Links 5/5/2022

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.

–Yves

P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

* * *

Wall Street’s Biggest Secret Could Be Exposed The Lever

Fraud is down, but more expensive American Banker

Climate

High Concentrations of floating life in the North Pacific Garbage Patch bioRxiv. “[D]ensities of floating life were significantly higher inside the central part of [North Pacific ‘garbage patch’ (NPGP)] than on its periphery, and there was a significant positive relationship between neuston abundance and plastic abundance. This work has important implications for the ecology and human impact of subtropical oceanic gyre ecosystems.” Give life time….

#COVID19

Just 2% of SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals carry 90% of the virus circulating in communities PNAS. “Our dataset is unique in that all SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals reported no symptoms at the time of saliva collection, and therefore were infected but asymptomatic or presymptomatic…. just 2% of infected individuals carry 90% of the virions circulating within communities, serving as viral “supercarriers” and likely also superspreaders.” Hence, NPIs, which the Biden Administration is doing its best to discredit and abolish. (Makes you wonder who the supercarriers were at the WHCA and the Gridiron Club.

Climbing the ladder of infectiousness Eric Topol, Ground Truths

* * *

First Covid nasal spray vaccine developed by UK scientists enters trials before vaccinating poorest countries iNews

Nose Spray Vaccines Could Quash COVID Virus Variants Scientific American

Does the World Still Need New Covid-19 Vaccines? NEJM

* * *

It’s not “just a cold”:

Global Prevalence of Post COVID-19 Condition or Long COVID: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review The Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “50 studies were included, and 41 were meta-analyzed. Global estimated pooled prevalence of post COVID-19 condition was 0.43 (95% CI: 0.39,0.46)…. This study finds post COVID-19 condition prevalence is substantial; the health effects of COVID-19 appear to be prolonged and can exert stress on the healthcare system.”

Diabetes risk rises after COVID, massive study finds Nature. The deck: “Even mild SARS-CoV-2 infections can amplify a person’s chance of developing diabetes, especially for those already susceptible to the disease.”

Risks of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and bleeding after covid-19: nationwide self-controlled cases series and matched cohort study British Medical Journal. n = 1, 057,174, Sweden. From the Abstract: ” Compared with the control period, incidence rate ratios were significantly increased 70 days after covid-19 for deep vein thrombosis, 110 days for pulmonary embolism, and 60 days for bleeding.”

* * *

Biden Is Rightsizing the COVID Crisis Juliette Kayyem, The Atlantic. The deck: “The president continues to push for accommodating individual preferences rather than promoting collective solutions to the coronavirus.” Let ‘er rip! Kayyem is a former assistant secretary for homeland security under President Barack Obama, and faculty chair of the homeland-security program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. ” Editor David Frum selects a spook to push this line why?

Three early promising Covid-19 innovations that didn’t work. Inside Medicine. An art, not a science.

China?

Claim China’s Covid-19 ‘success’ has ‘shattered the American myth’ stirs online debate South China Morning Post

Beijing tightens anti-epidemic measures in public facilities after shocking toilet infection Global Times

Fauci: China’s COVID-19 Situation a ‘Disaster’ Foreign Policy. Fauci: “We are still in the middle of a pandemic, to be sure—there’s no confusion about that. But when I say we’re out of the acute fulminant stage right now, what I mean is that cases have gone down dramatically.” Am I right in thinking that Fauci has simply hijacked the authoritative-sounding word “fulminant”? Which is twice-repeated, to make sure it sticks? And cases have not gone down dramatically if they are undercounted by a factor of six; they are, in fact, higher than any crisis point except for the Omicron peak achieved under Biden.

Belt and Road must align with Paris Agreement – government guidance China Dialogue. Hmm.

The company that made millions from COVID contracts ABC Australia

Worst fears confirmed in Solomons Macrobusiness

Myanmar

Malaysia’s Petronas withdraws from Myanmar’s Yetagun gas field Channel News Asia

Erin Murphy on the Twists and Turns of US Policy Toward Myanmar The Diplomat

Explainer: A guide to the Philippines election Reuters

UK/EU

Swiss preparing for possible ‘severe’ electricity and gas shortages Reuters

West African “Coup Contagion” Analysis Black Agenda Report

AU Will Find It Tough To Have A Common Position On Russia-Ukraine War – Frank Isoh (video) Channels Television (RK). Nigeria and the African Union.

New Not-So-Cold War

U.S. Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals, Officials Say NYT. Commentary:

Moment Russia uses ‘thermobaric warheads’ to devastate Azovstal plant: Communications are lost with heroic last defenders of Mariupol a day after Russian troops began storming the steel works Daily Mail. Many photos. Of course, Nazis can be heroic, no question. So by all means let’s normalize them:

Not shy about the Nazi logo, are they? It’s right there in the middle.

Russian forces usurp Ukrainian internet infrastructure in Donbas FT

Pentagon details U.S. training of Ukrainian forces Axios

* * *

Why sanctions against Russia may not work The Hill

European Commission To Freeze Funds Of Patriarch Of Russian Orthodox Church Republic World

Reckless and ruthless? Yes. But is Putin insane? No. Responsible Statecraft

Brazil’s ex-president Lula claims Zelenskiy equally to blame for war Guardian (ChiGal) and US Coup Specialist Victoria Nuland Visits Brazil BrasilWire. Lula is not only Brazil’s “ex” President — made so by Operation Carwash, which we masterminded — he is the frontrunner in the current election. So the Guardian’s headline is a little deceptive.

Mexico Calls for Latin American Lithium Alliance Kawsachun News

‘Painful’ mine protests reflect years of broken promises in Peru Mining.com

Supremes

Ohio Law Mandates Rape Victims Send Thank You Notes For Gift Of Parenthood The Onion

In 1973, a Leak at the Supreme Court Broke News of an Imminent Ruling on Roe v. Wade Smithsonian. So the current leak (granted, a draft) is unique and unprecedented only to those with toddler-level memories. Like most of our press.

Fetal Personhood Washington and Lee Law Review

Abortion in early America Women & Health

Supply Chain

Demolition Market Devoid of Ships Hellenic Shipping News

How the CIA oversaw Belgium’s secret Nazi army Asa Winstanley. More on Operation Gladio.

Big Brother Is Watching You

Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Board” is Even More Pernicious Than it Seems Glenn Greenwald. “There is no conceivable circumstance in which a domestic law enforcement agency like DHS should be claiming the power to decree truth and falsity.”

The Data Broker Tracking Abortion Clinic Visits Is Also Selling to the CDC Vice. Commentary on SafeGraph, the broker:

PayPal Backs Down After Outpouring of Support for CN Consortium News. But not entirely. The deck: “PayPal has retreated after a deluge of support for Consortium News by unfreezing its funds and now saying unspecified steps must be taken to restore the ‘permanently’ shut down account, Joe Lauria reports.” Probably simplest just to give some DHS goon a desk in their office, no?

Venmo’s Unfair and Abusive Arbitration Opt-Out Provision Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Health Care

With usual suspects ruled out, disease detectives try to crack mystery of viral hepatitis cases in kids Helen Branswell, STAT

The Groves of Academe

How the Kent State massacre raised your tuition Will Bunch, The Inquirer. And that was just the start. Well worth a read.

The Bezzle

NFT Market Collapses Just As Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider To Bet Big On Blockchain Kotaku. That’s a damn shame. I only hope the insiders got out in time!

The novelty of technologically regressive import substitution Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality and More

No one has ever tried to implement import-substitution policies with the objective of going backwards in the development chain…. The industrial areas that are normally the backbone of traditional (predigital) development were well developed in the Soviet Union, but have been abandoned, left to deteriorate and, even if existing, are today technologically obsolete. Almost all of what is technologically advanced was produced, or was dependent in part, on Western-made technologies. In the next decade Russia will try to revive these “old” domestic industries (e.g. machine building for petroleum and gas exploitation, avionics, car production) on the basis of technologies that have been left rusting for thirty years.

Surely this applies to the US as well? And:

Russia has a labor force that is highly educated and tends to move towards post-industrial areas, like in other advanced economies. But here it would have to go down in its skills levels to be adequate for the operation or (re)creation of the technologically regressive import substitution. To put it in graphical terms: while the original import substitution required that semi-literate peasants learn a bit of arithmetic in order to “service” the machines, here we would expect software engineers to become metal-bashing workers or foremen in large factories.

