Links 12/10/2021

Patient readers: Google has been in the process of decommissioning its RSS reader by gradually strangling its functionality, which is why some of you have received the daily Links mail at random times. This weekend, we will be installing a new mailer, and porting the subscriber list to it. When we are sure the new mailer is working properly, we will nuke Google. In the meantime, you may receive duplicate daily e-mails. –lambert

See Microscopic Butterfly Wing Scales Materialize Inside of a Chrysalis Smithsonian

The myth of independent central banks FT

What to Watch Out For in the Inflation Numbers Bloomberg

This Inflation Defies the Old Models WSJ


The Millions of Tons of Carbon Emissions That Don’t Officially Exist The New Yorker. Ah, biomass.

Coffee crisis in Central America fuels record exodus north Reuters


The Pandemic of the Vaccinated Is Here The Atlantic. Then the virus came for me.

America’s Covid Rapid Test Plan Is Appallingly Inadequate The New Republic. The press picked up on the ludicrously inadequate testing proposals in Biden’s “Winter Plan” for Covid with commendable speed. More like this, please.

* * *

Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know CDC. Under “We have the Tools to Fight Omicron” CDC has — hold onto your hats here, folks — no mention of ventilation at all, or the fact that Covid is airborne. Because you don’t need to know that.

The Government Asked Us Not To Release Records From The CDC’s First Failed COVID Test. Here They Are. Buzzfeed. At this point, what I’m noticing is that there has been zero (0) effort by the Biden administration to, as we say, “hold [CDC] accountable” for what all agree is a colossal, indeed lethal, omnishambles.

* * *

Amtrak to Cut Service as Workforce Shrinks on Shot Refusals (2) Bloomberg

These urologists are setting the record straight about p*nises and COVID Popular Science. “Highly vascular organs.”


China Reopens a Funding Spigot for Property Developers WSJ

Beijing’s aggressive Covid-zero plan under threat as cases climb for seven weeks If only Gladys were in charge!

Chinese fuzzwords and slanguage of the year 2021 Language Log

China’s “whole-process democracy,” con and pro:


Omicron has arrived in peak wedding season. Should Indians be worried?


Saudi camel beauty pageant cracks down on cosmetic enhancements BBC (Re Silc).

Israel opposed the Iran nuclear deal, but former Israeli officials increasingly say U.S. pullout was a mistake WaPo

Visit to a Lost CIA Base in Afghanistan Spy Talk


Omicron could be spreading faster in England than in South Africa, Sage adviser says Guardian (Rev Kev).

Britain starts recruiting for real-world COVID antiviral trial Reuters

New Cold War

Did a major shift finally happen between the USA and Russia? The Saker

Biden reaffirms US’s ‘unwavering commitment’ to Ukrainian sovereignty FT

Ukraine Ready to Fight to ‘Last Drop’ Foreign Policy. But of whose blood?

Russian Federation Sitrep 9 December 2021 Russia Observer (Rev Kev).

Get your story straight London Review of Books. Nationalities in the U.S.S.R.

The Imperialist Agenda of the Organization of American States (OAS) Common Dreams

Biden Administration

Biden calls on leaders to end ‘backward slide’ of democracy AP

Supreme Court signals support of public tuition for religious schools in Maine case Portland Press Herald. Hot take: “Christianist madrassas!” Supreme Court, ten years from now: “The United States is a Christian nation.”

Defense bill creates new office to study UFOs The Hill

Opinion: EPA takes another bite on dicamba…will anything change? Midwest Center for Investigative Journalism

Supply Chain

House passes bill expanding powers of maritime regulators Hellenic Shipping News. Interesting detail.

Our Famously Free Press

Bad News Harpers. Deck: “Selling the story of disinformation.” Grifters gotta grift.

COMMENTARY: 8 things US pandemic communicators still get wrong CIDRAP (ChiGal).


UK court overturns denial of US request to extradite Assange AP and Assange Judge Is 40-Year ‘Good Friend’ of Minister Who Orchestrated His Arrest Declassified UK

Chevron foe Donziger released from prison under COVID waiver Reuters

Exclusive: Whistleblower Craig Murray Speaks Out After Being Imprisoned Over Blog Posts The Dissenter

“I am not a traitor”: Reality Winner explains why she leaked a classified document CBS

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Former ‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Found Guilty on Five Counts of Faking Hate Crime, Lying to Chicago Police NECN

Police State Watch

FBI may shut down police use-of-force database due to lack of police participation WaPo (Dave).

Sports Desk

Sports parents are horrible and referees are finally doing something about it — quitting WaPo

Imperial Collapse Watch

Congress Won’t End the Wars, So States Must Defend the Guard

Class Warfare

For the First Time Ever, a Starbucks Store Has Voted to Form a Union New York Magazine. Reaction (1):

Reaction (2):

Good to see the Democrat leadership cheering these courageous and effective workers on. Oh, wait…..

Employees at three Somerville coffee shops move to unionize WGBH. Inspired by Starbucks?

We Have Considered ‘Consider The Oyster’ Defector. First, Defector recently introduced LeGuin to those who have not read her. Now, the great M.F.K. Fisher! Impressive.

Bear Witness The Baffler

Want to help animals? Here’s where to donate your money. Vox. Readers? What do you think?

Antidote du Jour (via):

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. Michael Ismoe

    Bernie certainly loves being the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral, doesn’t he?

    1. Pat

      Certainly more refreshing than the guy who can’t show up because he can’t remember which closet in which of his multiple million dollar mansions he left his Italian made comfy shoes. Or the I came from nothing free trade lifts all boats who advises to “learn to code” to the workers whose jobs were lost to globalization disguised as free trade even as they are helping to send those jobs off shore. Or the regular Joe who makes corporate bankruptcies and “restructuring” that short small local businesses so easy, but helps banks charge usury level rates and then makes personal bankruptcies massively difficult to protect those same banks. All of whom would prefer job actions would disappear or at least never be mentioned and save them the effort.

      Unlike the Bride/corpse who still shows up and pickets.

      1. ambrit

        Without him we might have a developing militant underground.
        Much as I like Bernie, I am beginning to suspect that all of the previous accusations of “Sheepdogging” thrown at him missed the main point. One can indeed be a “Sheepdog” and not really know that fact. Bernie himself is basically blameless, (unless he is a true Machiavellian Villain,) and it is his function in the present socio-political system that is ‘doing the dirty work.’
        The public’s drive for better living and working conditions has always been opposed and supressed by the owning class by any means necessary. The working class has to jettison the veneer of civility with which the System Status Quo masks it’s crimes and fight back. Remember the Steel Union bombing campaigns, the original Rednecks, the River Rouge combats, the Haymarket??
        River Rouge:
        LA Bombing:
        Stay safe. The virus doesn’t care if you are Union or Management.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          December 10, 2021 at 10:59 am

          I suspect the real problem is that most people don’t know about any of these events. Back in yonder school days, the history of the working class and their struggles was barely even a blink in history or civics classes. I learn more and more every day from the NC community and where to look (AND what to look for – hard to search if you have not a clue that it’s even a thing) than I ever did from K-12. What’s worse is the “truths” the books conveyed hid a lot of lies. Which I know is a bigger thing now than it ever was back when the US at least gave the appearance of one cohesive nation (with many family disagreements, but still a family) under the US flag.

          e.g., I’d guess most people associate Redneck with Jeff Foxworthy and his comedic putdowns. Not that dissimilar than calling someone a luddite. Although to be honest redneck has more of a inbred – stupid undertone going for it. More recent history and US to reboot, so perhaps worse if more people knew and understood the truth? Whereas luddite seems more backwards, nostaglic, opposes progress connotation.

          Regardless, we’ve lost the working class history and economic plight of both.

          1. BeliTsari

            Odd thing is: if we essentials, working ill at Amazon, Walmart, slaughterhouse care-homes or private equity hospitals; if teachers, transit or 1099 app-shoppers all tried to emulate the Great Railroad Strike of 1877; simply stealing guns, explosives, ramming burning locomotives into round-houses of company thugs, enlisting any militia sent to murder them… well, isn’t that why “our” parties militarized and are automating all SECURITY & police forces?


            1. ambrit

              Yep. If the fools “running” today’s Property Class had read and understood their history, they would have realized that FDR pulled off a ‘Great Reset’ back in the 1930s; a Reset that saved their hides. Today, reactionary nostalgia for an Aristocracy that never was has set the stage for a re-enactment of the 1900s-1920s labour history.

              1. BeliTsari

                Betya, they just HIRE bullshitters, who’ve convinced academic funders they enjoy reading history, having fallen asleep to The Molly Maguires or Mrs Sokol, high in 1981? Three tales you’ll never see filmed in my dear hometown are: Simon Girty meets Nonhelema @ Gnaddenhutten, W Eugene Smith meets Teenie Harris, and scores of ex-slaves, Immigrants stealing rifles and going to war with the USA & burning down Pittsburgh’s Creative Class™ Strip District?

        2. marym

          Sanders has been an elected official almost continuously since 1981, a choice made by other left activists during that timeframe to “work within the system” in politics or social work, ngo’s, etc. He tried to do some good within that system.

          I think he ran for president in 2016 in a spirit similar to his occasional not-really-filibusters. He’d give a long speech to a mostly empty chamber on a big bill that was less than what he wanted, got the ideas on the record, maybe got some praise and publicity that was personally satisfying. When the2016 campaign started looking almost successful, (and within the bounds of his agreement with the Dems) he tried to make it mean something – running again in 2020, fundraising and publicity for mutual aid groups, strikers, and other candidates, working with an extremely small group of progressives in the House on crafting legislation.

          Whatever anyone’s opinions of how well he did any of that, he’s always been “within the system” and rarely had an ally except on an issue here or there. Had there been an outside movement, he would be accountable for supporting it or not, but the existence and effectiveness of such a movement is/was up to the rest of us.

          There are systemic reasons why such a movement has been ineffective, coopted, or crushed. I don’t claim to know how or if it can be built. We can argue about the details of that, but to say it’s absence is because of Sanders seems illogical.

