Links 9/1/2021

Road runner stopped by Trump’s border wall wins Bird Photographer of the Year ScienceFocus (David L)

Birds of prey face global decline from habitat loss, poisons Associated Press (resilc)

Up to half of world’s wild tree species could be at risk of extinction Guardian

America’s Climate-Change-Prone Areas Are Seeing Their Populations Swell Redfin. Resilc: “USA USA=JimJonesistan.”

To Save Lake Tahoe, They Spared No Expense. The Fire Came Over the Ridge Anyway. New York Times (David L)

Consumers Believe That Products Work Better for Others Oxford Academic (resilc). According to some definition of “work”. In my case true because I have zero patience with crap design and will toss something rather than fiddle. As a former top CIO said a long time ago, “If technology is hard, it’s bad technology.”


Education crisis looms in Latin America in wake of Covid Financial Times


“Inescapable” COVID-19 Antibody Discovery – Neutralizes All Known SARS-CoV-2 Strains SciTech (Chuck L). Ignacio and GM had to clear their throats. Ignacio first:

Monoclonal antibodies are probably amongst the most expensive therapies available. Economic ruin could also be inescapable if you manage to survive.


What they are doing right now is absolute insanity.

Until recently, the monoclonals were an in-hospital therapy only.

Which means that the people getting them were isolated.

Which is very important, because we know from many studies that stuffing patients with monoclonals is a great way of generating immune escape variants. So the people getting the monoclonals only entering the community back once they had recovered (or in sealed body bags) meant that those variants stayed outside the community.

But what are we doing now?

We give people monoclonals like candy in a free-for-all and send them back into the community.

Because we are oh-so-technologically advanced and have a “cure” for everything, but are completely incapable of finding and isolating the infected and we not only do public health, but just decided to kill the concept altogether.

There is a reason why the southern portion of Africa is such a persistent source of nasty new variants — that is where the highest concentration of HIV in the world is, which means the virus has the opportunity to evolve in the best conditions for that, immunocompromised hosts. But the other key source of such “gifts” to humanity will be mass monoclonal therapy with no virus spread controls.

I know that it is not news that policy seems to have been in tailored in the direction of helping the virus for a long time now, but this is definitely one of the worst things that have been done.

Prior COVID infection doesn’t guarantee good immunity: study MedRxIV (Robert M). Gah. n=27. Why do this at all with too few participants to be seen as meaning much?

Israeli experts analyze mRNA COVID vaccines long-term effects Jerusalem Post (resilc). Seems either overstated or a peculiar definition of terms. WTF about the lasting damage done by myocarditis?

Doctor’s orders: ‘Nature prescriptions’ see rise amid pandemic Reuters

Scientists warn that Covid will accelerate ‘dementia pandemic’ Financial Times


Covid cases and deaths surge in UK, fuelled by reopening of schools WSWS

EU hits target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of adults Politico

More detailed view here: Europa Corona 7-Tage-Inzidenz pro Region – 31. August 2021 (guurst)

EU to Reimpose Travel Curbs on U.S. Amid Rise in Covid Cases Bloomberg. Leaky by design, but still putting the daughter of a friend who has “essential” status at risk of major hassle/expenditure, since her flight (ticket purchased some time back) may be cancelled and getting a new booking at anything dimly resembling an affordable price is not a happening event.


Gladys Berejiklian hits out at Premiers refusing to open borders despite vaccination rate (Kevin W)


BREAKING: In a major blow to vaccine efforts, senior FDA leaders stepping down Endpoints (unblintz). Ivermectin is another area where the CDC messed with the FDA. The official FDA guidance on ivermectin remains neutral, that there’s not enough evidence to know if ivermectin is an effective Covid treatment or not.

Mother refuses to get COVID shot, so judge strips her of visitation rights [Updated] ars technica

Judge orders Cinci hospital to treat COVID-19 patient with Ivermectin, despite CDC warnings Ohio Capital Journal (resilc)

COVID’s impact on those who don’t have virus: Veteran dies at Houston hospital while waiting for treatment KHOU (resilc). We warned you this was coming.


Millions of Americans at risk of eviction BBC


The Writing On The Wall Heisenberg Report (resilc)

China on the cusp of a ‘profound transformation’ Asia Times (Kevin W)

Joe Biden and Europe are going different ways Financial Times. Edward Luce pearl-clutching but does not make the pattern invalid.

Population above 5 million for first time since 1851 RTE (PlutoniumKun)

5 years since the 2016 Coup: an Interview with Dilma Rousseff Brasil Wire (guurst)

New Cold War

US pledges $60M in military aid to Ukraine ahead of Zelensky visit The Hill. Resilc: “Cash flow expo rocks on, never enough war toyzzzz.”


Nemesis: Why the west was doomed to lose in Afghanistan Prospect (Colonel Smithers). Brutal.

Taliban HELPED escort stranded Americans to Kabul airport through a ‘secret gate’ and by communicating through ‘call centers’ Daily Mail (Kevin W)

The War in Afghanistan Ends Where It Started US News (resilc)

9 Major Consequences Of The U.S. Failure In Afghanistan OilPrice

Don’t Wage Economic War on Afghanistan Antiwar (resilc)

Several wounded in a drone attack on Saudi airport: Coalition Al Jazeera

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ben Rhodes’ Book Proves Obama Officials’ Lies, and His Own, About Edward Snowden and Russia Glenn Greenwald

Here’s Why Instagram Is Now Demanding to Know Your Birthday Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

How the US created a world of endless war Guardian (resilc)

Democrats, unions pour cash into California recall fight The Hill. They’ve only worked out now that Newsom is in trouble?

Our Famously Free Press

NPR Trashes Free Speech. A Brief Response Matt Taibbi (flora)

Showering with biological men: Female inmates in US & UK recount sexual abuse from ‘trans’ prisoners RT (Kevin W)

Train hits 18 wheeler in Luling, TX YouTube (resilc)

How Big Telecom Killed Rules That Would Have Prevented Hurricane Ida Outages Vice (resilc)

FAA Wants Airport Bars to Stop Selling Alcohol to Go Food and Wine (J-LS)

El Salvador is about to make bitcoin legal tender. What could go wrong? Quartz (resilc)

Fake Banksy NFT sold through artist’s website for £244k BBC (resilc)

GM throws LG under the bus as Chevy Bolt production pauses amid recall ars technica

Embattled Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is about to go on trial for fraud. Here’s everything you need to know. Business Insider

How did Gen. Mattis get sucked into the Theranos web (and our tax dollars with it)? Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

“Do Central Banks Rebalance Their Currency Shares?” Menzie Chinn

Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher Aeon (chuck roast)

Class Warfare

How to monetise being an absolute prick Daily Mash

Georgia Prison Guard Shortage Is Killing Incarcerated People Intercept (resilc)

After slavery, oystering offered a lifeline. Now sewage spills threaten to end it all Guardian

Ed Asner, American Socialist Nation (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. CCV: “The rabbit equivalent of dumpster diving. Who knew New England Cottontails go crazy for milkweed leaves? I thought it was toxic.”

And a bonus (Jim D):

And a second bonus (John Siman). Now cool for macho guys to be cat people as long as the cat acts like a dog:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ian Perkins

    Israeli experts analyze mRNA COVID vaccines long-term effects
    – WTF about the lasting damage done by myocarditis?

    “The study found that there were around 2.7 cases of myocarditis per 100,000 vaccinated people infected with the virus, compared with 11 cases per 100,000 unvaccinated people who were infected.”

    And that idea seems to apply to young men too (men appear to be the more susceptible). From a June preprint:
    Myocarditis (or pericarditis or myopericarditis) from primary COVID19 infection occurred at a rate as high as 450 per million in young males. Young males infected with the virus are up 6 times more likely to develop myocarditis as those who have received the vaccine.”

    All in all, it looks like the risk of myocarditis from COVID is quite a bit higher than that from vaccines.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Garbage in, garbage out study. Deaths almost certainly not being evaluated.

      IM Doc has had proportionately vastly more cases in his rural county. Sent him this link:

      Heart inflammation link to Pfizer and Moderna jabs

      With this comment: “Either the patients in his county are having extremely bad luck or these #s are understated.”

      His reply:

      We have had 1 case for sure – a few others unclear – mainly young people dropping dead – and I have another that will be being biopsied/cardiac MRI in the next week in a distant academic center.

      None of the drop dead patients were ever fully evaluated – The coroner here is actually a family practice doctor – and is loathe to crack the chest…

      And as I heard this week from a cardiologist – who in big cities are seeing this way more often than I – it is actually very much concentrated in the younger and the more fit. The patients who get out and work out vigorously and frequently. Often folks on some kind of athletic teams. In his opinion – and I would tend to agree – there could be one of two things we are seeing. 1) Patients who have very fit myocardial cells are for some reason more at risk for this – that reason as yet unexplained ( there is precedent for this – AFIB is increased in chances in the 60 and up crowd if when they were younger they were into extreme aerobic sports like marathons and triathlons —- OR 2) Much more concerning when you think about it – the ones who are mainly coming to clinical attention are the very athletic ones because even with a fraction of decreased reserve they are aware instantly that something is wrong. There could be a literal army of overweight out of shape x-boxers whose hearts have been dinged but they would not really be aware of it because their main physical activity is a joystick maneuver. Unfortunately, if this is the case – there will be an army of heart failure patients becoming clinically apparent over the next few decades. We will not be seeing it anytime soon. There are some alarming surveillance numbers that indicate this might be happening – but nothing is concrete. This too has precedent in medicine – see the current J&J talc fiasco, or the DES problem in the mid 20th century – not really picked up on until the 1980s and after because the unfortunate cancer it caused – was in the female offspring of the original patients. I could go on and on.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘actually very much concentrated in the younger and the more fit’

        Hey, wait a minute. This has implications for the military as they are by definition made up of people who are mostly younger and more fit. If you wanted to get ugly about it, it would be a great test group to see how they cope with these vaccines as there will be solid records of what vaccines that they get, when they got it and any medical issues for each person. Not that you would ever hear about any such studies being done of course.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Thanks for that link. Wonder how many of the troops will be thinking about this when those vaccines will be mandated?

