Links 10/30/2021

Pandas’ Iconic Colors Turn Out to Be Good For Something Aside From Looking Cute Science Alert (Chuck L)

California condors: Virgin births discovered in critically endangered birds BBC (resilc)

Horrifying Parasite Masquerading as Fish Tongue Found in Texan State Park Science Alert. Chuck L: “Yuk!”

Honeybees use social distancing when mites threaten hives – study Guardian (Kevin W)

Scientists Discover New Phase of Water, Known as ‘Superionic Ice,’ Inside Planets CBS

Japan ports swamped by pumice spewed from undersea volcano Guardian (furzy)

2021 Pesticides in the Pantry: Transparency & Risk in Food Supply Chains As You Sow

The High Human Cost of America’s Sugar Habit Mother Jones (furzy)

Donovanosis: ‘Flesh-eating’ STI has doctors worried DW


As infections skyrocket, German government declares pandemic over WSWS


F.D.A. Clears First Coronavirus Vaccine for Young Children New York Times

GM sent this without comment: Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Among Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19–Like Illness with Infection-Induced or mRNA Vaccine-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Immunity — Nine States, January–September 2021 CDC. See the cheery, prominent graphic:

At a minimum, not keen about conflating wild type with Delta cases, since Delta is dominant and so much more infectious. Also not keen about “Covid-like” but had not had time to drill into that. Recall other studies have found the reverse, notably an Israeli study cited in Science:
Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine—but vaccination remains vital. We have argued pretty heatedly in comments against infection-induced immunity fans, since they omit the high cost of obtaining immunity. But it’s not hard to imagine if you now try to depict vaccine v. infection-acquired immunity as a matter of scientific debate, you’ll be shellacked as anti-vax for not following the CDC party line.

Effectiveness of a third dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for preventing severe outcomes in Israel: an observational study The Lancet (Kevin W). Would be nice if the evaluation frame was not so compressed. The issue with the first two jabs was how quickly effectiveness waned, much faster than expected. Evaluating at 13 days on average may have been similar to the timing of the efficacy measurement for the clinical trials but does not address the concerns with how fast immunity wanes.

Jabs do not reduce risk of passing Covid within household, study suggests Guardian. You’d never see a headline like this in the US. Overstates findings. Study did find some risk reduction, but not much.


We Ask Dr. Fauci About What He’s Planning For The Next Pandemic The Onion

Supreme Court Won’t Block Maine’s Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers New York Times (Kevin W)

NYC braces for fewer cops, more trash as vax deadline looms Associated Press (J-LS)

Florida strips federal funding from schools as further punishment for masking ars technica


No surprise except maybe that the EU has roused itself to state the obvious this early in simple noun-verb terms:

Fishing row a test of UK’s credibility – Macron BBC

Wanted: a serious post-Brexit policy Chris Grey

Old Blighty

Ambulances queue, A&E fills and an exhausted paramedic bears witness to a broken system spiralling into chaos Manchester Evening News (guurst)


New Cold War

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 28 OCTOBER 2021 Patrick Armstrong (Kevin W)

Why I see a war in the Donbass as (almost) inevitable The Saker (Chuck L)


Israeli Military Sets Up Shop at US Central Command With Eye on Iran Antiwar (resilc)

Iran May Become Gas Importer Despite Its Massive Reserves OilPrice

‘They targeted us for one reason: We’re succeeding in changing the paradigm’ 972 (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Military Spending Is Not the Same As Defense Spending AIER (resilc)


From Press Freedom To Prison Systems, Everything Assange Touches Gets Illuminated Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

US Lawyers Argue Assange Healthy Enough to Be Sent to His Death Richard Medhurst

British court postpones ruling on US govt’s appeal to extradite Assange France24 (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ready facial recognition market among French soccer clubs restrained by regulator Biometrics (Al K)


John Eastman told Pence team Pence’s actions caused attack on Capitol, in email during riot Washington Post (furzy)


Mastodon puts Trump’s social network on notice for improperly using its code The Verge


You Know What They Sayin’? Jim Kunstler

Jayapal warned Klain not to push an infrastructure vote. Then chaos ensued. Politico

The Centerpiece of the Build Back Better Climate Plan Has Been Stripped Out Truthout. The branding was so bad, you could tell the Biden Administration didn’t have its heart in this.

Manchin upends paid leave, a benefit ‘personal to the president’ Politico (Kevin W)

Merrick Garland Is Looking To Nail Some Corporate A**es To The Wall Dealbreaker (J-LS)

Supreme Court to Consider EPA’s Authority to Limit Carbon Emissions From Power Plants Wall Street Journal

Fauci Funded Yet Another Cruel Beagle Experiment Leighton Woodhouse (Kevin W)

How To Turn The GOP Green Andrew Sullivan. Brain transplants.

Porter is so good at this:

East Coast storm bringing major coastal flooding to Mid-Atlantic Washington Post. Resilc: “Maybe Joe Manchin floats away.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Facing Up to the Racist Legacy of America’s Immigration Laws New York Times

NAACP urges pro athletes to avoid signing with Texas teams due to the state’s ‘dangerous attacks on freedoms‘ The Week (resilc)

Our Famously Free Press

Enough is Enough: The Criminal Case Against Mark Zuckerberg Matt Stoller (Randy K)

Varoufakis Says Zuckerberg Is Stealing ‘Meta’ Name ConsortiumNews (furzy)

Toyota Unveils Its First All-Electric Car Elektrek

High Gasoline Prices Could Persist For Years OilPrice

Mark Carney: the world of finance will be judged on the $100tn climate challenge Financial Times (David L). Help me. This is not a finance problem, save for needing to kill all crypto. And we already know how “finance” will behave.

There’s No Cheap Way to Deal With the Climate Crisis ProPublica (resilc)

Cost of breakfast foods hits 10-year high Financial Times

Antidote du jour. Howard L’s Roscoe:

And a bonus:

Another bonus:

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. timbers

      “There’s no unauthorized breeding in Jurassic Park. We’ve engineered them that way. There are only females in Jurassic Park. We control their chromosomes, we simply deny them that.”

      “But how do you actually know they are female? Life…finds a way. It crashes thru barriers…”

    2. Helena

      Re Johnny Cash. He had a turn as the murderer on Columbo “Swan Song.” Not too long after this happened. From this quote from that article, he might as well have attended a casting call–I can actually hear his voice:

      When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, “I didn’t do it, my truck did, and it’s dead, so you can’t question it.” The fire destroyed 508 acres (206 ha), burning the foliage off three mountains and driving off forty-nine of the refuge’s 53 endangered condors.
      Cash was unrepentant and claimed, “I don’t care about your damn yellow buzzards.” The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172 ($939,914 in 2016 dollars). Cash eventually settled the case and paid $82,001.He said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.

  1. zagonostra

    >You Know What They Sayin’? Jim Kunstler

    Pleasantly surprised to find Jim Kunstler in todays links, a normal stopping ground for me. I know his views on many topics veer widely from NC’s, so thanks for posting.

    1. Mason

      It’s been funny watching him the last five years or so. He fell to trump derangement syndrome to an extent and I have trouble reading his politics for too long.

      I’ll never forget his brutal take-down of all thing suburban sprawl. It was so important and helped kick-start my interests in urbanism.

      We’re paving over paradise and turning this continent into a strip-mall with no sense of community at this rate… until it all collapses. Some of his over-arching themes about America’s collapse remain prescient. I think he called it about 10-15 years too early though.

      Another thing. He keeps framing it like it will collapse all at once. Collapses seem to take time, like escalating stages of dysfunction. The Long Emergency is just at stage one.

      1. Questa Nota

        The future collapse is already here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.

        or, if preferred

        The past collapse isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.

    2. Robert Gray

      For many years, Kunstler was my favourite doom-and-gloomer, entertaining to read but — like Criswell Predicts! — always wrong. :-)

      The last couple of years he’s gone completely off the deep end, e.g., with his anti-vaxxism.

    1. Randy

      That is doggie porn and the dog is ugly. The “thing” in the picture sticks out, not the dog. The whole picture is ugly. Take a picture of the dog’s face.

  2. Hank Linderman

    I realize this is a bit off-topic since there is no related link today, and anecdotal. It regards the lab release theory discussed yesterday. I was concerned that a reply there wouldn’t be seen.

    Anyway, I have a friend who is head of surgery in a CA hospital, he was trained and has taught at Stanford. His comment more than a year ago was that mucking about with modifying viruses leaves telltale signs, none of which were apparent in COVID. He was adamant that it was not created in a lab.

