Links 8/5/2021

Why whales in Alaska have been so happy BBC

Vasya the cat chases away a brown bear in the woods of Eastern Siberia Siberian Times (furzy)

Off-the-grid man jailed for refusing to vacate the cabin he’s lived in for 27 years Guardian (resilc)

Oldest example of applied geometry is discovered on a 3,700-year-old clay tablet Daily Mail (BC)

Future Space Travel Might Require Mushrooms Scientific American (guurst)

There’s a ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico this summer that’s bigger than Connecticut USA Today (resilc)

Summer Temperature Anomaly Distribution Berkeley Earth (David L)

Athletes Break Down Under Extreme Heat at the Olympics Gizmodo (Kevin W)

U.S. Forest Service modifies disputed ‘let it burn’ policy Los Angeles Times (Kevin W)

Cargo bikes deliver faster and cleaner than vans, study finds Guardian (AE90)

Biochar: The waste product that could help mitigate climate change PhyOrg

Meet Surfside’s Disaster-Data Forensic Sleuths IEEE Spectrum (resilc)

Poison hemlock spreads across US parks, gardens: Beware of toxic plant USA Today (furzy)


Study Finds Falsehoods About Delta Variant May Spread Twice As Easily As Original Covid Misinformation The Onion

US to require foreign travelers to be vaccinated when restrictions lift The Hill


WHO calls for a temporary moratorium on administering booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines STAT

A Big Booster Push Now Would Be Wrong and Dangerous Bloomberg

Commission approves Novavax coronavirus vaccine deal — finally Politico

Favorable outcome on viral load and culture viability using Ivermectin in early treatment of non-hospitalized patients with mild COVID-19 – A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial MedRxIv (Li). Small sample.

Startling Discovery Suggests 40% of Wild Deer in The US Have Had The Coronavirus Science Alert (Chuck L). Recall a survey in Michigan found >50%.


DeSantis-Biden sniping underscores COVID-19 frustration The Hill

After Russiagate, Why WOULDN’T People Be Skeptical About Covid? Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Is Back Despite The Delta Variant NPR (David L)

Florida Hospitals Fighting to Get Oxygen With ‘Hand Tied’ Bloomberg

Republican governor of Arkansas seeks to allow schools to mandate masks despite signing bill that bars local mask mandates MarketWatch

Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Split Corporate America Wall Street Journal

“Band Aid Over a Bullet Wound”: Moratorium Leaves Organizers Relieved, But Braced for New Battles In These Times


Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions in Communities with Substantial or High Levels of Community Transmission of COVID-19 to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19 CDC (Kevin C)

New York Auto Show Canceled Because of Delta Variant Wall Street Journal


China vows to hit back at US$750 million US arms sale to Taiwan South China Morning Post

How a fake network pushes pro-China propaganda – BBC. Resilc: “Sort of like Fox and MSNBC?”


Ebrahim Raisi: What to expect from Iran’s new president DW

Israel’s Gantz Calls for International Military Action Against Iran Antiwar (resilc)

Afghan economy on verge of collapse as US troops depart Nikkei

Imperial Collapse Watch

Mirror, Mirror 2021: Reflecting Poorly Commonwealth Fund (PlutoniumKun). US at the bottom. UK falls: NHS drops from first to fourth among rich countries’ healthcare systems Guardian (Kevin W)

Calling ‘liberal internationalism’ what it is: American primacy Responsible Statecraft (resilc)


Biden Picks Diplomat With Polish Ties to Manage Key NATO Relationship US News, Kevin W: “FFS – it is a son of Zbigniew Brzezinski.”

Shock poll shows Gavin Newsom losing recall vote by double digits SFGate

Andrew Cuomo Didn’t Act Alone His inner circle enabled him. They should go down with their leader. New York Magazine (AE90)

GOP Clown Car

House GOP’s new midterm headache: Candidates tied to the Capitol riot Politico

Cuomo Increasingly Desperate To Shift Focus Back Onto Nursing Home Deaths The Onion

Rare bid to repeal war resolution advanced by U.S. Senate committee Reuters (resilc)

The Voters Who Could Turn California Red Atlantic (resilc)

Our Famously Free Press

NYU researchers accuse Facebook of ‘silencing’ them after accounts disabled Financial Times

Investors Are Ignoring a Dangerous Crackdown on Press Freedom Bloomberg

Rebirth of a Nation: US History According to DW Griffith CounterPunch

CenturyLink selling copper network in 20 states instead of installing fiber ars technica

Judge denies Elizabeth Holmes’ request to suppress patient complaints about Theranos CNBC (Kevin W). We said you could stick a fork in her when the judge ruled that superlawyer David Boies did not have attorney-client privilege with respect to Holmes (his client was Theranos, not Holmes personally). This only adds to how bad her prospects are. Hurrah!

Another reminder that you do get something for your tax dollars in the Communist State of New York:

The most anyone can be subject to involuntary psych detention (this includes drunk tank incidents) is 72 hours. To be held longer, you have to be deemed by two doctors to be a danger to yourself or others. I know of Stage 4 alcoholics who have been released.

The Two Economists Who Fought Over How Free the Free Market Should Be New York Times (resilc)

Shipping Container Crisis Could Derail Holiday Toy Sales Forbes

George Soros’ right-hand man was accused of BDSM assaults in his sex dungeon New York Post. Not my class at HBS but I know people in that class who knew both Howie and Mary. More generally, there is a lot of BDSM on Wall Street, but most who play that way know the rules…as in a “Cut it out” word that is taken seriously.

Nuding Out The Baffler. Chuck L: “Perhaps nudism could spark a resurgence of interest in socialism and social democracy in the 21st century USA as it did in Weimar Germany.”

Class Warfare

Read: Full NLRB hearing officer’s recommendations on the Amazon Bessemer union election Washington Post

US blocks seafood from Fiji ship accused of enslaving crew Al Jazeera (resilc)

Antidote du jour. The is Bliss, whose human servants are Bob H and Janet. I am not clear as to whether Bliss artfully chose to pose near flattering artwork, or whether the artwork was chosen to compliment Bliss.

And a bonus (Jim D):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    “The most anyone can be subject to involuntary psych detention… is 72 hours.”

    The comment made me think of Ezra Pound. At the end of WWII he was locked up at St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years. The story that Eustace Mullins relates on how he finally managed to get him out is fascinating.

    Angered by the carnage of World War I, Pound blamed the war on finance capitalism, which he called “usury”.[3] He moved to Italy in 1924 and through the 1930s and 1940s promoted an economic theory known as social credit…he made hundreds of paid radio broadcasts for the Italian government, including in German-occupied Italy, attacking the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and, above all, Jews, as a result of which he was arrested in 1945 by American forces in Italy on charges of treason.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was reminded here myself of Kamilah Brock. She was a 32 year-old banker in New York who was thrown into a psych ward & sedated because the police refused to believe that the BMW that she was driving was hers. They also refused to believe that Obama followed her on Twitter but never even thought to check her account which would show them what she said was true, even the bit about Obama. EIGHT days later they finally released her when her story was found to be true but then to add insult to injury, tried to bill her for $13,000 for her hospital vacation – so she sued.

      You wonder how many people are thrown into a psych ward because police do not want to be bothered with the laws they have to follow. On a psych ward, they can lock you up and throw away the key.

      1. The S

        Police use Rikers in a similar way, and don’t even need the psych evaluation. Look at Kalief Browder, who was held in rikers for 3 years without trial, two of those years in solitary confinement.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          These are not psych detentions. There are facilities with psych wards. They have nurses, detainees wear wrist bands like in hospitals, cameras everywhere, all doors lock and they are heavy metal doors. Also have rooms with books and TVs where detainees can hang out if they aren’t acting out.

          This is abuse of due process, period.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Yeah, like that means ANYthing in the Imperial legal nightmare system. Speaking of bad examples.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            NYC regularly pays big settlements for stupid stuff cops do. One case was when they arrested a couple for dancing at a subway station.

            My guess not having read the case is she was high when they arrested her. She said she told the cops she was dancing at the wheel. If that was true and her lawyer didn’t admit to something like that in the complaint, the defense could make mincemeat out of her.

      2. Procopius

        Reminds me of the charges against the old Soviet Union. One of the terrible crimes the chattering classes were horrified by was that they put critics in insane asylums rather than charging them with crimes.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Harlem Hospital is not where the NYC psych ward for upper Manhattan is. It’s at Mount Sinai. So they weren’t even pretending this was a psych detention at the time; they must have dreamed that up later to justify the meds. This was just abuse. Hope she got a huge settlement.

    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      This story says more about the arbitrary power that Psychiatric Hospitals have over their patients and the lack of legal counsel afforded to the patient.

      I was reminded of myself. My own experience. I merely misspoke a few years ago when I VOLUNATARILY went to the emergency room for psyche care and told them I had suicidal thoughts and not suicidal ideation. They involuntarily committed me for the 72 hours, which turned into ten. I did not even speak to a doctor until the third day. But why ten days? That is the limit Medicare pays for inpatient stays. They would not listen to anything I had to say. You are more powerless in a psyche hospital than you are in any prison.