I think “metal bashing” is a bit dismissive. For example:

First, in the United States, much software engineering is devoted to froth, fraud, and surveillance. Who needs any of that? Second, manufacturing systems are quite complex, at every level from design to production to distribution, as the history of technology shows. Were Watt and Brunel dummies? The human mind can be fully engaged by material processes; indeed one might argue that’s a higher calling than symbol manipulation.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links 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.

145 comments

  1. Sam Adams

    RE: Abortion in early America:
    Many years ago when I worked in Strurbridge Village, a reconstruction of an early 19th century Massachusetts town. I recall being told that the herbs pennyroyal and Tansey were used as aborticides. That women were aware of the use of certain herbs as contraceptives and used them for family planning. Of course being a family space, it wasn’t a regular part of the interpreters talks.

    Reply
      1. LawnDart

        Add novocaine and MixMaster’s to the list.

        I know we shouldn’t make jokes about abortions, but heck, they never get old!

        Reply
    1. bongbong

      Surprising. AFAIK, the guy behind Smirking Chimp is a solid liberal (in the bad sense of the word)

      Reply
  2. Samuel Conner

    > “But when I say we’re out of the acute fulminant stage right now, what I mean is that cases have gone down dramatically.”

    I think this can be corrected to express AF’s intended meaning (which happens to be actually true) by inserting “public concern about” before the word “cases”. Of course, in that case, to remain grammatical one would also need to change “have” to “has”.

    This is exactly DJT’s approach, that led to the termination of Nancy Messonier’s press availabilities after her Feb 2020 admission that CDC expected community transmission at some point, an admission that tanked the markets that day.

    And, realistically, if bleach makes people feel better about the situation, why not give it a try?

    As Lambert is wont to say, it’s all ‘symbol manipulation’. Not actual public health management. I suppose one could say that it’s kind of like the financialization of the economy, in that real concrete things are replaced by higher order derived things and by abstractions.

    Reply
    1. t

      Did the CDC ever recover from Ted Cruz government shutdown nonsense? I know people who lost public health and people who lost research jobs. Those programs are still gone and nothing replaced them. We never got back Team D for food safety.

      Reply
  3. OnceWereVirologist

    U.S. Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals, Officials Say

    Lot of room for blowback on this one. If the Russians were to decide they were in the business of providing helpful intelligence to insurgent groups in the multitude of countries that the United States operates in, they could probably more than even the score. They won’t be bone-headed enough to brag about it in public either.

    Reply
    1. John

      The USA has been prodding the Bear for 30-years to see how he would react. How is that working out? From where I sit not at all well and with some dangerous murky passages ahead. As to the last point, what fun is it if you cannot strut, preen, and fluff your feathers for the adoring fans?

      Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      One would think that this is not merely “not being neutral”, but being a co-belligerent. Which, I believe, requires a declaration of war by the Congress, if one goes by the constitution.

      There’s even some discussion about the issue, which of course can be made as muddy as anything designed to prevent states from abusing others.

      Reply
    3. Jacob Hatch

      This sort of glee is we’re watching a 2nd rate re-hashing of WW2, but one where Adolf did want the oligarchy behind Churchill and FDR wanted and got Poland on side to attack Russia. Much of what went off the rails on that was Poland’s leadership being greedy, and refusing to allow a landbridge to New Germania. Perhaps another screw up will save our skins yet again

      Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t be the first time that this happened. Back during the Russian intervention on Syria, a Russian general officer and one or two highly ranked officers were killed when they went up an abandoned building to get a better view of the battlefield and were hit by artillery if I recall correctly. It was almost if somebody was able to give the Jihadists precise coordinates where to shoot. That is, of it wasn’t some special ops team.

      The odd thing was that Washington went ballistic at a bs report that the Russians had put a bounty on American soldiers in Afghanistan and yet they take glee at killing Russians. Remember the US promise to send Russians home in body-bags if they stayed in Syria? And I heard a think tank droid say that Russian subs go down – but that doesn’t not mean that they always come back up again which the US could do to them. The blowback on this all is going to be epic.

      Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        I believe that the Iranians are still “upset” about good ole General Soleimani as well. Might not be such a great time to take the same route to the Pentagon every day. God knows, no American general would ever go to the front, that’s dangerous.

        Reply
    5. Mister Entirely

      Finding the grey-haired guy in fatigues is hardly intelligence. But the story has enough intrigue potential to reverberate within Russian media. Instigating a laborious mole-hunt is the real intelligence product. Then it will take six more weeks for the officers to wear helmets because the entire affair will be sold as tactical brilliance from the boss himself.

      Reply
    6. Yves Smith

      Ukraine has been saying they have been wiping out Russian generals from the get go. They also said they killed the captain of the Moskva when he is very much alive.

      This needs to be heavily discounted given the big record of Ukraine abject fabrications. I am not hearing any concern about this on the (quite a few) Russian sites that intensively monitor battle ops. Sites like Aftershock do report negative Russian news, as also does Jacob Dreizin (you have to filter out his right wing US interjections, just listen to his Russia stuff).

      Plus if this were really happening at the claimed scale, I’d expect Russia to be taking out decision centers in Kiev. The word would have to get out to at least some degree in Russia and Russia would have to Do Something to tell the West if they keep this crap up there will be even more consequences.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        It’s not out of the question that the controllers of US policy, kagan clan et al, would like to get a US general killed in order to pave the way for more open US involvement.

        Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        Agreed. The US admitted within the last few months that it was using the corporate media for propaganda purposes aimed at an audience of one, that being Putin, to see how Russia would react. Since the NYT is one of the main catapulters of government sponsored propaganda, I wouldn’t take this at face value.

        Reply
      3. Mesquite

        The claims about dead Russian generals have been going on for the whole war. . A recent twitter thread (2 weeks ago) analyzed 8 claimed Russian general kills. 4 were clearly alive and kicking in public appearances afterwards. 2 were listed by the Russians as casualties (dead). 2 were unknown- though its not like mid level generals are always in the public spotlight. So at least half bullshit.

        It has been clear to many that US has been sharing vast quantities of intelligence from the get go, so an open secret til now. Indeed IMHO it has been by far our largest contribution to Ukraine, excluding pre war training, funding, and supplies. And I’m sure that positions of major officers is among the mix. But the suggestion was that the Russians were on to it and would give an impression that a general was in one place, when he was actually somewhere else. Say by swapping cell phones and other legerdemain.

        So I think the claims are a combination of some success, some BS, and some deception. And I think a significant amount of Russian deception has caused part of the inaccurate reporting on Russian losses, along with bad faith propaganda and lazy reporting. Though Ukrainians never let reporters near the front line, so their choices are don’t report or stenography on prepared scenes.

        I’m sure the Ukrainians are also employing some deception towards Russia as well, though it looks like their main strategy is propaganda aimed at the west. I think their greatest success in the war was counter intelligence before the war, making Russia think they would be more of a pushover.

        Reply
      4. Skippy

        So old school thingy about taking out oppositions officer corps in a affront to gentlemanly conduct with a side of old Von Newman, Nash, McNamara GT optics YS. Best part is Russia is winning the physical conflict in the face of fact less propaganda for the unwashed e.g. the sanctions are a weak hand when considering the long term refusal of such nations to bend the knee to neoliberalism.

        Reply
    7. LawnDart

      For what it’s worth, the NYT story has spread and has been reported on widely throughout Russian media over the past several hours. How do you think the rabid nationalists in the Duma are going to be as we kick sand in their faces while taunting them, “What’cha gonna do about it?”

      Pressure on Putin to do something, I’ll bet.

      Reply
      1. LawnDart

        https://24tv.ua/ru/razvedka-ssha-pomogla-vsu-unichtozhit-mnogih-rossijskih-generalov-nyt_n1971631

        US intelligence helps Ukraine to destroy Russian generals – NYT | Ukrainskaya Pravda
        pravda.com.ua › rus › news › 2022 › 05
        13 hours ago

        NYT: The United States gave Kiev intelligence that led to the death of the Russian military-RIA Novosti, 05.05.2022
        ria.ru › 20220505 › razveddannye
        12 hours ago

        The NYT reported on the transfer of data to the United StatesUkraine for strikes on the militaryRussia: Yandex.News
        yandex.ru › news › instory › NYT-RF-
        yesterday

        US deliveredUkraine has intelligence to kill Russian generals
        360tv.ru › news-rossijskih-generalov
        yesterday

        Reply
    8. Maritimer

      Sounds like more US stupidity to me. Why is killing a General necessarily a good thing? If he is stupid, incompetent he should be left in place unless you find the replacement will be even dumber. So, unless US Intel has a Roosian General Grading System (RGGS) then killing these guys only gets you some PR which you can falsely generate anyway.

