Links 9/27/2021

Amazing photos show a family of wild boars organizing a cage breakout of 2 piglets, demonstrating high levels of intelligence and empathy Insider. See also the original in Nature, which has an annotated photographic play-by-play.

Watch a raven take out a Google drone mid-air as the tech giant is forced to ground its home delivery service due to bird attacks Yahoo News. Listen to the ravens. They’re not dumb. They’re trying to help us.

Animals are ‘shape shifting’ in response to climate change CNN

Here’s how Alabama’s state vegetable could fare in a changing climate Alabama Political Reporter

Goldilocks Is Dying Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate

The Corrupt System Behind Covid Medical Shortages Matt Stoller, BIG (RS). A must-read.


Natural immunity emerges as potential legal challenge to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates Yahoo News

* * *

Quantifying the impact of COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions on influenza transmission in the United States (accepted manuscript) Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “We estimate that incidence of influenza A/H1 and B, which circulated in early 2020, was reduced by more than 60% in the US during the first ten weeks following implementation of NPIs. The reduction of influenza transmission exhibits clear geographical variation.” So if influenza is a good proxy for Covid… it would be too bad that the Biden administration butchered its NPI messaging in favor of Vax, Vax, Vax. (NPI = Non-Pharmaceutical Inverventions, like masking, social distancing, and ventilation).

We Did the Research: Masks Work, and You Should Choose a High Quality Mask if Possible NYT. From the authors of the Bangladesh mask RCT. Note that the coverage of this story tends to equate “high quality” with “surgical,” when (K)N95s are better. Here the authors (or the editors), sadly, equivocate: “Masks with even better filtration or fit than surgical masks, such as KF94 or KN95 masks, may provide even stronger protection than surgical masks if worn properly.” The “may” qualifier applies to any mask, including surgical. So why say it? Further, the “K” prefix for KF94s and KN95s means masks manufactured to Chinese standards. Both K and N masks have the same rating, but only the N95s are licensed for medical use in the United States, which goes unmentioned in the article. If I weren’t such a trusting soul, I’d suspect that the PMC is still reserving the best masks for itself, exactly as Fauci did when he told his Noble Lie in March 2020. In fact, as policy, reserving the best masks for medical personnel could be wise. But could the PMC please stop with the prevaricating Philosopher Kings schtick and level with people? Just for once?

* * *

Predictors of Test Positivity, Mortality, and Seropositivity during the Early Coronavirus Disease Epidemic, Orange County, California, USA Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC. From the Abstract: “In the first month of the local epidemic (March 2020), case incidence clustered in high-income areas. This pattern quickly shifted, and cases next clustered in much higher rates in the north-central area of the county, which has a lower socioeconomic status.” How odd. I would speculate that the 2020 dynamic in Orange County (LAX) is exactly the same as it was in New York (LFK/EWR): International travelers, who are on the average wealthier, introduced the virus. And from them, it spread to everyone else. Not Bubba.

Viral Sequencing to Investigate Sources of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in US Healthcare Personnel Clinical Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “We found no evidence for healthcare-associated transmission in the majority of HCP infections evaluated. Although we cannot rule out the possibility of cryptic healthcare-associated transmission, it appears that HCP most commonly become infected with SARS-CoV-2 via community exposure.”

* * *

A potent SARS-CoV-2 neutralising nanobody shows therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian golden hamster model of COVID-19 Nature. From the Abstract: “There is an unmet need for effective treatments against COVID-19 for which neutralizing single domain antibodies (nanobodies) have significant potential. Their small size and stability mean that nanobodies are compatible with respiratory administration. Administration of C5-trimer [a nanobodies] via the respiratory route showed potent therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian hamster model of COVID-19 and separately, effective prophylaxis. The molecule was similarly potent by intraperitoneal injection.” Respiratory administration translates to “nasal spray,” as the Rosalind Franklin Institute’s press release points out.

Why Remdesivir Failed: Preclinical Assumptions Overestimate the Clinical Efficacy of Remdesivir for COVID-19 and Ebola Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. And yet no moral panic or jokes about horses. How odd.

* * *

COVID’s Assault on the Moral Fiber of Medicine MedPage


Chinese cities seize Evergrande presales to block potential misuse of funds FT

China’s Tech Tycoons Pledge Allegiance to Xi’s Vision Bloomberg

Chairman Xi, China’s Looming Crisis, And The Myth Of Infallibility Forbes

Some Apple, Tesla suppliers suspend production in China amid power pinch Reuters


Insurgency In Yangon – Interview Din Deng

‘My workplace is like a killing field’: Bombing campaign puts workers in the crossfire Frontier Myanmar

The future of solar panels: A serious question for Southeast Asia Globe_

2 days after bombshell testimony, Pharmally exec can’t be contacted by Senate panel The Rappler


Uttar Pradesh: Covid cases down by 99% since peak Times of India. Hmm.

