Links 8/30/2021

Why pigeons mean peril for satellite broadband BBC (Re Silc).

All of New Orleans without power after Hurricane Ida leaves ‘catastrophic transmission damage’ Times-Picayune

California wildfires are climbing higher up mountains, putting more forest at risk of flames San Francisco Chronicle (dk).

Collapsed Surfside Towers Actually Broke Building Code From the Very Beginning Curbed


Predominance of antibody-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants in vaccine breakthrough cases from the San Francisco Bay Area, California (preprint) medRxiv (mv). 1,373 persons of whom 125 (9.1%) were vaccine breakthrough infections. UCSF; Abbott. “These findings suggest that vaccine breakthrough cases are preferentially caused by circulating antibody-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants, and that symptomatic breakthrough infections may potentially transmit COVID-19 as efficiently as unvaccinated infections, regardless of the infecting lineage.” See also the San Jose Mercury News (mv).

SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibodies that maximize breadth and resistance to escape Nature. From the Abstract: “[W]e identify neutralizing antibodies with exceptional sarbecovirus[*] breadth and a corresponding resistance to SARS-CoV-2 escape.” GSK’s sotrovimab is a treatment based on one such antibody, S309. US EUA; Australian approval. See also this GSK-funded preprint. NOTE * “Sarbecoviruses are respiratory viruses and can be detected by PCR on oral or nasal swabs, bronchial wash, lung tissue, or respiratory tract tissue.”

* * *

US mask makers say they’re in danger of going broke The Hill. If only there were some way to set up the infrastructure to manufacture what we need….

GPs and hospitals to limit blood tests in England due to bottle shortage Guardian

First, surges in Covid-19 infections led to shortages of hospital beds and staff. Now it’s oxygen CNN

* * *

100,000 more COVID deaths seen unless US changes its ways AP. I applaud the technical excellence of the “live with it” talking point, which erases the lethal consequences for some. See Invariants #1 and #2 in “Neoliberalism Expressed as Simple Rules.”

Why Do Some People Weather Coronavirus Infection Unscathed? Undark

The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review (pre-proof) Cell. Concluding sentence: “We contend that although the animal reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 has not been identified and the key species may not have been tested, in contrast to other scenarios there is substantial body of scientific evidence supporting a zoonotic origin. While the possibility of a laboratory accident cannot be entirely dismissed, and may be near impossible to falsify, this conduit for emergence is highly unlikely relative to the numerous and repeated human-animal contacts that occur routinely in the wildlife trade. Failure to comprehensively investigate the zoonotic origin through collaborative and carefully coordinated studies would leave the world vulnerable to future pandemics arising from the same human activities that have repeatedly put us on a collision course with novel viruses.” Well worth a read, but break out the espresso machine.


China Commentary Calls Xi’s Crackdown a ‘Profound Revolution’ Bloomberg

Unpacking China’s game-changing data law Protocol

China holds firm on Xinjiang as neighbouring Afghanistan poses security concerns South China Morning Post

China to require foreign vessels to report in ‘territorial waters’ The Hindu


Six months on, pressure builds on NUG to turn talk into action Frontier Myanmar

Atrocious Myanmar Military at Risk of Splitting: Army Defectors The Irrawaddy. Wake me when a whole unit goes over to the NUG.

Michael Pascoe: What happens next isn’t ‘freedom’ – it’s triage The New Daily. Australia. Hat tip, Glad Gladys. All it takes is one defector, and everybody in the defector’s network is “living with it.”


The British Establishment Is Losing Its Mind Over Afghanistan (interview) Richard Seymour, Jacobin

Germany: Scholz seeks to topple a CDU reeling as the Merkel era ends FT

A year and a half after Sweden decided not to lock down, its COVID-19 death rate is up to 10 times higher than its neighbors Business Insider

Greece’s deadly wildfires were sparked by 30 years of political failure Yanis Varoufakis, Guardian


Taliban waiting for ‘final nod’ from US to ‘secure full control’ of Kabul airport: official The Hill

Nine family members killed in US airstrike in Kabul targeting suspected ISIS-K bomber, relative says CNN

‘Once the World Looks Away, We Are All Dead’ Rolling Stone

Nemesis: Why the west was doomed to lose in Afghanistan Prospect


Abbas, Israel’s Gantz hold new high-level talks, urged by US AP

Does Ethiopia’s War Mask an Even Deeper Crisis? The Elephant

Sabotage in KZN | Alleged instigators to appear in court ENCA

New Cold War

Ukraine feels the chill of Biden’s foreign policy FT

Bolsonaro’s Coup: The Bolivia Model? Brasil Wire

Mexico’s Little-Known Attempt to Save Freud From the Nazis MIT Press Reader (nvl).

The Caribbean

US airlifts aid to Haiti to reach areas hardest hit by quake AP

Venezuela Opposition to Run in Elections, Ending Boycott Bloomberg

Biden Administration

Biden declares major disaster after Hurricane Ida lashes Louisiana Reuters

Top 20 healthcare lobbyists by 2021 spending through June Becker’s Hospital Review

Realignment and Legitimacy

To Stop War, America Needs a Third Party Matt Taibbi, TK News

Why Should We Build That Which We Cannot Trust? Capital Research Center

Imperial Collapse Watch

After the Debacle: Six Concrete Steps to Restore U.S. Credibility Foreign Policy. They’re bipartisan!

Are the Navy SEALs actually awful at their jobs? WaPo

Guillotine Watch

Theranos founder expected to argue abuse from ex-boyfriend marred ability to make decisions The Hill

Class Warfare

The Corporate Deterrent To More Vaccinations David Sirota, The Daily Poster. No paid time off. “Fundamentally, nothing will change.”

A “Green” Product That’s Dirty To Make, and a Fight Between Danish Manufacturers and West Virginians In These Times (nvl).

Preferred Terms for Select Population Groups & Communities CDC. I do support complete eradication of the term “stakeholder,” so I’m on the same page with CDC there.

Japan’s bullet trains replace smoking rooms with Zooming room The Register. “Also offers free mice, power bricks, lap pillows and fast WiFi in cars rated to allow 300km/h video chat.” Better than a plane, and I would bet the advantage lasts overnight, i.e., beyond the Northeast Corridor.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Cocomaan

    My old employer offered four hours sick time if workers got the vaccine. I think it was, in some ways, worse than offering nothing at all. They have low vaccine uptake there.

    1. Carla

      That’s what’s wrong with workers today. They don’t demonstrate the proper appreciation for crumbs.

      1. jonboinAR

        They got all uppity and everything, what with the government giving them free money and other socialist evil stuff. /unsarc. Hi Carla!

    2. Mikel

      That’s to encourage people to come in sick and say “hey, look how sick I am” and then go home for the rest of the day. Spreading it to co-workers in the process? Seems to not matter….

  2. Ignacio

    Sarbecovirus is a subgroup within the Betacoronavirus genus that includes SARS CoV 1 and 2, HKU3 and 2 other CoVs. Beta and Alphacoronavirus are the main genera of CoVs that have an origin in bats (there are two other genera). It would be more difficult to build immune escape against epitopes that are conserved among a wider group like Sarbecovirus.

  3. GramSci

    Re: Origins.

    “the numerous and repeated human-animal contacts that occur routinely in the wildlife trade.” As in the NIH-EcoSciences PPP?

    1. Ignacio

      Asking you to read the thing is too much even if known facts about previous research spills are reviewed on it and it is discussed how these cases compare with the SARS CoV 2 outbreak, which instead very much resemble previous SARS CoV 1 outbreaks.

  4. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Nine family members killed in US airstrike in Kabul

    Another report here:

    So in order to stop some ambiguous terrorists from bombing the area and killing civilians, the US had to call in a drone strike which created an even bigger bomb and killed a bunch of civilians. But those civilians died on the US’ terms, not the terrorists’, so victory?!!?

    Haven’t we done this destroying the village in order to save it thing before? This is absolute madness.

    1. Bill Smith

      If they used one of the hellfire missiles with the switchblades the explosion was entirely due to what was in the car.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        From the yahoo link:

        U.S. Central Command confirmed the strike and said it was investigating reports of civilian casualties.

        “We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties,” it said.

        “It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further,” Central Command added.

        Subsequent explosions, so not due only to what was in the car. And even if the entire deadly explosion were due to what had been in the car, isn’t blowing it up just doing the bombers’ job for them? Clearly they didn’t make sure no one was around before calling in the drones.

        1. Bill Smith

          Maybe they decided that was the least populated area. Maybe they decided they might lose track of the car and that could easily lead to a higher loss of life.

          One report said there where several suicide bombers in the car and that was a chance to get them all at once.

          Who knows.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The issue isn’t so much civilians died in a publicized military strike. It’s that this is what happens when everyone is watching. The conditions of an individual strike might be reasonable, but it’s 20 years where that strategy failed with deliberate attempts to misinform Western audiences about death tolls. That is too long to make these excuses.

            I won’t call the drone operator a saint, but the generals on the ground over the years need their conduct to be addressed, along with the previous administrations.

            1. Procopius

              Back in the 17th Century there was a British warship which engaged in battle. The quarterdeck was struck by several cannonballs, which killed all the officers except one midshipman, who was a 13-year-old boy on his first sea voyage. Technically, although only a student, a midshipman was an officer, so he became the ranking crewman on the ship and so the Captain. When the battle was over and the prisoners finally returned to England, the kid was Court Martialed. I forget what the exact charge was but think it was something like “cowardice in the face of the enemy.” They hanged him. I believe no general, and very few officers of any rank, have been relieved of command since 1950, although there is an article in the Universal Code of Military Justice making incompetence a military offense. Nowadays, because the term of command is so short, they figure, “Well, he’s only going to be in command a few months, he won’t get that many men killed. Just wait it out.”

              1. The Rev Kev

                Robert Heinlein mentioned an incident in one of his novels called |”Starship Troopers” that sounds a lot like that. The midshipmen took a wounded officer below for treatment but without orders to do so. While below, all the other officers were incapacitated leaving that middie on the hook for desertion and so was court-martialed. He said that the family tried for a century to get the verdict reversed but without luck.

      2. CoryP

        I really shouldn’t have laughed at that, but it grimly shows the thinking of at least some of the people involved.

      1. Sawdust

        Maybe the missile was getting close to its expiration date and they just didn’t want it going to waste.

    2. Ian Perkins

      Separate, but closely related:
      Media Bury Story That US May Have Fired on Crowd at Airport – Consortium News

      Well, the MSM haven’t entirely buried it. The NYT reported on Saturday, in the in the 29th paragraph of a 39-paragraph article, that “For the first time, Pentagon officials publicly acknowledged the possibility that some people killed outside the airport on Thursday might have been shot by American service members after the suicide bombing.”

      1. Edgar, not Edmund

        BBC World News America did report it the day after the bombing. Reporter on the ground at the airport had heard numerous accounts of troops firing into the crowd, in the panic following the blast. On-air interview with a man whose brother was shot. The brother and his family were well away from the blast, and had no bomb injuries. Only mark on him was the fatal bullet to the head. But, not much follow-up since.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m going to say that what he was actually asking was that the best place to take out those terrorists. And was there no place nearer the airport that was in more open area? Look at my comment above about where the LAPD thought that it would be a great place to set off an explosion. Nobody cares about the suicide drivers of that car but why did those people in that neighbourhood have be the ones to pay that price. And as for those suicide drivers, I say to them-

        ‘No 72 virgins for you!’

        1. Keith

          The balancing act of the value of the target vs value of the collateral begins when the target is found. I suspect that po,itics played a part, both with bidrn and military to shiw they are not impotent making them wznt to hit someone. Heck, who even knows if it was a legit target. It could have easily have been some golks the taliban wanted neutralized and so fed that info to us. Either, a headline is a headline and allows biddn to get this off the front burners.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        What Rev Kev said. However I do not think US lives are somehow more valuable than those of non-US citizens and of course none of this would have happened if the US hadn’t insisted on a generation-long war to line the pockets of defense contractors in the first place.

        1. John Beech

          Responding to both of you . . .

          Where is there ‘no civilization’ in close proximity within that city other than the open terrain of the airport? Use Google Earth and look around. The whole place is built up! Add to it these guys build these devices at home and there simply isn’t anywhere else to attack them. My greater point is, there are no Marquess of Queensberry Rules with war, sorry. Review Allied bombing of Dresden and Tokyo for a refresher vice acceptable civilian casualties during times of war.

