Links 11/17/2021

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Mask Up When Dressing Deer, State Health Officials Urge Hunters Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch

No verdict after daylong deliberations by Rittenhouse jury AP

JPMorgan Fights Tesla Over Warrants Bloomberg. Commentary:

Oh Great, They’re Filming Porn Inside Teslas on Autopilot Futurism. Subscription-based funding model for Elon’s Mars trip. No, don’t thank me.

Vancouver is now completely cut off from the rest of Canada by road Kelowna Now. Flooding and mudslides.

COP26/Climate

The naive fantasy of global action on climate change The Week

Vegan Helicopter Embodies Aviation’s Response to COP26 Bloomberg. Not the whole helicopter. The “trimmings” (seat coverings, etc). Purchased by “a wealthy couple.”

#COVID19

An ethical analysis of vaccinating children against COVID-19: benefits, risks, and issues of global health equity (open letter) Wellcome Open Reseach (dd). [version 1; peer review: 1 approved, 1 approved with reservations]. From the Abstract: “[W]e argue that it is currently unclear whether routine COVID-19 vaccination of healthy children is ethically justified in most contexts, given the minimal direct benefit that COVID-19 vaccination provides to children, the potential for rare risks to outweigh these benefits and undermine vaccine confidence, and substantial evidence that COVID-19 vaccination confers adequate protection to risk groups, such as older adults, without the need to vaccinate children. We conclude that child COVID-19 vaccination in wealthy communities before adults in poor communities worldwide is ethically unacceptable and consider how policy deliberations might evolve in light of future developments.”

* * *

Estimation of SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality rate by age and comorbidity status using antibody screening of blood donors during the COVID-19 epidemic in Denmark Journal of Infectious Diseases. n = 84,944. From the Abstract: “In this nationwide study, the [Infection Fatality Rate (IFR)] was very low among people younger than 51 years without comorbidity.” Of course, in the United States, the political economy seems almost designed to produce co-morbidities, efficiently and in great numbers.

Mortality Risk Among Patients With COVID-19 Prescribed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antidepressants JAMA. n = 3401. From Key Points: “These findings suggest that SSRI use may reduce mortality among patients with COVID-19, although they may be subject to unaccounted confounding variables; further investigation via large, randomized clinical trials is needed.” Fluoxetine hydrochloride and fluvoxamine maleate. Interesting which repurposed drugs get respect and which don’t.

* * *

Pfizer to allow more nations to make COVID drug, files for EUA with FDA Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Paxlovid. “Peace and love’….

Biden administration plans to buy enough of Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill to treat 10 million NBC. EUA just a formality, I suppose.

* * *

US and UK Press Mock New Zealand’s Incredibly Successful Covid Response FAIR

Four Decades Ago the NEJM Helped Create the Opioid Crisis. Now It’s After Ivermectin. Michael Capuzzo, RESCUE. Watch out for observational studies in letters.

China?

Xi-Biden summit: US and China stress need for status quo on Taiwan South China Morning Post and Biden and Xi Pause Saber Rattling for First Face-to-Face Foreign Policy. “Summit” is the Post’s framing.

Xi-Biden agreement on nuclear talks highlights challenge of reaching a deal FT

In Biden-Xi meeting, China dangles a big carrot in front of U.S. business Fortune

Biden-Xi talk; Full text of the historical resolution Sinocism

* * *

China’s Tough Measures Beat Daily Covid Cases Back to Single Digits Bloomberg

Selling China’s Story: How the Chinese Gov’t Privatized Facebook Propaganda ChinaTalk

China: What Was Going on in 1870?; or, Why Was the Twentieth Century Not a Chinese Century? (draft book chapter) J. Bradford DeLong. In iCloud. Better than Google Docs, I suppose…

Australian War Propaganda Keeps Getting Crazier Caitlin Johnstone

Myanmar

Myanmar says Covid-19 and internal conflict on the wane, looks to reopen borders Straits Times. Let me know how that works out.

Myanmar Coup Leader Meets Senior Officials From China, Japan and Thailand The Irrawaddy. Commentary:

Myanmar junta charges Aung San Suu Kyi with fraud during 2020 polls Channel News Asia

Vietnam bidding to power a regional battery storage revolution Globe_

‘Fourth Wave’ | The Pandemic in Vietnam Vietnam Coracle

India

Learning from the best in India’s COVID-19 fight The Hindu

Will India’s digital push in agriculture help farmers or help exploit them? Scroll.in

Syraqistan

“Hell on Earth”: Millions of Afghans Face Starvation as U.S. & West Freeze Billions in Gov’t Funds Democracy Now! (GF).

The US makes the rules, and Syria massacre was no exception Responsible Statecraft

UK/EU

Poland uses water cannons against migrants at Belarus border ABC

The Zemmour Effect LRB and Immigration in far-away France La Campagne

New Cold War

Russia Rejects Accusations Of Endangering Astronauts Aboard ISS With Weapons Test AP. There are two Russian astronauts in the ISS….

How Putin Is Pushing Back Against the West The National Interest

Biden Administration

White House sends Kigali amendment on climate-warming gases to Senate Reuters. Hydrofluorocarbons.

Supply Chain

Container Logjam Eases as L.A. Port Threatens Penalties Bloomberg and Empty Containers Pile Up at Port of Los Angeles as Ocean Liners Add ‘Sweeper’ Ships to Clear Backlog Reuters

WTO Says Goods Trade Slowing Due to Supply Issues, Cooler Demand MarineLink

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Top Barclays investors raise alarm over terms of Jes Staley’s exit FT. Previously on our show: “Jes Staley exchanged 1,200 emails with Epstein that included unexplained phrases.” Well, at least Staley isn’t a lizard.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Shadow Wars Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

Class Warfare

Mapping the US Solidarity City (video) Grassroots Economic Organizing

* * *

Kroger workers in Houston vote again to strike amid feud over pay, health care Houston Chronicle. Feud.

UC lecturers will strike Wednesday, halting instruction for thousands of students CalMatters

US school bus drivers in nationwide strikes over poor pay and Covid risk Guardian

NC School Worker Strike Wave Spreads – After Getting $15 an Hour, Pittsburgh Workers Still Walk Out – Kellogg Looks to Hire Scabs Payday Report

North Fork vineyard workers make history as first farm laborers union in the state Riverhead Local

Over 100 Activision Blizzard employees stage walkout, demand CEO step down WaPo. Oddly. not hash-tagged #MeToo.

New mineral davemaoite discovered inside a diamond from Earth’s mantle New Scientist. Named after [wait for it] Dave Mao.

Boaty McBoatface:

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote. The light at the end of the tunnel:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

173 comments

  1. Jessica

    “Vegan Helicopter Embodies Aviation’s Response to COP26”
    Too early in the morning I guess. I am entertaining myself by picturing it on a dining room table with an apple in its mouth.

    Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Pfizer to allow more nations to make COVID drug, files for EUA with FDA”

    If Pfizer really wanted to help, they could lower the price of their vaccines but are instead spreading production to nearly 100 countries. It is almost like how Lockheed Martin spread construction of the F-35 all around the country as well as allies overseas to ensure that this plane could not be killed off. So yeah, you could say that Pfizer’s vaccine is the F-35 of the vaccine world. It has not escaped my notice that by doing this, they are tying up much of the vaccine manufacturing capacity of the world and thus denying it to not only their competitors like Moderna but also foreign vaccines like those from Russia China, Cuba, etc. It also ties up production facilities in case a new vaccine is developed and one that is sterilizing which would put nearly all the present first generation vaccines out of business. So, Pfizer is just being Pfizer.

    Reply
  3. Mcb

    I’m astonished the Vancouver situation isn’t headline news. I haven’t seen it on the landing page of any major US outlets. It’s the most expensive city in North America and one of the biggest ports from Canada, which exports a LOT of grain. Am I crazy or does this seem like a big deal given how insane supply chains are already??? Like wtf

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        My buddy who is an ICU RN @ about the busiest hospital in the state on account of Covid, here in Tulare County which is sporting a 46% double vaccine rate overall, related that those dying of Covid in the latest onslaught were almost all unvaccinated as in no jabs. And yes it’s old hat by now, but a request for an immediate vaccination while you’re being intubated is a bit late in the game.