      Sounds very much like that Muslim Terrorist Exec Number Two who was killed with great frequency. “We are making progress….”

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a Federal election in about two weeks time so the Opposition is flaming the government for “letting” this happen. So Scotty from Marketing came out and said ‘We are their primary security partner. We are their first call when they face these sorts of challenges.’ which would not have gone down well in the Solomons. What surprised me is New Zealand’s Foreign Minister going heavy on the Solomon Islands too and I mean heavy.

      On Tuesday, Solomon Islands PM Mannasseh Sogavare went to Parliament and ‘lashed critics of the agreement, questioned the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and lauded China’s treatment of Christians. Without specifically identifying an aggressor, he also suggested invasion was a potential threat to his country’ and you could see that he was in a cold fury – and I don’t blame him.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61329518

      As for the White Australia policy, most people were glad to see it dead and buried about half a century ago which was why I found it bizarre for Scotty and his mates going on about the Chinese threat when we have over a million Chinese-Australian living here. But that is how they roll. Before I forget, I see your White Australia Policy and raise you the Chinese Exclusion Act- :)

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

      Reply
    2. Dftbs

      From that article:

      “The playbook for tyranny is so well understood that there’s a Netflix series about it. Demonise a foreigner. Persecute civil society. Militarise the state. Voila! A little China.”

      This Australian dramatically dramatically overshoots the warning about glass houses.

      I think that within the next decade we’ll see the non-Western portion of the world rightfully appropriate the term “free world”. I think most non-westerners already see through the charade of electoralism, and the Chinese in particular have gone to great lengths to articulate their theory of applied democracy.

      Although I may be wrong, not because they wouldn’t fit the definition of “free”, but because there seems to be more modesty around using universalist language when one leaves the “west”.

      Reply
  4. JB

    On Covid nasal sprays: Have many people here used them, yet?

    I got my hands on a couple bottles of Enovid/SaNOtize from Israel (not entirely happy with how I obtained it, but it’s not available in Ireland/UK yet) – and wondering what people think of two of the ingredients: Sodium Nitrite (admittedly, the entire purpose of the spray is for this to turn to Nitric Oxide upon spraying), and Benzalkonium Chloride – both of which I don’t fully like the look of, from reading up on potential harmful/carcinogenic effects (though they are the most dilute ingredients).

    Need to get out and exercise more for health/weight, so am at the point where I want to maximize every preventative measure (even if the spray does have some tradeoffs), and get back to a climbing gym at quiet times :)

    I reckon this will be one of the first widely available nasal sprays, so figure it will be useful for people to scrutinize in a bit more detail, too. Have read Lambert’s articles keeping an eye on these, before – so may provide more useful input for future articles, too.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      The one I find interesting is a nasal spray based on carrigalose – which is an extract from red algae, or carrigeen moss. When I little, when I had a respiratory infection I was given carrigeen in a hot drink with poteen by my west of Ireland relatives. It has long been a traditional treatment for ‘a bad chest’ – I’ve wondered if the real impact isn’t drinking it (or the poteen), but the active ingredients liberated by the alcohol in vapor form. It may help with covid.

      Annoyingly, you can’t buy it in Ireland thanks to the insanely over protective laws on medicines here. I’ll be getting some on my next trip to France.

      Reply
      1. jonboinAR

        When I was a kid we used Vicks Vaporub for nearly everything. Hey! I survived. Maybe the old ways…

        Reply
  5. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Russian re-development of a vertical economy, I wonder if it’s wrong of me to regard this to be a beneficial consequence of the catastrophe that is unfolding in Eastern Europe.

    Given the obvious obdurate refusal of US rulers to employ the fiscal freedom of the USG in the public interest, I’ve for years been wondering whether it would be possible to implement ” ‘MMT in the public interest’ demonstration projects” at smaller than Federal scale. Small open economies have limited fiscal policy space (and it’s even less if they rely on an external currency), but they don’t have no policy space at all. US municipalities, which are small open economies employing an external currency, have tax authority and in principle could issue tax credits to fund expenditures which would be somewhat stimulative to the local economy (but there could be large leakages). It would be hard to persuade anyone to do this, and harder to measure the effectiveness of the policy.

    But now “History” (or, perhaps better, bone-headed US elites) has given us a large nation with excellent prospects of achieving near autarky and a motive to move in that direction.

    I think it’s a wonderful ‘laboratory’ for exploration and demonstration of what it is possible for such a nation to do in its own public’s interest. Doubtless there will be other agendas at work in tension or conflict with objective public interest, but it still may be a useful demonstration.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Vendors and employees don’t take California Dinars and Dakota Liras. Also I believe Arnold tried a trial run.

      I wouldn’t say they were bone headed. Cruel? Yes, but manifest destiny wasn’t just something that happened. Autarky was always a goal unto the neolibs came along.

      Reply
    2. Rod

      I was watching that Linked Rolls Royce Assembly (spectacular on the surface) video and went through and down a couple of mental levels pondering our host’s comment:
      I think “metal bashing” is a bit dismissive. For example:

      and think there is a common thread linking your todays Comments regarding efficiencies/ appropriateness/ and choices confronted in adapting Vertical Integration, to yesterdays What You Need To Know About Carbon Dioxide Removal – 05/04/2022 – Yves Smith , who comments in the prelude:
      Yet the planet continues to operate on a business as usual basis when we need to engage in radical conservation now.

      And that is; as efficient as that engine will be in maintaining a ‘Life as it is now’ Status Qua, not one thing you look at in the video is Natural. Everything you see is Mined/Processed/Manufactured/and Transported into its Being. Nothing is visible that isn’t demonstrating the power of Embodied Energy.
      There is a lot of Stuff visible–everywhere.
      And there is even, overwhelmingly, more Embodied Energy on invisible display.
      And the effort of millions of man hours of manipulation using Embodied Energy.
      Because the choice was made to fly someplace, albeit more “efficiently”.

      We are making bad decisions and committing to bad endeavors leading us to very bad outcomes.
      Time is now to Rethink: Decommission: and Redirect.
      Vertical Integration will be useful in that effort.

      Reply
      1. Appleseed

        100% agree. Much of what is called efficiency is merely labor substitution – hydrocarbons for human work. This needs to be reversed without recourse to slavery and wage slavery.

        Reply
          1. Lee

            Not to mention all the work by hand and mind over generations that began with elements identified, derived, and refined from dirt before being shaped and assembled.

            Reply
      2. Mark Gisleson

        Excellent comment. Watching the video I was struck by how smart Rolls is to have final assembly done by only two workers. I’m betting that if any engine is improperly assembled, both workers will know exactly who screwed up. With a larger team, responsibility is diluted which is a very bad thing when the final product has to be perfect.

        I was also thinking as they did the assembly that each part was made by different machines and workers, and that like the final product, each part has to be perfect, and then perfectly assembled. You can’t hire people off the street to do these jobs. You have to hire entry level workers who, after years of training gradually work their way up the seniority ladder while acquiring the advanced skills necessary to do these complex machining and assembly jobs.

        I’ve done complex piecework jobs and my college education didn’t help one bit except for when I had to argue with management. My generation of workers was motivated by good pay and benefits. Now that the pay is mediocre and the benefits stink, how are they going to recruit and motivate the kind of skilled workers needed to rebuild basic industries?

        Reply
      3. Kouros

        My first thought when watching the clip was; where all those parts made, how they were made, what was the source materials, where was the steel forged, the iron dug, the coal extracted, etc, etc…

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Some “experts” can’t tell the difference between metal-bashing and precision engineering.

      Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        “Metal bashing”? But sitting there moving numbers around on a spreadsheet is doing “god’s work”?

        The disdain for “workers” is palatable.

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          They’re both work. The division between physical and mental labor is a false one. It dates back to the times when literacy was rare and must have seemed almost magical, but those days are long gone.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            With due respect, how much of your body did you depreciate into a manual job that you even imagine having any property to speak to the matter, and if not, where do I have my drywaller friends send you their bills?

            Reply
            1. LifelongLib

              The world needs math and drywalls. Why exalt the people who do one and denigrate those who do the other? Pay due respect to both. Save your contempt for those who don’t do anything because they think it’s beneath them.