      If you have kids do them a favor, resist any psychiatric care as long as you can and focus on their physical complaints only. They are linked, but once you are labeled as neurologically different no one listens to you.

      1. upstater

        Been there done that with our son, a schizophrenic. If you have private insurance, they will hold you as long as possible. In the last hospitalization, we had to get a lawyer to get him out.

        People speak about “the new Jim Crow”… discrimination against the mentally ill is alive and well in the US. There are 2 standards for Healthcare, one for physical illnesses and another for mental illness.

      2. roxan lucan

        Never, ever mention sucide near any dr or counselor, or you’ll find yourself committed, and probably stuck on a suicide watch which is pretty miserable. I worked in psych facilities for years and sometimes people sort of fall through the cracks. Laws differ from state to state, probably, certainly are enforced selectively. I did psych emergency for awhile, admitting both walk-ins and patients brought by cops. They were mosly street people, or ‘known’ to us i.e. been there before many times. Sometimes they ended in admissions for days, if I had no beds and no place else took them.We also had a no admit list for patients so disruptive we didn’t want them. They were candidates for state hospitals who mostly took only the violent. Saw a lot of ‘granny dumping’ on holidays–families wanted to go on vacation without their screaming demented relative. One state hospital was so chaotic, when an aide showed up without his ID on an unfamiliar unit they mistook him for a patient and kept him for weeks. He had no money for the pay phone, I guess (long before cell phones). Everywhere I worked had big dayrooms with a TV high up on the wall, all the furniture pretty much unthrowable. Never books, magazines or crafts, etc. Nothing in rooms but beds, no mirrors, no pens or pencils, silverware, lighters, matches, anything that could be made into a weapon such as spray cans, soda cans and gum. Patients in state hospitals often were sent from prison as too violent and crazy for the guards–murderers. serial killers, cannibals–I had them all. I ran the ‘take down team” to handle violent incidents. All locked wards, some places had locks on rooms, too. Last job I had was at a psych super
        max. Staff was searched entering and leaving, and treated like criminals, too. They had slow, electronic jail doors, double doors, then unit doors, and ward doors.

    3. Hillary

      WWII was a war for the survival of economic three competing economic systems. It was essential that the narrative not be challenged in this country, thus the insane asylum for one of the most brilliant men alive.

      Two systems had failed to provide for their people and society and the third successfully created money and stability that allowed rearmament and directly threatened one with overthrow of territory and the other by example.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I remember reading that Pound’s upper class friends saved him from facing legal consequences of his giving aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war by finagling for him a bogus diagnosis of mental illness so he could rest and relax in Club St. Elizabeths instead of facing justice for his alleged crimes.

      1. Count Zero

        Pound was a fascist. There’s no doubt about that. Not sure some incoherent rants on the radio aimed at US soldiers was giving much much aid or comfort to anybody. Nor can I judge the validity of his diagnosis at St. Elizabeth’s but he was certainly struggling with his mental health in the 1930s. In later years back in Italy he suffered a long depression, refusing to speak for years.

        Pound is an odd one. In some ways a great poet but in other ways definitely not. THE CANTOS is a huge mess with some beautiful fragments buried in it. He knew about poetic technique and craft and was hugely influential on several generations of poets — and not just in the US. But he also struggled to think coherently about anything outside literature — preferring loud dogmatic assertions.

        I am not sure being locked up in a mental hospital in the USA, for something like 12 years, wasn’t punishment enough. It would have been unnecessarily cruel to shoot the old bastard. There are tens of thousands of people zooming around in limousines today who have done far worse.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Spaced out on ‘shrooms?–

    Paul Stamets working with NASA and talking about geoforming with mushrooms? I love a lot of what he has done, but he’s beginning to remind me of Icarus or at least Brewster McCloud. Has he forgotten that mushrooms evolved on THIS planet?

    1. ajc

      Stamets believes that fungi are capable of panspermia. Also the world fungi evolved on was quite different and immensely inhospitable to humans or most other life as we know it. In fact, fungi helped remake the world into a planet that would be more recognizable and hospitable to us now.

      1. IM Doc

        This is one of the reasons I really love reading the comments on this site.

        As a spiritual pain relief the past several months, I have been reading science fiction from the 1950s through the 1980s. I have this book right on my reading pile right now. I read one short story every night – and Norman Spinrad is one of the best.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I cannot get too excited about using fungi to help in colonizing other planets. But what about colonizing Antarctica or portions of Iceland and Greenland, or of Canada, or Siberia, Scandinavia, or desert islands, or areas exposed by glacial melt. Nature will take care of those projects over time — a lot of time. Would it be unreasonable to test out the use of fungi for space colonization by colonizing new frontiers opening on the planet we live on? Nature moves to its own purposes. Nature has little regard for our wishes. Is it hubris to attempt to direct and hasten natural processes in a direction more suitable for Humankind? Some earlier civilizations seem to have had reasonable success in helping Nature help them.

    3. Norge

      Henry Moon Pie….Brewster McCloud! Thank you for reminding me of an underappreciated classic. Renee Auberjonois did a terrific turn as an ornithology professor whose gestures and body language become increasingly bird-like as his lecture progresses.

  3. IM Doc

    I want to state this for the record again today. It is imperative now that non-medical people have perspective of medical history and traditions. I commented yesterday about this but it was late in the day.

    This is about the above linked Israeli ivermectin paper.

    A commenter yesterday downplayed it stating that the N is only 89. He felt that was all he needed to torpedo the whole effort.

    Profoundly faulty and unscientific thinking. I would have given any student who said anything like that in rounds an F for the day.

    I will explain. I could go on all day with examples – but here are just two:

    Sequanivir – the first approved HAART drug for AIDS came out in 1995. It’s first paper had an N of 44.

    Carvedilol, the cardioselective beta blocker used now to increase heart performance in CHF had an N of 60 on its first paper. In an era when using beta blockers on patients with CHF was viewed as murder.

    Both drugs have been used by millions. Again I could go on all day with examples.

    I have seen this “the N is only 89” tactic used again and again this year. Be aware people who do that are not arguing in good faith and they have zero perspective of medical history.

    Low N numbers in early trials of any medications are the overwhelming rule in medicine and not the exception.

    The insistence that a trial is poor because the N is 89 is part of the same fetish that only RCTs with tens of thousands of subjects are any good. This thought process is deluded.

    Dozens if not hundreds of medical breakthroughs have been birthed with papers with Ns much less than 89.

    The big difference in what is going on now is that compounds with amazingly positive signal in these early studies like ivermectin is showing would have been jumped on instantly and larger trials started months ago.

    I think we should all reflect on not only why this is not being done but also the exact opposite is being done – an active censoring and propaganda campaign.

    The medical history chapters on this COVID interlude are going to be for the ages. This is just not going to look good in comparison to Sir Alexander Fleming, Jonas Salk, or Banting & Best.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for the clarification.

      I’ve often thought that some of the most dangerous people around are people who know just enough applied statistics to sound like they know what they are talking about. Science, medicine and even engineering is full of people who know enough statistics and modelling to pass high level exams, but not enough to really understand what the figures are telling them. Science Twitter is full of them.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Another IM Doc comment gets bookmarked by Slim. It is that good.

      Doctor, I do hope that you’re writing a book. I would be proud to purchase an autographed copy.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘The medical history chapters on this COVID interlude are going to be for the ages.’

      People down the track are going to want to know how things went so disastrously wrong and any future Commission will be so politicized that it’s conclusions will be worthless. What will be worth paying attention to will be contemporary accounts by medical people living and working through the present pandemic. But this does worry me. Medical people who went through the great flu pandemic a century ago seem to have repressed memories of it and autobiographies of prominent doctors who were at ground zero skipped the whole episode in their writings. I hope that this will not be the case again.

    4. Jesper

      I agree & will link to a professor who’d (in my interpretation) support it as well:

      In other words, the plural of anecdote, to be more precise, might be valid data leading to a potentially significant conclusion. For that reason, when an unusual anecdote capture one’s attention, it shouldn’t be casually dismissed, lest a deeper truth be missed.

      The ones who routinely and without investigation dismisses anecdotes and/or studies with low N might miss potentially very interesting new findings.
      To make matters worse those people tend to be confused about the difference between co-incidence and still unexplained correlation that might even be partial causation.
      Statistical software makes statistics appear a lot easier than it is, there are plenty of ways data can be misinterpreted and misunderstood – even for the ones aware of potential pitfalls.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      And, as Bret Weinstein often laments, what treatment is often offered to patients who show up in doctor’s offices or ERs with mild covid symptoms not (yet) requiring hospitalization?

      Nothing. Go home, eat chicken soup and come back if it gets worse.

      In a country supposedly so concerned with the human devastation covid is causing, having Ivermectin available and not using it is positively indefensible and inexplicable, unless something else very different than what’s being “advertised” is going on. Under the circumstances, the rabid campaign against Ivermectin, embodied in the sneering “n=89” or “it’s a pig de-wormer,” makes absolutely zero sense, given the drug’s profile and history.

