Links 11/23/2020

Canadian officials warn drivers not to let moose lick their cars CNN

Jens Weidmann: Combating climate change – what central banks can and cannot do Bank of International Settlements

Asleep at the Wheel: Why Didn’t Carmakers Prepare for Massachusetts’ Right to Repair Law? EFF

Why Getting Paid for Your Data Is a Bad Deal EFF

The Code That Controls Your Money Wealthsimple. Cobol.

Drugs for the People The Baffler


Op-Ed: Demanding Thanksgiving Abstinence Is Not Public Health MedPage Today

U.S. hits 12 million COVID-19 cases as many Americans defy Thanksgiving travel guidance Reuters

‘It’s scary’: Family members returning home bring higher COVID risk for Thanksgiving gatherings USA Today

* * *

Hospitals Know What’s Coming The Atlantic

Over 900 Mayo staff have gotten COVID-19 in past two weeks Post-Bulletin

Indiana health officials brace for continued COVID-19 surge, while hospitals scramble for staff Indiana Business Journal

Coronavirus pandemic’s third wave threatens to flood Colorado hospitals Denver Post

Utah hospitals have begun informal rationing of care, doctors say, as they cope with surge of COVID-19 patients Salt Lake City Tribune

* * *

Astra-Oxford Vaccine Prevents Average of 70% of Covid Cases Bloomberg. That’s efficacy. Ultimately, this vaccine may end up being more effective, since it’s cheaper and requires only refrigeration. Handy chart:

Bonus antidote (dk):

What does emergency use of a Covid-19 vaccine mean? NBC

* * *

Formulation of a composite nasal spray enabling enhanced surface coverage and prophylaxis of SARS-COV-2 (preprint) bioRxiv. From the Conclusions: “As the primary mode of transmission for airborne viruses is uptake through the respiratory tract, the nasal passage poses one of the largest risk factors to contraction. Although it is well known that the nose filters 1000s of litres of air daily, there is little in the way of preventative measures to ensure protection to infection. This study has demonstrated the formulation of a potent antiviral nasal spray, with not only prophylactic capacity, but the ability to prevent viral transmission.”

Intermittent fasting, a possible priming tool for host defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection: Crosstalk among calorie restriction, autophagy and immune response Immunology Letters. Underlining “possible.” Big if true.

* * *

Coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic virus discovered in Japan and Cambodia Nature

Naturally occurring indels in multiple coronavirus spikes From the Introduction: “Proponents of theories for the unnatural origin of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) have asserted that the 12 nucleotide insert in the spike gene, which results in acquisition of a furin cleavage site in spike, may have arisen by laboratory manipulation (Relman, 2020; Segreto and Deigin, 2020; Seyran et al., 2020; Sirotkin and Sirotkin, 2020). Here, we compile evidence demonstrating that insertion/deletion (indel) events at the S1/S2 and S2′ protease cleavage sites of the spike precursors are commonly occurring natural features of coronavirus evolution.”

* * *

Polypropylene, the material now recommended for COVID-19 mask filters: What it is, where to get it Brighter World

Inside the longest lockdown in the world Unherd. You can’t do lockdowns without economic support, as Slavitt and Ferguson et al. recommend.

America’s narrow idea of freedom is literally killing us Ryan Cooper, The Week

G-20 summit ends with support for COVID-19 vaccines for all Independent

World’s Supplier of Nurses to Limit Sending New Hires Abroad Bloomberg

Virus swells Montreal’s homeless camps as winter comes Agence France Presse


Beijing warns of crackdown on misconduct after bond defaults FT

Chinese authorities warn bond issuers they can’t ‘run away’ from their debts after defaults rock investor confidence South China Morning Post

China tests millions after coronavirus flare-ups in 3 cities AP

Covid-19: China pushes for QR code based global travel system BBC

Smelling blood, Huawei’s Chinese mobile rivals look to capitalise on its U.S. woes Reuters

Nigeria’s richest plough money into Africa’s biggest economy FT


Kazakh fintech star Kaspi a pandemic bright spot Agence France Presse


Boris Johnson will unveil post-December 2 lockdown ‘Tiers’ TODAY with Christmas shopping saved and gyms able to reopen – but pubs and restaurants pay the price as ministers plead with Tory rebels to recognise there is a ‘way through’ the crisis Daily Mai

Swedish PM Sends Covid Plea to Nation After ‘Careless’ Response Bloomberg

Protesters set fire to Guatemala’s Congress building AP (Re Silc).

New Cold War

Putin: Russia-China military alliance can’t be ruled out AP

Trump Transition

US economy hurtles toward ‘COVID cliff’ with programs set to expire The Hill

Trump Unveils Disputed, Long-Shot Drug Rules Upending System Bloomberg

Air Force Base to begin using robot dogs to patrol its base ABC St Louis


The Trailer: All the votes Trump and his allies are challenging WaPo

When Politics isn’t All Personal Zeynep Tufecki, Insight

Let’s not overthink this Science

Big California donors want to fill Kamala Harris’s Senate seat with a woman of color Recode

Biden Transition

Transition Highlights: Biden Plans to Name Blinken, Sullivan and Thomas-Greenfield to Cabinet NYT

Say It Ain’t So, Joe: CBS Reporter Draws Ire Of Biden For Asking Substantive Question Jonathan Turley

Intelligence Community

Has Moscow been secretly microwaving our spies for years? CIA investigates after the world was shocked by claims Indian troops had been ‘cooked alive’ by Chinese electromagnetic pulse weapon Daily Mail

Health Care

Sadly, this tweet is a genre piece. I couldn’t tell you how many thread like it I’ve seen:

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Police in Mississippi To Pilot a Program to Live-Stream Amazon Ring Cameras Mozilla

Opinion: On Google’s ReCAPTCHA Privacy Nightmare Humans for Ethical Technology

Bots Grade Your Kids’ Schoolwork—and They’re Often Wrong WSJ

Class Warfare

Inheritance, not work, has become the main route to middle-class home ownership Guardian

Labor Law and Corporate Concentration Labor Law Lite

An Account of Human Costs Places Journal. New York City’s reservoirs.

OED Word of the Year expanded for ‘unprecedented’ 2020 BBC

Antidote du jour (via):

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.


  1. UserFriendly

    Here are a handful of really great links I sent in over the last week or so that probably got lost in the shuffle.

    In Election Litigation, An Ominous Sign (Washington Monthly) Not about Trump’s current effort.

    “Literal violence” and the death of the heterodox (White Hot Harlots) (Part 2) A++++ Media criticism

    Austerity is a sado-masochistic ritual for a powerful elite (Tax Research UK) The answer to the 3 why’s at the end is spot on!

    The Design History of Athens Iconic Apartments (Bloomberg)

    Skin in the Game (Harper’s Magazine) On the nightmare that is income-Share Agreements (ISA), Wall Street’s alternative to student debt.

    Is military integrity a contradiction in terms? (John T. Reed) (Part 2) h/t Ian Welsh. Great long read, but careful if you decide to wander around on his site he is convinced MMT will turn us into Venezuela any day now and that Trump is a “big spending socialist” for signing CARES. Which really is just precious.

    1. km

      Reed has some valuable insights, but he also appears to be a Randroid, or at least something adjacent.

      Whatever. 2+2 is still 4, even if Josef Göbbels and Andrei Vyshinskii both say so.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        Similarly the “Literal violence” article and its followup are both excellent reads, but scroll down far enough and you’ll find a pointless and hateful article from the point of view of an imaginary trans person.

    2. DJG

      UserFriendly: Thanks. I will recommend highly to all the article in Harper’s about students’ indentured servitude. It is quite a shock–the sheer callousness of the schools and their administrators is bad enough, but then there’s much emoting and theorizing from liberals who “really” want ISA’s to work. So the young people are victimized by a bunch of victimizers with theories and no moral compass whatsoever. It’s like Dickens, without the happy endings.

      1. flora

        The Walrus and the Carpenter, (inc.)

        “I like the Walrus best,” said Alice: “because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters.”
        “He ate more than the Carpenter, though,” said Tweedledee. “You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.”
        “That was mean!” Alice said indignantly. “Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.”
        “But he ate as many as he could get,” said Tweedledum.

        This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, “Well! They were both very unpleasant characters—….”

        Lewis Carroll — Through the Looking-Glass

    3. Mark Dempsey

      One more link for you:

      A brief summary of Sarah Chayes eminently readable On Corruption in America; and what is at stake (yes this is “blog work”).

      Meanwhile, in a little better news, the California State Senate is holding hearings about a state bank for California. You can watch and comment on these too, if you like. Your favorite search engine can tell you where.

  2. epynonymous

    That ‘vaccine race’ chart sure makes america look number one, but I notice china isn’t there, even with an asterix.

    I’d decry politics and healthcare as ‘kafkaeqsqe’, but it turns out kafka worked for the german intra-war soldieers pension beaureu as a day job, so it works better to say ‘kafkaesque’ is as government does.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Intermittent fasting, a possible priming tool for host defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection: Crosstalk among calorie restriction, autophagy and immune response Immunology Letters.

    Its long been known that fasting strengthens the immune system, although there does not seem to be clear evidence as to what type of fast works best. Back in Spring I was following comments from some specialists on fasting such as Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Dr. Valter Longo and Dr. Jason Fung, and the one thing they warned about was doing a long (3 or more days) fast during Covid as your immune system is suppressed from around day 3. I was fortunate in that I did a 5 day fast in January – its known as a very effective way to rejuvenate white blood cells and other markers of your immune system.

    Since then, I’ve focused on time restricted eating (fasting for around 16-20 hours a day) and occasional 36 hour fasts. I find it very effective for keeping my fat levels down without losing body mass and overall health. However, its very important to up your intake of nutrient rich foods if you do regularly fast (or put another way, have a good green smoothie every day). There is plenty of good science to suggest that it will help maintain a strong immune system, along with making sure you have plenty of Vitamins D, B complex, zinc, magnesium, etc. Whether it is actually protective against Covid, I don’t believe there is any solid science behind this. But given that fasting and healthy eating doesn’t cost anything and once done reasonably sensibly is not unhealthy, it seems to me to be a simple way for people to help themselves, and I find it horrifying how little attention is given by the mainstream public health bodies to it.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I have printed this and cannot wait to dive into it. Fasting, and generally not eating a lot, has always been beneficial as a way to treat my mood disorders, which are, IMHO, immune disorders. When I was in college and started dabbling in Buddhism I decided to only eat one meal a day and that was my first clue that calorie intake played a large role in restoring my health. My family does not follow this advice and suffer from several immune disorders like Ankylosing Spondylitis and depression.

      I feel it has much to do about limiting oxidative stress and lowering the superoxides created when we change our food into energy. So less food calories and more vitamins seems logical. Too much food means too much life, which means over-immunity, cancer, etc. But fat cells on their own are the source of the inflammatory cytokines that overwhelm COVID patients.

      Just one nit-pick; we really need to get away from talking about “strong” immune systems, and instead, talk about “balanced” immune systems.

      1. cocomaan

        As someone who has suffered from anxiety for years, I also have found that it’s particular calories that do it for me. Switching to a low carb diet cleared up skin problems and enhanced my mood, not to mention shedding pounds.

        Microbiome studies are a huge frontier in medicine and I think that those little critters down there have a lot to do with how people feel on a day to day basis.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        What is interesting (and confusing) about the literature is that there are so many overlapping benefits – but this creates a problem in working out what is happening in the body. Depriving your body of calories for 12 hours onwards creates all sorts of changes – hormonal changes, autophagy, ketosis, circadian, not to mention biome alterations (which are not necessarily positive, but usually seem to be).

        Of course, some of the claimed benefits may be down to nothing more than reducing calorie intake and eating more healthily. But given how long people have been fasting with little to know evidence of any drawbacks, but mountains of evidence of benefits, its amazing that its been abandoned so long by the medical profession (up to the 20th Century, fasting was a very common treatment for many ailments).

      3. Aaron

        I’ve been interested in fasting for a few years now. I think Patrick, Longo, and Fung’s work is the only worthwhile recent material to look for. For extended fasting anecdotes I’ve enjoyed reading Upton Sinclair’s The Fasting Cure and Arnold Devries’ Therapeutic Fasting. The Miracle of Fasting by the Braggs is something of a rehash of the same material.

    2. lordkoos

      I think little attention is given to fasting because it’s difficult to profit from it.

      I have allergies and I’m prone to sinus infections, the only way I’ve been able to get rid of them without taking antibiotics (which I hate) is by doing a juice fast for 24 hours. Works every time.

    3. Mark Dempsey

      JFYI, I recently tried Longo’s five-day fast-mimicking diet (Which you can get here). It was not cheap (~$250)…but I’ve found my appetite is less now that I’ve gone back to regular (vegan) eating. I now eat two meals rather than three daily, and don’t miss the third. True, I’ll snack (so 2 1/2 meals), but still, I’ve not felt even that is often necessary.

      Longo says it’s supposed to revive your stem cells to do this, and I can’t really report any dramatic changes in that direction, but my appetite remains less, and I did lose a little weight.

      Oh yes, and full disclosure: if you buy the fast-mimicking diet from the link above, I get a discount if I do it again (10%).

