Links 9/9/2021

Space station astronaut captures breathtaking view of the edge of the Earth CNET

Prince Andrew has avoided NY sex accuser’s attempts to serve him legal papers NY Post

Research on gecko tails presents unique movement applicable to robotics The Daily Californian

Gecko stowaway travels 2,500 miles in Altrincham family’s suitcase BBC

Jean-Paul Belmondo: the beaten-up icon who made crime sexy Guardian

With No Tourists to Bully, Bali’s Hungry Monkeys Are Raiding Villages Afar

Rescued bear cubs receiving care at Ramona Wildlife Center Ramona Sentinel (Wukchumni)

“Failure is not a crime,” Theranos founder’s lawyers tell jury Ars Technica


UK start-up uses AI to design antiviral pills to prevent pandemics FT

Pfizer’s chief scientist defends vaccine booster push and jab potency FT

Florida judge allows school mask mandates to continue despite governor’s appeal CNN

President Biden is expected to lay out a plan on Thursday to push broad vaccination mandates. NYT

United Airlines staff who are granted religious exemptions to vaccine mandate will be put on unpaid leave CNBC (The Rev Kev)

Shell weighs vaccine mandate and firing staff who resist FT

The Surprisingly Strong Supreme Court Precedent Supporting Vaccine Mandates Politico


COVID-19 surge in the US: The summer of hope ends in gloom AP

Each COVID-19 Surge Poses a Risk for Healthcare Workers – PTSD The Wire

Covid-19 testing system struggles to keep up with Delta demand Politico

Pandemic lockdown tied to worse outcomes in metastatic colorectal cancer, French study says Stat


Vietnam gasps for air as Delta deals a lethal blow Asia Times


‘Great Game’ Redux in Afghanistan? The Diplomat

Ashraf Ghani: ‘I apologise that I could not make it end differently BBC

Taliban agrees to let 200 American civilians and third country nationals leave Afghanistan Independent

China warns of cross-border terror leaks from Afghanistan South China Morning Post

Inmates riot across prisons in Israel as manhunt for escaped prisoners continues Jerusalem Post

Libya Protests Block Oil Exports, Risking Recent Stability Bloomberg

Islamists suffer crushing defeat in Moroccan parliamentary elections France 24

Old Blighty

No milk or water: Shoppers face shortages at UK grocery stores Channel News Asia

Johnson Wins Health Care Vote to Push U.K. Taxes to Highest Ever Bloomberg


What do Germans fear the most? Deutsche Welle

Class Warfare

Why the End of Enhanced Unemployment Won’t Solve Restaurants’ Staffing Crisis Grub Street

Dallas Fed’s Robert Kaplan Was Active Buyer and Seller of Stocks Last Year WSJ

The legacy of the Attica uprising WBFO. The Attica Prison Uprising began fifty years ago today.

Amazon to open 2 cashier-less Whole Foods stores next year AP

Unions are shelling out money for their candidates in a CalPERS election. Who’s running? Sacramento Bee (The Rev Kev)

The Texas Abortion ‘Whistleblower’ Site Still Can’t Find a Host Wired (RM)

Abortion Bounty Hunters in Texas Are Vigilantes Not ‘Whistleblowers’ Counterpunch

BLM crowd sing and cheer as Richmond’s Robert E. Lee monument is removed after 131 years and CUT IN HALF Daily Mail

Parma Man Gets Upset Black Amazon Driver Threw His “Black Liars Murder” Sign, Calls Police and Fox 8 Cleveland Scene. Carla. “Note: Parma, Ohio is a working class, predominantly white Cleveland area suburb with a long reputation for racial intolerance.”

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Australia Has No Bill Of Rights, And It Shows Caitlin Johnstone

Biden Administration

Skilled Workers Are Scarce, Posing a Challenge for Biden’s Infrastructure Plan NYT

Trump Transition

NC Republican primary key test of Trump’s sway The Hill

Tonle Sap Lake, the beating heart of the Mekong basin, is on ‘life support’ Channel News Asia

Mumbai: The city that was born of the sea may eventually be consumed by it Scroll

World’s biggest machine capturing carbon from air turned on in Iceland Guardian

Will Fossil Fuel Giants Be Held Accountable? The Daily Poster

The lost generation of ancient trees BBC

Beached Rat Carcasses Indicate Mass Rodent Death During Ida, Experts Say Gothamist (LR)


How family of a Myanmar junta leader are trying to cash in Reuters


US penalties for technology sales to China have soared this year, Commerce Department official says South China Morning Post


‘Tiger on my farm’: India coal hub brings new dangers in villages Al Jazeera

Coming Soon to Kuno National Park: Cheetahs, Filmmakers and Many Questions The Wire

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jourhere.

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    1. The Rev Kev

      Ashraf Ghani has also asked if anybody in Kabul could be so kind as to check the lost-and-found section at Kabul Airport as he accidentally left five pieces of luggage behind on the runaway when he left. He would be most appreciate if they could be forwarded to him in the United Arab Emirates as they are full of mementos and articles of sentimental value to him and has offered a 20 Dirham reward for their return.

        1. John

          Should hold him over until he finds a job as a guest worker… maybe a driver position would work for someone his sge.

      1. Roger the cabin boy

        I feel that it is not fair to complain about Afghan corruption since it was the main requirement for getting a job with the American puppet regime in Afghanistan.

        $169 million isn’t that much money when you remember he was in charge of the country while contractors were making off with $2 trillion.

      2. Soredemos

        If you want a laugh, his TED Talks are still on YouTube. The comments have been turned off on them.

    2. Pelham

      A question for Biden: Ghani appears to have absconded with 169 million US dollars after years of running a criminal strong-arm operation in Afghanistan and greatly impoverishing his people, to the extent that he gave a flip about them. So when do we plan either a drone strike or a special op to capture the Ivy League SOB and bring him to justice?

      1. Nikkikat

        We might draw the conclusion that the 169 million was his sad little pay off for a job well done! Reading about this guy also makes one wonder whether he hasn’t been a CIA operative for many years. Bet they know his address and phone number.

  1. Cocomaan

    “We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday.

    Wow, she knows it?

    If there’s a variant appearing in six months (hell,probably less) that entirely evades vaccines, will she still know this?

      1. Cocomaan

        Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that health officials were maintaining a “close eye” on the mu variant despite it being “not at all even close” to becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain in the U.S.

        Does Fauci know that at one time Delta wasn’t the dominant strain? Did he forget?

        In terms of epidemiology, it took delta something like 6 months to become dominant. So what’s his plan for this?

        As Tom says, Because Markets, and sunk cost fallacy, we still have to stick to the vaccine canard.

        1. Milton

          I think the quote above needs to read …”Dr Fauci, NIAID director said that health officials were maintaining a closed eye on the mu variant…”

      2. PlutoniumKun

        If the most recent paper from some Japanese researchers on mu is right (they claim that it is highly infectious and evades vaccines), then perhaps it should be called the ‘cancel Christmas’ variant, because thats what it means in reality.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Mu? So soon? I am completely unfamiliar with virus nomenclature, but where did epsilon, zeta, and eta go?

          1. m

            These vaccines will always be one step behind and the banned virologists, one even worked for Gates at Gavi, state that using this type of vaccine during an outbreak creates mutant strains.

            Now dementia Joe has gone tyrant with his vaccine mandate. Long term effects and cumulative effect of these boosters unknown, no thanks. World is insane. I am writing every rep in every state I have ever lived right now, this is outrageous

          2. Jeff W

            “…where did epsilon, zeta, and eta go?”

            Basically, they didn’t go anywhere, literally—by that, I mean, they failed to achieve any kind of frequency. (For that matter, mu hasn’t either, with the exception, for some reason, of Colombia.)

        2. Pelham

          I’m confused about degrees of contagiousness. Covid-original was supposed to be about as contagious as a virus can be, but then Delta was deemed to be worse. And now Mu takes top billing. What does this mean? If you look at it cross-eyed across a Walmart parking lot you get zapped?

          1. Ian Perkins

            Off the top of my head, the original had a basic R-number around 2, alpha around 4, and delta around 6 – all numbers highly approximate.
            Measles is around 14.

      3. Soredemos

        “The identification of variants like mu, and the spreading of variants across the globe, highlights the need for L.A. County residents to continue to take measures to protect themselves and others,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of LA County Public Health, in a statement.

        “This is what makes getting vaccinated and layering protections so important. These are actions that break the chain of transmission and limits COVID-19 proliferation that allows for the virus to mutate into something that could be more dangerous.”

        Layered defense doesn’t fit the narrative at the federal level.

          1. anEnt

            Next step: uv sterilization in air handlers of publicly accessible buildings. Time to deny this and future virii the network effect by eliminating superspreader events.

        1. Nikkikat

          Dr Ferrer has been really good all along. When the dumb puppet that runs the CDC announced that everybody could take their masks off, Ferrer cam out within minutes and stated NOT to remove masks.

      4. MJ

        The Mu variant is already rapidly declining as it cannot overtake the contagiousness of Delta- if it isn’t the dominant variant it is likely to die out.

        1. Skunk

          Not necessarily. If Mu can indeed evade vaccines, it could have a larger “herd” of susceptible hosts than Delta.

    1. Tom Stone

      A variant that escapes the vaccines might be in the USA right now, we do not know one way or the other “Because Markets”.
      As to Ms Psaki if she had a conscience she wouldn’t have that job.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        I’ve often wondered about that – the ability to keep a straight face while knowingly and confidently saying some falsehood. Is it genetic? It seems to be a job requirement for PR flacks. I seem to lack this ability. I would not make a good poker player.

          1. Tvc15

            She said verbatim that Biden was “laser focused on Afghanistan”. I would call bs on this even 20 years ago when he wasn’t cognitively challenged to be generous.

        1. BeliTsari

          And if you stopped testing the vaccinated, including those most likely to experience “negative outcomes” to obfuscate, and ALL MEDIA simply ignored this aspect (as AP & Politico, above). AND both “sides” of the speciously obsequious & sneeringly brainwashed TV & social networking demographic, cannot handle ANY cognitive dissonance inducing journalism or contradictory whistleblowing, harshing their media delivered dopamine buzz… it’s obviously RooskiBot horsepaste antivax disinformation, y’all?