    This is not proof of anything, but it might indicate additional avenues to explore.

    1. saywhat?

      was that mucking about with modifying viruses leaves telltale signs,

      Not necessarily:

      True, some older methods of cutting and pasting viral genomes retain tell-tale signs of manipulation. But newer methods, called “no-see-um” or “seamless” approaches, leave no defining marks. Nor do other methods for manipulating viruses such as serial passage, the repeated transfer of viruses from one culture of cells to another. If a virus has been manipulated, whether with a seamless method or by serial passage, there is no way of knowing that this is the case. from The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?

      1. Ignacio

        Yeah man seamless approaches used by Fu Manchus that know nothing about COVs creating monstrous virus from the nothing. That is as credible as a Star Wars episode.

        1. ambrit

          Truer than you think Sr.
          Don’t underestimate the Human person’s yearning for a simple and ‘virtuous’ explanation for confusing or incomprehensible phenomena.
          You are, I will assume from what we can glean of your “professional” life from reading your comments, a rationally based scientist; scientist meant in the best possible way. So, I will credit you with applying strict rules of evidence, etc. to guide your analysis. All laudible, but requiring some training.
          An “average” person is viewing this subject from a disadvantage. They have not been educated to apply formal logic to ‘solving’ such complicated problems. So, a fallback onto some form of either “authority” and or “magical thinking” is instituted. In this respect, your application of the cultural phenomenon of the “Star Wars” film is appropriate.
          The writer and director of that film, Mr. Lucas has plainly stated that he consulted the mythographer, Joseph Campbell in the construction of the motion picture fabulation. This approach employs Myth as the guiding principle, ie. the subconscious mind. Therein lies the psychological power and allure of the narrative. “Magical Thinking” is deployed to “make sense” of a confusing and dangerous world. Plus, “Magical Thinking” is easy to do. Little if any training is required. Cynical old me will go a step further and say that “Magical Thinking” is a very powerful tool with which to ‘guide’ and ‘manage’ the public. Find a common subconscious ‘trope’ and the rest is a matter of technique.
          Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
          Stay safe!

      2. OnceWereVirologist

        From that article

        DNA backbones are quite easy to make, so it’s obviously possible that SARS2 was manipulated using an unpublished DNA backbone.

        Now that’s a true but subtly deceptive statement. It’s easy in the sense that the methods to do so are well known but not easy in the sense that it requires little work. Perhaps there are secret bioweapons research labs that create DNA backbones that are never published but that makes no sense in the context of a publicly known virus research centre.

        The intermediary host species of SARS1 was identified within four months of the epidemic’s outbreak, and the host of MERS within nine months. Yet some 15 months after the SARS2 pandemic began, and after a presumably intensive search, Chinese researchers had failed to find …

        And yet it took more than 30 years to find the animal reservoir of Ebola. And even now the precise source is not wholly locked down.

        Since the SARS2 spike protein is not of this calculated best design, the Andersen paper says, therefore it can’t have been manipulated. But this ignores the way that virologists do in fact get spike proteins to bind to chosen targets, which is not by calculation but by splicing in spike protein genes from other viruses or by serial passage.

        This is the best point that the article makes. You can argue that serial passage in cell culture is a good way to take an animal virus and deapt it from its natural host for subsequent human transmission without leaving any sign of genetic engineering. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you took RaTG13, the most similar bat virus yet found (96%) passaged it in a human cell line and ended up with COVID-19. Of course, it also wouldn’t surprise me if you took RaTG13 to a wet market, infected some animals and ended up with COVID-19. And in the second case you’ve got thousands of people passing through each day in an entirely uncontrolled environment to seed an epidemic as opposed to one or two lab workers who have to be assumed incompetent enough to infect themselves with an unknown virus in a biocontainment environment.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you took RaTG13, the most similar bat virus yet found (96%) passaged it in a human cell line and ended up with COVID-19.

          I should clarify that by adding that while I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if you ended up with COVID-19, I think it vastly more likely that you end up with something subtly different that is adapted to in vitro culture rather than direct human-to-human transmission.

        2. Skunk

          One of the reasons why the source of some Ebola outbreaks can be elusive is that filoviradae can be sexually transmitted because of testicular persistence of the virus. Patients “recovered” from both Marburg and Ebola virus have been known to transmit the virus to their partners. This was first reported in 1968 with Marburg virus, and later on numerous occasions with Ebola virus. The Ebola virus has been shown to persist nearly five years in the testes, remaining capable of infecting partners sexually.


        3. Ignacio

          On the contrary. It would very much surprise me if you take RaTG13, passage it several times through in vitro cultured human cells and obtain anything that is even infectious in natural conditions. No because in this system in which you facilitate everything to the virus you will obtain lazy RNAs for which there has not been proper selection, not confronted with the need to survive in the air long enough to enter noses, cross the mucosae and infect protected URT epithelial cells (VERO cells are totally unprotected easy to infect cells). More than 400 mutations, pointed mutations, all around the RaTG13 genome would be needed. Given that after more that 250.000.000 million infections in humans we are obtaining variants with as many as 50 mutations mostly concentrated in the Spike protein an given these are obtained in natural conditions with the proper selection methods for infectivity I think there is NOT the slightest chance to achieve something like turning RaTG13 into something like SARS CoV2 in a lab. Science fiction.

          1. OnceWereVirologist

            Yeah, that’s fair. It would be a starting point to turning the bat virus into COVID-19 only insofar as after serial passage you might, for example, find a mutation in the spike protein that improves the ability of the virus to attach to human cells but there’s far more to the viruses survival in the wild than simple ability to bind efficiently to human cells. That’s why it so much more likely to occur in an intermediate species. Your bat virus infecting your pangolin has to de-specialize in order to better survive in the new host increasing the likelihood of being able to jump to humans. And unlike an incubator your pangolin still has a respiratory tract and an immune system bringing to bear the total selective pressure that constrains a virus in the wild.

            1. Ignacio

              Moreover, in the wild a racoon dog or a civet sniffling around could get infected with a bat CoV but the chances of passing these to other racoons or civets would be quite low even if they have some social life and the epidemics would be self-contained in the wild. But if instead humans go and capture an infected racoon dog and encage her with others or in the proximity of other encaged racoons the chances for the virus to jump host increase. If these are kept in separate but closely kept cages you might be inadvertently selecting for viruses that can be transmitted airborne. An Australian study demonstrated that the incidence of CoVs in commercialized wild rodents in Vietnam increased in the supply chain reaching highest incidence at the door of restaurants and higher than the actual incidence in the wild.

              So, there is a mechanism and we know it but we’d rather ignore it…

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      People who think you can take an animal virus and muck around with it to make a human-transmissible pathogen either deliberately or accidentally have no idea of the practical realities of doing so. I personally worked with flaviviruses (e.g. yellow fever) which like coronaviruses are RNA viruses. You can’t directly genetically engineer an RNA virus. You have to construct a DNA analogue in the form of a plasmid which you can introduce into a bacteria. That alone is a non-trivial task, and especially in coronaviruses as they are larger in size than any other RNA virus group (~30 kb). Once you have your wild-type virus cloned into a plasmid (or for something of coronavirus size, probably a BAC) you can grow it up in bulk, isolate it, cut it and using mRNA poymerase transcribe an infectious RNA. The RNA is prone to degradation and can’t get into a cell by itself, it needs to be transfected into an appropriate cell line in tissue culture, where hopefully it will grow and produce actual infectious virus particles. This alone would be a respectable Ph.D project. A lot of work to get to the stage where you can even begin to think about engineering mutations, which as the article yesterday pointed out will be entirely hit or miss as we have no idea of how to about engineering something so subtle as human transmissibility into an animal virus.

      1. J.

        I would expect if you splice in a known receptor binding domain for your target species you would have a very good shot at producing a virus transmissible to that species.

        Look, here’s the Baric lab et al doing just that with a bat coronavirus + the SARS RBD, and getting it from “noncultivable” to infectious:

        Now: imagine the Wuhan BSL 2 lab passing that through mice, and remember that until last year everyone thought aerosol virus spread was not a thing.

        I can see the potential for some exciting lab accidents here.

        I don’t know that that is what happened, but all the gaslighting about “Nope, couldn’t happen!” is starting to get to me.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          Baric had a DNA expression vector for SARS-CoV-1 into which he inserted the spike protein from a bat virus. You can argue that that kind of experiment is too dangerous to carry out (especially as you’re starting with a virus that is already dangerous to humans), but the simple fact of the matter is that COVID-19 is not SARS with a bat spike protein spliced in plus a few random mutations. It’s 96% similar to a wild bat virus found in Yunnan. You seem to be fixated on answering the theoretical question : could research like this be dangerous, rather than the specific question, is this particular virus, COVID-19, a laboratory escape.

