Dec 262020
 
 December 26, 2020  Posted by at 10:03 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,


Salvador Dali Christmas Tree 1959

 

Pfizer’s Vaccine Maximizes Profit, Not The Greater Good (Quelch)
UK Scientists Trial Drug To Prevent Infection That Leads To Covid (G.)
Rolling Out the Vaccine (Dorman)
Pfizer COVID19 Vaccine Causing More Allergic Reactions Than Expected (NYP)
Millions Wake Up To Tougher Restrictions As UK Covid Deaths Pass 70,000 (PA)
Pelosi, Democrats, UniParty and Media Spin Narrative Around COVID Relief (CTH)
Our Upside-Down Postelection World (Hanson)
Georgia Democrats Shatter Fundraising Records (DC)
Full Brexit Trade Deal ‘Goes Beyond Canada-style Accord’ (G.)
Boeing 737 Max Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Failure (ZH)
Christmas Awokenings (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

“Pfizer has cut deals at high prices with about 20 developed countries. Their government agencies can’t reject the Pfizer vaccine as too expensive because they can’t ask their frontline healthcare workers to wait for a cheaper alternative. They have to act now.”

Pfizer’s Vaccine Maximizes Profit, Not The Greater Good (Quelch)

Pfizer just inked a second deal with the federal government to supply an additional 100 million doses of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine by July 2021. This is on top of Pfizer’s earlier deal for 100 million doses, currently being shipped. At around $20 per dose, Pfizer shareholders will do nicely, and the Pfizer CEO cashed in $5.6 million in stock at the time of the FDA’s emergency use authorization. Pfizer deserves enormous credit for the speed with which its vaccine secured the Food and Drug Administration’s approval. But Pfizer’s vaccine strategy was designed from the outset to maximize shareholder profit, not the greater good. Pfizer set out to be first across the finish line and reap a public relations bonanza. That’s why it pursued an mRNA vaccine, which can be developed and manufactured much faster than traditional vaccines.

But Pfizer’s vaccine has to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius to retain its efficacy. Developing countries do not have and cannot afford such a cold chain. That means Pfizer is off the hook to provide low- or no-cost doses to billions of people in poorer nations. The Moderna vaccine, also an mRNA vaccine, was designed to require normal vaccine refrigeration at around minus 20 degrees Celsius . Note, also, that Pfizer declined U.S. government subsidies to fund its vaccine development. This preserved Pfizer’s negotiating independence, avoided bureaucratic delays and helped Pfizer get to the finish line first. Taking no subsidies enabled Pfizer to deflect any government pressure to make its vaccine available at lower cost.

There’s another problem. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses with 21- and 28-day intervals, respectively, between vaccinations. Typically, this will result in 50 percent slippage; half those who receive the first shot will not return for the second. Some will forget, others will experience side effects, and others will believe wrongly that one jab is good enough. Meanwhile, Britain’s AstraZeneca has developed an equally effective COVID-19 vaccine that requires normal refrigeration and can therefore use existing vaccine supply chains that extend to rural areas. The AstraZeneca vaccine is being sold at $2 per dose versus $20 per dose (that is, $40 per person) for Pfizer’s. AstraZeneca has pledged not to profit from COVID-19 vaccine sales and to waive patent protections. Pfizer has done neither.

Pfizer’s strategy is simple. Be first to market and make a boatload of money by “skimming the cream,” supplying vaccines to those willing to pay. Pfizer has cut deals at high prices with about 20 developed countries. Their government agencies can’t reject the Pfizer vaccine as too expensive because they can’t ask their frontline healthcare workers to wait for a cheaper alternative. They have to act now.

Read more …

“Rather than antibodies produced by the body to help fight an infection, AZD7442 uses monoclonal antibodies, which have been created in a laboratory.”

UK Scientists Trial Drug To Prevent Infection That Leads To Covid (G.)

British scientists are trialling a new drug that could prevent someone who has been exposed to coronavirus from going on to develop the disease Covid-19, which experts say could save many lives. The antibody therapy would confer instant immunity against the disease and could be given as an emergency treatment to hospital inpatients and care home residents to help contain outbreaks. People living in households where someone has caught Covid could be injected with the drug to ensure they do not become infected too. It could also be given to university students, among whom the virus has spread rapidly because they live, study and socialise together.