    2. Ignacio

      And regarding boosters even if these are made specifically against the variant that becomes dominant now and then we have this problem called the ‘original sin’ so that our body boosts mainly the original antibodies that do not work so well with the new variants but yet nobody knows for how long does this effect run with Covid vaccines, and as seen in a previous post Moderna results with a second variant that has already been ousted are not promising. We don’t know for how long we should wait to obtain best booster results, with which vaccines exactly, with what reactogenicity or other and rarer effects but this person seems to know it all and foresees normal life (unmasked, of course) again and again. With such promises they will disappoint the public repeatedly and they are giving ammunition to antivaxxers in the most stupid way. Please, don’t they really have scientific advisors? There are as I have seen excellent research work made in the US by knowledgeable people. If these are being sidelined a second consequence will be loss of trust on science (as it is already occuring but please do not blame scientists).
      This would be remarkable given the US became in the last century a country deeply confident in science.

      1. Basil Pesto

        and they are giving ammunition to antivaxxers in the most stupid way.

        This is such a vital point and I wish vax missionaries would think about it even for one second.

    3. Mikel

      They don’t know amd don’t care. People can have the shots and still get sick and die.
      I don’t think it’s keeping as many people out of the hospital or from getting sick.

      How many over 75 people are even left in the country to get really sick?
      Yet, cases still climb. This has nothing to do with people being unvaccinated. These are non-sterilizing, half-assed shots.

      It has to do with a virus that is rapidly mutating and no one wants to really change behavior or adjust infrastructure in a way to mitigate the spread.
      Meanwhile, healthcare systems continue to cut care and costs ways that increase dysfunction in critical times.

      They know that vaccinated and unvavaccinated people are going to spread the vaccine resistant Mu. Vaccinated people will enhancee this spread the most because they want to believe in magic the most.

      Ventilation and masks will save lives.

  2. Ian Perkins

    ‘Great Game’ Redux in Afghanistan?

    In the nineteenth century, and for much of the twentieth, Western nations had considerable influence over some of Afghanistan’s neighbours – Iran, Pakistan, China to some extent, and India – not a direct neighbour, but geographically close.
    Today, all those are far more independent, all are members or prospective members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and it’s hard to see why any of Afghanistan’s neighbours would want the West to stir up trouble in the region again. Russia is wary of the Taliban government, an attitude no doubt reciprocated, and China somewhat sceptical of the new regime’s ability or intention to stop the ETIM exporting terrorism to Xinjiang, but both have kept their embassies in Kabul open and held talks with the Taliban on the way forward.
    The article concludes, “Is the stage set for redux of the “Great Game” in Afghanistan, as the major powers jostle for influence?” It looks to me like the USA will be firmly shut out of any such jostling, and the ‘Great Game’ is over for the West.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect that the ‘Wests’ influence in the future will be via two channels – one is the likely need by the Taliban for hard cash to stop the country from economic collapse. This gives the US and Europe some leverage. The second is via the stream of money and influence from the Gulf States, who have been quietly playing their own game in Afghanistan for decades – as to how much they consult with western intelligence over this is anyones guess.

      There are too many people who’s career depends on their being a Great Game, so I don’t see the major intelligence agencies giving up on Afghanistan. Whether they can do anything but blow vast amounts of money on failed schemes is, of course, another question.

    2. kramshaw

      the ‘Great Game’ is over for the West

      Just tagging on, I have to love/hate the editorial magic in the headline. Only after the West loses a portion of its stake in the Great Game can the game be seen to resume. It is apparently not the ‘Great Game’ of empires when we play it. How exceptional!

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        I wonder if the Taliban can keep the unity thing going which I do hope is the case, or revert back to what were a bunch of franchises loosely allied under the Taliban banner, whose members often when it suited their own interests opted out. It’s one thing to all get together to push the West out, but if things go bad economically & the old tribal divisions that often arise over things like access to water, growing opium to be smuggled into Iran with the added possibility of disagreements with government policy, then the situation might revert back to how it has always been.

        Time will tell I suppose.

    3. David

      I think we tend to forget what the purpose of the “Great Game” was (to the extent that it was as real and serious as the British thought). British strategy at that time, at right up to the Second World War, was obsessed with India, and with keeping the trade and communication routes to India open (that lay behind their encouragement of Zionism, for example). Afghanistan was only important insofar as it provided a way for the Russians to interfere if they felt like it.

      It’s hard to see that kind of logic applying today: because something happened once in history, it doesn’t mean it has to happen again. This strikes me as a typical production of people looking at small-scale maps and drawing large-scale conclusions.

  3. Ian Perkins

    No milk or water: Shoppers face shortages at UK grocery stores

    When I lived in the UK, the tap water was generally considered perfectly safe to drink. Most of us drank it every day for years, and I don’t think I once bought bottled water there. Unless the water system has deteriorated to the extent tap water is now full of whatever, the country might be better off without Evian and the like. If people must have something fresh and wholesome from distant mountains, they could at least buy Mountain Air™, saving tons of greenhouse gases involved in shipping the much heavier water around the world.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its still pretty safe to drink UK tapwater, despite the best efforts of the Water Companies. But that still doesn’t stop people thinking bottled water is better. The overchlorinated taste of much UK tapwater is maybe a major boon to the bottled water companies.

      It is clear however that supply chains in the UK are under enormous strain. It will be an interesting* question as to whether everyone just adapts to a new normal, or whether failure cascades run through the system. The danger I think is that panic buying could result in a sudden collapse leading to empty shops.

      *interesting for those of us not in the UK. There may be another more appropriate word for people dependent on their local supermarket.

      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        We put our tap water into a pitcher and let it air out for a while – this removes the chlorination – spouse was buying bottled water for aesthetic reasons until she read about all the ways it was anti-environmental.

        1. RMO

          They used to use quite a bit of chlorine where I live. There was a leak in the aqueduct under the Fraser River delivering to my city so we got extra. Being used to it I liked it. I recall being in a hotel in a nearby PNW city and wondering why the water lacked a certain “zing”. Turns out they had ozone treatment. Back in the early 90s we had a bunch of public input meetings to decide whether to stay with chlorine or to change to ozone. Public input was overwhelmingly in favor of ozone so naturally they chose to stick with chlorine. Years later the system did change over. The water really is better but I do have to clean out the bicycle water bottle I keep handy for drinking water during the day at home, on the road and when I go for a bike ride. In the chlorination days I could go half a year before seeing any scum buildup in the bite valve and interior of the bottle!

  4. John Beech

    I am a usually Republican voter but I’m fed up with the attitude, “Your personal liberty” means putting me and mine at risk.

    Thus, I am ever so pleased to learn of Justice Harlan’s writing in the 1905 decision regarding mandating the smallpox vaccine.

    Now, if only a politician will have the gonads to immediately require vaccination so that a case can be – please God – quickly brought before the court. This, in hopes of a prompt affirmation of the precedent so that this pandemic can be finally arrested.

    Without even knowing about that decision I have always wondered how anybody could consider freely shooting their gun without regard to hitting anyone as akin to people free to spread this scourge. Seems Judge Harlan was of a similar opinion.

    1. Carolinian

      You do realize that the smallpox vaccine–which is an actual vaccine–is a different legal situation from the Covid “vaccine”? And if you force me to take an experimental drug and I am harmed have your rights just impinged on my rights?

      1. Skunk

        The Pfizer vaccine is no longer experimental. It is fully approved. If you don’t want to get a vaccine with just emergency authorization, get Pfizer.

    2. Ian Perkins

      When I first heard of USAmericans asserting, “It’s my right,” I imagined they hadn’t grasped that masks protect others as much as the wearer. But no, it turned out some, at least, were well aware of this, adding “If any namby-pamby’s scared of a little virus, they can isolate at home with double masks!” I guess the same people take the much the same attitude to vaccines, and near enough the same to guns – “Go live in some sissy country that denies you your Sacred Gun Rights if you don’t like them!”.

      1. Skunk

        It depends on the mask. An N95 protects the wearer pretty well, particularly with double-masking. Using a porous “gator” or other porous mask does not necessarily protect the wearer. Most masks will protect others to varying degrees, although I wouldn’t count on the gators to even do that much. So the range of masks runs the gamut in terms of levels of protection.

    3. Cocomaan

      The difference between a smallpox vaccine and the covid vaccines is that the smallpox vaccine actually provided real immunity. Mandating the covid vaccine doesn’t mean one mandate, but an infinite number of boosters, tweaks etc because it is not a traditional vaccine

      Would be great for Pfizer share prices though!

    4. Lost in OR

      A number of people I know have already had the virus and have refused the vaccine. I’ve had the vaccine but not the virus (as far as I know). Should either of us get the virus, we can transmit it equally. But they, having already had the virus, have a much higher level of immunity than I.

      I don’t believe the medical industry has been straightforward with vaccine side effects. I would be very concerned about the vaccine if I was a young woman. And do we really know how many young men have developed heart conditions? And with the main spokesperson for this vaccine industry being Fauci, I have to ask, how do you know when Faucis’ lying?

      Would you still require every person get the vaccine?

    5. IM Doc

      Three big differences. And remember the smallpox vaccine in 1905 was still in the Wild Wild West of pharmaceuticals – long before the FDA and CDC were even thought of. Read HG Wells TONO BUNGAY – or Sinclair Lewis ARROWSMITH.

      1) The vaccine for smallpox had been around for decades. The side effects and complications were well known – by all providers and health authorities and the safety concerns were easily handled because of the familiarity. This is not the case with the COVID vaccines even now. I have just had yet another patient develop a DVT and seek treatment on TUE of this week after having his 2nd Moderna last week. Related? Who knows? – we have no idea what the exact safety issues are with these vaccines. We have educated guesses – but my personal experience so far with the CDC and VAERS and FDA have been they are trying to do all they can to minimize problems. I have very little faith in the validity of our current safety knowledge.

      2) Smallpox is absolutely orders of magnitude more lethal than COVID. Smallpox outbreaks were just horrific in their death and morbidity counts back in the day. Despite all the panic porn, COVID remains a much different level of threat by orders of magnitude.

      3) The vaccinations for smallpox were absolutely sterilizing – it ended with the person that minute. That is most definitely not the case with COVID vaccines – there is individual benefit ( how long that will last – who knows?) – but the public health “herd” benefit with these vaccines is very nebulous right now – and they may actually cause much more harm than benefit as we go along. We will see. There is also increasing evidence that at least some of the mutation pressure is happening in the vaccinated. This was NOT the case in smallpox vaccines and never was.

