Links 11/24/2021

Rare ‘Cotton Candy’ Blue Lobster Is a 1-in-100 Million Catch Smithsonian

Rwandan gorillas a rare conservation success CBS (J-LS)

Dog-Sized Lizards Pose Problem in FL Weather Channel (resilc). First feral hogs….

More Fun Than Fun: Beetles Lead Complex Social Lives in Dead Trees The Wire (J-LS)

Wolves make roadways safer, generating large economic returns to predator conservation PNAS

In Bangladesh, the shrimp industry is driving a freshwater crisis Scroll (J-LS)

Our Planet: Our Business Our Planet (Dr. Kevin)

NASA’s Extremely Delayed Webb Telescope Takes Another Blow, Literally This Time Gizmodo (Kevin W)

NASA will launch a spacecraft into an asteroid to knock it off course tonight TechSpot

France Is Freeing Fruit and Veg from Its Plastic Prison RTBC (Chuck L)

How the World’s Foremost Maze-Maker Leads People Astray New Yorker (furzy)



How much does vitamin D protect us from diseases like COVID? Popular Science (resilc)

Reduced Incidence of Long-COVID Symptoms Related to Administration of COVID-19 Vaccines Both Before COVID-19 Diagnosis and Up to 12 Weeks After MedRxIv (Basil Pesto)

Covaxin 50% Effective Against Symptomatic COVID: Real-World Study The Wire (J-LS). The study: Effectiveness of an inactivated virus-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, BBV152, in India: a test-negative, case-control study The Lancet



‘People Lined Up Out The Doors And They’re Sick’: COVID Patient Bottleneck Has Many Minnesotans Desperate WCCO (resilc)

Even in Highly Vaccinated New England, Hospitals Are Suffering Bloomberg

Seven doctors contract Covid after attending Florida anti-vaccine summit Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Morgan Stanley boss to young bankers: You’re ‘nuts’ if you’re not in the office New York Post (J-LS). We predicted that the work from home trend would be subject to significant reversion once Covid was over (which clearly has not yet happened): anyone who spends time in the office will have an assignments/career advantage over the stay at home types. Out of sight is out of mind, which is not good for advancement.


The West’s Wasted Crisis Yanis Varoufakis, Project Syndicate (David L)

As Pandemic Evictions Rise, Spaniards Declare ‘War’ on Wall Street Landlords New York Times (resilc)

COP26/Climate Change

Feeding the World in Times of Climate Change: “We Can Learn a Lot from Indigenous Peoples” Der Spiegel (J-LS)

Dancing on the edge of climate disaster Martin Wolf, Financial Times (David L)


China backs regional nuclear weapon-free zone in move to ‘contain Aukus’ South China Morning Post (J-LS)

Who’s afraid of China’s nukes? Asia Times (Kevin W)

Italy’s Draghi vetoes third Chinese takeover this year Reuters

New Cold War

US stance on Ukraine, Taiwan uniting China, Russia Asia Times (Kevin W)

The Russian Foreign Intelligence office (SVR) issues an unprecedented warning about US operations in eastern Ukraine The Saker (Chuck L)

Erm I Know You’re Busy But Nuclear War Is Getting Increasingly Likely Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Why did Russia deploy so many forces against NATO? The Saker (Micael T, Chuck L)


Yemen war deaths will reach 377,000 by end of the year: UN Al Jazeera

I Live in Arkansas. Why is My State Telling Me Not to Boycott Israel? New York Times

Eight reasons why the U.S. should ditch Turkey as a military partner Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Apple sues Israeli spyware firm NSO Group for surveillance of users Guardian (resilc)


Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and leaders The Hill

Jan. 6 Organizers Used Anonymous ‘Burner Phones’ to Communicate with White House and Trump Family, Sources Say Rolling Stone (David L)


Somehow the Guy Who Tried to Steal Arizona for Trump Is Now Broke Vice


Why is a third H-1B lottery under way? Quartz

Oil Prices Rally After U.S. Announces Strategic Reserve Release OilPrice

Biden Bill Has Tax Cut for Mere Millionaires, Hike for Mega Rich Bloomberg

Biden’s new Fed could be a boon for crypto, experts say MarketWatch

US sues to halt sugar merger, says it would harm competition Associated Press (Kevin W)

Biden gives Harris cold shoulder at DC soup kitchen after reported tensions New York Post (J-LS)

Janet Yellen Announces Americans Can Use Promo Code ‘THANKS’ For 10% Off All U.S. Goods And Services The Onion

Florida Looks To Directly Lower Gasoline Prices With Tax Relief OilPrice. OMG, will this be a Presidential campaign talking point…..

Probe finds ‘overwhelming evidence’ of misconduct by Cuomo Associated Press (bob)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Prosecution argues Ahmaud Arbery was defenseless when he was ‘attacked and killed’ Daily Mail (resilc). See updated headline. Says the defense is desperate.

After spending 43 years in prison for a triple murder he says he didn’t commit, a Missouri man is finally free CNN

US jury awards $25m in damages over Unite the Right rally BBC

Police State Watch

Cops Are Needlessly Scaring People With Fentanyl-Laced Weed Stories Vice (resilc)

JPMorgan CEO Dimon jokes his bank will outlast China’s Communist Party Reuters

Jury holds pharmacies responsible for role in opioid crisis Associated Press (BC)

The Bezzle

Plans for a ‘Bitcoin City’ Powered by a Volcano Have Arrived in Latin America Architectural Digest (resilc). This is El Salvador’s gimmick to surpass Panama as Latin America’s tax haven.

Class Warfare

Living Wages, Rarity for U.S. Fast-Food Workers, Served Up in Denmark New York Times (Kevin W)

Flash Mob Robbers Ransack Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom Stores in San Francisco and Chicago Robb Report (furzy)

“Capitalism’s over”: The man who made millions by betting the economy would never recover New Statesman (Richard D)

Sparrow Health workers in Lansing, Michigan, vote overwhelmingly to authorize strike WSWS

Antidote du jour. Bob H: “Cat and wife, 2AM”:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Richard H Caldwell

    “Seven doctors contract Covid after attending Florida anti-vaccine summit” — the hand of God, if there is a god, righting the wrongs of this world…

    1. The Rev Kev

      That article is not what it appears to be. What it is really saying is stop eating horse paste, y’all. And never mentions that the-drug-that-cannot-be-named has been administered billions of times to humans so no, it is not primarily for horses or cows. An honest publication would follow up on those doctors and the treatment that they are using to see how they went but this is the Guardian that we are talking about here so not going to happen.

      1. John Siman

        I think it’s clear that The Guardian is pfully Pfizer pfriendly, but at least some intriguing information does leak through its stock condemnation of ivermectin:

        “[Dr. Bruce] Boros,” we read, “has claimed ivermectin is ‘working where it’s being used around the world’ as a Covid treatment.

        “In the same Facebook post, he condemned Dr Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, as ‘a fraud’ and said ‘big pharma is playing us for suckers.’”

        So let’s do follow up with Dr. Boros!

        1. mistah charley, ph.d.

          It is clear that the Guardian article is a rewrite of one from the Daily Beast:

          One hopes Dr. Boros will recover completely, but I believe it is fair to conclude that his experience is not in accordance with his advocacy, which seemed to amount to something along the lines that “ivermectin alone will protect you, and vaccination is unnecessary”.

          I myself got my third – “booster” – shot yesterday of one of the mRNA vaccines, and there were many people from a wide range of social backgrounds doing the same at my HMO in Montgomery County, MD. Tomorrow I am going to Thanksgiving dinner – a small family gathering including a 20 year old college sophomore who has been granted a ‘philosophical’ exemption to the vaccine requirement at his school, on the condition that he be tested weekly. Fortunately, his mother is hosting the gathering outdoors. She works for Big Pharma, by the way – and while I am firmly convinced that collectively BP cuts themselves much too large a slice of the pie, I do think their products mostly work.

      2. flora

        The Guardian unironically calls Bill Gates “Saint Bill”. The Gates Foundation has granted $12,951,391 to the Guardian.

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

      3. Basil Pesto

        I’m not sure the graun sub-eds think before they hit “publish”. On the face of it, 7 infectees (if the numbers are accurate) at a conference of 900 ‘anti-vaxxers’ (if that is indeed what they are) would seem… not too bad? although 7/900 is not great compared to recorded cases/day data of the whole Floridian population. But then case undercounting is a problem – and not one that you’d expect to see from a conference of physicians, depending I guess on what their overall tendency to quackery is.