      This is not the germ of some crazy “conspiracy” theory. It’s real, and it’s as plain as the nose on your face. And “fast-tracking” fda “approval” of the “vaccine” does not resolve the issue. In fact, it muddies the waters even more.

      1. Carolinian

        Did I mention that Pfizer is raising the price of their shot in response to market conditions? Mixing capitalism and health care–the big business version of capitalism–has been a disaster for decades and long before the pandemic.

        The communists said we would sell them the rope to hang us with. They are gone so we are selling ourselves the rope instead. Those who benefit will never yield to those who don’t unless–in the manner of Michael Hudson’s debt jubilee–they are forced to do so. Meanwhile they have given Ivermectin a wallet biopsy and declared it useless.

        1. m

          Watch Israel, they are starting these third shot boosters on the elderly.
          Wasn’t India giving out care packs with ivermectin, zinc and azithromycin, then the WHO had a talk with Modi and he started pushing vax. A few Indian states continuing with the care packs and suing the government. Isn’t Mexico using ivermectin. These neighborhoods with crowded conditions and our numbers are worse, why?
          As a funny, Bill Gates is back from the dead, no questions about divorce/wants his privacy, sorry about hanging out with Epstein/they weren’t really that close, but he really wants us all to get vaccine. Gates is like Hillary Clinton, they just don’t get it.
          He must really want that worldwide passport database. What reason could there be, I doubt he wants to help humanity?

      2. Cuibono

        actually that is grossly unfair to chickensoup (which has some evidence in influenza).
        but sending people home to wait till they get desperately short of breath is akin to what we did to the nursing homes imo. it is NOT doctoring.

    6. GrumpyOldMan

      Sorry Doc, but your argument nets you the same F that you’re so eager to give out. Your medical knowledge unfortunately doesn’t seem to translate well to Statistics, and your arguments are, ironically, “profoundly faulty and unscientific.”

      The gist of it should be that the initial trial at N=89 is fine to point out a strong enough effect (and their effect is fairly strong, 72% in the ivermectin branch versus 50% in the control one for viral load reduction, for ex.) so that the likelihood of different distributions is high in spite of the rather large confidence intervals. This makes it worth investigating with larger samples at the very least.

      Instead, you used false analogies – the historical examples are irrelevant for this trial and the approval in those cases was likely not based on those initial papers alone; also “hundreds of medical breakthroughs have been birthed with papers with Ns much less than 89” tells one nothing about the number of false effects published in “papers with Ns much less than 89.” Perhaps you’ve heard of the reproducibility problem that plagues the published corpus in a lot of fields, including the medical one. Each paper should stand or fall on its own merit, anything else is an example of “unscientific thinking.”

      The unfortunate truth here is that supporting the right conclusion with wrong arguments is just as bad as supporting the wrong conclusion with the wrong arguments – you might as well flip a coin for it. It’s not just bad science, it’s bad for crafting policy decisions, for building trust, and so on and so forth. Please stop doing it.

      1. IM Doc

        My goodness.

        When I was a little kid and my grandma caught me saying absurd things, she would often sit on the porch in the hot summer evening and look me in the eye and state the following – “When the hot air is blowing, sometimes a girl just needs to sit on the porch and fan herself.” Then I would be often asked to go get a switch.

        Your comment somehow brought me that flashback.

        I have been doing medical statistics for three decades now. Long before the advent of “Evidence Based medicine” we were actually doing REAL statistics not the current format forced upon us all by Big Pharma.

        And the fact of the matter is that medical research by and large follows the same pattern especially when pharmaceutical or therapeutic procedures are employed. We do SMALL studies first based on hypotheses and findings coming out of basic research. Once signal is obtained in both efficacy and safety, ever larger studies are done until we do indeed very large randomized controlled studies. This is the way it is – and I am sorry you do not agree. You must be living in a different world. Not just this study – but multiple dozens of others have found very positive signals with ivermectin for COVID. And the safety of this agent is out there for 30 years for all to see. A few dozen real problems out of billions of doses given – and most of those were the Jarisch Herxheimer reactions because it worked so well on worms and other parasites.

        The fact we are not doing further studies on this drug is a supreme example of this entire establishment not practicing the tenets of science and medicine but instead practicing the tenets of business.

        The “false analogies” I used were actually very carefully chosen. Along with hundreds and possibly thousands of other agents/procedures when they were first being studied in humans, the N was very small. One of those “false analogies” is an antiviral just like what we are currently dealing with, the other is a drug with great amounts of trepidation at the time being safe/effective in the intended group. I could have easily added things like Bactrim for PCP or Zithromax and doxycycline for H pylori – they all started the same way – with a very small N.

        What would be your choice for a “true analogy”. By that comment alone, I am not sure you are undertstanding the entire point.

        And I will add that it is Big Pharma itself that is the great traitor to this concept. Please go read the book “Bad Pharma” by Ben Goldacre – it is chocked full of example after example of how Pharma does these early studies with a low N, the results are not what they wanted, and the studies never see the light of day. Furthermore, they have become expert at manipulating study methods and arms to make their products look way better than they every would – or worse making other drugs look worse. The “big study” prospects that I have been able to read for COVID/Ivermectin appear to be in that category, purposely being designed to not be fully transparent about efficacy or lack thereof.

        Again – your statement about papers published with “false effects” with numbers of less than 89 is in today’s world almost always a role played by Big Pharma. They have become expert at disappearing things that do not fit the narrative they are trying to push about their product.

        I would just say again. This is EARLY research on ivermectin. If you cannot see the overwhelmingly positive signals coming from these dozens of papers, you do not understand statistics. In medicine’s past, when this was seen from a drug or procedure, people would have been falling over themselves to really get the compound into bigger studies to really see what was going on.

        We are not doing this at all. We are censoring, suppressing, confusing and propagandizing. We are not practicing medicine or science. WE ARE PRACTICING BUSINESS.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        How DARE you insult a respected commentor, whose articles here have been praised by professors of medicine at top universities. As IM Doc explained, your assertions are false and you demonstrate no knowledge of statistics. This is basically a long and unsubstantiated finger wag, compounded by a groundless personal attack. Take your bile elsewhere.

    7. Steve H.

      Janet and I found that anecdota were critical in our decision-making. When her father died in January, his death was not listed as Covid despite months rotating through ICU-regular bed-rehab. Of the people we knew who had a direct relative die, only one of three were listed as Covid. And a friend of Janet had her mother die on a second jab.

      Janet is a nurse, and nurses are a biased sample, seeing the extremes of the downside of treatments. But see them they have. I have not understood this vilification of heath-care workers who are vaccine hesitant. If I wanted to know how a war was going, I’d check in with the front-line soldiers, not just the generals.

      I think that, technically, the transition points could be described by Bayesian priors, with early direct information having high veracity. Anchoring is a cognitive bias that’s been selected for because it’s successful, for awhile. Disproving resulting superstitions is where the scientific method is successful, given enough time. But time is always an issue, isn’t it?

    8. Dean lists 75 clinical trials of ivermectin and covid :

      Most are in countries outside of the US and many are still recruiting. Many may be small studies but I agree with you that N may not be important if P<.05.

      Two larger studies in the US are listed: NCT04510194 and NCT04885530.

      The first, sponsored by the University of Minnesota with 1160 subjects was first posted 8/12/2020 but is still recruiting patients. Not sure why it should take a year to recruit patients? Thoughts?

      The second sponsored at Duke of 15000 participants (though two other drugs are studied) is now recruiting after first posted 5/13/2021.

      I am sure you know far better than I what it takes in this era to jump on an idea to bring it to clinical trials. Given that there is no drug company sponsor the process might involve funding (grant applications?), IRB approval, FDA approval, resolution of potential conflicts between IRB and FDA, and final approval. Are these steps fast-tracked now?

      There does appear to be a mindset of the authorities and experts that vaccines are the best (or only) way to end the pandemic while potential therapeutics are disdained.

    9. IM Doc

      I want to make something very clear that I failed to do so in the original comment.

      I am referring to EARLY trials. When drugs are coming out of basic research into the clinical research that is then warranted because something in the or early clinical research was very strong. No one in their right mind would enroll tens of thousands in these early studies – these are put in place to see if there is indeed a signal – and more importantly to follow through on any signals on safety issues. THEN we proceed with really large clinical trials with hundreds or thousands of subjects. Those are then the sentinel studies that we see in places like NEJM and JAMA. Please note – there are lots of things that look very good in early studies that do not pan out. But this is one of the paths that new things do get discovered – small trials – lead to bigger trials – lead to sentinel trials – lead to the standard of care. My point being – we are very early in Ivermectin research for COVID. These small studies with bright signals should be driving larger trials with more statistical power. SHOULD BE. THAT IS HOW IT IS DONE. We do not disparage studies in this stage of the game because the N is small. The fact that this work and this process is not being done for ivermectin is a very strong indicator that we are not practicing medicine or science. We are practicing business. It is that simple.