      2. Ignacio

        Hi, OWV.
        Some commenters will come with other ‘ideas’ on how to create new viruses for instance generating desired variability from a given Coronavirus and then assaying this to select those that are highly transmissible or highly pathogenic. According to many, this must be easy task. One day I found a teenager-looking comment on the kind of ‘gimme 15.000 bucks and I do it instantly’. Yo might try to explain that those methods of ‘enhanced or rapid evolution’ might have some utility to, for instance, improve somehow the plastic degradation capabilities of a given enzyme in certain conditions but are totally useless to create infectious virus because pleiotropic effects on something that is at least an order of magnitude more complex than a single enzyme and more important because labs lack proper selection systems (VERO cells or lab kept humanized mice aren’t proper models for selecting human infecting CoVs). But all this efforts will find deaf ears.

    3. t

      The lab leak view leans on the idea rhat we know when and where Covid 19 first infected a person. We don’t. We’re not even close.

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        If one wants to link COVID to the Wuhan research lab (and I have to admit that it does prick the antenna that the first wide-scale appearance of this virus seems to occur so close to a major research lab investigating the same family of viruses), I’d be looking into their virus surveillance programs rather than their genetic engineering programs. In the lab that I once worked in they would go mosquito trapping to look for flaviviruses. Of course that puts the lab workers out in the field potentially getting bitten by virus-infected mosquitoes. Wouldn’t ever lead to an epidemic as an infected human can’t directly pass a flavivirus on. However, if you have workers out trapping bats, there certainly is potential for a coronavirus transmission event and in this case perhaps it was a virologist from Wuhan out on field work who happened to draw the short straw. In another universe it could have been a zoologist studying the ecology of bats, in another a hunter etc. Unless one advocates curtailing as much as possible all contact between humans and animals, there doesn’t seem much point in blaming the virologist if that is in fact what happened. And if the infection he picked up was asymptomatic perhaps the virologist himself doesn’t even know that that’s what happened.

        1. saywhat?

          Unless one advocates curtailing as much as possible all contact between humans and animals, … OnceWereVirologist

          There’s a thought since bats and pigs are unclean in the Old Testament and not to be eaten along with just about every other animal.

          Another thought is a just economic system, including land redistribution, so the poor are not forced out into the wild.

  3. Brooklin Bridge

    Electric cars. Are they doing anything at all yet to standardize charging outlets at service stations? Can the monkey mfg. let go of the banana to get it into its sell?

    1. Ignacio

      And why going for SUVs all the time? 175kW. What is the need for such power amount? So we can use them for trawling?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        So we can use them for trawling? :-)

        Once you actually pay for the EV, you’re broke. Period. So…, you loose your mortgage, then your house – guaranteed – and the SUV does a good second as a sleeper. Pretty clever thinking on their part, though they seem too modest to put it in their advertising…

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘Rep. Katie Porter
    Shell’s CEO said that meeting energy demand while addressing climate change is “one of the defining challenges of our time.” But @Shell won’t put its money where its mouth is. I made this hypocrisy plain with a simple visual.’

    I was earlier thinking about what Frankie the Dino (voiced by Jack Black) told the UN. Why exactly are we giving all these subsidies to the oil industry? Instead of asking the oil industry to please spend some money on alleviating all the damage that they are doing, how about yanking all the money given to them instead? I found from a page that ‘Internationally, governments provide at least $775 billion to $1 trillion annually in subsidies, not including other costs of fossil fuels related to climate change, environmental impacts, military conflicts and spending, and health impacts.’ Imagine if all that money was taken and spent on climate change instead, each and every year.

    That page also says that with the US, that fossil fuel exploration and production subsidies cost $20.5 billion annually but I have my doubts here about that figure and think it far higher. Obama went all in during his Presidency on pushing the oil and gas boom so that America became the world’s biggest oil producer. The sob even boasted about it and said ‘That was me, people.’ I know that some people will say that those oil companies need that money to spend on finding new oil/gas fields. I say to hell with that noise. If you have a druggie trying to give up on them, you do not keep giving them money so that they can keep on buying more. Yes, it will be a shock to the economic system but it will not be as bad long-term as subsidizing oil industries to produce more so that we do not have to change our lifestyles. Oh, and before I forget. I lump plastics in with this industry too so their subsidies get the chop too-

    1. Carla

      Ah, Rev Kev, if only you, Yves and Katie Porter ran the world — we would be able to get to a much better, happier, healthier place in relatively short order.

      I know, I know. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Basil II after putting down two serious revolts by oligarchs set off by proposed minor reforms at the start of his reign was basically told by the defeated general that the only way to stop that kind of behavior was to never take his foot off their necks.

          You don’t have to be cruel, but like Biden, his mistake was not punishing Sinema and Manchin for small stunts early. They saw he wouldn’t come down hard hard on them a day would even support them with the Delaware Senators.

          1. albrt

            This analysis would be correct if one believed that any member of the democrat leadership ever intended to keep any of their campaign promises.

            Instead, the fact that Joe Biden and the leadership have failed to sanction Sinema and Manchin in any way is how we know that Sinema and Manchin are doing what they were recruited by the leadership to do.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter

              It’s been really frustrating to watch the rotating villains strategy successfully play out yet again. I guess it’s easier to believe the dems actually want what they say in their public positions than to accept it’s all kabuki.

              I have to say though that one of my favorite things I’ve run into in all this is people who believe both that the democrat leadership are powerless against Sinema and Manchin and they have absolute power to completely neuter the squad and the other so-called progressives. I don’t understand how you can accept both off those as fact unless you also accept this is all a game because they never intended on passing a $3 billion bill in the first place.

              1. The Rev Kev

                “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

                ― George Orwell, 1984

    2. Ian Perkins

      Why exactly are we giving all these subsidies to the oil industry?

      We could argue the toss about whether our leaders are just plain homicidal, bought by the fossil fuel industry, scared of alienating certain groups of voters, or whatever. But one thing’s undeniably clear as day – they don’t care much, if at all, about future generations’ quality of life.

    3. Pelham

      This may be a valid and just thing to do. But what would happen to gasoline prices if the oil subsidies were removed? Most people I know spend 90% of their driving time commuting and doing necessary errands and can ill afford yet another chunk being hijacked from their wallets. So MAYBE the govt subsidies are really subsidies of the already debt-pounded working class.

      Or not. I truly don’t know. This is — honest — just a suggestion, inspired in part by the semi-related yellow-vest protests in France.

    4. Objective Ace

      Are the subsidies to oil actual subsidies or are the just busniness expenses they can write off like any other industry?

      I got into an argument with my uncle over the weekend who is a big oil/fracking proponent and couldnt find anything to back up my stance about how much the US subsidized oil. Everything I could find was just the money they saved by writing off expolaration and other development expenses

  5. Martin Oline

    I just had to click on the article Japan ports swamped by pumice spewed from undersea volcano to see the pictures of the pumice. Archaeologists and historians have speculated that there was over a foot of pumice floating on the water of the eastern Mediterranean Sea after the eruption of Thera (Santorini) around 1,600 BC. The explosion’s effect, besides destroying the Minoan colony at Thera, caused a serious interruption of the economy and ocean trade for centuries to come. Now that’s a supply problem to write home about! It may have brought changes to the Minoan civilization on Crete as well.

  6. Screwball

    More Fauci and dog stuff. I can’t read the article. The first story, best I can tell, never hit any MSM outlets and dropped out of sight faster than Epstein. The POS still has a job and a ticket to the TeeVee shows to spew more lies. Sickening.

    Then there is the incompetents in DC…

    The great awakening can’t get here too soon.

    Let’s go Brandon

    1. Milton

      Yeah, I thought for sure this story was taylor-made for an SNL sendup–tired of this Covid mess and want to enjoy a nice, relaxing vacation but realize you can’t because of the dog you purchased during lockdown? Well now you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving your beloved pooch behind because we here, at Fauci’s Dog Hotel and Spa, will happily look after your fur baby…
      Something along those lines.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Remember when everyone was up in arms about Romney strapping a dog in a carrier to the top of a car? Good times…

      I’m sure this never will hit the MSM, no matter how many more stories come out. Cruelty to puppies seems to be one bar the USians won’t cross and the Katie Courics of the world have to protect power.