Dr Catherine Houlihan, a virologist at University College London Hospitals NHS trust (UCLH) who is leading a study called Storm Chaser into the drug, said: “If we can prove that this treatment works and prevent people who are exposed to the virus going on to develop Covid-19, it would be an exciting addition to the arsenal of weapons being developed to fight this dreadful virus.,” The drug has been developed by UCLH and AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company that has also, along with Oxford University, created a vaccine that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is expected to approve for use in Britain next week. The team hope the trial shows that the cocktail of antibodies protects against Covid-19 for between six and 12 months. Trial participants are receiving it as two doses, one after the other.

If it is approved, it would be offered to someone who has been exposed to Covid in the previous eight days. It could be available as soon as March or April if it is approved by the medicines regulator after it has reviewed evidence from the study. The trial involves ULCH, several other British hospitals and a network of 100 sites globally. This month University College hospital became the first site in the world to recruit patients into the randomised control trial and give them the jab or a placebo. “To date we have injected 10 participants – staff, students and other people – who were exposed to the virus at home, in a healthcare setting or student halls,” said Houlihan. She and colleagues would closely follow the participants to see which of them develop Covid-19.

The immediate protection that the drug promises could play a vital role in reducing the impact of the virus until everyone has been immunised. The vaccination programme is under way using the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and is expected to take until next summer. NHS England accelerated the vaccine deployment this week after criticism from hospital bosses, GP leaders and the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt that it was taking too long. “The advantage of this medicine is that it gives you immediate antibodies,” Houlihan said. “We could say to trial participants who have been exposed: yes, you can have the vaccine. But we wouldn’t be telling them that would protect them from the disease, because it’s too late by then [because the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines do not confer full immunity for around a month].”

[..] The drug involves a long-acting antibody combination known as AZD7442, which has been developed by AstraZeneca. Rather than antibodies produced by the body to help fight an infection, AZD7442 uses monoclonal antibodies, which have been created in a laboratory. In documents on a clinical trial that AstraZeneca has registered in the US, it explains that it is investigating “the efficacy of AZD7442 for the post-exposure prophylaxis of Covid-19 in adults. The Sars-CoV-2 spike protein contains the virus’s RBD [receptor-binding domain], which enables the virus to bind to receptors on human cells. By targeting this region of the virus’s spike protein, antibodies can block the virus’s attachment to human cells, and therefore is expected to block infection.”

Read more …

“Some substantial portion of the early vaccines could be reserved for community trials. A number of communities could be given treatments in which a designated proportion of the population is vaccinated as soon as possible; this portion could be varied (30%, 50%, 70%) so that a variety of treatments could be tested.”

Rolling Out the Vaccine (Dorman)

The vaccines approved by the FDA, along with those approved by other countries like China and Russia, have gone through the fastest possible testing. Tens of thousands of individuals have been placed in control and treatment groups in order to determine two things: to what extent do the vaccines reduce the likelihood of getting infected (efficiency) and how common and severe are the side effects (safety)? Meeting both criteria is sufficient for approval, which is how it should be. But there is another crucial question, to what extent do the vaccines reduce transmission of the virus to others?

The answer does not affect whether these vaccines should be employed, but they do have large consequences for other policies during this phase of the pandemic, such as rules for separation and masking, restrictions on activities and events, resumption of in-person schooling, and how much should be spent on interventions like ventilation overhauls. To the extent that vaccination reduces transmission, other restrictions and investments can be modified as the vaccinated portion of the population increases. Unfortunately, our knowledge of this issue is minimal. We don’t have any published lab results at all, and we are at least months away from meaningful epidemiological data.

A rollout that prioritizes crucial learning could change this. Some substantial portion of the early vaccines could be reserved for community trials. A number of communities could be given treatments in which a designated proportion of the population is vaccinated as soon as possible; this portion could be varied (30%, 50%, 70%) so that a variety of treatments could be tested. Others matched to them by relevant demographic, economic and other variables would be controls and would not receive any vaccines during the trial period. (Note that the lack of blinding at the community level should not be a serious problem as long as unvaccinated individuals in treatment communities are given a convincing placebo.) Everyone living in these communities would be tested regularly. We could then observe differences between community infection rates corresponding to treatment and infer transmission probabilities under real world conditions. It might also be possible to learn how transmission varies across the different viral strains that have emerged. The entire operation could be accomplished within the space of a month or less.

