Links 1/21/2022

A California City Overrun With Crows Turns to Lasers and a Boombox to Scare Them Away Smithsonian

Trapped by snakes, nature-exploring pre-teen Southlake girl rescued from drainage pipe Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The System that Drives Our World The Drive

13 Top Takeaways From BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s Annual Letter InvestorPlace

IMF sees cost of COVID pandemic rising beyond $12.5 trillion estimate Hellenic Shipping News


How the civilized world does it (1):

How the civilized world does it (2):

NOTE On this thread, there are two photos of hands holding home packs from Uttar Pradesh and Goa that include a listing for The Drug That Shall Not Be Named, one from a physician in Scottsdale, AZ, another from a low-follower account. Sorry, on this topic I will accept nothing less than a photo of happy villagers holding up their home packs.

Canada throws in the towel:

The thread actually points to the Biden Administration as doing a better job than Canada is.

* * *

Natural immunity against COVID lowered risk more than vaccines against Delta variant, new study says Euronews. The original from CDC: “Before Delta became the predominant variant in June, case rates were higher among persons who survived a previous infection than persons who were vaccinated alone. By early October, persons who survived a previous infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone.”

Neutralization and Stability of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant (preprint) (PDF) bioRxiv (Ignacio). From the text: “We reported the ability of SARS-CoV-2 spike to mediate cell-to-cell transmission. To measure the efficiency of this process by Omicron S, we co-cultured with HEK293T-ACE2 target cells with HEK293T pseudotyping virus-producer cells and assessed cell-to-cell transmission after 24 hrs. Unexpectedly, we found that Omicron drastically increased the efficiency of cell-to cell transmission, with 4.8-fold higher levels than D614G and other variants (Fig. 2g), despite comparable levels of cell-free infection (Fig. 1b), reduced ACE2 binding (Fig. 2c), and reduce 162 cell-cell fusion (Fig. 2e)…. Cell-to-cell transmission is commonly used by many viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and is a highly efficient mechanism of virus spread within a host. Enhanced cell-to-cell transmission may help compensate for other observed defects in the Omicron S protein, such as reduced ACE2 binding and fusogenicity. Notably, cell-to-cell transmission of SARS-CoV-2 does not absolutely require ACE2, and extended cell-cell fusion by its spike impairs cell-to-cell transmission. Additionally, cell-to-cell transmission is resistant to neutralizing antibodies, implicating another potential mechanism of Omicron immune evasion.”

Relationship between Anxiety, Depression and Susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Proof of Concept Journal of Infectious Diseases. n=102. From the Abstract: “Participants (n=102) completed measures of anxiety, depression, positive mood and loneliness and provided a blood sample for the measurement of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins. SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity was significantly associated with anxiety and significantly positively associated with depression. The model remained significant after adjustment for age and gender, although anxiety and depression were no longer significant independent predictors.”

Nervous system consequences of COVID-19 Science (MR). “With millions of individuals affected, nervous system complications pose public health challenges for rehabilitation and recovery and for disruptions in the workforce due to loss of functional capacity.” Casualties include not just the dead, but the wounded.

* * *

Without paid leave, the South’s COVID school policies cause a terrible trickle down for families Scalawag

New Jersey psychologist describes horrific conditions in K-12 schools during Omicron surge WSWS. C’mon, let’s be reasonable. The proles can’t be whipped back to work without a babysitting service, and the PMC don’t want the kids underfoot during their Zoom calls.

Because we have no theory of transmission:

I actually feel for the Superintendant. The complete collapse of the public health establishment has left him bereft of guidance.

Congress Addresses Child Care Crisis By Loosening Restrictions On Locking Children In Car For 8 Hours The Onion. From October, still germane.

* * *

Is Robert Malone crazy? (excerpt) Nonzero

Why UCSF COVID expert Bob Wachter will soon be ‘over’ the pandemic San Francisco (dd). He will? Oh.

Vital Signs: disclosure please, we shouldn’t be playing bingo with COVID statistics The Conversation

Drugmakers Sign Pacts to Widen Access to Merck’s Covid Pill Bloomberg. “Molnupiravir” is literally the last word in the article. What could go wrong?


Report on Pandemic Response is Slashed Ahead of WHO Executive Board Meeting Health Policy Watch. “The entire clause that suggested that the WHO should have speedy access to disease outbreak sites has been removed – at the insistence of China, diplomatic sources told Health Policy Watch.” However, from Xi’s Davos speech (transcript): “The fourth [challenge] is to come together against global challenges and jointly create a better future for humanity. In the era of economic globalization, public health emergencies like Covid-19 may very well occur, and global public health governance needs to be honest…. We need to give full play to the role of the World Health Organization in building a global community of health for all.” Hmm.

China’s wealth gap laid bare by contrasting lives of two coronavirus carriers in Beijing South China Morning Post

Corruption investigators coming for platform monopolies?; Contract tracing highlights need for Common Prosperity (excerpt) Bill Bishop, Sinocism


Myanmar army laid landmines along oil, gas pipelines in northern Shan State, rights group says Myanmar Now. Handy map:

‘To Support Democracy in Myanmar, Engage with Ethnic Armed Organizations War on the Rocks

Myanmar Regime’s Reliance on Air Power a Sign of Weakness: US Security Expert The Irrawaddy. Air power can’t hold ground, especially against a country-wide insurgency, no matter how ill-armed and ill-trained.

Indonesia to Propose New Global Health Agency at G20 Summit Bloomberg


UK Labour says Boris Johnson ‘incapable of leading’ in Ukraine crisis Politico. The deck: “Opposition party’s John Healey strikes hawkish tone on Russia as Labour seeks to move on from Jeremy Corbyn years.” “Opposition” my sweet Aunt Fanny.

Corbyn is making libertarian arguments about Covid Carl Beijer

How Norway Popularized an Ultra-Sustainable Heating Method Reasons to be Cheerful

New Cold War

Joe Biden hardens warning to Russia after Kyiv says no attack is ‘minor’ FT

What Putin Really Wants in Ukraine Foreign Affairs. The deck: “Russia Seeks to Stop NATO’s Expansion, Not to Annex More Territory.” To which I would add that Putin wants in addition whatever leverage is needed to make the deal stick, given that he believes, correctly, that the United States is not “agreement-capable.”

Sergey Karaganov: “NATO is a cancer. While metastases are only spreading ” (Google translation)

Hackers Were in Ukraine Systems Months Before Deploying Wiper Zero Day

Biden Administration

The IRS will soon make you use facial recognition to access your taxes online The Verge. What could go wrong?

How Did Get Between You and Your Identity? Bloomberg

Molasses for brains:

Supply Chain

Suez Canal Expansion Due to Complete in July 2023 Vessel Finder

Our Famously Free Press

Chicago Public Media will acquire the Chicago Sun-Times WBE

ASPI – The Gov’t-Funded Conspiracist Think Tank Now Controlling Your Social Media Feed Mint Press. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Misinformation and the saga of ‘Paul is Dead’ Columbia Journalism Review

The Formation of Reuter-Havas-Wolff News Monopoly and Cartel Bill Totten’s Weblog

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Dam in Syria Was on a ‘No-Strike’ List. The U.S. Bombed It Anyway. NYT. Rawther late to the party!

Pentagon Seeks Refunds as Pressure Piles on Spare Parts Maker TransDigm Bloomberg

Class Warfare

The Pandemic and Our Broken Social Contracts Project Syndicate

Boston Pizza Shop Employee Attacked Over Store’s Mask Policy NECN

Woman refuses mask on flight to London. So, the pilot took her back to Florida USA Today

He thought tending bar sounded like fun. Then the entire kitchen staff quit on Christmas Eve. The Experiment

Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee on privacy, data sharing, and the web’s future The Register. I subscribed to TBL’s “Solid” platform, but the UI/UX was bad and I haven’t gotten any mail from them. Odd TBL can’t get funding….

This 22-Year-Old Builds Chips in His Parents’ Garage Wired

The Intel Split Stratechery. Very readable, and a must-read, even for the supposed “non-technical.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (sound down):

I have linked to this before, but it’s a propos and anyhow I love it:

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. Samuel Conner

    Reading as much as I could see of the meditation on the Malone/Rogan interview, I was reminded of Eugene M McCarthy’s hypothesis, which seems plausible — ‘chimps in pig skin.’

    Our capacity for self-reflection and -skepticism, to the extent that it is there and is adaptive in the circumstances in which it arose, may not be well configured to deal with the complexities of the societies that have arisen in recent millennia.

    In other reflection, a recent item linked at NC links mentioned that only 6% of MMORPG gamers like games in which newly encountered strangers can kill you and take your stuff. That’s pretty close to estimates by people such as Martha Stout (The Sociopath Next Door) that 4% of the population have sociopathic personalities.

    Maybe it’s the pig lineage.

    1. KLG

      Pigs are good animals!

      As for Dr. Robert Malone, I have been following him at a distance, so to speak, since I heard his claim to be the inventor of the mRNA vaccine (false, though he is the first author on the first paper AFAIK that describes the transfection of RNA into mammalian cells ). Seems to me he wants to be the pandemic Jordan Peterson.

        1. KLG

          He does. And in his most recent paper on rapid response vaccines, which has some connection to the Department of Defense, nary a mention of mRNA anywhere:

          Most recent research I saw with his name on it was about the use of famotidine (Pepcid) as a COVID-19 therapeutic. I think it is probably still in pre-print purgatory:

          I’m all for using drugs off-label, even the one we dare not speak its name, and I hope this particular work has legs.

          No one denies Dr. Malone did some research on the introduction of mRNA into mammalian cells, which has been very useful in the laboratory. But that doesn’t mean he is the Wilbur and Orville Wright of RNA therapeutics, which have been in development for 30+ years with much promise and even less progress to the clinic (cancer vaccines, for example).

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I didn’t see the Rogan interview, but from the very little I know of Malone he seems to be almost a professional contrarian, espousing views that go against the mainstream consensus even if he contradicts himself.

      I think its a pity that Rogan so often interviews people like Malone alone, as he doesn’t have the science background to pick up their obvious errors. When he does a three way interview with competing views (as he’s done in the past on things like keto vs vegan), it can be far more illuminating. He’s strong enough to prevent it becoming a brawl.

      1. Andy

        Rogan is kind of an idiot on things that are not “science”. Besides, talking about “science” all the time is boring. A society that shuns philosophy, literature and the world of ideas is lacking a vital element that healthy societies need. It’s kind of a bloodless corpse version of what it once was.

        That’s not Rogan’s fault of course but let’s not pretend his schtick is more than what it is. He caters to a market just like any other “news” celebrity figure. Whether they are “mainstream” or “alternative” is no longer relevant. Audience numbers reflect that. Alas, popularity is not a reliable way to measure quality.

        Figures like Rogen, Greenwald or Taibbi are not the brave, fringe dwelling warriors for truth their fans seem to think they are. They provide a “perspective” to a market and their micro-entrepreneurship embodies the very essence of neoliberalism in action.

        1. c_heale

          Never listened to Rogan, but think Taibbi and Greenwald are good. I don’t think either of them are fringe dwelling warriors (whatever that means), but just to do good journalism. The problem is that both large political parties, and nearly all of the media in the US, are extremely neo-liberal and don’t care about the well being of US citizens, only about money and power.

    3. Screwball

      This entire debate is on mission creep at this point. I watched the entire Joe Rogan interview with Malone, and the one with Peter McCullough as well. I also watched the crew at Breaking Points (Krystal & Saager) talk about the Rogan/Malone/Spoitify issue of censorship. They had a segment on the censorship angle, and had previously covered the Rogan/Malone interview itself. It was obvious Krystal was not a fan of Malone, but they are fans of Rogan (they have been on his show and I think they feel he helped them get exposure).

