Links 11/30/2021

Roving sea lion wanders through streets of Lincoln City, refuses fish, returns to ocean The Oregonian

How to Read a Jellyfish’s Mind (press release) CalTech

The Science of Mind Reading The New Yorker

Private equity fees: where are the customers’ jets? FT. Gensler’s recent speech: “I’ve asked staff how we can better mitigate the effects of conflicts of interest between general partners, their affiliates, and investors. This could include considering the need for prohibitions on certain conflicts and practices.”

The Rising Tide of Semiconductor Cost Fabrioated Knowledge


U.S. CDC says all adults should get COVID-19 booster shots Reuters

FDA review finds Merck’s COVID-19 pill effective, but flags safety concerns LA Times

Resetting international systems for pandemic preparedness and response BMJ. WHO’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Maybe clean their own side of the street:

Victories against AIDS have lessons for COVID-19 Anthony Fauci, Nature. Now that Nature is overtly partisan, this is an extremely unfortunate endorsement.

Follow the Money, Not the Latest Covid Variant Bloomberg

* * *

Do vaccines protect against long COVID? What the data say Nature. “At present, public-health officials are flying blind when it comes to long COVID and vaccination.”

The majority of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies in COVID-19 patients with obesity are autoimmune and not neutralizing International Journal of Obesity. From the Abstract: “SARS-CoV-2 infection induces neutralizing antibodies in all lean but only in few obese COVID-19 patients. SARS-CoV-2 infection also induces anti-MDA and anti-AD autoimmune antibodies more in lean than in obese patients as compared to uninfected controls…. Our results highlight the importance of evaluating the quality of the antibody response in COVID-19 patients with obesity, particularly the presence of autoimmune antibodies, and identify biomarkers of self-tolerance breakdown. This is crucial to protect this vulnerable population at higher risk of responding poorly to infection with SARS-CoV-2 than lean controls.”


As omicron variant spreads, China senses vindication over ‘zero covid’ strategy WaPo. And rightly.

China targets online casinos in war on illegal gambling, authorities say South China Morning Post

Hong Kong schools must infuse civic, moral values into all subjects under new framework to be revealed soon South China Morning Post

Can Cold War History Prevent U.S.-Chinese Calamity? Foreign Affairs


A Rohingya Remembers Myanmar’s Brutal Crackdown in 2017 The Diplomat

Sri Lanka kitchens blow up as gas crisis deepens Channel News Asia


Purity or power: India’s coal quandary Channel News Asia

Ethiopia’s Breakup Doesn’t Have to Be Violent Foreign Policy

The Russia-Africa situation analysis report Foreign Policy News

Xi Pledges a Billion More Vaccines for Africa in Wake of Omicron Bloomberg


Talks to revive Iran nuclear deal resume; US stays distant AP

Even Israeli Intelligence Falls Under Sway of Rabbis Tikun Olam


Prime Minister Johnson’s flagship policy meets reality in one English city Reuters

Boris Johnson Unsure How U.K. One Country But Also Four The Onion

The ‘soul-destroying’ impact of the pig crisis – and why it’s happening Sky News

The Secretive Prisons That Keep Migrants Out of Europe The New Yorker. The deck: “Tired of migrants arriving from Africa, the E.U. has created a shadow immigration system that captures them before they reach its shores, and sends them to brutal Libyan detention centers run by militias.” So Clinton and Obama’s invasion of Libya has an upside after all!

Biden Administration

Biden says no new lockdowns for Omicron COVID-19 variant Center for Infectious Disease and Policy. Biden presser transcript.

Roe v. Wade hangs in balance as reshaped court prepares to hear biggest abortion case in decades SCOTUSblog

Russian and Chinese Ambassadors: Respecting People’s Democratic Rights The National Interest. On Biden’s “Summit for Democracy.”

Industry braces for another fight over IRS tax reporting plan American Banker

Supply Chain

First look: Biden summons top CEOs on supply chain Axios

A National Supply Chain Dashboard Could Prevent Bottlenecks—but It’s Not There Yet Industry Week

Ports of LA, Long Beach, delay container fee for 4th time LA Daily News

The trucker shortage is fueled by a misconception that the job is only for low-skilled people, who endure poor working conditions, says expert Business Insider

Our Famously Free Press

The New York Times’ Jake Silverstein concocts “a new origin story” for the 1619 Project WSWS

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Maxwell, Epstein were ‘partners in crime,’ prosecutor says AP

Jeffrey Epstein was a ‘21st-century James Bond’ targeted for his mystery and money, Ghislaine Maxwell defence says Independent. So Epstein had a handler? Does the handler have a name?

The FAA accidentally disclosed more than 2,000 flight records associated with Jeffrey Epstein’s private jets Business Insider

Trump Legacy

Suspicious, Insecure Trump ‘Most Difficult’ President To Brief On Intel, CIA Report Reveals HuffPo. “Trump ‘doubted the competence of intelligence professionals and felt no need for regular intelligence support.'” After the Steele Report? Encroyable.

Imperial Collapse Watch

No way around it, all regime change policies are bound to crash and burn Responsible Statecraft

Guillotine Watch

Memorabilia dealer to fly diamonds, personal photos on space station

Class Warfare

Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon’s Alleged Misconduct ScheerPost

Striking US coal miners say windfall for private equity forced pay to be cut FT

Policy Response Instrumental in Shaping the Pandemic’s Impact on Inequality Morning Consult

In Search of Victor Grayson Tribune. A cautionary tale.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Richard H Caldwell

    “The Rising Tide of Semiconductor Cost” – of course! So obvious once pointed out! This is the kind of information that truly informs, thank you!

    1. The Rev Kev

      That article was saying that ‘Making a semiconductor is going to get even harder, more expensive, and more technical. In other words, the challenges are going to accelerate’ while it was going on about how Moore’s law had broken down. Moore’s law never was a law but actually an observation about a trend but whatever. Maybe there is another law at work here – the Law of Diminished Returns. We may be reaching the point that we get less on investing in this technology as time goes by and that, as the car industry has found to their benefit, that sometimes good enough is good enough. This article makes the point that costs are rising so we may reach a point where they are too pricey to go into common manufactured items – like toothbrushes. I could live with that.