          1. ambrit

            To the point, I assert that the prescence of Sanders, or anyone filling that function in the system, is to distract the public from the extent of and damage done by owner exploitation. Sanders, by himself is not the cause of the lack of a robust Left in America. But he does give cover to the owning class. The classic recent example is in the medical field. ‘Access’ is not ‘care.’ Note that Bernie’s laudable moves in the direction of a stronger public health system were given good “air time” and then quietly deep sixed in committee.
            My attempted point is that the “cover” someone like Saunders gives to ‘The System’ is in reducing the public’s perception of the seriousness and immediency of needed reforms. “Something is being done about it,” is a common misdirection used by reactionary politicos.
            Be safe!

              1. flora

                Please. Age, experience, and wisdom. Youth takes the court, the older experienced once-players coach, and the even older once-players mentor the coaches. (US sports analogy.)

                1. ambrit

                  Thanks for this! A cynic would phrase that as: “Young men go and fight wars that old men start.” (This being an ‘equal opportunity’ age, I’ll include women in both categories. Unfortunately, ‘hidden’ history has shown that women, even in positions of power are constantly victimized by men. Some women fight back, my sister for example. Others “Think of England.”) I’ll fully agree with the “Lower than the Angels” trope, but have reservations about the “Higher than the Animals” part.
                  Stay safe and “See you on the bus!”

            1. JohnnyGL

              It’s still early to say, but I think Sanders leaves a legacy (I’m presuming he’s just about done and dusted regarding his impact, not least because he’s repeatedly chosen not to take risks with his crucial moments of leverage) that is frustratingly mixed.

              It’s hard to underestimate the destitute state of what constitutes ‘the left’ back in 2014. The full legacy Obama’s neo-liberal wreckage was on full display during the mid-terms with a record-low level of turnout.

              Bernie served as a magnet, attracting discontent from a variety of places, and helping to inspire it, stoke it, and give it voice and through his 2016 and 2020 campaigns, he even made attempts to organize it.

              But, I also think there’s serious lessons to be learned. At times, it seems like Bernie’s understanding of how ‘revolutions’ occur was naively akin to him giving a string of inspiring speeches and expecting to crowd-surf his way into power through a fractured, confused, squabbling Democratic Party.

              He expected to be ordained President by the public once he’d ‘got the message out’ and not to have to contest power from the party gatekeepers. He missed the blindingly obvious plan to redirect Russia-gate into a red-scare campaign against him, and likewise for the importance of the ‘electability’ narrative that was hammered into voters’ heads through months of cable news programming. His campaign seemed strangely caught off-guard by the fact that Obama mustered the effort to pick up the phone and tell the ambitious younger candidates (Pete, Amy) to drop out. Faiz Shakir himself admitted the whole campaign was predicated on coming out at the top of a fractured field.

              There was no attempt to organize members of congress, and no recognition of the legitimacy that a string of endorsements would have provided in the eyes of voters. Voters don’t want to pick a maverick that is going to fight with the party and get nowhere. Everyone in this country knows how easy it is to gridlock everything. Tons of party messaging is built around this.

              Getting a bundle of endorsements from, say, the CPC, would have gone a long way to convey “This party is ready for change, and I can organize this party to rally around that message, and we’re ready to deliver. Here’s 50 sitting members of congress that are on board.”

              Bernie also was unwilling to hammer home the idea that NO ONE ELSE in the field can or would deliver that change. If you’re not willing to criticize members of your own party for failing, it’s hard to convey seriousness about learning from those failures and taking a different direction.

              I feel like Bernie overestimated the value of introducing voters to the idea that different policies are better and we should support those policies. Voters want change, but aren’t wonks and poly sci majors, and don’t have fully formed ideas of what that change should look like. What they really want is leaders who DO have those ideas and the political will and acumen to implement them with administrative competence.

              In hindsight, I’m actually not sure Bernie was as prepared to deliver as he thought he was, or as we’d hoped he was.

              If he was the person we wanted and needed him to be, he’d have shown more ability to strong arm the Democratic Party by now. Build Back Better is a perfect symbol of Bernie being trapped in his own belief in his own weakness. He’s mostly sat idly by and complained while the party has hacked and chopped his once ambitious bill down to peanuts, and he won’t threaten to tank the whole thing because ‘something is better than nothing’ and he won’t dare be tagged with being blamed for ruining Biden’s presidency.

              The sad truth is that Bernie isn’t distracting and sidelining change because he’s trying to do so, it’s just that he himself doesn’t understand how to work the levers of power to make change happen.

              That’s not to call him stupid or anything, I’ve definitely had some misunderstandings overturned, and learned more about politics over the last 5 years of his failed insurgency. Politics is hard. Look at how Lambert wrestles with how to describe the Democratic Party. He’s way better at this stuff than I am!

            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              Sanders never had a real team to win a class war. A battle or two perhaps. Nothing major which would have challenged the system. Look how easily the overton window shifted back. Or how easily his messaging was minimized going into the actual primaries.

              Trump had more potential on that front because he’s more provocative and chaotic. Had a non-voting public platform / celebritism. Not that he wanted a class war. Not that it mattered because he was also easily caged for a multitude of reasons this go round.

              1. JohnnyGL

                In my above comment, I argue Sanders doesn’t understand how to contest power. He said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he believes in ‘bottom up’ revolution, and translated that into trying to shift public opinion through campaigning, speeches, and general advocacy.

                In a sense, Bernie got what he wanted. He moved opinion polls. As it turns out in 21st Century America, public opinion mostly doesn’t matter. Bernie needed to show he had the chops to move the views and the voting habits of members of congress and at that, he’s mostly a failure.

                However, I do think he’s altered the landscape of what’s possible and what’s conceivable, along with Trump.

                It’s entirely plausible that the groundwork laid will be put to use by future politicians. Future presidential candidates could easily pick up the Sanders campaign talking points and will likely find a much easier go of it than Sanders himself found. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              Yes. As would everyone forming any “militant underground” in the U.S. today. Your cell phone, or someone else’s, records your location and every instance of social contact, 24/7/365. Your TV, computer, and internet-connected smart thermostat can all be tapped to do likewise.

              Most ordinary citizens do not have the operational capability to form an effective “militant underground” at this point in time, and they aren’t desperate enough to do so. The Hollywood movie vision of rapid, grassroots-driven social upheaval is just a sentimental stick used to beat on rare humane members of the establishment, like Sanders.

              In real life, such movements are currently conspicuous by their absence. Or utterly ineffectual, brief historical footnotes like Occupy Wall Street. Little, swift moving social explosions that let off more steam than a steady stream Sanders YouTube harangues ever could.

              1. lordkoos

                Most ordinary citizens do not have the operational capability to form an effective “militant underground” at this point in time, and they aren’t desperate enough to do so.

                Maybe give it a few years, I think a lot of desperation is on the horizon.

                I agree that surveillance tech is going to make any uprising difficult, but it’s all about the numbers. One could look at the so-called “great resignation” as a start.

        3. Alice X

          Recently NC in an antidote put up a segment from the 1964 Soviet/Cuban film Soy Cuba, directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. It showed the funeral procession (in a technically stunning sequence) of a Cuban revolutionary, Enrique (though the soundtrack was Ravel’s pavane for a dead princess). This piqued my interest whereby I found and obtained the disc from the Michigan State University library. After State interrogation on the ownership of the booklet of Lenin’s The State and Revolution Enrique is shot as he throws leaflets upon the Plaza below. He falls from the balcony to his death.

          The State and Revolution from September 1917 was Lenin’s most anarchistic work. He drew heavily upon Marx’x Critique of the Gotha Program, both offer the optimism of a State that withers away. Lenin did say in contrast, however, that he and the Bolsheviks were not utopians (which finally Marx was) and must go with the people they had. If he had maintained the withering premiss it would have been a different world. But then as the industrialized world was hell bent on overthrowing him, what is a revolutionary to do? The revolutionary becomes the oppressor much like the ones he replaced.

          I have a host of questions but precious few answers.

          Back to the film, had Kalatozov cut much or most of the first forty minutes which dealt with the decadence of pre revolution Havana, it might have found greater favor with Cuban and Soviet audiences. As it was though, it dropped from sight, until Scorcese rediscovered it. It is worth watching even with its flaws.

          Revolution in the US? Who said recently that is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, as if capitalism is actually what we have.

          1. ambrit

            Thanks for reminding me of the film. I wonder if I could just put in a request at my local public library for the film under the name “Citizen K.”

      2. Michael Ismoe

        What do we have with him?

        Sorry. now I get a voucher to get a hearing aid that may or may not be paid for by Uncle Sam. (It depends on which companies gave to the Dems in 2020.)

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I have a hard time believing that anyone who thinks the (tiny) left in the U.S. would be better off without Bernie than with him has spent any time trying to grow the left in this country.

          Also, the notion that this or that single person’s (Bernie, AOC, Omar, pick anyone) lack of fortitude/talent/morals/etc. has had any meaningful detrimental impact on the overall success of the left in this country is a fundamental misunderstanding of class politics. To take an obvious example, suppose against all odds that Bernie was elected president in 2020 (which I was all for). The federal government would currently be more or less paralyzed (way more than it is) because all the Repubs in Congress and a good portion of the Dems would oppose anything he tried to do (outside the normal playbook), the entire MSM would be going ape-sh1t (way more than it is) about inflation, Russia, Covid, and everything else. He would be getting absolutely nothing substantive done, at best trying to rally for a mandate of elected allies in 22. And we would no doubt be hearing an endless stream of analysis about why he is a fake leftist.

          Absolutely, without Bernie you would have had M4A and free college. Slam dunk.

    2. marym

      Bernie Sanders email to supporters:

      “You’ll recall we raised more than $150,000 in small-dollar donations to support the strike funds helping John Deere and Kellogg’s workers maintain their strikes.”

        1. Pat

          So many crossroads missed, and not just by Sanders.

