesn’t work now.

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                “But they are doing the best and most they can, and what you have seen iss all the system allows for.”

                The system includes various balancing mechanisms to keep it doing what it was designed to do: conquer and control. The press is almost desperate to play its role in this by turning opinion around in a public happy to be rid of a war. It’s surprising how many regulars were hosting their shows and appearing on panels in the middle of August today.

                And the people in these slots are trapped inside the same paradigm/worldview/mindset. Most of them got to where they are because everyone who “promoted” them was convinced they were good girls and boys right down to the core. No danger of internal dissent or whistleblowing to the public from the likes of these. As one talking head observed, these are people who’ve never gotten a bad grade.

                1. montanamaven

                  I’m with you Henry Moon Pie. And here’s one of my favorite quotes:

                  “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”

                  ― Kurt Vonnegut

              2. Pat

                I am aware that that the other groups in this dance have both free will and their own goals. And that there are not just US and one them but multiple thems.

                The only choices we are responsible for are ours.

                And at some point the choice was made to remain in a state of stasis in Afghanistan. Things do not get better, things do not get worse. We may have had the capacity to achieve more at the start, but that gets to a very important question, what did we want to achieve?

                Did we ever have a real goal in Afghanistan? Or did we just have a PR goal? Or was our invasion and subsequent occupation merely an afterthought. I am not sure we can determine that this was a war and we were incapable without knowing what we wanted.

                Even if we agree that this was a war, at some point the choice became to abandon that and settle for having Afghanistan remain what Lambert calls a self-licking ice cream cone was in everyone’s best interest. America doesn’t admit it was wasting its time. Afghanistan stays a mess but doesn’t increase in instability. And the people/corporations that have the right to lick that cone continue to get their share of the millions a day spent on the cone. Sure there are losers in this, both American and Afghan, but they aren’t important.

                If it ever was a war, it stopped being one years ago.

                If I consider the US military, political leaders, and intelligence community incapable of anything, it is being to give up the grift. It isn’t as if we haven’t offhandedly admitted failure before, even if there were some tantrums about it, usually making things worse. If the last week has told me anything, it is that we haven’t been doing anything IN Afghanistan except keeping the status quo for most of the last two decades. We built nothing, destroyed nothing and we were never really in the hearts and mind game. What Afghanistan was was was a big pot of honey. It supplied vast funds for black ops elsewhere, piles of cash for suppliers. It was a stepping stone for post military careers. It was largely unaudited and unquestioned. And is irreplaceable in our current world for those dependent on it.

                In some ways we see the same overall picture, the difference is that I think your position allows those with agency in this to deny they had any. They were incapable.

                Actually I may be being unfair. I am livid and angry at the full bore push being aimed at getting us to remain and return in greater force, to make the decision to leave the problem. This is worse than even the run up to the invasion of Iraq. At least some of the voices questioning the claims and premises got a public forum. No one is allowed to question why those who directed our Afghan operations were so spectacularly wrong about where our supported puppets stood and who are now screaming at the top of their lungs are those to whom we should be listening. Well except in blog posts, comments, and living rooms. Not that you are saying we should listen, I just have little tolerance for anything that might be an excuse for them at the moment.

          2. Darthbobber

            What I think is overlooked is this:

            While our military’s capacity to kill remains quite high, it’s capacity to die (in wars that generate no great public enthusiasm, which has been all of them for awhile) is virtually nil.

            Our military casualties in Afghanistan peaked at 49 in 2010 (year of the ballyhooed surge) and had dropped to single digits by 2014, never to hit double digits again.

            It did not escape leadership’s attention that casualties even approaching those at the peak of the Iraq war would cause one of these projects to be unsellable back home, even among those initially enthused with the bellicose posturing.

            Thus the eventual preference for the drones (Obama) and drones plus accelerated bombing (Trump pre-throwing in the towel.)

            Not that they could work, or even fail to create more enemies, but they could show signs of action without leading to dead troops.

            So-as urgent as was consistent with the need to keep (our) casualties even lower than those of Britain in its lower level 19th century ventures.

            1. Dftbs

              DB, I think what you said about our appetite for casualties is true. But I think it’s besides the point. Even if we wanted to die like the 109th of the Imperial Japanese army at Iwo, we would do just that. Simply die. Not win.

              1. Darthbobber

                Well, “creating a desert and calling it peace”, sort of “destroying the village in order to save it”, but at scale, is always a possible option, though it puts paid to any pretence of helping anybody.

                As it turned out, the ballet both sides hit upon worked out well for both sides. They didn’t especially want to encounter us on force, and we were happy to make sure they wouldn’t.

                Hence the prefacing of all alleged “offensives” with press releases specifying where and when, so “they” would know when not to be there. The first kayfabe war.

                1. dftbs

                  But it wasn’t a Kayfabe war for the millions we’ve killed over the past two decades. And these victims and those that survived have every right to want to see us suffer.

                  I know this is something we can’t understand since we only see ourselves as good guys. That’s why there’s a linked article about us seeking alliance with Vietnam. A notion that is more pathetic than funny.

                  And I agree we could certainly create a desert. We have ability to destroy the world many times over. It’s such a staggering power that it doesn’t matter in the present strategic calculus.

                  What I’ve been trying to point out is that we don’t have the capability to affect change. Life isn’t a Tom Clancy movie. Certainly part of our inability is the consequence of our past decisions, as Pat pointed out. And some is our lack of appetite for consequences as you highlight. But in my opinion the large part of it is that other nations have outpaced us. In the case of great powers like Russia and China they are, IMO, better than us in productive capacity and effective power. In the case of middle powers like Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, they have enough strength to survive our capricious nature(sanctions) and enough to stand us off.

                  This reality is why eludes the reporters at the pentagon asking why we aren’t bombing.

                  1. Darthbobber

                    I’ve failed to see us as the good guys since about my junior year in high school, which was many decades ago.

                    Given how many Afghans have a list of valid grudges as long as your arm, it’s a remarkable testimony to somebody’s discipline that as far as I’ve seen they’ve thus far managed to avoid having anybody kill or even seriously injure any of the panicked westerners still in the country.

              2. Darthbobber

                I’d be more inclined to compare or situation to that of the Japanese in those areas of China where they faced the PLA’s 8th route and New 4th armies. They controlled key towns and could easily win any large-scale engagement that the reds were willing to engage in (which they rarely were), but they were utterly unable to actually control any areas other than wherever they were present in force at a given time. The steady drip drip of casualties, the endless nature of the war, and the lack of any prospect of final victory were pretty demoralizing.

                And their opponents were actually able to maintain functioning postal. judicial and other services throughout the area in which they were reduced to this endless game of whack a mole.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  While the Japanese military did not have any problem with mass casualties among its soldiers, the same could not be said of the civilian authorities back home. They actually went to extraordinary lengths to hide the extent of deaths and injuries they were suffering in China and Manchuria.

                  For example, badly injured soldiers were not sent back to Japan, but were treated in large hospitals in Korea and were refused permission to write to their relatives about their injuries. The severely crippled and deformed were pretty much locked up to ensure nobody at home were never allowed know what was happening. Most Japanese civilians were entirely unaware of what a bloodbath China had become for their own soldiers.

                  1. David

                    Yes, and when the injured soldiers came home eventually (or didn’t) this was a powerful component in the growth of post-war Japanese pacifism. It’s often forgotten that Manchuria was the main effort for the Japanese Army in the war, not the Pacific.

    4. Gregorio

      It’s more likely that she’ll just have to settle for trying to starve them with sanctions for another 20 years.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Oh dear. It looks like Turcoplier is swallowing the neocon kool-aid and thinks that it is a great idea to help support a new civil war in Afghanistan-

      ‘These are people who not only want to fight, but know how to fight. All they need is some assistance. We should send Massoud several Special Forces Detachments to assist in providing the weapons, ammunition and supplies requested by Massoud. Coordinate close air support? Sure. Build up their indirect fire and transportation capabilities, as well. We can harken back to the early days of what became our Afghan misadventure when Green Berets rode on horseback with Massoud’s father. I would think no more than half a dozen teams are needed, supplemented only by the bare minimum of military technicians needed to provide logistical support. No contractors. No FOBs. No PX and no Starbucks or Burger King.

      `Ensure that the Mi-17s of the 777th continue to fly and provide the ammunition and intelligence necessary for the 777th to provide air support to Massoud’s National Resistance. Send in whatever mechanics and aerial port specialists are needed to make this happen. Whatever we send in must have a small footprint. Avoid Pakistan. We don’t need to be beholden to anyone supporting the Taliban. Certainly India and probably Tajikistan would be willing to assist, but don’t ask for much. Keep our assistance light and don’t try to remake Massoud’s forces into something they are not. I’m certain they can do pretty damned well on their own if we give them the right support.’

      He has gone nuts. The last thing that Afghanistan’s neighbours want is a destabilized country with waves of refugees and ISIS using them as cover to spread into their own country.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I don’t think it is neocon koolaid. I think it is special forces/ special ops nostalgia. It is the search for a last hurrah.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I don’t know that movie and so I don’t know the reference. If I did, I could say something useful in reply.

  4. upstater

    So the NYT has dropped the COVID scoreboard off its front page today. This is first day the scoreboard has average deaths posted over 1,000 per day in several months. I guess COVID is becoming “old news” and what you don’t know won’t hurt you.

    The good news in Central New York is thatne NY State Fair attendance is far below pre-COVID 2019. Usually it is ~100,000 per day. First 2 days were in the 30s.

    1. ptb

      That’s an Afghanistan (in US kia terms) every 3 days? Every week if you include the off-the-books bunch?

      On the bright side, extrapolating from the other article (on long covid), it seems almost half the US population has been exposed to the actual virus by now, so not much longer to go.