      Longo himself reports that treatments for serious disease (e.g. chemo) are more effective in patients who have fasted.

    4. kareninca

      Intermittent fasting raises my blood pressure tremendously. I checked online and that is not a rare reaction, especially for women. If you try intermittent fasting, keep an eye on your blood pressure.

  4. WhoaMolly

    Re: Intermittent Fasting to boost immune response

    I’m a big believer in intermittent fasting, and have had good health results using it. But I was disappointed in the linked article. I expected a study, but instead it appears to be conjecture. This line:

    “Considering the regulatory roles of fasting on autophagy and immunity, we anticipate that fasting may become a possible preventive strategy against COVID-19. ”

    No data on how long to fast, or results of fasting on immune system response.

    1. WhoaMolly

      Re: Astra-Oxford Vaccine Prevents Average of 70% of Covid Cases

      The percentage jumps to 90% with a second follow up dose.

      1. Carlton

        I will take the vaccine after it has been vetted and proven safe. And, only if it is free, paid for by the U.S. Government, which our family has been paying for during the last 200 years.

        Let the Pentagon budget take care of the cost. That way they can produce some real “defense”.

        1. Jack Gavin

          Vetted by whom? Whose answers will you consider trustworthy? What “proofs” are acceptable to you?

      2. neo-realist

        Initially, I’m feeling a little more favorable toward the Astra-Oxford Vaccine since they’re using a tried and effective technology – using an engineered chimp cold virus as scientists did to create the Ebola Vaccine. 90% effectiveness – half dose followed by a full dose is encouraging.

        Other than that wait and see how other react in the next half year or so to the first vaccines.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its unfortunate that beyond an overview of what is known, it doesn’t give any solid advice. It is very confusing following recommendations on fasting as there is little real consensus on the best way to do it, and a lot of people with minimal qualifications offering it as part of whatever diet they are selling.

      The one thing I got from reading Valter Longo (one of the acknowledged experts) is that a 4-5 day fast definitively leads to the body killing off older white blood cells and replacing them, essentially giving you a ‘younger’ immune system. But as I posted above, there is the proviso that such a long fast is not recommended if there is any possibility of being exposed to Covid – or the winter flu for that matter as you will have a suppressed immune system during the fast.

      The evidence for shorter fasts does show clear benefits, but there is very little basis that I can see for unambiguous guidance on whats ‘best’. In my own experience, you just do the fasting that fits best into your own lifestyle and preferences. Over the summer, I was eating a lot around lunchtime, and then not eating the rest of the day – this gave me lots of time to enjoy long walks in the evening without bothering with food. Now in winter I find not eating earlier gives me more time to work (and post on NC of course), while enjoying a fairly extended large evening meal with the full 2,000 calories or so I probably need (I don’t actually calorie count, I just make a rough estimate). I’ve found a 36 hour fast gives me a lot more time on my ‘fast’ day (its amazing how much time is taken up preparing and eating food), while giving me a definite energy boost the next day.

      1. David

        You’ve said it, I think. I’m eternally surprised that the benefits of intermittent fasting don’t get more publicity, but I suppose it’s the classic example of a health protocol which doesn’t cost you anything, can be done without special equipment and makes no money except for people who write diet books. I think the consensus is that any period where your digestive system is resting is good for the body, and that beyond a certain number of hours (anything from 15 upwards) the body starts to take the rubbish out, which can only be good.

        1. vlade

          Oooh, I’m pretty sure someone can write (and probably already did) an app which you can put in when you last ate and what, and what will suggest when you can eat next and what..

        2. Louis Fyne

          The “health editor/producer” at the CBS Nightly News or CNN is a 20-30-something looking for feel good stories or rehasing a pharma PR story that’ll keep the audiences’ attention for two minutes

          That person is not a trained biochemist scouring the journals looking for the interest of public health.

        3. Keith

          I suspect the reason is due to fast (IMHO) requires a standard of a low carb diet and/or eating real foods, which you prepare yourself. Since most people do not do either of the above, fasting becomes hard and difficult. Add in the psychological benefits one feels when eating a comfort food or such, and you run into the problem it is hard and inconvenient. As people fall further and further behind economically, one of their few pleasures and be food (and drink).

          I agree about it helping the GI tract. I was hospitalized over the summer for a GI issue, and the doctors had me on a liquid diet for two days, which for me was a fast, as I could only standard the water and coffee on the menu. Oh, and the cliche about hospital food being bad is very true, after my second meal I was not going to eat anything else, but luckily I was also getting discharged.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Helping the lo-money lo-time poor with safer food intake is very unromantic, but it could be something truly useful for the Democratic Socialists of America to do, along with those
            brake-light repair clinics.

            The DSA people might well have to learn about such things themselves in order to teach/help others. Would they find it worth learning?

            They could begin by studying and practicing cheap-eating tips like these from Kurt Saxon. When they felt they had learned enough, they could then help the poor with these things.

      2. Ignacio

        Buying and preparing the main meal at home (the late lunch that is a peculiarity of Spain, by 14:00-15:00) is my responsibility that together with the kitchen housekeeping & cleaning is a task that takes quite a bit of my mind and an effort. No way to convince the rest of the family for a fast break (snif) particularly my wife would suffer from such a practice as her blood pressure is typically from low to 0, trending to zero if she omits a lunch or a dinner.

        But at any rate, and particularly now that many work at home, it is very, very important to avoid eating at anytime without control (a piece of chocolate here, some nuts there…) and having long hours without any solid intake is good practice that avoids obesity and some other problems. Better if there is some physical activity between main meals, and much better if the activity is done just before creating the necessity that will be met by the meal.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          The daily 23 hour fast has worked well for the wife and I.
          Eat a prepared meal, with real food, once a day in the 1600 to 1800 hour time period.
          We have been doing this, for close to a decade, with no ill effects.
          May not work for everybody, food discipline is very d*mn difficult for sure.
          Cool side affect is once you clear your craving for fast food, it takes a year or so, the cr*p tends to make you nauseous when you try it again.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    An Account of Human Costs Places Journal.

    Most cities are based on an often deeply unfair exploitation of their hinterlands. Most cities without a high quality aquifer have to draw their water from reservoirs – even in very wet countries, and this is deeply resented as it inevitably requires vast areas of land. The big cities of the English Midlands frequently built massive reservoirs in Wales displacing many communities – even a century or more later, this is still a source of resentment. It was compounded when water systems built by municipalities and a source of great pride were then sold off by the Tories to fund election winning tax cuts.

    It also created all sorts of anomalies – in my city the old Dublin City Corporation was able to fund a major reservoirs in the mountains above the city in the mid 19th Century, but then refused to share the water with smaller (sometimes poor, sometimes wealthy) communities that the pipes passed by. Some local governments had to essentially dissolve themselves to join larger ones in order to get a share of the water. But you can still look with curiosity at how major water mains bypass towns without serving them – those towns having their own different supplies.

    1. TMoney

      Curious. It’s interesting, because in the Industrial Midwest of the USA, I think, the opposite is true. The suburbs grew due to cheap taxes, which was only possible because the cities sold water below the cost of building water systems (amortization and deferred maintenance hid the true costs for many (30+ years)). Detroit is exhibit A. Growth of the ring burbs and white flight to “cheap” burbs couldn’t happen at the rate it did if the burbs had to tax themselves to build water systems. Detroit and most Midwest cities, sold water cheap (making it up on volume (sigh)) to the burbs. The recent Flint water debacle was (in my opinion) a (failed) dry run to show it would be possible to crush Detroit Water, the last real leverage the city had over the Burbs. The city tried to raise the rates on the burbs to ever higher levels, but not on city residents.
      Turns out building, running water and sewer systems can’t be done on the cheap and by political hacks without poisoning people. Worse, people get upset when it happens ! IIFRC Detroit still lost control of the water system to a regional water board.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “G-20 summit ends with support for COVID-19 vaccines for all”

    I do wonder what the next G-20 will be like when it happens. I know that Trump did not cover the US with glory at his appearance here. There was a G20 summit’s “Pandemic Preparedness” event for all the leaders to coordinate their plans but Trump was not there. He decided to skip the event and go golfing instead. Seriously. It did not effect him any more as he is out of the job soon so just blew the whole session off-

    This was not enough. So in front of the whole world he hinted that he would see them at the next session – as the US President. And then gave a “America First” speech which included this bit: “The Paris accord was not designed to save the environment. It was designed to kill the American economy. I refuse to surrender millions of American jobs and send trillions of American dollars to the world’s worst polluters and environmental offenders, and that’s what would have happened”

    1. Wukchumni

      Lets see if I can bury the lede…

      President Donald Trump recently recorded one of the best rounds of golf in his life on the USGA’s score-tracking service, claiming to have shot a 68, although some say it was really 255,076. Regardless of claims to the contrary, the Chief Executive reportedly birdied the 3rd, 7th, 11th and 16th holes, and celebrated his good fortune by drinking a diet coke and consuming a couple of quarter pounders after finishing his round with a par on the 18th hole, on a shot from the bunker.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That sir, is fully deserving of an MSNBC contract if not an CNN conract. You should be hearing from them pretty soon.

        1. Wukchumni

          Humbly report sir, that rumors of Don Quixotic playing on his own miniature golf course in Virginia whilst tilting @ windmills, are merely slanderous references from those insanely jealous of his athletic prowess.


          What sort of base pay are we talking here, and how are the bennies?

  7. timbers

    Asleep at the Wheel: Why Didn’t Carmakers Prepare for Massachusetts’ Right to Repair Law? EFF

    “Massachusetts voters approved right to repair 74.9%…automakers…will ask the legislature to delay implementing that law for years to come by saying the timeline is too tight.”

    Ok, so in the meantime the Governor should do a Trump and issue an executive order that until such time automaker is in full compliance with Right to Repair, effective 60 days from date of said executive order, automaker shall place a $50,000 escrow deposit on every vehicle they have or will sell in Massachusetts. The State will hold the escrow in benefit of car owner until compliance with Right to Repair is proven. Order shall specify dracanian penalties for non compliance.

        1. ambrit

          How about make the management live in one of their own vehicles, preferably a compact or sedan, for a set amount of time?

    1. dougie

      Those oh so helpful manufacturers! For years, my independent repair shop was able to legally contract with a gray market solution for Mercedes information systems, coding and programming, etc. It cost $4k annually

      A couple of weeks back, our vendor informed us that after several years of allowing him access, MB had decided to change the rules. MB corporate invited me to join their “official” platform for the low, low price of $30k per year. I told him to eat a bag of, uh, sauerkraut. I am exploring a different technology which will allow us to program the cars legally, although the technicians will have to jump through a few more hoops. Another $4k annually. Just to get the information we need to tell your car that we just put a battery in it, so your water cooled alternator will know to start charging. Sheesh!

      Retirement never looked so tempting!

      1. upstater

        Amazing… a water cooled alternator? Necessary to tell that car’s computer the battery has been replaced so it gets charged? WTF? How much do people pay for those Mercedes mechanical monsters?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I’m hanging on to my 2008 car until it completely falls apart.

          These companies claim that they’re just giving the consumer what they want, but I don’t remember asking for a car so larded up with tech that it costs twice as much as it would otherwise.

          What with all the precarity these days, I would think there would be a demand for a low priced car without all the electronic bells and whistles that someone can just bring to their regular mechanic when it has a problem or better yet, fix themselves.

          1. lordkoos

            The tech is not simply there to operate your car more effectively, it is also about surveillance. From what I understand, many newer cars can be remote controlled.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          It would appear that a resentment based “market space” is being opened for strictly analog cars.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Even if it can’t yet be generalized, perhaps it can be replicated here and there. Perhaps it already has been.

              Part of the “market space” for Organic and then Certified Organic food is resentment over Big Chem Fooda for pouring their cancer gravy all over the food supply. People who didn’t want cancer gravy on their food were ready to express their resentment for Big Chem Fooda by paying extra money to Little BioClean foodmakers in order to keep dollar one away from Big Chem Fooda.

              Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

              With a head full of plans and a heart full of hate, we can make things happen.

              I want to see more Hate Based Initiatitives. I want to see Hate Based Initiatives everywhere. Let a Thousand Points of Hate burn the enemy to death anywhere and everywhere.

      2. chuck roast

        I am currently driving a 1998 Honda Accord left to me for the winter by southbound snowbird. All analog all the time. Doubtless the automakers will be promoting a new “cash for clunkers” sometime soon. They will find a way to trash this species the same way they trashed over the air analog TV. They want the cash for the ads, the residuals AND the replacement tubes. Maybe they will just eventually ban human drivers as being a safety hazard. That’ll do the trick for them.

  8. Kevin Smith

    re: COBOL
    Now that AI and big data have reached a certain level of performance, maybe someone could use them to inspect and [at some level] “understand” the COBOL codebase of an organization. I’ll bet some users would pay big money for that service …

    1. Synoia

      That’s too simplistic.

      Today’s hot new code is tomorrow’s legacy.

      One has the same problems with C, C++, Delphi, and the plethora of the “new” web languages.

      Unlike machinery, which is capitalized and written off with age, code is not capitalized and written off.

      In addition, a large percentage of large programing projects have a track record of failing.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Actually a lot of ATM’s were running OS/2 Warp before they went to XP – and yes, OS/2 is still supported, but not by IBM.