        This would be largely far right political proponents passing away on their own volition, every death performing it’s six degrees of separation spread far and wide in the CVBB (Central Visalia Bible Belt) so that everybody in their sphere knows of someone who has beat them to their eternal reward.

        Not that it matters all that much here, as politically the only thing the Donkey Show is capable of doing is putting up anti-Devin Nunes billboards on the outskirts where nobody really sees them, and as if that’s going to rally the far right against him, ha ha!

        An example of the malarkey (Yes, I know that’s your word Joe, and i’ll return it after i’m done using it here)

        https://abc30.com/devin-nunes-visalia-russia-politics/1996907/

        But what effect would one side politically dying more than the other have in the long run aside from reducing the GOP by attrition in areas where it wasn’t so one-sided as here?

        Reply
        1. Brian Beijer

          Did your RN buddy provide any other information about those that were dying? For example, were they obese? Have other co-morbidities such as diabetes? Were they of a specific age? What percentage of these deaths were re-infections? Did he happen to know their Vitamin D levels? Were these people adament about masking? The patients probably weren’t in a position to answer some of these questions, but their loved ones might have. I’m just curious. I read quite a few comments almost daily here stating comparative death rates between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, but few, if any, know any other information. Maybe there are other commonalities these people shared that we all should to take into considerationregarding our own health. I would guess that not all of those unvaccinated deaths were Trump supporting Covid deniers.

          Reply
      2. John

        But it is Canada, and here in the penumbra of New York City, something way out there, west of flyover country and north of California is so … unimportant, beneath notice, not a destination.

        Reply
    1. Mildred Montana

      @McB

      Canadian west-coaster here. Believe me, the situation here is headline news. CBC radio and TV and its website are covering it well and extensively.

      BC Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth was asked yesterday at a press conference about plans to curtail hoarding in the event of prolonged highway closures. He didn’t answer the question (perhaps because the reporter asked four questions at once) and there are none as of this writing.

      I didn’t do any shopping yesterday but I’ll check out the shelves of my local supermarket this afternoon. I don’t expect any shortages (at least not yet) but who knows? People en masse can sometimes behave like idiots, as witnessed by the panic-buying at the start of Covid in March 2020.

      Reply
      1. TimH

        Don’t forget the HKers who moved there after UK reneged on allowing them into UK at the end of the HK lease… ethnic Chinese, sure, but economic refugees not speculators or launderers.

        Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      There was a South Park episode where the joke was a parody of the Wizard of Oz, “follow the only road.” Canada may fancy itself as America Jr, but it’s just another colony in the minds of American elites. The elite media won’t care as long as anyone important can fly out. Now if an air plane crashed, the would care because they fly on airplanes. Maybe if it disrupts CW shows, and I imagine the Hallmark xmas movies are done.

      Reply
    3. Bun

      Vancouverite here.

      Of course here its the only news. Sumas Prairie just east of Van used to be Sumas Lake before 1920, but it is about to become Sumas Lake again, with dozens of farms along its bottom. Some parts of major highways are gone, and could take months to repair. My cousin and other parents rented a HELICOPTER to fly her son’s hockey team from a town that was trapped by slides in all directions. It is very not good out there.

      Vancouver is now COMPLETELY cut off by road and rail from the rest of the province, hence Canada. That certainly will affect goods coming in. So far no panic buying that I’ve heard though my wife’s weird insistence that I make an impromptu provisions stop at CostCo yesterday now makes a lot more sense.

      Port of Vancouver is huge and the gateway to Canada for a lot of Asian goods. This cannot but adversely affect already strained supply chains. My sense is that with so many lives in danger, this is at the moment of secondary importance, but soon will not be.

      Reply
      1. Glen

        I’ll have to say watching the reporting that the local govs and agencies are taking action and seem competent, informed and open. Very nice to see everyone pulling together right now.

        Reply
      2. Mantid

        Best of luck with all this mess. I’m in the US N West and this is your and my future. Roads in Arizona have blacktop melting in heat, sticking tires into the pavement, we have small floods every year and more and more coming down the pipe. OY, good luck, eh?

        Reply
    4. Mickey Hickey

      Prince Rupert, a port to the North has railway access and handles high volumes of grain and other bulk commodities. Canada is not a one trick pony where maximization of profit is the only consideration.

      Reply
    5. wilroncanada

      Vancouver is still here/there. It hasn’t washed away yet. But all four routes north or east, from Vancouver environs, locally called the lower mainland, have been blocked by floods or landslides. so have both rail routes. The province has declared a state of emergency, so they can do things like stop all traffic except for first–equipment necessary for repair of infrastructure; second–emergency vehicles; and third–transport of supplies,food, etc. to the hardest hit areas.
      I hardly thought it would be necessary, but watched local news on Vancouver Island where the major route out of Victoria called the Malahat Drive, a rise of 1100 feet then a drop of the same distance to the rest of Vancouver Island, was severely damaged, and closed for about 36 hours. It has reopend to single-lane alternating traffic for about 12 hours a day for the next week at least, then closed at night so repairs can be made. Many drivers interviewed in the long lineup heading south were lookie-loos, tying up necessary traffic, including buses and trucks, including for delivery of gas stations in Victoria, some of which have run out of fuel because of panic buying lineups.
      Stupid, stupid, stupid!
      The storm, a so-called atmospheric river, set all-time records for 1 day or the two-day duration, that in some cases exceeded previous records by a factor of five. The Malahat got 200 mm of rain in 48 hours. About 1-hour north where we live, the main highway was blocked for several hours. The alternative highway north was also flooded ( it is in every major rainstorm.) We got about 177mm in 48 hours, which is triple the normal rainfall for the entire month.
      We’re fine though.

      Reply
    6. Jamie

      Imagine the only interstate going in to Seattle/LA being completely washed out and destroyed in the mountains, entering winter. 50% of the California’s agriculture under water. Eastern America stopping shipping to the west.
      That is the situation here in BC. Every other arterial road similairly affected. Same for rail. Weeks(or longer) for the main highway to open.
      Vancouver is Canada’s busiest port.
      Panic buying has emptied many stores.
      All of this will have an affect on Washington as much of the traffic will be rerouted through the ststate.

      https://ukragroconsult.com/en/news/canada-grain-shipments-uncertain-amid-b-c-floods/

      Reply
  4. zagonostra

    >Ytube Thumbs Down

    It’s puzzling when you watch a video on the computer the number of “thumbs down” is visibile, but when I watch the exact same video on my iphone, it’s not.

    Elimination of the “thumbs down” is what is happening writ large in the social media world landscape, one where there has been a feed back loop (algorithm manipulated I would bet) that gave you an indication of how the putative public felt on the content. This move by Ytube, along with deplatforming Trump, and others speaking out against CV19, is an inflection point not to be glossed over.

    Below is a clip I just watched on my computer of a Joe Biden Infrastructure speech on “The Hill” with yesterday’s date. It has ~2K views and the ratio is 15 likes 174 dislikes. This provides a data point that can’t be spun by the Media (I’m assuming, big assumption, data wasn’t massaged). It is of limited use, but nonetheless useful.

    I can only imagine if we were in 150AD Rome and sitting in the coliseum watching gladiators, and the crowd is chanting FJB and waving their thumbs down, but the victor standing over his vanquished opponent has his ears stuffed and his eyes wide shut.

    https://youtu.be/_B1mPGJI87Y

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Meh…up/down vote ratios are not a very accurate indicator of quality. Compared to all the truly nefarious things social media companies are doing, getting rid of some down vote buttons is a non-issue (IMO).

      Besides, the best websites (ahem) have dispensed with these annoying buttons altogether.

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        To paraphrase Nina Turner, “what’s quality have to do with it?”. I agree with you that the “best” websites have no such functionality. But the thing is with social media (I’m only familiar with Ytube) numbers count for something. The “nefarious companies” are not to be trusted, but they have to reflect/refract reality to some extent I would imagine.

        Quality. Robert Pirsig basis his whole philosophy on that one word. “Metaphysics of Quality” – MOQ. Much could be said on that. My point though is that whether it’s the dumbed down mob, a crazed crowd, a fickle public, or engaged citizens and informed populace, as we enter the “metauniverse” one where we don’t actually have “enfleshed” encounters and interactions with others is mediated, that “thumbs down” was something. On further thought you may be right we might be better off without them….

