Links 11/13/2020

How Bunny the Dog Is Pushing Scientists’ Buttons The Verge (Furzy Mouse).

First murder hornet nest found to have 200 queens capable of spawning new nests Guardian

The economy as we knew it might be over, Fed Chairman says CNN

An Economist’s Guide to the World in 2050 Bloomberg

#COVID19

More Safety Data Would Be Nice, But We Need a Vaccine Now Wired

Horseshoe crabs are crucial to creating vaccines, but they are facing extinction The Hill

A systematic review of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates (PDF) Nature. From the Conclusion: “Herein, we reviewed current vaccine strategies of several pathogenic viruses with the aim to improve vaccine efficacy and safety against SARS-CoV-2. Antigen design plays a significant role in maximizing the immunogenicity. It is necessary to include the important epitopes while excluding the unimportant ones. Moreover, the structure design of the immunogen requires additional research. Employing a suitable delivery system is also critical for vaccine efficacy. Determining which method works best depends on many factors, including the types of vaccines and vaccination routes. Furthermore, adjuvants should be added to the various types of vaccines to enhance immunogenicity; therefore, the selection of appropriate adjuvants is crucial for developing SARSCoV-2 vaccines. Until now, only several studies had reported the immune responses induced by SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates. Further trials must test the safety and efficacy of vaccines and search for effective approaches to optimize the vaccines. In conclusion, we hope the insights provided above will aid in the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.” Must-read for analysts; exhaustive, informative, reasonably clear language, neutral in tone. Incidentally, I’m not seeing the “delivery system,” “vaccination routes,” or “adjuvants” being discussed with respect to the Pfizer vaccine, though perhaps I’ve missed something in the literature.

* * *

Testing for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 British Medical Journal. “These findings add to mounting evidence that SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence studies are limited in their ability to correctly identify people who have and have not been infected.9 The risk of false positives is particularly concerning. If antibody responses are used as an indicator of immunity, for example, test results may influence both individual and government decisions about permissible risk of exposure, and false positives may therefore do considerable societal harm.”

These Researchers Tested Positive. But the Virus Wasn’t the Cause. NYT

* * *

Long-distance airborne dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 wards Nature. From the Abstract: “Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in central ventilation systems, distant from patient areas, indicate that virus can be transported long distances and that droplet transmission alone cannot reasonably explain this, especially considering the relatively low air change rates in these wards. Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 must be taken into consideration for preventive measures.” It’s really high time for CDC and WHO to revise their guidance on aerosols. Those who obey scientists, instead of thinking critically about science, need their help.

Multiple COVID-19 Outbreaks Linked to a Wedding Reception in Rural Maine — August 7–September 14, 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. From the Abstract: “A wedding reception with 55 persons in a rural Maine town led to COVID-19 outbreaks in the local community, as well as at a long-term care facility and a correctional facility in other counties. Overall, 177 COVID-19 cases were linked to the event, including seven hospitalizations and seven deaths (four in hospitalized persons). Investigation revealed noncompliance with CDC’s recommended mitigation measures.” None of the people who died were actually at the reception.

SARS-CoV-2 Transmission among Marine Recruits during Quarantine NEJM. From the Abstract: “The efficacy of public health measures to control the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has not been well studied in young adults…. Among Marine Corps recruits, approximately 2% who had previously had negative results for SARS-CoV-2 at the beginning of supervised quarantine, and less than 2% of recruits with unknown previous status, tested positive by day 14. Most recruits who tested positive were asymptomatic, and no infections were detected through daily symptom monitoring. Transmission clusters occurred within platoons.”

* * *

Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 RNA Test Results Among Patients Who Recovered From COVID-19 With Prior Negative Results JAMA. From the Conclusions: “This study highlights that many patients who recovered from COVID-19 may be still positive (albeit at lower levels) for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, but only a minority of the patients may carry a replicating SARS-CoV-2 in the respiratory tract. Further studies are needed to verify whether such patients can transmit the virus.” Oh, great.

Of melatonin & other common household drugs Bangalore Mirror

COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool Covid 19 Risk. Hoteliers and real estate salespersons take note…

China?

Default by Henan Coal Mining Company Sends Tremors Across China Caixin. Commentary:

Alibaba, JD.com say U.S. was top seller to China during Singles’ Day event Reuters

Foreign Secretary declares breach of Sino-British Joint Declaration GOV.UK

China finds coronavirus on packaging of Brazilian beef Channel News Asia. The cold chain for meat not working so well…

Why Biden needs to pursue ‘strategic empathy’ with the Philippines South China Morning Post

The Koreas

South Korean firm to produce 150 million doses a year of Russian COVID-19 vaccine – RDIF Reuters. Looking only at results, South Korea knows what they’re doing, and we don’t. So….

The burning scar: Inside the destruction of Asia’s last rainforests BBC. South Korean palm oil giant Korindo.

India

Who has the upper hand in the China-India border dispute? South China Morning Post

‘Modi’s Rockefeller’: Gautam Adani and the concentration of power in India FT

UK/EU

Dominic Cummings to leave Downing Street by Christmas BBC

‘YOU’RE to blame’: Rush to pub before Lockdown 2.0 may have fuelled record rise in Covid cases, experts say as Britain is hit by 33,470 new infections in a day – up 39% in a week while daily deaths rise 50% to 563 Daily Mail. People should really be more responsible in our dystopian hellscape. (When you see the liberal catchphrase, “our democracy,” experiment by replacing “democracy” with “dystopian hellscape.” See if the meaning changes!)

Trying to “Protect the NHS” in the United Kingdom NEJM. “On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the NHS was not ‘protected,’ since many of its normal activities were mothballed. Some clinical service slowdowns were attributable to the perception among patients that they should avoid health care facilities to ‘Protect the NHS’ or to reduce their risk of contracting Covid. In some instances, providers canceled non-Covid care to limit the potential for nosocomial spread within health care facilities. But much care was deferred because hospitals needed to repurpose beds for Covid care in a country that has among the fewest acute care beds per capita in Europe. The results have included an 80-fold increase, between July 2019 and July 2020, in the number of patients waiting more than a year for treatment and a precipitous decline, over the same period, in the proportion of patients receiving their first cancer treatment within 2 months after referral from a screening service.” Everything’s going according to plan!

Removing dangerous cladding will take ‘number of years’, says housing secretary Sky News

Denmark’s mink farmers count cost of botched cull FT

Germany charges 12 in far-right ‘terror’ plot: reports Deutsche Welle

Spanish scientists are making ‘very promising’ human-monkey chimeras in China Big Think

New Cold War

In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers Eurasia.net

Advice to Biden, Don’t Do Stupid Things… Navalny Sarah Lindemann-Komarova, Medium

REPORT: Towards a Political Biography of Vladimir Putin: From Commissar to Accidental Revolutionary From Above, 1975-2003 Gordon Hahn

Trump Transition

Trump administration partners with pharmacies for wide COVID-19 vaccine distribution The Hill

Outgoing Syria Envoy Admits Hiding US Troop Numbers; Praises Trump’s Mideast Record Defense One. Makes you wonder who really runs the government…

Trump allies clash with top intelligence officials in quest to declassify more Russia documents CNN. As above.

Momentum grows for bipartisan retirement bill in divided Congress The Hill.

Scoop: Trump eyes digital media empire to take on Fox News Axios. Pulling the 2016 business plan out of the drawer?

Democrats in Disarray

Listen to [x] Women of [x] Color!

Taking care of business:

Biden Transition

Biden’s Transition Team Is Stuffed With Amazon, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb Personnel Vice (Re Silc). Shocker.

Biden team reaching out to former Mattis officials for help with transition Politico

Biden Will Need to Repair a Global Economic Order Trump Damaged Bloomberg

Biden and the World: Global Perspectives on the U.S. Presidential Election Council on Foreign Relations

Biden COVID-19 adviser floats plan to pay for national lockdown lasting up to six weeks The Hill. By borrowing, ffs.

Biden adviser calls for overhaul of Trump’s ‘Warp Speed’ vaccine effort FT

Biden’s new chief of staff:

Obama Legacy

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’ NYT. Read it? I’d love to, but my diabetes is acting up real bad.

Our Famously Free Press

Biden, the Media and CIA Labeled the Hunter Biden Emails “Russian Disinformation.” There is Still No Evidence. Glenn Greenwald

Assange

Company accused of spying on Assange acted for Ecuadorian Intelligence, says ex UC Global manager Computer Weekly

Class Warfare

Staff who work from home after pandemic ‘should pay more tax’ Guardian

Parents Say Employers Are Illegally Firing Them During Pandemic Bloomberg

The Crisis Wrecking Modern Science The American Conservative. The replication crisis.

The Professor and the Politician Corey Robin, The New Yorker

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

202 comments

  1. John Beech

    Wolf Richter has a good article on EU unemployment today. Worth reading. But this throws open the question, which approach is better? The EU approach of keeping people on payroll at reduced salaries, or ours in the USA of throwing people out of work?

    On the one hand, the workforce remains fairly intact for the eventual end of the cycle, and families stay together. On the other hand, the creative destruction process which leads to the formation of new businesses and the good things this brings about also means a disorderly mess and unhappiness that results in people living in cars. Plus, companies unable to pick up where they left off once the cycle returns things to normal because their institutional knowledge is gone.

    An honest discussion, and a national policy of employment for all who want it, and an acknowledgement of the taxes to fund same since no matter what, because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Bottom line? Unemployment compensation won’t go away, nor should it, but do we fund keeping people on their jobs – even if it’s painting the rocks lining the driveway with whitewash – or put them out of work to collect unemployment from the individual states?

    I own a business, so I sign the front of paychecks and believe the EU approach should be investigated. And maybe not implemented in exactly the same way they do it, but perhaps with American characteristics as the individual states make it work. Of course, I’m a nobody and nothing will happen . . . but these are my thoughts because the way tings work now is painful for families, devastating to the psyche of the worker, and bad policy for the industrial and service businesses upon which we depend.

    Reply
      1. Stephen V.