        That COBOL article actually states an undeniable truth: ‘software doesn’t rot – use cases do.’

      2. the suck of sorrow

        COBOL is a programming language for which compilers exist to create runtime binaries for Windows XP, an operating system. I am not claiming that the ATM runs COBOL, but that is a possibility. In short, Windows XP \== COBOL.

      3. The Rev Kev

        That article said in one part-

        “The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence,” as the famous computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra wrote in 1975.

        It should be mentioned that Edsger Dijkstra has been dead for nearly twenty years but COBOL is still with us and isn’t going anywhere soon.

    2. LilD

      Replace with the modern object-oriented COBOL !

      In the spirit of C to C++ naming, we call it


      “Legacy code” (def.): Code that works

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Yep – IBM has had Object Oriented extensions for quite a while so they can interoperate with Java in batch and CICS. Of course, I haven’t seen anyone brave enough to try to use them…

  9. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. hits 12 million COVID-19 cases as many Americans defy Thanksgiving travel guidance”

    Just saw a news article today that reminded me what some of the consequences might be for these planned Thanksgiving celebrations. So a family in Texas gathered together for a birthday party about three weeks ago and there were twelve of them. Within days, all twelve came down sick with this virus as well as three other family members. So on the linked page they put out a plea not for others to make the same mistake-

    1. David J.

      I’m currently emotionally hollowed out but I need to vent. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a rant.

      For a couple of decades now, our (local to Kentucky) family has gathered for Thanksgiving. It has always been fun and wholesome, etc… .

      A couple of weeks ago, I had a chat with my cousin to say we are staying at home this year and she was fine with that. But she mentioned that one of her daughters was going to go out to Utah to celebrate with the other two daughters who now live out there. I expressed some mild skepticism about traveling now, but it’s family, so, equal parts being nice and minding my own business.

      Last Thursday my cousin called me and said that her father, my uncle, was diagnosed with Covid. Patriarch of the (remaining) family and 90 years old. He’s been more or less trapped in his retirement community all year. Diabetic, he had an operation earlier this month and was sent to a rehab facility instead of back to his mini-apartment. That’s where he caught the virus.

      You’ve probably guessed where this is going. He died yesterday afternoon. I’m sad, and angry, and frustrated. These two people were in the hospital room with me fifteen years ago when my father died, offering community and consolation. Yesterday, instead of being able to be there for them, I had to talk on the phone with my cousin while she melted down in the ICU just prior to my uncle being moved to the Covid ward. I felt so impotent. Three hours later he was gone.

      I love my family. And I suppose that 90 is a pretty good run. And I also am slightly relieved that it happened pretty quickly given that some people linger for a lot longer before that final moment. Still, I wanted to holler yesterday as I listened to all the beeping of medical equipment in the background as I tried to help my cousin. I want to rage against all the anti-maskers and other people who have been making light of the pandemic. We could have squashed this thing and saved a lot of lives if our leadership were not a bunch of asocial grifters. A little sacrifice and inconvenience now could have preventing a couple of hundred thousand tragedies. And, as we all know, the next couple of months are going to stack the mountain of bodies higher.

      That’s all I’ve got. Please be cautious and safe, fellow NCers.

      1. The Historian

        Oh, I am so sorry for you and all the other families in this country who are going through the exact same thing. And I feel your rage and I just don’t understand – and yes, I HAVE tried my hardest to understand – why the anti-maskers are treating this like it is a political battle instead of what it is – a medical battle. It’s like there is another virus out there affecting their minds.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the anti-maskers are treating this like it is a political battle instead of what it is – a medical battle

          I support masking, as readers know. But medical battles are political battles; that’s why there’s a speciality called “social determinants of health.” That’s why delivering health care comes with taking on the risk of surprise billing. Examples could be multiplied.

          To me, the real problem is that the anti-maskers are fighting a political battle that I disagree with. You can’t solve a public health problem with “muh freedom” exactly because public health requires collective action that may require personal sacrifice.

          It should also be pointed out that, very sadly, medical battles being fought by pro-maskers are also political battles. Slavitt, for example, will doubtless parlay his very real contributions to the discourse into the anti-#MedicareForAll battle, because that’s what the lobbying firm he works for pays him to do. More generally, the political battle to trust the scientist (e.g., stock market ramper and noble liar Fauci), instead instead of trusting science when the application of your critical thinking skills enables you to do so. (This ignores the fact that science proceeds by conflict, and so “trusting science” is a nonsense if it be conceptualized as always trusting a checklist of conventional wisdom, as in the droplets v. aerosols controversy, where the droplets crowd absolutely did not think aerosols were science, and some still don’t.)

      2. Louis Fyne

        The anti-maskers didn’t kill him (though they are not helping)…

        the rehab center was (presumably) negligent and the proximate cause. surprise.

        and guess what, Team Biden and Team McConnell and local state houses will give those care homes 100% tort immunity. And the “liberal” media will moan for half a news cycle and then sweep everything under the rug.

        Angry? stop the upcoming bipartisan tort immunity

        1. furies

          No The anti-maskers and deniers DID kill him.

          Your ‘freedoms’ have consequences.

          To David above

          I know just how you feel. My brother was discharged *with Covid* back to a group setting and died that same night. Alone. How many did he infect just in the transfer?

          1. Louis Fyne

            the media is overlooking the statistical fact that being sent to many care homes are death sentences.

            Look up the covid rate for the involved care center. Compare to the average for other care homes, thr average for the general population.

            There are many good care homes, there are many awful acare homes—-and people keep getting sent to those bad homes and the media is not covering that story.

            Some anti-masker in rural AZ is not causing outbreaks in NYC care homes. It is negligent management and negligent staff and regulators asleep at the biggest regulatory oversight in our lifetimes.

            your legit emotions are being manipulated to scapegoat a tiertiary cause that’s easy to blame cuz they’re ignorant and on the opposite side of the political aisle.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > your legit emotions are being manipulated to scapegoat a tiertiary cause that’s easy to blame cuz they’re ignorant and on the opposite side of the political aisle.

              Ding ding ding

          2. Massinissa

            This comment is off-base. The comment by David J LITERALLY SAID the 90-year old man caught the virus in the care facility. Also Louis Fyne never said anything about ‘freedoms’ and specifically stated he is not an anti-masker. I understand you’re very upset, but please refrain from making straw-man arguments and stubstanceless accusations.

            Lastly, my condolences about your brother. That is terrible. I am so sorry for the both of you, and I am honestly angry at the hospital that ‘discharged’ him in such a state.

            1. furies

              *WHO* works at Care Facilities?

              Essential workers that’s who. Essential workers who are forced to work in dangerous venues populated by folks who poo poo health precautions.

              Likely caught Covid from a visitor or a staff member…who caught it from ???.

              Thanks for the condolences but I’d feel a lot better if people quit minimizing the risks.

              1. Massinissa

                “Thanks for the condolences but I’d feel a lot better if people quit minimizing the risks.”

                But that is NOT what Fyne was saying. He was stating that the main failure was an institutional one, and that the institutional failure was the most direct culprit. Regardless of anti-maskers, more correct protocols at the medical center seem like they very possibly could have prevented the death of J.’s family member.

                The two of you are talking past eachother because of a misunderstanding. I’m not even sure the two of you even have a real disagreement.

                1. flora

                  Institutional failure includes, imo, some state govs forcing skill care and nursing home to accept new residents that were known to be C19 positive patients.

                  In my state, when the C19 infections went out of control at a minimum security prison, several prisoners were either sent to another prison with lower C19 numbers (as if that would dilute instead of increase the numbers), or – not kidding – sent them to a rented out nearby large motel chain, and didn’t tell the motel staff, or local city councils that’s what was happening. They sent a surge of infections into a community with no notice or warning, as if it would just go away. Big Fail.

                2. JEHR

                  An institutional failure is not separate from individual behaviour: if every person felt some emotional responsibility for every other individual then the institutions they run would also feel the responsibility. Individuals make up institutions and as individuals behave so do the institutions in which they work. We have to be aware that our behaviour affects other human beings even if we think it doesn’t.

              2. flora

                Who was pushing Care Facilites to accept known covid patients? Politicians.
                Governors in CA and NY early on forced skilled care homes to accept known covid patients, blocked testing for covid in new apparently healthy incoming residents, and tried to shift the blame for what happened then in many many care homes.

                From CA;


                And from NY:

        1. David J.

          Thanks for the replies everyone. I get it. I just wish I didn’t have to. And furies, sorry for your loss.

          1. furies

            Thanks David. It was and is rough.

            I hope you can find a bit of peace and are able to notice the beauty and small kindnesses that still exists.

  10. zagonostra

    >Anti-Lockdown Protests All Across Europe – Off Guardian

    Like the Gilets Jaunes the media doesn’t much cover European news, especially when it goes against the Narrative Matrix (NM). The Occupy W.Street, Yellow Jackets, the year long protest in Chile, etc., don’t fit the story line. These eruptions come and go, being quickly buried in the public consciousness. But I don’t think that those sentiments disappear.

    Regardless of permanent elections, the cascading crisis of corona, the threats from Russia, China and whatever evil du jour that is served up to re(mis)direct and expunge the events of protest from memory, those who participate, which is a minority, hold on to their disgust and anger and wait and look for the opportunity to throw the out people running the rotten regimes. As long as these folks retain their memories of police brutality directed at peaceful demonstration, there is a chance for a course correction. Whether that takes the form of a total collapse of NM or an erosion that renders news accounts farcical even to the majority remains to be seen. But for now, it looks to me that on the surface of things, the predatory establishment is firmly in control.

    Increasingly draconian lockdown measures, economic destitution, and sweeping police powers are evaporating public trust and eroding public patience.

    1. Grant

      Economies could get through this, it is possible to reform economic systems (sometimes radically) to meet new challenges. If capitalism as we know it isn’t up to the challenge, we need a system that is. But, the fact of the matter is that what is needed in response to this, and even more so the environmental crisis, is comprehensive economic planning. But, you can’t really do that at the scale needed within the capitalist system as we know it, certainly not within the neoliberal variant. Automation has been a real contentious issue, as much as anything because it does lead to discussions and debates about who owns these companies and who benefits from them producing stuff as they do. But, if you are open to different ownership types (public or cooperative ownership), many of these issues are far more solvable. But, the West for decades has been going down a neoliberal path and that system simply cannot deal with this effectively and certainly has no chance at really addressing the environmental crisis. If we stick with this system too long, societal collapse seems inevitable. It is near certain to make this situation even worse, progressively so.

  11. bassmule

    On Demanding Abstinence: Advice from public health officials about how to make Thanksgiving safer? Here are some examples of their advice:

    Dr. Linsey Marr is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech who studies how viruses and bacteria spread through the air: “The quintessential Thanksgiving experience — gathering with friends and family, eating and talking boisterously around a table in a cozy room for hours — is the perfect recipe for an outbreak. It goes against almost all science-based guidelines to reduce the risk of transmission: Maintain distance, wear a mask, avoid crowds, ensure good ventilation, talk quietly and minimize the duration of events.”

    Dr. Marc Lipsitch is a professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he also directs the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics: “While one can imagine various approaches to testing that might reduce the risk, we have seen from the White House that a testing-only strategy is not effective in controlling spread, and most of us can’t afford that many tests in any case, nor would testing rule out infection during travel that could become contagious during the stay. For these reasons, I think this is a good year to stay home and with nuclear families.”

    Dr. Natalie Dean is an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida who specializes in infectious disease epidemiology: “My advice to readers this Thanksgiving is to really limit the number of separate bubbles you bring together. But exactly because 2020 has been so challenging, we all need something to look forward to. With a little creativity, like a recipe exchange or custom family trivia, Thanksgiving can still be special and fun. If nothing else, it will be memorable!”

    Dr. Michael Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a member of President-Elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force: “My best personal and professional advice is: Do not risk it. This best way to show love for our family and friends is to not be together around the table laughing and enjoying a wonderful meal. Find other ways to celebrate with family and friends.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      What is striking is how little thought has gone into giving firm advice to the public. It’s unreasonable to expect people not to have family gatherings and hectoring people is probably counterproductive. But people need real, solid guidelines. Having a lot of disparate experts giving their 10 cents is just going to lead to people picking and choosing the advice that suits them.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > What is striking is how little thought has gone into giving firm advice to the public. It’s unreasonable to expect people not to have family gatherings and hectoring people is probably counterproductive. But people need real, solid guidelines. Having a lot of disparate experts giving their 10 cents is just going to lead to people picking and choosing the advice that suits them.

        That’s why I liked this post by Zeynep Tufecki; it was full of good advice and wasn’t shaming.

        Incidentally, one thing to remember about Third World countries like our own is that “family is everything,” because there are no other reliable systems. So the irony is a little rich that all the lanyards and letterheads who took their own advice to “just move,” and left their families behind to go to Yale are now telling the people whose unions they betrayed and whose communities they deindustrialized to betray the very last support structure that remain for them. Especially when the anti-maskers didn’t bring the disease here in the first place by flying into JFK from Italy or wherever, and then escaping to the Hamptons or up the Hudson River Valley (and not playing by the rules they impose on others, like Newsome and Cuomo, ffs).