              Reply
    4. Grebo

      If a jurisdiction can levy taxes in theory it could issue currency too. Some countries may have laws prohibiting it though. Imaginitive politicians may be able to find workarounds as in Curitiba.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        It seems to me that tax credits could be issued by a municipality in payment for goods and services and could function as currency without violating laws reserving currency issuance rights to the Sovereign. Such credits might be valued slightly below face value to incentivize their reception. Their limited utility should reduce leakages (vendors wanting to realize their value before the next tax payment date could only spend them at close to face value at other entities with tax obligations to the same municipality).

        It seems to me that in principle, this could be used to accelerate municipal spending that would otherwise be constrained by the pace of tax receipts or bond issuance, and that pulling forward in time of spending would be mildly stimulative in the local economy, a second order effect.

        Perhaps it’s a pointless mental exercise, but I wonder whether it might be useful practical project for current and future generations of MMT graduate economics students to develop protocols (and perhaps model legislation if that were needed to enable local governments to act in this way) so that there were ‘on the shelf’ tools available as needed. Perhaps in a future world of degrowth, or just stagnation, there will be more interest in local fiscal policy options.

        Reply
  6. Basil Pesto

    > Fauci

    What a colossal [family blogging] prick. Everything he says about China in that interview is a lie. It’s just flat-out wrong. Life in China is, for the most part, as normal. They are not locked down everywhere all the time because what non-retarded country on earth would ever do something so patently fucking ridiculous? How does a high-ranking “expert”, in the internet era, get away with such manifestly doltish Dark Continent-style prideful ignorance and/or deception? The virus is kept out, successfully, repeatedly (except in the case of Shanghai, which tried to go about things in a USian manner, with predictable results). When the virus enters the community, as is wont to happen, the afflicted city locks down for 2-3 weeks until the virus runs out of hosts and dies out, sparing the community. Then life returns to normal: No lockdowns, no halted schooling, no daily indoor masking needed for ordinary citizens, and, most pertinently, no endless and pointless death and long-term illness and suffering of the citizenry. This is not difficult to wrap one’s head around. It is science you can actually trust. It remains the only efficient, rational, scientific and humanist approach to this otherwise out of control SARS pandemic. It works, as they have shown over and over again. It is the only thing that works, as the rest of the world has helped to prove at enormous, wasteful cost.

    Australia did it Fauci’s way – he states it explicitly, lockdown to vaccinate the population. So how’s joining the US and the rest of the world in failure going? 54 of us dead today. Same as yesterday. 42 per day on 7 day average. Before that? just over 900 dead in the first 1.5 or so years of the pandemic – and that number is only so high because of one major hotel quarantine cock-up in Melbourne. For those keeping score at home, we’re now ticking upwards of 6000 pointless deaths in 6 months. We’re now in the midst of Australia’s 4th biggest mass death event in its history, and it will certainly be the biggest by the end of next year, probably much sooner. Thanks, Tony. Still, on the bright side, every day brings us exciting new developments in the quest to answer that age old question: “what is the acceptable number of Australians that can die daily so that the rest of us can enjoy quarantine-free package holidays?”

    By denigrating the Chinese vaccines he also outs himself as an anti-vaxxer, of course. Which shows that the anti-vaxxer hysteria of last year was vapid, insincere bullshit: all it really was was vaccine chauvinism. It was perfectly okay to denigrate Sputnik, Sinovac, the Cuban vaccines, even AZ! This is despite the fact that they are all, along with the western vaccines, square pegs for this round hole that is the SARS2 pandemic, with the only difference apparently being the timescale on which they will fail, which is probably more down to viral evolution than the intrinsic quality of the vaccines themselves. Marketing flim-flammery saw these new unproven vaccines crampon onto the legacy of vaccines like smallpox and polio, placing them beyond reproach, at least until their inevitable failures became impossible to ignore (and as I have pointed out repeatedly for about a year now, bullshitting about what these vaccines are going to be able to do for us only to have people who got them, who did everything they were told, then be infected with SARS2 and get very sick and/or die, is going to do enormous damage to vaccination as a whole, beyond the SARS2 products). It was incredible to witness. To gently put forward even something like “actually I’d love to be wrong but I really don’t think these are going to work the way our leaders are saying they’re going to work” was as if you were defying reason itself, even though the entire history of coronavirus vaccination was on your side. And all kinds of people fell for this bullshit with the most braindead credulousness.

    What China understands – again, even though it is a breathtakingly simple concept – is that vaccines are not necessary to efficaciously handle this pandemic with the best possible outcomes (NB China doesn’t waste its time with ivermectin either). And if we all showed a bit of humility and deference and willingness to learn from China* (even though their playbook of disease control is hardly something they uniquely made up and is the result of centuries of worldwide knowledge accumulation, not to mention major scientific/technological breakthroughs like PCR testing which, unlike mRNA, is actually potentially SARS pandemic-ending), then the pandemic could be ended, in the developed world at least, in a matter of months.

    Lunatics. Asylum.

    *I must admit I remain puzzled as to why China doesn’t offer pandemic-handling expertise/resources to some of its neighbours who are less dependent on western commerce as part of BRI, because that would make outbreaks in their territory even less frequent. But maybe they want the distinct military advantage of a healthy population relative to all their near neighbours and distant adversaries, which is certainly what they’re getting, with the exception of maybe Taiwan but it looks like they’re giving up too.

    Reply
    1. Alyosha

      I’m not in medicine, but industrial hygiene is close enough to be valuable in cases like a pandemic (it’s just a different type of contaminant with more statistical complexity but essentially it’s particulate exposure). Just before the first stay home orders my wife and I returned from vacation. My wife is immunosuppressed and only enjoys about 50% lung function. My direct supervisor told me to stay away from the office before I fully returned from the time off. I came in the first morning to gather things and chatted with the company owner, also an industrial hygienist. How long would the stay home order last was one point of conversation and our semi-sarcastic answer was “at least 28 days”.

      But if serious efforts were made for those 28ish days, they’d be effective. That’s what China is doing. Effectiveness is going to be dependent on a fair number of variables, but it’s going to be the most effective method of prevention. As it has been since antiquity. All of this is a “game” of statistical probabilities and risk assessment; consequently, every response action layers with every other to adjust the statistics.

      Part of the US problem is our habit of wishful thinking being the basis of planning. The silver bullet will solve all our problems. It makes us dismissive of doing multiple, simple things consistently.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        And it was set up that way from the very beginning, at least in the US. Not “lockdown to eliminate in a matter of weeks” (which would have been so, so easy in 2020), but “keep things looking
        locked down to act like we’re doing something while we go all in on a magic bullet solution at some point in the future” (and for
        a bit more on that, see GM here. Americans were told early doors: “nothing we can do, we’re just going to have to wait for a vaccine”. just a completely outrageous criminal lie which has directly lead to a million dead Americans (and more beyond due to America’s hegemonic role in the world). And China – after their own outrageous initial conduct in the pandemic – nevertheless continue to show that this was, indeed, a lie. Which is why Fauci, who is one of the people responsible, and his various fanboys, have to constantly lie about and denigrate the “situation” in China, while they in China go about their relatively pleasant normal lives without a coronavirus of damocles dangling above their heads.

        China is making mistakes along the lines you describe too, though, it should be pointed out. Despite having an abundant supply of KN95 masks (admittedly variable in quality), flimsy surgicals appear to be the norm, from pics I’ve seen from Shanghai anyway.

        Reply
    2. SocalJimObjects

      Taiwan has now shortened their quarantine requirement to 7 days for inbound travelers, and boosted people will soon be allowed to quarantine at home, https://taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/05/04/2003777678. Taiwan’s response to the pandemic was what attracted me to apply for their Gold Card Visa scheme. My approval just came through, but now I am not so sure I want to go there anymore. After all, I am already living in a country that’s been coexisting with the virus for quite some time.

      Reply
    3. Acacia

      Ya know, I would really like to hear Dr. Fauci have his Dr. Ben Marble moment (of “Go F*ck yourself Mr. Cheney” fame).

      Reply
  7. LawnDart

    Re: Beijing tightens anti-epidemic measures in public facilities after shocking toilet infection

    “Beijing has tightened anti-epidemic measures in public spaces after the Labor Day holidays… …and forbidding two people from using one public toilet at the same time.”

    I have questions…

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      Over two years into this pandemic and not one country has paid close enough attention from aerosol spread from shared toilets. Especially outdoor events: they tend to have more people and they all go inside and share restrooms.
      The problem isn’t just more than one person in the bathroom at the same time.
      Sick people flushing their waste creates aerosols that can carry infection and not only Covid.

