Links 10/29/2020

Dear patient readers,

If you are reading this version of Links, that means I lost power!!! Sorry! Please amuse yourselves in the meantime.

Scientists Are Freaking Out Over The First-Ever Footage of This Bizarre Squid Science Alert (David L)

Weirdly, Monkeys Keep Domesticating Themselves. Huh. Popular Mechanics (resilc)

American Honeybees Just Can’t Get a Break TreeHugger (David L)

‘Like froth on a cappuccino’: spacecraft’s chaotic landing reveals comet’s softness Nature (Kevin W)

Physicists circumvent centuries-old theory to cancel magnetic fields PhysOrg

Why ExxonMobil is sticking with oil as rivals look to a greener future Financial Times

How to Stop Getting Into Pointless Arguments Online Wired (resilc)

Has technology made us worse hunters? Popular Science (resilc)


City Locked Down for Three Months Has Bleak Lessons for the World Bloomberg (Robert M)


Scientists compare ACE2 interaction with SARS-CoV-2 across species (Kevin W)

Most people mount a strong antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 that does not decline rapidly: study Mount Sinai (Robert M). Mount Sinai ought to be ashamed. Pretty much every study on Covid-19 immunity has found that immunity falls pretty quickly. So why is this finding different? After misleadingly going on about 30,000+ subjects and their great test method, they get to the money part 2/3 of the way into their piece:

Another important and outstanding question in the scientific community is the longevity of the antibody response to the spike protein. To answer that question, the team recalled 121 plasma donors at a variety of titer levels for repeat antibody testing at approximately 3 months and 5 months post-symptom onset. When comparing overall titers, they saw a slight drop from a geometric mean titer (GMT) of 764 to a GMT of 690 from the first to second testing time point and another drop to a GMT of 404 for the last testing time point, indicating that a moderate level of antibody is retained by most people 5 months after symptom-onset. In the higher titer range, they observed a slow decline in titer over time. Interestingly, they saw an initial increase in titer for individuals who had originally tested as having low to moderate titer levels. This is in agreement with earlier observations from their study group that indicate seroconversion in mild COVID-19 cases might take a longer time to mount.

121 individuals? Out of a clearly biased sample to being with, individuals in NYC who had volunteered to give convalescent plasma? For starters, to give plasma, you have to have had a recent physical, which generally means insured, which means a somewhat higher than the US as a whole baseline of health care. You have to be over 18. You have to be screened out for viruses like HIV, other STDs, and hepatitis. You also can’t have low blood pressure. I would strongly suspect the elderly and obese would be screened out or else severely underrepresented. We also know from the Imperial College study that health care workers had higher antibody levels due to presumably having their immune systems repeatedly Covid-19 challenged. Could some of this 121 live in high-Covid ‘hoods where they wound up having a similar effect? And we are supposed to take this seriously, compared to the Imperial College study of 365,000, where each round (over 100,000) was designed to constitute a very broad sample? While later studies may indicate the antibody decline post infection isn’t quite as dire as the Imperial College study indicated, this Mount Sinai work doesn’t begin to meet that bar.

Coronavirus: frozen food firms as culprit in two outbreaks in China, sparking warning over cold imports South China Morning Post


France’s Macron Announces New National Lockdown Starting Friday Wall Street Journal

Germany to Shut Restaurants, Bars to Combat Coronavirus Spread Wall Street Journal

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:


DEEPER INTO LOCKDOWN: The EU’s largest countries introduced new restrictions Wednesday, attempting to arrest the increasing spread of the pandemic. The aim of the measures is to break the second wave via a locked down November — with the hope that faithful adherence to safety protocols could save Christmas. It won’t be a normal holiday season or anything close to it, but there’s still some hope that folks will be able to gather with their loved ones, as was made clear by the Continents’s most eminent parental authorities.

DR. VON DER LEYEN’S DIAGNOSIS: “We face two enemies: the coronavirus and a growing COVID-19 fatigue,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, appealing to Europeans to keep their guards up. “I understand that people are tired of this virus, and I appreciate the sacrifices they are making … the situation is very, very serious, but we can slow down the spread of the virus if everyone takes responsibility.” That means everybody will “need to wear masks and stick to hand hygiene,” von der Leyen said.

Sleigh bells ringing? “I think this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas,” the Commission president said. “A lot depends on our behavior from the individual — each individual on the regional level, on the member state level and on the European level — how we pull through this together in the next weeks. But it will be a different Christmas.”


Young Americans are least likely to wear masks: CDC Al Jazeera. Resilc: “Estate money grab.”


The Lockdown Meltdown Is Coming for Everything John Authers, Bloomberg (furzy)

Dow craters 943 points in worst day since June as virus spike spurs new lockdowns Business Insider

‘Bills or food’: crisis mounts for unemployed Americans Guardian (resilc)


Biden Will NOT Be Soft On China; He’ll Continue Trump’s Aggressions Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

How the United States Handed China its Rare Earth Monopoly Foreign Policy (UserFriendly)

Mathematics of a Coup – Part 1 with David Rosnick (JTM). Bolivia.


The Lie Of U.S. Leverage: Joe Biden Must Rejoin The Iran Nuclear Deal National Interest (resilc)

Trump Transition

Top FEC Official’s Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality ProPublica

The New York Times called ‘Anonymous’ op-ed author Miles Taylor a Trump ‘senior official.’ Was that accurate? Washington Post (Kevin W)


New voters surge to the polls The Hill

We need to be more honest in our reporting on Biden Financial Times (vlade)

Counties that pivoted to Trump had lower wage growth than other counties Economic Policy Institute

Where the Trump Revolution Started and Ended New York Magazine (resilc)

Hundreds of Trump Fans Left Stranded at Freezing Nebraska Airfield After Rally Daily Beast. Oops. And Trump supporters hospitalized after being stranded in freezing cold at late-night rally Guardian (furzy)

Try 2021 Ilargi

Social Security Seemed Like a Future Problem. The Virus Changed That. New York Times. Softening Americans up for the Dems’ Catfood Commission.

A Case Against Black Republicans Esquire (resilc). So blacks aren’t allowed to engage in class warfare like whites? Seriously?

Capitalism is Double-Billing Us: We Pay From Our Wallets Only to be Robbed of Our Future Counterpunch (JTM)

‘Who the hell elected you?’ U.S. Senate tech hearing becomes election showdown Reuters (resilc)

Italian watchdog investigates Google over alleged advertising market abuse Euractiv (JLP)

How Tesla Should Combat Child Labor In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo Forbes

Fed Is ‘Really’ Out Of Firepower. ‘Only Government Spending’ Can Save Country, Bill Dudley Warns Heisenberg Report (resilc)

The Collapse of Long-Term Care Insurance American Prospect

New CalPERS CIO Could See $2.4 Million Payout Chief Investment Officer. Kevin W: “Warning! Do not drink coffee while reading the last paragraph.”

Class Warfare

Trump’s H-1B ban may have shaved $100 billion off America’s biggest firms Quartz (resilc). You say it like it’s a bad thing!

Trump or Biden’s big economic challenge: millions of struggling Americans Reuters

How ICE’s Bail Bond Scheme Lets Corporations Profit Off Migrants New York Review of Books (resilc)

North Berkshire Groups Support Operation Warm for Local Kids iBerkshires (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

Every weekend when we visit the desert, we get at least a few of these little White-tailed Antelope Squirrel (AKA replace Squirrel with Chipmunk) visitors, after I fill the water dish and pour some Parrot food into this pot. My original intention was to be feeding birds, but you know how it goes—”best laid plans” and all that. Maybe we should replace “mice” with “squirrels” . . . or “chipmunks” though.

And a bonus. Guurst labeled this “not quite an antidote” but those polar bears look pretty plump:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    >Trump or Biden’s big economic challenge: millions of struggling Americans – Reuters

    Bishop Donald Harper has been on more than 50 job interviews since he was furloughed in March.

    Rachel Alvarez, 44, a single mother of three in Naples, “I’m going to keep my head up, because if shit like this ever happens to my children I want them to keep their head up too,” said Alvarez.

    >‘Bills or food’: crisis mounts for unemployed Americans – Guardian (resilc)

    Americans struggling with broken state unemployment systems throughout the US are still fighting to obtain benefits, as utility shut-off moratoriums are expiring and evictions continue despite a federal suspension.

    Largent, 39, lives in a mobile trailer park with her 12-year-old daughter, who requires frequent doctor appointments as her cancer is in remission

    What is common to stories like this is the abject failure of linking back the conditions described to the causes. The pattern is similar and could almost be written by a Google algorithm. The articles always seem to “resolve” to the individual’s resilience in the face of adversity. Question of the systemic antecedents that created the condition and continue to perpetuate it unchanged would take honesty and complexity, two characteristics which both Reuters and the Guardian are incapable of providing, or more accurately unwilling to provide.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Like a doctor describing only the symptoms, while offering no prescription for the disease.

      Many on my social media which I increasingly avoid, appear to believe that once Trump who to them is obviously the root of all the problems is removed, everything will be just fine & dandy – focusing on one very obvious tumour among many, within the overall cancer in which the metastasis appears IMHO to be gaining in momentum.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            I know you didn’t. I used to refer to him as a symptom too, but seldom got through to my TDS-impaired friends and family. The “opportunistic, collateral infection” meme seems to be more effective.

            1. Synoia

              I perceive at the political leadership as a collection of tumors. Some more deadly than others.

              Occasionally one tumor is removed, leaving the remainder to compete to expand into the now vacant space.

            2. polecat

              I see him more as an Anti body triggered by infectious blue whinger monkeys, rather than a cancer ..

              But that’s an observation from one tiny Elect donald scope.

    2. 'The Rev Kev

      I can guess what old Joe’s plan will be for his fellow Americans. He will ship out 300 million bootstraps to all those in need. Trump’s plan will be to keep saying ‘It’s not my fault!

      1. Duke of Prunes

        And the MSM will sing praises about the compassionate Joe Biden who, with a heavy heart, dug deep and found the money for those precious bootstraps (most likely by cutting social security)

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      My Ladyfriend who hasn’t worked in 7 months has finally run out of rent money. The French Quarter bar she works at is doing a ‘soft reopening’ this week. Only one manager and bartender/barback are allowed to work. She ‘may’ get a call. She ‘may’ not. And she has a 4 yr old daughter. Shes had anxiety attacks and says she feels like shes dying sometimes. Luckily she has a great support network, including me, but this economic shutdown is literally destroying my love before my very eyes :*(

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’m so sorry to hear that. Bless you for sharing the load with her and her daughter. I hope there’s lots of that kind of interdependence-of-necessity, leavened with kindness, working its way into the neoliberal matrix. It would be nice to believe that sort of decency can overcome the Bernays Sauce of toxic propaganda that has so many of us fighting to stand on the shoulders of other drowning people as we gasp for air…

        “Ask not what can your rulers do to you, ask what you can do for each other.”

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Oh and I left out the most tragic part. A fn HURRICANE just knocked out power for 400K people!!!! She just called me from her Moms phone which is at 5% cuz her phones dead. Theyre trying to get the generators started.

        Tbh, i cant ever remember a Halloween Hurricane, let alone one so destructive and during a Pandemic.

        6 years sober in 2 weeks. Ive never felt such clarity and resolve concerning our states objectives. Shock n Awe Ad Nauseum. Heres to hoping DSANOLA et al can seize the moment…

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Get a charger you can plug in the car outlet, walmart, any convenience store, ten bucks.
          Good luck jhb

      3. Janie

        It’s late to be welcoming you to Oregon. Didn’t realize it meant separation like this; it’s tough for both of you. Hope things go well for her and the little girl. And yes, the hurricanes just won’t stop. My earliest memory is of a hurricane, with water driving under the door and windows, wind howling, dad and neighbor bracing front of house from inside, seeing the aftermath. Four adults and me, nobody cared if I went to bed or not. I was four, like her.

  2. Howard Beale IV

    What gets me is that when it comes to H1-B’s, those firms that use it typically have operations in the countries where the labor pool is at (i.e., India, eastern Europe.)

    1. Clem

      Not mentioned in the article about how those poor little companies that just can’t make it without an endless line of foreigners earning good money, versus hiring Americans, to jam ads in front of America’s eyeballs–is how much more money will Americans now earn plus other border enforcement measures to prevent undercutting of American wages and free up space in the few public health clinics and shelters that we have?

    2. JCC

      If I could trust Trump to continue actions like this, I would vote for him in a NY Minute.


  3. Mikerw0

    The link on long term care insurance is important for many reasons. First, this market grew from the insurance industry and actuarial consultants telling insurance companies that they could grow a whole new product line and profit accordingly.