      2. Terry Flynn

        Given what you quoted early on about NFL players your point seems doubly relevant. Now IIRC NC drew attention to some work that “pulled back a bit on the cardio issues” but I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong) the evidence “pointed to everything being hunky dory regarding cardio issues after all” either. I, during PhD, exercised heart A LOT not knowing I had pre-existing condition which then went rogue.

        I 99% certainly got covid (original variant) early on (demonstrable link to uk patient zero, the “York student”). Elderly parents almost certainly did too – one asymptomatic, one mild. Vaccination promoted big autoimmune reaction in 2 out of 3 of us (the previously asymptomatic one getting nothing). I’m seeing hospital consultants. So much to unpick but nothing that contradicts each new “interjection” you give to clarify matters. Thank you.

        1. Maritimer

          “…NFL players…”

          I would imagine that the players’ agents who have a lot of skin in the players’ careers are doing better risk and medical analysis than the players’ and team doctors. A professional althlete loses even a small percentage of their health and……There must be a lucrative market here for alternative Covid treatments.

          I note a recent story that about 50% of pro tennis players are unvaxxed. Probably more difficult to compel, coerce, intimidate, threaten these professional athletes into taking an experiment that might destroy their careers.

      3. LaRuse

        “the ones who are mainly coming to clinical attention are the very athletic ones because even with a fraction of decreased reserve they are aware instantly that something is wrong.”
        I absolutely believe this! My mother, 66 and overweight, had been walking and exercising from January 1 this year to work off the COVID weight she gained. She had her shots in early Mar/Apr. By mid-April, she could no longer walk more than a quarter of a mile without becoming severely winded and she described a weird sensation in her chest/stomach regions – a “heaviness” is the best she could describe it.
        I begged and pleaded for her to see her doc, which she finally did in May. The doc told her it was just allergies, ordered a lung x-ray, and said “You just need to lose some weight.” Never even considered looking at my mom’s heart. Just switched her blood pressure medications and told her to take some benedryl for allergies.
        Her breathing is a little less labored these days but she has never fully regained the distance/capability she had gained in late winter, and now she refuses to walk outside around her church parking lot because I think she fears collapsing and no one finding her. She walks around inside grocery stores now (COVID risk!), never getting near as much real exercise, but still panting and sweating after 45 minutes of pushing a grocery cart.
        I sincerely believe she suffered some kind of cardiac response to her shots and being in that invisible age and health bracket, no one bothered to so much as even look. I know she was a good candidate to die of COVID if she had contracted it, but I cannot also help but wonder how many good years got pulled off her life by the shot too?
        FWIW, her rheumatologist told her NOT to get her third shot yet because she just feels there is just not enough supporting data yet. I am grateful at least one doctor out there is taking a wait and see approach. My husband was urged by his allergist to get his booster and did so about 10 days ago. He was sick for 2 days after Shot 3 (Moderna).

        1. phenix

          rheumatologists are the only doctors I’ve seen that will not push vaccines on everyone. They actually deal with vaccine injured patients or patients with autoimmune disorders that should not receive vaccines.

        2. Objective Ace

          I’m not sure what blood pressure medicine your mother received, but I’m prescribed carvedilol and Lisinopril (blood pressure meds) by my cardiologist for cardiomyopathy. They do help your heart as well

      4. Larry Y

        For what’s it worth, I’ve been keeping an eye on COVID and professional soccer players.

        professional soccer players have more monitoring of heart issues due to the high profile heart attacks, including one this summer’s European Championships. But still probably not enough data…

        1. Basil Pesto

          I’ve been really curious about this too in general, especially keeping in mind that the transfer window just ended and players routinely have medicals when they complete a transfer (I don’t think medicals are a pass/fail thing – maybe some kind of insurance requirement?). 5 or 6 players at my club have had it (early on in the piece, and recently), and the manager. You would think lung and brain damage would present themselves too. I find it curious bc there’s been a lot of hand-wringing, especially in the guardian, over the cause-celebre of brain damage leading to dementia in footballers from a career of heading the ball (which, despite my jaded tone, is of course important), but the damage to the health of footballers – for whom the show must go on – from Covid? nada

      5. Vandemonian

        Myocarditis as a cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes is not a new phenomenon:
        The incidence with COVID-19 infection or vaccination may (or may not) be higher than in the before times, but the data doesn’t seem to get collected well enough for a reliable evaluation just now.
        The article mentions checking for a history of cocaine use in young fit patients with myocarditis.

    2. Diogenes

      I’m not sure that’s an apt, apples-to-apples comparison, for a few reasons: 1) it doesn’t discount for the probability of not getting infected; and 2) a vaccinated person can still get infected, so they’ve got both the risk from the vaccine and from the infection.

      1. Skip Intro

        I don’t see a number for the vaccinated uninfected cardio cases, so this is not looking at vaccine effects but vaccine+infection effects. Did I miss something?

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      “Garbage in, garbage out study. Deaths almost certainly not being evaluated.”

      The study was restricted to a 12-19 age group. Deaths attributable to covid-related illness in either group, the Covid infected or the vaccinated, may not have been great enough to draw statistically valid conclusions.

      Two issues from the perspective of applying this study to vaccine policy come to mind. The study was restrict to teenagers, and the authors excluded all individuals with prior diagnosed cardiovascular issues. The study group is not representative of the U.S. population. They appear to have been trying to get a sense of the relative impact of Covid versus vaccination in a previously healthy cohort. One that may be at particularly high risk for developing this response. Since that was their focus, conclusions from this study, irrespective of the quality of the input data, can only reasonably be applied to the same class of people in the full population.

      I also saw nothing to warrant slamming the study with words like “garbage in, garbage out”, but I haven’t read the full paper, just the linked online synopsis.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Study done from existing medical records, as opposed to enrolling and tracking. FIRST SENTENCE OF THE SECOND PARA, “METHODS”: “A de-identified, limited data set was created from the TriNetX Research Network, aggregating electronic health records.”

        That is why garbage in, garbage out.

        Looks like you did not bother reading my comment. The issue was myocarditis. The point was any death was unlikely to have chest cracked to confirm or disprove in the young. This study was not looking at deaths, it was looking at myocarditis as recorded on the patient’s records.

      1. hdude

        If you don’t take the vaccine, you pretty much have a high chance of adverse reactions, plus one: death. If you take the vaccine, you have some, but overall a much less chance of adverse reactions. What I feel is missing in the analysis is the background of chances of adverse reactions in the population for reasons other than Covid or Covid-Vacs, just use historical data available, prior to Covid outbreak (2020).

        1. Objective Ace

          >If you don’t take the vaccine, you pretty much have a high chance of adverse reactions, plus one: death.

          This assumes you get Covid (or really, at this point since it seems we can all be gauranteed at some point over our lives we will get Covid multiple times, it assumes that for every vaccine/booster you get you prevented one instance of Covid)

          >If you take the vaccine, you have some, but overall a much less chance of adverse reactions.

          This assumes the vaccines continue the same level of protection they currently provide, an extremely dubious assumption given current data

          And your glancing over/not acknowledging whats being discussed: that vaccines themselves can have side effects. Its also worth pointing out that people who have been double vaccinated have died. Thats one of the few things the CDC tracks.

        2. Dean

          I believe that the adverse events in unvaccinated, Covid-free subjects were the controls as stated in the methods:
          “…eligible persons who were vaccinated on that day were matched to eligible controls who had not been previously vaccinated.” The unvaccinated would also be controls for the infected group. So I think the absolute risk difference in figure 4 is a comparison of vaccinated or infected survivors compared to the controls with the control adverse events set to zero for comparison.

      2. outside observer

        I have been looking for, but haven’t been able to find similar analyses for just children 0-17. Since they generally deal with infection well I would imagine the risks would be higher for infection vs vaccination, but only just. CDC data still show hospitalization rates under 2 per 100,000.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Here is one that breaks it down by age range and compares against background rates (there are more of these on the CDC site, but they can be difficult to find). Males aged 12-17 have the greatest cause for concern in the age range you are interested in.

          The fact that this data isn’t making it into the summaries makes me question whether they are being presented in good faith – that and risk calculations that only make sense if Covid is already out of control in your community. Admittedly that’s true everywhere in the US and the CDC is only accountable to the US population, but plenty of people who should know better are picking these up and trying to apply the conclusions in countries where the risk calculation is completely different. If they showed their work more clearly, it would be harder to misinterpret.

          1. outside observer

            Thank you, I think have seen those, but was hoping for something that included those numbers next to risks from infection for that age group, similar to Fig 4 in Dean’s link above. I guess I will need to try to cobble some numbers together.

        2. HotFlash

          UK’s NIH and their med stats outfit tested a large number of children and found something like 40% of them had antibodies, which must be from prior infection. Dr John Campbell has details f the study on one of his Ytubes.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Oxford React studies had already established a high level of childhood infection. As we have reported MULTIPLE times, they found an elementary school child was 2x as likely to bring Covid into a household as an adult, and an older child, 7x.

  2. bassmule

    “I Helped Destroy People.” (NY Times)

    “But the war on terror is like this game, right? We’ve built this entire apparatus and convinced the world that there is a terrorist in every mosque, and that every newly arrived Muslim immigrant is secretly anti-American, and because we have promoted that false notion, we have to validate it. So we catch some kid who doesn’t know his ear from his [expletive] for building a bomb fed to them by the F.B.I., or we take people from foreign countries where they have secret police and recruit them as informants and capitalize on their fear to ensure there is compliance. It’s a very dangerous and toxic environment, and we have not come to terms with the fact that maybe we really screwed up here…”

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      With all props due the reporters for their fine work, where was reporting like this when the Times and other #McResistance media outlets spent years telling us that the Russkies had infiltrated our Precious Bodily Fluids, and that people like Robert Mueller were literally portrayed as Wyatt Earp-meets-Santa Claus?

