Links 6/27/2022

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.

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Eastern Monarch Butterfly Population Hints at Recovery Treehugger

New bacterium roughly the size, shape of an eyelash smashes size record Ars Technica

India’s next big street-food craze? BBC

10 Conspiracy Thrillers for the Truly Paranoid Gizmodo

When Did Perfume Stop Being About Sex? NYT

Airlines got $50 billion in pandemic relief — but are still screwing Americans NY Post

How do you define an ‘invasive’ species? Narwhal

Bars, businesses, locals pan Hochul’s plan to raze their Penn Station neighborhood NY Post

We need smarter cities, not “smart cities” MIT Technology Reviiew


How’s New York City Doing? The City

Long covid is shrinking the British workforce Quartz

Biden Pays Big Bucks For Pfizer’s Latest Flop American Conservative

Army Guard troops risk dismissal as vaccine deadline looms AP (re Šilc)


Human cost of China’s zero-Covid policy measured in stress, anxiety South China Morning Post

The new buzzword for Chinese people sick of being locked down is ‘runxue’: the study of leaving the country completely FT

Alarm in Beijing after announcement zero-Covid policy may last five years Guardian (re Šilc)


‘Minister for food’ needed to combat threats to supply shortages Sydney Morning Herald

To Prevent Formula Shortages, Break Up Monopolies Counterpunch


Jerri-Lynn here. I included the following links in yesterday’s ration, but due to a formatting error, I don’t think they were visible to readers. My apologies if they’re duplicates.

Monkeypox Virus Mutating More Than Expected, Say Scientists Bloomberg

Monkeypox outbreak in U.S. is bigger than the CDC reports. Testing is ‘abysmal’ NPR (David L). Moi: This link led me to wonder what places with a functioning public health system, e.g., Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, are doing about monkeypox testing. This is what I found after a cursory search: Taiwan reports imported monkeypox case Outbreak News Today. Note the detail about contact tracing.

New Not-So-Cold_War

Western Officials Admit Ukraine Is Crawling With CIA Personnel Caitlin’s Newsletter. Caitlin Johnstone.

A pivotal moment in eastern Ukraine Indian Punchline

Russia-Ukraine live news: Moscow ‘defaults on foreign debt’ Al Jazeera

Russia defaults on foreign debt for first time since 1998 – reports Guardian (DK)

Russian forces turn sights on Lysychansk in battle for eastern Ukraine Reuters

G-7 Nears Agreement on Exploring New Sanction Capping Russian Oil Price WSJ. Good luck with that.


Ukraine Joining NATO Will Not Be Discussed At Bloc’s Upcoming Summit In Madrid, Says Spain Republic World

Thousands demonstrate in Madrid ahead of NATO summit Al Jazeera ( re Šilc)


Not-so-emergency aid: Billions in funding to avert mass hunger still waiting to be spent Politico

UK PM Calls On World Leaders To Act Swiftly To Get Vital Food Supplies Out Of Ukraine Republic World


How the G7 Could Help the Debt-Distressed Project Syndicate Mariana Mazzucato and Alan Donnelly

G-7 leaders to commit to Ukraine, US sending anti-air system AP

G7 leaders launch infrastructure fund to counter Chinese influence Deutsche Welle

Health Care

Now is not the time for Congress to further cut hospitals’ Medicare payments Stat


Abortion Pills Take the Spotlight as States Impose Abortion Bans NYT

Where to get abortion pills and how to use them MIT Technology Review

Fascists In Our Midst The Chris Hedges Report (GF)

Supreme Court Ruling Will Upend Reproductive Rights for College Students and Complicate Medical Training Chronicle of Higher Education

Doctors who perform abortions will be targeted for prosecution, South Dakota governor says The Hill

Abortion Providers Confront New Landscape After Roe WSJ

Elected prosecutors vow not to go after women seeking abortions The Hill

Harvard’s Laurence Tribe Objects to Being Cited in Justice Alito’s Opinion WSJ

The lonely chief: How John Roberts lost control of the court Politico

The Conservative Legal Push to Overturn Roe v. Wade Was 50 Years in the Making WSJ

New York to Abortion Seekers: We Will Be Here for You The City

Roe v Wade overturned: what abortion access and reproductive rights look like around the world The Conversation


Tanya Plibersek declares environment ‘is back front and centre’ in Australia at UN ocean conference Guardian

Climate Change

Banks and UK supermarkets accused of backing deforestation in Brazil Guardian

Democrats in the California Senate Could Make or Break Refinery Pollution Bill Capital & Main

Seville to name and classify heatwaves in effort to protect public Guardian

l’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell on suicide watch, may seek sentencing delay: lawyer NY Post

Class Warfare

Amazon Is Intimidating and Harassing Organizing Workers in Montreal Jacobin

Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale ProPublica

Old Blighty

Criminal barristers begin strike in row over legal aid fees Guardian

Boris Johnson, Barbra Streisand, Thunderbirds, and the British media machine Columbia Journalism Review

Bullish Boris claims Tory revolt is ‘settled’ despite calls for Cabinet to stage coup and rumours swirling of SIX MPs defecting to Labour – but even plotters admit the PM will ‘probably’ still be there in the Autumn Daily Mail

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific back on hiring spree in anticipation of take-off in global air travel, but faces recruitment challenges South China Morning Post


US ban on cotton from forced Uyghur labour comes into force Guardian

Pakistan’s Negotiations With Terrorists The Diplomat


Inflation, RBI and the Tale of Two Economic Advisors The Wire

More than 1 million voters switch to GOP in warning for Dems AP

Biden Administration

Biden’s Campaign for “Digital Democracy” Is Really a Giveaway to Big Tech Jacobin

Expert groups say Biden should show ‘political courage’ on Iran deal return Responsible Statecraft

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus (non-avian) video (re Šilc):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. 2 Minutes of Hate

    Roe vs Wade: so LinkedIn is now swamped with messages from people that “stand with women”.
    Is this the beginning of a new hate season taking over from hating Russians and standing with Ukrainians that took over from hating unvaccinated? If so, who exactly do we have to hatenow? Will we still have to hate Russiand and Unvaccinated or do we just forget them?

    1. Bugs

      It’s the “new thing”. If my extraordinarily evil employer joins in, the circle will be completed.

      I spent March and April reviewing corporate comms wrt Ukraine after the firm pulled out of Russia (I’m sure temporarily). You wouldn’t believe the howlers that came out of marketing. Lots of fun editing.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Right now you have a lot of corporations that are offering to pay for abortions for their employees that are located in those Christian-Sharia law States but you can tell the difference between the ones that really have a social conscience and those that are merely virtue-signaling. The former not only offer to pay for their employees to have out-of-state abortions but also, if those women want to keep their babies, offer maternity leave as an alternative.

      1. 2 Minutes of Hate

        Thanks for looking into the virtue-signaling aspect of it too.

        If you really want to actively do something for women in this respect shouldn’t you then rather “lay with women” than “stand with women”? Unless something has happened lately in the reproductive technologies that I have missed (metaverse, blockchain or crypto etc?) “stand with women” doesn’t really produce any way of actively or as an activist oppose the decision, right?

        1. hunkerdown

          They want us to think subordination is valuable and supplication is normal. This is one of the many dozens of tricks they use to create these kinds of people in society.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I heard Dick’s Sporting Goods was offering to pay for abortions for its employees. One of the reasons women seek abortions is because they fear they won’t be able to support a child properly. Until Dick’s and similar companies are also willing to pay their employees working low paying retail or warehouse jobs a living wage and (I know this sounds crazy) allow or even encourage(!) them to unionize, then isn’t it all just virtue signalling?

    3. griffen

      I think we’ll need a matrix lookup to mark the cross sections one cares about and order rank them in ascending order. Generally speaking for just myself, the Supreme Court rulings usually did not move the needle. Inflation and the economy still 1 and 1a, respectively, on my scoring.

      I find that the above named site is turning into another Fbook or so forth. Over sharing on personal details, and more decidedly not professional but the occasional sob story (no I’m not that cynical yet but leave that for another site, please)

      1. caucus99percenter

        As with Skype and GitHub, I knew that site was a lost cause and turned my back on it the moment Microsoft bought it.

        1. TimH

          A useful feature of LI is getting a contact’s current email address. Yet so many people insist on using the LI messaging system instead.

      2. Bugs

        This, so much. My smart and cynical sister calls it FB Jr. My other super-ambitious and even more cynical sister pity trolls to get brownie points from her C Suite. Thanks, whoever invented LinkedIn – it’s garbage.

      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        What’s in it for the posters? Promotion of their “personal brand”, the chance to be seen as “thought leaders”.

    4. Nikkikat

      Well said 2 minutes, after all it’s part of the media and elite politicians job to make sure lots of hatred and divisive actions are promoted among serfs.

    5. Bellagio

      Lack of abortion services and the money spent to make up for that disproportionately affects sexual minorities that have transitioned from the male gender. It’s not fair and it must be reconciled somehow.