      The difference between the two is overwhelming. It is easy to see for anyone with a background in vaccinology or infectious disease. We are however not listening to these experts – instead we are listening to Big Pharma and media and political shills with their own agendas that have nothing whatsoever to do with public health.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Just a thought – but isn’t it the case that boosters will always be a reactive measure, as the tweeking unless we get a steady state Covid, will always depend on the particular evolution of a new variant. If that is indeed the case we will I suppose be for at least the foreseeable future condemned to playing catch up, with perhaps the added risk of vaccine breakthroughs.

        I am I guess just wondering what force is actually running this shitshow – feel free to enlighten me.

        1. IM Doc

          Look how long it has taken us to get 50% of the country vaccinated – 8 months or so. Viruses move much quicker – especially one with this kind of turnover.

          We would be 3 steps behind at all times.

          I have never yet had a decent explanation of a very simple question I have – How is a booster toward the wild original virus spike protein going to do anything at this point – that virus is now extinct in the wild? If this was a vaccine that had the entire virus – that is a different story – but these vaccines are just to one small part….the part that changes all the time.

          I have never had anyone in any way shape or form in any academic center ever be able to answer that question. They turn into Elmer Fudd.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I hope that I live long enough to read a book that has the definitive history of this pandemic when it comes out. No offense but I seriously doubt that it would be ever published in the United States as controversial books just never seem to find a publisher. I believe that Thomas Frank has even found the same.

      2. SIXTUS V

        Rumor that fired meds to setup shop in empty WalMarts, etc.
        Serving 1 & all.
        Lawyers prepping to sue for trillions for withholding viable meds + post-vaxx adverse events.
        I will volunteer, donate, invest.
        People are SICK & TIRED of big med.

      3. m

        I have never seen so many clots of all kinds and have had so many on heparin drips. They come with not just a clot in the leg after say a long airplane flight, but multiple clots in both legs and a PE. Older disabled from long term care, healthy other than mental disability with massive strokes. The number of shingles cases in such a short period of time. One young lady was bleeding for so long, by the time she came in her HGB was 4 or 5, doctors were frantic as her religion would not allow transfusions.
        Forget covid cases, there are tons of other odd things happening in the world now to keep healthcare real busy. I am on a forced sabbatical and I need it. 8-10 patients load cannot be done long term without problems.

        1. Skunk

          Thanks for your post. I thought heparin was not recommended for clots that might have been caused by COVID. Do you determine if the patient may have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 before deciding how to treat the clots?

    6. Randy G

      John, I believe that you were considering voting for Bernie Sanders as a way to remedy our “greed is good” healthcare system so obviously you have some flexibility in your views as a Republican voter.

      Oddly, I am somewhat agnostic on the ‘vaccine’ mandate. Or perhaps fatalistic because it seems it’s going to end in disaster whatever they do. In general, I think the mandates will be even worse, primarily from a civil liberties point of view. And since the vaccines are clearly not a panacea, compulsion seems likely to create more social chaos and long-term problems then it solves.

      However, I can’t really understand the “give me liberty or give me death” stance on masks. This seems truly insane. I don’t like wearing the masks either but none of the liberty advocates seem inclined to demand the right to shop naked so obviously they are comfortable with some coverings. Republican governors going to war on masks in schools seems uniquely American, and uniquely insane.

      But then there are the Australians… WTF… is there some kind of international cash prize for most deranged national response to Covid?

      I understand the concern about the injections — especially forced vax injections — and I went with the old school J&J one-shot vaccine because I don’t trust experimental mRNA vaccines myself.

      Ironically, everyone’s favorite alleged “authoritarian” here in the West, President Putin, has come out against forced mandates. However, that may be changing as the Russians are beginning to require vaccination for some work positions and possibly for visiting restaurants.

      Here’s a typically hostile article on Russia by AP on some of these changes. When I say hostile, I mean they cannot refrain from editorializing on Russian “inadequacies” even as they supposedly are reporting on a factual situation.

      Hang in there everybody. It’s going to get much worse here in the greatest nation in the history of the universe.

      1. Skunk

        Randy, I agree with you about masks. How difficult is it to make the concession to wear a mask? If you find it to be such an infringement on your liberty, you apparently haven’t faced many challenges in life. I understand vaccine reluctance better, but still got vaccinated. It’s a big problem that the vaccine is non-sterilizing, but I think the mandates must have a partly economic intent. First, hospitals would probably not be at the breaking point if everyone were vaccinated. As IM Doc has so helpfully described, breakthrough cases still occur, but there will still presumably be fewer overall serious patients requiring hospitalization if everyone is vaccinated. In addition, service sectors are having difficulty hiring workers. Of course, they should raise their pay, but I think the hope is that vaccine mandates may also help to attract workers by creating a perception of safer workplaces.

    7. Basil Pesto

      This, in hopes of a prompt affirmation of the precedent so that this pandemic can be finally arrested.

      John. You post here regularly, which I assume means you read the posts and comments too. With that in mind, how could you still possibly believe the above assertion to be true?

      it’s the other way

      Properly worn masks remain the best first line of defence for individuals against C19. Its benefits have multiplicative benefits when applied across a community. They must be worn properly.

      many other factors influence the risk one is exposed to including other prophylaxis, ventilation, etc.

      Vaccines are (in my personal opinion only) best thought of as the last line of defence against the virus.

      All of these things are important, and need to be implemented at scale, if you want the pandemic to finally be arrested.

  5. timbers

    Johnson Wins Health Care Vote to Push U.K. Taxes to Highest Ever

    “Another common criticism is that the plans don’t guarantee that those in need of care won’t have to sell their homes to fund it.”

    People who get free healthcare are so ungrateful. Instead they should count their blessings. I mean – Britain didn’t have to raise taxes to fund it’s troops in Afghanistan or mercenaries in Syria or all those Freedom of Navigation naval tours in the Black Sea (did she also participate in South China Sea?) or build up it’s military’s offensive capabilities?

    It’s all that healthcare that’s the problem requiring tax increases. The military is free.

    1. Ian Perkins

      The UK sent a Carrier Strike Group through the South China Sea in July, and it’s now sent two offshore patrol vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey:
      These vessels have a displacement of 2,000 tons each, with a crew of just over 40 people respectively, UK-based media outlet Navy Lookout reported on Monday.

      Compared to China’s coast guard ships, some of which have displacements of more than 10,000 tons, the UK ships have no advantage at all, Song said.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        What I find striking about this is that someone thought this was an impressive show of force, rather than making the UK look a laughing stock. Chinese media is having a field day on this.

        Boris is well known about his obsession with Churchill. Someone should have reminded him of what happened when Churchill sent his pride and joy, the HMS Prince of Wales to the Pacific in 1941.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Gasp! Don’t forget HMS Repulse. But yeah, a solid point that about sending Royal Navy ships to the other side of the planet. Probably Boris wanting to play nice with Washington but the era of sending gun-boats out to over-awe the natives is long over.

        2. bob

          He never gets any credit for this-

          “Later that month, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a naval attack on the Dardanelles, based in part on erroneous reports of Ottoman troop strength. Churchill wanted to use a large number of obsolete battleships, which could not operate against the German High Seas Fleet, in a Dardanelles operation, with a small occupation force provided by the army.”

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘He never gets any credit for this’

            I think that you forgot the sarc tag. The Gallipoli campaign was a fiasco that caused 300,000 casualties in the Allied forces alone, 51,000 whom were killed. I had an uncle that was at Gallipoli as well as other related family members so read up on it but everybody in Oz knows that story. It was a classic clusterf***.

            1. Soredemos

              The original plan with the ships wasn’t bad. IIRC they took some hits and the British lost their nerve and switched to the land assault, which turned out to be a disaster. If they had continued with the ships they might have been successful. Some would have been sunk, but they were outdated anyway so oh well.

              1. jrkrideau

                British and French navies both lost their nerve but IIRC the Brits were the lead. I think you are right they had a very good chance of success but the admirals were loss adverse rather than daring. Careers vs victory? Not exactly Nelson or ABC in WWII.

                Cunningham may have learned the danger of hesitation during his time at Gallipoli.

            2. wilroncanada

              The Rev Kev
              The fiasco prompted the great anti-war song in 1971 by Eric Bogle, “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”

          2. Pelham

            One account I’ve read indicates that the plan wasn’t bad and might have worked if British admirals hadn’t slow-walked preparations, allowing Ottoman forces to bulk up their numbers. This may be wrong, but it does echo possibilities in our Afghan pullout fiasco. (If that’s the case, Biden needs to make some heads roll. If he doesn’t, he’ll rightly bear the blame.)

            1. Vandemonian

              One account I read (but can’t find) suggested that when the ships were loaded in Alexandria, the items needed for the initial landing were put into the holds first. The flotilla was in sight of the Turks by the time the mistake was discovered.

              Back to Alexandria for a re-pack, and all the benefits of a surprise attack lost.

      2. Oh

        The little lapdog rat terrier usually runs toward a huge dog and yaps all the way. When the big dog turnaround, the lapdog turns tail and run back to the owner.

        (I love all dogs. Small dogs are quite smart. This is just to show how the UK behaves and usually does what the US wants)

    2. John Beech

      The increase is one the order of 1.25%, right? At least I am laboring under the impression we’re discussing this amount. Is life in the UK so mean such a slight perturbation in living costs for the purpose of increased NHS-funding during a pandemic will see people starving or resorting to eating cat food? If this is the case, then maybe a broader examination of the entire system is in order.

      Switching subjects, I am personally frustrated with the Republican view (the party I generally support) that we cannot raise the gas tax by a lousy quarter. Especially in light of how we routinely endure price swings of twice that!

      Thus, because increasing this tax by 25¢ (from 18¢ so more than doubling it) will be more than enough to to repair a lot of roads and bridges, I am a strong advocate for it. After all, consider how many more men we can hire to do this work. Win-win!

      1. Ian Perkins

        Stories of people eating pet food to survive are nothing new in the UK, and hunger and food insecurity are on the rise, so I guess life for some is already so mean that a 1.25% tax hike will tip them over the edge.

        4.7 million of these people live in severely food insecure homes. This means that their food intake is greatly reduced and children regularly experience physical sensations of hunger.
        UN figures also show that 5.6% of people aged 15 or over struggle to get enough food. A further 4.5% report that they have been a full day without anything to eat.

      2. Oh

        Both parties have been reluctant to levy even a miniscule tax (a few pennies) on each stock transaction. Shows how much the financial sector controls these legislators.