      This week Krystal & Saager had on a Dr. Vinay Prasad for a long segment that was titled “Dr. Vinay Prasad: What McCullough, Malone Get RIGHT & WRONG |Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar.” Link below. I also watched that, and there is a link under that show to a fairly long article written by Prasad (which I read). I took the segment as this guy was proof that Malone is wrong on many things, including the drug that cannot be named doesn’t work.

      Then I happened to catch a segment on Jimmy Dore with data from a doctor about the Rogan interview with Malone that was titled ““Fact-Check” Of Joe Rogan Is A GIANT FAIL.” Link below. The main issue here was the claims of myocarditis.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I can see bias in all of them, and their reporting. Krystal is NOT a fan of Malone, nor the drug that cannot be named. She is pro vax and pro mandate, has taken the jab as well as giving it to her kids. Jimmy Dore took the jabs but claims to have some long term issues from the shot – so he has become anti-vax it appears.

      The funny part, both these segments of Breaking Points and Dore trying to make a case one way or another about Malone/Rogan/truth are using the very same Dr. to make their point – Dr. Vinay Prasad. Odd, IMO.

      IMO, the Prasad guy came off quite different in the article he wrote that Dore was citing vs. the way he talked in the interview with Krystal & Saager.

      It’s hard today to find the truth, and who you should believe, and not believe. That is why I try to watch a wide spectrum of information and make my own conclusion. What seems to have been lost in all this contradictory information – and what should be first and foremost – does these alternative treatments (early treatment seems to be the key word here, IMO) work???????

      At this point, I don’t care what Malone, McCullough, Rogan, Krystal & Saager, Jimmy Dore, or Dr. Vinay Prasad have to say. This has all turned into a giant ball of confusion, bias, and self promotion. And they never seem to talk to Pierre Kory (sp?) who might be worth talking to? I really don’t know at this point, but we have lost the mission.

      Where are the adults in the room, and can we have an honest discussion on what actually works and what doesn’t? I mean, you know, we are going on 900,000 dead, and two years into this mess. WTF people????

      For those interested, links to Breaking points and Jimmy Dore – both containing Dr. Vinay Prasad.

      1. Boomheist

        Thank you for your comments. “Do your own research” is proper advice but in today;s world of countless sources and experts we all need to choose which topics to dive deeply into. In this Malone situation, how many minutes and hours did you spend doing all this review? I am guessing, at least an hour or two. The simple fact is none of us has the time or energy to properly fact check everything we see, so thus we come to rely on others we believe are trustworthy, and we hope they are. I find for myself that I move a bit with time, because each source eventually exposes a critical bias. And all these sources, all of them,
        editoriliaze all the time, endlessly. The “alternate”channels (Dore, Krystal and Saager) aren’t as obvious as Fox and MSNBC or CNN but they do it too, they develop a perspective and then everything afterwards is dsriven by that perspective. How I long for the days when someone read the news and let us make up our own minds.

        1. Screwball

          “Do your own research” is proper advice but in today;s world of countless sources and experts we all need to choose which topics to dive deeply into. In this Malone situation, how many minutes and hours did you spend doing all this review? I am guessing, at least an hour or two.

          I am lucky enough, since I am retired, I have all kinds of time (except when I do my part time job which is teaching college students a STEM class).

          But since I am a teacher, and around many people weekly, in spaces that do not seem very safe (small classroom with no ventilation and nobody but me wearing a mask (I do it for myself to be safe but not required at that particular school)), I have tried to keep abreast of what helps me stay safe.

          I came to the conclusion last year at some point; the only way to look at this is “you are on your own.” I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

          So I read, a lot, and from sources far a wide. I spend hours daily reading and watching all I can. I will say this, of all the places I read, Naked Capitalism is one of the best, if not THE best outlets for COVID information. Thanks not only to Yves & Lambert, but GM, IM Doc, and Ignacio (sp?) for all the great information and insight. Well done!

          For now, I do what I think will keep me safe if that is at all possible.
          1) Wear a mask when you are in a place where aerosols are prevalent.
          2) Once I return home from being in contact with people, I do a nose bong (netti pot) with a mixture of salt & baking soda.
          3) gargle with .05% iodine mix (that I read about here).
          4) Take daily dose of Vitamin D
          5) Drink lots of water
          6) Exercise
          7) As a preventative, I take a weekly dose of the drug that shall not be named. I’ve been doing this since August of last year.

          I don’t know what else to do at this point. I don’t know who to listen to. I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know WHO to believe.

          I would really like to take a bunch of “experts” and put them in a room. I will in turn go in with them carrying a large baseball bat and tell them – come up with a plan to get a handle on this pandemic and you are not coming out of this room until you do – notice my bat?

          Harsh? Maybe, but I don’t care. At this point we have watched almost 900,000 die, while being fed horseshit from every direction, and hyper-politicized by our so-called leaders and media. It is tearing this country apart at the seams.

          Enough already – fix this! (using my best Howard Beale voice)

          1. Brian Beijer

            I agree with your sentiments 100%. Unfortunately, I don’t believe any but the “approved experts” have ever been allowed to have a seat at the table. There is an interesting “Unherd” video on Youtube with one of the approved experts from Israel, Professor Cyrille Cohen, head of Immunology at Bar Ilan University and a member of the advisory committee for vaccines for the Israeli Government. I will give a small spoiler, Dr. Cohen believes that the BIGGEST mistake (his emphasis not mine) the Israeli government made was closing schools. Of course, he made no mention of children being in school became a huge source for spreading Covid, nor any mention on improving school ventilation before children returned. After watching this video, I realized most immunologists in government roles seem to think along the lines of Fauci or Anders Tegnell (Sweden). It seems that they’re everywhere, which gave me little hope in ever turning this ship around. I also realized I have developed a strong dislike toward immunologists… Unherd has also interviewed Anders Tegnell if you’re in the mood to really be depressed.

            I think we here on NC have figured out the political “plan” to handle the pandemic going forward. It is to stop counting and reporting deaths, repeat ad nosium that this isn’t a deadly virus and return everything to normal. I personally have become convinced that Dr. Campbell has become a shill for this new “plan” based on his latest videos. So, he would be a good source to watch to find out what our governments have “planned” for us. I wouldn’t be surprised if soon there were Fbook posts ridiculing those who still wear masks and take precautions as people who “don’t want it to be over” or suffering from psychological trauma… requiring Cognitive Behavioral treatment of course. Be certain that if you die from Covid from now on; you’re death will not be counted and the cause will not be noted.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > wouldn’t be surprised if soon there were Fbook posts ridiculing those who still wear masks and take precautions as people who “don’t want it to be over” or suffering from psychological trauma

              With the workplace, including schools, as bad as ever. The unions — and the left generally — has been incredibly weak throughout (including the left jumping on the mandate train. I don’t see the grounds for mandating a vaccine that’s not sterilizing, i.e. does not prevent transmission. We don’t outlaw being sick, do we? At least not so far).

              The worst thing is that non-pharmaceutical interventions poll well. But a minority of noisy [glass bowls] pandered to capital (“Nothing fundamental will change”) and they became the story, exactly as with the Tea Party.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > How I long for the days when someone read the news and let us make up our own minds.

          I don’t think those days ever existed. I am not sure they ever could have existed! I grant that today’s media environment is utterly polluted, and in a different way from the media environment when, say, there were three big networks and “The Evening News” was thing.

      2. Soredemos

        Dore has really lost the plot in regards to covid. I don’t think he even covers the fact that it’s airborne. He’s now repeating ‘we’re all going to get it’ like a mantra. Well, no, it isn’t inevitable that we’re all going to get it. There are several meaningful steps that could be taken outside vaccination.

        He’s also adopted this sneering, condescending attitute of ‘take the vaccine if it makes you feel safe’. It doesn’t just make someone feel safer, it objectively does lower their chances of hospitalization.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Dore has lost the plot on a lot of things. In spite of his “I’m just a jagoff comedian” line, he’s been high on his own supply for a while.

          1. Soredemos

            I disagree. He’s right about most things. Russiagate was a hoax, the Squad are worthless, etc.

      3. IM Doc

        I could not agree with you more. It is mass confusion. And there seems to be so much self-promotion out there which is very very confounding. Add that to all the Big Pharma psy-ops going on and you have an absolute disaster.

        And you are correct. There are those of us who are active practicing physicians with literally dozens of daily patients who are ill. We have no more idea what to do now than we did in Mar 2020 as far as early therapy for this disease. Lots and lots of good signals on several things and I am of the mind to use them especially if they have good safety profiles. I see positive benefits in my own experience with several of them. However, I have been trained all my life NOT to just rely on my own eyeballs outside of an emergency or outside of an emerging problem. The concern I have right now is it has been two solid years – and our federal agencies have done absolutely nothing in this regard. Nothing. It is unprecedented incompetence.

        Now, I am deluged with very angry and frustrated patients, many of whom are in lockstep with your comments above. It is a very ugly situation – and will only get uglier if the next variants step up the heat. There are days I am beside myself.

        And yes – self promotion and even hucksterism are a very very big thing right now. This has been aided and abetted by the giant sucking sound of the inaction and dissembling of our federal agencies. When it is clear no one is on point, these kinds of problems are obviously going to flourish.

        As a veteran of the AIDS pandemic and its worst years – I would urge everyone to look at the movie DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. That depicts a very real phenomenon that was going on at the time. All about pseudoscience and self promotion. And how it can harm not only patients but medicine itself.

        I feel like I am speaking for thousands of PCPs on the front lines. FOR GODS SAKE – WOULD SOMEONE COMPETENT and CAPABLE AND NOT A CORRUPT BUMBLING LIAR BE ALLOWED TO GET IN CHARGE OF THIS THING – There will be no solutions until that simple task is done.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Time to face it–people are angry and frustrated because they can’t get concrete answers to critical questions. They can’t get concrete answers to critical questions because there aren’t any. THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT being conducted on a mass scale and masquerading, very poorly as it turns out, as “settled science.”

          The questions should have been answered during adequate “vaccine” trials–years not months–the parameters of which were long-standing until now, and prescribed to prevent the chaos and confusion currently happening.

          Who knows why this has been allowed to happen. Maybe tptb thought they could “manage” any fallout. Maybe they really believed that the “vaccine” would be better than it is. Maybe they underestimated the resistance and overestimated their ability to crush it. Maybe they just didn’t care.

          But the more relevant question is how it will be resolved. Distrust of the healthcare “experts” is increasing not decreasing. I’m getting the uncomfortable feeling that the demented walking death rattle in the white house will resort to the only trick he “knows,” and the only trick he “knows” involves Ukraine.

        2. Pelham

          Excellent. I’ll only add that I continue to be alarmed by the utter absence in these at least semi-high-profile Covid discussions of the toll inflicted by Long Covid. I saw the Prasad interview on Breaking Points and he was entirely on board with the likelihood that everybody will get Covid in some form unless they want to wear N95 masks for the next 50 years. Given what I’ve read repeatedly that this virus penetrates most bodily organs, including the brain, I’m suspicious of anyone who’s so laid back about universal infection.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Prasad is an unprincipled charlatan and one of those professional pandemic wrongsters with no shame or humility. Anyone taking him seriously or advocating those innocents looking for answers to take him seriously has pissweak powers of discernment. He is a political actor, a simpering bootlicker. Yes, those do exist on the non-vaccine monomaniacal side as well.