          Regarding an Afghani life versus an American life? In theory, you’re right, no difference. In practice, it’s a horse of another color and if left up to me, I’d wipe out the entire city to save one American life. Reference the last sentence of my previous paragraph.

          Put another way, are you willing to trade your daughter for an Afghani citizen? Both are equal in theory, right? Your daughter for two of their citizens? Three? At what point do you sacrifice one of yours for one or some of theirs? Me? I rather suspect there are 13 recent Moms and Dads who would disagree with the view their lives are equal to the loss of even one soldier. Plus me.

          1. Wukchumni

            Regarding an Afghani life versus an American life? In theory, you’re right, no difference. In practice, it’s a horse of another color and if left up to me, I’d wipe out the entire city to save one American life.

            Perhaps the saddest thing ever uttered on here.

            1. Josef K

              It shocked me too, but perhaps it’s actually one of the most revealing things about the attitudes of most Americans ever uttered here; just an extreme version of a common attitude.

              Be it the Nazis, the Tatmadaw, or any other fascistic cohort of hairless monkeys, killing 100, or 1000 of the opposition aka The Other for one of their own lost is SOP. We’ve been doing that in those “sandboxes” for a very long time now.

              Most of us are just refusing to acknowledge (to ourselves and others) what a petty and truly mean-spirited society we’ve become, which is either hilarious or alarming because all you have to do is look around.

            2. K.k

              Like MLK said we are citizens of a nation that is the greatest purveyor of violence around the world. Its expected there will be those amongst us who are so drunk from imbibing such copious amounts of national chauvinism that they would be willing to sacrifice countless children in exchange to save one from their tribe.

              Its amazing how quick some people are to take what the military says at face value. There is an incredibly rich history of the last twenty years of drone war fare where the government lied and the media simply reported the claims as facts in the immediate aftermath of a drone attack. Consider the murder by drone of that 16 year old American kid who was killed while eating at an outdoor restaurant in Yemen. The government under Obamas admin lied about it for some time.

              And by the way what went down in Dresden were war crimes for which Churchill should have been put on trial.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            So if the whole place is built up, you have identified a bad actor who’s trying to kill other people, and you want to actually avoid civilian casualties, is a drone really the best option? Is there no other way? Are there no snipers around?

            And you’d wipe a city for one American life? What if it were Charles Manson’s? Or another mass murderer like Kissinger?

            Or course when a nation is addicted to war like the US, it seems like the answer for everything.

          3. Alice X

            Regarding an Afghani life versus an American life? In theory, you’re right, no difference. In practice, it’s a horse of another color and if left up to me, I’d wipe out the entire city to save one American life.

            Reprehensible! It’s their country, what the hell were we doing there all along? It was an illegal occupation from the beginning. Consult the findings of the Nuremberg Tribunals. Occupying forces have no right of self defense. Much less retaliation.

          4. Anthony Stegman

            There are rules of war. Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime. The fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo were war crimes. Firing missiles at wedding parties is a war crime. Over the decades the United States has perpetrated many war crimes.

          5. ambrit

            The sad history of the aerial bombing of civilian targets is predicated upon a flawed premise; that systemic functionality can be degraded through the lowering of civilian morale. The history of The World War Part Two shows this to be an erroneous assumption. Civilian populations pulled together in response to such bombing. When the civilian support for the war effort did begin to fall away, the entire program was running on sheer nerves anyway. The civilian loss of morale didn’t matter at that point.
            As Bomber Harris put it unapologetically after the war; he just wanted to inflict as much pain and suffering on “the other side” as he could. Nothing strategic in the least about that.
            It’s about power, and, America is losing it’s power. That is what the wailing and gnashing of teeth is all about.
            Tying this in to a thread from yesterday; I observe that what happens overseas with American troops eventually comes home and is reenacted here on the Home Shore. So, expect to see American “Organs of State Security” shooting into crowds here eventually.
            The American Oligarchs have declared open season on American dissidents. As a friend said a few years ago concerning this subject: “We’re all n—–s now.”
            Stay safe, from threats foreign and domestic.

      3. Soredemos

        Yes. To be completely blunt, soldiers should have signed up knowing that death was a real possibility. It comes with the job.

        You’re also basically strawmanning. The choices weren’t a binary between ‘drop a bomb’ and ‘do nothing’. We could have informed the Taliban, now the government of the country whether we like it or not, and asked them to send troops to investigate.

        In fact we could have turned this entire affair of a mutual enemy in ISIS as the foundation for a new, less hostile relationship with the Taliban.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. I will look with interest to see if we get a copy of a forensics report. the type of explosive or fuel being ‘burned’ can be determined faitly accurately now. The ultimate source of the explosion will be available to “officials” in time. As to whether or not they release such information…..
        (I would think that the Taliban would have a vested interest in being transparent about this.)

    3. jonboinAR

      Not terrorism, either. Imagine that. Oh, that’s right. It’s “counter-terrorism”, which implies adjectives like “noble”, “righteous”, “necessary”.

    4. Keith

      Well, the important thing was the initial headline that a terrorist was taken out in response to last weeks bombings. Details such as this wont receive much if any attention in the MSM and so are irrelevant from a talking point stance. In otger words, still a plus 1 for team biden.

    5. Temporarily Sane

      Haven’t we done this destroying the village in order to save it thing before? This is absolute madness.

      Yup…and it makes the preformative “concern” for women and children, and the tweeted and facebooked pics of grunts holding Afghan babies that the internet has recently been inundated with, even more revolting.

      Fake empathy and compassion has become de rigueur in neoliberal America while at the same time the brutal domination and suffering that is inflicted by our country on innocent people with no means to defend themselves has become so normalized that the entire MSM loudly clamoring for more war barely raises eyebrows any more.

      The dissonance on display here is downright depraved…evil even.

      The United States of (wilful?) Amnesia indeed.

  5. Ian Perkins

    After the Debacle: Six Concrete Steps to Restore U.S. Credibility

    1: weapons for Taiwan
    2: more US troops in Australia, Guam, Hawaii and Alaska
    3: better mail delivery to Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia
    4: US embassies in Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu
    5: a Coast Guard cutter on Pago Pago in American Samoa
    6: basing the USA’s only heavy icebreaker in Sydney or Hobart

    Taken together, these six momentous steps would undoubtedly cause the world to forget how quickly the US can renege on agreements and turn its attention elsewhere.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > After the Debacle: Six Concrete Steps to Restore U.S. Credibility

      Reading this heading, my first thought was “oh, someone has some better public health policy ideas!”

      silly me

        1. pasha

          only usps board can remove de joy. the terms oftwo republican-appointed board members are nearly up, so by december biden can appoint their removal-minded replacements. de joy’s days are numbered

    2. Huey Long

      USCG Vet here:

      1. Sticking a cutter, even a tiny 87 footer, in Pago Pago is a horrible idea. There’s not a ton for it to do out there and now you’ve just created a long, long, very expensive new supply chain for what amounts to a second rate propaganda move.

      2. Moving the surviving polar class icebreaker to Australia is an even worse idea. Now you have the same problems with the Pago Pago cutter x100. You’d have to tow the decommissioned polar icebreaker down under too as it’s the primary source of spares and you’d have a rookie shipyard doing the annual dry docking vs the experienced hands at Mare island.

      Oh, and now you need to house the whole crew down in an expensive Australian city and that crew would rotate out every other year as it’d be an OUTCONUS afloat duty station. Not a good idea on a poorly maintained 70’s relic that really just needs to be replaced at this point.

      What’s the upside? A press release that won’t even make the front page of the NYT? Ludicrous!

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ll add another factor to that good comment. At the moment, the US is lurky about sending that Polar-class icebreaker too far north into the ice-fields with the reason being that if it broke down or was trapped in ice, then they would have to ask the Russians to come in and assist that ship. I think that they would prefer that ship to sink than ask the Russians for help. But if it was sent down to Antarctica, the US would have zip icebreakers in the Arctic as in none. And if that ship did break down or got into trouble in Antarctica, I think that the only country in the southern hemisphere that has icebreakers might be South Africa which is a long way away.

      2. Rod

        Moving the surviving polar class icebreakerYou’d have to tow the decommissioned polar icebreaker down under too as it’s the primary source of spares

        I am as embarrased, as a Citizen, by the simple truth, a Truth that all 40,992 Coasties know–

        the ground is surely vibrating by the spinning of all those WW2 Vets now gone on…

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Why I’m not “a former U.S. national security advisor” or “a former U.S. director of national intelligence”: I read your comment before I read the article, and I thought you were making a joke.

      But I gotta admit, it would be interesting to hear lindsey graham or john brennan inveigh ominously against the grave national security threats to the homeland emanating from Pago Pago or Tonga to justify trillion dollar “defense” budgets and increased domestic surveillance.

      1. Ian Perkins

        And they’d better be quick about building the embassy in Kiribati. It’s likely to be the first nation to disappear under the rising seas.

    4. griffen

      Wow, just another example of the leadership class being called out. Instead what do they suggest, a redirect to activities I just can’t recall being aware of.

      Some moments it feels though Dr Evil is in charge of things. And he’s missing a competent Number 2.

      1. John Beech

        Respectfully, I propose a thought experiment . . . which world order would you prefer, USA drops the bomb and brings things to a close following WWII, or the world order where Germany, Japan, or Russia had been first with atomic weapons and put the ultimatum to London and Washington? Pick.

        1. griffen

          Busy afternoon I see. That debate happened earlier in August for the record. At the risk of stepping onto a limb, and I usually refrain from responding in kind.

          Ending world war II in 1945 vs leaving a territory where we’ve invested billions and a few thousand American soldiers since 2001. I get the initial purpose to go into Afghanistan. Based on lies and dubious evidence, its been noted.

          Not an apples to apples comparison. And competence in our senior Pentagon leaders is not on par, either, compared to WWII.

          1. Gaianne

            And scare the Russians it did!

            They massively accelerated their own nuclear research in response, and soon had their own bomb.


        2. The Rev Kev

          John, I have one for you. Terrorist bombing attacks in the American homeland by unknown players or Martial law declared with the US Constitution suspended? Pick.

    5. Susan the other

      And conflating with another link: Why Should We Build That Which We Cannot Trust? – Reading this the thought occurred to me that we need a new book on Capital: “The Obligations of Capital” because with our newly departed (hopefully) neoliberalism, Capitalism has had an epic free ride. We need a new, responsible, responsive, trustworthy, progressive capitalism. Because capital, or money as it is usually called, is a very useful thing.

    6. Young

      How about firing the generals/admirals in the entire chain of command who were involved in this disaster, with a 20-year ban on serving on any corporate board.

      While at it, ask SECDEF to resign if you can find him. I wonder if he is too ashamed to show himself in public.

      1. Wukchumni

        If any of the generals involved in this disaster were NFL coaches, they would’ve been fired a year or 2 in, relegated to civilians and nobody would care 1 iota about them.

        Instead, they managed to get employment doing play by play on NFL games, as experts for the past 20 years.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Venezuela Opposition to Run in Elections, Ending Boycott

    So they’re finally admitting that the ploy of boycotting the elections so the party could later claim that its candidates were treated unfairly as evidenced by the votes they didn’t get wasn’t a winning strategy? And this is the opposition backed by the US – it’s the same ‘destroy the village in order to save it’ mentality used by the US and its allies everywhere.

    I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of MENSA members in this bunch. We are truly ruled by morons.

    1. Lupana

      Your last sentence pretty much accurately captures why we’re in the mess we’re in and the fact that that is unlikely to change, means our trajectory isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

      1. michael hudson

        Alternatively, a high IQ is a precondition for making really stupid errors. One has to be very intelligent to rationalize unrealistic theories. It helps to have Asperger’s syndrome. Look at the mainstream economics profession.
        German folklore and literature has the figure of the “enlightened fool” as opposed to the Narr (stupid ass). this still appeared in Shakespeare.
        Seeing the obvious doesn’t take a high IQ. Denying it does!

        1. The Historian

          “Seeing the obvious doesn’t take a high IQ. Denying it does!”

          That may become the most famous quotable quote you’ve ever made, Michael Hudson!