      Reply
      1. Maritimer

        This has been often mentioned by Dr. Peter McCullough: that bathrooms are smaller, enclosed spaces in which there is more infection opportunity. Avoid if possible.

        As far as nasal treatments, Doctor Pete has been recommending nasal washes and gargles for a long time now.

        Two reasons, this courageous Doctor is my goto guy for all things Covid.

        Reply
    1. Stick'em

      Thanks for the head’s up. Robert Parry was a real journalist.

      Don’t forget in 2018 the US Congress banned military aid to the neo-Nazi Asov battalion (and then conveniently forgot all about it by 2022 because now somehow Nazi means “our friends”):

      “White supremacy and neo-Nazism are unacceptable and have no place in our world,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), an outspoken critic of providing lethal aid to Ukraine, said. “I am very pleased the recently passed omnibus prevents the U.S. from providing arms and training assistance to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion fighting in Ukraine.”

      https://thehill.com/policy/defense/380483-congress-bans-arms-to-controversial-ukrainian-militia-linked-to-neo-nazis/

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        The US supplied lethal aid to Russia in the 90s in the form of Mcdonalds and KFC, so they knew by 2014 they had to supply similar aid, in the form of weaponry, to Ukraine.

        Reply
  8. Polar Socialist

    In the next decade Russia will try to revive these “old” domestic industries (e.g. machine building for petroleum and gas exploitation, avionics, car production) on the basis of technologies that have been left rusting for thirty years.

    To my knowledge Russia has build machines, avionics and cars all this time. The latest arctic oil rigs have been designed and build in Russia. Great majority of trucks and busses in Russia in made in Russia, and Lada still had over 20% of the domestic market last year.
    Ever since 2014 they have moved towards domestic avionics in civil aircraft. The airliners were offered with either Russian or foreign avionics and/or engines, whatever combination the client wanted.

    And while I’m not Russian, I am a “software engineer” and would switch to shipwright (wooden yachts) pretty much instantly if the industry existed where I live. I don’t know if that would count as “technologically regressive”, though.

    Reply
    1. Alyosha

      It’s not. That piece is dripping with the conceit of the PMC. I do practical science by day but furniture making by evening and weekend. The latter uses more of my brain, more holistically and produces tangible objects. It’s also dripping with western conceit as if Russia wasn’t displaying operational hypersonic missiles that require a great deal of science, engineering and manufacturing to realize. They may be “behind” but sometimes that gap also allows leapfrogging.

      Reply
    2. Rod

      Yea– and would switch to shipwright (wooden yachts) pretty much instantly if the industry existed where I live
      and why are we not moving more Cargo under Sail and not Bunker…

      Reply
    3. super extra

      And while I’m not Russian, I am a “software engineer” and would switch to shipwright (wooden yachts) pretty much instantly if the industry existed where I live. I don’t know if that would count as “technologically regressive”, though.

      Yeah, the ‘dripping PMC conceit’ (as phrased so excellently above) in that piece was painful. I am also in software and I’ve very seriously considered dropping it to move into something on the advanced manufacturing axis since that is mostly computerized these days and it would allow me more creativity and less interaction with project managers.

      Reply
      1. Glen

        I’ve been designing, installing and programming equipment for automation for about forty years. Modern factories rely on software and programming more than ever, but we have a hard time getting software people for two basic reasons: we are not competitive for pay compared to “big tech”, and upper management is clueless as to why us factory engineer dweebs need software people.

        In fact we had one upper manager that got rid of every CS degreed person in our department and was then going after every senior engineer because reducing cost by cutting heads gets a bigger bonus.

        But MBA idiot managers aside, assuming America is serious about re-shoring some industries, the need for good software people should go up. And the work is very satisfying.

        Reply
        1. Late Introvert

          Thanks Glen, I wish I would have known that before I exited the software industry because of ageism and the soul killing projects and managers. I haven’t looked at code in 19 years now, it was a decisive break after living through the dot-com and aftermath in SF. I would have definitely accepted a lower-paying gig for something that didn’t involve marketers and vicious nerds from Stanford.

          I might even try to steer my very smart daughter in this direction. Are there any links or other resources?

          Reply
    4. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not sure the distinction between metal bashing and high tech software is all that clear now. I’ve been in metal working factories that were as quiet as an office, mostly overseen by people on pc’s ensuring everything was fully calibrated. Lumps of metal would go in one side, and beautifully cold forged items would pop out the other end. I’ve also been in the old fashioned sort of factory where the bashing is absolutely literal (especially in drop forges). The worst I’ve seen was in the UK midlands – a galvanizing plant that only employed South Asian women, none of them knew any English.

      The most successful manufacturing areas are ecosystems – you can still see this in China and South Korea, where the dirty and clean stuff is all mixed in together in vast industrial areas. So often the advantage in parts of Asia is just sheer scale, not of individual factories, but so much manufacturing all together in one place. This sort of thing is scoffed at by MBA’s and trade theorists, but those countries developed by listening carefully to what they were told by western economists and doing the opposite.

      Reply
    5. MichaelSF

      Hobby metalworker here. My anecdata experience is that there are a LOT of people who haven’t got a single clue about what goes into designing and making things. Parts come from factories, why would a person want to make something? :-)

      I was once asked to make a motorcycle wheel spacer, which is a simple thick-wall tube. The person making the request couldn’t supply me with one to copy, and couldn’t bring his bike around for me to measure all the related parts. “Can’t you just cut a piece of metal and put a hole in it?” Sure, as long as you don’t care what kind of metal, what size metal and how big of a hole, that’s easy to do. Making a part with parallel ends that are spaced apart to a specific couple of .001″ is a bit different, and it is helpful if you’ve got some expensive precision machinery on hand to make that simple part.

      Making stuff is fun, but it isn’t always easy.

      FWIW, an acquaintance has a large Russian manual metal lathe that he’s very keen on. Some of the other former Eastern Europe countries (like Poland and the Czech Republic) make some very high quality machine tools too.

      Reply
    1. LawnDart

      It’s notable for who’s doing the acknowledging; from Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations:

      US Has Hit 1M Covid Deaths, NBC Says; Omicron Assumptions Were Wrong

      Using its own tally of fatalities, NBC was the only news organization to report Wednesday that the United States has surpassed the grim threshold. In other news, a large study has shown that the omicron variant actually is just as severe as previous variants, despite assumptions that it wasn’t.

      https://khn.org/morning-breakout/us-has-hit-1m-covid-deaths-nbc-says-omicron-assumptions-were-wrong/

      For those who don’t know, NBC (National Broadcasting Company) is one of the major players in the USA news business. NBC also is an acronym for Nuclear, Biological and/or Chemical. The way the world is going, we’re going to be the targets of one NBC or both soon enough.

      Reply
    2. Dave in Austin

      Mild but not good. My 79 year-old diabetic brother just got it. The US government now gives a 30 day prescription of Paxlovid 100 mg to anyone with Covid who is over 55 or immune compromised. A wise investment; I know 3 other 75+ who’ve gotten it and are fine.

      Reply
  9. Solarjay

    The garbage patch.
    With such staggeringly bad news that there doesn’t seem to be any fix for, the garbage patch is one that could be fixed.
    I still think it’s a easy win for the president and congress, but Ukraine. Set aside a few billion in grants for universities or similar for developing technologies to clean up the patch. It’s engineering!
    Then maybe later moneys can be gotten to actually do it.
    It’s kind of an indicator species to me that shows where our “leaders” are bought and sold at. And it’s pretty clear the environment isn’t one of them.

    Reply
    1. JohnnySacks

      The Pacific garbage patch is a long way away from the Raytheon missile plants etc. in our backyards, where one can screw widgets onto chasses 9:00 to 4:30 5 days a week and be home in time for little league with the kids. Can’t beat that for money for nothing on the taxpayers’ dime. And to be frank, money much better spent on things like elder care, but dealing with someone’s wheelchair bound semi dementia diabetic mother or father is certainly not as easy as torqueing those #10-32 hex bolts to 40 in-lbs and scanning that procedure completion code.

      Reply
      1. Late Introvert

        When I moved back to Iowa (see previous comment about exiting the software industry in 2003) my dad told me I should get a job at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, and was confused when I said I didn’t want to help make weapons.

        Reply
    2. Maritimer

      Science creates the Garbage Patch and more Science will solve the GP problem. Kaching!