    2. Sawdust

      NYT’s mission is to defend the authority of the experts. Of course they don’t want to admit that the experts were wrong about the vaccines.

      1. John

        Expert: Is that a person who is actually has knowledge and experience in a particular field? That would be my definition. Or is it credentials of some sort coupled with a position once held for a time and a plausible line of chatter. Cynical view? Yes.

        There are no certainties yet in regard to SARS-COV-2, the current pandemic, the vaccines, “long covid”, or much of anything else. What do we know? Vaccination helps, masking helps, good ventilation helps, a bit of distance helps, and as far as I know that’s about it. Covid-19 does not appear to be going away soon and perhaps not at all.That is my opinion and it is far from expert.

    3. Raymond Sim

      “So the NYT has dropped the COVID scoreboard off its front page today.”

      Obvious chicanery by establishment information sources is about the most reliable signal I’m aware of that the shit is hitting the fan.

    4. lordkoos

      Here in our small town our hospital is having staffing issues, just as the community spread of COVID Delta is increasing. People are quitting — they aren’t being paid nearly enough to risk their lives so I can’t blame them, but it’s a very bad situation. The local hospital is a corporate entity, so I’m fairly sure that offering more money isn’t being considered.

  5. Amfortas the hippie

    Galbraith is one of my favorites(i liked his dad, too)

    this:”For America itself, this is the moment to acknowledge that the country’s vast and expensive military power no longer serves any purpose that can justify its cost. This is the time, finally, to demobilize troops, to decommission ships, to cancel orders for fighters and bombers, and to dismantle nuclear warheads and their delivery systems. This is the moment to take those resources and to start addressing the real threats facing the country: poor public health, decaying infrastructure, rising inequality and economic insecurity, and a climate disaster that demands the full-scale transformation of the energy, transportation, and construction sectors. ”

    ….is essentially what i’ve been arguing for for 20+ years…and even more so since y’all turned me on to MMT.
    In fact, the gigantic military budget, especially if you include military things stuffed into DOE, USDA(!) and everywhere else in the “Budget”,is the perfect exemplar of why MMT is real…and that, therefore, it’s about political choices, rather than how many pennies can be located in the federal couch cushions.
    (of course, the post-2008/GFC spending spree to bail out a bunch of criminals is a pretty good cudgel to beat the Payfor people with, as well.)

    we’re all going to San Antonio in a bit, to say goodbye to my stepdad. He’s a Vietnam Vet, 100% disabled…shot through the T-6(?) vertebra in a rice paddy outside of Da Nang in 1968…on the 4th of July, no less.
    I’ve learned a lot from him…known him my whole life…and the kind of patriotism he evolved into was decidedly anti-militaristic….ie: “Support the Troops” by not sending them into stupid, counterproductive situations.
    To their credit, the VA has taken good care of him(and by extension us) for all these years…only dropping the ball here at the end with their reliance on inscrutable contractors in the form of private rehab hospitals.
    any time in the last 40 or so years that i read some breathless patriotic call for military action on some brown people or another, i thought about it through the lens he provided.
    he rarely talked about Viet Nam…and in fact, i only heard the story of his Alive Day once, when his platoon-mate who pulled him out of that rice paddy(and shot the sniper out of a palm tree, no less) was staying here for a weekend, and they were drunk on vodka at 10am sunday morning.
    regardless…i’ll carry the lessons i learned from him with me, going forward.
    Goodbye, Don.
    May the road rise up to meet you.

    1. Carla

      Amfortas, heartfelt thanks for this entire, wonderful comment, and especially for the introduction to your stepdad, Don.

    2. Tom Stone

      May Don rest in peace, and may his fellow vets also find a peace beyond all understanding.
      I grew up visiting relatives and later neighbors in a variety of VA hospitals and for the most part they recieved excellent care.
      My late Mother made sure we always visited someone in addition to my Grandfather, Uncle Etc when we visited them in the VA Hospital..
      Sometimes in the amputee ward, sometimes in the burn ward, when I was a Kid.
      Not to be cruel, just so I became aware of the price of War.
      I took my Daughter and a friend to Letterman when she was 14 and we visited the amputee ward together.
      She needed to know the price.
      The conversation driving back was very much to the point and one of the best Father/Daughter talks we have had.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about your stepdad. You have mentioned him a few times over the years and the lessons that he taught you. May he be at peace now-

      ‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
      Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
      At the going down of the sun and in the morning
      We will remember them.’

      1. tegnost

        I’m fond of the band song twilight for much the same feeling, but the other end of the day
        RIP Don

        1. lordkoos

          I love that song too. Yves, what happened to the occasional music links? That was a fun feature.

    4. Pat

      I must thank Don for his service. No not that time in Vietnam, that I have to apologize for, despite not being anywhere near old enough to vote. No, I have to thank him for his service in quietly telling the truth about what support troops really need, especially to a young Amfortas the hippie. May the road rise up indeed, and May the many years they shared comfort his family as they say goodbye. RIP Don.

    5. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thank you Amfortas for sharing and always giving us wisdom from your life experiences.

    6. Susan the other

      I’d just like to ad, Thank you Joe Biden for facing reality – now don’t backpedal and screw it all up. You’ve got an entire nation of people behind you today.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That nation should all individually call every phone number in Official Washington to show so much support that all the switchboards freeze and all the wires melt and burn.

        Official Washington would have a hard time denializing the existence of all that support for Biden.

    7. amfortas the hippie

      on my fone in the parking lot with wife and boys(15&19)
      they made an exception and let us all go up
      one by one
      to say goodbye
      he was unconscious the whole time
      mom went up last
      and they started turning machines off
      so ive been telling don-stories
      on this shady hill overlooking i10
      when we get home i guess ill hoist a cold one and play eddy arnold for the cows
      i did snag a chunk of limestone from this place
      from under yonder liveoak
      prolly stick it in the thyme bed at the bar
      it is in situations like this that the universal bullshit melts away
      tell someone you love them,today

      1. sharron

        I am sorry for the loss of your step father. My husband is a 100% disabled vet from Vietnam and he felt the cost of war was rarely justified. It was mostly politicians not sending their precious loved ones into harms way. We both were against the invasions after 911. Please give my sympathies to your mother for her loss. Semper Fi!

  6. Jesper

    About: Tony Blair: Why We Must Not Abandon the People of Afghanistan – For Their Sakes and Ours

    People like Tony Blair tend to use words like ‘we’ and they seem to change the meaning of the word ‘we’ as it suits their needs. His article makes it seem as if ‘we’ had no choice, ‘we’ had to invade Afghanistan. There was a choice, however, ‘we’ as in Tony Blair and people like him decided that other people needed to invade Afghanistan. Sadly he and people like him were in positions to make that happen.

    Now when it happens that ‘we’, as in the people who were actually there and fought and risked their lives, are being withdrawn then ‘we’ as him and people like him argues that ‘we’ as in anyone and everyone but him and people like him should stay in Afghanistan and fight for ‘us’ as in him and people like him.

    I would not have a problem with his proposal if it meant that ‘we’ would actually include him and people like him. I’d happily send him and his people to fight for the cause that he and people like him believe him. However, what he is suggesting is that he and people like him will stay where it is safe and other people should go and fight.

    He does say this:

    They think Western politics is broken.

    and ‘they’ is implied to be somewhere other than the west but I do have the impression that there are people in the west who think western politics is broken. The reason why those people think so might have a lot to do with people like Tony Blair having done what they did without any repercussions.

    I am surprised that he wrote this:

    Afghanistan was hard to govern all through the 20 years of our time there. And of course, there were mistakes and miscalculations. But we shouldn’t dupe ourselves into thinking it was ever going to be anything other than tough, when there was an internal insurgency combining with external support – in this case, Pakistan – to destabilise the country and thwart its progress.

    The interepretation of that might differ but it is difficult for me to see anything but pointing a finger of blame on Pakistan and the leaders of Pakistan. It would be interesting to learn what he believes should have been done about that.

    Anyway, he claims to at least have been a ‘leader’ so maybe it is time for him to show some leadership and lead by example. As he says:

    In the West, we have sections of our own Muslim communities radicalised.

    maybe he can move into one of those communities and live there without his security detail like the people who live there already do. Help with the integration and stop the radicalisation.

    1. RMO

      “We” Tony? How about we give Tony Blair an SA-80, a few magazines, glue a Union Jack jumpsuit to him, strap him into a parachute and drop him into the middle of Afghanistan so he can fight for freedom, justice and the American, er, British way himself. All the rest of us comprising “We” will follow on later, we promise.

    1. Eclair

      Here in Chautauqua County, New York, where deer overrun the landscape like big rats, nibbling on tender shoots of absolutely everything (well, so far, not sage, thyme, bee balm or lemon balm), when neighbors complain about their ruined roses (I mean, for how many years can they keep on hoping that the deer will NOT eat their roses?), I remark, only half-jokingly, that we need to bring back the wolves. Coyotes have returned, but are usually shot on sight. And, we have a neighborhood bear family.

      Humans have thrown the ecology system out of balance. We have introduced invasive plants, such as rosa multiflora, which spread rapidly, producing thorny thickets that crowd out the yummy bushes and forbs that deer normally eat. Old-timers here say the numbers of deer hunters have declined; people prefer buying their meat at the market and watching youtube videos on hunting, rather than getting out in the woods. Yet, enthusiast land owners plow up the native species, pour on herbicides and fertilizers, plant corn, turnips, daikon radishes, to create food plots to attract the deer. (And, some experts say, they concentrate the deer population, allowing disease to spread more easily.) Food plot management has become a boomlet industry.