Read more …

You have allergies? Stay away.

Pfizer COVID19 Vaccine Causing More Allergic Reactions Than Expected (NYP)

The chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed said the frequency of allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is higher than what would be expected for other jabs, according to a report.Dr. Moncef Slaoui said the last time he was updated on allergic reactions was Tuesday, when there were six cases, and added that the data on COVID-19 immunizations is lagging behind the actual numbers, CNN reported. “That frequency, as it stood yesterday, is superior to what one would expect with other vaccines,” he said. Slaoui said discussions are underway between the vaccine makers and the National Institutes of Health to consider holding clinical trials of vaccines in very allergic populations, such as people who always have to carry anti-allergy medication in an EpiPen.

Read more …

January will be bleak.

Millions Wake Up To Tougher Restrictions As UK Covid Deaths Pass 70,000 (PA)

Millions more people will be waking to harsher coronavirus restrictions on Boxing Day when new tier changes come into force in England. New lockdowns are set to be introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while restrictions that were eased for Christmas Day in Wales will be reimposed on Saturday. Those in the strict tier 4 in England will increase by 6 million to 24 million people, representing 43% of the population, in response to a more transmissible variant being discovered in the UK. It comes after the government said a further 570 died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus as of Christmas Day, taking the UK’s total deaths within 28 days of a positive test to 70,195. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 86,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.


There were also 32,725 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, bringing to 244,146 the number of positive tests in the past seven days. The new measures were being imposed against a backdrop of increasing infections, hospital admissions and a new more contagious variant in the UK which was announced last week. Areas moving into tier 4 are Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, parts of Essex not yet in the highest tier, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire, with the exception of the New Forest. Tier-4 restrictions include a warning to stay at home, a limit on household mixing to two people outdoors and the forced closure of many shops, hairdressers and gyms.

Read more …

“In essence Trump is asking for a stand alone COVID relief bill for $2k/person, then drop the $600/person payment out of the pork-laden COVID relief bill and start that economic relief bill over.”

Pelosi, Democrats, UniParty and Media Spin Narrative Around COVID Relief (CTH)

There has been a great deal of political narrative engineering/fabrication surrounding President Trump’s admonitions to congress about a pork-filled COVID relief package. With a budgetary “shut-down” date looming on Monday, let’s look at the issues. First, there’s no such thing as a federal government “shut-down”; the only thing that happens if with a budgetary date exceeded is “non essential” government employees told to stay home (reference the prior “sequestration” nonsense). Second, the jaw-droppingly tone-deaf and pork-filled scheme of spending within the $900 billion COVID relief package is disconnected from the Omnibus spending bill ($1.5 trillion) that was combined into a single legislative construct for convenience only.

The Omnibus bill (non budget spending/allocation) and the COVID bill can be separated, because they are technically separate bills. President Trump wants congress to re-write the $900 billion COVID bill to provide $2,000 per person instead of $600 per person. In essence Trump is asking for a stand alone COVID relief bill for $2k/person, then drop the $600/person payment out of the pork-laden COVID relief bill and start that economic relief bill over. This is not a hard issue to resolve. The only reason UniParty congress is fighting Trump is because their lobbyist and foreign government bribes are part of the $900 billion and will not pass the scrutiny of public opinion if standing alone.

To try and conflate the issues Pelosi changed on part of the pork-laden COVID bill to $2k/person, without removing all the pork. The GOP voted against that scheme and the media are now claiming that loggerhead derails the omnibus part of the spending “package”. Again, Omnibus is separate from COVID relief. The obtuse arguments are conflated and false. The Omnibus spending bill can be sent to POTUS without the COVID part included. The reason why McConnell and Pelosi want to keep them attached is because the combination makes a 5,500 page mess that hides the pork.

Read more …

“Why ask a president whether he is a traitor or a crook when you can focus on his favorite flavor of milkshake or compliment him on his socks?”

Our Upside-Down Postelection World (Hanson)

After Nov. 3, the meaning of some words and concepts abruptly changed. Have you noticed how new realities have replaced old ones? Media cross-examination of the president is now an out-of-date idea. The time for gotcha questions has come and gone. Why ask a president whether he is a traitor or a crook when you can focus on his favorite flavor of milkshake or compliment him on his socks? The old pre-election truth was that new vaccines take years to develop. The new postelection truth is that it’s no big deal to bring out new vaccines in nine months. Impeaching a first-term president after his first midterm election — on a strictly partisan vote, for political reasons other than the Constitution’s “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” — is now a terrible idea.