      3. neo-realist

        Re the infrastructure package, the GOP, in a party line vote, would rather stick it to the party in power than “do the business” of the citizens they supposedly represent. That’s how they roll nowadays, to a much more extreme extent than their brethren of 50 years ago.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      The tax increase is even worse than it looks. Its based on the misconception that national insurance goes to the NHS (in reality, its just part of the overall taxation system). It is a highly retrograde tax that hits low paid workers most. Raising it is a way of making it look like the Tories are seriously addressing ‘the deficit’ while protecting their funders.

      1. paul

        The tax increase is even worse than it looks. Its based on the misconception that national insurance goes to the NHS (in reality, its just part of the overall taxation system). It is a highly retrograde tax that hits low paid workers most. Raising it is a way of making it look like the Tories are seriously addressing ‘the deficit’ while protecting their funders.

        Another way of looking at is, its a 10+% rise, 1.25 over of 10 already, predicated over no policy but that the prejudice that no rich will be alarmed or harmed, least of all our ‘chance’llor of the exchequer and his cosmopolitan milieu.

    1. Randy G

      jo6pac — Alternet is a truly awful leftie/lib site, which I stopped reading regularly years ago.

      Whenever I peeked at them the last few years –TDS and Russiagate drivel was surging.

      The ideological war on ivermectin is a strange one. It may or may not help, I have no idea, but making your stance on ivermectin a kind of political litmus test is beyond bizarre.

      Matt Taibbi has criticized the censorship of medical discussions regarding ivermectin, and for that he is continually attacked by “liberals” as advocating ivermectin as a treatment. They now seem incapable of distinguishing between the two positions.

      All the weird contempt for the “horse paste” users and “animal dewormer” Bubbas has nothing to do with science; it’s another self-righteous war on the “deplorables.”

      The false story spread by ‘liberals’ such as Rachel Maddow, that hospitals were backed up in Oklahoma due to an overload of ivermectin overdoses, is a perfect example of a mania to scapegoat people for the failure of the American “greed is good” “healthcare” racket.

      Liberals are often outraged at Jimmy Dore for supposedly being a closet right-winger because he attacks the Democratic Party — but always from an anti-war or leftist position. I often read through the comments after his videos out of curiosity — or maybe masochism — and there’s been a couple of strange and rather crude attacks on him by obviously hostile liberals, drive-by shootings essentially, for having a “colon that reeks of ivermectin” or similar colorful wording.

      Dore took the mRNA vaccine, had some serious side effects, and I don’t recall him ever advocating for or against ivermectin on his show. But he talks to Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson so must be in the deplorable camp.

      Evidently, this is all part of ‘Hate, Inc.’ as Taibbi called it — stir up as much internecine trouble as possible among the 99% so the billionaires can continue their work toward becoming trillionaires while the rest of us go to hell. Seems to be working.

  6. John Beech

    PJD’s defeat in Morocco is ridiculously good news, in my opinion. If only they can secure the election against a coup. If you ever pray, then pray those people can maintain the rule of law whilst keeping religion out. Me? I totally admire the French in this regard because they don’t tolerate religion in government. Wish we did the same. And no, I don’t have any problem with religion, per se. Just as long as it’s viewed in a similar manner of leading a horse to water but not making it drink. Thus, where any religious view cross the line with me is down to it’s being 100% a matter of faith, so forcing it on others is just wrong. Put another way, to each, their own.

    1. David

      It’s qualified good news. After a decade in which the PJD have been the largest party, they have been consigned to the wilderness. Thus Morocco, after Egypt and Tunisia (the latter especially), has turned its back on Islamist political parties. This suggests that, after people have turned to them in desperation, they find that, once in power, they are no more effective than anyone else.The fact that the rout was so complete means that there can be little question now of them being more than an irritant. So that’s good. It also means that the tide is continuing to move against Islamist parties on the shores of the Mediterranean.

      That said, the largest party, the RNI, is headed by a billionaire self-proclaimed “liberal”, who’s likely to be in an uneasy coalition with the PAM, which is being described in the francophone media as “centre-left”, whatever that means now. It’s unclear that the RNI, or anyone else for that matter, has any solutions to the country’s massive economic and social problems, not helped by the role played by the monarch. But then again, it could have been worse.

      1. Bazarov

        David, I know this is probably a tall order, but do you have any thoughts on how the party shift in Morocco might influence the EU/Morocco flash points vis-a-vis the Spanish enclaves? I remember it flaring up into the international media a couple years ago, but since then, I haven’t heard anything. Did the controversy have any bearing on the election results?

        1. David

          I honestly don’t think anybody knows, or can really speculate until there’s a government. It also depends on the King, of course. The enclaves are one of those existential problems that don’t go away irrespective of who’s in power, and my (hazy) recollection is that the PJD didn’t have any particularly new or special policies on them. But it’s a good point. Watch this space.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Inmates riot across prisons as manhunt for escaped prisoners continues”

    The escape of these six guys is driving the Israelis nuts as that was supposed to be a high-security prison and now they can’t be found. They dug a tunnel using a rusty spoon that came out just next to a watchtower and near the wall which was embarrassing enough. And it seems that you had a guard that was asleep on duty as well which was why nobody noticed six guys running away. Once these guys had escaped, they were met by cars which drove them away to a village to shower, put on new clothes and buy themselves a bite to eat. So, not quite Shawshank Redemption but there is a rumour that the entrance to that tunnel was hidden behind a Raquel Welch poster. As the Israelis can’t find them, they have contented themselves with arresting their relatives instead. For the Palestinians, whether they are caught eventually or not does not matter as what they did has now become legend. Either that or a failure to communicate.

    1. griffen

      I’d suggest a more updated poster for the wall. Maybe a Heidi Klum or Cindy Crawford*… remarkable what can be accomplished when a guard fails at his job!

      I thought about Gal Gadot, perhaps not considering her background.

      1. Shroom for Improvement

        Hard to find top-quality dried porcini mushrooms in the US. The water you use to rehydrate them is pure gold for soups and sauces, don’t discard it!

        1. Bazarov

          It is indeed hard to find dried porcini in the United States. Most of the places I’ve tried have sent obvious counterfeits.

          However, I’ve been happy with Sabarot’s dried porcini, which you can get imported from France via Yummy Bazaar ( I’ve ordered from them several times, and I’ve been satisfied enough.

          Another resource is Far West Fungi ( They sell both imported and “domestic” dried porcini. They have a good reputation, though I’ve never used them.

          Porcini is unbelievable. The mushrooms are a treasure!

          One of my favorite dishes, a stew with chestnuts and lentils, requires an ounce of dried porcini–and the elixir produced from the steeping process! Without both, the dish is a pale reflection of its true self.

  8. Ian Perkins

    The legacy of the Attica uprising

    “The prison population has shrunk to just under 32,000 in New York State in the last 50 years.”
    I hope US readers will correct me if my facts are all mixed up here, but I think I read recently that many convicts are shipped out of state for incarceration – Wisconsin being one recipient state as I recall. The prisoners are counted in the census, adding to the states’ Electoral College weightings or something, but they’re not allowed to vote. Meanwhile, the local economies become dependent on the revenues generated, supplying prison guards whose daily exposure to criminals from the cities makes them more likely to support law and order candidates.

    1. Kevin

      You are correct Ian.
      I spend time in western Michigan. I know the prison in Muskegon gets a lot of prisoners from Pennsylvania.
      Here’s a FAQ on the topic.

    2. JBird4049

      Something like this. I don’t have the recent numbers on the individual state’s populations, IIRC, the numbers have gone down, slightly, after decades of increasing. Nationally, the population went up every year for forty plus years. It has a long, long way to go to what it was it was in the 70s.

      There is the private prison industry, which just what it sounds like. Private prisons are built and run by corporations, which then lobby states and municipalities for their prisoners. The claim is that private industry can warehouse human beings more cheaply than government, when what the corporations do is just cut out expenses like adequate food, any real medical care, and sometimes even enough guards, who are often paid very poorly anyways. This undercuts the already poorly funded prisons and jails. So, they can underbid the government institutions. This paying back these friends’ donations, bribes really, to the government officials and politicians while appearing to cut expenses. And being “tough on crime.” A win-win for both sides.

      Even without the private prisons, prisoners are often shipped from city to city, state to state by the various governments because of overcrowding. It is also good business, as the receiving city, county, or state can charge a profitable rate for the extra bodies.

      As for political representation, everything, but the Senate, depends on the number of people living at all levels of government. Federal, state and municipal. Free or imprisoned, citizen or paperless, it only matters in the number of bodies. So, the often dirt poor areas where prisons, public or private, are built not only get that money from the prison’s business, they also might get increased political representation and clout from it. This means the local voters support the prison. This is an unspoken reason why states like Louisiana, which has the highest rate of incarceration of any country on Earth, might want to imprison so many of its citizens. Felons as a general rule cannot vote, actual prisoners just cannot vote, but their numbers are in the national Census, which determines the numbers used for political representation.

      It doesn’t hurt Louisiana’s elites that it has effectively enslaved much of its mostly black prison population in places like Angola. This reducing the costs of incarceration while reducing the number of Black voters and maintain its numbers in the national census. As mention before, it is also a good used for corruption. The “friends” of the government can profitably use the prisoners even if the government doesn’t make money. A good book to read on the convict-worker system especially for the South is Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon although it is mostly historical. Keep in mind that once the system was in place, both in the North and the South, troublesome whites were and are used, or better say consumed, as well.

      To better understand the political implications for today, one could look at the Antebellum South. The Slavocracy was overly powerful politically, not only because it was the wealthiest section, with its use of slaves, in the United States, but also because its slave population was counted in the census and was used to increase its representation in the House of Representatives. The money and votes also got it the federal judges it wanted as well. The infamous three-fifths clause was an attempt by the Northern delegates to the Constitutional Convention to reduce the added political power to the South with its use of slaves. The Southerners demanded to use the full count and the Northerners flatly rejected it. The compromise was reached to save the Constitution.

      Of course, the three-fifths clause is irrelevant today. /s

  9. Kevin

    The Biden Admin’s
    on skyrocketing grocery prices: “If you take out” beef, pork & poultry, the “price increases are more in line with a historical norms”

    If I had a dime for every time we “removed” items to get data points back in line with “the norm”, I’d have Ghani-size money. Talk about moving the goalposts…

    1. Eloined

      Recently learned that US CPI tracks urban-consumer costs only. From “Not included in the CPI are the spending patterns of people living in rural nonmetropolitan areas….” I reckon that in rural areas the effects of using proxy estimates of the cost of owned housing (owners’ estimates / guesses of what they would rent their home for, as opposed to actual rental unit costs) are particularly behind the times.