      Yet, they neglect, or are unaware of, the more low impact methods of management of the woods and fields, so that the deer’s native foods can thrive.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Iroquois humans managed the landscape quite well before the age of European intrusion. One thing I have read they did was to manage large areas as broad-acre deer gardens. And they would hunt the deer whose growth they fostered for meat.

        Maybe the suburbanites of today should realize that they have created a landscape of deer gardens and decide to treat the deer as a renewable meat resource. Hire experts every fall to kill and process a set number of deer each year, and distribute the meat among all the paying-for-the-experts suburban residents.

        It would be de facto permaculture, if the suburbanites decided to see it that way.

        1. Eclair

          “Hire experts every fall ….”

          Yes! A ‘This gun for hire’ arrangement with various rural and suburban districts. A few days every October/November, where a posse of licensed professional deer hunters descend on and encircle a given area, forcing the deer into the center, then ‘harvest’ them, take them to the local ‘processing plant’ and auction off the meat, after setting aside a certain amount for distribution to low income families.

    2. The Rev Kev

      And I use to think that it was Republicans that hated wolves. I guess that it is bipartisan as some Democrats want to go get themselves some trophies as well.

    3. Stillfeelinthebern

      The wolf hunt is a VERY hot issue political issue in Wisconsin. Of course, the board deciding this has not followed the recommendation of the Department of Natural Resources Scientists.

      The chair of the board is refusing to step down, the Republican legislature has not scheduled the hearing for his appointed replacement (appointed by the Democratic Governor who took office in January 2019). The Attorney General is suing to remove him.

      Many of the more left and politically active people I know talk constantly about Biden doing something about this.

    4. PHLDenizen

      The biggest threat to the wolves, coyotes, and such are the livestock producers who insist that the public subsidize their businesses, pushing the USDA wildlife services to do their dirty work. As one man described:

      Niemeyer said that it was galling to watch stockmen use public lands for forage while refusing to accept the real price of their business model. He told me about a former Wildlife Services agent who described sheep ranchers as “cry boys and cheap men” — because, as Niemeyer put it, “they’re always whining and they’re incredibly cheap, demanding the public pay their costs.

      And what is this rogue agency up to, exactly?

      When Shaddox arrived at the dump, he found Brown and several colleagues standing over a pit of stinking garbage. A truck from the Uvalde city pound pulled up. It contained abandoned dogs of various breeds. The pound officer removed a small collie from the truck, and Brown took it by the neck. The animal, docile and quiet, stared at its captors.

      Brown brandished an M-44 cartridge. He forced the dog’s mouth open and, with his thumb, released the trigger on the device. It sprayed a white dust of cyanide into the collie’s mouth.

      The dog howled. It convulsed. It coughed blood. It screamed in pain. The animals in the truck heard its wailing. They beat against their cages and cried out.

      “All right,” said Brown to his trappers. “See, this stuff may be out of date, but it still works.” He opened a capsule of amyl nitrite under the collie’s nose. Amyl nitrite is an immediate antidote to cyanide poisoning.

      The collie heaved and wheezed. Brown then seized it and unleashed another M-44 dose. The dog screamed again. Shaddox started yelling, telling Brown to stop. Brown kicked the collie into the garbage pit.

      Vile people who belong in prison, not on the government payroll.

      I suggest reading the piece in full. It’s a few years old and lengthy, but still germane and key in understanding the impetus behind wolf hunts:

      1. Yves Smith

        You have it backwards. Wolves are alpha predators. Wolves prey on coyotes, not the reverse.

        Coyote numbers have exploded due to the decline of wolves. As a result, fox numbers (except for grey foxes, which can climb trees to escape from coyotes) have plunged.

    5. Lee

      I was up in Yellowstone a lot for some years just before and after the wolf reintroduction doing volunteer field work with pro-wolf research groups. One grizzled and curmudgeonly old environmentalist attributed rancher intolerance toward wolves to what he termed “fat assed laziness” whereby they simply wanted to let their livestock graze, largely on public land, without having to tend to and watch over them properly, as herders have done for millennia. He called them “coffee shop cowboys”, seeing as that is where they seemed to spend an inordinate amount of their time. A more recent trend among at least some pro-wolf groups has been to make common cause with ranchers, as coastal elites start buying up land in the last best place and subdividing it in into 20 acre ranchettes that are even less amenable to cohabitation with native fauna whether they be large herbivores or carnivores.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would living with wolves and grizzlies cost ranchers more money? If so, would they have to pass down that cost in a higher price for their beef or leather or wool or whatever? If so, would “friends of the wolf and the rancher” be prepared to pay that higher price as the price of keeping the rancher in business and the wolf in existence in the same place at the same time?

        Such friends of the wolf and the rancher could view that higher price as an eco-green tax.

        1. Lee

          Reimbursing livestock owners for their losses to predators has mixed reviews but the effect is generally positive. Searching “Reimbursing livestock owners for their losses to predators” brings up a considerable number of articles and papers on the topic.

          What might be better is public acquisition of large tracts of privately held ranch lands. For example, Yellowstone National Park consists of 2.2 million acres. Butthe Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, approximately 9 million acres, is considered by most conservationists to be the true extent of habitat necessary for the long term persistence of the native wildlife species.

          Defenders of Wildlife have put out a comprehensive guide to protective measures that can be employed by ranchers, A Guide to Nonlethal Tools and Methods to Reduce Conflicts. As to the effect on the cost to consumers of such measures, it’s a good question to which I don’t currently have the answer. But I’m sure it’s out there and I will find it because in the world as it is now we know the cost of everything even if we don’t know its value.

        2. Lee

          “Livestock losses attributed to predators cost U.S. ranchers and producers more than $71 million annually, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).”

          “In 2016, the US meat and poultry industry accounted for $1.02 trillion in total economic output, representing 5.6% of US GDP.”

          By my seat of the pants reckoning the aggregate effect of livestock predation on prices to consumers is teeniny.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Most of the meat and poultry covered in that 1.02 trillion number is corporate confinement shitmeat where wolves are not present and are not an issue. There are places where ranchers try raising particular cattle on grass in particular places where wolves are claimed to be an issue. If wolves really are an issue for those particular ranchers and their cattle in those particular places, and potential beef-eaters want to see the wolves left alone, then the cost of leaving the wolves alone can be pro-rated and spread over the particular cattle in those particular operations, and the particular price of that particular beef can be raised by just that much. And if the potentially eco-concerned beefeaters care about the wolf in those particular instances, they can pay the pro-ratedly-higher price of the eco-friendly wolf-tolerance beef so the ranchers involved can stay in business.

            Or otherwise the ranchers can go out of business and the concerned beefeaters can go back to eating corporate shitbeef from feedlots. Or they can go forward to eating corporate shitsoy and corporate shitcorn from corporate cornsoy plantations drenched in roundup, if that is their preference.

            1. Eclair

              Or, raise bison. They hold their own against wolves. But, as beef raisers tell me, bison are ‘unmanageable.’

  7. The Rev Kev


    Thought readers might appreciate some unusual aspects of what is happening in Afghanistan. So the other day an image emerged from Badri 313 – a Taliban special forces unit – in which they re-enacted the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima which infuriated conservatives like Meghan McCain-

    So yesterday US special forces were seen in Kabul outside the airport. Only they weren’t. Some Taliban units like the Badri 313 have appropriated (‘to the victor the spoils’) US special forces uniforms, equipment, top-notch weaponry and all the rest of it to thoroughly equip themselves-

    So until a week ago the Coalition forces were hard put to ID the Taliban as they dressed the same as ordinary Afghans. Now they are difficult to ID as they dress the same as the US special forces. And at least they have a sense of humour.

    1. Glossolalia

      There need to be some court martials for the people responsible for leaving fully functioning weapons and equipment behind. This withdraw was planned 16 months ago. Of course during discovery for a trial it may well turn out that the orders to just leave everything behind came from on high somewhere in DC.

    2. Wukchumni

      And at least they have a sense of humour.

      The endgame hope was to get the Taliban to react in a particularly gruesome fashion, and so far they’ve resorted to calculated ridicule in lieu of, making fun of an honored monument* in Humordor.

      * I walked around the periphery festooned with plaques honoring the 1912-33 USMC occupation of Nicaragua et al and there aren’t a lot of gaps between when we weren’t messing with somebody else’s country.

    3. Wukchumni


      I can see how it goes down, the Taliban rebrand the country, now called Laughganistan, where once were mosques are now where the talent in Kabul goes to hone their craft doing stand up to wide acclaim, and producing a steady stream of comedies after enticing American directors to defect.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > a steady stream of comedies after enticing American directors to defect

        OBL emerges from wherever he was hiding all this time and makes it big as an Afghan game-show host.

    4. Tom Stone

      Rev, take a look at the trigger discipline of the Taliban troops in all of the pics being published.
      These are well trained fighters, you wouldn’t see better or safer gun handling among any coalition troops.
      Fingers off the triggers and alongside the frames, uniformly excellent muzzle discipline.
      These are not a rag tag bunch.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That’s a good observation that. I did not see it until you pointed it out. I am certain that those images were all taken from a video clip, hence the fuzziness.

    5. ex-PFC Chuck

      The iconic photo of the Iwo Jima flag raising is actually a photo of a reenactment of the original flag raising that was done for PR purposes. My first and last names are almost identical to those of one of the Marines (my surname has an extra letter) who was a part of the first flag raising, and he lived in another suburb of same metro area. Back in the days of land lines and dead-tree phone books I occasionally got phone calls intended for that man. After the first two or three mid-directed calls I looked up his number, kept it handy, and passed it on when requested.