      1. .Tom

        The strategy of boosting transistor count on commercial chips is clearly running out of road. But I don’t see what that has to do with the costs in general of making a semiconductor.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It’s in that article with the sub-heading ‘Industry Consensus: Semicap Cost Intensity Will Go Up’ but the gist is ‘The primary driver is not only the rising costs of tools such as EUV, but the rising number of steps to make a chip.’

          1. jsn

            And for existing tech, the fact that re-investment after the depreciation cycle has never been incorporated into the business model before.

            That would imply the end of planned obsolescence, so there’s been tremendous unwillingness to consider that, but demand can’t sustain everyone’s dreams of future profitability and industry concentration has reached its reductio ad absurdum.

            In addition, once reinvestment in existing plant is normalized into pricing, a one time price adjustment, all the inputs in the old process will be subject to all the normal inflationary pressures of the physical economy that chip making was spared to date by the constant improvement in performance with reduced materials use.

      2. Zamfir

        rev keV says: “This article makes the point that costs are rising so we may reach a point where they are too pricey to go into common manufactured items – like toothbrushes.”

        I don’t think that come
        s out of the article. It’s describing a step-change, 28nm prices that pay for new capex and not just for opex. But the likely trend after that step is still downwards. Process improvements in the same node. Capex that gets amortized over more years than before. Scale increases. The node with lowest marginal cost might still shift downward from 28nm, even if it never gets close to the leading edge anymore. Dedicated design – a specially designed toothbrush IC might save a lot in transistor count compared to a general purpose IC with unused functionality, but might only be worthwhile to design if it can still be used 10 years from now.

        Basically the regular trends of other industries, where products are not obsolete after a few years. That still yields cost improvements, just not as fast as in the golden years where every generation was faster, better and cheaper at the same time.

      3. Rick

        Also, it’s only new and improved that’s running into a wall. The stuff we had in, say, 2018, much less 2010 or 1990 is well understood, useful, and can be manufactured without excessive cost.

        Or profits, unfortunately, and therein lies the usual tale.

        1. .Tom

          That was exactly my point. The pursuit of transistor count (trying to follow Moore’s curve) is getting prohibitively expensive. That’s not the same thing as making integrated circuits. And I don’t think the former is any kind of explanation for shortages and costs of the latter.

      4. BlakeFelix

        Although if I recall last I heard Intel said that while Moore’s law was in force their r&d budgets were rising as well, which a growing economy can support. There is always the risk of diminishing returns, but they found workarounds until they started slashing R&D.

    2. drb48

      Article indicates that the cost must increase to meet demand but makes no effort to understand the effect of increased cost on said demand. Most people are already priced out not only of new video cards (if they could find one) but a new car as well. At CURRENT prices, much less increased prices. How long can the demand continue to increase if the price goes up further?

    3. John Beech

      There’s nothing inherently harder about making semis today than six months ago other than ripples in the supply chain reverberate like waves in a pond when you toss in a small pebble. Point being, if your workers can’t come to work, the wafers aren’t being made. This results in delay right from the get go.

      My major point? My business uses electronic components in our assemblies. What once took a PO and resulted in component receipt in two weeks stretched to 45 days, then 90, then 135 days, and recently my agents are saying pretty much the same thing, we’re going to 180 days.

      As a businessman, this poses a different problem, but again, not one that’s insurmountable, just different. Now instead of buying 60-day supply and reordering 6X a year, we buy 4X as much twice a year (buying more at a wack to allow for growth in sales).

      We’ve also found ourselves using backup suppliers more often (you’re too stupid to be alive as a businessman if you only have one supplier). So the chain gets more exercise than usual as price is not the only reason you use supplier A versus supplier B but now we have to factor in availability.

      If I were a big business, say Ford Motor Company, I might buy my own fab the same was we own our CNC machines versus shopping them out to job shops, but again, that’s just a business decision. Where things go sideways are when MBAs are in control of the business because what makes perfect sense to an accountant makes zero sense to engineering or sales and thus, a CEO with a background in finance may be an utter disaster.

      Bottom line? These ripples (supply chain issues) will smooth out over time as surely as the pond becomes calm once again after the pebble was tossed. We’re not fretting.

  2. Sailor Bud

    Bison video reminding me of just how much I dislike those hideous chain link fences that people apparently find so beautiful that they have to put them everywhere.

    I would love to see the face of their soulless inventor, but we don’t know who it is. Not at all surprised it was the Brits who invented it, but I was surprised it was invented in the mid 1800s. That doesn’t seem right at all to me. Looking the stuff up, apparently Frank Gehry uses some ton of it in his personal dwelling, which makes a lot of sense.

    Who would make a beautiful world so intentionally grotesque? Never tell your kids to care about aesthetics. Make them into little machines instead.

    1. bob

      The fence does suck, but the Bison are able to take down most fences. There are 2 in that video, one inside the other. I had a friend who tried to raise them. He gave up after they kept ecaping. They’d form up a charge and run right over any fence he came up with. At over 2,000lbs a piece not much can stop that charge..

      1. 430MLK

        I bought some ground bison last week at the farmer’s market, and the vendors (the parents of the farmer) said pretty much the same thing when I asked if the bison were visible from the the road.

        Bison need lots of acreage to roam. Where I am in Central Kentucky is pretty expensive farmland. Has to be quite an investment.

        The frozen bison pic was magical.

        1. Wukchumni

          Saw my first bison on Catalina Island when I was 12 and going to YMCA camp for a week, 23 miles across the sea…

          About a dozen years ago a larger fenced ranch around these parts acquired a trio of bison and unlike cows, they really demand your respect when driving by them, and over the course of 6 months, must’ve done 10 drive-by oohings, and then all of the sudden, they’re gone.