      “Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale ProPublica”
      “Loopholes for fossil-fuel businesses date back practically to the income tax’s birth in the early 20th century.” That’s why the Getty Oil Company-think J.Paul, and Spindletop, groomed and created Gavin Newsom, who runs a state that collects no oil extraction tax.

      As far as depreciating commercial real estate, American municipalities should use eminent domain to do what Central American countries did to United Fruit when they nationalized plantations, pay what U.F. said the land was worth for tax purposes. “Mr. Ross, we’re taking your building for housing and paying you for it the depreciated value that your tax attorneys say it’s worth.”

    6. Aumua

      Yeah everyone loves to jump on a bandwagon, of course. But that doesn’t change that this decision is a really bad sign for a country that is lurching backwards towards, as some have put it, a new Christian version of sharia law. And expressing solidarity with women in these circumstances is not a bad thing in and of itself.

      1. Wukchumni

        Was hanging out with one of my favorite neighbors in our cabin community, she’s a year older than me and we have so much in common-love to hike and went to different high schools together, er, aside from her being an evang.

        She told me yesterday that more people have died from the vaccination than from Covid, and sure you could repudiate her claim, but where’s the fun in that?

        Last month she told me she was going to heaven when she dies & would live 1,000 years in bliss with the big cheese, and yeah it would have been better if she had opted for 999 years, as it doesn’t have the same ring as that other proposed 1,000 year Reich.

  2. Mikerw0

    As to the Airline article… and many of them used some of the money to play amateur VCs and invest into e-plane startups (e.g., United, Mesa, etc.). Worked as planned, enhancing exec comp and continue to treat customers as the enemy.

    While not an expert, isn’t there something in contract law that says if you sell me a product, in this case an airline seat, knowing you can’t deliver it I get compensated. Though I suspect there is some airline favorable carve-out that again screws the consumer.

    PS this is what you get when an industry is nearly fully monopolized.

    1. Basil Pesto

      While not an expert, isn’t there something in contract law that says if you sell me a product, in this case an airline seat, knowing you can’t deliver it I get compensated.

      I’m pretty sure it’s fraud. Unnecessary exposure to fraud liability risk is why I don’t really find the “took the money and run” (or “it’s all the anti-mandate pilots who left” – months ago) explanation for current airline staff shortages terribly convincing (not to say the airlines haven’t engaged in absolute bastardry in the past two years). NC readers may be considering other likely explanations. I presume there will be the usual array of epidemiological data in Lambert’s WC post today.

      1. John

        This is what you get when any industry is monopolized.

        Airline service is crapified and executive compensation rises. Nothing to see here folks; business as usual.

        What was Marx’s analysis of late stage capitalism? Didn’t its excesses result in its extinction in his telling?

        1. Basil Pesto

          Well, true enough, but the point I was getting at is that the rush of last minute cancellations is almost certainly a direct consequence of covid infection of airline staff, which goes beyond issues of just monopolisation and crapification – it’s not really something winding back airline executive compensation can fix I don’t think.

          Mask mandates for flights and airports were ditched, what, a couple of months ago? Just in time for the current BA.5 wave. Amazingly, a lot of analyses elide this explanation altogether – the most obvious and plausible one – which says something about the extraordinary state of collective delusion we’re in.

          Recall it was Delta that lobbied for a reduction of the isolation period from 10 days to 5. I fully expect airlines will lobby to eliminate the isolation period altogether.

  3. Terry Flynn

    re perfume: I discovered eau de parfum as opposed to (the appropriately named) eau de toilette sold at airports etc during my time in Sydney. I had to go to a particular shop in Sydney whose main purpose was to sell upmarket women’s lingerie. Thankfully I never bumped into anyone who knew me requiring me to concoct an excuse as to why I was *there*.

    My eyes (nostrils?) were opened. EDT lasts about 2 hours then wears off (alcohol solution evaporating? – I’m not sure). EDP lasts practically all day. Proof of the pudding is in the eating – I sat next to my (female) BFF in a seminar at 4pm and she said “you smell gorgeous, what did you just spray on?”. I’d put on CREED EDP (I think it was Green Irish Tweed, I had 3 of their fragrances) – BUT AT 8AM THAT DAY. It’s VERY expensive (I earned a lot more in those days) but I only wore EDP and never EDT. Lasted me 8+ hours per spray so the value for money was probably worth it (another example of crapification with airport EDTs?)

    Anyway I did my research. Top members of the PMC and Hollywood stars only use EDP (I believe Green Irish Tweed is Clooney’s preferred scent). Interestingly, virtually all EDT are just cheap knockoffs of an EDP – an assistant in a clothes store in Sydney told me she loved Davidoff when I was close. Yeah yeah I was uppity when I promptly left but I actually didn’t want her “help” because she also admired my watch (analogue) but admitted she couldn’t tell time using those things. (Believe me this was NOT uncommon in my retail interactions in Sydney).

    EDP is the gold standard and maximum value for money. Which is why most people aren’t aware of it or able to buy it outside of online (which kinda defeats the purpose). However, one last warning – I sang in the London Bach Choir for 2 years. Scent was prohibited as it could affect singers near you. I GET that. But otherwise? Buy EDP not EDT if you want to avoid any potential skinkyness for the day at minimal cost.

    1. Lex

      You’re likely correct about percent alcohol in the solution. EDP may have a (much) higher concentration of the essential oils from the source material, which means less alcohol as solvent. When alcohol flashes off, it leaves (most) of the other stuff behind. Does the EDP feel any different on application than EDT?

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. Yeah totally. I’d been suspicious of scents because I knew from experience that topical alcohol induces inflammation quite easily for me. EDP was a revelation. Incidentally this also goes in with hand scrubs in our current world….. Two different brands, both 70% alcohol, yet only one causes skin flare ups. Am wondering if “less annoying” one has alcohol evaporate faster but leave anti-nasties there……. But I’m not clinically trained so maybe I’m talking rubbish

        1. marieann

          I have fragrance allergies…probably from fragrance exposure over the years. I get severe headaches. So perfume and scents are wasted on me….in fact they would send me running in the other direction.

          I now have to make my own hand lotion because I cannot find unscented ones.

    2. super extra

      I am also a secret perfume person! I like to read perfume reviews from real noses when I am feeling down, I feel like I am being exposed to a new world that coexists with the real world given their descriptions. I don’t think I am a nose but the thing that sent me into the EDT/EDP rabbit hole was accidentally coming across an unmarked amber perfume that didn’t ‘turn to powder’ (the scent stayed that thick, honeyed amber instead of shifting to loose powder makeup scent after a short time on my skin, a common body chemistry effect) when I wore it, and since it was an unmarked sample I spent years searching for another with the same effect.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks! Yeah I don’t go for “exotic” scents but ones that are quite “natural” – I just like a basic natural one and EDTs often overthnk things in a way EDPs don’t. In terms of EDPs, they (CREED) even have (re)created a basically lavender scent that was traditionally popular in both sexes but these days lavender is considered very female. I’d buy it….if I had the money these days!

      2. Revenant

        There was an excellent monograph on retail perfume lines, Perfumes the A-Z Guide. Friends in South of Market in Manhattan had a copy when we went to stay with them and I stayed up all night reading it cover to cover. I keep meaning to buy my own copy. Fascinating and excellent exercise trying to imagine the smells, even though I would never wear any! Plus the info that FDA rules on carcinogens prevent the original formulation of some classic lines because of nitro-aromatics being under suspicion.

        1. Mildred Montana

          My mother and I read their earlier book called 𝘗𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘴: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘦. Published in 2008, it is informative, witty, and devastatingly funny when the authors think a perfume stinks.

            1. super extra

              I doubt it. There are lovely ancient Egyptian carvings and frescoes of women applying fragrance from very fancy decorative bottles (glass and faience examples of which have been found in ship wrecks and grave offerings). The images depict clean women in fine (as in thin, see-through, high-quality small thread) white woven dresses with stiff pleats (can only get that with heat and a stiffener like starch, and repeated folding + heat) and heavy eye makeup. Lots of other ancient Egyptian art shows a heavy emphasis on bathing and cleanliness. Judging by the number of comments from men in this thread being able to recognize specific women’s perfumes, I would suggest it came about for other innate reasons

    3. Revenant

      And then there is… parfum itself.

      I buy my wife Hermes Rue de Faubourg in the parfum. Tiny glass phials of essence. Heady stuff.

      I loathe scent but it turns out I particularly loathe cheap scent!

    4. Aaron

      In general I am not a fan of any perfumes or body scents. Doesn’t agree with my inflammatory system and I usually don’t think there is anything wrong with natural human smells.
      But I have a Saudi Arabian friend whose mother makes “solid” perfumes. They are but a spray, but more of a”wet” powder. The smells are amazing. Masculine, deep, exotic. Not sure where I can find good quality commercial versions of those

    5. Lexx

      I’m surprised people, any people, are still wearing scent. I tried to recall the last time I caught a hint of scent out in public; it’s been years! ‘Clean or Freshly Showered’ seems to be the preferred label, bragging about what they’re not wearing. Eau de ‘Odorless’ by Gaia. It bet Clooney smells even better without perfume… eau de ‘Warm Man Skin’.