      1. none

        Remember when everyone was up in arms about Romney strapping a dog in a carrier to the top of a car? Good times…

        Remember the Romneys’ horse Rafalca, that competed and lost in the London Olympics? They flew her back to the US on the roof of their private plane…

      2. ambrit

        Alas, cruelty to animals is but a stepping stone to cruelty to terran Humans.
        I remember reading, but do not remember the author, a story about a small town Southern Town Boss who carries out a sadistic game of dominance over a sharecropper through cutting off the tail of the sharecropper’s son’s dog. Later, the Town Boss leads a vigilante possee in pursuit of a Negro, with the ending left hanging in the air. A clear progression of cruelty and mayhem is charted.
        My point? Without a clear cut and strong counter action to the casual cruelty shown, the ‘situation’ will ascend the “ladder of evolution” up to us. If Fauchi is not “thrown to the wolves,” then the underlying power structure will have been shown to be fully corrupt and not deserving of deference and cooperation from the public.

  7. Robert Gray

    Re: John Pilger

    > Why wasn’t Julian #Assange in court … ?
    > The court was told his medication was the reason. Was it? …
    > Julian – who had a right to attend – asked to be taken to the court, but this was refused.
    8:40 pm · 29 Oct 2021·Twitter Web App

    Pilger’s tweet is from late Friday evening. Is he talking about Wednesday’s hearing, or Thursday’s?

    The France24 story ‘British court postpones ruling on US govt’s appeal to extradite Assange’ reports

    > Assange chose not to appear Thursday after following some of Wednesday’s proceedings via video-link …

    Something smells fishy.

    1. John

      Like a mackerel in the moonlight … stinking and shining and stinking and shining.

      Pursuit of Assange has about as much to do with “national security” as does the continuing delay in the release of “classified” material about the JFK assassination, three weeks short of 58 years ago. Assange embarrassed the high poobahs and their minions in DC. Thus he must be hounded until buried in a prison, the verdict in his case having already written, or dead. Either will satisfy those-who-think-they-must-be-obeyed.

      Louis XIV built Versailles to get away from those noisome Parisians. He walled those-who-mattered from the world. But, the world came for them. The inside the Beltway crowd might think about that.

    2. lordkoos

      Assange is probably in terrible shape — a reason for his not appearing could be that TPTB do not want his suffering to be seen.

      1. ambrit

        And if he dies in custody, the ‘Powers’ might Skripal him and say that he has been whisked off to an unknown location “for his own safety.”

  8. Tom

    Michael Mina is an immunologist, epidemiologist, and physician at Harvard. This guy makes so much sense. His position: rapid tests should be widely available and used all the time and everywhere. Not as sensitive as PCR tests, but very accurate if a person is carrying a high enough viral load to be infectious.

    We’re doing it all wrong.

    You can also find the interview wherever you get your podcasts.

    1. IM Doc

      I could not agree with this doctor more.


      And we have the technology and the capability. Since we are arguing about trillions of dollars here and trillions there – we surely have the finances.

      Accurate? Reliable 100%? – until the vaccines are 100% reliable at stopping spread – why are we even having this debate. If the tests are even 70-80% effective – that is good enough to make a huge dent in the spread.

      And certainly, this approach of mass testing would have years of public health behind it. And if presented correctly to the public, I feel strongly would be accepted in no time. Unlike the vaccine mandates which have no basis in previous public health and may lead to serious social problems.

      But we no longer do anything in this country based on common sense. That is a different timeline to which none of us are a part.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Another simple, easy measure that could drastically cut the mortality rate from Covid infection? Ensuring everyone’s Vitamin D3 level is adequate.

        This study printed on the NIH site lays it out:

        COVID-19 Mortality Risk Correlates Inversely with Vitamin D3 Status, and a Mortality Rate Close to Zero Could Theoretically Be Achieved at 50 ng/mL.

        Vitamin D3 supplements are affordable and readily available. At-risk groups could begin taking D3 supplements immediately to improve their outlooks should they become infected. This study adds further credence to the notion that Vitamin D3 is another effective tool in the fight to contain Covid-19.

        Ever since the inimitable Dr. Fauci himself extolled the virtues of Vitamin D3 in an Instagram conversion with actress Jennifer Garner (!), I’ve been taking a daily Vitamin D3 supplement myself.

        It’s safe, cheap and apparently very effective in helping your body’s immune system ward off infection.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Instead, insurers quit paying for Vitamin D tests as part of a routine physical a few years ago. An MD would have to code for a particular ailment to get it covered, and I infer there aren’t that many where Vitamin D levels are considered important.

          It’s about an $80 test if you pay cash, which is as good or better than the best negotiated insurance rate.

          1. Ellery O'Farrelll

            Possible road map: I get a yearly Vitamin D test that my insurance covers because I have osteopenia, a precursor for osteoporosis. I think almost all women over 65 or so have osteopenia (not as many men do); at least, I didn’t have a problem getting a baseline bone density test at 65–my doctor was all in favor of it–and I think Medicare recommends and therefore covers a bone density test every two years.

            Incidentally–because an anecdote isn’t even a data point due to lack of controls–I got an antibody test after my booster shot to see whether the shots were working (I had no reaction other than a sore arm to any of the three shots). The test was free here in NYC. The results were off the charts: in the Abbott test, a reading of >80 is a positive result, and mine was >25,000 AU/mL. The report flagged this as abnormal and recommended that I talk to a doctor to eliminate any possibility of covid or other conditions. I got a covid test, which was negative, talked over Zoom to a practical nurse, and reported all this to my doctor. Consensus is that I have mighty antibodies (which I think will drop off fairly quickly). Due to my taking D3, zinc, and other supplements? Who knows…. but I don’t think it hurt.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I have weight trained for over 30 years, heavy weights. Most women who do use weights in a gym don’t lift anywhere near what they could; they are afraid of getting muscular when the only women who get to be anything within hailing distance of butch level muscular either were muscular before they started training (calves and forearms are quick proxies) or use steroids. I have been lifting to the limits of my strength since I started training. And I am as strong as I was at 30.

              I have also started using a whole body vibration plate as part of my hip rehab and they increase bone density.

              As I joke, the fall I took that led me to need two new hips was proof my bones are just fine. It would have broken just about anyone else’s bones. Instead it beat the crap out of my cartilage. My oral surgeon similarly reports I have “great bone”. My PCP hasn’t bothered with a bone density test given my history.

              But I agree this could be a good angle for post menopausal women and men who aren’t very active.

              The heel bone density test would be misleading on me; I have avoided a heel strike my entire life (I did’t have calluses on my heels even when I walked 4+ miles daily on concrete) and I suspect Medicare covers only that.

              Thanks for your story on the boosters. Will run it by the Covid brain trust. If nothing else, it may say the boosters are not as well understood as they ought to be. And yes, you correctly zeroed in on the lack of controls…gah…

              I am such a fan of the NYC Covid test kiosks. Why isn’t the Biden Administration getting them in every major city center and other spot with high enough population density, like just outside biggish campuses? Even if only blue states take it up, that’s still progress.

      2. Verifyfirst

        Vaccine mandates have no basis in previous public health? Kids have to have lots of vaccines in order to be allowed into school don’t they?

        1. IM Doc

          Yes – you are correct.

          However – you are talking about vaccines that have gone through all the appropriate trials and the risks and benefits are known – and the benefits of preventing epidemics of very lethal infections are overwhelming. And because the safety is known there is widespread trust.

          As I have repeatedly stated, I have ordered tens of thousands of vaccines in my lifetime.

          We have not had near the time or ability to completely assess this situation with the COVID vaccines. And certainly with what we know about the COVID vaccines now, there is really no big benefits for “public health” in general. There is enormous benefit for individual patients that are at high risk and I have spent inordinate amount of my time trying to convince these people to go for it.

          In the vaccinated, it appears the contagion can be spread and caught likely just as easily as in the unvaccinated. Therefore, the risks and benefits are all on the individual side and not on the community side. This is completely different than in most of the childhood vaccines which lead us to sterilization and decreased spread to zero. Our COVID vaccines currently will be able to do no such thing. We can greatly impact high-risk individual lives with these vaccines and we should all be trying to do that – but impacting the course of spread in a vast population is much different with these COVID vaccines than say with measles. It is unfortunately simply not going to work that way until/if we get better vaccines.