          Fast forward a few years later and i’m hiking with the park botanist (I asked him once-why not be a wildlife biologist instead? and he replied ‘plants never run away from you…’) and talk revolves around to where the buffalo roamed, and he related the tale to me, and what happened was 3 mountain lions descended upon the like amount of bison, killed one, gouged the eyes out of another, and the 3rd was unharmed, but the rancher realized that if 3 weren’t safe, 1 by it’s lonesome was a no-go so he sold it.

          If you have pet goats here and your defensive perimeter isn’t up to snuff, you’re sadly just a meat middleman for mountain lions who’ll kill most anything with 4 legs while typically only delving into 2 legs if there’s fowl play involved.

          Deer are dear to them in the food chain and the main course, but seldom do they do in anything larger.

          We must have 300 cows and a similar amount of horses here in tiny town* and none of them ever are on the receiving end of a cougars fangs, attacks just don’t happen…

          So why’d usually solitary attackers gang up and do a bison binge?

          There’s no way our local Sierra foothill mountain lions ever saw a bison before and both are apex predators, the former a stealthy lone commando, while the latter would just run you over en masse.

          I’m thinking it was instinctive memory in the mountain lions actions, if they get rid of the advance guard of invaders from the east before they get too numerous, that was the best move on their part.

          * due to fewer people living fulltime because nearly 300 homes are short term vacation rentals, our population has decreased from 2,200 to maybe 1,500 of us spread out somewhere in an 8 x 20 mile radius that we call home

        2. ChrisPacific

          The frozen bison pic was magical.

          I thought it was a long range shot of a forested hillside in winter when I first saw it. Gradually I perceived the features like horns and it resolved into the frosted bison. There was a transitional moment in between when it was emerging from the landscape like some kind of titanic winter spirit.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Chain link became ubiquitous in my Cleveland neighborhood when racial diversity arrived. “Keep out of my yard!” seems to have been the message as fear and mistrust rose, fueled by the “block busters” looking for quick and dirty profit. I’ve taken down the chain link but left the metal posts and framing which is now draped with nylon trellis for flowering plants to climb. The idea is to let the history be revealed but show a break with it.

      1. Stephanie

        My cat’s way is to poke his nose out the door, survey the white stuff, look back at me in disgust, and demand to speak to my manager.

        1. JCC

          I used to have a long-haired cat (thick long hair) who would go out in deep winter snow, build a little snow nest under the bushes and lay there watching the world go by. I guess, like the bison, it would all depend on how insulated you are.

    3. Chas

      The picture shows a bison facing into the wind. When I visited the Needles National Monument in S. Dakota many years ago, a ranger told me that’s one of the main differences between bison and cattle. Bison face into a storm and move into it, thus the storm ends sooner for them while cattle keep the wind at their butts and move with the storm, making it last longer for them. Bison survive storms better.

    4. griffen

      I can’t help but consider a pivotal scene out of the original Jurassic Park, where the electricity is shut and the T-Rex fencing becomes utterly worthless. Anytime watching that scene unfold, my response is nearly the same. Turn off the dang flashlight!

      Dr Malcolm hates it when he’s right.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Boris Johnson Unsure How U.K. One Country But Also Four”

    Good thing that nobody ever told him about the Trinity in Christian doctrine then.

    1. Geo

      Ha! Would be totally baffled.

      The best description I’ve ever read of the trinity was by Dorothy Sayers in her book “The Mind of the Maker” (1941). Even this heathen atheist found it inspiring. She compared the Trinity to an artist and my summary of her description is: The godhead is the artist’s perfect idea of the art as it exists in his mind, the body (Jesus) is the work and physical manifestation of the art with its imperfections and limitations, and the spirit is the art as it is understood and shared amongst those who experience the completed artwork.

      After years of Catholic indoctrination it took her writing years after falling out of the church for the concept to finally make sense to me. Use her book as inspiration in my own creative endeavors as an artist. It’s an awesome read if you’re into such things. She’s also got a very dry and biting sense of humor that is merciless toward artists and religious institutions that makes it a joy to read. A rarity in theological books! Her chapter on blasphemy is almost entirely used to trash a fellow author whose work she detested.

      1. LifelongLib

        My understanding (welcome correction) is that the doctrine of the Trinity was deliberately devised to be ambiguous ( a Mystery). At the time there were various ideas about the nature of Jesus, ranging from him being a purely human prophet to a god/angel in disguise with no actual human body. The Trinity doctrine made all these ideas heresies without getting too specific about what the truth really was.

        1. Procopius

          The Nicene Creed is one of the reasons I decided, at the age of seven or so, that Christianity is unbelievable. I wonder how many people who identify as Christians, especially Evangelical Fundamentalists, know what the Nicene Creed is or what it requires.

      2. Kengferno

        As an EXTREMELY lapsed catholic I love this analogy. Interesting to make the connection of religion, art and the individual

    2. synoia

      Boris considers himself a self made man (as do most of the British upper crust,) so reliving God of an Almighty of an responsibility.

  4. .Tom

    My wife saw our GP, who practices at a big Boston hospital, last week and asked about out-patient covid-19 treatments. She was told there are none and she should upgrade to the newest iVax, which would be her third in a year!

    Also last week I ordered pet meds from that online 1800 pharmacy. They fulfilled the NexGuard but not the ivermectin saying that I need to take Lucy to the vet for a “wellness visit”.

    These experiences could not possibly be related ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)

  5. Alex Morfesis

    Life at An asbestos removal site….had really hoped this stupid COVID thingee would be done by now… miscalculated Spanish flu timeline and surrounding history…COVID will last 3 hours in the air at room temperature in your local environment and a couple of days on your clothes…no one here in Flow Read Duh is wearing any masks except worker mules who hardly ever keep just the one flimsy mask they wear over their nose…going back to my original state of living as if in an asbestos removal work site…inside clothes and outside clothes and multiple masks left inside individual clear baggies sitting on the dashboard to let the sun disinfect by letting sit for 4 days….see you via video only….how exactly have the eloquently ignorant and incompetent risen up the food chain to lead us in this new century…or am I just finally old enough to finally notice….