      The woman who does my pedicures was telling me last week that when her husband comes in from playing rugby, she asks him not to wash his jersey right away and just pass it over. She’d like to spend a little private time with it.

      I’d like to think the absence of cloying cologne was due to everyone knowing or having known someone going through chemo. In breast cancer numbers alone that would be millions of women in this country, just since 2000. You think Covid does a number on your sense of smell? I couldn’t bear the smell of a turkey sandwich for a decade after just four rounds. On Thanksgiving, a salmon was murdered instead. The smell of cooking fish filling the house was better than turkey… eau de ‘Fish Toilet’ toilette’.

      1. Ignacio

        Long ago I might fall in love more easily with a woman in Opium scent. I frequently used Paco Rabanne pour homme because it was the regular present from my mother in law by Christmas. That time has long gone. It is not that I dislike scents but I find it sometimes… too aggressive?

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          I used to wear that scent – my husband says it tastes like ginger.

          1. Ignacio

            Scents remain in our memory for long and this is part of their strength. I would recognize it all over again even if from long ago, bring memories, all the stuff!

      2. Bugs

        There’s a perfume shop in Rome, off the via del Corso, with the most sublime selection of the most rare and strange things. You’ll find it if you google around.

        A BFF owns a food/cosmetic ingredient supply company that sells the base essences. It’s a business with tons of volatility and there are lots of products under strict regulatory control.

    6. Samuel Conner

      I wonder if it is feasible for lay-persons to formulate their own preferred fragrances. Essential oils of many plants can be obtained at modest cost.

      I wouldn’t mind walking around smelling like Basil and Sage. It would be an improvement on my customary aroma of perspiration.

      1. CanCyn

        There are indeed places where you can have a custom scent created from essential oils. A little shop near where I used to live offers the service. A friend gave me one for my birthday one year. You spend about 30 minutes or so sniffing oils, indicating which ones you like and which ones you don’t like and they make a custom blend based on your preferences. At one point I looked down and there were over a dozen oils open on the counter in front of where I sat. I asked why I didn’t have a headache. Apparently essential oils do not cause headaches, it is the artificial ingredients in perfumes that cause headaches and other reactions! Who knew? I worked in retail cosmetics many many years ago and though there were many perfumes I liked, I hated unpacking and shelving the Xmas perfume orders, the task always gave me a raging headache.
        My custom blend was subtle, woodsy and a bit floral. I people often said ‘ooo you smell good’ when they were close. I had long ago stopped wearing perfume at work or in public because of ‘scent-free’ rules everywhere, but I risked it and wore my custom blend many places, never once had a complaint or noticed any overt reactions.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Wow. First time I haven’t killed a thread? But yeah your point about custom scents rings lots of bells. Sellers who are HONEST rather than just in the for the commission freely admit that a certain scent works differently with different people’s skin.

          Thus I NEVER touch “traditional musky male” ones – disgusting on me. More natural neutral or flower based ones “work” with my skin. Interestingly, now I don’t work outside the home so much I can use a cheap EDT – best ones? LIDL of all places. Don’t expect it to last long but IMHO it gets the basics right.

      2. playon

        Grow some sage, mix with a little oil, and voila… we have a couple of big sage bushes and here in our dry climate they thrive.

      3. playon

        Grow some sage, dry it, steep in some oil and apply perhaps? We have a couple of big sage bushes, they thrive here in our dry climate but we use it as a spice and for tea, never tried making a scent with it. We also have lots of sagebrush in the area which smells nice.

      4. AndrewJ

        I’ve actually done this. A dozen 2 ounce spray bottles, essential oils, and Everclear. There’s a Vetiver that’s my go-to, and a couple desert essential oils from phi bee in Sedona that get me closer to reliving the earth-shattering smell of springtime desert rain. I’ve also infused alcohol with sequoia wood, and vanilla-rich shavings from century-old spruce beams that went through a planer.
        I’d love to get my hands on some of the fancy fixatives and bases that perfume houses use, but don’t know where to look, or start.

    7. Roger Blakely

      To me fragrance is like costume jewelry. I love it. I go to the rack stores (T.J. Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, Burlington) and buy everything.

    8. Art_DogCT

      Perfumery and I have been in a relationship for a number of years – started with an interest in aromatherapy that evolved into an interest in creating fragrances. I haven’t been blending for a few years as the interest has taken a back seat to the food co-op organizing work I’m part of.

      There are very few essential oils that can safely be used on the skin without dilution in some carrier, alcohol and oils primarily. An Eau de parfum can include +/- 50% alcohol. They all contain some, the amount varying depending on the oils and aromatics in the blend. An Eau de toilette will have 15%-25% fragrance blend, the remainder being alcohol and water, and sometimes conditioners and preservatives. An Eau de Cologne will have not more than 10% fragrance blend.

      Persistence of a fragrance can be very short, and perfumers use certain essential oils that act as fixatives to extend the duration – some blends able to last the entire day. There are also synthetic fixatives that are in the industry, mostly in lower-end mass market products. There’s a related perfumery concept termed “silage“, which is the extent and intensity a fragrance perceived at a distance. A positive example would be someone walking by with a delicious scent that follows them in their wake for several feet. A negative example is Axe Body Spray, the users of which can be noticed from yards away. If that user is aged 15-25, the odds are high such a product is used to excess, which increases the zone of aroma tremendously.

      Chemical engineering of flavor and aroma molecules is a large industry. Unless you buy a fragrance that stipulates only naturally sourced materials are used in its production, it’s likely the fragrance formula includes synthetic aromachemicals, as well as synthetic additives to extend duration and silage. From my reading and collection of anecdata I believe that most people who have bad reactions to fragrances are reacting to synthetic elements in the product, rather than reacting to any botanical component. (An historical aside: My mother planned her trips to department stores to avoid the cosmetics area as much as possible – picking the right entrance and parking spot was crucial to successful avoidance. If she wandered too close to that department for too long a time she would get terrible headaches. There was only one fragrance she could tolerate, so it was a perennial Christmas gift from kids with no clue what she might really want or need.)

      Some fragrances can be offered in an oil carrier for those who don’t like the effect of alcohol on their skin, likewise so-called solid perfumes that use a beeswax/shea butter carrier. There are some botanicals that don’t tincture in alcohol well, but infuse in an oil beautifully, and vice versa. There are also solvent extraction processes used for some materials. CO2 extracts are being produced that have different qualities to the same material processed by steam extraction. Using fractional distillation, specific molecules can be concentrated and used in blending. There is some debate whether fractional isolates are still under the ‘natural’ umbrella. I think that while these isolates are produced from natural botanical materials, the process itself will become unsustainable sooner or later – so best not to bother with something that won’t last. I’ve never used them in my blending for that reason.

  4. timbers

    Democrats, Republicans, and MSM – Russia has legal abortion and an elected leader with 80% approval rating. United States has illegal abortion and an elected leader with 36% approval rating. Which one seems closer to a Democracy?

    1. digi_owl

      MSM will decry that Russian rating as fake news all the way to the grave.

      By now it should be clear that the world is divided in three, passive “nationalists”, militant nationalists, and globalists.

      And the globalists will wear any nation as a flag of convenience.

  5. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding “Paranoia Films” (mostly) of the 1970’s the Gizmodo list leaves out the greatest and most under-appreciated of them all: William Richert’s “Winter Kills.”

    A spooky, often hilarious, sometimes surreal take on the JFK assassination and coverup (from the novel by Richard Condon), the film (which I recently re-watched, and which holds up very well) has an amazing cast, including Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Richard Boone, among others, and with a wonderful cameo by Elizabeth Taylor, portraying an ersatz Marilyn Monroe/Judith Exner-type character.

    Strange that, while film buffs wax enthusuastic about rogue, indie films of the 1970’s, they usually leave this masterpiece (with a fascinating back story) out.

    1. Ignacio

      I haven’t seen that one but a young Jeff Bridges made me recall Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show which I consider among the greatest American films.

      My wife likes very much The Three Days Of The Condor where Faye Dunaway is just great and it is the story between her and Redford what gives the film most of its life.

      1. Pat

        Three Days of the Condor while great romantic suspense, is deeply disturbing on so many levels. I still wonder how it got made. Although it was still fantasy for most people at that time, I wonder how many newer viewers would take the views of Avon Sydow’s and Cliff Robertson’s characters particularly Robertson’s final question.

        I loved that film from the moment I saw it, but also admit that it, the Conversation and Missing have lived in and probably affected my self conscious thought about my government more than I would admit even to myself.

        1. Ignacio

          That last speech from Robertson has aged quite well indeed. Though I recall more strongly his indomitable hair in the scene! Hahahaha!

