Feb 202021
 February 20, 2021  Posted by at 10:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Edward Hopper Gloucester Beach, Bass Rocks 1924


Infection Down 75% After First Pfizer Shot (JPost)
We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April (Makary)
Democrats Don’t Believe In Returning To ‘Normal‘ (WE)
Two Variants Have Merged Into Heavily Mutated Coronavirus (New Scientist)
Ivermectin Reduces Length Of COVID-19 Infection (JPost)
German Study: Laboratory Accident Most Likely Cause of COVID Pandemic (SPR)
Johnson & Johnson Submits Its Single-Shot Covid Vaccine To WHO (RT)
Fauci: When I Publicly Disagreed With Trump He Let Terrible Things Happen (T.)
Pfizer-BioNTech Tried To Gouge The EU With $65 Vaccine Doses (RT)
Covid or No Covid (Kunstler)
Swiss To Vote In Referendum On Government’s Covid Restrictions (FT)
China Steps Up Online Controls With New Rule For Bloggers (AP)
The Sound and the Fury of Andrew Cuomo (New Yorker)
The Texas Freeze is a Catastrophe of the Free Market (Galbraith)





Mike Ryan



Saw something in a Dutch paper. Can’t find an English version, and it has no sources. So a Google translate.

This is the first time I see a claim that the Pfizer vaccine prevents the virus from spreading, something the company itself, until recently, said it had no proof for.

What I did find in an AFP article is this, which sort of seems to deny the claim: “Gili Regev-Yochay, co-author of the study [..] said that despite the vaccine being “amazingly effective”, scientists are still studying whether fully vaccinated people can transmit the virus to others. “That is the big, big, question. We are working on it. This is not on this paper and I hope we will have some good news soon..”

The Dutch bit: “People vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are much less likely to transmit the coronavirus. That means the vaccines may not only prevent people from getting sick, but also make them much less likely to infect others, two Israeli studies show. The virus would be 89.4 percent less transmissible in vaccinated people without symptoms. In patients who do have symptoms, that percentage is even higher, at 93.7.

This is stated in a data analysis by Pfizer and the Israeli Ministry of Health.” A separate study also yielded good news. Researchers from the Sheba Medical Center concluded that 7,214 vaccinated hospital workers were much less likely to transmit the virus after 15 to 28 days. This is an 85 percent reduction in infected people with symptoms.


Infection Down 75% After First Pfizer Shot (JPost)

Data released by Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer on Friday showed that coronavirus infections were reduced by 75% after the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. The data, published in the peer-reviewed Lancet medical journal, centered on a study of around 9,000 Sheba healthcare workers, around 7,000 of which received their first dose in January. Sheba’s team found a 75% decrease in all infections and an 85% reduction in symptomatic infections between 15-28 days after vaccination. According to Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the hospital’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, only 170 people became infected during the two week period. Of those who contracted the virus, 99 showed symptoms. Eighty-nine of the sick were unvaccinated.

“In real life, the data looks at least as good as in the clinical trials,” Regev-Yochay said. “The first dose is even more effective than we thought.” She said the hospital is now completing research on the impact of the second dose, which she said researchers still believe is essential. However, she noted that the research supports the British government’s decision to spread out the time between the first and second shots of the vaccine in order to inoculate more people. “This is the first study assessing effectiveness of a single vaccine dose in real life conditions and shows early effectiveness, even before the second dose was administered,” said Prof. Eyal Leshem, director of Sheba’s Travel & Tropical Medicine department.

Regev-Yochay noted that there was at least one limitation on the data – that hospital workers tend to be under the age of 65 and healthier than the rest of the population, so it is possible that less people got sick or showed symptoms for that reason.

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“Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.”

We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April (Makary)

Johns Hopkins surgeon, Dr. Marty Makary, penned an Op-ed in the WSJ this morning saying that we will have herd immunity by April. “Experts should level with the public about the good news…” exclaims Makary (who is likely on the verge of getting canceled), as he cites the “miracle” 77% drop in cases over the past 6 weeks and that testing likely only captured about 10% – 25% of infections; he extrapolates that to saying 55% of Americans have natural immunity (and add to that the 15% of Americans that have been vaccinated). Additionally, he cites Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, who believes that 250mm doses of the vaccine will have be delivered to 150mm people by the end of March.

“There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.”[..] “…the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.”

[..] “Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.”

Read more …

More on Dr. Makary.

Democrats Don’t Believe In Returning To ‘Normal‘ (WE)

Johns Hopkins University professor Dr. Marty Makary has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week, asserting with confidence that the U.S. population will have achieved herd immunity against the coronavirus by April “allowing Americans to resume normal life.” That’s a nice thought, but not so fast, Makary. You’re not under the impression that even when we’re at an astonishingly low rate of infection that life will, on its own will, default to what it was pre-2020, are you? Don’t be so naive. The people calling the shots have made no such promises. They have, in fact, done the opposite. When is the last time anyone has heard the sainted Dr. Anthony Fauci or President Biden or anyone at all in the Democratic Party say anything about resuming “normal life.”? I’ll wait.

Just last month, Fauci said that even with as much as 85% of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer, we could still only expect a “degree of normality.” He said that, of course, in a tone that suggested we should be grateful, but it’s what he said. Biden, just this week, made clear that “normal” isn’t part of his vocabulary. During a town hall-style event, he said that the Christmas season might bring “a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today.” Once we’re all vaccinated, aren’t you looking forward to our “very different circumstance”? Flat-lining new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 is the immediate goal for everyone, but everyone needs to understand that Democrats have some other things in mind for the pandemic as well.

In Washington, D.C., where I live, we’ve been averaging something like three deaths per day between November and now. The typical person who succumbs to the virus is usually in his mid-70s to mid-80s. New cases are down close to 40% over the last two weeks. And for that, we remain in severe lockdown. Indoor capacity at restaurants, the owners of which have started constructing permanent outdoor seating structures, is limited to 25%. All of our museums are indefinitely closed. There are no clubs, movie theaters, or concert venues in operation. Anyone who believes it’s all going to come roaring back in April is kidding themselves. This is how Democrats believe we should live. They believe it’s better for the planet, but don’t worry, trust them to send you a monthly check to tide you over.

Herd immunity won’t get us back to normal. It will be people who decide they’ll no longer tolerate lockdowns.

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“it carries a mutation making it resistant to some antibodies..”

Two Variants Have Merged Into Heavily Mutated Coronavirus (New Scientist)

Two variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes covid-19 have combined their genomes to form a heavily mutated hybrid version of the virus. The “recombination” event was discovered in a virus sample in California, provoking warnings that we may be poised to enter a new phase of the pandemic. The hybrid virus is the result of recombination of the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant discovered in the UK and the B.1.429 variant that originated in California and which may be responsible for a recent wave of cases in Los Angeles because it carries a mutation making it resistant to some antibodies.