Indian farmers aim for nationwide protests against reforms on Monday Reuters


UAE-Israel relations risk being built on questionable assumptions The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Shadow contracts, corruption keep the lights out in Iraq AP. Sounds familiar.

Lebanon: What life is like in a ‘failed state’ Al Jazeera (Re Silc).


U.K. Offers Thousands of Visas to Foreign Truckers to Ease Driver Shortage NYT. Commentary:

Norway to end coronavirus-related restrictions on Saturday Reuters and Covid-19 in Norway can now be compared to the flu, says health chief The Local. Note that the views of the assistant director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health are not the same as an official reclassification.

The long road to forming a post-Merkel government Deutsche Welle

Five takeaways from Germany’s nail-biting election night Euronews

Bolsonaro’s Discreet Charm for the Bourgeoisie BrasilWire

The Caribbean

Haitians returning to a homeland that’s far from welcoming AP

Biden Administration

Scoop: Centrists back $3.5T package Axios. Two of the nine. Lucy tees up the football.

CHEVRON V. DONZIGER: An update Marianne Williamson, Transform. This is Assange- or Craig Murray-level official lawlessness. How odd that none of the major venues are covering it.

How Accounting Giants Craft Favorable Tax Rules From Inside Government NYT

Intelligence Community

Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks Yahoo News. Two good stories by Yahoo News today. What’s gotten into them? And why did nobody else get to this one first?

Our Famously Free Press

Gabby Petito, Online Detectives, and the Queasy Places Our True-Crime Obsessions Have Taken Us Vanity Fair

Health Care

The American healthcare system damages your *thinking* not just the public health Welcome to Hell World. Deck: “This whole country is a scam.” Well worth a read for the anecdotes alone, which are so numerous, here and everywhere, that they aggregate to data.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Vindicating Realist Internationalism Survival

The Future of Conquest Foreign Affairs

Supply Chain

Container ships now piling up at anchorages off China’s ports Hellenic Shipping News

Dozens of ships are forced to anchor off coast of New York as they wait to dock in the country’s second-largest port – adding to US supply chain crunch which has forced FedEx to reroute 600k packages a day Daily Mail (KW).

The Supply-Chain Mystery The New Yorker. Last sentence: “The real challenge, when it comes to thinking about supply chains, isn’t making sure that a container ship is unloaded. It’s deciding how we want to live.” You know the question I’m going to ask….

The housing theory of everything Works in Progress (dd).

She Bought Her Dream Home. Then a ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Changed the Locks. NYT. Sort of like a DIY MERS, except done by frightening Others, amiright or amiright?

Class Warfare

67% of employees ready to quit say leaders made empty pandemic promises for well-being Becker’s Hospital Review

As a Delivery Worker, I Still Want More From the New Delivery-App Bills New York Magazine

The Ancient People Who Burned Their Culture to the Ground Atlas Obscura

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Basil Pesto

    re: masking quality, I found this great table from someone on the twitter a few weeks ago – I drew the circles in myself to illustrate to a friend: the red is where Melbourne is right now, the blue is where we need to be and could realistically and easily get with the right gov’t support (I think fitted N95s is too much of an ask for the civilian population- fitted N95s being where they do the test in hospital settings of putting some sort of sealed bag over your head and piping in an odorous gas – presumably 3 microns wide?). I wear various unfitted, non-rigid KN95/N95/P2 masks, and typically tend to double mask with a looser cloth mask over the top (I asked the fellow who made the table what he thought of double masking and he estimated an 80% improvement but didn’t go into more detail on specifics, eg double masking technique, material of the second mask etc.)

    I have to stress that the numbers in the table aren’t empirical; they’re informed estimates. For example we know that Delta can transmit among the unmasked after fleeting contact (you might remember the case from Australia that demonstrated this in June) – but the important thing is that the table illustrates clearly for layman the multiplicative (is this the right word?) benefit of good masking throughout the community.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not sure if you have heard or not, Basil, but I believe that when NSW opens up for their ‘Freedom Day’ in about a fortnight’s time, that soon after they will be doing away with masks, social distancing and all the rest of it.