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        The estimable Three Days of the Condor is conventional Studio product compared to Winter Kills. Watch it – sadly, I only know it to be available for streaming on Amazon – and you’ll be surprised it was ever made or released… Different times, different country…

        1. tennesseewaltzer

          Both Three Days of the Condor and Winter Kills are available from Barnes and Noble as DVDs. Both quite reasonably priced.

      3. playon

        The Last Picture is a great movie, I agree. I grew up in a small western town (but not in Texas) and viewing it as a young man I could really relate to it. I hadn’t heard of Winter Kills before and am looking forward to seeing it, thanks.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      “Winter Kills” is very popular on pirate sites. Been so long I don’t remember it well (other than it was politically confused), but here’s the top blurb from the original movie poster:

      The Kegans are an American dynasty. They own oil…banks…beautiful women…even presidents. They have the power to make fortunes and destroy careers. One man will inherit it all. If he lives.”

      Book by Richard Condon who also wrote “Death of a Politician,” a thinly disguised novel about a Richard Nixon style politician dying under sexually suspect circumstances.

      1. Bruno

        Condon’s “A Trembling Upon Rome”–about Baldessare Cossa (the “Antipope” John XXII)–is a marvelous story.

    3. J.W.

      1967’s The President’s Analyst is dated but still worth seeing. If you don’t mind immature humor, “The Pentaverate” on Netflix is a fun satire of ’70s paranoia.

    4. Milton

      Maybe because it’s more of a documentary than CT but I would add Michael Clayton to this list.

      1. griffen

        Yes to this. It is conspiracy or I think it so, as a standard corporate practice. And the portrayal by Wilkinson is quite good, once he is not going bonkers (sorry, spoiler alert).

        I’d choose to remove the film Shooter myself. It is entertaining, sort of the same way that Live Free Die Hard is entertaining.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “G7 leaders launch infrastructure fund to counter Chinese influence”

    This is just sad. But I invite readers to study the faces of the people in this G7 group in that article and ask themselves which of them that they would want to be the leader of their country. Personally I cannot see a single one. But I diverge. They are going to invest about $600 billion which sounds like a lot but don’t forget that of that $40 billion that was voted for the Ukraine recently, only about $7 billion is going to end up in the Ukraine. I suspect the same here and I think that you will find that the bulk of it will be going to western corporations to implement – kinda – and not that much will be going on the ground. Biden in a speech on Sunday actually said ‘It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone, including the American people and the people of all our nations. It’ll boost all of our economies…’ Actually America is only going to have to chip in about one third of this money so they are getting out of it cheap. But you read some of the projects and it sounds like just a grab bag of projects without a cohesive, integrated plan behind it like the Chinese have with their Belt and Road scheme. And so this scheme will sink without a trace.

    1. LawnDart

      Rev, note that this program is called Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII)

      Is that pronounced “piggy”?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        This is a programme announced at last year’s summit, in beautiful and then sunny Cornwall, and renamed for this year.

        The only person fooled by it is diversity token and the world’s richest trade union leader, Cyril Ramaphosa. He was there last year and has come again for the photo op and crumbs from the top table.

      2. digi_owl

        Last time something was called pig, it was a bunch of EU member nations tethering on the bring of insolvency…

    2. digi_owl

      Yep, it is the age old pork barrel move. Funneling tax money to off-shore shell company bank accounts.

  7. JTMcPhee

    Re the tenacity of elites: BoJo and Netanyahu, and so many others, darlings of the oligarchy. As pointed out ad nauseam, and well documented, the “will of the people” don’t mean jack any more. Despite all the BS talk about “democracy.” Amazing how words can lose their meaning, like Huck Finn or was it Tom Sawyer or some other Mark Twain character, repeating a word over and over while bored in church, until it had no meaning at all, just a sound… Semantic satiation,, one of the mass control techniques of outfits like the CIA…

    1. TimH

      The Constitution set US up as a Republic and representational democracy. Calling it “a democracy” is misleading at best.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yet people still buy into the idea that there is such a thing in the Combined West as “democracy.” And the word gets used as a trigger to move the populace to accept and support (or at least not get riled up enough to get rid of the current crop of kleptoplutocrats and install another, hopefully more friendly to the Maslow needs of the mopery.

      2. ACPAL

        With democracy the majority votes away the rights of the minority. With a republic an influential minority forces their ideals onto the majority. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  8. marym

    Re: Elected prosecutors vow not to go after women seeking abortions The Hill

    Here’s a link from TX. State bounty hunter laws will also enable civil action against those who seek an abortion and those who help them. We do well not to put much stock in possible one-off workarounds to the absence of legal protection for reproductive autonomy.

    “[TX State Rep. Briscoe] Cain also said he intends to introduce legislation to allow district attorneys to prosecute abortion-related crimes outside their home jurisdiction “when the local district attorney fails or refuses to do so.””

    1. t

      Briscoe Cain – the baby in an oversized cowboy hat whose well-documented earlier life as an out gay man hasn’t caused him a spec of trouble with gay-bashing constituents. Maybe because R cans just say anything, with no pushback. Like “RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel … predicted that “American suburbs will trend red for cycles to come” because of “Biden’s gas hike, the open border crisis, baby formula shortage and rising crime.” or “it’s just the flu.”

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Not to be too much of a Pollyanna about this, but you really do have to wonder about how all of this anti-abortion triumphalism will play out. As a practical matter, stripping a right that’s been in place for 50 years and with which, in some form, most americans agree, may be beyond the capabilities of just 6 unelected individuals “supreme” though they may be.

      The well-heeled and even the not-so-well-heeled will travel to states where abortion is legal, as has always happened. The accused / “prosecuted” under these laws will be the most pitiful among us. For better or worse, the “media” comes down on the side of right to an abortion and will not suppress “news” about these prosecutions. I doubt GoFundMe will eschew campaigns for travel / medical funds.

      What prosecutor will risk his public image browbeating a poor rape victim on national tv because “the law’s the law,” when that lame concept was proven to be bullshit long ago?

      Even that obstreperous, eminently “flexible” defender of precious life, kristi noem, vows not to prosecute “mothers.” South Dakota will only go after doctors who perform the now illegal abortions, and I’d be surprised if there even are any of those in “modern” SD.

      noem’s bigger problem may be the big banks and credit card companies which are SD’s financial lifeblood, and several of which have already announced policies to pay for employees to travel for abortions. Something tells me she doesn’t have the stones to confront that situation ala DeSantis and disney.

      So just maybe this “decision” is an opportunity to finally free ourselves of craven harpies like pelosi, who never met an issue they wouldn’t prolong until they milked every last dollar out of it. Dunno. Could be a blessing in disguise.

      1. Big River Bandido

        an opportunity to finally free ourselves of craven harpies like pelosi

        From your lips to Dog’s ears. Pelosi herself probably won’t be affected as she’s too entrenched and answerable only to her extremely provincial PMC constituency. But the shift in primacy may change the political dynamic for any politician who must answer to real voters. What Dobbs does politically is remove the excuses that the “abortion rights movement” has used to justify doing nothing on this issue for so long.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine pleads for air defence as Russia turns sights on Lysychansk”

    From what Zelensky is saying that he wants, I think that he wants the west to force Israel to give them an Iron Dome system to protect their skies. Yeah, I don’t think that that is going to happen either. Maybe he can ask Putin for an S-500 system and see how well that works out. As for Lysychansk, that town will probably fall to the Russians in the next coupla days. From there they may go after Kharkiv or maybe they will turn south to give relief to the people of Donetsk from the Ukrainian bombardments.

      1. Darthbobber

        Unmentioned in the article: Is this something already manufactured that a contractor just happens to have in current inventory? Or does production BEGIN with the purchase order. If the latter, I wouldn’t put any heavy bets on Ukraine having it any time soon. If indeed it’s the same system that “protects” Washington the Russians would prove a significant point by blowing it up.

        1. RobertC

          TheWarZone just provided an update Ukraine To Get Same Surface-To-Air Missiles That Protect U.S. Capital: Report Ukraine looks set for a much-needed upgrade to its hard-pressed Soviet-era ground-based air defense systems in the form of NASAMS.

          …A timeline for the delivery of NASAMS has not yet been revealed but the Ukrainian Armed Forces will need to spend time training on these unfamiliar systems. The number of systems and their value is also unknown at this stage, although the wording of the CNN report makes it sound like a single battery to start.

      2. Bart Hansen

        And the long range SAM launchers to be placed near high rise apartment buildings and hospitals.

    1. Acacia

      Yeah, I don’t think that that is going to happen either.

      The funny part is that one of the possible reasons it’s not going to happen is that the Russians might very quickly answer the question of “what’s going to defend the air defense system”? And then whomever sold it to the Ukies would have to manage the fallout from having their megabuck shiny ignominiously reduced to a flaming slag heap.

    2. Polar Socialist

      LNR sources are reporting their assault teams already control the southernmost third of the city, and according to the locals Ukrainians are attempting to leave towards Seversk via Belogorivka.

      Meanwhile the Russians have crossed the Donetsk (again) in several places and are apparently trying to cut the withdrawing Ukrainians off. Ukrainians have been reported to be pulling troops from Slavyansk area to Seversk to enforce the next line of defense.

