Links 8/4/2021

Five parrots separated at UK zoo after encouraging each other to swear at guests NZ Herald (David L)

One of North Carolina’s oldest wild horses dies amid extreme heat Independent

Bubonic plague in chipmunks forces closure of top Lake Tahoe sites Guardian (resilc)

Creative Sunnyside Teen Makes Prom Dress out of Duct Tape, Wins $10,000 Duck Brand Scholarship Epoch Times (furzy)

Happy 140th Birthday, Smedley Butler Libertarian Institute (Kevin W)

Poseidon’s wrath aeon. From 373 BC

Galois Groups and the Symmetries of Polynomials Quanta Magazine (David L)

Scientist Claims Stars May Actually Be a Communication Tool Interesting Engineering (Chuck L). How about assuming THEY are communicating?

Apocalypse in Yakutia, Russia’s coldest region, as noxious smog from wildfires blocks sun Siberian Times (guurst). The videos from those who managed to drive out of Camp Fire were pitch black in the middle of the day until they got clear of the smoke. And the images were apocalyptic.

Thousands evacuated outside Athens as wildfires rage Politico

Why Planting Mangroves Can Help Save the Planet EcoWatch (David L)

28 ancient viruses unknown to science found in a Tibetan glacier Big Think (David L). Charming.


For many, the belated realization that COVID will be ‘a long war’ sparks anger and denial PBS (David L)


SARS-CoV-2 Lambda variant exhibits higher infectivity and immune resistance BioRxIv. Making the general press: The lambda variant may evade vaccines, spread fast, new paper says Deseret News (David L)

What Should We Make Of Sasha Chapin’s Claim That Taking LSD Restored His Sense Of Smell After COVID? Scott Alexander (UserFriendly)

Vaccination stops half of Delta infections, community survey shows Financial Times. Another terrible headline. The first para is at odds with the headline given spread from asymptomatic cases (emphasis mine):

Full vaccination halves the transmission of the Delta variant of coronavirus and is 60 per cent effective at preventing symptoms of Covid-19, according to Imperial College’s latest React-1 prevalence survey.

The actual React study seems more encouraging, with two big caveats. Paging GM! From Coronavirus infections three times lower in double vaccinated people – REACT Imperial College:

One that even with a pretty big survey, the absolute number of positive cases isn’t that big:

For this latest round of the REACT study, 98,233 people swabbed themselves at home and their samples were analysed by PCR testing. 527 of these were positive, giving an overall prevalence of 0.63%. 254 of these were successfully analysed in the lab to determine their origins, 100% of which were the Delta variant. In the previous round, the figure was just under 80% for Delta with the remaining Alpha.

The second is that the study was conducted before “Freedom Day”, so lockdown restrictions would have reduced spread. In other words, you can’t compare this to the US post “Mission Accomplished” with its anti-masking directive. That might explain the apparent greater effectiveness of the vaccines in stopping contagion, in that the highest-danger behaviors were more limited than in the US:

People who were unvaccinated had a three-fold higher prevalence than those who had received both doses of a vaccine, at 1.21% compared to 0.40%. However both of these represent more than a five-fold increase compared to the previous round (0.24%, 0.07%, respectively). Based on these data, the researchers estimate that fully vaccinated people in this testing round had between around 50% to 60% reduced risk of infection, including asymptomatic infection, compared to unvaccinated people.

In addition, double vaccinated people were less likely than unvaccinated people to test positive after coming into contact with someone who had COVID-19 (3.84% vs 7.23%).

Third is that this data seems at odds with results from Israel, which showed lower efficacy against Delta of the supposed best in breed vaccine, Pfizer, as well as infection levels among vaccinated and unvaccinated people at virtually the exact same level when you parsed them out by age, at least for one week:

But the disparity with Israel might be due to Israel vaccinating broadly and early, in January-Feb, and efficacy waning now, while the UK shots were on average administered later.

Dunno about Finland, but my mother was in two hospitals recently, and there was a shocking amount of masks below nose and chins among the nursing staff.

People who contracted Covid may have “substantial” drop in intelligence, according to The Lancet Boing Boing (David L). Oh, so Boris Johnson


After a COVID-free year, delta arrives in Wuhan, China ars technica (resilc)

The Delta Variant Could End the Chinese Communist Party 19fortyfive (David L). While nothing is impossible, this looks like wishful thinking by rabid China haters, um the Biden Administration

No gold medal for Japan’s Covid-19 response Asia Times (Kevin W)


Covid: Boris Johnson will not meet Nicola Sturgeon during Scotland trip BBC (Kevin W)


Missouri county coroner allows changing of death certificates from COVID if family requests it Kansas City Star. Randolph H: “I bet its happening more than this published article states.”

Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates The Hill

Biden’s new partial eviction ban won’t shield renters once COVID-19 infections drop to normal levels Business Insider. Help me. Covid-19 infections among the vaccinated not being counted, remember, unless they result in hospitalization.

Vaccine Refusers Don’t Want Blue America’s Respect Atlantic. Resilc; “Never give up the blue/red battles do they?”

Tennessee won’t incentivize Covid shots — but pays to vax cows Politico

11 percent of the unvaccinated blame Trump for the COVID-19 surge Boing Boing (reslic). OMG, dreadful article. Ignores that blacks are undervaccinated compared to other groups.


Dems Scored Real Estate Cash Before Letting Eviction Ban Expire David Sirota (Chuck L). In Water Cooler yesterday, but wanted to make sure this tidbit wasn’t missed.


Made in China’ products are running into new logistics problems CNBC (Kevin W)

The terms of China’s massive loan spree Financial Times (vlade)

China goes back to rationing as authorities in Wuhan introduce ‘housing ticket’ to cool surging property prices South China Morning Post


Brexit Impact Tracker 31 July 2021 – Appeasement, Division and an Increasingly Hostile Environment Gerhard Schnyder (guurst)

The Fall of Tunisia, Last of the Arab Spring Nations CounterPunch (resilc)


38 British watchtowers span Lebanon’s borders: Who are they really watching? The Cradle (guurst)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Zscaler Study Confirms IoT Devices are a Major Source of Security Compromise, Reinforces Need for Zero Trust Security MarketWatch (Bob H). Not news if you’ve been paying attention.

A Fire in Minnesota. An Arrest in Mexico. Cameras Everywhere. New York Times (David L)


Biden pledges to double student debt by 2024 BeetPress (UserFriendly)

Biden rebuffs left on pressuring Stephen Breyer to retire Axios. Resilc: “Trump appointee ahead 2025.”

Biden Calls on Cuomo to Resign Over Sexual Harassment Report Wall Street Journal. Prediction: Cuomo will prove to be as hard to dislodge as Trump, even though here the prosecutors have the goods.

Shontel Brown, who stuck close to Biden, wins Democratic primary for House seat in Ohio, AP projects NBC


Trump moved donated money to his own business, filing shows Independent (resilc)

Jihadists flood pro-Trump social network with propaganda Politico

Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election The Hill

Before Florida COVID surge, major media outlets lionized DeSantis – Popular Information (resilc)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Fred Hampton vs NeoCoons: the Former Sought Community-Empowerment, the Latter Care About Self-Enrichment Ghion Journal. Ouch!

Our Famously Free Press

This is, or was, the UK’s Literary Review. Link was (Anthony L).

Lambert did some investigating. Our best guess is they didn’t pay their host.

Woke Watch

Anatomy of a Bad Idea: Affirmative Consent Freddie deBoer

Facing “dire water shortages,” California bans Delta pumping CalMatters (David L)

Toyota Bet Against Electric Cars. Now It’s Stacking the Deck Against Them The Drive

Dollar-Denominated Public Debt in Asia and Latin America St. Louis Fed. UserFriendly: “As though this wasn’t the plan.”

Harassers and bullies succeed in tech because silence is encouraged The Register (Chuck L). “In tech”? How about pretty much everywhere? Oh, and passive aggression, like shutting people up by accusing them of negativity, is also bullying.

Why Lower Yield Treasuries Are More Attractive Than Higher Yield Fixing the Economists (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Staff seeks to create union at DNC The Hill

Everywhere you look America’s housing crisis is getting worse Business Insider

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    Progressive Squad-backed Nina Turner saw her massive lead shrink in recent weeks as more centrist Shontel Brown emerged from crowded pack of candidates with help of Jewish groups.

    This says everything you need to know about the current state of the Democratic Party. Those who try and reform it from within, if they have “leftist” leaning, are doomed to failure or to being co-opted.

    Can’t help feeling that to be a Democrat or Republican in current political environment is suicidal.

    (Not sure the link provided to the same story from NBC is working)

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, a different dynamic is playing out. Meet Lucy:

      She’s African American, a teacher, and Army veteran. She’s beholden to neither of the two legacy parties.

      Lucy is running in Tucson’s City Council Ward 3, and her opponent, Kevin Dahl, won’t be easy to beat. However, with a strong ground game, I think it can be done.

      Primary election results link:

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      See today’s companion article about Fred Hampton and the difference between building community versus self-enrichment for another explanation of what happened in Ohio.

    3. UserFriendlyyy

      Suicidal sums up my feelings about that race perfectly. Given my recent mental health problems that is not a good sign. In fact if I go away for another month plus it’s fair to assume that is what happened. And that isn’t a cry for help or anything just an FYI. Also don’t let doctors force you off of benzos like Scott Alexander mentioned in that linked article. Once you get hallucinations from withdrawal they don’t go away. Also, don’t move because finding new doctors is just as impossible.

    4. Lou Anton

      Gotta say, this one’s deflating. I’m left facing some uncomfortable truths:
      – Those who tend to vote in Democratic primaries don’t want left/left-leaning ideas.

      – Ideas from the left, good as they may be, can’t get people excited enough to vote in a primary (see here – county in which Cleveland resides had less than 20% turnout)

      – The left (and by any definition of left, Nina’s it!) is doing something wrong. Perceived to be all words and no deeds? Some leftists are doing it right…or did they just get lucky.

      And about outside money – I just have trouble with this as the primary reason for losing. Just too convenient, and the counterfactuals never come up. Surely Cori Bush faced a lot of outside influence in favor of Lacey Clay in her primary win? AOC must have faced it against Joe Crowley?

      1. Pat

        AOC was underestimated by Crowley and the Dem regulars. He was complacent.Think Clinton being shocked while waiting for her coronation after not campaigning in states she needed to win the electoral college. It wasn’t until the next primary they started throwing money and Trojan horses at her.

      2. Big River Bandido

        I would not read so much into Brown’s “victory”. Just machine politics as usual.

        All the candidates you mentioned won their races in regular primary elections. With 535 races, the Democrat Party misleadership class has too many moving targets on the left to shoot them all down and not enough real resources to do it with. Some Cori Bushes and AOCs will manage to sneak through.

        Special elections, by contrast, are *always* low turnout affairs and it’s so easy for the party to manipulate the results of such small events. That’s undoubtedly what happened here that allowed what a local paper called “a woman of no distinction” to “defeat” Nina Turner. Israel-lobby money and power no doubt played a huge role as well.

      3. orlbucfan

        If Nina is serious about helping the folks in her community, she will run again. Brown is facing (the usual) corruption/ethics problems. The seat comes up for election in 14-15 months. People like Cori Bush hit the ground running and ran again after the initial defeat. She won. AOC followed a similar pattern.