          If the COVID vaccines worked like the measles vaccine, we would not be having all the discussion about “protecting the vaccinated” would we? If they worked like they were early on promised, the vaccinated would not have to worry for a second about the unvaccinated. The consequences and problems would theoretically all be on the unvaccinated. We can behave that way with certainty with the measles and mumps vaccines with just microscopic levels of breakthrough. But the COVID vaccines offer no such protection. I applaud anyone who gets vaccinated – especially those in higher risk situations. I spend large amounts of my day every day doing just that. But given the way these were sold, and given what has occurred, I blame no one for being hesitant. It is my job to convince those high-risk to overcome their doubts. But demonizing anyone who has concerns and having them fired is just completely inappropriate.

          I really do wish Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson and Chris Cuomo and even Dr. Wen and Dr. Fauci could spend just one day with me – and see what all the confusion and chaos has wrought in the minds and souls of my patients. I really do.

          Public health has no business mandating these for individuals in this situation. Heart disease and strokes have killed more people than COVID this year – but you do not hear the public health authorities mandating that every adult take LIPITOR. Why not?

          It is because coercion simply does not work in these situations. Coercion often severely coalesces resistance. Look around you. Much research has been done on this in the past. Just look at Dr. Fauci’s take on coercion and vaccine mandates from just last autumn before the vaccines arrived. What he said then and what he is saying now cannot both be true. (Of course when looking for that link, I was able to find 3 different contradictory things he has said about vaccines in the past year). There has been no sudden sea change in decades of public health research. And what he said last autumn had years of public health research and wisdom behind it. He appropriately exempted from his statement last year Health Care workers (and I would add the military) – which are not at all “the public” in public health.

          1. zagonostra

            ” It is my job to convince those high-risk to overcome their doubts. But demonizing anyone who has concerns and having them fired is just completely inappropriate…Public health has no business mandating these for individuals in this situation.”

            Thank you for your views. I follow the science, politics, history and social aspects of what is happening with CV19 and the State’s edict of mandating vaccines, but people I interact with in my immediate proximity just don’t care anymore and would prefer to move on to other topics. When you state “in the vaccinated, it appears the contagion can be spread and caught likely just as easily as in the unvaccinated” it does not appear to penetrate, and it can’t because when this all broke, people were conditioned to believe what the authorities were saying. That the spread was a problem of the “unvaccinated.”

            I too would like to go back to reading science fiction, philosophy, history and playing music but I can’t let this topic go. I see this as an historical inflection point that I am in in the moment, whose outcome will determine the future not only for me but my children and generations to come.

        2. Norman

          Those other vaccines are “sterilizing” that guarantee to offer lifelong, or almost lifelong protection for school children. The Covid vaccines are GMO attempts to sort of kind of prevent infection with no long term studies to show efficacy.

          Wonder how many parents are willing to potentially commit genetic suicide by vaccinating their little girls in light of fertility issues caused by Covid vaccines?

          Guess they are willing to “buy the pharm” propaganda.

          Historical note: “Buy the farm” was a term for a soldier dying fighting in our first useless war, WWI, whereby widows of dead soldiers got a free farm bought by the government, so they wouldn’t starve.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I’m letting this through but these vaccines are not GMOs. If you run a line like that again, you will be blacklisted. Since you seen to be new here, you may not appreciate that we are sticklers for accuracy.

          2. Robert Hahl

            “Bought the farm” was a reference to a dead soldier who had planned to buy a farm after the war was over.

      3. t

        What is the point? A huge percentage of rhe population is already showing up to work with Covid. Until people can safely stay home, it jusy doesn’t matter.

      4. Michael

        I am flying from Italy to UK Mon am before returning to the US. Got my Covid rapid test this am at a local pharmacy. Paid 15 euro, waited 5 min in line for test and had results in 5 more. A printout with stamp and signature provided.

      5. Anon

        Well intentioned, but given the precarious nature of employment in America, few, save the hypochondriacs, and the painfully symptomatic will get tested. Best to avoid the question altogether, lest you end up with an unpaid vacation you cannot afford The economy comes first.

    2. Jason Boxman

      This was one idea floating around about 15 months ago, but it died silently since then. Which is rather troubling. I assume “vaccines!” is why. Sniffing dogs is another idea that quickly disappeared.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Abbott’s BinaxNow does this but at 12 bucks for two tests it’s still expensive to use widely all the time. And, I don’t know how widely available it is. After Biden’s Mission Accomplished fiasco last June, they stopped production and, at least in my area, it has only started up again ( become available at my local pharmacy) in the last few weeks.

      But it does have its place. It’s easy to use, result in 15min., and it’s self contained. No hook up to your cell phone; the result is private.

  9. Questa Nota

    Immigration articles typically leave out a key point. There is a process that could be called accommodation, assimilation, digestion or adjustment for all parties involved. When there is too much of anything over a short period, then problems of various sorts may ensue. Whatever systems, however rudimentary at times, may get overwhelmed and infrastructures, pick one, may face capacity problems. Those translate into human issues for housing, medical care, schooling, employment and many other aspects of daily life for all parties.

    Immigration can be a very good thing, as many reader forbears would attest.

    1. Vandemonian

      Australia, like the USA, is by and large an immigrant (‘settler colonial’) country. Each wave of immigrants is disliked, spurned, or demonised by those who arrived earlier.

      After we pulled out of Vietnam, a bunch of our former allies escaped from the North Vietnamese administration who took over by making a perilous boat journey to northern Australia. The conservative Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, welcomed them as new Australians.

      It was mildly amusing to read of Italian and Greek families who had arrived in the 40s and 50s complaining about the influx of ‘foreigners’.

      And then, when we accepted immigrants who were escaping troubles in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, we heard complaints from Vietnamese Australians.

      Only a few complainers, mind. Most of us seem to get along pretty well. And I should note that I and my family arrived from Old Blighty in 1960. Borderline economic refugees, as it were…

    2. Pelham

      One need only look at a chart of immigration to the US since passage of the border-opening Hart-Celler Act in 1965 and the proportion of immigrants from each part of the world to understand the huge, radical transformation that has come about here. Proponents of the act in the 1960s assured us that little would change in terms of immigration, but they were clearly wrong.

      Now we’re stuck with it, and Democrat leaders for years have openly boasted about changing the US electorate, which is only about a hair’s breadth away from the threat of “replacement” that right-wing alarmists rant about. And they do rant.

      In the final analysis, though, isn’t it valid after more than five decades to judge the results? If open borders and unrestricted immigration were such a wonderful thing, wouldn’t we all be happy as clams right about now?

      1. JTMcPhee

        What is that, a false syllogism or something? There are a whole lot of reasons why “we the mopes” are not happy as clams right about now. Maybe thanks to the oligarchs who have benefitted so much from the supposed open borders, who have sold the birthright of this country overseas and poisoned us mopes and our political economy, and to our own greed and stupidity, including that of the people who have been drawn to the shining city on a midden…

      2. megrim

        I personally place my unhappiness at the feet of the crushing, oppressive system of capitalism, and not at the feet of people who decided to come live in the US, however they happened to get here.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “As infections skyrocket, German government declares pandemic over”

    Said it before in a previous comment but I think that this will be the general plan among governments everywhere. Realistically, this virus is now endemic to the human race now as there are no sterilizing vaccines. And what that means is that we will all get it sooner or later and maybe even multiple times. So governments are just going to announce its over and tell everybody to get on with it. It won’t be of course but that is what they will say. So they will stop doing any lockdowns, social distancing requirements, mask mandates, ventilation programs and just depend on the magical, sparkly vaccines to make everything alright. For example, the media here in Oz have been busy saying that the pandemic is over so now everybody can jump on a jet and fly to London, America, India or wherever. So it will not be long before we see those cruise liners crossing the oceans once more and jet tourists show up.

    Probably they will stop reporting deaths, people in ICUs, ambulances lined up outside hospitals, etc. and maybe even resort to censorship to help do it. Scotty from Marketing has been making noises about censorship laws the past fortnight because of ‘mean people’ on social media. So governments will abandon responsibility for dealing with this pandemic and fob it off to individual people instead – using the magic of the market to do so. The one thing that concerns me is those vaccines. Yeah, they are problematical but they are the only ones that we have got. At the moment governments are jabbing everybody they can and they now plan on doing it for little kids who (knock on wood) realistically probably do not need it. But we know that this will be the start of an endless series of booster shots every six months or so. So what happens if governments announce that they will no longer pick up the tab for these booster shots? Can you imagine? We may look back on 2020 with nostalgia then.