          I understand other’s disappointment, but I am well aware that without Sanders so much of what people need and the changes we need would not be as challenging for our “betters” as they have become. That Sanders and Occupy Wall Street couldn’t get us over the finish line is not their fault. They still yanked us back further towards the left further than had been done in decades.

          1. ChiGal

            It was interesting to me to hear Adolph Reed say in response to an invitation to commiserate over 2020 on Useful Idiots that he didn’t see Bernie’s run as having been a failure.

            I piped up here several times during the campaign with my take that Bernie didn’t actually want the presidency, he wanted to move the Overton window.

            Got no takers here but I think that’s exactly what Reed meant: Bernie practically single handedly succeeded in effecting a sea change in the conversation. That’s not nothing, for the ban on the word socialist in public discourse to be lifted. We have yet to see things play out.

            1. ambrit

              As far as “things playing out” is concerned; we need some credible threats to the power and security of the Status Quo Elites to be put into play.
              Recinding the “ban” on the word “Socialist” being used in “polite company” is not the same as actual Socialism as Public Policy. We have a long way to go.

            2. tegnost

              I fully support your contention. Bernie did what Bernie could do. Thank you, Bernie. He lived to fight another day, which he is doing.

    1. Yves Smith

      Seriously doubtful. It’s late fall in the UK v. early summer in RSA. RSA’s average age is 27 v. over 40 in the UK. RSA’s disease wave is spreading through its young cohort (particularly uni students, that’s where the Gauteng outbreak was concentrated) while the international travelers who brought it to the UK likely skewed older (you need dough to fly). The UK is also 10X more dense, 281 per square kilometer v. 25 in RSA.

      All those factors add up to faster spread in the UK.

      1. David

        There are a very large number of students in Gauteng (Johannesburg and Tshwane/Pretoria). South Africa basically closes for a month from mid-December to mid-January, so this is the point where people head home or off to the beach, and so we should expect to see the disease spread. Look for concentrations in Durban and the Cape, for example.

  2. nycTerrierist

    since you asked — not sure about Vox’s choice of evaluator
    (they disclosed a common funder) — one can also check:

    some worthy groups imo:
    Works to end factory farming
    rescues dogs from dog meat trade in Asia

    Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is an international grassroots network of animal rights activists founded in 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area. DxE uses disruptive protests and non-violent direct action tactics, such as open rescue of animals from factory farms
    Compassion in World Farming USA

    1. Yves Smith

      I love my little Snow Leopard Trust. It’s small and lean:

      And there are lots of charities that feed people. I give to two in NYC and one down here. Does not take too much work to sus out which ones are well run and not about parties for donors.

      1. Solarjay

        I always try to support my most local organizations. I think it’s easier to find out about how they use their money. And my money stays local.
        I’m not saying anything about these other organizations. 2 years ago I gave to an Australian organization that was providing medical care, rehabilitation, housing for the animals in the huge fires they had. Best I remember all the money went to the actual work, no overhead.
        I try to give to local food banks and some kind of animal shelter. They always need food for the critters.

        Tough times for so many

        1. nycTerrierist

          amen to skipping overhead and supporting local animal rescues/shelters, and food banks

          in recent years, I’ve shifted my modest means to direct support for TNR (trap-neuter-return), and care for community cats right here in my ‘hood

          for those with more $, I’d also give props to the Animal Legal Defense Fund

    2. MT_Wild

      If the concern is wild animals, my first suggestion would be supporting organizations that focus on habitat. Almost all other population level impacts (outside disease) are secondary to the loss and degradation of habitat.

      The 2nd suggestion would be to focus on local and/or single species focused organizations.

      Lastly, I’ll make my pitch that in the U.S., one of the best things you could do is spend $25 on a federal duck stamp. By law almost all of the funds are put directly to land acquisition through purchase and easements. The benefits of this land protection go way beyond just ducks and wetlands.

      1. Mantid

        Locally, we donate to our regional raptor center. It may seem odd but there are many injured birds, large and small, due to the large, long and hot fires in the pac. NW. I’d have thought that they would fly away from danger but imagine what a parent would do if their child was in the nest and couldn’t fly yet. Complicated being a parent now a daze.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: Whistleblower Craig Murray Speaks Out After Being Imprisoned Over Blog Posts”

    It may be that Craig Murray will become a sort of canary in the coal mine of Scottish justice. What was done to him defies all sort of reasonable definitions of justice and the penalty did in fact make him a political prisoner. From this case and other laws I have read about in Scotland, I regret to say that the political corruption in the law runs deep. So when I say that he is the canary in the coal mine, what I mean is that when a formal apology and restitution is made to him and penalties levied on the people in the law and government that did this to him, you will know that justice is prevailing in that country. But till then…

    1. paul

      ..and he had the plod turn up at his house yesterday wanting to know who had leaked info to an ALBA MP.

      They knew exactly where he was for the last 4 months, but waited to lean on him as soon as he was back home with his family.

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm….. Scotland once was a Protestant Theology State, right? So, such behaviours would be expected. Heretics must be burned after all.

  4. MT

    For how long can the Empire abuse its vassals before they revolt?

    First Austrialia and the Submarines, now Finland choses F-35 instead of Gripen from neighbouring Sweden.

    Argument: “The F-35 passed the Finnish requirements regarding the security of supply, industrial participation and cost,” How humiliating it must have been to put these words on the paper for the Finnish delegation.

    One can also be forgiven to think of this as a shimmer of hope. F-35 is useless against Russian forces, so this could be read as a sign that there will be no war with Russia and it is all a MICC racket inflicted on the neutered vassals.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Considering how some longstanding requirements were completely dropped (two-seater training version, ability to use road-based temporary air bases) to keep F-35 a viable option, the selection was not too big a surprise. What is surprising is that Lockheed-Martin is promising 64 fighters within the price limit (which nobody believed was possible).

      The biggest surprise is that both Lockheed-Martin and Finnish military claim the running costs of the fleet will stay below €250 M/year. Even with the hyper-optimistic numbers given by manufacturer that would mean around 2 hours per week per fighter. On the other hand, even that would be more flying hours than the airframe can take during it’s projected service time by 2060.

      1. Bill Smith

        Given the fidelity of the simulators, new single seat aircraft with a two seat for training are becoming rare.

    2. Louis Fyne

      True equality…female-majority Finnish cabinet, female PM prove that women can be just as lobbyist-corrupted and chickenhawk-neoliberal as any 100% male UK government.

        1. JBird4049

          Is this like a Gavin Newsom?

          One would think that keeping a good image would be big, big deal for a national politician, but failing upwards seems to be the thing for some. The more you are incompetent, the more successful you are. Nice club. How do I join it?

          It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. And by the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy.

          — George Carlin

    3. Bill Smith

      “F-35 is useless against Russian forces”

      I imagine Finland doesn’t think so.

      But I imagine they do know it is expensive.

      1. Polar Socialist

        There are a lot of people in Finland who still think USA will protect them from Russia, if they buy enough weapons manufactured there. There’s already a lot of denials that this decision changes Finland’s “neutrality” in any way to underline that of course it does.

        EU has regulated tendering for long enough to everyone to know already how to make the scoring work for the product you want. The way F-35 scored way above others (+10%) makes it suspiciously obvious that whoever designed the scoring system wanted F-35 to win, no matter what.

        I just hope Finland is not planning to purchase military systems that are not approved in Washington (a la Turkey or India), so they too don’t find out the limits of independence…

        1. Bill Smith

          Was the same reasoning behind the prior fighter buy of the F-18’s?

          Given that they currently use F-18’s wouldn’t that already changed their “neutrality”? This just tilt’s it more?

          1. ambrit

            There is also the fact that the F-18 is a reliable and effective aircraft. Some of the “upgraded” F-18s are quite “state of the art.”
            As for the F-35, well, all I can say is “G– Save Finland.”

            1. The Rev Kev

              Last I heard, F-35s don’t fly so well in heavy weather, particularly thunderstorms. How do they go in snowy weather?

  5. griffen

    Sports desk commentary is an interesting article. Not much detail covering the action on a court or a field. Parents, behaving very and on frequent occasions exceedingly badly. Little John is gonna go pro, just like his idol TB12! One can not blame the refs for saying enough.

    Remove fun, insert overbearing adult and here we are. And even though this article does not cover class, having the resources and time to devote for those elite or travel programs is highly beneficial.

    1. Randy

      For at least some of these kids these sports are their only shot at going to a university without taking on crippling debt, so it’s no wonder that their parents get heavily invested. Doesn’t excuse behavior in the article like driving your car onto the field, but it is another way our “meritocracy” makes people mean and miserable.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The parents in the article are dropping 20 grand on a youth league for a kid who is going to quit that league. I imagine the NoVa area has a fair amount of house poor people who are keeping up with the Joneses (I don’t particularly have sympathy for them), but they aren’t doing sensible things with money in hopes of winning a big score. The stress sets in. I tend to think the anger is a result of bad decisions they’ve made.

        Even if it made sense for a 20 grand youth hockey league, it doesn’t make sense in NoVa. The competition will never be good enough to get good enough. Besides the kids playing hockey in NoVa are largely announcing they aren’t good enough for baseball, basketball, or football. The freaks are always freaks. Scouts and agents look for them and will make it work.

        I guarantee these parents mentioned were buying his and hers range rovers and not picking up Virginia 538 programs (for denizens of the Commonwealth, these are like stealing. Ignore the awful commercials and look these up. Virginia has way too many quality public schools to not get locked in) until they learned about the high price of college when the kids were in high school.

      2. griffen

        One of the aspects I enjoyed about watching The Last Dance*, were the informing methods to how many of the key players / coaches found their way into the professional ranks. For example, Rodman had no real home life or initial direction and spent time on the street.

        No mention of travel or elite / AAU teams. Just a different era. *Shameless plug for that series, thorough and pretty entertaining to watch.

    2. Wukchumni

      Parents live vicariously through their kids and compared to my little league experience of a half century ago, it’s a bit frantic.