    6. Mildred Montana

      I’m sure the late John Kenneth Galbraith would have had something to say about the current situation in Afghanistan. Actually he did, if not Afghanistan specifically:

      “…people are very hard on those who, having had power, lose it or are destroyed. Then anger at past arrogance is joined with contempt for the present weakness. [They]…are made to suffer all available indignities.”

      “There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.”

    7. vlade

      Did you think they were going to waste all that equipment the US bought for Afghan army just because it was Western?

      That’s one of the ironies of it – the US once again, after many many years, went and supplied all the modern equipment to Taliban.

  8. Stillfeelinthebern

    Ugh, Tony Blair

    “We did it because our politics seemed to demand it. And that’s the worry of our allies and the source of rejoicing in those who wish us ill.

    They think Western politics is broken.”

    They are RIGHT, Western politics IS broken.

    He says the islamic world is becoming more radicalized. Does he stop to consider the fundamentalist Christian radicalization in the western world?

    1. Sawdust

      I might be concerned if the Islamic world were becoming more radicalized. Since Tony Blair says so, I won’t. I’m also not worried about Christian radicalization. Look at what a nonentity Mike Pence turned out to be.

      1. tegnost

        I’m worried about the radicalized tech worshipping globalist let’s you and him fight crowd and all of their followers in the amazon (prime delivery zones)

    2. David

      I didn’t find Blair impressive even when he was backed by a whole government machine and I refuse to read him now. And of course you can’t make generalisations about “the Islamic World” which stretches from Mauritania to Indonesia.

      But there is a problem, even if it’s Blair saying so. It comes in two forms, but both have their origins in political Islam – the idea, dating from a century ago, that Islam should not be just a private or even State religion, that it should not just be an influence on politics and constitutions, but it should be all that there is. Every question of politics and society, by this interpretation, can be answered by reference to the Koran and the Hadith, and there is no need for political theory, nor (since there is only one right answer) for democracy. Where Muslim states have had elections, such parties have sometimes done very well, partly because of disgust with corrupt and authoritarian regimes, and partly because such groups tend to be well organised and financed. Many voters in Egypt in 2011, for example, voted for the Muslim Brothers in the same way that many Americans voted for Trump. But where these parties have been in power, they have generally shown themselves to be as incompetent, and often as ruthless, as their predecessors. This can create a major political crisis and instability, as very recently in Tunisia. Even out of power, such parties often have shadowy paramilitary wings, responsible for the assassinations of secular and left-wing intellectuals. The Taliban are just an extreme form of this tendency, and the calls for them to be “moderate”, and the hopes that they will abandon some or all of their ideology in power, are an indication of the gulf that exists between warriors of God on the one hand, and the aggressively liberal/secular ideologies of most western states and international organisations.

      The other form, of course, is the hard-core jihadists, whose ambitions are not limited to one country, like the Taliban’s are, but who seek to re-establish the Caliphate by violent means. Most of their violence has been directed against their compatriots in the Levant and in the Sahel, but hundreds have died in Europe as well. The effective destruction of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq put a temporary stop to pre-planned massed killings in Europe, although individual sporadic acts are still continuing. There are signs that, with the increasing amount of territory controlled by the jihadists in the Sahel, they may be establishing bases for more attacks in Europe in the near future.

      Sometimes even Blair can be right about something.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps if Blair says a cloudless sky is blue by daytime, the reality-based reaction is to accept that it is blue by daytime, even though Blair says it is.

          The alternative would be to insist that if Blair says the sky is blue, then the sky must really be green.

  9. zagonostra

    >Confronting Our Next National Health Disaster — Long-Haul Covid New England Journal of Medicine

    There is, therefore, an urgent need for coordinated national health policy action and response, which we believe should be built on five essential pillars

    It feels like I’m living under the reign of Pharmacia. I remember reading about the “pillars” of democracy, or T. E. Lawrence’s “The Seven Pilliars of Wisdom,” or the Pillar’s of Hercules that marked of the outer limits of the ancient Mediterranean world. The expression “under the reign of Augustus” is used in biblical scriptures. Now I read the New England Journal of Medicine and they tell me we need need to confront “our next National disaster.”

    Strange times we’re living in. History is a funny thing. You had kinetic warfare, sword against shield, then chemical, gunpowder and powered projectiles, and ultimately physics, atom and hydrogen bomb. Now there is a biological threat and we need a “national policy” to wage war against this threat. We need to “confront” it. The language is certainly military in nature.

  10. Mikel

    “Health officials warn people not to treat Covid with a drug meant for livestock” NYT

    That was a very deliberate dance around the Ivermectin that has been prescribed for humans in the past.
    There is no mention that there is a version for himans and that it is being studied in relation to Covid and has been used by medical professionals globally to treat Covid.

    1. lordkoos

      I am seeing an anti-Ivermectin movement growing on twitter, with a lot of mockery of those who take it. There is an assumption that anyone who discusses Ivermectin in a positive light is automatically an anti-vaxxer.

      One local pharmacist here told me that he has had his mother taking it for over three months as a prophylactic, without seeing any problems.

      People have absolutely no problem taking many other drugs which are prescribed off-label (and there are many), but with Ivermectin it’s a huge deal.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > growing on twitter

        It’s extremely nasty. And as Yves points out, the “horse paste” analogy is dishonest to the core, since even the FDA approves it for off-label use on humans.

        Again, again, again, I could wish that the discourse police operated on some discernible principle other than hysteria. We don’t anybody who uses fluvoxamine against Covid, if any, being mocked and shamed or being depressed or having OCD.

    2. Yves Smith

      You are propagating the narrative. Shame on you.

      The inventors of Ivermectin who got Nobel Prizes in medicine. Billions of doses have been dispensed.

      Many medical procedures are developed first on animals.

      Harping on that with Ivermectin is treating a normal progression as suspect.

  11. Anonymous

    Re: $1,600 Toll Bill
    Not the whole story. E470 is a private road, thanks to Colorado selling off its highways. Months after turning in my company car at Apple, I got an E470 toll bill which, despite explanation, was turned over to a collection agency. After getting no help from DMV, Apple, or the leasing company, I called CDOT (Colorado Dept. of Transportation). The person on the other end told me in hushed tones that no one could help me. And if they tried, they would be fired. Bottom line for Ms Romero: it’s not her bill. And the “toll system” referred to in the article has no obligation (probably written into law) to fix mistakes. Nice going, Colorado.

  12. Raymond Sim

    I see the Bloomberg piece on breakthrough infections quotes Monica Gandhi. I would urge all and sundry to do a quick internet search on Dr. Gandhi, as she is an exemplar of what’s wrong in infectious disease medicine.

    The video clip of her using giant scissors to cut a ribbon of masks while a local journalist sings ‘Happy Days are Here Again’ is pricelesss.

    1. Michael

      Thank you Raymond for saying “Monica Gandhi is a public health hazard” better than I could.

  13. Ignacio

    RE: Catching Covid better than….?
    I think this is a good effort, but probably useless for a majority to explain what’s going on with immune responses an on the uncertainties on the path forward. There is this dichotomy that we tend to fail getting at on what is good from an individual point of view and what is good for the herd if you allow me that way of saying it. There is criticism on the push for third shoots when in many places vaccination rates are very low and I very much agree with those.
    To understand why it is so important to reach the most population the soonest we have to put on the suit of the herd carer and also think from the point of view of evolutionary biology. The probability of new and more infectious variants appearing will go down as less and less in the population are Covid-naive because the immune system imposes a bottleneck that reduces (very much) virus diversity. This might rise questions about the need (or not) to vaccinate children.
    A second bottleneck which is important, particularly for viruses that spread airborne is transmission. Masks are not only protective but help to reduce the chances of further virus adaptation by reducing effectively the multiplicity of infection (see for instance). So it looks ill-adviced to remove mask requirements indoors even if vaccinated. Still after these 2 years we fail to see the big picture.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Is the immune system ‘bottleneck’ you anticipate an all-at-once threshold type of phenomenon? Would it not be presaged by slowing of transmission and/or diminution of virulence in heavily afflicted populations?

      Iran is in its fifth wave.

      1. Ignacio

        It is an evolutionary bottleneck mainly. As I see it, at some point variants that are less virulent might have a chance to become more prevalent. It also helps to reduce the probability of new more virulent strains appearing

        1. Ian Perkins

          In many cases, people have passed on this virus before or without developing symptoms, and before developing severe symptoms, so where’s the evolutionary pressure either way in terms of virulence?

          1. Raymond Sim

            As GM alludes to in his response to Ignacio, based on what we know about SARS-CoV-2’s structure and functioning, we can anticipate with considerable confidence, that for the forseeable future virulence will increase with increasing transmissibility.

            Additionally, as the virus runs through the population, the ability to overcome or circumvent recently acquired immunity is increasingly selected for. The modes by which the virus can most straightforwardly accomplish this tend to be ones which, eventually, elicit the more severe immune responses we think of as ‘being sick’.

            1. Ian Perkins

              I don’t see why “we can anticipate with considerable confidence, that for the forseeable future virulence will increase with increasing transmissibility.” Indeed, GM says, “As it is with 1-1.5% IFR, selection is only for better spread,” and I’m inclined to agree (though perhaps not with those numbers)..
              Nor do I see why evading or overcoming immunity is more likely to lead to elicit more severe immune responses. It’s possible this will happen, but I don’t see why it’s the more likely scenario.
              I’m still not at all convinced there’s any evolutionary pressure on this virus to become more virulent.

        2. GM

          As I see it, at some point variants that are less virulent might have a chance to become more prevalent.

          Only when we get to an IFR of around 80% will there be such an effect, and it will knock it back down to 20-30%, not to 0.001%

          As it is with 1-1.5% IFR, selection is only for better spread, which means higher IFR by proxy

        3. Raymond Sim

          Yaneer Bar-Yam asserts that this study:

          shows that modern levels of global travel require reassessment of the idea that a pathogen will eventually evolve towards lower virulence.