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      When I have to go into public, I think of the phrase “yammering self-absorbed slut monkeys”. Really helps with masking and that social distancing thing.

    2. Sutter Cane

      COVID will last 3 hours in the air at room temperature in your local environment and a couple of days on your clothes

      I thought the risk of infection from surfaces was negligible? I wash my hands but otherwise gave up worrying about surfaces, it’s ventilation and masking that’s the main concern. I’ve not bothered with worries over clothing.

  6. Betty

    Alex, would you give source(s) for
    (1) COVID lasting 3 hours in air at room temperature?
    (2) COVID remaining on clothes for a couple of days?

    Thank you

    1. ChiGal

      Based on recent articles posted here alone, neither is true. Much longer in the air and not a concern on surfaces in the real world.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I don’t have links to sources, but this is based on conclusions I have come to over ~2 years of reading on the subject

      Re: (1), imo it very much depends on lots of different variables. It could be less than 3 hours, it could be more. It’s sort of a meaningless statement. Covid is airborne, that is the point we need to start from to understand how to protect ourselves, let’s not overcomplicate it.

      Re: (2), all I can say is that whether it lasts on clothes for more than 3 hours or not, this does not unduly concern me. If Covid could only spread through fomites it would not be the thing that it is now. If you want peace of mind, continue to wash your hands, although I personally don’t wash or sanitise my hands with any particularly greater frequency.

      These conclusions are subject to change, of course.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Can Cold War History Prevent U.S.-Chinese Calamity?”

    Only if people learn from the past and don’t try to denigrate history as having no meaning. For example, when the world nearly went into WW3 back in 1961, it was the back channels that allowed communications between Russia and the US that let a deal be made where Russia pulled their nukes out of Cuba and the US would pull their nukes out of Turkey. But now? There is a concerted effort to destroy all possible diplomatic links between Russia and China on one hand and the US & the EU on the other. So with Russia for example, there are very few diplomatic links between the EU and Russia, not even with NATO. Also, the diplomats between the US and Russia are being cut back constantly to the point that neither country has fully functioning missions in the other. It was Obama that really got the ball rolling here and Biden is continuing it. Come next year and another 55 Russian diplomats will be heading back to Russia and the US Embassy in Russia cannot even process visas anymore. This whole development is beyond idiotic and I agree here with Churchill when he once said that it is better ‘to jaw-jaw than war-war’.

    1. Ian Nemus

      The Cuban Missile Crisis was 1962, not 1961. Mods, please free to delete this post if the above post is updated accordingly.

      Not trying to be a jerk, just figure that the site doesn’t need ‘correction’ posts clogging up the conversation.

  8. Questa Nota

    Maxwell’s trial might reveal what so many suspect, that blackmail of politicians followed that of businessmen. Those flight logs have been in the public sphere quite a while. They raised a lot of questions for people like Bill only four flights, cough, didn’t inhale, Clinton, and would take much deflection to accompany the fear, uncertainty and doubt.

    Think of the four horsemen liars of the apocalypse Neo-liberal hellscape. Then ask if all of that Kompromat 2.0 explains some of the really crazy behavior of so many in DC and elsewhere. On the bright side, there may be more, ahem, resignations, so fewer of them in circulation or on television soon.

    1. jefemt

      I have been too lazy to review the flight logs. Which Bill we talking here?

      Clinton? Gates? Ionaire? Seems like there may be many Billionaires on the list.

    2. Procopius

      Maxwell’s trial might reveal what so many suspect, …

      [emphasis added]
      I’ve been thinking she hasn’t “committed suicide” yet because important people believe, rightly, that she isn’t going to give up anything. After all, prison can be made a lot less dangerous and a lot more comfortable with the right influence. If she does reveal embarrassing stories, look at what is happening to Julian Assange. I can’t think how the prosecution would allow any such revelations, anyway. They might very well undermine the prosecution’s story.

  9. Lee

    “As omicron variant spreads, China senses vindication over ‘zero covid’ strategy WaPo. And rightly.”

    By comparison what we get from our elites here in the free world is a lot of weasel words and weak ass faffing about on non-pharmaceutical disease prevention measures.

    Given that Covid in less that two years has now killed more Americans (770,000) than have been killed in direct combat in all our wars since 1775 (646,596), maybe its time to put our economy on a war footing.

    As a wealthy, food self-sufficient country we can better afford shut downs than China. Only about 60% of our work force is engaged in the production of essential goods and services (Economic Policy Institute). And since work force participation in the U.S. is only 60%, the materially essential work force represents only a third of the total population. Certainly we could well afford beef up on the job protections for this number of people and at the same time provide support for portions of our work force not engaged in materially essential production who are temporarily idled due to disease prevention measures such as targeted shut downs. But since our masters on Wall Street would find this disruptive of their business model and possibly interrupt their cash flow, the likelihood of these things happening is slim to none.

    Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

    1. Pelham

      Yep, agreed on all points. Globally, how about shutting down all international air travel? With Omicron, for instance, they tell us it seems to be concentrated in southern Africa but cases are popping up here, there and everywhere. And it may even be unfair at this point to isolate Africa.

      If that’s true, however, the logical thing to do would be to cut off ALL air travel across borders and make provisions for stranded travelers. Wouldn’t it?

      Of course, I say this as someone who rejects airline travel of any kind and regards international travelers as self-absorbed disease vectors.

    2. outside observer

      I agree, it would be great if we could gather our will and forces to shorten supply chains, employ the unemployed, provide actual health care instead of access to insurance, build resilience and duplication into the system, rather than what we have now. But it would require the government to govern rather than to simply funnel money to corporate donors. In addition it would set the precedent that government can do good things for the people sometimes, so then why not all the time? Can’t have that now.