      We had to go door to door with our boxes of 25 ‘Worlds Finest Chocolate’ bars typically selling 1 or 2 bars at a time, and you were required to sell 2 boxes, all in order to pay for balls, bats and whatnot. Our uniforms were hand me down from previous seasons, the only part of the ensemble that was yours was socks & stirrups.

      Mom would make most of the games, and if you were in the Highlander League there were 3 diamonds with a snack shack in the middle which had a 50 watt bare bulb on a pole 10 feet above, and when that light went on around twilight hour it was game over regardless of what inning it was or who was up to bat, so if you were nursing a lead you’d want it to shine, and if behind it was the last thing you’d want to see…

      Nobody kept records of batting averages or anything really, nor do I recall that there was scouting and a ‘draft’ before the season started, as is commonplace now.

      Every boy played a minimum of 3 innings per 6 inning game, with the crummiest players being left to flounder in right field where young hitters seldom sent a missive their way, thank goodness.

      Now, contrast that with my nephew’s soccer team when he was 10, some seven years ago:

      Moms & dads in the stands were quite vocal and I daresay despondent at a dereliction of duty by the defense, resulting in our team being on the wrong side of 6-0 score, when one of the aforementioned fathers yelled out to the team that there was $10 in it for the next boy to score a goal, and wouldn’t you know it, soon afterwards a 10 year old claimed his tenner on the bench from his tally, which made it only a 6-1 loss.

      All the while my brother in law is videoing the game and later on that night, father and son will go over what the latter did right or wrong, kinda Madden’ing.

      1. 430MLK

        Of my city’s $120 million in ARPA funds, I think city council just voted $10 million for a yuge regional youth sports complex on some TBD city land.

        I remember and miss those 3-4 field parks w/ the snack shack nearby.

      2. KLG

        I played in recreation department leagues in football, baseball, and basketball until high school, when those of us still inclined got as serious as we ever would be. Competitive, yes. But the director did not let parents interfere, not that many would have in the 1960s and early 1970s. We provided our own shoes and baseball gloves. Everything else was the property of the recreation department, to be returned at the end of the season (we got to keep our baseball caps). At the end-of-season Little League picnic, we had footraces for the opportunity to pick out a broken bat from the season. Different times. One of us got to AAA baseball in the Cubs organization. Two were offered scholarships at Division I universities. Less than a handful received scholarship offers to small regional schools. I could have played football at a college half the size of my high school. No, thanks. A few played in a baseball rookie league somewhere. Nothing much has changed regarding scholarships or professional success, except that Title IX has rightly allowed the other 50% to compete for the same ephemeral outcomes. But parents here do spend real money on travel baseball and such. The Wilson A2000 baseball glove that I paid $25 for in 1971 is now $300+. Their children also have Tommy John reconstructive surgery at a distressing rate, 15 years before Tommy John needed it to keep pitching for the Dodgers. The funniest development in the South is lacrosse, which is about as relevant here as cricket. I lived for almost 5 years across from the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Baltimore and watched some of the World Lacrosse Games in ~1998. Not happening in these parts.

        Oh, and in the early 1980s I coached Little League baseball for one season. The players were just as I remembered. Enthusiastic, funny, and a lot of fun. And by the age of 10 they know exactly who should start and who should wait for the games that get out of hand (no mercy rule back then). The parents, not so much. So I had something better to do during the next summer. This has been going on for at least 40 years.

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        I think one of the big things that people have overlooked about the growth of youth sports is that it has served, admittedly very minimally, as one of the ways in which men who in previous generations would have worked in factories or construction can carve out a living that they find dignified.

        I was heavily involved in youth soccer for the better part of a decade (ending about 2012). Many of the serious people involved understand how f’ed up everything is. (It is just like health care – we spend way too much and the end result, even in terms of developing talent, is way worse than it should be.) And there is lots of eye-rolling at the ridiculous parents. But, they are the ones bankrolling the entire enterprise and it is in no one’s (financial) interest to rationally reform the system.

        Just one example: In Madison WI, there was enough youth talent to make 1-2 leagues per two-year age cohort (10,12,14, etc), so that you could minimize travel, spend more time practicing (which is how players improve) instead of playing matches, substantially reduced the cost of playing and so providing more opportunity to less privileged kids, etc., but it required the cooperation of the “travel” clubs – some clubs would have had to make 2-3 roughly equivalent teams instead of hierarchical ones, and they all would have had to agree to get rid of single-age cohorts, which are terrible for many reasons. But, it turns out, the parents love the travel, they all wanted Johnny and Jennie on the “top” team (which at age 12 is so completely crazy). And, just as importantly, maintaining this system was the only way that 10-20 people who all knew better could make a living from youth soccer. Multiply that by a whole big country and a lot of youth sports and the “industry” is now probably supporting 100,000-200,000 people in employment. (BLS says 241,000 people are employed in this country as “coaches and scouts.”)

    3. Sailor Bud

      Certainly a thing that has been going on for a long time, too. The movie Bad News Bears was in 1976, and the conclusion of that film had a very strong theme about shamelessly competitive parents in little league baseball.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      This is what it looks like when the kids who threw screaming tantrums in the grocery store when their parents told them they couldn’t have sugary cereal and were indulged anyway to prevent embarrassment, “grow up” and have children of their own.

      If the ref recalcitrance keeps up, I’d imagine these parents will take the entitled “adult” approach, get a lawyer, and sue the refs for interfering with their offsprings’ “right” to “compete.” Maybe the supreme court will intervene to guarantee this most fundamental of american values, to the most immature generation of “parents” the country has ever seen and their thoroughly spoiled spawn.

      Who do these refs think they are anyway?

    1. saywhat?

      Theoretically, that’s not far removed from a live attenuated virus (LAV), is it?

      However, given the mutability of Sars-Cov-2, I guess even LAVs are dangerous?

      Such interesting times …

      1. Raymond Sim

        Vaccination with a virus one has delberately enfeebled using carefully validated methods in order to protect people from a dangerous disease is not remotely, let alone ‘theoretically’, similar to allowing a wild virus strain free run among your people because it seems ‘mild’ compared to the strains which have recently killed millions.

        And that would be true even if the disease didn’t have long-term consequences. But it does, that’s no longer a matter for debate.

        Or is it? What’s your view on the long-term consequences of Covid?

        1. JMM

          Not the person you’re replying to, but: there are no long-term consequences beyond the next election, and here the party in power is very comfortable with their “we’re more French than the French” rallying cry. A potentially sizeable portion of incapacitated citizens is not a problem to pay attention to right now.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Oh well, take heart, things will certainly get much more obviously worse!

            There must be time for at least two more waves between now and the 2022 elections?

        2. jsn

          Yes, it was paywalled so I never got past the lede, (which because it was Baron’s actually contained information) but Baron’s had an article linked to here the other day about “Where Are All the Missing Workers?” that outright said “Long Covid.”

          We are past “the beginning” of the pandemic, entering “the pandemic” proper and new forces are being organized by it. The comprehensive push back against Psaki’s aghastitude the US should actually provide test kits for free indicates a decisive shift within the elite: top medical professionals are internalizing and rejecting the meaning of “for profit” medicine, at least in a lethal pandemic.

          Between the currency deals Moscow and Bejing are getting with key trading partners to sidestep Swift, the stagflations in Latin America, Turkey and other strongman redoubts of NeoLiberalism and Biden Blinkin at the Putin Zoom, tectonic plates are shifting fast enough that if you sit still you can feel it.

          1. Raymond Sim

            So I’m not the only experiencing that sensation!

            I just posted a comment asking about it.

            Could the oligarchical collective semi-sentience finally be detecting the sensations arising from self-foot-shooting?

            1. jsn

              They will be the last ones to get the message. They’ve spent the last 40 years making sure only what they want to hear gets through to them.

              As Omicron hits our shores we have McConnel blaming income supports for 6.8% inflation, whether he believes that or not. GOP will prevent any attempt to contain Omicron which I expect will burn through the economy this season with a significantly smaller initial footprint than that created by the shut downs because everyone will be on their own and absorb the losses individually, until spending power is thoroughly extinguished. We already appear to be heading into a recession.

              The near term, but not immediate, consequences of this are going to be a gutting of the viable working class and either full bore deflation with a financial collapse, monetary support of the financial markets and a deflationary collapse of the real economy or, with unrealistic optimism, a formalization of the indirect General Strike where people at risk refuse to work and figure out another way to survive.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Supreme Court signals support of public tuition for religious schools in Maine case

    Someone should tell Kavanaugh that there’s a burgeoning Muslim immigrant population in Maine and lots of empty real estate and see if that sharpens his focus re: church/state separation.

    There’s one of those Xtian megachurches in my town that took over an empty big box store. Somehow there is a presumably for-profit sandwich shop inside the church and multiple function rooms to rent for birthday parties, weddings, etc., which is already blurring the lines of what a church is supposed to be. I’d love to take a look at that “church’s” financial records.

    Right next to that Xtian profit center, there is a recently out of business multiscreen movie theater. If Kavanaugh and the rest get their way, I think I’ll open up a madrassa there. I’m sure it would be no problem at all for the Xtians next door.

    1. griffen

      I would suppose that given the empty real estate, especially commercial property like what you’ve described above, that it’s difficult to repurpose those vacant stores or theaters.

      It is interesting that 1st Circuit had previously ruled against the plaintiff action.

    2. Maritimer

      “I’d love to take a look at that “church’s” financial records.”
      You might be able to get some of that info at:
      A church has to have some sort of organization and that might be as a non profit in your state. Or some other legal entity.
      I have done searches at a corporate registry and you can find out some very interesting information. If you have kids, this would be an excellent civics project for them to work on.

      You don’t need to be Harry Markopolos to do stuff like the above.

    3. Bill Smith

      Given the case that there are no public schools in the school district I would have thought the SC might have asked what does the religious instruction add to the cost of the tuition and said they can only be reimbursed up to that amount.

      A fair amount of Somali’s in Auburn Lewiston.

    1. jefemt

      Great Essay- new to me- thank you for sharing.

      I kept thinking, hmmmpfh… the US can’t get this right, after how many ‘skirmishes’ in the last 60 years?