        1. Carla

          From your lips to Nina’s ears…

          (If she can do it without mentioning “sh*t” next time it might help. The only thing in the Democratic Majority for Israel’s ads that wasn’t a lie was when they quoted her about eating half a “sh*t sandwich.” Nina’s got to get out of her own way.)

          1. Flaming Telepath

            Look at the bright side, Carla. Despite the relentless ads against her and all the money the establishment poured in, 45% of those who voted evidently had no issue with her thoughts on the Democratic Party’s nutritional value.

      4. Carla

        @Lou Anton — It’s all about turnout. While overall turnout in the race was 17 percent — considered “high” for a special election — in Cleveland neighborhoods it was only 12 or so. In the wealthy, heavily Jewish suburbs east of the city, turnout was 35%.

        So, we’ll see how the People’s Representative of Israel comports herself in Congress. She’ll face re-election next year, when the disparity in turnout will not — I certainly hope — be as large.

        The ads run against Turner by the Democratic Majority for Israel (identified in the advertising only as DMFI) were truly disgusting. When they do the same thing next year to defend Shontel’s representation of them in Congress, maybe the results will be different. After a letter I wrote to the Plain Dealer about those ads was published, an acquaintance emailed me to say that the scurrilous “DMFI” ads had compelled her and her husband to vote for Turner, even though they didn’t “care for” her.

        Here’s a link to my LTE:

        P.S. I gather that “DMFI” ran TV ads equivalent to their horrid mailers; can’t personally vouch for that as I never watch TV.

      5. Grant

        This is such a problematic take, sorry. If this is so, how do you explain India Walton, or other DSA candidates winning? I mean, how often did socialists win any office just 15 years ago? Even if many maybe aren’t actual socialists as far as the economics, they are certainly on the left and identify as socialists, and they are winning. Since turnout was so massively low (under 20%) it seems obvious that most people have given up hope as far as voting and voting changing anything. I mean, Brown could enter office with support of 8% or so of voters. How is this not a failed system? What the left is struggling with is people having no faith that voting can change anything. I also think you treat “voters” as a monolith. Older voters continuously do support right wing candidates. They have for decades now. Even among black voters in the 2020 primary, look at who won voters 49 and younger versus elderly voters. Biden absolutely dominated older voters, and more particularly older black voters. There are vast differences based on income, race, region, gender, etc. The question is, who tends to vote in large numbers in Democratic Party primaries? Seems to be older, more affluent voters generally. Young people don’t turn up, but do they have faith in the political system? For that matter, does anyone trust the Democrats to run fair primaries? Why is there not a law that if a party has seats at the national level that independent election monitors have to monitor the vote counting? I didn’t think Turner would win even with that large lead the media said she had because I don’t trust the Democrats. We can see what they did in 2016 and this last time around. I mean, look what the DNC did alone in Iowa. Think that has stopped?

        I don’t know why we assume the left is doing something wrong, outside of continuing to run in the Democratic Party and also realizing that change might not happen in this dysfunctional, broken and corrupt system and in that right wing, corrupt party. It may be time to re-evaluate how much can be done by voting at this point. From the data, it seems that a large share of the public already has done that analysis and has decided that voting doesn’t deserve their time. It may be a case of trying to save a sinking ship with a massive hole in it by dumping the flooding water overboard. Maybe the ship is just going to go down and we should work on lifeboats.

        This was also an open primary and the person that won is facing felony charges over corruption and was rescued by large donors, capital and the right (and Clyburn, Clinton and the like too). Since the candidate with more money in this rotten system wins well over 90% of the time, the left faces massive uphill battles. To assume this election happened on a level playing field at all and that voters in some vacuum rejected the left is a bit absurd.

    5. Oh

      The DemoRats probably fixed the primary to make Brown win.
      You’re quite correct. The leftists cannot make any progress from within.

    6. Gulag

      How long before some political faction begins to focus in on the nature of the cultural rot we are now facing along with the economic rot.

      Both messages now seem to be imperative.

      People like Branko Milanovic have been arguing that we have all become willing and even eager participants (through a long socialization process) in seeing ourselves as primarily economic calculating machines with limitless needs and with this attitude being necessary for a chance at greater personal enrichment and freedom.

      What Milanovic may be missing is that this supposedly all encompassing machine metaphor that best describes our individual and societal drives for unending material wealth has become something more. It may also describe a type of secular God that we now worship in the hopes of finding meaning–yet our increasing sense of brokenness, both culturally and economically, still seems to be accelerating.

    7. pasha

      seems to me this ohio-11 election was not so much a rejection of progressive ideas as it was a rejection of Turner. she raised twice the cash and had an early lead, yet blew it because she was not a very good campaigner. she’s great on policy, abrasive on getting the message out.

    8. lordkoos

      I’m not sure Turner did anything wrong — her opponent spent $2 million running attack ads to convince white people in Shaker Heights (many of them Jewish) against voting for Nina.

      1. Carla

        I wrote a long comment on your theme, lordkoos — lost all day, and perhaps forever, to moderation.

        1. Carla

          Nevertheless, the “half a sh*t sandwich” remark showed very poor judgement. I agree with Nina 100%. But there are the things you think, and the things you say. If she doesn’t know the difference at the age of 52… I’d say that’s worrisome.

          Of course, the opposite is Shontel, who would never utter a word without her owners’ approval.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Was she imagining her future self running for office at the time she said that? How many people think in such future-forward caution terms?

            It takes a rare sort of cynical future-awareness to be able to monitor oneself’s every word in case of this or that in some far future.

            If constituents were to learn to become forgiving of such things on the part of people they want to see in office, such things will no longer be useful against the officeseekers people would like to see in office. So maybe people need to learn strategic and tactical forgiveness of gaffes, faux pas, etc. in those they look towards as their ” future tire irons of justice”.

          2. lordkoos

            I suppose that wasn’t the smartest thing to say, but do you think it was a deciding factor in the election?

            1. Carla

              @drumlin: “Was she imagining her future self running for office at the time she said that?” Well, she certainly was in politics and has been in politics for many decades.

              @lordkoos — Dunno. It was the worst thing the Democratic Majority for Israel could print about her that was actually true. She DID say it. Everything else DMFI claimed in their ads were lies.

    1. JBird4049

      Hopefully, it might finally get some changes done like stopping the growing of almonds and the breakup of the water barons in Sacramento, but we’ll see.

      This is going to show whether money or survival is more powerful in California. Most of the water in the state goes to agriculture and IIRC, the personal use of water by Californians is already much more efficient compared to the rest of the country and agriculture (including California’s) in general.

      Just like with earthquakes, each drought has caused greater conservation efforts except with the damn (wealthy) farmers. The threat of having a building, bridge, or highway collapse on people has overruled much of the screaming by builders on the increased regulations. The threat of not being able to drink, shower, or flush has forced people to become more conservative with their water use; however, Big Ag has had the money to prevent any real changes in water use when it comes to agriculture even though most water in the state goes to farming. The only way to get permanent and effective water conservation where it matters is via the state legislature, which is under the control of the Water Barons and Big Ag’s money. Maybe the the threat to the lives of almost thirty-nine million Californians will push through the block.

      Jesus, this is the same with COVID. Hoping that the threat of millions of people dying and the economy collapsing will get the federal government off its collective ass and do the necessary, not the profitable, steps to deal with the situation.

  2. zagonostra

    >Happy 140th Birthday, Smedley Butler Libertarian Institute (Kevin W)

    Today, in person or remote, pay your respects and wish a happy birthday to a fearlessly honest soldier and a thoroughgoing American.

    He has had and will continue to have my respect. There should be more encomiums to him, yet sadly many people I cross paths with have never heard of him.

    Wish someone with his caliber would shout out his “Listen, you birds, it’s the same old racket” from the rooftops.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Interesting thing is that I spent my growing up years in the West Chester area but never once did I hear about Smedley Butler.

      OTOH, there was a bit of controversy around the naming, but there is now a Bayard Rustin High School just outside of West Chester. According to the local people I talked to, it’s a great school.

    2. The S

      I was a history major and I had never heard of Smedley Butler until just after college. Reading his book and speeches was a painful but clarifying revelation that hit me like a spear in my chest. I then had to re-examine all the history I knew under a new lens.

      After decades of study, I still can’t find a war that wasn’t a racket.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Even then…I mean the British burning of the evacuated Washington government buildings, not home, was retaliation for massacres of Canadian villages.

      1. Procopius

        I didn’t hear about Smedley Butler until years later, but my wake-up about war was when I read John dos Passos’ The 42d Parallel. A large majority of Americans opposed joining the Great War because they saw it as bailing the big New York banks out by making sure their huge war loans to The Allies got repaid, which they wouldn’t if the Germans won. What happened after 1917 was far worse than anybody remembers now. White people were lynched for having a German-sounding last name or for being insufficiently enthusiastic for the war.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      “Wish someone with his caliber would shout out his “Listen, you birds, it’s the same old racket” from the rooftops.”

      Today’s military is focused on identifying young officers telegraphing such traits as independence of thought and excess integrity and selecting them out. Seldom do any such people rise higher than to, or god forbid past O-5. They don’t want any more John Boyds.

    4. Maritimer

      Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, also known as “The Fighting Quaker”, was the most decorated Marine in US history.

      It is little known that Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers exposing the Vietnam War Racket, was a US Marine Lieutenant. I have often wondered if Ellsberg ever read Butler’s War Is A Racket.

      These two exemplify the true Semper Fi of the Marines.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    The Delta Variant Could End the Chinese Communist Party 19fortyfive

    The article is by Gordon Chang, who has been predicting the imminent collapse of China and the CCP since at least the late 1990’s.

    If delta gets out of control, it will be a significant blow to the reputation of the CCP, but its not an existential threat to it. One of the striking things I’ve noticed about China in the past 5 years has been the success of the success of the CCP in combining effective anti-corruption moves with subtle nationalist signalling to raise the level of satisfaction among regular Chinese in their government. Without constant polling its impossible to quantify it, but nearly every Chinese observer I’ve read (and this is consistent with feedback I get from Chinese friends), is that Xi is very much respected by ordinary Chinese people and there is a level of trust with Beijing institutions that simply didn’t exist 10 years ago. Partially its due to successfully navigating various economics issues, but mostly its down to the perception of increasing competence of officials at a local level and crackdowns on the most overt forms of corruption.

    In addition to this, the propoganda efforts have been very successful at persuading Chinese at home and abroad that Covid originated somewhere else – mostly the US, but everyone else from Norway (via chilled salmon) to Russia, and especially immigrants are to blame.

    1. Michael

      I cannot speak to the veracity of your Chinese friends, but the constant wear and compounding of small failures and inconveniences can form rather large boulders of social instability.

      Trying to control a pandemic (with economic considerations at the forefront) has already shown the potential to form a lot of rather large boulders. Trying to control reality as well may be beyond even the CCP’s abilities to avoid getting run over by them.

      1. Dftbs

        No nation exists in a vacuum, and with or without the delta variant, the most convincing evidence for the Chinese to stick with their system must be the comparison to other options. Who can honestly look at the “collective west” and the US in particular and say “we should do that.” Gordon Chang should be more concerned about the check clearing if his patron regime collapses under the: “constant wear and compounding of small failures and inconveniences.”