        Reply
          1. zagonostra

            But of course, Nina is “Hello Somebody”…sad that she decided to work for a dead corpse, TYT, and associate herself with Cenk Uygur Ana Kasparian, what a disappointment…thanks for correction.

            Reply
      2. Objective Ace

        A problem sites face is how to sort the comments (and posts). NC has decided to just display them in order of time. This mostly works fine as NC receives a manageable amount and the moderators are quick to delete anything of poor quality. As the moderators will quickly note, this is somewhat resource intensive. Additionally, when the amount of comments gets large enough, the quality well informed comments that come later will never be seen by anyone. While up/down ratios certainly have their problems, they’re generally a much better proxy of quality content then time posted.

        These dynamics also apply for liking and disliking posts and articles if there are enough of them that a reader will never be able to see even the title of all the posts. There has to be some algorithm for what gets put in front of the readers face

        Reply
      3. JohnH

        Aye, if anything, IME there is an inverse relationship to popularity and quality.

        “Billions and billions served” – McDonalds sign

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      That bridge – the Pemigewasset River Bridge – may be worth watching down the track. I am going to assume that it will cost several times more to upgrade than what it cost to build originally back in 1939. But I would not be surprised if when it is done, that the inhabitants of Woodstock, N.H. find that the newly upgraded bridge has now become a toll bridge-

      https://bridgehunter.com/nh/grafton/28401770014800/

      Reply
      1. Jen

        Tolls in NH? Only to extract rent from the riff raff traveling in and out of Massachusetts.

        It’s in better shape than this one which is slated to be replaced next year. I drive over it on a regular basis. You can kind of get a sense of its condition from the second photo, but I’ll tell you, the guard rails are so perforated I doubt they’d stop a bicycle much less a car.

        Having also had the opportunity to row under it a number of times, the view from underneath is even more horrifying.

        https://bridgehunter.com/nh/grafton/15700530011200/

        Reply
        1. Mickey Hickey

          In Europe the USA is known as the land of private affluence and public squalor. They do not extend it to low taxes, large military expenditures squeezing out essential infrastructure spending. Choices!

          Reply
        2. chuck roast

          New Hampshire is famous for tolling the riff-raff in the rest of New England. Witness the erstwhile Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. Planned by Public Service of New Hampshire (PNH) for $500M, it ballooned to over $5B by the time it was built. PNH had long since gone bankrupt, and the debt was off-loaded as far away as Long Island. The people of NH were like Alfred E. Newman…”What, me worry?”

          Reply
      2. Chas

        I went over that bridge in August of 1969. My cousin Mike and I went to Woodstock, N.H. expecting to find a big music festival.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          One of my childhood friends went to that very festival with some of his friends. Y’know, the famous festival in New York State.

          As we all know, it didn’t just start raining, it started pouring. It was as if the heavens opened above Max Yasgur’s farm.

          Although my friend and his friends enjoyed the Woodstock vibe, they were less than enthralled by the weather. So they left early, hiked miles and miles back to the car, and they drove it down to the Jersey Shore, where it wasn’t raining. And there they enjoyed the rest of the weekend.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I so wanted to go to Woodstock and pleaded with mom, but no way was she going to let a 7 year old make his way to the festival, as it turned out.

            Reply
            1. Arizona Slim

              I was 11 and my parents didn’t understand why those hippies didn’t have the sense to come in from the rain.

              Reply
      3. expr

        thanks for the link
        I spent a lot of time in Woodstock in the 70’s
        That bridge is in North Woodstock I think we called it the dump bridge because it was near the town dump
        The Woodstock bridge (about 10 miles south) was a wooden covered bridge which some fool set n fire. It was replaced by a bailey bridge for a while
        when they finally put in a permanent replacement they moved it several hundred yards up stream since the old bridge ended in a right angle turn at the end of the bridge

        Reply
    3. Kevin

      I’d prefer to see “likes” and “thumbs” eliminated altogether. I assume they are quite malleable by outside influences. I find them like laugh tracks on TV – I don’t need the nudges.

      Reply
    4. Eudora Welty

      I agree with you, but I am more frustrated that I see an increasing number of Youtube posts (especially lecture or information-oriented posts) that are not dated. This seems like a very bad direction to go.

      Reply
    5. Lee

      I’ve noticed on YouTube that however helpful, pleasant, or innocuous a video might be, there’s always about 2% of responses that are thumbs down. I wonder if they’re all the same people.

      Reply
    6. Carolinian

      I mostly don’t pay much attention to Youtube but other sites have been talking about the removal of the dislike button because pro Biden Youtubes get a huge number of dislikes. So the removal only applies to iPhones (I don’t have one of those either)?

      Presumably Youtube would say the disparate like/dislike numbers indicate trolls but if they are going to remove the dislike they should also remove the like.

      Reply
  5. Tom Stone

    Australia’s purchase of Nuclear subs may benefit US defense contractors,but it is objectively insane.

    It is a horrendous waste of money and it destabilises the entire region.

    Is it stupidity,blackmail or bribery, or some combination of all three?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It is pure neocon thinking so yes, it is objectively insane. These are the same people that say that it is a great idea to push both Russia and China to the brink of military action a coupla times a week.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t want to quote b at MOA as I’m not sure it was him, but I’m certain it was suggested at MoA that Scotty wanted out of the French deal which isn’t great. Realistically, the US gets a base for submarines that don’t bases, it’s their whole point, and the other part of the deal is so far out that it will be killed as even subs become obsolete. Besides if they don’t, they won be fighting without the US, so who cares? The US will be stuck with a base, and the pathology of the US towards bases means we will do whatever to keep it.

      It’s bad diplomacy of course, and the White House really may not have known. Being on the ball isn’t in their wheelhouse. Musing on the Caitilin Johnstone article makes me think this is a ploy to get the French to bring down the price. The feckless Biden is the feckless Biden. Everyone has figured that out by now. The 60 Minutes bit had a bit about the next war being near. The US doesn’t have subs or facilities ready to build them, but the French have ones that are ready with three year build time lines, just like the 60 minute report. It’s preposterous to think we wouldn’t defend Australia. It’s the US’s schtick for the last 70 years.

      It may have been PlutoniumKen, not MoA.

      Reply
      1. John

        Read Patrick Lawrence’s Shadow Wars. How is it possible for so many purportedly intelligent people to be consistently wrong in the face clear and convincing evidence that they are wrong for the nth time. The greed of all those who benefit from an ever growing “defense” budget is understandable, if pathetic; the disregard of all so concerned for anything but their aggrandizement looks to me like a mix of galloping narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy. In other words the inmates are running the asylum.

        Reply
  6. Samuel Conner

    I haven’t encountered the word “coracle” since the ’70s, when I came across it in one of the Narnia books; IIRC something about a warrior mouse navigating the sea in a coracle.

    How do you find these unusual sites that are invisible to me?

    NC is the best.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Irish Currach (the same etymology of the coracle) is still widely used on the west coast – not often now for fishing, but usually sport. They are very efficient in high swells, although they take a lot of skill to row, so I’m told.

      Reply
  7. Arizona Slim

    Mask up while dressing deer? Not a bad idea, but here’s another not-so-fun factoid:

    In the American Southwest, the plague is still endemic. Yes, that plague. The one that wiped out half of Europe.

    The most common form of transmission is between wild animals which have fleas that go on to bite humans. Earlier this year, there were warning signs posted around Lake Tahoe. Naked Capitalism included this story in the August 4 edition of Links:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/03/lake-tahoe-chipmunks-bubonic-plague

    Back to the Southwest. Here, you are at risk if you are a wild game hunter. More than a few hunters have found themselves flea bitten after they’ve bagged some sort of wild creature and, subsequently, they start showing plague symptoms.

    Fortunately, the plague is now quite treatable with antibiotics — if it’s detected early.

    Reply
    1. Cocomaan

      Oh yeah, in PA the rabbits have tularemia. Deer have ticks on the hide. Pigs have trichonosis. That’s also why it helps that small game seasons are in the fall months, much easier to avoid tick transmission that time of year, as opposed to summer months.