      1. lance ringquist

        and here is why, even a common deplorable has figured it out. but the so-called left wing authors on blogs are stumpted and bewildered(except here at nc and a few blogs like ian welsh and billy mitchel)as to what is going on.

        SNICKER, a letter to the editors by a deplorable: That stuff that now must be sourced through a few port bottlenecks used to be made, stored and shipped entirely within the United States. And the hard-working people who made all that stuff were deemed by the investor class to be “not economically viable,”

        No wonder there are new legions willing to follow demagogues, not to mention so many more homeless people.

        Los Angeles Times Opinion
        Letters to the Editor: If we made more stuff in the U.S., would we even have a supply crisis?
        Mon, November 29, 2021, 5:00 AM…

  10. Bricky

    From following the very useful virology Twitter links on naked capitalism, one of the most interesting trends is the huge spike in Pretoria sewage water viral load, to levels last seen during their delta peak. This suggests a giant existing omicron wave without the corresponding hospitalizations (they have increased but nowhere near to delta levels).

    However, on those same Twitter threats, commentators posted charts with huge increases sewage water viral loads in the Netherlands as well. I assume the Netherlands is now checking for omicron and not finding it widespread yet. So what is driving the increase in viral load in sewage water?

    1. Pat

      Theory from my nether regions:
      Mild or asymptotic breakthrough cases with timing the result of opening and colder weather sending many indoors. Most people won’t even consider they might have Covid and won’t be tested unless required because of their vaccination status. If this is the case you will see increases because they will unknowingly infect others.

    2. haywood

      Hospitalizations run many days behind increases in community case spread, as indicated by wastewater surveillance. One thought is that omicron manifests symptoms in patients later than other variants, over a week compared to a few days for delta.

      So perhaps omicron causes fewer hospitalizations per case. Or perhaps there will be a huge wave of hospitalizations this week. Who knows…

      All I know is that anyone out there assuring people that this variant is going to be mild and maybe end the pandemic entirely is an idiot or an asshole, likely the later seeing as the same people who have been wrong about everything this pandemic are now lining up to tell us everything is going to be fine and KEEP SHOPPING.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The vaccines aren’t sterilizing and the viral build up occurs before they start working. Winter and subsequent increased spreading is the other major alternative. My guess is its Delta as opposed to Omicron. Hospitalization and more severe illness are going to be the signs amateurs will note of Omicron being widespread.

    4. Samuel Conner

      I think … we don’t know the relative rates of virus excretion per case of infection for Delta versus Omicron.

      Maybe Omicron is excreted in higher quantities than Delta was on a per case basis, so the virus concentration “calibration curve” — the implied number of cases of infection given a detected level of virus in wastewater — derived from prior stages of the epidemic might not be a good guide to interpretation of current virus loads in sewage, assuming these are due mostly to Omicron.

      I don’t suppose they’re sequencing the virus found in the Boston wastewatershed.

  11. Wukchumni

    A good water filter typically goes down to .02 micron in terms of what it filters out. I don’t always filter water in the back of beyond but when I do, a Katadyn Hiker is my favored one.

    I can’t see ‘omicron’ and not think of a water filter, ha ha

  12. The Rev Kev

    On Biden’s “Summit for Democracy.”

    Everybody knows about international law. This has nothing to do with it. This is the rules-based community you hear about where Washington sets the rules that everybody else has to follow. The Artemis Accords is an example of this where a bunch of minor countries – most who have nothing to do with space – under the US are trying to push aside the Outer Space Treaty for these Accords where the corporations will run space for us – at a profit. A lot of these countries at this Summit are actually dictatorships – countries like Saudi Arabia – and even Juan Greedo from Venezuela will be there to represent Venezuela who is not allowed to be there. It is all about being either with us or against us and the Saker did an article on this sorry upcoming event-

  13. Wukchumni

    I flagged a fair amount of people at half-masked yesterday in what I hope to be the last trip to the Big Smoke for a month until omicron gets sorted out as to what’s what with it?

    This in the beating heart of the pandemic in the Golden State heretofore {pulls up to the microphone @ the drive-thru in Visalia and is asked: ‘do you want to super-susceptible-size that?…}

    In a good news vein, there have so far been no balaclava clad Freedom Fighters Illitia descending upon luxury goods stores and making off with gotten goods, simply because there aren’t any stores like that here.

  14. antidlc

    RE: U.S. CDC says all adults should get COVID-19 booster shots

    We don’t need universal booster shots. We need to reach the unvaccinated.
    The case for booster shots for healthy younger adults is not strong — and those shots would do more good elsewhere

    By Philip R. Krause, , Marion F. Gruber, and Paul A. Offit

    Many people are cheering the decision by the Food and Drug Administration, on Nov. 19, to authorize the use of coronavirus vaccine boosters for all adults 18 and over — a move that built on the earlier authorization of them for people over 65, those with underlying health issues and front-line workers. Commentators are hailing boosters as a key tool for getting the pandemic under control, and many public health experts are urging all American adults to get them.

    Two of us — Krause and Gruber — were co-authors of a recent article in the Lancet, a medical journal, that summarized all of the available data on boosting and concluded that the data did not support widespread boosting; the other — Offit — is a member of the FDA vaccine advisory committee that voted against boosting for all adults last month. We continue to think that while boosting can improve immune responses and can even further increase already very high levels of protection in some people, the need for a boost remains restricted to people who are at high risk of serious disease (including the elderly) or those at risk of exposing vulnerable household or workplace contacts if they get infected.

    The data does not show that every healthy adult should get a booster. Indeed, the push for boosters for all could actually prolong the pandemic. First, such a campaign diverts focus away from the goal of persuading the unvaccinated to get their shots (and persuading parents to get their eligible children shots). Second, and relatedly, exaggerated descriptions of the waning efficacy of the vaccines undermine public confidence in them, and some people may be less likely to accept vaccines that they regard as less effective than originally advertised.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      These are issues, among MANY others, that could have and should have been worked out during proper “vaccine” trials. The procedures were established long ago for a reason. Shitcanning them has already proven to be one of, if not THE, most colossally stupid stunts of a “science” lifetime.