        2. megrim

          As someone with Aspergers, I’d like to posit that narcissism is a factor as well. There are so many aspects of life in society that I do not understand, and this keeps me grounded in the knowledge that I don’t know a whole lot.

        3. pasha

          m.h., i wholeheartedly agree. the smartest two people i have known, polymath geniuses, could brilliantly rationalize themselves into doing anything they wanted. it was scary to watch

    2. Pate

      “We are truly ruled by morons”

      They are paid to be morons. Call it capitalism and as pointed out in a recent series of reads here at NC capitalism begets imperialism. Capitalism is based upon a lie and requires lies to sustain itself. Capitalism must sell itself thus everything is for sale. Or maybe it is all just human nature. After all we did create this (I know-who is we kimosabe…

      1. hunkerdown

        They gave their whole ideology away in the HMS Defender incident. They aren’t morons. They’re systematically engaging in “constructive non-recognition”, just as one does with dementia patients under the name “redirect”.

      2. Alice X

        They are paid to be morons.…

        The Bernays Institute™ (the theoretical US vs the actual UK) has indoctrinated the US many to be moronic consuming bots. though of course, otherwise, they intrinsically would be anything but.

        The question is liberation from the Bernays Institute™.

  7. Ignacio

    RE: The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review (pre-proof) Cell. Concluding sentence: “We contend that although the animal reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 has not been identified and the key species may not have been tested, in contrast to other scenarios there is substantial body of scientific evidence supporting a zoonotic origin. While the possibility of a laboratory accident cannot be entirely dismissed, and may be near impossible to falsify, this conduit for emergence is highly unlikely relative to the numerous and repeated human-animal contacts that occur routinely in the wildlife trade. Failure to comprehensively investigate the zoonotic origin through collaborative and carefully coordinated studies would leave the world vulnerable to future pandemics arising from the same human activities that have repeatedly put us on a collision course with novel viruses.” Well worth a read, but break out the espresso machine.

    Thank you for posting this. Notice that of all the 9 known human coronavirus 7 have been identified in the last 20 years. There might be some bias (or even much bias) as technology allows better detection and identification through advanced massive sequencing schemes and systems, metagenomics and the like. Anycase this means that we should finally have learned, after many cry wolf episodes and a few severe episodes (count AIDS in the list), that zoonotic diseases are a real risk but we seem unable to do that and prefer sticking to fictional narratives that are more sexy from a selling point of view. Moreover, factors that increase the risk of zoonosis have been identified and can be associated with the emergence of most recent CoV and non-CoV zoonotic diseases.

    The main risk factor comes with human development into the wild (building roads etc), exploitation of wild resources mainly as a meat source (frequently in tropical regions which are reservoirs of unknown numbers of virus and bacteria), not at small community level, but with commodification of the products including high-end expensive foods sold in places like the wet markets. The WHO and public health institutions should build a body of knowledge on this to prevent further development of dangerous practices.

    1. Michael

      “There might be some bias” because of the interest generated by the sudden appearance of SARS-CoV-1 nearly 20 years ago.

      Though human encroachment into previously pristine environments is a concern, that does not preclude a discussion of the value of modifying pathogens just because a very small subset of humanity can – and refuses to even entertain the possibility they should not.

      1. Ignacio

        You think that genetic engineering is entertainment? It is progress and a lot of what we know now about many virus is because we can check the effects of genetic changes in virus functioning/pathology/host range/virulence etc through genetic engineering. This allows us to identify what functions serve the some proteins they encode, targets for treatments, for vaccines, analyse risks, such as zoonosis and a long etcetera of basic knowledge.
        Even in the case of SARS CoV 2, a case in which we can obtain now lots of naturally generated variants that can be assayed to analyse their properties (as it is done to identify VOCs), in order to obtain precise conclusions you would probably need to do some genetic engineering to find out the effects of specific mutations and rule out others.

        Of course, cautionary measures are taken to prevent lab spills according to risk assessment.

        1. Michael

          The current range of vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 were developed out of research on SARS-CoV-1 (and perhaps other coronaviruses). As far as I am aware that did not require, much less involve, “genetic engineering.”

          (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 for example)

          I am, however, entirely willing to examine any evidence you can provide demonstrating genetic engineering – of a pathogen itself – has led to a therapeutic or preventative.

          (I feel a strong need to be extremely specific here Ignacio, engineering changes in the genetic structure of a pathogen – as opposed to this.)

          I would not characterize what many (most? all?) virologists do as a form of “entertainment.” I have no reference by which to explain the desire to prove it was possible to create a version of H5N1 that can be spread through aerosols for no other reason than as a challenge to be met.

          Cautionary measures are taken – and sometimes fail – based on a risk assessment that can be ignored and may be out of line with an inherently unknown risk.

          Thank you for providing an example of a refusal to entertain the possibility of “should not.”

          1. Michaelmas

            As far as I am aware that did not require, much less involve, “genetic engineering.”

            You could not be more wrong.

            In the case of the mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer-BionTech the first prototypes were entirely assembled by DNA (and RNA) synthesis de novo and in silico, using the genetic sequence data of the coronavirus as transmitted from Wuhan over the internet as a model to synthesize the spike protein component. AFAIK, the mRNA that goes into the mass-distributed vaccines is still assembled by industrial-scale synthesis because that’s the easiest way to do it.

            In the case of the adenovirus vector vaccines, the Oxford-AstroZeneca and Sputnik V, they took a regular adenovirus as the chassis and genetically engineered that to carry the spike protein. That genetic engineering would also involve DNA synthesis because by far the easiest way to get the pathogen you want is to build it and, yes, it obviously involved ‘engineering changes in the genetic structure of a pathogen’ — in this case an adenovirus. It’s possible after that they grow these vaccines the old-school way, with vat and fermentation-type tech; I dunno

            It’s 2021. Basically, we don’t do much biology and any bioengineering without high-speed sequencing and synthesis —


            So at every stage the vaccines we have in the West are entirely the result of genetic engineering.Granted, it’s not your grandfather’s ‘genetic engineering’, if you’re thinking of something like what Monsanto was doing thirty years ago as ‘genetic engineering’– though, actually, I think you haven’t even defined in your own mind what you imagine ‘genetic engineering’ is.

            1. Michael

              Michaelmas, I thought I was clear about avoiding the use of “genetic engineering” for the development of therapeutics and vaccines as an example, but apparently I was not. Please peruse my reply again – specifically this portion:

              “(I feel a strong need to be extremely specific here Ignacio, engineering changes in the genetic structure of a pathogen – as opposed to this.)”

              In other words, that is not “genetic engineering” applied to a virus to determine its potential for, or actual, pathogenicity. I do, however, appreciate the information.

              I think you should avoid guessing what other people might have in their minds.

              1. Ignacio

                There are many thousands of examples of genetic engineering of, let’s be specific, RNA virus to do basic research that informs on viral functions, pathogenesis, host range, etc. Initially this first required the generation of cDNA copies representing the full length of the virus genome and inserting these in bacteria under bacterial transcription promoters that would allow obtaining full length infectious RNAs (only for RNA positive sense virus genomes, in the case of species with negative sense genomic RNA, such as rabies virus, it is more complicated and you need to assemble the RNA or co-introduce it in the host together with some viral proteins required to obtain infections) that were therefore introduced in host cells or individuals (animals, plants, insects, fungi, whatever) for in vivo assays. The clones obtained in bacterial cells can easily be manipulated to analyse sequences, genes, and motifs required for virus infection, replication, determinants of host range etc. Systems and methods that avoid cumbersome in vitro transcription reactions have also been developed. And as Michaelmas above says, now, instead of doing cDNAs you can order synthetic sequences of choice, though if you want full length CoV sequences which are somehow large you would need to do it in several pieces and then assemble those in a single bacterial or yeast clone, then make your loss of function, exchange of function, gain of function experiments by introducing the desired modifications. You will do this with known virus for which you want to extend knowledge in pathogenesis. If you take a fresh sequence from the wild for which you know nothing except possibly its host you are not spending a single dollar when you really don’t know where to start with. If you try because you are Fu Manchu (sorry for this, essentially a bad person) you will almost certainly fail and won’t probably obtain anything of interest, even if your interest is killing by the millions and putting your own life at risk in the process.

        2. Richard Needleman

          Hi Ignacio,

          I found your comments very interesting, but I just want to give Michael some support: the word ‘entertain’ here has the meaning of ‘consider’.

          “Natural” variation is natural in the context of the human immune system, whether natural or vaccine augmented. The selection of variants resistant to the limited spectrum vaccines we are using has been a subject of debate. Part of the reason Delta exists is likely to be the wide spread vaccination with a particular spike protein vaccine. We are running one of the largest selection systems in history.

          For investigating viral function by recombinant techniques there are two major methods: random saturation mutation (i.e. extensive mutagenesis hitting many targets randomly) followed by the selection of the desired virus variants. This can be done by either classical techniques using chemical mutagens, or by more modern methods, targeting particular codons or gene regions with specific segments of DNA.

          You are correct in saying that these methods can give us more knowledge about coronavirus gene functions, but a choice of a less lethal coronavirus than SARS-CoV-2 is obviously the way to go. This will probably miss some insight on the peculiarities of SARS-CoV-2, but this is the path functional research on this class of viruses will happen.

          1. Michael

            Thank you Richard. You have clarified for me part of Ignacio’s response that I was quite confused by.

            1. Ignacio

              Though I used the same word, intentionally with a different sense, I was critizicing your apparent mastership on what should or shouldn’t be researched on the basis of some unknown considerations as if scientists work in stuff and receive money to do so without any consideration or objective, only for entertainment, or just because there is money to spend. Aren’t we going medieval with these considerations?

              Sometimes I feel like in a medieval nightmare as Merlin says in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, 1940 Disney productions animation film.

          2. Ian Perkins

            Part of the reason Delta exists is likely to be the wide spread vaccination with a particular spike protein vaccine.

            That’s possible, but delta arose in India at a time when vaccination rates there were fairly low. It could have acquired increased infectiousness in response to masking, social distancing and so on, or simply because increased infectiousness tends to lead to increased prevalence, out-competing other strains, regardless of vaccines or other measures.

    2. SKM

      ++++ thank you Ignacio, glad to see you back and commenting re the pandemic – the level of the discussion over the pandemic in recent months has often been well below NCs normally high level on most topics….. the links however have continued to be useful and at a high level… thanks to all

    3. Richard Needleman

      The first author, Dr. Holmes was a visiting Professor in the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention from 2014-2020. One corresponding author of this report, Andrew Rambaut and one other author, Kristian G Andersen were recipients of a Feb 1 2021 email from Fauci which strongly seems to be the initiation of a coverup of the lab leak hypothesis. Fauci coordinated with these individuals to write a letter supporting a natural origin. Much of his immediate correspondence after this date has been heavily redacted, so it is difficult to determine exactly the strategy of this campaign. Kristian G Anderson’s letter to Fauci suggesting that some aspects of the virus were ‘incompatible with a natural origin” was the initiating email for this Feb 1 ‘hair on fire’ email. Anderson deleted his entire Twitter account after his role was revealed.

      The details of the above paragraph can be found here:

      I have major technical criticisms of the article, for example that the virus ‘carries no evidence of genetic markers one might expect from laboratory experiments”. None, except perhaps for a furin cleavage site identical in sequence that others used to increase virus virulence in other published gain of function experiments, using codons never seen before in coronaviruses, the site inserted in the precisely the site needed to increase infectivity, etc. Their attempt to attribute this to recombination is not convincing.

      The Chinese looked for evidence of infection in over 80,000 animals of various species and did extensive antigen testing in humans. Nothing was found.

      There are many other problems with this article, but I am sure that few people here would want a detailed exposition—at least from the likes of me. A fine lecture on the flaws of the natural origin story can be found here:

      The article simply avoids discussing the critical issues and substitutes ‘handwaving’ arguments. An interesting, well written article but irrelevant to the central question.

      In that House of Cards phrase. “You may think that this is a bogus article; I could not possibly comment.” Or as a colleague of mine used to say, “ I am not responsible for my own opinions”

      In all seriousness, I would be happy to answer technical questions about the article. Gain of function research started with the discovery in Gerry Fink’s Yale lab that a yeast LEU2 gene can be replaced using recombinant techniques. At the time there were five labs working on GOF and I was a postdoc in one of them. Fauci can obviously get away with claiming that the WIV experiments were not GOF but there is no better example of GOF. Unless perhaps you are Madow or dependent on Fauci’s good graces for future lab support, like some of the authors of this article,

      1. Richard Needleman

        I might add what I have said elsewhere.