        Yes and I was wondering about RENTS. Maybe those PPP trillions plugged this hole but last time I checked evictions lead to Zero rental income for some period of time. How long before this impacts the nice (inflated!) Property values on owner balance sheets? Bank Repo’s anyone?

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Zero rental income is tax deductible loss? Destruction of current value of rental properties opens the door to PE looters to corner the market on rental properties by being the buyer at the fire sales? More evicted living in cars and Hoovervilles equals more dead losers and useless eaters?

          What’s not to love about the neoliberal final solutions?

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Yes, telling the designated losers and chosen useless mouths to go die is a (neoliberal) solution. It’s just that every major religion, almost all philosophy, in just about every major civilization or empire, that I can think of.

            Yes, there is often a gradual denigration of physical work, a penchant for hiring mercenaries or poor people for the military, contempt of the lower classes, and always (often illegal) accumulation of most of the wealth into a few hands, and that can lead to a loss of skills and technology. It can interpreted as telling people to just go die. But this complete panoply only appears really within 1-3 generations before it all goes down in flames. Sometimes it can take a whole century. Not we have anything to worry about of course.

            Reply
    1. Carla

      “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”

      What? I think someone forgot to tell Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Charles Koch, George Soros, Elon Musk, and a few other guys…

      You know, those guys our government works for.

      Reply
      1. the suck of sorrow

        and a few other guys…
        But let’s celebrate small steps: the guys are inclusive now if you consider Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg and a few other (cross-out gals) persons.

        Reply
      2. Dillon

        Education time:

        There was such a thing as a free lunch.

        It was usually substantial cold cuts, pickles and bread and you only got it after buying beer(s) or booze in Barbary Coast bars in San Francisco in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

        The extension of that was the bowl of saltine crackers found on the table of cafes. Later, the free bread served with meals.

        The last vestige? Cheap food, like 25 cent donuts, free coffee and refills. Move forward a few decades and we have $5 gourmet donuts, $10 coffee and home delivery.

        That too will soon be a memory, as we slide into the
        Biden Depression.

        Reply
      3. Maritimer

        I was in a Court once where a lifetime politically appointed hack Judge actually said to those present “There is no FREE LUNCH!” The Judge’s version of Trick Dick’s “I am not a CROOK!” The capacity for human delusion is bottomless.

        Reply
    2. vlade

      There was a discussion on the German approach at FTA some time ago. The main pro of the approach was, that in the CV situation, there are not new businesses to pick up the slack. So people just go off the work, lose skills and all.

      The critical part of the German (which is probably the best EU implementation, it’s not the same across the EU) approach is what happens when the situation starts normalising, and how will it flip then. Because when the economy starts going, the state should not push more money into companies that may have defunct busienss model anymore. Which is not exactly what tends to happen, once companies latch on some state money, it’s usually quite hard to get them off (way harder than so-called poor unresponsible grifters, aka people on benefits).

      Reply
    3. a different chris

      Having been self-employed myself for over decade – I think the “creative destruction process” is heavily enhanced by universal healthcare.

      Worries about my health and the rocketing health care premiums made me scurry for shelter under the roof of one of my clients, interestingly going from do-it-myself to one of the biggest companies in the world.

      I liked do-it-myself much, much better FWIW.

      We pretend to be some sort of unique cutting-edge ground, well Europe is slathered with multi-generational family businesses and many of them quite hi-tech.

      What we did do then was funnel new business creation to the young who could risk it. Despite it’s current behavior, that worked out great with Google. Facebook, not so much. And there isn’t anything happening in Material Science, Medical Science, etc. that isn’t matched in Europe and now China.

      If you think our computer-science profession is so great (actually I do), consider that we produced Windows and Europe produced Linux. BIt of a bummer, there.

      Finally, the “gig” economy would actually be pretty cool if we all had healthcare and basic housing and some immigration restrictions. It would completely turn the table on the current power structure.

      Reply
      1. STEPHEN

        100% agree. I honestly believe the greatest impediment to new firm creation is lack of affordable Healthcare for non-employees.

        This is, of course, one of the reasons existing firms like the current employer-sponsered system. It prevents talented employees from forming competing startups to take advantage of inefficiencies they observe in their industries.

        Reply
      2. HotFlash

        Indeed. There is that old saw that necessity is the mother of invention. In my observation, that is just not true. Necessity is only the *father* of invention. The mother of invention is leisure, ie, reliable food, shelter, medical care — time and wherewithal to nurture new ideas. People on the edge, no matter how ingenious or entrepreneurial, can’t afford to take risks. Starvation makes anyone desperate and stupid.

        Reply
      3. Alex Cox

        ‘we produced Windows and Europe produced Linux.’ Who sez? Gates may be American, and Torvalds European, but that is just personality politics.

        Thousands of Indian programmers and H1B visa serfs worked to make Windows the success it is. And GNU/Linux had and has many American contributors.

        Reply
    4. Watt4Bob

      Back at the beginning of this mess, my employer cut everyone’s pay by 20% in an effort to keep employees and preserve capital.

      When our company received one of those PPE loans, he paid us back the 20% we’d lost, and reinstated our regular pay.

      I was flat-out amazed.

      We’re part of a parent organization that has a strong relationship with an important bank, and we received that PPE loan on the morning of the day the money ran out.

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        What a nice tale of human decency and generosity. I know of a similar story here in Canada. A friend’s brother‘s employer cut wages on a sliding scale – higher cuts for higher paid (read PMC) and the owner took himself off salary completely. No one was laid off, they did lots of organizing and tidying and training while waiting for orders to start coming in again.
        Also in Canada some of the grocery stores were giving their frontline workers increased wages. I hated that it was called ‘hero pay’, but at least there was some acknowledgement of the risk these people were facing. Well, it’s back to ‘normal’ now, wages rolled back to pre-COVID amounts – even though the the big chains like Weston (Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart) are paying dividends to their shareholders. I rarely shop at those big stores and now that rarely will become never.

        Reply
    5. rd

      This is another natural disaster, like a hurricane, drought etc. We have insurances, low insurance loans, and government grants in palce to help people in those events. Otherwise, we could just go back to the 1800s and early 1900s and let farmers and other people just deal with those disasters on their own. That worked well in the Dust Bowl as immortalized in “The Grapes of Wrath”.

      These are times when you can just freeze the normal creative destruciton rules and give people support so they can have a shot at their businesses and jobs when the restart button gets pushed. Pay rent for small businesses like small retail, restaruants, bars etc. and provide them with money to pay their staff commensurate wages even if they are just playing tiddlywinks. Maybe tie some of it to community service projects.

      Then once the restart button is pushed, the assistance is gone and they will not survive if they didn’t have a decent business model.

      Its what we have decided to do repeatedly for the financial sector. Why should they be special?

      Reply
    6. Mikel

      USA leaders with their 19th Century Social Darwimism mindset disagree. Never will they think there can be too many people sacrificed to keep wealth concentrated.

      Reply
    7. Bazarov

      I agree, John. The EU approach to unemployment seems wiser than ours–and something inspired by it would be more humane and, honestly, economical than our own “throw em out!” system.

      Reply
    8. neo-realist

      The “creative destruction” resulting from layoffs can end up being permanent destruction in career opportunities for older workers since private industry displays such a reluctance to hire them. After all those geezers want more money, cost more in health insurance, and don’t drink the kool-aid as readily as younger workers since the older ones have been been screwed over enough in previous experiences to not take it seriously.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I haven’t read Schumpeter yet, and probably won’t get around to him in this lifetime, so maybe he recognized the downside of it and the cases where markets fail, but I always hear the phrase as if it’s coming from Milton Friedman and it enrages me unreasonably.

        Reply
  2. jr

    Re: Cable News Nitwits

    “ Washington has spent trillions of dollars to boost the economy in the wake of the pandemic. But jobless workers are still in a tough spot: some benefits have already dwindled and more are set to expire at year-end. Economists are hopeful that the next administration will manage to pass another stimulus bill to help workers and businesses as the recovery continues.”

    The surrealism of the MSM continues unabated. How is it that trillions of dollars have been spent but “jobless workers” are still in a tough spot? And if this somehow hasn’t worked, how will the next administration’s “stimulus” bill be different? If it didn’t work the first time, why no analysis as to why it will or won’t work now?

    I’m being rhetorical here, of course.

    Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >Biden’s Transition Team Is Stuffed With Amazon, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb Personnel – Vice

    If as Lambert says, “fascism” has became an empty signifier, not an analytical tool” what do we call this relationship/merging of big business and government? Using the phrase “revolving door” is too innocuous, its been around for a long time and people just shrug it off as one of those “duhs!” that you get when having a conversation.

    The public’s focus has been almost exclusively on electoral politics and ballot counting. It makes sense that the corporate media is not going to pay much attention to this. And yet the implications of corporations not only influencing policy that benefits them over the “common good” make any claims to living in a representative democracy a sham, with elections just a big ponzi scheme that are designed to have you “sign-off” on what is being done in your name, i.e., legitimization for the regime.

    As an aside, I’m curious why Eric Schmidt bought himself a Cyprus citizenship if he is set to join the Biden administration. I don’t think, as someone in the NC post indicated, that it was the cheapest way to get EU citizenship. Someone with his wealth and influence doesn’t need to skimp.

    A revolving door has long existed between Washington D.C. and the private sector. For many Obama administration alumni, Silicon Valley became their city on the hill as they flocked to the Bay Area and filled key positions at Uber, Apple, Airbnb, and other tech companies and venture capital firms. Now, the same “Obamanauts” who heeded an idealistic call for “hope” and “change,” ended up working for some of the most exploitative corporations in existence, and have come back home to help Biden craft his administration.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      >It’s called fascism. Not only the alliance between state and capital, but the censorship.

      .

      >In case anyone missed it, Obama recently explained the rise of Trump as not due to the fallout from 8 years of the Obama Biden regime change wars abroad; support for Wall Street over homeowners; generalized immiserating NeoLiberalism; rather, the rise of Trump was / is a racist reaction to a Black man’s ascendance to the presidency.

      .