      That the “I am science” crowd is allowing this chaotic incoherence to continue is embarrassing for them at best, and demonstrative of abysmal, irredeemable incompetence at worst.

      Permitting the intrusion of politics and economics into the debate, ala the sainted fauci’s weekend reference to 1/6, is simply unforgivable.

      The only people in this whole sorry mess who deserve to be “forgiven” their covid “sins” are the battered citizens of this country. Vax / no vax, boost / no boost, mask / no mask, jabbed kids / not jabbed kids–NO man or woman “of science” has any frickin’ right to criticize any decision made.

      What’s going on now is the same medical negligence that caused the relentless opioid crisis, when the “healthcare” establishment abandoned the longstanding knowledge that those drugs were highly addictive and embraced the nonexistent sackler “science.” These people deserve nothing short of ridicule and ostracism from the “public health” community, IMNSHO.

      1. the last D

        I don’t have much sympathy for the “battered” citizens of this country. Most U.S citizens seem to accept their privilege of using the world’s resources as their own, as God-given, in fact, blindly ignoring the death, destruction, and misery they, and theirs, rain down all over the world in order to own and keep that privilege. Forgive them? For what? Americans never were sinners, never sinned, they have a friend in Jesus.

      2. ambrit

        The “Official Story,” (a wonderfully evocative phrase from South of the Border,) is promulgated by an Elite that does not, as policy, ask forgiveness for anything. Instead, this group demands obedience.
        Sharpen up those guillotine blades Madam Defarge!

      1. Michael Sharkey

        Here is the inevitable ‘factcheck’.

        When investigated further, the Expression of Concern is basically a lack of published data ( which is reasonable ) and typographical errors ( which is also reasonable ).

        Reuters has reached out to the author, Dr. Steven R. Gundry, for comment and I look forward to his response.

        1. outside observer

          Truly hope this hypothesis is incorrect, having been double jabbed myself. Till it’s sorted out I won’t be going in for a third.

    2. lordkoos

      From my understanding since the booster shots do not protect against Delta or Omicron, I don’t see the point of getting a third jab and am not planning on it…

    3. Maritimer

      “…persuading the unvaccinated….”
      Threats, intimidation, shaming, bullying, destruction of careers, etc. = “persuading”. Get to work, Merriam-Webster!

      Philip R. Krause, , Marion F. Gruber, and Paul A. Offit own what you do.

  15. allan

    The Dark Side of Lottery-Funded Scholarships [Inside Higher Ed]

    As the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots grow, so do the lines of people looking to buy a ticket. That’s good news for state coffers and the public education programs they fund.

    In many states, a significant share of lottery revenue helps finance public higher education. During the 2020 fiscal year, nontax state support for higher education—primarily from lottery revenues—grew by 9.1 percent nationwide to a total of nearly $4.4 billion, according to the latest State Higher Education Finance report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. …

    These programs aim to help thousands of students afford college each year, and to be sure, many students do benefit from the financial aid. But the fact that the aid comes from lottery ticket sales may also disproportionately hurt the very populations the programs are designed to help. …

    Giving new meaning to class warfare.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Stendhal wrote this almost two hundred years ago:

      “Lotteries are certain disappointment and a happiness sought for only by fools.”

    2. Michael Ismoe

      If only the Democrats had some power. They would make community and state-related colleges free, increase the minimum wage and protect voting rights.

      I can’t wait to vote for my Democratic Party candidates in 2022. They are always “working for us”.

      1. antidlc

        “They would make community and state-related colleges free, ”

        That would negate one of the reasons for joining the military — the education benefits.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Even independently of the fact the poor are most targeted by lotteries, it is heart rending to go into a store and see addicts scrapping away madly at those damned things and emptying their pockets to nothing. Granted getting rid of poverty is what should come first, but that the state sponsors such addictive flytraps based consciously on the precarity created by pittance wages as the way to fill it’s coffers is beyond vile.

      1. Wukchumni

        Around the turn of the century we went to an under $5 xmas gift exchange and being the sneaky bastard, bought 4x legit scratch-off lottery tix with a ringer for the fifth, and damned if the person that needed the money most doesn’t win $10k on the dubious ducat, she starts scheming what she’s gonna do with the money, oh man this has to be nipped in the bud and on the double.

        I asked to read the terms on the back, and the first line said…

        ‘Payable at yo mama’s house!’

  16. Chas

    “Iran has made maximalist demands, including calls for the U.S. to unfreeze $10 billion in assets as an initial goodwill gesture. . . — from the AP story on the Iran nuclear talks.
    That’s not a maximalist demand. A maximalist demand would be for Iran to demand that the U.S. give up all its nuclear weapons if Iran is to be prevented from having them too.

  17. nothing but the truth

    from what i understand, the vast majority of users don’t need quantum computing type of electronics. Industry needs basic control and power circuits. The desire to extend the frontier is fun, but is not generally useful to industry at large. 3 nm fabs are extremely expensive, fragile and so are their products.

    the shortage is of low tech chips, like power supplies and industrial grade ICs. Those don’t need short UV lasers.

    1. Bart Hansen

      The Trump plan would have come from Seema Verma, who, according to Wikipedia has joined the board of directors of three healthcare firms, LifeStance Health, Lumeris and Monogram Health. You might call them a bunch of rentiers, but I could never do that.

  18. flora

    It begins, in case people think the worries about digital-id abuse/control are overblown.

    (google translate)
    ING [bank] links medical data to payment app

    “ING in Belgium is the first: the bank offers its customers to save their medical data in their payment app. They call it Helena, your digital health platform.