            An acute example is this week where he had a twitter screed decrying the fact that there have been no Randomised Control Trials on the many non-pharmaceutical interventions that are known to be effective (and some that aren’t), giving about 15 examples. It was completely disingenuous, as evinced by these excerpts from his own 2015 book where he outlines the limitations of RCTs in various circumstances. I’m not sure if an RCT can be conducted on whether Prasad cares about anyone but himself.

        3. JBird4049

          Oh, yes. I’m not sure I want to revisit the fun days of 80s AIDS by film or memory, but some of the same… stuff that happened there is happening now. Lying, corruption, tantrums, and stupidity along with panic, suffering, and death. At least, I do not see anyone one pushing laetrile, again.

          We can all agree that this is insanity, and suicidal as well. However, complaining and looking for God is not the solution. Nor is blaming your fellow victims for yours and theirs suffering. That’s just working for Them. So, while I am believe in God, the solution is getting rid of the hucksterism, corruption, and the oligarchy, but it has to be done during this pandemic, which apparently will not be dealt with until we do this; this will be like juggling because people will have to deal with the disease while fighting the corruption, but both make fighting or dealing with the other harder. 1+1≠ 2 but 1+1=3

        4. marku52

          Great rant from Kim Iverson, who has been taking care of covid family members. Why don’t we know more about immunity? What is safe to do and what is not? Why for dog’s sake do we not have a tested early treatment protocol. “If if it only helps 30%, wouldn’t you take that?” She regards the whole mess as a crime against humanity, and I certainly agree.

          She points out that she knows plenty of folks how have done everything right, masked, vaxxed, boosted, and are deathly ill anyway.

          A big point she makes “It is totally clear that the vax only policy is a failure. Does anyone know what to do next?”

          No one in the BIden admin, apparently.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Pierre Kory

        IIRC, and readers will correct me, Kory is one of the few — the only? — doctors to discover a Covid treatment, corticosteriods*, and carry it through to a protocol.

        I think all of the doctors and professors who have gotten media attention have to one degree or another gone cray cray. That’s because getting anywhere near celebrity culture makes you cray cray. Very difficult to do science under such circumstances.

        * This is Kory’s ivermectin article, which those morons at Google keep putting at the top of my results, even with the word “corticosteriod” in the search, and “ivermectin” not. How are we supposed to fight a pandemic if we can’t find anything?

    4. Mildred Montana

      “Our capacity for self-reflection and -skepticism, to the extent that it is there and is adaptive in the circumstances in which it arose, may not be well configured to deal with the complexities of the societies that have arisen in recent millennia.”

      ??? ???????????? ?? ??? ?????????. Perhaps this suggests that after a 300,000-year run, ???? ??????? might have finally over-populated its habitat?

      1. Samuel Conner

        One might put it in terms that IMO would be appropriate in application to many prominent individuals in our time:

        “as a species, we became powerful before we had become wise”

        In analogy to the individual trait of ‘sociopathy’, perhaps our species is afflicted with ‘ecopathy’.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Woman refuses mask on flight to London. So, the pilot took her back to Florida”

    The woman that caused a whole airliner to turn around and send people’s travel plans into chaos must have know that she was going refuse to wear a mask. It does not sound like a decision made on the spot. It may sound rough but I think that considering we are still in the middle of a pandemic that is still stacking up bodies, that when you buy a ticket, there should be a plain disclosure on the ticket that you will be required to wear a mask for that journey. If you purchase a ticket, it will be a tick-box that will require a confirmation. Then the next time some idiot pulls a stunt like this, then they get charged with fraud. This is definitely a case where the rights of the many outweigh the rights of a few – or just the one.

    1. marcel

      What I don’t understand is how it all began. How did she enter the plane without a mask, and how/why did the plane take off with an ‘unmasked’ passenger?
      Anyhow, she is now on a no-fly list.

    2. amused_in_sf

      The few times I have flown during the pandemic (and the times I have booked and later cancelled), there have been numerous reminders (and a consent form) during the purchase process, and email reminders leading up to departure. I would bet a lot of money the airline’s lawyers (this was on United) crafted these notices to allow for all sorts of civil and criminal penalties, if desired. There’s certainly no reasonable way to claim ignorance.

    3. Larry Carlson

      The two types of airline passengers who I grudgingly respect are those who (1) wear proper PPE (N95 mask or respirator, goggles or face shield) or (2) refuse to mask. Both those views are consistent with a coherent view of how to handle COVID (“let ‘er rip” or “zero COVID,” rather than a strange, inconsistent blend that is likely inferior to either). Those who wear a poorly fitted cloth or surgical mask and remove it for an extended period to eat or drink are doing something which clearly offers little or no benefit, but they’re unwilling to protest a pointless rule.

      That being said, my only form of protest has been to not fly, which isn’t really a protest since business travel has ground to a halt, domestic destinations are crowded and pricey, and international travel offers the chance to get stranded in a faraway land if rules change or one tests positive. Few Americans, myself included, are as willing to ignore or challenge irrational rules as we once were (the 1970s were the golden era for protest, of course).

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        I disagree with the constant assertion that somewhat porous protectives, like procedure masks and cloth masks, are useless when used consistently by large numbers of people in crowded spaces like commercial aircraft cabins. Or every public space in large East Asian cities, where the citizens still aren’t as broadly infected with Covid as we are in the feckless West. Every time I read an article about increasing Covid disease in some East Asian nation, when I final (if I finally) can find the infection numbers, they are invariably orders of magnitude lower than in the U.S.

        In China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. the percent of the population that has been sickened, and the percent who will therefore struggle with long term debility, is still far lower that in the U.S. and Europe. The key reason why? The overwhelming majority of citizens follow mitigation rules consistently.

        Self-important know-it-alls who are too petulant to engage in a few small, inconvenient courtesies like masking do not get any traction in those societies, and everyone benefits long term.

        1. Larry Carlson

          I’d argue that the Asian societies you refer to also use other spread mitigants, such as distancing, testing, ventilation, and contact tracing in conjunction with masking, which together form a coherent “zero COVID” or “minimal COVID” strategy. Randomly picking one item from the list and half-heartedly using it is simply inconveniencing people with minimal effect.

          I suspect that these societies benefit from having articulated a fairly clear, coherent strategy after SARS. Even independent thinkers, or self-important know-it-alls, depending on one’s point of view, are more likely to get behind something that actually makes sense and might help deal with the problem at hand.

          1. Yves Smith

            Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and at least in Tokyo, housing is very crowded. No joke, a 3BR apartment within the Otemachi line (prime location) is 900 square feet. So your distancing thesis does not apply there.

        1. Altandmain

          There are cabin crew on private jets that can spread COVID-19 too.

          The rich are less at risk, but not immune.

    4. JerryDenim

      “…that when you buy a ticket, there should be a plain disclosure on the ticket that you will be required to wear a mask for that journey.”

      Just to echo reader AmusedSF, I’ve done quite a bit of flying the last two years and I can promise you every airline that I’ve been on since the mask mandate kicked in here in the US, American Airlines included, which I flew twice this past week, has multiple boxes the passenger must check during the check-in process indicating that they will wear a mask at all times during their flight. The expenses involved for an airline when a wide-body jet is forced to make an air return then cancel due to crew flight time restrictions are massive. With fuel costs, crew wages, meal and hotel vouchers, rebookings etc. the figure must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. I would think damages would be in order.

    1. griffen

      Cue up a film based on his life, pronto! Dare I say that Jack Black is a custom fit for the role? And you can have all sorts of covers done by famous bands and musicians.

      I’d watch it. On second thought maybe the genre is a bit played. I thoroughly enjoyed the Queen movie; but the Motley Crue movie was just lacking on substance.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Can Black act? I think he would be great in a goofy send up (it could be good, don’t get me wrong, School of Rock is good), but except for girth and being able to play covers, I’m not sure half of Tenacious D would be who you want for a biopic.

        1. griffen

          Arguably, Jack can read but can not hold a candle to more established Hollywood talent. To be kind, Black has been in the acting game for a long time (Enemy of the State, random X files episode about dosing cows). His role in Bernie lends to give me a nod; he carried that odd ball of a film.

          His chops singing Christian gospel hymns in the aforementioned Bernie lent him credence.

          1. Janie

            Bernie: great movie, true story, uses actual participants in some scenes. Jack Black does carry it.

      2. urdsama

        Maybe not.

        He was on the Trump MAGA bandwagon, and it’s being reported he died of COVID-19 as he was anti-vaccine.

        Not sure we want a hagiography of him right now.

        1. c_heale

          Regardless of how he died, it seems churlish not to celebrate his life. People are allowed to have differing political views, aren’t they? I’m pretty tired of hearing people complain about Trump, when Obama, and Biden, did or seem to be doing nothing to help ordinary people either.

        2. Jessica

          If he died of Covid-19 because he was anti-vax, then he has already paid quite a high price and I wouldn’t want to pile on any more.
          May he rest in peace.

  3. jimmy cc

    you have already had to use to cancel the advance child tax credit.

    you had to upload your Drivers license picture.

    it didnt fo well for my clients that tried. No one got it to work.

    Not one out of maybe a dozen who tried.

    1. Stephen V.

      And the best part is there is no way for me to really help them unless I go through the process. Needless as I already have an IRIS ” license.”
      They could call… but wait IRIS hold time is up 400%.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Stephen V. – A data point: According to the Tax Advocate’s annual report there were about 182 million calls to the IRS last year. Of those only 42 million got through to a customer service rep.

        The IRS budget has been cut every year since 2008 (inflation-adjusted). They are short-staffed and so backed up it’s a shame, especially with processing paper returns and other correspondence.

        One more agency that Congress is trying to neuter, mainly so their wealthy donors won’t be audited.

        1. Endeavor

          Just use a CPA for taxes and let them deal with the IRS disfunction if they have a question. Which would be rare.

          1. John Zelnicker

            Endeavor – I’m an Enrolled Agent and have been preparing tax returns professionally for almost 20 years. I don’t have to call the IRS for questions about tax returns, but there are tons of other reasons I (and other professionals) have to deal with the IRS.

            In addition, professional tax preparation is not cheap, many people simply can’t afford it. I’m tempted to think that you don’t understand what it’s like to be one of the working poor.

            So, what do you think happens when those folks get a letter from the IRS? Many, if not most, will try to deal with the IRS themselves rather than spending money they don’t have on professional assistance.

            Many others will call someone like me. Although, there is a hotline for professionals, wait times frequently can be over an hour, if the call isn’t simply refused by the system because the queue is too long.

            It’s a mess and the only solution is massive additional funding.

        2. Tangled up in Texas

          I waited 18 weeks for my refund last year on my 2020 return. I hate to see what the delay may be this year.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Sounds like the worst possibilities in re i.d. theft in one place imaginable.

        I keep these things to an absolute minimum yet it gets worse and worse. We must be in lines far more and far longer than the the old Soviets. There ought to be a law. I don’t care if it’s the IRS, a utility, public or private, or any other form of bill collecting – customer service.

        If a human being speaking in native tongue who can actually help is not on a phone line or in person customer service deck within ten minutes – all bills or other demands are considered paid. No arbitration.