The recombinant was discovered by Bette Korber at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who told a meeting organised by the New York Academy of Sciences on 2 February that she had seen “pretty clear” evidence of it in her database of US viral genomes. If confirmed, the recombinant would be the first to be detected in this pandemic. In December and January, two research groups independently reported that they hadn’t seen any evidence of recombination, even though it has long been expected as it is common in coronaviruses. Unlike regular mutation, where changes accumulate one at a time, which is how variants such as B.1.1.7 arose, recombination can bring together multiple mutations in one go.

Most of the time, these don’t confer any advantage to the virus, but occasionally they do. Recombination can be of major evolutionary importance, according to François Balloux at University College London. It is considered by many to be how SARS-CoV-2 originated. Recombination could lead to the emergence of new and even more dangerous variants, although it isn’t yet clear how much of a threat this first recombination event might pose. Korber has only seen a single recombinant genome among thousands of sequences and it isn’t clear whether the virus is being transmitted from person to person or is just a one-off.

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Baby steps, but something.

Ivermectin Reduces Length Of COVID-19 Infection (JPost)

An Israeli tropical-disease expert says he has new proof that a drug used to fight parasites in third-world countries could help reduce the length of infection for people who contract coronavirus. Prof. Eli Schwartz, founder of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Disease at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, last week completed a clinical trial of the US Food and Drug Administration-approved drug ivermectin, a broad-spectrum antiparasitic agent that has also been shown to fight viruses. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 100 people with mild to moderate cases of the disease who were not hospitalized for the virus. It tested whether ivermectin could shorten the viral shedding period, allowing them to test negative for coronavirus and leave isolation in only a few days.

According to his still unpublished data, Schwartz said the drug was shown to help “cure” people of the virus within just six days. Moreover, the chances of testing negative for coronavirus were three times higher for the group who received ivermectin than the placebo, he told The Jerusalem Post. “From a public-health point of view, the majority of patients with corona are mild cases, and 90% of these people are isolated outside of the hospital,” Schwartz said. “If you have any kind of drug that can shorten the duration of the infectiousness of these patients, that would be dramatic, as then they will not infect others.” Moreover, instead of isolating for a minimum of 10 days and maybe more, this period could be shortened, benefiting the economy. Finally, although Schwartz’s study did not focus on this, he said the results indicate that it is likely if the drug were given at the beginning of one’s illness, it could prevent deterioration and hospitalization.

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Full study via the link.

German Study: Laboratory Accident Most Likely Cause of COVID Pandemic (SPR)

For more than a year, the coronavirus has been causing a worldwide crisis. In a study, nanoscientist Prof. Dr. Roland Wiesendanger has now shed light on the origin of the virus. He concludes that both the number and quality of the circumstantial evidence point to a laboratory accident at the virological institute in the city of Wuhan as the cause of the current pandemic. The study was conducted between January 2020 and December 2020. It is based on an interdisciplinary scientific approach and extensive research using a wide variety of information sources. These include scientific literature, articles in print and online media, and personal communication with international colleagues. It does not provide strictly scientific evidence, but it does provide ample and serious circumstantial evidence:

• Unlike previous coronavirus-related epidemics such as SARS and MERS, to date, well over a year after the outbreak of the current pandemic, no intermediate host animal has been identified that could have facilitated the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 pathogens from bats to humans. Therefore, the zoonotic theory as a possible explanation for the pandemic has no sound scientific basis.

• The SARS-CoV-2 viruses are surprisingly good at coupling to human cell receptors and penetrating human cells. This is made possible by special cell receptor binding domains combined with a special (furin) cleavage site of the coronavirus spike protein. Both properties together were previously unknown in coronaviruses and indicate a non-natural origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen.

• Bats were not offered at the suspected fish market in the center of Wuhan city. However, the Wuhan City Virological Institute has one of the world’s largest collections of bat pathogens, which originated from distant caves in southern Chinese provinces. It is extremely unlikely that bats from this distance of nearly 2,000 km would have naturally made their way to Wuhan, only to cause a global pandemic in close proximity to this virological institute.

• A research group at the Wuhan City Virological Institute has been genetically manipulating coronaviruses for many years with the goal of making them more contagious, dangerous and deadly to humans. This has been documented in the scientific literature by numerous publications.

• Significant safety deficiencies existed at the Wuhan City Virological Institute even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which have been documented.

• There are numerous direct references to a laboratory origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. For example, a young female scientist at the virology institute in Wuhan is believed to have been the first to become infected. There are also numerous indications that as early as October 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen spread from the virological institute to the city of Wuhan and beyond. Furthermore, there are indications that the virological institute was investigated by the Chinese authorities in the first half of October 2019.

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Late to the game?

Johnson & Johnson Submits Its Single-Shot Covid Vaccine To WHO (RT)

Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson has submitted data on its coronavirus vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) as it seeks the agency’s greenlight for emergency use. Unlike other shots, this one comes in a single dose. The emergency-use approval is a prerequisite for the vaccine joining the WHO-led COVAX watchdog program, J&J said in a statement on Friday, revealing it had submitted its paperwork to the UN health body. Unlike vaccine competitors already in the Covid-fighting market, the J&J offering comes in a single-dose form, which would make its distribution considerably easier. Moreover, it can be stored under standard refrigerator temperatures, making it an attractive option for countries with less-developed infrastructure.

While Russia’s Sputnik V, British-Swedish AstraZeneca and China’s CoronaVac vaccines can be stored in regular fridges as well, both of the US jabs by Moderna and Pfizer require extremely low temperatures to prevent spoilage. Pfizer said on Friday, however, that it had sufficient data to show its jab can actually be safely stored in a refrigerator and not the extreme cold currently advised. Johnson and Johnson published data on the late-stage trials of its vaccine last month, with the solution showing a rather modest efficacy of 66 percent. The vaccine was tested across several countries and showed mixed results ranging from 72 percent in the US to merely 57 percent in South Africa. [..] Apart from seeking the WHO’s approval, the J&J vaccine is also expected to enter the US market shortly. The solution is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration, with its experts expected to discuss its emergency use authorization next week.

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I see Nobel Prize AND Oscar material:

“By the time Biden took office, the pandemic was raging out of control. ‘Oh my goodness, it was,’ Fauci says. ‘When President Biden walked into the White House we were having 300,000 to 400,000 cases per day, 4,000 deaths per day, and our hospitals were on the brink of being overrun.’”

On Jan 18, the US had 150,695 new cases.
On Jan 19, the US had 176,153 new cases.
On Jan 20, the US had 191.222 new cases.

Fauci: When I Publicly Disagreed With Trump He Let Terrible Things Happen (T.)