      Reply
        1. diptherio

          Can confirm. My pops is a volunteer lobbyist for an outdoor enthusiast’s club, so I get to hear about a bunch of the crooked bs that goes on every other year in Helena. My own experience with interacting with the legislature is that at least half of them are drunk by noon. I think the best way to turn anyone into an anarchist is to have them spend a couple of days observing our lawmakers in their natural habitat.

          Reply
    2. Mark Sanders

      Can’t remember where I read this, but I believe the bubonic plague was purposely introduced there by some wildlife agency to control the numbers of ground rodents like the black prairie dog. Can’t say it was a great idea.

      Reply
    3. Skunk

      And then there’s chronic wasting disease, a prion disease, in deer and other cervids. It’s now widespread in the U.S.

      Reply
  8. Cocomaan

    Mask Up When Dressing Deer, State Health Officials Urge Hunters Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch

    This is idiotic. When you shoot a deer, it often takes time to even find it after it runs off. Deer often do not just fall over and die when you shoot them. In archery season, it’s a minimum of a half hour before you start to pursue a shot deer.

    Is coronavirus really going to survive in a carcass laying out for twenty minutes minimum before field dressing starts? The season starts the thanksgiving weekend in many places, meaning it’s cold. Also, this is a respiratory disease and being dead means that the animal is no longer breathing.

    Someone please give these public health officials something to do. This is fomite transmission again.

    Reply
    1. diptherio

      Have you ever been hunting, coco? Rifle or bow? Because if you are speaking from experience, I’d have to say you must be an awfully bad shot. In my own personal experience, nothing goes very far with a bullet or a broadhead through its lungs or heart. More often than not, they drop right where they are, or dang close. If you have to track them down more than 50 yards or so, you screwed up your shot pretty bad. And archers are taking shots from as close as possible. 20-40 yards, generally. I don’t know anyone who would wait 30 minutes before approaching their kill. That would be idiotic.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Coming up next, Cocomaan, diptherio, and Slim go out to the range. Rifles in the standing position at 50 yards. Commence fire!

        Reply
          1. Arizona Slim

            Because at this time of the year, the ground is too cold for prone shooting. I will remain standing. After we take this shot, let’s put the rifles down on the bench and go look at our targets.

            Reply
        1. Jade Bones

          Heya Slim, If they had them here (and I’ve been thinking lately they’d save response space) I’d give your comment a thumbs up.

          Reply
      2. cocomaan

        I always wait a half hour before approaching my deer to make sure it’s dead. 100% of the time. Heck, I’m often texting my friends about it before getting out of the tree.

        I’m not going to act like I haven’t made a liver shot on a deer before in archery, where you want to back off for awhile to make sure it’s dead.

        Find me a prolific bow hunter who always makes heart shots and always has deer dead in 50 yards I’ll show you a liar!

        Reply
    2. Mikel

      I think they have concerns about the gases that dead bodies of humans or animals can produce – from a variety of organs and covid can infect a variety of organs. Gases are an aerosol…so I think that could be the leap they are making.
      Just spitballin’.

      Reply
      1. Rattib

        I’m not a doctor or a hunter, but I think I’d be concerned about virus-filled liquids and splatter. Covid is transmitted via aerosols and droplets…

        Reply
        1. Rattib

          … droplets landing on you directly.

          Meaning to say I’m not sure ‘fomite’ applies if one is dealing with a virus-filled corpse vs a doorknob someone touched.

          Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It sounds like that Bobby Kotick is for the high jump. If he is, it is all his own fault but it sounds like from his Wikipedia page that he has lots of high connections which might save him yet. Would you believe that he even dated Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg for a coupla years?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Kotick

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        My absolute favourite detail in the report is:

        Kotick is also said to have been aware of allegations aimed at Dan Bunting, co-head of Activision’s Call of Duty studio Treyarch, in which a female employee accused Bunting of sexually harassing her after a night of drinking in 2017. An internal investigation in 2019 reportedly recommended Bunting was fired, but Kotick intervened to keep him. According to the WSJ, Bunting left Activision after being approached by the publication for comment.

        Is this the first instance of someone getting the sack/jumping-before-being-pushed treatment after merely being approached for comment before publication?

        Amazing

        Reply
        1. Soredemos

          An interesting thing about all this is that it seems that up till now it was mostly the Blizzard half of Activision Blizzard that was getting all the flak. Maybe everyone simply already thought so little of Activision and Kotick that there was no surprise at the revelation that the company is a miserable frat house.

          Reply
  9. Anonymous2

    Mockery of New Zealand.

    The English press, or at least a large section of it, mocks foreigners on a regular basis. One can only assume it’s lapped up by some of its readers. It’s all part of the English belief that they are superior to other nationalities. It is of course based on delusion.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think there is more to it with this story. Even the Guardian is reporting on countries like NZ, China, ROK and Taiwan as if somehow suppressing Covid successfully was an expensive mistake. It seems all part of the group think that is determined to push the idea that the vaccine led suppression strategy is an unambiguous success. The more evidence that mounts against it, the deeper the establishment will dig in to defend it.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        and then they wonder, in all apparent sincerity with the attendant mystification that that entails, why trust in media continues to be so low.

        Reply
    2. Lee

      Ah, but the English, or at least some of them, are also masters of self-mockery as evidenced for example by Monty Python. There are countries and cultures where mockery of the elites and their failings and foibles is not the done thing and even criminalized—cancel culture combined with state power.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous 2

        I agree that was the case in the past. There is very much less mockery of self or politicians nowadays in England as far as I can see. Too dangerous? I cannot see the BBC running a satirical programme like TWTWTW or Spitting Image in the current climate.

        Reply
        1. chuck roast

          Yes, TW3. A true inspiration. And there was a short lived American version. I was in the army at the time. We watched it in the barracks. Everybody was rolling on the floor laughing. It inspired Laugh In which was hilarious in the late ’50’s culture, but ultimately insipid. We now have the MSM to deliver satire on a daily basis.

          Reply
  10. Mikel

    Reading about the difference in how the Merck and Pfizer pills Covid pills work.
    The way the Merck pill allegedly works, introducing cell replication errors, gives me the shivers.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      My response to you got vaporized. I didn’t even get the “in moderation” message. Perhaps the links triggered something or other. If you go to Dr. John Campbell’s YouTube site there are two videos, one in which he discusses the new Pfizer drug, posted 9 days ago. His subsequent video, posted 8 days ago, goes into the molecular mode of action. As a layperson, I find his explanations quite understandable.

      Reply
  11. Otis B Driftwood

    “Oh Great, They’re Filming Porn Inside Teslas on Autopilot”

    So we’ve entered the Caligula phase of the American Empire?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      This could lead to some awkwardness this. So a police cruiser pulls up behind a crashed Tesla but is relieved to see that the occupants are OK. Pulling out his notebook, he makes sure that they are OK and don’t need an ambulance or anything. And so then he says the question-

      ‘Can you demonstrate for me how the accident happened?’

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      So we’ve entered the Caligula phase of the American Empire?
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      If you consider having pleasure barges outfitted with the latest technological bling far ahead of it’s time and would’ve been the basis for a show called The Love Boat if only the Romans had any tv channels and/or Barry White music, why yes we are.

      The Nemi ships were two ships, one larger than the other, built under the reign of the Roman emperor Caligula in the 1st century CE at Lake Nemi. Although the purpose of the ships is only speculated upon, the larger ship was an elaborate floating palace, which contained quantities of marble, mosaic floors, heating and plumbing and amenities such as baths. Both ships featured technology thought to have been developed historically much later. It has been stated that the emperor was influenced by the lavish lifestyles of the Hellenistic rulers of Syracuse and Ptolemaic Egypt. Recovered from the lake bed in 1929, the ships were destroyed by fire during World War II in 1944.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemi_ships

      Reply
  12. Questa Nota

    Boulder snowplow name honorable mention – Snowy McSnowface?
    Or were royalties and licensing not in the budget? :p

    Reply
  13. Craig H.

    Oh Great, They’re Filming Porn Inside Teslas on Autopilot

    Have you seen Musk’s video where he claims he is going to save the light of consciousness? It’s in the middle of the recent 4 minute youtube. I would link but I’m eating breakfast and I don’t want to barf thinking about it that long.

    Reply
    1. Expat2uruguay

      A very weird thing happens here when I try to post a link to the flccc on Odyssey, it simply disappears.

