Links 12/17/2023 | naked capitalism


Patient readers, I’m afraid this is a bit of a “director’s cut” because I became pressed temporally. I’ll will do some slight slashing and rearranging very shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Follow the monarch on its dangerous 3,000-mile journey across the continent National Geographic

Red wine headaches could be caused by this intriguing culprit, study finds Fox

In 2024, the Tension Between Macroculture and Microculture Will Turn into War The Honest Broker


Urgent Need to Increase Immunization Coverage for Influenza, COVID-19, and RSV and Use of Authorized/Approved Therapeutics in the Setting of Increased Respiratory Disease Activity During the 2023 – 2024 Winter Season Emergency Preparedness and Response, CDC. Commentary (via):

COVID and flu surge could strain hospitals as JN.1 variant grows, CDC warns CBS News. But we’re sure not wearing masks! So there’s a bright side.

COVID study: 40% of children still infectious after symptom resolution Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Original.

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A synbiotic preparation (SIM01) for post-acute COVID-19 syndrome in Hong Kong (RECOVERY): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial The Lancet. From the Abstract: “Treatment with SIM01 [10 billion colony-forming units in sachets twice daily] alleviates multiple symptoms of PACS. Our findings have implications on the management of PACS through . Further studies are warranted to explore the beneficial effects of SIM01 in other chronic or post-infection conditions.”

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Inhaled SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for single-dose dry powder aerosol immunization Nature. Animal study. From the Abstract: “Here we develop an inhalable, single-dose, dry powder aerosol SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that induces potent systemic and mucosal immune responses…. [T]his vaccine induces strong production of IgG and IgA, as well as a local T cell response, collectively conferring effective protection against SARS-CoV-2 in mice, hamsters and nonhuman primates.”

Mucosal boosting enhances vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in macaques (PDF) Nature. From the Discussion:

Our data demonstrate that Ad26 [intra-tracheal (IT)] boosting robustly augmented mucosal humoral and cellular immune responses and provided near complete protection against high-dose mucosal SARS-CoV-2 BQ.1.1 challenge in rhesus macaques. Ad26 IT boosting induced greater mucosal immunity than did Ad26 [intranasal (IN)]and [intramuscular (IM)] boosting for all immunologic parameters evaluated. In contrast, mRNA IN boosting proved ineffective, suggesting that improved formulations will likely be required for effective mucosal delivery of mRNA vaccines.


The inability of the bivalent SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines delivered by the IM route to provide robust protection against infection likely relates to their inability to induce robust mucosal immune responses at the portal of entry. Our data demonstrate the proof-of-concept that mucosal boosting by the IT route results in robust mucosal humoral and cellular immune responses and near complete protection against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron challenge in macaques. To the best of our knowledge, this degree of vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron challenge in macaques is qualitatively different from what has been reported previously with IM delivered vaccines. Adenovirus vectors may be particularly good at inducing mucosal immunity given their biophysical stability and natural mucosal tropism, although other vaccine platforms should also be explored as potential mucosal vaccines. Our data suggest that the development of next generation vaccines that protect against infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses may be feasible by optimization of mucosal immunity.

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A Covid Update Eric Topol, Ground Truths. Lots of good information, despite a mini-shout-out to Bob Wachter, especially the nasal vaccine links (which I’m quoting below). The final paragraph:

[My] experience [finally catching Covid] exemplifies how much progress that we’ve made along the way. But there are still 2 absolutely vital objectives that haven’t been fulfilled: (1) highly effective treatments for Long Covid; and (2) inhalation vaccines to promote strong mucosal immunity and block infections and spread, effective against all variants. There’s still much work to do on both fronts, but I’m convinced we’ll eventually get there. like we did to get the initial Covid vaccines (think Operation Warp Speed), we’d likely be there by now.

Unmuffling the wording: The Biden Administration is far more culpable for the current Covid debacle than the Trump Administration. I wonder if Topol will get cancelled for this? Probably not….

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Superspreading problem solved! TicketMaster (via):

So apparently we have an “inherent risk” doctrine now, invented by TicketMaster’s lawyers. Of course, the level of risk is determined by the mitigations the concert promoters devise or impose. Next, I suppose, “inherent risk” of fire doors being nailed shut.


The Road to China-Free Supply Chains Is Long. Warning: Legless Lizards Ahead. WSJ

The Connections South China Morning Post. The deck: “This is the latest map showing connections between the Politburo Standing Committee – China’s most powerful leaders – and members of the 20th Central Committee, based on their official work history.”