        So the article then (quite inadvertently I’m sure) raises a whole bunch of further questions:
        – is 7 infections better or worse than might be expected from a conference of this size and at this particular facility?
        – was the conference centre well ventilated? was the air being cleaned?
        – were the attendees masked? if so, how, and at what rates?
        – were the attendees taking drugs and/or supplements as covid prophylaxis? If so, what, and at what rates?

        Even thinking about addressing these questions sounds too much like hard work, though. And don’t forget to give us money because we’re the bestest truthfulest newspaper evah.

        Meanwhile, in the “most read articles sidebar”, I espy:

        A moment that changed me: The haircut that liberated me as a butch lesbian

        Like, when I flippantly mentioned guardian articles on the noble plight of sudanese draq queens (or whatever) a few days ago, I was being parodistic. But I’m not sure I could’ve made up that butch lesbian haircut headline on my best day.

        1. David

          I’m glad you made that comment, Basil. I didn’t have the heart to do the necessary work. The decline of the Grauniad, which I first read fifty years ago, is one of the saddest media stories of our time. I doubt if I click on more than one in ten of its stories now, but I still look down the RSS feed, because, frankly, what else is any better, if you want to find out what is at least supposed to be going on in the world?

      4. juliania

        It’s not really what we contract that is the problem; it’s how we handle it.

        In yesterday’s watercooler, lambert gave a comment on a Nature article quoting from it thusly:“Some people are better at fighting off seasonal flu when the strain of influenza virus is similar to the first one they encountered in childhood — a phenomenon evocatively dubbed ‘original antigenic sin’, or OAS.”

        I would submit that giving a negative connotation to a not fully understood phenomenon goes along with the Guardian headline in an attempt to frame the issue. I would simply call what many of us, oldies or young, value in facing this Corona crisis “OI” or “original immunity”. And I thank NC for keeping the dialogue open on whether this concept is a positive or a negative one.

        Thanks also to Rev Kev for his interpretation of the linked article, and also a delayed thanks for yesterday’s links article on President Kennedy; very much appreciated.

    2. zagonostra

      I’ve stopped clicking on MSM publications like the Guardian to educate myself on CV19. I do occasionally read them to see what propaganda value (propaganda in a neutral sense) they contain or what stories they are not covering. There are many good links here to be found like the one on “long covid” in today’s link but the Guardian is what it is.

      Also I could go to many sites that lean heavily “Right” and provide a long list of adverse effects of deaths of pro-vaccine advocates who died immediately or soon after receiving vaccine injections or other stories of horrific side-effects. When I visited one such site I learned that “pharmakeia” shows up in Revelation 18:23 and that it means “sorcery , or witchcraft” in it’s original Greek etymological meaning

      So from this extreme “Right” perspective, they would agree that the “hand of God” is visible.

      1. Kevin

        pharmakeia” shows up in Revelation 18:23 and that it means “sorcery , or witchcraft” in it’s original Greek etymological meaning

        Not surprising coming from a far right perspective. As a Christian (Old School, non-evangelical), I’ve noticed evangelicals love quoting the Old Testament. Not too much of the New Testament in their perspective. It’s hard to incorporate “Turn the other cheek” and “Love your neghbor as yourself” when your tribe’s mantra is the exact opposite. The Gospel means “Good News” – and we can’t have that!

        1. zagonostra

          What’s not surprising? That the etymology of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical, Pharmacia, is derived from an ancient Greek word that means “sorcery” and “witchcraft?” It was surprising to me. That it came form the left/Left, Right/right, Religious/nonreligious is not really all that relevant to me, in fact it’s a distraction.

          I’m not an “evangelical” but I love a good quote from the Old Testament as much as anyone else. The interconnective tissue between the Old and New Testament is complicated.

          The Gospel means “Good News” and we can’t have that? Why not? Well maybe I know why, because it’s too radical. Anyway I don’t feel the need to make a judgement on anyone quoting the Old Testament. I do have a problem with the deception and unbalanced coverage of covid coming from the Guardian and other MSM sources.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            The etymology is a little more nuanced than that. φάρμακον in ancient Greek translates to English as either “medicine” or “poison”. It all depends on the results! There really wasn’t the negative connation to the word in ancient times. The practice of medicine even today is often more of an art than a science and we often see pharmaceuticals that work as a cure in some people and not in others, and nobody really knows why. As Arthur C Clarke said, any advanced technology can seem like magic to those who don’t know how it works. In ancient times, people who administered treatments could be seen as sorcerors or magicians if the treatments worked, since they seemed to possess arcane knowledge that most people didn’t understand.

      2. Alphonse

        Pharmakon means poison, remedy – and scapegoat:

        pharmākos, in Greek religion, a human scapegoat used in certain state rituals. In Athens, for example, a man and a woman who were considered ugly were selected as scapegoats each year. At the festival of the Thargelia in May or June, they were feasted, led round the town, beaten with green twigs, and driven out or killed with stones.

        René Girard writes about this extensively. One example he gives is of the medieval scapegoating and massacre of Jews, who were rumoured to be the cause of plague. More generally, he argues, in a social crisis when distinctions of status break down into a war of all against all, people scapegoat. We pick someone different (e.g. someone diseased, foreign, or high status) and find unity by turning our rage on that individual (or group). On a society-wide level (though I don’t think Girard mentions this), we use war the same way.

        Girard sees scapegoating as the basis for all religion, and as a mechanism that made large-scale human societies possible. Scapegoating works: its collective violence brings people together. But the victim is innocent. That, he argues, not a metaphysical claim, is the central message of the New Testament (with traces in the Old, e.g. the story of Joseph, or of Abraham and Isaac).

        It’s a lesson we never really learned. Psychologist Mattias Desmet connects scapegoating to mass formation and totalitarianism. He sees it happening today with the pandemic. Charles Eisenstein sees the same thing. For all our rational pretensions, we are not so different from the ancients. I don’t think we should dismiss their wisdom lightly.

        1. norm de plume

          Great comment, thank you. Girard and Desmet I am familiar with, but I will have to look Eisenstein up.

          The scapegoat mechanism is going gangbusters here in Australia. I have some first hand experience of this.

          It was disappointing to see Angela Merkel’s consort bray that unvaccinated people are ‘lazy’, thereby helping to licence such scapegoating in the one country where you might have thought the ruling class would hesitate…

    3. curlydan

      This conference/summit in Ocala was mentioned in NC’s comments 1-2 weeks ago. I clicked on the article in that comment, saw the photos, and noted that no one is the photos was wearing a mask. I’m all for alternative treatments and multiple methods to prevent infection, but not wearing a mask at an indoor gathering of 900 people?

  2. Richard H Caldwell

    “Florida Looks To Directly Lower Gasoline Prices With Tax Relief” — genius way to keep those monster pickups rolling coal down the highways of FL. God Bless ‘Murrica!

    1. griffen

      Like water to a thirsty, weary traveler. For good or ill, that man knows his audience! And a short term repeal of just the state tax, might even encourage tourism*. Then again, golfers are not flying north in winter for better weather.

      *As opposed to the other reasons for moving to Florida. Such as the need for more humidity in your life. And worse traffic.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Not sure about the coal reference, but definitely agree that tax relief should be reserved for those who truly “deserve” it, like the SALT cap repeal in the “build back better” bill does.

    3. Martin Oline

      The F-150 pickup is built in Claycomo, Missouri, a subburb of KC, where about 80% of the electricity consumed is from coal powered plants. Perhaps you meant to say monster pickup trucks produced by deplorables using coal power? Coal is transported by train in the United States, much of it from the four corners region and Wyoming through Missouri on its way to the Ohio River valley. See the map.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “Rolling coal” is a term for modifying diesel engines so they belch out black smoke while driving. It’s a fairly expensive little mod, and a good tell that the Real Merkin! driving the vehicle is part of the local notables class, not a Dollar Store clerk. A 5 second google search could have shown you and katniss what it is, however, that would have deprived you of your rationale for sniping at a fairly modest jest-comment.

        I remember paying about as much for gas in 2007 as we do now. The value of a dollar then was greater than it is now, and the real hit for each gallon was commensurately greater. I recall it drove a small trend for buying gas-hybrid vehicles like the Prius. The media whined about gas prices then certainly, but the tenor of their complaints was less doom-drenched, even after the housing bust took hold.