        1. Skunk

          You’re making an important point. Wasting people’s time hasn’t really been codified as an offense, but it’s extremely costly. If a business (or government agency) routinely overcharged you in dollars, you could take them to civil court to try to recover the money. But it’s much more difficult to recover dollars for wasted time. So much for the axiom that “time is money”! Businesses and government agencies are allowed to waste so much time that you must now set aside an entire day to deal with certain types of minor problems. In most cases, businesses could easily pay for more phone workers, but instead they cut staff to better line executive pockets. Jingle, jingle in the pockets but no jingle, jingle on the phone line…

    2. Laura in So Cal

      We had to try to use to access California unemployment last year. After 2 weeks of trying we gave up. After looking thru the CA EDD website, I found an option to make our claim the old fashioned way. I printed out a 16 page form, filled it out and mailed it. I then got a check and new claim form every 2 weeks. Worked like a charm with no issues. This is the same process we used back in 2010. So I spent about 10 hours total trying to access unemployment with and failed vs. Spending 1 hour and a $.50 stamp doing it with paperwork. All the new “automated” systems aren’t for MY convenience.

      1. Mantid

        Yep, been doing paper returns for years without much problem. And I use a pocket notebook as opposed to a cell phone. If I drop it, the glass screen doesn’t break. And it’s a good way to avoid QR codes (trackable). Simplify.

      2. Cat Burglar

        My roommate tried the CA EDD telephone helpline — hours and hours on hold, having her call dumped, and over multiple days. After refusing for months to use the data harvesting gatekeeper, she finally was forced to give up and use it to prevent involuntary enrollment in benefits she was not qualified for. No luck: the page locked up and prevented her from entering her information. Now she has received a letter demanding payback of the benefits, and a threat of a penalty.

        Newsom’s is the master of the backroom deal fait accompli (utility fire liability, — not only does the public have no meaningful input on the policy, but the administration is thoroughly incompetent. He is a Biden in training!

        1. The Rev Kev

          That story about your roommate is so…Kafkaesque. Maybe a class action lawsuit is required to get some sort of fix but who can wait the several years for that to go through the courts?

  4. Mr Magoo

    Re: “Trapped by snakes, nature-exploring pre-teen Southlake girl rescued from drainage pipe”

    It is easy to forget how nice it is to read stories like these – especially of kids getting outside and being adventurous.

    1. griffen

      There is no shame for the young girl to be scared, either of the snakes or the holy wrath of angered mom. I share the enthusiasm for a pit of snakes, venomous or not, that Indiana Jones had for the slithering creatures.

      That said, there are definite uses for the non venomous, to control pests and vermin. Just to be clear, it’s a no on the invasive python now prominent in the Everglades.

      1. Wukchumni

        Draped around her nylons
        Was a cold blooded python

        Creeping up a bit more so
        Constriction of the torso

        A furtive halting hand wave
        The only distress signal gave

        Burma Slave

      2. MT_Wild

        Was on an invasive species call yesterday and got a report that the state of Florida wildlife people had just captures a 14′ indian rock python in the wild. Had rather large bones in the stomach they haven’t identified. Apparently this species is a little more cold tolerant and gets just as big as the burmese pythons already well established.

        Really feel bad for all the native mammals on the ground.

        1. ambrit

          Not just the mammals. The pythons are also making inroads into the alligator population of the Everglades
          See, an issue even ten years ago:
          Little sister spoke once about the urban myth in South Florida of the DARPA sponsored genetic experiments that resulted in the fearsome Chimera, the ‘Mangoose!’
          “Richard Tiki Tavi, please pick up the courtesy phone.”

          1. wilroncanada

            You should also read “Squeeze Me”, Carl Hiaasen’s 1920 comic novel about the python ‘invasion’.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      another good thing: Texas Ratsnakes eat rattlesnakes. even their musk(they stink, up close) is a rattler deterrent. ie: if there’s a ratsnake under the house(or in a big pipe) there won’t be any rattlesnakes.
      the handful of chicken eggs the ratsnakes eat around here every year…as well as the sudden increas in heartrate they often engender when i see one curled up in the chickenhouse…i consider a tax for their anti-rattler services.
      I encourage, their presence as best i can…and similarly for possums: i encourage them living under the house, because they are immune to rattler venom, and their young enjoy munching on rattlesnake meat.

      and, of note, regarding snakes and climate: day before yesterday, i found a 1 foot rattler in my greenhouse, attempting to get either in or under the house, likely in anticipation of the big cold front that was then approaching(temps dropped 60 degrees in about 18 hours).
      i have never, ever, even seen a snake, much less a rattler, in january.
      no matter how many warm spells we get.
      this year, i saw 3 in november, 2 in december, and now another one in the middle of january.
      all small rattlers(and, due to human induced selection pressure…3 of those had no rattles at all, and the rest didn’t use the dinky rattles they had)

      1. Wukchumni

        Saw an 8 inch baby rattlesnake in December where it shouldn’t have been at 4,000 feet @ Panther Creek in Sequoia NP.

        We humans are still tied to the calendar and time tested cycles, while Mother Nature’s other clients are adjusting to the new normal which looks out of place to us, all four on the hike remarked how weird it was to see a rattlesnake this time of year.

      2. Raymond Sim

        Baby rattlers are literally the stuff of my grandfatherly nightmares. The big guys make noise, and you can always hope they won’t choose to envenomate. The little ones turn up in campfire circles and around houses and barns, might as well have been deliberately made to intrigue toddlers, and always use the juice.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          only critter besides the grasshopper i’m utterly ruthless in dealing with.
          i mean, i’ll thin the coon, hog and coyote herds, but that’s a necessary evil…since it’s human mismanagement that allows them to proliferate like plum island.

          i’ll even tolerate the odd coral snake(4′ one this fall)…transporting them elsewhere.

  5. Gumnut

    Regarding Molnupiravir:
    – Denmark has bought 50k doses & is offering them to high risk patients (got a generic mail after positive PCR last week)
    – definitely the last word in the article (buried several links deep after vague talk of ‘tablet treatment’
    – but some pushback from the Danish doctors association: (Berlinkse is centre-right newspaper in Denmark)

  6. David Jones

    Carl Beijer does not mention once what I understand to be Corbyn’s and other trade unionists main objection to the mandate for NHS workers.That is if you do not have it we will sack you whatever your reasons i.e religious,ethical etc. Why therefore should union members who have put in a mighty shift against Covid over the past 2 years be sacked?

    1. MP

      Beijer’s point is that despite that being a libertarian opinion, it is not the opinion of a capital-S Socialist. Socialists, sorry to say, operate more under democratic centralism and when the state decides to do something like a mass inoculation program, there are not exceptions or individualist arguments to be made. Westerners get very caught up in individual freedom but again, at the end of the day, the socialist critique of that is that Socialists themselves come from a lineage of thinking of freedom differently than Enlightenment thinkers, namely that mass vaccination campaigns that protect an entire population are more important than individualist objections. I don’t even think this article is a value judgment on mandates despite Beijer himself disagreeing but more making a distinction like he often does in his writing that sketches out ideological boundaries between socialist and non-socialist thinking.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Corbyn comes from a very specific and very English strain of socialism. You can date his thinking back to the paternalistic socialists of the 19th Century who were very much into community self help and co-operatives. It should be noted that his brother is a far right libertarian CT loon. Its no surprise to me that he has quite a few views that fit oddly with conventional left wing thought.

        I’ve often thought the authoritarian/libertarian axis is just as useful in placing people as the left/right axis. We often forget how many very libertarian socialists exist, just as the right swings wildly between libertarians and the Christian democrat or militarist statist traditions.

        1. MP

          Absolutely. I’m planning on reading The Making of the English Working Class soon so I could probably speak more informed on that eventually. But I can at least say that the Labour Left’s decline over the last few years has been exactly because of that tradition, especially as it pertains to Brexit, which boiled down to “another referendum” and not making a Socialist case against the EU and how state power could be utilized more democratically.

      2. David Jones

        Many thanks I understand the argument “freedom from freedom to ” re Berlin et. al. and democratic centralism.The point I am making however, is that we are in a neo-lib run country and no trade union worth its salt is ever going to agree to the sacking of its members.What would happen for example if those members who are sacked call on the colleagues to support them by taking industrial action?

      3. HotFlash

        Exhales. I am not a *credentialed* Socialist, just a small-s one. I am vaccinated up, down and sideways and believe that my duty to society as a whole will override my personal preferences. I obey speed limits and drive on the right side of the road. I stop at stop signs I even signal my turns *as a pedestrian* (it helps drivers, cyclists, and other pedestrians).

        However, it was pretty clear to me, a mere layperson, that the ‘vaccine’ was not going to work. Corona viruses mutate, that’s why there is no vaccine for the common cold. Even the annual flu shots are just called ‘shots’. Furthermore, mRNA is a novel approach which has not worked in any of the applications previously tried, eg cancer, although theoretically it should have been brilliant. The EUA was a joke, the trials were a farce, the results were not shared in a timely manner, and getting that stuff in your body was like, well, let’s just say you can’t un-ring that bell. Average time for adverse side effects to show themselves is about two years, and can be much longer — anyone remember thalidomide? Ddiethylstilbestrol? Hits the second generation, and maybe third.

        The concomitant suppression of any alternative, whether prophylaxis or treatment, was astonishing in its speed and breadth. And concerning.

        So can we stop confusing the Pfizer, Moderna, etc shots with real vaccines?

        PS I still want to see Fauci’s stock portfolio for the past 50 years.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Socialists themselves come from a lineage of thinking of freedom differently than Enlightenment thinkers, namely that mass vaccination campaigns that protect an entire population are more important than individualist objections.

        And, in general, make individuals more free, not less, because you can’t be free if your material circumstances enchain or trap you. Think NHS vs. private health insurance in the US. Which leaves the individual more free?

  7. Wukchumni

    Joe Biden hardens warning to Russia after Kyiv says no attack is ‘minor’ FT

    Imagine WW2 with the internet… How would that have transpired?

    The idea that WW3 might get going in Poland-adjacent is par for the course we’ve been on since December 7th and discovered the money to be made on armaments & being a merchant of war and never looked back.

    Its been 80 years now and about when things fall apart in the lifecycle of institutions, and us.

    …and they shall turn their swords into NFT ploughshares

    1. dave in Austin

      A few decades ago there was a humorist in the Pentagon who used to crawl on the bathroom wall: “The Balkans, where all the odd-numbered World Wars start”.

  8. Tom67

    About the substack article “is Malone crazy”. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the sabotaging of Ivermectin is intentional. That is no crazy conspiration theory. Who in his right mind would take an unproven vaccine (usually vaccines take no less than 8 years to come on the market) if there is an alternative? That is why you can´t get it anywhere where the governments have enough money to buy the Big Pharma stuff. I tried really everything to get it legally here in Germany. I was told by my Doctor before Covid it would have been no problem. It is after all a very well known medicine that is used for a million other things. Now, no chance here in Germany. Fortunately I have a relative whose wife has a immunedeficiency disorder and he didn´t want her to die as she couldn´t be vaccinated. So he got lot´s of Ivermectin from India. It cost pennies and he gave me enough for me and my family. When I got Covid a month ago I followed exactly the Frontline Covid Alliance protocol and took Ivermectin for the prescribed 5 days. Maybe I just got lucky but I don´t think so. My nephew took it as well and he also got over Covid real quick. Whatever else: as Ivermectin is a safe drug, why not just give people the chance? The answer is easy. It is way to cheap.

    1. Screwball

      A buddy of mine and his wife contacted COVID back in November. Both un-vaxxed and in their late 60s, early 70s. I was shocked to find out their doctor gave them a prescription for the drug that cannot be named. They took it for a week and got better. The pharmacy (not all will fill it around here) charged them over $70, but as you say, buying it from the proper place only cost pennies in comparison. So, even if they do prescribe it, they are making quite the markup.

      1. Questa Nota

        Marketing Professor, or was it a Goldman rep, who said:
        Let me sell something for a dollar that costs a dime and is habit-forming.
        Updated for inflation, sell something for $1,000 that still costs a dime, and you’ll accept that habit and you’ll like it.
        Strike that, we don’t have to care if you like it.