How China’s celebrities became luxury fashion superstars in 2023 Jing Daily

He Haibo says China’s online publication of judgments must NOT regress Pekingnology


Rebel fire and China’s ire: Inside Myanmar’s anti-junta offensive Reuters


Smell that: The rise of India’s ittar industry Al Jazeera


When economists shut off your water Africa is a Country

The Great Arms Bazaar of the Nineteenth Century JStor Daily

Dear Old Blighty

‘Alas, poor country!’: performers suffering from long Covid to distribute masks at David Tennant’s Macbeth Bylines Cymru. Wales.

New Not-So-Cold War

Putin proclaims Odessa Russian city, challenges Ukraine’s historical narrative TASS

ISW analyses Russia’s war plan up to 2026, published by Bild Ukrainska Pravda. Handy map:

Ukraine may be preparing 2024 counteroffensive like Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhnyi had planned for summer 2023 – Welt Ukrainska Pravda. So, at a maximum, one more Zelensky Unit, as Ukraine throws the class of 2024 into the meatgrinder, and that’s it. Maybe Russia wants to go more slowly, but if Ukraine insists on slaughtering another tranche, what to do?

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Grind at the sugar factory for my mother’s gravestone business in Harare Events in Ukraine. The About page isn’t even sketchy, but the writing is very good. Well worth a read.


7 October has not changed the Middle East Engelsberg Ideas. “Fundamental change is a long way off because there are no two willing parties committed to breaking the Israel-Palestine deadlock.”

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Israeli sniper kills mother, daughter inside Gaza’s only Catholic church Anadolu Agency (WaPo here). They’re Catholic, so maybe that will arouse Biden’s famous empathy.

Hostages were holding white cloth on stick when Israeli forces shot them dead, IDF says Sky News. Waving a white flag and speaking Hebrew. Haaretz:

Not unexpected; the IDF is a brutal and stupid colonial force.

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Gantz: If world doesn’t push Hezbollah from the northern border, we will Times of Israel. The IDF doesn’t have enough on its plate?

Israel keeps the pressure on Gaza as Qatar confirms truce talks Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

Think tank tied to tech billionaires played key role in Biden’s AI order Politico. RAND.

Manchin calls upcoming hydrogen tax credit guidance ‘horrible’: ‘We are fighting it’ The Hill. Says the coal owner.


Sununu: ‘Chaos and distraction’ would prevent Trump from getting things done if reelected The Hill. Six ways from Sunday?

Democrats en Déshabillé

Playbook: Senate staffer out after sex tape scandal Politico. “The video, which Rodgers reports was shared in a group chat with gay men in politics, shows two men having sex in what appears to be Hart 216, the cavernous room that has played host to Supreme Court nominees, the 9/11 Commission hearings and former FBI Director James Comey’s blockbuster 2017 testimony on Donald Trump.”

Spook Country

US Congress pushes warrantless wiretapping decision off until April next year The Verge

The Spy Who Dumped the CIA, Went to Therapy, and Now Makes Incredible Television Wired. “One-time CIA agent [guffaw].”

Marketing Company Claims That It Actually Is Listening to Your Phone and Smart Speakers to Target Ads 404 Media


Lina Khan’s Rough Year New York Magazine. Commentary:

Enshittification: A Monopoly Story Cory Doctorow, Real Progressives Substack. Interesting, but the introduction is misleading. “[Doctorow] explains another term, ‘acidification,’ which describes the pathology of this decay and the inevitable outcome when platforms are not regulated.” Not in the transcript, however.

Epic Games chief concerned Google will ‘get away’ with app store charges FT

Digital Watch

Google Promises Unlimited Cloud Storage; Then Cancels Plan; Then Tells Journalist His Life’s Work Will Be Deleted Without Enough Time To Transfer The Data TechDirt

Obama Legacy

The Obamas’ “Rustin”: Fun Tricks You Can Do on the Past Adolph Reed, “Malicious presentism” from The Wizard of Kalorama™. Well worth a read.

Health Care

‘Large’ TB outbreak may affect 800 people who were incarcerated in Washington state KOMO (PI). United States.