He appears surprisingly relaxed given his immense responsibilities at this time of crisis, but then it takes a lot to faze Dr Fauci. The evergreen director of Washington’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has been a medical adviser to seven consecutive US presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan, steering them and his country through outbreaks of Ebola, Sars, Zika, avian flu, swine flu and the threat of biological weapons after 9/11. He was one of the first scientists to spot the lethal new syndrome that was Aids in the early 1980s. He was initially reviled by a gay community outraged at the Reagan administration’s apparent indifference to its decimation, then hailed as a hero after championing its cause.

Most recently, during almost all of 2020, he watched in horror as President Trump actively undermined his own government’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic by holding mass rallies, mocking mask wearers, promoting quack remedies and encouraging his supporters to breach lockdowns. Fauci does not consider this characterisation of Trump’s conduct unfair. ‘No, no, no,’ he says. ‘Unfortunately it’s the truth.’ Donald Trump was initially sceptical of the threat from Covid-19, but Fauci and his fellow scientists did manage to persuade him to back state-by-state lockdowns, and approve social-distancing measures. He also restricted Chinese visitors to the country. By the spring, however, Fauci’s relations with the president had soured as Trump began listening to outsiders with no scientific knowledge and fretting about the damage to the economy and – by extension – his re-election hopes.

Fauci’s challenge was to correct the president’s dangerous falsehoods as diplomatically as possible, often while sharing the stage with him at televised White House briefings, but he says that ‘when it became clear that in order to maintain my integrity and to get the right message [across] I had to publicly disagree with him, he did things – or allowed things to happen – that were terrible. ‘Like he allowed Peter Navarro [Trump’s trade adviser] to write an editorial in USA Today saying that almost everything I’ve ever said was wrong. He allowed the communications department of the White House to send out a list to all of the media, all of the networks, all of the cables, all of the print press, about all of the mistakes I’ve made, which was absolute nonsense because there were no mistakes.’

Trump also began to denigrate Fauci in tweets and press conferences, setting him up as a target for the extreme Right’s hatred. ‘Which I became, to the point that to this day I have to have armed federal agents guarding me all the time,’ Fauci says. And he was not the only target. To his dismay, his wife and three adult daughters were also harassed and threatened. Liberated under President Biden, Fauci can now speak frankly in a way he couldn’t last year. He tells me that in the final two months of his presidency Trump almost completely abandoned his duty to protect the nation from the pandemic. ‘We [the scientists] were trying, but we were acting almost alone, in the sense of without any direction.’

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“..500 million doses would have cost the EU €3 billion more than the annual GDP of Iceland.”

Pfizer-BioNTech Tried To Gouge The EU With $65 Vaccine Doses (RT)

Drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech wanted to charge the EU Commission €54.08 per dose of their Coronavirus vaccine, according to German media reports. The jab would have cost more than 20 times that of a rival shot from AstraZeneca. The prospective price tag was revealed on Thursday by German broadcasters NDR and WDR, and the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The paper claims that Pfizer and BioNTech submitted a bid to the EU offering 500 million doses at €54.08 ($65.58) per dose, for a total cost of €27 billion ($32.74 billion). At €54.08, the BioNTech vaccine would have cost more than 20 times as much as the rival vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and 500 million doses would have cost the EU €3 billion more than the annual GDP of Iceland.

In comparison, Russia’s ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine was expected to be priced at no more than $10 (€8.26), according to its backers. “I see it as a pursuit of profit that is in no way justified in the current situation of the pandemic,” Wolf Dieter Ludwig, drug chairman of the German Medical Association, told the newspaper. Pfizer-BioNTech has made no profit on the sale of vaccines, according to the Suddeutsche Zeitung, and during negotiations last year reportedly told EU officials that the €54.08 price tag already included “the highest percentage discount” offered to any developed country. The final cost per dose of the vaccine is still unknown, though a document leaked by Belgian MP Eva De Bleeker in December suggested that Pfizer-BioNTech had been bargained down to €12 ($14.55).

Reuters later stated that it had reviewed documents showing the price at €15.50 ($18.79) per dose, “slightly lower than the $19.50 per shot the United States agreed to pay for a first shipment of 100 million doses of the same vaccine.”

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“..$1.5 billion is chump change for the charismatic Elon Musk, whose share of the American GDP can be seen from outer space, like the Great Wall of China.”

Covid or No Covid (Kunstler)

Covid-19 cases are going down fast across the country. If it actually goes away, imagine the giant hole left in the national narrative. No more arguments over lockdowns, kids could go back to school to learn about the scourge of whiteness, and Americans could see each other’s faces again. The “progressives” in power would have to hunt up some new reasons to cancel the bill of rights. That shouldn’t be too difficult for a party adept at making shit up. Right wing extremism would be my bet, even if Antifa and BLM go back to partying in the streets like it’s 2020 when the weather warms up. What won’t go away is the nation’s fantastic economic mess.

In just a few months since Thanksgiving, the financial system has gone through an epic shift, barely noticed by citizens preoccupied with unpaid bills, skipped rents, and empty refrigerators: the stock markets are now based on Bitcoin, which is to say on less than nothing. A whole new dynamic has emerged with publicly-held companies buying the stuff hand-over-fist. An outfit like Tesla, rumored to manufacture electric cars, invested $1.5 billion in the crypto-currency, which has shot up to over $50,000-a-coin in recent weeks. The move was so splendidly shrewd that Tesla’s stock price also shot up, though they don’t make a profit on those cool cars. Of course, $1.5 billion is chump change for the charismatic Elon Musk, whose share of the American GDP can be seen from outer space, like the Great Wall of China.

Other companies are buying Bitcoin on margin, taking advantage of super-low interest rates to make a fast killing. What a great idea! Even better than borrowing to buy back your own company’s stock to jack-up the share value. Don’t be surprised if half of the S & P jumps into the Bitcoin frenzy, bidding it up to six figures. Won’t that do wonders for US productivity and working-class wages? None of that will escape the attention of a “progressive” Congress, which will see a great opportunity to try to compensate for its fiscal profligacy by passing new taxes on “excess wealth” or “windfall profits.” Then, watch the rush-to-the-exits by shareholders in those companies that loaded up on Bitcoin, aggravated by the margin calls on the dough they borrowed to buy the stuff… as well as Bitcoin itself plummeting back to its actual true value: around zero.

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Clincher: the vote is scheduled for “as early as” June.

Swiss To Vote In Referendum On Government’s Covid Restrictions (FT)

Swiss campaigners have triggered a referendum to strip the government of new legal powers to impose lockdowns and curtail public life as the country battles the pandemic. Campaign group Friends of the Constitution on Wednesday handed in a petition of 86,000 signatures collected over the past three months — well in excess of the 50,000 required — to formally initiate a nationwide vote to repeal the 2020 Covid-19 Act under Switzerland’s highly devolved democratic system. The outcome will be legally binding, with a vote scheduled for as early as June. While the pandemic has exposed social and political fractures across Europe over the rights of citizens, in Switzerland — where individuals’ rights are often treated as culturally sacrosanct and government powers are sharply proscribed by law — the strains have become particularly evident.