      2. MonkeyBusiness

        Apparently you’ve never heard of the Cultural Revolution. Compared to that, Delta might as well be a non-event. If there’s no revolt back then, why would there be one now, especially since the CCP has built enough goodwill with the population since the reopening under Deng Xiaoping? China is far from being the most prosperous nation on Earth, but 30+ years of progress can not be so easily dismissed either.

        1. Grant

          The CCCP built up support from what happened before the market reforms. Angus Maddison said that China’s share of worldwide GDP was as much as 20% in the early 19th century. It was at about 6% as of 1949 and average life expectancy in China as of 1949 was about 37 years according to World Bank data. In fact, there was no such thing as modern China in 1949. There were lots of bad things that happened between 1949 to 1976, but there was a lot of progress too. We can acknowledge the horrible things this country did and take a nuanced view none the less of its history. I don’t see why we can with the PRC in the Maoist period. I mean, China still uses a lot of the infrastructure that was built during that time as well. It benefited a lot from mass literacy campaigns, basic healthcare being more readily available, public housing, etc. The biggest issue facing China is the massive internal environmental crisis. That has progressively worsened since the market reforms. If anything leads to the Balkanization of China, it will be that, any if the country broke up many of the provinces in China would be absolutely screwed. Guangdong and that area would probably be okay. But, with the global environmental crisis and the environmental crisis within China, an unplanned market economy is a non-starter. The Communist Party a few years ago said that the market would ultimately decide economic matters in China. That was quickly ditched though, because that would almost certainly make things worse and could in fact threaten the Communist Party. What I think is going to have to happen is that they will have to spend far more resources and attention to environmental issues in their planning mechanism, and since markets cannot deal with the issue, it will have to go back to planning while using the market less as far as what decisions to make. And for planning to work as it should, it needs to be more democratic. Authoritarian planning results in a distortion of the information planning authorities need to make good decisions. So, I would hope that a more democratic economic system and more democratic economic planning is in the future there.

          1. Procopius

            I don’t know why Westerners, especially Americans, have this delusion that everybody wants democracy. The Chinese have a continuous history, even though the Empire fell apart numerous times, of 2,500 years, and if you include the mythical past 5,000 years of cultural continuity. After 1911 the government was nominally a republic, but in fact the people lived under the control of warlords and corrupt bankers (the Soong Family). Chiang Kai Shek conducted elections the same way Stalin did. The Chinese are accustomed to living under a monarchy, and their government has been an autocracy with a cruelly draconian legal system since the Ch’in Dynasty.

      3. farragut

        I don’t know in which country you reside, but your statement currently applies to many OECD nations, not the least being the US. If China is ripe for revolution due the “compounding of small failures”, than the US is beyond ripe. Maybe we should be focusing our regime-change efforts closer to home….

      4. Temporarily Sane

        A few years ago in Italy it was discovered, and fairly widely reported in the MSM, that many of the country’s freeway bridges and overpasses were badly degraded and in dire need of repair or replacement. IIRC a few had even collapsed. Yet the media, pundits and random internet commentators weren’t speculating about the imminent collapse of the Italian state.

        Now compare that to coverage of adverse events in China where every challenge the country faces brings the Gordon Changs oozing out of the woodwork to predict China’s imminent collapse.

        According to the media and various propaganda pushing outfits and individuals, countries the West wants to destroy or “contain” are always at risk of imminent self-destruction. It’s worth remembering that the West is actively working to prevent these countries from developing and providing their people with a decent standard of living and quality of life.

        By repeating these talking points you are aiding and abetting the West’s imperial project. But on the bright side, the more citizen propagandists there are the fewer sock puppet operators the CIA has to pay.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        About What’s on Weibo

        “What’s on Weibo is an independent news site reporting social trends in an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s social media, dynamic digital developments, and the key shifts shaping modern China.

        What’s on Weibo articles have been featured and mentioned by different international media, including BBC, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Caixin Global, Calcalist, China Daily, China Digital Times, CNBC, Daily Mail, Global Times, GeenStijl, Huffington Post, International Business Times, La Tribune, Munchies, NOS, NPR, Newsweek, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Parool, Spiegel Online, South China Morning Post, Time (magazine), 360 Magazine, The Sun, The Week, That’s Mag, VICE Magazine, USA Today, Washington Post, 內幕雜誌 [Inside Magazine], 新浪 [Sina News], and others.”

        Do I really gotta say it?

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Yes, maybe you ought. Are you suggesting the article/site is not worth reading because the MSM scrapes from it? because I found the piece interesting, well footnoted, and consistent with info from my Chinese friends.

    2. Oh

      The people who think that China will collapse don’t realize that the USA will collapse long before that happens. US administrations have been outdoing each other in effing up life in the US. The Congress has been turning a deaf ear to people’s concerns, the “War” on this and that, excessive spending on arms, support of the FIRE industry, coddling of the Medical-Industrial Complex and their latest inability to handle Covid will lead to the collapse.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “For many, the belated realization that COVID will be ‘a long war’ sparks anger and denial”

    Amazing the disconnect. About twenty years ago the Pentagon was rabbiting on about how the Global War on Terror would have to be a multi-generational thing and would last decades at the very least. People looked up, remembered that it would only effect a bunch of ‘grunts’, remembered too that Bush only asked of them to keep on shopping, and they then went back to whatever the hell they were doing.

    And now we aren’t even twenty months into this pandemic, much less than the twenty years in Iraq & Afghanistan, and people are having a brain melt down at the thought of more of the same in front of us for an indeterminate number of years. A large reason is because they have been constantly lied to about this by our leaders and no, not just in the US. But if people really wanted to know about this, they could have done their own research to get some answers. There is even a tool for this. It is called ‘the internet’.

    1. Sutter Cane

      At the beginning of the pandemic I was thought a doomer for making comparisons to 1918, and saying that since that one lasted two years, we might be in for something similar. People did not want to hear it.

    2. Verifyfirst

      The difference, of course, is the US can go assault another country (call it a “war”), and the vast majority of Americans experience zero noticeable change in their lives.

      This Covid, why it requires something of them in their everyday lives–and it affects them in almost every aspect of their lives–work, school, transportation, child raising, money, even sex for goodness sake!

      So that just won’t do at all. I have been wondering about a). the ignorance of apparently learned people (“get the shot, you’re totally protected and you can’t spread it either”), and b). the rage of pretty much all people.

      The anger and disbelief I get in reaction to the elastomeric full face respirator/mask I wear always outside the house puzzled me for a long time–after all, I am just trying to a). stay safe and b). keep you others safe as well.

      I tried to explain to my (until now very good) doctor of 20 years and her nurse why the surgical masks their hospital employer had give them to (loosely) wear were not effective (or safe for themselves and their patients), but they would not hear of it and told me I was neurotic. They were visibly offended and angered that I was wearing my mask for my physical.

      I need an anthropologist to explain this to me–what norm am I violating–perhaps my mask sends the message that Covid is serious and should not be ignored or downplayed, and that makes them angry? They feel safe with their little surgical mask and my mask is challenging that assumption? (how did blue surgical masks get to be the socially accepted norm for a good mask, anyway–I assume employers hand them out cause they are cheaper–why don’t people buy themselves better masks?). And of course the passive aggression of not wearing the mask properly, not covering the nose, etc.

      But at root–is the gut feeling that “we should not have to deal with this, we don’t want to deal with this, this should go away”?

      1. Arakawa

        My understanding is that the anthropological dimension can be reduced to “The doctors are offended that you are treating them like a biohazard”. Even if the rational case for wearing a more serious mask over a less serious one can be made over and over, it doesn’t affect the emotional case.

      2. amfortas the hippie

        its the same reaction one gets when challenging any deeply held belief
        20 years ago telling people about how oil is finite… let alone that usa is objectivly a force for evil in the world…would get the same hostile reaction.
        i get the same from pmc relatives when i talk about the horrible state of all the poor people programs
        they have no experience with them and hafta believe that “everythings fine”
        cassandra is never well liked…especially when she ends up being right

      3. Shonde

        When I told my primary doc last month I would not be coming back to the Mayo Clinic branch I go to until they all were wearing something better than leaky surgical masks in the stale air exam rooms needing better ventilation, a nurse actually took my complaint to the clinic manager. The clinic manager responded with, “We meet all CDC guidelines”.

        In other words, how dare you, a non-medical person, challenge what the CDC has said was sufficient. I told my doc all future needs had to be met by zoom unless a procedure was involved. The phlebotomy cubicles were even worse.

          1. Shonde

            Good one. Thank you.

            I let my teeth rot until I found a solo practice dentist whose hygienist double masked with one being a N95 with a HEPA filter air cleaner running full volume in the corner and air circulating from the ceiling too. I have another appointment in early September so may ask the dentist where there is a medical clinic with good doctors who are non-iatrogenic. Did I use the word correctly?

            1. Shonde

              Thanks. I need to send that study to my Mayo Clinic branch and tell them to remove a probable statement in my file saying I need tranquilizers. I was seeing a geriatric doc so someone treating the most vulnerable.

              Many thanks to NC and commenters who have given me so much information to help keep me safe. All of which, by the way, has been passed to family and friends much to their dismay sometimes.

      4. Carolinian

        It gives them flashbacks to WW1.

        I won’t be wearing mine unless Fauci comes to call. Then, definitely.

    3. Glen

      Very early on in the lock down last year, I remember a story from Michael Moore that he was in the Green Room of one of the political shows with a couple of doctors who specialized in infectious disease. The doctors were discussing how CV-19 was going to be a three to five year event when one of the show runners came in and told them that they were not allowed to discuss that on the air. I had similar discussion with people more qualified than me – Doctors, RNs, etc, about the potential duration of this pandemic and got similar opinions.

      But I suspect that such news or discussions were highly suppressed since the ramifications of an extended duration would imply that more serious change to society must take place, and any discussion of serious change to society other than lowering taxes for the rich (again), is not allowed in America by the Democrats or Republicans.

  5. timbers

    Biden’s new partial eviction ban won’t shield renters once COVID-19 infections drop to normal levels

    From the article:

    “He (Biden) added any legal battle would buy time for renters to tap into an emergency relief program from recent stimulus laws directed at extinguishing rental debt.”

    Why would renters need time to tap into a program for rent they never have to pay regardless? Renters have no incentive to bother filling out forms that don’t benefit them. Anyone familiar with evictions – at least in Massachusetts – knows in most/all locations their is zero enforcement of due rent regardless of the outcome of a court case which itself is expensive, time consuming, and stacked in renter’s favor. The law in Massachusetts is administered based on the presumption of property owner guilt and renter innocence such that the landlord must prove his innocence. The program reportedly is vastly under used with “funding” just sitting untapped. If they intended the funds to be used, they would have them go to the owners not renters but even that gets around the fact barring evictions is unconstitutional because it’s a seizer of private property with no compensation. Even the Supremes have said so.

    Why doesn’t Biden impose a moritorium on Bond payments or stock buy backs / dividends? Guess the rich and powerfull are the only ones to benefit from private property.

    1. JTMcPhee

      MA is not FL or a lot of other places. Laws here are more stacked toward the lender/landlord (a mortgage is really just a long-term lease without any benefits except maybe tag-along “appreciation in price” as the looters get filthy richer.)

