nellie bowles in my rss feeds

The name Nellie Bowles showed up twice in my RSS feeds today.

--A right-leaning ZeroHedge story about the NY Times holding back, until after Biden's election, reporting (by Nellie Bowles) on the sorry state of Kenosha after the riots.

--A left-leaning Yasha Levine story about old California oligarch families (a tribe to which Nellie Bowles belongs).

Both are worth reading.

5th Circuit opinion on vaccine mandates

Just one person's opinion: Biden's overreaching vaccine mandate has already cost the Dems in Virginia and if he keeps it up will bring the party down in flames. A year ago, he, Pelosi, and Fauci thought mandates were too extreme (there are videos of them saying this) but then they changed their minds. Using OSHA (which is supposed to be preventing workplace accidents) to twist the arms of 100-plus-employee companies, forcing them to carry out the mandate, is an extremely weak legal argument. Evidently it's the only one Biden and his team could come up with and yesterday the 5th Circuit demolished the administration's sophistic reasoning. Reading the text of the opinion is highly recommended (as opposed to listening to what Tucker or Rachel have to say about it).

This will probably end up decided by the Supremes (should be fun) but it's good to know what's actually being argued about. For the record, this blog is not "anti-vaxx" but is pro-worker and Big Pharma-skeptical. Below are some excerpts from the opinion. On page 6:

The Occupational Safety and Health Act, which created OSHA, was enacted by Congress to assure Americans “safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” See 29 U.S.C. § 651 (statement of findings and declaration of purpose and policy). It was not -- and likely could not be, under the Commerce Clause and nondelegation doctrine -- intended to authorize a workplace safety administration in the deep recesses of the federal bureaucracy to make sweeping pronouncements on matters of public health affecting every member of society in the profoundest of ways.

On the dubious assumption that the Mandate does pass constitutional muster -- which we need not decide today -- it is nonetheless fatally flawed on its own terms. Indeed, the Mandate’s strained prescriptions combine to make it the rare government pronouncement that is both overinclusive (applying to employers and employees in virtually all industries and
workplaces in America, with little attempt to account for the obvious differences between the risks facing, say, a security guard on a lonely night shift, and a meatpacker working shoulder to shoulder in a cramped warehouse) and underinclusive (purporting to save employees with 99 or more coworkers from a “grave danger” in the workplace, while making no attempt to shield employees with 98 or fewer coworkers from the very same threat). The Mandate’s stated impetus -- a purported “emergency” that the entire globe has now endured for nearly two years, and which OSHA itself spent nearly two months responding to -- is unavailing as well. And its promulgation grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.

On pp 18-19 of the opinion:

It is clear that a denial of the petitioners’ proposed stay would do them irreparable harm. For one, the Mandate threatens to substantially burden the liberty interests of reluctant individual recipients put to a choice between their job(s) and their jab(s). For the individual petitioners, the loss of constitutional freedoms “for even minimal periods of time . . . unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976) (“The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.”). Likewise, the companies seeking a stay in this case will also be irreparably harmed in the absence of a stay, whether by the business and financial effects of a lost or suspended employee, compliance and monitoring costs associated with the Mandate, the diversion of resources necessitated by the Mandate, or by OSHA’s plan to impose stiff financial penalties on companies that refuse to punish or test unwilling employees. The Mandate places an immediate and irreversible imprint on all covered employers in America, and "complying with a regulation later held invalid almost always produces the irreparable harm of nonrecoverable compliance costs.”

On page 20 of the opinion:

From economic uncertainty to workplace strife, the mere specter of the Mandate has contributed to untold economic upheaval in recent months. Of course, the principles at stake when it comes to the Mandate are not reducible to dollars and cents. The public interest is also served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions -- even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials.

around the web: cults

The Cult of the Professional Class, an essay by Kristine Mattis, appeared in April 2016 on the left-leaning website and is still relevant. Naked Capitalism calls the cult "PMC" (professional-managerial class). Mattis describes the background and the agenda of these creatures (Ivy League, pro-war, pro-"markets," condescending) and you could certainly see from her description in 2016 how they would react to Trump (horror, followed by four years of bogus Russiagate narratives) and how they would handle covid (demonizing the vaccine-hesitant).