        I stereotype, I know, but delegitimizing anger is just a little too Beltway for me.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      my brother habitually brings his bunch up here for thanksgiving….generally leaving the flu or whatever gutbug is going around north houston suburbia in their wake.
      me and my bunch habitually keep our distance during these visits…not hugging, not lingering indoors, etc….and then watch as mom and stepdad come down with whatever.
      these tactics have become an easier sell since my wife got cancer.
      last week, brother said he had asked his wife and 2 teenage girls if they wanted to come out here and camp out in the pasture.
      they all said “no”, thankfully.
      brother is educated, fits “PMC” more or less to a T, and is Team Blue through and through(says he would like an FDR, didn’t remember that Bernie ran twice)….this is NOT some magaite idiot, frothing at the mouth about satanic baby eaters(that’s my two stepbrothers).

      this morning, i wandered a while in the comments below stories on fox and daily caller…John Birch is mainstream, now.
      my duckblind on FB reveals nothing…..i guess they’ve all run off to Parler.
      regardless, silence….or hushed conversations that stop when known commies(me) appear…from all the gopteaers around here.

      Meanwhile nurses and nurses’ aids who come here every day for stepdad are freaked out….you can see it in their eyes.
      they know i’m gonna ask for a sitrep….and even the maga ones are losing their minds with fear…”it’s everywhere…”
      interestingly, the Maga ones are all for being first in line for whatever vaccine arrives first…while the Non-Maga ones are more circumspect…one of the latter even, unprompted, mentioned that the Pfizer vaccine was just a press release…not a peer reviewed study.

      ammo shelf at the feedstore is noticeably bare…but i don’t know if this is a supply or a demand problem.

      and the trump signs and banners and flags that stayed up on election day(about a third of them(2/3 were mysteriously taken down), are still up…and have even been added to in some cases(generally the big, ostentatious gates)

      strange times.

      1. rowlf

        The ammo is scarce due to demand. I plan to stop at the local store soon to ask for a friend if they sell ammo over-the-counter or prescription only (with a firearm purchase).

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      This [sic] best way to show love for our family and friends is to not be together around the table laughing and enjoying a wonderful meal.

      This is creepiness on some sort of, as yet unexplored, uber-Orwellian level. What is it with these “infectious disease” people? Since when does familiarity with microbes make you Dr. Phil?

      Meanwhile, I searched for osterholm’s love analysis of gavin newsome’s birthday party, or at least some scholarly estimate of how many people newsome recklessly murdered on that fateful night. Nuthin’.

    4. Clive

      If I may offer my own perspective, informed by my own personal situation.

      Last week my 78 year-old father wrote me (he was too distressed I think to talk on the ‘phone) that he had been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, in the prostate, bowel and of the skin. I struggled, both in phone calls and writing, to get a lot from him about what he is going to do, he refuses to go into an end-of-life care facility and (as far as I can gather) he is going to tough it out in his apartment in the retirement complex where he lives with pain meds and maybe some nurse visits.

      I desperately want to see him, but he lives best part of two hours away. We’re currently under a supposed 4-week lockdown here (in the UK). I have already formed a support bubble with my mother-in-law who lives much closer and who I provide (or, at least, I hope I provide, I think I do anyway, I certainly try to) support for as she too is over 70. Even in the reduced visiting schedule I’ve had to maintain, I’ve noted a definitely perceivable decline in her coping skills (I won’t go into all the detail here, I suspect that most caring for seniors knows the signs) and I’ve stepped up my visits accordingly, which has helped.

      If I am to be able to visit my father I will, under the UK lockdown rules, have to form a support bubble with him. I’m not sure, and am too distressed to really look into it right now, if that is possible if he is also having in-home care from nursing staff. I’m presuming it is, lest I will simply never get to see him alive ever again (which is, I suppose, why I’m been putting off looking into what’s permissible). This means not being able to visit my mother-in-law as a quid-pro-quo.

      Tell me, please, how am I supposed to choose?

      The other option is I simply break the law. I have not broken any law, big or small, in actuality or in spirit since I was about 23 years old and got a couple of seeding tickets. It is a red line I will not cross. I will not, willingly, break the laws of the land. That’s where my moral compass points.

      I relay this tale of woe not for sympathy, I really don’t want any, and not because it is particularly unique or even that it’s the “best-worst” — others have far worse than I do.

      I relay it because I am lost for words in my disbelief at how so many are so willing to draw up arbitrary rules, applied without the possibility of exceptions, applied without any consideration of circumstances and applied by those who simply have no comprehension of the human costs involved. Oh, yes, we hear, don’t we, about how everyone knows the “sacrifices being asked” or some such platitudes. And how we must all “be responsible” and “not put our own interests ahead of every else’s”.

      Well, I wish I could do a better job of that than I am able — or, rather, not able to do.

      This might be tolerable, or at least semi-tolerable. What is sickening is where a notion that, oh, lockdowns and constraints on family meetings are fine, just so long as we bung everyone a bit of money. In an unseemly outpouring of the worst kind of neoliberal crap, the assumption often employed is that the only problems there are with restricting family interactions can be fixed with finances. Only slightly less obnoxious is the endless vagueness “it’ll be a 4 week lockdown”, “we’ll try to see what we can do about Christmas”, “we’ll update you once lockdown is over on what restrictions we’ll put in place for you after that”.

      Sure, I’ll wait and see and find out if four weeks turns into eight weeks or eight weeks turns into 12. Maybe if my dad clings on for a little longer than we think he’s got and it will, as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told me only today, be possible to have some semblance of normality by Easter, I’ll get to spend some time with him in his final weeks without having to kick my mother-in-law to the curb.

      I’m sorry if this comment sounds bitter. I didn’t want it to, but that’s the way it reads. I’d rejig the wording, but I don’t really have the emotional resilience to do that, so it’ll have to do for now.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Break the law. i have been in a similar situation but pre-covid, so not comparable.

        no question about it in my book. If it was me, I would be willing to go to jail

        good luck to all

          1. lyman alpha blob


            If it were my dad, I’d break the law. I’d take precautions, but I’d still break it.

        1. Tom Bradford

          “An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.”

          ― Mahatma Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War 1942-49

      2. JEHR

        For us, the shoe is on the other foot, i.e., our son and his wife wished to visit us over Christmas. They live in New York but spent about 5 months in the southern states until recently. My husband and I are over 80 and we told them not to come. We live in Canada where the border rules are that anyone coming across the border has to isolate him/herself for two weeks. Maybe we are protecting ourselves and maybe we are protecting them. Who knows? I think we chose correctly. And I am probably communicating more through phone calls and writing than I ever have before and I’m not afraid to say the most important and loving things that I don’t normally communicate with others. Decisions are hard but there has to come a time when what one says, no matter the consequences, is perceived as lovingly and kindly done.

        When my mother died a few years ago, her second family (both husband and children) treated me with utter disdain as well as making threats and out of pure meanness had the police remove me from their home weeks before she died. As a consequence, I never attended my mother’s last day of life. But, I had already said all the things I needed to say to her and she said what she had to say to me well before her death. I have come to terms with both my actions and those of my mother’s second family, although it took a long time to do so.

      3. Terry Flynn

        I really feel for you. You encouraged me to see what being a Labour Party member was like, you totally sympathised when I decided after a year that the party is screwed. Now you say stuff that chimes with my experience (including the greater need for help for someone in the family you care for).

        I’m from a scientific background who if anything thinks lockdowns were too lax….. When wearing my “academic hat”….. But my personal hat kinda goes another way. It definitely makes me think “is there some lockdown strategy that doesn’t lead to the mental misery?” I offer no answer. Merely some understanding. I always read your comments and am thinking of you.

      4. ChristopherJ

        some laws are to be broken and seeing your dad is more important, Clive. You will regret not going later.

        If your overlords had taken the virus seriously, the UK, being an island, could have closed it’s borders, gone into hard lockdown and been where we are. The UK is a laughing stock in how it governs. No wonder there is little trust there.

        I am a scouser, long out of there

      5. Still Above Water

        … I am lost for words in my disbelief at how so many are so willing to draw up arbitrary rules, applied without the possibility of exceptions, applied without any consideration of circumstances and applied by those who simply have no comprehension of the human costs involved.

        Those are exactly the sorts of laws that I break without compunction. I do what my heart tells me is right, laws be damned. I do not do this out of a sense of moral superiority, I do it out of pragmatism. Laws cannot account for every possibility. In some situations, they should be ignored.

        Would your moral compass compel you to comply with a law that is immoral? If so, then your compass is broken. If not, you should realize that you can cross that red line when the situation warrants. I believe that utilitarianism warrants it in your current situation. But I’m not you; it’s your decision.

        I hope that you are able to give comfort to your father whilst also supporting your mother-in-law. Remember that dying is something that we all must do. Do not fear it. In my experience, exuding a sense of calm and acceptance at the deathbed helps the dying as much as expressing love, and helps the living even more. I pray your father has a good death.

      6. Rtah100

        Hi Clive,

        I want to set your mind at rest, you can visit them both quite legally.

        If your MIL has linked with you, you may not unlink with her and re-link with your father under the rules. However, a visit to your father would count as voluntary services or as provision of care. He is a vulnerable person (over 70 / preexusting condition). This exception is independent of the exception to form a linked household.

        Exceptions in relation to gatherings
        11.—(1) These are the exceptions referred to in regulations 8, 9 and 10. Exception 1: same or linked households
        (2) Exception 1 is that all the people in the gathering—
        (a) are members of the same household, or
        (b) are members of two households which are linked households in relation to each other (see regulation 12).
        Exception 2: gatherings necessary for certain purposes
        (3) Exception 2 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary—
        (a) for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services;
        (b) for the purposes of education or training;
        (c) to provide emergency assistance;
        (d) to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm;
        (e) to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006(a);
        (f) to facilitate a house move.

        Good luck to your father in managing his illness.

        1. Clive

          Thank you Rtah100. I knew I’d have to dig out and trawl through the legislation and I couldn’t bear to do it. You’ve given me some motivation back though saving me having to do,some tedious reading. I’ll need to also check what the new tier reductions do.

          The legality hinges on the interpretation of “the gathering is reasonably necessary”. I don’t think there’s a judge on the bench who would convict if my dad was literally gasping his last breath and I was there (nor, more likely, any law enforcement or management at the retirement complex would intervene). Not so sure about ordinary visits though.

          “Assistance to a vulnerable person” is more flexible but has to be read in relation to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act for defining “vulnerable”.

          It is all a bit dehumanising, but I’m more back to being ready to do battle with petty bureaucracy than I was yesterday.

          1. rtah100

            I don’t know if you will see this here so I will repost this response in today’s links as well but vulnerable is defined in the legislation I cited (but elsewhere, in the definitions section at the start) so there is no need to look it up in the Safeguarding Act. It is anybody over 70 or with a listed pre-existing condition.

            The gloss on the exemption is to include “personal care within the meaning of the Safeguarding Act”. I have no idea what this is, I am too lazy to look it up, but it is an expansion of the ordinary meanings of care and assistance, not than a limitation and it is only included for the avoidance of doubt.

            Going to see your elderly father, ill or not, and providing some care, mental or physical, is a valid exception. So go!

            Also, without being morbid, there is an entirely separate head of exception for visiting the dying. It would not be careful British parliamentary drafting if it were not couched “that you reasonably believe is dying”! Which is immediately suggestive of a dark situation comedy of errors plot and you do wonder about the burden of proof to the magistrate. Is that a death rattle or a nasty cough…?

      7. coboarts

        Leave just at the onset of a commute time. Travel main routes, even longer routes to stay in the flow of traffic. Look like you’re essential and be ready to explain…. as needed.

  12. Roquentin

    Re: “Inheritance, not work, has become the main route to middle-class home ownership”

    They aren’t wrong, but I can’t help but notice that they are focusing only on big metropolitan cities (like Sydney) which are fast become enclaves of only the elite. It’d be the same as extrapolating that home ownership is unattainable for the entire US based on the real estate markets in Manhattan and San Fransisco. Housing is much, much more affordable in other parts of the US provided you aren’t set on living in a trendy, elite urban area. Sure, wages will be lower there too, but it isn’t a linear relationship. I sometimes think a lot of people just don’t grasp how fundamentally the game has changed.

    Capital which spent most of the later half of the 20th century flowing out of the inner cities and into wealth suburban areas is now flooding back in. I think part of the problem, one which is typically ignored is many people trying to live in these areas consider themselves temporarily embarrassed members of the same elite they are criticizing. That isn’t to say that inequality isn’t there, of course it is and it’s worse than ever. It’s just that people are conflating two independent issues. The desire to live in a trendy zip code and the desire to have affordable housing. They aren’t the same and shouldn’t be treated as such.

    1. vao

      I still remember an article in the Financial Times that investigated why home ownership amongst the (English) middle class, after surging following the Thatcher reforms, was stagnating.

      The explanation: longer-living parents could no longer bequeath anything to their grown-up children because the costs of old-age care were gobbling up all their assets — especially the most substantial part: their home.

      That was some twenty years ago. At that time, acquiring a home through inheritance of family real-estate was already becoming unlikely except for the upper middle-class. Is that Guardian article way behind the times?