  3. Ian Perkins

    Joe Biden and Europe are going different ways

    A somewhat misleading headline: the thrust of the article appears to be that European leaders see little difference between Trump and Biden in terms of major policies that affect them, only differences in style and presentation.

    1. Polar Socialist

      While not knowing the situation in the rest of Europe, in my little corner of it the talking heads in the media are actively looking for somebody (else) to blame for the “Afghanistan fiasco”. The fingers are not pointing anybody yet, but the list of valid scapegoats is getting shorter by the day.

      It may blow over in time or the atlanticists may offer themselves for the sacrifice (to save the “European security environment”), but it may also end up with the public opinion questioning the current adventurism. I’ve already seen strong arguments by meaningful voices about the futility of “nation building” and “importing democracy”.

    2. DonCoyote

      You say “differences in style and presentation”, I say “restoring the soul of America”. So that’s a campaign promise kept.

      My congratulations on how the Biden-Harris administration is building back better with the world’s most successful vaccine deployment and fastest economic recovery and blazing a trail for inclusiveness and unity by restoring the soul of America.

      — South Korean President Moon Jae-In, May 2021 {in an effort to win buzzword bingo in one sentence}

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? The criticism of Trump, was with respect to Trump, was he openly didn’t care much re Europe and was therefor shredding the relationship. So the headline is accurate.

  4. Nikkikat

    I thought nothing could surprise me about cats. This one is hilarious. Also enjoyed the Chevy commercial.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That clip was hilarious and I burst out laughing when I saw it. Had to show it straight away to my wife of course. Since when did cats learn about slippery-dips?

    2. Maritimer

      Just what’s needed a gas guzzling big Detroit trophy truck to drive the cat around. Yeah, you can also have enough room to put a few fishin’ rods in the back and wet a line. In my rural area, more and more, bigger and bigger trophy trucks all tricked out even with polished tonneau covers to protect the three bags of groceries when coming back from the Stuporstore.

      Ignore those links about climate problems.

  5. zagonostra

    >NPR Trashes Free Speech. A Brief Response Matt Taibbi (flora)

    It’s unsurprising that NPR — whose tone these days is so precious and exclusive that five minutes of listening to any segment makes you feel like you’re wearing a cucumber mask at a Plaza spa — papers over this part of the equation, since it must seem a given to them that the intellectual vanguard setting limits would come from their audience. Who else is qualified?

    By the end of the segment, Marantz and Gladstone seemed in cheerful agreement they’d demolished any arguments against “getting away from individual rights and the John Stuart Mill stuff.” They felt it more appropriate to embrace the thinking of a modern philosopher like Marantz favorite Richard Rorty…

    I’ve never had a cucumber mask put on my face, but I was in a car with NPR on recently and I felt like I needed an emetic when I got out. Gawd what a fall/take-over from the days when Bob Edwards was on. Ever since April 2004 when “NPR executives decided to ‘freshen up’ Morning Edition’s sound [and] Edwards was removed as host, replaced with Steve Inskeep and Renée Montagne [Wiki], the show has been a steadily decomposing corpse.

    When Joe Biden takes “live” questions from the WH Press he look down to his index cards and of course selects NPR. There are all kinds of acronyms that you have heard on what NPR stands for so no bother repeating, suffice to say that the informing the “Public” is not their mission, indeed the fact that Richard Rorty, someone who believes that philosophers should jettison “unanswerable” questions about what the “Truth” is or other first principles, says so much about NPR’s outlook. For those not familiar with Rorty, below is a good clip from one of my favorite teachers of philosophy, Rick Roderick – someone who passed away way to early.

    1. Eureka Springs

      If Phil Ochs were still alive he could do a 60 year I told you so B side addition. Love me love me I sound like a liberal.

    2. Carolinian

      One could argue that the downhill slide for NPR goes back to the Republican assault on public broadcasting in the 1980s. The service went from being subsidized by the taxpayers–all of them–to being subsidized by corporate funders and wealthy angels and pledge drives. Hence the clubbishness and perhaps even cucumber masks.

      Or it simply reflects the trend among elite media in general. The attitudes expressed on On The Media surely are the same at the NYT.

  6. Ian Perkins

    Nemesis: Why the west was doomed to lose in Afghanistan

    The article more or less ignores what is to me the most obvious question: how could the West have won? Beyond eliminating al-Qaeda, they seemed to have no idea why they were there, and no concept whatsoever of what winning might mean. That left two options: a draw, as in still being there, or losing, as in giving up and going home, which most Afghans saw as bound to happen sooner or later.

    1. Louis Fyne

      There would’ve been a plausible “win” scenario if the West accepted that the reality is that the overwhelming (95%+) percentage of Afghans (across all ethnicities) are religious conservatives and that any form of government likely to succeed must include some elements of a state religion. Optimistically having a “Diet Saudi Arabia” government in Afghanistan.

      Of course that path would mean losing support of the “liberal” interventionists in London and DC.

      Trying to impose a Jeffersonian secular democracy was the West’s original sin.

    2. David

      Yes, though I think the logic of Lieven’s piece is that rout of the West and its ideas in Afghanistan has been so complete and so total that it’s impossible to imagine any saving justification or any qualification to it, and that this was in fact both predictable and predicted to be so.
      I’d add two points. First, there was never any consensus about what the aims should be, but, more importantly, no chance of ever forming one. We think of the US as the dominant partner, but this is only partly true: they dominated militarily, but the “reconstruction” and “nation-building” efforts involved many nations and international organisations, all with their own, often conflicting agendas. Since anyone with access to funding could start any programme they liked, then, in spite of some efforts at coordination, the result was chaos, and this was dealt with by simply adding everybody’s objectives together, until you got an unmanageable and incoherent mess. (I remember seeing some strategic planning documents from, I think, 2007, which were nothing more in practice than a shopping list of utopian objectives).
      Second, this war went on a long time. The average time in post of decision-maker would be 2-3 years, whereas people on the ground were often rotated out after 6-9 months. There was no chance of developing a coherent strategy in those circumstances. By, say, 2011, few if any westerners would have continuous experience in the country: quite a few would have been at university or even at school when the war started. In such situations, even the best organisations lose track of what they are doing and why, and these were not the best organisations..

  7. The Rev Kev

    “How did Gen. Mattis get sucked into the Theranos web (and our tax dollars with it)? ”

    The most remarkable thing about the Elizabeth Holmes saga is the people who were getting suckered by her and by that I mean members of our so-called elite – ‘mostly senior American military and state department officials’. Matthis was considered an “intellectual” by his Marine Corps superiors and yet he was not only on the Theranos Board for four years but was trying to push sales to the Pentagon for what? Increased value of his stock portfolio? A nice juicy bonus? Some guy on Twitter brought up a list of people that believed the girl with the spooky eyes and it is quite a list-

    Former US SecSate George Shultz was warned by his grandson Tyler Schultz that Holmes was a fraud but so wrapped up were people like him in Holmes’s stories, that he cut off contact with his grandson and would only talk to him through lawyers. George should have listened more to his Millennial grandson. My conclusion out of this story? We need a better elites.

    1. Pat

      I recognize that they are not identical crimes, but seeing that Holmes is being tried and we can’t get Heather Bresch and the Sacklers indicted…Hell in other similar ways let’s throw in Uber’s Kalanick and Khosrowshahi in this mix. So for me another obvious lesson is that not all scams are equal in the eyes of current US legal system.

        1. Ian Perkins

          The Sacklers get a lot of stick, and rightly so, but the regulators were at least as responsible for the Oxycontin mess. It had been well known for decades that opioid analgesics are addictive, with all attempts to find one that wasn’t failing. Yet they chose to believe, or pretend to believe, on the flimsiest of evidence, that Oxycontin could be mass prescribed without resulting in mass addiction.

          1. orlbucfan

            OxyContin and other artificial opiates have got one very serious side effect never reported: they cause serious GI upset. I accidentally took one for arthritis pain from an 8 year old batch Hubster had. Figured the age would evaporate some of the effects. Wrong! I got super nauseated and it did not do squat to help my arthritis. One of his pals told him recently that he was given the drug after having a bunch of teeth pulled for some major dental repair he’s having done. He, too, had stomach distress. That crap is poison and needs to be pulled off the market. The Sacklers need to be lined up and shot dead for all the mass murder and misery they have caused.

            1. Ana

              With respect, I disagree. I have Osteogenisis Imperfecta. It’s quite rare and now in the twilight of my life, opiates make my remaining time worth experiencing.

              Please don’t assume one personal experience with one opiate is cause for removing access to opiates for everyone. Also, because opiates do cause a variety of side effects, I don’t think it’s wise to self medicate.

              Ana in Sacramento

          2. Pat

            No question that the capture and open bribery/corruption of our regulatory system is a crime and damaging our country, and not just because of this particular failure. My opinion is that degradation is largely the result of psychopaths like the Sacklers through their purchase of elected officials who at their direction have eliminated or weakened laws meant to prevent this.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe the reason she is on trial is the same reason that Bernie Madoff went to prison. Instead of screwing over the little people – which is seen as just business – they were both scamming the ‘important’ people – which is unforgivable.

        1. Nikkikat

          You are so right Rev Kev. Madoff burned rich people like Spielberg. He had to be made an example. If he had done us regular folks in, nobody would care at all.

    2. Darthbobber

      I would reserve sucked in for those who invested, rather than those who worked on sending money ithat direction from other sources. or taking the window dressing board jobs.

      Mattis is just a bog standard revolving door practitioner.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Did the article actually answer the title question? If the answer is anything other than that mattis was “charmed” by holmes, I must’ve missed it.