      Hopefully you can reconstruct the link for yourself by starting with odyssey.com, not spelled exactly like that oh, and the following 2 text pieces put together:

      /@FrontlineCovid19CriticalCareAlliance:c
      /DrPierreKoryCovidSummit:4

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        one of my late stepdad’s nurses came to moms the other night to get some of the voluminous medical supplies left over after his death(VA always sent ten of everything…i’ll never need to buy gauze again).
        she reported that she’s getting out of home health…because of covid.
        also reported the last straw: 2 nurses in the town up the road where she lives have died in the last week from covid, neither was vaxxed…and both went all in on that drug that shall not be named that starts with I.
        when pressed, she said that they didn’t take any of that until they were on the way to the hospital(my understanding is that you must begin it rather quickly)
        mom, since then, has gone full on Maddow…”I” is obviously a very dangerous drug, and akin to injecting bleach, etc etc.
        and my objection that it is way, way out of patent, and thus cheap as hell(as opposed to the newfangled very high dollar experimental compounds that the PTB are pushing)…as well as the long history of use in the Third World…fall on deaf ears.
        to my thinking, given the safety profile of that I drug, if i got covid(touch wood), I’d be all like “why the hell not try it?”
        but i instead stopped talking to mom about it.
        i’ve got some from the feed store in the fridge at the Wilderness Bar, if it comes down to it.
        and no one at the feedstore asked any questions when i obtained it.
        (we have sheep, after all…and bot flies are gonna be a problem next spring if mom continues standing in the way of good pasture management)

        Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    Went to a few LA Kings games @ Staples Arena in downtown LA back in the day…

    But that was then when young adults knew what a stapler was because they’d all seen Milton’s in Office Space.

    Now more in time with things, the naming rights were sold and from hence forth please address it as:

    ‘Crypto.com Arena’

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      It’s difficult to keep track of the changing venue names in seattle sports, I feel sorry for the announcers…t mobile lumen safeco climate change (we can only assume since it’s bezos that the changes will be for the worst…)

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’d imagine at this very moment the Washington Football Team is considering becoming the Washington Bitcoin, with the performance of the moniker being in stark contrast to the product on the field.

        Reply
        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          “Beltway Bandits” is still available. It’s appropriate for football defenses if they’re good at pass interceptions and fumble recoveries.

          Reply
  15. Jackiebass63

    Wher I live in upstate NY wages have been traditionally low. I noticed a Sub Way advertising for help. The starting wage was posted at$17 per hour. I believe there will be a worker shortage until workers are paid a living wage, the jobs are full time, and the jobs have benefits. To counter this I predict a change in the message to promote more immigration. These immigrant workers would then be hired to work for slave wages. It will be interesting to observe how the labor market changes in the next decade.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The GOP tried this in 2006. It didn’t take. The bill was loathsome. The issues with H1B1 visas are out there. The genesis of the Tea Party and Trump is there. The Bush family lost control of the GOP then. Any Republican who budges will be primaried. These people took out Cantor.

      In 2006, Ted Kennedy was the progressive gold standard. AOC, regardless of what some people think, is simply never going to support a bill as heinous as the 2006 bill. Even in the worst caricature, she’s not Ted Kennedy.

      Reply
        1. marym

          Anticipatory punching!

          She’s one of 6 people in the House and 1 in the Senate who appear to understand, advocate for, and actually believe in progressive policies. In a hostile institution consisting of fake-progressive Democrats, overtly conservative Democrats, and right wing Republicans their choice – after exhausting all means available to them for bringing issues forward – is to vote yes, no, or present, for all of which they’ve been punched from the left.

          Whatever they may or may not do in the future, presumably the punching will continue till whatever comes next when any possibility of an inside/outside strategy is completely exhausted.

          Reply
    2. JohnnySacks

      One upside to all these labor disputes might, however remotely the possibility, get business behind some sort of national health plan. Probably be crap, but anything pushing the ACA off the cliff into history’s never ending dustbin of stupid policies would be an improvement.

      Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      in my running amok in the last week or so, i’ve been thinking about this “great resignation”:
      isn’t this a de facto general strike?…just that the MSM won’t use those words…and the majority of the people(based on my informal polling) have no clue about such phrases?
      based on the coverage here, at NC…as well as my early morning webwanders…that’s sure what it’s looking like, to me.

      Reply
      1. aletheia33

        the same thought has occurred to me, and i would guess many.
        i just googled “great resignation general strike” and some interesting-looking items came up.
        (i know google is evil and do not need to be reminded of it.)

        Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The front had slowed to a crawl in stalling rad, er San Pedro, this while the germ’ans had massed Covid patrols across the southland all the way to the vulgar parts of town.

    Rushing defenses threw everything they could against the onslaught of supply tanks, er containers-‘The Troubles with TEU’s’, unusual in such a situation as typically the battle is lost when you run out of stuff, not on account of having way too much.

    For now there appeared to be no risk of submarine attack on any of the 100+ sitting ducks out to sea awaiting their chance at unloading their precious cargo of consumer goods.

    Reply
  17. Jessica

    From “Shadow Wars Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News”
    “It commits the U.S. to recognizing that there is one, unified China that includes Taiwan. This is an historically accurate position, given China’s sovereignty over the island has well more than a millennia of precedent behind it.”

    This is not true. Chinese first came to Taiwan in significant numbers when remnants of the Ming Dynasty took refuge on Taiwan after being overthrown by the Qing Dynasty in the mid-1600s. Those Ming remnants had to first drive out the Dutch. The population before the arrival of the Ming holdouts was completely non-Chinese. They are closely related to Polynesians.
    The Qing, who were Manchu (Jurchen), not Han Chinese, finished off the Ming remnants a few decades later. The Qing held Taiwan until 1895, when the Japanese seized it. The Japanese held it until 1945. (When I first visited Taiwan in 1980, the folks over a certain age all spoke Japanese, which they had been taught in school, as a second (or third) language.)
    From 1945, Taiwan was nominally under the control of the Nationalist Chinese government (Kuomintang=KMT, pronounced: Guomindang), but in order to take actual control, the KMT had to murder tens of thousands of people in a reign of terror. This is commemorated by a national holiday on Taiwan.
    So what years was Taiwan ruled by a unified Chinese government: 1600s until 1895. How many years was Taiwan ruled by a unified Chinese government that was actually Chinese (i.e. not a foreign dynasty): 0
    To put it another way, the Ming holdouts took Taiwan from the Dutch around the time that the English took New Amsterdam from the Dutch and renamed it New York.

    The pity of it all is that back in the 1970s, when US was still pretending that the Nationalist government on Taiwan was the government of all of China (as part of Cold War 1), the PRC government might well have gone for a deal under which the PRC was given recognition and the UN seat, but Taiwan was recognized as an independent nation.
    Even now, if the West were not using Taiwan as an excuse to gin up a new cold war and to keep funneling funds desperately needed elsewhere into military spending, I wonder if some kind of clever compromise couldn’t be reached.
    For example: Taiwan acknowledges being a province of the PRC and agrees to not be part of any anti-PRC alliance, Xi gets a ticker tape parade through Taipei with everyone waving PRC flags, lots of selfies get taken, and in return the PRC leaves Taiwan alone. No troops, no interference. Everyone gets on with their lives. Chinese history is full of examples of just such useful ambiguity and pretense.

    BTW, as much as Taiwan is in fact a distinct nation, this is not worth a cold war or even worse a hot one.

    Reply
    1. JohnnySacks

      Agreed with your example, Taiwan will probably fold into PRC with nary a whimper. The rank and file aren’t going to jump into a meat grinder en-masse just to avoid taking on a new boss, same as the old boss. The only screaming will come from the 1% – the one’s whose lives aren’t going to be the same the day after.

      We’ll lose our collective minds for a short while, hopefully our arrogance doesn’t get the best of us, because China isn’t some bloviating Jurassic opponent like Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        “We’ll lose our collective minds for a short while…”

        A good example of delusional thinking is John Mearsheimer’s assessment, “we’re going to live in a very dangerous world in east Asia.” That’s some boundary inflation he’s got going there.