        1. Wukchumni

          Prisoners of mask mandated yonks, resistance is futile but I prefer an N95 when mixing with the germ’ans, and what a handy table in regards to mask effectiveness!

          About 60% were wearing masks the other day @ the supermarket, and over in Orchard Park, NY when the camera panned over the crowd of Bills faithful, it seemed there were just a handful so attired in the rather packed Ralph.

          1. petal

            The Pegulas have made it a rule everyone must be vaccinated to attend the Bills and Sabres games, so all those folks are all good! They’re all vaccinated so no masks needed, no disease transmission, nothing. Magically protected.

            1. ambrit

              I wonder about the logic behind that. I don’t know how well “magical thinking” tracks with “the placebo effect.”

            2. Wukchumni

              All of the Bills fans have experienced ‘long-corona’ symptoms from attempts to drown their sorrows since 1993, so maybe they’re all inoculated now?

      1. petal

        Rev Kev, I just sent a note to my buddy in NSW warning him. Had been holding off, but reading this morning about Freedom Day and going all-in on the vaccines spurred me to finally do it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, that aligns with what I have been seeing. Did you notice the first reply was from that damn fool Prof. Peter Doherty saying he’s worked on immunity for 50 years and however it is done, it is just immunity. What sort of ‘immunity’ is it that whether you get natural immunity or a vaccine, it only lasts six months and is non-sterilizing? Can people’s bodies tolerate several dozen boosters over the course of their lives? By my count, about 344 people have been killed by this virus since this ‘live with the virus’ strategy was adopted and it is climbing. And our garbage media is giving the Queensland Premier a hard time because she won’t let families be together by Christmas. I can see it now – ‘Hi granny! (cough! cough!).

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Don’t get around much anymore, but I do occasionally visit the local Sainsbury’s supermarket where except for the odd exception everyone still wears a mask. Here in Northern Ireland we have for a few weeks been in a wobbly steady state of between 5-10 deaths per day – 1.8 million pop.

          Everybody over 18 is getting a 100 quid voucher to spend in the high street ( internet not allowed ). the website for applications opened today & crashed but still 440,000 managed to apply, so there will likely be a stampede in about 10 days time.

          I was thinking earlier of the reaction at the start of this when I first turned up in that shop wearing a mask which would have suited someone with leprosy, ringing a bell & chanting unclean, unclean.

    2. Katy

      I went to the Apple store yesterday, and many of the employees appeared to be wearing KF94 masks. I’ve been wearing KF94’s since the beginning of this year. I buy them for about $1.50-$2 on eBay. I always buy Bluna FaceFit from the same seller, because I verified they’re legit.

      An Apple employee was handing out surgical masks at the door, and I didn’t see anyone unmasked in the store. This surprised me–surely there had to be some antimaskers in the store. The employee must have used the same Jedi mind trick they use to convince everyone to buy a new $1,000 phone once a year.

      1. Basil Pesto

        please check back here tomorrow as I’m about to fall asleep but I will certainly try and find the link for you

  2. Questa Nota

    Glad I am feeling healthy so that I haven’t needed any non-routine medical or dental visits for some time.

    The healthcare system article had an octopus graphic, so close enough to one of those Wall Street vampire squids.

    Dentistry is one business that forgets about the health aspect, except for the dentist’s bank account health. One local dentist, no longer mine, parks his Rolls Royce in view of each patient coming in. Each time I went in for a cleaning or whatever, there was the clumsy sales pitch for this or that expensive treatment. Dentists skipped the chairside manner classes while getting the personality-ectomies instead. They have become overpaid mechanics of a sort, while letting the hygienists and staff take care of most of the shakedown.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    The scam of American medical and dental care–

    The effects of this are very evident driving around where I live. First, all the local, public hospitals were bought up by the three mega-hospitals in our area. Now, wherever you see new buildings going up, they’re “health care” related. Now, we have two kinds of commercial buildings that predominate: health care and fast food. The fast food joints feed the “health care” joints. And people say we don’t have industrial planning in the U.S.

    1. antidlc

      “The scam of American medical and dental care–”

      I would add the scam of American medical and dental insurance. You pay exorbitant premiums and then you still have to pay co-pays and deductibles.

      Family member (who has dental insurance) had to pay over $500 for dental work because some of the procedures weren’t covered.

      This is why I am skeptical of dental benefits added to Medicare. I’m afraid they will be pretty much useless.

      Today’s WSJ has an article on the ADA rallying its members to fight Medicare dental benefits:

      1. Alex Cox

        Unfortunately a similar disconnect exists in England, where the NHS does not cover dental. It is said there wasn’t enough money to ‘buy out’ the dentists as well as the doctors when the National Health Service was formed.