      As Elizabeth Holmes goes to trial, are we surprised that her fraud and corruption reached the top ranks of the Pentagon?

      Yeah, actually I was. With life-on-earth-threatening global terror to battle, why is america’s top “warrior” and mad military dog dinkin’ around with an unproven “medical” machine invented to keep Walgreen’s customers amused while they’re waiting for their prescriptions to get filled?

      1. Darthbobber

        I think it does. In 2012 as he nears retirement he pushes this at the military.

        Then with retirement the following year he asks the ethics folks about taking a job with the company who’s product he was just pushing.

        Getting a thumbs down on that he settles for a “mere” seat on their board. “Only” a hundred g a year, but needs to do next to nothing in return.

        I rather think that chain of events is pretty self-explanatory.

        Now, if someone wants to think highly of Mattis and needs to find a more flattering explanation, it gets harder

      2. John

        But I thought you understood that life-on-earth-threathening global terror, like the fraudulent Holmes products are just neoliberal profit extraction centers. It also explains George Schultz relationship with grandson. Under neoliberalism, all relationships are mediated by Mr. Market….even family ones. Tyler Schultz was obviously not in grandaddy’s Theranos deal.
        Neoliberals would kill their children and sell the meat if Mr. Market said to.
        It’s just bidness.

  8. bob

    “Woman said she is an RN with 2 kids, …”

    Not sure what is worse- her, or the 2000 Karens in the replies who want to speak to her manager.

    1. zagonostra

      I am, the 2000 Karens are worse. The RN mom can be faulted for failing to keep her temper in check and not using curse words in a public forum, but that outrage came from a good source, wanting to protect her children, not from the entitled place where the ‘Karen’s’ motives emanate from.

      This clip reminded me of the mom who spoke out at a San Diego School board meeting a couple of weeks ago and went viral. That women was fierce and managed to get her thoughts/concern out without needing curse words to underscore her anger.

      1. Darthbobber

        To protect her children from the deadly trauma of wearing masks. Imposed by demonic entities.

        Not exactly defending the lil cubs from a hungry mountain lion.

        1. TBellT

          It really strikes me how Americans treat masks as some big imposition, it just seems so childish, especially when you consider countries where mask wearing is a norm.

          And this resistance can be sound from all sides of the political aisle. What gives?

          1. saywhat?

            You should bear in mind that masks to protect others don’t work that well (66% effective with n95s, iirc) since exhaling tends to break the mask-to-face seal.

            Otoh, masks to protect one’s self can work quite well since inhaling tends to improve the mask-to-face seal – especially masks with an unfiltered exhaust valve to relieve exhalation pressure under the mask.

            So arguably, those who wish to protect themselves with masks are being self-defeating by insisting that everyone wear masks that are at best 66% effective at protecting others.

            In other words, use a mask that best protects YOURSELF and don’t fret what others wear or don’t wear since it is futile anyway.

            1. TBellT

              I’m not in the business of telling people what to do. I wore/wear masks situationally based on what I’ve read about spread.

              My question is why did people act like it was a big ask, especially in the second/third waves of the pandemic when we had so little info on how it spread? What exactly is the pain induced by wearing a mask that so many recoiled in horror to it?

              1. saywhat?

                A little perspective from OSHA:

                Are medical evaluations a must?

                Yes, a medical evaluation is an element of the written respiratory protection program that is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.134). The standard requires that if you are required to wear a respirator due to a potential hazard in your work environment, you must be fit tested, trained, and medically evaluated prior to having a respirator issued. from

                Personally, I have trouble breathing without a mask due to chronic sinus problems and were I to wear an unvented n95 I might be very uncomfortable after a while.

          2. zagonostra

            Not sure the “norms” of other countries is that standard that should be used universally and uncritically.

            My backyard abuts a private school play yard. I remember watching the kids at play during recess. I can tell you that the masks are loose, the kids are running and sweating in the Florida sun, and I wonder if they are being protected against anything except clean air (I’m not arguing against wearing masks in certain environments, with certain groups, and under certain circumstances).

            1. TBellT

              Latin America which did not have a mask culture, pretty much adopted it without fanfare.

              Why did Americans put up such a fuss? Is it really such an imposition to wear a mask when asked too? It’s just another example of an immature selfish culture.

              Are you arguing that the mask actually hurt the children? How?

              1. zagonostra

                I don’t honestly know. I’ve seen some reports that they do, but I don’t know how credible they are. I’m sure you could google the subject and get multiple hits on subject since they pop up now and then when I’m nibbling at the edge of the News Narrative Matrix.

                I just tend not to believe the “science” when it confounds common sense, as in people making there own Mask’s out of old clothes and allowing those to be acceptable, or, going to a food plaza and seeing people take off their mask to eat while the masked walk right on by, and a hundred other instances I’ve seen that just are illogical.

                Also, psychologically, it will remain to be seen how mandatory masks and lock-downs will affect kids. I’m sure plenty of studies will be made. I can certainly empathize with concerned parents and took issue with conflating them with “Karens”.

                I’m glad you’re not in the “business of telling others what to do”, there we are in perfect agreement.

              2. jonboinAR

                It’s because we have a severely polarized political culture. The maskers tend to be left-leaning and are complete fanatics about the absolute necessity of wearing masks. The anti-maskers tend to be right-leaning and are complete fanatics about the demonic imposition on their freedums that requiring them to wear masks is. In other words, I don’t think it’s about masks, at bottom. The controversy over vaccines, I think, is somewhat the same.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      She is far worse than the vapid dimwits who post responses on Twitter. They aren’t forcing you to listen to their verbal vomitus; you can close the page on them with one click. Whereas the school board members (and therefore everyone else waiting to speak) are required to hear out comments from the public on major policy decisions.

      The argument that she was defending her children from the horrific impact of wearing an extra piece of cloth is not well supported by video evidence. Look at demeanor of that princess as she spoke. Watch the video with some care.

      Narcissism was her driving motivation, not love of family. ”Fear” for her children was simply her socially acceptable excuse. Used to (inadequately) cover the obvious pleasure she gets out of dominating others with a haughty rant.

      There is this prevailing sentiment in comments at NC that only the over-credentialed PMC – the west coast and BoWash elite – bully other, regular citizens to the detriment of the nation. That. Is. Untrue. Regular Americans out here in the dust are way more likely to be browbeaten by self-defined Christian conservatives than by the IDpol twerps of the credentialed classes. I’m kind of glad that so many commenters herein live in areas where the shoe is on the foot. But……. after an adult lifetime in the American Heartland I can’t help but wonder where on earth all you all are. I haven’t been genuinely injured by the parochial snobbery of the “left” elite since I left the Bay Area in the mid-90s. Right wing local notables on the other hand…….

      1. CallMeTeach

        I live very close to the Acela Corridor, close enough that many commute to DC, and the same “Christian Conservatives” browbeat school boards around me. For some reason their “freedums” are more important than protecting the medically vulnerable children who have a right to the Least Restrictive Environment (<— capitalized because it's part of IDEA). Not wearing masks can put these kids at risk, which means they might have to stay home to be safe, which in turn means their rights are being infringed upon. I hope a savvy parent sues the crap out of their district for it.

      2. chuck roast

        Americans are very protective of their so-called liberties. The liberty to not wear a mask for instance. Given time this nonsense will go the way of your local endangered species. Decades ago the first governmental moves to restrict smoking were met with similar resistance. It took a long time to change popular attitudes. Think about this the next time you have the misfortune to be walking around a large airport and you see the butt-suckers huddling in their smoke-filled enclosure quietly puffing away while the rest of us are at liberty to breath clean air. This would have been the libertarian smokers worst nightmare 50 years ago.

        1. neo-realist

          The thing is, I suspect that second hand covid-19 breath will kill more people in a year (hundreds of thousands), than second hand cigarette smoke will kill nonsmokers (approx 34k heart disease deaths per NYS Health Department. If the selfish mask up they could potentially reduce the kill number by a great deal.

  9. Michael Ismoe

    Democrats, unions pour cash into California recall fight The Hill.

    Because Gavin came out and successfully campaigned against Prop 22 and saved all those union jobs, oh wait. To be a union member today is merely allowing yourself to get fleeced.

  10. Arizona Slim

    A bit of anecdata from Tucson:

    Yesterday, I was in a Zoom meeting with someone who is wrapping up a vacation/business trip to Chicago. She was Zooming from inside of her hotel room and wasn’t wearing a mask. However, she said that whenever she goes out in public, she double-masks. And this is someone who has been fully vaccinated.

    Here’s another one: Last month, I got a cheery email from the local University of Michigan alumni group. It was about a B1G (Big Ten) gathering at a local bar, ISTR, on August 21.

    I didn’t think that this is a good time to be part of a packed bar crowd, so I didn’t go.

    Well, wouldn’t you know it. Late last week, I got another email from the alumni group. This one was about the football season opener on September 4. We alumni were being notified that the game watching party — indoors at another local bar — was being cancelled, and that they weren’t sure about the party on September 11.

    A third data point: I’m on the emailing list for a local nonprofit organization that had been planning a film festival for September 24. Yesterday afternoon’s email informed me that the organization was cancelling this event due to the rising number of COVID cases.

    1. Glossolalia

      My anecdote from Washington, DC, where everyone is supposed to be super smart but apparently believe their own BS: For two months now I’ve been getting emails trying to organize band jams in a rehearsal space downtown. This would involve 5-6 people who barely know each other being in a small room for 2-3 hours at a time, and SINGING. Every time there are replies from people keen to do it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    2. Jen

      My “small liberal arts college” just recently postponed the return to campus for employees to the beginning of October. Shortly after that, they announced the would not resume charging for parking until January, which is the tell for how long they think this might go on.

      Still full steam ahead with the 4K of undergrads returning, and jamming into dorms like sardines.

      Either someone’s done a projection of the impact to our self funded health insurance program if half the workforce goes down, or worked out there’s no pool of ready replacements to draw on.