“In our opinion, the [government] is taking advantage of the pandemic to introduce more control and less democracy,” Christoph Pfluger, a board member of Friends of the Constitution, told the Financial Times. He added: “The long-term problems that will arise from this kind of approach will be grave. We are a movement that says crisis management cannot be done without the will of the sovereign — the people. You cannot govern without the people.” Mr Pfluger said Switzerland would be the first and perhaps the only country to give its citizens a direct vote on coronavirus restrictions. Until late December, Bern’s governing Federal Council had been reluctant to impose restrictions during the second wave of the pandemic.

Staunch opposition from many Swiss to further curbs and dire warnings from several of the country’s most powerful and influential lobbying groups about the economic consequences of another shutdown forestalled action in the run-up to Christmas, even as case numbers rocketed. A poll conducted by Switzerland’s Sotomo Research Institute for state broadcaster SRF in November found that 55 per cent of Swiss were concerned about their individual freedoms being restricted by government measures. The same survey found that even an 11pm curfew for bars and restaurants was considered too restrictive by a third of Swiss respondents.

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Just like Twitter, Facebook.

China Steps Up Online Controls With New Rule For Bloggers (AP)

Ma Xiaolin frequently wrote about current affairs on one of China’s leading microblogging sites, where he has 2 million followers. But recently, he said in a post, the Weibo site called and asked him not to post original content on topics ranging from politics to economic and military issues. “As an international affairs researcher and a columnist, it looks like I can only go the route of entertainment, food and beverage now,” the international relations professor wrote on Jan. 31. Ma, who often posted on developments in the Mideast, is one of many popular influencers working within the constraints of China’s heavily censored web who is finding that their space to speak is shrinking even further with the latest policy changes and a clean-up campaign run by the country’s powerful censors,

Beginning next week, the Cyberspace Administration of China will require bloggers and influencers to have a government-approved credential before they can publish on a wide range of subjects. Some fear that only state media and official propaganda accounts will get permission. While permits have been needed since at least 2017 to write about topics such as political and military affairs, enforcement has not been widespread. The new rules expand that requirement to health, economics, education and judicial matters. “The regulators want to control the entire procedure of information production,” said Titus Chen, an expert in Chinese social media policy at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan.

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Chilling. Scorsese.

The Sound and the Fury of Andrew Cuomo (New Yorker)

Last week, Ron Kim, a Democratic State Assembly member from Queens, was preparing a bath for his three daughters—ages six, four, and two—when he got a call from the governor around 8 p.m. An hour earlier, the New York Post had published leaked details of a Zoom meeting between state Democratic lawmakers and Melissa DeRosa, one of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s closest aides. During the two-hour meeting, DeRosa seemed to confirm a suspicion that a number of lawmakers had had for months: the governor had intentionally withheld from them data confirming that thousands more New York nursing-home residents died from covid-19 than official numbers publicly showed. The lawmakers demanded an explanation, and DeRosa offered them one: last year, the Cuomo administration had been worried that Donald Trump and his Justice Department would use the numbers “against us.” “Basically, we froze,” DeRosa told the Democrats.

Kim, who has been a persistent critic of Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic, was in the meeting with DeRosa. A month earlier, he had become the chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Aging, and once the recording of the call leaked, the Post had reached out for comment. Kim told the reporters that, to him, DeRosa’s comments were as bad as they looked—“They were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence,” he said—a quote that the governor’s office had tried to get Kim to retract. But the quote had stayed in, the story was up, and now the governor was on the phone, fuming. “I will destroy you!” Cuomo screamed, according to notes Kim wrote down after the call—which he shared with me. The governor was so loud that Kim’s wife and daughters grew upset, and Kim stepped out of the bathroom. “You haven’t seen my wrath,” Cuomo told him. “I will go out tomorrow and start telling the world how bad of an Assembly member you are, and you will be finished.”

For Kim, the nursing-home issue was personal as well as political. In April, his uncle Son Kim died, of a suspected case of covid-19, in a nursing home in Queens. He was seventy-eight, and had shaped his nephew’s life. Son Kim had become a dentist at a time when it was almost impossible for a Korean immigrant to set up a dental practice in New York City. He enlisted in the Army, in which he could practice his profession, and eventually sponsored Ron and his family’s visas to the U.S.; in 1987, when Ron was seven, his uncle, a staunch Republican, chose a new American name for him, in honor of President Ronald Reagan. Despite the personal loss, Kim told Cuomo that he’d tried to keep his disagreements about the governor’s pandemic policies on the level of policy. I bit my tongue, Kim said. “I bit my tongue!” Cuomo shot back.

Neither Kim nor his wife slept that night. “I’m trying to calm her down,” Kim told me. Cuomo kept up the pressure through the weekend. That Saturday, Cuomo’s aides and other intermediaries called Kim, trying to get him to talk to the governor. “It’s Lunar New Year—I’m with my family,” Kim told me. “I felt extremely uncomfortable.” Kim believes that Cuomo was trying to silence him. “I realized if I changed course, I’m complicit,” Kim said. “And then, politically, he owns me.” Kim hired a lawyer, to whom he directed any further communications about the issue from the governor’s office. “Ultimately, what he was trying to do was asking me to lie about what I heard,” Kim said, of Cuomo. “It’s like I witnessed a crime, and they’re asking me to say I didn’t witness a crime.”

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“In the aftermath of this debacle, we will return to New Deal-style municipal socialism, or this disaster of power, water, and gas will happen again. Socialism is government, in technical matters, by engineers and others who know their stuff and not by ideologues who do not. Compared to Texas right now, it’s not such a bad prospect.”

The Texas Freeze is a Catastrophe of the Free Market (Galbraith)

Competition would assure bare-bones, lean-and-mean efficiency, and low, low prices most of the time, reflecting the cost of fuel plus the smallest possible profit margin. The role of the state would be minimal – just to manage the common grid, through which power flows from the producer to the consumer. In times of shortage, prices might rise, but then the market would decide; those who did not wish to pay could always flip their switches off. It was a perfect textbook setup, with supply on one side, demand on the other, and a neutral manager in between. True, there were a few loose ends. One is that demand for electricity is what economists call inelastic: it doesn’t respond much to price, but it does respond to changes in the weather, and at such times, of heat or cold, the demand becomes even more inelastic.

Another detail was that in an ordinary market, there can be some play in the relationship between supply and demand. If even a fishmonger does not sell his catch, he can, at the end of the day, cut his price – or even freeze the haddock for the following day. Electricity isn’t like that. Supply has to exactly equal demand every single minute of every single day. If it doesn’t, the entire system can fail. This system, therefore, had three vulnerabilities. First, it created an incentive for cut-throat competition, to provide power in the cheapest possible way, which meant with machinery, wells, meters, pipes, and also windmills that were not insulated against extreme cold – a rarity but not unknown, even in Texas. Second, it left prices free to fluctuate. Third, it assured that when prices rose the most, that would be at exactly those moments when the demand for power was the greatest.