      Maybe we need to start formally declaring war, as opposed to the tacit ‘war-like’ engagement?

  7. flora

    Assange; UK decides to allow his extradition to the US today, Dec. 10th, International Human Rights Day. The court puts up an extra finger on this decision.

    1. Carolinian

      Assange is the story of the day IMO. Biden is a terrible horrible president for his weakness and unwillingness to stand up to the Blob. You might argue that leaving Afghanistan was courageous but Trump set that up and would have done it sooner.

      And at least with Trump he was sufficiently hated by the press to throw some sand in the gears. With Biden one really has to worry that his addled brain will commit some disastrous mistake and his mediocre aides may even encourage hims to do it.

        1. Hepativore

          Biden is part of the Blob. His job is to keep the US on the path of neoliberalism and to take the fall as the Democratic Party sacrificial lamb in the face of the inevitable voter backlash in 2024.

          Why should he bite the hand of the Blob when the Blob is what propped Biden up to be president in the first place?

    2. LawnDart

      Well, as a publisher, Assange was an idealist who believed in freedom of speech. Now, by his example, few publishers will fail to comprehend freedom after speech.

  8. Craig H.

    Defense bill creates new office to study UFOs

    This internet needs a Mad Magazine to do an X-files parody with Gillibrand and Rubio. The article did not say how much this office will cost. They didn’t have anything about the reported security threat. A claim by some Gillibrand press-release-writer that this office will allow the U.S. to maintain dominance of air space.

    1. griffen

      I just figured out that Mr. Graham, senator from SC, does have a passing resemblance to the Cigarette Smoking Man in the X Files show. How great was that TV character, and well portrayed I might add.

      I think the Simpsons have the parody angle covered.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Israel opposed the Iran nuclear deal, but former Israeli officials increasingly say U.S. pullout was a mistake”

    For Israel to admit this is kinda remarkable and it reminds me of Brexit. When Brexit was finally done and it began to dawn on a lot of people the scope and depth of the changes that were coming, it was found that upon reflection, the best deal that the UK could possibly have with the EU was the one that they just left. Same here with Israel. After the past few years they are finally beginning to wake up to the fact that the nuclear deal that was negotiated was in fact the best that could be had. Biden is not going to be so stupid as to attack Iran and even Trump backed off from this idea. But under the deal, Iran had zero chance of building nukes and its opening to the intentional community would have mellowed out the government and led to peaceful changes. Maybe Israel should set AIPAC onto Biden for redoing the deal again.

  10. schmoe

    This is related to a comment on the Omicron thread yesterday regarding a quicker drop in efficacy of the J&J vaccine relative to other vaccines. I am posting a comment here on that as no will likely see it on an old post.

    This Atlantic article said the exact opposite :

    “It’s still early, but Collier thinks the dynamics might look a bit different for people who got a single dose of J&J. Her recent work shows that their antibody levels start significantly lower than mRNA recipients’, but that eight months out from vaccination, the numbers have stayed stable, and have, perhaps, even gone up, shrinking some of the gap between brands. “I liken them to a fine wine,” Collier told me. “They get better over time.”

    Any informed comments on this topic?

    1. Lou Anton

      Kind of a confusing article. Acknowledges that J&J doesn’t match “the magnitude” (I guess that’s like percentage effectiveness, the thing Yves linked to yesterday), but then says J&J has ‘staying power’ and equates it to a low-wattage bulb that keeps running. I really don’t understand the point about staying power the article makes if that doesn’t mean effectiveness.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for that – I’d seen other articles saying J&J’s efficacy was better, along with a bunch that say it’s worse. Seems to be the case with most aspects of the rona – there are almost always dueling studies and opinions. I’m actually a little surprised at this point that so little can be said with any certainty at all. And yet the few things we do know for certain – aerosol transmission for example – are often ignored or downplayed.

      The other thing regarding the efficacy of any preventative treatment, whether it’s vaccines or IVM or what have you, is that we are not testing efficacy by exposing those who have received the treatment to the virus afterwards to see how well it works – that would be unethical and flat out cruel. So I’ve always been a little confused as to how the authorities can such this vaccine is 85% effective, that one is 92%, etc. Absent proven direct exposure, isn’t any efficacy level just an educated guess based on lab results? So when a vaccinated person comes down with the rona 8 months after being vaccinated for example, how can you say for certain that that shows the efficacy has waned if you don’t know whether that person had previously been exposed to the virus during the last 8 months? Isn’t it possible that the person simply hadn’t been exposed to the virus at all until until 8 months after the vaccination? And if vaccinated and still hospitalized, that would show not that efficacy has waned, but that the vaccine is just not effective against whatever variant the hospitalized person was exposed to 8 months on.

      Serious question, so go easy with the flaming please.

    3. Nikkikat

      I recall seeing the same as above. That 8 months out it had stayed stable. From the get go the johnson&johnson vaccine has suffered misinformation and lack of follow up. All of my family has this vaccine. After that I could not find anything on it except some vague stuff about getting a second shot two months after initial dose. I still have not gone for booster, based on above information.

    4. Jen

      Thanks, schmoe! I was part of the comment thread on this yesterday. Good to see a long form, recent piece on J&J.

    5. Yves Smith

      Sorry, among a ginormous # of VA patients, efficacy dropped to 3% after 4 months. And the VA has no dog in this fight and even parse results by age and variant.

      By contrast, that story is 100% handwave.

      Who cares if that low level of protection persists?

      That story smacks of being a PR plant. And I say that as someone who took J&J and would like to think better of it.

  11. Lee

    “The Pandemic of the Vaccinated Is Here The Atlantic. Then the virus came for me.”

    Recent events in addition to the one described below have caused me to question the competence of my primary care provider.

    I messaged her asking her whether it was advisable for me to get a Covid PCR test 3 to 5 days after having a diagnostic procedure requiring that I be unmasked for a prolonged period of time in an enclosed space, ventilation status unknown*, with at least four other persons. She is well aware of my age and health status that puts me at high risk for a breakthrough infection and more serious outcomes.

    I also explained to her that I I live with others whom I also want to protect should I become exposed so I feel the responsible thing to do is to quarantine after my procedure until I am tested. Since I depend on them for home assistance a prolonged period of quarantine would present a hardship. Testing, assuming it’s negative, would shorten that period.

    Her response:

    “If you are tested before you go in and everyone is using Universal precautions, you should be fine. You are vaccinated so you should not need to quarantine unless you feel sick.”

    * I phoned the facility, asked about their buildings ventilation other safety measures, and the first words out of the person’s mouth were, “We are all vaccinated.”

    When pressed, she said she believed that whatever the building safety requirements were, of which she knew nothing regarding ventilation, they were being met.

    P.S. We have two breakthrough cases three doors down from us. A mom who is a TSA agent at a nearby international airport, and her daughter, aged ~55 and 35 respectively. Both are currently experiencing mild symptoms after about 7 and 5 days respectively from onset of symptoms.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about the situation that you find yourself in. My own take here would be to use the precautionary principle and just simply assume that you have been infected unless proven otherwise. If so many members of your medical community still believe in magical vaccines that is on them but since you appear to be smarter than the average bear, I hate to say it but you may have to do that isolation rather than risk a more serious outcome for those around you. And I would also make a hairy nuisance of myself until I got a coupla Covid PCR test kits too. This is your health and those around you at stake, not those others. Good luck.

      1. Lee


        I was just now able to schedule a PCR test for four days after the procedure. I also sent the link to the Atlantic article to the healthcare provider in question along with a frankly worded critique of her medically unsound advice. I guess I’ll be doctor shopping this Christmas.

    2. Tom Stone

      Lee,you got the party line, the approved response.
      So did I, from my primary care person.
      Deviating from that line has consequences, both peer pressure and the potential loss of your job after being humiliated by your peers.
      Fear encourages tribalism and the Medical profession is inherently Authoritarian at the best of times
      “Doctor knows best”.
      Telling your primary care provider that their job is to advise you, not order you around seldom goes over well.
      Add telling them that you are not impressed by someone who clearly does not believe in the scientific method doesn’t either.

      But it might save your life and the lives of others.

      1. BeliTsari

        PS: Speaking of which; we’d wondered WHEN a NYC based blog would dare run the REAL story of how de Blasio’s administration dealt with a tsunami of death & debilitating chronic PASC, job & small business loss amidst defenseless “minority” and refugee essential workers, in a private equity ravaged “health system,” full of totally unprotected, vulnerable, infected and exhausted clinicians, care-workers, nurses and first-responders, basically abandoned to fend for themselves; as 34K perished, from a virus that killed a few hundred in heavily populated countries? We’d posted this info ~18mo back, on CommonDreams & Gothamist (REMOVED!)

        (Clue: they LIED!) (check out the links!)

      2. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        “Fear encourages tribalism and the Medical profession is inherently Authoritarian at the best of times
        “Doctor knows best”.”

        The use and or misuse of termes such as “authoritarianism” [“the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom”] are fraught with difficulty in a society such as ours, because it is often the case that the lone individual is often reliant upon outside actors [because even in an information age such as ours, one cannot both know everything and be proficient in a multitude os skills necessary for survival in a highly complex technological society such as our own] that are specialized in a specific field or discipline, have authority, and have dominance in specific situations due to that same specialized knowledge and those same skills.

        A simple (??) dominance hierarchy, that can be observed in other social animals, is also applicable to human societies, in the sense that, “a dominance hierarchy is a form of animal social structure in which a linear or nearly linear ranking exists, with each animal dominant over those below it and submissive to those above it in the hierarchy.” [Where the simplest example is the family structure itself and the socialization process that occurs in child rearing.]

        Status, power, control [locus of control], ceding of control in certain circumstances [An extreme example is one where you are in a car crash and are rendered unconscious, but you need immediate emergency medical care and there is no one present to speak on your behalf.], and various forms of ‘persuasion’ all exist along a continuum. The fact that certain specialized professionals may not be competent, or demonstrate incompetence [again on a continuum] adds another variable into an already complicated mix. There is much more that needs to be understood, on my part, at least.