        Bluntly, all the gnashing of teeth and grandstanding over the current price of fuel looks like BS in context with the price range of the last 20 years. The doyens of doom have latched onto this real, but still modest threat, not due to the degree of damage the current prices cause… but because they desperately yearning for more damage. Jawboning misery into existence is what the DeSantis types are aiming for, not relief.

        ( indicates $4.00 in 2007 = $5.31 today.)

      2. STEPHEN

        Rolling coal is a slang term for opening the throttle of a diesel engine faster than the fuel can combust, resulting in a massive plume of black smoke that resembles an old time train.

        It’s a common practice among certain truck owners.

      3. flora

        Thank you.
        An aside: When Enron was gouging CA for natural gas powered electricity prices back in the day, a local journalist – James Fisher – wrote several op-eds in the KC Star (once a great newspaper), one of his video op-eds appeared on the local PBS station about coal being unaffected by price gouging in electricity generation in our area, unlike the Enron price gouging in California’s electricity generation. There was a brief video clip in the PBS op-ed of long coal trains headed for KC.

        From the late and very great Molly Ivins:


        1. flora

          adding: the local newspaper this morning has a story that local electric utility prices are expected to more that double in this coming winter. The local power utility has decommissioned the local coal fired electrical utility plant. Prices and Profits!

          1. flora

            Much shorter: there are competing goods. The good of reducing CO2 and the good of making life livable for the poorer among us. etc. They are my neighbors, too.

  3. svay

    Oil Prices Rally After U.S. Announces Strategic Reserve Release

    Forgive my ignorance, but I’m unclear about this. They’ve made, or will make, ‘available 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to lower said oil prices.’ Presumably this means the oil will be sold alongside oil from other sources, but at prevailing market prices, or lower prices? I’ve read and listened to several reports on this so far, and none of them has explained. Maybe it’s blindingly obvious to those in the know, but it’s a mystery to me!

    1. cnchal

      “We think Strategic Petroleum Reserves are not a sustainable source of supply and the effect of such market intervention would only be temporary,” Barclays’s analysts wrote in a note before the release, as carried by Reuters.

      Cheap fuel is an American birthright. Shoving what amounts to a couple of days of petroleum use onto the “market” and making a big deal about practically nothing is a show of panic and desperation.

      Speculators speculate. It might be different if they had to take delivery of the stuff they speculate in before selling it on.

      1. griffen

        Re on cheap fuel. I think in a prior discussion about gas, inflation and a such that a comment flew in across the Atlantic. The comment was perhaps apathetic to our perceived fight against the “demons” of high gasoline.

        Cheap fuel and cheap beer. It makes America Great!

        1. Mildred Montana

          What I’d be interested in seeing is a breakdown of deaths from Covid in Latvia according to gender, which I don’t see anywhere in the Rev’s link. If male deaths are much higher than female, then it might provide some support for my alcohol hypothesis.

    1. Robert Gray

      Did anyone else notice the caption on the Deaths graph: ‘per 1 million population, 14-day period’. Just what ’14-day period’ would that be? And is it the same 14-day period for all the countries being compared? Without this information — and I’m sorry if it’s there, somewhere, but I couldn’t find it — I’d say the graph is meaningless.

      1. Objective Ace

        Yep–I did see that and thought the same. I also figured vaccination uptake might be a decent proxy for adequate/better public healthcare, so I’m not entirely sure how much we can conclude without controlling for outside factors. The numbers are drastically different though–so its certainly worth digging into more

      2. fjallstrom

        Presumably the last 14 days before the graph was made.

        The current wave is going from east to west in the EU. Eastern EU has peaked in cases and is about at the peak of deaths, mid and western EU states still has rising cases with corresponding deaths occurring in a month or so. Sweden and Spain has barely seen a rise in cases, both being far from the Eastern member states.

        Eastern EU also has the lowest rate of vaccination.

        A more accurate comparison would be to compare peak two weeks of deaths from this wave, but that can’t be done yet. Western EU will probably have a lower death rate, both from better health care in general and higher vaccination rates (which is also a result of better health care in general).

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t recall where I read it, but I’ve seen it suggested that the Covid spike in Latvia is related to very low humidity indoors during this time of year in the baltics. There is a fairly strong association with humidity levels below 40% and respiratory illness.

      Latvia is also a high emigration country, and this often leaves a disproportionate populaton of the old and sick, as its usually the young and healthy who move for work. So it could be a perfect storm of seasonal changes pushing people indoors in ideal conditions for the virus, along with a particularly vulnerable population.

  4. zagonostra

    >The West’s Wasted Crisis Yanis Varoufakis, Project Syndicate (David L)

    Wasted for whom? As Yanis stated in an article in NC links posted earlier this year, he states:

    Their most important interest is not to conserve economic potential, but to preserve the power of the few to compel the many.

    In this article he refers to the same group as he does in the previous one as, the “political elites.” The Crisis wasn’t wasted, they probably added a couple of zeros to their offshore hidden bank accounts. Also in this article he states:

    The European Union was forced to contemplate a fiscal union. Then, it helped remove Donald Trump from the White House.

    Is he referring to the Steele doiser and the U.K.’s involvement or were their other members of the EU that participated with the Dems’ 4 year Russiagate hysteria and psychop?

    1. flora

      In line with the idea of “preserving power for the few” is this twitter thread left in comments a few days ago. (h/t BP)

      ““If the position of an elite is stronger than the position of the masses, the elite isolates itself and demands obedience from the masses. Such collectives develop dogmatic styles of thinking in which a test of correctness is usually located in some distant past in a more or less” …

  5. Jackiebass63

    You see many stories about new invasive species appearing. Globalization and climate change help make this happen.

    1. ambrit

      s/ Yet we see almost no stories about the Zeta Reticulans, an old and long standing “invasive species.” /s

  6. zagonostra

    >Pandemic no excuse for White House to keep all JFK files secret – Oliver Stone to RT

    Seems when it comes to JFK assassination Trump and Biden read from the same script. I wonder who is writing it?

    “Not only he backed down at the last second and refused to release roughly 20,000 documents that we’re interested in,” Stone said of Trump. “He illegally added a step: he said that the next time the National Archive had to be also consulted. It was originally a decision made by Congress that the president was the last one to say anything to stop [the publication].”

    1. flora

      This can’t be about protecting individuals – it’s been too long. All the then actors are now long gone from the public stage or gone entirely. One wonders if an institution or institutions still here are being protected. My 2 cents.

      1. vidimi

        cheney’s still alive but, yeah, i think it’s more about keeping the constant threat secret from the public

      2. juliania

        The institution of ‘Black Friday’ as a shopping spree directly after Thanksgiving Day has always offended me, since Thanksgiving has such a universal theme of spiritual brotherhood in human terms, even if the original tale is a myth. But after reading yesterday’s link and comments my thought is to have Black Friday be a day of remembrance for the struggle President Kennedy’s death represents. Since apparently there is never going to be an official reckoning on the subject, in my lifetime at least.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Its to protect and defend the ongoing existence of the Paperclip Nazi deep state structures and to keep the current and ongoing secret bureau of Kennedy King Kennedy assassins in existence for use as deemed needed.

        1. Zagonostra

          No ambiguity in your statement. And with slight modification and expansion, I tend to agreeable with you.

  7. griffen

    I think the Onion has nailed the theme for this week’s holiday. Don’t let inflation get you down, Janet Yellen has a plan to help all Americans!

    I’m sure Jerome Powell is jealous.\sarc

    1. flora

      The real reason for sudden, much higher costs?

      “NEW: Inflation is being blamed on workers and government spending. The real culprit? Corporate greed.

      In our new episode of The Class Room we dug into financial reports to investigate the REAL reason prices are going up.

      Hint: corporate profits have never been higher.”

      Open the link and watch the short video.

      Prices are going up because corps decide to raise prices (crying “inflation” as an excuse).

      Can you say “profiteering” , boys and girls? / ;)

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        As with the port/truck/container pile up, everyone is making bank because they can charge extraordinary prices, rates, and fees. Everyone, that is, except the end consumer and the crews on the container ships. They have no reason to speed anything up as scarcity = profit.

      2. griffen

        Not sure about that simple, or simplified view of the circumstances. If we dialed back 12-15 months ago, both the US and global economies faced a possible risk of disinflation. Few people were driving or going into work, and airlines (by example) were facing a legitimate continuity crisis. And if few were driving into work, that does not bode greatly for the auto manufacturing and auto part suppliers to generate demand for new product.