        1. R

          The NHS used to cover dentistry. The dental eligibility has been throttled and the reimbursement rate cut and there is no obligation to take NHS patients.

          So NHS dentists with an open list are as rare as, well, hen’s teeth….

    2. Carolinian

      You must live in my neighborhood. And it isn’t a new phenomenon. A couple of decades ago our transformation from textile mill town to medical industrial complex was well underway and the highest paid executive in the county headed the local hospital system (where I was born when it was long ago run by the county).

      We did have a competing hospital until a couple of years back but it was bought up by its competitor. The hospital system from a nearby city has moved into town with some competition

  4. Questa Nota

    Housing theory article very good at pointing out what people once called Agglomeration Economies.

    If you enjoyed the article, and reading about the PassivHaus, also look at the Design With Nature concept popularized by Ian McHarg. His work decades ago inspired many others.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      While not necessarily arguing with the article’s basic thesis, I have to push back against the idea that Silicon Valley has made us more “productive.” Putting follies/scams like Juicero and Theranos aside, in what sense have Facebook, Instagram, Uber, made us more productive at anything except wealth extraction?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Natural immunity emerges as potential legal challenge to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates”

    Well I don’t see why not. Especially in light of the fact that whether you get your immunity from a bout with this virus or having a vaccine, both will only be good for about six months. After that you are back at square one again. Of course at that point, then you will probably have to go for a vaccine if you got it naturally the first time. You know what would help? I heard a video today that said that a problem is that people who are vaccine hesitant are not for the greater part against vaccines but are mistrustful of the mRNA vaccines. And that a way to combat this would be to import a lot of other vaccine choices so that people actually had a fair choice. So you could be talking about the Russian vaccines or the Chinese or the Cubans one. Whichever one has achieved an effective track record.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nope. We have AstraZeneca, Pfizer and now Moderna. And just to box you in more, it is now illegal for a doctor to prescribe you the drug-with-no-name if it is for this virus.

        1. Samuel Conner

          > it is now illegal for a doctor to prescribe you the drug-with-no-name if it is for this virus

          The authorities behind this move are going to look really foolish if it is eventually established to the satisfaction of Western medical authorities that “the medicine that must not be named” (aka “you know what”, to further borrow from the Harry Potter series) has real value for prophylaxis and/or treatment of COVID.

          1. Cocomaan

            Nah. It will be a Hoocoodanode situation. The Iraq was architects have been rehabbed. People involved with the housing crisis still have jobs. This will proceed the same way.

            1. chuck roast

              And here we have today’s must read with Matt Stoller going off on the medical cartel. What does he lead off with…(drum roll please)…the sanctimonious swine David Frum. Self-described in his…(more cow-bell!)…The Atlantic article as…”In 2001 and 2002, he was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush”. He was quite a bit more than a simple ‘functionarie‘. He is the very special word-smithing genius who gave us…(standing ovation)…the axis of evil!

              Thank goodness hockey season is starting.

          2. JBird4049

            The authorities can only look foolish if they allow IT to be used. As long as IT is blocked from local use, so no one can honestly tell their family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors about how they were saved by IT, and the Mighty Wurlitzer can make noise that sound like wheezy, horse paste, or MAGA, it will not happen; anyways, what is a little embarrassment for the massive payoffs many will be getting?

          3. Yeti1958

            Alberta now has highest rate in Canada I believe. They also have one of lowest rates of vaccine uptake. With the steadfast refusal to get vaccinated maybe they could do a proper RCT with I******* and use the willingly unvaccinated vs. the vaccinated to compare results. Just a thought.

        2. flora

          I know a couple with a sheep station in OZ. They also have several working horses and some cattle. I guess with the Mu variant they’ll have to use the “cattle” version of that-which-must-not-be named. / ;)

    1. Mantid

      The FLCCC site has an in depth script one can employ if having difficulty getting a prescription filled. My wife’s doc prescribed (literally only a few pills) for her to have on hand in case of Covid.
      Let’s see if this copy/paste of my paraphrased version of a few scenarios in the face of a resistant pharmacist.
      Get Pharmacists name and store number
      Call/email corporate customer service
      US Supplier ask them to identify a local pharmacy that has IVM

      P (Pharmacist) “IVM out of stock or unavailable”
      Me (us) I need to document this, your name and store number please, paraphrase what P said
      Me “Your corporate customer service dept has asked for a report of any pharmacy refusing to fill an IVM script. What’s your email address and I’ll connect both of us to your cust. serv. Dept.”
      Me Also Edenbridge pharmaceutical (manufacturer of IVM in USA) says there’s no supply issue anywhere. They would like to contact any pharmacy having difficulty filling IVM prescriptions – so I’ll email them as well.
      Me “To paraphrase, I’ll email customer service at your corporate office and Edenbridge to resolve this issue quickly.