        Nuclear weapons, Taiwan and other key issues addressed on Biden-Xi call PBS Newshour

        Reply
        1. Andy

          A decade or so ago when Mearsh was talking and writing about the folly of America’s unconditional support for the state of Israel he sounded like a sensible foreign policy ‘moderate’ but with this China stuff he’s really lost the plot.

          Dude sounds seriously unhinged.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Wasn’t he always like this? Wasn’t he an “Imperial Realist”? Didn’t he basically resent the heavy brain-focus on Israel for taking brain-focus away from World Hegemony?

            Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks Jessica, I noticed that too in the article, I’d expect more from Lawrence. Its a pity so many people on the left will repeat that patently false history. China has about as much legitimate claim on Taiwan as the Japanese or, for that matter, the Portuguese or any other previous coloniser. I could also add of course that most of the physical island of Taiwan was in fact ‘controlled’ by the Highlands Indigenous people, who never really came under anyones orbit until the late 19th Century when the Japanese snuffed out all opposition. Most of the previous colonists were only interested in the flat fertile lands of the northern and western shores.

      Its also worth pointing out that if you follow China’s logic on its claim, it has an equal claim to a fairly large chunk of Russia (including Vladivostok) and Vietnam, as both had territories within ‘China’ during the Qing Dynasty, and Chinese nationalists have always claimed the maximum extent of the Qing territory as the real extent of China. This is the primary reason why Russia and China are conspicuously quiet about China’s claim on Taiwan. Neither want to be seen to directly support the US, but neither do they want China to grab Taiwan and then turn its attention to its other ‘lost‘ territories. Most Vietnamese believe the 1979 invasion by China was intended to annex its former Qing lands, although that was probably not the real motivation.

      Reply
      1. Andy

        Doesn’t Taiwan call itself The Republic of China and claim that it and not the PRC is the ‘real’ China? Genuine question. Would a fully independent Taiwan (assuming for a moment Beijing let that happen) still be called RoC? What would be its relationship to the PRC?

        Granted, I am not 100% familiar with the history of this dispute but isn’t Beijing’s official position that it seeks an eventual peaceful, non-violent reunion with Taiwan and will only resort to force if the island declares independence?

        If that is the case then the US giving lip-service to the one China policy while at the same time interfering on the side of Taiwan, and basically daring Beijing into taking military action, is a very foolish and dangerous policy.

        If conflict or war are to be avoided it seems to me that maintaining the status quo and letting Taiwan and the PRC work out a solution on their own is the most sensible policy option here.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          No, ‘Taiwan’ never claimed that it is the ‘real’ China. The KMT, who were Chinese Han invaders – the losers in the civil war who claimed that. They essentially took over Taiwan against the will of the Taiwanese people at the time (and killed many thousands doing it). Now that Taiwan is a democracy, the descendants of the KMT is the opposition – the country is run by their centre-left Democrat Progressive Party, which mostly represents the original Taiwanese (i.e. those who can trace their ancestry to before the 1940’s).

          Taiwan is an independent nation in all but name (it has no choice, given Beijings repeated statements that it would attack it if it did). It is a fully functioning democracy and has been for decades, and the population has repeatedly voted against any party advocating reunification.

          Reply
          1. Anthony Stegman

            You seem to forget that Taiwan was under martial law until 1987, and that there was a massacre – the 228 Massacre in 1947.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              I didn’t forget it, that was exactly what I meant. It was the KMT, with support from the US who brought in martial law, and the KMT who ordered the massacre.

              Reply
    3. Bazarov

      This a weird ethnic “Han only!” reading of Chinese history. The Manchus don’t count as Chinese because they were of a different ethnicity, despite the fact that they ruled over the civilization for hundreds of years? This is akin to saying Theodosius the Great was not a true Roman emperor because he was from Spain.

      According to Charles Hucker, renowned historian of China, foreigners like the Manchus and the Mongols are very much counted by the Chinese as part of their own history and civilization. Here’s a quote from him: “Nevertheless, though the Chinese have remembered [the Mongols] as savage oppressors, traditional Chinese political philosophy has required that [they] be accorded legitimate status in the long succession of China’s imperial dynasties.”

      The Manchus were much milder than the Mongols and sinocized pretty fast.

      China today sees itself as a multiethnic nation. It’s right there in the preamble of the recent Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century (emphasis added):

      “Staying committed to communist ideals and socialist convictions, [the CPC] has united and led Chinese people of all ethnic groups in working tirelessly to achieve national independence and liberation, and then to make our country prosperous and strong and pursue a better life.”

      Chinese ≠ Han only.

      Reply
    4. Roger

      Using your logic England has been ruled by a foreign dynasty since at least 1066 (German, Norman and Dutch)! Even King Harold was an Anglo-Saxon migrant from Europe.

      Han Chinese have settled in Taiwan since the 1200s, when the Dutch first tried to establish a base there in the early 1600s they were driven off by the Ming Dynasty. By the mid 1600’s up to 50,000 Han Chinese were living on the island. After the Qing beat the Ming, they then ruled the island 1683-1895. The Ming is an official dynasty of China, with the Manchu’s integrating the majority Han Chinese into government positions, the army etc. 1895-1945 was the Japanese, who took the island as a spoil of war. The only reason that the ROC lasted on the island after their defeat by the PRC was the intervention of the US to block the PRC from taking the island. This is the wrong that the PRC are adamant about fixing.

      Reply
  18. David

    The LRB article on Eric Zemmour (translated actually) is of no interest as an analysis, but it is of some interest if you want to understand the way the PMC/media in France are freaking out at the moment over Zemmour’s undeclared candidacy for President in 2022, and how the vote for the extreme Right (Zemmour about 14%, Le Pen about 18%) comfortably exceeds the total vote for all of the parties of the Wider Left, including the Greens, of about 25%. The French people, are, obviously, wrong.

    Two things to bear in mind for the future. First, what Zemmour has done, through books and TV appearances, is to finally put the wider subject of immigration on the table. Until now, immigration has been the Ivermectin of French politics: its name must not even be spoken, unless to praise it as an unalloyed good, and the subject must never be debated except under the heading of the “struggle against racism.” Thus, over the last generation or so, millions of immigrants have arrived in France, mainly from the Maghreb and West Africa, though also a large number of refugees from wars and insecurity. This is not (in spite of what Zemmour and others allege) a deliberate policy, but it is something that happened for a whole variety of unconnected reasons. Now look where we are. The point is that has never been discussed, or even acknowledged, and all attempts to raise the question were fiercely repressed. So little if anything has been done about the practical problems of housing, education, health etc. which have resulted. Very few resources have been made available, for example, for intensive French language teaching, with the result that in many poorer areas of major cities, a quarter to a third of any class of 11-16 year olds is unable to follow the syllabus properly, and many are functionally illiterate. By itself, this lack of a policy has facilitated juvenile crime, political extremism and, of course, anger by parents whose own children are being held back academically.

    The fact that these things may not be talked about has had the perverse effect of strengthening both the parts of the Right that are prepared to discuss them, and also the radical Islamists imported from the Gulf, who until very recently have been given a free hand. The latter themselves, ironically, make the Argument That Must Not Be Made: France is a militantly secular society with denies a role for religion in politics, which is against the teaching of the Quran, thus Muslims should fight to overthrow the current system and replace it with a religiously-dominated one. Worrying percentages of self-identified Muslims (between 20 and 40%) have expressed sympathy for this view in a number of recent polls. The same argument may not, of course, be made by non-Muslims, for all that it contains a fundamental truth. A society in which religion is excluded from politics, after long and bitter battles lasting until living memory, is inevitably going to have problems with a group of residents for whom religion is the ultimate arbiter. (If you’re familiar with countries like Algeria and Tunisia, you’ll know what I mean). This is a problem that has to be faced up to, but, ironically, it is only a few left-wing intellectuals from Muslim countries that have been brave enough to do so. In the past, the problem has been dealt with by pretending it doesn’t exist, which has had the result of handing it to extremist groups of various persuasions. That’s where we are now.

    Second, I wouldn’t get too excited about opinion polls. Nobody really knows what Zemmour’s game is, and I doubt if he would be interested in winning even if he could. Zemmour is essentially a retread of the extreme right-wing traditionalist authoritarian politics which pretty much disappeared after 1945 (there is no Anglo-Saxon equivalent), but his appeal is not to fellow believers (a tiny minority) but to those disgusted with the present system. I personally believe that his real target is the conventional Right, which he is trying to split (the Left is already in pieces) such that the next election produces chaos, and in the years ahead a different kind of political system will emerge. But that’s just my speculation.