      And love all that concern about “taking,” when private corporations use “eminent domain” to “legally” seize homes for private gain. Where’s the constitutional wailing about that? Or how about the pretty much secret tax sales, where the connected few buy the residences of the mopes for a fistful of dollars?

      There is no justice, there is only power.

      1. Mildred Montana

        “Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”
        ― Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

    2. Grumpy Engineer

      Why would renters need time to tap into a program for rent they never have to pay regardless? Renters have no incentive to bother filling out forms that don’t benefit them.

      Yep. I’ve seen this. One of my wife’s best friends rented out the small house that had been previously occupied by her recently-deceased mother. The guy made two rent payments before the eviction ban was announced, and then he quit paying, even though he hadn’t lost his job. My wife’s friend tried to apply for landlord assistance funds, but a portion of the paperwork had to be filled out by the renter, and he couldn’t be bothered to do so. She finally dragged him into court, and (after three fruitless hearings) the judge got so mad at the guy that he ordered him out of the house.

      The experience was very difficult for my wife’s friend. She only got the landlord assistance funds at the end because my wife (a state worker who is extremely skilled at penetrating government bureaucracy) was able to help. I suspect there are a lot of other single-properly mom-and-pop landlords who are continuing to hemorrhage taxes, insurances, and sometimes mortgage payments without any help from renters or the government.

      1. Arizona Slim

        In my neighborhood, I’ve seen a slow but steady exodus of, how to say it politely, sketchy people from run-down rental houses owned by inattentive absentee landlords.

        There’s more than a little rejoicing about the departure of these people, and more than a little bit of speculation about their non-payment of rent.

        Even if you’re an inattentive absentee landlord who isn’t terribly interested in screening prospective tenants, a lack of rental property cash flow will get your attention and motivate you to do something about it. As in, adios, tenants.

        1. tegnost

          I think there will be cascading effects as all these people now have eviction on the record on one hand, and landlords are going to have to find new tenants who can afford the rent, on the other hand,

          1. Arizona Slim

            If these landlords actually made the effort to find decent people to rent to — we neighbors will be erecting statues in their honor.

      2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        >I suspect there are a lot of other single-properly mom-and-pop landlords who are continuing to hemorrhage taxes, insurances, and sometimes mortgage payments without any help from renters or the government.

        No violin small enough.

    3. chuck roast

      Happy to hear that the rentiers in Mass. are at such an extreme disadvantage re: the renters. Does this have anything to do with Mass.’ powerful rent control ordinances?

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Renters who get evicted not only get in on their credit record. Landlords in places like NYC (which is pro tenant) circulate list of problematic tenants, both poor payments and bad to the property. The ones with poor payment history often find it impossible to rent unless they put down way more than the usual first and last month, more like 4-6 months in advance.

    5. Procopius

      Yeah, “seizure of property without compensation.” Clear violation of the Fifth Amendment in the plainest possible language. Now we need to get them to rule on “administrative seizure of assets.” Biden has pretty much dropped his “police reforms.” That was one of the things I was hoping would be “reformed.” I read someplace, many years ago, that the Supremes ruled, I dunno, fifty, sixty years ago that “administrative seizure” was constitutional because it wasn’t derived from equity or common law, but from admiralty law. It was a punitive measure against accused pirates, because determining the legal owner of a ship was too difficult. The same article commented that even Clarence Thomas had suggested weakly that maybe it was time for them to reconsider, considering the billions of dollars cops and FBI and Homeland Security, etc., seize every year even from people not charged with a crime.

  6. Tom Stone

    As a child Smedley Butler was one of my Heroes and that has not changed.
    I have met a lot of Ex Marines in my life, only one of them a bad man.
    The reputation Marines have for integrity and toughness is well earned, as is the reputation of the USMC as the most intellectual of the US armed forces.

    1. Arizona Slim

      ISTR a friend telling me about her grandson’s experience in boot camp. Said grandson had been a bit of a hellion before he left for three months in lovely San Diego.

      While he was there, he experienced the care and concern of a bunch of loudmouths that are officially known as drill instructors. He also started doing something that delighted his grandmother, a former journalist, and his parents, who were amazed.

      What was this thing? It was buying the Sunday newspaper, and reading it.

      Yup. Donald the Grandson was reading the newspaper.

      Since he wasn’t allowed to go off base until late in his training, I’m sure the presence of the newspaper had the blessing of Donald’s higher-ups.

      1. Near total media blackout

        I have no idea what it’s like today but I can tell you how it was at MCRD San Diego in the early ’70s. (I was there.) Boot camp lasted 11 weeks. In addition to not being allowed to go off base until the end of that period of training, for the duration there was no TV or radio, no books or magazines, no library or cinema. After breakfast on Sunday, it was allowed to buy a newspaper (or two, or three; there were several to choose from) at the chow hall but when you got back to the platoon area you had one hour to read whatever you had bought, then everything was collected up and thrown away. Anything hidden and saved for later was seen as contraband, the possession of which resulted in severe punishment.

        1. Arizona Slim

          My friend’s grandson was at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1997.

          I don’t know how long he was allowed to hold onto those Sunday papers. What stood out for us grownups was the fact that he was even bothering to read the paper.

          After MCRD, he went on to avionics school and graduated at the top of his class. Such a distinction meant that he had his pick of his assignments, and he made the most of that. After serving one term of enlistment, he left the Marines and got a FT job with an airline while taking college courses.

  7. The Rev Kev

    That Literary Review links is still working but when I saw the title, I thought that it was a joke title in the same way that you have the Roman names of Naughtius Maximus and Biggus Dickus. By that I mean, what would the acronym of main words of that title be? Maybe that is why it was temporarily yanked.

      1. Jeff W

        In a word, no.

        These etymologies that go back to (rather strained, to my way of thinking) acronyms are invariably false.

        Linguist David Wilton in Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends claims that

        …forming words from acronyms is a distinctly twentieth- (and now twenty-first-) century phenomenon. There is only one known pre-twentieth-century [English] word with an acronymic origin and it was in vogue for only a short time in 1886. The word is colinderies or colinda, an acronym for the Colonial and Indian Exposition held in London in that year.

      2. c_heale

        Since the word is similar in many Germanic languages the root is going to be there instead of some acronym.

  8. Geo

    Deseret News article on Lambda:

    “The variant can spread fast and evade vaccines, according to the researchers.”


    “Most importantly, regardless of the variant, our best defense against all these variants is vaccination.”

    Am I misreading something? Seems like pretty mixed messaging. Will defer to the smart people here for clarification.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Up is down, black is white.

      Makes you wonder if there is a different reason they want every single solitary person vaccinated for COVID.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Me? I’ve been looking at the wide array of fashion choices in this store:

        I think I’ll buy one of their tee shirts and where it during my evening constitutionals around the neighborhood.

        1. GF

          Do you know the origin of the word “constitutionals” referring to taking a walk (no fair DDGing)?

          1. Arizona Slim


            Am I committing a terrible sin by referring to them as constitutionals? Will the PC police come marching down the street with flaming torches, shouting angry slogans as they head to the Arizona Slim Ranch?

          2. .human

            I take a constitutional every morning at about 7:30, and it doesn’t involve walking, though walking previously improves the outcome.

    2. Nikkikat

      I had the same thought as you Geo. Mixed message on the one hand the variants evade vaccines, on the other your only defense is the vaccine. What????

      1. Phillip Cross

        It’s really not that complicated.

        The data we have seen shows that, while some portion of vaccinated people do end up being carriers, they also have a greatly reduced risk of developing a severe case and dying.

        Based on the data from Israel and the UK; if everyone was vaccinated then the r0 would be halved, and hospitalizations and deaths would be an order of magnitude lower than if nobody had a shot.

        1. tegnost

          Leaving the mask mandate in place would have been the right thing to do. It’s this desire to punish the unvaxxed, even though many of them aren’t even eligible, such as children and justifiably concerned, such as young women thinking babies, and a wide array of others. The unvaxxed is not a monolith, despite the hand wringing of those worshipping that particular obsession. If they cared they would have left the mask mandate in place saying it’s a shared sacrifice, rather than getting rid of masks and forcing an experimental product, which you can see that it is, if you can tear your eyes away from that monolith. It’s become like hanging with alcoholics…it’s 10:30 and you want to go home and they’re like ” Everybody has to do a shot! All for one and one for all! ARRRR!”

          1. Phillip Cross

            I am not concerned whether you, or anyone, takes it or not.

            The facts are clear, if you are at risk, the vaccine helps a lot. That’s why I find it upsetting seeing people spread disinformation, especially when they imply they are speaking in an expert capacity when they do it.

            How many elderly and infirm are going to read this stuff, not get the shot, and then die as a result?

            1. hunkerdown

              Those are judgments, not facts. That you successfully rehearse moral indignation discourse affects nothing.

              1. Phillip Cross

                Masks get taken off, vaccines don’t, and there is strong evidence that the vaccine works, so they want people to take it to avoid stress on the economy and the health system.

                The only strong evidence for ivermectin comes from tropical, third world countries where the recipients may have just had their worms cleared, and been better able to fend off COVID-19 as a result. Does that translate to temperate, first world nations with functional sewers and clean running water? Maybe, but I haven’t seen anything of substance to support the big claims many make about it.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  IM Doc’s county has a higher rate of vaccine deaths than Covid deaths as a result of his hospital using Ivermectin. And his population skews very affluent and health-minded, so I doubt you’ll find many with worms.

                  Your increasingly emotional and factually strained assertions suggest you have a personal stake. This is what happens when people are losing arguments.

                  Ivermectin has one of the best safety profiles in the world. It’s safer than aspirin. Literally billions of doses have been administered. And it’s cheap. Why not let people use it? And why get so agitated at the prospect of it being used widely?

                  And I am tired of minimizing the vaccine side effects. Our aide had to go to the ER in less than 24 hours. Not only did the ER attribute her reaction to the vaccine, the attending MD also said if she had gotten there much later, she would have had serious consequences. Everyone I know with an autoimmune disease has had their symptoms get markedly worse, including a young MD who was very gung ho. This is confirmed by practitioners who’ve seen the same thing. But for most GPs, this will be a handful in their practice.

                  It’s one thing to say the vaccines make sense for most given the risk/return, but your black and white advocacy glosses over real issues. And the CDC and the press not tolerating discussion of sub-populations that are having reactions reeks of propaganda and having something to hide. It’s feeding concerns rather than assuaging them.

                  1. Phillip Cross

                    I would hardly call it black or white advocacy. I said, if you are at risk of a severe case of COVID-19, the vaccine protects you in most cases.

                    I would prefer that my elderly relatives took something that offered proven protection, than take a leap of faith with ivermectin, but each to their own!

                    It may not be poisonous, but if it doesn’t provide the strong effect that the enthusiasts claim, than that’s where the danger comes in. A kevlar-free bullet proof vest won’t kill you by itself, but I wouldn’t want to take a bullet wearing one. No matter what I read on a message board.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      You are now engaging in bad faith argumentation. You’ve shifted grounds markedly from your blanket assertion to saying that the vaccines “work’ (and what is that supposed to mean?) to now making a much MUCH narrower claim, that you’d favor its use for your elderly relatives. Help me!