      P “FDA has not approved IVM use for Covid”
      Me “I’ve investigated this topic extensively and in fact
      *IVM has been an FDA approved drug for decades.
      *Over 20% of all prescriptions are written for off label use
      *The FDAs position is “neutral” on IVM not “against”. They also are neutral on monoclonal antibodies and convalescent antibodies, both widely used in USA
      *Please clarify that you are not trying to wedge yourself between my doctor and I in the treatment my illness
      My intention is not to be difficult but if this is not resolved today, my attorney and I will file a complaint to the Or. State Pharmacy Board regarding your attempt at engaging in the practice of medicine, which is illegal.

      1. Maritimer

        …my attorney and I….
        That is what those seeking healthcare will possibly need: an attorney or the threat of one. More and more Medicine is moving into one-size-fits-all not just with Covid. Cuts costs, maxes profit to streamline diagnosis and treatment.

        One non-profit is urging people to send comprehensive liability letters to employers and others who are coercing/compelling vaccination. Get it all on the record, do not just submit complacently.

        Remember Big Tobacco, for years untouchable, until….You want to have a rock solid legal record if Big Pharma is ever brought to account. You might also be a victim of a bad vaccine batch as has already occurred. Many other possibilities.

  6. Wukchumni

    Goldilocks Is Dying Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate
    Count Formaldehyde is in fine form with firm yet vague visions of pending doom vis a vis Goldilocks (1-0) versus Cassandra (0 for forever).

      1. Temporarily Sane

        Yes! It irks me when people equate “being a Cassandra” with context-free doomerism. The problem isn’t Cassandra, it’s the people who ignore or scoff at her warnings.

  7. Mikel

    “Natural immunity emerges as potential legal challenge to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates” Yahoo News

    Unadultered truth:

    “Temporary natural immunity emerges a potential legal challenge to federal Covid gene therapy shot mandates”

  8. Eleanor Arnason

    I couldn’t find an email address for NC. Is anyone here following the Bremer Bank case? The bank is owned by the Bremer Foundation, and is the main asset the foundation has. The trustees are trying to sell the bank and have rushed to sell parts of their ownership. The bank administration opposes the sale. The state of Minnesota is suing to remove the trustees for self-dealing. I thought of the California pension fund at once, except California is not suing to remove the board.

  9. hunkerdown

    “The Housing Theory of Everything” points in the same direction as the #ADOS demand for home equity as reparations. Supposedly, technocracy can reproduce capitalist relations (i.e. make rentierism great again) by cutting more people in. #ADOS does it through material property i.e. houses and home equity, Emergent does it in ideal property i.e. by creating algorithm gods for the Philosopher-Managers to pretend not to puppet. More piglets makes a better animal farm (and I haven’t even looked at their “Natalism for Progressives” piece, ugh).

    It’s worth looking behind the veil of this captive think tank “Works in Progress”. Who is “Emergent Ventures”? I looked at their list of startups and it’s frighteningly dystopian. Social emotional learning platform for schools? ESG investing platform? Usage based auto insurance? Automate creative management? AI, AI, AI. Ugh. It’s all about micromanaging society. Beware of geeks breaing grifts.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Covid-19 in Norway can now be compared to the flu, says health chief”

    At the time of going to press, Covid-19 refused to comment by phone. But the reporter was sure that he heard the sounds of sniggering on the line.

    So, has Norway completely opened up their borders with Sweden now?

  11. Samuel Conner

    Got a really weird message from Pub Med today when I accessed the site preparatory to a search.

    “Access denied due to possibly malicious activity from your site”

    This spooked me, as it raised the specter of an undetected infection. I don’t have a site; am wondering if my web activity is being routed in ways that looked suspicious to the site.

    The problem seemingly resolved after clearing all cookies out of my browser (Edge).

    1. RockHard

      “Your site” might mean your IP address, although if simply clearing cookies solved the problem, it’s likely your browser. Clearing cookies won’t cause your router to renew its DHCP lease and potentially get assigned a new IP address by your ISP. Routing behavior isn’t controlled by cookies, if you’re connecting with SSL, routing intermediaries can’t even see your cookies.