    Watch this space.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for this overview. I’ve often wondered to what extent characters like Zemmour play in essentially ‘sheepdogging’ voters to the centre in the main election, or for that matter, making the traditional far right seem quite reasonable and moderate.

      I can’t recall where I read it, but I did see somewhere that Barnier was making surprisingly strong anti-immigrant speeches. Is he perhaps trying to get ahead of the game and position himself further to the populist right? Or is he perhaps indicating that the establishment are finally addressing the issues?

      Reply
      1. David

        The last, I think. My reading is that Barnier has realised that so long as the conventional Right refuses to address the question at all, it’s going to get squeezed between Le Pen and Zemmour on one side, and Macron on the other, and may, for the second time running, not have a candidate in the second round. The point is that because the very mention of the word immigration has been pretty much forbidden, the issue has been appropriated by the extreme Right, whereas it’s obviously a subject that concerns everyone. It’s also worth pointing out that many immigrant groups themselves now vote for the traditional Right, mainly on culture grounds, and themselves favour new controls. After all, they worked hard and followed the rules, why shouldn’t others? So there’s no mileage in attacking a community which is moving in your direction anyway. This, I’m afraid, is the point that a lot of commentators miss. There are also a few brave voices on the Left saying the same thing. It’s often forgotten that demands for controls on immigration came originally from the Left: Georges Marchais the long-time Communist Party leader was particularly vocal on the subject in the 1980s, predicting (correctly) that immigrants would be used as a weapon against the working class to force down wages and make working conditions worse.

        Reply
    2. Bazarov

      Yeah, I read half the LRB blog post and quit. It was a bunch of PMC hand wringing. Cringy stuff. Not a serious analysis.

      I’m not French, but my husband is a professor of French literature (specializing in the French Renaissance). So, I have an affinity for France that I wouldn’t otherwise–I’ve gotten quite an education through him. I kind of love the country and culture.

      Anyway, my opinion has been–for years now–that France could use a new republic. One of my favorite things about France’s political culture and history is that *this is possible*–it has this wonderful path to renewal denied to the American republic, which can really only achieve similar transformation by civil war.

      Reply
          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            I watched it again last night & I was reminded of Hubert’s allegory.

            “Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good… so far so good… so far so good. How you fall doesn’t matter. It’s how you land!”

            Seems to sum up a lot, but in 1991 it was bad back then & I don’t think that Muslim extremism was anything like the problem it is now while of course Neoliberalism has since further tightened the screw.

            Reply
  19. zagonostra

    >COVID-19: Ireland introduces new coronavirus restrictions including midnight hospitality curfew as country battles fourth wave of infections

    So this is what we have to look forward to when we reach (which I don’t think the U.S. ever will) 93% vaccinated rates?

    This is despite having one of the most vaccinated populations, with around 93% of all adults fully vaccinated.

    https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-ireland-introduces-new-coronavirus-restrictions-including-midnight-hospitality-curfew-as-country-battles-fourth-wave-of-infections-12470162

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Irish policy is in chaos at the moment. Essentially, covid rates have rocketed up, far beyond what was anticipated by the modellers, none of whom seem to have ever been in a pub. They seem to have convinced themselves that the vaccine meant another major surge was impossible (Ireland has nearly 90% vaccination in over 12’s). Both politicians and the public health advisors seem to have talked themselves into a position where a lockdown is supposedly off the table. Hence we get stupid and probably counterproductive mini-restrictions which will almost certainly be ignored. This of course will meant that what looks like an probable third lockdown will be worse than it had to be had they just held their nerve in the first place back in September.

      The particular problem in Ireland is that thanks to austerity in the past decade, there is insufficient ICU capacity in the hospitals (significantly lower than most other European countries), so excess deaths are inevitable if it gets much worse. If there is a bad flu season, then it will be chaos.

      Reply
      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Robin Swann our health minister here in the North who happens to be suing Van Morrison, reckons that we are in a worse state here in the North than the South, based on it seems a scientific study conducted by himself that consisted of him favourably comparing a bus full of masked people he witnessed in Dublin, to one in Belfast that he saw on his return that was apparently mask less – obviously not the one that was hi-jacked & set on fire.

        Vaccine passports coming soon & lots of talk of another lockdown & perhaps he will again suggest bringing in the British Army to help out in hospitals in order to make things potentially very interesting.

        Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        the one bit of good news to cling to for Ireland in the mid-to-long term I guess is that being an island nation with a relatively small population, attaining elimination/eradiction/ZC will be relatively easy for them, if and when they decide to do so.

        Meanwhile, it was just a month ago that the WSJ was hailing Portugal as the poster child for ~LiViNg WiTh~ endemic covid. lol. let’s see how that plays out.

        Reply
  20. Lee

    Antibody tests can show whether you need a COVID-19 booster shot, some experts say — but the FDA disagrees (Business Insider)

    While it is true that antibody tests have their limitations, I’m wondering if Fauci is against using these tests for other reasons. Given our current truly crap testing regime, would adding another one to the list of one’s we already don’t do well really be effective?

    Reply
  21. Jason Boxman

    All going according to plan. Overdose Deaths Reached Record High as the Pandemic Spread.

    In the 12-month period that ended in April, more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses, up almost 30 percent from the 78,000 deaths in the prior year, according to provisional figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The figure marks the first time the number of overdose deaths in the United States has exceeded 100,000 a year, more than the toll of car accidents and guns combined. Overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2015.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      …the Fentanyl Solution

      Having the dregs of your city kill themselves on their very own Dime is about as dystopian of a wish a municipality could have hoped for when rubbing that genie’s lamp. I wonder what the other 2 wishes were?

      Reply
  22. allan

    Shot: Drug stores turn away walk-in flu shots as they struggle with pharmacy worker shortages [USA Today, Oct.29]

    Chaser: Campuses Battle Severe Flu Outbreaks [Inside Higher Ed, today]

    … The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is fighting a particularly severe outbreak at the moment. Nearly 530 students have received an influenza diagnosis since early October, according to a press release. Last week the university identified 313 influenza cases, which reflected a 37 percent test positivity rate. The week prior, Michigan documented 198 cases, with a 27.2 percent test positivity rate. …

    More than three-quarters of the students who tested positive for influenza have not been vaccinated against the virus this year. University officials are asking students and employees to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. …

    Assume a spherical cow walk-in flu vaccination clinic …

    Reply
  23. jr

    Chris Hedges interviews Kathleen Stock, a professor of philosophy, on the anti-materialist and anti-intellectual nature of the social constructivist’s idea of gender identity. She discusses the metaphysics of Butler and Foucault, situational epistemology, the notion of fictional worlds and their abuse, and the great damage wreaked upon the accomplishments of second wave feminism by the trans movement. I didn’t know that, at least in Britain, violent males can “identify” their way into woman’s prisons. An age of absurdities.

    https://youtu.be/4bsrrbT9eco

    Reply
    1. Andy

      The ‘pregnant people’ thing where the MSM, medical schools and public health boards no longer refer to pregnant women because apparently that discriminates against, er, pregnant men is another contender for the 2021 Peak Absurdity Prize.

      I wonder what doctors and healthcare people who buy into this stuff do when they collaborate with colleagues outside of the West where the basic ‘laws’ of biology are still respected? Do they harangue the backwards foreigners with idpol lectures and stern exhortations to “do better” or do they just quietly shift over to temporary reality acceptance mode?

      Is extreme idpol part of a weird ‘end of history’ reality distortion field that will burn itself out or is it the beginning of a Jackpot adjacent deep rupture in the fabric of neoliberal societies?

      Just thinking out loud…

      Reply
      1. jr

        I read somewhere of a study? done in which Brits were exposed to positive thinking literature from the US. and couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I bet something similar happens often with this horse$hi+. Lot’s of eye rolling and distracted looks while the Yank reframes the cost of pig iron through a gender lens.

        I do understand idPol is a big problem in the Indian university system, where the great-great grandchildren of the regime who ruled on behalf of the British lecture Indians about their identity and privilege.