Worse would be to appoint a special counsel to harass a president on unfounded charges of collusion with China. An even scarier notion would be a conservative dream team of partisan lawyers hounding President Joe Biden — using a 22-month, $40 million blank check. It would be unprofessional for university psychologists and physicians from a distance to diagnose, in pop fashion, the mental faculties of a President Biden. Certainly, there would never be talk about Department of Justice officials contemplating wearing a wire as part of an entrapment scheme to remove a President Biden through the 25th Amendment. That would almost constitute a coup attempt. Almost as bad would be for the holdover FBI director to start “memorializing” his private conversations with Joe Biden on FBI devices. He might then leak such memos to the press — just in case he were to be fired for secretly investigating Biden for “Chinese collusion” and then lying about such a probe.

What happened to the Logan Act? Not long ago it was assumed to be a critically needed guardrail. Wouldn’t it now ensure that presidential transition team members were not calling foreign leaders while Donald Trump is still president? How has it suddenly become a defunct, ossified relic? Leaking classified material would be about the worst thing government officials could do. Imagine if a Trump holdover, burrowed into the new Biden administration, released a transcript of Biden’s private conversations with the Mexican president or the Australian prime minister. Such a breach of trust would be almost as bad as a turncoat anti-Biden mole seeking to resist presidential directives. Imagine if this anonymous staffer were given an op-ed in the New York Tines to claim that a cadre of old-time Democrats were shocked by Biden’s cognitive decline and resisting his directives.

Read more …

$100 million for a Senate seat. Inflation much?

Georgia Democrats Shatter Fundraising Records (DC)

Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock have each raised over $100 million in the past two months, shattering Senate fundraising records and out-raising their respective challengers, Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Their $210 million total was split almost evenly, with Ossoff reporting $106.8 million and Warnock reporting $103.4 million, two totals funded largely by small-dollar donors across the country, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Though outraised, Perdue and Loeffler raised over $130 million in total, reporting $68 and $64.1 million, respectively. All four totals broke the previous Senate fundraising record set by South Carolina challenger Jaime Harrison in the third quarter of 2020 when he reported raising $57 million in his bid against South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.


Ossoff and Warnock have spent $67 and $53 million on television advertisements since the November election, compared to $34 million and $36 million for Perdue and Loeffler. But while the two Democrats have outspent both incumbents, outside GOP groups have erased much of their financial edge, Politico reported. Georgia’s two Senate runoffs have become almost completely nationalized given their stakes. If Democrats flip both seats then they would have 50 seats, just enough for a majority with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote. If Republicans, however, can defend both seats, then they would have a 52-48 Senate majority, which would prevent Democratic control of Congress and the White House and likely block much of President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda once he takes office in January.

Read more …

1,246 pages.

Full Brexit Trade Deal ‘Goes Beyond Canada-style Accord’ (G.)

The post-Brexit trade deal agreed by the UK and the European Union goes beyond the bloc’s so-called “Canada-style” trade accord, the BBC has reported, citing a full copy of the agreement. The 1,246-page document, which includes about 800 pages of annexes and footnotes, includes a late compromise on electric cars, the corporation said. The EU had sought to offer tariff-free access only to those British vehicles that are made mostly with European parts. This measure will now be phased in over six years but is less generous than the UK requested. The BBC also reported there is a commitment not to lower standards on the environment, workers’ rights and climate change with mechanisms to enforce it.

However there is also a mutual right to “rebalance” the agreement if there are “significant divergences” in future that are capable of “impacting trade”. The dispensations go beyond standard free-trade agreements such as those between the EU and Canada or Japan, reflecting the UK’s history in the single market which was established in 1993. Johnson had described the agreement, which was reached on Christmas Eve, as a “jumbo” free trade deal along the lines of that between the EU and Canada and urged Britain to move on from the divisions caused by the 2016 Brexit referendum.

The BBC reported that restrictions compensation for unfair subsidies to companies “do not apply” in situations such as natural disasters which will exempt the EU’s large current pandemic support package for aviation, aerospace, climate change and electric cars. Parliament will debate and vote on the deal on Wednesday, a day before the transition period lapses. Downing Street has thus far published only a short summary of the agreement that sets out the shape of the future relationship between the EU and Brussels.