        The Chinese seem to have abandoned the natural origin theory. They now identify Fort Detrick as the virus source.

      2. Ignacio

        I regret to say you are so buried in your lab-leak paranoia that you could not even read the article properly. Again and again with the furin cleavage site as ‘evidence’ of manipulation which mean you didn’t understand (or read) the article where this is discussed in good detail. Identical to GoF experiments, you claim, show it up so we can check if this is true or false (it must be identical to the nucleotide level and with similar modifications in the surrounding region showing the same recombination prints as in SARS CoV 2, please). In what part of your hard memory is hidden the fact that when you culture SARS CoV 2 in human cells the furin-cleavage site is lost making the system not suitable for such GoF? Then, if instead of cultured cells you use genetically modified mice to amplify your GoF mutants that you are so anxiously willing to obtain for no reason the results are that you will have mice adapted virus that will have trouble to spread in humans and other mammals. No links, false claims. The analysis in more than 80.000 animals claim is nuts. You can analyse millions (including shrimps for instance, haha) and find nothing because you are not searching properly or more importantly because the original sources were incinerated early in the pandemic before any test, as it was done, and there remain zero of these. With luck, there could be frozen samples but…

        “the [WHO] team examined 80,000 animals from 31 provinces across China and didn’t find a single case of the coronavirus. China shut down the specific wildlife farms in question in February 2020, and the WHO researchers weren’t given access to samples from animals from these farms

        Not only shut down, animals were incinerated. If anything that effort was directed to hide the zoonotic origin which was the main worry of the leadership from the very beginning.
        Potential prints destroyed. If you or anybody believes that your comment is ‘all seriousness’ compared with the ‘heavily redacted’ Holmes et al. review (and references therein), I have a bridge I want to sell you. Sure your yeast research story says it all about virus genetic engineering. Your GoF diatribe by the end of the comment is telling, it doesn’t make any sense. By the way, all the other authors from Australia, US, the UK and the EU that sign the paper enjoyed the same grants and would be interested in such cover up? How many scientists are you ready to indict? Only those that you don’t like?

      3. Ian Perkins

        using codons never seen before in coronaviruses

        I don’t think that’s true. If you’re referring to the CGG codon, it’s around 3% of all arginine codons in SARS-CoV-2, though a double CGG is rarer. And a furin cleavage site at most locations in the viral genome would have resulted in a dud – it may have occurred, perhaps many times, but never replicated.

    4. vao

      Chinese factory farms as the source of SARS-2 are much more plausible than traffickers of bushmeat or mad scientists mucking up lab experiments.

      I already gave some references to this line of inquiry.

      1) North-Eastern China (e.g. Shandong) has numerous factory farms breeding animals for their fur in cramped conditions. There are numerous species of bats in those regions, carrying various coronaviruses. Bats visit the farms to eat insects and defecate on the cages.

      2) The animals bred are foxes, minks and raccoon dogs — all known to be susceptible to coronaviruses, with raccoon dogs identified as sources of SARS-1, and minks revealed in outbreaks in Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland to be the source of SARS-2 variants transmissible to human beings.

      3) Fur skinning occurs in autumn, with the help of seasonal workers. Furs are sent to be processed in Southern China, in the Wuhan region which specializes in producing fur garments. Legally, carcasses are not suitable for human consumption and must be destroyed, but are often sold either to dubious meat processing plants, or as fancy meat in markets such as the one in Wuhan.

      4) In 2019, the number of minks in the Shandong province collapsed (6.5 millions instead of 15 millions) — indicative of a serious zoonotic disease outbreak. The Chinese government never explained what happened, refused to let the WHO investigate the breeding factories, and has pointedly not tested the animals kept there for contamination with coronaviruses — or kept the results confidential.

      That hypothesis ticks all the boxes — including the timing. Factory farms for furs are a multi-billion $ business, which is not to be called into question — just like factory farms have not been put into question despite the mad cow disease, or repeated and massive outbreaks of avian flu there (while backyards with a couple of chickens are always accused of being the festering source of zoonotic infections).

      1. Ignacio

        Rather than traffickers of bushmeat, there are traffickers of wild animals that after selling are converted in bushmeat and/or fur. I recall an article on the incidence of CoVs in rodents captured for meat (Australian authors) in Vietnam or Cambodia. They found that the incidence of CoVs increased in the successive steps from specimens just captured in the wild to specimens sold in restaurants indicating that the process of bushmeat commercialization results in increasing the likelihood of virus transmission between animals (or through other vectors) compared with pure wilderness transmission. Humans act as artificial aggregators of specimens, using the same equipment and personnel for the capture of many specimens (even the operators can act as reservoirs, vectors or fomites) putting them together in the same cages, mixing with other species… Putting the cages together in the same truck for transport to wet markets can be a very good selection mechanism for airborne transmission. Nothing that can be achieved or paralleled by the hottest researchers in the best laboratories. In this case, given the close relationship with the Huanan market (I don’t know if mink fur was traded there) I would bet for bushmeat trafficking which is another multimillion market that had state support in China as an alternative meat supply involving thousands of farms before the outbreak, very much like SARS CoV 1. Besides, the geographical distribution of minks in China and bat species known to harbour the closest relatives to SARS CoV 2 are divergent (Shandong is quite far from Yunnan). Known recent viral outbreaks in minks involve reovirus and parvovirus, not CoVs so far.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Taliban waiting for ‘final nod’ from US to ‘secure full control’ of Kabul airport: official”

    As the US forces pull back, the Taliban – actually their Special Forces units – have been moving in to occupy those gaps to maintain security of the airport. But I think that they will be glad when the US forces depart in a day or so. For them the whole operation is just a major distraction and the strikes that the US have been launching in Kabul have not made matters any better.

    But the fact of the matter is that this airport is hugely vulnerable to attack by Jihadists. They just had a vehicle launch about five rockets at the airport which was intercepted by C-RAM units that the US has on sentry duty. Here is a link showing what they do for any curious- (5:27 mins)

    And after the final plane takes off and the Afghan forces move in to clean up that airport and return it to normal operations, the Taliban will be able to concentrate on important matters like forming the new government, establishment contact with other nations diplomatically with an eye to aid and securing the country against those ratbag ISIS outfits. And the past twenty years will just become another chapter in the very long history of Afghanistan.

    1. Ian Perkins

      I’m far from well-up on these things, but I think both Russia and China do C-RAM stuff. Might they sell some to Afghanistan, or station some there under their own control?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not a bad thought that but it would require an integrated defence network of weaponry that would have to be crewed by the soldiers from those nations. Very expensive for a poor nation like Afghanistan. In any case Russia has an, ahem, history in Afghanistan and the Taliban may not want to see foreign troops there again.

        1. marcel

          It is the USSR that has history there. Russia has a more serious track record of keeping the (few) promises it makes. It might be a good idea for the Taliban to have a defense deal with Russia or Iran (both have serious history) to keep their skies clear, so they can concentrate on rebuilding the country.

    2. David

      Security at any airport is problematic, because if you think about it an airport is essentially just a very large, flat area with few obstacles and a long perimeter. Kabul airport has a couple of other problems as well. It’s very close to the town centre, so you can pretty much launch an attack from a vehicle in the morning rush-hour. The US apparently pushed the security perimeter back by 300 meters, but that’s probably about the maximum feasible. In addition, Kabul is surrounded by mountains, from which it’s easy to launch an attack with rudimentary weapons. Indeed, some nations discouraged their nationals from flying into Kabul when the threat was high. In normal times, aircraft had to fly special evasive landing and takeoff patterns which made the flights, let’s say, interesting.

      The Taliban will have a hell of a job keeping the airport secure if ISKP decide to target it. They could do so with shoulder-launched missiles or even heavy machine guns: a Royal Air Force engineer I was talking to reckoned that these days fly-by-wire commercial aircraft are so stuffed with complex wiring that a hit on almost any part of the structure could bring the aircraft down. But they may not even do that: IS in Syria and Iraq didn’t make much use of missiles or artillery. They did though, do things like crash armoured bulldozes packed with high explosives through security perimeters and blow them up. That would make a real mess.

  9. zagonostra

    The Freedom-loving West and the Totalitarian Communist

    Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau today announced a billion-dollar fund to help provinces create their own vaccine passports — credentials people vaccinated against COVID-19 can show to businesses to make everyday activities safer.

    Meanwhile, Putin speaking last weekend during a meeting with the governing United Russia stated that:

    “Vaccination is the main weapon against the spread of the virus. Importantly, no one should be forced to get a jab. Pressure, where people may lose their jobs, is even less acceptable. People must be convinced of the need to get the vaccine,” he said.

    1. bsun

      The attitude toward the pandemic and toward vaccine mandates in Canada is so bizarre, at least online. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people on reddit as well as my friends on Facebook over the past few weeks and the majority of people I talk to have gone from “We could end the pandemic right now if only we had vaccine mandates!” in June, to “Obviously COVID is never going away but we need vaccine mandates because our hospitals are overflowing with unvaccinated people!” this week, without an ounce of self-awareness. BC has implemented a vaccine mandate that doesn’t include any medical exemptions at all, so people who for some reason can’t be vaccinated are just not allowed to go out for anything non-essential “during this period of high risk.” Canadians are celebrating this aspect of the BC mandate. The rhetoric toward unvaccinated people has become more and more hateful and less and less coherent every day. Thankfully, the idea of denying medical care to unvaccinated people hasn’t gained much traction, but people do bring it up from time to time, and I’m not sure how the social attitude will change in provinces like Alberta that are unlikely to implement a vaccine mandate.

      I find this all very stressful because people around me who I consider normal, well-adjusted people are just filled with vitriol over this. I’ve tried explaining to them how uncertain everything must feel right now to lots of Canadians but their ears are shut. They have no empathy.

      1. The Historian

        I am not sure that it is a lack of empathy. I think they have been sold the propaganda that vaccination is a magic bullet that will save them. Sadly, it won’t. The vaccines are not sterilizing. They should be only one factor in an over all plan that includes masking, ventilation, social distancing and governmental support for that social distancing, developing new drugs to treat the disease, etc.

        But how do you beat that propaganda? I don’t have a clue! Certainly there have been enough people trying to get the real facts out – it just isn’t taking!

        1. zagonostra

          “How do you beat that propaganda?” You can’t when it becomes an ideology or religion. Or mostly you can’t, I’m thinking Arthur Koestler’s book ‘The God That Failed’ – but he was an extraordinary human being. I guess that’s why it is doubtful “democracy” as a system of gov’t will succeed (Franklin – ‘It’s a republic if you can keep it’)

      2. HotFlash

        I just checked again and I *can* get antibody testing, albeit on my own dime. BUT I have to have a requisition form signed by my health care provider before a blood sample can be collected AND it doesn’t count for anything! So much for the sincerity of the ‘herd immunity’ plan.

      3. Sawdust

        At this point, most people have built up a feeling of moral and intellectual superiority based on having the right opinion about the vaccines. Any uncertainty or complication of the issue threatens this self-concept, often prompting a more combative attitude towards anyone who disagrees. We all hate admitting we’re wrong. It would be nice if the accumulation of information would eventually lead to some sort shared understanding but I expect the opposite at this point.

      4. Maritimer

        “The rhetoric toward unvaccinated people has become more and more hateful and less and less coherent every day.”
        Canada struts about as a freedom loving, democratic, progressive country. At the same time that it regrets, apologizes, mea culpas over its treatment of Native Canadians and other minorities, it now finances, encourages and incites hatred and scapegoating of Them, The Unvaccinated. Do your dirty to those other people, Canadians! We back you 110%.

        As for Canada’s so-called Universal Healthcare System lauded by those who know nothing about how it actually works, it is only Universal in the fact that it is one-size-fits-all (for the non-Elite) and take our treatment or leave it. As for the Unvaccinated, you can wait, wait, wait…….we, the CDN Government, have ways of dealing with you.