      Maybe a better idea is to study and determine if Science creates more problems than benefits. AKA cost benefit analysis. This, however, seems too obtuse for the grant-seeking Scientific mind.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Glad somebody else feels the same. I’ve been saying this for some time. I view it as its time a societal wide reconciliation of our “progress” over the last decades since WW2 when institutional research took off and decide what is good and bad. Certainly a vast portion of scientific progress in the right lens can just be viewed as more creative ways to destroy our selves and our environment.

        We hold polluters liable for the life of the problem via the EPA, why don’t we hold the inventors of any of those technologies accountable as well?

        Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    We believers in Bitcoin don’t do boring, and looking at the current price of my investment vehicle (think of it as a well used ‘Splittin’ Image’ Hot Wheel, circa 1972) it has stayed around the same value as when I last looked a few clicks ago, akin to some old school stodgy stock of which I have nothing but disdain for, but I digress & have no FOMO.

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Swiss preparing for possible ‘severe’ electricity and gas shortages”

    The Swiss I knew would never have been so stupid as to sign up for this international sanctions train but would have dug in and protected their neutrality. But now through their actions, they have gotten themselves on Russia’s List of Unfriendly Countries – at the same time that about half their gas comes from Russia. I don’t know if they are refusing to pay in Rubles or not though. Maybe when this is over, they might reconsider their old neutrality policy once more. But the new list of Swiss sanctions indicate that they are fully onboard with NATO right now-

    https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/switzerland-adopts-new-sanctions-line-eus-fifth-package

    Reply
  12. Ignacio

    RE: With usual suspects ruled out, disease detectives try to crack mystery of viral hepatitis cases in kids Helen Branswell, STAT
    IMO, Even if the inflammatory process in these hepatitis cases doesn’t meet Covid-caused MIS-C criteria the elephant in the room is still Covid that has been shown to cause some many other diseases with inflammatory processes even in organs not readily colonized by the virus, for instance in brains and long lasting damage after acute infection. The naming of it (MIS-C) in the article strongly suggests that these hepatitis cases occur in children that have been previously infected with SARS CoV 2. For reasons I cannot understand it looks like everybody is willing to ignore the elephant.

    Reply
    1. Lexx

      I see you scrutinized the same word choices I did. Here’s what I pulled out:

      Is multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) after COVID-19 rare?

      While it is very rare, some people, mostly children, experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) during or immediately after a COVID-19 infection. MIS is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed.

      The problem was the premise where they assumed the children were “healthy'”before their livers became inflamed. I think we agree they probably weren’t. They’re dismissing MIS-C because it’s limited to one organ? I’ve been wondering if the liver got holding the hot potato, having previously been compromised by an undetected asymptomatic case of COVID, perhaps BA 2. It’s a filter and there was a pile up on the interchange before the last crash could be cleared away.

      This armchair detective is still holding an ace as well – the gut microbiota is a player here.

      (Apologize for mixed metaphors)

      In review, what does the liver do?:

      https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions

      Reply
  13. da

    RE: COVID and Diabetes
    If I may (I work on this), these studies compare apples and oranges. The proper control for whether COVID infection increases diabetes risk is to compare it with non-COVID pneumonia or other causes of stress hyperglycemia. If you do that, it turns out that COVID has just about the same effect. Right now, the best way to get published in a biomedical research journal is to claim a link with COVID. One should take these reports with a grain of salt. Or two.

    Reply
    1. kriptid

      Glad to see this comment here.

      The amount of utter scientific incompetence around Covid research has caused me to reconsider my profession.

      We won’t know the truth about many Covid-related health matters for many years. Mostly due to the fact that so many papers published on Covid are the scientific equivalent of a monkey throwing poo at a piece of paper.

      Reply
  14. Ignacio

    RE: Just 2% of SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals carry 90% of the virus circulating in communities PNAS. “Our dataset is unique in that all SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals reported no symptoms at the time of saliva collection, and therefore were infected but asymptomatic or presymptomatic…. just 2% of infected individuals carry 90% of the virions circulating within communities, serving as viral “supercarriers” and likely also superspreaders.” Hence, NPIs, which the Biden Administration is doing its best to discredit and abolish. (Makes you wonder who the supercarriers were at the WHCA and the Gridiron Club.

    Another good article at PNAS. Once masks have been ‘removed’ from workplaces my daughter got Covid again. After a couple of Ag tests we could see a faint positive with the nasal test a few days after she started with cough. Fortunately enough for us, she was not one of those superspreaders and so far it seems none of her contacts (close contacts) is showing any Covid symptom. When the mask mandate was removed I talked with her: do as you wish, of course, but remember contagion risk is high indoors, particularly in workplaces where you are going to spend many hours with several other co-workers. She was mask-tired so she didn’t follow my advice. I am just her father, not counsellor, and you know what happens with fathers and their 21 old daughters. It is something like a relationship with an ex-boyfriend: ignore him and go on.

    Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Does the World Still Need New Covid-19 Vaccines?”

    Ummm, yeah. The ones mostly in use are first-generation vaccines as pointed out by this article but as they are so profitable, will be in use for who knows how many years. Doesn’t matter that our societies are being wracked by the effects of this virus and its variants which these vaccines are not really helping with. But you know what is really needed? A sterilizing vaccine. We get that, than we have a chance of putting paid to this pandemic once and for all. But nowhere in that article did she use the word ‘sterilizing’. A strange omission that. Meanwhile, here is a website keeping track of all these vaccines-

    https://covid19.trackvaccines.org/vaccines/

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      I want to take the contrarian for a moment. NO, vaccines are never going to function until a new type is created.
      I tried to read 3 of the medical papers listed above and found one thing missing that gave me a profound shock.
      I could not read all of them, I could not print a PDF to search for the keyword I was looking for on one of them. So if this is incorrect, please let me know?

      Not one mention of the Pfizer, Moderna JJ Sinovac or other such products was included. Hepatitis story? Nothing.
      The new reality is to ignore even the question that the products created by Dr. Frankenweenie’s all over that rushed these items to market without testing. Regulatory Fraud? It appears so.

      But has the medical/pharma community chosen to hide the elephant behind their smallest mind? The various preprints are all talking about the effects of Covid 19 now, yet don’t address even the concept of the idea that the injections might maybe have had something to do with the vast amounts of new issues humans are facing. How can any one of these be serious if they leave the elephant out of the equation?

      IF, they chose not to mention, include, study the affects, is the document an attempt at fraud, again? Is Pseudoscience now the norm? Will I be considered a heretic if I ask why the elephant has been ignored when evaluating post covid life? An elephant is a substantial beast and would have left a lot of feces to inspect.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        A large number of the children afflicted by the serious juvenile hepatitis outbreak are under 5 and therefore ineligible for vaccination and therefore unvaccinated.

        The first records of multi-system damage (that is, beyond the lungs) of SARS2 precede the vaccination campaign – patient testimony by mid 2020 and papers by the end of that year which have been coming steadily since then. There is also quite a lot of sound, uncontroversial literature about the persistent damage that SARS1 was able to cause after the acute phase of infection.

        it is not enough to merely “ask the question”. anyone can do that. I’m certainly not oblivious to adverse effects caused by the vaccines but stronger reasons for scientists to investigate the hypothesis – to consider the hypothesis something more than quite circumstantial and weak – are surely needed than “yeah but what about the vaccines?”, many many months after vaccination campaigns, when the far more obvious explanation (the virus) is staring us in the face. How is the vaccine theoretically going about dealing such damage? It’s far beyond my paygrade to say “no the vaccines absolutely did not cause this” but to lead with that question and not the obviously problematic virus requires a certain… preoccupation. But then I have my own preoccupation I suppose (the virus itself lol).

        Reply
        1. TBellT

          to investigate the hypothesis – to consider the hypothesis something more than quite circumstantial and weak – are surely needed than “yeah but what about the vaccines?”

          Some Bayesians in the audience are operating with a prior of 0.

          Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Thank you.

        I looked to see if the subjects of those studies were described as vaxxed and had covid or unvaxxed and had covid. No distinctions made.

        The “vaccine” is known to produce clotting issues which would seem to be salient when discussing things like deep vein thrombsis “post covid.”

        If you remember, in at least some of pfizer’s “vaccine” trials, the control group was abandoned and given the “vaccine.” It was characterized as “immoral” that they should be denied the “protection” that the “vaccine” was so obviously providing.

        In some corners of the internet (that shall remain nameless and linkless in deference to the moderators), it was suggested early on that mass vaccination would also eliminate any unvaxxed control group, obscuring any complications caused by the “vaccines,” and allowing those complications to be misattributed to other causes.