    The reason basically everyone got it wrong was they had no data, particularly on what the lapse rate would be. This is what is known as a lapse-supported product. In other words, the insurers assumed that a high percentage of policies would lapse (the insured would stop paying for the coverage) well before the claim period began. Oops, its turns out this is a real concern in an aging society and people want a way to fund it.

    There was another flaw in the ointment. Not to get too technical, but the life insurance industry files their regulatory reports in blue covered books and the property-casualty industry in yellow books. Long term care insurance behaves much closer to workers compensation, than a life (mortality), annuity (mortality + tax preferred investment) product. Long term care, like worker comp, can have a very long payout period — what is know as the tail. In a yellow book you establish and reassess reserve levels by policy year every year — in a triangle so you can see how your initial reserve estimate behaved relative to actual claims. By placing long term care in life companies, the industry was able to arbitrage the different regulatory requirements. Hence, they got their reserving all wrong and literally lost billions.

    It merits noting that while generally regulation of insurance companies works well, as evidenced by the limited number failures (AIG was a financial failure, the insurance operations were basically fine). But, every time the industry is allowed to engage in regulatory arbitrage, witness CDS, equity indexed annuities, it gets badly burned.

    Finally, the implications of the article is that there is a large, looming hole in society’s social safety net that no one is actively proposing solutions to.

    1. TMoney

      The industry might get burned, but bonus to executives were paid for all that “revenue growth”. I think the people who got the bonuses and magazine covers declared “Mission Accomplished”.
      Seems we’ve heard this story before.

    2. Kate Sims

      When I got the promotional material for long term care insurance through my municipal workplace, and I reached the part about 50 percent of the population needing long term care, I stopped right there. I’m not an actuary but I could do the math on this: either the business would go bankrupt and stiff the policy holders, or it would be prohibitively expensive. I watched for the last two decades as both happened.

      At 50 per cent it became a coin toss as to whether I would need it, and I decided to take the chance.

    3. vidimi

      IIRC correctly, in the AIG postmortem done by Bernstein, they identified a massive deficiency in the P&C reserves, mostly in workers comp. AIG vehemently denied it, but then strenghtened their prior years reserves by over 4 Billion.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’m curious — any idea where that $4 billion came from?

        Anyone else feeling the Looting Creep, so that bad behavior denominated in billions just doesn’t seem like anything other than coins in the couch any more?

        Maybe a bad thing about MMT Awareness is that the baddies get a nice whitewash for their depredations: “There’s plenty more where that came from, neh?”

    4. jef

      “Finally, the implications of the article is that there is a large, looming hole in society’s social safety net that no one is actively proposing solutions to.”

      First of all insurance has never been any sort of social safety net, quite the opposite.

      Universal healthcare does propose a solution.

  4. Biologist

    COVID transmission:
    A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air

    Excellent graphical explanation from El Pais (in English) of aerosol transmission in indoor spaces, and the effect of mitigations such as, in increasing order of importance, distance, masks, ventilation, and duration. Lots of nice visualisations / videos, like how aerosols accummulate with time in a closed space. It’s based on a model from an atmospheric chemist, but they don’t directly link to a paper.

    The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure.


    “we calculated the risk of infection from Covid-19 using a tool developed by José Luis Jiménez, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Colorado and an expert in the chemistry and dynamics of air particles. Scientists around the world have reviewed this Estimator, which is based on published methods and data to estimate the importance of different measurable factors involved in an infection scenario. However, the Estimator’s accuracy is limited as it relies on numbers that are still uncertain – numbers that describe, for example, how many infectious viruses are emitted by one infected person. The Estimator assumes that people practice the two-meter social distancing rule and that no one is immune. Our calculation is based on a default value for the general population, which includes a wide range of masks (surgical and cloth), and a loud voice, which increases the amount of aerosols expelled.”

    1. grayslady

      Thank you. Excellent article. I forwarded it to a friend, as well. One of the clearest explanations of what works and why.

      1. Alex Cox

        +1 An excellent article. I’ve been looking for a decent newspaper for some years now… maybe it’s El Pais!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      This is the simplest and most clear presentation describing how the Corona virus spreads I’ve seen. I believe this kind of basic science is far more valuable than all the rushing and thrashing about to make a vaccine. The Corona virus is neither the first nor last virus to ravage Humankind. Vaccines take a long time to discover, develop and properly demonstrate as safe and effective. Past efforts suggest the present state of knowledge in this art may not be sufficient to discover — for many viruses — the kind of highly effective, safe, and long-lasting vaccine our authorities are hoping and pushing for as a panacea for the Corona pandemic. That possibility gives much greater importance and value to developing more effective public health policies.

      The linked article and presentation also leave me wondering about the effectiveness of present measures for controlling the spread of infections in our surgeries, the medical floors of our hospitals, and our eldercare homes.

      1. Alex Cox

        And at schools and colleges. When I was a teacher I was invariably assigned classes in windowless, basement rooms. The older buildings on campus had windows, but that was for the philosophers and historians… So some major rethinking of the spaces we inhabit and use is in order.

    3. bassmule

      Extremely helpful. I sent it to all my musician friends who, in large part because state and local rules seem to be changing with some frequency, are struggling with this. We want to play, and we want to be legal, but there’s been little practical advice from the rulemakers. I work (well…used to work) with a singer who can be very loud when she’s on stage. She knows she’s a potential super-spreader (“My God, I’m a dragon!”). But she also needs to eat and pay rent. So she struggles. This is great for helping her make good decisions.

  5. fresno dan

    Capitalism is Double-Billing Us: We Pay From Our Wallets Only to be Robbed of Our Future Counterpunch (JTM)

    A recent film that alludes to how this form of violence works was last year’s Dark Waters, concerning the long-running legal battle with DuPont over the chemicals it developed to make non-stick coatings for pots and pans. From the outset, DuPont’s research showed that these chemicals were highly dangerous and accumulated in the body. The science overwhelmingly suggested that exposed individuals would be at risk of developing cancerous tumours or producing children with birth defects.
    Dark Waters is a terrific movie about how the US legal system works. I don’t know about you, but when I was in public school I was indoctrinated to believe that it is better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted. My 6th grade mind thought it was Bullsh*t than. I had the reasons wrong (it wasn’t that violent criminals were getting away with murder – it was really about letting wealthy criminals get away with mass murder).
    The political problem, however, may be more difficult to solve than the scientific one. By some accounts, the very agencies whose mission it is to research and protect the environment and human health are captured by the private interests they are meant to be regulating.

    Last year, a former top official at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) went on record claiming she was barred from saying PFAS “caused” disease, and instead was forced by higher-ups to use the term “association” in drawing a connection.

    Linda Birnbaum, the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, told The Intercept that the order came from a higher level official within her agency and that it mirrored the Trump’s administration’s own messaging with regards to PFAS.
    The US legal system is finely attuned to be unable to conclude anything if enough money is spent. Mere coincidence that the US system is predicated upon the rich plundering unimpeded. Better that 10 carcinogens be produced than one innocent chemical be banned….

    1. PhilK

      Re: non-stick coatings: Back in the middle 1970’s, I worked in the production reporting group at a television tube factory.

      The color-TV tubes made in that plant contained a component called a “mask” containing tiny holes to narrow the stream from the electron “gun” onto the tiny dots of phosphor on the screen of the tube. At one point, engineers at the plant decided that some part of the assembly mechanism that moved the masks into place should be coated with Teflon. And they quickly discovered that the masks were picking up microscopic Teflon scrapings from that mechanism, and this dust polluted the atmosphere inside the finished tube, and made some of the tubes defective or useless.

      Then our department was ordered to create a new report showing the rates of failures for each tube model and each production station in the plant. We naively titled it “Teflon Report”. Within a few days, the VP in charge of our group ordered us to change the title to “Screen Defect Report” and to shred any copies of the “Teflon Report” to prevent possible industrial espionage from discovering that Teflon had caused a problem.

      So sometimes, even victims of a problem don’t want the problem to be known.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The body of US Corporate Law, statute and case, works to relieve individuals working for a Corporation from personal responsibility and culpability. “Ordinary men” will do remarkable harm and destruction if a task is sufficiently parceled out among them. Worse — the Corporate Law creates long-lived, unmoral, semi-autonomous entities — ‘persons’ — capable of doing great harm while protecting them from prosecution and indemnifying their risks.

  6. Adam1

    Yves – Falling antibody levels is very normal. Antibodies are not what your body uses to maintain long term immunity. While only time will conclusively prove how long covid-19 immunity will last, there is reasonable evidence that it is more likely to be long term (decades) that short term (< 1 year) like the 4 common corona viruses that cause the common cold versions.

    Dr Campbell goes over research that leads him to believe it will be decades of immunity.

    1. Carolinian

      With the caveat that I know nothing about medicine apparently the immunity argument is that once you have the disease your t cells are primed to recognize it if it appears again and act much faster to suppress it. Which is to say immunity is not just about antibodies.

      And the wind is whipping here as the power went off, then came back on. Alabama has always been a kind of hurricane/thunderstorm alley. Then we get it.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Is Dr. Campbell affiliated with Mount Sinia?

      I did not watch the video you linked and sincerely hope Dr. Campbell is right. What is special about the Corona virus that unlike the common cold and the seasonal flu Corona can be controlled by a vaccine for decades?

        1. Rtah100

          That’s a bit harsh. Not credentialed in immunology, yes. Not qualified to comment? On verra.

          For what it is worth, I think the antibody data supporting long time vaccine effectiveness is inconclusive, simple because we need months and years to follow up response to reinvention, but I think the vaccine data showing strong T-cell response is encouraging for long term immunisation. Derek Lowe covered this well at Inthepipeline.

          And if you don’t like T cells, also natural killer cells….

          1. Adam1

            With 40 years of clinical Accident & Emergency nursing experience who happens to have earned a PhD and teaches fellow nurses.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I need to write more clearly. My question about Dr. Campbell was a dig. I regarded the Mount Sinia piece as nonsense and concluded Dr. Campbell’s video was nonsense as well. Several months ago I suggested the Corona virus might be more like the common cold and seasonal flu or hoof-and-mouth disease — all of which seem difficult to control through ‘herd immunity’ or a vaccine. Adam a made a claim in his comment and supported it with nothing more than a video. I was asking for more support for the claim without wasting time watching a nonsense video.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I hate to seem harsh, but don’t do this again. Campbell is a nurse, fer Chrissakes, not even an MD and even MDs don’t have great statistical chops. And he is not an immunologist. He’s not qualified to opine and certainly not to so egregiously misrepresent evidence.

      There is absolutely zero basis for thinking that getting Covid confers more immunity than any other coronavirus, where 34 months is the max for MERS (which also has a 34% fatality rate). Every study so far has found declining antibody levels, and nearly all save the very small and non-representative Mount Sinai study, a rapid falloff too.

      As for T-cells, here’s a good layperson summary of why they’ve been overhyped:

      Far from preventing infection, T cell immunity may at best lead to a less severe case of Covid-19 in individuals….

      And when it comes to this disease, “less severe” may just mean “not immediately hospitalized.” A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that some people who tested positive for Covid-19, but had mild or even no symptoms had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can lead to serious damage or even heart attacks. Which shows that many of the dangers of Covid-19 are still unknown….

      T cells are hyper-specialized white blood cells, with each type of T cell taking on a specific role during the course of infection. Some T cells kill invading cells directly, while other T cells help activate B cells and stimulate them to make antibodies. Still others become “memory cells,” which patrol the body for years after the initial infection to prevent reinfection from previously defeated viruses or bacteria. If these memory cells encounter a past foe, an immune response is activated. Certain types of B cells can also be memory cells, and quickly pump out antibodies if a recognized pathogen returns….

      Those childhood infections lead to the creation of memory T-cells, and several recent papers have shown that memory T cells from other coronaviruses recognize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Not with a lot of specificity—to use an analogy, the T-cells can recognize that it’s an enemy soldier in uniform, but can’t tell what the soldier’s rank is or what their specialty is. Still, that’s enough to at least sound the alarm: at least 20-50% of people who have not been exposed to Covid-19 may already have T cells that will activate and defend against the disease….

      [A] T cell recognizing the coronavirus doesn’t mean you won’t still get sick. T cells are only activated when the virus is already replicating inside a cell, so by the time cross-reactive memory T cells get involved, you’ve already been infected. All sounding the alarm does is get your body’s immune system to work more efficiently, meaning that you may end up with a less severe illness than you would have had otherwise. Emphasis on “may,” because there’s still a lot we don’t know.

      “Even if our most optimistic speculations about cross-reactive T cell memory were found to be correct,” says Shane Crotty, an immunologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, “the most likely effect would be not a prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Instead, the cross-reactive T cell memory would reduce the disease severity, such that fewer people would become severely ill or die from COVID-19.”