        I think what we’re experiencing is the legitimate result of real goods inflation finally catching up to the cost increases for healthcare, pharmaceuticals, higher ed, et al. Prices are up since demand has gone up to and through the roof.

        1. lance ringquist

          that does not apply world wide. its that free trade has killed off any sorta local producers in america, which has allowed horrendous price gouging.

          what is still deflating is our standard of living. this is of course unsustainable, and with nafta democrats at the helm, plan on serious consequences.

      3. lance ringquist

        free trade killed off any sorta internal competition they may have had that would have jumped in with lower prices if the world wide oligarchy that controls these corporations had tried this under protectionism.

        there goes the myth that free trade lowers prices and is good for the poor.

        free trade is the ultimate deregulation. it creates massive concentration of economic power into the hands of a few world wide.

        which allows rampant parasitical behavior.

  8. Jackiebass63

    Many stories about vaccinated people getting Covid. It doesn’t surprise me.People think that just because they are vaccinated the won’t get Covid.That encourages people to think they don’t have to follow safe practices.Many don’t understand that being vaccinated doesn’t prevent you from contracting Covid.

    1. Ben S

      Interesting carry over from influenza. My college kid came down with Flu A, and the guidelines all focus on vaccines as public prevention, along with hand and surface washing. Dismisses masks as protection outside of hospital setting. Quarantine until fever gone for 24 hours despite shedding one day presymptomatically and up to a week.

      Sounds familiar? Initial Covid policy might have been cut and pasted.

      And I need to formulate my own risk mitigation paradigm for household contact, because CDC etc have none.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Eight reasons why the U.S. should ditch Turkey as a military partner”

    Personally I agree with a lot in this article about Turkey. It is authoritarian, corrupt and expansionist. It’s conduct has left it few friends and I doubt that any country actually trusts them at all. But that is irrelevant. Responsible Statecraft – or rather Doug Bandlow – may rail against Turkey’s behaviour but where he say ‘Finally, the Biden administration should begin NATO discussions on options ranging from limiting Turkey’s role in decision-making to ousting Ankara from the transatlantic alliance’ that is just delusional. For a start, after the US the country that contributes the most troops to NATO is Turkey-

    It also controls the Dradanelles so if the US wants to send a ship into the Black Sea, it can be only done with Turkey’s tolerance. The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class ship can do many things but it cannot fly over those straits into the Black Sea. Also, the US has nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base to threaten Russia with and it does not want to lose that. Of course the Turks may ask why they are being continuously punished for buying the Russian S-400 system but when India has done the same, it is with the blessing of the US with no sanctions at all. I can only think that this article reflects Washington’s frustration with Turkey going its own way and this Doug Bandlow article is a reflection of this as, after all, he is a paid up member of the establishment-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      But Turkey is in what is supposed to be the captive market. Also, Turkey is a largely Muslim country. The imperial elites are still the same old imperial elites. I feel the whole article is one long dog whistle as you point out it ignores strategic thought.

      I should note Turkey and the Russian Federation do have a great deal in common. Despite the fantasies of DC imperial types, these aren’t the old empires. And unlike the Soviets they don’t really have access to former serfs. The world is full of citizens now which is a different issue. The temptation to “liberate brothers” isn’t there or at least in places worth at dawn.

      Also, I think the Russians already redeployed their fleet after the success of their cruise missiles. They don’t need a black sea fleet.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      As long as the USA continues to incite Ukraine to attempt to reconquer the Russian-speaking provinces in its east, and to pretend it will support them beyond the last Uke, naval access to the Black Sea is essential. Turkey controls said access, ergo . . .

      1. John

        Poking at Russia; moving nuclear weapons to and around Europe; making threats and demands. Are the leaders of the US and the EU quite mad? Do they really want a war with Russia? I cannot imagine they do, but I stopped believing the the common sense or rationality of our “wise leaders” some time ago.

        If Ukraine is deluded into thinking the promises of support are anything other than hot air and actually attack Donbas or Crimea, I think Russia will, if necessary, do just enough to stop them in their tracks and not provide the EU and the US with reason to hit the fainting couch while crying, “Oh, the humanity!”

        1. Martin Oline

          It is likely Ukraine is merely playing along with the rhetoric from Washington in order to get all the military aid they can get as long as it lasts. They sold off a tremendous amount of the old Soviet arms to other countries after the fall of the USSR. They will do it again. I am sure they have no intention of poking the bear with anything other than words. Words that will please Blinken and his bosses on Wall Street.

          1. ambrit

            The question is if actual Ukies are in control. They should care about how badly their country gets “beaten up” in any proxy war between East and West. If “outsiders” are making the decisions, then the poor Ukies are expendable pawns.
            I know that comparisons between the Ukraine situation and Serbia before WW-1 are somewhat facile, but the similarities I see are quite troublesome. At least we don’t have to worry about mobilizing the troops by train now.

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      There’s a lot to unpack in this article, and I was planning to write a long-ish comment deconstructing it until towards the end I reached this gem:

      “The U.S. should remove its nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik Air Base…”

      Which stunned me, because I assumed that (given all that’s occurred in that part of the world since 2013 or so) the U.S. had long since pulled its nukes out of there. Silly naive me. If they’re still there, then the Pentagon is even more incompetent than I thought.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        > then the Pentagon is even more incompetent than I thought.

        Mike Pompeo was first in his class at the USMA West Point. Says it all. I have said it here before, and will say it again: our best and brightest do NOT go to the service academies.

    4. Bazarov

      Turkey has competent special forces and strong intelligence gathering capabilities.

      For its size/economic clout, it can field a surprisingly effective military force and project power as far as Libya.

      Sounds like an excellent ally, if you can get it. And I think Turkey knows it’s an attractive ally, which is why it plays hard to get, flirting with the Russians (their ancestral enemies) here, aligning with the Americans there whenever it’s in their interest to do so.

      It’s an old game. They’ve been playing it pretty well.

    5. the last D

      I keep waiting for someone to remark how turkey will be carved and sliced and appropriated tomorrow, onto dinner plates in dining rooms all across the USA, NATO membership notwithstanding.

      1. Pat

        Gad. I may be dreading Adams, but at this rate after years of defense I will be joining the hoards telling Bill not to let the door hit you on the ass.
        Pointless and annoying posturing as they don’t have enough MTA officers to police the system for real crimes as it is.

        OTOH, I want to see the fallout in Buffalo and adjoining regions for an elected official who wants to codify fraud for insurance providers. Not just disgusting but can’t read the room.

    1. ambrit

      The “Vaccine Mandates” are fueling a huge increase in Conspiracy Theories. The sharp point of the spear here is that, with these exclusionary laws, whether enforceable or not, the Status Quo Elites are visibly splitting the populace into “Compliant” and “Non Compliant” groups. That can lead to some very unpleasant outcomes.

    2. Objective Ace

      >Do your part or pay your own way.

      Those who happen to be vaccinated and yet are going out to restaurants, malls, sporting events etc. all the time are absolutely not doing their part [to contain the virus]. I guess the conclusion is the goal isnt really to contain the virus.

    3. Ernie

      Where is the companion bill to deny lung cancer treatment to those who refuse to quit smoking? Freedom isn’t free.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “Freedom isn’t free”.

        Which is why smokers now commonly paying higher rates for insurance, in the individual market and in some group plans as well. Note also their invariably higher life insurance premiums. Basically, in a nominally market economy once the actuarial data is good enough, going without vaccines should involve paying different amounts for insurance than those who are vaccinated. Possibly also paying different amounts as co-pays.

        Note the word different does not equal more necessarily. But, if it does come out that the un-vaxxed cost more to insure… I can gay-run-tee you that Republican politicians, and most of their media brain trust, will squeal bl**dy murder if businesses try to price that risk accurately. Suddenly, valid concerns about overpaid C-suite executives will spill from the lips of the DeSantis types. They’ll prattle righteously about regulatory punishments, and pontificate at length about corporate malfeasance.

        1. Objective Ace

          >going without vaccines should involve paying different amounts for insurance than those who are vaccinated

          Way too early to say this (which incidentally is a red herring not related to the topic at hand). What does going without Covid vaccines even mean? In many countries you arent even considered vaccinated anymore a mere 6 months after

  10. bassmule

    Re: Cops Are Needlessly Scaring People: “It does feed into a moral panic around drug use.” Moral panic? C’mon, man! It feeds customers to legal pot shops, where what you buy comes with a chemical analysis on the label.