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom is halfway through eating up the money that she received by selling my childhood home after moving into an assisted living place 5 years ago, and most of the residents there are in a similar boat, they all bought homes in SoCal for $21,500 in 1965 (or like accounts) that are now worth close to a million, and if there hadn’t of been frankly amazing raises in values of said domiciles, i’d imagine assisted living places such as hers, which more closely resembles a cruise ship that never leaves port, wouldn’t exist.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      I would agree with the author shrinking the middle class in Western cultures seems to be a hard and fast policy goal. It would appear that those making policy decisions want to make it mean what it meant prior to WW2, possible even WW1.

      Combine that redefinition with the policy of buying US housing stock with froth national and international cash and this current “inheritance” structure won’t survive for most in the next generation unless they are newly redefined old class definition of middle class.

      The one thing I will disagree with the author on is right-wing bias. These are policies decisions made by policy makers. One can blame Reagan and Thatcher but they weren’t alone in their decision- and implementation-making schemes. It took a village to rewrite societal level agreements over a vast number of years.

      If ONLY the abusers had proposed their end-goals upfront… but abusers never do that, do they? And once abusers have the power even they don’t know how they might choose to wield it.

  13. Fireship

    > America’s narrow idea of freedom is literally killing us Ryan Cooper, The Week

    “an entire generation of both voters and elites have internalized the idea that the government should directly control things only as a last resort, and that the main task of politics is massaging and coaxing the market to slightly adjust social outcomes here and there.”

    “In other words, libertarianism can be a fatal political virus — a prediction borne out by the crumbling American republic, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have died this year thanks to being inadvertently injured by their fellow citizens.”

    It literally is a death cult now. I believe 2020 will go down in history books as the year that America reached the point of no return.

    1. David

      Cooper makes the usual mistake of assuming there’s something specifically “American,” or even “libertarian” about this. There isn’t. This is classical liberalism, and the shade of John Locke would be nodding along at this point. Liberals wanted to limit the functions of the state to the establishment and ruthless enforcement of contract and property law alone. Everything else was optional. Laws are there to protect our property, which we have to right to do what we like with (“my body.”) If anyone thinks the free use of our property is hurting them, then the place to go is the courts.
      Liberal societies, with their obsession with performative rights rather than rights that actually benefit you, cannot fight the epidemic. The real distinction is not between capitalism and communism, or democracy and authoritarianism, but between liberal societies and almost any other kind.

      1. vlade

        I have a niggle, I’d call it libertarian rather than liberal. But TBH, there’s a difference of what’s meant by “liberal” in the US and elsewhere..

        1. vlade

          Since I can’t edit, as an example – Nordics to me are liberal. The US is libertarian, and to a lesser extent the UK is. Dutch are a weird mixture of both.

          1. Massinissa

            In Europe, ‘liberal’ is basically what ‘libertarian’ means over here. They’re the same thing. The word ‘liberal’ in US has been messed up due to Woodrow Wilson redefining the word to mean something else.

            1. JEHR

              Unless you give me a definition of “liberal” or “libertarian”, or “right” or “left’, and so on, I have no idea what you are describing. These brands are useless to describe anything by themselves just as “socialism” has lost its meaning as have many other political labels. To use these ideas by themselves is like describing what the word “is” means.

            1. JWP

              “except modernised” I’d call that an oligarchy across the board. The highest financial success someone can earn from the lower classes is selling whatever they’ve built to an oligarch for a few million.

          1. Fireship

            You are perpetuating the lie that socialism is taking wealth from one section of society and giving it to another. Socialism is about workers democratically deciding what to do with the results of their efforts.

            1. km

              We’ll argue semantics later. Some sections of society enjoy broad, even unlimited governmental support, those less favored are left to starve.

              1. Massinissa

                This is not semantics. Its a fundamental misunderstanding of the word. What you are describing is still not the clinical definition of socialism, which is closer to what Fireship described. You might be confusing socialism with some version of social democracy.

                  1. Massinissa

                    The standard definition of Socialism you can find all over the place, including Wikipedia:

                    “Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management of enterprises.”

                    Literally nothing about ‘redistribution’ of any kind. Welfare states are not usually socialist. (I myself identify as a socialist, if it matters, though I admit the term is essentially obfuscatory in modern discourse due to public confusion over what it means)

                    “Some sections of society enjoy broad, even unlimited governmental support, those less favored are left to starve.”

                    What you say here is still true. I should have mentioned that earlier.

            2. jonboinAR

              That’s the “proper”, I guess is the right term, definition. The popular one though is when the government controls any significant sector as opposed to private individuals, businesses or corporations. This usage, I don’t think, describes workers controlling an industrial plant, but I think most people accept it as a usage for “socialism” that they understand. So the government funding or otherwise controlling the health-care industry, even funding it, is considered “socialism” in popular parlance. Most people I talk to don’t distinguish “socialism” from “social democracy”.

            3. LifelongLib

              I guess the term “socialism” has changed its meaning then. In my day it merely meant government ownership of capital. Whether that was good for workers or not depended on the type of government.

              If capital is privately held, even by (say) workers’ collectives, isn’t that still “capitalism”?

              1. km

                In the current system – for those who enjoy the benefits – profits remain privatized and are sacrosanct, while losses are socialized.

              2. Paul Boisvert

                Hi, LifelongLib,

                Good question about capital privately held by workers’ collectives being “still capitalism”. Most democratic socialists would say, “let’s find out!”

                The goal of democratic socialism is to reduce as much as possible unjust inequality in income due to undemocratic power wielded by capitalist owners and their management lackeys, who together determine unequal wage/profit distributions for all employees by their own fiat, not by democratic vote of (all) their workers. If such reduction in unjust inequality occurs due to workers’ collectives, and you still want to call it “capitalism”, no problem–the result is important, not the name!

                Microsoft workers would not democratically vote Bill Gates or other managers anywhere near the share of salaries/profits they get now. Neither would almost any other workers’ collective–all would give more to the lower workers and less to the top managers than now. Hence, goal largely achieved. Incomes would be much more equal than now.

                If in this system some collectives had higher average per-worker incomes than other collectives, it would have to basically be due to either A) higher productivity–so less profitable firms would study and then emulate more profitable firms to raise the less-profitable firms’ own productivity–but still distribute the now-higher profits among their workers more equally than now.

                Or B), instead, the higher-income firms might not have higher productivity, but rather be working longer hours. That’s a tradeoff (leisure is a very valuable good) that must be determined by democratic vote of the workers, rather than by fiat of the top managers. Lower income firms’ workers might actually prefer more leisure; but if not, they can simply vote to start working longer hours (all of them; they won’t vote to just make some people work longer–unless it’s the managers!) to make more stuff/services, and raise their average income.

          2. LilD

            Nice line
            But what we have is privatization of public goods, and imposition of private costs on the public sphere.
            It’s good to be in the rentier class

      2. Fireship

        The difference is that America has made hustling its central value; there is no underlying culture as such.

        America is essentially about hustling, and that goes back more than 400 years. It’s practically genetic, in the U.S., by now; the programming is so deep, and so much out of conscious awareness, that very few Americans can break free of it.”

        ‘Americans tend to think they have been only slightly influenced by family, church or schools. In the
        end, each believes, “I personally chose which values I want to live my own life by.” Despite this self-evaluation, a foreign anthropologist could observe Americans and produce a list of common values which would fit most Americans. The list of typically American values would stand in sharp contrast to the values commonly held by the people of many other countries… In fact, all 13 of these American values are judged by many of the world’s citizens as negative and undesirable.’

        American society is uniquely dysfunctional in placing greed and selfishness at the center of its value system. As Oscar Wilde quipped, “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”

        1. LifelongLib

          I guess me and all the people I’ve known who just wanted decent lives doing something worthwhile aren’t real Americans then…

          And then we wonder why the “Left” never gets anywhere…

    2. The Rev Kev

      After reading that quote in that article, another thought occurred to me. Suppose that the pandemic gets worse so that it actually pushes the word into a full-fledged depression. Just like the one from ninety years ago so you could call it Depression 2.0 in fact. So with modern attitudes, how would countries like America be able to cope.

      Just supposing another FDR could be found, does anybody think that he could pass a Public Works Administration much less a New Deal? Would people refuse to go and do work like rebuilding parks and repairing buildings and all the other work that needs to be done in America because of their rights? Would the current crop of politicians even consider such a thing as soup kitchens for starving people – while they shovel trillions to America’s wealthiest billionaires?

      1. Wukchumni

        An important thing to remember when bringing up what FDR was able to accomplish in the Great Depression is the USA was by far:

        The world’s largest creditor, manufacturer & oil producer

        Everything is a bit cattywampus now, no?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Since “fear” of absolutely everything has become the principle means of controlling society, I seriously doubt that you’d be able to find even one intrepid soul with a megaphone who’d be willing to speak the words, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

          Nope. Stoking and exploiting fear for power is the whole ballgame now.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        like i’ve been saying, where i live, a year ago, such a message/effort would be welcomed by pretty much everybody except the true believers in both local parties.
        this is no longer the case, i’m afraid.
        the politicisation of masks and the virus have worked like a charm.
        thankfully, there’s been no overt threat from the local trump adherents , such as they are(most are merely Team Red)…which is, so far, unlike Post-911.
        back then, i worried a lot about many of the people i share this county with…now, i’m in watch and wait mode.

      3. Lost in OR

        As he was taking office in 2008, I believe that Obama could have done that. And more.
        He is/was such a colossal failure.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          By the usual standards of leadership, he was a failure. Lets be honest, any President is going to have cash after the White House. Given Obama’s values, he was very successful. His values just sucked.

          There were times when I found Reverend Wright’s sermons a little over the top. In the middle of a scholarly explication on the Gospels of Matthew or Luke, he might insert a scathing critique of America’s drug war, America’s militarism, capitalist greed, or the intractability of American racism , rants that were usually grounded in fact but bereft of context. Often they sounded dated as if he were channeling a college teach in from 1968 rather than leading a prosperous congregation that included police commanders, celebrities, wealthy businesspeople, and the Chicago school superintendent. -Barack Obama, my bolding.

          This isn’t really removed from his 2004 DNC speech which largely claimed our problems were the result of a belief in a false divide between red and blue states or some culture true.

          Imagine what he thinks a poor congregation should hear.

          1. TMoney

            ….Any President is going to have cash after the White House…

            Perhaps we should judge Presidental “Leadership” by how little they cash in after the White House.

            Less is More.

                1. ambrit

                  Truman was president when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. That is about as “modern” as you can get.
                  Perhaps we could modify your comment to say POST MODERN President.

      4. Massinissa

        ‘So with modern attitudes, how would countries like America be able to cope.’

        Resurgence of some kind of draconian authoritarianism, probably. Think something like Trump but on steroids. Also despite me mentioning Trump specifically, I wouldn’t put authoritarianism beyond the reach of the Democrats either.

        The chances of an FDR solution is not at all historically likely. FDR was very unusual. Authoritarian strongmen are a more common ‘solution’ countries try to use to solve such major crisises. Just look at how much of europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, some of the balkans) fell quickly in to such authoritarianism due to sustained economic and political problems.

        Quite frankly things are getting so dire that even Hoovervilles are beginning to look better than nothing… I expect an increase in political turmoil in the US in the coming decade. As for other countries, I have no idea, honestly. I don’t know enough about them to really make predictions. Perhaps Europe and its stronger political and social systems will figure out a less draconian answer, but the US simply doesn’t have such safety nets or even such a democratic electoral system.

      5. jonboinAR

        Actually I’m afraid that soup kitchens is exactly what they’d promote as a reasonable solution.

    3. carl

      I think you’re right. As a student of collapse, it’s been a fascinating time watching the US as it heads downward with acceleration. On the other hand, I thought the article went a bit too far in the name calling of Vietnam (“dictatorship”).

  14. Carolinian

    Re that right to repair issue–can we be clear that this is not about car repair so much as whether third parties will have access as cars become an Internet of Things device.

    “SVI’s internationally standardized design enables a smarter, more efficient global infrastructure where vehicles can ‘talk’ to infrastructure components, like roadside controllers, traffic lights, emergency vehicles and more,” said Joe Register, vice president of emerging technologies at Auto Care Association. “As a result of SVI’s standardized authentication and security specifications, both new and existing vehicles will be able to adapt to an evolving driving environment.”

    “Providing standardized access to the In-Vehicle Networks is an important step toward enabling the deployment of Connected Vehicle (CV) technology to the aftermarket,” said Knut Evensen, chief technologist at Q-Free. “Leveraging security technology from CV pilots will keep the costs down and open up a global market for vehicle owners everywhere, enabling new and innovative products and services related to CV.”

    “This interface provides a consistent communication interface for collecting and reporting vehicle data to ensure interoperable, safe and secure operation,” said Gangolf Feiter, founder of CSC. “SVI also provides a secure direct connection to vehicle network systems for certificate-based, authorized third parties, ensuring the integrity of the data being transmitted to properly complete vehicle maintenance and repair.”

    As far as repair goes we have somehow struggled along for a century with cars that don’t wirelessly transmit diagnostic information and there’s no real reason for doing this unless your car is indeed wirelessly interacting with some yet to be invented roadside gizmos or, if you are Tesla, receiving downloaded firmware updates so you don’t crash into a barrier. All cars now have a diagnostic connector inside the car and standardized devices that can at least read firmware data although reprogramming the firmware may take a special car dealer device as it arguably should.