        1. Screwball

          As one of my first bosses told me, and I respect him almost as much as my own dad; greed is a terrible thing.

          How much is enough? I don’t have much probably because I don’t want much, but I’m OK, and I’m good with that.

          That’s not how today’s world works, unfortunately.

    2. Maritimer

      Is Robert Malone crazy? (excerpt) Nonzero


      IMF sees cost of COVID pandemic rising beyond $12.5 trillion estimate Hellenic Shipping News
      I’m not so worried about Dr. Malone and Ivermectin and its stellar safety record.

      I am more worried about Dr. Fauci, who is a suspect in the unleashing of a $12.5 trillion Pandemic. I would think that the news stories/opinions etc. should reflect the magnitude of his negative impact versus any of that of Dr. Malone. But not so. And, usually suspects are suspended from their jobs while investigations take place but, in this case, Dr. Fauci is able to carry on and continue doing his damage. Pharma Perps rule.

  9. mr gregory

    El Salvador has a 3% Covid fatality rate in a young population. I don’t think giving out free ivermectin is helping.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats 3% of the proven cases, but they don’t seem to count cases very well so far as I can see, their figure seems far too low.

      Total deaths in El Salvador is 3,840 according to WHO. Out of a population of 6.5 million, thats far better than most countries. Per person, thats about one fifth or the deaths in the UK. It looks very good if you check it on the FT tracker.

      Obviously, its very difficult to be quite sure with countries like El Salvador, they may be massaging the figures, or they may just not have the real numbers for rural areas and barrios.

    2. Mikel

      Current policy is based on mainly studies sbout age and disease affecting the immune system and none of the other factors.
      Big mistake.

  10. griffen

    News this morning, overnight noted singer Meat Loaf died at age 74. His given name was Marvin Lee Aday. In addition to his singing career and mega selling albums he also had a role in films like Fight Club.

    His name is Robert Paulson. Bob was not supposed to talk about fight club.

  11. Otis B Driftwood

    Thank you for the WBEZ/Sun Times merger story. As a native Chicagoan, and given the perspective of living many years outside the city, I have come to appreciate the quality of journalism in my hometown. I am hopeful this merger helps continue that tradition.

    Mike Royko was one the great working class journalists from that city. He wrote for all the major dailies during his career, including the Sun Times (and even the more conservative Tribune). He is exactly the type of lost journalist referred to when Matt Taibbi and Thomas Frank get together to talk about “credentailed” journalists and their toxic effect on public discourse.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Royko was great.

      Although it’s NYC-centric, “Deadline Poets,” which focuses on the careers of Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill, is a wonderful tribute to that era and those working class writers.

    2. griffen

      I would suppose that having a respected journalism school at Northwestern has definitely aided in the quality aspect. One of my favorite sports reporters on ESPN is Michael Wilbon, who is a native of Chicago but I believe he earned his bones working in Washington alongside the irascible, humorous Tony Kornheiser.

      It does not seem like 25 to 30 years ago, but those were the zenith years of Jordan, Pippen, Jackson, et al, the Bulls were my favorite NBA team. The minute they drafted Jordan out of UNC-CH after 3 seasons of collegiate hoops, I was thrilled to keep watching Michael.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Joe Biden hardens warning to Russia after Ukraine says no attack is ‘minor’”

    Joe actually had it right the first time. By giving himself some leeway in what constituted an incursion/invasion, this would mean that if the Ukraine staged a dummy attack and blamed the Russians for it, it would give Washington time to figure out what really went down and give old Joe a chance to stop an all-out war from breaking out. But now he is being backed into a binary choice as in War-No War. This is like something out of the 19th century when a leader would say ‘This was an incursion so this means all-out war.’ Back in the 90s, I thought that we had grown out of such things – along with empire building. And yet here we are.

    1. Mike

      You are on the money, sad to see such basic level of thinking from his advisors. Wished he would of stood his ground from whomever was pressuring him on his updated remarks. Europe has a long history of excessive posturing resulting in bloody violence. It seems people think us acting as world police is a prevention tactic. I see it differently. I think the US was able to rise to power in the 20th century because we spent the prior 150 years staying out of other peoples business until it was our own in WW2. Of course that relates only to Europe, we were active in quasi colonization of our hemisphere but none of those countries posed any sort of serious threat. How many times has the European map been redrawn?

      1. LifelongLib

        A real U.S. exceptionalism is that as the only major power on two isolated continents we never had to engage in what European nations would consider normal diplomacy, or understand what other countries might do based on their own histories or national interests. We don’t fear invasion, why should the Russians?

  13. griffen

    Mr market is having a very sad week. And the earnings from Netflix were less than ideal to change the mood.

    Shares of the streaming service are looking more akin to a warm, steaming pile on a cold January morning. CNBC cued up the penguin footage as brokerages broadly lower their opinion and outlook for the shares.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Netflix raised its fees, decimated its “back” catalog and has “pivoted” toward its own productions, which, according to Mr. BRB, suck. Together, all this has pretty much destroyed the appeal of the platform, and he announced the other day that he was cancelling his subscription after 10(?) years.

      YMMV but if this view/experience is common, Netflix has jumped the shark.

      1. Basil Pesto

        As far as in-house productions go, the occasional banger (ie throwing money at established competent directors) but, for the most part, their ‘original series’ are cinematic shovelware.

        Their back catalogue was never as robust in overseas markets as in the US but you can still find some worthwhile stuff.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think a lot of their more minor shows are just pre-bought from existing production houses – that’s certainly the case with a lot of their Japanese and Korean shows.

          The licensing rules for international distribution seem to be mind bogglingly complex, which probably accounts for why they are so inconsistent and random with so many older non-US shows. You can expand your viewing enormously by getting a VPN of course.

          I think Netflix aimed to be a monopolist for streaming and overplayed their hand – I think they didn’t expect the likes of Disney and Amazon and Sky and others to muscle in so aggressively. But it remains to be seen if any of the new kids on the block can throw so much cash at prestige projects long term. But for now, its happy days for film and animation production companies all over the world, they hardly know what to do with all the business coming in.

      2. griffen

        I’m holding out for season 4 of Ozark at this point. Otherwise it might be time to freeze my subscription. Their original series I’ve mostly enjoyed, some of the original films are okay if you’ve got a competent lead or competent direction.

        Wish they would pick up Mindhunter again, for season 3.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Wish they would pick up Mindhunter again, for season 3.

          agreed. was sad that there doesn’t appear to be any intention to pick it up.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        i freeride on wife and boys’ subscriptions…netflix, prime, hulu and hbo.
        netflix has the singular advantage of actually functioning most of the time…the rest…especially the latter 2…have major buffering issues, and pretty terrible control dashboards(ffw, pause,back to episode menu, etc)>
        if i could get netflix’ functionality and reliability(even when we had rather low bandwidth)…with hbo and amazon’s catalogs, i’d jump at it.
        of course, these are, by definition, first world problems…and thus pretty low on things i worry about.

        regardless, i can rec Station Zero…which i started into yesterday, based on this woman’s review:

        takes a while to become immersed, but i’m hooked.

        1. Utah

          I use a Roku player and all accounts belong to other family members except Netflix. Oddly, Netflix gives me the most grief on my Roku. It’s glitchy and scrolling takes time because every time I move down or over it glitches. It gets stuck loading at 25% and I have to exit out and go back in. So I use Hulu most often (I leave the tv on for the dog when I’m away) followed by hbo. I don’t give Amazon my views, even if I don’t pay for it. I do wish I could watch the Marvelous Mrs Maisel somewhere else, though. Amazon definitely has a great catalogue.

        2. CanCyn

          Station Eleven! I also recommend it! The actor who plays the young Kristen is just great. I also recommend the book. The series deviates from the book but in a good way I think.
          Also thanking someone here (sorry don’t remember who) for the Last Policeman (Winters is the author) book trilogy recommendation. Just finished them. Opposite of Station Eleven – set before the end of the world. Like Don’t Look Up, a comet is on the way. Mystery wrapped up in a dystopian yarn. Great read!
          I seems weird to be enjoying dystopian stuff during a pandemic but somehow it feels right.

          1. griffen

            I see who plays Kristen, and she was a wild young programmer dropout in Halt and Catch Fire, an AMC series with an excellent cast. She was also in the Martian, some role on the ground at command watching Mark Watney move about on Mars.

      4. Jason Boxman

        I never understood Netflix, the UI is awful, and I’d spent 30 minutes looking to find anything that might not be terrible before giving up and doing something else. I guess it just ain’t for me.

    2. Mikel

      “If I keep watching Netflix, English will become my second language,” said my brother just the other day.

  14. cocomaan

    We’re just two days from the Biden administration concluding its first year in office without so much as nominating an ambassador to South Korea. This has not gone over well in Seoul.

    The Biden Administration isn’t nominating ambassadors to S Korea and other places because it wants a war. Yeah, I said it. The ineptitude of their treatment of the Russia situation plus this news about the diplomats to me says that this is all intentional. For all his faults, Trump’s administration saw several hot zones go quiet.

    Obama also used foreign wars to bolster his image among the NPR crowd (National Pentagon Radio). As Covid turns into an absolute disaster, expect Biden to continue to use a foreign policy club to deal with his poll numbers and the midterms.Centrist Democrats and Republicans love a good war.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Yeah, the worse mr. potato head’s ratings tank, the more likely foreign entanglements are launched.
      Can’t we go the raygun route and just invade Tonga or something? I heard they’re in a bit of a bind and should be a walkover, just like the effing cowboys.

  15. Ghost in the Machine

    Utah’s COVID-19 hospitalizations rising fastest for babies, small children

    Sad stories like the WSWS article in there as well.
    And all the groups under 45 are being hospitalized at record rates. Salt Lake schools were out this week due to overwhelming the ‘test to stay’ program but are back next week.

    I would like to forward that WSWS story about omicron in New Jersey to family but I bet they would just think ‘what sites are you reading on the internet? Who is this? Probably made up. Go to a trusted source like NYTs.’ Bleh

    I know it can be unhealthy and counterproductive to let anger grow into something worse, but how are you supposed to feel about ‘leaders’ (bought corporate puppets) who clearly don’t care if you and your loved ones die. Just make the donors (criminals) richer.

    I think I need to read more MLK.

    1. Utah

      And the Salt Lake County mask mandate has been repealed. So that doesn’t help anything.

      I went back for my master’s degree last year and I start student teaching at one of the local high schools on the west side (lower class side) next week, and just got my second vaccine dose last week (6 months after the first dose). I don’t really expect it to do anything for me since the doses were so far apart, but hopefully it’ll help something. I wish students were wearing masks. My room doesn’t even have a window.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ankit Panda
    ‘We’re just two days from the Biden administration concluding its first year in office without so much as nominating an ambassador to South Korea. This has not gone over well in Seoul.’

    Not actually Biden’s fault this. It is the Republicans that are deliberately putting a block on these appointments led by Ted Cruz and if I remember the details right, they will only relent if Biden passes a law to forbid Germany using the Nord Stream 2 gas line. And if I am also remembering correctly, the GOP Senators that are leading this charge come from States that stand to profit selling their gas to Germany if they cannot buy the Russian gas. Meanwhile, the US is falling behind diplomatically in those countries where they have no diplomats installed so yet another own-goal.

  17. t

    That CDC study is all over the place and referred to as though it’s talking about natural immunity instead of immunity in people who have had both a confirmed case of Covid-19 and are fully vaccinated.