      But even fundamental sentinel studies found in NEJM or JAMA do not have to have large Ns to be considered landmark. One example that comes right off my head is Professor Warren Jackman’s landmark study for catheter ablation of bypass tracts causing rhythm problems. This was published in NEJM in the very late 80s or early 90s. He had less than 100 patients. Had we thrown that study out because of an insufficient N, the next 30 years would never have happened or been delayed. The initial work on that procedure was done only for a very rare heart condition called Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. Because it was demonstrated to work so amazingly well in this small subject study and others like it, over the years, it has now become a standard of care for things much more common like A FIB. It is used probably 100s of times daily for A FIB patients and has helped tens of thousands. The procedure today is often just referred to as “ablation”.

      Again, the strong signal from ivermectin is just that – a strong signal for benefit. Physicians my age have gone on much less during the AIDS pandemic for things that seemed just as promising. And as I have repeatedly stated, the signal has been repeated in my own practice. There really are no significant safety issues with ivermectin – and I was able to keep way more people out of the hospital during our fall/winter surge here than my colleagues who were not using it. To the point that I was asked by the administration of the hospital what I was doing – because in the crisis – they noted how many less patients of mine were being admitted to the hospital.

      1. Prof KR

        I was on a year’s leave in India, and I (and, my wife and son) got the 2 doses of the Indian version of AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccines, with the second dose at the end of April.

        We are thinking about taking another shot of the single dose J&J vaccine because we plan to travel to the UK sometime in September and the “vaccinated exemption from quarantine” does not apply for US citizens who were vaccinated abroad. I emailed the CDC about this issue and got a bland reply referring to what is posted in the CDC site. But the CDC site says that for someone like me (vaccinated with AZ vaccine abroad) there is “no need” for another US approved vaccine dose. But “not needed” is not the same as “should not” and the CDC did not answer my direct question.

        We do not want the two dose mRNA vaccines (mainly logistical — we will not have time for the two doses plus the 14 day gap before the UK trip; I am also a little vary about mRNA vaccines).

        Is there any discussion about such issues, particularly in light of discussions in the UK, Germany, and France about booster doses? Thanks in advance.

      2. whatsupdoc

        it might behoove someone to look at the sponsorship of some of the large trials coming up.
        just saying

      3. MichaelC

        First, I want to thank you for all your reporting

        Second I’d like to hear if anyone agrees/disagrees w my conclusion that the current vaccine push/ shaming is futile,mainly because the anti Vaxers, even if they can be convinced to vax, are fighting the last war and they’re arriving too late. Delta is not just a variant, it’s a new virus. Even after Vax we’re all Thyphoid (Covid) Mary’s

        If 80% of the new cases since 7/4 as of 7/31 (per 8/3) are Delta variants
        Then is it reasonable to conclude that the earlier strains had been largely controlled via hitting vaccination targets for the eligibles plus natural immunity in the previously infected in those regions where vax uptake was high.

        One data point I’d like to see is how many unvaxed had covid. In my neighborhood I suspect that’s a high %, in which case NYCs shaming
        /vaccination proof policy is self defeating and oppressive since they reasonably don’t want or need the vaccine but won’t be able to work without it. And since the vaccine is ineffective re spread it’s pointless to those who suffered early on w they disease to now be faced w economic ruin due to a baseless gov dictat.

        The pre 7/4 outbreaks were popping up in low vaccination parts of the country and were pre Delta strain infections. Vaccination increases in those areas pre 7/4 would likely have mirrored the results of high vax uptake areas. Targeted shaming of non Vaxers might have been a reasonable strategy then, but that horse left the barn when Delta arrived.

        But now vax does nothing to eliminate the Delta spread risk, it only mitigates the damage if one wins the race to the get the vaccine before catching it. We’re past that point. The health care system will be overwhelmed as it was in early days 2020 hotspots.

        I live in NYC in one of the Queens neighborhood that was at the epicenter of the initial wave. In my zip code (11372) the vaccination rate is at 80% + and the current rate of infections is low relative to NYC. This is also one of the most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in the country. I have nurse fiends who work in the local public hospitals and so far they aren’t seeing a spike. And 90% of the population wears masks indoors and outdoors, no mandate needed.

        I agree that we should urge everyone who is not vaccinated to get it ASAP solely to mitigate the risk of hospitalization, long covid after effects and possible death.

        But once vaccinated, we need to accept the reality that we are still at great risk of being inadvertent spreaders/mutation Petri dish enablers. IMHO the NYC Homecoming festivities and the vaccine ‘passport’ are terrible public policy initiates cause they’re predicated on the assumption that if you’re vaccinated, you’re safe and you’re not a risk to others.

        The Provincetown breakout put the lie to that idea, as 70%+ of the outbreak was among vaccinated people.

        What is underreported, and what freaked out the CDC was that the outbreak occurred during ‘Bear Week’ in PTown. Suffice to say there’s an extreme lack of social distancing or mask wearing at that annual event.

        So in light of the vaccinated PTown breakthrough, those Ozark lake parties probably don’t look so attractive to covid denying pols.

        And since there’s no Delta vax available anywhere the CDC should focus their attention on treatments . I’m looking at you Ivermectin, nanobodies and naso Prophylactics

        And as individuals I hope we continue to ignore the chucklehead pols who want us to behave as tho it’s game over (as my neighbors ignore them). We’re at the end of the beginning.

        Disclaimer: my great grandparents died within a week of each other in the second wave of the 1918 flu epidemic so you may want to factor that bias into my analysis.

        Stay safe

    10. zagonostra

      I think we should all reflect on not only why this is not being done but also the exact opposite is being done – an active censoring and propaganda campaign.

      The problem is that ideology is only viewed as such by those who are outside of it and not in it. Those who have a particular ideology would never call it such. So too propaganda.

      A “propaganda campaign” from the perspective of those “inside” is construed as institutions, such as the media, acting responsibly, providing authoritative critical medical information, or so we are told.

      Brings to mind Arthur Koestler’s “The God that Failed.” All you have to do is substitute “communism” with “science.”

      1. Acacia

        Those who have a particular ideology would never call it such. So too propaganda.

        Good point. Althusser put it like this: “As is well known, the accusation of being in ideology only applies to others, never to oneself.”

        1. Count Zero

          And as Althusser also said: ideology is an imaginary relationship to your real conditions of existence. So it’s pointless arguing.

    11. QuicksilverMessenger

      Yes, and I think that most of the commentariat yesterday would have given the commentor to whom you refer a grade F for his overall contributions yesterday. As Yves rightly pointed out, commentator Cross was more invested in winning an (as it turned out) ever-changing and ever-shifting argument, than truly trying to get to the bottom of all of this.
      Thank you IM Doc for this post today, because I had no idea about Ns and what that really means.

    12. Richard Needleman

      The boilerplate, “number of subjects too small” should not be said by anyone who doesn’t understand how to calculate the number of subjects required based on the case frequency and the magnitude of the expected effect. This choice is not a personal whim….

  4. The Rev Kev

    Vasya the cat is one tough Battle-Cat! And he managed to bluff that bear. The bear itself had a look of what-does-that-cat-know-that-I-don’t know about it of confusion.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Women need to learn that. Seriously. I wind up being party to too many crime shows because my mother likes them. They always always always model women cowering and begging when at least half the time, the woman has a clear opening to fight back (start with going for the eyes. Even if you can’t gouge them out, the guy will jerk his head back, which gives another opening like kneeing his balls or stomping on his foot).

      One time, I saw a tape of a man pursuing a woman on an otherwise empty street. She realized he was after her. Rather than run, she stuffed her right hand in her pocket, turned around, and walked aggressively towards him, staring right at him. He turned around and went into retreat.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I believe there is research going back years that rapists/killers specifically target those they percieve as more passive (even if they are not aware of this themselves). As someone who grew up on the border of a rough neighbourhood, I learned at an early age that staying calm and meeting someones eyes was a very good way to make someone bigger and more threatening than me stand down (it may of course be different for women). My social worker sister is very petite and worked for many years with disturbed youths, but she never once experienced a physical threat – she knew how to calm situations down, unlike some of her bigger colleagues who would regularly get on the wrong end of a violent kid.

        A self defence teacher I know once told me that he had a few regrets about his teaching methods when he learned that one of his female students got badly beaten up in a fight. She was a little overconfident and got stuck in a street argument situation that she should have just walked away from. We should learn from the animal kingdom, that looking big and confident and knowing when to fight dirty can be just as important as actualy having claws or sharp teeth.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Your strategy works for women too. I was never physically afraid of boys because I was way bigger than them till middle school, plus my father (only a little taller than average height) was able to convey a “don’t fuck with me” vibe that was very effective.

          As a result, I’ve almost never had men try to get aggressive with me. The few times they have, I too have stared them down. It wan’t even a strategy, my face goes into a “Are you stupid?” expression out of reflex. That is so not what they are used to from women that they back down.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i can attest to the utility of being able to turn on the “don’t fuck with me” glamour(in the gardnerian magickal sense)
            takes practice, though…you have to mean it.
            exude “i’ll eat your frelling eyeballs”
            also helps to be sort of scary my case, like i live in a hollow log, with a crazy-eye.

            this talent has come in real handy when the grocery store was full of “it ain’t real”-ers.