    1. hunkerdown

      I seem to remember that California’s clean air agency sought for the next edition of on-board diagnostics to send emissions diagnostics over a network, which would save the biennial Smog Check™ trip, and potentially penalize driving around with the check engine light on. Then-state-assemblywoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) is on record musing about kill switches in every car for police convenience.

      ECU firmware is considered confidential and proprietary, due to the usual precious reasons, property protection (for their credit subsidiaries?), product liability (including environmental), speed governors, and so on. While locked, the ECU will only report its firmware release number and a checksum of the firmware. In order to read, write or erase the ECU’s memory space, a scan tool first needs to execute a challenge-response handshake with an ECU. With microcontrollers becoming ever cheaper per unit of computing power, and new, IP-unencumbered crypto algorithms (AES, SHA) and coprocessor designs becoming unremarkable, standard features in those chips, automakers have been starting to accidentally put some security under the hood.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Or they could simply add a new feature in the LED display that tells you exactly what your cars performance and predictive functions are doing with their time. Of course it would have to be factual rather than what the dealer wants you to spend money on.
      I am not sure I am okay with my beater sending out wireless information to just anyone. The dealer is looking for a vampire squid blood hole to feed off of. I would prefer the information only be downloadable to hand to the doctor before they operate on it. I would get a copy of the diagnosis instead of a bill with numbered “repairs” that have been initiated without identifying them.
      Right to repair is a bridge too far for the control freaks.
      I will be moving on up to an electric soon. There is so little that can go wonkie that the display would be a pretty small item next to your battery indicator.

  15. edmondo

    Ilhan Omar
    Tell me a story about a time your health insurance company did something terrible or inexplicable to you.

    I’m really getting tired of poiliticians who take great pains to collect medical porn stories about bad insurance companies. They get to share these gems during campaign stops and TV commercials yet that seems to be the end of the entire affair. You know what? YOU MAKE THE LAWS. We are just dumb schmucks who get to vote for or against you. By the way, if Ithan Omar is so concerned about Medicare for All then why is she voting to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker? Nancy wil never support it nor let it come to a vote. The BS is overwhelming.

    1. cocomaan

      Like the cop saying, “Tell me where the health insurance touched you” and then filing away the case as cold.

      Well said.

    2. Geo

      I’m gonna be a bit contrarian here and ask two questions:

      1. What would be accomplished by voting against Pelosi other than drawing even more hostility from Dem leadership who already despises Omar, has accused her of anti-semitism, and is doing all they can to isolate “the squad”?

      2. Regarding “you write the laws” – Does she? In a congress of 500+ members the left has less than 10 who can be in anyway considered progressives. What laws are they writing that have any hope of being passed?

      My take on this: she’s playing a messaging game. She’s continuing to highlight the voices and experiences of real people dealing with the insurance racket. It’s not gonna sway Pelosi and the rest of the party who can’t even be bothered to help people in a pandemic but it does help keep the topic in conversation.

      I agree it’s very little and mostly impotent but what else can a vastly outnumbered (and already hated) progressive in congress do? As someone who watched Kucinich and Sanders get ostracized and/or ignored for years, I have sympathy for any rep trying to push for positive change within a system run by Dems whose sole mission is to crush those people. They have a perpetually uphill battle and have to chose their fights wisely. I don’t always agree with their choices but I don’t disparage them for those choices. We have very few allies in politics. Not much use turning on the few we do over not fighting battles they would lose anyway.

      1. hunkerdown

        I understand that those who still unironically believe in liberalism have reasons to want the machine to keep running, not least the knowledge that their own livelihoods and passions are dependent on patronage from those very people.

        Why are we trying to please a Dem establishment that is committed to ensuring its donors’ property rights are senior to our lives? Completely wrecking the Party would be a blessing to us and them, as frankly, every single one of them is overdue for a war crimes tribunal.

      2. edmondo

        What would be accomplished by voting against Pelosi…

        The so-called Progressive Caucus – by denying her the speakership – will have announced to the world that thay count and they arfe a real force to be reckoned with. Do you think that Nacy or Clyburn or Jeffries fears these people? of course not, they wilkl fall in line to vote because “where else they gonna go”? F that!

        Take one of them down and the rest will follow. Nancy has a majority of three when she heads to the entire House for the vote. Take her out and prove you are serious or collect your little anecdotes for the Congressional softball game and watch the Dems lose 100 seats in 2022. Their choice.

      3. Paul Boisvert

        Thanks, Geo, excellent points. Actual leftists (anti-capitalists) have to work in the world they live in, not one about which their critics fantasize. This means that if they want to gain access to elective office and whatever (limited) power they can exercise therein, they have to do so as (dissident) Democrats, realizing full well that, for now, they have to pick and choose their opportunities for dissidence. Maybe someday not too far away, there will be a way to gain elective office and power through a third, effectively labor/socialist party; or maybe (though I doubt it) there can be a capture of the Democratic Party by anti-capitalists; but neither is true right now.

        The question is, will “now” be “forever”? Maybe…but every real leftist currently working against capitalism believes the answer to that question is “no” (or they would simply give up, sit at home, and armchair quarterback away…)

        They also realize full well that they won’t achieve much progress towards replacing capitalism solely through governmental means. Today’s Link about corporate power and labor law crucially illustrates the dialectical interaction between achieving social (union) power for labor, and governmental impact. You can’t make much progress towards social democracy (sd), and then democratic socialism (ds), without a huge increase (given the previous huge decrease, since 1980) in (small-d democratic) union organization of working people. That is the only way working people get actual power–not by dead-end “Trumpist” fantasies of border walls and (selective, self-serving) tariffs.

        This is why socialists have never advocated voting for Republicans (especially Trump) over Democrats. Whatever Trump’s minor (con-man, opportunistic, sham, sideshow) deviations from Republican orthodoxy, there’s one issue, the only really important one, on which he is undeviating–no organized power for labor…ever. Combine that with his denial of world-crippling climate change, and…nuff said.

        Biden, individually, is almost as bad politically, but the Democratic Party, as a whole, has much more “space” within it for advocating for partial advances towards socialism than Republicans–say, M4A and GND, both of which have lots of Dem sponsors in Congress, but only 1 Rep sponsor. Republicans grant advances towards socialism exactly Zero space within their party. The Dem leadership isn’t very pro-union, but they (and many rank and file Dems much more so) are substantially more than Zero pro-union–which, again, is what every Republican elected official in the country is.

        Democratic sd/ds “space” is substantial, but definitely not large enough yet to overcome the ultra-capitalist Dem leadership–yet; but Bernie has shown it is possible to quickly build serious (if flawed) challenges to the leadership’s power. Don’t be too dismayed by the fact that the challenge failed this election cycle, or that the Dem’s leaders are indeed corrupt hypocrites, almost as much as the Rep’s–socialists are in it for the long run. As long as capitalism continues to fail the bulk of society, which it obviously will, serious opportunities to grow socialist policy space, whether within or without the Dem’s, and challenge capitalist lackeys (Dem leaders, and about 2/3 of its other members, plus ALL Republicans) will continue to present themselves.

    3. Sailor Bud

      I posted on this tweet yesterday, but nobody responded. The reason I did was for the endless variety of stories, not anything about Omar herself, and I guess that’s the only place my focus can go. Unlike Lambert, I’ve never seen a tweet like this, nor with so many replies, so I found it horrifying in the extreme.

      Interesting takes on it here, though; thanks all.

      1. carl

        I’ve seen a bunch of these types of tweets/articles. They’re completely depressing; people are suffering and dying because profits. This is a big reason the US is gradually collapsing.

        1. JBird4049

          US economy hurtles toward ‘COVID cliff’ with programs set to expire

          The reality is that we are waltzing towards a civil war; I think most people, even those who want to fight the “other” agree that the ruling class is the ultimate problem; so what do our beloved elites do? They make it worse by giving trillions to the wealthy and the corporations and just nothing to everyone else. 200 million increasing desperate people, often with hungry family members, half of whom have guns. Fools, Victor Hugo’s Le Miserable was not a policy suggestion. .

        2. Sailor Bud

          Yeah. An enormous number of replies were the ironic “what’s health insurance?”, just people one emergency away from ruination. But of course the denials of procedures, scans, drugs, etc, were crazy even among the “insured.”

          What a total scam. Your money goes towards so much that isn’t health care, including paying for the profligate lives of lobbyists, politicians, and advertisers who actively try to prevent you from getting it.

          I’m also reminded of the line from the movie ‘Withnail & I’:

          “Free for those who can afford it…very expensive for those that can’t.”

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            That is to say . . . any other CIA Ds stepping out? Or is this Rep. Slotkin trying to lead a rebellion in public?

    4. Oh

      You may be too hard on her. She has no control on what laws get passed. And she has to play along on some items to be there until the Squad gets more members who can go against the neolibs/neocons. Same thing with Sanders except that he had a chance to really go against the cabal in the Dim party and he sold out and disappointed a lot of us.

    1. Geo

      Was talking with a film producer I work with often about this recently and the idea is catching on about needing to prove vaccination to attain work in the mostly freelance film world.

      On a large Hollywood set a friend told me a one-day shutdown due to Covid “false positive” test result can cost about $250K and his film has had a few of those in their months of filming. No actual positives but it’s still a huge expense so they’re looking for any way to move forward without the cost and burden. I assume other industries are doing the same.

      I did a small indie recently (entire budget was less than those one day shutdowns!) and we employed nearly 100 people over four weeks. Had strict mask mandates and a “Covid monitor” who kept watch to make sure protocol was followed. We pulled it off without one Covid case or shutdown. But even on a small indie film it was a large expense and time killer.

      Of course, the comparison to a “papers, please” policy is understandable. I personally don’t want to be first in line for a vaccine any more than I want to be first to buy a new technology that still has bugs and errors. But, if it’s the difference between being able to work or being unemployable I’d have to. Scary times we’re headed into.

  16. Krystyn Podgajski

    Anecdote from the road:

    I stopped in Kingman, AZ thinking I would sleep at their Walmart for the night. But to get a feel for an area I like to get a small sample size of mask compliance, so I started counting people coming in and out of the store who were wearing masks. This was at about 2PM. No mask meant I did not even see on in their hands.

    In: Masks=2, No Mask=23
    Out: Masks=3, No Mask=18

    As Fireship said in another comment above; American Culture is a Death Cult, neoliberalism is a death cult, #YOLO is a death cult.

    I am just glad I am set up now to spend a solid week in the desert without having to come into town. IMO, Doctors need to be quiet now and start letting people figure this out by hard life lessons. Put out the recommendations but stop with the tweats and the op-eds.

    1. Louis Fyne

      i have empathy for the maskless in this sense—-listening and obeying to “The Intelligensia” over the last 35 years has eroded resulted in millions of jobs shipped offshore, broken health care, and a bipartisan heads I win, tails you lose system stacked against them and their parents/grandparents.

      then throw in meth, social disintegration, lagging public schooling , etc.

      Of course they don’t listen to any form of appeal from authority. Don’t blame them one bit.

    2. Carolinian

      Presumably Kingman doesn’t have a mask ordinance. I believe Arizona did make it local option, not statewide.

      My town does have a mask ordinance and when first passed Walmart went so far as to close one of the two entrances and post employees at the other to make sure everyone was wearing a mask. They don’t do that now but most, not all, of the people in the Walmart do wear masks although, as I mentioned yesterday, many including employees will keep it off their nose for easier breathing (and defeating the purpose).

      If you spend any time in AZ and particularly around Phoenix you know that many drive like maniacs and while they do that around here this seems even more a Western phenomenon because of the great driving distances. So are those speeders who endanger both themselves and you any different?

      I’ve read that studies have shown that your chances of getting Covid during a brief trip to the store, with everyone keeping their distance, are really quite low so the behavior of those Walmart shoppers is not necessarily so horrifying. They may be in more danger driving to the Walmart.

      Now that N95 masks are presumably more available perhaps the elderly and truly most vulnerable should be issued those and instructions on how to use them. As for the rest of the population, experience seems to suggest they are going to do what they are going to do.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve been to the 2 Wal*Marts in Visalia twice in the past week, and nary a customer was seen sans mask, which is frankly remarkable in the CVBB where the evangs do as they’re told (Devin Nunes cruised to an easy victory by close to 10 points) and reliably tow the party line that skews so far right here, you’d think people would be in danger of tipping over.

        By nature, I am very observant of things that are of interest to me, and when casting my eyes @ all those mask wearers in the hundreds if not a thousand, not 1 N-95 model (aside from the one I was wearing) was to be seen on any of those mugs.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Same here in central Florida. Pretty much 100% masking in Walmart. Same in Publix and Winn Dixie and every other store I go into.

          Not exactly what’s been “reported” from those abhorent pockets of deplorables but true nonetheless.

        2. Carolinian

          I wonder if the n95 are more available. The other day I scored two bottles of 70 percent alcohol and considered this a major find.