      > also, separately: Biden is walking back his mask mandate. It will now be a “national urging.”

      https://jonathanturley.org/2020/11/13/the-national-urging-plan-biden-appears-to-downgrade-his-mask-pledge-from-a-mandate-to-an-urging/

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        Interesting — Obama is such a narcissist. Just like that, all the working class whites that voted for him all disappeared, like magic.

        Reply
      2. Pelham

        So at least three elements of fascism will be in place with a Biden administration: a fusion of corporations and state, censorship, and street ruffians that can be summoned up at will. Missing is a strong leader.

        I would argue, however, that we have something just as effective as a strong leader, in the form of a unified but blatantly nonsensical messaging (RussiaRussiaRussia and a few offshoots). It’s quite nakedly false, but that’s the point. Those who conform to the message despite all evidence thus prove their good faith, albeit to a cause rather than a leader.

        Reply
    2. Fireship

      “I’m curious why Eric Schmidt bought himself a Cyprus citizenship”

      Israel, Greece and Cyprus agree to boost defense cooperation

      The EuroAsia Interconnector is a HVDC interconnector between the Greek, Cypriot, and Israeli power grids via the world’s longest submarine power cable (310 kilometres (190 mi) from Israel to Cyprus and 898 kilometres (558 mi) from Cyprus to Greece, for a total of 1,208 kilometres (751 mi)).

      Cyprus, the US and Israel are all cozily snuggled up in bed together. Mr Schidt might be the shadow Gauleiter for the region.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        There’s a techie who’s sure his trail will go cold
        And he’s boarding a stairway to a haven
        When he gets there he knows, extradition is a no go
        With a word he can get what he came for
        Ooh, ooh, and he’s boarding a stairway to a haven

        There’s signs all is not well, but he wants to be sure
        ‘Cause you know sometimes riots have strange leanings
        It’s obvious from the looks, it’s getting very near go time
        Sometimes all of our thoughts are a given

        Ooh, it makes me wonder
        Ooh, it makes me wonder

        There’s a feeling I get when i’m stuck like the rest
        And my spirit is crying he’s leaving
        In my thoughts I have seen rings of encryption
        And the voices of those left standing

        Ooh, it makes me wonder
        Ooh, it really makes me wonder

        And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
        Then justice will lead us to reason
        And a new day will dawn for those who stand for right and wrong
        And the election will still be undecided

        If there’s a rumble in Silicon Valley, don’t be alarmed now
        It’s just a spring clean for the has beens
        Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
        There’s no time to change the path you’re on
        And it makes me wonder

        Escape route is here when you land in a land you don’t know
        Gotten gains is calling you to join in
        Dear techie, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
        Your runway lies on the downwind?

        How did he wind on down this road
        On gotten gains considerably larger than his soul
        There walks a techie we all know
        Who sports dual nationality and wants to show
        How everything still comes down to moolah bestowed
        And if you listen very hard
        The tune will come to you at last
        When he is gone and that is all
        To is a techie waiting for the plane to roll
        And he’s boarding a stairway to a haven

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zt5XUY-q_I

        Reply
    3. HotFlash

      and have come back home to help Biden craft his administration.

      Ah, I don’t think so. They have come back home to continue the Obama/DNC administration. President-almost-elect Biden is possibly capable of dressing himself. I am curious to see how it shakes out. Will we call it the Obama/Harris regency?

      Reply
  4. Alex

    The Deutsche bank research proposal to tax remote workers is one of the stupidest things I read lately. I don’t know even where to start:

    – Do we want to stimulate employers to provide desks to workers who can work from home? Isn’t it better if we have less congestion and emissions?
    – Complete ignorance of how deficits work – those who lost their jobs can be helped without raising taxes on remote workers
    – How would it be monitored? If I come to the office once a week, do I need to pay this tax? If I still order take-away and buy the same amount of clothes, do I do my duty as a citizen – I mean consumer – already and can I get a tax rebate?

    Full disclosure: I’m one of those lucky enough to have work and be able to work from home

    Reply
    1. oliverks

      I would like to add some other reasons why this idea is stupid

      1) Working at home is saving the environment by reducing commuting pollution
      2) Working at home is saving the environment by reducing consumption on clothes and cars
      3) Working at home is helping people be more productive by eliminating commuting time

      Working at home is hurting DB because their real estate portfolio and collateral are both hurt. Hmm I wonder if DB would propose a 5% tax on those who work in an office to be picked up by the employer?

      Reply
    2. Fiery Hunt

      Just one more “privilege” for the well-to-do, eh?
      Can’t spare a dime.

      “You can have anything you want, Jack…
      but you better not take it from me.”

      Paradise City

      Reply
      1. oliverks

        No it is not that. A tax on all those making more than say $40K a year would be fair. The point is not to penalize people who work at home. The “well to do” can definitely afford to pay more, but we shouldn’t force people to commute to the office just to prop up shitty banks like DB.

        Reply
        1. Fiery Hunt

          If you’re working from home, you’re not working class…

          You’re part of the PMC or dependent on it and the attempt to marginalize people who can’t.

          You’ve probably enjoyed the SALT deductions for x amount of years.

          Start paying your fair share.

          Reply
          1. oliverks

            What matters is whether you have been impacted by COVID (which is what the original article was all about).

            The key question is should people who work at home pay extra tax.

            The answer is no they should not. In fact, I argue that employers who require workers to come to work, when the work could be done at home, should pay extra tax because of the burden they are placing on society.

            It is important to understand the DB does not give one hoot about poor people or anyone else. All they are trying to do is prop up their failing bank by boosting commercial real estate values.

            In no way am I trying to disagree that there are people needing help and support right now, and I am also not adverse to raising taxes (I know this runs contrary to some thinking here at NC). The tax DB is pushing is a bad tax, and they are doing it in their own self interest.

            If you feel the non working class is not paying enough taxes, then the correct solution is to raise tax on all people in the non working class.

            And for the record I have never taken the SALT deduction, I’m a standard exemption kind of guy.

            Reply
  5. QuarterBack

    Re the Deutsche Bank proposed 5% tax on people working from home, have you ever noticed that most redistribution of wealth schemes always involve the lower 2/3 of the economic classes? The top tier earns the majority of their income from non-wages, which of course would be unaffected by such a tax.

    The Guardian article doesn’t mention, but their proposal also recommends exemptions for the self employed, which is another redistribution (of labor) that they desire to herd. The “Gig Economy “ is a godsend for megacorps because it removes them from obligations of labor laws and offloads employer contributions to retirement and healthcare to workers.

    It is also rank chutzpah to mandate work at home for workers, then tax them for the “privilege”. Their proposals exempt workers in areas required to work at home by governmental health mandates, but mandates can be turned on and off like a switch. A mandate, with a dose of MSM enhancement, can move companies and workers to adjust their operations (to economically survive) then can be turned off subjecting these people to the tax.

    Reply
    1. vlade

      I don’t get it.

      It’s certainly not true that 2/3rds of people make their income from something else than wages. Yes, this would not hit the HF managers and suchlike who don’t earn their income as wages, but that’s a different problem.

      Most gig workers don’t work from home. It’s hard to drive for Uber from the comfort of your sofa.

      The WFH tax, as I understand it, is post-pandemic. I.e. assuming return to some normalcy. When WFH is definitely a priviledge, not a need.

      There are issues with this, like discouraging WFH = more commuting. But outside of the pandemic context, there’s quite a few office workers who would still prefer to WFH to a daily commute, even if it cost the same (and, say in London, cost of your commute can be far more than 5% of your income).

      Or are you claiming that all those WFH office workers are just as bad as those who can’t WFH in the current circumstances or lost their jobs because the shops/restaurants/pubs/caffes in office areas lost their customers?

      Reply
      1. QuarterBack

        My 2/3 reference was to two of three tiers (lower, middle, and upper). I was not implying a quantity nor percentage.

        As to the Gig Economy, I am not aware of the percentage of WFH workers in the group, but its number is well above zero. For example there are on-demand labor dispatching services for things like software coding. The point I was making is that the exemption for self-employed in DB’s proposal creates an another incentive to leave employee-employer relationships towards self-employed subcontractor relationships.

        As to “privilege “ of WFH, I really can’t fathom that assertion. WFH, to the extent that it will even be a choice for some employees, is about the right to “pursue happiness “. What is a “privilege “ is the power to assign various forms of “sin taxes” (which would seem to be the logic of this tax) to people on a whim.

        Reply
      2. You're soaking in it!

        Well, I’m impressed that our rulers have discovered a brand new way to divide workers and make them fight! Who says there’s no useful innovation anymore?

        Reply
        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          Yeah. Reading the article I came to the conclusion that this was designed to increase resentment against those who were going to lose out in a shift to WFH and obscure the gains made by the already hyper rich.

          Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      Austerity is a fundamental feature of class systems that resist revolution. Contrary to Marx, historical revolutionary activity prefers petit-bourgeois alliances (and their resources) to immiseration of the masses. Perhaps Marx didn’t envision that the immiseration can be finely controlled and maintain homeostasis somewhat autonomously.

      Reply
    3. Mikel

      As I said the other day about this, they weren’t concerned about any “infrastructure maintenence” when getting all of those corporate tax cuts.
      Fascists.

      Reply
  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    Staff who work from home after pandemic ‘should pay more tax’ …. Employees who continue working from home after the pandemic should be taxed for the privilege, with the proceeds used to help lower-paid workers, according to a new report.
    Wait. You’re not proposing increasing a tax on the corporate entities that will reap substantial savings in downsizing their office space in metro centers. You’re not proposing a tax increase on C suite execs who will most assuredly see a direct bump in their earnings as a result of those deprecated leases and increased earnings. You’re not proposing a tax increase on Amazon/Google/MSFT/Lumen/etc who benefit on the move to remote working. Just on the workers… ok.
    FTFA:Economists at Deutsche Bank have proposed making staff pay a 5% tax for each day they choose to work remotely… A daily 5% working from home tax would cost an employee earning £35,000 just under £7 a day,
    I can easily remember making around $46k USD and $9 and change per day in tax would have really added up quickly.
    FTFA:They argue it would leave the average employee no worse off because of savings made by not commuting and not buying lunch on-the-go and fewer purchases of work clothing.
    So is this designed to force them back into commuting/buying lunch on the go/more shopping? Aren’t we supposed to want to reduce those and their carbon impact? Was any of that sustainable on a long term anyway?
    This raises a lot more questions. I realize its just an 8 paragraph article but theres a lot of unstated work going on in it.