    “Handy, right? So you have everything in one place – your vaccination status and your bank account! The only thing that is still missing is that you will only be allowed to pay if your vaccination status is ‘positive’ … ”

  19. flora

    re: Victories against AIDS have lessons for COVID-19 – Anthony Fauci

    By Anthony Fauci!? (splutter splutter) Now *that’s* chutzpah! I can’t even…

    (I well remember the 80s-early 90s AIDS crisis and the major actors – and what they did and did not do then. One example: The use of the off label old AB drug Bactrim, which seemed to help save lives but was blocked for officially approved use by…an “official.”)

    1. petal

      I figured IM Doc would stroke out when they saw this one. Grateful for the education and history lessons we’ve received here from the NC brain trust.

        1. outside observer

          That is a chilling parallel to current events surrounding a certain cheap generic if ever I saw one.

  20. Pat

    “Victories against AIDS have lessons for COVID-19”

    So says Pharma’s best salesman ever-

    So Americans are supposed to subject ourself to an expensive cocktail of ever changing drugs based on new Covid variants???? Think of the profits!

    “In the early, frustrating days of the pandemic, physicians had little to offer our patients.”

    “Pandemic”?? Is syphilis a “pandemic”?

    You cannot contract HIV sitting next to someone in a restaurant.

    1. Late Introvert

      The same way you can’t catch a car crash from someone visiting your house, I conversaton I had with several people in April/May of ’21.

  21. Ghost in the Machine

    The Nature article on vaccines and long COVID made a good recommendation. Even if you have a mild case it is good to get tested and confirmation. Later medical help might depend on confirmation of infection. Assuming, of course, you live in a medical system that cares about treating long COVID.
    Well, on second thought, in a predatory for profit health and insurance environment, the knowledge might be used to discriminate against you. Higher risk. Sad state of affairs to have to consider such things.

  22. Wukchumni

    China targets online casinos in war on illegal gambling, authorities say South China Morning Post
    I took the hydrofoil from HK to Macau a number of times in the early 80’s to gamble, and the images of Macau now bear no resemblance to the ramshackle dilapidated look of the former Portuguese enclave, with the Libsoa casino being the draw, and any old crappy casino in North Las Vegas was a palace in comparison, it was that dated even the rug was faded.

    Blackjack tables there had room for the usual 5 players who placed their wagers in the circle, and you might have 4-6 people behind you also wagering along with your bet (talk about pressure!) and unlike blackjack tables in the states which are sedate (the craps table is our only really loud proposition-but only if the shooter is about 20 minutes into a roll or more) the assembled crowd of punters behind me were quite vocal, and it wasn’t just those playing with my hand, but also a similar amount for each of the 5 seated players, and if the dealer showed a bust card up like say a 6, everybody would stay on iffy hands hoping the dealer would do themselves in, and behind me a chorus of loud ‘BONK BONK BONK! would erupt, which scared the shit out of me the first time it happened, but then got used to it.

    One thing about the Chinese though, they are mad fvcking gamblers and Macau now is their only physical avenue and it fits a role similar to Vegas before Atlantic City-the only game in town.

    To fill the void, Chinese have been gambling on a good many things in place of cards, dice and tiles, the astronomical increase in Bitcoin value is similar in valuable Ming dynasty porcelain et al, or rare Chinese coins, Chinese art, Chinese real estate, etc.

  23. Carolinian

    Thanks for the WSWS. This is interesting

    The racialist conception of history has an unpleasant pedigree. It emerged as part of the counter-Enlightenment’s irrationalist and anti-scientific attack on the principle of human equality as a justification for actually existing inequality. A landmark in this vein was the French aristocrat Arthur de Gobineau’s An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, a counterrevolutionary tract written after the crushing of the French Revolution of 1848. Gobineau’s theories were picked up by the southern slaveowners in the 1850s, and in the late 19th century they fed into the false application of Darwinian evolution to “human races” and, from there, merged into the ideology of the Third Reich.

    In other words “racism” as the word came to mean in the 20th century may have come to the South from Europe just like slavery itself. Perhaps Hannah-Jones should be over in Europe setting them straight rather than making England the cartoon good guy in her good guy/bad guy narrative aka a “new origin story.” Slavery was terrible but going by body count colonialism surely claimed far more victims.

    That said I’m sure the deluded plantation owners would have been capable of coming up with a story of their own. And according to Twain they thought they were honorable chivalric knights living out tales by Sir Walter Scott. It seems everybody has a “narrative.”

    1. David

      Well, it wouldn’t be a WSWS article without a reference to the Third Reich, would it? Gobineau’s argument was that the French aristocracy was descended from the old Germanic tribes, whilst the peasantry and the workers were descendants of the racially inferior Gallo-Romans. (It’s worth pointing out that this idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. Many countries had Kings and aristocracies from abroad as a result of conquest: famously, England has never had a ruler of English origin) It was initially an idea limited to Europe, but it became mixed with the Social Darwinism of people like Herbert Spencer later in the century. But it’s a long step (a flying leap really) from there to the Third Reich. The idea that human beings can be divided into different “races” like dogs, and that the stronger will dominate the weaker, was pretty much taken for granted in educated circles in the West a century ago. Even in Europe, the Italians were seen as genetically excitable, the Germans as genetically stolid and militaristic, and so on. The Nazis, who didn’t have an original idea between them, as far as anyone can tell, picked up the idea because it was the received opinion of the time: today’s equivalent would, I suppose, be something like neoliberalism. The idea of races goes back a long way, of course, and isn’t limited to Europe or the US, but from the late nineteenth century it was put on what its proponents saw as a scientific footing, backed by the latest discoveries.

      1. Carolinian

        You could say Hitler and his gang were simply carrying the eugenics ideas of the earlier 20th century to their illogical conclusion. “Purifying the race” as they saw it.

        But while Darwin did noodle with racial categories, social darwinism was a crackpot version of evolution itself. Science keeps getting blamed for pseudoscience. For one thing the characteristics that the Nazis thought they were breeding for are not really those that we need for species success. Exhibit A would be Hitler putting a bullet in his mouth–it didn’t work out well for him.