      Now it may still be possible to develop a vaccine that provides more than short-term immunity by challenging the immune system harder. For instance, some of the two-dose vaccines seem to produce much stronger antibody responses than getting the infection. That is consistent with the finding of the Imperial College college study, that health care workers generally had slower antibody falloff, which the researchers attributed to having their immune systems more strongly Covid-challenged than civilians (presumably due to being exposed to higher viral loads).

      So having gotten Covid can’t be assumed to provide immunity beyond the time frame of months, which could very conceivably be only six like the common cold. To act as if we know otherwise is dangerous, particularly in light of multiple proven cases of reinfection in shorter periods (when testing is so poor that it’s seldom possible to be certain that what feels like a reinfection isn’t simply failure to completely recover from Covid).

      Covid false hope puts people at risk. It’s irresponsible to paint happy faces by making shit up, which is what Campbell has to be doing based on everything I have seen so far. I’m not spending time parsing a talk by someone who is not qualified to opine.

      1. flora

        He has a PhD. In many places anyone with a PhD is referred to as Dr. and can use the ‘Dr’ title in related professional work. He has never claimed to be an MD.

        “Hello Everyone, My name is John Campbell and I am a retired Nurse Teacher and A and E nurse based in England. I also do some teaching in Asia and Africa when time permits. These videos are to help students to learn the background to all forms of health care. My PhD focured on the development of open learning resources for nurses nationally and internationally. ”
        – from his youtube channel “about” page

        From an older Amazon bio:
        “Dr. John Campbell is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing studies at the University of Cumbria. He has been a clinical nurse and a nurse tutor for over 30 years.”

        He’s not a crank, imo.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Nor is he a Covid Pangloss – he was early to foresee a pandemic and awake to the dangers of the virus from early on. PlutoniumKun iirc has pointed out that his videos were more reliable sources of information than, for instance, the WHO.

          I don’t know if he’s right about immunity or whether his newfound optimism is warranted – that’s beyond my ken and not something I’m well informed about. It’s hardly implausible that he has made a mistake, or that the study/s he’s basing his opinion on have.

          But from what I’ve seen of his throughout the year, he’s been assiduous and careful in stating what is his opinion, but also telling viewers of his videos not to take his word for what he’s saying (with humility, not belligerence) and linking to all papers discussed in his videos in the video description to make sure viewers can read them for themselves. I think putting him in the ‘maker-up of shit’ category is uncharitable.

      2. Carolinian

        An immunologist

        The author, Beda M Stadler is the former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and professor emeritus. Stadler is an important medical professional in Switzerland

        Boiling it down the translated excerpt (to a German language article) asserts that “novel” is an unproven description of this disease and therefore natural forms of immunity are likely to play a big role. I think it’s at least worth a look and in fact I had linked it here some weeks ago.

      3. Jeff W

        I’m not an immunologist but the way I read that Forbes piece (and the excerpted quote) it’s in the context of cross-reactive T cell memory, i.e., an immune response from memory T cells arising from the infections of other coronaviruses that recognize (to some degree) SARS-CoV-2. That’s a bit different than the response of memory T-cell arising from the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.

        Of course, there’s a lot we don’t know about that response. As Derek Lowe, who writes “In the Pipeline” put it back in July

        How long-lasting is the T-cell response in people who have been infected with the current SARS CoV-2 virus, and how protective is it in the declining-antibody situation that seems to be common? What sorts of T cell responses will be induced by the various vaccine candidates?

        (We might know more than we did in July, of course.)

      4. Adam1

        I never claimed he was a medical doctor and am sorry if that was anyone assumption. I’ve been following him so long I just refer to him as Dr. Campbell. The bulk of his video(s) are reviews of studies and he is very careful to specifically identify when he is opining. He himself prefers the facts.

        “Every study so far has found declining antibody levels, and nearly all save the very small and non-representative Mount Sinai study, a rapid falloff too.”
        As I stated before, that is normal ( When you get vaccinated the point is to stimulate the body’s immune system to produce B and T cells. Some T cells directly attach infected cells, but importantly some T cells promote the division and expansion of B cells which make the antibodies. However, it’s not the antibodies that convey long term immunity because antibody levels will fall way off absent the antigen (virus particles). It’s the production of MEMORY B and MEMORY T cells (which are actually a bit different from common B & T cells) that conveys longer term immunity and even these memory cells may not live forever hence your need for revaccination for diseases like tetanus.

        As for no basis in Covid-19 not having longer immunity; one of the studies Dr Campbell reviews is this recent one published in Nature where SARS survivors are still showing long term immunity 17 years later ( Covid-19 is structurally more similar to SARS than to the common cold.

        As for T cell hype. Your references are actually referring to what is known as cross reactive immunity. In this case memory T cells left over from a different infection where those memory T cells have an immune response capable of attacking another infection. That aside, neither I nor Dr. Campbell have ever said cross reactive immunity confers full immunity. I do believe the primary point of the cross reactive immunity is that Covid-19 and SARS are more closely related to a betacoronavirus, that is the likely source of some cross reactive immunity, than to the 4 common cold corona viruses that have short lived immunity.

  7. dcblogger

    I keep thinking about this piece by Yves about the coming eviction apocalypse:
    Residential Evictions Bearing Down on Many Tenants

    I imagine that the kleptocracy already has plans about how to carry out millions of simultaneous evictions, even how to profit off of it and members are congress have already invested in those companies.

    If you have not read it, I recommend this, one of NC’s best. Circulate widley!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. fresno dan

      October 29, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Its like a train coming down the track, and the US decides to get drunk and take a nap on the tracks – what could go wrong? Whoo Hoo – FANG stocks are up, up, UP!!!
      I think a good part of the problem is how “unemployment” can only be reported as the weekly increase or decrease in applications. Its like all those people who don’t have jobs from more than a week ago don’t count and aren’t worth thinking about.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe your comment applies to Fecund Stench above at 29 Oct 8:31.
        Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 171 appears to contain a fair number of caveats and qualifications. How is North Carolina able to pay landlords and utilities directly? Does North Carolina have a large warchest to support this measure? When I put your comment togther with the direct pay to landlords and utilities I start to smell a rat.

  8. Anon II, First of the Name

    > The Lie Of U.S. Leverage: Joe Biden Must Rejoin The Iran Nuclear Deal National Interest (resilc)

    I think the author of this is missing the broader point of Trump’s policies.

    The US has three options in dealing with the Middle East:

    1. Just leaving everything alone, going home, and let the chips fall where they may. This is flat out not going to happen, whatever its relative merits/drawbacks.

    2. Create and maintain a balance of power type situation in which the Iran block serves as a countermeasure to the Sunni (and now Israel) block This was the approach favored by Obama and most American Presidents’ except for Bush Jr. and Trump, and likely the one favored by most of the world.

    3. Create a single hegemon This is Trump’s preferred approach given his coziness to Israel.

    Withdrawing from the JCPOA and sanctions, etc are simply a way to create the conditions for option 3. And although one may find the US’ backsliding on the deal offensive and odious, it seems to be having quite an effect on creating the conditions for Option 3 to be quite irreversible going forward–Iran is an absolute disaster right now, and it is difficult to see how it can avoid caving to absolutely every demand the US/local hegemon make if this continues for a few more years.

    The author is arguing that the US should change its position again and lean towards option 2. That is fine, and possibly preferable to longterm American interests, although given the amount of intel and weaponry and know-how and stronger Sunni-Israelie tiesso on that the US has undoubtedly provided Israel during the Trump administration, it may be imposisble to put into practice anytime soon anyway. Nonetheless, to assert that the US cannot force more concessions if it wishes to is incorrect.

    Whether it is intelligent for the US to do so, of course, is an entirely different matter.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Nonetheless, to assert that the US cannot force more concessions if it wishes to is incorrect.’

      Don’t think that Iran will give any concessions for a simple reason-

      Question – Why should you not give in to the demands of a blackmailer?

      Answer – Because the demands will never stop but will increase.

      See the historical record for Danegeld for confirmation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        In my comment I neglected to mention what the demand already was by the US on Iran in order to re-do this deal. It is for Iran to give up its missile programs. The same ones that stop the US from attacking Iran. Yeah, that’s going to happen.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think thats a fair overview of the realpolitik of Middle Eastern politics. The realistic best case reality for most febrile regions like the Middle East is that you have several powers who balance each other out, forcing them to deal with each others as equals. What those smaller countries caught between them think of this is another matter.

      For all its faults, Obama’s Iran deal was at least an attempt at reaching some sort of balance in the region, even if it didn’t exactly come from noble motives. A stronger and more secure Iran is a vital stepping stone to stability in the region, and stability is the first step towards genuine peace.

      But as you say, Iran seems to be in a horrible mess at the moment. No doubt there is joy in this in Tel Aviv and Jeddah, but if those countries were led by individuals who weren’t entirely warped even they would recognise the importance of a stable Iran.

      One of the few good things I can think of from a Biden presidency is that he would have a more sensible policy toward Iran than Trump, but I fear it might be too late, the damage has been done for the reasons you’ve outlined.

      1. mike

        I actually prefer the de-escalation that has been going on during the Trump years. Trump is fighting both parties when he tries to bring troops home but we haven’t started any new wars. It almost looks like peace is breaking out in the Middle East.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Dangerous PeaceThink! Everybody knows we need more war and Trump’s peace deals are a menace to that and are fake news anyway. That’s why anti-war progressives and middle-of-the-roaders are flocking to vote for Biden um erp bleep bloop bzzz ftt.

          I on the other hand would vote for Wink Martindale if it meant even a slight chance that we would spend a few less trillions slaughtering brown women and children around the globe, but that’s just me.

          1. Wukchumni

            Keep in mind you not only get a retired game show host, but also a NFL defensive coordinator when you cast your presidential vote for Wink Martindale…

            ”Wink-Wink, Say No More!”

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I needed that bit of knowledge thanks Wuk! It’s not like my internal hard drive wasn’t full of arcania already. I think I’ll go out on my boat today and de-frag the drive with a funny little green cigarette

      1. Anon II, First of the Name

        Well, most American Presidents have leaned towards Israel, and selling arms (and associated intelligence agreements) bear that out, but none have been willing to abandon the idea of balance of powers. I would argue that Bush II intended to do so by invading Iraq (which was intended as a precursor to war in Iran), but that war was so incredibly botched that it ended up making Iran stronger.

        Trump is the only other American president I know that seems hell-bent on abandoning that principle.

        Maybe a Middle East expert like Juan Cole can chime in on the issue…

    3. Carolinian

      Apparently Adelson has given Trump something like 70 million for his various campaigns so whatever Trump’s personal inclinations (who ever knows what those are?) it’s not a stretch to say that he doesn’t want to cross his top donor. Doubtless son in law Kushner is another influence. Plus, do the Iranians have any champions at all within the US government? Perhaps the military serves as the biggest restraint. They have the most to lose in bases and personnel and ships should conflict break out. Those Iranian missiles are quite accurate.

    4. Darthbobber

      This list is not exhaustive, though it does exhaust the options of the crackpot realist version of geopolitics.

      Doing in reality what we have long pretended to do, IE “fight terrorism” is definitely an option, though it would imply a totally different network of alliances. (this is partly what Gabbard was on about, not peace per second, but a different choice of enemies.)

      Of course, those who run policy for the Mideast have NEVER been all that concerned with terrorism as such, which they see as no challenge in terms of geopolitics. Rather, they concern themselves entirely with states and the control of those.

    5. Duck1

      “Iran is an absolute disaster right now, and it is difficult to see how it can avoid caving to absolutely every demand the US/local hegemon make if this continues for a few more years.”

      Do you have any links you could refer us to so we could assess the validity of this statement?

  9. Mr. Magoo

    Re: Trump’s H-1B ban may have shaved $100 billion off America’s biggest firms Quartz

    This analysis is beyond ridiculous. To take all the factors influencing volatility in the marker and propose that one seven day period is primarily the result of suspending H-1Bs is beyond stupid.

    “The cumulative average abnormal returns (CAARs) of 471 companies from the Fortune 500 list dropped by 0.45% —equivalent to over $100 billion—in the 10 days after the order to halt H-1B was signed on June 22”

    That type of movement happens during a lunch break regularly now. Ya don’t need 10 days.

    Click bait crap. We don’t need any more of this H-1B exceptionalism they are peddling.

    1. fresno dan

      Mr. Magoo
      October 29, 2020 at 8:46 am
      I agree 100%. Its unpossible that the author could be that stupid – agendas being advanced.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I got this far –

      The June order has barred nearly 200,000 foreign workers and their dependents from entering the US, making it harder for American companies to hire skilled immigrants.