        1. SES

          Well, this utterly non-elite 61-year-old Canadian living in BC had two miraculous cataract operations in the last three years, and I was able to adjust the operation dates twice. I also had my choice of implanted lenses, though I did have to pay an extra CAD 555.20 for the pair of premium lenses. I’m sure that’s far more than my deductible or co-pay would be if we didn’t have “universal” health care …

          Oh, I’m slated, at some point, for a prostate operation. This year I was offered, and declined, because I’d prefer to wait and see, both standard laser resection and then prostate artery embolization – a very new minimally invasive treatment. More choice, no sign of “one-size-fits-all” care.

  10. bassmule

    A little something for the commentariat to take apart:

    Is Vaccine Immunity Waning? (NY Times)

    from the story:

    “Part of the problem is that the waning-immunity story line is irresistible to many people. The vaccine makers — Pfizer, Moderna and others — have an incentive to promote it, because booster shots will bring them big profits. The C.D.C. and F.D.A., for their part, have a history of extreme caution, even when it harms public health. We in the media tend to suffer from bad-news bias. And many Americans are so understandably frightened by Covid that they pay more attention to alarming signs than reassuring ones.”

    1. Ignacio

      Waning immunity is a story line then, not a fact. Good job NYT. This says that media suffers not from bad-news bias but from confusing fact reporting with story telling.

      The implications of waning-immunity go well beyond Pfizer, Moderna and others. It has effects on you in a daily basis. Yet the NYT believes that it is the benefit of the big pharma what worries us the most.

    2. David

      I suspect he was influenced by the “follow the money” argument. Drug companies will make more and more money from repeat doses of vaccine, therefore the argument that vaccines are losing their effectiveness must have been put around (or at least supported) by them for financial reasons. It’s hard to argue with that.

      1. hunkerdown

        There are two competing interests: getting first and second jabs into arms, and getting third and subsequent jabs into arms. The sand castle narrative that encourages uptake of the booster series also discourages uptake of any series as an unreasonable commitment to the risk and trouble.

        Today, the vaccine is not the question. The vaccine is the answer, and the question is irrelevant. “My beard is a cat, therefore your argument is invalid get jabbed or else.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m pretty sure GE are selling them engines, not manufacturing them in China. Aero engine technology is one area that is very jealously protected by most countries. China is very far behind, although they are catching up rapidly with military engines. They are nowhere near on civilian engines.

      The C919 is a bit of a bust already. Its basically 20-30 years out of date and the only customers are Chinese airlines which have been told to buy it. Airlines like Ryanair are making noises about it, but only because they are trying to leverage better deals out of an already desperate Boeing. The only way it can sell is if it massively discounts, and already there are too many A320’s and 737’s out on the market which has driven prices very low. The big market is in aircraft leasing, and those companies have shown no interest.

      Airbus is rapidly becoming a monopoly supplier, the only thing that can stop that is its own occasional missteps, or the ability of the US to turn Boeing around. Nobody else, Chinese included, can come close to what they offer.

      If China does compete with the big 2, it will be the next generation of Comac, and thats a couple of decades away. The Russians and Japanese have tried and have stumbled very badly (the Sukhoi and Mitsubishi aircraft are disasters), despite decades of work to catch up. Making airliners, especially ones that can compete on the core narrowbody market is very, very difficult.

      1. jo6pac

        Your right I thought that the other company involved was Chinese but French instead. The military engine are from Russia I do believe.

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    re: The Hill on mask makers going broke.

    super demand for a product=>bidness moves to fill that need=> fed, but mostly state gov instead buys product from china, because it’s cheaper=> domestic supply collapses again.
    i glean, from this article, that fed/state government are the biggest buyers of these products….that they are still preferentially buying from china should be a giant scandal, and heads should roll.
    but they won’t, because it feeds the Official Narrative of, like, my whole 50 years, that american manufacturing can’t compete, because american workers are greedy and demand too much for their labor….you know, those all powerful workers,lol.
    of course, where i live, only around 15% of the population, at best, is wearing masks…and a significant number of folks are in the “itaintreal” camp, and a crazy proportion of those are also in the “masks cause disease/starve me of oxygen/etc” camp.
    acknowledging that insanity…which probably alone dooms us….my anecdata/lay anthropology field studies indicate that a vast majority of these same people support paying a bit more for american made (pick a product, here)…and even support use of the fedgov to make it “profitable”(as in the defense production act)…which is curious, since so many of them in the next breath will vomit bile over “the gubmint” doing anything well, save oppressing them(sic).

    an anecdote:
    16 or so years ago, while i was laying on the floor with my then small boys, amid great piles of toys, i noticed that every single toy was made in china.
    xmas was approaching, so i endeavored to find american made toys…just to see what was on offer, and being ready to spend a bit more.
    the only american made toys i could find online were:
    1. pick-up-sticks
    2. jacks
    3. hand made wooden trains and such.
    4. a handful of weird boardgames, most with a right leaning educational(sic) bent.

    Oh, and adjacent to that article:

    that newspaper is the only physical paper available in our little town…save for the local paper/brochure.
    so everyone mentioned above will see that article…and dismiss it.

      1. Joe Renter

        Thanks for that WhoaMolly.
        I am in the construction trades (painter) and I have not been able to get my “go to” 3M N95 mask for a long time. Side note, a friend was at home depot in Jan 2020 in the aisle where the N95 mask were stocked and an employee from the large trauma hospital in Seattle was buying all the N95 mask on the shelf. It was then that I thought, this is not a good sign.

    1. RockHard

      There was an article early in the pandemic about an N95 mask manufacturer in the DFW area telling that exact story, basically “We could ramp up production but we’d probably end up bankrupt”. Link long gone now but it’s pretty much the same story you told.

      Caleb Wallace was only 30. One response is “that’s what you get for thumbing your nose at nature”, but there’s no satisfaction anymore in seeing nature take its course with these types.

      1. Pnwarriorwomyn

        Alas, yes. There is *considerable satisfaction* in seeing nature take its course with these types.

      2. Pat

        I was just recalling that story. I was hoping he was wrong and we had learned some hard lessons, but no I had to learn the lesson he did so many years ago. Our leaders will not change because none of it actually affects them except donations and post office sinecures, and they get more by screwing the country.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So, I guess a need for reliable domestic production capacity of PPE will not be one of those important “lessons learned” that “experts” are ever so fond of expounding on in situations like these.

      1. Pat

        What important lessons have been learned?
        Not learned: need for domestic production, contact tracing, excess capacity in healthcare, single payer, mandatory sick leave, not abusing public trust by lying.

        Learned as far as I can see: profit above all from crisis, control the media and the narrative, control the regulators, throw just enough crumbs to the common good to ford off catastrophe for the oligarchs – financial crash or tar and feathering.

        We can never let the idea that America should make things take hold.

        I am also reminded about the story from early on last year about the American PPE producer who refused to expand operations because the last time he did so the government reneged on promises to buy his product once the emergency was over. So this isn’t even a new development.

        1. Mikel

          Hey, look over there! The stock market is rising!

          Zoom out on index charts and you see a line going vertically upwards. Hilarious!

    3. lance ringquist

      i stated in the 1990’s and its still appropriate today, nafta billy clintons disastrous polices that were being implemented, would destroy americas ability to confront just about anything, those disastrous policies will not be over come, at least by conventional methods.

      nafta billy clinton and dim wits like him mistake money for wealth. we have lots of money, but we see today very little wealth. manufacturing is wealth.

      when ever i hear this barked, we are the richest nation in history, i cringe. we have a lot of money, anyone can have that.

      but when we cannot even make a aspirin, a nine volt battery, medical protective gear, metal screws, and computer chips, let alone just about anything else, we are not rich at all.

      a banana republic will try to sell bananas to get what it needs, we use dollars instead of bananas. and with little or no manufacturing, a majority of americans are locked out of being able to use money like banana’s. we are a true third world country.

      1. Pate

        “a banana republic will try to sell bananas to get what it needs, we use dollars instead of bananas”

        I like it. Very insightful indeed. We sell dollars. Now I git it. Thank you!

    4. lance ringquist

      we do not make much. can we pretend there is no one responsible for this? how do you fix something that is broken, when the people that broke it still control our nation, and many refuse to call them out on this.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        iirc, Tasers are made in Arizona…and i pass by at least 3 small gun manufacturers on my way to san antonio….although i wouldn’t be surprised if both of those things weren’t made with materials from far away.
        ammo is made here, too…although good luck finding any.

        I’m currently having great difficulty finding 2-6 steel barrels, for the charcoal retort, so i can begin the remediation of the herbicidal manure with a little more ease and efficiency. nobody out this way, including tractor supply, can obtain them.

        and we still can’t find 3-4 ordinary, run of the mill goats,lol…plenty of fancy goats at the big auction in stephenville, but i don’t want to spend that much jack on what once was such a boring, ordinary critter.

        and my little tiller has been in a shop, 50 miles away, for months…waiting on gaskets from china.
        i’m paying premium for a deck belt for the riding lawnmower tomorrow…but at least it’s available…being made to order in a shop 2 counties over, no less.
        and…for the kicker…the milk truck didn’t come to my county last tuesday…no explanation, but the whole town has been out of milk since thursday.
        unknown if the truck will come tomorrow.

        i’m sure “normal” is right around the corner.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “The British Establishment Is Losing Its Mind Over Afghanistan”

    And Boris, who is definitely, part of the British Establishmnet, still does not want to be finished with Afghanistan but wants to go back. Heard on the news that he and Macron in France had a great idea how to do it. They want to establish a Safe Zone in Kabul so that people can continue to leave which would be run under the United Nations. What would that look like in practice? Basically what we are seeing right now. And if there are any attacks or anything, it would be the Taliban that would cop the blame.

    Of course if there was a Safe Zone, it would require United Nation troops occupying this Zone. So who would that be exactly? America? The UK? France? I don’t think so. It makes it more awkward that about half the countries on the planet had troops occupying Afghanistan at one stage or another. But if this was to go ahead, I have the perfect answer. China! To Afghanistan they have been a neutral power and are right now willing to invest in developing the country. Surely the west could not have any objection to the Chinese setting up a base in Kabul at all, can they?

    1. Synoia

      Boris should know his Kipling

      WHEN the ‘arf-made recruity goes out to the East
      ‘E acts like a babe an’ ‘e drinks like a beast,
      An’ ‘e wonders because ‘e is frequent deceased
      Ere ‘e’s fit for to serve as a soldier.
      Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
      Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
      Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
      So-oldier of the Queen!

      Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day,
      You shut up your rag-box an’ ‘ark to my lay,
      An’ I’ll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
      A soldier what’s fit for a soldier.
      Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

      First mind you steer clear o’ the grog-sellers’ huts,
      For they sell you Fixed Bay’nets that rots out your guts –
      Ay, drink that ‘ud eat the live steel from your butts –
      An’ it’s bad for the young British soldier.
      Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

      When the cholera comes – as it will past a doubt –
      Keep out of the wet and don’t go on the shout,
      For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
      An’ it crumples the young British soldier.
      Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

      But the worst o’ your foes is the sun over’ead:
      You must wear your ‘elmet for all that is said:
      If ‘e finds you uncovered ‘e’ll knock you down dead,
      An’ you’ll die like a fool of a soldier.
      Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

      If you’re cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
      Don’t grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
      Be handy and civil, and then you will find
      That it’s beer for the young British soldier.
      Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

      Now, if you must marry, take care she is old –
      A troop-sergeant’s widow’s the nicest I’m told,
      For beauty won’t help if your rations is cold,
      Nor love ain’t enough for a soldier.
      ‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier . . .

      If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
      To shoot when you catch ’em – you’ll swing, on my oath! –
      Make ‘im take ‘er and keep ‘er: that’s Hell for them both,
      An’ you’re shut o’ the curse of a soldier.
      Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

      When first under fire an’ you’re wishful to duck,
      Don’t look nor take ‘eed at the man that is struck,
      Be thankful you’re livin’, and trust to your luck
      And march to your front like a soldier.
      Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

      When ‘arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
      Don’t call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
      She’s human as you are – you treat her as sich,
      An’ she’ll fight for the young British soldier.
      Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

      When shakin’ their bustles like ladies so fine,
      The guns o’ the enemy wheel into line,
      Shoot low at the limbers an’ don’t mind the shine,
      For noise never startles the soldier.
      Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

      If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white,
      Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:
      So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
      And wait for supports like a soldier.
      Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

      When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
      And the women come out to cut up what remains,
      Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
      An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
      Go, go, go like a soldier,
      Go, go, go like a soldier,
      Go, go, go like a soldier,
      So-oldier of the Queen!