      In my rural area, I’ve overheard discussions of inflation at the gas station, grocery store and hardware store in just the past two days. The experiences of these Americans concerned about rising prices are 0% accounted for in CPI data.

      1. Louis Fyne

        then throw in for ex-urban or rural areas, one usually is stuck buying groceries at either Wal-Mart or the national legacy grocer (Kroger or Albertsons).

        never ceases to amaze me how many opportunities “progressives” have to work together with rural folks on issues of common concern (corp. duopolies, etc )…. but pundits and Twitterati prefer to lecture/stereotype on culture issue X, Y, Z instead of building bridges

    2. CloverBee

      Link to the White House statement on taking on meat processing monopolies:

      Better than the video clip. But this is a better clip yet:

      I know 4 small farm/ranches that have gone out of business because there are no longer enough slaughter houses to get their animals processed, and they can’t legally sell meat they process on their own.

      This is the issue that caused the Bundy Ranch protest – they can’t get enough price on the hoof to make operating costs, so they wanted to run more cattle than allowed by the BLM. The real issue is the meat processors driving down the on the hoof price to ranchers, while raising prices for consumers, and this is the first (long overdue) step in addressing that.

    3. Bart Hansen

      Yes, it used to be that ‘volatile’ items were removed from price indexes or ‘seasonally adjusted’ out to make price rises palatable. Does the Labor Dept still use those terms?

      1. Skunk

        As far as I know. In the U.S., so-called “volatile” factors like food and fuel are still removed from the CPI. of course, what do people mostly need to spend money on if they have a fixed-rate mortgage? Duuuh…food and fuel. So the inflation number becomes meaningless. It’s probably massaged to prevent the government from having to provide SS inflation adjustments, etc. has some alternative figures.

    4. voteforno6

      It’s also a way to see if prices are rising in specific sectors of the economy relative to everything else, That’s what the administration is saying here. If that’s the case, then it stands to reason that there may be some factors affecting that sector that aren’t impacting the rest of the economy.

      1. CloverBee

        The press release lays out how it is dividends and stock buybacks in a heavily concentrated market that are leading to the beef, pork, and poultry price increases.

        1. lance ringquist

          all roads lead to nafta billy clintons disastrous policies, and the author seems to have no clue why food prices have soared.

          when nafta billy deregulated commodities, i said there goes stable food prices. coupled with nafta billys worse policy blunder in american history, free trade, and the author wonders why so many have to go to government for help or starve.

          we can never recover till nafta billy clintons disastrous policies have been reversed.

          Minneapolis – Excessive speculation in agriculture commodity markets has played a major role in the rapid rise and fall in global food prices, contributing to a massive increase in undernourished people and commodity market instability, according to a new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

          “As President Bush and the G-20 meet this weekend, it is important to recognize that many of the deregulatory measures that brought on the Wall Street collapse also contributed to the food security and agricultural market crises,” said IATP’s Steve Suppan, a contributor to the report. “Only prudential regulation and tough enforcement will repair the damage caused by crony capitalism to these markets and the people markets are supposed to serve.”

          The IATP report, “Commodities Market Speculation: the Risk to Food Security and Agriculture” (available at, concludes that U.S. government deregulatory steps opened the door for large financial services speculators to make huge “bets” that destabilized the structure of agriculture commodity markets. According to the United Nations, global food prices rose an estimated 85 percent between April 2007 and April 2008. Prices rose for wheat (60 percent), corn (30 percent) and soybeans (40 percent) beyond what could be explained by supply, demand and other fundamental factors, according to the report.

          Commercial speculation in agriculture has traditionally been used by traders and processors to protect against short-term price volatility, acting as a sort of price insurance while helping to set a benchmark price in the cash market. But the elimination of speculative position limits for financial speculators and the rise of commodity index funds undermined traditional price risk management. These funds create a constant upward pressure on commodity prices, alleviated abruptly only when fund contracts are “rolled over” to take profits.

          “The underlying fundamental for these funds is not the supply and demand of physical commodities, but the profit target,” said Suppan. “As long as Wall Street players could hide their government-permitted debt loads, they were free to induce price volatility in excess of what could be explained by fundamental factors, and then profit by betting on the induced price movements.”

          As of July 2008, $317 billion had been invested in commodities index funds, led by major traders Goldman Sachs and American Insurance Group. Commodity index funds bundle futures contracts of up to 24 agricultural and non-agricultural commodities, including oil, energy, and base and precious metals. The bundling of agricultural commodities with precious and base metal commodities means that the price movements (and the larger trading weight of the metals in the fund) can trigger the sale of a fund contract, regardless of the supply and demand situation in an agricultural commodity, according to the report.

          At the global level, there is no multilateral agreement to regulate commodities exchange markets. And there is no multilateral framework to respond to global speculation in food prices. Thus far, the UN’s Global Task Force on the Food Crisis has yet to analyze the role of speculation in fomenting the crisis.

          The report makes a series of recommendations including: creating an independent global commodities exchange regulatory agency, establishing commodity-specific speculative position limits and requiring comprehensive and transparent reporting for all types of futures and options trades executed in the United States. On September 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008, which would take some of these initial steps. The bill will likely be reintroduced in 2009.

          “The U.S. House of Representatives has begun to defend U.S. agricultural markets from predatory deregulation and excessive speculation,” said Suppan. “The Obama administration and the U.S. Senate should not only support and improve the House bill, but help jumpstart multilateral negotiations so that excessive speculation in non-U.S. markets cannot further exacerbate global food insecurity.

          The full report can be read at:

          The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems
          Read the Full Article
          Economics and Trade,
          Globalization and Trade Reform

          1. the last D

            BTW, how much did Earl Butz, Raygun’s ag secretary, say we could expect to pay for a loaf of bread way back in the eighties?

  10. The Rev Kev

    “The Texas Abortion ‘Whistleblower’ Site Still Can’t Find a Host”

    Not surprising that. You can probably easier host a pron site as most are backed by Corporate America anyway but nobody wants to touch this one at all. Actually, they might have better luck trying to disguise themselves as a pron site instead. But can you image how many hackers there are out there that would target such a site? And it does not even have to be Anonymous. The Ku Klux Klan would have an easier time trying to register an online site for recruitment. If somebody is falsely reported on such a site, who is legally responsible for that? The web host perhaps?

    They may have better luck trying to set it up out of the Ukraine as that country has an activist website called Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) with lists people like thousands of reporters who reported from the Donbass and has their personal details listed so that they can be doxxed (and occasionally murdered). But getting back to Texas. This is going to trash Texas’s reputation to gutter levels. They may have to dump their mascot of the Texas Longhorn Steer and substitute the Texas Snitch instead. Decades ago you would have States boycotted by business, tourist, etc. for a major transgression so I would not be surprised to see a Texas boycott come about.

    1. Glossolalia

      If somebody is falsely reported on such a site, who is legally responsible for that? The web host perhaps?

      That’s a good point. The Republicans keep pushing to repeal Section 230 but it may well bite them in this case. Of course they could just legislate an exemption for abortion whistleblowers…

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If there is to be a boycott-Texas movement over the Fugitive Birth-Slave Law and the Private Rat Fink enforcement mechanism, perhaps it should be more fine-focus than “boycott Texas”.

      There were districts within Texas which elected Democrats whom I assume all voted against this law.
      Perhaps those parts of Texas should be supported. Perhaps the boycott should be precision-targeted against those districts of Texas and (every business within those districts) which elected representatives who ended up voting for the Fugitive Birth-Slave Law. Such targetted boycotts could degrade and attrit the economy of those pro Rat Fink districts so that they lose population and power and influence. Women who want better than to live among Rat Fink neighbors should be encouraged and helped to move to the No Rat Finks Here parts of Texas and the No Rat Finks Here states elsewhere in America.

  11. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Politico should stick to politics and leave the legal analysis to someone who actually has some chops in that area.

    First of all, a ruling from over a century ago is certainly “ripe” for some fresh testing in a courtroom. In 1915 the Television had not yet been invented, let alone radar, modern air travel, or social media. There is literally almost nobody walking the planet who was alive at the time of that ruling.

    Second, there is a big difference between a government fining an individual over refusal to take a vaccine vs. an employer firing someone. Both in terms of harm and the authority of the entity doing the harm.

    Third, there is the definition of “vaccine” and the “science” being different between the way two vaccines work. One offered sterilizing immunity while the other doesn’t. If there is nothing but individual protection offered by taking a drug, where is the public health benefit?

      1. jimmy cc

        Used in 2 rulings (McCarthy v. Boozman and Boone v. Boozman ) in 2002 challenging Arkansas vaccination requirements, vaccines being compulsory was upheld.

        You can be fired by your employer for refusing the flu vaccine. Work at Will is going to bite republicans in their ass.

        Link to a balanced paper written BEFORE covid regarding the viability of the court decision:

          1. jimmy cc

            then youre even more screwed. dont worry, the Republicans are rewriting the laws to not allow employers mandating the requirements.

            but the laws will need to be rewritten, or that is my assertion

            anyway, 1st 2 cases were government required mandates.

            1. Carolinian

              Your first two examples seem to apply to child vaccinations–a completely different situation. See IM Doc above for why.

              And yes employers in this country can fire you for just about any reason they want. But if they make arbitrary rules then they may end up losing that employee who does all the boss’s work!

              Biden’s approach to all this is really about bullying and power given that the vaccines apparently don’t do what they were supposed to do. There is such a thing as “consent of the governed.”

              1. jimmy cc

                good luck!

                we will see what the courts say, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

                I am unvaccinated, and don’t believe in mandates. However, my personal opinion means little.

                1. Carolinian

                  You may find this of interest


                  They don’t necessarily disagree that the courts are going to stretch smallpox into covid. Guess my point is that this power play isn’t going to end well for the Dems.

                  And some of us here are past the worrying about our employment stage although Biden may be enviously eyeing those proposed Australian Covid camps, er, quarantine facilities.

                  1. jimmy cc

                    if they lose the dems will fundraise on it.

                    they have no shame and they’re used to losing.

                    Republicans will write legislation to offset it where they can… and fundraise on it.

                    but i dont think the courts on going to help you.

  12. Eclair

    RE: World’s Biggest Machine Capturing Carbon from Air ….