    Reply
    1. Sailor Bud

      It would represent an increased tax on anyone who was already working from home prior to covid, no? Nearly the entire US medical transcription & coding industry would be hit, for instance, a field dominated by women, for any idpol dem who might support this.

      Reply
    2. vlade

      The article also says “Alternatively, the report suggests the tax could be paid by employers who do not provide their workforce with a permanent desk.”. So it could be a corporation tax.

      Re $9/day adds up. Sure it does. But in London annual travel pass (which not everyone can afford up-front) is 1800 GBP. that’s, on 220 working days (normal working year assumption in the UK) is 8.20 (>$10). So by just not having to travel you’re already better off, even after tax.

      The last point, yes. But at the same time, by most people not going to the office the people who were serving the offices (and it’s a very large chunk of generaly poorer people) have lost their jobs. We can shut factories and it will stop carbon generation even more, but is it the right thing?

      As I understand it, the tax (be it on employers or employees), is meant to pay the loosers in the “work from home” situation from those who gain. And I’d point it it’s being looked at as when the situation “normalises”, not when it’s mandated to WFH.

      Reply
      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        As I understand it, the tax (be it on employers or employees), is meant to pay the losers in the “work from home” situation from those who gain

        I’d believe that if they had mentioned increasing taxes on AWS, GCP or Azure earnings. All of whom disproportionately benefit from WFH and the subsequent expansion of cloud services or increasing the tax rate on the %.001 (like Bezos).

        Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      FTFA:They argue it would leave the average employee no worse off because of savings made by not commuting and not buying lunch on-the-go and fewer purchases of work clothing.

      When corporations outsource their workforces, hire cheap H-B1 visa holders, shift more of the “healthcare” costs to employees or replace human workers with the robots to lower their overheads, that “savings” doesn’t trigger new taxes. It triggers a rise in stock prices and ceo compensation and calls to lower the corporate tax rate.

      This work from home decrease in personal “overhead” is significant so, obviously, it can’t be allowed to go unaddressed or at least reclaimed in part. It’s like a RAISE for people fer chrissakes.

      Interestingly, the increased family “overhead” of two parents working outside the home was the subject of elizabeth warren’s book The Two-Income Trap. Turns out that the financial burden of two “careers” is considerable, from auto expenses to clothing to childcare to take out food to cleaning services, and has contributed significantly to “growth” in the “economy.” (It’s also contributed significantly to the precariousness of personal/family finances.)

      Unless this work from home thing is nipped in the bud, I smell the Law of Unintended Consequence kicking in.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        Any extra shekels you might accidentally find in your pocket are viewed by the bosses as a ‘surplus‘ that they are ‘entitled‘ to, one way or another.

        Worker’s entitlements are imaginary if not immoral, the bosses entitlements are sacred.

        Reply
      2. TMoney

        The Two-Income Trap… How many families (that still have 1 wage earner) discovered the second wage wasn’t nearly as big as it looked now that the second wage earner is staying home – no child care costs, work clothes, commuting and eating out. If there are a lot of these people, then IF we get back to something “normal”, businesses might find higher wages are needed to lure them out from their homes.
        Working from home is still working – and it might be the only way the powers that be can keep these people in the workforce because their wages are too small to cover the childcare, work clothes etc etc –

        While many companies might like the idea, no one works to be worse off deliberately – although Uber shows that people with poor math skills can be convinced if you hide the costs.

        The taxing working from home idea also clearly shows that (DB) economists don’t consider your wages to be your money – we are all just pass through “Special Purpose Entities”

        Reply
  7. KevinD

    In our small town I know of 4 “small businesses”, hairdressers, massage therapists, etc. who tried to apply for stimulus but gave up in frustration after weeks of uploading documents, and re-uploading only to find themselves in an endless loop. My wife included, after 4 weeks of effort.The process was too draining.

    Reply
  8. Tom Stone

    Lambert will soon need a separate category for Kamala Harris and I propose it be called “The People’s Choice”.

    Reply
  9. Krystyn Podgajski

    Wow, Apple is really killing it! (By killing it I mean killing any notion of privacy they were selling.)

    https://sneak.berlin/20201112/your-computer-isnt-yours/

    It turns out that in the current version of the macOS, the OS sends to Apple a hash (unique identifier) of each and every program you run, when you run it. Lots of people didn’t realize this, because it’s silent and invisible and it fails instantly and gracefully when you’re offline, but today the server got really slow and it didn’t hit the fail-fast code path, and everyone’s apps failed to open if they were connected to the internet.

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      Same Apple who upgraded my iPhone OS in the middle of the night earlier this week. I checked to see when I gave them permission to do that (OS upgrades are notorious for changing your settings) and discovered I apparently no longer have an option to refuse automatic updates.

      Which is why every word I’ve ever posted here has been from my desktop. Also Apple, but no one gives a crap about where your desktop computer goes….

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        I’m on 14.0. If you go to settings > general > software update, down the bottom there should be a button “automatic updates” and you can select whether to allow automatic update downloads and automatic installation (mine’s off).

        Reply
  10. Larry

    Re: adjuvants and RNA vaccine technology – mRNA is a totally new class of drug delivery that has never worked before. Essentially you deliver the code to make antigens that the immune system will recognize, mimicking an actual infection. Adjuvants are used to enhance the half-life of actual antigens in the body that are degraded or cleared quickly, as are most foreign agents introduced into the body. In that case you’re injecting proteins that you want the immune system to recognize (and/or attenuated virus). RNA requires very different delivery technology.

    Which raises another interesting point about how feckless our leaders are. Moderna doesn’t even own the technology it needs to deliver it’s therapeutics and lost a patent suit to the company that did, which will undoubtedly further increase the cost of these things. The Feds should just step in and invalidate all patents and just pay some agreed to profitable price to make the damn doses if they’re so effective. But no, we must protect the precious status of our pharma industry to extract rapacious amounts of profits at all times.

    Reply
    1. Phacops

      Which is why, after a career in Pharma Quality, I will be looking to J&J, Sanofi and others for their adjuvated protein vaccines, a tried and true delivery where manufacturing, distribution, and effects are well known.

      What surprises me, though, is that the mechanism of adjuvants still remains in the dark.

      Reply
      1. Larry

        I’m surprised Pfizer doesn’t have a more traditional approach too. My uncle used to work for Wyeth (which was Lederle) in vaccine development and was let go after Pfizer acquired them. My understanding is that Pfizer still has that business, but I haven’t followed it quite well. I agree with you sentiment that more traditional vaccination programs stand a higher chance of being successful and able to scale.

        With the South Koreans making the Russian vaccine at scale, you can see the bets are on more traditional approaches.

        Reply
  11. zagonostra

    >CNSA vs NASA

    With ever increasing privatization of all things public, I’m curious if the Elon Musk’s of the world will really be able to compete with state sponsored space activities. I remember being amazed and proud to be a U.S. citizen during the Space Shuttle launch back in the 80’s. My teens were spent devouring SciFi books from Asimov to Zelazny. Somehow I imagined the U.S. would have a station on the moon and we would be well on our way to long distance space travel by now…maybe the U.S. has become too dysfunctional with its internecine political squabbling to be successful in space…let alone here on terra ferma.

    China has successfully sent 13 satellites into orbit this month with a single rocket, including the world’s first 6G experimental satellite…China led the world in the number of launches per year in 2018 and 2019. It is upping the stakes in the space race by launching 32 rockets so far this year, and could hit 40 by the end of 2020…China’s Tianwen-1 probe is currently on the way to Mars and the country is expected to launch another rocket, the Chang’e-5 with a lunar sample return mission, later this month.

    https://www.greanvillepost.com/2020/11/12/on-the-way-to-mars-boom-bust-observes-chinas-space-race-as-it-launches-worlds-1st-6g-satellite-into-orbit/

    Reply
    1. JWP

      this is similar to China, the same day of virgin hyperloop’s failed test, announcing a 15 mile underground high speed rail tunnel. There is no world where private companies can compete with public infrastructure, let alone a country with a workforce many, many times larger than the US.

      Basically, we are related to waiting for a few super rich people to claim they have a huge invention in travel and then see it fail, as opposed to just knowing the government is pursuing infrastructure projects and being able to follow and even work for those.

      Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      my dad, who was at JSC in Clear Lake, Texas from Apollo 12 through to Skylab, took us and the boys to Nasa’s disneyfied outfit there at the JSC, a couple of years after it opened.
      i asked him why we stopped.
      He said, “because there was no money in it”.
      of course, much of that problem has to do with the difficulty in escaping the gravity well.
      still…the Neoliberal Turn was already making it’s way down the birth canal by that time.
      and, yes….as a Nasa Kid, I soaked up that zeitgeist…had a subscription to Omni, even,lol.
      i didn’t discover Star Trek until TNJ and Picard(still my favorite captain), but the Roddenberryan Ideal was all around me growing up.

      “If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”-Gene Roddenberry

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        It took about 200,000 gallons of Kerosene to get the 3 Apollo astronauts to the moon

        That’s about 66,000 gallons per person.

        Most of the fuel was used in stage 1 to get the rocked and fuel to earth orbit.

        Rockets are too fuel inefficient to get a sizeable number of adult humans into space.

        Heinlein proposed a catapult built om Pike’s Peak as the first stage of colonizing space.

        Clarke proposed a space elevator on the equator as the lift mechanism.