                      And you are ALSO imputing a position that no one here has taken, of using Ivermectin instead of a vaccine. Given that the efficacy of the supposed best in breed Pfizer vaccine is down to 39% in Israel due to some combination of lower efficacy after 5-6 months and lower efficacy v. Delta, and no third shot having yet completed clinical trials, why not allow Americans to use Ivermectin until we have third dose data in? Can’t hurt, might help.

                      What happens, as GM has said Moderna data has already shown, that the immune response to the third shot looks to be 50% of the initial immune response>? That means even if the third dose doesn’t provoke stronger short-term reactions (a known issue with second shot v. first), its protection will be weaker and wear off faster. Then what?

                      You appear to have fallen in with the Biden/CDC position of putting all your eggs in the magic vaccine basket.

                2. Acacia

                  I haven’t seen anything of substance to support the big claims many make about it.

                  You’re not “speaking in an expert capacity”, as you phrased it? ;)

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    And to amplify you flagging that statement by Phillip, that’s another element of bad faith behavior, straw manning. This is the most prominent recent piece advocating Ivermectin. It depicts it as “promising”. Yet you insist that’s wild eyed?


                    And while we are talking about “big claims” the vaccine enthusiasts are pots calling the kettle black. Rochelle Walensky said you couldn’t get Covid if you were vaccinated, and that fable made its way to public service ads we saw for about a month in Alabama.

                    1. Phillip Cross

                      Yes, but I didn’t ever make such claims myself.

                      If you scroll up to my initial post, you can see I was putting forward a rather measured position vs. the argument that the vaccines don’t work at all.

                    2. Yves Smith Post author


                      Bullshit. These were your words: ” haven’t seen anything of substance to support the big claims many make about it.”

                      I’m done with all of your efforts to slip out of your own words. Do this once more and you will be blacklisted. You are way too invested in winning this argument as opposed to getting to the best information.

            2. tegnost

              I don’t think anyone is suggesting the old and infirm should not take the shots. I for instanced children and women with child bearing concerns.
              Why not just keep masking as a good idea, particularly because of children and the etc… which includes women with child bearing desire. Masking makes other people safer.

        2. Cuibono

          you do realize that halfing the R0 is NOT going to get us to the promised land. Esp when you factor in new variants like lamba and waning immunity. Moreover you will never get to 100%. 90% is likely not achievable.

        3. Mantid

          Philip you mention “some portion of vaccinated people do end up being carriers”. I’ve read that the vaccines were not intended to stop or limit transmission. This quote “WHO’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, noted on Monday that the agency had not established whether the COVID-19 vaccines being administered across the US and in Europe prevented people from getting the virus and passing it to others” is from this link:

          If you have any other links/papers confirming a “small portion” of vaccinated are carries, that would be great. My impression is that it’s a large proportion of the vaccinated are vectors for the virus. The vaccines have positive traits, but reducing transmission is not one of them. Can you help clarify this. Many thanks.

          1. Phillip Cross

            In Israel they are seeing 6/10 get some kind of infection, usually not serious. That’s got to be better than 10/10 when it comes to the overall r0, right?

            Lowering the susceptible population by 40% has huge effect on the final attack rate.

            Of course it would be nice if it was 100%, but it isn’t. That doesn’t make 0% desirable though.


            Israel Reports COVID Vaccine Effectiveness Against Infection Down to 40%; Data Might Be Skewed

            Same Israeli data shows effectiveness of COVID vaccine in preventing hospitalizations and severe symptoms at 88 percent and 91 percent, respectively

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Nice try.

              The FDA set its minimum efficacy for Covid vaccines at 50%. So if the Israel data proves out (and the campaign against the Israel data looks like a Pfizer push), Israel has said the Pfizer vaccine falls below the US requirement for approval v. Delta.


              But the FDA seems determined to ignore its own standards in the rush to issue a full authorization.

              1. Phillip Cross

                In a public health emergency with a highly contagious and often deadly disease, 40 is better than zero isn’t it? Besides, the efficacy is much higher against other variants. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  The FDA does not agree. Period.

                  And you are unduly attached to having the last word. Again this looks less and less like good faith and more and more like trolling.

    3. WJ

      Couldn’t both these things be true, though?

      Wouldn’t it depend on how many of the vaccinated the variant is able to evade? The smaller the number, the more likely it is that vaccination is still the best option, at least absent Chinese-like lockdowns, which are politically a non-starter in the US, whatever their efficacy.

      But I’ve not known what to think or believe about Covid, its variants, the success or failure of various mitigation measures, etc. for a long time now. I just throw up my hands these days honestly.

    4. Pelham

      Clarification is definitely in order. But I’d venture to guess that, as with Delta, vaccines are mainly ineffective at preventing contraction of the Lambda variant and subsequent spreading of the virus by the victim. But vaccines are effective at preventing severe cases and deaths and thus amount to a best, though imperfect, defense.

      Again, that’s a guess. If I’m right, though, it’s not that hard to explain. But count on certain media figures, notably Tucker Carlson, to rabidly exploit such very slight complexities to make it sound as if we’re all being snookered far more than is the actual case.

      1. lordkoos

        Ivermectin also seems to be “effective at preventing severe cases and death” while apparently being much safer than these rushed mRNA vaccines. But of course there isn’t much money to be made with Ivermectin, so we’re all guinea pigs.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Have you seen the latest movie? The CGI was incredible.

      It’s no different than the excuses offered by political partisans.

      As an aside, flat earthers are just trolls.

    2. WJ

      One day we’ll again possess the technology we already had fifty years ago and be able to return! :)

      1. Gc54

        In 3 yrs, tops. Spacex Starship stacking onto booster is imminent. More powerful than Saturn V.

      2. LifelongLib

        Hopefully we’ll produce better documentation next time around. My understanding is that a lot of the knowledge of e.g. how to build the Saturn V existed only in people’s heads, and when those people were let go their knowledge went with them. Maybe that’s true throughout society. I still get calls from my old office three years after I retired, and I thought I’d documented everything and anyway the stuff I worked on was nowhere near as complicated as a Saturn V…

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit Impact Tracker 31 July 2021 – Appeasement, Division and an Increasingly Hostile Environment Gerhard Schnyder

    This is a pretty good overview of the very confusing situation right now over Brexit (yes, its not over yet, and it probably never will be). The central issue though which I think is not addressed in this is that the EU seems to have decided to play a long game over the economics. Quite simply, there is a long, slow bleed of business from the UK to the EU and the EU is very happy to keep this going – if it means allowing Johnson the occasional good headline in the UK media, they don’t care. I’ve heard anecdotally from many sources that there is a very steady stream of banking and related businesses quietly relocating to Dublin and Amsterdam from London under the radar. Its not in the interest of these businesses to make a fuss over this. They are just doing it, and individual EU governments are happily facilitating it.

    There has been much puzzling over why the EU has dropped a number of legal actions against the UK without winning any concessions, but I suspect the reason is simple – the EU knows it has much stronger negotiating chess pieces. A key one is the Lugano Convention – one of those obscure legal deals which very few people know about, but is crucial for the functioning of many businesses, especially small businesses. Essentially, it allows an individual or business in any one European country to go to their local courts if they are in dispute with someone in another country. It makes it much simpler if, for example, a small shop in the Netherlands believe they’ve been stiffed by a supplier in Poland to go to law. The UK somehow managed to exit the Lugano Convention without realising that the EU can block them from coming back in. Its a very, very big deal for a lot of small businesses in the UK (not to mention the gigantic international legal service business based in London). Most of them owned by Tory supporters. If you think the EU are going to let the UK back into it without extracting a very steep price, you don’t know how Brussels operates.

    1. begob

      I believe that affects the enforcement of judgments, but not choice of forum, which is likely to remain overwhelmingly UK. The Brits can fall back on the Brussels Convention, which is ungainly but workable. Mind you, it’s a while since I looked into it, so open to correction.

    2. Gerhard Schnyder

      Thanks for this interesting comment! However, I would hesitate to draw a direct line between the EU’s stance towards the implementation of the NIP and its strategic interest in companies’ relocation from the UK to EU. The price to pay for accepting the UK’s refusal to implement the protocol amounts to a permanent violation of the Single Market. Although that violation is only de iure at the moment, as soon as the UK actually starts to deviate from EU SPS and other regulatory standards and GB goods cross the NI/ROI border, this will become a de facto violation. I cannot imagine the EU being willing to pay that price. Especially because the relocations happen regardless of the NI issue. The EU still needs a solution for NI, otherwise it is giving up one of its core principles (that no country get’s access to the single market without playing by the EU’s rules).

      You are right of course about the Lugano Convention, which is potentially significant for certain UK-based legal services. I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a while, but my blogs are already rather long…


    3. Gerhard Schnyder

      Thanks for this interesting comment! However, I would hesitate to draw a direct line between the EU’s stance towards the implementation of the NIP and its strategic interest in companies’ relocation from the UK to EU. The price to pay for accepting the UK’s refusal to implement the protocol amounts to a permanent violation of the Single Market. Although that violation is only de iure at the moment, as soon as the UK actually starts to deviate from EU SPS and other regulatory standards and GB goods cross the NI/ROI border, this will become a de facto violation. I cannot imagine the EU being willing to pay that price. Especially because the relocations happen regardless of the NI issue. The EU still needs a solution for NI, otherwise it is giving up one of its core principles (that no country get’s access to the single market without playing by the EU’s rules).

      You are right of course about the Lugano Convention, which is potentially significant for certain UK-based legal services. I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a while, but my blogs are already rather long…

  10. PlutoniumKun

    38 British watchtowers span Lebanon’s borders: Who are they really watching? The Cradle

    I suspect this is as much a scam on the UK (and German) taxpayers as anything else. That type of unmanned border post rarely does much to stop determined smugglers or infiltrators who know the territory (just ask Donald Trump). While the tech was a generation ago and is no doubt better these days, the high tech watchdowers put up by the British military on the Irish border used to work very well. Until it rained. Then, not so good. And yes, it can be very wet and cold on the Lebanese/Syrian border in winter.

    That border is, incidentally, suprisingly wild – there are only a small number of roads. I was cycling around there in 2001 and panicked one time when I accidentally crossed from Syria to Lebanon without realising it, while exploring some local roads. But it was no big deal, nobody was bothered (at this time the Syrian army had an open presence in the Lebanon). Even the Hizbollah guys further up north didn’t seem to bothered. Times have changed no doubt, but I very much doubt if Hizbollah has any problem moving between Syria and the Lebanon if the Syrians want them to.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Still feel sorry for those poor ‘squadies’ stuck in those towers on a useless assignment that aren’t even working for their own country. The worse thing that could happen would be for Hezbollah to stick up speakers along that line playing the same song on an endless loop at them- (4:01 mins)

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its not clear from the article, but I think those watchtowers are unmanned. Its probably controlled by some bored guy in a room in England somewhere with a satellite link.

        I know a few Irish soldiers who did UN duty on the Lebanon/Israeli border. They mostly enjoyed it and liked the locals and this was mutual (which is one reason the Israeli’s did everything to make life hard for them). This is one reason the very underrated Chateau Musar has Ireland as one of its main export markets. Its aged in old Roman catacombs and goes very well with the Christmas roast.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Wait a minute. With all of the technological know-how available to the British military, they couldn’t figure out that it rains in Ireland?