    The machine sucks from the atmosphere annually the equivalent of carbon emissions from 870 automobiles (4,000 tonnes.) There were about 276 million vehicles registered in the US alone in 2019. So, we would need to build a minimum of 320,000 carbon capturing plants, in the US. That’s more than 6,000 plants per state.

    These carbon capturing machines require energy to operate; I can’t estimate how much, not being an engineer, but sources indicate that the amount needed is substantial. Where will that energy come from? Coal-fired plants? Natural gas plants? Hydro-electric plants? Solar panels and wind turbines? Hamster wheels?

    Please, engineers out there, tell me that my back-of-the-envelope calculations are incorrect or crazy! I wanna believe we won’t have to change our lifestyles, give up our SUV’s, stop ordering from Amazon Prime, and no longer enjoy fresh strawberries in January.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The carbon figures are net – but thats easy to achieve in Iceland because nearly all electricity is renewable as they have vast amounts of hydro potential. Its been built there because of funding for off-sets. Whether you consider off-sets a good or bad idea is another question, although it does make sense to be using spare renewable energy in places like Iceland for things like this rather than, for example, generating bitcoin.

      The interesting part of this project is not the CO2 filters, but the proposal to discharge it to basalt, relying on mineralisation to seal the CO2 away long term. This is a very promising technology as it could be directly applied rapidly to existing fossil fuel using plants close to suitable basalt beds. It could be the type of ‘quick and dirty’ approach to rapidly reducing CO2 that is essential if we are to make any progress whatever. It may not even be necessary to extract the CO2, some experiments have simply mixed exhaust gas with seawater and pumped it deep underground (a surprising application of frack technology).

      The great danger of this type of technology is that almost all the national plans being agreed are based on carbon capture (all types) working effectively. This is a reckless assumption, required because of the refusal of countries to accept that a massive reduction in the use of energy is required. As so often with these things, we might get lucky and find out that it can be done quickly and safely. If it doesn’t work, then we are left with carbon reduction plans that are useless.

      1. Eclair

        PK, this ‘discharge it to basalt,’ technique, as well as the mixing exhaust gas with seawater and pumping it underground, a la ‘fracking.’ Have there not been indications that injecting massive amounts of liquid into the earth destabilizes the area and results in sudden tectonic plate readjustments, aka, earthquakes?

        Also, since carbon capture plants would not necessarily have to be at the source of the carbon, but could be built, as you point out, in areas where there is abundant and renewable energy, such as Iceland, how would the Icelanders, who have a very nice little island, react to being the site for the equivalent of 320,000 such plants? (And, that’s just the US contribution to carbon.) Could the USA simply annex the place? Kind of like what we did with Hawaii: you WILL grow corporate pineapples and sugar cane!

        So, this carbon capture technology might well work, but only if we drastically reduce our energy use, i.e., carbon production.

        And, what about methane?

      2. Ian Perkins

        they have vast amounts of hydro potential

        Iceland also gets around 30% of its electricity from geothermal, something that’s much easier there than most places as hot rock is nearer the surface.

        1. Vandemonian

          Iceland also provides geothermal hot water for domestic use.

          When I was in Reykjavik in 2014 the hot water in the shower smelled of rotten eggs. (Remember world travel? Aah, those were the days…)

    2. The Rev Kev

      Those plants also require water to mix the carbon into so unless it is seawater (unlikely due to corrosion) that is a lot of drinking water that can be also going bye-bye.

      1. Eclair

        Ah ha! That’s where all the big bottles of Evian are going! (See link on empty shelves in UK markets.)
        Sorry to be making jokes about water ….. sometimes one simply has to laugh, to prevent crying.

    3. Kevin

      At least some people out there are working on solutions.

      It took centuries for us to completely pollute our environment. Solutions won’t happen overnight, especially if no one is trying.

      1. Eclair

        True, Kevin, it took us centuries (well, less than 200 years) to pollute the planet. But optimistic articles about these nascent technological solutions, as in, look! carbon capture machine will remove all bad stuff from air so we don’t have to give up our Dodge RAM pick-ups, air-conditioners, imported wines, vacations in Bali, etc., only push down the road the awful reality that sacrifice is the only thing that will work in the near term.

        Rationing, shortages, belt-tightening, frugality. And that’s for us in the ‘developed’ nations and members of the top 50% (??) socio-economic group. For the rest: poverty, famine, disease, early death (who would have thought a poor family living in a basement apartment in Queens would be climate change victims?) Unless we move to address these inequities.

        These are the social problems we should be addressing. Right now. Yeah, technological solutions will help in the longer term, but we no longer have the lead time to rely totally on them. As a society, we have barely moved out of the denial stage and are just dipping our toes into the bargaining and anger stages. And a lot of us are experiencing depression; how many teenagers are on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds?

        1. Kevin

          Great points. Although I didn’t pick on the article having a “RAH, RAH, cheerleading” attitude though. It seemed pretty straightforward.

          I do fear the “rationing, shortages, belt-tightening and frugality” (that is necessary, I agree) will only run into the wall of “BUT MY FREEDOMS!!”.

          There is no “common good’ in the U.S.

    4. Zamfir

      Yes, correct. These are, at best, vague and tiny prototypes. Not anywhere near useful or affordable at the moment.

      It might be pure grift, to be honest. Rich people put and oil companies put money in a charity, charity pays companies to develop technologies, companies pretend to make progress, rich people can pretend to help solve a problem, everybody is happy.

      Then again, building some small prototypes is not so bad. It’s not like the donors were going to use that money for worthwhile stuff instead. And perhaps someone does stumble on an approach that can be scaled at reasonable cost. As long as it’s clear that it is a long-shot that will probably fail, not a magic trick that makes a problem go away.

        1. Eclair

          Thanks, Zamfir. The report seems comprehensive. Although not clearly available to a non-technical person. I did get the 3 to 14 tonnes of water needed for each tonne of carbon sequestered, though. And, ‘a large need for electricity and heat.’

          And, like you, I am skeptical about relying too much on technology. It is, after all, what has brought us to this critical point, all this ‘faster, cheaper, better.’ Although, one should not blame the ‘technology,’ but the human forces, lusting after more and more profit, pushing the technology. Engineers are basically practical problem solvers. It’s when their innovations get taken over by the profit-seeking entrepreneurs that we get into cosmic trouble.

          1. Zamfir

            To be honest, I do think we should mostly rely on technical solutions here. I am just skeptical that direct-air capture will be an important part of the mix.

            I am surely biased here, I am an engineer, the engineering approach feels natural to me.

            At the core of my position: when I look at a technical approach to climate change, I can broadly figure out what it means, how it would look like.
            There is reliable data on the sources of GHG. There are various alternative technical approaches, to replicate most of the functionality of those sources at drastically lower GHG levels. Lots is known about those various options, they can be discussed and are constantly discussed. How mature are they? What are the upsides (besides GHG reduction), downsides, limits and costs? What is the scope for further improvement, what are the uncertainties. What would it take to deploy at large scale, and what would it take to make people do that? the answer to that latter is typically some variation of closing the cost gap – through cost reductions, subsidies or taxes. And on all those items, there are real world activities to make them happen, to explore how they work out in reality. Not fast enough to my liking, but there is progress, and there is constant real-world feedback on how it’s going.

            To be clear, all of that is far from perfect. It’s full of conflicting opinions, gaps, uncertainties, certainties that are ugly, difficulties, delays. And grifts. But at least those are out in the open, it’s possible to evaluate them.

            When I look at non-technical approaches to stop climate change, I can’t even get to that point. I keep running into vagueness, or individual patches that do not add up to a complete approach. How should the world look like 40 years from now, with various options? How could we get people to do it? What are the downsides and difficulties? How might they be tackled or mitigated?

            This might be an engineering mindset – if the problems are not clear, I’ll assume they are really bad.

      1. Ian Perkins

        As long as it’s clear that it is a long-shot that will probably fail, not a magic trick that makes a problem go away.

        Carbon capture and storage is an integral part of current plans to stay below 2 degrees warming with net zero emissions by 2050 and all that. I think they’re betting the future on the hope of some technology like this proving viable, rather like a gambler who’s just lost everything borrowing enough for a chance to win it all back.

    5. Procopius

      I’m not an engineer, but I think the Three Laws of Thermodynamics are:
      1. You can’t win.
      2. You can’t even break even.
      3. You can’t quit the game.

  13. The Historian

    Re: The Matt Stoller tweet about meat prices

    Some anecdata. The price of meat where I live in ND is $4/lb less than what it is going for in Boise. Checking the Fred Meyer Boise (Kroger) website, 93% lean hamburger is still at $7.99/lb – here I just paid $3.99/lb for the same hamburger. The difference? Where I live in ND there are no Krogers, no Albertsons, no large chains. We only have two supermarkets that service only ND and parts of MN and a Walmart that I haven’t gone to yet to see what their prices are. Our two supermarkets get their meat locally.

    1. The Historian

      Yikes! I made a mistake. The $3.99/lb was a sale price! I just checked Marketplace Foods and the going price for 93% lean hamburger is $6.48/lb. Still cheaper but not as cheap as I thought!

      That is the problem with being in permanent moderation – you can’t fix your errors. (Was it something I said? If so, I apologize. I have been trying very hard to self moderate, but I guess, sometimes…….)

      1. lordkoos

        Some of my comments go into moderation as well, but some do not, and I don’t really understand how that works. It does seem that longer comments tend to go through the moderation process more than short ones.

    2. voteforno6

      North Dakota does have a meat-packing industry as well, so it might be a little easier for the grocery stores there to get access to meat than in Boise.

    3. Jen

      I’ll add to your anecdata that the locally sourced meat, dairy and eggs that I buy haven’t increased much in price over the past year, if at all.

    4. IM Doc

      When we moved from the big city and now live in the fruited plain – I took the skills from my childhood and planted an orchard, built greenhouses, and started working with chickens again. Bees and honey. Mushroom racks. The whole enchilada. Dozens of fruit trees in the orchards. 4 large greenhouses now.

      We get all of our other protein from fishing and hunting – and we buy a fourth of a grass finished cow from our neighbor rancher at a much reduced price of ZERO dollars every 9 months or so. His family constantly helps us consume our eggs and other vegetables and fruit in return.

      Harvest time is here. Wife and I have been working hard with the kids – and we are now over 1000 cans of jams, salsa, marinara, pickles, mushrooms and other vegetables. We have filled 2 freezers with frozen fruit and we have not even started the apples yet. When done – we will be good for the year.