        Reply
  12. Off The Street

    Who really runs government?
    If that brings to mind images of malingering clerks, subversives, bribe-seekers and other staples of third world s***holes, then, to quote W, Mission Accomplished.
    Of course, there are exceptions. For example, interactions in our favorite DMV office, and a few others, have been easy.
    YMMV ;)

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      Is there a point at which open obstruction of legal presidential orders crosses over into actual treason for which one can be prosecuted and hanged? Hesitation or outright screwups are one thing. This seems quite another.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        [expletive deleted] Treason consists of waging war against the United States or providing aid and comfort to its enemies. From the context I believe “enemies” means states or organizations who are waging war against the United States, and at the moment there are none. I don’t care if you think Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are “enemies” of the United States, delaying access to transition facilities for the President-elect is not “waging war against the United States.” I’m sorry, I try not to react, but the hysterical overuse of the word “treason” just pushes my buttons. There has been so [unintelligible] much unfounded hysteria for the last four years I’m a bit unhinged.

        Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Advice to Biden, Don’t Do Stupid Things… Navalny”

    Question. What is the similarity between Aleksei A. Navalny and Kamala Harris? On their own merits, they both would poll about 2% of the population.

    Question. What is the difference between Aleksei A. Navalny and Kamala Harris? Navalny is not one heart beat away from becoming the President of his country.

    Reply
  14. ProNewerDeal

    Presume in an alternative Universe: a Social Democrat like Sanders or Cloned FD Roosevelt became President in 2021.

    Theoretical Question 1: Could such a President Constitutionally/legally say reallocate 10% of the Defense budget to fund COVID mitigation (including lockdown temporary UBI & PPE production), claiming that COVID is a national security crisis, & such spending is Defending USians lives & economy?

    Theoretical Question 2: Same as #1 but instead of reallocation from existing departments, could a President Constitutionally/legally use the MMT Experts’-advised “Mint The Coin” tactic (suggested as a solution during a 0bama/Rs Debt Ceiling man-made crisis) & use those funds for COVID mitigation?

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      Answer to Qstn 1 & Qstn 2:

      They would show the “cloned” president the missing frames of the Zapruder film and he/she would abandon any notion of pushing polices that advance the interest of the plebs…

      Reply
    2. jefemt

      Had a very good rumination on MMT and Mint The Coin while shoveling snow a couple weeks ago.

      I had it all figured out— I amaze myself in my little world of ideas.

      I’m thinking the coin should have jesus on one side and the buddha on t’other.
      (strong symbolic re-defininition of the present two-sides-of-the-one coin R v D charade).

      Better do it all sooner than later.

      Covid is such a potential gift— to bad the paradigm shifting thing we all have flirted with over the last year is very evidently missing from the Davosman ‘leadership’ class and its water-carrier power structure.

      Reply
      1. mike

        what’s different between the FED printing money to buy Treasuries and the Treasury department just printing the coin themselves?

        looks the same to me. Aside from making the whole process look complicated.

        Reply
        1. Paul Boisvert

          Hi, Mike,

          You’re right, not much difference, though I think that to “borrow”, they’ll actually be selling (printed-up) Treasuries to banks and brokers, not buying them. They then have to eventually start to pay back some interest on the Treasuries (as well as the principal) which is the only (minor) difference. They can always print and sell some more Treasuries to pay the interest, as well as the principal too, down the road.

          Since T-bills remain quite liquid in bond markets, the lenders still have the same amount of optionally spendable assets as before, but the gov’t can now spend the proceeds of the sale on helicopter money for covid-harmed workers, and/or corporations and business owners–likely more on the latter than the former, unfortunately.

          While the bulk of interest goes to the affluent, some middle-class folks get some in their (largely retirement-oriented) portfolios as well. Either way, the interest is an additional (minor) stimulus for the economy, which (to the extent, unfortunately not too large, that it trickles down) is good.

          I’d rather see the coin, just to promote MMT, but it’s not much of a difference, functionally.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            How about just making a minor tweak to the accounting classification? Instead of offsetting the Cash account with a liability when they sell a bond, how about crediting Owners’ Capital? Then we could have the circulating notes without the false idea of a liability that has to be repaid (the Public Debt will never be repaid — the idea is ludicrous).

            Reply
        1. Procopius

          No, size does not matter. The nominal value of coins has never depended on their material content. A coin the size of a dime could be labeled as a face value of a trillion dollars. In fact that used to be a source of revenue for authorities who could mint coins — it’s called seigniorage. It has to be struck in platinum because the law allows platinum coins, but not coins made from other metals, to be treated as ceremonial artifacts to be assigned an arbitrary nominal value.

          Reply
  15. crittermom

    That squirrel photo is the best I’ve ever seen. Very judgmental! Love it.

    I’d like to see it sent to Biden/Harris a million times over with the caption, “Okay. You won. Now SHOW ME what you’re really going to do.”

    Reply
  16. cocomaan

    Asian Giant Hornets/Murder Hornets spread by creating a bunch of queens during the warm months who then burrow into the ground to overwinter. Workers die.

    I don’t understand why the article doesn’t detail that the asian giant hornet entered the country through Canada/BC/Vancouver. Likely a queen got on board a shipping container or something and rode it over. Canadian customs screwed up.

    Once a species like this gets a foothold, it’s game over. They’re invasive and likely have no predators here.

    In PA, we have the spotted lantern fly infestation. Many think that it came over on rock quarried in Asia, used in some rich person’s building project over here.

    The only saving grace for spotted lantern flies in PA has been that we have a native fungus that makes their bodies explode.

    Reply
      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        November 13, 2020 at 8:55 am

        The profound point missed by most, and why we are not 2 legged aphid ant slaves, is due to a drunkard who revealed where the ant nest was.
        A toast to drinking…

        Reply
  17. timbers

    South Korean firm to produce 150 million doses a year of Russian COVID-19 vaccine – RDIF Reuters.

    So the Russian vaccine is a thing? Or is it over hyped like Pfizer’s? It sort of sneaked up and surprised me in the last few days. Better than Pfizer’s and with out Pfizer’s deep cold storage problem that makes widespread distribution unfeasible? Guess I’m gonna have to skim the corporate media to see if they are reporting on this…gulp…Russian success if in fact it is, or if they are ignoring it.

    If so, this makes me think there might have been pressure for the U.S. to make a stage stealing announcement so we could show how exceptional we are. Plus Pfizer CEO got to dump a bunch of his stock at a killer price.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      This could be the beginning of a split in the world in its response to the pandemic. So you might have one part going with Pfizer’s vaccine while the other part goes with Sputnik 5. No idea if they work as well as advertised nor for how long. Maybe neither of them will work out. Point is, old Joe has been in the pockets of Big Pharma since forever. That is why he opposes M4A. So when he is inaugurated next January, will he use his power to extend the profits of Pfizer by threatening and sanctioning countries that use the Russian vaccine? The EU is already doing this in Europe and I would not put it past Biden to do something like this.

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Just about to retire for the night (1 am here) but I read a story how Hungary was being threatened when they were negotiating with Russia to use this vaccine. The EU was saying that it had not crossed their “t”s or dotted their “i”s enough or something. The Hungarians are going ahead anyway. I’ll see if I can find a link tomorrow about this.

          Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            ah okay, I added Hungary to my search and found some stories

            https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/coronavirus-vaccine-russia-hungary-sputnik-v-latest-b1721884.html nothing about the EU in this one

            one quote from a concerned scientist here: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/12/world/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/hungary-prepares-to-carry-out-tests-and-a-trial-of-russias-covid-19-vaccine

            found this one – from two weeks ago, it’s a bit thin though, in terms of actual putative consequences: https://www.rt.com/news/505107-eu-hungary-covid-vaccine/

            and this one from CGTN – which says the parties are on a ‘collision course’, which, I guess? https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-11-13/Hungary-goes-against-EU-guidance-to-order-Russia-s-COVID-19-vaccine-VmMubgrTxu/index.html

            nothing about sanctions or threats of sanctions though. RT’s story comes closest to the vague suggestion of threats, but there’s nothing really concrete there.

            I would be astonished if Biden sanctioned countries using the Russian vaccine, especially South Korea. Not even he’s that gaga.

            Reply
            1. timbers

              But Russia’s vaccine is obviously a plot by Putin to destroy us by lacing it with the most deadly poison on Earth that never seems to kill anyone – Novachek. We need those sanctions to protect our democracy.

              Reply
              1. km

                Not to mention that the Russian vaccine doesn’t work, no testing necessary, are you a Commie?

                And also the wily Russkies stole it from Our Hardworking Patriotic Scientists!

                Reply
              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                They will probably warn us about the time an intelligence agency launched a fake polio vaccination program to gather intelligence but neglected to vaccinate anyone and then say its exactly what the KGB would do!

                Reply
            2. The Rev Kev

              Hi Basil. Took a quick look and the story is that the EU is only going to approve vaccines that have been developed and tested in the EU. Oxford gets a pass I guess as the UK is still in the EU at the moment but they are not happy that Hungary, in desperation, opened the door to Sputnik 5 as this mean that it could become a distribution point for the eastern EU nations. It gives the Russian Federation too many brownie points diplomatically if it works.

              When I said sanctioning, I was talking about a Biden administration doing this so as to push Pfizer’s vaccine in its place as it will be so lucrative. Just as soon as they work out the refrigeration and distribution problems that is. One day. Eventually. Any time now. And Biden does have a history with Big Pharma. A precedent here is the US trying to sanction Nord Stream 2 to death so that the EU will take more expensive US gas instead. It is politicizing vaccines which helps nobody.

              Reply
              1. Procopius

                Don’t forget China has a vaccine candidate, too, maybe about a month behind the Russian one, maybe not. I think they’re going to monopolize the Asian market, maybe including India. Theirs also does not require the deep cold storage.

                Reply
    1. Eduardo

      “Rapid antigen test from BD.”

      FDA has issued an alert to clinical labs and healthcare providers about the potential for COVID-19 antigen tests to deliver false positives after receiving reports from nursing homes and other settings. …

      The instructions for use for the Abbott, BD and Quidel kits all stress that failure to adhere to certain timings can cause false results.

      FDA warns of COVID-19 antigen test false positives as report flags Quidel on accuracy.