  11. Ghost in the Machine

    Enough is Enough: The Criminal Case Against Mark Zuckerberg Matt Stoller (Randy K)

    This tidbit from Stoller:
    “What I will say is that the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 was an extremely bad piece of legislation, and lots of people in the 1990s warned about what tossing out 80 years of shipping regulation would do. I’ll write up what I’ve found.“

    Welfare reform, the crime bill, telecom deregulation, repeal of glass steagall, derivatives deregulation…I mean wow! The Clinton administration keeps on giving. I did not know about the ocean shipping reform act. How destructive was that administration!

    This is when reading this site can cause awkward moments with friends and family. Most are left leaning democrat voters. I try to text a story here and there but they are mostly MSM consumers. And I read through the links of horror almost everyday. I imagine they probably roll their eyes now if I send something like this Stoller article. They usually do not respond. I am trying. So if I let slip that I think the Clinton administration was absolutely terrible for the country and world, they look at me strange.

    1. lance ringquist

      its because americans refuse to name names to the disastrous polices we have to live by. if nafta billy clinton would have been properly demonized for what he did to us and the world, his right hand man, nafta joe biden would have been laughed off the stage during the primaries.
      instead we got the most progressive president since FDR, who is anything but.
      its almost as if nafta billy never slept, he took a meat ax to america and the world. proper demonization would also apply to his advisors, finaciers, and any congress critter and advisors and financiers that voted for his complete economic nonsense.
      in reality, its 90% of nafta billy clintons disastrous policies that has destroyed america and the world. he never slept.
      and we cannot recover till those disastrous policies have been reversed, if they can that is.

    2. lordkoos

      “This is when reading this site can cause awkward moments with friends and family.”

      I crossed that line some time ago — I lost quite a few friends for talking about how terrible Biden would likely be as president. I lost other friends for talking about how terrible Trump was. Before that, criticizing Bill, Hillary, and Obama got me in a lot of trouble with people. It’s become increasingly difficult to deviate or question the predominant narratives and still keep some friends. I find it quite sad.

      1. chuck roast

        Do what I do…just tell them you’re a commie and they will allow you to go off on the creeps and not take offense.

        1. rowlf

          People treat me like they met Wednesday Addams from the Addams’ family. Perception seems to be what most people want to have for reality, instead of kicking a few rocks and stepping on cowpats.

          1. Helena

            Well. When I blocked my last remaining family member who has lived ‘across the pond’ for the last 40 years for refusing to bother me with his RWNJ BS, he still sent me a birthday present, along with the BS. I still feel grief at what I was born into.

    3. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      Clinton sold out America with NAFTA. Obama let the bankers steal trillions and mocked poisoned kids in Detroit. Biden’s taking it to an all new level by levying economic sanctions against American people. Make no mistake: that’s what these vaccine mandates are: economic sanctions. (The kind of thing our “progressive, benevolent” government generally does to far away brown people in the Middle East.)

      You can’t earn, you can’t eat.

      Now I can’t imagine how we got here in the first place, but I can tell you you don’t solve a pandemic in the American workplace. And you don’t solve it by creating even more disruptions in a health care system that is already fragile and battered. And you certainly don’t solve it by getting people fired, not for cause like poor performance, but instead for refusing a forced medical product that doesn’t prevent the spread of Covid.

      In sum: the mandate looks to be something that is destabilizing our country at an even faster clip. My nightmare is that some Team Blue consultant said something like, “It will be like the ADA but only for the vaccines!” and they thought EVERYBODY would LOVE it. And now they don’t know how to back down and save face. I am amazed no one considered how this would spin out of control, what industries could be critically impaired, etc. etc.

      The Ds own this now. All the way. They own the “vaccine” failure, the misinformation, the mandate, and whatever comes next. I think they have forgotten that when you are in a hole, it helps to stop digging.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ” the mandate looks to be something that is destabilizing our country at an even faster clip. My nightmare is that some Team Blue consultant said something like, “It will be like the ADA but only for the vaccines!” and they thought EVERYBODY would LOVE it. And now they don’t know how to back down and save face. I am amazed no one considered how this would spin out of control, what industries could be critically impaired, etc. etc. ”

        repurposing “everything’s calpers”….”everything’s stupid, now”
        bubbledwellers ruling a seething mass of resentement that they can’t even see….let alone be aware of just how much they’ve contributed to it.
        and, dammit…we had an actual FDR candidate…twice!
        and these same bubblers did everything they could to shoot him down….and, as well, contribute mightily to the ongoing deligitimisation of “Democracy” they so often lament so sadly.

        someone said…and a lot of you commented in agreement…that, although they were a lifelong Dem, they’d likely be voting R to hopefully kill off the Demparty…to make room for something new.
        I’m, sadly, all for this, at this point…although i’ll abstain, rather than affirm the damned goptea..
        let us form an actual grassroots party of the frelling people.
        otherwise, i’m prolly out for the next many elections.
        no point, without a party that represents me.

        I’ll be out here, at the Wilderness Bar, listening(today) to West Coast Jazz from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s…with a herd of Geese, a bunch of random chickens, and 2 Jake Turkeys.(as well as the odd Human)
        watching my rancher neighbor disc this 50 acre field between this bar and that “mountain”….so as to plant winter wheat for his cows…
        …and i’m harvesting tomatoes and peppers in almost November.

        1. AndrewJ

          Words cannot express how much I want to teleport from the Pacific Northwest to your Texan hinterland bar. I’m lighting a joint in your honor.

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      Your last paragraph, GitM, could be a description of my social circle and some family members. They get especially annoyed when I suggest the USofA is on a CFIT trajectory, to use an aviation term (controlled flight into terrain), and that the difference of whether it’s the Dems or the GOP in control will be a few hundredths of the Mach number at impact.

  12. Chris Smith

    I am not a DeSantis fan, but I come away from the Ars Technica article thinking, “Gee, if only the Democrats were that hard core about reproductive rights, family leave, Social Security, $15/hr minimum wage, etc. etc.”

    But then I remember the Democrats are functioning to purpose, using their rotating villains and parliamentarians to stifle progress.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      As a former clinic escort, I’m terribly interested to see if the Republican-packed Supreme Court will actually overturn Roe. Talk about killing the golden goose.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “… using their rotating villains and parliamentarians to stifle progress…”

      but to what end?
      Szun Szu(sp-20) said something to the effect of “know yer enemy”
      I’d like to know why.
      why are they that way…and by more than implication, what the hell are the superduper elite, whom these others work for, after?
      that the continuing degradation of Mother Earth can be written off as an externality.
      based on long term observations, i’d say that they worship some grasshopper god, whose rapacious stone effigy resides in the basement of the NYSE.
      it would explain a few things.

      1. Glen

        So I’m paraphrasing a bit but look how the two big bills currently being passed in Congresses ended up:

        Infrastructure Bill – This one is favored by big business since it’s big bucks being handed out to major construction corporations to redo the infrastructure, but it’s also supposedly full of “asset recycling” i.e. selling the infrastructure to corporations so that you can pay a toll from now til forever to go on the “freeway” your taxes paid for twenty years ago.

        Reconciliation Bill – This was the bill that was going to be chock full of the Build Back Better programs such as reduced age Medicare with dental, vision, and mental added, free community college, child care, etc. It originally started at $6T, was cut to $3T, and is now cut to $1.5T (all over ten years). All of the programs to help average people has been stripped out and the SALT tax cuts have been added so it’s turned into a tax cut for rich people.

        They are definitely interest groups benefiting from these bills: rich people and mega corporations. The exact same people that benefit every time. It’s turned into another transfer of wealth to rich people.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          ordinary people will understand perfectly when goptea sheisters tell them that the dems have done nothing for them, and instead have given filthy lucre to giant corps who hate you.


          and again…to what end, unless they’re prostrate to a grasshopper god, who eats everything?
          i mean, they’ve had the relevant information since the early 70’s(Limits to Growth).
          and yet it’s this same trajectory into the Abyss?
          are we ruled…not by Harkonens…but by Nihilists of the first order?
          can we please eat them, instead?

  13. Carolinian

    Stoller on the notion that the Dept of Justice will bring criminal charges against Zuckerberg or any high status malefactor and reverse the policy of the Obama administration which, btw, included Joe Biden.

    Wake us when it happens. But if Merrick really wants to take on corruption then perhaps his first target should be Joe “Hunter’s laptop” Biden. We’ll be scanning the headlines for the announcement.