    1. GramSci

      Back in the sixties my dealer explained, “if my supplier has pot laced with heroin, he’ll tell me because he can charge more for it.”

  11. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Florida Looks To Directly Lower Gasoline Prices With Tax Relief”

    If the federal government learned anything from free market capitalists, the feds would use this opportunity to raise the federal tax on gasoline sold in Florida.

    1. Bakes

      If the federal government cared anything about global warming, the feds would use this opportunity to raise the federal tax on gasoline sold in the USA.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “France Is Freeing Fruit and Veg from Its Plastic Prison”

    This sounds like a good story this. You go down to a supermarket and you find individual pieces of vegetables in their own plastic sleeve on their own plastic base and you wonder what the point of it all is. It must add to the cost of those vegetables due to the costs of that plastic and the work, even if done by machines, to individually wrap them. And of course it is up to the buyer to now dispose of all that plastic which helps absolutely nobody. If they can ban this practice country by country, then all the better.

    1. Zamfir

      Wrapping individual vegetables is cheap, and it helps to keep them good for longer. It keeps moisture in, and prevents infections from the outside. I think the latter is most important.

      Basically, this exchanges plastic waste for food waste. But the food waste is out of sight, shops quickly remove the bad items. The plastics wrappers are thrown away by consumers, so it gets attention.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If spoiled or stale food were all composted, the food-compost could be sent back to the farm/orchard soil that food was grown on, and mixed back into it to give it another chance at becoming food again.
        You can’t do that with plastic. Spoiled food is not inherently waste, When it is thrown away instead of composted into a soil ammendment, it is being deliberately wasted instead of used. Whereas one-use plastic is inherently waste.

        Then too, food grown in more nutri-loaded and soil microbiome functional may have enough more nutrients in it so as to be more decay and fungus/mold resistant. A now long-dead agronomist named Carey Reams discovered that sugars-level in a plant sample closely fellow-traveled with mineral levels in that same plant sample. He found he could measure the sugars level in the juice/sap squeezed out of a plant sample and find out the amount of sugars in it. He discovered that over a certain level ( different for different species of plants) the plant had enough sugars and bio-useful minerals in it as to be rendered resistant to surface infections.

        He created a brix-table chart of poor-good-great levels of sugars for many different crop plants.
        Here is a bunch of images of various versions of Carey Reams’s Brix Charts.;_ylt=AwrEzecfY59hyZIAFflXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANBMDYzNF8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=plant+brix+chart+image&fr=sfp

        High-enough brix produce might still need plastic wrap to stop dryout, but not to stop decay or fungus. The produce itself would be metabolicly fit enough to repel such infection itself. Reams once suggested the following rule of thumb test for quality level in fruits and vegetables. If it was high enough in sugars and mineral nutrients, it would begin drying down like raisins before it could begin to mold or rot.

    1. Mr. Magoo

      No state income taxes when it is time to cash in all those insider-trades…..

      “$$$ >> integrity” rule 1 on both sides of the aisle.

    2. Questa Nota

      Road-kill eating now adds chapters to those recipe books.
      Bonus prize is more video of inter-species combat, just in time for Thanksgiving Dinner.

    3. SteveB

      Just learned from a source VERY familiar with RE transactions in Martin County FL
      that the Pelosi report is FALSE…..

  13. GramSci

    If free market capitalists learn anything from free market capitalists, they will raise the price of oil sold in Florida. Although probably not enough to stop DeSantis from running as Trump II.

    1. Lee

      I see Chris Christie out and about these days promoting a book and talking up Trumpism without Trump. I assume this would feature economic nationalism employing tariffs or other measures and limiting immigrant labor absent racist dog whistling. And tax cuts for the job creators, of course. I could see this as being a pretty appealing pitch to many voters. Much depends on the economic impact of the Democrat’s current initiatives, which may yet again prove to be too little, too late.

    2. Michael McK

      California has the highest prices in the nation, yet, IIRC, we are #3 in crude production and #2 in refining. We sell oodles of refined products out of state and nation. Our ‘environmental’ regulations add at most a penny or 3 to the cost of producing a gallon yet we pay at least a dollar fifty more than elsewhere. Why? If you ask me it is to gouge the ‘environmentalists’ and use the profits to conspire against them.
      I suspect DeSantis will be a top choice of the Capitalists so Florida can expect cheap gas for the next few years.

  14. Basil Pesto

    Dollar Tree made $1,230,000,000 in profits this year, gave its CEO $10,767,883 and pays workers as little as $8.32 an hour. Over 7,400 Dollar Tree employees are forced to rely on food stamps and Medicaid subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. Cite the damn corporate greed.

    oi nah obviously the real cause of Dollar Tree price inflation is government spending ?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “NASA will launch a spacecraft into an asteroid to knock it off course tonight”

    Yeah, about that. NASA just had a news conference where they revealed a minor problem. It seems that when they were doing their calculations on where to intercept this asteroid, somebody used a minus sign rather than a plus sign. Not to panic but it seems that when that spacecraft hits this asteroid, that it will nudge it into an intercept course with our planet instead. The new calculations are not yet complete but when it hits, either the eastern seaboard of the United States will be obliterated or else Tierra del Fuego but NASA scientists are confident that it will be one or the other.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Workers acting as rational actors in an economic system is not a revolt. There are simple solutions to finding workers that the owners do not want to implement.. it’s called pay more.

      1. Michael

        1 : to renounce allegiance or subjection (as to a government) or Corporation
        2 : a movement or expression of vigorous dissent

        More pay isn’t enough. Working conditions suck. Too many hours demanded.

        May as well join a gang.

          1. John

            If employers know no other way to behave than to act as petty tyrants, if companies cannot imagine actually paying a living wage to “those” people, if the profit margin and the CEO’s compensation (for what?) must never decrease, if the employee is exploited, why would anyone want to accept a job?

            Simple rule: Do not treat people like s—.

      2. Jason Boxman

        You raise an interesting point regarding the language used. You never read about consumer goods manufacturers revolting against consumer welfare when they raise prices or reduce packaging size. Instead corporate leaders are merely responding to price signaling.

      3. Count Zero

        Seems that the only market in which bargaining between buyers and sellers cannot take place is the labour market.

    2. elissa3

      Love it! Thanks so much for the Bored Panda link. This is not something one would have noticed in the mainstream media.

  16. antidlc

    RE: Biden gives Harris cold shoulder at DC soup kitchen after reported tensions

    From the NY POST article:

    Biden departed the soup kitchen for an evening flight to Nantucket, where he will celebrate Thanksgiving with his family at the compound of billionaire David Rubenstein, according to Nantucket Magazine.

    Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group:

  17. Carolinian

    Re the NYT Arkansas anti-BDS story–here’s your deeply reasoned support for the Israeli lobbyist sponsored legislation right here.

    Senator Hester explains that his religious belief motivates everything he does as a government official, including writing Arkansas’s anti-boycott law. He also explains his eschatological beliefs: “There is going to be certain things that happen in Israel before Christ returns. There will be famines and disease and war. And the Jewish people are going to go back to their homeland. At that point Jesus Christ will come back to the earth.” He added, “Anybody, Jewish or not Jewish, that doesn’t accept Christ, in my opinion, will end up going to hell.” Senator Hester and his coreligionists may see the anti-boycott law as a way to support Israel, whose return to its biblical borders, according to their reading of scripture, is one of the precursors to the Second Coming and Armageddon.

    SC has one of these laws as well but it is claimed to be about the state’s economic relationship with Israel (not sure what that is)–nothing about being raptured.

    1. ambrit

      And in Texas, some Millennialist Ranchers are trying to breed back the Red Heiffers.
      In Israel itself, every year an ultra-religious political party introduces a resolution to begin rebuilding the Temple on the Rock. There is that pesky Muslim shrine in the way. Every year, so far, the ‘Rebuild the Temple’ law is voted down.
      If only someone would prove that the Ark of the Covenant really is in Axum in the Ethiopian highlands.
      Then Israel could buy the province, and rebuild the Temple there. There once was a legitimate Temple in Aswan in Egypt, so why not in Ethiopia?
      Aswan Temple:

      1. skippy

        Conversely the Ethiopians could use this historical foot note along with a stronger genetic claim – too the past – and claim itself the true Jewish state.