        Reply
  24. NotThePilot

    The US makes the rules, and Syria massacre was no exception

    I intended to reply when this story got its own post, but I didn’t have the time. Beyond the ugliness of it in its own right, it touches on a few things that I still don’t think most people have realized (or don’t want to admit), including the author of this piece.

    1. It seems the ultimate reason for not just this massacre but the current American way of war (and perhaps it was always there in the frontier wars & filibustering) has nothing to do with actually taking on risk & danger for something valuable. Instead, the entire military has become adapted to inflicting only one-sided violence so the petty men (the “last men”, as Nietzsche would put it?) of the country can vicariously feel powerful.

    And as always with little men, it’s a vain attempt to pretend that they won’t die someday too, and that their little legacies won’t dissipate into the ether soon after. The ultimate irony is that I suspect the people that died in this massacre won’t be forgotten so easily.

    2. One weakness about how even most of the Left still talks about the so-called War on Terror is that they seemingly still can’t bring themselves to admit what it really is. Funny enough, even though I totally disagreed with his thesis, Noah Smith is the only person I’ve seen refer to it clearly as America’s war on Islam (only also sort of racialized too because America tends to do that with everything):
    The end of the War on Islam: Why America’s decade-and-a-half freakout over Islam is over

    A majority that supported the war in Iraq, Israel vs. Palestine, or Iran hawks may genuinely tell themselves that’s not what it’s about. But a large enough chunk of people to swing the society has always seen it that way, and so the rest have effectively gone along with it. The kicker though, and this touches on the 1st point of what remains after the dust settles, whether one dies violently in Syria or complacently in America: Islam won.

    That doesn’t mean that Islamic countries or groups haven’t plumbed the depths, but for every decrepit dictator or ISIS loony that pops up, another faction eventually arises to beat them both back and send any western armies packing. And every time, the victor pretty clearly claims their mandate from Islam. America can keep thrashing about in the Middle East, hurting itself & others, but nothing will change that.

    3. One big reason I think Noah’s thesis fails is because he assumes wars can just be turned off, without some kind of dialectical result. Take the idea the World Wars were the violence of European imperialism & colonialism imploding inwards like a supernova (don’t remember who pointed that out, was it Frantz Fanon?) Or look at the fact that America didn’t just lose Vietnam, but we lost and probably more American kids than ever read Marx & stan Che Guevara.

    I haven’t noticed anyone across the political spectrum considering this, except the French freakout over “Islamo-leftism” (of course they would, they do love their theory). And in a way I think they’re correct it’s a thing, though nothing like the crazy fantasies of mass conversions or sharia law in Nebraska. I don’t know what it will look like, but instead of a lame, reactionary attempt to fight it, I think one needs to accept that forward-thinking is going to increasingly have little dashes of Middle Eastern religious & traditionalist flavor.

    Reply
    1. Mantid

      Don’t worry, we have a new enemy, the unvaccinated. I’m sure that though the
      unvaxxed are only restricted right now (access to libraries, concerts, health care procedures), soon that will not be enough. Just as in Austria, there will be spot checks on the street … “Vos papiers monsieur” When that doesn’t force enough cooperation, they will be labeled terrorists and thrown in jail, or summarily shot. “Self defense” judge. He was coughing on me, at least I thought so. Case dismissed.

      Reply
    1. Mantid

      And, Mantids change color in relation the their surroundings. And ….. possum change their sex to more females in difficult years, more males when less stress on the population. Funny thing that mother of ours.

      Reply
  25. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “The naive fantasy of global action on climate change”—-The Week

    “But it is rational if your goal is to enjoy the greatest possible benefit at the lowest possible cost. And that’s how Olson and other theorists of collective action assume most human beings behave.”

    Again, so much to think about; where, both the outcomes and the policies themselves will be ones that are either bad or worse, frustrated by conflicts between (the limits of?) human igenuity and human behavior as it is confronted with the problem of solving a complicated nonlinear equation composed of multiple dynamic variables. Where for example,

    “Insurers have warned that climate change could make cover for ordinary people unaffordable after the world’s largest reinsurance firm blamed global warming for $24bn (£18bn) of losses in the Californian wildfires.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/21/climate-change-could-make-insurance-too-expensive-for-ordinary-people-report

    The standard model is based upon the belief and faith that, . “With rational self-interest, Smith suggested that humans act rationally when making decisions involving their finances or monetary benefits which also have a powerful influence on the economy.”

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/self-interest.asp

    The behavioral economists/psychologists appear to disagree,

    “Classical economics assumes human beings behave rationally. But if you believe everyone is rational, and you look at humanity and see how much misery there is in the world, then you have to conclude that this is the best we can do. From a social science perspective, you could say people are myopic and vindictive and emotional and dishonest and make mistakes — but the world isn’t like this as an outcome of the decisions of eight billion rational people. It’s like this as the outcome of eight billion irrational people.”

    “Totally irrational”—-https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/irrational

    Reply
    1. Mantid

      Spot on. Then Biden comes home and opens up millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil extraction. All hail the chief.

      Reply
  26. Eudaemon

    Re: An ethical analysis of vaccinating children against COVID-19: benefits, risks, and issues of global health equity (open letter)

    The main issue with the framing of this letter is that it claims to measure risk/benefit analysis of the vaccine, but the information they provide does not in any way measure up to even a simple comparison between risks associated with receiving the vaccine versus risks associated with contracting the disease. A strict comparison would measure those risks of each and benefits — i.e., what is the risk for myocarditis that is posed by the vaccine compared to the risk of the same or other conditions from contracting the disease. Then the article further fails to provide benefits to both the child — i.e., a reduction in risk of complicating factors (long Covid, for example) and death and — if the literature and data supports it — the risk the child poses to spreading it to others in a household or community.

    In short, there’s a reason it wasn’t published in a reputable journal, because I doubt that the letter in any way represents a consensus view of virologists and medical professionals.

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      because I doubt that the letter in any way represents a consensus view of virologists and medical professionals.

      That’s certainly true, although I agree with Lambert’s criticism of you trying to slander it a non-reputable journal.

      I’ve stated before that I’ve seen a number of doctors whom I consider trustworthy, non-shitbags on twitter, particularly in the UK, advocating for child vaccination (to take one example, I don’t see a tweet from Greenhalgh advocating it explicitly but she has, for example, approvingly retweeted twitter threads such as this)

      Issue’s certainly a minefield. I’m a bit undecided on it still but I am leaning towards approving vaccination for youngsters (but I don’t agree with mandating these particular vaccines, for adults or children). I think parents of vulnerable children (immunocompromised for example) should be able to vaccinate their children as soon as possible, particularly in jurisdictions where SARS2 is prevalent, as it’s clear they’re in quite a bit of danger, particularly if they can’t be taken out of school.

      It should never have got to this point, of course, but I don’t think we can make the blanket assertion that C19 is harmless for kids. I’m fully open to the idea that I’m missing something/that the vaccines are higher risk to kids or what have you, but I don’t find that letter terribly persuasive from an evidentiary perspective.

      Reply
  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    All the workers that have struck in the last three years, or are striking now, or will strike soon . . . amount to enough people to create their very own political party, if they had/have the confidence to create one and can beat back DemParty psychological warfare operations and secret Clintonite infiltration and subversion designed to prevent them from organizing one.

    They will also need to keep ” look at me! ” leftists out of any such infant party, and any other sort of Leftiss Inallekshulz who will plot to treat such an infant party as a stage upon which to dance and prance and strut their Superior Revolutionary stuff.

    If such a workers’ own party can avoid those dangers, and stay together for several years to come, and limit itself to a Few Big Important Things all unanimously supported by all the Workers’ Own Party membership . . . it could go places.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > amount to enough people to create their very own political party

      If that’s the solution, instead of something parallel. I don’t know how much faith in electoralism I have. OTOH, the faith in voting is rooted very deep in American culture, perhaps rightly, and universally across the spectrum. So [throws up hands, shrugs].

      It would be nice if all the little balls of mercury came together to form one big ball….

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Different grouploads of people will have to try what they separately believe in, because that’s what they will invest their most best work in. And if they watch eachother to see who is getting what results, people may move from less effective grouploads to more effective grouploads.

        It is probably most important that those people who still believe in something, however provisionally, do some work on or through that something they most believe in.

        Reply

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