      An more accurate depiction would be “making it harder for American companies with billions in profits to continue to undercut the wages of US workers.”

  10. fresno dan

    October 29, 2020 at 8:16 am

    I remember an interesting case at HICAP related to long term care insurance. A woman, relatively well off, had to let her long term care insurance lapse. 30 some years of paying for long term care insurance, but she simply could not afford the premiums any longer. She was in her upper ninties.
    So all those years of paying for long term care insurance, and when she finally needed it, she no longer had it. So to get Medi-Cal (California medicaid) she had to spend down all her assets (always get a good attorney experienced in such matters).
    Anyway, the interesting thing I learned is that to get Medi-Cal for long term care funding, one has to be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. The woman had had her husbands retiree health insurance that was very good, and therefore had opted out of taking Part B.
    So to get Part B she would have to pay the late enrollment penalty. I never learned if this was really going to be calculated for 30 years. Still, IIRC she was 97, so it wasn’t going to be something that was going to have to be endured for a long time.
    Being in a nursing home is tremendously expensive – the family was well off apparently, so I don’t know if they could have paid our of pocket for a couple of years from her assets or not.

    1. ambrit

      One fell night, Phyl and I goofed on the idea of caring for her elderly parents. (They had preceded us into the Void by then.) When we figured up the ‘costs’ associated with their nursing home stays, we were rather shocked to find that one could support an entire household on the figure. So, if one family member becomes a dedicated caregiver, which is similar to caring for an infant eventually, the entire experience netted out as a “win” for the family. This takes a level of familial ‘pride’ seldom seen today, but of necessity seen often in the long ago. [In Dickens, who took care of Miss Havisham? Why, her companion, Estella of course. The poor were expected to go off somewhere inconspicuous and die. Sound familiar?]
      The owners and originators of the nursing home in question sold out to a conglomerate, for a nice profit we were told. Right away, the cost cutting began. Prices actually went up, for visibly inferior “service.”
      That experience, although at second hand convinced me to take out a “long term care policy” from Messrs. Smith and Wesson. The .38 ‘return on investment’ policy was the most reasonable.
      Now, cynical as I am, I later figured out that by the time I was far gone enough to invoke this ‘policy,’ I might be too far gone to actually carry out the terms of the policy. The late Terry Pratchett did it right. He had a supportive family up to the end. (We will never hear the truth of that ‘passing’ because legalities etc. Who wants to be charged with some form of homicide for helping in a suicide?)

      1. Fireship

        “That experience, although at second hand convinced me to take out a “long term care policy” from Messrs. Smith and Wesson.”

        Who’s going to clean your mess up after you? Hopefully you do the job properly as well. 15% of suicide attempts with a gun fail. Hopefully you never have children visit your house either. Oh wait, your one of the infallible “responsible” gun owners, right?

        Any other strong rugged types thinking of buying suicide machines should read this article first. Excerpt:

        Ryan is my baby. I remember once telling him, “If anything happens to you, I would cease to exist.” And that’s what it feels like. It’s a pain like no other. I would encourage open conversation—actually talking about it. Preventing just one person from going through what I went through and will go through for the rest of my life—that would be enough for me.

        Wendy Tapp, mother of 19-year-old Ryan Tapp, who shot himself with a handgun in 2011

        1. ambrit

          I know not your experience with watching someone die slowly, but the cases of Phyl’s parents were horrific but not unusual. The lesson was clear; die with family, not in an impersonal warehouse.
          I actually have considered the ‘mess factor’ of a violent self murder. John Le Carre has one of his characters shoot himself after having covered his head with towels so as to minimize the resulting mess. Such considerations figure in my theoretical exercise in corporeal abnegation.
          Also relevant is the ‘moderne’ fleeing away from the contemplation of death in this culture. Everyone must think young, act young, be young? That can only last for so long. Death comes for us all. Be ready so that you are not panicked into self denial and the status of ‘commodity.’
          I’ll not get into a discussion of “deaths of despair” at this time. It is too “triggering” a subject at present.

          1. Procopius

            The first Gore Vidal novel I read was “Messiah,” which imagined a charismatic young man preaching a cult of suicide abetted by modern marketing techniques. This was in the ’50s, so you had television, and kinescope, and movies and tape recordings to spread the message and also preserve the founder’s actual words forever. I wonder what would happen now if we had videotape of Jesus preaching. Anyway, somebody actually produced a “black pill” that worked, inducing extreme euphoria before the subject expired, the preacher was extraordinarily effective, and the cult, organized on modern business principals continued to grow after he followed his own recommendation. I’m surprised no one has (yet) produced a “black pill.” Contrary to the medical business plan, I guess: ameloriate symptoms, do not cure.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        we discovered that my Great Grandma was in a facility, back home, outside of Houston.
        went to see her, and the place was a wreck…even roaches all underfoot. Charging an arm and a leg, and Nanny’s health and cognitive ability falling like a rock.
        So we brought her up here(due to stepdad, we’re set up for wheelchair, We had home health coming…twice a week, at first…then every day….then a nurse’s aid every day for a bath, and a full time sitter.
        sitter was a crazy person…prone to stirring up caca…so mom fired her one day.
        i was in the process at this time of whittling down the hours i could work in a kitchen, due to my legs(car wreck, circa 1990), and we were having problems with day care for our then newborn eldest.
        so i “Retired”, and got on with the home health agency as the sitter, and babysat my son and my great grandmother.
        by this time, she was essentially bedridden, lost in things that happened in 1912, and only needed turning and a shower every other day and feeding.
        didn’t weigh 80#.
        thought i was her husband/father/brother/cousin.
        I spent most of my 5 hour ‘shift” reading, with one eye on the boy.
        worked out great for everyone, and she got far better care than she ever would have gotten at that other place.
        then one day she just died, eyes wide open, as immobile as she had been a moment before.
        took me 10 minutes to determine if she was really gone.
        there’s a sense of circularity in all this, as well.
        Nanny had been my brother and i’s baby sitter, from my birth, until we no longer needed watching.
        she helped me come into the world, and i helped her go out of it.

        1. ambrit

          The obscuration factor is heartily at work here. Sir Pratchett had Alzheimer’s and was deteriorating. He made quite public pronouncements about wishing to “Die With Dignity,” which is still illegal in Britain. (Doctors caught ‘helping’ one die ‘before one’s time’ face up to fourteen years in stir.) So, the situation suggests that the “cancer” story is a legal ruse to shield his friends and family from prosecution. The “real” truth will probably not be known in the lifetimes of his family members attendant at his ‘passing.’
          Terry on death:
          An hour long.

      3. bruce

        You don’t need a gun. If you can make it to Oregon, we’re first in the nation in assisted suicide. Back when the Mint was doing state quarters, I wanted our quarter to show a gravestone with a bottle of pills on top, but they went with Crater Lake instead.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          “You don’t need a gun”,
          Just park the old edsel in the garage, grab your favorite substance(s) and have a nice deep sleep.
          Btw, it won’t be the CO2 that does the job, but the CO.
          Carbon monoxide

      4. Offtrail

        Having recently completely a six year stint as caregiver for a family member in his nineties, I can tell you that taking care of a failing adult is much harder than taking care of an infant. Infants don’t weigh 180 lbs, for one thing.

        1. ambrit

          Ah, point taken. It is harder than caring for an infant, but does that change the moral factor?
          Either case depends on the level of family cohesion, which has been engineered to be low here for decades.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Might be thoughtful to exercise that policy on the executives of whatever PE or VC shitshop owns the local seniors dump. We ain’t supposed to talk about notions like that. But “frontier justice” has operated in the past (not very well, of course, the “Regulators” and “Vigilantes” mostly morphed into Mafia types pretty quickly.)

      But hey, “Frontier Justice” is just a game, right? And an entry in Wiki, And inevitably, an really nice gun store:

    3. JohnnySacks

      Death and dying has been fully commoditized. If there were any possible option available for assisted suicide, then how would the financial benefactors hoover up any lifetime of wealth accumulation? No, they let the outcome be the same only after inflicting misery on everyone involved and stripping whatever available assets remain. Only then are you allowed to die, dignity be damned.

  11. cocomaan

    American Honeybees Just Can’t Get a Break

    Beekeeper here. The article is lamenting the end of the USDA data collection program. But any beekeeper who has done their homework knows that getting a 50% reporting rate on survival or deaths of beehives in a state is unheard of. State ag departments beg for information but really have no idea. So whatever data USDA was collecting was incredibly noisy. Beekeeping also involves incredibly specific microclimates and neighboring hives are a large factor in determining hive success. So national level statistics aren’t really useful.

    If the data was of better quality, I’d be all for collection, but I don’t think it’s giving an accurate picture of what beekeeping looks like.

    1. ambrit

      Forgive me, but I cannot resist.
      Well, perhaps the USDA should take notice of the “Buzz On The Street.”

      1. cocomaan

        When it comes to stats, they just “drone” on and on.

        Okay, we should stop at this point. This could get out of hand.

            1. ambrit

              That’s really a Halloween Joke!
              Somehow, I don’t see this particular ‘characterization’ ending up in a box of Count Chocula, much less Franken Berry, and don’t even think of Boo Berry!.

    2. polecat

      I have 4 colonies derived from the bee package I hived this last Spring. 2 seem vigorous, although one might not make it through Winter unless the residents complete drawing, and filling with honey, the second box of comb. We’ll see what happens. I’m feeding as much bee-tea syrup as they’ll take, until it gets too cold to do so. Both of those colonies had produced no drones. Drones can harbor Varroa mites. Drones generally are accepted into hives, regardless of origin.. Of the other 2 colonies (one, the packaged original, having cast multiple swarms .. and the first caught swarm – a 3pounder that remaines quite lively, have curly-wing/ deformed-wing virus. Both produced/accepted drones – with lots of infected newly hatched adults being pulled forcibly from the hives affected. I’ll have to wait come spring to see if they survive as well – hard for a queen to winter over without winter attendants!

      Watching this saddens me greatly.

  12. bob

    How Tesla Should Combat Child Labor In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo Forbes

    “We will coup whoever we we want”

    1. Milton

      Yup, empathy is pretty scarce at Tesla. I don’t think Elon is capable of any human response that results in the other party having a positive outcome. Man, that person (Musk) should be locked in the deepest hole possible.

      1. ambrit

        Really send him to Mars. At the present level of technology, it is possible and the price is well within his wealth level.

        1. Wukchumni

          One teensy little problem is parachutes don’t work on Mars all that well, so Elon can’t get there from here with the technology on hand, not that it should stop him from trying.

          1. ambrit

            Oh come on now. The Russian landing system for their Soyuz capsule should work just fine on Mars. Mars does have an atmosphere, so, larger parachutes would probably help. the rate of descent is a function of parachute area and density of atmosphere. That or have drones clear out a landing path on a flat bit of Martian terrain and use gliders.
            Another “off the wall” but possible method would be to deploy a lighter than air balloon system and float down gently.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: frozen food firms as culprit in two outbreaks in China, sparking warning over cold imports”

    Wait a minute. Wasn’t that the suspected cause of that mysterious outbreak of the virus in New Zealand? That it was a company that had branches in not only New Zealand but in Victoria which was undergoing an assault by the virus at the time?

    1. thump

      What is the proposed mechanism of infection from the frozen salmon to the people working in the stall? It would not seem to be by eating the fish. Evaporation of water from the fish would not seem to produce the aerosolized droplets we’re all masking to prevent.

  14. jr

    For the military history types: I found this incredible video on Utoob about a Polish film “Born to the Sabre”, which the narrator claims is one of the most realistic sword fights on film. It’s pretty amazing. I had no idea sword/sabre fights were so up in one’s grill!

    1. Terry Flynn

      I used to lap up online interviews with the late great Bob Anderson. Although he was a British Olympic level fencer, he gained fame for his work in movies. Importantly, he described two very different sword fighting styles. The first would keep you alive but cinematically often seemed very boring. The second was incredibly glamorous and frequently cinematically amazing but doing it in real life would kill you in a minute.

      He honed his “cinematic fighting style” teaching people like Errol Flynn. He even had to don the Darth Vader costume in episodes 5 and 6 (being over 6′ but still not quite tall enough he needed lifts) for the fight scenes with Luke. David Prowse just couldn’t fight, breaking the stunt light sabres all the time. Mark Hamill spilled the beans on UK breakfast tv in the 1980s that “yet another” person had been “in the suit – Bob Anderson”. The pics of Bob sans helmet are now online.

      His last “big project” was Lord of the Rings….. He claimed Viggo Mortensen was the most naturally gifted “fighting actor” he ever encountered.