        You know … how so many individuals and flocks march backwards to the source of purity in devotion … after they figure out they were duped by previous latter versions extracting rents and using them as personal playthings …

        On the other hand they might need a nuclear arsenal to stave off having their land salted, in perpetuity, for stealing the flow of funds such an occurrence would potentially shift ….

      2. skippy

        Absolutely astonished that you did not respond, so many permutations to that scenario and all thingy …. noted.

        1. ambrit

          Oh bugger, skippy. We just saw the middle daughter and the grandkids off on their way back to Loosianna. (Round here, driving in the middle of the night is often safest.) So, first time checking the comments board since this morning, sorry. (How’s that “sorry” at the end for classic passive agressive?) Since it’s now a split family structure for them, she gets the kids for one “holiday” day, and he gets them for the other, usually the “actual” holiday day. Go figure.
          As for the Tribe of Menelek; I have no dog, or desert jackal, in this hunt. I’m with Robert Graves and his book “King Jesus” for my take on biblical exegesis.
          I remember back in the Civil War in Ethoipia during the 1980s that the State of Israel half-heartedly exfiltrated many of the remaining Ethiopian Jews, and took them off to the “Promised Land.” The Ethiopes practiced the most “primitive” type of Hebraic religious observance known then. The ethiope refugees were treated quite poorly when they settled in the Modern Realm of David. (I’m surp[rised they weren’t sent to “settle” the Damascene parts of the Old Old Kingdom, per the lofty aspirations of the Judea and Samaria clique.)
          Again, I abase myself for my tardy reply. In atonement, (goes with the Biblical territory,) I shall self-flagellate with wet noodles at the dawn.
          Be safe over there!

            1. ambrit

              Thanks, and do consider the link to the Curious Case of the Temple on Elephantine Island, Upper Egypt. If a splinter of the Twelve Tribes could set up a ‘legitimate’ Temple in some far odd field, then what’s top stop it being done today? There are some who would back setting up such a facility on Madagascar. The idea goes on back to the original Z Clan.
              This being Thanksgiving here in America, I often see these holidays as celebrations of the Secular Religion. Thanksgiving being an effusion of emotion surrounding the WASP Origin Story. What if it were the other way around? The Natives treating the Settlers to grub at their Fall Harvest Festival? That would put a ‘kink’ in the Rugged Tamers of the Wilderness meme.
              As the frequently prescient “Firesign Theatre” group said; “Everything you know is wrong.”
              Enjoy Summer!

  18. Carla

    Re: Vitamin D.

    John Campbell reviewed this paper in two videos a couple of days ago:

    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 25(OH)D3: Results of a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

    First I ever heard of vitamin K2, which we’re now taking, along with our D3.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That article is infuriating. Its a classic case of a seemingly rational scientific assessment based on idiotically flawed assumptions. And then added in a little bit of irrelevant racial politics to the mix (ignoring the vastly disproportionate death rate among African immigrants in countries like Sweden).

      Vitamin D is not a drug, its not a novel compound. Its basically food. To hold it up to the same degree of scrutiny as if it was a new drug is deeply flawed.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        If you are referring to How much does vitamin D protect us from diseases like COVID? included in today’s links, I agree it is a ridiculous article.

        The problems start with the headline, which makes it sound like there is considerable doubt whether Vitamin D enhances our immune system’s ability to fight disease.

        Then the author jauntily recites a number of virus-conspiracy theories before reluctantly admitting that Vitamin D supplements are probably more helpful than drinking bleach or snorting cocaine.

        But a funny thing happens once the author proceeds into the main section of the article. All of the studies he cites strongly support the notion that Vitamin D in very helpful in strengthening the immune system and/or fighting Covid-19 infection, with one exception:

        “But a randomized clinical trial published around the same time in Brazil didn’t find any positive or negative outcomes of treating hospitalized COVID patients with vitamin D supplements.”

        Clicking on the Brazil study link reveals that it involved giving patients already in the hospital with moderate to severe Covid a huge, one-time dose of Vitamin D. Unsurprisingly, they conclude that it made no difference in the patients’ outcomes.

        My understanding is that you need to ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D3 before you are ever exposed to infection, because it takes at least a few weeks for the supplements to raise levels to the recommended 50 ng/mL blood calcidiol 25(OH)D3.

        The meta-analysis study that Campbell reviews concludes that:

        The datasets provide strong evidence that low D3 is a predictor rather than just a side effect of the infection. Despite ongoing vaccinations, we recommend raising serum 25(OH)D levels to above 50 ng/mL to prevent or mitigate new outbreaks due to escape mutations or decreasing antibody activity.

        Silly articles like the Popular Science one don’t even have the courage to state in the headline or anywhere else what the evidence in its own article suggests: that VItamin D supplementation may very well be one of the most important tools in our fight against Covid infection.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I could have gone into more detail. The Brazil study should never be quoted in a serious article, it was clearly carried out in bad faith. It tested protocols that were already known through meta studies not to benefit the immune system, as published in 2019 in the BMJ. The latter study concluded:

          Conclusions Vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall. Patients who were very vitamin D deficient and those not receiving bolus doses experienced the most benefit.

        2. Carla

          Thanks for chiming in, Lemmy. Perhaps it’s that D3 is too cheap and too easily available, so it threatens the profit-driven global medical-industrial complex.

          Another thing: I also think that the information about taking K2 with high doses of D3 is pretty important.

          Of course I’m am referring NOT to the Popular Science article, but to this meta-analysis:

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Perhaps its that too many people getting enough vitamin D mean that not enough people will get covid to advance the ” infect everybody” jackpot design engineering agenda.

          2. Basil Pesto

            Perhaps it’s that D3 is too cheap and too easily available, so it threatens the profit-driven global medical-industrial complex.

            This cliché doesn’t really work though, because it ignores the question of Big Supplement. Consider Swisse (which iirc John Hempton lost money on in a short sell gone wrong), or Blackmores, who make the supplements I take. Not quite Big Pharma big, no, but big enough to not be powerless lambs.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Dietary supplements are more expensive in Oz because thanks to the TGA, they are all made to pharmaceutical grade.

              And speaking of Blackmores, I am pretty sure it was their echinacea I bought back in the day and even had sent to me in the US for a while. It was the only echinacea that I found to be effective in knocking back bugs in their early stage.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, sorry, I oversimplified to make my point, I’m aware its a hormone and mostly endogenous. My overall point is that it should not be compared to a novel compound or drug when assessing its usefulness.

    2. SKM

      Vitamin D isn`t “a complex nutrient” it is a steroid pro-hormone indispensible to an adequate immune response, in this case to respiratory infections leading to ARDS. A group in Germany has just published a clearly written, excellent review of the evidence for the crucial role of it`s lack in most severe Covid outcomes. The references include all the many relevant studies in the field. Very worth a read: Nutrients 2021, 13, 3596. From the introduction:
      “Vitamin D (is) a powerful epigenetic regulator, influencing more than 2500 genes [39] and impacting dozens of our most serious health challenges [40], including cancer [41,42], diabetes mellitus [43], acute respiratory
      tract infections [44], chronic inflammatory diseases [45], and autoimmune diseases such as
      multiple sclerosis [46].
      In the field of human immunology, the extrarenal synthesis of the active metabolite
      calcitriol-1,25(OH)2D3-by immune cells and lung epithelial cells has been shown to have
      immunomodulatory properties [47–52]. Today, a compelling body of experimental evidence indicates that activated vitamin D3 plays a fundamental role in regulating both
      innate and adaptive immune systems [53–56]. Intracellular vitamin D3 receptors (VDRs)
      are present in nearly all cell types involved in the human immune response, such as monocytes/macrophages, T cells, B cells, natural killer (NK) cells, and dendritic cells (DCs).
      Receptor binding engages the formation of the “vitamin D3 response element” (VDRE),
      regulating a large number of target genes involved in the immune response [57]. As a
      consequence of this knowledge, the scientific community now agrees that calcitriol is
      much more than a vitamin but rather a highly effective hormone with the same level of
      importance to human metabolism as other steroid hormones.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Why did Russia deploy so many forces against NATO? The Saker (Micael T, Chuck L)

    Who’s afraid of China’s nukes? Asia Times

    Both make the linked argument that the West is fundamentally misreading Russia and China, interpreting rational responses to US moves to ‘aggression’. As the Saker has pointed out, Ukraine means that Moscow is about as far from the frontier of NATO as Paris is from Germany, and so for obvious reasons they want to make sure that this zone is very well defended. I suspect that the military planners in NATO are fully aware that the Russians are making reasonable attempts to ensure they can’t be attacked, but I guess they just can’t help themselves when briefing the media, who of course just regurgitate simplistic analyses.