        A very fine example of the dilemma(s) faced by such professionals is explored in the following FREE offering: It is a good starting point for deep contemplation on very complicated issues. It is worth viewing, or revisiting:

        “What is it like to have God-like surgical powers, yet to struggle against your own humanity? What is it like to try and save a life, and yet to fail? Shot in a Ukrainian hospital full of desperate patients and makeshift equipment, “The English Surgeon “ is an intimate portrait of brain surgeon Henry Marsh as he wrestles with the dilemmas of the doctor-patient relationship. “It’s like selling your soul to the devil, but what can you do? My son had a brain tumour as a baby and I was desperate for someone to help me. I simply can’t walk away from that need in others.” With an original soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, “The English Surgeon” openly confronts moral and ethical issues which touch every one of us.”

        “The English Surgeon”

        Ideally, the doctor/patient relationship should be a collaboration, sometimes it is not.

        1. jsn

          You might be interested in Ulrich Beck’s “Risk Society”.

          It describes the economic framework that takes the social functions you describe and imposes them by fiat as lived realities where access to economic resources directly corresponds to one’s ability to offload risk onto those less resourced.

          It shows how capitalism has taken human nature, encapsulated it in money and then let the money have final say on “value”.

    3. ChiGal

      To be clear, the CIDRAP opinion piece about pandemic communication today in links is NOT about the press, it is about public health officials, and it is sensible without being strident.

      A great resource to share with those like your doctor who do not get that they are not considering all the relevant information if they rely on generic CDC guidelines. It might get past their defenses/blind spots because the vibe is matter-of-fact, not outrage, and it is written by someone from within the public health community who speaks their language.

      1. BeliTsari

        Loved the CIDRAP piece. But, The Atlantic (typically) contradicts most of their Panglossian party-line, “our President Joe Biden® says everything’s back to NORMAL, yay!” Off with your MASKS & back to HAPPY Hour (AFTER work!) Funny, how they continually spew diametrically opposed tropes, with convincing spittle-flecked febrile vituperation, as they’re SHOCKED to find themselves infecting family members & coworkers? No questioning their demographics’ conditioned assumptions, or evincing regrets at spewing blatant, cherry-picked falsehood, cut&paste PhARMA lies, etc?

        1. Bart Hansen

          I listened to maybe the first couple dozen of Michael Osterholm’s one hour updates and remember being reduced to tears during his dedications to health workers and keep the faith summaries.

          1. Harold

            I have been a regular listener since 2020. I find that his assessments, always backed up with recent data (when it exists), have consistently turned out to be accurate. He was actually briefly banned from Youtube for expressing a carefully measured pessimism, or caution, subsequently borne out in spades.

      2. grayslady

        it is written by someone from within the public health community

        That’s for sure. I thought it was a reasonably balanced article until the author flatly came out and said that “ivermectin works” was misinformation. At that point I saw the author as just another Democrat-think individual, i.e., more and better press, not more and better ways to help people. This individual is concerned with ingratiating himself which, sadly, takes away from some otherwise interesting points.

        1. Basil Pesto

          That need only really bother you if you let it. Besides, that’s not what he actually said. He prefaces with a definition of three kinds of “misinformation” and makes the point that two of them, including opinions you disagree with, are not, in fact, misinformation:

          Opinions you disagree with—even if most of the data and most of the experts are on your side. I’m tempted to stick with an example that most public health professionals would acknowledge (however reluctantly) is at least debatable. Example: Masks on schoolchildren do more harm than good. But I also want to include here opinions so far-fetched that you’re sorely tempted to consider them flat-out falsehoods. Example: Ivermectin works.

          So he’s saying that he does not in fact agree that “Ivermectin Works” is misinformation. He just thinks, or assumes that the reader thinks, that it is extremely unlikely. To reiterate, my personal position on the drug is that it probably has some beneficial effect at scale, particularly when used early in treatment; the hysteria surrounding it is miserably stupid; but it’s probably not a “pandemic ender”/miracle cure. But also, what the hell do I know? And also: the monomaniacal obsession with it is a distraction from the serious anti-covid work that needs to be done, which will need to go beyond pharmaceutical interventions (unless and until an actual miracle cure comes along).

          Holding the opinion that Ivermectin doesn’t “work” is a completely valid opinion to hold, as is its opposite. It’s now a bit of a glasshouses-and-stones problem at this point as people on both sides of that argument are being misled with various forms of dishonesty: pro-vax like overpromising, fraudulent studies etc. on one side, ridiculous hysteria (y’all are not a horse) and outright lying about the drug’s safety etc. on the other. As ever, politics + science = politics.

          Yet the fact that this tiny throwaway sentence could trigger you into thinking:

          At that point I saw the author as just another Democrat-think individual

          even though the entirety of that article repudiates said forms of thinking, feels somehow telling. It’s a silly reason to denigrate a very helpful and useful piece imo. A piece strong enough that differences of opinion with the author on extraneous factual matters don’t undermine it in the least.

      3. Adam Eran

        For an interesting, detailed take on the CDC and its role, see Michael Lewis’ latest (The Premonition: A Pandemic Tale). It amounts to a medical thriller…and an indictment of the CDC for it’s cluelessness.

    4. jr

      When I ask my GP COVID related questions, I seem to detect a defensiveness on her part. If I were discussing something else and she thought I had a mistaken view of it she would explain why. With COVID questions, I get shorter and more assertive answers.

      In a related vein, I’m starting to get pressure from people I know to get the booster. When I tell them I’m waiting to see if it even works against Omicron, what match is best between flavors of vax, and if there are side effects, I get concerned looks. These are some of the same people who have no idea there are simple gargle and nasal rinse routines as well as supplements and who have never bothered to dig into it beyond vaccines, the NYT’s propaganda, and half-a$$ed mask wearing.

      My partner asked if I wanted to come to a New Year’s party with some of them but I demurred. It’s not even COVID. At some point, one of those ever-well-intentioned, Good-Think brought to you by Pfizer! libs will press the point and I am not in the mood these days. Then it will be time for school.

    5. Maritimer

      From that article:
      “Unvaccinated Americans will certainly pay the steepest price in the months to come,….”
      Atlantic apparently has a Covid Crystal Ball and in house Covid Swami working on it.

      Totally unsubstantiated, unscientific statement. Seems more like a hateful, resentful, shameful wish than anything else. Numerous reasons why the uninjected may make out better than the human experiments, in both this phase and long term.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Numerous reasons why the uninjected may make out better than the human experiments, in both this phase and long term.

        Such as?

        Incidentally, those of us who have chosen to be injected after carefully weighing the available evidence might find it hateful & resentful to be described as human experiments.

    1. pjay

      This is a very good essay. I read and bookmarked it last week when someone else recommended it (perhaps in NC comments). It nicely expresses why many of us who are neither “anti-vax” nor “COVID denialist” are so haunted. Thanks.

    2. Pate

      From the linked article:
      “We who invented this thing called “liberalism” are now burying it, and building on the bare soil some technocratic state-corporate hybrid; a China-style social credit society, centralised, monitored, powered by algorithms, emphatically unnatural and unfree.“
      Have often wondered if this move to authoritarianism has been deemed by the people that matter as necessary to compete successfully with China.

      1. flora

        “compete successfully with China”

        I’ve read that rationale in several MSM publications. The “appeal to authoritarianism” rationale in order to “compete with China” seems to be, imo; that material competition alone is all that matters; that materialism itself is all that matters; that the West’s extraordinary philosophical/ religious history and history of free inquiry and thought is of no matter. I take exception to the idea that materialism alone is all that matters, or that “efficiency” is all that matters to a Western society.

        For example, here are some Western quotes about how to measure a man:

        From Martin Luther King jr. – “The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

        From Samuel Johnson – “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

        And of course, from Plato – “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”

        There is in these quotes something every Western person understands that embodies the West’s larger ideal, imo, which no AI algorithm or “material benefits only” governing focus can address – yet which is fundamentally important to many, maybe even most people living in Western countries. My 2 cents.

        1. flora

          To be clear; I also take exception to the idea the West needs authoritarianism to materially compete with China. It does not. The West’s great strength both materially and socially is in its continual moving away from authoritarianism over the last thousands of years.

          1. tegnost

            The west needs authoritarianism to command/control the economy to support monopolistic industries such as pharma, med, big tech and etc… Competition is an unnecessary headwind.

    3. jr

      Wow, thanks, that link is a keeper:

      “ the sieve of misery that is “social” media”…”

      Really well written and comprehensive.

    4. Carla

      From the Unherd article, Re: “My latest Covid thought is ‘Let her rip:’”, he wrote. “Meaning, we who are lucky enough to be triple & double vaxed are pretty protected. Let the rest die. I know they pose a danger to us all. But we are more than 97% protected from them.” — Jerry Saltz, art critic

      It seems to me that, AT LEAST UP UNTIL OMICRON, Saltz is precisely wrong. Since vaccination and boostering seems to offer significant protection from severe disease, yet the vaxxed, who enjoy that protection, can still transmit the virus while asymptomatic or before becoming symptomatic, aren’t those of us who are vaxxed actually more dangerous to the unvaxxed than they are to us?

      With omicron, that bet may be off. I don’t know, nor I suspect, does anyone else.

      But anyway, if my thinking is muddled or incorrect, please dear NC friends, set me straight.

    5. ChiGal

      The establishment (authoritarian) thesis per the article is:

      Lockdowns are needed to contain the virus, masks work and need to be mandated, vaccines are safe, people should take the vaccine to protect themselves and others, and vaccine passports will help open things up quicker and encourage those who are hesitant to get vaccinated.

      The one problem this article doesn’t address is that this had no chance of working since the PTB were themselves not following “the science.” Just one example: If early on the DPA had been invoked to provide everyone with N95s, aerosol transmission had been acknowledged and appropriate ventilation and filtration and capacity restrictions instituted, more people might agree that masks work.

      As it was people were sent into the lion’s den and then themselves blamed for poor outcomes.

      Sh*tty masks don’t work!