        I wrote yesterday about Harvard’s E.O.Wilson who pioneered the idea of “group selection” in which evolution can work according to inherited social behavior and not just individuals of a species fighting it out (Dawson’s “the selfish gene”). And we also know that variety of characteristics rather than racial inbreeding is the key to healthy evolution and variation. Those “mongrel races” are what you want. Somebody tell Adolf.

    2. newcatty

      While I watched Hannah-Jones push her new book on two news shows, I could not keep out of my mind that there were indigenous peoples in what is now USA long before slaves were brought here. IIRC, she aluded to that fact in a brief sentence. Later brought up that some native american tribes had slaves of captured people from other tribes. It just did not sit well with me. Of course slavery was horrible. But, putting out the fact that some native peoples had slavery in their cultures smacked to me, in the context of her promotion, that the decimation of native peoples was not as horrific as the slavery of black peoples. The true origin stories of the Americas, including all of present USA, are much older, remarkable, indeed.

        1. Carolinian

          And of course the warrior tribes in Africa who were capturing and selling the slaves. However the horrors of the Middle Passage were all on the whites.

  24. zagonostra

    >Vaccine Mandates

    Germany’s incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in favor of introducing mandatory coronavirus vaccination for all Germans as early as February, an official close to Scholz said.

    So Austria and Germany are taking an “historical” move to force their population to receive vaccines that some don’t want. Over the weekend there were large protest in Frankfurt and other German cities, but it doesn’t seem to matter. In Swizterland 62% of the population voted to keep vaccine “green” passports as a requirement to enter certain public spaces.

    How far will the U.S. travel on the same road? There will be repercussions of what is happening for many years to come with the potential for creating a national security state that will go far beyond what Snowden warned against.

    1. zagonostra

      >Greece mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for residents over 60

      Residents in Greece over 60 years old will have to undergo mandatory vaccinations against coronavirus or face monthly 100-euro ($114) fines beginning next year, the prime minister announced Tuesday, declaring the country’s first general inoculation mandate.

      It will be a matter of time before health insurance companies and Medicare follow suit.

      1. Carolinian

        So all over the world the vaccine is starting to be being mandated even as the vaccine only concept is faltering–or perhaps because it is faltering. It will be ironic if the courts finally strike down the mandates here since we got the ball rolling. Word has it that Russia is now going the mandate/passport route even though earlier they said they wouldn’t.

  25. Andrew Watts

    RE: Can Cold War History Prevent U.S.-Chinese Calamity?

    Uhh, no. That seems like an archaic way to misunderstand the other side’s interests. I don’t think American military planners. or foreign policy wonks, ever accepted the fact that the Soviets didn’t have any intention of invading Western Europe. After two World Wars the last thing Moscow wanted was a confrontation with the United States. Stalin only approved of the DPRK’s invasion of the RoK because he thought the Americans wouldn’t interfere and South Korea looked like it was preparing to invade the north.

    The Cuban missile crisis isn’t any guide on how to conduct foreign relations either. It’s yet another sordid episode of American aggression against Cuba. The only strategic interest the US has on that island is the control of Guantanamo Bay. Whoever controls it can disrupt trade in the Gulf, and the Americas, and threaten the eastern seaboard of the US. Any foreign country which controls it is automatically America’s enemy by default. Castro and Che knew the strategic importance of Gitmo so they attempted to reassure Washington that nothing would change it’s status after their revolution. These efforts were rebuffed and Washington’s efforts to regime change Havana didn’t stop even after Soviet missiles were withdrawn.

    China has it’s own history and culture that differs greatly from the old Soviet Union so treating it exactly the same seems like an asinine way to avert a war. They’re also in a better position economically and politically in any conflict. The main advisor behind what Beijing is doing both domestically and internationally is the modern day Zhuge Liang by the name of Wang Huning. How that man has survived and thrived through the factionalism of the CCP and remained an advisor throughout the many changes in government leaders is amazing. I imagine his advice on American affairs would weigh heavy in Xi’s mind given his background.

    Understanding somebody like him, and his views, alongside Beijing’s interests seems like a better way to conduct foreign policy with regards to China. But I’m not optimistic about all that. Most Americans are an inward looking people who seem incapable of appreciating foreign cultures. Our leaders aren’t any different from the people they arise from.

  26. Stephen Haust

    Entrée de Joséphine Baker au Panthéon:

    Streamed coverage available from three sources:

    1) Figaro Live via Youtube:

    Probably the best of the three. Done by, of course, a highly professional


    Also good. A bit more relaxed

    3) Euronews via

    Less formal than the other two.

    I couldn’t imagine on any other occasion listening to a speech from Emmanuel
    Macron but, in this case, it seems to be worth the trouble.

  27. a fax machine

    re: trucking

    This is the industry’s fault. If they want enough drivers to fill demand, they need: better planned routes, part time offerings, and much higher pay for drivers that are willing to put in the hours. The problem doesn’t exist when loads (listed on a load board for o/os) hit $40/hr and every dispatcher knows it. It’s why there are so many owner/operators, a situation that denies fleets any semblance of control over their operations because overnight Amazon can offer 15% more and take their workers.

    And then there’s all the buzz over self-driving trucks that, if we are to take the media seriously, will destroy the occupation within 10 years. Nobody interested in a retirement will touch a a supposedly guaranteed loss. And why respect such people – they’re effectively coal workers of the road, destined to be replaced by better things very soon. Since coal workers are considered disposable so are truckers. This is an especially compelling argument when diesel techs and mechanics are, theoretically, going to be replaced by electric cars very soon. Society, or at least the liberal media, does not want these jobs or these people. Which is why so many vote Republican even if it is against their best interest.

    Long-term, major changes will occur as the new Entry Driver Training Rules take affect. We will see far more Class 5/6 trucks on the road as they don’t require Class A/Bs, terminals will start offering far more transloading options, and there will be far more pressure on California (& others) to allow Long Combination Vehicles. If this still fails then retail stores will gradually reduce their gross branch offices for larger warehouses, and big box chains like Target, Walmart and (soon) Amazon will dominate.

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