      2. Tom Stone

        Yves, Wilson Mizner put it well.
        “It’s the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the3 dog in the fight”.
        Predators want easy meat, an instant and aggressive response will often cause them to back off.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          A long time ago & I read a Martin Amis novel titled London fields that featured a woman he referred to as a murderee. I can’t recall hardly any of it but perhaps such people exist like the character played by Diane Keaton in the film looking for Mr. Goodbar, which I saw at around the same time, whose behaviour was very likely to lead to a fatal outcome.

          I was taught my don’t **** with me vibe & other tricks by an army friend of my Dad’s at age 9, it gradually made me into a nettle that for the most part was not worth the grasping of, which was useful for an often new kid in army camp schools.

      3. Cocomaan

        Don’t forget biting as a tactic. Bites often lead to infection. The human mouth is dirty and the specific bacteria can make a human bite way more infective than the dirtiest animal bite. Plus bites are easily identifiable.

        1. kareninca

          Coughing is very good. The one time in my life – in the 1980s, late at night on the street in Berkleley, CA – that I was in serious peril of rape, I started coughing. I figured, who would want to rape someone who is diseased. Gaggy, relentless cough. Suddenly the guy, who had been building up to attack, said, “You sound really sick.” And left.

          1. R

            My father had a patient who was the daughter of the Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines in WW2. Among her many stories (playing Monopoly in typhoon shelters with real money; burying black pearls in the garden as Japanese invaded Manila; living with cannibals in the jungle during the war; learning she was the reincarnation of an elephant from said cannibals; leaving said cannibals during the liberation of Manila and watching the Japanese flocking the other way for, er, dinner), she told one of being lined up by Japanese soldiers with her sisters and girlfriends and only escaping rape because she bit the inside of her mouth and coughed up cherry red sputum like a TB patient, of which pre-antibiotic Japan had a horror.

            She published a book, Thunder over Manila, by L Horowitz (poss. Horovitz) – if anybody knows of a copy, I would love to track it down. She buried three husbands so I may have got the wrong name!

            Another of her stories was that, on returning to her house from the jungle, a Japanese soldier surprised her in the house but declared himself that very rare thing, a Japanese Christian, and left without attacking. She also talked about seeing the Japanese bayonetting babies but I have never known if that was just a war cliche you had to claim.

      4. Lee

        Similarly, my mother was once followed in an empty parking lot to her car by a guy after she had closed down the restaurant she managed. She stuck her hand in her purse, turned toward him and stood her ground. He stopped in his tracks, thought better of it, did an about face and walked on. Good thing for him for this was no bluff. She had a pistol in her purse that she was willing and able to use. .

        1. newcatty

          Fortunately, I had only one incident in my life where a man tried to strongarm me into a waiting car. I was walking home from a morning shift from work. It was a bright sunny afternoon in a hot city. I had walked the route many times, only in daytime. This was a main street in my neighborhood and I had never felt unsafe.

          All of a sudden a young male was walking next to me and smiled. He said something like hey, I want you to come with me, now. I kept walking and tried to try a tactic that, of course didn’t work. I pointed to my engagement ring and said ,uh, I am not interested in seeing anyone else. He grabbed my arms and held them tightly against my back. I felt an object put into my lower back. A gun? I noticed that at my apartment pool, within shouting distance, people were lounging by the pool. One was the manager. I said to guy, see those people at the pool up ahead at apartment complex? I know them and I will scream for help and for the cops. He released me and jumped back into car waiting for him at the curb. The driver raced off and I ran home. My manager, a nice guy, was angry and gratified I was OK. We called the cops and my fiance. To end the story the cops were crickets. Showed sympathy, but in a line-up at the station of potential peeps were men who did not fit my description of man, except for ethnicity. Only thing that was good out of it, was more surveillance along the street. No, I never walked home alone anymore. I missed the leisurely walks home.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            That sounds a terrifying experience, I’m glad you were able to deal with it so well.

      5. zagonostra

        I think if popular culture is any indication, women are now placed in positions where they are superior to men in both physical prowess and intellect. Just look at the roles Scarlett Johansson has been playing. I often hear my male friends lament the “feminization” of the culture and the dominant/strong role they are being typecast in. Of course when I relayed this sentiment to my two daughters, they responded, “it’s about time.”

    1. Arizona Slim

      Helpful hint from Arizona Slim: If you’re planning to go down Mexico way, leave your guns at home.

      The Mexican authorities do not take kindly to Americans bringing their shootin’ irons with them, and they have been known to throw Yankees in jail for an indefinite period of time. And Mexican jails are nowhere near as nice as, say, those resorts in Rocky Point and Cabo San Lucas.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Did they name “Fast and Furious eric holder” as a co-defendant?

      [Murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian] Terry’s death was supposedly the incident that led to revelation of Fast and Furious — the program that saw the feds turn blind eyes to 2,000 or so firearms illegally purchased by drug smugglers, in hopes of tracing them to cartel big-wigs. Sadly, the feds then lost track of 1,400 or so of these weapons — two of which turned up at Terry’s crime scene.

      Odds are the gun manufacturers will bring some of that up in their defense. I hope we hear about it.

    3. a fax machine

      There’s only one consequence of this: US mfgs will either loose or settle by refusing to sell any weapons to Mexico’s military and refusing to sell any weapons to any illegal immigrant/noncitizen within the US. This sets the stage for a larger showdown over aliens 2A rights, which they usually don’t have. Only California explicitly requires dealers to sell to aliens, but is also more than happy to deport said aliens over noncompliant firearms. The recent SCOTUS case striking down CA’s AWB might change this, but nothing is certain. That is the American angle.

      For the Mexican angle, it shows that AMLO is a true progressive and is willing to preform stunts that make it more difficult for future, potentially fascist, leaders to obtain cheap weaponry easily. However, AMLO will probably be forced to build his own guns again, a situation that US mfgs don’t want as it might inspire a similar program in the US. The only thing stopping the US gov’t from making it’s own firearms again are Republicans’ insistence on allowing grifting and Democrats’ general ignorance about firearms. Which is unfortunate, because a US gun mfg’er would be the only way a US Assault Weapons Ban could be practically enforced as, if the US gov’t gun designs were in the public domain, that is what everyone would build the aftermarket around.

      Whatever happens, one hopes that politicians are at least willing to admit that controlling defense contracting, war and imperialism are requirements for gun control not things they can ignore. If police officers can use gangster guns then non-licensed gangsters, also known as gangsters, will too. Which is where this slams into BLM, the more people put in jail for gun crimes the more potential recruits gangs have.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Cargo bikes deliver faster and cleaner than vans, study finds Guardian

    Cargo bikes have proven extremely efficient in many European cities, especially older cities with narrow roads and lanes. They can get to places vans can’t (courtyards, pedestrianised streets, narrow choked lanes), and are usually impervious to traffic hold ups (at least in skilled hands).

    The big problem though is that as usual, road traffic engineers and national guidelines are far behind technology. In my area, with the usual engineering brilliance I associate with Dublin City Council road engineering department, they put in cycle lanes which are so narrow they actually block cargo bikes (which are also very popular with people transporting kids), so forcing them out onto narrowed road lanes on dangerous junctions.

    In the past few years there has been a sea change in the technology available for urban transport. There are electric scooters, super powerful electric bikes (favoured by food delivery companies), cargo bikes (powered and unpowered), mini EV’s of various kinds, including the usual monstrous oversized and overengineered cars, trucks, SUV’s and so on. And yet in nearly every country, regulations, parking and road layouts are struggling to catch up. Only the ‘shared surface’ concept popular in the Netherlands seems capable of addressing all these tech needs.

    If regulators don’t catch up they are in great danger of accidentally outlawing some of the most useful inventions of recent years. Its already happened with electric scooters, which could be an emormous benefit to public transport (by solving the ‘last mile’ problem), instead turning them into a problem.

    1. juno mas

      I agree that cargo bikes can be more efficient at local delivery than large vehicles. Whether the more “useful” inventions (e-scooters, e-bikes) will be an enormous benefit to public transport is questionable. (Where I live (US) anyway.)

      In my coastal, tourist community the e-bike, e-scooters do not mix well with either cars or pedestrians. The e-bikes go too fast and the scooters (small wheels) prefer pedestrian sidewalks (where they are illegal). Both the bikes and the scooters are not used for ‘last mile’ transport but dangerous inattentive excursions through crowded places with un-helmeted children grasping the steering post of scooters with someone older at the controls.

      Powerfule e-bikes are now ridden by kids as young as ten (little spatial awareness) on roadside bike lanes with no consideration for safety (theirs or others). The development of physical fitness in kids from riding a real bicycle will likely diminish; if they can make it to maturity.

      A real bike is a wonder of mechanical efficiency and positive physical exercise. The e-bike is simply creating faster transport, but not being used for the ‘last mile’.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    How a fake network pushes pro-China propaganda – BBC

    There is an interesting history with the BBC and China (and Fox).