    The Chinese sitiuation is in many ways more tragic. If there is such a thing as a ‘sensible’ nuclear policy, China had it. Have enough warheads to deter any attacker, but keep them safely tucked away so they couldn’t be misused or result in anyone considering them a direct threat. But its clear that China’s policy has changed, and they now want the same sort of huge arsenal that the US and Russia possesses. Its stupid, but its also entirely rational of the Chinese to look at US politics and think that they have no choice. And its astonishing that the brains trust in Washington don’t seem to realise this. Or perhaps they do, but its in their interest not to tell anyone. And again, the media never bother going beyond the most superficial level of analysis.

      1. Huey Long

        Not for nothing, SAC used to do this regularly during the cold war to harass the USSR. Hopefully no civilians die this time around, a la KAL 007.

      2. Bill Smith

        These articles, including the RT one are typically pretty bad.

        “American nuclear-capable bombers” <– what does that really mean? Anything? B1-B are mentioned but aren't they under START non nuclear?

        20 kilometers, if accurate, is pretty close though, even if over Estonia, Latvia, …

          1. John

            The US, occasional rhetoric aside, has one response: force and the threat of force. Go back to the Anchorage meeting March where Blinken tried to lecture the Chinese and was slapped down. Neither the Chinese nor the Russians have paid much attention to US demands and US bluster since then. The Guilin meeting was three days after Anchorage. Each is seeing to its national interest.

            Think how the picture would change if the US simply assumed that neither China nor Russia is looking to start a war, which I believe to be the case.

    1. David

      I think for China it’s mostly about politics: they want to move from being seen as a “minor” nuclear power, comparable with the UK and France and even India/Pakistan, to being a nuclear power at the same level as the US and Russia, which they presumably think their economic success entitles them to. This will give them more influence in the places where it matters, and enable them to play a greater role in the NPT talks, for example. It’s not about deterrence as such, but about the complicated power games that go on among the nuclear powers. For example, the Russian ABM system around Moscow, recently upgraded, might well be able to defeat a Chinese nuclear attack, and could certainly prevent the Chinese from carrying out a retaliatory strike after being attacked. The Chinese need more, and survivable, launchers if they are to have that capability. It’s not that the Russians are going to attack China, nor that the Chinese think they are, but rather that in the endless poker game of nuclear politics, China thinks it needs a stronger hand.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The Chinese always think long term, so I assume they are not relying on current good relations with Russia to always be the norm. So I guess they have more than one target programmed into their missiles. Maybe more than two.

        I’m sure it does give them leverage, but its a hellishly expensive way to do it. China already is suffering something of a labour crunch for skilled engineers – apparently Airbus find building aircraft in China no cheaper than France now. So I wonder how long they can continue to pour money into programmes like this. China has clearly decided to go beyond deterrence and area denial as a strategy, they want to be a peer match for the US and Russia (hence the aircraft carrier project). I wonder what happens if and when they realise that this may not be affordable.

        1. John

          If we are talking nuclear weapons, how many deliverables define deterrence? If China gets up to 1,000, that seems like more than enough. Collectively there are more than enough to cause the rubble to bounce and then fuse into glass. Eventually, there might be life on earth beyond bacteria and cockroaches.

          Am I wrong to think that China possesses area denial weapons today and is working on ones more advanced. If a carrier task force cannot approach to operational range without being in extreme danger, does that not constitute area denial? Missiles are cheaper than carriers. I think the carrier age is over, but it has not yet had its Pearl Harbor.

          1. David

            Well, we can make some very rough calculations. A Chinese deterrent force would have to be capable of absorbing a first strike from either the US or Russia, and retaliating with enough force to make the attack itself pointless. Otherwise there is no deterrence. Chinese ICBM technology is well behind that of the US and Russia, and its limited number of SSBNs are noisy, and constrained in the areas they can deploy into. It’s also clear that their command and control system is highly centralised and very inflexible, and it’s not at all how well it would survive a nuclear attack.

            To plausibly threaten the ten largest US cities, as well as military targets, the Chinese would need to be able to strike with, let’s say, a bare minimum of five ICBMs at each, bearing in mind that some would not arrive, that others might malfunction etc. Let’s say 75 missiles. We don’t know whether the Chinese would be capable of retargeting missiles after an attack, so let’s assume that all the missiles they have left are already targeted, but perhaps not on the right places. Launching missiles from a submarine is, to put it mildly, advertising yourself, and few submarines would last very long once they started firing. So if we assume a bare minimum of 75 missiles potentially arriving, then you are going to need at least twice that many launched. This is even more the case with Russia, which is upgrading and extending the world’s only fully-operational strategic ABM system around Moscow. So at that rate, you need a number of launchers such that perhaps 200 would survive a first strike, in turn so that there was a minimum number to be launched and to arrive at the target. So the overall number (accepting that static, road-mobile and submarine launched missiles are not fully interchangeable) would be 200 multiplied by a factor which reflected the number you expected to lose. If you say conservatively that a US or Russian first strike would destroy 80% of your inventory, then 1000 missiles sounds about right.

            None of this means, of course, that the Chinese fear Russian or US attack, still less that either means to attack them. But there are people in national defence structures who have the real figures and real assumptions for these calculations, and the results of the calculations do make a political difference.

          2. skippy

            The best part of all this is game theory is rubbish, but it advances or provides cover for some directing traffic in geopolitical theater, under the banner of self interest/s, and its all accepted as fait accompli due to protracted environmental forces.

        2. Michaelmas

          The Chinese always think long term, so I assume they are not relying on current good relations with Russia to always be the norm.

          Around 1970, the then-Soviet government asked Nixon and Kissinger sub rosa if the US would be okay with the USSR using nukes on Mao’s China, in a dispute those latter two were then having. Happily, Nixon and Kissinger indicated that the US would look with extreme disfavor on such an escalation and it never happened.

          But while David is right about the Chinese thinking ahead, Russia has had its own Green revolution and become one of the world’s biggest agricultural exporters, maybe the biggest, which means the Chinese can now buy their food from the Russians along with their natural gas, and so increasingly decouple from the US without practical economic consequences.

          Thereby, a bloc of aligned powers is firming up in Halford MacKinder’s World-Island that includes 53 percent of the global population and excludes the Anglosphere of the maritime Rimlands. This will likely become the central geopolitical fact of the next century, along with climate change (and it’s the Russians and the Chinese who’ll be the deciders with that too, not the West). So China-Russia collaboration will probably remain the norm for a long time to come.

          All this — including the fact that the Russians had themselves a little Green revolution after US-mandated international sanctions on them in 2015 — is the result of own goal after own goal committed by the American foreign policy, perhaps the stupidest foreign policy establishment of the last thirty years even granted there’s plenty of competition.

          It almost makes you wish for Nixon and Kissinger again. One of the little-known facts of US foreign policy in that era was that in 1971 the USSR based nuclear missile-bearing platforms in Cienfuegos Bay in Cuba again. Nixon and Kissinger rightfully decided there was no practical reason to have a replay of the Cuba crisis of 1963 and simply ignored the Soviet nuclear presence there.

          1. Bill Smith

            The sub “base” was never completed at Cienfuegos Bay and even the submarine tender was withdrawn after the port visit of two or three Soviet subs which likely equipped with nuclear weapons. Allegedly the US raised the issue in Moscow and the Soviets decided it wasn’t’ worth arguing over – or something.

            The US said “port” visits didn’t count as basing, but a permeant base would be an issue.

        3. Kouros

          In the play for Taiwan, China needs a bigger nuclear deterrent against the US (because the conventional war will go south fast for the US, which will be tempted to use nukes).

          Nothing to do with Russia. It is the fear of the US, which has no qualms in nuking others as long as it thinks it can get away with it.