  11. Toshiro_Mifune

    China on the cusp of a ‘profound transformation’

    This is hard to get a decent reading on. Is this the party trying to reassert control and stuffing the capitalist genie back into the bottle? Cover for internal squabbles and power shifts ? Desperate moves to deflate asset bubbles?

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      “If we still have to rely on big capitalists as the main force of anti-imperialist and anti-hegemonism, or still cooperate to the US’ ‘tittytainment’ strategy, our young people will lose their strong and masculine vibes and we will collapse like the Soviet Union before we are attacked.”

      I’m trying to picture the John Candy character from ‘Volunteers’ reciting this.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        I did appreciate the “strong and masculine vibes” part. Sure, this is probably just a bad translation. Leave it though, its better this way

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Road runner stopped by Trump’s border wall”

    I don’t suppose that that border wall was built by the Acme Corporation, was it? Beep. Beep.

    1. larry

      Rev, very good. Heh, heh. But Acme were somehow overlooked. The tendering process must have been rigged.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’ve been getting front yard visits from a roadrunner. I’ve been tempted to open the door and holler “Beep! Beep!”

      But I don’t want to scare this bird away.

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    EF Schumacher’s “Buddhist Economics”–

    This video is a wonderful find, Yves, and well worth the 30 minutes that must be invested to view it. There were many echoes of Wendell Berry with Schumacher’s warnings about our deskilling. Then there was that young politician who learned about Schumacher and “small is beautiful” while spending time in a Buddhist monastery near San Francisco. Whatever happened to him?

    The most shocking thing was the fact that this little film was made in 1977. It captures Schumacher hosting the rich and powerful from around the world who all wanted to hear his ideas and jump on what seemed a bandwagon. What was all that? A last gasp of the 60s that would peter out in the face of the neoliberal onslaught? If the movers and shakers had really listened to Schumacher and Berry and Fritjof Capra, all of whom were warning us back then about the track we were on and laying out a new (or in Berry’s case, old) value system that could have empowered the fundamental changes necessary to avoid disaster, our current situation would not be so desperate.

    Schumacher refers to Buddhism in the film and even mentions the pointing finger/moon confusion that Buddhism seeks to dispel. His ideas also echo Lao-Tzu who writes of a vision of the perfect life, a vision so contrary to our American consumerist and imperial ideas of what life is about that it constitutes shock treatment for the materialism-afflicted. Le Guin’s title for it is “Freedom.” How different that “freedom” is from the twisted American variant.

    Let there be a little country without many people.
    Let them have tools that do the work of ten or a hundred,
    and never use them.
    Let them be mindful of death
    and disinclined to long journeys.
    They’d have ships and carriages
    but no place to go.
    They’d have armor and weapons
    but no parades.
    Instead of writing,
    they might go back to using knotted cords.
    They’d enjoy eating,
    take pleasure in clothes,
    be happy with their houses,
    devoted to their customs.
    The next little country might be so close
    the people could hear cocks crowing
    and dogs barking there,
    but they’d get old and die
    without ever having been there.

    Tao te Ching #80 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

      1. newcatty

        It does ring true. Today ,as I sit here recovering from oral surgery, I am appreciating NC and its many wonderful commenters. Especially since the Covid burst upon the MSM scene (not that it wasn’t out there before ), my spouse and I have , in essence, become ” a little country without many people”. We have chosen to ” be disinclined to long journeys”. “Be happy with their ( our ) house(s)”

        I am very cognizant of the fact that we are older and retired people. One of us is vaxed and one not. One has underlying medical issues and, so far, has been in own little country house and, if medically necessary, only go out masked. Vaxed one does all shopping, erands, etc. What a lucky one I am to be able to stay in shelter.

        Its been difficult to have our family be asked to not visit. They live in “the next little country (state) …so close.” For now, it is from mpov necessary. As I have have finally reached some maturity and experience ; its been freedom to create our boundries and, with clear choices, be at peace and “devoted to our( their) customs”. We are planing for family reunions in fall and winter. Who knows?

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I’ll let Lao-Tzu respond:

          You don’t have to go out the door
          to know what goes on in the world.
          You don’t have to look out the window
          to know the way of heaven.
          The further you go,
          the less you know.

          So the wise soul
          doesn’t go but knows;
          doesn’t look, but sees;
          doesn’t do but gets it done.

          Tao te Ching #47 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

          I said it was shock treatment.

          I’ll add Le Guin’s comment to this chapter as an aid:

          We tend to expect great things from “seeing the world,” and getting experience. A Roman poet remarked that travelers change their sky but not their soul. Other poets, untraveled and inexperienced, Emily Bronte and Emily Dickenson, prove Lao-Tzu’s point: it’s the inner eye that really sees the world.

              1. Soredemos

                Look, while it’s true that travel won’t automatically give you wisdom or insight, I wouldn’t put any stock in an ‘ability to see’ that hasn’t been tempered by experience.

                The above poetry just looks like an ode to ignorance.

          1. Basil Pesto

            ‘writers that do/don’t do thing write in a way that rationalises the thing they do/don’t do’ shocker

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          Before you reject this way of thinking so summarily, consider how things would be if Lao-Tzu’s views about travel predominated in our society. We could dispense with the airlines and ground the private jets tomorrow, and there would be hardly a whisper of protest from would-be travelers. Wuk’s overwhelmed parks in California would get a respite while people would spend more time in their yards and neighborhoods where there’s a lot of overlooked beauty and wonder. We could take what would be a significant step toward bringing things from a rolling boil at least back to simmer without any real pain.

          And all it would take is for people to give up their “need” to travel, a need that is, for the most part, planted within us by the Madmen. If we managed that, we could move on to:

          The greatest evil: wanting more.
          The worst luck: discontent.
          Greed’s the curse of life.

          To know enough’s enough
          is enough to know.

          TtC #46.

          1. Soredemos

            What a false binary you’ve set up. There are forms of meaningful travel that don’t require planes or other greatly environmentally damaging means. If we take him literally, he’s saying don’t visit the next country over even if you live near the border. How is this anything other than a recipe for “we don’t take kindly to your kind round these parts. Best keep stepping stranger” regional narrow-mindedness?

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              I can see how Law-Tzu’s recipe might engender your response, but you’re not taking the context of the whole cookbook into account. This is what Lao-Tzu says about judging:

              Everybody on earth knowing
              that beauty is beautiful
              makes ugliness.

              Everybody knowing
              that goodness is good
              makes evil.

              For being and nonbeing
              arise together;
              hard and easy
              complete each other;
              long and short
              shape each other.
              high and low
              depend on each other;
              note and voice
              make the music together;
              before and after
              follow each other.

              TtC #2.

              The whole process of classifying, much less judging, even though we seem to be well equipped if not prone to do it, can blind us to the ultimate completeness of all, to the truth that all depend on all.

              Travel is discouraged, as is conventional “learning,” because they can distract from the task of knowing ourselves fully and honestly. Surely you know, as I do, people who are constantly busying themselves with travel and buying and eating out, consuming voraciously, as a way of hiding from personal problems, doubts, anxieties. As I read the TtC, its anthropology understands us to be a combination of instinctual needs, an intellect that is largely a creation of the culture and the intuition. Lao-Tzu trusts the third rather than the second of those because he trusts the “raw uncut wood” of the intuition to be more in touch with the Tao than the intellect. Why? We moderns can find justification for what Lao-Tzu says in the assertion that the hunter-gatherer version of us was necessarily more in tune with Nature/Earth/Cosmos than we, and Lao-Tzu connects the intuition with that hunter-gatherer.

              Lao-Tzu is strong medicine against the plague of consumerism. We are so thoroughly immersed in that consumer world that the values in the TtC are disturbing to us because they are so different, but in a time when we are buying ourselves into destruction, strong medicine in some form is needed.

          2. Ian Perkins

            When I lived in the UK, I noticed that many who took regular foreign holidays abroad were largely ignorant of the cultures, wildlife, scenery and so on a short bus ride from their homes.

  14. Tom Stone

    “Policy seems to have been tailored in a way to enable the Virus”
    And to maximize profits for Big Pharma.
    If you are not a psychopath this is horrifying.
    If you are a wealthy and powerful psychopath this is a wonderful opportunity to make bank and to deal with overpopulation in a way that allows you to avoid being held responsible for Millions of deaths.
    All good.
    If this sounds insane, well yes, it is.
    These are people who have never suffered any negative consequences for their actions no matter how evil they have been.
    So they blithely assume there will be no negative consequences for them this time, or ever.
    Millions of newly homeless and desperate people hitting the streets in the midst of a pandemic, supply chains that are held together with bubble gum and duct tape, truly essential workers walking off the job because they think their lives are worth more than $7.25 an hour…
    And vaccine mandates when it is becoming glaringly clear that what protection they once offered is diminishing and likely to disappear.
    Hubris, meet Nemesis.

    1. urblintz

      Why Pfizer Thinks Its COVID Vaccine’s Days Could Be Numbered

      “On nearly every front, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) has been a blazing success. It was the first to win U.S. Emergency Use Authorization and full approval. More doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been given to Americans than any other — by far. The vaccine is on track to generate sales of $33.5 billion this year. Pfizer’s revenue growth could just be getting started.”

    2. Mikel

      There was an article the other day about food shortages coming to UK public schools and previously an article about a school district in Wisconsin wanting to cut back on food in schools.
      For all the talks about stimulus here and stimulus there, austerity is also rebooting.

      1. c_heale

        This could be partly austerity as political philosophy, but imo it could also be the world returning to food scarcity not surplus due to the environment becoming less suitable for humans (climate change).

  15. Darthbobber

    COVID post from my sis.