  14. Objective Ace

    >Among COVID-19–like illness hospitalizations among adults aged ≥18 years whose previous infection or vaccination occurred 90–179 days earlier, the adjusted odds of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 among unvaccinated adults with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were 5.49-fold higher than the odds among fully vaccinated recipients of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine who had no previous documented infection (95% confidence interval = 2.75–10.99).

    This will be interesting to keep an eye on, but there are a couple of things to unpack here. We know the CDC was telling people who were vaccinated to not get tested even if exposed, so there is likely a number of people in the “Vaccinated with no documented infection” group who actually were infected. How many–I dont know if we have any way of knowing, but it presumably skews the data.

    Another thing that may be going on is that those who already have had Covid are exposed to it more frequently. Think retail vs the PMC class who work at home all day. Obviously there are plenty of people in retail who have been vaccinated, but perhaps not as many other industries with less contact.

    I anxiously await further follow up studies, but its tough to read too much into this without any additional controls besides vaccinated or documented infection

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    British court postpones ruling on US govt’s appeal to extradite Assange – France24 (furzy)

    Is it reasonable to assume that postponing the ruling suggests the extradition will be granted but at a date when the public will be less attentive and thus less likely to demonstrate or cause a fuss? Taking things at face value these days seems a poor bet. I’m even less familiar with British legal system than I am with that of the States.

    1. Vandemonian

      We’ll probably hear about the decision just as Julian’s plane is taking off from Brize Norton…

      1. Robert Gray

        I expect you’re being facetious — but I wouldn’t put it past them.

        However, that would be the end of any pretense of a judicial process in the UK, since, as the France24 piece notes:

        > Whatever the High Court decides, the legal fight is likely to drag on for months if not years.

        > If the US appeal is successful, the case will be sent back to the lower court for a new decision, while
        > whoever loses can also ask for permission for a further, final appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court.

        1. Vandemonian

          Only partly facetious, Robert. My cynicism about the behaviour of ‘civilised’ governments is part of a broader trend which makes it harder and harder for The Onion to produce satire that doesn’t look like routine MSM reporting…

    2. chuck roast

      In the US we have a written constitution that we ignore. In England they do not have a written constitution and they make it up as they go along.

      1. rowlf

        Hey now, the US Constitution is kept in a glass case surrounded by armed guards so it can’t cause any problems. Who knows what kind trouble it could cause nowadays?

    3. R

      I think it is a mistranslation / misunderstanding. British judges on appeal etc very rarely hand down extempore judgments. It is noteworthy if they do – it is usually in the simplest cases or, in the higher courts, in cases of immediate life or death or profound legal travesty.

      Instead, they “reserve judgment”, handing down an written decision at a later date. It is not really postponing, there is no set perood in which judgment must be delivered.

      Many judges rather fancy their literary career and like to draft for posterity. Lord Denning’s judgments were notably dramatic: opening sentences included ” It was bluebell time in Kent” and, one I read last night trying to find it customs duties could be assessed in damages, “A thousand cases of whisky were stolen.”.

  16. Carla

    Typos can be important, particularly the “omitted word” kind of typo. For example, the following appears in the Stoller piece on Zuckerberg’s crimes:

    “We may never have had to deal with the predatory pricing and attempts at wage suppression of Travis Kalanick at Uber, and firms would have been much more careful to grab market share through whatever means necessary, for fear of the legal consequences.”

    I believe the word “not” should have appeared after “careful” in the above sentence. Otherwise, the passage makes no sense in an otherwise fine piece.

    Of course, I could not leave this comment on Stoller’s Substack, where it belongs, because as a retired free-lance writer who now writes what she wants to as a volunteer, I really can’t afford to individually subsidize every single writer I would like to read.

    I wonder if the well-paid and widely published Stoller has ever considered when “enough” might be a feast… seems that with the focus of his work, maybe it oughta dawn on him at some point…

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      An interesting catch though, “for fear of the legal consequences” somewhat clarifies the awkward use of “to”. Also, i think “to grab market share” was meant in the sense of, “[…]firms would have been much more careful about grabbing market share[…]”, though agreed that the simple use of “not to grab” would eliminate the need for granting such wiggle room.

    2. Carla

      I have to eat some crow here. Matt Stoller’s Substack BIG does NOT require a paid subscription in order to comment.

      I apologize to Mr. Stoller!

  17. Lee

    Covid Passports and recognition of natural immunity from the Institute for Government, U.K.:

    “Israel first introduced the ‘Green Pass’, enabling vaccinated citizens to use leisure facilities like gyms and hotels, in February 2021.[12] It was also available to some people who had natural immunity from infection, but test results were not included.[13] The app became available one week after a second vaccine dose and was initially valid until December 2021. It is now valid for six months after a final vaccine dose or recovery from Covid.[14]…

    “The wider EU ‘Digital COVID Certificate’ is a QR code based app that allows travellers to prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months, or have a recent negative test result.[18]”

  18. Lee

    Waning vaccine immunity to infection:

    I posted this at NC previously, but some things bear repeating.

    Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections in 620,000 U.S. Veterans, February 1, 2021 to August 13, 2021

    The headline might be a tad misleading, 620K is the number of subjects in the study, not the total number of infected. What I think is important about this study being conducted by the Veterans Administration, besides showing vaccine effectiveness against infections wanes significantly and rapidly, is its potential for large scale longitudinal observation. A type of study that the authors pointedly criticize the CDC for not conducting.

    Also important to note: this study has yet to produce information on vaccine effectiveness over time against disease as opposed to infection. Hopefully that will be forthcoming, assuming their funding doesn’t get yanked.

    The numbers on reduced vaccine protection over time against infection:

    Janssen: March, 92%—August, 3%

    Moderna: March, 91%—August 64%

    Pfizer: March, 95%—August, 50%

    1. Mikel

      Good to know. The Janssen cycles out of the body faster. That’s not necessarily a bad thing with long term effects in the real world (not in studies in a lab) still being studied and calculated. Not to mention there has been discussion that new variants would mean new formulas. These were based on an old variant.

    2. lordkoos

      This is if you believe that these vaccines were 90+% effective in the first place — they were not. IM Doc posted a few months ago relating how Pfizer et al gamed the statistics methodology somewhat to come up with their 95% number. Real-world protection was more in the region of 40-50% after the second shot.

    3. lordkoos

      Those numbers indicating 90+% efficacy of these vaccines are bunk. A couple of months ago IM Doc posted here about how the statistical methodology was gamed by big pharma. Real-world efficacy was more like 40-50% after the second shot — the vaccines were never as effective as originally claimed.

    4. Maritimer

      I have wondered for a long time about these huge captive health databases. Here, 620,00 US Vets. There are also very large captive health databases run by HMOs. Kaiser with about 12,000,000 members and 300,000 employees. Then there is the US Military. It would certainly be an understatement that the above organizations were not in bed with the Covid Cartel.

      So, why should Big Pharma, CDC, etc. use a public reporting system like VAERS? They can get a lot of data by massaging these large, captive databases. Who is to know? Who is checking? For instance, very easy to check incidents of myocarditis after 1,2 vaccinations, duration after injections, age, sex, etc.

      In the same vein, in my jurisdiction, at one stage of this ongoing emergency, the Public Health rage was test, test, test….So, for 3000 tests, they would get 100 cases. So, where does all that testing data go? Does DNA go along with it? What else?

      There is a lot more going on here in terms of data analysis and collection than is reported. This is the largest medical experiment ever in the world and the free data is just pouring in to the Covid Cartel.

  19. Mikel

    “As infections skyrocket, German government declares pandemic over” WSWS

    I suspected this going into the pandemic. It’s when they say “it’s over” that you will need to be more vigilant.

  20. Mikel

    “Varoufakis Says Zuckerberg Is Stealing ‘Meta’ Name” ConsortiumNews

    Not surprised. Zucks hasn’t had an original ideal in his life.

  21. Mikel

    “Cost of breakfast foods hits 10-year high” Financial Times

    More people are working from home and they have time for breakfast now that there is no commute.
    That also may be a big contributer to demand outrunning supply.