      Reply
  18. bob

    Why isn’t the fact that Uber is losing money front and center on the debate on making them the center of the new economic order?

    It’s a textbook case of a monopoly. They drive down prices to the point that no one else can compete. They don’t care about making money. They give money away. The subsidy is provided by very sketchy imbred and hostile gulf royalty assisted by wall street’s worst actors.

    That’s all way before they abuse their non-employees, which lets be honest, no one in DC cares about anyway.

    Reply
    1. Grumpy Engineer

      An accompanying question is this: How are they able to keep going on and on and on while hemorrhaging billions of dollars every year? Where does all of the money that Uber loses come from?

      In the small business world, continually losing money generally results in prompt business failure and bankruptcy. But not in the big business world fed by Wall Street. Why?

      Reply
      1. TsWkr

        Softbank, and then they went public. Their most recent acquisitions have been made by shares, as well.

        I also think when they were private, those markets were rather frothy and anyone who could meet the criteria for an accredited investor was more than willing to plow money into it.

        They appear to have another couple years of cash burn left, which might be helped by the slowdown in volume, and I imagine they’d be able to raise cash through the debt markets for a little while longer.

        Reply
      2. Samuel Conner

        The disregard of the history of losses is less puzzling to me (for comparison, I think that AMZN lost money for years while it grew to market-dominating scale) than the evidence that “building to scale” will not solve the fundamental unprofitability of the Uber business model. Hubert Horan has been beating this drum for a number of years, but the markets don’t seem to care even about that.

        Pervasive “greater fool” thinking?

        Reply
      3. tegnost

        And they said we’re not a socialist country. What a crock. QE is the conduit for the absolution of risk to finance and the wealthy

        Reply
      4. jef

        Everyone who “invests” money in these “tech” startups knows full well and indeed are banking on the fact that they will eventually undercut and destroy all competition in the sector at which point their gamble pays off big time. Is this not already widely known?

        I have a new startup that monitors how much TP you use using a digital spool that reports info back to us and when you start using too much you are charged a dime per square. When you start using the predetermined amount or less you get points for helping save the planet. A percentage of the profits goes to …saving the planet… I call it SQUARE ONE! Where do we start saving the planet? Square One!

        Pipeline product, custom TP that tests for a dozen different health indicators.

        Reply
        1. bob

          ” that they will eventually undercut and destroy all competition in the sector at which point their gamble pays off big time.”

          There is no future where Uber makes money. Ever. Lots of writing here about that.

          Reply
          1. jef

            Sure there is. If they wipe out all taxi services, bus lines, and all other public transpo. At least thats the plan, I’m not saying it will work in fact I hate the concept with all my being but the question was how can this happen?

            Reply
      5. hunkerdown

        Big business, or rather the “board member” class which directs big business, realizes its profits by shaping the reward structures of the whole society. “Losses” of the first degree are just deliberate failures to recognize structural profits and their source. It’s almost a mistake to conceive of these firms as businesses, with all the norms of profitability and productivity that would be misplaced thereby.

        Reply
    2. timbers

      In part, it all leads back to the Fed’s endless QE and ZIRP.

      If today, the Fed normalized interest rates – as it should do immediately – by raising them and terminated forever QE, the likes of Uber would likely face a dry up of funding and die.

      Normalizing interest rates and ending QE would also benefit the economy by ending all the wasteful subsidies to the finance sector and the rich.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        I can’t imagine the Fed normalizing its policy until the custodians of the public fisc — Congress — adopts a more accommodating fiscal policy. And with JB the next supreme leader and MM in charge of the Senate (not to mention “pay-go” Nancy in the House), that seems unlikely.

        Reply
        1. Upwithfiat

          There’s nothing “normal” about a so-called “natural rate of interest” in fiat equaling zero percent since the non-bank private sector may not even use fiat except as grubby coins and paper Central Bank Notes. How then is it “normal” that only banks can use fiat in convenient form?

          Nor are reserve drains via welfare for the banks and the rich to raise interest rates normal either.

          What you call “normal” is merely a former means of looting …

          Reply
  19. fresno dan

    Regional Expert
    @SortaBad
    ·
    Nov 8
    “I’m not getting a COVID vaccine so they can microchip me,” the man typed into his phone that tracks his every thought and constantly logs his location

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      woman at the little mom and pop where i get beer, cigs and gas said this one day( she likes and respects me, even though i’m a commie).
      she actually had her smart phone in her hand when she said it.
      i also pointed out the window to her newfangled spaceship suv, with all the bells and whistles(just like my mom’s), with the big trump sticker on the back…”betsy, betsy, betsy….even your car phones home and tells the mothership where you go….”
      she still voted for trump, but i may have talked her out of being antivaxx, in this case.
      i did allow that we would be waiting for the first wave of guinnea pigs to take whatever vaccine comes out the chute first…

      (and let this be a further little window into a small rural texas town where you can totally disagree with someone on political questions, but still like and care for them.)

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        >>> where you can totally disagree with someone on political questions, but still like and care for them.

        That’s because the PMC emotionally considers politics as their religion and it is inerrant. Again, emotionally, which makes talking about it difficult because they refuse to examine why they believe it. With the lack of deep understanding they cannot even explain it. It’s all the equivalent of screaming blasphemer or heretic. At least with the Christians who have read the Bible or some Marxist who has studied Marx and modern political economy, I can. Some IdPol fanatic or Ayn Rand acolyte who has a 0.005” understanding of what they say they believe in is just hopeless.

        Add that since people have fewer social connections, when they start talking about their religious beliefs, they don’t have the practice of separating ideas, actions, and people or of anything other than black and white instead of the grey most of us are. If someone has a mistaken idea, that means they are evil, not that they are merely mistaken, and often slightly. Probably explains why many leftists become unhinged. Their belief in political economy becomes their religion.

        Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’ ”

    ‘NYT. Read it? I’d love to, but my diabetes is acting up real bad.’

    Arrgghhhh! Don’t do it. Seriously. Just don’t. I have a strong stomach but I got only about two or three paragraphs in and could go no further. It got so brown.

    Reply
    1. Mary

      This review is rare in its thoughtful discussion of Obama’s self questioning, itself rare in a leader. It is well written. I urge others to read it. It may be too long but I enjoyed every paragraph.

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        Mary you are being ironic right?

        Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. It is not merely that this book avoids being ponderous, as might be expected, even forgiven, of a hefty memoir, but that it is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid. From Southeast Asia to a forgotten school in South Carolina, he evokes the sense of place with a light but sure hand. This is the first of two volumes, and it starts early in his life, charting his initial political campaigns, and ends with a meeting in Kentucky where he is introduced to the SEAL team involved in the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/12/books/review/barack-obama-a-promised-land.html

        Reply
        1. Mary

          No, I am dead serious.

          If you see this review as too positive of Obama, I did not. The reviewer questions the honesty of what he says in the memoir and questions his handling of racial issues.

          Reply
          1. zagonostra

            I thought it read like a hagiography, but then I’m might be developing a case of OBDS (Obama Biden Derangement Syndrome), these syndromes and virus tend to morph…

            Reply
    2. curlydan

      Yeah, I read about 2-3 pages of the excerpt printed in the New Yorker about ACA, and after that brief reading, I asked myself, “Why am I wasting my time on this crap? This man has taken enough of my attention over the years and not really to the good.” A lot of junk about his dog, holding hands with Michelle, blah blah blah.

      Have barf bag by your side if you dare to read it.

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Mary, I hate to break it too you but Obama is not the person that you think that he is. When you go into his history, he never was – and neither is his wife. If you don’t believe me, then just ask the good people of Flint, Michigan. Here is a video that might show you the other side of Obama-

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOfkBRaWmGE (13:30 mins with some swearing)

          Reply
  21. shtove

    Dominic Cummings to leave Downing Street by Christmas

    The Guardian has drawn up an arena of court intrigue, centred on Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds:

    a “battle for influence with the prime minister was being slowly won by Symonds and her allies”

    and later …

    “One Conservative backbencher said Symonds could lead what amounted to an alternative power base within Westminster, lined up against Michael Gove and Cummings and allied to Stratton, who – against the wishes of Cain – is to become the face of the government’s new briefings. “Carrie is very much pushing on this,” they said.
    One said: “Who would have thought that Carrie Symonds would be the one to pull the plug on the failings of Cummings, Cain and co,” adding: “Chapeau.””

    Chapeau, apparently, means Hats off. The rest is a mystery to me.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/nov/13/how-dominic-cummings-and-carrie-symonds-vie-for-boris-johnsons-attention

    Reply
    1. Phillip Cross

      Dominic Cummings to leave Downing Street by Christmas (and collect his pay off from the oligarch’s behind Brexit). It might seem too craven if he just left right as the Brexit collapse began, so he decided to spin it to look like he was forced out. That gives him the added bonus of washing his hands of Brexit implementation, so he can say, ‘not my fault’ later. Chapeau!

      Reply
      1. shtove

        Well, it’s curious. I can see this too as a rebranding of Johnson to get him over the Brexit hump: “It was Cummings and his weird minions wot dun it. A chap finds himself enfolded in the bosom of the fairer sex and, dare I say it, no better place to occupy one’s idle hands. No more gaffes from me, now I’m under matron’s gaze, what ho. “Domus in smackgobullum eo,” as I confided to Bacchus the other day.”

        And the fact the Guardian springs this secret faction into public scrutiny, ready made, with teeth and tentacles a go-go.

        Reply
        1. Phillip Cross

          You’re right. It is all rather curious. As usual, it probably all boils down to a bunch of repulsive, greedy liars who are trying to simultaneously feather their nests, whilst covering their arse.

          …and I am afraid your latin joke was lost on me. I stopped paying attention after, “Caecilius est pater.”.