    “My 2021 COVID story: fully vaccinated in June. Exposed accidentally by a fully-vaccinated friend on August 21st. Symptomatic as of August 23rd (VERY tired, mild congestion, very mild headache, some loss of appetite), feeling fully recovered by August 26th. COVID test taken that day came back positive. MO state law advises me to quarantine for ten days from test date. So, completely back to normal as of Sept 7th. Glad I was vaccinated, so this really was nothing more than a mild inconvenience. Oh, and Terry was also exposed, but had no symptoms at all (he’s also fully vaccinated).”

    She also had a positive test in 2020, pre-vaccine.

    1. .human

      Glad that she was able to quarantine for ten days. Much of the population would be let go/out of work if they took ten days off, with it’s concomitant loss of pay. A bit more than an inconvenience.

      1. Darthbobber

        Which is why most recommended quarantines don’t get followed. (Gosh, if only there were some known mechanism that would ensure that people could actually afford to follow public health recommendations.)

        She’s retired, which makes the whole thing easier.

    2. chris

      Tell her to get an A1C test within 6 months post recovery. COVID is messing with people’s pancreas. It’s better to find out sooner rather than later if you’re suddenly diabetic or pre-diabetic.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Population above 5 million for first time since 1851 – CSO”

    This is really a sad story this when you think about it. By the time that the famine hit Ireland in the early 1840s, the population was reckoned to have been about 8 million people due to a rapid rise of numbers in the preceding decades. But then the famine hit. At least a million people emigrated to the far corners of the world but millions more died in those years of starvation, of disease – and neglect. In the decades after, huge tracts of land were semi-depopulated with some Counties affected worse than others.

    It would have been great if the 19th century Irish census records have survived but only small portions did as most was either burnt in conflict or used for scrap paper by bureaucrats in WW1. Otherwise we would have a far better idea of how the famine played out in Ireland during the whole 19th century.

    1. Synoia

      The Irish population numbers over the Potato Famine appear as a prediction of our world exposed to Climate Change.

      1. Ian Perkins

        Complete with armed guards for the warehouses and transport links, ensuring mountains of quality food still reach those with money.

        1. begob

          Plus a providential agrarian reform overseen by an evangelical. In the Irish case, Charles Wood of HM government.

      1. pasha

        yes, potato blight also hit the netherlands. it caused whole villages (including my eight great grandparents) to emigrate en masse to michigan and iowa

    2. Count Zero

      Well two queries I want to raise here.

      1. What is the evidence that millions died? I may be mistaken but I thought that approaching one million people died in the famine years, 1845-51. No doubt mortality continued to be high after that — as it was among the poor in other parts of Britain and Europe. Most of the later population decline in Ireland was the result of young people emigrating. I don’t think the famine explains everything about population decline. You get population decline in rural areas of England, Scotland and Wales in the same period.

      2. Wasn’t it the burning of some public buildings in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916 that destroyed Irish census records? I find it difficult to believe that bureaucrats used them for scrap paper. The amazing Victorian census reports are a monument to the obsessions of the bureaucratic mind!

  17. Wukchumni

    ‘My Kevin’ is terrified about disclosure-must have something to hide, no?

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that Republicans “will not forget” if telecommunications companies turn phone and email records over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

    The comment follows the select committee sending letters to 35 companies Monday asking them to preserve a number of records — something McCarthy argues “would put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democratic politicians.”

    The letters do not reveal whose information is being sought but specifically ask for the records of those involved in rallies to protest the certification of election results — a group that includes lawmakers.

    “If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy wrote.

    McCarthy did not cite which law prohibits telecommunications companies from complying with the committee’s request.

    1. Pat

      I am just amused. Remembering how often anyone concerned about both privacy and Constitutional rights had their worries pooh-poohed with the extremely condescending “if you have nothing to hide…”

      Mind you I still find the long term record holding and the ease that they are accessed disturbing for all the same reasons I have for several decades regardless of whose goose is cooked. (Not that I think the government doesn’t have all this already, this is merely to produce a plausible reason to have it and a faux chain of custody.)

    2. Gareth

      A letter telling a company to preserve data is not a request to turn over data, so McCarthy has his cart ahead of his horse. However, if he is anticipating that the request to turnover the data will come later, he may be questioning the authority of a select committee to subpoena information. I’m not an expert on the House’s rules, but I recall that some committees have been unable to issue subpoenas in the past without the consent of the ranking member. Does the select committee have a valid ranking member since the Republicans declined to participate as a party, and does a select committee have subpoena power in the same way that the standing committees do? ECPA defines different levels of telecommunication information, and each level requires different hoops to jump through if law enforcement wants it. Some information can be had with a subpoena, but other stuff requires a warrant from the judiciary.

  18. Ruth4truth

    I got my ballot yesterday. The return envelope has a hole in it. If you place your voted ballot in the sealed envelope you can see the voted choice for position B. Is this another chicanery.

    1. Michael McK

      My County’s return envelope is solid and totally opaque (after I lick and seal the giant hole/flap on top). Are you able to see just one potential ‘B’ vote or would you be able to see any ‘B’ vote? What County are you in?

  19. Eclair

    Some CoVid ‘anecdata’ from the college-age cohort.

    My granddaughter, fully vaccinated, student at large eastern university that tests every student at beginning of the semester, plus doing routine sewage tests by residence hall, gave the family a scare last Thanksgiving, as she received a text while driving home, that the routine ‘leaving CoVid test’ had been positive. Parents went into overdrive, isolating the poor grummet in the attic, with a hot-plate and a bowl of fruit, hanging sheets of plastic over doors, scheduling another test for her. Turns out that the original test was for a group of 5 or 6 students (a money-saving device) and that the individual test, for which she had to wait for four days for an appointment (well, Thanksgiving!) and then be in line at 6 AM and wait for two hours, etc., turned out negative. Phew!

    She survived spring semester, at least in terms of physical health, finally scoring appointments for vaccination, melting down at end of term after four months of sitting alone in her room, zooming her classes, with her former suite-mates all having taken the semester off. She does not do well with social isolation.

    She’s working two jobs at home, having decided to take off the fall semester. But, she heads off to the university last weekend, to hang out with some friends for a few days. Back home, she receives a text from a fellow student, with whom she spent some time, unmasked, who, although completely asymptomatic and fully vaccinated, had tested positive on his mandatory entry CoVid test. Back to getting appointment for CoVid test, faster this time, and awaiting results by tomorrow.

    Her mom texts me, about a long-planned visit, ‘do you feel comfortable with me coming to visit this weekend?’ We have not seen each other since May and I’m, like, at some point I am going to have to stop letting this virus control my life. Reasonable precautions, masking in stores, etc., yeah. Preventing me from being with family? Not so much.

    1. Glossolalia

      I have a friend whose parents are in their 80s and still relatively mobile and socially active. My friend is beside herself because of how she perceives her parents not taking enough covid protections. Her parents wear masks at the grocery stores and only eat outside but otherwise are still seeing friends indoors, etc. Their take on it is that in their early 80s they basically have no idea how many “good” years they have left and are not going to spend whatever time they do have isolated.

    2. John Beech

      Brother and sister-in-law dropped in on us a few months back. Unexpected because they basically invited themselves (my wife never says no to big sis). Never heaved a bigger sigh of relief after ten days following their departure. Yes, had a serious talk with wife but doubt it does any good if Sis-in-law invites herself back (but then I’ll step in and be the bad guy).

      Meanwhile, $100k swing in our family finances as I recently asked better half to quit work rather than go back to school with unmasked kiddies and colleagues. Turned in paperwork, they countered with offer of a 1-year sabbatical (no pay, and we pony up $1789/mo her health insurance), which wife accepted. Fortunately business is good. Tired of COVID19 precautions. better than risk of dying.

      Sure would like to hear more from IM Doc regarding what’s going on in his little corner of the world. Seems he offered up positive results vice Ivermectin but in the news these days it’s all about ‘those dumb Republicans taking horse paste.’ Don’t know whom to believe by maybe IM Doc is the real deal. Hope NC moderators know. Heavy sigh.

    3. newcatty

      @ Eclair, Appreciate your post. It relates well to my previous one. We have a granddaughter who is a freshman in college. I am still far from how to come to your great conclusions.

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Fionna O’Leary, ???
    I don’t understand why current rates of ⬆️ 1k children in a month so seriously ill with Covid that they are hospitalised is remotely OK either with the Government or with Paediatricians.’

    Fascinating this. The Premier of my State in Oz said in Parliament today that she was sending a query about children and the effects of this virus and vaccinations to the Doherty Institute. This was the mob that came up with the plan to make this virus endemic to Oz for the good of the economy. But in talking about this, she said that children never featured in any of the models that the Dohert report put out. Saywhatnow?

    Oh, as for the economy here. It looks like all these engineered outbreaks are going to send the country into a recession for an unknown period of time. Certainly into next year. Nobody could have ever predicted that. Nice one Gladys. Nice one Scotty.

    1. Vandemonian

      the Doherty Institute…came up with the plan to make this virus endemic to Oz for the good of the economy

      Actually, the Doherty report didn’t make that recommendation, it was just what Little Scotty used as an excuse.

      The report was a bit shoddy but it shouldn’t be blamed for the recommendation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The media are certainly pushing the living with covid line. As I type this, there is a story on TV right now called “Living with Covid” by showing how Paris has returned to normal again complete with accordion music. And the only real difference is that they have to show a health pass if they visit anywhere. So the real story they are saying is ‘See? Living with covid is no biggie!’ Our media is a bad joke.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Would you believe Vandemonian that I almost envy the media that the Americans have in contrast to our own? Almost.

  21. Carolinian

    Re Ed Asner

    A former GM assembly-line worker, he preached an old-school gospel of labor solidarity

    You wonder how many current Hollywood actors could make that claim. I’m reading a book called Public Citizens about the rise of citizen/consumer advocate organizations during the 1970s and early 80s–Asner’s heyday. The book is making the point that for all their great accomplishments these Nader inspired NGOs demanded a purity in politics that weakened the Democrats as a power center and therefore gave an opening to the then on the outs (Congressionally) Republicans. You could go even further back to the New Deal itself and point out that FDR’s accomplishments needed the help of all those Southern Jim Crow die hards. In that time Eleanor was the purist and Franklin the deal maker.