Apogee, writing on The Saker blog, identifies two cults reacting to covid, and distrusts them both equally: "Faction 1" (Governments, Big Pharma and Pro-Vaxxers) and "Faction 2" (Dissidents). The PMC has mostly lined up with Faction 1, of course. Apogee also identifies "Faction 3" (The Quiet Ones): "These are the knowledgeable, the educated; they may be accepting of vaccinations or not; and this group wants to discuss these events with smarts and sense in terms of how modern humanity should and can handle this global outbreak."

Apogee gives a good rundown at the end of the post of how different countries are handling covid, and the status of the outbreak in those countries. This is a needed reality-check to all the Faction 1 vs Faction 2 fighting that has embroiled the USA.

Update: Good critique of the covid response from the left is rare. Many so-called progressives have moved to the authoritarian right on the subject of mandates, wishing death on the vaccine-hesitant, etc. Fabio Vighi has noted the timely appearance of a health emergency just as bank bailouts were beginning; his views are discussed more pointedly in Off-Guardian.

robert w. malone interview

Jimmy Dore talks to Robert W. Malone about vaccines, antivirals, etc: YouTube
This goes against pharma lobby narrative so it may not be up long (I have a copy if you'd like to see it).
Predictably the Wikipedians have included caveats about Malone in their entry about him. Again, to be expected for anyone not sticking to the party line.

Update, Sept. 24, 2021: I took down this post for a while after a friend described Malone as a charlatan. I'm putting it back up with heavier qualifications. Much of what Malone says makes intuitive sense whether or not he's right about all of "the science." We should be able to discuss which of his claims have merit and which don't. The interview has been up on for 10 days on YouTube without interference. As I wrote almost a year ago, "Just because the Covid truthers are wrong about this being a manufactured crisis, doesn't mean evil technocrats aren't waiting in the wings, hoping it will provide a technological 'reset' that benefits the largest and most vile corporate actors." Malone isn't saying it's a manufactured crisis but he is right to question the role of large pharmaceutical companies (which stand to benefit from vaccinations) in crafting a narrative that their products are the only solution to the pandemic. That's fair for any non-expert to ask.

a dish best served hot

Excerpt From Max Blumenthal's book, The Management of Savagery:

The catastrophic and catalyzing events of September 11, 2001, unfolded live on one of New York City’s top morning talk shows.

At 9:01, Howard Stern delivered a brief update about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, gashing open the face of the tower and sending plumes of smoke into the sky. “I don’t even know how you begin to fight that fire,” he commented. Then, without missing a beat, the legendary shock jock returned to an inane yarn about his date with former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson at a seedy Midtown bar called Scores.

“I felt her butt,” Stern bragged to his randy co-hosts. A highly involved discussion ensued about his failure to “bang Pam Anderson.”

“I wasn’t gonna sit there and work it all night,” Stern explained moments before the second plane hit. Then, as soon as Tower 2 caught fire, he quipped, “I’m telling you, it was Pam Anderson’s jet.”

Minutes later, Stern’s producers began piping in audio from the local CBS affiliate, setting a traumatizing aural atmosphere that recalled Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” Stern apparently realized the flames were the product of a terror attack, probably by Muslim extremists. Confronted with a national calamity, he and his shrieking sidekick Robin Quivers immediately shifted gears.

“We’ve gotta go bomb everything over there,” Quivers insisted. “We’ve gotta bomb the hell out of them!” Stern added. “You know who it is. I can’t say but I know who it is. This is more upsetting than me not getting Pam Anderson!”

As the smoke engulfed lower Manhattan, Stern descended into a series of genocidal tirades. “We’ve gotta drop an atomic bomb,” he proclaimed.

“There has got to be a war,” Quivers demanded. “But a devastating war, where people die. Burn their eyes out!”

Thirty minutes later, as the news of mass civilian casualties poured in, Stern had transformed into a cartoon villain: “Now is the time to not even ask questions. To drop a few atomic bombs. Do a few chemical warfare hits! Let their people suffer until they understand!”

“Because we haven’t been bothering anybody,” Quivers interjected. “They started screaming about colonialism. We stopped.”

Moments later, Stern repeated his call for nuclear annihilation. “Blow them all to sky high!” he said. “Atom bombs! Just do it so they’re flattened out and turned into a paved road and we’ll take the oil for ourselves.”

This was not right-wing radio, but one of the consistently most highly rated morning shows in the country. Stern’s exterminationist diatribes demonstrated how deeply the neoconservative mind-set had been inculcated into mainstream American culture, how it had been simmering just below the surface of the bawdy blather that normally dominated the drive-time airwaves and was waiting to explode upon what PNAC described as “some catastrophic and catalyzing event.” [link added -tm]