In 2002, under Governor Rick Perry, Texas deregulated its electricity system. After a few years, the electrical free market, managed by a non-profit called ERCOT, was fully-established. Some seventy or so providers eventually sprung up. While a few cities – including Austin – kept their public power, they were nevertheless tied to the state system. The market system could, and did, work out most of the time. Prices rose and fell, and customers who didn’t sign long-term contracts faced some risk. One provider, called Griddy, had a special model: for $9.99 a month you could get your power at whatever the wholesale price was on any given day. That was cheap! Most of the time.

The problem with “most of the time” is that people need electric power all of the time. And Texas’s leaders knew as of 2011, at least, when the state went through a short, severe freeze, that the system was radically unstable in extreme weather. But they did nothing. To do something, they would have had to regulate the system. And they didn’t want to regulate the system, because the providers, a rich source of campaign funding, didn’t want to be regulated and to have to spend on weatherization that was not needed – most of the time. In 2020, even voluntary inspections were suspended, due to Covid-19.

Enter the deep freeze of 2021. Demand went up. Supply went down. Natural gas froze up at the wells, in the pipes, and at the generating plants. Unweatherized windmills also went off-line, a small part of the story. Since Texas is disconnected from the rest of the country, no reserves could be imported, and given the cold everywhere, there would have been none available anyway. There came a point, on Sunday, February 14 or the next day, when demand so outstripped supply that the entire Texas grid came within minutes of a collapse that, we are told, would have taken months to repair.

Read more …



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Home Forums Debt Rattle February 20 2021

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
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    Edward Hopper Gloucester Beach, Bass Rocks 1924   • Infection Down 75% After First Pfizer Shot (JPost) • We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April (Makar
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle February 20 2021]

    Polder Dweller

    You can find all the guidance given to UK doctors about vitamin D etc. on this site:

    The long and the short of it is “Yeah, there is an effect for those who are vitamin D deficient but it’s no biggie and, you know, it doesn’t cure covid, plus in high doses it’s toxic, so be careful when prescribing it.”

    Polder Dweller

    The link – didn’t show in above post.


    @ Polder – the advice from the UK NHS is actually FAR worse than that.

    “There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D to prevent or treat coronavirus.”


    The NHS has TOTALLY failed the UK population on this – at every level.
    No early treatments – no HCQ, no Ivermectin, and still prodigious use of ventilators in hospitals ( nite, nite, you’re dead).

    In the UK, if you have symptoms and test positive, you’re told to go home, self isolate and take aspirin or ibuprofen.

    We’re living in the dark ages here.
    After a year and all we now know about effective treatments gleaned from other countries, the approach to care in the UK could fairly be termed willful medical malpractice.

    Dr. D

    More math, like garlic and holy water, keeps the riff raff away.

    One solution to Texas’ problem is to have long-term storage that the grid refuses to buy and install. But you can! For only $10,000, 5-10x the cost of yesterday’s generator, you can own a brand new Tesla Powerwall. That maybe MIGHT not catch on fire like all their cars and solar panels have.

    With it, you can have 13kw of power, and that’s not joking: an American house uses 1kw a day, so that’s almost two weeks of power. For $10,000, and a little house fire.

    There are 3M Texans without power, so say 1M households, not sure how they account it or how carefully. 1M Powerwalls, and their NOT drawing on the grid would help the rest of Texas households too! For only $10 BILLION dollars. (And a 10-year lifespan). Chicken feed these days.

    Cool. He’s building a factory there, we’ll buy one today. You know, with that extra $10k most American families have hanging around.

    But…then there’s math. At 200lbs/pc 1 Million Powerwalls would need 200 MILLION pounds of lithium or 100,000 tons. (90,718 Metric Tonnes)

    Oh wait: that’s more Lithium than is mined in WHOLE CONTINENTS, like top producer Australia @ 42,000 tonnes. Next is Chile, 18,000 tonnes.

    I detect a problem.

    More problems follow. Lithium is both unbelievably reactive and unbelievably toxic. It catches on fire in water — not like there’s any “water” where humans live, and as lithium is a major ingredient in psychology drugs, causing mood leveling or even erasing emotions altogether, and doesn’t decay, even a small amount of escaped lithium is a big deal. That’s both in the Pecos and Red River, AND at the mining site, where it consumes tens of thousands of gallons in the world’s driest environments, like Bolivia.


    “Lithium extraction harms the soil and causes air contamination. In Argentina’s Salar de Hombre Muerto, residents believe that lithium operations contaminated streams used by humans and livestock and for crop irrigation. In Chile, the landscape is marred by mountains of discarded salt and canals filled with contaminated water with an unnatural blue hue.

    … In Australia, only two percent of the country’s 3,300 metric tons of lithium-ion waste is recycled.

    recovered cells are usually shredded, creating a mixture of metal that can then be separated using pyrometallurgical techniques—burning—which wastes a lot of the lithium.”

    Two other key ingredients, cobalt and nickel, are more in danger of creating a bottleneck in the move towards electric vehicles, and at a potentially huge environmental cost. Cobalt is found in huge quantities right across the Democratic Republic of Congo and central Africa, and hardly anywhere else. The price has quadrupled in the last two years.

    Unlike most metals, which are not toxic when they’re pulled from the ground as metal ores, cobalt is “uniquely terrible,” according to Gleb Yushin, chief technical officer and founder of battery materials company Sila Nanotechnologies.”


    Bolivia: Where revolutionaries and lithium miners go to die

    Not done yet, where one solution to one 7-day crisis takes more lithium than is mined? Then polluted? Then not recycled? Then as not recycled, permanently escapes into your water supply?

    There’s still this: it takes 60kw to produce 1kw of lithium battery capacity. Now it’s reusable, so there are many, many cycles in a battery, but your 13 Million Kwh are going to need 78M Kwh to create, just for the battery side, or 78,000 megawatts.

    Are you sure you wouldn’t rather – say it with me now:

    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”? You know, by reducing, reusing, economizing, using less, and creating only things that last longer?

    Nope. If I DON’T buy a Powerwall, who profits? No subsidy, no GDP, no sales tax, no Wall Street IPO. No 18 weeks’ work at $20/hr, tied up to Jamie Dimon and Uncle Sam to buy it.

    Thoreau said he could walk to Boston on foot quicker than he could get the money to take the train there. Is chopping fallen wood and sitting on a rammed clay floor next to your small wood stove REALLY that bad? That’s 18 weeks you can stay home and read Cicero – from a real-to-god, paper book — with your children. Or not. Don’t, end up in the dark and curse: “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” What do you think he’s going to do for you that you’re not doing for yourself?