      There are also reports that Ukrainians are suffering heavy losses trying to break trough the LNR/Russian fire control zone to the Seversk. One LNR unit reported seeing at least 10 Russian Su-25s flying over their positions to work on the Ukrainian columns and positions.

      The current understanding is that Ukrainians are trying to establish a new line of defense from Seversk to Soledar and if these LNR reports are true, we may learn in 12 to 24 hours how that plan will work.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that report. It sounds like the tempo is really starting to be stepped up. From what you wrote, it sounds like the Russians are trying to break up the Ukrainian formations before they get to man the next line of defence. And in those Ukrainian formations there is a lot of foreign mercs who would have no desire to hang around and be picked up by the Russians, including from videos that I have seen, a lot of Poles and Americans.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: The Stoller tweet.

    Stoller has made the point a major problem Democrats have is the party by and large hasn’t dealt with the scale of Obama’s “failure” and can’t have a rationale discussion about going forward until Team Blue types realize this.

    1. flora

      The party still can’t address the economic failure of NAFTA for Dem voters. Missouri used to be reliably Dem. It had a strong manufacturing economy and unionized voting base along the Mississippi River and the KC area. Manufacturing all gone. Unions a shadow of their former selves. Economy not so good. The Dems still can’t talk about that. NAFTA was good for Wall St. That’s the Dem party’s ‘base’ now. O was another Wall St and big banks pres. Talked a good New Deal line in the campaign though, just like C before him. People wanted to believe him.

      1. fresno dan

        Matt Stoller
        Jun 26, 2022
        Basically Obama screwed up the handling of the financial crisis and lost 1000+ seats to Republicans starting in 2010.
        But he tweets about the importance of democracy now so we’re all good.
        It is kind of amazing how Dems, and the Dems mouthpiece (i.e., Obama) pretty much not only advertize, but exclaim how ineffective democrats are – whether legalizing abortion or helping people other than the 1%. Its like the dems are dedicated to thwarting majority will…

      1. Stick'em

        “The American people are victims. The bootstrap mentality which dominates so much of US culture preconditions an instinctive revulsion at the word “victim,” but it’s true. Vast amounts of money and resources have been funneled into the research and development of the (art and) science of propaganda and psyops for over a century.

        This advanced arsenal of psychological weaponry has been pointed squarely at manipulating and controlling the way Americans think and vote for generations. They are the victims of this psychological abuse, and the oligarchs who use it to rule them are the victimizers.

        I think this is an important distinction to get clear. The plutocrats who own and manipulate the mainstream media must necessarily keep the American people from seeing what they’re up to and turning on them, so they must psychologically abuse them into sedation and compliance. They are abusing the people of the country in which they’ve set up base in order to implement their worldwide agendas.

        Have you ever tried to help a friend or family member get out of a cult? It’s not easy…

        Most times it’s nearly impossible and it requires more love and patience than many of us have in the tank. Cults are held in place by a few key factors. To be a good cult leader, you have to: isolate your members from normal society, frighten them regularly into a state of dissociation, hypnotize them with your commands while they’re in this state of dissociation, present yourself as their savior, and suck them dry of their resources while presenting enlightenment/heaven/salvation/the Rapture/Trump’s impeachment/single-payer healthcare/(abortion rights/”liberal” Supreme Court justices) as being just around the corner.”

      2. jsn


        The D party exists as a front and side impact airbag for the GOP to protect it from any consequences as it flattens everything left.

        The impunity they’ve granted the GOP defines the space into which they are merging with the Bush/Spook branch of that party. They seem to think that’ll put them in the driver seat of a digital police state that somehow won’t impinge on any of the prerogatives of the GOP Calhounist Oligarchs, that once there they’ll control the reprobates like Bezos, Musk, Odemeyer and Malone.

  11. Chas

    In addition to failing to codify Roe v. Wade, I think the pro-abortion movement made two other key mistakes during the half century Roe was law. The first was to re-name the pro-abortion movement as the pro-choice movement. That showed weakness. It showed the movement was feeling guilty about the word abortion. It showed an eagerness to compromise. The other mistake was the failure to respond when the Republican churches set up gauntlet lines at clinics and forced women seeking abortions to run the gauntlet. Sometimes the abortion clinics would send out volunteers to accompany, or shield, the pregnant women as they ran the gauntlet. But what a weak response that was. That provocation required a Biblical response; a tooth for a tooth response, such as setting up gauntlet lines at the Republican churches for the Republicans to run through. Now we shall see how the pro-choice movement responds to this latest provocation. I hope it isn’t timid.

    1. super extra

      This is all covered in greater detail in the book Kochland, but I was a kid in Wichita when the first targeted pro-life protests took place (the “Summer of Love” protests) and saw it all up close. They perfected all their tactics there until the first shooting and by then they were big enough to support their version of NGOs to go to other cities in the US to do the same tactics on the clinics without the big city-stopping protests. I had to walk one of those gauntlets in Chicago in 2003 and at least the guy was good enough to walk it with me and shove off the protesters trying to shove pictures of surgical failures and christian propaganda in my face as part of their bible school assignments.

      My point in sharing these personal stories is not really to negate what you are saying, only to add that there was a concerted, coordinated, and well-funded process over decades to figure out exactly what pressure and where to apply it was needed to make it illegal. Were any pro-choice defenders willing to shoot someone they identified as an enemy? The pro-lifers were, they were so serious they shot the same guy twice because he survived the first time and he didn’t stop performing abortions.

        1. flora

          Oh, I faintly remember the Wichita ‘summer of mercy’,(no mercy for women), event. The Wichita clinic made a tactical mistake when they decided to close the clinic the day of the protest with the idea the protestors would come and march around (free speech) and then go away after finding no one to harass. Instead, the protestors took the clinic temporarily closing as a great victory.

      1. Darthbobber

        I was a bit older than you for “Operation Rescue” (back from the army and at Wichita State), and that was a nasty bit of work that was. We scrummed with those knuckledraggers a bit.

    2. David

      On your first point, there’s a good philosophical principle (it probably has a name) that says you should always distrust what sound like assertions of something self-evident, because they usually conceal another purpose entirely. I mean, who is going to be against “choice” in their own lives?

      But watching episodically from across the water, my impression has been the pro-abortion advocates, as you say, feel uncomfortable about being such. Stumbling on the phrase “reproductive rights” some years ago, I automatically assumed that it meant resistance to lunatic schemes to limit who could have children, or how many. Only later did it become clear that “right to reproduce” actually meant the opposite of what it said: right not to reproduce. OK, so we mean contraception then? No, that wasn’t mentioned, or at least not given much prominence. No, it’s about abortionz. Moar abortionz. In which case why not say so? Why wrap up your objectives in doublespeak which only the enlightened can parse? I read the other day that the approved term has now changed to “reproductive justice.” You have to ask, do these people actually want to win? From a purely technical perspective, it seems amateurish, if your actual interest is in winning.

      1. Stephanie

        From the Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective:

        Reproductive Justice is:

        A human right. RJ is based on the United Nations’ internationally-accepted Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a comprehensive body of law that details the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of government to protect those rights.

        About access, not choice. Mainstream movements have focused on keeping abortion legal as an individual choice. That is necessary, but not enough. Even when abortion is legal, many women of color cannot afford it, or cannot travel hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic. There is no choice where there is no access.

        Not just about abortion. Abortion access is critical, and women of color and other marginalized women also often have difficulty accessing: contraception, comprehensive sex education, STI prevention and care, alternative birth options, adequate prenatal and pregnancy care, domestic violence assistance, adequate wages to support our families, safe homes, and so much more.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Funny that for 49 years, the “movement” focused only on abortions, leaving the low-hanging fruit of contraception to twist in the wind. I recall a few years ago how Pelosi made a big speech about how the Democrats were going to make a big push on making contraceptives available for all women.

          It was a single speech that promptly went into the memory hole. I noted it at the time, as a perfect example of the Democrats’ phoniness, as well as that of the professional “movement leaders”.

      2. Darthbobber

        Means both. RIght to terminate the pregnancy on the one hand and the elimination of programs of forced or unacknowledged sterilization on the other. Right to control one’s reproductive decisions.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        The messaging is shrill and counter productive. You’d think that with all the money the NGO’s have they could hire a marketing company to come up with some simple, clear messaging that resonates with the mass of people who aren’t in one camp or another. Sometimes I think the most important first step any activist movement needs to take is to get its loudest and shrillest voices to STFU.

        The best slogan in the past I think was ‘who chooses?’, as it threw the question back to conservatives about whether it should be a government or personal choice to terminate. That seemed to resonate with many people.

        On the other hand of course, ‘pro-life’ is simple and unambiguous. Maintaining a consistent line that life begins at fertilization and shouldn’t be killed has an internal logic and anyone can understand it. It turns a highly dogmatic stance into one that sounds superficially reasonable and moderate – the right is very good at this.