      It’s much more likely that they have some rule in place about the amount and type of searches that you’re doing, and they track such visitor behavior using cookies. That would be completely standard practice, especially if it’s done in such an ignorant way that simply clearing cookies makes you suddenly not suspicious anymore.

      1. Mantid

        Another option to access sites that say “Access denied due to possibly malicious activity from your site”….. is to access the site via the TOR browser.

  12. Regulus regulus

    The absence of a system in China to openly record a lender’s lien position seems to be an oversight. Yes, proximity to center of the ruling Party does correlate to the likelihood of being paid back. However, if foreign investors find themselves unsecured, Party members will soon be squaring off with each other in court, as borrowers are under no obligation to reveal the number of politically connected loans already received.

    Debts discharged by way of trumped-up criminal charges against the ideologically outre is destabilizing. Which is why Xi is relying on the PLA to maintain a buffer zone with its immediate neighbors to set a standard of order by which the political interior is to follow.

    1. Temporarily Sane

      “seems to” “might be”

      Not knocking Doc Campbell in particular but I suspect that the constant stream of media articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, blog posts etc. presenting speculations and guesses about what might (or might not) be the case adds greatly to the information paralysis that currently afflicts western society.

      Especially in a big data controlled online “ecosystem” that encourages endless “engagement” and where more clicks = more $$$. The result is a whole lot of people with very strong opinions endlessly adding “content” to the information stream in order to “grow” their audience.

      And, of course, the already corrupt, propaganda purveying mainstream media scrambles its audience’s brains even further by pumping out endless low-quality articles and “features” designed primarily to attract clicks and eyeballs.

      It’s no wonder that people can no longer agree on what is real and what isn’t.

      1. Mntid

        The difficulty is that the average person can not trust the leaders of the printed page, big pharma, governments, agencies, etc. SO to find the “truth” one is forced to research via the online “ecosystem”. Literacy in general is a dying art. The inability or lack of gumption to take the time and analyze and article, podcast, news report leads to problems. When I read an article that has too many “could be” “experts say” “implies that”, etc. I often bin it. “Just the facts m’am”.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Two good stories by Yahoo News today. What’s gotten into them? And why did nobody else get to this one first?

    One of the authors of that Assange assassination is Michael Isikoff. I may be mixing him up with someone else so please correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Isikoff been suspected of being a mouthpiece for the intelligence services in recent years? He certainly pushed the Russiagate nonsense.

    I didn’t read the whole article, but the gist of it seems to be to blame Trump’s people for wanting Assange gone, when in actually it’s been a full court press from all corners of the establishment. I do recall Clinton wondering out loud whether she couldn’t “just drone him”.

    If I’m correct in my assumptions about Isikoff and not mixing him up with another journalist, I’d take that yahoo article with a large block of NaCl.

    1. Temporarily Sane

      Well, the Obama administration did at least decide to hold off on going after Assange and Wikileaks. It’s a fact that Assange’s current predicament is in very large part due to the Trump administration’s (Mike Pompeo’s in particular) obsession with punishing Wikileaks.

      The article gets into all this. Maybe you should read it before jumping to conclusions?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Biden could call off the dogs, no? He made quite the big deal of overturning lots of other things Trump had done.

        And Obama left Assange essentially imprisoned in the Ecuadorian embassy – it’s not like he was free to do as he pleased.

        What I did read in the article was that the DNC leaks were due to Russian hacks, taken as a given, even though Assange has denied this. Pretty biased reporting. I stand by the conclusions I jumped to since it appears was thinking of the correct hack “journalist” in Isikoff.

    2. Bazarov

      The article read to me like a limited hangout–there’s lots of “the CIA didn’t want to break the law” and “It’s all Pompeo’s fault!” type nonsense in there. The agency is covering its ass by getting ahead of the story. It’s taken a lot of hits of late (Afghanistan debacle). Crazy Pomepo defeated by Sober Analysts makes the Agency look decent by the juxtaposition.

      The article will do its job: having been satisfied by the “limited” revelations, no one will investigate further into this embarrassing matter.

  14. pjay

    – ‘Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks’ – Yahoo News. Two good stories by Yahoo News today

    Not that good. If you read the entire story, it’s full of RussiaRussia bulls**t and allows CIA advocates to present their case on Assange regarding his danger to national security and status as a “journalist.” It’s actually one of those stories that *appears* to be supporting a progressive position while injecting information to support the opposite, suggesting that Assange was, indeed, a Russian agent (witting or not), that the Russians were going to break him out of the Embassy and spirit him to Russia to work for them, etc. The Obama administration is portrayed as too timid, as usual, until startled by the dastardly deeds of the Russian hackers. The Trump administration is simply depicted as too aggressively Cowboy-like in its kidnapping plans rather than following a more respectable legal path (which was being advocated against the Cowboys by principled resistance saviors in the Trump administration, of course!).