      About the only thing we buy from the grocery store is sugar and flour and some non-seasonal fruits like melons. We get all butter and milk from the farmer down the road.

      I have never felt so free – and we do not worry too much about the prices in the grocery store. There is however a price – a lot of work. But I am OK with that – I have not been as fit as I am since my 20s. It has been the best thing for me mentally too. And I am bound and determined to make sure my kids have these skills handed down to me from my family.They used them to survive the Great Depression and WW2. It will be up to the kids if they use them or not – but by God – they will know how. It does wonders for the soul to see them climbing trees and picking fruit – and tending to the chicken coops.

    1. Ignacio

      There is absolutely no relationship, linear or whatever, that you can make comparing vaccination rates vs disease incidence amongst European countries. Hospitalizations and casualties is another issue. Yet de NYPost decides to pick Bulgaria because it matches a narrative.

  14. TomDority

    Skilled Workers Are Scarce, Posing a Challenge for Biden’s Infrastructure Plan NYT

    Did not read the article but title says all the tripe needed.
    The NYT needs more skilled workers but they can’t seem to produce them…given this re-hash BS.
    Back in the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did not need Skilled workers – they got plenty of un-skilled workers off the street and found most to be high skilled and easily trainable….you will find the same today.
    Figures the NYT would not know a thing about much, considering they think financial engineering is a skilled worker job – it’s really a skilled criminal job – and that wall street is an indicator of main street.
    NYT should assess their own skills before pronouncing the general lack of skilled workers in the USA – All I can say is FU NYT
    There is a bright side, after watching great minds combat the recession you should be rid of your inferiority complex.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Easy solution: outsource all the PMC jobs to Malaysia. If they need money, they can learn to code lay concrete.

    2. Glossolalia

      Back in the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did not need Skilled workers – they got plenty of un-skilled workers off the street and found most to be high skilled and easily trainable….you will find the same today.

      I wonder if that’s entirely true. I imagine if you were born in the late 1800s to early 1900s life back then (pre-TV, pre-internet, pre-service economy) just probably made you acquire all sorts of random skills and experience that would come in handy for the CCC. Nowadays it might be a lot more difficult, plus there’s the small issue of motivation.

      1. Wukchumni

        Only 18-25 year old white males were allowed to be in the CCC, the pay was $30 a month, $25 of which went home to their families.

        Using constant gold value $’s, the pay of the lads was equal to nearly an ounce of the precious, currently valued @ $1500.

        So, thats what you pay them per month along with room & board-them being all comers from 18-30, but good luck convincing them they only get to keep $250 of it, like in the Great Depression.

    3. enoughisenough

      THIS!!! Exactly! What happened to training your workers? What is this nonsense of outsourcing training to community colleges?

      Why can’t employers invest in their workers, rather than expect them to spring fully formed from the head of Zeus?

      This is pathetic.

      Another angle is prison labor – like the firefighters in CA who cannot apply to be fire fighters, fully trained, when they are released from prison. I am sick of hearing there are no workers.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “BLM crowd sing and cheer as Richmond’s Robert E. Lee monument is removed after 131 years and CUT IN HALF”

    Actually I get why there was such a circus involved in removing this statue, I really do. But I will still disagree with it on two grounds. One is this impetus to rewrite history or write people out of history and maybe even whole periods to suit the demands of a self-appointed body. But history are the roots of our culture. And this way can lead to all sorts of unwanted consequences. As an example, if you write the Confederates out of history, you also write out the lives of the Union soldiers who fought for four, long, bloody years to put them down and all the sacrifices that they made. So goodbye Grand Army of the Potomac.

    The second reason I disagree with it is that there is the danger that it amounts to performative art. By that I mean that all those people will go home and pat themselves on the back while posting on Facebook but ignoring actual structural problems. Things like voting rights, educational opportunities, discrimination in the 2020s instead of the 1860s. So what I am saying is that it is better to fight the battles of the here and now and tag the window-dressing items like statue removal for later. Voting rights are vital. Statues are symbolic.

    But wait, there’s more. ‘A time capsule, buried under the statue since 1887, was also removed, as in the words of Governor Ralph Northam, it contained artifacts “related to the Confederacy.” ‘ In it’s place a new time capsule was installed which I can only judge to have been the result of a very woke committee-

    There is a link to the actual items in that new time capsule for any interested-

    1. John Steinbach

      Rev Kev’s point about virtual signaling & going home is well taken. His other point about rewriting history not as much. The purpose of the Lee statue and the thousands soon to follow were all about rewriting history. Although the statue was one of the first such paeans in reaction to Reconstruction, it set the stage for the whole “lost cause” mythology, the primary purpose of which was to establish “Jim Crow” and usher in over 100 years of American apartheid. It is no coincidence that the spate of confederate statue building from the 1890s to the 1920s coincided with the explosive growth of the KKK.

      1. The Rev Kev

        To a large extent, I actually agree with what you say. But wouldn’t it be great if things got to the point eventually where the United Daughters of the Confederacy could come out and say ‘Yeah, it’s probably time to retire that sucker and stick it into a museum somewhere.’

      2. Pat

        Perhaps the real answer is to raise a statue of a hooded KKK member saluting the general. Acknowledge the history of that movement, so that people understand rather than bury it.

        1. Soredemos

          Keep all the Confederate monuments, but put a new larger one of a glaring Sherman next to each of them. Acknowledge the history: the Confederate traitors were put down like rabid dogs.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Had a better idea. Statue Lee on that horse was looking into the distance, right? So what if aligned where he was looking was an impressively & equally large statue of Martin Luther King.

            1. enoughisenough

              There’s a reason why MLK’s statue in DC is staring down the Jefferson memorial across the lagoon. It’s really impressive.

          2. Procopius

            …the Confederate traitors were put down like rabid dogs.

            I’m very ambivalent about that. They were not. In many ways I agree with Lincoln’s decision to proclaim amnesty, but there are times when I think he should at least have put the most prominent leaders on trial. I suppose the Radical Republicans could have gotten the death penalty for them, but there’s a chance the Southern sympathisers still had enough influence to send them to prison. The Constitution doesn’t mandate the death sentence for treason, just authorizes it. I don’t think they would have had any trouble finding two or more direct witnesses that they had “waged war against the United States.”

    2. Michael

      Seems much easier to confront the symbols of the past and destroy them.

      How about taking out the Wall St bull?
      Plunge the estoque deep or just run a rotisserie pike up its ass!

      Double dog dare ya!

    3. Pat

      As we aren’t supposed to just agree with a post, I will add that erasing history even in art shouldn’t be the goal, expanding it should be.

      I find a whole lot of our rush to silence, erase, cancel history, counter opinions and even deny the inconvenient experience of those who do not ascribe the “appropriate” current standard to be as paralyzing and stifling as what it replaces.

      That it also distracts from doing tangible things to change many of the situations that enabled the problems….well I’d say it isn’t truly a winning strategy for improvement.

    4. voteforno6

      Removing that statue is not erasing history. It’s not like people aren’t going to study Robert E. Lee and the Civil War anymore. People don’t learn history by looking at statues. That statue was put up to honor Lee, one of the leaders of a group of people who fought against the legitimate government of the United States in order to uphold slavery. There are no good reasons why such a statue should’ve been put up in the first place, and certainly not to remain in place for the past 130 years or so.

    5. Quentin

      My interest is on the items related to the Confederacy because of their historical relevance. Can an inventory of the pernicious objects be found anywhere? No relevance say the vandals, trust us, we are the ‘New and Eternal USA Truth.’ Go pound sand, they say to me, ‘you’ve lost’.

      1. witters

        I kind of like looking at historical monuments, whatever I’m supposed to think about them. I like looking at/into the past, good or bad, in the form of an object, a particular ‘concrete’ material (‘aesthetic’) (re)presentation. Lot to be learned when you (can) see them this way, I think. Sorry about the parentheses!

    6. marym

      The Richmond statue was about 60 feet tall. A Confederate statue still standing in Augusta is about 76 feet, and a Lee statue removed in 2017 in New Orleans was about 84 feet (Wikipedia numbers). Along with the many smaller scale statues erected in public spaces across the country, including court houses and state offices, the intent to dominate and intimidate seems evident.

      The generations-long effort to promote a Lost Cause version of history, and the racial hierarchy it supported, encompassed not only Civil War statues and monuments, but academic works, school textbooks, and popular culture.

      There’s little likelihood that Confederate history is going to be erased from US memory. A recent former president made a contribution just yesterday to the notion that Lee was someone to be admired, though many authors, scholars, journalists, and activists continue to present a view that doesn’t glorify a violent attempt to cancel the country in defense of an economy and a culture based on slavery.

    7. Anon

      The intention is not the erasure of history, but to cease glorifying it. The purpose of a statue is not to teach history, but to commemorate it. That you do not understand this, is evidence of either your ignorance, or your complicity. Shame.

      1. hunkerdown

        Americans need to understand that the world no longer revolves around them and that their LARP largely doesn’t matter anymore.

    8. Wukchumni

      Isn’t it obvious now that we need Afghan talent, who in Bamiyan blew up those buddhas real good, to blast the Stone Mountain Monument to the Confederacy (including Mr. Lee)to kingdom come.

      Yeah it’s the largest bas relief artwork of its kind in the world, so there’s that, but the cultural evolution is in full swing.

  16. Wukchumni

    Poultry in motion, yeah that’s the inflation ticket. State Provides Quality Ramen substitute though, in a variety of flavors including chicken.

  17. Rod

    Will Fossil Fuel Giants Be Held Accountable? The Daily Poster

    The other major tool the industry has is lobbying. The American Petroleum Institute, a powerful fossil fuel industry lobbying group, raised nearly $240 million in 2019, according to its most recent tax return. The group spent $32 million on lobbying and consultants, and nearly $11 million to fund studies and research. The group regularly pressures regulatory agencies to write rules in ways that protect oil and gas companies.

    So, is that 197,000,000$ of ‘Dry Powder’ just waiting for use, or just folded into Administrative Costs??

  18. jr

    The Katie Halper show has a discussion with a doctor about Ivermectin. This guy says the studies are all shoddy and there is not much reason to think it’s effective:

    The Ivermectin discussion starts at 42:00. He specifically mentions the FLCCC in a critical way.

    1. Yves Smith

      I’ve seen people confuse America’s Frontline Doctors, which have gone way out over their skis, with FLCCC. But FLCCC now has so much pro-ivermectin material up that the orthodox would recoil.