    It’s easy to love and admire the late Asner but making the perfect the enemy of the good still seems to be a problem with the modern left and, perhaps, a Hamlet like excuse for doing nothing and throwing up one’s hands. We also have so many modern toys and distractions to make this easier. What most current lefties most certainly haven’t done is work in a car plant.

    1. griffen

      Not exactly a fan of his causes, but submit there is admiration for being a very public face in favor of the causes he supported. Not hard to figure that he didn’t care much for Reagan.

      Interesting to see how someone is remembered, aside from being a famous face from popular TV series or movies.

  22. chris

    Is there any MSM reporter or major news service who is covering the eviction crisis from an angle where the problem was congress not doing anything? Getting rather tired of these people blaming the Supreme Court here. If Congress had done anything other than go on vacation, or if Biden had made a good faith effort to rectify the problems with the CDC being given unlimited authority to control private property, we wouldn’t be here. The only reason the media even covered this appears to be Cori Bush’s stunt sleeping on the Capitol steps. Otherwise this would be another mess where all good people shake their heads in disbelief about the problems in Red States :/

    1. megrim

      Plus the ban was going to expire on October 3rd anyway, so all this did was accelerate the date when the CDC/congress were going to let the evictions rip.

    2. Darthbobber

      That’s all vanished. New legislation was needed, Biden didn’t bother to ask until about 2 days before recess was scheduled. Dems made some slight pretense of trying to cobble something together that fast and failing.

      The the Bush effort led (or was claimed to lead) to the Biden administrative decision (which the administration expected to lose the inevitable court challenge on, it was a stall tactic.) A pointless stall tactic, since congress did not return to the issue when it came back

    3. John Beech

      Been sending Mom $5000/month for the last year and a half to tide her over due to those taking advantage of her by not paying rent on the three condos she owns. She’s spitting mad about them buying new cars and televisions but ‘unable’ to pay rent. So the givernment hoses small landlords whilst supporting deadbeats and the media cries for the freeloaders, eh? Hmmm.

      1. chuck roast

        John, I walked scores of freeloaders on the street today who would weep tears of joy to have your mom’s problem.

          1. LifelongLib

            This assumes that everybody would rather own a residence than rent one. There was a long period in my life where that was not the case, and I suspect the same is true of many in the U.S.

            Some commenters on NC have noted that in supposedly more enlightened Europe, home ownership is actually much less common than it is here.

      2. griffen

        I think you’ll observe little commiserating about such a situation. The rentier class means everyone, including smaller owners providing shelter as a residential service and not an NGO or a charity. All the while, mortgages and insurance and maintenance have to be kept up.

        Tough crowd in that respect. I’ve got prior scars from trying to convey the difference in optics between a local owner and a giant mega owner such as Blackstone, private equity….

    1. juno mas

      The forest fires in California are ravaging many favorite places for those who love the mountain west.
      Lake Almanor and Lake Tahoe get most of the ink, but Echo Lake is a gem of a time-past, summer hang-out.

      There is devastation beyond vacation homes that is occurring without much notice. The Lake Almanor (Dixie) fire has imperiled two nascient wolfpacks in that area. One pack has some GPS tracking the other not. Wildlife officials are not reporting on the packs status.

      Lake Tahoe limnology will be severely affected for years if the Caldor fire begins consuming the homes in the Tahoe Basin. The chemically laden ash from burnt homes in the Basin will migrate with sediment toward the lakes edge and eventually encourage algal blooms that will mar the lakes world renown clarity.

      1. juno mas

        Errata: Please excuse the lack of possessive apostrophe for “pack’s status” and “the lake’s”. (Edit time appears to have been foreshortened.)

  23. Randy G.

    Greenwald’s piece details the relentless lying of Obama officials regarding Snowden and his motives.

    Ironically, Snowden, whose courage and moral clarity are second to none, is also extremely lucky. At least so far. Had he not gotten stuck in Russia, an autonomous country, he would have ended up with bogus asylum in Ecuador or Bolivia.

    Once the corrupt Moreno government replaced Rafael Correa, Snowden would have been betrayed for CIA cash in exactly the way Assange was sold out at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He would be suffering treatment as bad or worse than what Julian Assange is enduring.

    And once Jeanine Anez seized power in the Bolivian election coup in 2019, she would have undoubtedly rewarded her overlords in Washington with the head of Edward Snowden on a platter, had he been living in Bolivia at the time.

    The meddling of Obama officials to block Snowden’s transit appears to have been an ‘own goal’ since they would have gotten their hands on him otherwise.

    And if it were still the 1990s in Russia, with the country reeling as a demoralized vassal state, Yeltsin would have happily handed over Snowden to his ‘good friend’ Bill Clinton for a gift certificate at Liquor Barn. By the time Snowden got stuck in Russia, however, Putin and his government had grown a little frustrated with their American ‘partners’.

    It’s important to recall that Snowden first asked for whistleblower asylum in a number of European nations, including Germany. None of which had the guts to do the right thing when faced with the demands and threats of the sociopaths in Washington.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Snowden is lucky they didn’t pretend to grant him asylum. Once he was settled in and felt safe, they would have worked with the DC FedRegime to have Snowden extraordinarily renditioned to the US, to be guantanamized and padillafied, and possibly be Jeffrey Epsteined.

      He ended up in one of very few countries where the DC FedRegime cannot have him extraordinarily renditioned from.

  24. griffen

    Oh goodness, the tweet from Stoller is just too priceless. Any IT professional who is familiar with a SharePoint site settings knowledge could make the necessary tweaks. No need for an overpriced contractor.

    While not IT, as a finance person I would provide frequent uploads of large excel data dumps. Had to ask the IT person once upon a time for an urgent update, so a counterparty could view my uploads. To a layman it can be confusing if you don’t know the data cap is being maxed.

    Sometimes the stupid just burns!

    1. hunkerdown

      I get a subtle sense that the contractors are there to ensure quality control i.e. prevent fragging.

  25. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Nemesis: Why the west was doomed to lose in Afghanistan Prospect (Colonel Smithers). Brutal.”

    The reflexive observations of a part time provocateur.

    1. What has happened to and where is that will to embrace the scorched earth policy of total war? History teaches that in order to properly subdue and subjugate a population, large portions of that same population must be brutally slaughtered in order to both prevent uprisings and to achieve the necessary pacification of the remaining enemy population. The will to resist in the adversary must be thoroughly crushed decisively and brutally.

    2. “Start with the Taliban victory. As a matter of decency, we must—however distasteful their ideas and brutal their practices can be—”

    That is, the decadent decency of morally pseudo sophisticated apes that are always offended by the ‘distasteful brutality of their ideas and practices’,

    “Uzbekistan’s role as a surrogate jailer for the United States was confirmed by a half-dozen current and former intelligence officials working in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were “beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask.” Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported.”

    3. A casual historical observation suggests that a truly martial society would look something like,

    One does not dominate, or defend against domination by adopting half measures.

    4. The very process of socialization itself involves violence and the use of force against the individual on multiple levels.

  26. Mikel

    “Taliban HELPED escort stranded Americans to Kabul airport through a ‘secret gate’ and by communicating through ‘call centers’ “Daily Mail

    As strange as it sounds it makes sense. The Taliban would want as many Americans OUT as soon as possible.
    Only the foot-stomp, hissy fit having MIC and assorted war profiteers (and their boot-lickers) want to make any withdrawal seem as deadly or chaotic as possible…or there may be other ideas about withdrawals from other regions.

  27. a fax machine

    re: Newsom

    End result is still unknown, direct deposit helicopter money (aka Golden State Stimulus II) arrives this week and next week. But people like me with paper checks got to wait for October. I have a feeling that $600 will influence voters more than they can remember the French Laundry scandal.

    It’s not so much this year as it is next year, when the state GOP will have their act together enough to line up behind Falconer who will toast Newsom on his mishandling of the power crisis. I don’t beilive Falconer has better ideas, but if Newsom fails to act on PG&E voters will shrug him especially as the fire crisis grows further over this remaining fire season and next year’s fire season. The amount of crises (plural) that Newsom must juggle grows every day, and he is increasingly without solutions for most of them. At some point there’s going to be a general economic crisis, if not nationally then locally due to the damage caused by the fires, which will require a huge amount of rehabilitation financed by Remote Workers who (due to the nature of their work) can leave the state or have their jobs outsourced.

    I consider him a small factor in the larger picture. Everything is going sideways, and he needs to either nationalize critical industries (utilities) or start construction of a state alternative. There’s increasingly no middle ground left, it’s literally burning away.

    1. Joe Renter

      a fax machine-
      Thanks for the your insight. Although I have been in CA for over a year I really don’t know the state politics that well. Yes, I think Newsom may be burnt toast.

      1. a fax machine

        Perhaps the biggest “insight” is the basic reality between Newsom and Falconer: while Falconer is a well-to-do affluent Republican who ran San Diego, he has had to deal with real problems and real issues such as attracting businesses to the city and growing them as opposed to cutting the cake Willie Brown baked for him as Newsom does. Rather, Falconer has a lucid grip on basic problems facing Californians and knows how to channel it into a compelling message. Newsom is this rich, out-of-touch, clueless limo liberal from Marin whose only claim to fame is preforming the state’s first gay marriage, an issue that is far removed from modern problems. Falconer can measure his success by how San Diego stole the Navy (& associated business) from SF, Newsom has no similar barometer other than the increasing and intensifying chaos upstate.

        Whether or not Falconer can surmount Newsom is entirely up to the CA GOP’s ability to get serious and stack up behind him, as CA Dems can muster behind Newsom. I feel that they can, since Falconer has more experience in dealing with Democrats and *winning* as a Republican in an otherwise blue area. He also knows how to negotiate in ways Newsom doesn’t (and tries to poorly outsource to subordinates).