Read more …

Make it stop!

Boeing 737 Max Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Failure (ZH)

Last month, commercial flights with Boeing 737 Max jetliners resumed after a 20-month worldwide grounding, following two deadly accidents. Now we’re finding out, weeks later, after the Max was cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to return to the skies safely, an Air Canada Boeing 737-8 Max suffered engine issues during flight. According to Aviation24.be, an Air Canada Boeing 737-8 MAX (registered C-FSNQ) was on a test flight after storage from Marana Pinal, Arizona, to Montreal, Canada, when the incident occurred. Luckily, the aircraft had no passengers and only three crew members.


Engine issues shortly developed after the plane took off. The crew noticed the “left engine had low hydraulic pressure,” said Aviation24.be. Then more complications developed with the aircraft: “The crew and airline dispatch/engineering controllers initially decided to continue to Montreal but the crew received an indication of a fuel imbalance from the left-hand wing and shut the left hand engine down,” said the aviation website. The crew was forced to declare a “PAN-PAN” emergency, meaning the plane was in severe jeopardy and had to divert from its pre-planned flight route and land in Tucson. The incident took place on Dec. 22, according to Aviation24.be.

Read more …

“In short, the self-demolition of America was fait accompli.”

Christmas Awokenings (Jim Kunstler)

And so, on Christmas morning, having suffered the night visitations of vexing spirits — or was that just the strange interaction of Zyprexa and Zolpidem — Joe Biden woke up (in a manner of speaking) to find himself transformed. He was no longer dogged by the prospect of being president of the US, but, rather, was convinced he had become the provincial plenipotentiary of a Chinese overseas possession known as Golden Wok West, where CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping can order up any asset for take-out. What a relief, Joe thought, as they brought in his morning meds. Here, now, was a one-horse pony of a different color, Joe mused, chugging down his 5mg of Haldol.

Ol’ Joe went to bed on the blessed silent night fretting that soon he’d have to answer to all those caterwauling losers about to be tossed from their McHouses and apartments after nearly a year of nonpayment. But no, the shabby dwellings would now just become the property of the People’s Liberation Army, as that very fine organization prepared to sort things out in the flea market once known as America.

Was there anything left of value? Wasn’t that a puzzlement? The former so-called Yang-kees had squandered all their laid-up treasure turning their continent into a demolition derby — six-laners lined by muffler shops, chain stores, and fried food shacks — and when all their financial resources were used up, they’d borrowed so much more money that all the certified public accountants who ever lived could not keep up with the compounded interest calculations if they worked double-shifts until the end of time. In short, the self-demolition of America was fait accompli.

Now, all that was left for Joe Biden to do was to sign some paperwork and, maybe three times a week, emerge from his basement to smile and explain to eager members of the inquisitive news media why he preferred General Tso’s Chicken over Hunan Beef. At least that’s how things seemed to shake out in Joe Biden’s brain on Christmas morning as Dr. Jill helped him to the bathroom….

Read more …

 

 

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Home Forums Debt Rattle Boxing Day 2020

This topic contains 16 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  VietnamVet 3 weeks, 5 days ago.

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #67312

    Salvador Dali Christmas Tree 1959   • Pfizer’s Vaccine Maximizes Profit, Not The Greater Good (Quelch) • UK Scientists Trial Drug To Prevent Infe
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle Boxing Day 2020]

    #67313

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Salvador Dali Christmas Tree 1959

    Words fail; but I love it…it likely says all I’ve ever thought or felt regarding Christmas…

    #67314

    Doc Robinson
    Participant

    A recent study of lockdowns in the UK shows how they aren’t working because the imposed rules are routinely broken by those with “deviant behavior.”

    Non-compliance with the lockdown rules, “despite exhaustive efforts of authorities to promote and encourage compliance,” is framed as being a problem with the deviant “perpetrators,” instead of possibly being a problem with the specific rules.

    The proposed solution to the non-compliance with the rules, is for authorities to double down and somehow convince the people that “rule infringement is deviant and harmful and that lockdown norms over-ride other norms,” and “stress the need for self-control and responsibility in the face of challenging circumstances.”