  13. ProudWappie

    I’m getting rather annoyed by the sentiment against Sweden in the Business Insider article. Sweden has 85+% of people living in the cities, so that’s an unfair comparison. Also, there’s more vulnerable (migrants -> vitamin D deficiency). It’s very speculative to just compare two countries based on one variable, while there’s a lot of things going on. Generally speaking there main failure so far was that they failed to properly protect certain vulnerable groups (the elderly), but apart from that, they made a trade-off between protection and harm caused by the measures.

    1. The Historian

      About 83% of Americans now live in cities so tell me how that comparison is so unfair? I don’t see it.

      More vulnerable migrants? Isn’t the US the country with the most immigrants?

      How do you properly protect the vulnerable (the elderly)? Put them in special prisons? I am now considered elderly although I don’t feel it. And I have family that I want to see that aren’t elderly. I go to stores where most of the people there are younger than me. I go to medical clinics where most the people are younger than me. Should I stop doing all those things? I can’t quite figure out how you ‘protect the elderly’ without doing something about the disease in the general population.

      Maybe it is better to accept the reality that Sweden did do a lousy job rather than attempt to rationalize.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      All the Scandanavian countries have 80% urbanisation rates and very similar socio-economic structures. The comparisons are perfectly valid. The only significant difference between the countries was Swedish policy. It killed people. Lots of them.

        1. Ignacio

          Do you really think this says all? In that list Poland, Portugal and Sweden were late in the pandemic with very few cases when it had already hit hard Italy, Spain, France or the UK. Many factors count so you cannot use such a simple comparison as proof of success or failure. Comparing Gibraltar with the US is not apples to apples.

          1. Carolinian

            Aren’t the Sweden bashers using the same simple comparison with their “worse than Scandinavia”? I think many of us would welcome an in depth examination of Sweden’s results and the factors involved. But it’s easier to talk about their government “killing people.”

            1. Ignacio

              That is quite a more homogeneous comparison indeed. It makes more sense even if there are other epidemiological differences between Scandinavian countries. It makes some sense comparing, for instance, Italy and Spain, less if you add Germany but surely you can do it and learn something in the process.

              1. urblintz

                I have the utmost respect for you Ignacio and acknowledge that I have no professional credentials. Understood that “comparison” is a slippery slope with too many variables. But a fundamental point, I believe, is evident: Chalquiera que el tejado tenga de vidrio, no debe tirar piedras al del vecino.

                1. Ignacio

                  Yes urblintz. There is a long history at NC discussing control measures taken in Sweden compared with other countries. One has to consider, for instance, how the measures taken (or not taken) in Sweden had or not a disproportionate effect in certain communities, certain sub-populations (let’s say migrants, lower income percentiles etc) and some of this had been done. When I saw your list I thougth that we were going backwards in the discussion. Sweden, regardless those numbers, had done a pretty bad job in the early days compared with Norway or Finland.

                  1. Carolinian

                    But there are other variables. For example in those long ago discussions it was brought out that Sweden had a mild flu season the previous year compared to Norway and therefore more potential victims. The Swedes have also admitted that they did a poor job of protecting nursing homes in the beginning and that this accounts for many of the victims.

                    At any rate the main point is hard to deny–when it comes to deaths Sweden is not the huge disaster that people a year ago claimed it would be, at least compared to the countries of those most often doing the claiming (i.e. mine, the UK).

                    1. Basil Pesto

                      It doesn’t have to be a disaster relative to any other country. It just has to he a disaster. And it has been. It is the 5th largest disaster in Sweden’s history, the 2nd largest in their ‘modern’ (20th century to today) history. So far.

                      Nobody on NC who criticised Sweden’s approach, abstained from criticising the approaches of the USA and the UK, all moronic in their own special ways, and you know it.

      1. utblintz

        deaths per 1 million


        CA – 1664
        TX – 1965
        FL – 2048
        NY – 2814
        IL – 2085
        GA – 2124
        PA – 2210
        OH – 1779
        NJ – 3023
        MI – 2155
        TN – 1954
        AZ – 2581
        IN – 2136
        MO – 1800
        MA – 2043
        SC – 2030
        AL – 2493
        LA – 2659
        KY – 1720
        OK – 1974
        ME – 1653
        AZ – 2279
        IA – 1987
        MS – 2782
        NV – 2089
        CT – 2343
        KS – 1904
        NM – 2148
        WV – 1704
        RI – 2609
        SD – 2331
        MT – 1668
        DE – 1928
        ND – 2047
        DC – 1642
        Sweden -1440

          1. Ian Perkins

            I noticed that.
            deaths/1million pop

            Cuba 461
            Cambodia 111
            China 3

            Western nations can squabble over which one’s more worse than the others, but most seem to have something in common. New Zealand, Iceland and Australia are among the exceptions.

            1. Vandemonian

              New Zealand, Iceland and Australia are among the exceptions.

              …although Glad Gladys and Litttle Scotty from Marketing are working hard to get Australia into line.

        1. Mikel

          It would be worse than that if there still weren’t people showing restraint on heading to crowded indoor spaces and work from home policies still active.

          1. urblintz

            and yet the rhetoric suggests those initiatives are not happening, that the Swede’s are just fools who allowed the worst possible outcome in the whole civilized world to materialize.

            1. Mikel

              It would be worse everywhere if people weren’t taking those initiatives or more people weren’t able to take those initiatives.

        2. Lynne

          These numbers are not accurate. I don’t know about the other states, but….

          South Dakota has had 2,067 total deaths from COVID, not 2,331. I noticed some strange stuff going on with the numbers early on, when my home county had 2 cases and the news reported we had 6. It seems they do some strange rounding and data massaging to figure deaths per thousand or deaths per million, so that they end up with inaccurate data.

          1. Carolinian

            Worldometer is made from reports that are compiled and changing every day with two panels and the upper is usually still in progress. This will particularly be true with the current surge. And it’s not total deaths but deaths per million that is being discussed.

            And of course there are other sites from Johns Hopkins etc. Urblintz’ figure for Sweden is the same as in today’s Wikipedia.

            1. Lynne

              Yes, I know we are discussing deaths per million. That’s my point. When you are citing an area that has less than a million population, they play games with the data. Just like when we had 2 cases in a population of 917 and they played with the data and reported that we had 6 cases: they round it UP to fit in their charts.

    3. Keith

      Sweden and covid in general provides revenue via clickbait, hence its staying power in the public ete. Sweden is jyst one of those countries that have been captured by the US imagination. So they get their bad covid press, but will be followed up with pisitive covid press.

      In the end, we at a point wgere likely 90% of this covid business is spin for clicjs rather than for useful info.

    4. Raymond Sim

      Enough bullshit about Sweden.

      Sweden followed a policy rooted in the rightwing zeitgeist, not science. It was explicity eugenicist. It’s worth noting that eugenicists typically present themselves as scientific in orientation, and often succeed in being perceived as such.

      In reality ‘eugenics’ as public policy is invariably a fantasy version of misunderstood animal husbandry. The soi-distant Darwinists among them are invariably ‘skeptics’ lacking ability to scrutinise their own ideas.

      Sweden is a country where nazi-symp ideology has been able to persist, unmolested by reality. But as usually happens, when in power and confronted with a real enemy, the nazi types fucked up royally.

      Fascists are fuck-ups. Don’t believe me? Check history’s scorecard. Fascists aren’t just psychopaths – they’re also hysterics, and low-order thinkers, they fuck up planning with misguided priorities, and then in crisis their emotional needs take priority over actually coping.

        1. Wukchumni

          Sweden allowed Nazi trains to export their iron ore until the war started not going the way of the goosesteppers, so yes.

      1. Hiroyuki

        ““As experience shows, there is no basis for recommending quarantine either of groups or individuals. The problems in implementing such measures are formidable, and secondary effects of absenteeism and community disruption as well as possible adverse consequences, such as loss of public trust in government and stigmatization of quarantined people and groups, are likely to be considerable.”
        Donald Henderson

        1. Raymond Sim

          That’s a bunch of rubbish. But if stigma and quarantine are the topic, tell us all about how they handled HIV.

          Btw, I didn’t say the Swedes are nazis, I said nazi-symp ideology has festered in Sweden.

          1 out of every 120 Swedes has been hospitalized for Covid. What’s the expression? “Jackpot”?

  14. dcblogger

    a third party to stop endless war would be a waste of energy, as someone who has worked very hard for the Green Party here in DC. The only way to end endless war is direct action, specifically, recruitment resistance. can’t go to war without an army.

    1. George Phillies

      The United States already has three third parties, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution. The first two were opposed to our war on the Middle East. Don’t know about the third.

    2. Pate

      Third parties are a waste of energy because our single district winner take all electoral system makes viable third parties a virtual impossibility. The entire edifice was designed to limit democracy aka the popular will -historically to impede change in the form of democratic reform. And the gravy on that potato is how we are neatly divided against each other as a result of being the only two party system of government in this galaxy (maybe I exaggerate a smidgeon)

      1. Pelham

        Agreed about the electoral system. But I think the thrust of Taibbi’s argument is that, the third-party question aside, the two dominant parties are beyond and kind of repair — even though, as you say, we’re stuck with them.

      2. Kouros

        Yes, but it is up to each state to decide under what rules election happens, so changing the electoral system and allowing for other parties should happen with pressures at state level (that will affect federal elections as well, since they, for now, happen under state law, as per the US Constitution). What would be the best US State where such a political pressure could be mounted?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Michael Pascoe: What happens next isn’t ‘freedom’ – it’s triage”

    Gladys was looking frayed around the edges in today’s 11 am press conference. But whatever she is asked, she always talks about the vaccines. A reporter could ask her about the weather and she would say that it would be better with vaccines. The medical services are breaking down under the case load and this is obvious to everyone. It will be worse in regional NSW. And today the first Aborigine died of this virus which is also not a good look politically. And it will only get worse. I hope that people finally realize that this is what “living with the virus” looks like. Western Australia said that their hospitals are already full and they don’t have the virus in their State yet. I expect other States will say the same. But as this article says, soon it is going to be like Lombardy in NSW.

    So where is Scotty from Marketing in all this? He says that the hospitals are fine and can cope with the numbers which will only be about 20% of capacity. But he has offered to give them advice how to make the hospitals more resilient. Nice. But he is adamant that lockdowns have to end – now and in the future because “We can also not remain locked out of a global economy that is opening up again – with trade, and students and travel, tourists and essential workers and others who are needed to drive our economy forward.” Ahem. I might die for my county but die for the economy? Ummm…pass! And he expects my State to open up to NSW? With a vaccination rate of about 30% here? That would be a death sentence for hundreds of people. Neoliberals will kill us all.

  16. tegnost

    Looks like tomorrow will be a tough day for south lake tahoe…

    TuesdayWidespread haze. Widespread smoke. Sunny, with a high near 74. Breezy, with a southwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
    Tuesday NightWidespread haze. Widespread smoke. Partly cloudy, with a low around 49. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

    1. Wukchumni

      Sadly, South Lake Tahoe looks to be in the crosshairs and once the fire starts to take out propane tanks in rather congested housing, there’ll be nothing to stop it consuming the entire area. Firebreaks are few and far between…

      Here’s a depiction of what’s coming @ 6 seconds in…

      1. Wukchumni


        The powers that be look to have waited too long to evacuate SLT, what were they thinking, exactly?

      2. Keith Newman

        @Wukchumni @12:34
        Wow! The Bonanza starting sequence! Haven’t seen that in a long time. With Adam too (Pernell Roberts). He was my favourite but only lasted a season or two.

      3. Keith Newman

        Wow! The Bonanza starting sequence! Haven’t seen that in a long time. With Adam too (Pernell something). He was my favourite but only lasted a season or two.

    2. lordkoos

      This sounds like our almost daily forecast here in windy eastern WA. There is an 80,000 acre wildfire about 50 miles from town which is only 8% contained. The wind is keeping the smoke out of our valley which is a blessing, but it is also fanning the flames like a blast furnace. At least the temperatures are now in the 70s, thankfully. Exciting times…

  17. RockHard

    Funny story coming out of Western Colorado abouta security breach with handling voting machines.