    6. Andrew

      Was worth a read, although I find Unherd is a bit Spectator-ish, anti woke, why the Left is blah blah blah (they don’t seem to run any why the Right is wrong about X articles, from what I can tell). As to the subject at hand, it feels like Brexit 2.0, on a worldwide scale, a result of the ever increasing inequality, which has been well underway since the days of the TINA gods Thatcher & Reagan. Sadly I only see things getting worse on this front and fear it’s more evidence that the West is on a downward path, from which there’s no return. I find talking about Covid has become increasingly difficult as everyone has their opinions set in stone and it just results in angry slanging matches, rather than reasoned debate. So I just tend to avoid it if I can as it’s not worth the grief.

  12. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    It was known that the VC (venture capitalists) were supplied with goods from Red China which came in on the Tow Ship In trail in San Pedro.

    Rumor had it that the VC were afraid of attacks on huge cargo ships in port, which is why about of 100 of them were out to sea, safe from smash & grab robberies by increasingly desperate groups now mastering 1,000 balaclava raids on landlubber merchants-and after wiping out their inventories, were frequently just going to the source of consumer goods for easy plunder as they pulled into port.

  13. Alex Morfesis

    PMC insanity… because even when we get caught making fatal mistakes we will not be made to pay a price…”no discipline warranted…” The principal at the Michigan school where the kid was sitting in his office with the weapon apparently in the kids backpack at the school, according to CNN(corporate numbing notions), sent out an email to parents about rumors he could have or should have done something as he sat with the parents immediately prior to the deaths…”no discipline warranted”

  14. jr

    re: Christianist madrassas

    Years ago, while walking in the West Village with my dog, I came across some sort of Christian pilgrim and his presumed wife on the sidewalk. My dog is very friendly and approached them and they cooed over her in delight. The man assured me that she is a “very good dog!” a number of times. Of course he was right.

    I say pilgrim because he, and if I recall correctly she, were bearing sizable crucifixes around their necks. More to the point, he was carrying a rather large wooden cross, about five feet by three or so. He also had a sign that read something to the effect that everything is going to come to a head soon and best to get right with Jesus. They were definitely not from NYC so I imagine they had traveled north specifically to walk the streets and spread the word.

    I also imagine an “Escape from New York” style situation where hordes of these pilgrims are assaulting the city. The bridges are blocked off and armed by drag queens and coke heads and ravers and gang bangers and restauranteurs and Upper West Side debutantes. The wave of Neo-Crusaders presses against the barricades and a volley of fire opens up.

    Nail files and razors explode from hand-made cannons! Boiling oil, low in saturated-fats, is poured onto the heads of the shrieking attackers. A gold-plated AK-47 cracks the air as a wave of chain-saw wielding RuPaul impersonators swarms over the top of the barricades, “Die B!tch!” is their cry! 25$ Molotov cocktails with a minimum of two explode left and right!

    From atop the Chrysler building, a well-appointed sniper’s nest rings with the sound of a bespoke Austrian sniper rifle with monogrammed steel-head rounds! Flocks of pigeons peck and scratch at the faces of the zealots and flies fill their nostrils as rats the size of a loaf of Wonder-Bread rip into their ankles! Cockroaches fit to feed a family of four set upon the wounded! A barrier is dragged aside and Kathleen Casillo floors her SUV war wagon, now bedecked in razor-edged spikes and balls of concertina wire from local schoolyards! She plows into the mob, clearing a path, and from behind her the main defense force pours out: Manhattan real estate agents, berserk as meth-lab rats and seeking human blood!!

    1. Eclair

      Good God, jr, you have been watching too many zombie apocalypse films! I know, because I have been hooked on them for the past couple of months. Love your upper west side images.

      1. jr

        I prefer “Mad Max” to “Zombie Apocalypse” dystopian futures personally but thanks for the kind word! ;)

  15. allan

    SCOTUS has spoken on SB8 in Texas:

    Steve Vladeck @steve_vladeck

    By 8-1 vote, #SCOTUS holds that Texas abortion providers *can* challenge #SB8 by suing *some* state licensing officials in federal court, but by a 5-4 vote, the Court does *not* allow their suit to go forward against state court clerks: …

    Beyond the implications for pregnant people in Texas, this is perhaps the most alarming feature of today’s decision.

    Instead of disincentivizing states from playing such procedural games with our constitutional rights going forward, #SCOTUS has provided a blueprint for doing so.

    Time for another bipartisan commission to study The Court.

      1. allan

        As a reminder, under a separate law, Texas has banned FDA approved at-home abortion inducing
        medications for use at 7-10 weeks. How on Earth this doesn’t violate the Commerce Clause
        is a mystery that will surely one day be resolved by our Federalist Society overlords.

        BTW, just to clarify, I messed up the formatting above. The last, sarcastic line is mine, not from the Tweet.

  16. David N

    Was there an analysis here on the outcome of the John Deere strike, around November 17th? I couldn’t find it.

  17. Carolinian

    Re Saker–one hopes he’s right although there seems to be a pattern here where the Administration hypes up some Ukrainian or Chinese or Iran crisis and then pull back. It’s as though they are trying to capture some of that Trumpian World Wrestling trash talk mojo to keep the press interested. Here’s hoping our “adversaries” continue to show patience and reply “whatever….”

    1. pjay

      This paragraph really caught my eye:

      “We can be sure that the War Party (which I define as follows: the entire US media, the Neocons, the MAGA-GOP gang in Congress, the “non-Biden gang” inside the Democratic Party, the US energy sector, the US MIC, the entire US “deep state”, the Israel lobby, the Ukie lobby, the UK lobby, the Polish lobby, etc.) will present that as a huge, galactic, “concession” and even “betrayal” by Biden who “caved” to Putin The Evil Communist KGB Thug.”

      I watched NBC Nightly News last night (gotta keep up with the daily Narrative). Even though I’ve been a jaded media critic for decades, I was still stunned. The first five minutes was amazing war propaganda. Russia “massing” troops at the border for an invasion; Richard Engel interviewing heroic Ukrainian patriots in trenches waiting for the Red Menace; the besieged Russian ethnics of the Donbass were referred to as “pro-Russian militias” as if they were an advanced force from Russia rather than Ukrainian citizens. And they were depicted as the aggressors doing the shelling of innocent civilians. It was literally “war is peace, freedom is slavery” type stuff.

      1. Bill Smith

        “if they were an advanced force from Russia rather than Ukrainian citizens”

        Given that Russia is handing out Russian passports to people living in the rebel areas, they are Russians (and in the Ukraine).

        1. pjay

          You are correct. So I guess the Russians have already invaded Ukraine! My apologies for accusing NBC of war propaganda. I really shouldn’t be so suspicious.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I figure the Pentagon has more people who recognize they are on the hook if there was a disaster than under previous regimes or recognize disaster is more likely if they can’t maintain full spectrum dominance. The usual suspects types are still ratcheting when they can but are running into planners who grasp the limits of wonder weapons developed in the 70’s and realities of drone warfare.

      Biden is trying to move into foreign policy as most failed presidents do, but he doesn’t have any ideas and is likely reacting constantly.

  18. Mantid

    Lambert’s into with “we will nuke Google.” is incredible. Unstick it from the man! Thank you NC staff.

  19. Basil Pesto

    The Pandemic of the Vaccinated Is Here The Atlantic. – Then the virus came for me.

    The problem with this is the sleight of hand implying that it’s only because of Omicron that the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” meme is now nonsense (even though an immune-escape variant has been on the cards this whole time), when it’s been clear that the vaccines don’t stop infection or transmission of delta, don’t guarantee protection from Long Covid, and their protective effect against acute illness, while real and important, wanes over time.

  20. amechania

    Just some speculation, if somebody gets a working quantum computer going, what would happen to the current stock of bitcoins, nft, and other ‘crypto’?

  21. Glossolalia

    Re: Congress Won’t End the Wars, So States Must

    Note that the article was written before the Afghanistan withdrawal, but since there will eventually be another war I suppose it’s still germane. The article says that

    DTG invokes state authority to order home the tens of thousands of National Guardsmen currently deployed in any war that Congress has not formally declared.

    But I would suggest that instead (or in addition) it whould simply prohibit National Guard troops from being deployed outside the United States.