        Unfortunately, I think the tide will only turn in the US when elements of the religious right start to push things too far – by, for example, restricting the movements of pregnant women to prevent them moving out of state – and then some tragedy occurs. In most countries, it was a combination of over-reach and some horrible death that persuades the middle ground – I think the majority of people fall into the vague ‘abortion is not nice, but sometimes women have no choice’ category – to move firmly into the pro-legalization camp, and change occurs.

        The US pro-choice movement needs to learn from other countries and focus on supporting women while patiently building up sufficient momentum behind some clear legal/constitutional goals rather than screaming about impeaching judges. But I suspect too many people are profiting or just enjoying the victim status for this to happen.

      4. Katniss Everdeen

        No, it’s about abortionz. Moar abortionz. In which case why not say so?

        No, David, this is not about “moar abortionz.” It’s about SAFE “abortionz” for a group of your fellow humans to which you will never belong.

        I’m certain they thank you for your “support.”

    3. flora

      Justice Harry Blackmun was originally against voting for Roe, but he visited clinics and hospitals in where women had come in with terrible, life threatening complications from illegal abortions. After speaking with doctors and learning about the extent of the problem; after learning about existing children left motherless from botched illegal abortions; learning about women dying of a pregnancy gone horribly wrong who no doctor would help due to strict state laws, Justice Blackmun changed his mind and wrote the Roe decision. It was about saving women’s health and women’s lives. It was a hidden “epidemic” brought to light. The shorthand “Pro-Choice” didn’t capture the point that it was about women’s health and lives in the most basic sense. “Pro Choice” sounded like another “lifestyle choice”. Now, in many states, the education process begins again.

      1. flora

        Going on too long and on a personal note, many years ago I knew a woman a generation older than me who had a pregnancy go horribly wrong. The baby died in the womb at 5 or 6 months. Doctors diagnosed but told her there was nothing they could do because of state laws. She was told she would have to wait to miscarry at home. Which she and her husband did in great horror and pain. It nearly killed her. It destroyed her ability to have more children. She and her husband (both gone now many years) were staunch Republicans and worked hard to change state laws to make safe medical abortion a legal right in my state, which did happen in this “red” state many years before Roe. That sort of women’s life and health history is lost in the simple “Pro Choice” slogan. People who don’t know the history won’t have a clue from the slogan.

      2. curlydan

        Sounds like it’s time to go (Karl) Rove-ian on the “pro-life” movement, exploit its apparent strength in branding, and expropriate the “pro-life” term since abortion does save women’s lives.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        I have always hated that “pro-choice” framing. It always seemed to reflect an arrogant elitism, coined by people whose “choice,” and LIFE, were never in jeopardy, so they were unable to communicate the deadly seriousness of the issue if it was even a consideration for them.

        Sometimes the need for a bumper sticker can cause trouble, particularly if it’s poorly thought out.

        I don’t know who got to the “pro-life” label first, but under the circumstances, the “pro-choicers” could have made the case for it as their label if they’d been paying attention.

    4. Aumua

      I appreciate some of the points that have been brought up here re: the shortcomings of the term ‘pro-choice’. But to address the original post by Chas (which I think might be a bit satirical, but I’m not sure), pro-choice is certainly a much better description of the philosophical position than ‘pro-abortion’, which sounds like a recommendation of abortions for everyone or something.

    5. Partyless poster

      Also there’s been a shift away from using the term fetus, the media likes to say “unborn baby” now which i despise.
      People don’t call the deceased “previously living individuals” its ridiculous

  12. Jason Boxman

    The column on Paxlovid being a failure on its own terms, with the terms of the trial hidden from public view, and approved in secret by the FDA, might get buried by all the justified Roe coverage, but this too is absolutely beyond scandalous. Social murder. (Peddling this drug to the exclusion of funding development for ones that might work, or do work today.)

    An updated, more recent analysis from 1,153 patients (out of a possible 2,246 patients) showed a lackluster, non-significant 51 percent relative risk reduction. A sub-group analysis of 721 vaccinated adults with at least one risk factor for progression to severe Covid-19 showed a non-significant relative risk reduction in hospitalization or death (treatment arm: 3/361; placebo: 7/360).

    But unlike Biogen, I couldn’t even find any online record of a meeting by Cavazzoni justifying the protocol amendment for Paxlovid, let alone an adequate one. Pfizer would have had to provide detailed reasoning in its protocol amendment and the FDA kept those requests and changes a secret. It’s just another example of the FDA’s total lack of transparency.

    It’s too bad the author is all-in on herd immunity, but the information on Paxlovid is nonetheless damning.

    This country is in terminal decline.

    1. IM Doc

      Over the past month, I have had some experience with Paxlovid. Enough to confidently make a few observations. We have been using it for patients who are higher risk because of age and medical issues, and only those who are not on contraindicated meds. So a fairly substantial number.

      1) It really does not work all that well. Indeed, many patients do not feel better at all after several days. They often feel much worse. I have had multiple couples and families where one spouse demands Paxlovid and the other demands VitI/flovoxamine/some kind of steroid/NSAID – and invariably without exception – the second group does better much quicker. This is observational, case record level data – but is entirely consistent with what I have seen before in the pandemic. Again, the fact that all of these other agents have not been studied in any kind of trials but what are known as “show trials” IOW meant to fail – is an indictment against our medical agencies. This will not age well.

      2) I have now had a handful of these “rebound” cases. Without exception, they are significantly more ill on the rebound – and this is 10 or so days later. There was an initial burst of discussion about this but again, now, as usual, crickets. I have no idea what this rebound phenomenon means. But it is a very real phenomenon.

      3) It is very expensive. 700 dollars or so per course. It is being covered and paid for – but SOMEONE is paying for it. And again, the paltry effect does not seem to be worth the billions being spent.

      4) Lots of dropouts. It makes many patients feel much worse in so many ways within just a day or two that they just stop taking it. I have some very serious qualms about this given the fact that this is absolutely what we are NOT supposed to do with antivirals. This kind of behavior is what leads HIV patients to become resistant to HAART. But there is a significant minority of patients who just feel so much worse they quit taking it.

      5) There is absolutely no help with reinfection guidance from our agencies. I have so many patients now who are having 3 or even 4 reinfections that it is becoming hard to keep up with the numbers. Invariably, they are sicker each time. Majority are certainly not hospital level – but we are headed that direction if this keeps up. And so many of these people have already had a course of paxlovid on the last reinfection that may have just been 4 weeks ago. ( I view this as a completely different issue than the rebound – that very clearly happens within 6-10 days). No guidance on this at all – do we give them a second round of paxlovid this close after the first round? What is that going to do with viral resistance? What do you want me to tell these many patients who have had both vaccine and paxlovid failure – they are becoming very angry…..I am getting so used to being the whipping boy for the patient’s frustration. And I really cannot fault them – they have very valid points.

      6) Getting back to patient anger and hypocrisy. I have just gotten to passively shaking my head when I see the usual tweet from one of our politicians – So and So, I have my 3rd bout of COVID – but thank God I have been vaccinated and boosted, you should be too. Things would be so much worse for me now, but because of my vaccination status, I have very mild symptoms. Nevertheless, the PAXLOVID I am on will help me too.

      DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND YOU ARE COMPLETELY HYPOCRITICAL in THIS STATEMENT – This drug is only to be given to those who are high risk. That does not include Justin Trudeau, Pete Buttigieg or Jen Psaki, Gavin Newsom or Kamala Harris among many others. All of whom have made variations of the above statement. (I do not include Dr. Fauci in this list because of his age he actually is high risk). First of all, if you are legitamately getting Paxlovid – your symptoms must be much worse than you are letting on. Secondly, this is very very poor modeling behavior. You as politicians should be modeling the CORRECT thing for the world. What you are doing is undermining the entire project.

      There are days I want to just give up.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        We thank you for your sevice, Doc.

        On the worst days, remember the layman’s credo:
        “Ain’t broke me yet.”

        Hang fast.

      2. Jason Boxman

        I did secretly hope we’d hear from you about this after I posted, so thanks for this!!

        Stay safe out there!

      3. flora

        Thanks for this comment. Why am I thinking of Bactrim and AIDS back in the day? Cheap and effect vs expensive and not so effective. I’m trying to remember who was head of govt’s NIAID back then.

        1. flora

          adding: Bactrim vs AZT. Vit I + flufox vs Paxlovid. Why does this seem like a rerun? (rhetorical question)

      4. Big River Bandido

        There are days I want to just give up.

        On behalf of those who still have their sense and sanity, please don’t, Doc. You and those like you are our last hope.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “More than 1 million voters switch to GOP in warning for Dems”

    I can well and truly believe this but how about the number of people that will just sit the next election out? I can see a lot of people doing this to send the Dems a message or maybe they will vote for any parties that are not Democrat or Republican where they can. In any case, the midterms are shaping to be something really worth watching. Especially when you think of the high inflation rates kicking in with food and energy shortages and all the rest of it. By them the mood of the electorate is likely to be foul indeed.