    This reassurance is given to the authorities imposing the lockdowns: “Post-pandemic, it seems likely the actions of enforcing authorities may well be lauded for their efficiency and civic good…”

    I found nothing in the study about whether the specific lockdown rules are actually backed by science and non-arbitrary. Nor did I find any accounting for the various societal costs of the lockdown and how these would need to be outweighed by the actual benefits of the lockdowns.


    Breaking Lockdown during Lockdown

    …data collected indicates that the citizens interviewed commonly broke espoused lockdown rules… techniques may be adopted to justify rule infringements despite exhaustive efforts of authorities to promote and encourage compliance…

    Data analysis reveals that while informants initially maintained that they closely obeyed lockdown rules, on further probing, 48 out of 54 informants accepted that they had broken the rules in some way at least once every two days, with 24 eventually accepting that they had not followed the lockdown regulations for most days of the lockdown period. Conversely, on questioning, all informants self-evaluated themselves as normally law-abiding members of their communities…

    …justification techniques of individuals outweighs the espoused norm of absolute compliance to crisis-driven, emergency rules. That is, individuals who otherwise consider themselves ‘normally’ law-abiding, employ neutralization techniques to justify their actions..

    …rule infringement in the face of compelling safety and societal arguments may be interpreted as endemic to human nature. Researchers of human nature and society have long since embraced the notion that deviance is not limited to a sub-stratum of society. The current study reflects these notions in uncovering deviance by otherwise law-abiding and societally focused individuals. This support the view that rule infringement is inherent to our individualistic and family-oriented society which supports the rights of the individual to be free to choose and act as they deem fit. Indeed, many informants argue that their actions are for either their own good or for the benefit of their family. In this regard, the deviance uncovered in the current study is not merely irrational or anti-social but logical in the view of the perpetrator

    The findings of the current study suggest a number of implications for practitioners and public policymakers. Post-pandemic, it seems likely the actions of enforcing authorities may well be lauded for their efficiency and civic good…

    Posthoc analysis of lockdown enforcement seems to support the merits of this approach in that most citizens follow most of rules, most of time. However, the current study indicates that rule infringements are common despite general support. That is, interviews found lapsing behaviors to be far more common than complete contravention. In this way, while supporting the general tactic of lockdown and while the policies and procedures adopted seem generally successfully, most citizens undertook actions and behaviors that eroded the effectiveness and efficiency of the strategy…

    …the current study suggests that citizen-focused enforcement campaigns should focus on these to increase compliance. In this regard, public authorities should emphasize two key issues. First, communications should stress that rule infringement is deviant and harmful and that lockdown norms over-ride other norms – both of which reinforce the message that infringement behaviors are deviant. Second, to emphasize individual responsibilities, communications should stress the need for self-control and responsibility in the face of challenging circumstances. While authorities have clearly emphasized elements of these messages in their efforts to enforce stay-at-home and lockdown rules, evidently such communications have only been partly successful.

    Published online this past week in the (US) journal Deviant Behavior.
    Breaking Lockdown during Lockdown: A Neutralization Theory Evaluation of Misbehavior during the Covid 19 Pandemic
    Lloyd C. Harris
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01639625.2020.1863756

    #67315

    anticlimactic
    Participant

    In the UK we had a lockdown, which didn’t work. It was decided that another lockdown was called for, which didn’t work. After that it was variations of lockdown, which didn’t work. The conclusion is that we need another lockdown.

    Apparently Boris Johnson will soon be travelling to the south coast to command the tide to retreat. Certainly a lot of people think he is a Cnut!

    #67316

    Maxwell Quest
    Participant

    “Our Upside-Down Postelection World (Hanson)”

    And people look at me like I’m a nut when I say that I don’t trust anything from the TV or papers. All I have to do is take a quick look at the top headlines on my phone to know what the latest scam is.

    Hanson does a great job in this article of contrasting media behavior between Trump and Biden: while one was relentlessly attacked, the other was buoyed into the White House. This could change at any time, though, depending on the needs of the oligarchy, and yet the herd will not miss a beat when being stampeded in the complete opposite direction from the day before.

    The takeaway from this article is the enormous power of media to shape public opinion. The average person is powerless to resist it. Like the Pied Piper, the media calls the narrative and the hypnotized public marches behind. They are public enemy #1 as far as I’m concerned, and I will never stop pointing this out whenever the subject arises, whether it paints me as a crazed conspiracy theorist in the eyes of the other person or not.