    Perhaps the Biden administration will let go of Assange, as it did Afghanistan. But I don’t find much encouragement in stories like this.

  15. Tom Stone

    That Wikileaks article is unsurprising, which doesn’t lessen how stupidly evil the US response to Wikileaks and Assange has been.
    I haven’t been posting much due to the place I was living no longer being habitable.
    A serious longstanding water leak suddenly became worse and there’s now standing water over the cess pit…

    1. Mantid

      Tom, quick, plant some cranberries. Sounds like a great environment for them. Really though, good luck with that. Water intrusion is becoming more and more difficult to deal with.

  16. Rick

    I believe the KF94 masks are a Korean standard, not Chinese. I use them but their nose wire does not provide the same quality of fit as the Prestige Ameritech N95s which have an outstanding seal – no glasses fogging at all.

    Some KF94s come with a clip for to tighten the ear loops behind your head. This helps a lot with the seal and I just keep them for the masks that don’t come with one.

    HuffPost on KF94

  17. Trainer

    “The Corrupt System Behind Covid Medical Shortages”

    The upside to this is that hospital GPO’s are a cartel of buyers that use their collective influence to create all sorts of terrible healthcare outcomes (bribery, kickbacks, high prices, outsourced production, etc). If we pass Medicare for All then we can use this same monopolistic mechanism to reverse these terrible outcomes.

  18. griffen

    VF article and the immediate fascination with the missing now deceased, woman. I pin this fascination all the way back to OJ Simpson and “whomever” was the murderer. OJ was a football icon, especially living in Brentwood and having won his Heisman playing for USC football.

    Once he climbed into the white Bronco for the most infamous road trip, possibly ever, the trumpeting of this famous athlete literally on the run from his troubles was headline grabbing for the rest of the summer.

    To be certain there are plenty of other comparable circumstances where the facts or evidence is gray enough to make us all wonder what really happened. Oh, back to OJ – no gray area. Idiots at the crime scene weren’t great. Idiot moves by the prosecution too.

    1. LifelongLib

      After the OJ verdict, the attorney general here in Hawaii explained that most criminal cases are settled by plea bargain. Very few criminal cases go to trial. So prosecutors tend to be good deal makers but bad trial lawyers. Up against high-profile defense attorneys, prosecutors are at a real disadvantage. Of course most defendants don’t have high-profile attorneys…

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I remember watching CSPAN at the time and Brian Lamb coming on every few hours or so to say that
      ” CSPAN is not covering and will not cover the Bronco Chase. CSPAN has shown none of it and will show none of it.”

  19. Australia Appleman

    The following blog is by, or mostly by, a lawyer specialising in constiutional law. He has a lot of articles discussing law relating to decisions around corona. It’s all very clear, easy to absorb, and fascinating. But I wanted to draw your attention to this particular post. US politicians calling for sanctions against Australia because of government and police tyranny. NB police in Melbourne were shooting rubber bullets at protestors and bashing and capascin spraying the elderly just recently, as they peacefully demosstrated in the CBD. It’s all on video, this really happened.It’s happened a LOT. I’d love for Glenn Greenwald and his colleagues to get breeze of this

    Click on ‘home’ to scroll the articles, I feel the community will appreciate the depth. Many things touch upon the US too. The following is not law related but is about Dr Malone the founder of RNA vaccination. His wife is explaining how Pharma illegaly patented his invention and how the couple fought the fraud for decades

    1. Basil Pesto

      It’s self-serving bullshit. Something tells me these would-be American Shite Knights were conspicuously silent when climate protestors (including a friend of mine) were subjected to similar heavy handed treatment at the hands of Victoria Police in 2019. (VicPol should not have fired rubber bullets on the protestors last week, either)

      I have an LL.B from an Australian university and studied human rights law at a high-ranking English law school as part of my undergraduate degree; the legal analysis in the link you provided is threadbare, and what’s there is tendentious to the point of being fatuous. But then the “appeal to ~Human Rights~” internet argumentation strategy in the pursuit of persuasion with a narrow political purpose is a well worn one.