    1. flora

      I’m waiting to see if they shut down in person voting again on some pretext and only allow mail in voting. So so many ways to game mail in by both sides.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Why go to the bother when computer voting lets you change the results to whatever you want them to be? After more than twenty years, it is becoming sort of a tradition.

    2. jsn

      Yeah, the combo on that promises to be powerful. I’m expecting a D wipe out.

      Reconfigure your grammar and vocabulary to be able to talk to us, trust all minorities with power except when its Thomas, we know what to teach your kids, and if you think otherwise, even on the smallest detail, you’re obviously a racist homophobe.

      With Powel hiking into a supply side inflation, promise of a delightful hurricane season, innumerable insane paths to escalation in Ukraine and collapsing consumer confidence, “nothing fundamental will change” won’t be getting out the vote. Thomas is doing all he can to fix this for Nancy and Chuck, but the down drafts are just way to strong!

      1. Tom Stone

        You forgot the Drought in the Southwest, the more than100,000,000 dead trees in the Sierra Nevada and my nightmare a 7 + quake on the Rogers Creek/Hayward fault on a windy day and if things are crispy dry.
        We’ll lose a lot of prime farmland when the levee’s fail and saltwater intrusion will make the current location of the pumps which send water south unusable for quite some time.
        They may well have to be moved a bit further up river, especially if the drought continues.
        .You can find pics of the 1868 quake on line,this fault pops every 140 years on average.

    3. marym

      well educated, suburban, concerned about “the [D] party’s inability to quell violent crime and its frequent focus on racial justice,” ““The party itself in no longer Democrat, it’s progressive socialism…”

      Not that there aren’t a hundred reasons to ditch the Democrats, including those you mention, but this doesn’t seem to bode well for universal material benefits or the working class.

      1. jsn

        Language doesn’t mean anything anymore. If ACA is “Socialist”, if ID Pol is “Socialist”, if, if if…

        Name me one Socialist policy in the US?

        Social Security, and the D’s have been trying to destroy it my whole life starting with Moynihan.

    4. Big River Bandido

      Party registration figures are merely the tip of the iceberg and won’t give a complete picture by any means. You can register (or not) for whatever party you like, but that doesn’t require you to show up to vote, or vote for your own party. No doubt there are plenty of registered Dems who nevertheless hate the party and won’t do anything to support it. Those numbers won’t show up in registration figures, or anywhere else for that matter, until Election Day.

      I was registered for 25 years as a Democrat in New York. I moved back to Iowa 3 days before the 2020 election, but didn’t bother changing my registration until last month. I chose No Party. But because I moved from one state to another my effective registration change will go “under the radar”. How many similar cases are there? Probably not a negligible number during the pandemic.

    1. RobertC

      Andrew Milburn retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in 2019 after a thirty-one-year career. His last position in uniform was as deputy commander of Special Operations Command Central, and prior to that, commanding officer of the Marine Raider Regiment and Combined Special Operations Task Force–Iraq. He is the chief executive officer of the Mozart Group, an LLC training and equipping Ukrainian frontline units.

      Time Is Not on Kyiv’s Side: Training, Weapons, and Attrition in Ukraine

      1. Robert Gray

        Interesting piece. An attempt, maybe, to prepare the media-space for a dose of reality? However, after a number of paragraphs about how absolutely devastatingly grim it is for the Ukrainian army, he does take up the official line:

        > Of course, the Russians continue to take even higher casualties … [emphasis added]

        And this claim runs counter to what we’ve been seeing here:

        > … the impressive performance to date by Ukraine’s air defense system …

        I thought Ukraine’s air defense system was effectively neutralised in the opening days of the war, giving Russia command of the skies. No?

        1. Polar Socialist

          As far as we can tell, if Ukrainians had an air defense system when this started, they don’t have one anymore. They do still have significant amount of surviving Buks and some S-300 batteries (at least partial), and of course loads of manpads.

          I’ve understood, though, that all Russian aircraft over Ukraine carry either one Kh-25MP or one R-27P anti-radiation missile regardless of their mission, so they can counter any Ukrainian radar that dares to scan the skies.

          The Russian MoD claims that during the recent missile attack on Kiev (with 4 missiles), Ukrainian Buks shot down Ukranian S-300 missiles (2 of them) precisely because there’s no functional air defense network anymore.

    1. curlydan

      Sotomayor nails it in the dissent that was highlighted in a later Mark Stern tweet: “[This decision] elevates one individual’s interest in personal religious exercise, in the exact time and place of that individual’s choosing, over society’s interest in protecting the separation between church and state, eroding the protections for religious liberty for all. Today’s decision is particularly misguided because it elevates the religious rights of a school official, who voluntarily accepted public employment and the limits that public employment entails, over those of his students, who are required to attend school and who this Court has long recognized are particularly vulnerable and deserving of protection. In doing so, the Court sets us further down a perilous path in forcing States to entangle themselves with religion, with all of our rights hanging in the balance”

      I can’t wait until a Muslim teacher gets his kids working on an assignment then gets on the floor and prays.

      1. Wukchumni

        I can’t wait until a Muslim teacher gets his kids working on an assignment then gets on the floor and prays.

        It’s all good until the fractionist al’ Gebra overwhelms by sheer numbers.

  14. Old Sovietologist

    BBC reporting that a shopping centre in has been hit by Russian Missiles.

    President Zelensky said on Telegram that 1,000 people were in the mall at the time of the strike.

    “The city’s mayor, Vitaliy Meletskiy, said in a post on Facebook that the strike hit a “very crowded” place”.

    On the same day as the G7 meets how convenient.

    1. paul

      With his busy international diary, I’m surprised president T Shirt noticed.

      Now he has Glastonbury behind him (average attendee age >45) victory over the russians is a given.

    2. ambrit

      How many of those 1000 people were in uniform, 700, 800, 900?
      And more importantly, from what direction did the missiles come? East or West? Or were the missiles still in the crates they had been delivered in?

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m behind Ukraine 1000%

        George McGovern’s selection of Thomas Eagleton gave the world a great political phrase: “I’m behind him 1000%” supposedly uttered by McGovern just before he went behind closed doors and ordered the vaporization of Eagleton from McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.

        The incident illustrates the importance of a prez candidate sticking the landing on the VP pick. Discovered to have undergone shock therapy earlier in his life, after having already appeared onstage at the convention and gone on late night television as McGovern’s running mate, Eagleton meekly bowed out of the contest, dragging some McGovern credibility with him.

      2. Tom Stone

        CIA are unlikely to be in Uniform, SBU? I’d venture sometimes yes, sometimes no.
        I would guess that Russia once again had good intel.
        And if there were significant numbers of innocents killed and injured were they being used as a human shield?

        How soon will one of the stinger/javelins diverted from Ukraine be used in a terrorist attack
        1) Anywhere.
        2) Western Europe/UK
        3) USA/Canada
        1 Year
        1 to 3 years
        3 to 5 years
        Anytime baby, Anytime.
        Ukraine is and has been both extremely corrupt for many decades, if less than 10% are being skimmed off the top I would be very surprised.
        The resale price on the black market will be as good an evaluation of their relative worth as you could ask for.

        1. JBird4049

          I heard from Breaking Points that the TSA security theater is currently 2-3 hours long at the terminal, which is a major cause of people missing their flights, but I can just see one of those missiles taking out a passenger jet.

          It has been known for years how porous the security is and yet we still have to endure the lines and the various indignities. What kind of new theater will they do if an attack happens here?

        1. HotFlash

          I didn’t see any kids, either. Perhaps Ukrainian mall shoppers are very different from ours?

    3. anon in so cal

      Bucha 2.0 around the same time Stoltenberg says NATO’s “rapid readiness force” on the “eastern flank” will expand to 300,000. Very convenient.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Human cost of China’s zero-Covid policy measured in stress, anxiety”

    Funny that. For a long time now I have been reading people’s comments about being stressed out because they have to go to work or have to go out into crowds where hardly anybody is wearing a mask, in spite of the fact that we are still in the middle of a Pandemic. And a lot of people have related how they got sick in spite of all the precautions they took because most people want to pretend that everything is back to normal. As far as I can see, because of China’s actions there are over a billion people walking around and who are safe. They make the sacrifices and now in place like Wuhan you can go about your business without fear or concern.

    1. John Wright

      Indeed, China may be making a long term and strategic investment in its population with this policy.

      If “long covid” diminishes the “intellectual property” value of the human capital in other nations, China could be planning that they will have a distinct competitive advantage over other, less careful, nations,

  16. Eudora Welty

    Re: hospital 1% cuts: Over the weekend at the hospital I work with, we had a family who spoke solely Tagalog holding vigil with a critically I’ll family member. The language interpreter via tablet (company 1): no Tagalog interpreters. Language interpreter via hospital flip phone (company 2): no Tagalog interpreters. I used my own cell phone w Google translate to communicate with them. Staffing shortages are popping up all over the place, adding to clinical staff moral distress.

  17. LilD

    I got this from pelosi. Renders quite pretty on an iPhone

    𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐢.