    3. David

      Good example of a bricks-without-straw argument. Hezbollah has many ways of getting weaponry and supplies into the country, and watch-towers as such would be of little if any added value in stopping it. (There are many better ways of tracking such shipments, especially at night). In fact, and I happened to be there at the time, they were built at the time of the greatest danger from ISIS across the border, before the Russians had begun to help Assad’s regime to push them back. As it happened, ISIS did make a reasonably serious attempt to advance into Lebanon, but the Sangars (as they are technically known) plus drones enabled the LAF to hammer ISIS with artillery before they got too far into the country. Otherwise, the situation could have been very very nasty. The Lebanese were appropriately grateful to the UK, not having had the benefit of reading all these CT articles.

      The official definition of a Sangar is.
      “a protected sentry post, normally located around the perimeter of a base. Its main function is to provide early warning of enemy/terrorist activity/attack in order to protect forces both within the base and those deployed within sight of the sangar.”

      They are (or were) also used in Afghanistan, and the idea is that they are a protected strong-point, a bit like a miniature fort, which enables you to defend yourself and dominate the surrounding area from a height. I wouldn’t have thought they had any particular utility in electronic surveillance, especially given the surrounding terrain. But let’s not spoil a good story

  11. urblintz

    ““Our study shows first and foremost that ivermectin has antiviral activity,” Schwartz said. “It also shows that there is almost a 100% chance that a person will be noninfectious in four to six days, which could lead to shortening isolation time for these people. This could have a huge economic and social impact.”

    “Nearly 72% of volunteers treated with ivermectin tested negative for the virus by day six. In contrast, only 50% of those who received the placebo tested negative.”

    1. zagonostra

      Is it any wonder that people are protesting in the street in France and other parts of Europe. But damn if you’ll see stories like the effectiveness of ivermectin or the protest happening in France today on the Manufacturing Consent Machine (MCM) that is made up of the conglomeration of “respected” news outlets in the U.S.

      >French firefighters’ & hospital unions declare strikes against ‘unconstitutional’ vaccination mandate

    2. Phillip Cross

      n = 89.

      With a sample of 89 people, you could have given them Pop Rocks, and sometimes seen similar results. You would need to study thousands to get a representative sample of the 10m population of Israel.

      1. IM Doc

        Does your Pop Rocks comment also apply to Sequanavir – the very first protease inhibitor for HIV approved in 1995.. and the very first component of HAART? I am looking at the very first study that came out on it about 18 months earlier – the N was 44.

        Does your Pop Rocks comment also apply to carvedilol – a Beta 1 agonist for HTN – that is also used for CHF – the very first trial showing carvedilol had any benefit for patients with CHF had an N of 60.

        Both drugs saw wide wide usage and were/are very effective for their underlying condition. Of course – much further study was done on both of them – something that our officials seem absolutely hell bent not to do with ivermectin despite the overwhemingly positive signal coming from everywhere.

        And I could go on all day with all kinds of different pharmaceuticals.

        I guess the two that I mention above are Pop Rocks to you – but I have any number of dozens of patients that would beg to differ.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Then don’t take it. No one’s gonna bust your chops or “mandate” it.

        It’s not my responsibility to make you feel good about the choices you’ve made by making the same ill-informed ones. Sorry, not sorry.

        1. Phillip Cross

          There will never be a blanket mandate for everyone to get this vaccine. Probability 0.

          It’s yet another red herring, cooked up by the right wing disinformation mill, designed to get the usual suspects frothing at the mouth.

          Looks like it’s working a treat because the same rubbish they are trotting out *over there*, is getting regurgitated here every day.

      3. Procopius

        A couple days ago Charles E. Pierce, at Esquire, was making similar disparaging comments, saying people shouldn’t be taking cattle medicine for parasites. I haven’t seen it remarked on lately, but last year there were a number of examples cited that doctors often prescribe medicines for medical situations other than what they were approved for. There’s a medical term for it, but I forget. Anyway, aspirin is an analgesic, a medicine to reduce the severity of pain. Why on earth would you take it to prevent heart attacks?

        1. Lambert Strether

          > There’s a medical term for it, but I forget.

          I believe it’s “off-label use.”

          IVM has been used by millions of humans safely for many years; see this Nobel Lecture, for example. The “IVM is for animals” talking point is so insanely dishonest. I’m not surprised Pierce used it. I saw Trisha Greenhalgh use it the other day; I was shocked.

      4. IM Doc

        You really don’t get it, do you?

        I could go on for the rest of the day with these examples but I will spare you all day – here are two.

        Sequanavir – the first approved HAART med for AIDS came out in summer of 1995. The first paper describing its use had an N of 44.

        Carvedilol a cardio specific beta blocker widely used for CHF now to increase the ejection fraction and make patients able to move and breathe again came out in the early 90s. It’s first paper had an N of 60. This one is even more important because at the time it was thought that using beta blockers in heart failure was tantamount to killing people.

        Both drugs have helped literally millions of patients. I can go on and on with similar trials for others.

        Small N in early papers is the rule and not the exception in medicine. Your comments reflect the fetish we have today that the only things that matter are “perfect” RCTs with 10000 subjects.

        The difference now as well is that historically compounds with amazingly positive signal like ivermectin has would have been immediately jumped on with big trials.

        I will ask you, why is that not happening now? There are literally dozens of historical examples where breakthrough meds were found this way and NOW we are literally turning our back on this process ….. please answer WHY?

    3. chuck roast

      I sent a similar post involving a clinical trial to a bunch of my friends about a week ago. One of them replied, “So now you’re pushing a pig de-wormer?!” I laughed for hours.

      1. lordkoos

        Last week I mentioned Ivermectin to a person on twitter and they dismissively referred to it a “a right-wing drug”.

  12. Tom Stone

    Gotta love the way the Dems ensured the eviction moratorium would expire, the elegant handwaving and expressions of dismay (“Hoocoodanode”) are classic.
    When Donald Trump (!) displays more empathy and good sense than the Democratic party leadership things have become very weird indeed.
    I do wonder if one of the motives might be to incite unrest because the “Domestic Terrorism” bill so beloved of the “New FDR” has had more opposition than expected.
    These idiots think they can control the outcome and that they won’t suffer any consequences from Societal collapse.
    There must be a slew of MBA’s and PHD’s involved to achieve this level of stupidity.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The only rationale emergency solutionumber, with backrents we are in an emergency still even if Obama is throwing himself a birthday party (Trumpian behavior), was to mail our sizable amounts of monthly cash and deal directly with the landlords for rent relief, not tenants to reduce workloads. A mortgage moratorium, though that might need more tweaking. Then increase progressive income taxes to avoid anyone making out like bandits beyond a small amount no one really cares about.

      This runs into all kinds of problem such as the housing shortage. It’s much easier to hope everything will simply get better.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “What Should We Make Of Sasha Chapin’s Claim That Taking LSD Restored His Sense Of Smell After COVID?”

    (***Glances sideways at title***)

    Claims that LSD restored his sense of smell – or restored him being able to see smells again?

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Biologically this makes sense (scents?). I have hallucinated smells for much of my adult life.

      LSD binds strongly to two serotonin receptors HTR2A (Agonist?) and HRT2C (Agonist). HTR2C is involved with our sense of smell.

      This was brought up in the comments section of that article, just insane that it was not brought up in the article itself.

      And the fact that Prozac is helping people with long covid should not be ignored either.

    2. begob

      I went down a rabbit hole on the links from that article and found a neat application of Freud’s theory of repression in the treatment of chronic pain by John Sarno – not to say that it vindicates the old fella, but certainly plenty to chew over.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Toyota Bet Against Electric Cars. Now It’s Stacking the Deck Against Them The Drive

    I think the type of subtle lobbying and public muddying of the waters is very underrated when it comes so styming real progress in addressing environmental issues. Everyone knows where the likes of Exxon or Koch Industries are coming from, but rapid changes in technology means that there are inevitably losers like Toyota who backed the wrong horse and will find it in their interest to do anything to make life harder for those who are taking the right road.

    It seems like Toyota, having been so successful with the Prius, bet that hybrids leading to fuel cells were the way to go, and are now struggling as the Koreans and Germans have pulled ahead with EV’s. Sometimes it proves a lot cheaper to buy lobbyists and think tanks to stop competitors than it does to pay scientists and engineers to develop better products.

    1. gc54

      I think the jury is still out on BEV vs fuel cells in the longer term. We’ll have to see if new battery tech can really scale, or if BEVs will be constrained by material shortages. Toyota is working on solid-state batteries. I bet that Toyota will be around long after Tesla and not due to relative success in bribing politicians.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Yep. Today, the battery manufacturing capability adds up to about 150 GWh per year. This is enough for 2.5 million BEV battery (assuming a size of 60 kWh each). Alas, global car sales clock in around 75 million per year, which means that we’re short by a factor of 30. [And this is assuming that 100% of batteries go into cars, which means no cell phone batteries, no laptop batteries, and no batteries for energy storage stations. The actual shortfall is even higher.]

        Time in invest in lithium and cobalt mines?

        1. c_heale

          One problem which I haven’t seen discussed much is what are we going to do about car fires if the current technology is widely adopted. Not only are lithium fires very difficult to extinguish, but the batteries can explode. They smoke is often toxic too.

          1. The Rev Kev

            On the bright side, families will save a fortune on crematoriums. Those fires are ferocious.

  15. ACF

    Cuomo will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from office. The sad truth is if he manages to stay in power, the only chance to beat him will be the 2022 primary. It is hard to see NY electing an R governor, unless it’s someone like Bloomberg (to be clear, I hate Bloomberg, just, he won NYC so he could win the state.)

    1. bob

      Agree 100%. The best chance NY had to get rid of him was for him to get elected to prez.

      I was speaking with an Albany pol type who would consider himself as an insider. Ick, I know. He explained that the people he knew were already talking. The condescension was thick with this one. This was a few weeks ago. If anyone were really aware in NY politics, they knew exactly what they were dealing with 10 years ago, at least.

      Who would replace Cuomo?

      He continued that he could/would be replaced by Kathy Hochul, and that ‘they’ were training up Leticia James as a longer term replacement for gov.

      I asked what if he didn’t want to leave, and even if he did leave, what if he were still calling all of the shots in Albany. Cuomo has bullied his way to more power in NYS than anyone in my lifetime. His father never came close to this.

      This political insider then had what I would describe as a tantrum “he’s making a laughing stock of new york!”

      James won’t even charge Cuomo with a criminal act, Everyone is still afraid of him. We still don’t have any recordings of his famous 11pm phone call bully sessions, which according to everyone he is depending on more than ever now.

      Also, don’t forget the daughters. One came out as bi-sexual recently. Very brave. The best chance for Andy to go is for one of his Kennedy-Cuomo daughters to eat him. A longshot, but not out of the question. There’s still hope!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I saw a guy reminding everyone he was an oppressed Italian heartening back to a time when “fraternal organizations” were formed to provide order and put out pictures of power players in Team Blue, some with questionable histories.

      Remember Andy has always been pegged as being behind a slur campaign against Ed Koch. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes down swinging. He should have been forced out months ago. It’s not like it was a Republican would walk into the seat.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Just birth. Cuomo, born to a non political but fairly well off family, would be a Margo Largo tourist. He has little to gain from being a Republican. Pelosi, that redheaded Kennedy who primaries Markey for not hating blacks enough. Obama if he wasn’t black. Clinton if he was from outside the Solid South. He aligned with power too early. If he was 10 years younger, it’s a Bush/Clinton ticket in 2000.