    Of course, the media receives their marching orders from above, but they are still the glue which holds the machine together. Destroy them and the whole thing grinds to a halt.

    #67317

    papanca
    Participant

    @Doc Robinson

    Thanks very much for the link to the Harris article. Though it’s very “academic” (and was intended to be), reading through to the comments made by those in lockdown situations in the UK was enlightening. At least in our “individualistic” society we’re all constantly having to make trade-offs between individual desires and group norms, guidelines, rules, and laws.

    #67319

    Mister Roboto
    Participant

    Two things: 1) It is also Kwanzaa (African Christmas). 2) I’m guessing these new, relatively untested vaccines are going to turn into a monumental clusterfuck. This might encourage more people to become anti-vaxers, which I don’t like, but it might also further sour people on the Myth of Perpetual Progress, and I do think that would be a good thing.

    #67320

    sumac.carol
    Participant

    I:vevread more than 300 pages of David Graeber’s debt book. There are dozens of great examples relevant to our times, totally overturning my understanding and perhaps that of others. Here’s one:
    In the late 1500s, during which large amounts of silver were circulating in Europe (much of it mined in the Americas), there was a collapse in European standards of living. Taxes had to be paid in silver
    However, very little of this silver was in hands of ordinary people – most went to bankers, governments and large-scale merchants, who -double surprise! — used their control of silver to insist that silver be considered as money and replace the community systems of trust that were in place for ordinary people. This period, described by Graeber as one of unparalleled violence, resulted in unsuccessful uprisings, after which impoverished peasants became vagabonds who were rounded up by governments and exported to the colonies as indentured laborers.
    Today many of us think of precious metals as some form of freedom currency, not realizing that it was anything but that historically.

    #67321

    sumac.carol
    Participant

    Okay, so now we know silver is the root of evil, to be used against peasants right? Not so fast:
    Back in the 1400’s in China during the Ming dynasty, there was general distrust of any type of commerce. Taxes were paid in labour, under a quasi-caste system. Over time, taxes became so high that peasants left their lands, and there were large floating populations
    Some of these folks took to silver mining, and silver began to be used in the illegal economy (remember Ming dynasty disliked commerce). When the government tried to shut down the mines, popular uprisings were do strong that the government gave up and allowed silver to be used as currency, instead of labour.

    #67322

    sumac.carol
    Participant

    A sad sidenote on the human cost of silver: the vast majority of silver mined in the Americas was destined to feeding China’s heavy demand, as the Chinese quickly depleted their own mines. Europe at the time did not produce anything of interest to China, but Europe wanted Chinese silks and spices, and had to pay for them in silver.)The toll of silver mining on Indigenous communities in the Americas was horrendous.

    #67323

    Mister Roboto
    Participant

    Another major impact that the discovery of the Western Hemisphere had on China: The transplantation of maize-corn there fueled a great deal of China’s population boom, as it would grow anywhere something could conceivably be grown, being a much less temperamental member of the Poaceae family of flowering grasses than wheat, rye, barley, or rice.

    #67324

    WES
    Participant

    Carol:

    Your comment about silver has a ring of truth to it. (Silver coins make a special ring when dropped.)

    But there were also many other factors too.

    All of my ancestors came (fled) to the US and Canada in unhappy circumstances. Basically one way trips.

    On the English side, Bridget Bishop unluckily ended up being the first witch hung in Salem, while some of the later Bishops, siding with the British, ended up in Ontario as Empire loyalist. Another married for love, instead of money, a miller’s daughter and was banished disgrace, by the family, to Canada. Later English arrivals,1890s, fled in the middle of the night, when their teenage son was expected to report for factory grinding work which caused black lung (health & air polution). They ended up on the clean air of the prairies in Saskatchewan.

    On the Irish side, some had to flee Ireland due to being on the losing side of a clan dispute, while another, tenate farmers, where evicted by the landlord and replace with sheep to feed England’s wool industry. Both landed in Quebec City, with nothing, before migrating to Ontario.

    Having traveled and worked in many of Britain’s former colonies, I came to the conclusion that Britian had a colony, to fit ever crime!

    If you married for love instead of money, you got sent to Canada to cool off! If you committed a political crime you ended up in the 13 colonies (US)! If you stole a rabbit from the lord’s private game preserve, you got sent to Australia!