          1. Brian (another one they call)

            But the fashion industry has so much invested in all the new pretty masks to sell. The chopped up last years fashion faux pas and made nice little (nearly) useless masks. This has made everyone look for a custom designer mask for their personality and to identify their mojo for everyone to see. “lookie here” has become narcissisitic inanity. We have a problem, we can’t even make people understand that a mask is something to cover your face, and a medical grade mask isn’t wanted because of fashion. It actually covers your face and reduces the inoculum that you might receive on your travels.
            Every day I hear that masks don’t help. Doctors and Nurses must stop wearing them because they don’t help, don’t work, cause fog. I wonder why they have been wearing them in care facilities for a hundred years after finding out that they prevent patients from being exposed? But but but I trust Fauci and he says they don’t help, do help, don’t help, and this is the head of our viral response?
            The jokes write themselves.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            Try this:

            Also, I’m able to buy these masks from my local paint supply store (in massachusetts), but they cost about 8 or 9 dollars a piece (much the same price as at the above link).

            N95 masks have been available for quite some time, but they are very expensive. The KN95 masks are quite cheap by comparison, but are not “certified” (further research would be advised) .

            I bought a pack of 20 N95 masks (actually a 40 pack but 20 of them went to someone else) and have numbered them and use rotation and an attempt to wait at least 72 hours between using the same one. I can’t recommend it, but rather simply report that it’s been my strategy for the last 6 months. I’ve read that a problem with this approach is that contaminants do build up so I imagine there may be some optimum balance between getting a new pack and living with the contaminant build up in the old.

            And on the subject of sterilization, here is a very interesting article about a readily accessible (if you have access to a microwave oven) relatively non harmful to material method of sterilization. I think I got it from “Links” some time ago.

            Again, don’t “recommend” anything, just pointing out it’s existence. One’s own research and an awareness of risk as much as possible is always a good thing.

        3. Krystyn Podgajski

          I went into a health food store here in Lake Havasu, A HEALTH FOOD STORE, and neither the OWNER nor customers were wearing masks. Same in the Safeway.

          The regional preferences to wearing masks in this country is astonishing to me. It must be just these places where maybe the population is not high or the virus has not infected a large enough number. I guess this will change in AZ since the have ICU beds but no staff to run them. so if one of the elderly folk has, say, a heart attack, they will suffer the repercussions.

          One America? No, sorry Joe Biden, and good luck.

      2. Hank Linderman

        At the Walmart in Leitchfield KY, they did the same. The only problem was that they were unwilling to enforce the mask policy. I watched as a mask-less customer walked in front of the few of us waiting in line for our turn to go in (they were limiting how many could be in the store at a time) and looked at the door minder. He commented, “We can’t force anyone to follow the rules.” I got told by a friend that a church in Louisville was advising those who didn’t want to wear masks to say they had a medical condition that prevented them from mask wearing, they gave everyone the details of the law to quote.

        The local Police Chief caught the virus last spring, his whole family tested positive. He was the one who got the bad case. He issued public statements that he had been shot, had his neck broken, endured multiple flus and diseases but that COVID was worse than all of them put together. For awhile it seemed like mask wearing was widespread, but last time I was there the store was crowded (no more controlling the size of the crowd inside) and while lots of people were masked, many were not.

        The MedPage article about Thanksgiving left me with one clear thought: we are all on our own.


          1. Louis Fyne

            yes, you are obviously correct. but on the hierarchy of threats, being a maskless customer at a big box is low.

            Which breeds complacency as people misconstrue that low risk and think have 8 people sharing drinks and food is 100% safe as well, or even safer than a store

            And public’s confusion all stems from the orginal sin of Fauci going on TV and saying that masks are pointless….when all of East Asia at the same time was masking up.

          2. Carolinian

            No, the studies I’m talking about did not involve masks. It’s worth remembering that masks weren’t even widely available until late spring/early summer and that many places are now reporting new case rates comparable to that pre mask time even though most of the people in the country–as reported by commenters here–likely are wearing masks in stores.

            Perhaps part of the problem is that the scientists and the media are giving the public a poor account of where the risks really do lie. It could be that many say to themselves: “I’m doing my bit by wearing a mask to the grocery store” when the real spreader situations happen elsewhere.

            1. Louis Fyne

              this is correct too.

              biggest vectors are jails and nursing homes, food plants.

              why media aren’t covering this more…i only have my cynical guesses.

              jails (local D and R look bad), care homes (lobby money and state regulators look bad) food plants (have no choice, operate at a safe, 25% capacity, country sees shortages, food rots in the field, prices rise)

            2. Mnm

              From the part of the world where I am.
              Over the winter almost every patient was from long term care, some were deathly ill with not much that could be done and strangely others were asymptomatic. They were sent in to be isolated and we couldn’t get them sent back till they had 2 negative tests in a row. That took forever and we needed the bed. How did public health count all those tests we did just to get a discharge?
              Last winter & now, admits are family men. Everyone in the household is +, but just dad is sick. Father is a laborer/worker, no doctor, no insurance and undiagnosed medical conditions. Very sick, stays a couple weeks on high 02, med that is flavor of the month and then home. Can he afford after care? Probably not.
              We still don’t have enough PPE (gowns, goggles, N95, cleaning wipes), same stuff all day, 12hrs. But we have a wonderful experimental vaccine coming. Many of us would prefer the Russian one since we will most likely be forced to take it. But since it’s Russian…

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for the anecdote. I saw the stat above saying 12 million people had the rona in the US and had a hard time believing it. That’s about 1 in every 25-30 people which definitely does not square with my own anecdotal experience. I know all of 2 people who have caught this, so definitely not one on every 25 in my circle, not even close. But then again, most people I see around my area in Maine are wearing masks – pretty much everyone wears them indoors in stores and most have been wearing them outside when walking down the street too lately.

      Anecdotes like yours make that 12 million number a little more believable.

  17. Wukchumni

    Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for secret talks with Pompeo and the Saudis, and B-52’s have been deployed to the Middle East.

    After the opening round of Iraq War #2, i’ve noticed aside from prompting by the plowers that be to treat every GI Joe or Jane as if they were so many godlings in human form, the mainstream media never ever mentions diddily about what is going on in the country d’jour we’re having a war with.

    Could an attack on Iran be a threefer, in that it assuages the Israelis & Saudis, and not that i’d know anything about it, but could Trump hold claim on the Presidency in some sort of weird General Haig “I am in control here!’ gambit gone wrong, but wholly supported by the GOPhova Witnesses?

  18. Geo

    “CBS Reporter Draws Ire Of Biden For Asking Substantive Question” Jonathan Turley

    From the article: “Biden’s response was a personal attack on the reporter. This is simply not done and will not be tolerated.“

    It’s not done? Has Turley been in a coma for the last few decades? I’m not defending Biden. He’s a jack@$$. But, seriously, how can he write that and expect to be taken seriously? 50% if Trump’s replies to press are personal attacks. Bush Jr and his team often replied to Helen Thomas like she was a nuisance instead of the only reporter doing her job. Obama’s team had antipathy toward Fox News reporters.

    Turley is trying hard here to reanimate a long dead Norms Fairy. Instead of the faux outrage it would be better to focus on what Biden is communicating by not answering the question. Just as we all knew his hostility toward questions during the primaries meant he had no concern for immigrant rights, M4A advocates, and environmentalists, this shows a clear lack of concern for “the science” no matter how much he touts that slogan.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Tonight on TV here in Oz I was watching the end of a briefing by Trump and as he left the room, the reporters were shouting at him. Not just shouting questions which they knew that he would not stop to answer but were shouting in a very loud, insulting manner. I bet that that sort of thing will never be tolerated by old Joe and I expect a purge of the Press pool by the time he does his first press briefing come next January.

      Have to mention an anecdote that I saw from a recent Jimmy Dore video of how the press works around the world. So a BBC reporter (I have seen her many times) was interviewing the Azerbaijan Prime Minister and was calling him out on the censorship of the media and the like. What happens next was comedy gold. The part of this starts at about 2:30 to 5:50 but the section where he blows up the interview starts at 5:00 and I promise you is worth watching-

      1. Geo

        Thanks for the link!

        I would love it if at some point in the near future reporters stop asking questions of presidents and just throw shoes at them.

        Seriously, asking a president questions at this point holds as much value as asking Ronald McDonald about fast food workers getting a living wage or the health benefits of a happy meal.

        1. hunkerdown

          “Reporters” should be throwing shoes at “journalists”, if anything. The intelligentsia need to be forced to live in the filth they generate instead of being allowed to sublate themselves while administering it and being paid from the loot.

        2. polecat

          Throwing shoes at joe would be senseless, as in causing him into fall .. with him not getting back up due to his indecision in choosing which treads to put his foot-in-mouth into!

        3. Oh

          I have several old pairs of shoes and I could dip them in tar for this important purpose. Now, if only we could find some reporters to do the job.

      2. Wukchumni

        I expect a pardon this week, and what if Trump did a twofer with him and a Butterball, and frankly who could differentiate between the two anyhow?

      3. Maxwell Johnston

        Worth watching indeed. Aside from the hypocrisy and double standards which Dore points out, I would note that Aliyev speaks very good English. Whatever one’s opinion of Aliyev, one should respect him for having taken the time to master a foreign language to a high degree of fluency. If nothing else, it shows a degree of respect for one’s adversaries (think of Putin speaking fluent German and passable English). Compare and contrast with any (literally ANY) Anglo-American leader….. ever. Sigh.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            Agreed, but Kerry never made it to the top of the heap. There’s JFK (“Ich bin ein Berliner” = “I am a doughnut”.) Apparently Slick Willy spoke some Deutsch which he tried out on Helmut K in 1994, but with limited success I’m afraid. Cannot even imagine any of Clinton’s successors attempting a foray into a foreign tongue. W? Barry O? The Donald? Let alone JoeB. Sigh. And so it goes.

          2. Tom Bradford

            Boris Johnson is said to be fluent in French and Italian, and passable in German and English. Plus, for what it’s worth, well above average in Latin and classical Greek.

            Doesn’t have anything useful to say in any of them, though.

            1. Maxwell Johnston

              Didn’t know that about BoJo; I stand corrected. There’s a YouTube video of him giving an interview in French, and he is quite good.

    2. cnchal

      The next sentence from the article.

      After all, think of the chaos: the entire press corps would be expected to ask questions and Biden would be expected to answer them.

      Think satire. Chaos = press corpses doing their supposed jawb.

      Whenever a personal attack is the answer to a legitimate question, the person on the attack has no answer to that question.

      Now, asking Joe a question where he has to rub a few neurons together to come up with an answer is prohibited. The press corpses have been trained to be dead in the head.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL “reporters”. LOL “questions”. When was the last time Joe was asked a “question”?

        I have to go on YT and listen to a jagoff comedian to even hear any “questions”.

        And I’m forced to select terms from cosmology to describe the scale of the absolutely bottomless stupidity of the “left” in cheering on censorship:

        The Giant GRB Ring is one of the largest known structures in the universe at 5.6 billion light years across.

        And sorry to red shift your world view, but the only people attempting to pierce the Giant GRB Ring and hold the information overlords to account have an R next to their name. Team D had TLOPK (The Lords of Permissable Knowledge) in Congress last week and their denizen Rep. Markey called on them to censor more. More, as in “an increasing amount”.

        “If people on the left think this is only going to be used on the right, you’re f*cking stupid”

        Glen Greenwald gets it, watch him while you still can:

    3. Basil Pesto

      This is simply not done and will not be tolerated.

      I was a bit confused by that sentence too but I think it was not meant to be read as Turley’s opinion on Biden having a go at the reporter, but rather as though it were someone from the Biden camp saying “[asking even mildly confrontational journalistic qns] is not done and will not be tolerated”. Read in that light it jibes with the rest of the piece, I think.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Swedish PM Makes Covid Plea in Historic National Address”

    Well the Swedish Prime Minister is right. It was pretty selfish of the Swedes to not consider taking precautions in the middle of a pandemic. It was right for him to call them out on it. They are a careless lot and are now dying by the numbers for their behaviour. No wonder the other Nordic nations are shunning them. When he said ”Everything that you would like to do but that isn’t necessary, call it off, cancel, postpone” I think that he nailed it.

    I mean, its not like the government went for herd immunity a coupla months ago and now that it is blowing up and taking the economy down with it, that he is reduced to giving Sweden a severe finger wagging. Who else could they blame? Anders Tegnell and his grand strategy? The government for following it? Dammit man, a consensus was reached! And it’s not like when the body count started to stack up and people questioned this strategy, that the government went “Nah! It’ll be fine!” and then doubled down on it. I guess that the Swedes just don’t deserve their government.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      The only suitable response to Anders & that government is a full round of herring farts.

  20. Wukchumni

    Canadian officials warn drivers not to let moose lick their cars CNN

    Two Texans were seated at the end of a bar when a young lady seated a few stools up began to choke on a piece of her hamburger. She was turning blue and obviously in serious respiratory distress. One Texan said to the other, “That there gal is having a bad time!”

    The other agreed and said, “Think we should go help?” “You bet,” replied the first, and with that he ran over and said, “Can you breathe?” She shook her head no. He then said, “Can you speak?”

    When again she shook her head no, he promptly pulled up her skirt and licked her on the butt. The young woman was so shocked that she immediately coughed up the obstruction and was able to breathe!