          1. Procopius

            I’ve been baffled by U.S. foreign policy since Hillary was SecState. They clearly want to provoke both Russia and China, but it’s hard to believe they are fools enough to think they can win a war with either. I can’t imagine what benefit they think they are getting that is greater than the danger they are inviting. I assume they believe nuclear weapons can somehow cow both, and that seems improbable at best. I speculate that the top “leaders” in both parties believe that everything we were told about the effects of nuclear explosions since 1945 was a lie intended to keep the populace frightened of our adversaries, and that a nuclear war will be just like World War I or II again. How else could they advocate for dropping a “tactical” nuke on North Korea’s missile range as a “bloody nose,” that DPRK would respond to by surrendering. I’ve recently read that current USAF doctrine is that they could “defend” Taiwan without going nuclear. Funny, I’ve read (sorry, couldn’t find the links) that in every war game on the subject since 1980 they (the Air Force) declared that the war would have to go nuclear within the first week. If just three Chinese warheads could reach Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles, our shipping networks would be paralyzed for months, and large cities only have enough food on hand at any time for three or four days, at most. The Chinese are thought (according to public information) to have from 250 to 400 warheads. I’d bet more than three would get through.

      2. Bill Smith

        The problem I’ve seen with modeling of the ABM stuff, taking the above mentioned Moscow as an example, is that once the first nuclear weapon goes off, maybe an air burst relatively near Moscow, how well does the sensor suite then function to detect follow up warheads (that aren’t destroyed via fratricide)?

        At least the upgraded defense missiles no longer use nuclear warheads? So the Russians won’t be clouding their own sensors?

        1. David

          My understanding, for example from this article, is that the Soviet ABM system now expects to destroy incoming missiles much farther away – up to 1500km, and, as you say, not necessarily with nuclear warheads. The reality, I think, is that no-one actually has a clue what would happen in such a situation.

        2. WobblyTelomeres

          > So the Russians won’t be clouding their own sensors?

          Are you presuming terrestrial sensors?

          1. Bill Smith

            Until recently, yeah, terrestrial. That is changing, but the power requirements are still very large for a radar that can resolve targets as small as .25 meters (RCS) at range.

            From what I’ve seen, modeling sensors effectiveness after a nuclear explosion often parallels the modeling of the effect of very large solar flares. Otherwise it’s back to the early 1960’s.

  20. vidimi

    Italy’s Draghi vetoes third Chinese takeover this year

    from the article:

    Zhejiang Jingsheng Mechanical (300316.SZ) said Rome had blocked its attempt to set up a joint venture with the Hong Kong arm of Applied Materials (AMAT.O) to buy the U.S.-based group’s screen printing equipment business in Italy.

    emphasis mine

    seems to contradict this point from the article summary:

    Draghi keen to shield strategic assets from foreign takeovers

    . not all foreign ownership of strategic assets is bad, it appears.

  21. John Beech

    Why are we poking the Russian bear? Is it to have justification for defense money flowing to Lockheed? So the Democrats want an increase in social spending approximately equal to half of the Pentagon budget, eh? I say give it to them. It’s all Monopoly-money anyway. Or is there a scenario where USD$30T gets paid back? If not, then what about USD$50T?

    I have an idea, let’s hold informal chats with Japan, China, the EU, and all the rest of the usual suspects and encourage the flow of money to the citizens. MMT, is it? Why the heck not? What have we go to lose? I suspect the world is a happier place if everybody has enough money to buy stuff. Not like we can’t produce enough, right?

    What am I missing in thinking if everybody else went into debt making sure their people were happy the world would spin more smoothly. Go ahead and give Lockheed more money. But to the poor, also. Heck, to the rich too . . . no means testing, everybody gets the lagniappe!

    There, I’ve solved all the world’s problems. Raise your hand if you want me to be king for the day! Milk and honey, I promise.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Wolves make roadways safer, generating large economic returns to predator conservation”

    I can guess two reasons for this. Being on a road means that the deer feel like they are in the open and thus exposed to any lurking wolves so they avoid roads when they can. Second, the wolves are taking down the deer that are basically stupid. You know. The ones that get caught in the headlights of a car and instead of running just stand there wondering if those lights will be friends with them.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The flipside is that wolf predation makes deer a lot bigger. They usually shrink in wolf free countries like the Red Deer of Ireland and Scotland because the biggest predator is hunters looking for a good head with antlers. Its the little stumpy guys with mismatched antlers who get to survive and run off with the cutest girls.

        The landscape of fear has been very effective with the invasive grey squirrel in Ireland. The very rare pine marten is making a comeback and sweeping away the greys. There are not nearly enough of them to wipe them out – ecologists think that the fear of martens is keeping squirrels up the trees and away from the choicest food. The native red squirrel is smaller and so can escape on very fine branches and twigs.

  23. Questa Nota

    Cuomo stories finally coming out are Exhibit One Billion about Freedom of the Press!
    Unchecked power is bad for most people, whether by George III or Andrew Lackmorals.

  24. Michael

    Another revolt, in California. Will we see weed in SF Bay?

    Don’t tax (he,her,they), don’t tax me! Tax the man behind the weed!!

    “”…out of 482 cities in California, just 174 allow any kind of licensed cannabis business within their jurisdiction. Only 115 of them have licensed retail stores within city limits.””

    “”California collected $333 million in total cannabis taxes in the second quarter of 2021, up from $264 million in the same period last year…””

    Over a $Billion$ in taxes and only a third of the way done.

  25. Eduardo

    Kyle Rittenhouse claimed his ex-attorney “set him up” for a photo of him posing with purported members of the Proud Boys and making a hand gesture used by white supremacists.

    Rittenhouse blasted his former legal team, John Pierce and Lin Wood, saying he didn’t know the “OK” hand signal is now associated with white supremacy and claiming he “didn’t know what a militia was” until after he was arrested. …

    “I didn’t know that the OK hand sign was a symbol for white supremacy just as I didn’t know those people in the bar were Proud Boys,” Rittenhouse told NewsNationNow’s Ashleigh Banfield in an interview that aired Tuesday. “They were set up by my former attorney (Pierce) who was fired because of that, for putting me in situations like that with people I don’t agree with.”
    Kyle Rittenhouse claims ex-lawyer ‘set him up’ for Proud Boys pic

    1. Lee

      The charming lethality of childlike naivete combined with high powered weaponry. There’s a reason we send those of a certain age to the front lines in a war. In high school I was all gung-ho for enlisting to go to Vietnam until one of my teachers took the trouble and the risk to talk sense to me and I had enough sense to listen. May blessings be upon her.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Another staffing shortage in the wild, multiplied by 50 states…

    Coronavirus cases have been rising in Massachusetts for several weeks, but hospitalizations have risen at a lower rate. The pressure on hospitals relates to other consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities said.

    The staffing shortage, largely driven by the pandemic, has contributed to the loss of approximately 500 medical, surgical and I.C.U. hospital beds in Massachusetts, according to the state. And hospitals are seeing an influx of patients who need more complex treatment for health issues because they delayed visiting the doctor when Covid cases were higher.

  27. fresno dan

    Came across this at the National Review – the link however is from the actual NYT site as the NR link went on for half a page. What is interesting is the NYT finally asking the question about democrat controlled states and why so little happens. What happens when decmocrats control both houses of the legislatures and the govenorships???? Well, nothing. AND you can’t say its due to republicans…
    Finally, maybe its more important what people do than what they say….

  28. marym

    “A Georgia jury convicted the three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery of nearly all of the charges leveled against the trio on Wednesday.

    It is undisputed that the younger McMichael, armed with a shotgun, killed Arbery by firing three shots at him at point blank range on Feb. 23, 2020.

    Months would pass without any action from local authorities until a grisly video of the killing surfaced. The image of Arbery’s shooting sparked protests by Black Lives Matter activists and an investigation by Georgia state authorities, leading to the men’s indictment.”

    1. skippy

      The pertinent question in my mind is whom put the thoughts in their heads that lead to a loss of life based on some assumption, that if an individual was running, they had committed a crime, especially if they were not of that ethnic enclave. As such the members of that enclave though they were legally with in their rights to dependence lethal force at the moment to satisfy removing the fear these protagonists sought to find resolution of e.g. a child born has no biases.

      Anecdotally I’m reminded of a black man which served in the military, educated, worked as a loan officer for BOA in Redondo Bch, Calif. married a white woman and they had a kid, only to be pulled over again and again even blocks from his house and family. This was at the same time a black teenager was pulled over by the cops in the same suburb for walking down the street about 10pm and did not have ID. Went to jail when his wallet was just down the block, cops refused to go there.

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