  22. Maxwell Johnston

    “Why I See a War in the Donbass as (almost) Inevitable”

    Usually “The Saker” is too breathless and impulsive for my taste, but I’m with him on this one. I simply don’t see it playing out otherwise, to be followed by the eventual disintegration of Ukraine with Russia taking everything east of the Dnieper and God only knows what happens to the western half. Label me a pessimist, but TINA.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Ukraine would love to invade the Donbass Republics and ‘subdue’ them but long-range Russian fire will never allow this and Putin himself has said ‘Not Gunna happen.’ And I have noticed in the past how when an invasion threatened, some vital stockpile in the Ukraine would catch fire or blow up making that invasion impossible. So it will be a frozen conflict. The Ukraine will continue their years long policy of using artillery to strike Donbass settlements and kill people while the Donbass will strike back. The Ukrainian have received Turkish drones like used in last years war in Armenia but the Russians have their own drones and more experience in both using them and countering them. But no matter what else, the Donbass Republics will never go back to the Ukraine as the violence levied against them have cut all bonds. And the biggest losers will unfortunately be the people of the Ukraine who suffer not only from their own corrupt, parasitic oligarchs but external control from the US and EU as well.

  23. lordkoos

    I have a musician friend from NYC who is currently traveling in Europe for 9 days of gigs — Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden, etc. He says it feels very odd in Sweden where no one is wearing masks.

    Norway, Denmark, and Finland had far fewer deaths than Sweden, but the EU in general did worse.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Sweden is odd. IIRC Yves has pointed out the very neoliberal tendencies there compared to other Nordic countries. I lived there for 5 months in a “final” attempt to make academia work. It didn’t. Furthermore I was warned by a native Swede that I was in danger – she was from Copenhagen but struggled to integrate in our regional capital. For me as a foreigner? It was gonna be doubly difficult.

      Yes it was. Private sector companies were neoliberal whilst the university operated on a “buggins turn” model. I was recruited to a Chair ahead of the guy who thought he was “automatically entitled to it by longevity”. He spent days going through my work blog trying to find something incriminating. There was nothing except a mild comment about a bad conference YEARS previous. He sent this to my boss (who was a good person trying to change the system so promotion would be on merit).

      I’d been shafted once so wasn’t about to have it happen again. I did the equivalent of an Anglo-Saxon rant with c words. I confronted him speaking in level tones but detailing every reason why he was unprofessional. He was speechless, as I intended. Then I wrote my resignation, gave it to boss and said I’m flying home tmw. Sue me if you don’t like it. I felt bad. He was trying to change the system but lost. All costs came from his budget. All because Sweden employment practices are familyblogged.

      1. Chicago Boys Sweden Chapter

        Not only tendencies: Sweden is neoliberalized. Very few functions not yet privatized. Even police functions have been privatized through defunding and “reorganization”. They pulled policemen from the streets and increased the administrative functions. Outcome: bonanza for private security companies.

        Healthcare, pharmacies, schools, public transportation, IT-system maintenance for public authorities, refugee housing, public property sold off to friends and no records kept making sure property cannot be tracked etc. All privatized.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Thanks. Yes you said what I was thinking – I didn’t “give the complete picture” because we Brits have a reputation for not making an effort to understand countries we emigrate to and wasn’t sure how much I might be exaggerating the frankly messed up system I was encountering.

          The Swedes were all friendly. However I saw exactly what my Copenhagen colleague wanted me of….. An underlying “barrier” and a system that wasn’t in fact based on merit but on nepotism and regional neoliberal frameworks.

          The PhD students (a heterogeneous crew from UK, Germany, Norway, Spain and Italy) deliberately did all their social stuff separately from their Swedish colleagues, having apparently given up trying to integrate. I’d attended Swedish language classes laid on by the university. However conferences meant I missed a week and there was a seemingly deliberate refusal to help me catch up and I was lost by the following week. Again, my boss said, with sadness, “that’s what happens here”.

  24. Terry Flynn

    Regarding supply problems in healthcare. Unfortunately I won’t be reporting on this in future (now being employed by the UK NHS and don’t want to get into trouble – I use my “real name” here and and on blog and I know it’s against the rules here to post under different names).

    Some general comments I’ll make before I go silent (except on non-health stuff). There is a lot of heterogeneity in supply issues regarding the NHS in the UK. Certain Trusts seem to have staffing problems, others have much more front-line ED (ER) problems, others have meds problems. Thankfully problems here (which those who know my reputation can look up since this all hit the news – local then national) have been solved, so cancer care (in which I now work) is working – albeit with people like me working every hour possible to clear backlogs to ensure people get their consultant letters in reasonable timescale.

    I don’t look for the “NHS clapping” – I just want to see more “immediate returns” in terms of people getting info etc…..rather than my previous career where your “world changing results” would typically take 7-14 years before percolating down to regular clinical practice – soul destroying. I’m perfectly aware I’m transcribing some letters to people that are really sad but I also know plenty of (older in particular) people want to see the letter to absorb it, be ready and know we’re working for them. Frankly I feel honoured in the job. Now I’ve just gotta show my long dormant typing skills can be resuscitated to show I can deliver the goods! Not a done deal…..but the consultants seem to appreciate I know a fair bit of health stuff already! And jab3 for COVID in 2 weeks……ironically I had a 24 hour mild lfu after my flu jab – given the paucity of cases the quad variants in it this year are just “the worst 2 A and worst 2 B variants”. Complete GUESS since virtually nobody in the Southern hemisphere got flu in June/July (which is how they usually work out what flu variants are coming North)!

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. I’m glad to be back in the saddle……even if juggling work and caring is mentally and physically exhausting at the moment. Plus I’m risking COVID – a (repeat?) infection (we cannot know if my weird virus which had all the hallmarks of it but wasn’t clinically tested in Feb 2020 when I was encountering members of the public buying PPE from us) would not be good.

        To paraphrase Yves’s example: 20% loss in lung/heart function means remaining function after 2 infections gives you 0.8^2= less than 2/3 function.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thanks PK!

            Medical doctor friends, upon hearing from me what my boss told me, said I’m likely to be popular with the consultants. But as we all know from pieces here on NC it is a bunch of bean counters high up who make decisions that will ultimately decide whether I get to stay on.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Florida strips federal funding from schools as further punishment for masking ”


    In that case, all the antiSantis candidate has to do is run against that and against other DeSantis initiatives to stand a good chance of getting elected.

    Probably a third party wannabe-movement should get organised to run on repealing and rejecting a few key DeSantis initiatives just like that one, because the deliberately defeat-pursuing election-throwing Democrats will NOT run on reversing this particular initiative or any other DeSantis initiatives.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    If Gabbard is the Republican nominee for Prez, I will vote for her against any Democrat the DemParty would ever permit.

    If Gabbard is the Republican nominee for Prez, and the Democrats run Kamala, Gabbard may well win the election.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, the last time Tulsi debated Kamala, that didn’t go so well for Harris. It took the full force of the establishment to bring her back from the political graveyard after that to slip her in the back door to make her VP. Even Biden didn’t want her- (2:25 mins)

  27. JTMcPhee

    So the Gilets Jaunes are still active in France, and the PTB are selling them as an “anti-green movement that will crush the environmental movement.”

    Here is a different take on the GJ and what’s maybe really happening there, at least in main part:

    Interesting to see how completely the GJ story has been buried and twisted.

  28. bwilli123

    On the US supply chain crisis
    I’m A Twenty Year Truck Driver, I Will Tell You Why America’s “Shipping Crisis” Will Not End

    “How do you convince truckers to work when their pay isn’t guaranteed, even to the point where they lose money?
    Nobody is compelling the transportation industries to make the needed changes to their infrastructure. There are no laws compelling them to hire the needed workers, or pay them a living wage, or improve working conditions. And nobody is compelling them to buy more container chassis units, more cranes, or more storage space. This is for an industry that literally every business in the world is reliant on in some way or another.”

    1. BrianC - PDX

      Thank you for this link. My son picked up his CDL this summer and he’s been telling me stories of what is going on at the distribution centers and the distribution warehouse for his company. (They distribute locally grown produce through OR, WA, and into ID.) They can’t get enough drivers and some of their long term drivers have jumped to other companies for increased pay.

      So with *no* experience, at age 20 with a new CDL, he picked up a 5K signing bonus and a $6 dollar an hour raise from his prior job. (He started in August, turned 21 in October, and can now drive into WA state.) He’s getting great experience. (Tractor and 53′ trailer in downtown PDX along with backing into docks in all kinds of conditions 10 to 20 times a day.) Plus, since they are short, as much overtime as he wants.

  29. Hepativore

    Oh, by the way, the link to the Caitlin Johnstone article on Assange does not work. It is just a title with no hotlink.

    Here it is if somebody could fix it.

    With that being said, the reason why the UK will not have a decision until January is probably so that they can have extra time to come up with a convincing excuse as to why they are planning to hand Assange off to the US.

    The outcome was already predetermined as there is no way that the CIA or the rest of Five Eyes is going to let somebody off after what he did so they will make an example of Assange.

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