    Colorado officials said Thursday that a local county clerk allowed an unauthorized person into a secure facility during an annual upgrade to the county’s election equipment software, compromising the equipment.

    The Mesa County clerk, Tina Peters, could be in legal trouble. She’s currently at a conference led by a prominent election conspiracy theorist.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I guess one way to know for sure the machines were tampered with is to be the person giving the person doing the tampering access to the machines. Interesting screening process they have if this mystery person signed the log for Dominion’s security upgrade and no one caught that this wasn’t an employee.

    2. Lynne

      Years ago when we were first told we had to use electronic voting machines, I got a look at the contracts with the vendors of those machines. They contained a disclaimer stating that there was no guarantee the count would be accurate. Enough said right there, I would have thought. But the feds said we had to buy them anyway. And so now, when they say the feds have to have a new voting rights act, is it any surprise we wonder what their angle is now?

  18. Jason Boxman

    We seem to have hit peak IVM at NY Times: Demand Surges for Deworming Drug for Covid, Despite No Evidence It Works

    And the story is just as bad, intentionally conflating calls to poison control for the animal version with the human version approved for human use in by the FDA in a few places, even if it clarifies in others. Towards the end, we finally learn that IVM is safe even if it isn’t useful:

    Another study of the drug found that ivermectin could be fairly benign unless taken at high doses. Dr. Eduardo López-Medina, a researcher at the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Colombia, led a randomized control trial for the study last spring on the effects of ivermectin and found that it had no statistically significant effect on reducing the duration of Covid symptoms. But he also found that there was no statistically significant increase in adverse events for the patients receiving ivermectin, though they were taking a fairly high dose of 300 micrograms per kilogram.

    Finally, we get to the money shot:

    Researchers and physicians are particularly alarmed by people seeking out ivermectin as a form of possible prevention or treatment instead of getting one of the highly effective Covid vaccines. The F.D.A. fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for people 16 and older last week, and an approval of Moderna’s vaccine is expected in the coming weeks.

    Decades ago I’d take the Times at its word on this, but between Iraq and RussiaGate and everything in between, I’m always suspicious there’s an agenda here that doesn’t involve the common good for American citizens.

    1. curlydan

      ugh! that Colombia study always gets cited (like the messed up Egyptian study). I read the Colombia paper. It was BAD! Numerous issues with the data like mislabeled drugs, changing the study’s main measurement criteria in the middle of the study, etc.

      The selectivity people use in the studies they quote is crazy.

    2. Dean

      Did you check out some of the comments? Yikes!

      Look out IM Doc they are coming for your license!

    3. lordkoos

      I don’t think there has been anyone who has died from taking an overdose of Ivermectin, which I believe is more than can be said for the vaccines.

      I have mentioned to people that being pro IVM does not equal being anti-vax.

      1. rowlf

        Share with skeptics of IVM or skeptics of the currently available Covid-19 vaccines in the US? I liked the arguments and discussion while deflating the beliefs held by both camps. I’d also like to point out I can see the doctor recommending the vaccines as his experience has been seeing and treating the sick, while many of us have seen around us people who tested positive and just stayed home until they were over it without seeing a doctor.

        Nice plug for vitamin D3 at the end, too.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    It seems that the Chinese government thinks that Chinese kids are too “hooked” on video games, and is taking steps to get them “un-hooked.”

    Previously, the already tight rules for minors (usually classified as under 18 in China), allowed for 1.5 hours of video game play each day. Now, the new rules allow for just 1 hour a day, and only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, for a grand total of three hours a week.

    Who knew you could do that? Dunno what they’re supposed to do instead. Homework maybe?

    cnbc morning anchors were astonished at the anti-capitalism of it all.

    1. hunkerdown

      Based, 5/5 stars. Video games are one of the most prominent and reliable methods for neoliberal indoctrination at the moment. Victims are easy to distinguish by their insistence on imposing the social-capitalistic Pokémon value system on the real world. For an easy example, try a little people-watching in the comment section of any LockPickingLawyer video on Youtube, sort by newest first, and sort the security professionals from the Skyrim players.

      I still have some very pointed questions about Varoufakis’ time at Valve, particularly the nature and direction of his observations and recommendations.

    2. Ignacio

      It particularly worries me the long term effects on vision by excessive hours on smartphones, tablets, consoles and screens in general. Thanks for this.

      1. Ian Perkins

        I think that’s one of the more definite and tangible of these devices’ effects, exacerbating those of spending less and less time outdoors.

      2. lordkoos

        It’s not simply vision that is affected — it can’t be good to have the field of your attention narrowed down to a screen for many hours a day — a major downside of smart phones as well.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      “Dunno what they’re supposed to do instead. Homework maybe?”

      by boys rarely have time to sit at the videogame all day…unless we specifically reward them with a day off like that.
      of course, eldest is working full time, so he doesn’t have time anyway.
      youngest, too, is so busy with football, band and homework that he no longer has time, either.
      but even before all that, i could time a freeday/videogame/couch potato day for my own political ends…and end up with better productivity when we resumed regular ops.
      the caveat, of course, is your management style must be just right…so that they want to do the chores, rather than feeling like they’ve been strongarmed or coerced(my mom still doesn’t understand why nobody wants to work like that for her,lol…but continues with the sighing guilt trips and complaining/yelling, regardless.)
      my youngest(10th grade) is the evening chicken guy…and i never even have to ask….he just disappears and goes and puts them up at night.
      prior to him making this task his own, he was sort of lagging behind his brother in the work ethic department…but not any more.
      he told me that he just realised one day that this was really a major contribution to the familia…since i am usually not worth shooting by the time the sun goes down, and the critters are amenable to going inside.

    4. Basil Pesto

      It’s one of those stories you often see here in links about China doing things that are superficially impressive to self-hating westerners but which are in reality pretty weak tea. Gaming is truly massive in China, and limiting playtime for children will hardly make a dent in that, as most gamers are adults.

      As regards the hooking of children, I wondered if China has a law similar to Belgium’s law against lootboxes. Such laws against the cynical and extractive psychological para-games of game publishers (the likes of which, iirc, are extremely popular in China) are, imo, excellent regulation. Alas, as with much regulation in China, gaming regulation seems pretty capricious. Information about lootbox regulation in China from English language sources is pretty fuzzy (indications that they’re de jure kinda banned but de facto, not so much), but from what I can gather it seems pretty weak. It certainly doesn’t rise to the lofty heights of being ‘anti-capitalist’, whatever the morons on CNBC might think.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine feels the chill of Biden’s foreign policy”

    The Ukraine is what it is. A smash and grab campaign from several years ago that has served it purpose. The country itself has the potential to give its population a decent level of living but right now an inordinate percentage of the budget goes on their military and not on things like infrastructure. And they must surely realize by now that the west will not go into a fight against Russia in the Ukraine. A good place to begin in the Ukraine to help it would be to fight corruption by breaking the power of their oligarchs but for that, they would need outside help. But if the west was not bothered about fighting corruption in a place of importance like Afghanistan, then I’m sure that they have no interest in fighting corruption in a place like the Ukraine.

    1. Synoia

      But if the west was not bothered about fighting corruption…

      Gasp!! The horror of not exacting prof It. and possibly taking a loss!!
      That’s Blasphemy!

    2. John k

      You could be describing the us. We need outside help to break the oligarchs… China’s doing it, maybe Biden could get some guidance here…

      1. hunkerdown

        China can do it for themselves. They can just about put the entire Western intelligentsia in a technological and economic wilderness. Imagine being barred from buying and flying a consumer drone because Chinese firms are prohibited to deal with you. It would cheese them off in triplicate, because it would all but erase their personhood under neoliberalism. “Why aren’t you treating compulsory exchange as sacred”, and “did you just tell me to go die?”

        Chen Weihua: “If you insist.”

  21. Mikel

    “Nuclear Explosions Rock Half of the US; Economists Expect Little Effect on Economic Growth”
    Paused Trading Resumes

    Will that be The Onion or an actual headline in the future?

    1. Ian Perkins

      The actual headline will read
      “Nuclear Explosions Rock Half of the US; Stock Market Surges.”

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ted Scouten
    Wow! That’s an #Alligator in the #Mississippi trying to keep its head above water. #hurricaneIda @CBSMiami’

    Felling sorry for an alligator is something that I would never thought I would do but here we are. I know just how that women feels who replied to that tweet when she said-

    ‘I’ll mark feeling bad for an alligator on my 2021 bingo card now’

  23. Michael

    Re: The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review

    I wonder if this same cast of authors – each of whom is highly inclined to favour no regulation of their field, and each of whom is known to have been highly biased in favor of zoonosis for the same reason (despite the continuing lack of evidence for this pathway) – find a way to claim camels* are commonly found in the city featuring a top coronavirus research site after the next outbreak?

    *see further the top of page 5:

  24. jr

    Unemployment Blues: Adventures in the Puzzle Palace

    So, I received an email that one of my NYS ID problems is solved. Their misspelled version of my name is gone from the system. Wether this will resolve the fact that I haven’t been paid in weeks is yet to be determined. I’m scared that it’s going to generate even more confusion by adding another identity into the mix.

    But there is hope, of a sort. The non-claims Unemployment people who have literally done next to nothing for me except certify that I’ve been job hunting for the last year; whose jobs apparently consist of that, telling me they cannot help with claims, and sending me job listings I have no skillset for, have sent out a bugle cry of hope:

    free online courses from Coursera

    “Here at the Department of Labor, we want to give you the edge, so we asked businesses what skills they need most and can’t find. Then, we matched these skills to great online courses you can start TODAY.

    Skill Needed: Digital/computer literacy and Excel
    Take: Introduction to Computers and Office Productivity Software, Getting Started with Google Workspace, or Everyday Excel
    Skill Needed: Problem-solving/critical thinking
    Take: Effective Problem-Solving and Decision-Making or Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age
    Skill Needed: Self-motivation
    Take: Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Thinking & Action or Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most
    Skill Needed: Attention to detail
    Take: Initiating and Planning Projects or Budgeting and Scheduling Projects
    Skill Needed: Time management
    Take: Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity
    Skill Needed: Leadership
    Take: Foundations of Everyday Leadership or Self Awareness and the Effective Leader
    Skill Needed: Mechanical technical / engineering
    Take: Introduction to Engineering Mechanics or Mechanics of Materials
    Again, stay tuned for your invitation. It’s coming soon.”

    The boldface is mine. Veiled threats, moralizing, and platitudes. These courses will be worthless, of course, I was tasked to teach this garbage years ago and it’s devoid of value. A scam for a taxpayer funded contract and a trip-wire to hold over people’s heads when they start to audit benefits recipients.

    “But you were offered courses!”

  25. Raymond Sim

    I haven’t read the preprint, or any of the comments here yet, but I would like to jump in early with a couple observations about zoonotic origins of human diseases:

    1) Historically the big problems tend to involve species we keep in close confinement, and live in close association with e.g. horses, swine.

    2) A program to ‘comprehensively’ study potential zoonotic origins of Covid could quite plausibly, all by itself, be earth’s biggest source of risk for zoonotic spillover of dangerous coronaviruses.

    1. saywhat?

      A program to ‘comprehensively’ study potential zoonotic origins of Covid could quite plausibly, all by itself, be earth’s biggest source of risk for zoonotic spillover of dangerous coronaviruses. Raymond Sim

      Yes and I’d say a lot more respect for the Biblical concept of “clean” vs “unclean” animals would serve to protect both us and animals, clean and unclean.

      Also, land reform, also very Biblical (cf Leviticus 25) would reduce the need for the poor to invade the territory of wild animals.

      Not to mention that poverty should not even exist in a righteous nation (cf Deuteronomy 15:4-5).

  26. George Phillies

    Our major error in Afghanistan was trying to export our civic religion, rather the wrong half of it.

    We attempted to impose historically recent ideas about the position of women to a place where those ideas were foreign. We were much more concerned with these rights than with the gross general corruption that meant that the fleeing Mr. Ghani had more money than he could cram in his vehicles. We imposed a European-style strong central government, with no local elections, on a place with a strong tradition of local governance, including an occasional national legislature, the Loya Jirga. We appear to have tolerated rigged elections. We set up an Army most of which appears to have been a welfare project to keep young men employed…except that the officers stole much of the pay. We tried to give them a hi-tech military that they could neither maintain nor afford. All these things we tried are things that Americans think are reasonable and right, and that did not work in Afghan reality.