Supply Chain

Several New Major Incidents In The Red Sea Naval News

MSC and CMA CGM Suspend Red Sea Transits as US and UK Down Multiple Drones Maritime Executive. Commentary:

Panama Canal transits plunge as larger ships are turned away Freight Waves

Our Famously Free Press

Masha Gessen’s Hannah Arendt Prize has been canceled because of their essay on Gaza Literary Hub. Over this essay. Commentary:

Gessen comments:

Zeitgeist Watch

The language of emojis Michael Smith, Crying in the Wilderness

Selling Citizenship New Left Review

Imperial Collapse Watch

Likelihood Grows of America Abandoning Nuclear Triad: Would ICBM Funds Be Better Used Elsewhere? Military Watch

US Military to Screen All New Recruits for Heart Conditions Under Must-Pass Annual Defense Bill ‘Tis a mystery!

The Self-Checkout Even the Haters Will Love WSJ. RFID chips. “The frustrating thing about classic self-checkout is that it simply . It changes who’s doing the labor, but it doesn’t change the labor that has to be done.” I’ve helpfully underlined capital’s business model in the United States for the last forty years. Totally in paradigm!

Class Warfare

Cracks in the strong labor market are starting to show Axios

New King County milestone: One-quarter of residents born outside U.S. Seattle Times. An alert reader throws this over the transom:

Anecdata confirms what I found when I was doing demographic work on Disproportionate Minority Contact with the justice system as a prosecutor in a top-20 U.S. jurisdiction.

At that time I was also involved as an “ally” in the large local LGBTQ+ PAC. Circa 2011 I was seated with a then-police chief, who had been my friend’s college housemate. He complained to me bitterly that Obama was secretly coming to town 3-4 times a year to collect checks from Tech Titans seeking to certify more H-1b visas, especially Indians. The chief was getting heat because when Obama showed-up all his cops got pulled off their beats, but he couldn’t tell the public why calls for service weren’t being answered.

My demographic work confirmed that in a county of approx. 1.9 million, there were layered-on a quarter million H-1b’s from India alone (PLUS China, Taiwan, Ukraine, Russia, etc), while my Workers Comp Insurance investigations showed that a substantial portion of them had entered under clearly fraudulent certifications of “need.” Meanwhile 50-percent of U.S. STEM grads weren’t employed in their field of study 3 years out from graduation.

I’m convinced that there is a huge disconnect between the general population and the PMC political elite over immigration. We’ve been building our house in an area where most construction workers are still white people — but up here they show very little hostility toward Mexican immigrants, who they generally see as hard-working and willing to learn the trades. There is still a need for manual labor and the PMC obsession with training the native-born population to code has made this need more pressing than ever (I once picked a fight in a book-signing line with Joseph Stieglitz over his “Let them eat training” idiocy).

However, I’ve had a number of experiences where I’ve seen well-to-do Indian and Chinese immigrants driving BMW’s and Acuras behaving badly toward service providers who they transparently view as “inferiors” on the basis of caste or class. Also, I often fly between Seattle and California on what I jokingly call it Alaska Airlines Flight H-1b because it’s crowded with immigrant tech workers misbehaving due to their lack of cultural literacy and their evident sense of privilege (mainly not queueing, too much luggage in the overhead bins, not masking, not powering-down laptops, and bringing large take-out meals onto small airplanes and demanding that flight staff dispose of the trash). Just before I retired an Indian-immigrant Tech Titan was murdered by a gang after he had hired several Oakland prostitutes to act as concubines in his gated Monte Sereno (Silicon Valley) mansion. Bellevue WA (Microsoft) has a HUGE problem with “high-end” escorts and their pimps. A lot of my new furniture has been delivered by self-professed “Ukrainians” who are obviously ethnic-Russian draft-dodgers who got out when the war started.

In both Seattle and California I’ve watched as the “white middle class,” Hispanics, and Blacks were pushed-out of the housing market, also causing severe impacts on traffic and health care delivery. It’s probably “better” land-use to turn a 3-4 bedroom single-family home into an informal apartment house, but nobody asked the generation of Americans who took “a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage” for granted, however mistakenly. It’s the same broken promises that followed the Civil Rights Act.

This does seem to be driving middle-class voters away from the Democrats, although not necessarily into the arms of the Trumpers. It can’t be emphasized enough that Hillary appears to have lost in 2016 because 9-10 million 2008 Obama voters didn’t show-up for the election.

US homelessness up 12% to highest reported level as rents soar and coronavirus pandemic aid lapses AP

North Pole Elves Win Big with Escalating Strike Labor Notes

If Scientists Were Angels The New Atlantis

What Would It Mean to Treat Animals Fairly? The New Yorker

What Are Farm Animals Thinking? Science

Antidote du jour (via Expat2uruguay):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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