    I need your immediate attention.

    Trump’s Supreme Court just ruled to rip reproductive rights away from every single woman in this country.

    I’ll be blunt…

    𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐓𝐎𝐃𝐀𝐘 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬.

    — We can either sit back and admit defeat to these far-right extremists…

    — Or we can RISE UP, meet this ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION moment, and marshal a response so HISTORIC that we make every last anti-choice Republican REGRET what they’ve done. Can you chip so we can WIN these midterms and finally codify reproductive rights into law? >> >>

    This isn’t a normal fundraising text. And a normal response won’t suffice.

    Tomorrow morning, Republican operatives will look at our results from THIS TEXT to see whether strong Democrats like you are fired up.

    If we post the same run-of-the-mill numbers, Republicans will think they can get away with ANYTHING.

    Our ONLY option is to marshal a response so historic – 100,000 gifts before midnight – that we DEFEAT every anti-choice Republican that made this happen, EXPAND our Majorities, and FINALLY codify our reproductive rights into law.

    Can I expect to see your name on my “Pro-Choice Champion” list tomorrow morning? >>

    Thank you for fighting with me on the right side of history.

    Via Nancy Pelosi for Congress
    Text STOP to quit

    1. Jason Boxman

      Tomorrow morning, Republican operatives will look at our results from THIS TEXT to see whether strong Democrats like you are fired up.

      These people are truly degenerates. I’m not sure if they’ve gotten more unhinged over the years or they’re running out of punters.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      If there was a drinking game for that text, you would be smashed by the third paragraph.
      Although she did forget to mention putinputinputin.
      I’m sure slo-joe will rectify that by sundown.

    2. ghiggler

      What a twisted Trumpian message.

      STOP is the correct response.

      But at least she didn’t have the fine print button associated with “Select if you do not wish this to be a recurring monthly charge to support….” Or was the fine print in her message so fine that we missed it?

  18. Wukchumni

    I don’t have electricity in our cabin, which has done wonders for my long game, when stroking the pages.

    Read a couple of exceptional tomes this week, and recommend both, oh my gosh is Wet Desert by Gary Hansen, a compelling read and oh so timely-kind of, as a terrorist blows up Glen Canyon Dam and the ensuing flood of the Colorado River. Of course, we’re going in the other direction as the Colorado might face being downgraded to creek status.

    I Served The King Of England by Bohumil Hrabal, struck a chord with me, as my father who lived in Prague was 14 when the goose steppers came in without knocking in 1939 and 19 when they were shown the door.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Perhaps others could comment, but I’ve seen it suggested that a better option than deleting these trackers is for everyone to download them, including men, and then start inputting multiple false entries. You then pollute and overload their database.

      1. Lexx

        Databases are cross-referenced and reliability scores assigned. The iffy identities receive low scores and are discounted.

  19. none

    If I’m reading this correctly, they are monitoring your mobile internet traffic and figuring out your apps from the endpoints they connect to (content these days is usually encrypted, but they still see the connection metadata). Technical workaround is a VPN, but this really needs to be fixed with legislation. Phone companies in the distant past were protective of metadata, but now they are all fast and loose.

  20. ghiggler

    > 1/6

    Here’s ten minutes of every prominent Democrat denying Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. These same people now tell us questioning the result of a presidential election is a direct threat to our democracy.

    Here’s ten minutes of every prominent Democrat denying that Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 legitimately. These same people now tell us that questioning trying to reverse the result of a presidential election is a direct threat to our democracy.

            The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.

    ― Confucius

    Corrected the tweet…

  21. RobertC


    A fun and informative read at AsiaTimes Is US playing chicken with China in Taiwan Strait? Aside from the legal and military aspects, the dispute impinges on political issues

    They’re both right and they’re both wrong.

    …In short, China is right that the Taiwan Strait is not “international waters.” But foreign warships and warplanes have the right to pass through it – provided they pay “due regard” to China’s rights and duties.

  22. Wukchumni

    Ran into this fellow in our cemetery in tiny town a decade ago who had an amazing tombstone which showed bas reliefs of his adventures, and he seemed to have lived at least 5 or 6 lives in one…

    Sir H. Rider Haggard, inventor of the lost world literary genre, was heavily influenced by the larger than life adventures of his friend Burnham as he penned his fictional hero Allan Quatermain. There are many similarities between these two African explorers: both sought and discovered ancient treasures and civilizations, both battled large wild animals and native peoples, both were renowned for their ability to track, even at night, and both had similar nicknames: Quatermain was dubbed “Watcher-by-Night”, while Burnham was called “He-who-sees-in-the-dark”.

  23. chuck roast

    Bars, businesses, locals pan Hochul’s plan to raze their Penn Station neighborhood

    Kaching! Sounds like the gift that will keep on giving. Doubtless Hochul has no interest in Access to the Regions Core…too little cash, too late. On the upside, the cost overruns could be wicked good for 4 1/8″ X 9 1/2″ envelope sales. The downside would be a 10′ rise in sea levels, but IBGYBG.

  24. RobertC

    America’s German Problem

    Jeremy Stern at the Tablet Stop Being Surprised by Germany Blinded by their own Cold War propaganda, Americans can’t see Berlin’s Ukraine policy for what it is

    BLUF: It’s Germany’s American Problem

    …Scholz still refuses to say whether he would like Ukraine to win the war, and frequently calls for a “cease-fire” rather than a Russian withdrawal.

    Berlin’s Ukraine policy has been firmly grounded in both German history and an interpretation of strategic realities more plausible than most of what passes through Brussels and Washington.

    …The longer Ukraine frustrates Putin’s attempts to win a conventional war, many Germans worry, the more inclined he’ll be to opt for a total gas embargo on Europe. A gas embargo might cause a German depression. Much of its industrial sector would simply shut down. There would be a fiscal crisis across the eurozone, and the return of a balance-of-payments crisis. European unity would split. Trans-Atlantic cohesion would crater. [Yep]

    The consequences of the anti-Russia sanctions have been worse, Germans argue, than if we had imposed no sanctions at all.

    …If Germany has a “special responsibility” to “remember history,” many German officials believe, it probably shouldn’t risk an economic catastrophe for the sake of the Donbas.

    …Yet current German policy appears well-aligned not only with Germany’s economic interests, but with the traditional German preference for serving as a “bridge” between Russia and the West—rather than as a bridgehead of the West in the East.

    …Paradoxically, it is not Germany’s struggle to come to terms with its own history that is to blame, but American Cold War efforts to suppress and replace that history with our own self-serving, tutelary mythology—which became a kind of self-evident gospel with the fall of the Berlin Wall, but which Germans themselves never believed.

    …Washington has—rightly or wrongly—made support for an unconditional Ukrainian victory a litmus test for the American democratic ethos, even as American voters have started to lose whatever interest they had in helping the heroic Ukrainians. Convinced of their own centrality to the drama, U.S. leaders can’t or won’t understand that many U.S. allies can’t and won’t stake their futures on whatever the American position happens to be at any particular moment—because according to the internal logic of American partisan warfare, that position will be reversed every few years.

    …No one fears and loathes this toxic U.S. political dynamic more than our allies in Berlin. For them, Donetsk and Luhansk are simply not worth a Lehman-style contagion in Germany’s energy sector.

    …Americans are entitled to wonder what all this means for Germany’s status as a member of the Western alliance. What we’re no longer entitled to is surprise.

  25. RobertC


    Islam is India’s second-largest religion, with 14.2% of the country’s population, approximately 172.2 million people identifying as adherents of Islam in 2011 Census. India is also the country with the second largest number of Muslims in the world. Are we looking at cultural or worse genocide as India’s History Wars Heat Up The Babri Mosque ruling galvanized a new wave of legal attacks, with Hindu nationalist groups claiming hundreds of mosques built by Muslims emperors centuries ago were temples in ancient India.

    …The Babri Mosque-Ram Janmabhoomi case remained unresolved for several decades until the Supreme Court of India finally announced its verdict on November 9, 2019. The court ordered that the disputed land should be given to Hindus for the construction of the grand Ram Temple, adding that the Muslims should be given a piece of land somewhere else so that they can construct a mosque.

    …“We accepted the [Ayodhya] verdict vouching for communal harmony, peace, and to put an end to temple-mosque conflict but it is not happening,” Syed Muhammad Yasin, joint secretary of Anjum Masajid Banaras said. He added, “It looks like there is no rule of law but Jiski Lathi Iski Bhains” – a phrase used to describe the rule of the powerful.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    I heard on NPR news this morning that WHO’s boss of all bosses Gebreyesus said that monkeypox is “not” a pandemic or even an epidemic, but is ” of concern”.

    This reminds me of how he approached covid, and makes me think that his mission at WHO is to obstruct recognition of monkeypox as a spreading disease till it is too strong a pandemic to reverse, and then he will allow himself to be pressured into “delaring” it a pandemic.

    In other words, Gebreyesus is doing what he can to facilitate the spread and pandemification of monkeypox deliberately and on purpose.

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