      1. John A

        Perhaps the most famous, and most produced, theatrical sword fight is at the end of Hamlet, and yet, spoiler alert, they all die of poison.
        A production I saw in London a couple of years ago, set in modern dress, with a brilliant Andrew Scott as the eponymous prince, staged the fight as an Olympic style contest with points for hits and the scores in Danish.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, real fighting rarely looks as cool as it looks on screen – even with boxing (look at the difference between Rocky and Raging Bull).

        A friend teaches movement to actors in historic dramas – not necessarily fighting, just things like how to walk and move in armour or corsets, or how to eat medieval style. There are numerous ‘real’ things that are vetoed by directors as just not looking cool enough. As a simple example, look at how many characters in historical or fantasy films carry their swords on their back (looks cool), but in reality that completely defeats the purpose of a sword (which is almost always a secondary weapon designed for rapid access to your sword hand).

        For those interested in these things, I’m told the new Netflix drama ‘Barbarian’ (about the lead up to the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest) is very realistic, so far as costumes and weaponry is concerned. It even has the Germanics speaking (modern) German and the Romans speaking Italian accented vulgar Latin. I watched a little bit last night and it looked fairly good, although somewhat obviously not made on a Game of Thrones type budget.

        For what its worth, I don’t think any director has ever topped Akira Kurosawa when it comes to mixing realism with amazing visuals in his fight scenes. While he never hesitated to change historical reality for cinematic effect when needed, he always grounded his films in reality. I don’t think any film has matched Seven Samurai for so painstakingly setting out a battlefield and portraying the complexity of commanding a defence, and the fundamental difference between individual warriors and trained masses of soldiers (or in that case, peasants). Right through his career, from the final fight between an unarmed policeman and a desperate armed fugitive in Stray Dog, to the massive battles of Ran, he is unsurpassed.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Thanks. Since Kurosawa was a big influence on Star Wars I now have another reason to check him out!

          1. ambrit

            It is. I intuitively knew this, (don’t ask how.) I never really understood until I read something by a French director where he mentioned that real fights are eerily quiet. No loud crowd sounds, no loud smashing chairs and bottles, (ever tried to actually smash a bottle,) no booming as bodies hit the floor, etc. Just small smacks as fists hit flesh, half heard grunts of pain, indistinct cries of rage and fear. From a Hollywood perspective, real fights are undramatic. I think that Kurosawa understood this and substituted real visual splendor for a fake aural one. The battle scenes in the village square in Seven Samurai, done in the rain, people slipping and sliding in real chaos, the Samurai archer a calm and focused centre of the action get my vote. The archer, played by Takashi Shimura, anchors the scene. He is the epitome of ‘centredness’ while the chaos swirling around him is the reality of actual fights.
            The lesson for fight fans here is; plan ahead. We have a ‘Time of Troubles’ hurtling towards us. Be prepared is much more than a Scouting motto today.

            1. Basil Pesto

              this astonishing fight sequence in Deadwood, between George Hearst and Swearengen’s lieutenants, channels some of what you talk about, I think. It’s not completely devoid of background sound, but that’s because it takes place in the thoroughfare. This sound dies down as the fight progresses, as the thoroughfare is brought to a halt by the fight, and gives way to the cries and blows of the combatants.

              (warning, the video is brutal; game-of-thrones avant game-of-thrones stuff)

              1. RMO

                I really don’t like the way fighting has been “beautified” in film. All the CGI-wire-fu and elaborate swordplay stuff which is supposed to make the audience think “cool!” It gets tiresome for me. Maybe it bothers me because it glorifies the violence rather than showing fighting as the ugly and desperate thing that it is. I remember James Burke in Connections who, when talking about combat in the days of the broadsword mentioned how people often died well after the battle by infection and demonstrated the sword by saying “I’m going to show you what it does to a side of meat, because in combat, that’s what a man is”

                1. jr


                  I think this point hits several nails at once. The vast majority of film and television shows are too pretty, too slick and stylish, in my opinion. Whether it’s ludicrous battle scenes, super model casts, CG everything, it totally destroys any sense of immersion. A case in point:


                  The above is Polanski’s “Macbeth” again. Compare it to Macbeth 2015:


                  This is genetically closer to a music video than a movie, IMO.

        2. rowlf

          I have always scratched my head over why the Seven Samurai forgot they were archers. It would have shaved an hour off the film.

            1. ambrit

              Poor Toshiro “The Pincushion” Mifune!
              The scene in “Ran” where the character blindly walks unscathed through clouds of flying arrows is wizzard!

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          “Barbarian” is pretty good.
          only realism sin they made that i noticed(as far as how folks lived/behaved) was the overabundance of candles.
          (that’s a forever peeve of mine with all such films, historical or post-apocalypse…who makes all those candles, such that they have hundreds burning 24/7 ?)
          only a couple of minor ahistoricities, that i noticed.
          none of them dealbreakers.

          and the placesetting was gorgeous.
          deep dark woods….reminded me of east texas in winter, but without all the rock.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’ll definitley follow it up then, its a while since I bingewatched something.

            You may know a youtuber called Metatron, he’s an acknowledged expert on Roman military matters, he has quite an interesting analysis of the series and he links to some Italian language sources that go into even more detail.

            You are right of course about candles, at any almost time in history they would have been pretty expensive items.

            1. Boris

              Thanks for your direction towards Metatron…the guy is very interesting and entertaining to listen to, and I learned a couple of things immediately with the first video.
              An amusing thing, I found, was his explanation that and why the Romans kept their armours and helmets shiny and clean, while in this tv series all that looks as rugged and dirty as we are used to from historic movies: Another case of reality just looking unreal in a movie, so they had to reduce the realism to make it look and feel more realistic for the audience.

            2. LifelongLib

              When somebody like Tolstoy writes about “brilliantly lit ballrooms” I wonder how they actually would have looked. Maybe not as dark as an ordinary house of the time at night, but I sort of imagine a whole bunch of people barely able to see each other…

        4. ewmayer

          Re. Barbarian — Thx for the reccie. Do they show the Teutons’ highly effective use of Schleuderblei (lit. “sling lead”) – heavy lead shot delivered at high speed via leather sling – as a form of sniping during the several-days-long battle?

          “Publius Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!”

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      Interesting, thanks for the reference – hadn’t heard of it so I’ll have to get busy & get a copy of that movie!!

      As an aside, some circles have 1977’s ‘The Duellists’ as a contender for one of better sword fights on film…others like it, but have misgivings, so I’ll be looking forward to this new contender ‘Born to the Sabre’ getting the comparison/contrast analysis from the usual suspects. :)

      In a similar vein, ‘The Duellists’ analysis:



  15. Off The Street

    Online interactions could benefit from consideration of guidance from way last millennium, from the Rotarians. Perhaps you are one, or know of one. Here is their Four-Way Test.

    Is it the TRUTH?
    Is it FAIR to all concerned?
    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

    1. bruce

      I am not a Rotarian, but I have been to their meetings in two much different small towns, and I am familiar with the four principles. Eleven miles south of me in the town where I was a judge for ten years, the meetings were slightly dull but otherwise unremarkable. In a town in Fresno County, California, where I did a brief but well-compensated stint as an associate long, long ago, the meetings were noteworthy for shocking, overt racism, and also some of the saltiest fried chicken I have ever encountered.

      I will leave you with the classic service club joke. Little boy asks his mom, “How do lions make love?” She replies “I don’t know dear, your father and most of our friends are Rotarians.”

  16. bob

    Huge year for Chipmunks and other scurrying animals where I am. Every time I went to the store to buy mouse traps for the invading army they were out. Big mast year last year, apparently.

    A friend was making waffles one morning when she had to leave the kitchen for a minute. She came back and there was a chipmunk on the counter holding one while all of the others had bite marks out of them. Her cat was just watching.

    1. cocomaan

      Same here in PA. Huge mast year last year. Driving up my driveway sounded like firecrackers going off as you drove over them.

      Whereas this year’s mast was early and not very good. Lots of sour acorns that even my chickens wouldn’t eat, lots hit by disease. Like the trees weren’t trying hard.

      But that’s their plan. The trees laid the trap for an overabundance of the small critters and now the critters will have to deal with starvation.

      1. steve

        I had to remove a sizable area of the parking pad several years back and uncovered a section of chipmunk burrow. They store a lot of acorns. Bucket fulls out of just two “rooms”, and the burrow carried on in multiple directions. I get the idea that one bad year can be withstood.

        I saved their acorns and dumped them off to the side and filled the burrows with sand and poured my new concrete. They reexcavated the burrow, evidenced by the scattering of sand around the yard and picked through the acorns I had saved, taking the majority. I think we would be shocked at just how extensive their burrows are if we could see them.

        1. cocomaan

          That’s fascinating. I’ve found stores as well, none that big, but I also haven’t been digging either.

          It might be that underground they can keep them at a good temperature to prevent spoilage. It also means that they weed them for pests, because the weevils and other pests that get into acorns can spoil an entire store of them. I’ve heard of people having tons of great acorns spoiled when insects spread from one infected acorn to the rest of them. So I imagine chipmunks are constantly monitoring their hoard for spoilage.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the things the squirrels plant* have a better germination rate, and end up as healthier trees.(oaks and pecans)
            this, compared to what plant in pots…or even in situ where i want a tree.
            only issue is that they plant* them sort of at random.
            i’ve tried transplanting just as soon as i notice them, but these trees are really fast with the taproot.
            so i just accept the squirrel community’s input on landscape design…unless it’s just totally unworkable(can’t have a pecan tree in the middle of the cart path)

            *”plant” meaning “forget where they buried the nut”.

            1. cocomaan

              We have a hickory in the yard that’s on the decline, with the crown starting to wilt and fissures opening up. Poor guy is at the end of his days.

              But there’s a really convenient red oak that’s popping up right next to it. Great replacement tree. No red oaks nearby. Must be a squirrel!

    2. Anonymous

      I was climbing Pike’s Peak with my baby brother some time ago. He sat on a bench, pulled out a cigarette to smoke (he’s quit since then, thank God), and a chipmonk ran up his chest and stole the (not yet lit) cigarette out of his mouth!

      It was the funniest thing I ever saw but my brother was mad! That’s funny too in its own right.

      1. cocomaan

        That’s amazing. We saw a pika in Idaho that was collecting flowers once. Went back and read to find out that they store edible flowers for the winter!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i saw 2 voles(i think) standing upright and fistfighting.
          really going to town.
          duking it out like boxers.
          they’d stop, and run around in circles, and get right back to it.
          went on for 20 minutes before they noticed me standing there.
          then they froze, looked at each other, and Poof!…gone.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Watched two squirrels doing that, actually punching and going to town, really thought it was going to be a fight to the death. They did break it up tho.

            Our squirrels love to scratch the cedar tree bark into a very fine, probably weavable, type of nesting material.
            Smells really good and is real soft.

  17. none

    Bernie Sanders said the most sensible thing I’ve heard about the pandemic, at its very beginning. He said it has to be treated like a major war. From that perspective, the different inconveniences of lockdowns (unless you’re subject to drastic stuff like eviction) are quite minor. I tell myself every so often that compared to the Siege of Leningrad (which went on for 2+ years), this lockdown stuff is nothing. So I don’t have the slightest problem wearing masks, keeping distance from other humans, etc.

    1. KidPsych

      I’m quite certain the people of Sweden are pleased their leaders did not treat covid as if it were a war, but rather what it clearly is – a virus that targets the elderly and unhealthy. Last I checked the median age of decedents in Sweden was 86. I think using hyperbolic language only distorts more nuanced messages about how the virus impacts individuals and communities. It seems obvious that a lack of nuanced understanding has prevented messages that would have protected many – from maintaining a high vitamin D status to exercising and eating more healthy foods. Yes, I know it’s a horrible inconvenience to focus on one’s health – but I find lockdowns and distancing horribly inconvenient too. As to your being okay with social distancing, I’m not. I don’t mean I flout rules – I wear masks in markets and when working directly with clients – but the idea that this is somehow “okay” is insane to me. People in Sweden are living life quite normally right now. I can tell you firsthand (through increased hospitalizations for suicide threats and massively high caseloads of children presenting with anxiety and depression) that there is a cost to social distancing that is going to impact this cohort of children for decades. This is not a war. It’s a terrible crisis that requires thoughtful perspective.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Making Shit Up is a violation of our site Policies.

        People in Sweden are not living normally. Their GDP has taken a bigger hit than their neighbors due to having a roughly 10x higher death rate. Norway, Denmark, and Finland have also closed their borders to Sweden prior to the case spike in Europe.