          If I follow the general outline correctly, apparently the advantages of lesser virulence are local in nature, and not inevitable – i.e. local extinction can and does occur. Thus for eventual evolution of lower virulence to be a predictable outcome, a certain minimum number of relatively isolated locales will be necessary.

          I would very much appreciate getting your take on this.

          1. Hiroyuki

            virulence should not really be a factor here. this virus appears capable of spreading itself just fine in the early days of the infection , even asymptomatic, surely presymptomatic. Especially virulence of the order we are looking at now. Moreover, it is very much an open question of whether or not leaky vaccines do in fact limit the drive towards more transmissible variants.

            1. Skip Intro

              And we might ask whether the mRNA vaccines, which seem to have virtually no effect on infection/transmission really constitute a selection pressure. I’m not sure that really counts as leaky in the Marek’s sense.

              1. Raymond Sim

                Um, huh?

                If transmitting via vaccinated people gets the virus places that non-evading strains can’t go, that’s a potential advantage that may be selected for.

                1. Skip Intro

                  What I meant was that if the vaccine killed 90% of the virus, that 10% that survived would have traits that were selected for and eventually take over. If the vaccine kills 0% of the virus, then it doesn’t change in response to vaccinations. There is nothing to evade. If vaccinated people become systematically more risk-prone due, say, to a drumbeat of deceptive propaganda, then there are more infected people, and more chances for mutation, but it will still be mostly random.

            2. Raymond Sim

              “Especially virulence of the order we are looking at now.”

              Is there some criterion you’re using to make this judgement?

          2. Lambert Strether

            > shows that modern levels of global travel require reassessment of the idea that a pathogen will eventually evolve towards lower virulence.

            I do keep harping on air travel. I imagine the metaphor is where each of a set of ranges is too small for a predator to survive. The solution is to build pathways between the ranges. Air travel is such a pathway.

            1. David

              Me too, and even more the hub and spoke model which is now almost universal. An infected person travelling from (say) Cambodia via Singapore and Dubai to Europe could infect half the world along the way. But nobody seems to have picked this up.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              I’ve found it fascinating that governments that could make the decision to shut down tens of thousands of small businesses but could not bring themselves to shut down air travel. In the pure logic of cost and logistics, I would have thought that shutting down international travel and compensating those businesses should have been easier than thousands of smaller ones. Its an interesting showcase I think of the relative power of different business interests.

              It may or not be significant, but the developed Asian countries seemed willing to take a harder line on travel, while being more relucant to close bars and restaurants (Taiwan, ROK, Japan). All three of those countries have small businesses as their employment bedrock.

              But on a broader sense, I think it will be a fascinating, and possibly terrifying worldwide experiment on evolutionary pressure to see if mass travel will alter the usual arc of evolution for a virus.

    2. Lee

      Am I missing something but is there a contradiction between this,

      From TWIV:

      “Paul and Theodora return to TWiV to explain their research on determining the number of neutralizing epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 spike that are recognized by antibodies, and engineering of a polymutant spike with twenty amino acid changes that demonstrates the high genetic barrier to escape from convalescent serum.”

      and this?

      SARS-CoV-2 escape from a highly neutralizing COVID-19 convalescent plasma

      “This work shows that, under strong immune pressure, SARS-CoV-2 can use mutations in both the N-terminal domain and the receptor-binding domain to escape potent polyclonal neutralizing responses. Indeed, after a long period under immune selective pressure, SARS-CoV-2 evolved to evade the immunity of a potent polyclonal serum from a COVID-19 convalescent donor…”

      1. Raymond Sim

        I don’t think there is a contradiction. This is why I keep harping on the them of ‘SARS-CoV-2 has multiple ways of evading immunity.’

        It’s also why I’m not a fan of TWIV. I don’t see how they could fail to understand that they’re conveying a false impression here.

        1. Lee

          The difference in observed outcomes being attributable to differences between naturally occurring and engineered mutations? Damn, the learning curve on this stuff is steep!

          1. Raymond Sim

            No, the antibodies to the engineered spike could be jim-dandy and the very thing you’d want to have, but even if your system is primed to produce the best possible antibodies, there’s always going to be the potential for some viral particles to get into some of your cells, maybe just by pure luck. Once there, they can get up to stuff, like fusing those cells with other cells, thus obtaining their resources without getting exposed, and killing immune cells that come looking to see if there’s a problem, or jamming their attempts to sound the alarm.

            That’s why the neutralizing qualities of antibodies don’t tell the whole story. Additionally, as time passes you’re relying more and more on immune memory, which takes time to swing into action, and thus the virus needn’t be as lucky to get an opportunity to mess with you.

            And as I said, the TWIV folks surely understand this stuff, so how come their fans don’t seem cognizant of it?

  14. chuk jones

    About Afghanistan teeth gnashing, take a break and watch War Machine, a satirical war film starring Brad Pitt. I liked how it showed the revolving door of generals with a sure fire plan to win the war. IMO, it was always going to end this way. :-(

    1. Lost in OR

      Watched it with my 15yo son yesterday. The Afghan papers video in the Quantara link will be next.

      He is a very engaged and informed young man. But he surprised me with a distressingly mainstream perspective of our withdrawal. Today’s links provided many opportunities for further (re)education.

      Additional movie suggestions would be appreciated.

      1. Lee

        Good on you. At 17 I was diverted away from signing up to go fight in Vietnam and toward antiwar activism by my lefty high school history teacher. Her curriculum included things like playing and discussing Bob Dylan’s With God On Our Side in reference to the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. This process of transformation in my thinking way back then was life defining.

        1. Lost in OR

          Depends on what you’re sensitive to. There is swearing. There are battles. There are wounded, including children. I don’t remember any sexuality.

          For my son, I’d say maybe 12yo. At 15, he’s seen worse.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, just offer him various sidestream perspectives for him to sniff at at his leisure. And hope for the long-term best.

      3. Bazarov

        “The Grand Illusion” directed by Jean Renoir.

        “The Battle of Algiers” directed by Gillo Pontecorvo

        And when he’s old enough to stomach it: “Come and See” directed by Elem Klimov

    2. Carolinian

      That’s an excellent film that was of course attacked and dismissed when first seen. Making fun of generals has become verboten among the NYT set.

    3. Felix_47

      Holding Bagram Air Base and putting the embassy there was a cheap and effective solution. Whether we like it or not we own Afghanistan. I was totally against the invasion (as well Iraq) but it is a lot more expensive to support Afghans in first world countries than it would be to stabilize things there. 75 percent of the refugees in Germany from 2015 are still unemployed on Hartz 4 (welfare.) If they had that money in AFG they would be small business owners or farming. I expect no better result this time. Jim Clyburn may have protected his health and pharma and finance PACs and donors but by crushing a decent candidate to promote nothing will change he did this nation a great disservice. And I spent 2 years as a soldier in AFG.

      1. Ian Perkins

        Yes, I think it was intended as a gung-ho hooray for the USA finally doing the right thing piece, which wasn’t how I understood it when I first saw it, nor is it now. It does show Operation Cyclone, in a rather fictionalised and superficial way, from the viewpoint of its supporters – perhaps a more effective condemnation than its detractors and opponents could hope to get across.

    4. Foy

      Russell Crowe nails it in the ending! I reckon that scene makes the film, ties the whole shamozzle up beautifully.

      “In the absence of any real soul searching, what we do? Well obviously we sack Glen and bring in some other guy, and that guy…was Bob”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      But what if steady gradual preparation of the ground and creation of well-placed vacuums for pulses to move into is necessary between pulses for pulses to have somewhere to move into?

      Maybe people who think such steady gradual pre-preparation of pulse-placement opportunities should go ahead and try pre-preparing grounds and vacuums for any pulse which might happen by.

    2. Darthbobber

      Perhaps she has it exactly backward and the crisis stems from inadequate response to transformations already underway?

      Anyway, the more of her work I engage with the less impressed I am. Haven’t yet decided whether it’s worth elaborating on the reasons for that at the length that would be necessary.

      1. montanamaven

        I was thinking the same thing. I had to get over my skepticism about reading anybody who worked for NPR in order to read her “The Ides of August”. I can’t quite put my finger on why I hesitate to “like” this piece.
        So I hope you will think of elaborating.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > I can’t quite put my finger on why I hesitate to “like” this piece.

          I can. From “Ides of August“:

          I covered the fall of the Taliban for NPR… I ran two non-profits in Kandahar [and] eventually went to work for two commanders of the international troops, and then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

          She could be a traitor to all that. And one can argue that those positions are the price of being informed. But nevertheless: cum grano salis.

  15. Carolinian

    Re New England Journal of Medicine Long Covid article from a couple of months ago. Opener:

    Now that more than half of U.S. adults have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, masking and distancing mandates have been relaxed, and Covid-19 cases and deaths are on the decline

    Uh, no. The article then goes on to say that nobody knows for sure what Long Covid is

    Long Covid is not a condition for which there are currently accepted objective diagnostic tests or biomarkers.[…]

    One camp believes that long Covid is a new pathophysiological syndrome that merits its own thorough investigation. The other believes it is likely to have a nonphysiological origin. Some commentators have characterized it as a mental illness, and those embracing this psychogenic paradigm are reluctant to endorse a substantial societal focus on research or to follow traditional organ-specific clinical pathways to addressing patients’ concerns.

    Given that Long Covid is being cited as a justification for universal vaxxing, including of the young, it does sound a bit vague.