      1. jr

        Here’s a PDF from the FLCCC listing, to my uninformed eyes, a sizable number of studies supporting ivermectin’s use versus COVID:

        The interviewee on Katie’s show didn’t seem really familiar with the FLCCC, remarking in an off-hand manner that they are a “group of physicians” or something banal like that. I don’t think that’s accurate, my understanding is that the group include researchers, academics, and front-line practitioners. Perhaps he is making the mistake you describe.

    2. lordkoos

      I suppose all the physicians in India, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico etc who have been using Ivermectin are idiots, seeing as how using the drug apparently makes no difference in positive outcomes with COVID patients. /s

      I don’t understand the “grifters” criticism with regards to Ivermectin… is there a lot of money in promoting it?

      1. Lambert Strether

        > I don’t understand the “grifters” criticism with regards to Ivermectin… is there a lot of money in promoting it?

        It’s possible to make a living with a well-received podcast, for example. But the money is orders of magnitude less than Big Pharma’s profits, and not close to Big Pharma pay to managers (or, I would guess, public relations specialists).

      2. ilpalazzo

        I cured myself from Covid late March this year with IVM. I’d been sick for a few days, got positive PCR test, took the drug, symptoms mostly gone overnight but half a year of negative propaganda barrage later I really start to doubt my own lying eyes.

          1. Lambert Strether

            It seems to me that this critique could be applied to any sentence of the form “I did A,” where A is any action whose mechanism is not completely understood (as for example health, psychology, religion…). The entire world is not a trading opportunity. Nor is statistics the royal road to truth-telling.

            1. Basil Pesto

              of course it’s not, but it can help us understand why:

              “I took x, x “cured” me of y, therefore x is a cure for y”

              is reckless and error-prone thinking to apply to any such treatment (whose mechanism is not completely understood as you point out) at scale, no?

      3. ArvidMartensen

        Grifters in the same way as climate scientists have been at various times all tarred as grifters for providing data on global warming and its effects – because they were only doing it for the yuuuge grant money (snort)

    3. Soredemos

      But it’s also incredibly safe so there’s no reason to not use it anyway. The all out war being waged against what is literally a Nobel Prize winning wonder drug is insane. Is there any precedent for this in the history of medicine? Even if ivermectin turns out to be nothing more than a placebo, the campaign against it is completely unjustified.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Australia Has No Bill Of Rights, And It Shows”

    The Australian Constitution is a strange animal. I have been told that nowhere in it is mentioned the actual people that live here. But for a Bill of Rights there is the same problem in Oz that the United Kingdom has. Once you go to write a Bill of Rights, the problem is not the rights that are written in it but those of long-standing usage that would be deliberately left out. And that would depend on the good will of the politicians to write it. So, would you trust Boris to write a British Bill of Rights? (crickets) So how about Scotty from Marketing writing an Australian Bill of Rights? (more crickets) See the problem? And don’t talk about Constitutional Conventions. There was one in 1998 which would decide if Australia was going to become a Republic. But I saw it hijacked by the conservatives so that the form that they chose was rejected the following year in a General Referendum.

    Actually, I like the US Bill of Rights but as an American comedian once said, it could be given away as it is no longer being used.

    1. Synoia

      Well that’s all because of a Constitutional Monarchy, or a Constitutional by precedent, which is designed for rich and powerful to make it up on the fly (/s).

      I rather respect the Code Napoleon, where Law depends on the written word, and not precedent made up as one goes.

      Depending on the written word appears to demand foresight and rigor into the Parliamentary process..

      It appears difficult for lawmakers to represent all in their constituencies, when one hand is held behind their backs, accepting bribes, legally called “Campaign Contributions”.

    2. Carolinian

      There’s a notion abroad among US elites that the world’s problems are now too great for individual rights to stand in the way or for the silly public to question whether the technocrats know what they are doing. AGW is the poster child for this rationalization.

      Of course for countries that skipped the whole Bill of Rights thing problem solved (????)

    3. Basil Pesto

      The United Kingdom has a de facto bill of rights in the form of the Human Rights Act (1998) which codifies the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK. It is quite a sophisticated system.

      The tories wanted to bin the HRA in favour of a new ‘British Bill of Rights’ after having a few tanties when the ECtHR ruled against them in various cases over the years, but that’s disappeared off the radar since Brexit.

      Interestingly, in the Australian context, ACT and Victoria have Bills of Rights of their own, but they have rather limited legal force.

      The USC, while historically vital, is flawed and outdated in many respects and I would not be in favour of modelling an Australian Bill of Rights after it. A bit more discussion of the issues can be found here. It is, in my view, extremely unlikely that an Australian Bill of Rights would be drafted according to the whims of whomever is in power, with so many well-established, international modern human rights law instruments as a starting point (although there might be some fiddling around at the margins, depending on the party in question and the nature of the drafting process). I would prefer something closer to the ECHR, even though, of course, the ECHR has exigencies of its own given that it supervises ~50 Council of Europe states and relies on the ‘Margin of Appreciation’ doctrine, which is there to prevent the European court from unduly stepping on the toes of all the various national courts. The ECHR is also modelled in part after the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic and Social, and Cultural Rights, which were written about 150 years after the USC.

    1. Basil Pesto

      It’s a pretty superficial analysis which, unsurprisingly, is preaching to the choir.

      The Australian Bill of Rights question is one that anyone who has studied Australian law will have fond (?) memories of writing an essay/answering an exam question on (can’t actually remember what I wrote though, lol). It’s been an ongoing topic of debate for quite some time.

      That’s not to say I disagree with the thrust of what she’s saying. As I allude to above (post in moderation), I would very much be in favour of a modern rights instrument for Australia. We’re not exactly the ghoulish proto-dystopia she paints us as being, but we (the state) are capable of treating people extremely poorly, and that would be harder to get away with, with such an instrument. So would enacting potentially shonky laws such as those that have been discussed recently.

      For a suitably nuanced albeit slightly outdated overview of the issues surrounding rights law in Australia, I’d recommend Ch 8 of ‘The Constitution of Australia: A Contextual Analysis’ by Cheryl Saunders. That might sound like a cop out, maybe it is, but you’ll learn more about the topic than you could ever hope to from Caitlin Johnstone.

      1. Carolinian

        Which choir is that? I don’t live in Australia so it’s all pretty academic to me.

        In Greenwald’s latest he points out that our ACLU has traditionally been against immunity passports and other forms of state compulsion (even while going wobbly on the question lately) and held that voluntary cooperation works better than the government’s heavy hand.

      1. jr

        I’d like to run them over with a Zamboni myself but how long can the edge workers seem to be enjoying last? Once it’s gone, it’ll be the screws again, methinks…

    1. Glossolalia

      I’m trying not to be a cynic and a downer, maybe this is a wonderful thing. But doesn’t it also just reinforce the idea that everyone should go to college even if you just get some “business” or “communications” degree? And isn’t this just another way to keep tuitions going up? After all, Amazon has very deep pockets…

      1. newcatty

        To be more cynical, maybe this is just a way to attract more “hourly workers” to work for Amazon. IIRC, isn’t Target doing something similar? As pointed out, is a “business or communications degree”, going to be useless for many of these people? Gosh, guess it could be a boon for “moving up in management ” for some of the Amazon employees. Say you are a person unemployed. Your prospects for a job are, for whatever reasons, limited to jobs like warehouse work. Is it better than other plebe work? Often, no. One could see a person saying, well, it may be hell to work there , but I just need to stand it until I get that magic ticket to my spot in the American Dream scape. It is similar to military recruitment that promises GI bill college for joining. Keep many people desperate and it has worked, so far.

        Reminds me of very long ago, when almost anyone with a bachelor’s degree were encouraged to go on and get a graduate degree. At least in many fields, education, research, administration, nursing, etc. Often the “advanced degrees” were in trumped up programs like ” leadership ” or whatever a professor needed for underlings to work for their funded projects. I think “free” college should be offered for all, too. Like many good ideas, lets be careful what is wished for with good intentions.

    2. HotFlash

      IIRC, the average hourly worker at Amazon lasts less than two years. And when are these workers going to have time to go to classes or do homework? Presumably there is a waiting or probationary period, I expect the worker has to ‘successfully complete’ her/his classes and if you’re gone in less than two yrs anyway, how often do you think Amazon is going to have to pay out?

  20. heresy101

    Digging a little deeper into the Diplomat article on Afghanistan, they have another article on why the Afghanistan is the “Graveyard of Empires”.

    “However, the Tang Dynasty lost control of the Afghan region after its defeat in the Battle of Talas against the Abbasid Caliphate in 751. The loss of Afghanistan meant that Tang China lost its dominant influence, which led to the encroachment and invasion of external forces.”

    “This example from China’s history helps us understand the crux of the Afghanistan issue. What attracts the attention of world powers to Afghanistan is not its minerals, gems, or opium, nor its diverse tribes and sects, although these factors provide the superficial surface of Afghanistan’s problems. We can see the real significance of Afghanistan to the world’s major powers in the fate of China’s Tang Dynasty. After losing Afghanistan, China was left in a weak and struggling state for more than a thousand years afterward, reducing it from a great global empire to a country that was constantly seeking to protect itself from encroachment.”

  21. Maritimer

    Prince Andrew has avoided NY sex accuser’s attempts to serve him legal papers NY Post
    Andy is often at the Pizza Express, Woking, picking up an xtra large, double cheese with xtra anchovies.

    (One of the guys after Andy is ambulance-chaser David Boies who was a Theranos board member and stockholder. He was also, somehow, the company’s lawyer. Theranos was a huge medical fraud involving the fragrant Elizabeth Holmes. Strange times.)

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    :” China warns of cross-border terror leaks from Afghanistan.”

    Really? China is “worried” about that?

    That’s mighty White of China to be worried about that.

    How about this . . . let China occupy Afghanistan and give it the Uighur Treatment. Let China exterminate as many Talibans and Taliban-adjacent jihadi scum as China thinks necessary and sufficient to bring terror-free order to the country.

    Maybe they can succeed where others have failed. Maybe their unique approach is a proven winner.

    I won’t be sorry if they try it and succeed.

  23. Young

    I am surprised that nobody commented on Fed President Kaplan’s lucky trades. With their policies, they are making a killing in stock market while starving seniors with meager savings accounts.
    It would be interesting to put his trades and Fed’s speeches/releases on timeline.
    Since we can’t call them criminals(it isn’t insider trading if done by our rulers), they are definitely scumbags.

    This shows that the USA is a banana republic.

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