    Dr. D

    From Mish:

    Climate Forecast Headline Predictions
    1. 1967 Salt Lake Tribune: Dire Famine Forecast by 1975, Already Too Late
    2. 1969 NYT: “Unless we are extremely lucky, everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years. The situation will get worse unless we change our behavior.”
    3. 1970 Boston Globe: Scientist Predicts New Ice Age by 21st Century said James P. Lodge, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 
    4. 1971 Washington Post: Disastrous New Ice Age Coming says S.I. Rasool at NASA. 
    5. 1972 Brown University Letter to President Nixon: Warning on Global Cooling 
    6. 1974 The Guardian: Space Satellites Show Ice Age Coming Fast
    7. 1974 Time Magazine: Another Ice Age “Telling signs everywhere.  Since the 1940s mean global temperatures have dropped 2.7 degrees F.”
    8. 1974 “Ozone Depletion a Great Peril to Life” University of Michigan Scientist
    9. 1976 NYT The Cooling: University of Wisconsin climatologist Stephen Schneider laments about the “deaf ear his warnings received.”
    10. 1988 Agence France Press: Maldives will be Completely Under Water in 30 Years. 
    11. 1989 Associated Press: UN Official Says Rising Seas to ‘Obliterate Nations’ by 2000.
    12. 1989 Salon: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019 said Jim Hansen the scientist who lectured Congress in 1988 about the greenhouse effect.
    13. 2000 The Independent: “Snowfalls are a thing of the past. Our children will not know what snow is,” says senior climate researcher.
    14. 2004 The Guardian:  The Pentagon Tells Bush Climate Change Will Destroy Us. “Britain will be Siberian in less than 20 years,” the Pentagon told Bush.
    15. 2008 Associate Press: NASA Scientist says “We’re Toast. In 5-10 years the Arctic will be Ice Free”
    16. 2008 Al Gore: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013.
    17. 2009 The Independent: Prince Charles says Just 96 Months to Save the World. “The price of capitalism is too high.”
    18. 2009 The Independent: Gordon Brown says “We have fewer than 50 days  to save our planet from catastrophe.”
    19.  2013 The Guardian: The Arctic will be Ice Free in Two Years. “The release of a 50 gigaton of methane pulse” will destabilize the planet.
    20. 2013 The Guardian: US Navy Predicts Ice Free Arctic by 2016. “The US Navy’s department of Oceanography uses complex modeling to makes its forecast more accurate than others.
    21. 2014 John Kerry: “We have 500 days to Avoid Climate Chaos” discussed Sec of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious at a joint meeting.

    The above items are thanks to 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions.”

    And the return of Texas to a colder, or at least less stable cycle is perfectly normal too, and clearly not “warming”. If “Global Warming” is now “Global Everything” because, branding, as some say, we’ve clearly lost all sense of language and won’t be able to think clearly about anything. Oh, wait. And then, if we don’t start using language accurately and respond, whole cities will go dark and people will die. Oh, wait.

    My estimation of what’s happening: Strangely, an “Ice Age” isn’t uniform at all. They are finding that with 2 miles of Ice in Seattle, you had a similar temperate climate to today’s in Big Sur. But anybody would know that since all the tropical plants from the dinosaurs still exist and weren’t’ frozen out in the dozen ice ages since then. So easy a cave man could see it.

    So what happens is weather DESTABILIZES. And oceans are huge stabilizers, that destabilizing occurs within continents. So it’s not that the temperature is all that much colder, it’s that 4’ of snow falls in Kentucky and doesn’t have time to melt on the dark side of the ridge. It persists, and in one year is a “glacier”. This follows the sun cycles and is perfectly predictable, I would say because clouds and air currents are static, electrical, and interact with the earth’s magnetosphere, which are in turn run by the solar winds. When the magnetic field goes to zero – right now, look it up – and the indicator is the North Pole wandering – right now, look it up – then the Jet Streams stop being stable. All my life and the lives of my fathers, the Jet stream was constant, stable, westerly wind at 54/40 latitude across the northern states. Now it’s in Mexico. Any questions? And the wind and windmill charts are based on this outdated, now entirely wrong 100 year data.

    Now their racist, weirdo view is that “Noble Savage” of Native Americans (who like “Asians” today, are all one group, with Pakistan, India, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Indonesia, Vietnam being all the same, one people) that these ecological “Noble Savages” were but wee children who couldn’t understand the majesty of agriculture, wisely never built cities, being too primitive, and ran around in the woods because they didn’t know what property was and didn’t know how to cut a tree.

    Bullsh—t. They built cities larger than London, AND up into Ohio, to say nothing of Mayans and Amazonian island-cities, called “Aztlanians”, cities of gold on man-made ringed islands under mountain skies due across from the “Pillars of Hercules” you might have heard of them, since Plato had.


    They had a city of a million, with a zoo and an aquarium, and similar cities were set up as far north as Ohio, up the Mississippi. Now they’re all gone. So why would their northernmost colony, which built similar mounds and cleared similar million-farm fields, just…vanish? Why would their relatives, the Iroquois, the most agrarian, barely get by in a similar region of lush, deep black soils? They were legion, overabundant only a hundred or more years previous.

    Let’s go back to yesterday: in 1777, New York harbor froze so hard they drew cannons across the salt water. And this goes back: in 1535, Jacques Cartier was frozen in 2m of ice at the salt water in Quebec City under 4 more feet of snow. This is the Little Ice Age that had elephants and street fairs out on the Thames under Elizabeth I, long before anyone used coal.

    So you’re planning on growing things? Rye won’t even grow, as Plimoth found in 1640.

    Worse than the cold, the weather was unstable. The stories of the times have not only frost giants (as in Scandinavia) but straight-line tornadoes called “mircobursts” that didn’t reappear until 1990. Like everything non-book people say, they thought they were lies. Myths. Winds tear 200-year forests apart like paper and matches. It can go from balmy to blizzard in hours. How do I know? That happens EVEN TODAY further inland and 100f swings still happen in 48 hours, and we were in a century when weather was warm and stable.

    The Vikings found America, Portugal and Ireland fished there long before 1492, why do you think no one colonized? A: they did, but the only possible way to survive was to “go native” and do as the natives did. There are Jack o’Tars and blue-eyed natives here. But they became “native”, not European agriculturalists because the only way to survive – as in Texas, with 120f range, and from 50f to suddenly frozen for weeks, was to become radical permaculturists.

    That is, you CAN’T grow even the stunted, cold-weather corn they saw on the temperate coasts. It’s not reliable. So you garden the sheltered forest with clearings, burns, plantings, into having the wide variety of perennial foodstuffs and predominantly fish and game, when even rye is barely viable.