        1. John A

          The latest advice from Public Health Agency of Sweden valid from 29 October for people in Stockholm and other larger population areas:
          Avstå från köpcentrum, simhallar, cuper och matcher inom idrottssammanhang. Försök att inte umgås med någon utanför familjen, avstå från större möten och försök i så hög grad som möjligt jobba hemifrån.
          My quick translation
          Avoid shopping malls, swimming pools, sports events. Try not to socialise with anyone outside your family, avoid larger meetings and try as much as possible, to work from home.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Beg to differ.

      War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terror, War on Cancer. Everything we “declare war” on, we get more of.

      Once the “capitalists” get onboard and turn those who would be “rescued” into customers, it becomes an economic imperative that the “wars” become endless and their targets perpetuated.

      america doesn’t declare war to win. america declares war to create “industries.”

      1. KLG

        Never declare war on an improper noun such as those you list. You cannot win. We did not declare war on Sneak Attackism, but the Empire of Japan. Hitler “accommodated” us shortly thereafter by declaring war on the USA.

        But a war directed at The Coronavirus, that could work…but only in an other than Neoliberal Universe.

      2. Maritimer

        “War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terror, War on Cancer. Everything we “declare war” on, we get more of.”

        So, true and so forgotten by many. Once your civil liberties go, they are not coming back. I remember the 9/11/Terror/Iraq WMD frauds. They stripped civil liberties at the airport and now, your local store, street and home are the airport. Cheney must be green with envy at the psyops come home to roost in the Homeland. And this was predicted by many twenty years ago.

    3. jef

      I didn’t read Bernies statement but I believe that he meant it in a positive way, not the “war on drugs” way. The fact is that is was an opportunity to bring the country together and mobilize to stop it in its tracks. Instead the absolute opposite happened.

      1. Carla

        I intend to remember the remark by “none” (above) comparing the sacrifices imposed on us due to Covid-19 to what people had to endure for 2-1/2 years during the Siege of Leningrad. When feelings of self-pity start to bubble up, it will put things in the proper perspective.

        Thanks, “none”!

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And notably absent is any mention of that other thing called “war”, you know, the kind where our nation tries to kill off the inhabitants of another nation. How maybe just maybe if we had less of it we would have the energy, manpower, and resources to fight a domestic pathogen war for the people of our nation.

        Bernie of course can’t go there, having surrendered himself to the party whose last leader expanded foreign wars from 2 to 7. We can do better! Let’s take it from 6 (Trump having closed one down) to 12! Get Susan Rice back in there! Vote for Joe!

        1. Bring the Army Corps of Engineers home, today. Put them to work building roads, schools, bridges, and hospitals in the United States of America. I know, rename it The Peace Corps.

        2. Remove U.S. troops and support from NATO. Brezhnev’s tanks pouring through the Fulda Gap in Germany to advance the Soviet system will just have to be resisted by, I dunno, the Europeans.

        But alas, no. President Harris and Vice President Buttigieg have much different plans for us all. Recquiescat in Pacem

    4. ewmayer

      “it has to be treated like a major war” — So, send in the private contractors for endless rounds of $trillion grifting, while huge numbers of innocent civilians die and “victory” remains perpetually, elusively, “one surge away”? Yah, no thanks. No, the pandemic needs to be treated like what it is – a mass-scale public health emergency. We don’t need even *more* martial metaphors, what we need is a recommitment to US public health infrastructure and capabilities, and an end to the for-profit medical/insurance paradigm. What’s Mr. talk-is-cheap Bernie Sanders doing about that? Ah yes, shilling for career grifter, neoliberal and warmonger Joe Biden. And deluding himself, and his dwindling base of remaining followers, that he will “push Biden left”.

  18. Basil Pesto

    Happy to translate the narration in the polar bear video for everyone:

    “This is terrible! We’ll never get home in time to meddle with the Americans’ election!”

    1. AnonyMouse

      Naturally, Boris Johnson will face no consequences for actively profiting from Islamophobic slurs in his Telegraph column, nor the anti-semitic tropes that Jewish oligarchs control elections and run the media in his novel (way of writing a f***king awful story).

      Labour’s lost my vote.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Not all that familiar with the UK political system but from what I understand, even though Labor and the Tories are dominant, it’s still much easier for a new party to form and get traction than it is in the US.

        Any possibility of Corbin doing that? Sounds like he’d have a pretty large base.

        1. AnonyMouse

          It is and it isn’t. New parties can indeed be formed quite easily and make their way onto the ballot with very little monetary support. But First Past the Post as the electoral system gives the duopoly of Tories/Labour, Lib Dems in some constituencies a substantial advantage, usually. The rise of the Scots Nats aside. This was seen when centrists broke from Corbyn’s Labour Party to create a new party which initially had ~10 MPs and ended up with no seats in the next election, despite briefly polling at 20% for about 5 seconds.

          The main thing that we can hope to do, rather than “primarying”, is to form that party and threaten to take a significant enough vote share from Labour to deny them electoral victory, forcing them to make concessions towards more left-wing policies. This formula was used very successfully by UKIP when their perceived strength factored into David Cameron promising to enact an EU Referendum if he won the 2015 Election, with consequences that are now familiar to all of us. I would happily support such a party.

          1. Redlife2017

            There have been discussions on the left to do just that. I am hopeful that they’ll get that off the ground…

          2. lyman alpha blob

            Thanks for the reply and I was thinking of UKIP when I asked. They didn’t have enough support to win but did have enough to get listened to. The Greens and Libertarians have been around for decades in the US and really nobody gives a damn what they think.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Its only marginally easier to form a viable party in the UK than the US. The only real hope for a new party is that it can establish a localised support base – the UK electoral system is highly biased towards parties with a geographic concentration of support. Hence relatively small parties like Sinn Fein, the DUP or PC can have far more elected representatives than a party like the Greens, which consistently polls respectably but can never hope to win more than a tiny handful of seats, even with a total vote haul many multiples of the regional parties. The Lib Dems consistently end up with a tiny fraction of the seats of the main two, despite consistently getting maybe 15-20% of overall support in the past (they are now way down on this, barely polling more than the Greens).

          To make it worse, Labour has consistently refused to do deals with left oriented parties that might allow them to win more seats. By some counts, Labour could have taken power in the election before last had they done local deals with the Greens and PC (PC is the Welsh version of the SNP). They will see any breakaway left party as an enemy that has to be destroyed.

          It should be pointed out of course, that when Labour has been faced with a sensible left wing alternative, such as the SNP, PC, or Sinn Fein, its usually lost votes by the barrel load. I’ve often idly wondered what would happen if the SNP formed a shadow English party for the North of England on its identical electoral stance, just seeking the same powers for northern regions. I suspect it would get a lot of votes.

          But basically, I think the chances of a successful UK left wing alternative to Labour emerging is almost non-existent, not least because the ‘real’ left in the UK is itself badly split between various factions, and left wingers outside England already have pretty good alternatives.

          IMO the only real chance of an alternative would be some sort of realignment, whereby the remaining left wingers in the Lib Dems (if there are any left) aligned with the Greens and disgruntled Labourites to focus on a dozen or so winnable seats, and potentially use that as leverage. But even thats a bit of a long shot.

          1. Biologist

            You’re right, and it’s very sad.

            Until a few years ago, I’d have said that the only way the left could try to get power in UK is through a hostile takeover of Labour. They tried, briefly succeeded, but then failed. The result of that failure is that any future attempt will be much more difficult .
            (You come at the king, you best not miss…)

    2. John A

      The Guardian leading the charge as usual. Disgusting smear campaign being rubber stamped to confirm what the establishment wanted in ousting someone who was a potential threat to the neoliberal world order. There was a total media blackout about the report a few months ago about how Labour staffers sabotaged Corbyn at every turn

    3. Basil Pesto

      + suspended from the party.

      the Equality & Human Rights Commission released a report this morning claiming that there were unlawful violations within the Labour Party viz antisemitism. Corbyn disputed these findings (in a statement that otherwise vehemently repudiated antisemitism) and was suspended when he didn’t withdraw the statement.

    4. paul

      Cementing sir blair starmer’s place amongst the responsible people.

      There can be no doubt he will prove as fine a leader of the country as alexander johnson.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it be something if Corbyn said ‘bugger this for a game of toy soldiers’ and took the Labour party to Court over this if for no other reason than slander. Then he could start the process of discovery which would be quite revealing.

        1. chuck roast

          One can only hope that the Right Honorable Vanessa Baraitser is not appointed to hear the case. Thus far her grooming has been otherwise flawless.

    6. Clive

      Yes, my finger is hovering over the cancellation button on my membership Direct Debit. It is as you say the lowest of the low stitch-up, hatchet-job, establishment revenge, Nev-ah Socialism — whatever derogatory term one wishes to apply.

      I’m going to see what happens before I walk away for good. If I do that, that’ll be the end of any influence, however trivial that influence is. Hence my hesitation.

      But no, I’ve got a long memory. I’ll not be forgetting, let alone forgiving any time soon.

    7. Count Zero

      I agree Redlife. I am genuinely shocked. As a former member of the Labour Party in the 80s & 90s I was open-minded about Starmer and even hopeful that there was still a future for the party. This brings any such hopes to a juddering halt. This is not just exploiting blatant lies about antisemitism for the narrowest of short-term political purposes, it is also politically stupid. The party will now tear itself apart for months to come — to the delight of the Murdoch press and the Tory party. This is a bad bad day for the Labour Party.

    1. John A

      A few days ago, there were reports that Sir Kier Starmer had knocked a cyclist off their bike while driving. Apparently Starmer’s car was signalling a left turn when actually turning right.

        1. a different chris

          >After the crash the guy shouted at Starmer ‘How did you not see me?’

          Pretty much the cry of “Deplorables” everywhere.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The left has no more business within Labour than they do within the US Dem Party. These are both institutions built from the ground up to co-opt and defeat the left. This should be a wake-up call for the left in the UK to begin building their own institutional infrastructure.

      1. vlade

        I’d like to point out that the Left tried, with Corbyn, and it lead to two electoral defeats, the latest one a massive one.

        So the Left would be well advised to try to figure out how to get to the voters, regardless of what they do after this.

        And blaming the press won’t do it – the press in the UK is given, saying “in better world we would have won” means nothing. In fact, it’s pretty dangerously close to blaming the voters for their loss – “those dumb voters can’t see past Murdoch press so we always lose!”.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Elections deal with and highlight ephemeral passions, there needs to be an actual unapologetically left party in both the US and the UK where that political space can be cultivated, nurtured and expanded without stubborn undermining institutional resistance.

          1. vlade

            I see, ideological purity over power to have to do something. I sometime wonder whether the Left actually wants the power and what goes it with, or is just happier to snidely sit on the side and complain. Corbyn was very clearly much happer with the latter than former, he spent all of his political life doing that.

            In the meanwhile, the right figured out how to get the turkeys to vote for christmas and thanksgiving at the same time.

            1. steelyman

              Actually it’s pretty clear from the extremely close result of the 2017 election that Corbyn was in it to win.

              Furthermore, that 2017 Labour loss was due, in no small part, to internal sabotage by enemies of Corbyn and hardcore Blair supporters (still a sizeable element within the Labour Party bureaucracy). This has been well documented even if you chose not to mention it, deliberately or otherwise.

              Your specific words “just happier to snidely sit on the side and complain…” could very well apply to all the closet neoliberals in the Labour Party who have been dumping on Corbyn for years and years.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          To add: “I’d like to point out that the Left tried, with Corbyn, and it lead to two electoral defeats, the latest one a massive one.”

          That’s like saying that left centrism has no support in the UK because of the recent profound electoral failures of the LibDems.

        3. paul

          Yes, let’s just forget the first one, where he was such a small distance from winning.

          And forget how much that scared the establishment, and how it drew together to smite that awful aberration.

          I think blaming the press will do it, they do not provide the information required for the electorate to judge party claims.

          Watching the media in the last UK election, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that all hands with any influence were full to the wheel.

          1. vlade

            But he didn’t win, that’s the whole point. In a winner-takes all system, even a closer second doesn’t get you much, if anything.

            And he then had 2 years to get his message across, to fight the media and all, to get the Labour volunteers educate their local communities on the daily basis.

            Oh, and never mind that 2017 elections were as much as anything a re-run of the Brexit referendum, and a number of people (me included) were pointing out that the Labour leadership was taking the wrong message from the result (and how wrong it was, we have seen a year ago).

            And no, the right message wasn’t “back remain”, because as long a simple Brexit question was on the cards, the Tories had it, because Labour could not win w/o Remainers, but could not aford to lose Leavers.