    Back in the mid 1990’s the BBC did a high profile documentary on the shocking state of orphanages in China, where a combination of the one child policy and the difficulty in getting abortions meant that numerous female babies were dumped. China responded by blocking BBC access to China (they were dependent on satellite access via the satellite channel StarTV). This gave a huge opportunity to Rupert Murdoch, who jumped on the opportunity to be a Beijing shill, and he got his license to take over Star Network. For many years, no Murdoch outlet would publish anything negative on China. China found this a very nice easy way to ensure positive coverage in the West, Murdoch of course being happy to oblige.

    When Murdoch jumped on the anti-Beijing bandwagon a few years ago I thought it was very significant – he would never have done so without a very clear signal from his fellow billionares that this was the right direction to go. Either he decided that he’d made enough money from China to focus elsewhere, or he was told he had to choose one or the other, he couldn’t be a propogandist for the West and China.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “How a fake network pushes pro-China propaganda”

    Man, I would have expected better of the Chinese. This is real amateur hour stuff and is definitely not worthy of the CCP. And that cartoon was simply embarrassing. Don’t they know that they could have simply gotten in contact with Mark Zuckerberg and leased some of the hundreds of millions of fake accounts on Facebook instead? Probably would have been cheaper too. Outsourcing, baby! That’s the way to go.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Biochar: The waste product that could help mitigate climate change PhyOrg

    This is a useful addition to discussing the hot topic of soil and CO2. Its been known for years that biochar has a lot of potential for long term storage – it seems stable for hundreds of years at least in soil and is a very useful additive to lots of soil types, especially heavy clays.

    A key problem though is that its pretty polluting to make without the right technology. Its basically charcoal, and charcoal burning has historically been always known as one of the worst jobs for longevity, as even in centuries past it was known to destroy lungs.

    So basically, someone needs to find a way to turn waste organic material into biochar with small scale or mobile plants that don’t emit carcinogens. Its not impossible (I know a guy who did his engineering PhD on this 25 years ago), but nobody seems to have the incentive to do it. Its one of those apparently simple things which proves very difficult to implementin the real world.

    1. Conor O'Brien

      There have been a few on-farm charcoal making attempts here in the past few years, particularly among regenerative farming folks. The ones that I heard about were ‘cheap and cheerful’ attempts to make charcoal for on farm trials.
      There is a bio-char coop. The awareness, and consequently, demand is low.
      It would be a neat solution to the Rhododendron spread.
      Do you have links to the PhD work?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There are lots of cheap and cheerful ways of making charcoal, its a very simple process. A friend had a nice little burner made using old oil tanks. In the UK anyway, they have to be mobile as if you move them once a month you don’t need planning permission or related permits for them. If they are permanent, you do, which is a world of hurt in terms of getting through bureaucracy.

        Its fine when its small and mobile, but when scaled up you will face serious issues with air pollution. Unfortunately, this is the scale thats needed to make a real impact.

        I’m afraid I don’t have a link to that PhD, I’m not even sure if it was published, I recall him telling me that due to changes in the department (this was in Birmingham University in the UK) he had to change tack. His research was on mobile compact gasification plant which would have biochar as a byproduct in addition to gas, mostly for using municipal organic waste. A couple of years ago I came across a German company that was marketing something similar on a large scale, for mixed waste, but I can’t recall the technical details.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      People and groups have been working on this.

      And there are technosystems designed to heat high carbon biomass up just enough to drive off the volatilizable molecules without burning them and without losing them . . . collecting them instead . . . . and leaving the hard carbon cell-wall structures behind as biochar. The off-driven volatiles are then sold as various products. Here is a paper called ” Wood Vinegar and Biochar In Agriculture”.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    US blocks seafood from Fiji ship accused of enslaving crew Al Jazeera

    There are some very shocking figures out there for the extent of slavery in Asian fishing fleets. I suspect that the chaos in Myanmar is resulting in even more desperate people that can be exploited.

    I wonder how many of those people busy campaigning for the statues of people associated with slavery 200 years ago to be taken down have eaten seafood in their local Chinese or Thai restaurant. If so, there is a very high probability that they are directly financing slavery.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Mirror, Mirror 2021: Reflecting Poorly Commonwealth Fund

    There are some pretty stunning graphs in this indicating just how far behind the US is with healthcare.

    I think one thing it highlights – which campaigners need to focus on – is not the quality of healthcare, or even the equality of healthcare, but the overall costs. USasians spend at least a third more (by percentage of GNP) than is the norm in developed countries. The US spends more than twice the expenditure in Taiwan, which is the country that has a healthcare system closest to ‘Medicare for All’ (because they explicitly based their system on Medicare, just making it universal).

    I do wonder whether a simple message line ‘why do you support a system that swallows up 8% of GNP in bureacracy and waste?’ was hammered over and over again to every politician, it might in the long term have greater impact.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      All of us who live in the USofA should send the link to this Commonwealth Fund post to our Congress Critters, to state political party chairs, and state legislators. For convenience here’s a shrunken URL for it:

    2. Pelham

      Sadly, US pols have near infinite ability to avoid uncomfortable questions on this subject, in part aided by media that depend heavily on pharmaceutical and other types of medical advertising. (In my conspiracy mode, I believe the law that allowed our TV airwaves to be saturated with prescription-drug ads was aimed in part at aligning the interests of media with Big Pharma.) Thus the debate over single payer can drag on in certain attention-deprived quarters for decades with basically no air to ignite it into a burning issue. Sort of like the oxygen-starved process of creating biochar, metaphorically speaking.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Rebirth of a Nation: US History According to DW Griffith”

    I doubt that modern audiences will sit through the hoary melodrama of the 1915 film “Birth of a Nation”. Modern kids would laugh themselves silly at it. And as far as “Gone With the Wind” is concerned, kids would not even recognize the name Clark Gable. The only interesting thing in that article was the mention of how “Birth of a Nation” was based on a book that came out a decade earlier called “The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan.” Man, no wonder the film was so hateful. And you should read the Wikipedia entry for that book’s author as well-

    1. Carolinian

      St. Clair

      Since many high school students across the country will be back to learning their history of the US from Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind

      Whaaa? Can’t even get the hook right.

      St. Clair has lately taken to posing as a movie expert including, in one sidebar, referring to Louis B. Meyer not once but three times.

      I opined on Birth a few days ago and no need to repeat. But if one wants to look to Hollywood for racism there’s a vast supply of examples and Spike Lee even made a movie about it. Griffith probably picked that novel so it would allow a then innovative suspense/chase climax, not to proselytize for a dormant Klan (which then came back). In terms of modern consciousness the movie is about as dead meat as dead meat gets. But it does give professional scolds something to talk about.

    2. Heraclitus

      Dixon was, as one Wikipedia description of him said, ‘the most famous American of his day,’ before he ever put pen to paper. He spent most of his long life in the North, in Boston and New York, as a Baptist preacher. He was famous for his oratorical skills. He intervened to support his friends Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt at important points in their political careers.

      About ten or fifteen years ago, I was attending the Livermush Festival in Shelby, NC, and stumbled upon his grave. Dixon wrote ‘The Clansman’ after being angered by a play version of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. In his mind, he was setting the historical record straight. He made and lost three fortunes. He died around 1940, working as a clerk at a department store in Raleigh, NC.

    1. Oh

      I wonder when that low life scumbag is gonna kick the bucket. Rumsfeld and Rush are waiting for him in hell.

    2. Dr. R.k. Barkhi

      Like he was while enabling the 9/11 fraud or overseeing the bloated and corrupt payments to Halliburton for faulty and defective equipment for the unethical mid-East wars?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The only thing that would trouble Cheney would be an apparent reduction of interest by today’s Republicans in recreational wars overseas. Cheney would hate to see the Republicans give those up.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Afghan economy on verge of collapse as US troops depart”

    This only talks about the regular economy but there were programs where US soldiers were handing out money left and right to buy the Afghani’s loyalty which has now dissappeared. Here is an example-

    ‘I also definitely fueled the black market – and likely the Taliban – by distorting the local economy with literal bags of cash. I paid corrupt contractors to build defenses and helipads we seemed to need or I’d been ordered to construct. I handed out weekly paychecks to sometimes 1,000 average Afghans in what was called the “CFW” program, but should’ve been called “CFPW” – Cash for Pretending to Work. Naturally, my own light-fraud, waste, and abuse ran only into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – whereas the Pentagon admits to hundreds of billions lost to waste and fraud. All told, Washington has spent a minimum of $6.4 trillion and counting in taxpayer dollars on a 20-year crusade as doomed as the original medieval march of European knights to the Holy Land.’

    1. David

      I doubt if that’s more than a small proportion of the economic effect, actually. In fact, this kind of thing happens virtually every time a large international deployment in a country finishes. It’s notorious that UN peacekeeping missions can have budgets which are actually greater than the GDPs of the countries they are deployed in. (This was true of Liberia and Sierra Leone, for example). It’s certainly true in Afghanistan, where the running costs of the international effort there well exceeded the country’s GDP, and foreigners (including NGOs and international organisations who are frequently very big spenders) were the major economic actors in the country. I would imagine a lot of NGOs, who pay good salaries to locals, will have up and gone already because it’s too dangerous.