    Even after the weather stabilized and locked into place in 1700, the colonists just thought, “Golly, we’re just so smart, and they are so primitive” as the weather warmed and made crops possible that hadn’t grown in 500 years. The natives would have done the same thing, and did, but they were less-foolhardy about leveling the whole permaculture-scape and relying on one crop, monoculture. And money. And due to smallpox they were constantly very few. But from our sight we think they DIDN’T. We’re not revising our vision of how America was MORE urban than Europe after the Fall of Rome (when they were swinging in the trees, as they say). We’re still out here pretending that wasn’t true.

    But if it was true, why? Because the weather may warm and cool in England, in Rome, living as the are entirely surrounded by water, but in continents the weather comes unhinged, unpredictable, ungrow-able. Just like Texas this week and indeed for the last 10 years. And just like clockwork, totally predictable, going back millennia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_minimum

    If you hadn’t noticed in the last 20 years, it’s not warming. It’s snowing in Mexico, Greece, and Saudi Arabia. Same temperatures in Alaska as Houston. Same temps in NY as Miami. It’s de-stabilizing. And if anything, it’s beginning the cooling. When in Rome, do as the Romans: North America will have to change agriculture, permaculture, with more forests and perennial grains if any at all. But that will lower food output sharply when the U.S. is the only exporter. Do some of the wicked and weird actions of our overlords make more sense now? Does the U.K. playing fast and loose with Grandma, dropping the population “naturally”, have some more political, existential strategy?

    Does fighting over the former breadbaskets, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Silk Road, that green only in cold climate cycles, mean something different now?

    Polder Dweller


    In Holland it’s no better, the RIVM (state institute for public health and the environment) advises those who test positive and develop a fever to take paracetamol or aspirin. That’s it, nothing about vitamins, minerals, anti-virals or anything else. It continues by saying that if you do end up going to hospital then you may be treated with one of two medicines that are known to have an effect: dexamethasone (a corticosteroid which works as an immunosuppressant) or remdesevir (an antiviral).

    Yep, like you said, wilful medical mispractice.


    Mr Galbraith’s article on the troubles with Texas’ electrical grid structure was excellent reading, not least because it is one more example of the inevitable civic distress that accompanies the privatisation of public utilities. The theory, beginning with Mr Mises and promoted extensively by Mrs Thatcher, is that the owners of rent-producing capital projects will invest for the long term to ensure the continued extraction of economic rents. This rarely happens. The owners almost always maximise the rents and minimise investment, and then they are shocked (shocked, I say) when they discover that their systems are not resilient in the face of unusual conditions.

    The Grenfell enquiry in UK is exposing the rot that follows the privatisation of regulatory functions; the building code was manipulated and enforced by private actors operating for gain. Boeing assumed the regulatory functions of the FAA and we know how that worked out.

    There was a time when I believed that most actors were capable of enlightened self-interest, and would do a good job for the public good even though they were not closely watched. And then I started watching private firms loot our province’s woodlands, coastal waters and other natural resources (which are owned by my fellow citizens) and I came to realise that rent-seekers need to be very closely watched and their activities widely visible.

    That won’t always work; too many rent-seekers have no shame. I have no doubt that Texans will freeze in the dark again.


    Issue: What is life?

    10 May 2016 ARTICLE
    Taking opposing views, two microbiologists discuss how viruses fit with the concept of being ‘alive’ and how they should be defined.
    While a virion is biologically inert and may be considered ‘dead’ in the same way that a bacterial spore or a seed is, once delivered to the appropriate environment, I believe that viruses are very much alive.
    The argument reductio ad absurdum is that any biologically produced mineral that can act as a crystallisation seed for further mineralisation (hence meeting the criterion of reproducibility) might also be classified as living!

    (In other words, making crystals grow/reproduce, expands the definition of LIFE)
    ( the link has a lot of info to read…..)

    Evolution of viruses

    Viruses undergo evolution and natural selection, just like cell-based life, and most of them evolve rapidly.

    When two viruses infect a cell at the same time, they may swap genetic material to make new, “mixed” viruses with unique properties. For example, flu strains can arise this way.

    RNA viruses have high mutation rates that allow especially fast evolution. An example is the evolution of drug resistance in HIV.
    ( the link has a lot of info to read…..)

    The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill.
    Sarah Kaplan, William Wan, Joel Achenbach 3/24/2020

    Viruses have spent billions of years perfecting the art of surviving without living — a frighteningly effective strategy that makes them a potent threat in today’s world.

    Outside a host, viruses are dormant. They have none of the traditional trappings of life: metabolism, motion, the ability to reproduce.
    “It’s switching between alive and not alive,” said Gary Whittaker, a Cornell University professor of virology. He described a virus as being somewhere “between chemistry and biology.”

    But viruses function through us. With no cellular machinery of their own, they become intertwined with ours. Their proteins are our proteins. Their weaknesses are our weaknesses. Most drugs that might hurt them would hurt us, too.
    And because viruses evolve so quickly, the few treatments scientists do manage to develop don’t always work for long. This is why scientists must constantly develop new drugs to treat HIV, and why patients take a “cocktail” of antivirals that viruses must mutate multiple times to resist.

    “Modern medicine is constantly needing to catch up to new emerging viruses,” Kirkegaard said.
    SARS-CoV-2 is particularly enigmatic. Though its behavior is different from its cousin SARS, there are no obvious differences in the viruses’ spiky protein “keys” that allow them to invade host cells.
    Evolutionary speaking, experts believe, the ultimate goal of viruses is to be contagious while also gentle on its host — a less destructive burglar and more of a considerate house guest.

    That’s because highly lethal viruses like SARS and Ebola tend to burn themselves out, leaving no one alive to spread them.

    But a germ that’s merely annoying can perpetuate itself indefinitely. One 2014 study found that the virus causing oral herpes has been with the human lineage for 6 million years. “That’s a very successful virus,” Kirkegaard said.


    “Herd immunity by April”.
    Why not? They know Corona working hours within a minute – aka from 10 PM to 6 AM Corona is all perked up and ready to go.
    “…municipal socialism…”
    Only over my frozen body. I don’t want some Marx (but not Ricardo or Henry George, mind you) telling us what to do around our neck of the woods.

    What makes this painting great is the fact that entire bottom half was left blank, despite being in foreground and asking for a “details”.


    @Dr. D. – “With ..(a Powerwall) .. you can have 13kw of power, and that’s not joking: an American house uses 1kw a day, so that’s almost two weeks of power. For $10,000, and a little house fire.”

    Yes – you are joking. Afraid you need more math Dr. D.

    “The average US house uses 877 kWh per month” – https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=97&t=3

    Let’s call it a round 30kWh per day and your Powerwall will be flat in less than 12 hours!

    Sorry pal – you’re just not credible.

    And as for climate, yup – we got big problems, and cooling certainly isn’t one of them:



    You made me laugh though!
    “I prefer the company of people who make me smile to those who make me laugh.”