        Wasn’t it just yesterday that IM Doc was quoted as saying that every covid patient he had seen in a week had been vaxxed? And didn’t he also say that those who only had two doses of mRNA vaccine were being, erroneously, characterized as “unvaxxed?”

        At his point, the only way to definitively establish that long term complications are due to covid and not the “vaccines” is by comparison to those who have had zero doses of any of the “vaccines.” Fat chance that’s ever gonna happen.

        Reply
  16. Mikel

    “Wall Street’s Biggest Secret Could Be Exposed” The Lever

    The article brings up NY state which reminds me of all the love the banks showed NYC public workers in the 70s coup.

    Yet, all these public pensions are getting involved with people that despise the idea of public commons and regulations.

    Reply
  17. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: NFT collapse. I mentioned a little while ago musicians, especially DJs and electronic musicians, getting into the NFT arena. A musical act I had a Bandcamp subscription to had canceled that and switched to an NFT that would some how provide me the same benefits as the subscription plus an NFT at three times the price! Well, it must not be going too well for them. Last week, I got an email asking people on the former subscriber list if they could have their phone numbers so they could call and explain the benefits of this new NFT based thing.

    On one hand, it’s quite amusing that a month or so after their initial offering they are trying to convince people to buy in via direct phone calls. I assure you the Bandcamp subscriptions didn’t need any of this arm twisting. But, it’s really sad and pathetic as this is an act I respect and, while I understand the struggle artists have to survive financially, NFTs are scummy and this just taints them, in my mind, by being associated.

    I was thinking about this as I read the Squeenix news a few days ago. I follow videogames and it really seems like they are late to the party, what little party there is. Not only is the market collapsing, but we’ve already seen a few videogame NFT offering flop. It seems the videogame industry is determined to force NFTs on people despite the near universal rejection and bad will that’s come of them. I don’t think they’re going to make them work, but I’m not sure how it ends either.

    Reply
      1. JEHR

        I think the only way that the fraud and corruption of finance will be stopped is by the coming climate changes which will result in many deaths and gargantuan ecological collapse. A rather drastic solution but effective.

        Reply
    1. Greg

      Square Enix has been making pretty bad decisions the last few years. The outriders demo/launch debacle was totally made in a management office, for example. Made no sense how they’d designed that game unless they wanted to do some shady monetisation for gear that got canned late in dev, but then they lacked the content to make that work (more money spent on marketing than anything else from the appearance of the campaign). They’re on a regular expansion cycle now, so someone decided to revert to a more traditional model, but from the NFT news the MBA crazy is still there at HQ.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Moment Russia uses ‘thermobaric warheads’ to devastate Azovstal plant: Communications are lost with heroic last defenders of Mariupol a day after Russian troops began storming the steel works”

    There are reports that Ukrainian troops holed up at the steelworks want to swap civilians for food and medicine. The actual terms of the alleged deal would be ‘fifteen hostages for a ton of food, as well as medicine.’ I think that they hope that if they hold up long enough, some magical deal could be arranged where they get flown to neutral Turkey with their weapons and then return home to the Ukraine as legendary heroes-

    https://www.rt.com/russia/555013-kremlin-compares-azovstal-fighters-terrorists/

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I gather that the Russians from reader comment that the Russians appear to have captured the really high value hostage, the Canadian only bizarrely recently retired general.

      I would think they still want to starve the remaining guys out. There may be important evidence for the war crimes trials, like torture devices, which would argue against destroying the plant.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The Russians and Donbass forces have already discovered torture rooms, not that the ICC would be interested. Yesterday I watch a video (now gone) showing one such room. There was a body inside without legs but wearing a Russian uniform. Underneath that body was a mine ready to explode. I’m sure that the Russian prosecutors are taking notes however.

        Reply
    2. NYG

      Thermobaric warheads have destroyed the Azov’s ability to communicate from the Azov-steel plant. But Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, still posts current video updates about the dire situation there. Because he still posts videos he must not be in the plant.

      Reply
  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Biden right sizing Covid

    I’m reminded of the beginning of Steven King’s “The Stand”. If that really happened, the disease wouldn’t have been spread by a scared guard but a general deciding a mass death would look bad on his record and simply not doing anything.

    Reply
  20. Terry Humphrey

    Most of the English language reporting on the miners’ “revolt” in Peru is incomplete, giving only the mine owners press releases. The linked Miner.com story is more opaque than most, giving only the mine operators take and no history of the dispute, what the NC Commentariat aptly refers to as a nothing burger. There seems be quite a story in Peru with a newly elected populist President, Chinese mine ownership and local villages closing down mines by cutting off their water supply, or road access.

    Reply
  21. Mikel

    “NFT Market Collapses Just As Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider To Bet Big On Blockchain Kotaku”

    How to get rich in America:

    1) Think of an idea (it doesn’t have to be real, original, necessary for ANYTHING, or understandable)…steps 2&3 are most important
    2) Present idea using displays of wealth
    3) Tell people they can be rich too
    4) Collect their money

    Reply
    1. jr

      Anecdote: Years ago I taught adult education at a tech school. One day the administrators invited some con artist “You too can be an investor!” outfit in to address the school. My students, street-hardened Philly residents, were instantly dismissive. They recognized a con when they saw one.

      On the other hand the teachers and administrators were all flush with excitement and couldn’t understand why none of the students were excited about this golden opportunity. These were people who were lucky to be clearing 30G$ a year. They were eager to throw their money away.

      No doubt they wanted to make some bucks but I suspect it was also so that they could brag to anyone who would listen that they were now investors and had moved up a few notches on the ladder of success. I demurred and instead spent lunch with my students. The next day we had a great talk about scammers, the door to door types who came with coupon books and other trash. These vultures were a dime a dozen in the poor neighborhoods, along with the Jehovah Witnesses and parking lot evangelicals.

      Sadly, a lot of my students were in turn duped by the school itself. It was only one of a number of technical “colleges” in town. The certificates they earned were nearly useless, I came to learn, but the lure of being educated was too strong for them.

      Reply
  22. Michael Fiorillo

    Never underestimate the ever doubling down performative moral vanity of the liberal lumpen bourgeoisie – needless to say, there’s a right-wing lumpen bourgeoisie (January 6th, anyone?) – who instantly replaced their Black Lives Matter lawn signs with Support Ukraine signs.

    From Russiagate (remember those Good Times
    of “The Walls Are Closing In?” Me, neither) to frauds and embezzlers, you had to wonder, how they are they going to top that?

    But you gotta give it to them, from fraudulent political entrepreneurs to literal Nazis, they didn’t miss a beat.

    Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon details U.S. training of Ukrainian forces”

    That Axios article gave the game away right at the end of it. It goes on about all the money spent training these guys but right at the end, it has the chief of staff, Lt. Col. Jeremy “Todd” Hopkins, quote a Ukrainian officer saying-

    ‘The biggest mistake that the Russians made was giving us eight years to prepare for this.’

    Get it? While the Russians pushed for the peace accords, the Ukrainians never were serious about it and only wanted the time to train and equip their forces to NATO standards so that they could smash the Donbass Republics and then turn around to go after the Crimea. Peace was never, ever an option which the west knew or else they would have denied all that training & equipping of Ukrainian forces. So I guess that this NATO/Russia war was always going to be inevitable.

    Reply
  24. digi_owl

    Reckless and ruthless? Yes. But is Putin insane? No. Responsible Statecraft

    Not even sure if reckless fits. The Ukraine conflict seems to have been a calculated risk, and one taken after seeing the western powers being either dismissive, condescending or stalling.

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      Yes. Putin is a patriotic Russian doing what he thinks is best for Russia. It may not be what’s best for us, but that’s not his problem. It’s our problem.

      Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Some like it hot…

    Tuning out, turning on and traipsing to Jordan hot springs, my first visit there in the wonderfully named Golden Trout Wilderness.

    A 3,000 foot descent in 6 miles to the promised land must be paid back in full, as per the terms of agreement with lower appendages.

    It’s good to de-news occasionally, cut the tether chord.

    https://modernhiker.com/hike/hike-jordan-hot-springs-golden-trout-wilderness/

    Eva Cassidy – People Get Ready

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzLd2MDAHK8

    Reply
  26. jr

    Jimmy Dore and Matt Stoller discuss the New Right’s taste for trust busting:

    https://youtu.be/4IUBEVilAx4

    Conservatives calling for trust busting?! It seems to be focused on tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. I suppose there are plenty of trusts they aren’t interested in busting up.