  18. Wukchumni

    A California City Overrun With Crows Turns to Lasers and a Boombox to Scare Them Away Smithsonian
    Just to be sure, i’d have Debbie Boone’s You Light Up My Life blaring on continual repeat.

    And while i’m on my soapbox, what right do those birds have naming themselves after a Native American tribe?

    What if Sunnyvale renamed them something less insensitive…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      blasting Pantera through a 100W guitar amp will effectively run off a skunk that has moved under a trailerhouse.
      and coyotes are reliably deterred from where the sheep and/or goats nestle in for the night by a cheap AM radio left on Coast to Coast or one of those Conjunto/Norteno stations.
      with crows…and brownheaded cowbirds…idk.
      never had a problem with the former, save as Omens(shudder)…for the latter, i’ve tried mylar ballons with big eyes painted on them, shiny can lids and old dvd’s hung in trees, snakelike bits of rope draped in the fruit trees, and artificial owls and such.
      for keeping them(and the squirrels) out of the peach trees, the dvd option works best…along with old sunglasses tied up so that they move with the wind.

      in the Panyard(pocket garden outside the greenhouse, where the large bust of Pan/Cernunnos is), i hung up all the unwanted cheezy porn dvd’s that adam and eve always sent for free when i’d get wife some slinky lace thing for anniversary(hope floats,lol)
      called it Art when boys snickered.(Pan=randy, horny orgy god, and all)

      1. Wukchumni

        A 7-11 in the CVBB resorted to playing Chopin’s nocturnes in nocturnal hours on speakers situated above the parking lot to keep the homeless away, and slowly but surely wouldn’t you know it the down and outs began to crave the piano, so they had to switch to Eine kleine Nachtmusik, although to no avail, soon they wanted more Wolfgang.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “This 22-Year-Old Builds Chips in His Parents’ Garage”

    I give full marks to this kid, especially his use of refurbished obsolete machinery. But the lesson here is that it would not take much for small companies to manufacture low-end microchips which should find a ready market where you do not need the latest high-grade microchip. And he had the advantage that he knew that it had all been done before. He reminds me of another kid that did something similar. His name was John Aristotle Phillips and back in the 70s he was a student at Princeton that was failing his grades. I will let Wikipedia tell the story here-

    ‘Phillips was an underachieving student who played the tiger mascot at Princeton games. Hoping to stay at the school, he proposed a term paper for a seminar on nuclear proliferation outlining the design for an atomic bomb similar to the Nagasaki weapon. Whether the weapon as designed would have actually exploded was questioned. Dr. Frank Chilton, a California nuclear scientist who at that time specialized in nuclear explosion engineering, said Phillips’s design was “pretty much guaranteed to work.” . The Federal Bureau of Investigation confiscated Phillips’s term paper and a mockup he had constructed in his dormitory room.’

    So his paper was actually classified and just to add to the story, the Pakistanis tried to buy his design several months later. I read this story in a Reader’s Digest many decades ago but I have never forgotten the lesson of how if something has been done before, then that is half the battle of trying to re-invent it again.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I remember hearing Phillips speak while I was a University of Michigan student. The part that really bopped me over the head was his insistence that “Atoms for Peace” really meant “Bombs for Sale.”

    2. Glen

      Many companies used to run in-house fab facilities to make the chips they needed that were unique and low volume production. Most of these were closed, maybe around the 00’s (it varied by industry) as part of the MBA onslaught to outsource everything.

      It generally worked for a couple of years to get the MBA promoted, and left a mess for the next guy.

    3. Cat Burglar

      There’s a great tradition of do-it-yourselfers!

      Ken Silverstein wrote a wonderful book about a teenager that built a functioning nuclear reactor in his parents’ garden shed. There was the fellow from NZ, I believe, that built a cruise missile from off-the-shelf components. He had tested all the systems, but the authorities stopped him before he could flight test it. As the anarchist writer Bob Black wrote in his review of Backyard Nukes, things like this always raise the question of, “If I am not qualified to do this, who is?”

      One of the best stories about “Atoms For Peace” has to be The Firecracker Boys, about the AEC’s demonstration program to create a harbor using a nuclear explosion. An uninhabited stretch of the Alaska coast was selected. The uninhabitants of the site, along with some biologists that lost their jobs, arranged a humiliation for the AEC that still enraged the would-be perps for decades afterward. Victory!

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I, myself, and I believe more than a few retired engineers, might believe they had died and gone to heaven if they had access to even a corner of Sam Zeloof’s “garage”. I might forego access to his garage if I could have even limited access to his uncelebrated ‘advisors’ and mentors. As far as his computer chips. I believe simple microprocessors and micro-controllers might be extremely useful, … but in times to come, I believe I might be much more appreciative of a capability to manufacture LEDs which I could couple directly [12V?] with my solar power systems.

      I am troubled by how photogenic Sam Zeloof appears — at least in the very first photograph of the link. Being photogenic is not a bad thing in-itself, but being ‘photogenic’ also makes me wary of my impressions and judgment of content that follows.

  20. Tom Stone

    If there had been ANY effective treatments for Covid 19 an emergency use authorization for an experimental vaccine could not be granted.
    And $30,000,000,000 plus in first year profits for Pfizer alone would have gone POOF!
    So no Ivermectin then and no Ivermectin now because allowing its use would invalidate the EUA and open some important people to charges of fraud.
    And perhaps involuntary manslaughter as well.
    Democide is a much more profitable course of action and it is well on its way to putting Social Security on a sound financial footing as well as reducing the number of useless mouths and troublemaking minorities.
    What’s not to like?
    And what could possibly go wrong?

    1. Mantid

      Yes Tom and my theory is that if/when Covid mellows out, I don’t think the feds will open up the use of Ivermectin. If they did loosen their restrictions and end it’s banishment, that would be an admission of failure on their part. So, IVM is gonna be hard to get for a long time. I hope retirement centers and grade schools don’t have an in crease in scabies.

      1. Altandmain

        If the Republicans win, I suspect that they will reverse the course, if only to “own the liberals”, which they tend to do to appeal to their base.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > If the Republicans win, I suspect that they will reverse the course

          The right way to do this would be to have an Operation Warp Speed for treatments, which Biden should have done.

  21. Matthew G. Saroff

    The Syrian dam strike, which threatened to displace hundreds of thousands describes what happened, and what happens routinely, but avoids calling out the aggressive dishonesty of the Pentagon,

    Specifically, they note that that secretive Task Force 9 routinely called in strikes in a manner which allowed them to ignore the rules of engagement, and that Pentagon personnel at the most senior level lie about it, but refuse to call out the war crimes and lying as such.

    My conclusion is that this is a feature, not a bug, and that TF9, and other JSOC deployments are intentionally structured to allow the US military to ignore what are supposed to be its own rules regarding war crimes when it suits them.

    The Times studiously avoids drawing that conclusion though.

    1. Mike

      Meanwhile our culture has glorified JSOC operators via Hollywood, Video Games and YouTube. Hopefully more people see that though they may have “honor” perhaps their contribution to humanity has netted to mostly murder and war crimes.

  22. Wukchumni

    One day in the life of Ivan Isolationist…

    I’m hardly an America Firster the likes of Lindbergh, but I refuse to go to war with foreign bodies via pathogenic contact.

    A weird side effect of having Covid is a tendency to desire forbidden food combos, and Trout ala mode is what’s for dinner!

    Lindbergh – Woody Guthrie

  23. Nikkikat

    Re: the story by Robert Wright NonZero. I listened to the Joe Rogan interview. I read about Dr Malone in the RFK book. He does not present himself as “inventing MRna vaccines”.
    He talks about being there during the preliminary development. He is not “crazy”. I found the article above to be a smear job by a neoliberal. Perhaps reading up a little on Mr. Wright would give better insight. This writer pulled everything out of the hat. This is the type guy that thinks people who refuse the covid vaccine should be locked up in internment camps.
    I think it unwise to read someone’s opinion and take a knee jerk reaction. This is another smear job by people that think they have a right to make your health decisions for you.
    I am vaccinated. However, I believe people should be able to decide for themselves. This writers approach is political.

    1. urblintz

      Correct. The visceral hatred by the mrna “fanboys” for anything that questions this terribly flawed vaccination’s efficacy is beyond transparent . One need not like Dr. Malone, who himself needs not be “right” about everything (as no one “authoritatively” flapping their lips about covid is) to still be offering critical and important insights into the dodgy mrna tech. Mr. Wright should be placed in the same trash bin as Buzz Hollander, one of the other partisan posers offered here who can not seem to recognize their own biases. This from Wright’s nonzero “about” page:

      “…challenges of human psychology. The policies we need at the national and international levels won’t materialize if people keep acting like… well, if they keep acting the way people have long acted. You know: the people who brought us World War I and World War II and the Vietnam and Iraq wars? And the people who, today, achieve political power by appealing to fear and xenophobia? And the people who—on both the red and blue sides of America’s political divide—achieve social media alpha status by caricaturing and denigrating people on the other side, deepening the antagonism between red and blue?

      The “psychology of tribalism” is sometimes used to describe one of the big underlying problems here, and that’s a fair term so long as you appreciate how subtly this psychology can operate, and so long as you appreciate that all of us—all of us—sometimes exhibit it.”

      Wright needs to either re-acquaint himself with his own beliefs or get the hell off his pathetically obvious “look at me, I’m important too” political/partisan microphone… not surprising from a guy no one has ever heard of. Oh, but he teaches at Princeton and has written 5 books (that few have read, alas for his ego, apparently) and has a blog and even his own TV show. Wow! Nice platform, fella! And his Malone essay got 33 whole fanboy “hearts” and 69 comments which one can read if you pay him!

      1. Basil Pesto

        Mr. Wright should be placed in the same trash bin as Buzz Hollander, one of the other partisan posers offered here who can not seem to recognize their own biases.

        This is beyond silly.

        (whatever about Wright’s piece, I don’t care enough to read it)

        In September last year (as I recall) I sent a link to Lambert for WC recommending a piece by Buzz Hollander on Ivermectin which was and is, in my submission, an eminently reasonable piece. Lambert featured the piece in WC the next day. Though I say so myself, Lambert and I are a couple of pretty reasonable dudes, I think.

        The article got no traction pretty much anywhere as far as I know (I don’t remember how I found it), including here beyond a few admirers of the article’s even-handedness on the day it was featured. And yet here you are several months later with what can only, hilariously, be described as Buzz Hollander Derangement Syndrome, all because you didn’t agree with the guy? I don’t agree with his latest piece on the same site; shit happens. It was one dude’s good faith opinion on one minor issue, ye gods.

        A similar thing happened with Scott Alexander’s piece on Ivermectin a bit later in the year. Lots of people read it, most went “oh yeah that seems fair enough” (I personally disagreed with its conclusion, that the observed efficacy was because of the anthelmintic effect in the afflicted populations, when we know that there has been signal for some years that IVM could have potential antiviral effect, but I digress), it even got IM Doc’s seal of approval. But a few IVM monomaniacals yelp and try to discredit it here whenever it comes up.

        I can only requote at length GM’s comment on this cursèd subject on 16/1 (emphasis added):

        IVM is a distraction, and if you are falling for it, you are being duped once again.

        The argument that this is about “ensuring that no inexpensive treatments can ever be discussed” is just empirically debunked.

        What has made a difference in the clinic is, on one hand, monoclonal antibodies, which are certainly not cheap, and are the only thing that has been available for early treatment.

        But on the other, for the more advanced and about-to-become-serious cases, it has been primarily cheap, available for many decades, off-patent drugs — various immunosuppressants and blood thinners.