  22. ambrit

    Mini Zeitgeist Report – Covid Tests:
    I was weaseling about yesterday with the semi-annual “wellness check” at the Community Clinic.
    I presented with a banged up left leg from when I fell off of the bicycle last week. Bruising all over and pain in the knee and ankle. (What one would expect from such an occurrence. [I speak from experience now and from my Misspent Youth.]) La Medica looks at it and does some ‘hands on’ palpitations. I wince and groan. [No Kayfabe. What would have been passed off when young is now felt with both present day experience and magnified through a lifetime of ‘referential’ pain management.] I am admonished to go and have the leg x-rayed for possible hairline fractures. Hmmm….. A local Community Clinic that does not have in-house Radiology. (More later.)
    Secondly, I presented with a sharp drop off in my LDL cholesterol level in my blood. The sharpness of the drop off worried the doctor. (I have a lot to learn before I get my Hypochondria Badge for Senior Scouts.) She called the in-house lab and told them to siphon off some of the blood they had drawn and send it out to the big testing lab to verify the results. When I asked her if she had doubts about the accuracy of her in-house lab results, she replied; “It never hurts to get independent confirmation of a test result.”
    Third, we have sort of settled on “living with” a clinic blood pressure reading of 140/90 as a “new normal.” I suffer from severe “White Coat Syndrome.” I see it every time I enter a medical establishment. Outside blood pressure measurements, from different machines and or venues, are often ‘down’ around the “normal” range of 120/80. Step inside the Portal of Doom and the blood pressure readings invariably rise to the aforementioned heights. The Power of the Subconscious!
    Fourth, I am importuned to “Get the Shot” twice while in the clinic; once by La Medica, and again at a table set up by the exit doorway. The table had splashy placards, and two bright smiling Trainee PMCs ‘holding down the fort.’ (Very well dressed, [as in attired in their bestest Sunday Clothes,] and ‘chipper and perky.’) They were also giving away various items as cheap inducements to insure compliance from the ‘marks.’ I took a very well made, and Clinic Branded, camping fork and spoon plus edged item set that nested together and stored easily. This was a curious item to “gift.” It was something any Prepper would immediately sieze on and carry home to go in their ‘Bug Out Bag.’ [I did.] Also, a pair of very well made cloth anti-virus masks. (At least someone in that organization is thinking this through a little.) Said masks, I read the tag, were made from multi-layers of micropore fabric, and used full head straps. (I will be using them, perhaps as secondary covers for the N95.)
    When I demurrd about the vaccinations, I was asked point blank if I was an Anti-Vaxxer. I then had a convoluted exchange in which I tried to give my reasoning. during this exchange, I tried to explain the difference between these vaccines and “sterilizing vaccines.” The impression I got was that these sincere young people were somehow convinced that the present covid vaccines were similar in action to the ‘old fashioned’ measels, small pox, and similar vaccines from the ‘days of yore.’ I reiterate that these young people were not dumb, indeed, they had the look of up and coming Trainee Professionals. That is where my dispair comes in. The opinions I encountered, couched in terms not far removed from “Holy Writ,” were immune from argumentation. My resort to religious analogy is unfortunately exact as used in reference to this subject. The “Official Narrative” is taking on the moral and soon to be legal, (let’s hope not, but,) stature of a Profession of Faith. I felt distinctly like an Iconoclast in a Traditional Church.
    Oh, did I mention the free candy? (I ate that while riding the bus home.)
    Fifth, I took a side trip to an outpatient clinic asociated with the Community Clinic. Due to scheduling mess ups, and what I suspect is a corrupted computer system, I couldn’t get the x-rays done without a full doctors work-up at this individual clinic. This being of a class of medical encounter that I was pretty sure Medicare would not approve, thus leaving me holding the bag as it were, I declined the experience and limped off on home.
    While sitting in the Sub Assistant Clinic waiting room, I overheard a ‘curious’ conversation between the receptionist and a walk in “customer.”
    A trio if teenagers traipsed in, this being at six o’ the clock PM, and one asked for a rapid Covid test. The teen asking for the test attested to being sixteen years of age and thus competent to manage her own medical affairs.
    The receptionist stated that the clinic had run out of quick antigen tests and only had three day wait PCR tests available. The tested person was told that she would have to self quarantine for the three days wait.
    Consternation ensues. The asking teen then calls home and speaks to Mom, after a minutes wait. A third person initially refused to connect the teen to Mom over the phone. [Family relations are a B—-!] The girl speaks to Mom for a minute or so and hangs up. “Mom says I can stay at her place for the Quarantine. Let’s take this test.”
    At this point I was called in and spoke to the internist about my personal “problem” and missed the rest of the Teen Drama.
    Welcome to the Neo World Order!
    Peace and Love to all.

    1. griffen

      I think you’ve pegged the opening sequence for the new film by Clint Eastwood. This needs work, and my mind is open, but it’s either Eastwood playing crotchety man or Eastwood playing less-crotchety man.

      Best of luck on those endeavors.

    1. Oh

      Thanks for the link. We need more people like Kshama to help the 90%. Runaway unbridled Capitalism needs to be destroyed. Send Bezos on a one way trip to Mars.

      1. tegnost

        Send Bezos on a one way trip to Mars.

        I’m reminded of the saying
        ‘Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out”

  23. allan

    Anti-vaccine group targets California’s medical director [AP]

    The president of California’s medical board, which issues medical licenses and disciplines doctors, says a group of anti-vaccine activists stalked her at home and followed her to her office — where four men confronted her in a dark parking garage in what she described as a terrifying experience. …

    The white SUV then followed her to work and parked “head-to-head” with her car in a parking garage, she said. Lawson said that when she left the office building and entered the parking garage later that evening, four men jumped out of the SUV with cameras and recording equipment and confronted her.

    Lawson contacted Walnut Creek Police, who later told her the men told officers they wanted to interview her.

    “Instead, they ambushed me in a dark parking garage when they suspected I would be alone,” she wrote on social media.

    She said the people identified themselves as representing America’s Frontline Doctors and had not contacted the state medical board or her workplace to request to speak with her. …

    Walnut Creek Police spokeswoman Lt. Holley Connors said in a statement that a man claiming to be “a state detective from Georgia” called a police dispatcher on Monday and said that he was conducting “surveillance” in San Miguel, an unincorporated area near Walnut Creek. …

    Another completely normal day in 2021 America.

  24. Rick

    Re: China’s surge in cases.

    This is just flat out a lie. They do have surges, which they stomp on. They have never gotten to 1 per 100k new daily infections, ever. The latest surge is no different than other surges they have had, and is now dropping again. Back in February they had a much bigger surge, but now it’s “under threat”?

    “Dismal failure”? We in the US should have such a failure.


    1. Basil Pesto

      If you’re referring to the article, you have to understand: it’s important for the Murdochian rightwing press – which is the dominant mainstream press voice in Australia and by quite some distance – to denigrate China’s Covid elimination policy whenever possible. That’s because it’s the same policy we pursued, successfully, until the market non-solution of vaccines presented itself and we decided to let ‘er rip (June/July this year). Prior to that, with a couple of exceptions (Melbourne 2020), Covid just wasn’t really a big day-to-day problem here. Similar to China, we engaged in snap/“circuit breaker” localised lockdowns of 1-2 weeks as and when the need arose, and that kept things under control especially pre-delta, although there have been some successful anti-delta snap lockdowns, even with our terrible masking

      The Murdochian press has more or less been advocating do-nothingism/Great Barringtonism from the beginning and will do whatever they can to trick people into thinking that pursuing elimination is somehow an extremist policy, and a failure compared to what we’re now doing (Let ‘Er Rip)

  25. Kouros

    Reading the comments everyday at NC is like being part of Frank Herbert’s fictional community depicted in his stand alone novel “The Santaroga Barrier”….

  26. Raymond Sim

    I haven’t paid much attention to general media for two or three weeks. The business press now seem to be paying real attention to the effects of Covid morbidity and mortality on the economy.

    Does anyone else share this perception? Is it a sudden development?

  27. Jade Bones

    Thanks for the note on the weird to nonexistent deliveries of late. I’d thought the paperboy was throwing them on the roof or into the shrubs.

  28. Carolinian

    Re New Yorker wood pellet article–should be listed under “ridiculously obvious scams”? It might make a tiny bit of sense if discarded farmland was planted with pine trees which, here in the Southeast, can grow 8 ft per year. But trees take forever to grow in the Great White North so woodpellets are an even greater environmental negative than cutting them down for newsprint. Some would claim that Canada’s stewardship of it’s forest resource is dubious indeed.

    But then “every crisis is an opportunity” according to Rahm Emmanuel. Not necessarity a solution.

    1. lance ringquist

      as a ex wood pellet user(health problems took it away), here in minnesota we have a lot, and i mean a lot of tree’s. now this is not to say we should abuse that in any way shape or form. i understand capitalist greed.

      but we have plywood manufacturers, one in cloquet mn.

      if you look at the page it will show a pic of this,
      Former Con-Wed plant (now a USG Corporation facility) in Cloquet, 1973

      you cannot see the mountain of sawdust, its blocked by buildings. but the sawdust from making plywood used to be 2 or more stores high, a lot of it was just trucked away and buried, or used for other wood purposes.

      but later on, it was prime wood pellet material.

      but today i understand that material like that can not provide what is needed today. to bad, loved my pellet stove.

      i would never buy pellets from virgin wood. when ever the storms and tornado’s struck in minnesota, which is a lot. then with all of the fallen tree’s used to make a lot of pellets also.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s not just the New Yorker article. I’ve read elsewhere that landowners in the South are clear cutting and sendiing the trees to pellet mills. I think the main point is that the practice lacks long term sustainability and so it’s more of a scam than an AGW solution. Selling bags of pellets to cabin owners is one thing. Running power plants on them seems faintly ridiculous.

        1. lance ringquist

          agreed. it was a small solution for wood waste, not some major fix for fossil fuels. you cannot do a thing in the u.s.a., without some extraction freaks ruining it.

  29. Even Keel

    Re: amtrak cutting service

    In Portland they are cutting public transit too, a bunch of bus lines, citing a driver shortage:

    Frustrating for those of us who use these services. Why don’t they cut some HR or some other admin and put the money towards bus drivers and hire some more?

    And why is Amtrak even complying with a federal vaccine mandate? Since the contractor mandate is stayed as well as the general mandate, isn’t this actually a voluntary decision on their part?

    The Trimet bus drivers I’ve spoken too are mad because the agency is treating them so poorly. Offering minimal raises and etc.

    I wish our government agencies would be leaders on treating workers well, rather than leaders on MBA’ing employee relations.

  30. jimmy cc

    As a parent of two children who played on elite sports teams and a Board member of one the parents are heavily policed.

    A shame they have to be, but they are.

    of course there is always the exception. i have seen cops called at 930 in the morning for a 14u softball tournament.

    cops dont come out at 930 am to a men bar league softball drinking tournament, but there it was.

    it ai we used to share gloves playing ball and our field has a dome, eight diamonds and a stadium where the local college team plays on.

    i will say, it was pretty cool watching a university of Washington hot a home run over at the exact same spot your kid did.

    Depending on ths team and tournament schedule we paid 600 to $1800in fees, but then you havs to add the travel costs, which some people would spend the magic 20k numbers, but they were a doctor and a lawyer, and they chose to fly.

    i waa cheap. we usually stayed at a budget hotel while the kid(s) stayed with a teammate family at a classy joint or with us at a sh!thole. it didnt matter, we had the time of our lives.

  31. Jon Cloke

    If you think about it, the failure of the CDC over COVID-19 and of the FDA over Purdue and OxyContin all begin with Ronald Reagan’s war on government, no?

    I wonder what global catastrophe neoliberalism will bring to us next…

    O wait – global climate change!

Comments are closed.