    Reply
  27. Pookah Harvey

    Sorry, off topic but two interesting Asia Times articles that I don’t think have been covered in the western press;

    China a great leap closer to building a Moon base
    Beijing plans to launch three lunar probes to kickstart building a permanent lunar presence. In a statement on China’s Space Day on April 24, China National Space Administration (CNSA) deputy director said China will start the fourth phase of its lunar exploration program.

    The main goal of this phase is to conduct scientific exploration at the lunar south pole to facilitate the construction of a permanent robotic lunar base able to accommodate long-term human stays.

    India to roll out open digital commerce platform

    The Indian government is planning to launch its own e-commerce platform to end the dominance of multinationals such as Amazon and the Walmart-owned Flipkart and their monopolistic tendencies.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      The gilded age is very appropriate. Not only was this an era of opulent display of great wealth, it was (like contemporary times) an era of previously unimaginable levels of corruption, and featured some of the most bitter and violent labor struggles in our history.

      Reply
    2. Pat

      I’m not sure all the women she picked would be so pleased.to be draping a dress for the fashionable hoi polloi especially not one worn by HRC.

      Reply
  28. RobertC

    China?

    I’m thinking Austin’s Defense Department was being cautious when Taiwan says it cannot afford new U.S. anti-submarine helicopters

    TAIPEI, May 5 (Reuters) – Taiwan signalled on Thursday that it had abandoned a plan to buy advanced new anti-submarine warfare helicopters from the United States, saying they were too expensive.

    But the next paragraph says

    …Taiwan had earlier said it was planning to buy 12 MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters, made by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) unit Sikorsky, but domestic media said the United States had rejected the sale as not being in line with the island’s needs.

    Anti-submarine warfare is a complex mission to and requires an ashore Maritime Operations Center staffed with skilled and experienced officer and enlisted personnel. While Taiwan’s personnel were being trained, US officers and enlisted would be required on an interim basis to operate the MOC . This salami slice would be hard for China to accept and I think Austin decided not to poke the dragon.

    Reply
    1. RobertC

      China?

      Interesting history When the CCP Thought Taiwan Should Be Independent The Chinese Communist Party’s position on Taiwan is far from consistent. Just look at Chairman Mao’s initial stance. by Gerrit van der Wees, a former Dutch diplomat. He concludes

      …Thus, for a significant period in its early existence, the CCP, including Mao himself, considered Taiwanese a distinct nationality and advocated for Taiwan’s existence as an independent nation separate from China. It would be good to remind leaders in Beijing of this fact, and encourage them to look for peaceful solutions along those lines. Their current policies can only lead to conflict.

      Reply
  29. PlutoniumKun

    Explainer: A guide to the Philippines election Reuters

    Unfortunately, it looks like Marcos is likely to get elected.

    One thing the article doesn’t mention is the very inspiring Kabataan movement, an ad-hoc group of youth activists who have come together to try to get some representation. They have one legislature member so far, the very inspiring Sarah Elago. But they are being relentlessly ‘red tagged’ by right wing activists and the police. Anyone who knows some history of the region knows just how dangerous this is for the activists. Its unlikely to stop if there is a Marcos comeback.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Is there a possibility of a Jakarta Solution?

      It reminds me that its possible use was advocated by Central and South American oligarchies back in the 70s-90s, IIRC. Oligarchies whose military, police, and death squads got their training from School of the Americas and support directly from the American military and CIA. Of course, there was Operation Condor.

      Reply
  30. Steppe Winds

    So there was this thing going on in Kazakhstan at around New Year or so. After that – deathlike silence. Anybody being up-to-date about the aftermath? Or is that still underway?

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      I haven’t seen much myself, but at the time it seemed that Kazakhstan asked for Russian help in suppressing some uprising. There was some chirping from US media about how this was really Russia trying to take over another country. My understanding is the uprising was suppressed, the Kazakh administration stayed in power, and the Russians left. If I’m correct about that, that’s likely why we haven’t heard much about it from Western media – it doesn’t fit the propaganda about Russians being bloodthirsty imperialists bent on world domination.

      Reply
    2. Stanley Dundee

      Hello Steppe Winds. Colonel Cassad has a recent update (via niqnaq):

      The systemic process of denazarbayevization continues in Kazakhstan. In addition to the already swept wave of resignations and raising issues about corruption and theft with the participation of numerous relatives of Nazarbayev, the amendment to the law which made it impossible to cancel Nazarbayev’s lifelong powers through a referendum was abolished in the Parliament of Kazakhstan.

      Reply
      1. Steppe Winds

        Thanks a lot Stanley Dundee!

        There were US-funded biolabs there too. I wonder if they are cleaning NATO house in Kazakhstan.

        Reply
        1. Stanley Dundee

          Steppe Winds:

          I wonder if they are cleaning NATO house in Kazakhstan.

          That’s how I read it.

          Reply
  31. Cat Burglar

    The Disinformation Governance Board title has the same problem that Operation Iraqi Liberation had: it is too honest. My guess is that it will be renamed with a Human Resources-style moniker.

    The name comes right out and says they want to run the propaganda, which is great from a truth-in-government perspective, but showing their hand like this suggests they really did not think this one through. If the government openly certifies some reports or reporters or journals as officially wrong, that will immediately boost their interest for a large sector of the population, across every political and social divide. Once the administration figures out it will blow up in their faces, they will reign it it in, or go back to the present indirect disinformation control. It has been so much fun so far that you have to wonder if it is some kind of distraction.

    Reply
  32. Raymond Sim

    Helen Branswell’s Covid reporting for STAT has often struck me as particularly pernicious in that she misinforms by omission. The pediatric hepatitis article certainly doesn’t fail to omit important information, but she goes further this time:

    “Many armchair epidemiologists on Twitter feel Covid infection — current or previous — could explain the hepatitis and seem to feel the idea has gotten short shrift, …”

    “Armchair epidemiolgists” is an odious way to describe a group whose most visible member, Farid Jalali, is an honest-to-God hepatologist, whose critique of the narrative being peddled is that the notion of it being caused by Adenovirus 41 is inconsistent with the reported pathology, and whose initial complaint was concerning failure to publicize histopathology findings.

    Why are the heavy hitters on poor Jalali like white on rice? Well, yesterday I made a stab at seeing what I could suss out about possible prevalence of this condition in the US. I’ve been doing this kind of thiing all through the pandemic, and haven’t done too badly either, if I do so say so myself, but I’ve never had so little luck coming up with enough trustworthy, or even trustworthy-ish information to feel as though I’m doing more than merely guessing. Perversely it’s that very scarcity of good data that makes me think fearmongering is far from the greatest sin I could commit.

    Therefore, caveats galore etc etc, but, if the pediatric hepatits is in fact a sequel to Covid, we’ll lucky if by the end of the year only 500 kids have needed hospitalization and 50 have required transplants or died for the want of one. I wouldn’t be suprised at numbers five times as bad – and I fear it will only be a matter of time before the pandemic takes us there. Moreover, we’ll be amazingly lucky if it’s only hepatitis – kidney failure, diabetes, cardiovascular and cognitive dysfunction, and even neuromuscular disorders are all likely on the menu as well.

    Reply
  33. Raymond Sim

    I don’t have the brainpower today to read the PNAS article at all closely, but I’d be very interested to know if their assertion is that 2% of infected people account for the vast majority of virus ever emitted, or that at any given time 2% of infected people account for the vast majority of virus currently being emitted.

    Reply
  34. RobertC

    Imperial Decline

    At RobertC April 12, 2022 at 4:54 pm I compared the time-in-office of the US, RU and CN foreign ministers. TRK and SJO added useful details.

    James Carden at AT has started a three-part series on The company men behind Biden’s foreign policy ‘Blob’ Meet the players inside the ‘Blob’ that makes Biden’s many ill-advised foreign policy decisions which looks to be interesting reading.

    WASHINGTON – In moments of great peril and uncertainty, the question of who actually runs Washington – who they are, what they think, what they know, what they think they know – takes on even more importance than it might under normal circumstances.

    In this, the first in a three-part series, Asia Times will examine the current power dynamics that shape the Biden White House and his national security team.

    Needless to say, the most important players in Washington are, as one might expect, the ones closest to the President, even if, for the most part, they remain unknown by the public at large: Who are the players, and why does it matter?

    The second and third installments, which will follow in the coming weeks, will seek to examine how the war in Ukraine has shaped the foreign policy debate inside the two major US political parties.

    Reply

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