  27. Wukchumni

    California wildfires are climbing higher up mountains, putting more forest at risk of flames San Francisco Chronicle
    Treeline is around 10k here and was @ 10,850 feet yesterday and there isn’t much left to burn when you get into lofty heights aside from a few Foxtail Pines scattered about, so i’d claim the risk factor is nearly nil.

    1. JBird4049

      Great. California often has had periods, sometimes months long, of heavy rainfall. After every bad drought or fire season, the water from the hills along with parts of the hills themselves just floods every stream, creek, and river around. This is because the plants that keep the soil on the hills are gone. During normal droughts or fires, enough survives, but now? If there is some luck, we might get just get enough modest rain spread out over months for the plant life to regrow. I am not feeling lucky.

      So denuded slopes and probable heavy rains will make just epic (flash) floods.

  28. enoughisenough

    I’m not against replacing terms with better ones, but replacing simple one-word terms with cumbersome circumlocutions is not the best way to change things.

    The change has to be smarter than that.

    Also, I think it’s unhealthy that everyone assigns every tiny thing to an inherent, essential identity. Behaviors do not need to be an identity. And this:

    Drug-users vs Persons who use drugs

    There’s not enough difference to support a change. (Movie-goeer – person who goes to movies.) Linguistically it’s pointless.

    Most of these are just not on the level of “illegal alien” vs. “undocumented immigrant” which is a clear and obvious change that needed to be made.

    1. hunkerdown

      > everyone assigns every tiny thing to an inherent, essential identity

      CDC just stopped describing people as mere manifestations of conditions in favor of respect as persons with conditions. Such a transformation leaves less room for bad-faith political narratives and moralistic dispensation. With respect, in light of that across-the-board posture change, your complaint seems exactly backwards.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i don’t know…i don’t think things like this are truly helpful, at all.
        it’s new curtains on a tarpaper shack thats on fire.
        and they thought of everything:
        “Instead of this…
        Rural people
        Frontier people
        Try this…
        People who live in rural/sparsely populated areas
        Residents/populations of rural areas
        Rural communities”

        so my preferred self-reference, “Hill People”, is out?

        and dammit, i ain’t “experiencing poverty”…I’m Poor.
        and can’t go to the dern dentist.
        spending taxpayer dollars(i know, i know) and likely forming a workgroup to come up with a bunch of cumbersome euphemisms so the bougies don’t have to think about hungry kids within a mile radius does exactly zero to tackle the problems thus obscured.
        it’s like amazon putting a rainbow flag or BLM banner on their website…it’s fake, and just more bernay’s sauce to cover up their evil.
        it’s kneeling in kente cloth, rather than making it illegal for cops to shoot people so easily.
        …or doing some New New Deal thing to lessen the stressors engineered by the antinew deal counterrevolution of the last 50 years.

        it’s also not lost on me that this is the CDC…who should prolly be spending more time on accurate and actionable advice on health, rather than marketing.
        I’m sure every federal agency has their own style guide.
        performative bullshit.
        i get madder the longer i think about it,lol.

        1. hunkerdown

          I’m thinking de Tocqueville. It’s a hierarchy violation, in our favor. I’m certainly not comparing this to, say, taking and holding the entire West Texas oil patch, which could be quite material, nor am I comparing it to . On the other hand, the one thing they have not extended to us before now is personhood, even in one department closest to the substances of the body, however disingenuously and cynically. I could see that becoming a beautiful, accelerationist mistake for the establishment should they choose to sell it too hard in Pfizer’s interest.

      2. enoughisenough

        response to hunkerdown:

        No, I get that, that IS the point. The idea that it is a *person* WITH a condition should be taken as read – no one should have to be explained to that a condition or a temporary behavior is not an identity.

        My complaint was meta: that it’s assumed to be an identity means a problem within our culture. That we constantly have to explain and re-explain. Constant posturing.

        These long circumlocutions to replace simple terms means a switch has been flipped, in which we think we need to over-explain everything to each other. We do not trust each other to understand polyvalent meanings of words. That’s a huge loss in communication, I think. Pre-empting bad faith seems like a futile task – that’s just not possible.

        But as I said, I am not against changing terms, if there is a BETTER term to use.

        1. hunkerdown

          True. I pretty much agree with all you said, particularly that the language used by elites to describe their “inferiors” could use some improvement, but only as long as it’s not helping the PMC reproduce itself as a class. But I’m looking at it not as a few terms changing, but as a systematic change in perspective of their “stakeholders”, upstream of use cases.

          But my excitement is more tactical, as I mentioned to amfortas just up there. If they push this language too hard in a public health initiative, they could end up losing control of a lot more than their own narrative. It depends on how we play it, of course.

          (Speaking of, look at how they parse up “stakeholder”. Klaus Schwab and friends might not have intended to have that said quite so loud.)

  29. Wukchumni

    A mountain lion that attacked a 5-year-old boy and dragged the child across his front lawn in Southern California was shot and killed by a wildlife officer, authorities said Saturday.

    The 30kg mountain lion attacked the boy while he was playing near his house on Thursday in Calabasas and “dragged him about 45 yards” across the front lawn, said Captain Patrick Foy, a spokesman with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    The boy suffered significant traumatic injuries to his head and upper torso but was in stable condition at a Los Angeles hospital, Foy said.

    “The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” Foy said. The mother was inside the house when she heard the commotion outside.

    “She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” he said.

    1. ambrit

      Yep. Never get between a Terran human female and her cub.
      The question here is, what influences triggered this attack? Mountain lion famialarity with suburbia? Depletion of the lion’s usual prey? Sickness in the particular lion?

      1. Wukchumni

        Almost all cougar attacks happen when human beans turn themselves into prey, and the tyke running away is all it would’ve taken for it to happen.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’ve seen people work out the cost of playing video games on an hourly basis compared to other forms of entertainment, and quarters to play is highway robbery. The amount of cash arcade machines brought in was staggering.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Funnily enough, I’m reminded of you when I think of the upcoming extreme sports game ‘Riders Republic’, for the following reason:

      The game is set in an open world which meshes seven distinct American national parks, including Bryce Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Sequoia Park, Zion, Canyonlands, Mammoth Mountain, and Grand Teton, into one single map.


      The development team recreated the national parks using GPS data, and even though the seven national parks are distinct regions in real life, the team integrated the parks together in order to create one single open world for players to explore. The American national parks were chosen as the game’s setting as they are often used to host competitions for extreme sports. The studio also sent a team to visit these parks to ensure that they are accurately represented in the game.

      The lead team, based in the alpine town of Annecy, pulled off a similar feat for the alps in their earlier game Steep, which I’ve been playing a bit lately. Once you get passed the obnoxious extreme sports veneer that dominates the front-end and just cruise around the alps on digital skis and parasails at your leisure, it’s a lovely thing. Hopefully they can nail that again.

      1. Wukchumni

        Life is too interesting to waste on virtual reality, but in defense of the latter, you never have to leave your easy chair.

        1. Basil Pesto

          It’s very obviously not an either/or proposition, though, is it? You could just as easily apply that reductive maxim to film and literature, if you wanted to dismiss those. Assuming that the people that play and make games exalt or prioritise the ‘virtual’ over the ‘real’ or ‘natural’ is plainly wrong.

          I don’t even like being in the position of defending games because even I generally think they’re a dumb waste of time, and mostly garbage compared to the best that film and literature has to offer (maybe I’m a self-hating gamer??), but there’s nevertheless a bit more going on there. And I can’t help but feel that for all of gaming’s philistinism and vulgarity, there’s something equally philistine, dullard and reactionary about railing, a priori, against play, virtual or otherwise.

          1. Wukchumni

            I suppose if one watched the same film over and over again and read the same novel ad nauseum, it’d be similar to the utter repetition of playing video games, but i’m not a gamer, so I don’t really know.

  30. Wukchumni

    The puns of August are about done, but kudos to the NY Post for a goodie:

    “Blinken You Missed It”

  31. Alice X

    To Stop War, America Needs a Third Party Matt Taibbi, TK News

    Well, the often heard retort is that America needs a second party to oppose the Uni-WarParty™. Maybe too facile.

    In any event, in traditional terms, the only greater changes have come with four relatively strong parties. 1860 for one.

    1. JBird4049

      A guerilla party for each of the main parties? Maybe, but I do not see one for the Republicans, whereas the Democrats might have some real competition soon. It might be better to say that the right wing is being consumed by proto or neo fascists. Functionally, organizationally, that is all that is all that remains of the American Right. There are sane and decent conservative Americans, but they even have less of a home or organization to go to than the leftists. The conservatives really have no where to go that isn’t extremely business friendly and going fascist.

      In the near future, I am seeing, at best, three functioning parties. One economically leftist and maybe socially liberal (in the pre 2010s sense). One finance friendly and pro security state, but socially bizarre (the Democrats), and one conservatively deranged, pro police state (the Republicans).

      The reason that there were multiple political parties in 1860 was because of slavery, which split the usual political factions in two. Several small parties from the business friendly American Whigs, destroyed over slavery, which eventually merged into the pro business, anti slavery Republicans; the agriculture friendly Democratic Party split into the Northern and Southern Democratic Parties. You might call the Democratic parties as wing of the old, but they functioned as almost completely separate parties.

      Keep in mind that calling one party pro business and the other pro agriculture is accurate to a degree. It is also in accurate. The issues and interests of 160 years ago are very different than today’s. Also, American political parties were coalitions of interests with their members’ views overlapping each other up until the 1980d/90s. The hard Blue/Red divide really wasn’t solid colors, but more shades of purple. But that has gone away along with the formerly powerful and separate local elites. The centralization of power, and the splitting and weakening of political and social alliances, has happened at the same time.

  32. Susan the other

    Nobody picked up on the implications of this link: from “Why Do Some People Weather Coronavirus Unscathed?” A test on mice of a deadly diarrhea infection. Half the mice died. Half remained “perky.” The perky half had a neat trick, now being referred to as “disease tolerance” whereby they used their stored iron to route extra glucose to the hungry bacteria, which pacified them and prevented illness. When in a further study they fed all the mice extra iron, none of them got sick. That’s a good reason for us all to take our vitamins and minerals and blablablah. The most notable thing here is that nobody has said, my god – that’s a complete game changer for human health care. Disease tolerance. I also immediately wondered if that is why northern Europeans have a tendency to retain too much iron and develop hemochromatosis. Where are our therapies? So very simple.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      so all this cast iron i cook with every day is essentially a medical device?
      good to know.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i learned about that from my grandparents.
          one of the few things i never thought to verify from them.
          seemed rather intuitive and straightforward.

  33. Alice X

    Well, I appreciate your longer reply and had I fleshed out my initial statement I might have said as much.
    The constitutional conundrum is the Senate and the Electoral College which are distinctly anti-democratic as enumerated in the Federalist Papers. There is another en-visionable system with run-offs where only a candidate with a majority wins. Lincoln won with 38%, Wilson with 41.8%. Clinton with 43%. Democracy? Not so much, never mind the choosing of the candidates by the oligarchs.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    Michael Watson’s ” Why should we build that which we cannot trust?” should be truth-in-titling retitled . . . ” Why should we build that which we cannot utterly monopolize?” Because his complaint about every society-maintaining institution is . . . ” we cannot ultimately monopolize it to exploit the whole society with, therefor we should not help it to exist”.

    And because they cannot totally dominate every institution to use it to rule the majority-rest-of-us, they seek to destroy every institution they do not monopolize and suspect they never will monopolize. ” Deconstruct the Administrative State.” ” Shrink government enough to drown it in the bathtub.”

    The rest of us should think about building institutions which the Conservanons cannot enter and subvert and pollute against the majority rest-of-us.

    And remember, only a Stockholm-syndrome Liberal believes in “we”. The rest of us should be smart enough to understand that there is no “we”.
    There is “them” and there is “us”. And if “us” don’t defeat “them”, then “them” will defeat “us”.

    There is no “we”.

    1. Alice X

      This is the most complex statement I have yet to read here. Shorted to: There is no “we” but there is “us”.

      Ok – got that – sort of.

Comments are closed.