        San Jose’s growing political voice is a factor as well, if Falconer can make a case to them he can make a case to win as if Newsom looses the south bay he’ll loose LA. I think it *could* occur as we go into another recordbreaking fire/power shortage season and as a covid recession hits us.

  28. Lambert Strether

    > In a major blow to vaccine efforts, senior FDA leaders stepping down

    Not a confidence builder for the vaccine approval process. And why step down when Pfizer is approved, but not Moderna? Why not at least wait until Moderna is through? It strikes me as very, very odd that not one but two FDA veterans would leave at the same time, at this time, and in this way.

    1. antidlc

      Maybe they had enough and didn’t want to “find evidence to support claims booster shots are needed”?
      Scientists Question Joe Biden’s Push for COVID Vaccine Booster Shots

      Dr. Carlos del Rio, professor of medicine at Emory University, added: “The problem is by focusing on boosters we’re distracting from the biggest problem, which is all the unvaccinated people.”

      Biden’s apparent rush to get the vaccine boosters available by September 20 has also reportedly caused havoc within the FDA.

      According to Politico, the agency is now frantically trying to find evidence to support claims booster shots are needed, likening the current situation to how President Donald Trump desperately pushed for COVID vaccines to be approved during his time in office.

      Gruber’s name is on the August 23, 2021 BLA approval letter:

    2. Darthbobber

      Perhaps angered by knowledge of some near-future nonsense that qualifies as their bridge too far?

    3. Greg

      Maybe not so odd, if they’re the last senior leadership of the old school. It would be common for two veteran execs to discuss things with each other, and possibly come to the conclusion together that the new leadership direction isn’t for them. If say, the new leadership consisted of a bunch of outsiders without internal or domain specific knowledge, who are only interested in power and money.

      Which is to say, looked at through the lens of our shared understanding of how large organisations senesce and die, it makes sense for them to bail simultaneously regardless of what else is going on.

    4. VietnamVet

      The approval of Comirnity mRNA Vaccine without a public hearing is the opposite of government openness. There is so much big lie propaganda being spread to increase pharmaceutical profits, if the FDA office directors had told the truth it would burst a whole lot of bubbles. Instead better to retire now.

      The sad thing is that by not being honest; not standing up to the corrupt revolving door political appointees, and not demanding follow-up full safety and efficacy testing and complete Phase III monitoring due the politicization of science, they have directly contributed to the growing distrust of government. If the next January 6th coup succeeds, like the Soviet Union, the first thing to go will be their government pensions.

  29. Carolinian

    Re judge orders Ivermectin–the patient had been in the ICU for weeks with 30 percent chance of recovery. His wife got a doctor to prescribe Ivermectin. The hospital still refused. The story in Links has all the approved talking points about dewormers, conservative web sites, CDC warnings and brings on a Professor of Osteopathy to denounce Ivermectin. It does not talk about the safety profile of the drug or the years of human use.

    All of which raises some serious questions about the rights of relatives to get a second opinion and act in the best interest of their families. The woman had even offered to sign a legal waiver if they would administer the drug.

    1. Maritimer

      As far as Covid, we have take-it-or-leave-it medicine. Or one-size-fits-all. That is also the way of the future. Those who are in favor of all these mandates, coercion, intimidation, etc. may find themselve in future in a mandated medical situation.

      I was in a life threatening cardio situation and was given a take-it-or-leave-it choice. I left it based on sound research done by my spouse. Later I found a well qualified, board certified physician who complimented me on my decision and fortitude.

      Careful what you wish for, folks, in giving the Medical Cartel absolute power over your health decisions. Today, the Unvaccinated, tomorrow, you.

  30. jonboinAR

    Don’t Wage Economic War on Afghanistan Antiwar (resilc)

    I agree completely with Daniel Larison, that there’s probably no good reason for the US to apply economic sanctions on Afghanistan. It’s time to leave those poor people alone, except perhaps to ask if they need any economic assistance from us. We don’t need to be arming rebels, or nothing.

    1. Procopius

      Their “rebels” are ISIS (probably from the mercenaries in Syria), so in line with our foreign policy since 9/11 we are likely to provide them with arms and funding (from Saudi Arabia and UAE), just as we have been with Al Qaeda in Syria and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.

  31. PhillyPhilly

    According to this article, over 700 people across North Carolina have received monoclonal antibody therapy.

    The horse is out of the barn and galloping across the land.

  32. ArvidMartensen

    There is a story from years ago about a famous Australian PM, known to be overbearing, who was travelling on an official flight. His wife was with him, but seated quite a few seats away while he held meetings with staff.
    Suddenly the PM decided he wanted his wife seated near him, and tasked a steward with finding her a seat, and fetching her.
    Her response when told what her husband wanted? “Try, but don’t try too hard”.

    And this is what NSW Premier Berejiklian has been doing in the latest Covid outbreak.
    She has been trying to beat the virus in NSW, but she hasn’t been trying too hard. And the result is that Covid has spread across NSW, into indigenous communities and then into adjoining states which had, up until now, kept the virus at bay.
    Imho, she is wilfully seeding the rest of Australia so that business can resume, international flights can resume, importing cheap labour can resume etc.
    After all, big businesses provide most of the donations to the conservative party of Berejiklian and Australian PM Morrison who similarly isn’t too interested in ordinary people.

  33. Soredemos

    >Showering with biological men: Female inmates in US & UK recount sexual abuse from ‘trans’ prisoners RT

    Look, I know this is a swamp of an issue, but that something like this could happen was a pretty easy prediction. Yet any attempt to pushback or raise questions was instantly shut down by the liberal hive mind as ‘transphobia’ or being a ‘TERF’ (and most of the real left seems to have just blindly accepted all of it as well). The fact an article like this is running in an outlet like RT is kind of a clue to how well received it would be in more mainstream sources. The refusal to entertain the possibility of real-world negative consequences on this issue seems like a giant self-own for liberals and the left.

    And, just to immerse myself fully in the swamp, I’m going to channel Adolph Reed here by saying that I was just reminded today that there’s a white English guy who has gone under the knife multiple times in an attempt to ‘make himself Korean’ because he’s so obsessed with a K-pop star. Why is that guy considered a valid target of near-universal pity and derision, but M2F/F2M trans-sexuality is supposed to be treated seriously? Most will agree that the English guy is a weirdo with mental health problems, but we’re supposed to just accept that ‘of course’ that isn’t the case with transsexuals?

    I’ll be completely blunt here: I’ve interacted with a fair number of trans people, and it’s very clear to me that many of them do have mental health problems, particularly narcissism, and I’m not at all convinced that their being claiming to be trans isn’t simply a manifestation of their mental problems.

    A response I can predict to saying that is “How dare you. Who are you to deny their lived experience and not take seriously their claims that they simply feel trapped in the wrong body?”. Well, who is anyone to deny the claimed lived experience of the English guy that he genuinely feels he’s a Korean trapped in the wrong body? Or of Rachel Dolezal? I’m asking for a logically consistent explanation for why one trans is justifiable, and the other is just mentally ill people.

    Because from where I’m standing all I see from both groups is people getting medical treatments in a quest to at best be a crude approximation of something they can never truly be, and all of us onlookers are expected to smile, nod, and pretend we don’t see the very obvious difference.

    So far I haven’t seen any satisfactory explanation other than that one has political impetus trying to jam into the cultural zeitgeist that ‘this is totally serious’, and the other doesn’t.

    1. Procopius

      Your observation of narcissism is interesting to me. In Thailand there is a general acceptance of transsexual people (almost always M2F), and they are thought to be disproportionately represented in the entertainment industry. The stereotypical role in the soap operas is as an overly aggressive agent or manager of a female star or the sycophantic companion of a star, and narcissism is a common characteristic.

  34. Soredemos

    There has been a fair bit of research on this. There really does seem to be a solid link between personality disorders and wanting to transition.

    I won’t say that people with a genuine body dysmorphia don’t exist, but the sudden explosion in the last decade or so of people claiming they’re actually the opposite sex seems to me more like a social level phenomenon that is the result of multiple factors. One is that many people who transition are kids, ie under 25. Their brains haven’t even fully formed yet. They don’t know what they are. They’re still figuring themselves out, but now there’s so much media and earnest people assuring them that they might be trans, and to go ahead and make permanent changes to themselves.

    Two is that there’s simply a lot of money to be made selling transition drugs.

    And three is clout. Being trans is a guaranteed way to get lots of attention and gushing support. I follow a fair number of lefty ‘BreadTubers’ on YouTube, and it’s kind of hard not to notice how many of them now claim to identify either as bisexual or trans (in particular I’m deeply skeptical of the sincerity of Philosophy Tube coming out as a woman. Feels too much like copycatting of ContraPoints).

    I’m open to the possibility that I’m just a huge dinosaur a-hole (though I’m not actually that old; not much older than many of these people transitioning) who doesnt “get it”. But still, the way the T in LGBT was introduced and normalized in the public consciousness so quickly, with so little real debate, is impressive to me. People are getting their breasts and penises cut off; is this seriously not a thing that should be subjected to some degree of genuine public debate? Is just calling every critic a bigot the sensible approach?

    1. SES

      It was common clinical knowledge for decades that the vast majority of young people with gender dysmorphia are actually homosexual, and that their dysmorphia resolves once they accept that.

      The phenomenon of the autogynephilic middle-aged transitioner, usually male to female, is something completely different. Activists from this group, who often don’t even surgically transition, have somehow gained a stranglehold on LGBT organizations.

      Now we face the prospect of many of the younger LGB cohort mutilating themselves to pretend they’re straight, and this “conversion therapy” is blessed by the very organizations that should be protecting them.

      Truly, euthanize the NGOs!

  35. Susan the other

    great antidote: Silverado the Cat. I needed that. Something to offset Benny the Teen – also a keeper.

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