    T”he failure of governments and health authorities to employ these proven means amounts to premeditated mass murder. The reason people have died from Covid is the refusal to treat and to prevent with known effective means. Instead, governments and health authorities have interfered with doctors and prevented treatment with HCQ and Ivermectin ..”

    The Covid Pandemic Is The Result of Public Health Authorities Blocking Effective Treatment


    It is often helpful to get below the surface of emotionally charged terms, such as “socialism,” and examine the details of how a proposed system would work before vetoing it out of hand.

    As a thought experiment, get rid of all preconceived ideas of “capitalism” or “socialism,” look at they types of power generation, storage, etc. that are available — or could be available (even a few of Tesla’s powerwalls) — and come up with a system that can reliably deliver power to the people of Texas, even when the weather gives them a deep freeze. Then, take a historical survey of all systems used throughout the world to supply power — Texas’ current system, small municipal power systems, whatever is used in in Russia, in China, in Europe, in other US states, anywhere throughout the world, and so forth, and from the historical record determine which system(s) (or combination of systems) can deliver the power that Texas needs reliably and at a cost to those who need it that they can bear to pay.

    The word “socialism” and the name “Karl Marx” have been deliberately equated with tyranny and failed systems AND at the same time used to describe functional systems that don’t bring economic elites the control and profit that they wish to extract. This way, someone like you will see the appellation “socialism” and automatically fail to drill down and examine the actual workings of the system being described, fail to evaluate whether the system is functional and meets up to your standards. Is a small municipal power system “socialism (= tyranny)”? Or is a small municipal power system an expression of “republican democracy” where residents of the city vote for city councilors who vote together to determine the guidance of the city’s power system, and hire its managers and employees?

    Personally, I am opposed to “tyranny” in all its flavors. When corporate executives make all of the decisions about the electrical grid in a state and the people have little to no influence through their elected representatives over something that they need in order to survive a weather event that everyone knew would eventually befall them…that is tyranny. Just like when the East India Company was granted the power in the 1770s to be the only seller of tea (through a tax system) in the American Colonies, and since tea was a basic commodity many in Boston rebelled. And electricity during freezing weather is a lot more important to people’s well-being than tea.

    Dr D Rich

    In Fauci’s own words. 37 years of helping and not killing people.

    “When I pushed aside my other research to focus exclusively on AIDS, my mentor asked, “Why are you diverting a great career for a disease involving 40 people?”
    In 1984 I became head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and began pushing the Reagan administration and Congress for more funding for research, which we finally got. The irony is that because I was the one making noise about the disease, I became the public face of government in the eyes of AIDS activists. Larry Kramer, the founder of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, attacked me in the media. His group would say, “Fauci, why are you killing us?” I’d think, I’m not killing you—I’m trying to help you!”


    Look here. Electric providers in Texas.
    Customers Tracked:12,410,161
    State Outages:189,865

    Compare Electric providers in Canada


    @Dr. D re: clay floors and real books…

    Feels more and more like A Canticle For Leibowitz, eh?


    Re the Ted Cruz tweet, Reuters say it’s a fabrication.

    I could fact check the fact checkers if I could be bothered, but I’m not.



    Before we poke Texas, we should remember what happened to Ontario and Quebec Hydro in the late 1990s.

    Our power remained out for weeks because our province owned utilities failed to build power transmission towers strong enough to with stand a little freezing rain because to do so would be too expensive! We suffered far worst than Texas did!

    The idea that anyone can build any system to withstand the worst case imaginable means nothing would ever get built because it is too expensive!


    Dr. D. Rich:

    In other words dr fasci followed the money! The money coming his way. That is why he is so wealthy.


    it is good to see the Swiss are pissed off over government over reach.
    At least they can do something about it!
    It will help us, who can’t do anything about it.


    @ phoenixvoice
    I think most of your points I addressed myself on my previous posts, so no need for the lecture class.
    I think that I do understand the reason for the relentless drum beat about the system that is pretty much dead since 90’s.

    madamski cafone

    “That’s 18 weeks you can stay home and read Cicero – from a real-to-god, paper book — with your children.”

    Not sure why, but this pleases me greatly. Maybe I’m imagining it as an advertizement for a wood stove manufacturer. Although I’m not sure they’d pick Cicero.

    Dr. D

    Yes, you can’t have capitalism on collective infrastructure because there’s no competition. You can’t say, “just build another electric grid or railway line.” Practically speaking, it’s a monopoly or near enough, and so it is what it is. That’s why we have a public-private partnership after trying 1,000 different ways in 200 countries over 130 years. A total monopoly like the NHS eventually, one day, causes ossified group-think and bureaucratic self-protection with no services as seen right now, but a parallel monopoly like regional grids lets us say, “Hey! Southern electric can so this at 1/10th the cost, what’s with you?” Similar to the 50 states. Probably this has to do with scale and Iceland or Denmark wouldn’t need this, but clearly the perennially corrupt U.S. does.

    Someone said this about Thatcher the other day, and they were right. Some of the things she was doing couldn’t be done and didn’t work. The plan THEY have — and they’re not going to tell you — is to privatize, break it, steal all the assets so it’s re-nationalized, then refilled at gunpoint from taxpayers by government, then sold off, re-privatized, re-stolen all over again, as happens worldwide. All you need are some lobbyists and a lot of time, it’s like candy from a baby. There’s no other way to make tens of billions except to rob taxpayers with government’s help, i.e. their raw violent extraction from the poorest citizens. So you need a system that prevents this as well, which my plan does when you really must have monopolies. You could incentive to end even these monopolies and have ever-smaller cells, but that’s a slippery discussion of how small is small and how would they defend themselves. It’s enough to say sure, getting rid of the name “socialism” or “collectivism” on a project vs, “capitalism” (whatever that means today,) you have these practical challenges. We’ve basically solved that at least in the past 70 years’ system-structure. We just refuse to do the things that we know work, and instead do all the things some PR firm sold us theory on and either never worked or have never been tested.

    Don’t re-invent the wheel: do the thing that works okay, and keep up with the monitoring and maintenance of it. There’s no pure system, even in totally free capitalist libertarian systems, the root scale is communalism of the nuclear family. If you have to have have monopolies, so be it. And if you get punked and have to re-nationalize like Sweden’s banks, you do. Just make sure everyone’s sorely punished and no one profits by it to keep the system honest and feeding back consequences.

    We’re certainly going into a time where ideological purity isn’t going to help. But at least we could look at what’s worked and what hasn’t over time for a change.


    Dr. D

    In other words …
    “We’re certainly going into a time where ideological purity isn’t going to help. But at least we could look at what’s worked and what hasn’t over time for a change.”

    First, the first problem is for “the we” to find who will be the “chosen experts” that will look at the problem, recommend solutions, and implement the changes”.
    The odds are that the “we” will chose people just like themselves.
    I has to be someone with “purity, knowledge, morals and a socialist bone, better than the “we” “

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