    1. Ian Perkins

      It’s been suggested that re-activation of Epstein-Barr virus may be behind many cases of long COVID.
      “In a subset of 68 COVID-19 patients randomly selected from those surveyed, 66.7% of long COVID subjects versus 10% of controls were positive for EBV reactivation based on positive EBV early antigen-diffuse IgG, or EBV viral capsid antigen IgM titres.” – though it was a fairly small study, 185 patients.

  16. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife hospitalized for Covid.

    Meanwhile, Washington Post has an article making fun of people in Mississippi for taking horse paste. I think it’s very sad that, a year and a half in to a pandemic, we don’t have Covid care clinics open across America. Or at the very least, a treatment protocol besides sit at home and go to the ER if it gets bad. Instead, smug commenters on WaPo mock desperate people.

    I hope that Rev. Jackson and his wife pull through.

    1. Tom Stone

      The SF Chronicle has a front page article about the new FDA warning on the dangers of Ivermectin.
      Not the danger of Self Medicating with veterinary Ivermectin, the dangers of Ivermectin.
      “You are not a horse or a cow”.
      I’m clearly not cynical enough, but the FDA is getting me there PDQ.

    2. jr

      A note about the coverage of ivermectin in the media: the language used makes it very easy for the unwary reader to conflate the horse paste with the drug itself. The articles usually start by decrying ivermectin then quickly discuss Durvet or whatever, lending weight to the notion that the two are synonymous.

      1. Lost in Or

        I went to a local pharmacy yesterday to see if they stocked ivermectin. I was told yes and then asked why I wanted it. When I responded “for covid” they told me they would not sell it to me for covid. Not only do you have to find somebody to sign the script, you have to find somebody to fill it.

        1. Yves Smith

          Lordie, why did you ask about an Rx when you didn’t have a scrip in hand? There is NO point.

          Ivermectin is a widely available drug. If your local pharmacy didn’t have it in stock, they could get it in a couple of days at worst. I never call my pharmacy to ask if a drug is “in stock” when I have an Rx, and the only time I would is if I tried getting an Rx filled, the pharmacy told me they didn’t have it, I had some urgent need (like for pain if I were a normal person for whom pain meds actually worked) and I was calling a second pharmacy.

          If the doctor writes the scrip, the pharmacy is NEVER told the reason for issuing the scrip. So please don’t raise a non-issue.

          If you overshare with the pharmacist to try to make a political point and the pharmacist refuses to fill the scrip due to state fulminating, you’re the one who screwed it up.

    3. Mel

      You’re seeing the Official Narrative being manufactured before your eyes. And you’re seeing how important They feel it is never to give up.

      Just like we never say “bitcoin” here without saying “prosecution futures”, we should never say “vaccination” without saying “KA-CHING”, at least where Covid19 is concerned.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Are they? Are they really? What if a New Deal Revival Party were to run on stuff like Covid Care Clinics all over America? To be paid for by Tax Restoration against the Upper Class?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I’d have my vote too, if I were running. If someone younger and stronger with some real energy were to begin the process of running on this concept, he/she would have both of our votes.

            It has to begin somewhere. Maybe someone will begin it there.

            Beginning with a very serious somewhat boring name for the Party-Movement, to show that this is serious, not satirical.

            Something like New Deal Restoration Party, or Lower Class Majority Party, or something. And people would have to accept that opposition would make it take years or decades to gain real political traction. Years and decades which may not exist anymore.

            So people would also have to be doing something else also too at the very same time in addition , to get something done about something.

  17. Raymond Sim

    A while back I was contrasting actual herdsmanship with Great Barrington Coviphiliac ‘Herd Immunity’. Here’s a twitter thread outlining recommended practices for equines:

    Even in the low-rent circles I traveled in this was all pretty much standard practice, as you would expect given that nobody could afford to lose even a small portion of their herd.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “White Feminists Wanted to Invade”

    Notice how groups like this only attack countries that are not aligned with US interests? Maybe because when they do this, they get favours from the establishment. Want to know if they are ever really serious? If they start attacking Saudi Arabia & the Gulf States for their treatment of women. Those countries are all wealthy and so having women transition into public life should be easily doable for them but for some they do not want it to happen. Certainly these feminists would never bother helping their poorer sisters living in America. They typically care only for getting the sisterhood in more corporate jobs. I have read several times of poorer minority women trying to make their voices heard only to be pushed aside by these feminists. In hard times it is no secret that women bear the worse of it but I never hear of these third wave feminists going to bat for them. It’s almost like feminism for them is a tick-box to be checked off and which provides valuable status in social ratings. Maybe some leverage too in their professional lives but that is about where the line is drawn.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      How would Rich White Cash feminists ( Goldman-Sachs Feminists) respond to Poor White Trash Feminism if such a movement were to arise?

      1. HotFlash

        Instructive (possibly) anecdote: 30+ years ago, a collective of soi-disant feminists in Toronto was putting together an anthology of women’s stories. One? more? of the submissions had been written by non-college grads, one a waitress, IIRC. Some (university-educated) members of the editorial board were dismissive of the non-credentialed writer(s). The editor said it/they was/were true, powerful, and should be included. Mean girls on wheels ensued, don’t think it got quite to Hair Pulling, but much Not Speaking and Back Biting. The editor won out but at a significant emotional cost.

        Full disclosure: I knew this lady about that time but in another context, she was my landlady. Never struck me as particularly fierce, but there you go. I have since then been skeptical of soi-disant anythings, though: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

        The lady is currently a Professor Emerita of creative writing. :) Hi, ma’am!

      2. Raymond Sim

        “You’re fired.”

        But with a lot of passive-aggressive self-pity that I don’t know how to simulate.

  19. Dftbs

    Poor timing for a strategic partnership with Vietnam indeed. We should’ve of reached out sometime before Dien Bien Phu, at the latest before the theatrical release of Rambo 2.

    Our leaders really do snort their own supply when it comes to propaganda. They really think that other countries see us as a benevolent force, at worst just temporarily mistaken. Never mind that mistake in Vietnam meant trying to strangle their nation in the womb and killing over 4 million of theirs.

    I think if VP Harris did what William Wallace suggested the English do in the movie Braveheart, that is: stop at every home from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city and apologize for the theft, rape and murder we committed in their nation. Perhaps then they may consider us reformed.

    But since we as a nation have no place in our historical memory for others, we’ll continue to embarrass ourselves by doing things like seeking a strategic partnership with Vietnam.

    1. Darla

      “Harris’ upcoming visits to Vietnam and Singapore will offer clues on how Washington plans to “get its game up” to match China’s dominant economic and trade status in Southeast Asia”

      Quite a reversal from our military strength stance. Kill them with laughter?, trick them into thinking that we are a weak directionless nation that allows mediocrities into high offices? Hey, wait a minute…

      “complaints from Southeast Asia’s diplomatic community that the region seemed low on the new administration’s list of priorities” Sending Harris is confirmation of that.

    2. Ian Perkins

      We should’ve of reached out sometime before Dien Bien Phu

      Indeed, but I think the US was instead financing much of the French war effort by then.

  20. Wukchumni

    The Walkers Fire started about a week ago south of us, and has grown to 3 thousand acres and is 19% contained and running into rock and sparse things to burn, and is trending in the general direction of past fires, including last year’s Castle Fire.

    I found this to be interesting, in their need of pack horses to bring in equipment & supplies, as an air resupply isn’t easy to pull off.

    Bring in the cavalry!

    Smoke from the French Fire, near Lake Isabella and other fires throughout California has limited the use of aircraft due to visibility. Walkers fire officials are looking to utilize local pack horses as an alternative for transporting equipment and supplies to the crews.

  21. Verifyfirst

    Couple interesting items from twitter this morning:

    1). Some good news from PHE’s Friday Delta tech briefing update: two sublineages of Delta called AY.1 and AY.2 do not seem to be any more worrying that Delta in terms of transmissibility or vax resistance.

    2). Intranasal ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/AZD1222 vaccination reduces viral shedding after SARS-CoV-2 D614G challenge in preclinical models

    3). Pfizer is trialing a new oral drug to block SARS-CoV-2 replication which should work against CoV-2 spike variants.

    4). #adult #sciencefair Friday night: make your own #corsirosenthalbox

    A lot of parents seem to be getting involved, ventilating classrooms with these CorsiRosenthal boxes! Citizen science.

    1. lordkoos

      The was a report out of Israel regarding an AY3 Delta variant that was pretty scary. It was in yesterday’s links I believe, or perhaps the day before.

      Myself, I won’t be taking another Pfizer product anytime soon.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Cuomo’s Ouster May Have Saved Public College in New York”

    When I saw this headline I was immediately reminded of how America was saved from having its social security privatized to Wall Street by Bill Clinton – courtesy of a blue dress.

    1. Jason Boxman

      The Tea Party saved us from Obama’s Grand Bargain with Speaker John Boehner, if you recall. (The cuts were not severe enough.) It takes a Democrat to destroy social programs.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Someone should create a Social Security Medal of Honor and award the very first one to Monica Lewinski.
      Hopefully Slicky Bill ( aka Jeffrey Epstein’s friend) would be alive to see that.

  23. Darthbobber

    Picked up these 2 Sun articles from an MoA commenter.

    The first, with best red-top hysteria, describes a British prisoner’s “daring escape” through the “blood-soaked streets” of Kabul. In his flip-flops.

    The second, from March, covers his arrest and how he came to be in jail in the first place.

    (the Sun won’t say it, but he was essentially freed by the Taliban, it looks like, as part of what seems to be their policy of emptying the jails wherever they take control.

  24. ptb

    Also, update to a links item from saturday, re: Abbott BinaxNOW test.