          Reply
  22. Phillip Cross

    “Biden, the Media and CIA Labeled the Hunter Biden Emails “Russian Disinformation.” There is Still No Evidence. Glenn Greenwald”

    My theory: They claimed it was disinformation because they know for a fact that the laptops were stolen from Hunter on his travels. He never personally took them to the repair shop, someone else did. They couldn’t say that to the press, because even if it discredited the story of how the data got released, it would give provenance to the content. After the theft, there was an unknown chain of custody on the data, so absolutely anything could be on there, so the CIA threw a blanket on it.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      My theory is that hunter dropped off a problem at a repair shop and thought that it would get scrubbed and disappear, I mean a macbook has good resale value so why wouldn’t the downtrodden repair guy sell it?
      But you know, it’s just a theory…

      Reply
      1. Pat

        My theory is that Hunter Biden is an idiot, probably a charming one. But between the charm, the substance abuse and the entitlement, he has never had to really take care of himself or grow up. His computer wasn’t working so he drops it off, but gets a new one and forgets about it. Because he is never responsible, the fact that there is shit on it he, and his father, might not want the world to know never occurs to him.

        The reason for all the BS deflections is that because it is real they have nothing else. This isn’t all about the Bidens, we cannot talk about our interference in Ukraine . The plan is they delay long enough and the agencies that should be investigating and arresting and going public can bury it behind the Iran Contra files.

        Reply
        1. Tomonthebeach

          Well-said. Greenwald has lost his perspective and comes across as petulant which undermines his credibility in my mind. The entire laptop story smells of equine excrement not only because of the orifice from which it emerged, but the timing, and falsifiability of the so-called evidence as well. Yes, Hunter is sick puppy so people will believe guilt till proven innocent, but Greenwald has not offered any proof that the laptop actually was Biden’s nor that the emails were not altered, fabricated, and/or stolen from other sources.

          Reply
          1. pjay

            I think you may have misconstrued Pat’s comment.

            It is established that the laptop was Biden’s and the emails authentic. This has not been challenged, to my knowledge. Greenwald’s intention was not to “prove” something already known. It was to criticize censorship or disinformation (Russia Russia!) on the larger Biden story by the Intercept and MSM. Have I missed something?

            Reply
  23. Mark

    “Incidentally, I’m not seeing the “delivery system,” “vaccination routes,” or “adjuvants” being discussed with respect to the Pfizer vaccine, though perhaps I’ve missed something in the literature.”

    The mRNA/lipid nanoparticle system used by Pfizer and Moderna has never been approved for use before. My understanding is that it was originally investigated as a drug delivery system but was abandoned by the major pharma companies when it appeared that continued dosing led to toxicities related to the nanoparticles themselves. It was then pursued by small start-ups like Moderna and BioNtech for vaccines since only 1 or 2 doses would be necessary. I believe no adjuvants are used but others may know more than I. Bottom line is that there is precious little known about it.

    Reply
  24. Basil Pesto

    A top health adviser to President-elect Joe Biden suggested that the nation is well-positioned financially to withstand a lockdown of more than a month in an effort to get the coronavirus pandemic under control.

    “When you look at the personal savings rate in this country, it’s now gone from about 8 percent to over 22 percent. We have a big pool of money out there that we could borrow. The historic low interest rates by the federal government, we could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for our losses to small companies to medium sized companies, for city states, county governments. We could do all of that,” said Michael Osterholm during a live event this week with Yahoo News.

    🤮

    Reply
    1. pjay

      That was exactly my interpretation! The body language perfectly expresses the attitude of our stubborn, bird feeder-robbing squirrels.

      Reply
  25. The Rev Kev

    “Outgoing Syria Envoy Admits Hiding US Troop Numbers; Praises Trump’s Mideast Record’

    That James Jeffrey is no loss as he is a straight neocon who will probably go work for a think tank or be given a plum position in a university or maybe get to go on a corporate board. Plenty more like him. What I found interesting was how he was playing a shell game with US troops in Syria. Thing is, the last time I looked an Ambassador is not in the line of command at all. So where did those US troops come from? He can only have ‘borrowed’ them from some friendly generals.

    The past week Trump has been sacking people at the Pentagon from Esper on downwards. Which makes me wonder. Trump is a lame duck President so he is basically spinning his wheels for the next coupla weeks. Now over the past four years there must have been plenty of times that he gave orders but that they were frustrated by those under him. Such as when he wanted to pull all US troops out of Syria but was frustrated by his officials. So what if he has said to himself why not go for it and sack those officials. After all, what are they doing to do to me. Fire me.

    Reply
  26. Samuel Conner

    > (When you see the liberal catchphrase, “our democracy,” experiment by replacing “democracy” with “dystopian hellscape.” See if the meaning changes!)

    Thank you, Lambert, for this morning’s “deep ventilation belly laugh”. Though, again, I’m not sure whether this is snark, sarcasm, irony, or simply “plain emote”. I wonder if I am developing (additional) faults in my “theory of mind.” Is that a possible side effect of social isolation?

    —-

    re: the value of “deep ventilation belly laugh”; I’ve read that this is really good for the cardiorespiratory system. Do it as often as you reasonably can. Under current circumstances, of course, this is best done outdoors and far away from other humans. If indoors in a space that shares air with other air-breathers, do it masked. (<– and that is all mostly "plain emote", with a hint of something else).

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      In what will hopefully be the last pass @ making fun of a doofuss circle jerking the camera, i’d like to thank Jeffrey for providing the laughs, and I hear Four Seasons Total Landscaping is hiring, and it’s porn-adjacent!

      Reply
  27. Lex

    Staff Who Work From Home After Pandemic ‘Should Pay More Tax’

    Officially, when does a pandemic “end”? Who declares the end and under what circumstances? Looking at Pfizer’s(?) four stage rollout, we’re Phase 4, meaning ‘everyone else’. When all the Everyone Else’s have been vaccinated, is that the end? What if enough people refuse the vaccine, making it very difficult to declare the end of the pandemic?

    ‘Deutsche Bank proposed’… to who? It’s an idea they just threw out there? Who was listening besides The Guardian? Just asking if this proposal has legs at all.

    Reply
  28. tegnost

    Bloomberg trade…
    Rather than relying on new defensive trade barriers as Trump has, Biden’s plans hinge on encouraging investment at home via tax incentives for companies to build factories in the U.S., and government spending on infrastructure and alternative energy to boost demand. The underlying idea is that a stronger, more confident U.S.—rather than a belligerent one—can turn around the narrative that it’s a declining superpower, according to multiple advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
    Tax “incentives” (free money for the socialists in the biz class)
    spending on infrastructure (free stuff paid for by .gov, later to be privatized to the socialists in the biz class)
    alternative energy to boost demand (don’t they mean consumption, which is the source of much of their ill gotten gains)
    The underlying idea is that a stronger, more confident U.S.—rather than a belligerent one—can turn around the narrative that it’s a declining superpower, according to multiple advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity
    Bwaaaa hahahahaha

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

      –Barack Obama

      …..Biden’s plans hinge on encouraging investment at home via tax incentives for companies to build factories in the U.S……

      Didn’t they already try that in Wisconsin with foxconn?

      Reply
    2. Pat

      Funny I am a great proponent of using tax policy to force companies to keep jobs in America and to move operations back. First by non-tax deductible fines for failure to create jobs in America since the reason for multiple job breaks was job creation. Second a long term tax penalty on companies that move jobs out of America that puts the costs of long term unemployment, training and lost wages on the company (there can be no profit for them in doing this any more). Third a long term tariff on products produced outsid3 of America if it could be produced in America. Example, after moving production of Oreos out of Illinois to iirc Mexico, all Mexican Oreos would face a twenty dollar a case tariff for a minimum of ten years.

      Which plan do you think would both eliminate corporate campaign funding AND keep jobs in America? Unfortunately part one of that is why we never see part two happen in our current system.

      Reply
      1. mike

        and never, ever pass a “one-time” repatriation lowered Tax rate.

        once a decade or so we pass these tax cuts that rewards companies that move jobs overseas.

        Reply
    1. Person

      Chimeras probably aren’t subject to minimum wage laws, right? I wonder if they would be intelligent enough for Amazon warehouse picking. Might shave a few bucks off the bottom line!

      Reply
    2. Maritimer

      This heart warming story made my day. I have been concerned that due to Covid and other factors that any of the 2400 Billionaires or their minions might go without the organ transplants they need to continue God’s work. Now that these wonderful, conscientious and hard-working Spanish scientists have been able to find a place in China to do their research, I can sleep comfortably at night.

      Onward Science!

      Reply
  29. Wukchumni

    It was quiet, too quiet on Friday the 13th, the day started out normal enough, obsessing over a cabal of political Major Major Major Majordomos not worth the effort, when out of nowhere a squirrel appears and everything seems possible, except getting a room on the 13th floor of a hotel.

    Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    Going to take an environmental journey…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Almost 2 million Californians receive a pension from CalPERS, the California Public Employees Retirement System.

    “Because we’re a pension fund, we rely on companies thriving in the economy to generate the returns, and we pay pensions out of that,” says Anne Simpson of CalPERS.

    She says climate change may put those investments at risk because extreme weather can hurt company profits. And if governments require cuts to carbon pollution, companies reliant on fossil fuels may lose money.

    “We need to think about how do we manage that risk? How do we mitigate that risk? Don’t just lie there on the railway tracks waiting to be run over,” Simpson says.

    Working with other large investors, CalPERS is helping to lead the Climate Action 100+ coalition. The initiative uses its combined financial clout to pressure companies to reduce their carbon pollution. Many are responding.

    “Because when money talks, it has impact. And for Climate Action 100+, we now have $40 trillion in investment signed up to making this successful,” Simpson says. “We’ve got very ambitious goals, but we cannot let up. The urgency is absolutely upon us.”

    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/11/californias-state-pension-fund-pushes-companies-to-cut-their-carbon-pollution/?ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_WEEKLY_110920)

    Reply
  31. BillS

    Regarding the reproducibility crisis in science. The article is a good overview of the problem, but does not dwell very long on some of the the fundamental reasons for the problem.