      This is a facet of what’s come to be recognised as one of the unexpected negative effects of peace missions generally: they distort the economy and produce perverse incentives. All sorts of people – interpreters, taxi drivers, but also domestic staff, waiters, drivers, vehicle mechanics etc. etc. suddenly become extremely important, and make good money. In many cases, the main criterion is the ability to speak a rudimentary form of English. (Example: in Sarajevo after the civil war, there was no public transport from the airport, and the taxi cartel charged 25DM for a one-way trip of about ten minutes. This was in a country where a decent monthly salary was about 250DM, so if you were reasonably fluent in English, you could buy a Mercedes and make your fortune. Even working as a domestic cleaner for NATO or the EU you’d have earned more than, say, a nurse or a teacher).
      It’s unsurprising, in the circumstances, that very large parts of the population of such countries actually don’t want the foreigners to leave, even though in theory they say they do.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Not just the country thats the recipient of the aid (or the bombs), but the neighbours. The Vietnam War had a highly destabilising effect on the economy and society of Thailand, not to mention Laos and Cambodia. I’ve seen it argued that the economic effect of supplying the Korean War gave Japan the capital to kick start its recovery. Even Germany has found that the US presence is regionally important economically.

        The disparity in wealth between countries is so vast what is effectively couch lint spending for one can have an enormous impact, for good and ill, on small weaker economies.

        1. Oh

          Certainly the Vietnam war gave a big boost to the Japanese economy and helped it grow. If you look at Vietnam era documentaries and news shows you can see a lot of Honda motorcyces along with transistor radios, etc. all supplied by Japan. I daresay that small armaments were also manufactured in Japan.

          1. Mantid

            Oh, By the way. While the US was in Vietnam and Cambodia, heroin was the big sale in the streets. While the US was in Nicaragua, the Iran/Contra days brought American streets crack, the well to do had the cocaine. While the US was in Afghanistan, poppies were the rage.

            The US has and does conduct many profitable wars. Don’t forget the Boxer rebellion.

            1. Dr. R.k. Barkhi

              All courtesy of the CIA which discovered that drug running (and enabling) is a hugely profitable enterprise which funds its many secret”black ops”*. Bush Sr (ex-Cia head) was instrumental in inciting n abetting the crack/cocaine crisis of the 1980s with Ollie North and Air America bringing the stuff into the country. Afghanistan was invaded partly for better access to and to restore the poppy production,a pre-existing and important profit source for the CIA.

              *Hidden even from the government’s oversight members.

        2. Procopius

          I don’t think the Vietnam War had as much destabilizing effect on Thailand as the CIA anticommunist drive. Incidentally, I found it interesting that the first “communist” insurrection, in the Northeast, started just one month after the U.S. Government signed a military aid package with Field Marshall Sarit. The biggest source of corruption during that period was illegal logging by the Army in the Northeast. In general, I think the period was quite beneficial to Thailand.

  13. Cocomaan

    The poison hemlock plant piece is a bit hysterical. The chances of anyone in our lawn culture even having it present in their yard is low. The chances of them touching it are lowers. The chances of them eating it are super low.

    I guess your dog could eat it. But your dog is more likely to eat the chocolate you use for smores

    I’d venture to say that the only people really at risk are those who are wild foraging and mistake it for Queen Anne’s lace.

    It’s good to learn about this but better to not be fearful.

    1. kareninca

      I live in Silicon Valley. About ten years ago my husband and I were in a neighbor’s back yard with our dogs; four sets of humans, four dogs. Suddenly I noticed something funny looking. It was a big poison hemlock plant. It fit in pretty well in the vegetable patch. The only reason I realized was due the the speckles. The funny thing was that a Plato (Socrates) scholar was present. Really a dog could have chewed on it, and like I said it was in with the veggies. Then I started looking around the neighborhood and it was all over the place. It was a rainy year.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Nuding Out”

    This article makes it sound like this is all in the past but not only has the FKK movement not gone away, it is stronger than ever. There were 600,000 Germans registered with them about two years ago in about 300 clubs and you come across them in beaches in other countries as well. They were very strong too in East Germany before that country fell apart. It seems to dispel the hangups about nudity that you regularly come across and certainly swimming without clothes feels more natural. And for women, it helps avoid what I use to call ‘zebra strips’ left by bikinis on their bodies-

    1. saywhat?

      I find zebra stripes very sexy. And I find sun-aged skin not sexy at all.

      Plus I have hopes of a better world after this one and Adam and Eve getting some shame and a set of clothes after the Fall seems de rigeur for the rest of us too.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        And I find sun-aged skin not sexy at all.

        A woman isn’t truly sexy until she gets her first wrinkle.

    2. coboarts

      I’ve always said that once you’ve surfed naked you have no fear. Not because you’ve exposed yourself to the glare of others, but because you’ve been in the kelp beds… exposed.

    1. lordkoos

      Here in central WA in the last few weeks I have seen the wearing of masks in public spaces drop from around 70% to 15%. I guess people aren’t following the news very closely or perhaps it is a problem of where they get their news? People are acting like it’s over. In many stores that I shop in even the employees aren’t wearing them now. Changing his position from earlier this year, our governor seems loathe to reinstate any kind of mandate. We are still masking up for shopping trips etc.

  15. Blue Duck

    Shock poll shows Gavin Newsom losing recall vote by double digits

    I am a California sanders supporter and I am excited to vote against newsom. I don’t even care who I vote for, I am just so happy to be able to destroy that rich creeps political career.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I thought that was the same reason I voted for Trump in 2016 (and 2020), until I found out it was actually that I was a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal racist white supremacist, who mind-melded with Putin via kitty videos on facebook, ​which I’m not even on.

      If newsom loses, I wonder what you’ll find out your REAL reason for voting against him was. Maybe something to do with wildfire smoke poisoning. Or a covid variant only available in CA. Or there’s always the Trump / Putin unholy alliance that keeps on giving.

      1. Blue Duck

        Trump/Putin? Is that still the flavor of nervous breakdown amongst the terrified white upper middle class MSNBC Mujahideen?

  16. Not Even Wrong

    I’d like to join in thanks, IM Doc, for all your time and effort to give us your informed view.

    It seems most discussions focus on workplace and other adult mandates.

    But are you hearing anything from your peers about legal mandates for minors after FDA approval, as a requirement to attend school?

    It is up to each state, and there’s plenty of legal precedent. The administrative and enforcement machinery is already in place. There are vocal cadres of parents, staff and politicians asserting that COVID-unvaccinated children endanger their school communities. For example, NYC mayor DeBlasio’s edict to require vaccination in gyms and restaurants, covers minors age 12-17– whether or not that decree is enforceable right now, the political appetite for legal mandates on minors is there.

    I’d hoped the treatment of minors would be held to a higher standard of evidence and caution, given minors’ very distinct risk profiles, legal status, medical needs, and the general ethical obligation for their care.

    PS On your mention, I ordered a used copy of Mandell, 7th ed., online for ~$15, all 20 lbs of it. NC has been a great source of book recommendations– enjoyed The Twelve Chairs on someone else’s rec. here.

  17. ChrisRUEcon


    Wherein “but, but … muh freedom” may finally yield to “but, but … muh boner”

    1. dave in Austin

      “You can have my (fill in the blank) when you take it from my cold, dead hand” Another irresistable impulse I should not listen too.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Ebrahim Raisi: What to expect from Iran’s new president”

    It may be that Raisi will be in a stronger position than his predecessor. To get to the original nuclear deal back in 2012, both China and Russia agreed to help pressure Iran to sign up. Since Trump bailed out of that deal, both those countries will see no reason to put any pressure on Iran anymore, especially when Biden is basically trying to negotiate a whole new deal that would include Iran’s missiles and its foreign policy. Yeah, not going to happen. Iran can no longer be isolated and now it has backing from both Russia and China. So now Biden is up against a blank wall with Iran because his admin thought that Iran would buckle to Washington’s demands. And Biden will not sign a deal with the Iranian demand that the US just cannot break it because there is a new jack*** in the White House. And attacking them is not an option either. Even Trump knew enough not to do that. And if he backs down, he will be labeled as weak-

    1. Procopius

      It seems pretty clear to me Secretary Blinken made up his mind before taking office that, following Likud’s desires, we will not even make a good faith effort to rejoin the JCPOA. Announcing before even contacting your adversary that, “The United Stated will not negotiate from a position of weakness,” when you are in the morally wrong position, is not good faith. It’s always been contrary to America’s national interest to leave the JCPOA . If you are dissatisfied with an existing agreement and you want to strengthen it, breaking the agreement is not the way to start. You give up something for a worse position than you had before. I do not know what would be required to simply abrogate all the sanctions that Trump imposed and reimposed, but that’s what the State Department should have done.

  19. Krystyn Podgajski

    I am very tired how this misinformation is being spread on Twitter:

    “Erectile dysfunction is 3x higher in covid positive men according to this study… ”

    From the study:

    Discussion and conclusion: On top of well-described pathophysiological mechanisms, there is preliminary evidence in a real-life population of ED as a risk factor of developing COVID-19 and possibly occurring as a consequence of COVID-19.