        Also, everyone in power is so desperate to be able to ignore COVID that the “treatment” that is being recommended right now from the powers that be is a “mild” Omicron booster.

        They could have paused things and ramped up the updated vaccine production, which would have presumably made a lot of money for Pfizer and Moderna, but they did nothing of the sort, instead they pivoted towards brainwashing about how it is really good for you to catch it and “get it over with”.

        If IVM was the magic cure it is thought to be, you would have been hearing about it 24/7. Just as various demagogues around the world did exactly that with HCQ last year (and then had to do large expansions of cemeteries around their countries).

        The main purpose IVM has served is as another tool for exacerbating the divisions in society over COVID, as part of the divide-and-conquer approach to managing the situation.

        Because the more one thinks about why IVM is not being given to people when they catch COVID and how that will magically cure everyone, the less one is thinking about why nobody is doing anything to stop the spread. And if people do take IVM, they are happy to be a part of the enlightened minority that thinks it holds the key to the universe, while ignoring the fact that they are on their second or third infection now and that their health is slowly but surely deteriorating as a result.

        Covid Remedy Identity Politics and tribalism. It’d be embarrassing if it wasn’t so desperately sad and harmful (and I fully factor vaccine monomaniacals into that evaluation as well).

        And Buzz Hollander can’t recognise his own biases?

        1. urblintz

          and you will notice I didn’t respond to Lambert’s puerile attack. Bias indeed. Nothing I wrote called it a miracle, nothing I have advocated is the result of gullibility and your bolded portions of his defensive meltdown (couched in faux logic) appear in nothing I have ever written. Lambert can’t tolerate any pushback so he attributes to me his absurd hyperboles. He thinks he’s the smartest kid in the class, I provided links to back up my assertions. And all Lambert can do is call me names…

          I am not at all surprised you suggested that weak-tea link as I often find your opinions intolerably smug and self-serving. Bias indeed.

          1. urblintz

            Apologies to Lambert. I misread your excerpt as his response to my comment not a comment from GM. But I stand by my assertion that to dismiss advocacy for a possible treatment as a distraction and to denigrate those who support its use – along with the thousands of PRACTICING PHYSICIANS who believe in its effectiveness, especially as a preventative, including IMDoc (who once commented that the FLLC docs would be the “heroes” when all is done) tells me that even someone as committed and informed as GM can be wrong. Covid Remedy Politics and tribalism? That’s insulting and it’s meant to be and it has nothing to do with those looking for ALL the ways out of this catastrophe.

    2. norm de plume

      Thank you for a refreshingly balanced and sensible comment on this topic. I too fail to see where the Malone/McCullough sneering has any solid foundation. Two less crazy people would be hard to find, and speaking of hard to find, where are the champions of the official approach who will debate them on the merits or demerits of their arguments? Where is the MSM outlet that would host such an event? It is the very fact of their ruthless and anti-democratic suppression that alerted me to their message in the first place. Their deliberate quashing (along with many others, including the surely sizeable proportion of medical professionals with reservations who remain silent for fear of reprisal) is for me at least as important as any of the expert advice or opinion they proffer. When you see smoke like that you know there is a fire down below.

      As for Robert Wright, I found it hard to believe that this is the same bloke who was one of the few voices of reason in the US commentariat in the post 911/pre Iraq period, in a fine series of articles on Slate. They were islands of proportion and sound thinking in a sea of tumescent bullshit. Sad that the same person can be an internment camp kinda guy, but then Noam Chomsky is too.

      Back then of course, Fox was the warmonger’s channel of choice and I was one of millions who found the cheap bellicosity and cavalier attitude to inconvenient facts chilling. I found far more sense in Slate, Salon etc and even more at Media Whores Online, Atrios, etc.

      Now, I find myself nodding along appreciatively while watching interviews by Tucker Carlson of people the rest of the MSM wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole. I had Rogan pegged as that wrestler guy that smoked pot with Musk, not my cuppa at all, me being some way to the left of Jeremy Corbyn. Now I watch every second or third podcast, and marvel at the contrast between his in depth (often 3 hour long) discussions of important issues with qualified dissenters and the nasty, dumbed-down and utterly prescriptive establishment mantra-repetition that characterises the MSM treatment of the same material.

      ‘Has the world changed or have I changed?’
      The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

      They say a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. Thing is, ‘I am not now nor have I ever been a member of’ any remotely conservative group. I would never have described myself as a liberal (here in Oz that is the name of the rightist party, which tends to colour its usage) but would happily answer to ‘of the left’. But within two years I have lost ALL of my trust in the MSM and in public health (I could add ‘government’ but I have always been leery of the pols..) and can find succour only in these previously out of the way places, and in right wing politicians with whom I share no political convictions, but for whom I have respect for standing against the awesome tide of conformity that seems to have drowned the rest of the political spectrum.

      Have I changed? Or is it the world?

      1. Yves Smith

        You make clear you are judging Malone by his affect. That is halo effect bias, of seeing people as all good or all bad. The fact that he seems credible to you when he wildly exaggerated his role with respect to the mRNA vaccines is telling.

        And Malone has said just about everywhere that he was the inventor of the mRNA vaccine, so not saying it once is not exculpatory. He’s finally had to back down after hitting a buzz saw of well-deserved criticism. I recall he had that on his Twitter profile.

        Nassim Nicholas Taleb warned against judging people by their appearance or manner. He said if someone was referred to two surgeons with excellent reputatoins, one with a tidy beard, crisply pressed clothes, beautiful teeth and a precise manner of speaking, versus one who was fat, rumpled, with a crappy haircut and snaggle teeth, to pick the latter every day. He had to be stellar to have a top tier reputation despite not looking at all the part.

        The problem with Malone is that he regularly offers innuendo rather than substantiated criticisms. This is an example, where the author goes long-form through a Joe Rogan podcast:

        Malone has also flagrantly Made Shit Up, like asserting that Pfizer had a ten year deal with Israel not to publish any adverse side effects, when Israel was first to warn of myocarditis.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > He does not present himself as “inventing MRna vaccines”.

      From Malone’s substack About Page:

      I am a vaccinologist. I invented the core mRNA vaccine technology platform.

      From the current post on his site:

      Alex Berenson goes on Fox News and directly calls me a liar to my face and says I didn’t invent RNA vaccines.

      Unprofessional, rude and an arsehole to boot.

      But beyond that, I think we can all assume CONTROLLED OPPOSITION.

      So, for Alex, who evidently doesn’t know how to do an internet search, find a patent and read it – I will make it easy for him.

  24. LawnDart

    Чего я не знаю, то меня не колышет!

    US government moves to end daily COVID-19 death reporting by hospitals

    Like lipstick on the collar or perfume dabbed extra-heavily, they draw the blindfold tighter in attempts to cover their many, habitual, infidelities to truth, and their sworn but faithless bond of service in our name.

    This US government is dead to me. Any affection long turned to disgust, and worse, indifference– how else to preserve your mind when chained to a rancid, gaseous corpse that twitches, jerks and spasms, resistant and ignorant of its own foregone demise?

    You repeat to yourself the words: “I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t…” How many ways in American-English can we express this sentiment, “I don’t care”?

    “I don’t give a rat’s ass.”
    “F_@k it.”
    “We value your opinion greatly.”
    And …?

    A soviet of black thoughts led me to the Moscow Times this morning, and I found what could not be mistaken for anything other than a sign:

    How Don’t I Care? Let Me Count The Ways

    It looks like the democrats are right: we who oppose them are starting to think like Russians, though I feel that Russians are considerably more sunny and optimistic about their future than many of us USAians.

  25. dougie

    Re: Bonus antidote “The Tiger”

    The first time this was linked, I printed a copy and taped it to my monitor at the shop. The business manager saw it, and next thing I know, she had made a big copy to post on the lunchroom wall. It became the mantra for business growth and excellence. Staff members shout “The tiger is OUT” when something extraordinary takes place! Out of the mouth of babes, indeed…..

    1. David May

      “It became the mantra for business growth and excellence.”

      America is a vampire. What a horrible place. Nothing cannot be turned into hustling, even a 6 year old child’s poem. Just uggh.

  26. griffen

    Article linked today, about tending bar sounded good. Eh, not so much. It is pretty shameful how individuals treat the people in the “sin” industries with little respect and perhaps too frequently disdain.

    The author has possibly a credentialed background, given his prior career status in the New Mexico government. And this tending bar gig goes along with an Austin vibe of why they heck not? Really just how bad can it be! Worse than his expectations and the money earned is just not worth it.

    Welcome to hell. Your humble servers will seat you and treat you as the kings and queens of the realm. Please, be kind when you punch down. Feel welcome to tip, you damned scrooges.

    1. griffen

      Clean up in aisle 2. By referencing a “sin industry” above I do not explicitly mean it as written. Used to hearing that Monday nights were nights for the “Service Industry” employees to enjoy discounts on food and beverage, et al….

  27. Mildred Montana

    Re: Six-year-old’s poem (I love it too, Lambert)

    The tiger
    He destroyed his cage
    The tiger is out

    That kid either knows his Joyce or is the next one. Molly Bloom’s last words from ???????:

    “yes I said yes I will Yes.”

  28. Mikel

    Relationship between Anxiety, Depression and Susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Proof of Concept Journal of Infectious Diseases. n=102. From the Abstract: “Participants (n=102) completed measures of anxiety, depression, positive mood and loneliness and provided a blood sample for the measurement of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike…”

    And again, I’m thinking about factors like these and the broader immune system….

  29. Tom Stone

    A suggestion about how to improve your shit detector I picked up during the Reagan years.
    It was IIRC in “Psychology today” and it discussed how the sighted deaf were able to discern when the great communicator was lying with an amazing degree of accuracy.
    It turned out that the blind who could hear had the same ability.
    I applied this to Biden’s speech the other day,watching his gross movement and body language with the sound off and then doing the same while concentrating on his head movements and facial expressions.
    I then played it again with my eyes closed and just listened attentively.
    Finally I watched with the sound on,as most people do.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I applied this to Biden’s speech the other day,watching his gross movement and body language with the sound off and then doing the same while concentrating on his head movements and facial expressions.

      So what were your results?

      1. newcatty

        Yes, hilarious and weird. Think one of the reasons it was so good, was that like most great humor, it was always never cruel, on any high horses ( except at the rodeo) and a mirror of America.

    1. griffen

      Too sad….the sheer suckiness of the past 24+ months is ongoing and unyielding to any normality.

      I always think …yet the Kardashians are with us still.

  30. Mikel

    Opinion poll:

    What’s going to have the biggerr impact on the environment: BP Oil spill from some years ago or Tonga volcano eruption from this week?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s a false equivalency. One is the result of man made causes. The other is a fact of life on Earth. Try to do better.

      1. Mikel

        Not saying they would be equivalent, just wondering what people think the long term effects of the eruption will be.
        And of course some time has to pass.

        No agenda and people got their panties in a bunch.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Most volcanic ash is multi-mineral rich. Once the acidogenic chemicals wash off the ash particles and the acidified water re-neutralises, the multi-minerals in the ash will work their way into whatever Tongan soil they fell on, remineralizing and up-fertilizing it over time.

          Volcanic-derived soils are in general considered very rich and ag-friendly.

          Whereas the oil and the correxit used against the oil in the gulf will remain in food chains low-level poisoning otherwise safe-to-eat animals for some time to come.

      2. Mikel

        Instead of thinking of whether one or the other is equivalent …what’s the cumulative effect of both …whatever the cause?

    2. Polar Socialist

      Rather like this:
      What’s going to have the bigger impact on environment: Tonga volcano eruption that was unavoidable or Tonga volcano eruption that was unavoidable plus BP oils spill that was avoidable.