      1. Australia Appleman

        self serving or not, it’s still happening. what occurs by the hand of US politicians that isn’t self serving? doesn’t make it non- useful. Basil Pesto your reference to your credentials as an undergarduate is noted. Respectfully, what is also noted is your attitudes; expressed over a long period in these comments sections; towards anyone with a perspective contrary to the government on coronavirus, including anyone oppsoing the narrative on vaccination -and towards the protestors in Melbourne itself. I recall some outright derogatory remarks by you, with a definite absence of empathy, regarding those expressing their dissent in public.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I am not denying that it’s happening. The analysis is self serving. My credentials, such as they are, aren’t worth very much at all in my estimation, which is why I’ve brought them up maybe a handful of times in the 5 or so years I’ve been posting here – but if you’re going to invoke a blog whose apparent noteworthiness comes from their legal credentials, then my legal education, particularly in the Australian context, becomes relevant. The post is analytically unserious. For all these reasons, I fail to see how it’s useful in any respect. I don’t need a disingenuous analysis to be informed that something’s happening.

          Respectfully, what is also noted is your attitudes; expressed over a long period in these comments sections; towards anyone with a perspective contrary to the government on coronavirus, including anyone oppsoing the narrative on vaccination -and towards the protestors in Melbourne itself.

          Respectfully, you have not carefully read my posts. I have been critical of the state and federal
          governments repeatedly, just maybe not in the precise way you specifically would like me to be. You will have to articulate what the “narrative on vaccination” is in your estimation. There are several. Many of them are bullshit, on the pro- and contra- sides, and I strongly dislike bullshit. I have railed most strenuously against the fed, NSW and Vic govs’ positions on the vaccines – that they represent “the road out of the pandemic”, etc, because that’s the most important narrative, the most widely accepted, and the most dangerous if wrong.

          I literally just said that the police should not have reacted the way they did against the protestors. I argued a few days ago that the protestors should bring a claim against the police to IBAC under the victorian charter act on human rights under section 10. I’m sorry if this was an insufficiently hand-wringing public display of empathy for you. The only thing I might have said that could have been construed as derogatory is when I prefaced some remarks on the protest situation last week with “I don’t really care one way or the other”, but that wasn’t in reference to the protestors themselves, it was in reference to the hypocrisy of those in my social circle not, in this particular instance, condemning the heavy-handed policing when they can usually be reliably depended on to do the opposite – another vein of hypocrisy that is the exact reverse of those of a reactionary bent, in Australia and beyond, claiming to be oh-so-concerned about police heavy-handedness against protestors, when such voices were conspicuously absent when it was going on in Melbourne pre-covid (something tells me they were quiet on other Australian human rights abuses, such as those perpetrated against those in offshore detention, as well)

  20. Mike

    Re: The Ancient People Who Burned Their Culture to the Ground Atlas Obscura

    Much assumption in this article, beginning with the projected “self-immolation” of the culture. Could this have been a revolt against the “sacrificers” at the table? Could a segment of the population have risen against the tops, then left the shambles as other outside societies might move on them and destroy anything they might build at that spot? None of the archeologists were there live, so it leads me to believe they are assuming a religious ground for the ‘sacrifices’ as well as a ritual that seems to be a one-time event.

    Archeology is stuck in an explanatory rut that presumes religious significance for any social ritual or practice, and must forefront such explanations to appease… whom? Many ancient societies had public events that crossed over religious/secular walls that we presume to be there. Seems to me to glamorize certain aspects of society at the cost of a full understanding or alternate ideas. I say this as a former anthropology student who saw live cultures misinterpreted so. To me, it’s an agenda.

  21. Wukchumni

    Animals are ‘shape shifting’ in response to climate change CNN
    Black bears looked to be on the skinny side this summer, missed meals.

    The KNP fire (47k acres burned & 8% contained) is raging from 2,500 to around 6,500 feet which is right in the sweet spot for oak trees and a fattening up on acorns in late October to early November before they head off into the big sleep. One time on a drive up the Generals Highway to Crescent Meadow and back down, I saw 9 bears. Another time I was with a friend who’d never seen one, so I guaranteed a bear sighting and was up against dark showing up in 15 minutes when a bruin appeared to make good my promise.

    We’ll perhaps see a re-run of Oct to Nov in 2015 when we had a hundred bears in town here, all eating out acorn fresco as the oak harvest had failed in their usual locales now burning.

    The only issue being not many acorns on the trees this in the foothills this fall, so they’ll be in a jam in somebody’s pantry, perhaps?

    A friend was relating that in an area on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, all of the houses & cabins have electric fences around the periphery of their buildings to thwart bear break ins.

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