    Canada was also home to the remittance man! If you somehow disgraced the family, say by getting a women pregnant, or just being the inconvenient youngest son, you would be banished to Canada with the stipulation that you would receive an annual remittance, providing you never return to Britain!

    #67325

    Mister Roboto
    Participant

    @wes: It is my understanding that in old Britain, the ne’er-do-well sons of the upper classes would be shipped off to Ireland.

    #67326

    zerosum
    Participant

    ARE VIRUSES ALIVE?
    If your interested, and haven’t made up your mind, then follow my path and you will be more undecided.

    https://microbiologysociety.org/publication/past-issues/what-is-life/article/are-viruses-alive-what-is-life.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life
    chemistry leading to life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during an epoch when the universe was only 10–17 million years old.

    https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/replicator
    A replicator is an object or organism that can make copies of itself. Examples abound in the biological world; cells are a common example.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_growth
    A crystal is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. Crystal growth is a major stage of a crystallization process, and consists in the addition of new atoms, ions, or polymer strings into the characteristic arrangement of the crystalline lattice.[1][2] The growth typically follows an initial stage of either homogeneous or heterogeneous (surface catalyzed) nucleation, unless a “seed” crystal, purposely added to start the growth, was already present.

    The action of crystal growth yields a crystalline solid whose atoms or molecules are close packed, with fixed positions in space relative to each other. The crystalline state of matter is characterized by a distinct structural rigidity and very high resistance to deformation (i.e. changes of shape and/or volume). Most crystalline solids have high values both of Young’s modulus and of the shear modulus of elasticity.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia#Research_in_outer_space
    Panspermia (from Ancient Greek πᾶν (pan) ‘all’, and σπέρμα (sperma) ‘seed’) is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust,[1] meteoroids,[2] asteroids, comets,[3] planetoids

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
    In evolutionary biology, abiogenesis, or informally the origin of life (OoL),[3][4][5][a] is the natural process by which life has arisen from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds.[6][4][7][8] While the details of this process are still unknown, the prevailing scientific hypothesis is that the transition from non-living to living entities was not a single event, but an evolutionary process of increasing complexity that involved molecular self-replication, self-assembly, autocatalysis, and the emergence of cell membranes.[9][10][11] Although the occurrence of abiogenesis is uncontroversial among scientists, its possible mechanisms are poorly understood. There are several principles and hypotheses for how abiogenesis could have occurred.

    #67327

    John Day-
    A while back you mentioned you had some citrus seedlings. Did you sprout them from seeds? I have have three citrus trees I grew from seeds- one Temple orange (my favorite), one lime, and one grapefruit. All of them are now over 25 years old, and they are all the same: glossy, fragrant leaves and HUGE, vicious thorns. Apparently all edible citrus are grafts. One of my trees bloomed (they look like four foot bonsai trees) and smelled heavenly. Mites love them, so they get regular baths.
    They are getting too big to haul into the house each winter, but I just don’t have the heart to kill them.

    #67328

    WES
    Participant

    Roboto:

    Lol, I hadn’t heard of that one!

    I do know unwanted extra sons were sometimes sent to the church or bought a commission in the army or navy.

    #67329

    VietnamVet
    Participant

    It is obvious (unless your paycheck is involved) that the Western response to the coronavirus pandemic is solely injecting profitable vaccines. Clearly Pfizer was across the line first and gains the riches. Second there is no “greater good” anymore. With the privatization of healthcare in the USA, the public health system was decimated.

    Los Angeles is running out of oxygen for its COVID patients. Vaccine logistics needs to be straightened out. There are indications of significant allergic reactions to mRNA vaccines. Yet, corporate propaganda is shameless. Dr. Anthony Fauci who didn’t control either the HIV and coronavirus pandemics is idolatrized, not called a Loser like Donald J Trump. The US Government failed across the board. Profiteering is rampant.

    Unless the US Constitution and the Public Health System are restored, the dog fights over the remains between national oligarchs and global high caste billionaires are sure to result in the secession of the US Heartland from either coast like a nightmare Brexit. Only the most deluded would call that good. This is on Joe Biden and the Democrats if they continue down the current path. Today’s coronavirus death toll of 339,921 is sure to climb well above the US Civil War’s 750,000 dead. Millions more will die if a second civil war breaks out.

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