      2. Count Zero

        I disagree Kurt. The Labour Party emerged out of an alliance between organised labour and middle-class social reformers over a century ago. It has a chequered history but there’s much in its history to be proud of. And, at least until the apotheosis of Blair, it was a left of centre social-democratic party firmly rooted in the everyday world of working people. Blair and the acolytes of New Labour had a vision — a Labour Party disconnected from the trade unions, from the intellectual left and from the working class. Let’s abandon any policies that involve reducing economic and social inequality. Let’s remake Labour as something a bit more like Clinton’s Democratic Party.

        But the Labour Party is not the private property of a few thousand professional politicians and their advisers and image consultants pursuing their own lucrative careers in London. They are the ones who should leave the Labour Party — and let those who do the leg work and provide the funding and live and work in the constituencies have it back! The Labour Party belongs to working men and women — who still happen to make up a majority of the population of Britain.

        1. Jessica

          Since the sabotage of the first Corbyn-led Labour electoral campaign and the subsequent media (non-)treatment of the report on that sabotage demonstrate that the professional class allies of the elites are not going to leave the Labour Party on their own, how do the working men and women take it back?
          If those who supported Corbyn could be persuaded to shift to a new party, would the rump of Labour survive for long? Otherwise, it seems that the UK faces the same fate as the US: a batsh*t crazy imperialist capitalist party and a “sane and responsible” imperialist capitalist party as the only choices.

          1. Count Zero

            It’s a gloomy situation, Jessica. But new parties usually fizzle out quickly. Remember the formation of the SDP in the early 1980s. What happened to “the Gang of Four?” Shirley Williams wrecked her career. She could easily have become the first Labour Prime minister in the 1990s.

            A large number of working people will still vote for Labour, whoever is shaping its policies. I think it’s still worth fighting to restore it to the membership and not to the gang of careerists sitting in London and feathering their nests at the public’s expense.

            I think Starmer has just done profound damage to his position as leader. Let’s hope he is made aware of this in the coming months.

  19. Eduardo

    “If you are reading this version of Links, that means I lost power!!!”
    I presume that you lost electricity. Good luck with that.

    But, you still have the power!!!

  20. David

    For those who can stand it, news of at least one, and possibly two, more terrorist incidents in France this morning.
    The first was in Nice, at the Church of Notre Dame, where a woman was knifed to death. The attacker was apparently in the process of decapitating her when he was interrupted by the church warden, whom he killed also, before pursuing a second woman out of the church, and killing her in turn. At that point the Municipal Police arrived, and shot and badly wounded him. This is not the first terrorist attack in Nice: 86 were killed by a man in a hijacked lorry in 2016. Nor is it the first time that a church has been the scene of such attacks.It’s noteworthy that the Municipal Police didn’t used to be armed, but some mayors demanded a change in this rule after 2015. Nice was one such: happily, since the death toll would otherwise certainly have been higher.
    The second was in Avignon, when a man was threatening passers-by with a handgun, and then turned on the police before being shot dead. Although the man was heard to shout “Allah Akhbar”, it’s not certain at the moment that it was a terrorist attack, although as things stand that must be quite likely.

    If there’s a silver-ish lining to this ghastly sequence of events, it’s that the islamists have now lost support from virtually every section of society. This includes not only the Muslim hierarchy (who are themselves at risk of such attacks) but even the Turkish government, whose Foreign Minister condemned this morning’s slaughter. This doesn’t make it easier to prevent such attacks, but it does change the political context by comparison with even a few weeks ago.

    I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I’m starting to wonder how long this can go on, and if, in the midst of Lockdown 2.0 as well, French society and the French political system, can take much more.

    1. vlade

      I’d also point out that Erdogan was very visibly stoking the fury at Macron last week or so, after Macron’s speach post the teacher beheading. I didn’t notice him to codemn that murder. So I put it squarely at Erdogan’s door.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      You know far more about this than I do, but I would think there is an optimistic view of this as a kind of ‘lancing the boil’. Now that things are out in the open, it may create a clearer divide between society as a whole (including the vast majority of muslims) and the wannabe jihadists, who are increasingly looking like a bunch of random crazies. Every insurgency/rebellion needs more than a hard core of activists – it also needs a sea to swim in, to misuse Mao’s metaphor. The Jihadists may well have just succeeded in draining the sea. Its obviously dangerous times, as a dying movement can be at its most lethal as it throws everything into its cause, but the Jihadists do seem to be running out of friends.

      Erdogan is increasingly a loose cannon, its hard to say what he’ll do next, but like the Jihadists, he can’t have many friends left, he seems to have given cause to nearly everyone to want rid of him. Thats quite an achievement.

      1. David

        I think that’s true in the global sense: the islamists have managed to alienate just about everybody recently, and even the Turks and the Qataris, who have been the main providers of radical islamic clerics to France, have backed off a bit so as not to seem to actively encourage killing French citizens. Domestically, there’s been a bit of grim enjoyment to be had from seeing politicians and pundits who for decades have decried the islamist threat now springing to the defence of the Republic and its values. In addition, it has now become possible to name the enemy as extremist political Islam. It’s not, in other words, a clash of civilisations, a religious dispute or even a question of prejudice and discrimination. It’s a long-term policy by a number of Sunni nations to create a radicalised bloc of Muslims in Europe, and especially in France, who reject the authority of the state and the law, and take their orientations from abroad.This is, in other words, a “soft power” initiative, except that it’s just got quite a bit harder.

        That’s the good(ish) news. The less good is that the killings are not being carried out by a movement, and not according to any plan. Erdogan, for all his faults, is not behind the killings, although his violent rhetoric makes them more likely. Not only are they individual acts, but the perpetrators aren’t necessary French. The first recent killing was by a Pakistani refugee, the second by a Chechen and today’s, it appears, by an illegal immigrant from Tunisia who had been thrown out of Italy. So the threat could come from anyone, anywhere, and there’s no necessary logic to the killings, except that the victim has in some way to be characterised as an enemy of Islam. Today, going to church was enough. It now looks as though the killer of Samuel Paty, who was murdered ten days ago, didn’t choose him as his first target. He wanted to die a martyr after killing an infidel, and looked around for possible worthy targets. The first, apparently, was a pupil at the school who had posted a picture of a woman without a veil on his Facebook page: a capital offence in the eyes of these nutters. It’s hard to see how you can protect against that sort of thing: you can dismantle networks, but you can’t monitor every one of the thousands (at least) of potentially violent young men who could be the next killer, especially when you may not even know they are in the country. Security around major religious sites has been increased tonight, but after schools, churches, what next? Maybe hospitals which allow male doctors to treat women patients? Your guess is as good as mine.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOLOL we received the “Kumbaya” theory of global brotherhood from our globalist betters, all about how our radical Muslim friends had to be welcomed and brought into the wonderfulness of the West. Poor misguided brethren, they will adopt Western ways like democracy and pluralism and rights for women and secular law, if only we give them a “little nudge” in that direction. Leaders like the current White House occupant who thought maybe we should have a think about that approach are uniformly condemned as the most horrible of racists.

          2 decades of “nudging” in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya later. 5 decades of playing footsie in France with Islam because they felt so guilty about what they did in Algeria (which was notably unspeakable). 5 decades of a much higher birth rate among Muslims. I am *not* suggesting it is impossible to live with Islam. I *am* suggesting that lighting candles and holding hands and tolerating the open preaching of sedition and hatred has had a very predictable result. Continuing to pretend there are not major unbridgeable *ideological* differences with the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the choice is not to gradually surrender all of those differences because an academic or wokester somewhere will label you a “racist”.

          I lived in Paris for 3 years and recently returned after a 2 decade hiatus. My reaction was “France is finished”. You can still find pockets of it in the west or in villages hard up against the Alps but the major cities have passed their tipping point, some like Marseilles more obvious than others. I was reminded of my ancestors The Cathars, who retreated with their beliefs to mountain fastnesses until they were rooted out. Should we think about which philosophy did it, and why?

      2. Foy

        Malayasia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir tweeted on Thursday that “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for massacres of the past”. “Muslims have a right to punish the French”. He said this after the latest beheading.

        Not exactly helpful, more fuel on the fire, the boil to be lanced might be getting bigger.

  21. Matthew G. Saroff

    A public service announcement about the cat food commission: Don’t eat cat food, eat dog food.

    Cats are one of the relatively small number of true carnivores among mammals, and their food lacks certain nutrients, most notably complex carbohydrates, that humans need.

  22. Lex

    ‘Biden Will Not Be Soft On China; He’ll Continue Trump’s Aggression’

    (I’m connecting the dots in my head on the Vested Interests involved)

    So, Honey came back from a trip to the largest recycling center in the city and said they were trying a new experimental program for recycling some of plastics that have been going into the landfill. He took a photo of the sign in the front of the bin showing what was allowed and what was not.

    My heart seized with relief at the hope of reducing by half our only real remaining garbage, our wastebasket full of plastic packaging. We hung out a large separate compostable bag by the recycling bin for those new plastics. And then my brain started working again.

    Over on Vox this morning you’ll find an article discussing one of the oil-gas industry’s remaining avenues of future profitability: plastics. (Insert clip from ‘The Graduate’) Plastic has never been very profitable, but they had plans for changing that. Change for those folks usually begins with hearts and minds. ‘Let’s not get rid of plastic. Let’s just change their minds about using plastic, so they’ll feel okay about using more of it’.

    The military whether engaging in hot or cold wars runs on a lot of energy. If you’re in the Pentagon, aware an increasing percentage of 7.7 billion people are exerting pressure on their governments to turn toward clean renewable energy for their very survival (and peace would be nice!), but you’re in the war, death, and destruction business that runs on oil for its survival; then you, in the Pentagon, are going to keep manufacturing reasons to go to war on an ever larger (but manageable) scale. Short of total mutually-assured destruction. War and pandemics have a way of locking up the behavior of large populations, while munching up giga-tons of resources. Mmmmmmmmoney!

    There has never been a question of Biden going soft on China. He won’t. What I want to know is who has their pasty white hands up his backside, and how much money they stand to make pushing him to escalate? That’s pretty much my question of every President. Presidents are whores at heart.*

    * OTOH, publicly button-down politicians set off all my secret squirrel alarms. I’m looking at you, Pence. Don’t even think about running! Ever.

    1. fwe'zy

      I think you’re overstating the promise of “clean, renewable energy,” and of “hearts and minds.” If anything, the oil n gas industry has been the one turning up the dial on boohoo plastics propaganda as the call to action for their “recycling” charades.

  23. Carolinian

    Re did the NYT mischaracterize that “senior adminstration official”?–the WaPo gently addresses the question and then lets others state that conclusion without saying so themselves. Obviously they have to tread lightly when criticizing the Times since the NYT might retaliate and the Washington Post is a target rich environment! No bickering when there’s a president to elect.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “City Locked Down for Three Months Has Bleak Lessons for the World”

    (Rant mode engaged) Sometimes you read an article and you want to beat the authors over the head with your keyboard. Such is the case here but it is Bloomberg after all. So it says the ‘Australian city of Melbourne offers a stark lesson on the costs of bringing the coronavirus under control.’ No. What it is is a stark lesson of what happens when you let the virus get out of control. All this economic damage was caused after some dodgy private security guards spread it near and far. Before then Victoria had the virus mostly eliminated but after this lockdown Victoria will have to start from square one again. Minus 800 dead people that is. If they had used police and soldiers at those quarantine hotels their economy would have long mostly recovered and the borders would have been open throughout Australia.

    Want to know what you get when you don’t control it? You get places like the UK and France and Germany and all the rest. I don’t know if Premier Daniel Andrews is still popular in his State but he is not in the rest of Oz. Not when he was demanding that all the States open their borders with Victoria while the virus was raging out of control. Scotty from Marketing was demanding in Parliament that no State should ever lock down again because of the economy. He. Does. Not. Get. It. if you keep your economy going while the virus is raging, people will not go out and spend due to, oh I don’t know, the fear of dying of a virus for the sake of the economy. So instead of a short, sharp lockdown to get this virus under control, too many people want to just learn to live with it with a combination of masks, social-distancing and jazz hands. Finally, where it says “Australians need to have the conversation on what the new normal looks like so we can live alongside this virus without more lockdowns” that shows that they do not get it. You can’t live with it. Die from it maybe. But you can’t live with it. (Rant mode disengaged)

    1. Basil Pesto

      Not when he was demanding that all the States open their borders with Victoria while the virus was raging out of control.