        1. bob

          “Cuomo, born to a non political”

          What? His father was NY governor.

          “Pelosi, that redheaded Kennedy”

          Cuomo married a Kennedy. He has daughters that use the hyphenated last names.

          It’s political/media aristocracy. They still can’t figure out what, if anything, to do with Chris Cuomo, who they can’t admit just got the job because his brother and father were governor.

          ” If he was 10 years younger, it’s a Bush/Clinton ticket in 2000.”

          Cuomo was appointed to lead HUD under clinton

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Cuomo, born to a non political but fairly well off family, would be a Margo Largo tourist.

            These people are Democrats by accident of birth. Slight changes, and they would be Margo Largo tourists in a bid to see Trump eat dinner.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I highlighted the word to help you. I’m well aware Andy Cuomo was born to a political family. My point is if he wasn’t the son of a Democratic governor but instead just kind of a wealthy guy, Andy would be trying to get a tee time with Donald Trump, like many other Democrats.

      2. bob

        A major source of all of his power in NYS is appointing republicans where ever he can. The media took a 10 year hiatus on reporting on this. To be clear, these are the republicans that are not popular with republicans. They are down the line political hacks who can be counted to be afraid of Andy after being appointed to whatever office Andy invents for them to be able to make 200k a year.

        That’s before even getting into the IDC…..

    3. urblintz

      There’s a tweet out there (sorry no link) suggesting Cuomo should demand that Biden resign, heh…

      a pox on both their houses.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “In one Missouri county, coroner excludes COVID from death certificates if family asks”

    That could come back to haunt future investigations. Back in the 80s when AIDS was taking hold and more and more people were dying of this novel virus, there was a stigma attached to it so you had a situation where death certificates for people were being fudged to hide what they actually died of. The hospital records would tell the story but if any investigator depended on just checking out death certificates at the time, they would be under-counting the number of people that died of it. So it looks like future investigators will have to note that death certificates will be dodgy for this time period as well which will skew any analysis.

  17. Michael

    “The Delta Variant Could End the Chinese Communist Party”

    Yves, a lot of historians with a China background have wondered since last January if the Mandate of Heaven preferentially favors the CCP.

    As much of a shock as this must be, Chang aside, more often than not there is little in the way of emotional or personal feeling behind such musings.

    Then again, if someone said “Mao should have never unleashed the PLA on the Red Guards – especially not the more radical groups in Hunan” that would indeed come from the heart.

  18. John Beech

    Regarding Creative Sunnyside teen . . . far from Chinese culture, the dress is actually a pollera, of Latin American – specifically, Panamanian – heritage.

    Speaks volumes regarding the trustworthiness of that website vice making an unforced error.

    Examples abound, but this painting by Al Sprague, of which I am the owner, is representative.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Poseidon’s wrath”

    I recall that some time ago there was an article about Helike here which is a fascinating subject. At the time I did further research and found that there is a Helike Project which I bookmarked at the time. The discoverer of this site – Greek archaeologist Dora Katsonopoulou – is the Director of the Helike Society and you can see lots of images of what they have found there on the following website-

    1. enoughisenough

      I’m looking forward to reading the article, and checking out this extra resource!


    1. Acacia

      Scary sounding stuff, though I haven’t the level to evaluate the claims being made on this site.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I’m sure you have the level to evaluate these claims from a long time ago–2020–when the most important item on the agenda was Trump, not covid.

        My how times, and agendas, have changed in a few short months. Not to mention who gets to “legitimately” lay claim to the people’s trust.

        PS. If you read The Automatic Earth regularly, I guarantee you will look at the mainstream propaganda you are being relentlessly fed much differently. Try this for starters:

      2. jo6pac

        Yes, I was disappointed in the fact there is not really good test to see you have anti-bodies

      3. c_heale

        I used to regularly read Automatic Earth but stopped because nearly all the links are about Covid (there used to be good mixture of different news stories), and are very one sided, all from from an antivax perspective. I have my concerns about the vaccines too, but if you are only going to report news about one issue, having more than one perspective/side certainly gives a more holistic view of what’s going on.

        1. Aumua

          I’m pretty sure the anti-vaxers have won. Separating the truth from the b.s. in the face of relentless anti-vax misinformation and confusion on the side of the authorities has proved to be just too difficult.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I am really bothered by the conflation of vaccine hesitant with anti-vaxxers, although I agree that Automatic Earth is only interested in vaccine negative information and suffers from major lack of rigor in evaluating it.

            We have three aides who have not been vaccinated. The one who did come with me and my mother to get vaccinated wound up in the ER within 24 hours and the ER doc volunteered her symptoms had to have been caused by the vaccine, there was no other plausible explanation. And added if she had come to the ER much later, the consequences would have been serious.

            One is CNA and works at one of the big local hospitals. The second is a CNA. The third is a retired lab tech at UAB, the big local teaching hospital. The latter is well off and does not need to work. She’s an aide for pocket money and to keep busy.

            The first already had Covid. I think she’s over-banked on the duration of her immunity.

            The second has had a lot of friends who had bad reactions and does not want to miss work.

            The third I have no idea. She a health fetishist (vegan, fasts). But she is pretty adamant about not taking these vaccines.

            I am sure all of this trio take routine vaccines like tetanus boosters.

            1. Aumua

              I am really bothered by the conflation of vaccine hesitant with anti-vaxxers,

              Well I agree. I am lamenting that it’s become difficult to keep them separate, and that the line between them has also become so blurred, in reality as well as in narratives.

            2. saywhat?

              The first already had Covid. I think she’s over-banked on the duration of her immunity. Yves

              Otoh, I’ve read that one can have undetectable (by normal means) antibodies to an antigen (the virus in this case) and still have some protection because of immune memory in bone marrow cells.

              The third I have no idea. She a health fetishist (vegan, fasts).

              Speaking of fasting, I remember an article a few years back that fasting resets the immune system somehow. I don’t recall the details but I suspect this might be a (not very popular) remedy for original antigenic sin.

              These sure are interesting times …

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                No, our GM, who is a hard core bioscientist with an aura of burning rubber resume, disagrees with that notion. What counts is the level of neutralizing antibodies. Period. The Imperial College studies (every 5 weeks or so they sample 100,000 people) early on, before anyone was vaccinated, was able to track the decline in antibodies among those who’d had Covid. Experts differed only somewhat as to how long they though the immunity lasted. The estimates were 6 to 8 months.

                If you mean T cells or memory B cells, an infection has to be advanced before those kick in. Covid infections progress quickly. And Covid generates such a strong (as in damaging) immune response once an infection gets going, you do not want to rely on your body’s secondary defenses.

  20. marym

    Gov. Hutchinson wishes he didn’t sign mask mandate ban into law

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Governor Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday expressed regret for signing Act 1002 into Arkansas law. The new law bans the state and local officials from enacting any mask mandates.

    On Monday, two Arkansas parents filed a lawsuit to overturn the law banning mask mandates. The parents are looking for a judge to temporarily block the state from enforcing the law and have called it unconstitutional.

    Parents file lawsuit challenging Arkansas ban on mask mandates

  21. antidlc

    US vaccinations reach highest level in a month. But it would still take 6 months to get all eligible Americans one dose at current pace

    quote from Fauci:

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday he would like the US to be at upwards of one million vaccinations per day to close the vaccination gap.
    We may get there when mandates come, but it can’t be 250,000, 500,000 a day, otherwise it’s going to go well into the winter. I want to get there sooner,” Fauci said.

    …when mandates come…

    1. tegnost

      Funny isn’t it how the dems seem incapable of doing anything for their purported base, but this “mandate” will pass without trouble. What will the enforcement mechanism be? Dems are very fond of using the IRS as their collection/enforcement agency, see student loans and the initial justification for the republican health insurance racket. I suppose it’s possible that strong mandate threats are thought to be incentives for people to get vaxxed in order to prevent the mandates…who knows what the hive minds thinks up to justify itself.

    2. I

      Are the immunocompromised at risk in the future when their specialist is unwilling to get involved with the upcoming drama? How do the immunocompromised prove that a vax isn’t beneficial for them when confronted by the National Guard?

  22. Blue Duck

    Dollar-Denominated Public Debt in Asia and Latin America

    The US central bank has proved effective at forestalling domestic financial crises in the post 2008 era. The big question for me is whether the Fed could quash financial crises emanating from abroad? What could the fed do to stop a 1997 style emerging market debt crisis? I guess they can just let the foreign markets rot like they did with Indonesia (the link between their currency crisis and the rise of jihadism at the turn of the millennia is a neglected topic), and prop up the US and EU banks that will lose trillions if the EM’s burst?

    Could the fed stop a 1997 style crisis becoming a 2008 style crisis?

    1. chuck roast

      I have a little different take-away from this article. I don’t disagree with the balance of payments and exchange rate risk analysis. I’m looking at the charts. She has an Asia chart. When did Saudi Arabia and Israel become part of Asia? Furthermore, if I’m reading this chart correctly, the Aggregate Average Debt of these countries does not seem to have increased in 11 years. Finally, the Dollar Exposure of Saudi Arabia has gone off the charts since 2015. It appears that SA is an outlier. If it were removed from the chart there may actually be no reason to write this article. Or, alternately, confine the article to SA, Israel and Indonesia.

      As for Latin America, there is the dog that didn’t bark. Argentina is a demonstrable serial bankrupt. Recently Columbia appears to be in a constant state of turmoil. Maybe Columbia’s dollar denominated debt might be a more appropriate subject for analysis.

      We can only hope that the St. Louis Fed curates their official papers way better than they curate their blog.

      1. Procopius

        Excuse me for being brusque, but where is Columbia? Are you referring to Colombia? My apologies for adding to the moderators’ workload, but I’ve seen this misspelling at least six times in the last two days, and misspelling is becoming a mental burden to me, trying to guess which word makes the sentence make sense.

  23. antidlc

    FDA aims for full approval of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by Labor Day: report

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aiming to grant full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by Labor Day or sooner, according to a new report.

    Citing people involved in the effort, the New York Times reported late Tuesday that the FDA was speeding up its approval process as the country faces a new wave of infections from the more highly contagious delta variant.

  24. Tom Pfotzer

    Regarding the gradual evolution of the infrastructure “equipment” that’s needed to transition our economy from “breaking it as we live” to “fixing it as we live”, here’s a story about locomotives and “zero emissions”.

    The author is someone with a long, storied career in locomotive power plant design. The article is quite readable, about 5 mins, and gives a quick index of where the technologies are, and what the major and minor players are doing to experiment and conduct the transition from old to new.

    Technical progression of Railroad Locomotives.

    1. juno mas

      Does require familiarity with railroad locomotive lingo, however. (Most folks don’t know that legacy diesel/electric locomotives are powered by a diesel engine that rotates a electrical generator that supply power to electric motors attached to drive wheels (trucks) that touch the rails and move the train.)

      The evolving technology (and its applications) is very interesting; if you’re keen on a cleaner method of moving freight (and some people) efficiently across the land.