    3. jimmy cc

      Opinion Poll:

      What’s going to have a bigger impact on your life, dying of old age, or getting beat within an inch of your life by another human?

  31. Jason Boxman

    The hogs at NY Times continue to have a sad about China’s COVID success.

    Many in China support the zero-Covid strategy, which may have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and which has allowed most people to live fairly normally during the pandemic. But the recent outbreaks have led to frustration and grumbling as more and more people have been caught up in the virus-control dragnet.

    True, maybe it didn’t save any lives at all. But you’d have to be lacking in cognitive facilities to believe that, all evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile in the US our elected have killed over 800,000 people. Well done. That will show the Chinese Communist Party who has the better system!

    1. drumlin wodchuckles

      The longer China succeeds at covid suppression, the more the Western ( with exceptions) policy of letting covid spread without suppression begins to look not inevitable at all. The NyTimes is desperately trying to prevent people from measuring Chinese success at suppressing covid against American Establishment success at spreading covid and wondering what different desired outcomes drive the different policies

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The NyTimes is desperately trying to prevent people from measuring Chinese success at suppressing covid against American Establishment success at spreading covid and wondering what different desired outcomes drive the different policies

        I can’t wait for the Olympics reporting from actually inside China, which will doubtless focus on so-called human interest stories and the horrors of non-pharmaceutical intervention, and totally avoid any serious reporting at all. (Are the crematoria overloaded? No? Freezer trucks? No? Funerals? No? There are reasonably proxies for China’s death rate actual reporters could find….).

    2. Basil Pesto

      Many in China support the zero-Covid strategy, which may have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and which has allowed most people to live fairly normally during the pandemic. But the recent outbreaks have led to frustration and grumbling as more and more people have been caught up in the virus-control dragnet.

      Christ it’s so stupid: “sure it’s saved hundreds of thousands of lives and allowed the overwhelming majority of people to go about their lives normally in sharp contrast with most of the rest of the world, but boy it sure is tough!!”

      when if the Free World ™ had done the same thing 1. there’d be a lot fewer outbreaks in China for them to deal with, making the problem a lot easier – and this would benefit all compliant countries accordingly 2. Covid would ultimately cease to be a problem, at least for most people most of the time.

      The cognitive dissidence of years of the following from western media:

      “China is a huge rising superpower of ever-growing strength, power and prosperity that threatens American/western hegemony”

      followed by:

      “no we’re not mismanaging the pandemic, you’re mismanaging the pandemic >:O”

      is really quite something to behold

  32. Jason Boxman

    And this quote in the Times about fast food price increases is so absurd, I can’t help myself:

    It had been a while since Mr. Marsh had been to Chipotle — he estimated he goes five times a year — and he stopped cold when he saw the prices.

    “I had been getting my usual, a steak burrito, which had been maybe in the mid-$8 range,” said Mr. Marsh, who trades stock options at his home in Hinsdale, Ill. “Now it was more than $9.”

    He walked out.

    Where do they find these people? It sounds like it went up at most $1? So is this individual is either a failed options trader, or extremely frugal? Why not interview someone that actually cannot afford the price increase, rather than someone that’s merely offended by it.

    That doesn’t mean customers are thrilled about the extra costs.

    This month, Jacob Herlin, a data scientist in Lakewood, Colo., placed an order: a steak-and-guacamole burrito for $11.95, a Coca-Cola for $3, and chips and guacamole, which were free with a birthday coupon. The total was $14.95, before tax.

    But when he clicked to have the food delivered, the price for the burrito jumped to $14.45 and the soda climbed to $3.65, bringing the total to $18.10 before tax, 21 percent more than if he had picked the food up himself.

    There was more. Mr. Herlin was charged a delivery fee of $1 and another “service fee” of $2.32, bringing the total for the delivered meal to $23.20. He tipped the driver an additional $3.

    Maybe they should have led with that? That’s just rank dishonestly in pricing.

    I’ve always loathed delivery, and always opt to pick stuff up myself, but then I only ordered out 3-5 times a year before the pandemic. It’s easier to just cook at home. And “fast food”, ugh. Just ugh.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Where do they find these people?

      I think the inflation narrative is totally not organic, as the choice of interviewees in these stories shows. IRC, “inflation” today has two causes: Energy and Autos (or three: meat). It isn’t generalized, as the stories make it out to be. And buying fewer autos and eating less meat is good.

      Obviously, what Chipotle should be doing is shrinking the size of the Burrito, not raising the sticker price. That way Mr. Thrifty wouldn’t be shocked. So you wonder by the company made that choice.

  33. JEHR

    “No country, least of all Canada, seems likely to escape the nutmeg’s curse of obeying the System until the last forest burns and the last glacier trickles away from bare rock. But the pandemic has shown the inability of system-driven governments to look after their own people. Delegitimized institutions lead to delegitimized governments, and then to revolutions.”

    Thank you for the article by Tyee: The System that Drives Our World The Drive

    1. djrichard

      From the article “They who control energy control the world”. Shades of “The spice must flow”. I tend to think of that (spice) as money nowadays rather than oil. Usually the Fed Reserve wants the money flowing (growing). But sometimes they want it to shrink as well. Kind of like a DC-bias current (with the help of jawboning) with some AC thrown in when the leash on the dog needs to be yanked.

      Anyways speaking of money, the timeframe of the article starts with the Dutch East India Company colonizing the Banda Islands in 1621. Which happens to be not too long after the Bank of Amsterdam got started in 1609 and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange got started in 1611.

      “The operators on Amsterdam’s Stock Exchange grew more powerful based on a metallic money system, obtained in large part by two centuries of genocide against the Central and South American Indians. Still, the inadequacy of this abundant gold and silver money was indicated by the Bank of Amsterdam’s secret credits to the Dutch East India Company for over a century. ” [Zerlenga, Lost Science of Money]

      They were just punters in comparison to when the Bank of England and British East India Company stepped in.

    2. Ed Miller

      The System

      My reaction to this article is WOW! Connecting all the dots over 400 years is just amazing to me.
      Admitting my naive nature here as I was taken by how all the details I have learned here now click together.

  34. Wukchumni

    I’m envious of those Covid precautionary kits given out in the Philippines and El Salvador, but i’ll make do with my yearly Covid stipend of $1,400 (about $4 a day) and then nothing else, until our cockamamie President realized that Omicron spreads real easy, and with any luck, the 4 test kits allotted per address scheduled to go out in late January will arrive in time to declare us cured, Hallelujah for our health system!

    1. griffen

      We already have Imperial Collapse Watch, and Class Warfare. How about, possibly, It’s End of the World as We Know it, and I feel fine!? Well, the Rapture Index sorta covers that.

      I mention the above title with a nod to REM. Or we could alternate, using a tune by Rage Against the Machine, with “No Shelter”. Tom Morello angrily playing his axe just seems, appropriate. Linked below.

  35. flora

    re: How Did Get Between You and Your Identity? – Bloomberg

    “It’s a process that millions of Americans are poised to become familiar with this tax filing season. Eventually, every U.S. citizen could be armed with an digital passport.”

    Ah, a digital ID passport. Run by private companies on private servers. The data will belong to the private companies. Also, digital IDs are necessary before the central banks can issue Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

    The US Fed promises absolute privacy (but not anonymity) with its proposed CBDC Fed Dollar. The privacy claim seems like wishful thinking, knowing what we know about private platforms using, sharing, and selling individuals’ private data.

    -The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks. ~ Lord Acton

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I know it dates me — I remember using punch cards, and paper tape. I remember when the entire flight control and stores management system for an F-16 ran on 16K of core memory — later expanded to 32K of core to add Air Force and NATO enhancements. Now I require a few Gigabytes to hold the Linux operating system for my computer? I like Linux, but with all the tremendous advances driven by Moore’s law … I am not sure what capability I have gained.

        I have a system with uncountable potential zero-day exploits waiting to be discovered, and if I had Apple or Microsoft operating systems, I strongly suspect I might have two or three orders of magnitude, base-10, more zero-day exploits waiting to be discovered and exploited.

        The efforts to drive everyone to use the web and their computers for taxes, banking, and finance makes the small hairs on the back of my neck … and all over my body … stand and quiver. How nice that government and Big Business can save money by pushing us all, including the computer illiterate, computer unwilling, and computer unsupported to do everything ‘paperless’ to make it all so cost-saving for government and Big Business.

        The u.s. Populace is so cowed, so docile, I am truly amazed by how aggressively our Elites push to wake them.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Not really surprised by this. You have a database of information and straight away the government will seek to monetize it and let other private organizations see it, sometimes for free. I think that American healthcare corporations are getting access to the UK’s NHS database of people medical information. But by doing stuff like this, they are teaching us to believe in a no-trust society. I wonder how that will work out? /sarc

        1. Michaelmas

          they are teaching us to believe in a no-trust society. I wonder how that will work out?

          Like the collapsing state currently known as the USA.

  36. Wukchumni

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy raked in $9.5 million at a Wednesday night fundraiser in downtown Washington, a major sum that kicks off his drive to win the speaker’s gavel next year.

    The figure is a new record for McCarthy: His previous largest haul at a Washington event was $350,000, according to a person familiar with Wednesday’s fundraiser.

    My Kevin (since ’07) isn’t the sharpest blade in the scabbard, but my do they thrust money at him, he’s the ‘Air Apparent’

      1. Wukchumni

        Nancy is in the gelato costo nostra, Kev strikes me as a vanilla guy who once tried chocolate and didn’t like it.

  37. Andrew Watts

    RE: A Dam in Syria Was on a ‘No-Strike’ List. The U.S. Bombed It Anyway.

    The amount of water on Lake Assad never rose to a dangerous level where the structural integrity of the dam was under threat. The SDF controlled the spillway which could be used to release as much water as needed in any case. Abdul Jawad Sakran, a former director of the dam and who is probably one of the Times unnamed sources, wasn’t as hysterical about the condition of the dam at the time.

    On a more positive note, the Euphrates dam was taken with little resistance and the situation at Tabqa provided cover for panicing civilians to evacuate Raqqa prior to the upcoming battle. It would’ve been very much in Daesh’s interest to flood the Euphrates River Valley. The Dutch did something similar in their war for independence and it created an effective defensive position.

    Something, something, war. Something, something, supreme excellence.

    “Rawther late to the party!”

    Awfully convenient for the CIA that people aren’t talking about the epic failure that was Timber Sycamore. That just so happened to arm headchopping jihadists and was one of the largest covert operations in recent history .It must suck for them that people smarter and even more reckless experienced nothing but success. Although that depends on what you define as a success.

  38. enoughisenough

    Re. facial recognition
    Any thoughts on whether this has been the reason all along for the government’s resistance to mask mandates and promotion of masking?

    It would go against the plans they already have in motion?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Any thoughts on whether this has been the reason all along for the government’s resistance to mask mandates and promotion of masking?

      Masking doesn’t seem to bother China. A cursory search shows results vary by technology.

      An older facial recognition technology is, of course, the male gaze. An informal survey of the commentariat here concluded that masks did not impede communication in the slightest; this would imply that facial recognition is not impeded either.

  39. juno mas

    RE: Antidote

    Does anyone think that cat’s stare is being taken with a wide-angle lense? (How else to get such a big nose and round head.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was thinking last night of a caption for it. Something like ‘The last sight that you see after you find and catch a leopard cub in the jungle.’

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        John D. MacDonald writes of somebody tracking a Florida panther through the forest but not catching up with it, as the feeling gradually grows that the panther has circled back and is tracking them

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