      Do you have a link for this? (I wasn’t paying attention domestically at the time)

      1. Foy

        I remember this vividly, on June 17 he lashed out at South Australia when they wouldn’t open their borders to Victoria saying “Why would anyone want to go there [SA]”, and I thought oh oh that may come back to bite you Dan. That was almost to the day when new cases started to go exponential again. Took about two weeks before we locked down severely.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I remember that incident too. he said “Why would anyone want to go there [SA]” so the South Australian Tourist Bureau used that as the beginning of an ad about all the places that you could go visit there. One of his government was also demanding that schools open and later the same day one or two schools announced that they were closing due to the virus. Glad to see that you guys are finally getting clear of the virus down in Victoria. You guys really had to do the hard yards to do it though.

          1. Foy

            Yep Rev, the number of people meeting up in parks in the last couple of weeks or so with the extended 25km limit has been enormous lately, just sitting in parks having a chat. Really enjoyable to just sit and chat, walk in the park and chat and watch other people sit and chat! And the weather has finally warmed a little.

            Haven’t been to an outdoor cafe yet, figure I’ll wait for the rush to die down. And got to get my social fitness back! And a haircut, 5 months and I’m looking pretty ragged. Saw mum and dad yesterday for the first time in months as well.

            I didn’t think we would hit zero daily cases but we did. 4 cases today but two were weak positives and another was someone who already had the virus interestingly. The last thing they want to risk is a big uptick before Christmas, so I think Dan may keep the looser restrictions in place until then.

        2. Basil Pesto

          ah yes, I do remember that as an Adelaidean living in Melb (with all my family still in adl)

          But, while this is may be a sooky tantrum, it is not tantamount to demanding that SA open their borders. Moreover, Covid cases in Victoria were more or less flat on June 17, not yet ‘raging out of control’.

          1. The Rev Kev

            No, but the writing was on the walls as all these pockets were forming of this virus which was like a red alert to something going on below the surface. The Queensland Premier was getting into media fights with the Premiers of Victoria & NSW because she refused to open the borders and in fact it is still happening as of yesterday.

            I still remember how it went out of control in Victoria and started to swamp Sydney and other parts of NSW and could not understand the insistence that we opened our own borders while all this was going on. Even then he got hit here through people sneaking into the State. My own standard was to have a State have no community transferred case of this virus for four weeks and then we can talk about opening.

    2. JEHR

      It is really not amusing to find out that some people value the operation of their economy, no matter what happens, rather than valuing the lives of people, whether old or young. Is this what Capitalism has finally wrought? I think it is: the practitioners of Capitalism have led us where we now find ourselves and where the economy is THE prime ultra thing to behold. It is not a nice look or a pleasant thought. But you can see the homeless in the richest countries in the world and know that even they cannot be given a place to stay out of the cold and wet. We human beings have become a most unrepentant, nay despicable, life force and I don’t think the future will be any better either.

  25. marym

    Pennsylvania vote counting:

    The PA Supreme Court had ordered that ballots received by 11/6 be counted if mailed by Election Day. The US SC initially refused (4-4) a Republican challenge, but R’s re-submitted after the Coney confirmation. SC declined to reconsider but (emphasis added):

    “…preserved the possibility of a major postelection battle over the validity of many Pennsylvania ballots on Wednesday, leaving the door open to a Bush v. Gore reprise in the weeks after Nov. 3, even as they punted the question of late-arriving ballots down the road.

    Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, wrote a separate statement that reads much like a dissent. Alito wrote that he “reluctantly” decided that “there is simply not enough time” to resolve the case “before the election.” He noted, however, that Pennsylvania officials will voluntarily segregate ballots that arrive before Election Day and after. If SCOTUS overturns the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just after the election, then, “a targeted remedy will be available.” This means that SCOTUS can still decide to order the state to throw out those ballots received between Nov. 4 through 6, and that Barrett can still opt to participate in the case after Election Day.

    For those interested in following the SC as it constructs reasons to decide whose votes will be counted, in yesterday’s Links I posted another link to Slate discussing the many errors in Kavanaugh’s concurrence in the Wisconsin case. He made one small correction after the Vermont SoS called him out on it.

    1. Darthbobber

      Given all the drop boxes available, and all the known issues, anybody still mailing their mail in ballots as of now is most foolish.

    2. remmer

      Thanks for the Slate link, marym. It explains, without legalese, how big a problem PA could be in a close election.

    1. ambrit

      A link to a Jihadi site? (We all know who “liver eaters” are!)
      [Pink Bunny Slippers report that all is proceeding as planned.]

      1. ambrit

        Oh my. We’re really ‘interacting’ with an electronic avatar? No wonder the Pink Bunny Slippers are not working for him, too much interference!

  26. lyman alpha blob

    Thank you for the link about pointless online arguments, something I have found myself engaging in more than I should recently with the recent influx of newer commenters pre-election. I promise to be behave better, and can’t wait until this ridiculous farce we call an election is over and we can get back to more critical thinking again, no matter which idiot wins.

    1. ambrit

      I view the proliferation of “pointless” online arguments as a sign of just how much disinformation is permeating the Infosphere now. No matter who “wins” this election, this degradation in the “quality” of the online commentary everywhere is here to stay. A real remedy to this will require a complete reset.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I do think the commentariat here overall is far better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere. Ever take a look at the comments at Kunstler’s blog? Or pretty much any random yahoo article? Or of course the other orange website over to the right. The societal id unleashed in those places is pretty alarming to say the least, it’s been there for a while, and as you noted, it’s not going away and will probably only get worse as more of the not completely crazy people stop engaging.

        I’ve been an NC reader long enough to notice a spike in pointlessness before every presidential election as the newcomers who want to cheerlead don’t really get what the site is all about, but then they go away. There was a guy in 2016 who seemed to think this was a pro-Trump site just because it wasn’t blatantly partisan one way or the other. He was very rah rah for Trump, posting comments all over the place and really tried my patience, but then he left for crazier pastures once the election was over I guess.

        But for new people who aren’t here simply to promote candidates, please do stick around. It’s a smart bunch here and I’m always learning something new – the more the merrier!

        1. flora

          Right before an election it’s almost like some new people are determined to break up the conversation with pointless noise. Sort of like comments-$pam ‘correcting the record.’ /heh

        2. HotFlash

          I do think the commentariat here overall is far better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

          Amen. And to Yves’ & Co’s engagement with commentariat and, perhaps especially, indefatiguable moderation. To the tip jar!

          1. tegnost

            indefatigable is one of my favorite words…
            it describes a mere mortal accomplishing a herculean task!
            Yves’ & Co are the best

        3. fresno dan

          lyman alpha blob
          October 29, 2020 at 1:03 pm

          Essentially, every attack upon Trump and Biden is correct. The problem is the defenses of either one are essentially delusional…

          Orwell: “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

        4. Offtrail

          I used to comment on Sic Semper Tyrannis but I always carefully considered how to express myself before posting. Pat Lang has gotten less and less tolerant of posts that don’t agree with him. I’ve finally quit and don’t visit the blog anymore.

          OTOH, Yves’ policing of the factual accuracy of statements is salutary.

    2. Darthbobber

      As a person who has always enjoyed argument, and actually enjoys sometimes challenging exchanges with people who actually-argue, I’ve found that an increasing fraction of pointless online arguments are pointless precisely because one or both participants don’t actually engage in argumentation.

      1. RMO

        Darthbobber: That’s because they’ve come there for abuse, not arguments. And I think we’ve all seen where the “argument” consists of nothing more than the automatic gainsaying of the other…

  27. diptherio

    So I take it Mr. Kennedy of Korn Ferry knows who the liars in the C-suites are. But, of course, he’s not naming any names.

    “You will be surprised at the number of executives who are in their 50s even in the country today, who, for whatever reason, their education was never verified, and they’re pretty senior in their careers, and now the CFA or the MBA from Columbia that is on the résumé is not really accurate,” he said.

    And you would think that in such an article it would pretty much required to mention that the CEO of CalPERS herself got hired based on a resume that is “not really accurate”…but what do I know?

    1. flora

      The more I read about the UK Labour Party the more convinced I am that UK Labour and US Dems are a single party run by the same managers and consultants. ;)

  28. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Try 2021 Ilargi

    Yes, Dave, like Jim Kunstler, and like me, and many other people, have changed our views and positions on American politics quite a bit over the past 4-5 years. Mostly independently of each other. We just recognize the same patterns. I think it’s fair to say that we all realize that there may be a million things wrong with Donald Trump, but there’s a lot more wrong with collusion to unseat a fairly elected president.

    Enough said.

    1. jef

      He should have added;

      “…but there’s a lot more wrong with collusion to unseat a fairly elected president when it is done here in the US.”

      1. Carolinian

        Right. Although the people trying to ovethrow this president are same ones trying to overthrow those other presidents (with Trump’s permission). Confusing.

        Who are these people? Starts with a C, ends with an A, vowel in the middle. You don’t have to still be a member to participate.

      2. Darthbobber

        Though we’re now at a point where the methods being used are electoral, which seems open to fewer objections.

        1. jef

          You are joking right?

          Nobody is asking it so I will… repeatedly most likely.

          What kind of democratic process left us with Biden as the only option? None!!! SO can we stop pretending now?

          1. Darthbobber

            Well, Bernie wasn’t president, so the coup against him doesn’t count.
            At the moment, the donkeys and elephants seem to be concentrating on trying to win the election, inconvenient as they find it.

            As to what kind of democracy? Why, the same managed, manipulated “low intensity” democracy we’ve been running all along, but with the levers of manipulation growing more centralized.

    2. Tom Bradford

      No, there’s more to say.

      we all realize that there may be a million things wrong with Donald Trump, but there’s a lot more wrong with collusion to unseat a fairly elected president.

      But was he “fairly elected”, having lost the popular vote?

      And if the other side plays dirty you either have to join them in the muck or get out of the game and leave them the spoils.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        More votes don’t matter because that’s not how our elections work. The electoral college has been a thing for more than 200 years.

        In the 70s, Watergate was a big deal because Nixon had attempted to subvert the election process. I still remember the passion of my high school government teacher railing against this. This RussiaRussiaRussia!!! crap is far worse than anything Tricky Dick was caught doing, but no big deal because “orange man bad”, right?

        Once they get away with it this time, there’s no reason to stop.

      2. occasional anonymous

        Popular vote doesn’t matter. He won by the terms of the game. They’re crappy terms, but that’s how the system works. Don’t like it? Get rid of the electoral college.

        But, funny thing, the Dems don’t talk about that much for some strange reason…

  29. a different chris

    And maybe for the next WatCool:

    But this is also interesting for a different reason:

    Shares are at a two-decade low, down 55% this year. The company’s stock was removed from the storied Dow Jones Industrial Average after nearly a century of membership, and it is facing questions about whether it can maintain its dividend.

    Look at the Dow!! Trump has resuscitated the US Economy!

    Yeah, um, the Dow is designed to always go up. And yet another thing – can anybody here state confidently that when Exxon was removed everybody got that information at the same time? On a “trading floor” that divides time into milliseconds?

  30. Grant

    “Fed Is ‘Really’ Out Of Firepower. ‘Only Government Spending’ Can Save Country, Bill Dudley Warns ”

    So, is there monetary reform on the horizon? Can the Treasury “borrow” directly from the Fed in the years ahead, ending the need to do open market operations? No more profits from bidding on US bonds at auctions and selling at a mark-up? Maybe nationalize the Fed, or maybe money is created just through the Treasury? A trillion dollar platinum coin? Will Nancy Pelosi finally give up on austerity and renounce her tribute to Pete Peterson on the House floor?

    The environmental crisis is going to be fun with this system, this media system (Bezos may soon own CNN), and with these politicians.

    1. Duck1

      “[The Fed] should make it abundantly clear that monetary policy can provide only limited additional support to the economy,” he implored. “It’s up to legislators and the White House to give the economy what it needs —and right now, that means considerably greater fiscal stimulus.” ”
      So maybe Nancy needs to travel over the hill to Folsom and get that enormous strap on that the economy is on it’s knees, begging for, posterior presented . . .

  31. bruce

    Rare earths: Younger brother (Ph.D. in geology, Harvard) once told me he thinks he knows where there’s a significant RE deposit, somewhere in the deserts of the SW would be my guess, and now that he’s talking to me again, I suggested that he file a claim or something so we won’t be dependent on China anymore. We have a LOT of desert, and they are still finding new, interesting things out there.

    1. ewmayer

      I’ve heard the major problem with REs is less finding deposits of them, as purifying/separating/refining them, which is apparently a dirty, low-margin business, ideally suited for places like China, with its lax environmental-law enforcement and cheap low-skill labor. Would appreciate hearing from those with actual expertise in the industry, though.

  32. Looking For It

    Guess I missed the article about Glenn Greenwald quitting the news organization he helped found because they refused to publish his article about the Biden Crime Family and his mass media cronies.

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