    Upon sitting back down on the stool by his friend, the Texan remarked, “Funny how that Hind-Lick Maneuver always works!”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Big California donors want to fill Kamala Harris’s Senate seat with a woman of color”

    Sure, why not? For all the independence that the person would have in that Senate seat, they may as well nominate Kim Kardashian. Add some glamour to the job. That person only needs to be a front for the donors so get someone on camera that looks good while they screw you over.

    Regarding the critters big and small who are using Utah’s first wildlife overpass to cross Interstate 80, there is only one way that it could have been improved and that would be to build it like those 18th century iron bridges were built like PlutoniumKun was talking about so that there would be less need for maintenance.

  22. flora

    An unusual pre-thanksgiving siting: suddenly lots of TV ads for moving rent-a-trucks and rent-a-storage-boxes and rent-a-storage-lockers on TV right before thanksgiving. This is not usual. Those TV ads usually pop up in late spring through late summer – the usual moving time for people; that’s when college spring semester ends and students graduate and leave, and when yearly leases expire and people move to new places, and when most houses are sold and people move to a new place.

    But, right before thanksgiving? I’ve never seen rent-a-truck/storage box ads right before thanksgiving. The ads were super upbeat, cheerful and peppy. Are these moving services truck rental companies expecting a lot of coming evictions?

    1. Arizona Slim

      A lot of colleges and universities are shutting down now. I’m seeing the college kids moving out here in Tucson.

    2. Alfred

      Well, in the south Georgia town in which I am stuck at the moment, there was an eviction this morning. Because what else could it have been? Furniture and all the miscellany of someone’s life were piled on the lawn in front of an apartment complex that caters primarily to low-income veterans. About a dozen neighbors were standing in a line about 30 feet back, looking on the jumble in what I took to be bewilderment. Maybe they feared being next? Or maybe their own apartments were being cleared at the moment I happened to be driving by?

  23. tricia

    the Ilhan Omar tweet strikes me as a method of channeling public anger into harmless venting rather than productive action. Yet one more tool of those in power, L or R, to avoid actually fundamentally changing anything. And a somewhat effective tool, unfortunately. Venting our anger in a forum that along w/ other social media has aided in further isolating us while appearing as the opposite…without, again, any concurrent plan of productive action…I don’t know, it seems to me like just another way of defanging that anger.

        1. polecat

          and let anyone who wants to, to just step/paddle/fly through one of our porous borders, and thus – !PrestoChangeOh! – an instantaneous transformation into a citizen demorat!

      1. anon in so cal

        Ilhan Omar (and the rest of The Squad) have been shilling for regime change in Syria and for the CIA….

  24. PeasantParty

    Push him Left to fix all these issues? I’ve got a bridge to nowhere you may be interested in. However, if you are serious in finding out how to fix all the issues, read this book. It is a serious look at just how citizens can demand our voices be heard. It is fact based, historical, and uses the Foundation of our Constitution, and Bill of Rights to do it. Yes, there are long standing laws on the books to do it, they just don’t want you to know. Find out in this outstanding book:

    1. anon in so cal

      Blinken, on Syria:

      “if Idlib is still under siege, that needs to end”

      “Syrian govt would love to have dominion over those resources. We should not give that up for free”

      IOW, no more attacks on Queda / Nusra Front jihadis holed up in their last stronghold, Idlib, and all of Syria is up for grabs.

    1. tegnost

      “Says Selma Hepp, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist: “Increases in delinquencies seen in the current recession are driven by a different set of factors than during the Great Recession which is why we expect a notably different and less severe outcome that was seen following the previous recession. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that homeowners now have significantly more equity than they had before and home prices are expected to continue to grow over the next year – two important factors that will prevent serious delinquencies from turning into a foreclosure crisis.””

      No worries folks, this time is different…

  25. Mikel

    “America’s narrow idea of freedom is literally killing us” Ryan Cooper, The Week

    (Native Americans in background): “Ya, think?!?!”

  26. Wukchumni

    Day 20 of the ‘I Ran Hostage Crisis’

    From the outside looking in on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, it appears as if the Chief Executive has painted himself into a corner, and we all know that President Trump would never stoop to doing physical labor, just another libtard lie attempting to besmirch his fame.

  27. Gran

    “Big California donors want to fill Kamala Harris’s Senate seat with a woman of color”

    So, a carbon copy of Kshama Sawant? We know the score obviously. Pick a woman of color the donors, largely rich white men, approve of. Thereafter, they can then use her identity to shield her and her donors from the criticism of what she is doing with her power. No one serious about racial, economic, environmental or social justice can be given actual power, because that would require structural changes. The choice of naming a woman of color begins with ideology and class, that establishes the pool of people to consider. Then, it is about picking the person that can most effectively use their identity to push forward more horrible policies. I am sick to death of these people and their fake, woke nonsense. I do support women of color and empowering women of color, that is why I am so focused on policy. I don’t want women of color to be more likely to die during child birth or for their children to be more likely to be exposed to a wide range of pollutants. That is why policy is central to me, cause Harris’s identity doesn’t mean the water in Flint and East Chicago will magically be clean and free of lead. You need policy, you need people with actual power to do particular things with the power given to them. These people are not really serious about governing.

  28. jr

    Interesting video from this guy Peter Coffin on “Cultivated Identity”:

    I had never thought of identity itself as a commodity, I knew it was shaped and focused and what have you in order to sell commodities, but it makes a lot of sense. His description of the internal dynamics of identity groups and the parallels between consumer and political “cultures” is spot on in my opinion.

  29. Lex

    ‘Coronavirus Pandemic’s Third Wave Threatens To Flood Colorado Hospitals’

    One of the more interesting links off that article was the ‘Crisis Standard of Care For Hospital Triage’ and the basis of the scoring system that goes with triage. Yes, it will come to triage in every state and every hospital this winter. The four worst months are still ahead of us. Best to get a sense of how triage teams assess ‘survivability’.

    1. anon in so cal

      During the first wave, back in March, hospital ethics teams provided triage criteria which ran along the lines of ‘those with the most years of life left are highest priority’.

      1. Louis Fyne

        not defending the system, but given how covid fatalities skew to the old (and often all in the space of 24 hours from passably normal to death), it’s inevitable that triage basically = help the non-old first

  30. JWP

    Yesterday was garbage collection day. Oregon has a bottle refund law: 10 cents/bottle. A good metric of just how bad the financial situation are the number of people who root through the recycling for bottles because it can be a legitimate source of income, I used to make about $500 every other month at my old job my collecting them from the dumpster. Pre-covid there were about 5 collectors on my block on any given garbage night. The last three weeks I’ve counted about 20.

    1. jr

      This is a really interesting point. In Manhattan collecting and selling bottles etc. is a serious gig for some folks. Some of these streets used to, before COVID, produce as much trash in a day as a suburban block does in week by my guesstimates. And not just cans or bottles, big hunks of metal, AC’s, plastic furniture, etc. The gleaners will sometimes ring themselves into a building so they can hit the recycling cans before the competition gets to them on the sidewalk. When I see them inside I pass without comment. Vaya con Dios.

      The >vast< majority of them, at least around here, are Chinese and are usually upper middle aged to elderly. Like in their 70’s by my reckoning. I’ve seen some other ethnicities, Latin and African American, but mostly aging and aged Chinese. Why, I have no idea.

      What your comment brought to mind was that in the last few weeks or so I have seen a few young, white men collecting stuff. I’m sure it isn’t entirely new but it’s never been enough to register. The competition must be growing as well, given that the refuse produced has to have dropped considerably. That doesn’t bode well, I think.

  31. Mikel
    “Setting the stage? | By the time Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was wrapping up a 10-day swing through Europe and the Middle East, he had angered Turkey’s leaders, infuriated the Palestinians and befuddled the French. As Nick Wadhams reports, the trip seemed almost calculated to offend — and to burnish Pompeo’s conservative credentials for a possible 2024 presidential campaign.

    Pompeo made good on a planned Trump administration move yesterday when he said the U.S. had withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty due to non-compliance by Russia….’

    What “great reset”? War is always on the agenda.
    The link is about the virtual G20. There are others in the series on the G20 and never have the “world leaders” seemed so disconnected, according to some reports.
    They’ve done what they are hired to do. Distribute wealth upwards and are only waiting the next instructions from their paymasters.

  32. Mikel

    RE: “Astra-Oxford Vaccine Prevents Average of 70% of Covid Cases” Bloomberg. That’s efficacy. Ultimately, this vaccine may end up being more effective, since it’s cheaper and requires only refrigeration.

    Parade, meet rain. The hit jobs have already started on the “cheaper” alternative.
    They are all rush jobs. But again we see profit is the main point. Given the experimental nature of all of them…each and every vaccine should be free. Everyone taking it within the year is essentially a test subject.

  33. Mikel

    Re: “Inside the longest lockdown in the world” Unherd. You can’t do lockdowns without economic support, as Slavitt and Ferguson et al. recommend.

    It’s exactly what is done when lockdowns are also being used to create a desparate labor pool that will work for dirt cheap when the lockdowns end.

  34. KFritz

    Sort of off-topic but…

    Have been watching the Michigan Board of Canvassers meeting to certify/or not election results. If readers want to see why the pandamic continues full-bore, have a gander at meeting, which you can watch at the Detroit Free Press website (google “freep”). When the participants time to speak arrives, they take off their masks and fill the air with aerosols. Which if they are positive but aymptomatic can be deadly. They don’t understand how the disease spreads…and they’re high-ranking ostensibly educated public officials! BTW every word they speak is readably printed at the bottom of the youtube screen. And the chairwoman was quite audible with her mask on early in the proceedings, but she proceded to remove it. Oy!

  35. rps

    Covid-19 is a wake-up call to a much larger problem in the USA. Since 1975, the number of hospitals, beds and staff are in a downward trajectory despite the increase in population. 1975: Population- 219,081,251. Hospitals- 7156 hospitals. Beds- 1,465,828. Today: Population- 331,783,456+. Hospitals- 6146 hospitals. Beds- 924,107. Between 1975 and 2020, a decrease of 541,721 beds/37% drop.

    Here’s the most current (2017) number of hospitals per state and hospital beds (2018) per 1000 population per state. Utah’s surge and rationing of care is due to the lack of beds- 1.8 beds per 1,000 population (pop:3,282,120 and 46 hospitals). South Dakota has the most number of beds- 4.8 per 1,000 population (pop: 903,207 and 60 hospitals).

    State governments negligence has failed their citizens with diminishing healthcare systems across the board. And the reason governors and mayors points fingers at the WH while they’ve been quietly dismantling and weakening state(s) healthcare systems and access for decades

    1. Maritimer

      “And the reason governors and mayors points fingers at the WH while they’ve been quietly dismantling and weakening state(s) healthcare systems and access for decades.”

      Something to think about: Flatten The Curve, remember that? Well early on I came to the conclusion that what they were really worried about was Flattening The Curve for themselves, that is the wealthy and influential, the pols, beuraucrats, etc. After all there is only so much capacity in the system and when that is used up, there is not enough for the privileged and those with influence. Would love to see some investigative reporter pick up on this as I think it has validity.

      Imagine Cuomo, for instance, having to explain to all the party hacks, contributors, top government officials, mayors, financiers, etc. :”Sorry, folks, even for you, were outa beds and treatment.” As for the hoi polloi, who cares?

      (Someone in the UK pointed out the slogan “Save the NHS!” and said, “it used to be the NHS was there to save us but now it is us to save them.” Boris Johnson, for instance, got his Rolls Royce healthcare.)

    2. Mnm

      Most care is being transitioned out of the hospital. They try to get people home asap with VNA and other services. Things will probably change even more with CV, cause patients don’t want to come in and as soon as they seem better MDs want them out! We are a cesspool of germs, you know. The more you clean, only the most hearty bugs survive.

  36. ewmayer

    [Lambert] “You can’t do lockdowns without economic support” — Someone needs to tell B over at Moon of Alabama that comparing pandemic responses in nations that have actual social safety nets and decent public-health systems to the US and simply concluding “lockdowns work” is bogus, because he has another “draconian measures are needed” post title “Pandemic freedom” today where he says “the U.S. public at large follows an ideology that is incompatible with a pandemic”.

    Now admittedly, aside from the trivial complete-social-isolation-is-no-good-for-mental-health aspect, Thanksgiving gatherings are more or less discretionary, and should be discouraged this one (hopefully) time. But with regard to longer lockdowns and economic shutdowns, my reply to his ‘ideology’ claim is “you don’t work, you don’t eat – you mean that ideology?” Because that is more or less true for the majority of USians, thanks to the truly toxic ideology – no, not the “freedom” one – known as neoliberalism.


      Bmoon of Alabama has long been a snobbishly antiAmericanitic culturacist antiAmericanite. He will interpret anything involving American however tangentially because it gives him pleasure and glee. He will find an acorn now and then, as will any squirrel which has been willfully self-blinded by its own eye-diddy-ology.

  37. The Rev Kev

    “Has Moscow been secretly microwaving our spies for years? CIA investigates after the world was shocked by claims Indian troops had been ‘cooked alive’ by Chinese electromagnetic pulse weapon”

    I wonder if they were the same sort of weapons that some police wanted to use against protestors in Lafayette Square back in June and were asking the National Guard about?

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