    The bold section is the important take, that we have a severely unhealthy population and THAT will make you more vulnerable to poor COVID outcomes. It is quite possible that COVID just initiated the inevitable outcome of ED in the rest. But now it will get passed around that COVID causes ED instead of it being from our horrible healthcare system and poor diet.

    1. zagonostra

      Yes, tired, but also amused. You can add this to the same pile as the story a day or so ago about the deterioration of cognitive function post CV19 infection.

    2. coboarts

      It looks like they’ve realized that brain damage wasn’t really considered much of a risk factor

  20. Foreigner

    as you comment on economics frequently (and thanks for writing the Econned book) you may be interested in the linked inflation article. The source is not a typical economics blog but that shouldn’t deter an examination of the data and results.
    Thank you

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Israel’s Gantz Calls for International Military Action Against Iran”

    Well of course they want the world to attack Iran. They want the US to supply the carriers, drones & aircraft, NATO to supply ships & invasion troops and Russia & China to supply reserve troops as well as logistics. Israel has offered to make the sandwiches for the expedition.

    1. tiebie66

      It would be irresponsible not to speculate that the recent attack on an oil tanker was not a false flag operation meant to goad the world into military action against Iran as the attempts to gain traction against it seem to have fizzled.

  22. antidlc

    I went to a party with 14 other vaccinated people; 11 of us got COVID

    Five days earlier, I had gone to a house party in Montgomery County. There were 15 adults there, all of us fully vaccinated. The next day, our host started to feel sick. The day after that, she tested positive for COVID-19. She let all of us know right away. I wasn’t too worried. It was bad luck for my friend, but surely she wasn’t that contagious. Surely all of us were immune. I’d been sitting across the room from her. I figured I’d stay home and isolate from my family for a few days, and that would be that. And even that seemed like overkill.

    The official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline stated that, since I was fully vaccinated, I didn’t need to do anything different unless I started developing symptoms. I’m an epidemiologist at a major medical research university, which has a dedicated COVID exposure hotline for staff. I called it, and workers said I didn’t need to do anything.

    Then, I started to hear that a few other people who had been at the party were getting sick. Then a few more. At this point, 11 of the 15 have tested positive for COVID.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This was to be expected.

      If 100% of the population is “vaccinated,” then 100% of those that get sick, get hospitalized and die from covid will have been “vaccinated.”

      I’m told this makes perfect sense, and is a reason to get “vaccinated.”

      I remain unconvinced. I’m leaning toward the conclusion that “success” of the “vaccine” depends on elimination of any “unvaxxed” control group. Something about proving a negative….

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Key passages in the article that weren’t copied to comments:

      “…. At this point, 11 of the 15 [attendees] have tested positive for COVID. Fortunately, none of us seems to be seriously ill.”

      Governments and businesses should consider bringing back masking requirements, even for vaccinated people. We’re still at risk of getting sick, and we’re still at risk of infecting others.

      “Pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and governments should prioritize research into booster vaccines.”

      The author reports low levels of morbidity, strongly favor masks, argues for more vaccines, and favors social distancing in response to the observed events. Citing his piece in a way that obscures his recommendations is problematic, given that the article isn’t paywalled.

  23. Almost Blue

    Report in from covid workplace: I took a short-term job because, out of a staff of 4 full timers, 3 all went out on medical leaves within a few weeks this spring. I knew this was going to be a taxing situation, but I am a trouper. However it’s been enlightening. Here, in this corporate office, they have all this “open air cubicles” in groupings of 8 (which 2 departments split, so each gets 4). Now, because of the 6-foot requirement, there can only be 2 staffers in an 4-cubby area, and they have to sit at particular desks so that no one is closer than 6 feet. While I’ve never liked the open-cubicle plan, now it’s even worse because at least before we could chat intermittently throughout the day. Now, we are mostly on Zoom (all department meetings are on Zoom) even though we are in the same cubbie area. Since my profession is best served by having us little worklings in packs (a social-service profession), it is so isolating and lonely here. Also, no more than 2 people can meet in any room, including conference rooms of any size (Mike Pence could not have worked in this environment, with his stance about women). It’s just terrible; I hate it; I can’t really chat inconsequentially with anybody, I don’t get to know people because there is no water-cooler activity, and typically half the fte folks are on intermittent WFM. I can see why people are refusing to go back to the office. I am counting the days until this gig is over, even though I anticipate that at least one of the people on medical leave will fail to return, and thus I might be asked to stay on.

    I will say that, in my experience, at other workplaces (where I have experience doing work before Covid, so I have a greater sense of resiliency), either rules are broken or there is more license to meet in groups of 6-10 in a room. I think my current boss is fastidious to the point of abusing his staff, although he is just a rule-follower who has succeeded in a 20+-year stint at this company, so he is doing what works for him and the company. And, I would feel self-recrimination if Covid somehow tore its way through the staff due to laxity.

  24. marym

    Re: Johnstone on skepticism after Russiagate

    Many people who may be skeptical about elite messaging because of Russiagate also trust right-wing messaging from elite politicians, media, religious leaders, think tankers, academics, and lawyers.

    Some of them believe things at least as unfounded as Russiagate that right wing elites and right wing media say about the pandemic, climate change, evolution, Obama’s birth certificate, “crisis actors,” and election fraud.

    It’s not unreasonable to be distrustful because of Russiagate, Fauci, or unacknowledged concerns about vaccine safety. Many vaccinated people and mask-wearers share that distrust but still manage to understand that the pandemic is real and mitigation measures are useful, despite false claims and conspiracy theories being “shov[ed] down everyone’s throat” from right wing media.

    True enough, if applied broadly enough, that: “The sane way to counteract the public distrust that’s been caused by generations of lies, wars and depravity would be a tremendous increase in transparency, accountability and contrition on the part of those institutions, showing the public that they have changed and are working to become more trustworthy. “

  25. Anonymous in Michigan

    The story about the off grid man jailed for refusing to vacate New Hampshire cabin reminded me of a similar story set in London, UK.

    Brendan Gleeson, Diane Keaton starred in the movie, “Hampstead” which told the story (based on actual events) of a man who lived off the grid in London’s Hampstead park.

    The interesting bit was that the itinerant hero, who foiled people’s attempts to ‘rescue’ him, had managed to gather lots of information and techniques that enabled him to survive on less than the average London resident. Some of those lessons are worth examining for a society whose cultural values give honorifics for overconsuming. Especially as our toxic use of fossil fuels will have to change if we are not to burn down the whole planet.

      1. newcatty

        A very sad story on many levels. The aspect that jumps out for me is that there is a parallel to the hot topic of homelessness. Homeless ( don’t like the euphemism of “unhoused”) people are being rooted out of camp sites across the country. There are some who do get help to go into housing of some kind. Sometimes they get to live in a motel room. A few benefit from “Social Services” and get into apartments. Then there are those like River Dave who want to live more simply and in the outside environment. What will happen with more homeless joining those ranks? What will happen to many who are mentally ill? Burn down his home.

  26. IMOR

    re: Cursed Olympics/heat:
    ….AAAANNNNDDDD first three examples are sports that have no authentic or meaningful role as part of the summer games, where the presence of two of them has an acknowledged detrimental effect on the quality of meaningful play for up to a year afterward. Just about right for current (bogus) Olympics perspective.
    Probably should have prefaced this with emoji of old man shouting at the clouds… .

  27. allan

    Kaitlan Collins @kaitlancollins

    Multiple officials have cited figures saying 99 percent of deaths are among the unvaccinated and 95% of hospitalizations are unvaccinated. But CDC Director Walensky says those numbers are based on data from Jan—June & “didn’t reflect the data we have now from the Delta variant.” …

    This suggests these numbers have potentially changed. Walensky emphasizes that the overwhelming number of hospitalizations and deaths are still among unvaccinated. …

    What’s not clear is why officials have kept citing the numbers if they’re being reevaluated by the CDC to account for the impact of the Delta variant.


  28. Maritimer

    George Soros’ right-hand man was accused of BDSM assaults in his sex dungeon New York Post. …. More generally, there is a lot of BDSM on Wall Street, but most who play that way know the rules…as in a “Cut it out” word that is taken seriously.

    Psst, Wall Street BDSM “Cut it out” phrase is “interest rate hike”.

  29. KFritz

    Re: Sturgis Rally

    Sturgis ain’t got nothin’ on the US Soccer Federation, and its regional parent organization CONCACAF. The listed attendance for the Sunday 8/1 Gold Cup Final was 60,000–in a covered stadium in Las Vegas. Before the event, the concerned local authorities proclaimed that i would be a ‘masked’ event. Videos of the proceedings show that a tiny fraction attendees masked. It will be interesting to see if it’s a super-spreader event, and if it is such, how much press it receives. The head of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, was in attendance.

    Most of the second string of the American Men’s Team (USMNT) beat most of the first string of Mexico’s team in the final, allowing zero goals in open play during six games, and one penalty goal to Martinique, its weakest opponent.

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