    1) Funding for replication studies is nearly impossible to get.
    2) The grant system is broken- everywhere – principal investigators spend almost all their time writing grant proposals, most of which are never funded. So, once you get the funds, you better get a positive result!
    3) And most importantly, universities and research organizations have adopted the worst of Taylorist metric-management techniques to rank researchers. Two things matter when hiring or promoting a researcher: Will he/she raise the profile of the organization with a mass of (mostly useless) publications? Will he/she (continue to) bring lots of grant money? All other qualities are secondary.

    Our world has forgotten that real advances are often made by people who have the ability (luxury?) to just sit and think about a problem. I guess that looks to much like doing nothing in today’s frenetic scientific world. IIRC, Albert Einstein pondered contradictions in Maxwell’s Theory of Electromagnetism during mountain walks in Italy, forming the basis of his monumental Theory of Relativity (among other things). The mathematician Paul Erdős would turn up at your door with his suitcase, drop a hit of meth and solve the unsolvable with you through the night and write a paper about it in the morning! “Turning coffee into theorems,” so to speak. Perhaps there is a lesson in that.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The lessons are clear: mountain walks in Italy and meth must be outlawed to protect the stability of our thought and present investments in capital. “New and improved” is all right, but anything truly new is a threat.

      Reply
  32. Wukchumni

    An Economist’s Guide to the World in 2050 Bloomberg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A good read, that one…

    Issac Newton reckoned the world would come to an end no earlier than 2060, so enjoy your time @ the top, China.

    Reply
  33. CoryP

    Paul Street seems to be having a meltdown. F*k the Trumpenleft and Obama too

    This isn’t worth reading… but it might be interesting (to skim) for those of us who fondly remember his older writing. That said, my political opinions have changed over the last 4 years so maybe he was always like this?

    Anyway, yikes.

    Reply
    1. Temporarily Sane

      Street’s emotional tantrums have gotten extreme over the last four years. He was always a bit of an emo handwringer but he’s become unreadable. TDS on steroids.

      Reply
  34. timbers

    Obama is on the TV saying it’s voter’s fault that Trump got elected. He’s basically echoing Hillary’s irredeemable deplorable line but more elegantly. He says voters got spooked by having a African American Prez and as a result voted Trump.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Have you ever known Obama to take responsibility for a failure, even when it is obviously a failure? Admittedly it is top level Democrat MO to either double down on a failed action OR to point the finger in all directions looking for a fall guy. Still he doesn’t ever let the buck stop with him.

      I do give him credit for at least tacitly acknowledging that voters did elect Trump, even if demonizes their reasoning. I am not sure HRC has gotten there yet. But then he was in on the beginning of the Russia false flag…

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We can only fail Obama. He’s not ready to give up on us, but he’s so stressed he had to keep smoking. Poor guy.

        Reply
    2. Offtrail

      IMO Obama is correct to say that he was treated worse because of his race. Look at the unprecedented disrespect he suffered in Congress , such as that GOP Representative yelling “you lie” at him while he was giving an address. That’s obviously not all that went wrong, but it was part of it.

      Reply
  35. Wukchumni

    No way Bay Areans DiFi & Kamala congratulated LA, it’s so out of character in an odd rivalry where Angelenos really like San Francisco, while locals from the latter look down on la la land.

    Reply
    1. Arcadia Mommy

      EXACTLY! My husband is 4th generation Northern CA, grew up in the Bay Area and he had been to San Diego once for business. He only went to LA on business and for the Olympics with his grandparents. His whole family totally disdains anything below Carmel.

      I am second generation born in San Diego, and I have been all over the state. Now we go to SD every summer for a month to escape the heat and he has an office there. Go figure. We haven’t been to SF other than for business in years.

      Reply
  36. Mikel

    “Biden’s Transition Team Is Stuffed With Amazon, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb Personnel” Vice (Re Silc). Shocker.

    And after Prop 22 passed in Cali.
    ALEC would be proud.

    Reply
  37. Pat

    I have to wonder if the public were asked if they wanted global leadership for America with life here continuing the status quo OR not being a global leader but improving our conditions to approach or achieve first world level healthcare, education, and standard of living for the lower 90% of Americans?

    We will never be asked that question because public well being is of little to no importance to our “leadership”.

    Reply
  38. Tomonthebeach

    “Rather than relying on new defensive trade barriers as Trump has, Biden’s plans hinge on encouraging investment at home via tax incentives”

    I had to chuckle to myself, that the DNC socialists have finally figured out a way to keep everyone employed without universal income. It is the way the Soviet Union did it and the way many Eastern EU countries still do it – create make-work jobs through incentives. They are not great-paying jobs, but they pay the rent and put food on the table.

    We have a house in Bulgaria where my spouse grew up, and we spend 2 or 3 months there every year. One thing you notice is that many businesses employ what I call “Pinkers.” There are people, usually Babushkas, who after you pay in the checkout line, take a pink highlighter, look at the amount on the receipt and put a pink line through it. Supposedly they are checking for shoplifting or collusion with the check-out lady. You find pinkers at most museums, many theaters, state parks, etc.

    What Biden is proposing are jobs a bit more advanced technically than pinkers, but it is the same goal -, create jobs because – jobs; not because they are justified by production necessity. While that might seem wasteful, consider the cost to taxpayers of running welfare programs and the cost to individuals’ self-esteem of having to live on the dole. Maybe we can call the new jobs “Bluers.”

    Reply
    1. Pat

      I have to laugh that you think: 1. this is something new and 2. That the businesses will actually create any jobs.

      It is just tax breaks with a fancier title. And it has been SOP for government job creation, federal, state and local, for three decades that I have been watching Someone earlier referenced FoxCon, me I will talk about the 2 billion dollar boondoggle Hudson Yards. Companies get low cost loans or grants and huge long term tax “relief” aka breaks or incentives to put their project in a particular locale.* Then there were the decades of tax cuts will bring jobs just in general.

      *My favorite being Walmart. It spent years and finally got somewhat notorious for picking an area, getting the local governments to compete because of all the jobs. They’d get the roads and infrastructure they wanted, destroy the local businesses and spend 15, 20 years never paying a damn to the local government. And then move or threaten to move when the breaks were to expire. Think of it this way, we have had those pinker jobs for years, the were just known as “greeters” and there weren’t enough of them for anywhere. Not to mention they usually left the worker eligible for food stamps and Medicaid.

      Reply
  39. Cuibono

    More Safety Data Would Be Nice, But We Need a Vaccine Now

    This is a REALLY SLIPPERY slope imo.

    we surely want to know much more about safety for those in whom covid poses LOW risk of mortality.

    Reply
  40. Person

    From TAC: “What We Can Learn from the Labor Left”. Again supporting my belief that left and right populists can find shared ground for at least a handful of battles. Seriously, how is it that a conservative outlet can understand left organizing better than the Dems? Just read this, which is nearly a love letter to union organizing:

    A union might get you a better paycheck, or better working conditions. It can force the employer to negotiate, or back down, or change policies. It can help you understand what the company benefits can do for you, like an HR department that works for you rather than the company.

    But for radical union organizers, a union is a stepping stone to a more radical world. It teaches members to identify problems in the workplace and put people together to use power, rather than pleading, to solve them. The act of building a union gives workers an experience of living in a radical future in which ordinary people like them can join forces and build enough power to twist the arms of those above them. Forcing the employer to meet employee demands. Identifying and resolving individual problems that are actually common problems. Encouraging people to think of themselves, not as individual employees, but as members of the union.

    A union is, in a sense, a voluntary state. And voluntary states have the ability to declare war outside their borders. So once a collective body of people knows and trusts each other, identifies as a group, and has experience working together to apply pressure to their employers, they can join forces with allied groups and apply pressure to people who aren’t their employers. This is how unions project power, and other groups can use the same skills to pressure all kinds of people.

    And then this (emphasis added):

    So what can we learn? Well, let’s look at some of the things that unions, and other forms of organizers, do differently from us.

    For one thing, they teach people how to form groups without using general publicity. Righties who want to form a group will put up a notice on Facebook or post a bulletin-board flier. There were days when doing that for union organizing could get you killed, so the first step in forming a union is talking to people quietly. And they talk differently than we do, too. Conservatives like public debate, showy stunts like setting up a table with a sign that reads, “Direct election of senators was a mistake—change my mind!” but union organizers are trained—get this—to have conversations designed to produce recruits. They’re not selling “supporting unions is an acceptable opinion,” but “having a union is the right choice for you and me, right here, right now.” Union organizers aren’t looking for grudging tolerance, they’re looking for people to see that it’s in their self-interests to join up and do the work.

    !!

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  41. zagonostra

    Wow, some screed. I regularly read Street and haven’t seen him lose it like this before, “Trumpenleft apocalypse zombies” no less.

    Paul Craig Roberts, someone I also read regularly, has a piece on Unz on voter fraud that seems to loose it from the other end (curiously my browser, Vivaldi, crashed twice just now when I went to it, I wonder if the title that has “voter fraud and elections” in the title has anything to do with).

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  42. Mikel

    “Biden COVID-19 adviser floats plan to pay for national lockdown lasting up to six weeks” The Hill. By borrowing, ffs.

    Borrowing should be fully expected from that Banksta servant since the 1970s.

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  43. chuck roast

    “First, and most obviously, defaults threaten disruption in the bond markets by forcing a chaotic repricing.”
    Michael Pettis

    Pettis is actually describing the real estate market in my little sea-side community. This airplane was never intended to land, it just flies higher and higher.

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  44. Glen

    Charles Koch Says His Partisanship Was a Mistake
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/charles-koch-says-his-partisanship-was-a-mistake-11605286893?mod=hp_lead_pos11

    I can only see one reason why something like this would happen – climate change is going to get much, much worse, and this guy doesn’t want people showing up to $hit and pi$$ on his grave as people begin to realize how much of what we’re suffering through is his fault.

    So sorry, too late. If I’m every in the neighborhood that’s what I’m going to do.

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    1. The Rev Kev

      What is the point of being partisan when both parties are now Republican? Koch must have realized this when he found that the Biden Cabinet is going to be stuffed with Republicans because apparently not enough Democrats are qualified to do those jobs. Charlie Koch can finally relax now. His life’s work is now complete.

      Reply

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