      1. amfortas the hippie

        when i was 13 they left a whole train idling on the sidetrack adjacent my neighborhood for a long thanksgiving weekend.
        we kids had already been riding the slow trains for years, so of course we descended on this one
        me and my buddy entered the locomotive
        i went into the basement like compartment, checking out all the dials
        my buddy sat in the captans chair
        blew the horn and revved up the engine
        move the train about ten feet before we vanished into the woods
        the thing was mostly big batteries
        deisel engine to charge them
        big electric motors did the actual work
        thats 40 or more years ago
        silly that we have such crappy passenger rail in this country

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          Sounds like something you would do.
          Crazy from the git-go.


          Hope all’s well, amfortas.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          Ha ha, so maybe those redneck cops who instinctively said ‘trouble’ the moment they laid eyes on you back in the day might not have been altogether off base?

          (no offense I hope, your chronicles of autarky are epic)

          (quietly whistles Jethro Tull….)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            no offense taken, at all.
            i was a strange kid, and dealt with the world as best i could.
            my theme songs, as it were, from 16-25, were:

            especially the last one.
            but all that made me into the radical yeoman philosopher i am today.
            from the second link:”And I ain’t too old to hurry
            ‘Cause I ain’t too old to die
            But I sure am hard to beat”

            I’m an old grandaddy crawdaddy, backed into his hole in the mudbank.
            i rode trains because they were there.
            i took to the road because They were after me…for being a Good Person and a Weirdo and a Knight Errant.
            I vanished into the Texas Hill Country because i had nowhere else to go.
            I can build a fire in a lake, cook a running dog, and am both broad and deep.
            my civilisation will only realise that it’s needed me all along, after it all comes to naught.
            this will be seen by future generations as a great tragedy…because that’s how i will write the story.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              …and…they did just leave the whole train sitting there idling, unlocked and all…
              the black guys who worked on fixing/maintaining the rails were well aware of the Wild Man in the Woods, and his band of green-clad misfits.
              it was like they were daring us, lol.

    2. Oh

      Looks like an excellent application for fuel-cell batteries combo. The locomotives can be recharged en route because they can locate charging stations (if needed) along the route. Will make a good impact on railroad transportaion in general

  25. The Rev Kev

    “People who contracted Covid may have “substantial” drop in intelligence, according to The Lancet”

    Clickbait title. What was actually said was people ‘exhibited significant cognitive deficits versus controls.’ So if now you have difficulty in concentrating after having a bout with this virus, it does not mean that you are suddenly stupid. It means that you now have difficulty in concentrating. I thought about how else you might reword that title and came up with this-

    ‘People who have a flat tire may have “substantial” drop in speed, according to Automobile Magazine’

  26. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Before Florida COVID surge, major media outlets lionized DeSantis – Popular Information (resilc)

    The knives are out for DeSantis. Of course, no one should ever suggest that this is an opening salvo in yet another health-of-the-republic-and-“rule-of-law”-hanging-in-the-balance “election.”

    As a Florida resident, I, for one, would like to see DeSantis go full-on rogue and make an “order” that anyone who wants Ivermectin can have it. No questions asked.

    That would explode a few heads that desperately need to be exploded.

  27. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Just finished watching Chris Martenson’s assessment of the 6 month study of the Pfizer vac, which in his opinion leaves more questions than answers:

    1. What is the impact of obesity ? Why was it left out of the comorbidity parameters being tracked ?

    2. Why were comorbidities accounted for so much less than in the general population ?

    3. Why were the age groups broken down into under 65 & over 65 ? which is unhelpful to those seeking to understand the age adjusted risks.

    4. Why weren’t hospitalised included ?

    5. Why weren’t those with previous Covid infections tracked separately ?

    6. What was the impact of long Covid ?

    7. Did people with the vac have any experiences of AE’s or long Covid ?

    8. Why wasn’t AE data presented based on type of AE & the eventual outcome / resolution of serious cases ?

    9. Why weren’t all study participants tested for Covid infection ( versus just those with symptoms )

    He also compares good data from the EMA in Europe with the poor quality available from Pfizer, which incidentally shows that in Europe at least, females are about 3 times more likely to suffer from adverse reactions.

    Links to study included with the video.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Insurance companies defraud Medicare–or anything else they can get their grubby paws into.

      Film at 11.

      Although I did find this interesting in light of a recent personal experience:

      ….“You see prevalence rates for some conditions that are not consistent with what you would expect to see in the general population. We were seeing cases of malnutrition that you weren’t expecting to see anywhere outside sub-Saharan Africa.”

      My Medicare Advantage provider calls periodically to set up a “house call” to “assess” my “health.” I routinely decline. (They also say they can do it by “telemedicine” if I’d prefer. Last time, I asked the gal how that works–“What do I do, take my own blood pressure while you watch?” says I, or sweep the room with my cellphone camera to reveal any scatter rugs that I can then be remonstrated to remove? )

      Last call was a couple of weeks ago, and came with a new wrinkle. She asked if I “needed any FOOD”??? Seemed very strange at the time. I wonder if, had I answered “yes,” I’d have been declared “malnourished” for reimbursement purposes. Is there anyone who couldn’t use some free food? Not that they offered to provide any.

      1. juno mas

        Yes, the Advantage providers are looking to advance their (financial) health, not necessarily your physical health. I would imagine the caller was not a health professional of any kind.

        I’m not attracted to the Advantage plans after experiencing what three weeks in the hospital costs. If a MediGap plan adds$2K per year to my premium cost (it doesn’t) that would be wiped out with one out-of-network trip to the emergency room by some Advantage plans.

        The downside of not having sufficient medical coverage (clairvoyance) can be financially catastrophic.

      2. Oh

        The house calls are a way to change the health risk. They upgrade your risk to worse and claim higher reimbursement from Medicare. I never answer the phone when the Medicare Advantage (MA) insurer calls. They also have another money spinner – the “free” over the counter supplies that cover anything from toothpaste to band aids, at higher than store prices. I suspect the Medicare reimburses them for these.

        MA appears better on the surface – less copay for short hospital stays, some drug coverage, minimal vision and dental coverage, etc. But their advantages disappear because you get to pay more for out of network and more copay for longer stays in the hospital and for diagnostics (Original Medicare usually pays 80% and all drugs costs while hospitalized).

        The drug/insurance overlords have rigged Medicare to penalize you if you don’t take a drug plan when you opt for Original Medicare. Plus you pay the same monthly premium. The only advantages I see is the gym membership and the vision coverage (annual eye tests).

    1. juno mas

      Stunning views of LA. The Stahl House was not the.origin of Mid-Century modern architecture in SoCal. There were more impressive examples in and around Palm Springs (but none with the dramatic setting of the Stahl House).

      An LA auto dealer (Yeakel Brothers) built a complex of Mid-Century Modern desert vacation homes with interiors that looked very much like the kitchen islands and formica splash-boards in the Stahl House. Floor to ceiling windows were deriguer mid-century. My parents bought and lived in one of them.

      Aside: The Stahl House was built on a steeply sloping lot. Lot acreage is measured on the horizontal, not along the slope.

  28. zagonostra

    >Target to pay 100% of college tuition and textbooks in bid to attract workers

    I wish this was in place before I put down more than I want to say to get my kids through college, I would have had them get a part-time job and then would have been able to leave them something more substantial for when I move on to that better place.

    Starting this fall, the big-box retailer said it will cover the cost of tuition, fees and textbooks for part- and full-time workers who pursue a qualifying undergraduate degree at more than 40 institutions. It will also fund advanced degrees, paying up to $10,000 each year for master’s programs at those schools.

    1. coboarts

      This brings up an interesting point about the cost of today’s higher education. I’d like to have a look at those 40 approved schools/programs. With generic classes and online education, the actual costs to the provider are getting cheaper and cheaper (cheap). It might look like a big bill being footed by the employer, but if they’ve made a ‘deal’ with the providers, the costs to the employers can be significantly reduced, still making the education provider a profit. I’ve had a front row seat watching an adequate 3rd tier university become something much less – but they got Amazon.

  29. Felicity

    California’s “dire water shortages”

    “Senior water rights”, means tax payer funded water going to grow water intensive “essential” crops for export.

    We could get our tree nuts from Iran at very low prices. Instead we taxpayers subsidize water so that California’s largest landowner can grow nuts that there is a world surplus of and or build subdivisions on his watered land, to be serviced by the new taxpayer high speed rail train to nowhere. He recycles the money to the Govenor via ‘campaign donations’.

    1. Synoia

      I presume Fauchi to be expert in orally administered procedures, given his longevity in the Federal Government.

  30. juno mas

    RE: Mangroves Will Save the World!

    Sometimes I think that some links are intended to refute my comments.

    Yesterday I commented that Mangroves (trees, and plant community) are not going to be the expected natural protection of the Florida shoreline in respect to rapid sea-level rise. As I said, mangroves are adapted to low-oxygen, wet environments. They proliferate at the land/water interface and do protect land from intermittent storm erosion. But, rapid sea level rise is going to overwhelm their preferred adaptation to low oxygen conditions. An NOAA expected rise of 17″ (by 2030) will likely diminish the ability of mangroves to thrive along the coast.

    The rate of change will simply exceed their ability to adapt and they will drown (die) for lack of oxygen (needed to carry on plant biology).

  31. Temporarily Sane

    The media’s reporting on Covid is completely schizophrenic and is contributing to the “vaccine hesitancy” it so decries.

    On one hand it’s “do the right thing and get the jab, protect yourself and others from Covid-19” but at the same time it’s “even if you’re vaccinated mask up and act like you’re not” and “OMG variants may, possibly, could be leading to another wave that current vaccines might not be very effective against. It might be years before we see the end of Covid.”

    Say what?

    The relentless doomsaying (i.e. clickbait) + moral preaching + corporate shilling school of journalism helps create confusion, resentment, mistrust of media and the perception that the elites are tone-deaf, arrogant and out of touch with ordinary people.

    It’s so family blogging obvious. Only a badly failing society would consider this cluster**** a normal and healthy part of democracy (whatever that is).

  32. CarlH

    The Fred Hampton vs. Neocoons article is on of the best I have read in some time. Thank you for posting this!

  33. Maritimer

    28 ancient viruses unknown to science found in a Tibetan glacier Big Think (David L). Charming.
    “Hey, Tony, we found twenty-eight new viruses.”
    “Great, FEDEX those over to Wuhan right away!”

  34. Bazarov

    Does anyone know what happened to Clive? He used to comment on here often, about Brexit matters especially–but I haven’t seen a comment from him in quite awhile.

    1. martell

      I’ve been wondering about Clive. My impression is that there was a falling out a few months ago over Covid, especially the so-called lockdowns. Clive, if memory serves, was opposed to going on with them, whereas the majority of the commentariat was, if anything, in favor of sterner measures. After an especially heated discussion (which included questions such as “Why are you trying to kill me?”), no more Clive. But memory fades and, again, this is just my impression.

      1. Bazarov

        That’s unfortunate–I very much miss Clive’s commentary (especially as regards Brexit and his insights about Japan). Whether I agreed or disagreed with with him, his views were usually stimulating.

  35. rjs

    i am guessing those who’d care know, but for everyone else, that’s a viceroy butterfly, not a monarch…

    have had quite a few monarchs on my milkweed patch this year, btw…maybe more than i’ve seen in 60 years…

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