    The story was they were trashing inventory for this product. I checked and pharmacy says supply is replenished (was none a month ago) and now plentiful. Upstate NY. Bought one to see the dates, mfg lot stamped 5/2021 expiring 2/2022.

  25. Lee

    JUST CHILLING: Rescue workers attempted to recover a reported dead body from the Arkansas River in in Tulsa, Oklahoma, only to find the man alive and well.

    We had the opposite problem in my town:

    Alameda police, firefighters watch as man drowns ABC 7 News

    If we don’t defund the police, maybe we taxpayers could get a partial refund.

  26. Zephyrum

    Thanks to NC I’m reading a lot of opinions about the US campaign in Afghanistan, variously:
    – The US failed to nation-build, or
    – The Afghans failed to cooperate with our nation-building, or
    – We were never really there to nation-build [Biden], or
    – It was really all about the MIC getting money, etc.
    I am coming to the conclusion that in fact we were entirely successful in nation-building. We made Afghanistan into an approximate image of our own society. Except that the disastrous philosophies and policies and corruptions that can be tolerated by a vast empire are fatal to a relatively small country.

    1. K.k

      I think considering the geopolitical ambitions of the U.S it was only ever meant to be a vassal state, to eventually be used in the fight against Iran and potentially cause headaches for China. I always figured Afghanistan was needed for any large scale invasion of Iran. As it became clear that the u.s would not be able to finish out its program of overthrowing 7+ governments in five years with Iran being the main price, the status quo in Afghanistan with us occupation became superfluous. It seems its better for the U.S. to have an unstable Afghanistan n Balochi areas in Pakistan over the next decade to keep the Chinese and Russians occupied and to scuttle Chinas BRI ambitions. That neocon program initiated by the bush n cheyney regime was further carried out by obama n trump to varying degrees of success. But under Obama they reconciled themselves to the fact that it would not be possible to overthrow the government in Tehran and it would be better to bring Iran into the fold for a number of different reasons but Trump and his merry band of knuckleheads seem to have screwed that up in an epic fashion. With the current admin hoping to take advantage of Irans even more weakened position with the pandemic to squeeze them further before any reconciliation will likely ensure that the u.s will “lose” Iran for good.

  27. Michael McK

    Re.California housing. Under Prop. 13, California’s property tax freezing initiative passed in 1978, a property is not reassessed until the Person sells the property (except a very very small automatic rise). There was a ruling ages ago that Corporations can be sold without the property they own counting as having been sold so, functionally, property tax never rises for large Corporately owned properties and actual people pay a larger and larger share of property tax and subsidize the corporate properties next door who raise rents with the market but never pay more property tax as the actual property value rises. Actual people move and die so while there are some old homeowners and their heirs who still have a favorable tax treatment, most of the benefit goes to Corporations and the state has less funds to provide services to all.
    California’s housing problems would be helped if any Person could have a beneficial interest in at most 2 properties that were subsidized by Prop 13. Long time residents and their vacation home or rental property would be protected but large Corporations would lose their unfair advantage.

    1. Vandemonian

      Your proposal could be even more adventurous. In our neck of the woods, tax is levied on all property other than one’s primary residence – all owners of second homes and rental properties pay the tax.

  28. antidlc

    Investigation of Long-Term Effects of Myocarditis after mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination
    Updated Aug. 20, 2021

    CDC is actively investigating reports of people developing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) after receiving a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). Most of these people fully recover, but information is not yet available about potential long-term effects. Understanding long-term health effects is critically important to explaining the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination to the public and informing clinical guidance.

    Therefore, CDC is conducting surveys of patients (or their parents or guardians) and healthcare providers to gather information about myocarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. These surveys will help CDC learn more about the health effects of myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination and understand any association between myocarditis and COVID-19 vaccination.

    “Most of these people fully recover, but information is not yet available about potential long-term effects.”

    What kind of a statement is that? How can you say that “most people fully recover” if you don’t know the long-term effects? You don’t really recover from myocarditis, do you?

    And if tthe potential long-term effects are not known, why is the FDA approving Pfizer?

  29. ex-PFC Chuck

    re “Afghanistan Was Always About American Politics | by James K. Galbraith – Project Syndicate”

    Galbraith closes with this:

    On a visit to Moscow in 2018, a high officer of the Duma told me that Russia’s post-Soviet recovery began with the decision in 1992 to cut military spending by 75%, clearing the way for eventual domestic reconstruction, and even for the creation of a military force that actually meets Russia’s contemporary security needs. A similar moment has arrived in the US. Given the current American mood and the truths now emerging, to accept the world as it is might also prove to be, of all things, politically astute.

    I wish I could be as hopeful as he seems to be but it’s unlikely we’ll see the tongue of the self-licking ice cream cone slow down its lapping any time soon.

    1. steelyman

      This is either a typo or the “high officer of the Duma” was pulling JKG’s leg. 1992 was about a year after Yeltsin called out the army to assault the Russian Parliament and, until Putin took over in 1999, opened Russia up to the tender mercies of the Harvard & Chicago School free market zealots and their local cronies.

      If there’s an actual turning point for the Russian military, it would be around 2008 when the Russians repelled the Georgian assault on the two breakaway republics. That military success did however expose weaknesses in the Russian military and Putin and his team began the serious work of rebuilding it around that time and this process started to pick up steam when Sergei Shoigu became the minister of defence in 2012.

  30. Verifyfirst

    So in terms of my own personal safety vis a vis Covid, I really don’t care anymore if the person I will have to deal with is vaccinated or not–since vaccinated can shed infectious virus asymptomatically just as well as unvaccinated, based on what we think we know today–all I care about now is your mask, and how well it fits you? Is that right?

    In the context of all the usual precautions on my side–elastomeric mask, povidone-iodine preventatives for nose and mouth, keep encounter short and speech-free as possible, take first appointment of day so ambient aerosols as low as possible…..

  31. Glen

    About the Taibbi/Obama /Republican tweet. We should thank the Republicans that blocked Obama from slashing and privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid via the Simpson Bowles Commission. They were not going to go along with him mostly on “general principles” (i.e. he’s not a Republican) which must have been frustrating to Obama since they were more than happy to let Clinton wreck what was left of the New Deal banking regulations. Obama could have been much worse than he was (and he was really, really bad) except for the Republicans.

  32. ambrit

    Something to highlight the dysfunctional nature of American Public Health policy:
    Abbot’s head honcho said that the decision to destroy the “excess” tests was based “on money.” In other words, the State deferred to the Corpocracy in regard to the public’s health. Money was ‘officially’ declared superior to Terran human lives.
    The people who make these kinds of decisions need to be “downsized.”
    As for the ‘story’ about the “wrongheaded” use of “the drug formulation that cannot be named” in Deploristan(Mississippi,) I, being one of the “dastardly destroying da—d Deplorables” obloquized for my pains, must mention that “on the street,” the public health apparatchiks at all levels are losing their aura of authority, quickly.
    Adding the above to the original citation herein, I wonder if the fact that Deploristan, (sorry, Mississippi,) is the poorest state in the nation has any bearing on the totality of the Public Health dysfunction on display? Let me make myself completely clear; in Deploristan, absolutely nothing is “free;” neither Food Stamps, Community Clinics, and definitely not tests of any sort. Everything has co-pays, no matter how ‘poor’ one is. If not priced in money, priced in costs of access, application, and opportunity.
    Look to Deploristan/Mississippi today for how all of America will be in another decade.
    Anyway, all stay safe. I’m headed back under my rock.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Time is running out for the imposition of a New Deal 2.0. Pretty soon so many people will be so desperate that they will support any old foam rubber Pinochet riding up on any old white hobbyhorse.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Maybe so.

          Time to learn how to hide in plain sight. Time to learn what the visible indicators of ” left-wing cultural orientation” are and start shedding those visible indicators.

          Time to learn real-life method acting. Feel like a happy normie so one can seem like a happy normie wherever one goes.

          Time to learn how to present oneself convincingly in public like a real life version of the hero of this little video by Devo.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Perhaps people concerned abut being thrown out of helicopters if America goes Full Metal Pinochet should work on gray man living before the takeover happens.
              Full time gray normie lifestyling.

  33. Susan the other

    Thanks for the Wittgenstein interlude. I always imagined him to be a rotund, impervious intellectual bully. He once accused Kurt Goedel of creating a “kunststuck” to prove that time did not exist. A mathematical sleight of hand, at least once removed from the laws of nature. Just because we can’t understand time, doesn’t mean it does not exist, right? So Wittgenstein was dedicated to sticking to whatever could be justified as rational reality. That’s enough to make you quit communicating altogether, no? “The world is all that is the case.” OK – but which world is that? “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” (Sounds like Marshall McCluhan’s ‘The medium is the message.’ But what gives Marshall the license to interpret someone else’s use of media?) Too bad nobody is saying that the universe is too big and contains too many degrees of freedom, all pushed by a force we vacuously call entropy, to be stuck in one frame of mind for long.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Too bad nobody is saying that the universe is too big and contains too many degrees of freedom, all pushed by a force we vacuously call entropy, to be stuck in one frame of mind for long.”

      Isn’t this pretty close?

      Whenever the essential nature of things is analyzed by the intellect, it must seem absurd or paradoxical. This has always been recognized by the mystics but has become a problem in science only very recently. For centuries, scientists were searching for the “fundamental laws of nature” underlying the great variety of natural phenomena. These phenomena belonged to the scientists’ macroscopic environment and thus to the realm of their sensory experience. Since the images and intellectual concepts of their language were abstracted from this very experience, they were sufficient and adequate to describe the natural phenomena…

      [Now], with the help of modern instrumentation that we are able to “observe” the properties of atoms and their constituents in an indirect way, and thus to “experience” the subatomic world to some extent. This experience, however, is not an ordinary one, comparable to that of our daily environment. The knowledge about matter at this level is no longer derived from direct sensory experience, and therefore our ordinary language, which takes its images from the world of the senses, is no longer adequate to describe the observed phenomena. As we penetrate deeper and deeper into nature, we have to abandon more and more of the images and concepts of ordinary language.

      Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

      The intuition can perceive what the intellect can never fully comprehend because the intellect and language are in a chicken-and-egg relationship, and are subject to the limitations about which Capra writes.

    2. David

      Wittgenstein has always been one of my favourite people. His argument was that language (and by extension philosophy) was limited in what it could address. This didn’t mean that questions about, say, ethics, were not important, simply that philosophy, being based necessarily on language, could not shed much light on them. He exploded a bomb under traditional philosophy and the pieces are still coming down.

      Wittgenstein was really a mystic, in what philosophers call the apophatic tradition – arguing that language was incapable of saying very much about anything important and fundamental: the article mentions the Tao but it’s also found in Sufi mysticism, advaita vedanta and of course the whole Classical/Christian tradition extending from the pre-Socratics to Meister Eckhardt.

      I sometimes wish more people had paid attention to Wittgenstein’s most famous statement: “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent.” But then where would Twitter be?

      1. chuck roast

        I saw a movie…whoops…film last night on Throw Away TV with Wittgenstein as the basis of the plot. Not bad at all, and with minimal blood and a couple nice shots of the Bodleian and Oxford surrounds. The Oxford Murders with John Hurt and the ex-Frodo Baggins. I would give it 3 roasts. It would prolly get 5 roasts if I had a decent handle on Wittgenstein.

      2. urblintz

        here’s another:

        “At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded.”

      3. jr

        Thanks for this comment and the whole thread. I passed by Wittgenstein in school but now I’m compelled to look into him. I did hear he had developed an interest in Buddhism at some point but little else.

        I do, though, think we can speak of things we can’t speak of sometimes. Like those branches of math that deals with infinities or nothings. For example, we literally cannot know the quantum “field” that reality emerges from. To do so directly would dissolve your mind, from what I’ve been reading. But we can theorize, profitably, about it’s nature.

    3. Hiroyuki

      Wittgenstein’s later work is best approached imo as Koan study. It calls on you to fully engage your right hemisphere (and it was highly influential in McGilchrist’s The Master and his Emissary) as you explore it’s depths, which arguably overturns most of western philosophy from after Plato. It can be highly liberating in some ways. But notably Wittgenstein himself despaired of that liberation later in life, finding poetry a much better means to salvation.

  34. dcblogger

    best takes on Rahm Emanuel’s nomination as Ambassador to Japan:
    I’m sure the Japanese with their high values placed on manners decorum and politeness will be thrilled with this appointment

    Another embassy to evacuate when the time comes.

    and my personal favorite:
    Is there a murder we need covered up over there?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe the Japanese will take a leaf from ” Abe takes Obama to a second tier restaurant” book and keep treating Ambassador Emmanuel to Japan’s equivalent of Burger King and McDonalds and White Castle and lots and lots of Greasy Chopstick Diners, all decorated with the appropriate bright tinsel camouflage, of course.

      It would serve Emmanuel right and give the Japanese loads of straight-faced unspoken mirth and merriment.

      1. caucus99percenter

        In the Netherlands, a bit of post-war history involves the then-PM supposedly treating visiting U.S. diplomats to, not the expected big state dinner, but rather a cup of tea and one biscuit.

        A mariakaakje or Maria biscuit is a biscuit for austere times. It is easily the most boring, or dare we say Calvinistic, biscuit ever made, devoid as it is of any uplifting add-ons in the shape of chocolate or glazes.

        The—probably apocryphal—story goes that when the notoriously tight-fisted prime minister [Willem] Drees received two American civil servants in charge of doling out Marshall Plan funds after World War II, he served them tea and mariakaakjes. This prompted the two to report back that with a prime minister this frugal, the money would be in good hands.

  35. Barbara

    I have fond memories of the now CUNY (when I went to school they were still individual colleges). I attended Hunter College High School, the only all girls public college prep school in the city. Hunter High was a project of Hunter College and supervised by the Board of Higher Education. Of the three other public college prep schools, Bronx High School of Science was co-ed; Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech high schools were all boys.

    Today they’re all co-ed. Some emotional regret there – I can’t see boys singing “I’m Sarah Maria Jones, I have Hunter in my bones. My name is written in my um-ber-ella. It’s a glorious thing to see, what a wonderful thing to be – I’m Sarah Maria Jones of Hunter High, Sarah Maria Jones of Hunter High!”

    I went on to Hunter College, as my older sister did. City College played a part in my life because of the almost-free concerts at Lewisohn Stadium. $1 got you in. I saw Benny Goodman, Harry Belafonte, jazz greats, folk greats. What a treat for students with no money. (And no school debt either – the city colleges were free then.)

  36. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” White feminists wanted to invade Afghanistan”. by Rafia Zakaria . . . .

    Well of course they did. But “which” White feminists? Rich White feminists.

    Rafia Zakaria is either a prisoner or an agent or maybe both of of ruling class corporate Wokeness. That’s why she writes
    “The brand of feminism those women collectively championed is what I call “white feminism,” meaning that it refuses to consider the role that whiteness and racial privilege play in universalizing white feminist concerns, agendas, and beliefs as those of all feminism and all feminists.”

    If she were not either the prisoner or the agent or maybe both of ruling class corporate Wokeness that she is, she would not have written
    “the role that whiteness and racial privilege play in universalizing white feminist concerns, agendas, and beliefs as those of all feminism and all feminists”

    If she were an economic combat class warrior, she would have written . . . “the role that richness and class privilege play in universalizing rich feminist concerns, agendas, and beliefs as those of all feminism and all feminists”

    But she is not an economic combat class warrior. She may well be a PMC of color herself. And as such it may be in her own social class interest to put the spotlight on “whiteness” in order to keep the cameras off of “richness”.

    That is the whole, sole and only purpose of Wokeness after all, other than moral superiority stuff-strutting self-aggrandizement display, of course.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      She tries to walk it back with “Of course, not all feminists who are white are white feminists. No matter the person’s skin color and gender, advocating for an anti-racist, anti-capitalist feminism is a threat to white feminism.”

      But her insistence on calling rich feminism by the misnomer “white feminism” shows her to be at best a Wokeness Racist of Color. And a Racist of Color is still a Racist.

    2. Jen

      I have a simple suggestion for any and all who want to invade Afghanistan: march your happy a$$ down to the nearest recruiting station and sign the family blog up, or sit down and shut up.

  37. Jason Boxman

    So we can thank Trump for this attempt at transparency: Hospitals and Insurers Didn’t Want You to See These Prices. Here’s Why.

    It shows hospitals are charging patients wildly different amounts for the same basic services: procedures as simple as an X-ray or a pregnancy test.

    And it provides numerous examples of major health insurers — some of the world’s largest companies, with billions in annual profits — negotiating surprisingly unfavorable rates for their customers. In many cases, insured patients are getting prices that are higher than they would if they pretended to have no coverage at all.

    It’s a grift, and everyone is in on it.

  38. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s a Guardian article about ” Full FDA approval of Pfizer Covid shot will enable vaccine requirements “.

    Such hasty sudden approval will seem corruptly political to some, suggesting that FDA was browbeaten into it by political commissars from the ” Open for Business” upper class and the Joemala Administration.
    If such a forced mandate is extended to mandating every annual or semi-annual booster shot that is rolled out, people who can passively opt out will do so.

    Who could do so? People eligible to retire will retire from jobs forcing them to get every booster. People who can live semi-shut-in lives will stop going to restaurants or travel or anything else which requires every new booster to get in the door. Those who can leave a must-get-boosters job to start their own little business will do so, if they are not mandated to require a booster from every customer.

    About those who can’t passively opt out? They will get bitter and enraged, and re-elect Trump by a Nixon-in-72 landslide. Either Trump or whatever foam rubber Trump replica the Repuglan Party runs in 2024. That will be the political outcome of this over-hasty and possibly baseless forced- clearance of mRNA vaccinoids by FDA.

    1. VietnamVet

      FDA approval of Pfizer’s vaccine is something to look out for tomorrow. If granted it shows how corrupt and incompetent Washington DC has become. There is not a complete safety or efficacy data package for the vaccine, not enough time has passed yet. Not holding a public hearing must be to hide the known risks, avoid discussing possible long-term risks, and the lack of efficacy of the extinct Wuhan Coronavirus Spike coded mRNA injections. Recent reports of Pfizer 42% efficacy are below the efficacy level required for the Emergency Use Authorization.

      A comment above from a former Afghan policy advisor is true. None of the professional experts are looking in the mirror and feeling shame. This is why the edifice is crumpling. Like Champlain Towers where the support columns were distorted by the falling concrete slab, the tower above suddenly collapsed; so is the West.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Such hasty sudden approval will seem corruptly political to some

      From Covid-19: FDA set to grant full approval to Pfizer vaccine without public discussion of data:

      Witczak is one of the more than 30 signatories of a citizen petition5 calling on the FDA to refrain from fully approving any covid-19 vaccine this year to gather more data. She warned that without a meeting “we have no idea what the data looks like.”

      “It is already concerning that full approval is being based on 6 months’ worth of data* despite the clinical trials designed for two years,” she said. “There is no control group after Pfizer offered the product to placebo participants before the trials were completed.

      “Full approval of covid-19 vaccines must be done in an open public forum for all to see. It could set a precedent of lowered standards for future vaccine approvals.”

      Some things take longer than six months. For example, pregnancies.

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